Sunday, December 12, 2010

X-Files--"Sleepless"

“Sleepless” introduces us to Alex Krycek, nicknamed Ratboy by fans for the revelation at the end he is a spy for the Syndicate. I always found him to be an interesting character, although he really will not come into his own until later seasons. For now, the benfit of Krycek’s addition is too remind us what a great team Mulder and Scully made instead. A couple scenes in “Sleepless” in which the Mulder/Krycek working relationship goes from tense to amicable faster than that of the Mulder/Scully prompts what one might consider a wistful phone conversation between the original Dynamic Duo when Mulder realizes he is becoming comfortable with Krycek. Nice moment, that.

The story revolves around a string of strange deaths in which men have apparently physically suffered from incidents they were dreaming about. Mulder wants the assignment, but new agent Krycek winds up with it. Mulder, ego bruised, is officially along for the ride. Unofficially, he has no use for Krycek. Mulder is completely lost until Mr. X shows up in the flesh for the first time. He offers Mulder evidence of what is really going on.

The murdered men were part of a Marine unit in Vietnam who volunteered for an experimental surgery that eliminated their need for sleep. At first, they were super soldiers, going on 24 hour patrols and feeling invincible. Eventually, they went AWOL to do their own thing. They killed indiscriminately, enemy and civilian alike. At one point, they perpetrated the massacre of 300 men, women, and children in one village.

One member of the team, ’Preacher” Augustus Cole, swore God’s vengeance upon them for their actions. Cole had been institutionalized since the end of the war, but escaped a couple days before the first murder by using the ability he has developed to link the dream world to reality. It is now the 24 anniversary of the massacre, so he is tracking down everyone associated with it and killing them through waking dreams.

In the final confrontation between Mulder, Krycek, and Cole, Krcek kills Fletcher in an act he claims was to protect Mulder. The facts do not bear that out. All evidence given to Mulder by Mr. X also disappears, as does Scully’s medical research. Krycek is responsible for eliminating all traces of the military’s experiments by handing them over to the Syndicate.

“Sleepless” is an interesting episode. It is interesting mores so for establishing both the character of Krycek and an appreciation for the Mulder/Scully partnership than the story. “Sleepless” is too much like the film Jacob’s Ladder to be particularly unique or engaging. Been there, done that, was not terribly thrilled then, either. Tony Todd, frequent Star Trek, does play Scripture quoting Cole to the hilt, so he is a highlight. Chalk this one up to everything but the main story hitting the marks.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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