Oh hey, here’s a nice set of guest stars. Anne-Marie Johnson, who had a nice career going around that time, is a murder victim. Danny Trejo (who apparently doesn’t age because he pretty much looks the same) is the killer. And the great Joe Morton, who was in Terminator 2 like Robert Patrick though I don’t think they shared any screentime, well, he’s basically the whole show here.
The Case: Accused Killer’s Life Goes Backwards!
The Rest: So, one of the things I have come to like about later-period X-Files was the occasionally ambitious and/or experimental episode where they try something different. So far at this point in the John Doggett era, I haven’t been too impressed. Doggett the character isn’t the problem. The series just seems to have run out of steam. I don’t think one good episode trying something different will necessarily fix that, but this was a cool episode even if it reduces Doggett and (especially) Scully to background supporting characters.
Instead, it’s mostly about Morton’s Martin Wells. He’s a prosecutor (and a friend of Doggett’s) who wakes up to find himself in prison on a Saturday only to be met by a hostile Scully and Doggett and then for his father-in-law to fatally shoot him. He has no idea what happened or how he got here.
Then he wakes up on a Friday and has to piece everything together, knowing things that are to come even as he’s not sure what happened in what is the past for everyone else.
Now, I had some issue with the way the show seemed to cram in Doggett backstory before, but here, well, it fits. Doggett was a cop before he was an FBI agent, so he has a reason to be a friend to a prosecutor. And Wells has the advantage that even as he wakes up every day knowing more about what will happen and can warn people ahead of time. Morton is more than up to carrying the episode by himself, and the character is smart enough to realize that people won’t believe what’s happening to him so he basically stops doing more than making comments that don’t make sense to anyone but him.
The fact that he also learns the reason Trejo murdered his wife and framed him was because, as a prosecutor, Wells had concealed evidence that could have led to Trejo’s brother’s not going back to jail and then committing suicide means the episode actually ends with the wife alive but Wells in prison anyway for illegally suppressing evidence, but he’s at peace with himself over it.
Is it the best experimental episode of this series? Not really, but it’s a good reminder of what The X-Files can do when the show really tries.
Up next, eerie dreams.