Tag Archives: Without

Deadalive 8×15: Though he were dead, yet shall he live.


DeadAlive240

Merry Christmas to me!

I’ll tell you a secret. Scully is most people’s favorite… Well, Mulder was always my favorite and I’ve been slowly dying during his absence. Lo these many years and I’m starting to think I’ve been in love with the man this whole time. He infuriates me and I can’t live without him. I don’t know if that’s love but it’s close enough.

Scully: He was the last. His father and mother… his sister… all gone. I think the real tragedy, is that for all of his pain and searching,  the truth that he worked so hard to find was never truly revealed to him. [Crying] I can’t truly believe that I’m really standing here.

Skinner: I know. And I don’t truly believe that… Mulder’s the last.

So Skinner thinks Mulder knocked Scully up too, eh?

Well, if he did, it’s a good thing because it means he left Scully with a piece of himself. At least she has some comfort to show for all the time she’s spent on the X-Files, a time that looks like it’s coming to an end.

Deputy Director Kersh smells blood in the water. Mulder is dead and buried and has been for three months. Scully is about to go on maternity leave. And John Doggett was only ever on temporary assignment to the X-Files division. This is a perfect opportunity to close the X-Files for good. Skinner and Scully know it’s about to happen, but there’s nothing they can do to stop it.

Doggett is the one who won’t sit back and watch it happen. Though Doggett’s main impetus isn’t his personal investment in the work, but his emotional identification with Scully. He feels for her. He’s been there. He’s lost someone precious to him and he wants to support her through her grief. He wants to make sure the X-Files will be waiting for her when she gets back.

Kersh tempts Doggett to leave with a promotion… which is puzzling. I thought Kersh secretly didn’t want Doggett to find Mulder? That’s what we were told in “Without” (8×2). Now he’s commending him? He’s not upset that Doggett messed up his or someone else’s nefarious plans?

Perhaps there is no rhyme or reason other than this opportunity is meant to force Doggett to choose between a promising career at the F.B.I. and the trust he and Scully have built. Scully was ambitious once too, and more than once she’s chosen between her career and her personal involvement with the X-Files and with her partner. She can identify with Doggett as much as he can identify with her. But there’s a nagging niggle in the air that however much loyalty Doggett may show to Scully, their relationship will never develop to the degree that Mulder’s did with Scully and Doggett’s loyalty won’t pay off personally the way that Scully’s once did.

I kinda feel bad for Doggett, but then he tries to get in the way of Mulder’s resurrection and that is unacceptable behavior.

Because of course Mulder’s coming back to life! Even Chris Carter, sadist though he is, couldn’t be so cruel as to leave his beloved creation in the grave. Besides, Mulder still has to make an honest woman out of me.

Along with Mulder’s new lease on life there’s new life being breathed into the mythology. Krycek returns and there’s a new game afoot. These abductees are coming back to life for a reason, Krycek knows the reason, and for whatever reason, he’s out to prevent Scully’s baby from coming into the world. For that matter, I’m not convinced that Kryeck ever had a vaccine that would save Mulder. It seems more likely to me, and to Doggett, that the vaccine was a ploy to take out both Mulder and the baby with one stone. The vaccine he destroyed was likely either fake or poison.

Yes, Krycek’s motives are as obscured as ever. But it’s good to have him back. Though I’m afraid that as was the case with the recall of Jeremiah Smith in “This is Not Happening” (8×14), his primary purpose is to provide a link between the old mythology and the new and that he won’t be sticking around. Whatever these abductees are being resurrected for, that’s the future of the mythology.

Another relic of the old, Billy Miles, comes back as… what? Scully says he’s a completely new person, but other than his being in perfect health and having a new outlook on the aliens, I don’t understand why Scully says that. I don’t understand why she so easily believes that a virus caused his resurrection, either.

