*Editor’s Note: I’m so excited about this, our first guest post!
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 the first part 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!
Rambling, biased, totally personal opinion, written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, except when I talk about Mulder.
It’s been years, since the X-Files took off the air. To be completely honest I had to distance myself from the show, and the wreck the last seasons had been after it ended. I was too involved in the show, I daresay I was obsessed with it, I took every bad script, every jab at the characters I loved a bit too seriously.
Did I say I was obsessed with the X-Files?
For me, The X-Files was all about Mulder, and the relationship between Mulder and Scully. The mytharc stopped making sense whatsoever around the fifth season, to this day I still haven’t gotten all the facts straight, and honestly? I doubt Chris Carter and co, do. The monsters of the week were mostly cool, but to me, as I said, the X-Files was all about the characters: Mulder, Scully and Skinner.
Mulder and Scully shared a very complicated, sometimes dysfunctional relationship, which without a doubt changed all the television standards; it was a relationship, which crashed all the existing clichés.
Up until Mulder and Scully appeared on the screens we were used to star crossed lovers, to relationships a là Moonlighting.
With Mulder and Scully it wasn’t just the matter of: “are they in love or not ?”, because they clearly were… or “will they or won’t they ?”, because given Scully’s eternal pregnancy in eight season they clearly did, and the surfer dude managed not to show it to us. What Mulder and Scully had was far more complex than the usual relationships seen on TV.
With a few exceptions (such as John Sheridan and Delenn from Babylon 5 and Michael and Nikita from La Femme Nikita) I don’t think TV has given us another couple like that. And I doubt it ever will.
I am a shipper, yet in my utter naiveté I had really thought I had become a noromo…I mean, I had watched the last episode of the series and Mulder and Scully acting like a couple, the admission they were indeed lovers, left me cold…except for the part where I would have ripped the lawyer’s throat out!
It was 2002…fast forward a few years, and my being shipper has come back…with a vengeance! And hey, if I choose to overlook a few things (a few seasons, maybe!), I can even like Scully again!
So I am a shipper, and like any other Mulder and Scully’s shipper on this planet I can tell you the key moments of their partnership/friendship/relationship. I can quote dialogues, things said by Chris Carter and the gang…
That’s cool, and I’ll get to that…but what I really want to do is trying to write a throughout, in depth analysis of their relationship.
Oh, and while I’m at it, I’ll try and write something about Mulder too… since I do believe he’s one of the most fascinating characters ever created. He’s by far my favorite fictional character, ever!
So, guys, fasten your seat belts, grab a pack of Maalox and follow me…
I’ll try to stay as far away as humanly possible from the fanon.
What is fanon you ask?
Fanon are all the common ideas that are shared among fans, through discussions, fan-fictions and the like… fanon is not something written in stone…heck, it’s not even true…but it sorts of become true…
And as much as The X-Files’ canon wasn’t written in stone either (continuity guys, is a bitch!) I’ll try to stick to the facts. I’ll try to channel my inner Scully; hey it worked while I studied physics in high school!
It goes without saying, that here and there I’ll throw in personal comments, thoughts, ruminations, ramblings, bitchings, fanwankings and some of the things are to be considered written with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
I can be a snarky bitch sometimes, but to my chagrin I discovered that my snarkiness and dryness leave the house as far as the X-Files is concerned.
I said that I was obsessed with the X-Files, didn’t I?
So, here it goes…
The first season
It was the year they met, the year when their lives changed forever.
It was the year they got to know each other and learned about trust, about partnership and something about themselves.
It was the year of Tooms, of Ellen Air Base, of Max Fenig and Luther Lee Boggs.
It was the year Scully got kidnapped for the first time and Mulder got shot in the leg.
It was the year they met ghosts and werewolves, miracle men and killer bugs, it was the year of reincarnated cops into little girls and twins with a vendetta.
It was the year they met Skinner and Smoking Man was just a creepy guy who lurked and didn’t talk.
It was the first season of the X-Files.
~ Sorry, nobody down here, but the FBI most unwanted.
– Mulder (pilot episode)
Let’s begin with the dates, guys…6th March 1992, that’s when Mulder and Scully first met. Now, I don’t know why they have forgotten about that. I don’t know whether it’s been a mistake in the close caption made by some wacky editor, but fact is, Mulder and Scully met for the first time on 1992, and I still cringe every time this is not mentioned.
So ok, I guess I’m a bit anal about it…but hey, from the pilot episode to Deep Throat, the first regular episode of the series, there’s a whole year and half we haven’t seen!
