TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man vs Memento Mori / The Calusari vs Schizogeny

The X-Cast blog team are going to share their daily predictions about the Episode Tournament fixtures coming up, talking about who they think will win (not crucially who *should* win – that’s up to you!).

January 16th/17th

508

MUSINGS OF A CIGARETTE-SMOKING MAN vs MEMENTO MORI

Tony: “MEMENTO MORI – this is a good tie! I think the shipper moments in MM will carry the day but Musings is the stronger, more interesting episode. Would be sad to lose it this early.”

Carl: “Yes, exactly. I think MEMENTO MORI will win. I hope Musings gets a lot of support, but we’ll see.”

Sarah: “Gotta admit, I’m not looking forward to this match. A beautiful introspective Scully episode vs a clever and interesting insight on CSM, both are worthy in completely different ways. I’m thinking recent news of Gillian Anderson dating Peter Morgan might swing the angry Gillovny vote in favor of MUSINGS and it’ll pull through to the next round.”

Baz: “See, i think MUSINGS has a lot of fans and a story centred around the Cigarette Smoking Man is always a winner. I think it will win, but not by much. MEMENTO MORI is a great episode but as it centres around Scully’s cancer, it’s also a little grim and might put people off.”

Paige: “I think Memento Mori will take the day because of the boffo performances.”

THE CALUSARI vs SCHIZOGENY

Tony: “THE CALUSARI – snooze fests all round but the sheer meh of Schizogeny should give The Calusari a win.”

Sarah: “I haven’t been able to watch THE CALUSARI since my son was born. Utterly terrifying. But those trees in SCHIZOGENY along with the fear of being locked inside a basement are forever etched into my mind, and I think it’ll make that one memorable enough to pull ahead with the win.”

Carl: “The Calusari is the only episode to be rated ’18’ in the U.K. Whatever wins probably won’t go any further. Honestly not sure – I’ll predict a win for SCHIZOGENY.”

Paige: “Calusari is a definite creep-fest. Counting on that to edge Schizogeny, but they’re both pretty close in my book.”

Make sure you’re following our tournament with the hashtag #TheXFilesEpisodeTournament on Twitter.

The X-Files A-Z: I is for IMMORTALITY

Kelechi Ehenulo continues our alphabetical breakdown of The X-Files as I is for IMMORTALITY…

tithonus_x_files

The rock group Queen famously once said, “Who wants to live forever?”

The notion feels tempting, right?  The ability to see the world beyond its years as it evolves.  When it comes to The X-Files, the concept of immortality is expansive.  Just like how the show finds balance in Mulder and Scully, the same can be applied to the subject.

Immortality (as designed on the show) can be viewed in two ways.

Firstly, there’s the literal sense.  The desire or ability to live longer or extending a natural life.  Whilst the show has always shone a torch into the darkness by exploring the paranormal and alien conspiracies, this concept is not unfamiliar.  In fact, it goes as far back as the first season.

In ‘Young at Heart’, criminal John Barnett defied the odds, which became one of many catalysts that defined Mulder’s behaviour in regards to FBI procedures.  Barnett’s supposed death in prison was a smokescreen.  He became a scientific experiment in which he could age backwards.  Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, his rejuvenated youth allowed him the perfect cover to re-commit the crimes he was famous for and terrorise the agent who incarcerated him.

In season two, ‘Our Town’ looked at immortality not through scientific experiments in which the government took a keen interest in.  The exploration came from food consumption.  The town of Dudley, Arkansas lived a secretive double life where everything on the surface seemed normal but in fact, lived a dark, cultural underbelly.  By resulting to cannibalism, the townspeople indulged in their own twisted version of “the fountain of youth”.  Their culinary delights slowed down their aging, allowing them to appear youthful, defying the laws of nature.  The only way to understand their truth is if you discovered their actual birth certificate, they fed on someone suffering from a disease or the town got sloppy, battling their own interests over their tight-held secrecy.  All the above happened and Special Agent Dana Scully was nearly the next victim.

ourtown

The show also looked at immortality in terms of genetics.  Leonard Betts was a human anomaly.  His body riddled with cancer to the point where not only he could diagnose it in other people but they also became his next target and victim.  Driven by compulsion and the help of an iodine solution, Betts fed off it to regrow lost body parts which included his severed head.

