Season 1, Episode 6: “Shadows”
As far as I know, “Shadows” is one of those episodes which generally gets an “eh” response from fans and critics alike. I certainly didn’t remember much of what happened from the first time I watched it. But when I watched it the second time, I was surprised to find that I actually liked it a lot more than I thought I would.
Yes, it still has the Season 1 awkwardness. But by now there’s no point in even mentioning it anymore; I’ll let you know when the non-awkward Season 1 episodes come along (they’re getting better and better, though). But “Shadows,” though it’s not the most memorable episode in the world, has some good stuff in there. And although I didn’t think it was fantastic, it’s far from bad.
“Shadows” is the first episode to really focus on the guest character more than on Mulder and Scully, but a good balance is kept between the two this time around. I really liked Lauren Kyte. I thought the actress playing her pulled off a terrified secretary very well. Her performance was good enough that I cared about what happened to her, and felt as relieved as she looked when she drove away at the end of the episode.
True, much of the momentum of the episode’s mystery is lost since we see the poltergeist from the beginning. That does make it drag somewhat, and at times I was bored. But there were so many things I liked. I liked Mulder playing games with the uncooperative agents in the beginning, I really liked the “Howard Graves is very dead” lady, I really liked Mulder and Scully’s Liberty Bell conversation at the end, I liked Scully’s pop culture references, I liked the scene where the poltergeist reveals the floppy disk.
I think my favorite scene, though, was the interrogation scene. After the second incident at her house, Lauren Kyte starts from the beginning and tells them the nature of her relationship with Howard Graves. This relationship was alluded to many, many times throughout the episode, and by the end the audience has a pretty clear picture of what it was like. But it’s different when we hear it coming out of Lauren Kyte’s mouth. When Lauren tells the story, we know how she feels. We know why losing Howard Graves has affected her so much. And I really like that they sort of did that in reverse order – dealing with the conflict first, but leaving the emotions behind the conflict out and then using those emotions to help Lauren help them (meaning Mulder and Scully). It sounds backwards, but for some reason it really worked for me. And Lauren Kyte’s speech in the interrogation room, I thought, was very well performed, and it really made me sympathize with her.
I’m not going to pretend this episode is amazing, because it’s not. But I’d be willing to argue that it’s not as bad as everyone says it is. Maybe you just have to look for the little moments within the bigger whole. After all, little moments can have tremendous value, in The X-Files most of all. Any Shipper understands; the little moments in this show sometimes mean more than whole episodes. And that’s something.
Final score for “Shadows” is 6/10. While not terribly exciting and at times slow, I still thought it was a pretty decent episode with some good moments.
- A big thumbs up to the actress who says, “Howard Graves is very dead.” I always laugh at that scene.
- Lauren Kyte gets the award for Actually Having Outfits That Are Worse Than Scully’s. No easy feat.
- Shipper alert! Arm hug! Arm hug!
- Am I the only person who thinks it’s really adorable that Mulder puts his feet up in the interrogation room? (Answer: probably.)