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Guest Jim McLean
Darwin's Eye: Comparing it to the Blade Runner voice-over is a stretch! Contrary to BR, I think the voice-over here rather added to the ambiance rather than detracted from it. What's more, there weren't lots of it but the two instances rather worked as bookends. The first 'lured' the viewer to sympathize with the girl; the last one comes after the realization of what twisted mind she has, yet the ideas presented are the same. The person behind these ideas has committed horrible acts, but should that be reason enough to discard them as horrible and flawed as well? But I feel what you're saying: the title "Darwin's Eye" is explained fully in those narrative dubs -- quite the contrary compared to "Saturn...". As a prescience of the themes that were to be illustrated in the rest of the episode, I think they were quite well written.

I don't think the analogy as awkward as you suggest, though outwardly I can see your point. It's not that the narratives of BR or Darwin's Eye carry a similar vibe or narrative intention, but I feel IMO both are slightly unnecessary, neither actually offering anything of substance to the cinematic tale they bookend. Don't get me wrong, I actually quite like the VO in Blade Runner, but I think artistically, the film - as with Darwin's Eye IMO, carries a natural rationality that doesn't need the convolution of the narrative device. If one looks to dcypher the opening monologue and compare/contrast with the story's content and closing, it doesn't make for smooth sailing, muddying the waters than adding an extra layer to them. Sometimes a narrative can add a layer that can enrich what we are dramatically seeing - for instance, "The Beginning of the End", but I feel with "Dawin's Eye" it plays to be deep but in the end just confuses - which isn't necessarily the same thing. Sounds good, but on closer analysis it doesn't really say anything in regards to the story. I'd have to rewatch, but I don't think the vulnerability of the girl is necessarily enhanced by the dialogue.

But maybe that's just me. :) I bow to a differing opinion!

Indeed it ties in with other suggestions that 'evil' has corrupted the Group from the inside. What discomforted me at first is that it presents Mabius as being evil, a character we've seen many other times and that we've come to think of a 'normal' Group member. Did this man's work in the Group made him more vulnerable to Legion's calling? Was Mabius acting under the influence of Legion from the beginning? Or was Mabius a creation of Legion itself finding its way into the Group? The fact that this scene sprang up all these questions made me realize that it achieves very well its purpose -- it all comes down to the nature of evil, a human creation or an exterior force?

I think Mabius isn't acting under the influence of Legion, but actually is a manifestation (if we decide there is a discernible difference). In my head, he made his way into the Group inner circle post Four Horseman. I like to think if he was as major a player as he is in season three, retrospectively I would imagine him knee deep in the Owls/Rooster storyline.

In my "canon", I see the act of the Four Horseman being so against what the Group originally stood for it opens the Group naturally to the corrupting forces of Legion allowing Mabius access, maybe even granting a retrospective history - we've seen how powerful the forces of Legion have been in the past, I see no reason why Evil couldn't find a place in the Group's mind as much as its body.

For me, the nature of the Millennium itself being so close schisms the group, as we see in Owls and Roosters and without The Old Man as a the gyre, the Group folds in on itself committing acts more from extreme analysis that otherwise would never be committed (I'd like to see the Four Horseman as a choice the Group would not readily accept if The Old Man still lived). From then on, without The Old Man as a lingering reminder of the Group's cohesion, it falls in on itself, becoming colder, more manipulative and ultimately a more Evil force.

I've added more about this idea of the Group's movement in season three in my blog this week (in my sig) - but if you've not watched the finale or the "Millennium" episode of X-Files I would avoid my commentary as it is spoilerific.

In essence, a technique like in Anamnesis? I'll certainly be checking all the other threads after I'm finished with my viewing -- I'm sure there have been lots of great discussions while I wasn't here.

I'm sure Eth wouldn't mind mentioning his ideas about the bowl - it really is his forte, not mine.

