The Lone Gunmen – “Tango de Los Pistoleros”

The tneth episode of The Lone Gunmen aired last night. Read more for a review of this episode, or just post a comment to say how you think the series has been developing thus far.


Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
Dean Haglund as Richard “Ringo” Langley
Steven Snedden as Jimmy Bond
Zuleikha Robinson as Yves Adele Harlowe


Written by Thomans Schnauz
Directed by Bryan Spicer

Original Airdate

Tango do Los Pistoleros originally aired Friday, April 27, 2001.


This episode began with one of the oddest opening teasers I’ve seen
for any show. It had a voice-over of Yves describing the nature of
the Tango, as a dance of loneliness rather than a dance of passion.
The visuals were shots of most of the gunmen dancing the Tango under
spotlights in an otherwise dark room, intercut with shots of Langley
leaving the van, working his way down the street, and getting stabbed
in the back when Yves describes the Tango as a dance about death.

When the episode begins after the opening commercials, none of this
has happened. Instead, the four gunmen are working to backstab Yves
in her latest operation, in an attempt to get even for all the times
she’s betrayed them.

Needless to say, the gunmen blow it, resulting in the man Yves was
dealing with seeing Langley getting dumped into a harbour in Miami,
screaming at the top of his lungs. Yves (with face mask and
voice-changer to assume the identity of the expected contact) runs off.

Back in the hotel room, Jimmy continues to chastise the others for
betraying Yves (who has helped them in the past), and Frohike
encourages them to leave Miami. (He doesn’t like being in this city.)
Yves appears at their room, and threatens to kill them all (especially
Langley) for blowing her operation. This reaction convinces the
Gunmen to stay, as they must be onto something.

Meanwhile, the people who were supposed to make the exchange meet to
discuss what went wrong. The man who saw Langley claims that the bald
man (impersonated by Yves) had a twin brother, who was working with a
woman with long, flowing blonde hair and a shrill scream to spoil the
deal. The exchange was made (a CD with Tango music), and he left.

The mastermind of this plot took his tango music and entered a tango
contest. Yves showed up at the practice, and sabotaged his partner
(with a compound sprayed into her shoes that made her feet swell up).
She became the mastermind’s new partner.

While Yves became familiar with the mastermind by practicing the Tango
at his place, the Gunmen found the home of the man who smuggled the CD
into the country. They found his corpse, too. The bald man Yves had
impersonated had killed him, leaving behind a calling card in the form
of small blocks marked with a skull. This clue led the Gunmen to the
identity of the killer and the mastermind. The mastermind was a
prominent local businessman suspected of smuggling, being investigated
by the federal government. The bald man was a known hit man, and an
employee of the mastermind. It seems that Yves was working with the
federal government to catch him in the act.

Once they understood this, the Gunmen were more apologetic and
trusting of Yves. Unfortunately, the bald man had already seen
Langley and Yves together, which hurt her credibility and endangered
her life. It also didn’t help that the bald man had sprayed himself
with a compund disguised as perfume he found while rooting through
Yves’ purse, resulting in an incredibly swollen hand.

The Gunmen decided that they needed to get into the Tango contest, but
Jimmy, Langely, and Byers all failed the try-outs. Frohike’s history
with Miami was then revealed; he was an expert Tango dancer under the
name of El Lobo. He found his old dance partner and convinced her to
rejoin him for this contest, despite a rather unwelcoming reception.

The Gunmen and Yves formulated a plan to get inside. At the dance,
Yves claimed Langley was trying to get her to betray the mastermind,
but that she didn’t want to, for she had fallen in love with him. To
prove she was telling the truth, they asked her to stab and kill
Langley. They faked his death before she entered the contest.

At the contest, Byers and Jimmy used the same face recognition
software used at the Superbowl to identify terrorists among the crowd
to find the mastermind’s contact. (They were masquerading as
documentary producers.) The Gunmen’s hacker friend Kenny (first seen
in The X-Files‘ Gunmen-centric episode Three of a Kind)
had helped them determine the smuggled material (stealth technology)
worked at identifying people while Langley was playing dead. The
contact was identified as the man in tango couple number one.

The bald man examined Langley’s “corpse” and discovered he wasn’t
dead. Langley escaped, but the bald man came to the contest to kill
Yves. The contact picked up CD number 11 (the one brought by the
mastermind, not by himself), and Jimmy spotted it. Byers sent Frohike
after it, and he snatched it from the man’s hand and moved back onto
the dance floor. The bald man tried to throw a knife into Yves’ back,
but the mastermind sacrificed himself to save her. The officials
showed up, and arrested the living criminal parties.

