The ninth episode of the ninth season of The
X-Files
was shown last night. You know
where to find my thoughts and add your own. I’ve
also got some general information about the rest
of the series appended to the end of this review.

Cast

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Don
Swayze
as Terry Pruit

Crew

Written by David
Amann

Directed by Kim
Manners

Original Airdate


Hellbound
originally aired on
Sunday,
January 27,
2002.

Synopsis

Some members of a group of ex-cons who are
attending anger management
classes experience visions foretelling the deaths
of people who are
skinned alive. Soon, the people with the visions
begin to die in just
that manner.

Reyes brings the X-Files unit in on the case with
very little evidence
to suggest that it is, in fact, an X-File.
During the course of the
investigation, Scully learns that this sort of
killing spree has
happened before, and that the people who died
this time were born on
the days the previous round of victims died.
This evidence is enough
for Reyes to finally reveal that she feels a
powerful connection to
the case that she doesn’t understand.

Doggett and Reyes follow a lead to an old mine,
where they find
evidence of the event that started the series of
killings. In the
late nineteenth century, four miners skinned
another man, and were not
convicted in court. The victim and the killers
have been repeatedly
reborn, allowing the victim to exact revenge by
killing the others.
Reyes seems to be the reincarnation of a police
officer who is always
around, but never able to stop the killings. In
the end, the killer
was stopped before claiming the fourth victim.

High Point

Doggett’s reaction to the supernatural
suggestions. Robert Patrick
does an excellent job every week. This time, the
deep breath before
the “what do you think it is?” line, and his
general attitude during
that whole scene were just perfect.

Low Point

There were a couple of low points this week. It
seems I forgot to
include a low point last week, so I’ll do both
this week.

The first was Scully’s
conversation with the researcher who checked for
records in the past
dozen years, and accidentally included one from
42 years earlier that
was a perfect match. That just doesn’t make
sense. It wouldn’t have
been hard to write that agent as someone
competent enough to spot the
fact that that was the only other case with a
victim skinned alive,
and to provide it on that basis. That would have
been far more
plausible. (It’s what Agent Pendrell would have
done.)

The second part that bugged me was the lack of
relationship between
Reyes’ incarnate self and the lack of
documentation on that
personality. The lack of information strikes me
as awkward storytelling.

The Review

As far as originality goes, this is the
second time the
series has used a form of reincarnation (at least
this blatantly,) and
the first time they’ve had this manner of death.
Still, it felt like
old material. (In fact, it felt like Dead
Again
with some
gore.) I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects this week were all make-up
effects, but they were
well done. (At least, they looked convincing to
me. Those of you
who’ve seen a skinned body may disagree.) I give
the effects 5 out of
6.

The story this week was rather pedantic.
It really felt like
it was an old script that they were just throwing
together to get
another episode out. It didn’t feel fleshed out
at all. I give it 2
out of 6.

The acting this week was great from
everyone but Gish.
Since Reyes was at the focus of events this week,
that’s a very bad
thing. I give the acting 4 out of 6.

This week’s episode just didn’t draw me in. The
emotional
response
wasn’t there. Perhaps it’s because
reincarnation
stories never do much for me. I found that the
identity of the
killer was predictable, as were the identities of
the victims. I
found that I really didn’t care if these victims
lived or died. I
felt bored more than anything else. I give it 2
out of 6.

The production was, once again,
excellent. The only flaw was
the slow pace used by the director. A slow pace
works very well in
some things (such as a Kubrick film) but a
psychological thriller
needs to move quickly enough that the viewer
doesn’t have time to
guess at what’s coming. The problem was that the
script really only
had 30 minutes of screen time that it could
cover, and it had 44
minutes to do. In my opinion, they should have
taken the opportunity
to develop character interactions, particularly
between Doggett and
Reyes, to help build the caricature of Reyes into
a character. She’s
still pretty one dimensional, and focusing on her
for an entire
episode without developing her at all just drove
that point home.
Normally I like the episodes Kim Manners does,
but this week’s just
didn’t wash because he didn’t demand that they fix
the script. I give
the production 4 out of 6.

Overall, this was an entirely
forgettable episode. I
give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Hellbound received 23 out of
42.

Notes on the Future

The first thing I should say is that Fox has
decided to pre-empt
The X-Files during February sweeps. New
episodes are not
expected until February 24. I’ll let you know if
they come any
earlier.

As we all know,
this is the
last season of The X-Files. So far we’ve
had 9 episodes this
season, and we’ve been told to expect 20. (The
final episode will be
number 201.) The crew at Ten Thirteen have
announced that they will
not be adding any more mytharc episodes than they
had originally
planned. So, that means we can expect just the
finale. They’ve also
announced that Agent Leyla Harrison, named after
a fan, will return
for episode 12 this season (titled “Scary
Monsters.”) A future
episode (I think it’s number 14) will guest star
Burt Reynolds.
Finally, they’ve also announced that they will
wrap up the cliffhanger
series finale of The Lone Gunmen in
episode 15 of this season.