season 3, episode 5, “the list”
the season started out so strong, that the next string of episodes lack the quality and panache that i had gotten used to. “the list” starts off this chain of mediocre fair. the subject of reincarnation and revenge from beyond the grave is an interesting idea. it was addressed a bit in “born again,” but not done that well then either. i wasn’t very invested in any of the inmates, nor did i think the cliched evil warden trope was very interesting. they seemed to try and address some vague comment on feminism, but then abandoned the idea all together. we will see a better execution (bad choice of word?) of that in the next episode, “2shy.” also, there was a strange moment that was reminiscent of “irresistible,” but whatever their intention was with that evaporated. scully is cornered by the guard in the showers. she comes back visibly shaken and tells mulder that she’s ready to go. he asks what is wrong and she doesn’t tell him. but, then in the next scene, mulder is using what the guard told scully secretly as a point in his interrogation, so she must have told him what happened. i don’t understand the point of any of that. is it to show how scary it is for scully, for a woman, to be in the prison. that feeling was already displayed. the guard yells out “woman on the block!” and then she is told this is “not a place for a woman” to be going off on her own. i get it. a men’s death row cell block is not going to be a comfortable place for a woman. they did a nice shot of scully walking down the block that reminded me of “the silence of the lambs,” but that is all they needed. that scene effectively told the audience what they intended, but then they proceed to beat us over the head with it and then drop it completely.
this episode really is only saved by a nice exchange between mulder and scully as they go through neech’s cell. neech had written pages and pages on the history of reincarnation. mulder says, “the man was obsessed with reincarnation.” scully replies skeptically, “being obsessed doesn’t mean you can do it.” mulder wistfully poses, “he must’ve known something that we don’t.” sarcastic scully makes an appearance with, “like what? the secret password.” zing! mulder loves speculating about phenomena and continues to try to engage scully in the conversation. “imagine you could come back to take out five people who had caused you to suffer.” scully retorts, “i only get five?” mulder, always the jokester loves that scully plays with him like this from time to time, even when he is taking the subject seriously. “i remembered your birthday this year, didn’t i, scully?” scully breaks her normally stoic veneer and smiles and laughs. not only does she love that she can bust his balls sometimes, but he surprises her with his sweet humor right back. although i love when she returns his jokes with a smirk or an eyeroll, it is a special treat to see her break into a bona fide smile.
rating: 1.5 (the .5 credit is for making scully smile)
mulder loves slideshows.
regarding neech’s wife’s affair with the guard, scully says, “sometimes you can’t wait around for a man to be reincarnated.” scully, you totally do that in season 8!
the cell scene contains some cute flirting and the only reason to tune into this episode.