We got a chemtrails episode! Golly! Seems like a long time coming, but it’s finally here!
Now, as soon as you hear the phrase chemtrails, you immediately think that it’s crazy talk! You think the person who’s speaking said phrase is nuts! Eye’s roll, and for very good reason, because it’s crazy talk! But when it comes to X-Files, you have to understand that this is a world where every conspiracy is one hundred percent real. Everything conspiracy has to be treated with deadly seriousness because that’s the point of the show. When the show began, I bet the show was made with the idea of, “We’ll make people question everything!” but with the advent of the internet, turned into a show of “Well, we know a lot of this isn’t true, but what if?” … which makes me giggle. It’s still a great show, but step outside the fandom, and this series is pretty funny. What’s weirder is that if some of these conspiracies turned out to be true, would people believe it? Would it be fake news? Because nothing is real anymore. There was a whole X-Files episode about it a couple weeks ago, remember? About how there is no truth, and how Trump is the President, and we’re easily fooled, and nothing matters… Where was I… Kitten!
“Kitten” is used as a Skinner origin story. We see a young Skinner, at Vietnam, 1969, told that he, and his friend, played by Haley Joel Osment, has to protect a crate. Immediately, bringing a crate that needs to be protected into a Hot LZ (meaning hot landing zone, which I know, because I play video games) is a bad idea, which makes me wonder if the government did it on purpose, just to see what happens? I might be thinking to much into it, because this wasn’t really a deep thinking episode. Anyway bad things happen, the crate gets shot, and Kitten breaths in some smelly, yellow, psychopathic, makes me want to kill everything and become a monster gas, and then we blink into the current day.
Currently, Skinner’s gone AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave, I’m all sorts of educational up in this review), and Mulder and Scully have been sent to find him. They go to his apartment and find out that he got a wonderful package (a human ear in an envelope) from a small town, with a big heart named Mud Lick, Kentucky. Actual place. Other than the possible monsters in the woods, seems like a wonderful place to live in. While Mulder and Scully look for Skinner, Skinner looks for his old war buddy and finds Kitten’s son instead, who is also played by Haley Joel Osment, which seems like a cop out, trying to get screen time for a certain actor for longer… and as much of a fan I am of “The Sixth Sense”, I did run into an issue with this much Haley Joel Osment, and it wasn’t the performance.
The problem with casting the same person as a father and son in a show like this comes through in my thought rambles. For starters, we’ve seen doppelgangers before, so it went through my mind that this is a doppelganger, and this is what the poisonous gas did, somehow. But then I figured that it might be too far out there, even for this show. So I kept thinking, and it crossed my mind that maybe this is Kitten, and the gas made him never age! It makes sense, given the circumstances, but I don’t know why it would make you crazy, as well as make you not age. Maybe eternal youth is something we all say we want, but it’s our experiences that scar us, in pain and in age, that keep us sane! But then appears a flashback scene where 1969 old Kitten has a scar on his face, and current day kid Kitten doesn’t have a scar, so that can’t be the right answer. But plastic surgery is a thing, so maybe we’ll go there for the episode?… Wait, nope, never mind, that’s the son, and his father is hanging on a tree.
What I’m trying to say, in far to many words, is that casting the same person in two different roles, without being an actual plot point is distracting. I spent far to much time thinking why one actor is playing two different roles, that I didn’t spend enough time in my initial watch listening to what these two different characters had to say. More over, this wasn’t a very compelling episode to begin with, so why not have some fun with the concept of two characters being played by one actor! This episode just sort of… does it, like it wasn’t initially planned. But then they got Haley Joel Osment, and figured that he must be used as much as possible. And he’s good! He’s scary when he needs to be, and is obviously having a lot of fun, but I can’t help but think all this was just one of many missed opportunities.
So now that I’ve talked about the Osment of it all to death, let’s get into the main events of the episode, and what happened in the rest of it. Kitten hung himself, and the son fell into a Vietnam hunters trap where spikes fell into him. Skinner opens his heart to Mulder and Scully about how they inspire him to be and do better, and the episode ends with the yellow gas being dumped on our foods because that’s how the government is going to control us. Cause chemtrails. This wasn’t a very focused episode, which is bizarre because not a lot happened in the episode. Nothing was learned, which is weird for an origin episode, nobody changed, and Haley Joel Osment died twice (albeit, pretty epically). It tries to step it’s foot into being a mythology episode, and a monster of the week episode, like last weeks episode did (and did far better), but it doesn’t commit to anything. Maybe the idea of Mulder and Scully not trusting Skinner is a thing that has lessened now, but A) Why? and B) That was a dumb plot line anyway.
Maybe I’m asking to much of this episode, because as much as I’ve complained about it, it’s still a competent episode. The action beats worked, I cared about the mystery, and the bits of horror are satisfying. I just think a little bit of crazy can go a long way! I was so excited to see what would happen with chemtrail episode, that when all that was affected was one person, I couldn’t help but feel let down. There are 4 episodes left, and if I don’t get the payoff of an entire town becoming chemtrail zombies, controlled by the government by the end of this season, I’m going to be severely disappointed!