Tag Archives: Diana Fowley

The Beginning 6×1: I see your renowned arrogance has been left quite intact.


Puh Puh Puh Poker Face.

Fox Mulder is having a poopy day.

His boss sides against him, his former lover steals his job, and Scully… yes, Scully… leaves him blowing in the wind.

Don’t adjust your T.V. sets. That bright sunlight you see is meant to be there and you are still watching The X-Files. The crew at 1013 is taking advantage of their new filming environment by setting the first episode produced in L.A. in the bright desert of Arizona. If they can’t rely on the built-in atmosphere provided by the Vancouver weather, then they might as well make things interesting by taking the audience to places The X-Files couldn’t really go before, bright places.

Thankfully, the story isn’t any less dark than usual and we pick up right where we left off at the end of the movie, with the Syndicate running experiments on a pre-historic cache of the Black Oil, a version that turns humans into incubators. Unfortunately for one of their scientists, he has been infected with the Black Oil virus and accidentally turned himself into a one-man nursery for a very large, very dangerous alien baby.

But this is television we’ve returned to, not the big screen any longer, and the budget that the movie had for rubber alien suits has dried up. It’s a good thing then that The X-Files’ special talent is scaring its audience to death by showing them… nothing. And the alien attack scenes work all the better for us not being able to see the creature.

Death-by-alien moments aside, the best parts of this episode belong to the recently returned Gibson Praise, particularly when he protects Mulder and Scully from Cigarette-Smoking Man by luring him away from the scene of the alien attack and when he dramatically takes sanctuary in the back of Mulder and Scully’s car while they’re distracted. Although I must say he’s become a little too much the prophet for my taste, revealing to the people the truth of their sins. I’m not sure where he got the idea that countering everything someone says to you by telling them what they’re really thinking is a good way to win friends and influence people, but while he’s at it he should really pass a few chastisements Fox Mulder’s way.

Not that I blindly begrudge Mulder his attitude this episode since his world is falling apart like so many pieces of a burnt X-File.

First, Mulder gets spanked at the O.P.R. panel, a plot device recycled from the movie for the purposes of recycling the movie plot; summer was a long time ago and who knows what the audience doesn’t remember? While it makes for a convenient plot device as far as exposition goes and it also serves to push Mulder and Scully into the proverbial corner, the problem is that the seriousness of the panel belies the inherent silliness of the plot.

Everyone at the F.B.I. knows how crazy Mulder’s theories are and in the context of his working on the X-Files, it’s easier to believe that Mulder could go to Skinner, more his friend than his boss, with a working government conspiracy theory that involves corn, spaceships and bees without being laughed out of his office. But in front of a panel of humorless faces made up of strangers and superiors, it makes both Mulder and the plot of the entire mythology look foolish – more foolish than he’s already supposed to look. It’s hard to believe the F.B.I. would actually cut this man a paycheck.

If that wasn’t enough trouble, Scully has professionally bailed on him. Scully doesn’t remember most of what happened to her in Antarctica other than that Mulder saved the day, and the proof of the alien virus that was supposed to be inside the bee that stung Scully isn’t materializing. And you know Scully, she won’t believe anything until the lab results come in.

That’s who Scully is and she’s not about to change, but after everything they’ve been through Mulder is finally fed up with her denial and his frustration isn’t completely unmerited. He just bared his soul and begged this woman to stay by his side, trekked the frozen North to bring her back from the brink of death, and carried her away from danger as alien monsters snapped their spiky teeth at his heels. No doubt he feels a little entitled to some blind faith from her whether she actually witnessed anything or no. And after he’s finally seen the alien life he’s sought for so long with his own eyes, coming home to the same old act from Scully has to be grating.

Still, that’s no excuse for this:

Mulder: Agent Fowley took me to that plant at great risk to herself, where I saw something that you refuse to believe in, saw it again, Scully. And though it may not say it in her report, Diana saw it too. And no matter what you think, she’s certainly not going to go around saying that just because science can’t prove it, it isn’t true.

