Tag Archives: Fallen Angel

Tempus Fugit 4×17: Let me buy him a drink too.


"Welcome back, Kotter!"

I’m going to start with a bit of an unusual premise here and say that “Tempus Fugit” and it’s follow up episode “Max” (4×18) aren’t really mythology episodes at all, instead they’re more like the pre-mythology conspiracy episodes of Season 1; think “Deep Throat” (1×1), “Fallen Angel” (1×9), and “EBE” (1×16). Taken at its most basic, this is your standard The Aliens are Here and the Government Won’t Admit It fare. What elevates the story is that this time it’s personal. “Tempus Fugit” is an episode about the casualties of war, the lives that are being lost whose deaths and whose pain will be meaningless unless Mulder and Scully can ultimately find a way to unravel this whole alien thing. Otherwise, Mulder and Scully could just as easily go the way of Max and Pendrell, and all those who were collateral damage will have died in vain.

The actual and potential loss, largely represented by the incredibly realistic crash site, is sobering. Mulder and Scully have precious few family members left for Chris Carter to kill off so he had to find another way to remind the audience of what’s at stake in this quest that Mulder and Scully are on and he did so by killing two friends and a whole plane full of people. It’s not all fun, games and Black Oil.

Speaking of the Black Oil, where is it? Here, not only is a character from Season 1, Max Fenig, brought back, but the mythology plot is subject to a rewind as well. There’s no Syndicate, no CSM dropping ash all over the place, no Krycek simpering. It’s just a straight up alien abduction meets government cover up. Mulder back to unreservedly and unwisely blasting his opinions from the rooftops rather than playing his hunches close to the vest, another throwback to earlier Seasons when Mulder got on his superiors’ nerves not by his actions but with his words. He never knew when to reel it in.

In the sense that they hark back to a simpler time in The X-Files, these elements are welcome. But in some ways it’s a little too late because now I’ve been conditioned to expect otherwise. Consequently, I spent the entire episode trying to figure out how what’s happened to Max fits into the overall mythology at large. The problem is I’m not sure it does. It’s more like a side plot.

Are the aliens that abducted Max the same ones that are working with the Syndicate? I find that hard to believe since the Syndicate seems to be secretly scared to death of those aliens, but a lone fighter pilot easily defeats these aliens. Speaking of which, how is it that creatures who possess technology we can only dream of and who can manage to travel light years to earth without a problem are no match for our military? That takes the bloom off their rose, doesn’t it?

I have no proof, but I’d be greatly surprised if these are the same aliens behind the plans for colonization. They’d need a lot more power. And besides, if I were them, I’d start colonization early if those human peons started shooting down my ships.

And the Verdict is…

I confess that I’m still not completely sure how I feel about this one, and I’ve been stewing on it for a good while. On the one hand, it’s good to see Max again and I enjoy that element of continuity and the nod to long time fans by giving them the payoff of bringing back a much loved, if oft forgotten character. On the other hand, why do I still feel a little bored?

Sure, we get that great birthday scene between Mulder and Scully, opening the window a little more into their quite comfortable and predictable relationship. That’s worth the price of admission. And Mulder’s short but sweet vigil beside Max’s body is poignant and memorable. Likewise, Scully’s last tender moments with Pendrell are just shy of heartbreaking. But still, I can’t help feeling like all of this isn’t leading much of anywhere. This is only the first in a two-parter, however, so I guess we’ll see.

In regards to the more technical end of things, director Kim Manners has almost outdone himself with that airplane crash. It’s almost too realistic… I have to not watch it too closely lest I have flashbacks during my next airplane flight. And that crash scene looks exactly like what we saw a few times too many on the news during the 1990’s. It’s just stellar work from everyone involved.

But did they have to kill Pendrell??? I’m going to miss that little geek.

B+

Nagging Questions:

How could Max’s sister’s motel room fall from 29,000 feet as Mulder says? Wouldn’t the aliens have had to take the whole motel lest someone notice a few walls missing? Forget that, why not just take the person alone???

Would Mulder have remembered Scully’s birthday if Scully wasn’t dying?

Random Observations:

It’s only funny when Mulder says, “We’re not gonna make it” because we know very well that he is.

I sincerely doubt Mulder and Scully would have been allowed in that TSA meeting or even less likely at the crash site.

On a related note, I realize that in order to keep things fresh and interesting, Mulder and Scully constantly have to be forced into new situations. Even so, why does Mulder going diving without experience feel like too much of a stretch to me? Combine that with Mulder and Scully’s free access to an airplane crash investigation and I’m starting to wonder how much disbelief I can suspend. It’s somehow less jarring to my rational mind to watch a mutant grow a new head.

Best Quotes:

Scully: Mulder, you have never remembered my birthday in the four years I’ve known you.
Mulder: That’s the way I like to celebrate them, every four years. It’s like dog years that way.
Scully: Dog years? Thank you.
Mulder: You’re welcome. Oh, I got something for you.
Scully: Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me.
Mulder: It’s just something that reminded me of you.
Scully: What? An alien implant?
Mulder: Two actually. I made them into earrings.

