Babylon 10×4: I resent that characterization and I don’t even know what it means.


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Don’t bother adjusting your antennas, ladies and gentlemen.

Mulder: Hi. Einstein? I need you to do me a favor so we can save the world. I’d like you to feed me some quasi-legal magic mushrooms to get me high. Because if I get high and reach that higher plane of consciousness that the Beatles only dreamed of, I can communicate with a comatose terrorist currently in a lower plane of consciousness. I’d ask Scully but she never lets me have nice things. She said no to the Star Wars wedding too. Can you rush down here, please? Thanks. #TrippingAgainstTerrorism

Well, shave my knuckles and call me “Curly.” That was a bunch of mechanical bull.

And you know what? Horrible as it is, it barely even got my shackles up. I mean, I’m not happy, but to break out that venerable and ancient stick called Brutal Honesty: this is what I had braced myself for. I had hoped for better, but I had suspected worse.

If you’ve been gracious enough to read some of my mental meanderings disguised as reviews, then you know that I’ve been rooting for Chris Carter to prove himself again to the fandom.  I’m a fan of both his writing and directing and am usually game for his experimental pet projects. “Babylon” is one of those, v. SMH16.

Fourteen years after the original end of the series and it’s obvious that Chris Carter has a lot he wants to say, he just doesn’t have 8,562 hours to do it in. This is a television program, not a New York Times op-ed piece. Go ahead. Throw out an idea, an opinion or two. Heck, indulge a little and make it three or four. Paint us a visual portrait of your life philosophy. But don’t try to force feed the audience over a decade’s worth of your cultural observations in a single episode of television. They’ll only vomit it all back up.

This forcefully reminds me of “First Person Shooter” (7×13), also directed by Chris Carter, which tried to ally itself with the feminist cause only to disgrace it in yet another failed attempt by the top ‘o the heap at solidarity with the social underdog.

Now, I’m not insensitive to the issues of stereotyping “Babylon” tries to raise having grown up with practicing Muslims in my own family. I’ve also been blessed both to travel and to know people in my own neck of the woods who grew up in predominantly Muslim countries (you might find it awkward to know how many of whom are more paranoid about Islam than most Middle America Americans are, but let me not pull on that thread). If Chris Carter really wants to prove how relevant The X-Files still is then here’s a thought: How about the highly religious young Muslim guy has nothing to do with terrorism??? Too radical?

I know I’m kvetching, but the truth is that for about the first half of “Babylon”, I was following along with an open mind, even if some of the early moments I didn’t understand…

Scully: Since when do you believe in God, Mulder?

Since when did you stop watching your own show, Chris? “Signs and Wonders” (7×9), “Closure“(7×11), “Existence” (8×21), “The Truth” (9×20/21), I Want to Believe… did I imagine you took Mulder through a spiritual evolution or did you imagine I’d forget?

Scully: You know that prophecies like this have been going on for centuries, failed prognostications of doom, failed prophecy – even in the Bible.

Mulder: Yeah, God told Adam that if he at the forbidden fruit he’d die. And he lived 930 years. Top that.

He lived 930 years and then he died… right?

Anyway.

Then of course, I see Mulder and Scully doppelgangers, think “Fight Club” (7×20), and immediately get nasty chills. To my relief, Agents Miller and Einstein aren’t at “Fight Club” levels of irritating. They also aren’t interesting at all. The way Einstein is written, she’s overdone. Miller comes across as little more than an over-eager frat boy. Mulder and Scully were young and full of wonder once, but they managed to radiate capability and intelligence beyond their years. And now I know: The X-Files couldn’t have been created in or with this generation.

But what am I stalling for, right? We all know what the baloney in this sandwich is… Mulder tripping through the tulips with a 10-gallon hat on his head and an Elvis in his pelvis. My concern waxed and then waned something like this:

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And they’re trying to pass this off as the much anticipated return of the Lone Gunmen?

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Call me crazy, but I don’t think badonkadonk hony tonk, inaccurate Biblical allusions, and unoriginal socio-political commentary together a cake bake. Frost it with a heavenly horn section and I am officially unamused. That’s right. God Himself just signed off on MSR and my reaction was:

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I suppose there were a few vestiges of the thoughtful television The X-Files used to be. Do thoughts have weight? Do words have weight? Can anyone feel the weight of my thoughts like an Acme piano falling from a roof?

One (more) thing that did bother me was the not so subtle depiction of Texans and American law enforcement as a bunch of bigoted bullies. I mentioned “First Person Shooter”, infamous for attempting to elevate women by making men look like a bunch of hormone crazed idiots. “Babylon” sympathizes with a repentant terrorist to the point of making the victims, the citizens filled with righteous indignation, look mean for being angry. They absolutely should forgive and I’m not trying to suggest they shouldn’t or that bigotry against Muslims isn’t real or dangerous. But this episode wants the masses to offer forgiveness without conceding that there’s anything that needs to be forgiven. Yep. Knotted issues too big to be picked apart in less than an hour of television.

Verdict:

In the immortal words of those ladies of the barenaked variety: It’s all been done.

In the past fourteen years since the show ended, terrorism on television has been brought forward, pulled back, flipped out, dissected, intersected, and vivisected. I wanted, I so wanted, for this to be something fresh and new – something we were promised the revival would be; it was never supposed to be purely about nostalgia, remember? Instead I’m mortified to report that “Babylon” comes across as a desperate attempt to seem progressive, relevant, sexy and wise.

I can’t help but think back to “Improbable” (9×14) and Chris Carter’s last off-the-wall attempt to define God for a television audience. Then God was a dancing, prancing, grinning Burt Reynolds – low in authority, high in laughter. Now God is an angry tyrant who set man off on his path of confusion but will occasionally speak to the mankind He cast away through dissonant elephant calls – if you care to listen.

I won’t vouch for either interpretation. And the thoughts expressed all throughout this episode are so random and disjointed that I can’t even engage them in debate. I will only say that this doesn’t feel like the same Chris Carter who wrote “Irresistible” (2×13), but I know he’s still in there. I want to believe.

F

The 7th Trumpet:

That final shot is basically a redo of the final shot of “Improbable”, minus Burt Reynolds.

Mulder’s conversation with Einstein wandered very close to Tulpa territory and the mysteries of creation that make up “Milagro” (6×18).

Making Einstein jealous of Scully and then using that as motivation for her to assist in Mulder’s little experiment cheapens the character almost immediately.

The story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 involved neither anger nor violence, either on the part of God or man. So I’m not sure where Chris is coming from on the premise of this entire episode.

“You were 50 shades of bad.” – Absolutely. Freaking. Not.

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98 responses to “Babylon 10×4: I resent that characterization and I don’t even know what it means.

  1. “Ihad hoped for better, but I had suspected worse.”

    That’s kind of everything right there. Needless to say, maybe the only positive thing about “Babylon” is that it necessitated your review, which I got to read and enjoy. K I’m going to watch “Darkness Falls” now and hopefully wrap up S1 tonight!

    • “Darkness Falls” is my jam. You know that. I just wish every attempt at rewatching “Babylon” hadn’t felt like a root canal without anesthesia. It got worse each time I tried.

