The X-Files: Home Again
February 8, 2016 9:19 PM - Season 10, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate the murder of a city official, which it seems no human could have committed. Meanwhile, Scully deals with a personal tragedy, which brings up many old feelings about the child she gave away for adoption.
posted by town of cats (64 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Scully:
  • Mother of a portentous child
  • Catholic
  • Predicted to never die
I'm figuring the immortality involves being assumed body and soul into the heavens. Just by aliens though, or the government, or government aliens or the aliens' government.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:51 PM on February 8, 2016


I pretty much agree with the AV Club review - I don't care about Mulder and Scully's son. I wish I did, but I just don't. They are pressing on it too heavily. I can imagine if they used a lighter touch, if it wasn't underlined so heavily when he was mentioned, that I'd be okay. It's a mystery and a question that's easier to relate to than Mulder's search for aliens or whatever. It could be used as a great metaphor, as X. But it's used as an excuse for lots of emoting.

Now, of course, I'd watch Gillian Anderson emote all day long. And, again, she makes this episode work. In spite of the content and not because of it. And the two stories don't parallel as neatly as Glen Morgan wants them to. It's a pity, given that Scully losing her father was a defining moment of the first season - and a defining moment for the character. Losing her mother here seems like a afterthought than a central part of the episode. It's so strange.

That said, lots of great spooky stuff. And some lovely moments with Mulder and Scully just being those two people who have known each other forever and remember "back in the day". That flashback to One Breath was a bit jolting - but just to see how much these two have aged over two decades, what a gift. (Honestly, the upside to the current nostalgia boom is not just getting to relive the 90s, it's getting to see people who have properly aged twenty years and making that feel part of the story.)

I have such mixed feelings about this return season - but after last week's laugh riot, there was still just enough character stuff this week to make it feel worth it.

And we're back to Chris Carter for the final two eps.
posted by crossoverman at 2:29 AM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


I kind of like that they're not ignoring William, it feels true to Scully's character that she would be tortured about it like this. People keep saying they don't care about William because we never got to know him, but we don't have to know him. The point is, Scully is consumed with regret. Her pain is the thing we're supposed to care about, and I do. (And Mulder is hurting too, I guess. More on that later.) This felt very much like an old school Mulder/Scully episode to me, flashing back to those days of quiet, intense talks in dark rooms.

But while Scully is feeling very Scully indeed to me (complete with Gillian Anderson putting some real heartbreak into lines that could sound a little blunt and artless if another actor was saying them) Mulder still hasn't quite clicked for me. I never bought the rap that Duchovny was a bad actor. To me Mulder just always seemed like kind of a dark, sarcastic guy who was prone to depression, and Duchovny was a natural at that but he could handle Mulder's other moods too. But I've had this feeling like he's maybe just kind of punching the clock in this season. I'm assuming the sixth episode will leave things open for more, and the show just does not work without Mulder. (Really, we tried that.) I'm hoping he finds a way to get invested again, because right now I think he's acting a little too much like the actor people always said he was.

I wasn't sure how to take all the stuff with the homeless relocation arguments. As far as I know Christ Carter is a lefty, but all the "Glenn Beck was right!" stuff in the pilot makes me wonder if he's gone wingnutty for real and this was supposed to be a statement about how the damn gubbmint is full of hypocrites who say they wanna help the poor but only care about themselves. (Felix Gaeta was a government rep telling the homeless people he was going to move them to a nice safe place while he was spraying them with fire hoses.) I'm not feeling well and hopefully somebody with a clearer head can explain why this isn't just some Fox News-y fantasy.

I'm REALLY hoping that in episode six we find out Tad is a bastard and Mulder's been misled yet again. I miss alien bounty hunters and Mulder's wisecracks about Republicans!
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:17 AM on February 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


They have discovered some serious hocus pocus because these stories are mediocre at best, and, yet, I continue to be filled with glee that we get to spend time with our old friends. I can't help it, I love those crazy kids. Gimme more!
posted by double bubble at 5:31 AM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Was it just me our was the editing really bad? It seemed like there were a lot of emotional scenes that unceremoniously broke off into a commercial. It was really jarring and took me out of the story.

