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?

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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!

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ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: How should Mulder & Scully’s story end?

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

How should Mulder & Scully’s story end?

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TONY: “So thinking about this, and haters gonna hate me for this, but I don’t think M&S should get a happy ending. Happy endings aren’t what The X-Files is. I don’t mean they should go out in a desperately miserable fashion, or die, but I think they shouldn’t end up together as a family unit, and their fate be left ambiguous. I’d be happy with one of them disappearing again, this time for good, if it served a greater story purpose. Or even the old trope of the work never being over, of the show conclusively ending with them still in the FBI, still investigating the paranormal, still chasing The Truth. That’s far more fitting than the 2.4 William most shippers undoubtedly would want from this question, and truer to the nature of the show.”

PAIGE: “Toughie! I’m not a shipper, but I do think there’s no one in the world for either of them than each other. So if they don’t wind up together, they both wind up alone. They’ve been through so much, I would kind of like them on rocking chairs at the end. And I’m not a believer in the happy ending, I just think they have worked their way there. Probably bantering over William’s mid-life crisis — both taking disparate sides, of course.”

SARAH: “After they save the world from alien invasion they’ll both end up teaching at Quantico. Mulder will head up the students learning how to profile human/alien hybrids. Scully will be the world’s foremost expert on alien autopsies, and not that kind you buy from an infomercial for $19.99 + S&H. At the end of the day, they’ll go home for a beer and wave to Skinner across the street as he takes out his trash. He’s a bestselling author of FBI thrillers that are mostly true, but so wild they seem fictitious. M&S will ask him how his latest novel is going, then invite him over for burgers on Saturday.”

CARL: “Scully ditches Mulder at the aisle, realising her future lies with a dashing English blog contributor instead… In all seriousness, I’m not certain about this one. I hear what Tony’s saying about them not ending up as a typical family unit, and I’m drawn to that argument. On the other hand, I do think the final scene of ‘Existence’ was very effective, so something like that could work. I agree that the trope of never being done with the work might make the most sense as an ending. There are two things I know I want for a conclusion to Mulder & Scully’s story:
1. Whatever the ending is, it should have been designed as an ending, not a cliffhanger. It would be a huge shame if the last scene of ‘My Struggle II’ is never followed up on.
2. It would be appropriate for Chris Carter to bring the Duchovny & Anderson era to a close as he sees fit. Whether he would deliver something that the fanbase would be pleased with is another matter, but I’m not bothered about that really.”

ANDREW: “‘I Want to Believe.’ That’s my ending. Since CC has said he can’t actually imagine writing an end to the series, better ‘I Want to Believe’ than ‘How Many Times Can I Say Alien DNA with a Straight face?”

SARAH: “I was perfectly satisfied with the boat ending.”

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

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: How heavily should Chris Carter be involved in S11 (and beyond)?

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

How heavily should Chris Carter be involved in S11 and beyond?

Chris Carter

TONY: “This one is simple for me: completely. I’ve compared Chris Carter before to Gene Roddenberry, the only difference being Carter can actually on his day tell compelling stories with real dramatic stakes, which Roddenberry struggled with. Both however understood the zeitgeist, the current, and Carter in particular has a learned concept of myth in terms of character and narrative. Much as I think he’s best served with strong creative forces around him, I can’t conscience an X-Files without him at the helm. It simply wouldn’t be the show we grew to love. If we do get a Season 11 (still hopeful!), I hope he’s once again the main driving force, because people underestimate his skill as a storyteller.”

CHARNETTE: “I would love to see him involved but not as heavily as he had been in season 10. I like his ideas but sometimes, he really has no idea about the characters he’s created… like breaking up Mulder and Scully in season 10 because Scully diagnosed him as depressed? the fact that after so long, they’re not even married… well that’s actually a matter of opinion but I honestly feel the depression thing was badly done.”

