8×13: Per Manum

“No, I’m just trying to do my job, only it gets hard to do if the person you’re working with is keeping secrets and telling lies.” — John Doggett

When a distraught husband comes to Scully and Doggett telling stories of aliens and pregnancies, it opens up a whole can of worms for our heroes.

Per Manum

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Secrets and lies. No, I’m not taking about that show on ABC, but rather the very currency that the conspiratorial forces of the mythology traffic in. “Per Manum” is the moment that the season takes a hard turn, plunging the audience back into the shadow world of dueling forces and hidden motives that will dominate every remaining episode of the season. It does a really good job in doing so as well, showing that the writers still have what it takes to pull off the cloak and dagger routine of The X-Files‘ heyday. And at this point in the series, it trusts that the viewers are so well-acquainted with the ins-and-outs that training wheels are not even taken into consideration.

Duffy Haskell is a man on a mission, shouting to the heavens about his multiple-abductee wife who gave birth to an alien fetus and died in the care of her doctors. This not his first time in the X-Files office, having approached Mulder about his wife prior to Scully’s assignment to the unit. His story sets off all sorts of alarm bells in both Scully and Doggett —for differing reasons — which causes our heroes to begin their own investigations into Haskell’s story. Continue reading

8×12: Medusa

“There is something down there and I am not going to risk bringing it up here before I figure out what it is!” — Dana Scully

Doggett and Scully are called in to investigate when a series of bizarre deaths in the Boston subway system raises eyebrows.


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Radhika: Back to the Mulder-less world we go in “Medusa,” a Monster of the Week episode that succeeds at atmospherics, like much of this season, but is generally kind of a mixed bag of plot holes and mediocrity. I commend the effort, including the work done on the subway tunnel set, suspiciously clean as it is, but there’s just not enough “oomph” in the episode for me.

An undercover cop is found with part of the flesh on his face and body stripped away in the tunnels of the Boston subway system. Doggett ends up becoming part of a team, including a CDC representative, that goes to investigate underground, while Scully guides them from a distance. While underground, one team member suffers what appears to something akin to a chemical burn, while Doggett gets knocked around by a man (seen in the teaser) who displays symptoms similar to those on the dead officer. The team eventually finds multiple bodies wrapped in plastic in the tunnels. Continue reading

Surly and Supportive: The Rise of Walter Skinner

We here at Apt. 42 Revisited recognize that this post is going up the same day a six-episode X-Files revival was announced. Needless to say, we are ready for it and fully intend to write about those new episodes here on this blog. In the meantime, please enjoy this post about Skinner.

Memento Mori

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

There have been numerous occasions where we’ve mentioned that the allure of The X-Files didn’t just lie in its creepy stories — much of its appeal was also thanks to the main characters, Mulder and Scully. The two of them were the heart and soul of the series to everyone from casual to obsessive fans, but let’s face it — there were a few side characters that also became integral to the show. And one of them, Assistant Director Walter Skinner, went from being someone who could have simply dropped out of The X-Files universe altogether to being someone whose role only grew larger on the show, while other significant characters faded away. Continue reading

8×11: The Gift

“Mulder was dying, but he kept it a secret. He had an undiagnosed brain disease. He was a sick man, desperate to find a cure.” — John Doggett
“They all are.” — Rustic Woman

Doggett digs into a casefile that Mulder worked on shortly before his abduction in a bid to get new leads into his whereabouts, and comes face to face with his own mortality.

The Gift

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Max: After a series of half-baked episodes, it is a welcome treat to watch “The Gift” again. Not only is the monster of the week a compelling — and ultimately worthy of compassion — creature, but the injection of Mulder into the proceedings brings us back to the good old days. Season eight had a good bit of juggling contract-wise with its three leads, and thus “The Gift” is a result. In this case, Gillian Anderson required periodic weeks off in order to spend time with her daughter Piper (of “Piper Maru” fame) who was still back in Vancouver (with ex-husband Clyde Klotz) enrolled in school, so Scully was only seen in archival footage from earlier in the season. David Duchovny, meanwhile, began his half-season worth of episodes here, shedding light on some of the activities that Doggett turned up back in the two-part premiere.

