8×02: Without

“We live in a darkness of our own making, blind to a habitant world all but unseen by us. A world of beings traveling through time and space imaginable to us only as flights of fancy. Who are these beings we dare to imagine but fear to accept? What dark goes on inside their impossible machines, cloaked from us by invisible forces? If they know our secrets, why can’t we know theirs?” — Dana Scully

The search for Mulder continues as an alien bounty hunter causes trouble, only for Doggett and Scully to end up becoming partners on the X-Files.

Without

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so continues the story of Scully’s search for Mulder in part two of a very sad, angry and paranoid set of episodes. This is the episode where Scully, Skinner and the audience need to accept that things really have changed in X-Files land and that things might not be terribly great for some time. And it’s something I still watch with a twinge of sadness, even though I lived through this trauma more than a decade ago.

Where we last left off, it looked like Doggett had cornered Mulder — but in this episode, we learn that it’s not actually Mulder, just an Alien Bounty Hunter trying to track down wunderkind Gibson Praise, who has been hiding out at a school for the deaf. The Bounty Hunter eventually takes on the guise of Scully as well, causing some real havoc when he attacks another FBI agent. Continue reading

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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

5×14: The Red and the Black

“Hear this, Agent Mulder. Listen very carefully, because what I’m telling you is deadly serious. There is a war waging, and unless you pull your head out of the sand, you and I and about five billion other people are gonna go the way of the dinosaur. I’m talking planned invasion — the colonization of this planet by an extraterrestrial race.”
— Alex Krycek

With Cassandra Spender missing, Scully resorts to hypnosis to figure out what’s been going on both with Cassandra and her own abduction. Meanwhile, the black oil remains perilous.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so we continue the tale of alien abductions and possible colonization. This is that borderline convoluted point in the mythology I referred to while discussing “Patient X,” but this episode is also largely fairly compelling and at least manages to show a lot of promise (which unfortunately dwindles as the series goes along). And unlike other two-parters where the second part seems to flounder, “The Red and the Black” does manage to hold its own.

When we last left the show, Scully was amongst a group of abductees — but when Mulder arrives at the scene, there are a number of burned corpses, and Scully is thankfully pretty okay. Meanwhile, Cassandra Spender, the older woman who claims to have been a multiple abductee, is missing. Her FBI agent son, Jeffrey Spender, is pretty pissed off.

Through hypnosis (in a scene that is both beautiful and mildly pornographic out of context), Scully remembers seeing the faceless rebels burning other abductees and then a colonist spacecraft killing the rebels and taking Cassandra. (This now reminds me of a more dramatic and consequential version of the multiple aliens in “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.”) Continue reading

4×01: Herrenvolk

“Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. And that’s a place to start. That’s where the hope is.” – Dana Scully

We left our heroes (and the enigmatic Jeremiah Smith) last season at a industrial site in Maryland, the Alien Bounty Hunter looming over them. What follows is a race against time, with lives in the balance…

Herrenvolk

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Welcome to our coverage of season four of The X-Files! The show has been at the height of its powers, and going from strength to strength. We pick up this episode where we left off last season, but first, we get a prelude of new developments in the cold open. An electrician in rural Alberta, Canada is doing maintenance work when a bee stings him. Suddenly, he is swarmed by five young blonde boys as he begins to convulse and falls to his death. This is yet another ominous demise the show does so well, and sets the stage for new wrinkles in the mythology.

Meanwhile, the Alien Bounty Hunter — who has pursued Mulder and Scully to an abandoned steel mill — chases them through the structure, intent on capturing Jeremiah Smith and condemning him to death for his recklessness in “Talitha Cumi.” Continue reading

3×24: Talitha Cumi

“Men can never be free, because they’re weak, corrupt, worthless and restless. The people believe in authority, they’ve grown tired of waiting for miracle or mystery. Science is their religion, no greater explanation exists for them.” — Cigarette Smoking Man

Mulder and Scully look for a man who seems to possess the ability to heal, amongst other things, and who may be linked to larger conspiracies.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: “Talitha Cumi” has never been the most standout of The X-Files’ season finales to me, in part because it seems almost subdued compared to other mythology episodes. This is not to say the episode lacks suspense — it does! But those moments are subtle when compared to episodes like the season two finale, “Anasazi,” or even multi-parters from season three itself, such as “Nisei”/“731” or “Piper Maru”/“Apocrypha.” But in the grand scheme of things, this is not damning at all — the plot moves along nicely, touching upon old themes, keeping the mythology mysterious, while allowing it to make cohesive sense.

The episode opens at a restaurant where an agitated gunman shoots a number of people before police shoot him. An older gentleman, later introduced to us as one Jeremiah Smith, appears on the scene, healing everyone with the palm of his hands, including the shooter himself.

The mysterious healer has disappeared by the time Mulder and Scully arrive, but it isn’t just the case the ends up being on the agents’ minds. Mulder is informed that his mother, Teena, has suffered a stroke, moments after viewers are treated to a scene involving her and the Cigarette Smoking Man. When Mulder meets his mother at the hospital, she writes the word “PALM” on a notepad, and he believes there must be a connection to Jeremiah Smith. Continue reading

2×16: Colony

“Our friend from the C.I.A. is about as unbelievable as his story… as is everything about this case. I mean, whatever happened to ‘trust no one,’ Mulder?” – Dana Scully
“Oh, I changed it to “trust everyone.” I didn’t tell you?” – Fox Mulder

Our agents are tipped off to the deaths of identical looking doctors around the country. Little do they know what the path they set off on will uncover.

Colony

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Oh boy. This one folks is what you might call a “doozy.” “Colony” is the first part of a pair of episodes that are some of the absolutely best the series ever produced. Frequently acclaimed by audiences and critics alike and ranked commensurate to this esteem, these episodes represent a lot of what people think of when they think of The X-Files.

We start this one in media res, with Mulder being brought in from the Arctic cold on a stretcher, barely clinging to life. Scully is not far behind, and pleads with the doctor on staff that the cold is the only thing keeping him alive. Mulder begins to flatline, and we are off to the races. Continue reading