The Rain King 6×7: We usually just say, “Please.”


Trust me, the man knows how to kiss.

This is probably the cutest X-File ever, and for that reason, fans either love it or hate it. I’m of the love it variety.

If some shudder at the mere thought of “cute” and “X-File” in the same sentence, I can understand why. What do cheesy romantic storylines have to do with a show about mutant monsters and alien probes? Nothing. That is, of course, unless said show had reached the point where mutants and abductions were so commonplace that small town love triangles made for a nice distraction from the gravity of the overarching themes.

But I’m not here to defend “The Rain King” as no defense is necessary. Much better writers than this mere mortal liked this script so much that it got freelance writer Jeffrey Bell hired as a full time staff member. He would go on through Season 8 gracing us with some hits and some misses, but for this episode alone I could plant a big wet one on him.

Which would be plagiarism.

Besides, I could never do it better than Sheila Fontaine does it to an ill-prepared Fox Mulder – Sheila who is played in shameless yet sympathetic fashion by Saturday Night Live alumnus Victoria Jackson.

Does that sound like déjà vu? It should because Jackson is the third Saturday Night Live member to show up on The X-Files this season and she won’t be the last. That will be Charles Rocket in “Three of a Kind” (6×19). Season 6 could be subtitled The Year Saturday Night Live Abducted The X-Files.

In a season that is undeniably more light-hearted than any before it, all this Saturday Night Live style energy is a good fit. Admittedly, “The Rain King” dabbles in some pretty obvious forms of comedy. But is that so wrong? The days of the dark, macabre comedy of writers Morgan and Wong have passed and Vince Gilligan has almost single-handedly caused the advent of an era where Mulder and Scully drink wine with shapeshifters and dodge flying cows. It’s like graduating from High School to college; both periods are precious in their own way.

Okay, enough context. I know this is what you’ve been waiting to read:

Scully: Well, it seems to me that the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is… suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with.

Whoever thinks Scully isn’t talking about her own feelings for Mulder, raise your hand… and then put it back down. Stop embarrassing yourself.

It wouldn’t be hard to make the case that the whole point of the plot here is to out Mulder and Scully to themselves, or rather, to let them know that the rest of the world is onto their little charade. And not the fictional world they reside in only but the real world of their television audience as well; Chris Carter & Co. throw an exaggeratedly knowing wink to the viewers at home who they acknowledge have been saying the same things for years – “I see the way you two gaze at one another.” Mulder and Scully are the only ones not in on the joke, not realizing how obvious they are.

Back to the statement at hand, I can reasonably hypothesize that the “suddenly” Scully alludes to probably occurred during the events of “The End” (5×20) and possibly around the time of Fight the Future. I can say with scientific certainty that her pause before she shakes her head “No” to Sheila’s query as to whether or not she’s ever kissed Mulder is because she’s recollecting the events that took place in a certain hallway. Will she ever admit as much in a less veiled fashion? Maybe to herself.

Mulder isn’t any better with his bald faced lie to Holman (“I do not gaze at Scully.”), although he does find much amusement when he and Scully are constantly mistaken for a couple. Then again, Mulder said they should pick out china patterns long ago. At least he has the decency to be embarrassed by Sheila’s attentions. Oh, and as an aside, it’s not surprising that Sheila develops a thing for Mulder. What’s surprising is that more women don’t on this show. That’s how you know it’s not real. Men that good looking don’t come around often enough for the female population to be indifferent, fictional or otherwise.

I realize that “The Rain King” and its brand of overt Shippiness is a turn off to some fans. Yes, Holman’s parting, “You should try it sometime,” in Mulder’s direction may be a tad much. But the show had to throw long-suffering Philes a bone. If Mulder and Scully’s relationship isn’t going to move forward any time soon, they have to toss Shippy bait into the water every so often to keep the fish biting. I remember those days and I know I needed confirmation and validation on some level at least. If Season 6 is a little heavy on that validation in the standalone episodes, it’s only to cover the emotional trauma of episodes like “The Beginning” (6×1) and the soon to come “One Son” (6×12). I said I wouldn’t defend this episode, but there you go.

There’s only one thing that concerns me and that’s that post season opener, we’ve only had one serious episode, the kind you watch through your fingers, and that was six episodes ago. We’re overdue for some high stakes, don’t you think?

Verdict:

“The Rain King” may not be the crafted genius of “Bad Blood” (5×12) or “Small Potatoes” (4×20), but it’s a fully entertaining hour of television. Perhaps it’s because I’m 1/64th Cherokee, but when Sheila starts screaming, “Darryl, no! Not the face!!” I jump up and down in unbalanced laughter.

I will not apologize. I cannot. This episode isn’t a guilty pleasure because I feel no guilt. It’s my right as an X-Phile to mop up silliness like soup at the bottom of the bowl when I see fit.

