Over the course of nine seasons and 2 feature films, The X-Files transcended its cult status, becoming a phenomenon and cultural touchstone. With a new series on the way, special agent Rick Shingler has accepted the assignment to rewatch the entire series from the beginning and provide detailed reports about his findings. Come with us now, as we explore the mysteries of the complete X-Files. S1E7: Ghost in the Machine (w: Alex Gansa & Glen Morgan/ d: Jerrold Freeman) In Crystal City, Virginia, the Eurisko headquarters is entirely run by an operating system known as COS, or Central Operating System (JARVIS it’s not). COS is the brainchild of Eurisko founder Brad Wilczek. The episode opens as Wilczek and CEO Benjamin Drake argue about cutting costs within the company, including shutting down the COS project. Wilczek storms out, and COS stages a lethal Rube Goldberg device in the bathroom for Drake. Mulder’s former partner, Agent Lamana is assigned the case. He calls Mulder to help build a profile of the killer, which he then steals and takes credit for himself. It’s OK, though. COS is hip to his douchebaggery and drops him in an elevator. Mulder meets with Deep Throat, who tells him that the government is trying to acquire COS. Mulder then enlists Wilczek to create a virus to defeat the rogue AI. Scully climbs through the building’s air ducts in an attempt to bypass the watchful eye of COS and is nearly sucked into a giant fan. In the end, they are successful in installing the virus, and Deep Throat assures Mulder that COS has been eradicated. However, back at Eurisko, a light on a panel blinks back to menacing life… As is often the case with technologically-based stories from the early days of the home computer era, this episode is more than a little cringe-worthy by today’s standards. The COS issues one-liners after each of its murders that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger shake his head. “Program deleted,” “function executed,” that sort of thing. The single saving grace was the long-awaited return of Jerry Hardin’s Deep Throat in his first appearance since his introduction in the series’ second episode. S1E8: Ice (w: Glen Morgan & James Wong/ d: David Nutter) If you, dear reader, can forgive this humble writer a bit of sentiment, I must begin by saying that this one will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was the first episode of The X-Files I ever watched. Friends had been hounding me for several weeks to watch this new show, as they thought I’d enjoy it, but my campus job often required me to work on Friday nights. Finally, one evening in early November of 1993, the stars and my work schedule aligned perfectly and I found myself at home and in front of the television. As the story unfolded, I didn’t really care that it seemed to be a pretty shameless retread of John Carpenter’s excellent flick The Thing. The characters were fresh and new, and the story’s tension ratcheted up a notch between each commercial break. By the end of this hour I was hooked and for the next nine years I (or, scheduling difficulties being what they may, my VCR) was diligently watching whenever a new episode aired. Mulder and Scully are sent with a small team of specialists (a geologist, a physician, and a toxicologist) to a remote study facility in the northern reaches of Alaska. Contact had been lost with the team studying ice core samples from far beneath the polar cap. They arrive to find everyone dead, including two that appear to have been involved in a murder/suicide of some sort. The station’s lone surviving inhabitant is a dog, who savagely attacks Mulder and the pilot that flew them into the base. The pilot is injured, but the dog is subdued. Scully notices black nodules on the dog’s skin, which she says are consistent with bubonic plague. There is also something crawling under the dog’s skin near its neck. As they explore the station, they discover what’s left of an ice core sample from a quarter of a million years ago. The station team’s research indicates that they think the core sample was removed from a prehistoric meteor crater. The pilot’s behavior becomes increasingly more aggressive before erupting into violence. The group subdues him, and Scully attempts to remove a worm from just under the skin of his neck. The extraction kills him, leaving them without a pilot with a storm moving into the area. It becomes determined that the aggression is a byproduct of the parasitic infection. What follows is classic locked-room tension, as none of the investigative team feels safe with anyone else. Even Mulder and Scully find themselves at loggerheads with each other. This episode proved to be the first true and tangible test of Mulder and Scully’s trust in each other. It wasn’t the first time and would be far from the last that they would have to stand back-to-back, united against others who doubt them. The other notable element was the fact that this was the first time we were really and truly treated to Scully’s