The X-Files: Babylon
February 15, 2016 9:13 PM - Season 10, Episode 5 - Subscribe

When an art gallery that's showing potentially offensive artwork is bombed, Mulder and Scully seek some way to communicate with the comatose bomber in order to prevent a future attack. Meanwhile, a pair of younger FBI agents on the case (guest stars Robbie Amell and Lauren Ambrose) push Mulder and Scully to examine their own beliefs as Scully seeks answers from neuroscience and Mulder from mysticism.
posted by town of cats (115 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
[MUSH] [ROOM]

Not that they really work that way. I think Einstein dosed him up with something more potent.

That was a weird television episode. I feel weird now.
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 9:32 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


FINALLY. I have been WAITING for the Lone Gunmen to show up!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 9:39 PM on February 15, 2016


That was bizarre. I loved Mulder's trip, but I found the episode dissatisfying overall.
posted by selenized at 10:01 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't know what to think. I loved all the meta stuff, but the plot...the Muslim extremist suicide bombing stuff, in Texas, it all just felt incredibly crass.
posted by desuetude at 10:39 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


My reaction is the same one Krusty the Clown had after he screened Worker and Parasite.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 10:52 PM on February 15, 2016 [7 favorites]


Me too, lefty.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:57 PM on February 15, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is not clear to me what I just watched, but despite the message of this episode, I think it lacked weight. This was a glib and facile take on religion and extremism. I sincerely hope next week's episode is better because I'd hate for the series to sink any lower than this.
posted by wabbittwax at 11:04 PM on February 15, 2016 [2 favorites]


During the final scene, I was thinking "this could go one of two ways" but since they didn't end up in adjacent bathtubs, it was in fact a car commercial, not an ad for Cialis.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:08 PM on February 15, 2016 [9 favorites]


Except for Tripping Mulder, that was rough.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 3:00 AM on February 16, 2016


I've had such lowered expectations over the last four weeks that I actually didn't mind this episode, though I found the use of suicide bombers to again feel like "hey, it 2016" without really exploring anything about that. I enjoyed the younger agents and, to be honest, Lauren Ambrose as a mini-Scully made this episode worth it.

This felt like the X-Files that I used to like watching.
posted by crossoverman at 3:01 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Who got this episode of "24" in my X-Files?
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 3:16 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


...did we just get backdoor piloted? Because I'm on board for the adventures of Alternate Universe Claire Fisher and Uninteresting Firestorm.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:31 AM on February 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


It sounds like they considered the possibility of spinning off the younger agents at one point, but they aren't under contract for a new series.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:15 AM on February 16, 2016


This was the bad kind of weird. Also, surprisingly tone deaf.
posted by codacorolla at 5:34 AM on February 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


Yeah, it was a throwback to those once or twice a season episodes where Chris Carter tries to get like, all deep and stuff. I'm surprised there were no Native Americans leading Mulder on his vision quest. Buried in a full season of episodes, those were okay, but here as a sixth of the output... not so much.

Still, they did use a Tom Waits song which means Tom had to sit down and review the episode before signing off. I can imagine him trying like hell to understand what is going on. He expresses his hesitation and Carter is like, "Your song would be in the weird boat scene." and Tom would be "I'm all about weird boat scenes. Approved."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:42 AM on February 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


How did the episode end? After it cut to Mulder's Cabin of Isolation all I could hear was wah-wah sounds like they were the adults in Peanuts. Probably because I was making them.

While there were a few redeeming things like Mulder's acid trip and the AA-League X-Files team, this was kind of uncomfortable. And not in a, "I am being personally challenged," uncomfortable. More like, "Uncle Ted's drunk and campaigning for Trump at the dinner table," uncomfortable.

Honestly, I would have been fine with the setup, terror cell and all, if they had actually put some effort into humanizing the characters instead of making everyone into a horrible caricature. I appreciate that they didn't go with the easy X-Files way out by making the terror cell actually controlled by some brain parasite living in their prayer rugs or something. But they didn't do the hard way well. The only reason I didn't find it offensive was because I knew that they were trying to go counter to the show's natural instincts. Otherwise, I just found it preachy and uncomfortable.
posted by charred husk at 6:03 AM on February 16, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also, who knew there was an uncanny valley for Mulder and Scully-alikes, and that Miller and Einstein would fall into it so quickly and be unable to get out?
posted by lefty lucky cat at 6:45 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


If "Were-Monster" was mostly fun with a little old-fogey tone-deafness sprinkled in, this was the opposite.

Again, I bet they were being really progressive with the mother coming in at the end and then a bunch of speechifying about love. It just doesn't balance out the way the terrorists were portrayed as frightening and alien in the rest of the episode. Its a visual medium!