SAM: “I think Chris Carter should be involved but not at the expense of the show- it’s his baby but he’s written some stinkers in the past! I think getting some current writers on board would be ace- like when Stephen King was involved in ‘Chinga’.”

CHARNETTE: “Scully is a forensic pathologist. She isn’t qualified to make that sort of diagnosis. I also feel like it was a terrible reason for them to break up and I hate even more it was never discussed in the show and they kept acting like they were sort of together.”

SAM: “I don’t know about Stephen King; he really has a problem writing women, and Scully is a character I feel that needs consistent writing, unlike what’s she’s had past season 5. That’s just how I feel though; I am not a fan of the later seasons. As someone who enjoys the work, I love it, but as a writer, I cannot excuse the writing that took place after a while because it was incredibly inconsistent and for a show that started off so strong, it was a shame to watch the characters become a former shadow of themselves at times. I don’t think they were ever married, were they? Don’t think Mulder would be into marriage.”:

CHARNETTE: “Although they could have been common law spouses. Which is fine, but then it’s like okay so they’re together for more than a decade now and Scully leaves because Mulder is depressed? I personally was very bothered by that because I suffer from depression and one of the things that people that have it worry about is that people will get tired and leave them. And I felt that was so out of character for Scully.”

SAM: “Hmmm… I think it would be aScullyy thing to do. She’s done it because she knows that sticking together is probably not the best for either of them.”

ALLY: “I am torn because I don’t feel Chris Carter really understands that a huge part of the success of the show is down to the Mulder/Scully dynamic but at the same time, without him the show would never have come to be. Would the show be better without him? Maybe. But to not have him at the helm would make it feel like a huge betrayal and as a fan, that would hit me pretty hard. To go out on a limb, if season 11 were to happen with the original cast then CC should be there with them but if a ‘franchise’ were to happen with a new cast he should surrender the reins to someone else.”

SAM: “Mulder would stick with her forever, Scully has to be the adult. A friend of mine had recently got divorced from her husband for the same reasons- he needs his own space and needs to think about himself. But also, it was affecting her life in many negative ways. Sometimes the kindest thing to do is to be apart.”

CHARNETTE: “I agree with you 100% and in the end, I reconciled that in my head canon as what happened to cause them to part, however my point is that nothing was touched or elaborated on. I really feel it should have been discussed. It was a really important part of the show, regardless of how much he thought it mattered or not, the fact of the matter is a lot of people care about it, so I feel not addressing it was a faux pas.”

SARAH: “I’d like to absolutely see CC in a producer/director role again. I think that’s where his talents are strongest. I love his writing, and think he definitely has great ideas, but also needs someone to rein him in and keep him focused. When dealing with such a short season, I’d love to see something that pulls everything together. Season 10 was enjoyable, but felt very random and unplanned overall.”

ALLY: “You guys bring up really good points and I definitely agree, someone should rein him in. I don’t think they really knew which direction to take things in Sarah and certainly had no concept that feelings still ran so strong within the fandom. I think though, that the approach to season 11 would be very much more measured.”

SARAH: “I’d love to be a fly on the wall of a writer’s room with Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, David Duchovny, and Darin Morgan. Just writing that scenario down gave me happy heart palpitations.”

SAM: “Yes, I think everything was too rushed in S11 and that’s why it was all kind of ropey. Part of me wishes that they’d left the mythology alone because they didn’t do it justice; but at the same time, it wouldn’t have been The X-Files without it.”

MICHAEL: “Personally I think Carter has to be involved in the series going forward to the degree of overseeing the mythology. The X-Files is his story, he started all of it and him not being around to finish it would be a real shame. As for the monster-of-the-week episodes, I don’t think he needs to be involved there unless there’s a specific story that he wants to tell. Keep Carter involved in the mythology and with Mulder and Scully as characters, they’re his and he should still have say in what they do and who they become.”

