Season 5, Episode 11: “Kill Switch”
I come from a long line of computer geeks, so I love a good Artificial Intelligence story. The trouble is, those are sometimes hard to pull off. In fact, the last real attempt The X-Files made at this subject was the less-than-successful “Ghost in the Machine,” an episode that probably doesn’t deserve the 3/10 I originally gave it but is still not very good nonetheless. The X-Files is going to have to get really creative if it wants to pull this subject matter off in an entertaining way.
Well, you know what they say. Second time’s the charm.
Man, I love this episode. It’s a damn near perfect piece of television, if you ask me. Not necessarily because it’s particularly deep, insightful, or even impactful, but on an entertainment level it’s a marvel. Every moment captivates you, nothing is boring, and when you watch it you find yourself loving the world, your family, your job, and especially The X-Files.
As a reviewer, it’s irritating when I can’t come up with good words to describe what makes something so good, but if we take a step back from the world of analysis for a moment, that’s really a good thing, don’t you think? Good art should take the words right out of your mouth. And for this episode, it’s hard for me to come up with anything else other than, “Just go watch it.”
But, I’m committed to full reviews so I promise I’ll go into more detail than that. Just know, however, that you can stop reading the review right here and go watch the episode. I won’t be sad if you do.
“Kill Switch” has three elements that for me really make this episode great: the Lone Gunmen, the evil computer, and the Battle of the Females.
Gee, I’m really sounding like that old guy who fixes your cable today. What I mean is, the women in this episode clearly dominate, because they’re smart, badass, and funny. Scully and Esther. They’re pretty fantastic. (Go search your fanfic archives later, kids.)
Esther, especially, I’ve always loved as a character. It’s always nice to see a character who clearly doesn’t give two craps about what anybody thinks. Esther’s a female computer genius who dresses up like a goth raccoon and could still kick your ass. In handcuffs. But she’s also human, too. She has a breaking point, like the scene where she starts crying with Scully in the car.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This episode is still very testosterone-driven, but unlike certain upcoming Season 7 episodes that I shall decline to name, the women in this episode, Scully included, are allowed to be women and work alongside their male counterparts, rather than working against them to “strike back as women.” What I mean is, Esther is a female in a generally male-dominated field, and no one bats an eye. The Lone Gunmen, whose presence in this episode is akin to the warm feelings of Christmas Day, acknowledge Esther first for her computer skills. Well, and then Frohike calls her hot. But that’s Frohike, right? He calls everyone hot.
Oh, and what about Mulder’s little AI fever dream? Surely that’s a scene dripping with male fantasy? Not really, no. Sure, Mulder’s visited by the hot nurses, but come ON, his arms are cut off and he’s completely, totally, pitifully helpless. And in the end, who comes to save the day, both in the fantasy and in real life? Scully.
The computer is threatening, too. I mean, this thing can kill you with – well, I think Scully put it best:
Scully, you funny girl.
We all love explosions. Boys and girls love explosions. I love explosions. I love this episode.
In fact, I think I’m going to go watch it again. I’ll see y’all next time.
Final score for “Kill Switch” is 10/10. Heavenly shades of AWESOME are falling.
- Like “Wonderful, Wonderful,” I start snickering every time I hear “Twilight Time,” puzzling those around me.
- Scully’s facial expressions in this episode are enough to give me life for weeks.
- Scully + Kung Fu = HOT. I mean, badass. Oh, screw it, it’s hot.
- Do all trailers have incredibly convenient escape holes in the floor?
- I personally LOVE it when Scully rescues Mulder. While running away from an explosion. It’s happened before, in “Terma.” Thanks, Rob Bowman.