Her boss treated her like a dad.
Now he's dead and she's very sad.
Now he's a ghost.
Her new boss is toast.
He kills them all because he's mad.
Shadows is a great episode from Season 1. It seems that lately most of the season 1 episodes have kind of gained a soft spot with me as even the ones that I used to hate have become enjoyable for me. I think its the atmosphere that comes with the low budget kind of filming that they had. I like Shadows for a number of reasons. I like the corny acting, it is entertaining. Like the kids that find the bodies in the dumpster. "Hey... I know a great place to crash... up that fire escape." Haha this line is so terribly delivered. I enjoy Mark Snow's music as many of the classic tunes from the series are first used in these episodes and this one included. I like the creepy scenes like the blood in the bath tub and the hit-man floating in midair being choked. I guess its not the fact that this is anything really special but that fact that it is a classic that makes me love it. 9 out of 10.
The Good: I love the special effects! I especially like the seen with the papers flying everywhere.
I want one of those placks.
I loved the whole Ghost thing. Who doesn't love it when a bit of Ghostly play comes into it?
He breaks the inside of their necks? How... Creative.
I think he is still watching over her, which is nice to know. :)
The Bad: How would she know they killed him, with just blood in a bath?
Conclusion: A good, solid Season 1 episode. 7/10
Wong and Morgan do get some fun humor into the episode, a nice break from the rest of it, which takes itself FAR too seriously given the subject matter. "The X-Files", regardless of what some indignant old-school fans might tell you, was always quick to mock itself through its characters, and only took itself completely seriously when it had a damn good dramatic story to tell. "Shadows" takes itself too seriously in any scene not involving Mulder or Scully, AND it's completely ridiculous.
In addition, the episode is hopelessly cheesy all the way through, and particularly the acting from much of the supporting cast, not that they're given any good characterization or dialogue to work with.
After not-so-great "The Jersey Devil", the series again returns to its horror roots with this episode. "Shadows" is another stand-alone piece of season 1, but unlike "Squeeze" and "The Jersey Devil" which focused on human killers with unnatural abilities, this one delves deeper into supernatural territory and deals with more mystical force.
The episode is centered on young woman Lauren Kyte whose boss Howard Graves died by commiting shortly before the events of this episode. Whenever she appeared in danger or something didn't go her way, a mysterious force intervened and protected her. Whether it was mugging, issues at work or the agents interrogating her, the mystical force was always there. Initially seeming that she has a psychic powers herself, the events started to imply on spiritual presence of another being that had something to do with Graves's death.
In my opinion, the most positive thing about this episode is that it is scary and almost feels like a horror movie. There are scenes of people getting killed in gruesome way, including their throat slowly being crushed by unseen force, a scene of a bath tub slowly filling with blood while screams of a man are heard, and an ominous presence of a shady government agency that refuse to reveal anything to the agents. There is uneasy atmosphere in the air all the time and the central character is visibly frightened through all the story.
But on negative note, I could see the twist of this episode incoming from a mile away. Despite the scary scenes, the revelation that Howard Graves has been murdered by Lauren's current boss Robert Dorlund and that his spirit returned to this world to exact revenge and help Lauren was something I could sense incoming and left me quite underwhelmed. It turned out Dorlund was the true antagonist to the story, not the mystical presence, and the story resolved in a way that Lauren convinced Graves's vengeful spirit to spare Dorlund, putting his spirit to rest in the process. For an episode that started on very scary note, this whole resolution took away a lot of horror impact in my eyes.
To wrap it up, "Shadows" is a creepy episode and an improvement over its predecessor, but ultimately fails to deliver an intriguing story in my eyes, thus being one of my less favorite S1 episodes. It's the first of many episodes where spirits return from the dead, but not the best one among them. So my final verdict for this episode would be a low 7/10.
The writing credits for this story go to Glen Morgan and James Wong, who also wrote the creepy 'Squeeze' episode, the third in the series. In my review of the earlier show, I mentioned that I saw perhaps an unintended tribute to Stephen King's "It" with the character of Tooms hanging out in the underground storm drain in search of future victims. Here, there seems to be an allusion to the famous "Psycho" shower scene when Lauren pulls back the curtain in her bathroom. Though there was no one in there hacking away with a knife, you still had the bloody water circling the drain to make the suggestion somewhat credible.
Well Scully still isn't ready to accept Mulder's conclusions that there might be something from the great beyond responsible for forces at work in the real world. It looked like she was ready to make the leap until she explained it away by stating that 'she believed that Lauren believed'. I'd say the redecorating of Robert Durland's (Barry Primus) office at the conclusion of the story should have nudged her over a bit closer to Mulder's slant on things.
Say, didn't the actor portraying Durland look like someone who could have been a regular cast member? He had the same kind of appearance that one might associate with Deep Throat and The Cigarette Smoking Man.
