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

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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

6×20: Three of a Kind

“Um, Scully? What killed him?” — Richard Langly
“My medical opinion? Beeeeeeeeeeeep!” — Dana Scully, smacking hands together

In this The Lone Gunmen-centric episode, Byers continues his search for the mysterious Susanne Modeski and Scully gets roped in.

Three of a Kind

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Here’s another Lone Gunmen story for us after last season’s “Unusual Suspects” —a weird mix between mythology and Monster of the Week, “Three of a Kind” also manages to be something of a sequel to its predecessor. At times, the episode feels like filler — pleasant enough to watch, but not super memorable or necessary. However, it manages to balance some comedic elements with poignancy as well, serving as a good way to wind down this season.

The Lone Gunmen are hanging around Las Vegas, poking around a government convention. Byers is hoping to run into Susanne Modeski, a woman he still carries a torch for after meeting her 10 years earlier before she disappeared. The Lone Gunmen trick Scully into joining them, using their techie skills to pretend Mulder is summoning her to work on a new case. Byers discovers Susanne Modeski is around — alive and well, but she may have been brainwashed.

Meanwhile, a friend of the Lone Gunmen’s, hoping to stumble across new assassination techniques, ends up killing himself (all due to a mystery drug that makes him fairly susceptible to suggestion) — and Scully ends up injected with the drug herself, resulting in some silly, flirtatious behavior. Susanne identifies the drug and realizes her fiancé has leaked it to the government. The Lone Gunmen come up with an elaborate plot to spirit Susanne away, but unfortunately their plan is discovered. But eventually all is right in the end — Susanne’s fiancé is killed, the man behind the killing turns himself in after some brainwashing thanks to The Lone Gunmen, and Susanne leaves with a new identity. Continue reading

6×19: The Unnatural

“What do you know of the right thing to do? You– who would risk exposing the entire project for a game? A game!” – Alien Bounty Hunter
“I hit a home run tonight.” – Josh Exley

We reach back to 1947, the year of Jackie Robinson and Roswell, to hear a charming tale of saucers and strikeouts…

The Unnatural

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: One of my favorite books is The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. by Robert Coover. In it, the eponymous main character operates a paper-pencil-and-dice fantasy baseball league, which becomes an allegory for life itself, with all the attendant hopes and dreams, heartache and failure.

For some (like Mulder), baseball — in its elegance and statistical perfection — takes on a kind of spiritual metaphysical aura. As he says, “It’s like the numbers talk to me, they comfort me. They tell me that even though lots of things can change some things do remain the same.” America’s favorite pastime does have its own kind of beauty, which David Duchovny puts to use as he writes (and directs) “The Unnatural,” a story of one extraterrestrial biological entity that became so enamored by the game that he abandoned his people to grind out an earthly existence slugging to the stars. Continue reading

6×18: Milagro

“Agent Mulder, my book — did you like it?” — Phillip Padgett
“Maybe if it were fiction.” — Fox Mulder

Our agents investigate a number of murders where the heart has been extracted from the victims’ bodies, and soon Scully finds herself drawn to a writer who is working on a novel about the murders before they take place.

Milagro

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: After a couple of fairly unremarkable X-Files episodes in a row, season six somewhat resumes form with “Milagro,” an atmospheric, intimate character study that quietly takes grip of the viewer’s attention. This was an episode that sparked a lot of buzz back in the day, and despite (or perhaps because of) some of its oddities — including the purple prose associated with character Phillip Padgett — it remains a compelling, though somewhat problematic, installment to watch.

A writer has moved into Mulder’s building, and he’s working on a novel involving murders where the victims’ hearts are ripped out. Mulder and Scully are investigating a case that involves a series of murders with the same MO that has Mulder assuming psychic surgery. Lo and behold, the writer — Phillip Padgett — is involved. Padgett is very clearly harboring feelings for Scully, sending her a milagro pendant, and wooing her with lengthy philosophical speeches. But it is eventually realized that a character from his novel has come to life and is going around murdering people (by ripping out their hearts). To save Scully, whose murder is predicted by the novel, Padgett burns his manuscript in the apartment building’s incinerator. The final shot of the episode features Padgett lying in front of the incinerator, his beating heart in his hand. Continue reading

6×17: Trevor

“Trevor Andrew … Rawls. You never were going to tell me. I’d have gone to my grave never knowing. But years later, a million-to-one shot, I hear on the Farm from a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy. You know what that means? That means God wanted me to know. He fixed it so I’d hear… and then he fixed it so I’d have passage. And I’m here. God’s will.” – Wilson “Pinker” Rawls

The dynamic duo are on the case of a convict apparently on the loose after a twister rips through the prison where he was being held.

Trevor

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: After the utter boringness of last episode, at least we get a somewhat interesting story in “Trevor,” although for me this entry still is a forgettable one and doesn’t stick around in the mind for any significant amount of time after you watch it. Still, having an individual who can walk through walls and mitigate the nasty effects of bullets on the body is an interesting freak of the week for the series to have, as is the circumstances that set him on the course towards his eventual fate.

Wilson “Pinker” Rawls is your typical television convict, always making trouble for the corrections officers and wardens entrusted with the security and operations of the prison. In this case, he nails a fellow inmate’s hand to a wall during a disagreement, and is sent into “The Box,” a kind of ersatz solitary confinement chamber at the prison, and is forced to stay there during a storm that sends a tornado through the area. When he isn’t found in the aftermath, and the warden dead of unusual circumstances, our heroes are called in to investigate. Continue reading