The X-Files, “Orison:” for  Discussion on Donnie Pfaster, God, The Devil, and Free Will, Don’t Look Any Further 

 
Scully murders Donnie Pfaster. Let’s  just digest that for a moment. Because I think sometimes we get so caught up in the fact that Donnie totally had it coming, we justify Scully’s actions without giving proper consideration to the massive ethical and moral dilemmas this episode poses. In true X-Files fashion, it evokes complex emotional questions. That’s why we love it. So let’s discuss this deep and multifaceted ending.

Even though Mulder and Scully have the situation completely under control and they can arrest Pfaster as the law and conventional justice dictate they should, Scully kills him anyway. She doesn’t have to. It’s not in self defense. Don’t get me wrong; it might have been. At any time during the apartment struggle scene, Donnie could have come at her, and she could have shot him and been totally within her rights of that last resort. But that’s not what happens at the end. Donnie’s just standing there. He’s not attacking her. And she kills him.

Scully shoots out her light, forcing Mulder to look at it in surprise. Now he can’t officially say he saw what happened. He wasn’t technically looking when Scully shot him. So he can’t say that Donnie didn’t somehow provoke her. And Scully doesn’t then put Mulder in the position of having to lie on his report in support of her. Even though Mulder does say his report will reflect the fact that Pfaster would have definitely killed again were it not for Scully’s justified actions.

Whenever I watch this, my immediate reaction is “Yeah! Kick his ass! Shoot him! He deserves it.” Perhaps because I’m a woman like Scully, and Donnie only preys on women, I can only too closely relate to her fear for future safety and her need for vengeance. But I think that’s how most fans feel when they watch it. Donnie is, after all, pure evil. And foregoing a huge capital punishment/all life is precious debate, for most fans, it’s easy to say that some people are so evil we have no choice but to be rid of them. That’s the pro death penalty side. On the other hand? Would you be willing to be the one who throws the switch or pushes that lethal injection? Or in Scully’s case, pulls the trigger?

That’s the part that gives us pause. Because what happens to our humanity if we take a life? Even such a vile and evil one as Donnie Pfaster’s? Shouldn’t we hold ourselves to higher moral standards than the death fetishists and  killers? It reminds me of a quote from another great SciFi series, Stargate SG-1: “I’m talking about the No Killing one [commandment]. No matter what the reason, every time you break it, you take one step closer to Hanson [a cold-blooded killer].”

This becomes Scully’s dilemma. she feels like a terrible Christian for taking a life. Even though Pfaster was pure evil and would “surely kill again if given the chance.”Scully still feels it’s not her right, or anyone else’s, to take any life. She holds up her Bible for Mulder to see, her guilt palpable.

In the end, Scully muses over what forces could have possibly been at work in her, prompting her to make that decision. Mulder asks her, “You mean what if it was God that made you pull the trigger?” Scully says, “I mean, what if it wasn’t?”

Reason dictates that if you believe in God, as Scully does, you must also believe in the devil.  You can’t have one without the other. And if you believe in the devil it stands to reason that Satan is somehow behind all of these violent impulses. If the devil advocates  vengeance over divine notions of forgiveness or peace, then killing Donnie was the wrong thing to do even if Scully was justified.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t have done the same thing. But I am saying I would have technically done the wrong thing. Because we can’t control what Donnie Pfaster does to us. We can only control our own actions. And the only thing we can ever truly control, is whether we are good or evil.

That’s free will. That’s why God (if you believe) can’t, say, “stop the terrorists from hitting the World Trade Center.” Or stop an evil death fetishist like Donnie Pfaster from killing innocent women. Rapists, sexual sadists, pedophiles, murderers, and terrorists all have the option to be evil. It’s the only way God would truly know who is good or not. As Mulder says, “God is a spectator, Scully. He just reads the box scores.”

God doesn’t interfere. But the devil does. He takes human form in Donnie Pfaster. And let’s face it, if the devil really were to take human form, Donnie Pfaster is exactly what he’d be. A sexual sadist necrophiliac death fetishist killer. He wouldn’t come back as, say, “Lucifer,” Fox’s cool new bad boy. But as pure evil in human form.

