Written by Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Rob Bowman
So, the past two episodes of The X Files we've been building towards a sense of bitterness in Mulder. He has had his ideals rubbed in his nose by the CSM in F Emasculata and subsequently had his most trusted source, X, use him to capture a man that the government were looking for in Soft Light, with this in mind the next step you'd think would be the finale, it is after all the twenty fourth episode of the season, so it really ought to be the home stretch of the season, except season two lasts for twenty five episodes and I can't help but think that Chris Carter and the team seem to have forgotten this when it came round to it and so have had to find something to fill a gap before we get to the episode that the last two episodes seem to have been building up to.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to give Our Town a bad review or anything, in fact I rather enjoyed it, it's good fun, and pretty dark with some effective twists and scares, but I can't help but shake the feeling that I should be reviewing Anasazi right now, but we've got to get through this one before we get to the brilliance that is the season two finale. So let's sit back and enjoy a Bad Day at Black Rock type of story involving cannibalism, chickens (more chickens, didn't I go chicken mad during The Calusari review) and Kentucky Fried Chicken...sorry, Chaco Chicken, run by The Colonel...sorry, I meant Walter Chaco, who has grey hair, a little beard and whose logo looks like the world's most famous Colonel.
Despite my issues with how this one seems to have put a slight delay on the show's emotional and character build up to the finale (strangely enough it's Scully who seems more bitter at the government than Mulder in his one, surely it should be the other way around) Our Town is great fun, so much so that I actually enjoyed rewatching it a lot more than I thought I would. Interestingly this one was broadcast in Britain at around the time that the Mad Cow Disease/CJD crisis was hitting, so a tale involving contaminated meat was quite pertinent, and interesting that it's the second episode in the season to involve this theme after Red Museum (you may have forgotten about that since Red Museum had about a hundred million things going on in it, but trust me, it's there).
On its own merits, forgetting about any issues regarding its placement in the season and other such concerns, Our Town is an extremely enjoyable tale, the script is very witty around the edges, there's some wonderful dialogue, and maybe given how increasingly bitter Mulder has become over the last two episodes (which will lead to the mother of all character explosions in the next one, trust me) then maybe it's not a bad thing to have a good old fashioned, fun stand alone involving a mad man in an axe and a pretty horrific community secret. The idea that Chaco and the entire town are a community of cannibals who have not only prolonged their lives through their practices, but also contracted a rare disease through their consumption of the flesh, is clever and well told.
It does rely on some hokey horror cliches admittedly, we get the obligatory mad man with an axe, grisly hallucinations, a bunch of decapitated heads in a cupboard and Scully getting kidnapped. Again. What is that, the fourth time this season? Aliens, a necrophiliac, an Alien Bounty Hunter and now The Colonel? This last point does annoy me a little because it does try to create some faux suspense when it can't really deliver, an old man who runs a chicken factory can't really compete with the other season long threat, but it doesn't stop this one from being good fun anyway.
So, it's almost over, twenty four down and one to go. Hold on to your hats folks and make sure your seat belt is securely fastened, because things are about to get epic.