————————–

Scully: Oh, please tell me this isn’t leading to something really embarrassing.

————————–

Scully: You sure know how to make a girl feel special on her birthday.

————————–

Motel Manager: Look at this! I don’t know what kind of game she was playing in here. She blew the door right out of the jamb. I doubt insurance will cover it.
Mulder: Does your policy cover the acts of extraterrestrials?
Scully: We’ll take care of it.

————————–

Bruce Bearfield: Have you worked at this depth before?
Mulder: Not exactly.
Bruce Bearfield: What exactly is your experience?
Mulder: Once I got a quarter off of the deep end of the Y pool.

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Teso Dos Bichos 3×18: Some things are better left buried.


My sentiments exactly.

Last we heard from writer John Shiban he gave us “The Walk” (3×7), a well-liked if not loved episode. This time around he doesn’t fare as well. Personally, John Shiban wouldn’t win me over as a solo writer until “Elegy” (4×22). When he, Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan worked as a team it was usually to great results but his individual efforts aren’t among my top favorites, the glorious exception of “The Pine Bluff Variant” (5×18) not withstanding… not that I possess that much talent in a single strand of my DNA you understand.

Still, the sad truth remains that The X-Files hasn’t bombed this badly since Season 1. Even “3” (2×7) is better at least in terms of production value. By the end of the teaser the episode is already a non-starter. Not one thing about the opening is successful. The guys at 1013 had been sipping too much yajé if they thought this would work. From the second I see the mysterious shaman or whoever he is draped in red, ominously looking down from his lofty perch with his cane in hand, my eyes roll of their own accord.

This is The X-Files we’re watching so we already know the curse is real and even so, we’ve seen scarier. Before the episode even starts all chance at real tension is lost. As it continues, a cast of characters parade before us that range from annoying to boring. Not a one of them makes it all the way to “vaguely interesting.” And we need for them to be because the premise behind this episode is less then compelling and the typical “Western invasion of the sacred” politics are a bit of a turn off.

I have this theory I’ve mentioned before that The X-Files never really tackles “ethnic” myths and legends in a believable way. “Fresh Bones” (2×15) more or less succeeds but that’s only because Voodoo is already a familiar concept to the Western mind. The writer didn’t try and tie Voodoo to Hatian culture specifically so much as he created a regular mini-horror flick where explanations and motivations were rendered unnecessary. The thing is that it’s hard to make an audience care about something they don’t understand the significance of and that’s what usually happens in these “ethnic” X-Files.  In case you think I’m relying on a fluke for evidence, my suspicion is about to be confirmed twice in a row. But we’ll discuss “Hell Money” (3×19) tomorrow.

Back to the plot, I had always assumed that the Jaguar spirit had stowed away on a plane or the like to finish up its revenge in North America and that the tabby cats were just its minions or something. I come to find out this rewatch that the killers are actually the stray cats; the last vestige of credibility this episode had in my mind is gone.

Even Kim Manners’ knack for directing horror episodes couldn’t save this one. Something about the Jaguar/Cat special effect is hokey, almost like something out of Season 1 except that Season 1 pulled off something similar much more successfully in “Fallen Angel” (1×9). And poor Gillian Anderson had to be stabbed at with fake cat paws on sticks to film the climax scene because of her cat allergy. It’s a metaphor for the entire episode, really.

After filming Kim Manners had shirts made up for the crew that read “Teso Dos Bichos Survivor” and “Second Salmon”, the second quote being a reference to the number of rewrites the script was subjected to; each rewrite was color coded and they made it to the color Salmon… twice. Says it all, doesn’t it?

Here’s what I think is the biggest problem: It isn’t a story worth telling in the first place. There are some funny lines and some scenes that are clearly aiming to give us an “iconic X-Files” moment. Yet it’s not enough to have the disparate elements without glue to bind them together, namely an interesting premise. The X-Files cannot live by flashlights alone.

Believe it or not, I was actually looking forward to reviewing “Teso Dos Bichos” more than “Pusher” (3×17) even because I believed that like most of the episodes I disliked previously, it would benefit from a fresh set of eyes this rewatch, that looking at from a more critical point of view would help me appreciate some of its finer points. Yeeeeaaah.

In a way though, I was right. I’ve discovered that this episode’s redeeming quality is that it’s hilarious, just not on purpose. “Teso Dos Bichos” may take itself too seriously, but don’t you as the audience make the same mistake. Mulder and Scully face off against killer sewer cats. For pete’s sake, laugh.

Verdict:

No.

D

Questions:

How did Dr. Bilac sneak yajé into the U.S.?

If the Native Indians of Ecuador are so paranoid about disturbing the rest of their dead, what are they doing working at an excavation site?

Comments:

The way Dr. Bilac talks drives me nuts. I feel like scratching out my ear canals every time he comes on screen.