Or this:

Mulder: What does it take? For this thing to come up and bite you on the ass? I saw these creatures. I saw them burst to life. You would’ve seen them too, but you were infected with that virus. You were passed out over my shoulder.
Scully: Mulder, I know what you did. I know what happened to me, but without ignoring the science, I can’t… Listen, Mulder… [Grabs his hand] You told me that my science kept you honest, that it made you question your assumptions, that by it, I’d made you a whole person. If I change now… it wouldn’t be right… or honest.
Mulder: I’m talking about extraterrestrial life alive on this planet in our lifetime, forces that dwarf and precede all human history. I’m sorry, Scully, but this time your science is wrong. [Walks away]

Tell me, can you hear me dying from where you are?

Poor Scully. She’s so desperate to make Mulder understand that underneath her skepticism beats the heart of a wannabe believer that she tries to recreate “The Moment”… and Mulder shoots her down.

Coming from the high of the movie where Mulder and Scully were joined in an almost poetic unity a la the greats like Kirk and Spock, to this… Well, it’s like a splash of ice water to the face. I’d almost go back and rewatch Fight the Future to see if what I saw was really what I saw but I just watched it multiple times and I’m quite sure that what I saw was what I saw. I swear, if the events of the film hadn’t happened this would be less painful.

I know that for the sake of television drama Chris Carter couldn’t have Mulder and Scully continue on in such carefree, like-minded bliss. But I’m a closet sap and it’s not even the Shipper in me that this bothers so much, I just hate division between close characters of any kind. I love it when I see teamwork and unselfish love and idealism come through my television set in waves of red, green and blue light. Watching the trust between my favorite team of all wane cold, even temporarily, is like a knife through this grown geek’s heart. And for Mulder to compare Scully unfavorably with Fowley… Thrust the blade in deep and get it over with why don’t you, Chris Carter?

The only benefit to this painful rift I can see is how impressive Scully is throughout it. She behaves as a true friend, giving Mulder not what he asks for or what he wants, but what he truly needs. All along she works behind the scenes to get Mulder the proof that would validate his theories, and his very existence, really. That she does so despite Mulder’s coldness is a testament to her integrity.

I can safely say that Scully is in love with Mulder because if she wasn’t before Antarctica, she is now. You can call me “Mulder” but I don’t need scientific proof of that. It’s understood, woman to non-existent woman. But I love that she compartmentalizes that fact so well, even in the face of Mulder’s emotional rebuffs. It looks like the confidence she gained in their relationship through the events of the movie is still carrying her through, enough that she knows Mulder needs her even when he doesn’t realize it.

Meanwhile, Diana blindly accepts every word that proceeds out of Mulder’s mouth. What does that tell you?

I do like the fact that her character has become more of an enigma. Is Mulder right and she’s a closeted ally? Or is Scully wise to be suspicious of her loyalties? Last we saw her she was shot protecting Gibson, a fact that lends itself to Mulder’s point of view since if she were playing for the other team she would have handed them over. No need for a near death experience. But her coming onto the scene just as Gibson the Boy Wonder is revealed… you’d be crazy not to question her motives.

Her new partner on the X-Files, Agent Spender, is also becoming more interesting. He’s sold his soul to the devil, his own father, CSM. For doing his bidding and making Fox Mulder’s life miserable he probably expects to advance up the ranks in the F.B.I. However, he doesn’t appreciate daddy hovering over him and we can wonder at what point he’ll turn on CSM, career or no career. Meanwhile, Mulder’s greatest antagonist at the F.B.I. now has charge over his precious files.

Or maybe his greatest antagonist is his unsympathetic looking new boss, A.D. Kersh.

And the Verdict is…

I’ve been trying hard to understand why it is I don’t care for this episode even though it gives us so much information and so much drama and, no, it’s not because of anything to do with the Fowley-Mulder-Scully love triangle. Somehow, it’s all a little lackluster. In fact, it’s slow in parts and bogged down by (probably essential) exposition. The climactic hunt in the nuclear plant lacks urgency. Maybe if Mulder and Diana had any real chemistry or if they had done more than watch the alien through a window. Mulder is on the verge of finding all the answers he’s sought. Heck, he actually has tangible proof for once! And yet I find myself not particularly invested. Scully hands Mulder test results confirming alien life and still I find no reason for my butt to leave its comfortable spot on my chair, whereas the best episodes have me squirming in nerdy excitement.

