Founder’s Mutation 10×5: You don’t like cats?


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All right. There were a lot of feelings to sort through for this one. I’m still not sure I’ve sorted them through completely. I’m not sure I ever will.

I was thoroughly bummed out at the end of this episode. And, no. I don’t mean that I was an emotional wreck grieving the plight of Mulder and Scully. I mean I was disappointed, out of joint, and incurably grumpy.

I realize that doesn’t make sense on the surface, especially since the storytelling has undeniably improved this week. “My Struggle” (1×01) was an aging crackpot of an episode, talking loud and fast, writhing in labor and giving birth to wind. But it was a familiar wind, so supersized shenanigans though it was, I couldn’t help but feel the daffy draft as a gentle breeze, cerulean blue style. Yep. Chris Carter put the whammy on me.

The truth is, though, that I never held out much expectation for the premiere to begin with. Most of the bad habits The X-Files ever had were connected to the mythology, and those habits manifested in increasing frequency and strength the longer the show went on. The mythology was epic in its heyday, but it self destructed somewhere in Season 6 and, unlike Mulder, it never made it back from the grave. Nothing could be worse than the mythology of Season 9 and the nosedive nadir of “Provenance” (9×10) and “Providence” (9×11). If my obsession could survive those, it could survive anything.

I was always more of a Monster of the Week gal, anyway. So who cares, right? But what I didn’t realize was that while I had steeled myself against disappointment in terms of the overall six episode storyline, there were still hidden hopes that I didn’t know I had. Those hopes, as always, centered around Mulder and Scully.

Things start out well enough. Better than well, even. There are little things, like the acting and direction around Mulder and Scully being distinctly of a modern style, for better and worse. Some things can’t be helped and when it comes to acting especially, times have changed – Ironically, they’ve changed largely because of the influence of The X-Files and other shows born in that era. I certainly didn’t expect things to be exactly the same and in fact am rooting for the show to evolve. No, we were still good.

Then we get a few cracks about just how 90’s Mulder and Scully are and it’s sorta cute. Okay. And then the show reverses its position and tries to prove that we’re not in the 90’s anymore, Toto. I get it. You can stop namedropping current events. You’re relevant. I know.

Like I said. Little things. Things that didn’t really bother me in and of themselves, just things I noticed. What mattered was that Mulder and Scully were back in my life calmly discussing theoretical science while a cadaver chilled in the background. YES.

The cherry on top was Mulder breaking the rules and stealing evidence. “Rebel.” It was almost like old times. Almost. It was somewhat disguised by the chaos of urgency and exposition in “My Struggle”. But now I’m sure: Something’s missing between Mulder and Scully.

I know, I know. It’s William, you say. Their grief over William has come between them and there’s some tension what with the breakup, that’s all. The distance is supposed to be there!

Maybe that’s what I’m meant to be seeing, I don’t know. But this doesn’t read as tension to me. Tension is not disconnect. There was tension in “My Struggle”, but at the same time there wasn’t this distance between them. There was tension between Mulder and Scully loads of times in the series proper, and sometimes they were going in polar opposite directions personally and emotionally. Yet they were always connected.

This may sound blasphemous, but their chemistry is wanting. There’s a spark missing. Where’s the Mulder/Scully bubble that existed as early as Season 1? That little world between the two of them that they used to create subconsciously? Fear not, NoRoMos. It’s not MSR I’m talking about or looking for, it’s the bond that set the ship a sail.

It probably shouldn’t concern me as much as it does. However, while this is the second episode to air it was the fifth episode filmed. Fifth! And there are only six. Their game should be on point by now. The fact that I’m seeing so little chemistry in what is effectively the penultimate episode… yeah, I am concerned.

You’re never just anything to me, Scully.

You know, there was a time when Dana Scully never had to say a word. I could read her every nuance of emotion, her every changing thought in her eyes. Scully was aloof. Scully was reserved. Scully was composed. Scully was in control. But Scully was not inscrutable. And her mouth wasn’t immovable.

Move your mouth, Scully. You’re allowed. Then again, maybe Scully shouldn’t open her mouth because every time she does, the croak of a ninety-year-old ex-smoker comes out. This bothers me. I’m bothered.

And what do you mean, “My baby”???

Mulder’s voice isn’t much better. And both of them are noticeably lacking in energy. Somebody get them some Wheaties, stat, because things can’t continue like this. I know they’re older and I want them to act like it. They can’t be wide-eyed with wonder the way they were in the early seasons of the show. That would be disingenuous. But that’s no excuse for Mulder and Scully on Valium. They’re middle aged, they’re not aged.

Again, I hear perfectly reasonable voices telling me this is all because of William. They’re emotionally beaten. They’re tired, they’re worn. They’re grief-stricken and world-weary.

Yet the answer that they lost their baby can’t be the excuse for every problem. Their chemistry is lacking – they lost their baby. Scully’s face is frozen – they lost their baby. Their conversations are stilted and subdued – they lost their baby. It gets old fast, doesn’t it? If they’re here to fight then there has to be some fight left in them.

I’ve ranted and I’ve snarked, but in all honesty I’m 80% sure that this discomfiture is a temporary state of affairs. And while I don’t think William should be a blanket excuse, this is an episode about William and it’s Mulder and Scully’s long overdue chance to mourn him.

In fact, the fantasy sequences prove to me that the Mulder and Scully I know and love are still alive somewhere in their own souls. Scully’s still Scully in her head! She even has her voice back! And you know what? Both of their individual scenes with imaginary William were more powerful than all of their scenes so far together.

These daydreams aren’t just fantasies about what life would have been like with William. They’re also their worst nightmares given a voice. Both Mulder and Scully long for their individual relationships with their child, and at the same time, they suspect that William was never theirs at all. Not really. It’s the same fear that torments Scully in “Per Manum” (8×8), that something was wrong with her pregnancy and her child from the beginning. But these are fears that should have been put to rest long ago.

These scenes, beautiful as they are, resolve nothing. They’re exercises in emotion. Mulder and Scully still don’t know whether or not they owe the birth of William to a sinister science, despite the fact that that question was answered in Season 9. (In case you were wondering, Season 9 no longer exists.) And they have absolutely no idea where William is or what’s happening to him, a question that I suspect will be revisited later in the season.

If these poignant daydreams accomplish anything, however, they succeed in amplifying my not so latent frustration over the William storyline. I know the world of The X-Files isn’t exactly family friendly, but I don’t think I’ve crumbled my cracker when I say I can easily imagine Mulder and Scully as parents… good parents. That’s why despite the weakness of “Existence” (8×21), its final scene felt right as a potential series finale.

For Mulder especially, who had spent the entire series trying to make sense of the loss of his sister and the destruction of his family, to find through his quest the family he had lost, to find something he was willing to leave the X-Files behind for, to find the very meaning he had been searching for in the X-Files, that was a great evolution for his character. In many ways, I think Mulder needed fatherhood more than Scully needed motherhood, despite the fact that the focus has forever been on “Scully’s baby”, even here where Scully still refers to William as her own. Yet, as sweet as Scully’s scenes with her imaginary son were, Mulder’s were gut-wrenching. That was exactly how I’d always imagined he’d be as William’s dad. And now I’m emotional all over again. Thank you, everyone. Thank you soooo much.

And thank you for making me more sure than ever that William” (9×17), the adoption, and the entire plot surrounding Mulder and Scully’s son was the worst sin The X-Files ever committed. I know it would have been harder to write our leads crusading against epic alien invasions with a baby in tow (Colonization with The Mulders), but good things don’t come easy. And you know what? The epic alien invasion never happened, which only adds insult to unmitigated injury.

Scully is already a bad mother shut-your-mouth. But if she had been fighting for her home, her family and her baby, she would have been a BEAST. It could have been done. It should have been done. It has been done… in my head.

Verdict:

As you can see, the William issue doesn’t make me sad so much as it makes me resentful and indignant. I can’t cry over it. I’m too annoyed to cry.

Mulder and Scully don’t seem to have moved on either. This episode was not a catharsis. It was not a release like “Closure” (7×11). This was a glossy 8×10 of sadness and guilt put in a pretty picture frame and hung on a wall for all to see. If an angst party was the point, they have proven it. They have partied the house down.

And so my resentment roosts in an episode that is otherwise decent. It’s not great television but it’s a distinct improvement over last week. The case itself is only moderately interesting and the resolution even less so, but the theme of it ties in perfectly to the William storyline and consequently, “Founder’s Mutation” is an emotional continuation of the premiere. Now I understand why they moved this episode up from when it was originally scheduled to air. Per “My Struggle”, Mulder and Scully got back in this paranormal rat race in order to investigate the genetic manipulation of humans with alien DNA, a horror that hits all too close to home for them. This episode connects their work in the paranormal to the mythology at large as well as to their individual lives and their relationship. They have ample reason to be back on the X-Files.

Now if they would just get back that old Black Magic…

Then again, it occurs to me that diamonds are born under pressure. Since I’ve already exposed myself as a heretic, before I close I’ll add some wood to my own flames. It’s quite possible that the intensity of the Mulder and Scully relationship was directly tied to the intensity of the circumstances Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny found themselves in. They were young, relatively inexperienced actors who were hungry for work. They were on a show that wasn’t just a hit, it was a cultural phenomenon. They spent nearly nine months a year, sometimes eighteen hours a day, being Mulder and Scully. Gillian has even said (somewhat facetiously?) that she spent more of her 20’s as Scully than as herself. On top of that, the show itself became progressively more intense plot-wise, and their characters progressively more isolated together.

It’s no secret that under those high pressure circumstances, David and Gillian didn’t always get along. But they always managed to perform like their lives depended on it. Maybe they did. And maybe… though this is pure speculation on my part… maybe that tension drove them into a place where they had to be Mulder and Scully in order to git-r-done. Because on screen, they would go into a mental and emotional place between the two of them where they became just the two of them. And all the way up to the series finale, these characters and their relationship flowed from them like it was second nature.

Now we’re down to six episodes from up to twenty-four. Now everyone’s in a great place emotionally and relationally. And our leads only see each other every once in a while. In summary, it’s quite possible that our favorite duo will never be the same outside of the extreme possibility of circumstance that created them.

I’m at peace with that… I think? Or am I pouting because I wanted this MOTW to feel like old times? It kinda, sorta, almost did there for a minute. I know we can’t go back again and we shouldn’t. Consciously, I don’t want to. It wouldn’t be believable or even healthy. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t keenly feel the bitter in the bittersweetness of “Founder’s Mutation”.

B

Mutated Musings:

Kyle Gilligan. Kyle “Gilligan”. GILLIGAN.

Skinner’s beard is everything to me right now. It’s the unsung hero of the episode.

Closely followed by Scully’s 9ft. legs in Mulder’s office. Dang, our cast is hot.