If "Home Again" had two storylines that didn't quite sync up this was way worse.

And then, instead of doing any real work to humanize the Muslim characters, they spend the time with Mulder tripping on shrooms and the junior squad. That would have been a good episode in itself, but stuck in here it is hard to appreciate it because it adds to the offense of the other half.

Re: Uncanny valley: As obvious as Mulder and Scully's chemistry is from day-one, these two really seemed like they didn't like each other at all. And very poor partner communication. They'll probably get each other killed before too long.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 6:53 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


FINALLY. I have been WAITING for the Lone Gunmen to show up!

Me too, but I was hoping that we'd somehow get something a little more substantial than that. This whole episode, really, just felt sort of insubstantial despite its apparent efforts to be deep.

And I liked mini-Mulder and mini-Scully each separately just fine, but they do not have anything like the chemistry with each other that Duchovny and Anderson had on day one. Just made me appreciate how rare that kind of chemistry is and how incredibly lucky we were that the two of them got cast together back in the day.
posted by mstokes650 at 7:04 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing the writers have never looked at a map of Texas, either. Southwest? Where the hell were they? Del Rio? I'm assuming Miller and Einstein were both from South Detroit.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 7:07 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing the writers have never looked at a map of Texas, either. Southwest? Where the hell were they? Del Rio?

The airport had a sign that clearly read TEXAS. I don't know what more you could ask for; they were in TEXAS.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:26 AM on February 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


You know, the Vancouver part of Texas.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:31 AM on February 16, 2016 [14 favorites]


This was very much a Fox episode of X-Files. Othering. Terrorist paranoia. Anti-immigration sentiment. No-one calling out the nurse for her speech on how she hates her tax dollars being used to support them muslim immigrants. Religion and god preachifying. Bleurgh. Mrs. Fimbulvetr is an unabashed X-files fan. She loves everything X-Files, including the crappy episodes. Even she was yelling at the teevee last night.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:45 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Also, no-one called out the nurse on all her speechifying on how she hated her tax dollars being wasted on muslim immigrants, the fact that she tried to kill the guy in the hospital. Blathering on about the large un-assimilated muslim population in ... Texas???

I agree with He Is Only The Imposter. Someone dropped the scripts for an episode of X-Files and 24, the pages got all mixed up, and they just went with it.
posted by fimbulvetr at 7:49 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


When the episode started, I hoped, against all logic, that maybe the two young men we were following were just nervous about a job interview or some other thing and that maybe the bombing that seemed inevitable would have been perpetrated by some government conspiracy or a white Christian nutjob.

Alas.

The last two episodes were the X-Files. This? Nope.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:50 AM on February 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


the Muslim extremist suicide bombing stuff, in Texas, it all just felt incredibly crass.

ALL of the antagonists in this episode (the bombers, the rogue agents looking for revenge, the wacko nurse babbling on like a SovCit) made the episode feel more like a FOX News viewer's fever dream than an episode of X-Files. It was all pretty offputting.

Mulder's trip was fun, and Einstein and Miller doing their Millennial version of Scully and Mulder was giggly entertaining, though.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:57 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I guess it did a good job of demonstrating that unlike in the 90's, conspiracy theory paranoia is now firmly the domain of right wing nutters.
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:02 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


That was fucking awful, even for the generally awful new series.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


On the plus side no mention of DNA baby.

I assume the finale will be all DNA baby, all the time.
posted by Artw at 8:07 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


The last episode is called Mein Kam -- er My Struggle, just like the first one and it's centered on Scully. So, probably, that's what's happening.

Is it too late to go back and hire Bryan Fuller to do a re-imagined fever-dream version of the X-Files where the aliens are deeply in love with Scully and want to make her eat Mulder after fermenting him in cooking Sherry so she can become one of them?
posted by wabbittwax at 8:12 AM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


... or maybe a reboot featuring Mads Mikkelson as Mulder and Hugh Dancy (in a red wig, obvs) as Scully.
posted by wabbittwax at 8:13 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Haven't seen this episode yet, but yeah. My general reaction to all of this is that Chris Carter really needs to hand the show off to somebody else now, please and thanks.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:14 AM on February 16, 2016


In more pleasant news Vince Gilligan is still good.
posted by Artw at 8:16 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


BRB, imagining a world where FOX sold the X-Files to AMC and Vince Gilligan became the showrunner.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:19 AM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Im hoping there will be some kind of series retro post, because I certainly have some thoughts on What Went Wrong.
posted by Artw at 8:21 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


No-one calling out the nurse for her speech on how she hates her tax dollars being used to support them muslim immigrants.

