7×03: Hungry

“…Ricardo, you are your own man and you control everything that you do.” – Rob Roberts

An Orange County fast food worker tries to go about his daily routine, until Mulder and Scully enter into his life.

Hungry

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Necessity, as it is oft said, is the mother of invention. Shortly before production on this season was to commence, both Duchovny and Anderson were still shooting motion pictures, so an episode light on our heroes was needed. Luckily, Vince Gilligan wrote a script that was a perfect fit for these constraints. Told from the point of view of the MOTW, “Hungry” is a solid episode that plays around with what we’ve come to expect from years of encountering freaks and things that go bump in the night. Centered through a compelling performance by Chad Donella, this outing shows that The X-Files can still put on a delightful surprise.

Rob Roberts is your typical employee of Lucky Boy, a venerable fast food establishment, flipping burgers and taking orders from famished patrons. Problem is, he’s a genetic anomaly, who tries desperately to hide his shark-like features and an insatiable appetite for human brains. This puts Rob in a difficult situation when he eats the grey matter of a drive-thru customer and the incident catches the attention of two intrepid agents of the FBI’s X-Files division. Continue reading

7×02: The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

“Scully, I was like you once. I didn’t know who to trust. Then I — I chose another path, another life, another fate, where I found my sister. The end of my world was unrecognizable and upside down. There was one thing that remained the same. You were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant. My touchstone.” — Fox Mulder

It’s a race against the clock when Scully has to find a comatose Mulder who has disappeared. Meanwhile, Mulder finds himself in an “alternate reality,” with some choices to make.

The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so we enter The Last Temptation of Christ phase of this three-part installment of The X-Files. While the symbolism is a tad overwrought and elements of the plot feel a little too repetitive for my taste, there are a few saving graces that make it more enjoyable to watch than its predecessor. Even though we have to endure this Mulder-as-Christ representation despite the Cigarette Smoking Man telling Mulder he isn’t Christ or Prince Hamlet or anyone like that, I commend this episode for having a little more clarity than the season opener did.

Mulder has been whisked away by the CSM who reveals that he’s his father. But based on how this episode is filmed, maybe this reveal isn’t all that genuine. Who knows? Who cares? I think this is the point where I decided to believe that the CSM is Mulder’s dad because the guy is way too obsessed with him otherwise.

Mulder is taken to a neighborhood where he runs into former informant Deep Throat, learns his sister is around, and eventually gets together with Diana Fowley. We watch scenes where Mulder’s life progresses from here before it’s eventually revealed that he’s dreaming, while being held in a government medical facility where the CSM is having some of Mulder’s cranial tissue implanted into himself. This is because the CSM wants to save himself when colonization comes and he now believes Mulder is an alien-human hybrid. Classic Old Smokey! Continue reading

7×01: The Sixth Extinction

“He’s not dying. He is more alive than he has ever been. He’s more alive than his body can withstand and what’s causing it may be extraterrestrial in origin.” – Dana Scully

Scully continues to search for answers in Africa while Skinner struggles back in DC to help with and to understand Mulder’s condition.

The Sixth Extinction

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Did I mention how much I do not like the seventh season? Well I’m sure you loyal readers are going to get quite an earful out of me for the next two months or so as Radhika and I plow through some incredibly rough terrain. “Biogenesis” accumulated quite a bit of goodwill (particularly the tension and interesting new avenues of exploration) which sadly is absolutely squandered here. “The Sixth Extinction” is a hot mess of tonal inconsistencies and bad ham-fisted writing that sets the season on a course for disaster. You know the expression that it is good to put your best foot forward? I don’t think Chris Carter and company took that to heart here. You kinda have to think exactly what happened over the hiatus. What happened to The X-Files, and what is this program that is pretending to take its place?

When we last left our heroes, Mulder was swinging from rage to catatonia after encountering a rubbing taken from an extraterrestrial artifact, while Scully went to Cote d’Ivoire (where the artifact originated) and encountered an enormous alien craft crashed on a beach. Continue reading

This is Who We Are: A Look at Millennium

“Thou dost frighten me with dreams and terrify me by visions.” – Job 7:14

There is an episode in the upcoming seventh season of The X-Files that intended to wrap up the story from Millennium, the second program Chris Carter created that ran for three seasons on Fox during the fourth through sixth seasons of The X-Files. I thought it would be nice to talk about the series, touch on its themes, and throw some plaudits at a pretty bold show to air on network TV in the late 90s.

