Season 6, Episode 3: Triangleon October 18, 2020 at 12:01 am
This episode is super fun. It’s one of a handful directed by Chris Carter, and he shows the hell off with long tracking shots and other camera trickery. I keep seeing critics call the camerawork Hitchcockian, but it’s more like Hitchcock’s coked-up high-grade knockoff Brian de Palma. You can tell from the use of split screen.
Mulder kisses Fast-Talking Dame Scully and tells Actual Scully he loves her. Nothing gets Mulder horned up like a trip to the Bermuda Triangle.
This is the first of three episodes this season that Shaenon identified as one of her top 5 non-Darin Morgan episodes back in 2012 in a Sunday Skin Horse extra. She said then:
“Another period piece! Mulder disappears in the Bermuda Triangle and gets picked up by a cruise ship that vanished in 1939. In no time he’s fighting Nazis, delivering action-hero quips, and meeting unexplained 1930s versions of Scully and other characters (this episode is, among other things, a tribute to The Wizard of Oz). But the real action is back in the present, where Scully has to navigate an FBI building swarming with agents of the Conspiracy in order to rescue Mulder. An unusually action-packed episode, this is one of a handful directed by Chris Carter, who went all-out with the fancy camerawork. The whole episode is designed to look like a series of extended takes in the style of Hitchcock’s Rope, and one sequence in particular, with Scully running up and down FBI headquarters for eleven uninterrupted minutes, looks impossible to shoot. Near the end, there’s another neat trick: a split screen tracking the 1939 and present-day action, during which the two Scullys pass like ships in the night and switch to the opposite sides of the screen. Also, Nazis get punched.”
I initially read “non-Darin Morgan” as “non David Morgan-Mar” and now I’m wondering what a DMM-written X-files episode would look like.
I haven’t rewatched this yet, but my recollection from the last time I watched it was that maybe there was more style than substance in this episode, but when the style is this great then maybe that’s OK? This is definitely a very cinematic episode, and its look really stands out compared to most other episodes, especially in earlier seasons — even other really great episodes don’t look this cool.
This one is definitely just an excuse for the director to mess around with tracking shots and putting Scully in period costume, and I’m…okay with that? The whole episode ends on a big “IUNO?” shoulder shrug. It’d be great if an episode with this kind of quirky visual style had a compelling plot to go with it, but we can’t always get what we want (but if we try sometimes we just might find we get what we need etc.)
Panel 4 wins the retrospective. “Skinner, the day we always feared has come.”
Oh my days, this one is fabulous, from first panel on down.
I love this episode because it’s one of the only ones where anything interesting happens in the FBI building besides the occasional cliffhanger execution of some dude (RIP Chief Blevins AKA Evil Proto-Skinner).
I love this episode and I love this comic. A+ across the board!