Everyone knows there’s something a little evil about cats.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: Personally, if someone digs me up in a thousand years, I hope there’s a curse on them, too.

—————–

Scully: So you think Bilac’s innocent? That the victim wasn’t even killed at all? That he was devoured by a mythological jaguar spirit?
Mulder: Go with it, Scully.

—————–

Scully: Label that.
Officer: As what?
Scully: Partial rat body part.

—————–

Mulder: Do we know for sure it’s Lewton?
Scully: Yeah, by what he had for lunch; corn chowder and it looks like he’d been snacking on sunflower seeds all afternoon.
Mulder: A man of taste.

—————–

Dr. Winters: When I dissected the dog’s stomach, I found an undigested fragment of intestine, which appears to be feline.
Scully: The dog ate a cat.
Dr. Winters: I also found what appears to be bits of rat fur. I think the rat ate the poison.
Scully: Cat ate a rat.
Mulder: And the dog ate the cat.

—————–

Scully: So what are we talking here, Mulder? A possessed rat? The return of Ben?

Nisei 3×9: Monsters begetting monsters.


$29.95's worth.

“Nisei” is about foreign scientists, war criminals, allied with the Federal Government and more specifically, The Syndicate, who experiment on unwitting citizens in an attempt to create an alien-human hybrid. If that sounds familiar, it should. It was the plot of “Paper Clip” (3×2). The main difference is that we’ve moved from talk of the Nazis to another World War II Axis power, Japan.

There are other repeats such as Mulder seeing what he thinks is a spaceship hidden from perfect view. That happened in both “Deep Throat” (1×1) and “Fallen Angel” (1×9). Scully has also confronted X over Mulder’s whereabouts before in “End Game” (2×17), but of course that time it was the other way around and she wanted to find him not keep his location a secret. And as I’ve already mentioned, as in the season opener the writers are using the horrors of history to scare us. What’s more frightening than the truth?

Since we’ve already heard this tale told in a different way, Chris Carter had to find a way to set this one a part and I think he successfully did that by tying in this set of experiments to Scully’s abduction in a more specific way: These Japanese scientists were the ones who performed tests on her when she was taken.

Now we know for sure that the chip found in the back of her neck during “The Blessing Way” (3×1) is connected to her abduction. If that weren’t enough, we find out that Scully wasn’t alone and we meet the other women who were there with her for at least part of her ordeal. Imagine walking into a room full of people who know all about you but you don’t know them. Talk about creepy.

Scully’s character certainly gets an uplift from the previous couple of episodes where she is relegated to the role of Debbie Downer. Here she’s still the skeptic but she’s a thoughtful one and gives this investigation the attention it deserves. It’s about time the question of why she still doesn’t believe is brought up as we’ve reached a point in the series where it makes less sense for Scully to even be a skeptic in the face of all she’s been exposed to. That’s why some of the previous episodes didn’t work as well as they might have because her knee-jerk skepticism seems out of place, as though she were just going out of her way to be difficult. The tantalizing teasing that goes on about the mystery of Scully’s abduction is a set up to explore her character further in future episodes. It pays off well.

The mythology keeps expanding to include more conspiracies within the conspiracy. It’s exciting and yet… this is both good and bad news. While the scope of the conspiracy is why it attracts an audience, it’s also part of its eventual, inevitable decline. You can only push the circle outward for so long before people forget the juicy center.

Conclusion:

You’ll think me shallow, but what I love most about this episode is that it’s a party. So many honored guests are in attendance: Skinner, Mr. X, The Lone Gunmen, even Senator Matheson who is no doubt summoned because Skinner washes his hands clean of this situation. We also have a first-time participant in Agent Pendrell. We’re only missing Krycek who Chris Carter is saving for later in the season.

Mulder again proves there’s no length of crazy he won’t go to. He’s such a wonderfully frustrating hero. You want to punch him then hug him all in the span of two seconds. Scully’s parallel journey for the truth is just as compelling, but in a less action packed, more emotional sort of way. It’s fun to see them investigate on their own and then come back together and share notes, so to speak. Whether they’re communicating over the phone or in person they make such a great team. And the banter and humor sprinkled through this two-episode arc still makes me smile.

If “Paper Clip” was about the Germans, “Nisei” is all about the Japanese. It’s a natural progression to move on to the next Axis power. But whatever happened to the Italians? Not scary enough?

A-

Lingering Questions:

Why wasn’t Scully subjected to the hybridization tests that created mutants out of the others? Maybe that was reserved for the sick and they used healthy young women for another, equally sinister purpose…

We know Scully is going to get cancer, it’s only a matter of when. The question is, why does she end up with cancer relatively quickly when the other abductees took years and many abductions before they died? I would guess that the abductions themselves somehow saved them.

I still don’t understand why this episode is called “Nisei”. The scientists involved are first generation Japanese immigrants, not second generation Japanese-Americans. Surely there’s a clue that slipped by me.

