Sometimes, you just feel like this:
Like after talking to your ex-husband for any length of time, for example.
Or maybe watching the oxymoron known as MTV. Well, an oxymoron if you are like me and remember just exactly what the M stood for (hint: it wasn’t teenagers getting knocked up).
Or it could be as recently as last night, when you plopped down on the couch, after a long, thrilling day at work in the tax resolution industry (trust me, it’s not as glamorous as it sounds), ready to watch your favorite duo tackle whatever the monster of the week is this week, along with the added humor, a few well-placed Easter eggs and so forth.
Well, when I tuned into The X Files this week, I did not get what I expected. Instead, the offering was a little different this week. Not that this is bad, but it was similar to trying a new food, and that food is so new that you have to come up with names for the new flavors that you experienced. Sometimes, there is no name for those new flavors, and you are just at a loss for words.
And, as always:
The episode begins with a young Muslim man named Shiraz, who lives in Texas, saying a prayer. The young man eats a snack and leaves his house, heading to an undisclosed location. Shiraz then pulls into a motel parking lot, where he is greeted by other young, Muslim men. The men then head to an art gallery, and it becomes clear that they are “suicide bombers.” They are successful in their mission and bomb the art gallery, presumably causing the deaths of themselves and several patrons.
We are then introduced to agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who are discussing some cases of unexplained phenomena in Mulder’s office. They are interrupted by a visit from special agents Miller and Einstein, who are assigned to investigate the bombing of the art gallery. Agent Miller wants to speak to Mulder, as Shiraz is now in a vegetative state and near death, and he has heard that Mulder may be able to communicate with the man, due to Mulder’s experience in dealing with the paranormal. Miller and Einstein feel that Shiraz and his friends did not act alone, and may be part of a larger terrorist group. Mulder tells him that he does not, and Miller hands him his business card, telling Mulder to call him if has any leads, while expressing an admiration for Mulder’s work. Agent Einstein is skeptical, attempting to debunk her partner’s “wild” theories.
While at the airport, Agent Einstein receives a call from Mulder. Mulder tells her that he thinks that he may have a way to communicate with Shiraz, but does not want to involve Scully, who is still grieving the death of her mother. It turns out that Mulder wants Einstein to administer him “magic mushrooms.” so that he may try to communicate with Shiraz on a different plane of existence. Einstein is initially skeptical, but later agrees to the experiment.
In the meantime, Agent Scully contacts Agent Miller, telling him that she also wants to try to communicate with Shiraz. However, Scully wants to use science to possibly elicit yes/no responses from Shiraz, using an electro-encephalogram. Scully meets Miller at Shiraz’s hospital room. She and Miller run into several road-blocks, including a Homeland Security team that tries to take the case from them, and a racist, paranoid nurse who attempts to speed up Shiraz’s death. They are unsuccessful in communicating with Shiraz, but are at least able to protect him from the racist nurse.
Mulder has finally convinced Einstein to administer the “magic mushrooms” and experiences a series of vivid hallucinations, which include encounters with his boss, Walter Skinner, and the deceased Lone Gunmen. The hallucination concludes with an encounter with Shiraz, who whispers a few words into Mulder’s ear. However, Mulder does not understand the words, because they are spoken in Arabic. Mulder awakens at the hospital and is chastised by both Skinner and Einstein. He also learns that the pills he ingested were not actual hallucinogens, but were placebos instead.
Mulder, Scully, Einstein and Miller re-convene in Shiraz’s hospital room and provide each other with a recap of what has happened so far. A woman then enters the room and Mulder recognizes her from his hallucination: she is Shiraz’s mother, and wishes to visit her dying son.
Upon seeing Shiraz’s mother, Mulder then remembers the words that Shiraz uttered to him in his vision. Miller, who has spent some time in Iraq, is able to translate these words as “Babylon Hotel.” This turns out to the name of an actual hotel. The FBI raids this hotel, finding the group of terrorists that Shiraz was a part of, and makes several arrests, preventing another large-scale terrorist act.
At the end of the episode, Agent Einstein has loosened up a bit, and is more willing to entertain the possibility of the paranormal. Scully visits Mulder at his house, and the two walk hand-in-hand on his property, discussing what religion means to various people, and just what God is, if He even exists. Mulder looks up at the sky, and hears the sound of trumpets.