      • “Darkness Falls” is my jam until the moment Scully says something to the effect of, “The outer rings of the tree are the youngest, right?” then I snap immediately into, “No Scully, a tree grows from the outside in! Ugh, Chris, why’d Scully have to say the goofy ‘explain how trees grow to the audience’ line???”

        I remember this moment in 1994, staring at my whopping 10″ color tv screen in utter disbelief while typing a remark about it on a DOS-based X Files bulletin board with my then X Phile peeps. The circle of fan girl life. *sigh* My tree has many rings.

  2. Oh my dear Salome, you have no idea how much I was looking forward to your review for this episode. I felt so lonely in my frustration and needed your company through the pain (The X-Files always takes out the drama queen in me, that’s how much I love this show).
    Anyway, your review is spot-on as usual, my reaction was pretty much the same as your gifs. When the episode started I thought “please Chris, don’t go there”… and he did. And how come TV writers and directors still think the main-characters-doppelgangers thing works? I guess what bothered me the most about that was Agent Einstein’s charaterization. As you mentioned, her jealousy cheapens her character, and so does her disrespectful treatment of senior and fellow agents. Scepticism and being a red head aside, there’s no way I can see her as the “Scully” of her partnership with Miller. And don’t get me started on Mulder’s happy mushroom plan or why would Scully not even mention her own plan to Mulder.
    The only good thing about this episode was that we got to see a bit of Skinner, everything else I just want to forget all about it.

    • You are not alone and I too thought Skinner was the only bright spot in this episode.

      And I wondered that too: Why did Miller and Scully keep their plan such a secret? It wasn’t crazy. It wasn’t out there. It was a legitimate if experimental attempt to get necessary intel. It didn’t make sense that everyone was so against it except that CC was determined to make all law enforcement except our heroes stubbornly bigoted. OF COURSE, they’d want to find out all they could from him, if only to save lives. That has nothing to do with forgiving him. And why couldn’t Miller tell Einstein when it’s not like this had anything to do with the paranormal?

      Miller and Einstein are just anemic and hollow in comparison. This doppelganger thing doesn’t work. Sure, I think it’d be nice to see one or two next generation agents who have an interest in Mulder’s work. Why do they have to be faded carbon copies, though? Why can’t they come at the X-Files from a fresh angle??

  3. Yep

    I just…wow.

    There has been one…only one defense of Chris Carter in all this and many, many calls for him to take a break from writing and directing any more shows if and when season 11 happens. I agree..

    This ep along with the next and My Struggle have demonstrated that Chris has not produced anything memorable for quite a while. I have not seen seasons 8 or 9 but I don’t think I’ve read one fan who says otherwise.

    I have one question though. It has been pondered that the two who went into the store that blew up were not wearing vests, carrying bombs etc so maybe they went in there to stop a bombing? Does that make sense?

    I actually liked the few seconds of Mulder tripping in the hospital but it went on too long and the whole idea of it made no sense for his character or the manner in which it was discussed with Einstein. First time they meet it’s like…”Hey, agent…how’s about I take some magic mushrooms to talk to this brain dead terrorist?” Not freaking likely nor to her rather than Miller.

    The doppelgangers were so not necessary and as you say, Einstein was Scully on steroids with a mean streak. Please don’t make them regulars!

    The LG cameos were like Chris sticking his tongue out at me and saying

    “Psych!”

    I’ve never seen you give and “F”—Yikes.

    • I’ve never seen me give an “F” either. In fact, I didn’t think it would ever happen. But every time I sat down to watch this, I got progressively more disgusted. Usually, I watch an episode at least 3 times in succession before finishing a write up. This time? I barely made it through the second viewing. I kept having to stop and leave it alone, come back and start over. The whore of Babylon indeed.

      I’m sad, genuinely sad that Chris wasn’t able to pull it out this time. Me and my non-professional, non-multi-millionaire self can’t tell him to lay off his own show. But I’ll humbly suggest that he assemble a new writers’ room and let the mytharc especially evolve out of a collaborative effort. Maybe Morgan was doing that for him to an extent and that’s why he has an executive producer credit now, I don’t know. But while CC has great ideas, they don’t always translate into something palatable. And then, they’re not always great ideas and someone has to be willing to say so.

      As far as the bombs, everyone involved was sure of their intent which was to kill, so maybe something was planted ahead of time. But there’s no way in the wide world I’m going to turn it back on to check, so…

      • Heh

        No need to torture yourself any further, Salome.

        As far as CC is concerned, don’t get me wrong. He is the creator of an amazing piece of television history and directed/wrote some awesome eps. I cannot therefore take that away or wish to. My concern is that he is planning on being a large part of whatever is left of this series despite what you humbly suggest.

        That would be shame.

        • Part of the issue in Seasons 8 & 9, IMHO, was that he and Spotnitz took on too much of the seasons themselves. It’s not that they’re not great at what they do, Fight the Future for the win, but burn out is a real thing. And sometimes you can be too close to the material. Part of why TXF took off was because all these different voices were brought together to write the show episodically. It wasn’t one long fanfiction epic from the mind of a single dreamer.

      • “The whore of Babylon indeed.”

        This line nearly had me rolling on the floor.

  4. I had the same reaction to the tripping Mulder part. I haven’t even actually watched that part because I was litterally covering my eyes both times I watched the episode. I hate, absolutely HATE cowboy culture, and to see Mulder in a cowboy hat, dancing to Achy Breaky Heart, amounts to torture. I knew I wouldn’t be able to unsee it, so I chose not to see it. I too was disappointed that this was the return of The Lone Gunmen. Sad! Why build it up in the first place?

    • I can’t hate a rhinestone cowboy, but that scene was like a sad clown that thinks it’s a funny one. Put your nose back on and get off the stage.

      And really. What was the point of bringing them back at all??? For this?? I was expecting a dream sequence, a paranormal encounter, perhaps even a flashback. But Mulder got high and partied with TLG at the honky tonk? REALLY???

    • Marita, me too! I literally watched it the way I watch something that’s really scary or gross. With my hands over my face peering through my fingers with squinty eyes. I just could not even…

  5. I texted my friend in emojis throughout because she wasn’t able to watch it right away and I didn’t want to spoil anything. My emojis during the mushroom trip nonsense looked a lot like your wonderful GIFs in this review. I hated that sequence so much. I was so distracted by my emotional reaction that I completely missed the Lone Gunmen. Your review is the best thing about this episode. I was very excited to read it. I can’t believe you finally gave out an F, but sadly I can.

    • I can hardly believe it either. I was actually reporting to someone on Twitter myself who wasn’t able to watch it that night. It started off, “Eh, not too bad” and went to “What in the everloving heck???”

  6. Damn.

    While I think it was a bad decision for CC to combine a serious plot like foreign suicide bombing to the light-hearted plot of shroom-tripping, I personally didn’t think Babylon was THAT bad.

