Video: Discussion of the X Files Episode Home

Below is a link to my latest YouTube video, where I discuss what is possibly the most disgusting 44 minutes on network TV ever, aka The X Files episode Home!

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Top 10 Women in Horror Movies

So, guys and ghouls, it is that time of year again…

Oakland Raiders v Indianapolis Colts

Well, yes it is football season, but that was not what I was referring too.  I mean, do you think I want to be scared into a change pants?  Come on, now!

Well, actually I do.  And watching Indianapolis Colts football is one way to be scared, although many other emotions tend to be involved, which include extreme anger, exhilaration, puzzlement, denial, bargaining and resignation.

But, there are lots of other things that I can watch, other than Colts football, if I don’t want to experience the different stages of grief in a four hour setting (NFL math is funny that way:  one hour of football somehow turns into four hours yelling myself horse (you are welcome for that one) in front of my TV.)

In other words:  horror movies.  Horror movies everywhere…

At this time of year, I feel that autumn is right around the corner.  And this starts right after Labor Day, when the Christmas merchandise at the stores is on display!

And to counter the sight of Christmas decorations when the temperature is still at least 90 F, there is only one thing we can do…

That’s right, watch some horror movies.  Or maybe lots of horror movies.  All right, a metric shit ton of horror movies!

And so many movies to choose from.

We have our classics, like Carrie, Halloween and Friday the 13th.

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Or “new school,” like Horns.  You gotta admit, seeing Harry Potter as the devil is fun!

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Or, we don’t have to limit ourselves to movies.  There are plenty of good, horror themed shows not titled American Horror Story to chose from.  And most are available via the miracle of the 21st century otherwise known as Neflix.  Cable schmable, right?

Now, one thing about horror movies:  they seem to have an audience.  And no, not necessarily horror junkies.

Let’s face it:  most horror movies are geared towards white males.  That is often who your horror movie protagonist is, with a few exceptions, like Night of the Living Dead, which was decades ahead of its time for featuring an African American guy as its protagonist.

And it’s not to say that those movies are not good movies.  In fact, movies like Phantasm (I dare you to cross The Tall Man, boooyyyy!), The Shining, Horns and many others are either classics, or on their way to becoming classics.  And I have no problem with that, they are great movies and deserve their accolades.

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But, I feel like I am missing something when I watch certain movies.  In fact, I feel like I may be missing at least half of something…

That’s right, where are my ladies?  I mean, we make up half the population, right?  So where are we?  Where are we in one of my favorite movie genres?

Well, it turns out that if take the time (after all, rushing us is bad, on so many levels, haha) and look, you can find us ladies in horror movies.  And some bad ass ones at that!

In recent years, we have become even easier to find in the horror, genre and science fiction categories.  After all, Game of Thrones, anyone?  Plenty of kick ass women there!

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And The Master and The Master 2.0 have gotten in on the act, as both Stephen King and Joe Hill have managed to write convincing female characters, who have an identity beyond the wife or girlfriend of the guy who winds up kicking ass.

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So, if you look, we are there in horror movies.  Sometimes we get horribly victimized.  Sometimes we victimize others.  But other times, we throw down some serious shade, and you do not want to meet us in a dark alley!

With that being said, here is my list of top 10 women in horror (both on television and film.)  Keep in mind that this is my opinion only, and could be subject to change at any moment…

And, as always:

Spoiler alert


10.  Sally (The Nightmare Before Christmas)

Well, I may be a little biased with this statement, but I will say it anyway:

Gingers rule!

And as soon as we have enough freckles, we plan to take over the world!

Okay, I am kidding (you hope.)

But this entry on my list has earned her spot on it.  And yes, she just happens to be a ginger.

Guys and ghouls, I bring to you…Sally!

Now, Sally may literally owe her existence to a man.  However, do not underestimate her, as she is tough, smart and resourceful.

After all, a chic who clearly knows her poisons.  Who would want to cross her?

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Sally is a love interest in the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas (and one half of one of one my favorite onscreen couples ever), but to me, she is so much more than that.

For most of her life, Sally is held in captivity by her creator.  She understands that that she may be selling herself short, and she works to build a life for herself beyond captivity, and to connect with the outside world in a meaningful way.

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Sally also brings a message of self-acceptance.  After all, she literally falls apart, but that doesn’t stop her from picking herself back up and continuing on with her life.  That message of self-acceptance is one that Jack Skellington badly needs to hear, as he finally accepts that it is okay to be the Pumpkin King, and leave “Sandy Claws” to those who are better qualified for that job.

Is it a Halloween movie?  Is it a Christmas movie?  It’s an existential crisis!  But an awesome existential crisis!

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9.  Mrs. Vorhees (Friday the 13th)

Every movie needs a good guy (or bad girl.)  This is especially true of horror movies.  After all, where would we be without The Tall Man, Pennywise the Clown, Reverend Kane, along with many other bad guys that make these movies memorable?

Well, we can add Mrs. Vorhees to that list as well.

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When I bring up Friday the 13th, most people think of the guy in the hockey mask.  I then have to gently remind him that he is the protagonist in the 19 or so sequels that the franchise has generated, along with the awesomely bad crossover where Jason and Freddy meet…spoiler alert:  they don’t meet for Netflix and chill!

So, let’s go back to the beginning.

In other words, the infamous Camp Crystal Lake.  And a few horny teenagers.  And of course, the campers.

And…the camp’s cook?

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Yes, the camp’s cook.  And the mother to Jason Vorhees, who (supposedly) drowned due to the horny camp counselors not doing their job, due to fact of being…well…horny.

Again, Jason is a non-factor in the first film of the franchise.  We do see the “Jason half” of Mrs. Vorhees personality, as she rationalizes killing teenagers, but Mrs. Vorhees is responsible for all the blood and guts.  All.  The.  Blood.  And.  Guts.

All of it!

I personally love a lady vs. lady show down.  There is something much more fierce about those, and so primal.

Well, I got my wish when I watched Friday the 13th, in one of the most epic onscreen lady vs. lady show downs in the history of film and television!

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It doesn’t get much better than that, folks!


8)  Sidney Prescott (Scream)

When I watched Deadpool, I found it amusing that the title character seemed to be self-aware.  He knew he was in a movie, and made reference to that fact throughout the movie.  It was good for plenty of yuks!

The movie Scream also uses the concept of “self aware”, and perhaps one of the best uses of that concept.

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After all, Scream constantly makes references to horror movies throughout the movie.

In fact, in the opening scene, the killer begins by asking trivia questions (see the above entry.)  And that is just the beginning.

Scream pokes fun at the horror genre.  A lot.  After, we now all know to never say, “I’ll be right back?”  Or to drink or have sex in a horror movie, as those acts also mean certain death.

However, underneath the humor, Scream is still a horror movie.  With a protagonist who kicks ass.

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And oh yeah, this protagonist just happens to be a girl!

Sidney’s plight is something that is all too familiar:  her mother was raped and murdered.  The murderer was supposedly caught and put in jail, but Sidney is struggling to come to terms with her mother’s death, and the repressed emotions that come with the trauma.

