Deep Throat – Season 1, Ep 2 Review

SCULLY: Mulder, did you see their eyes? If I were that stoned I…

MULDER: Ho-hoo. If you were that stoned, what?

Well, Mulder, unfortunately you weren’t there, but your question is answered in Season 7’s “Three of a Kind.” And man oh man, was it funny.

 
 
 
Season 1, Episode 2: “Deep Throat”

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“Deep Throat” is the first mythology episode, and it gives us a pretty clear (or as clear as the show gets) idea of what those particular episodes are going to be like. Most likely they’ll involve aliens, an informant, often the military, and of course UFOs. “Deep Throat” has all of those things, with the exception of the aliens.

“Deep Throat” is a Season 1 episode, and unfortunately a great deal of Season 1 is rather awkward. The show tries very hard to find its footing in the first season, which isn’t surprising or unusual; most shows start out shaky and then come into their own, and The X-Files certainly didn’t do a bad job of it. On the contrary, some very, very good things came out of Season 1. But most of it is on the awkward side, and that awkwardness tends to bog down the episodes a little, especially when you’ve seen the rest of the show already. Perhaps no episode demonstrates this better than “Deep Throat.” For everything this episode gets right, there is something else that is either wrong or…well, awkward.

“Deep Throat” is very much Mulder’s story, just as “Pilot” was Scully’s. Here we have a story that’s almost exclusively focused on things that, at this point, really only matter to Mulder. Throughout the course of the episode, Mulder gets very sidetracked, investigating things which seem unrelated to the issue at hand. For example, he decides to investigate the Air Force base while the pilot is still missing, and he goes to the UFO nut diner and chats with the bartender, hoping to gather information about UFOs. Scully, on the other hand, is just trying to find the missing pilot, the assignment they came for, and when the pilot is returned to his family, she’s ready to fly back to Washington, no questions asked.

That’s another problem with this episode. Scully just doesn’t play much of a role. It makes sense, considering how this is only their second case together and most of what’s going on in this episode is Mulder-centric. But I wish Scully had been more present. I wished she had questioned Mulder’s actions more, as would seem typical for Scully, especially so early on. Later, she learns to follow his instincts. But on their second case? No, Scully’s more of a skeptic than that.

“Deep Throat” is not without its good moments, though. We have our very first Don’t Fuck With Scully (DFWS) moment, and it is by far one of the best. After Mulder is captured by the military, Scully discovers that the news reporter that kept asking them questions in the beginning of the episode is actually a member of the Air Force base’s security team. So what does Scully do? She pulls a gun on him and screams that he better take her to Mulder or else he shall feel the wrath of the Scully unleashed in all its glory. Seriously. You no mess with Dana Scully. She will kick your ass.

We’re also introduced to the character Deep Throat himself, whom I always liked as an informant. He’s mysterious and secretive, but not hostile. Whatever secrets he might be keeping, he always seems to be on Mulder’s side, and certainly never appears to want to cause him harm. It doesn’t mean his motivations are always in Mulder’s best interest, but of all the informants, Deep Throat certainly felt the most good. Like Mulder’s father, he serves as a foil to the Cigarette Smoking Man. But we’ll get to that later.

All in all, “Deep Throat” is okay. It would have been better without the air of awkwardness that just infects the whole thing. From Scully’s horrible outfits to the awkward conversations between the two, there’s something about this episode that keeps it from being tremendously successful. But it does manage to kick off the mythology, and when more myth-arc episodes come around, we know what to expect.

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Final Score

5+stars

Final score for “Deep Throat” is 5/10. It successfully gets the mythology started, but there are a few elements that are awkward and just don’t work for me.


