Wednesday, January 31, 2018

REVIEW: FOX's 'The X-Files' and '9-1-1' (January 31)

Various FOX reviews for January 31, 2018:

The X-Files - Episode 11.05 "Ghouli"
9-1-1 - Episode 1.05 "Point of Origin"

In 2018, it's impossible to watch every scripted show out there. There are over 450 of them. It's even more impossible to even provide adequate coverage of some of them. Great shows slip through the cracks. Some shows take awhile to figure themselves out. So as a way for me to provide more coverage, I'll just be writing some paragraph reviews of the various shows that aired new episodes on FOX from January 31, 2018. Enjoy!

The X-Files - "Ghouli"
When a pair of teenage girls attack one another, each believing the other to be a monster, Mulder and Scully find that their investigation could possibly lead back to their long-lost son, William. Written by James Wong and directed by James Wong

This episode is a little all over the map tonally. It's great that this season of the show recognizes that it can no longer keep up the facade of separating monster-of-the-week and mythology episodes. There has been more of a blend which has been quite fascinating and exciting to watch. "Ghouli" starts off as just another monster-filled standalone episode. It's eery watching those two girls go into this ship and then attack each other because they see a monster. It then morphs into the episode that reunites Mulder and Scully with their son, William. He is revealed to be the monster at the center of this story. As such, there is an inherent sense of sentimentality towards the character. There has been so much buildup of this introduction and reunion. The season had to pay that off and make it interesting. Here, everything mostly comes together because of Gillian Anderson's phenomenal performance - especially in that scene in the morgue where she's confessing to William/Jackson about the choices she's made and the hardships she's faced. Of course, it's then rewarding when it turns out that he's not dead after all. He can just do mental projections. That's where the episode is a little fuzzy. The story demands him to be a master of these powers in order to escape unharmed while fooling his parents into believing he's someone else. But the introduction into this story with the two girls plays as William/Jackson being such a dick for no reason whatsoever. He just wanted his two girlfriends to attack each other to see how far he could go. His adoptive parents eventually get killed because of this mess too. Again, it's hard to give any reason to care about the season's new mythology. And yet, the looks of hope on Mulder and Scully's faces in the end gives this season a hook of reuniting as a family with William that is worth investing in. B

9-1-1 - "Point of Origin"
The crew races to an emergency when disaster strikes at an Indian wedding. Abby enlists Buck's help to try and find her mother and meets Athena for the first time. Bobby has a difficult time confronting his past. Hen struggles to make the right decision. Written by Erica L. Anderson and directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton

At times, it's been frustrating to see this show introduce a call that these first responders are brought in to handle only to not show the actual actions done to help people. The floor collapsing here is apparently just a story about reuniting the arranged bride and groom. That's apparently all the saving that Bobby, Hen and Buck needed to do. Similarly, the guy caught up in the brushes at the car wash is seen in that position and then immediately in the ambulance with the firefighters laughing at his expense. It's comedic relief after a very serious and devastating hour. It's just annoying details that make it seem like these stories are only half formed. And then, the show actually goes into detail on a case and it can be mesmerizing to watch over a long period of time. Yes, this show has quickly become defined by the crazy things that happen. It's frequently been about the crazy calls these characters deal with in a city of immense oddities. And no, the show hasn't quite earned the devastating emotions at the heart of the personal stories. But it's still strangely effective watching the story of how Bobby's actions led to the deaths of his wife and children. It's hard to care about Bobby because he's such an abrasive and distant character. And yet, Peter Krause still manages to pull the audience in and make him sympathetic because of the immense amount of pain he is in. Of course, that story also takes focus away from Abby and Buck meeting for the first time to find Abby's mom. That was a gimmicky cliffhanger at the end of the previous episode that was completely unnecessary. It happened mostly because the narrative demanded that Abby and Buck meet now. However, I'm much more invested in when Abby and Athena are going to become friends. B