Season 1 Wrap Up: The FBI’s most unwanted.

“This must be the place.”

…And the Verdict is:


It’s alive!

Sure, things started off a little slow and clunky, but that’s what happens when a snowball rolls downhill.

Up until now, when I’ve had a rewatch or when I’ve gone back and watched Season 1 episodes individually, all I noticed was how different the show was in the beginning versus later seasons. The unfulfilled episode endings, hokey special effects, bad ties… it’s hard to forget that you’re watching early 90’s television. But this time around, I’m struck by how consistent the show actually was, particularly in Mulder and Scully’s characterizations. Even through Season 7, the creators stuck to the original plan, they just got better at executing it. From beginning to, well, almost end, we have two paranormal investigators who use science as their guide and regularly give their bosses the stink eye.

The conspiracy is different, sure. But that’s only because it didn’t exist. Instead, there are a number of small conspiracies presumably organized by the same shadowy group of men. There’s no connectivity between episodes like “Deep Throat” (1×1) and “Conduit” (1×3) for instance. Miraculously, though, all the seeds planted at the end of the season in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×23) bring forth fruit before the end of the series. No, you can’t quite call it a mythology episode but it certainly serves as a prologue to what comes later.

My personal highlights were enjoying “Ghost in the Machine” (1×6) and “E.B.E.” (1×16) for the first time. GITM still ranks at the lower end of the spectrum but it’s not the lost cause I had written it off as before. I dare say I might even enjoy it more the next go-around. “E.B.E.” is a gem long misunderstood by my adolescent mind. Thank heavens I’m a big girl now. It’s particularly gratifying since part of the point of this endeavor is to eke out every last bit of pleasure from this show that I can. Now I have to more episodes to add to my anytime rewatch list.

Even more importantly, I’m getting a kick out of trying to track Mulder and Scully’s relationship timeline from beginning to end. As far as Season 1 goes, they click in the beginning, they gel in the middle, and they downright congeal at the end. By the beginning of Season 2 Mulder just about gives her the, “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope” speech.

So now for a question I’ve been dying to get to. Somewhere inbetween the “Pilot” (1×79) and the closing of the X-Files in “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” Mulder and Scully become better than partners they become “Mulder & Scully.” Now, I’m not hinting at any Shipper Shenanigans, but I’ve always wondered whether there was a “moment” that could be picked out or if, as I’m prone to think, it was a natural evolution that occurred before the audience even picked up on it. To be honest, I’m still not sure. But if there is a “moment” that can be pointed out, then there are several contenders for that honor.

  1. “Pilot” (1×79): Mulder and Scully bond in the rain and Scully laughs maniacally. Why not? She must be losing her mind since she’s starting to believe her crazy partner.
  2. Squeeze” (1×2): Scully stands up for Mulder against some J. Edgar Hooverish bullies while Mulder first hints that he may be feeling some (platonic!) affection for Scully. Scully makes a fateful decision to follow him up the stairs.
  3. Beyond the Sea” (1×12): Mulder doesn’t just hint, he calls her Dana. Dana decides she can open up and be vulnerable with Fox. At this point, they’re so in tune with each other that they even sit in sync.
  4. “E.B.E.” (1x)16: Mulder now realizes that the only person he can trust is Scully, and he tells her so without any regard for her personal space.
  5. Tooms” (1×20): Root beer.

My personal opinion? The “Pilot” is where they become partners, “Squeeze” is where they become comrades, “Beyond the Sea” is where they become friends, “E.B.E.” is where they become allies, and “Tooms” is when they become “Mulder & Scully.”

That’s my take on it… this time around. But I’d love to hear some other opinions. Is it possible to pinpoint when Mulder and Scully became something special? If not, why not? If so, are any of the options I listed viable? Was there a moment I didn’t list that you want to smack me over the virtual head for missing? Let me know!

P.S. BBC America is airing Fight the Future right this very moment, 8pm ET. I smell a run up to XF3!


19 responses to “Season 1 Wrap Up: The FBI’s most unwanted.

  1. For me the episode that first shows the strong bound between M&S is in”Beyond the Sea”. Just listen to Scully when she is yelling at Boggs after Mulder is in the hospital. She will throw the switch herself and kill him if Mulder dies. She is very emotional in that scene because she is afraid of loosing Mulder just after loosing her father.

    • Definitely a great moment. And from what I’ve read, in another version of the script Scully says, “If I loose him too because of what you’ve done…” Good stuff, no?

  2. Emily Michelle

    For me it’s the moment in the pilot when they’re in his hotel room talking; that scene is mirrored in the very last episode of season 9, which gives the whole series a beautiful sort of symmetry. I love that Scully has just trusted him with her concern about the mosquito bites and Mulder in turn entrusts her with the story of his sister.

  3. Just found this show and your blog. Cannot decide which one I love more. I have to admit I got through Seasons 1 and 2 way too quickly, [then secretly skipped to the finales of 7, 8 and 9….] I’m a “read the last chapter of a book before I begin it” type of girl… (Eeek! I know) My blasphemy aside, I LOVE how you capture the series and your writing is on point! Keep up the great work.

  4. I just finished Season 1 and can’t wait to get onto the next season.

  5. After finishing the entire series about two nights ago I decided to watch the Pilot and Beyond the Sea. The things that stick out is how bloody young they look compared to only nine years later. How much their acting improved in those nine years and how good it was early on.

    I compare the rise and fame of this series to the Beatles. Both were a product of their time and were lucky to have been born at that time to take advantage of numerous facets of society and people’s thoughts on music/TV.

    I have little doubt that the Beatles or the X-Files wouldn’t be as successful today if they just entered.

    • Some things are of an era. Nevertheless, when it’s good, it can be appreciated by new generations of fans, a phenomenon proven by both the Beatles and The X-Files.

      But not only would TXF not be as popular if it were released for the first time today, it wouldn’t even have been created in this generation. The cultural soup it came out of was by and for a generation shaped by Watergate.

  6. Oh, and I also noticed how comparatively awkward GA and DD can be in the early episodes. Just getting their feet wet so to speak.

  7. All your contenders are really good choices; I had a lot of trouble choosing, so I went back to the episode list to think it over a bit more. In the end I actually voted ‘Other’ and think I would say that the episode ‘Ice’ is where they become Mulder & Scully. This is because in ‘Ice’, they are surrounded by distrust, and all logic says that they shouldn’t really be so trusting of each other at that point, and yet they instinctively believe that other is not infected, and but themselves at risk with that trust. They stand up for one another, Scully in particular for Mulder,when the others think he’s the one infected.

    It is also the case of an ‘us vs them’ scenario, two on two. You have DaSilva & Hodge against Mulder & Scully, and these two sides makes the ‘&’ all the more prominent and bonding.

    Then there is the fact that they are isolated on the research station, cut off from the rest of civilisation. That need to depend on one another, defend each other, and be united is brought to the forefront.

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