The tie in between garbage monsters and William just didn't work for me. It felt like they were hammering a square peg into a round hole, realized it didn't work, and then just doubled down with including dying Momma Scully.
posted by gatorae at 5:48 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Based purely on the title, I was expecting this to be a "Home" follow up/homage, and so I think my brain forced itself into seeing references that weren't there (the very violent tone, the upbeat diegetic music before a murder).

Overall, though, this felt very X-Files Classic with all the good and bad that entails. It was nicely atmospheric, the visuals were cool, but the connection between the two stories was forced and splitting up Mulder and Scully (a move the show has always loved) deprives us of their chemistry which is a huge part of what makes the show good. I also don't care about William, but I never really cared about Samantha either, so having to sit unfeelingly through X-Files characters emoting about loved ones isn't new. I did like Scully's reaction to her mother dying (before William came up), and I think a lot of that is down to Gillian Anderson. In a 20 episode season, I think you get away with two unconnected plots without needing to make the lazy connection, and I think that might have been a better episode.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:57 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


This was my favorite "new" episode yet, if only for the scene at the beginning where Mulder and Scully show their badges - great angle! And for the "back in the day" exchange.
posted by tizzie at 6:41 AM on February 9, 2016


Oh, I really liked the upbeat ironic music before carnage; there's this whole dark humor when that happens anywhere that I love.

(It lead to an interesting moment at my apartment, though - my roommate isn't a fan, so she was in the kitchen while this was on; and when they started playing "Downtown", she started singing along, blissfully unaware of what was happening on screen. I didn't have the heart to tell her why I was laughing.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:33 AM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


So this is not a direct follow-up to "Home"? I can maybe watch it without lying awake in terror for days and weeks afterward?
posted by Flannery Culp at 8:00 AM on February 9, 2016 [5 favorites]


No connection to "Home" that I could make (thank goodness). Did I miss something?
posted by double bubble at 8:02 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Was it just me our was the editing really bad? It seemed like there were a lot of emotional scenes that unceremoniously broke off into a commercial. It was really jarring and took me out of the story.

I noticed that, too. Gillian Anderson would get me near tears then BAM commercial. I think it was also a disjointed episode going between the two stories so the overall effect was weird and the attempt at making the stories parallel was made even worse because of it.
posted by MaritaCov at 8:12 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


Scully deftly disarming the guy in the dark doorway and then handing the gun to Mulder like she was handing off a scalpel was hilarious. No chase, no one lost their gun... that was a thing of beauty. I had to run that scene back a couple times before I finished laughing. God, I've missed this show!
posted by heyho at 8:33 AM on February 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


Did I miss something?

There was some talk online before "Home Again" aired about the two episodes being related and it wasn't clear if that was a real thing or just speculation based on the title.
posted by Flannery Culp at 9:40 AM on February 9, 2016


They certainly went to the well of the most Vancouverest Vancouver actors who ever Vancouvered.

I miss believing Mulder. This is a guy who has seen an actual trash monster conjured up by belief and will (Arcadia) so his takedown of the tulpa felt completely out of character.

Maybe he's a Mandroid now?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:50 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


This is a guy who has seen an actual trash monster conjured up by belief and will (Arcadia) so his takedown of the tulpa felt completely out of character.

Tangent: in all the 20th-anniversary rah-rah interviews they were doing a couple years back, Duchovny told a story about that scene. They had him do the reaction shots to a stand-in because the guy wasn't ready, and they'd all been told that the makeup on the tulpa would be suitably horrifying. But....when the guy playing the tulpa came out of the makeup trailer, it didn't quite live up to its advance press.

And he says that the first AD muttered to him when the guy came out, "jeez, that looks like the guy who fucked Mrs. Butterworth."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:25 AM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


splitting up Mulder and Scully (a move the show has always loved)

This was something the show's producers did out of necessity, not as a matter of preference. Producing 26 hour-long episodes of an action and special effects-heavy show per season was no light task. Those who worked on the show would have loved to max out on the Scully and Mulder time, but it just wasn't possible to do it. Splitting them up meant that they could have two production teams shooting twice as much footage. Even at that, Anderson and Duchovny were on set 12 or more hours a day, five days a week, and hardly ever got a day off. I heard someone say on the DVD commentary that they didn't think they could have done the show at all in a pre-cellphone era, as Scully and Mulder's phone conversations were a crucial means for keeping the show centred on their relationship.

