"She's honed all her other senses around her blindness."

This was a good season five episode: wonderful direction, a 
spectacular guest performance, engaging writing. It was missing 
one thing - what has now become the glaring blind spot of the 
season - the Scully/Mulder partnership. It's the big movie 
sacrifice the fans have made for the season. Not the mere 20
episodes. The severely limited appearance of a good episode 
featuring BOTH our heroes. It's boiled down to: Mulder feels 
for the guest star episode, Scully goes on vacation or has 
personal issues episode, flashback no-Scully episode, let's 
feature the supporting players episode, and a few "give the 
dog a bone" episodes where they both actually participate in 
something interesting. This show gets technically better and 
better all the time. It is slickly produced. It attracts good 
actors. However, this year it has been stunning in its blindness 
to the root of its success: the dynamic duo of the FBI. I hope 
to see them work together again some time. I kinda liked them.

Now that I'm done whining about that (or at least temporarily 
distracted from it) I'll get back to the episode at hand. As I 
said, the direction was wonderful. I was especially intrigued 
with Kim Manners early on as he chose non-standard shots: a 
distorted window view, cameras from below and from above, 
shadows, extreme closeups on objects rather than people, the 
great revolving camera sequence in the first interview with 
Marty - all accentuating different ways of seeing things.

Lili Taylor's performance in this episode is one of the biggest 
casting coups in the show's history. Equal parts cocky, scared, 
self assured and vulnerable she was a complex bundle of emotions. 
I'll be quite shocked if this appearance does not end up earning 
her a guest performer Emmy nomination. Luckily for a show that 
so prominently featured the guest star they got her. I thought 
her finest moment was her reaction to "seeing" herself through 
the killer's eyes. The blind woman struggling desperately to 
understand and process her terror.

Writer Minear weaves visual allusions throughout the episode - 
I liked the effect of the blind woman saying "I'm all ears" or 
"not much to look at". There are a lot of moments where Minear's 
turn of a phrase gave me a chuckle: "doing a formula 409" or 
"you probably don't know a feather duster from a duck's ass". 
He is at his best in writing the scenes between Mulder and Marty
as Mulder refuses to buy into sympathy and instead challenges. 
I am disappointed that circumstances seem to have precluded Scully 
being a very active part in this episode. I would have enjoyed 
seeing Taylor and Anderson have some important moments together, 
but it was not to be. So instead of hanging around she is off to 
Los Angeles for movie reshoots. Um. I mean off to DC to "hand 
deliver" evidence. Whatever. At least they gave her a new cell
phone to call in her appearance with. Duchovny clearly enjoyed 
working with Taylor. We see that when Mulder tells us "I like 
you Marty. I admire you" he clearly means it. What I don't think 
the episode tells us so much is why.

The "why" questions are where the writing stumbles. Why was 
Mulder so convinced of her innocence before he even met her? 
Surely with all he's seen a blind woman committing murder is 
not such a leap. Does his spidey sense just go off during the 
slide show? Why does Marty plead guilty? Especially if, as she 
tells us about prison, she never wanted to spend her life in a 
place like that. Maybe I lived in Texas too long, but somehow 
I think if an armed murderer entered a blind woman's apartment 
and was killed it would be tough to convict outside self defense. 
Yes, she dinged the detective, but it seems to me she could have 
gotten out of all charges.

Random Musings
-We've had a lot of scary pop culture references on the show 
before, but having Mulder bring "Kung Fu" into the picture with 
his pebble story gave me a chill down my spine.

-On the up side it is not often that Scully gets to do the slide 
show. I bet she liked the feel of that clicker in her hand.

-Retread Alert:  The lead detective was seen in "Ghost in the 
Machine" as the building super and the A.D. has been in "Small 
Potatoes", "Lazarus", and "Fresh Bones".

-Frank's Fashion Spot: I was starting to really wonder who the 
blind person in the episode was as Detective Pennock seemed to 
spend most of his time dressed like a frightening vision test 
with clashing ties. When he showed up with a spotted tie and 
checked blazer even I started to lose focus.

-Mulder and Marty were playing "handsies" in the last jail scene. 
Every time the camera changed perspective so did their hands 
alternating between holding and not.

-I'm beginning to think that Mulder may have had some sort of 
a traumatic experience as a child at the Ice Capades as this is 
the second time this season he has slammed them.

-Gotta love Scully. We are told they turned that tiny bathroom 
"upside down and inside out" and yet she is able to carry on a 
cell phone conversation, chastise Mulder, and discover the bloody 
gloves with a quick glance around. That, my friends, is multi-tasking.

-We've got a date stamp on the episode. The mug shot from the 
first murder reads 3/6/98.

-I'm sure Scully is thrilled to have her call to Mulder answered 
with a derisive "skeptical". Plus I'm not sure what he was 
complaining about as he's seemed pretty proud of his skepticism 
of late.

-Speaking of skepticism Agent Scully seems to have gotten fairly 
blase' about hers. Sure she tosses out a couple of patented Scully 
Rational Explanations (SREs), but doesn't even seem to put up a 
fight at the end anymore. OK. The blind girl sees. Next.

-I did enjoy Mark Snow's score for this one. The theme music he 
used for the prison interviews was particularly striking.

"Well how else did she see? Bat vision?"

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