X-Files Review – “Nothing Important Happened Today II”

The second part of the season premier aired last
night. You know the drill.

Cast

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Mitch
Pileggi
as
Walter Skinner
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Lucy
Lawless
as Shannon McMahon
Cary
Elwes
as Assistant Director Brad Follmer

Crew

Written by Chris
Carter
and Frank
Spotnitz

Directed by Tony
Wharmby

Original Airdate

Nothing Important Happened Today II
originally aired on
Sunday, November 18, 2001.

Synopsis

This episode continues from where last week’s
left off. Doggett
wasn’t being drowned by the woman we now know is
Shannon McMahon, but
rather he was being hidden by her. Her ability
to breathe underwater
let her blow air into his lungs, keeping him
alive. She was the last
member of his unit in the marines that he was
trying to contact.

According to Shannon, she and Knowle Rohrer have
been turned into the
first generation of supersoldiers. (The lumps on
the neck are a mark
of these soldiers.) She claims to want to expose
the project, but
investigation into the victims and into the
captain of a ship who was
trying to contact them indicate that the men she
killed were trying to
expose the project, and that she was using
Doggett to get to the ship
captain, who was cooperating with them.

By the time Doggett, Reyes, and Scully reach the
ship in its dock, the
new first officer (Knowle Rohrer) had killed the
captain and wired the
ship to explode. Doggett, Reyes, and Scully
escaped the bomb after
discovering a lab that was being used to mutate
ova. It also appears
that Rohrer may be dead, but I doubt it. These
soldiers have taken
far worse than decaptitation before. (Remember
Billy Miles?)
Similarly, Shannon McMahon, who ended up with a
hand through her
stomach before being dumped into the bay, is not
dead either.

We also learned during this episode that Mulder
left at Scully’s
insistence. It seems that A.D. Kirsh has been
manipulating Doggett in
hopes of starting some sort of revolution. It
was Kirsh that leaked
information about the corpses to Doggett and
Reyes last week, and it
was Kirsh who told Mulder his life was in danger
if he stayed.
This wasn’t enough to make Mulder leave, but it
was enough to make
Scully force Mulder to leave. This behaviour is
in character for
Mulder, in my opinion. It’s also in character
for Kirsh to send away
his biggest threat, and trick another potential
threat into revealing
the location of the ship captain to the super
soldiers.

High Point

Doggett’s attitudes toward his job. He’ll hand
in a report stating
exactly what the evidence indicates, whether it
looks like an x-file
or not. This recently converted skeptic is a
great guy to head up the
x-file investigations.

Low Point

William Scully is growing up fast. I don’t have
a lot of experience
with kids, but he looks considerably older than a
week. (He was about
three days old at the start of last week’s
episode.)

The Review

The originality was lacking this week.
The writers seem to
be setting up a new conspiracy, with new
players, but none of them are
all that different from what we’ve seen before.
We’ve seen the highly
placed informant who might be manipulating the
agents for his own
purposes (Deep Throat), we’ve seen the assassin
with answers who just
won’t die (Alex Krycek), and we’ve seen the set
up from a new
informant (X in “Soft Light”). I give the
originality 2 out of 6.

The effects this week all seemed to
be in the form of
decapitations. They were flawless as always, but
they’re not new
effects. I do have to admit that the decapitated
head looked more
realistic this week than the other heads did once
they’d been
severed. I give the effects 5 out of 6.

The story this week moved seemed to
move away from the
character introductions last week and into the
new conspiracy. The
character interactions were still the most
interesting part, though.
The audience has seen enough to believe that
Reyes, Doggett, and
Scully would buy into the super soldiers. It’s
time to get moving,
either with something really new about the
soldiers, or with another
storyline. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting was again limited by Cary
Elwes as Brad
Follmer. I don’t think his character was well
defined when the season
began shooting, and that’s made it harder for him
to figure out the
character well enough to do a good job. Lucy
Lawless was less than
convincing this week too, despite the minimal
acting required. The
great work done by Robert Patrick, Annabeth Gish,
Gillian Anderson,
and James Pickens Jr. redeem the acting enough to
get 4 out of 6.