As the episode wrapped up, Yves was trying to hold herself together,
and most of the Gunmen left her alone, choosing to apologize and thank
her later. Jimmy stayed, and finished the episode with a tango.

High Point

There is no longer any doubt; these gunmen (except Frohike) can’t
dance. The tryouts were very entertaining. These guys looked like I
do on the dance floor!

Low Point

It’s not really a single point in the story, but I find it hard to
believe that the mastermind would be so trusting of Yves. All
evidence said she was trying to expose his dealings. The bald man’s
swollen hand should have been enough to guarantee her death. I just
didn’t buy it, nor did I buy his ultimate sacrifice. These were not
the actions of the killer his background described.

Theories about Yves

Last week Erf
proposed a theory that Yves is smitten with Jimmy. That theory holds
up well this week, especially given the closing scene of the episode.

Here’s another theory to think about this week; Yves is actually a
government agent. In the past two weeks (Diagnosis: Jimmy and
Tango de Los Pistoleros), we’ve seen her working with
the government and the RCMP to bring criminals to justice. She’s
familiar with some government operations (Planet of the
). She also tends to show up a lot more than she should
with this bunch. Perhaps she’s a government agent assigned to keep
tabs on this particular government watchdog group. That would explain
her tendency to appear every week, for little or no reason. The
upcoming season finale (on May 18th), titled All About Yves,
promises to begin a story arc revealing her past that will continue
throughout the second season. We should get some of these answers, as
well as the beginnings of a Lone Gunmen mytharc in the next few weeks.

The Review

In terms of originality, this episode was average.
The context of the smuggling was unoriginal, but some of the elements
along the way were fairly new. I give this episode 3 out of 6.

The effects this week were made up of the make-up effects of the
swollen feet and hand, which did look very good. I find I have to
give them 5 out of 6 this week.

The story was not terrible, but not fantastic. The
dialogue was very well done, though. Writer Thomas Schnauz, who also
brought us Madam, I’m Adam, did a fine job. I give this week’s
installment 4 out of 6.

The acting was fine for the most part. As usual, I just
don’t believe it when Yves gets mad. She just doesn’t seem that mad
to me. Her bahaviour and tone of voice are appropriate, but her
expression jsut doesn’t look mad. The guest actors playing the
mastermind and the bald man were well done in their one-dimensional
roles, and Frohike’s old tango partner did a great job in her brief
scene. I give the acting 4 out of 6.

This episode missed a great opportunity for a powerful emotional
with the mastermind’s sacrifice. Unfortunately, there wasn’t
enough build-up to it. I didn’t understand why he would give his life
for her. He just didn’t seem smitten enough; he was too cold toward
her off the dance floor. I give this episode 2 out of 6.

The production quality of this series is consistently
high, and Bryan Spicer once again shows he knows how to direct an
episode for comedic timing. I give the production 4 out of 6.

Overall, this was an episode worth watching that
contributed to the overall series. It’s starting to set things up
nicely for some development of Yves’ character, and seems to be moving
in the direction Erf predicted. I give this week’s episode 4 out of 6.

Totalling it al up, I see that Tango de Los Pistoleros has a
score of 26 out of 42.

Next Week

On Sunday, the oiliens return to The X-Files with Vienen.
Next Friday, (May 4) The Lone Gunmen are rumoured to see a
familiar face in the guest cast with The Lying Game.

One reply

  1. Yves
    I’m glad they really do (seem to) have a plan, and aren’t (apparently) just making things up as they go along. I have a strong suspicion that Yves’s feelings toward Jimmy, and her apparent Justice Streak, were not thought of in the beginning of the series — they made it abundantly clear, the first time she showed up, that she was there for the cash. That’s turned around in a (somewhat) continuous fashion, but there hasn’t been any real justification given.

    On the other hand, I rather expect to see them come up with some story to cover her behaviour, probably in the season finale that fiziko mentioned. I fully expect it to be a case of Revisionist History, kludging up some way to give Yves some semblance of consistency. It might even work. One can hope! :)

    I really liked this episode, overall. A very different style, which contributed greatly to the humour. (And the Dancing Gunmen was priceless! ^_^) I think I found the ep overall funnier than any of the others I’ve seen.

Comments are closed.