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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The X Files Renewal: Episode 4 Recap and Review

Well, it happened.

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

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

My name is Leah McLaughlin, and I got trolled.

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

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

internet troll 4

Nope, not him!  He’s a dildo anyway…

Fat-Green-Troll

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

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

Mulder and Scully 3

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

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

home 5

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

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

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

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

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

My Thoughts

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

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

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

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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!

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Keeping it in the Family: My Review of Home

Ah, taboos…

You, the things that “polite” people don’t talk about?

Although the concept of manners does not seem to stop folks like George RR Martin, Stephen King or Clive Barker.  But then again, the rules of earthlings do not apply if you are a god!

Sutter and Martin

And what better way to talk about taboos than to watch an episode (or 20) of The X Files?

Kids today will never know the struggle.  Today, we have Game of Thrones, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story, etc.  In other words, shows that push the envelope.  Shows that “go there”.  Or, at least in the case of a certain unnamed show that features a couple of sexy ass bikers, trigger some angry letters from pissed off parents over a “sex montage”

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But I grew up in the 90’s.  It was considered edgy when Jessie OD’d on caffeine pills in Saved by the Bell, for pity’s sake! So if I wanted edgy, I was relegated to sneaking R-rated movies from the video store…this was one of the few instances where early-ish puberty was actually a good thing, since 12 year old me actually did look 17.

saved by the bell

But then, we had The X Files.  And dinner table conversations became interesting, to say the least (at least at my family’s house, which is why I love my family.  Taboo? What’s that)

Every week, it seemed like The X Files “would go there.”  Circus freaks.  Guys that ate human livers.  Cannibals that were ground up and fed to their chickens.  Major-ish characters being killed off…the list goes on and on.

However, no episode of The X Files had ever managed to earn a “viewer discretion” warning.  Chris Carter decided that he could not have this, and brainstormed, until he came up with an episode that would earn that warning…it was a personal milestone!

Crack_the_censors

And that personal milestone  episode was titled Home.  Home contained lots of familiar elements:  murder, a creepy small town, adorable yet kinda dopey local authorities, along with plenty of blood and gore.  However, Home also addressed one of the biggest taboos of all (well, except for Jamie and Cersei):  incest.  And the products of incest, aka the children born of such unions.  And Chris Carter and the rest of the team were cheering somewhere, because they finally produced something that actually had to come with a warning label, and is rarely even shown in syndication today.  Meeting personal goals is a good thing!

Jamie and Cersei 2

With that being said, here is my recap and review of the nasty little piece of work, otherwise known as Home.

Oh, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a woman giving birth to a deformed baby.  The baby is then buried by three deformed men, in the middle of a rain storm.  The name of the town that these events occur in is Home, Pennsylvania.

Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully are sent to the town of Home, PA, to investigate the death of the baby, at the request of the local authorities, who are not equipped to deal with a murder in the normally peaceful town.  The corpse of the baby is discovered by some local kids during a baseball game.

Agent Scully performs an autopsy on the deceased infant.  She discovers that the baby was born with multiple birth defects, but its lungs contained dirt, meaning that the baby was buried alive.  Mulder and Scully speak to Sheriff Andy Taylor about the baby and potential suspects for the murder, and notice that that they are being observed by the people in the house across from the baseball field.  Sheriff Taylor tells Mulder and Scully that the house belongs to the Peacock family, who have lived there since the Civil War.  The house has no running water or electricity, and the Peacock family is self-sustaining, growing their own food and raising animals for slaughter.  The parents of the Peacock family were said to have perished in a car accident a few years prior, leaving only the three sons as survivors.  It is also implied that the family practices incest.

Scully suspects that the deceased baby is actually a member of the Peacock family, and that the men (as there are no known living female Peacock family members) may have kidnapped and raped a woman.  Mulder and Scully investigate the house, and find blood, along with a rusty pair of scissors.  At the request of Mulder and Scully, Sheriff Taylor prepares arrest warrants for the remaining three members of the Peacock family.

That night, Sheriff Taylor is uneasy, and is awakened by car pulling up in the driveway, with loud music playing.  Unable to get to his revolver, Taylor grabs a baseball bat, but is overcome by the three Peacock brothers, who beat the sheriff and his wife to death.

The next morning, Scully and Mulder meet Deputy Paster at Taylor’s house.  The deputy suggests that he and the agents ambush the Peacock house, as he is saddened and angered at the savage death of Sheriff Taylor.  Scully deduces that someone must have told the Peacock brothers about the warrants, as the warrants were issued by telephone and the conversation over the warrants was probably overheard by someone in the house.  Scully also receives the genetic test results from the FBI’s lab, and thinks that a mistake was made, as the tests show an extreme genetic imbalance that she does not believe can be possible.  The results also indicate that both parents were members of the Peacock family, which Scully believes to be a mistake, as she thinks there are no surviving female members of the Peacock family.

Mulder, Scully and Deputy Paster descend upon the Peacock house.  The deputy dons a bullet-proof vest and enters the house, only to be decapitated by one of the many booby traps.  Mulder and Scully distract the brothers by releasing their livestock, and then sneak into the house, weary of the multiple booby traps.

When they enter the house, Mulder and Scully encounter the Peacocks mother.  She is living underneath one of the beds, and is missing both arms, both legs and most of her teeth.  However, she is coherent enough to indicate that she is not being held against her will, and that she believes her sons to be in the right, despite the fact that they have murdered two people.

