Top Ten X Files Episodes (according to Racheal) No. 3

**** 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)

metaphysical

3. Essence/Existence (season 8, episode 21 & 22): We call it the miracle of life. Conception – a union of perfect opposites – essence transforming into existence – an act without which mankind would not exist and humanity cease to exist. Or is this just nostalgia now? An act of biology commandeered by modern science and technology? God-like, we extract, implant, inseminate… and we clone.  But has our ingenuity rendered the miracle into a simple trick? In the artifice of replicating life can we become the creator? Then what of the soul? Can it, too, be replicated? Does it live in this matter we call DNA? Or is its placement the opposite of artifice, capable only by God. How did this child come to be? What set its heart beating? Is it the product of a union? Or the work of a divine hand? An answered prayer? A true miracle? Or is it a wonder of technology – the invention of other hands? What do I tell this child about to be born? What do I tell Scully? And what do I tell myself?

scullys baby

I’m going to put it out there early, I actually prefer the second part of these two episodes to the first. I have only included Essence because of the stirring monologue (reproduced above) which Mulder gives and because of Billy Miles getting eaten by the garbage truck in the final scenes.

Otherwise, I find Essence to be a bit of a drag… maybe it’s the baby shower. I hate baby showers. Anyway, as if Scully wants a baby shower. Scully wants to be at home, with her feet up, polishing her guns, not being subjected to this:

baby shower

Maybe it is the whole Frances Fisher plot point that sticks in my craw. Sorry, Titanic killed all subsequent Frances Fisher characters for me and anyhow, what purpose does she really serve? The whole confrontation between her and Scully and Mulder at the FBI confirms or denies NOTHING. Why, oh why can’t they just put us out of our misery? Is Mulder the really real father of the baby, or is he not? Have he and Scully been secretly banging this whole time and we just thought she was going through IVF treatments? I like to think so. 

And then Krycek shows up and things just get even more confusing. I mean, seriously?

Any alliance that involves this man is not much of an alliance:

alliance

He cannot be trusted! Mulder! Has this fact escaped you (of all people) over the last 8 years? At least Skinner is wise to his duplicity. Bless him. Maybe Doggett too…

It’s always kind of annoyed me that, but the end of this episode, there is a real gender divide. All the boys have gotten together to do boy things in the next episode and Scully and Reyes are stuck together being boring ladies, preparing for Scully to birth a child, which is about the girliest thing a girl can do.

I know that Scully is limited in her ass-whopping because of the enormous belly she is carry around, but I still feel like she could have been a bit more assertive in this first instalment. Lord knows Mulder has sooking covered.

Speaking of Mulder, here he is, being a bitch:

ah scully

(Never mind that Scully is about to drop his baby at any moment, she’s still up there on her feet, addressing that sorry excuse for a head wound. Come on, Mulder, man up. Things are only going to get harder from here.)

Anyway, as I’ve mentioned, the cliffhanger episode ends with Billy Miles doing a sweet chase scene, which ends with him getting dumped off a roof and into a garbage compactor. Pretty inventive. I also want to take this opportunity to say that I loved the fact that Billy got bought back at all. I thought his reappearance was an excellent way to bring things full circle…but I digress

Let’s talk now about Existence, which picks up right where Essence leaves off: Billy Miles is in the rubbish can, Reyes and Scully are on a cross country road trip and the bro club is hunkered down in the FBI building.

Not a whole lot happens in the first half of the episode, there’s some spying, Billy shows up again (not dead after all, he regrows himself from a piece of metal spine), Skinner get a huge gash in his head, Scully and Reyes try and church up an old timey historical hot springs town in anticipation of Scully giving birth, Mulder and Doggett head off on a mission to track down Doggett’s friend Noel, who actually isn’t much of a friend at all and of course it is revealed that he is in league with Krycek… Doggett chases off after Noel, leaving Mulder all alone in the parking bay and before you know it, Krycek has a gun to his head. It doesn’t look good for Mulder, although there is a moment when I wonder if Krycek really could go through with killing him, because I think they’re a bit in love. They really do need each other in order to survive… and then –

This happens:

skinner hits his mark

This is the episode when Alex Krycek FINALLY get his comeuppance, which was too long coming if you ask me. I know he was the bad guy of the series, but between him and CGB Spender and the younger Spender, there were just too many bad guys and I would have been happy to see Krycek get shot in the head way back in season 4.  That said, I was happy that it was Skinner that finally put a bullet in him, because we all know that Mulder was never going to muster up the gumption. Lord knows he had had enough opportunities…. it’s from here that things finally pick up.