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And then people start getting killed.  Sidney is still struggling with her trauma, and is now unsure of who she can trust.  Sidney is also now unsure that she did correctly identify her mother’s killer, and fears that she may have put the wrong man in jail.

Throughout the movie, Sidney shows herself to be a fighter.  From the reporter who will not stop harassing her to her friend and boyfriend who turn out to to be the killers, Sidney proves that she is resilient, and a force to be reckoned with.

Processing trauma and coming out on the other side is difficult, but is rewarding when it is finally accomplished.  The character of Sidney Prescott is a wonderful example of this.

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7.  Nancy Thompson (A Nightmare on Elm Street)

Often, I joke (well, sort of) that I am in a relationship with…my bed.

Hi, my name is Leah, and if I don’t get my sleep, I will cut a bitch!

In other words, my bed is a refuge, as is my sleep.

Well, sleep usually is.  Although sometimes I am given to having nightmares…

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But I am lucky in the fact that my nightmares, no matter how real they seem (that one featuring the Tall Man and strange Lovecraftian creatures was certainly a doozy), are just dreams in the end.

They can’t hurt me.

The subject of this particular entry, however, was not so lucky.

Poor Nancy.

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Falling asleep became dangerous for her, so no refuge for her.

I mean, she dozed off in class and nearly got killed for it.  Makes the detention one would normally expect seem kind of mild, right?

However, Nancy sleeps on it (see what I did there) and decides to do something about the evil creature who has been tormenting her and her friends in their dreams.

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First, she recruits her boyfriend, Glenn, to help her catch Freddy. But when that doesn’t work, she doesn’t give up, and instead persuades her father to help trap Freddy.

Nancy just will not take no for an answer, and will stop at nothing to destroy Freddy Kreuger for good (or at least until the next sequel, at any rate.)

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She will not go down without a fight, and I have always loved her for it.

Freddy Kreuger may be one of my favorite horror movie villains of all time, but let’s face it, without Nancy, he would be nothing.  And that is not just because he needs dreams from teenagers so that he can exist.

The fact that my favorite horror villain has to face off against a woman is just icing on the cake.  Wait, I take that back.  Nancy is the cake, icing and all.

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6.  Willow Rosenberg (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Now, I often tell people that high school was hell for me. And it was.

I spent most of my time isolated.  And being isolated was actually the good part.  When I was “only isolated,” I considered myself to be lucky, as least I wasn’t being tormented.

The lesser of the two evils, I suppose…

But what was that saying that I heard way back when, about a guy with no shoes who meets a guy with no feet and gets some kind of new perspective?

In other words, I should be lucky that my school was not built on a Hellmouth, right?

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Isolation and bullying is one thing.  We can talk about the lesser of two evils and so forth…

But when your school is built on a Hellmouth, and when you have to deal with vampires, werewolves, and all kinds of other Big Bads, I think we are beyond the discussion of the lesser of two evils.

In fact, you may just piss one of those Big Bads off by referring to him/her/it as “lesser.”  And that would be dangerous indeed.

And in the midst of all this…well…Hell, we have Willow Rosenberg.

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Now, Willow may be a classic “sidekick” to Buffy, who had the fortune (or is it misfortune?) of moving to Sunnydale, CA, where her destiny as The Slayer awaited her, but make no mistake about it:  Willow is also a bad ass herself.

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Not only did she fight along Buffy’s side (along with Xander, Giles and a few others), Willow also, like so many of us, struggled to find her identity in the Hell otherwise known as high school.

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As a result, one of the most fascinating character arcs in television history emerged.

How often do you see someone go from high school computer nerd, to fledgling witch, to full fledged witch, all the while never losing her integrity, making the arc seem so natural?

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Oh, and Willow also came out as a lesbian somewhere in there too, making her one of the first major characters in a TV show to be openly gay.  And it was all so natural too.  When Willow finally coupled up with Tara, it seemed so right, and to be true love, as opposed to some kind of fetish.  Her friends accepted her as gay, and nothing really changed between them…I loved it!

Oh, and any time I think any of my break ups were bad (along with my high school experience), I just think what was done to poor Willow in the name of entertainment for the masses.  I think this is where that term ugly cry comes into play.


5.   Carrie White (Carrie, 1976)

Yeah, see above…

I will say it once and I will say it again:  High school, aka government babysitting is overrated at best.  At worst, it is Hell.  And the high school in question does not even need to be built on a Hellmouth to suck.  High schools do that quite well on their own, thankyouverymuch.

And again, my high school experienced sucked.  It sucked bunches.  My best memory, other than finally graduating, was getting a 100% on a calculus test.

The teacher must have though I was a freak…

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Well, I am a freak.  But I actually think my freakage is pretty mild, compared to this particular entry.

Meet Carrie White.

On one hand, Carrie is your typical high school reject.  At best, the other students ignore her, and she is invisible to pretty much everyone.

But the at worst part is just horrible.  Getting pelted by tampons, while you are having your first period at age 17 and thinking you are dying…well, I think I would trade going to high school on the Hellmouth for that one!

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However, on the other hand, Carrie is not your typical high school reject.  For one thing, she has a religious fanatic for a mother at home, who shames her for getting her period, getting asked to prom, and pretty much shames her daughter for existing.

Carrie also possesses telekinetic powers.  And this turns out to be bad news for everyone.  When a high school prank goes horribly wrong, and Carrie is humiliated at prom, everyone is at the brunt of Carrie’s revenge.

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Carrie’s powers are unleashed, and the results are epic, to say the least.

I have always said that the villains in this movie are Margaret White, along with Carrie’s cruel classmates.  Carrie is the most innocent among all the characters.  How could you expect her not to finally retaliate, after the happiest night in her tormented life is ruined?

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I shed more than a few tears when Carrie died (see the part above about the ugly cry.)

And for the record, my high school classmates should be lucky that I did not possess telekinetic powers…

Very lucky…

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4.  Lydia Deetz (Beetlejuice)

“Well, I’ve read through that handbook for the recently deceased. It says: ‘live people ignore the strange and unusual”. I myself am strange and unusual.”

Oh, the above quote…

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When I first heard it, there were so many emotions to process…

Happiness was one of them, of course.

And, believe it or not, relief was one of them as well.

I may have fallen in love a little that day, with a fictional character.  I have a bad habit of doing that, it seems.

Of course, I am speaking of Lydia Deetz.

As a 90’s kid, “Goth” was a thing.

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We all had them in at least one class.

The kids who wore all black, even in the summertime.

Often, they loved horror.

They had an affinity for creepy things.

Their taste in music was cutting edge, to say the least.  Nine Inch Nails, anyone?

Lydia Deetz started the Goth culture.

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She rocked the all black and pale-face make-up before it was cool (I mean, I was pale-face before it was cool, but no make-up needed here.  Gotta love being a soul stealing ginger, AmIrite?)

In case I have not made this clear, I was not a kid who fit in.  In fact, I didn’t really belong anywhere.

Growing up, I felt like a ghost.  Sometimes I wondered if I was actually dead, and everyone knew it but me and forgot to tell me.