A

Somewhere Over the Rainbow:

Reason #1 to love this episode – “Okay, Rhonda, that’s enough! Go find yer mama!”

It has been a looooong time since Mulder gave us an Elvis joke.

What garbage can did Mulder sneak this case file out of? There’s no explanation given for how Mulder and Scully found a way to investigate an X-File behind Kersh’s back again, but it’s not hard to imagine Mulder pulling some stunt off camera.

Mootz has made it through surgery, rehab, and been fitted for a prosthetic leg in only 6 months? And he has time to set up his Rain King operation? He’s had 40 customers by the time Mulder and Scully arrive.

That’s not the only timeline issue here. The events of this episode take place in August but it aired in January. And I haven’t delved into it, but I’m pretty sure that it conflicts with the timeline of earlier episodes.

The Rain King has a rock star rider attached to his contract. Maybe he really thinks he’s Elvis.

Knee-jerk Skeptic Scully is back. A man can’t control the weather? Didn’t she ever watch “D.P.O.” (3×3)?

We got robbed – a scene between Mulder and Scully after they’re forced to spend the night in the same motel room could have afforded us priceless humor.

Who is Scully kidding? She wasn’t checking Mulder’s head for injuries and she wasn’t just making a joke either. She was looking for an excuse to play in his hair.

Much like in “Small Potatoes”, there’s some gentle mocking of David Duchovny’s status as a heartthrob happening here.

Reason #63 – the look on David Duchovny’s face as he mentally tracks the cow flying overhead.

From Cherish the Past: Speaking of flying cows, Kim Manners said that if he had to do it all over again, he would go back and change one small but significant detail of “The Rain King.” “I screwed up big time,” said the director, “which I realized while I was driving along the Ventura Freeway two months later. When that cow dropped through the ceiling, I should have had David ad lib ‘Got Milk?’ I’m still pissed at myself that I didn’t.”

Reason #106 – Mulder and Scully swaying to “The Things We Do For Love”.

Best Quotes:

Holman Hardt: Well, you gotta help me.
Mulder: I got a plane to catch.
Holman Hardt: You can’t go. If you don’t help me, who will?
Mulder: I am meeting my partner at the airport. [Mulder's phone rings] Excuse me. Hold on. [Answers] Mulder.
Scully: Mulder, it’s me.
Mulder: I’m on my way.
Scully: I’m not so sure. Have you looked outside lately? It’s pea soup. Our plane can’t take off until after this fog lifts.
Mulder: Fog? Holman!
Holman Hardt: [Shrugs]
Scully: Holman?
Mulder: Yeah… he wants advice. Dating advice.
Scully: Dating advice? From whom?
Mulder: Yours truly.
Scully: [Silence]
Mulder: Hello? Hey, Scully. Scully, you there?
Scully: I heard you. Mulder, when was the last time you went on a date?
Mulder: I will talk to you later. [Hangs up]
Scully: The blind leading the blind.

———————–

Holman Hardt: I’ve been envious of men like you my whole life. Based on your … physical bearing, I had assumed you were… more experienced.
Mulder: [Silence]
Holman Hardt: And you spend every day with Agent Scully, a beautiful, enchanting woman.
Mulder: [Silence]
Holman Hardt: You mean you two never, uh…?
Mulder: [Silence]
Holman Hardt: I… confess I find that shocking. I… I’ve seen how you two gaze at one another.
Mulder: [Impassive silence and then…] This is about you, Holman. I’m here to help you. I’m perfectly happy with my friendship with Agent Scully.
Holman Hardt: So according to your theory I walk in there, tell her I love her and the drought will end?
Mulder: [Fixes his tie and pats his face] Just tell her how you feel. And Holman… I do not gaze at Scully.

————————

Sheila Fontaine: You love him, don’t you?
Scully: Wha…?
Sheila Fontaine: You’re jealous because Agent Mulder and I have a special connection and you’re trying to divert me to Holman.
Scully: What? {Editor’s Note: The look on her face. The look on her face.}

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11 responses to “The Rain King 6×7: We usually just say, “Please.”

  1. It’s weird that there seems to be so many fans that clearly love or hate this episode, with little or none in between. I’m with you, here. This over-shippy indulgence is a delight!

    One thing I have to point out…How lucky is Victoria Jackson to kiss David Duchovny?!? Sign me up for that guest appearance any time!

    Absolutely love Scully’s “the best relationships” talk with Sheila. At this point, the writers are just playing with the shippers out here. Pretty sure they sit around and say, “How can we frustrate not only the fans, but Mulder and Scully by hinting at their feelings without actually allow them to act on them?” Sorry, but it’s getting pretty obvious to everyone Scully and Mulder are into one another. Maybe they haven’t admitted it to each other, but that pent up tension between them has started to reach it’s boiling point.