But this very X-Files way in which the devil interferes isn’t the only one. He tempts us. Because if allowing us our free will is the right thing to do, then tempting us into violent, instantly gratifying actions with potential long-term damage to our souls, must surely be the wrong thing.

Although maybe God interferes too, but just doesn’t let anyone know. Like when Scully’s cancer goes into spontaneous remission. No one knows for sure whether that was a miracle or not. All we know is that her cancer worsens or remains the same until she embraces her faith and starts praying.  If God did too much for us, we’d become dependent on him for everything, and stop taking responsibility for our own actions–our free will. But if God did nothing, people would lose faith. Maybe those imperceptible little miracles are God’s answer to the devil’s temptation.

One of the things I’ve always loved most about The X-Files is the juxtaposition of science and faith. And how the characters gradually sway each other toward their individual beliefs. Because in the end, there’s a place for science, religion, paranormal activity, and whatever else in our lives. The universe is so vast, why limit the endless possibilities?  I love the open-mindedness of The X-Files and that it doesn’t discount anything out of hand. How, while this conversation and Scully’s faith center on Catholicism, there are passages from all of Earth’s major religions on the surface of the space craft found in Africa. The show makes the case that, just as it would be absurd to say that in this ever expanding universe we are alone as a species, it would be just as ludicrous to discount any and all religious ideas outright. If there’s one thing I learned from the show, it’s to keep an open mind and that it never hurts to believe in something divine.

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The X-Files Revival: 5 Wants, Needs, and Hopes From the Fans

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I’m part of a pretty kick-ass X-Files fan group on Facebook, Hooked on X-Files: Die Hard Fans Only. If you love reading about and talking about the show come join us. But be warned, you will have to pass a brief test identifying some characters to prove your fandom before your membership is accepted. Anyway, a while back we all had a discussion about what we most want to see in the revival. I’ve organized it all into the 5 major points that seemed to keep coming up. Don’t agree? Please add your thoughts below.

  1. The alien invasion

My biggest question, and other philes agree: what is really going on with the alien invasion? Did they really start a quiet invasion in 2012 (here among us without us knowing) and are now just getting everything in place for the fiery destruction we saw in Mulder’s vision? Did the alien invasion take place off screen in 2012? Did Mulder and Scully stop it? Is there a new syndicate operation? Sometimes I wish they would just SET the revival in 2012 instead of 2015 so we could see them address and stop the invasion. Maybe something Mulder and Scully did postponed the invasion until now. We just don’t know, but we all want to find out more than anything.

The consensus: Finding out what happened with Colonization is extremely important. It was always a major talking point throughout the series and first movie, and then the second movie didn’t address it at all. Rather, it played as a longer Monster of the Week episode. Most fans agree, it would be a mistake for the writers to avoid the subject of aliens and colonization again.

What I want to see above all else in this revival is vindication for Mulder and Scully–undeniable proof that Mulder has been right all along. I want people who made fun of Mulder to beg him for help, and I want to see him and Scully save the world from invasion.

2. William

Everyone’s second biggest question remains about the show’s smallest character.

Where is he?

S.C.–Exactly, that’s my number one as well A.W. And that’s also my second most wanted answer. Where is baby William? And who really is William. The last I heard was he was adopted by a family in Wyoming. Is he a teenager now, what are the extent of his powers? Can he be a savior to humanity?

A.W.–More so than where William is, I want to know what his deal really is. He’s very important, or at least he was as a baby. Can the Magnetite Jeffrey Spender injected baby William with suppress his alien powers forever? Will they resurface in this revival? I can see a 15 year old William now, frightened to find he can read thoughts or move things with his mind. If his powers were to resurface, that would certainly put his adoptive family in danger, and draw attention from Mulder and Scully.

