Surekill 8×9: Calling Clark Kent


Surekill23.jpg

Meanwhile, Scully’s wardrobe choices have been excellent.

Whelp, Season 8’s been going along at a fairly good chop, especially considering the ship is sailing without Mulder. But every season has to bomb sometime. And for Season 8, that time is now.

This is only writer Greg Walker’s second X-File. The first one was the very promising “Brand X” (7×19). “Brand X” had many classic X-File elements and was on the verge of greatness, but I’m sorry to say that despite also harkening back to earlier seasons in style and substance, “Surekill” left me bored.

“Surekill” centers around two fraternal twin brothers, Dwight and Randall Cooper, who together run a pest extermination business, human pests included. In some strange twist of fate or science, Randall was born with super eyesight, x-ray vision, in fact. Dwight got the short stick and was born legally blind. Either the force is seeking balance or Randall got some of what belonged to Dwight. On the flipside, Dwight clearly got all the brains. Because of that, and likely because of guilt over having taken the eyesight that rightfully belonged to his brother, Randall is completely under his thumb. Dwight exploits his brother’s x-ray vision and his slow wits by having him shoot drug dealers through walls, ceilings and other places unseeable. Then the two go in and steal the money someone else already illegally earned.

All that I understand. But if Randall somehow got his superpower at the expense of his brother, one would think Dwight would have been born completely blind and not just legally blind. As it is, Dwight only acts like he can’t see when he feels like it.

Anywho, trouble comes in the form of a woman, Tammi, who works for them and plays a classic femme fatale trope. She’s the femme fatale who acts like a damsel in distress and robs you behind your back. Dwight sleeps with her while Randall stares at her… and stares at her… and stares at her…

Really, is x-ray vision sexy? Because I’ve seen x-rays and they’re not sexy. But Randall’s vision has a funny way of stopping just where he wants it to, and it appears he can stop at Tammi’s flesh without seeing through to her bones. Which I suppose is why he rented the apartment next door to hers so that he can stare through the walls at her taking a shower. Randall was somewhat sympathetic before that little scene. But I find it hard to sympathize with the Ultimate Peeping Tom, however Scully may think it’s romantic that he only wanted to look at Tammi. What an absurd way to try to make the story emotionally compelling as an afterthought.

The problem with “Surekill” is that it spends a lot of time on the Surekill Exterminations team and I’m not interested in any of them. I don’t like them. I don’t hate them. I don’t feel pity or anger toward them. I’m certainly not interested in their little love triangle. If nothing more is at stake than one of them killing each other, what does that matter to me?

If anything, the characters are off-putting and I’d be happy to see them destroy each other. Dwight is skeevy and Randall’s creepy, Dwight demanding what sounds like yet another round of obligatory sex from Tammi in his office while he knows Randall’s looking on through the door. Yep. I hope they do die.

Worse than that, there’s nothing that distinguishes the plot either. The teaser starts off fabulously; a terrified man runs into a police station asking for protection from an assassin and is killed in a locked cell while in police custody. That definitely qualifies as an X-File. Sadly, from there the story slowly peters out, becoming less and less interesting until, by the end, I don’t really care how it’s resolved.

Verdict:

X-Ray vision alone isn’t enough to build an X-File upon, it seems. So a criminal uses his superpowers to spy on a girl and kill other criminals. So what?

I complained in “Patience” (8×4) that the baggage of building Scully and Doggett’s relationship got in the way of the plot a little bit. Here, I wish it had. At least then I’d have something to think about. Scully and Doggett are already acting like they have a routine. Well, when did they get a routine and I missed it?

And I might add, Scully and Doggett observe without doing much to actually solve the case. Dwight, Randall, and Tammi all stay one step ahead of them.

Stupid ain’t cute.

C+

Rats:

I understand that Randall can see through walls, but how is it that those bullets of his can go through anything and everything?

These guys don’t sound like they’re from Massachusetts.

The way this case resolves itself while Scully and Doggett play catch up reminds me of “Die Hand Die Verletz” (2×14).

Doggett makes an Elvis reference… I miss Mulder!!

Dwight Cooper is played by Michael Bowen of, you guessed it, Breaking Bad. Because you know I love my X-Files/Breaking Bad connections.

Did you spot James Franco?

Best Quotes:

Dwight: I sent him a ham every Christmas till he finally told me he was a Jew.

——————–

Doggett: Calling Clark Kent.

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4 responses to “Surekill 8×9: Calling Clark Kent

  1. Pingback: Salvage 8×10: More powerful than a speeding locomotive. | Musings of an X-Phile

  2. I felt that they spent way too much time focusing on the brothers and Tammi instead of on Scully and Doggett. It almost felt like the episode was about Dwight solving the mystery of how he was getting screwed over by Tammi. It didn’t really feel like Scully and Doggett were doing much of anything. Scully surely jumped to x-ray vision fast…and I wasn’t even surprised. I think she’s missing Mulder and trying to channel him so much that it’s clouding how she views creepy dudes. I found that moment of Scully calling the whole situation with Randall romantic so odd and not like her.

    Scully and Doggett do seem very comfortable in their partnership now. It feels light and Scully seemed happy/amused by him…more so than in the past. And yet, their interactions are lacking any real magic. I found myself mostly staring at Scully’s hair. It’s quite glorious.

    Side note: I never felt this, but I know some people got the impression that Doggett ends up liking Scully romantically this season. I’m trying to see this on this rewatch if I ever feel any kind of shift on his part. What is your opinion on that?

    • Exactly – Dwight solves his own mystery rather than Scully and Doggett doing much of anything. Not that there weren’t plenty of episodes where Mulder and Scully were guilty of the same thing, but then their chemistry helped pull almost anything off and between them they could make cases sound exciting that weren’t. Mulder would give Scully a meaningful look about the implications of some new fact, Scully would look back with shock and wonder and start whispering in amazement…

      Doggett does start leaning in that direction, a ridiculous and unnecessary story decision. But it doesn’t start happening till around the time Mulder gets back.

      It was never major, just enough to cause annoyance and add to the soap opera feel that develops as the season progresses.

  3. Pingback: Season 8 Wrap Up – Can’t we just go home and start this all over again tomorrow? | Musings of an X-Phile

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