Mulder is gone. Scully, Doggett and Reyes are left to uncover
the truth about the military super-soldiers and Scully's baby,
William. Are the super-soldiers products of genetic manipulation
by the government, or are they alien mutations? Is William
one of them, or could he be a weapon against them...?
This is the season in which David Duchovny finally quit, although
he does return for the final feature-length story, The
Truth. Many viewers have argued that his absence was the
death of the show, but I don't think the truth is that simple.
Certainly he was missed by many fans, but the producers did
themselves no favours with the way they handled his absence.
As with Season Eight, the show spends far too much time reminding
the audience that Mulder is missing rather than encouraging
them to move on and get over it.
of the "mythology" episodes, and a few more besides, touch
upon the absence of Agent Mulder. In the two-part Nothing
Important Happened Today and the single-part Trust
No 1, this is a pivotal plot point. The latter episode
even goes to the somewhat desperate lengths of showing a double
playing Mulder in long shots.
Scary Monsters, a "monster of the week" episode (not
surprisingly) takes a more progressive attitude. Mulder is
referred to repeatedly - by the eager Agent Leila Harrison
(Jolie Jenkins), who previously appeared in last season's
memorable Alone - but the moral of the story is that
Doggett's approach to the case works better than Mulder's
would probably have done. Furthermore, Many of the Doggett/Reyes
episodes, including Daemonicus, 4-D, Hellbound,
Underneath, Jump the Shark and Release
work very well.
fact, I would go so far as to say that the producers should
have taken the even bolder step of writing Gillian Anderson
out altogether, or at least for the majority of the season.
As it is, Scully is reduced to a consulting role or a bit
part during several instalments, including all of those listed
in the paragraph above, so it makes you wonder why they didn't
just bite the bullet and go the whole hog.
tends to take a more significant role in the season's mythology
episodes - in particular the two-part Provenance/Providence,
which demonstrates that hell hath no fury like a mother protecting
her child. She also comes to the fore during the amusing
Lord of the Flies, a partial homage to Jackass
in which she fends off the unwanted attentions of a romantic
entomologist, Dr. Rocky Bronzino (Michael Wiseman), as well
as in Audrey Pauley and the extremely bizarre Improbable,
which guest-stars Burt Reynolds.
Audrey Pauley and 4-D build up some sexual tensions
between John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth
Gish). This is perhaps not entirely welcome, since the "will
they, won't they" dynamic has already been done to death with
Mulder and Scully. Moreover, whenever Doggett and Reyes express
feelings for each other, something dreadful tends to happen!
In 4-D John is paralysed, while in Audrey Pauley
Monica ends up in a coma.
4-D is one of the best episodes of the season, despite
the fact that the ending could have been less silly. Other
winners include Lord of the Flies (which could perhaps
have been entitled The X-Flies!); William, the
strongest mythology episode of the year; and Release,
which resolves Doggett's personal demons concerning the death
of his son.
worthy of mention is Jump the Shark, the final Lone
Gunmen episode, which also sees the return of the amusing
Michael McKean as Morris Fletcher. This instalment owes its
title to a website that examines when various TV shows started
to go downhill - the term refers to an episode of Happy
Days in which the Fonz jumped over a tank full of sharks.
Obviously the producers wish it to be known that The X-Files
didn't "jump the shark" until its final year!
weakest episodes of the season are Trust No 1 and John
Doe, a tedious instalment that doesn't even feel like
an X-Files story until the final ten minutes. The opening
two-parter, the rather dull Nothing Important Happened
Today, does not get things off to a good start, but at
least it isn't as dreadful as the previous year's opening
Perhaps not surprisingly, some questions are left unanswered
by the final episode, The Truth. It would appear that
the producers wish to leave some routes open for at least
nine years' worth of X-Files movies. The Truth
isn't nearly as great or as revelatory as its publicity makes
out, but it does at least manage a semblance of closure and
has a pretty good stab at making sense of the various plot
strands from the last nine years.
It's a shame that Agents Doggett and Reyes could not have
continued with their own cases for a few more years, so make
the most of the adventures they have here, in a box set that
is considerably more affordable than previous ones.
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