Dee Discusses: The X-Files 1.20

Posted: March 16, 2013 by Dee in Dee, General Media, Recaps, Television, X-Files
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I loved this episode “Darkness Falls,” and there are a few reasons I loved it. First up is that it genuinely scared me. I have a few triggers when it comes to scary things, and being in the woods is up there. Higher? Spiders/crawly things/bugs. So having insect like things swarm people in the darkness of the woods? Holy crap I was going to have nightmares. Luckily I watched it during the day. So this episode succeeded in making me nervous. Another thing is that Mulder and Scully actually get almost killed! For real! I kept expecting in that last scene for the cavalry to show up, as they were flailing around in the lights, but they were only saved after already entombed. Holy crap that is AMAZING. I’ll talk more about that later.

We start out the episode with a group of terrified loggers talking about what to do. They say there’s no way they’ll survive but they’re all going to run anyway and see what’ll happen. They do end up dying instead thanks to these strange glowy green light things. At first I wondered if it was supposed to be alien abduction. Little did I know! Mulder and Scully get curious about it and meet with the Park Ranger. They decide to drive up to the woods to see for themselves what might have happened. The Park Ranger is Larry and the head of security is Steve, and they go with them. We have two red shirts, obviously. Their car unfortunately is taken out by traps left by eco-terrorists.

Years later I will be the Smoke Monster in LOST. Spoilers.

Right away this gets creepy because everything seems to be abandoned, they can’t find anything useful in the cabin, and they find bodies entombed in webs in the forest. I immediately shrieked. Spiders, ahhhhh! Steve is repairing a generator when he sees one of the eco-terrorists there, Doug. Doug swears that there are strange insects that kill everyone in the woods, and he’s been up there for awhile. He says only by staying in the light can they survive. Ooooooh man. Bottle Episode-ish time. The ranger’s all skeptical and goes back to his car, making fun of them for being scared. He dies after that because yeah dude you should’ve known better. You’re not genre savvy enough to survive.

Things are intense at the cabin because the generators can continue only so long and once those are dead, they’re all screwed. It’s too far away to try and get out of there during daylight, plus the cars are messed up, and the radio isn’t bringing any results. This is such a classic woodland horror flick feel, but it works for me. Mulder allows Doug to go, believing him when he says he wants to get help. He knows his friends are nearby and he’ll come back for them. The others are like wtf Mulder you and your freaking i WANT TO BELIEVE crap just got us killed. Scully freaks the hell out when she sees the spider/bugs are on them anyway, it’s just that the light keeps them from swarming.

They manage to just survive the night before the generator dies and then make a break for it. Doug does come back for them! Yay! Mulder you’re damn lucky this time. All of his friends are dead but he salvaged a jeep. They start driving the hell out of there as fast as possible, but they hit one of the other spikes. I’m sorry but lol you were talking about karma earlier Doug. He said maybe the loggers deserved it for taking land/trees that didn’t belong to them. He put those spikes there and now they’re all going to be eaten by glowy swarm bugs. Life lesson, babe.

Mulder and Scully are actually attacked here and as they flail and scream the show goes to black. WHAAAAAT and we see them in the web cocoons and I went I LOVE THIS SHOW. I love whenever they have legit consequences of their actions. This is dangerous work and every time one of them actually gets hurt or suffers as a result of the choices they make, I’m enamored. It’s not the same as these days when they use death as a way to shock the audience. It’s just a reminder that while our two main characters may not die, they’re not getting out of this unscathed. It’s not a cheap ploy, it fits in with the story. Love it. The insects are hopefully taken out by pesticides. Mulder had theorized they were ancient old ones hiding in a very old tree and they got released by the loggers.

This was an episode that could’ve easily leaned too far in the eco-friendly area, and I thought that’s where they were headed at first. Loggers bad! Nature good! But it wasn’t really. Nature exists and it’s to be feared/respected, plain and simple. The eco-terrorists thought they were better, but they weren’t portrayed that way, they made mistakes too. I think both sides were pretty well represented, it wasn’t a statement. It was a story. Thumbs up to this episode. I enjoyed it a lot.

  1. lawrence says:

    Luckily I watched it during the day.

    Heh, I watched it at night, and for some reason decided that the best palate cleanser would be MORE X-FILES. Obviously I won’t spoil whether or not the next episode succeeded, but I do vaguely remember thinking, “Wait, maybe this isn’t the best idea? If that episode was so horrifying, what’s to stop this one from being as bad, if not worse?”

    (Bad in a nightmare fuel way. Because I agree that ‘Darkness Falls’ was actually a good episode.)


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