The X-Files: Per Manum   Rewatch 
August 19, 2020 7:55 PM - Season 8, Episode 13 - Subscribe

A man comes to Scully and Doggett claiming that his pregnant wife gave birth to an alien baby, and that her doctors stole the infant and murdered his wife. Far-fetched as his story is, it has uncomfortable parallels with Scully's own history.
posted by orange swan (6 comments total)
This episode makes no sense. Why would the conspiracy want Scully to believe that she is carrying an alien baby that they will try to steal from her? What were they trying to accomplish when they sent Duffy Haskell to her with his story? Why all the other shenanigans with Knowle Rohrer?

The only thing (other than the alien newborn cries, which were pretty freaky) that redeems this episode are the moments between Mulder and Scully. Though you'd think they'd want to discuss the prospect of having a child together a little more.

That was Megan Follows in the cold open, and I never recognized her or knew it until today!

Knowle Rohrer is such an odd name.

"Per manum" means "by hand" in Latin. What does that refer to, Mulder's contribution to Scully's baby-making endeavour?
posted by orange swan at 4:48 PM on August 20, 2020

Oh, another thing -- we saw more of Doggett's intolerance for being lied to in this episode. And that he's not one to be passive aggressive. He flatly accused Scully of lying to him. Even Scully, who is a very direct person, is not that blunt.

I get the feeling he has suspected Scully is pregnant for some time -- remember, he's a formerly married man who had a son, so he would recognize the signs -- but while he'll call her out on lying, he won't ask her if she's pregnant because it would be an invasion of Scully's privacy.
posted by orange swan at 7:10 PM on August 20, 2020

I really like Adam Baldwin in several of his roles, and iirc* he's an effective recurring character here, but the actor's politics are vile (this is the ass who christened and vocally supported GamerGate, among other issues).


Rohrer is a Swiss-German surname, meaning roughly a "swath of reeds."

Knowle is Saxon for a small hill (like, a knoll; I've heard that they're sometimes grassy).

Shit. His name is fucking "Grassy Knoll"?

You set me up, didn't you? You knew already!

'Anne of Green Gables' is Canadiana enough that I'm passing familiar with it being of an age. Looks like Follows had a steady career.

I like that interpretation! Similar to in vitro fertilization, the fertilization being done in glass vessel, implanting the resultant embryo(s) would be "by hand." ... as opposed to, er, per penem.

It could be a reference to the C-sections, but I like your implantation idea better.

Being a straight-line OODA junkie, Doggett needs accurate information from his Observe stage in order to Orient and Decide in order that his chosen Act will lead to as optimal an outcome as possible.

He probably projects on those around him his value of accuracy and of parsimonious entirety of information. The truth, the whole truth, (but leave out irrelevant bits). Even if that information may be detrimental to him, he feels the need to know the entirety in case it's relevant.

His potential character flaw may be his error rate when determining what is relevant and irrelevant, and how those distinctions change based on what he actually wants. The catch-22 being, it becomes a chicken/ egg problem, which is great for character development.

I like how the show writes a very masculine Doggett, and deliberately written without toxic manifestations of it. A mean feat especially given a lot of the writers' other failings. Or am I not picking up on stuff?

"So I'm the X-Files now? Just me?"

Shows to me that Doggett is inherently curious, a trait associated with intelligence.

The instant loyalty is tempered by that honesty and loyalty needs to go both ways for him, as shown by his followup dialogue.

*!OMG! I just remembered. Lucy Lawless! Squee!
posted by porpoise at 9:24 PM on August 20, 2020 [1 favorite]

you'd think they'd want to discuss the prospect of having a child together a little more

Apologia for the show - I definitely headcannon that Scully (because she's Scully) brings up questions of genetic counseling, borders/ boundries, child rearing, next of kin, what to tell the kid - and when, etc. after the initial agreement and that both parties end up being copacetic enough (or respect each other enough to think that they'll figure it out amicably, before having to actually do it) to proceed.

But iirc, the show reveals that was likely not the case?

But yeah, ripe grounds to explore both characters were those scenes written and filmed.

Why would the conspiracy

Isn't there a new/ different/ splinter faction that shows up soon?
posted by porpoise at 9:44 PM on August 20, 2020

See, okay, this is why I am so firmly insistent that they didn't Do It in "all things". If they had had sex, then why not just propose the old-fashioned way?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:54 AM on August 21, 2020

Because Scully supposedly didn't have any eggs left -- they had all been removed by whomever experimented on her. Having sex wasn't going to get her pregnant. Mulder had found one of her ovum in an earlier episode, and so they were going to do IVF on it.
posted by orange swan at 11:54 AM on August 21, 2020

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