  7. I forgot to add in the above comment: while Chris hasn’t always made “Triangle”-like episodes, I don’t think he needs to sit out season 11. I’m sure I’m in the minority in that thought. For me, this article sums him up for me, more or less:

    http://www.vulture.com/2016/02/chris-carter-the-x-files-season-10-defense.html?mid=twitter_vulture

    • Hey there

      That was the “one” defense I mentioned in my first post. I can even say I respect the authors pov. In the end it is CC’s baby and I must confess….I so badly not want this revival season or two to suck..In fact I want them to be so good that they stand out when considering the entire series.

      Part of that is nostalgia and knowing in large part that the last movie and last two season ended on low notes with some gems hidden here and there. My thinking is if the show is worth reviving (and with such few eps) then make them the very best you can…throw all the talent and money you can afford because this is the X-Files damn it! 🙂

      My worry is that CC is going to make sure his thoughts and ideas over the last 14 years are going to be in these new episodes come hell or high water and obviously someone did not say “hey, maybe we could try doing that in a different way” or “that line doesn’t work”. ..Or maybe he doesn’t think the TV world has changed in 14 years…Now I’m just rambling.

      Anyways….

      Cheers.

      • Co-signing.

        Except that I think he thinks the television world has changed, but he seems to be trying to harness the zeitgeist and that can’t happen. Everyone looks back at TXF and thinks they know where it came from and why it was great. And maybe he’s trying to create lighting in a bottle twice by feeling the pulse of the moment and writing TXF to speak to it. Cultural phenomenons happen organically, however. I’m sure in 1993 they weren’t setting out to make a show that summarized large swaths of the culture of the 90’s, it just so happened that they did. They were setting out to make great television.

        • Fair point and something I hadn’t thought of.
          The only question I would have is why Chris would try to make the same stories if he knows people and TV has evolved? Is it just bad timing that he released this revival in the midst of some of the best television ever overall?

          • It’s not bad timing. If it were good, this could’ve been perfect timing. As it is, it garnered a lot of ratings.

            I don’t know… It’s like they’re trying to have their cake and eat it too: Make the show a replica of what it once was and, simultaneously, consciously create a new voice for a new time.

            But I think if they just make GOOD stories that make sense for the characters, the rest will come.

    • Good article. And I won’t call for CC to step down either, so we can be in the minority together. But I *do* think that the show’s weaknesses, while they were present long ago, haven’t been corrected but have grown out of proportion like a tumor unchecked. The fact that the season is short only highlights those weaknesses, since there isn’t enough time to cover them with other, better material. If they course correct, they could still make amazing television that the audience craves instead of television the audience is merely grateful for because it’s a chance to see old friends.

      I think CC needs more collaborative input, that’s all.

  8. Fully agree with you Salome! This episode was disappointing to say the least. I recall watching the teaser and thinking, “I can’t believe we’re going there”, but at the same time I wanted to believe the X-Files would do something amazing with this. The faith & hope that they would do something amazing, perhaps some unexpected twist that showed us it wasn’t the Muslims that caused the explosion but some paranormal monster instead was quickly proven to be my own hallucination. I wanted to believe…believe this episode would give us a moral eye-opener, but in the end all we ended up with was the same stuff we could have gotten on shows like 24, Homeland, or Quantico. The only difference is some magic ‘shrooms and Mulder’s trip which was part nostalgia mixed with honky-tonk and sprinkled with fifty shades of weird!

    Extremely displeased with Carter’s use of the Gunmen. He killed them off in season 9, and likely realized what a HUGE mistake that was. Although they’d been resurrected in the newest comics, not sure Carter was entirely sure how to address their re-emergence. I’ve heard mixed reviews from fans…some were fine with a “faked death” scenario, while others were extremely vocal about staying true to their death. What Carter did was to basically throw his hands up and say, “Okay, I’m not going to give these guys a status of dead or alive. Fans can make their own judgement.” It was a cheap cop-out! Not only that, but it felt like an easter egg gone wrong with no lines, doing nothing of real interest (not even line dancing with Mulder!), and no real purpose of being there at all. I’d almost rather he skipped the small nugget with the brief appearances of their faces then even have them in at all for this crap.

    And then we get to the Einstein/Miller hour. There was some hope in the previous week’s preview that these two would bring some laughs with the parallels to Mulder/Scully. That train derailed about 5 seconds after the newbies were introduced. Miller is about as interesting as watching paint dry, but at least tolerable. His partner, Einstein, however was a totally different story. I can’t honestly think of one thing there was to actually like about her character. Even at her worst moments, Scully was never that condescending or downright mean to others for no reason at all. If we were to draw some parallels between Einstein and Scully, they stopped after finding out they were both red heads who were doctors. Not sure if it was bad writing or bad acting, but either way, I’d be fine if Einstein went the way of the Peacocks and was never heard from again. Don’t even get me started on the rumors about Miller & Einstein spinoff either! No way in H-E double hockey sticks would I EVER watch that!!!

    I’d rate this one slightly higher than you, but not much. Likely, it’d be a D- for me, but that’s only for 2 very small reasons…Scully’s “no one down here but the FBI’s most unwanted,” and the walk at the end with Mulder and Scully holding hands. Save for these small things making it tolerable to sit through the rest, this would have been absolutely worthless!

    • The faith & hope that they would do something amazing, perhaps some unexpected twist that showed us it wasn’t the Muslims that caused the explosion but some paranormal monster instead was quickly proven to be my own hallucination. I wanted to believe…believe this episode would give us a moral eye-opener, but in the end all we ended up with was the same stuff we could have gotten on shows like 24, Homeland, or Quantico. The only difference is some magic ‘shrooms and Mulder’s trip which was part nostalgia mixed with honky-tonk and sprinkled with fifty shades of weird!

      Wait. Is it too late to copy and paste this into my original post???

      Things not being what they seemed would have been classic X-Files. Or maybe the terrorists were led on my someone or something they thought was God. THAT would’ve been an X-File that was food for social thought. It could’ve had echoes of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which scared the crap out of me as a child.

      I’d almost rather he skipped the small nugget with the brief appearances of their faces then even have them in at all for this crap.

      Ditto… minus the “almost.”

      And I feel like I’m one of the few who doesn’t hate Einstein. I don’t LIKE her, but I feel too disconnected to hate her. Hate requires a passion I’m not incited to feel at this point. But I’ve seen enough of Lauren Ambrose’s work to think Einstein’s characterization has more to do with writing and direction and less to do with her talents, because she’s definitely talented. I think I actually dislike Miller more just for being so boring. A spinoff?? Yeah, I’d watch that. Like I’d watch a Mickey & Minnie sex scene inserted into the middle of Fantasia.

      You know, I did like that line the first time around… but my good graces wore off and it wasn’t as cute or funny after that. And I never thought I’d see the day when such blatant MSR would leave me completely cold. I cared not, I tell you. But I was a little irritated – That scene made it crystal clear that the breakup was nothing more than a mechanical dramatic device to catch our attention. It meant nothing to the characters or to the show. They’re holding hands and walking through the fields and what? What happened to the reason they broke up the team in the first place? Did they work through those issues or was there nothing to work through?

      • “Wait. Is it too late to copy and paste this into my original post???”

        Too late. I’m already planning to use it on my blog…well, when I have time to sit down and do it again. Currently on hiatus.

