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Visitors From Down the Street
Maintained by David Boyd
Last Update on October 12th '99
Title: Visitors From Down the Street
Episode Order Number: 112
Production Number: 104
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski    Director: Jerry Apoian
First US Air Date: Wednesday 25th August 1999
Episode Message Board: Talk about the Episode here
Contents: [Plot] - [Regular Cast] - [Guest Stars] - [Review]
Plot:

    Paranoia rules when the Excalibur picks up a life-pod containing two aliens convinced that humans have been visiting their planet for decades - except that there is no record of any encounter with their race before now.

Regular Cast: Gary Cole, Daniel Dae Kim
Guest Stars: Harry van Gorkum, Francoise Robertson, Josh Clark
Review:   By Lars Joreteg

Review: Crusade episode 12 - "Visitors From Down the Street"

"The truth is ... Out of fashion!" - Durkani / Kendarr

"Visitors From Down the Street" is an episode based on a very intriguing premise, but just like a joke told too many times, the large amount of "X-Files" references eventually become tedious.

While on a mission, the Excalibur runs across a life-pod with two aliens onboard. To everyone's surprise, these two aliens are fluent in English, even though there is no record of any previous contact with this race. Even more surprising, they claim that humans have visited their homeworld long ago, and have since then been orchestrating a massive conspiracy to change their society...

This episode was clearly constructed as an "X-Files" parody, with a multitude of references and in-jokes that even I, only a casual "X-Files" viewer, had no trouble spotting. Unfortunately, this is my main problem with this plot. The story was so single-minded as a parody that it really doesn't stand on as a Crusade episode very well. The conspiracy core of the story, however, was well constructed with a clever and welcome twist to the typical ho-hum conspiracy stories everywhere. Yes, there is a conspiracy, but it is completely different than what we initially thought. But once again I dislike how the plot really feels the need to every now and then bang you over the head with obvious the fact that this episode is an "X-Files" parody. (examples: clothing straight off "X-files", faces on the mountain, swamp gas, weather balloons, "cellular phones", and the flashback scenes in the office) I personally think that the plot would have been much more intriguing had the hints been more sublime, and not become clear until the end that the whole episode really was a clever take on the "X-Files". So the main story is a mixed bag, with both good and mad. The side-plot with the smell in the transport tubes was quite pointless and forgettable, in my opinion, and should have been left out.

Gideon (Gary Cole) is pretty good in this episode, showing off a lighter and more playful side of our captain. But he also shows some darker and rash tendencies in how he apparently, with very little time to consider the consequences, decides to turn the alien civilization upside with the information he sent away. Matheson (Daniel Dae Kim) is the only other regular cast member to be featured in this episode, and he is good as always. The banter between Gideon and Matheson is becoming great fun to watch.

The guest stars of this episode are adequate, but not especially noteworthy.

The technical aspects of this episode are a mixed bag too. There was some great set and FX work done on the transport tubes, but otherwise nothing out of the ordinary. Evan Chen's music was also rather absent. On another note, I think the sets in this episode were lit dimly, everything seemed darker, but I suppose that was done on purpose to mimic the "X-Files" style.

Overall this is episode had some good moments and an intriguing concept, but the excessive amount of "X-Files" references is disappointing.

Rating: 7.5/10

- Lars Joreteg (lars.joreteg@usa.net)

 
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