Langly: Yeah, UFOs caused the Gulf war syndrome, that’s a good one.
Byers: That’s what we like about you Mulder. Your ideas are weirder than ours.
While we’ve had episodes leading up to “E.B.E.” that deal with aliens, it’s with this installment that the mythology arc really begins. In fact, the episode serves as a preview of what’s to come for the next eight or so years — Mulder and Scully will chase a wild lead, get tantalizingly close to the truth, only to find the rug yanked from under them or not have the evidence they believed would be there at the end of the day.
“E.B.E.” came about because Morgan and Wong wanted to write a mythology story, tying things together that on-line fan were debating in the message boards. Twenty plus years later, it’s hard to recall a time when message boards actually had an influence on a show or that producers actually surfed them to get feedback from most dedicated of fans.
After getting crumbs in the previous alien themed episodes, Morgan and Wong lay out a few more details and hints of what’s to come. From the teaser, we see that the alien encounters aren’t just limited to North America, nor is the cover-up. We also get the first hints of lies within lies that help to cover-up the existence of extraterrestrial biological entities (or E.B.E.’s from the title) all while hiding that evidence within plain sight.
The idea that an alien is being shipped across country on something as seemingly innocuous and “every day” as an 18-wheeler is an intriguing one. It reminds me of Robert Holmes penned stories of Doctor Who were things that we see everyday and are supposed to be safe become scary.
Morgan and Wong’s script does just about everything right from giving us a bit of background on who Deep Throat is and what his possible motivation for helping Mulder is to introducing us to the Lone Gunmen, who will become a big part of the series moving forward. (Interestingly, Morgan and Wong weren’t sure if the Lone Gunmen worked when the episode first aired.)
The first season convention of Mulder running into a wall of conspiracy just as he gets close to the truth continues here. But for the first time, we see that there is more going on behind the wall of lies than we initially assumed. We get the feeling that Mulder and Scully are just scratching the surface of the cover-up and have little idea of the personal cost it will have over the next eight years.
For all the memories of just how off the rails the mythology went in later seasons (it should be interesting to see if that memory holds up or is proven to be exaggerated as I continue onward), I can’t help but get some sense of anticipation and excitement as we kick it off here. At the height of the series, the mythology was the thing that really pushed all my buttons and were the episodes I most looked forward to seeing. Seeing how it all began reminded me a lot of that.