Oh, Friday nights in high school…
Those were the days, I tell ya…
So fun and carefree!
And my partners were just so hot, too…
We even encountered kinky stuff, like Amish-like people who were able to make people super horny, and even some incest…ewww!
Well, this wasn’t what I actually did on Friday nights when I was in high school…don’t I wish!
Instead, I did what every other kid with a ridiculously full social calendar did: I watched The X Files. In fact, I was an X Phile…
And if that is not the coolest fandom name ever, then we are done and we are not friends!
But, I digress. The X Files may have started out as one of those “cult” shows (but not like a regular cult, it was a cool cult), but it soon became huge. And people started wanting a piece of the action. In fact, many famous people either got their start on the show, or simply made guest appearances.
Or in one case, received credit as a guest writer…
Yes, The Master is credited with an episode of The X Files…is there anything he can’t do (wait, more on that later, actually)?
Stephen King and Chris Carter decided to
have a baby together write an episode of The X Files together, and that baby that episode is known as Chinga. Chinga is set in a small town in Maine (really, I know) and tells of a mysterious doll that seems to be causing the deaths of people in the town. Well, at least that was my memory of it, any way.
And I love Stephen King (Captain Obvious strikes again) and I love The X Files. Even better, The X Files will be renewed again in January 2016, for a paltry six episodes (although I will take what I can get). But I got to feeling nostalgic, and wanted to jog my memory a bit. In other words, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane, and watch some of these old monster of the week episodes that I have not been able to forget.
Luckily, we have Netflix, which is either my greatest blessing, or the bane of my existence (anyone who has “binge-watched” something
Sons of Anarchy to the point where he/she neglects everything, like housework and showering, will catch my drift). So I loaded up the Netflix, employed my trusty friend Google, and…
Side note: Typing in The X Files into the Netflix search box yields some rather…interesting…results. And this is the kind of interesting that involves naked women and floppy dildos. Must have been Netflix evil twin Sexflix at work…
But anyway, I found several seasons of the show, including the specific episode I was was looking for. And I settled on my couch, with my blankie and kitty, and took a stroll down memory lane.
So, without any further ado…here is my recap and review of Chinga!
The episode begins with a mother and daughter making a trip to the grocery store. We are told that the events take place in a small town in Maine. The little girl has a doll, which she appears attached to. And the mother appears nervous, but makes her way into the store. The doll speaks, saying it wants to play. Suddenly, the people in the grocery store begin to scratch their own eyes and make themselves bleed. They appear to be controlled by something else. The mother sees an image of a dead man reflected in the glass, and hurriedly exits the store. In the meantime, the local butcher stabs himself in the eye. The wound proves fatal, and the local authorities are called. Before he dies, the butcher sees what appears to be the shadow of an over-sized doll.
Agent Dana Scully is shown exiting her car in the same small town, presumably to pick up supplies. She receives a call from her partner Agent Fox Mulder on her cell phone, but hangs up on him, telling him that she is on vacation and will not be distracted by “shop talk.” However, Scully sees the scene unfolding at the local store, and offers her help to the local authorities.
Scully reviews the footage of the incident at the grocery store with the police chief, John Bonsaint. She also confers with Mulder, who thinks the incident may actually be witchcraft in some form. However, Scully notices that woman and little girl, Melissa and Polly Turner, are unaffected by the incident and suggests that the authorities question them.
The sheriff’s deputy, Buddy Riggs, tells Melissa that the authorities may question her and tries to help her. He buys Polly an ice cream sundae, and tries to convince Melissa to leave town. Melissa is reluctant, and tells Buddy that she has seen images of violent deaths, including that of her husband, before they occur. While the adults are talking, Polly asks for more cherries on her sundae. The ice cream parlor employee tells Polly that she will need to pay for the cherries, which upsets Polly. The doll again talks, saying it wants to play. The employees hair becomes caught in one of the machines, and she is nearly decapitated until Buddy rescues her. Buddy hands Melissa the keys to a remote cabin, and again advises her to leave town.
While reviewing the surveillance footage with the local police, Scully learns that the ancestors of Melissa Turner were accused of witchcraft. Scully and the local authories visit Ms. Froehlich, the owner of a local daycare formerly attended by Polly Turner. Ms. Froehlich also accuses Melissa Turner of witchcraft and is not cooperative with the authorities. Scully speaks to a man who was the partner of Melissa’s deceased husband, a local fisherman. The man tells Scully that the death of Melissa’s husband may have been a bit unusual, but is convinced that what he saw was a trick of the light. Scully learns that Melissa’s husband had found the doll in one of his fishing traps, and gave it to Polly as a birthday present. Scully and the local authorities also drop by Melissa’s house, but find no one home.
