The X-Files: Irresistible   Rewatch 
April 2, 2020 9:10 PM - Season 2, Episode 13 - Subscribe

Mulder and Scully are called to Minneapolis to help out with the case of an opened grave and a desecrated body at the local cemetery.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
Kudos to Nick Chinlund for managing to find a woman to marry him in 2005 (ten years after this episode aired, mind you), and for remaining married to her to this day. I wouldn't be averse to talking to, say, Anthony Hopkins, if I should ever happen to meet him, because he's had a long and illustrious career and I can see him as a person distinct from his Hannibal Lecter character, but for me Chinlund is Donnie Pfaster, and I find Pfaster off the charts creepier than any serial killer character I can think of. Ordinarily I have poor facial recognition ability, but I know Chinlund's face whenever I see it in a TV show, and if he had ever approached me in a bar, I'd have run away screaming.

Strangely, it was Pfaster's bedroom with all the funeral wreaths and the candles and the romantically curtained wrought iron frame bed that freaked me out more than anything in this episode.

Scully demonstrates neither enthusiasm at the prospect going to the Vikings vs. Redskins game nor disappointment at ultimately not getting to go.

Scully's difficulty in dealing with the necrophilia is interesting. Let's remember, this is a woman who routinely takes a lot of grisly/frightening situations in stride. And even more to the point, this is a doctor whose specialty is forensic science. She does autopsies regularly and in a very professional, matter of fact way. She is uniquely qualified to view mutilated bodies and remain unfazed. Yet this particular case, her first professional experience of necrophilia, shook her up. Does anyone have any theories as to why? Could it be that a necrophiliac is someone who does something that she ordinarily does professionally (i.e., dissecting dead bodies and taking samples from them), and it rattles her to see something that she does done for sexual purposes?

And we see another few leaves unfold in Mulder and Scully's relationship in this relationship. Mulder refers to Scully as a pretty woman. Mulder picks up on the fact that Scully is having difficulty with this case, and urges her to talk to him about it. She won't do so, because, as she tells the FBI therapist, she doesn't want Mulder to feel he needs to protect her... even though as she says, she trusts him "as much as anyone" and "with her life". Scully's need for independence and equality may be what keeps the two of them from becoming a full-fledged couple for so long. And we also see the two of them in an embrace for only the second time since the pilot, when it was just a super quick, impulsive, mostly one-sided hug on Scully's part after Mulder relieved her fears. This time Mulder holds Scully and strokes her hair while she sobs. Le sigh.
posted by orange swan at 5:20 PM on April 3, 2020 [2 favorites]

UFO guy "So you're saying a human did this?"
Mulder: "Yeah. If you want to call him that."

Excellent point about Scully's response.

Medical students are taught (by good instructors) to deeply respect cadavers. Dissection is for the body's owner's (and those who knew the body) benefit, in search of justice (now, and/ or for future victims).

Necrophilia/ desecration is the epitome of disrespect. Scully's deeply religious, also, and obviously shows deep empathy for cadavers, so I could see the horror coming from that angle. Even my view that bodies are meat, disrespecting a body - necrophilia, mutilation - is also deeply disrespecting the people who knew and cared for the person that it used to be even if those people might not find out. Multiply so if they do, or are made to be aware of it.

As for her nightmare, I wonder if it's alluding to her abduction (or does that happen later?)? Or when the creep morphs just like in the nightmare?

Caught the dig during the interview scene where professed deeply held religious beliefs are taken/ shown as a sign of "honesty" or "goodness."
posted by porpoise at 6:44 PM on April 3, 2020

Kudos to Nick Chinlund for managing to find a woman to marry him in 2005

Maybe I just know a lot of weird people, but I always assumed his performance in this episode got him a lot of action.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:40 PM on April 3, 2020 [1 favorite]

otoh, maybe we've been seduced into thinking of Scully (and Mulder) as, well, people rather than characters. Could just be a early 2nd season writer's flub qv. Mulder not believing the rape victim.

After thinking about it, I'd have expected Scully to be more furious than frightened/ disturbed. But maybe that's slightly older Scully.

But yeah, respect for the dead, her father recently passing away. Or writers having a brain fart.
posted by porpoise at 9:55 AM on April 4, 2020

The thing to remember about Scully at this point is that this is still fairly close to her abduction. There's a reason the UFO guy shows up here, the stuff that the killer does in this episode has some parallels to experiments described by abductees. Scully's out-of-character reaction could be triggered by those parallels as much as by the parallels between the killer's actions and what she does for her day job.

This episode always amuses me in that it pretty much boils down to an episode of Criminal Minds. There's a creepy serial killer, the FBI gets called in, FBI delivers a profile to the local cops, we get to see the killer doing creepy killer stuff, I think someone even uses the term "unsub"? I don't think Criminal Minds owes much to the X-Files in the way that, say, Bones does (Booth and Brennan are Mulder and Scully, the squints are the Lone Gunmen; tell me I'm wrong), but I think that the X-Files had a pretty undeniable influence in tone and style on a lot of crime dramas that followed it.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:33 AM on April 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Donnie Pfaster fans will be happy to know that the sequel to this episode, "Orison", now has a thread.
posted by orange swan at 8:30 PM on July 22, 2020

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