Random Musings:

The Japanese “diplomat”, Kazuo Sakurai, doesn’t sound like a Japanese diplomat at all, judging by his speech patterns. He sounds more like a Yakuza gangster. I’m wondering if it’s an element of the plot that they didn’t have time to delve into, that he’s an agent of the conspiracy posing as a diplomat for nefarious purposes.

Sakurai: [Japanese] M***** F******, I’m absolutely gonna kill you.
Mulder: You speak English?
Sakurai: [Japanese] What are you babbling about? *Editor’s Note: This is much more offensive than I can translate.
Mulder: Great.

And then he knows Karate, because all Asians know some form of the Martial Arts. *Eyeroll*

Best Quotes:

Scully: That’s not your usual brand of entertainment. What is it?
Mulder: According to the magazine ad I answered, it’s an alien autopsy. Guaranteed authentic.
Scully: You spent money for this?
Mulder: $29.95… plus shipping.
Scully: Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network. You can’t even see what they’re operating on!
Mulder: But it does look authentic, I mean the settings, the procedures. I mean it does look as if an actual autopsy is being prepared, doesn’t it?
Scully: Well technically, I don’t know why they would be wearing gas masks.
Mulder: Well maybe it’s because of this green substance they seem to be extracting from the subject. Can you identify that?
Scully: Olive oil? Snake oil? I suppose you think it’s alien blood?
Mulder: It’s widely held that aliens don’t have blood, Scully.
Scully: I guess this begs the question, if this is an alien autopsy…
Mulder: …where’s the alien? But what so intriguing to me is the striking lack of detail here.
Scully: Well, what do you expect for $29.95?

——————

Scully: I don’t know, Mulder, it just doesn’t track. What would a Japanese diplomat be doing in that house with a dead man with his head stuffed in a pillowcase?
Mulder: Obviously not strengthening international relations.
Scully: Well, what do you want to do now? Drop it?
Mulder: I’ve paid my $29.95, Scully. I think I’m entitled to a few more answers. Don’t you think so?

——————

Mulder: Scully, after all you’ve seen. After all you’ve told me you’ve seen. A tunnel filled with medical files, the beings moving past you, the implant in your neck. Why do you refuse to believe?
Scully: Believing’s the easy part, Mulder. I just need more than you. I need proof.
Mulder: You think that believing is easy?

Guest Post – X-Files: A Shipper Guide, Part 2


*Editor’s Note: Nina is a long time X-Phile and shipper extraordinaire. (Seriously. You guys thought I was rabid.) You can find more of her humorous insights into The X-Files, Supernatural, 24 and other fandoms on her tumblr at myspecialhell.tumblr.com. Here’s part 2 of her rundown on Mulder and Scully’s relationship in Season 1. Agree/disagree with her observations? Duke it out in the comments section. We can’t wait to hear what you guys think!

And with that, take it away, Nina!

Biased, completely personal, with tongue firmly planted in cheek

The first episodes: aka getting to know each other

 ~ And you? You think I’m spooky?

                                       – Mulder (Squeeze)

As I previously said, a year and half passed between the events of the pilot episode and those of “Deep Throat” the first regular episode of the series…and the missing year and half still bugs me to no end.

If we choose to follow this time line, Mulder and Scully had been partners for over a year when they met in that bar at the beginning of the episode. There was an obvious attraction, and hey…that’s one of the few times we have seen them together outside the office!

There was this thing where they constantly invaded each other’s space, which, I’m sure every FBI agent is trained to do (note the sarcasm here…sheesh…Carter did *so* fool us!)

At the same time, though, it’s clear that there was still some mistrust. Mulder still didn’t trust Scully.

Now, before someone jump in saying what a jerk Mulder was, let’s state the obvious shall we?

At the time, Scully still reported to Blevins, she still wrote her reports. It’s a constant of the first season. Mulder might have felt that Scully was not a spy, but he wasn’t ready and willing to sacrifice what he perceived as the only way to find out the truth about his sister and what had happened to her.

Oh, and besides, if we have to accept the canon of the show (personally, there are things which I’ve merrily chosen to ignore, ie: Mulder’s stupid, lame, brain disease they babbled about in the eighth season!) Mulder had recently broken up with a woman he had been in love with, a woman he had loved so much that he had – beats on me on this, because it’s not clear– married her.

As much as the fanon wants him as a loner, a loose cannon, in actuality Mulder doesn’t do short time commitment once he smells the coffee.

If said woman was Diana Fowley, a woman who had worked with him, whom he had broken up with, prissibly when he needed her the most…is it a surprise Mulder was a bit cautious?

And we don’t want to mention Phoebe Greene, do we?

So, my speculation is: Mulder’s instinct on people is usually right, I mean, the guy is a psychologist *and* a profiler…it’s his heart he doesn’t trust…especially with women. He isn’t sure whether he can trust his own instincts.