As for this week’s emotional response,
there really isn’t a
whole lot to say. Most of my interest and
involvement in this episode
was merely carried over from the great episodes
that came before it.
Even the bomb-on-the-boat sequence barely held my
attention. There
was never a doubt in my mind that they’d escape
unhurt, but without
collecting any hard evidence (even through
grabbing a couple of random
samples for later study would have been easy
enough.) I give it 2 out
of 6.

The production value was its typical
high. The directing,
editing, lighting, sound, cinematography, and all
the other elements
combined well enough to make the x-files world
believable and
consistent, but they couldn’t offset the
unoriginal writing. Since
the writing is evaluated elsewhere, I give the
production 5 out of 6.

Overall, this episode did a decent
job of setting up the
characters annd relationships we’ll see this
season, but it doesn’t
really seem like much at this point. I give it 3
out of 6.

In total, Nothing Important Happened Today
II
received 25 out of 42.

Next Week

Daemonicus airs next week, by the looks
of things.

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

  1. hoggoth says:

    Cardboard characters… [SPOILERS]
    Is it just me, or does it seem like all the characters have become one-dimensional charactitures of themselves?
    How many times can Scully say “I can’t not know” before we reach for the remote?

    The Scully/Mulder X-files were such well written, tightly woven stories; IMHO the best TV written. These new episodes are losing my interest…

    Let’s review some of my favorite cliche’s:

    Bomb timer counting down, will they make it out on time? Tick tick tick… character not moving fast enough… oh no only seconds to go, phwew they got out, boom! mere seconds to spare! *yawn*

    Supersoldier Rohrer loses his head, but still manages (with NO HEAD ON HIS BODY – I guess he must have a backup brain in the seat of his pants) to punch a hole in supersoldier Shannon McMahon. McMahon, who has been shown numerous times breathing underwater, falls in the water. Is she dead? Gee, I wonder. Camera zooms close up on her face. Music getting suspenseful… will her eyes pop open dramatically accompanied by a musical crescendo? *yawn* yeah of course they will. Gee, I jumped out of my chair.

    Closing scene: Scully uncomfortable trying to sleep, looking at baby in crib. She must be uncomfortable because she knows her baby makes the mobile spin with his mind. She knows this because she’s seen it. We know this because we’ve seen it too. Camera pans up to mobile. Will it spin? The suspense it killing me, because if it spins then we will know once and for all… well… we’ll know that it spins a lot. Fade to black. Sound of spinning mobile (Scully, you ought to oil that thing, it sounds like an old rusty gate). Wow. From the sound I can infer that the mobile is spinning. So is my head. What a revelation. Fading to black like that makes me unsure. Did he make it spin with his mind, or did he reach up and give it a twirl with his hand? I don’t know because I can’t see it. Well, actually I do know, because we’ve all seen it spin before.

    • Re: Cardboard characters… [SPOILERS]

      Is it just me, or does it seem like all the characters have become one-dimensional charactitures of themselves?
      How many times can Scully say “I can’t not know” before we reach for the remote?

      I don’t see where you got this from. Scully has always been the skeptic of the show. Now, she is ready to accept that she and her baby are experiments in human genetics. Even in part one she played the role of the non-believer by refusing any answer that differed from her baby being normal (although to be fair this was more a result of denial than of a character trait).

      The Scully/Mulder X-files were such well written, tightly woven stories; IMHO the best TV written. These new episodes are losing my interest…

      Shouldn’t you give it more than 2 episodes/1 story arc before you stamp the show “REJECTED” and move on? We have a long running show completely changing its lead characters. This would be hard enough on any show, but is even more difficult with The X-Files because of Mulder and Scully’s long running as a team. Give it a few tries before you toss it away.

      Bomb timer counting down, will they make it out on time? Tick tick tick… character not moving fast enough… oh no only seconds to go, phwew they got out, boom! mere seconds to spare! *yawn*

      I’ll grant that. The longest two minutes in the history of television.

      Supersoldier Rohrer loses his head, but still manages (with NO HEAD ON HIS BODY – I guess he must have a backup brain in the seat of his pants) to punch a hole in supersoldier Shannon McMahon. McMahon, who has been shown numerous times breathing underwater, falls in the water. Is she dead? Gee, I wonder. Camera zooms close up on her face. Music getting suspenseful… will her eyes pop open dramatically accompanied by a musical crescendo? *yawn* yeah of course they will. Gee, I jumped out of my chair.

