The X Files Renewal: Episode 6 Recap and Review

So, I woke up this morning feeling conflicted.

On the one hand, I was sad.  When something epic comes to an end, I always feel that way…

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But I felt confused, too.  I was a loyal fan, and someone had the nerve to just leave me in the dark!

And angry.  When something finishes, I want some satisfaction, dammit…you can’t leave me hanging like that!

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No, I am not not talking about my 2015 football season, as unsatisfactory as that was.  And no, I am not back together with my ex, either!

THE X-FILES: L-R: Gillian Anderson and guest star Annabeth Gish in the “My Struggle II” season finale episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 22 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

I am actually talking about the season finale for the much anticipated The X Files renewal.  I watched it last night, and I am feeling sad (it’s always sad when things end, at least for someone), confused and yes, even a little angry.  In fact, I just want to give Chris Carter and the rest of the creative team a good, hard shake and ask them, ever so diplomatically, WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING?  WHAT THE ACTUAL?  FUCKERS!  FUCK!!!!

Well, the above may be a bit of hyperbole, so maybe keep the f bombs, but lose the cap locks (after, I like to think I am civilized, and don’t resort to the overuse of cap locks to make a point.)  While I did enjoy this episode, and think it does have some merits, I am also feeling conflicted, angry and maybe even a little bit let down after the conclusion of this season.  Alas, I have been an Indianapolis Colts fan for years though, so this feeling is not new to me.

With that being said, here is my review and recap of My Struggle II, the season finale of The X Files renewal.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with a voice-over by Dana Scully, detailing her history and her work on the X Files, along with her admiration for her partner, Fox Mulder.  The voice-over ends with Scully mentioning that her genetic material contains what she considers to be alien DNA.

One morning, Scully shows up at the office, only to discover that Mulder is not there.  Mulder’s computer is still there, and indicates that he has been watching one of Tad O’Malley’s podcasts detailing a government conspiracy, and a massive outbreak of a plague that will endanger the entire population.

Scully is worried and meets with Tad O’Malley at Mulder’s house, where there appears to have been a struggle, but no sign of Mulder.  O’Malley had arranged a meeting with Mulder, and also had his DNA tested, learning that his DNA contained alien genetic material.  O’Malley tells Scully that he suspects the entire population was affected, and this may be the start of a global epidemic.

Agent Miller takes over the search for Mulder, and Scully recruits Agent Einstein to help her determine if there will indeed be a global epidemic.  Scully suspects that smallpox vaccines may have been contaminated with alien DNA, which were given to an unsuspecting population in an effort by evil men to destroy the population.  Scully meets Einstein at the hospital, where they notice a young man who appears to be extremely ill and also has a lesion on his upper arm, where he received an anthrax vaccination from the military.  Scully fears that anyone who has received a vaccine for anything will have his/her immune system react to the vaccine and become ill.  Agent Einstein is skeptical, and tells Scully that she is skeptical of her theories.

In the meantime, Agent Miller has tracked Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, SC, and begins the search for Mulder.

Scully receives a summons from her old friend, former agent Monica Reyes.  Upon meeting with Reyes, Scully learns that Reyes has been working with The Cigarette Smoking Man, who has survived a terrible accident, leaving him with burns on much of his body.  Scully also learns that Reyes has made a deal with her nemesis:  in exchange for helping him, Reyes has also received injects of alien DNA, which will keep her safe from the global pandemic.  Reyes also informs Scully that she is safe as well, because she also has been injected with alien DNA.  Scully is disgusted at Reyes’ actions, and wastes no time telling her so.  Scully also realizes that alien DNA is not attacking peoples’ immune systems, it is actually a Spartan virus that has been passed on to the population via childhood vaccinations, and that she may be able to use her own alien DNA to create a cure for this virus.

Mulder has arrived at the home of the Cigarette Smoking Man, but he is battered, due to a confrontation with a man sent by his nemesis to attack.  Additionally, Mulder has become ill with the plague that is infecting the rest of the population.  However, Mulder still attempts to confront his nemesis and expresses his disgust for his actions.  The Cigarette Smoking Man tells Mulder that mankind is headed for extinction anyway, and Mulder loses consciousness.  Mulder then awakens to Agent Miller, who has saved them.  The Cigarette Smoking Man lets both Mulder and Miller escape, offering no resistance.

At the hospital, Scully and Einstein continue to work on a cure for the global plague, using Scully’s alien DNA as the basis.  Einstein, the nurses and several doctors become ill, but Scully is able to manufacture a cure.  She receives a call from Agent Miller, who tells her that Mulder is in bad shape.  Scully then races to find Miller and Mulder on an extremely congested freeway.

Finally, Scully is able to locate Miller and Mulder on the freeway.  Both men are ill, but Mulder is in particularly bad shape.  Scully realizes that Mulder actually may need stem cells, and tells Miller than in order to obtain those, she will need to locate their son, William.  A spaceship descends from the sky, shining a light on Scully.  The scene then fades to black.


 

My Thoughts

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And on a few different levels, too…

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I did enjoy watching this episode, and I believe that there are some merits to it.  However, something about this episode just didn’t “gel” for me.  Like with the previous episode, Babylon, I felt that I had a jigsaw puzzle in front of me, and some of the pieces were either missing, or I just couldn’t figure out how to put the puzzle together.