Help me, Darin Morgan. You’re my only hope. #GreatWhiteHope

It’s good seeing them in Skinner’s office again, though it’s almost jarring how easily Skinner accepts their crazy theories now.

The new, modern office is right, but it’s going to take a little getting used to. Meanwhile, the F.B.I. must be flush with cash.

The new “I Want to Believe” poster in the back corner… I guess we’ll hear that story soon.

I’m sorry. I was watching The X-Files when the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver showed up. Did I cross fandom beams?

And now that I think of it, this episode would fit well in the X-Men universe.

The scene in the bar was an excuse for some much needed humor. It didn’t end up being relevant to the plot.

To me, this feels more like modern TV does The X-Files than The X-Files does modern TV. Yes, Virginia, there is a difference.

I don’t just hate that she says, “my baby,” I hate the way she says it. I keep hearing it on repeat. Anybody got a letter opener?

Why does Scully stand outside the school just to say hi and bye?

There are echoes of Mulder’s brain pains in “Demons” (4×23) here and of the victims’ symptoms in “Drive” (6×2). There’s also a government conspiracy behind the genetic manipulation of babies in vitro as early as “Eve” (1×10).

Scully takes Kyle into custody a little too easily considering his powers. And Mulder recovers the pain without showing any signs of having been in any.

Sister Mary was Scully’s psychologist in “Irresistible” (2×13) and “Elegy” (4×22).

What are the odds that Kyle Gilligan would get a job working as a janitor at the same mental hospital that his mother was institutionalized at?

Best Quotes:

Scully: I’m a doctor. You can tell me anything.

—————–

Mommy Gilligan: Bad things happen when the birds gather.

—————–

Scully: This is dangerous.

Mulder: When has that ever stopped us before?

—————–

Mulder: All we can do, Scully, is pull the thread and see what unravels.

 

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134 responses to “Founder’s Mutation 10×5: You don’t like cats?

  1. I actually enjoyed the episode and I’m wondering if their voices didn’t have something to do with funky sound editing. They didn’t sound that bad in the first episode. And I am one of the few, I guess, that wasn’t as bothered by Gillian’s voice as Dave’s. I watched a youtube clip of Dave saying “Scully, it’s me,” through various seasons and I laugh because he sounds like he goes through puberty midway, then in season 8, it’s like, GOODNESS DAVE, you’re a grown man! But this is a little outside the realm of, my voice got deeper. This is more, I chewed a box of rocks. Maybe they were both sick?

    But overall I did enjoy the episode, and Mulder’s scene at the end tore me up in all the right ways. I’ve read a quote from Scully in Darin’s episode that has me hopeful we’ll get some chemistry there. They have all the chemistry still in real life so I’m hoping it translates on screen. It was also written by James Wong, who is capable of writing episodes I love (like Never Again, Home, and Ice) and well… also wrote 3 and The Field Where I Died. I really wish Vince had been available to contribute to the season. Maybe if it keeps pulling ratings we can get him on board for next year.

    • LOL!!! Now that you mention it, that’s a checkered past James Wong has there. But he did pretty much invent the MOTW genre along with Glen Morgan. So I’m not at all surprised this episode felt like a return to form. That’s what I expected.

      Someone else said on Twitter that they both sounded sick and they really do, but I suspect they weren’t. I was reading, and GA actually said that she’d gotten used to lowering her voice for roles and it took her a while to figure out where Scully’s voice should be again – that it was higher pitched.

      Frankly, I think that 6 episodes is just enough time for them to get their groove back. This is, basically, a new show. They need to find their rhythm and their focus… everyone, not just the actors. Thank goodness the ratings have been so high because I suspect that means more episodes in the future, which will give them time to build on this foundation and grow. AND VINCE GILLIGAN.

      • Yeah I think we’ll get at least one more go around of them, which will be fantastic.

        OH. Was I the only one bothered by the fact that Scully didn’t get a name plate OR a desk? WTH?

  2. “Move your mouth, Scully. You’re allowed. Then again, maybe Scully shouldn’t open her mouth because every time she does, the croak of a ninety-year-old ex-smoker comes out. This bothers me. I’m bothered.” This seriously cracked me up. I’m not sure what the heck is up with her voice. I’m going to blame it on the wig because I’m still slightly bothered by the wig, although less so than I was last episode. It is just that GA has such good hair and I think it is an asset, I wouldn’t have minded Scully being blond. Her hair was never the same shade of red from season to season anyway. I agree that their chemistry is off which is strange because it still exists when they do interviews together. Perhaps they are trying to play up all the pain caused by their history and their rift, but I am not sure I would feel invested in their partnership if I’d never seen the original series. I don’t think I would and that is not a good thing considering their relationship is what compels me to watch it in the first place. I did like the episode though. It was gross and suspenseful and Scully and Mulder both got to do cool things. I liked the dynamic between Kyle and Molly. I hope they are off having fun adventures. They would make a cool crime fighting duo. DD’s scene at the end was adorable and sad and just exactly what Mulder would be like as a dad; aliens and spaceships all the way. It is quite sad that Mulder and Scully are mourning separately.

    • Speaking of the wig, it is affecting the movement of her face. I spotted one scene it particular where it wrinkles up abnormally around her temple when she tries to make an expression. It has to be getting in the way on some level.

      I understand her not wanting to go back and forth in color straight from one show to the next, but aaaallll the resources in Hollywood and they couldn’t find a better wig??? This is the second one because this episode was filmed later and it’s slightly better. But I think the first one gets used for at least one more episode. Blech. They look like wigs. They look like doll hair.

      Perhaps they are trying to play up all the pain caused by their history and their rift, but I am not sure I would feel invested in their partnership if I’d never seen the original series. I don’t think I would and that is not a good thing considering their relationship is what compels me to watch it in the first place.

      Yes, yes, and yes.

      • “Speaking of the wig, it is affecting the movement of her face. I spotted one scene it particular where it wrinkles up abnormally around her temple when she tries to make an expression. It has to be getting in the way on some level.”

        This is furthering my point that they’re getting in the way of their own performances. If part of the reason she’s been so expressionless is the wig then she should’ve ripped it off and headed to Target for a box of L’Oreal. She is an actress and if she were taking this as seriously as any other job. (NOTE: I get bored with my hair color and change it up once in a while, so I’m speaking from personal experience when I say that it wouldn’t have hurt her hair to apply the red color because it is a darker shade than the blonde, it may have harmed (slightly) her hair to go from red back to blonde. But since we live in 2016 they have ammonia-free color, so I’m not really buying that either.)

        Someone said in another forum that the reason provided for use of the wig was that she was concerned about her color for S3 of “The Fall”. I hope that’s not the case because my question is then: Why not do the right thing by XF, Scully and your fans and do the red and wear a blonde wig for “The Fall” until you’re ready to take the back-to-blonde plunge?

        Signed,
        Grumpy McGrumperton

        • “She is an actress and if she were taking this as seriously as any other job.” — then she’d have changed the color.

          I’ve really got to get my hands on some Xanax, the Revival is doing just that and in the worst possible way…

        • Yeah, I read an interview (InStyle, maybe? Not sure.) where she said her stylist told her she’d potentially lose her hair dying and lightening it like that back to back. I get you, grumpy. But I get her too. I just wish they had a wig that did her beauty more justice.

      • The wig problem is unfathomable and unfortunate, but I agree that the second one is better. Also, her hair in the AU sequence with William was an improvement to the almost banana curl situation that she has going on in most other scenes. Nonsense is what it is. At first Scully had major wardrobe problems, now she has major hair problems. Can this woman please catch a break?

      • I’m sure most watched GA & DD on Kimmel. When I saw that cheap wig during the skit portion of the show I thought “WOW, what an improvement over the series wig.” I did! I get the reasoning behind the wig (GA’s hair not not able to take the color change) but it’s as if the wig makers never watched the show. Great, great review. Thank you!

  3. “But now I’m sure: Something’s missing between Mulder and Scully.”
    I’ve spent the last few days considering some form of therapy because I’ve been SO INTENSELY TROUBLED by this very thing. So troubled this post is Tolstoy-long.

    What was his line in “Arcadia”? “The thrill is gone.” There is a spark that is missing and I’m not sure if I should blame Botox (not to be catty, seriously) or if Carter explicitly told them that Mulder and Scully are to be sedate and mournful and… not themselves? I’ve tired of using William as the excuse for what we’re experiencing but that just isn’t it. I can’t square this circle b/c if anyone say DD/GA’s Kimmel interview, they were a veritable volcano of chemistry, even Kimmel seemed in fan boy awe, asking, “What’s going on with you two?” Mulder and Scully can have that spark because two great actors can emulate their personal dynamic.

    This isn’t because they’ve been a couple… because that moment in IWTB in which he ran his beard against her face in bed still makes my heart flutter. (Most of) that scene and certainly that moment was pure chemistry and joy, post-series. Something is going on in 2015 and I’m going to say it – maybe some of the criticism is fair and they’re not putting forth their 100%. Great acting takes a lot of energy and I’m not seeing it here. David/Mulder’s sedate sarcasm is now coming off as lethargy and Gillian is so unfocused in her performance she’s still using her frail Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier from “Hannibal” voice. Bedelia’s voice worked wonderfully because I truly did not think of Scully during her run on that series. So she’s not put enough thought into her performance to catch that, although it should’ve been noticeable to anyone else with a decent ear for music or anyone else who’s spent hours of their life hearing her voice. (Like, I dunno, the directors who’ve known her since ’93?)

    I’ve seen more than one “the voice changes when you’re older” Twitter remark and let me just nip that in the bud right now: as a woman who is Gillian’s age, the voice doesn’t change in your 40s (or 50s). That is such clueless though unintentional ageism. WTH?

    This is quickly becoming a therapy session, please bear with me. I realize I’ve been re-watching the shippiest of episodes since Sunday night in an unconscious need to remind myself of Mulder and Scully, the couple I fell in love with.

    We’re living in an X-Files episode and Mulder and Scully’s bodies have been snatched. We have monotoned people who look so very familiar but there’s something not quite right. And while we’re talking about looking so familiar, I appreciate that Gillian brought over Hannibal’s Costume Designer. I’m digging her clothes and that 9ft. of leg on display. But the terrible wig and the false eyelashes aren’t Scully and it is (for me) a distraction. Last night I watched Pusher and that glorious moment in the mobile command center (a.k.a. the big truck) when Mulder gives Scully his gun, the camera gives us close ups of those glorious deep looks they do (did?) so well. I cannot live in an X Files universe in which those beautiful eyes are encumbered by false eyelashes. That isn’t Scully, that is Gillian Anderson imposing her aesthetic on the character.

