Tag Archives: Beyond the Sea

Irresistible 2×13: I’ll pay extra if that’s something out of the ordinary.


I’m sorry, did that fangirl squeal come from me?

[Disclaimer: The following is the work of a rabid fan and does not necessarily express the opinions of Mulder and Scully, 1013 productions, or anyone else with a modicum of sense. The writer understands that none of the above were on the Good Ship this early on in the series but, by the Grace of God, all later came to see the error of their Noromo ways.]

I have to warn you, dearest reader, that this is bound to fail. I am emotionally incapable of giving a sound and objective review of this episode.

If you’ve been reading my reviews carefully… and I know who you are… you already know a bit of my X-Files autobiography. The first glimpse I got of The X-Files was “Gender Bender” (1×13) and I was intrigued. I tuned in and out after that but once I saw “Darkness Falls” (1×19) I tried not to miss an episode. It wasn’t until “Irresistible”, however, that I became a Phile in its most extreme definition. I was literally jumping up and down with joy by the end yelling, “I love this show!” to my poor family’s befuddlement. Over-enthusiastic? Possibly.

“Irresistible” is about as close to a straight police procedural as The X-Files ever got. It says something that a series about the paranormal doesn’t have to rely on shock value to give us a memorable episode. The show has now reached such a level that it doesn’t even have to give us an actual X-File. A creepy villain and a chance to get inside Agent Scully’s head for 45 minutes is more than sufficient for quality television. There’s only the merest hint that there may be more to Donnie Pfaster than meets the naked eye, and even that may have only been in Scully’s head. As Scully says in her voiceover, it’s easier to believe in monsters of the supernatural kind than in human ones.

There have been some complaints from fans over the years that Scully is reduced to the role of the “Damsel in Distress” in this episode, waiting for Mulder to save her from the big, bad boogey man. I beg to differ. Scully was abducted and left for dead only some months back. Instead of taking time off to work through the inevitable psychological trauma, Scully jumps right back into the job. In fact, if the series’ timeline is to be believed, she goes back to work about a week after being in a coma. Riddle me that.

My point is that Scully has some issues waiting to be dealt with, issues of her own mortality and vulnerability that she’s put off for far too long. The fact that she’s having a hard time with the death and desecration of these young women is only natural, it doesn’t make her weak. That’s a lesson that Scully needs to learn. Trying to be a big girl in a boy’s club at the F.B.I. has cost her. Even strong, intelligent women need a shoulder to cry on sometimes. Finally, she allows herself to openly depend on Mulder without fear of what others will think of her… or what she may think of herself. Like “Beyond the Sea” (1×12) before it, this episode emotionally invests the audience in Scully’s personal journey. How could Chris Carter have ever denied that this show was primarily about the characters?

If this episode has any flaw it’s that you have to stretch your imagination fairly far to feel the same horror at Pfaster’s crimes that the characters do. Pfaster represents a serial killer of Jeffrey Dahmer’s ilk, which is alluded to in the episode itself. The problem is that Dahmer’s atrocities were still too taboo for network television at the time. Consequently, Pfaster’s character morphs from a necrophiliac into a “Death Fetishist”, a man who only takes benign souvenirs from the dead. Call me callous, but I’m more horrified by atrocities committed on the living. Not that I’m complaining, truthfully. I rather miss the days when TV didn’t spell everything out in graphic detail. This episode addresses its subject matter in a roundabout manner and that’s about as close as I ever want to get. It’s just that the writing requires the viewer to make the jump and connect the dots as to what’s really going on. Scully isn’t having a visceral reaction because of fingernail clippings.

…And the Verdict is:

Now that we’ve discussed some of how awesome this episode is in its awesomeness, can we talk about Mulder and Scully here for a minute? I realize that Mulder and Scully aren’t shipping, but I’m shipping. Noromos, consider yourselves warned.