Hurr

But first, let’s talk about the good in this episode.  Contrary to popular internet opinion, I do believe that I can find some good in this episode.

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I think the best thing about this episode was that it was “Scully-centric.”  I love Scully…who doesn’t love Scully?  Really, who doesn’t love Scully, so I can come to your house and beat you with a wet noodle?

Growing up, I was a nerd, living in a small Midwestern town.  I had aspirations to perhaps go into science, or maybe mathematics.  I always dreamed of being a part of something bigger than myself, and looked to life beyond that Midwestern town.

In other words, I was the outcast.  My social calendar was clear until…oh say…2012 or so.  Being a nerd (and a female one at that) isn’t easy, but someone has to do it, right?

Loser

Well, Scully also did it very well (the female nerd thing, that is).  She “scienced” like there was no tomorrow.  She could kick bad guy ass with the best of them, and all while wearing three inch heels.  And she got Mulder out of jams pretty frequently, and kept him from completely going off the deep end before he lost any shred of credibility.

In other words, Scully gave me (and probably many others like me), someone to look up to and admire.  And that was a breath of fresh air.

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And this episode was indeed very “Scully-centric”, even right from the beginning.  Mulder was MIA, and Scully was left to try and save the day.  Scully got to use her smarts to come up with a solution to save the world.  Again, Scully had to go save Mulder’s butt.  Scully even got to do the intro this time, so we could get her POV of the time she has spent on the X Files, along with the reminder of how much she has had to sacrifice, all in the name of Mulder’s quest for truth.

I also loved how Scully’s DNA was the likely savior of the human race, and how this fact is probably linked to a certain memorable episode where some crazy guy says that Scully is “immortal.”  Well, Scully’s DNA is (presumably) injected into the rest of the human race to save it.  And if that is not immortality, I don’t know what is.  Scully living on in everybody?  Hmmm, I think I like that!

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Another thing I liked about this episode was the reappearance of one of the most iconic onscreen villains of all time…

Yes, the Cigarette Smoking Man.  The CSM is a bad ass.  Well, actually, given some of his actions, he is probably just an ass.  Regardless, he is still iconic.  And awesome.  And missed, at least by me.  So seeing him was a breath smoky, stale air.

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So some things worked in this episode.  However, not everything, or even most things worked for this episode.  So let’s talk about it, and since we are civilized, we will refrain from using the caps lock button this time.

And speaking of the caps lock key, this episode contained more than its fair share of some really off-the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas.  I know that I was watching a show basically dedicated to off the cuff, wacko, fringe ideas (after all, cases don’t earn that X for nothing) but c’mon, man!  Chem trails?  Anti vaxxer sentiments?  Microwave radiation?  Again, c’mon, man!  Give me something I can actually buy, like Flukeman!  I think even Mulder was rolling his eyes at all this…

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Scully turning into Ms. Ranty-pants and babbling about conspiracies and vaccines being the doom to us all?  Did the writers forget some essential facets of Scully’s character, like the fact that she is a scientist and would probably encourage parents to vaccinate their kids?  And I can’t even say that Mulder would have bought any of that either.  He has an open mind, but not so open that his brain would fall out…

As stated before, I liked the fact that the Cigarette Smoking Man was a player in this episode.  But again, things didn’t add up.  Why would Reyes sell her soul to him, so she could spend her life handing him cigarettes to smoke through his traech (and there is another disgusting image I can’t un-see, Freud would be proud for the creative team on that one).  That confrontation with Mulder made no sense, either.  And Mulder went out with a whimper, instead of a bang, against the nemesis who has been plaguing him since day one.  A bit of a punk ass ending, for sure.

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Oh, and speaking of endings…

WHAT.  THE.  FUCK.

Yeah, I know, I broke my own promise, but I couldn’t help it.  So I apologize for the use of the caps lock.  I just can’t help myself, that’s all.

I am trying to figure out if the ending was just lame, or open-ended.  For the sake of the show, I am hoping for the latter, so we get more episodes.  I felt like the creative team realized that they only had 45 minutes, so oh damn, gotta end this, after we have built all this tension.  So damn the luck, guess we will have to beg Fox Network for another season.  Who gives a shit if we piss off the viewers?  While we are at it, let’s tease about Mulder and Scully’s son William AGAIN, but only mention his name and give no more information, and then cut to a black screen.  So the viewers will never get any closure on that (I mean, William has only been mentioned in every episode this season, and there appears to have been a build-up to something).  And the viewers will never know if Scully’s efforts were successful, and the human race was saved, or if the aliens won out anyway.  So yes, hard to tell if we are looking at lazy or open-ended, in terms of that ending…

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Torture.  Definite torture.  Chris Carter and the creative team did not get the memo that torture was supposedly outlawed by the Geneva Convention…


 

So, there you have.  Many of us wondered if this would ever happen.  But it did.  We were reunited with our favorite onscreen duo. Although the reunion was brief, it was still sweet.  And fun.  And frustrating, at least at times.  But one thing it never was:  dull.  So I say goodbye, at least for now.  And maybe I can hope for another sweet reunion with Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the rest of the gang.  Actually, I am not saying goodbye, since I don’t like the finality of that word.  But I will say, “see you guys later.”  And maybe I will.

