Sunday, June 28, 2015

The X-Files - S1:E1 "Pilot"

[ Season 1 >>> S1:E2 "Deep Throat" ]

In this first episode we are introduced not only to the main themes of the show (suspected alien abductions, mysterious implants, and missing time all make an appearance, framed in the context of an FBI procedural, with undeniable implications of government conspiracy), but also to its principal players. Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) is a former medical student initially assigned to debunk The X-Files, a private project involving the FBI's collection of unsolved and unexplained cases, initiated by eccentric yet charismatic Fox "Spooky" Mulder (David Duchovny).

Scully's scientific skepticism butts heads with Mulder's belief in the paranormal (in the first example of the series' cleverly written dialogue between these two perfectly counterbalanced personalities), inspired by a traumatic childhood experience in which his sister vanished from their home. But the pair's first investigation together provides enough evidence to pique Scully's curiosity (and prove that Mulder's not simply crazy) - even if that evidence inevitably ends up stolen or destroyed by unidentified parties (with high connections in the government). Representing the latter is the grim-faced Smoking Man (William B. Davis), a government agent always lurking in the background with a subtly sinister air (though understated, without yet any [audible] speaking parts). It's a strong first episode, that lays out a captivating blueprint for the series ahead.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted.

Mulder: Now, when convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?
Scully: What I find fantastic is any notion that there are answers beyond the realm of science. The answers are there; you just have to know where to look.
Mulder: That's why they put the 'I' in FBI.

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