Television: The X-Files, "Home Again"

Admittedly, last week's episode was a tough act to follow. To avoid too close comparison, this one eschewed humor and went for gore and sap (an odd combination).

The mystery part involved a "Trash Man" killing anyone involved in a homeless relocation project. That was the gore bit: people getting ripped apart. "Treating people like trash," lectured the artist who had created the Trash Man (who then apparently came to life). He likened it to people who recycle and feel good about themselves about it, when in reality there is still an overflowing landfill somewhere. Out of sight, out of mind. Moving the homeless to a shelter was the same thing, only with people.

Well, okay. That was our Lesson of the Week.

Meanwhile, Scully's mother had a heart attack. She asked for her estranged son Charlie. There was a lot of weepy stuff, and the way this story line tied in with the first was that it left Scully worried that William (her and Mulder's son) felt "thrown away." It was sad and sweet, to be sure, but I do feel they're pounding this nail in further than necessary. We know giving William up was difficult. We know it's a weight Scully (and Mulder) carry. But . . . I dunno. It feels a bit much.

I will say I don't disagree with the LotW. I was thinking about it just the other day, in fact, when our town went out of its way to remind us that throwing away batteries is technically illegal. We're supposed to take them to special disposal sites. And it made me wonder why so many people still throw their batteries out. My conclusion is: because it's easier.

In order to effect change in people's behaviors, you have to do two things. 1. You have to make the consequences big enough to matter. 2. You have to make it easy for people to do what it is you want them to do. Why do more people recycle? Because the city gave us special bins and sorting trash isn't all that hard. If you gave us a special bin for batteries, or at least made the disposal centers numerous and nearby, we'd probably follow the rules and dispose of batteries properly. (I'm using a universal "we" as I do try and follow the rules myself.) Barring that, if the consequences were big enough—if people were relatively sure of being caught, and if there were fines and/or jail time involved—we'd also probably be motivated to behave the way you're asking us to behave.

But this is a tangent. As for The X-Files, it was an okay episode. I know they can't all be goofy. In fact, if they all were, the show wouldn't be as good.

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