The Peacock brothers realize that they have been tricked and rush into the house, attacking Mulder and Scully.  After a struggle, the agents are able to kill two of the brothers.  However, they then realize that the oldest brother, Edmund, has escaped with the Peacock mother.  Mulder and Scully then issue an arrest warrant for Edmund Peacock, and block the roads out of town, in the hopes that he cannot escape and will be caught to face justice.

At the end of the episode, Edmund Peacock is seen driving a stolen vehicle, with his mother in the trunk.  His mother tells him that they must find a new home, so that they can start a new family.


My Thoughts

Home is tasteless.  And disgusting.  And just plain nasty.

In other words, I love it.  One of my favorite episodes of The X Files, in fact.

First of all, let’s talk about the gore.  Gore is not necessarily taboo, but this was a cable show from 90’s.  See the above post about Jessie and the caffeine pills.

So, yes, I was pretty impressed with the gore, after I decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch this episode again.  Some of it may seem tame by today’s standards, when shows like Sons of Anarchy depict people being burned alive and Jax going crazy with his metal pipe, like it’s going out of style.  But I think that the killing of the sheriff and his wife would be unsettling even today, as the manner was so brutal.  That scene made me a little jumpy…I know I won’t forget to lock my door any time soon!

The booby traps set by those Peacock boys were ingenious, to say the least.  They say everyone has a talent.  That must mean everyone, even genetic mutant freaks:  their talent is setting booby traps to kill unsuspecting law enforcement officials.

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Another thing I love about this episode is that it is chock-full of “Mulder-isms.”  You know, the silly little one liners, delivered in Duchovny’s usual dry manner, the manner that only he can pull off?  Telling Scully that the Mulder family passes the “genetic muster.”  Changing his mind about moving to the country, since he can’t watch the Knicks game.  This is one of the few episodes of this show that I actually find frightening, and Mulder’s humor lightened things up just a little bit.

home 1

Ok, let’s get to the good part…

Yes, the taboos…

And there were so many of them…let me count the ways…

First of all, infanticide.  That is a subject that makes people pretty uncomfortable, and for good reason.  What person who has a beating heart would not be uncomfortable with the death of a baby?  Especially the deliberate murder of a baby, even if the said baby is deformed beyond belief and probably doesn’t have much of a chance anyway (see post about the genetic tests run by Scully, which seem to come back with results pretty quickly, even for TV time).  Seeing a baby die, much less murdered, is pretty awful.  And the way that they evidence was disposed of was pretty callous:  the corpse was buried in a field and then found by kids, of all people.  And the corpse was not implied, the producers actually showed a good bit of it.  In other words, definitely not your typical 90’s TV fare, or even TV fare of today…but you knew that!

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And we have…

drum-roll-please

Yes, the incest!  You know that’s what you want to talk about here!

There are not too many taboos in modern society.  Our culture has loosened up, at least somewhat.  But incest remains a taboo to this day, and likely will remain a taboo for a long, long time.  And for good reason:  human beings are not meant to procreate with other human beings who are closely related to them.  Apparently, there is this whole thing about a gene pool and yada, yada, yada.  So most “civilized” societies have done everything they can to make incest unappealing:

joffrey 2

Granted, he looks harmless, but I would say this guy is pretty unappealing.  Or maybe appealing in an extremely douchey kind of way.  I must say, purple is his color, though!

All kidding aide, incest makes people uncomfortable, even though it was actually practiced for centuries, and still is practiced in many parts of the world today.  But somewhere along the way (well, probably when folks figured out that when they went outside the family, they were less likely to pass down pesky conditions such as hemophilia), incest became something outside of the norm, and we were taught to fear it.  In other words, something that is feared that much becomes great fodder for horror movies…

And a certain TV show centering around a couple of hot FBI agents.

The X Files just reinforced our fears of incest.  Would you want to meet these guys in a dark ally?

home 5

These guys had no morals.  None at all.  They murdered people.  They dropped trou on command for mommy dearest, in the name of continuing the family tree (well, I think that tree would not actually be a tree, more like a circle, but you get my point).  They were implied to be “not all there”, but were actually pretty cunning for “not all there” (see the post about talent and ingenious booby traps).  In other words, they personified the incest taboo, reinforcing the fact that we are now “civilized” and have discontinued the practice, if we are smart.

And if you were looking for the ending of this particular episode to help settle your nerves, well then, I have some bad news for you…

The X Files has its share of ambiguous endings (Chinga, cough, cough), but the ending to Home is just downright unnerving.  For one thing, the body count.  I know The X Files is scary, but some truly innocent lives were lost:  a baby, a sheriff and his wife and a deputy.  And these people were all murdered in pretty horrible ways:  being buried alive, beaten to death and decapitated by a booby trap.  Sure, Mulder and Scully lived to fight another day, but I got no sense of victory  from this episode…

Which brings me to my next point…

The bad guys won!  Sure, two of the three Peacock brothers were taken down by Mulder and Scully (barely) but the family still survived, since the third brother managed to escape, along with mommy dearest (they probably discovered the joys of car sex too).  So now they are able to keep it in the family, and produce more monsters somewhere else.  And if anyone else tries to bring them to justice for their crimes, he/she will probably have a fate similar to that of Sheriff Taylor.  And that is a comforting thought (sarcasm font activated for your reading pleasure).

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Well, that’s it for it my thoughts on the family friendly episode otherwise known as Home.  Join me next week as I run away to join the circus.  Well, not really but I am doing the next best thing:  watching and reviewing Humbug!

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

batman and robin