Does it really need to be verbally called-out when it was clear that the audience was supposed to identify her as a nutter? (based on Einstein's reaction, the contrast with the mother, etc.)
posted by AndrewInDC at 9:21 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


The attempted murder...
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


We were supposed to see her as an agent/plant, I think, linking up to the Arabic speak Homeland Security people. The crazy talk was walking that back.

It does feel like a huge chunk of the episode was cut. I would not be surprised to learn there was a version that had the terrorists recruiting by going after closeted Muslin men the way you hear about ISIS recruiting random teens. There was this undercurrent theme of "belonging" that ran through the episode.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:30 AM on February 16, 2016


You know how terrible I think this was? I thought the transphobic episode (Were-Monster) was still better than this trash fire of an episode. I audibly groaned at the opening prayer scene and it didn't get any better from there. #TheXFiles hashtag is usually full of superfans and even they hated it (except for the ardent shippers, at the very end).

The only reason I hung in there - the only reason I ever keep watching a terrible episode - is Scully. I would have felt more entertained watching her read the phone book for an hour. I will reluctantly watch the finale for the same reason, but my expectations have been lowered considerably.
posted by desjardins at 10:00 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I wasn't sure whether the Arabic-speaking homeland security guys were supposed to be genuine, or were supposed to be terrorists trying to bluff their way in to finish off the blown-up guy so he couldn't talk.
posted by fimbulvetr at 10:11 AM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


I liked how the DHS guys were able to just ghost once Miller tried to photograph them. Kids today, sheesh... put down your cell phone and chase those guys! You're an FBI agent! You don't even have to chase him down a sewer drain like Scully did last week!
posted by lefty lucky cat at 11:49 AM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


%n:
"When the episode started, I hoped, against all logic, that maybe the two young men we were following were just nervous about a job interview or some other thing and that maybe the bombing that seemed inevitable would have been perpetrated by some government conspiracy or a white Christian nutjob."
I was hoping that the misdirection was that they were actually car salesmen (with the talk about blessing their voices and whatnot) and they would do one of those goofy, "Uh oh, looks serious - nope! Lol its totally mundane," things. Alas.
posted by charred husk at 12:02 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I doubt I was five seconds in before thinking "oh no, this'll be a terrorism one", then I thought it might be the fake out but no.

What I wasn't expecting was the back and forth between hamfisted seriousness and hamfisted comedy, so I guess they surprised on that point?
posted by Artw at 12:05 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


(The thing that tipped me off it would be a terrorism one was that someone was depicted as Muslim on screen.)
posted by Artw at 12:07 PM on February 16, 2016 [13 favorites]


By this time, I think it's fair to say a TV writer who unironically portrays a Muslim as a terrorist without any misdirection has declared himself a hack who needs to be put out to pasture.
posted by wabbittwax at 12:32 PM on February 16, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh, I feel bad for Kumail Nanjiani having to watch that.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


By this time, I think it's fair to say a TV writer who unironically portrays a Muslim as a terrorist without any misdirection has declared himself a hack who needs to be put out to pasture.

This episode, like the Mein Kampf ones, was written by Chris Carter. So, yeah. Completely agreed there.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:44 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I would have believed the terrorism plot more with two Caucasian men of that age.

Reading between the lines of the tripping sequence: CSM is at the center of global terrorism??

I'm kind of tired of them shoving in throwbacks to the original series. It reminds me of the way the Hobbit movies worked so hard to remind people of LotR. It's painful and I'd rather have new quips to quote.

Anyone else see FBI swat guy trip and eat it during the raid?
posted by toomanycurls at 12:55 PM on February 16, 2016


This whole season is feeling like Chris Carter was shooting for a Clyde Lewis vibe, but accidentally got mired in the fever swamps of Alex Jones.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


Right. The overall feeling of this season has been more Infowars, compared to the Coast to Coast/In Search Of... vibe that earlier seasons had. For the worse, absolutely for the worse.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:19 PM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Anyone else see FBI swat guy trip and eat it during the raid?

