Vienen 8×16: How about a twenty count?


It’s been real.

“Vienen” feels like The X-Files’ version of a buddy flick, only the buddies aren’t buddies.

Mulder and Doggett started to bond slightly in “Empedolces” (8×17) but I think it’s safe to say they still irritate each other more than they understand one another. Ironically, they were psychically and emotionally closer before they ever actually knew one another back in “The Gift” (8×11).

“Vienen” is designed to bring Mulder to the place where he’s willing to give Doggett his blessing and pass the X-Files torch. Considering where the two characters are in their relationship at the beginning of the episode, that’s a long bridge to cross over. Somehow they manage it, though. More or less.

The other thing “Vienen” does is close the door on the Black Oil plot. You remember the Black Oil, the alien virus that possessed people’s bodies and minds and would sometimes use them as gestation pods for angry baby aliens. The Black Oil was supposed to be the means of alien invasion, the viral infection spreading throughout the human race until no humans remained.

That plot has already been superseded by the new, unnamed infection that threatened Mulder and transformed Billy Miles into who-knows-what in “Deadalive” (8×15), a new infection that in some ways is a rehash of the old. Again a virus is the means of invasion, except instead if it possessing humans or turning them into flesh and blood cocoons it’s physically replacing them in a way that has yet to be defined.

Really, they should have wrapped up the one plot before bringing in the next. A mere few episodes ago I was still looking for answers about the Black Oil and wondering whether that plot had died. Well it had. Bringing it back from the dead to kill it again is redundant.

Besides, we learn nothing new about it. A store of the Black Oil has been accidentally tapped into by the unsuspecting crew of an oil rig. All of them are now possessed except for a couple of genetically immune indigenous natives. (See that? The human race could have survived invasion all along.) The Black Oil is receiving instructions from the Mothership via the oil rig’s communication system. Instructions to do what, we don’t know. But in the end the drilling is forced to stop. Voila, no more Black Oil.

However, there’s nothing here to convince me that the Black Oil is now irrelevant and no longer a threat. I realize that’s what they’re telling me, but I’m not convinced. We’ve been led to believe that the Black Oil is buried all over the earth, that it beat us to the planet. It’s been found everywhere from Texas in Fight the Future to Russia in “Tunguska” (4×9). Just because this well is closed off, why does that mean it can’t bubble to the surface of the earth some place else?

And as far as its irrelevance, what I need to hear is that the aliens know that humanity has a working vaccine for the Black Oil and found the need to use a new, unstudied virus to continue with their plans for colonization. Of course, then that would make this new plan for invasion look awfully silly in the face of “Deadalive” since the new virus was already bested by not a carefully engineered vaccine but by a regular course of known antivirals. That would make it even less dangerous than the Black Oil.

“Vienen” is more of a soft afterthought of a goodbye to the Black Oil than any sort of real explanation or resolution. The Black Oil is merely a means to an end to force the old guard to recognize the new. Mulder’s era ends right along with the Black Oil and a new conspiracy, investigated by Doggett, becomes the focus of The X-Files from here on out. New virus, new man.

Mulder and Doggett never quite gel, it seems to me. But they do develop a grudging respect for one another. In the end, I’m not sure whether Mulder has real confidence in Doggett or whether he’s just tired of the whole thing and Doggett’s there and wants the job.

It’s almost hard to believe it took this long for Mulder to get fired, but he doesn’t really care that it’s happened. He’s not even sentimental over his precious X-Files. Mulder has bigger fish to fry than to fight with the F.B.I.. There’s a little uber Scully in the oven.


I have to say, just like I preferred watching Skinner and Doggett to Scully and Doggett, I was more interested in watching Mulder and Doggett spar for one episode than I’ve been in Scully and Doggett’s partnership all season. It makes me wish we’d had more opportunities for all male match ups on The X-Files. I would’ve gladly taken more Mulder and Krycek too.

But as interested as I am in the two of them, I’m not interested in the overall plot. Maybe it’s just too little too late. We haven’t seen the Black Oil since Fight the Future and the momentum has been lost.

