Before we begin, I’ll take this opportunity to say Happy New Year! Thanks to Lauren for maintaining the blog during my absence. Here’s to a new year of sci-fi, horror and a bunch of other fun blog posts!
Now, without further ado, let’s kick off with the pilot of The X Files:
As we all should know, today (in Australia at least) marks the return of one of our favourite sci-fi shows of all time. That’s right, its X Files reboot day! In honour of this auspicious occasion, I’m using this countdown (which you might recall, I’ve had going for a while) to revisit the episode that launched it all… Let’s not waste time, let’s just get right into it… we have less than an hour until reboot time.
What I loved about this show, and wished we had seen more of, was the ‘based on true events’ information that runs at the beginning of the pilot episode, rather than the soundtrack we all know so well, and which adds a feeling of all over spookiness to the goings on.
The first of the two agents we meet is actually Agent Scully (and her horrific early 90s haircut and epic shoulder pads), who is being assigned after only two years in the FBI to oversee the work of one Agent Fox ‘Spooky’ Mulder.
No one down here except the FBI’s most unwanted…
Mulder has been occupying himself with X Files, down in the basement, being a lone wolf until Scully shows up to rain on his parade and when we do finally see him, he and his glasses are looking through slides and chewing on a pencil. Be still my heart…. Will the two get along? Well, it can go either way in this first episode, because Mulder is being an epic douche, pulling out everything in his arsenal to grind Scully’s gears. He’s even picking on her senior thesis. (That’s below the belt Mulder, she was just trying to make her name in the world, we can’t all be geniuses like you, writing profiles that help catch Monty Props.)
It doesn’t take long before Mulder pulls out some mysterious pictures and gets them both a plane ticket to sunny Oregon to investigate a series of murders that are happening deep in the forest.
Scully looks so young with her bad haircut and her active wear as she works on her phone book sized laptop in her budget hotel room. It’s funny, but the further along we get in the first season, the less we see Scully in sensible and comfortable clothing. Come to think of it, I think the last time we see her in leggings and a sloppy joe is when the alien replicant shows up looking like Mulder.
Early 90s fashions. How good are they?
Mulder, his smart mouth, Scully and her shoulder pads end up in a cemetery, opening a grave, where they find a mysterious shriveled corpse, which Mulder attributes to alien abduction. All the deaths seem to be occurring within the same group of teens, the class of 89 apparently, with very little evidence to suggest what could be responsible apart from two strange looking marks on the backs of the victims.
While Mulder is straight on the Alien Abduction train, Scully is thinking cult although neither of them will be proved right or wrong, because this is the X Files and while the truth may be out there, we’re sure as hell never going to find it. I do think this is as close as Scully ever comes to actually believing (when she sees Billy Miles feet she is about 3 seconds off throwing up her hands and yelling Aliens! I swear it). I don’t know what happens between the pilot and episode two, but she certainly loses the capacity to consider the fantastical… then again Mulder loses a lot of his annoying arrogance and stupid one liners, so maybe it’s a fair trade.
Mulder is so enthusiastic in this episode, something which is not as present as the series progresses. Recounting his discovery of the X Files, Mulder is like a little kid as he discusses finding the initial case files in the basement of the FBI, before reading everything he could about the supernatural and extra terrestrial phenomena. It’s in this first episode that we first hear of the abduction of Mulder’s sister, although the story is a little different in this first telling than in subsequent flashbacks, in which Mulder is present when Samantha disappears.
I’m not saying there aren’t some flaws in this episode, because there certainly are a few moments when I want to punch Mulder in his face or when I think the acting leaves something to be desired… ‘hold on, this is a crime scene…’okay Mulder, whatever, but flaws aside, it’s been a long time since I can recall seeing a pilot that made me this excited about an up coming series. Supernatural or Buffy possibly, but even then, there was a certain lack when compared with the X Files.
Okay, I’ll leave it here, because we’ve got less than half an hour until the reboot premiers now and I have to go and turn off my phone, get my flashlight, and boil the kettle for a cup of tea.
Retrospectively, I will also say that I always loved the way that the season seven finale came back around to this case in order to bring everything between Mulder and Scully full circle – but by that point of course, they’d gone a long, long way together.