Closure 7×11: I guess I just want it to be over.


x-files-265

Don’t look any further.

I want to believe so badly, in a truth beyond our own, hidden and obscured from all but the most sensitive eyes, in the endless procession of souls, in what cannot and will not be destroyed.

Sure, I’ve skipped the more annoying parts of this voiceover. But if there’s anything an X-Files voiceover does, besides aggravate us with misplaced poeticism, is it gives us a shortcut to the heart of the matter. And this one picks us up emotionally, thematically and chronologically where “Sein Und Zeit” (7×10) dropped us off. The kids are dead, but the kids are alright. We don’t have proof of it, but we want to believe it. We know we should believe it.

I won’t bore you with a rehash of the discussion of being, death, life and walk-ins that was the “Sein Und Zeit” review. That was then. This is Samantha.

The search for Samantha has been the bedrock, the backbone of the show. Even Mulder’s search for the truth of alien life was fueled by memories of his sister’s abduction and his desire to find her or at least find out what happened to her.

Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Mulder hardly mentions Samantha anymore. He’s mostly moved on. Oh sure, she comes up as a token topic of conversation every mythology two-parter. But if you’ll cast your mind back to “The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati” (7×4), you’ll remember that even during Mulder’s famous dream sequence, when he imagines his life through a Leave it to Beaver lens and is reunited with his long-lost sister, their reunion lasts one scene. That’s it. “Hey! Luv ya, how ya doin’?” And it’s over. He spends almost no time on her mentally.

I see three main reasons for the growing lack of interest in Samantha:

  1. Hearing about her without making any real progress toward seeing her gets old after a while.
  2. Scully has taken her place emotionally, insofar as Mulder has found the family that he was missing and that Samantha’s abduction destroyed. Way back in “End Game” (2×17) we saw that Mulder was willing to trade the woman he then thought was Samantha for Scully. And in “Redux II” (5×3) we found out that the deepest desire of his heart was not to be reunited to his sister, to find out what happened to her, or to know the truth of alien life. It was to find a cure for Scully’s cancer. Mulder still misses Samantha, of course, but he’s lost the urgency of loneliness.
  3. We really already know what happened to Samantha. We just don’t know what happened after that.

Chris Carter was right to finally give us the last word on Samantha. Like Cigarette-Smoking Man says, “There was so much to protect before. It’s all gone now.” I know Carter wanted to take people by surprise by presenting this story in the middle of the season rather than waiting till the end for the traditional mythology finale. Considering where the series ends up going, and the mythology ends up going, and David Duchovny ends up going, it likely wouldn’t have been possible to give Samantha her proper treatment come season end. And we needed, we needed some emotion from Mulder at this point. Some people say David Duchovny was phoning it in this season. I say there wasn’t much else for him to do. After all, what’s driving Mulder? What’s pushing him? What’s pulling him?

Samantha’s storyline needed an end and we got one. Good. Yet, I still have mixed feelings about the way it went down. Overall, this episode was very well done. Some eye-rolling over the concept of the walk-ins and over the melodramatic language in the teaser aside, this and its predecessor are the most emotionally compelling episodes we’ve had in a long time. However, after all the ups and downs we’ve been through over Samantha… seeing her as a clone (Colony), a drone (Herrenvolk), and even an unknown (Redux II), the repressed memories (Conduit), the new and improved repressed memories (Demons), the strong hints that she’s alive out there somewhere (every frickin’ season)… to have it all end so matter-of-factly, to say that she just disappeared one day into the starlight, feels anticlimactic. And to effectively say all hope was lost long ago, before you ever started watching and wishing, is a bit of a let down.

Ah, Samantha, we never knew ye. You were abducted one night by the Alien Colonists, taken to ensure your father’s cooperation in the plot to take over the human race. Then you were returned and handed over to the Cigarette-Smoking Man, subjected to a series of experiments to try to turn you into an alien-human hybrid because, of course, the Syndicate betrayed the Colonists by trying to create a hybrid race that could withstand takeover by the Black Oil. You suffered for two years, then like the biblical Enoch, you were not, for God took you.

It was over before it had begun.

Mulder’s entire family is officially dead. Ponder that, if you will.