CHARNETTE: “He needs a designated driver in terms of writing, I feel. I mean, is this not the same person who has variously said, “Mulder and Scully are platonic friends,” “They are not in love”, “they are each other’s human credential”, made a claim that they were married, and then said they weren’t, and on top of all that, gave them a baby?? I know a lot of fans joke about it but that really doesn’t sound platonic to me.”

BAZ: “I think CC never wanted them together but given how long the show went on and in bowing to peer pressure, he finally committed to it. After all, the chemistry between these two characters (and Duchovny / Anderson) is amazing. But when we finally saw them as a couple in the second movie, it was all a little dull. Same thing with William – I don’t think he ever got as far as thinking what to do with Scully’s child after he was born, hence abandoning him later in season nine. As for Chris Carter’s involvement? He should be involved. It is his baby. But his three episodes were definitely the weakest of s10 and that needs to be addressed as s11 goes into development. I think he should be showrunner but needs someone like Vince Gilligan or Frank Spotniz to temper him. He has great ideas, but doesn’t always win on the execution. Also, he needs to treat s11 like the end, even if it isn’t. And that might help him work towards a conclusion rather than loosely making it up (which is what s10 felt like).”

CARL: “I’m more pro-Carter than most here, it seems. He’s an excellent showrunner and I want him at the helm of any follow-up to the revival. He lets terrific writers do what they want within very reasonable parameters, which plays a large part in making The X-Files what it is. He has a tendency to take on a lot of work – I think a reasonable balance would see him writing about a third of any new episodes (which is about in line with what used to be happen during the original series). On the issue of Mulder & Scully’s pre-revival breakup, it always struck me as very plausible that their relationship would have suffered in the intervening years.”

TONY: “Yeah I really can’t imagine they would ever have gotten married. Much as Carter plays with it in I Want to Believe, Mulder & Scully just do not fit the 2.4 children traditional paradigm. Their relationship is too complex and mythic almost. It’s about a lot more than sex or companionship. Mulder is also way way too self-obsessed to be a decent husband to anyone!”

PAIGE: “I believe Chris Carter should be involved, yeah, he can play a little fast and loose with the show — but it’s his show. As long as DD and GA are around, CC should be around. It might not be perfect, but it’ll be his show. And occasionally he gets inspired to great heights.”

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

TOURNAMENT PREDICTIONS: Detour vs Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space’ / The Field Where I Died vs Zero Sum

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!).

December 12th/13th

DETOUR vs JOSE CHUNG’S ‘FROM OUTER SPACE’

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Tony: “JOSE CHUNG – if Detour was up against almost anything else, it’d probably win. It’s gonna take a titan though to knock out Jose.”

Carl: “I wouldn’t rule out an upset here. Detour is well-loved, has some shippy stuff and may benefit from being the underdog. JOSE CHUNG, but could be close.”

Sam: “Jose all the way I reckon. The way the relationship between M&S is built on is too good, like Bad Blood.”

Andrew: “Toughest match-up yet! I pick JOSE CHUNG, but Detour is a great MOTW.”

Sarah: “This one is a tough match. As much as I’d love to say DETOUR could come away with a win, I think it’ll be JOSE CHUNG this round.”

Baz: “It has to be JOSE CHUNG, the best comedy episode I think the show ever produced. But I have a lot of love for DETOUR- it should go through to the next round, but it shouldn’t beat JOSE CHUNG,. I think it will be more balanced though between votes, with JOSE CHUNG edging out to win.”

Paige: “Jose Chung all the way. I will disavow the fan base if Detour wins. Detour is a nice episode, but Jose Chung is the end all be all for me.”

THE FIELD WHERE I DIED vs ZERO SUM

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Tony: “TFWID – relatively comfortable win. It’s got lots of Mulder moments, a touch of romance, and Zero Sum isn’t much remembered – sadly.”

Carl: “I’m not sure. TFWID had lots of detractors back in the day, many upset by the idea that Scully wasn’t Mulder’s soulmate. Not certain how I’ll vote here, but I’ll say ZERO SUM will win.”

