X-Files

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:46 pm

Ra's al Ghul was truly ahead of his time.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Friday » Sat Oct 03, 2020 12:19 pm

Season 2 finale:

I love that CSM calls Mulder on his cell phone, Mulder answers his cell phone, and CSM's opening line is "You're a hard man to reach, Mr. Mulder."

I love even more that Mulder is out in the middle of the New Mexico desert and getting reception on his 1995 cell phone. Which he continues to get after climbing into a boxcar that is buried underground.

Fox Mulder is the EASIEST MAN IN THE WORLD to reach.


necroing this thread because i've been on an X-files kick lately, decided to read this thread, and wanted to let you know that this made me laugh pretty hard

seriously the dumb shit tv shows do is just amazing
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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sun Oct 04, 2020 11:56 pm

Don't forget to follow along with Monster of the Week as you go -- it's just returned for season 6!

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Re: X-Files

Postby Friday » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:29 am

Reading Monster of the Week post ep is usually the best part, yeah. Glad to see it's starting up again!
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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Mon Feb 14, 2022 6:52 pm

I've reached the point in X-Files where the T-1000 joins the main cast.

I love him.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Mon Feb 14, 2022 8:00 pm

The series' decline is definitely not his fault (and was well underway by the time he got there). I do like me some Robert Patrick.

(I like a good role-reversal story, too, and Scully as the believer trying to convince Doggett the skeptic is a good one.)

I was impressed with his recent performance on Peacemaker, too. There's a character who starts out with no redeeming qualities and just gets worse.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sun Mar 20, 2022 2:15 pm

Hadn't watched the show in like a year and Hulu lost my place so I had to figure out where I was. "Season 7...okay, I definitely saw the Ricky Jay one, that was awesome...hm, did I see the snake handler one after that? That sounds familiar but I think I'm thinking of the one with the revival tent." So I tried the snake handler one, and nope, had not seen that one before; I would have remembered it.

It was really fucking bad! And I was like oh right, season 7, popularly regarded as the worst season.

"The friendly, tolerant preacher turns out to be the devil and the deranged snake-handler preacher is actually trying to help" is the kind of thing you get from writers who are more concerned with plot twists than the message of what they're saying*. It also suffers from being the sort of twist ending that leans so hard into irony as to be blisteringly fucking obvious. It's the kind of thing where the writers are going "Who's the person you'd least suspect?" and don't seem to realize that their audience understands genre conventions and therefore "the person you'd least suspect" is automatically the person they most suspect.

The episode's Wikipedia entry says "Furthermore, [writer Jeffrey] Bell wanted the true antagonist of the episode to remain hidden until the very end." It's kind of impressive how he managed to fail on every level. Aside from the "unlikely" suspect being likely for simple formula reasons, one of the first fucking lines out of the guy's mouth is "I should be the last one to point a finger or say a harsh word. Our church is founded on acceptance and tolerance of all people, all beliefs..." and, like, has Bell never spoken to a person who starts a conversation that way? Because that's some "I'm not a racist, but" shit. If you're trying not to draw attention to a character who's bad but is pretending to be good, maybe don't introduce him saying a line that basically amounts to "Hi, I'm a bad person who pretends to be good."

So anyway I was not expecting much out of the following episode, Sein und Zeit, and was surprised when it was Actually Good! Not perfect -- show, we understand that a story about a little girl who disappears and whose parents are suspected of murdering her, in a TV episode made in 2000, is a reference to JonBenet Ramsey; you don't have to beat us over the head with it by showing a picture of JonBenet Ramsey on the news in the background -- but good, and it's only the second episode of season 7 I can say that about. The supernatural elements are handled pretty well, but it works best as a Mulder character piece, exploring his formative trauma and the obvious reason he's so invested in a case where a little girl disappeared under mysterious circumstances. It's an episode that feels like a monster-of-the-week at first but then bam, mythology episode. It's an episode about how Mulder processes everything, even his mother's death, through his paranoia about government conspiracies.