[gush]This episode is when my Ship sailed. Not that I wasn’t rooting for Mulder and Scully before, but previous to this I thought that Mulder and Scully were just supposed to happen, that the writers had written them that way and I, as the viewer, was just waiting for the inevitable to be revealed. I cared but within decent proportions. “Irresistible” changed all that. I went from vaguely interested to unhealthily invested with one flicker of Scully’s eyelashes. Honestly, how could you be immune??[/gush]

Stepping away from Shippiness for a moment, just as friends and partners, Mulder’s quiet concern for Scully here is everything it should be. He spends the entire episode watching her with knowing eyes. I don’t know how Scully thought she could avoid his notice. He’s not Oxford educated in Psychology for nothing. Mulder may have his faults but being an indifferent to Scully is not one of them.

Mulder isn’t just giving her the “Let me know if you want to talk” speech. He’s not “a shoulder if you need it.” He’s not waiting passively, he’s looking for an opportunity to help her. He wisely doesn’t force the issue but you can see him shrewdly looking for a sign that she’s ready to let him comfort her. Again, if you look back at “Beyond the Sea”, Mulder does reach out to Scully but it’s more the passive sort of comfort that I just described. There he gave the impression of someone who’s concerned, but here he’s not just concerned, he’s invested. They’ve moved on to where they’re not just there for each other, they can trust each other to share the other’s weakness. Doesn’t everyone need a friend like that?

There’s a great difference between someone who lets you hold their hand when you’re afraid and someone who grabs your hand back. When it comes to Scully, Mulder’s the latter. He’s not just letting her cry, he’s helping her cry. For homework, check out the hug scene in the “Pilot” (1×79) and compare.

I should insert something intelligent here about the quality of Chris Carter’s writing or the unsettling darkness of David Nutter’s direction or the cold creepiness of Nick Chinlund’s Pfaster, but as I said before, I’m not capable.

Just go watch it.

A

Thoughts:

Agent Busch makes a brief appearance as an admirer of Scully. A precursor to Agent Pendrell perhaps?

Best Quotes:

Scully: Why do they do it?
Mulder: Well, some people collect salt and pepper shakers. Fetishists collect dead things, fingernails and hair. No one quite knows why. Though I’ve never really understood salt and pepper shakers myself.

———————

Scully: It took us three hours to get here. Our plane doesn’t leave until tomorrow night. If you suspected…
Mulder: Vikings versus Redskins, Scully. 40-yard line in the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. You and me.

———————

Mulder: Are you staying on there, Scully?
Scully: No. I’m coming back tonight.
Mulder: Look, I know this is a pretty horrific case, but if…
Scully: I’m okay with it, Mulder. Anyway you could use my help.
Mulder: Always. (Swoon)

Season 1 Wrap Up: The FBI’s most unwanted.


“This must be the place.”

…And the Verdict is:

B

It’s alive!

Sure, things started off a little slow and clunky, but that’s what happens when a snowball rolls downhill.

Up until now, when I’ve had a rewatch or when I’ve gone back and watched Season 1 episodes individually, all I noticed was how different the show was in the beginning versus later seasons. The unfulfilled episode endings, hokey special effects, bad ties… it’s hard to forget that you’re watching early 90’s television. But this time around, I’m struck by how consistent the show actually was, particularly in Mulder and Scully’s characterizations. Even through Season 7, the creators stuck to the original plan, they just got better at executing it. From beginning to, well, almost end, we have two paranormal investigators who use science as their guide and regularly give their bosses the stink eye.

The conspiracy is different, sure. But that’s only because it didn’t exist. Instead, there are a number of small conspiracies presumably organized by the same shadowy group of men. There’s no connectivity between episodes like “Deep Throat” (1×1) and “Conduit” (1×3) for instance. Miraculously, though, all the seeds planted at the end of the season in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×23) bring forth fruit before the end of the series. No, you can’t quite call it a mythology episode but it certainly serves as a prologue to what comes later.

My personal highlights were enjoying “Ghost in the Machine” (1×6) and “E.B.E.” (1×16) for the first time. GITM still ranks at the lower end of the spectrum but it’s not the lost cause I had written it off as before. I dare say I might even enjoy it more the next go-around. “E.B.E.” is a gem long misunderstood by my adolescent mind. Thank heavens I’m a big girl now. It’s particularly gratifying since part of the point of this endeavor is to eke out every last bit of pleasure from this show that I can. Now I have to more episodes to add to my anytime rewatch list.

