The X-Files: Mind's Eye
You're all going to have to bear with me as I go into my usual raptures when blogging about some of my favourite TV. As is usually the case this is a show with somewhat lukewarm reviews, and I can't for the life of me think why.
This show picks up on so much in the X-Files universe, which is ours, and deep seams of richness.
We have the obvious aspect of 'remote viewing', and I'm afraid I've got one criticism here. What was Mulder playing at not mentioning the Stargate Project which was in the public domain when this one was made? You've gotta love the US government for spending billions of $ on researching psychics. It's one of those cases where it looked like it was positive unless you looked at the whole evidence, when the results didn't exceed chance, but this was just asking to be dragged in and have Mulder and Scully disagree about the research and the nature of the evidence. This is even the actual subject matter of the show but didn't get mentioned.
Then we have the workings of law enforcement being completely baffled by this blind woman who is an apparent murderer and being forced to bring in The X-Files. One of the things I love most about this episode is the way the personalities of all the police officers come across loud and clear: I love the one who gives Marty the phone when she's still banged up and is pissed that she won't let him listen in. I love the cute one with the moustache who gives her her property back and is still on desk duty when she comes back to 'confess' to another murder. I particularly love the detective who calls in Mulder and Scully, his worn out attitude. This is some excellent writing here.
I particularly love the way Marty's personality comes across loud and clear. I have read that she was intended to be a very unsympathetic character and designed to elicit no sympathy because that's the way the plot was written. Of course Mulder can see through that and he knows that she sees things, but of course she won't admit that because being traumatised and blind is enough for anyone to deal with without getting sectioned as well.
But none of this is what the show is really about, and regular readers will detect a trend developing here where I'm taking a heavily chewed-over show and describing a significant underlying theme, which I'm taking to be the real point of the show.
It's not remote viewing, it's not even blindness as such (more the way you react to it) but it's about Marty and her mother's killer, and the crappy childhood she had. The detective is pleased when she signs a confession but of course she hasn't done the crime, even though she knows the details because she's seen it with her inner eye.
Except what she's seeing is intimately bound up with her own childhood, and it takes Mulder's explorations to find that out. She's had a perfectly horrendous childhood and life, and that is what Mulder suspects has given her the gift. He gives the best description I've ever seen of how that significant trauma has affected the rest of her life and explains why she's confessed to a crime she hasn't done. The events of her childhood also fully explain why her adult life is a complete mess and this is why she has been designed to be an unattractive personality. This isn't about second sight, it's about the effect of Marty's trauma on the rest of her life.
There is a subset of this theme which is about her blindness. On a superficial viewing you get distracted by the reaction of the sighted people around her to someone who is deaf and fascinated or repelled by her attitude. In reality we see in Marty exactly the way someone in her situation would deal with their disability, and the rest of the world: with conflicting emotions, sadness, seeking safety, finding ways of coping, and anger, and every other emotion. As a portrait of the effect of a disablity or long-tern health condition, I don't think this can be bettered. The combined 'imprisonment' of the effects of trauma and blindness is portrayed by the repeated use of bars and police cells; ironically the final use of this image is right at the end and indicates that Marty will never actually be free from her life-long prison.
Scully here takes the sceptical role and I think that is another valid criticism of this episode. Once you take the second sight aspect out of the equation the aspects of trauma, disability and poverty hit you in the face and I really think they would have hit Scully like that. But it's Mulder leading on the touchy-feely stuff.
I love the twist in the plot in this episode - necessary to stop it being a straightforward narrative and essentially an episode of Columbo!
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Great episode of a great show! I've been slowly rewatching each episode and then listening to The X-Files Revisited podcast. A fun way to rewatch, since I've seen the show a few times now. Loved recording (on VCR) back when it was new, but also have nostalgia for when it aired in reruns at 5pm each night. Was what I watched while making dinner for my family. Good memories, great show.ReplyDelete
I'll look up the podcast, thanks for mentioning it! Funny, everyone has a nostalgia for the first broadcastings of the X-Files, although I think 5pm would have been too early for it here. Mine was being a student nurse on a ward known as hell's kitchen and rushing home on the bus after a late shift to watch it!Delete
Well, the 5pm reruns were second (and third and fourth) viewings. I watched originally as it aired each Friday and then Sunday night. I do have late night nostalgia, for Friday the 13th: The Series. Used to stay up each Saturday night to catch that show at 11:30 or midnight! Late, but I was young! :)Delete
And now here you are commenting at 1:30am in Britain! 😁Delete
It's 1:30 am somewhere! 😉Delete