From season 6 when the piece of the craft that Scully was “meant to find” spins and goes flying into the bible, to Genesis, to season 9 when the piece goes flying over Williams head and he’s looking up at it, spinning above his eyes, I’ve had major questions about Mulder and Scully’s child.

When William is born and Mulder doesn’t know how to get to Scully, he follows a bright light in the sky. And it leads him to this rundown shack, the only place Scully could go. And everyone is there just to witness this miraculous birth–that of a barren mother. Then the 3 gunmen come bearing gifts. It’s a story I hear in church every Christmas. William is alien Jesus. He’s definitely going be a big part of this new mythology. And if not, he should be. My theory is he’s the chosen one–maybe the only one that can stop the aliens. He or his possibly immortal mother…

 

3. How has Mulder and Scully’s relationship progressed?

S.C.–would love to see Mulder and Scully’s relationship and romance deepened.

A.W.–I think Mulder and Scully are as in love as they’re going to get. Even before they were officially together on the show, it was obvious they loved each other through care, concern, jealousy, and support. In the latest movie we’ve got them lying in bed snuggling and kissing. I know most fans like to see the relationship bits and how it’s evolved into a real romantic relationship, and I get it, but at the same time I don’t know how they can go any further with it because there’s certainly no place for a wedding in The X-Files. It’d just be corny and wouldn’t fit at all with the tone of the show. Hell, I don’t even like when they call each other by their first names. “Dearest Dana” and “I can’t help but think of him Fox” make me cringe. And I think if they wanted to be married they would be by now, but that’s not something they’ve ever needed. They just need each other. Likewise, I don’t think Scully can have any more children nor do I feel they’d want to adopt since they are back at the FBI in consuming and dangerous work. Besides, the pain from losing William has always haunted them. So I think that’s it for relationships and family stuff: just Mulder and Scully  hopefully finding their son. I’ll agree that I would like to see a family reunion there. Poor Scully.

I’ve spoken to a lot of people who still want that sex scene, and for awhile I was one of them. But I honestly didn’t really need it in the last movie, nor do I want it now. The cuddling in the movie was already pushing it. They had a really romantic cuddling scene in “Requiem,” and overdoing it will only cheapen that rare and beautiful moment. Furthermore, I think their first time having sex was in “All Things” and that’s where I really wanted to see it. Like, did you see the deleted kiss from Fight The Future? That first-time passion is what I really wanted to see…that finally, finally, they can have each other moment. But by I Want To Believe I just assume they’ve been sleeping together for years so there’s no real reason for us to see it. Though that doesn’t stop some fans from wanting to, others agree with me:

C.D.–Nahh… No sex scenes for me. I think the most intimate moments are those where they are barely talking at a whisper. Soft utterances, the camera honed into their conversations and their tenderness toward one another.

E.S.–I love that their physical relationship is private….I hope it stays that way! That’s what makes the hand holding, the occasional kiss, spooning, the care, the rescues….all so so so special!

We now know that Mulder and Scully will be broken up in the revival. I know this has some fans enraged to the point of boycotting, but to me this is interesting writing that remains true to the characters. In the last movie, Scully was already ready to leave the life that cost her her health, family, and happiness behind. She’d thought of quitting before, but always stayed in the end. I think that changed after she lost William. She wants nothing to do with the darkness anymore. Mulder on the other hand, lives for the x-files. They want different things. That said, I think Chris Carter wants to rekindle in us the desire for them to be together. I trust him; he’s never given me a reason not to.

4. Where are Doggett and Reyes, and who, if anyone, is running the X-Files?

Of all the characters the show introduces, especially new ones in the later seasons, there really weren’t any bad or uninteresting ones. I remain the final seasons’ biggest defender and attest that David Duchovny leaving was the only reason the show failed. It was not for bad writing, lack of story material or uninteresting characters. To prove that fact, we all still care what’s become of them. We now know that Reyes will be returning, but Robert Patrick who is busy with his new show, “Scorpion,” will not.

