4-D 9×5: Who eats polish sausage with plates?


4-D17.jpg

I got your back.

This… this is the direction Season 9 needed to go with Doggett and Reyes. I can only think that had the show continued, they would have quickly recognized what they were good at and perfected it. “4-D” is like a rough sketch of what could have been.

In some ways it reminds me of “Monday” (6×15), though I realize it deals with the “space” rather than the “time” part of the space-time continuum. Still, there’s that element of trying to escape a reality one mistakenly finds oneself in, a reality that isn’t right.

Here’s another reality that isn’t right for you: Doggett and Reyes flirting.

Now, look. I’m as relieved as the next person to see them finally look like they’re enjoying themselves. I want to know they’re glad to be working together. And I know I’m the one who in the review just previous complained that these characters needed to find a way to lighten their investigations up. But can we let the UST lie where it died in Season 8?

I realize it was necessary to reaffirm the closeness of the pair in order to pave the way for this episode’s emotional impact. But they didn’t have to go there. Frankly, if you’re trying to avoid comparisons to Mulder and Scully, creating romantic tension between Doggett and Reyes is a mistake. When I say this is the direction they needed to go, this part isn’t what I mean.

All that said, I am glad to see them relaxed and they do have a connection and chemistry. Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish give great performances here.

It’s impressive that they stand out considering the swelling cast of characters Season 9 has to accommodate for. Skinner and Scully are shoehorned into the investigation. And why does Follmer appear to be directing Skinner when they share the same title of “Assistant Director”?

Practical adaptations aside, this is my favorite work from writer Steve Maeda since “Brand X” (7×19). He showed us in “Redrum” (8×3) that he’s interested in telling tales about misadventures in time and space, but I think this X-File has more potential for both horror and genuine emotional impact than “Redrum” did. For one thing, he gives us a rather nasty villain to chew on.

Erwin Lukesh is a regular Norman Bates and is clearly modeled after the iconic killer, right down to his icky issues with Mommy Dearest. I mean, they sleep in the same bed. By the way, I LOVE his mother. She actually feels like a woman with no insight into her selfish, overbearing ways. And I LOVE that director Tony Wharmby so often chooses to let us hear that nagging voice without actually seeing her. Surely it’s no coincidence that Lukesh rips out women’s tongues.

Lukesh himself isn’t half bad either. I mean, you know a man’s a sadistic killer when he has cans of Boost in his fridge. Echoes of “Pusher” (3×17) anyone? And the way he savors his kills and feeds human tongue to his unsuspecting mother like he’s Hannibal Lector is properly disturbing. But I think he was robbed of a little of his glory. If he didn’t have to share so much screen time he could have been developed more as an evil maniac. I think he had it in ‘em.

The only thing that bothers me a little, well, besides the flirtation and the lack of character space… okay, so this is the third thing that bothers me… is that Reyes brainstorms her way through this inter-dimensional problem a little too easily. She basically sits at Doggett’s bedside and has a revelation and, last I checked, her background is in Religion, not Physics like Scully. Yes, the episode is running out of time and needs to explain the problem so that Reyes can take action to resolve it, but reducing the explanation to a quantum leap of exposition is anticlimactic.

That said, I still think the sci-fi route appears a better fit for Doggett and Reyes than the paranormal, however Doggett may tease her about going all Star Trek on him. These aren’t a couple of wide-eyed kids like Mulder and Scully were back in the day. Doggett’s a soldier and his brawn combined with Reyes’ emotional sensitivity and tenderness could have led to some interesting case resolutions. Even Doggett believes Reyes’ ideas after a while and his character is more likely to respond well to extreme science than ghosties and beasties.

Now all the two of them need is personal motivation to investigate the X-Files. Because, no. Doggett’s crush on Scully and Reyes’ crush on Doggett doesn’t count.

Verdict:

I don’t know that Doggett and Reyes have ever really felt close until this episode. I knew Reyes cared about Doggett, but it didn’t seem much like the feeling was mutual. It’s kind of amazing that Doggett is able to emote so well considering he’s paralyzed but for a finger. I can only imagine the long hours Robert Patrick had to lie unmoving in that hospital bed, poor man. He pulled it off, though. So hats off, sir.

Of course, I suppose this all means that somewhere in another reality Doggett and Reyes are both dead or nearly so.

Sad face.

B

Too Much Star Trek:

Okay… one last bother. Lukesh dies way too easily for such a Master Villain. Why didn’t he just hop realities with Reyes in tow? If it were that easy, Doggett would have killed him in the teaser, am I right?

And Reyes shaving Doggett on only their second real case together? Mulder and Scully took seven years and never got to that base.