I kind of enjoyed this monster. What could be more satisfying than watching people who are taking fire hoses to the homeless get torn limb from limb and put out with the trash? I do agree with those who are saying Scully's grief over her mother and William doesn't fit thematically with the garbage monster matter, good as Anderson was at the actual grieving.

It was more than a little contrived that Scully suddenly has an estranged brother, Charlie, whom we've never heard of before. What was the back story on that? Margaret Scully was a such a loving, gentle person it's hard to imagine her ever having any conflict with anyone. Also, her last words were for Mulder, of all people. Not that Margaret was ever anything but nice to Mulder, but Scully's big brother Bill is going to love that, because he haaaaates Mulder (blames him for Melissa's murder and Scully's bout with cancer). I wonder if Scully ever took Mulder home for Christmas dinner or the like when they were together.
posted by orange swan at 12:57 PM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


It was more than a little contrived that Scully suddenly has an estranged brother, Charlie, whom we've never heard of before.

Charlie was never a major plot point, but he's existed since season one... always mentioned, never on screen.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:28 PM on February 9, 2016 [7 favorites]


I had to dig deep to remember about Charlie, really deep.

The William focus kills me but I think that's mostly postpartum emotions running amok.

I miss believing Mulder. This is a guy who has seen an actual trash monster conjured up by belief and will (Arcadia) so his takedown of the tulpa felt completely out of character.

Mulder still believes but he is more cautious about what he believes. He doesn't want to be hoodwinked so he's trying to align the monsters/creatures with lore. They are also probably trying to avoid viewers looking up a tulpa and contradicting how the show referenced it.

I thought the trash man part of the episode just kind of drifted off
I mean, all the people who were directly treating homeless poorly are gone and the face was changed but... Is that it?
posted by toomanycurls at 2:13 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I think Mrs Scully directing the "I had a son" comment to Mulder was the writer's way of removing doubt about what she was referring to. It could have been interpreted as a random rambling from a dying brain but this way Scully comes away convinced her mom's dying words are about baby William.
posted by double bubble at 2:27 PM on February 9, 2016


I was a little sad we didn't get to see big brother Bill Scully, who entertainingly haaaaated Mulder's guts. Bill was the "my son" Margaret Scully was talking about, but it's notable that Mulder's middle name is also William, not that Margaret would have any reason to remember that. (Fox William Mulder and Dana Katherine Scully, which I knew without googling and will remember until I DIE.)

I always liked Scully's mom and the actress who played her, so I'm both sad to see the character go and appreciative that she got major focus for an episode. Some of my favorite little moments from the original series were of Mulder and Margaret Scully interacting: Mulder trying with variable success to make a good "not a crazy person" impression, Margaret treating with slightly exasperated maternal fondness this incomprehensible prickly guy who would nonetheless do anything for Dana. I would've had to crawl through the TV screen and kick Mulder's ass if he didn't go see Margaret in the hospital.

I wonder if Scully ever took Mulder home for Christmas dinner or the like when they were together

When I win the lottery, I will personally bankroll an X-Files miniseries devoted entirely to this important and hilarious topic. Were Mulder and Bill forbidden to talk to each other about anything not food-related? Would Mulder come along to Christmas mass? Did Margaret and Bill have a quiet bet about when exactly Mulder and Scully officially hooked up non-platonically?
posted by nicebookrack at 2:53 PM on February 9, 2016 [9 favorites]


Dude makes an artsy graffiti golem and doesn't name him Danksy? Opportunity missed!
posted by Dr. Zira at 3:27 PM on February 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Nicebookrack: your comment in this thread is what finally made me mentally time-warp back to the 1990s when it was pre-WorldWideWeb and all we had was Monday-morning alt.tv.x-files quarterbacking. gizzie could come into this thread and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.

To thank you - and for the general amusement of the thread - I wish to recommend the fanfic "Happy Christmas, Your Arse" by this guy. (That archive does not allow linking to stories, so linking to the author is all I can do.) It was written in response to that Ed-Asner Lily-Tomlin episode set on Christmas Eve. This story is set on Christmas night, with Mulder dragging Scully out to the dive bar where he "usually" spends Christmas night with a bunch of weirdos and loners. At some point in the story Mulder and Scully slow-dance and sing along to Fairytale of New York.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 PM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Some of my favorite little moments from the original series were of Mulder and Margaret Scully interacting: Mulder trying with variable success to make a good "not a crazy person" impression, Margaret treating with slightly exasperated maternal fondness this incomprehensible prickly guy who would nonetheless do anything for Dana.

