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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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

The Best and Worst of Season 9

Screencaps: 20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Screencaps: 20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

It’s no secret that season nine is our least favorite season (and the least favorite of most X-Files fans). It wasn’t just because Mulder was gone or Scully was sidelined — the stories genuinely felt tired after a somewhat creatively boosted season eight. Our snark and boredom were pretty obvious in most of our rewatch posts for this season. But there were at least a few episodes we enjoyed, even if they wouldn’t make any “classic of all time” lists. And there were naturally episodes we disliked even more than others.

So here we go, time for our last look at the best and worst episodes of The X-Files’ original run. As always multi-part mythology episodes count as one installment for our purposes: Continue reading

9×16: William

“It’ll never be over. They’ll always know what he was. They’ll never accept what he is.”
— Jeffrey Spender

Scully makes the most difficult choice of her life as a shadowy individual forces her hand.

William

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: What an incredibly dour, depressing, and tragic episode this is. Granted, mythology episodes aren’t the feel-good hits of the X-Files world, but there is no relief and no exit from the simple fact that Scully has to give up William — the miracle baby she thought she could never have — in order to ensure his safety from those who wish to exploit him as a pawn towards alien colonization.

Really this is the story of two characters devastated by the effects that the government conspiracy around extraterrestrials had on their lives — our beloved Dana Scully and the weasel-made-good Jeffrey Spender. When a badly burned and scarred Spender sneaks into the X-Files office and assaults Doggett in an attempt to flee, Scully is called in. Continue reading

9×10: Providence

“Josepho said God spoke to him of a miracle child. A future savior coveted by forces of good and evil. Josepho believes your son is this child.” — Robert Comer

With baby William kidnapped by the UFO cult, Scully must do everything in her power to get him back while dealing with FBI interference and a whole bunch of prophecy mumbo jumbo.

Providence

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: You know that potential we spoke about in the previous post? Well, consider it fully squandered and dumped on with the conclusion of the activities of the UFO cult who so sought out William with reckless abandon. “Providence” is an unholy mess of conspiracy and fortune telling, and while the entire fate of humanity is allegedly in the balance, the stakes in this episode could not get any lower, with our heroes going through seemingly predetermined motions to get to a place where precious little of value is left.

The episode runs on the usual parallel tracks, with the Bureau skullduggery happening in and around St. Mary’s Hospital where both Doggett and the undercover agent Comer were sent after the events of last episode, and a route that leads to the UFO site that Scully and Reyes travel on in order to follow up on information about William’s whereabouts. Inbetween, there are many conversations about picking sides, the nature of truth, of God and belief, and of prophecies that tie the fates of Mulder and William to that of mankind in a fight against a looming extraterrestrial invasion. Continue reading

9×09: Provenance

“You saying this kid’s an alien or something?” — John Doggett
“You can believe or not, but the man who tried to kill Scully’s baby believed it… so must this cult he got involved with, who are obviously more than willing to kill for their belief.”
— Monica Reyes

We’re back to pondering little green men as Scully tries to protect her son from outside threats.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And we’re back to the Scully “My baby, my baby!” hour with “Provenance,” the first installment in a mythology two-parter, where the mysterious alien rubbings of a few seasons ago resurface and Scully has to deal with crazy people who want to kill her son. I think the biggest bummer for me here is that this episode has so much potential in it. Even though it’s a bit of a science fiction cliché to have a miracle/weird/alien baby, that’s still a subject that can be fruitful for storylines. But again, as I have felt watching some of the other later mythology episodes, there is a lack of urgency here. As tiring as it is to watch Scully mope and cry, Gillian Anderson does a phenomenal job conveying the anger and fear of a mother worried about her child — but despite that, I have trouble finding much of the episode particularly compelling.

The events of this episode kick off when Navajo rubbings are found on a motorcyclist who crashed trying to cross the Canada-U.S. border. (The rubbings are meant to be something of a callback to the “Biogenesis” / “The Sixth Extinction” days). Meanwhile, the motorcyclist, an FBI agent named Robert Comer, begins to heal thanks to … what else? An alien artifact. Continue reading