I haven't watched part 2 yet but I suspect that angle will be somewhat weakened when it turns out Mulder was right and his mother really was murdered by the Conspiracy because she was about to tell him the truth about what happened to his sister. I prefer the idea that, just this once, things are exactly as they appear, Mulder's mother committed suicide because she had cancer, and his insistence that she was murdered in order to hide The Truth is just because he's unable to cope with trauma without filtering it through conspiracy theories, but I'm bracing myself for the inevitable Mulder Was Right reveal.

I haven't decided yet whether I'd put Sein und Zeit on my list of favorite episodes. It is an excellent Mulder character piece, but I'm not sure I'd call it a favorite. I'll think about it. Maybe see how much part 2 puts me off the whole thing.

* The Wikipedia page quotes Frank Spotnitz as saying the theme of the episode is "intolerance can be good", and uh that could probably have used a little more time in the oven.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Mon Mar 21, 2022 10:55 am

My favorite part of "Closure" is where Scully's like "I found evidence that the Cigarette Smoking Man was involved in the coverup of your sister's disappearance!" and Mulder's like "Yeah, no shit, how could you possibly be surprised by that?" and Scully's like "Well don't you want to confront him about it?" and Mulder's like "When has that ever helped us?"

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Mar 22, 2022 12:02 pm

The Cops episode wasn't as good as it could have been, probably because having to get approval from the Cops team and the LAPD puts some hard limits on the kind of story you're able to tell.

I'm not saying it was bad -- I liked it quite a bit, actually, aside from a cringe-inducingly stereotypical gay character -- but I don't think it lived up to the potential of an X-Files/Cops mashup, and the reason I think that is that I've seen Wellington Paranormal.

Playing it straight is a weird damn choice, given how inherently comic a conceit "X-Files meets Cops" is, but I can guess why: it's seven episodes away from "Hollywood AD", the one where Wayne Federman makes an X-Files movie starring Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni. Given how close the "Mulder and Scully are on Cops" episode is to the "Mulder and Scully are in a movie" episode, going for a completely different tone was probably a good idea.

And writer Vince Gilligan and director Michael Watkins do a good job within the confines of the episode conceit. It's shot like an episode of Cops, it's low-budget, and you never see the monster except for a brief, shadowed shot. The monster itself uses a classic horror trope -- the creature that will turn into whatever you're most afraid of -- and the slow burn revealing that's what it is is well-executed. All in all, a good episode that doesn't quite rise to the potential of its premise.

And hey, four out of the last five episodes have been good-to-great! Am I past most of the dire material in season 7? We'll see.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Mar 23, 2022 10:57 am

"First Person Shooter" is the single most '90s thing I have ever seen.

Also: Langly is wearing an Ozomatli T-shirt. Somebody must have been a fan.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Fri Mar 25, 2022 12:02 pm

"Theef": You know, "uneducated, superstitious man uses magic tied to an old-country religion to punish someone he believes has wronged him" is a plot that feels oddly racist even when the man is a white hillbilly and the old country is Ireland.

Some good Mulder/Scully banter in this one. I like the bit where Mulder sees the dirt in the shape of a person and says it looks like someone tried to hex the victim and looks up expecting Scully to argue with him but she's just like "Yeah, checks out" because it's season fucking seven and the whole skeptic thing doesn't work quite so well as it used to. She also knows how to talk to the victim -- Mulder storms right in with his "he cast a hex on your family" theory, which justifiably disinclines the doctor to take them seriously; Scully later smooths it over by explaining to him that even if none of this hex stuff is real he's clearly being targeted by someone who believes it is, and should accept help from the FBI because his family is being targeted by a murderer, regardless of how he's doing it.

Scully's not a skeptic anymore, but she knows how to talk to skeptics. I feel like this resonates some with "X-Cops" a couple episodes earlier, where her objection to Mulder telling everyone his werewolf theory wasn't "werewolves don't exist", it was "Mulder, there is a camera crew here and you are making us look like crazy people in front of a national audience."