Yeah, those were good scenes. Mulder basically did the whole "nervous boyfriend meeting girlfriend's mother and trying to make a good impression even though girlfriend's mother knows he believes in little green men" thing. But as I said, Margaret was always nice to him, and I can easily believe that she was very accepting of him when he was Scully's common law partner and that Mulder and Margaret were genuinely fond of each other.


I wonder if Scully ever took Mulder home for Christmas dinner or the like when they were together

When I win the lottery, I will personally bankroll an X-Files miniseries devoted entirely to this important and hilarious topic. Were Mulder and Bill forbidden to talk to each other about anything not food-related? Would Mulder come along to Christmas mass? Did Margaret and Bill have a quiet bet about when exactly Mulder and Scully officially hooked up non-platonically?


Can't you just see Bill hate-passing Mulder the pickles and the gravy at dinner and "accidentally" falling on him when they play Twister?
posted by orange swan at 5:50 PM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't care about Mulder and Scully's son. I wish I did, but I just don't. They are pressing on it too heavily.

Hear, hear.
posted by homunculus at 7:35 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I thought the trash man part of the episode just kind of drifted off
I mean, all the people who were directly treating homeless poorly are gone and the face was changed but... Is that it?


There were a lot of oldschool monster-of-the-week episodes that played out exactly like this, where Mulder and Scully were just witnesses (or not even -- sometimes just trailing behind cleaning up after) as supernatural/paranormal forces killed off people they had grudges against and then went on their way.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:51 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


You're right about many motw episodes just ending without closure or explanation. Maybe the episode was just too unfocused, like they're cramming as much as possible into the 43 allotted minutes without really doing any specific arc justice.
posted by toomanycurls at 9:27 PM on February 9, 2016


I didn't get to watch this last night but I just caught up. And, wow, I liked this episode, way more than I was expecting to. Honestly, I procrastinated watching it because I am a "Home" hater and was worried that it would revisit that damn town, and I just wanted to wait and read some reviews before I watched it. "Home" is hard to watch in general and especially hard when you're pregnant and if they were going to be burying babies alive again I wanted a little warning. So I was very pleasantly surprised by this episode.

To me this was a bookend for a long, long character arc that began with Beyond the Sea. It had echoes of that episode - the meat-and-potatoes weird murder that might just be a serial killer, interleaved with the Scully family drama and the theme of what you do with unanswered questions when your parent passes and how you find resolution in your own mind for those questions, or whether you can. But the Scully that lost her mother in this episode is a very different person from the Scully who lost her dad in season 1. She's been through so much more since then. It's staggering the depth Gillian Anderson brings to this maturity (but also the fragility that comes with it) given how little time she really gets in the episode to flesh it out. I hope she wins awards for this performance.

I also really loved the meta questions in this episode about what obligations you have to the things you create. So fitting that in what may be a pretty brief opportunity to revisit these characters for the people who gave them life in the first place, the writers are grappling with this question. What does it mean, to be given another chance to bring back people you thought were gone? When you have so little time, what questions do you try to get answered? And how do you know they don't want to stay gone? Scully confronted this question in S1, too.

I think Beyond the Sea is a better episode, for sure. I could see how much they were trying to have the monster plot reflect and play off the family drama but it never really landed. And because it didn't land, both threads of the episode feel rushed and underserved. And I agree with basically everyone that it is very hard to give a shit about William. I feel bad because Scully's torn up about it and I GET that, she hasn't seen Mulder in ages and it seems like she's just kind of let her workaholic tendencies take over in the interim and all of a sudden she's falling into all these old patterns and thinking through all this old stuff she hasn't had to confront in years, and of course her mom picks now to up and die because if there's one thing you can count on XF to do, it's pile trauma after trauma on top of poor Dana Scully. But we, as an audience, have no reason beyond how much we care for Scully to engage with questions about this son, with whom the show spent little time, to whom it seemed none of the writers ever really managed to commit.

