Season 2, Episode 21: “The Calusari”
It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Demon Child episode. I think the last one was “Born Again,” and we all know what a piece of forgettable crap that was, so let’s see how this premise holds up this time.
It’s not that it can’t work. “Eve” was brilliant, though to be fair the two Eves weren’t really Demon Children as much as they were Genetically Engineered Evil Children. Then again, maybe something like “Eve” works better for the show. “Eve” isn’t something you see every day. Young children being possessed by the devil? Yeah. We’ve all seen that before.
Which is, in a nutshell, the problem with “The Calusari” – it’s not bad. It’s not even boring, really. This episode is fine. The performances are solid, the script decent, the conflict well constructed and the resolution climactic. But that’s really all it is. There’s nothing here that sprinkles that X-Files magic on top. And while I do like this much more than I do some of the other Demon Child episodes, there’s something about it that has always come across as lackluster to me.
I think the best way to explain it is to describe my experience watching it in order to write this review. I didn’t really even think about what was really going on until the episode ended. It didn’t impact me emotionally as I was watching it. And that’s a tough pill to swallow, especially in an episode where three people in one family die – including a three-year-old boy. And we have to watch it happen.
I don’t want to make anyone in my nonexistent audience feel uncomfortable, but imagine what it would be like if three people in your family died gruesome, horrible deaths. Now imagine you were in the position of the mother. First your kid dies, then your husband, and then your mother. Most people probably wouldn’t be able to handle that much tragedy in such a short amount of time. I felt for Mrs. Holvey – I’m not entirely heartless – but it was only after the episode was over that I realized how terrible nearly every single event in this episode is. And again, I don’t mean “terrible” as in “bad,” I mean terrible as in horribly depressing or disturbing.
I liked Mrs. Holvey as a character, too (the actress who played her is gorgeous, by the way). So really there’s no excuse for me not to be emotionally invested in her situation. But for some reason, I just couldn’t. Not even when creepy Charlie/Michael is on screen, and he’s by far the creepiest kid on the show since the Eves.
Have you ever had a dessert that contains ingredients you like and there seems to be nothing wrong with it but just doesn’t leave you satisfied? That’s kind of what this episode is like. It’s an unsatisfactory cinnamon roll.
Final score for “The Calusari” is 6/10. I almost feel bad for giving this one a lower score, since I feel like it’s my fault I don’t like it as much as I should. But for whatever reason, it just doesn’t do it for me.
- When Charlie is being exorcised by the Calusari, Mulder sees dripping yellow goo. This will return – not exactly in the same form, but it will return. 🙂
- This episode also marks the first appearance of Dr. Burk, a character who will pop up every now and then and who I really wish had popped up more. He could have been the fourth member of The Lone Gunmen.
- Even if Charlie did survive the exorcism, he’s going to be a messed-up child for the rest of his life. No kid should have to go through that. Maybe that’s why I don’t like this episode very much. It doesn’t really go into much emotional detail about the seriousness of these events.