The X Files Renewal: Episode 4 Recap and Review

Well, it happened.

It happens to the best of us, but that doesn’t mean it happens to me, right?  Right?  RIGHT?!

But it did happen, and I may as well admit it.  So here goes nothing:

My name is Leah McLaughlin, and I got trolled.

Whew, I feel a little better now.  And I’m among friends, so it’s cool, right?

It’s also cool because of who did the trolling…

internet troll 4

Nope, not him!  He’s a dildo anyway…

Fat-Green-Troll

No, I was trolled by none other than Chris Carter!

Yes, THAT Chris Carter…the creator!  Of one of my favorite shows, anyway.

Mulder and Scully 3

Let me explain, then.  I heard there was an episode titled Home Again, and that it would air as one of the episodes of The X Files renewal this year.

Of course, you can imagine where my mind (and probably a lot of other minds, great minds think alike, I hear) went:

home 5

So I was excited.  Not only was I was to get a reunion with the hottest duo on TV, I was going to get a reunion with those lovable miscreants known as the Peacock family.  Had they managed to continue their family tree?  Well, not actually a family tree, unless maybe we are talking about a tree with no branches and one that is really more of a straight line.  Did they still have it in for Mulder and Scully?  Oh, the suspense!

Well, that dream got killed pretty quickly.  So now when I wake up at 3 AM and need something to wonder about, I can still think about this warm and loving family, along with the origins of the universe and whether or not penguins have knees.

But it’s ok, I ain’t mad, bro!  For one thing, it’s Chris Carter.  So I can easily forgive that.  And what I got instead of a good old fashioned family fun was actually a pretty good stand-in.  An excellent stand-in, as a matter of fact.  So no complaints here!

So, without any further ado, here is my recap and review of Home Again.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a man named Joseph Cutler who works for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development instructing the Philadelphia fire department to rid the streets of the city’s homeless population by blasting them with a firehouse.  Cutler literally washes his hands of the deed, and returns to his office.  A garbage truck then pulls up, and a tall shadowy figure climbs out of the truck.  The figure walks into Culter’s office, and Cutler senses its presence right away via his sense of smell.  Cutler attempts to shoot the creature, but the creature is immune to bullets.  The creature rips Cutler’s arms off and also decapitates him.  The creature then returns to the garbage truck with Cutler’s arms, and the truck rolls away from the scene.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully investigate the crime scene the next day, finding Cutler’s head in a waste paper basket.  However, Scully is forced to take leave, as she receives a call from her brother, William Jr, with the news that her mother has suffered a heart attack which may be fatal.  For a moment, Scully believes the call to be from her and Mulder’s son William, who was placed for adoption as an infant.

Mulder remains at the scene, and notices a graffiti stencil on a building across the street that was not there when he viewed the previous night’s surveillance footage.  A bloody footprint that lacks any identifying skin print and a band aid containing some material that is neither organic nor inorganic are also found on the scene.  The surveillance footage failed to actually record the murder, as the power was out in the building at the time of the murder.  When he walks the streets of the surrounding area, Mulder also meets a man and a woman who are bickering.  The man is named Darryl Landry, and he had been working with Culter to develop a 10 story apartment building in downtown Philadelphia, which would have forced the homeless population to relocate to a hospital turned shelter in nearby Bucks County.  The woman is named Nancy Huff.  She appears to motivated out of genuine concern for the homeless population, but really just does not want them anywhere near the high school that is two blocks away.  A homeless man lurking in a nearby dumpster tells Mulder than the Band-Aid Nose Man is the voice for the homeless (and presumably the killer).

In the meantime, Scully visits her mother, Margaret, in the hospital.  Scully is heart-broken to learn that Margaret has asked for her estranged son Charlie, instead of her or her brother William.  Scully is also devastated to learn that Margaret has changed her living will, indicating that she does not want to be placed on life-support indefinitely.  Scully also takes a look at the possessions her mother had on her when she entered the hospital, and finds out that Margaret was wearing a quarter on a silver chain.  Scully wonders just what secrets that her mother kept from her and the rest of the family.

Mulder arrives at the hospital, interrupting his work on the case, to offer his support to Scully.  Scully’s brother Charlie calls and speaks to Margaret via speaker-phone.  Margaret briefly regains consciousness, and tells Mulder that her son is also named William.  Margaret then slips back in a coma and subsequently passes away.  Scully is devastated, but insists on returning to work with Mulder.

The killer struck again in Mulder’s absence, killing a pair of hustlers who stole the billboard with the stencil.  Margaret Huff is also murdered by the same shadowy figure who murdered Cutler.  Mulder sees a man purchasing the particular brand of spray paint used on the stencil, and follow the man to a basement in a dilapidated tenement.

In the tenement, Mulder and Scully meet the man who claims to be responsible for the creation of The Band-Aid Nose Man.  He tells the agent that he trying to be the voice for the homeless, as no one else cares about their plight, and just ignores the issue, in the hopes that it will go away.  The man believes that his graffiti and wax sculptures have taken on a life of their own, and that if he doesn’t look them in the eye, they will leave him alone.  Scully tells the man that he is responsible, as he is the creator and therefore the problem originates with him.

Mulder and Scully realize that the Band-Aid Nose Man has one last target:  Darryl Landry.  However, they are powerless to stop the killer, who kills Landry and several other employees of the hospital turned shelter in Bucks County.  The artist flees the tenement, replacing his wax sculpture of the Band-Aid Nose Man with a happy face.  However, the stencil of the Band-Aid Nose Man watches him flee, implying that he may not be safe after all.