In particular, the big reveal, that the alien monsters from the film and the little green men we’ve seen doubtful glimpses of before are one in the same, is disappointing. Clever, but disappointing. The alien monster is merely a gestational stage; probably its lethality is an evolutionary form of protection while the more vulnerable adult form continues to develop on the inside.  Me, I prefer the scary monster. Can you imagine if the earth were repopulated with those? But that’s a pipe dream. We’ll never see those well-manicured claws again.

I understand why this episode is titled “The Beginning” because there are a slew of changes here and with the pace that new revelations are coming at, it’s clear this is the beginning of the end as well. How Mulder copes with it all remains to be seen, but let’s hope he does what Scully asks and starts trusting her again because that’s not just the foundation of their partnership, it’s the foundation of the X-Files.

His boss secretly aids and abets him, his former lover takes him on a field trip to see an alien, and Scully… yes, Scully… gives him the proof he’s been searching for all these years.

Maybe things aren’t quite so bad after all.

B

Mind Reading:

Why do Mulder and Scully walk away from Gibson to talk as though he can’t read their minds from across the room?

This episode could be subtitled: How Scully Got Her Groove Back Only to Have Mulder Strip it Away Again

Whatever happened to Scully being assigned to Salt Lake City Utah? When she took back her resignation did that plot point just disappear? Did Skinner pull some strings?

Pardon me, but didn’t Scully confirm the existence of alien life in the form of bacteria back in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×23)? Purity Control, anyone? Does switching it to a virus radically change anything?

What exactly did Mulder plan to do once he found the alien? Lasso it?

You know, the joy of having favorite fictional characters like Fox Mulder is that they live on in your mind and memory, timeless. But then there are moments like this, where Mulder openly compares Scully to Diana and finds Scully wanting, that indeed I wish he were real so that I could end his existence.

Even if the DNA from the virus, and from the claw and from Gibson all match normal, junk DNA, does that really prove that DNA is alien? Couldn’t it all just be perfectly human? What if the “aliens” came from us rather than the other way around?

In “The End” (5×20), Chris Carter was moving around his pieces, now he’s called checkmate on Mulder.

Best Quotes:

Assistant Director Bart: These spacelings, Agent Mulder, they weren’t something I saw in Men in Black?
Mulder: …I didn’t see Men in Black.
Assistant Director Bart: Well, a damn good movie.

———————–

Smoking Man: You can kill a man. But you can’t kill what he stands for… Not unless you first break his spirit. That’s a beautiful thing to see.

———————–

Mulder: It’d help if you’d shut the door. It would make it harder for them to see that I’m totally disregarding everything I was told.

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The End 5×20: So you two know each other.


"Why, Mulder? Why did they have to bring in The Fowl One?"

I know this show isn’t real. I’m cognizant that I’m having a fictional adventure when I watch it. But I tell you, when that Fowley woman comes on screen I have a visceral reaction. There are unnatural noises and convulsions intermittently mixed with weeping and gnashing of teeth. I’m keenly aware of my irrationality, of the pseudo-inappropriate nature of my response. But it is what it is.

I hate to do it to you, but I’m going to have to Ship here for a moment.

Last episode, we had this sweet, glorious moment where Mulder declares his need for Scully, pronounces her the only person he can depend on, and begs her to be his friend with the puppiest of puppy dog eyes. To take an MSR hungry audience from that kind of a high to such a FOWL low amounts to pop culture cruelty. Chris Carter, thou art guilty.

I still haven’t fully forgiven that man.

Scully has been the woman in Mulder’s life for a good long time now. His sister has been taken from him. He and his mother’s relationship, though loving, is distant. He has no love, no friend, no one who would or could challenge Scully’s place in the hierarchy of his relationships. And based on Mulder’s famous “one in five billion” declaration last episode, Scully feels reasonably secure in her position.

But what if she wasn’t the only “Scully” he ever had? I’m sure the question never occurred to Scully before Diana Fowley came along. Sure, there was Phoebe Green in Mulder’s past, but that relationship was hardly more than misplaced puppy love, and he never trusted her, he only lusted after her. This… this Diana Fowley situation, is much more dangerous.

Even now, after the show has long since ended, we know very little of the history of their relationship except that there was one. Whether it began before or after Diana Fowley helped Mulder uncover the X-Files, we don’t know. Did she walk out of Mulder’s life against his will? With his blessing? No one can say. But what’s painfully obvious is that he trusted her and trusts her still.

