DVD
The X-Files
Providence

Starring: Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish
Twentieth Century Fox
RRP 15.99
22276DVD
Certificate: 12
Available now

 


A motorcyclist attempts to illegally cross the Canadian border, but he is chased and crashes in a ditch, where his bike explodes. The rider cannot be found, but the FBI discovers a pouch of rubbings among the wreckage - rubbings of symbols that are of great significance to Dana Scully...

This feature-length compilation (comprising the episodes Provenance and Providence) is a long-overdue continuation of the storyline surrounding the ancient alien spacecraft discovered in Biogenesis at the end of Season 6. Don't expect any definitive disclosure about the awesome implications of this vessel (as if you were!) whose symbols have been translated as passages from the Bible, the Koran and the Periodic Table, but it is reassuring to see that creator Chris Carter hasn't forgotten about this plot arc. Tantalising connections are established between the discovery of a similar craft and the otherworldly qualities of Scully's baby, William.

It's a shame that the American viewing public decided to turn off because they couldn't cope with the departure of David Duchovny as Fox Mulder. In fact, his absence doesn't mar these episodes at all. There's plenty of engaging character interaction between Scully (Gillian Anderson), John Doggett (Robert Patrick), Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), the surly Deputy Director Kersh (James Pickens Jr) and Reyes' old flame, the ambiguously motivated Brad Follmer (Cary Elwes). There are some particularly gripping scenes as Scully gets seriously tough when her child is endangered. However, the continued duplicity of Assistant Director Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) is becoming tiresomely repetitive.

Trek fans might recognise guest actor Neal McDonough, who played Lt. Hawk in the movie Star Trek: First Contact, in the role of a rogue agent.

This is a decent enough "mythology" tale. Although it doesn't provide any real answers, it does manage to bring some existing enigmas together rather than merely retread old ground.

As usual, the DVD also includes a couple of brief featurettes, in this case Brad Follmer Revealed (three minutes, thirty seconds) and a behind-the-scenes documentary (three minutes). I sincerely hope that Chris Carter wasn't really making up Season 9's story arc as he went along, as the latter featurette claims!

Richard McGinlay


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