Dee Discusses: The X-Files 1.19

Posted: March 16, 2013 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, Television, X-Files
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Ohhhhh boy. Nothing good ever comes from tying Native Americans to a savage beast storyline. I could see clearly that they wanted to draw on folklore, which Native Americans have so much of, and that the intention wasn’t bad. But it’s never a good idea to tie a race that were called savages as a derogatory term with a murdering werewolf storyline. Of course that hasn’t stopped something like Twilight or numerous other groups from doing the same thing. I appreciate they were trying to show respect to the culture and belief, and the actors in the show were very strong, especially Michael Horse who plays the Sheriff. I think they were trying to tiptoe around everything and be open minded, but the struggle of the storytelling showed. As usual I’m getting ahead of myself so here we go.

Scully and Mulder are called in to a mysterious death at a remote place in Montana. A Native American man named Joseph was murdered by a nearby ranch owner Jim Parker. There’s a strained relationship between the Natives who live around there and the Parkers, so this is an emotionally charged situation. Forty years before this event another mysterious death like this happened, and Mulder says it was the first X-File, overseen by Hoover. Interesting! I like that part. There’s a land dispute, but Parker swears that he thought he was shooting a beast. His son Lyle agrees it was a beast, and he has some pretty intense scars to show for it. This was clearly a werewolf/shapeshifter story from the beginning. Well known trope. And since I knew it dealt with Natives, well, I could see this one coming a mile away.

Mulder and Scully do see that running from the crime are animal prints that turn into human, and then Scully finds a huuuuuge amount of human skin. GROSS. Because the guy shifts, you see? He loses the human skin in the process. Their attempts to interview people and investigate aren’t going well because of the negative feelings the tribe have toward the FBI. Not that anyone can blame them. Joseph’s sister Gwen is furious that more isn’t being done against the Parkers since they killed her brother. The Sheriff allows them to look at the body but it has to be cremated as the family requests. He won’t let them hold it up. Not long after Jim Parker is brutally killed and his son is found naked nearby.

Oh come on like this isn’t obvious yeesh guys. I guess the concept is that this shapeshifting creature the Manitou can jump hosts. This is not a good reference because the term is about the spirits of Native American culture. The concept of the spirit moving bodies isn’t a bad one, that makes sense, but it also is a sort of sacred thing to the culture I think. Hey guys your spirits/gods/what have you are jumping around killing people, that’s not offensive, right? I’m going to give you a big shiny gold star saying “You Tried,” X-Files. Lyle is the new host and he killed his father. He turns while Scully is in the house but they manage to shoot what appeared to be a beast, before it turns back into Lyle. Duhhhhh. Like most episodes it ends openly, with there being room to come back if they want to down the line.

I’m not sure if they will, although I doubt they’ll give up on this as an original X-File concept. I’m not against them using Native American folklore in their own mythology. I like the idea of them drawing all kinds of theories and spiritual beliefs into the show. They might just want to remember that when you’re handling an emotionally charged situation, such as the Native American plight and history, you probably don’t want to connect it in such a negative way. Just a thought. Otherwise this was an okay episode. Really predictable and I got easily distracted watching. I liked all the actors. I think the effort was there, but it didn’t click.

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