TV: The X-Files - S11 E07- Rm9sbG93ZXJz

The X-Files is back this week. Here's Matt's review!

In yet another “of its time” move, The X-Files has returned from a three-week hiatus with an episode that is likely to make you think twice about how you use technology in your own life. “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” is a mostly dialogue-free outing that sees Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) on the run from artificial intelligence that wants to learn from humans and will do anything it can to get what it wants.

I tend to enjoy more silent episodes of TV shows, which I think happened around the time that Vince Gilligan (another X-Files alum) was perfecting the art of wordless scenes on Breaking Bad. We often take for granted the idea that film and television are meant to be a visual language, so when a show does it in a clever manner, we appreciate it that much more. “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” mostly succeeds on the clever scale, thanks largely to the writers, Shannon Hamblin & Kristen Cloke, and director Glen Morgan’s clever use of camera angles. I say mostly, because not all of the scenes make total sense for Mulder and Scully to not be speaking to one another. I was actually hoping it was part of some relationship therapy that they were trying to have a wordless meal in the beginning. Alas, they’re just not speaking because the script demands it. Other scenes however, like when Mulder and Scully are alone in their homes, play a lot better.

I'd like an order of fries with a side of conspiracy!

Like Morgan’s previous outing this season – “This” – “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” is a fun, Mulder-and-Scully-on-the-run episode as well as another story that focuses on man’s reach exceeding his grasp when it comes to technology. This episode makes a strong argument for the analog approach when it comes to communication forms. It Is also worth mentioning that a recurring joke about Scully’s vibrator occurs throughout the episode, with the final button to a scene being Mulder’s perfect-reaction to seeing said object. It’s a bit of visual comedy that goes a long way in an episode that requires the actors’ physical strengths as well as their ability to express and emote without the use of words.

With each new episode, I’m sad that this season is nearing its end. Even in its original run, the show managed to fall out of relevancy because of the shifting political climate, and an admittedly tired writing staff and crew. As I have written before, The X-Files is more relevant than ever, and episodes like “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” prove why we need it on the air. The truth is still out there, and for three more weeks, at least, we can watch Mulder and Scully in the dogged pursuit of it.


-Matt Giles