I had a similar reaction at the ending of “Darkness Falls” to the one I had at the end of “Gender Bender” (1×13). “Gender Bender” left me overwhelmingly curious as to what kind of show this could be. What kind of writers would let an audience waste an hour only to not give them any answers in the end? Wasn’t the whole point of a mystery to solve it? Similarly, Darkness Falls had me wondering if this kind of television was even legal. There’s a rule, possibly written on a tablet of stone, which says that heroes must solve the crime and escape in the end by the skin of their wits. There was no escape for Mulder and Scully in this one. They just got lucky.
Paint me easy to please, but I love it when the action takes place is a dark, dense forest right out of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. One can believe almost anything frightening in a forest at night. The dark claustrophobia reminds me of “Ice” (1×7) and there are quite a few parallels between the episodes. Mulder and Scully are stranded in the middle of nowhere, trapped like mice with a dangerous bug on the loose. Their companions may or may not be stable and there’s palpable tension within the group. Oh, and Scully can’t be too sure about Mulder’s sanity… though that’s every episode, really.
The tension between the two of them doesn’t last, however. After they let off a little steam they quickly realize they’d better stick together. And they do that almost literally. Before we knew it, Mulder and Scully have already started having conversations with their heads mere fractions of an inch apart. These two people just do it for me, I don’t know what else to say. Maybe it’s the way Mulder talks to her so earnestly and the way she responds; she looks at him with expressions that are so childlike, so trusting.
Speaking of trust, I have already contended that Mulder is a trusting soul, haven’t I? Well, here again he follows his instincts instead of his judgment by believing Spinney, the man of cartoon mustache and Droopy Dog eyelids. Maybe the eyes are what win Mulder over. Regardless, it’s very like him to store all his eggs in one basket without sitting down to check it for holes. Yet, once more, it’s Mulder’s instincts that save the day. Spinney did come back and if he hadn’t brought them as far down the mountain as he did, maybe the rescue team wouldn’t have found them in time.
And the Verdict is…
I remember the first time I watched “Darkness Falls” being shocked that Mulder and Scully were actually overcome by the insects. That’s not supposed to happen! As I said before, you don’t see protagonists defeated often on TV now and you certainly didn’t see it back then. That’s part of why I’ve always enjoyed this one. It’s not a hallmark episode, but it’s solid and it’s effective, which helps soften the disappointment I feel over the previous two episodes.
Also in the plus column, the little green mites aren’t overdone and so the special effects aren’t dated in the way that they could be. Not to mention, that cocoon thing is a horrifying concept.
Why don’t the lights from the car save Spinney? They’re brighter than the light that was in the cabin.
Why don’t they try patching the tire from the start?? They could have patched it the second day and then driven out first thing in the morning on the third. Maybe those mites had started nibbling away at their brains.
For that matter, if Spinney could get out, they all could have.
On the second night, Spinney leaves the group to go to sleep in his own room. His own, very dark room…
The insects have spread out that fast? They can travel a day’s journey from their origin just to attack? If that’s the case, how do they know they’ll be safe if they just get off the mountain? What’s to stop the insects from following them further?
Interesting that there are actually two X-Files episodes (see “Detour” 5×4) where tree ring dating comes up as a topic. Whatever course Chris Carter took in college that left him fascinated, the professor must’ve been hot.
The fog in this episode is priceless. Anything a production crew can do God can do better.
I just finally understood that the “party favors” Mulder was referring to was a bag of pot. It only took me ten or eleven rewatches. But do you really want to be working heavy equipment while you’re high? That’s like asking to be maimed.
There is no way, no way on this side of Jordan that I would find myself cutting into a giant cocoon. What if there were baby spiders in there or something??
Mulder: Take a good look, Scully.
Scully: What am I looking at?
Mulder: 30 loggers working a clear-cutting contract in Washington state. Rugged, manly men in the full bloom of their manhood.
Scully: Right. What am I looking for?
Mulder: Anything strange, unexplainable, unlikely… boyfriend.
Scully: I think it’s a male.