    No need to apologize! You’re not the only person who counts as a guilty pleasure. If anyone tries to claim this episode is not worthy of being an X-File, they’re going to have to get through us first! Uh…you stand out front. ;)

  2. I love this episode so much that just reading your review made me smile and laugh like a giddy school girl. I’m so glad there was no one around while I was reading it–most didn’t understand the obsession when the show was on, never mind the pleasure I get from it even now.

    I loved everything about this ep. As a hardcore shipper, I found shippyness in even the bleakest of eps, but this one…sweet mamma-jamma, it was good.

    I do wonder one thing now, though; not terribly long ago, I saw Victoria Jackson on some news program because she was up in arms about two guys on Glee kissing, and it came out that she’s the scary religious type who thumps her bible and is firmly anit-gay. Seeing as how Gillian Anderson is liberal, I have to wonder (for my own personal edification, because I’m super nosy and want to know everything) if this came out on the set at all, and how the two of them reacted to each other. I distinctly remember Gillian on the View around then, and getting pissed at Star Jones, who had said that she wouldn’t want to be married to a gay man. It’d just be interesting to know. However, I will say, even if there was hostility off set, you would never know it on screen.

    And the Scully bathroom speech…giggidy goo!

    • Wait? What?? I missed that Star Jones debaucle, but then what straight woman would want to be married to a gay man? Isn’t that a conflict of interest? o_O See, this is why I stayed/stay away from most GA and DD interviews.

      I heard through the grapevine a while back that Victoria Jackson’s a conservative (and I’m a conservative too!), but while your ideology follows you everywhere I doubt politics made in on set. Their shooting schedule was notoriously draining. I’ll bet neither one of them had the energy or inclination to battle it out. Besides, I don’t think Victoria Jackson was particularly political back then.

      Oh, and LOL at your giggidy goo!

    • I know this discussion was up here quite a few years ago but as I’m reading it now, I feel like I might have some minor insight to your question so I can’t resist posting.

      Back in the day when I first saw the episode (when I was a super excited 14-year old phile), I somehow got a hold of Victoria Jackson’s e-mail address and wrote to her, just to ask how it was to be on The X-Files. And she wrote back! Here’s her answer:

      “LIINA:

      THANKS FOR YOUR SWEET NOTE. DAVID D. WAS VERY CHARMING TO WORK WITH AND WE HAD DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE AND WHETHER OR NOT PETS WENT TO HEAVEN. GILLIAN WAS A LITTLE ALOOF, SO I DON’T REALLY KNOW WHAT SHE’S LIKE. IM GLAD YOU LIKE THE SHOW.
      GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR DREAMS. LUKE 1:37 “FOR WITH GOD NOTHING SHALL BE IMPOSSIBLE.”

      LOVE,

      VICTORIA JACKSON”

      I’ve held on to this e-mail as if it’s sacred, since it’s the closest personal contact I have had with anyone from the X-Files world.

  3. I love this episode, it’s sweet and very, very funny. For me, the funniest moment has to be Scully’s reaction when she’s told that Mulder is giving Holman dating advice. I love that scene, but overall I love the quirkier vibe of season six, I think after being a dark show for so long, not only has the change of tone been earned, it’s also been a natural progression.

    • “But overall I love the quirkier vibe of season six, I think after being a dark show for so long, not only has the change of tone been earned, it’s also been a natural progression.

      Next time I’d appreciate it if you typed that in all caps. Thanks.

  4. I was giggling just reading this review. It’s a cheesy episode (and for all the romantic hinting, NOTHING ACTUALLY HAPPENS) but I love it. Deeply. There’s fabulous shippiness, but even without that, it’s absolutely hilarious. I think my favorite moment may be Cindy assuring Daryl, “Dairy Queen will take me back. I get almost six dollars an hour!” I die every time. And how adorable are Sheila and Holman? If Mulder and Scully aren’t getting together, at least we get one sweet and successful romance.

    • I won’t lie. I was giggling as I wrote it too! But then, there’s a lot of giggling when I watch The X-Files. Either I need to grow up or this show does.

      I died at that line. Cindy’s the unsung hero of this episode.

  5. There are a number of reasons why this episode works so well, but I think the main one that makes it great is that it’s just so out-of-character for this show . . . this is The X-Files boldly going where it only rarely goes. I love that it’s ridiculous and light-hearted and hilarious and almost overwhelming in its shippiness. Even though the episode is slightly over-the-top, it works because it’s done ON PURPOSE. This is what drives me nuts about shows nowadays. There’s no subtlety anymore! The X-Files was amazing at subtlety, so the contrasting overtness in episodes like this was perfect. . . . At least, I think so.

    Also, the swaying? Adorable. And Scully’s confession in the bathroom? I was like, Holy crap! About time, some confirmation! Now go and share with the rest of the class. Alas, not yet.

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