The X-Files: Alone   Rewatch 
August 25, 2020 7:33 PM - Season 8, Episode 19 - Subscribe

With Scully on maternity leave, Doggett is assigned an enthusiastic but inexperienced new partner, Agent Leyla Harrison, and together they investigate the murder of an elderly man and the disappearance of his son, in which the only clues are traces of slime by the body and on the window sill at the murder scene.
posted by orange swan (5 comments total)
Poor Leyla is what would happen to 95% of us if we fulfilled our daydreams of joining the X-Files. I don't remember much about this episode aside from that, but I do always enjoy it when we're shown random FBI members' opinions of the X-Files (usually quite a bit lower than hers).
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:42 AM on August 26, 2020

(And apparently Leyla Harrison was named after an X-Files fan who died of cancer, so it's very sweet that they made her namesake also a massive fan.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:43 AM on August 26, 2020

Yes, the Leyla Harrison character was created and named as a tribute to a X-Files superfan who had died of cancer in February 2001. No other show I've ever watched has had quite the relationship to its fans as the X-Files does. They incorporated things fans had said -- and sometimes, as in this case, the fans themselves -- into the text itself. In the X-Files universe, there are people, usually lovably nerdy people, who investigate/research/document the paranormal on an amateur basis, and who are aware of and admire Fox Mulder, and these people become a sort of meta fan base within the show. They follow his work avidly and are thrilled to meet him.

Leyla is a great character. She's smart, insightful, hard-working, professional, and though she's terrified out of her wits during this episode she holds it together and does whatever she needs to do -- she identifies this case as an X-file and she's even the one who cracks the case -- but yes, she doesn't belong in the field, or at least not in this particular field, because working the X-Files is a meat-grinder of a job, both physically and mentally. Still, it was neat to get this depiction of "what would happen to a fan who got to actually work on an X-Files case", and I like that she reappears in a later episode.

Doggett manages to treat Leyla with respect, patience, and kindness despite the fact that he's basically babysitting her rather than working with her, which is nice. The incredulous looks he gives her are still hilarious.

Scully's look when he asks if she'll be back after her maternity leave... surely Doggett must realize that single mom of an infant can't take the kind of risks or handle the kind of travel that working the X-files entails.

And then there's Doggett's look at Mulder and Scully when they're talking to Leyla, as though he realizes he's not a part of what they have and doesn't have what they have.

The monster itself wasn't bad, but I wish there had been a little more story development. How does Dr. Stites expect to get away with killing his own caretakers and FBI agents? Can he control his transformation into a salamander man at all? How does he feel about the fact that he's a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde?

Zach Grenier is so good at playing the guy you love to hate. Loved him on The Good Wife.

Mulder's been watching a lot of Oprah.
posted by orange swan at 12:24 PM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Harrison is, at least, so much better than the eventual Agent Einstein. The actor was 27, Anderson was 24 playing an older character in the pilot.

Nice dig on Mulder (and Scully)'s travel and other expenses.

Hydrolytic enzymes and eyes = permanent damage really quick. Though, when referring to enzymes, an enzyme that breaks down long chain starches (like salivary amylase) would still be called a hydrolytic enzyme but would be fairly benign even in the eyes. Hydrolytic enzymes in venom tend to target proteins and phospholipids, bad news for eyes.

Doggett's kindness shows a high level of emotional maturity. It seemed like he recognized that Harrison is way out of her depth - and she recognizes that too, whereas if it was some other young agent who was brash and stupid I'd imagine that he'd treat them a whole lot different, regardless of their gender.

Yes! Harrison asking Scully and Mulder about Antarctica worked on a lot of levels.
posted by porpoise at 9:40 PM on August 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

In retrospect, the last scene would have been a perfectly cromulent series ending for me, on a lighter tone.

It leaves the final resolution up to the viewer, without leaving too many loose ends.

For me, it would have been "fun" to consider:

What does Mulder do after being drummed out of the FBI?

Do Scully and Mulder shack up? If not, does Mulder get involved with the baby - and is he any good at it, if/ when he took it seriously?

Does Doggett walk the earth, solving X Files/ MoTW now that he's an initiate into being a believer?

Does Harrison level up offscreen and one day save Doggett's hide? Only to mysteriously disappear?

Does Skinner pull a Sgt. Zim and get busted down to Agent again to join Doggett?

Skinner: "I recall a case like this, they said it might have been some kind of Dilmun revenant that followed untrustworthy traders, but couldn't prove it. But that put a huge dent in the UAE sovereign fund and no-one knows where most of it went."

Doggett: "Huh, so that's what I saw in the Gulf. Go figure. Uncle Sam got revenant-ed. ... You ever see this kind of shit in 'Nam?

Skinner: ...

posted by porpoise at 10:07 PM on August 26, 2020

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