The Post-Modern Prometheus
The Red and the Black
The Pine Bluff Variant
Folie a Deux
The fifth season of The X-Files is culturally the most significant. With a feature film penned for release between seasons 5 and 6, The X-Files represents a show at the height of its popularity. While its own mythology begins to become a little too complicated and convoluted for its own good, the stand alone episodes and the flow of the season are as good as they’ve ever been. While it can’t quite hit the heights set by the excellent season 3, the fifth season is still a solid entry in the science fiction show.
The story picks up where last year left off, with Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) accessing a facility that may hold the cure to Dana Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) illness. The recurring theme of other abductees appearing and other women with the same illness as Scully makes up the bulk of the main story here but the mythological main episodes are arguably the weakest this season. While they still drive the narrative forward, the episodes just don’t feel as strong and at times feel a little too complicated. The stand alone episodes more than make up for it though, with some of the best episodes in terms of story, style and characters.
All the returning characters from seasons past return to their familiar roles, and season 5 features some good episodes that focus primarily on them. Much like the seasons past, these episodes are a nice change of pace and help to break up the familiar structure of most of the episodes. Its worth noting here too that the episodes feel a lot more structured and consistent throughout than seasons past. Thematically, the show is solid and there’s a nice touch of humour and light-hearted episodes that contrast quite brilliantly with the horror elements on display. Episodes like “Chinga” and “Bad Blood” are legitimately scary, with the latter actually featuring light touches of humour that make it an uneasy watch.
The agents are of course as engrossing as ever, with the relationship driving the narrative forward for a fifth season running. With a relatively unchanged cast and only 20 episodes this time around, the fifth season is the shortest in the show’s history but its also one of the most consistent. There isn’t a filler or mediocre episode in sight and the episodes that are here are produced well and with some solid writing throughout, despite how complicated the mythology of the show is becoming.
Overall then, season 5 is a consistent, well produced flurry of episodes that showcase just why The X-Files is so well received world wide. With the engrossing Mulder and Scully at the pinnacle of their brilliance and some solid writing throughout, season 5 is arguably one of the best since the show returned. The mythology feels like its starting to become too complicated though, with cracks beginning to form and it becoming increasingly difficult to follow the show’s story. Its a minor point though in a season that’s otherwise very good. It’ll be interesting to see just which direction the show takes after the film that slots between this season and season 6. Whether it can keep up the consistency that’s driven the show forward until this point remains to be seen.