Radhika: And so season six continues on its somewhat experimental path, giving us what may be one of the most obvious ideas that hadn’t really been used on The X-Files before: A haunted house story. Though the episode features some neat special effects, it’s really rather simple for The X-Files. For one, we’re only on the set of the haunted house for the bulk of the episode. On top of that, the cast simply consists of four characters: Mulder and Scully, alongside the ghosts played by Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner.
In the episode, Mulder manages to drag Scully to a reputed haunted house on Christmas Eve. He tells her that during Christmas of 1917, a young couple agreed to a lover’s pact — a murder-suicide. And now, their ghosts want to make those who enter their mansion experience the same fate. The two agents enter the house, and experience enough odd coincidences and creepy noises to get sufficiently spooked. And then they find two corpses wearing the same clothes they’re wearing, while also exhibiting gunshot wounds. So they split up, trying to determine a way out. Continue reading →
Max: The second part of this strange mythology/MOTW hybrid is more or less the players coming to the realization that all is not right in the world and searching for a way to put things back to where they belong. This includes several close calls and run-ins, with further strange space-time aberrations to boot.
I spoke yesterday about how these episodes are deconstructing the mythos of Area 51, and this perhaps is given no clearer example than when General Wegman, who we discover is the source that brought the agents out to Nevada in the first place, asks Mulder (still as Fletcher) with wide-eyed anticipation if aliens really do exist. It is a move that still gives me a good chuckle, because what is revealed is that Area 51 is merely a house of cards, a playground for obfuscation and misdirection meant to keep the conspiracy minded amongst us (the Lone Gunmen included) occupied while the real skullduggery goes on someplace else. Continue reading →
“Mulder, it’s the dim hope of finding that proof that’s kept us in this car or one very much like it for more nights than I care to remember. Driving hundreds, if not thousands of miles, through neighborhoods and cities and towns, where people are raising families and buying homes and playing with their kids and dogs and in short, living their lives. While we… we just keep driving.” — Dana Scully
“What is your point?” — Fox Mulder
“Don’t you ever want to stop? Get out of the damn car and live something approaching a normal life?” — Dana Scully
“This is a normal life.” — Fox Mulder
It’s a case of Freaky Friday when Mulder finds himself swapping bodies with a Man in Black after a trip to Area 51.
Radhika: So it’s our first two-parter of the season, and it isn’t even actually a mythology episode. This is season six’s official declaration that we’re basically in the middle of the comedy season. “Dreamland” is nowhere near the classic comedy of episodes such as “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” or “Bad Blood,” but it manages to be entertaining enough.
As if going to the Bermuda Triangle out of desperation in the last episode wasn’t bad enough, Mulder decides to drag Scully along to Area 51 because of a source. They end up encountering a group of Men in Black and before they can leave (as a flying saucer of some type flies over them), Mulder ends up swapping bodies with one of them, a certain Morris Fletcher. Hijinx ensue: Mulder ends up going home to a disgruntled wife and angst-ridden adolescent children, including a teenage daughter who wishes he were dead. And Morris? Well, Morris is delighted to find himself in a younger, in slightly better shape single body, so he basically acts like a cad, sleeping with Kersh’s secretary and annoying the crap out of Scully. Continue reading →
Max: A common point of discussion between Radhika and I thus far as it concerns the sixth season is that the shift in the production’s venue will lead to brilliant streak of experimentation. We saw a little bit of this in “Drive,” but “Triangle” turns the knob all the way to eleven. At once a pastiche of wartime thrillers, infamous maritime legends, and homages to both The Wizard of Oz and the work of Alfred Hitchcock, the episode is just one of those things. The mere mention of it brings smiles to the face and warm memories, much like last season’s “Detour.”
Here, Mulder (probably in a fit of frustration given his current assignment within the Bureau) jumps on a chance to encounter the British luxury liner the Queen Anne, which disappeared in 1939 after crossing into the territory known to fans of the paranormal as the Bermuda Triangle. Continue reading →
Radhika: Oh “Drive.” Little did we know that this would essentially be Bryan Cranston’s audition tape before he’d go on to play the landmark role of Walter White on Breaking Bad. The show was probably barely a gleam in creator Vince Gilligan’s eye — back then, he was just one of the biggest members of The X-Files team, writing and producing some of the show’s best episodes. His work on “Drive” is no exception.
“Drive” is a Monster of the Week episode, and while it’s just as formulaic as other episodes of its kind at times, it’s also very different — partially an homage to car chase news reports and of course, a blatant homage to the film Speed. Continue reading →
“Mulder, I know what you did. I know what happened to me but without ignoring the science, I can’t… Listen, Mulder … You told me that my science kept you honest. That it made you question your assumptions. That by it, I’d made you a whole person. If I change now… It wouldn’t be right… or honest.” – Dana Scully
Our heroes struggle against adversity (when don’t they??) investigating a possible outbreak of the virus from Fight the Future.
Max: There is perhaps no clearer indication that we are in a new era of The X-Files than the bright California sun beating down on the audience that kicks off the episode. Yes, we are no longer in dreary, rain-besotted Vancouver any longer X-Philes. Even the title of the episode bears witness to the upheavals on and off screen. After Fight the Future proved to be a success, it certainly put added pressure on the cast and crew to start off the sixth season right, especially for those who may have been converted to the cause over the summer. Certainly the episode has a lot of heavy lifting, having to not only capitalize on the revelations of the feature film, but also to bring them back into the fold of the show’s mythology as well as picking up the dangling plot from “The End,” last season’s harrowing finale.
Mulder and Scully are brought before yet another OPR board, this time to justify their petition to be reassigned back to the X-Files. Naturally, Mulder barely hides his annoyance at having to jump through hoops, particularly when Scully tells the board that her analysis of the virus found in the honeybee suggests that it was very much of this planet. Continue reading →
“There’s an odd feeling tonight. It’s sad and yet celebratory, marking kind of a milestone, at the same time. We’re so used to getting the work done, going home and getting back the next day. David flew to L.A. last night, Gillian’s flying to L.A. in a minute and I’m flying to L.A. tomorrow morning. And none of us will come back up here for work on The X-Files ever again. That is a very strange feeling, and I haven’t quite come to terms with it yet.” – Chris Carter
The Beatles with Yoko Ono and producer George Martin.
Max: As a devoted Beatles fan, I have had my fill of people who immediately go into Yoko Ono attack mode and vilify her as the cause of all the ills that broke up the band in 1970. Anybody who even reads a basic biography of the group knows that tensions were starting to creep into the Fab Four’s working relationship as early as 1967, when the sudden death of their manager Brian Epstein sent the band into an existential quandary. With X-Philes, we have a similar scapegoat to the decline the series experienced during its later years, David Duchovny’s then-wife Tea Leoni.
Somewhere around the beginning of the fifth season, David began to express his desire to spend more time with his new wife, and proposed that production on the series be moved to Los Angeles. Or at least that is the common refrain passed along the highways and byways of X-Files folklore. Continue reading →