      The ending dock scene wasn’t well done at all. Plus, I think we all knew what was coming the moment the camera went underwater.

      Closing scene: Scully uncomfortable trying to sleep, looking at baby in crib. She must be uncomfortable because she knows her baby makes the mobile spin with his mind.

      Or perhaps she is uncomfortable because she’s spent the last few days:
      1. Giving birth.
      2. Wondering about the health of her baby.
      3. Coming this close to discovering the truth about her pregnancy.
      4. Losing the one person in the world she loves, trusts, and could always count on to be there when she needed him.
      Cut her some slack.

      She knows this because she’s seen it. We know this because we’ve seen it too. Camera pans up to mobile. Will it spin? The suspense it killing me, because if it spins then we will know once and for all… well… we’ll know that it spins a lot. Fade to black. Sound of spinning mobile (Scully, you ought to oil that thing, it sounds like an old rusty gate). Wow. From the sound I can infer that the mobile is spinning. So is my head. What a revelation. Fading to black like that makes me unsure. Did he make it spin with his mind, or did he reach up and give it a twirl with his hand? I don’t know because I can’t see it. Well, actually I do know, because we’ve all seen it spin before.

      I actually thought this to be a brilliant cinematic move. I was waiting for that mobile to spin. I stared at that mobile waiting for it to start turning. But, it never did. The screen goes black and then we hear the noise. It was an excellent way to take what the audience was expecting and turn it around slightly so that it still left a bit of mystery. Despite your over-dramatic explaination (were we watching the same scene?), this was handled very well.

      seth

  2. Mulder leaving…

    Overall I thought the second part was a nice followup to the first. The new characters seem to be coming along nicely (Doggett more than Reyes but even she isn’t bad). I have solid hope that The X-Files isn’t going to trod through this season aimlessly.

    The one thing that worried me from the first episode was why Mulder left. Mulder leaving Scully and her baby is so far out of chacter for him I couldn’t swallow it. I think most everyone knew that Scully made him leave, the question was, “Why?”

    Speaking of which is why the “sudden revelation” of Doggett, “It was Scully!” forcing Mulder to leave fell flat. My reaction was…DUH. Of course she made Mulder go! Is there any doubt that the only person who could tear Mulder away from Scully is Scully herself?

    I agree with the reviewer here that the reason given for Mulder going was in-character for him. I can completely see Scully telling Mulder to leave for fear of something happening to him. That, I’ll buy.

    Now the question is how things will be in the next X-Files movie (if there is one)…

    • jayhawk88 says:

      Re: Mulder leaving…

      Speaking of which is why the “sudden revelation” of Doggett, “It was Scully!” forcing Mulder to leave fell flat. My reaction was…DUH…

      One thing to keep in mind is that Doggett is a relative newcomer to this little FBI clic, he doesn’t have the background we as viewers have. In that respect, it’s probably very in character for him to be suprised.

      • Re: Mulder leaving…

        One thing to keep in mind is that Doggett is a relative newcomer to this little FBI clic, he doesn’t have the background we as viewers have. In that respect, it’s probably very in character for him to be suprised.

        You’re right about that and the thought had occurred to me. The impression that I got though was that the scene was meant for the audience, as well as Doggett, to say, “So that’s why Mulder left!” To which we all replied, voices dripping with sarcasm, “No, really?!

        seth

        • jayhawk88 says:

          Re: Mulder leaving…
          True. Never underestimate a TV writer’s ability to underestimate his audience.

  3. Radish03 says:

    Was it just me…
    …or was “The Truth Is Out There” replaced with “Nothing Important Happened Today” in the intro? I thought that’s what it read, but I was busy thinking about how terrible the new intro looks and only caught it for a second. IMO, the only thing good about the intro is that my man, Skinner, is finally in it.

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Was it just me…

      …or was “The Truth Is Out There” replaced with
      “Nothing Important Happened Today” in the intro? I
      thought that’s what it read, but I was busy thinking
      about how terrible the new intro looks and only caught
      it for a second. IMO, the only thing good about the
      intro is that my man, Skinner, is finally in it.

