The X-FilesDavid DuchovnyGillian AndersonMitch Pileggi
The X-Files Season 11 ep.6: Kitten
Medium: TV
Year: 2018
Director: Carol Banker
Writer: Gabe Rotter
Keywords: The X-Files, SF
Actor: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, Cory Rempel, Brendan Patrick Connor, James Pickens Jr., Haley Joel Osment, Patrick Keating, Charles Andre, Jeremy Jones, Peter Hall, Robert Mann, Zachary Choe, Shane Symons, Johnson Phan
Format: 43 minutes
Url: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kitten_(The_X-Files)
Website category: SF
Review date: 26 June 2020
It's perfectly good X-Files. I enjoyed it. The conspiracy's silly, but fairly standard for this show and...
Actually, no. I shouldn't let the episode off like that. A premise that resonates will hook an audience far more strongly, e.g. Rm9sbG93ZXJz next week. This made me roll your eyes. Only a bit, admittedly, at the end of what's otherwise a pretty good episode. But it did. It's suggested that...
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...the government sprays our crops with psycho mind control drugs that make you see monsters and commit murder.
(a) it's more X-Files bollocks
(b) why?
(c) no, really. Why would anyone bother? Even a government.
(d) it's presented as mind control, but that's... um, not very controlled. A more plausible line might have to suggest that we're being drugged into being bovine consumer units. Even that would have had a plausibility problem, but it wouldn't have been as silly.
The X-Files runs on conspiracy theories that strain your suspension of disbelief. Can you buy them? (Compared with, say, the "incompetent bastards who can't even bomb the right people" gag about the Department of Defence two episodes ago. We all know that one's true.)
That aside, this is a good episode.
It's about Skinner. He has flashbacks to his time in Vietnam and he doesn't like Bart Simpson... no, wait, wrong Skinner. Assistant Director Walter Skinner also served in Vietnam, though. His platoon had to transport a crate. Bullets flew, inevitably, and a Very Bad Thing happened.
Meanwhile, today, Scully and Mulder are being shouted at by a grumpy boss so dumb that our heroes deserve an medal for not laughing in his face. Skinner's gone AWOL. Our heroes investigate, while all sources of information are blocked because they don't have enough security clearance. In the X-Files universe, you'd want to praise the FBI for managing to sit the right way on a lavatory.
Oh, and a loony killer is played by Haley Joel Osmont. Whom I remember as the child actor from The Sixth Sense, Pay It Forward and A.I.
All this makes a reasonably good X-Files episode. Mitch Pileggi's good. It's nice to dig into Skinner and see what he's sacrificed by supporting Mulder and Scully all these years. Meanwhile, Vietnam-era traps in today's world recontextualise barbarism and reaquaint one with what was, in wartime, considered normal. Furthermore, it's not a mythology episode. All these are good things. Never mind the crop-spraying conspiracy. Overall, this is a solid, respectable outing. It wouldn't be my first-choice rewatch from Season XI, but it's pretty good.