S.C.–Doggett & Reyes (what have they been up to and did they get together or move on?)… And whatever happened to Assistant Director Brad Follmer?
A.W.–Good question. And for that matter, what happened to Kersh? I too am interested in what Doggett and Reyes are up to. Still fighting for the truth I hope. I love what C.D. is saying about The X-Files being a mystery. A lot of people complain that too little is ever wrapped up or satisfactorily explained, but I’m always saying, “that’s not the kind of show it is.” It’s about small victories, not big ones. It’s about personal growth and dealing with the fact that sometimes you don’t get the answers you want. The story and the journey still matter, and this one is always beautifully told.

 

5. A satisfying ending

S.C.–Really, I think there is still so much material they could use for an exciting return I really hope that season 10 is just a prelude for more and more. Its hard to believe everything can be answered in 6 eps.

C.D.–They have hinted that if these 6 EPs do well they may do more limited run seasons and or a movie. I have read that being hinted from CC and DD.

A.W.–We can only hope. Although, if they could truly conclude the story in a perfect and satisfying way in 6 episodes, I’d be happy. I don’t want infinite episodes as much as I’d like a great conclusion. But I do agree that we need more than 6 to wrap it all up. There’s still so much to see.

M.R.–I know there is a lot of talk about fans wanting more after these six episodes, however, I honestly feel like they should take this time to wrap up the series. Do not get me wrong, I would LOVE to have Mulder and Scully on my screen forever but I feel like that’s where Chris and Fox went wrong to begin with. They’re always pushing for more, more, more and I feel like it really hurt the story in the long run. Almost like they were afraid to tie up loose ends solely because the mythology might have continued. Now, if they could wrap up the existing mythology and tie those loose ends and then start another chapter, I might be OK with something after these six episodes.

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What do you all think? If you missed the conversation the first time around, add your thoughts now. The Revival happens in mere hours so lets make some predictions and see if they pan out!

 

Kick-Ass Women of SciFi & Fantasy: Olivia Moore

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“You can skulk around, lamenting all that you’ve lost, try to keep yourself numb and isolated. Or you can embrace who you are.”

Liv of the new hit show iZombie spends her time kicking ass and taking brains, acquiring a new job in a morgue to get her fix.

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She also helps solve crimes, even if she has to get physical to do it. Check out her Kung Fu moves!

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But what I’m far more interested in is Liv’s emotional strength. Like vampires, zombies are highly metaphorical creatures. Liv’s whole life is destroyed in one night. She is turned into a zombie against her will and consequently loses her job, her friends, her family, and much of who she was. This is symbolic of any number of derailing disasters that can affect humans in their lives. Think about losing a fiance to a breakup, a family member to illness, or yourself due to a mugging or a rape, or even something less traumatic like a mid-life crisis. I mention rape because afterwords, Liv feels half dead. She doesn’t know who she is anymore, but she is different and not whole. A strange man has infected her with a zombie virus against her will and it has changed her, made her darker. Her mood has plummeted to more depressed territory and it takes its toll on everyone she loves. Her romantic relationship falls apart and her family and friends believe she has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) which of course she does, though not for the reasons they think.

So keeping in mind that zombieism is metaphoric for any number of emotional stressors that can affect a person, Liv shows tremendous strength in picking herself back up and getting back out into the world. Losing her fiance isn’t the worst thing that could happen, nor is having your family and friends become mad at you. Nothing is ever the end of the world, as long as you’re still alive. And Liv is still alive. Despite the horror that has befallen her, she is still Liv. She’s still the hardworking, helpful, caring person she always was, so she has two choices:

She can wallow, and become a true emotionless, flesh-eating zombie, or she keep acting on her lively personality by pursuing a career. So she can’t be a doctor anymore, and she won’t make as much money. Big deal. It isn’t her relationships that define her, but who she is as a person. And she’s a person who wants a career where she can make a difference.

