A young agent, right out of the FBI academy, offered his hand to
agent Mulder and said “Krycek. Alex Krycek.” The shape of the
series changed forever, and a legend was born.

Cast

David
Duchovny

as Fox Mulder.

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully.

The series creator was Chris
Carter
.
Complete cast and crew info can be found at this IMDB
page
.

Original Airdate

This season originally ran from 1994-1995.

Synopsis

The X-Files have been closed, Mulder and Scully have been
sent to
different assignments, and the show takes a decidedly darker
turn.

This is where the show started to take form. “Duane Barry” was
a
mighty fine episode. The introduction, and later reintroduction of
Alex Krycek set up a sadly underused character that would be
with us
through the end. Donnie Pfaster showed what could be done
with a very
human monster. “Die Hand Die Verletz” and “Humbug” showed
us what Kim
Manners could do with the show; he went on to direct over one
quarter
of the episodes of the series. “Humbug” also showed us the
scripting
debut of Darin Morgan, in the series’ first comedic episode.
“Soft
Light” showed us how evil Mulder’s new informant (and, by
association,
Deep Throat) could be. Then, the series ended with “Anasazi,”
which
I’ll describe in more detail in the “High Point” section of this
review.

High Point

“Anasazi.” This episode showed us the breadth of this
conspiracy,
demonstrating its worldwide reach for the first time. (Deep Throat
claimed something like this back in “E.B.E.”, but the viewer
couldn’t
know how much of that speech to believe.) Bill Mulder’s
involvement
in the conspiracy is exposed, just in time for Krycek to be
reintroduced as his assassin. Mulder is attacked very personally,
very effectively, and very anonymously by those who wish to
discredit
him. The Lone Gunmen began to take a more active role in the
investigations, connecting Mulder to the Thinker. The smallpox
vaccination aspect of the conspiracy, and the large scale human
experimentation are revealed. Scully’s abduction becomes more
than an
excuse to give a pregnant actress time off. The Cigarette
Smoking Man
takes a more active role, commanding troops in the field. This
was
the best season finale in the series.

Low Point

“Aubrey,” with the old serial killer who carved “Sister” on his
victims. It’s not that the episode is terrible, but it’s the only one
that I find entirely unmemorable; I can watch this DVD set every
year,
and I’ll forget about that episode entirely until I get to it.

The Review

It’s hard to accurately rate the originality of a
collection
of episodes when I’ve seen many of them half a dozen times. I
remember that “Sleepless” convinced me to watch this every
Friday I
was at home, and that “Anasazi” kicked off the three parter that
made
me a committed X-Phile. I remember thinking that I’d never seen
anything like this before, but as a high school student, that may
have
spoken more to my own ignorance than anything else. What I do
know is
that this was when the show started to have an impact. I’d like to
think that this would prove that it had some sort of shining quality
that set it above the crowd, but “Survivor” has had a huge impact
on television, too. I give the originality of this season a 4 out of
6; people watching it today will be more familiar with this kind of
feel, even though much of it was begun and/or popularized here.

The effects were mostly physical, and rarely CGI.
This, I
think, is the way effects should be done as often as possible. It’s
easier for the actors to play off a model than a ping-pong ball
marked
“look here,” and you avoid the look of the glossy, polished aliens
that we’ve seen in recent Star Wars flicks. The effects here were
almost entirely plausible and convincing, which is impressive in a
series with aliens that melt when you poke them in the neck, and
physicists with man-eating shadows. I give it 5 out of 6.

The stories told started to show the bigger picture;
last
week’s events had a greater impact this week, and the
conspiracy
elements started to really connect together. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting was very good, even among the guest
cast. This
was a show populated by actors, not necessarily pretty people.
Tony
Shalhoub’s performance in “Soft Light” rescues that episode from
the
pseudo-scientific doldrums that buried “Ghost in the Machine” in
the
first season, and Steve Railsback’s work as Duane Barry was
equally
impressive. Tony Todd showed us that the line “they cut out a
piece
of my brain” can not only be delivered with a straight face, but
that
the absurdity of the line can even be overlooked by an audience
caught
up in the pain of a man who can’t sleep. It’s rare that a series
with
such a small core cast can go an entire season without a single
guest
actor bad enough to make me cringe; I give it 6 out of 6.

The emotional response this produces is reduced on
this
re-watching. The show held my interest in its first run, but didn’t
grip me tight enough to keep me there every week. (I missed
“Duane
Barry” and “Ascension” the first time around, though, which might
have
changed that.) It still holds my interest, and some dialogue still
makes me laugh (including most of “Humbug,”) but very little grips
me. This may sound bad, but the fact remains that I’ve seen
“Sleepless,” “Duane Barry,” “Ascension,” and “Anasazi” at least
half a
dozen times each, and every one of those episodes sucks me in
every
time. That’s a damn impressive feat. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production was top notch. Rob Bowman, Kim
Manners, and
even first-time director Chris Carter did some very impressive
work
here. Mark Snow kept doing his great job with the weekly musical
score, and the cinematography included the rich blacks that
started to
set this show apart. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this was the start of the pinnacle of the
series.
Seasons three, five, and eight would later stand out as great
television in their own rights, but this was the first. This was the
season that made Fox shift its gears from “you may be cancelled
at any
time” to “how much do we pay you to keep you on the air?” I
give it 5
out of 6.

In total, The X-Files: Season Two receives 35 out of
42.