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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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

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.

Essence

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

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

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.

Deadalive

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

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

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