O-Deck Rewatch: The X-Files Season 1, episode 6: "Shadows"

“I won’t let you leave, Lauren.”

Another monster of the week episode! Well, actually it’s more ghost of the week...

I actually quite like this one. One of the things I love about the X-Files is that it often took the time to show us the “other side” of the bad guys (or, at least, the ones that appear to be the bad guys), and we often ended up sympathizing with them. In this episode, I really felt for poor Lauren Kyte and her benevolent ghost/guardian angel Howard Graves.

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Mulder and Scully are initially called in by mysterious CIA agents to investigate deaths of two men who appear to have had their throats crushed from the inside, without having even been touched. The men, we find out, had their throats crushed while attempting to rob Lauren at an ATM. Mulder and Scully realize that it would’ve been difficult if not impossible for Lauren to kill the two men herself, and the appearance of a shadowy figure behind her in surveillance photos makes them wonder who did kill them. As it turns out, Lauren is a secretary at a Defense department contractor. Her boss, Howard Graves, appeared to have killed himself when the company was discovered to be involved in shady dealings with terrorist groups. As Howard shows Lauren, however, (in a seriously creepy scene in Lauren’s house) he ended up being killed when he threatened to expose the company’s shady dealings. All the dead bodies that have turned up around Lauren have, in fact, been Howard trying to protect her from the people who don’t want the information she has to get out.

I think the frustrating thing about the episode, however, is the pacing. We know exactly what’s happening almost immediately, and have to wait almost half the episode for Mulder and Scully to catch up.

As I said, I really like the idea of the combining the benevolent ghost/revenge seeker in this one. This one had some pretty good performances, and I ended up really wanting Howard to get his revenge. Overall, I’d say this was one of the better episodes of the season.

Highlights:

  • “You don’t see too many people at their boss’ grave who aren’t dancing on it.”
  • I love the music in this one. The same piano track is used in other episodes but it’s used to very good effect here.
  • I still find the scene where Scully implores Lauren to help Howard expose the truth really interesting. “How will you ever be able to rest if he never can?” The fact that she seems so sincere talking to Lauren, and then snaps back to cold logic seconds later when talking to Mulder makes me question what she actually believes. It’s a real credit to Gillian Anderson’s performance, I think.
  • When Mulder and Scully are in the library looking at the newspaper report, above the story of Howard Graves’ suicide there is an article about a killer who extracts his victim’s livers and escapes from impossible locations. Tooms reference!
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