Baz: “I agree with Carl. ZERO SUM is a great story for Skinner – but then we saw how AVATAR turned out (it still got my vote though…)”

Sam: “Tough call I reckon. Shippers will probably angrily vote for TFWID but ZS has the mythology. Think I’d vote for ZS…”

Sarah: “TFWID is probably the more memorable one between these two, so I think it’ll take the win.”

Andrew: “Having just rewatched TFWID yesterday, my vote would be for Zero Sum. Both eps are non-starters for me, but the only redeeming thing in TFWID is the acting.”

Paige: “TFWID was so reviled by the fan base for insinuating that Scully was not Mulder’s soulmate. I’m not counting out Zero Sum.”

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

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: If The X-Files could crossover with any show, which one would you choose & why?

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

If The X-Files could crossover with any show, which one would you choose & why?

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CARL: “I’m not really eager for any crossovers on the TV, but I hope IDW continue to experiment with the comics. I always thought a crossover with 24 could work, something in the vein of ‘F. Emasculata’ or ‘The Pine Bluff Variant’. Maybe that ship has sailed though. Failing that, how about Fringe?”

TONY: “It’s a difficult one isn’t it? There was talk that Fox wanted Martin Sheen to appear in ‘The Truth’ as The West Wing‘s President Bartlet, and of course we had Detective John Munch from Homicide: Life on the Streets appear in ‘Unusual Suspects’ (plus ‘Red Museum’ was supposed to be a crossover with Picket Fences), but you have to be careful not to simply be giving in to fan service or fan fiction. 24 would be interesting certainly, like you say Carl, it wouldn’t perhaps be too great a leap. Hannibal would be amazing to see Will Graham & Mulder going head to head – but of course how would Scully react when she found out Bedelia was her alien clone? ;)”

BAZ: “A crossover with Supernatural could be fun. It feels like the natural successor in many ways with Sam and Dean investigate cases of monsters and demons across the US, with occasional episodes linking to a wider mythology (often similarly apocalyptic). I think there would be some great chemistry there between Dean and Mulder – and I am sure Dean would be quite a fan of Scully too! I think given the influence The X-Files had on other shows – what about something like Criminal Minds? Mulder was a behavioral profiler before he started work on the X-Files? What about an episode where he is called in as a consultant on a case he worked on, a Donnie Pfaster style serial killer?”

CARL: “I could see the Supernatural team coming across a monster from The X-Files. Perhaps that would work better than a full-on crossover with Mulder & Scully?”

BAZ: “Possibly. Perhaps they encounter the Flukeman? Actually, there is one crossover that could be ingenious – The X-Files and Twin Peaks. What if transvestite FBI agent Dennis / Denise was Mulder pre-X-Files? I’d love to see how they manage that one!”

TONY: “Dean & Sam vs the Flukeman would be brilliant. You could put a fair few TXF monsters up against them I reckon.”

SARAH: “I’d be interested to see Mulder & Scully work a case with Castle & Beckett! Mulder and Castle would go off on their tangents and Scully and Beckett would go out to a nice dinner and discuss the case like grown-ups. And Lanie would be a little jealous of Scully. Esposito would flirt with her. Ryan would be the third wheel to Mulder and Castle. Then Castle would turn the whole thing into a novel and Skinner’s friend Wayne Federman would produce the movie.”

TONY: “Along sort of semi-similar lines, why not Mulder & Scully rocking up in Stars Hollow and encountering the Gilmore Girls & folk? I’d be like ‘The Rain King’ but even more sentimental – Scully befriending Lorelai while Mulder ends up eating endless pieces of potato pie as Luke bemoans to him in the diner. Oh and there’d be some comedic weirdness – maybe Kirk claims he’s been abducted by aliens or something.”

CARL: “This sounds like fanfic you’re destined to write Tony.”