    Also while on the subject of re-watching Pusher and some of the amazing close ups in that episode — the Russian roulette scene and Scully’s unshed tears through much of that scene commands your utmost attention because she’s terrified for herself and for Mulder. Have you noticed the lack of close ups in these two episodes? The scene outside of the hospital when she wonders if William is out there, in pain and in need of her – why did I not see that same close up, those same unshed tears? Those close ups provide a level of intimacy for the viewer, those special windows into their relationship that were expressed more so by their eyes and facial expressions than by mere words. We can’t see those windows into their souls if the directors don’t provide them.

    “And what do you mean, “My baby”???”
    If this was used to as an emotional trigger for Mulder to have that dream of fatherhood it would’ve been hurtful but at least it would’ve provided conflict between them, something more to go on. It is fair for her to feel selfish because she raised him, she made the painful decision to give him up but I would loved for that scene to have become Mulder saying, “I’m his father, don’t count me out.” That would’ve been fertile ground for M/S drama. Drama leads to angst. Angst leads to yearning. Yearning is where we need to be. Oh, but there’s the Dark Side of this angle, which is Chris Carter’s cheap “ooooh, is it really their kid?” parlor trick so we can’t take a substantive, serious foray into their relationship, can we Chris?

    “In many ways, I think Mulder needed fatherhood more than Scully needed motherhood, despite the fact that the focus has forever been on “Scully’s baby”, even here where Scully still refers to William as her own.”
    — Salome, I’m so 100% in agreement on this that I’m mentally sending you flowers and chocolate right now.

    The dream sequences are what gave me some hope there’s an ember of life still in this but, I agree, that ember was present not in their scenes together which is something I’ve literally never experienced until this mini series. It was absolutely beyond my comprehension. I feel as though I’m mourning the loss of an old and very dear friend.

    “I know the world of The X-Files isn’t exactly family friendly, but I don’t think I’ve crumbled my cracker when I say I can easily imagine Mulder and Scully as parents… good parents. That’s why despite the weakness of “Existence” (8×21), its final scene felt right as a potential series finale.”
    Well let me bring you back to the early years of Xphile fandom, my friends, and treat you to one of the few XF/MS fanfics that are worth your valuable time. This one is called “The Offspring” and when I read it (I think this was uploaded during 2nd no later than 3rd season?) I could envision them as parents:
    http://www.mulderscreek.com/fics/offspringkr.txt

    “Scully is already a bad mother shut-your-mouth. But if she had been fighting for her home, her family and her baby, she would have been a BEAST. It could have been done. It should have been done.”
    Salome, you can indeed get a witness up in here tonight.

    “Mulder and Scully don’t seem to have moved on either. This episode was not a catharsis. It was not a release like “Closure” (7×11).”
    No, it wasn’t, because a few lines in an episode does not drama make. They’re still walking around the William issue rather than dealing with it and by extension, their break up; they’re writing as though the time between IWTB and today isn’t that important. Got news for you X Files staffers, there’s a reason unlike most sci-fi, X Files is uniquely a female dominated fandom. Because it is Team Mulder and Scully who are central to this series, not hackneyed conspiracy theory or any MoTW.

    “Kyle Gilligan. Kyle “Gilligan”. GILLIGAN.”
    That was the thought bubble over my head in that very moment. God, if ever we needed Vince Gilligan, now is the time.

    “Skinner’s beard is everything to me right now. It’s the unsung hero of the episode.”
    Well, I’m thankful Skinner and his beard have chemistry…

    “Closely followed by Scully’s 9ft. legs in Mulder’s office. Dang, our cast is hot.”
    My kingdom to see some Mulder ogling. Or noticing. They shared a bed for years, I’d be totally ok with it.

    “Help me, Darin Morgan. You’re my only hope. #GreatWhiteHope”
    Sunday night I Tweeted something along the lines of “Help me Obi-Darin Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” #GreatMinds

    “I don’t just hate that she says, “my baby,” I hate the way she says it. I keep hearing it on repeat. Anybody got a letter opener?”
    Technically it is the way she is saying that is part of the problem 😦
    “Why does Scully stand outside the school just to say hi and bye?”
    There was a big piece on X-files after the first season (the cover was dark blue, if you go a Google image search), GA was far along enough with her daughter to be showing and David and Gillian toured FBI facilities in Quantico, VA. All these years later, I still remember an observation the TVGuide writer made while observing DD/GA’s tour. There was a sign on one of the walls that said, “If you love your children, never take your eyes off of them.” They were standing in the child crimes facility. I’m sure this wasn’t Jim’s idea when writing the scene but given the horrors that people in that line of work really do see, I think of this as Scully keeping an eagle eye on William for a reason; she was keeping eyes on her most precious possession.

    Sister Mary was Scully’s psychologist in “Irresistible” (2×13) and “Elegy” (4×22).
    “I trust him as much as anyone, I trust him with my life.” Again, she had those glorious unshed tears going on. Chris Carter did a great thing with this episode and the incredibly kind David Nutter (I’ve met him) was always my tied-for-first fav director.

    • There is a spark that is missing and I’m not sure if I should blame Botox (not to be catty, seriously) or if Carter explicitly told them that Mulder and Scully are to be sedate and mournful and… not themselves?

      GA’s face moves too freely and beautifully, in the outtakes even (!!!), for this to be a matter of Botox. And judging by what’s coming up in the teaser trailers, I suspect their acting was a conscious decision in the tone of this episode. At least, that’s my stance as of this afternoon. Give me another week. I did ask Meghan, though, if she didn’t think there was a little too much digital manipulation going on in some shots. At times they both look suspiciously doll-like.

      This isn’t because they’ve been a couple… because that moment in IWTB in which he ran his beard against her face in bed still makes my heart flutter. (Most of) that scene and certainly that moment was pure chemistry and joy, post-series.

      That’s true, but then, IWTB was only 6 years after the end of the series. This revival is another 8 years after that IWTB one-shot. Even for IWTB, I remember reading interviews with GA where she said it was hard for her to get back into character as Scully after having worked so hard not to be Scully, and that that surprised her considering Scully had been second nature to her. After even more time and even more characters… could it be?

      I’ve seen more than one “the voice changes when you’re older” Twitter remark and let me just nip that in the bud right now: as a woman who is Gillian’s age, the voice doesn’t change in your 40s (or 50s). That is such clueless though unintentional ageism. WTH?<

      PLEASE, TELL THE WORLD. If this is about Mulder and Scully sounding older, it's completely off the mark. They're not THAT old, not enough to warrant that level of change. And the change wasn't as dramatic in "My Struggle" so maybe there really was just a cold going around. Who knows? I also agree with you – I thought of Bedelia in Hannibal watching "Founder's Mutation". And not just her, but I get the impression GA's gotten in the habit of using her lower register for a lot of her characters in recent years. Which is fabulous, btw! It's just not Scully. I think we're watching her find her rhythm as Scully again.

      I also want to applaud you for pointing out the missing close-ups. There were more in "My Struggle", which may be part of why we felt more emotion from the characters. And, of course, every episode can't be full of close-ups. But director Kim Manners is owed a debt because his signature M/S two-shots helped focus and create their famous bubble of intimacy. We're used to seeing their heads knotted together in amazement and perplexity. Those close-ups helped define the aesthetic of the show… which, yes, I know, is necessarily evolving.

      And I too wouldn't have minded some anger between them… something! If there's resentment over William, I don't want to have to presume that it's there. TV is more show than tell.

      Salome, I’m so 100% in agreement on this that I’m mentally sending you flowers and chocolate right now.

      Peonies! My favorite!

      The dream sequences are what gave me some hope there’s an ember of life still in this but, I agree, that ember was present not in their scenes together which is something I’ve literally never experienced until this mini series. It was absolutely beyond my comprehension. I feel as though I’m mourning the loss of an old and very dear friend.

      This pretty much sums up my disappointment. That ember isn’t about MSR, it’s about deep emotional involvement. If anything, even if they’re dealing with grief, loss, anger, resentment, whatever, they should only more deeply invested emotionally. In real life, I know people shut down sometimes. But real life doesn’t necessarily make for interesting storytelling.

  4. I just found your site….thanks so much for doing this for what looks like the last five years. Wow.

    I was in my mid twenties when XF came out and I watched a few episodes. I’ve never scheduled my life around TV but I have always loved the show when I watched it. With Netflix I have only recently started to watch the show from beginning to end for the first time (newbie!)

    I am totally on TV crack here…it’s such a great show 🙂 I have just watched the last ep of season 5, The End. The last scene in the burnt out office is heart breaking…just so well done.

    Of course I’m all over the mini series that just started and I have to say I agree with your review here 100%. I guess being immersed in the series proper gives me a bit of a different pov as the change is so glaring. The voices of both David and Gillian are awful. Like they both gargled with razor blades. The chemistry is not there…at all. Her face is flat and emotionless and I don’t think it’s just the wig. Perhaps you can’t go home again!? 😦

    Don’t get me wrong..I liked the show and will obviously watch the whole six episodes and most likely enjoy them all but it is not…the same. It lacked real emotion. David and Gillian are now worth about 65 and 25 million respectively. She lives in the UK, he in the US. They both have grown kids and successful careers and TV/stage shows behind them.

    I’m kind of bummed and eager to start season 6

    • 😦 I feel like we’re all wearing virtual black clothes for our mourning period. Well, you have some wonderful times ahead of you with Season 6. Relish those moments, John, they get fewer and further between after that.

    • Well… I was forced to take an extended break. But the obsession is consuming, yes. LOL!

      It IS TV crack! That should be the new tagline instead of “The Truth is Out There”. And I’m very jealous of where you’re at in the series. You have some fun stuff coming up ahead of you. Season 6 is a little more fanciful, but it’s consistently well done.

      If I were coming off of Season 5 and watching the miniseries, I seriously wonder what I would think. I was watching Season 2 when Season 5 started and I watched that in real time. THAT was an excellent transition. This? I can only imagine. Not because the revival is horrible television, because it’s not. But you just watched TXF at its peak of perfection.

      And thank you for reaffirming the lack of emotional expression. It looks like there are a handful of us who feel that way. Not that we’re not going to watch and enjoy, mind you. But some of the show’s best aspects haven’t been recaptured… yet.

  5. You can’t have a 14 yr gap and get the same show, even if the actors don’ age (and thse have). They haven’t spent years and years now working together… Just a few months at the time this ep was filmed. Plus, the writers/directors don’t know exactly what to do, either. I’m enjoying it for what it is, and hopefully can be if the come back for a couple more short seasons. And I’m watching, and bought the season on Amazon Prime, so that I can contribute to that happening.

    • Right – it couldn’t possibly be exactly the same. And I realize they need time to figure this new thing out. But I do hope they don’t lose the core of the partnership, and I don’t think they will, ultimately! I’m thrilled the ratings have been so excellent since, schedules permitting, this almost guarantees us more X-Files. That can only mean everyone involved will be better and more sure of what they’re doing.

