Oh boy this is a tough one. As I said back in Gender Bender we live in a more enlightened world now (sort of) and this is an episode that would not be made today. This is not the most sensitive portrayal of someone with additional learning requirements you’ll ever see. The actor playing Roland commits fully to the performance which you can’t really fault but it’s still very questionable. I’d like to think today this episode would feature an argument with Roland’s condition in the role.
As questionable as some of the choices in this episode are there is some real heart in it. Roland is a character you feel for and it is rather cruel his life is ruined by the magic frozen head of his dead brother. I was actually quite moved by the finale and it is a very bittersweet episode.
Once again it’s a tale of revenge from beyond the grave. We’ve had that several times this season and this is perhaps the least convincing version of the story. We do get to see compassionate Mulder again which is always nice especially after pushing the girl from last week so hard.
Overall Roland is a bit of a limp episode for leading into the big finale of the season. You can certainly skip it and if you don’t you might find the central performance a little uncomfortable by today’s standard.