7×16: Chimera

“I gotta hand it to you, Sheriff. You put the service back in ‘Protect and Serve.’” — Fox Mulder

Mulder goes to investigate when a woman goes missing in a small Vermont town, while Scully tries to tolerate an awkward stakeout.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: I have to admit that before I settled down to watch this episode, I could barely remember what it was about. So I was pleasantly surprised to discover a reasonable Monster of the Week episode with some genuinely enjoyable dialogue. Yes, “Chimera” still has a touch of “X-Files Lite,” as I’ve said about much of this season, but while it may not stick with you for long after watching it, there are a number of redeemable elements that make it an enjoyable enough hour of television.

Mulder and Scully are investigating a case involving a woman who might be killing prostitutes, but Mulder gets called off to go investigate the disappearance of a woman in Vermont instead. The woman, Martha Crittendon, is the daughter of a federal judge. Mulder ends up staying in the house of the local sheriff and his homemaker wife Ellen. Martha eventually turns up dead and after some time, Jenny Uphouse — a woman from the “wrong side of the tracks” — does too. Continue reading


7×15: En Ami

“So, you want to use me to clear the slate… to make you a respectable person. It won’t work.” — Dana Scully
“How many people in the world are dying of cancer? And here we are wasting time with the past.” — Cigarette Smoking Man

When a boy is cured of his cancer under mysterious circumstances, the CSM makes promises to Scully about the technology involved while Mulder tries to extricate her from choices he thinks she will regret.

En Ami

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “En Ami” is a bright spot in a season that is sorely lacking in positive attributes, and it still hits (mostly) all the right notes. Written by the CSM himself William B. Davis and directed (for the final time in the series) by Rob Bowman, this outing is a seductive and sinuous sojourn for Scully and the Smoking Man, his overtures of trust and the possibility of something tangible the psychological bedrock of forty-odd minutes of genuinely good television.

Our heroes are put on the scent of Jason McPeck, a young boy who claims to have his cancer cured by angels after his parents have refused medical treatment on religious grounds. A conspicuously placed newspaper later, and Scully finds herself in the company of the Cigarette Smoking Man, entreating her to go on a trip with him to acquire the details of the technology used to cure Jason before colleagues (remnants of Syndicate apparatchiks) intervene to stop him. Taking detours to an allegedly 118-year-old woman and a bit of restaurant espionage, their journey comes to head on the water as Scully meets up with a nervous informant nicknamed Cobra, who gives her a CD before getting his head blown off by a CSM assassin. Continue reading

7×14: Theef

“So, modern medicine, and all it encompasses — artificial hearts, laser surgery gene therapy, to name a few — all of that arrayed against a pile of magic dirt… and you tell me I’ll lose.” — Dr. Robert Wieder

When our agents investigate the murder of a renowned doctor’s father-in-law, followed by a series of strange mishaps, they begin to realize they’ve got a case of hex craft on their hands.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: I remember having a positive opinion of “Theef” when it first aired — in a generally uneven and somewhat dull season, it was the episode that felt the most X-Filesy to me. I still view it as a decent episode now, though the pace drags a bit and it may be a slightly too straightforward entry in The X-Files oeuvre.

Mulder and Scully get involved in this case after the father-in-law of award-winning Dr. Robert Wieder is found hanging, with the word “theef” painted on the wall in his blood. Mulder spots dirt in the father-in-law’s bed and believes it could be the result of a hex, though Scully believes the man slit his own throat and hung himself. An autopsy shows that the dead man suffered from “kuru,” the same disease found in cannibalistic tribes of Papua New Guinea. The doctor’s wife eventually collapses and sprouts lesions and winds up dying in a freak accident during an MRI. Continue reading

7×13: First Person Shooter

“Mulder, why does this game have the effect of reducing grown men back to moony adolescence?” — Dana Scully

Mulder and Scully, would you like to play a game?

First Person Shooter

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Episodes of The X-Files keep me riveted, no matter how many times I’ve seen them, so it is telling that the first time I tried to rewatch “First Person Shooter” for this review I fell asleep in the middle of it. The fact that I was tired after a long day at work is besides the point, this is just an incredibly bad episode about what would happen if video games inflicted real life violence. Throw in some monumentally tone-deaf material about gender politics in gaming and the over-sexualization of women and you have all the ingredients for a real dud.

