Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The X-Files - S2:E7 "3"

[ S2:E6 "Ascension" <<< Season 2 >>> S2:E8 "One Breath" ]

This episode has the ignoble distinction of being the only episode (if I'm not mistaken) in the entire series that Gillian Anderson does not appear in. It's hard going back to a monster-of-the-week episode knowing that Scully is still out there, somewhere. It's like, is this really the status quo now - no Scully? The X-Files are back in commission, and yet, this represents an emotional low point in Mulder's life - which is aptly demonstrated by David Duchovny's lethargic and monotone delivery of his lines in this episode.

This is a man who is going through the motions, following up on an X-File that takes him to Los Angeles to investigate a murder. And yet, Mulder is as much the consummate professional, and expert on the supernatural, as ever - except that one can't be sure if Mulder's initial disbelief that what he's dealing with is actually vampires (in L.A. - what else?) is evidence of his distraught emotional state, or just the writers trying to incorporate Scully's skepticism into the one character they have to work with here.

To put it in the most insensitive way possible, this episode seems like an excuse to have Mulder cavorting with vampire prostitutes, now that Scully is out of the way. But the erotic potential of the premise is dulled by the fact that we all (Mulder included) would prefer to see him back together with Scully (even if not in a strictly romantic sense). Rather, it may just be a demonstration that Mulder is at such a low point, that he's engaging in self-destructive behavior, chasing after skirts with fangs.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that a lot of people rate this episode as the worst in the series - as it's an easy target - but I imagine a lot of that is the product of loyalty to Scully. Yes, the show suffers from her absence, but it's only one episode (not like when Mulder disappears in the latter seasons), and I appreciate the writers having an opportunity to try something a little different. The episode has its moments, and it's certainly not significantly worse than any of the other take-it-or-leave-it monster-of-the-week episodes we've seen so far.

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: "He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life. I will raise him up on the last day." They have the same feeble, literal grasp of the bible as all those big-haired preachers do.

Vampire: He is the father, I am the son, and she is the unholy spirit.

Vampire: When a snake eats a fly, it's not murder, it just is.
Mulder: Frogs eat flies.

Vampire: Look, what nobody realizes is that there is no afterlife. I know this because when we prolong our lives by taking theirs, all I see is such horror in their eyes. And that's because at that moment they're face to face with death, and they suddenly realize there's nothing else. There's no heaven. There's no soul. There's just rot, and there's just decay. And I will never, ever, ever, ever have to face that.

Mulder: I had believed that this man's illness was psychological.
Pathologist: There is a condition known as Gunther's disease - congenital erythropoietic porphyria, creating cutaneous photosensitivity.
Mulder: I'm familiar with porphyria - it's an affliction that causes legions and blisters when skin is exposed to sunlight, not fourth degree burns. Sufferers may have a hema deficiency which can be supplemented by small ingestion of blood, not the kind of bloodthirst that this man had. It's probably ignorance of porphyria as a disease that led to the creation of vampire myths in Asia in the middle ages. I had dismissed the possibility of the actual existence of such a creature as myth.
Pathologist: You are really upsetting me. On several levels.

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