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The X Files Renewal: Episode 5 Recap and Review

Sometimes, you just feel like this:

Hurr

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).

straight outta tp

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.

So, I got introduced to a new flavor last night.  And I am not sure how to feel about that.  With that being said, here is my recap and review of Babylon, the fifth episode in The X Files renewal.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler

 


Synopsis

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.


My Thoughts

Hurr?

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…

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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.

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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:

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Yep, more Easter eggs…one of my favorites of the season, as a matter of fact!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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!

batman and robin

 

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…

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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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The X Files Renewal: Episode 2 Recap and Review

Sometimes, you just need to get back to basics.

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Well, not that kind of basic.  To each his own, but I think pumpkin spice lattes are basically disgusting!

No, I mean to kick it old school…

Mulder and Scully 3

Yes, I am that old that I can remember when those phones were considered to be cutting edge technology.  Nice thing was, you couldn’t crack the screen.  Although they were kind of limited, in that you couldn’t take those cute selfies with them.  Nor could you download endless kitty pics with those…

No, I am talking about getting back to what works.  What’s familiar.  Sure, there may be new twists on it (even most dinosaurs have smart phones in this day and age), but it is still recognizable for what it is:  old skool.

old skool 1

And that is exactly what were treated to with the second episode of The X Files Renewal, titled Founder’s Mutation.  Sure, Scully may have cracked wise about our dependency on Google (guilty as charged, doc!) and Mulder may have updated his cell phone just a bit. And Scully’s wardrobe may have been missing the shoulder pads that screamed 1995 and proud.  But really, those details were the only ones that reminded me that it was not, in fact, 1995 (I did get a few flashbacks, though.  I confess:  my criminal record is not completely clean.  I must admit, I have committed more than a few crimes against fashion.  Ah, well.  the 1990’s happened to the best of us).

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In other words, I got to travel back to the 1990’s.  And I didn’t even have to subject myself to ESPN footage of the Dallas Cowboys to do it!  And it was grand!

Dallas 2

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Founder’s Mutation, the second episode of The X Files Renewal.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a scientist named Dr. Sanjay, who works for a man named Augustus Goldman, entering his place of employment.  Dr. Sanjay attends a morning meeting and begins to suffer from extreme auditory distress.  He also sees a large flock of birds outside the window.  Sanjay them locks himself in a server room, where he downloads files on to a portable drive.  However, the sounds become so unbearable that Sanja scrawls something on his palm, and commits suicide by stabbing himself with a letter opener, as his horrified colleagues look on.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully then arrive at the scene.  Scully debunks the incident as a psychotic break, and questions why the agents have been called to investigate it.  Mulder wants to examine the hard drive, but is told by a man who presumable works for the Department of Defense that the property contains classified information that the agents cannot access.  However, Mulder takes Sanjay’s cell phone, and schedules a meeting with a man named Gupta, in the hopes that he can learn what led Sanjay to commit suicide.

Mulder meets with Gupta.  Gupta mistakenly believes that Mulder wants to pay him for sex.  Mulder learns that Sanjay was homosexual, but lived his life in the closet.  Mulder also learns from Gupta that Sanjay seemed distressed, and stated that his “children” were dying, even though he was a single man with no biological children.

The agents then investigate Sanjay’s apartment.  There, they find pictures of children with terrible genetic mutations.  Mulder also hears the same piercing sound that Sanjay heard before his death.

The next day, Mulder and Scully meet with their boss, Walter Skinner.  Skinner tells them that all files having to do with Dr. Sanjay are classified and off limits.  However, Mulder has made copies so that he can continue to investigate Sanjay’s death anyway.  Scully also performs an autopsy on Sanjay, discovering that the area where the scientist stabbed himself when he committed suicide is actually the area of the brain that processes auditory information.  Scully also notices that Sanjay has written the words “Founder’s Mutation” on his palm before his death.

Scully also reviews the surveillance footage from the day of Sanjay’s death, looking for clues.  Mulder confesses that he has heard sounds that no one else seems to be able to detect, which worries Scully.

Mulder and Scully discover that Dr. Augustus Goldman is a donor to the hospital where Scully is employed, and Scully arranges a meeting with him.  When they visit the hospital, Mulder and Scully also meet a frightened, pregnant young woman who tells them that Dr. Goldman wants to take her baby and perform experiments on it.  The young woman scurries away, however, when she sees the hospital staff members coming her way.

As they leave the hospital, Mulder theorizes that Goldman is involved in The Project and using unborn fetuses on eugenics experiments.  This leads Scully and Mulder to discuss their son, William.  Scully has a daydream where she and William experience a normal childhood, but the normal childhood is interrupted when it is discovered that William is actually a mutant.

Mulder and Scully pay a visit to Dr. Goldman’s clinic.  The clinic houses several, parent-less children who suffer from horrible genetic mutations.  Dr Goldman is defensive, and tells the agents that he is working in the interests of the children.  The agents also notice that the clinic houses a girl named Molly, who does not seem to suffer from any visible mutations. Mulder does some of his own research, and finds out that Mr. Goldman’s wife has been committed to a mental hospital for killing their unborn second child.  Scully and Mulder also find out that the frightened young woman from the hospital has died in a suspicious hit and run accident, and that her unborn fetus is missing.

