JYW's Completely Short & Informal X-Files Reviews

1995-96: Season 3 Reviews

Page 2 of 2

Rating Explanation
* * * * * Superb. This only comes once in a blue moon.
* * * * Very good. X-Files on its toes
* * * Good. Your typical X-Files entertainment.
* * Below standard. They can definitely do better than this.
* What happened?!

I also use fractions, usually ½.

Right before an unfortunate occurrence
Scully and Mulder listen in on a phone conversation with Modell in "Pusher" (3X17).
Important: The reviews contain spoilers. The titles below are listed by ascending episode number, not by the air dates.

Index - Page 2  (go back << to Page 1)
Syzygy | Grotesque | Piper Maru + Apocrypha |
| Teso Dos Bichos | Hell Money |
Jose Chung's "From Outer Space"
| Avatar | Quagmire |
| Talitha Cumi

3X13 - "Syzygy" (26 January 1996)
* * * ½
I'm still very confused about this episode. On one hand, it was done well, and on the other, I didn't like it. Undoubtedly the most disturbing motif was the "out-of-character" instances which evolved because of the "syzygy" circumstances. I haven't braved the multitides of comments on alt.tv.x-files regarding this episode (yet), so I have no clue as to any "inside" info. However, he whole out-of-character bit really disturbed me (as it was supposed to, I gather), and we saw a lot of recklessness from M & S, including:

  • Mulder drinking (although he doesn't usually drink)
  • Mulder driving after drinking (by himself)
  • Scully smoking (although from "Beyond the Sea," we can figure she doesn't usually smoke)
  • Scully driving through a stop sign

They were pretty much like this for the entire episode, and I just hope no newcomers watching the show last Friday got turned off or got the wrong idea (which would be difficult) about M & S. Overall, though, Anderson & Duchovny must have had a field day! I mean, all that nagging between M & S! (Not just the usual nagging, I mean them getting on each other's cases -- NPI.) Did anyone count how many scowls Mulder made (at Scully)? Or how many times Scully said "Okay. Fine. Whatever" (to Mulder) (or whatever it was)? Some things turned out kind of cheesy: (1) The recurring Keystone Cops movie playing (with the music) in the police station with the weapons going off, and (2) when both M & S yelled at the principal, "Put the gun down!" in unison. But I loved these out-of-character instances (only after pondering about them for a while):

  • Scully driving angrily on the road scattered with chickens that had fallen from the sky
  • Mulder twisting his arm/the TV remote at different angles to try and change the movie
  • Mulder and the astrology woman who waited for his Visa Gold card to clear
  • Scully pacing her room (the smoking I didn't like much, but oh well) and muttering to herself
  • Scully telling Mulder that "you and Agent White seem to have a certain . . . simpatico. I'm leaving for Washington in the morning" and turning on her heel
  • S telling M "Why don't you ever let me drive?! ... Because you're the guy?! The macho man?" and he says "I didn't know if your little feet could reach the pedals." (Inside jokes for netpickers?)

Anyway, with this episode, Carter sure left me in a bind between love/hate. It was hard for me to adapt to the ironic humor in this one. I hope by next week, M & S will be back to their normal selves. (Is Agent White M's prospective SO? Or is it someone else? It would make more sense if it were someone else.)

3X14 - "Grotesque" (2 February 1996)
* * *
This really is reminiscent of "usual" X-Files fare: dark and creepy. Don't tell me no one else got a bit edgy when Mulder started delving into the mind of the murderer! Although I admit it bugged me one one level, the obvious lack of dynamic rapport between M & S (as Scully got worried about Mulder getting too obsessive) was done in an interesting (yet frustrating) manner -- it allowed for more character development. I especially took notice when Scully told Mulder that she "was scared." Anderson did a great job conveying Scully's worry and concern for Mulder, and Duchovny convincingly portrayed a rather "over-the-edge" Mulder. It was also good to see A.D. Skinner back . . . preparing us for more to come?
No nitpicks.