Mulder also does some plain old brass-tacks police work in this one, as he rattles off the killer's motivations and why he's doing the outlandish things he's doing. It's a reminder that he was once a highly respected criminal profiler, but he pissed his reputation away by doing things like explain to strangers that they're the target of malicious Celtic magic. Mulder does not give a fuck about his reputation, or, insofar as he does, he's furious that people don't take him seriously because he's telling the truth. Scully's come around to believing in aliens and the supernatural, but she still cares about what people think of her. And as a recent skeptic herself, she knows how to talk to skeptics.

It's not a great episode but it does have some good solid character work. I care less and less about the series mythology the longer it goes on, but this is the kind of continuity I can get behind: remembering characters' history and having that inform their behavior in the present.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Sat Apr 09, 2022 2:53 pm

In a shocking twist, the one with Kathy Griffin in a dual role is actually pretty good!

Not great -- their powers are inconsistent, how close together they have to be to activate them is inconsistent, and it's clear that they know about each other because they react with horror any time anyone tells them they've seen someone who looks just like them, but they don't seem to make the connection when a stranger knows something about them that he shouldn't (eg the scene where Titanic knows what kind of drink Betty likes, or the scene where Lulu, suspecting him of cheating on her, finds Betty's bracelet in his apartment but assumes it's hers). And the resolution, such as it is, is predictable, and silly in a bad way.

But on the whole? A perfectly decent episode!

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Mon Apr 18, 2022 12:48 pm

Welp, that's season 7 done and dusted.

It's got a reputation as the worst season but I think it's more precise to say it has the worst one-third of a season. It's really front-loaded with crap. But then The Amazing Maleeni is a fucking all-timer, there's one more terrible episode after that, and then the rest of the season ranges from okay to Hollywood AD. (Aside: Hollywood AD is the only season 7 episode I caught during the original broadcast run. Or at least I'm almost certain it was. There were other bits that sort of rung a bell; I definitely remembered Krycek pushing CSM down the stairs, but I don't remember any of the rest of that episode so I suspect I saw it later in a recap. I haven't seen much of the rest of the series either, but I caught a few here and there.)

Requiem is kind of a mess but about as good a finale as X-Files was ever going to get. It's not the finale, of course, but it's a finale; it's the last episode where Fox Mulder is the series lead. I think going back to the pilot is a good choice to bring it full circle. There's definitely a feeling that Carter's checking off boxes here, and while a couple of them are satisfying (Skinner and the Lone Gunmen), most are just kind of there for the sake of being there (Covarrubias, Krycek, CSM, the alien bounty hunter...).

It's a good sendoff for Mulder and end of the show as we know it. It's not going on my favorites list, but it's still solid, which describes a lot of the last 2/3 of season 7, really.

Also the part with the auditor who complains about Mulder and Scully's travel expenses is one of my favorite scenes in the series.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Mon Apr 18, 2022 10:10 pm

Continuing to work through X-Files with friends.

Season 8 was overall pretty good, thanks in large, large part to as Robert Patrick as Agent Doggett. That is, UNTIL the Scully pregnancy saga began. Then, good god, did this show take an unprecedented nosedive. What an incredible misread of the character to think Scully (A) wants to settle down and (B) has always wanted to be a mother. Just deranged early-2000's hack TV writing shit here.

We just started season 9, and I'm convinced that, based on the first three eps, this will be the worst season of X-Files period. Just, god damn.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 19, 2022 11:32 am

Did you watch The Lone Gunmen? I feel like alternating between that and season 9 might make it less of a slog (though I never saw much of either so I can't say for sure).

Strictly speaking that's not broadcast order -- Lone Gunmen aired during season 8 (with its finale after season 8's) -- but if you didn't watch it there, then during season 9 should still work. Provided you finish Lone Gunmen before you get to "Jump the Shark".

