Thursday, March 15, 2018

REVIEW: FOX's 'The X-Files' and '9-1-1' (March 14)

Various FOX reviews for March 14, 2018:

The X-Files - Episode 11.09 "Nothing Lasts Forever"
9-1-1 - Episode 1.09 "Trapped"

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 for March 14, 2018. Enjoy!

The X-Files - "Nothing Lasts Forever"
Written by Karen Nielsen and directed by Jim Wong

There has been an undercurrent of finality throughout this entire season. Part of that has been the conversation around the show with Gillian Anderson saying this would be her final appearance as Dana Scully. The writers have also come out and said there would be no show without Scully. So, it does seem like this is it for this show and these characters. As such, it feels like this penultimate episode is as close to the best version of what this revival season aspired to be. There's the complete assumption that next week's mythology-themed finale will be a mess because the previous "My Struggle" episodes have been complete disasters. As such, the audience can look at "Nothing Lasts Forever" as a fitting goodbye to Scully and Mulder. There have been a number of episodes this year that would have been perfectly fine as the series finale. This season has offered many different endings to many different segments of the audience. It's trying to give some kind of satisfying ending to everyone - whether it's the ones who appreciate the humor, the gore, the suspense or the mystery. Mulder and Scully are at an age where they wonder how long they'll conceivably be doing this and if they will continue to have each other in their lives if they stop. They believe they are close to finding the answers they've always wanted. And yet, does that give their lives complete purpose? Would they be satisfied knowing the truth? The show will certainly deliver on that front next week with an answer that will be almost certainly absurd. And that's why it's so easy to appreciate what this hour does. It's the goriest episode of the two revival seasons. In fact, it may rival some of the goriest episodes the show has ever done simply because of the standards of television in 2018. But it's a monster-of-the-week that strongly connects back to the feelings that Mulder and Scully are having. They are battling vampires of sorts who are chasing immortality. They find it by taking the blood and organs from the young and healthy. It's absolutely gross and disgusting. But it also forces Mulder and Scully to reflect on what they believe. Scully has comfort in her faith. But she also believes in Mulder and their relationship. It's so sweet seeing that final scene between them in the church. The mystery of what Scully whispers to Mulder in that moment is the perfect way for the show to end. It won't be. The show may still provide a definitive answer. But right now, it's fun having a little mystery while enjoying the banter between the two leads - especially when Mulder doesn't realize Scully got a hair cut. B+

9-1-1 - "Trapped"
Directed by Gwyneth Horder-Payton with story by Adam Glass and teleplay by Aristotle Kousakis

The show has really hit the audience over the head this season with the calls the first responders receive all being thematically connected in some way. This week though it's a quite literal connection. The various cases are still separate and tangential. But they all involve someone being trapped in a dire situation. It starts with a homeless man sleeping in a dumpster being crushed by the compactor in a garbage truck. Then, a mother and son are stuck in an elevator that is quickly filling up with water. And finally, there is a hoarder and his brother who are trapped in a house that is filled with booby traps. It's all completely ridiculous - especially the last one. But it's also notable this week that the show follows through with these individuals long after their crises are over. It provides updates on what happened to all of them - with the mother and son being the only ones to actually change because of their emergency. All of this is to really hammer home the idea that Abby and Buck are trapped in uncertain feelings regarding their relationship. Abby feels trapped because of her responsibility caring for her mother. Sure, most of the hard work falls onto Carla. But here, Abby's mom has a quick downfall that does eventually lead to her death. That's a moment that seemed likely to happen this season. It still honestly feels like a weight meant to drag this corner of the world down in the melodrama. Buck worries that he can't have a serious relationship with Abby because she has this other person who demands so much of her attention. Abby also feels she's trapping Buck because she's asking for a lot of emotional support. He still steps up and is willing to be the rock she needs right now. And yet, seeing his freakout about this relationship is very telling that he may not be in the healthiest place to be all that good for Abby. Elsewhere, it's great to see Aisha Hinds get a terrific acting showcase in her big speech to her ex-girlfriend suing for custody. That's a great moment even though I still don't care about that story at all. Everyone is battling over a kid who never appears onscreen. Meanwhile, it's just fun to see Athena having sex with her new young friend while feeling confident to say that she needs to explore what it's like to be single now without having to deal with any of the pressure of a relationship. B-