I also don’t understand why this new virus is so easily combatted. When Mulder and Scully were up against the Black Oil, a sentient form of alien life that would infect its host and either control them or gestate into a mature alien, it couldn’t be treated by any old antivirals. A vaccine specifically designed to counter the virus was necessary and that was awfully hard to come by. After all Mulder’s been through, after all Scully’s been through to find him, bringing him back to normal was as easy as giving him antivirals that weren’t engineered to treat the virus he’s infected with? So this new invasion is treatable with human resources already at hand? Hmm…

All we really learn in this episode is that there is a new virus and it’s turning abductees left for dead into new versions of themselves. Their true nature and purpose remains to be seen. The truth is, considering “Deadalive” marks Mulder’s much anticipated return, I’m surprised we got any new information at all.

Verdict:

All right. Let me be really real. I usually only watch two scenes from this episode: the one where Scully sees Mulder again for the first time and the one where Mulder wakes up. Hidden deep within Season 8, a season many fans threw up their hands and gave up on, are two of the most beautiful moments in the history of The X-Files.

Watching Scully put her hand on Mulder’s chest and feel him breathe again for the first time is just… everything. If you’ve ever lost anyone you cared about then you realize what a dream come true this is. You can actually feel her joy.

And the second scene I almost can’t type about. The look Mulder gives her when he wakes up is almost too beautiful for me to stand. The love is palpable. Palpable. I don’t understand how David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson can act that well. They can’t. No one can. They must’ve been living it in the moment. Thank you for that, you two. Thank you.

Poor Doggett, though. He walks in at just the wrong moment and officially becomes the third wheel. The man just gave up his future at the F.B.I. and laid all his bets on the X-Files only to be immediately displaced and rendered superfluous.

Or is it Mulder my beloved who’s superfluous now?

B+

P.S. Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!!

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

Minutiae:

Hold up. What is Kersh doing at Mulder’s funeral? Don’t pretend you cared.

Maggie Scully, though, it was good to see her. Too bad we didn’t get to hear her talk.

When she first arrives at the hospital, Scully walks toward Doggett with her hand on her belly like, “You can’t say ‘no’ to a pregnant woman, can you?”

Scully keeps snuggling up to his unconscious form but… Mulder must’ve smelled though, right?

Kersh tells Doggett to drop the case but he’s not really doing anything. Skinner and Scully are.

Krycek… you, sir, are every kind of name in the book. And don’t you touch Mulder’s nameplate! Unclean! Unclean!!

Why did they ever put Mulder and Billy Miles on life support if they were breathing on their own?

They wouldn’t have embalmed Mulder. There was no way there was ever going to be an open casket. Nope. Sorry. But one does have to wonder why the F.B.I. didn’t autopsy him. They would have wanted to confirm that he had similar injuries to the previous victim.

Best Quotes:

Kersh: It’s going to be awful crowded down in that X-Files office.

————————

Scully: Agent Doggett, however I felt about you when we first met, you changed my opinion with the quality of your character and of your work. Now, I am thankful to know you and I am thankful for your concern. But no matter what Mulder’s chances are the choice not to open up that grave was wrong. And not because of me personally but as my partner on the X-Files. Now, the truth may hurt but it’s all that matters.

———————–

Betcha thought I was going to transcribe Mulder and Scully’s reunion. Well, I’m not. Watch it. The dialogue is dead without the delivery.

Redrum 8×3: I’m sorry it’s not under better circumstances.


Redrum80.jpg

“Casey” and the Sunshine Band

I can’t watch “Redrum” and not hark back to “Mind’s Eye” (5×16), an episode that is similar in a lot of ways. It features a guest star well-respected in movies and television. The featured guest star plays the protagonist rather than the focus being on our two leads. It’s also a fairly quiet, psychological mind game of an episode. Like “Mind’s Eye”, “Redrum” both works and doesn’t work for all the above reasons.

