X-Files Review – “Via Negativa”

The weekly X-Files review is back. Read more if you’re interested.


Last night saw the latest episode in “The Agent Doggett Show.” Via Negativa saw Doggett hunting down a cult leader who seems to have the ability to invade a person’s dreams and kill that person in his or her sleep.

Meanwhile, Scully was in the hospital under observation for severe abdominal pains. As a result, she had very little time on screen during this episode. In fact, she did two things for the plot of the entire episode; she introduced the potential for complications during pregnancy, and she woke Doggett up and saved his life at the end of the episode. Her participation for the last few weeks is hardly enough to warrant top billing in the opening credits.

Developing Doggett

Aside from the lack of Scully, this was actually a strong episode. Skinner and Doggett work well together, even if Doggett doesn’t subscribe to the typical “X-File explanations.” He does, however, recognize when the suspects do, and then learns what he needs to know to catch them. In this episode, he even seemed to subscribe to the typical paranormal theory by the end of the case.

The Other Characters

We may not have seen much of Scully this week, but we did have the Lone Gunmen. These guys are always great comedy relief, and I’m always happy to see them. (Only a few more weeks until their own show premiers…)

This episode also gave Skinner more screen time than he usually gets, which is definitely a good thing. It’s nice to see the underused characters get some of the focus from time to time. I’d be praising their use in this episode more, if it didn’t feel like Scully had been sacrificed yet again to accomodate the others.

The Work From Behind-The-Scenes

The plot would have felt much more original, if it weren’t for the similarities to Sleepless, which was recently released as part of the season two boxed set. It was still compellingly written, though, as we watched Doggett slowly coming apart at the edges, as the strain of a hospitalized partner, lack of sleep, and the knowledge that a mass murderer are on the loose begin to wear at him.

I should also mention that the make-up effects on this episode were very well done. The third eye seemed to be flush with the rest of the head, while most make up of this nature tends to stick out, obviously mounted on the skin. Also, Doggett’s face as he went longer and longer without sleep was extremely well done, and very convincing.

In Summary

This was another quality episode, following right after last week’s Redrum. Psychological elements were played out very well, and convincingly acted by Robert Patrick and those around him. I give it 2.5 stars out of 4.

5 replies on “X-Files Review – “Via Negativa””

  1. the third eye — digital?
    I agree that the “third eye” effect was quite stunning.

    wouldn’t it have been less expensive/simpler to do such a thing digitally in post production? then the actors and crew suffer a lot less on the set… who on the production crew could we ask about such a thing?

  2. Digital eye
    Perhaps the eye was digital; I’m not sure. Mat Beck is the visual effects guy, so he’s who you would ask. The hard part is figuring out how to ask him. Dave: if we can build the number of readers here, do you think we can do some interviews?

  3. Ah, the Scully *trend* … confirmed?
    I must say, I find that without Scully, this ain’t the X-files, this is just a very interesting Outer Limits. It was definately nice to see the Lone Gunmen, but I am the only one who seemed to feel a bit of … lack of sparkle? I dunno – it just wasn’t the same. They *really* should have Scully there to inject a bit more liveliness.

    Another topic – does anyone believe that we are going to see a mytharc episode soon? In this season? In all honesty, I didn’t even consider the season premiere to be much of a mytharc story; it just contained a couple of the elements of one (namely, the kid).

    Having said that, it was a good ‘n’ spooky episode, with a neat idea. I give it an X-files 2 out of 4 – an Outer Limits 3 out of 4.

  4. Mytharc
    Since they’ve started premiering in November, the mytharcs tend to wait. They usually have mytharcs for season premiers, season finales, and sweeps week, but the season premier is in November sweeps this time. Expect more mytharc in February. (I also expect 3-4 weeks of reruns to start fairly soon.)

  5. good episode
    It was a very scary episode. Doggett was very

    believable. I got sucked in. I think you really have to

    watch these things alone, in the dark, and with stereo


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