Wednesday, 19 August 2015

X-Files Rewatch | Lazarus & Young At Heart


Scully's life is in danger (again), and Mulder has an old flame appear...this time in the form of a dead bank robber that he put behind bars prior to his death.



As with 'Beyond The Sea', 'Lazarus' enables a look into Scully's life, this time her professional past. Scully assists a fellow FBI agent and former boyfriend, Jack Willis, in apprehending bank robbers Warren Dupre and Lula Phillips. The pair are tipped to Dupre's whereabouts, and attempt to corner him. However, Dupre shots Willis, who is in turn shot by Scully. Both are in critical condition in hospital, with Dupre dying and Willis is eventually revived. But as Willis is receiving jolts from the defibrillator, Dupre's body can be seen reacting to the jolts used on Willis. 

But Willis isn't all what he seems, as Dupre's soul has seemed to transfer over to Willis's body whilst he was being revived. To solidify this transference, Dupre's tattoo that began to disappear off his arm in the hospital is beginning to appear on Willis's arm. Even though this body swap is paranormal at heart, it does make sense that Dupre's soul would attach itself to Jack, as Jack has been extremely caught up in this case for years. It's all he ever thought or talked about. He has literally been inside the duos heads, now it's Dupre's turn. 

Other than the body transference, this episode didn't really grab me that well for the third time watching it. It didn't on the first watch, either. I love the basic premise of Dupre dying just at the right time for his soul to be revived through Willis, but the rest of the plot seems too generic. It's too predictable, and some of the dialog of Willis, Dupre and Lula is worthy of second hand embarrassment. At least for me, anyway. 
The only redeeming quality of this episode for me was finding more about Scully's past. The X-Files is a show that roots itself within the traumatic childhood experiences of Mulder, therefore you only really get insight into his past rather than Scully. But with this and 'Beyond the Sea', we begin to see what Scully's family life is like and what sort of past relationships she has had. Through Willis, Scully seems to be drawn to headstrong, obsessed men. Willis is much like Mulder in this regard, as it appears this case was what fueled Willis for years - much like Samantha has been doing for Mulder since he was twelve. 

This episode does also highlight Mulder and Scully's growing care for one another, with Mulder calling Scully 'Dana' over the phone when he finds out that Willis/Dupre has kidnapped her. It seems to be for Mulder to form an emotional connection to Scully when he can't be there to save her, or knows that by comforting her he isn't able to change anything, like when her Father died. But this is the first time he's put in the situation that he could very well lose Scully, and he gets extremely angry about it, and threatens Dupre that, 'You lay one hand on Scully or so help me God', and shows his anxiety towards the situation to the FBI team trying to locate her that, 'For those of you who don't know already, this one's important to me so let's do it right'.
 
'Lazarus' isn't a terrible episode in the slightest, but it works more for Mulder and Scully's benefit through Scully's past and their growing relationship. The actual storyline of Willis/Dupre/Lulu becomes quite bland after a while, to the point where you're just waiting for Mulder and Scully to come back on screen.



RANDOM THOUGHTS: 

The dialog between Dupre and Lula is so cheesy - 'You make every day like New Year's Eve'. Kill me.

Why did Willis cut three of Dupre's fingers off to get to the wedding ring? Was the one too hard?

Callum Keith Rennie makes his first appearance within the show, later appearing in the season two episode 'Fresh Bones' and the 2008 feature film, I Want To Believe. He also appears with Duchovny in season two of Californication as Lew Ashby, and is one of Duchovny's friends.

We find out Scully's birthday: February 23rd. 

MULDER'S ONE LINERS: 

"So, I don't think this was a simple necrophiliac mutilation. Willis sliced and diced those fingers to get at the wedding ring."

"Two men died in that crash room, Scully. One man came back. The question is, which one?"

Mulder: "How well do you know him?"
Scully: "We dated for almost a year. He was my instructor at the Academy."
Mulder: "The plot thickens."

SCULLY BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE: 

Mulder beings to theorize that it's Dupree in Jack's body, especially after reading the EKG monitor handout showing two heartbeats whilst Dupre and Willis went into cardiac arrest at the same time.

Both begin to question the validity of out of body experiences, near death experiences, visions that aren't people's memory and consciousness surviving through other people. Scully doesn't discount this, but she believes that Willis's disappearance and behavior can be attributed through the PTSD of being shot.

GOOD OLD-FASHIONED MSR: 

Scully struggles with coming to terms that it was Dupre in Willis's body, and seeing glimpses of Willis come out towards the end. This then leads to a really nice discussion between Mulder and Scully at the end of the episode:

Scully: "What am I going to tell him?"
Mulder: "The official story."
Scully: "Which is?"
Mulder: "Fugitive Lula Phillips died yesterday in a shootout with Federal Agents, which also resulted in the death of Special Agent Jack Willis, killed in the line of duty."
Scully: "What am I supposed to tell myself?"



