The X-Files: Little Green Men   Rewatch 
March 21, 2020 9:05 PM - Season 2, Episode 1 - Subscribe

The X-Files have been closed, and Mulder reassigned to surveillance while Scully teaches at Quantico. Mulder is contacted by a senator, who sends him to check out a radio telescope station in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.
posted by orange swan (3 comments total)
That abandoned equipment suddenly turning on, lighting up, and receiving a broadcast was a good moment -- very eerie and chilling.

In the pilot, when Mulder talks about Samantha's disappearance, he says, "I was twelve when it happened. My sister was eight. She just disappeared out of her bed one night. Just gone, vanished. No note, no phone calls, no evidence of anything." In this episode, in his memory, Samantha is abducted in front of him: there's a bright light, the house shakes, Samantha is floating in mid-air, and there's an alien standing in the doorway. Or was that supposed to be a dream Mulder was having rather than a memory?

A lot of surveillance work must be very dull, and it seems like a huge waste of Mulder's clearly exceptional abilities. It seems like a counterproductive move too -- if I wanted to keep an agent like Mulder away from the X-Files, I'd set him at the most challenging, fascinating work I had to offer him, not bore or humiliate him, which is only going to make him act out. I will say it is kind of hilarious that Mulder, a porn addict, feels himself so much above two guys who are into strippers.

Mulder's paranoia about being seen speaking to Scully is such nonsense and she rightly has no patience with it. She is such a good check and balance on him. There have been so many times that she's corrected his course with her logical and scientific analysis and kept him from haring off in the wrong direction.

And in this episode we meet Mulder's fish for the first time... and learn that Scully has the keys to Mulder's apartment.

Scully also retreats into oversized trenchcoats in this episode in order to hide Gillian Anderson's pregnancy. It was an unplanned pregnancy, and Anderson has said she thought "everyone was really overreacting" at the time -- they were furious, and she nearly got fired. Fortunately for both her and the show, the show's producers had the sense to see that Scully wasn't replaceable, and they worked around her pregnancy.
posted by orange swan at 4:07 PM on March 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

This episode predates a bunch of other "SETI suddenly finds something" scenes that happened in this decade, doesn't it? I feel like Independence Day at least had a scene that played out a lot like this one.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2020

re: Samantha - I feel Mulder has a "public" story (and in the pilot he doesn't know Scully from Eve and suspects that she's been assigned to make his life harder, and that she's been assigned to him as a punishment for her) and now he trusts Scully enough to say what he remembers as really happening.

He had probably refined and practiced his "public" story so much that he might believe it more than his "real" memories, sometimes. / Modulo the idea of the fallibility of memory.

My take on Mulder assigned to shit assignments is that management wants to drum him out, make him leave instead of being let go. So he becomes some kind of kook - but he'd be under surveillance, etc. and as a civilian could be more easily mistreated.

Also, any actions he took while FBI could be dismissed as unauthorized. Perhaps they were trying to break his spirit. Stupid - yes, but a lot of management decisions (everywhere) are totally stupid even if they aren't routinely scrutinized and take responsibility for the fallout.

But yeah, Mulder going overboard on the cloak&dagger stuff and Scully being exasperated about that - rings plausible.

I really love that Scully is being shown as having picked up some proficient fieldwork spycraft - oversized trenchcoat notwithstanding.

What I don't get is why Mulder goes trigger happy during a potential contact - outside of showing that he's only human, too, and that there was weird stuff going on that affected his physiology/ psychology.

20ยข public telephone calls at the airport, wow.

Also semi-lol Mulder earnestly attempting to (and mostly succeeding in) creating scientifically rigorous records/ observations on his voice recorder. This reads to me that Mulder has internalized the importance of Scully's adherence to methods and how also doing so helps his credibility.

Tangible character growth all around. Holy Shit Skinner telling CSM to "get the hell out."

The SUV down the side of the mountain was surprisingly competent.

"You still have nothing."
"I may not have the X-Files Scully, but I still have my work. ... I still have you."
posted by porpoise at 10:09 PM on March 28, 2020 [1 favorite]

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