TONY: “Haha you think? I have friends who would probably shoot me for even attempting to write like Amy Sherman-Palladino! :D”

PAIGE: “I’m gonna go Torchwood. It would be a hot mess to be sure, but an irresistible mixture with Mulder and Scully and Captain Jack and Gwen. And Ianto, please, somehow. I’ve always called Torchwood my stop-gap show whilst XF was away. Would truly love to see this fit together somehow.”

TONY: “Given Russell T. Davies has often said he modelled Torchwood at the beginning as ‘X-Files meets This Life‘, that makes it even more apt as a crossover. Good one. In a similar vein – Mulder. Scully. Holmes. Watson.”

PAIGE: “That was going to be my second pick. Love Sherlock!”

CARL: “That could get very meta. If Mulder met Sherlock would he still be able to remember his passionate encounter with Phoebe Green atop Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s grave?”

SARAH: “I just choked on my tea.”

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

The X-Files A-Z – G is for GHOSTS

Paige Schector continues our alphabetical breakdown of The X-Files by looking at the history of spectres on the show…

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Mulder: “Tell me you’re not afraid.”
Scully: “All right, I’m afraid. But it’s an irrational fear.”
–How the Ghosts Stole Christmas (Season 6)

The X-Files tackles the subject of ghosts in the same out-of-the-box manner we’ve come to expect from our show. While many of the atrocities witnessed on the show can be attributed to actual beings — human or alien — there are an array of phantoms sprinkled throughout the run.

The Season 1 episode “Shadows” doesn’t top a lot of fan favorite lists. According to show lore, at this time the show had a directive for Mulder and Scully to investigate and “help people.” So our heroes do their best when inexplicable — and violent — things start happening around a secretary and Mulder determines her late boss is dealing with things on her behalf with telekinesis. We don’t see him at all, but witness the full brunt of his anger. Strangely enough, the very next episode “Ghost in the Machine” isn’t really about a ghost at all. It’s just a pesky old computer trying to take over the world.

scull500Ghosts also stand — or should it be hover? — front and center in “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” from Season 6. This one stands as almost a polar opposite to “Shadows,” with sparkling guest performances from Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin as the two spirits in a haunted house trying to talk Mulder and Scully into carrying on a holiday tradition they started, some kind of variation on a murder/suicide pact.

These aren’t your average entities and they have our heroes behaving somewhat out of character. It’s kind of nice to see them off their game for the balance of this one. Scully’s definitely shaken. She’s got detailed explanations for all of it at the ready, but the ingrained cliches from 1,000 horror movies still give her pause:.

“The whole idea of a benevolent entity fits perfectly with what I’m saying. … That a spirit would materialize or return for no other purpose than to show itself is silly and ridiculous. I mean, what it really shows is how silly and ridiculous we have become in believing such things. … That we can ignore all natural laws about the corporeal body … that we witness these spirits clad in their own, shabby outfits, with the same old haircuts and hairstyles, never aging — never in search for more comfortable surroundings. It actually ends up saying more about the living than it does about the dead.” — Scully, ‘How the Ghosts Stole Christmas’

wall500Mulder, usually enthralled with evidence of the supernatural, isn’t so thrilled this time around. Maybe it’s the shots Asner’s Maurice takes at him, which probably hit a little close to home when he deems our FBI guy “a lonely man chasing para-masturbatory illusions that you believe will give your life meaning and significance, which your pathetic social maladjustment makes impossible for you to find elsewhere. You probably consider yourself passionate, serious, misunderstood.”

The resolution to the show’s biggest question — what happened to Mulder’s sister Samantha — happens during Season 7’s “Closure.” In an emotionally charged moment Fox sees her cavorting with many children who died far too soon. They’re still young and beautiful and seemingly unaffected the tragedies that befell them. Are they ghosts? Are they starlight? They certainly fit the textbook definition of ghosts — souls or spirits appearing to the living. It gives Mulder something he (and we) have been awaiting for the longest time. Not only does he accept her fate, but he also attempts to help the psychic aiding the investigation do the same with his own long-lost son.

