X-Files Flashback: ‘The Rain King’

Season 6, Episode 8
Director: Kim Manners
Writer: Jeffrey Bell

The X-Files‘s “The Rain King” is a bizarre episode that really travels all over the map tonally. Clearly intended to be light and comic, it focuses on love within a small Kansas town and its association/impact on the local weather. It’s a very low-key entry into The X-Files canon, featuring some nice cinematography and visual effects now and then but ultimately amounting to very little. It’s a nice, fluffy, cotton candy episode that evaporates as soon as it’s over.

“The Rain King” introduces Sheila Fontaine (SNL‘s Victoria Jackson) as fiancee to Daryl Mootz (Clayton Rohner). On Valentine’s Day, Sheila published their tentative engagement in the local paper, but Daryl wanted to keep it a secret because the recent droughts have made business tough. Angry, Daryl speeds away from her house and downs a 6-pack until a freak heart-shaped hail storm (and the beer) help him crash into a tree. Six months later, Mulder and Scully are called to investigate Mootz’s new opportunity, his title as “The Rain King” under which he sells his ability to generate rain for the drought-plagued area. The local weatherman, Holman Hardt (David Manis), seems to be a believer.

Skeptical, Mulder and Scully attend one of Mootz’s rain-making ceremonies, which is really just an opportunity for Mootz to act like an ass. However, after Mootz wildly gyrates and gesticulates, it begins to rain. Later that night, a freak tornado tosses a nearby cow into Mulder’s room. Escaping relatively unscathed, Mulder interviews a grief-stricken Sheila who believes her actions are causing the strange weather. Checking in on Mulder, Holman overhears someone say that Mootz was drunk the night he crashed his car and lost his leg. Suddenly, Mootz’s ability to control the weather disappears.

Mulder eventually figures out that it is Holman who is controlling the weather, and the recent bad luck in weather trends is a result of his unrequited love for Sheila. Mulder convinces Holman to share his feelings, but Sheila reveals she is instead in love with Mulder, putting the entire town in danger from Holman’s wrath. In the end, Sheila understands Holman’s power and the range of emotions he experiences with her in mind. The two kiss at a high school class reunion, and all returns to normal. The couple have a baby one year later, and the drought is now long gone.

So, it may sound like I didn’t care for “The Rain King,” and that’s not entirely true. There is a certain sweetness that runs through the episode that eventually smacks you over the head with its endearing qualities. The variations in weather are also well rendered and interesting. I also positively reacted to the potential deepening relationship between Mulder and Scully where the trend of everyone around them realizes they have feelings for one another but they fail to acknowledge it. But, ultimately, it’s a very, very silly episode structured around (and I’m going to be as nice as I can here) the thought that multiple men would throw themselves on Victoria Jackson. Maybe if the role had been cast with someone less completely annoying then the central love affair would have been more heart-warming. Instead, by the end, I had grown weary of her unbalanced performance and was glad for the peace and quiet of the closing shot of a beautiful rainbow.

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