scientific acumen. Sure, her intelligence and training had been displayed in prior episodes, but this was the one in which that training was put to use to truly save the day. Guest appearances by Xander Berkley and Felicity Huffman as the physician and toxicologist, respectively, helped to round out the cast of this “bottle episode.” Chris Carter has said such an episode was planned in order to save on budget to help cover later episodes, but they ended up running over budget after all. The best laid plans… S1E9: Space (w: Chris Carter/ d: William Graham) Like the earlier episode “Shadows,” this one seems to represent something of a freshman slump for the series. It was conceived to be another low-budget bottle episode, but ended up being the most expensive production of the first season. Er… Oops? Most of the “action” takes place at the NASA command center, presumably in Houston, although it is never explicitly stated. The story revolves around the Face of Mars, a geologic structure on the Martian landscape that looks eerily like a humanoid face, which inspired Chris Carter to write the story. It opens in 1977, with the discovery of the existence of water on Mars. Lieutenant Colonel Belt is commander of the project, which also discovers the much-talked-about “face.” In present day, the agents are contacted by Michelle Generoo (played a young Susanna Thompson, who viewers may recognize as Moira Queen from early seasons of Arrow), who is a communications commander for NASA. The last shuttle launch had to be scrubbed seconds before launch, and she’s worried about the possibility of sabotage by someone working within the agency. She’s particularly concerned about the launch, as her fiancée is the shuttle commander for this flight. Upon arrival in Houston, Mulder is thrilled to meet one of his childhood heroes, the former astronaut Colonel Belt. The launch is successful, but mission control loses contact with the shuttle once it’s in orbit. What’s more, the guidance systems are compromised, and the shuttle can’t position itself so that the shielding will protect it from the sun. Throughout the ensuing story, Belt experiences flashbacks to the ’77 mission, during which a spirit of some sort entered him in order to, apparently, wreak havoc with the US space program. Belt is able to overcome his “passenger” and alter the return trajectory of the shuttle, thereby saving the crew. Despite the sluggishness and lack of clarity of the story, there are some good moments. Mulder’s childlike glee at witnessing a launch from mission control is a side of his character we haven’t yet seen. Scully and Mulder’s partnership is clearly writ in stone at this point, so the awkward honeymoon phase of earlier episodes is over, and we are able to see them working together where their mutual trust is a given, rather than a work in progress. S1E10: Fallen Angel (w: Howard Gordon & Alex Gansa/ d: Larry Shaw) Here’s where this show hit the nitrous button. With this episode, the universe surrounding Mulder and Scully begins to expand, and Scully begins to see just how deep this rabbit hole is that she’s walked into. It’s also yet another example of Mulder impetuously jumping into the deep end and forcing Scully to play life guard. We witness the first rumblings of the threat posed by forces far above the agents’ pay grade. Not only do we experience our first real live alien, we are able to watch alongside Mulder (but not Scully, naturally) as someone experiences an abduction. After consulting with Deep Throat, Mulder makes his way to Wisconsin and the crash site of a mysterious vehicle. He finds the site sealed off by the Air Force, and reclamation expert Colonel Calvin Henderson in charge of the cleanup. Mulder is able to take a few photos but is caught and locked up, where he meets Max Fenig, a member of NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena). In the woods, an all but invisible figure moves outside of the containment zone. When Scully arrives the next morning to bail out Mulder and drag him back to DC for a threshing from one of the section chiefs. She informs Mulder that the upper corridors at the FBI are talking about shutting down the X-Files project because of his actions. Word is that the crash site was a downed Libyan fighter, which the military has decided to lock down and keep secret. Mulder knows this is a lie, and convinces Scully to let him continue his line of questioning before they have to fly back to Washington. They find Fenig and learn that he’s a fan of Mulder’s, having followed the agent’s work since he started with the X-Files. Max has damning recordings from first responders on the night of the crash, before any military intervention began. In talking to him, Mulder begins to develop the theory that Max has been the subject of alien abduction, but Scully, having seen the anti-psychotic medications in his trailer, believes the man to be schizophrenic. Later in the episode, when Mulder discovers Max convulsing on the floor of his