Mulder, for all his grief, or maybe because of it, is more himself than he’s been in a while. He’s sneaking into air force bases again, he’s following his instincts no matter how irrational, and he’s hanging up on Scully like he’s got a bad cell phone plan. He’s irritating. He’s classic. He even drops a flirt in the middle of a seance to find his sister.

Scully: Oh, yay. A seance. I haven’t done that since high school.

Mulder: Maybe afterwards we can play postman and spin the bottle.

How does he drop a gem like that at a seance to find his sister and say it that way? The inappropriateness. The melts. The rewinds. Oh, Mulder. Why do you make me love you so much more after I hate you?

Samantha may be gone but Mulder’s here. God is in His heaven, all’s right with the world.

Verdict:

Dear David Duchovny,

I’m so glad you exist.

A-

Lack of Closure:

It’s never directly stated, but some of Mulder’s speculations in “Sein Und Zeit” had to have been wrong. Teena Mulder probably didn’t have a vision of her daughter dead and never wrote a note. Nurse Ray saw her dead because she was with her and there probably was no note, since Samantha’s death turns out to have had nothing to do with Ed Trulove, the serial killer discovered in the previous episode. It’s only the walk-in connection that ties Samantha to Amber Lynn. Probably Teena Mulder saw a vision of her daughter in starlight at some point afterward and realized she was dead, she just didn’t have the heart to tell Mulder.

But if that’s the case, will someone please explain “Colony” to me? Because that Teena Mulder had no idea her daughter was dead.

At the very end, when Nurse Ray confirms to Scully that Samantha disappeared from the hospital mysteriously, every time I think to myself, “How did we get here? How did we get from walk-ins to Samantha to murder to Samantha and back to walk-ins again?” Every time.

For reals, though. Mulder finds this case that matches another unsolved case. The mother from the first case explains to him about walk-ins. His mother kills herself, probably unrelated to any of this directly. Mulder assumes that his mother must have known about the walk-ins and that his sister is one of them. Then he thinks his sister has been murdered by a serial killer. A random psychic comes and tells him Samantha has been taken by the walk-ins after all. Mulder develops a new theory that Samantha was abducted by aliens, but was returned afterwards to CSM who raised her for a period – true. He also believes she wasn’t taken by walk-ins and is alive somewhere – false. And then, boom. She’s in starlight after all. The story comes full circle but it isn’t the easiest to follow.

The diary idea seems an almost too convenient way to have Samantha speak to Mulder from beyond the grave. But it’s a touching scene nonetheless. Scully’s compassionate reaction to Mulder’s grief is perfect. She doesn’t drop stilted wisdom. She doesn’t try to talk him out of being sad. She’s just doesn’t let him grieve alone.

Who is this Agent Lewis Schoniger that Scully consults with about Mulder’s recovered memories? And why do I have to go to the credits to get his name?

David Duchovny’s 1989 Wig. It should get its own special.

That scene with Scully and CSM – we don’t get enough of those. Apparently, William B. Davis agreed, because soon he’ll give us “En Ami” (7×15). Meanwhile, a juicy little tidbit is embedded in that brief conversation: CSM is sick. In fact, I’d be willing to bet Chris Carter brought him physically to Scully just so we could know that.

Back to the serial killings, was Ed Trulove ever in Idaho? Because if not, he didn’t kill the boy in Mulder’s original X-File about the walk-ins and the mother writing a note referencing Santa Clause doesn’t make sense.

It looks like it isn’t just the walk-ins and the souls they help that live in starlight. All dead people do.

It’s very cool to see Anthony Heald from Silence of the Lambs, even if psychic Harold Piller is so annoying even Mulder almost throws him out.

Scully’s wearing a leather jacket.

There’s this great moment in the diner after Mulder calls out Harold for hiding information only to be persuaded by his words yet again. The expression on Mulder’s face says, “Well, Scully? Can I go with him? Can I?”

Jeffrey Spender spent at least a couple of years of his childhood raised alongside Samantha Mulder by CSM. How did Spender not ever mention this? That’s a pretty significant piece of information we learned this episode. A piece of information I don’t believe ever becomes relevant again.

As Mulder sleeps, Planet of the Apes plays in the background and we hear, “Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find.” This echoes what Scully said to Mulder in the previous episode. “Don’t go looking for something you don’t want to find.”