The episode ‘Trevor’ went a step further, combining genetics and supernatural phenomenon brought about by the weather.  Wilson Pinker Rawls gained the uncanny ability to pass through objects.  How?  By changing the composition and turning objects into carbon.  Besides an obvious weakness to glass, he was almost indestructible.

And living a longer life has gone as far as granting a person a wish.  In ‘Je Souhaite’, Jenn came across an ifrit.  Feeling intelligent, she spoke up and said “Je souhaite un grand pouvoir et une longue vie” (I wish for great power and long life).  Like a prison tattoo, she was given the mark of the Jinn and became a genie, granting wishes to those who unroll her from her rug.  In her own words, she should have been specific.

But can immortality be looked at in the spiritual sense?  That’s the second examination.

The bible has always inhabited the idea of life after death or an afterlife.  Our spiritual journey is everlasting as we take our next step into the next world.  In The X-Files and for the characters affected, the intentions are often emotional and self-serving.

shadows

Some have gone to the lengths of using their spiritual immortality as a revenge mechanism.  In ‘Shadows’, Howard Graves haunted his secretary Lauren Kyte.  Murdered by his work colleague and refusing to let Lauren suffer a similar fate, he did what was necessary to protect her from harm, including murder.  It was a relationship built on respect and parental-like affection as highlighted in a confession to Mulder and Scully where Lauren openly viewed Howard like a father.

In ‘Born Again’, Michelle Bishop was described as being a “disturbed child”.  But the investigation brought to light that she was possessed by Charlie Morris, a police officer drowned in his tropical fish tank by his colleagues.  Isaac Luria, a Hasidic Jew came back to life on the wishes of his wife to be in ‘Kaddish’.  While it was her intention just to see her husband again after he was brutally murdered in a racially motivated attack, Isaac took on the form of a Golem, an emotionless man-made monster and murdered those involved in his death.

On the other hand, the opposite of the revenge mechanism are spirits finding newfound purposes or roles.  Some are based on the classic good vs. evil battle, transporting souls to where they will be safe and out of the hands of the devil, as displayed in ‘All Souls’.  In ‘The Field Where I Died’, it was reincarnated souls, soulmates reuniting.  And in ‘How the Ghosts Stole Christmas’, the star-crossed lovers Lyda and Maurice just wanted to have fun.  Forming a lovers’ pact, every Christmas Eve their home and their Halloween style antics tormented anyone who dared to venture on their property.  In their own words, they didn’t forget the true spirit of Christmas.

But the biggest question in regards to immortality belongs to a certain FBI agent.  Is Dana Scully immortal?  There’s evidence to suggest that.

0e724b186ce8b4cc39e6ffeb70f0efd3_l

In the clever and hilarious episode ‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose’, Scully curiously asked the psychic on how she would die.  “You don’t” Clyde suggests.  Fast forward to season 6 in ‘Tithonus’, Scully is accidentally shot by Special Agent Ritter as he tried to apprehend Alfred Fellig.  While Ritter frantically rushed to get emergency help, Fellig guides Scully not to look at death, thus “transferring” his gift unto her and stealing her death.  Even in the new revival series, Scully casually remarks to Mulder that she’s immortal after surviving a precarious situation in ‘Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster’.

Do I believe Scully is immortal?  I don’t know because it can be viewed either way.

The beauty about The X-Files was never to prove or disprove a theory, if that makes sense.  We are presented with some truths but the show was always an aura of mystery and ambiguity.  It invited you into the debate and tested your beliefs.  Ultimately it came down to the show’s core theme of faith, adopting the same balance principle as you would come to expect from Mulder and Scully and their investigations.  But whatever that result is on what you believe, it doesn’t take away how awesome the character is or the impact she continues to make.

The question is, is there an overall benefit to living forever?  The answer is not that straightforward.

The show treats it as a blessing and a curse.  John Barnett saw his extended youth not as a new beginning to start a new life but as a venture into payback.  He became a figure stuck on a loop, unable to change his addictive and remorseless nature.  The townspeople in ‘Our Town’ ultimately wanted a change of leadership, losing their faith in the man who introduced the culture to them.  Other examples such as ‘Aubrey’ and ‘The Calusari’ showcase the pain inflicted onto others by an unescapable past coming home to roost.