  6. Here they are as Mulder and Scully on Jimmy Kimmel and — I swear to all that is Shipper — they have their voices back and more energy/chemistry in this hap-hazard send-up clip than they’ve had thus far in S10:

    • LOL..awesome. And they were having sex 😉

      • Right?! And wasn’t this more familiar, albeit in a weird sort of way? Their faces moved, their voices modulate and they were eager to get their hands on each other (as the tv gods intended). *sigh* I’m gonna go re-watch “Ice” and play the neck check over and over again to numb this pain. 😦

    • Yeah, whatever it is some of us are seeing here, it has nothing to do with their actual chemistry, their actual ages, or their actual talent.

      And if anyone hasn’t seen it, their appearance on Kimmel was hilarious!

  7. How is it they’re reinstated back into the FBI just like that??

  8. I guess I’m just blinded by the fact that this show is on the air again, live… And that I get to hear things like “previously on the X-Files” and “I made this” on a weekly basis, albeit for only a short time. I loved this episode. It was gross and creepy and sad.

    But Scully’s voice did perturb me; it started during My Struggle but it was more noticeable in Founders Mutation. I have watched Gillian in The Fall and Hannibal and I get that her characters have very different voices in those series. But she’s such a talented and versatile actress that I’m hoping that it wasn’t just her being unable to separate herself from those characters and not completely re-acquaint herself with Scully that afforded her the scratchy and whispery new Scully voice. “I don’t like it” .

    Also, can we discuss why Scully is always driving this season? I’m totally into it, but it’s so obvious (to a phile freak like me) that I’m starting to wonder if there is a reason or subtle message involved? Girl power? Is Scully more trustworthy to the FBI so she’s given the access to the transportation expenditures? Has Mulder been so off the grid that he hasn’t renewed his license or has it for some reason been suspended? Or is it just that Scully’s little feet can finally reach the pedals in the huge heels that she’s been sporting lately?

    Regardless of all of the speculation and thoughts about season 10, good or bad, I’m just so happy that it exists and that the dialogue is alive again in real time all over the place in so many media, and that you revived your website and reviews just in time to comment on everything as we all experience it. We’re so lucky to have the opportunity to spaz out about, criticize, be frustrated by, bang our heads against, swoon, cry and lose our shit about this amazing phenomenon again.

    Here’s to at least 4 more episodes (of which I think at least 2 will be amazing) and hopefully many more!

    • I am so looking forward to the next 4 episodes and feel lucky to be able to see the XF back on in 2016 with new material. I don’t want to sound like a negative goob with respects to my first post.

    • I’m blinded by all the nerdy goodness too. I won’t lie. I’m excited to turn on my television again. I actually wonder very much what I’d think if I weren’t already a Phile.

      Yeah, I’m with you. I noticed it some in the premiere, but it was crazy out of control this episode. I don’t understand how that evolution went backwards, unless there was really a cold at fault as others have said. I’m going to try to find one of those interviews where GA talked about how it took some time to find the correct register for Scully’s voice again.

      Also, can we discuss why Scully is always driving this season?

      Now that you mention it!!!! And it’s so strange. She’s the one who drives now, but her name isn’t on the door and her desk is gone. Riddle me that, Batman. And those heels are crazy high for Scully, I cannot tell a lie. I know our girl can run in heels, but stilettos?

      Regardless of all of the speculation and thoughts about season 10, good or bad, I’m just so happy that it exists and that the dialogue is alive again in real time all over the place in so many media, and that you revived your website and reviews just in time to comment on everything as we all experience it. We’re so lucky to have the opportunity to spaz out about, criticize, be frustrated by, bang our heads against, swoon, cry and lose our shit about this amazing phenomenon again.

      Here’s to at least 4 more episodes (of which I think at least 2 will be amazing) and hopefully many more!

      ITA all the way!!! And thank you so much for humoring me with discussion! I need to get this stuff out. LOL

  9. Gee, this is the first review you’ve written where it didn’t feel like you were inside my head! I loved the episode…let me plead my case to you for all of it’s virtues!
    The pacing was so much better than the first episode. So that was good right off the bat.
    I know it looks different than the X files to a certain degree, but I am in love with the freshness and high-quality production. I think they’ve found a way to beautifully fuse what the classic show looked like with the look of modern television drama. The lighting and colors and locations are perfect so far. Even though there’s a wonderful nostalgic feel to the early years of the X files, I ALWAYS wondered, pretty much constantly, how amazing the show would look on modern television with all new resources available to our team. What would they do with it? I think the special effects have been great. Plus they ramped up the gross factor with the baby-coming-out scene and the doctor being killed.
    The entire hallway scene was done so well, and the supporting cast, to me, seems nearly a perfect fit. I thought Rebecca Wisocky seemed perfectly at home in the X files world, as well as the brother and sister at the end. I only wish we had more time to find out more about them!
    The voices are odd, for sure, but I read an awful lot of comments saying they were getting over colds and that makes sense and pacified me on that front. This second wig is loads better than the first, so I was able to move beyond that. I read that Gillian’s hair dresser cautioned her that her hair would fall out if she dyed it so fast, so she made that decision even though it gave her daily headaches.
    We’ve already gotten so many Mulder & Scully scenes which is more than I could have hoped for, and they’re solving things TOGETHER again. In the old show they always split them up in part, I think to maximize the stars and finish filming on such a short schedule.) and, although it was sometimes a beautiful way for them to solve the case, it also meant most of the episodes they weren’t together. We haven’t had them solving cases as a duo since season 7! Hurrah. Loved! the “You were never just…” line, and I think that was a good start and hopefully there are more personal conversations.
    We’ve also already had so much more personal insight than we’re used to. I was surprised it came in a Wong episode! I don’t think that we’ve had any scenes of real depth yet between them except the one on the porch in the first one, so I feel like the material just hasn’t come yet (and the porch scene was part of the rusty/getting started first episode.) — but it will. (I think.)
    On that same note, the flashbacks were lovely, but imagine how much richer they would have been with both of them together in it. Splitting them up makes you miss their chemistry even more. I understand that they wanted to show their individual dreams and fears, but I do could add a little to the feeling of something missing.
    Anyway, I say, watch it again and see if it grows on you!

    • OK, the “my baby” comment was really weird, as was the “fragile little girl.” After my initial bad reaction to that, I’ve come to think that it’s their (perhaps clumsy) way of describing the past – saying that Scully alone made the decision to have a baby and asked Mulder to be the father before they were together. Then they were together, but mulder was abducted before he knew, and we only had a brief few days of resolution and he was gone for most of the rest of the series. So, between then and now, they reverted to their normal “not talking about things” behavior, and maybe Scully doesn’t actually, truly know how deep Mulder’s grief is. We assume (correctly) that it is every bit as hard on him, but she may not be able to see that. (In the series, did Mulder ever refer to William as “my son” specifically when talking to Scully? I can’t remember that ever happening.) So I’m thinking that the point is that they never really had conversations that explored all of that, and not only she thinks he is trying to protect her (‘hence fragile’) – she isn’t sure if he even thinks about William at all – which is a crazy thought by itself. So that tells you that Scully really isn’t sure of what Mulder thought about his parentage of William. The safe thing is to say “my baby.” Otherwise why would you ask him that at all? It would be hurtful. Odd dialogue, for sure, but I think it may continue to play out as part of why they aren’t officially together.

      • I’m assuming (though as I said it my comment to Amy, I shouldn’t have to) like you that Scully doesn’t understand that Mulder’s grieving.

        He did refer to him as “my son” in “The Truth”, where Scully also referred to him as “our son.” Then again in IWTB, he called William “our son.” But it’s not like I’m keeping track because I’m bitter or anything.

        I really wish I had gotten a little more oomph out of both of them that conversation. Scully isn’t a little girl, so why isn’t she a little more indignant that he’s treating her like one? This isn’t the Scully who had her ova poached by Mulder without a peep of protest. This is a grown, experienced woman. And Mulder takes that “my baby” comment without so much as a flinch. Then she wonders if he thinks about him at all??? Who does she think she hooked up with, a caveman?

        You know I’m desperate when I want Mulder and Scully to have a fight. LOL!!!

    • I was quite certain I was going to be in the minority on this one!! I couldn’t give it years worth of contemplation like the rest of the series, but I did give it three viewings just to make sure my thoughts were really my thoughts.

      I know it looks different than the X files to a certain degree, but I am in love with the freshness and high-quality production. I think they’ve found a way to beautifully fuse what the classic show looked like with the look of modern television drama. The lighting and colors and locations are perfect so far.

      It is gorgeous! They even brought back director of photography Joel Ransom. And I don’t even think it looks *that* much more polished, at least in the sense that Seasons 4+ hold up visually to almost anything on TV today. That’s consistent. I did think the directing drew attention to itself a few times… but nothing crazy. It was good.

      I thought Rebecca Wisocky seemed perfectly at home in the X files world

      She was note perfect. I loved her scene with Mulder & Sully.

      The voices are odd, for sure, but I read an awful lot of comments saying they were getting over colds and that makes sense and pacified me on that front. This second wig is loads better than the first, so I was able to move beyond that. I read that Gillian’s hair dresser cautioned her that her hair would fall out if she dyed it so fast, so she made that decision even though it gave her daily headaches.

      I didn’t know about the headaches, poor thing. But I heard the same story about her hair and wholeheartedly agree that the second wig is better than the first. They’ve still got that Barbie look to them… which is too bad. I’m sure they’ll either get her a much better wig by next season or they’ll schedule it in such a way that she can use her own hair!

      And if it was all a case of them both being under the weather, that’s a relief!!!

      On that same note, the flashbacks were lovely, but imagine how much richer they would have been with both of them together in it. Splitting them up makes you miss their chemistry even more. I understand that they wanted to show their individual dreams and fears, but I do could add a little to the feeling of something missing.

      I’ve heard a few concerns about the separate nature of their William daydreams. I dunno. I think it was good to see them each individually mourn their lost motherhood and fatherhood respectively. But it’s true that in losing William, they also lost the family unit and it could have been powerful to see that they also miss one another and what they could have had together. But I suspect a lot more material is coming regarding their relationship and the show is pacing itself.