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And like Lydia, I lived in a world of my creation.  I loved to read and write, and create art.

Those interests don’t exactly make one’s phone ring off the hook on Friday night, but I tried to remain true to myself.

That was the thing I admired most about Lydia:  she remained true to herself.

She preferred the company of ghosts over people (well, I preferred the company of animals, but close enough, right?)

Things that repelled most people attracted Lydia (to this day, my parents still think I am some kind of literary leper for loving Stephen King.)

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Being different is a good thing.  But often, it is lonely.

Characters like Lydia Deetz remind us of how awesome different is, and make the journey a little less lonely.


3.  Eleven (Stranger Things)

“She’s our friend and she’s crazy!”

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Stranger Things is my show and it’s awesome!

Now, no matter what else happens in 2016 (and we still have the presidential election to get through, so the season finale is still a bit far away), we can at say, “At least we had Stranger Things.”

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And there so many things to love about Stranger Things.

It is a tribute to all things 80’s.

It pays homage to all kinds of horror, including John Carpenter films, Wes Craven and even H.P. Lovecraft.

It is a gold mine for Stephen King fans.  The story line of people with PSI abilities is classic King (Firestarter, anyone?), not to mention the fact that The Master’s name is lovingly brought up in an episode.

I could go on and on, actually.  Lots of reasons to love Stranger Things

At least eleven, I would say…

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Oh, right.  Eleven.  The subject of this entry!

If you told me that the show Stranger Things centered on the subject of four friends (who are boys) and their entrance into adulthood, along with the loss of innocence they experience, you would be correct.

On the surface, that is what Stranger Things is about (along with a monster christened Mr. Tulip-Head and his band of merry slugs.)  That statement would not be incorrect.

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But, like the books written by a certain famous writer, Stranger Things is so much more than that.

Enter Eleven, everyone’s favorite waffle loving, bald-headed escapee from an evil government lab run by the creep known as Dr. Pedophile.

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And oh yeah, Eleven possesses PSI abilities, along with being on the run from “Papa” (shudder.)

At first, Eleven serves as kind of homing beacon, to help Mike and his friends try to find their missing friend Will, whose disappearance just happens to coincide with Eleven’s appearance.

However, the boys, especially Mike, grow to like Eleven on her own merits.  A friendship develops, and Eleven becomes fiercely protective of her new friends (see the opening sentence to this entry.)

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Through their friendship with Eleven, the boys mature, and also come to the realization that the world is not a safe place, nor is it always a fair place.  Eleven brings out the best in Mike, who begins to fall in love with her.

The realization that the world is not a safe or fair place comes in the final episode, when Eleven (seemingly) sacrifices herself to the alternate dimension known as the Upside-Down, when she battles the monster that was responsible for kidnapping Will.

Out of all the characters on the show, Eleven proves herself to the most selfless of the bunch, who takes the meaning of friendship to a new level, when she sacrifices herself for another child who she does not even know.  She also proves herself to be a tough fighter, in her journeys to the Upside-Down and her battle with the extra-dimensional monster.

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And a fierce protector of Eggo Waffles everywhere.  Do not, I repeat, DO NOT mess with that girl’s waffles, if you know what’s good for you!

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2.  Vanessa Ives (Penny Dreadful)

I love Eva Green

Oh, how I love Eva Green!

Eva Green is the bomb.com!

Did I mention that I love Eva Green?

Okay, just wanted to make my point clear.

And the reason I fell in love with Eva Green was her portrayal of Vanessa Ives on the show Penny Dreadful.

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I have problems.  I really do.  Sometimes they feel like they number around 99, although I am really not sure if a bitch accounts for more than a few (although my crazy dog could be put into that bitch category.)

But then, I can go watch the period horror/drama known as Penny Dreadful, and I get some perspective.

In other, my problems are pretty damn mild.  Or maybe even non-existent, really.

After all, I don’t have the Devil Himself after me.

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Or Dracula, for that matter.

I may have guys hit on me and give me unwanted attention, but at least they aren’t evil incarnate.

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(On a side note, no one has ever seen my ex and Lucifer in the same room together.  Fun fact of the day!)

Nor am I harassed by a coven of witches who are willing to hand me over to at least one of the above.

Oh, and I don’t live in Victorian London, where women are limited to only a couple of roles, and if they don’t fit in, then well, that’s just too bad, isn’t it?

I have just described a day in the life of Vanessa Ives, the main character of the show Penny Dreadful.  Yikes much?

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But somehow, despite all of the horrors she has to endure throughout her life (both supernatural and non-supernatural), Vanessa Ives is able to maintain a kind of grace that one rarely sees even in people who have not been cursed by an unknown evil force.

Vanessa makes everyone around her better.  Her influence is something to behold, as she brings out the best even in those who may not be the best humanity has to offer (Victor Frankenstein and Sir Malcolm being prime examples of this.)

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Vanessa’s influence even extends to the ‘non-human” characters in the show, including Caliban (otherwise known as The Creature) and Ethan, the werewolf.

Caliban, in particular, benefits from his friendship with Vanessa.  Even before he became “The Creature,” Caliban was in danger of his losing his humanity due to his employment with the Banning Clinic.  However, when he is forced to care for Vanessa, he begins to see his patients as individuals, as opposed to numbers, and realizes that his employer is in the wrong in its treatment of its patients, and that he can no longer work for them.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 2, episode 5). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_205_1509

(Another side note:  anyone who watches the episode A Blade of Grass without tearing up at least a little bit has ice water instead of blood in his/her veins, and we cannot be friends.)

Even after Caliban is transformed into The Creature, Vanessa extends her friendship to him, reminding Caliban that he is more than a corpse stitched together and brought back to life as a science experiment.

Vanessa’s character serves to make the ending even more poignant, as she sacrifices herself so that others may live.

Vanessa’s friends mourn her death, but it is clear that she lives on in each of them, as her influence continues, even after her death.

Rory Kinnear as The Creature in Penny Dreadful (season 3, episode 9). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_309_3066


And now, for my number 1 woman in horror…

drum-roll-please

I give you…


Dana Scully (The X Files)

OK, let’s get one thing straight…

That’s Dr. Scully to you!

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Now, in case it wasn’t clear, I was a nerd growing up.

I liked math and science.

I read books on theoretical physics for fun.

A wild day for me consisted of visiting the library and finding five books.  OR SIX BOOKS.  SIX BOOKS!

So, as you can imagine, my social calendar was clear until approximately February 30th, 2087.  Although these days, I’m a little more booked, because that calendar is clear until May 32nd 2072, although if you need something, I may be able to shuffle things around and pencil you in.

But, in the fall of 1993, things began to look up.  Well, a little bit, at least.

For that is when we had the debut of The X Files.

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Before I watched The X Files, I did not see a lot of representation of women in my world, aka the world of nerd.  Now, this did not necessarily bother me much, at least on a conscious level.

However, deep inside, I knew that something was missing,  I could not tell you what, but I knew that my world was lacking.

But then Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully made their entrance to the screen.

And right away, it became evident of what my world was missing.

