X-Files Review – “Underneath”

We’re into the last ten episodes of the series. To read about #8 in the countdown, click “read more.”


Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully
Robert Patrick
as John Doggett
Annabeth Gish as Agent Reyes


Written and directed by John Shiban

Original Airdate

Underneath originally aired on Sunday, March 31, 2002.


In 1989, John Doggett and his partner found a man in a house with three dead bodies. The M.O. matched four previous killings. That man went to jail in 1989, but was released when DNA evidence cleared him in 2002. Doggett enlisted the help of Scully and Reyes to keep him in prison, but they were unsuccessful. Reyes realized that the extremely religious man had found a way to transsubstantiate into another man to appease his conscience, and the other man would do the killings. Doggett was unable to accept that explanation, even when he saw the man change after getting shot and killed.

High Point

Doggett’s “meat and potatoes” speech.

Low Point

Once again, Reyes is most useful as a victim, and as the person who makes the leap of logic that explains the X-file. They really need to find something else for her character to do.

The Review

How original was this episode? Well, they’ve had shape-shifters before, but the only one that did so reluctantly before was the werewolf back in Shapes. Still, it happened before. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects this week were very well done, but not plentiful. There were makeup effects, and some nice alterations in a single camera movement (ie. switching people, bloodying hands), as well as nice stunt work when Reyes found the lowest level of the cable access tunnel. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story was a nice touch, although there were a few points that were hard to stomach. Would the FBI allow Doggett to use their
resources investigating what appeared to be a dead end? Would the killer have been able to drag that many bodies down to that area in the caves under the city, especially without getting noticed? It was a great way to work on Doggett’s character, but it doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. I give it 3 out of 6.

The acting, once again, was great from Robert Patrick in
particular, and the guest stars in general. Gish still doesn’t seem too impressive, and Gillian Anderson has high and low moments, depending on the writing. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response this week was minimal. The only doubt I had about the outcome was whether or not the lawyer would survive. I give it 2 out of 6.

The production was almost flawless once again. The only aspect of the production design that bothered me was the massive lens flare at the end of the episode. It distracted from Doggett’s reaction, which should have been the focus of that shot. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this was entertaining, but forgettable. If you missed it, don’t go too far out of your way to catch the rerun. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Underneath received 23 out of 42.

Next Week

Next week we get Improbable, guest starring Burt Reynolds.

2 replies on “X-Files Review – “Underneath””

  1. Tick tock, runs down the X Files clock…
    Boy, Robert Patrick is a good actor. Too bad we have to occasionally shift the camera from him to get a few unnecessary shots of the redhead and the brunette – what were their names? I didn’t quite catch how they figured out the hair was planted…but who cares. Wow, no WONDER @Home went broke – digging up the entire underside of New York to put in multi-level, walk-upright cable access paths. That’s an X File right there in my book.

    • Re: Tick tock, runs down the X Files clock…

      I didn’t quite catch how they figured out the hair
      was planted…but who cares.

      Scully noticed that it wasn’t listed
      as evidence in the original forensics report from the
      scene, but it was listed in the evidence processed at
      the station.

Comments are closed.