The agents visit Mrs. Goldman, who tells them of her husband’s experiments on unborn children.  She tells of an incident involving her daughter, Molly, who fell in a pool but did not drown because she appeared to have the ability to breathe underwater.  Mrs. Goldman also tells Mulder and Scully that her second child, a son, is not dead.  She claims to have attempted to escape from her husband and his experiments, and given birth to her son after a nearly fatal car accident.  However, she does not know the whereabouts of her son.

Scully reviews the surveillance footage and deduces that the janitor seen in the footage is actually the son of Mr. and Mrs. and Goldman.  The agents pay a visit to the boy, named Kyle Gilliam, and his adoptive mother.  Kyle’s mother is protective at first and does not want to disclose any information to Mulder and Scully.  Mulder begins to hear the noises again, and notices that birds are gather in large groups on the lawn.  Scully finds Kyle in the barn, and points a gun at him, telling him to desist.  Kyle obeys, and agrees to go with the agents to see Dr. Goldman.  Kyle tells Mulder and Scully that he never meant to use his abilities to hurt anyone and that he is actually looking for his sister.

Mulder and Scully arrive with Kyle at Dr. Goldman’s clinic.  Dr. Goldman takes a sample of Kyle’s blood, and Kyle inquires about his sister.  Dr. Goldman brings out a young girl, but Kyle sees through the ruse and knows that the young girl is not his sister.  Kyle then finds Molly, and it becomes evident that Molly possesses telekinetic abilities.  The two free Molly from her confines, and attack their father, Dr. Goldman, causing him to suffer from a massive hemorrhage.  Kyle and Molly then escape from the clinic, and quickly disappear.

The episode ends with Mulder also daydreaming about his son William, the son who he claimed that he did not think about earlier in the episode.  Mulder also daydreams about a normal childhood for William, but that childhood is again interrupted by the fear that William suffers from some kind of mutation.


My Thoughts

Well, this episode made me shiver…

And not just because I am married to the Penguin who insists on keeping our house at temperatures that have earned it the nickname “Arctic Zone.”

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No, this was a good shiver.  A happy shiver…

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny, guest star Dough Savant and guest star Jonathan Whitesell in the "Founder's Mutation season premiere, part two, episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

This episode was nostalgic.  I felt like I had come back to Grandma’s house for dinner after being away many years, and that she had remembered exactly what I like and how I like it.  And she was there to greet me with a big hug.

And this episode was chock-full of what I liked.  Grandma Chris Carter certainly has a good memory!

We had one of my favorite dishes, aka Mulder.  Mulder with his sense of humor that is so dry that it makes the Sahara Desert seem like Lake Michigan.  Mulder and his wild theories that refuse to be tamed by the rational mind known as Scully.  Mulder minus the scruff of the opening episode, even (don’t worry Mulder, I would still love you even if that beard grew out to ZZ Top length).

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Mitch Pileggi. 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). ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

And Scully performing an autopsy on her subject, and speaking her medical terms….talk about some shiver material right there!  Pure nostalgia at its finest!

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We were even treated to a dose of Skinner, telling Mulder and Scully that there was no way they would have access to any relevant info they would need to move forward an inch in this case, and oh by the way you did have the presence of mind to make copies of those top secret files, right, Mulder?  In other words, Skinner’s way of saying, “Oh, you kids!  Here’s the keys to my car, and try not to wake me up when you get back in, ok?”

The X-Files (Fox) season 9 Shown: Mitch Pileggi (as Assistant Director Walter Skinner)

The story line to Founder’s Mutation was pure 1995.  Classic.  It contained everything that made the series work in 1990’s, but still somehow stayed relevant to 2016.

One of the things that this episode contained was gore.  True, this is a network television show, but the ick factor in this episode was surprisingly high for prime time.  The episode even opened up with the ick factor…how do you get ickier than a close-up of a bloodshot eyeball?  Well, have your guy commit suicide in a gruesome manner about 30 seconds after showing the close-up of the bloodshot eyeball.   After all, you gotta set the tone, right?  And set it early on, too.

THE X-FILES: L-R: David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the "Founder's Mutation season premiere, part two, episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

This episode not only contained ick and gore.  It also contained just overall freakish-ness.  For example, the kids. The X Files is no stranger to freaky kids.  Even Mulder and Scully conceived one (more on this in a minute).  But these kids…wow!  I felt a mixture of horror and sadness when I saw them, and I even felt some pity.  They reminded me a bit of Frankenstein’s monster:  they did not ask to be put on this Earth, but have to cope with their afflictions, and learn to survive in a world that is not ready for them, and likely never will be.

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I also loved the nod that this episode gave to old school horror.

For example, the birds that appeared when those super-sonic noises were made…

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Well, they were also positively Hitchockian…I am sure the man would have been proud!

Alfred_Hitchcock

And kids with paranormal powers.  Nope, definitely something I have not seen before…

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But, as always, The X Files managed to throw us a curve ball, with this episode.

And that curve ball happens to go by the name of William.

