Mulder has had his faith in the existence of extra-terrestrials
cruelly shattered, but Agent Scully finds herself increasingly
opening her mind to extreme possibilities...
fifth season of The X-Files is rather like a mostly
flavoursome sandwich that is unfortunately surrounded by disappointingly
slate bread. The bread comprises the inert opening episode
Redux I (Redux II is only slightly better) and
the well-produced but rather empty season finale The End.
of limp lettuce are represented by episodes such as Detour,
a not terribly original woodland episode that owes much of
its inspiration to the movie The Predator and to Season
One's Darkness Falls. Featuring the return
of mental manipulator Robert Patrick Modell (Robert Wisden),
Kitsunegari has great potential, but takes an unlikely
twist too far, and fails to live up to Season
Three's Pusher. Schizogeny has a
lot of atmosphere to it, but is in essence just some nonsense
about killer trees.
Occupying the middle ground of delectability are the episodes
Chinga and Kill Switch, both of which are penned
by famous guest co-writers. Stephen King's effort, Chinga,
is not as fresh as one might expect (an evil doll - how original),
but it does boast some very scary moments and some particularly
amusing Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson)
scenes. It comes as no surprise that Kill Switch, by
William (Neuromancer) Gibson, involves cyberspace.
The plot makes a lot of predictable moves, but culminates
in a brilliantly funny final act. Mind's Eye is a solid,
well-acted piece of drama, despite the fact that the connection
between the blind woman Martie Glenn (Lili Taylor) and the
villain of the piece is reminiscent of several other episodes
(Aubrey, Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose and Oubliette).
truly tasty highlights of this season include the exceptional
Unusual Suspects, an origin story for Mulder's paranoia
and an amusing showcase for the Lone Gunmen (Tom Braidwood,
Dean Haglund and Bruce Harwood). The Post-Modern Prometheus,
a black-and-white homage to James Whale's Frankenstein
movie, is almost as funny, its offbeat style underscored by
some decidedly Danny Elfman-style music from Mark Snow. Some
fans have objected to this episode's odder moments, such as
when Mulder calls for the writer, but the show's comic-book
framing sequences imply that this is a "fictionalised" account
of one of the agents' cases. Bad Blood is a further
exploration of the concept of the unreliable narrative, and
a brilliant one at that. The "he said/she said" format of
the episode reveals how Mulder and Scully view situations
in markedly, and hilariously, different ways. Folie à Deux,
a tale of monsters in the workplace, manages to be both offbeat
and scary at the same time.
more serious in tone is the two-part Christmas Carol/Emily,
a moving mythology tale (shown in uninterrupted sequence this
time, unlike in the VHS box set of this season). The remaining
two-parter, Patient X/The Red and the Black is another
winner, picking up numerous confusing plot points from over
the previous four years, such as the apparently contradictory
motives of the alien bounty hunters (Brian Thompson), and
makes a great deal of sense out of them. Travelers,
a flashback to the creation of the X-Files themselves, starring
Darren McGavin (from Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a
show that inspired Chris Carter to create the X-Files
series) is a refreshingly different episode. So too is the
exciting terrorist thriller, The Pine Bluff Variant.
Following on from Miracle Man and Revelations,
All Souls turns the spotlight on Scully's faith in
God, and includes some particularly stirring music.
Comprising just 20 episodes, this is a relatively short season.
This is because the cast and crew were busy filming the X-Files
movie between Seasons
and Five. As during Season Four, certain episodes were written
to allow the principals some time off from their busy schedules.
The two flashback episodes, Unusual Suspects and Travelers,
do not feature Gillian Anderson at all, and only involve David
Duchovny in a substantially reduced capacity. Christmas
Carol focuses on Scully, and includes only a few minutes
partially compensate for the lack of episodes, the final disc
includes the 44-minute documentary, Inside The X-Files.
This was previously included in the VHS box set of Season
Five, as is given away by the fact that excerpts from certain
deleted scenes still purport to be "previously unseen", even
though they have subsequently been seen in full on DVD. In
addition, we get all the extra features that we have come
to rely upon, including another all-new The Truth About...
documentary (18 minutes 30 seconds), eleven behind-the-scenes
spots, eight special effects clips, six deleted scenes, and
two promotional trailers for each episode. In addition, The
Post-Modern Prometheus and The Pine Bluff Variant
feature optional audio commentaries by Chris Carter and John
slight improvement on the fourth season, Season Five is still
not up to the superlative standard of The X-Files'
first three years, but this box set is nevertheless well worth
adding to your collection. Thankfully, and unlike the VHS
box, the episodes are presented in their full widescreen format.
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