The X-Files: Signs & Wonders   Rewatch 
July 24, 2020 6:55 PM - Season 7, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Mulder and Scully go to Blessing, Tennessee, to investigate after a young man is found sitting in his otherwise empty locked car, dead of 116 snakebites from 50 different snakes.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
Why would Jared have had his sperm count tested? It seems like an odd possibility for such a young man with a pregnant girlfriend to have considered. I suppose he suspected that something was up with Mackey and Gracie and it was a test he could have done without involving anyone else, so he started there.

What on earth is Rev. Mackey trying to accomplish? Is the idea that he's a sexual predator, and/or trying to reproduce and have some snake babies?

I thought the characterization of Gracie and Jared was pretty good. It was totally realistic that, even having (recently) left their fundamentalist church, they were still too indoctrinated to be really functional.

Michael Childers turned in quite a performance as Enoch O'Connor.

Scully kicking in a door to save Mulder from the snakes is bad ass.

Scully: Snake handling -- we didn't learn that in catechism class.
Mulder: That's funny, I knew a couple Catholic schoolgirls who were expert at it.

I'm amazed that line, which seems to have been an ad-lib on Duchovny's part, made it in to the final edit. It is not a joke that plays well coming from a thirty-something man.
posted by orange swan at 4:28 PM on July 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Pretty believable snakebit dead body prop.

Mulder equivalizing snakehandling and communion felt a bit insensitive - if not outright mean - knowing Scully's depths of devotion.

The Catholic schoolgirl quip; I think "I knew" (and the unspoken "back in the day") does a lot of heavy lifting to make it just shy of icky.

Coming from Mulder, it feels out of character (albeit Fowley and tryhard posh English girl) - I wonder when Mulder lost his mojo?

Irish Finley was played by the incredibly prolific character actor Beth Grant.

That door kickdown had some great form.

This episode fought valiantly with 'First Person Shooter' and 'Fight Club' (I have no idea why that one was so lowly rated?!) as the lowest rated episode of the season.

Rev Mackey, I think this is just another iteration of "people with a little (supernatural) power in a small community behaving badly?" The supernatural snakes might be semi-illusory like the staple-remover snake that bit Finley, so people might have thought they saw snakes instead of a baby? Why the feud with Enoch?
posted by porpoise at 6:44 PM on July 25, 2020

If I remember correctly, there was one scene I thought was fairly clever - a scene that compared-and-contrasted two different church services, the snake-handling one where everyone was shouting and cheering and carrying on and really into it, and the more "mainstream" church which had all the passion, fervor, and import of a 2nd quarter corporate marketing team presentation. They kept cutting from one to the other in this sequence, and I thought it kind of illustrated that "okay, yeah, the snake handlers are wackadoo, but the alternative isn't perfect either."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:14 AM on July 27, 2020 [1 favorite]

I so much preferred the Bible study class at the liberal church -- they were taking an intelligent, informed, nuanced approach to their Christianity. The other scene made my skin crawl with its vapid emotionalism and mindless fervour. But then, though I am an atheist now, I grew up going to churches that were much like Rev. Mackey's church, and always hated Pentecostal church services whenever I happened to attend one with a friend or whatever -- they were quite a bit like Enoch's church, minus the snakes (and they did have electricity). The last time I went to such a service, the sermon mostly consisted of the youth pastor striding about yelling, "I"m tired of having my can kicked around by the devil!", and the band playing the same damn chorus over and over, and everyone getting very het up in response. It was so BORING.

The contrast makes me think of the political scene today, and how nuance simply doesn't attract or interest a lot of people, and so they go for empty rhetoric and fast talkers. The nuanced approach is a much more functional and effective way to govern, but it doesn't sell as easily, and so we wind up with smarmy salesmen as heads of state.
posted by orange swan at 7:30 AM on August 5, 2020

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