“You see so much, but you refuse to see him. You refuse to let him go. But you have to let him go now, Harold. He’s protected. He’s in a better place. They’re all in a better place. We both have to let go.”  — Mulder, “Closure”

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Apparitions appear in episodes such as Season 1’s “Space” — an other-worldly ghost inhabiting the body of a former Gemini astronaut — and Season 2’s “Excelsis Dei,” in which a nurse is sexually attacked by an “invisible 74-year-old schizophrenic.” Later in the second season, there’s an unsettling amount of spooks seemingly caused by voodoo in “Fresh Bones” and some poltergeist activity that lures a toddler to his death in “The Calusari.” Was there human involvement or did an executed inmate make good on his threat to kill those he considered responsible in Season 3’s “The List”? Similar questions arise later in that season after Skinner is continuously victimized by an apparent succubus in “Avatar,” and then in Season

Similar questions arise later in that season after Skinner is continuously victimized by an apparent succubus in “Avatar,” and then in Season 4, when ghosts of victims form the basis of Mulder and Scully’s investigation in “Elegy.” Later, it’s Doggett’s turn to be befuddled when an abducted child returns in Season 8’s “Invocation” and a Gulf War casualty gets murderously metallic in “Salvage.”

dadCases could be made for a number of other X-Files in which there is clear and present evidence of manifested legends, but ghosts often have the biggest impact in small moments for our leads on the show — like in Season 1’s “Beyond the Sea” when Scully sees her father, apparently at the moment he has passed away, sitting in a chair. He’s moving his lips and trying to tell her something, but she can’t hear it. But she can hear her late sister, Melissa, in Season 5’s “Christmas Carol,” when a mysterious phone call eventually leads Dana to her daughter. Mulder often thinks he’s seeing spirits from the past, be they past informants or members of his family. In the Season 9 finale, the show rounded up ghosts from the great beyond — Krycek and X and the Lone Gunmen — to aid Mulder when he needed them most.

There wasn’t time for much ghostly presence in the six-episode revival (can’t quite count Mulder’s hallucinogenic Lone Gunmen dream), but here’s hoping for Season 11!

Paige co-writes the Sibling Cinema X-Files rewatch blog with her sister and you can find her on Twitter @maxtuneage.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Which supporting X-Files character was most underused?

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

Which supporting X-Files character was most underused in the show?

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TONY: “I’m gonna say Marita Covarrubias. I know she wasn’t much liked by the fandom but apart from the lovely Laurie Holden being on screen, I really think Marita deserved more exploration as the realisation of Chris Carter’s concept for a female deep throat insider. She ended up just becoming Mrs Krycek very rapidly & then popped up far too randomly for my liking. There was a much more interesting character under the surface there, I’m convinced.”

CARL: “Marita was my first thought too. Otherwise, I’d say Senator Matheson. The notion of Mulder having connections in Congress was a promising thread running through the early years of the series, that I don’t think the writers developed enough. Raymond J. Barry did enough in his few appearances to justify a larger role.”

SARAH: “Definitely agree with Marita! I think she could have been pretty badass, given the opportunity to shine. I also would have liked to see more Agent Pendrell. His star was extinguished much too soon. RIP, good buddy. You all know I’m thoroughly biased, but I think Skinner could have been used even more. There’s a whole ocean of untapped potential there. Every time I watch ‘Triangle’, (and let’s face it, EVERY EPISODE) I ache to have his point of view thrown in, too.

CARL: “A comedy episode from Skinner’s POV could have been phenomenal.”

SARAH: “Hollywood AD should have been his.”

SAM: “Seconded Tony. I was also annoyed how she became just another damsel in distress, really. Would have liked her to have been more like Mr. X. He’s not really a supporting character, but I would like to see Charlie Scully- see what he’s all about.”

ANDREW: “Definitely agree about Marita. I think she had a great role in those episodes, especially when she’s seen as an envoy in Russia after the rebels land. I would love to see her return in Season 11! My vote is for Toothpick Man (Alan Dale). I’m disappointed he wasn’t brought back for Season 10. He should have been used more, and IMHO we could have used a new antagonist rather than resurrecting CSM.”

