11×06: Kitten

“I tried to suppress that mistrust but it gnawed at me. Then you two — you two came along and you taught me not to hide from it but to shine a light directly into the darkest corners.” — Walter Skinner

Upon learning that AD Skinner has gone AWOL, Mulder and Scully dig into his wartime past in search of monsters both real and perceived.

Kitten

20th Century Fox

Max: Mitch Pileggi has been playing Assistant Director Walter Skinner in one form or another for almost 24 years. Throughout, we have seen a man once thought to be a thorn in the side of our intrepid heroes become a staunch ally — and fan favorite. But this episode does remind us that we know precious little about Walter Sergei Skinner outside glimpses from “Avatar,” “Zero Sum,” and his eloquent monologue about his time in Vietnam during Scully’s harrowing road to recovery in “One Breath.” It is this period in his life that rumbles its way back to the surface in this episode, as Skinner’s complicity in some dirty deeds committed by the United States government come back to haunt him.

Kitten

20th Century Fox

Called to the office of Deputy Director Kersh (the mustache is back!!!), Mulder and Scully are grilled as to the whereabouts of their immediate supervisor, a question they actually can’t answer, despite Kersh’s belief otherwise. Their investigation brings them to the small town of Mud Lick, Kentucky, where a number of deaths and mysterious happenings occur in the shadows of Glazebrook, a government-run mental hospital. Wanting to make things right with his former comrade-in-arms John “Kitten” James, Skinner comes face-to-face with John’s son Davey, while our heroes work with a local police officer to track down their boss. Continue reading

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11×04: The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

“Looks like my ride is here…” — Reggie

Mulder and Scully get roped into the very real delusions of a former civil servant who believes They is out there — with the truth.

The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat

20th Century Fox

Max: Right off the bat let me say this, “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat” is not the best episode that Darin Morgan has penned for The X-Files. Understandably, there is a great deal of hype and expectation that gets stirred up when we are talking about Mr. Morgan, since his mind is responsible for some of the most indelible images, lines, and laughs that keeps X-Philes coming back for more, including what is considered now perhaps the sole saving grace of last season. It is with this in mind that I come away from this episode bit underwhelmed. Was I expecting the next “Clyde Bruckman” or “Jose Chung”? Perhaps, but at the very least a good Darin Morgan episode is much better than a lot of what television has to offer, and there were a good number of laughs and witty moments to make this one worth anyone’s while. [Editor’s note: Screw it, I loved it. This is some delightful, brilliant stuff.]

Do you remember Nelson Mandela died in the 1980s? Or a how a certain children’s book series about a family of bears spelled the titular family’s name? I do — I think — I mean I can clearly recall seeing Luke Skywalker hang around with his pals at Tosche Station in the original Star Wars film. Memory is a tricky thing, and when you involve a number of people, you get something like the Mandela Effect. Look it up sometime. Continue reading

11×02: This

“Mulder, do gravediggers work at night?” — Dana Scully

After a cell phone transmission in the guise of Richard Langly interrupts an evening of going over old files, Mulder and Scully find themselves ensnared in a top secret program with implications of potential immortality.

This

20th Century Fox

Max: Well, that was certainly a marked improvement over last week. An episode positively bursting with ideas and the frenetic edge-of-your-seat pace of the very best of classic X-Files, “This” sees our heroes stare down the machinations of quasi-state actors intent on abusing the dreams and goodwill of others to further an amorphous agenda of sinister design.

The aforementioned transmission brings our dynamic duo into conflict with Titanpointe, a Russia-based intelligence operation sponsored by the United States government and seemingly headed by Erika Price, the woman Mulder encountered last episode as she let him in on an operation counter to that of the CSM. Here, we gain knowledge of a program that Lone Gunman Richard Langly and his friend — mathematician Dr. Karah Hamby — participated in which involved duplicating their biological brains so that their consciousness may live forever inside a computer simulation. Little did they know that this simulation was merely a conduit so that operations like Titanpointe can use their minds to work on problems and projects that require great brain and computing power. Continue reading

10×06: My Struggle II

“You think it’s power what you’re doing, but it’s not… it’s sickness”
— Fox Mulder

Unable to reach Mulder, Scully has to deal with a frightening escalation of medical cases that may be linked to the biological threat of extraterrestrial DNA.

