Mind’s Eye 5×16: I have the same pair of pants.


The blind leading the blind.

First off, in “Mind’s Eye” we have a great guest star in indie movie maven Lili Taylor who gives a performance as the blind yet brazen Marty Glenn that sells the entire episode. I dare say that as solid as the episode is it would have fallen apart with a lesser actress in the central role. Even Mulder and Scully come off more as supporting players in her drama than leads themselves. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the dynamic duo was at the height of their television popularity. I must not be the only one who think so since Lili Taylor was nominated for an Emmy for this performance.

This isn’t the first time Mulder has developed a bit of a platonic crush on a woman who most people would cross the street to avoid. Remember “Oubliette” (3×8)? “The Field Where I Died” (4×5)? Even as early as “Conduit” (1×3) and “3” (2×7) we see Mulder’s unique ability to relate to the women that no one else can and believe them when no one else will. It’s hard not to attribute Mulder’s sympathy toward any Little Girl Lost as a psychological byproduct of losing his sister Samantha at such a young age. It’s hard not to and I wouldn’t try not to because I have no doubt that it is. Still, I also have no doubt that that’s not all it is.

To be sure, it’s easy to see how if by some miracle Samantha returned, after the glow of reunion had faded, would resemble these socially maladapted women to no small degree. If Mowgli resented mankind after being raised by wolves how much more a girl on the cusp of puberty stolen and raised by aliens, let alone by Cigarette-Smoking Man which is another distinct possibility. I’m sure she would feel displaced and misunderstood, the way anyone would who came back from the dead.

But more than that, Mulder himself is like a male version of these women, two steps away from needing a psychiatric intervention. He’s misunderstood, emotionally isolated, jaded and dismissive of people who try to befriend him. The main differences are that Mulder is hopefully proactive, refusing to believe that he can’t change what ails him, and unlike these poor and poorly educated women Mulder is no underdog. He has the power of his position, education, and reading between the lines of his family background, grew up with a decent amount of money to fall back on as well. Maybe that’s why these kinds of women tend to resist his help and maybe that’s why he’s intent on rooting them on.

I wasn’t a big fan of “Oubliette” as it was hard to follow Mulder in his attachment and mentally rally behind a character who walked around as limp as a fish. At least in this episode Marty Glenn has some spice. There are worse emotions than wanting to slap her, like being bored by her altogether.

Verdict:

This episode reminds me of earlier seasons. The resolution is bittersweet rather than satisfying and it’s quiet, without all the typical bells and whistles that we’ve come to expect in episodes of recent seasons. It’s not the most memorable or the most exciting tale, but it is a solid showing in a season that’s especially strong.

One thing that I like is that the writers are getting better at allowing Mulder or Scully to shine for an episode without making the other partner look bad. Mulder connects to Marty without alienating Scully unlike in “Conduit” and “Oubliette” where Scully is antagonistic. In fact, this time around she accepts Mulder’s final hypothesis with in a calm and unsurprised manner. Then again, I suppose it would be disingenuous of her to be taken aback by Mulder’s theories at this late stage in the game.

As I was watching, I remembered originally wanting to dislike this episode because I disliked Marty, but I just couldn’t. True, I’m still not sure I understand Mulder’s emotional response to her, but her story is an interesting one and hey, at least she’s a proactive author of her own tale rather than a passive victim. That’s why out of all the Little Girl Lost episodes this is the only one that passes muster.

B+

Bits and Pieces:

Writer Tim Minear only has one other credit on The X-Files beside this episode, a joint effort with Vince Gilligan, “Kitsunegari” (5×8), the somewhat disappointing follow up to “Pusher” (3×17).

Actor Blu Mankuma makes his second appearance on The X-Files in this episode. He first showed up in the much-panned Season 1 episode “The Ghost in the Machine” (1×6). I wonder how surprised he was and the direction the show had taken since then…

In a rare reversal of roles, Scully runs the opening slideshow.

Coincidentally, the last time The X-Files pulled the “psychic connection” bit we were watching “Oubliette”, another episode where Mulder becomes emotionally involved with a grumpy and misunderstood woman.

Best Quotes:

Marty Glenn: So… I’m all ears.

——————

Detective Pennock: You know, the thing I find most surprising about this case is you. You are one skeptical guy, Agent Mulder.
Mulder: Skeptical?
Detective Pennock: Oh yeah!
Mulder: I’ve been called a lot of things. Skeptical, however, is not one.
Detective Pennock: Yeah, whatever.
Mulder: [Answers cell phone and mutters under his breath] Skeptical…

——————-

Detective Pennock: It looks to me like it [the glove] fits.
Marty Glenn: Somewhere, Marcia Clark weeps.

——————-

Marty Glenn: I’d never seen the ocean before. And now when I close my eyes… or even when I open them… that’s all I see.
Mulder: Well, you’re lucky he wasn’t a fan of the Ice Capades.

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23 responses to “Mind’s Eye 5×16: I have the same pair of pants.

  1. I’ve always been a bit meh about this one, mostly because of Marty’s character. You can understand why she is the way she is, how her past experiences have effected her, and I can’t even fathom how difficult it would be to be not merely unable to see her surroundings but forever seeing something that isn’t there. But she’s so irritating that I have a very difficult time caring. I guess that’s not very forgiving of me.