5242194_the-x-files-two-fathers-review_taf54137c

The Syndicate abused the idea by creating alien-human hybrids (‘Two Fathers’/’One Son’) as an alternative to survive the alien invasion.  Even cloning wasn’t beyond their reach (‘Colony’/’End Game’).  In ‘Je Souhaite’, Jenn being witnessed to 500 years of human history, became tired of watching the stupidity in humanity in asking for the same indulgent wishes.  “Give me money. Give me big boobs.  Give me a big hoo-hoo. Make me cool like the Fonz.  Or whoever’s the big name now.”  In her eyes, humanity has not changed but has led to greediness, shallowness and self-destruction.

However, the ultimate feeling belongs to Alfred Fellig.  Despite his own misdemeanors and numerous attempts to end his own life, eternal life was hell.  Unable to pass over, he spends his time capturing the death of others in his photography.  Psychologically punished and tortured, photography was his way of coming close to experience what death felt like, to stare at its face.  By explaining this to Agent Scully, he paints an ugly picture, killing all aspects of romanticism or any idealist hope.  There’s no such thing as too much life, love or things yet to experience. When your time is up, that’s it.

Maybe that’s the point.  Maybe immortality is something you shouldn’t take in the literal sense.  Given whatever time we have, maybe the true essence of immortality is achieved through actions and sincere acts of integrity.  Through interactions of others and remembrance, they transcend and become something else entirely.  They become stories.  They become examples.  They become legends.

What Mulder and Scully have done is the definition of that.

You can follow Kelechi on Twitter @geekmindUK.

Next time… J is for JOSE (CHUNG)

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: What are the funniest moments in The X-Files?

For our next roundtable chat based on a key X-Files question…

What are the funniest moments in The X-Files?

x-9

TONY: “This is easy. “Who’s that black private dick who’s a sex machine with all the chicks? SHAFT! Can you dig it?” “I DID NOT!!!””

ANDREW: “‘Theef’… Mulder mocks Scully, pursuing his lips, “Mulder, why are we here?”
‘Syzygy’… Mulder mocking Scully’s short, little legs
‘Bad Blood’… Too many to list!
‘Jose Chung’… Mulder’s girly scream
‘Hollywood A.D.’… Scully showing Tea Leoni how to run in heels”

SARAH: “It might not be the most hilarious moment of the series, but my favorite funny moment is in ‘Quagmire’ after the boat crashes and M&S end up on the rock. They hear a sound and realize it’s a duck. Mulder says, “I’m still tempted to shoot.” And Scully gives him that little nudge. It’s the nudge that gets me every time. Also in that same scene when they’re discussing cannibalism (because what else do you do when stranded in the middle of a lake?) and he asks if she’s lost weight–that classic Scully eye roll is everything.

‘Triangle’ –when past Scully punches Mulder and he says he expected the left.
When Scully kisses Skinner and the elevator door opens to reveal Spender and Kersh staring.

Scully in a bib eating BBQ.

Mulder in a tree.

‘Small Potatoes’, ‘Bad Blood’, ‘Je Souhaite’– everything

Pie.

Bleeping aliens.

Every scene including the waterbed.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

PAIGE: “Of course, Mulder’s girlie scream was the first thing coming to mind. Eddie Van Blundht practicing F-B-I in the mirror. Mulder and Morris doing their underwear dance a la I Love Lucy in ‘Dreamland’. Scully showing Tea Leoni how to run in heels in ‘Hollywood A.D.’ is righteous. Scully throwing water in Doggett’s face at the start of the eighth season, because it just had to be done at that point in time. The reveal in ‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose’ that they’re talking about Yappi and not Mulder, and then Mulder being tossed out of the room for his negative vibes. Scully eating the cricket in ‘Humbug’ and then the human pin cushion telling her the future looks like Mulder as he poses on the steps. Mulder eating piece after piece of pie in ‘Jose Chung’.”

JONATHAN: “Scully performing the autopsy in ‘Three of a Kind’ and the cigarette scene. All of ‘Bad Blood’, the Mulder and Scully married scenes in ‘Arcadia’. When we hear Diana Fowley has been shot in ‘The End’.”