In the spirit of the subject matter at hand, I pay homage to the medium by allowing you the player (erm, the reader) to explore the episode through three different modes: Continue reading

7×12: X-Cops

“Mulder, have you noticed that we’re on television?” — Dana Scully
“I don’t think it’s live television, Scully. She just said [bleep].” — Fox Mulder

In which Mulder and Scully try to answer the eternal question: “Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do?”


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Unpopular opinion time: Despite the majority of X-Philes and critics fawning over “X-Cops,” a parody of long-running reality TV show, Cops, I have never really been able to warm up to this episode. And not much has changed for me this time around either. Rewatching the episode allowed me to appreciate aspects of it from a critical lens, so I will at least give credit to some clever elements. But the weak monster story, my general dislike of Cops and some pacing issues in the middle still make me feel like this episode really isn’t all that. (Don’t worry if you’re a fan — I’m pretty sure Max is fond of this one, so you’re not just going to get a giant whine-fest here).

In the episode, a camera crew for Cops is following around a deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Keith Wetzel. Wetzel is investigating reports of a monster and before we know it, an unseen force has flipped his police car, and The X-Files credits roll. When we return (with this episode of Cops continuing on), Mulder and Scully are also at the scene, which results in the two agents getting filmed for the show. Continue reading

7×11: Closure

“Word of advice, me to you: Let it be. You know, there’s some wounds that are just too painful ever to be reopened.” — Agent Schoniger
“Well, this particular wound has never healed. And Mulder deserves closure, just like anyone.” — Dana Scully

In the conclusion of this two-parter, Scully helps Mulder follow clues to Samantha’s ultimate fate.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: We spoke a lot about the feelings that churned up in the wake of losing loved ones, both from death and disappearance in our writeup of last episode, particularly the unimaginable grief that can threaten to consume every waking hour. I was preparing myself for the worst coming into “Closure,” given its eventual complete surrender to the new agey construct of walk-ins. Maybe I have softened as I’ve gotten older, but it wasn’t an abomination of storytelling. But to keep myself honest, it is still an incredibly hokey concept, the execution of which here does it absolutely no favors whatsoever. The fact that the episode lives and dies on the effectiveness of the walk-in construct thus dooms it to an eternity of eye-rolling.

Picking up with the Amber Lynn LaPierre case, Mulder and Scully encounter at the police station a man by the name of Harold Piller, who offers his services as a police psychic (he even has a business card!) to assist on the case. Taking Harold to the graves of the exhumed children, Mulder asks him to sense what happened to Amber Lynn, but Harold states that her spirit was never there. Continue reading

7×10: Sein und Zeit

“She was trying to tell me something. She was… trying to tell me something.”
— Fox Mulder

“Mulder, she was trying to tell you to stop. To stop looking for your sister. She was just trying to take away your pain.” — Dana Scully

Old wounds open up when Mulder gets involved with the case of a young girl who has disappeared, only to lose his mother to suicide as things heat up.

Sein und Zeit

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: So here we are — watching the first of a two-part installment that was meant to bring us answers and closure to the Samantha Mulder arc. The episodes as a whole ended up being somewhat controversial, because even as folks found certain parts powerful, the resolution couldn’t make everyone happy. But let’s start by taking a look at this episode, which to me feels like the first episode this season with some genuine soul in it, even when certain characters and writing choices annoyed me a bit.

Mulder gets drawn into the case young Amber Lynn LaPierre who disappears from her California home one night. The parents say they found a note in the girl’s room, but the note (which mentions Santa Claus) gets traced to the mother. Despite it seeming as though the family was involved in the girl’s disappearance, Mulder believes they weren’t. A similar Santa Claus note can be linked back to a 1987 case as well that involved a now-imprisoned woman who claimed to have visions of her dead son before he disappeared (just as Mr. LaPierre did).

And then something else happens — Mulder’s mother dies of an overdose of sleeping pills, burning all her pictures of Samantha. Convinced that it’s a cover-up of a murder, he asks Scully to perform an autopsy, which confirms what Mulder doesn’t want to hear: His mother did in fact kill herself while suffering through a debilitating illness. Mulder ends up talking to the imprisoned mother from the 1987 case, and she brings up the concept of “walk-ins,” spirits that take children to protect them from harm. No matter what the explanation at this point, we do start to see Mulder — distraught after losing his mother — doubting the alien abduction narrative that’s surrounded his sister’s disappearance. Continue reading