Re-Opening The X-Files: “Fallen Angel”

1x09_Fallen Angel_01

Mulder: But you don’t know me. Last night is the first time you’ve laid eyes on me.
Max Fenig: Not true. We at NICAP have been following your career really closely. Ever since you became involved with the X-files.
Mulder: Following my career? How?
Max Fenig: Through the Freedom of Information Act.Your travel expenses are a matter of public record. So, this must be the enigmatic Agent Scully.

Fallen Angel

Or the episode where we discover that Mulder has groupies.

While I recall that Max was part of the show, I’d forgotten that this is the first of his three appearances on The X-Files.   The poor guy is so charming and fun that I can see why the production team decided to bring him back — even if it takes until season four for us to get back to his story.

In many ways, “Fallen Angel” feels like it could be a series finale for the show.  Had Fox decided not to continue on with the series, this one could have wrapped things up.   After getting a heads-up from Deep Throat, Mulder heads out to Wisconsin to potentially find evidence of an crashed alien space ship.    

Watching this one, I can’t help but think that Mulder’s job to document things would be a bit easier these days with digital cameras.   Point, shoot and upload to the cloud before there is any possibility of someone exposing the film and destroying all the images you’ve taken.  Of course, I couldn’t help but think at some point Mulder is going to learn to try and hide the film as well.

The episode establishes some of the mythology behind how alien abductions will be treated on the show as we heard forward.   Max’s abduction (and his apparently repeated abductions) form the basis for what we’ll see played out in the future, most notably in season two’s “Duane Barry.”   But where Duane is driving over the edge into madness by his experiences, Max seems relatively well adjusted, if a bit single minded and obsessed.

Scully is a bit more of the heavy this time around, raining on Mulder’s parade a bit and poking holes in his theories.  Of course, it could be that her career is on the line if she doesn’t get Mulder back to DC for his hearing.   But she is willing to step up and help out in the hospital after the alien attack and the ER is understaffed.

And then, there’s the ending.   The story continues to bring up questions as to Deep Throat’s true alliance and motivations.  Is he feeding Mulder just enough to keep him interesting without necessarily getting close to the actual truth of things?  Or is he throwing off the review committee and protecting Mulder?  Or does he have some other agenda?

Listening to the X-Files Files podcast, several of the participants have come up with the theory that Deep Throat was once in Mulder’s shoes — an idealistic crusader — and that he eventually got so worn down or in so deep that the only way to make his conscience stop bothering him was to work as Mulder’s informant.    It’s a fascinating theory and one that I will admit is tinting some of my re-watch as I look for signs of this.

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Filed under The X-Files, TV review

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