The X-Files’ first real foray into its serialized elements is pretty hamfisted, but not unentertaining. “Deep Throat” introduces us to, well, Deep Throat, and provides solid evidence of a “vast government conspiracy” to cover up the existence of extraterrestrial life. I remember there being a lot more ambiguity in these early episodes regarding the lies, the truth, and what Mulder wanted to be the truth. The straightforward nature of the cover up makes Deep Throat’s implication that there’s even more going on come off as kinda silly, but that doesn’t keep this from being a fun hour.
Things do start off pretty weak though, with Mulder and Scully discussing the case in a bar and using lines like “paranormal bouquet.” Deep Throat accosts Mulder in the men’s room and urges him to drop this one as it could hurt his more important work. It’s the kind of “I’m keeping things from you and you’re not calling me on it” conversation that never happens in real life. About the only thing that works in this segment is Mulder and Scully’s body language when they meet in the bar. It thoroughly says “couple” but doesn’t get awkward when they don’t kiss. This really was one of the best pairings in the history of television. Thankfully, the rest of the episode comes nearer their level once things get rolling.
The CoW is that of a test pilot taken into custody after an apparent psychotic break and who’s wife can get no answers regarding his status or whereabouts. Mulder, of course, thinks the breakdown and the secrecy are tied into what the pilot was testing: a plane built with extraterrestrial technology! It’s not as crazy as it sounds as he and Scully witness lights in the sky over the airforce base moving in ways no plane ever could. It’s interesting to see Scully begin the episode a bit of a government apologist, pointing out that even if the military is testing a super-secret plane, don’t they have a responsibility to keep that secret safe? Then, when Mulder himself is taken into custody, she takes a soldier hostage in exchange for his release. Her dedication is more to her partner than to the “truth” as, once Mulder’s free, she insists they both just get the hell out of town.
Like the first episode, this one ends with the audience having confirmation of the existence of extra-terrestrial life while the agents have no proof. This pattern would grow frustrating later in the series, but for now it does a lot to get us rooting for them to uncover the truth. Deep Throat shows up again at the end to offer some cryptic encouragement and make clear that “the conspiracy” is going to play as big a part in this series as the aliens themselves.
Hey, it’s Seth Green! And I think he actually was still a teenager at this point. Cool. I’ve watched a lot of Fox shows over the years and its interesting how they draw on the same pool of actors for bit parts.
One of the things that’s starting to irritate me already is the lack of escalation from Mulder and Scully. I know the X-Files has no support from the brass, but surely someone at the FBI would object to their agents being intimidated by army thugs. I think this gets better once Skinner’s introduced.
Scully sure doesn’t seem to be doing much debunking.
The memory wipes are an interesting element, and go a long way to explaining why the government is able to keep this a secret. It’s a nice sci-fi element to couple with all the witness intimidation going on.
Mulder’s run at the episode’s end? Some of the worst on-screen exercise I’ve ever seen.