Thursday, July 2, 2015

The X-Files - S1:E5 "The Jersey Devil"

[ S1:E4 "Conduit" <<< Season 1 >>> S1:E6 "Shadows" ]

The X-Files tackles cryptozoology in this monster-of-the-week episode, in which Mulder goes on a hunt for the east coast version of Bigfoot. Meanwhile, thinking that Mulder is too absorbed in his work, Scully takes a stab at dating, but finds the social life boring compared to the thrill of solving cases. On the subject of a romance between the two leads, there was some minor romantic tension in as early as the pilot episode, so it's not something that was just tacked on later in the series, but it will take some time to develop into anything substantial. Mulder and Scully's growing relationship (and I use that word in a holistic sense - meaning not strictly romantic, but also as friends and work partners) is a mature one; they have lots of respect for each other, but it definitely lends evidence (in the long run) to the belief that men and women can't be "just friends". On the other hand, this is first and foremost a sci-fi/horror crime/thriller series, and not a romantic drama, so there's never too much time spent on any of that lovey-dovey stuff.

Memorable quotes:

Anthropologist: It's just...highly unlikely that what you're suggesting could have survived civilization or evolution out in the woods of New Jersey.
Mulder: Highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of extreme possibility?
Anthropologist: Well, it would be an amazing discovery.

Mulder: Eight million years out of Africa, I don't think we're all that different.
Scully: Mulder, we've put men into space. We've built computers that work faster than the human mind.
Mulder: While we overpopulate the world and create new technologies to kill each other with? Maybe we're just beasts with big brains.


  1. I love the Jersey Devil, so I had to watch this one. Unfortunately it... erm, has nothing to do with the Jersey Devil. The Jersey Devil is a demonspawn with hooves, wings, and the head of a horse. I even planned this to coincide with my satanic viewings for the eclipse, since I assumed there'd be occult content.

    Bizarre that they'd do that. Jersey Devil's not an obscure cryptid, it's like they take a trip to Loch Ness and Nessie is a T-Rex walking around on land -- and nobody in the episode ever mentions that this was unexpected, or inconsistent with what everyone believes about the creature. They never even reference the original Jersey Devil backstory.

    It's a totally solid ep about neanderthals surviving to modern day -- which happens to be another cryptid I'm very fond of. Mulder even refers to her as a neanderthal. Maybe they tried to shoehorn the JD in just because it was set in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey?

    "Highly unlikely, but not outside the realm of extreme possibility?"

    For some reason that quote seared itself into my brain. I feel like I took that quote to heart so long ago that I didn't even remember the source.

  2. Yeah, they definitely took an...original take on The Jersey Devil in this episode (it's not one of fan's favorites). That's not unusual, though. I think the show's creators probably didn't want to be too predictable, plus it was a big deal for them to try to tie all these legends into things that are at least semi-plausible. Chris Carter was adamant at the show's beginning that he didn't consider it "sci-fi" (although he's since softened up to that term), but explorations into the realm of "extreme possibilities", to tie it into your other comment. He used that phrase a lot - it's a perfect summation of what the show is about. And it's one of my all-time favorite quotes from this series (I probably repeated it on occasion) - and this is a series with a lot of memorable quotes.

    For whatever reason, Satanic themes are close to my heart. (I don't know why, I'm just drawn to them - although that's not as scary as it sounds, I promise). And not a few of them turn up in this series. My favorite so far is season 2's Die Hand die Verletzt, about a town being run by a group of Satanists. Irresistible from the same season was also good, although it was more subtextual - the idea of a very human evil, being like a manifestation of the devil. Season 4's Sanguinarium also features some Satanic imagery, albeit in the context of Wicca.

    Millenium has a lot more Satanic content, though, being The X-Files' darker cousin. In fact, the main villain on that show is a person the main character believes to be an embodiment of Lucifer.