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There is no middle of nowhere anymore, Agent Scully.


The X-Files
9.6: Trust No 1

I mentioned the adverse effects of magnets on the super soldiers under 9.1, although it’s here that we get to see them take effect. As I noted, it put me in mind of some of the reported magnetic properties of the killer vaccine. Here, the convenient and absurd design flaw is cheesy to say the least. That isn’t the worst of Trust No 1’s issues, though, since it revolves around one of my least favourite devices: the absent star player “featuring” as if they were still an active part of the proceedings.

This is a fundamental failure on the part of Carter et al, backward glancing this way, treating the series as if it were one of those early-80s Pink Panther movies without Peter Sellers. The plot is about luring Mulder from his hidey-place, which means he’s on a train (Duchovny is not) and then running through a quarry (Duchovny is not), and expecting the audience to be invested in such ungainly cheats. There’s an inverse ratio of self-respect here.

By this point, the show is making overt 9/11 references – there were complaints the opener didn’t know what to do in its light, which is unsurprising, since it was in production a month before it happened (although that didn’t stop The Lone Gunmen. Right, predictive programmers?) – as Scully protests at being surveilled (some rather naff footage to that effect from Tony Wharmby) and cites the constitution (“It’s what allows foreign terrorists to live here” she is told). I’m frankly surprised that, with all the resources available, Mulder’s email address can’t simply be tracked down, but there wouldn’t be much story there. There isn’t much of one anyway.

Scully is hoodwinked by a seemingly sincere woman again (see also Lizzy Gill in Essence/Existence), albeit she’s genuine (and yet, nevertheless, part of a trap). No one is allowed to be very smart. Not Doggett, who makes a habit of falling for a tip and then having to recant. And not Scully, who is required to put seeing Mulder again over common sense.

On the plus side, we get a Terry O’Quinn guest spot (his third), but the balance against that is he’s poorly used. This is the series living in its own wake, having nothing positive to do with its contract player (Anderson), and doing itself more damage than not having her at all. Indeed, I’d go as far as saying this is the worse myth-arc episode of the lot, because it’s so simultaneously insulting and utterly redundant.

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