Episode 4x17: Tempus Fugit (Pt 1)
Category: UFO · Rating 5 of 5
A plane with Max Fenig (1x10) on board is being boarded by a UFO, with Max being suck out of the aircraft. But then something happens and the plane
crashes. Mulder and Scully investigate the crash site and find out that nine minutes are missing from the victioms, the usual piece of evidence
associated with alien abductions. They find Max dead. A woman claiming to be Max's sister explains to them that he had been working on something and had
carried a bag with him, a bag that contained evidence of extraterrestrial life. But she's abducted too, the evidence she had is gone. Scully is approached
by a soldier who claims to be responsible for the crash. While trying to protect him, agent Pendrell from the FBI lab is killed. She hits the killer's leg,
but he can escape. Mulder thinks that the plane was intercepted by a UFO and looks for it in a lake nearby - he sees both the vessel and a dead gray alien
on the ground of the lake and is arrested by the military.
Episode 4x18: Max (Pt 2)
Category: UFO · Rating 5 of 5
Mulder is released, but the cleaning-up operation had succeeded. He concludes that the plane was boarded by the UFO, Max was obducted to retrieve the
evidence from him. But then a military aircraft had shot down the UFO while the plane was still in its 'tractor beam' - so it descended vertically
to the ground and crashed. There is still one piece of evidence left. Mulder gets it from the airport storage but is followed by the assassin. The man
joins him at the plane, but Mulder recognizes his leg wound and locks him into the restroom. But then the plane is being boarded by a UFO. The assassin
rescues himself, gets the bag with the evidence but is sucked out to the UFO. 'He got a connecting flight,' Mulder explains to Skinner after the landing,
but his memory had been erased.
There have been a lot of disaster movies in film history, a lot of plane crashes, but this aircraft crash story is the best I've ever seen. It's done with
a lot of compassion, the terror of the event is made clear. The poetic and artistic style of The X-Files shines through every scene, these two episodes being among the very best we have come to see this far. Unforgettable the starting picture of the plane on the night sky, unforgettable the first view of the crash site, unforgettable the moment Mulder identifies Max's body, unforgettable the car chase scenes, unforgettable the reconstruction narrated by Mulder.
This is a real piece of art, but it is also a real piece of X-Filean evidence. We actually see UFOs, see an Army cleaning-up operation, witness the things
from a viewer's perspective, not from the agents' view - what we see is true. (Just in case one can trust the production staff; they wouldn't tell a lie,
would they?) The previously established character of Max Fenig is brought to new depths, departing from the more hectic-paranoia-driven Max characterization that was given in 1x10 'Fallen Angel' - this Max is much more serious, much more experienced, has gone through much more pain and terror than that Max of the past who was just a bit of a crazy guy, even for Mulder. Not to be mistaken, I don't say that Max was crazy during that first season episode, I just thought that they portrayed him in another way this time.
As always, the outside terror of the X-Files events is turned inside as the impact on the characters is described; this is a story about death, about the death of innocent people, about the effect those crimes have had on the people affected. It is about those men and women who Scully is talking about, about those who have given us another perspective towards the truth. With the death of Agent Pendrell it has become clear again that there will be a lot of victims as the story continues. And mostly, their deaths will serve no real purpose except that they have fallen victim to an uncertain political agenda.
July 7th, 1998 / June 6th, 1998