Three of a Kind 6×19: It’s the Three Stooges I’m not so sure about.


Michael Bolton and the Band.

Last time writers Gilligan and Shiban came together they gave us “Monday” (6×15), which I don’t hesitate to call a bit of television brilliance; one of the best X-Files episodes that no one ever talks about. I said in that review that we’d have to wait a while for the inspired team of Gilligan and Shiban to disappoint and, well, we’ve waited long enough. Okay, that sounds far more dramatic than I mean it to because “Three of a Kind” isn’t some kind of dismal failure. But while it pains me to say it, it’s not a rousing success either.

This episode picks up emotionally where “Unusual Suspects” (5×1) left off though it takes place many years hence. Femme Fatale Susanne Modeski is as much on Byers’ mind as the day she disappeared and ever since that day he’s been trolling “conventions” (of all kinds, apparently) looking for her. Like Cinderella she left and like Cinderella she shall return. And she does return. Only Cinderella already has a handsome prince and it’s not Byers.

After Byers tries to drown his sorrows… and himself… in a bucket of hotel ice, the Lone Gunmen get about the business of conspiracy hunting and they trick Scully into joining them. Yes, Scully and not Mulder because David Duchovny was off prepping for his directorial debut in “The Unnatural” (6×20), which aired before “Three of a Kind” but was filmed after.

Sadly, I think it’s the conspiracy plot itself that flounders. It doesn’t help that it revolves around Susanne Modeski, a character who was sufficient if not thrilling in “Unusual Suspects” but who’s even less fascinating reheated. She’s only interesting inasmuch as she inspires Byers to play the hero. And this is when the idea starts to shape up of the Lone Gunmen, and Byers in particular, as patriots and not just conspiracy geeks. If you aren’t sure, please re-consult the opening monologue.

But it’s geekiness that makes up the most enjoyable parts of this episode. Jimmy the Geek in particular almost steals the show. His character must have made an impression on Gilligan and Shiban too because they bring him back as his twin brother, “Kimmy the Geek” in the soon to come spin-off The Lone Gunmen. I’m glad they found a way to resurrect him. Now if only they could find a way to resurrect… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to the Gunmen themselves, this is a welcome chance for their characters to be fleshed out even further, though I’m not sure I can say with complete honesty that Langly or Byers move forward much. They’re pretty much the same people we see in “Unusual Suspects” even if Byers’ patriotism shines a little brighter. However, Frohike is established as the sensitive one here, which doesn’t come as a complete surprise. We first learned of Frohike’s less perverted, gentler side in “One Breath” (2×8) when he memorably shows up to pay respects at a comatose Scully’s bedside. Here, not only does he chivalrously come to a drugged Scully’s rescue, removing her from the Pervert Pool before they started groping her outright, but he also proves insightful and sympathetic when it comes to Byers’ broken heart, picking up on his odd behavior and giving him some rather sage advice. But let me not skip over that more interesting topic, Frohike rescuing Scully from the Pervert Pool.

All these years and I’m still not a fan of Bimbo Scully. I much prefer her Slap-A-Pimp persona (see “Tithonus”). However, while this version of Scully may not be my favorite, it’s ultimately a pseudo-check mark in the plus column because it’s another example of how diversified Season 6 allows Scully to be. She confronts, she slaps, she flirts, she tickles… And I will say that watching Scully return Morris Fletcher’s famous butt slap from “Dreamland” (6×4) satisfies the juvenile in me.

Yes, I smile with immediate delight to see Michael McKean back again in a cameo role as Morris Fletcher. Why is it that episodes that Vince Gilligan bears responsibility for always seem to have the strongest sense of continuity? Hmm… food for Fangirl thought.

Anywho, “Three of a Kind” like “Dreamland” before it is a bit of a Saturday Night Live reunion what with Michael McKean and now Charles Rocket guest starring. He’s actually the fourth Saturday Night Live alumnus to guest star this season, which says an awful lot about the overall tone of Season 6.

Not that you’ll hear this Fangirl complaining about “X-Files Light” (not this season, anyway), but “Three of a Kind” isn’t my favorite example of the genre. There are some cute, funny moments, but nothing particularly memorable. Between the two Lone Gunmen-centric episodes (two because I refuse in this moment to acknowledge the third), “Unusual Suspects” is definitely my favorite. Entertainment-wise they’re pretty comparable, but “Unusual Suspects” has the advantage of giving us new information on the history of the characters. “Three of a Kind” is just a diversionary romp, a weekend trip to Vegas, if you will.

And the Verdict is…

I want to like this episode more than I do. And, indeed, it is enjoyable; I looked forward to popping it in the player for the rewatch. But when I ask myself how rewatchable it is, the dirty truth is that outside of a sequential rewatch or a serious Lone Gunmen craving, I probably wouldn’t watch it just to watch it. In fact, I know I don’t.

I think the truth is that as much as I adore the Lone Gunmen, and Gilligan and Shiban, I’m just not invested in this storyline.

B

Chips:

After all these years, why does Susanne Modeski have the same haircut?

And we never hear from Susanne again. Funny, after that “Someday” line and the Lone Gunmen getting their own spin-off I expected her to return. Maybe Spotnitz, Shiban and Gilligan planned it but the series didn’t make it that far?

I really don’t get what “the government” is up to here. I know, I know… mind control. But why was “Timmy” planning to frame Jimmy? For what? And if they already had Susanne’s technology, why continue the expensive ruse? Kill her and get it over with. Maybe they were planning on tricking her into making more for them? I don’t know. But the vagueness of what they were really up to adds to the lack of urgency.