3X15 - "Piper Maru" Part 1 of 2 (9 February 1996)
* * * ¾
This was definitely not exactly what I was hoping for, although it did have some great support. I have mixed feelings for this episode. It had plenty of suspense in it, but I thought the "alien transformations" and the "inkblotted eyes" (that's what I'm calling them) were just plain cheesy (or, "hokey," as Scully might say). I'm really looking forward to a good explanation for them. On the other hand, though, Carter threw some enticing bait our way:

  • Lots of film for Skinner; and his getting shot in the chest should have been the cliffhanger. Oh well. Scully's reaction to "the phone call" was interesting.
  • Krycek's return. (Doesn't he wear anything besides black leather now?)
  • Mulder head-butting Krycek. A little too reminiscent of Skinner & X in "End Game"? Anyway, it made me smile.
  • Scully and planes (go Scully)! And Mulder saying, "I just got turned on" . . .
  • And of course, another look into Scully's emotions! All the scenes set at the naval base were wonderful. Also, the beginning (with Scully talking to Skinner) was marvelous! The inside look at her dealing with her emotions is pretty much what saved the episode from getting a lesser rating.

Ah, the nitpicks! Well, aside from the corny motifs I mentioned before, the main thing that bugged me was how Mulder essentially ditched Scully (in a way) by taking off to Hong Kong by himself without telling her why. Also, I found it perturbing that she didn't mention Skinner's morning announcement about Melissa's case to Mulder ("It's nothing"). Is this a part of "The Rift," or am I just being paranoid? I also found Scully's exchange with Mulder on "Mulder & the desert & the hoe" a bit disturbing in a way; it was as if he was alone: she was not a part of the search. Anyway, if the preview for "Apocrypha" hadn't shown them back in the same frame, I would have seriously been disappointed. There had better not be a rift going here. At least, not permanently.

3X16 - "Apocrypha" Part 2 of 2 (16 February 1996)
* * * * ¾
Wow. There is so much to compliment on this episode! Excellent. No nitpicks come immediately to mind. Excellent. Top-notch. This one ranks up there with "Paper Clip." Perhaps "The Rift" is finally narrowing? The greats:

  • The almost-last scene set at the cemetery. Wow. (And did you catch Scully's smile when she saw Mulder kneel to put down the flowers? The wonderful power of subtlety...)
  • Scully confronting her sister's murderer. All that rage. All that anger and frustration. And she still -- although reluctantly -- "let him go." Wow.
  • Mulder waking up at the hospital, and Scully waiting there for him. As usual. Did you sense the unspoken, our-expressions-say-it-all "inside" jokes between them? ("Again, Mulder?") Wow.
  • The "Skinner" scenes. They added yet another dimension to the story!
  • Scully taking charge and demanding more from the other agents. Wow.
  • The Lone Gunmen . . . ice skating! I really laughed during this part (especially Byers on skates, in his suit!) (after all, it is filmed in Canada . . . ).
  • "1013" on the right door! Is there some hidden meaning behind why the symbol of Ten Thirteen Productions is the marker to Krycek's unknown fate?


3X17 - "Pusher" (23 February 1996)
* * * * *
Did I say that "Apocrypha" was top notch? It was. Did I say "Paper Clip" was top-notch? It was. Actually, they are still top notch.

But "Pusher" blew me away.

I could talk about this episode for hours. Days. Suffice it to say that after watching "Pusher," it took me a while to catch my breath. I admit it had its flaws, but again, I don't rate each episode on the basis of technical achievements alone but on the basis of entertainment value.

This was a very well-balanced Mulder & Scully episode -- not a Mulder episode, not a Scully episode, but a Mulder and Scully episode. A quick rundown of a few great points:

  • The reassurance both M & S give each other (e.g. the hands!).
  • The entire last scene. My heart was doing acrobatics. And not just once.
  • "I think you drooled on me." (!)
  • Mulder & Scully admitting the other was right!
  • The ever-present suspense and tension throughout the episode.
  • Wonderful insight on the characters of M & S.
  • Again with the last scene: we can analyze each action, each word spoken. As it's been stated on the 'Net, Mulder fought much harder to avoid shooting Scully than himself. This scene has to be one of the most memorable in X-Files history.
  • The image that will haunt me most forever: Mulder jerking the gun to his head and pulling the trigger, and Scully leaping up and screaming at Modell with all the anger, frustration, fright and heartbreak anyone can have . . . geeez Anderson and Duchovny are good.

