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

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5×07: Emily

“Okay then. How do you feel now? Why don’t you tell me what your company’s really in the business of. Huh? Abducting women and stealing their unborn children? Medical rapists! That’s all you are! You don’t care if that little girl dies! She’s just a lab rat to you!”
—Fox Mulder

The enigma that is little Emily Sim continues as Scully attempts to reverse Emily’s declining health while Mulder gets to the bottom of her creation.

Emily

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: If the first episode of this two-parter dealt primarily with the deep emotions that the discovery of the little girl named Emily stirred up within Scully, then this installment represents the the usual twists and turns that are the familiar contours of conspiracy within The X-Files. Called to San Diego ostensibly as a character witness on Scully’s behalf in her attempt to adopt the child, Mulder’s conjectures to the deciding judge over what Emily could possibly be opens up the avenues we as viewers will traverse.

Throughout the episode, I could not help but draw comparisons to the show Orphan Black, which just completed its second season. Both involve genetic experimentation which results in the birth of human girls whose sole purpose seem to be the product of illicit pharmaceutical research. In “Christmas Carol,” Scully contended with the roles that society prescribed for her versus those she ascribed to herself. Continue reading

5×06: Christmas Carol

“When your father died, it was a long time before he left me. I saw him in my dreams. The phone would ring, and just for a moment I was sure it was his voice. You’re doing the same thing with Melissa. You’re seeing her in this child, but that doesn’t make this child my granddaughter. We’re still connected to them, Dana. Even after they’re gone.”
— Margaret Scully

Christmas vacation doesn’t exist for Scully who gets a mysterious phone call that leads her to a little girl she believes could be the daughter of her dead sister, Melissa.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Scully’s cancer may be in remission at this point in our heroes’ story, but the repercussions of her abduction and illness have not faded away. “Christmas Carol” revisits Scully’s journey by adding a new layer to the mix — the presence of a mysterious child who carries the Scully family genes. As a result, we end up delving further into Scully’s thoughts about the personal life she has sacrificed and the desire for the child she didn’t realize she wanted until that chance was gone.

It’s Christmas, and Scully’s spending time with her brother Bill, his pregnant wife Tara and her mother. But normalcy is not in Scully’s cards. So when she receives a mysterious phone call from someone who sounds like her dead sister, Melissa, she gets caught up in a case involving the apparent suicide of a woman named Roberta Sim. The lead detective says Roberta died before the call was made and her husband, Marshall Sim, is reluctant to be helpful to the investigation. Continue reading

5×02: Redux II

“Four years ago, while working on an assignment outside the FBI mainstream, I was paired with Special Agent Dana Scully, who I believed was sent to spy on me. To debunk my investigations into the paranormal. That Agent Scully did not follow these orders is a testament to her integrity as an investigator, a scientist and a human being. She has paid dearly for this integrity.” — Fox Mulder

Scully is hospitalized as she battles her deadly illness, while Mulder continues his quest to find a cure and is offered an unlikely alliance with a certain smoky figure.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Though in retrospect, it can be argued that the “Gethsemane” trilogy was the start of a messy X-Files mythology — and perhaps didn’t really need to be a trilogy to begin with — “Redux II” puts us in the right place to start season five. Scully’s cancer goes into remission, some key figures are eliminated and Mulder’s grappling with a loss of faith that adds a new tension to the series.

After Scully collapses in “Redux,” Mulder gives up his ruse and comes out of hiding (as Skinner says, “You’re looking pretty good for a dead man”). Naturally, the Cigarette Smoking Man gets involved; telling Mulder the vial of deionized water he found actually does contain the cure for Scully’s disease — a chip that needs to be inserted in her neck. As Scully decides to give it a shot, the CSM’s manipulation of Mulder continues — he arranges a meeting for Mulder with “Samantha” (clearly a cloned version) who says she’s only ever known the old smoke machine as her father. And then comes the kicker: the CSM will give Mulder the “truth,” if he’ll quit the FBI and work for him. Continue reading

4×24: Gethsemane

“I come here today, four years, to report on the illegitimacy of Agent Mulder’s work. That it is my scientific opinion that he became over the course of these years a victim. A victim of his own false hopes and of his belief in the biggest of lies.” — Dana Scully

When Mulder comes across evidence of alien life, he is soon faced with the possibility that his life’s work is all part of a larger hoax. Meanwhile, Scully continues to struggle with the impact her cancer has on her health, as well as her personal relationships.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Love it or hate it, “Gethsemane” is probably one of the more memorable season finales of The X-Files. That final line from Scully — “Agent Mulder died late last night from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head” — is striking. I’m sure a few folks found it a cheap ploy (reminder/disclaimer: I did not become a regular viewer until season five). But what this episode does do well is turn the entire premise of The X-Files on its head. That search for the truth, for extraterrestrial life, may just be a giant hoax designed to mess with our favorite believer’s head — a daring move for the show. Continue reading