'Lazarus' gave insight into Scully's romantic past, 'Young At Heart' takes a look at Mulder as a young, promising agent - only to find that one mistake cost him a lifetime of regret and guilt.

Mulder gets contacted by Reggie Perdue - Mulder's superior when he worked the violent crimes section as a profiler. He believes he has evidence that will blow Mulder's mind from a recent jewelry store robbery, and indeed it does. The evidence pertains to a murderer named John Barnett, of whom Mulder help catch. Not cleanly though, as an agent died because of Mulder following protocol and not shooting the suspect because he was holding a hostage. Barnett avoided the death penalty but went down for every crime he committed, but eventually died in prison. 

Mulder begins to receive cryptic messages in the same format that Barnett used, which is the evidence that Perdue has for Mulder. It turns out that a doctor named Ridley treated Barnett in prison, and was genetically experimenting on Barnett, enabling him to be susceptible to reverse aging. And the newly grown use of a disgusting salamander hand.

This episode is subject to the same problem as 'Lazarus', the monsters-of-the-week don't give a compelling performance and are overshadowed by Mulder and Scully's back stories. This time in the form of Mulder's wracking guilt over himself getting another agent killed. Perdue shows Scully the tape of Mulder screwing up, in which Mulder has a clear shot of Barnett but cannot shot due to the hostage. He was going by the book, which gives some reasoning as to why Mulder doesn't go by the book now. He doesn't want to risk losing people, and it's clear to Scully through this video that's why he's hellbent on going against the book on many of their cases.

  
  
(via carlithiel)

There is also a surprising admission of his superior Perdue who had respect for Mulder:

Perdue: "You Know, all this talk around here about 'Spooky' Mulder, I never used to pay much mind. I figured it was just talk about how paranoid you were and all"

Mulder: "And now?"

Perdue: "Remember the day you walked into my office straight from Quantico? You pissed me off just looking at you. But then, I saw how your mind worked. How you were always three jumps ahead. It was scary Mulder, everybody said so."

Mulder: "I've heard this story."

Perdue: "Yeah! Well maybe you ought to hear it again. You got a lot of people down here in the bureau that had big plans for you. A lot of people are saying that Spooky Mulder had become an embarrassment, a liability."

Even though Perdue seems to have good intentions with his remarks, it appears Mulder gets this all the time. People telling him that he used to be a valued agent. Used to be. Although, Mulder can somewhat heal his guilt at the end of the episode through finally being able to take his shot at Barnett. He's not making the same mistake as last time. He takes the moral ground and chooses to kill him to save someone's life rather than keeping him alive for some research.

I don't know what it is with this episode. It's like throughout the duration of it, it tries to end up being something but never quite gets there. There's too much going on. There could have been less focus on Mulder's past with Barnett - especially the flashback of the trial - and more focus on the corrupt doctor Ridley that tried to carry out his experimentations, since he got his license revoked because his experiments leading to a cure of progeria in children were too experimental.


RANDOM THOUGHTS: 

Scully getting shot doesn't provide any suspense at all. If she was being used as bait, there's no way in hell that she wouldn't have been wearing a bulletproof vest, which she later revealed she was. Also, Mulder doesn't lose his mind once she does get shot. That's when you know it's not serious.

I really liked the way they filmed the phone conversation between Mulder and Barnett. It's unconventional, especially for X-Files. The use of shadow on Barnett's side is understandable to disguise his younger face to the audience, but the use of just focusing on Mulder's eyes on his side is really intriguing.

MULDER'S ONE LINERS:

Scully: "I still don't get it. What does this have to do with us?"
Mulder: "Robbing a jewelry store is a federal crime."
Scully (sarcastically): "Thank you."

Mulder: "The judge promised me he would die in prison"
Scully: "So you think he escaped?"
Mulder: "No. That's just it. He did die in prison. Four years ago."
Scully: "You're sure?"
Mulder: "I was paying attention"

"I pull that trigger two seconds earlier, and Wallenberg would be here to see his kid play. Instead I got some dead man robbing jewelry stores and sending me haiku's."

Scully: "Mulder, I know what you did wasn't by the book."
Mulder: "Tells you a lot about the book, doesn't it?"

SCULLY BLINDED ME WITH SCIENCE: 

Both Scully and Mulder are astounded and disgusted at Ridley's genetic experimentation, especially with the regrowth of a salamander hand.

GOOD OLD-FASHIONED MSR: 

Even though this episode is pretty forgettable, it's in these that you get little handfuls of moments between Mulder and Scully where they learn something about each other. Scully can not only see why Mulder doesn't go by the book, but also what the bureau used to think of him. They only ever appreciated him when he was doing something that wasn't out-there. Whereas Scully appreciates Mulder's enthusiasm and passion into what he believes in, and his capability and compassion in saving people which is superiors seem to blindly ignore.
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