Even more importantly, I’m getting a kick out of trying to track Mulder and Scully’s relationship timeline from beginning to end. As far as Season 1 goes, they click in the beginning, they gel in the middle, and they downright congeal at the end. By the beginning of Season 2 Mulder just about gives her the, “Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope” speech.

So now for a question I’ve been dying to get to. Somewhere inbetween the “Pilot” (1×79) and the closing of the X-Files in “The Erlenmeyer Flask,” Mulder and Scully become better than partners they become “Mulder & Scully.” Now, I’m not hinting at any Shipper Shenanigans, but I’ve always wondered whether there was a “moment” that could be picked out or if, as I’m prone to think, it was a natural evolution that occurred before the audience even picked up on it. To be honest, I’m still not sure. But if there is a “moment” that can be pointed out, then there are several contenders for that honor.

  1. “Pilot” (1×79): Mulder and Scully bond in the rain and Scully laughs maniacally. Why not? She must be losing her mind since she’s starting to believe her crazy partner.
  2. Squeeze” (1×2): Scully stands up for Mulder against some J. Edgar Hooverish bullies while Mulder first hints that he may be feeling some (platonic!) affection for Scully. Scully makes a fateful decision to follow him up the stairs.
  3. Beyond the Sea” (1×12): Mulder doesn’t just hint, he calls her Dana. Dana decides she can open up and be vulnerable with Fox. At this point, they’re so in tune with each other that they even sit in sync.
  4. “E.B.E.” (1x)16: Mulder now realizes that the only person he can trust is Scully, and he tells her so without any regard for her personal space.
  5. Tooms” (1×20): Root beer.

My personal opinion? The “Pilot” is where they become partners, “Squeeze” is where they become comrades, “Beyond the Sea” is where they become friends, “E.B.E.” is where they become allies, and “Tooms” is when they become “Mulder & Scully.”

That’s my take on it… this time around. But I’d love to hear some other opinions. Is it possible to pinpoint when Mulder and Scully became something special? If not, why not? If so, are any of the options I listed viable? Was there a moment I didn’t list that you want to smack me over the virtual head for missing? Let me know!

P.S. BBC America is airing Fight the Future right this very moment, 8pm ET. I smell a run up to XF3!

Roland 1×22: Did you catch the bouquet?


The “once an episode” pose.

This is a very quiet X-File, so quiet that you almost can’t hear it nearly 20 years later. Mulder and Scully never even have to run or break out their flashlights. Neither of them is ever in danger. Considering the immediately preceding episode “Born Again” (1×21) wasn’t much louder, it’s a sad lull before the season finale.

That being said, I don’t think this is a bad episode just a lackluster one. The performances by Kerry Sandomirsky and Zeljko Ivanek in particular are outstanding. His performance is heartbreaking. It’s too bad the story didn’t give him a better vehicle to shine in. But how could the story hold our attention when it’s based on a faulty foundation?

Arthur Grable is not dead. Really? He physically died and then was frozen. He wasn’t preserved alive a la Han Solo to merely be defrosted at a later date. Blood had stopped flowing through his brain long before it made it into stasis. A plot where Arthur Grable came back from the dead would have actually made more sense. Mulder claims that Arthur Grable is in a state that no one has ever come back from. To which I say, “Really?” yet again. He’s a dead man whose body was (partially) preserved. He’s no more than a modern day mummy.

Later on a similar plot line pops up in the second season. In “The Calusari” (2×21) we have another set of twin brothers separated by death, only the writers don’t bother to pretend that the plot is anything more than the ghost of one brother possessing another. But unlike “The Calusari”, which was more like a traditional horror story, Roland is introspective, focusing on the power of an unbreakable bond between siblings. Till death do us not part.

Contrived plots aside, with such memorable performances, why doesn’t this episode garner more attention? I think it goes back to it being one of the quieter episodes of the series. It’s a character study, not an adventure or even a drama. Watching the wind machine whir hardly sets one’s pulse to racing.

And the Verdict is…

It’s an age-old tale. Here we have competitive, socially maladapted scientists killing and stealing research in order to be recognized as one of the masters of the universe. I know I saw this once on an episode of Law & Order, minus the paranormal aspect, of course.

