The X-Files - Kitten

As the X-Files heads into it's break for the Olympics, we get another episode where the monster of the week is really a human.  This entry may have not been, "purrr-fect" but it did provide us with another object lesson where it's the people we should be afraid of.  Not the monsters or aliens.

Of course, the faceless hands of the hidden government are involved in this.  But it's the people we see that pay the price.

And not everyone in the government seems to be happy with Mulder and Scully right now.  

Good to see James Pickens Jr. as Kersh again.  He was a recurring character from the original X-Files run and it looks as though Kersh has lost none of his rapier wit.  Albeit, an exhausted rapier wit.  (Spoiler alert, Pickens is also scheduled to be in the season finale.)

Judging from the topmost picture, Mulder and Scully know how to take a tongue lashing too.  It's not their first and it won't be their last.  They do learn that Skinner is missing though and as much as Kersh doesn't like them or their methods, they are the best ones for the job.  

To see what led Skinner astray we first get a flashback into his past.  Skinner is a Viet Nam vet and his experience in the war sowed the seeds of distrust with the government.   Ironically, this led Skinner to a career in the government.   A career where he could still serve his country and keep tabs on it at the same time.

Skinner served with a meek young man named John "Kitten" James.  (Ably played by Haley Joel Osmet).  Kitten was afraid of his own shadow.  But when exposed to the "MK Naomi" gas they were secretly delivering to the front lines, Kitten becomes a sadistic killer.

Looking at the gas leaking out of the box pictured above, we see that it is yellow.  The military during the Viet Nam war was infamous for using "Rainbow Herbicides" to defoliate the jungle canopy that gave the North Vietnamese army and the Viet Cong it's cover.  The most infamous of which was Agent Orange.  While there was no "Agent Yellow" used by the military, the use of a colored gas suggests the government or the CIA may have been using this gas as a secret weapon.  Apparently, this particular gas was used as a mind control weapon or at least a weapon to sow fear.  Perhaps this fear morphed into hallucinations where you saw monsters.

Maybe the CIA, or whomever, wanted to set the Vietnamese opposition against each other and when they saw the effect on their own men, decided to explore it further.  You never know when you may need it when your own populace decides to ignore your lies and turn against you.

Here, The X-Files (as a TV show) draws a correlation between the use of the herbicide and psychotropic drugs in the form of the gas.  If I read this correctly, the PTSD one would normally suffer in the aftermath of war was not just a tragic side effect.  But deliberately induced.

That would be insidious.

Lastly, there was an "Agent Green" deployed as a herbicide during the war and it also happened to be the name of the DOD agent in last week's "Ghouli".   Green was played by Zak Santiago who, spoiler alert, is also scheduled to appear in the season finale.  Coincidence?  

Doubt it!  

As we were to learn, the war never ended for John "Kitten" James.  Whether he wanted it to or not, the government made sure the battle never ended.

One of it's casualties was also his son, Davey.  (Also played by Osmet.)  I don't think it was clear Davey was exposed to any newer forms of the gas, although it was intimated the gas is still being used on the local and perhaps greater populace.  We never saw him lose any teeth, but it's clear he suffered from the aftermath of his Father's PTSD.  (Real or induced.)

Did this lead to Davey killing his father and using him as bait to catch Skinner?  Did he do away with his mother or just drive her away?  Perhaps, Davey felt abandoned by his mother and sought to excise her memory after she couldn't deal with John's tragic outcome.  (As seen in the picture above.)

Davey did dress as a monster but we never saw him experience any visions.  Sadly, we'll have to assume he suffered his own form of PTSD as he grew up and reached adulthood.



Skinner definitely got the wrong end of the stick (ouch, sorry) when he went looking for John.  The use of punji sticks was another sad reminder of war many would rather put behind them but cannot.  (It seems The X-Files took their authenticity seriously as when the soldiers rode in the helicopter, they kept the muzzles of their weapon pointed down.  If the rifles were to go off in flight they would most likely damage the engine if not the blades.  You don't want to shoot down your own chopper.  Gravity is a bitch.)

For his efforts Skinner was labeled, "Babykiller".  Davey blames  him for the 38 years his father spent in Glazenbrook.  In a sense he is correct.  Skinner had testified against John but he did it to protect him.  Or, so he thought.  

John disappeared soon after his "committal" and wasn't heard from until Skinner received an ear in the mail.  It was just bait of course.  Davey in his deep sorrow and his maladjusted sense of retribution lured Skinner in.


Davey didn't count on Mulder and Scully being dragged along.  He tried to put a good face on, but Mulder's juices were flowing and wouldn't let the case go.  Mulder circled back to find Skinner while Scully went on to get better cell reception.

Why isn't that cell reception is never available when you really need it?

Lucky for all, Scully did her own circling and was in time to save the boys.


That is, except for the boy whose life was ruined by the unseen hands that never let the war go for his father.  Davey falls victim to his own trap as he tried to wriggle away from Skinner.  Skinner now has both deaths to haunt him.

The Aftermath


Another touching moment in a series of many for the X-Files this season.  Skinner relates to Scully and Mulder how he never would have gotten as far as he did without those two.

They weren't holding him back as Kersh accused them of.  They were moving him forward to find that justice that all deserved.  To look in those darkened corners where the system never looks or just simply ignores.  

"We're with you", Mulder replies.  (Heck, I thought the same thing.)

Skinner nods a silent assent.  Unfortunately, he is still carrying the guilt of working with the Cigarette Smoking Man.  He committed to helping CSM in hopes of finding William and affecting a cure for what he thinks is the coming plague.

Now would have been a good time to divulge this to Scully and Mulder.  Especially, since he now knows William is son to his two best agents.  Perhaps his guilt over partnering with CSM was too much.  Add to this, the CSM's reveal that he is the true father to William, was probably too much to unload on Fox and Dana at the time.

He's going to have to do it sometime and I think it is coming soon.  Who does he tell?  Both, or just one?  I'm betting it's Fox but this just might make things worse.   We've all seen how Scully has suffered with her guilt.  But she internalizes it.

It's Mulder that is most likely to go lone wolf.

Odds and Ends


That strange and haunting music that played in the background of the trailer scene was from John Cale one of the founding members of The Velvet Underground.  You could see eyes of Cale peering from the top of the album cover as Skinner entered trailer just behind the record player.  (See below.)

Another deft cinematic touch in a series of many this season.  It definitely add to the eeriness of the setting and makes you think that someone is always watching.

Cory Rempel played young Skinner.  He's Pileggi's nephew by marriage and did a great job as the much younger version.  One question though, why did they nickname him the "Eagle" if he wasn't bald at the time?  Mulder had put two and two together when he spoke to "Banjo" outside the police station inferring "Bald" and "Eagle" went together.  Was Skinner just a fan of the Moon landing in '69?  (Yes, I'm kidding.)

Mulder and Scully shared a lot of "knowing looks" in this past episode.  Naturally, they would being partners and more for such a long time.  But, I get sense they were sharing a sense of weariness too.  Mulder especially.

I wonder if the director, Carol Banker, was trying to convey to the viewing audience how much of a toll this series of cases was taking on them.  Surely, knowing their son is out there somewhere adds to their burden.  I guess we'll have to keep and eye on this.  Hmm, maybe this burden and Skinner's eventual admission of CSM's secrets will prove Mulder's undoing.  

We'll catch up with again after the Olympics is over!  See you then.


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