Scully: Where are you going?
Mulder: To find someone who I know who plotted to deceive, inveigle and obfuscate.
The final episode of The X-Files to air on a Friday night, “Teliko” isn’t one that necessarily connected well with me then or now. It’s not a terrible episode, per se. It’s just one that feels a bit by the numbers and ends up falling flat.
It’s interesting to see the series branch out a bit and explore mythologies of other cultures. But there are times when this installment feels like it’s just trying too hard. On the one hand, I understand why Mulder has to hop on a plan to New York to meet with Marita to try and get answers. But given how little he finds out that actually helps his case, I can’t help but feel like there’s a deleted scene missing where Skinner raises an eyebrow over the cost of the flight on Mulder’s expense report.
I will give this episode credit in that it tries to subvert the usual entry point into the case by having Scully be sought after for her expertise rather than Mulder. But the overall episode isn’t a classic.
Scully: For truly to pursue monsters, we must understand them. We must venture into their minds. Only in doing so, do we risk letting them venture into ours?
Watching the evolution of Vince Gilligan is fascinating. The first installment of the series to air on Sunday nights is a solid outing from Gilligan (who I’d argue gives us the best stories in season four). It’s easy to see why they chose this one to air in the first Sunday slot — it’s a nice introductory episode to casual or novice fans. There is a supernatural element to the threat, but there is also a human being behind the scares as well. The addition of Gerry being on the construction stilts to add to his unnerving nature is a solid touch. The addition of his eyes moving back and forth quickly when he’s under the spell of the howlers is another nice touch.
It’s also interesting to see that Gilligan decides that nefarious doings can take place in an RV here. We may see that again from his work….
It’s interesting that I’d post thoughts on this episode the same day that news breaks that Diana Rigg passed away. I see Scully as a descendent of Emma Peel, though it’s hard to tell it here. While a lot of writers got Mulder, it takes until Gilligan arrives in the writing room for a writer to really seem to get Scully. And yet, we still fall back on the trope of putting Scully in danger and Mulder having to rescue her.
I will give Gilligan credit here — at least Scully gets the opportunity to try and talk Gerry out of performing the surgery on her and tries to find a weakness in his bindings so she can escape. And she is the one who first finds and brings Gerry in for questioning.
I can’t help but wonder how this episode might work if written and produced today. The central hook of cameras that use film are pretty much antiques at this point and I wonder if and how it would be as effective using digital photography.