Season 1, Episode 10: “Fallen Angel”
“Fallen Angel” is the second of the mythology episodes if you don’t count “Conduit.” Like “Deep Throat,” it mainly focuses on secret aircraft that maneuver in impossible ways and the military’s intentions to cover up such aircraft. Unlike “Deep Throat,” it’s an absolute pleasure to watch.
I admit when I first started doing these reviews I wasn’t looking forward to reviewing each episode of Season 1, mainly because in many cases I just don’t have a lot to say about them. The show is still finding its footing at this point, and as I’ve stated before somewhere, there’s only one episode from Season 1 I consider to be absolutely perfect and wonderful and outstanding. “Fallen Angel” isn’t that episode, but it is still very well done. If more of these solid episodes continue, I might have to make a big apology to Season 1. Then again, we did get “Space”, so maybe not.
“Fallen Angel” is the first “undercover Mulder” episode. Mulder is informed by Deep Throat that a mysterious aircraft has crashed and that he’d better high-tail it there before the military gets to it first. So Mulder dresses up in his trusty black leather jacket and does some snooping around. Unfortunately, though, Mulder’s stealth skills need some polishing, and it isn’t long before he’s caught. The military gets really pissed and throws him in a…chain-link fence jail cell?…where he meets the character Max Fenig.
Max Fenig is the kind of UFO nut you’d expect Mulder to hang out with. He’s a complete nerd, but his willingness to believe in UFOs and risk his well-being in order to chase after them strikes a chord with Mulder, and he really develops a special connection to Max. I think that’s the best thing about this episode. Mulder’s relationship with Max Fenig is very caring and very genuine, almost as if he were a brother or a very dear friend. Max’s strange mannerisms are charming to Mulder, and Scully, too – although Scully, in her skepticism, sees Max as a nice, confused guy who needs a different sort of help than Mulder means to give.
Mulder eventually comes to the conclusion that Max is a multiple abductee, after hearing Max’s stories of waking up in strange places, never knowing how he got there, and when he sees a strange incision behind Max’s ear – an incision he recognizes from the X-Files.
Max disappears again, though, and Mulder, very much at the risk of his own job and possibly Scully’s, leaves to search for him. This is of course another demonstration of Mulder’s unrelenting search for the truth. He’ll risk his own job, his future at the FBI, to chase after a man who thinks he’s been abducted by aliens – with no regret whatsoever. Mulder is nothing if not a flawed character, and this particular trait will surface over and over and over again throughout the show.
More than his search for the truth, though, I think part of the reason Mulder risks his job is because he genuinely cares for Max, and wants to prevent harm from coming to him. Mulder has an almost instinctive compassion for people who are lost, especially if nobody else believes what they have to say or listens to their problems. It’s a compassion that goes right back to the loss of his sister, and something that I will definitely be bringing up again.
The ending of this episode is also very, very strong. Both Mulder and Scully try their best during their interrogation, with Scully trying to remain calm, cool, and by-the-book without betraying Mulder, and Mulder spitting a small amount of venom at the interrogators. Again I know some people will disagree with me but I really like David Duchovny’s acting in this episode; he still manages to be intense and commanding towards the interrogators while limping around on crutches. Throughout the episode, I was really rooting for Mulder (not that I don’t root for Mulder usually, but it’s mostly in the context of Mulder and Scully, not Mulder alone) and I feel that David Duchovny was the main reason for that. He’s just so easy to sympathize with in this episode, and that’s not always the case with Mulder. At all.
“Fallen Angel” is, as I said before, just a pleasure to watch. There’s nothing in it that makes it fantastic or great, but it’s not the sort of episode that needs to be that way. It’s a solid episode with a good story and good characters. And I really enjoy it.
Final score for “Fallen Angel” is 8/10. Although perhaps not the most special or memorable of X-Files episodes, it’s still a great watch, and brings us Max Fenig, a very enjoyable character.
- I put that GIF up there for a reason. Seriously, I could watch it a hundred times and never get bored. Never was there a better entrance for a character. Ever.
- The invisible aliens never show up again after this episode, although they kind of seem similar to the thingy from “Space.” Wait a minute…that makes sense now. Okay, invisible aliens never happened.
- Awesome Mulderism Award for the line “I didn’t order room service.”