X-Files Flashback: ‘Nothing Important Happened Today Part II’

Season 9, Episode 2
Director: Tony Wharmby
Writer: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz

Even though I’ve finished the 2-part story arc, most of my comments from episode one still stand. Overstuffed with useless filler, “Nothing Important Happened Today” stretched itself unnecessarily over two episodes, and the best parts were reserved for the first episode. The super soldier story line had some initial kitsch value as there was something slyly amusing about watching these super soldiers hunt Agent Doggett and company down and chop peoples’ heads off like T-1000s. Now, it’s just becoming incredibly tiring, and the motivation for most of the characters is sadly lost in the ether.

The episode begins when the captain of a vintage World War II Naval ship delivers a top secret message to a doctor sequestered in a lab facility on board – the ship is to return to shore. Back on land, Shannon McMahon (Lucy Lawless) has pulled Doggett underwater to protect him from the recently arrived FBI agents and blows air into his lungs to keep him from dying. Doggett wakes up at home with McMahon watching over him, explaining that she and Knowle Rohrer are super soldiers – incapable of dying and subjects of a top secret military program (are there any other kind really?). Rohrer shows up on the now docked WWII ship and informs the captain that he is now the second in command – the real second in command was found floating in the nearby water. Meanwhile, Monica Reyes is advised by Brad Follmer and the uncharacteristically limp A.D. Skinner to abandon Doggett’s crusade.

A series of random events eventually leads Scully, Doggett, and Reyes to the ship where they are attacked by Rohrer who, after surviving certain death, seems to have difficulty quickly crushing Doggett’s head. Other super soldiers can punch through elevator doors and chop heads off with a single blow, but Rohrer somehow can’t crush Doggett’s thin head. Naturally, Rohrer is decapitated by Shannon McMahon but quickly stabs her through the stomach from behind. Both of their bodies fall into the water. When the three agents board the ship, they find the captain’s body, of course decapitated, and the central lab which contains modified ova. Scully tries to find evidence of her own manipulation, but Doggett first finds a time bomb that has a minute left before detonation. The ship explodes, destroying all evidence. In the aftermath, Deputy Director Kersh and Doggett have a moment after Kersh has been cleared of any conspiratorial involvement. It is revealed that Kersh told Mulder to leave town, and Scully convinced him to follow through with it. In the last scene, Scully sleeps while Baby William manipulates the mobile on his own again.

Obviously, this story arc did nothing for me, and, as such, I have very little to say that hasn’t already been said in my former post. The mythology is overstuffed yet, somehow, underserved. The super soldiers appear unstoppable, yet our heroes escape them every time. Plus, I’m getting extremely tired of the beheadings which are carried off with all the filmmaking prowess of the Jason Takes Manhattan entry in the Friday the 13th series (you know what I’m talking about). Skinner is still a useless wimp, and Kersh may be a good guy but no one apparently told James Pickens, Jr. He still conveys his lines with the blandest of monotonous voices. Is he good? Is he bad? Is he awake?

The tremendous drop in quality is really shocking from Season Eight to Season Nine. It’s as if all the air left the room watching the series now. Mythology episodes during the great era of the show were tedious, but they were considerably better than this garbage. Guess you really do have to experience the future before you can fully appreciate the past. Fight the future, indeed.

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