Re-Opening The X-Files: Piper Maru, Apocrypha


Scully: I’m just constantly amazed by you. You’re working down here in the basement, sifting through files and transmissions that any other agent would just throw away in the garbage.
Mulder: Well, that’s why I’m in the basement, Scully.
Scully: You’re in the basement because they’re afraid of you, of your relentlessness, and because they know that they could drop you in the middle of the desert and tell you the truth is out there, and you’d ask them for a shovel.

Piper Maru/Apocrypha

One of the things my re-watching The X-Files has done is remind me of just how good the early mythology episodes of the series could be.    These episodes had just a bit of extra buzz and hum to them that set them apart from the monster of the week stuff that was the show’s bread and butter from week to week.  And no where is that more evident than in the mythology episodes from season three.

We get a lot of mythology in season three — no less than seven episodes are devoted to the on-going arc.   It’s also a time when it felt like the creators had some idea of what the end game for all of this was and were slowly layering in elements that would pay off at the big eventual reveal.   It felt like the Syndicate had a plan and it was only a matter of time before Mulder uncovered the truth behind everything.

And then it all started to go horribly, horribly wrong. Continue reading

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Re-Opening The X-Files: Syzygy, Grotesque


Scully: I’m driving. Why do you always have to drive? Because you’re the guy? Because you’re the big, macho man?
Mulder: No. I was just never sure your little feet could reach the pedals.

Today’s look back gives us guest appearances by two actors who will later be part of Fox’s That 70’s Show.  I’ll leave you draw your own assumptions…


Or as I like to think of it — Chris Carter tries to write like Darin Morgan.  And doesn’t really quite succeed.

Coming right after “War of the Coprophages” this installment feels like Carter is trying to emulate the quippy one-liners that are (just one of) the highlights of the Darin Morgan episodes without necessarily understanding what makes those episodes funny.   Part of what makes Morgan’s episodes work is they are poking fun at the series’ conventions and tweaking them a bit.  This one, by contrast, just seems a bit more mean-spirited in how it depicts the characters — not just Mulder and Scully but everyone we meet in the small town of Comity.

I recall that when this one first aired, fans began to wonder if there was some kind of rift developing between our two leads.  It could have started in “Revelations” with Mulder’s lack of support in Scully’s belief and continued to develop to this point.  And while we can look back and see that the mean-spirited lines and tension between these two are because of the phase of the moon that is creating the havoc in this small town, it still doesn’t seem to be done for any other reason than to make jokes at the other’s expense and have Scully get jealous — again. Continue reading

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Review: Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin

Black-Eyed Susans

When she was sixteen years old, Tessa was only survivor of the Black-Eyed Susans killer. Dumped in a shallow grave with some of her fellow Susans, Tessa survive to testify against the man authorities believed was the killer. But over the years, Tessa always wondered if she helped convict the right man. As the convicted killer’s execution looms, Tessa is forced to question her role in the conviction and if the real killer is still lurking out there, taunting her with black-eyed Susans planted under her window.

Told in alternating time frames, Julia Heaberlin’s Black-Eyed Susans expertly doles out detail after detail of Tessa’s time in recovery and testifying and now as she tries to help an apparently innocent man avoid a wrongful execution. Heaberlin deftly sews each seed for the truth of what happened to Tessa and who was really behind her disappearance.

I’ll admit this one hooked me in the early stages. Tessa’s doubting of herself and her narrative (as well as her admission of her manipulating certain aspects of her therapy) made me question her reliability as a narrator. But this comes less from an agenda and more from wondering what Tessa is hiding from herself that may eventually come to light.

There are a couple of plausible explanations for what happened to Tessa and just if and how it ties into her family and her friendship with a girl named Lydia, who mysterious vanished after throwing Tessa under the bus on the witness stand. Heaberlin teases these details early and slowly builds up toward the revelation of what happened. Continue reading


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Top Ten Tuesday: Completed Series I Haven’t Completed


Time again for Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by the Broke and the Bookish).  This week, we’re looking at the series that have published their final volume but I haven’t finished reading yet (and would like to finish).

