May 27, 2024

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The X-Files “Via Negativa”

A cult leader kills through dreams.

So, un…yeah, this one happened.  It’s got some good, creepy dream sequences, but…something feels off.

The Case:  Killer Dream Cult Leader!

The Rest:  On the surface, this is a fine enough episode.  There’s a cult leader who, in dreams, developed a third eye that allows him to murder sleeping people through their dreams.  Hacking people up with a dream ax results in the same real-world injuries.  Doggett is on this one more or less on his own as Scully sits most of the episode out, doing pregnancy-related stuff in the meantime and only popping up here and there.  That means Doggett actually goes out to investigate with Skinner and even meets the Lone Gunmen who more or less explain what’s going on.

Yeah, on the surface, this is a fine enough episode.  The problem for me is, well…I am missing the Scully and Mulder dynamic.  There’s nothing wrong with the Doggett character.  He wants concrete evidence of whatever’s going on, like real motives and the like.  Give him that, and he’ll probably go along with anything you care to name.  He’s not Mulder or Scully, and I appreciate that the show was trying to show that he wasn’t going to be a clone or a replacement for one of the two leads.  I’m more concerned that Scully is now basically the Mulder.  It’s not a role the character fits into all that well, but then I get an episode like this one or the previous one, and she’s barely in them.

Somehow, Gillian Anderson still has top billing despite all that.

I find myself here in a weird position where I like that the show is trying to establish Doggett as a character, and he’s being played by the right actor for the role, but at the same time, it feels like he’s taking up too much air time for individual episodes.  Besides, as much as I like what’s going on with Doggett, I am not sure he has the right character dynamic to really fit in here.

By the by, how much does Skinner believe what’s been happening with the X-Files division?  He says a lot of things in this episode that make him sound like a true believer himself.

I may never know.

Up next, a killer with x-ray vision.