Fallen Angel 1×9: I think you knocked out a filling.


Even aliens dig the Magic Mirror.

We’re due for some little green men. “Space“(1×8) didn’t fit the standard alien profile and even if you count that, we just went 5 episodes without a UFO of any kind. How is this lack rectified? Mix a crashed UFO with an invisible alien until just combined, crack in a sad Scully then sprinkle Mulder in black jacket stealth mode and you have yourself a “Fallen Angel”. Oh, and serve on a platter of obligatory military stonewalling.

I was watching this episode for the fourth time when it occurred to me for the first time: it would be fun to be Max Fenig. I’d give up a lot for that trailer of his. Really, his character is like a prelude to The Lone Gunmen. I haven’t researched it, but I wonder if the success of this character led directly to their creation. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised. His character definitely steals the show this time around. Though the glory isn’t his alone…

Let’s just take a moment and give a round of applause for the enigmatic Agent Scully’s arrival. The lighting, the staging, the posing… I love it all. Her entrance? Fabulous. I can’t even begin to count the number of times Scully ends up having to bail Mulder out like this (though I’m sure someone else has) but she always does it. Admittedly, as the series progresses, she becomes less annoyed and more resigned. That’s part of the beauty of their relationship. It’s surprising how consistent their formula is even this early on in the series.

Not everything can be as consistent as these two are. One possible glitch in the great continuity continuum? The aliens aren’t evil. Or at least, their role is ambiguous enough that Mulder can dare defend them. This missing alien pilot only kills because our military is trying to hunt him down. Understandably, the mythology evolved over time and probably at this point in the series didn’t exist in any coherent form. Still, try as I might, my perspective is that of someone looking backwards, not someone watching for the first time. It can’t be helped. Some aspects of this episode don’t fit into the overall puzzle easily. The invisible alien abducts Max, so this is part of the larger conspiracy, right? Fast-forward to “Tempus Fugit” (4×17) and it feels like we have a completely different set of aliens doing to abducting. For instance, what happened to the scar behind the ear thread?

Here’s where I discuss the clear and present parallels to “Requiem” (7×22). Now, by no means is this blog spoiler free. I assume that if you’re reading my thoughts on an episode you’ve either already watched it or don’t care if you ruin it for yourself. But for the sake of those initiates who are merely watching Season 1 on their way to Season 7, I won’t mention just how similar these two episodes are. I’ll only say that some of the special effects echo each other and help serve to bracket the series. The similarities may even help thread together some of those jumps in continuity.

And the Verdict is…

I’m going to share a dark and dirty little secret: mythology episodes sometimes bore me. (Insert collective gasp here.) Now, I’m not saying I don’t love the mythology, I just love the characters more and often “mythology” is code for “aimless shenanigans.” With that out of the bag, I freely admit that I never much liked “Fallen Angel”. I’ve always found it dull and somewhat aggravating, especially since despite Mulder’s emphatic assertions he knows absolutely bupkiss. Don’t tell him I said so, but Agent Mulder has a self-righteous streak.

Even so, fear not, I can joyfully say that I’ve changed my mind about “Fallen Angel” upon this last viewing. This episode is more subtle than I used to give it credit for. Max Fenig is quietly hilarious and the wordless exchanges between Mulder and Scully are priceless. Scully is frustrated with him in the beginning, suckered by his puppy dog eyes in the middle and sad for him by the end…. Which may just sum up the entire series.

Mulder knows that Scully pities him and I would say that this is a large part of the reason he responds to her character at all. He realizes that she does want him to succeed, if not because she herself believes, then because she’s one of the few people that sees anything good and worthwhile in Mulder. I would even say that he tolerates her sometimes ill-timed intrusions into his investigations because he knows she’s trying her best to keep him out of trouble. It takes her a while before she realizes he’s determined to go down in flames. Fortunately for both agents, he just misses that trip to hell this episode.

B-

I’m Still Scratching My Head:

Why would Mulder use a state rental car?? Is he that cheap? Rent the car with your own money, man.

How does Mulder get away with half of the things he pulls? The forest is swarming with military, there are helicopters overhead, but watch him just scooch on past.