Melissa and Polly make their way to the cabin. They encounter a park ranger, which makes Melissa nervous. Polly demands to go home, and the doll speaks again. Melissa sees a vision of a dead Ms. Froehlich, and immediately turns the car around and heads back home. In the meantime, Ms. Froehlich has killed herself in a gruesome, using pieces of broken records to cut herself. She has also seen what appears to be the shadow of a large doll before her death.
Melissa and Polly return home, and Polly becomes demanding, making Melissa nervous. Buddy also visits, and chastises Melissa for returning, and also telling her that she nearly ran over the park ranger. Melissa sees a vision of a dead Buddy, and the doll forces him to bludgeon himself to death. Melissa then sees a dead version of herself, and attempts to burn down the house. However, the doll extinguishes the matches and she is unsuccessful.
Scully and the sheriff return to Melissa’s house and attempt to enter. The sheriff finally breaks down the door, and they enter and find Melissa involuntarily bludgeoning herself with a hammer. In an act of quick thinking, Scully seizes the doll from Polly and puts in the microwave, burning it. This act seems to break the spell, and Melissa does not kill herself.
Scully returns to work, and finds Mulder in his office. He tells he was productive while she was gone, but it is clear that he missed her. In the meantime, another fisherman finds the Chinga doll, who is burnt almost beyond recognition but still turns up in a trap.
Let me clear the air…
And I will just come out and say it…
Chinga is just…bad. There, I said it. And let me allow a moment for the collective fandom to beat me with the virtual wet noodle.
Whew, ok now that you’re done beating me with that wet noodle (geez, you can go a little easier next time), let’s talk about this episode, and what worked, and what didn’t.
Now, I love The X Files. I love Christ Carter. And I LUUUVVVV Stephen King! So X Files + Stephen King = one blissed out nerd, right?
Well, not for this nerd. There are some things I just love…
Like chocolate chip cookies. Macaroni and cheese. But a chocolate chip cookie macaroni and cheese casserole?
No, I think I will pass. Love those two things, but if you put them together, who can swallow that concoction?
And to me, this episode was a concoction that I just couldn’t swallow. In other words, we put chocolate chip cookies and macaroni and cheese together, and just got something weird and kind of gross too.
Normally, weird and gross are good, especially when associated with The X Files and Stephen King. But Chinga was not the good kind weird or gross. No, it was weird. And gross, too.
First of all, the acting. And I am not talking about the acting of the front runners, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. They were…well, they were Mulder and Scully. And I can’t really fault them for that. But they stuck out like sore thumbs in the weird conglomeration of Chris Carter and Stephen King. And I am not sure that Mulder and Scully belong in the King Universe, as awesome as they are.
The townspeople, in terms of acting, were uneven at best. The woman who played Melissa sounded like she was reading lines from a cue card, and throwing in some occasional tears, to induce sympathy (note: didn’t work, better luck next time, perhaps). The rest of the townspeople were just flat at worst, caricatures at best (especially that scene where the sheriff orders a lobster in the restaurant and tries to convince Scully to try the delicacy…really?!)
Which brings me to my next point. In any Stephen King book, the town is just a much a developed character, if not more of a developed character, than the people in the story. ‘Salem’s Lot, It, Needful Things and several other books immediately come to mind. However, the town in Chinga does not have the personality of any of King’s other towns. So Chinga is missing one of the great things about King: a small town with its own personality and dark secrets.
Ok, the rant is over for now. Believe it or not, I did like something about this episode.
Yes, Scully was favorite part of this episode!
Now, I may refer to Mulder as one of my show boos, which he is (sorry Raylan and Jax, hope you don’t get too jealous). But I think my favorite part of The X Files was (and still is) Scully. She made science cool. She was a bad ass who chased down bad guys (and girls) in her heels, and there was rarely a hair out of place. And a fellow soul eater…er…red head. She gave hope to me, and if I can ever be half as cool as Scully, I will consider my life to be an unparalleled success.
And this episode was heavy on the Scully. As stated before, I love Mulder. But seeing him get hung up on (gotta love those 90’s cell phones, yo) and rebuffed for the umpteenth time was priceless. Usually, Mulder is spot on, but for this episode, he was an epic fail, which was hilarious!
Who saved the day in this episode, you ask? Why, Scully of course! Even though the method was a little lame (the microwave? Really? Is this a doll or gremlin?), Scully was the one to defeat the bad guy er doll, and presumably, have everyone live happily ever after (although the vague ending may bring questions to that scenario). And Scully showed us all just how much of a rock star she really is.
Now, I may have said that Chinga was bad, which it is. But bad can also be good. Like Batman. And sex. So Chinga falls into the category of things, like sex and Batman, that are so awesome that even when they are bad they are still good. And there is nothing wrong in indulging in good bad. In fact, it even warms the soul.
Join me next week when I review and dissect Home, the episode so terrifying that (supposedly) no network will air it any more…tune in next week: same bat time, same bat channel!