The X-Files

air date: 12-09-01

By their very nature, parallel world tales cause headaches. Not as bad as time travel ones, but still painful. But when the X-Files team tells one, you'd better stuff a tissue up your nose before watching, because something is bound to start bleeding.

Shocking before even rolling the title credits, 4-D begins with Reyes and Doggett either dead or about to become so. They were on the trail of a serial killer who enjoys cutting out the tongues of his female victims. At every attempt to corner him, he seems to just vanish. Upon slashing Reyes' throat and stealing her gun, it becomes apparent that the killer, Lukesh, can actually step through folds in space and time.

Cornered by Doggett, Lukesh pulls his vanishing act, then shoots him. But across town, a completely unharmed Reyes accepts a housewarming gift of Polish Sausages from a bullet-free Doggett.

The FBI discovers the dying Doggett, while the healthy one disappears from Reyes' apartment. Puzzled, Reyes races to the hospital (and time seems to compress), only to find out that Doggett was shot with her gun, and a lone witness claims to have seen her running from the scene. Assistant Director Fulmer would like to believe her innocence, but the witness seems credible.

That witness lives in an apartment with his invalid mother, where he feeds her sandwiches made from fresh tongue. But no one in the FBI has any reason to question this Mr. Lukesh, for here he is not wanted for murder.

Reyes proves herself to be the Mulder stand-in, as with little reason to do so, she leaps to the parallel universe theory. Perhaps because he's dying, the parallel Doggett accepts this as the answer, tapping out that it only makes sense.

Even with Scully showing up to offer that she had once had a ghostly visitation from her father, Reyes holds to her theory. Add that to her insistence in Daemonicus that true evil was afoot, and you have to give Reyes credit for being her own kind of character. The only theories she will accept are her own, even if others offer paranormal explanations.

As for Scully, once again she has little to do. Except for reminding viewers of episodes past, her exposition could easily have been handled by Fulmer or Skinner. If Fox is going to make Gillian Anderson fulfill her contract for this season, at least give her something to do - or let her take a few episodes off.

But clearly, the powers that be want to make us forget that things are different. So we have Scully showing up every now and then as if to say "Hey! This is still The X-Files!" Despite Fulmer obviously still having feelings for Reyes, the sexual tension is supposed to be simmering between her and Doggett, a move that feels forced.

Don't believe me? Watch those little intimate gestures between the two, in particular her wiping relish from his lip. Something is supposed to be going on between them, but only because something went on between Mulder and Scully. Then it built over eight seasons; now we may be lucky if it takes eight episodes.

But the way that Skinner and Fulmer look at each other…

Derek McCaw




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