General Observations:

A shadow of continuity from The Jersey Devil? Mulder uses a professional camera.

We never see aliens go invisible again. Cloaked ships? Sure. But that’s different.

Wait, maybe we never see the aliens go invisible… because they’re invisible! Whistles theme music.

The alien can pass through solid objects too? No wonder they had to reduce the abilities of the aliens in later episodes. No one could fight against them if they had more super powers than Superman.

Check Mulder’s embarrassed glance at Scully when his alter-ego is exposed.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: I didn’t order room service.

————

Scully: Good Luck.
Mulder: I’ll break a leg.

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6 responses to “Fallen Angel 1×9: I think you knocked out a filling.

  1. Emily Michelle

    Mythology episodes bore me, too! Not all of them, but quite a few. Give me a MOTW any day. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one.

  2. Same here on the mythology. And yes, my favorite part of this episode is the embarrassment at the mention of M.F. Luder.

  3. I’ve never really wanted to be anyone other than myself, but I could totally dig being Max Fenig. Of course, I have zero interest in the epileptic seizures and I wouldn’t care to *SPOILER ALERT* die in a plane crash, but other than that, it’d be awesome. I guess I’ll just settle for wearing a NICAP hat and listening to that “Unmarked Helicopters” song from the Songs in the Key of X album. This episode was my first “favorite episode” and as a result it still occupies a very special place in my heart almost 18 years later. 18 years?! Whoa. Anyway, too bad we didn’t get to see more of the invisible aliens… “Someone’s always paying attention, Mr. Mulder.”

  4. I really like it when I notice something in an ep and then when I read your review you noticed it too – Scullys entrance it was fab! So fitting! (well except maybe the wardrobe, we all know Scully got more fashionable as the series got on but when I saw this entrance again I couldn’t help but think it would have been so much sharper if she was wearing something really, well, sharp) it felt like they really introduced her character properly in this ep. Up until now Mulder was the main focus in this ep she kind of held an equality even stamped an authority over him – given she was sent to bring him back and opted to save his ass not for the last time. The enigmatic Dr Scully that has stuck with fans right through the entire series and still til this day.

    It amazes me the leap this ep takes from space, especially since space was a huge step back from ‘ice’. The plot so much thicker, the acting so much better. The character Max – I never thought of him as a prelude to the lone gunmen but that really is quite fitting.

    This ep also has one of my favourite Mulder speeches (David Duchovney acting moments) :
    SECTION CHIEF MCGRATH: That is irrelevant Agent Mulder.
    MULDER: The man was abducted. We all know it. Everybody in this room knows it.
    SECTION CHIEF MCGRATH: Colonel Henderson’s written testimony states that Fenig’s body was found two hours later in a cargo container.
    MULDER: Then what can I say? How can I disprove lies that are stamped with an official seal?
    SECTION CHIEF MCGRATH: That will be all Mr. Mulder.
    MULDER: You can deny all the things I’ve seen. All the things I’ve discovered. But not for much longer. Because too many others know what’s happening out there. And no one. No government agency has jurisdiction over the truth.

    I am a fan of the mythology eps however the earlier ones are a little removed from the latter – lets just put it down to it being new and its life span not yet determined by the powers at be

  5. Well, contrary to most of the comments here, the more I watch mythologies episodes, the more I like ’em. When I was watching the entire series for the first times, I always preferred the MOTW episodes. Maybe because I was younger, and as a teen, I preferred to get scared the hell out of me. (Tooms anyone ?)
    Last time I went on an x-files marathon was maybe 4 years ago, and at that point I really started to enjoy the mythology episodes a lot more. Not that I didn’t like them before, but I don’t know, maybe it’s because I know them less than the MOTW ones that I’m really enjoying them now.
    It is funny to see how the series went more and more consistent throughout the years and this episode is quite revealing of it. The invisible alien, its powers, the abduction of Max in a way we don’t see again in the series truly makes you notice how the show got polished over the years. Oh and by the way, the Predator-like alien, me liked a lot even when I saw it for the first time.
    Overall a solid episode.

  6. Pingback: My Struggle 1×01: Now you got my number. | Musings of an X-Phile

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