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On the tube: The elusive truth

Friday, February 05, 1999

By Rob Owen, Post- Gazette TV Editor

Aliens? Check.

Conspirators? Check.

TV Listings

Train cars for housing human-alien hybrid experimentation? Check.

Deaths of recurring characters? Check. Check. Check.

Full disclosure?

Not so check.

Fox trumpets the next two episodes of "The X-Files" offer answers to five years of questions, and I guess they do.

    Television Review:

'The X-Files'

When: Sunday at 9 p.m.

Related Article:

Carter plays mind games


Maybe it depends on how attentive you've been. I've watched every episode of "The X-Files" and frequently talk about the show with friends who also watch. Prior to these episodes we'd already figured out the faceless alien rebels sewed up their eyes and mouths to prevent the black oil from getting inside.

Sunday's episode, "Two Fathers," explains the black oil is "purity," the life force of the other aliens who are in cahoots with the humans in the Syndicate (the old guys who hang out in a New York City building). The aliens plan to take over the world and exterminate the human race.

"X-Files" creator Chris Carter, who wrote these episodes with executive producer Frank Spotnitz, drew outlines of this complex mythology in the past. The next two episodes add coloring, texture and confirmation of long-held suspicions. As a result of the events in these episodes, "The X-Files" will have to head in some new directions.

"Two Fathers" is narrated by Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) as he explains his relationship with his son, weasely Agent Spender (Chris Owens), and Spender's mother, Cassandra (Veronica Cartwright).

"This is the end," CSM says. "I never thought I'd hear myself say those words after all these years."

Cassandra claims to have been abducted by aliens multiple times and was first introduced to X-philes in last February's sweeps two-parter. At the end of those episodes, she was gone again. Now she's back and the linchpin to a 25-year plan plotted by an exclusive group of State Department operatives who sold out humanity (sparing only their own families) to the invading aliens.

Cassandra and Samantha Mulder were abducted the same night back in 1973, but this is where the Fox promos for the episodes promise more than they deliver.

"What really happened to Mulder's sister?" the Fox announcer says.

Viewers find out why she disappeared, but not really what happened to her.

Next Sunday's episode, "One Son," directed by "X-Files" movie director Rob Bowman, seems really slapdash. So much is going on, things don't always make sense (like that's anything new for "The X-Files"). There's a lack of continuity toward the end that's distracting.

X-phile romantics take note: Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) are in a shower together next Sunday. No, it's not what you think. "One Son" also reveals a recurring character lives in the Watergate apartment complex (somehow it's appropriate).

In these episodes Mulder and Scully, though certainly present, don't get as much screen time as they usually do. Recurring characters - Spender, Krycek (Nick Lea), Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden) - come to the foreground. That makes sense. They're more connected to the men at the heart of this conspiracy than Mulder and Scully.

After these two episodes viewers will certainly know almost all they need to know about the conspiracy. Key word: almost. I'm still unsure about the bees in Tunisia, the fates of several characters and what plans the aliens have once the conspiracy is no more.

"The future is here," Mulder says. "All bets are off."

Finally, something that makes sense. I think.

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