Stripped down to its underwear this episode is just another “haunting” courtesy of a dead man seeking vengeance, all too similar in tone and pacing to both “Born Again” and “Shadows” (1×5). The main advantage it has over the other two is the quality of the acting. The halfway house romance between Tracy and Roland is neither cloying nor pitying, a hard line to walk.

As a bonus, a series of crumbs fall off the table of Scully’s personal life. This is the first we hear of any siblings, none of whom made an appearance in “Beyond the Sea” (1×12).  Two brothers? No wonder she’s tough.

Bottom line: It’s an under-appreciated episode that’s still underwhelming.

C+

Nagging Questions:

I don’t know if I’m right or wrong, but there’s a particular strain of music used for the first time in this episode that Mark Snow continues to use for some time to come. It’s eerie and eccentric. In other words, it’s wonderfully X-Filesian. I’d love to know for sure if this was its debut.

Mulder and Scully got to the crime scene THAT fast? Morning on the west coast is already afternoon on the east.  At best, if the body was found in the morning Pacific Time, Mulder and Scully shouldn’t have been there until that evening. That’s a six hour flight at best. When do the writers start letting our dynamic duo show up a day or two after the fact? Season 2?

What do you want to bet the other man in Mulder’s dream was CSM? OK, so they probably didn’t mean it that way. But in hindsight, it’s a valid interpretation.

Random Thoughts:

There was a time when Scully got as many punch lines as Mulder.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: So how was the wedding?
Scully: You mean the part where the groom passed out or the dog bit the drummer?
Mulder: Did you catch the bouquet?
Scully: Maybe.

————–

Mulder: I don’t think they’ll be performing this experiment on Beakman’s World.

————–

Mulder: You got a brother, don’t you, Scully?
Scully: Yeah, I’ve got an older one and a younger one.
Mulder: Well have you ever thought about calling one of them all day long and then all of a sudden the phone rings and it’s one of them calling you?
Scully: Does this pitch somehow end with a way for me to lower my long distance charges?

Lazarus 1×14: The plot thickens.


Time to take a personal day.

If I compare Lazarus to the previous episode, “Gender Bender” (1×13), then the show has improved in quality. So why don’t I enjoy it as much? Even though this is a solid episode with good performances, it somehow remains less than memorable. It’s still a far sight better than most of the episodes in the first half of the season and is a part of the general trend upward in quality that we see during the second half of Season 1. This may mark the first time where we see more of an episode from the guest character’s POV than either Mulder or Scully’s. Not that I’ve counted screen time or anything, but we definitely see a significant portion of the action from Dupre/Willis’ perspective. Does it help or hurt? I’m not sure. At least it adds a new dimension to the show and paves the way for more substantial guest spots later on. Maybe if we had seen some of “Fire“(1×11) from Phoebe Green’s POV…

What was meant to make this episode is part of what keeps its characters at a distance: Dupre/Willis’ love for Lula feels cloying rather than passionate. Desperate love could’ve worked if they had pulled it off. However, for it to work we would have to feel it and understand it rather than just see it. Why is Dupre so connected to Lula? What is it about her that makes him dependent on her? We don’t really get a chance to experience their chemistry. And if this relationship is so deep, why can’t he see that it isn’t co-dependent; that she doesn’t care for him as much as he does her? If we had seen Lula at least feign passion in return, maybe we could have bought it. As it is, she looks reluctant and disengaged even in the teaser. I understand that she’s probably feeling guilty about her betrayal, hence her quiet, but if so then where did the guilt go by the end of the episode? Later on she betrays Dupre/Willis with relish and without an ounce of hesitation.

On to the true dynamic duo, Scully is once again confronted with the paranormal in her personal life, but the conclusion is up to interpretation and Mulder wisely lets her come to that conclusion on her own. At least we know he’s coming to understand her. But then there goes that “Dana” again… I suppose this is meant to be our clue that Scully being missing is personal for Mulder. It’s unnecessary. It’s already touching that Mulder would stand up in front of a group of men who are skeptical of his every thought and give an emotionally vulnerable plea for them to find someone who was already more than a partner to him. And on that note, I can’t be the only one to find it ironic that in later seasons Mulder’s emotional state in regards to Scully bears more than a passing resemblance to Dupre’s desperate dependence on Lula. OK, Mulder doesn’t turn into a homicidal maniac. But there are definitely moments when you feel like he would turn into a homicidal maniac if something were to happen to Scully.