Episode 6, 'Shadows', original air date October 22 1993. Written by James Morgan and Glen Wong, directed by Micheal Katleman. Monster of the week episode count, 3. Popular writing duo Morgan and Wong return for their second offering this season and deliver a very different style of episode to their comparably superior debut 'Squeeze'. 'Shadows' is arguably the writing duo's weakest effort as it suffers from poor pacing issues and lacklustre performances by the bulk of the supporting cast. The premise this week, while certainly unoriginal is nonetheless a proved science fiction tale, that of poltergeists, in essence it's a good old fashioned ghost story. The first of several ghost stories to be explored throughout the series, this episode however functions almost more as a love story in the vein of the 1990 film 'Ghost'.
A secretary, Lauren Kyte, played by Lisa Waltz, who's boss, Howard Gordon, commits suicide, later revealed to have been murdered, begins to experience paranormal activity in the form of psychokinetic behaviour. During the opening sequence, Kyte is attacked by two men, we assume she is killed though it is revealed soon after that the attackers themselves are now dead with Kyte nowhere to be found. Mulder and Scully are asked to examine the corpses of the attackers by two secretive agents who appear extremely tight lipped on the particulars of the case details. Mulder's glasses appear briefly in this scene, to serve the purpose of secretly obtaining fingerprints, it's lucky he had them on him as they are often nowhere to be seen. The pair obtain the identity of the attackers and recover footage of the incident. ATM camera footage shows the assailants assaulting Kyte, with a blurry image behind them which Mulder suspects may be a poltergeist and the key to the explanation behind the attackers mysterious death. Scully of course remains logical and is convinced it is Kyte's accomplice caught briefly on camera. The two remain at odds for essentially the entire episode with Scully, as always, refusing to accept the idea of paranormal activity. A rather humorous scene involves Mulder showing a still from the ATM footage to Kyte, the blurred figure visible behind her, and asking "Have you seen this person before?", how anyone could obtain even the essence of an identity from such an obscure image is curious to say the least. Essentially the episode revolves around Gordon's spirit protecting Kyte from a terrorist group who are attempting to cover up illegal business dealings they had with the company Kyte works for. Scully is of course conveniently ten steps behind Mulder for every opportunity at witnessing a paranormal event though as we will see later in the series even when she does witness something her logical brain is quick to dismiss or explain it away with a scientific justification. Of course this is what makes the dynamic between the duo so interesting, were Scully and Mulder always in sync with each other it would arguably produce a fair less compelling relationship. Scully's shock at Mulder proclaiming that her theory may be correct, "You think I'm right?" is a nice touch, she clearly feels that their viewpoints are vastly different, which at this point in the series is arguably true.
The pacing issues mentioned earlier occur due to the fact that we as the audience spend most of the time waiting for Mulder and Scully to catch up with us, to discover what we already know. While not explicitly mentioned, it becomes clear very early that Howard's spirit is causing the bizarre psychokinetic activity due to his protectiveness of Kyte. The pair obviously have a deep connection and fondness for one another as evidenced early in the episode from Kyte's reaction to clearing his office. The audience is then left waiting for the plot to advance or evolve, which it essentially does not. Instead we watch Mulder and Scully, feeling somewhat disconnected from them as they gradually begin to unravel the mystery. The issue here is that Morgan and Wong have given the audience to much information and Mulder and Scully not enough. Coupled with some odd choices that belie plausibility, even within the verisimilitude of the story.
As mentioned, the guest actors for this episode deliver rather shallow performances, though this is certainly not helped by Morgan and Wong's uncharacteristically dull script writing. The guest characters for this week are given very little to work with, their personalities almost non-existent, and as such are largely forgettable. Waltz herself is hit and miss and close examination of her performance indicates that her weakness is likely drawn from the script and direction rather than her inability to perform well.
The X-Files certainly had hits and misses over the years and while there are undoubtedly more flaws and imperfections in this episode than many others it's still worth noting that it's certainly not 'bad TV'. The numerous accomplishments, and overall quality of the series as a whole simply means that while an episode like 'Shadows' is enjoyable enough in it's own right it can't help but pale in comparison to the great entries in the series. When a television show is so expertly constructed, the majority of the time, it inevitably draws a harsher critic to nitpick and draw out the occasional blemish in its otherwise flawless craftsmanship.
It does have some very nice moments. I like the bathtub scene, and the one where those two baddies get their throats crushed. The ghost story worked, but it could have been handled better. I liked the Poltergeist reference a lot though.
The rest of this episode is just slow moving and a bit dull. Not dull enough to be truly sucky. But it's not too far away from being just that. The dialog is weak and the guest stars are also weak, and make me care little for the characters.
It has a couple of good moments, but not enough. TWO stars.