“You people were told this was coming”
Well, the only coherent thought I had after watching ‘Home Again’ was: “What was the point in that?” Apart from a few inspired scenes, the episode came and went without much to admire about it. There were two conflicting storylines that were only very loosely thematically connected. They competed to an extent that neither storyline received the attention they (probably) deserved. On one hand, there was the ‘Monster of the Week’ storyline, about some sort of trash monster, and on the other hand, there was Scully’s mum having a heart attack. It felt like two episodes compacted in to one. Not only that, but the ‘Monster of the Week’ was underwhelming, and the references to ‘The X Files’ history was so overwhelming as to be distracting…
However, ‘Home Again’ started off promisingly, with an actor out of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ (I forget his name) evicting homeless people. I hoped we were in for a scathing commentary on the state of homeless people and our attitudes to them. That hope was raised after said actor had his arms ripped off by a monster. However, just after the title sequence rolled, Scully was informed that her mother had had a heart attack. The split of the storylines quickly sapped any interest in the “whys and hows” of the monster. Not only that, but later on the monster is referred to as ‘The Band Aid Nose Monster.’ Excuse me? If it was a Darin Morgan episode, and was constantly satirizing itself, then I’d understand. But ‘Home Again’ took itself deadly seriously. Thus the name of the monster metaphorically slapped it in the face.
“’Back in the day’…isn’t now”
The only chilling moment of the episode had Petula Clark’s ‘Downtown’ playing over it as The Band Aid Nose Monster stalked her inside her house. The quick cuts, editing and sound combined to instil a little fear in the viewer. But the other murders in the episode relied on heavy gore, rather than fear of the unknown, to convey horror. The BSG actor arms were ripped off in gruesome fashion. The Monster pulled off another man’s head in a flurry of violence (with some visibile spinal cord attatched!). Limbs and bodies were separated at an un-Network TV-like manner. But, in my view, the less you see equals more terror. We saw the monster in the first minute of the episode, and the gore reached a peak halfway through that sanitized the other murders.
Not only that, but when we eventually got to the explanation behind The Band Aid Nose Monster, it made little sense. A Banksy-esque artist called The Trashman, hoping to help the homeless by applying graffiti to walls, willed the monster into existence. He envisioned the monster’s birth and life, and miraculously, it came to life. Not only that, but the monster hoped to help the homeless, just like it’s creator, so set about murdering those responsible for messing the homeless around. Oh, right…I know it’s ‘The X Files,’ and supernatural events are it’s core, but the Trashman’s explanation was downright illogical. Not only that, but I struggled to hear the words, as the actors unnecessarily slurred and blurred his lines.
“If you don’t see a problem, there’s no problem”
Scully’s story was meant to be the emotional heart of ‘Home Again,’ but due to competing with the other story, fell flat. It came out of nowhere. The shoe-horning in of Mulder and Scully’s son William felt like shoving a square peg into a round hole. Of course, treating homeless people like trash was supposed to be a mirror image of what Scully did to William by giving him up for adoption. But Scully did it for William’s best interests! How many family members has Scully lost thanks to being involved in The X Files? William would have been just another victim had she not give him up for adoption. Admittedly, the flashbacks were pleasing to my X Phile eyes, trying to place them in the series’ history. But the dialogue never compellingly conveyed Scully’s distress and heart attack, nor linked the two stories sufficiently enough. Gillian Anderson tried her very best, almost overcoming the mediocre dialogue. She was the heart of the episode, but was let down by both story and dialogue. David Duchovny looked both bored and irritated throughout!
After last week’s classic episode, The X Files revival sank back to its poor quality with ‘Home Again.’ It relied on gore and shock horror, rather than anything subtle. There were two stories constantly clashing, and neither one was given enough breathing space. Not only that, but both stories were only half-formed. The Band Aid Nose Monster was one of the worst ‘Monsters of the Week’ ever, with no presence and a ludicrous origin story. Scully’s mother’s illness and death were drowned by waters of cringeworthy dialogue and references to William. ‘Home Again’ plunged back into ‘The X Files’ past for inspiration, just like the revival as a whole, but it needs to be looking towards the future…
VERDICT: 3/10. ‘Home Again’ was a great letdown after the excellence of ‘Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster.’ It was hamstrung by telling two stories that were only linked by the thinnest of themes, constant references to The X Files’ past, and dull dialogue.
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Click here for my review of The X Files: Season 10: Episode 3: Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster)
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