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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7×11: Closure

“Word of advice, me to you: Let it be. You know, there’s some wounds that are just too painful ever to be reopened.” — Agent Schoniger
“Well, this particular wound has never healed. And Mulder deserves closure, just like anyone.” — Dana Scully

In the conclusion of this two-parter, Scully helps Mulder follow clues to Samantha’s ultimate fate.

Closure

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: We spoke a lot about the feelings that churned up in the wake of losing loved ones, both from death and disappearance in our writeup of last episode, particularly the unimaginable grief that can threaten to consume every waking hour. I was preparing myself for the worst coming into “Closure,” given its eventual complete surrender to the new agey construct of walk-ins. Maybe I have softened as I’ve gotten older, but it wasn’t an abomination of storytelling. But to keep myself honest, it is still an incredibly hokey concept, the execution of which here does it absolutely no favors whatsoever. The fact that the episode lives and dies on the effectiveness of the walk-in construct thus dooms it to an eternity of eye-rolling.

Picking up with the Amber Lynn LaPierre case, Mulder and Scully encounter at the police station a man by the name of Harold Piller, who offers his services as a police psychic (he even has a business card!) to assist on the case. Taking Harold to the graves of the exhumed children, Mulder asks him to sense what happened to Amber Lynn, but Harold states that her spirit was never there. Continue reading

7×10: Sein und Zeit

“She was trying to tell me something. She was… trying to tell me something.”
— Fox Mulder

“Mulder, she was trying to tell you to stop. To stop looking for your sister. She was just trying to take away your pain.” — Dana Scully

Old wounds open up when Mulder gets involved with the case of a young girl who has disappeared, only to lose his mother to suicide as things heat up.

Sein und Zeit

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: So here we are — watching the first of a two-part installment that was meant to bring us answers and closure to the Samantha Mulder arc. The episodes as a whole ended up being somewhat controversial, because even as folks found certain parts powerful, the resolution couldn’t make everyone happy. But let’s start by taking a look at this episode, which to me feels like the first episode this season with some genuine soul in it, even when certain characters and writing choices annoyed me a bit.

Mulder gets drawn into the case young Amber Lynn LaPierre who disappears from her California home one night. The parents say they found a note in the girl’s room, but the note (which mentions Santa Claus) gets traced to the mother. Despite it seeming as though the family was involved in the girl’s disappearance, Mulder believes they weren’t. A similar Santa Claus note can be linked back to a 1987 case as well that involved a now-imprisoned woman who claimed to have visions of her dead son before he disappeared (just as Mr. LaPierre did).

And then something else happens — Mulder’s mother dies of an overdose of sleeping pills, burning all her pictures of Samantha. Convinced that it’s a cover-up of a murder, he asks Scully to perform an autopsy, which confirms what Mulder doesn’t want to hear: His mother did in fact kill herself while suffering through a debilitating illness. Mulder ends up talking to the imprisoned mother from the 1987 case, and she brings up the concept of “walk-ins,” spirits that take children to protect them from harm. No matter what the explanation at this point, we do start to see Mulder — distraught after losing his mother — doubting the alien abduction narrative that’s surrounded his sister’s disappearance. Continue reading

7×02: The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

“Scully, I was like you once. I didn’t know who to trust. Then I — I chose another path, another life, another fate, where I found my sister. The end of my world was unrecognizable and upside down. There was one thing that remained the same. You were my friend, and you told me the truth. Even when the world was falling apart, you were my constant. My touchstone.” — Fox Mulder

It’s a race against the clock when Scully has to find a comatose Mulder who has disappeared. Meanwhile, Mulder finds himself in an “alternate reality,” with some choices to make.

The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Radhika: And so we enter The Last Temptation of Christ phase of this three-part installment of The X-Files. While the symbolism is a tad overwrought and elements of the plot feel a little too repetitive for my taste, there are a few saving graces that make it more enjoyable to watch than its predecessor. Even though we have to endure this Mulder-as-Christ representation despite the Cigarette Smoking Man telling Mulder he isn’t Christ or Prince Hamlet or anyone like that, I commend this episode for having a little more clarity than the season opener did.

Mulder has been whisked away by the CSM who reveals that he’s his father. But based on how this episode is filmed, maybe this reveal isn’t all that genuine. Who knows? Who cares? I think this is the point where I decided to believe that the CSM is Mulder’s dad because the guy is way too obsessed with him otherwise.

Mulder is taken to a neighborhood where he runs into former informant Deep Throat, learns his sister is around, and eventually gets together with Diana Fowley. We watch scenes where Mulder’s life progresses from here before it’s eventually revealed that he’s dreaming, while being held in a government medical facility where the CSM is having some of Mulder’s cranial tissue implanted into himself. This is because the CSM wants to save himself when colonization comes and he now believes Mulder is an alien-human hybrid. Classic Old Smokey! 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

5×02: 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

4×23: Demons

“What was the last thing he said to you?” – Dana Scully
“He said he was going to exorcise his demons.” – Charles Goldstein

Mulder reaches out to Scully after waking up in an unknown room in an unknown place with blood on his shirt that is most definitely not his own…

Demons

20th Century Fox via Chrisnu

Max: If “Elegy” showed a Fox Mulder who began to truly consider the needs and feelings of others, then “Demons” is is the chance for Dana Scully to repay that kindness, as he calls her dazed and disoriented at 4:50 in the morning, not knowing how he got to a motel room in Providence, Rhode Island with blood on his shirt. Scully meets him at the motel, where she encounters him shivering in the tub attempting to get warm.

Recognizing that he is in shock, she does a cursory medical examination before discovering from the motel manager that Mulder checked into his room a couple of days prior and that he had no visitors. Checking his service weapon, she finds that two rounds have been discharged. When Mulder points to where his car should have been, they find a different car with blood on the steering wheel. Continue reading