**** If you read the first post, you can skip this preamble…and just jump down to the gif.
I’d been working on this list as one long post, but it was shaping up to be so long that I thought, there’s no way that anyone will devote the time to reading it through, so I’ve broken it down into instalments…
Warning: This series of posts is going to deal with religion, religious themes and imagery. I don’t want to upset you all, so if you ‘don’t do’ religion and have a problem with reading about religious stuff, then let’s save your time and mine and you can just skip over this. Straight up, I’m not going to get tangled up moderating negative comments and whinges about religion – so if you’re feeling the urge, just don’t.
The reason that I have always loved the X Files is primarily because of the dynamic between Mulder and Scully but also for the supernatural content, which unapologetically explored ever widening concepts and boundaries from week to week. I watched the series on network television religiously when it was fresh and new. It was something my mother and I did together every week. I’ll always love this show, like a handful of others, for that reason alone. As I’ve gotten older though, and come back to the X Files, I am surprised about how it has spoken to me as an adult, often for the way it depicts religious themes, thought and discovery. I’m one of those folks that enjoys the spiritual and the idea of ‘belief’ being a lifelong journey. Like Mulder, I want to Believe, no matter how long it takes and I’m open to a range of different ideas and endless possibilities. I’m also one of those people that has no issue with faith and science sharing in my belief structure, in fact I believe the two, rather than being the mutually exclusive, probably have a far greater connection than the human mind can rationalise. Who says we need to know the secrets of the universe? Isn’t it far more fun to ponder them? The X Files did that – for 9 seasons and two films. It never attempted to answer many of the questions it asked, and you know, I was okay with that. I am, of course, tickled by the news that a reboot is in the works, which is what prompted me to write this post in the first place. Before we get acquainted with the new Mulder and Scully though, let’s revisit the Mulder and Scully we first fell in love with all those years ago…
(I’ll be starting at 10 and counting down to 1. Honourable mentions/ runners up will come at the end)
Humbug (season 2, episode 20): There are so many things I love about this episode, I don’t even know where to begin. Where other episodes are on this list for their serious content, this one I love (I think) purely because it’s about freaks, side-shows and all things P. T. Barumesque.
This episode comes on the back of some pretty solid X Files offerings. Overall, I would say that the back end of Season Two was an almost unparalleled highpoint in the series as a whole, it was just one awesome episode after another and, as a die-hard fan of the series, I could probably compose a top ten favourites list just from season two alone… but that would be unfair.
Back to Humbug, there are so many excellent scenes in this episode that it’s hard to pin-point any one moment that stands out over and above the rest. The plot centres around a set of mysterious murders, which have taken place over a 48 year period, and which have Mulder and Scully completely stumped. I love that it is actually Scully who eventually puts the pieces of this decades old mystery together and Mulder is the one who doesn’t want to believe the horrific nature of the truth. It’s nice to see her believing in the unlikely for a change and it’s nice to see Mulder not swooping in at the last moment to save the day.
The supporting cast is amazing – The Enigma stars as the Geek, Twin Peaks and Carnivale fans out there will recognise Michael J. Anderson, who although he’s not talking backwards this time, is certainly giving it to Mulder over his attitude around the vertically challenged… plus Vincent Schiavelli (who you may remember from Ghost) as Lanny. All the supporting characters featured in Humbug are really we written, developed and performed. They all get equally excellent dialogue and all manage to capture the essence of the ‘freakish’ trait which they’re meant to embody. I love the side plot of Jim Jim and also the discussion of Chang and Eng – who were actual, really real Siamese twins. Every once in a while, the X Files drops real life, factual content into their story lines, which I think is one of the main reasons it is such a great show.
Oh, this is also a highly memorable episode for the fact that Scully eats the cricket – much to the horror of Mulder.
Well… that rounds out the first half of the list… can it get better from here you ask? Yes, yes it can.
I’m turning this blog over to Lauren for the next week, while I work on my other blog: the young historian travels, I am sure she will have plenty to say about a whole new range of films and televisions shows. I’m excited and I hope you are too.
See you all upon my return, where we will continue counting down my top 5 X Files episodes.