"I'm going to finish what you started."
"No, stop now."

Part of me wishes this had been the extent of the conversation 
between writers Tim Minear and Vince Gilligan when thoughts of 
a "Pusher" sequel flitted around their minds. It's not that I 
thought "Kitsunegari" was terrible - I just didn't find it a 
worthy sequel and thus wondered if it was necessary. If you're 
going to make a sequel you should have a good strong story and 
believe you can tell the tale even better (after all this isn't 
the movies) such as with "Tooms". Instead we got a rather average 
monster of the week episode that would have been even weaker had 
it not had "Pusher" as a predecessor. Unfortunately for Minear 
and Gilligan, when you do a sequel you beg a comparison, and for 
that reason this episode will get a lot of criticism. 

"Kitsunegari" was forced to resort to playing games with the viewer 
to get its punch. In "Pusher", with the exception of the truck in 
the teaser, the camera was a third party observing the effects of 
Modell on those he pushed. Here, in order to punch up the ending, 
the viewer was pushed as well. Instead of witnessing the compelling 
standoff as we did in the game of russian roulette, we are yanked 
along with Mulder, and even then it didn't stack up for me against 
the other scene. It is certainly saying something when I can be 
more effected by a single tear rolling down Scully's cheek than 
watching her shoot herself in the head. Not that this wasn't a 
disturbing scene, but however frightening it may be to see Scully 
dead in an ever widening pool of her own blood it was diminished 
by the viewer manipulation and the fact that we were cheated out 
of seeing Anderson as Scully trying to convince Mulder it was really 
her.

Speaking of that standoff scene, could Scully have possibly come 
up with anything more lame than "Your mother is Tena. Your sister 
is Samantha." to convince Mulder it was her? (Though I must admit 
I half expected Mulder to add "My mother doesn't have a name" on 
to the end of one of his many "Shut up!" lines.) If this was 
thrown in just to name MaMulder we could have done without it. 
Anyone with any resources could have figured out the names of 
Mulder's mother and sister - especially if they had targeted him. 
Scully has an almost infinite wealth of personal moments to throw 
out at Mulder to prove it is her. Yelling "You made me sing 'Joy 
to the World' to you in a Florida swamp" would have been much more 
effective.

As X-Files fans we are used to Mulder being right, but sometimes 
it gets tiring to have to make these huge leaps with him. He 
tells people adequate backup is "every cop you can lay your hands 
on" yet wanders off alone twice to face the enemy. He figures out 
that "the serial killer makes us believe that he's guilty in turn 
diverting the suspicion away from the real estate lady". And in 
the end we have to sit through Skinner telling him how great he is.
Pileggi is given another one of those laughable lines when he is 
forced to answer "I almost killed my partner" with "Mulder, despite 
that you prevailed." Yeah, Mulder, don't let that silly little 
fact bother you - Yeah! Rah! Mulder! One of the things that made 
"Pusher" a great episode is that it was Mulder and Scully working 
together to solve the case. Here, with a few nice exceptions at
the beginning (their authoritative tandem briefing and the first 
phone call) they are at odds with each other. Even though Mulder 
was "right" you can hardly fault Skinner and Scully for following 
Mulder's early advice and being wary of his state after he's had 
contact with Modell.

Director Daniel Sackheim returns to the X-Files with a hit and 
miss effort. I found the teaser to be annoyingly slow - especially 
with the cute little game of not showing us who the prisoner was 
at the beginning. Anyone who had watched a commercial, last week's 
preview, or read the description of the episode in their TV Guide 
knew who it was so the whole attempt fell flat. Usually there's a 
lot more to grab a person at the start than a stupid guard playing 
bang the head slowly, a big color wheel being slowly pushed, and 
a slowly blinking red light. Not a lot of suspense there at all. 
While obviously the whole big ending sequence didn't play as well 
as I would have liked, I did like what Sackheim did with the single 
sequence shot moving from Scully as Bowman back to Mulder's reaction 
and then back to Real!Scully. I also enjoyed the visuals of Cerulean 
Man with the writing all over his apartment.

From a supporting actor standpoint, Robert Wisden just wasn't 
given enough to do this episode to make him the strong presence he 
had been. This time out he has to spend most of the episode looking 
rather pitiful while leaving his little trail of carbo wrappers. 
The X-Files managed to snag Diana Scarwid for Linda Bowman and I 
thought she did a nice job with the part. I especially liked her 
in the "brush with greatness" scene and her Scully impersonation 
at the end.

There were just too many loose ends in this episode. We are never 
told why Modell has this miraculous change of heart. We are given 
that old standard secret evil twin plot. His sister wants to avenge 
what happened to him and yet kills him because he has a shoulder 
wound? And, most annoyingly for me, we are given *no* clue as to 
why Scully shows up at the warehouse in the end. Mulder didn't call 
her because he asks why she is there. Chalk it up to another psychic 
moment I guess. Here's hoping the next time X-Files revisits a classic
episode it is done with a bit more style and substance.

Random Musings
------------------------
-I wish I could have seen the sequence where Mr. Bowman is "pushed" 
into paining himself blue and then drinking a quart of Gulf Breeze 
Paints Cerulean Blue. What was whispered to him? "Cerulean Blue is 
like a tasty cheese"?

-I'm curious as to why Modell was wearing a "DC Department of 
Corrections" prison suit when he was incarcerated at the Lorton 
Virginia Penitentiary which is near, but not in DC.

-I've heard that TV adds 10 pounds, but this is the first time 
I've seen it subtract 4 inches. In the WWN news story playing in 
the sports shop the first pictures of Modell with the two mug 
shots reads that he is 6'2". When Todd looks back at the monitor
 right before Modell enters it says he is 5'10".

-I always thought Mulder shot Modell straight on in "Pusher", but 
the medical reports here show the shot going from one side of the 
head to the other.

-Retread alert: we go all the way back to "Squeeze" if you recognized 
the physical therapist. She administered the lie detector test in 
that episode. 

-The clocks strike again. Time stamp when Modell enters the sports 
shop reads 9:13AM and yet when Mulder and Scully get to Bowman's 
apartment the clock reads 9:10AM and Mrs. Bowman is headed to her 
12:15PM appointment (which she is late to). Oops.

-Just how did Nathan Bowman put Modell on trial in 1996 if he just 
woke up 6 months ago? 

-Frank's Fashion Spot: Scully is in a grey grey mood this episode. 
I'll tell you how I knew it wasn't Scully who shot herself. Our 
Scully would never wear a skirt for such an event. Her psychic 
abilities always tell her to put on a pantsuit if she is going to 
be running or falling over. As such that Faux!Scully slump treated 
viewers to quite a bit of Scully leg before Gillian Anderson managed 
to drape her coat over herself while dying.

-Looks like the Spooky Patrol is moving up the food chain a bit as 
they are made Special Agents in Charge for this case. It is the 
first time I can remember them being given an official SAC title.

-Why are Mulder and Scully driving a "Lariat" rent car when they 
are in the DC area?

-"When did you turn into Clint Eastwood?". Wrong Modell. Mulder's 
turned into Arnold. Didn't you see "Emily"?

Autumn
"Well, he had me going."



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