Thanks For the Gold and Frankincense, But Don't Worry About the Myrrh
"Essence" Plot Summary:
Scully's mother gets her to hire a nurse who turns out to be a devious research scientist with expertise in cloning human-alien hybrids. She swaps Scully's prescribed medication with some other pills. Meanwhile Billy Miles blows up Zeus Genetics and kills Dr. Parenti, Scully's former obstetrician. Mulder gets a reluctant Doggett to investigate, leading to a close call when a clearly inhuman Billy tries to kill Mulder in Parenti's office.
When her partners get around to warning Scully that her pregnancy may be in danger once more, she gets an ultrasound that reveals a normal baby. But Krycek shows up to protect her from Miles, telling her that her baby is anything but normal -- it's a miracle child, a super-human that threatens the aliens, so her life is in danger. The entire group works to sneak Scully away with Reyes while Billy chases her around the FBI building, ultimately falling into a trash compactor. Unfortunately Doggett doesn't realize that Crane, the agent he's been working with tracking Billy Miles, is an alien replacement like Billy.
"Existence" Plot Summary:
Reyes drives Scully to the abandoned Georgia town where Doggett comes from so she can have her baby in complete privacy -- though there's no running water, no electricity and of course no hospital facilities. While they prepare, Doggett, Skinner and Mulder learn that Billy Miles has come back to life. Soon they realize there are spies and saboteurs everywhere -- including Doggett's old friend and alien replicant Noah, Doggett's new friend and alien replicant Crane, everyone's old friend Krycek who gets shot to death by Skinner (but who knows if he'll stay dead) and perpetually P.O.ed cheap Cancer Man replacement Kersh who's probably too stupid to realize that his buddies are alien replicants.
While Doggett wavers about whether to tell anyone where he sent Scully, Billy Miles tracks her down and attacks Reyes. The friendly local policewoman shoots Billy dead, but she, too, turns out to be an alien replicant. Scully has her baby, Mulder arrives in time to get them both to a hospital, and for reasons that are not and probably never will be explained, the alien replicants mysteriously disperse. As the Three Wise Gunmen leave gifts, Mulder drops by Scully's apartment to see how she and the baby are doing. She says she's named him William, after Fox's father. He says he thinks they've both been afraid of the possibilities, and kisses her. The season ends with a nuclear family shot of the Resurrected Son, the Madonna, and a child whose parentage has not been and probably never will be explained.
Not an analysis, actually, just a few random thoughts on the end of The X-Files. (Yes, I know it's not the end. The show is coming back, Gillian Anderson is coming back, Chris Carter may even be coming back -- that doesn't make it any less over.) Please forgive the Monty Python references in the comments that follow. It's better to laugh than to roll one's eyes in disgust.
I really thought Scully was going to name her baby Brian after the replicant folk realized they had the wrong kid, packed up and moved on to the next manger. All that was missing was Reyes declaring, "There's no Messiah here! There's a mess all right, but no Messiah!" (My friend Vera Rule points out that if Skinner is Peter and Krycek is Judas, then Doggett must be Joseph, standing by the Madonna and her divine child even though it never will be his.)
I suppose it's sweet that Scully named her son after Mulder's father -- the number two choice in fan fiction, after Scully's own father. Of course we don't yet know what last name the baby will have. And we still don't know whether to refer to her baby or their baby -- we STILL don't know whether they made love at some point last season, and if so, why that change in their relationship made so freakin' little impact on their emotional connection this season. "My father was Naughteous Maximus!" It'll be a lot of fun for the kid to explain to his friends when he's older.
If I believed Krycek was dead, I would be truly sorrowful, even though I don't think there's much left on this show worth saving. But what are the odds? If ratings drop enough next year, Krycek will be back. And Cancer Man. And probably even Mulder, if Duchovny doesn't refuse on principle. I expected Krycek to say, "I'm not quite dead yet!"
Favorite moments: Sir Doggett bravely running away. Reyes trying to ward off the devil with a pitchfork -- OK, it was a rake, but still. Mulder's observation that the baby looks suspiciously like Skinner, though it's heartbreaking, not because I would care if the baby was Skinner's or if Mulder thought it was Skinner's but because Mulder won't be around next season to make such remarks and it looks like the baby WILL be around; does it make me a terrible person if I really hoped the aliens would swoop down like those creatures from Life of Brian, take her spawn and return the real Dana Scully?
I suspect that's all I have to say about The X-Files, a show that had run its course two years ago but none of the people making money from the franchise wanted to admit it then any more than they do now. It's gone. I'm glad I watched the finale, and I really do appreciate that Mulder's last scene featured him kissing Scully rather than dying, kidnapping her baby for the alien conspiracy or some other horrible twist that would be more in keeping with this show's tradition of twisting itself into knots that then can't be untwisted without mass slaughter of characters and themes. Krycek's death falls into that category; is there anyone left to kill off in a season finale, other than the leads?
But even now that the writers in a fit of desperation have done what I and millions of other viewers wanted for years, the too-little-too-late feel-good moment doesn't compel me to keep watching. What now -- will they spend a year writing about Mulder in the third person via Scully while she and Sir Doggett inspect more fluke men, black oil and other things that were once Mulder's raison d'etre? Or will Mulder vanish again, offscreen this time, to drag one more season of emotion out of the show? Do the writers intend to segue Scully out so they can build up Doggett and the Aura Lady as replacements? Does it matter at all what sort of character work they come up with when they seemed to have milked the paranormal premise of the X-Files and its conspiracies past the point of production?
I learned from La Femme Nikita and Star Trek Voyager not to assume that sooner or later a show will achieve or return to its potential. Sometimes the only thing to do is to turn off the set while fond memories linger, before it's impossible to remember what made the series meaningful in the first place. I adored The X-Files for five years and I kept watching for another three; that's an excellent track record. I will always remember its groundbreaking style, the superb acting, the poignant, witty dialogue that developed believable characters while telling stories that bordered on the ludicrous, the brilliant camera work that was in evidence even in "Existence" (those tracking shots continue to amaze)...I could go on and on, because I still love The X-Files. I love what it was. That's why I'm walking away.
This bird is dead.
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