Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The X-Files - S8:E19 "Alone"

[ S8:E18 "Vienen" <<< Season 8 >>> S8:E20 "Essence" ]

Spoiler Warning: This is the closest thing to a traditional monster-of-the-week episode we've had in a while, but there are still some significant developments in the serial storyline (mainly revolving around the main characters), so expect more spoilers in the following review.

I'd like to start this review by saying that I think this episode works as a spiritual series finale even better than Requiem did. Written and directed (for the first time!) by Frank Spotnitz, it's chock full of in-jokes and references to earlier episodes (let's see, I recognized Dreamland, Quagmire, Tempus Fugit/Max, Squeeze, Detour, The Sixth Extinction, and of course a hilarious scene where Mulder and Scully quibble over whether it was really a spaceship they escaped from in Antarctica during the events of Fight The Future). In this episode, Scully finally takes her maternity leave, and Doggett is introduced to his new (one-time) partner, Agent Leyla Harrison (Jolie Jenkins). She is the anti-Scully - a cute, bubbly blonde (and call me superficial, but I like her). It's a testament to the evolution of this show that I described Dana Scully as the audience's surrogate back in the first season, since she was the skeptic to Mulder's outlandish theories. But at this point, Harrison is a very different kind of audience surrogate - the X-Files fangirl.

Within the world of The X-Files, this manifests as an FBI accountant who had spent the last eight years covering Mulder and Scully's travel expenses, and no doubt living vicariously through their case reports. As such, she's long on lore, and short on field experience, which puts Doggett's life at risk during the investigation of a Reptilian menace. Although she claims she begged for the assignment (and I believe her), I wouldn't put it past Kersh to play fast and loose with his agents' lives. Scully's concern for her new ex-partner gets Mulder involved in the case, and I must say that, ironically, despite the both of them now being out of a job, they're more like their old selves than ever (at least when they're not playing house). I just hope this isn't the last time we'll see that, because the show is clearly angling for a formal changing of the guard. By the end of the episode, Agent Harrison has learned her lesson, and Doggett is left to work alone. He's grown protective of the X-Files over the course of this season, but he came on a stranger to the work. Now he must ask himself if he has it in him to helm the project.

Memorable quotes:

Doggett: This pregnancy leave - it's just a leave, right? I mean, you are coming back...eventually?
Scully: (silence).

(And the entire fanbase lets out a sigh to mourn The X-Files as they've known it for eight years).

Agent Harrison: What is that, slime?

Mulder: I'm unemployed. I got a lot of time on my hands.

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