X-Files Review – “John Doe”

We’re a third of the way through the ninth season
of The X-Files. Can the show still
deliver? Read more to see what I think of the
latest installment.

Cast

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Mitch
Pileggi
as
Walter Skinner

Ramon
Franco
as
Nestor
Eduardo
Antonio Garcia
as Mariano Molina

Crew

Written by Vince
Gilligan

Directed by Michelle
MacLaren

Original Airdate


John Dow
originally aired on
Sunday,
January 13,
2002.

Synopsis

Doggett wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings to
find that someone is
trying to steal his shoes. Doggett gives chase,
and the two are
detained by the police who eventually take both
into custody. Doggett
realizes that he doesn’t know who or where he is.

Doggett is soon enlisted by the local drug cartel
to do grunt work.
He refuses to break the law, but he’ll work on
the cars they have. A
memory of his son keeps trying to resurface.
(The wife in his
flashback was played by Robert Patrick’s real
wife Barbara.)

Meanwhile, Reyes, Scully, and Skinner were
investigating Doggett’s
disappearance despite Kersh’s decision to cancel
the search and hand
it over to Mexican authorities. Reyes went to
Mexico anyway. (She
was born and raised there, it seems.)

After some traced phone calls and good legwork,
Doggett was found by
Reyes just before the local Mexican police came
looking for him.
Doggett and Reyes escaped with the aid of the
Mexican Federal Police
(who had help from Walter Skinner.) Doggett’s
memory returned
essentially through the strength of his own will.

Why did Doggett disappear? That’s actually a
fairly inconsequential
plot point, so I’ll skip that here so there are
still some surprises
for those who haven’t watched it yet.

High Point

The production. The use of lighting to establish
location, as well as
to show when a character is “in the dark,” not to
mention the use of
the traditional half-lit face convention to show
who is giving and who
is receiving information. The use of subtitles
only when Doggett is
not around so most of the audience gets the same
sense of frustration
that he has at the inability to communicate.
This episode was
extremely well directed, especially for a first
time director.

Low Point

The Review

As far as the originality goes, this
could have been much
more original, and much less like a combination
of Memento
and Traffic. I give it 3 out of 6.

The only visual effects this week were
the visual blurs used
to distinguish the flashbacks sequences from the
real time sequences,
and the glowing eyes. While they were done well,
there wasn’t much of
a challenge for them to do it. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The story this week wasn’t all that
tough to work through.
It wasn’t the focus, though. The main goal of
the episode was to
bring across the confusion that Doggett was going
through. This was
well done, but intercutting with the events back
home interrupted
that. In my opinion, that would have been better
left until after
Reyes and Skinner come rescue him, and then
explained in a sort of
round table session with Skinner, Reyes, and
Scully trying to jog
Doggett’s memory. I give the story 3 out of 6.

The acting this week was excellent.
Robert Patrick’s
performance was fantastic, particularly when he
remembered everything
about Luke. Even Gish seems to have finally
figured out her
character. I give it 5 out of 6.

My emotional response this week was
wrecked by cutting back
to the scenes of the investigators trying to
locate Doggett. The
tension and confusion that Doggett felt should
have been maintained
with the audience for as long as possible.
Instead, we saw a sudden
scene with enough exposition to predict all of
the major upcoming plot
points. The first part of the episode deserves a
5, but after the
scenes in the states it was more like a 1. On
average, I give it a 3 out
of 6.

The production this week was excellent.
They’ve been
bringing a lot of new people aboard in the last
couple of seasons, and
they know what they are doing. For more details,
see the High Point.
I give the production 6 out of 6.

Overall, this was a good episode, but
not
earth-shattering. It was entertaining, and a
highlight of the season
so far, but it was about average for the series
overall. I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, John Doe received 28 out of 42.

4 replies on “X-Files Review – “John Doe””

  1. Some hope for a Season 10?

    This episode was done fairly well, and I enjoyed it. It got me to thinking though, could this be a prelude to what a 10th season of The X-Files might be like? (assuming there is a 10th)

    Scully was pretty much a non-player in this episode. Her limited role could have been easily played by someone else. This show really gave us a good look at a Doggett/Reyes team running the program. I like their interaction although it is a bit forced at the moment. They certainly don’t have the Mulder/Scully chemistry yet. Its certainly possible for them to develop such rapport with each other, but I would hope it would be a little different.

    I’m curious as to what is going to happen to this show after this season finishes. Certainly I think Scully is done after this season. Another year of only half of the pair isn’t going to fly. My personal prediction…

    Since David doesn’t want to even make a cameo appearance on TV, Mulder can’t come back to Scully. So then she has to go to him. I predict that after whatever final life-threatening event takes place in the last few episodes that Scully will decide that to protect William and for the sake of her own sanity and happiness to go and be with Mulder. This leaves Doggett and Reyes to fight the good fight at the FBI. This would also transition nicely into a second movie where Doggett and Reyes go back and recruit Mulder and Scully to help with one last case.

    I know this isn’t exactly an earth-shattering idea, but I think this plot would be the easiest way to slide everyone in to a 10th season of X-Files with our hosts Doggett and Reyes. After watching “John Doe,” I think both of them could carry this show a couple more seasons at least.

    seth

  2. rickyjames says:

    Death Of A Thousand Cuts

    USA Today is reporting here that the X-Files has lost so much audience share that renewal for a tenth season is unlikely. I saw somewhere else the drop is 25% from this time last year. I really hate this because I LIKE Dogett and I LIKE Reyes but at this rate, they’re not gonna get a chance to establish themselves before Carter and Co. do a season-ending wrap-up on the M&S saga. And without Duchovney or even Lucy Lawless to brincg some continuity / closure, the end isn’t going to be pretty or satisfying…

    You know a show is on its last legs when they start doing the movie-of-the-week; just look at Sliders, may it rest in peace. As noted, this X-Files was a cross between Traffic and Memento. Even so, I thought it was a good, solid episode. Scully, Skinner and Kirsch added nothing, zip, nada to this story and only detracted from giving Patrick and Gish the screen time they need to build their characters into a solid following. They could take the X-Files to new heights if only Carter & Co. would let them….but no, their work is undoubtably cut in script writing roundtables and snipped on the cutting room floor…

    Further evidence to me they’re stuggling for ideas…next week’s “Skinner” (not the Walter kind) episode is, I think, based on this case in Australia….Let’s hope they skip the topical horror and go for character buildup.

    Ah, Monica, we hardly knew ye…..

    • rickyjames says:

      Re: Death Of A Thousand Cuts
      Oh, by the way, the murderess mentioned above was sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. A happy ending, I guess…the family clapped at the verdict.

  3. 777nick777 says:

    PLEASE END THE X-FILES!!
    I am not a die hard x-files fan since I only started watching it a some years back but I like the show none the less. I feel this should be the x-files last season. Actually I thought the show should have ended before mulder left and would never appear again except in movies. Now with Dana leaving I think x-files has changed too much to keep people interested.
    It’s time for the writers to start thinking about the best ending for the series that won’t suck too much because mulder won’t appear in it. Really to me Mulder and Dana were the main reason I watched the show and with mulder now gone the writers better be damn good to write a series ender without him while still leaving some opening for a movie.

    I read how people want it to go on for a few more seasons but how good will the show be by then?
    In my opinion not very good since this alien-government conspiracy has been stretched long enough.
    What does everyone else think?

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