Category Archives: X-Files

Re-Opening The X-Files: Tunguska/Terma, Paper Hearts

Tunguska, Terma

tunguska1At this point, The X-Files seems to be spinning the wheels a bit when it comes to the mythology. The series had moved to Sunday nights and maybe the point of this one was to introduce viewers to the larger mythology of the series, all the while not necessarily pushing anything forward in any significant way. The elements of a good conspiracy episode are here – the black oil, the Syndicate, Krycheck etc.

But all those pieces never add up to anything that feels all that significant.

Part of that is that it falls into the trap of a lot of the mythology episodes by giving us a sweeping canvas but having to somehow hit reset by episode’s end.

A diplomatic pouch with an alien rock in it shows up, along with Krycheck. If you’re a fan, all of these things are familiar. I do wonder just how Mulder manages to keep his job when he’s repeatedly assaulting Krycheck (Skinner too for that matter). Or even taking him to Russia only to let him escape. A lot of these episodes are excuses for Mulder to hit Krycheck. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

musingsEarly in this episode, Frohike warns us that we shouldn’t take everything that we’re about to see and hear at face value because information about the Cigarette Smoking Man can be contradictory and unreliable. So, if you take this episode with that huge grain of salt, you can an enjoyable episode that does a much better job telling a story about a supporting character than we got with the Skinner-centric, “Avatar.”

The biggest insight of the episode seems to be that the CSM is a frustrated author who can’t get anyone to believe the endings he creates for his action-adventure stories. At multiple points, we see the CSM working on a story, only to be told it isn’t up to the standards of publication. Even when he finally sells a story to a magazine, he has his original ending re-written. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Home

the-x-files-homeScully: The angle of movement and deeper indentation on the right side of the mark suggest a left-handed individual. I’ve collected soil specimens and although numerous shoe impressions remain from the sandlot game, I think a couple of stone casts would prove invaluable to the investigation. Meanwhile, I’ve quit the FBI and have become a spokesperson for the ab-roller.
Mulder: Smell that. It’s perfume. God this brings back a lot of memories of my sister… All-day pickup games out on the vineyard. Ride your bikes down to the beach, eat bologna sandwiches. Only place you had to be on time was home for dinner. Never had to lock your doors. No modems, no faxes, no cell phones.
Scully: Mulder, if you had to do without a cell phone for two minutes, you’d lapse into catatonic schizophrenia.

“Home” is one of the more infamous hours not only of The X-Files, but all of television. I was fortunate enough to record it and archive it to my collection of off-air VHS tapes when it first aired. This would turn out to be a good thing since the episode was then “banned” by Fox from airing for three years (though it would be included as part of the first wave of VHS tapes for season four). I recall the scrambling done on fan forums to obtain a copy of this episode when Fox refused to air it again. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Talitha Cumi, Herrenvolk

TalithacumiThe fiercest enemy is the man who has nothing left to lose.

Talitha Cumi/Herrenvolk

After the season finales for seasons one and two, “Talitha Cumi” and “Herrenvolk” seem almost tame by comparison. After shutting down the X-Files and then possibly killing Mulder to end the previous two seasons, the cliffhanger of the alien bounty hunter arriving to eliminate Jeremiah Smith seems positively tame by comparison. But while the stakes may seem a bit lower for the cliffhanger, at least you had an idea of where things might go immediately upon the series’ return the next fall.

“Talitha Cumi” feels like the first time the series really begins to try and bring the mythology into some type of focus. For the past three seasons, we’ve had hints of colonization, the aline oil, and just how the Mulder family ties into all of this. This two-parter provides a few more breadcrumbs to follow but Jeremiah Smith doesn’t necessarily promise the same level fo answers that the Thinker did in “Anasazi.” (And which the series had to step back from because if you give Mulder (and us) all the answers in the season premiere, there’s little incentive to come back for the full season). Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’

jose-chung_lendl-1Jose Chung: Aren’t you nervous telling me all this? After receiving all those death threats?

