Couch Potato Diaries

The X-Files First Watch: “Eve,” “Fire,” “Beyond the Sea” and “Gender Bender”

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I mentioned this in a previous post, but for X-Files fans: at which point did you know you were hooked on this series? I think I may have finally reached that point, but it’s taken longer than I was expecting. I finally sat down and spent an entire afternoon excited about watching them, instead of feeling like I needed to get through enough for my next post. I also find myself looking forward to having time to watch more, instead of forgetting about it completely. Maybe I will get this series watched before the new one premieres after all.

“Eve” Episode 1.11

xfiles-eveTwo men are discovered dead on opposite sides of the country, having been murdered at exactly the same time. Both have puncture wounds in the neck and are drained of blood. Even more mysteriously they each have identical daughters. Mulder and Scully investigate and discover a sketchy human cloning experiment.

My stream of consciousness through this episode:

  • Vampires? Vampire aliens?
  • Exsanguinate is a big word for such a little girl.
  • So, not alien vampires, just twisted humans, which is sometimes worse.
  • So the girls were responsible? Kids are so creepy.
  • So manipulative and creepy!

It’s no surprise that the writers of The X-Files know just how creepy kids can be. I don’t know what it is about kids – maybe that they’re the last people you would suspect of being cold-blooded sociopaths, but it just makes them creepy when written this way. And I gotta hand it to the writers, I don’t think the word vampire was even mentioned once in this episode even though that was my very first thought. But of course Mulder’s mind would immediately go to some sort of extraterrestrial investigation faster than vampires. Also, I have to remind myself this was pre-Twilight.

“Fire” Episode 1.12

Xfiles-FireA man with pyrokinetic abilities apparently has a nasty grudge against English nobility. Mulder and Scully are recruited to look into the case by a former “associate” of Mulder’s from his oxford days.

One of my favorite parts of watching these episodes is seeing actors I know from many other things looking much younger than I’m used to. This episode had my favorite guest star so far. I was totally distracted when I realized that young, sketchy looking gardener setting things on fire is the King of Hell. How appropriate. Mark Sheppard, playing with fire and making the rounds of genre TV since 1994.

Is that a twinge of jealousy I’m beginning to detect Agent Scully? I know enough about the series to know where their relationship is headed, but I don’t really ship it. I would need a lot more development in that area before I do. I enjoy their working relationship at the moment.

… And can you be any creepier Mr. Sheppard? Seriously, that show of him hiding behind the plant – this is why you always get the creepy/evil roles.

This may be one of my new favorite episodes, though I could be totally biased based on the guest star. He’s just so good at being evil.

“Beyond the Sea” Episode 1.13

xfiles-beyondseaScully’s father dies unexpectedly and Mulder and Scully investigate a kidnapping with ties to a man Mulder put in prison years ago, who now claims to be psychic.

General Hammond is Scully’s father? You’d think she’d be a little more open-minded seeing as her father is the head of the Stargate program. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) Wait… He’s dead already? How do you kill off Don S. Davies in just the first 5 minutes! He deserves more than that.

Two teenagers making out in a car in the woods. This is how all those Hookman stories start…

Brad Dourif’s in this episode too? Has he ever played anyone who wasn’t super creepy or weird? (The correct answer is no.)

It’s really interesting seeing Scully as the believer and Mulder trying to discourage her. I like the role reversal, and I like how it’s showing a little more growth in both their characters. Scully has often seemed very unemotional and robotic in the first half of the season, with her refusal to remotely accept any of the weirdness they deal with. I really liked that this episode delved a little deeper into her character emotionally, and made her seem more human.

“Gender Bender” Episode 1.14

Xfiles-genderbenderI really liked the last two episodes, but then I hit this one and just could not get into it at all. It was just bizarre and felt like a lot of really random ideas being put together. I mean, Creepy-Killer-Amish-Succubi-Shapeshifter-Aliens? Really?

Killer sex? That allows you to shift into you victims body. Did Angel do an episode like this? Or some other show? I know Torchwood did the killer sex alien bit, but all that was left of those victims was a pile of dust. I’m sure I’ve seen some episode of some show where the creature then shifted into the victim’s body, and for some reason it’s Angel that comes to mind. Though right now all I can think of is that uber-creepy doctor with his removable hands … okay back to X-Files.

They’re succubi! That’s exactly what Bo does to people on Lost Girl (the whole touching them and making them like you and do what you want thing).

This episode just seems strange and keeps losing my attention. Which is a shame, since the last two episodes were really good and I was finally starting to feel hooked.

Hey! That’s Nicholas Lea. I already knew he would show up at some point, but this is a completely different character, right? Not the recurring character he plays later?

Are these weird not-Amish people aliens? Shadow monsters? The just vanished in that alleyway, like the daevas in Supernatural. (Whoa, that’s a throwback! Season 1, baby!)

And I’ve finally made it past the halfway point of season 1! I’m hoping I can get more watched this week, but my DVR is starting to fill up again – remember when there wasn’t anything on TV during the summer? Now I watch way too much.

The X-Files First Watch: ‘Ghost in the Machine,’ ‘Ice,’ ‘Space,’ and ‘Fallen Angel’

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After an extended break, I am finally back to my X-Files First Watch. Blame Daredevil – I got caught up in the series, then fell behind on all the new shows I was watching and just finally got my DVR cleaned out. Now I can get back to The X-Files. I’m not sure exactly when the new series will begin, but I will probably have to average 6-8 episodes a week to get finished in time, at the rate I’m going. Since I’ve just barely reached the halfway point of season 1, I still have a long way to go.