Oh, how I had Moby’s Play album on repeat back in the day and his music here is perfect. The vibe actually reminds me a lot of the aesthetic composer Mark Snow has already established for the show.

So that moment in the seance makes me wonder if Mulder and Scully are already sleeping together. But we’ll get to that.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: I have this powerful feeling, and I can’t explain it, that this is the end of the road. That I’ve been brought here to learn the truth.” {Editor’s Note: Just in case the audience was tempted to think otherwise.}

 

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23 responses to “Closure 7×11: I guess I just want it to be over.

  1. Thank you

  2. I think the reason I’ve grown to like “Sein und Zeit” and “Closure” more is that once the initial disappointment towards the underwhelming conclusion wears off, you realize that there wasn’t really any satisfying way they could have closed Samantha’s story. I think you’re exactly right – Scully has replaced Samantha emotionally for Mulder, and it’s difficult to see Mulder being able to sustain such immense devotion for both of them, particularly since Mulder and Scully are likely lovers by this point (or at the very least, are in love) and we don’t know enough about Samantha to be invested in her story any more.

    The placement of these two episodes is kind of awkward, since Season 7 has been pretty light so far and it’s followed by the super serious (heh) episode “X-Cops.” But, as I always like to say to those who are bothered by how light S7 is, plenty of darkness and misery is coming our way with the season finale. It’s like CC realized the season was out of balance with all the lightness, so he decided to rip our hearts out on the last one to make it level.

    • I think maybe that’s the reason most episodes seem to get better with time and not worse. The worst has already happened. Expectations are gone. Now it’s possible to appreciate these episodes for what they are instead of what we hoped they’d be. Well, except for The Field Where I Died. There’s no getting over that.

      Like junky said after the last review, false Samantha sightings have actually been more exciting (fulfilling?) than these two episodes were. I’m not sure if there was ever a way, at least given time constraints and expectations of the series’ end, that they could ever have resolved that storyline in a way that wouldn’t have felt like at least somewhat of a letdown. The audience had been waiting for so long…

      It’s funny, but “light” in Season 7 feels different from the “light” in Seasons 5 & 6, even though they weren’t super serious either. That’s no excuse for Chris Carter’s coming sadism, however. *raises shaky fist* Blast it all!

  3. I remember on my first watch through of the series (which was three years ago so I did have a general idea of what was going to happen), I felt so disappointed. That’s it? All the talk and build up of Samantha for seven years and this is how it ends? For all of Mulder’s searching, Scully is so easily able to procure documents about her investigation being called off that he never saw? And that’s not even what Samantha looks like! She has curly hair!!

    But now, this rewatch has made me appreciate this and other moments much more. Season 7 as a whole is now pretty great to me since I know (and dread) what comes next.

    So I’ll take this straight haired Samantha (she actually looks most like the vision of Samantha Mulder had in Miracle Man) and walk ins and starlight and be happy Mulder feels free. And that end scene of Mulder hugging Samantha and smiling gets me every damn time.

    • LOL!! I missed the old Samantha too! In their defense, though, the young Samantha that we saw in Seasons 2-4 would have been too old by this point. Also, I’m pretty sure she was a Canadian actress and I believe there are child labor laws that would have restricted the production from flying her all the way down to L.A. which would probably have been considered “work.”

      It’s kinda hard to separate my natural disappointment as a fan from objectively grading the episode on its own merits. I tried.

      Mulder’s free. Like you said, that’s what matters most.

      • Maybe they upcast her by age originally, making her too old (because puberty’s a *****) but I find it interesting to note that the time that had passed between Samantha’s abduction by aliens and her abduction by starlight in this episode was six years. The time that had elapsed between the pilot episode and this season 7 episode was (roughly, give or take a year) six years. So I’m not sure I buy the “too old” argument. (Anyway, if you buy Samantha in Herrenvolk and Paper Hearts being the same age as she was in Little Green Men, then that’s only about three years older in this episode than you’ve seen her before, as opposed to six). Frankly, I thought it would have been interesting to see the same actress again appropriately aged. But your child labor laws explanation is a lot more plausible, if you ask me.

        • Ok, now I’m thinking…

          Vanessa Morley, the version of Samantha I think we all know and love, first showed up in Little Green Men which was 1994. Closure was 2000. So you’re right, that’s 6 years.

