9×19 & 9×20: The Truth

“You’ve always said that you want to believe. But believe in what, Mulder? If this is the truth that you’ve been looking for then what is left to believe in?” — Dana Scully
“I want to believe the dead are not lost to us. That they speak to us as part of something greater than us — greater than any alien force. And if you and I are powerless now, I want to believe that if we listen to what’s speaking, it can give us the power to save ourselves.” — Fox Mulder

Mulder returns, a courtroom drama ensues and somewhere in the middle of it all, the truth is still out there.

The Truth

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Oh boy. Here we are, about two years after starting this blog, at the series finale of The X-Files. It feels like something of a bittersweet step, considering how gung-ho we were about the bulk of the show until we got to the last couple of seasons. As far as series finales are concerned, this one was something of a mixed bag for most people when it aired — not particularly great, though at least saved by the fact that we got to see Mulder and Scully together again. And I still have mixed feelings revisiting it now, years after the show ended, having had time to reabsorb the series’ various threads and knowing that a six-episode TV revival is on its way. In retrospect, the finale is a little boring, even with some exciting elements thrown in there. It also makes a little more sense than I thought it did in the old days. It’s not quite the bang that I would have wanted this show to go out on, but let’s face it: Most series finales aren’t particularly satisfying. Continue reading


8×21: Existence

“All the sacrifice, the blood spilled– you’ve given nearly a decade of your life. Where the hell is it all going to end?” — John Doggett
“I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t.” — Fox Mulder

The threat of the super soldiers loom as Reyes helps Scully to give birth to her child. Meanwhile, Mulder and Doggett attempt to unravel a conspiracy within the FBI.


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Max: And so here were are sports fans, at the end of this season, and by the closing minutes we will have welcomed a new life into this strange world of aliens and other assorted freaks. The birth of little William — named in honor of Mulder’s father — is the cherry on top of a rollercoaster ride of danger and threats from within and without. We all know (and Radhika alluded to last post) of the unwritten rule that any shred of happiness that our heroes enjoy will be all too brief, so let us just take a step back to savor the truly blissful tableau of Scully, Mulder, and the miracle baby — a moment I think would warm even a noromo’s cold dead heart.

To get there though we have to wade through the conspiratorial fog of super soliders inside the Bureau. This is the first episode where we hear that term used to describe the new form of alien-human hybrids that have replaced people like Billy Miles, Knowle Rohrer, and the turncoat Agent Crane. Alex Krycek lays out the terrain to Mulder, Doggett, and Skinner, attempting to use what he knows as leverage to ensure his survival in this new world order we have going for us in the series’ mythology. Seeing both Rohrer and Crane enter the offices of Deputy Director Kersh, Doggett comes to fully realize the age old X-Files maxim of trusting no one, even though he can’t yet bring himself on board in believing all of this super soldier/alien colonization mumbo jumbo. Continue reading

8×20: Essence

“Your baby was a miracle. Born of a barren mother’s barren womb.” — Alex Krycek

As everyone prepares for the birth of Scully’s child, a new danger emerges in the form of super soldiers trying to put an end to the birth.


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Radhika: There’s an unwritten rule on The X-Files that our protagonists can’t have nice things. And so, it’s not entirely shocking that Scully — a once-barren woman about to give birth to a child she wants so badly — can’t really have a pleasant birthing experience. What we receive in turn is an action-packed episode with our heroes (and some friends and unlikely allies) up against some crazy new foes.

After a number of stretches where the show generally ignored Scully’s pregnancy, we’re finally at game time: Scully’s preparing to give birth — her mother’s helping her out, baby showers are happening and a woman named Lizzy Gill, found by Margaret Scully, is around to help as well. Meanwhile, a suspicious fire takes place at a genetics laboratory, leading Mulder to go to John Doggett in an effort to get to the bottom of things. “Billy Miles” is the culprit behind this and other attacks on labs — he’s now a reprogrammed alien replacement for Billy Miles (as indicated by weird bumps on the back of his neck), out to destroy evidence of experiments involving alien biology. Continue reading

Writing with Flashlights: The Fan Fiction of The X-Files

Leyla Harrison, the green FBI agent introduced in the last episode we reviewed, was named after a longtime Phile and prolific writer of X-Files fan fiction. Given this, I thought it appropriate to delve into this segment of the fandom.


20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

It may seem a bit outmoded nowadays for fans of genre fare to not be aware of the concept of fan fiction, which is a reflection of how enmeshed these tales are within the fabric of various fandoms. A big part of this has to do with the rise of the Internet, which gave people in disparate geographic locales a chance to meet and connect over their shared interests. I devoted a whole piece to this concept last year; for The X-Files, the spread of the World Wide Web went hand in hand with fans taking to the medium to write tales featuring their favorite characters.


