The X-Files (2000) – First Person Shooter, and Theef

William Gibson and Tom Maddox pen First Person Shooter, an episode which first aired on 27 February, 2000.There are some elements of sexism and toxic masculinity throughout this story, because it has permeated the game culture that is at the episode’s heart.

When a young man dies while playing an immersive First Person Shooter, evidence is conflicted, as it looks like murder, but it was all done in the digital environment. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) head to the offices of FPS, where the Lone Gunmen are checking on on things as well, to interview Ivan (Jamie Marsh) and Phoebe (Constance Zimmer), supposedly partners on the game they’ve created, but it’s a male dominated environment, and Phoebe seems to be struggling because of it.

Mulder is shocked to discover a digital persona within the game that shouldn’t be there, and finds a real world counterpart in the form of Jade Blue Afterglow (Krista Allen); a character that serves to illustrate the over sexualisation of characters in video games, and elicits moronic reactions from the men around her.

When Mulder seemingly disappears inside the game, Scully has to gear up, and head into the shooter to save her partner, and find a way to stop the program once and for all.

This one’s a little silly, and while I agree game culture needs to be looked at, and it’s tropes heartily skewered, I don’t think this was the best way to do it – even if Scully does look like a complete bad-ass kitted up the way she is in the climax.

Theef features two well known and recognisble guest stars, Billy Drago and James Morrison, This episode was written by John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz, and Vince Gilligan and first aired on 12 March, 2000.

The story delves into hexcraft, when a doctor, Wieder (Morrison) finds he and his family targeted for something he did in his past, which robbed another man, Peattie (Drago) a practitioner, of something of great value. It puts a number of myths and misconceptions about voodoo as religion, and hexcraft to rest, and actually treats the subject matter with a great deal of respect, even as the agents delve into the case.

Scully ends up in trouble again, but is Mulder who misses most of the actual paranormal activity, as Peattie wreaks his revenge on the Wieder family, and leaves Scully wondering and Mulder still surprised by her seven years on.

I like this one, it’s definitely a stronger entry than its predecessor, and honestly, I’ve always enjoyed seeing Billy Drago pop up in projects, and while he may be a bit of a villain (as usual) in the piece, his motivation is totally understandable.

There are more investigations to come, because the truth is out there…

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