I mean, you got a room full of guys with explosives, and you're gonna burst through the windows like that? I don't know why I expected any realism by that point (and from a show about the paranormal to boot) but that was a real OH COME THE FUCK ON moment.
posted by desjardins at 1:48 PM on February 16, 2016


Well, you know, they'd gotten a random hotel name out of someone's drug trip, they have to go all in...
posted by Artw at 1:56 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


Also, when you need to do some soldering, a great place to work is at a table laden with explosives.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 2:03 PM on February 16, 2016 [10 favorites]


You see, Ivan, when hold soldering iron like me you never solder the inaccurate because of fear of exploding fingers.
posted by tobascodagama at 2:09 PM on February 16, 2016


I feel we were robbed of Mulder and Scully trying to convince the people in charge to authorize a raid based on information whispered to an agent while in a drug induced trance.
posted by toomanycurls at 2:16 PM on February 16, 2016 [8 favorites]


I thought the mushroom sequence was too long by about 95%, the line dancing thing could have been a cute WTF gag but it went on and on until it was excruciating. (It was like Hollywood AD condensed into a few minutes and that is NOT A GOOD THING.) The rest of the episode was a pretty bumpy ride. The tone shifts were bizarre, it was quite serious and then it was a goofy comedy WTF episode and then it got serious again. I liked the Mulder and Scully TNG kids fine, although my girlfriend thought the lady agent was a shrill caricature poorly played.

I THINK Carter meant well with the terrorist stuff, but it was a clumsy execution. By saying the one terrorist guy decided not to go through with it (according to his mom) and having him give Mulder the clue in the hallucination, and also showing the awful pickup truck people and the homicidal racist nurse, and having Mulder and Scully talk about how bad it is to justify your killing in the name of any religion, it seemed like Carter was TRYING to avoid the "all Muslims are evil terrorists" thing. But the execution there was clumsy at best. (I wish that at the very least we'd seen the guy change his mind before the bombing, but then we would have lost Carter's arty long shot of the gallery exploding.)

I could believe Mulder would take mushrooms for the sake of a case, that his experiment would work and that it would turn out he hadn't even taken the mushrooms. That's just how things seem to go for Mulder sometimes. I liked the scene at the end where Mulder and Scully have one of their on-the-nose but strangely affecting Chris Carter talks, and we hear the sky trumpets. And as I said, I was fine with the younger agents, that stuff landed on the right side of cute for me. But this episode was kind of a mess any way you look at it, and this new season makes me think that while Carter may be still capable as a showrunner or punching up dialogue in somebody else's script, his days of actually writing a good script may be well behind him.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 2:39 PM on February 16, 2016 [5 favorites]


Oh look, here's the return of another forgotten nostalgic feeling for me: cringing in secondhand embarrassment for The X-Files! From the Muslim terrorist plot handled with all the subtlety of a landbound penguin to the airport labeled simply "TEXAS," I had to hide behind a shame-pillow for most of this episode.

In a just world, Mulder and Scully would say "Come to Texas" and the two sets of agents turn up confused and separated in the Houston and Dallas airports, because no one was more specific than the state. In "southwest Texas" you can fit ALL OF ENGLAND.

Robbie Amell has some blood sacrifice black magic working on his behalf with his Hollywood agent or something. I mean, I like him fine as the pleasant, generically handsome Hollywood white guy he is. But in like a year he's gone from Firestorm 1.0 / less-charismatic Amell cousin to Wannabe Mulder / Hollywood It Boy in the next Kevin Spacey movie. Go Team Amell?
posted by nicebookrack at 3:43 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


The slightly wooden child actor playing mini-Mulder? Though I guess that could be direction since wotsit from Sux Feet Under wasn't much better in her role.
posted by Artw at 3:46 PM on February 16, 2016


The only redeeming thing was Lauren Ambrose. They should have figured out a way to work her in from the beginning of this season.
posted by double bubble at 6:22 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


For the record - and I hope someone in Hollywood is reading - very few people in Texas airports wear cowboy hats. Very very very few. Maybe one.
posted by double bubble at 6:24 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Mulder and Scully are waking through a field holding hands and I'm too bummed out from this episode to care
posted by betsybetsy at 6:30 PM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe in your part of Texas, but they very specifically set the episode in South west Texas. Obviously you don't know as much as they do about South west, Texas, population: a buncha folks.
posted by wabbittwax at 6:31 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'll give them credit for the nurse's immigrants-are-ruining-the-country-rant. Many people in Texas - both in the airport and out - wear that crazy hat.
posted by double bubble at 6:41 PM on February 16, 2016


Two more thoughts after watching this again:

-I am glad the Lone Gunmen were in this and that they weren't brought back from the dead like CSM. I am bummed that they didn't have more of a role in the episode or series. They could have been an on going delusion of Mulder's through the episodes.
-Mulder bringing up mother love at the end felt very insensitive given the death of Mrs. Scully and the thread of angst about William.
posted by toomanycurls at 7:13 PM on February 16, 2016 [2 favorites]


The nurse's rant about immigrants stealing our jeeeerbs was made even more unintentionally hilarious by her pronounced Canadian accent.