And, ha, now that I'm actually reading that AVClub review I linked, he basically winds it up with the same criticism. Scully, Mulder, I don't think you treated William like trash. I can't say the same of the writers of the late seasons of X-Files. That boy was never given a chance to be more than a plot device, and it bothered me then and it bothers me now. Resurrecting him and making him carry this miniseries in absentia is a cheap, chintzy thing to do.

But all those criticisms notwithstanding, I guess this episode just hit me where I live. The older you get, the more people you lose, the more you have to confront the fact that you can't go home again. Oof.
posted by town of cats at 9:59 PM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


Margaret was always nice to him, and I can easily believe that she was very accepting of him when he was Scully's common law partner and that Mulder and Margaret were genuinely fond of each other.

This episode had a lot of callbacks to "One Breath," the season 2 ep in which Scully is in a coma, and an ep that could make me cry like little else can make me cry. And some of the most devastating stuff about that episode is how Mulder comes raging into the hospital, hateful and furious about Scully's condition, and basically making the awful situation worse for everyone else there. Yet Margaret treats Mulder with such tremendous kindness and recognition of his pain. There's a bit when Margaret tells him that turning off Scully's life support is a private moment for family, but he can be there if he wants, aaaand that's when I start ugly-crying again.

Tying this back to "Home Again": a significant relevant point is that in "One Breath," Mulder is given the opportunity to get information and revenge from the conspiracy goons, and instead he chooses the "futile" gesture of staying with Scully as she's dying. He chooses Scully over his quest. In "Home Again," Scully tells Mulder that now she's choosing William over their quest.

I mostly care about William because Scully cares about William, but that's enough for me. I don't really care about the grand MythArc conspiracy anymore either, but I do care about how these characters I grew up loving will spend the rest of their lives. And there's no way Scully wouldn't spend her life haunted by William if she didn't find him again.

BRB UGLY-CRYING FOREVER

I propose in advance a Fanfare X-F rewatch pairing "Home Again" with "One Breath!"
posted by nicebookrack at 10:23 PM on February 9, 2016 [4 favorites]


nicebookrack, feel free to post said rewatch! I've posted like 95% of the XF Fanfare threads and you totally have my blessing to run with this one. I think it'd also be interesting, as I kind of implied above, to make it a trilogy with Beyond the Sea, but that already has an existing FF thread.
posted by town of cats at 10:37 PM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved the passive-aggressive contempt Mulder has for Philly. And the 76ers have a sense of humour about it.
posted by lmfsilva at 5:15 AM on February 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


crossoverman: I don't care about Mulder and Scully's son. I wish I did, but I just don't.

I felt like yelling at the screen "OK, I'LL GO BACK AND WATCH THOSE EPISODES, OR THE MOVIES, OR WHATEVER, FINE!" I have zero recollection of William, but I don't think I watched the last few seasons, and I definitely didn't watch the movies.


gatorae: The tie in between garbage monsters and William just didn't work for me. It felt like they were hammering a square peg into a round hole, realized it didn't work, and then just doubled down with including dying Momma Scully.

At first I didn't get it, but when Scully talked about being responsible for the things you create, even if they're gone from sight tied it all together for me, and prompted me to look over at our baby/kid video monitor. Seriously, having kids has made me all soft and sentimental in ways I didn't expect. I don't completely buy into Scully's comment: You are responsible. If you made the problem, if it was your idea... then you're responsible. You put it out of sight, so that it wouldn't be your problem. But you're just as bad as the people that you hate.

Again, as a parent, your kids are of you, but they are not you-you, and you can't really control them completely. They mirror you and pick up on your feelings, emotions and views of the world, but they also have their own thoughts and views, actions and reactions. Now I get that this is his anger incarnate, so it's not exactly having a kid and more like being guilty setting a bear trap and catching that bear, because you set it up to catch the bear and it worked.

For me, the idea worked, and the episode was beautiful.