        “But I’ve seen enough of Lauren Ambrose’s work to think Einstein’s characterization has more to do with writing and direction and less to do with her talents, because she’s definitely talented.”

        I’ve not seen Ambrose in, well, anything actually. Perhaps I am being a bit harsh on her acting. If this was written poorly (and I strongly believe it was), there’s little she could do. Think Carter & crew forgot how to write strong, independent women and still make them likable.

        “Yeah, I’d watch that. Like I’d watch a Mickey & Minnie sex scene inserted into the middle of Fantasia.”

        Seriously just spit out my coffee after reading that. Worth it, though!

        “You know, I did like that line the first time around… but my good graces wore off and it wasn’t as cute or funny after that.”

        I’ve only watched the episode once, so perhaps it will wear off for me too with additional viewings.

  9. Oh…and ditto on the collaborative writer’s room sentiment. Vince Gilligan and his writers for Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul seem to have done some amazing work in this way, and I think that would be a great alternative to Carter’s “throwing something against the wall and see if it sticks” method. Without some consistent direction, this show is going nowhere fast.

    • So in agreement with you, Summer! Breaking Bad was a fascinating shock to my “this is from Vince, our shippy writer?!” system and BCS has been a genuine pleasure to watch. Both series were/are character-driven, honored sensical plot progression, never took advantage of audience or critical good will and focused on weaving a compelling story.

      I will Kickstarter, GoFundMe and sell non-essential organs to have Vince Gilligan as our show runner if there is a S11. Vince loves and is true to Mulder and Scully… and my heart cannot take much more of this.

      • Vince loves and is true to Mulder and Scully… and my heart cannot take much more of this.

        Yes. And I might be willing to part with a kidney to get him on staff.

    • I know even Gilligan didn’t know *exactly* how he was going to end Breaking Bad. But I know he had a strong sense of the character’s eventual direction and story arc, and he got a LOT of input from his team, especially about the ending.

      *cough* *hack*

      I’m not saying CC needs to have a show bible and foreordain every nook and cranny in an OCD like manner. But for something this big, you can’t wing it completely. For the love of Elmo, have a general plan at least. You wouldn’t build a house without blueprints, would you?

      “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. What is the first thing you will do? Won’t you sit down and figure out how much it will cost and if you have enough money to pay for it? Otherwise, you will start building the tower, but not be able to finish. Then everyone who sees what is happening will laugh at you. They will say, ‘You started building, but could not finish the job.'” – Luke 14:28-30

  10. Why don’t I have Scotch prior to beginning this review?? Because hard liquor is absolutely appropriate in this circumstance.

    Thank you for taking this one for the Phile team, Salome. *breathes deep and begins reading*

    • Hi there

      Just wondering if you are the same Steamgrrl who wrote the opening post at the “Vulture” site defending CC?

      If it was..great post!

      • That is me, yes, and thank you so much! I feel like a fan girl John the Baptist, roaming the Internets raving to anyone who’ll read my posts that fans and M/S deserve/need/must have better than this. It’s a sickness.

        • Except for this blog I am a lurker and a newbie one at that. I spent some significant time scouring the net trying to find reviews of the last two episodes while waiting for Salome’s.

          When you said that this is not CC’s baby I found myself nodding if only to illustrate that it is a collaborative effort (of which I’m sure he is aware) that he appears to have forgotten in the revival with respects to the mythology. Of course he is the creator but I to see him as another George Lucas (some similarities are very close) in that both have amazing visions and creativity while not being able to write dialogue or direct to save their souls….but….who did some great things early in their careers. XF=THX/American Graffiti, Millennium=SW (yes, I am reaching here a bit but only to make a point).

          AND it should be finally noted that George had lots of collaboration in his early career. For example his wife at the time was editing SW and made some very significant changes to the story. I’ve seen early drafts of the script and let’s just say SW would likely not be the iconic and cultural movie it is today if they went with those.

          • Excellent analogy.

            And not to change the subject, but I have mixed feelings about the SW fandom, the mutiny against George Lucas and the rebooted franchise. What’s funny is, our George Lucas attempted to go back to form with this revival a la The Force Awakens, meanwhile it looks like the fans wanted less of on the nose rehash and more of an inventive new take on TXF.

            • Yeah, I agree.

              I see both the TFA and the revival as attempts to recapture that feeling or Zeitgeist as you say but doing it by telling the same stories. CC just erasing nine years of mythology while replacing it with a replica is not how to do it imo.

              Even though TFA got rave reviews and made a holy ton of money the biggest complaint was that it was a frame by frame retool of ANH and TESB.

              The revival strikes me the same. Got great ratings but the CC eps were the inferior ones. I think that is due to it being a rehash of what has gone before instead of the feeling of what went before. The chemistry of the two protagonists was not that great tbh. There were moments but I still am not happy about it. an evolution of the MOTW to fit the times, a new mythology around…who knows what…those were what I was expecting.

              I guess at the end of the day money talks and bullshit walks. Besides, a lot of people did like the revival and that means more XF. I liked two out of the six…and they were excellent.

              • YES. Not that I didn’t enjoy TFA, but it was microwaved leftovers. Tasty and delicious, but exactly what you expected because you already ate it.

                And this revival… In an effort to give the fans exactly what it used to be, the hokeyness that was lovingly overlooked in a previous generation was kept in and then exaggerated. Just because we loved TXF as it was doesn’t mean there weren’t things to improve on. There seems to be this feeling of, “We don’t need to change because they love us just as we are without one plea. It worked then, it’ll work now.” But now that the blush of first love is over, it’s all the more necessary to mature.

        • A sickness or an anointing? Are you eating locusts with honey yet? If not, you have my permission to rave harder.

  11. Really?! F?! Wow.

    I actually was smiling and happy when this episode ended. I see some of the flaws, but I read its message to be very positive and I thought the topic of terrorism was actually dealt with quite openly. I loved the music choices and I thought it was cool that they deviated from the norm and played some songs that weren’t the original score – although I LOVE Mark Snow, so nothing against him at all; I LOVED the inclusion of Tom Waits and of course The Lumineers.

    And the throwbacks? Scully saying “no one down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.” Mulder tapping Skinner when he’s in the hospital after his trip the same way he tapped Scully when he was in the hospital after whatever happened in Triangle.

    And the end scene with them walking and talking and holding hands? Besides the MSR love of that scene, I really dug their conversation as well. They were both trying to reconcile extreme love and hate and how humans manifest them and I found it to be very moving.

    I don’t understand the hatred towards this episode at all. I understand that people might find it silly that Mulder thinks that the best way to communicate with the victim is through magic mushrooms or that it’s weird that Scully turned to Miller instead of Mulder with her plan to communicate with the victim. And I get that people found Einstein and Miller annoying. I actually didn’t find the concept of them annoying, just the manifestation of them annoying; Einstein more than Miller. And I love Lauren Ambrose so that was rough. I assume she was just taking CC’s direction so nothing against her.

    I know that I am in the minority here. And part of me is just so happy that they’re back (still.. I love them that much.. maybe too much), but I was okay with this episode. Was I pissed that this was TLG’s return? Fuck yes! Did I question the logistics of the plot? Of course, parts were absolutely ridiculous! Did I find parts of the story offensive? No. I didn’t. Maybe that’s where my opinion differs from others.