Damn those Mountie actors sneaking in from the north! Stealing bit-part speaking roles from honest, hardworking, Texan extra actors with authentic Texan accents!
posted by nicebookrack at 7:17 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anybody know what those rather pugnacious agents in the hospital room were whispering to each other, or what language they were saying it in? That aspect confused me. I thought these were supposed to be American govt. agents, but when they said whatever they said (in Arabic, presumably) I wasn't sure if they were supposed to be terrorists disguised as agents, or what the hell.

Chris Carter doesn't have bad taste in music, and sometimes he can deploy a dark pop tune really well. But other times (like this episode) he just goes nuts with it. IIRC he worked two songs into the mushroom dance scene, then the Tom Waits song in the rowboat scene, then the song Agent NotMulder was listening to on his earbuds. There were probably more!

I would have liked to have seen more of the Lone Gunmen, but the characters have been dead since 2002 or something and the actors have aged since then, so fleeting cameos like that are probably the most we could hope for without some CGI or funky prosthetics. I'm surprised we haven't seen Skinner more. Mitch Peliggi finally made the main titles, but he's hardly been in this season.

It's really weird to hear people say they thought the mushroom thing was the only good part, because to me that was a big, inexplicable turd in the middle of an episode that was otherwise kind of OK.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 9:22 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow, just managed to watch this. I think the "Ooh, another nostalgic feeling: cringing on behalf of X-Files" reactions are spot on. Caught myself literally grinding my teeth at one point.

In general it feels like Chris Carter is going through some pretty intense midlife shit and we are along for the ride for 3 of 6 episodes. Both of his episodes have had "aging boomer just doesn't understand what the world's become, man" written all over them. Next week's looks like another prize.

I caught myself hoping after last week's episode that Fox would greenlight another season and give them a little more breathing room next time. In a longer season I hope they wouldn't be shoehorning two marginally compatible plots into every episode the way they've done. But I caught myself hoping a couple minutes ago that this would be the second-to-last episode of XF ever. I hope if they renew they'll take a hard look at the critical consensus and see to it that he doesn't do much writing. The characters are just as fun to watch as ever they were and XF does have things to say right now, but I am increasingly convinced that CC isn't the guy to helm the series in 2016. Not that he was ever really the strongest link in the XF writers' chain.

The sad thing is that, as Handlen points out in the linked AVClub review, there is actually a nugget of something interesting at the core of this episode about the crazy things belief enables humans to do to themselves and one another. But I was so busy hating that we really had to use one of our six episodes on a Muslim suicide bomber plot - complete with scaaary terrorist cell full of fooooreign beards, wailing mother in friiightening religious cloooothing, etc - that I couldn't even really process it. This is the kind of thing that would have been offensive when XF was initially on the air and I so, so, SO expect better of TV writers now.

Loved the "Your TEXAS tax dollars at work" sign in the airport. OHHHH now I believe we're in Texas OK the big Texas sign made me suspect it but now I'm 100% sure.

BTW the subtitles on fox.com said the DHS agents were speaking Arabic but didn't say what they were saying.
posted by town of cats at 10:33 PM on February 16, 2016 [3 favorites]


I (super) weirdly liked this one.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:22 PM on February 16, 2016


I super weirdly liked this one - except I hated the terrorist crap. They could have used some other top secret plot to get Scully, Mulder, Einstein, and Miller onto the same kind of paths. (Seriously, I wish the episode had been conspiracy based necessitating that Mulder shroom up to have a conversation with lgm. Really wish they'd actually given The Lone Gunmen something to do.)

I about pissed myself laughing over that Texas airport. Have any of the writers ever actually been in an airport in Texas? (The cowboy hats did ring true but the look of the airport was just wrong.)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:30 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I liked that they used the song Secret Heart. I felt like the music in this ep was mostly chosen pretty wisely right up till the end where they used that effing lumineers song. I didn't care for the country music choices but that is the exact music that would be playing in that place.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:34 PM on February 16, 2016 [1 favorite]


I have lived in Dallas and Houston. I swear to all the gods and everyone here that every single time I've landed (particularly in Dallas) that I've been greeted by men walking around wearing cowboy hats.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:37 PM on February 16, 2016


I would also like to take a minute to appreciate that Scully Jr. used a riding crop on Mulder. Thumbs up.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 11:48 PM on February 16, 2016 [4 favorites]


If they do another season I'm gonna pitch an episode where Mulder ends up in some alternate timeline where the Lone Gunmen are alive and Deep Throat and Samantha and everybody else are alive, but Scully is dead. The Lone Gunmen will have to help Mulder set things right, knowing that doing so will mean they died way back in Jump in the Shark. And of course Krycek will be alive and he will be very, very determined to stop the guys from restoring things and sending him back to oblivion.