This was the third episode filmed but the sixth episode aired of Season 8. I actually can’t imagine this playing right after “Without” (8×2) as the episode that introduces Scully and Doggett as a partnership. For one thing, it wouldn’t make sense for us to see Scully and Doggett working fairly comfortably together without seeing how that evolution happened. For another thing, in order for a series to temporarily ignore its leads, its leads have to be so established and their relationships so understood by the viewers that you can take a storytelling detour without the audience losing interest or getting lost. That’s why “Hungry” (7×1) could tell its story completely from the monster’s perspective, because the audience knows Mulder and Scully like the back of its proverbial hand.

Truth is, it’s still too soon. With only three episodes as partners under their belt, we still don’t know Scully and Doggett very well at all. Sixth is better than third, but it’s not great.

The bigger issue for me, though, is that Scully and Doggett aren’t merely peripheral they’re replaceable. There’s nothing about this episode that requires the characters of John Doggett or Dana Scully. Martin Wells could’ve had any old friend who was in law enforcement, anyone who would have been willing to let him stay the night at his place. There’s nothing about Doggett in particular that makes him necessary for this episode. And as for Scully, she’s just tagging along. She too could have been anybody. That tacked on speech about how Martin Wells may already have the answers within him is just that, tacket on. It doesn’t make sense in context that she would humor him and believing his story under the circumstances is not like Scully at all. No, those thoughts had to occur to Martin Wells for the plot to go forward and Scully was just the vehicle used to bring them to him.

To compare again, “Mind’s Eye” required Fox Mulder. No one else would have responded to protagonist Marty or have known how to help her even if they did. And back to “Hungry”, the forward movement of the plot is dependent on the particular rhythms of the way in which Mulder and Scully solve cases. It depends on us to know those rhythms and to be able to follow along without sheet music, without having to hear Mulder and Scully say what they’re thinking.

I’m sure this sounds unfairly minute and it probably is. I do think “Redrum” is a good piece of television but I don’t think it’s a great X-File. It would have made a better television movie, extended and without token appearances by our two leads.

Guest star Joe Morton’s acting is great and the concept is good. The message is thoughtful: Painful though it may be, you need to face up to who you are before it’s too late because justice is coming.

Even so, I remember being bored with it the first time I saw it. All I wanted was some more information on Mulder’s whereabouts, pleasethankyou. In lieu of that I would take a creepy campfire tale. This time it kept my interest, but I still wasn’t engaged. I wasn’t exactly engaged with “Invocation” (8×6) either, but at least that gave me atmosphere and more information about Doggett. At least I was watching characters I was already emotionally invested in.

Verdict:

And that’s all I have to say about that. “Redrum” is neither here nor there for me. I like it as a piece but I don’t feel it an an X-File, so there’s nothing to get worked up about. Oh, except for a Danny Trejo sighting. Because I love it when The X-Files and Breaking Bad meet.

B

Musings:

I could’ve done without that spider just fine.

Doggett, I’m pretty sure that entry was unlawful.

There are echoes of “Monday” (6×15) here too, but there the same day repeated until someone made the right choice. Here, someone sees the future their actions lead to and gets a chance to do the past over.

Timeline Problems – This episode takes place in December. Scully found out she was pregnant in May. Thoughts?

I know he’s been in just about everything, but Joe Morton imprinted on me in childhood as Whitley’s one-time love interest and Dwayne’s rival on A Different World.

Also, the actress who plays his attorney, Bellamy Young, gives me Law and Order flashbacks.

“So put on that engineering hat, Casey Jones, because you’ve got a whole lot of trains to be pulling…” – The strangest cultural reference to ever come out of the mouth of a fictional prison roommate.

Someone fact check me, but isn’t this the second time we’ve heard the phrase “This is not happening”? The first time was “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’” (3×20). The third time I’d rather not remember at the moment.

Mercy triumphs over justice.

Best Quotes:

Trina: M… Mr. Wells, I…

Martin Wells: Trina, you knew about the Nanny-cam, didn’t you? You told the killer about it. You must have given him my key card, too.