And even the evolution of Mulder and Doggett’s relationship is a little forced and rushed. Forced because Mulder’s working hard to be himself at his most aggravating and Doggett doesn’t bother to attempt an open mind the way he did with Scully. Rushed because they can barely stand each other two scenes before Mulder shakes Doggett’s hand and walks out of the X-Files office without a second look.

The baton was passed because it needed to be, but it was little more than perfunctory.

Only three more episodes left to say goodbye to my main man. Let’s hope the remaining ones leave me feeling full and satisfied instead of like I had to leave the table after the appetizers.


Niggles and Wiggles:
As Mulder and Doggett are having their opening argument, you can see the ritual symbol from “The Gift” on the board behind Doggett. That symbol also represents their potential for understanding.

Mulder’s face as he realizes Doggett has read every X-File is hilarious.

So Doggett knows a little Spanish.

Why is the virus dead now? Is it because of the man’s immunity?

Now Doggett’s seen the Black Oil too. He’s seen a lot. Is he starting to bend yet?

My favorite part of this episode is Mulder and Scully talking on the phone, Mulder being his irreparably reckless self even knowing that Scully’s pregnant, and Scully not even in fear or anger but exasperation effectively saying, “I can’t with you right now. Put Doggett on the phone.”

What are the aliens trying to do? Are they trying to get the infected men to land so that they can infect the populace? If they are, then why do they blow the rig?

They could’ve infected Mulder and Doggett by letting the oil seep through the door.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: We got to quarantine this rig.
Scully: No Mulder, you need to get off the rig. Have Agent Doggett give the order. We can quarantine you and the crew when we get back here.
Mulder: Scully, if these men are infected the last place we want to is onshore where they can infect other people. You’re sitting on the answer right there, Scully. The body, you find the virus, you can find what knocks it out, you can find what kills it.
Scully: And what if I can’t?
Mulder: When he’s old enough… tell the kid I went down swinging.
Scully: [Exasperated] Let me talk to Agent Doggett.


Doggett: I never would have believed it. These stories about you.
Mulder: Really, what stories are those?
Doggett: That you can find a conspiracy at a church picnic.
Mulder: What church?

17 responses to “Vienen 8×16: How about a twenty count?

  1. The thing I enjoyed about this one is that I didn’t feel like any of the characters was gotten out of the way with something stupid so that they couldn’t be involved in the main story. Ideally, I would have loved Mulder and Scully working together on the rig. Her pregnancy, of course, stops that, but I just always enjoyed episodes like Ice or Darkness Falls where they were together in an isolated area fighting against something. However, I’m glad that Scully was using her science and helping Mulder and Doggett from afar. I, too, enjoyed Mulder and Doggett together as opposed to Doggett and Scully. They were entertaining. The plot was just ok, but I wasn’t really frustrated with any of the main characters in this one. The best scenes were Mulder and Scully on the phone. Those are just such classic moments.

    Here is where I have an issue, and this relates to season 9, so spoilers ahead. Ok…Mulder gets fired from the FBI and basically takes it better than I ever would have imagined. His life’s work was there and he’s just lost it and forced to pass it along to someone he doesn’t even really care for. Yet Mulder is a changed man because of the Samantha resolution and his abduction experiences and he now sees the bigger picture of his life: raising his child with Scully. Great! I like this idea. And yet this is all leading to Mulder leaving Scully and William to continue to search for the truth. Now…I get that David was leaving and Gillian was still to be a part of the show, but I want to separate this from reality for a moment. I feel like the most out of character thing that they had Mulder do was leave Scully and William. He wouldn’t do that, especially this new and improved Mulder. It just doesn’t ring true with how Mulder is behaving in these last few episodes of season 8 and especially here in this one. I guess we can all vent/discuss this when we start season 9, but I feel like it kind of relates to what we see of Mulder here. What do you think?

    • It doesn’t make sense to you because it doesn’t make sense. I read recently, I think on Cherish the past, where someone said it was inconsistent with Mulder’s character – That he would have left to protect Scully or his baby, but not to protect himself. I agree. I remember there being more to the plot than that, but the essence is the same. They needed a reason for why Mulder was gone and Scully remained. In order to make that plot work, one of the characters’ character was partially sacrificed.

