Friday, July 25, 2008


In the X-Files television series, certain buzzwords would be tossed around more often that Mulder would be caught watching porn. Words like “truth” and “trust” or even “alien-human hybrid.” None of these words bothered me like this one particular word, “debunk.” Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) was brought on to the X-Files specifically to "debunk" Agent Fox Mulder’s (David Duchovny) work in the FBI basement and the writers never let you forget it. Well, now it’s my turn.

Series creator and THE X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE director, Chris Carter, has gone to great lengths to make sure that fans get to experience the pleasure of his new film with absolutely no knowledge going in whatsoever. He wanted the experience to be like Christmas morning for the fans – well, the fans who didn’t go sneaking through their parents’ bedroom days beforehand anyway. I’m not even kidding you here but only directors and producers had copies of the script. Actors were allowed to read it and then it was taken away from them. (Everyone knows you can’t trust actors.) Studio up and up’s were only allowed to read the script under video surveillance in a locked vault. Cast and crew showed up day of, unsure of what exactly was to be filmed, received the day’s script pages and then had them taken away and shredded at the end of the day.

Considering all of this extravagance (I would hope that some people have bigger conspiracies to expose outside of the new X-Files movie plot), it seems somewhat odd that Carter would put together a DVD anthology of eight episodes from the award winning series, entitled THE X-FILES REVELATIONS, that would enhance the viewing experience of the new film. Well, I’ve watched these eight episodes and I’ve got a theory of my own now about what to expect on July 25th. Here’s a breakdown of the great eight.

PILOT (season one)
The X-Files begins in silence. Mark Snow’s infamous theme music has yet to be created but the ominous X looms with enough weight to alert us that what is about to begin is more than you’re likely ready for. A girl runs through the woods before she is surrounded by light. When the light and the night both disappear, she lies there dead without explanation.

We meet Scully before we meet Mulder. She is being assigned to the so-called X-files unit of the FBI. This is where unexplained files go to die and also where she meets agent Mulder. He believes in the fantastic. She believes in the scientific. Many elements of the alien lore that became the foundation of the series are introduced right off the bat (losing time, the cigarette smoking man) but as the new movie is not supposed to involve the alien conspiracy, then I would think that watching the pilot is just a great way to see where Mulder and Scully took their first steps.

BEYOND THE SEA (season one)
It’s Christmas time but it’s hardly merry. After entertaining her parents for dinner, Scully passes out on her couch. She wakes to a vision of her father sitting across form her, mouthing something without making any actual noise. The phone rings suddenly and her mother tells her that her father has died. Scully jumps right into her work. When Mulder sees her, he calls her by her first name for what seems like the first time. The case in front of them throws the two reliable agents into opposite roles. A death row prisoner summons Mulder to see him regarding information he knows about a kidnapping that is currently in progress. He claims to be psychic. Here’s the kicker. Mulder doesn’t believe he’s the real deal. Scully, on the other hand, is taken entirely under his spell. When Scully tells Mulder that she thought he would be pleased that she has opened herself up to new ways of seeing, he wishes it were under more supposedly legitimate circumstances.

THE HOST (season two)
The X-Files have been shut down and Mulder is not happy. Scully has been reassigned elsewhere but the twosome sneak around piers for midnight meetings. This episode doesn’t seem to offer much insight into where the movie might go but it is definitely one of the series’ more gruesome offerings. A giant fluke worm has infiltrated the New Jersey sewers and Mulder is in charge of catching him. Even though they’re not supposed to, Scully and Mulder are still working hand in hand. Though reassignment can’t keep these two apart, it does make Mulder think about his future at the FBI.

Another episode, another psychic. Unlike “Beyond the Sea”, this episode is much more playful. Belief is the word though. A serial killer is taking the lives of fortunetellers and a famous fortuneteller is called in by local police to help shed some light on the case. Mulder and Scully are also called in but Mulder is quickly kicked out of the fold because of his supposed skepticism. Again, Mulder only believes the real deal and he finds it in an insurance salesman by the name of Clyde Bruckman, played by an adorably irritable Peter Boyle. Scully is in true form, disbelieving Mr. Bruckman’s abilities but Mulder, as usual, has enough belief for the both of them. Boyle makes this episode is a joy to watch as he tests Mulder’s already thin patience and sends Scully’s eyes further inward then they ever have been before.

MOMENTO MORI (season four)
From laughs to tears, this episode is one of the best in the entire series. While it is steeped in conspiracy, it is also incredibly heartbreaking for anyone who cares about these beautiful characters. Scully has discovered that she has an inoperable brain tumor (caused by tests she endured while she was abducted in an earlier season but that’s not really important). Mulder refuses to accept what Scully believe to be the inevitable. His commitment to Scully has never been stronger and her inner peace offers a soothing tranquility. Watching this episode only further strengthens my presumption that the Mulder and Scully relationship will reach new levels of intimacy in the upcoming film.

Alright, Carter, you got me here. I’m stumped. I have no idea how this episode, in which Mulder and Scully investigate a comic book character come to life, could possibly add weight to understanding the new film. It is in black and white and, while it is certainly an amusing episode, it marks for me the beginning of the end for the originality and immediacy demanded by the four previous seasons. It is a mad scientist shout out to Frankenstein, in which genetic manipulation is unleashed on a public dying to see a parade of freaks on the Jerry Springer show. It just feels gimmicky, like it’s trying to be cool when it never had to try before.

BAD BLOOD (season five)
There are two sides to every story and those sides are always at odds when they’re being told by agents Mulder and Scully. Mulder has killed a boy who may have been parading as a vampire under the belief that he actually was a vampire. The twosome must get their stories straight before they present their case to their superiors. And so the story is told from each perspective. Scully’s interpretation of Mulder is as a hyperactive personality, both in presence and imagination. Mulder’s version of Scully is controlling, aggressive, frighteningly intimidating even. This dissection of character by the characters themselves is absolutely hilarious while revealing a closeness that can only be experienced fully after years of being together.

MILAGRO (season six)
Spending years in a sexless relationship can take its toll on a person, even a super person like Dana Scully. After a somewhat eerie, somewhat enticing elevator ride with Mulder’s new neighbour, Scully can’t get this guy out of her mind. I mean, so what if he looks a little crazy and has no furniture whatsoever in his apartment. So what if he’s a failed novelist. When you’ve gone this long without knowing another person in the biblical sense, I guess certain concessions have to be made. Not that Scully is the kind of girl to jump into bed with someone but even the mere possibility sends Mulder into such a tizzy that he puts a gun to the guy’s head. Sure, the guy is quite possibly writing people’s deaths so vividly that his stories manifest themselves in real life but there was definitely a little jealousy involved.

Let’s review. We’ve got three episodes with people who can predict the future or at least portend to do so, two episodes with genetic mutations and three episodes that deal specifically with the intensely touching yet platonic relationship between Mulder and Scully. Psychics + genetic miscreants + Mulder & Scully = I WANT TO BELIEVE? OK, so it’s not a theory so much as an equation. We’ll soon find out though as months of secrecy are about to be revealed. Now the only mystery left unsolved is whether all this suspense and time was worth the wait.

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