Trina: Mr. Wells, I.. I… I wasn’t even there that night.

Doggett: First thing you’re supposed to say is: “What nanny-cam?”

———————–

Martin Wells: Are you trying to tell me that your brother is not a drug dealer?

Cesar Ocampo: My brother was a busboy when you sent him up. He had two strikes on him. He wasn’t dealing no more. You sent him up for who he used to be… and ’cause it was easy.

Patience 8×4: Well, that’s a good place to start.


 

 

Patience04

Nananananananana, Batman!

It was a dark and stormy night. Into the somber old house the undertaker walked, slowly, the floorboards bending beneath his feet, his lanky shadow indistinguishable in the gloom.

I bet you thought George the creepy undertaker was who you needed to be afraid of, huh?

There are a lot of well-founded complaints about the trajectory the mythology takes in Seasons 8 and 9. But if the mythology falls down, the stand-alone episodes start to step it back up.

“Patience” is appropriately named. I’ve been very patient waiting for The X-Files to get back to its spooky roots. I suspect writer and director Chris Carter was waiting for this moment too, because he gives Scully and Doggett an old-fashioned X-File for their first real case together.

This is where I should probably warn you that I like John Doggett.

I’ve been putting off discussing Doggett until he began to be fleshed out as something more than a punching bag for the collective hate of the Philes. Doggett has taken Mulder’s place, if not in all of our affections, undeniably as Scully’s partner. Scully seems as reluctant to accept him as we are, because accepting his presence means also accepting that Mulder is gone. Also, Doggett standing in Mulder’s place makes it impossible to not compare him to Mulder and find him wanting. And how does he compare?

Doggett’s a guy who worked his way up the ladder of respect the old-fashioned way, policing the streets and making a name for himself by being dogged (pun intended), smart, and capable. He’s blue collar to Mulder’s white collar, New England, Oxford educated world. Mulder’s cerebral while Doggett’s practical. Mulder is driven by passion, Doggett by duty. Mulder’s an angsty Batman to Doggett’s non-introspective Superman. He don’t need no stinkin’ psychology.

Doggett has a job to do and he does it. He reminds me of a man from the Greatest Generation, full of a sense of responsibility and honor and integrity for integrity’s sake. If he’s been assigned to the X-Files, then he’s going to read through every one of them. If he’s been assigned to Scully, then he has her back whether or not she wants him to, because he’s her partner and that’s what partners do. How she, or even he, feels about it is irrelevant. This is not the type of guy to sit and dwell on his feelings period.

What eventually wins Scully over to Doggett is the same thing that first won Mulder over to Scully: he’s a skeptic with integrity, willing to take a hard look at the facts however strange they may be, willing to do what it takes to get to the truth.

Now, Scully’s going through some changes. So we don’t expect her to warm up to Doggett too soon, try as he might to prove he’s taking his work on the X-Files seriously. The problem is, he takes a step forward and then trips all over himself. Taking the weekend to go over every single X-File is good. Talking mano-a-mano to a chauvinistic local detective in such a way that Scully can’t hear you even though you’re standing right in front of her is bad. Very bad.

I realize that Carter is setting up this antagonism between the characters both to give vent to his audience’s anger and, conversely, in order to use it to create a stronger bond between them eventually. But I think the plot of “Patience” starts to suffer at the expense of showing Scully and Doggett at odds.

For one thing, Scully’s a little too deep into this “I am Fox Mulder” kick. Scully is and should be more open than she used to be. But her imitations of Mulder’s logic leaps feel forced. Those nonsensical words don’t fall out of her mouth naturally. Not only that, but Mulder’s theories are usually based on his encyclopedic knowledge of previous cases and occurrences. Scully had no mental reference for a Bat-Man, yet the first idea she comes up with when she sees a strange footprint is some kind of were-animal.

