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 The X-Files > Season 11

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The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat
S11E04
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 Written by
Darin Morgan

 Directed by
Darin Morgan




 Original Air Date
2018-01-24

 Cast
David Duchovny
Gillian Anderson
Mitch Pileggi
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In Search Of Lost Time, A Review
Written by Jack Anderson on 2018-02-01
 (9/10)
NOTHINGNESS
The episodes S1101, 2 and 3 disgusted me to the point that I thought I was done with the series. But, as Al Pacino partially said in The Godfather, Part III, "Every time I thought I was out, they pull me back in." So I obviously could not help but see this new episode, written and directed by Darin Morgan. As a fan of his work since 1994, I could not miss it.

A SECOND
And it only took a second to convince me. A single second. Less than that. A picture. Only one. A black and white. And the trick was played, I was conquered. As you will hear from all publishers, you do not have to eat all the beef to know that it is bad (or in this case to know if it is good). All the big episodes of X-Files are good from the beginning. And all the bad ones are bad from the beginning. No fuss.
So it only takes a second to return to the originality of the series. I'm in my chair, in 2018, and I find myself with the same excitement as in 1995, when I discovered crazy episodes of the first three seasons. I feel my heart beat and I do not know what will happen. I have no idea where we are, who the characters are and what will happen. I am seeing The X-Files. I am taken to an incredible world that I believe in.

A SUBJECT ?
After "My Struggle III" empty of everything, "This" and his subject exceeded, "Plus One" and his part of hanged for only subject, "The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat" offers us a real subject. The Mandela effect. But the episode goes much further, like a thesis, it revolves around the subject, starts there, goes back and finally, in just forty-three minutes, we propose an intelligent work that goes well beyond his own subject. It sweeps out a quarter century of a magical series that will have surprised us to the end, whether we like it or not. The candle comes back for probably one last time. And after being in the dark for so long, finding the flame to illuminate our universe with its light is like an arid river full of water. And we recognize the sound of flowing water.

BUILD A WALL!
One of the strengths of the original series was not to get involved in the present. Think about it. The conspiracies were developed based on the greatness of the great (sic!) Era of the 50s, 60s and 70s. We started at Roswell and we stopped with the Watergate. And that was fine. Apart from the benevolent portrait of William Clinton, the series lived in an era in itself. But the times have changed. This is the whole subject of this episode, which goes, again, well beyond the simple gimmick effect Mandela. Darin Morgan dares everything and proves by A + B what we were talking about here last week including Zerosum. The series can not work anymore, for the simple reason that the time does not lend itself to unclassified business (I hope I have the right not to have to call these cases "X-Files"). The era became X-Files. As proof of this, the discussion between Fox Mulder and the character in this superb Vancouver setting - the first time since season 10 that we are being offered an interesting and local venue. We live in an information age, an ultra-connected era where this information is transmitted, or rather spreads, at the speed of light. How can we believe for a moment that monsters live among us, when every citizen has become a witness, with his camera connected? Darin Morgan demonstrated it perfectly in his cult episode of season 10. I take this opportunity to mention that of course, "Scully and Mulder Meet the Were-Monster" is a classic episode of the series, just like any classic of the first seasons.
We live in 2018 and we have already crossed the border of reality. Darin Morgan wanted to write an episode about Donald Trump, let's be very clear. The effect Mandela was found in a second time. Let's not go around the bush, the current US President, whether we like him or not, does not care about the truth. It is the most total symbol of the reality of this post-conspiracy world, where truth no longer matters. The 2016 US campaign was the most blatant example. No matter who is telling the truth, it does not matter anymore. False news is sent to Facebook? It becomes the truth. Before him, George W. Bush was well elected on a lie. But everything is going faster today. Everything is more exacerbated. And the episode deals perfectly with this new era in which we live. I'm sure you'll all understand the reference to the Mendela effect when you see the images of Trump's inauguration. For the first subject of the President of the greatest power in the world was to take offense at the media coverage of the number of spectators at the inauguration. His truth was not that of the media. It was totally crazy. It is to wonder if we can go even further. But history and evolution only prove to us that this is the case. We will take this topic back in 2028 and we will say "you remember in 2018, what was better, not like today!".
Back to the episode, the subject is for me devilishly well treated, be it the truth, Donald Trump, Mandela effect, time passing, nostalgia. The difference between Chris Carter and Darin Morgan speaking of their time is diametrically opposed. Both went there thoroughly, we can not blame them that. But Chris Carter offers a gloubi-boulga without spine (My Struggle I-II-III), bunch of nonsense without any control or vision. Meanwhile, Darin Morgan goes even more thoroughly, but in a way always subtle, despite artifices and grotesque references.
There is so much to say about this episode that I would need much more time to devote to a real review.