trailer in an epileptic seizure and helps him, he notices a scar behind his ear, consistent with those reported in other abductee cases he’s studied. Some of the Colonel’s men track down the escaped alien, and are brought into the emergency room with inexplicably severe burns. Fenig wanders away from his hospital bed and Mulder and Scully track him to a warehouse. The military shows up as well, detaining Scully before she can follow Mulder inside. Mulder sees Max lifted up in a column of light, from which he vanishes, leaving only his hat behind. Back in Washington, Mulder is severely reprimanded, and only the intervention of Deep Throat saves the X-Files from being shut down entirely. Deep Throat tells the committee that it’s safer to keep Mulder contained in the basement than it would be to turn him out into the world at large. If it wasn’t clear before, this episode solidified Fox Mulder’s role as an unwitting pawn in a much larger game. Although after this adventure, he is slightly less unwitting than he was before. His passion and drive had allowed him to delude himself into believing that his assignment in the X-Files meant simply that he was able to pursue his own agendas, but now he’s beginning to realize that his position is much more restrictive than he had presumed. Scully, while being largely passive throughout this episode, bears witness to slightly more than she had been privileged in past episodes. As she steps into the light of bigger, more improbable possibilities, she becomes increasingly protective of Mulder, as we’ll see in later episodes. Max Fenig takes on the burden of being representative of the human toll that all of these obfuscations and cover-ups are bound to accrue. We must be left to wonder what might have happened to Max and whether we’ll ever see him again… S1E11: Eve (w: Chris Brancato & Kenneth Biller/ d: Fred Gerber) Sure, we had Manson’s misappropriation of Helter Skelter. We suffered through the Bee Gee’s Sgt. Pepper’s debacle. But for my money, the creepiest abuse of Beatles lyrics happens when Eve 6 paraphrases “I Am the Walrus.” While this episode is generally billed as a stand-alone Monster of the Week story, it’s safe to say it carried a broader resonance for the show’s overarching mythology as well. The script was written by a couple of freelancers, but Glen Morgan and James Wong doctored it a bit and the end result is truly one of the standout episodes of the entire first season. This is the one you could safely show any X-Files virgin and they will very likely be hooked. It’s acted and directed well, and the story unfolds like a perfectly folded cootie catcher. Incidentally, for those of us whose memories allow some hazy recollection of the distant past and 90s pop culture, the band Eve 6 did, in point of fact, take their name from this very episode. In Greenwich, Connecticut, a young girl named Teena is found alone outside her home. Helpful neighbors find her dad sitting on the backyard swing set. There are two punctures in his neck and he has been drained of blood. Mulder, getting wind of the case, jumps immediately to cattle mutilation and UFO-related activity. When they question Teena, she tells Mulder everything he hopes to hear: red lightning, men from the clouds, bloodletting, et cetera. Scully remains (as ever) skeptical. Teena, whose mother died some years ago from ovarian cancer, is taken as a ward of the state. During their interview with the girl, Scully gets word of an identical crime scene in California. After they leave for the west coast, a shadowy figure kidnaps Teena from her room at the county hostel. Reviewing time of death estimations at the California crime scene, Mulder and Scully realize that both murders appear to have happened at the exact same time three thousand miles from each other. Curiouser still, Cindy, the daughter of the second victim is an exact duplicate of Teena. As it turns out, both Cindy’s and Teena’s parents used the same fertility clinic and were, coincidentally, under the care of one Dr. Sally Kendrick. Kendrick was fired by the clinic once they discovered her unethical and illegal eugenic experimentation. Interestingly, the clinic directors’ attempts to enlist the AMA to investigate Kendrick at the time were blocked. Deep Throat turns up and explains to Mulder about something called the Litchfield Experiment which was a Cold War attempt to compete with rumored Russian super soldier experimentation. The Litchfield Experiment produced a line of women and of men, who were called Eves and Adams, respectfully. Following his lead, Mulder takes Scully to a facility where Eve 6 (the clone, not the band) is being held. The inmate is an exact duplicate of Dr. Kendrick, who explains that extra chromosomes allowed for genetic mutation which makes them hyper intelligent, super strong, (unfortunately) violently psychotic, and potentially suicidal. A photo reveals all eight of the Eves as young girls. They all looked exactly like Teena and Cindy. Eve 7 and Eve 8 escaped