      • I always wondered if Scully wasn’t the one who MADE him leave to protect him – but either way it’s a moronic plot contrivance that could have used WAY more in the way of explanation than just “Mulder is gone and he’s not coming back” or “there were threats against his life” … it’s like, come on guys, you’re WRITERS … WRITE SOMETHING that isn’t stupid and fits within the character you’ve been writing for years!

        AS for the ep – I was also cool with it cause Mulder and Doggett together will always be enjoyable (not as enjoyable as M/S, but whatcha gonna do?). This is also, for me, where the mythology just got WAY to convoluted for me to even really pay attention to anymore … something I really hope they rectify in the revival

        • I’ll have to find the quote, but Chris Carter said the mythology was too convoluted and that it would be too complicated to take it anywhere further, so he scrapped it and started over.

          I get that, but I think it wasn’t so convoluted in Season 6. It was actually pretty straightforward. There were places it could have gone. Once we got into these human replacements, it became tougher to see all the different connections.

          But I think I heard the mythology is going to be on the back burner in the revival… They’re sticking to scary stories.

          • Give me scary stories and a new mythology! From what I’ve seen in clips thus far, the revival looks way better than where we’re at right now in the series. Fingers crossed that Mulder and Scully and the fans finally get what they deserve because right now I’ve just got a headache.

            • It does look better! Isn’t that amazing?? This whole thing is a miracle.

              • Whoa there, Nellie! Haven’t you learned to lower your expectations?! Plan on headache with shippy moments and if you don’t require aspirin when learning of CSM’s miracle return, then it is a wonderful New Year’s miracle. 😀

                This “making of” trailer ( does look waaay more promising but we know that editing and fangirl highs can lead to false impressions. I can’t believe CC’s continued allusions regarding William’s parentage. NO. JUST STOP. Chris, you aren’t being coy, you are beating a dead horse needlessly b/c we all knew — and you confirmed in IWTB — he is THEIR miracle baby. *sigh*

                There appears to be a few shippy goodness scenes so it will be worthwhile in that respect. *cup half full*

              • I am excited for it and I cannot help it! I watched the X-Files Reopened special three times already and I’ve been grinning like a moron and squealing like the fangirl I am each time! I would be good with this revival just seeing Mulder with a Smart phone 😀 (Mulder has the internet at his fingertips! Jesus, help us all!)

                Thankfully it seems like he did finally realize that this show works best when it is character driven – so (SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) having the first and last eps be ‘mythology’ driven but from Mulder and then Scully’s perspectives, respectively, is a fantastic idea…let’s hope it delivers!

                I do agree with their whole still trying to make M/S relationship ambiguous – platonic for 9 years?!?!?! REALLY, CC? Did you not watch the last three years of your show? You need to stop holding onto your interpretation of the past and realize that NO ONE in the fandom shares it…

  2. “I would be good with this revival just seeing Mulder with a Smart phone 😀 (Mulder has the internet at his fingertips! Jesus, help us all!)”

    THIS! LOL!!

  3. Pingback: Season 8 Wrap Up – Can’t we just go home and start this all over again tomorrow? | Musings of an X-Phile

  4. All I got out of this episode is that Mulder is done with X-Files and had to hand over the desk to Doggett.

    I was mildly entertained but it was just “meh” for me overall. The black oil story always intrigued me but like you say…why now? Why bring it back now after a new mythology was introduced? I think this was my mythology moment where I thought ” I really don’t care anymore” Bring on more MOTW!

    I also started to dislike Mulder due to his reactions to Doggett…I’m not sure why but I think it’s because I like the character Patrick plays and he is a wounded and honorable man. I think Mulder is giving him the short end of the stick like some pissed off school boy…lol.

  5. mm, another part that didn’t really make sense for me was how the chief oil rig man randomly burned the mestizo?? like, if you’re infected with the black oil virus you suddenly have random burning powers?

    • The black oil had the ability to turn the host into a radiation weapon that would cause the most incredible burns which would kill the victim. We saw it in Piper Maru/Apocrypha, where the men on the submarine were full of radiation burns and then in Hong Kong where the woman infected with the black oil burned all the French soldiers; then back in America when Krycek, infected with it, burns the people chasing him and Mulder.

      Unfortunately, this aspect was never explored. The black oil was able to completely control a host, or leave it comatose, or turn the host into a major weapon. And yet in order to appease Fox studios when they made the movie, they made it gestate an alien inside a human host *sigh*

  6. Maybe it was just me but I found it hilarious when Garza says “los platillos, los platillos volodores!” I watched it like five times over and laughed my head off every time. It was fun to watch doggett and mulder together, I would gladly have taken a few more episodes with just the two of them.

  7. Well, Im still in the process of rewatching everthing from the beginning, and man, its been an interesting journey. I havent seen a lot of season 8 since 2001,but I did remember liking this episode a lot. I just saw it again last night- and – like most of the under-rated season 8 itself, Im liking it more and more.

    When I read back in 2000 that Robert Patrick was joining the X Team, I got excited,because T2 is practically part of my DNA- it has and always will be one of my favourite things in the world. I was rooting for Robert to be a success, and for me anyway, he gave the show the vitality,the good kick up the arse that it needed,after the shall we say, Polarising, watered down seasons 6 and 7.

    I understand Mulder’s reluctance to become sudden best mates with the chap, but this action packed firey thriller showed serious potential in what could have been, had Mulder hung around for s9.

    Whilst not exactly Riggs and Murtagh, I liked the two of ’em together in this- and they even got their own “Action Movie Moment”, with the jump-off the Oil Rig as it fireballed in the background. Again- I loved that, for all its mistakes involving the Mythology goings on, be it the William storyline or whatever, I am seriously liking season 8 for trying to “return to its roots” with serious material again.

    And as somebody who thought that Scully’s scepticism throughout seasons 6 and 7 was one of the the most unbelievable, undermining and frustrating aspects of the show at that point- it is riveting to hear her finally talk matter of factly about plausible alien existence, in conjunction with her scientific mind and workings alongside it all. Its brilliant – This is exactly what we should have seen in the Beginning of season 6.

    I too also noticed the symbol from “The Gift” on the wall in Mulders office. It actually made me realise some lost potential with Mulders time with Doggett. I would loved to have seen a scene whereby Doggett could have spoken to Mulder about his experience with the “Soul Eater”, when investigating his disappearance. It could have been seriously good dialogue there.

    • “And as somebody who thought that Scully’s scepticism throughout seasons 6 and 7 was one of the the most unbelievable, undermining and frustrating aspects of the show at that point- it is riveting to hear her finally talk matter of factly about plausible alien existence, in conjunction with her scientific mind and workings alongside it all. Its brilliant – This is exactly what we should have seen in the Beginning of season 6.”

      FOR REAL. She can still be a scientist, but during 6/7 they wrote her as willfully obtuse in her disbelief at times and it was jarring.

      “…some lost potential with Mulders time with Doggett. I would loved to have seen a scene whereby Doggett could have spoken to Mulder about his experience with the “Soul Eater”, when investigating his disappearance. It could have been seriously good dialogue there.

      Agreed. That could have been a great moment.

  8. There’s that old cliche that the x files crew love to say: ‘it’s like every week we make a mini movie”. This episode I would have to agree, it does have a cinematic feel to it. I love the fact that this is set on an oil rig and this episode was able to be made. But… It feels several years too late in terms of the mythology. This should have been set pre “Two Fathers/One Son”. The show is trying to set up a new mythology with the Super Soldiers, and then they throw this curve all. Saying that though it was great to see the black oil again as I think its really cool, and provides some great creepy scenes. It was kind of funny when Skinner goes to grab Scully to protect her from the black oil.

    Mulder’s just got back and he’s out of the FBI. He’s doesn’t seem to bothered or worried. I guess he knows he’s leaving at the end of the season.


You Know You Want To...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s