Season 2, Episode 23: “Soft Light”
“Soft Light” was written by someone you might have heard of: Vince Gilligan. If that name doesn’t sound familiar to you, he wrote something else you might have heard of: a little show called Breaking Bad.
Now, I haven’t yet seen Breaking Bad, but from what I’ve heard it’s supposed to be pretty damn good. Hell, just take most of Vince Gilligan’s contributions to The X-Files alone and it’s crystal clear – we have a great writer on our hands.
But how did he do on his first X-Files episode?
My answer: eh.
“Soft Light” isn’t bad, and Vince Gilligan did crank up the Mulder and Scully banter a little, but as a whole the episode is a bit lackluster. I never felt that there was anything particularly intense or threatening in this episode, with the exception of Mr. X, but we’ve seen him before and will see him again in even more intense situations. The killer shadow is pretty original, but there’s nothing that scary about it.
Banton is a good character, and he comes across as a good example of a slightly “mad” scientist who’s causing more destruction than he ever intended to cause – a modern-day Victor Frankenstein, if you will. We also have a substory which is introduced rather quickly, shoved to the side, and then wiped completely out of the equation. One of Scully’s former students, a young, fresh detective named Kelly Ryan, requested Mulder and Scully’s help on this case, but did so unofficially and wants to keep their involvement hush-hush. But then she’s turned into a puddle of blue goo so that whole storyline goes away.
And I must say I was rather disappointed when Davey betrayed Banton. It was just the sort of overdone “twist” that I would have expected in another show, but not The X-Files. We can be a little more creative.
I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. Vince Gilligan is brilliant. He wrote some of the show’s best and most beloved episodes.
All I’m trying to say is “Soft Light” isn’t one of them.
Final score for “Soft Light” is 5/10. I love Vince Gilligan, but this one is just eh.
- I realize my picture at the top turned out rather blurry, but if you watch very carefully, Mulder makes a funny face at Scully in the elevator. It’s so quick that if you’re not careful, you’ll miss it.
- Mr. X is still badass in this episode. He’s just not as badass as in others.
- I just don’t buy that this would be the case Mulder decides to walk out on X. It’s not even related to the larger conspiracy.