Maybe I’m projecting, but I suspect what disturbs Scully most is how secretive Mulder’s being about his past relationship with Diana. There is precious little Mulder holds back from Scully, and it generally either involves the minutiae of a case they’re working on or something relating to her ova. (Alarmingly, I speak the truth here.) So not only does he trust someone else, but he doesn’t trust Scully enough to explain who that someone else is.

Well, he probably doesn’t tell Scully because he’s embarrassed and uncomfortable, but she doesn’t know that.

I’ve said before that Scully senses very early on in Season 1 that Mulder needs her. She validates him, justifies him, humanizes him. David Duchovny once aptly called her Mulder’s “human credential.” And long before Scully was personally invested in the mythology of the X-Files, it was her refusal to abandon a friend who needed her that kept her in the game

More than even knowing she’s needed, Scully likes being needed. Who doesn’t, right? And Mulder’s appreciation of her talents, skill and intelligence validate her and his admiration is about all she has considering the trajectory of her career. But it’s not until Scully begins to consider that Mulder may not need her, or even want her, as much as she thought he did that she seriously contemplates leaving. But now I’m delving into Fight the Future territory.

Despite her ties to the conspiracy that will come to (a very murky) light later on, Diana Fowley never plays a significant role in the mythology at large which I consider a waste. But watching “The End” back again, I begin to believe that she was never meant to. She’s a foil for Scully and merely a tool/weapon to cause tension in a relationship that had already survived the likes of abduction, cancer, and Morgan & Wong. After all, why should they be happy together?

Verdict:

It’s tough for me to admit that I’m not sure how useful this episode really is.  Gibson Praise is presented as the Key to Everything, but how? How would his telepathic abilities unlock all the mysteries of the X-Files? What does he have to do with, say, spontaneous human combustion? Mutant worms? Vampires? Jeffrey Spender’s “Luke, I am your father” moment with Cigarette-Smoking Man is a little anti-climactic since we knew about that already. Worst of all, though I have a low tolerance for love triangles to begin with, Archie, Betty and Veronica not withstanding, this one moves the mythology and the greater plot forward not at all. Not for now, anyway. It does shake Scully’s head out of the sand, however, for which a small and begrudging part of me is grateful.

The plot development that bodes best for the rest of the series is the return of Cigarette-Smoking Man. The mutual uneasy dislike between him and all the other members of the Syndicate is a treat that I wish had been explored further. Though why these men who secretly control the world are incapable of ridding themselves of a 12-year-old without him begs credulity.

There’s a lot to dress up these faults, however, and “The End” grabs your attention if it’s ultimately not very meaningful, thanks in no large part to Mark Snow’s evocative score, parts of which were clearly harvested from the upcoming movie’s soundtrack. It’s exciting if not fulfilling so I can’t be too mad at it.

Like Gibson, Chris Carter is merely moving chess pieces into place with this episode, putting them into position for what would hopefully be a summer blockbuster and a hit season of television beyond. It remains to be seen what kind of play he’s planning to make.

B+

P.S. Stay tuned for the Season Wrap Up where we can’t help but figure out where Mulder and Scully currently stand before the movie comes along and USTs us to death.

Queen’s Gambit Accepted:

This was The X-Files’ last episode shot in Vancouver with the crew that had been their since the beginning. As it was also R.W. Goodwin’s last episode on the show, it was only fitting that he should direct it. All those extras in the chess tournament scene? Yeah. Those were real fans. Philes fill stadiums.

Somehow, this game has been rigged from the beginning by Cigarette-Smoking Man. He’s edging out Mulder and his precious X-Files to make room for his precious Jeffrey. But why does Mulder have to suffer in order for Spender to make a name for himself? And why, even with scientific proof that something’s afoot, is the wunderkind Mulder’s downfall? Surely the powers that be have heard stranger tales from him. Why they’d balk at Gibson Praise of all things is beyond me. You’d think they’d gleefully subject him to further testing.

Fowley isn’t the only one creating tension. If Spender was at odds with Mulder before, now he’s downright antagonistic. And it’s not like Mulder’s attitude is going to help bring them together.

Why does Gibson keep referring to Scully and The Fowl One as “girls?”

Anyone notice that Mulder can’t so much as look Scully in the face when he says, “You know what to do, Diana?” Coward. Traitor. Bastard.

