“How did you know I’d come for you?” – Eve 8
“We just knew.” – Eve 9
“We just knew.” – Eve 10
Radhika: “Eve” is a return to the solid standalone, seen earlier in the season in episodes like “Squeeze” and “Ice.” But this time, the story has a bit of a Bad Seed-esque twist, thanks to some creepy twins.
The episode begins as many often do, with Mulder thinking that the exsanguination of a Connecticut man must be alien related, since the death seems to match the type affiliated with extraterrestrial cattle mutilations. It’s the sort of logical conclusion any of us would jump to.
The man’s young daughter, Teena, corroborates this by saying exactly the sort of thing Mulder wants to hear, alluding to red lightning and men from the clouds — she even says the word “exsanguinate,” because that’s the sort of vocabulary an elementary-school-aged child would have. But the plot does thicken, leaving the idea of little green men behind. After the agents meet another girl in California, the daughter of a man who died in a similar manner at the same time, they realize something must be connected… especially due to the fact that the girl, Cindy Reardon, looks exactly like Teena.
Fast-forward a bit, and the agents realize the girls are the extension of a cloning project, which can be traced to a doctor named Sally Kendrick, who treated both girls’ families at a fertility clinic. Kendrick is the product of a program that created genetically modified children (each known as “Adam” or “Eve” based on gender), and one unfortunate side effect of the experiment happens to involve homicidal tendencies.
By the end of the episode, the agents figure it all out and the girls are tucked away in a mental institution with one of the surviving Eves, with their own cell doors marked Eve 9 and Eve 10.
The use of creepy children, especially twins, is something we’ve seen in other film and TV shows associated with horror and suspense. But the slight scientific basis that makes the plot feel legitimately possible adds a layer here that a lesser story would lack. (Even Scully comes around and doesn’t try to refute what the girls are.) This is not a case of little green men, nor is it a case of an inexplicably demonic child. Though there’s an element of the farfetched needed to make this an X-File, it just feels like a very weird mystery that has the chance of being real — evidence of some solid writing overall.
Max: “Eve” is one of my favorite MOTWs, and for good reason. It is the epitome of early X-Files chills that made its mark on countless fans, fomenting a cult phenomenon.
Something I hadn’t noticed, despite the fact I’ve seen this episode countless times, is the deadpan affect Teena Simmons says “Daddy” with once her neighbors find her “father” dead, and she excites a feigned scream. That should’ve been a dead giveaway that something was afoot in suburban Connecticut (like an exanguinated corpse isn’t?). Also, props to the writers of this episode for introducing me to that word way back when. Who says television can’t be educational?
The UFO red herring is a bit much, but worth it if only for the way Teena so brilliantly plays and feeds on Mulder’s desire to have that be the outcome. When Scully mentions to him that his questions were leading, I think it was the girl who was instead leading him down the primrose path.
As Radhika mentioned, children are an easy trope in horror and science fiction, and the show is not done going to this particular well, but this episode executes it better than most of the other entries in the series. For the girls who played the twins, this proved to be their only credit, but they evinced wonderful menace wrapped up in a seductively innocent veneer.
Also, I must continue to give this show credit for the way it incorporates what was then still cutting edge science. DNA was just entering the public lexicon (for example, it was first used in a criminal trial in 1988), and an episode such as this is the perfect use of fiction to address current affairs and anxieties.
In all, this is a remarkably fun and creepy episode that portends to darker futures, with many more little Lichfields.
Some of you may remember Eve 6, the late-90s/early-2000s band with hits like “Inside Out” and “Here’s to the Night.” Well, this is the episode they got their name from, as drummer Tony Fagenson was a fan. The more you know, indeed.