Edited by Jim McLean
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Salutations Laredo,

I must admit I share your misgivings with regard to the voice over though my own irks with it are founded in slightly different quarters. The content of the 'vo' is based on a fundamental lack of understanding of what the eye actually represented to Darwin and buys into the urban legendary that asserts that he was discombobulated by its complexity and believed his own evolutionary theory to be insufficient to explain its existence. It is much truer to say that Darwin mused that people would use the eye as proof of deity and admits that such a thought fleetingly crossed his mind but he actually discounts this and states that evolution is wholly capable of giving rise to such a complex piece of anatomy. Mythologically his words were distorted and came to represent something very different and it is this misconception that informs the voice-over and cheapens the episode in its inaccuracy and also in its lack of relevance to the plot which deals with themes of observation and surveillance rather than evolution or creationism.

I also agree with you with regards to your interpretation of Mabius and my perspective is also that he was a manifestation of Legion rather than an individual subject to Legion's nefarious influence. In 'Seven and One' his transmutation ability is first seen and not only is this used as 'call sign' of Legion's avatars it is undeniable evidence of him being non-corporeal rather than organic.

I also agree that such entities, for want of a better word, did indeed penetrate the inner-sanctum of the Group causing an identifiable shift in its mandate and behaviour and agree that Mabius could easily have been inserted against the factious backdrop of the Owls/Roosters arc. I believe this infiltration was what brought about that civil unrest and whilst those responsible for pitting the factions against each other were mused to be Oddessa operatives it is later asserted that no one could be sure who members, like Johnston, were really affiliated with. A similar motif is used in Sebastian in which staunch ally of the Group, Cheryl Andrews, betrays them without any seeming explanation for her behaviour and whilst it is retroactively suggested she did so due to uncovering evidence of the Group's corruption the original intention was simply to create the suggestion that something enigmatic was occurring at the heart of the Group causing behavioural changes and factious anarchy in order to lay thematic tones for the forthcoming civil war.

I am just about to head over to your blog right now as nothing makes me happier than a trawl through MG theories.

Best wishes,

Eth

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I don't think the analogy as awkward as you suggest, though outwardly I can see your point. It's not that the narratives of BR or Darwin's Eye carry a similar vibe or narrative intention, but I feel IMO both are slightly unnecessary, neither actually offering anything of substance to the cinematic tale they bookend. Don't get me wrong, I actually quite like the VO in Blade Runner, but I think artistically, the film - as with Darwin's Eye IMO, carries a natural rationality that doesn't need the convolution of the narrative device. If one looks to dcypher the opening monologue and compare/contrast with the story's content and closing, it doesn't make for smooth sailing, muddying the waters than adding an extra layer to them. Sometimes a narrative can add a layer that can enrich what we are dramatically seeing - for instance, "The Beginning of the End", but I feel with "Dawin's Eye" it plays to be deep but in the end just confuses - which isn't necessarily the same thing. Sounds good, but on closer analysis it doesn't really say anything in regards to the story. I'd have to rewatch, but I don't think the vulnerability of the girl is necessarily enhanced by the dialogue.

But maybe that's just me. :) I bow to a differing opinion!

As much as I find the Blade Runner voice-over unnecessary, I find the one here to be the whole point of the exercise; the sequence without it would have made for a basic teaser, it's the voice-over that elevates it in my opinion, and it's the voice-over that in the mind of the writer was the justification for structuring the teaser as it is. If the episode is more confusing than without it then it has precisely reached its target: the story, which in the end is quite a simple case of serial killer with a traumatic sexual experience, revolves around false appearances, red herrings, revelations than not everything is as it seems. I would go even as far to say that it resonates with Lara's trance-like soliloquies in The Time Is Now: about coincidences, the Apocalypse, about the impossible odds of our existence at this specific moment in human history. This voice-over, however, makes us see the world through the eyes of this girl, which we immediately assume she is the victim -- only to be taken off guard even more when we discover that we've really been listening and identifying with a mad person.