years ago. The agents develop the theory that 7 and 8 are working together to eliminate the parents of their young clones before abducting them. In short order, Cindy is kidnapped by Eve 7. Eve 7 finally unites the girls. They seem to share some sort of link that goes beyond typical communication and the girls poison Eve 7 before they are found by Mulder and Scully. The agents, still believing the girls to be innocent victims, put them in the car to escort them back to Cindy’s mom before Teena is remanded to foster care in Connecticut. The girls attempt to poison the agents, but Mulder catches it and the girls are eventually caught and locked up with Eve 6. Eve 8 arrives at the facility to rescue them. What makes this episode great is its constantly unfolding layers and twists. The opening teaser looks like it might just be a vampire story. But then the other murder happens simultaneously but several thousand miles away, which is curious. Then the second daughter appears and is a twin to the first girl. Curiouser and curiouser. Eventually the whole story plays out and it becomes what might just be the perfect X-File with shadowy government cover-ups, genetic experimentation, psychotic failed experimental test subjects, creepy twins… What more could you possibly ask for? While this episode is undoubtedly an entry in the Monster of the Week category, I choose to include it as essential viewing for anyone following the show’s overall mythology. There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, it’s so damn good that it would be a shame to give it a pass. For another thing, some salient details and general ideas from this episode will bubble to the surface later in the series. Remember how Teena’s mom, one of the recipients of the eugenically-enhanced artificial insemination died of ovarian cancer? Or how about Scully’s maternal side peeking out whenever she’s with the girls? You may not have noticed, but Mulder sure as hell did. The one question that dangles out there during the conversation with Deep Throat is why the experiments were conducted in the first place. Sure, we were deep in the arms race with Russia during the 50s, but what could possibly have been prompting this level of genetic manipulation at such a relatively early time in the field of Eugenics? Could something have happened in the late 40s that would have kick-started such groundbreaking work here in the US? Hmm… S1E12: Fire (w: Chris Carter/ d: Larry Shaw) This episode’s primary Monster-of-the-Week is a pyrokinetic Irish handyman, but if one watches closely, there is also a glimpse of Scully’s green monster. This episode marks the series’ first international foray, even if only for the opening teaser. Amanda Pays guest stars as Mulder’s former (ahem) acquaintance from when he studied at Oxford University. Pays, amongst her extensive acting credits, is perhaps most often remembered as Dr. Tina McGee on both television incarnations of DC Comics’ The Flash (although, truth be told, I remember her most fondly as Theora from Max Headroom). The other face you can’t help but recognize in this episode is Mark Sheppard, best known to current audiences as the Winchester boys’ begrudging sometime ally Crowley on Supernatural (except he’s really young and skinny in this appearance). We also learn that Mulder has a deep phobia when it comes to fire. I’m not sure this fact surfaces again in the series, but that’s just a little nugget of truth that’s now out there. It opens in Bosham, England, as a man leaving his estate for work experiences what appears to be spontaneous combustion. And in front of the help, no less. How utterly mortifying. As everyone looks on in horror, only the gardener, Cecil L’Ively seems unfazed by the spectacle. Back here in the states, Phoebe Green drops in on Mulder (and Scully) to: a) enlist their help in tracking a killer who is burning his victims without leaving any evidence as to how he’s doing it and b) play mind games with her former lover. The only victim to escape his flames, Sir Malcolm Marsden, has come to Cape Cod to a protective safe house. Except the safe house’s caretaker is, you guessed it, the same guy who was gardening for the human torch in the opening scene. And, as we’ll find out later, he’s been mixing rocket fuel with the paint he’s using for touch-up work in the upstairs hallway. Uh-oh. Playing the dual roles of protectors to the Marsden family as well as investigators, Mulder, Scully, and Green head to Massachusetts. As their investigation heats up (yep, I went there), sparks begin to fly (hah!) between Mulder and Green. During bodyguard duty at a hotel reception for Sir Marsden, Mulder and Phoebe give in to their magnetism and indulge each other in a quiet dance and some mutual tonsil exploration in the hallway. Scully nearly interrupts, but stops. There might be a bit of eye-rolling. That is, until she spots L’Ively lurking in the hallway behind her, perhaps marveling at the irony that he’s not the biggest voyeuristic creeper