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You see, the world of horror and general nerdiness had been waiting for a woman like Scully.  Finally, she arrived.

And she did not disappoint.

Scully was smart (see the opening sentence to this entry.)

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Not only was Scully smart, she could throw down some serious shade.  And usually, she was wearing heels of at least three inches while doing that.

And her autopsies were so cool!  They almost made me want to go to medical school, just so I could throw around medical jargon like that.  Almost.

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Scully also kept her partner Mulder grounded.  Mulder could get a little nutty at times with his (literally) out of this world theories, but Scully was able to reign him in, and was the yin to yang.  They made a great team.

While Mulder often had to rescue Scully from cannibals, a death fetishist and a few other horrors (both human and supernatural), Scully often often rescued Mulder.

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I loved seeing her storm in with those heels, pointing her gun and flashing her FBI badge.  Sometimes her efforts backfired, and Scully would end up in a dire predicament as well.  But many times, Scully was able to get Mulder out whatever predicament he found himself in, and the two could go on to kick ass for another episode.

Scully also faced the same sexism many of us in the “real world” have to face on regular basis.  Sometimes people were reluctant to respect her, or would ignore her in favor of her male partner.  But Scully always handled that so well, and could silence her naysayers with a single look or sentence.  And I loved her for it.

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And I have one thing to say:  Representation matters.  I am someone who has spent her life feeling invisible and ignored.  And its not fun.  I do not wish that on anyone.

But when we create characters such as Dana Scully, the world becomes a little brighter.  And a little less lonely.

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At last, someone gets us.  And the journey becomes exciting,  At last, we begin to see the hope.


Well, that’s it for my top 10 ladies in horror.

I am sure I missed a few, but compiling this list was not an easy task.  So a shout out to any I may have left out:  You are not forgotten!

So, if you don’t feel like being horrified by Indianapolis Colts football, pop in one of these movies, or tune in to Netflix and watch one of these shows.

At the very least, you can kill a few hours.  Or maybe, just maybe, you can appreciate one of these films or TV shows in a new light, after seeing some kick ass ladies!

Happy watching!

 

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!

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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!

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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.

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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 3 Recap and Review

To both all who read this blog, I will have you know that I was treated to the best 45 minutes of my life last night…

And no, we are not talking about THAT!  THAT is a worthwhile activity, so maybe what I did last night isn’t quite on a par with THAT, although it is pretty close.  And like THAT actually lasts 45 minutes anyway…

innuendo

Nor am I talking about the activity that followed, which can best be described as fighting off a crackhead (although an adorable crackhead but still a crackhead nonetheless), who seemed intent on dismembering my fingers and leaving scratches on me that actually don’t require a cool explanation…seriously, remind me to call the dog food company and tell them that meth should not be their main ingredient in the dog food and that they need to go back to GMO’s already!

candy bar pie 010

No, I am referring to the x-perience (see what I did there) known as the third episode of The X Files renewal.  In other words, I watched Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.

And, as stated before, I don’t think I have ever had a more meaningful 45 minutes!

This episode had it all:  monsters, Mulder-isms, hi-jinks and Easter eggs galore.

Did I mention the Easter eggs?  Well, in case you missed it, they were everywhere!

easter eggs 1

And if you haven’t watched this treasure, then that must be remedied immediately…don’t make me send an enterprising blue heeler to come attack you for not doing so!

Duncan 4

So, anyway, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.

As always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a couple who are getting high from paint fumes in a forest in Oregon.  Their activities are interrupted when they encounter a giant, lizard-like creature who appears to have attacked someone, and an animal control officer is struggling with the creature himself.  The creature then runs off, and we are shown the body of its presumed victim.

The show switches over to the perspective of Mulder and Scully.  Mulder has become discouraged and feels foolish, as it seems that many of his “monsters” were not actually monsters at all, but rather hoaxes or could be explained away by science.  Scully then enters his office, telling him that there is a case in Oregon that needs their attention.

The agents investigate the forest where the murder occurred.  Mulder is skeptical, and thinks that the murder is not something worth investigating, as he believes the explanation to be a natural one.  Scully tries to bring him out of his depression, and tells him that regardless of what the explanation is, this case needs their attention before someone else is killed.

Mulder and Scully interview a transgender woman at a truck stop later that night, who states she was also attacked by a lizard like creature who wore men’s underwear.  The agents also speak with the animal control officer, who survived the attack in the woods.  The “monster” suddenly re-appears, and Mulder discovers the body of yet another victim.  Mulder chases the creature and attempts to capture proof of its existence on video, but is unsuccessful. Mulder and Scully believe that the creature has hidden in a port-potty, but the creature is not seen in the porta-potty.  Instead, the agents open the door to reveal a man who seems completely normal in appearance.  However, the man also appears to have horns, which disappear into his head.  The man’s name is Guy Mann.

Scully performs an autopsy at the morgue on the latest victim.  Mulder tries to convince her that he has captured evidence of the lizard man on video.  Scully is skeptical, but glad to see that her partner is acting like himself again.

Mulder is awakened by scream in the middle of the night at the hotel he and Scully are staying at.  Mulder speaks to the hotel manager, who confesses that he peeped on Guy Man and witnessed him transform in the lizard creature.  Mulder then speaks to Scully, and discusses several scenarios, all of which are based on supernatural explanations.  However, Scully is again skeptical, although she is once again glad to see that Mulder is acting more like himself.  Mulder also finds a bottle of prescription pills that belonged to Guy Mann.  Mulder speaks to Mann’s psychiatrist, and tracks Mann down to a graveyard.

In the meantime, Scully attempts to speak to Mann at the electronics store where he is employed.  She appears to have been unsuccessful, however, as Mann panics and leaves the store in chaos.

At the graveyard, Mulder finally catches up to Mann, and demands an explanation of why Mann transforms into a lizard creature.  Mann surprises Mulder, and tells him that he has always been a lizard creature, but was bitten by a human, which forces him to transform into a human at night.  Mann tells Mulder of his struggle to fit into society, which covers everything from finding clothes to finding viable employment and even adopting a puppy (Mann becomes quite distressed when he loses the puppy).  Mann laments his curse which forces him to transform into a human, and wishes death for himself.

Scully has realized that the animal control officer is actually the one who is the killer.  She apprehends the man at the animal shelter, and he is arrested and will stand trial for the murders.  Scully also adopts a puppy, which was actually the puppy lost by Mann.

Mulder meets Guy Mann in the forest later that night.  Mann tells him that he is going to hibernate for 10,000 years, and that hopefully he can sleep his curse off.  Mulder is still skeptical, but witnesses Mann transform into the lizard creature before his eyes.  Mann retreats back in to the forest, and Mulder’s belief that he is a part of something greater than himself is restored.


 

My Thoughts

I. AM.  FUCKING.  DYING!!!!

Psycho

Yes, I may have let my 500+ peeps on a certain social media network know that the other as I watched this particular episode…

I am given to hyperbole, but I think this statement was the truth…I am not exaggerating!

Trust me, trying to write up something like this while you still have a case of the giggles is not a job for the faint of heart…so take a moment to congratulate me, ok?