And the Verdict is…

If socially alienated Mulder has an ex-lover, why wouldn’t Scully?

We see them only for the briefest of moments together at the beginning of the episode, after that, Scully never truly sees Jack Willis again. This makes it hard to gauge the merits of their relationship based on interaction. We can only go by what we’ve already seen of Scully’s relationship with her father and by Scully later observes about herself and men in “Never Again” (4×13). I can’t say that Lazarus really delves into Scully’s psychology like “Beyond the Sea“(1×12), but it does build on what “Beyond the Sea” started in that because of her relationship with her father, Scully has a natural attachment to men in authority. Jack Willis, after all, had been her instructor at the academy.

One thing Scully never expressly admits but that we can surmise between her relationships with both Willis and Mulder is that Scully is apparently into guys who are restless and obsessive. So Scully likes authority and at the same time perversely enjoys bending the rules. What was that story Boggs told about a little girl smoking cigarettes?? Reading between the lines, it was probably Willis’ single-minded obsession that destroyed their relationship. (This is where the ominous music comes in.) One day, when Scully writes her autobiography, I’m sure I’ll be proven right.

If I were to pinpoint a weakness, “Lazarus” suffers from a plot that’s dependent on relationships it didn’t have the time to establish. An altogether solid episode, just not one for the books.

B+

Nagging Questions:

Why does Lula even help him steal the medicine in the first place if she only plans to let him die? Talk about a waste of energy.

We’re supposed to believe that this audio expert drags all this heavy equipment down to the basement office rather than Mulder just going to him?

Why is no one concerned about the X-File within an X-File? Willis’ heart stopped beating for 13 minutes yet he bounces back like a jackrabbit with no signs of brain damage or even physical weakness. They should study him for the cure for cancer.

On that note, why would Scully, a doctor who understands the consequences and a woman practical by nature, attempt to bring Willis back after 13 minutes of no oxygen flowing to his brain? Wouldn’t she assume he’d be a vegetable?

I’m not so sure this criminal could step into the role of FBI agent so easily. And just how did he know about Willis’ passion for catching them? How does he know it’s the biggest case of Willis’ career? Had they run up against him before? Had they ever exchanged words? If so, it’s never indicated. Once he escaped, sans clothes, from the hospital, how did he figure out Willis’ name and address?

General Observations:

Did I just hear the words “alien virus”?

Is the Maryland Marine Bank a precursor to the later Craddock Marine Bank in “Monday” (6×15)?

Mulder’s testing of Willis comes off as a bit callous, especially considering he’s aware of Scully’s history with the man at this point.

What’s with Scully being a magnet for dangerous men with tattoos?

The random guest scientist every episode is later replaced by go-to guys. I’m looking forward to Pendrell.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I love the name Lula.

Best Quotes:

Professor Varnes: Well the pilot became increasingly disoriented, schizophrenic his doctor claims. Until one day, he strangled his wife… with an extension cord.
Mulder: [Exchanges a glance with Scully] It’s a nice story.

———-

Agent Bruskin: Mulder says he’s got something.
Agent: What? An alien virus, or new information on the Kennedy assassination?
Agent Bruskin: Hey, Mulder’s all right. Just pay attention, you might learn something from the man.

Gender Bender 1×13: On a scale of 1 – 10… she was a kind 3.


Marco! Polo!

There’s open-ended and then there’s makes-no-sense. If the answer to its mystery was merely vague, this episode might have a different reputation. That being said, I by no means dislike it. “Gender Bender” is a guilty pleasure for me. It’s not among the general Phile favorites, in fact, it’s almost universally panned. But one thing is certain: even if you don’t like it, you’ll be thinking about it afterward if only because you’re too confused to move on. Besides being a puzzle, “Gender Bender” actually has an interesting premise. After all, sex is scary. People are at their most vulnerable physically, emotionally and psychologically during sex. At the very least, this episode serves as a sort of Public Service Announcement: Find out their name first, please.