in this hallway. She looks away for a moment and when she looks back he is gone. However, she notices that a fire alarm is sounding on the floor of the hotel where the Marsden children are sleeping. Mulder rushes to the children’s aid, pyrophobia be damned. Afterwards, they track L’Ively back to the Marsden’s rented estate and confront him. Green surprises L’Ively with a dousing of rocket fuel, causing him to lose control of his own power. With L’Ively captured, Green accompanies the Marsden family back to England. The pyrokinetic is locked up in a medical facility, where his extensive burns seem to be healing at an unreasonably rapid rate. And he’d kill for a cigarette. This episode offered a fun change of pace and allowed Carter to take a few beats to add one more building block to what would become the relationship between Mulder and Scully. As with Scully’s extracurricular activities in “The Jersey Devil,” Mulder’s exploits in this episode establish the agents as warm-blooded human beings capable of interpersonal relationships. One production note: in the scene where L’Ively and Scully stand at opposite ends of the hallway in the estate, as the flames burst from the walls, one can see L’Ively diving around a corner at the other end. This dive was actor Mark Sheppard’s genuine reaction to get out of the way of the burst of heat from the special effects. S1E13: Beyond the Sea (w: Glen Morgan & James Wong/ d: David Nutter) Finally, Scully gets an episode to shine! There have been many parallels drawn between Dana Scully and Clarice Starling from Silence of the Lambs, and most of those arguments revolve around this episode. Keep in mind that today, the idea of the female investigator being seduced (for lack of a better term) by a psychotic death row inmate has become something of a topos of crime shows. Heck, from what I can tell from the commercials, The Blacklist’s entire first season seemed to revolve around this idea. But all the way back in early 1994, the wound of Silence of the Lambs was still a fresh scab on our pop culture kneecap, and it was a daring way to tell a story. Of course, Brad Dourif’s portrayal of Luther Lee Boggs helped to elevate this episode greatly. As the episode begins, Dana’s parents, William and Margaret, are finishing up a post-holidays visit to her apartment. William, a former Navy Captain, calls his daughter “Starbuck,” to which she calls him “Ahab.” And while I think it a disservice to the strength of Scully’s character to succumb to reductionism and say she has “daddy issues,” it becomes clear that she struggles with a need for her father’s approval of the choices she’s made. He thought she was going to be a doctor, but instead she’s running through sewer pipes and into empty warehouses as an FBI agent. With the dinner plates cleared, mom and dad leave and Scully falls asleep on the couch. She awakens some time later to see William sitting in a chair across the room. His mouth is moving, but no sound is coming out. As Scully says something to him, the phone rings. When she looks back at the chair, the vision of her father is gone, but her mother is on the phone telling Dana that her father had suffered a fatal heart attack. Meanwhile, in Raleigh, NC, a young couple is abducted by a man posing as a sheriff. After her father’s funeral (during which the song “Beyond the Sea” is played), Scully returns to work. In the basement office of the J Edgar building, Mulder attempts to be conciliatory with Scully, concerned for her after the death of her father, even going so far as to call her Dana for the first time in thirteen episodes. He brings her up to date on the couple’s disappearance and says that the only conceivable lead they have is self-proclaimed psychic Luther Lee Boggs, a convicted serial killer who claims to have acquired his abilities after a botched execution attempt some time before. He has agreed to assist in the investigation in exchange for the commutation of his death sentence to a life sentence. Mulder, having been instrumental in the apprehension of Boggs in the first place, is uncharacteristically skeptical of Boggs’ claims. They visit Boggs and he feeds them a line of vagaries, estimations and predictions until Mulder calls a stop to the so-called psychic’s performance and leaves. As Scully is making to follow Mulder, Boggs begins singing “Beyond the Sea.” When she looks back at him, she momentarily sees her father instead of the killer. She is shaken, but doesn’t talk to Mulder about it. Mulder is convinced that Boggs is somehow working with an accomplice in order to orchestrate the kidnapping, allowing Boggs a chance to seek his clemency. On the way back from the prison, Scully follows signs that Boggs spoke of into a warehouse that leads her and Mulder and a team of agents to a boathouse where the couple are being held. They save the girl, but the kidnapper shoots Mulder and escapes with the boy. With Mulder in the hospital, it’s now up to Scully to act as liaison with Boggs. As she’s