Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The X-Files - S8:E20 "Essence"

[ S8:E19 "Alone" <<< Season 8 >>> S8:E21 "Existence" ]

Spoiler Warning: You're no doubt used to this by now, but if there were spoilers before, we're into the two-part season finale now, so expect even bigger ones.

So far, this series has arranged its season-spanning mytharcs in such a way that there'd only ever been a single episode before the season cliffhanger, to be resolved in one or two episodes come the following season. This is, therefore, the first time that a season concludes with a two-parter before the break. It starts with Mulder waxing philosophical in voice-over - as in important mythology episodes of the past - this time about the miracle of birth. It also hints at the central question behind Scully's pregnancy: is it natural, or supernatural? While Scully's mother (whom we haven't seen very much of lately, but is as meddling as ever) throws her daughter a baby shower, Billy Miles - last seen being resurrected in Deadalive - is on the warpath, destroying anyone and anything connected to Scully's miraculous pregnancy.

About which we do finally get some answers in this episode. Apparently, it turns out that the doctors we were all afraid of (and which Billy Miles is systematically executing) were actually trying to protect Scully's baby - and not because it's an alien. Though they were almost certainly involved in experiments with alien babies (and it sounds like they were taking orders from the Syndicate back when it was still around), Scully's baby would seem to be something else entirely. But that's where things get a little hokey. I would have loved for Scully to have given birth to an alien baby. And I would have settled for her having Mulder's human baby. But I fear this series is laying on the religious imagery a little strong - what with Scully being a virgin mother and all. As much as I love it whenever Krycek pops up, he lays down some unsatisfying exposition in this episode.

It's cool that the aliens are trying to sabotage any and all efforts by mankind to survive the coming alien apocalypse. I even think this new form of enforcer - the alien pod people, who I predict are going to be the "Super Soldiers" fans often talk about when discussing this show's late-era mythology - are a neat idea. (Although, I don't like them better than the Alien Bounty Hunter, who - now that I think about it - was probably engaged in a similar objective in Colony/End Game). This is definitely a new phase for the mythology - more so than The Sixth Extinction (which never really went anywhere) ever proved to be. But Krycek spouts some of that "more human than human" crap when referring to Scully's baby, who is apparently going to be some kind of messiah. Which is why the aliens want to destroy it, since they're apparently not only religious now, but superstitious to boot. I don't want the aliens to be afraid of "a higher power". I liked it better when the aliens were the higher power!

I should have known something was wrong when it was Krycek coming to the rescue (and then Agent Reyes as their backup - lame!). Mulder seems to think that Scully's baby could somehow be proof that there's a God. Except, he's supposed to be an atheist. I don't see any good reason for him to backpedal now, just because some scientists have created a superbaby in a lab, and stuck it in a barren woman's womb. The conclusion/cliffhanger, which ends with Scully being spirited away to somewhere presumably safe from the replicants (but don't count on it), leaves much to be desired. Though Billy Miles ends up in a trash compactor, there's another replicant on the scene. But rather than the excitement of shouting, "oh my god, I can't believe it", I find myself frustrated, thinking, "what the hell is going on here?" This show has lots of potential - the alien menace, the usage of Krycek (who has remained a regular, if sporadic, character much longer than I remembered) - but I just don't know that I'm enjoying the direction the story is going in.

To be continued...

Memorable quotes:

Party-Goer: So many secrets, Margaret.
Mrs. Scully: What do you expect? My daughter works for the FBI.

Mulder: Pissing people off comes with the territory, Agent Doggett. It's part of working on the X-Files.

Doggett: You're ignorin' the fact that he bled red blood. Now, every single X-File I read - and I read 'em all, Mulder - what you call "aliens" bleed green. Right?
Mulder: Well, Billy Miles is a whole new deal.

Krycek: You can call 'em what you want - human replacements, alien replicants. They're virtually unstoppable.

(Super soldiers, perhaps? I'd like to know where Krycek gets all his information. Oh, that's right, he used to have the MJ files. He probably copied them and has been interpreting them piecemeal for the last five years).

Skinner: What do they want?
Krycek: They want to knock out any and all attempts by us to survive the final days. When they come back to retake the planet.

(Kinda begs the question - why did Krycek want to prevent the baby from coming to term before, but now he's all helping hands? Or one hand, at least. Is he for or against)?

Krycek: If I'm so full of crap, why all the precautions?
Skinner: Precisely because you are so full of crap, Krycek.

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