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Roland   Credits   Gallery   Transcript   Background Information    

Production

  • The art department found insightful the task of creating many scientific rooms and a wind tunnel for this show. "It was all kind of fun," Art Director Graeme Murray reminisced. "It was interesting for us just learning some of these things; we spent a lot of time in some of the scientific research places around Vancouver and in the universities." (X-Files Confidential, pp. 75-76)
  • Feeling the script was "a little bit abstract" in the way it portrayed the somewhat intangible character of Arthur Grable, Director David Nutter tried to focus on making Grable seem more threatening. "We had to create the villain in Roland's head," remembered Nutter, "so I think the more the audience could relate to Roland, and feel and care for him, then it would make the villain that much worse and that much more diabolical." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/7, p. 58) Nutter attempted to concentrate on Zeljko Ivanek's depiction of Roland Fuller generally, later commenting, "Basically when I knew I had him, I thought it was important to push that as much as possible, to help outweigh the frailties in the script." (X-Files Confidential, p. 75)
  • Composer Mark Snow wrote an unusually wistful theme to help portray Roland Fuller. "David Nutter [...] said that a weird little theme on piano would be great for this character," Snow explained. "I thought, well, Chris [Carter] is really not into melodic music, so we have to do this just right. So I came up with this simple, very child-like, slightly forlorn, sad piece." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/7, p. 58)

Cultural References

  • When, in this episode, Dr. Nollette says, "If I've seen further than other men, it's because I have stood on the shoulders of giants," he is reciting a famous quote originally said by Sir Isaac Newton. Mulder's reference to Beakman's World is also a real-world cultural reference.

Reception

  • David Nutter was disappointed with this episode's teleplay, stating, "I didn't think it was one of the stronger scripts we had all year." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/7, p. 58) He elaborated by describing it as "probably the weakest script from start to finish that I got." Nutter felt the final product was improved tenfold by Zeljko Ivanek's performance, however, remarking, "I felt like it was a really strong character piece." (X-Files Confidential, p. 75)
  • Chris Carter felt similarly. "For me, [Zeljko Ivanek's portrayal] made the episode. Hats off to David Nutter and to the writing staff for falling in and making the episode really work," Carter enthused. (X-Files Confidential, p. 75) He believed "any shock and horror" in the frozen death of Dr. Keats was only fleeting, saying, "[It] was eliminated by the laugh you got when you saw those little pieces on the floor." (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 153) Carter also "loved" the musical theme for Roland Fuller, according to Mark Snow, who concluded about the composition, "That really seemed to work great." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 26/27, No. 6/7, p. 58)
  • However, Glen Morgan was not as happy with the outing. "Overall, ultimately it probably wasn't completely effective," he supposed. (X-Files Confidential, p. 75)
  • This episode achieved a Nielsen household rating of 7.9, with an audience share of 14. This means that roughly 7.9 percent of all television-equipped households, and 14 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode. It was viewed by 7.4 million households. (The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files, p. 248)
  • Cinefantastique (Vol. 26/27, No. 6/7, p. 57) scores this episode 2 and a half out of 4 stars. The magazine calls the outing "a touching episode" and describes elements such as twins separated in childhood, cryogenically preserved heads and telepathic commands as "some time-honored literary and science fiction concepts." In addition, Cinefantastique refers to Zeljko Ivanek's portrayal of Roland as "brilliant" and the performances by David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson as "fine acting," crediting these three characterizations for the installment's emotional effectiveness. The magazine cites the death via liquid nitrogen as "a totally sick joke that (for this writer at least) is gallows humor at its finest." Furthermore, the magazine rates this episode as "better" than "Born Again".
  • In his reference book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium and The Lone Gunmen, writer Robert Shearman rated this episode a mere 2 out of 5 stars and considered this installment less generic than but not as good as "Born Again". He specifically found fault with Arthur Grable's motive for killing scientists purely because they're carrying on his work. Shearman critiqued, "Isn't that just a tad self-obsessed, even for a psychotic head in liquid nitrogen? The deaths are good [....] The acting is good too: Zeljko Ivanek gives a standout performance as the autistic Roland, treading the thin line between eerie and sympathetic very skilfully."

Cast and Characters

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