And, oh…where do I start?

First of all, the Lizard Man.  Even the words “Lizard Man” bring up images from movies like this one:

creature from the black lagoon 1

Good stuff, I tell you!  I loved the nod to vintage horror…Chris Carter certainly knows how to pay homage!

And that includes paying homage to…well, himself.

I know, I know.  I am sure that some may think that all of the self-references bring this to mind:

lion licking

But it wasn’t like that.  Not at all.  In fact, finding the Easter eggs became a game of sorts.

Easter eggs 2

I found quite a few, although I am sure I am slack and missed a few more.

Scully saying that she was immortal.

Clyde Bruckman 1

Scully adopting a dog.  Hopefully, this dog has a longer life than her previous dog.  RIP Queequeg, you are not forgotten.

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And let’s not forget the conversation between Mulder and Scully that seems to reference every single previous episode.  And that smirk from Scully…comedic gold right there!

I had to love Mulder’s ringtone as well.  It seems he could at least set up ringtones on his phone.

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The gravestone too.  I am sure Kim Manners is smiling down from that great UFO in the sky.  Again, gone but not forgotten.

 

THE X-FILES: David Duchovny in the "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

 

And even when we are in The X Files universe, it has to hashtag itself,  Well, according to the McDonald’s sign where Mr. Lizard went to satisfy his craving for “meat”, at any rate.

As stated before, this episode was comedic gold.  And in countless ways.

In fact, the episode started with comedic gold.  Two people huffing paint fumes.  From spray paint cans, no less. How could you go wrong with that start?  Well, other than the fact they were using spray paint.  Sheesh, kids today.  Back in my day, we did it right and used gasoline to get that poor man’s high!

Oh, and poor Mulder’s attempts to use his cell phone for something…well you know…useful?  Useful for him at any rate, so that he could capture evidence of his “monster” and maybe create a You Tube channel and get a few subscribers.  Although I can kind of relate to Mulder:  It’s hard enough for me to get a good shot of my animals, let alone close up video of video a creature whose existence would change the face of the animal kingdom as we know it.  Nah, I would be more likely take a picture of my big toe instead.

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I just have to go back to that dialogue between Mulder and Scully in the hotel room, where we are treated to a recap of (seemingly) every other X Files episode.  Oh, the look on Mulder’s face.  Oh, the look on Scully’s face.  Scully says it best when she says nothing at all.

We also had the transvestite hooker who informed Mulder that she was “on the crack.”  ‘Nuff said!

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Luckily, David Duchovny has a fantastic sense of humor, and was not afraid to poke fun at himself a bit.  As an added bonus, we got to see Mulder red underwear.  So much sexier than a lizard man in boxer briefs!

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And speaking of sexy…

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How about that lizard man porno action, huh?  I tried to get #lizardmanporno trending, but I was unsuccessful, alas.  Social media just doesn’t know what’s up sometimes…

Although I could buy this guy getting in some sexy time with Scully much better than I could buy my ex getting the time of day from any living, breathing creature in a skirt.  Even hookers who are “on the crack.”

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Oh, and the lizard man.  I loved Mulder and Scully in this episode, but I think I need to nominate Mr. Lizard for some kind of award.  Do they have a category for best supporting lizard in a cult TV series?  If not, we need one, stat!

horned lizard 1

Not only did Mr. Lizard get to make it with Scully (at least in a fantasy sequence, which is way more than almost any man or woman could ever hope for), he helped Mulder out of a major existential crisis.  Again, the chances of that happening are about as likely as…say…the chances of making it with Scully, maybe?

THE X-FILES: David Duchovny and guest star Rhys Darby in the "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

 

You see, poor Mulder had been struggling.  Like many of us, he had come to a crossroads, and was wondering what path he should take.  And he had begun to lose faith.  I think we’ve all been there.  Even the most faithful of us have trouble believing at times.  Sometimes, life can feel like you are shoveling shit into the tide, where it all just washed up on shore again, so what’s the point?

THE X-FILES: David Duchovny in the "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

But sometimes, light comes from the most unexpected places.  Often, what appears to be the beast can be the most human of us all.

Johnny Cash 2

By offering Mulder that one, tiny glimpse, Mr. Lizard was able to accomplish something that no one else, not even Scully, could: he made Mulder believe again, at least a little.

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Virginia  Mulder was able to believe in Santa Claus  monsters again.  Or maybe not just monsters, but something greater than himself, that he wasn’t sure existed any more.

THE X-FILES: L-R: The Were-monster and David Duchovny in the "Mulder & Scully Meet the Were-monster" episode of THE X-FILES airing Monday, Feb. 1 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Ed Araquel/FOX

Sometimes, miracles happen on places other than 34th Street.


 

So that’s it for Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster.  Tune in next week for the recap and dissection of the 4th episode of The X Files renewal, Home Again.

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

batman and robin

 

The X Files Renewal: Episode 2 Recap and Review

Sometimes, you just need to get back to basics.

pumpkin spice meme 1

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).

X Files 5

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.

MaryShelley2

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…

sparrows

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

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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!

Lazarus Pit 1

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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Don’t Bug Me: My Review of Darkness Falls

I became a fan of horror at quite a young age (trust me, my parents were thrilled).  I started out with Stephen King, and he did me fine, but then I discovered a new method of delivery.

Stephen King mit Katze "Clovis", tierischer Held des Films "Schlafwandler". Der Meister des Horrors wird am Sonntag (21.09.1997) 50 Jahre. Mit 50 hat er mehr als 30 Romane veröffentlicht, ein Sachbuch, fünf Geschichtensammlungen und neun Drehbücher. dpa (zu dpa-Korr vom 17.09.1997) nur s/w

Yes, it was the horror comic.

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I quickly became addicted to that method of delivery for my frights, and lost more than a few hours sleep over some of those stories.  After all, these works of art contained pictures, so it was the best of both worlds:  I could read (I spent 25 hours a day doing that back in the day), but I could also get a visual representation (not always a good thing for an overly active imagination, but sleep is for wimps, I thought).  And most of these comics also had a lesson at the end.  The method was usually disgusting and creepy, but in their own weird way, horror comics, like one of my favorite childhood cartoons, did try to impart some sort of lesson at the end, usually along the lines of be a good person…or else (the “else” part was usually the creepy and disgusting part).  After, all knowing is half the battle…well, you know the rest.

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Well, a few later after my discover of the horror comic, it graced us with its presence on television, per my dad, at any rate.

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In other words, the horror comic made its small screen debut via my favorite television show at the time, The X Files.  And it was expansive:  we had guys who ate livers, a mutant parasite, people with PSI abilities, and many, many more.  Finally, the horror comic got the respect it deserved, in the form of a show which many people still continue to associate with “little green men,” although that association would not be wrong.  However, The X Files has many “non-arc” episodes, or episodes that don’t feature UFO’s, aliens or the government conspiracy to cover up the former two.  Instead, these episodes simply featured other supernatural themes, or the “the monster of the week.”  And may of them had an EC Comics feel to them:  they featured some kind of “monster”, often with a campy feel to it, they contained some kind of horror (which was not always campy, and many of them tried to impart a lesson at the end, which was often creepy, or sometimes even a little bit depressing (more on that later)).