William 1

Well, I don’t want to think that he looks like that, actually.  After all, someone related to Mulder is still going to be ultra-cute, right?  Even if he does have that pesky alien DNA…

The discussion of William was a curve ball indeed, and a touching curve ball at that.  If you didn’t tear up at least a little at those daydreams (before alien William interrupted, at least), that  you have ice instead of blood running in your veins.  And you probably kick puppies, too!

Scully and William 1

And how could you not melt, when Mulder, aka Mr. I Don’t Give a Crap Oh Wait I Really Do You Can Totally See Through My Hardened Exterior, had his little daydream sequence, where he snuggled on the couch with William (who adorably mispronounced the word “monolith,” aww) and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  And built a model rocket with his son.  It was enough to melt even those of us living in the Arctic Zone, I tell you!

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Of course, I am sure this will make a nice arc into William’s story, and what exactly has happened to him over the years (I hope, at any rate), along with adding another layer of complexity to Mulder and Scully’s characters and their relationship.  So bravo, Mr. Carter!  You grossed me out a bit, but you also made me tear up!  But then again, you are the genius!

ugly cry


 

So that’s it for Founder’s Mutation!  Join me next week for the recap and dissection of the third episode of The X Files Renewal, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster

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

batman and robin

 

The X Files Renewal: Episode 1 Recap and Review

Ooooh, getting the band back together…

blues brothers band 1

There is just something about those words that just kinda makes me feel a little shivery…

Muppets band

Especially when the band involves ones of the hottest television partnerships in history:

Mulder and Scully 2

Yes, the long awaited season 10 of The X Files, otherwise known as the renewal, finally premiered last night after the real horror, aka the NFC championship game.  Well, I guess it was a horror if you happened to be rooting for Bruce Arians (or his hat, how can anyone not root for that that hat?) and his Arizona Cardinals, but I digress…

BA 1

So the much anticipated first episode of the mere six we are being teased with aired this past weekend.  Was it what I expected?  In some ways, yes.  Was I confused?  You betcha, but as a fan of this series since the first episode (yes, I was a X Phile before it was cool), that’s just par for the course.  Do I want more?  Well, of course, but again, see the previous statement.  Was I bored?  Not on your life!  Will I be tuning in again?  Now what is it about a bear defecating somewhere with trees?

So, without any further ado, here is my recap and review of The X Files Renewal, episode 1, titled “My Struggle.”

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a voice over by Fox Mulder, who gives a summary of his work on the now defunct X Files, and how the abduction of his sister Samantha when both were children has driven him to seek the truth regarding the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, and the possible government cover-up of the existence of alien life forms and alien technology.  Mulder also mentions his partnership with Dana Scully, who aided him for a time in his quest.

We are then shown a scene in 1947.  A UFO has crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, and the scene is being investigated by the military and a scientist.  The group encounters what appears to be an alien.  The alien is shot by a man in a black coat, despite the pleas of the scientist.

The show flashes back to the present day.  Former FBI agent Dana Scully has returned to medical practice.  She receives a call from her former supervisor, Walter Skinner.  Skinner requests that Mulder and Scully meet with right-wing webcaster Tad O’Malley.  O’Malley is an admirer of the pair’s work, and an admirer of Mulder in particular.  However, Mulder has gone “off the grid”, and the only person able to reach him is Scully.  Scully convinces Mulder to meet with O’Malley, despite Mulder’s initial reluctance.

Mulder and Scully reunite in Washington D.C.  Mulder appears to be stressed over something, but is glad to see his former partner.  The agents then meet with O’Malley, who takes them for a ride in his limousine.  The group ends up at a house in rural Virginia, where they meet a young woman named Sveta.  Sveta claims to have been abducted by aliens, and impregnated multiple times.  She tells the agents that her fetuses were stolen from her, and that some of her DNA is actually alien DNA.  Scully is skeptical, but does agree to test Sveta’s DNA.

Scully meets with Sveta at the hospital, and runs several tests on her.  Sveta tells Scully that she is telepathic, and begins to tell Scully what was supposed to be private information.  Sveta reveals that Scully and Mulder were formerly a couple, but that Mulder’s struggles with depression ended the relationship.  Sveta also reveals that Mulder and Scully have a child together.  These revelations make Scully uncomfortable, and Scully appears especially uncomfortable after Sveta breaks down and tells Scully that she cannot possibly understand what it is like to be abducted against her will.

O’Malley then brings Mulder to a covert site where scientists experiment with “alien” technology.  Mulder sees an aircraft disappear before his eyes, and is told that alien technology has been around for many years.  Mulder then meets with the old man who is actually the doctor who investigated the crash at Roswell.  Mulder tells the man that he believes that he and Scully were mislead during their work on the X Files, and that man, not alien, is responsible for a massive, global conspiracy.  The old man tells Mulder that he is close to the truth, but there is still more to be revealed.  Mulder returns to his old office, and lets Skinner know that he is angry as he feels that he has been mislead over the years.

Mulder meets with Sveta again, who tells him that she did not tell him the truth when he spoke with her previously.  Sveta confirms that men experimented on her, not aliens.