Unfortunately there aren't a lot of options for watching Lone Gunmen legally (it's pretty much pay too much money for an out-of-print region 1 DVD or buy the UK DVD set and watch it on a region-free player). There are other ways of finding it, but using the Internet to acquire something you don't have legal access to would of course violate the whole spirit of The Lone Gunmen.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:27 pm

Well, I of course would not be watching The Lone Gunman legally... I agree that they would want it this way.

I've heard TLG is pretty rough, but I definitely want to watch it. Might try switching over to that.

Season 9, Ep 1 actually has them show up to establish that they did indeed survive the TLG series finale.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Tue Apr 19, 2022 3:43 pm

I watched a couple of them during the original run and yeah, they didn't exactly grab me at the time. But I intend to watch the whole run this time, see if any of it is any good.

I remember liking their final appearance on X-Files, which is one of a small handful of season 8-9 episodes I've seen.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 20, 2022 12:12 pm

Man, Duchovny still gets top billing even when he's no longer main cast, but Pileggi doesn't get to be in the opening credits until fucking 2016? Y'all I'm beginning to suspect that Hollywood is not entirely fair.

And that's like a metaphor for the entire season 8 premier: whenever Mulder's not onscreen, all the other characters are asking "Where's Mulder?" I feel like the show really could have benefited from a cleaner break -- pick up a few months later, "Here's your new partner," go do some X-Files stuff -- but it's just not that kind of show. Given a choice between pulling back and refocusing on the core concept or plumbing the depths of continuity, The X-Files will choose "Hey, can we get that psychic kid from three seasons ago back?" every time.

For all that I didn't care about any of that stuff, I really liked it? A great introduction for Doggett, great moments from Scully and Skinner, I even liked that they brought Kersh back. I changed my mind about putting Requiem on the favorites list; it'll be going on there with Within since they're part of the same arc. Haven't watched Without yet; fingers crossed that it rounds off the arc satisfactorily and this isn't one of those "don't bother with the last part" ones.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Mothra » Wed Apr 20, 2022 5:33 pm

Oh absolutely. They needed to have it be the case that Mulder went somewhere willingly, and didn't need to be found, or something like that. Some reason that wouldn't make you ask every episode, "Hey why is Scully going on this woodlands adventure instead of trying to find Mulder?"

I suspect they wanted to keep people thinking of that Mulder hadn't "technically" left the show, so there wouldn't be a mass exodus of fans. Seems like it worked for a while - fans were just kind of confused as to what was going on, being led on and on.

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Re: X-Files

Postby Thad » Wed Apr 20, 2022 6:47 pm

Mothra wrote:Oh absolutely. They needed to have it be the case that Mulder went somewhere willingly, and didn't need to be found, or something like that. Some reason that wouldn't make you ask every episode, "Hey why is Scully going on this woodlands adventure instead of trying to find Mulder?"


And they actually gave him something resembling closure midway through the season in, uh, "Closure". It wouldn't have been a stretch to just have him move on.

I suspect they wanted to keep people thinking of that Mulder hadn't "technically" left the show, so there wouldn't be a mass exodus of fans. Seems like it worked for a while - fans were just kind of confused as to what was going on, being led on and on.


I'm sure that's the main thing, yeah; they were worried fans would quit watching once he left the cast. (I know I never watched the last season of Scrubs, because "My Finale" was a satisfying ending.)

I think dedicated X-Files fans tended to be pretty plugged-in, though -- it was sort of the first show to have a big online fandom -- and between the messageboards and the magazines I think they were pretty well-aware that David Duchovny wasn't primary cast anymore. Hell, they'd been bracing for it for years, at least as far back as Spender's introduction halfway through season 5. I'd quit watching the show about halfway through season 6 but I knew Duchovny had left the show and was trying his hand at a film career. (Anybody remember Evolution?)

I don't know how effective the whole subterfuge was, really; per Wikipedia the eighth season premier was down 11% from the seventh. The ninth-season dropoff was worse, but it really began in earnest with Mulder's departure as the lead.

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