Scully’s a little dismissive of the Lone Gunmen considering last we saw them they were digging up dirt on Diana Fowley for her.

I’m still not sure why a little ole’ injection turned Scully into a ginger Marilyn Monroe.

Best Quotes:

Langly: What if she calls him back?
Byers: I trapped her cell number. If she calls him, it rings here.
Frohike: [Laughs] She’s gonna kick our a**. What do you need Scully for, anyway?
Byers: We’re up against agents of the government. We need our own government agent.
Langly: And that would be Mulder. Why do you want just Scully?
Frohike: [Chuckles] She’s gonna kick our a**.

———————-

Scully: [On Cell] Hello, Mulder? Can you hear me? I’m at the hotel. Where are you? What do you mean, “What hotel?” Las Vegas. I’m in Las Vegas, aren’t you? You called me. What do you mean you didn’t call me? [To self] Aw man! I am gonna kick their a**es.

———————–

Jimmy the Geek: [To Langly] Oh, go brush your hair, Michael Bolton!

———————-

Byers: It’s not her. They’re making her do this somehow.
Frohike: Buddy, now, I know something about the fairer sex. Trust me, you can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink.

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14 responses to “Three of a Kind 6×19: It’s the Three Stooges I’m not so sure about.

  1. I thought 3 of a Kind was a fun episode! I totally loved the continuity there with Morris Fletcher. I also loved seeing this version of Scully. Too funny. And anything with the Gunmen is +1 in my book.

    My annoyance was how geeky they portray defense contractors. I feel like, as a current defense contractor, I must stick up for myself and my colleagues. LOL. The majority of us are retired or separated military… huge percentage. Not so much nerdy. Also… defense contractors wouldn’t be having a super secret convention in Las Vegas. It’d be in a cleared facility… military base or government building. I am just saying.

    I seriously wish a TV show would hire me as a consultant to make sure everyone accurately portrays government and military personnel. I digress.

    The Suzanne Modeski thing annoys me, mostly because who thinks about someone they only met once, several years ago? And that one meeting wasn’t even a romantic encounter. Oh well.

  2. Oh, and also, the “go brush your hair, Michael Bolton” line made me choke on the chips I was eating. LMAO.

  3. I think the annoyance with Susanne can be explained by that when you think about someone fixating on someone else whom they’ve met once, especially if they know close to nothing about what kind of a person it is, it is disturbing.

    Also, I should finally get to reading this blog from Season 1. Just discovered today that a local store sells X-Files’ box sets at ~$20 per season, so I might as well prepare to invest in some soon-ish…

    • Outside of my Mulder and Scully obsession, I’m no hopeless romantic. However, I can dig “Love at First Sight” when it’s done well. I think the problem isn’t Byers’ fascination, which I find sweet, it’s that I don’t understand why he’s fascinated. Susanne isn’t particularly sympathetic or compelling. I just don’t see the appeal outside of her looks. If he’s going to play Knight in Shining Armor I have to believe the maiden he’s going into battle for is worth it.

      And at 20 bucks per, go for it, dude. Gone are the days when I had to pay $100+…

      • Maybe he’s so hopeless when it comes to women that Susanne is the only one he’s ever really spent any time with? Except Scully, of course, but as we all know, Agent Scully is already in love. 🙂 Yeah, I don’t get the draw with Susanne, but it’s quite adorable to see Byers in love. Byers has always been my favorite of the Lone Gunmen–I named my first computer after him–so for me, that’s the big draw of this episode. And flirty!Scully is hilarious. But in general, I agree with your review–it’s not a bad episode, but I don’t find it terribly compelling.

  4. -raises hand-
    Quick question?
    What injection are you referring to?
    I attempted to dig up what you had mentioned, but the great google god did not deliver. D:
    Sorry for the inane question, was just curious.

  5. I liked this episode back in the days and I still do.
    It is always a pleasure to get an episode involving our 3 favorite computer geeks.

    Sure, as you mentionned, the plot is a little flat, but apart from that, I like it.
    Special mention to Jimmy as you said.

    What I like about this episode is that it can play the role of a test for the forthcoming Lone Gunmen TV Show. And you can see it’s got a lot of potential. It’s not only a retrospective of TLG past and stuff, we get to see what they do everyday.
    I loved the Lone Gunmen TV Show, alas, it didn’t last. But it’s always nice to see the other Chris Carter crew’s work gravitating around the X-Files Universe. Because it’s always full of winks, references, even crossovers.

    Oh, and you’re fight about the return of Morris Fletcher in a cameo. I always forget he made an appearance in that episode, and everytime I see him teasing Scully with all the other romeos, I’m like “F#ck yeah !”
    If only that guy could have been more regular in the X-Files…. (Episode “Jump the Shark’, I’m looking at you.)

  6. Just finished watching it for the first time.

    Thought it was a lot of fun and made me smile a couple of times. DS sassy bimbo routine was so against type I guffawed and seeing Fletcher get his butt smacked was great….continuity as you say.

    Other than that I thought it was a mediocre episode. Not worth a re watch in the future but then I’m a completist..(is that a word?)

    • There has to be an urban dictionary somewhere on the web with “completist” in it. Besides, The X-Files tends to have that effect on all of us, else I would have never stuck around for Season 9.

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