The slow reveal of Reyes’ face after the teaser… makes you wonder if you’re about to see her scarred up. It’s a nice touch of tension.

I think my favorite shot, and there’s some great visual imagery here, is the shot of Marion Lukesh’s eye as her son leaves their bed in the middle of the night… As her son leaves their bed in the middle of the night… As her son leaves their bed…

Scully greeting Reyes with, “Monica, I’m so sorry,” is a subtle way of telling us that Doggett is more important to Reyes than to anyone else here.

I enjoyed the bit of continuity here – Scully sharing with Reyes the emotional impact that the events of “Beyond the Sea” (1×12) had on her.

Best Quotes:

Doggett: [On screen] MISSED A SPOT
Reyes: Did not. Anyway, that’s what you get for hiring cheap help.

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15 responses to “4-D 9×5: Who eats polish sausage with plates?

  1. The flirting actually threw me completely off. I assumed that the Doggett we saw in the teaser was OUR Doggett and that our Reyes’s throat was cut. Then when it jumped to Reyes in her apartment flirting with Doggett I assumed that was the parallel universe. The flirting seemed so sudden that I just thought, ok, in this universe they are in a relationship. Then I was confused as to why we were essentially solving the case in the parallel universe and seeing the story from the perspective of parallel universe Reyes. And then Doggett saying that she had to kill him to bring her Doggett back finally made me see that we were actually in our universe.

    How did we get to a place where Reyes is this touchy feely with Doggett? This was a giant emotional leap to take. Did I miss something? I thought it would be a bit more gradual and subtle. Subtlety isn’t the name of the game anymore, is it? It doesn’t make me feel good. It just feels like every other show on tv where there is forced UST early on to manipulate the viewer. This is the complete opposite of Mulder and Scully in every possible way. I feel like season 8/9 is the real parallel universe.

    My confusion and this awkward flirting aside, this wasn’t a bad episode. I liked it and the fact that it was told from Reyes’s perspective. This is the first episode with her at forefront and it was enjoyable.

    It’s so hard not to compare the R/D hospital scenes to every other time Mulder and Scully sat vigil at each others’ hospital bedsides. Why do I feel like they keep making these deliberate comparisons? If they expect me to move on then give me something different.

    I also loved the call back to Beyond The Sea. It’s times like this where I feel like the writers didn’t completely forget everything that happened in the past.

    • Reyes is really proving herself valuable as a character, and of course we have Annabeth Gish to thank for that. I just wish she was on the X-Files for so much more than Doggett. The characters have chemistry, much more than Scully and Doggett, but I was sad to see the UST angle played again so hard and so soon.

      I never thought about the fact that it would be easy to assume we were watching a different Reyes and Doggett than our Reyes and Doggett. That makes just as much sense, but it never occurred to me!

    • Wow, I felt exactly the same way. Thinking we were witnessing the other parallel universe because of the flirtatiousness and the fact Reyes just moved to town. The way Skinner was just letting creepy eyes A.D. give him commands without having him at least give some push-back only added to that. Until I realized that it would mean Doggett would be bed-bound and I didn’t see them go all Bone Collector for the rest of the season.
      Strange episode. Since I did quite like it. Good MoW and MoW-Mom.

      • It had never occurred to me to view it that way, but it seems to me just as valid an interpretation.

        “Whose Doggett and Reyes is it anyway?”

        And I also didn’t get why Skinner was such a pushover with Follmer this season. Is this a part of trying to protect Mulder??

  2. #seriesfailing #sailalltheships #gobackintimeandsailtheshipsagain

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  4. If Doggett and Reyes are dead in a parallel universe… does that mean the X-Files are dead too?
    A question that came to mind after watching it.
    Is that a deeper meaning, some sadistic little afterthought that the writers wanted to put in there or is it just voicing my inner Philey…
    In any case that idea made me sad too. Because it does feel a little bit like watching your pet slowly die. 😦

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  6. Honestly, the part in the beginning when Reyes wipes Doggett’s mouth made me cringe hardcore. But the scene in the hospital when she tells him she’ll do anything for him actually made me cry and I am not ashamed.

  7. I figured out what was going on space wise around the time Reyes started to talk about other dimensions with Doggett. Up until then I was wondering if we had another doppelganger show.

    The villain was nice and creepy but almost too one dimensional.

    The flirting didn’t actually bother me very much although it seems to have happened pretty quickly. Then again, Reyes is all about feelings, which was a pretty big contrast with Scully.

    Thought this was the best episode so far this season.

    Onwards.

  8. The end made me cry! I love Doggett and Reyes, they are a great couple.

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