Did I say "Wow" for the "Apocrypha"? Well for this one, I say Wow.

The story of the Pusher, and the inside jokes were normal (dare I say average?), but the key to the hold-your-breath episodes was the character interaction between Mulder and Scully. I had to literally catch my breath while I sat mesmerized for a few minutes, trying to digest everything.

3X18 - "Teso Dos Bichos" (8 March 1996)
* * ¾
All I can say is: strraaannnge. So, this was the "killer pussy cat" episode that Anderson referred to on her Late Show with Letterman appearance. It was not as creepy as "Grotesque," but it also was not as "standard" as "The Walk." Rats and killer cats . . . let me guess . . . this must be the anti-climactic counterpart to "Pusher." :-)

3X19 - "Hell Money" (29 March 1996)
* * ½
The cultural aspect of this episode was a plus; however, the story wasn't too engaging. The episode was one of the "all-dark" ("dark" as in lighting -- as well as story content) shows, e.g. "Grotesque." There were a few interesting moments:

  • In the car, when Mulder says if he hears another firecracker he'll shoot somebody.
  • Mulder & Scully at the morgue (what a pleasant setting), and Scully offers the pun on the second victim "leaving his heart in San Francisco".
  • Scully lifting Johnny Lo's eyelid and tapping on his glass eye.
  • Mulder jumping down into the "empty" grave.
  • The recurring frog image throughout the episode -- I especially liked the scene where Mulder & Scully enter a shot while Detective Chang (was that his name?) is on the phone; the camera is focused on the detective, and we only see the backs of M & S's coats passing in front of his desk; then a hand (Scully's) places the jar with the frog on his desk. All of this happens wonderfully fast. Anyhow, I found the scene amusing: while M & S talk to the detective rather seriously (and Mulder eats sunflower seeds), the frog keeps hopping around in the jar.
  • Mulder & Scully's new mini-flashlights! (Are they new? I never noticed them before.) These didn't look like normal flashlights; they were nifty palm-sized lights that really pierced the darkness. Are these Maxabeams as well?

A few nitpicks:

  • When Mulder & Scully arrive at the organ donor office, and the worker opens the glass entry door, there is a very obvious overdub by Anderson: we hear her say "Agents Mulder and Scully" to introduce the two, while we see Scully displaying her ID through the door. Then the worker opens the door and Scully (I think) says thanks and starts asking questions. Anyhow, the overdub was too obvious and distracting.
  • Why did the daughter open the door for Mulder & Scully without even asking them who they were? That was a bit too strange. In this particular case, Scully didn't even introduce herself.
  • The daughter's accent was okay, but it wasn't convincing. She also pronounced, too smoothly, what kind of leukemia she had.

3X20 - "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" (12 April 1996)
* * * * (on a different, "humorous" scale, not the usual "dramatic" scale)
If Darin Morgan really does leave, Chris Carter is losing a wonderful writer. His creativity really has brought the show a fresh approach. Anyway, as for this episode: to quote my brother, "It's a lark!" Its entire purpose was to make fun of "The X-Files" and really get us all laughing. Here is yet another episode that "beginning" viewers would not fully appreciate, nor understand. The entire episode -- the editing, the camera shots, the whole tongue-in-cheek attitude was very entertaining, although I definitely was not prepared for this kind of an episode when I first saw it. It took a second viewing to enjoy the humor, and I'm sure if I saw it again, I would pick up on more things I overlooked before. To just name a few memorable points:

  • Scully's alien autopsy video (hosted by Yappi)!
  • "This is not happening . . . "
  • Mulder's scream . . . or rather, yelp.
  • The "Space: Above and Beyond" T-shirt the guy witness was wearing.
  • Scully's violent behavior toward the guy witness.
  • Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura!
  • "Where's Scully?" "Oh, she went to go get some ice."
  • The melted ice in the bucket.
  • Scully saying, "The greatest thriller ever written"!
  • Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung! And what a name: Jose Chung!
  • "I'm a Republican"!
  • The hypnotism sessions with the girl! (I just have to laugh when I think of those.)