This may have been an early attempt by The Powers That Be to make the show sexy, and in that respect it does fail. I know I first watched this at a very innocent age 14 but it took me a while to catch on that Scully is aroused. Somehow, the face on aroused Scully just doesn’t convey, well, arousal. She looks more like a child who lost her dolly than a woman lost to passion. I realize it’s because she’s trying to fight the feeling off, but still. On top of that, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to show the evil villain running around in women’s underwear. It… well… de-villainizes him. The club scenes too are laughable in retrospect. The introduction of Nicholas Lea is their only saving grace.

Let’s admit the truth. The alien angle feels like a cop out. It falls out of the sky like a UFO over Roswell. You feel cheated not because you don’t see it coming, but because when it does come it doesn’t make any sense. The end isn’t one of those moments where you look back, smack your forehead and cry, “Of course!” a la The Sixth Sense. Now, I’m going to admit that I’ve cheated a little and read another draft of the script in which Mulder suspects that The Kindred are alien long before the end of the episode. It still doesn’t work. Truth be told, this episode would have played out better if aliens had nothing to do with the matter. Lethal sex is scary enough on it’s own. This episode takes place in the early ‘90s when AIDS was still all over the news. The concept of sex with a stranger proving immediately fatal would have grabbed an audience all by its pretty lonesome. No EBEs required.

The implication is that these aliens don’t have sex. They have no children. Whatever transformation Brother Aaron goes through in the barn must be a form of self-reproduction. Or rather, since they can regenerate by changing sexes, there’s no real need to reproduce at all but only regenerate. The Kindred are the same as they were 100 years ago. If The Kindred merely suffered from a genetic mutation that required an almost religious abstinence and separation from the world on their part, isn’t that enough of an X-File? That would explain their resistance to outsiders. Their self-imposed isolation is then merely a self-sacrificial attempt to protect the rest of society. Now that’s some angst. It also would make Marty a more evil villain by contrast, taking vengeance on a world that he can’t be a part of. Instead, we see too little of Marty in his (original?) male form. As a matter of fact, we’re never formally introduced to Marty’s male form and that’s a shame. And that brief monologue doesn’t serve to make him either a pathetic or a villainous creature.

The true star of this episode is all that Vancouver rain. The atmosphere the rain inadvertently creates is what keeps this episode afloat. It’s also what makes us think we should be afraid even when the plot doesn’t make sense. Mulder’s scenes in the tunnels also make for more visual fun. Surely whatever is missing in the story got added to the cinematography under the skillful hands of Rob Bowman who, by the way, made his directorial debut on the show with this episode.

And the Verdict is…

If “Beyond the Sea” (1×12) proved that The X-Files could be emotional, “Gender Bender” certainly doesn’t prove that it can be sexy. (For that matter, The X-Files did best when it stayed away from sex in all but the vaguest of terms.) I do like the fact that this is a low-tech episode. Whether because of budgetary concerns or not, it forces the audience to pay attention to the story and not the gizmos. (CSI, please take notes… and then pass them around when you’re done.) It also forces the investigators to do some real legwork and not rely on leads too easily gleaned from an obviously made up national network of information. (Still looking your way, CSI.) Most of all, the atmosphere created by the deft hands of Mr. Bowman is enough to make us feel that something darkly exciting is happening. Vancouver isn’t too shabby either.

Maybe Chris Carter, in his defense of this episode, was right about the value of an open-ended ending. Despite the nitpicking I’ve done here, I actually like “Gender Bender”. In fact, it’s the first X-Files episode I can remember actually sitting down and watching. Up until this point, I had only seen glimpses. This was the summer FX started showing reruns and my dad had it on. When it ended, I remember standing in front of the TV going, “What does it all mean?? What in the heck kind of show is this?” with my face the perfect picture of perplexity. Frustrating? Sure. But hey, it made me want to keep tuning in.  I certainly tried not to miss an episode after that. I wanted to know if The X-Files was really that weird.

So if you have yet to watch it, don’t let confusion ruin the experience, rather embrace it. And if you’ve already dismissed it, tune back in, relish the randomness and let disappointment roll off you like water down Scully’s trenchcoat.