And one of these “monster of the week” episodes that sticks out in my mind is the episode “Darkness Falls.”  This episode features a creepy monster, some campy scares and even a sort of lesson at the end. In other words, it is an on-screen horror comic, and it works beautifully.

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With that being said, here is my recap and review of “Darkness Falls.”

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


 

Synopsis

Agents Mulder and Scully are called upon to investigate the disappearance of 30 loggers from a site in Washington state.  Scully feels that the task is better left to local and state authorities, while Mulder feels that there may be a supernatural aspect to the case.

The agents meet up with a forest ranger and a representative from the logging company.  The logging company representative is anxious to find his employees, who have families that are worried about them.  The four travel to the loggers’ cabin, but are forced to abandon their vehicle, as a tire is blown out by an eco-terrorist trap.  An investigation of the loggers’ camp finds no loggers but plenty of sabotage, presumably by an eco-terrorist group.

Scully, Mulder and the forest ranger investigate the surrounding forest, and find a cocoon that contains a human body.  They return to the camp, and find that the logging company representative has captured an eco-terrorist.  The logging company representative demands that the agents arrest and try the man for murder of the logger, but Mulder wants to hear the man’s story.  The man states that some strange bugs have attacked and killed the other loggers.  He tells Scully and Mulder that these bugs only come out at night, and that the only thing that keeps them away is a light source.  The group spends the night in the cabin, but keeps the lights on.  The insects cover the cabin, but do not attack the humans inside.

The group finds a tree stump with a strange green ring at the core when they explore the woods the next day.  The eco-terrorist tells the rest of the group that the disappearances began when the loggers felled that tree, and that the loggers have been cutting down trees that were marked to be preserved.  The logging company representative becomes angry at the perceived lack of action by Mulder and Scully, and returns to the vehicles.  However, he is attacked and killed by the bugs, as he did not heed the warning and had no light source.  The eco-terrorist convinces Mulder to allow him to take the last can of gas along with his vehicle and search for his friends, promising to return for Mulder, Scully and the ranger the next day.  When the rest of the group finds out about this, they are all furious with Mulder, even Scully, as they only have about 15-20 hours worth of light before their protection against the insects runs out.  The generator stops when the sun rises.

Mulder, Scully and the forest ranger make a break the next day for the ranger’s vehicle, and are met by the eco-terrorist, who has stayed true to his word.  The eco-terrorist says that his friends did not make it and succumbed to the bugs.  He takes the rest of the group down the mountain in his vehicle, but his vehicle falls victim to his group’s traps.  The eco-terrorist leaves his vehicle and is swarmed by the insects.  Mulder, Scully and the forest ranger are also swarmed by the bugs and become trapped in cocoons.  However, a bio-hazard team, who seems well aware of the danger, shows up in the nick of time, thanks to an earlier distress signal sent by Mulder.  The three are rescued by the bio-hazard team and air-lifted away from the forest.

The surviving members of the expedition, which includes Mulder and Scully, are forced into quarantine, so that they may recover from their contact with the unknown insects.  In particular, Scully was hit hard by the insects and needs much more time to recover.  Mulder asks one of the doctors what will happen if the insects cannot be eradicated, and is told “that is not an option.”


 

My Thoughts

Mind = blown.

I remember enjoying this episode when I first saw it 20+ years ago (eek, that is a scary), but I don’t think the impact was quite as great as it was when I first watched it.  Sometimes, 20+ years is actually a good thing.

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One of my favorite things about this episode was that Mulder was…well, Mulder was Mulder!  I know that statement isn’t really earth-shattering, but let’s show some appreciation for my show boo!  The episode was unsettling and actually did have a serious undertone, but Mulder managed to lighten things up a bit, in his typical dry, almost deadpan way, like when he told Scully that it would be a nice vacation in the woods…ha!  You kill me, Mulder!  Well, no, I take that back, you are the one with the gun, after all!  But still, props to some appropriately placed humor!

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Another thing I noticed about this episode:  the beginning of the ‘ship.  Yes, we are back there again…

This was a pretty early episode, but even in this episode, you can see the chemistry between Mulder and Scully beginning its slow but still crackling burn.  Even this early on, the show was intent on teasing about Mulder and Scully:  was something going on between these two?  Where would it lead?  Would they or wouldn’t they?  And did we want them to?  This is evident at the end of the episode, when Mulder looks in on Scully as she is recovering from her ordeal after their “nice” vacation in the woods, and is told that Scully has had an especially tough go of it, and may not even survive.  The look of concern and caring on Mulder’s face as he speaks to the doctor about Scully is something that is a little more than platonic, and a great precursor of what was to come, ‘ship wise.  And I loved it!

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As I said before, this episode had quite the EC Comic book feel to it, even though it did actually have a serious message.  However, more than a few of the scenes had that almost campy, yet still kind of creepy vibe that those comics also had.

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For example, we have the cocoons that the extremely pissed off bugs used to dispose of those who got on their bad side.

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This was certainly something that I could imagine happening in one of those horror comics I read as a child.  It is a little campy, but kind of icky (aka awesome) at the same time. And when people were being attacked, I could practically see the comic book screams (Aaaahhhh, anyone?) above their heads, even though it was a television show.

And then there were the “bugs” (if that’s what they actually were) themselves.  True, it was the 90’s, and we didn’t have the special effects that we have now.  However, the bugs still managed to be creepy and (you guessed it) campy at the same time.  In other words, even the bugs had that comic book feel.

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As I said before, this particular episode does have a serious message, much like the comic books I remember from my childhood.

One thing that I have noticed in horror comics and even in horror movies is the theme of “just desserts.”  Karma, if you like.

In horror comics, people often did very bad things to other people.  Parents neglected or abused children.  People tried to cheat death in some way (the horror comic Strictly From Hunger was an example of this, and was responsible for many a sleepless night as a child).  Husbands beat up wives.  Wives cheated on husbands.  People would murder other people and try to cover that up.  And this was before any “monster” or anything supernatural came into play.

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And just how did that work out for those committing the wrongs?

Well, not very well.  Not very well at all.  Enter the karma.  And usually, that’s when the supernatural element came in:  after the “human” horror had been committed.

And I noticed that vibe in this episode.  The loggers were cutting down trees that were not supposed to be cut down.  The environmentalists were also not in the right, as they had set up booby-traps to attempt to sabotage the loggers.  As stated above, this did not work for those committing the wrongs.  All of the loggers, including the liaison, were killed by the bugs.  All of the environmentalists, even the “ally”, were also killed by the bugs.  There was even some in-fighting among Mulder, Scully and the federal ranger, and that nearly cost them their lives, if not for the well-timed arrival of a suspiciously well-informed bio-hazard team.  Just desserts, indeed.

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And the ending to this episode…like, whoa?

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Like, definitely whoa, actually.

Yes, there were survivors at the end of this episode, namely, Mulder and Scully.  But…

So.  Many.  Dead.  People.

