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

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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.

Requiem

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

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

6×12: One Son

“You gave them your children! You gave them your wife! You sent them away like they were things.” — Fox Mulder
“We sent them away, Agent Mulder, because it was the right thing to do.”
— Cigarette Smoking Man
“You sent them away to be tested on.” — Fox Mulder
“We sent them so they would come back to us.” — Cigarette Smoking Man

It’s the end of the Syndicate, the unraveling of a conspiracy and the formation of a new ally in Agent Spender in a pivotal moment in the series’ mythology.

One Son

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: After half a season of meandering for our displaced FBI agents, “One Son” resets the series’ mythology and allows Mulder and Scully an opening for being reassigned to the X-Files. And with the Syndicate eradicated, it’s also time for some potential fresh material to be introduced to the overall myth arc.

This episode has a lot of plot just like its first part, “Two Fathers,” so there’s no point going into the nitty gritty details. The important tidbits, however: Scully works to reveal that Diana Fowley, who has been collecting data on alien abductees, cannot be trusted. And Spender of all people has joined Mulder’s crusade, running into Marita Covarrubias (who has suffered through being experimented on) and Krycek along the way.

The Syndicate is all about saving itself, as usual — the roots of the conspiracy Mulder has been trying to unravel lie in a deal struck ages ago, where the Syndicate aligned with alien colonists in order to be spared when colonization actually took place. Family members (i.e: Samantha Mulder) were handed over to gain access to alien DNA, which was used for the Syndicate’s own attempts at figuring out an alien-human hybrid. By this episode, realizing everything’s going to hell — the Syndicate gathers with family members, ready to turn alien-human hybrid Cassandra Spender over to the colonists, when the faceless rebels who want to prevent colonization appear, and burn everyone to death. The bright side of all this is that colonization has been prevented… for now. 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

5×13: Patient X

“What the hell is going on? This is our own backyard …” – Second Elder
“This is no good. I don’t like being kept in the dark on this.” – First Elder
“Someone’s going to great lengths to sabotage our work.” – Well Manicured Man

 Mulder is asked by his former hypnotherapist to meet with a woman he’s been helping to recover her memories of multiple abductions. Soon, events unfold that call into question what he and Scully believe.

Patient X

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: Earlier this season, the revelations made by the rogue DoD employee Michael Kritschgau profoundly transformed Mulder’s belief in the existence of extraterrestrials, and this is readily apparent when we first see him in this episode, skeptically questioning the experiences of an older woman who claims that her multiple abductions have given her a connection to an alien race. This race, she claims, has made her an apostle, charged with spreading the word for a new age on enlightenment. This woman, Cassandra Spender, is a patient of Dr. Heitz Werber, the same hypnotherapist that helped Mulder recover the memories of Samantha’s abduction.

The episode runs on two separate tracks that converge on yet another perilous mythology cliffhanger. In Kazakhstan, two boys bear witness to a massive conflagration of metal and bodies, as individuals gathered together for some unknown purpose a burned alive by men without faces. Continue reading

4×21: Zero Sum

“I have lied to you, and I won’t make excuses for those lies, but there’s a reason that I did what I did – one that I think you’re in a unique position to understand. I advised you against a certain course of action some time ago … concerning Agent Scully. I didn’t follow my own advice.” – Walter Skinner

Skinner impedes and assists Mulder’s investigation into the death of a postal worker. Nicholas Cage, be afraid, be very very afraid…

Zero Sum

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: “Zero Sum,” while not exploring AD Walter Skinner’s life outside of the Bureau like in last season’s “Avatar,” is a perfect continuation of seeing the forces that make this man tick. The episode also bridges the gaps between elements of the mythology that will be brought to bear as we wrap up this fourth season. As we saw in “Memento Mori,” a desperate and concerned Skinner made a deal with the devil (well, the CSM) and here we see the results of the bargain as he is tasked to clean up the death of a postal worker who died as the result of lethal bee stings, which begins with him deleting files sent by a police officer off of Mulder’s computer.

We’ve seen the bees as a mythology plot device be introduced at the very start of this season, but here they become the primary menace, killing and incapacitating their victims with a form of the smallpox virus. Continue reading

4×16: Unrequited

“I think he can hide himself from human sight by manipulating something that Scully has referred to as naturally occurring — a blind spot.” — Fox Mulder

Our agents try to stop a seemingly invisible killer who is targeting several U.S. Army generals.

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: Well, here’s another episode that proves my theory about the unevenness of season four. It appears that there’s about one episode per season that not only isn’t particularly good, it also barely manages to hold my attention — and this is that episode for me in this season. (Incidentally, this has happened to me with other soldier/revenge-themed episodes of The X-Files, which leads me to believe that these types of stories just never ended up being well executed on this show.)

The teaser is actually somewhat compelling: A General Bloch is at the National Mall, giving a speech to veterans of the Vietnam War. Mulder, Scully and Skinner are on the prowl, looking for a potential gunman. The scene closes with Mulder spotting the guy and taking out his gun — but the man disappears, while the weapon still remains pointed at the panicked crowd. Continue reading