Every week, Liv makes the conscious choice to keep living, and that even though she makes a friend at the morgue who knows her secret, she herself is enough to live for. In fact, some of the most interesting aspects of the show are the ways in which Liv chooses life. She can’t taste foods anymore, she can’t have the career of her choice, and she isn’t getting married. But there are other journeys to be had. Liv eats brains in order to remain somewhat human (if you go too long without eating, you become The Walking Dead). But brains are like a drug, and one of the side effects is gaining flashes of that person’s life (which is how Liv helps solve crimes) and their personality traits. So one week, Liv is a painter, drawing masterpieces, and feeling passion for everyone and everything, gaining an appreciation for all the beauty in the world. The next week she may be cold and logical but gain an extensive knowledge of facts. In the latest episode, she got to experience life through an old friend’s eyes who Liv described as a “death is a consequence of life kind of girl.” Now that she’s a zombie, Liv can speak languages other than English, perform martial arts, and essentially live an infinite number of lives.

Hence Olivia’s nickname, Liv. “Liv Moore.” Get it? The underlying meaning, of course, is that we have the power and ability to experience this variety of new things whenever we wish. We can learn a new language, or skill, broaden our horizons and choose to live no matter what injustices we suffer. We can choose to enjoy life to the fullest. We can “live more.”

The final message: Always choose life. You are enough.

I hope iZombie stays on the air and Liv keeps kicking ass for years to come.

The X-Files: Mulder and Scully’s Incomparable Chemistry

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Let me be clear about one thing right off the bat. As a lover of the English language I’m always searching for the exact right word to describe something, and I don’t use the word “incomparable” lightly. I use it because no relationship I’ve ever seen on television compares to how realistic and effortless the chemistry between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson is on The X-Files. When they perform a scene together, there’s absolutely no sense of actors repeating lines from a script. It’s genuine. Viewers believe a real conversation is happening between two actual people who know each other as well as Mulder and Scully would.

Remember my post from a few weeks back about how Gillian Anderson was, superficially speaking,  the antithesis of what the show was looking for in a female lead? –> (Dana Scully) The reason she got the part anyway was because no one in the room could deny the lightning they’d trapped in a bottle when they saw the unprecedented chemistry between the two. Chemistry on T.V. is like Voice in fiction. It can’t be taught or forcefully applied, but when a writer taps into it, and it’s right, they’d be a fool not to run with it because it’s not something easily harnessed.

Don’t take my word for it; listen to what The X-Files team has to say on the subject:

That’s not to say that the hard part is over. Chemistry is one thing, but then it’s up to the writers to give the characters excellent dialogue, and not let that potential go to waste. Luckily, the show is as well-written as it is well-cast. Let these Mulder and Scullyisms courtesy of Snakey973 be your proof:

When Mulder and Scully interact it’s easy to believe the two have known each other well and for a long time. Viewers believe that they know each other personally as well as professionally, and not only spend much time together at work, but outside of it as well. They have the kind of back-and-forth that happy long-term couples have, where they can joke with each other and understand and appreciate the other’s sense of humor. Their use of sarcasm, the faces they make at one another, and the way they good-naturedly give each other a hard time are all characteristics of real relationships. You can always tell when two people aren’t comfortable around each other because they are being too polite. Mulder and Scully share an intimate comfort and speak to each other as I would to my closest friends.

I’ve seen shows like Stargate-SG-1 (Jack and Carter) and 12 Monkeys (Cole and Cassie) come close, but I still have yet to see a real competitor for The X-Files in the chemistry department. The stars seem to have aligned perfectly over this one creative endeavor, and fans are eternally grateful.

