X-Files Review – “Surekill”

We’ve just had two weeks of reruns, but yesterday new episodes of The X-Files came back on the air. Click “Read more” to see my thoughts, and then post your own.


The FBI is called in when a hysterical real estate agent is killed while in a police holding cell. It seems this expert marksman has been shooting people through exterior walls of buildings for a while, but this was the first time the target wasn’t a drug dealer.

Agents Scully and Doggett determine the victim is linked to an extermination company with three employees, Dwight, Dwight’s brother Randall, and Dwight’s girlfriend Tammy.

Through the course of the investigation, Agents Scully and Doggett learn that the legally-blind Dwight and his brother Randall have been bumping off the drug dealers, taking the drug money, and laundering it through the real estate agent.

Scully also figures out that Randall has the ability to see through walls, which is what allows him to make these incredible shots. It seems he also was romantically involved with Tammy, and he killed the real estate agent to prevent Dwight from learning that Tammy was embezzling money from the company.

Once Dwight learns of the embezzlement through Scully and Doggett’s investigations, he figures out what’s going on, and catched Tammy before she can skip town with Randall. He tries convincing Randall to kill her, but is killed himself instead. In the end of the episode, Randall is in custody, and Tammy is on the lam.

Scully’s Role

Finally, Scully is back in action as a partner instead of a glorified extra. Rather than just spouting off Mulder-esque theories, she actually took part in the investigation, tracking the location of the shooter in the hit on the real estate agent. She interrogated Randall when he was brought in for questioning after a hit on drug dealers, and she dug up the proof on embezzlement during the search of AAA-1 Surekill Exterminators.

Details aside, it’s great to finally see her back in action. Also, I must say, she’s looking mighty thin for a person who’s about seven months pregnant. This could eventually be one of the most overdue children on the air.

Thoughts on Doggett

Once again, Doggett’s broad range of experience come sinto play. He hates twins, because they never rat each other out. He tested the IR tracking equipment in the marines, so he could effectively rule out its use in the rooftop killing of the real estate agent. He did everything but run into an old friend this time around. (Maybe they’re saving that for Feb. 25.)

All that aside, he works as an FBI agent. He showed a tolerant mild amusment when Scully suggested a killer with x-ray vision, but he didn’t insult the notion as most of the show’s sceptics have in the past.

Acting, writing, etc.

The acting by the stars is as convincing as always in the Monster-of-the-week episodes. There were no extreme emotional responses required, but it was convincing nonetheless.

The guest actors all did a fine job, whether it’s acting legally blind, running scared from an authority figure, or trying to get police protection from a killer.

The writing on the episode was also up to par with the MOTW episodes. Doggett’s characterization was also ably brought forth with the comment about twins, and the investigation of the strong box. Overall, there were no moments that particularly stand out as either good or bad.


All in all, this was a typical MOTW episode. I give it 2.5 stars out of four.

7 replies on “X-Files Review – “Surekill””

  1. Dana Sculder
    It was a good episode, but one of thing that’s really starting to bother me is Scully as the Mulder clone.

    It’s something that seemed to work OK for the first few eps (perhaps because it was new), but now something about it just doesn’t seem right. Consider a couple of scenes. The first, where they’re examining the cell the realator got capped in: 10 seconds in the room and Scully’s looking up for bulletholes, even before the officer shows them the vent. Also, when she’s interviewing Randall, she makes the leap that he’s watching and mimicing his brother in the other room rather quickly, IMO. It’s like they just erased Mulder’s name from the scripts and plugged in Scully’s name in place.

    I know you’ve got to have this “outlandish theory” element for the show to work: otherwise, it’s just two FBI agents wandering around wondering what the hell is going on. It just seems that the writers are dumping 7-odd years of Scully skepticism rather easily for the convienience of the current storyline.

  2. Scully checking for bullet holes
    While I agree that the leap to “he’s a lip-reader” was rather fast and convenient, having Scully look up for bullet holes was not out of the question. She started looking because the bullet entered through the top of the victim’s head while he was standing at the door. Looking up is just logical.

