Tag Archives: Nothing Important Happened Today II

Providence 9×11: You don’t need to put yourself through this.


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Whew. I’m so relieved to be able to say I like this more than “Provenance” (9×10).

When we last spoke, The X-Files had bitten off more than it could chew in the storytelling department. Does “Providence” aid in digestion? Well, let’s sum up the mythology as stands as of the end of this episode, shall we?

Once upon a time, there was a man with the improbable name of Josepho. Josepho fought in the Gulf War and led a squad of soldiers on a failed mission. All of his men died. Josepho himself was about to die, when he saw men, like angels, throw themselves into what should have been certain death and survive. On that day, Josepho realized that he’d been given a vision, a vision of otherworldly beings come to deliver mankind. And you know he had a vision because he cried blood. Yes.

Josepho took his message to the people and started his own UFO cult. The cult worshipped the aliens as gods who would eventually return to earth to save humankind. Josepho himself heard from “God” on the regular.

Then one day, Josepho learned of a prophecy, either from “God” directly or he read it on one of the Holy-Special-Sacred Spacecraft. The prophecy was similar to the Navajo one alluded to by Albert Hosteen in “The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati” (7×2), because as you know, Native Americans are automatically closer to “God” than the white man and with indigenous peoples lie the secrets of life.

Albert Hosteen: I was hoping to see your partner.
Scully: He’s missing.
Albert Hosteen: You must save him.
Scully: He’s very ill.
Albert Hosteen: You must find him before something happens not only for his sake, for the sake of us all.

Scully: [Regarding Native American Beliefs and Practices, Chapter 3 – “The Anasazi – An Entire Native American Indian Culture Vanishes Without a Trace – History as Myth and end of the world symbolism. Apocalypse and The Sixth Extinction.”] It’s all here, sir. A foretelling of mass extinction, a myth about a man who can save us from it. That’s why they took Mulder. They think that his illness is a gift, protection against the coming plague.

The prophecy said that there would be a messiah. (FYI: Mulder wasn’t it.) It also said, apparently, that the messiah would bear a strong resemblance to Darth Vader because he could play on either side of the force. If the messiah and his human father lived, the messiah would lead humanity against colonization. If the messiah lived and his father died, he would lead the Super Soldiers in the colonization charge. Ergo, from the point of view of the UFO cult and the Super Soldiers who both want colonization, the father had to die so that the messiah could lead them. Or, if the father remained alive, then the messiah would have to be killed so as to kill the resistance.

And so, Josepho and his people made it their business to try to kill Fox Mulder because, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, William is the “Jesus” of our little Space Soap Opera. The F.B.I. found out about these threats against a former one of their own and sent Agent Comer in undercover to find out what the cult was up to and stop them. Comer heard about the prophecy and witnessed enough to believe it. He also heard that Fox Mulder was dead.

Then, like any sane human being who wants to prevent the end of the world, he made it his personal mission to kill William. After all, if Mulder is dead and William lives then colonization will most certainly take place. However, Comer didn’t count on Scully who went all Psycho Mama Bear on Comer, put brotherman in the hospital, and saved her baby.

If you’re keeping track, this now means humankind is in danger since Mulder is dead and William is alive.

Scully only temporarily saved her baby, however, as he’s then kidnapped by Overcoat Woman. The inventively named Overcoat Woman brought him back to the UFO cult and they just held him and stuff.

Again, if you’re keeping track, she didn’t kill him because they believed Mulder had already been killed and they wanted William alive to lead colonization.

Josepho, who I now pronounce the villain of our tale, called Scully and dangled William’s life in front of her. He and Scully met and he revealed that Mulder was likely still alive, but he wanted Scully to rectify that.

Josepho: If you want to see the boy, you’ll bring me the head of Fox Mulder.
{Editor’s Note: Snort.}

Scully had no intention of doing that so she and Reyes secretly, and rather easily, followed Josepho back to his lair. They arrived right as the Holy-Special-Sacred Spacecraft Josepho had been trying to open activated at William’s cry. Unfortunately for Josepho, the Holy-Special-Sacred Spacecraft liked William but didn’t feel the same about his new friends. “God” killed the cult, left William alive for Scully to find, and flew off into the night.

