Mulder: One girl was just abducted.
Mulder: Potato, potahto.
When the first three VHS tapes hit the shelves many, many years ago, “Eve” was rounded out the tape along with “Fallen Angel.” And while I could see why “Fallen Angel” made the cut, I struggled at the time to figure out why “Eve” was included.
Twenty years later, I’m still trying to figure it out.
It’s not that “Eve” is a terrible episode. But it’s not that it’s a home run either.
It’s The X-Files‘ take on the demonic twins. It tries to throw in a bit of governmental conspiracy with cloning experiments, but this really only serves as a roadblock to the investigation that only Deep Throat can help Mulder get past. Other installments have seen Deep Throat come in to give us some exposition. But in this case, his inclusion only makes sense because the story can’t move forward without him dropping by to exposition Mulder (and us) on the case.
I think part of my lack of enjoyment of this one is that it requires a huge suspension of disbelief when it comes to geography. Mulder and Scully are looking into a case of a child’s father being drained of much of his blood and killed on one coast, get a heads-up that another case is unfolding on the other and are almost instantly there. They may even be wearing the same outfits! It made me feel like I did watching later season of 24 where every point of interest in L.A. was exactly five minutes from each other.
The idea behind the girls (who are clones from a top secret project that went horribly awry) is a decent one — as is the idea that the clones went a bit crazy and started killing people. Our two Eves share some kind of connection — so much so that they kill their fathers and then kill an older Eve by poisoning her. They then turn around and try this same trick on Mulder and Scully, both of whom comment their diet sodas taste too sweet. My issue is that a small amount is enough to kill the Eve but it barely bothers Mulder and Scully. In fact, there is some really badly recorded voice over dialogue that addresses this. I can’t help but think the director felt something was missing or that audiences would wonder why our heroes weren’t dying of poisoning.
Then you’ve got the wrap up where the mother finds out that the little girl she’d raised and thought was her own (the families get injected with their Eve at a fertility clinic) is actually a terrible monster and was never her biological daughter. So she turns on her, burning all her pictures and saying she never had a daughter. It makes me think there were issues there long before Eve Nine started killing everyone.
It’s the first season and the show is still trying to flesh out its characters beyond the whole Mulder believes, Scully doesn’t. This episode and the next one attempt to give us a bit more insight into Mulder and Scully, though I’ll spoil the next entry by saying “Beyond the Sea” is the vastly superior episode. (It’s also the first really great Scully episode).
But we’re not quite there, so “Fire.”
An old flame from Mulder’s past comes back, seeking his help with a current case. Seems someone in the UK is incinerating people — and they’re baffled as to how and why.
The big problem with the episode is that the audience knows exactly who is behind this long before Mulder and Scully do. So, it feels like a lot of time is spent with our agents in the dark while our fire-controlling friend is out there wreaking havoc and burning things down. Chris Carter’s script tries to give the fire-controller a bit of substance by having him be obessed with the wife of a British official visiting America, but it never comes to much more than that.
In later seasons (and even the next episode), we’d see these types of characters get a bit more depth than just — look at what they can do.
It helps that Cecil (the fire controller) is played by Mark Shepard. This episode could be the beginning of his quest to have a guest role on every genre series of the past twenty years. It’s just too bad that his character is a walking cliche who spouts out terrible dialogue that seems written more for the trailer than for an actual episode.
The story also tries to give us more of Mulder’s backstory besides the accounts of Samantha’s abduction. Seems that our hero is afraid of fire — terrified of it. And that he once had a romance with the Scotland Yard agent played by Amanda Pays. This means that, of course, Mulder will have to confront is fear of fire by episode’s end and that Scully will get lots of chances to be jealous as Mulder and Amanda Pays dance around each other and wink at maybe rekindling their old flame.
I imagine that shippers had a field day with this one at the time, because you can read into that it Scully’s jealous runs a bit deeper than just a professional one.
And, of course, Mulder’s fear of fire will never be brought up again.