2X08

Electioneering

THE DISAPPEARANCES OF SEVERAL US SENATORS SPARKS AN INVESTIGATION BY MULDER AND SCULLY, ONE THAT TAKES THEM TO THE HEART OF A NEW CONSPIRACY.

Got conspiracy?

If you're craving collusion, browse through a page or two of "Electioneering" by Chris Munn. You'll find a fresh fix with every new paragraph, and the buzz just keeps building toward the mind-blowing finale. Politics is a drug for some, and this story of senators-cum-scientists who turn themselves into lab rats reads like a high-dosage election-year campaign. As in real politics, sometimes it's hard to tell the good guys from the bad. In the end, though, you don't care, because it's the race, not the result, which gets you high.

"Electioneering" has everything it needs to whip its constituency into a frenzy: an evil shadowy government cabal, a good cabal (oxymoron?), mysterious villains, heroes facing tremendous obstacles, suggestions of deeper detail to be found in other episodes -- and that key ingredient in any X-Files conspiracy, Alex Krycek. All that's really missing here is a discussion of why the senators are doing what they're doing and how their actions will affect the governing of the country, but I suspect we'll learn more in future installments.

"Electioneering" toes a strict party line in its X-ness. Skinner is so brusque you can hardly tell which side he's on; Scully gets so frustrated you just want to take her out for a beer and a bitch session; Krycek is slimy enough to fit right in among the shape-shifting politicians. And of course there's Mulder's compulsory ditching of his partner and withholding of information for her own good. Rather than seem oppressively formulaic this time, these elements provide a few familiar landmarks in an otherwise frenetic landscape.

For its relative brevity, the story is very rich, and though it's one long broken-field rush, Munn's writing never stumbles. This is a myth arc within the myth arc, and it's a very elaborately constructed one. Don't be put off by the depth of the back-story, however; you can fully enjoy this piece without having read the others. If you feel yourself going into conspiracy withdrawal when you finish this episode, fear not; in just a short time, there'll be another one to raise our blood pressure again.

RANK: 9/10

2X08) "Electioneering"
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