Notable Nuggets

  • I already mentioned it, but the DFWS moment in this episode is really quite awesome. It’s by far the best scene.
  • The diner Mulder goes to is called the “Flying Saucer”. Real subtle, guys.
  • I hate to harp on the early 90’s, but the outfits are just awful. They are very lucky Gillian Anderson is gorgeous enough for those things. But still.
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7 thoughts on “Deep Throat – Season 1, Ep 2 Review

  1. psipsinasays says:

    I quite like the awkwardness you know. I think the X-Files (the department, not the show) are finding their footing and carving out the beginnings of a new adventure. Further they’re working out each other still, kind of like any new relationship. I find Scully a bit dismissive in this ep, scoffing a lot. That’s my only gripe of the whole show really. She sees so much and yet always scoffs at everything. For me it’s incredible to see how aged this all is from the clothes, (I wonder if her outfits really were horrible or just of the time – M & S were always so well dressed, esp later in the show, but I wonder if it’s because I remember the fashion of the later years more clearly and they are closer to our own styles now) but also the music! It all makes me like it a lot more.
    Also, what I think is incredible about the show is what they are saying all the time is honestly a bit ridiculous, but the show itself is never made ridiculous. I struggle talking about my X-Files love sometimes because from the outside it must look a bit odd and crazy and lame. But it’s such a bright and intelligent show with a lot of integrity and that’s why I think series 1 was so strong and also these earlier eps had such a tough job- because they had to cement the idea that this- aliens and conspiracy and the uber odd- was where we were going to be and that’s not something, especially back then, that had ever been tackled outside of an obviously Sci-Fi or even camp arena.
    Making Scully super skeptical and a bit of a stick in the mud voices our own cynicism. She makes it OK for us to be taken along the ride and not feel a bit ridiculous ourselves. She’s us really, watching Mulder and trying to make sense of it from a place where we can understand.

    • Knife Ink says:

      I think it depends on the episode. When I was doing my rewatch, a few of the first season episodes made me wince because they just don’t quite reach that familiar X-Files feel yet, because of the dialogue or the production quality or whatever. On the other hand, some surprised me by how good they were. Of course I remembered some that I always thought were good, like my favorite of the season, “Beyond the Sea,” but I completely forgot about “Eve” and I am still slapping myself about it. I greatly underestimated the first season, because it really is so much better than other shows’ first seasons and it has a memorable start and finish, which is often hard to pull off. Even other great shows like Star Trek: TNG had really bad pilots. “Encounter at Farpoint” was a mess. 🙂

      As for the X-Files being ridiculous, I agree that’s part of its charm. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. The awkwardness I talk about – or try to talk about, at least, and I could be explaining this really badly – is usually related to the writing and the episode itself. Yes, the clothes Scully wears in the first few seasons are awkward but it’s the clumsy writing in “Space” that makes it a giant awkward fest. I will love this show until the day I die but that doesn’t mean “Gender Bender” is ever going to be an outstanding piece of television. I try to look at each episode individually and judge it accordingly. I suppose I could always do better on that front, but it really is so difficult not to not compare some episodes to others, just as it is much easier to attribute an episode’s awkwardness to the clothes and not the writing.

  2. Kay Cross says:

    First off I would like to thank you for doing these reviews. I am in the middle of my own rewatch and am thrilled to see others doing the same thing.

    I too cringe at how dated this episode seems – the pagers, cell phones, clothes, music . . . etc – but this episode set some solid foundations that I think we are all grateful for,

    I’m glad that you highlighted the DFWS moment – as I believe this solidified the tone for their relationship with the audience. Here we see the skeptic Scully – who admittedly was ready to go home – fiercely leap to the defense of her partner. She proved to us, the audience, that despite her own personal beliefs of the validity of Mulder’s work, she would be loyal to a fault.

    Mulder also sets us straight about how he is going to handle himself – leaping at theories, willing to believe, in medical need, enmeshed in conspiracy – and of course – willing to go it alone when necessary.

    This episode will always have a special place for establishing and progressing this very rewarding partnership.

    • Knife Ink says:

      Thank you, thank you! I have to admit I’m not proud of a lot of my early Season 1 reviews, I don’t think I gave the episodes enough credit. I’ve left them be because over the course of this process I’m learning more and more about reviewing every day. I hope I can continue to improve.

      And yes, that DFWS moment is one of my favorite in the show. Not only does it help solidify their relationship, it really makes you invest in Scully as a character.

      “Deep Throat” is an important episode and I wish I’d put more emphasis on it.

      Thanks for your comment!

      -Knife Ink

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