Things for Scully were a bit different. It’s shown since the first episode, that she’s loyal to Mulder: she threatened a man in Deep Throat to get her partner back, she bid her goodbye to her own reputation and her old life in Squeeze, when she took Mulder’s side against Tom Colton. We had seen her bidding goodbye to her social life when she gave up on a date for the X-Files in The Jersey Devil.

And she thought he was cute. She said so to a friend of hers: Ellen. She also said that he was a jerk, but marveled immediately after when she added that he wasn’t a jerk…he was just obsessed with his job.

Mulder talked to Scully about Samantha in the pilot episode, but it’s only in Conduit, the third episode of the series, written by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa that, for the first time, she really had an insight on how much Mulder’s search for his sister meant to him.

On a side note: Conduit rocks! It’s one of my favorite episodes ever!  It’s the episode that really turned me into a Phile. I remember when I first saw it, how much it hurt to watch Mulder struggle against his own pain and recollections to bring Ruby Morris home. And it never ceases to amaze me, how empathic Mulder is of other people’s pain.

That’s one of the things I love most about Mulder: throughout the series, he never lost compassion for the victims and their families. He never forgot that he had been on the other side of the fence…and that he still was.

There was a touching scene at the beginning of the episode, which served the purpose to make Scully understand how much Mulder still loved his sister… Mulder and Scully were in the living room of Ruby Morris’ house; Mulder looked at some photographs and tenderly brushed one of the pictures taken when Ruby was just a child, about Samantha’s age.

In Conduit, Mulder talked to Scully…he told her something about Samantha, about his life after her abduction. He told her of a ritual he had when he was a child of how before entering his room he closed his eyes hoping that  when he would open them, his sister was here, as if nothing had happened. He told her kept entering that room, every single day.

I was blown away by the importance of that confession. If in the pilot episode Mulder needed Scully to understand why the X-Files were so important to him, in this episode he just needed to let her understand that Samantha wasn’t just a name associated with pain and guilt. She wasn’t just Mulder’s holy grail. Samantha was Mulder’s baby sister, and I’d wager that that kind of pain only increased with each passing year.

Mulder was thirty-two when Conduit aired, he was old enough to have children of his own, children of Samantha’s age when she was abducted. I think the sorrow over what happened to Samantha grew with Mulder, morphed somehow with each passing year as he grew up.

In the end, Scully stopped Mulder from seeking more answers…but I’ve always thought she had done so to protect him. She had seen how much that case had hit him too close to home. She had seen it all…and after that, she needed to understand, she needed to know.

She listened to the tapes of Mulder’s regression hypnosis. Mulder made no mystery of them; they were probably included in Samantha’s file…

Scully was alone, judging from her backgrounds she was probably alone in her own home as she listened to Mulder’s anguished voice as he recalled that night. As we heard the heartbreaking words of the voice over we saw him, in a church, sitting on a bench, holding in his hands a picture of his sister. He cried and he finally began to pray

What? Mulder prays? Wasn’t he agnostic? Wasn’t he Jew? Shut-up! It doesn’t matter!

Anyway, the fact that Mulder, who is a very private person, revealed so much about him to Scully shows that in his own way, he was really trying to open up, to trust her.

But, they had to go all the way to Icy Cape, and be closed off in a cabin with Rack from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, George Mason from 24 and the chick with way too many children, from Desperate Housewives to talk about trust for the first time…go figure it out![1]

Breaking the ice

~ Welcome to the top of the world, Agent Mulder. (Ice)

Ice is a milestone for Mulder and Scully’s relationship…

Before going on, there’s a lot to be said about Trust on the X-Files. As you probably know, one of the mottos of the show is: trust no one. The word trust, and its more profound meaning are a crucial part of the show…and trust is the basis of Mulder and Scully’s relationship…even more so than love.

Yes, Mulder and Scully did keep things from each other from time to time, for pride and because they wanted to protect each other from harm, they were stubborn individuals, scarred and pretty much screwed up, but the core of their bond was trust. It’s always been.

One of the reasons the first half of the sixth season[2] was painful to watch for me, both as a fan of the show and as a shipper, was because the trust Mulder and Scully had in each other had been tarnished by outside forces: Diana Fowley (God, I had forgotten how much I despised her and why!).

But I’m getting ahead of myself…once again.

Ice, is a great MOTW[3] episode…but most of all, is the aforementioned milestone, one of the many.

Mulder and Scully had been working together for a while when they were sent to Ice Cape. They had a good working relationship, they made a good team on the field…but did they trust each other? Did they trust each other with their lives?

They had saved each other butts enough times by that point, but…- again– how much did they trust each other?

That trip to Icy Cape became soon enough a nightmare and a test for their partnership.

We find out that deep down, Mulder and Scully didn’t implicitly trust each other, not yet. But they were getting there.

I think what happened in the store when they examined each other was the crumbling of the first wall between them. I’ve previously talked about the scene in the pilot episode where they locked glances through the fake mirror, and as I said Ice broke the first wall, broke the ice between them.

