The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 1

Herrenvolk (2)

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Oct 04, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (10)

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  • Diminishing Returns...

    This episode of the X Files to me demonstrates the more tiresome side of the series' efforts to create a mythology and backstory. It could be argued that even by this relatively early stage, the format was getting stale. Since series 1, soap-opera elements (Mulder's abducted sister, the loss of Dana's father, the Melissa subplot, the involvement of Mulder's parents with Cancer Man, and so forth) had been getting in the way of vastly more effective stand-alone stories. In "Herrenvolk" - the beginning of series 4, and denouement to the series 3 cliffhanger - we have Mulder mom melodrama, more appearances from Deep Throat 2 than in probably any other episode, a repetition of the cloned-Samantha idea, and a shape-shifting Roy Thinnes. The result is a demonstration of diminishing returns which left me missing the crisp, exquisitely entertaining writing of the Darin Morgan episodes, and looking forward to the hardcore "Home". Looking at X Files episodes like this, one is struck by the specious nature of many paranoid conspiracy stories. Lee Harvey Oswald firing the headshot from the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository really is the most obvious and compelling solution to the JFK assassination, despite 1000 Oliver Stones trying to spin an enigma out of something palpably clear. By the same token, one listens to Cancer Man's gratuitously enigmatic schtick in this episode and is led relentlessly to the question: why would any of these Men in Black bother?