Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The X-Files - S6:E6 "How The Ghosts Stole Christmas"

[ S6:E5 "Dreamland II" <<< Season 6 >>> S6:E7 "Terms of Endearment" ]

I was unenthusiastically settling in for another Christmas episode (perhaps like last season's Christmas Carol), only to find to my delight that this is just as much of a Halloween episode, merely transposed onto another holiday! Mulder drags Scully reluctantly out on a stakeout on Christmas Eve to investigate a ghost story about the legend of a lovers' suicide pact, and the house that they haunt every year on the night before Christmas. It's a fun, eerie episode, starring Lily Tomlin and Edward Asner in an unusually tight cast. And the conversations between Mulder and Scully and the ghosts serve as excellent character studies. After three lukewarm episodes in a row, I'm happy to discover that this show can still put out a creepy, atmospheric episode. Also, to my relief, it breaks the dismal record for freak-of-the-week episodes written and directed by Chris Carter that I don't especially like. It loses a little bit of its coherence towards the end, being too committed to the idea that Mulder and Scully have to shoot each other - which you know they're not going to do. They may be lonely people, but they've never been lonely together.  Still, it's a great episode, that manages to accomplisth he unlikely feat of being both a good Halloween episode, and a good Christmas episode! I recommend it.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: Checkout lines are worse than rush hour on the 95. If I heard Silent Night one more time, I was gonna start taking hostages.

(I feel ya, Scully).

Scully: I see. The dark, Gothic manor; the omnipresent low fog hugging the thicket of overgrowth - wait, is that a hound I hear baying out on the moors?

Mulder: Ghosts are benevolent entities...mostly.

Mulder: Shh! What was that?
Scully: These are tricks that the mind plays. They are ingrained clichés from a thousand different horror films. When we hear a sound, we get a chill, we see a shadow, and we allow ourselves to imagine something that an otherwise rational person would discount out of hand.

Maurice: I've found you all tend to fall into pretty much the same category.
Mulder: Hm. And what category is that?
Maurice: Narcissistic, overzealous, self-righteous, egomaniac.
Mulder: Wow, that's a category?

Maurice: You've probably convinced yourself you've seen aliens! Do you know why you think you see the things you do?
Mulder: Because...I have seen them?
Maurice: 'Cause you're lonely men. A lonely man, chasing paramasturbatory illusions that you believe will give your life meaning and significance, which your pathetic, social maladjustment makes impossible for you to find elsewhere.

Maurice: Of all days, why did you pick Christmas? Why not Halloween?
Lyda: Now who is filled with hopelessness and futility on Halloween?

Mulder: We're not lovers.
Lyda: This isn't a pure science. But you're attractive. And there'll be a lot of time to work that out.

(I always love it when the writers put lines into their characters mouths that could simultaneously be taken as pithy meta-statements about the show itself).

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