I don't think the title and the voice-over content are irrelevant to the rest of the episode. Eth points out a historical inaccuracy regarding Darwin's theories; this might be true; the counter-interpretation is that if "Darwin's Eye" stands for "the eye according to Darwin" then evolutionary theory is correct, determinism rules the world and every one of life's incidents are somehow all linked together. The episode might not be dealing with darwinism versus intelligent design, but it does tease the viewer with something similar: conspiratorial paranoia versus coincidences, or in this case, isolated cases of madness. The initial voice-over haves us think there is a grander scheme of things controlling our lives, and that this girl is somehow key to it; progressively over the episode, this is deconstructed to a mere case of the investigators (Emma and Frank) putting their own concerns over the invasive nature of the Group in every case they're investigating, associating ideas and symbols to the case just as creationists read too much in the existence of the eye and infer the existence of God. This is the only MLM episode in which "not everything is linked together", in a season that is otherwise dedicated to Frank breaking a conspiratorial Group. Yes, I really like this episode and I'm ready to defend it! (That being said, the confusion concerning Darwin and the eye enigma is common and Eth is most likely right.)

I think Mabius isn't acting under the influence of Legion, but actually is a manifestation (if we decide there is a discernible difference). In my head, he made his way into the Group inner circle post Four Horseman. I like to think if he was as major a player as he is in season three, retrospectively I would imagine him knee deep in the Owls/Rooster storyline.

Regarding Mabius and the MM Group history, I agree with you that the Marburg virus debacle was as much as a fitting end to the s2 mystique as a door that opened the "apocalypse of our own creation" thematic for s3. I'm touched that you try to explain all the manifestations of the Group in its various forms in a way that is coherent -- hell I've spent hours debunking inconsistencies with XF -- but I can't help but see what happened behind the scenes as the real reason for all this. If MLM had benefited from a more coherent production history, I would have liked to see a smoother passage from the s2 spiritual-focused Group to the corrupted Group we see in s3, subsequently bringing the Marburg virus Apocalypse to the end of s3... But we can argue more about that later.

Now one more for the road:

3x20: Nostalgia

I thought that Frank's self-enforced leave from the FBI in Seven and One would have been permanent... If 7&1 was the final Legion episode, Nostalgia is the final SKOTW episode (with the finale concerning the Group). The characters have grown over the season, Emma is a much more mature investigator and shares with Frank a real bond. Small Town, USA; not everything is what it seems; apparently innocent citizens hold bloody secrets that they speak not to outsiders; a serial killer comes to taint the innocent world of Small Town, USA... "Twin Peaks", anyone? What would have been just a trip down memory lane for Emma turns out to complement Frank's reflections since the Pilot, his attempts to shield what he holds dear from evil (Yellow House) and instead finding evil is infiltrating everything. Very intense character moments, no action at all, and a great direction by Thomas J Wright. There were too many flashbacks for my taste, as if they needed to spoonfeed us the answers. A truly great episode though, in the likes of "Through A Glass, Darkly" (Michael Perry strikes again!).

I'll be back with the finale.

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Guest Jim McLean
As much as I find the Blade Runner voice-over unnecessary, I find the one here to be the whole point of the exercise; the sequence without it would have made for a basic teaser, it's the voice-over that elevates it in my opinion, and it's the voice-over that in the mind of the writer was the justification for structuring the teaser as it is.

As to the intent, we don't quite know that for certain. Sometimes voice overs are late additions to strengthen a scene - as you say, it might have been to enrich the teaser and give it depth. It might not have been necessarily an original script element. I can't say either way, but worth bearing in mind.

.... progressively over the episode, this is deconstructed to a mere case of the investigators (Emma and Frank) putting their own concerns over the invasive nature of the Group in every case they're investigating, associating ideas and symbols to the case just as creationists read too much in the existence of the eye and infer the existence of God.