Millennium

Given the impressive rise and success of The X-Files on Fox, executives went to the head honcho himself and asked him if he had any interest in pitching them a concept for another program. Indeed, Chris Carter was throwing around ideas in his head for a show that would address the coming of the new millennium that was only a few years away, and set about developing those ideas.

Millennium

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

The result, a show that (in Carter’s words) would be “Seven in Seattle,” focusing on a former federal investigator drawn into dark and twisted cases, frequently with biblical undertones. The character he conceived, Frank Black (Lance Henriksen), was a former agent of the FBI who, like Fox Mulder, had an aptitude for getting into the mind of serial killers and violent offenders. After some unexplained events, Frank moves his family (wife Catherine and daughter Jordan) to Seattle as a way to get away from the specter of his previous workload.

However, he gained employment with a private investigative outfit known as the Millennium Group, which wanted to utilize his expertise on cases including latter-day fanatics, victims of abuse, and the underbelly of society. His main contact in the Group was Peter Watts (played by frequent X-Files guest Terry O’Quinn), whom the audience felt was always keeping something about the Group from Frank. Continue reading

The Best and Worst of Season 6

Best and Worst of Season 6

Screencaps: 20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Even though we didn’t approach season six with a sense of dread, we found ourselves pleasantly surprised at how solid most of the episodes were. The move to Los Angeles resulted in both a tonal and visual shift for The X-Files, but even though many people classify “classic” X-Files as the episodes from the Vancouver years, season six had a lot to show for itself. While it’s true that the experimentation and forays into comedy occasionally had a negative impact on the season’s pacing, this was a season where the writers were still pretty creative and the actors still appeared to be having a good time.

We’ve got our favorite and least favorite episodes of the season below, along with some thoughts on an episode that didn’t quite fit into either category but still gave us something to think about. Continue reading

6×22: Biogenesis

“It began with an act of supreme violence, a big bang, expanding ever outward, cosmos spores of matter and gas, matter and gas, ten billion years ago. Whose idea was this? Who had the audacity for such invention? And the reason? Were we part of that plan, ten billion years ago? Are we born only to die? To be fruitful and multiply and replenish the Earth before giving way to our generations? If there is a beginning, must there be an end?” — Dana Scully

A rock covered in Navajo characters is found in Cote d’Ivoire and a scientist is murdered. Our agents investigate, resulting in Mulder’s mental breakdown and Scully going to Africa.

Biogenesis

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: I liked this season finale back when it first aired — it had enough elements of dangerous, surprise and “wtf”ery for me to be intrigued and eager to see what was next. I actually still enjoyed rewatching it for this blog, but a tiny voice in the back of my head started pointing out that this may have been the beginning of the end of cohesion on The X-Files. After all, as Scully points out: Technically Mulder and Scully have won already. The men behind vast conspiracies are defeated, which means the mythology of the show is effectively ironed out. So what’s left? For Mulder, it’s his sister… for the rest of us, it’s a jumpstarted mythology that sorta kinda heads into a new direction. Continue reading

6×21: Field Trip

“This is it, Mulder. What if we’re still there? If we’re still in that cave in North Carolina– that we’re not here in this apartment right now?” – Dana Scully

Reality is questioned as Mulder and Scully fight against some fearful fungi in a truly trippy episode.

Field Trip

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Penultimate or late-season entries are some of the most fascinating creatures in the X-Files oeuvre. The reasoning behind this declaration may or may not become evident over the course of this review, but hopefully it will rise up out of the swampy marshes.

“Field Trip” is one of the most compelling episodes of this season, and that is saying something when you have episodes dealing with the loneliness of immortality, single take sojourns into the Bermuda Triangle, and a soul crushing day that happens over and over again. The episode explores a good deal of the questions surrounding the nature of reality and experience, and as nice bonus dips into the aftermaths of extraterrestrial encounters and the ways we process trauma.

The episode begins with Mulder trying to convince Scully to come with him to North Carolina to investigate the deaths of Wallace and Angela Schiff after their skeletons are discovered unusually decayed after such a short period of time. Naturally, Spooky chalks this up to the so-called extraterrestrial phenomena known as the Brown Mountain Lights, but Scully remains as skeptical as ever. Continue reading