Kick-Ass Women of SciFi & Fantasy: Dr. Cassandra Railly

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Aaron: “Is this just some kind of twisted Stockholm syndrome?”
Cassie (sardonic): “Oh, that’s what it is.”
          I chose this quote for Dr. Railly’s kick-ass post because these five little words say so much about her. It’s not even the words themselves, but how she says them. The moment I heard these words come out of her mouth in the pilot episode of 12 Monkeys, I knew she and I would be life-long friends. Cassie doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. This is easier said than done. It’s so hard turning off caring how others, especially those in your profession, or those closest to you, perceive you. But with this quote, Cassie brushes off what her ex thinks of her. Aaron thinks his ex has gone weak in the knees for Cole, who kidnapped her in episode one to explain her important role in the future plague. Railly doesn’t believe him at first, but once she has proof, she never looks back. Railly  is a strong woman of conviction. She knows what she saw and isn’t afraid to stand by that belief even if it costs her a prestigious career in neuroscience, respect, friends, and her relationship. In fact, she has no trouble telling off her ex when he tries to discredit her with some bull shit about Stockholm syndrome.
          Because, a woman can’t possibly be acting in a way you don’t approve of without her being on her period, or it being some kind of psychological condition, right? Granted, Cassie has openly professed her faith in something difficult for people to believe: time travel. But even when the rest of the world turns its back on you, and you lose respect in your profession, the one person you’re supposed to be able to count on to stand by your side, no matter how crazy you sound, is your significant other. Instead, Aaron calls her crazy too, and they break up. Instead of listening to Cassie, and believing in her, or at the very least, standing proudly by her side anyway, he basically just accuses her of being a nut bar, and rather than acknowledge his disrespect with a tirade or counter argument, Cassie realizes that sometimes you just can’t fix stupid, and responds in beautiful sarcasm: “Oh, that’s what it is.” You nailed it, buddy, I’m just a crazy chick in love with my kidnapper. It couldn’t possibly  be that I, as a scientist and a medical doctor, could have decided that there is some legitimacy to this supposed plague in the future? Nope, Stockholm syndrome. Douche.
          I mean she’s a brilliant doctor, respected in her field. She’s a neurologist specializing in diseases. I know the time-travel part sounds insane, but the woman knows what she’s talking about. She’s smart, spending much of her time in a science lab…
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Or in the field helping those in medical need around the world…
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Or with a gun, even though she is against killing.
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          This is something she disagrees with main character, Cole, about. And it makes me like her even more. Cassie isn’t afraid to disagree with Cole openly and adamantly. When Railly shows disapproval for Cole’s dirty work, he reminds her of the larger mission saying, “we can’t save everyone.” Cassie retorts, “I thought that was the point.” She also isn’t afraid that not knowing how to use a gun will make her appear “weak.” She lets Cole teach her to shoot a gun, but her real strength lies in refusing to use one.
          Cassie’s faith in Cole and his truth has often left her isolated, and constantly gets her into trouble. Yet she pursues this path anyway because she believes it is the right thing to do. Though there is strong indication in the show that Railly is in love with Cole, she won’t let personal feelings jeopardize or interfere with their more important mission. Aaron, the ex, often speaks of saving one person you love being worth the rest of the plague, to which Cassie gives him an incredulous look and simply says “no.” Because if Star Trek has taught us anything, it’s that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. If a consequence of saving the world is losing Cole, even though that would be difficult, Railly has proven that she will do what must be done. True strength lies in the conviction of her character. If anyone can stop the plague, Railly can. I’m rooting for you, girl! Go!
          12 Monkeys airs Fridays at 9pm on SyFy. If you aren’t watching it, you should be.
 

The X-Files: Unique Mulder Gifts

As promised, every week leading up to the X-Citing X-Files revival, I’m posting something nostalgic and with a certain paranormal bouquet. This week, let’s take a look back at some of the wonderfully unique gifts Mulder has given to Scully over the years.

In the season 2 episode, “One Breath,” Scully wakes up from a negative prognosis after her family has literally pulled the plug and given up on her. Mulder, who has been having an extremely difficult time dealing with his first ever taste of losing his best friend, visits her in the hospital with a unique gift. He doesn’t bring her flowers, or candy, but a VHS tape:  “I brought you a present,” he says. “Superstars of the Super Bowl.” To which Scully sarcastically replies, “I knew there was a reason to live.” There’s so much to love about this scene. Is that really the movie he brought? Or was he making a joke to cover for something more sentimental? Or is that really what it is–something he had lying around his apartment? After all he’s been too worried and preoccupied to shop, and couldn’t just show up empty-handed. Is it something he feels they can enjoy watching together later? It certainly wouldn’t be the only time on the show that he tries to get her interested in football. And it’s not as though the two don’t watch movies together. At any rate, the gift reflects the stage in their relationship: we’ve known each other for over a year, and I’m doing my best to show that I have valued that time with you, and care for you.