(I love this idea so much that I think I WOULD actually attempt to pitch it, despite having zero experience in the TV world... but we don't even know if the show is coming back and if it does I kind of doubt that Chris Carter would be looking for spec scripts from the fans.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:10 AM on February 17, 2016 [5 favorites]


-Mulder bringing up mother love at the end felt very insensitive given the death of Mrs. Scully and the thread of angst about William.

Hell, I think that Mulder bringing up "mother love" was supposed to be part of the thread of angst about William.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:37 AM on February 17, 2016


I wish he had looked at fans' spec scripts this time.
posted by wabbittwax at 7:30 AM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Ursula's idea is really good but it takes away one of the biggest reasons to watch The X-Files by having Scully dead for most of the episode(s).
posted by wabbittwax at 7:32 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


On the other hand, it does provide a clear motivation to root for Mulder's success by the end of the episode.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:41 AM on February 17, 2016


I found this to be incredibly racist. It's disappointing to see Islamaphobia becoming mainstream.
posted by night_train at 8:02 AM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I have to say, for me, the most realistic part was the cowboy hat. Whenever I go to Texas, there somehow are more men wearing cowboy hats than I expect.
posted by meese at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2016


This was the weirdest episode of 24 I've seen. Then again, I believe 24 would be massively improved if Jack Bauer was constantly needing to take anything to stay awake, and at a point breaks into a fashion store threatening to waterboard a mannequin.

And if they didn't film what really happened in the nightclub, it's a missed opportunity.
posted by lmfsilva at 12:35 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't remember XFiles as being so...right wing. But then I was about 13 and a 'shipper when I started watching so I probably wasn't paying attention.

To continue that trend: My favorite part was listening to "Secret Heart" with Mr. BoringSquareJaw,
posted by CMcG at 4:05 PM on February 17, 2016


I've concluded that Chris Carter really believes the ultra-right-wing BS of "My Struggle" and "Babylon" and is using his revived platform to alert the masses. Wake up sheeple!
posted by Flannery Culp at 4:17 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is Carter maybe one of those people who went a bit weird after 9/11?
posted by Artw at 4:20 PM on February 17, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't remember XFiles as being so...right wing.

The original show definitely wasn't right wing. While there were shadowy forces within our government you never really got the impression that Bill Clinton was knowingly working with them to conceal the upcoming alien invasion or experiment on Americans or whatever. I think the show made it clear on a few occasions that the really creepy stuff was happening behind the president's back. After W got in Mulder made some cracks about him stealing the election, and I seem to recall a few shots where W's portrait showed up in ways that read like rather cynical political commentary. If the show had any consistent politics, I think they may have skewed kind of lefty-Libertarian.

I'm honestly not sure what's going on yet, if Carter has sincerely gone over to wingnut-hood. Mulder and Scully were clearly contemptuous of Tad O'Malley when he first showed up, which fit what we knew of them before. If O'Malley turns out to be a hero, I'll have to figure Carter drank some really bad Kool Aid. This most recent episode had a lot wrong with it, but at this point I can see how Carter could still be a lefty and sincerely believe he was presenting the issues in a fair way and not being Islamophobic. (I'm not going to argue he succeeded, but I hope that was his intention.) But there's been a lot of worrisome stuff in this season, and if Tad O'Malley dies heroically trying to reveal the truth about the gubbmint I'll have to figure Carter's lost his mind for real.

(24's politics weren't simple. Let's not forget that this was the show where a sneaky president was trying to start a war based on bogus intel and everybody kept giving speeches about how that would be the worst thing ever.)
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:58 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think Chris Carter stopped listening to Coast to Coast when Art Bell left and started listening to Alex Jones instead. Simple as that.

Unless Mein Kampf 2: It's Still Not a Hitler Reference, I Swear pulls a serious curveball on us, I don't think they two good episodes we got will have justified the garbage of the rest of this season. Unless FOX tells Carter to take a hike and hires somebody else to take on Season 11, which they probably won't.

(Dream showrunners: Shonda Rhimes, Bryan Fuller. Showrunners that stand a chance in Hell at getting the nod, not that there will be a nod to give: Kurtzman & Orci?)
posted by tobascodagama at 5:07 PM on February 17, 2016


Is Carter maybe one of those people who went a bit weird after 9/11?

Dean Haglund definitely is, at least.

I seem to recall a few shots where W's portrait showed up in ways that read like rather cynical political commentary.