Is that all vaguely clear? Is the mythology coming together for you?

Now let this sink in: You can disregard almost everything you learned in “Essence” (8×20) and “Existence” (8×21). The Super Soldiers never wanted to kill Baby “Jesus” William. Quite the contrary, they wanted to protect him. Oh, and you can likely discount “Nothing Important Happened Today” (9×1), “Nothing Important Happened Today II” (9×2) and “Trust No 1” (9×8) because while there may be many Super Soldier babies, there is only one messiah. William’s conception was different than the others.

Mulder: [Voiceover] How did this child come to be? What set its heart beating? Is it the product of a union? Or the work of a divine hand? An answered prayer? A true miracle? Or is it a wonder of technology, the intervention of other hands? – “Essence”

Scully: I need to know if it’s really God I have to thank. – “Provenance”

Skinner: [To Krycek] You wanted to destroy her child.
Krycek: I wanted to destroy the truth before they learn the truth.
Mulder: That there’s a God… a higher power. – “Essence”

This plot is crazy, so let’s have a rundown, shall we?

Where did William come from?

Mulder and Scully had sex. And God.

So basically he’s just like everyone else?

Yes. Only with superpowers.

Why did God create William?

Probably because God loves humanity and these aliens attempting colonization are messing with His children. He gave mankind William to save them.

I thought Scully was infertile?

She was. But God gave her back her fertility because… William. Quite likely, the contact she made with the spaceship in “Biogenesis” (6×22) brought her womb back to life. Those ships bring everything else back to life, so why not?

The spaceship made her pregnant?

Sorta kinda. It’s like the virgin birth only it’s nothing like the virgin birth.

And that’s why William has superpowers?

It was an alien influence, yes.

I thought the spaceship belonged to the colonists?

At this point, not much is clear. At no point will it be.

Why did Krycek want to kill William?

Because Mulder was dead/dying in “Deadalive” (8×15) and he wanted to kill William so that he wouldn’t live to usher in colonization.

Then what was Krycek up to in “Essence”?

He really wanted William to live now that Mulder was okay. He was likely telling Mulder the truth, for once. He was on the side of the resistance and was double crossing the Super Soldiers by leading them away from William.

Then what was Krycek up to in “Existence”?

He had likely switched sides yet again, had given up on keeping William safe and had joined up with the Super Soldiers. That’s the only reason he’d be willing to kill Mulder with William still alive out there somewhere.

So the Super Soldiers didn’t kill William at the end of “Existence” because…

Because they want him to lead them.

So then, the Super Soldiers didn’t kill Mulder at the end of “Existence” because…

I don’t know. You got me.

Whew! Okay. There you have it, folks. The “Provenance” of William is that “God” healed Scully and allowed her to conceive for the purposes of “Providence.” He’s living proof that God is at work. It only took nearly three years to make any sense out of what I saw as far back as “Biogenesis.” Strike that, it took me seventeen years. But I was really paying attention this time.

Dear X-Files, I love you. But let’s leave the Space Saga to Star Wars, shall we?

Verdict:

“The Truth” was out there, but it’s been buried under cryptic revelations and misleads for so long that, quite frankly, I care one minced oath less than Rhett Butler.

Even if I did care, the whole thing is hard to believe even within the context of the series. William as the new son of God? Does that seem like too much to you? It is. It’s too much. Mulder and Scully were just a guy and a gal solving cases, fighting spooks and beasties, and searching for the truth in life. Now Mulder and his miracle son are the subject of ancient prophecy and destined to change the fate of the cosmos.

One thing I must say, Chris Carter is often accused of having made it up as he went along, but I finally see in this episode that he was planning for the eventuality of these developments as far back as the end of Season 6. There is a plan here. But it’s much harder to follow than the mythology of the early years and even harder to swallow. It’s too crazy, too grand, too epic and too mythic.