Eighteen months, guys…that’s a whole heck of a long time!
Anyway, back to the pilot episode…
For those who are not familiar with the show, and its mythology, Dana Scully, an instructor at Quantico was called to the FBI Headquarters with an assignment: the X-Files and the hidden agenda to debunk its supervisor work on it.
For those who don’t know whom the supervisor of the X-Files is I’ll give you a hint: he’s the guy with the big nose and the to-die-for hazel eyes!
Fox Mulder was a legend within the Bureau: an excellent profiler, a brilliant Oxford graduated psychologist…a rising star at BSU until in 1991 he left it to work on the X-Files.
What are the X-Files?
You know? I refuse to answer to this. If you don’t know what the X-Files are, it’s gonna be tough!
Anyway, I’ll give you another hint: unexplained phenomena. Mulder investigated on them, he pissed off a lot of people, hence Dana Scully’s assignment to the X-Files.
Why Dana Scully? Well, she was supposed to be the skeptic, those crazy, crazy kids at the Consortium – or Syndicate, or whatever the gang at 1013 called them – believed that since she was a scientist and an ambitious woman it would be simple.
Yep…they were so screwed…!
The reasons behind Mulder’s career suicide were rather personal.
One name guys: the name of the recurring character which together with Skinner and Scully’s cross deserved to be in the credits
What…you say that Skinner was in the credits? When? In ninth season you say? Oh…well…I was under the impression the ninth season had just ONE episode…
And for the record: I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the credits of the last two seasons. I never watched them and I don’t mean to. Ever.
Petty of me? So what?
Samantha – insert a second name of your choice in here, since the gang at 1013 couldn’t stick to one to save their lives- Mulder. The brat little sister, except she wasn’t really a brat and I cried my eyes out when I saw Closure…BUT I’m getting ahead of myself…sorry.
She was abducted when Mulder was twelve and she was eight never to be found again. After he came to believe she was abducted by aliens, Mulder went working to the X-Files and being the genius he is, he started pissing people off…and getting close to the truth.
Now, he wasn’t that close to the truth…he kind of danced around it, got drunk during the movie so that when he was told the truth he probably forgot everything about it and we had to sit through Law & Files to know that gee! We Earthers are screwed…
And once again I’m getting ahead of myself…sorry!
So Scully walked into the basement office to meet Fox Mulder, whose nickname among his peers was spooky Mulder.
Before I go on, it’s interesting to notice that although Mulder and Scully hadn’t met before the pilot episode, they knew each other…by reputation…heck! Scully even knew Mulder’s nickname!
Since Mulder was supervisor of the X-Files, he was probably notified of Scully’s arrival. But you know what they say: once a profiler, always a profiler. So it’s within the realm of possibilities that Mulder profiled Scully before meeting her.
‘Cause, guys? Two things: I don’t really think Mulder had Scully’s thesis about Enstein’s whatever paradox handy.
And second…you know how Scully writes, we’ve heard it in various episodes, and mostly it was her frigging journal! Can you imagine her senior physics thesis?
Anyway, Mulder read it and he claimed he liked it.
I first watched the Pilot episode on 1994, I wasn’t even eighteen, and after watching it I used to have all this theory about Mulder: it was a very romantic theory, very fanon-ish and a bit delusional, but I loved it so very much…and then X-Files’ 5th season came …and along with it Diana Fowley, and Chris Carter screwed it!
Anyway, part of my theory still applies. I’m one of those shippers who think that Mulder and Scully fell for each other at first sight.
Let’s get this straight: I said I was obsessed and I said I was a bit delusional, ok?
When Mulder saw Scully for the first time he actually blinked…he did some kind of double take. Now, maybe he thought: “My God…is she even legal to have a beer? She looks fourteen!”
But I’ve always thought that it was the moment he fell for her…and she wasn’t even SeventhSeason!Wonderbra!Scully! She was just cute…in a: “I’m barely more than a rookie and you have no idea whatsoever of what a pain in the ass I can really be” way.
Mulder put on a show with her, complete with a slideshow, cockiness and all the trademark Mr-Smart-Ass-Mulderisms.
Yet, despite all of the above, two things happened that convince me, even en lieu of my new found bitchiness of my previous theory:
1) Mulder kept invading Scully’s personal space (and Scully didn’t seem to mind)
2) Mulder’s knees kind of gave out when he finally sat and dismissed Scully.
