The X-Files: Kitten
February 7, 2018 10:53 PM - Season 11, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Skinner goes AWOL when his past comes back to haunt him. As Mulder and Scully try to track him down, their growing mistrust of him reaches its apex.
posted by potrzebie (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Much like last week, the preview of this episode made me groan a little bit - if there's one thing American pop culture has truly done to death it's Vietnam. But I do feel like Skinner's a guy who's deserved to have his tale told since like season 2 latest so I guess I'm glad his origin story got its episode at long last. I didn't love this episode like "I'll make sure everyone I know watches it" or anything, but I am glad they used one of season 11's episodes to flesh out Skinner, and I'm glad the fleshing out established that he is indeed a good dude who's done some bad stuff but his heart is in the right place. And I do feel that an XF in this day and age needed to do a legit chemtrails episode.

I thought it was pretty rich Kersh throwing shade about Skinner's lack of advancement. Um, if your career is on the fast elevator to the top why you still chasing our boy Walter around in 2018, pal? Gonna blame Mulder and Scully for that one too? How far up does this go? That said, Kersh hasn't aged a DAY.

Next episode looks fun! Killer robots, yeah?
posted by potrzebie at 10:58 PM on February 7, 2018

Was this a backdoor pilot for a Skinner spin-off? It introduced enough characters and left enough loose ends to start a season of something. I could see him retiring to this small town and investigating the Hospital to discover the truth about the MK Naomi project. The loose teeth were a hanging lampshade, so something must bring the show back to the town, even if it's only by reference.
posted by FallowKing at 11:52 PM on February 7, 2018

Kersh also seemed a little...aggressively unsympathetic, given his face turn in the original series finale.
posted by AndrewInDC at 7:02 AM on February 8, 2018

if there's one thing American pop culture has truly done to death it's Vietnam.

To be honest, I'd rather have the X-Files government conspiracies being about a bunch of cold-war experiments gone wrong than InfoWars: The Show. Even chemtrails seem relatively quaint and even credible to some of the bullshit that comes off from the alt-reich.

Also: yes, Skinner was due an episode.
posted by lmfsilva at 10:53 AM on February 8, 2018

I thought this episode was pretty solid. Skinner's such a great character and Mitch Pileggi's more than capable of carrying an episode.

I was impressed by how well the actor who played young Walter Skinner nailed Mitch Pileggi's affect.

Gillian Anderson's damaged voice is awful to listen to. I hope she can get it treated, because yikes.
posted by orange swan at 6:19 PM on February 8, 2018

I liked this. This is only the second episode of the new series I've watched, but I thought it played out like one of the old episodes. Skinner's back story read true to me, and the pace and throughline of the episode worked.
posted by wittgenstein at 6:29 PM on February 8, 2018

Was this a backdoor pilot for a Skinner spin-off?

Yeah, Mitch Pileggi (when he has screen time) has been acting his face off like a pro athlete playing in a contract year.

I was impressed by how well the actor who played young Walter Skinner

Totally. I immediately pinged who that actor who supposed to be and he got a lot of the personal ticks right. Huh, Young Skinner/Corry Rempel had a 5 year hiatus after two (very bad) films before doing a couple of bit parts on TV shows.


I thought that realistic depictions of lockpicking (outside of highly restricted snap guns) were... frowned upon? Mulder really works that torsion wrench.
posted by porpoise at 7:28 PM on February 8, 2018

The X-Files, especially in the John Doggett years, has been especially good at depicting competent lock-picking work. I have been at hacker conferences where the people who do lock-picking as a hobby have done little clip-shows of the most embarrassingly wrong portrayals to audience giggles (yeah, I know. sorry.), alongside better ones for contrast. It's not some legal issue to depict it, as far as I know.
posted by ProfLinusPauling at 8:20 PM on February 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I thought I would mention that Haley Joel Osment was solid as a creepy, mask-wearing murderer.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:08 AM on February 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

As others have said above, this felt like a solid, early season episode of the X-Files. In fact, it felt a little weird to me how early an episode it felt—except for the running theme of Skinner’s stasis in the Bureau, there was very little about this that made it seem contemporary. Like, it’s surprising that the episode was built around the war in Vietnam and not the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. (I know that was necessary to make it a Skinner origin story, but that just leads into how overdue this story was.)

I wasn’t a fan of how the story was basically borrowed from Jacob’s Ladder, with a serial killer twist, and how the monster seemed to have wandered over from The Village.

Haley Joel Osment was great. He was hilarious as the Palmer Luckey expy in the previous season of Silicon Valley and he’s suitably creepy here. I hope to see him in more stuff soon.

Is this really the first time the X-Files have addressed chemtrails? Crazy if true!
posted by ejs at 7:46 PM on February 12, 2018

Definitely an excellent turn by Haley Joel Osment here. He had two challenging roles to play: the disturbed son and the father, who went from being a scared, innocent kid to being a sociopathic monster.

I can't remember if the teeth thing comes up again in this season, but that was an ominous touch.

Skinner had a nice place, but my goodness was it sterile. How can he have so little life at his age? He's in the same job in 2018 at he was in 1993. He hasn't remarried since his divorce. I mean... what does he do with himself, with his spare time? Was he that damaged by his Vietnam service?

Kersh also seemed a little...aggressively unsympathetic, given his face turn in the original series finale.

His character never made any sense. I wish they'd developed him more.
posted by orange swan at 6:05 PM on October 19, 2020

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