Earth: Final Conflict – The X Files – tape 2733

This tape opens with the announcement that this is “The series finale of Earth Final Conf” and I’m not sure why the announcement was cut off. Oh good, I thought, that means that, even if none of it makes sense, at least I’ll get closure. Then I checked and it turns out there were 5 seasons of this. Five. And this is the end of season one. So no closure for me, I’m guessing.

I’m sure I watched the pilot episode of this, but not a whole lot else. It was another in the seemingly endless series of syndicated low-budget SF/Fantasy shows that seemed to be around in the mid 90s.

It opens with some divers finding something. When they open it, there’s a glowy alien inside.

It takes over the body of one of the researchers. 90s TV cgi was its own thing, wasn’t it?

Is this kind of thing something any real people ever did? These look like costumes left over from an old Star Trek episode. There’s a very dodgy Oirish accent in this scene.

Poundland Enya is Siobhan Beckett (Kari Matchett). She’s appeared in a previous episode (set in Ireland) and now she’s in the US. Because she’s Irish, she’s using celtic runes to predict the future. Because every Irish person I’ve ever met slings the runes at the first opportunity. She’s also deeply into stern investigator Ronald Sandoval, who’s too dedicated to the alien visitors to think about a romantic relationship. She also thinks that another character Lili Marquette is an enemy of the aliens. Which she is, as she’s part of the resistance.

The aliens tell our hero Boone that the glowy alien who’s taking over the shapes of humans once did the same thing to their race, but they omit to inform him that they then destroyed that alien race.

There’s some really egregious product placement in this show. All their video-phone calls are supplied by MCI. Do they even exist any more?

Eventually, the alien gets around to copying one of our regulars, Sandoval, and there’s a bit of alien sex or something in a church, with Beckett. Luckily for her, this isn’t the same glowy sex that he did earlier in the episode to a woman in the bar, leading to her dying of ‘a massive endorphin overload’. It’s reminding me of a PG-version of that Torchwood episode with the alien who has lots of sex that kills people.

Boone has a face-off with the alien Sandoval, tries to get him to join forces against the Taelons, but then the swat team burts in, and to stop the alien killing them all, Boone has to zap him with his magical alien implants. They really try with these effects, but there’s a limit to what they can do.

Rather surprisingly, Boone gets badly hurt by this zap. The physical makeup simple though it is, is better than any of the visual effects.

It’s not looking good for Boone. They’ve got him suspended in a tank. I guess we should be glad they kept his pants on. At the end of the episode, though, and Taelon in charge wanders up and zaps him so he dissolves into sparkly lights. I guess they wanted to replace him as the series lead. An internet search suggests ‘contract dispute’ between Kilner and the producers. I guess it was a low budget show, and they didn’t want to spend money on the cast. Apparently, the cast was regularly changed in subsequent seasons.

By the way, what was it that seemed to make a lot of shows have vaguely Irish sounding themes. Maybe it was just this one, but my memory is that several shows around that time had ethereal themes – those that didn’t have a repurposed pop song, that is.

After this, there’s an episode of The X Files, from the fifth season, Travelers. In 1990 a policeman investigates a remote shack, serving an eviction notice to a man called Edward Skur, finds a mummified body in the bathtub, shoots the householder, apparently Skur, in a scuffle, and the man says ‘Mulder’.

Because it’s 1990, Mulder is still just an agent in the behavioural science section of the FBI, so he investigates the case, taking him to the retired agent who worked on the Edward Skur case years before. He’s played by Darren McGavin, Kolchak himself. This show owes such a debt to Kolchak the Night Stalker, so it’s nice that they pretty much admit it here.

Reluctantly, McGavin talks to Mulder about the case. He was investigating Skur, a low-level member of government, for being a communist, as it was the time of the McCarthy communist witchhunt. We then get what amounts to an episode of Kolchak, complete with Darren McGavin doing the narration. After arresting the young Skur, he’s told that he killed himself in jail, but then he sees him alive, later, and has a close encounter with him that obviously, nobody believes.

He’s summoned to the office of Roy Cohn, the lawyer who’s organising the McCarthy hearings. He’s a real person, quite a legendary scumbag by all accounts and, for a time before he died, he was Donald Trump’s personal lawyer.

McGavin also meets with Mulder’s father Bill.

McGavin’s partner is attacked by Skur, and he doesn’t make it out alive.

Young McGavin finds another man, named with Skur in a redacted report.

The man’s body is still in the morgue, so he opens it up, and finds the creepy crawly thing still alive.

This is another of these episodes where I’m having a huge amount of difficulty working out who’s who. Almost everybody in the 50s looks exactly the same.

The next episode is Mind’s Eye. A blind woman is a suspect in the killing of a drug dealer. She’s played by Lili Taylor. It’s a nice twist that she’s not written as an innocent victim – she’s got a record for low-level criminal behaviour, and she’s very unhelpful to the detective. She was at the crime scene because she can see what the killer is seeing. There’s a particularly creepy scene where she’s being led out of the police station, and in her mind’s eye she can see herself, because the killer is there, looking straight at her.

I like this episode, because Taylor’s motivations aren’t obvious, and she’s not a cowering victim. It makes a change.

Next, an episode called The Pine Bluff Variant. Oh look, Mulder is cosplaying as Clarice Starling at the start of Silence of the Lambs.

This one gets grisly, as Mulder appears to blow a stake-out, letting the suspect go, but he’s actually working to infiltrate a right wing domestic terrorist cell who have obtained a deadly gas that makes people’s skin dissolve. They test it out in a movie theatre.

After this, the tape continues briefly with the start of an episode of Hot Summer Down Under, another of the apparently endless shows Sky and others loved to churn out of drunk young people on holiday. The tapes ends mercifully soon into this episode.

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3 comments

  1. It British TV hadn’t grasped the difference between season finales and series finales at that point (I’m not sure they do now). I’m sure it will eventually.

  2. I watched EFC on Channel 5 when they showed season 1 (they never bothered with the rest of it) and it was painfully mediocre. The Irish episode managed to restrain itself from featuring a leprechaun drinking Guinness at the Blarney Stone, but it was a close run thing, I’m sure. Star Trek TNG had a weird Ireland obsession too, so maybe it was a Roddenberry quirk? Anyway, I’m a lot less forgiving now, if it doesn’t grab me after a few episodes, forget it – bye, Cloak and Dagger!

    Wasn’t Darren McGavin supposed to play Kolchak originally on The X-Files but maybe they couldn’t get the rights sorted out or something, so he had to play Kolchak lite? I might be wrong, it’s just a vague memory.

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