5×17: All Souls

“Father, I told you that I had a sin to confess … But the sin of which I’m guilty … I’m not sure if you can offer forgiveness.” – Dana Scully
“What is the sin?” – Priest
“An innocent girl is dead because of me. I could’ve saved her life, but I let her die.”
– Dana Scully

Scully has a profound crisis of faith when Father McCue asks her to look into the mysterious death of a severely handicapped teenage girl.

All Souls

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: If “Mind’s Eye” was a showcase for Mulder to empathize with the focus of that episode, then “All Souls” does much the same for Scully, although with a different outcome. We’ve spoken at length how when The X-Files ventures into spiritual matters it can come off as hokey or ham-fisted, and sadly there are quite a few instances of this in this episode, including one moment that belongs in an Enya music video and not our beloved program.

Scully has had to deal with quite a lot of emotional and spiritual baggage this season after coming perilously close to death with her cancer and the discovery of a daughter that was birthed using ovum that were taken from her during her abduction. Ostensibly, this episode resolves a lot of the pain and trauma she has been suffering in silence from, but again, the execution of it could use a few more drafts. Continue reading

5×16: Mind’s Eye

“I think she’s got some kind of sixth sense that lets her see in the dark. Like a bat or something.” — Detective Pennock

Mulder and Scully get caught up in a murder investigation involving a blind woman who can see through the killer’s eyes.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Reminiscent of season three’s “Oubliette,” without completely parroting it, “Mind’s Eye” is an episode I’ve always enjoyed. With a “classic” paranormal mystery and a strong, antagonistic female protagonist at its center, this story is a pretty solid monster-of-the-week episode.

Mulder and Scully are called in to deal with the case of Marty Glenn, a woman who has been blind since birth, who was found at a murder scene. Detective Lloyd Pennock, who has been handling the case, is convinced Marty has a sixth sense and committed the crime. But while Glenn — who has a fairly extensive rap sheet — is uncooperative, Mulder’s not sure she committed the crime. He is pretty certain she witnessed the crime somehow.

It turns out Marty can see — sort of. She has visions, which are actually an ability to see what the murderer at the center of this mystery is up to. She can witness the murders he’s committing, and in one slightly chilling scene, she can observe the murderer observing her. Even though Marty turns herself in at one point, trying to claim responsibility for the murders, law enforcement becomes convinced of her innocence. And we find out the killer, Gotts, is both Marty’s father and the man who stabbed her mother to death while Marty was in the womb. Continue reading

5×15: Travelers

“Have you ever heard of HUAC, Agent Mulder–the House Un-American Activities Committee? No, no, no, it was before your time. You wouldn’t know. They hunted communists in America in the ’40s and ’50s. They found… practically nothing. Do you think they would have found nothing unless nothing… was what they wanted to find? Hmm?” – Arthur Dales
“Uh… I’m sorry, sir. I-I, uh… I don’t, I don’t see the connection.” – Fox Mulder
“Maybe you’re not supposed to.” – Arthur Dales

Travelers

20th Century Fox

In 1990, a less than routine eviction brings Mulder to the door of former agent Arthur Dales, where he learns of an old X-File connected to his father.

Travelers

20th Century Fox

Max: Season five has been structured almost like a referendum on the series as a whole, looking back on four seasons of paranormal activity and reexamining the tumultuous relationship of Mulder and Scully. From the rebooting antics of the opening episodes to the recent explosive conflicts to looking back to how Mulder met the Lone Gunmen, this season has done quite a bit of shaking the Etch-A-Sketch. Flashing back to 1990 (after the events of “Unusual Suspects“), and then to 1952, “Travelers” follows Mulder’s attempt to learn more about an elderly man named Edward Skur who died during an attempted eviction, but not before uttering the name of “Mulder.” Continue reading

5×14: The Red and the Black

“Hear this, Agent Mulder. Listen very carefully, because what I’m telling you is deadly serious. There is a war waging, and unless you pull your head out of the sand, you and I and about five billion other people are gonna go the way of the dinosaur. I’m talking planned invasion — the colonization of this planet by an extraterrestrial race.”
— Alex Krycek

With Cassandra Spender missing, Scully resorts to hypnosis to figure out what’s been going on both with Cassandra and her own abduction. Meanwhile, the black oil remains perilous.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so we continue the tale of alien abductions and possible colonization. This is that borderline convoluted point in the mythology I referred to while discussing “Patient X,” but this episode is also largely fairly compelling and at least manages to show a lot of promise (which unfortunately dwindles as the series goes along). And unlike other two-parters where the second part seems to flounder, “The Red and the Black” does manage to hold its own.

