Starting off in a very unassuming manner, this tale of a town in Pennsylvania that has its residents slowly going over the edge is one that eats into some of the fears running around at large in the 90s US and today. Opening with a scene of a postal worker who witnesses a digital display telling him to “KILL ‘EM ALL”, “Blood” looks at the fear that anyone could go off the handle and start killing people and that we may never understand what drove them over the edge and government and corporate experimentation on the general populace.
Still no X-Files
Like previous episodes, Mulder is still not assigned to The X-Files. Mulder is called to investigate a case of a real estate agent who kills a bunch of people in a lift in a public building. Mulder is all cool and collected with the calmness of someone who has seen a bit too much of this kind of thing in the past. But what is interesting is that we see Mulder using a few of the skills he developed before taking on the X-Files. Profiler Mulder is always more interesting to deal with.
“There is no way to know will be a kill or who will be killed,” Mulder summarises in one of this first reports on the case. The origins of killing sprees in the US are always a hot topic and to have so many people start killing so many people without any visible reason for doing so. While not the intention of the episode’s creators – it’s a theme that’s there in the episode.
According to interviews, what Darin Morgan, Glen Morgan and James Wong really wanted to get at was the idea of big government and corporations and how they may or may not play around with population groups. Doing things like spraying pesticides over entire areas – either telling them or not telling them about it. So on first appearances, while the episode looks like a “beware the technology” one, it’s more about the paranoia that surrounds trusting governments not to secretly abuse or apply tests on its populace.
And while Scully is helping Mulder pursue physical evidence, The Lone Gunmen are also helping Mulder in looking at the evidence from the case. They refer back to the use of DDT in the 1940s and 50s and how the government in the US had originally stated it was safe and then had to retract. But it also works in the mythology of MK Ultra (here’s it’s LSDM rather than plain old LSD), with references to spraying being part of a mind control experiment in the episode and that digital devices might be in use of giving subliminal messages to townspeople.
A real mixture
What I really like about this episode, is the fact that it’s a conspiracy episode without the use of aliens. Sure, the aliens episode that build up the overall mythology of the series are quite awesome, but this one manages to draw on numerous conspiracy theories at the same time to make some compelling telly. And in the final scenes with Ed firing off shots from a clock tower is at once stereotypical and unique at the same time, due to how Mulder resolves it.