The X-Files Season 2: It Gets Better

Last week we wrapped up season 2 of the 2013 Epic X-Files Rewatch and – good news! – it’s waaaaay better than season 1. This season has got it all: a darker tone, slightly better acting from David Duchovny (I said slightly), and even some much-needed humor courtesy of offbeat writer Darin Morgan. Take note, my friends — this is the beginning of the show’s golden age.

Some important observations:

1. They didn’t fix the opening sequence

Lame first season openings are forgivable. New shows don’t usually have a big budget and there’s only so much you can do with footage from the pilot. You’d think the X-Files people would have taken the opportunity to snazz up the opening for season 2, but short of adding a little reverb on the score, they left it the same (i.e., BAD).

And WHAT is going on with the still images? It’s television, not a bar mitzvah slideshow.

Mr. Max still think the most egregious part is the descriptive overlaid text. Text should be used for credits, not a random word salad of related nouns. It’s like if Friends opened with this:

2. They got money for lighting but not for wardrobe
An important indicator of the show’s increased clout (and budget): moody set lighting. Money well spent because season 2 looks like a real one hour drama, not a New Zealand soap opera. Still no money for suits, though.

The costume department? Oh, you mean the dumpster behind Sears.

3. They made the aliens scary
In the pilot, Mulder described the aliens who abducted his sister as a mere “presence in the room,” which makes it sound like he’s talking about a fart or something. In Duane Barry, we learn that aliens are basically evil dentists.

Is there anything scarier?

4. Chris Carter had it bad for David Duchovny

In 99.9% of TV shows the female actress is the one who gets objectified. Even serious, well-written dramas usually have to have one scene per episode designed to showcase the sexiness of a leading lady. But The X-Files is different — instead of Gillian Anderson getting the piece of meat treatment, it’s David Duchovny. You can pretty much count on some kind of gratuitous Mulder semi-nudity in every episode.

I would love to know what Chris Carter’s justification was for setting this scene of expository dialogue between two FBI agents at a swimming pool. “I just think this would be happening poolside. Definitely.”

5. Smells like teen spirit the 90s

If you haven’t seen Humbug in the last 20 years, get ready for a major attack of 90s nostalgia. In this episode, Mulder and Scully investigate a murder in a circus community (info for young readers: in the 90s people thought circus freaks were cool and it was really counterculture to have more than one tattoo). I know this is going into a Portlandia-esque rant, but – dude. The 90s were totally a thing, amiright? Okay, now I feel old.

6. They shot their wad with the Krycek thing

Alex Krycek was introduced at the beginning of the second season as Mulder’s new partner, an energetic (and kinda dorky) young agent. Mulder treats him like an annoying gnat buzzing in his face but (natch) Krycek is actually a double agent working for the scary conspiracy guys.

The problem is that the audience learns this fact in the very first episode, and Krycek’s tenure with the FBI lasts about 3 weeks. For a show that dragged out the whole “Where is Samantha” thing for basically forever, I’m surprised they tied up Krycek’s plotline so quickly. Slow down, people. Slow down.

Full speed ahead to season 3! Here’s hoping they finally fix Mulder’s hair.

For everyone’s sake.

One comment

  1. I would describe both of their hair throughout this season as “somewhat muffiny”

    And the opening… it never got fixed, right? Maybe they kept blowing the budgets on alien makeup and waxing for DD and never got around to that.

    Also, as an anthropologist, let me say that I kind of love “Our Town”- one of my faves, in that it’s one of the ones where they halfway did their homework- I can vouch for some of the plot devices (cannibalism-borne diseases and bone-polishing as a giveaway for cooking people).

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