Lazarus 1×14: The plot thickens.


Time to take a personal day.

If I compare Lazarus to the previous episode, “Gender Bender” (1×13), then the show has improved in quality. So why don’t I enjoy it as much? Even though this is a solid episode with good performances, it somehow remains less than memorable. It’s still a far sight better than most of the episodes in the first half of the season and is a part of the general trend upward in quality that we see during the second half of Season 1. This may mark the first time where we see more of an episode from the guest character’s POV than either Mulder or Scully’s. Not that I’ve counted screen time or anything, but we definitely see a significant portion of the action from Dupre/Willis’ perspective. Does it help or hurt? I’m not sure. At least it adds a new dimension to the show and paves the way for more substantial guest spots later on. Maybe if we had seen some of “Fire“(1×11) from Phoebe Green’s POV…

What was meant to make this episode is part of what keeps its characters at a distance: Dupre/Willis’ love for Lula feels cloying rather than passionate. Desperate love could’ve worked if they had pulled it off. However, for it to work we would have to feel it and understand it rather than just see it. Why is Dupre so connected to Lula? What is it about her that makes him dependent on her? We don’t really get a chance to experience their chemistry. And if this relationship is so deep, why can’t he see that it isn’t co-dependent; that she doesn’t care for him as much as he does her? If we had seen Lula at least feign passion in return, maybe we could have bought it. As it is, she looks reluctant and disengaged even in the teaser. I understand that she’s probably feeling guilty about her betrayal, hence her quiet, but if so then where did the guilt go by the end of the episode? Later on she betrays Dupre/Willis with relish and without an ounce of hesitation.

On to the true dynamic duo, Scully is once again confronted with the paranormal in her personal life, but the conclusion is up to interpretation and Mulder wisely lets her come to that conclusion on her own. At least we know he’s coming to understand her. But then there goes that “Dana” again… I suppose this is meant to be our clue that Scully being missing is personal for Mulder. It’s unnecessary. It’s already touching that Mulder would stand up in front of a group of men who are skeptical of his every thought and give an emotionally vulnerable plea for them to find someone who was already more than a partner to him. And on that note, I can’t be the only one to find it ironic that in later seasons Mulder’s emotional state in regards to Scully bears more than a passing resemblance to Dupre’s desperate dependence on Lula. OK, Mulder doesn’t turn into a homicidal maniac. But there are definitely moments when you feel like he would turn into a homicidal maniac if something were to happen to Scully.

And the Verdict is…

If socially alienated Mulder has an ex-lover, why wouldn’t Scully?

We see them only for the briefest of moments together at the beginning of the episode, after that, Scully never truly sees Jack Willis again. This makes it hard to gauge the merits of their relationship based on interaction. We can only go by what we’ve already seen of Scully’s relationship with her father and by Scully later observes about herself and men in “Never Again” (4×13). I can’t say that Lazarus really delves into Scully’s psychology like “Beyond the Sea“(1×12), but it does build on what “Beyond the Sea” started in that because of her relationship with her father, Scully has a natural attachment to men in authority. Jack Willis, after all, had been her instructor at the academy.

One thing Scully never expressly admits but that we can surmise between her relationships with both Willis and Mulder is that Scully is apparently into guys who are restless and obsessive. So Scully likes authority and at the same time perversely enjoys bending the rules. What was that story Boggs told about a little girl smoking cigarettes?? Reading between the lines, it was probably Willis’ single-minded obsession that destroyed their relationship. (This is where the ominous music comes in.) One day, when Scully writes her autobiography, I’m sure I’ll be proven right.

If I were to pinpoint a weakness, “Lazarus” suffers from a plot that’s dependent on relationships it didn’t have the time to establish. An altogether solid episode, just not one for the books.

B+

Nagging Questions:

Why does Lula even help him steal the medicine in the first place if she only plans to let him die? Talk about a waste of energy.

We’re supposed to believe that this audio expert drags all this heavy equipment down to the basement office rather than Mulder just going to him?

Why is no one concerned about the X-File within an X-File? Willis’ heart stopped beating for 13 minutes yet he bounces back like a jackrabbit with no signs of brain damage or even physical weakness. They should study him for the cure for cancer.

On that note, why would Scully, a doctor who understands the consequences and a woman practical by nature, attempt to bring Willis back after 13 minutes of no oxygen flowing to his brain? Wouldn’t she assume he’d be a vegetable?