My Struggle II

20th Century Fox

Max: I wonder — if The X-Files revival might not have gone as well as it has ratings-wise — where the hell that would leave us if this episode was the last we’d see of Mulder and Scully for the foreseeable future. Certainly, we as viewers are left with a doozy of a cliffhanger that portends that the race against time might be all for naught. At the very least, “My Struggle II” improves significantly upon the season premiere, but not without scores of unanswered questions and narrative revelations that still do not quite feel in step with the classic conspiracy mode we all know and love.

Scully is approached by both Skinner and Agent Einstein when Mulder seemingly disappears, called to alarm by a new Tad O’Malley report that the alien threat in the form of mass illness and casualties is upon us. In the midst of all of this, droves of afflicted people begin to arrive at Our Lady of Sorrows hospital, leaving Scully and Einstein racing against the clock to locate and isolate alien DNA in Scully, in order to create a vaccine. Continue reading

My First Time: Passing the Torch

Welcome to “My First Time,” a recurring section on the blog where we query fellow X-Philes about how they came to the show, and then later on how their fandom developed and evolved over the years.

Case File: JAM022116
Subjects: Josh and Molly

Pilot

This is definitely not the body of Ray Soames!

Before the new episodes premiered, the official X-Files Facebook and Twitter accounts held a “201 Days of The X-Files” rewatch campaign, an episode a day until “My Struggle” aired on our television screens after waiting through agonizing post-game football coverage. It was the perfect time for many longtime fans to get their friends and family into a show that was and is a part of their lives.

My good friend Josh recently told me that he has been getting is 13-year-old daughter into the show, and I thought it a nice opportunity to bring back our “My First Time” segment, with this unique multi-generational wrinkle.

Max: Do you remember the first episode you watched?

Josh:Darkness Falls.” First one, didn’t know anything, I was blown away. It was Friday night, and I convinced all my friends to sit down and watch it instead of going out. We were all in college, sophomore year I believe, and we made a ritual to watch it before going out for the night. Continue reading

10×04: Home Again

“You saw those things in the hall. I made them. I didn’t mean to, but I made them… but the bandaid nose man… I spent a lot of time… what I wanted him to look like, what I wanted him to be, and why I wanted him…” — The Artist

In West Philadephia (born and raised?), a federal employee is the unfortunate victim of a rather gruesome disembowelment, which may be linked to the local homeless population.

Home Again

20th Century Fox

Max: I think I know where this season is going at this point. Much has been made by X-Philes about that shot in the promotional materials where Scully apparently gets a call from William, our favorite freaky alien baby. Well, that shot came up in “Home Again,” tonight’s episode which — despite early speculation — does not return to the lovable Peacock family, but rather to a similarly disgusting creation from writer Glen Morgan. This new monster of the week dovetails with tragic events that cause Scully and Mulder to think about what they have lost to bring them to this moment.

Unfortunately, the case that the dynamic duo are brought in to investigate is one of those that ends up quite anticlimactically, much like in “GenderBender,” with the writers losing steam after painting themselves into a corner. A lot of things get thrown into this episode: gentrification, the plight of the homeless, NIMBY politics, art, creation, and Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading

10×02: Founder’s Mutation

“This is dangerous.” — Dana Scully
“When has that ever stopped us before.” — Fox Mulder

Our heroes’ first case back on the job involves an apparent suicide at a biotechnology firm. But as always there may be more here than meets the eye.

Founder's Mutation

20th Century Fox

Max: It has hit me over the last 24 hours or so just how much television viewing has changed in the past 15 years, a result of technological developments as well as a culture that The X-Files help to bring about. When the program was in its heyday, total strangers came together on an obscure but rising telecommunications platform known as the Internet to discuss and nitpick and ship. Now, that platform is ubiquitous and inside so many devices and appliances. The community of cultural discussion is now mainstream, with gigantic corporations providing the forums with which we gab about these things. Tonight, social media will be talking about “Founder’s Mutation,” an excellent MotW entry that couples Mulder and Scully’s shared history with a pretty freaky case of messing with the laws of nature.

We begin when Dr. Sanjay — an employee of Nugenics Technology — kills himself in a particularly gruesome manner after being the only one to hear a high-pitched sound that seemingly wouldn’t stop. Upon an autopsy of the body (love Scully snapping on the latex), she discovers the words “founder’s mutation” written on his palm. The dynamic duo searches his apartment for clues, which include clinical reports of children with severe genetic deformities. Continue reading