Wednesday, 26 October 2016

The X-Files Halloween Countdown | Season Three (10 Seasons, 10 Episodes)

It's 5 days till Halloween, and it's time for my second favourite season of The X-Files.

Image via Fox

Again, 'Talitha Cumi' has always been one of those X-Files finales that has stood out to me in the whole scheme of things. Aramaic for 'arise maiden', 'Talitha Cumi' focuses on a man who possess great power, who may also have information regarding Mulder's family and the evil Syndicate. As per X-Files finale, 'Talitha Cumi' is the first part of a two part episode, concluding with the Season Four premiere 'Herrenvolk'. 

The episode itself is based on the chapter 'The Grand Inquisitor' from the novel The Brother's Karamazov (by suggestion of Duchovny). The main reference from this famed literary passage is between The Smoking Man (as the Inquisitor) and the somewhat powerful Jeremiah Smith (as Jesus). 

My favourite aspect of this episode is the overpowering theme of loyalty. 'Talitha Cumi' is testing, especially towards Mulder, as to how willing one can be to sacrifice things in order to save either themselves or loved ones. In Mulder's case, it's The X-Files, Scully and his Mother; in The Smoking Man's case, it's healing himself or fighting for the Syndicate's cause. Of course, Mulder's altruistic nature ultimately shines here (as per usual), whereas the Smoking Man opts to save himself rather than the Syndicate. 

Image via Fox

Ah, 'Quagmire'. The reason why I bought Moby Dick and have yet to actually read it. 'Quagmire' is definitely one of the shows most stand-out episodes; harnessing an equal balance between conspiracy, myth, cryptozoology, comedy and philosophical ideas. 

And of course, the famed Conversation on the Rock (COTR anyone?) 

In a Loch Ness Monster-esce plot, Mulder drags Scully (and her dog Queequeg) to a lake in Georgia that has become inexplicably linked to a string of murders. Mulder believes that the culprit is 'Big Blue', a sea monster that calls this particular lake home. Scully - obviously - believes otherwise. 

'Quagmire' features one of my beloved scenes of the series; Mulder and Scully stranded on a small rock, containing at least 10 pages of dialoge. The pair go through a series of philosophical conversations, from their digression of Moby Dick, Mulder's longing for a wooden leg and who would eat who first if it came to the duo resorting to cannibalism on that small, famous rock. 

Image via Fox

Even though this episode is often regarded as the best of Season Three (by both writers and critics), and even won itself two Emmys; I still don't think it's talked about enough. Not only by the comedic tone Darin Morgan adds to the somewhat dark subject matter, but the beauty in which it is captured by regular director David Nutter. 

'Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose' finds Mulder and Scully investigating a series of murders of psychics and fortune tellers. To further their investigation, they enlist the help of Clyde Bruckman (Peter Boyle), who has the ability to foresee how individuals are going to die.

Morgan had previously written 'Humbug', an episode with a similar vein of being humorous in light of a dire situation; but Morgan believed that he hadn't written it the way he had intended. 'Bruckman' served as his chance to change this, using his state of depression at the time and the idea of a character committing suicide to write the episode. 

Image via Fox

A seriously underrated episode, 'D.P.O.' features too very - albeit young - familiar faces; that of Giovanni Ribisi as Darin Peter Oswald (D.P.O.) and Jack Black as Bart Liquori. The episode focuses on Darin's survival of a lighting strike that has given him the power to summon lightning through his erratic teenage emotions. 

'D.P.O.' isn't a groundbreaking episode within the shows canon; but it does what The X-Files has always and will continue to do - be unique. Even from it's conception, through the phrase 'Lightning Boy' being tacked to a board in Carter's office since the shows first season. 

It harnesses not only the power of lightning and the teenage psyche, but also the power of the show as a whole. 

And it also features a kickass soundtrack, from the likes of Filter, James and The Vandals. 

Image via Fox

Your standard monster-of-the-week episode, 'War of the Coprophages' follows a slight change in the shows usual dynamics. This time it's Mulder who is investigating a small town plagued by strange deaths involving cockroaches; whilst Scully works from home, debunking each of Mulder's theories each time he phones her up. Scully becomes increasingly worried in regards to Mulder's safety, and with his relations which an attractive bug expert named Bambi. 

'War of the Coprophages' is derived from one of my favourite Sci-Fi stories The War of the Worlds, especially the radio play by Orson Welles. Morgan again helms this episode, and focused on the premise of mass hysteria which is littered throughout War of the Worlds

This is one of the episodes that ultimately scarred me, as even though the forth wall is broken - which is rare for the show - it is done so by making a cockroach crawl across the television screen during a scene. Thereby making you believe that you yourself are going crazy like the majority of the victims in the episode. 

Image via Fox

I have a weird thing about these two episodes; the main reason 'Nisei' and '731' appeal to me - particularly '731' - how beat up Mulder gets? You'd think it would be from all the shit that eventually goes down and gets revealed throughout this episode, but no. I find Mulder getting beat up and beating other people up hot. There. I said it. 