It sounds a bit like I have been bagging this instalment of the X Files out, maybe making you wonder why the hell I have it on my list at all when, thus far, I have had relatively little that is positive to say. Well. the reason it’s on here is a simple one really –

It’s the final scene that gets me, seriously, it chokes me up every time. I would actually go as far as to say that it is my favourite final scene in any season finale in any show in any time. Damn it. It is just so damn perfect. For those of us who were living through the X Files in real time, it had been a damn long wait between the pilot and the moment where Mulder and Scully finally admit their feelings and kiss. SO. LONG. I remember when fans worldwide collectively sighed with relief over the episode preview for all things, only to find that, like many episodes of the X Files, it in fact confirmed nothing of the budding romance that had been developing (in my opinion) since Pusher in season IV. Then there was the New Years Kiss in Millennium.. oh and the kiss but not kiss in Triangle. We’d had the Scully/Mulder romance dangled in front of us so many times, it felt like it was never going to happen. In the final seasons, we really get put through the ringer – Mimi Rogers shows up as the awful Diana Fowley and almost runs away with Mulder, Mulder then dies, leaving Scully pregnant and alone, and then he comes back and he is all weird and you’re left wondering if they’re ever going to get it together and he and Doggett are kind of having this passive aggressive face off and Scully is perpetually in the middle. But then this happens:

so happy

I think what we feared were the possibilities… the truth we both know

the kiss

and suddenly everything feels right with the world again. Finally, we were rewarded! And it was (and still is) a beautiful, beautiful scene.

I love this show, there’s no denying that, but honestly, I could have been just as happy if they had finished the series in this moment right here and foregone all of season 9, which had relatively few high points (The End was an exception – for obvious reasons). I loved the way that everything came together and I even loved the inclusion of the Lone Gunmen as the equivalent of the three wise men

I even didn’t find Monica Reyes as offensive in this episode, as I did in most of her others. Sorry all you Monica Reyes fans, but I never liked her. I see what the writers were doing, reversing the gender roles and making Doggett the sceptic and Reyes the believer in that partnership, but it was never going to happen. Mulder and Scully just have shoes that are too big to fill (even for the T1000).

reyes and doggett

Speaking of Robert Patrick, I did really rate John Doggett as a character, there are genuine moments in season 8 when my heart goes out to him because Scully is such a nasty, stand-offish bitch in the beginning. I love Roadrunners, where Doggett goes to save her on a hunch and comes out carrying her at the end. That’s strength. He is also really very caring throughout the whole Mulder being missing saga, and come on, how can your heart not melt a little bit in Dead/Alive when Scully goes charging in to see Mulder while he is all yuck from being dead for 6 months and Doggett says to her: I know (you have to see him)… but I wish you wouldn’t...’ *blubber sounds*

I bring this up now, because neither Reyes nor Doggett will be appearing in either of the final two instalments on my countdown.

Anyhoo – Essence/Existence comes in at number 3 simply for the fact that we get to see that brief and beautiful moment where Scully and Mulder are not only best friends and partners, but they’re totally in love and have the whole happy families things going on. It took 8 seasons to get there, but it was worth it. Touching and beautiful – even to me – and I am like the wicked witch of the west.
*Finally, I do just want to say that I am sorry that I’ve broken tradition and posted this on a Tuesday rather than a Monday. I’m also aware I missed my Friday movie review instalment. I had such a good thing going there… anyway, as Lauren and I had mentioned in out initial post, we’re both honours students and things on that front are starting to get real, so I’ve been a bit behind. I do appreciate that you all take the time to read these though – so I’ll try and stay on top of things in the future. 

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