MICHAEL: “I agree with Tony, Martia Covarrubias was an excellent character that worked well, but I never felt like we got to know her or really her motivations like we did with X. Outside of her, can I say Deep Throat? I mean he dies in Season 1 and while I love how the series used him then and later on, I almost wish we had gotten two seasons out of him as opposed to just one, just so the impact was a little larger. There’s also an argument to be made for the Lone Gunmen at times, but I guess they got their own show too…”

PAIGE: “This is a real toughie. I would have liked to have seen more of Marita and Matheson, because I thought both of them came off very two-dimensional. I didn’t want to see more of Diana and Spender, because they were very one-dimensional, but we didn’t get a lot on them. I always want to see more of Alex Krycek, because he always could slot into more episodes than they used him in. Maybe less punching bag and more insight into the guy and his ever-changing allegiances? I’m gonna go sooooo anti-fan base and pick Melissa Scully. During my current rewatch, I have a lot more respect for her and her opinion than I ever did in first run and on video and on DVD and on Netflix. DWhat do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? Let us know your choices in the comments below or on social media!efinitely softening on the Melissa front. But Glenne Headey in the movie was really the most underused. What a thankless role.”

BAZ: “I’m currently working my way through season 9 and I’m going to go out on a limb and say Monica Reyes (I think Doggett is generally recognised as being awesome). She doesn’t measure up to the other leads but she is not the bland character she’s made out to be. She proves she can take the lead, has attitude and a great ability to play the Mulder role after he left the show. I love her relationship with Doggett and there is a great friend / mentoree relationship with Scully. She even gets a few good episodes too and Annabeth Gish delivers a fine performance. It’s just a shame her character was utterly ruined in the revival because she really was one of the heroes in the later years…”

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

FAVOURITE X-FILES: Why ‘Jose Chung’ sends me into outer space

In a series of features regarding the favorite episodes of our blog writers, Paige Schector discusses why “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” will forever stand atop her list…

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It’s obvious from the get-go that “Jose Chung ‘From Outer Space'” is not your garden variety X-Files episode. But in a way, it’s what the series has been building up to for three seasons. There’s the basic premise — aliens — and then there’s the kaleidoscope through which Darin Morgan — and then others after him, including show creator/executive producer Chris Carter — sees that premise.

The teaser sets up the plot in which two teenagers’ alien “experience,” as Jose Chung (Charles Nelson Reilly) prefers to call it, is witnessed by a third party. And then an alien fourth party shows up on the scene. The apparently eccentric writer of some repute has been documenting the stories of everyone involved — except for Mulder, skeptical yet again in a Morgan-penned script — for Chung’s upcoming non-fiction science-fiction novel. But Scully’s willing to talk with him; she’s an ardent admirer of his work.

jose“Truth is as subjective as reality.” — Jose Chung

“Still, as a storyteller, I’m fascinated how a person’s sense of consciousness can be so transformed by nothing more magical than listening to words. Mere words.” — Jose Chung

Scully backs this up when she details statements made be various participants. On the face of it, the testimonies seem contradictory by nature, but when pieced them together, they kind of form a coherent picture. Just like in the real world, everyone’s viewpoints and recollections might just be due to the fact they’re human beings remembering things the way they want them to have happened. But maybe there’s a greater conspiracy wiping their memories. Perhaps both.

There’s a lot of common ground in the tales told throughout the episode. Chung explains that many abductees often start their tales with “I know how crazy this all sounds, but…” and then at least two of his witnesses go on to use those exact words. “How the hell should I know” is uttered constantly by those without answers to what seem to be simple questions. Many threats end in “because if you do, you’re a dead man.”

roomSo it falls on director Rob Bowman to make the repeated scenarios hang together and not upend the overall story. I think he does a masterful job, particularly with characters in similar scenes. For example, when Chrissy (Sarah Sawatsky) gets questioned at different points by Mulder, a psychiatrist and possibly officials stealing her memories, the actors’ blocking mimics that of the other scenes. Which is truth and which is fiction? On some level, it might be up to the viewer to decide.