As I said before, I am not sure how to feel about this episode. Yes, there was good in it (it’s The X Files, how can it not be good?) But there was also some parts that just baffled me. I feel like I have a jig saw puzzle, and the finished product should look awesome, but I failed it putting the pieces together correctly, so now it just looks like a jumbled mess…
However, let’s talk about what I did like about this episode, as I actually found a found things to like. One of those things that I liked was the humor. This episode had a quite a bit of that, and it was much needed. For example, Scully’s answer to the knock on the door: No one here but the FBI’s most unwanted! And telling Mulder that she was waiting 23 years to say that. And also telling Mulder that it felt awesome to finally say that…loved it!
And speaking of humor, let’s talk about Mulder in this episode for a minute…
Mulder is quite the trip (see what I did there), to say the least, and especially in this episode. And he would appear to have some interesting musical tastes as well.
I was kind of expecting Mulder to boot, scoot and boogie, actually. Oh the 90’s, in your ridiculous, mullet haircut, so bad it’s good catchy country music tunes and fashions that were the thing back in the day but now we would not be caught leaving the house in that get-up unless it’s Halloween, right along with your ridiculous country line dancing…oh, those were the days!
Mulder’s niacin induced trip was certainly the high point of the episode. Really, I may have to pay a visit to my neighborhood dealer er GNC and see if someone can hook me up, although I do have one small request: Tim McGraw or Garth Brooks, please…nothing wrong with Billy Ray or Trace Adkins, however my tastes in country music tend to be a little less achy breaky and badonkadonk, and more in low places. And if I can dance half as well as Mulder did, then that will be some good niacin right there!
I also have to give more props:
Yep, more Easter eggs…one of my favorites of the season, as a matter of fact!
Well, we have talked about the good of this episode. Now let’s get to the ugly, or confusing at the very least.
Now, anyone not living under a rock (and probably those living under a rock too, Wifi is everywhere now, it seems) has heard about the so-called War on Terror. Yes, terrorism: The Word of Today, much like communism was The Word of Today when my parents were young pups.
Naturally, terrorism and terrorists have made their way into pop culture. After all, we have shows like The West Wing and Homeland. And often, we can just turn on the local news, and get our fill of terrorism, in the form of a school shooting or attack on unsuspecting people who were out to enjoy themselves in some public place. In other words, there is no escaping The Word of Today, either via the news, social media or unfortunately, live and in person.
So of course, The X Files had to say something about this. Although what was the show trying to say about terrorism? Was it really trying to say anything about it? Insert the confusion right here.
At the start of the episode, we have the guy who obviously practices Islam saying a prayer and then heading out. He gets harassed by the locals and meets up with his friends. And I was thinking, please don’t be a terrorist, please don’t be a terrorist, please don’t be a terrorist. Well, those hopes were dashed about 30 seconds later when an art gallery (of all places) is targeted for attack. In fact, I actually felt like I watching something on Fox News. That feeling was heightened when the racist nurse tries to kill Shiraz but is deterred by Agent Einstein. And the look on Agent Einstein’s face when she has to listen to the nurse…yes, most people who do not watch Fox News probably get that look on their faces when they are stuck listening to that nonsense for more than all of five seconds. So glad Fox network recognizes that fact and was able to bring it to our attention!
I felt that this episode could have made a statement about terrorism (like the Muslims didn’t do it, it was actually the town locals who harassed Shiraz and framed the Muslims, maybe), but really, no statement was made. We did hear a tired cliche: basically, the Muslims are at it, and we better thank our lucky stars that we have the heroes in the FBI protecting us (although Mulder and Scully are still my heroes and I love them immensely). In other words, a bit of lazy storytelling that even The X Files is prone to at times.
And we have Agents Miller and Einstein.
So just what am I supposed to do with these guys? Hope that Mulder and Scully pass the torch on to a new generation? Be proud of Mulder and Scully for giving birth to such great spiritual children? Maybe hope for a new TV show called Trading Partners, where FBI agents trade partners for a day and gain great insight about themselves, and maybe end up with an amazing home makeover in the process? So yeah, insert more confusion right here as well.
And the ending to this one. It is interesting, I will give you that. Again, is the torch being passed on to Miller and Einstein, where they will investigate cases “outside the norm” and earn the ridicule of their colleagues? Or will they just be assigned to that boring terrorism task force?
And is the ‘ship back? Mulder and Scully HELD HANDS! *swoon* They walked hand in hand across Mulder’s property and had an intimate conversation about religion, the meaning of life and all that jazz. But Mulder hears trumpets…what does that mean? Is it just after effects of some especially potent niacin? Or is something more sinister in store? Or does it just mean that even the higher powers think the ‘ship is meant to be?
Well, that’s it for Babylon. It definitely was not Home Again, or the masterpiece known as Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster, but, for better or for worse, it is now part of the canon. And a certainly memorable part, at that. Join me next week for the recap and review of the renewal finale, My Struggle II.
Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!