Season 2, Episode 3: “Blood”
The last episode dealing with the evils of technology was “Ghost in the Machine”, which I gave a very low rating because it wasn’t a very good episode. The X-Files has some trouble when it comes to episodes about technology, while at the same time being pretty accurate about the implications and effects of future technological advances. If “Blood” had actually been an episode about what it first appears to be about, it would have tackled these issues much more successfully than “Ghost in the Machine” did. As it is, however, “Blood” completely turns itself around – in the wrong direction.
The initial mystery in this episode is that a bunch of people are seeing messages appear in whatever electronic device happens to be nearby. The messages make them afraid, and then tell them to kill people in order to alleviate that fear. Mulder is called in because, well, no one else seems to be able to figure out what’s going on.
I can’t tell you how awesome an idea I think this is. A bunch of technological devices going haywire and telling people to do terrible things? That’s pretty freaky, especially for us in 2014, where practically everyone has some sort of thing with a screen in their pocket. Just imagine if this episode was set in today’s times. It would be absolutely fascinating to see what sort of things they could have come up with, and it also gives us a fair warning about spending too much time looking at screens, allowing ourselves to be told what to think.
But then the whole pesky pesticide thing is brought in, and the episode goes way downhill.
There’s just something about the pesticide that doesn’t click with me. First of all, it’s never really explained exactly why the government would be using this town as test subjects – or why they would even want to. Secondly, it’s never made clear if the government messed with the technology at each crime scene or if the messages these people are getting are just products of their hallucinations. Mulder seems to think it’s the former, but why would the government want to tell people to kill? If they’re going to use mind control like that, why wouldn’t they tell people to do something less violent and more subtle, like, I don’t know, give me this stolen money or pay these taxes? If the government is fully orchestrating this, they’re doing the worst job of going under the radar ever. If a bunch of people start going on killing sprees for seemingly no reason, someone is going to investigate. Word’s going to get out. Those kinds of things can’t exactly be kept secret.
It’s also possible that the messages are products of these people’s hallucinations. But that doesn’t really make sense, either. How is it possible that these people are all having the exact same hallucination? It just doesn’t seem likely, even in the context of the show.
Because of that, I can’t become invested in the mystery whatsoever because I’m still trying to figure out what the mystery even is. The episode almost seems to be aware of this, trying to distract us by making Mulder go running (always a good distraction), and even throwing the Lone Gunmen in for a scene. It reminds me of a chicken with its head cut off: it’s already been beheaded, but it’s still running around in circles, trying to find something to do. And by the end of the episode, it’s flopped over and died, with basically no payoff.
Which makes complete sense. This episode is not a fan favorite, and honestly I’d forgotten it even existed before I gave it a second watch. When I searched for images for for the episode’s picture, I mostly got pictures of Season 5’s “Bad Blood.” Nobody really remembers this one, because there’s honestly nothing to remember, except for a story idea which had great potential but failed miserably.
Final score for “Blood” is 3/10. And yet again another technology-centric episode gets another painfully low score. I hope this doesn’t become a thing.
- The music to this episode is pretty awesome. Every time one of the messages appears, the music helps to make it much scarier.
- Not an Awesome Mulderism, but still a pretty good line of Mulder’s: “Oh, I’m sorry, boys. It arrived the same day as my subscription to ‘Celebrity Skin’.”
- Does anyone else think Ed Funsch looks a teensy bit like Paul McCartney?