questioning him, he informs her that her father has a message for her and that her help in getting him what he wants would convince him to channel Captain Scully for a last father/daughter heart-to-heart. She follows the signs given by the inmate and is able to find the missing boy as well as his kidnapper. Boggs, his clemency denied, goes to the gas chamber where he sees the spirits of all the people he had murdered watching over the proceedings. Scully chooses not to go to him for the message from her father, but instead goes to wait by the recovering Mulder’s bedside. Besides Dourif’s scene-stealing performance, Mulder and Scully’s reversal of roles is the most brilliant thing about this episode. Mulder, who would normally be frothing at the mouth over a psychic serial killer predicting the movements of another serial killer, is instead dismissive and even mocking of Boggs. Scully, however, finds herself shelving her scientific detachment to entertain some extreme possibilities on this go-around. Most likely it’s the emotional rawness of having just buried her father which causes this openness. We also begin to glimpse Scully’s Catholicism and belief in the afterlife, which stands in stark contrast with her otherwise completely scientific approach to the world around her. This dichotomy within Scully will provide fodder for much later exploration, all the way up to and including the franchise’s second feature film, I Want to Believe (which we’ll talk about later). S1E14: Gender Bender (w: Paul Barber & Larry Barber/ d: Rob Bowman) This episode, warts and all, stands up for me on repeat viewing primarily because I feel like this is the first X-Files episode to truly look like an X-Files episode. This can be attributed to it being episode director Rob Bowman’s first turn behind the lens for the series. He would go on to direct 33 episodes of the series and the first feature film, as well as serve as producer for 89 episodes. Rob Bowman, for all intents and purposes, is perhaps surpassed only by Chris Carter and Howard Gordon as a driving force of this series. This episode is also notable in that it is the first appearance of Nicolas Lea on the show in a minor role. Lea will return as perennial pain-in-the-ass Alex Krychek later in the series. For now, however, he’s just a sleazy club rat named Michael. A man and a woman hook up in a night club and end up in a hotel room. Unfortunately for the man, Marty’s idea of post-coital snuggling is, seemingly, her bedmate choking to death as she transforms into a man. When investigators are called in (including our very favorite pair), Mulder proposes that the man was killed by excessive exposure to pheromones. The investigation leads them to a remote, rural community in Massachusetts, known locally as the Kindred. A closed, Amish-like community, the Kindred don’t interact with the outside world except for occasional supply runs. Mulder and Scully attempt to visit them at their farm, and are asked to join the community for dinner. During the meal, an elderly man apparently chokes on his food and collapses. Scully tries to help him, but her assistance is rebuffed and they are invited to leave after being told that the community “takes care of its own.” Mulder notes the lack of children in the community and claims that some of the faces that were sitting at the table with them were the same as those in pictures of the Kindred from the 1930s. They sneak back under cover of darkness. Scully meets with Brother Andrew who claims to have been best friends with the absent Brother Martin, whom he identifies as their nightclub killer. Mulder steals his way into the barn where he finds a cavern. The rest of the Kindred have brought the man who choked to death at dinner into the inner chamber of the cave and are bathing him in some sort of earthy substance. As Mulder watches, the old man begins to acquire female characteristics. Brother Martin, having found and bedded a woman in his male form, has reverted again to female and picks up Michel (the aforementioned Nicolas Lea). Marty and Michel suffer a bit of automotive coitus interruptus by a member of local law enforcement. While the officer is questioning them, Michel begins to cough violently, and Marty (the woman) turns into Martin (the man), attacks the officer, then runs away. Michal is rushed to the hospital where he embarrassedly admits that the girl he was with in the car looked like a man as she (he) ran away. Thanks to a stolen credit card, they track Brother Martin to a club. They give chase, but the Kindred show up and whisk him away, claiming again that they “take care of their own.” Mulder and Scully rush back to the Kindred’s stronghold, only to find the entire community deserted. They go outside to find a large crop circle in the adjoining field. Wait, what? This is one of those classic episodes that could be classified as simply “unresolved weirdness.” This type of episode crops up all too frequently on this show. It can be somewhat frustrating