He lets her call him Fox. – There are no words.

For an ever so brief second in the car there, it looks as though Scully might cry.

I spent much of my first viewing of this episode alternately screaming and whining at my television screen. Not much has changed.

Clearly, sadly, frustratingly, the one thinking about Mulder is Diana. And judging by their secret glances during the car ride earlier, she’s the one he’s thinking about too. My only consolation is that Mulder was loath for Gibson to let the truth be known. Is he afraid of Scully’s reaction because he knows she’d be justifiably discomfited to know about he and Diana Fowley’s past relationship? Or does he not want to give Diana the satisfaction of knowing her presence has affected him since he’s too proud to fall back into a relationship with her just because she’s decided to come back after all these years? Either way, I’m slightly comforted by his discomfort.

Best Quotes:

Gibson Praise: I know what’s on your mind. I know you’re thinking about one of the girls you brought.
Mulder: Oh?
Gibson Praise: And one of them is thinking about you.
Fowley: Which one?
Gibson Praise: He doesn’t want me to say.

——————–

Mulder: You’re insulting me when you should be taking notes.

Pilot 1×79: Who did you piss off to get stuck with this detail?


I think I'm gonna like it here.

So, here we are, at the start of everything. The X-Files Pilot is in a lot of ways more satisfying than most episodes of the first season, really a television feat when you stop to consider it as most pilots prove to be little more than a shell of the series to come. In contrast, this episode plants seeds, some of which don’t fully blossom until almost the end of the series. It’s more like the start of a species’ evolution than a sketchy rough draft. Aspects of Mulder and Scully’s psychology that aren’t explored for years to come can first be recognized here if you know how to look; it’s like a pop culture Rorschach test.

More to the point, even though the style of the series would change significantly, becoming dramatic and polished where it was once charmingly underwhelming, the characters as laid out only seem to become more themselves as time goes on. Let’s start where it all starts, with Scully.

Scully’s character is set up to be the rational lens by which we, the audience view both Mulder and his precious basement files. Like her, we travel from the normal realm of the real world to a world where the impossible seems reasonable by the end of the episode. Accordingly, Scully grows almost more paranoid than Mulder by the end of the episode.

It isn’t her experience as an FBI agent but her credentials as a scientist that get her this gig. She would ordinarily be way out of her league with the likes of Mulder. From the set up in Blevin’s office, he’s something of a genius and was not long ago considered the golden boy of the Bureau. Whereas Scully would seem to have little if any field experience. She’s been teaching at Quantico most likely since she came out of the academy since no mention is made of her working in any other unit. Yet even Scully, not too far out of the academy herself, knows enough about Mulder to name his course of study as an undergrad.

I may be reading too far between the lines but I can only surmise from this that Scully, a girl in a boy’s world at the FBI, probably makes an extra effort not to be intimidated when she walks down into the basement. More accurately, she exudes the type of personality that would refuse to be intimidated. Still, her ever so slightly too emphatic scientific assertions would lead one to believe that she’s more impressed by Mulder than she lets on. It also highlights a part of Scully’s character that was mostly lost after the first season; she’s a bit of a cocky upstart.

Despite the pure motives she ascribes to herself, joining the FBI probably was an act of rebellion on Scully’s part. It becomes clearer as the series progresses, but Scully, despite her protestations, obviously needs and wants something more than a normal life. Hence she rejects her date in “The Jersey Devil” (1×4), etc. She’d be bored and unfulfilled without Mulder and the X-Files.

Now we move forward to the justly famous basement scene. Here’s why this works: Scully is obviously amused rather than offended by Mulder. This is a delicate balance since she can’t be either too irritated by him or too taken with him in order for the audience to take this seriously as a partnership. One would think that Scully would be slightly offended by his sarcastic and dismissive manner but evidently she’s not. And despite the somewhat cutting, cocky remarks she makes herself (Isn’t she only two years out of the academy acting like a know-it-all?? And while we’re about it, why is she teaching with so little practical experience as either a doctor or an agent?) Mulder doesn’t take offense either. After all, at least she’s being honest rather than making fun of his ideas.

