Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The X-Files - S8:E21 "Existence"

[ S8:E20 "Essence" <<< Season 8 >>> S9:E1 "Nothing Important Happened Today" ]

Spoiler Warning: This is a season-ending mythology episode. Expect huge spoilers.

With Agent Reyes shipping Scully off to some remote village where Doggett was born to have her baby, Billy Miles rolls into the morgue in a box, adequately described by the autopsy specialist as "hamburger". Well, all except for a neat-looking metallic vertebra, which subsequently begins to regenerate. I guess "indestructible" wasn't an understatement. To be honest, I still think these Super Soldiers (which are finally described as such in this episode) are pretty cool, but it's definitely more akin to something out of a Terminator movie, than The X-Files. Apparently, Robert Patrick's appearance on the show had a subconscious (or maybe just conscious) effect on the writers.

Knowle is the one to provide further explanation in this episode - although, knowing that he's one of them, you can take what he says with a grain of salt. He pushes the military projects angle (which is a good idea if he wants to get Doggett the skeptic to believe him), saying that the chip the government put in Scully's neck triggered her pregnancy, with what he claims is the first organic version of the Super Soldier prototype. When Doggett lets Mulder know about Knowle, he's appropriately distrustful (surely remembering how Deep Throat used to jerk him around), but I don't know why he's so convinced that what Knowle says is a lie. I mean, Scully was taken by the government in a staged abduction, right? Even with the alien explanation, the government was still involved. Unless they're retconning that now, too...

Meanwhile, Reyes humorously imitates whale song, while Scully makes the obvious comparison between this character and her sister, Melissa. Again, Krycek has a few scenes where he demonstrates the real malice of his character, but that are once again marred by questionable plot developments. First, he's working with the Super Soldiers. Okay. But why does he suddenly want to kill Mulder now, after all that's happened? Mulder's known about a conspiracy infiltrating the FBI for years. That's not new. I just can't get Krycek's motivations. He claims to have wanted to see Mulder stop the alien invasion, but then why is he working with them? And if he's working with them, why does he want to kill the baby? The scene ends with Skinner shooting Krycek pretty definitively in the forehead, and though it's entirely warranted, given Krycek's stunt with the nanobots (you signed your own death warrant there, Krycek), I'm really sad to see him go.

But that's not even the thing that bugs me the most about this episode. For what it's worth, the conclusion is very exciting, and the scene where Scully finally delivers her baby in front of a crowd of emotionless human drones is terrifically creepy. And you gotta love Doggett telling Kersh off after discovering that he's working with the Super Soldiers, even if it does mean assigning Reyes to work with him on the X-Files (completing the ousting and replacement of Mulder and Scully). But when Mulder explained that he found Scully by following a light in the sky (even if it really was an alien beacon), I swear I vomited in my mouth just a little bit. Like, are they going to start singing Away In A Manger now? They didn't have to put that in - Mulder could have gotten the location from Skinner and Doggett - they clearly went out of the way to include it. So I guess they really are pushing the "second coming" angle.

Except the aliens didn't take the baby, after all. I thought they were afraid of it, but this episode positions it as another one of their experiments. Except maybe it's not. So, is it special, or not? And if so, how? Dammit, Chris Carter, I'm sick of being jerked around! And is it really Mulder's baby? Because that's what it looks like. In a season, we've gone from Mulder being abducted and Scully learning that she's pregnant, to Mulder and Scully kissing at home, while cradling their newborn son. It's definitely a warmer place to leave off a season (let alone the series). But, on the other hand, it's less the vibe I would expect from The X-Files. This was a surprisingly good season - considering the circumstances - but can they really stretch it out for another year?

Hold that door!

Memorable quotes:

Doggett: It can't be. It's impossible.
Mulder: Yeah, it can't be, but it is.

Knowle: Six years ago, Agent Scully was taken in a military operation staged as an abduction. They put a chip in the back of her neck to monitor her. It was also used to make her pregnant, with the first organic version of that same Super Soldier.

Game Warden: I've heard every excuse in the book, but this one's far too original.

Doggett: You ever stop to ask yourself? All the sacrifice, the blood spilled. You've given nearly a decade of your life. Where the hell is it all gonna end?
Mulder: I don't know. Maybe it doesn't.

(I feel like this is another one of those lines that expresses Chris Carter and David Duchovny's feelings).

Krycek: It's gonna take more bullets than you can ever fire to win this game. One bullet, and I can give you a thousand lives.

(Yeah, I don't know what this means. I'm having flashbacks to Mulder's "if those are my last words, I can do better").

Game Warden: This baby will be born.

Kersh: You investigate what I tell you.
Doggett: And you put me on the X-Files. That's what I'm investigatin'.

Mulder: What are you gonna call him?
Scully: William. After your father.
Mulder: Well, I don't know, he's got your coloring and your eyes, but he looks suspiciously like Assistant Director Skinner.

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