    And, by the way, do agree with jayhawk. Season 8 Scully does seem a lot like season 1 Mulder. Wild theories come out of nowhere, and the whole sequence of tracing the bullet trajectory through the roof and sticking the pencil in reminds me of the police work Mulder did with the fingerprints on the glasses in Shadows, or tracking the truck in E.B.E.

  3. it was okay
    “Surekill” wasn’t great, but it was okay. You might

    call it a sci-fi “Of Mice and Men” with a twist: in the

    end, the dumb guy kills the smart guy instead of the

    other way around. You kind of felt sorry for the big,

    dumb guy with clairvoyance. He couldn’t relate to

    anyone. The woman he latched on to was naturally

    weirded out by him. I don’t think she would have come

    back to the bus stop to pick him up. She was taking

    off. If he had been smarter, he would have insisted on

    going to the bank with her. Maybe he wanted to be sure

    that she loved him, though, so he let her go in order

    to test her.

    The “x-ray vision” thing was interesting. Even if he

    could detect x-rays, there wouldn’t be enough of them

    in the background to make anything out. There was no

    suggestion that he emitted x-rays. (That would be

    dangerous, anyway.) When the camera went inside

    “Lennie’s” eyes we saw that he saw normal colors

    through walls. He didn’t look through people’s

    clothing, or such. It seems that he could look in an

    adjacent room, but only in the direction that he was

    actually looking. And he could only see inside if the

    lights were on in that room. Thus, it was more like

    clairvoyance than x-ray vision. (How did Lennie, the

    dumb guy, know about the book, if the smart guy didn’t

    know about it? The book was in a metal container (no

    lights), so Lennie’s clairvoyance shouldn’t have worked

    in there.)

    Did the smart guy know about his brother’s

    clairvoyance? There’s no telling. Maybe he was unaware

    of his brother’s special power.

    After watching Oliver Stone’s JFK, we know all about

    bullets taking crazy angles after striking hard

    substances. Thus the question, why didn’t the bullets

    ever miss when Lennie shot through wood, stone, brick,


    With more and more of these montster of the week

    episodes, it’s becoming apparent that the X-Files

    universe is like the X-Men universe where there are

    lots of uncanny mutants with mysterious powers. Only

    that in the X-Files universe, there is no School for

    Gifted Mutants and no Charles Xavier. Maybe Mulder

    should come back from space (after spending time with

    the Shi’ar?) and start such a school. Cool idea?

  4. Re: the magic bullet
    After watching Oliver Stone’s JFK, we know all about bullets taking crazy angles after striking hard substances. Thus the question, why didn’t the bullets ever miss when Lennie shot through wood, stone, brick, etc….?

    They tried, vaguely, to explain that one away, by mentioning that the bullets were teflon-coated AP (armour-piercing) rounds, which do continue to fly fairly straight after going through “soft” materials like wood. (Where our boys would actually GET some of those is a tricky question indeed, but hey, one reality gap at a time. :)

  5. Response to xah
    Just a couple of notes: I think Dwight did know about Randall’s ability. He was not surprised when Randall told him he was repeating what he said in the interrogation, and I doubt he thought he was actually killing the drug dealers by pointing at them and saying “Bang.”

    As far as Randall’s bullets not getting deflected, well, when you can see what’s in a wall, you can aim to miss pipes, joists, etc.

  6. X-ray vision
    Perhaps the idea behind Randall’s ability was that he could see X-Rays (or some other, perhaps unknown type of light), and even though the information he’d get from this source of light would be limited, his mind would fill in the details. Sort of like what happens when you look at optical illusions: your brain makes assumptions of what your looking at, and shows you what it wants.

    If you wanted to take it a step further, you could also say this was the reason for his apparent slight mental retardation. His brain was too busy trying to cope with all the extra information it was recieving.

  7. Re: the twins.
    Remember, they were twins. The leading theory at my house was an, um, interesting variation on how Siamese twins work: one brother got more than a share of the brains, the other got more than a share of the visual acuity.

    Well, at least there aren’t as many holes in that theory as some other possible ones…

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