HomeTelevision‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz' Takes The X-Files Deep into the Twilight Zone

‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’ Takes The X-Files Deep into the Twilight Zone

Photo Credit: Shane Harvey/FOX

Rm9sbG93ZXJz Plot Summary:

Technology is out to get Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson).

The X-Files Season 11 premiere was absolutely (and justifiably) lambasted by critics, and fans alike.

However, since that misstep the series has slowly regained its footing and has delivered some absolutely brilliant episodes, like the totally meta ‘The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.’

However, there’s been an underlying (and sometimes not-so underlying) theme of relevance that’s run through every episode. Are Mulder and Scully, and by proxy the series, still relevant in today’s world? The two agents who investigated hushed conspiracies and urban legends through detective work feel they’ve become irrelevant in the Information Age. The truth is out there…now literally on the internet. It’s no longer lurking in the dark corners of the world, but there for everyone to see.

The relevance applies to the show itself. Is this show still a relevant player in today’s television landscape? Or is this just the second season of a nostalgia trip that’s wearing out its welcome?

This week with ‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’ the revived sci-fi series proved that it can produce relevant, creative, and enthralling television.

The premise is simple — technology is lashing out at both Mulder and Scully. After the two dine at an empty, yet automated restaurant (and Mulder doesn’t leave a tip) the two are harassed by drones, and self-driving cars, and Scully is eerily stalked by her’s penchant for instantaneous “product suggestions” (e.g. she runs out of hair dye and a hair dye ad immediately pops up on her phone).

The episode feels to be a lost chapter from The Twilight Zone, or Black Mirror. This is mainly due to its hyper creativity, and its allegoric story structure. There’s very little dialogue in the episode; an extremely bold choice that fits the episode’s theme perfectly. The entire episode is a commentary on how the supersaturation of technology in our lives is not only controlling our lives, but it really gives us no reason to communicate or interact with each other. It makes us forget our common human graces, and societal norms. We’re glued to our phones, dependent on our apps, and devices, and less reliant on our wits.

Some may groan at the resolution of the episode — but it’s actually kind of perfect. It’s humorous, but there’s also a lesson to be learned. And at the end of the day, isn’t the what The X-Files has been so good at — making us question our current realities, morals, and prejudices by placing them in surreal situations?

‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’ is a truly great episode not only of The X-Files but of television in the 2017-2018 season. While ‘The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat’ may be everyone’s season favorite — this episode is truly a step above it in quality. It did not rely on nostalgia, or meta storytelling to capture the audience, it used bold creative gestures, and biting social commentary to create a complete, masterful episode.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Bill Bodkin
Bill Bodkinhttps://thepopbreak.com
Bill Bodkin is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break, and most importantly a husband, and father. Ol' Graybeard writes way too much about wrestling, jam bands, Asbury Park music, HBO shows, and can often be seen under his season DJ alias, DJ Father Christmas. He is the co-host of the Socially Distanced Podcast (w/Al Mannarino) which drops weekly on Apple, Google, Anchor & Spotify. He is the co-host of the monthly podcasts -- Anchored in Asbury, TV Break and Bill vs. The MCU.


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