      Anyway, I know you won’t let my negativity rub off on your enjoyment! Besides, I did like it… I just didn’t love it… which then made me sad. *sadface*

      • Oh no, I love being able to discuss it. (Discuss NEW X files? whoohoo!) And I see what things you find disappointing, and part of me agrees. It hasn’t been epic, and the chemistry didn’t come out of the gates matching anything we’ve seen, but I don’t think it was that bad. If we had more episodes I don’t think we would be as concerned. But with only 4 to go, it’s unnerving, isn’t it? I do think that they’re doing enough right overall though and they are trying very hard to do what the X files does best – leave us unsatisfied and wanting more. (and then we debate it all online! :)) One thing I found interesting by reading opposing reviews which love what Chris Carter is doing (and love all of the parts that shippers perhaps didn’t) is how vast the opinions of the viewers are. People watch the show for SO MANY different themes and reasons. Some people are only in it for the conspiracy, some for the sci-fi nature, some the scary stuff, some the ongoing mythology, and then of course the Mulder & Scully fans. I never really understood the variety of themes they need to touch on to satisfy everyone. Crazy! And pretty impressive.

        • That’s very true! If this were one of TXF’s characteristic super long seasons, a dud or two wouldn’t cause much concern. I didn’t start getting worried until about halfway through Season 7, for instance.

  10. I’m going to play devil’s advocate here for a moment (this gets long I am SO sorry):

    I wonder if the detached atmosphere of Mulder and Scully (along with their weird, “I just gargled with some screws” voices) aren’t a representation of the distance currently between them as characters…

    Though we don’t know the specifics of the last five a half years since we saw them at the end of IWTB, something major has happened between them psychologically and emotionally (the breakup). Scully moved out. Mulder is all alone in that house. As an actor myself, I wouldn’t be able to play the same type of connection between them that we saw in the original series run after all that.

    Maybe they are actually trying so hard not to let any hurt show or cause each other any more pain, that they are trying not to just fall back into old habits and act like everything is exactly like it used to be. I think the emotional fall out of their history is what we may be seeing here.

    Scully even said in “My Struggle” she barely knew how to reach Mulder…who knows how often they talk since she left. This could be the most time they’ve spent together uninterrupted since she moved out which should be hella hard on both of them.

    Still, there are *flashes*, or *teases* if you will, of their old connection/chemistry [i.e., the scene in the morgue looking at them from behind the x-ray, in the morgue after Agnes is killed, when they are questioning Jackie, when Scully RUNS to Mulder after he falls over] the common denominator there of course is: they are at WORK (or Mulder is in pain/danger…and of course Scully will leave all thought behind and act on instinct which is to get to him and help him no matter what, but I digress) so it is a familiar (read: safe) environment. They can hide behind the case and be ‘all business’ and therefore let their old selves come out to play a little.

    I say this because it seems to me (and I may be completely cracked because my hearing isn’t that great), that BOTH of their tones of voice aren’t so strained in their AU imaginings with William. They sound much more like the Mulder and Scully of old. The point where Scully’s tone starts to sound more like it does in the rest of the episode is when she tells William they are taking him to the hospital – when she’s in pain/freaking out but trying to mask it for her son’s sake. She’s more emotional in that moment and trying to hide it.

    I’m still not a fan of the change in tone for either of them especially Scully because it still sounds like Stella Gibson playing Dana Scully, but it could possibly make more sense from a directorial/acting standpoint. It didn’t bother me that much initially…until I found out this was supposed to be episode five…that’s when I got a WEE bit nervous. But just a wee bit.

    All THAT said…I LOVED the production value of this episode. The camera work was beautiful! The wardrobe choices all around were awesome.

    I really liked the case – I thought it was intriguing. The visuals were “F. Emasculata”/”Roadrunners” level creepy. I am totally fine with the ambiguity of the ending because…it’s The X-Files! I mean…the Flukeman is still chilling out in the sewers of New Jersey, a Moth Man is still terrorizing a forest in Florida, etc etc. I will be interested to see if the blood Mulder took will come up in episode six, though.

    Still…#DarinMorganComeSaveUsNow #YoureOurGreatWhiteHope

    • Yeah, I’m totally on board with this theory. I think the actors are trying to portray all of that, and there just isn’t any dialogue to back it up. I think it may all be extra jarring to those of us who’ve seen the episodes 100x ea because they never had personal material this gritty before or many personal scenes, and we’re so used to classic x files. Usually all of their personal scenes danced around the point anyway and never said much, which is what we loved about it. I always thought it was a lyrical way of storytelling, if that makes sense. Beautiful words strung together but you have to read between the lines to get to the point. “That you should know my heart, look into it, seeing there the memories and experiences of you..” – for example.

      Particularly great point –
      “They can hide behind the case and be ‘all business’ and therefore let their old selves come out to play a little.”
      That’s definitely something they have/would do.

      “All THAT said…I LOVED the production value of this episode. The camera work was beautiful! The wardrobe choices all around were awesome.
      I really liked the case – I thought it was intriguing. The visuals were “F. Emasculata”/”Roadrunners” level creepy. I am totally fine with the ambiguity of the ending because…it’s The X-Files!”

      –Agree!

      • I think that’s exactly what I’m missing. I’m used to seeing the truth not in the dialogue, but in their performance. And I’m not able to read into their performance. I have almost zero concern about the dialogue.

    • We do long around here… as you can see. LOL!!!

      I wonder if the detached atmosphere of Mulder and Scully (along with their weird, “I just gargled with some screws” voices) aren’t a representation of the distance currently between them as characters…

      I do think it’s *supposed* to be, but instead it seems less like emotional distance between the characters and more like emotional disconnect from the characters. They shouldn’t/wouldn’t/couldn’t have the same connection that they had before, but they should have some kind of connection nonetheless.

      Right now, I’m having to project onto Mulder and Scully what I assume they must be feeling in order to make their performances work. I shouldn’t have to do that. I shouldn’t have to imagine a history that makes this make sense, I should be able to see that the two of them have history just by watching them, not because the dialogue tells me they do.

      The truth is, if I were brand new to the show and had only watched this episode with the sound off, no words, I would never have guessed how deep the Mulder & Scully rabbit hole goes. But this is a visual medium and I should at least be able to see that these are two characters with a powerful history even if there’s currently a deep canyon between them that they can’t cross. There are glimpses these past two episodes, and the teaser for next week as well as the series teaser gives me hope. Wherever it was they were for this episode, I don’t think they’re staying there. Whew!

      I say this because it seems to me (and I may be completely cracked because my hearing isn’t that great), that BOTH of their tones of voice aren’t so strained in their AU imaginings with William. They sound much more like the Mulder and Scully of old.

      It’s not your ears! It’s true! And I don’t think it’s because they were happy in the dream sequences versus in the present. I think there was a certain emotional investment and connection in those sequences. I could *feel* that Mulder had a history and relationship with his child just sitting there with him on the couch. It was in his body. It was in his eyes. There was a verve there that I had been missing.

      I’m still not a fan of the change in tone for either of them especially Scully because it still sounds like Stella Gibson playing Dana Scully, but it could possibly make more sense from a directorial/acting standpoint. It didn’t bother me that much initially…until I found out this was supposed to be episode five…that’s when I got a WEE bit nervous. But just a wee bit.

      Agreed on every point. And I think ignorance would have been bliss. I would’ve been a lot less concerned if I hadn’t known this was episode 5!

      *starts the chant* Darin Morgan’s coming. Darin Morgan’s coming…

      Nope. That doesn’t make me tear up at all.

      • I totally get where you’re coming from…and I agree!

        I would have LOVED in that scene outside the hospital for Mulder to look at her and say “He’s my son…” like DUH woman, of course I think about him. But WHY be that forward with it, right? *side eye*

        I did at least appreciate the moment Mulder took to take a breath before he answered her question…it at least showed some thought on his part and like he was trying to figure out how best to phrase it. It’s obvious that, just like us and the writers, the losing-William-storyline has been SO laser focused on Scully and her grief Mulder has NO part to play and his grief doesn’t really matter as much. NOT TRUE!!!!!

        [There are glimpses these past two episodes, and the teaser for next week as well as the series teaser gives me hope. Wherever it was they were for this episode, I don’t think they’re staying there. Whew!]

        YES!!!!!! And that convinces me even more that the distance was a directorial/acting choice. Mostly because, David and Gillian are great actors! I know it took a bit for them to settle back into Mulder and Scully but I doubt it took four full episodes to get them back…

        I HATE it when they switch episode orders and then try to be all “it still works as a story” – NO IT DOESN’T! Keep the original way you intended or switch it before you even film it! It was especially jarring to go from nothing in the basement to ALL the things in the basement office in the course of ONE day! I really can’t wait to see how they explain THAT away in the next three episodes editing…

        Either way – XFILES IS BACK ON MY TV SCREEN WITH NEW EPS AND I AM LOVING IT!!!!!!

        [picks up chant] DARIN MORGAN! DARIN MORGAN!!!!!

  11. One more random thought, but since Gillian was wearing a wig anyway, why wasn’t it Scully red? Maybe this has already been explained somewhere but if so I missed it.

    • I had this same thought, perhaps they were trying to match the lighter shade she had in ITWB? My loathing for that wig increases daily…

    • Her color always did change a lot, so the color didn’t bother me so much as the fakeness. In a perfect world, her hair would be something closer to what we saw in ITWB and even to what we saw in the Pilot. Enough to show us she’s changed, but that she’s still Scully.

  12. (In case you were wondering, Season 9 no longer exists.)

    I’m fine.

  13. Salome, there have been quite a few times where I have disagreed with one of your reviews. This one, I couldn’t agree more. I have my own vision of where the series should have gone, and it doesn’t include William. At the same time, the best part of this episode were the ones with William. Mulder’s scenes with him killed me.

    I also noticed the therapist. However, it took me until the morning after to figure out who she was.

    Another sign of how things have changed is more personal for me. Back in the day, I would retreat into the basement and watch it alone. Now I have to strain to hear it over the voices of my three young children. And this episode was gory! I had to turn it off briefly, MUCH to my dismay.

    • In a perfect world, William wouldn’t have existed because the show would’ve ended sooner and in a more satisfactory fashion than it did. But as long as he’s here, the story has some responsibility toward the characters, am I right? And those scenes were far and away the best… along with the cat. (!) Those moments with Mulder and his son should have a Viewer Discretion Advised warning: May cause uncontrollable angst.

      And isn’t it amazing that we’re watching this so many years later at completely different places in our lives?? It’s almost surreal.

  14. Great review, as always.

    I’m very comfortable with the lack of spark here as you mention. I have a theory about that related to the circumstances and maybe the writing voices crafting the show this season which I’ll mention in my own review but overall I really liked this one although I can’t help wonder what it would have been like as a penultimate episode.

    • Hey!!!

      I’m curious as to what you think the writers’ influence as been. I KNOW the new executive producer credits didn’t escape your notice.

      • Now I’m curious. Who is the exec producer? I can’t find it online.

        Damn your site!. Now I’m wondering about this stuff…LOL.

        • It was CC & GM during the end credits of Founder’s Mutation.

          • I just read the writer credits for XF on Morgan…o_0
            We are in for some blood and creepiness me thinks.

