January 14, 2014
W. Blaine Dowler
Podcast, podcasts, X-Files The X-Files
The tenth episode of the X-Files Retrospective podcast is now available here for your listening pleasure. Intro and outro music attribution is below.
Outside Poolside by Lasswell is licensed under a Attribution Noncommercial (3.0).
January 24, 2014 @ 11:50 am
FALLEN ANGEL was in some ways the true start of the mythology in the X-Files. I say this because it was the first episode to explore the existence of aliens(watching us!) with the emergence of the likeable recurring characters that gave the show much of its personality.
Mulder tends to be very flat, and Scully tends to vary between being annoyed and amazed in these early shows. Max Fenig ( a precursor to the always fun Lone Gunmen), brings a sense of needed wonderment to the search for E.T.s that is almost childlike. Finally Deep Throat, another interesting character, brings the onus of knowledge, responsibility and power to the arcing story. To me, this episode starts to better combine the sense of awe in searching for aliens, with the gravity and paranoia of the government knowing more than lets on.
We get to see Max and his trailer full of monitoring equipment, and we also get to see the firepower of the military flexing it’s muscle in a very controlled clean up operation. I liked the balance this episode had between the searching of Max and Mulder, to the squashing by Colonel Henderson and Deep Throat.
Not as intriguing are the continued homages/rip offs of modern cinema and the ‘alien pile on’ phenomenon. The invisible alien is a clear wave to PREDATOR, in that both pilots are blurred out or pixelated so that they blend in with their surroundings. It immediately set up expectations in my mind that could have been avoided, like the feel that the alien was ‘hunting’ the soldiers or that it needs be killed. In borrowing from that great 1987 film, it forces comparisons to the plot, the effects and the tension and comes clearly in second place.
It also suffers from the ‘alien pile on’. This is one of EIGHT possible DIFFERENT alien beings in the first season alone:
PILOT- Aliens are possibly controlling Billy Miles to bring test subjects to an abduction site. We don’t see this again until they revisit this concept MUCH later in the series.
CONDUIT- We see that the alien craft leaves a burnt residue and sand turned to glass around the campfire that we don’t see again. In DEEP THROAT Mulder was apparently standing right under one.
ICE- Suggests alien life that was trapped in the ice eons ago- still alive and thriving, that we never see again.
SPACE- The ‘face on mars’ photo is really an alien that we never see again.
FALLEN ANGEL- The alien can blend in with the ‘jungle’ like the predator, a characteristic we never see again.
GENDER BENDER- Alien Amish head out in a huge spacecraft that we never see again.
DARKNESS FALLS- Alien bugs may have landed during ICE AGE, never to be seen again.
THE ERLENMEYER FLASK- Alien fetus’s are shown to be used to cross-breeding showing off the green blood that we DO see again.
I left out EBE, because although they hint at the familiar ‘grey’ alien with the bigger head and bigger eyes, I don’t believe they show one.
My point is that we already have so many different versions of aliens, that in Season 2 when the radar picks up the WOW signal, my thought was, WOW another??? There’s no more room! Clearly earth is being used as a massive alien rest stop!
Of course I get it- the writers were setting up the series to succeed, and they needed to borrow from the familiar to hook us all into the storyline. It is just funny how by the end of the series it seems like there is one main alien arc, but I remember now in the first season there were at least 8! It seems by the end of season 1, the aliens settle down into one shape shifting form, and only occasionally borrow from CLOSE ENCOUNTERS.
Overall, I enjoyed FALLEN ANGEL, a great arguably first step in the true myth arc.
PS- The special effects used for the camouflaged alien in this episode are documented on the DVDS and probably online. If interested, the special effect guys laugh at the footage of what was eventually ‘orange-screened’. It is worth watching.
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