The X-Files: Paper Hearts   Rewatch 
May 19, 2020 8:26 PM - Season 4, Episode 10 - Subscribe

After a recurring dream of Mulder's leads him to the secret grave of a little girl murdered by a serial killer whom he caught and who had confessed to 13 murders, and then to the hiding place of the murderer's trophy collection of 16 cloth hearts, Mulder and Scully try to find and identify the remaining two girls.
posted by orange swan (3 comments total)
Tom Noonan has a great gift for being simultaneously genial, ill-at-ease, and unnerving. I am not sure I have seen this since it first aired in 1996, but he made a hell of an impression. I can think of no one better to cast for this role.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:07 PM on May 19, 2020 [1 favorite]

A difficult episode for me. But absolutely, yet another excellent performance by a guest star. Noonan knocks it out of the park.
posted by porpoise at 6:59 PM on May 20, 2020

Tom Noonan has a great gift for being simultaneously genial, ill-at-ease, and unnerving.

He has much the same affect in The House of the Devil.

The actor who played Addie Sparks' grieving father also turned in a fine and heartbreaking performance.

This episode being entitled "Paper Hearts" when it should be Fabric Hearts, Cloth Hearts, or Flannel Hearts makes me twitchy. I get that they did it because none of the more accurate titles have a good ring to them, but it still bugs me and I wish they'd come up with another title, i.e., Little Hearts or Book of Hearts.

The X-Files really likes the "psychic connection between criminal and law enforcement officer" theme.

David Duchovny gets to showcase his basketball skills in this episode. I suspect Tom Noonan isn't a slouch on the court either, given that he can spin a basketball on his finger. At his height, it's no small wonder.

Scully's gasp when John Lee Roche says that monstrously sadistic thing about how he can't wait to see Mulder's face when he supposedly sees Samantha's body... she's reached the point in their bonding that anyone who messes with Mulder has to go through her. And while I'm on the topic of their relationship, I've been noticing that the way Scully behaves towards Mulder is so unlike the way she behaves towards nearly everyone else, except possibly her mother. There's a warmth, an openness, and a gentleness there that she does not demonstrate towards anyone else with whom she works. Her default demeanour seems to be brusque and guarded.

Mulder's seen child clones of his sister at that Canadian ginseng and bee farm, so it's a mark of his desperation and disordered thinking regarding Samantha that he would fall for Roche's bullshit manipulation. He will grasp at any straw when it comes to finding answers/closure.

Why was Roche's car not searched after he was originally caught and charged?

How does Mulder still have a job given that he signed out a serial killer against orders and then let him escape?

And he's continuing his pattern of waking people up in the middle of the night. He had a team out in Bosher's Run Park at *5 a.m.* examining Addie's grave. Come on, Mulder, this wasn't a time sensitive case -- it could have waited until morning. Then he woke up his elderly, "recently recovered from a stroke" mother, yet again, by rooting around in her basement, although this time he at least didn't intend to wake her and apologized for it. If I were her, I'd take away his keys to the house.

Mulder also had no business slashing the El Camino's upholstery. Come on, there wasn't even any reason to believe the hearts were under it, given that it showed no signs of any alteration/tampering.

His father's summer house seems to be still not either cleared out/sold, or used. Is Mulder too busy chasing aliens to wind up his father's affairs?

One way to identify the last victim -- if not to find her grave -- would be to make a list of all the unsolved cases of missing girls during the time period Roche was active and in the areas he would have been in, and then to go to their parents with the last cloth heart and ask them if they recognized it. Even after twenty years, there is a good chance they'll remember the pattern of the nightgown their daughters wore the last time they saw them. But I wouldn't envy anyone the task of interviewing all those poor bereaved parents.
posted by orange swan at 9:05 AM on May 21, 2020

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