Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The X-Files Nears Perfection With "Colony" And "End Game."

The Good: Fairly solid plot, Strong on character
The Bad: ?, Minutia
The Basics: Essential for fans of The X-Files, a lot to enjoy for those who are not. Fast-paced and character-driven!

"Colony" and "End Game" are pretty potent examples of why the second season of The X-Files picked up more fans and garnered quite a lot of critical acclaim.

In "Colony," Mulder is clued in to the deaths of several doctors who work at abortion clinics, which puts him on the trail of two mysteries. The first is why there appears to be a network of almost a dozen doctors who look identical and ended up in the same profession, the second is who is murdering them. The other mystery is what is happening to the bodies of the murdered doctors.

Mulder and Scully team up with an FBI agent who ends up found dead in Syracuse and then a CIA agent whose mere presence causes one of the cloned doctors to flee. Scully discovers that the doctors might well be extraterrestrial when the green blood from one eats through one of her shoes and Mulder is drawn into a deeper family mystery compliments of the assistant to one of the fleeing doctors!

In "End Game," a nuclear submarine is incapacitated in the Arctic while trying to destroy a downed craft, while Scully falls prey to the alien bounty hunter, who had assumed Mulder's form. The alien bounty hunter demands one thing for Scully's life, the life of the woman Mulder is with, the woman who claims to be Samantha Mulder!

Having ascertained how to kill the shapeshifter, Mulder reluctantly swaps Samantha for Scully, which leads to a gunfight on a bridge and a series of revelations far deeper than Mulder or Scully were prepared for!

The two-parter is excellently narrated, with "Colony" beginning in what turns out to be the last act of "End Game." Sound confusing? It actually turns out to be fairly simple; as the plot progresses, one has only to remember that you're approaching a known scene. As a result, there is some mystery that is taken away from the episode, but at the same time, it adds an intrigue and anticipation that carries well through the show.

In addition to a remarkably unique narrative technique - certainly by today's standards - the episodes have a depth of character to them that is often lacking in science fiction works. The behaviors of Mulder and Scully are of two deeply intimate, passionate individuals and the character chemistry is worked masterfully in this pair of episodes. And poor Scully! Here's a woman who was abducted earlier in the season and now that she is back on her feet, running around gun in hand, she gets smacked around by the biggest brute in the galaxy!

The special effects in "Colony" and "End Game" are surprisingly good, reminding viewers of how decent special effects can enhance a story without dominating it. These episodes use very early morphing technology for the alien bounty hunter and those effects still hold up well today.

Outside of an occasionally bland performance by the woman who plays Samantha, these episodes are very tight and they keep even non-X-Files fans interested. Anyone who likes a decent science fiction thriller will find these two episodes engaging. In short, it's pretty much the top of the television spectrum.

On VHS, the episodes come with a little featurette called "A private conversation with Chris Carter" wherein the creator of the series walks the viewer through the significance of these two hand-picked episodes! It's a fun feature.

[Given that VHS is a rapidly dying medium, a far better investment would be The X-Files - The Complete Second Season, which is reviewed here!
As well, those who already love The X-Files will find The X-Files - The Complete Series to be an even better buy, click here for my review!
Thanks for reading!]

"Colony" - 9/10
"End Game" - 8.5/10
VHS - 8/10

For other reviews of television programs and seasons, check out my index page!

© 2010, 2007, 2001 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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