O’Malley visits Scully at work.  Scully tells him that she performs surgery on children who were born without ears.  O’Malley expresses admiration, and Scully accepts a date with him.  Before she leaves, Scully receives the results for the tests on Sveta’s DNA.  She is unsatisfied with the results, and orders another test.

While on a date with O’Malley, Scully receives a frantic phone call from Mulder, who still believes that he has been mislead over the years.  Scully and O’Malley meet with Mulder, and Scully tells Mulder that he is treading on dangerous ground.  Scully also reveals that the tests did not find that Sveta possessed any alien DNA.

Several things happen, in succession.  Sveta recants her previous statements in an interview, stating that she was convinced by O’Malley to lie to the public.  Sveta then seemingly disappears when Mulder tries to speak to her again.  O’Malley’s website is shut down.  The site that contains the alien aircraft is destroyed by men dressed in military uniforms, and the scientists are murdered as well.  Sveta is then seen in a vehicle on an isolated road.  Her car is obliterated by a UFO, and Sveta is seemingly killed when her car is destroyed.

Mulder and Scully then meet again.  Scully is distressed, and tells Mulder that they must protect Sveta at all costs.  Scully confesses that she tested Sveta’s DNA again, along with her own DNA, and that both samples appear to contain alien DNA.  The agents then receive a text from Skinner, who requests to meet with them both.

The episode ends with a reveal of the presumed deceased Cigarette Smoking Man, who tells us that the X Files have been re-opened.


 

My Thoughts

Well, the band got back together.  And like I said, I do enjoy it when the band gets back together.

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In many ways, this episode was akin to coming home to visit your parents after you had been away for some time.  Everything is familiar.  And comforting.  In fact, it feels like a big hug.

But then again, your parents have the nerve to change things!  They get a new new couch.  They remove that ugly carpeting and replace it with hardwood floors (actually, that was a good thing but you get my point).  So it’s like trying to impose two pictures on each other.  A headache, in other words.

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Well, I am not sure that watching this renewal really gave me a headache (actually, that’s tax season’s job, but again, I digress).  But I did have the feeling of trying to impose an old picture on a new picture: sometimes, things lined up.  And sometimes, they didn’t.  But then again, who expects things to line up all the time?  And should they line up all the time?

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We had aliens.  So that lined up, sort of.  I did enjoy the flashback scene that actually showed the spacecraft and the alien.  That scene makes me think that we will get more than in previous seasons, and that is something I would not mind.  Geez, Chris Carter, you can be such a tease!

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

And then there was Mulder.  Mulder and his earnestness.  Mulder knowing that he is right, and that he needs to convince everyone around him, including Ms. Skeptical to a Fault aka Scully.  Mulder getting closer and closer to the truth, and gaining some powerful enemies in the process.

Mulder and Scully 1

But now we are told that it’s actually not aliens that are the enemy, it’s men!  This is something that does not line up.  Or does it?  No, I don’t think aliens are out of the picture, at least not completely.  And in the older episodes, men played a pretty big part in a lot of these issues.  Who was responsible for getting Scully kidnapped?  Definitely a man.  Will Mulder get some answers this time?  Or is he just doomed to repeat his quest over and over?  Only time will tell…

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And speaking of Ms. Skeptical to a Fault er Scully…

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?  Scully bordered on being bull-headed in the past, and she was pretty bull-headed in this episode as well.  Did she forget everything that she saw when she worked with Mulder on the X Files?  She saw pretty much everything known to man (and alien), but seemed to have blocked it all out, at least until the end of the episode.  Live a little, Scully…is that hard to believe that poor Sveta could have alien DNA and be telepathic too?  I think not!

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Tad O’Malley.  What are we doing with Tad O’Malley, I wonder…

Is he some kind of stand-in for these guys?

Lone Gunmen 1

Or is he dues ex machina?  In other words, was he just introduced to the show so that we could get the band back together?  And what of him and Scully?  I think he is just a little out of his league, actually…

I will say that this episode ended with a bang.  Or is that a cigarette?

X Files renewal 9

Yes, one of the baddest on-screen motherfuckers made his presence known in the last 30 seconds or so of this episode.

Samuel L. Jackson

Well, maybe he is not that bad a motherfucker, but he is pretty close!

You may be bad, but you will never be as bad as the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM, for the uninitiated) smoking a cigarette via his traech.

X files renewal 1

And the CSM is someone that lines up, in some ways.  He is a villain that we all love to hate.  He is an antagonist, always in Mulder and Scully’s way, trying to stop our heroes from doing the right thing and finally getting some answers.  And that is comforting, in some way.

But then again, see the presumed deceased line.  Apparently, there is now another show with a Lazarus Pit that can resurrect anyone on demand.  Hey, it is The X Files, I can’t put anything past my favorite arch-villain!  And I am sure the tale of resurrection will be interesting, assuming that tale gets told.  Which it better, or I may have to seek out some vigilante justice of my own!

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Yes, there are definitely lots of questions in this review.  But then again, that is one of the things that lines up when super-imposing the pictures:  The X Files often contained more questions than answers.  And that is part of the intrigue and what kept me hooked, tuning in every week to see I could get a little closer to some answers, right along with my favorite on-screen duo.  And the present and the past do line up in that respect:  I will not stop tuning in during this run either, and I will be seeking answers in 2016, right along with Mulder and Scully.

