Chimera 7×16: You and me got more in common than you know.


Chimera131

‘But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.

‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’

‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.

‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’

Ah, suburbia. Where happy little families live happy, normal little lives.

Unless they’re on The X-Files in which case unhappiness is bound to find them. And if they won’t admit it’s found them, someone might just go mad. Or grow feathers. It’s a toss up, really.

Take Ellen Adderly, whose pent up anger has turned her quite mad. She’s so upset that her Norman Rockwell life is falling apart that her dissociative rage has manifested as a split personality disorder. When she’s not Susie Homemaker, she transforms into a… a what? A crow monster? Is that even a thing?

Let me preface my complaint by saying I quite like this episode. In fact, I like it so much I’ve surprised myself. I remembered enjoying it originally, but the details were fuzzy so I got to relive it, not quite from scratch, but with eyes ready to observe. I consider that a plus since, up until recently, there were no new X-Files forthcoming and, inevitably, there will always be a finite number of them. Anything akin to a newish watch is appreciated by me.

But this otherwise classically trained Monster of the Week episode has a few weaknesses, the main one being that the monster isn’t scary in the least. The second is that despite attempts to distract the audience, the answer to the mystery is fairly obvious within the first ten minutes of the show. Sure, the teaser makes it look like we’re in for an X-Files/Mean Girls crossover, but no one believes that the working class Jenny Uphouse is the killer. That would be too easy. The next suspect in line is Ellen Adderly, since she’s the only adult the monster appears to who doesn’t wind up dead.

The third weakness is that the monster feels familiar. We’ve seen something similar in “Arcadia” (6×13), another episode that exposes the seamy underbelly of suburbia. Though there, the homeowners collectively created a monster through their out of control desire for perfection. I’m also reminded of “The Walk” (3×7), even though there Leonard Trimble uses astral projection to psychically take vengeance on his enemies when he’s physically unable to.

So, the monster doesn’t excite me. Then again, neither did The Flukeman.

What does excite me is that, like with “Theef” (7×14), I get a vintage X-Files vibe from this episode. I’m happy to report that the weather is dreary and atmospheric. Not that they could have planned that, but it looks like rainy season in Southern California was working to the production’s advantage. The story, maybe by virtue of feeling familiar, comes across as something that would have fit well in Season 3 or 4. Also like the old days, it manages to be quite humorous without ever feeling “light.” (You know I love “light,” but they can’t all be like that.)

The interactions between Mulder and Scully over the phone are priceless. Over fifteen years after first seeing it I was still laughing aloud. I’m surprised I don’t see this episode quoted more often, especially considering how ship-heavy the fandom is. We haven’t had a game of Telephone this good since “Chinga” (5×10)!

Seeing Scully stuck in squalor while Mulder lives it up in Leave It To Beaver land, eating gourmet meals and having his shirts pressed, is a hoot. And we all enjoyed Mulder admitting that he has an atypical “significant other,” right? Because he doesn’t have a significant other, he has a Scully. But since round about Season 2 or 3, the depth of their relationship has basically precluded any other significant others for either of them. “Not in the widely understood definition of the term” is right. Then again, if that’s the case, then it would seem to contradict the upcoming “all things” (7×17), but we’ll get to that.

Verdict:

Just because there are roses in the garden doesn’t mean crazy isn’t in bloom. They’re all crazy in this town. They’re mad to think that they can live phony lives and get away with it.

That Sheriff especially must’ve been crazy to try to juggle three women at once. I’m surprised he made it to the end of the episode alive. Or maybe he’s supposed to live with the knowledge that his behavior triggered all this death and mayhem. Ellen had to break every mirror in sight to avoid seeing who she really was. What did he have to do?

All in all, a good solid offering and the best writer David Amann has given us so far.

B+

Crow’s Feet:

In which Mulder gets beaten up by a girl.

If you wanted a divorce, Sheriff, why did you impregnate Ellen so she could “lock you up good?” She didn’t get pregnant on her own, you know.

What’s with The X-Files and mirrored ceilings?

It turns out that Gina Mastrogiocomo, who plays Jenny, died in 2001 and this was her final performance. That made me sad! She was in Goodfellas and that’s one of my favorite movies.

Best Quotes:

Scully: Well, I hope we catch her so she can tell us… before I have to spend another night here. You know, Mulder, I don’t know about you but I find this all very depressing, this round-the-clock exposure to the seamy underbelly.

Mulder: That’s the job, Scully: vigilance in the face of privation, the sheer will that it takes to sit in this crappy room spying on the dregs of society until our suspect surfaces. There’s something ennobling in that.

[Mulder’s phone rings]

Mulder: [On phone] Mulder. Now? All right. [To Scully] I got to go. [Leaves]

Scully: [In disbelief] Mulder…?

———————–

Mulder: [On phone] Well, she’ll come, you know? It’s just a matter of time. She’ll show up. I’m sure of that.

