The X-Files

air date: 12-02-01

A middle-aged couple fall victim to shadowy, demonic looking killers. Authorities find their bodies posed in a ritualistic fashion, and the FBI calls in Agent Reyes as their resident expert. With Doggett by her side, she would call it a hoax, if not for the palpable aura of evil surrounding the site.

It may turn out to be a fluke, but writer/director Frank Spotnitz has brought us back to the feel of classic X-Files. This could be an episode about the supernatural, or it could be about an exceptionally clever man of evil. Only the hairs on the back of your neck know for sure.

Finally the new team gets to be front and center, with their strengths and weaknesses meant to play off each other instead of the shadows of Mulder and Scully.

Yes, Scully is still here, largely relegated to her new role as instructor of forensic sciences at Quantico. (And a smart move that is, too.) Spotnitz re-defines her as an agent willing to accept the unbelievable, but only after science has rule out everything else. We may have heard it before, but it comes as a relief after two episodes in which her incredulity bordered on the outright stupid.

Reyes gets to remind us that she has occult sensitivities, a fact which gets played a little heavy-handedly here. She makes up for it, though, by maintaining a leather ensemble that says she wants to kick Satan's ass. If The X-Files falters this season, let Fanboy Planet be the first to suggest Annabeth Gish for the proposed Birds of Prey series.

The investigation takes them to a mental hospital, where they encounter Dr. Kobold (James Remar), a meditating inmate prone to hearing voices. Only incidentally does Doggett reveal the reason for his personal revulsion: Kobold manipulated eight co-eds into becoming fertilizer for his garden.

While the two killers strike again, this time one at the other, Kobold claims to be linked to them via Hellepathy. He can lead the agents to the victims, but for some reason never in time.

Is he truly possessed, or is he still masterfully manipulating a game in which Doggett, Reyes, and Scully are merely pieces? To Spotnitz' credit, he leaves it open-ended enough to satisfy those who choose to believe either way.

This episode also smacks of Spotnitz' directorial bid for an Emmy nomination. Visually more flashy than the usual X-File, Daemonicus features a lot of cross-fading of key images. The effect may jar long-time fans used to a more somber look, but it hurries the pace of the episode in a nifty fashion.

If we could, in fact, forget about the old episodes for a while, this would be a good thing. Let Doggett and Reyes find their own footing investigating these weird cases, and pretend that no conspiracy lurks beneath them.

Just maybe, this will give them the chance that they deserve.

Derek McCaw



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