The X-Files: 4D   Rewatch 
August 31, 2020 8:58 PM - Season 9, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Doggett experiences a day in which he and Reyes are on an operation involving a serial killer known for his inexplicable escapes, and Reyes is murdered and he's shot; meanwhile Reyes is happily moving into her new apartment and Doggett had just brought her a housewarming present of Polish sausages... when she gets a call from Skinner saying that Doggett's been found shot in an alley.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
This one had a great premise (killer is able to slip between two parallel universes and murder people in one life and escape the consequences by returning to the other), but didn't get the execution that it deserved. The writers should have done more explaining. How does it work? How would the Lukesh who isn't killing people escape being caught for the murders the other Lukesh is committing?

The ending also means there's a parallel universe in which Doggett and Monica have both died horrible deaths, which must be rough on parallel universe Scully, and what would it mean for the future of the X-files?

How does Doggett still have the use of one finger when he seems to be otherwise totally paralyzed from the chest down?

I kept thinking how powerful this episode could have been if it were a Mulder and Scully episode. Can you imagine Scully being under suspicion of shooting Mulder, shaving Mulder, or switching off his life support? It's heady stuff.

The actor who plays Lukesh really sold it. His quiet words to Monica about how much he enjoyed/will enjoy killing her are as disturbing as it gets. Um, does he really sleep in the same bed as his mother?

How does Follmer get away with talking down to Skinner? They're both Assistant Directors.

Monica has a great apartment. And Doggett's idea of a good housewarming present is two Polish sausages.
posted by orange swan at 1:18 PM on September 2, 2020

Quadriplegia can be incomplete and I guess he got "lucky" although fine motor control (especially in the fingers) is typically lost even if (some) gross movement is still possible. While retaining enough function to tap is not unheard of, the speed at which he is able to do it is a tad implausible.

Damn yes. Reyes has a nice brick loft. Are those walls really well insulated/ heating-cooling costs in DC cheap/ it all cost a hell of a lot of money? High ceilings are nice, but expensive - in new developments, it's a conspicuous consumption thing. Also, leaving her front door open is a super American "dorm room culture" thing. I wonder if there's anything intentionally implied by it?

Poor Doggett. Orient and Observe parts of OODA compromised.

Did super appreciate the work to try to make Doggett as a person in the opener. With current knowledge, I suspect that Patrick had a little say and the showmakers were super onboard. I imagine that Doggett the character would even masturbate (in private) like a Repressed Normal-Person.

Brad is an abusive piece. Plausibly not, but that's a large part of the abuse.

Reyes getting involved super deep and throwing her lot entirely into the X Files so quickly - I guess she's running away from a bad relationship and grasping at a joining a new social group, and trying to use them to shield herself from said bad relationship?

The reverse expectations on the 1-way mirror, reversed, and back - good visual editing cuts there. A few other "experimental" stuff too; some worked, most didn't.

Reyes&Doggett hospital scenes; decent. But not nearly enough to replace Mulder&Scully in an X Files show. Reyes is *too* spooky, not the same and not a Mulder replacement.

Fuck Brad.
posted by porpoise at 7:04 PM on September 2, 2020

Did super appreciate the work to try to make Doggett as a person in the opener. With current knowledge, I suspect that Patrick had a little say and the showmakers were super onboard. I imagine that Doggett the character would even masturbate (in private) like a Repressed Normal-Person.

I have no idea what any of this relates to.
posted by orange swan at 5:11 PM on September 3, 2020

Sorry, not the opener. The housewarming Doggett. Dogget the character is, if not uptight, at least very rigid. Patrick does the scary serious routine so well and had been typecast into it earlier in his career whereas irl, the actor seems like he's much more laid back and can be a goof.
posted by porpoise at 5:41 PM on September 3, 2020

I think Doggett is basically emotionally shut down because of the murder of his son. Bringing Polish sausages to Monica is about as close to being emotionally intimate as he gets. Not that he would ever have had anything close to Mulder's puckish sense of humour -- he is essentially a serious guy -- but he was probably at least a little warmer, less reserved, more open in general, and reasonably demonstrative towards those he was close to, and now he's not close to anyone. In the show's narrative, Monica is developing feelings for him, but he isn't really receptive or responsive to it. When she wiped the mustard off his face, he looked wary. It was nothing like as intimate a moment as Mulder wiping the rib sauce off Scully's face in "Red Museum".

He puts me in mind of Emily Dickinson's poem, "After Great Pain a Formal Feeling Comes".
posted by orange swan at 6:39 PM on September 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

I've been following along on the rewatch, never tempted to comment even when it was a fave episode, because I enjoyed just reading them. But I promised myself I was going to comment on this one and then it came up and I completely spaced it.

But back when this first aired, I wrote a pages-long screed to a friend about this episode, because despite the ginormous plot holes, this would have been an amazing episode for Mulder and Scully (as orange swan mentions above), and yet it falls flat and has little emotional resonance with these.

We don't know Reyes much at all at this point, she's not a particularly well-drawn character, and while we've gotten to know Doggett a bit, he doesn't have the weight of a relationship with Reyes at this point equal to Mulder and Scully's even early on. The actors are acting their little hearts out, and the score is attempting to amp up the emotional crisis of Reyes pulling the plug on Doggett and his buying in to the whole thing and wanting her to do it, but it just doesn't pull us in because we haven't spent much time with them, their own extra-curricular relationship is just beginning. It's the perfect example of a show that has long overstayed its welcome (we all knew that, even those of us who toughed it out till the bitter, bitter end) because the producers and network don't want to give up their sweet cash cow.

It's frustrating as hell, because this could be so good. You just can't insert new characters into a franchise and expect us to care based on our involvement with the old ones. We don't know Asshole Brad at all, or really understand what they're trying to do with him and Reyes, and he seems to keep bouncing around in this without a clear POV, while Skinner is sort of haphazardly going along, shepherding everyone through their roles. Imagining this without Brad, with Mulder having seen Scully with her throat cut, walking into a parallel world and getting shot, Scully having to accept (even though by then her skepticism was kind of absurd) the notion and pulling the plug...ugh, it could have been glorious.

Instead I mostly end up going "arrrgg" and being frustrated by the fact that they drop the parallel world in the opening completely, and Her Doggett just pops back into place, and everything's hunky dory. That's the wrong thing to have viewers focus on, you guys had one job! Seriously, this could have been such an emotional powerhouse but it's just the wrong characters, wrong time.

(Also, tangentially, but you can tell what a male show this is when they're telling Reyes, who's just had a horrifying encounter with a serial killer who's been all over her person, that everything's okay, they got him, like she's simply going to be fine and not traumatized for a good long time. Ugh. Just ugh.)
posted by kitten kaboodle at 1:20 PM on September 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

« Older Romance Is a Bonus Book: Roma...   |  Last Week Tonight with John Ol... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments