Nothing Important Happened Today 9×1: Like we got anything better to be doing these days.


NothingImportantHappenedToday63.jpg

Peek-a-boo.

I always get a funny feeling in my gut at this point in my rewatches. As it was when Season 9 first aired, so it is now. There’s a new team on the X-Files. Mulder and Scully are gone. Watching is like trying to find joy in life again after the death of a loved one.

I’ll reiterate my wish that Doggett and Reyes and gotten a completely fresh start, a new series even, out from underneath the long shadow of Mulder and Scully. To keep the metaphor going, sometimes it’s easier to hang out with a whole new group of people than try to keep the party going with the same group after one of you is gone. But some dreams can never be… unless you have your own head cannon and can discard unhappy developments at will.

I was… am… a die hard. However much I may have wished… do wish… things had played out differently for our characters, there was no way I wasn’t going to watch The X-Files to even the bitterest of bitter ends. I won’t lie, Season 9 challenged my loyalty a couple of times, but we’re still here The X-Files and I.

And I knew there were things to look forward to. It wasn’t only Mulder and Scully that I loved, though I’ll always love them best of all. There was also Skinner and the Lone Gunmen. Doggett and Reyes seemed promising to me too. Besides, as long as Scully was around there was always the possibility and expectation that Mulder would show up again sooner or later. The continual longing for Mulder being a key element of Season 9 and, in my uninformed opinion, a large part of its eventual downfall. Let me not get ahead of myself, though.

The credits have changed again and it’s bittersweet. It’s not Mulder and Scully anymore. It’s Scully and Doggett and Reyes and… Skinner?? Yeah, boy! You go get you some, Mitch Pileggi. You deserve it.

As when Mulder was missing in Season 8, 1013 instinctively knows that they’re going to have to pull out all the stops if they’re going to keep their audience’s interest without one of the pillars of the show. Chris Carter does what he does best and ramps up the dramatic action. We’ve got stunts and explosions, barenaked backs and Lucy Lawless… I’m not mad at the effort.

I’m kinda wondering when this became The SeX-Files, though. Oh, there’s nothing crazy, especially not by today’s standards. But I’m a little worried that we’ve reached the point where a show that stayed almost religiously mum on our leads’ private lives now exploits them to stay relevant… though maybe that’s been coming down the pike for a while.

She’s only been in the X-Files unit a few days and Reyes’ finds out that her old flame is now her new boss. Talk about awkward. It’d be even more awkward if he toppled down a hill yelling, “As… you…. wish!” Awkward, but delightful.

While I’m not sold on the relationship drama, I think Cary Elwes as Assistant Director Brad Follmer was a brilliant bit of casting. He brings a slick self-assurance that’s different than either Skinner or Kersh. And his motivations, other than wanting to get Reyes back in bed, are deliciously vague.

His suave manner also makes him a great foil for Doggett the straight shooter. Too bad Mulder’s not still here. I’m sure he and Doggett would have hated him together. It could have been a bonding experience.

Yet Mulder is gone, and gone a mere forty-eight hours after we last saw him basking in the glow of domestic bliss that was “Existence” (8×21). A mere forty-eight hours since he and Scully finally found their hard-earned happiness.

Personal Foul – Unnecessary Roughness – 1013 Productions.

Let them have a minute. Sheesh.

In a way, though, Mulder’s still here. Doggett’s the new Mulder. He’s quickly learning what it really means to work on the X-Files: Being hushed, discredited, and losing your evidence comes with the territory. What gets me is that neither Scully nor Skinner will just come out and tell Doggett that Mulder left because he’s in danger and to drop the investigation or he’ll be at even more risk. How hard would that be? Instead we get time consuming conversations full of cryptic innuendo that lead the plot nowhere. Say it or don’t say it, but someone stop twisting Doggett around.

Reyes is on Doggett’s side at least. Now she’s more poised and more self-possessed than we saw her in the Season 8 finale. That’s a welcome change. I enjoy watching her play Follmer in the bar even as part of me cringes at the thought of her turning into one of those characters who wins using her feminine wiles. It was a great scene, but a fine line to walk.

Verdict:

You know, I’m pretty impressed. They really pulled out all the stops with this one. Tell me the big bang of an opening teaser didn’t grab your attention.

The tone of the show is necessarily changing – more interpersonal intrigue and less impersonal conspiracy. It remains to be seen if that’s a change for the better, but I always had my doubts. Even the face of the new evil, Knowle Rohrer the Super Soldier, is super evil because he used to be Doggett’s friend. And if one old military buddy turns out to be a Super Soldier, try, try again.

But silly me, jumping ahead to the next episode and the Super Sexy Soldier that is Shannon McMahon. I must say, Lucy Lawless would have been a great addition to the cast. It’s too bad that a difficult pregnancy kept her from being able to return. But there’s always room for a Xena revival, right?

One thing I take vehement issue with is the William development, or redevelopment, to be more accurate. He was a normal baby, then he was an alien baby, then he was a super baby, then he was a normal baby… and now he’s what?

For the love of all that is Mulder and Scully, I beg you to stop this.

B

Incriminating Evidence:

How about Frohike trying to tiptoe his way up to Doggett’s peephole was just the best part of this episode.

Also, if you have time and streaming ability, The Lone Gunmen series is worth checking out. It had been canceled by this point and some references to the final episode were cleverly included here.

I used to watch Hercules and Xena on Saturdays before I’d tape reruns of The X-Files. Eventually, all fandoms converge.

Maggie Scully’s on babysitting duty. I’d expect nothing less.

I can’t get used to them all calling each other by their first names.

Pencils in the ceiling. Mulder’s ghost roams eternally.

Why do we wake up to both a half naked Doggett and a half naked Reyes? We get it. They’re sexy.

Mulder’s apartment is cleaned out. Someone stab me. It would hurt less.

You can briefly see what I believe is Mulder’s fishtank in Scully’s apartment during the scene where Maggie Scully babysits. I don’t see it in the next episode, though.

Internal Investigations:

If William is super human after all, could the Super Soldiers not detect that in “Existence” or did they leave him alive for another reason?

This again begs the question, is Scully’s baby the result of some kind of testing or the result of her union with Mulder or both?

Mulder’s going on the lam with that much luggage?

Follmer knows something about the conspiracy or else he couldn’t have slipped that information to Reyes.

Skinner was against the investigation, now he’s in on it again?

How did Follmer know where to find Doggett in Maryland?

Best Quotes:

Kersh: How’s your investigation going, John? Have you turned up any incriminating evidence on me yet?
Doggett: It’s only Monday morning, sir.

——————–

Frohike: [At front door] Collecting for the needy and unemployed. Open the door.
Doggett: [Opens door] Thanks for doing this, guys.
Byers: Yeah, like we got anything better to be doing these days.
Frohike: Just to let you know, we may need to get you up for some coin.

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19 responses to “Nothing Important Happened Today 9×1: Like we got anything better to be doing these days.

  1. The lazy writing of conspiracies (the William debacle and the unexciting low-profile of Mulder as you mentioned, just for starters) brings this season down for me, along with weepy Scully. That’s too bad because there are good things as well. I do likes Reyes and agree the show could have gone on, even without M&S. Just don’t get me started on super soldiers.

    • It’s just… sigh. I mean, there are things wrong with the situation the show finds itself in now that have been slowly going wrong for years. The truth is, The X-Files shouldn’t still be here. It hit the end of its natural lifespan at the end of Season 7 and, frankly, Season 7 wasn’t what it should have been. The unfocused mythology and the increasingly soap operish relationships have been building to this point. Scully’s characterization is never the same after Season 7. Well, she briefly acts like herself in “Roadrunners” and in a few brief moments with Mulder.

      Anywho, let me stop. But I agree. There were still places the show could have gone but instead the river of trouble was swelling and rushing downhill.

      • Yes, M&S had slowly descended into soap-land. This is probably why I enjoy the Reyes eccentric episodes more, even with the slightly forced new-aged persona.

        Roadrunners was sick!

        • I don’t think they fully descended into soap territory until “Trust No 1”, but we’ll get there. Oh, we’ll get there.

          All the pushing and pulling them apart, the “who’s the daddy?” “he’s the daddy!” drama wore thin and became too much of a focus. They should have just let them be. They’re together. It’s okay. No need to make it a melodrama.

          • Totally, and it’s not like the show hadn’t dealt well with bizarre personal problems before. Just think “Emily” in s.5. Not that that episode wrapped things up 100% satisfactorily, but still, wrapping there was and in one episode (or was it a two-parter?).

            • Though they did drop that plot like a hot potato. Scully’s daughter was never spoken of again. No, not even with all this new fertility drama.

              (It was a two-parter.)

  2. I’m gonna re-watch this right after I finish writing this. As for my memory, I love Lucy Lawless in this and I wish she could have been in it longer, but really …..this was the beginning of the end. Season 9 was for Philes the equivalent of living on the moon and watching the whole planet go up in flames and being impotent to anything about it (we’ll get to my righteous fury regarding the Lone Gunmen later.) No matter what, by this point we were living in a post 9-11 world and US/ Global government conspiracies were no longer en vogue and the whole s*** house is goin’ up in flames.

    With this re-watch I’m gonna try to free myself of all ties that I can. Stone Free Files. That being said I’ll probably be cursing the wind and the rain tonight.

    • THE LONE GUNMEN.

      That’s all for now.

      But while I’ve heard that The X-Files was in the wrong place post-9/11, and looking back it was, I think that’s a hindsight excuse. The truth is, they were filming a lackluster Season 9 before 9/11 happened. Television was already moving on to a new format and new styles of acting and production – The Sopranos was already upon us.

      The world wasn’t instantly sick of conspiracy theory, there just wasn’t a conspiracy worth watching here. 24 would come in the middle of a post-9/11 world and still provide loads of government conspiracy.

  3. R.I.P. Kim Manners. TENSION. This was better than I remembered. It still bugs me that we just gotta forget about Mulder. He’s just gone and we gotta deal with it. I’ll tell ya what though, when Doggett started poring over his past for clues I felt like Doggett and I need to pull pictures off the wall and wonder what the hell happened. How’d I get here? Does he have a glass of whiskey, cause I do. I’m suckin down nicotine lozenges like Lucy Lawless sucks guys in the water to their death.

    Like years previous I’m pacing around the wondering what;s gonna happen next episode. Kim Manners keeping me in the game with an escape through a labyrinth that doesn’t work as planned and Doggett perhaps becomes another lozenge.

    Scully sleeps in her clothes and William has the Force. We are still playing off the fuzzy notion that Reyes is psychic or maybe just some kinda empath ’cause she knows everything going on with Scully (but can’t read her ex so specific).

    One major thing for me was Kirsh. Knowing how this all plays out…I saw his response to the Dread Pirate Butthead in a different light. I dig that and hope it keeps going for the rest of the season.

    As a side note this was the most depressing title to a season opener of the last season of show ever. Long Live The Files!

    • This show owed so much to Kim Manner’s direction. Really. His famous two-shots of Mulder and Scully are part of what helped shape that classic connection.

      That’s it! Reyes is empathic. That completely explains her character.

      The title is oddly prophetic.

  4. Confession time: I’ve never watched season 9. In my first watch of the series, I was so angry about what happened in season 8 that by the time I watched this episode I just couldn’t bring myself to continue. So I jumped straight to The Truth and IWTB and called it a day. This time around I promised myself that I would go in with less anger and just do it. This shall be the first and last time I watch this season. Bring it on.

    Anyway, the positives: I like Reyes more in this episode. I found her annoying in season 8, but she seems more normal and grounded here…less of a weird, new age-y parody.

    Skinner being involved in the action is always welcome. He and Doggett work well together and hopefully they continue to take advantage of that.

    The Lone Gunman and Maggie Scully! I just love all of them so much. Although I have the same complaint: I wish Maggie and Scully had a heart to heart about everything. But Scully is a side character now and we can’t delve too deeply into her brain anymore.

    Lucy Lawless. Enough said.

    Things that made me want to scream: Mulder leaving. So out of character and stupid. If they had to go that route instead of just letting Mulder and Scully live out their happy lives in peace, I wish Scully and William just left with him. We don’t even get a good explanation here about why. There comes a point when it becomes too much secrecy and not enough good, straight answers. We’ve reached that point.

    Mulder leaving 48 hours after the end of season 8. Really?? This is even worse than Mulder being “dead” for three months.

    William and his magical powers. Oh god, why???? Once again, why focus on this? They shouldn’t have focused on the pregnancy to the epic proportions that they did and now William in the flesh will be receiving the same treatment. No. This isn’t going to end well and I’m dreading having to watch it. You know, if Mulder stuck around for more than two days, he might have seen that his son had special powers. Maybe he was too busy packing his 10 giant suitcases to notice.

    Completely off topic question: I’ve always kind of wanted to watch Xena. In your opinion, is it worth it?

    • Okay, when you say “Bring it on” like that I totally envision Mulder in “Arcadia”.

      I’m still not sure how I feel about Reyes’ evolving personality. It needs to evolve and I love to see strong female figures on my television screen. But I also found her childlike quality endearing as supposed to Mulder’s abrasiveness and Scully’s aloofness. Her new age “vibes” as they stood, though, can’t stand. We needed something more from her. Now we know she’s also clever.

      I think the cast is great. All of them. I suspect they’re a large part of why Chris Carter kept the show going as long as he did. But there are also too many of them at this point. It’s hard to keep track of the conversations and who knows what.

      And… I know this is probably blasphemous… but Scully’s wide-eyed, weighty reactions to every sentence are getting old. We’re starting to see the full effects of where the William plot has taken her character. And with all this drama around him and Mulder gone again, she can’t even enjoy her baby!

      And Xena. I haven’t watched it since it went off the air but while I’d say it’s worth it, I remember being annoyed in later seasons that they seemed to be writing to the wish fulfillment of a very vocal fanbase. It was a fun show, though. As was Hercules. A lot of camp. One of these days I plan to watch them again.

    • Are you me?

  5. Pingback: Nothing Important Happened Today II 9×2: I’ve had my fair share of outrageous conspiracy theories. | Musings of an X-Phile

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  8. Something that bothered me most about Mulder just disappearing is that it seems beyond random. Why is he in more danger now than he was ever before?? Someone explain this to me??

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