X-Files Review – “Nothing Important Happened Today”

The ninth season of The X-Files started last night. You know where to find the review.

Cast

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Mitch
Pileggi
as
Walter Skinner
Sheila
Larken
as
Margaret Scully
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Lucy
Lawless
as a character who has not yet been
named on screen.
Cary
Elwes
as Assistant Director Brad Follmer

Crew

Written by Chris
Carter
and Frank
Spotnitz

Directed by Kim
Manners

Original Airdate

Nothing Important Happened Today originally
aired on Sunday, November 11, 2001.

Synopsis

There are several story lines running in this
episode, each of which
seems to focus on introducing or establishing
characters. In the first
story line we encounter, Lucy Lawless plays a
character that seems to
have no trouble breathing underwater. This
character drowns an EPA
man in the teaser and a worker in a water plant
in act one. She later
seemed to steal the body of said EPA man. She
also has FBI access.
At the end of the episode, she tries to drown
Agent Doggett.

The second and most prominent story line is that
of Doggett’s
investigation into Kirsh’s office. It seems that
the security camera
from the FBI garage contains no record of the
events of last season’s
finale, which is essential to Doggett’s
investigation. The
disappearance of witnesses, and Skinner’s urges
to drop the
investigation give Doggett the impression that
he’s on his own. Agent
Reyes is willing to stand by him, despite advice
from ex-lover and
Assistant Director Brad Follmer to do otherwise.
Mulder cannot
testify, as he is gone. (His apartment is
completely empty.) Scully
is the only person who might know where he’s
gone, but she refuses to
say.

Before progress can be made on this, Doggett and
Reyes receive an
anonymous tip pointing them to the death of the
EPA man. They bring
in Scully to do the autopsy, and she discovers
bruises on his ankles
that seem to indicate he was being held inside
his car while he
drowned. This investigation eventually leads him
to the water
treatment plant, where he steals some files, and
is forced to escape
from AD Follmer and his task force before he can
read them. During
his escape, he hides in a water tank, where he is
caught by Lucy
Lawless’ character, who then tries to drown him.
(This was the final
shot before the closing credits.)

The third story line is the one surrounding
Scully’s child. Scully
begins to fear that the child isn’t normal, as
his mobile seems to
move under its own power when he cries.

Other Comments

The opening title sequence has been completely
revamped, and now
includes Gillian Anderson, Robert Patrick,
Annabeth Gish, and
(finally) Mitch Pileggi.

High Point

In my opinion, the high point of the episode was
Reyes’ search for a
new pencil.

Low Point

Mulder’s sudden disappearance. The only way the
character of Mulder
would abandon Scully completely would be if he
were dead. While I
acknowledge that the writers did a fine job of
writing the show in
a situation made awkward by the real world,
killing Mulder is really
the only thing they could have done to keep him
away from William
Scully without reusing the alien abduction story
line.

The Review

In terms of originality, this
episode was not
spectacular. The only really original element
was the character
played by Lucy Lawless, but we won’t get a chance
to see anything
substantial about her until next week. I give
the originality 3 out
of 6.

The effects were few and far
between, but entirely
convincing. In fact, the drowning sequences,
autopsy (now old hat)
and the mobile were the only effects in the
episode, and none of them
should really require anything more difficult
than a small motor or
underwater camera. I give the effects 4 out of 6.

The story was really more about
establishing characters
than driving a plot line this week. While it was
well written, it
wasn’t the same enthralling rush I had when I
re-watched
Essence and Existence a few
hours before. I give it
3 out of 6.

The acting was generally very good.
The only character I
didn’t completely believe was Brad Follmer. I’ll
give that character
some time to develop though. He seems to have
been a last minute
addition to the cast in an attempt to replace the
perceived sexual
tension some people perceived between Mulder and
Scully. I hope he’ll
grow beyond that one dimensional character, and
soon. I give the
acting 4 out of 6.

In terms of emotional response, I
was interested, but not
immensely. It wasn’t until the last few moments
that I was really
drawn in. The investigation aspects of the show
are what drew me in
in the first place, and we didn’t see much of
that until just before
the chase sequence. I give the emotional
response 2 out of 6.

