The X-Files 1.11 - Eve
I'll admit that when the first dead body was found with two puncture wounds in his neck and drained of blood, I immediately thought "Vampires. It was only a matter of time until the series went there". Thankfully the real cause, despite Mulder's attempts to link it to UFOs, was more interesting.
In of itself, the idea of identical girls with psychotic homicidal tendencies might not seem that original. There have been lots of fictional instances of twins who commit horrific acts or are harbingers of evil things to come or are just there to be damn creepy. The first time I saw the movie version of Stephen King's "The Shining", the Grady girls really freaked me out. But add that horror trope to the more science fictional concept of cloning - especially when conducted by the traditional X-Files shadowy government agency - and it's just enough of a twist to update things for the 90s.
I particularly liked the fact that the writers took it once stage further with different generations of the clones in the shape of the various Eve's that were either locked up or on the run. This aspect allowed them to indulge in another classic horror trope - the visit to the insane asylum. I'm still not sure why all these places have to be so damn dark - it felt more like a version of 'Bedlam', with all the locks, dank corridors and wailing in the background, than a modern hospital three to look after and treat patients with mental illnesses. It helps that Eve 6 in her cell is downright crazy, gnashing her teeth like some demented Hannibal Lecter.
The episode really hinges though around separated twins Teeny and Cindy (Eves 9 and 10). Although they didn't exhibit any particular mental powers (beyond somehow "knowing" certain things were going to happen) their coldness and lack of conscience reminded me of the unnatural kids at the centre of the classic "Village of the Damned" (based on John Whyndam's "The Midwich Cuckoos"). Because children are seen to be these innocent bundles of joy, untouched by the evils of the world, it's more disturbing when they turn out to be so calculating and manipulative. The conceit could have fallen with the wrong actresses, but Sabrina and Erika Krievins really pull it off .
Other thoughts and facts:
- Scully seems to be getting a tad fed up with Mulder's attempts to link every case to some kind of extra-terrestrial phenomenon. She even appears to be mocking him somewhat. What can't be disputed is that Mulder's references to "cattle mutilations" are genuine. There have been dozens of such cases possibly dating right back to the 1600s. The strange states that these poor animals have been left in have been explained away as being due to natural causes (dehydration after death, parasites or insects, other predatory animals, human cruelty, etc). However there are still those who believe that the mutilations are the work of cults, government or military experimentation, abduction by UFOs or even the work of mythical creatures such as the chupacabras.
- There are also comments in the episode about the "Litchfield Experiments". My own research leads me to conclude that the writers are alluding to the story of 'Sabrina Sidney', an abandoned child who lived in the late 18th century. She was taken in by author Thomas Day, who through a series of eccentric techniques and forms of physical and mental abuse tried to mold her into his perfect wife - based on his personal interpretation of the educational text by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It's a fascinating if horrifying story.
- Equally the aside about "Jonestown" - especially in light of the twins attempting to murder Mulder and Sclly with poison - must be in reference to the event in Guyana on 18th November 1978 when 909 members of the "Peoples Temple Agricultural Project" cult (including over 300 children) were killed by cyanide poison in their drinks. It's where the phrase "Drinking the Kool-Aid" comes from
There is nothing even remotely paranormal about this episode in the end, which actually works in its favour. It's about the dangers of science gone wrong. Refreshingly it's also Scully who is on the right track and Mulder's theories which are wrong. It's probably my second favourite of the whole season so far. At face value it doesn't appear to have anything to do with the larger series mythology that is slowly being built, but the appearance of Deep Throat may prove that it is connected in ways that are yet to be revealed...
One final question - if the girls were the ones who exsanguinated their foster fathers, what *did* happen to all that blood...?