When we last left the show, Scully was amongst a group of abductees — but when Mulder arrives at the scene, there are a number of burned corpses, and Scully is thankfully pretty okay. Meanwhile, Cassandra Spender, the older woman who claims to have been a multiple abductee, is missing. Her FBI agent son, Jeffrey Spender, is pretty pissed off.

Through hypnosis (in a scene that is both beautiful and mildly pornographic out of context), Scully remembers seeing the faceless rebels burning other abductees and then a colonist spacecraft killing the rebels and taking Cassandra. (This now reminds me of a more dramatic and consequential version of the multiple aliens in “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.”) Continue reading

5×13: Patient X

“What the hell is going on? This is our own backyard …” – Second Elder
“This is no good. I don’t like being kept in the dark on this.” – First Elder
“Someone’s going to great lengths to sabotage our work.” – Well Manicured Man

 Mulder is asked by his former hypnotherapist to meet with a woman he’s been helping to recover her memories of multiple abductions. Soon, events unfold that call into question what he and Scully believe.

Patient X

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Earlier this season, the revelations made by the rogue DoD employee Michael Kritschgau profoundly transformed Mulder’s belief in the existence of extraterrestrials, and this is readily apparent when we first see him in this episode, skeptically questioning the experiences of an older woman who claims that her multiple abductions have given her a connection to an alien race. This race, she claims, has made her an apostle, charged with spreading the word for a new age on enlightenment. This woman, Cassandra Spender, is a patient of Dr. Heitz Werber, the same hypnotherapist that helped Mulder recover the memories of Samantha’s abduction.

The episode runs on two separate tracks that converge on yet another perilous mythology cliffhanger. In Kazakhstan, two boys bear witness to a massive conflagration of metal and bodies, as individuals gathered together for some unknown purpose a burned alive by men without faces. Continue reading

X Marks The Spot: Where The Internet And Philedom Meet

Given that we recently reviewed “Kill Switch,” an episode about the pitfalls and the promise of the online world, I thought it apt to write about the influence and dialogue between the Internet and The X-Files.

The Internet

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Perhaps more than any other show in the 1990s, The X-Files took advantage of and eventually became synonymous with the Internet. The program debuted at just the right time, as the newly developed World Wide Web only a couple of years prior would allow people who never heard of the Internet to get online, transforming a tool for researchers and academics into a true global commons. In fact, the development of X-Files fandom can be traced through an evolving and growing community of Philes that banded together and would eventually transform a cult phenomena into a mainstream juggernaut. Continue reading

5×12: Bad Blood

“Well, I can neither confirm nor deny Agent Mulder’s version of events, which occurred outside my presence.” — Dana Scully
“And I can neither confirm nor deny Agent Scully’s version of events, but um…”
— Fox Mulder
“Anyway, I was drugged.” — Dana Scully

It’s a classic case of “he said, she said” when Mulder and Scully have to explain the bloodsucking events that took place in a small Texas town.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: “Bad Blood” is probably one of my top five episodes of The X-Files, ever. I gleefully make those new to the show watch it as a key episode, and I’m happy to report I was still laughing out loud — a lot — while rewatching it for what must have been the twentieth time. It may be sacrilege to admit this, but Vince Gilligan’s work here may even outdo Darin Morgan’s previous comedic installments of the show. While the overall look and feel of “classic” X-Files episodes is there, with plenty of grey shadowy scenery and autopsy footage to boot, and this attempt to visit the topic of vampires is far more delightful than season two’s “3,” the structure and comedic timing make this episode pure gold.

The teaser gives us that kid from The Sandlot shrieking for help before a man stakes him through the chest. Lest you think you’ve started an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, though, it is quickly revealed that the killer is none other than a crazed Fox Mulder. As Scully catches up and Mulder tries to show her the kid’s vampiric fangs, the teeth fall out, and Mulder says what we’re all thinking: “Oh shi…”

Cue the credits. Continue reading