The X-Files (1998) – Kitsunegari, and Schizogeny

Robert Patrick Modell aka Pusher (Robert Wisden) is back to cause problems for Mulder (David Duchovny), Scully (Gillian Anderson) and Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) in Kitsunegari, written by Vince Gilligan and Tim Minear, this episode debuted on 4 January, 1998, and serves as a nice companion-piece to the earlier episode, Pusher (Season 3 Episode 17).

When Modell breaks out of prison Skinner is in charge of the manhunt, bringing in Scully and Mulder to serve as his SACs (Special Agent in Charge) because of their capture of him previously. But when bodies start to pile up and Modell delivers a clear warning to Mulder, the agent begins to suspect that Modell may be innocent of these latest murders and someone else may have the ability to push their will onto people.

But why? What’s their endgame and will the pair of agents survive it?

I loved seeing Modell brought back, and sure you have to have Scully and Mulder pull down on each other while under the influence of the Pusher, but that doesn’t lessen the impact of the moment when it happens. It’s a well-crafted tale, though I feel the reveal is a little too pat, and seems to fit into horror movie tropes a little too easily. But I don’t want to give that away in case you haven’t seen it or don’t remember.

No matter how the reveal played out, it doesn’t change the fact that this a fun episode, and watching the agents chase after Modell makes for great entertainment.

I wish I could say that about the next episode.

Schizogeny was penned by Jessica Scott and Mike Wollaeger and debuted on 11 January, 1998. It should work, it should totally take me in, but it never did, and each time I rewatch it, despite the performances, and the guest cast that includes Chad Lindberg, Katherine Isabelle and Sarah-Jane Redmond (who has been popping up in Millennium), I just find myself losing interest in the episode. Every single time.

Lindberg plays Bobby, a bit of an outside, a bit of a loser, or as Mulder says his classmates refer to him, dickweed. When his stepfather is killed, Bobby is the prime suspect, but when Lisa’s (Isabelle) father also dies – seemingly pulled out of a high storey window Mulder begins to suspect there is more going on here than can be discerned at first glance.

The story threads leads to a copse of trees that is committing the murders, seemingly protecting the children from perceived abuse, driven on by a mysterious force, one that Mulder and Scully will have to discover if they too are to survive.

There are some truly great images in this episode, the way the trees look on film, their lighting and framing make for a dark and moody atmosphere, but the story just doesn’t take me in.

And hey, I get why some people like it. I’m just not one of them. We’re five seasons in, writers are experimenting and trying new things. In fact, next week, they bring in a special writer to help Mulder and Scully discover that the truth is out there…

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