Scully: [On phone] Yeah, well not before I die of malnutrition. [Disgustedly picks up and drops a gross-looking slice of pizza]

Mulder: [On phone] Hey, Scully, tough it out. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

[Ellen Adderly goes to dress up Mulder’s plate of gourmet food with the fixings]

Mulder: [To Ellen] No, no, no, no. No capers, thank you.

Scully: [On phone] I’m sorry, what?

Mulder: [On phone] I said, “What a… what a crazy caper.” I’ll talk to you later and, uh, keep warm. Bye.

———————–

Mulder: [On phone] Mulder.

Scully: [On phone] Mulder, when you find me dead, my desiccated corpse propped up staring lifelessly through the telescope at drunken frat boys peeing and vomiting into the gutter, just know that my last thoughts were of you… and how I’d like to kill you.

Mulder: [On phone] I’m sorry, who is this?

———————–

Ellen: Do you have a … a significant other?

Mulder: Um, not in the widely understood definition of that term.

———————–

Mulder: So you were having an affair with both Jenny and Martha Crittendon?

Sheriff Adderly: [Nods]

Mulder: I got to hand it to you, Sheriff. You put the service back into “protect and serve.”

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11 responses to “Chimera 7×16: You and me got more in common than you know.

  1. I recall this one being hokey and weak and liking it somewhat. Scully on the steakout was priceless, she’s a real whiner.

    • I think the funny parts were so funny that they bumped it up a little. It’s not a classic, but it makes me feel a little nostalgic. Somehow, I still find it more entertaining that the string of episodes that came at the beginning of the season. The plot was a bit easy to predict, though.

  2. Do you know specifically why this episode is called Chimera? I always thought is was a mythological creature, as in an animal. According to Wikipedia, it is a lion with a goat head sticking out of its back. The lion is a female, but it has a mane. That’s the only relation I can see since in this episode the monster looked like a crazy cave man. Is it just referring to her two different sides/personalities?

    I always forget about this episode and it was kind of like watching a new one because I completely forgot the plot. As you pointed out, the highlights are all the M & S conversations. I just love them.

    • Here’s what I get from Webster’s:

      Chimera : a monster from Greek mythology that breathes fire and has a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a snake’s tail

      : something that exists only in the imagination and is not possible in reality

      Full Definition of CHIMERA

      1
      a capitalized : a fire-breathing she-monster in Greek mythology having a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail
      b : an imaginary monster compounded of incongruous parts
      2
      : an illusion or fabrication of the mind; especially : an unrealizable dream
      3
      : an individual, organ, or part consisting of tissues of diverse genetic constitution

    • In other words, it’s probably related to Chimeras being female, a chimera being a fantasy or illusion, and a chimera being made of disparate elements or possessing a duality.

      That’s what I’m assuming, anyway. It doesn’t appear to have a 1 to 1 relationship with the episode.

      • Thanks for looking that up! Yeah, I guess that basically makes sense. More loosely based on the idea of a chimera and not the actual beast.

  3. I’d forgotten that I watched this episode when it originally aired, then I remembered the stake out scene at the beginning when Mulder up and walks out on Scully with no explanation. Jerk move, me thinks. I’m always uber bummed out in the “phone tag” episodes because I live my X Files life to see them exchange glances and to touch each other’s hair/hands/foreheads. Their phone not-sex is not fulfilling for me 😦

    An FBI agent stays at a total stranger’s house during the course of an investigation that indirectly involves the family b/c the wife is the bff of the deceased? Local law enforcement takes the key b/c they will have access to better physical access/keyed entry tools and databases than the FBI? I don’t know why I can buy aliens and Flukie yet these mundane logic faults irritate the dickens out of me. (I have the same weird suspension of belief issue with Walking Dead, I’m down with zombies but don’t tell me the CDC in Atlanta has a ginormous ultra modern in case of the end of the world secret underground facility at their headquarters. That indicates far too much gubment planning and foresight.)

    I want M&S in the same blasted room in the next epi- ooooh, “all things” where it all comes down to the teaser. On to the re-watch…

    • In defense of Mulder as house guest, I actually his staying with them had more to do with it being the Sheriff’s family than anything. And if the key is to something local, the local Sheriff can probably run down the lead faster. That’s what I assumed, that is.

      It’s true, M&S chemistry in the same room is off the charts. I dunno, though. Sometimes when they’re separated they up their game.

      And I never bought that part of The Walking Dead’s first season storyline either. Once you bring too much of the real world into it, it has to be real.

  4. Jonathan Mastrojohn

    A Chimera in genetic science is an organism having unique traits from 2 distinct creatures. Side note: there’s a S5 episode of NCIS also called “Chimera” where they come across an abandoned ghost ship. It reads a bit like Død Kalm, Ice, and Firewalker. And a couple episodes prior is an episode called “Ex-File” where they drop X-Files Easter eggs galore. I think there’s another title that season called “Requiem.” There’s definitely some title influence on that show.

    • I’ve never watched NCIS! I’m glad to hear they have fans on staff. It shows they have excellent taste.

      We have another episode coming up in the same family as “Ice” et al: “Medusa”. Finally. I’ve missed that genre.

  5. Well, I was frightened!! 🙂

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