The body count to this episode was high, that was for sure.  So many dead loggers.  And quite a few dead environmentalists as well.  And the manner of death was gruesome.

And the “bad guy” appeared to survive.  Sure, the doctor told Mulder that being unable to eradicate those insects was “not an option.”  But then again, a certain governor of Michigan made a big show of publicly drinking the water from Flint, and we know what happened there

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So did anyone really believe that those insects had actually been eradicated?  Mulder seemed a little skeptical, in fact.  And he was right to be skeptical.  Often, we are led to believe that those in authority will do the right thing.  But not even those in authority always do the right thing.  Maybe even those in authority are more likely to do the wrong thing, leaving the rest of us to reap the consequences for a long, long time.


 

Well, that’s it for Darkness Falls.  Join me next week for the reunion…the reunion of Mulder, Scully, Skinner and the rest of the gang in the much awaited (well, for me anyway) X Files renewal!

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

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People Can Be So Tasteless: My Review of Our Town

Often, when one is a fan of something, there are conflicting feelings.

On the one hand, it’s similar to being in love:  you want the whole world to know, and you tend to bore people, as you talk non-stop about your new love.

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On the other hand, you tend to be a little possessive.  Your new love is great.  Really great.  And if something is really great, like chocolate, why would you want to share?  Me, I like having my chocolate all to myself…I may love you, but I am not sharing that chocolate!

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Well, the above describes my feelings when I started watching The X Files perfectly.  I loved it!  Finally, a show dealing with the supernatural and other kooky topics that no one wanted to talk about, at least on network TV.  And it didn’t hurt that the show’s leads were smoking hot, either!

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But on the other hand, feeling like I was the only person watching it, (well, besides my dad, who actually got me into the show to begin with) made me special.  And the father-daughter bonding was nice too, since I am pretty certain I was either walking 20 feet in front of my parents, or 20 feet behind them, whenever we were seen in any remotely public place.  But we could bond over The X Files, and marvel over just how far the show went this week, what a work of genius it was really was, and that if everyone was cool like us, they would have no problem staying in on Friday nights and hanging with Mulder and Scully!

Mulder and Scully 1

But, like all loves, nothing really stay secret for long.  People began to talk about The X Files. I am not exactly sure when it became more “mainstream”, but I do remember when people began to talk.  And people began to talk for a good reason.

X Files 4

Yes, the airing of the episode Our Town marked a watershed moment, at least for me, in terms of fandom.  And for good reason:  we actually had a show, on network TV (even it was Fox, which has only begun available as a standard channel relatively recently.  Yes, I am so old that I remember when the Fox network was blacked out…good times!), that dealt with one of the most taboo topics of all time: cannibalism.  Yes, for some reason, the discussion of man eating man is not one that is considered family friendly affair!  So of course our good friend Chris Carter needed to have an episode about it.  And that episode created chatter.  For once, I could talk with my peers and teachers at school, and we could agree on something:  that episode was nasty!

And trust me, that episode has withstood the test of time:  it is still nasty!  I watched it this weekend, and I will still never look at fried chicken the same way again…again, good times!

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of Our Town.

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

Our Town begins with a middle aged man and a young, attractive woman who sneak out in the woods near the town of Dudley, Arkansas, with amorous intentions.  The man has a seizure, but takes some pills for it, and follows the woman out into the woods, as she has run ahead of him.  The man loses sight of the woman, but is attacked by someone in a tribal mask with an ax.  The ax descends up the man, killing him.

The man’s name is George Kearns, who also worked as an inspector for the Chaco Chicken Plant in Dudley, Arkansas, and Agent Mulder and Agent Scully are assigned to investigate his disappearance a few weeks later.  Scully feels that the case is a waste of their time and a diversion from any “real” work, but Mulder argues that the disappearance may have a supernatural cause.

Mulder and Scully investigate place where some unusual fires have been spotted, and find the remains of a large bonfire.  They are interrupted by the local sheriff, Tom Arens, who tells the agents the fires are the result of the locals burning trash illegally.  Sheriff Arens also tells Mulder and Scully that George Kearns was a womanizer, who made himself unpopular in town because he had filed several health code violations against the plant.  The agents also interview Kearns’ wife, Doris, who appears nervous, but unconcerned over her husband’s disappearance.

The next day, Paula Gray, the young woman from the forest, prepares for her shift at the plant.  She appears irritable and nervous, dry swallowing some pills before her shift.  Mulder and Scully visit the plant and question Jess Harold, the shift manager, about George Kearns.  Harold informs the agents that no one was worried about Kearns’ report, as three other inspectors had given the plant excellent ratings. Harold also tells the agent the Kearns had a bone to pick with everyone, including the federal government.  Kearns had also filed a workers’ compensation claim against the plant, claiming that his work gave him terrible headaches.  The conversation is interrupted by Paul, who has begun to hallucinate and has taken Harold hostage, holding a knife to his neck.  Scully attempts to calm the woman, but Sheriff Arens fatally shoots her, and Paula falls into a feed grinder.

After the incident, Scully speaks to the plant doctor, Dr. Randolph.  Dr. Randolph tells her that he had treated both Paula and George for headaches and insomnia, but never made any official diagnosis on either one, as he believed that the symptoms were due to stress.  Scully asks for permission to perform an autopsy on Paula, but his told by the doctor that she will need to ask Walter Chaco, who is the owner of the plant and Paula’s grandfather and legal guardian.  Mulder and Scully speak to Mr. Chaco, who reluctantly agrees to allow Scully to perform the autopsy.

Scully examines the remains of Paula, and discovers that she was suffering from Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, and had only a few months to live.  It is also discovered that Paula was 47 years old, even though she appeared to be in her mid-twenties.  Mulder wonders if Paula and George both suffered from Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, but Scully tells him that would be statistically impossible, as the disease is hereditary and non communicable.  The conversation is interrupted yet again by a van that is wildly swerving on the road.  The van misses the agents, and crashes into the nearby river.  The driver has been exhibiting the same symptoms as George and Paula.

Scully theorizes that George Kearns was killed to keep him silent in regards to any health violations that the plant was committing, and that his body was dumped into the plant’s feed grinder to dispose of it, therefore contaminating the chickens.  Mulder disagrees with the theory, as the chicken meat is a product nation-wide, and that there should have been a nation-wide epidemic of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease, as opposed to a local outbreak.

Mulder and Scully speak to the sheriff and request that the river be “dragged.”  The result is the exhumation of a large pile of human bones.  Scully examines the bones and identifies George Kearns among the remains.  Scully also notices the ends of the bones are smooth, as if they have been buffed, and that the skulls are missing.  Mulder thinks that the bones are smooth because they have been boiled, and that the townspeople practice cannibalism.  Scully says that if Mulder is right, the outbreak of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease would have been caused by the townspeople consuming the contaminated remains of George Kearns.  Mulder also notes that 87 people have disappeared from the town over the past several decades, and that all of the disappeared were “outsiders” in some way.  Mulder also thinks that Paula’s youthful appearance can be explained by the cannibalism, as many cultures practiced cannibalism in order to prolong their lifespans.

