Holy Mr. Chuckleteeth. The X-Files
, admittedly, with the exception of the painful premiere
, has been phenomenal this season. It has done exactly what season 10 (the first attempt at the show's "reboot") should have done by studying the changing world's influence on the investigations of Mulder and Scully. However, "Familiar" really takes the cake.
The season 11 episode tracks our dynamic duo as they explore a reported animal attack in Connecticut. What starts out as a simple "death by coyote" case quickly transforms into an layered examination of police brutality, mass hysteria and adultery. It pushes the boundaries like the X-Files
of Christmases past, in more ways than one.
1) It Spared No One, Not Even Kids
is not afraid of murder. The rate of death in the show is so high, you'd think it was created by Quentin Tarantino. However, in most cases, the victims are crazed adults or possessed teenagers who deserved their fate. "Familiar" takes an unfamiliar approach by kicking off the episode with the brutal death of not one, but two children, both at the hands of their careless parents who were so wrapped up in their love affair, they couldn't protect their own offspring. I expect this kind of tragic message from Shakespeare or Game of Thrones
, but not X-Files
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2) It Called out Police for Abusing Their Power ...
When Officer Eggers, the disgruntled father of the first child victim, learns that an unregistered sex offender lives in town, he takes matters into his own hands and kills the man in cold blood, in front of his peers and the townspeople. One can easily draw comparisons between this gruesome death and the real-life news reports of undeserving men and women gunned down by scared or prejudiced cops. The episode's cinematography also supports this point: shots of guns and weapons were featured prominently throughout, forcing us to wonder if the writers were trying to make a statement here.
3) ... And for Getting Away with It
When Officer Eggers is dragged to court for his crime, one that was clearly witnessed by dozens of townspeople, Mulder leans over to Scully and whispers a prediction: that Eggers will be released with little to no penalty. The assumption quickly proves true, as Eggers is pardoned for his past good behavior. Mulder's assertion that "police protect police" also harkens back to the current news cycle and the reports of officers who are guilty of their crimes getting off due to the help of their friends.
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4) It Showed How Mass Hysteria Can Twist the Truth and Have Deadly Consequences
Let's talk about fake news. Or rather, the massive consequences that "fake news" can have on society. While this "Trumpism" may have started off as a deflection mechanism for the country's president, it has come to represent a huge piece of our current culture. From viral videos that are later debunked to Presidential statements that are quickly retracted or denied, "fake news" has ravaged our society in the past year and, well, in the past few centuries (see: Salem.) The X-Files
seemed to take a shot at this unfortunate development -- as Officer Eggers is attacking the "sex offender," we hear the victim say "we were kids, it was statutory, I didn't hurt anyone." But his words are drowned out by the rush of the mob, who descend on him in a blind rage spurred by Eggers' accusation that he killed his child. The hysteria leads to Eggers shooting the innocent man in the head. Just like that.
5) The Whole Episode Seemed Like a Horror Movie
While this episode tackled a few big macro themes, it also took some risks with its format: the episode, which featured a terrifying singing clown toy called Mr. Chuckleteeth and demonic Teletubbies knockoff, registered more like a horror movie than a sci-fi TV episode. From the eerie children's music to the lurking "demon" wolves, right down to the first death, which features a boy in a yellow rain jacket being lured to his death by a creepy clown a la the famous movie It,
every element of this episode was designed to make us want to turn the lights on.
But maybe I'm just a baby. What do you think? Was this X-Files
episode more hard-hitting and eerie than normal?
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