PASSING TIME
Rather than forcing the characters into forbidden crosses (Mulder and Scully join the FBI soon at 60), Darin Morgan does not try to fit a sphere into a cube. It shows us all aspects of the sphere and the cube and makes it an episode that I just loved.
Meanwhile, as mentioned Number 6 (or No6), the format of 43 minutes is very ... difficult (I dare not transcribe his original words). Everything goes too fast and we have no time to deepen anything. But why did it work so well in the first three seasons? The answer is simple. She holds in one word. Mastery. The mastery of his art. Take time. When the alien gets off his ship towards the end of the episode, we take the time, and it's a good thing. This totally exacerbates the feeling of the scene and therefore reaches its target right in the mile. This format worked very well in the 90s and works very well today. The difference with "My Struggle III" is blatant. In the first, we see the characters running for forty-three minutes. In this one, we take the time. What is even more crazy is to go even further and mention that the episodes at full speed are ultimately quite boring. While a slower and more controlled episode seems faster. Again, as at the time of the series, I saw myself several times display the counter, counting minutes. More than 20 minutes before the end. 10 minutes. 5. 2. It's already over.
And that's ironically the whole subject too. Passing time. Darin Morgan leaves in search of lost time. He dares everything and plunges us back into scenes from the best episodes of the series. Pilot, Squeeze, Clyde Bruckman's Final Rest, etc. He even dares, in a dantesque scene, to offer us his own death. It's terrifyingly original!

A TERRIFIANT RATIO
Darin Morgan did what no one before him had done. A completely crazy and incredible ratio of 100% good episodes.
- The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat (2018) ... (written by)
- Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-Monster (2016) ... (written by)
- Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space' (1996) ... (written by)
- War of the Coprophages (1996) ... (written by)
- Clyde Bruckman's Final Rest (1995) ... (written by)
- Humbug (1995) ... (written by)
- Blood (1994) ... (story by)
Beyond the television universe, who can boast of a perfect filmography? Not even Stanley Kubrick. Even less Steven Spielberg. Admittedly, the comparison is only tiny, because Darin Morgan is primarily a screenwriter, but we can not deny his qualities as a director. I put it at the same level as a Christopher Nolan, just running through the pearls. I do not know other writers or directors with a ratio of 100%. We are in the most total exception. To paraphrase Chris Carter, "Darin Morgan is so talented that it's terrifying."
And as a picture is worth all the explanations of the world, here is a graphic as terrifying as the darkest monsters in the series:
https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/7Chso73zrgwrbC-Vx5PBlNvrBPk=/1200x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/10091379/Graph.png

CULTE SCENES
Meanwhile, The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat can boast not one, not two, but five cult scenes! It had not happened since ... "Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster", last episode written and directed by Darin Morgan.
- The opening scene. Perfect from the first to the last second.
- Mulder child discovering for the first time Twilight Zone. "It's not about the episode, Scully, it's about my memory of my first Twilight Zone.It has changed me, you have not forgotten that.I was 12 years old (...)". Coincidentally, I was just 12 years old when I first discovered X-Files.
Note that the place makes me think of the summer residence of Mulder, discovered in the sublime Talitha Cumi.
- The sequence where we revisit the series, starting with its credits.
- All Mulder's sequence discussing with Dr. They in the park. A jewel. A fantastic game. Perfect dialogues. The X-Files will always be recognized as a series where his biggest actors will have been old men.
- All the sequence where the trio Mulder, Scully and Reggie drive and discover an alien. While the references are grotesque, even in the last "bing bong", reminiscent of Trump's famous video talking to truckers, but the scene is fantastic in every sense of the word.

A PERFECT SERIES FINALE?
A little crazy idea
I will go even further. I discovered an article that gave me a great idea. "TLAoFS" could have been a perfect final series. Obviously, this may surprise at first. But think about it for a moment. As in many series final, these episodes revisit the entire series by trying to give him some morality, even if I do not like the term - a certain finality in his words, a final statement.
Because we know it well, Mulder and Scully have never elucidated anything. One of the hallmarks of the series was that the rarely-discovered evidence was always stolen a few seconds before the end credits - often by the cigarette man and his henchmen.

« I want to remember how it was. »
In fact, what good was spent all this time? What was the purpose of all these adventures? These corpses. These tests.
And Scully summed it up fantastically at the end of the episode. She would not trade this course for anything in the world. Because "I want to remember how it was, I want to remember how it was." And that's the moral of our story. It's totally that. And that's even the morality of everything. Because nothing matters. We will all die in the end. Your friends, your children, your parents will die. Your memory will evaporate and many of us will end up in a retirement home, in a total and final decrepitude. So, all that matters is the course.
This is the reason why so many of us are still here, after so many years, to dissect a series that has become totally mediocre and insignificant.
It's devilishly smarter and basically simpler than Chris Carter's failed essay in "The Truth", which wanted us to believe, once again, on an imposed subject, that did not stick with anything else. The dead speak to us. Good. So "Squeeze", "Ascension", "Anasazi", "Home", they are not part of the equation? It was laughable. Admittedly, it stuck a little, but the membership did not hold, or rather, the transplantation. Did one of you identify with this morality of "The Truth"? Me, ghosts, I have never seen. One of the few final series that marked me was the "Quantum Leap". In this superb final episode, we learned that the character had no need to continue his adventure. "You will only have this long as you want to. (...) The catch is that you have to accept that you control your own destiny". It was also a morality to which one could identify.