Mulder and Scully scatter Margaret’s ashes into the ocean.  Scully understands why Margaret wanted to speak to Charlie:  she felt he was her responsibility and wanted to make sure she was safe before she passed away.  Scully also believes that Margaret mentioned her and Mulder’s son William to make sure that he was safe as well.  Scully wonders about William, questioning whether he is secure and happy, even though she feels that she and Mulder treated him like trash, in much the same way that the city of Philadelphia treated its homeless population, and embraces Mulder for comfort.


 

My Thoughts

Well, I will say this much:  The X Files is all over the place.  And this has been evident with this renewal.  One week, I’m crying from laughter.  And the next week, I’m just crying…what a ride!  Never a dull moment when I am in the company of Mulder and Scully!

THE X-FILES: L-R: Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and William B. Davis. The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Frank Ockenfels/FOX

While Home Again did have a bit of humor, and quite a few Easter eggs, its tone was in sharp contrast to last week’s Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.  Chris Carter and co. were not fooling around with this one and meant business!

easter eggs 1

Now, I am going to classify this episode as a Monster of the Week episode.  Yes, this episode did have a monster, and an intriguing one at (more on this later).  But there was so much more to this episode.  Actually, there was almost too much packed into this episode, but Mr. Carter and co. pulled it off, if barely.

One of my favorite things about this episode was the fact that it was Scully-centric.  Like the monster, Mulder did have his place (again, more on that later), but here’s to Scully power!

Scully and William 1

Scully has been seen, and rightfully so at times, as the cold, somewhat calculating scientist, who is able to pick apart things and put them under the microscope, all while keeping Mulder in line.  However, Scully is human just like the rest of us, and this episode did a wonderful of showing that side to her.  I also loved the fact that Scully realizes that she is human as well, and shows her vulnerability to Mulder, all while they are hunting down the monster of the week.

This episode also raised some interesting issues on the right to die with dignity, and making those final choices, along with the effect that those choices may have on those we love (i.e. Scully’s perplexity over her mother’s decision to amend her living will).  I also loved the fact that this episode dealt with someone’s final moments, even right down to his/her possessions that they bring with them on what turns on to be their final hospital visit.  When someone you love passes on, it can be the smallest of things that brings you close to him/her (i.e. the necklace with the quarter worn by Margaret), giving you something to tether you to him/her.  However, those last moments can sometimes come with more questions than the answers we so desperately seek (Margaret’s request to speak to her estranged son), making the grief that much more poignant.

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And the ‘ship made an appearance!  Who knew the words “I’m here” could make me swoon like that?  Well, Mulder uttering those words as he walked into the hospital to be with Scully when she needed him the most…that made me shiver, and in a good way!  And Mulder taking Margaret’s hand…not gonna lie, I wept a little!  The flashback to the episode One Breath, where Mulder is hoping against all hope to literally bring Scully back from the dead was a nice touch as well

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The episode even ended on a ‘shippy note, when Scully leaned into Mulder (after the discussion of their son, William), and he just held her as we faded out to the credits…perfect!

This episode also dealt with Mulder and Scully’s son, William (Scully sees him everywhere, even on her caller ID).  And I am wondering:  is this the last of William?  Or will he make an appearance later?  The show seems to be hinting at the latter, so we will find out soon, I hope.

X Files renewal 14

Ok, time to talk about the monster…

First of all, The Band-Aid Nose Man.  A unique name for a unique monster.  Or is this monster so unique?

Almost immediately, my mind went here:

golem 1

And his creator.  I kind of think of that guy as a cross between Banksy and Dr. Frankenstein, perhaps?

X Files renewal 37

And this monster is one of the more intriguing monsters that we have seen from this show, for a couple of reasons.

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First of all, this episode explored not only the effect that the artist has on his artist, but also the effect that art has on the artist.  And I may be a little biased (I do a bit of art myself), but I find this to be a fascinating topic.  How much a part of a piece of does the artist actually own?  Is a piece of art a separate entity, or is it an extension of the artist and under the control of the artist at all times?  How much responsibility does an artist have for the effect that his/her artwork may have on others?  It is true that most works of art don’t literally come to life and start killing douchebags (if only!), but art inspires people, and sometimes that inspiration is not good.

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "Home Again" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

I also loved how the episode managed to tie in the Monster of the Week to the show’s seemingly unrelated theme:  responsibility.  Where does it start and where does it end?  Just who (or what) are we responsible for?  Just because you can’t see someone or something, does your responsibility end?  The creator of the Band-Aid Nose Man tried to absolve himself of responsibility for his creation by shutting his eyes and later fleeing the scene.  Does that mean he is no longer responsible?  I would guess not, and it appeared that his creation would agree with me on that.  Margaret still felt responsible for her youngest son even though she had not seen him for years, and he became a “fifth business” of sorts, leaving Margaret unable to return “home” until that business was sorted out.  The city of Philadelphia refuses to accept any sort of responsibility for its most vulnerable citizens, and they also close their eyes and hope that the “problem” will just disappear, like the hope that the Bank-Aid Nose Man will disappear if ignored.  Mulder and Scully struggle with the responsibility towards their son William and their feelings of guilt and that they treated him like trash, just like the city of Philadelphia did with their homeless population.  Ultimately, none of us can ever escape responsibility, no matter how fast we run or how tightly we shut our eyes.

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So that’s it for Home Again.  Join me next week as we review and dissect the fifth episode of The X Files renewal, Babylon.

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

batman and robin

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