On the subject of their partnership, I find it plausible (thank you, Scully) that either character on their own would be too annoying to be watchable. Maybe this is where part of their chemistry comes from. Mulder is abrasive and illogical, albeit he has his own charm. Scully is too straight-laced to be any fun. Well, almost. Her barely hidden enjoyment of Mulder’s antics lets us know that there’s more to her personality than is evident on the surface. Despite expectations, she doesn’t take life as seriously as she appears to, though she wisely hides her amusement from Mulder for the time being. To put a period at the end of this lovely phrase of a scene there’s that great smile that Scully gives to camera at the end. Is it only me, or is it possible read the entire future of the series in that grin?

And now for a not so clever segue into Mulder’s character…He asks her if she believes in E.T. on the off-chance that maybe she’s open to the idea, but it’s clear from the way he nods his head that he expected her negative response. Poor Mulder has clearly resigned himself to being alone in his beliefs, at least among the educated elite at the FBI.  Here’s what makes it interesting, though. Mulder seems to bear Scully no real hostility. He seems entertained by her investigative efforts, even. The Mulder we get to know later resents intrusion into his work. Yet it’s Mulder who makes most of the friendly overtures and who even asks Scully to go for a run. Mulder? Sociable? Is this the same Mulder that shot arrows at Krychek when he came around, this despite the fact that he professed to be an admirer of Mulder’s work? True, the circumstances were different with Krychek. And since the characters were still being developed, dear CC probably didn’t mean much by it. Mulder wasn’t established as incurably antisocial yet. Still, it’s definitely interesting looking backwards to see that his response to Scully was atypical.

We see little from Mulder’s point of view. As I mentioned before, this is really Scully’s story; so most of our observations of Mulder are from the outside. What we make of his character we have to glean from his body language and expression. What we can tell is that he’s conflicted; his reason is telling him not to trust Scully any more than he trusts his superiors at the FBI. Obviously, Mulder isn’t a character driven by reason and Scully’s response to this case leads him to the conclusion that she isn’t consciously a part of any conspiracy. Her reaction to the case as it unfolds, particularly her genuine fear both upon seeing the marks on Peggy and suspecting that she has them as well, that would seem to be what finally pulls down his guard against her. Adding to that, even if Scully is skeptical, she’s not cynical. She gives this case, and by extension, Mulder, a fair assessment. It’s evident that Mulder wants to be able to trust somebody, and while Scully is no believer, she’s honest and she’ll do.

Moving back to Scully, she is definitely more interested in this case, and in Mulder (no ship in sight, people), than she would like to let on. She blew Mulder off a little quickly for someone who smiled so warmly when she realized he was at her door. And despite her protest that she wouldn’t be losing sleep over this implant thing, that’s exactly what she proceeds to do.

And now for the mosquito bites: This kind of vulnerability is something we won’t see again from Scully for a while, that’s why it’s so important that the “Pilot” established that her character possesses it. This is a different Scully from the self-assured agent that shook hands with Mulder in the basement. Her voice is breaking; she covers her mouth. This is a scared Scully. It would be a wonder that she went to her near stranger of a partner except that there was no one else. Maybe more importantly, it’s appropriate that she goes to Mulder because this is his paranoia that she’s getting caught up in. No one else would give much credence to her anxiety in this situation. One has to wonder if without this scene in the motel Mulder and Scully would ever have become “Mulder and Scully.” This moment is the basis of their mutual trust. See why you shouldn’t swat at mosquitoes?

While I confess freely and happily that I’m a shipper, this scene would never have worked if the MSR ship was already at sea. It is precisely because Scully can trust Mulder not to ogle her that this relationship has the potential of being something really pure. There isn’t even a hint of Mulder taking advantage of the situation. Scully, the scientist, just exposed her rather unscientific fears to her eccentric partner and he didn’t throw it back in her face. Instead, he calms her down with genuine concern. And now we know that these two can trust each other without worrying about ulterior motives.

As a side note, here is where more recent shows, trying to follow in The X-Files’ footsteps have come up lacking. Mulder and Scully’s relationship was a slow build. It wouldn’t have been compelling if it started off with mere sexual tension. It started off with mutual respect, not attraction… not in the lustful sense. They were clearly attracted to each other as people. Then they progressed from respect, to affection, to trust and ultimately to co-dependence.