Blaine Faulkner: Well, hey, I didn’t spend all those years playing Dungeons and Dragons and not learn a little something about courage

Looking back over the long run of The X-Files, I’d argue that the best seasons of the show were seasons two and three. What two has going for it is that the mythology episodes are tighter, feel more like an event, and give us hope that Chris Carter and company have some kind of end game in mind for government conspiracies and cover-ups. Season three has three of the best stand-alone episodes of the entire run of the show, all by writer Darin Morgan. Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The X-Files: This

x-files-episode-1102-this_4Who needs Google when you’ve got Scully?

One of the bigger missteps of the tenth season of The X-Files was continuing to follow the same pattern the series did for nine years.  Have a big mythology episode and then follow it up without any follow-up for weeks or months on end.  

And while “This” isn’t what I’d call a huge step forward in the mythology nuggets we got last week, it still felt like it was trying to build on some of the blocks put into place last week as well as paying off some of the history of the series (assuming we can remember it all, of course!) Continue reading

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TV Round-Up: The X-Files: My Struggle III

x-files-season-11Oh. That’s the plan. A secret space program? I don’t think so. I think this is a power play. You want me to kill him so you can implement your own plan. You want to see blood in the streets. The colonization of space? How do you plan to do that? Transport all humanity off-planet? That’s 7 billion people. That’s not possible. Only a chosen few. And you call him evil?  –Mulder talking pretty much for the entire audience…

It used to be that when I heard that Chris Carter was writing an episode of The X-Files, I was filled with a sense of excitement. These days when I hear that Carter is writing an episode of The X-Files, I’m filled with dread.

It’s not secret I wasn’t a huge fan of the conclusion to season 10.  “My Struggle II” felt like Carter throwing a lot of things at the screen and seeing what might stick. He then painted himself into one heck of a corner, flashed up the words “To Be Continued” and dared Fox not to give the series another season.*

*It’s almost like he took a page from the Sledge Hammer playbook when it came to cliffhangers. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: F. Emasculata, Soft Light, Our Town

soft_light

Mulder: You can’t protect the public by lying to them.
CSM: It’s done every day.
Mulder: I won’t be a party to it. {to Skinner} How about you?
CSM: You’re a party to it already. How many people are being infected while you stand here not doing your job? Ten? Twenty? What’s the truth, Agent Mulder?

F. Emasculata

In many cases, The X -Files subscribed to the less is more theory when it came to gross-out effects and visuals.   Hide a monster in shadows and allow our imaginations to fill in the gaps.

And then there are episodes like “F. Emasculata” that ramp up the gross-out factor.  Big time.

A pharmaceutical company is looking to find new strains of viruses so they can offer the cure to the American people at highly inflated price.  This one is spread by pustules on various victims expanding and then exploding, releasing a ton of goo that contains microscopic parasites that quickly embed in their new hosts flesh and begins to kill them.  It’s a quick death — usually within 36 hours of exposure.   Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X–Files: Red Museum, Excelsis Dei, Aubrey

You know for a holy man you got quite a knack for pissing people off.

Red Museum

Back when each season of the X-Files only got 12 episodes per season commercially released on VHS, I felt it was a shame that somehow “Red Museum” didn’t make the cut.   One of the biggest reasons is that it’s trying hard to tie into the central mythology of the show and give some closure to certain aspects of it.   In this case, it’s the crew cut man who kills Deep Throat who meets his own demise in this episode.

“Red Museum” was originally intended as a cross-over episode with CBS’ Picket Fences.   At a late stage, CBS got cold feet about the idea (both shows aired on Friday night) and backed out of the deal.   Both series went on with the episodes intended for the crossover, but with some slight reworking.  The connection between the two episodes would involve experimenting on bovines. I’m not quite sure if Mulder and Scully would have shown up in Rome for this one instead of another town in Wisconsin but I do recall that we’d have Mulder coming to Rome in the Picket Fences installment.

Instead Chris Carter is forced to tell a story that juggles a lot of elements — a group of kids who are being taken off into the woods and returned with the words “He/She Is One” written on their backs, a mysterious religious group on the outskirts of town and the local bovine population being given injections to produce more milk and more beef on the hoof.  It all ties back to the experiments in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” and purity control.  Is it possible the teenagers of this town are being injected with alien DNA and used the

same way as the cattle? Continue reading

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