Season 1, Episode 10
Director: Larry Shaw
Writer: Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa
“Fallen Angel” refers to the code name given a potential alien who has crash landed in Townsend, Wisconsin. When first uncovered by local police, the alien appears – using that term loosely as it doesn’t appear as anything at all other than a brief watery image – to flee its fiery crash scene, frightened and alone. As the local policeman investigates the crash, the alien approaches him and flashes a light so bright as to give the policeman fifth degree burns, killing him almost instantly.
“Fallen Angel” returns the plot to the ongoing mythology of alien encounters, including a visit from Deep Throat that casts that character in a new light. It’s a welcome return to more coherent storytelling, although I still have my gripes about the exploration of the alien entity. Still, it’s miles above recent episodes, and I was mostly satisfied.
After the crash is covered up by the military as a derailed train carrying toxic materials, Mulder is alerted to the situation by Deep Throat. Eager to explore the crash scene, Mulder goes rouge and infiltrates the site without proper approvals. He takes pictures near the site but is, of course, captured by a patrolling military officer. Threatened with serious repercussions, Mulder persists on investigating the event, meeting a fellow obsessive – Max – who is also a fan of Mulder and Scully. It is casually revealed that Max bears markings of individuals who have been abducted previously. By the end of the episode, the alien has killed a few more soldiers and again abducted Max with nary an explanation in site.
Still, “Fallen Angel” feels more coherent than recent episodes. Being an alien storyline, it focuses more on Mulder than Scully, although she gets some action when expressing frustration and anger against Mulder for endangering his life and FBI employment. The biggest annoyance of the episode, and clearly this is something I’m going to have to get over, is its reluctance to provide answers. It’s a pattern with the show, I know, and I’ll adjust my expectations accordingly. However, the alien’s motivations, aside from fear and attack modes, aren’t really understood or explored, most likely due to the fact that 90 percent of the episode was told from the Mulder or Scully perspective. That’s still frustrating, especially after Episode 9’s ghost alien from Mars.
It was a nice twist at the end, however, to have Deep Throat take on something of a sinister tone. I’d always assumed he was there to support Mulder in his conquest for the truth, but Deep Throat tells a college “it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Pretty sure he was referring to Mulder there. I hope this is explored more over the rest of the season. At least more than the random alien of the week.
The truth may be out there, but I’ll be damned if they’re in a hurry to reveal it.