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So that’s it for My Struggle.  Join me week, as I review and dissect episode 2 of the renewal, aka Founder’s Mutation.

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

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All Dolled Up: My Review of Chinga

Oh, Friday nights in high school…

Those were the days, I tell ya…

So fun and carefree!

I got hang out with possessed dolls and try to solve cases which clearly involved alien abduction.  I encountered a few circus freaks, too…

And my partners were just so hot, too…

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We even encountered kinky stuff, like Amish-like people who were able to make people super horny, and even some incest…ewww!

Well, this wasn’t what I actually did on Friday nights when I was in high school…don’t I wish!

Instead, I did what every other kid with a ridiculously full social calendar did:  I watched The X Files.  In fact, I was an X Phile…

And if that is not the coolest fandom name ever, then we are done and we are not friends!

But, I digress.  The X Files may have started out as one of those “cult” shows (but not like a regular cult, it was a cool cult), but it soon became huge.  And people started wanting a piece of the action.  In fact, many famous people either got their start on the show, or simply made guest appearances.

Or in one case, received credit as a guest writer…

Stephen King

Yes, The Master is credited with an episode of The X Files…is there anything he can’t do (wait, more on that later, actually)?

Stephen King and Chris Carter decided to have a baby together  write an episode of The X Files together, and that baby  that episode is known as Chinga.  Chinga is set in a small town in Maine (really, I know) and tells of a mysterious doll that seems to be causing the deaths of people in the town.  Well, at least that was my memory of it, any way.

And I love Stephen King (Captain Obvious strikes again) and I love The X Files.  Even better, The X Files will be renewed again in January 2016, for a paltry six episodes (although I will take what I can get).  But I got to feeling nostalgic, and wanted to jog my memory a bit.  In other words, I wanted to take a trip down memory lane, and watch some of these old monster of the week episodes that I have not been able to forget.

Luckily, we have Netflix, which is either my greatest blessing, or the bane of my existence (anyone who has “binge-watched” something Sons of Anarchy  to the point where he/she neglects everything, like housework and showering, will catch my drift).  So I loaded up the Netflix, employed my trusty friend Google, and…

Side note:  Typing in The X Files into the Netflix search box yields some rather…interesting…results.  And this is the kind of interesting that involves naked women and floppy dildos.  Must have been Netflix evil twin Sexflix at work…

But anyway, I found several seasons of the show, including the specific episode I was was looking for.  And I settled on my couch, with my blankie and kitty, and took a stroll down memory lane.

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So, without any further ado…here is my recap and review of Chinga!


 

Synopsis

The episode begins with a mother and daughter making a trip to the grocery store.  We are told that the events take place in a small town in Maine.  The little girl has a doll, which she appears attached to.  And the mother appears nervous, but makes her way into the store.  The doll speaks, saying it wants to play.  Suddenly, the people in the grocery store begin to scratch their own eyes and make themselves bleed.  They appear to be controlled by something else.  The mother sees an image of a dead man reflected in the glass, and hurriedly exits the store.  In the meantime, the local butcher stabs himself in the eye.   The wound proves fatal, and the local authorities are called.  Before he dies, the butcher sees what appears to be the shadow of an over-sized doll.

Agent Dana Scully is shown exiting her car in the same small town, presumably to pick up supplies.  She receives a call from her partner Agent Fox Mulder on her cell phone, but hangs up on him, telling him that she is on vacation and will not be distracted by “shop talk.”  However, Scully sees the scene unfolding at the local  store, and offers her help to the local authorities.

Scully reviews the footage of the incident at the grocery store with the police chief, John Bonsaint.  She also confers with Mulder, who thinks the incident may actually be witchcraft in some form.  However, Scully notices that woman and little girl, Melissa and Polly Turner, are unaffected by the incident and suggests that the authorities question them.

The sheriff’s deputy, Buddy Riggs, tells Melissa that the authorities may question her and tries to help her.  He buys Polly an ice cream sundae, and tries to convince Melissa to leave town.  Melissa is reluctant, and tells Buddy that she has seen images of violent deaths, including that of her husband, before they occur.  While the adults are talking, Polly asks for more cherries on her sundae.  The ice cream parlor employee tells Polly that she will need to pay for the cherries, which upsets Polly.  The doll again talks, saying it wants to play.  The employees hair becomes caught in one of the machines, and she is nearly decapitated until Buddy rescues her.  Buddy hands Melissa the keys to a remote cabin, and again advises her to leave town.

While reviewing the surveillance footage with the local police, Scully learns that the ancestors of Melissa Turner were accused of witchcraft.  Scully and the local authories visit Ms. Froehlich, the owner of a local daycare formerly attended by Polly Turner.  Ms. Froehlich also accuses Melissa Turner of witchcraft and is not cooperative with the authorities.  Scully speaks to a man who was the partner of Melissa’s deceased husband, a local fisherman.  The man tells Scully that the death of Melissa’s husband may have been a bit unusual, but is convinced that what he saw was a trick of the light.  Scully learns that Melissa’s husband had found the doll in one of his fishing traps, and gave it to Polly as a birthday present.  Scully and the local authorities also drop by Melissa’s house, but find no one home.