    Anyhoo, I love to be part of these discussions. We all love the same show and it’s so interesting to see how it affects us differently.

    • I’m totally with you on this Stella. I too was smiling at the end. Very moving indeed.

      The break in the music was kind of nice. Now all we need is one of Duchovny’s tracks in the next season :O!!!+

    • Mulder tapping Skinner when he’s in the hospital after his trip the same way he tapped Scully when he was in the hospital after whatever happened in Triangle.

      I didn’t catch that!!

      And the end scene with them walking and talking and holding hands? Besides the MSR love of that scene, I really dug their conversation as well. They were both trying to reconcile extreme love and hate and how humans manifest them and I found it to be very moving.

      I was mysteriously and mournfully unmoved. I guess the knowledge of good and evil, the divinity and wantonness that combined make up human nature – those are great topics for discussion, but I don’t think “Babylon” actually added to that discussion in any way. There was a lot of posing without any pictures being taken.

      Now that I’ve written and posted my review, I’ve allowed myself to take a look at other reviews and I’m actually kind of shocked at how much controversy this episode inspired. Whelp, at least CC’s got us all talking again, right??? And I’m glad there are some passionate defenders of “Babylon” AND CC. He was able to make a connection with fans and that can only bode well.

      • You said:

        “I was mysteriously and mournfully unmoved. I guess the knowledge of good and evil, the divinity and wantonness that combined make up human nature – those are great topics for discussion, but I don’t think “Babylon” actually added to that discussion in any way. There was a lot of posing without any pictures being taken.”

        ==========================================================

        I felt the same way. I thought is was a nice reprieve from the rest of the ep but it felt rehearsed…a statement they were making to us instead of a conversation between themselves. I dug what they were saying somewhat but it had no impact with respects to their relationship or how I felt about the ep by that time.

      • I caught that moment, and it only angered me, because there I was thinking of the original (beautiful) moment and getting annoyed that Mulder and Scully can’t even solve this case together. Was I the only one?

        I agree that the end should have been beautiful, but I was so disgusted, I too felt empty and unmoved.

        • So it wasn’t just me??? I never thought I’d see the day when Mulder and Scully would stroll together hand in hand and my hand would be twitching toward the “stop” button.

          • Thats because it was an alternative to the poetic voiceovers of the endings of field reports, not an actual Mulder/Scully conversation. It would have been much more true to the X files, if they had both been sitting in the office typing field reports here.

            • On point as usual. He merged the “resolution” to the breakup with the philosophical summary that the field report voiceovers used to provide.

  12. ~’My Struggle 10×01: Now you got my number’ thread~

    ~junkieistew | February 20, 2016 at 6:44 AM
    I couldn’t really ever buy into the M&S romance before, but I could especially in ‘Babylon’. Weird.~

    ~Salome | February 28, 2016 at 5:05 PM
    Okay, that really does boggle my mind. I became progressively more turned off by “Babylon” each time I attempted to watch it, too turned off to appreciate the MSR.

    At least it clicked with someone.~

    ~junkieintheattic | February 29, 2016 at 3:40 AM
    Okay, I’m going to try and respond to this in the “Babyblon” thread.~

    Okay. M&S in the motel room at the end of season 9’s “The Truth” felt a little off to me. It was like the show-runners came to the conclusion of ‘screw-it, just give them what they want now.’ If the episode weren’t bad enough… I digress.

    Now, years later in “Babylon” there is very little tension between them; in fact, they are extremely comfortable with each other and this especially shows in that scene in their office when they first encounter the M&S clones (Einstein & co.). Both M&S share this huge history, now played out in comfortable winks and nudges. It’s unique, it’s theirs and they seem to be at some peace with it, not to mention with each other.

    Whilst the ending was perhaps a little too epic (calm down Chris, this isn’t the third movie), I could totally buy their closeness whilst taking that country-stroll near Mulder’s house (which sure is a little creepy and could be an X-File in itself). I think the differentiation for me is that there seems to be general affection and an openness for each other here, as opposed to just a confused crush for a colleague who has saved your life a few times. Perhaps I’m a strange cookie.

    I’ll let you know if I still feel the same once the mushrooms have worn-off.

  13. I’m starting to think everyone else is on mushrooms.

    More in defense of Babylon:

    It was far less meta than Were-monster’, I mean Mulder on the grave of one of the dead writers’ whilst his Mark Snow ringtone sounds. Really? F really? No. Did people not GET that in Babylon, Einstein & co. were supposed to be OTT? This essentially is what a caricature is.

    Mulder’s mushroom dancing interlude wasn’t much more way-out than Postmodern P’s endless ode to Cher (which I love btw) and its crazy outro.

    It was far more coherent and memorable than Founders’. I can’t even remember how they wrapped that mess up.

    It was far more original and far reaching than My Struggle and, for that matter, perhaps any of the new episodes.

    Not that there weren’t things I didn’t like about Babylon:

    CSM’s appearance was a little too much, especially as he’s so far posed little significance in the season.

    The Lonegunmen’s appearance also seemed a waste. Their cameo wasn’t punctuated enough to be funny or meaningful for me. I was too engrossed in watching a 50+ man dance like a cowboy.

    I do think it’s another case of CC condensing a lot of ideas in one episode of a small small season, but I have to take my hat(big cowboy hat) off too him because Babylon was a weird, yet entertaining juggling act. For me at least, this is the best new episode after Home Again.

    Now, as a side note. Is it me or does Skinner look like he’s holding back laughter in every one of his small scenes?

    • You make some good points but for me those other eps knew what they were and played them that way for the entire 45 minutes. I don’t think CC knew or knows what he wanted Babylon to be. It was messy and unfocused.

    • I thought “MASMTW” was OTT meta myself, so I only moderately enjoyed it. I loved the Kim Manners tribute. That was subtle. The ringtone? Not so much… But in comedy especially, to each their own.

      The thing with this episode is it didn’t pick a lane. It’s OTT, but it really isn’t a caricature, it’s merely OTT in places. It’s like a more cynical “Improbable” on steroids, er, shrooms. And while “TPMP” also had its out there moments, the fantasy aspects are presented directly as fantasy; the humor is farcical and even subtly played at points, which is why sometimes fans still don’t get the joke in the denouement.

      But, hey. If it resonates, it resonates. I’m glad there’s a good segment of the fan population that gets CC’s sense of humor. Me, I don’t do woo woo.

      And knowing Mitch Pileggi’s famous humor, he probably IS on the verge of cracking a smile every scene!

      • Yes, I’m not going to argue for one moment that Babylon is a better episode than TPMP, but still I thought it was a very interesting and enjoyable 45 minutes of television. If I were to choose any episode from this season for a newbie this would be it. I would also argue that CC new exactly what he was doing, whether this may be for better or worse.

        I only hope Mitch is in more of next season. Just looking at his face cracks me up.

  14. So we can’t have the Lone Gunmen back outside of a mushroom trip, because they died – offscreen, leaving plenty of room to write around it – but we can bring back the Smoking Man, who was literally hit in the face with a missile onscreen? I’d have accepted whatever nonsense they came up with to bring the Gunmen back in a heartbeat just because I love the characters so much. When I heard they’d be back, I was ready for them to work a case with Mulder and Scully again, not… this.

