Season 2, Episode 9: “Firewalker”
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:
(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.
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.
If you squint, that thing looks like it came out of a volcano.
This? This does not.
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.
Final score for “Firewalker” is 6/10. The fungus is gross, but at the same time kind of a letdown.
- 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.