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

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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

X-Files Bulletin: Smartphones with Caller ID make obsolete “Mulder, it’s me.”

Mulder and Scully

20th Century Fox

Note: This blog post will be relatively spoiler free. However, it may refer to points that have already been brought up in various interviews and media with Chris Carter and company — so if you’ve been avoiding all news of the show, maybe you don’t want to read this. But I will not be delving into any plot particulars whatsoever, so if that sounds fine to you, go ahead and read!

Ladies and gentlemen, the last time both of us had the opportunity to talk to you was last August, when Radhika and I finished rewatching and writing about the 202 episodes and two feature films that made up The X-Files corpus at that time. Earlier that year, all of us got an amazing present. Mulder and Scully were coming back, and they would be appearing in a familiar place — our television screens. Sure, times have changed and our old boxy CRT televisions have been replaced by sleek Internet-connected flatscreens, but that classic Mark Snow theme still sends shivers down our spines. Continue reading

The X-Files: I Want to Believe

“That’s not my life any more.” — Dana Scully
“I know that.” — Fox Mulder
“You’re not understanding me. I can’t look into the darkness with you any more, Mulder. I cannot stand what it does to you or to me.” — Dana Scully

Six years after they were forced to go into hiding, Mulder and Scully find themselves needed by the Bureau again — utilizing their particular set of skills to locate a missing agent.

I Want to Believe

20th Century Fox via chaoticfae

Max: By 2006, I had already completed my original rewatch of The X-Files with my roommate Kenji, and had befriended a group of Philes on the IMDB messageboard. Rumors of another feature film began virtually the moment the series went off the air, but legal issues plagued the development of a movie for years. That is, until Frank Spotnitz let on that everything had been resolved, David and Gillian were on board, and that filming would commence soon. X-Philes like Radhika and me experienced a resurgent interest in their beloved program that would only be matched by the moment this past March when we all learned about the new episodes to air in 2016. We later learned that Carter and company were crafting a Monster of the Week tale for the big screen, virtually dispensing with any references to the mythology. Continue reading

Before and After X: The Mythology of The X-Files

“We didn’t invent it. Charles Dickens invented it, in a sense, and I’m sure there are examples before him. It worked for us, but it was a happy accident. It was something that was instinctual, but not necessarily a conscious decision. When we saw that the stories about Mulder and Scully were best told through the mythology — that they were more personal — it gave the show an emotional grounding, that I think the mythology of a show does. So it’s simply a good way of telling the most personal kind of stories.”
— Chris Carter, on the mythology

The Mythology

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Most people when asked about The X-Files think of three things: Mulder and Scully, freaky monsters, and aliens. Over the course of nine seasons and two feature films, agents of the X-Files division have come face to face with some pretty creepy adversaries, from liver-eating contortionists to sentient machines and the essence of evil. But what captured the attention of those who would consider themselves X-Philes was the developing story of a race of extraterrestrials bent on retaking the planet, and the people who endeavored to keep this a secret (The Syndicate) and those who wanted to bring their misdeeds into the light (Fox Mulder, chiefly). The result was a sprawling, highly complex, somewhat messy but mostly compelling narrative that served as the backbone of the series and informed the wonderful character work which made things memorable for audiences worldwide. The X-Files — writ large — became then a template that influenced countless television series in its wake, an object lesson for writers rooms and the next generation of showrunners.

It wasn’t always going to be like this though. In fact, Chris Carter scarcely had the idea in his head of a long running story when conceiving of The X-Files and later during the initial stages of its production. Alien abduction was the topic of the very first episode, but it was only one of a panoply of ideas that Carter and the writers had. Continue reading