Scully: Back in the day, did... we ever come across the ability to just... wish someone back to life?
Mulder: I invented it. When you were in the hospital, like this.
Scully: You're a dark wizard, Mulder.
Mulder: What else is new? (laughs)

Between the suitably creepy monster of the week (and none of the nonsense Big Government/Corporate Conspiracy), Scully's bad-ass disarming of that guy in the dark doorway, Mulder's jaded/mid-life crisis view of the supernatural, and the relationship between Scully and Mulder, I wanted this season to go on forever with this as the template. Just nix the William stuff, unless it's going to be more than a chance to see Scully in anguish over their decision to put their son up for adoption.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:08 AM on February 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


mstokes650: There were a lot of oldschool monster-of-the-week episodes that played out exactly like this, where Mulder and Scully were just witnesses (or not even -- sometimes just trailing behind cleaning up after) as supernatural/paranormal forces killed off people they had grudges against and then went on their way.

This episode lead me to think of the people in the office who might review the write-ups from Scully and Mulder. I pictured Fred and Sally, X-File Auditors. Fred is a work-focused skeptic, who is there to do his job and stick to the books, while Sally is a fangirl over the adventures of Scully and Mulder, but they must work together to audit or file the paperwork after each case. Fred doesn't like the lack of closure from investigations like this, and secretly keeps a file of "loose ends" in case he can close a case with some future case, while Sally tries to imagine what really happened while reading the reports from Mulder and Scully, trying to piece together the truth from their differing reports.

I'm tempted to re-watch the entire show and write up a silly little story per episode for this. In my mind, I'd draw some comics to go with them, but my skills are currently sub-par, and I'm easily distracted.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:14 AM on February 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


Scully: Back in the day, did... we ever come across the ability to just... wish someone back to life?

Another small, significant tie to "One Breath": that episode opens in flashback with Margaret telling Mulder a story about Scully as a child.

MARGARET: Once, when she was a girl... a very little girl... Dana was in the woods. It was autumn. She had always been a tomboy, unlike her sister Melissa. For her birthday, Dana’s brothers had given her a B.B. gun and were showing her how to use it. Their father had told them only to shoot cans... But in a patch of grass, Bill Jr. found a garter snake. And they began shooting. Wanting to fit in with her brothers, Dana also shot at the snake. It squirmed wildly, desperately fighting for life, but as the boys continued to shoot, the snake began to bleed. When she realized what she had done... Dana began to cry with irrevocable guilt. Through her tears, she was saying that... something was missing from the snake. She had taken something that was not hers to take. And although deathly afraid of snakes, Dana held the animal as if sheer human will could keep it alive. The snake, its blood on her hands, died. There was nothing she could do to bring it back.
MULDER: It’s too soon, Mrs. Scully. We can’t give up.
MARGARET: That day in the woods, I felt for my daughter. But at this moment, I know how my daughter felt.


We do also see a brief glimpse of brother Charlie, though only in flashback as a child.

Why yes, I did spend last night watching "One Breath" on my phone in bed at 3AM while crying. NO REGRETS!
posted by nicebookrack at 10:04 AM on February 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


This episode lead me to think of the people in the office who might review the write-ups from Scully and Mulder. I pictured Fred and Sally, X-File Auditors.


....i kind of get the sense, based on the previews, that that's kind of what next week's episode is gonna be about...

I don't mind the William-our-son mentions, but I have been getting a little annoyed with the amount of them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:45 AM on February 10, 2016


I'm tempted to re-watch the entire show and write up a silly little story per episode for this. In my mind, I'd draw some comics to go with them, but my skills are currently sub-par, and I'm easily distracted.

That would be awesome, but you may have trouble with one episode where an auditor actually shows up and audits them (and is appalled by the mileage and hotel expenses they rack up, IIRC, though the whole thing kind of gets overshadowed by everything else that happens later in the episode). Unless you can work that auditor guy into your story, maybe he's the Skinner-equivalent for Fred and Sally...
posted by mstokes650 at 12:21 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Or you could just employ a hand-wavey "he's part of a bigger government conspiracy to fool the people!" and connect it into this season's opening episodes.

I'll have to think on this, and probably review episode plots before I actually tackle writing any of this. Thanks for the tip!
posted by filthy light thief at 1:37 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Obligatory
posted by heyho at 3:31 PM on February 10, 2016


Something that didn't really sink in for me until later: Scully says, in so many words, that she plans to be there when Mulder finally finds his answers. That got lost while we were focusing on her grief, on the questions she'll never get answered. But Scully was saying she's in this for the long haul. Whether they become a couple again or not, she has no intention of them becoming estranged again. They're a team, to the end. How great is that?