The Truth
"TLAoFS" also offers the finality of Fox Mulder's quest for truth. What is simpler and more logical than the truth offered by the extraterrestrials? It may be grotesque, it is already more believable than the man with the cigarette in shaman, revealing a date at random (which will prove false) at the bottom of a cave.
In this wonderful episode of Darin Morgan, Mulder finally really discovers the truth and realizes that she does not interest him. The quest for truth was more important than the truth itself. This is also a morality to which each spectator can identify.

Reinforcing the series
Finally, even if humorous, this episode also offers us a rewrite of the series, through this funny sequence of flashbacks. This in the purest tradition of the final series.

Mein Kampf, IV
So certainly, it would have been a crazy bet, but raised hands down. Instead, we are going to have a most horrible story in "Mein Kampf IV" ("My Struggle IV" in vo). Get ready for forty-three minutes punchy false revelations about the fatherhood of William and dialogues as stupid and useless as the few cryptic and cynical comments of the character of Matt Damon in Space.

CONCLUSION
I would like to tell you more about this episode for entire pages, but I have already sublimated it. I already forget it.
I beg you to forgive me for this infective review, without real structure and passing through many topics.
Finally, I do not rate this episode epic, because I do not know. Only time will give me my truth.



Is this a classic x files?
Written by DuaneB on 2018-03-08
 (1/10)
Of course it isn't. The title is parhaps the only thing right; I mena the first part of the title: The Lost Aart, wich I could complete like "of the X files". Probably the worst with babylon, to me. It didn't made me laugh at all, and the way GA and DD play sounds wrong, according to a normal episode. Even if we considere the past amazing work of Darin Morgan, I lose every x fies signature in it.



A Great Darin episode
Written by Gruic on 2018-03-09
 (9/10)

Another master piece from Darin Morgan. The discussion near the statues feels very brillant.

A classic one already.



11X04 The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat
Written by Syldana on 2018-03-15
 (5/10)
Review 11X04

Difficult to develop an opinion on this episode as the first viewing gives us the impression of being totally immersed in a bottomless pit of psychedelic images. I still have the impression with Darin to have swallowed a pill of ecta ​​just before the viewing of his works and that my world has rocked for 42 mins. But that's what we savor with him, and we love deep down.
Here no monster of the week, no chilling encounter with a mutant or a nice watch (no it's not heaven ...), this episode is a pretext, a playground where Darin reveals his philosophy of the week , takes us by the hand and embarks us again aboard the ship "bullshit" where the meanders of his mind divide.
So this effect Mandela, expression in any case, I did not know, thank you Darin to refine my culture but without remembering precisely I had to have my own experiences. In any case, during this episode I would have lived one with this revisit of scenes from key extracts of previous episodes handpicked where the character (which will become emblematic now as a Clyde Bruckman) of Reggie integrates with the credits, with scenes ... An unaware or even a beta fan would be almost tempted to replay the selected episodes questioning: "I missed something? He was there?" Of course, no, but there is doubt. Would my memories have been so affected as to obscure the presence of this type?
That's what I love with Darin, he takes out of his hat a convoluted idea and almost a challenge of memory.
After, I admit that all this flood of Blah blah is a bit sleepy, we must recognize that in the universe of X-Files we keep awake a fan with shocks revelations, images gores, a little MSR ... Here none of that, but the intro referencing the Twilight Zone series, what a frank pleasure. No Rod Serling, but we find the black and white, the intro effect that immediately switches the viewer into the parallel universe of the Twilight Zone. I watched this series, I had my first TV nightmares with her, especially when the episode ended on a shattering dive, we rocking into horror. I would never forget the 3X33 The puppet haunted me years ...
"Jerry Etherson is an alcoholic ventriloquist who believes Willie, his wooden puppet, is alive and naughty, then tries to change puppet, but his inexhaustible accomplice proves tougher than expected: he mocks him, harasses him Jerry's agent leaves him, thinking he's crazy Jerry realizes that his puppet is really alive and endowed with evil power, and later Jerry relaunches his career a new number, but he became the puppet, while the puppet managed to take his place. "
Ultimately The Lost Art really does an in-depth analysis of the quality of our memories and its dangers, the truth, the objective reality and the people of course ready for all the abuses to reach us via that.



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