            Thanks for the heads up.

            • Yeah, we are!

              But CC never shared that credit screen before. Which is telling. Glen Morgan must have had a heavy influence in the making of the revival.

              • Was probably necessary since CC was directing three of the six episodes. There isn’t enough time to work on set, sit in post-production, handle any re-writes, etc. for three of six episodes in such a truncated amount of production time. Speaking of post, Heather MacDougall is back and this brings me great joy!

        • The fandom has that effect on people…

  15. The poster was the same one he tore in “My Struggle”. It made me laugh…It’s on the wall but you can still see the tare in it…they taped it I think.

  16. “I also want to applaud you for pointing out the missing close-ups.”
    *takes a bow*

    “There were more in “My Struggle”, which may be part of why we felt more emotion from the characters.”
    I totally missed those close ups. Did I black out at some point from the endless onslaught of techno-babble? Honestly, I was so utterly disappointed by that episode that I don’t want to go back there and review. The pain is too fresh. And I hate that because how can I not want to review every single second of new M&S footage. I should be reviewing footage frame-by-frame, “Mulder with VHS tape of the Big Foot”-style. I want to go back and see what I missed but I don’t want to revisit the pain of that awful dialogue. Were there big emotional moments which occurred in 10×1 that warranted the use of a close-up?

    “But director Kim Manners is owed a debt because his signature M/S two-shots helped focus and create their famous bubble of intimacy.”
    So with you on this! And we need that bubble. I NEED THAT BUBBLE. Kim Manners gets a great deal of understandable credit and I’m gonna raise David “the smiling director” Nutter’s name for praise as well; he helmed many of the earlier classics (Ice, Beyond the Sea, Irresistable, Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose). I heart that man.

    “And, of course, every episode can’t be full of close-ups. We’re used to seeing their heads knotted together in amazement and perplexity. Those close-ups helped define the aesthetic of the show… which, yes, I know, is necessarily evolving.”
    Agreed but close ups are part of many emotionally intimate scenes; evolution aside, it is a directorial tool used for decades, almost a century now. I’m disheartened because when she says that William could be in pain and need her, the scene didn’t have the emotional resonance it should have. I’m still not sure if it was the lack of close up, a lack of *something* with GA’s performance or a little of both. 😦

    Disillusionment, that is the word for how I’m feeling. Or in the immortal words of Talking Heads: “This is not my beautiful house, this is not my beautiful wife. How did I get here?”

  17. My experience with these 2 episodes so far has been a confusing one. I’m so ready to love love love everything. I was a huge fan in the 90s, was on board with both films and enjoyed getting back into XFiles during the 20 year anniversary events. It prompted a series rewatch for me and I discovered this blog in the processes. Which made me rewatch my rewatch. Countless David and Gillian interviews and press since then and leading up to FINALLY having season 10 here. And I’m left with a forced smile on my face. I’m not digging the vibe yet and it’s likely for all the reasons you’ve pointed out. And I’m super annoyed at her not having a desk and name plate. Anyway.
    I still absolutely love seeing these two on screen again as Mulder and Scully but the stories (and editing) feel hectic and disjointed. And they don’t really seem like Mulder and Scully. Yet. Yet? Idk…hopefully it’s “yet.” The voices bug me…mainly Scully though. She just doesn’t seem like herself. I’m hoping this is on purpose and not because Gillian needed more time to shift back into Scully mode. It’s distracting and frustrating. BUT I can hang with XFiles even during the worst of times. So these at odds feelings I’m having will work themselves out and I’m just glad the ratings have been so good. That’s a good sign we might get more and the powers that be hopefully pay attention to the constructive criticism.

    • Friend, I could just stuff your words in my mouth and dab the corners with a napkin.

      I’m excited. Truly I am. But on that deep, gutteral level where the X-Files resides within in my fangirl soul, something isn’t quite clicking for me yet. YET. “Maybe there’s hope.” “Don’t give up.” “The truth is out there.”

      We’re going to wait this thing out and enjoy the heck out of the ride. Payday is coming! “Because no one gets there alone.”

  18. @tinkrbe1l3 “I still absolutely love seeing these two on screen again as Mulder and Scully but the stories (and editing) feel hectic and disjointed. And they don’t really seem like Mulder and Scully.”

    Agreed that it is in part the script(s), possibly the direction, not certain about the editing…. but in all honesty — if they don’t seem like Mulder and Scully, don’t the actors warrant some accountability here? Editor Heather MacDougall was part of the original series (can’t remember name of other editor right now) but even in the worst of episodes, there were always those #MSR moments between them and I’ve not yet found – no, not FELT – in my shipper soul.

    • When I said editing I meant some cuts felt abrupt between episode 1 and 2. One minute I’m at A and the next I feel like I’m at J. I also don’t know quite where to look when understanding my frustrations. Is it the editing? Is it direction? Is it the story? The actors? All of the above? I just know something isn’t clicking for me. YET. But I watch with great affection for it all regardless.

      • I also don’t know quite where to look when understanding my frustrations. Is it the editing? Is it direction? Is it the story? The actors? All of the above? I just know something isn’t clicking for me. YET. But I watch with great affection for it all regardless.

        I’m just going to sign off on this right here and let you speak for us both.

  19. I mentioned this before but I’ve thought about it more and I’m intrigued. I pointed out that Scully has been the only one driving this season, but upon a few re-watches I also noticed: Even when Mulder needs to get somewhere on his own, he doesn’t drive. When he shows up in DC to meet up with Scully and Tad he gets out of a vehicle and Scully is all “Uber?” and then Mulder jokes that he hitchhiked. Again later in that episode when he shows up at Sveta’s house in the middle of nowhere she asks “How did you get here” and he says “I hitckhiked” and there is no vehicle in sight.

    Am I reading too much into this or is it a thing?

    • I really can’t tell yet. If we get three episodes in and Mulder still isn’t driving yet, then they’re definitely making a point. But if they make a point of Scully driving while leaving her name off the door and without giving her a desk, then they’ve ultimately missed the point. It’s First Person Shooter all over again.

      • Salome, you previously noted the episodes had been moved around and perhaps 10×2 explains how/why they were back in the Bureau with so little fanfare. Maybe we’ll get an explanation when “Home Again” airs? Also, a less interesting but a more “Occam’s Razor” explanation – this could’ve been explained more thoroughly in 10×1 but due to time constraints that footage was edited out.

          • I assumed it was because it was Scully’s car and since they’re at odds she’s not as comfortable handing over the keys just because he’s the guy. He doesn’t go anywhere so why have a car? He does drive from the graveyard in MASMTWM.

            • In the end, if it was a thing, it wasn’t much of a thing. Maybe there just weren’t enough episodes for them to make their point about Scully being the main driver now. Or maybe there just was no point.

              • I know he starts driving a lot after this episode, but at the time of the first two episodes’ airing I figured that Mulder wasn’t driving because he had let his license expire while he was on the lam and just never renewed it.

                Case in point, the whole Mulder driving thing was just another frustrating non-point CC may or may not have been trying to make. Doesn’t he realize he has one of the most intelligent, curious, and observant audiences of any television show ever? We want things to MEAN something(!).

              • Sadly, I’m willing to bet that the reason we see Scully driving that car so much is because Ford made it a condition of their sponsorship.

                I found the product placement to be really obnoxious in this revival. I don’t know whether they had product placement in the original series – and that’s the point: if they did have it, it was done subtly and as part of the story.

                The Ford Explorer stuck out in every shot – which means part of the deal was that the car had to be *seen*.

                I mean, take the awful, awful shot at around 10-11 minutes in, when the guy (was it Kyle?) ran into Scully’s car. The ONLY purpose of the shot was to show off the car’s on-board camera. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it – it didn’t add anything in cinematography terms, in direction terms, in story terms: it was literally only there as part of the product placement. It was an utterly cynical waste of precious screen time.

                With that in mind, I genuinely think that the reason Scully was seen driving that car is because either Ford felt it benefitted the marketing, or Ford felt it looked better, given the dark nature of The X-Files, to have a feminine person driving the car.

                So much was wrong about the whole miniseries, I think if they thought about Scully being the driver at all, it was Ford doing the thinking and not 1013.

                • Interesting insight and I wouldn’t be surprised.

                  I wondered about that near miss of Kyle too. It didn’t seem to move the plot in any way and his timing for leaving the apartment seemed off.

                  But the product placement for the now extinct Oldsmobile in Fight the Future was pretty obvious too.

  20. I’m trying to put into words why this doesn’t quite feel like the X-Files. I KNOW that it’s been many years since it ended and TV as a whole has changed, but you’re right in saying that this is modern TV does the X-Files instead of the reverse. I feel like this show just feels faster…the editing, the scenes, getting through the story…everything. This is sadly the trend in TV, especially American TV, now, but in the past I felt like the episodes gave me room to breathe and soak in everything…maybe gave Mulder and Scully time to build that bubble in a scene and just play off each other. Now everything bounces from one moment to the next and I feel like I’m running to catch up. I want their moments to land, and maybe they did in the actual filming, but it was lost in the editing room. Maybe their chemistry was cut out a bit, too. I’m glad that you mentioned that you felt like something was missing between them because I felt it, too. I feel so wrong saying that. They look like Mulder and Scully and, sort of, sound like them, but some of the magic is missing. It’s kind of hard to just get something back on screen that took so long to really cultivate. The pressure IS gone and David and Gillian have been away from these characters for quite some time.

    Gillian’s voice also bothers me. She honestly doesn’t sound like Scully, she sounds kind of like her character Bedelia on Hannibal. There were two moments where I heard Scully in her voice: the dream sequence with William and when she was trying to find the boy and she was screaming, “Where is he?” or something to that effect. Maybe it’s partly the wig, maybe Gillian doesn’t quite remember how Scully really was and she just has lingering impressions of her based on her own feelings towards the character. I think there is more of Gillian in Scully than she realized. I mean, I KNOW that they’ve gotten older and therefore will be different, but Scully just feels different. Yes, this case is tough for them and is opening old wounds, but they didn’t quite know that at the onset of the case. It all just feels strange still. It’s like I’m in some kind of alternate universe of the X-files where it’s kind of the same, but small changes are snowballing and making bigger impressions.

    Let’s see…what else can I complain about? The fact that more story lines are being cut out regarding WIlliam? No more alien savior? He got a vaccine and should have been fine. He shouldn’t be suffering from any kind of deformities or diseases like it seemed this episode was insinuating. Wasn’t he supposed to be a “perfect” human? I don’t know why this is bothering me too…I should be used to this by now. OK…no more complaining. I feel like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth. This wasn’t a bad episode, it’s just that this wouldn’t really have been anything all that special at all if it wasn’t an X-Files episode.

