Tony Black looks at the sixth story in The X-Files: Secret Agendas anthology, ‘Love Lost’…
Written by Yvonne Navarro
Edited by Jonathan Maberry.
An intriguing tale from Yvonne Navarro for the sixth story in The X-Files: Secret Agendas anthology, as ‘Love Lost’ taps into a piece of mysterious history from Dana Scully’s childhood heretofore unknown. Set during the revival series, taking place roughly late 2015 chronologically, it sees Scully being reminded of a titular lost love in Marcus Damicke, who vanished in 1982 after getting on a flight & leaving Scully for what was considered to be a brief time. It’s an unusual but well-constructed story, which principally gives Scully more focus (which has been admittedly lacking in Secret Agendas so far). Where it falls down is in, oddly, trying hard to find connections to the myth arc and with characters who don’t quite seem to fit the nature of her narrative.
The actual mystery of Marcus is well told, however, and you genuinely do get the sense that Scully compartmentalized his disappearance as a teenager looking for that connection. It’s also nice, even after so much time working with Mulder, that Scully still feels certain elements of her past & life are private – that’s very Scully, who Navarro captures well across this story as her investigation leads her to old faces, while Mulder attempts to understand how the seeming reappearance of Marcus, having not aged in over 30 years, links to a series of strange power outages at a major airport.
Navarro’s short is strongest when it’s exploring Scully’s character in relation to the mystery, not when Mulder is linking up with Marita Covarrubias of all people; don’t get me wrong, Marita is long overdue some kind of return in The X-Files, but her involvement in this story seems really off – she doesn’t have a personal enough link to either of our leads to really work as anything other than a mysterious antagonist, allowing Navarro to call back to lingering, enigmatic plot points from Season 9 finale ‘The Truth’. It’s even weirder when she suggests a legendary, long-gone X-Files character may also be steering the mystery of Marcus behind the scenes, and it almost feels too much like fan service – the story didn’t need either of them.
Regardless, while ‘Love Lost’ isn’t the strongest story in Secret Agendas, it flows well, doesn’t drag, retains a genuine mystery which Yvonne Navarro doesn’t see the need to tie up in a neat bow or even specifically give explanations for by the end, and crucially it shines a light on Scully’s past as a woman and her emotions connected to a previous, youthful love in her life which allow for some nice interplay with Mulder. A story worth telling.
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