  1.  The Sandman by Neil Gaiman.  I’m not proud to admit I haven’t read all of Gaiman’s graphic novel series, The Sandman.  I probably should because I enjoy everything else Gaiman writes.
  2. Fables by Bill Willingham.  This one just published its final issue and I can now look forward to catching up.
  3. The Chronicles of Dune by Frank Herbert.  Love the original and have read the first three installments.  Honestly, I’ve heard from a lot of people that the last two aren’t that good and that’s kind of kept me from finishing.
  4. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie.  Part of this is simply because Christie was so prolific in her writing.  I’ve read a few but there are many more I probably could read.
  5. The Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.   I loved the first two installments and just need to find time to read the third.
  6. Pure trilogy by Joanna Baggott. Read the first installment this year and really liked it.  Haven’t read the next two in the trilogy, though they’re on the TBR list.
  7. Alan Gregory series by Stephen White.  I’ve read most of the beginning and the ending to the series. But there are still a few in the middle I skipped.  I may have to go back and try them.
  8. Sin City by Frank Miller.  I’ve read a couple of these but not the entire run.
  9. The Complete Peanuts by Charles M. Schultz.  I read the first two volumes of the complete run of the classic comic strip but haven’t read any more.  I need to get back to these because I really like Peanuts.
  10. Wool by Hugh Howey.  Not sure what’s kept me from going back to this one.  Probably all the other shiny new books that keep distracting me.


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Re-Opening The X-Files: Revelations, War of the Coprophages


Mulder: Bambi also has a theory I’ve come to acro…
Scully: Who?
Mulder: Dr. Berenbaum. Anyway her theory is…
Scully: Her name is Bambi?
Mulder: Yeah. Both her parents were naturalists. Her theory is that UFO’s are actually nocturnal insect swarms passing through electrical air fields.
Scully: Her name is Bambi?


I recall loving “Revelations” a lot more when it first aired than I did on watching it again this time around.

Part of that may because this episode is just one more step in Scully’s journey back to embracing her faith.  And part of it could be that I have jumbled together elements of this one and “Oubilette” into a single, better episode.

A serial killer is targeting people who claim to be stigmatics.  He’s killed eleven of them, including a memorable preacher in the teaser played by R. Lee Ermey.   The twelfth is a boy who may be the real thing.  He’s shown signs of this before, causing questions to be raised about his parents.   His father ended up in an institution and Mom is taking care of him now.

I like that it’s a serial killer case that brings Mulder and Scully to the scene.   And I like that we get a bit of role reversal here with Scully believing and Mulder being skeptical. Continue reading


Filed under Re-Opening the X-Files, review, The X-Files, TV review

Re-Opening The X-Files: Nisei, 731


Mulder: Come on in.
Scully: What are you watching?
Mulder: Something that just came in the mail.
Scully: That’s not your usual brand of entertainment… What is it?
Mulder: According to the magazine ad I answered, it’s an alien autopsy. Guaranteed authentic.
Scully: You spent money for this?
Mulder: $29.95… plus shipping.
Scully: Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network, you can’t even see what they’re operating on!


After a string of decent but not great stand-alone episodes, it’s nice to see the X-Files get a bit of its swagger back with this two part mythology episode.   It’s also a reminder of just how cool the mythology episodes could be this early in the run when you got the feeling that the creators had some idea of where this all might be heading and were slowly introducing threads that would later all come together into some kind of tapestry.

I will also admit that part of my love for “Nisei” when it first aired was that the location we see in the teaser is Knoxville, Tennessee — a place I lived at the time.   Yes, I knew that the show was filmed in Vancouver and there were no train crossings in Knoxville that I could even use my imagination to suppose were the actual footage seen in the show. But it was still cool to see my town referenced in the show. Continue reading

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Musing Mondays: Excited and Trapped


Time to kick-off the week with Musing Mondays (hosted by A Daily Rhythm).

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…

Earlier this year, my old friend Sally Kilpatrick published her first book, which I read and loved.  It’s called The Happy Hour Choir and if you haven’t read it yet, let me recommend it to you.

Well, it seems that won’t be the only novel from my friend hitting shelves this year.  Her next novel Bittersweet Creek is due out in October and ARCs just went up for request on NetGalley last week.  I requested the book and it’s on my Kindle.  I’m really intrigued to see what Sally has in store for us next.

This week’s random question is: If you were forced to spend the rest of your life in a library, a museum, or a zoo, which would you choose — and why?

Interesting question.  I think just for the sheer diversity of the offerings, I’d have to say the library.  Books, audiobooks, collected comics, access to the Internet, movies.  Yeah, I’ll go with the library.

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