He's just so badass (and an idiot) in these two episodes! I'm as exasperated as Scully is whenever I watch these two back-to-back (especially during the scene in which he jumps on the train in a 'Mulder No', 'Mulder Yes' moment), but that fight on the train with the NSA dude is just UGH. GO MULDER. Plus Duchovny performed a majority of the stunt work himself which is even more impressive and something I can't deal with. 

I mean, the plot is amazing obviously, but I still only watch these episodes a lot because of Mulder. The X-Files is all about the truth, so there's mine. 

Image via Fox

I always talk about how much I love little nuances throughout the show, and 'Wetwired' contains one of my favourites; the reveal that Mulder is red-green colorblind..which is also somewhat annoying, because it doesn't seem to affect him in any other episode. But hey ho. 

'Wetwired' tackles one of my favourite subjects; the effect television has on the mind. Written by the show's visual effects supervisor Mat Beck, 'Wetwired' explores a series of murders committed by ordinary people after witnessing illusory images; with Scully slowly but surely heading down the same path. 

This episode also contains one of my favourite scenes between Mulder and Scully, in which Scully firmly believes that Mulder is against her (due to the images that she has been exposed to), culminating in the a dire performance of trust between the two.

Image via Fox

Referring to an astronomical alignment of three celestial objects (usually the Earth, the sun and the moon or planet), 'Syzygy' is a goldmine of an X-Files. It has a similar feel to 'Die Hand Die Verletzt' in terms of its focus on teenagers, but it is one of the funniest episodes that the show has produced. 

Mulder and Scully are yet again at a small town investigating the strange goings-on; this time in the form of two teenagers that are responsible for multiple murders due to how a rare planetary alignment affects their behavior. 

It doesn't just affect the teens however; Mulder and Scully begin to become extremely argumentative toward each other, which becomes increasingly hilarious due to the triviality of it all. Carter states that he wrote Mulder and Scully like this to alert the audience that Mulder and Scully would not become a couple; but boooyyy was he wrong. And it's blindingly obvious as to how they would through this episode, especially Scully's jealously towards Mulder and Detective White. 

The oh-so handsome Ryan Reynolds also appears briefly in this episode, which made me spit out my drink the first time I realized it was him. 

Image via Fox

If there's anything to take from 'Oubliette', it's boy can Duchovny act. 

'Oubliette' tackles one of the most harrowing story-lines that The X-Files has covered, whilst simultaneously addressing Mulder's ongoing struggle over Samantha's disappearance. The episode follows Mulder and Scully's investigation into the kidnapping of a girl named Amy by an unstable photographer, who eventually imprisons her in his basement. Mulder discovers a psychic connection between Amy and one of the photographer's previous kidnapping victims Lucy, and attempts to use this connection to locate and save Amy. 

Any episode that uncovers more detail into Mulder's psyche in regards to Samantha are my favourites, and 'Oubliette' is no different. In fact, this episode is extremely different to those similar, as Scully begins to take an antagonistic role against Mulder when the evidence begins to pile up against Lucy; this was instead of Scully having a symphatic role with the victim due to her own abduction in season two. Instead, Mulder having to watch and actually investigate a kidnapping happen makes him have the need to find Amy alive, something Scully holds against him due to his sister. When Scully brings this up, Mulder makes it clear to her that not everything he does is because of or in relation to his sister, and of all people she should know that. 

And relating back to Duchovny's astounding acting in this episode, that line about Samantha was actually added by Duchovny as it was not originally included in the script. The episode was also in production around the same time that the Polly Klaas case was receiving large public attention. Fox were afraid that it was an uncomfortable parallel to the case (especially since Amy survives and sadly Polly did not), so the age of Amy was increased before filming. 

Image via Fox

Before anyone asks, no, this is not my favourite episode of Season Three because Dave Grohl has a cameo. Although, that cameo was one of the reasons why I started to watch the show, so it still comes back to Grohl; it always does. 

'Pusher' itself is one of the most groundbreaking episodes of television, in my opinion. Written by Vince Gilligan (one of my favourite television writers), 'Pusher' follows Mulder and Scully as they investigate Robert Modell, going by the pseudonym "Pusher", who is seemingly capable of bending people's minds to his own will. The finale of the episode sees "Pusher" bending Mulder's mind in a deadly game of Russian roulette. 

Gilligan wanted Mulder and Modell together as much as possible, enabling a cat and mouse chase between the two throughout the episode. Both Duchovny and Anderson's acting ability is impeccable throughout this episode; Duchovny channeling Mulder's frustration that Modell ultimately is able to control him, and Anderson portraying Scully's inner turmoil at seeing Mulder - of all people - is susceptible to being controlled. 

In regards to that game of Russian roulette, it was the first time that it had been featured on television. Fox were hesitant in including it due to the standards and practices department deeming it unsuitable to broadcast. However, the scene got shown largely uncut so Gilligan seemingly got away with it. 

'Pusher' also features a variety of in-jokes within the fandom and the cast & crew, with Duchovny changing 'Discovery Channel' to 'Playboy Channel' when being fitted for a camera due to Mulder's interest in pornography. The Flukeman from 'The Host' also appears in the episode, in the form of a tabloid cover. 

No comments

Post a Comment

© Wreck My Brain. All rights reserved.