The X-Files: The Beginning   Rewatch 
June 24, 2020 8:09 PM - Season 6, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Following the events in Fight the Future, the X-files are reopened, but Diana Fowley and Jeffrey Spender are the agents assigned to it. Undeterred by their orders to cease all involvement in the X-files, Mulder and Scully unofficially investigate a case in Arizona involving the death of two Roush Technologies employees from an uncommonly virulent virus.
posted by orange swan (3 comments total)
Roush Roche, while based in Switzerland, has a research campus in Tucson, AZ... but it's almost a couple of hours drive to Phoenix so I'm probably stretching.

Ah, so Mulder does expense his international travel.

Not convinced that given the time and resources, even back then, that they couldn't have come up with at least a partial sequence of the virus that infected Scully - if the "DNA and proteins were terrestrial." They got a Southern blot band, so they would have been able to elute it off a gel, clone it (stick "handles" around the DNA so it can be amplified and manipulated more easily), and after that getting the sequence would be trivial, then using the elucidated partial sequence, walked the rest of the sequence of the virus.

Especially in light that a "blood test" detected the virus in Gibson. If you can test for it that quickly and that accurately, you've got at least a partial sequence to it.

Ugh, "junk DNA" again, and no, they wouldn't be able to tell from that gel that Gibson's was "turned on." A lot of other terrible science that I won't get into, not the least that Scully states that DNA sequence was in everyone (completely invalidating the conclusions from her original Southern blot) and developmental and spatial gene expression matters even more than something merely being expressed - especially if talking about telepathy/ brain. Apparently almost everything at the nuke plant was terrible, too.

Mulder doesn't have amazing taste in pocket knives. This looks like a Gerber EZ-out, albeit a 'First Production Run' model (possibly) in ATS-34 steel (instead of the bargain kiddie-toy version that they sold at Walmart with cheaper materials all-around including the garbage 440A steel). This model isn't particularly well designed, and Gerber had poor quality control problems around this time but Gerber's high-end knives were "cool" at the time. The bead blast finish is pristine for a 3 year old knife, so that particular knife probably hasn't ever been used for much other than envelopes or the occasional cellophane packaging on pr0n VHS tapes.

Kersh getting set up as an enigmatic/ confrontational boss - I'd be nervous too, if I previously had Skinner as a boss.

Neat fade between Mulder/ Duchovny and Spender/ Owens' faces.

I know I'm bitching and moaning, but there are still a lot of very good individual episodes remaining - the next 10 (before we run into Cassandra Spender again) are very strong and include some of my favourites. Drive, Triangle, Ghost/Christmas, Terms of Endearment, the Skinner dying episode, the one where Mulder and Scully pretend to the "The Petris (as in the dish)," and The Unnatural later on. The Groundhog-Day-at-the-bank episode. Come to think of it, S06 was generally good, mytharc episodes notwithstanding - until the season finale which I recall gave me (false) hope that the mytharc got fixed/ better.

There might only be 5 or 6 episodes in S07 that I really liked, and then... yeah.
posted by porpoise at 9:36 PM on June 24, 2020 [1 favorite]

So the prehistoric Grey had fangs. This one had claws. Intraspecific variation, they take some DNA cues from their hosts, or just writers saying "finding a broken tooth is silly, how about a broken nail"?

I'm not going to give them credit knowing that a tooth chip is less likely to have DNA (you need to get into the dentin past the enamel) whereas a nail, there can be residual epithelial (skin cells) along the underside of the nail - and given the gestation period/ age, unlikely to be worn/ groomed away.

Funny, though, that the broken nail fragment was in soft drywall but not the hardwood. Could be it got chipped and finally came off at the end of the stroke through the drywall.

I'm disappointed in Scully's handling of the nail fragment - she potentially contaminated it with her DNA by handling it with her bare hands.
posted by porpoise at 9:59 PM on June 24, 2020

It seems the fictional company Roush Technologies is a front company for the Syndicate, and takes its name from TV critic Matt Roush, who was an early cheerleader for The X-Files, rather than from the Swiss multinational healthcare company Roche.

Good performance from Sandy's co-worker. He goes from obnoxious and oblivious to Sandy's condition, to petrified and panicked. This is one of those cold opens that I found I remembered with perfect clarity.

That moment when the nuclear power plant employee shuffles off to check out the malfunction in the system whistling, "Put On a Happy Face", arghhh.

The film critic Janet Maslin had given The X Files movie a negative review, and in this episode Wendie Malick plays an FBI Assistant Director named J. Maslin, who considers Mulder and Scully's reports of the events in Antarctica wildly implausible, heh.

There's no way Gibson's abductors were doing actual brain surgery on him, because if they'd cut into his skull he wouldn't be able to be up and around the way he was. So, they just opened up his scalp... to do what, exactly?

I don't think Scully gets told she's just thinking about herself too often.

"You're a very special boy, Gibson."
"I'm a very special lab rat."

Diana Fowley and Jeffrey Spender as replacements for Mulder and Scully? Puh-leeze.
posted by orange swan at 3:48 PM on June 25, 2020

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