I am a fan, but my girlfriend is an even bigger fan and it's so cute watching her geek out over the revival. When they did the crossed flashlight beams that formed an X, she actually squee'ed.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 8:13 PM on February 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


I think this episode is the first that points towards how good a revived X-Files could be. The greatest strength of this show has always been the chemistry between Mulder and Scully and we can see how much that has matured into a rich, comfortable rapport.

Every scene with them together is great. The conversation across the hospital bed, in particular, felt so real.

It is unfortunate that the structural problems of the script held it back from perfection. The Trashman was a good monster of the week, but they really stretched to have the two plot lines resonate with each other. Glen Morgan talked to Entertainment Weekly about this episode, and he concedes that he would have done it as two episodes if he could. (He also talks about how this episode related to "Home" in his mind.)
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:45 AM on February 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Has there been talk about another season after this one? (PLEASE SAY YES)
posted by entropicamericana at 8:42 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think the idea is that this is Fox's (or at least 10:13's) attempt at a prestige series that could run short seasons worked around the schedules of the primary contributors. I don't know what kind of ratings it would have to do to justify another season, though.

I don't have a specific source for that. It is just what I've gathered from interviews.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 9:35 AM on February 11, 2016


I found Mulder's response to the artist really unbelievable. They've faced similar monsters so Mulder KNOWS they can and do exist. This one struck me more like a modern day Golem (which would also explain the violence). Considering all the evidence, Mulder's sudden skepticism is just inexplicable. That Scully who ALSO knows these things exist doesn't push back against Mulder when he dismisses the possibility is equally odd, although somewhat explained by her being involved in her own emotional drama.

The drama with Mama Scully and William seemed really contrived to me. I wondered how they were going to get back into the larger story arc after last week and this was just a totally awkward and forced to me and as a result ALL the storylines suffered.

And if I have to hear one of them say "I want to believe" ONE MORE TIME, I may quit the show for good because of that alone.
posted by miss-lapin at 10:29 AM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Poor James Wong, refusing to be like the rest of the cool X-Files kids and use "I want to believe" in his script for season ten. History will vindicate his decision to go with "believe me, you can't unsee that" instead.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 12:16 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I found Mulder's response to the artist really unbelievable. They've faced similar monsters so Mulder KNOWS they can and do exist

I didn't hear it like, I heard it more of as a "Well, ACTUALLY...."
posted by entropicamericana at 12:46 PM on February 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


I cannot believe they brought Sheila Larken back and just had her lying in a hospital bed.

I really wish they would quit writing scenes where Scully is upset and Mulder just makes faces. It just highlights that for whatever reason Duchovny doesn't have the range as this character. He's great at the dry humor stuff so effing highlight that skill. Gillian Anderson just runs laps around him on emotional range.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 1:18 PM on February 11, 2016


Sadly, I can't find a Youtube clip of the exchange between David Duchovny and Julianne Moore at the end of Evolution that showcases his emotional range.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 1:40 PM on February 11, 2016


I don't remember where I saw it, but Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny said in an interview that they were approached about doing a series reboot, but because of their schedules could only commit to six episodes for now. The plan is to see how successful this is, then, if it's popular enough to greenlight, both Gillian and David said they'd be game for doing a proper series. (I want to say that there was some sort of warm-up show before the first episode aired.)
posted by heyho at 2:09 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I did not expect to like this episode nearly as much as I did. Everything about it just worked, even the ham-handed William stuff that I didn't like about the other episodes. Though I agree with the other folks who pointed out that Gillian Anderson's amazingness is fully 100% of why the William stuff is working. I still don't care, but I care that Scully cares.

IIRC, "Founder's Mutation" was originally supposed to come after this one? The William scenes in "Founder's Mutation" would have made so much more sense coming after this episode rather than just dumped in our laps like they were.

Between the suitably creepy monster of the week (and none of the nonsense Big Government/Corporate Conspiracy), Scully's bad-ass disarming of that guy in the dark doorway, Mulder's jaded/mid-life crisis view of the supernatural, and the relationship between Scully and Mulder, I wanted this season to go on forever with this as the template.

Couldn't agree more.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:24 PM on February 11, 2016


Right. So I looked into it, and the original episode order was apparently: My Struggle -> Home Again -> Were-Monster -> Babylon -> Founder's Mutation -> My Struggle II.