In other news: Your mother’s warnings about having sex with strangers? All true.

B

Puzzlers:

Mulder and Scully relinquish their guns to a group of people of which one is probably a murderer. Are they already doped up on pheromones??

If the aliens can be physically aroused by as well as arouse humans, why can’t they just have sex with each other for fun if not procreation? They must have the hormones to enjoy it after all, or can assume them, anyway. Why can they enjoy sex with us but not with each other? I could keep going…

If we can’t be sure that human’s can produce pheromones, can humans contain them either? How is it that extraterrestrials secrete animal hormones mixed with human DNA? Why don’t the pheromones kill during sex rather than after? Again, I could keep going…

We know that their genderbending has something to do with regeneration, so do they just keep alternating between their male and female forms for all eternity? One gets tired so they bring in the other version off the bench?? Are these just the forms they take while on earth or is this like Star Trek where all aliens are humanoid? Still going…

Random Musings:

Our first, last and only X-Files crop circle. Amen.

“It’s hard to imagine this day and age someone having sex with a perfect stranger.” Really, Scully??? Is it now? Because I seem to remember a certain episode in Season 4…

How about those early ‘90s morphing techniques, eh? That shot where Marty/Martina turns his head to morph looks like it came straight out of the music video for Black or White.

There were some plot points that made more sense in the previous version of the script. For instance, the aliens needed some material that was much easier to mine on earth’s surface. Hence, The Kindred were known for making stoneware pottery with clay they mined themselves. This clay was only found locally, but I guess whatever planet they were from had a shortage. That’s logical, I suppose.

Best Quotes:

Scully: So, what is our profile of the killer? Indeterminate height, weight, sex; unarmed, but extremely attractive?

———-

Scully: There’s something up there, Mulder.
Mulder: Oh, I’ve been saying that for years.

Beyond the Sea 1×12: I tore this off my New York Knicks t-shirt.


'sup witchoo?

What modern TV doesn’t allow for anymore is the chance for a show to grow into its own. Either you’re a hit right out of the gate or you’re canceled. Series no longer have the luxury of discovering themselves as they go and this is a shame. It used to be that you could count on any Season 1 to be rather rough, but you knew whether or not it was going to be a good show based on the gems you found hidden in the briars. “Beyond the Sea” is one of those gems. This is the first teaser that features one of our stars, so you already know this is set up to be a special episode. In fact, it’s Masterpiece Theater care of Messrs. Morgan and Wong.

I think between this episode and “Fire” (1×11) we can officially say that Mulder and Scully are friends, buddies even. Of course, this is a fairly recent development in their relationship and there are splendid moments of awkwardness sprinkled throughout this episode that let you know Mulder and Scully are still working on this newfound intimacy. Mulder calls Scully “Dana” three times and three times I get a cold chill. Ironically, what would be a sign of closeness between two normal people sounds like misplaced formality between Mulder and Scully. Scully agrees with me, but her initial sardonic dismissal of Mulder’s attempt at overt friendship doesn’t deter him from trying.

Mulder is the instigator (isn’t he always?). Scully doesn’t turn to Mulder for emotional support so much as he sticks his foot in the door and refuses to move. Scully, for better and for worse, is more closed off than Mulder. He’s the one in touch with his instincts, who obeys his emotions, and he does so here regardless of whether or not Scully reciprocates them. She does reciprocate them, of course, she just takes a little longer to become comfortable with her own feelings.

Would it be sacrilegious if I say that the chemistry wasn’t quite there in every scene? As I said, Mulder and Scully don’t look like they’re used to this (and neither to David and Gillian for that matter). I might be the only X-Phile in the world that finds Mulder’s ministrations somewhat awkward. However, I don’t think their being awkward is wrong. In fact, it makes sense. This is new territory in their relationship.