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In the season 4 episode, “Tempus Fugit,” one of my all time favorites, Mulder and Scully eat dinner where he surprises her with a dessert with a sparkler shining in it, a “Happy Birthday” song, and a pretty little gift box. Scully remarks that in 4 years working together, he’s never remembered her birthday, to which he retorts that he prefers to do it like dog years. I always figured that Mulder, often joking to deflect genuine emotion, simply has found something worth giving her this year. Think about it: the less someone makes a big deal of holidays and occasions, the less they give gifts, the more meaningful that gift will be when they finally decide to give it. In this episode, Mulder gives Scully a gift worthy of tears, though it may not seem that way at first.

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Scully opens the gift box to reveal an Apollo 11 medallion commemorating that mission, and is grateful but relatively confused. As Mulder is about to explain why he gave it to her, all X-Files hell breaks loose and the agents embark on a tragic two-episode investigation. At the end of part two,  “Max,” after losing friends but not faith, Mulder and Scully stare at the stars, and Scully tells Mulder she figured out what he was going to say:

“I was thinking about this gift that you gave me for my birthday. You never got to tell me why you gave it to me or what it means. But I think I know. I think that you appreciate that there are extraordinary men and women; extraordinary moments when history leaps forward on the backs of these individuals. What can be imagined, can be achieved. You must dare to dream, but it is no substitute for perseverance and hard work. And teamwork, because no one gets there alone. And while we commemorate the greatness of these events and the individuals who achieve them, we cannot forget the sacrifices of those who make these achievements and dreams possible.”

Mulder, as per usual deflecting the depth of that sentiment, jokes that he just thought it was a cool key chain. But of course, Scully is right. This gift is made all the more important by the stage of the relationship that it is presented in–the season of Scully’s terminal cancer diagnosis, where Mulder once again will be struggling with the reality of losing her. Mulder realizes that things he used to be able to do alone, aren’t worth it anymore, and that he no longer wants to continue this quest without her. That’s what the medallion means.

In the season 6 episode, “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas,” even though the agents said they weren’t going to exchange gifts, at the end they reveal that they “got each other a little something.” The audience doesn’t get to see the gifts revealed, but only Mulder and Scully smiling while excitedly shaking boxes and untying ribbons. I actually like that we don’t know what they got each other, because we get to speculate, and that’s so much fun.

To me, it looks and sounds like Scully got Mulder a VHS tape (oh, 90s). But what is it? The two obviously enjoy watching movies together, if the season 7 episode “Je Souhaite” is any indication. But what movie would she choose for him? Or maybe, she is re-gifting Super Stars of the Superbowl simply so they could share in the memory of that moment, when their relationship, and the gifts themselves were less evolved.  And it looks like Mulder gets her….I don’t know….a salami? But I rest assured that whatever it is, his explanation is better than the gift itself. After all, things don’t matter–it’s only stuff. Words, loyalty, friendship, love, trust, and showing appreciation for those qualities is what matters.

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Later, in the season 6 episode, “The Unnatural,” (another episode that appears in my top 5 favorites overall) Mulder is prompted into an emotional epiphany by Arthur Dales, who stresses that Mulder need pay less attention to the heart of the mystery, and more to the mystery of the heart. Mulder is touched, and moved by Dales’s story of love–all kinds of love–being more important than any alien truth, so again, he decides to show his ever-growing appreciation for his partner. He calls Scully to meet him for a “very early or very late birthday present.” In other words, he gives her a “no-reason present,” which are often the best kinds because they prove you don’t need a special date or occasion to show your love and appreciation for someone.