Still, it was a crazy, grand, epic, mythic ride while it lasted.

B-

Thoughts:

Who *is* speaking to Josepho?

Where does this cult get the money or the technology for these digs? How did they find what the rest of the world hasn’t? Through whoever or whatever is speaking to Josepho?

The verse Josepho quotes is not from Ephesians, it’s from Ezekiel. We know Scully went to Sunday School so I’m not sure how she got that pop quiz wrong. I realize both books share an “E” but they’re otherwise separated by about three hundred pages and five hundred years. All that effort to find a relatively unknown Bible verse to suit the story and no one checked the reference?

All three of the Lone Gunmen wouldn’t ID the suspect in the same place at the same time.

If they had a tracker on the baby why didn’t Scully try that immediately?

I’m not buying Scully as Jack Bauer. A few seasons ago she was much more believable when she threatened somebody.

If Scully was given her fertility back in “Amor Fati” then the doctors’ reports were most certainly wrong in “Per Manum” (8×8) OR the events of that episode took place before “Amor Fati” in Season 6, which would certainly make more sense in terms of where Mulder and Scully appear to be in their relationship. Raspychick even suggested that in the comments for “Per Manum”.

Scully runs in the darkness yelling for William as she approaches the cult’s base. Shhh, woman! They’ll know you’re coming!

And it’s official: Reyes is a sidekick.

Doggett’s experience in the hospital also underscores the message that there’s a God, Providence, working behind all of this.

Josepho worships the aliens as God, but you see where that left him. Fried, died and laid to the side.

So Toothpick Man, the new Cigarette-Smoking Man, is an alien replicant/Super Soldier. That reveal isn’t as shocking or interesting as it should be.

When did God come to Jesus on a mountain top? I know Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness…

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Nothing Important Happened Today II 9×2: I’ve had my fair share of outrageous conspiracy theories.


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Just doing unimportant things.

Back in the day, The X-Files used sci-fi to tell what was in its essence a romantic literary tale. It was about a quest for a mythical Holy Grail. Suddenly, it’s lost sight of that idealized adventure and it thinks we’ll be satisfied with pure sci-fi. We’re not.

Or perhaps it hasn’t lost sight of it, it just realized that it’s impossible to continue the quest without its resident knight errant: Mulder. The show has to change into something more suited to new leads Doggett and Reyes.

Whether it wants to change or has no choice, I do wish it would evolve into something compelling. This Super Soldier plot isn’t it.

It’s hard to be gripped by an episode when you already know that the premise of the plot is a lie. We established way back in “Deadalive” (8×15) that whatever these new villains are, they’re alien in origin. Could there be more to the mystery of them? I hope so. But that’s the bottom line.

I love The X-Files, but sometimes it can waste too much time on obvious misleads. I was down with it in Season 5. It’s wearing thin now. It’s not misleading if you’ve warned us it’s not the truth.

That said, I don’t have the complete disdain that some fans seem to have for the Super Soldiers storyline. It’s too convoluted for me to know if I should hate it or not.

From what little I can gather, what’s being hinted at here is that our little William is a Super Soldier in the making. That’s right. Between his mother’s manipulated ova and the chloramine in the water, William is on his way to becoming a regular Billy Miles.

And there should be and are other Williams out there, because this program of priming the population to breed natural born Super Soldiers is widespread. That’s why Carl Wormus and Roland McFarland had to die in Part 1. They were whistleblowers who were about to expose the program. And that’s why Shannon McMahon ingratiates herself to Doggett here in Part 2, because she believes he can lead her to who the last whistleblower is.

It just so happens that man is the captain of a ship that mainly stays out at sea, a ship that human ova experiments are being conducted on. Shannon McMahon and Knowle Rohrer appear to know that there’s someone on the ship about to betray the project, but not who it is. This whole complex plan of theirs that spreads over two episodes was designed to flush him out.