Even more importantly to me, the link between the Bat-Man that was killed in 1956 and the Bat-Man that’s killing now is left too vague. For years, I thought the Bat-Man that killed then was the same Bat-Man killing now, that it somehow wasn’t dead and was taking revenge on its enemies. A more logical inference is that the Bat-Man killed in 1956 was a companion to the Bat-Man behind the current killings, and these killings are revenge on the man responsible for the death of its friend.

I like the Bat-Man. I want to know about the Bat-Man. Or is it Man-Bat?

What starts off as a promisingly creepy Monster of the Week episode ends up with the monster uncomfortably sandwiched between Scully’s initial declaration that this is Mulder’s office and she and Doggett are just living in it, to her total turnaround at the end of the episode when she quietly stuffs Mulder’s nameplate into a drawer. Chris Carter was never one for subtlety.

Verdict:

This was a good idea for an episode and it could have played out better if it weren’t bogged down by the necessary growing pains of Scully and Doggett’s relationship. Had this been an X-File in Season 7 when there weren’t any emotional distractions, I think it could have been more successful.

As it is, I still like it. Even with its flaws I actually find it enjoyable. And this is The X-Files; I’m used to not getting all the answers.

B+

Impatience:

Okay, the Bat-Man tracks his enemy by scent. Everyone that’s killed was killed because they bore the scent of Ernie Stefaniuk. Since the Bat-Man appears to plot like a human, wouldn’t it make more human sense to leave those in contact with Ernie alive so as to be able to trace him through them? That’s what he does with Myron, Ernie’s brother.

Why doesn’t the monster kill Doggett?

How did Scully’s massive bruises from “Without” (8×2) heal so fast?

Scully runs the opening slideshow. Cool. She should go ahead and dye her hair brown and cut it like Elvis. What I find interesting is that including this episode, the last four times we’ve seen a slideshow, it’s been used to create distance between partners. “all things” (7×17) – “Field Trip” (6×21) – “Bad Blood” (5×12)

This marks the first time David Duchovny’s ever been left out of the credits. Sadface.

Best Quotes:

Doggett: [Pulls out a flashlight] You ever carry one of these?

Scully: Never {Editor’s Note: I see you, Chris Carter}

 

Without 8×2: You say you want to find Mulder but you won’t do what it takes.


Without132.jpg

Because Skinner does need to get out more.

We’re back to the mythology…. and we’re back to the voiceovers. But we’ll focus on the mythology.

I’m happy to see Skinner and Scully both getting their hands dirty in the search for Mulder. They get a lot of action in “Without” if not a lot of answers. Actually, I said we’re going to discuss the mythology, but even as I think about discussing it I realize that there isn’t much to discuss. Have we learned anything besides the fact that the Alien Bounty Hunters are keeping watch over Mulder for some unknown reason that never will be known?

What are the aliens doing to Mulder and why are they doing it? We were lead to believe in “Requiem” (7×22) that the aliens are trying to eliminate human test subjects who, it’s implied, were successfully turned into alien hybrids or something close to it. Mulder himself said the abductees wouldn’t be coming back this time.

Well then, why torture Mulder? Why not kill him and get it over with? I guess I’ll have to be satisfied with assuming that the aliens want more information from his body, and that Chris Carter wanted an excuse to strap David Duchovny naked to a cold chair for hours. Because.

Another plot device that makes me scratch my head is the inexplicable cliff jump.

Doggett has an Alien Bounty Hunter cornered in front of a steep cliff, an Alien Bounty Hunter that he didn’t know was an Alien Bounty Hunter because it was disguised as Mulder, not that he would have believed it was an Alien Bounty Hunter regardless. The Alien Bounty Hunter has a hold of Gibson Praise, living proof of alien life, evidence of which the Alien Colonists are systematically trying to destroy. Since Alien Bounty Hunters can’t be stopped by mere guns, but only by an exact kill shot to the back of the neck, I trust I wasn’t alone in assuming that our next shot of Doggett would be him wallowing on the ground as the Alien Bounty Hunter escaped with Gibson.