          Samantha was abducted at 8, returned at 12 (wasn’t it?), and disappeared at 14.

          So, you’re right. Assuming Vanessa Morley was about Samantha’s age at the age of her abduction, she should still be good to go timeline wise. She was looking a little old to play Samantha in Season 4, but that’s probably because she was still playing age 8 in flashback episodes like Demons.

          It would have to be child labor laws, then, or unavailability. She did show up uncredited in I Want to Believe, though. Which is kinda cool.

          • An extra thought:

            That would make their timelines so exact, in fact, that you have to wonder if they didn’t design it that way so that they *could* bring back Vanessa Morley and then found out they were unable to do so.

  4. Ah, it’s so nice to have you back putting down all of these thoughts so elequently! That’s exactly how I felt about this episode. Nailed it.

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  7. The episode placement was problematic. At the end of the season would have been more fitting, that is if it wasn’t for another surprise abduction.

    This conclusion to the last episode, as well as the whole Samantha saga pretty much sucked for me though. Felt like it was trying to be sad and resolute simultaneously. Showing Mulder get to grips with the truth and the loss after the fact, a few episodes later, I think would have felt far more human. The bad-Santa and walk-ins felt too cobbled together too; the link wasn’t satisfying for me. I of course will re-watch this after such a long time and perhaps will have changed some of my views; but for now, this offered no true sense of closure for me. As far as I’m concerned, Samantha is still out there, along with the truth.

    Now if only a walk-in would have saved me from the episode.

    • The bad-Santa and walk-ins felt too cobbled together too

      Top it all off with the Samantha element and I think that’s why I’m always left wondering how we got here by the end of these two episodes.

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  10. So I started watching The X Files for the first time a little over a month ago…and safe to say I’m absolutely obsessed. I’ve always been one to like to talk through things I watch and read others opinions so I remember after watching 4×15 I needed to read something about it because I was so emotional and your blog came up first when I Googled “Scully’s letter to Mulder”..I think that says everything about my opinion on MSR too haha.

    It’s been so fun to read your posts after I watch any episode! I always watch one, read your review, and then go on to the next! I’ve been silently reading because I thought this blog was all from a couple years ago but then I realized it was pretty much in real time so I’ve decided to finally comment! Hi!!! ANyway, I really liked this episode simply because even if it didn’t make a ton of plot sense or had an awesome build up, I felt emotionally satisfied. Maybe it’s because I’m a virgin to all things X Files and I have no idea what’s coming, but I even cried like a baby when Mulder goes and sees his starlight sister!! I in sense had “Closure”, at least emotionally, and I think Mulder does too.

    Sorry that was long! Just wanted to make myself known! I love your reviews and am excited to keep reading as I work my way through the rest of the show and onto season 10!

    • Well, I’m so glad you *did* finally comment! Hi!!! And thank you so much!

      That wasn’t long at all, BTW. I’ve read treatises shorter than the way we discuss around here. But if you’re emotionally satisfied, you’re not wrong. There’s really nothing else coming as far as Samantha goes. So if you’ve eaten and are full, stay that way.

  11. Just finished watching Closure and the previous episode and I’m glad I came here to read your review. I found myself somewhat confused at what the heck I just watched. I got the jist of how and why Samantha died. Why she was sacrificed originally, experimented on to make her a hybrid and then….changed into starlight. It was the all the stuff in-between that made it less opaque for me. The mother’s death, the serial killer etc.

    I felt that some of it was just filler to flesh out a story long enough find the ending we got.

    What impressed me was the acting by DD. The atmosphere and cinematography. Things got serious in a big way and I was ready for a change of pace at this point in the season.

    What I can tell you is that these two episodes were much better than 2/3 of the 6 episode revival that just finished airing yesterday…I am anxiously waiting for your reviews on the last two.

    • It really was merely fluff and filler, which is why it’s so hard to follow. The storyline(s), I’m not in love with. But at least it feels like the show shook itself awake. I could just be projecting, but it felt like DD was itching to have real emotions to act again.

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  13. This has always been a difficult two-parter for me to properly assess. On one hand, it was a dissatisfying conclusion to Samantha Mulder’s plotline. On the other hand, it was pulled off better than it had any right to be.

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