The plan is very, very hard to follow. The mythology has always been vague, but never opaque. Or maybe I’m just used to being able to decode the old mythology after long hours of practice. This plot took several rewatches during this one big rewatch before I felt I had a basic handle on it. And that’s not counting previous rewatches and the initial airing.

But if I’m understanding this correctly, two of Doggett’s former military buddies were chosen by the aliens because of their positions and transformed into Super Soldiers. That makes this new mythology uniquely tied to Doggett and his personal history in a similar way to Mulder’s personal history being intertwined with the history of the Syndicate in the old mythology.

Maybe if writers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz had had the time to develop this era of the mythology the way they had time to slowly fashion the old mythology, things would have gotten better. But as I said, I don’t think it’s bad. Emotionless monsters don’t seem as scary as nameless, power-hungry men, though.

One thing I don’t have mixed feelings about is the William development. I thought we settled William. I needed us to have settled William. Mulder and Scully made a baby. The end.

Sure, there was some confusion Season 8. William was normal, then he was alien, then he was superhuman so the aliens wanted to kill him because God was going to use him to punish them, then he was normal again. The Super Soldiers left him alone in “Existence” (8×21) supposedly because he was nothing but a regular baby.

Now he’s showing definite signs of being something other than a regular baby. If that’s the case, why did the Super Soldiers leave him alone? What triggered Scully’s fertility? This Super Soldier program? And… sigh… is Mulder the daddy or what?

Verdict:

If The X-Files doesn’t seem to know how to proceed, I think that’s because it’s basically a brand new show. As I said, the days of Camelot are over. We have two new leads and a new, tenuous direction. Every new show needs time to figure out what it’s good at. Unfortunately, The X-Files didn’t have the luxury of time. The viewers were making themselves scarce like they were being run out by alien rebels.

In Chris Carter’s defense, the Fox network was responsible for keeping the show on life support. From what I’ve read – and feel free to lead me to the right article if I’m wrong – Fox had made it clear they would continue The X-Files with or without Chris and so he signed up rather than see his baby destroyed by other hands and let his crew go down without their captain. I think he stayed for loyalty’s sake more than anything else.

And while I’m not excited about where this baby William thing is headed, nor do I think the new romantic angles were the way to go, it’s not all foreboding. Kersh is finally given something to do besides be a mindless hindrance. It was he who tipped off Mulder and Scully to a potential threat, then it was Scully who chased Mulder out of the house for his own good. Maybe Kersh will be developed the way Skinner grew into something much more interesting than a boss?

And the cancellation of their series means that we see more of the Lone Gunmen which I’m grateful for. They’re put to great comedic use in these episodes, adding a bit of levity to the proceedings, levity Mulder used to provide. They also provide real information to move the plot forward. You go, boys.

I’m less impressed than in the premiere, but I’m not without hope.

B-

Unimportance:

It feels like almost the entire fourth act is Scully, Doggett and Reyes wandering around the ship.

This William plot is turning Scully stupid. Get off the ship, girl.

Continuity – Skinner still has the bruise from his encounter in the elevator with Billy Miles in “Existence”.

The Super Soldiers walk around and no one notices those dinosaur scales on their backs? You’d think they’d wear turtlenecks. Sumpthin’.

The title’s quote is misattributed. King George III didn’t keep a diary.

Doggett sees Knowle Rohrer’s decapitated body “kill” Shannon McMahon and he doesn’t run, he turns his back on what’s left of Knowle Rohrer as if it can’t or won’t kill again.

The big explosion at the end feels pretty meaningless, as if they thought that would be enough to entertain us and make us think something important had happened. But, no. Nothing important happened today.

Best Quotes:

Frohike: You just never know who’s gonna come a knockin’ do ya?

Reyes: How’d you get in here?

Langly: Through the front door with the big happy dude. How’d you get in?

Reyes: Through a security checkpoint.

Frohike: [Displays fake ID] Kid’s stuff!

Reyes: What are you doing here?

Frohike: You sent us packing on this investigation of yours, only we had a small funding fiasco.

Langly: They cut our internet service.

Reyes: Don’t tell me you breached FBI security just to log on…