    On an unrelated note, does anyone know what TNG episode that gif is from? That guy’s overacting is wonderful, and I’d like to see it in context.

    • I’m totally with you. I realize it makes no sense for CSM to be back. But as long as they brought him back to good effect and I had that old feeling again, I wouldn’t care. Same thing with TLG. It didn’t have to make sense, it just had to be right. This wasn’t right.

      And shame on me, but I don’t remember the episode. I haven’t rewatched the entire series as a whole in too long now. Bad fan. Bad.

  15. I really appreciated the reference to First Person Shooter, which I did not know was directed by CC. When I read that I said aloud, “That explains it.” I too hate that episode–I’ve referred to it as the Episode that Never Happened. Which is also how I’m referring to Babylon, unfortunately. And I think you really hit the nail on the head with him trying to elevate and speak to issues and just…not getting there.

    Let’s raise a glass to the days when he was writing Irresistible, and hope we’ll see that Chris Carter again someday.

    • I’m toasting with you, friend. It will happen.

      But, yeah… this needed more focus and less ham-fisted empathy and couch potato philosophy. And less shrooms. Definitely less shrooms.

  16. Well.
    I was really looking forward to see what your reaction to this episode would be.
    I’ve only watched it once. With my mouth open.
    “What a train wreck”, was the first thing that popped into my head when the end credits rolled over the screen. I promised myself I’d re-watch it, because maybe I just missed out on something and maybe it was not bad but genius.
    I have to admit, I can’t get myself to do it. I can’t watch it again.
    I was going to wait, see how you reacted to it and if you liked it, I would have given it another go.
    But well… here we are. The first ever F (if I’m not mistaken). And I think we are on the same page.
    I don’t even know where to start. But from the opening scene I had this little odd feeling of impending doom in my gut. Something that told me “Strap on, because this is going places and not anywhere good.” I wish that gut feeling was wrong.
    It’s funny how, like you, I immediately thought about the one other episode that actually made me angry, First Person Shooter. Ok, no, there’s two. There’s The Field Where I Died as well, but I was only angry about the way the writers had tried to convince us that Mulder actually had another soulmate than Scully. Pffff. Ridiculous.
    FPS made me angry on a whole other level. And so did this episode.
    The fact that TLG got a non-spoken drug-induced cameo just added to my sentiment.
    I’m not a happy camper.
    And I don’t know if it was really because of this episode or because the opening scene of the last episode and knowing it would go back to the craziness of the first revival ep, but I had lost all enthusiasm for the finale.
    It was soaked right out of me.
    And don’t even know if I want more episodes now. Well, I do, but I’m scared.

    • I won’t say don’t do it to yourself, but don’t do it to yourself. Give it some space and time, maybe. Perhaps after your initial impressions have gone fuzzy, and you’ve brushed off the influence of negative reviews like this one, you’ll watch it again and find genius where there was once only insanity. Perhaps.

      And don’t even know if I want more episodes now. Well, I do, but I’m scared.

      We are sooooo going there in the wrap up.

    • I literally said the exact same thing when the credits rolled! (And I am worried as well.)

    • To the “I don’t even know if I want more episodes” — yep yep yep yep yep. Blasphemy, I know, but I have not even watched the finale yet for this very reason. I’ve heard it’s not very good (and there is little-to-no M/S interaction), and. . . . ugh, I don’t know. I consider myself A FAN of this show, all-caps style, and I never thought I would not watch any version that had both Mulder and Scully, but egads. Although I’ve truly enjoyed some parts of these new episodes (and really enjoyed “Home Again” as a whole), so much of this new writing and characterization is just off for me. Seriously, did no one on the writing staff rewatch the original series??? So, is it worth it to keep watching if I’ve already decided that this new stuff is not my head canon?

      In between these new episodes, I have been rewatching some of the original episodes, including Irresistible. And I swear, I had the exact same thought as Salome — how is the person who wrote that the same person who wrote this nonsense? I know I don’t need to preach it to this crowd, but this show used to be so good. And I don’t know if I still have faith that it can be that good again.

      I want that faith back. I need it back.

      • So, is it worth it to keep watching if I’ve already decided that this new stuff is not my head canon?

        I think that’s what made watching parts of this season easier for me, as I was already quite confident my head canon was strong enough to sustain gale force winds of drama. My teenage self couldn’t have done this. But me now? If I don’t like it, down the rabbit hole of memory it goes. After I review it, that is.

        As to whether it’s worth it or not… I can’t say. But I do feel you. It’s like a marriage you’ve invested 20 years in that’s suddenly gone sour.

  17. First off, this is the first time I have responded to your website, Salome, I must say how impressed, truly impressed I am at how insightful your reviews are. This is so very unique. I have watched the series from the reruns in the summer of 1994 onward. Now, I have to admit to only partially watching seasons 8 and 9. By that point I was so put off by the direction the x files was going that I stopped caring about it. Then we get to the 2008 nightmare called I want to believe. I did not see it in the theaters, I watched it later, on t.v. I think. My x files emotional reaction arc went something like this: Seasons 1 through 5 I very much liked, except for some of the episodes. Season 6, I did not like what they did with Scully. They “sexed” her up, complete with push-up bras and unbuttoned shirts. I should comment that first, I am male, second, I have been married for 22 years and third I have two daughters. I really thought they denigrated Scully by taking a women who I thought would have a negative reaction to dressing like a sexpot. The Scully I liked used her intellect and personality in such a way that made me respect her. Dressing up in a sexually appealing manner (at least to some of the male population, myself not included)? No, just no. This is not the Scully I thought I knew. That was such a completely different take on the character I had been acquainted with for 5 seasons that I just did not like it. Alright, so on we go Season 6 otherwise, well I thought it was ok, but I just did not have the enthusiasm I had for the first 5 seasons. Season 7; well, I rapidly lost interest. I have already commented on Seasons 8, 9 and the 2008 movie. Then we come to the Revival. It is very hard to put into words, but everything about it just felt off. I felt like I was watching a show called the x files in some sort of weird alternative universe. Notwithstanding the issues the episodes presented from a critical point of view, I found myself bored to tears with all of it. I barely made it though the episodes (some of episodes I did not make it through). Every part of life has it’s seasons and when you try to linger beyond what is appropriate, the result is what I have been commenting on. I know it is sacrilege to say this, but I feel the X files should have stopped at the end of Season 5. After that, for me, it was all downhill on a sled that went faster and faster, and crashed into a tree.

    • I completely sympathize with your frustrations over Scully’s push-up bras, but I must confessed I didn’t notice them until she was impractically walking around the desert in one at the beginning of Season 8 (C’mon, son). Did it really happen as far back as Season 6?? I’m honestly going to pay closer attention this time around. “Milagro” I recognize, but then it was relevant to the way Padgett saw her, so I’ll give it a pass. I personally still had a lot of enthusiasm for Season 6, but I rapidly lost interest Season 7 as well. Things grew stagnant.