    I am happy that Mulder and Scully are in a lot of scenes together. They did get one thing right after IWTB. Even if they feel a bit off, at least they’re a bit off together on screen…right? I’m also glad that they are touching on William. I wish Scully’s scenes were more sentimental and personal like Mulder’s. And, yeah, Mulder’s scenes with William hit hard because I always liked to picture William as a science nerd and both of them doing cool things together like that. Damn this show. Despite all that I’ve said, I’m still excited for more. Next week’s episode looks like it’s going to be quite funny. Fingers crossed that it delivers!

    • I also feel like maybe my feelings are knee-jerk reactions and that once it all settles after a few weeks I’ll be able to see everything more clearly and love it like (most) of the rest.

    • I’m trying to put into words why this doesn’t quite feel like the X-Files. I KNOW that it’s been many years since it ended and TV as a whole has changed, but you’re right in saying that this is modern TV does the X-Files instead of the reverse.

      I think you just articulated, quite effectively, part of why it feels a little jarring. TV used to be a lot less in-your-face and more subtly played. (Then CSI happened.) Especially TXF where most things were understated. It’s not a complaint so much as an admission that it may take some getting used to for yours truly.

      I want their moments to land, and maybe they did in the actual filming, but it was lost in the editing room. Maybe their chemistry was cut out a bit, too. I’m glad that you mentioned that you felt like something was missing between them because I felt it, too. I feel so wrong saying that.</strong

      Me too! I still feel guilty. But I'd feel guiltier if I acted like I saw the emperor's clothes when I didn't. Julie, though, posted some great thoughts on this subject on FB and I'll ask her if I can add them to the comments here. I suspect whatever it is we're seeing or not seeing, it has to do with the direction of this specific episode and not the six episodes as a whole. The point about editing is also an excellent one and ties into that.

      I think there is more of Gillian in Scully than she realized.

      At the very least, she’s rooted and grounded in who she is and was. And I couldn’t play a character the same way at, say, 24 as I did at 14 because of how drastically I would have changed. I imagine the changes are less drastic in adulthood, but they’re still there. P.S. She does sound like Bedelia!

      Yes, this case is tough for them and is opening old wounds, but they didn’t quite know that at the onset of the case. It all just feels strange still. It’s like I’m in some kind of alternate universe of the X-files where it’s kind of the same, but small changes are snowballing and making bigger impressions.

      Yes!!! The strangeness was happening for me even before William came up. But by the time William came up outside of the hospital, I was freaked out that I wasn’t being emotionally drawn in by the conversation. That was surreal. And it’s not that there’s anything in and of itself that’s dramatically wrong. But it was the subtleties that made it such perfection in the first place.

      He got a vaccine and should have been fine.

      Supposedly, yes. Which is why on the one hand I’m wondering why we’re pretending that part of his story didn’t have a resolution. (Did any part?) On the other hand, that resolution happened very quickly and was accepted a little too readily by Scully. William’s arc is so messed up I’m not sure it can be saved one way or the other.

      I feel like I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth. This wasn’t a bad episode, it’s just that this wouldn’t really have been anything all that special at all if it wasn’t an X-Files episode.

      And you’re speaking for the both of us. You must be keyed into my brain.

      And a hearty ‘Yes!’ to your entire last paragraph too. I’m so excited that they’re making a concerted effort to give us everything about TXF we’ve been missing. And I’m SO excited for Monday.

  21. I’m pretty sure that everything is going to make so much more sense once the initial excitement and craziness have worn off and we can watch these episode with some distance and especially within the context of the entire season.
    I can only speak for myself but this revival is extremely emotional for me because the X-Files is so much more to me than just a show that I am a fan of. There are too many feelings involved for me to be able to just sit back and enjoy that experience right now.
    I think that plays a huge role for many of us when it comes to the perception of their dynamic.

    The more often I watch these episodes, the more I actually see Mulder and Scully beneath all the trauma, depression, world weariness and awkwardness of two people that have gone through hell together, love each other in an uncomparably deep and unique way and still weren’t able to figure out how to actually *live* together.
    Their evolution feels more and more natural to me.

    Right now I’m pretty sure that when it’s over (ouch), we will go back to these six episodes and watch them again with a little less anxiety. We will have the context of the entire season which will probably change our perception quite a bit. Maybe we won’t experience as much emotional turmoil clouding our experience as it does right now. (I’m actually considering therapy and a long vacation because I can hardly sleep and everything hurts, btw.)

    I have a good feeling about this. Guys, it’s going to be ok.

    As for Mulder not driving: I really do think they are making a point here and I can’t stop thinking about the implications.

    • Hold that thought. I’ll be back, hopefully with a quote from someone who I think will have a lot to add to this!

    • I really, really hope you’re right. I am way too stressed about the status of their relationship than is probably healthy. I just want these crazy kids to find a way to make it work, and I actually think it could be great TV. Chris Carter has tried just about everything else, WHY DOESN’T HE JUST GIVE THIS A TRY.

      ARGHHHHHHH.

  22. Hi, love your site and am finally jumping in to comment.

    I took the Uber jokes and Mulder not driving to simply mean he doesn’t have a car right now.

  23. I just caught this interview from the @thexfiles Twitter feed. GA actually says towards the end of this interview, “The fans will love it, even if I come back as a different character.”
    https://t.co/881yRa9wXu

    Maybe this out of body experience we’re all experiencing is actually a ploy by the XF team and FOX to test the degree to which they can modify aspects of the series, yet we’ll keep watching and obsessing. Maybe the PTB made DD/GA take sedatives to reduce their on-screen chemistry in a WetWired-inspired experiment to determine how little of their chemistry crack we can get by on (and how little *they* can get by on!)? Maybe the experiences we’re experiencing are UST/RST withdrawal symptoms…

    I need answers, Salome, none of this makes sense. Help us Obi-Darin Kenobi, you’re are only hope…

    • I’m getting the teaser preview for next week. Am I in the wrong place?

      Meanwhile, I saw this today: The X-Files: Why Gillian Anderson Had a Hard Time Getting Back Into Character

      The headline is a little misleading as what she says isn’t nearly so dramatic. But it does offer some insight into the necessary readjustments the actors had and why walking right back into Scully isn’t as easy as it theoretically sounds.

      • I’ve seen her in a couple of interviews saying this. She alluded to the fact she was trying to distance herself from the character over the years in order to spread her wings artistically. Certainly can understand that after nine years of one role.

        To me, the harder part would be to return to the character as a middle aged woman instead of a 25-30 year old.

      • Sorry! I copied the wrong link last night, here it is: https://t.co/xjZFtE5Qdo I’m having a time with playing the video but I think it’s a connectivity issue on my side.

        I understand it can take a few days to get back into that head space, hence rehearsal time, but Founder’s Mutation was the 5th episode in production order so this quasi-Scully person is around for the entire series. There are 100s of hours of footage and two movies for review. And heck, many fans are easily seeing/hearing the changes, so why didn’t anyone on the production staff, much less GA? It isn’t rocket science. Step one: use your normal speaking voice. Step two: move your mouth.

        The foundation of getting Mulder and Scully right (characterization&chemistry) isn’t entirely there; without that solid foundation everything else suffers. This is feeling more and more like a squandered opportunity. Of course I’ll keep watching because my name is Steamgrrl, and I have a problem.

        • You very well could be right. I think we will know much more after tomorrow night. (hey, that rhymes) 😉

          All kidding aside, I am just going to enjoy the four eps left and then take it all in…see how I feel about it. Time is a funny thing and it is hard to capture lightning in a bottle twice. I did notice Anderson did say “no ” when DD asked her if she really thought fans would watch her even if she was a different character.

  24. Oh one more thing. Am I the only one bothered by Scully referring to being gay as a “lifestyle preference”? I always cringe at that.

    I love you Scully but that is BS.
    I don’t think they conciously tried to portray her as someone who thinks like that. It’s probably a problem of all male, heterosexual writers.

    • I have to say that didn’t bother me, no. Especially since I think she was including his clandestine/anonymous hookups, his lifestyle, in her observation.

    • I wouldn’t go so far as to stereotype male heterosexuals into thinking all homosexuality is a lifestyle. I’ve heard many females say it as well over the years. We are getting more informed 😉

    • That also gave me a “WTH?” moment. The term “lifestyle preference” has very dark, negative connotations in the LGTB community. Jim wrote the words, yes, but lines are often changed up to the last minute. I’m don’t understand why Gillian didn’t ad lib something more appropriate or put her foot down about the phrasing. Her sister, Zoe, is gay so she has to understand how “lifestyle preference” is doublespeak for “your choice to be gay”.

      Another body snatcher moment.

      • To get another perspective on this I just contacted two of my dear friends who are gay and Philes. I’m going to laugh my head off if they come back to me with “stop being so overly sensitive! we have Mulder and Scully back!” 🙂

        • Ah, I’d love to know what they have to say. 🙂

          I don’t know, maybe I am being overly sensitive. But it still feels wrong to me. Implying that being gay is a choice, a lifestyle, is a falsehood that the LGBT community has been having to try and rectify for way too long. And I just don’t see Scully having that kind of mindset. Even if she did also refer to Sanjay’s promiscuity. That just wasn’t clear enough for me.

          @John
          Sorry about that. Of course there are also females who think like that.

          • No worries. 🙂

            I didn’t take offense.

          • I’m starting to lose track of the comments – Please forgive me, guys!

            But I’ll just jump in to say, I grew up in an area with a very large and prominent homosexual community. And up until what feels like a mere few years ago, give or take, the language that they used locally to describe themselves very much included “lifestyle preferences.” Now, I realize the political climate has changed dramatically in the past 5 years. Our president, for instance, did a 180 on his stance on homosexual marriage from the beginning of his tenure to the tail end of it. But just because something is the truth as seen on CNN and social media… well, ’tain’t necessarily so. There are still a lot of people out there, myself included, and even (still!) some homosexuals I know, who don’t consider homosexuality something innate.

            And even though it might not be particularly relevant to the story at this point, let’s not forget that Scully is a catholic (albiet a liberal one judging by her relationships) and even if she weren’t, there’s no scientific, moral or societal consensus when it comes to LGBT issues. I personally think that the writer, 1013 and Gillian Anderson are all quite open and didn’t mean anything by that comment except probably moral support. But even so, let’s not forget there we’re still in the middle of a major public discourse. They can disagree and we can disagree with them without either side taking offense at being disagreed with.

            Also, if I skipped anyone, I’m sorry! I sometimes read these as I’m driving on the go but you Philes are too smart for me to send off a glib answer on my phone. I need a keyboard. LOL

        • UPDATE: When I called one friend and asked about the scene, his initial response was, “WHAT? I totally missed that. Scully would never say such a thing, that isn’t her! No way!” This is, mind you, from a man who named his cats Mulder and Scully. He said he’d re-watch that scene and get back to me but he was clearly flummoxed that a phrase which has so beleaguered the gay community for decades was used by his/our heroine.

