The X-Files (1994) – Shapes, and Darkness Falls

Agents Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) head to Montana to investigate a murder, which Mulder believes may tie in with older x-files he has regarding the Native American myth of the manitou.

Written by Marilyn Osborn, Shapes first aired on 1 April, 1994. I’m not the biggest fan of this episode, because I don’t think it was handled as well as it could have been. I do like the conflict and friction we see between the government and the Native Americans who are housed on the reservation.

There are also some pretty nice transformation scenes, and the guest star list is pretty solid as well. It includes Micheal Horse, who Duchovny had previously worked with on Twin Peaks, the immediately recognisable Jimmy Herman, and Danger Bay’s Donnelly Rhodes.

The episode tries to deliver a good monster of the week story, while also highlighting some of the problems between the Native American residents and the government that has pushed them off their land and onto reservations.

Scully is pivotal in the climax, and is actually on hand as the manitou works its way through the house where she and Mulder are. She catches a glimpse of it, is almost attacked by it, and even after learning the mountain lion she thought it was is actually locked up, she isn’t quite willing to subscribe to the belief that anything truly paranormal happened – just something she hasn’t been given all the facts for.

Mulder, of course, believes it all, but also doesn’t get anything to document the event beyond circumstantial evidence.

I wish this one had been just a little stronger .

Darkness Falls takes us out into the woods again, as series creator Chris Carter gives us a solid monster of the week story that first aired on 15 April, 1994.

Mulder and Scully head into the the forests of Washington state to investigate the disappearance of a logging team. Mulder has a documented case from decades earlier of a similar case.

Working with a forest ranger, Larry Moore (played by Duchovny’s best friend Jason Beghe), they find themselves caught up in a world of eco-terrorists, businesses cutting down marked and protected trees, and a strange insect swarm that was released from within one of those trees.

Something about light keeps the mites from swarming, but when darkness falls, anyone caught in the shadows could be cocooned and devoured. With their generator failing can Mulder and Scully survive the night, and get out of the woods alive?

This is a great episode touching on real world issues, while giving us a solid monster of the week story. Carter knows his characters and knows how to tell a spooky story, while basing it in a well-created reflection of reality.

There is more spookiness to come next week as I seek out more X-files, because the truth is out there…

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