X-Files

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You're the Man Now, Doggett!

Right after Malcom in the Middle, Fox shows a preview of the upcoming episode of The X-Files. In said preview, Doggett testily asks Scully if she knows why Mulder never filed a report for...something or other. She eyebrows. Enjoy that, because it's basically all the Scully we get tonight. Oh, and that scene? Not even in the episode.

Cue the very irritating thonk thonk thonk piano music. Cue the pouring rain. Cue the swish swish of windshield wipers. Cue someone's hands -- very obviously not at ten and two, people -- white-knuckled driving through the rain. Cue shot of car hurtling through the rain. Cue torrents of rain splashing into puddle. Rain rain rain rain rain. Kiss the rain. An FBI-approved product-placed Sensible Car pulls up in front of an equally sensible yet charming house in what the Non-hip Non-Squiggly Font of Location Introduction dubs Squamash Township, Pennsylvania. Conveniently (for Chris Carter at least, who I think filmed this episode with no idea of where he was going to slot it, chronologically, and then later just decided to toss it in for sweeps, despite the fact that it makes no sense here), there is no date or time stamp. The thonk-y Suspenseful Piano becomes the Mournful Foreboding Oboe of Unaverted Tragedy.

A man -- his face out of camera range -- gets out of the Sensible Car, gun in hand. He walks toward the house, the front door of which is artfully decorated with a pagan symbol painted in what looks like red paint, but, because this is The X-Files, must surely be blood. This camera angle -- whereby we, the audience, are looking at things from the POV of someone very short standing right behind the Faceless Man -- is really irritating. We're right in the Faceless Man's ass, and not in a good way. I feel like some kind of midget pimp, and the Faceless Man is my ho. Also, the Steady-Cam is making me sick.

The Faceless Man enters the house with nary a knock on the door or a polite greeting. The residents -- for whom I could easily concoct clever names, but won't, because they're in this entire episode and we find out their actual names (Marie and Paul) soon enough -- look askance. Marie, clad only in her nightgown, and some very unfortunate stringy brown hair, does the patented "no, please, gasp gasp heave" victim routine. The shadow of an unusual creature -- some kind of man/beast hybrid, it looks like (yes, again) -- appears on the wall. Faceless Man draws his gun. The creature stares back, pitifully. He looks remarkably like Kevin, the oldest son on Mr. Belvedere, gone horribly wrong -- we're talking both a serious need for orthodontia, and the very unattractive plastic skin look that happens when the make-up artist has screwed up matching the latex of the bloody plastic mask face to the actor's actual skin. Some more gasping, some more sobbing, some more heaving. A shot rings out. Blood splatters on the wall. There's a loud thunk as Kevin falls to the ground. Marie sobs some more, and throws herself into her husband's arms. He looks suitably grossed out.

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X-Files

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