It’s not that their scenes together don’t feel real, it’s that they don’t feel natural, not until that wonderful, gorgeous scene it Scully’s motel room: The Great Sit Down. Was there a moment, any moment throughout the series that you could pin down as the point where Agents Mulder and Scully became Mulder and Scully? You could argue that there was or wasn’t. But if you were to argue that there was a moment, a place where they became more than partners, more than just buddies in a police procedural, it’s safe to say that this one gesture would make the short list for consideration. Not only are they completely in sync, there’s nothing strange, unnatural, invasive, or dare I say, even sexual in this moment. It’s as if they’re in their own Mulder/Scully universe.

Why does the personal space bubble exist? Because I am me and you are you and the twain should never completely meet. Why don’t Mulder and Scully practice the personal space bubble with each other? They don’t exist separately. Oh, sure, they’re different people, but they’re kind of like spiritually conjoined twins; separate yet always together. At Scully’s saddest and most vulnerable, having Mulder glued to her side is as natural as it gets.

But enough about Mulder and Scully. Brad Dourif gives a superb performance as Boggs without which the entire episode would have fallen apart. The perfectly timed tears… I almost want to salute in admiration. Sheila Larken shows up in her first guest spot as Margaret Scully. Here she’s so wrapped up in her own grief that she barely acknowledges her daughter’s. That’s why it feels so right.

Then there’s the biggest guest star of all: Bobby Darin. Who could forget him? The song Beyond the Sea is the perfect backdrop to the emotions of this episode. My own father played it often when I was a kid as it’s still one of his favorites. I wonder if everyone’s dad is a Bobby Darin fan? Maybe that’s why Scully feels like the every-daughter in this episode; almost every child will face a crossroad where they have to disappoint the parents they love to do what they feel is right for them. Scully’s meticulous science may be hard for many to understand, but at last, in this, she becomes relatable.

And the Verdict is…

This episode was so successful that it can serve as the cornerstone of Scully’s psychology for the rest of the series.  If the writers knew what the show would become, would they have killed Scully’s father off so soon? It would probably still be the wisest decision. For one thing, watching Scully lose her father allows us to see a depth of emotion in her that was only hinted at in the “Pilot “(1×79). Vulnerable Scully now makes an encore appearance and she’s a welcome departure from the slightly cocky Scully we’ve been exposed to thus far. Not only that, but when Scully’s penchant for following older, wiser men is revealed later on in the series we can better understand why she so willingly followed Mulder into madness. And that element of her personality only makes sense in light of her relationship with her father.

Scully believes… and then she takes it back. Why make it easy? But now we know that Scully is capable of believing even when Mulder doesn’t, as long as she has a personal stake in the matter, that is.

More than that, now we know that The X-Files is capable of being a great, great show.

A

It Doesn’t Make Sense:

Here’s an angle to Scully’s history that I’ve never, ever understood: Why are her parents so disappointed with her becoming an FBI agent? Is it less prestigious working for the FBI? If anything, they could say their daughter was a doctor and an investigator. Talk about bragging rights. It just feels like a stretch to think that this would be a point of contention within the family.

How did Mulder’s blood splatter so high up on the white cross? He’s not 8 feet tall.

Here and There:

His name is Luther Lee Boggs. That’s our first clue. Only southern boys or serial killers go by all three names: John Wayne Gacy, Lee Harvey Oswald, Henry Lee Lucas, etc.

Boggs channels a Mafioso? Here it works. In “The Field Where I Died” (4×5)? Not so much.

Boggs’ red jumpsuit is a great touch. Hot orange would have done horrible things for his complexion.

Not until about my tenth time watching this episode did I catch the fact that in the face of Scully’s obvious lie, Mulder intuitively knows that Scully has experienced an “extreme possibility” in regards to her father. Scully gives him a look of mild surprise when she realizes he’s guessed. In tune much?

Best Quotes:

Scully: Did Boggs confess?
Mulder: No, no, it was five hours of Boggs’ channelling. After three hours I asked him to summon up the soul of Jimi Hendrix, and requested All Along The Watchtower. You know, the guy’s been dead twenty years, but he still hasn’t lost his edge.

———–

Mulder: Dana, after all you’ve seen, after all the evidence, why can’t you believe?
Scully: I’m afraid. I’m afraid to believe.
Mulder: You couldn’t face that fear? Even if it meant never knowing what your father wanted to tell you?
Scully: But I do know.
Mulder: How?
Scully: He was my father.