That would make sense, but sometimes Chris Carter forgoes making sense and skips straight ahead to improbable plot points. Suffice it to say, instead of killing Doggett or at the very least knocking him down, the Alien Bounty Hunter lets go of Gibson, his prize catch, and runs away from Doggett by jumping off the cliff. Because.

I guess it was just too soon to lose Doggett.

Doggett gets time to grow… eventually. For this episode, his main purpose is to trigger Scully’s spontaneous combustion into Mulder. Scully, having once been much like Doggett herself, a firm believer in facts and evidence, is a little embarrassed at times having to give voice to Mulder’s theories in front of Doggett. She’s not used to having to defend the crazy.

I do get it. Scully’s grieving and is trying to compensate for the loss of Mulder by keeping him alive through his theories, which is why when she’s not acting embarrassed and unsure of herself she’s defensive and defiant.

It’s nice to see some emotions from Scully other than her usual poker face. She’s all over the place mentally: confident, confused, scared, angry, suspicious, frustrated. She’s determined to find Mulder, who is frustratingly closer than she knows, but she doesn’t know where to start. She’s so desperate, she resorts to wandering the desert in the dark calling his name. If she keeps this up, she really will turn into Mulder, at least the unbalanced part of him.

Anyway, this new plot gives Gillian Anderson more to do and I’m glad for that. Though it must be said that Scully Tears will get old past a point.

But hey, at least she has a new partner to help her dry those tears! Despite Chris Carter’s initial protestations, Mulder is replaced. Doggett is officially assigned to the X-Files by the end of the episode, whereupon he immediately starts making sweet overtures of peace to Scully. I know Scully’s shocked and horrified face speaks for us all.

Verdict:

I’m tempted to say, and I will say, that this was much ado about nothing. No progress whatsoever has been made in the search for Mulder. We’re really just rehashing the Alien Bounty Hunter idea and milking it for all it’s worth, not that I at all mind the chance to see ABH Scully and ABH Skinner. Those tense scenes of suspicion where no one knows who the impostor is are the best parts of the episode. And Scully and Skinner haven’t had the chance to face off with guns since “Paper Clip” (3×2).

But the lack of any kind of progression leads me to believe that there will be no all-encompassing search for Mulder this season. If there were, Carter would have had Scully employ the talents of the yet still living Gibson Praise. After all, he’s a human homing device. No, it looks like we’re not on the hunt but instead we’re settling down for a wait.

If that final scene between Scully and the Alien Bounty Hunter tells us anything, it’s that she can’t be running around like this anymore. She has Mulder’s baby spawn to think about. She’s also come to realize, maybe after wandering the desert at night, that even if by some miracle she stumbles upon Mulder’s spaceship, what then? I guess the thing to do is to settle back into a routine working on the X-Files and see what new clues drop into our laps.

There is one tantalizing mythology tidbit, though. Doggett is likely being set up to fail by Kersh. And we already suspect that Kersh is obeying orders from somebody. So who is it who wants Mulder hunted down but not found, and why?

I’m not overly impressed by all this shuffling of the feet without any forward motion. But I am curious, which is more than I could say for all of Season 7.

And you know that creepy shot of all those Alien Bounty Hunters surrounding Mulder’s torture chair? Enjoy it. You’ll never see Mr. Bounty Hunter again.

B+

Question:

How did Gibson Praise’s hideout miraculously cover itself back up with sand after his friend Thea went down in it? For that matter, what kind of secret hideout has a door you can’t hide? And just because Thea is deaf doesn’t make her stupid. I can’t believe she traveled for miles to a secret den because of an imminent threat, yet never once looked behind her to see someone following her in the open desert.

Best Quotes:

Scully: I promise. I’m not going to let anything bad happen to you.

Gibson Praise: You said that to me once before.