      That was in there this week. I expect
      “The Truth Is Out There” to return next week, as it
      usually does.

    • Dave says:

      Re: Was it just me…

      …or was “The Truth Is Out There” replaced with “Nothing Important Happened Today” in the intro?

      It was not just you, friend – they do change that tagline occasionally, usually for episodes that will have a big effect on X-Files mythology. My favorite is probably:

      Deceive
      Inveigle
      Obfuscate

      But that could just be because I did poorly on the vocabulary section of the ACT back in the day. :)

  4. rickyjames says:

    Here we go again…

    …a conspiracy that’s a cancer on the US Government. This time, tho, it’s run by idiots. HydroXena comes not to drown Doggett, but to save him. Why? To get to the Captain that Doggett is closing in on. Except that HydroXena drowned the Captain’s contact, Convertable Man, before she knew Doggett was getting into this whole mess. Looks like she’d have asked him a question or two before she got them flung into the drink. But nooooo, she’s so interested in finding the Captain thru his contacts that she INTERRUPTS WaterWorksGuy AS HE’S MAKING A SHIP-TO-SHORE CALL TO THE GUY SHE’S TRYING TO FIND and drowns HIM, too. Boy, she really wants to find this Captain pretty bad. Good thing Doggett is on the case and knows where the Captain is…only because our bumbling trio shows up deux ex machina style and plugs into the Captain’s incoming phone call totally by accident, to keep the plot going…

    No wonder this Captain guy is such a threat to Conspiracy II. He can’t tell Grumpy Gunman isn’t his contact. Some counterconspiracy he’s involved in. Even better, he holds a gun to the head of A SUPERSOLDIER GUY WHO CANNOT DIE and says “Give me all the hard drives!” I would have loved to see that scene play out. We stand around for two hours while these guys all look for screwdrivers to obey, and the Captain runs off the ship with a 40 pound box of metal….Nahhh, just do the Highlander thing on him, too. I sure do hope Doggett and Reyes get each other Kevlar turtlenecks for Christmas….

    Not that the bad guys are doing any better. Who ordered the ship to base? Why? And what happened that justified torching a multimillion dollar state-of-the-art lab? Nobody was even close to uncovering this scandal, especially if they had just put back out to sea…But then we wouldn’t have had The Ticking Clock, and the explosion that knocks out windshields of cars but leaves our heros still standing/running, their eardrums intact…

    All the other regulars are having out of body experiences, too. Reyes just got to look cute and left the snappy lines to Skinner, who might as well start juggling bananas while he’s doing his role now to be even more entertaining. Forget Scully in the medical role – she claims she’s a scientist, does the shortest medical exam on record of a professed supersoldier before claiming HydoXena normal, and totally forgets she could have just stuck HydroXena in the tub for 5 minutes to verify her claims of breathing underwater. Instead, Scully is reduced to being the motivator for others, not herself – “my baby, my baby!” and convincing Mulder to leave??? Because he’s in danger? And this is supposed to be in character for either of them? The plot of the next movie is revealed! Fox follows a trail of gold dust to Kansas where he encounters an emerald-colored UFO and begs the occupants to abduct him again and give him Courage….

    Now we go into Monster of the Week mode for a while, with Doggett trapped between two believers. Since Monica is into the occult, it’s gonna be EVIL, not ALIENS for a while. Not even Robert Patrick’s great acting may be enough to save us from Millenium II. Now THERE’s a scary thought….

    Somehow I want to believe that Chris Carter is going somewhere with this as a story arc and as a series, but I dunno… I thought it was murky because it’s illogical, not convoluted. Somebody prove me wrong, please…

  5. xah says:

    we need some snap, some pop
    The two episodes so far have been boring. I like Lucy Lawless. I wish they would have written a more interesting character for her.

    But where has Reyes been? They need to focus on developing her character. We already know Doggett and Scully. Who is this Reyes? Is she a Mulderite, or a Scullyist? Why does she care about x-files? Is she just a nut, or did something happen in her past? Come one, develop Reyes!

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