It was used for a cute throwaway gag in the second movie, in a scene when Mulder and Scully first show up at the FBI after years away.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:25 PM on February 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Where is j j Abrams when you need him?
posted by double bubble at 5:26 PM on February 17, 2016


Abrams is a Creator, not a Showrunner. Fingers in too many pies.

But, that does make me think that Carlton Cuse's infuriating tendency to ask questions that he has no satisfying answers for could serve The X-Files very well, especially if FOX forced him to keep it episodic.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:42 PM on February 17, 2016


I'm okay with the Muslim suicide bomber plot, because that is a very current and relevant issue for 2016. But what I didn't care for in this episode was the light way that Mulder and Scully kind of traipsed through it. Sure, they didn't see people burned alive like we saw in the all too realistic cold opening, but it's still bizarre that Mulder would decide this particular case was the perfect time to go on a magic mushroom ride.

Back in the day there was an episode where a UFO caused a plane crash (Tempus Fugit), and it had a similar conjunction of styles as Scully and Mulder horned in on a realistically depicted NTSB investigation. That episode had plenty of weird behavior from Mulder, but it did a better job of mixing the two different worlds together, because it was still about solving a mystery. In this episode the ongoing mystery of the terrorist cell seemed to fade in importance when the two leads got to talking about EEG experiments and thoughts having weight. I'd be okay with an episode that has Mulder tripping on 'shrooms, and I'd be okay with an episode where they try to stop a terrorist cell, but putting both of these things in the same episode and trying to weld it together with heavy symobolism didn't work that well.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:52 PM on February 17, 2016 [4 favorites]


Or to put it another way, if this was an episode where the would-be bomber Shiraz was on life support and reaching out to people like his mother through dreams, and he somehow connects with Mulder while our hero is on a drug trip, that would have been a much better story. The same events, but this time presented as a mystery. Why is Mulder dreaming about this Shiraz guy, and what is he trying to say? Then Mulder and Scully would have to solve the mystery of Mulder's Bad Trip, which would lead organically to the terrorist cell.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:04 PM on February 17, 2016 [3 favorites]


Oh, I feel bad for Kumail Nanjiani having to watch that.

My guess is he wasn't that thrilled.
posted by crossoverman at 11:25 PM on February 17, 2016 [7 favorites]


I honestly think I'm just going to skip this episode. I simply don't need to see more cliche Muslim terrorists on my TV. Not even if they were handled better. (Kevin Street's idea sounds like it would actually make for a really good episode. But it would be a better one if the terrorist cell were either not Muslim or if they had a personal motivation entirely devoid of geopolitics.)
posted by tobascodagama at 6:11 AM on February 18, 2016 [1 favorite]


I want some good old-fashioned "kidnapping people for money" Hans Gruber faux terrorism.
posted by nicebookrack at 10:29 AM on February 18, 2016 [3 favorites]


Exceptional Thievery is the correct term
posted by wabbittwax at 10:32 AM on February 18, 2016 [6 favorites]


Finally saw this episode.
As soon as the TWO MUSLIM suicide bombers held hands I thought there was going to be some sort of misdirect, and they were gay-shopping (in TEXAS!) for a (haunted) painting.

But, no. Kablam.

The airport had a sign that clearly read TEXAS. I don't know what more you could ask for; they were in TEXAS.

Plus, there were people in cowboy hats, cowboy boots, vests and those thin string ties.

And, if that didn't sell you on Texas: line dancing and Achy-Breaky Hearts.
It could not be more Texas if they cut Vancouver from British Columbia and sailed it into the Gulf of Mexico.

What the hell was the deal with Kellogg? And, I guess we get Roger Cross next week? I mean, it's the LAW in Canada, right?

I'll give them credit for the nurse's immigrants-are-ruining-the-country-rant.

Well, it was better than a Trump speech.

This episode was a hot mess, and terrible.
Since we're at episode 5 of 6, I guess my Complete X-Files boxed set will now be rendered the Incomplete X-Files.
posted by Mezentian at 5:55 AM on February 21, 2016 [4 favorites]


This episode was terrible on every level. I only managed to get through it in 5-6 minute chunks and only watched it in hope there would be some twist that would redeem it. I assume that there was a better story in the pitch meeting and it got obliterated by network suits and notes.
posted by humanfont at 4:13 PM on February 21, 2016


So... we're all going to suffer through the finale tomorrow anyway, aren't we?
posted by desjardins at 5:09 PM on February 21, 2016 [3 favorites]


Wouldn't miss it.