Turning up in rural Pennsylvania, Doggett enlists the local sheriff to help him understand Mulder’s investigation of a woman named Marie Hangemuhl, whose casefile mentioned her possible disappearance. Doggett later confirms that Marie is alive and with her husband in their home, but she is suffering from renal failure that will assuredly lead to her death. Investigating further, Doggett asks Skinner for assistance, but is warned by his AD that looking into the matter may bring trouble for not only Mulder but Scully as well. Continue reading

8×10: Badlaa

“What if whatever killed these men entered and exited them of its own free will? I mean, something… small… with small hands living inside the victims as a stowaway of sorts?” — Dana Scully
“You know, I agree that having an open mind is important to crime solving, but this theory of yours requires an openness I’m just not comfortable with.” — John Doggett

Doggett and Scully investigate the case of an Indian mystic, known to fans as the butt genie.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: I was not a fan of “Badlaa” when it aired and I’m still not a fan of it now, even though I could handle the overall grossness a little better this time around. The X-Files has tackled all kinds of disgusting and taboo topics before, but something about this one feels like the toilet humor equivalent of the show (without the humor). I also find it more xenophobic than it needs to be, especially in the later and presumably more enlightened years of the show.

Our agents investigate when an American businessman who stopped in Washington, D.C. after leaving Mumbai, India (where he encountered a paraplegic beggar), is found dead, having bled out of his orifices. A small handprint at the scene leads Doggett to think a child could have been involved, but Scully’s not having it. Meanwhile, the audience gets to see the beggar from the teaser in disguise as a Caucasian man applying for a job as a janitor at a school. And Scully, while doing some delightful autopsy work, comes to the conclusion that there may have been a “passenger” inside the dead businessman, thanks to some weight discrepancies. Continue reading

8×09: Salvage

“They’ve got to pay for this. They’ve all got to pay.” — Ray Pearce

Another bizarre death springs Scully and Doggett into action as they confront a man who might very well be unstoppable.


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Max: The universe works in funny ways sometimes. Penned by staff writer Jeffrey Bell as an homage to Tetsuo: The Iron Man, a favorite film of his, “Salvage” sat in a drawer for a while until called up for use in production. This naturally predated the conception of the Doggett character as well as Robert Patrick’s casting, so it is a nice piece of cosmic coincidence that Doggett is tracking down a man transformed by metal, echoes of the iconic villain he played in the first Terminator sequel that springboarded his career.

A typical variation of the revenge tale that has populated many episodes of The X-Files, “Salvage” focuses on Gulf War veteran Ray Pearce, whose job at a salvage yard inadvertently exposed him to leftover materials from a technology company’s experiments with so-called “smart metals” that rebuild themselves after being damaged. Continue reading

8×08: Surekill

“Wait, you’re not saying this guy has X-ray vision?” — John Doggett
“I am remarking that these wavelengths exist and the only thing that is stopping us from seeing them, if you will, is the biochemical structure of our eyes. I am conjecturing that if this structure was somehow different, we’d have he ability to see things we don’t.”
— Dana Scully
“Call in Clark Kent.” — John Doggett

When Doggett and Scully are called in to look into the case of a man who was fatally shot in a locked cinderblock room, they find themselves investigating a man with some superhuman skills.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: After a series of fairly excellent standalone episodes that frankly far outshine many of the outings in season seven, we hit a bit of a dull roadblock with “Surekill.” Frankly, I don’t think “Surekill” is as awful as some previous reviews would suggest, but there’s also nothing particularly special about it — and as I’ve suggested before, that can sometimes be a bit of a kiss of death for an X-Files episode.

The teaser introduces us to Carlton Chase, a man running from an unknown assailant who goes straight to the police — he’s placed in a locked room with cinderblock walls, only to get shot dead. When Doggett and Scully investigate, it looks like Chase was killed with a bullet that came through the air vent in the ceiling. This eventually leads us to Surekill, an exterminator company, where fraternal twins Dwight and Randall Cooper work alongside Tammi Peyton, who also has a bit of a thing with Dwight. One twin (Dwight) is legally blind; the other, has the ability to see through walls. Continue reading