Andrew Blaker continues the ultimate X-Files countdown of all 209 episodes, as voted by you, with Season 8 Episode 8, ‘Surekill’…
‘Surekill’ has an intriguing enough premise, surprisingly one that (to my memory) hadn’t been attempted earlier than Season 8. The premise is in fact benefitted from the rather tired sexual jealousy angle between the characters, if only because it fleshes out the characters a bit more than they may have been otherwise.
The episode starts off promising enough, with Scully and Doggett on the case and reviving some of the nostalgic Mulder and Scully dialogue from seasons past. Scully’s (reluctantly) cast into the role of (reluctantly) believer in Season 8, while Doggett occupies the role of skeptic. The opening 15 minutes of the episode captures this dynamic and resulting tension quite well. That being said, the essential mystery of the episode is solved, also, in the first 15 minutes. What follows is primarily character drama, introducing the trio of characters—Dwight, Tammi and Randall—and the resulting love triangle that develops, with the agents dropping in to perform their obligatory duties.
This is when the episode starts to drag. The opening teaser is strong, as is the interaction between Scully and Doggett that introduces (and essentially solves) the “monster-of-the-week” angle. The biggest fault of the episode, almost unanimously agreed upon by critical reviews when the episode aired, is that its premise is boring. Not much happens, but maybe this is because the episode seems short-changed by giving away the story so close to the opening. The reveal ought to have happened later, in this viewer’s opinion. And the episode should have been a bit more comedic because another charge against the episode is often it’s serious and dark tone.
I don’t personally think this episode should rank so low. It’s not particularly memorable, and it falls within Season 8, which is often (unfairly) ranked lower by fans simply because David Duchovny appeared in less than half of the season’s episodes. The X-Files can do much worse than “boring” and has.
The only episode directed by Terrence O’Hara, ‘Surekill’ is certainly a weaker episode of the series. By no means is it memorable, but it’s certainly not the worst offered throughout the series. There are merits here, and more I’d invested into the characters than occurs in some other episodes, many of which may be reflected in The X-Cast team’s personal episode rankings.
“I’ll call social services.” This gem is uttered by the cops when the first victim runs into a police station, crazed and screaming, claiming someone is trying to kill him. As a social worker, the line struck me as particularly funny. Send us your crazies!
Our blog team also decided to rank the show based on their own lists, so here’s what they picked in 205th place:
Tony: “TESO DOS BICHOS. A chronic load of guff which half arses a Native American curse premise with dull characters, dodgy performances, bad writing and some genuinely ropey horror. Avoid.”
Andrew: “FIGHT CLUB. There are a few funny moments in this episode, but overall it’s very odd and corny, and not in a good way. The story is weak and doesn’t really go anywhere.”
Sarah: “NOTHING IMPORTANT HAPPENED TODAY II because I figure it can’t be much better than the first part.”
Michael: “I’d probably agree with Andrew on FIGHT CLUB.”
Paige: “ALPHA. This one’s a dog.”
Carl: “EXCELSIS DEI. I wrote elsewhere about why I dislike this episode. In short, it handles sensitive subject matter badly, failing to scare or entertain in the process.”
Do you agree with this episode ranking? Let us know what you would put in this spot on Facebook, Twitter or via comments below!