Moving forward, we see that the partners that gravedig together stay together. This scene, I think, is our first exposure to Mulder’s uncanny intuition. There is also something endearing about this moment. Maybe it’s the way that Scully laughs at the absurdity of the situation. Or is she laughing because part of her actually believes him? No doubt both. From this point on the two characters seem to be in sync. Scully sounds downright Mulderish during that great scene in the hospital hallway. She goes from calm and poised as she’s examining Billy Miles to being a crusader. We knew she had it in her. Maybe she’s more like Mulder than either of them realize.

The final scene of Scully answering Mulder’s call in bed would seem to be the start of Scully keeping Mulder at a distance, despite her own doubts. And Mulder, of course, assumes that Scully has nothing better to do that dwell on the case…. Which she doesn’t. In actual fact. (I’m nodding in your direction, Agent Reyes).

And the verdict is…

It’s interesting looking back because TV in those days didn’t have the shine and gloss it does now. It was a raw, slightly rough around the edges medium. And The X-Files, wisely, played that up.

Ultimately, I don’t think the success of the pilot is due to the plot, which is a little here and there at times. And even though aliens make for interesting subject matter a la Star Trek, what we do see of abduction in this episode is creepy but not compelling. I think that despite Chris Carter’s best intentions, this show was wrapped up in its characters from the beginning. If Mulder had only been the stereotypical irrational believer and Scully merely the stoic scientist, I truly believe it wouldn’t have worked. Instead, it’s not enough for Mulder to be the believer; he desperately wants to be believed. That’s why Scully is a blessing in disguise. She may not subscribe to his theories, but she believes in him as an investigator. As to the rest, he makes it his mission to convince her. Scully in her turn isn’t just a cold, calculating skeptic. She relates to and feeds off of Mulder’s passion. Not to mention she quietly gets his sense of humor!

Mulder and Scully as partners are charming together where either of their characters alone would be frustrating. Their subtle interplay is rewarding and looking back, the whole series really does take its cues from this episode. Even the way Scully distances herself from Mulder at the end of the episode, probably due to fear of what she might find, is a recurring theme.

This is what the audience is really responding to: two people connecting. Already we see that they don’t even need words to communicate, they use their eyes. First when Peggy throws herself on the floor in the hospital, and then there’s that spooky moment when Mulder makes eye contact with Scully through the two-way mirror. Scully is unsettled by the connection, but the audience is intrigued. Maybe it’s the way Mulder says, “I’m not crazy, Scully” with all kinds of vulnerability, or maybe it’s the way she smiles to herself when he knocks on her door, but you just know this relationship is going to work.

As for Scully’s boyfriend, Ethan, suffice it to say… well, let’s be real. Ethan was cut because Scully’s scenes with Mulder were just so much more electric. Even though Ethan’s scenes were cut and can’t be considered cannon, they give credence to my pet theory; Scully’s life was more interesting with Mulder around. But more on that as the season continues.

There are moments in this Pilot that later become part of what makes the show iconic, i.e. Searching with flashlights in the dark, Mulder cracking jokes at inappropriate moments, Scully performing an autopsy. It’s delightful to watch it all unfold.

Scully’s smile at the end the basement scene says it all: this is going to be fun.

A

Best Quotes:

Mulder: Sorry. Nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted.

————-

Mulder: That’s why they put the “I” in the FBI.

Nagging Questions:

Where did the candles in the motel come from??

This is only a question that can be asked in retrospect, towards the end of the series. But why DID CSM choose Scully to keep an eye on Mulder? Did they think she was capable of being manipulated like Diana Fowley? Did they think she was ambitious enough to throw Mulder under the proverbial bus? Or did they just want a straight man?

“We lost 9 minutes… I looked at my watch just before the flash and it was 9:03. It just turned 9:13!” – Um, isn’t that 10 minutes, Mulder?

Why isn’t Theresa killed by the aliens? Did Mulder and Scully somehow put a stop to it?

General Observations:

If there was one overdone moment, it was when Mulder and Scully reunited in the forest after Theresa was spared. In my best Chandler Bing impression: Can we breath any harder?

As ever, Scully is on the verge of seeing but never sees enough to make her believe. That won’t happen till “Patient X” (5×13).

The abductees were genetically altered by the tests done to them. Is this the first stirring of the alien-human hybrid storyline?

Does anyone else find Mulder’s passionate outbursts a little frightening? Does anyone else think Scully does too?

I think this may be the only episode where we ever see Scully with a purse…