The X-Files Season 1 Episode 9 Review: “Space”

The X-Files Season 1 Episode 9 Review: “Space”

The X-Files

Every television show has bad episodes. Even iconic ones. When you think back to a show’s first season (especially a network show), you can always think of an episode that maybe wasn’t the best part of a show you (generally) love. That’s the case with this particular installment of The X-Files. In just this short journey, I have by and large become enamored with The X-Files. Anderson and Duchovny are wonderful, and the way that the series holds up after 22 years is simply remarkable. However, in terms of this episode, there’s not much to say about it other than it was pretty bad.

In this episode of The X-Files: Mulder and Scully are summoned by a NASA employee, who found that the shuttle they were about to launch had been sabotaged. Mulder meets a childhood hero, who is in charge of this particular program. The two agents help the space program through obstacle after obstacle, while investigating the mysterious problems that the shuttle has encountered.

I will start with the positives, because honestly, I don’t have too many this time. I generally try to stay positive in my reviews, but this episode made little sense, and the narrative structure didn’t do it any favors. Anyhow, for a bad episode, the guest acting was really pretty good. Headlined by a significantly younger Susanna Thompson (Arrow’s Moira Queen), the cast, both regular and guest stars, made the best of what seemed to be a bad situation. Mulder and Scully’s characters really shined in this episode, as well. If for no other reason, I’m glad I watched this episode because it said a lot about Mulder and Scully. Scully never wanted to be an astronaut or admired an astronaut. Mulder, however, idolized astronauts and wanted to be one. This seems insignificant, but it’s wholly indicative of their characters to this point in the series as believer versus non-believer. It was really a clever illustration of character, and probably the best thing to take from this episode.

The rest of the episode is a bit messy. I finally figured out that some sort of alien/ghost thing was controlling the colonel, but until then it was just weird. They never really hinted at what it was that was controlling him. Mulder had to basically explain out loud at the end that whatever it was (I’m sure he believed it to be alien) was controlling him, and that the colonel had been fighting it. He suggested that the colonel had left those blueprints to be found, in hopes that the FBI could help. He also hypothesized (out loud) that the colonel jumping to his death was the only way to free himself from this particular creature. Other than some physical struggle and some bad (even for 1993) special effects, there wasn’t much indication what was going on there. It was almost as if Mulder’s scene at the end was there to say “we’re sorry, we know how hard this was to watch,” and boy, was it ever.

Generally speaking, The X-Files has a lot going for it. The characters are strong, and the stories are well told and structured. This one, however, was just off. There was no clarity to what was happening, and they explained what actually happened in dialogue at the end. Still, this is a very good show finding its sea legs, and one bad episode is not much to deter me. However, if you’re looking to only watch the highlights before the revival premieres in January…I’d skip this one.

What did you guys think? Did you agree with my assessment? Let us know in the comments!

[Photo via FOX]

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  1. Darth_Azrael
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