Mulder said he didn’t trust the other people, but he wanted to trust Scully. He was talking about the events that were taking place that night, but I’ve always believed those words had a deeper meaning. Mulder wanted to trust Scully. He wanted to trust his partner. He wanted to trust the young woman who had been assigned from their superiors to debunk his work on the X-Files.

And from that moment on he started to.

On a totally shallow level: my God…you could cut the sexual tension with a knife in the scene in the room. I love the way he touched Scully: gently, with reverence almost. I love how he brushed away some locks from the nape of her neck – and it is just me or the X-Files writers had some kind of a fetish with Gillian Anderson’s neck? –

And I love how Scully touched Mulder…and how she touched anything but his neck!

After the events of Ice, their relationship began to chance, morph into something deeper, although it was a gradual thing. Mulder began to trust Scully on a personal level, but only with the events of “Fallen Angel” he got that he could trust her, really trust her as far as the X-Files were concerned.

Fallen Angel is a beautiful episode, it’s a classic X-File, it has everything in it: conspiracy, aliens and it gave us another insight into Mulder and Scully’s budding partnership. I love how it is shown that they were already totally comfortable into each other’s rooms at the motels. We see that in almost every episode of the first season.

The end of Fallen Angel is beautiful…Scully felt for Mulder, for what she perceived was going to be the end of the X-Files’ division, and I think that didn’t go unnoticed on Mulder.

So, they had begun to trust each other both on a personal level (Ice) and on a professional level (Fallen Angel) yet, we find out that Mulder still withheld information from her, such as the fact that he had a source, Deep Throat. As we can see in “Eve”.

Mulder and Scully’s interaction in Eve was fantastic: they were totally at ease with each other, there was playful banter, you could choke in the chemistry they shared.

I said they were comfortable into each other’s rooms, so much that Scully answered to a phone call in Mulder’s hotel room. And what has always surprised me was that Mulder didn’t seem to mind. It was natural, an almost everyday occurrence.

On a side note: didn’t they really look like the lovely parents of the two kids?

I will write about how people perceive their relationship, later.


[1]              The actors who guest starred in Ice, later starred or guest starred on other shows: I don’t remember the name of the guy who played the pilot in ice (and Rack on BTVS)  the others are Xander Berkley and Felicity Huffman

[2]                Aka The Hell Also Known As The Sixth Season or how to screw up your characters and still think you’re the second coming of Writers (Bitter to the Surfer Dude? Who, moi?)

[3]              MOTW acronym for Monster of The Week

Little Green Men 2×1: Noho on the rojo.


That would be bad for the fish.

All the many times I’ve seen this episode I never realized it had a purpose. It seemed very much a waste to me since we learn nothing more by the end than we knew at the beginning. But that’s not the point. The point is for Mulder to reaffirm his faith in his quest despite all doors being shut in his face. The side-benefit is a history lesson on the Voyager space program.

At this juncture, Mulder is beaten down and world-weary. Gone is the exuberant, self-confident, annoyingly knowing agent we met in the “Pilot” (1×79). Instead, he’s been replaced by his paranoid, self-pitying twin brother. All Mulder’s hopes went away with the X-Files. This is the first time we’ve seen Mulder truly doubt himself. His Achilles heel is that he’s confident to a fault in his own conclusions. Also, this is the first time we hear Mulder express doubt about his abduction memories and about whether or not The Powers That Be, including the Senator, have been using him as a dupe all along. This is a seed of doubt that proves to be especially important in later seasons.

Another aspect of Mulder’s reboot is that now his quest is overtly tied to his friendship with Scully. Without her, he would have no support. And unless she had encouraged him, it’s doubtful whether he would have even picked up the baton again. But why does she bother?

Season one showed us that Scully pities Mulder and that’s part of what attracts her to his character. Her sympathy shows itself distinctly in episodes like “Fallen Angel” (1×9) and “Fire” (1×11). Here her pity and concern are out in full force and justifiably so. Mulder has been, in essence, demoted. He’s being unduly chastised by the FBI, no doubt thanks to CSM, and is on the verge of giving up his sacred mission. Scully, despite the fact that she doesn’t herself believe, would hate to see that happen. Mulder just wouldn’t be Mulder without his belief in little green men. Like George Hale, who cares if he’s delusional as long as he’s useful?

More important than sympathy, Scully is showing Mulder more overt displays of platonic (yes, platonic!) affection this season, which is quite a change from the last. I seem to remember learning in a 9th grade relationship class that in Western cultures, touching or playing with someone’s hair is actually a greater sign of intimacy than hand-holding. This is why it’s gesture that’s usually only reserved for close friends, relatives, and significant others. This is the reason I always get a kick out of Scully scratching Mulder’s head so casually and gently in the parking garage scene. It shows just how far they’ve come that she can take that liberty and it’s not even a big deal. There’s also a brief handhold of understanding in the last scene that they don’t even need to play up. Their solidarity doesn’t have to be put into words. That’s why I love these two. But in case you do need proof, Scully has the key to Mulder’s place.