Under the stars, and with a beautiful song playing in the background of the episode, Mulder teaches Scully to play baseball–to momentarily forget her cares and worries that he and his quest have inflicted on her over the years, and to let her know that her loyalty has never been undervalued. Though of course he doesn’t have to, Mulder insists on putting his arms around her, helping her position her hips, and hold the bat. The gifts are becoming more romantic as their relationship does. It is a truly beautiful moment on the show, and with all the horror the two experience, those are so wonderful and rare.

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By the time we reach the season 8 episode, “Empedocles,” their relationship has evolved pretty much as far as a romantic one can. Our dynamic duo is having a baby together, and to a pregnant Scully, Mulder presents a doll. This is such a sweet, and truly touching physical gift, that Scully makes this face when she opens it:

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Mulder explains that the doll is a family keepsake that he discovered while going through his late mother’s things. Scully helped Mulder through his mother’s tragic death, and we know how much a special family heirloom would mean to him. That he would give it to Scully solidifies that she and the baby are now his family. And as always, the thought behind Mulder’s gift makes it all the more meaningful.

Well, X-Philes, did I miss any wonderful, unique Mulder gifts over the years? What are your favorites and why? Please comment below, and don’t forget to visit every week for more X-Files nostalgia as we move closer and closer to the revival.

Jimmy McGill’s Colossal Wreck? Thoughts on the Season One Finale of Better Call Saul

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It’s no secret to regular readers that I’ve been this show’s most enthusiastic advocate, not for being well-written or providing well-developed characters, or keeping me in suspense–all of which it does–but for investing me emotionally in the journey of Jimmy McGill. I’ve loved every episode of Better Call Saul in this pilot season, but I have to say, I enjoyed last week’s show much more than this finale.

I just wasn’t buying Jimmy’s epiphany in the final minutes that seemed to come from nowhere. He didn’t hit rock bottom, he didn’t get desperate. Sure he got screwed by his brother, but Kim and his clients still believed in him. In fact, Jimmy had everywhere to go but down. He was excited when Kim called and told him about the job. He was on his way inside. Prestige, money, respect, proving his brother wrong, proving to himself that he is a good lawyer–he would have had all of these things.

I don’t care if as a writer, you want Jimmy to have an epiphany and literally walk in the opposite direction, but there has to be something in the story to support that decision, and something in his character that makes the audience say, “Yes, that’s the Saul we know from Breaking Bad.” As of now, I’m not sure why Jimmy is in that place. I can see that in the season finale, you might want Jimmy taking a step toward the dark side, but it seemed rushed, and forced.

In this episode, Jimmy returns to Chicago to find his old friend Marco literally sitting on the same bar stool where Jimmy left him a decade ago. During that time, Jimmy has of course graduated from law school while working in the mail room at HHM, developed a great relationship with Kim, and passed the bar exam. Jimmy and Marco have a fun week together scamming rubes, and then duty calls Jimmy back to New Mexico. Marco, however, calls this the “best week of his life” with his dying breath. Really? If this was the best week of your life, and these are your last words to Jimmy McGill, I’m thinking something has gone horribly wrong in your life.

And Jimmy is thinking….what? That’s the problem. Is he thinking “I gotta get me some of that amazing life that Marco described?” Why? For what reason? I’m not buying it. I need a reason. And I need a better one than Jimmy suddenly deciding that he and Mike should have taken the Kettlemans’ money. I’m disappointed. I was expecting more.

Remember during the final season of Breaking Bad, where they ran promos of Bryan Cranston reading Shelley’s “Ozymandias?” I’m getting chills just thinking about it. Essentially, these ads featured Walter White describing a “colossal wreck” where once stood a great king.

Where is Jimmy’s colossal wreck? Where is the great, insurmountable, depressing, fiasco that starts Jimmy on a downslide into Saul? We saw the beginnings of such a downfall when chuck betrayed him, but with so much still going so right in his life, what we saw last night cannot be it. So why, why didn’t Jimmy go into that meeting? What are your thoughts?

On a side note, Kudos to the writers for the Belize reference, and for the Kevin Costner scene. Both were nice touches for fans of Breaking Bad.