Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The X-Files - S5:E6 "Christmas Carol"

[ S5:E5 "The Post-Modern Prometheus" <<< Season 5 >>> S5:E7 "Emily" ]

Spoiler Warning: Mythology episode. Huge spoilers. You have been warned.

The episode opens with the Scully family gathering for Christmas in San Diego (at brother Bill's house) - and if that doesn't set you on edge, then it's been too long since you watched Beyond The Sea. Bill's wife is very pregnant, and she gives a vomit-inducing speech over dinner about how much better life is after motherhood. Unfortunately, Scully seems to be lapping it up (because, as everyone knows, a woman is nothing without the ability to become a mother). However, she reveals to her own mother that she recently learned that due to what was done to her during her abduction, she is incapable of conceiving a child. (This was indirectly hinted at in Memento Mori, the same way Scully's cancer was foreshadowed all the way back in season 3's Nisei). Now that Scully has survived cancer, she'll have to tackle motherhood - but, as this is The X-Files, it won't be in the traditional way.

I'm actually kind of surprised this development is occurring this early (I seem to have had that feeling with a lot of the mythology arcs during my rewatch). I would have thought this stuff didn't come up until at least the sixth season, after the first movie. Nevertheless, here it is. And, inviting further comparisons to later X-Files is the fact that Mulder is nowhere to be seen in this episode. I think this is about the point at which "Scully's journey", as I like to call it, begins to become less interesting to me than Mulder's quest for the truth (which is how I remembered it when I wrote my Analytical Observation back during the first season). To be fair, the whole cancer thing was dramatic and emotional to an unprecedented extent, but it was still never as much fun as Mulder chasing aliens (and government conspiracies). And I really hate to pull the sex card, but motherhood is just one thing about the female experience that I can't find myself relating to.

This episode was written by the team of Gilligan/Shiban/Spotnitz, but unfortunately it veers more towards the schmaltz of Memento Mori than the fun of Leonard Betts. While experiencing more family pressure (why can't families just let people be who they are?), Scully starts having dreams of her past, in one of which we are treated to one of the more nightmare-inducing images in television history - the rabbit in the lunch box. She also begins to receive phone calls from her dead sister Melissa, urging her to help a child named Emily (who is obviously an alien - because no 3 year olds are that well-behaved), whose adopted parents are embroiled in the midst of an apparent conspiracy that's in the process of taking their lives. Emily is a very sick child, suffering from some form of anemia, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Melissa when she was a child. Scully thinks Emily may be Melissa's illegitimate daughter and has a DNA test run, but in the cliffhanger (if you can call it that), she finds out (on Christmas morning, no less), that Emily is actually her own daughter!

To be continued...

Memorable quotes:

Detective: A lot of people check themselves out around Christmas time.

Scully: Several months ago, I learned that as a result of my abduction - of what they did to me - that I cannot conceive a child.

Mrs. Scully: We're still connected to them, Dana. Even after they're gone.

Susan Chambliss: The good news is, you have first-hand experience of grave illness. The bad news is, you'd have to relive it through the eyes of a child.

Melissa: There is no right or wrong. Life's...just a path. You follow your heart, and it'll take you where you're supposed to go.
Scully: God, you sound like a greeting card. I don't believe in fate. I think we have to choose our own path.
Melissa: Well, just don't mistake the path with what's really important in life.

No comments:

Post a Comment