CARL: “The moment that never fails to make me laugh is Mulder’s yelp in ‘Jose Chung’s From Outer Space’. Duchovny’s pose towards the end of ‘Humbug’, which Paige mentioned, is another good one. There’s a moment I love in ‘Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster’, too. I’ve only seen the episode once, so I may be misremembering it slightly. Mulder says that he’s now a middle-aged man, and leaves a pause for Scully to disagree with him. She says nothing, but he presses on anyway: “No, no, I am!” Made me laugh a lot.”

BAZ: “Yes, far too many to mention. Mulder doing the dance in the wardrobe mirror of Morris Fletcher’s bedroom in ‘Dreamland’, fake Mulder seducing Scully in ‘Small Potatoes’, Scully’s sex scene with Guy Mann and Mulder trying to get a photo of the monster on his phone in ‘Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster’, Clyde Bruckman telling Mulder he’s going to die from autoerotic asphyxiation ‘Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose’, all of ‘Jose Chung’s from Outer Space’ (particularly the description of Mulder and Scully, his yelp and Lord Kinbote), Scully’s infatuation with the hick version of the sheriff in ‘Bad Blood’, Mulder’s”get me a sandwich woman!” from ‘Arcadia’, Scully’s ability to dismiss all of Mulder’s theories in ‘War of the Coprophages’ and while not technically The X-Files, Mulder’s red underpants pose FBI badge from The Simpsons episode ‘The Springfield Files.

The great thing about The X-Files, is that for all the moments of horror, there are some truly wonderful comic moments. The show’s ability to take the mick out of itself is what kept it fresh and funny for years. it’s no coincidence that ‘Mulder and Scully Meet The Were-Monster was the most loved episode of the revival’.”

What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your choices in the comments below or on social media!

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: Milagro vs Lazarus / The Gift vs The Beginning

The X-Cast blog team are going to share their daily predictions about the Episode Tournament fixtures coming up, talking about who they think will win (not crucially who *should* win – that’s up to you!).

January 13th/14th

phillip_padgett_with_fox_mulder_and_dana_scully

MILAGRO vs LAZARUS

Tony: “MILAGRO – fans love it, plus it’s better than Lazarus, even if Lazarus isn’t half as bad as you remember.”

Carl: “Milagro has a lot of fans, whereas I imagine most people are indifferent about Lazarus. MILAGRO win.”

Andrew: “MILAGRO will win, as it should. But Lazarus is FAR from being the worst episode. It’s a pretty solid stand-alone with an intriguing story. Good S1 entry.”

Jonathan: “Love Milagro. It’s an episode I watch again and again.”

Sarah: “I think MILAGRO will go through to the next round. It has definitely grown on me. I think it’s certainly more memorable than Lazarus.”

Paige: “Mi-la-gro!!!!! So creative and putting a different spin on everything.”

Baz: “MILAGRO is the better of the two and will likely win over LAZARUS.”

THE GIFT vs THE BEGINNING

Tony: “THE BEGINNING – does anyone like The Gift? Though to be fair I think The Beginning would flounder under tougher competition.”

Carl: “I like The Gift, it’s certainly better than The Beginning, which is middling at best. I think THE BEGINNING will win though.”

Paige: “I like The Gift better as well. But prediction-wise, I expect it to be just The Beginning.”

Baz: “The GIFT is the better episode and a good story for both Mulder and Doggett, but I think THE BEGINNING will win as it rides off the movie and is a good if not great Mulder and Scully episode. I think s8 and s9 episodes have to be on top form to win over a lot of people on this tournament, which s a shame as s8 has a lot of great stuff.”

Make sure you’re following our tournament with the hashtag #TheXFilesEpisodeTournament on Twitter.

THE BLAIR WATCH PROJECT #1 – ‘Je Souhaite’

Sarah Blair begins her ‘Blair Watch Project, by starting with The X-Files S7 comedy, ‘Je Souhaite’…

jenn

As part of my Blair Watch Project, I knew I couldn’t skip the Season 7 finale, ‘Requiem,’ because it sets up the entirety of Season 8. Since I knew it was going to be a tough episode to watch, I figured I’d kick things off with something fun. The last standalone episode of Season 7 ‘Je Souhaite’ was just the ticket.