      Then we come to the Revival. It is very hard to put into words, but everything about it just felt off. I felt like I was watching a show called the x files in some sort of weird alternative universe.

      I’ve been struggling with the same feelings. “Home Again” finally felt, for me, like it wasn’t AU. And then there was this episode to take it all back…

      Every part of life has it’s seasons and when you try to linger beyond what is appropriate, the result is what I have been commenting on.

      “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.” – King Solomon
      “Turn! Turn! Turn!” – The Byrds

      Thank you for your kind words and taking the time to comment!! You’ve definitely added to the discussion. Turn, turn, turn…

  18. Oh, I forgot, this episode. Yeah, this episode….. what to say they does not include obscene or vulgar words or references. Alright, perhaps the “pain scale” thing they now use at my doctor’s office. A 1 on the pain scale means your doing ok, nothing that a little ibuprofen can’t take care of. A 10 on the scale means there is probably not enough heavy-duty narcotics currently available to medicine that will alleviate your pain. I would give this a 9 only because I reserve a 10 for a future installments CC chooses to “bless” us with, like perhaps the episode after this. I mean, is CC on some heavy-duty meds or something? What in Hell (oops, failed on the bad words thing, but it is a lot less than what I was thinking of using) was CC thinking? The tripping on mushrooms, the doppelgangers, all the other weird crap? Like some of the other posters have postulated, I greatly fear what CC has in store for us.

    • After all the welcoming excitement that these new episodes came in with, I sense a distinct atmosphere of hesitation and trepidation as they go out. Will we get more? Do we want more? Are we a bunch of arrogant ingrates or betrayed lovers?

  19. A well deserved F.

    I thought this was an embarrassment. I felt so dumb talking the revival up to people who haven’t watched before and then THIS is what they give us? People must think I’m crazy! I know that people are saying there are symbolic religious reasons backing up Chris Carter’s vision, not only are they lost in the jumbled mess off too many ideas, but if you’re not familiar with them then the significance is lost on you. If I – a huge fan of the show – can’t follow this mess, how is an average viewer tuning in for the first time supposed to? To quote you, Salome – “don’t try to force feed the audience over a decade’s worth of your cultural observations in a single episode of television. They’ll only vomit it all back up.” YES!

    “How about the highly religious young Muslim guy has nothing to do with terrorism???”
    Yes. When the episode opened, I thought we were in for an intriguing X-file about a good muslim and I was very interested in what they would do next. I was glad they were going against stereotypes….and then that bubble burst. The stereotypes of Texans were insulting too.
    But I hung on – until the S&M and the ‘shrooms, and that was it.

    Only two things made me feel better. Your genius GIF’s, and your review and comments from people I can commiserate with.

    • Your title for this review could have been, “Sure. Fine. Whatever.”
      🙂
      I just keep thinking that.

    • Symbolic religious reasons? What, praytell, are those? Oh, I caught the symbols. But I didn’t see any reason in them.

      It was a risky hodgepodge of ideas and genres. Sometimes that kind of experimentation works, and sometimes it doesn’t. There are hits, and there are misses. And then there are misses.

      • I actually have no idea. I just remember reading about them in a pro-Babylon review somewhere. I thought, I shouldn’t have to work quite this hard to find something to like in this episode.
        “…and then there are misses..” – haha, that’s great.

  20. Yes, yes and yes. I very nearly turned the computer off and didn’t finish the episode, and I can’t say I’m particularly happy I didn’t follow that impulse. I was unhappy with it the second it took the Muslim suicide bomber route, and more so when boring Miller and grouchy Einstein showed up (especially, like you said, that she got so hurt and jealous that Miller called Scully that she ran off and agreed to give Mulder drugs?), and I was completely over it when the mushroom trip started.

    The thing is, I think that a story about a suicide bomber and the mushroom trip might have worked in their own episodes, but I absolutely hated them together. The first is a topic I would much rather see handled more seriously, and the second was mildly amusing but ultimately way overlong and totally unnecessary.

    BUT! I must give it props for the one thing I liked: when those DOJ guys or whatever were trying to get into the hospital room to do something sketchy I don’t even know because this episode was incoherent, and to put them off it, Miller pulled out his cell phone to get pictures of their faces and they bolted because they knew how dangerous anyone with a cell phone camera and an Internet connection can be? That was genuinely clever, both on the character’s part and on CC’s. That was the only moment in the season so far where CC’s need to prove how topical and modern the show is these days actually worked and made sense.

    • You can tell CC’s been watching his former colleagues’ work like 24 and Homeland. But while I respect his attempt to also address one of the major issues of our time, this didn’t add anything new or interesting to the discussion. Like Agent Summer suggested, maybe if he had put more of a distinctly paranormal spin on it? As it stands, though, we’ve seen young Middle Eastern men on television and in the movies who have been trapped by terrorism before. We’ve heard this message. If it were the same message presented in a new and especially compelling way, that couldn’t worked too. This ain’t that, though.

  21. There are small moments in this episode I liked. I am glad they introduced me to two new songs that I enjoyed and downloaded, and one new artist that I really love now. Thanks, X-files.

    I don’t know that I can ever watch the first half of the shroom scene ever again. Like ever. I DID however, happen to like the part in the boat. I wish there had been a better… quicker… lead up to that point.

    I HATED the Lumineers and that’s why the MSR feels like crap to me in this episode. I wish he would have chosen literally any other artist for that scene. There are so many great songs out there, that aren’t over commercialized, that sum up Mulder and Scully so much better. Also the zoom out to earth (someone up in front of me said whoa chill out CC, not a third movie).

    I didn’t even necessarily mind the overarching plot and, while I know many will disagree, I was not as put off by the portrayal of the terrorists, if only that, there IS a very real issue of the radical contingent of Islam preying on young, impressionable kids to get them to do horrific things. So even that I was okay with if the episode had been written a little better.

    Don’t get me started on Einstein. I want her to die so bad in the show. I’m okay with bland Miller because he isn’t so ridiculously over the top. *sigh* I told my friends who were watching this to not even bother with this episode. I hope they took my advice. This is the same argument I have when people say, “Fight Club is bad, but c’mon it’s not THAT bad.” Well first, yes, it WAS bad, but secondly, even if it wasn’t, we had three episodes left (possibly, since the whether the series was renewed or not wasn’t confirmed, I don’t think, when they shot that episode), and THAT’S what you give us Chris?

    Ugh I thought I was done but quick rant: I KNOW the reason a lot of people love the show is the MOTWs, the Conspiracy, etc. But to pretend that a huge, perhaps overwhelming, contingent of fans didn’t tune in because, in spite of the creator (ala Milagro) and in spite of maybe even initially the lead actors themselves, at it’s heart The X-files is about two passionate, driven, high intelligent partners who fight for each other so hard they figure out all the mysteries they need to in the end. It’s about the moments when Scully goes Momma Bear over someone hurting or taking advantage of Mulder. It’s about Mulder traveling through hell and high water to save his partner. And ONLY THEN is it a show about the cool mysteries that these two get to solve. Together. It’s about laughing hysterically on top of a grave site in the pouring rain because this person in front of you is infuriatingly ridiculous but also not a complete nut job and your integrity drives you to feel the need to fight for this odd individual.

