Wednesday, 6 May 2015

X-Files Rewatch | The Jersey Devil


After weeks of procrastination and a 2000-word essay on Terminator 2, I'm back. Plus, the world has had it out for me the past couple of weeks, last week plaguing me with stomach flu and this week handing me some tendinitis in my foot. Happy days. At least X-Files has been there for me as always, and what better episode than one that involves a beast woman harassing the forests outside Atlantic City.


In terms of storyline...this episode isn't so great. Not that there's anything wrong with a rampaging beast woman hunting for food in the forest and Atlantic City, but there isn't a great deal of build-up in terms of plot. Having Mulder and Scully split for half the episode (Mulder being on the case and Scully opting to go to her Godson's birthday party and go on a date) means that you have to cross back and forth between the two, leaving little to the actual MOTW story. Although - speaking of Mulder and Scully - this episode is a goldmine of hilarious and memorable dialog which makes up for the lack of story of the Jersey Devil. If it weren't for some of their exchanges, this episode is pretty forgettable.

The overarching theme of the episode is surprisingly good, that being the idea of man against nature. That man feels threatened by a much more powerful, evolved species (which is awesome that this beast is a woman, not a man) resulting in man wanting to kill it in order to remain on top of the evolutionary scale. The plot line is what drops the episode. As much as I loved seeing how Scully's life is outside of The X-Files, it didn't really work in terms of cutting it in-between what Mulder was doing on the case at the same time. There isn't enough time in a 40-minute episode to show a MOTW story at the same time. However, the writers eventually do get the hang of this balance in later episodes - like 'War of the Coprophages' in Season Three - making it so that Scully helps in some ways with the case whilst giving glimpses in what she does outside of work. Same goes for Mulder in the Season Five episode 'Chinga'.

I may have to retract my previous statement about this episode being forgettable, as it occurred to me through my rewatch of this that, yes. This episode marks the beginning of the oh so famous 'Fox Mulder is addicted to porn' gag. This time Scully catches him reading (or rather staring) at a magazine, but it only goes downhill from here. Especially since if you recall, Mulder has a photographic memory. I'll leave you with that for a second.


Speaking of that photographic memory, this episode is another shining example of how Mulder literally has every single X-Files memorized. Much like I do with the episodes. It's a gift, really. So,I can add that to the ever-growing 'I am Mulder and Mulder is me' list that I have begun to amass. Especially in terms of Scully not believing in this urban legend of the 'Jersey Devil' (unsurprisingly), with Mulder retorting that "I heard the same story when I was a kid too. Funny thing is, I believed it". Mulder's unparalleled belief in everything gives him such a drive into investigating cases like this, it's really heart-warming to see. Just through the sheer amount of excitement and passion that he seems to get out of these cases, especially when this one could all intents and purposes be another Bigfoot myth. Along with his passion and excitement, we also see his compassion and consideration through him giving his hotel key to a homeless guy for him to spend the night in his room whilst he stays on the streets hoping for a glimpse of the Devil.

This episode also highlights Mulder's profiling ability, through how he manages to humanize whatever suspect he's investigating. I think this is what sets him out from the rest of the profilers at the Bureau, he always manages to emphasize with the killer or monster. He manages to see past what they have done to why they've done it, and approaches the suspect in a way that's extremely different to any other agent. Especially in this episode, as he is more concerned over the fact that the Devil is beautiful rather than the fact that he is nearly ripped to shreds by her. 

As for Scully, man. Her fashion is on FORM this entire episode. Especially when she goes on her dinner date, my Mum still has the exact same floral blouse she's wearing (minus the shoulder pads) so I've 'borrowed' it from her for the time being to flaunt my inner early 90s Scully. 

  

Even though the way in which Scully's life is inter-cut with Mulder on the case isn't great, it's still intriguing to see what Scully is like outside of work. She actually has a life, her Godson's birthday party being a priority where she's ultimately paired up for a date with one of the Dads that comes to pick up their son, which ultimately doesn't lead to anything else. Which is especially prevalent when we hear through Scully's friend that she needs the right guy to start a life with, to which her friend mentions Mulder and remarks "I thought you said he was cute?" BE STILL MY BEATING HEART. This is one of the only times we see an insight into what Scully thinks about Mulder around other people, and apparently, she thinks he's cute? Help. She also nearly belittles Mulder with the jerk line, but she rethinks and justifies this as she has already been defending him from other people making fun of him and belittling him (mainly co-workers) with the 'spooky' nickname and other remarks which is extremely considerate and sweet.

The whole "Unlike you Mulder, I'd like to have a life" "...I have a life" exchange is the foundation of this episode, showcasing Mulder and Scully's personal depth and growth as partners. They're the perfect opposites. Mulder doesn't have a life as he's consumed by work when he's not in the basement he's still on the case. Whereas Scully leaves work at work and tries to live a normal life outside of it. But through their ever-growing partnership, Scully seems to drift towards Mulder rather than trying to live a 'normal' life. Leaving her dinner date to help Mulder back in Atlantic City is a prime example. Mulder may not have a life, but ever since Scully walked into his basement he seems to have opened his mind to the possibility of having a life with Scully. Platonically, of course. For now.



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