Believe the Lie
"Gethsemane" Plot Summary:
After identifying a body in Mulder's apartment, Scully testifies for a group of officials about her completion of the study for which she was assigned to the X-Files: to delegitimize Mulder's work. She explains that she was called away from a party, where everyone seems to know the gravity of her physical condition, by a phone call from Mulder, who wants her to meet with a scientist at the Smithsonian. The scientist has run tests on what is allegedly the 200-year-old body of an alien found in the Arctic, and wants Mulder and Scully to help him verify the alien remains.
While Mulder and Arlinsky travel to the site, where most of the researchers have been murdered and the alien body buried by the lone survivor, Scully and a lab scientist examine samples taken from the site. Scully - who has already reminded Mulder that proving the existence of extraterrestrials on Earth is his purpose for being, not hers - is attacked and injured in the building, but when she confronts her attacker, she is shocked to hear him tell her that if she incarcerates him, the same people who gave her cancer will have him murdered.
Mulder and the scientist transport the alien body to a warehouse to perform an autopsy, but the scientist is murdered before the work is finished. Meanwhile, Scully's attacker, who claims to work for the Department of Defense, explains that the alien corpse was created artificially out of biological samples and frozen into place specifically for Mulder's benefit, to make him believe in their lies. When Mulder finds the scientists dead and the alien body missing, Scully tells him the same people behind the hoax gave her cancer, all in an effort to sway Mulder's beliefs. Shocked, Mulder returns home and weeps while watching taped testimony about the possibility of life on other planets. Later that night, Scully is asked to identify a body inside Mulder's apartment. She concludes tearfully that Mulder apparently shot himself in the head, ending his life.
How many times have we seen Mulder die on this series? Too many for me to lose any sleep over this incident, even if I didn't know that David Duchovny signed a hefty new contract which obligates him to return next season. Let's see where we are with the conspiracy...
It's easiest to assume that Mulder faked his own death. With him out of the way, Cigarette-Smoking Man has no reason not to cure Scully's cancer. It's even possible that Scully really believes that Mulder's dead, and Mulder's planning to work behind the scenes all by himself for awhile, without having to worry about hurting anyone else. I'm more inclined to believe, however, that he would have let Scully in on his plans, and that her identification of his "body" demonstrates that she's complicit.
However, there's an alternate possibility: that Mulder faked his own death to get away from Scully, because he's come to the conclusion that the only way to get any real answers is to go work for the enemy. In that case, he'd want Scully, Skinner, and all of his regular contacts to believe in his death, so he could go sneak around with CSM and those other nasty folk, pretending to be one of them so that he can learn what they're up to.
Scully has hinted several times of late that Mulder is obsessed, amoral, and starting to scare her a little. In "Demons" he almost shot Scully just for telling him the truth when he wanted to believe the lie, and "Gethsemane" suggests that he'd rather die than be proven wrong. How close is Mulder to losing it completely? Would he work for the forces of evil just to have his pet theory proven? Would he become one of them, if he thought that was the only way to protect Scully and the rest of the people he cares about?
Who does Fox Mulder care about - his unfaithful mother, his dying partner, his missing sister? Or does he care so much about proving his own theories that he'd sacrifice them all? I'm starting to wonder, and I think Scully is too. Stay tuned.
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