I rest my case about it.
I was talking about my original theory: how Mulder was the lone wolf, the man on the edge of a cliff and how I saw Scully as the light who entered his office and his life.
Carter, thank you ever so for Diana Fowley, the Unusual Suspects and Travellers (Although, speaking of Travellers, I watched it again a few weeks ago and I loved it to pieces! Why didn’t they make the eight season set in the past? The adventures of young Arthur Dales – who was hot in his own way and was a very interesting character – told in flashback to Scully as she tried to really look for Mulder!)! *Editor’s Note: Dang, that would’ve been good.
Fanon wanted Mulder to be this pathetic creature who was alone, had always been and was kind of nut.
Want to know what I think it really happened? And what it has to do with Scully?
Mulder is a survivor and a fighter…we have seen it time and again throughout the series, heck…the guy was buried alive and survived without even bedsores!!!
I think that what happened to Samantha scarred Mulder, but until he underwent regression hypnosis he led a somewhat normal life: he excelled in sports, excelled in academics, was a rising star at the Bureau…and he had partners at work (Jerry Lamanna), he was respected by his peers (Reggy Purdue) and he had relationships…
He was married guys…let’s not dance around the subject…it was kind of hard to miss the wedding ring…it was huge! It was like a frigging flying saucer!
Whom was he married to? It’s not clear, Carter didn’t go out on a limb and said out loud it was Diana Fowley, he probably had still some self preservation instincts…because if you were a fan of the X-Files back then, you recall how liked Diana Fowley was. Not.
So let’s examine the facts and throw away the fanon, shall we?
Mulder was indeed a loose cannon, but he hadn’t always been that way. He was obsessed with his job…but he hadn’t always been that way. The guy used to have a life, then it was torn asunder and he dedicated himself to the X-Files and the truth.
I’ve always thought Mulder is a hero, a real, honest to God, hero…like those in epic tales. Well, the knowledge of his past hasn’t changed this notion one bit.
Ok, ok, at the time it did…but it was a selfish thing…and way too many fan-fictions I had read. And I was younger…don’t forget that.
I find it even more fascinating now, knowing that he had a life, he had basically everything a man could look for: a good job, the respect of his peers, a woman he loved (never mind that she had worked with the Consortium all along and that she was a bitch!) …yet, he consciously gave up on everything…in order to find out the truth.
The truth about his sister, but knowing Mulder? How long did it take him to see that something was rotten in the state of Denmark?
Of course at the time the pilot episode was written, all those pesky things like a former wife didn’t exist…so can you blame millions of people for falling for the “tortured- broody-lonely-on-the-edge-of-a -cliff” guy routine? Bet you can’t.
So, Dana Scully entered his office, as his new partner, and Mulder made no mystery out of the real meaning of Scully’s presence in the basement.
“Really? I was under the impression that you were sent to spy on me…”
On a side note: let’s make one thing clear…as much as a shipper as I am – and please believe me, despite everything I’ve said so far I am…I’m, like, THE shipper – I want something to be clear: Scully was assigned to the X-Files not as an equal to Mulder. Mulder is the senior agent in charge, even later this hierarchy doesn’t change. If you don’t notice that is because Mulder didn’t really care about those things, but actually? Mulder was Scully’s boss.
Back to our dynamic duo: there were sparks flying between them in their first scene together, I think their chemistry was palpable in it and so was what was going to become the general tone of the show.
Their very first case together, took them in Oregon to investigate on the deaths of a group of teens. Mulder had his suspicions about what really happened, but he didn’t let Scully on them, he played the cliché of Spooky Mulder, up until the autopsy scene.
I love that scene, it’s one of my favorite of the pilot episode, it gave us an insight into Mulder’s mind.
“I’m not crazy, Scully! I’ve got the same doubts you do…”
Mulder knew that whatever he said wasn’t going to make any difference to a spy. Yet, he felt compelled to tell Scully he was not crazy. He was compelled to let her know that he had doubts, that he just wanted…
There is something else I’ve always loved about the pilot episode: the way Mulder and Scully worked as partners since the get go. They worked well as a team…and it showed.
Chris Carter claimed he didn’t want Mulder and Scully to be a couple. You have heard him saying it millions of times. In hindsight I can say that he fooled us all…because he created one of the most compelling love stories ever written, which transcended sex, romance and the usual clichés…
Anyway, he claimed he wrote the scene where Scully undressed in front of Mulder with the precise intent to show that he didn’t want them to be a couple.