This was an episode I never thought much about since it originally aired back in 2000. Most of my go-to X-Files come from the first 4 seasons, with a sprinkling from Seasons 5-6, plus ‘Hollywood A.D.’ and once in awhile, ‘X-Cops.’

I’m really sad that I missed out on all those years of watching ‘Je Souhaite’ because in the past year since I did my big watch leading up to the Season 10 premiere it’s definitely made my list of what I like to call Comfort Episodes—the X-File equivalent of a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate, a big tasty plate of spaghetti, or a slice of apple pie fresh from the oven. Those episodes that you can turn on when you’re having a lousy day and end up with a smile on your face.

x-files-je-souhaite-7x21-the-x-files-9029301-500-278

And that’s exactly what happened this time around. Watching Mulder and Scully at their best, in one of Vince Gilligan’s best, quite simply put a big ‘ole grin on my face. It did everything I needed and expected it to do because I know what’s coming up next week. . . .

‘Requiem’ almost makes some of the best moments in ‘Je Souhaite’ a little bittersweet, if not downright painful. Seeing Mulder search the empty city, knowing the only person on the entire planet he wants to find is Scully, feels like a dagger to the heart because in the next episode she’s going to be doing the same thing for real. Seeing them together in the last scene, so happy and content with everything exactly as it should be, is like getting that dagger twisted and then having a Mack truck dropped on my head.

We recently did a Roundtable discussion about how we think Mulder and Scully’s story should end. I might have been partially glib in my answer, but really, I think ‘Je Souhaite’ would have been the perfect episode to end the series.

1200

As a writer, I can’t deny I enjoy putting my characters through all kinds of painful scenarios. Drama—especially the angsty kind—is what makes writing, reading, and watching so much more fun. But somewhere in there, it’s important to leave the audience with a glimmer of hope and happiness. That’s what ‘Je Souhaite’ does that Chris Carter doesn’t seem to give us in the actual finales, except for maybe the boat scene tacked on to the end of I Want to BelieveMaybe it’s just the optimist in me, maybe it’s my shipper side showing, but whatever ending Mulder and Scully get, I want it to be a happy one.

That being said, I hope you’ll join me in watching ‘Requiem’ on Friday, 9 p.m. EST because I’m really going to need all the support I can get. As much as I’ve been assured by the rest of The X-Cast crew that Season 8 is worth it. . .  there’s a solid chance come 10:13 p.m. I’ll be covered in snot and rocking in the corner.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahlblair.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: The Post-Modern Prometheus vs Redux / Fallen Angel vs Scary Monsters

The X-Cast blog team are going to share their daily predictions about the Episode Tournament fixtures coming up, talking about who they think will win (not crucially who *should* win – that’s up to you!).

January 12th/13th

the_post-modern_prometheus_mulder_and_scully

THE POST-MODERN PROMETHEUS vs REDUX

Tony: “UPMP – on any other day, Redux might win. Against PMP? No chance. It’s a steam roller few will survive.

Carl: “Yep, I fully agree – PMP will go through.”

Sarah: “Redux is a fantastic episode, but PMP is just too unique to lose. It’s going far.”

Paige: “I do agree that PMP will seize the day, tough first-round exit for Redux, but that’s how I expect it to go down unless the Ryan Reynolds’ contingent decides to get behind it.”

Baz: “I think THE POST-MODERN PROMETHEUS will win over REDUX just because of how unique and funny it is. REDUX II is the better of the two as REDUX contains one too many voice overs to be totally engaging.”

FALLEN ANGEL vs SCARY MONSTERS

Tony: “FALLEN ANGEL – first Max Fenig appearance & while not a great episode by any means, much more memorable than Scary Monsters.”

Baz: “That’s an easy one. FALLEN ANGEL is a good quasi-mythology alien story and one of the stronger episodes of season nine. It has the great Max Fenig and is a fast paced thriller with some great twists. SCARY MONSTERS is not one of the best season 9 episodes, concerned with how great the missing Mulder (and Scully are) rather than putting Doggett and Reyes forward. I can’t see this doing well.”

