Season 3, Episode 7: “The Walk”
“The Walk” is one of those episodes that I just don’t enjoy watching. I’m not saying The X-Files is all fun and games, or that every episode has to be 100% entertaining. But “The Walk” is an unpleasant mixture of uncomfortable and dull, and it’s the second military episode we’ve had this season. The first was “The List” and since there’s only one episode between the two, “The Walk” feels a tad repetitive. Hell, even the title sounds similar.
Even more than that, there’s just something about this episode I find mean-spirited. It’s just kind of a horrible situation – all these military officers are watching their families suffer violent deaths, caused by a quadruple amputee soldier who can project his spirit from his physical body. Rappo – that’s the soldier’s name – is such a despicable human being that any sympathy one might have for him not having any arms and legs completely disappears. At the same time, though, I think Rappo might be this episode’s one and only saving grace. Yes, you read that right.
How could I say that? you wonder. Isn’t Rappo what makes this episode horribly mean-spirited? Well, yes and no. What Rappo does makes the episode mean-spirited, especially when he kills Trevor, the General’s young son, by suffocating him in a sandpit. That’s mean-spirited. (For the record – how much sand do you need in one sandpit?) The beginning of the episode, in which Stans tries to commit suicide by jumping into a tub of boiling liquid, is mean-spirited. Draper getting assaulted in a pool is horrendously mean-spirited.
But whenever Rappo is actually on screen, he’s…well…I don’t know, interesting. His sardonic personality is the only humor this episode contains, and although it isn’t exactly believable, it’s not boring. My favorite moment in the whole episode is when Rappo makes a dirty implication about Scully and Mulder gets pissed.
But I think a big part of the reason this episode doesn’t work too well, at least for me, is that Rappo’s motivations aren’t really discussed very well and the episode doesn’t seem to be making a statement about problems in the military or anything. Oh, it hints at them, brushes by them, but by the end you find yourself asking, “Well, what was the point?” I’m not saying every episode has to have a moral issue or social commentary, but it’s a little hard to tell a revenge story – especially when it concerns the military, for goodness’ sake – without one, and all it does is make Rappo a crazy lunatic. Which he is.
That being said, while I can’t say I can ever bring myself to like Rappo, I certainly pay attention more whenever he’s on screen. He’s memorable. I would have completely forgotten this episode if he hadn’t been in it. Not exactly the greatest compliment I can give an X-Files episode, but I’ll take what I can get.
Final score for “The Walk” is 4/10. I struggled with giving this one a score, especially since I’d inevitably have to compare it to “The List.” Is it better or worse? Well, “The List” is certainly a better looking episode, that’s for sure, and there is motivation behind the deaths and whatnot. But “The Walk” at least doesn’t piss me off or leave me feeling sick to my stomach, which “The List” does. Maybe it’s not a fair comparison, and in reality “The Walk” only really deserves around a 3.5/10. But I’m too lazy to make a 3.5 stars, so 4 it is.
Notableish Nuggets (and Nitpicks)
- Seriously. Trevor’s sandbox has so much sand in it, I’m surprised it hadn’t already fallen down on top of him. I’m not saying he would have died necessarily without Rappo, but it’s still dangerous.
- The dialogue in this episode really isn’t the best, which makes Rappo’s sardonic jests all the more colorful.
- Sometimes the Mulder/Scully voiceovers at the end of episodes can be annoying and slightly pretentious, but this is one of the few cases I think needed it. At least Mulder acknowledged some issues, which is a million times better than Scully’s “Let’s just go home” at the end of “The List.”