The production quality was its typical
high. Manners,
Carter, and Spotnitz know how to make an episode
of The
X-Files
. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this episode was a decent
episode, but a bit
lackluster for a season premier. We’ll see what
happens with the
second part next week. I give it 3 out of 6.

2 replies on “X-Files Review – “Nothing Important Happened Today””

  1. rickyjames says:

    Top o the Ninth…
    Well, this is the top of the ninth season for X Files and what a long strange trip it’s been.

    I agree with all of the review above, but let’s not forget the most important story line: The Lone Gunmen (apparently) have escaped from THEIR season finale, with Langley still having traces of the blue goop on his face used to fool the facial recognition cameras! That adventure has left them “unemployed” and they “don’t want to talk about it”. Hopefully Yves was abducted, never to be seen again….

    Mulder’s disappearance is painfully forced at best and fatal at worst to the X Files. His loyalty to Scully is totally undermined by any storyline disappearance given the circumstances of the birth of his (?) son (?) and the only reasonable explanation I would accept (not explored or even hinted at by the story) is that Mulder has a bump on the back of his head and so is now a transformed alien on the run himself. With Duchovney saying he won’t even do future cameos this is a dead-end, moot storyline no matter what and a glaring embarrassment.

    What’s even worse is that in dealing with this faux pas, Skinner and Sculley have themselves become CSMs to Doggett and Reyes … insiders with info they hold close to their chest and will not disclose to keep the storyline obscure. Thus they are no longer on the side of The Truth Is Out There and have instead become Ones Who Cannot Be Trusted. But hey, it’s only a story, and they can’t kill Duchovney’s character (however beneficial that would be to the series) without destroying the movie potential…

    So within the corner they’ve painted themselves into, they’re actually trying to do a good job. Everybody is on a first name basis at last! Robert Patrick is as cool and hard-nosed as ever and always worth watching for his potrayal of the stoic loner who won’t give up. I agree the pencils were the high point but Doggett’s “It’s only Monday morning” comment is a very close second. Annabeth Gish is a real hottie and can certainly hold her own among the big boys, but you’d never know it from this episode. Reyes had better get more of a part of future stories than just sexual harrassment kisses / cuts of her moving her eyes back and forth among the combatants / commenting to “pee in all the corners (to mark territory) before you go”. Her become Scully’s confidant (as was offered) is a necessary part but totally incomplete role for her character to take on.

    Skinner had better hope that Krychek makes it back as a continuing lump-necked foil or he’s gonna have trouble earning his shiny new opening credit. He IS afraid of something the way this story went down, which makes no sense after literally telling CSM to kiss his ass several seasons ago…

    My take? Only Doggett (and the Gunmen) was potrayed in a manner consistent with previous season character buildup and the off-course trajectory taken by Mulder, Skinner, Scully and Reyes had better get corrected but fast once they smooth over Duchovney’s disappearing act. They’d alos better hope Lucy Lawless drags enough curious crossover Xena fans to get the season off to a good ratings start, or even with good writing and strong characterization this show ain’t goin into extra innings after the bottom of the ninth.

  2. jayhawk88 says:

    One season too long for the old-timers
    Honestly, I think trying to keep Mulder/Scully worked into this season was a big mistake. The season 8 ender was perfect for wrapping up the whole Mulder/Scully/baby thing: sure, it didn’t answer all the questions, but it at least felt like closure.

    They should have just let Mulder and Scully ride off into the sunset so-to-speak, and shifted the focus back totally onto Doggett and Reyes. Both characters were fleshed out enough going in that they could have kept the series going, and still delivered high quality eps. Have Kirsh perhaps take the fall for all the nastiness, maybe have Skinner get promoted in his place (which would have opened up all kinds of interesting storylines down the road).

    If you still wanted to have Scully make an appearance every once in a while whenever an autopsy is needed, or bring both Scully and Mulder back in for a movie, it’s no trouble, as they’re just sort of sitting in the background going on with their lives. Move the XFiles off on the normal “monster of the week” eps, and perhaps begin working in a totally new conspiracy arc for the new agents (or continue with the alien clones). As it is, this whole “Disappearing Mulder, telekinetic baby” stuff feels rather forced.

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