Interestingly enough, when the episode opens, we’re not really sure where Mulder and Scully stand with each other now that they don’t have the X-Files to bind them. The way that the initial meeting between the two characters is shot is clever. It takes place in a dark, creepy garage after Mulder has what, ignored Scully? Rebuffed Scully? After a Summer’s hiatus (or in my case, 24 hours) the audience isn’t sure. Seeing each of them come out of the dark to face each other makes for a poignant moment. And once we get to Puerto Rico, is Mulder documenting the trip for himself? For proof? As a report for Senator Matheson? It’s a welcome surprise when we find out he’s been making this tape for Scully.

In other news, with Deep Throat dead, who’s going to carry the banner for the conspiracy? Skinner and CSM, that’s who. Already the dynamic is set up, CSM pulls Skinners strings, but Skinner is fully capable of whipping out a pair of scissors without warning. He clearly cares about Mulder, but how much? Enough to risk the ire of CSM? I guess we’ll see.

On the Allied side, we’ve heard about Mulder’s political connections, now we get to meet one of them. So Mulder’s been dealing with a senator powerful enough to hold off a UFO retrieval team and wear suspenders? One wonders why he even needs Mulder if he already knows more than he does. He’s not an informant like Deep Throat. He’s not a puppeteer like CSM. So what is he? Will we ever know?

Conclusion:

In a way, this is a very successful episode in that it accomplishes what it set out to do. Mulder has gone from Weary Wanderer to Passionate Pursuer again over the course of a single episode. The problem is that while Mulder is reaffirmed, the audience isn’t. “Little Green Men” doesn’t capture the urgency that “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×23) left off with. The overarching plot has hit a temporary lull while Chris Carter plans the genius that will be Scully’s abduction.

Speaking of Scully, she’s the true star of this episode. She proves she’s more than just a scientist in the autopsy room when she waxes poetic, she’s a sensitive soul. She goes to the edge of the earth, or the edge of the USA, anyway, to rescue her friend. And she fools a network of surveillance with such grace that over a decade later I’m still nodding my head and thinking, “My girl Scully.” She plays that fish bit with such genuine indignation that I’m forced to conclude that Scully missed her calling. No lab coat or FBI badge for her. She should’ve been an actress.

Other than moments of Scully-worship, we get some touching M&S interactions in this episode, and that’s about all that’s worth tuning in for. There just isn’t enough action, drama or intrigue here to make my world go round. I don’t dislike this episode, but I don’t choose to watch it very often. And when I do, there’s a lot of fast-forwarding involved.

C

P.S. Mulder flat out confirms that he hates being suspicious of people. I knew it all along.

Head Scratchers:

If, as Mulder reveals, Deep Throat had a funeral at Arlington, then not only must he have military/political ties that can be investigated, but wouldn’t Mulder have had to figure out his identity in order to spy on the funeral? Why does that never come up again?

If Mulder was trying to beat a UFO recovery team to the punch, where was the downed UFO?

Scully says that Mulder looked like Deep Throat from “back there.” Just how far back was he??

Here nor There:

The budget must be much better this season. The interior of the Hoover building has gotten a facelift and it no longer looks like a 1-800 call center.

Mulder hadn’t given up hope on a romance quite yet. Or maybe the woman on the answering machine is exaggerating when she says he “hounded” her. The beaten down Mulder we’re reintroduced to at the beginning of the episode looks like he can barely get out a proper “Good morning” let alone ask someone out. Or maybe he’s dating because the X-Files have been shut down and he has no choice but to live a normal life. I’d place my bets on that last option. Once Scully and Senator Matheson light the fire underneath him again, off he goes without so much as a warning.

Also, the woman on Mulder’s answering machine sounds suspiciously like the handwriting specialist from “Young at Heart” (1×15). I wouldn’t think he would’ve had to hound her for a date considering how available she made herself.

Our re-introduction to Mulder after last season’s finale (if you don’t count the opening voiceover) is a pile of sunflower seeds. Perfect.

The flashback of Samantha’s abduction varies greatly from what we heard Mulder recount under hypnosis in “Conduit” (1×3).

This episode features The X-Files’ first opening monologue, and it’s a doozy. It’s so broad and philosophical that if I didn’t know better, I’d peg Mulder as a poet rather than an FBI agent. Fortunately, David Duchovny delivers the lines in his sleepy monotone rather than with Shakespearean grandeur. It’s counter intuitively more believable that way. Later on, Agent Scully would prove just as verbally dexterous in her own opening monologues. But I’m jumping ahead again.

 

Best Quotes:

 

Mulder: Four dollars for the first hour of parking is criminal. What you got better be worth at least forty-five minutes…

———————

Scully: You know, Mulder, from… from back there you look like him.
Mulder: Him?
Scully: Deep Throat.

———————

Mulder: No, Jorge, don’t touch that red button. Noho on the Roho.