Dr. Randolph and Harold confer at the plant.  The townspeople are growing uneasy, due to the spread of Creutzfeld-Jakob disease and the presence of the FBI agents. Harold promises he will speak to Chaco, who will listen to him.

Harold speaks to Chaco, who reassures him that he can handle the problems.  Doris also pays a visit to Harold, as she has grown tired from keep the town’s secrets and is feeling guilty over her part in her husband’s death.  Chaco reassures her, and tells Doris to go home and get some rest.

Mulder and Scully discover that all the birth records at the town’s courthouse have been burned.  Mulder receives a call from Doris, who tells him she needs to speak to him.  Scully goes to meet Doris, while Mulder heads to Chaco’s house to take Chaco into custody.  However, Doris is murdered by someone in a mask before Scully arrives.

Mulder arrives at Chaco’s house and is told Chaco is not home.  Mulder discovers some interesting memorabilia at Chaco’s house, including a picture of Chaco next to a WWII fighter plan, a human skull and four shrunken heads.  Chaco appears to be the same ago as he was in the pictures of him taken during WWII, which were taken 50 years prior.  It is also revealed that Chaco spent some time in Papua New Guinea with a group of people known to practice cannibalism.  Mulder receives a call from Scully, who tells him she is at Doris’ house but cannot find Doris.  However, Chaco is hiding in the house and attacks Scully, and Scully’s phone goes silent.

Chaco arrives at a town meeting, where the townspeople are lined up to receive portions of a “stew,” with Scully as his captive.  Chaco tells the people of the town that they have lost control and should not have killed Doris.  Harold tells Chaco that he is no longer fit to be town leader, and disarms Chaco of his gun.  Chaco is then forced into a metal harness and decapitated.

Scully is then placed into a metal harness.  However, Mulder shows up just in time and shoots her would-be executioner.  None of the townspeople are arrested, as most of them flee the scene while Mulder is busy freeing Scully.  Mulder and Scully remove the mask from her would-be executioner, who is revealed to be Sheriff Arens.

The chicken plant is closed by the Arkansas authorities.  Before the plant is closed, a worker is seen emptying a bucket of chicken feed from the trough and carrying it to the chickens.  The worker reaches into the feed and finds a clump of gray hair (presumably belonging to Walter Chaco).  The worker shrugs and continues to feed the chickens.


 

My Thoughts

First of all, I would just like to congratulate myself on the timing of this re-watch, given all the jokes and memes about snacks and how some people are just poor planners

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Maybe those folks should save themselves the trouble and just pay a visit to Dudley, Arkansas…no shortage of snacks there!  The people there are always willing to have you for dinner!

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Oh wait, they want someone to bring them snacks, not to be the snacks…well, it was a worth a try, anyway!

Our Town is a disturbing, creepy and even one of the more disgusting episodes of The X Files.  And it’s also hilarious!

Yes, you heard me right…it is hilarious.  Like in so many other episodes that deal with gross and even taboo topics, Our Town contains some much needed humor.

One of my favorite funny scenes is when the agents come to the realization of what is really going on in Dudley, and realize that they have to take action.  Scully apparently got the munchies and brought in a big bucket of chicken.  And the look on her face when she drops that chicken like it’s a grenade…you couldn’t pay her to eat anywhere in Dudley after that point…I loved it!

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Believe it or not, Our Town was a episode that was also a ‘shipper’s dream…

Yes, a ‘shipper.  There, I said it…

A ‘shipper, for the uninitiated is someone who believes that your protagonists, who pretend to be just friends, keeping it strictly platonic, blah blah, should become a couple.  And, in the case of Mulder and Scully’s relationship, the ‘shippers were on to something, as the chemistry between was just unbelievable.  For years, Mulder and Scully were my favorite television “not a couple.”

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And it was episodes like Our Town that made me long for the ‘ship…

The look on Mulder’s face when Scully’s call cuts off…we know that Scully had been abducted, and was probably still dealing with the trauma from that abduction.  And Mulder was also dealing with that trauma as well.  You could practically hear his thoughts, as he raced to save Scully from those horrible people who couldn’t be bothered to bring their own snacks, as FBI agents would do just fine, thank you.  The rescue and look on Mulder’s face once he frees Scully from her captor…well, that momentarily made me long for the ‘ship that could be!

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Ok, you have read this far, so let’s get to the good stuff already!

Yes, the cannibalism.  Since you know that’s what you really want to talk about!

Cannibalism is gross.  Cannibalism is gruesome.  Cannibalism actually scares me shitless.

So, of course I have to joke about it…don’t worry, it’s all in good taste (see what I did there)!

Human flesh can be the ultimate snack, at times…

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Sometimes, you just get a taste for “long pork“…

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Or those friends (who shall remain anonymous, now that they are blog fodder) who tell you that if you get stranded on a desert island with them, they will have no qualms about resorting to cannibalism if necessary!

On a side note, boiling a ham bone to make a stock after watching this episode is not recommended.  Trust me, your mind will conjure some unpleasant images…or is that just me?

But cannibalism really does scare me to death (hence the horrible jokes).  Humans eating other humans is another taboo, ranking up there (or maybe down there) with incest.  Any movie or show that deals with cannibalism is sure to come with some sort of warning label, and for a good reason:  the thought of humans eating their own kind is just horrifying!

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If any species had to resort to cannibalism, that particular species would not survive for very long.  After all, if you can’t find a food source, then you probably don’t deserve to survive, after all.  So, like incest, cannibalism had to become taboo, to ensure survival as a species.  And the distaste for it is almost instinctive:  I remember finding out that cannibalism existed when I was around 7 or 8, and being absolutely horrified.  This caused me many a nightmare, and the subject still horrifies me to this day.

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But although cannibalism is taboo, it also seems to have a bad ass quality about it.  Several tribes throughout history have been known to consume the remains of their enemies.  Sometimes this was done because people believed that by consuming the remains of an enemy, that the powers of the enemies would be passed on to them, strengthening their powers that much more.  However, sometimes cannibalism was practiced as the ultimate act of disrespect, or the final “fuck you” to the enemies.  In other words, it wasn’t enough that the enemies were dead, they needed to be consumed as well, so that they could not be given a proper burial and safe passage to the afterlife.  Also, some people believed (like the tribe mentioned in this episode), that by practicing cannibalism, they would obtain eternal life, or at least slow the aging process.  And we are all afraid of death.  However, some are more afraid than others, and will resort to extreme tactics to avoid or at least slow down the inevitable.

Humans are at the top of the food chain (or would like to believe so, at least).  And no species want to lose that spot on the food chain.  So we take measures to make certain acts, like cannibalism, repulsive.  In other words, we make it a taboo, so that it does not become acceptable.  Mostly, it works.  But sometimes, people forgot.  And the forgetting would have consequences which were sometimes dire.  However, dire consequences are needed, lest we become, in the words Walter Chaco, “not worth saving.”

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Well, that’s a wrap for Our Town…I hope this post was in good taste (ok, I will stop now…maybe)!

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Join me next week, as we review and dissect another classic, Darkness Falls.

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

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