Carl: “There’s a couple of things I find interesting about Scary Monsters: the (playfully?) aggressive stance it takes with the fandom via the Leyla Harrison character, and the emphasis on how an X-Files investigation led by the unimaginative Doggett has to be resolved in a different way compared to one where Mulder’s intuition will crack the case. Neither of these things will make a difference here though, easy win for FALLEN ANGEL.”

Sarah: “FALLEN ANGEL. Boom. Done. Next?”

Make sure you’re following our tournament with the hashtag #TheXFilesEpisodeTournament on Twitter.

NEW FEATURE: The Blair Watch Project

tvad_requiem

It’s been around 16 years since Season 7 of The X-Files ended. As a huge fan of the show, I was well aware of the rumor mills circulating that David Duchovny wanted to leave at the time. But I hoped beyond hope that maybe it wouldn’t amount to anything more than rumors, or at the very least maybe he’d leave for a couple episodes and come back?

Mostly, I kept asking myself, “How can The X-Files still exist without Mulder?!”

In the Season 7 finale, I got my answer and it wasn’t the one I wanted.

Of course, I remained optimistic. I kept holding out hope. I stuck with Season 8 up until about halfway through. After that, I allowed myself to be carried away with college life in New York City, choosing to focus on my classes and making new friends instead of obsessing over my favorite show. Occasionally, one of the people in my dorm would be watching and I’d join in, but it honestly just wasn’t that exciting anymore.

I felt betrayed and abandoned.

But I never once thought that David Duchovny or Chris Carter owed me anything. I did, however, wish that the network and producers would have ended the show on a high note with the original cast intact, and allowed everyone to move on simultaneously instead of having to beat a dead alien into a bloody pulp, metaphorically speaking. Out of curiosity and maybe a sense of duty, I tuned in for the Season 9 finale—mostly because at the time I thought it would be the last episode I’d ever get. Thank the good Lord Kinbote that it wasn’t!

without

16 years later and quite honestly I still can’t help but get a bitter taste in my mouth when I think about it. I was so bummed out after watching ‘The Truth’ that I took a solemn vow to never ever, EVER, watch it again. A vow which I absolutely intend to uphold.

But time and time again, since I joined up with The X-Cast crew, they’ve all enthusiastically agreed that Season 8 is strong and worth giving a watch. Season 9 hasn’t gotten much praise, but I also simply don’t feel like I can call myself a true fan at this point and discuss the show critically as a whole with those episodes missing from my viewing experience.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to go ahead and watch Season 8 for the first time since it aired, and view almost all of Season 9 for the first time ever. I’ve kicked things off with ‘Je Souhaite’ in Season 7 because it’s a fantastically strong episode. A light and funny Vince Gilligan masterpiece, and one of my favorite episodes of the series. I needed to start on a high note. And before you ask, I absolutely intend to maintain my solemn vow and will not be watching ‘The Truth’. Not gonna happen. Don’t even ask. (I’m looking at you, Carl.)

I hope you’ll join me on Friday nights at 9 p.m. EST where I’ll be live-tweeting from @TheX_Cast handle and come back here for my overall thoughts on each episode. See you soon, X-Philes!

You can follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahlblair.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: Unusual Suspects vs Terms of Endearment / Hell Money vs Unruhe

The X-Cast blog team are going to share their daily predictions about the Episode Tournament fixtures coming up, talking about who they think will win (not crucially who *should* win – that’s up to you!).

January 11th/12th

xf5-3p1

UNUSUAL SUSPECTS vs TERMS OF ENDEARMENT

Tony: “UNUSUAL SUSPECTS – confident this Lone Gunmen-centric should beat an episode with only Bruce Campbell as it’s memorable saving grace.”

Carl: “Mulder infamously forgets he’s a psychologist in Terms of Endearment, which is a black mark against it in my book. UNUSUAL SUSPECTS for the win.”

Paige: “I don’t know, Bruce Campbell is a pretty big saving grace. Carl’s point is brilliant. I’ll go with Terms of Endearment, just because I remember the grunts during original run for a non-Mulder and Scully show. And for Bruce Campbell.”

Sarah: “UNUSUAL SUSPECTS will go through to the next round. Do I even need a reason why? It’s obvious.”