I never got this.
I swear I didn’t get it when I was eighteen and I don’t get it now, that I’m thirty four! If Carter’s purpose wasn’t that…then why in the hell didn’t let Scully wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt? Why couldn’t she have just lifted her t-shirt to let Mulder see the marks? Why undressing? To let us see that they weren’t going to crawl in bed and have sex?
Mulder knew she was a spy, he knew she could screw his career if her ever attempted something funny…but there wasn’t even a shadow of doubt when he saw Scully on his doorstep.
The scene is filled with tension, and I clearly remember while I watched that scene for the first time that I took a look at my watch and said: “Wow…twenty minutes and they’re already going at it?”
Was it a: “gotcha?”
Nope, it was a red herring. The scene that turned millions of people into helpless and hopeful shippers, was another one…the following.
Nine years – ten and half if you count the original timeline-, countless hugs, chewing of arms, sucking of eyebrows, kisses, and that scene still kills me, every time I see it.
That was the moment where their partnership began. I’ve always loved the setting of the scene…there were those people, who barely knew each other and talked, lit only by lightings and candles.
Mulder told Scully why he worked on the X-Files, he told her about his sister and told her the only thing it mattered to him was to find her.
Now, back then I accepted it as gospel. I thought that it had always been that way…that he had always been that obsessed
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think that Mulder didn’t give a damn about his sister before he underwent regression hypnosis…on the contrary, I think that one way or another he had always looked for her. Look at the guy’s background: he excelled in sports, couldn’t it have been a reaction to his immobility the night Samantha was abducted?
He was a psychologist recruited by the Bureau even thanks to his thesis about serial killings. He worked for the Bureau in the Violent Crimes Section…wasn’t it a way to look for his sister? To know whatever happened to her? To try and prevent such things, from happening to any other little girls?
I think it did. He never forgot about Samantha, given his way of thinking is only natural that he wanted the truth.
There was probably a lot of guilt involved when the repressed memories were restored. So at that point of his life, it was true…the only thing that mattered to him was to find his sister, to bring her back, to have closure.
Mulder didn’t know what hit him when he met Scully…and boy, the guy was in for a hell of a ride!!
Scully said to Mulder what he had probably known ever since they had met in his office: she wasn’t a spy, she wasn’t one of them, she just wanted to solve the case.
Just like him she wanted the truth.
I love the last few minutes of the episode: the way Mulder and Scully looked at each other through the fake mirror is a classic moment which, in my opinion, offers an interesting metaphor for what their relationship was going to be: they could reach each other against all odds, but they were somehow divided, by walls which took them ultimately a decade to break down.
In my opinion it’s very important the pilot episode’s last scene.
Mulder called Scully, to tell her that the case files about Billy Miles disappeared.
He whispered to her: “We need to talk, Scully” I think, that her simple answer: “Yes, tomorrow” was a promise for the future.
Scully’s soft spoken words let us understand, that, everything, from that moment on, was going to be different, for both of them, no matter the risks, the sorrow, the tears…the pain and tribulations they might face, they were not alone anymore.
As I previously said, Chris Carter, DA man himself, claimed he didn’t want Mulder and Scully to get together. I don’t want to dwell on why he was so adamant in keeping their relationship chaste and platonic…I don’t know if the surfer dude has issues, or if he just wanted to drive the fans stark crazy with the waiting, but anyway while he said that hell would freeze over before Mulder and Scully ever kissed, on the other hand he got rid of Ethan Minette, the infamous Scully’s boyfriend, whose scenes were filmed but never made it to the episode.
And there is something else: I don’t know if any of you have ever taken a look at the original script of the pilot episode, besides the differences (i.e.: Mulder was kind like a v-jay from Mtv, he was way more a loose cannon than in the episode), I love the way he describes Scully’s reaction to Mulder’s phone call.
To those who have complained time and again about how Scully put up with Mulder and that crazy job they had…I want to say this: she knew. She knew that meeting Mulder, entering that office would change her life forever; she knew things would be different, and she accepted it.
 The Mytharc is how we Philes call the episodes, which dealt with the conspiration and the colonization…the sweeps episodes, where Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz came up with always new ideas to mess with our heads…and Mulder and Scully’s relationship.
 Noromo short for not romance. Noromo are the fans who don’t want a romantic relationship between Mulder and Scully.
 A fanwank is an explanation given by the fans to certain events…a fill in the blank for a scene and stuff like that
 Played by Mimi Rogers