Wednesday, 4 July 2018

The X-Files: Kill Switch

I can see why a lot of people criticize the turn the X-Files talk as it went on, and certainly in the fifth series I can see that it would disappoint a lot of the hardcore science fiction mythology enthusiasts. Killswitch maybe a perfect example of what people hate about this direction, but I actually think it is my favourite episodes of the entire show.
Visually it is a series of tableaux, some of them set in the real world and depicting The X-Files characters we are so fond of, and some of them set in a world of virtual reality created by a computer intelligence which has managed to get loose. Invest the episode embodies another of the characteristic 1990s sears which is actually one I have often written about here and is found in a lot of 1960s television programmes: The fear that our technology will become more intelligent than us, get loose and control us. This is exactly what happens in this episode, although honestly it's probably seems more realistic as a fear in the 1990s than it did in the 1960s. This was the age when computer equipment began to predict what we would want to do with it, also obviously is largely fails to live up to the expectation and the phrase damn you autocorrect became current.
So what stops this episodes of The X-Files ultimately being frightening is the reality that the technology described would never be a reality for most people. So I suppose 20 years later the closest we get is an Alexa listening to our conversations!
From the start the tableau chosen are very effective illustrating the mood of the episode. Since I'm finding it very difficult to find something to criticise in this episode just going to eulogize the scenes that I particularly like! I love the initial scene in The Diner. I love that the intelligence creates a meeting of gangsters just killing its own creator. I love that the CD-ROM which contains the Killswitch has music as a cover. I love that 20 years later theCD-ROM looks so dated and that where is the programme would probably be stored on some cloud rather than in a concrete form.
I love that invisigoth is living in a container, and I particularly love the lone gun man's reaction to her, one off pure awe. Her suggestion that she should take her handcuffs off with her teeth introduces a sexual tension to the episode, which is continued in the virtual reality scenes of Mulder in hospital, a hospital staffed by the sort of nurses who are usually only found in porrn! I love to recurring reference to maltose Mulder's use of porn in The X-Files, it's humanises him and makes him like the rest of us in comparison to the rather lofty ideals of scally. I have only just thought about this that's the fact that the artificial intelligence uses kinky porno type nurses in an attempt to get Mulder to tell it where the kill switch is, may mean that the artificial intelligence is aware of Mulder surfing porn on the internet. This forms another reference to the paranoia present throughout this episode.
I like the way the folk heroes of the information technology revolution are here depicted as almost Outlaws, living in poverty because of their art. Ultimately they lived in fear of their art, also esther gets what she wants because she uploads her consciousness to the internet, managing to give a message to the lone gunmen.
I have failed to mention the presence of religion in this one, this case a form of techno paganism, in which the fields the early Christians depicted the early pagans belonging to, are transformed into the internet.
Could this ever happen in reality? Alexa, stop it.

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