"The X-Files" Schizogeny (TV Episode 1998) Poster

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4 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Is this demonstration of boyish agility turning you on at all?
Muldernscully31 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Schizogeny is a good, creepy episode to watch on a dark and stormy night. It has some great visuals to makes you feel a little unsafe where you're sitting. I know Mulder likes to crack jokes, but it still amazes at times when he cracks jokes about the murder victim they are investigating. Like when he talks about Phil Rich taking the term "mud pie" literally. Luckily, he doesn't crack these callous jokes in front of family members. I thought it interesting how they alternated the interview scenes between Mulder and Bobby and Scully and Patti. I guess, to show opposing stories from the son and mom. The visual of the orchard man with the ax at the end of the "tunnel" of trees is nice and creepy. Mulder does his best impression of Sherlock Holmes in this episode. Mulder is always finding clues in episodes, but this time was even more Holmes-like, from him observing the mud on Karin Matthew's shoes to noticing how the broken glass was on the inside of the room. Usually, the funny lines are reserved for Mulder, but Scully gets in a dry one-liner when Mulder is digging up Karin's father's grave and she remarks that they are grave robbing. It's interesting what writers can do when there is no fear of retribution for their characters. The orchard man lops of Karin's head at the end of the episode, apparently not caring whether or not he will go to jail to murder, because he has rendered a service to the community, and it stops the trees from killing Mulder and Bobby. Of course, the episode ends almost immediately, so the writers don't have to deal with it. I just find it interesting. We don't know how Karin and the teenagers were able to summon the trees to their command, but the story and the visuals are entertaining enough to let it slide, and allow us to enjoy the creepy story of Schizogeny.
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Fear eats the soul....
Foreverisacastironmess26 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
To me it was fairly obvious what the title nonsense word "Schizogeny" meant. It's a simple combination of the words "schizo", referring to the split personality of Karin Matthews the insane psychologist, and "progeny", meaning the troubled kids and their problems with their parents, Karin included. For me this was a deep and emotional episode that was all about what I saw as mainly fear, and in the uncanny case of this story how an entire lifetime of unconquered fear and unresolved anger can consume a human mind to the point where a victim(perhaps) unwittingly becomes what they are most afraid of in order to escape it... And in this particular tale of old woe and angst all the accumulated suffering and mental anguish concentrated in one seriously disturbed human being literally takes root, twisting nature and subconsciously manipulating the dead vines and creepers of the very earth to wreck vengeance on the perceived abusers of vulnerable children, an outward physical expression of something distinctly spiritual. I thought it was a bit strange and over-the-top having a pointless woodsman hovering around. They could've took the time to explain how he knew about the stuff he claimed to... The touch of having a character like that was something almost fantasy-like. My favourite part is the scene in which the girl overhears an unnaturally deep and spiteful voice in the dead of night, verbally humiliating 'poor' Karin. I found it an intensely grim foreboding dark scene. I didn't really sympathise too much with either of the two teens, they didn't seem to have parents that were particularly cruel, it probably would have been a much more complex and involving story if they had. At first it makes you think it is they who are killing with supernatural powers. "Bobby" just seemed like a lazy punk with a perpetually stoned expression, and the girl was fine, she was just kinda there as the sweet, slightly-troubled girl in distress, I found her boring.. Perhaps it shouldn't have been, but my pity was for the villain. I didn't think she was 'possessed' by her dead father's spirit or anything that silly, to me far more intriguing and eerie is the notion that through years of continual unconfronted rage, she has obsessed so much over her hatred and dread of her father that at some point she's had a psychotic break, and 'empowered' herself by becoming him in her own mind. How do you keep the dead, the memory of the dead alive? To what extent will you go to do that? And in this case Karin's gone to the extreme of the extremes, she's gone over the edge. It was so cruel the way she was implanting the kids with the memories of her own abuse, putting them through her nightmare in order to keep the cycle alive. She sought revenge in the worst way. The haunting final scene, in which the long-suffering and damaged being that Karin has become is slowly pulled down into a cold mire of her own making is such a profound and heartbreaking visual metaphor to me. As she's sinking down into the murk it's almost as if a huger emptiness looms below her, like the earth itself has taken pity on her, and swallowed her up to finally extinguish the memory of her pain at last... Dramatic I know, but this story moved me. It's dark, disturbing, and to me also kind of beautiful. The psychological aspects of this episode, and how it touches upon themes of abuse and its far-reaching effects is where it really hits home. It's not perfect, but I think it's more than unsettling and evocative enough to satisfy. I love it the most for the emotional resonance.
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Talk about putting down roots
Sanpaco1321 November 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Schizogeny. What the crap does that even mean? "The localized separation of plant cells to form a cavity (surrounded by the intact cells) in which secretions accumulate. Examples are the resin canals of some conifers and the oil ducts of caraway and aniseed fruits." I assume in context of the episode this is referring to the strange bleeding of the trees? I don't quite know how I feel about this episode. I like some of it for some reasons but there are some flaws that I wish I could ignore but just can't. Well maybe not flaws exactly but rather really far fetched explanations that seem a little too convenient. The story at one level is basically about plants who are killing adults who are abusive to their teenage children. Two children specifically who are friends and happen to be seeing the same psychiatrist. Karen, played by the always creepy Sarah Jane Redmond, we find out has had similar experiences in her past, being abused by her father and was never able to stand up to him. As a result she has developed an alternate personality, ruled by her evil father who has since died. The strange parts come in the form of his corpse being moved into her root cellar by a bunch of tree roots. I like the guest stars in this and I think the storyline is creepy enough, but I get confused by some of the explanation. So were the trees supposed to be protecting the kids? And if so then why did they try to kill Bobby at the end as the evil father manifest through Karen was chasing him? And if the trees are trying to help the kids, then why wouldn't they be trying to help Karen too instead of making her father's corpse suddenly show up in her basement? You see what I mean? And then the whole deal with the woodsman decapitating Karen and pronouncing, "It's done now. No more." What was that all about? It almost seemed like they tried making a real story and in the end decided just to go with a one dimensional horror story that didn't make any sense. Oh well. While I didn't love the story as much, I thought the episode had some good qualities also. I'll give this one a 6 out of 10.
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"I take care of the trees."
classicsoncall11 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
I guess I'm not the only one. When I saw the title of this episode, I had to do some research on it, and came up with the same dictionary definition quoted by reviewer 'Sanpaco13' in his review. It relates to the story in only the most marginal way to my thinking, making me wonder how and why the writers even went with it. Oh well.

As big a fan as I am of the X-Files, I have to admit that this is one convoluted story. When it got to the part of the tree rooted coffin and the dead father in the basement of the Matthews home, well all semblance of credibility went out the window for me. Not that all the episodes of extraterrestrials and monster of the week stories were believable themselves, but they were all generally constructed in some manner that made the ideas seem plausible. This one just stood out there like a lone tree in an empty meadow. Uh-oh, did I just say that?

Speaking of other reviewers, one of the best analyses of an X-Files episode I've seen yet comes from 'Foreverisacastironmess' for this one. Check it out for it's effective explanation of what might have been going on with Karin Matthews (Sarah-Jane Redmond), as I would never have come up with such a definitive treatment myself. For me personally, I'm more inclined to slough off the story with Mulder's off hand comment about puttin' down roots.

Well, I guess this is a take it or leave it episode for most viewers. The underlying message of young folks seeking to empower themselves is a good one, but it goes off the rails with all the murder and mayhem, not to mention those mud pies Mulder so casually mentioned at one point. No wonder Scully gets so exasperated with him at times.
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