Firewalker – Season 2, Ep 9

MULDER: I’m Special Agent Mulder. I’m with the FBI.

TREPKOS: You don’t look like a policeman.

…That’s because he’s not. He’s an FBI agent. Which he just said.

 
 
 
Season 2, Episode 9: “Firewalker”

firewalker-4

There are two episodes of Season 2 that remind me of Star Trek episodes (the original series), and by “remind” I mean to say that they’re extremely similar. Since I adore Star Trek, however, I take little issue with this.

“Firewalker” is very similar to a TOS episode called “The Devil in the Dark,” in which the Enterprise crew finds a silicon based life form. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with 60s low-budget television, let’s just say the special effects are…bad. Quite laughably bad. I think it adds a touch of charm to the series, but even I could not get past the ridiculousness of this particular creature:

Horta

(Okay, who overheated the spaghetti in the microwave?)

I bring this up because as soon as I started hearing Mulder mention silicon life forms, I was kind of expecting to see the Horta. I know there’s no reason they should have thrown the Horta in there, but it was a subconscious thing. So, unlike most episodes, I wasn’t waiting in anticipation for the monster to appear.

And then we got this.

Firewalker_x-files

DAMN YOU, CHRIS CARTER! Another parasite? And a fungal one at that?

This episode is gross. More than that, it looks particularly painful, since we get to see the whole thing coming out of their necks. And the spores being squirted against the glass. Eeew.

This episode is in the same category as “Ice” and “Darkness Falls”, and it’s a mixture of the strengths of one and the weaknesses of the other. We have the scare factor of “Ice” with the fungal parasite, but at the same time we also have the enormous letdown of “Darkness Falls” when we discover that this thing, gross as it is, is the silicon based life form everybody was talking about. I’m not saying every creature Mulder and Scully encounter should have fangs or claws, but this thing came out of a volcano. A volcano.

Let me bring up a picture of the Horta again.

Horta

If you squint, that thing looks like it came out of a volcano.

This? This does not.

Firewalker_x-files

I’m sorry, but if the creature from an episode of Star Trek: The Original Series looks more believable than the one in a show from the 90’s, that’s an issue.

Screenshot08


Final Score

6+stars

Final score for “Firewalker” is 6/10. The fungus is gross, but at the same time kind of a letdown.


Notable Nuggets

  •  I was going to bring it up in the review, but it’s so underplayed in the episode that it’s almost not worth mentioning: Mulder being overprotective of Scully during the first case after her abduction. It’s sweet, but I feel like it should have been a much bigger part of the episode than it actually was, or that it actually will be until the season finale.
  •  I always think of the Asian guy as Sulu, and given the other connections to Star Trek in this episode, I think it fits.
  • This is the last episode of its kind, the kind where Mulder and Scully go to investigate some sort of newly discovered creature in a scientific or nature-y setting. Many people are glad about this because these episodes have to follow a very specific formula or they don’t work, which often leads to repetition. Me? I kind of like this formula, so I wouldn’t have minded a few more. But I totally understand why they stopped going in this direction after this episode. Mulder and Scully are not, after all, on the crew of the Enterprise.
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6 thoughts on “Firewalker – Season 2, Ep 9

  1. Salome says:

    Back again… because I procrastinate like that.

    I had a soft spot for this formula too. And while I can see how it would have gotten old after a bit, what made The X-Files, The X-Files, was that it had an established formula that was both charming in its predictability and able to be stretched, twisted and inverted at the writers’ will. I bet they could have found a way to play with and salvage this them. But, ah well.

    I never would have caught the Star Trek connection! I was always a Next Generation gal myself.

    • Knife Ink says:

      I love Next Gen too (although TOS will always be near and dear to my heart). I’m a huge Trekkie. Right before #XFRewatchFirewalker I gave “The Devil in the Dark” another watch, having not seen it in a while. It’s still excellent television, and watching it was a bit emotional as I hadn’t watched much Star Trek since Leonard Nimoy passed away last February. Anyway, when I first watched “Firewalker” I immediately thought of Star Trek. A lot of early season X-Files are like “Star Trek” episodes – “Dod Kalm” is the other one that’s really similar to episodes from both TOS and Next Gen.

      • Salome says:

        I can see that – Mulder and Scully find themselves in a contained alien world or environment and encounter something that shouldn’t exist. They’re temporarily trapped before returning to their “spaceship” and flying back to the real world. It happens quite a bit.

      • Knife Ink says:

        I think that might be why I’m so excited to review “Detour” – another episode that puts them in a wild environment with strange creatures. I love that episode so much. By that point in the series we’d been seriously deprived of Mulder and Scully in the woods.

        Now that I think about it, “Detour” might be a much more successful version of “Firewalker.” You know how Mulder and Scully make that very brief attempt in “Firewalker” to bring up her abduction? I think it’s handled with much more grace in “Detour” (except it’s about the cancer). And the two episodes are very similar in that they return to that “alien world” formula you mentioned, right after a major, emotional development in the mythology.

        Also, when will bad things stop happening to Scully?

      • Salome says:

        Yes!! I was thinking of Detour when I typed that! We’re sympatico.

        And if bad things stop happening to Scully then Mulder will stop comforting her and we can’t have that now, can we?

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