Baz: “UNUSUAL SUSPECTS is a great prequel / 100th episode and a cool Lone Gunmen story. It will be another strong win. I honestly can’t remember TERMS OF ENDEARMENT either.”

HELL MONEY vs UNRUHE

Tony: “UNRUHE – though I don’t think it’ll survive round 2 it’s underrated & should beat the limp organ swopping.”

Sarah: “UNRUHE is massively underrated. It’s a solid episode from arguably the best season of the entire series. Gerry Schnauz is a terrifying villain. It’ll take out Hell Money in a landslide.”

Carl: “I’m expecting UNRUHE to win too. I think it could do well in the tournament actually, given a kind draw.”

Andrew: “UNRUHE is a very solid episode, while Hell Money is a pretty weak episode. Scary premise, but weak in execution, and not really n X-File. UNRUHE has a terrifying villain and the icepick lobotomy angle is particularly nasty.”

Paige: “I gotta go with Unruhe as well. It’s a very good episode. Hell Money is just the ep that comes before Jose Chung.”

Baz: “UNRUHE is a great, underrated episode, with an interesting premise and great atmospheric moments. It will easily beat the lacklustre HELL MONEY.”

Make sure you’re following our tournament with the hashtag #TheXFilesEpisodeTournament on Twitter.

THE X-FILES RANKED: 209 – Miracle Man (0 votes)

Sarah Blair begins the ultimate X-Files countdown of all 209 episodes, starting from the very bottom to the top as voted by you, with Season 1 Episode 18, ‘Miracle Man’…

xfiles018

Here we have it, the one and only episode of The X-Files to come through with zero votes. To be quite honest, I thought there would have been more episodes to surface empty-handed. I most definitely never would have guessed the one to obtain this dubious honor would be ‘Miracle Man.’

Certainly, there are many endeavors over the course of the show that didn’t quite pan out the way Chris Carter and crew might have liked. Not all of them can be winners. With a breakneck production schedule, as well as monetary and network challenges, honestly, it’s a wonder The X-Files was able to pull off as many spectacular episodes that it did. But out of all of them, I feel like ‘Miracle Man’ is deserving of at least one vote.

As episode 18 of the first season, this marks the first ever writing collaboration between the show’s creator Chris Carter and producer Howard Gordon. In this standalone, agents Mulder and Scully travel to a small town in Tennessee to investigate a death in a popular tent ministry. The son of the minister is said to have the power to heal the sick, but his gift of life seems to have turned into the touch of death. Upon a re-watch, it seems there are a lot of ideas trying to be dealt with in a short amount of time. And isn’t that somewhat typical for the episodes penned by Carter? A great man with big ideas and not enough time and space to flesh them out properly. There’s the overarching theme of faith, along with Samuel’s struggle with his gift, and Mulder’s search and longing for his sister thrown in for good measure. All topics which could have been singled out and honed in on to craft a more memorable viewing experience.

xfiles-miracleman9

One of only four episodes in the series directed by Michael Lange, it’s relatively straightforward, focusing mostly on the story rather than any spectacular visual effects. Not to mention, there was the giant hurdle of trying to make-over several Vancouver locations meant to represent Tennessee, and the fact that the Canadian actors all had a different idea of what a Southern American accent sounds like. (Side note: As a girl born and raised in Tennessee, I can tell you not one of them came close to sounding like a true Tennessean, but I applaud the effort.)

The moments where Mulder clings to the idea of discovering more about what might have become of his sister, and Scully rushing in to prevent him from having the wool pulled over his eyes are strong in establishing the foundation of each character and the relationship between them as partners and friends. Overall, this is where I believe the episode obtains most of its value.

Is ‘Miracle Man’ an outstanding or memorable episode? Not particularly. But it doesn’t entirely lack merit, and it deserves at least one point—if only for participation.

Memorable Quotes:

Sheriff Daniels: “99% of the people in this world are fools, and the rest of us are in danger of contagion.”

***

Mulder: “I think I saw some of these same people at Woodstock.”

Scully: “Mulder, you weren’t at Woodstock.”

Mulder: “I saw the movie.”

***

Scully: “You’ve got that look on your face, Mulder.”

Mulder: “What look is that?”

Scully: “The kind when you’ve forgotten your keys and you’re trying to figure out how to get back in the house.”