I could ramble on, but I think you get the point. If you've only seen it once, see it again. I suppose it's kind of like "Syzygy." You have to adjust. As for a comparison with this and "War of the Coprophages," well, "War" cleverly combined an intriguing X-File with humor, whereas in "Jose Chung," there was an avalanche of humor with an X-File message.

3X21 - "Avatar" (26 April 1996)
* * ½
This was definitely not a great episode. It provided some interesting info on Skinner, and how M & S perceive him, but that's really it. The entire old woman/dream/legend idea was strange (as it should be), and kept me interested, but it seems as though we leave her behind as the episode ends. Who is she? Is she, in some capacity, his wife? Aside from some questions that popped up (What was Skinner doing at the Ambassador hotel? Is the red rain slicker significant?), the episode leaves us with chopped images: the old woman in the red raincoat, a glimpse of Cancerman (Skinner was set up -- that part is clear enough), phosphorus on the first corpse's mouth (that was a plus) . . . there were some good ideas, but the story didn't unfold very smoothly, making it even harder to understand.

Another tangent: Scully's reaction to the woman in the hotel room (the bathroom scene: right after she bursts in) puzzled me. If the woman suddenly tenses and looks into the corner, I would think that Scully would follow her gaze, and not simply stand there and ask, "What's wrong?" Did anyone else also notice that this is the second time Scully has gotten bashed on the head in the bathroom of a female witness (a la "2Shy", except it was more brutal in "2Shy")?

3X22 - "Quagmire" (3 May 1996)
* * * ½
After seeing this episode again, I enjoyed it much more. It really wasn't "less than standard fare," as I had said before. It wasn't always dark and spooky, but a bit lighter in plot content (and not a lot of the 'gore' factor). But I still think that the really interesting scenes were the ones unrelated to the case:

  • The entire lake sequence, resulting in the "stranded on the rock" scene, when Scully makes an interesting discovery.
  • All of the Queequeg scenes, especially in the beginning when Scully's taking him everywhere, and also the scene where she's depressed about losing him (and Mulder's reaction).

Its entirely obvious "Loch Ness" take-off plot vehicle didn't do so well, but at least provided a fairly interesting analogy of Mulder/Ahab for Scully. The very end (with the computer-animated sea serpent appearing), meant to have a humorous effect (as I took it), but it just looked very hokey the first time I saw the episode. After watching it again, I felt it gave an interesting meaning to the episode, and to Mulder's obsession for the 'truth.' The episode was a bit slow-paced, but it was thoughtful. Thoughtful can be good.

3X23 - "Wetwired" (10 May 1996)
* * * ¼
An OK episode. It's a kind of "Pusher," except the victim this time is Scully, and the culprit is TV signals (triggered by Cancerman?), and except it doesn't have nearly as much tension as "Pusher" did. It's interesting to see Mulder reacting (re: going to ID what could be Scully's body in the morgue), and Scully running. The only thing is that I know what's going to happen (except for that last scene with X). Contrived, yes. "Pusher" dealt with the story better than this episode. It was fun to see Anderson go psycho as Scully, though. ;-)

3X24 - "Talitha Cumi" (17 May 1996)
* * *
This season finale was kind of disappointing. I'm rather glad that it deals with the government conspiracy thread, which I usually enjoy, but this episode was standard fare. There was nothing too exciting or wonderful about it. The whole Jeremiah Smith story wasn't much of a grabber. The only thing that kept my interest was the Cancerman/Mr&Mrs Mulder story. Hopefully, the season finale will prove better. There's been a lot of speculation on the Net, and I won't go into that, but let's just say I'm confident that Chris Carter won't ruin the show with soap opera-like plots (concerning Cancerman).

You're on Page 2 of 2 of the Season 3 reviews. Head back to Page 1.

Season 3 index | Season 4 index | Home

Copyright © 1995-now JYW