Season 5, Episode 8: “Kitsunegari”
“Kitsunegari” is a good episode. But it’s not as good as “Pusher.” I know that sounds like an unfair judgment, and maybe it is, but truthfully that was the only thing I could think while watching the episode. I mean, it’s good, and there are some good moments, but I don’t know why I would willingly watch this one again when I could just go back and watch “Pusher” instead.
“Kitsunegari” is the second sequel to a MOTW episode we’ve had on the show. The first was “Tooms,” an episode I thought was vastly superior to its predecessor, “Squeeze.” And, really, that’s the main difference between these sequels for me. I wasn’t completely ga-ga over “Squeeze,” but “Pusher” is one of my favorite episodes. “Kitsunegari” was going to have to majorly impress me in order to live up to “Pusher,” and it just didn’t.
Interestingly, this episode originally wasn’t even going to be about Robert Patrick Modell at all. It ended up being co-written by Vince Gilligan with the original writer, Tim Minear, after Frank Spotnitz suggested that adding Modell was a good idea. I confess I don’t get it. I enjoyed Modell as much as the next person, but I thought “Pusher” had a reasonably good sense of closure at the end, especially compared to other MOTWs. In “Squeeze,” for instance, Tooms is very much still alive and still a potential threat. At the end of “Pusher” Modell is bedridden and Scully comments that he’ll “never regain consciousness.” The door was pretty much shut on that story, I thought.
So it’s hard for me to think of any reason Modell was brought back other than those dark, dark two words that I hate to utter….fan service. (Shudders.)
I’m willing to give Spotnitz and Gilligan the benefit of the doubt, though. When you take the episode on its own, you actually get a very good and very enjoyable X-File. I like the tension they put between Mulder and Scully in this one. It hearkens back to Season 1 where Mulder said crazy things and Scully wasn’t so quick to jump on board the Mulder-train despite her disbelief. I also like that they don’t show us any scenes with Modell’s sister until well after Mulder starts suspecting her. It makes you, the viewer, also wonder if Mulder’s right or not. Which of course he ends up being, but the suspense would have been killed had we seen her in the teaser or something like that.
As for Lady Pusher, I guess she’s fine, but she doesn’t nearly captivate me like Modell did in “Pusher.” The climax is also trying way too hard to repeat the final showdown from “Pusher,” and isn’t nearly as meaningful. Although Gillian Anderson does do a great dying Scully.
There is one part of this episode I really, really like, though. It’s the very end, the last conversation between Mulder and Skinner. Skinner apologizes to Mulder for having doubted him throughout the course of the episode, and praises Mulder figuring everything out and catching the killers. Mulder doesn’t feel quite so proud, though. In fact, he kind of feels awful. After all, he nearly killed Scully, his other half.
SKINNER: Nobody could have figured this out but you. You knew it was Linda Bowman and not Modell. You were way ahead of me.
MULDER: I almost killed my partner.
SKINNER: Mulder, despite that, you prevailed. You won her game.
MULDER: Then how come I feel like I lost?
You may not turn out a perfect 45 minutes every time, X-Files, but you still do endings freaking well.
Final score for “Kitsunegari” is 7/10. It’s not as good as “Pusher.” But it’s not a bad episode by any means.
- Both Mulder and Scully look really good in this one.
- Okay, how on earth did Lady Pusher know the therapist was about to tell Mulder about her? Does she have X-ray vision? How does that work?
- One problem I have with “Kitsunegari” is that Pusher’s power really isn’t exactly the same. In “Pusher,” he was more convincing people to do things to themselves, while in “Kitsunegari” the power is more like forced hallucination. It’s not quite as jarring.