Our blog team also decided to rank the show based on their own lists, so here’s what they picked in 209th place:

Tony: “BABYLON. For years it would probably have been ‘Fearful Symmetry’, but this was just absolute indefensible guff. Rampantly pretentious, borderline offensive in its approach to racial politics, and nonsensical while trying to be profound – Mulder’s acid trip is just about the worst idea the show ever did, and this show did invisible elephants and space ghosts. This episode can fuck the fuck off until the end of time.”

Andrew: “BABYLON. Shallow, terrible, terrible dialogue, terrible characterization, just terrible on absolutely every single front. No mystery here. Just Chris Carter at his absolute worst. This episode makes ‘Fight Club’ look like a Marx brothers’ masterpiece. Warning: The Mulder dance sequence may induce vomiting.”

Paige: “3. It’s an easy target — an early ep without Scully. But there’s just nothing remotely likeable about this one. It utilizes dozens of standard vampire conventions with the added hubris of casting David Duchovny’s then-girlfriend so Mulder can get some.”

Carl: “FIGHT CLUB. Mulder gets sucked into a storm drain and misses part of the action during this episode, and to be honest I was somewhat envious. It’s a screechingly unfunny, tonally incoherent mishmash of an X-File with nothing to recommend about it. Doppelgängers are clearly something that interest Carter, but he found much better ways to incorporate them into other episodes.”

Sarah: “THE TRUTH 1 &2. A ridiculous and unfulfilling finale as far as series finales go. It’s the one and only episode on the show I’ve taken a solemn vow to never watch again. I’d like to live in my little bubble and pretend it doesn’t even exist. It was a great relief when we got the second film and a much more satisfying ending.”

Do you agree with this episode ranking? Let us know what you would put in this spot on Facebook, Twitter or via comments below!

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: SR-819 vs The Jersey Devil / Closure vs Redux II

The X-Cast blog team are going to share their daily predictions about the Episode Tournament fixtures coming up, talking about who they think will win (not crucially who *should* win – that’s up to you!).

January 10th/11th

walter_skinner_dies

SR-819 vs THE JERSEY DEVIL

Tony: “SR-819 – the former is not as much remembered probably fandom than the latter, but I reckon this Skinner-centric might scrape it.”

Carl: “I agree, I don’t think The Jersey Devil is well-liked at all, and the Skinner fans will turn out in force to give the win to SR-819.”

Sarah: “SR-819 is going to win. This behind the scenes glimpse into Skinner’s Unofficial Channels is worth its weight in gold compared to JD. SR-819 could be its own series.”

Andrew: “SR-819 is the stronger episode, and I like the fact it’s Skinner-centric.”

Baz: “Agree with all of the above SR-819 to win; it is a strong Skinner-centric episode with a nice Krycek twist (if a little obvious). My only doubt is that it may not be as well remembered as JERSEY DEVIL. I admit, I forgot a lot about SR-819 when I re-watched it last year. Is JERSEY DEVIL that well regarded though? It’s not bad… it’s just not very good either.”

CLOSURE vs REDUX II

Tony: “REDUX II – it’s a well-known mythology piece with lots of memorable moments, though Closure is well loved for the Samantha stuff. A close call!”

Andrew: “REDUX II is a significant milestone episode for both M & S and will pull out a win. Closure is interesting but much weaker.”

Carl: “I’m not looking forward to choosing which one to vote for here, I really appreciate them both. I think REDUX II will win though, because not everybody liked the resolution to the Samantha storyline that Closure provided.”

Sarah: “They’re both strong episodes in their own right. I’d honestly be sad if this one isn’t a close contest. I think REDUX II will pull away with the win if only because it holds one of the most tense moments in the series, if not all of television history. Seriously, the last 5 minutes of that episode steal my breath every single time I watch it.”

Baz: “Ha I hate CLOSURE, despite a wonderful performance by David Duchovny. It’s a terrible resolution to Samantha’s storyline and I think a lot of people agree. REDUX II was a great ending to the trilogy and set up a very strong fifth season. I think this will win, though not necessarily by a landslide…”

Make sure you’re following our tournament with the hashtag #TheXFilesEpisodeTournament on Twitter.