Melissa and Polly make their way to the cabin.  They encounter a park ranger, which makes Melissa nervous.  Polly demands to go home, and the doll speaks again.  Melissa sees a vision of a dead Ms. Froehlich, and immediately turns the car around and heads back home.  In the meantime, Ms. Froehlich has killed herself in a gruesome, using pieces of broken records to cut herself.  She has also seen what appears to be the shadow of a large doll before her death.

Melissa and Polly return home, and Polly becomes demanding, making Melissa nervous.  Buddy also visits, and chastises Melissa for returning, and also telling her that she nearly ran over the park ranger.  Melissa sees a vision of a dead Buddy, and the doll forces him to bludgeon himself to death.  Melissa then sees a dead version of herself, and attempts to burn down the house.  However, the doll extinguishes the matches and she is unsuccessful.

Scully and the sheriff return to Melissa’s house and attempt to enter.  The sheriff finally breaks down the door, and they enter and find Melissa involuntarily bludgeoning herself with a hammer.  In an act of quick thinking, Scully seizes the doll from Polly and puts in the microwave, burning it.  This act seems to break the spell, and Melissa does not kill herself.

Scully returns to work, and finds Mulder in his office.  He tells he was productive while she was gone, but it is clear that he missed her.  In the meantime, another fisherman finds the Chinga doll, who is burnt almost beyond recognition but still turns up in a trap.


 

My Thoughts

So…

Let me clear the air…

And I will just come out and say it…

Chinga is just…bad.  There, I said it.  And let me allow a moment for the collective fandom to beat me with the virtual wet noodle.

Whew, ok now that you’re done beating me with that wet noodle (geez, you can go a little easier next time), let’s talk about this episode, and what worked, and what didn’t.

Now, I love The X Files.  I love Christ Carter.  And I LUUUVVVV Stephen King!  So X Files + Stephen King = one blissed out nerd, right?

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Well, not for this nerd.  There are some things I just love…

Like chocolate chip cookies.  Macaroni and cheese.  But a chocolate chip cookie macaroni and cheese casserole?

No, I think I will pass.  Love those two things, but if you put them together, who can swallow that concoction?

And to me, this episode was a concoction that I just couldn’t swallow.  In other words, we put chocolate chip cookies and macaroni and cheese together, and just got something weird and kind of gross too.

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Normally, weird and gross are good, especially when associated with The X Files and Stephen King.  But Chinga was not the good kind weird or gross.  No, it was weird.  And gross, too.

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First of all, the acting.  And I am not talking about the acting of the front runners, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.  They were…well, they were Mulder and Scully.  And I can’t really fault them for that.  But they stuck out like sore thumbs in the weird conglomeration of Chris Carter and Stephen King.  And I am not sure that Mulder and Scully belong in the King Universe, as awesome as they are.

The townspeople, in terms of acting, were uneven at best.  The woman who played Melissa sounded like she was reading lines from a cue card, and throwing in some occasional tears, to induce sympathy (note:  didn’t work, better luck next time, perhaps).  The rest of the townspeople were just flat at worst, caricatures at best (especially that scene where the sheriff orders a lobster in the restaurant and tries to convince Scully to try the delicacy…really?!)

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Which brings me to my next point.  In any Stephen King book, the town is just a much a developed character, if not more of a developed character, than the people in the story.  ‘Salem’s Lot, It, Needful Things and several other books immediately come to mind.  However, the town in Chinga does not have the personality of any of King’s other towns.  So Chinga is missing one of the great things about King:  a small town with its own personality and dark secrets.

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Ok, the rant is over for now.  Believe it or not, I did like something about this episode.

Someone, actually…

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Yes, Scully was favorite part of this episode!

Now, I may refer to Mulder as one of my show boos, which he is (sorry Raylan and Jax, hope you don’t get too jealous).  But I think my favorite part of The X Files was (and still is) Scully.  She made science cool.  She was a bad ass who chased down bad guys (and girls) in her heels, and there was rarely a hair out of place.  And a fellow soul eater…er…red head.  She gave hope to me, and if I can ever be half as cool as Scully, I will consider my life to be an unparalleled success.

And this episode was heavy on the Scully.  As stated before, I love Mulder.  But seeing him get hung up on (gotta love those 90’s cell phones, yo) and rebuffed for the umpteenth time was priceless.  Usually, Mulder is spot on, but for this episode, he was an epic fail, which was hilarious!

Who saved the day in this episode, you ask?  Why, Scully of course!  Even though the method was a little lame (the microwave?  Really?  Is this a doll or gremlin?), Scully was the one to defeat the bad guy er doll, and presumably, have everyone live happily ever after (although the vague ending may bring questions to that scenario).  And Scully showed us all just how much of a rock star she really is.

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Now, I may have said that Chinga was bad, which it is.  But bad can also be good.  Like Batman.  And sex.  So Chinga falls into the category of things, like sex and Batman, that are so awesome that even when they are bad they are still good.  And there is nothing wrong in indulging in good bad.  In fact, it even warms the soul.

Join me next week when I review and dissect Home, the episode so terrifying that (supposedly) no network will air it any more…tune in next week:  same bat time, same bat channel!

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