I can sort of see why you wouldn't want to follow this episode with Were-Monster, necessarily, but the resulting emotional arc around William ends up really disjointed in the episode order we got. Ah, well, it wouldn't be a FOX sci fi show if the episodes didn't get rearranged seemingly at random for broadcast.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:33 PM on February 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


And I'm still hating the "My Struggle" nonsense, I mean come on.
posted by tobascodagama at 4:34 PM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


The plan is to see how successful this is, then, if it's popular enough to greenlight, both Gillian and David said they'd be game for doing a proper series.

I'd rather they just give it away. Or, if they must make more, just do 6 eps every few years. I wouldn't want another full season, if this is the quality to expect. Though, honestly, this all feels like it's been rushed - the revival was announced less than a year ago. And I know it's only 6 episodes, but given the actors' other commitments, I feel like these episodes were done in a hurry.
posted by crossoverman at 5:51 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Home Again would have made for a more natural follow-up to My Struggle, in the sense that monster-hunting seems a little more new to Mulder and Scully here, and Mulder's "this IS back in the day" line would have been a nice way of kicking things off. Founder's Mutation did feel a little too in media res, like we'd missed some things. But My Struggle was pretty serious, dark stuff, and I can see how going from that right into the death of Scully's mom might feel like too much of a downer. (The goofy tone of Were-Monster might have seemed jarring after a genuinely tragic episode like Home Again, too.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:36 PM on February 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


The miniseries is only six episodes wrong and Fox still can't air them in the right order?!
posted by nicebookrack at 9:17 PM on February 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


They'll probably cancel it after episode five and show the finale in 2018.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 10:36 PM on February 11, 2016 [6 favorites]


The finale will only be available on the DVD as a bonus feature, but they'll greenlight a new season, and that season's finale will assume audience knowledge of the unaired finale for the previous season.

Not that I'm still mad about how Dollhouse was treated, or anything.
posted by tobascodagama at 3:09 PM on February 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


Seriously, if you made a 2-episode season for Fox, I think they'd just swap the premiere and the finale. BECAUSE WE CAN.
posted by town of cats at 4:25 PM on February 12, 2016 [4 favorites]


“I want to believe—I need to believe—that we didn’t treat him like trash.” It’s a bit obvious, but this is a strong closing line, and it’s so good it almost makes me reconsider the rest of the episode.

I had completely the opposite reaction to this line.

There were some shockingly bad shots in this, the steadycam/POV ones I thought were terrible, but the shot with the crossing torches was excellent.

Honestly, though, this season hasn't connected with me much (and wouldn't have even in the 'correct' order.

If they'd ended Mein Kampf with "We have to re-open the X-Files" and kicked off with this pedestrian murder case I think I'd have gotten whiplash. Of course, I'm still wondering why they re-opened the X-files in the first place (and where are Doggett and Reyes... did they even survive the series? I've got no idea. Probably).

Count me in as somehow who doesn't care about William, but is watching because it's nice seeing the X-Files on TV again, even if it is middling.

On the other hand, I did like the concept of the Trashman...for a while.
posted by Mezentian at 12:53 AM on February 13, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to say as someone who lives in Philly that this was the least Philly-looking Philly that ever Phillied.
(And it's always fun to hear real addresses spouted off, but, uh, that field office is allegedly in the ritziest neighborhood in the city.)
posted by desuetude at 12:17 AM on February 15, 2016


now look here, this post does not concern the current episode, which, well, I have a powerful need to post DUB TEE EFF into the interwebs. THE FIST RINGS.
posted by mwhybark at 8:43 PM on February 15, 2016


This is the second best episode of this series so far and it's basically half an idea not executed well.
posted by Artw at 8:09 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Art, which episode are you referring to? Episode four or episode five?
posted by mwhybark at 6:47 PM on February 16, 2016


Episode four - episode five is fucking garbage.
posted by Artw at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not able to watch episode five until the weekend, but I have seen the gif on io9 (um... spoilers?) and I am fully prepared to buy in to your thesis.

Hell, I'm pretty much wondering if it's the worst X-files ever.

Six episodes and... that is what they came up with?
posted by Mezentian at 11:44 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The GIF doesn't play "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk" so it's not really capturing the scene properly.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:43 AM on February 17, 2016


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