“Ghost in the Machine” Episode 1.07:

xfiles-ghostmachineHumans always seem to have an innate fear/distrust of technology and machines, which displays itself in times like this. Especially since Terminator it seems we’ve all feared the day machines will be able to think for themselves and rise up. After all the versions of this plot line I’ve seen, even I’m somewhat terrified of computers taking over. In this episode, the computer network that’s been designed to control the systems of a building has evolved into a sentient being and has begun to defend itself when the program is threatened with termination. I was honestly kind of ambivalent about this episode, I just couldn’t really get into it for some reason. but here are a few thoughts:

Is there a show or movie filmed in Vancouver that Rob LaBelle hasn’t guest-starred in?

I know I probably said this already, but I really wish I had watched this show during its original run, when some of these plot lines were new and original, instead of things that we’ve now seen hundreds of times on various genre shows that came later. Perhaps that is why I was feeling ambivalent while watching this, though I know it’s not the show’s fault.

I like how, even after six episodes, it still feels like the story is mostly coming through Scully’s POV. We entered the series (and Mulder’s world) with her, and we’re following her on this journey.

Of course the government wants control of the murder-computer, and of course we’re left with a mini-cliffhanger ending, because the machine never really dies.

“Ice” Episode 1.08:

Researchers seemingly go crazy at an arctic drilling station. For fans of the series I’m curious: At what point did you really get into the series? I’m 8 episodes in still am not completely hooked. It’s interesting, and I’m enjoying it – so far it reminds me a lot of season 1 of Fringe – but I’m not yet seeing what inspired such a devoted following. That being said, I really liked this episode. I like the kind of “locked room” storylines, where you don’t know who is the killer/who is infected. It creates a psychological atmosphere that I find fascinating. I was paying more attention to this episode and didn’t write down as many random thoughts, except that I really I hate when they show creepy wormy things crawling underneath the skin. Freaks. Me. Out. Also, I’m really glad the dog lived.

“Space” Episode 1.09:

Mulder and Scully are called in when an employee at NASA begins to suspect sabotage on an upcoming launch.

I like that I’m almost halfway through the first season, and Mulder and Scully’s relationship is still primarily professional. I know enough about the show to know that will eventually change, but I like that they weren’t immediately paired off and set up for a romance.

So we never get an explanation of what the ghost-like being is? What it wanted? Did the creature live on after Belt’s death? Will it possess someone else now? This can be a very frustrating show.

Scully saw his face change, right? Why is she still skeptical? And why is it so hard to believe Mulder – that the colonel was fighting the possession and trying to help the astronauts? That seems obvious to me.

“Fallen Angel” Episode 1.10:

xfiles-fallenangelOo! More aliens! That’s only a little sarcastic. I actually think the alien stories have been what this show does best so far, and I love that these episodes let us connect a little more with the characters – Mulder, at least.

Mysterious lights in the sky, fire on the ground, military coverup, all the hallmarks of a classic alien ship crash landing. That ‘Deep Throat’ guy informs Mulder of all this mysteriousness, so naturally he needs to go check it out before the government can completely cover it up. Alone.

Oo! It’s an invisible alien!

I love crazy conspiracy theory nuts. I wish they had held off on casting Rob Labelle. He would have been perfect for this part.

It’s impressive how well Scully is able to maintain her skepticism. Just with what she’s seen so far, I would’ve been doubting all my convictions by now, if I were her. I just hope her wall of skepticism can remain natural to the character, and not become a frustrating fault. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism – she simply cannot allow herself to believe, because that would mean admitting the system of rules and order she has spent her life believing aren’t as applicable as she once thought.

But you were the one who sent him there! Who are you? What side are you really on, Deep Throat?

And there’s my thoughts on episodes 7-10. Hopefully I get a chance to watch more this week. I like the series, but I haven’t become addicted to it the way I know some fans are. It’s really hard choosing between the stuff on my DVR, Sense8 or watching more X-Files.

“I kept it secret to protect you!” A.K.A. The Worst Excuse Ever

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If you’ve read my blog at all in the last six months you may have noticed that I am a big fan of comic book shows. There are some that I love more than others (the fact that Gotham will outlive Constantine is a horrible injustice) but I give them all a chance, and usually love them.

The FlashTwo of my favorites at the moment happen to be The Flash and Arrow, and I’ve become quite a fan of iZombie in the past couple months as well. I love these three shows and wouldn’t think of missing an episode, but that doesn’t mean I love everything about them. In fact there’s one thing that all three had in common this season (aside from being based on comics) that I find incredibly frustrating – even more so with every show that uses this trope, which is common among this genre of television. I really, really hate the “I’m lying about [insert really big, possibly life-altering secret here] because it’s the only way to keep [insert unfortunate clueless character here] safe” plot device.

Lying about secret identities is expected in comic shows – a superhero needs to keep his real identity secret after all. However, I feel on each of these three shows this season, keeping whatever secret the main characters didn’t want to share was taken to the extreme – to the point where it became extremely frustrating to watch what was happening to the characters being kept in the dark. Also, in each case keeping the secret meant ultimately creating causing more harm to the person they were trying to protect than if they had just been honest in the first place. It’s one thing when keeping your secret is just a small part of the story, but when it becomes a major plot point, it’s starts to get annoying.

Note: The following discussion assumes the reader is up-to-date on all current episodes of Arrow, The Flash, and iZombie. There will be spoilers. If you are behind, you may want to catch up before reading. if you’re not concerned about spoilers, continue reading after the jump.

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