    • I honestly think it was a bad choice of wording, but yeah, I have to admit that did bother me. It bothered me quite a bit. I think it’s pretty clear Scully wasn’t merely talking about actual lifestyle choices; she was also talking about being gay. The show’s trying to be up and with the times, after all. It sounds like an unintentional slip to me, but still cringeworthy. Maybe 1013 needs better story editors?

    • Ok, I’m gonna try to come to a conclusion here:

      I think it’s safe to assume that our beloved Scully is not a conservative homophobe because she did find it bad that they had to lead a double-life. She doesn’t think not being hetero-normative is wrong.
      This is good. We can still love Scully without feeling guilty. Yay!

      The fact that she referred to it as a lifestyle preference probably comes from her not really having any contact with the LGBT community and not being aware of these things.

      That probably applies to the writers as well. When it comes down to it, I think this was a simply a very thoughtless, unfortunate writing choice.
      No bad intentions I’ m sure.
      I just wish someone would have picked up on it and urged them to change it. Oh well…..

      • Well, I hate to think that we’d come to a place as a society where any of us would have to feel guilty for liking Scully regardless of her politics or religion. That’s one of the great legacies of the show in the form of the Mulder and Scully relationship, that they left us such a great and enduring picture of two people who love each other dearly and yet vehemently disagree regularly. Even when they think what the other thinks is crazy, they don’t dismiss one another but love one another. That’s a powerful thing. I would never throw Scully out of the Happy Circle because I didn’t like her opinion… or I would have done it by now.

        And what you say is true that we have to be aware that not everyone shares our cultural and political sensitivities and they’re not always familiar with the language of discourse. It’s always good to cut one another some slack and show some grace. Right on.

        • Yeah, I don’t think the problem is Scully’s religion or anything. Besides, not all Catholics are homophobes. I think the trouble comes from the assumption that comment makes about the gay community, many of whom I know would take issue with that line, for obvious reasons. I’m willing to cut the writers some slack, of course, but then again I’m not gay. I don’t really feel like I’m in a position to make a judgment one way or the other.

        • Yeah, I totally sign what both of you say.

          You know, there are things that I have an easier time with accepting than others.
          I’m not a fan of religion in general but I still love that facet of her character.
          Not liking Scully is obviously not an option, but it would cause me a lot of grief if they
          gave her opinions or characteristics that oppose everything I stand for. It would leave me feeling very conflicted.
          They didn’t do that and I’m pretty sure they won’t, so everything’s fine.

          Btw, I really do have to work on cutting people more slack for not being aware of certain things that I find important. Sometimes I tend to label them as ignorant too quicky and that’s just not fair. I’m sure there are things I’m not aware of as well. So yeah, I’ll work on that.

          Salome, what you wrote about Mulder and Scully’s relationship made me tear up. Again.
          Seriously, ever since this all started I am a ball of X-Files feels and it just won’t get any better.

          Have I mentioned therapy and a long vacation?

      • I actually resent your implication that conservatives are homophobes. I really don’t think feeling that other’s are uninformed gives you free reign to issue your own biases as absolute truth. Conservatives aren’t homophobes; there may be some conservatives who are homophobes; there may also be liberals who are homophobes. It’s not strictly tied to ideology. No hard feelings or anything, we’re all Philes here, but sometimes people who are trying to make a point about other peoples’ discourse leads them to unintentionally be hurtful as well.

        It is a conflicting line, because even as Scully says it, she sounds like she feels sorry for the guy feeling like he has to hide. Just another way this season has been annoyingly bi-polar in language and sentiment. Just like how in Babylon CC had Scully and Miller make the point that not all Muslims are radical Islamist terrorists by having them sympathize with one who WAS a radical Islamist terrorist. Don’t cheapen it for the majority of Muslims who have no intention of hurting anyone in the name of their religion for cryn’ out loud! Stuff like this really does make me cringe over my dear Scully. As CC had Burt Reynolds-God say, there’s a way to make this better, XF writers: Choose better.

  25. While I obviously haven’t seen episodes 4-6 yet, I feel this one would’ve been better suited as the lead in to the series finale.

    • I guess we’ll see how it all plays out and whether CC was really right to switch the episode order. If William comes up in the finale, as I suspect he will, it’s possible you’ll be proven correct.

  26. I didn’t know that this was meant to be episode 5; this worries me immensely. It worked as episode 2, because that would mean they had a place to grow from over the next four episodes, and perhaps they’d be in a very different place both as individuals and as a pair by episode 6. But if this was meant to be the penultimate episode, that means that this IS the final destination of their growth. And that is just alarming. Because right now they are slightly bored, gravelly-voiced near-strangers. 😦

    And yes to the Quicksilver/Scarlet Witch comment! Although in my case, the first thought that popped into my head was “When did this turn into Escape to Witch Mountain?” I refer, of course, to the 1995 made-for-TV Disney movie starring Erik von Detten, on whom I had a massive crush. Point is, their psychic abilities came out of nowhere, right? I thought Molly’s thing was breathing underwater. Apparently that’s some kind of psychic ability now?

    Still, an acknowledgment that they ought to be feeling things about William . . . that was nice, right? Even if it was ultimately meaningless, and even if you’re absolutely right, “the entire plot surrounding Mulder and Scully’s son was the worst sin The X-Files ever committed.” It really was. The best version of the X-Files is one that ended before Scully ever got pregnant and the whole show got diluted by a mediocre 8th and terrible 9th season. The second-best version of the X-Files is one where they kept the baby and tried to make a go of it.

    Anyway, great review. 🙂

    • Escape to Witch Mountain!!! My childhood heartily thanks you!

      Maybe Molly already had her psychic abilities and her mother didn’t know/hadn’t seen? Maybe they developed? I think both of their abilities were enhanced once they were together. Maybe more will come of their story besides it being an excuse to bring up William.

      And yeah, I do feel better after watching the 3rd episode as far as characterization goes. But when I think that this would have represented the trajectory of their “growth” from the premiere to nearly the end of the arc, I find that disappointing. Perhaps that’s part of why CC decided to change the episode order. It makes more sense for them to face their issues in order to be able to do the work than for them to emotionally devolve right before the end.

  27. Pingback: Home Again 10×2: You’re gonna be all right now. | Musings of an X-Phile

  28. I’m a bit upset with this one. Felt like a bit of a hodgepodge. This may indeed be a symptom of too many ideas for too few episodes.

    Your review was hilarious, however; I give it A+. The episode gets much lower though I’m afraid. I agree with everything you said, apart from it being better than the season opener.

    I liked the mother in the institute (good actress, intense) but all the other characters felt like fodder for the formula. I do wish the show would focus. I mean it has a great history for great characters outside the continual cast; Duane Barry, Luther Lee Boggs, etc. Oh, and I wonder if Marita Covarrubias is still knocking around somewhere?

    Is it me or are they trying to do a William = Samantha switcheroo? If this is the case the show can go whistle.

    Perhaps Skinner can get M&S off the medication for next week. Tune in to find out if they are more awake.

  29. Not sure if anyone will see this, but I think part of the problem with the acting – on top of all the comments above, which I totally agree with, is that the relationship between Anderson and Duchovny has fundamentally changed in recent years.

    They both talk about how they are true friends now; they now, finally, openly acknowledge what was always rumoured, that there was real tension between them and that they didn’t have a good relationship.

    I don’t know how acting works (I kept sitting there thinking “Gillian why don’t you just watch a few tapes of season 3 episodes so you can see what Scully used to be like!”) but I suspect that this huge change in their personal chemistry may well have changed how they saw and interacted with each other on set.

    I also think that “Gillian Anderson who has become a star because of her role in The X-Files” is a fundamentally different person to “Gillian Anderson who has been a star and has had huge doors opened as a result of her role in The X-Files”.

    In other words, despite her becoming globally famous during the original run, her life since then will have shaped her much more as an actor. Her world has broadened massivelay. Her reputation has grown hugely since the show finished.

    I’ve got no proof of this, but I do suspect that once she finished the series’ original run, her personal development took a very different course. While the original series was still on, it was the thing responsible for their fame, but it was still the ongoing source of that fame. Once it was over, both Duchovny and Anderson’s relationship to the show and the fame may have changed a LOT.

    I’m sorry to say, I agree with the idea that both she and Duchovny (who had a lesser, but still huge, journey once the series finished) weren’t giving their all to the job. I feel that they rested on the idea that they’re Mulder and Scully, instead of doing the necessary character work. Because the show was what gave them their fame, I think perhaps they simply felt they could step right back in.

    And the story of Gillian finding it a bit difficult to get back into character bothers me – plenty of other actors have done this and don’t seem to have had the same problem.

    I think a lot of the top team didn’t give their all for the whole miniseries. As I’ve been getting angry about, Carter didn’t even have the stories written in advance.

    I think the problems we’ve seen are a mixture of a) all the problems inherent in a really fast turnaround miniseries, b) demands from Fox, which we’ve heard nothing about but which I suspect will turn out to have been responsible for a number of horrible decisions in this miniseries, c) the understandable distance of time, but then d) poor preparation by the cast, poor preparation by the writers, and poor preparation when the shows were being produced.

    None of this takes away from my love of these actors. I am astonished by how amazing Gillian Anderson is as an actor, and I was able to put Mulder away completely while watching Californication. These are great people. But I think there wasn’t enough anchoring, grounding, of these people – the cast and the producers – by a production team that itself was anchored in a desire to work together to make the best possible TV.

    If I had to pick one word for this miniseries, it would be a toss-up between “rushed” and “underdone” (in all senses).

    • I agree with you on all counts except to say I find Anderson’s acting to be rather narrow (though very good in that spectrum). I have recently read Davis’s memoirs (musing of a cigarette smoking man) and he had some interesting insights into the two main actors during the original run.

      He asked a good question. Would DD have taken any different roles if he hadn’t had XF? I realize he would probably not had the exposure of course but the I’m talking about the roles. GA spends most of their time in the UK and in stage productions. Her work on the Fall and Hannibal are very good but again…strike me as a narrowly defined set of acting skills that are well honed.

      As to the changes in their lives since…you bet. they are both multimillionaires with a lot of years behind them with regards to life and experience.

  30. I don’t think anyone mentioned this, but if M and S are broken up, why does it look like they’re both in the Unremarkable House with the exact same picture of baby Willie? Props department messed that one up…Or maybe it’s like that joke David had about the rumors that he and Gillian were living together: he didn’t know they were living together as he’s never seen her because maybe she’s spending all her time in the pool.

    • I think production order vs. air date order had a lot to do with it. I believe they were supposed to be back together, at least living in the same house, by this point. The breakup was meaningless.

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