for the viewer, to be sure, investing in a story to have it left dangling with no hope of resolution. But these sorts of stories seem to ground the series a bit as well, I think. Mulder and Scully are dealing, week after week, with impossibly bizarre things. If they were resolving or explaining everything they encounter, much of the suspense is lost. Sometimes it’s OK to just be presented with a “Hey, wouldn’t it be weird if…” story, if only for the pure joy that comes of speculation. We’ll get through these things together, gentle readers. Breathe with me. S1E15: Lazarus (w: Alex Gansa & Howard Gordon/ d: David Nutter) You know that point in a new relationship when you discuss past relationships? As an audience, we got there a few episodes ago with Mulder and his Oxford chippie, and now it’s Scully’s turn to come clean with us. Like the prior “Gender Bender,” this one was another of those “Hey wouldn’t it be weird if…” sort of stand-alone episodes. Scully helps out an old friend with a case he’s been working on for the past year. Serial bank robbers/couple of the year Warren Dupre and Lula Phillips have been bouncing all over the country making their own private Tarantino film, and Agent Jack Willis has been chasing them the entire time. Having finally tracked them down, Scully helps him to set up a trap for them. Willis and Dupre have a brief shootout in the bank, during which Willis is shot. Scully works her way around behind Dupre and shoots him dead. Lula, the getaway driver, would seem to have bolted. At the hospital, Dupre and Willis are brought into the same room, but Willis is given the priority. As they use the defibrillator to save Jack, Dupre’s body reacts to the electric jolts, unnoticed by anyone else in the room. When Willis awakens, he appears confused and sort of evil. He goes to the morgue and cuts off Dupre’s ring finger to retrieve the wedding band. Meanwhile, Scully confesses to Mulder that she and Willis dated when she was his student at Quantico. Hey, the heart wants what the heart wants, and Scully’s ability to hook up can’t be regulated by stuffy protocol, ya dig? Mulder quickly forms a working theory that Dupre’s consciousness has taken over Willis somehow. Scully rebuffs this with her theory that Willis has suffered an emotional break after spending the past year so deeply involved with the case. Willis confronts and kills Dupre’s brother-in-law Tommy, whom he believes informed the authorities of the couple’s plan and led to Dupre being shot. Strangely, Dupre’s tattoo has begun to appear on Willis’ arm (seriously, take it as a lesson: always bet on Mulder when hypotheses are being cast about). Still not on board with Mulder’s theory, Scully joins Willis to search for the fugitive Lula. Upon reaching the house, Willis (Dupre) turns his gun on Scully and handcuffs her to a radiator. He is able to convince Lula that he’s really Dupre and the rough Scully up a bit before calling Mulder to crow about catching his partner, NAH-ni-nah-ni-NAAAHHH-nah. Scully reveals to Lula that Willis is diabetic, and he’s likely to become hyperglycemic (or is it hypoglycemic? I always mix that up). Lula confesses that she was the one who sold out Dupre to the feds in order to run off with all of their accumulated money. Using a recording of the call from Willis/Dupre, Mulder and a team of agents are able to locate them, but not before Willis/Dupre can shoot and kill Lula. Then he slips into a diabetic coma and dies. As Scully examines Willis’ personal effects, she notices that his watch had stopped at the time when Dupre shot him in the bank. This episode was really sort of a post-modern Twilight Zone episode, all the way down to the tiny twist of the knife at the end with the watch. It’s not the best of the season, but the pacing is solid and it’s always good to get a glimpse into the show’s protagonists’ lives before being assigned to the FBI’s least wanted assignment. Being essentially a crime drama with a supernatural twist, it was a bit more grounded than some of the wilder episodes this season. Originally, the story called for Dupre’s consciousness to be implanted into Mulder, but the powers-that-be at Fox thought it best to keep Mulder and Scully from being directly affected by the supernatural for the sake of the show. For this time around, the show’s producers went along with this edict and reworked the script to include Scully’s former Don’t-Stand-So-Close-To-Me. This policy would be sorely tested as the series went on, and eventually abandoned entirely. But for this point and time in the series, Mulder and Scully would remain above supernatural alteration of any sort. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Dignan My comment on your first article in this series managed to get eaten, so I wanted to leave a note on this one. Excellent write-ups! I look forward to reading more. I usually end up re-watching the series every few years and am looking forward to what they have in store for us come January of next year.