Wednesday, 25 March 2015

X-Files Rewatch | Conduit

It looks as though my thought behind my rewatch worked, seeing as X-Files is confirmed as coming back. For real. Which is going to make this that much more exciting, as if it wasn't exciting enough already. 

When it comes to The X-Files, anything that involves aliens constitutes as a mythology episode. Which is the case when it comes to the fourth episode, 'Conduit'. Mulder finds a personal connection with a case involving a teenage girl named Ruby Morris who has gone missing or rather abducted. 'Conduit' serves as a reiteration of Samantha Mulder's disappearance (or as Mulder believes her abduction), highlighting Mulder's quest for his sister can sometimes cloud his judgment when he emotionally connects to a case. 

Ruby's disappearance is witnessed by her younger brother, Kevin. Through this, Kevin becomes a conduit between his sister and her abductors (i.e. aliens), of whom he is getting information from through the television set, which he then writes down in binary code. Kevin becomes a threat to national security through knowing (or obtaining) this code, but it turns out that it's harmless. Harmless but none the less intriguing, as he is managing to convey things like a DNA double helix and Da Vinci's Viturvian Man through it. And towards the end of the episode, the larger picture is literally revealed from Mulder and Scully viewing the code from above, which takes the form of Ruby Morris' face. 

The main theme of this episode is Mulder's strong emotional bond to the case, rather than Mulder and Scully chasing down some unknown monster. Essentially Kevin is Mulder; a kid who has witnessed his sister being abducted by some alien force and could do nothing to save her. Mulder even manages to connect so personally to the case, that whilst at the house the photographs of Ruby as a child seem to transfix him and force him to regress, imagining his sister at a similar age, most likely when she was taken.

You can see the despair on Mulder's face throughout the episode at the fact that he could get some answers about his sister from Ruby's disappearance if it weren't for the NSA or Ruby's mother getting in the way. Kevin seems to be the key - much like he is the key to his sister's abduction. Mulder wishes that he could possess the power that Kevin has and become the conduit between whoever or whatever took his sister from him. 

Throughout the episode, we start to see the developing leniency that Mulder and Scully have on each other. Scully is beginning to act as his backbone, his safety net. He needs someone he can trust to make him see the clearer picture when it comes to his personal judgment trying to outweigh his professional judgment. Scully is there to caution Mulder. Which grows throughout the episode, as she carefully guides him at the start, making sure that she doesn't cause him to break down over the ties to his sister (that she is researching through looking through the X-File that Mulder had submitted on Samantha's disappearance).

But as the episode wears on and Mulder becomes more reckless, Scully has to hold him back when he needs it most, sometimes with force. Although, she's always making sure that he's okay. She makes sure that she doesn't question Mulder's motives unless he's too far gone. She makes sure that she's there so that he can't do something reckless and subsequently hurt himself - whether that be physically or emotionally.  

Watching this for (what I think is) the third time, Mulder and Scully's dynamic really shines through in this episode rather than the actual plot line involving Ruby - mainly through the much-unneeded romance/pregnancy story line which didn't really add anything to the story. What the episode installs is a deeper understanding of both the audience and Scully as to how deeply Samantha has affected Mulder. So much so that he feels as though he's continuously reliving Samantha's abduction through a ritual that he has had since he was a kid: 

"I'd close my eyes before I walked into my room, because I thought one day I'd open them and my sister would be there. Just lying in bed, like nothing ever happened. You know, I'm still walking into that room. Every day of my life."

And that's a testament to the ending scene, which is heartbreakingly beautiful. With Scully listening to one of Mulder's regression tapes, it cuts to Mulder sitting alone in a church crying whilst clutching a photograph of him and his sister. In the voice over, Mulder says that he's hearing voices inside his head, telling him not to be afraid. That they're not going to harm his sister. Does he believe the voices?

"I want to believe."

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