This a very nice point - just thought I'd point that out. I've spent a long time grappling for elements of this episode that remained just on the tip of my tongue - thank you for helping me taste them there!

See, the bottomline for me is that the narrative over the beginning and end, when looked at closely - as Eth points out - don't really sustain the notions they convey, nor do they naturally find an easy dovetail with the show.

I have no problem with the insertion of narrative to help enrich a pedestrian fleeing scene into something different. What I query is whether the choice of monologue actually delivers whatever it intends, or does the message get lost in contrived hyperbole and imagery that doesn't really chain itself to the tale as neatly as perhaps it could.

As yourself and Eth have pointed out, there are connotations between Darwin's theories and the story - I just don't think, as an educated and - I'd like to think - intelligent man - that any such attempt to nurture these deeper level is lost in their choice of monologue - and the end result is a garbled notion of Darwinian theory that doesn't naturally sit with the episode without a great deal of dissection.

I think there is a fine line with philosophical monologues between enriching the tale and creating new layers for viewers to explore, and merely mixing in notions that don't easily sit with what's presented. I've always felt the choice of narrative doesn't easily ally with the story and maybe has been overtly contrived in order to be beautiful, but in doing so has lost its direction in its shackles to the story itself.

I'd have to rewatch to comment further. I just know from watching the show, reading the script and conversing here I didn't feel the choice of monologue enriched the show, merely dressed the scenes - and I felt the scenes worked more honestly without a monologue that seemed to exist for the sake of making scenes seem more impressive than for the crisp symbolism connecting the inner thoughts to the story itself.

Again, one of my favourites of the season, so don't get me wrong - I love this episode, this is just one element where I feel the monologue didn't achieve that bond with the story that most Millennium monologues succeed in!

If MLM had benefited from a more coherent production history, I would have liked to see a smoother passage from the s2 spiritual-focused Group to the corrupted Group we see in s3, subsequently bringing the Marburg virus Apocalypse to the end of s3... But we can argue more about that later.

I don't think any of us would argue with that. We work with what we have. How much is sheer fan indulgence or how much is the barebones of an untold, intended storyline is up for grabs. I just take what I see, regardless of intent, if it enriches the story I follow.

For me, there is more logic - intended or not - that Mabius is relevant to the shift in the Group between Owls/Roosters and Innocents than not. His later revelations, his strong presence and sudden debut after such horror as the virus, seem to spell out a message I prefer to read, regardless of whether it was intended!

3x20: Nostalgia

I thought that Frank's self-enforced leave from the FBI in Seven and One would have been permanent... If 7&1 was the final Legion episode, Nostalgia is the final SKOTW episode (with the finale concerning the Group). The characters have grown over the season, Emma is a much more mature investigator and shares with Frank a real bond. Small Town, USA; not everything is what it seems; apparently innocent citizens hold bloody secrets that they speak not to outsiders; a serial killer comes to taint the innocent world of Small Town, USA... "Twin Peaks", anyone? What would have been just a trip down memory lane for Emma turns out to complement Frank's reflections since the Pilot, his attempts to shield what he holds dear from evil (Yellow House) and instead finding evil is infiltrating everything. Very intense character moments, no action at all, and a great direction by Thomas J Wright. There were too many flashbacks for my taste, as if they needed to spoonfeed us the answers. A truly great episode though, in the likes of "Through A Glass, Darkly" (Michael Perry strikes again!).

Can't argue with that. Nostalgia is as much a nostalgia trek for the viewer as it is for Frank and Emma. We get to see the SKOTW as we used to enjoy them, except this time, we see it through the colder, cynical eyes of Frank. We know who the killer is, even if the show pretends not to. It's interesting that the story plays to the growth of the audience, shifting the direction of the episode to bring the audience naturally into a veteran position of knowing how these events play out - hell we've had enough exposure to them by now!

Great episode.

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