Do you hear that?
It’s the sound of Scully’s biological clock ticking.
If you listen closely, it sounds like woodpeckers pecking at fossilized bones in a remote and cavernous ravine.
That was the sound of Scully fishing for compliments. That silence is me drowning.
It’s hard for me to grade this episode since, on its own merits, the plot is shallow and the atmosphere merely passable. If I’m comparing it to Golden Era X-Files, not only does it not pass muster, character development-wise it doesn’t feel like it belongs. If I compare it to the Revival, well, the Revival has stunk worse. Far worse.
I’ve just got a resigned side smirk going on. That’s all.
Let’s start with the jumpy opening teaser. I miss the days of steady camera shots and discrete cuts. It’s not as noticeable when I watch other shows because I expect them to be “other shows.” But when my brain knows I’m supposed to be watching The X-Files, I instinctively find it more jarring.
But I’m an old fogie and I know it, and it’s not too hard to let all that slide, especially when we get some long-awaited, pre-case office banter. Writer Chris Carter’s reputation suffers many things and by his own hand. But he always was pretty good at writing office banter between Mulder and Scully. My patience has finally been rewarded here (not that it compensates for the many injuries said patience has suffered).
There were several classic elements in this episode – Mulder and Scully’s verbal back-and-forth, them walking down hospital hallways listening to medical explanations for unexplained phenomena, the music (I see you getting back in the game, Mark Snow.) I also thought the scene where Mulder and Scully interviewed Arkie in the jail, while not quite hitting a home run, came close to the old atmosphere I crave. And moments in this episode reminded me of “Sleepless” (2×4), with strange, not-quite-there visions haunting folks into an early death. That wasn’t a stupendous episode either, but it did bring us Krycek…
I wish I could spend more time discussing the plot with you, Philes. But it’s basic and relatively stupid. Twins play a game of Psychic Hangman that results in someone they hate self-destructing at the hands of their own doppelganger. Said twins eventually self-destruct after their children play their own game of Psychic Hangman. And there’s a whole lot of forced UST between Mulder and Scully. The End.
Now, about that UST, we can’t ride the gravy train in reverse. I know Carter wishes he could have Mulder and Scully’s Season 3 relationship back, but it’s not happening. Or, I should say, it’s not happening well.
What the heck was that ridiculous conversation in bed about? Ridiculousness??
Underneath that hollow sound of the woodpeckers, you can also hear the sound of me smothering myself with my own pillow.
Try to follow the logic: In the 16 years since the reunion of Mulder and Scully and the end of The X-Files, Scully wanted to have a baby and would have tried except that she didn’t have a partner and she believed (as did we all) that she was barren and her first child was a miracle. Also, this desire of hers was a surprise to Mulder. This would mean that A) A woman who believed she was barren was on birth control that whole time. Otherwise, they would have at least been open to another child by default, which would render this conversation meaningless since that would mean both of them knew she was definitely barren since she never got pregnant, and barren after “Per Manum” (8×8) established that she had already had her last chance at IVF. Ergo, Scully must have been using birth control in order for pregnancy to have been an unexplored possibility by both of them. B) Mulder wasn’t her partner up until recently.
Wait. Wait. She would’ve liked to have had another child, but claims the problem is she doesn’t have a partner. Well, up until Chris Carter mysteriously and blasphemously broke you two up last season, you had a partner. You have had a partner for years. For years, yo.
Right up until the end. You almost made it, Chris Carter. Right up until the end, this episode’s biggest crime was that it mostly bored me. Now it offends me. Scully pouts her way back into Mulder’s arms because she’s insecure about aging? Because we all know she’s steps away from being a washed out old hag. And to add insult to injury, Carter manufactures this lame excuse for a cathartic conversation between our two leads that doesn’t even make sense. Yes, my heart hurt listening to it, but not with nostalgia. We were frightfully close to “Trust No 1” (9×8) territory. Remember when Chris Carter intimated that Scully first slept with Mulder because of loneliness and desperation. No? Well, you’re welcome.
Maybe I’m just thick, but I can’t understand why it’s so difficult to just let them love each other naturally in the background.
“Put a dimmer on that afterglow.” – I gagged. Really.
And if Scully is going to have a midlife crisis, Chris Carter should not be the one to write about it. Only he could make it as simplistic as: “I can’t have babies anymore and men want women who can make babies so I guess I’m going to die alone.”
I love you, Chris. You just don’t know it. But you see this?
“You tappin’ that, Special Agent? Or can Chucky bust a move?”
This right here? This should never have happened.
Scoot in My Boot:
So wait, wait. They aren’t back together again? And the last episode meant… what? I’m so done, Chris Carter. I am so done.
More Scully/Silence of the Lambs parallels. Only she’s having poop-poop-pee-doop tossed at her instead of, well, you know.
Praise be. Scully looks more like herself again this episode. At least she was spared an insult in the aesthetics department.
I don’t mind Chris Carter indulging his doppelganger/twin obsession (See: “Fight Club” (7×20) and the boredom that is Miller and Einstein), I just wish he’d do it well.
I appreciated the shoutout to The Patty Duke Show.
Catholic Scully doesn’t believe in evil anymore? At least CC had the grace to recognize this didn’t seem in keeping with her previous characterization. She believed in evil even when Mulder didn’t.
The quick, out of the blue resolution reminds me of “Die Hand Die Verletz” (2x), but without the genuine creepiness that made that episode memorable.
Did you recognize Karen Konoval? No? Well, it’d be hard to see her underneath all that makeup as Mrs. Peacock in “Home” (4×3) and hard to recognize her looking mostly normal as Madame Zelma in “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (3×4).
Scully: But if you eliminate the impossible, whatever is remaining, even if improbable, must be the truth.
Mulder: No sugar, Sherlock.
* This is really just a little cross-fandom love.