Star Trek fanzine.

I could go on about the historical origination of this phenomenon, including takes on Sherlock Holmes and the tales of Lewis Carroll, but I know you faithful readers would rather not engage in dry academia. Rather, the modern concept of what you and I consider fan fiction really originated with the pioneering science fiction show Star Trek. Fanzines about the program began to spring up, and many of them included stories about the USS Enterprise crew, penned by the show’s devotees. This was a natural and mutually beneficial combination — fanzines needed content, and the dissemination of these publications gave fan fiction writers an audience for their work, encouraging others who may not have done so otherwise to take up writing fan fiction as well.

The X-Files, as we all know, launched the Fall of 1993, and with it the opportunity for people to plug into a new and burgeoning fandom. Continue reading

8×15: Deadalive

“Do you know…? Do you have any idea what you’ve been through?” — Dana Scully
“Only what I see in your face.” — Fox Mulder

With Mulder dead and buried, Scully has to learn to move on from this life-altering event… until some patented X-Files craziness upends her assumptions.


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Max: Hospital rooms. God knows how many times we’ve ended up there at the end of an episode, with one or all of our heroes recuperating after encountering the latest freak of nature or mythological puzzle piece. In fact, a cute recent project makes light of this, so enmeshed is this tableaux in the DNA of our program. And so, with “Deadalive,” we come right back to where we have been many times before (the full circle motif just keeps on spinning), with Scully’s tearful reunion with her partner that she thought she’d never see again.

To get there though, we have to bear witness to Scully burying Mulder (with the usual mourners in attendance), and the three-month period that followed, with her at her lowest, grieving and resigned to a world without her closest friend, unable to share in the miracle that is her pregnancy. For a mythology episode, and particularly for one as landmark as this one is, the plot is relatively straightforward. What we get here is essentially a mirror image of “One Breath” — but without the cheesy allegorical device that framed that earlier outing. Continue reading

7×22: Requiem

“There’s so much more you need to do with your life. There’s so much more than this. There has to be an end, Scully.” — Fox Mulder

The end is the beginning is the end as Mulder and Scully revisit the place where they encountered their first case as partners.


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Radhika: “Requiem” is a standout mythology episode in an otherwise lackluster season — it is the season finale that can and should have probably been a series finale, and it is frankly one of the best season finales the show has produced. After much of the mythology’s original threads were wrapped up in previous episodes, this episode manages to revisit and revitalize that aspect of the show, providing us with both an end of an era and the start of something new.

After receiving a call from Billy Miles, an abductee our heroes encountered in the Pilot, Mulder and Scully head to Oregon to investigate the possibility that alien abductions have started up again. Seven years after their first case, Billy Miles is now a police officer and another abductee, Theresa Nemman is now a new mother married to Billy’s deputy sheriff, Ray Hoese, who has disappeared. Both Billy and Theresa end up disappearing again, thanks to some havoc wreaked by none other than the Alien Bounty Hunter, taking on the guise of loved ones. Continue reading

7×02: The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

“Scully, I was like you once. I didn’t know who to trust. Then I — I chose another path, another life, another fate, where I found my sister. The end of my world was unrecognizable and upside down. There was one thing that remained the same. You were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant. My touchstone.” — Fox Mulder

It’s a race against the clock when Scully has to find a comatose Mulder who has disappeared. Meanwhile, Mulder finds himself in an “alternate reality,” with some choices to make.

The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

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Radhika: And so we enter The Last Temptation of Christ phase of this three-part installment of The X-Files. While the symbolism is a tad overwrought and elements of the plot feel a little too repetitive for my taste, there are a few saving graces that make it more enjoyable to watch than its predecessor. Even though we have to endure this Mulder-as-Christ representation despite the Cigarette Smoking Man telling Mulder he isn’t Christ or Prince Hamlet or anyone like that, I commend this episode for having a little more clarity than the season opener did.

Mulder has been whisked away by the CSM who reveals that he’s his father. But based on how this episode is filmed, maybe this reveal isn’t all that genuine. Who knows? Who cares? I think this is the point where I decided to believe that the CSM is Mulder’s dad because the guy is way too obsessed with him otherwise.

Mulder is taken to a neighborhood where he runs into former informant Deep Throat, learns his sister is around, and eventually gets together with Diana Fowley. We watch scenes where Mulder’s life progresses from here before it’s eventually revealed that he’s dreaming, while being held in a government medical facility where the CSM is having some of Mulder’s cranial tissue implanted into himself. This is because the CSM wants to save himself when colonization comes and he now believes Mulder is an alien-human hybrid. Classic Old Smokey! Continue reading