I’m not so sure this criminal could step into the role of FBI agent so easily. And just how did he know about Willis’ passion for catching them? How does he know it’s the biggest case of Willis’ career? Had they run up against him before? Had they ever exchanged words? If so, it’s never indicated. Once he escaped, sans clothes, from the hospital, how did he figure out Willis’ name and address?

General Observations:

Did I just hear the words “alien virus”?

Is the Maryland Marine Bank a precursor to the later Craddock Marine Bank in “Monday” (6×15)?

Mulder’s testing of Willis comes off as a bit callous, especially considering he’s aware of Scully’s history with the man at this point.

What’s with Scully being a magnet for dangerous men with tattoos?

The random guest scientist every episode is later replaced by go-to guys. I’m looking forward to Pendrell.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I love the name Lula.

Best Quotes:

Professor Varnes: Well the pilot became increasingly disoriented, schizophrenic his doctor claims. Until one day, he strangled his wife… with an extension cord.
Mulder: [Exchanges a glance with Scully] It’s a nice story.

———-

Agent Bruskin: Mulder says he’s got something.
Agent: What? An alien virus, or new information on the Kennedy assassination?
Agent Bruskin: Hey, Mulder’s all right. Just pay attention, you might learn something from the man.

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7 responses to “Lazarus 1×14: The plot thickens.

  1. Pingback: Episode 15 – Lazarus « The X-Files Truth Podcast

  2. Holy cow… You’re right! Alien virus! Lol, is it sad that when I’m bored at work I go back and start re-reading your reviews from the beginning? I’m becoming as familiar with the reviews as I am with the episodes themselves!

  3. “Why does Lula even help him steal the medicine in the first place if she only plans to let him die? Talk about a waste of energy.”

    – This has bothered me watching it as well, but I think I have a justification. She realized that he was going to die but needed to string him along until he was too weak to put up a fight. So she went out and stole the insulin allowing him to be incapacitated by the time she came back. If she’d resisted this right away he was still strong enough to fight her.

    I know it doesn’t really matter, but I just thought I’d chime in! 🙂

  4. I loved that Mulder threatened Lula against hurting Scully when they’re on the phone.

    It’s probably one of the reasons the other agents (with the exception of the one who thought Mulder might have the answer to JFK’s assassination) are quick to accept what he says because they all appreciate that despite his quirks, Mulder obviously is heavily invested in finding his partner, something that would ring true for most of them. We the viewer sees it as more than just a work-partnership but as what it’s developed in to – a deep friendship.

    I think one of the reasons why Mulder seems to get attached so quickly to Scully is because she treats him with respect and seems to find his humour enjoyable.

    Whilst he was initially a golden-boy and deemed to be a brilliant agent with a brilliant career ahead of him, at the start of the show he’s been an outcast at the FBI for so long that to have someone come in and appear to not only respect him but actually seems to like him (I don’t mean as a romantic partner although there is clearly an attraction between them but it’s more focussed on their friendship at that point) and will defend him when necessary gets his attention. Scully doesn’t really believe in the paranormal except on rare occasions (as you’ve said before, when it’s personal to her) but she always will follow the investigation through and not treat Mulder as if he’s a crackpot even if she does become exasperated by his determination to jump on any ‘out there’ explanation no matter what. If anything, Scully seems to be genuinely sad that other people do not like and appreciate Mulder the way she does (even in an early episode such as ‘Squeeze’).

    Also, it’s interesting that Mulder shows why he was such a rising star in the FBI in this episode. The lead agent was all ‘am I missing something here’ when Mulder makes connections between the pharmacy raid and Willis being diabetic, and all the agents seem to be a bit stunned that Mulder knew that Willis was diabetic therefore able to make the connection. For all his ‘out there’ moments, Mulder is a brilliant agent and seems to garner respect when people actually work with him on a ‘normal’ case, despite initially finding him a joke because of his work on the X-files.

    • Some aspects of the characters were somewhat neglected as the show went on. For Scully, it was her cheekiness. For Mulder, it was his former golden boy status. That was an interesting aspect of his character too. In Season 1, there were still people around with a memory of what Mulder used to be before his head got filled with thoughts of little green men. He was a profiler for a reason.

  5. My maternal great-grandmother’s first name was Lula. She went by her middle name, though, Clele. Lula Clele.

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