I want to believe... That it will be a decent send off.
posted by toomanycurls at 5:20 PM on February 21, 2016


I'll suffer the final episode... and all the inevitable talk of more episodes. Ugh. Maybe it should have been left in the past. The truth is... back there.
posted by crossoverman at 5:22 PM on February 21, 2016 [2 favorites]


...If this weren't an election year I doubt this episode would have been made.
posted by FallowKing at 5:33 PM on February 21, 2016


Hrrrmmm.
posted by Artw at 5:43 PM on February 21, 2016


[poop emoji]
posted by crossoverman at 12:23 AM on February 22, 2016


But the poop emoji is a sign of happiness!
posted by Artw at 6:08 AM on February 22, 2016


Mulder probably has a whole monotone speech on it in case it ever comes up in a case...
posted by Artw at 6:09 AM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


So... we're all going to suffer through the finale tomorrow anyway, aren't we?

Yeah.

My expectations have been lowered appropriately.

While this season so far is 2/5 for delivering actually watchable episodes, I do think it's proven that the X-Files formula still holds up after all this time, even as TV dramas have largely moved away from the kind of episodic storytelling that XF always did well and toward the kind of long, interconnected arcs that XF kinda-sorta pioneered but always sucked at. So I have moderate hopes that the show will come back for a longer season with less of Chris Carter's influence showing. But I'm sure the Monkey's Paw will close another finger and we get a full season of The X-Files with MulScull's new sidekick best friend Poochy Tad O'Malley.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:57 PM on February 22, 2016


Ugh. Good god is Tad O'Malley a shitty character.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on February 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


1.6 billion Muslims in the world, but one on TV and in a minute he's blowing some shit up. This show just lost me.
posted by iamck at 4:15 PM on February 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I was really hoping the Muslim dudes were going in for a small business loan and were blown up by some right-wing whackadoodle. Disappointed again.
posted by fiercekitten at 7:38 PM on February 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


A better episode would have been playing it very straight for the first half, but during Mulder's auto-suggestive shroom trip, he finds out the real culprit was a very nondescript guy that has uncontrollable explosive self-combustion, and that Mulder and Scully II, while dismissive at first, find the same guy exiting the location of previous bomb attacks covered in soot and in charred clothes but otherwise unharmed.

Now that would be an x-file that Skinner had to debrief with Mulder and Scully.
posted by lmfsilva at 4:17 PM on February 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


Some kind of actual twist would have helped, yes. Particularly one that defeated stereotypes.
posted by Artw at 4:30 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I too was hoping for some sort of switcheroo after the bombing cold open. I'd say it was lazy except it was merged with a comedic thing involving magic mushrooms and teaming up with the X-Files Babies. It's like two different episodes had a head-on collision.
posted by brundlefly at 8:48 PM on February 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm inventing a film term. The blue eye fishcrane guilt shot.
posted by clavdivs at 3:48 AM on February 25, 2016


Mezentian: The airport had a sign that clearly read TEXAS. I don't know what more you could ask for; they were in TEXAS.

tobascodagama: You know, the Vancouver part of Texas.

Where there happened to be a gathering of the Canadian Cowboys Association.


desjardins: I thought the transphobic episode (Were-Monster) was still better than this trash fire of an episode.

Because Rhys Darby was the best! How can you not love Guy Mann? "Now, this model comes with 3,000 gigaberts of pixelbits. You can see from the shape of it that it's quite rectangular..."


toomanycurls: I feel we were robbed of Mulder and Scully trying to convince the people in charge to authorize a raid based on information whispered to an agent while in a drug induced trance.

That would have taken away a bit of the sting of this being a "based on real events" episode with Islamic extremists in the US. Instead, it was Hoo-rah Militaristic Police Forces Save The Day. Eff that noise.


lmfsilva: And if they didn't film what really happened in the nightclub, it's a missed opportunity.

Again, another chance to make this episode better than it was, squandered for Praise for the Police.


Mezentian: As soon as the TWO MUSLIM suicide bombers held hands I thought there was going to be some sort of misdirect, and they were gay-shopping (in TEXAS!) for a (haunted) painting.

Even after the explosion, my wife and I were assuming it was some mis-direction. Poor kids, happening to walk into [something more, you know, X-Files]. I get it, this season is about the world being less mysterious than the original X-Files, and there's really an explanation for many of the original cases, but this was just painful.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:45 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


Another lost opportunity: the Arabic speak Homeland Security people - that was the one ominous "something bigger is going on" thread that was dropped for bog-standard Fear of Islamic Terrorism crap.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:51 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


And to wash that all out: here's Eastern Europe's favorite cat and mouse team, Worker and Parasite! (now I know which Simpsons tattoo I want).
posted by filthy light thief at 7:52 AM on March 4, 2016 [1 favorite]


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