    So with just two episodes left, and yet another looming question mark (sure ratings were good and Fox will shell the money, but will Gillian be on board? Can we grab some new writers, Vince, paging Vince?), THIS is one of the last cases we get to romp around with Mulder and Scully in? Is it as bad as everyone says? A solid F? No… I dunno, maybe not. Was Fight Club as bad as we all hated it back in the day? Who knows. Probably not. But when it’s one of our last chances to see these two beautiful characters we’ve become emotionally invested in, yeah, we’re a little protective.

    Alright, now I’m done.

    • I enjoy that Lumineers song and all, but dang if that wasn’t a point-blank shot to the forehead. We get it. This is your idea of ending the breakup. They belong together. They’re sweethearts. Do you have the spoon? Good. Ready? Gag me.

      I didn’t even necessarily mind the overarching plot and, while I know many will disagree, I was not as put off by the portrayal of the terrorists, if only that, there IS a very real issue of the radical contingent of Islam preying on young, impressionable kids to get them to do horrific things.

      Completely true. Which is why I spent the episode thinking, “And???” We know that not all Muslims are terrorists and that young men are tricked into believing they’re doing the will of God. And, Chris Carter?? We see that all the time. What now? What do you have to add? That God loves Mulder and Scully… and mothers?

      But like you said. This wouldn’t be as great an offense if this weren’t such a short season with high stakes. Every season had its share of duds, but they were mixed up with a bunch of other episodes that covered for them. We’ve waited 14 years since the show and nearly 8 since the last movie. We may get more episodes but it could be a good long while. And out of the handful we’re blessed with… this? I think that’s part of the mental and emotional response to this episode. Fans had their expectations up high.

      at it’s heart The X-files is about two passionate, driven, high intelligent partners who fight for each other so hard they figure out all the mysteries they need to in the end. It’s about the moments when Scully goes Momma Bear over someone hurting or taking advantage of Mulder. It’s about Mulder traveling through hell and high water to save his partner. And ONLY THEN is it a show about the cool mysteries that these two get to solve. Together. It’s about laughing hysterically on top of a grave site in the pouring rain because this person in front of you is infuriatingly ridiculous but also not a complete nut job and your integrity drives you to feel the need to fight for this odd individual.

      *slow clap*

      P.S. Gillian still sounds quite cautious about coming back in interviews. She loves the cast & crew, and she loves the fans, but I think she knows what she sees.

      • Maybe Gillian can talk some sense into the rest of them — like, okay, I will come back, but only for one more limited-run season that is meant to be The End For Real, and only if it’s planned that way in advance.

        I can hope, right?? Right???

  22. You are fabulous. This review was way better than that hour of television.

  23. I know I might have a different reaction to the whole “main plot” (if you can even call it that; this episode was more schizophrenic and bipolar than my 10 o’clock appointment), but I’m sort of glad there was no, ‘oh, look. The radical Islamists WEREN’T actually the terrorists(!)’ plot. Hollywood has done that so many times since 9/11, and I’m tired of it. Radical Islam exists and is the route of terror in our times more often than not. Albeit, I’m right there with you that taking that story route isn’t really X-Files territory, so why bother, especially when it wasn’t really the main driving part of the plot.

    Speaking of which, what WAS the main plot supposed to be? The good vs. evil in us is SO overwrought I didn’t even catch that. I was COMPLETELY lost on what the whole trumpets from Heaven, or whatever it was, was supposed to be. Then you had Mulder’s farce, a la Bad Blood or some of the other XF Lite stuff, vs. Scully and Miller’s musing about ‘what caused this young man to hate so much?’ As ridiculous as Mulder and Einstein’s stuff was, Scully and Miller made me want to puke. Really, really? A), no, the is America, we don’t kill people, even terrorists, when we know we can put them on trial and/or get information out of them (it’s implied that the terrorists had some kind of legal standing in this country), and B), HE’S A BLEEDING TERRORIST SCUMBAG! Stop it with the bleeding heart sympathy for the devil “this young man” crap! I have just as much sympathy for that character as I do for Dzhokar Tsarnaev: None. See, I didn’t say “let him die” like apparently ALL the other cops/law enforcement wanted to do (Has CC ever even MET any real law enforcement officials?), I just said, stop trying to humanize the dude who had participated in a premeditated plot to kill people just because they didn’t agree with his draconian world view.

    Short story long, M and E’s part was like a completely different episode than S and Miller’s…and it wasn’t pretty.

    Hey, maybe CC’s point was that nothing actually makes sense(!).

    I don’t even remember M and S’s talk at the end. “Hey, Ho,” is my favorite song from the past few years. Either the talk was too boring, underwhelming, or I was having too much fun with the Lumineers.

    Disclaimer, I only watched this episode once, so maybe that’s why I didn’t really get “the plot” and all…

    • but I’m sort of glad there was no, ‘oh, look. The radical Islamists WEREN’T actually the terrorists(!)’ plot. Hollywood has done that so many times since 9/11, and I’m tired of it. Radical Islam exists and is the route of terror in our times more often than not. Albeit, I’m right there with you that taking that story route isn’t really X-Files territory, so why bother, especially when it wasn’t really the main driving part of the plot.

      I get it and I’m totally with you. And I think that’s in essence what CC was doing by turning the young man into a sympathetic victim and making the indignant people around him look like mean old bullies – taking away his terrorist card and absolving him. Like you said, it’s been done. We know not all Muslims want to kill people, but the ones who set off bombs do. I think he would’ve done better to leave it a non-issue or flip it completely around than to sing the same old song. And also like you said, he had to make law enforcement’s motivations completely nonsensical in order to push his point. OF COURSE, they’d want to get any information out of him they could!

      Speaking of which, what WAS the main plot supposed to be?

      You got me.

  24. This episode totally deserved an F.

    That is all.

  25. Much as I’m not apologizing for Babylon – cuz parts of it were indeed really bad – I’m curious how many of these problems are because it’s effectively a half hour show now due to all the f-ing commercials. I looked – I know I saw one ep that was under 40 min. While thats not what the official Hulu times say, I’m not sure I believe it. How many of these plots couldn’t be much better fleshed out with another 5-10 min. of TV?

  26. Pingback: My Struggle II 10×6: Spoken like a true psychopath. | Musings of an X-Phile

  27. Chris Carter is to X-Files what George Lucas is to Star Wars…and this episode is his Jar-Jar.

  28. Worst episode ever made. I find it insulting for Muslims, embarrassing, and a complete waste of an episode. The line dancing was so cringeworthy. I was looking at the screen thinking this can’t be x files? And why oh why miller and Einstein? Stop trying to make a spin off! Stop trying to extend the show without mulder or scully! It’s mulder or scully or NO X files. I HATE HATE HATE this episode and will NEVER watch it again. We only had 6 episodes, what a travesty this is. I want to cry…

  29. I was strolling this review, desperately trying to scrub the image of Mulder at the top out of my mind with liberal application of denial and I noticed that this episode received an F. Nothing from Season 9, the absolute nadir of the series received an F. Holy s**t. I kind of want to watch this just to see how terrible it is.

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