———————

Mulder: That’s hard, Scully. Suspecting everyone, everything. It wears you down. You even begin to doubt what you know is the truth. Before I could only trust myself. Now I can only trust you. And they’ve taken you away from me.

———————

Mulder: I may not have the X-Files Scully but I still have my work. I still have you. I still have myself.

Fallen Angel 1×9: I think you knocked out a filling.


Even aliens dig the Magic Mirror.

We’re due for some little green men. “Space“(1×8) didn’t fit the standard alien profile and even if you count that, we just went 5 episodes without a UFO of any kind. How is this lack rectified? Mix a crashed UFO with an invisible alien until just combined, crack in a sad Scully then sprinkle Mulder in black jacket stealth mode and you have yourself a “Fallen Angel”. Oh, and serve on a platter of obligatory military stonewalling.

I was watching this episode for the fourth time when it occurred to me for the first time: it would be fun to be Max Fenig. I’d give up a lot for that trailer of his. Really, his character is like a prelude to The Lone Gunmen. I haven’t researched it, but I wonder if the success of this character led directly to their creation. If so, I wouldn’t be surprised. His character definitely steals the show this time around. Though the glory isn’t his alone…

Let’s just take a moment and give a round of applause for the enigmatic Agent Scully’s arrival. The lighting, the staging, the posing… I love it all. Her entrance? Fabulous. I can’t even begin to count the number of times Scully ends up having to bail Mulder out like this (though I’m sure someone else has) but she always does it. Admittedly, as the series progresses, she becomes less annoyed and more resigned. That’s part of the beauty of their relationship. It’s surprising how consistent their formula is even this early on in the series.

Not everything can be as consistent as these two are. One possible glitch in the great continuity continuum? The aliens aren’t evil. Or at least, their role is ambiguous enough that Mulder can dare defend them. This missing alien pilot only kills because our military is trying to hunt him down. Understandably, the mythology evolved over time and probably at this point in the series didn’t exist in any coherent form. Still, try as I might, my perspective is that of someone looking backwards, not someone watching for the first time. It can’t be helped. Some aspects of this episode don’t fit into the overall puzzle easily. The invisible alien abducts Max, so this is part of the larger conspiracy, right? Fast-forward to “Tempus Fugit” (4×17) and it feels like we have a completely different set of aliens doing to abducting. For instance, what happened to the scar behind the ear thread?

Here’s where I discuss the clear and present parallels to “Requiem” (7×22). Now, by no means is this blog spoiler free. I assume that if you’re reading my thoughts on an episode you’ve either already watched it or don’t care if you ruin it for yourself. But for the sake of those initiates who are merely watching Season 1 on their way to Season 7, I won’t mention just how similar these two episodes are. I’ll only say that some of the special effects echo each other and help serve to bracket the series. The similarities may even help thread together some of those jumps in continuity.

And the Verdict is…

I’m going to share a dark and dirty little secret: mythology episodes sometimes bore me. (Insert collective gasp here.) Now, I’m not saying I don’t love the mythology, I just love the characters more and often “mythology” is code for “aimless shenanigans.” With that out of the bag, I freely admit that I never much liked “Fallen Angel”. I’ve always found it dull and somewhat aggravating, especially since despite Mulder’s emphatic assertions he knows absolutely bupkiss. Don’t tell him I said so, but Agent Mulder has a self-righteous streak.

Even so, fear not, I can joyfully say that I’ve changed my mind about “Fallen Angel” upon this last viewing. This episode is more subtle than I used to give it credit for. Max Fenig is quietly hilarious and the wordless exchanges between Mulder and Scully are priceless. Scully is frustrated with him in the beginning, suckered by his puppy dog eyes in the middle and sad for him by the end…. Which may just sum up the entire series.

Mulder knows that Scully pities him and I would say that this is a large part of the reason he responds to her character at all. He realizes that she does want him to succeed, if not because she herself believes, then because she’s one of the few people that sees anything good and worthwhile in Mulder. I would even say that he tolerates her sometimes ill-timed intrusions into his investigations because he knows she’s trying her best to keep him out of trouble. It takes her a while before she realizes he’s determined to go down in flames. Fortunately for both agents, he just misses that trip to hell this episode.

B-

I’m Still Scratching My Head:

Why would Mulder use a state rental car?? Is he that cheap? Rent the car with your own money, man.

How does Mulder get away with half of the things he pulls? The forest is swarming with military, there are helicopters overhead, but watch him just scooch on past.

General Observations:

A shadow of continuity from The Jersey Devil? Mulder uses a professional camera.

We never see aliens go invisible again. Cloaked ships? Sure. But that’s different.

Wait, maybe we never see the aliens go invisible… because they’re invisible! Whistles theme music.

The alien can pass through solid objects too? No wonder they had to reduce the abilities of the aliens in later episodes. No one could fight against them if they had more super powers than Superman.

Check Mulder’s embarrassed glance at Scully when his alter-ego is exposed.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: I didn’t order room service.

————

Scully: Good Luck.
Mulder: I’ll break a leg.