The X-Files (1997) – Max, and Synchrony

The two-parter that began last week concludes with the episode, Max, written by series creator Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, this story first debuted on 23 March, 1997.

While the lovelorn Agent Pendrell (Brendan Beiser) loses his life to a bullet meant for Scully (Gillian Anderson) and her witness, Mulder (David Duchovny) begins to suspect the truth about the crash of flight 549. It was intercepted by an alien craft that was intent on removing and returning known abductee Max Fenig (Scott Bellis). Unfortunately, the craft, itself, was intercepted by a military flight that was intent on bringing it down, and brought down the airliner as well.

Scully begins to believe there’s more of an industrial espionage thing going on, with the military attempting to recovery stolen technology. She’s kind of right, as far as Mulder is concerned, except the stolen technology came from a UFO.

It’s a tightly paced story with a brilliant climax that sees Mulder on a plane with the recovered, still unrevealed, but dangerous tech, the man who killed Pendrell and a missing nine minutes.

Also playing throughout is the reminder of Scully’s cancer, and the question of her health, not to mention her birthday.

This is a great two-parter that isn’t quite as murky as some of the mythology arc episodes can be. Yes, there’s a conspiracy and a cover-up in progress, but we get a very clear look at this one small corner of it, and it’ll be up to the us (and the series) to figure out how, or if, it connects to the larger alien colonisation arc that seems to be at work in the series.

Synchrony is a smart, well-crafted episode written by Howard Gordon and David Greenwalt. It first aired on 13 April, 1997, and though I recognise how well written it is, this is an episode I struggle with every time. I just can’t get hooked into the story – which is ridiculous because this one involves time travel, and I love a good time travel story – and this is that, and yet.

When an old man (Micheal Fairman) approaches fellow researchers and scientists, Jason Nichols (Joseph Fuqua) and Lucas Menard (Jed Rees) it leads to a strange mystery for Mulder and Scully, as strange deaths (the bodies have a core temperature beneath freezing) and research piles up in a strange suggestion of evidence, that the old man is in fact Jason Nichols, from some point in the future, and he’s travelled back to stop the research his younger self and others are working on.

Sounds great right? And I’m sure for a number of viewers it is. I just get bored with this episode each and every time I settle in for it. Which bothers me, because I recognise that it’s smart, but it just doesn’t engage me.

Oh well, it’s going to happen every now and again. And there’s nothing wrong with that, because there are so many more episodes to come as my search continues, because the truth is out there…


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