Ace Review: “Shapes”

Premise: A white farmer shoots an Indigenous man who may have been a werewolf

20th Century Fox c/o chrisnu

In this episode we pick on… Native Americans. And not for the last time, either.

How good is this episode?

The standard European werewolf myth transposed onto an Indigenous community for no particular reason. The story itself is okay. The werewolf looks pretty fake, but fortunately we don’t see too much of it. And there’s some attempt to honestly portray the kinds of tensions that exist between Indigenous and settler communities. In the end, though, it’s still pretty much about how Native American beliefs are scary.

How ace is this episode?

There is no romance in this episode. Instead, the significant relationships are between family members: Gwen and her brother, and Lyle and his father.

Favourite moment: “Don’t you ever get the creeps?” Or, rather, Scully’s confused reaction to Lyle’s question.

20th Century Fox c/o chrisnu

Random musings

  • I used to have a pet theory that Scully was really a highly advanced computer cleverly, but not always convincingly, disguised as a woman with red hair. For the most part, she could simulate normal human reactions, but every so often she would run across a situation that her poor mechanised brain just couldn’t deal with. To quote Computer!Scully’s thought process:
    -->Accessing data on “CREEPS <comma> THE”.
      -->Error.  File not found.
    -->Unable to code appropriate response to Mister PARKER’s question.
    -->Agent MULDER:
      -->Please provide additional information to prevent system failure.
  • The Secret deodorant joke may get the award for single worst Mulderism of the entire series!
  • Oddly enough, Scully’s scepticism in this episode initially puts her on the side of the marginalised people (the Native community) with Mulder on the side of authority (Jim Parker and the law).  This makes Ish’s praise of Mulder in the second half rather incongruous.
  • I don’t know a lot about Indigenous belief systems, but I’m pretty sure that’s not what the word “Manitou” means.
  • I don’t really understand why the werewolf had to be of Native American origin at all. Given that werewolf legends come from Europe, wouldn’t it have made more sense for werewolves to be a settler import (like guns, alcohol, and smallpox)???


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