    However, I do like Mulder when he gets all concerned about tragic women. It’s a little interesting layer to his personality, that he has the capacity for so much compassion for the underrepresented. So the episode does have that going for it.

    • She doesn’t irritate me as much as she used to but I still don’t have it in me to find her as courageous as Mulder seems to. Even though I know I should like the noble side of Mulder I tend to feel impatient with him, like he’s wasting his sentiments on the undeserving. (Callous, I know. But that’s what happens when you judge fictional people.) At least he doesn’t reduce them to mere damsels in distress by his treatment of them.

      • I hear ya. I get impatient watching Mulder do it too, though my impatience has to do with his stepping inside the women’s personal space. I tend to think “boundary issues” over and over again. When he starts doing his low, intimate, close-to-face voice, or prolonged handholds (Marty), or hugging the woman/victim/murder suspect against him (Lucy), or stroking/crying over “lost soulmates” (Melissa/Sarah)… Yeah, I tend to question his boundary issues and ask if he’d be able to maintain them if he ever got into a relationship with Scully. Just the images…”So honey, are we going out on our date?– Oh, you’re at her house? Holding her? Because she’s about to be abducted by aliens?” Yeah, no. Though it makes the Mulder-protective-over-Scully scenes oddly more satisfying. 😀

  2. Sometimes my take on an episode or character is influenced by the actors’ other work. Perhaps too much. I can’t separate Taylor from her role on “Six Feet Under.” And Duchovny and Taylor costarred in “The Secret” which is about a woman (Taylor) who is reincarnated into the body of her daughter who then kinda gets freaky with dad (DD) (I totally watched this on Lifetime). So I kinda had them attracted to each other though that wasn’t intended.
    Another instance: Pre-Diana Crawley, Duchovny and Mimi Rogers starred in “The Rapture.” In it they have a lot of sexy time so I just always assumed that Mulder & Diana were knocking boots.
    I know that this has absolutely nothing to do with this episode.

    • Ok, so I heard about that movie “The Secret” as I was researching this episode and got completely freaked out. That falls into the “Things I Prefer to Pretend Don’t Exist in Life” category.

      Didn’t Duchovny and Rogers date during/after that movie? I feel like I read that somewhere over the years and so made a mental note never to see it.

      • Yeah, I bought the Secret on DVD because I was so excited it was a DD movie but as soon as I saw Taylor was in it, my excitement began to disintegrate simply because of how much I disliked this XF episode. Add to that the weird incestual aspect of the movie and I was doubly disappointed. Oh well, can’t win them all!

  3. Yeah, the incest thing was weird.
    I don’t know about her and Duchovny dating but who here remembers that Mimi Rogers is Tom Cruise’s first wife? Doesn’t that just blow your mind? She’s 55 and Katie Holmes is 32. Ugh.

    • I had forgotten about that! [Read: Blocked it out] But I do remember being vaguely surprised when she showed up on TV during my obsessive Poker Tournament watching phase. The girl is good.

  4. This is the first episode that I watched while it was airing on Fox, so I tend to think fondly of it because of that. Although it doesn’t really stand out to me for any other reasons.

    I do like Lili Taylor, though. The Haunting, anyone? Classic awesomely bad horror movie.

    • I know what you mean. The first episode I ever saw during The X-Files’ actual Sunday time slot was Zero Sum (it was still a rerun though) so I have an affection for it.

      And yes! I remember seeing The Haunting when it first came out. It was a sunny day in Seattle…

  5. I love Snow’s soundtrack to this one. The repetitive, minor theme is very reminiscent of the monotony of blindness, and of the little “sight” Marty has of a gloomy prison cell. And at the very, very end…the picardy third. A change to major. Maybe she has hope and peace after all!

    His music always adds another dimension to the show…thrills the music geek in me. 🙂

  6. I so knew you were going to compare this one to Oubliette and bring up the “lost sister” thing. I liked this one, it’s not spectacular or anything, just a good solid X File.

  7. “Coincidentally, the last time The X-Files pulled the “psychic connection” bit we were watching “Oubliette”, another episode where Mulder becomes emotionally involved with a grumpy and misunderstood woman.”
    – What about the psychic connection between Mulder and John Lee Roche in “Paper Hearts”?

  8. I don’t believe Mulder thinks of Marty as a “lost sister”. He sees her as a loner like himself. He admires her strength. And I think he likes her warped sense of humor. The line: “Somewhere, Marcia Clark weeps” is my favorite.

    • I’m not trying to say that Mulder consciously “sees” her as a version of Samantha, but that because of Samantha he’s emotionally and psychologically predisposed to respond in certain ways to women who have been traumatized and/or marginalized. And, as I said, he can relate because he’s similarly socially isolated.

  9. I agree – this was a solid stand-alone episode, and I very much noticed the same thing you did – that they allowed this episode to be Mulder-centric without completely ditching Scully. I think Mulder, because of how he’s been treated professionally, given his reputation, tends to have a soft spot for the “misunderstood”. I don’t think it really has anything to do with him relating Sam to Marty – I think he just truly has a soft spot for those types and want to make sure their stories are heard, that the truth is uncovered, much as he attempts to do in his own life.

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