We seem to be getting Darin Morgan’s takes on some universal truths, though. Scully handles some of them — she doesn’t believe in hypnosis because people in that state are prone to confabulation and stresses of any kind can cause the physical symptoms displayed by the victim. She finds that abduction lore has become so prevalent that someone asked to imagine an experience would come up with an identical scenario. Meanwhile, Lt. Jack Schaefer (Daniel Quinn) reveals nerve gas and some low-frequency beams can be used to create the illusion of lost time. So much for Mulder’s pilot nine-minute theory.

pieWhile we’re in the midst of trying to decipher the puzzle, Morgan throws in a vast array of amusements. In one recollection of the events, Mulder ignites a fan frenzy with one single yelp. In another, he consumes an awful lot of sweet potato pie. The Stupendous Yappi (Jaap Broeker), straight out of Morgan’s Emmy-winning “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” episode, provides narration for the alien autopsy footage in a thinly veiled spoof of a show actually produced by the Fox network. There’s a Man in Black who may be game-show host Alex Trebek or just amazingly resemble him. The other Man in Black looks like Jesse Ventura while pontificating and delivering back-breakers just like the wrestler used to. And best of all (for me), Lt. Schaefer uses a fork to create Devils Tower out of mashed potatoes while telling his story to Mulder — an ode to Richard Dreyfuss’ haunted character in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

From the Detective Manners’ “colorful phraseology” collection:
“You really bleeped up this case.”
“I just got a call from some crazy bleephead claiming he was an eyewitness to this alien abduction. You feel like talking to this blankhole.”
“Hey, I just got a call from some crazy blankety-blank claiming mannershe found a real live dead alien body.”
“Yeah, that’s a bleepin’ dead alien body if I ever bleeping saw one.”

X-Files director Kim Manners originally was going to play the constantly irritated detective obviously named and crafted in his honor, but his work schedule precluded him from doing it — or that’s the story they went with. But fear not because Larry Musser — in his second of four guest appearances on the show — holds up very well in his stead.

I’m not saying he isn’t delusional, I’m just suggesting that his delusional state was triggered by something he actually witnessed that night. — Mulder

I know it probably doesn’t have the sense of closure that you want, but it has more than some of our other cases. — Scully

Every character has at least one great line in this episode and most of them have mouthfuls of them.  It definitely makes for a nice pop quiz  for X-Philes . Who said it and who were they talking about? “Your scientific illiteracy makes me shudder.” “I don’t know what was most disturbing — his description of the inner-core reincarnated souls’ sex orgy or the fact that the whole thing is written in screenplay format.” “I didn’t spend all those years playing Dungeons & Dragons and not learn a little something about courage.” “You ever flown a flying saucer? Afterwards, sex seems trite.”

alienI find “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space” to be the gift that keeps on giving. I still see something different in it each time I watch. And I’m forever deeming it my favorite hour of television in the universe … unless I’ve just watched “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense” on Millennium. I’d give you my take on how that episode stands on its own in a completely different manner, but if I don’t wrap up this blog, I’m a bleepin’ dead man … er, woman.

Paige co-writes the Sibling Cinema X-Files rewatch blog with her sister. Years ago, she actively participated on X-Files message boards, serving as “keeper” of Krycek’s leather jacket and Mulder’s jeans.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Which X-Files character would you most like to go for a drink with?

For our next roundtable chat based on a key X-Files question… Which X-Files character would you most like to go for a drink with, and why?

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TONY: “I think I’d like to go out raving with Jose Chung. Can you imagine how mad a night would be on the town with that guy? He’d have an entire bar at his mercy as he held court telling stories that got more & more paranoid & outlandish the more drinks he had!”

CARL: “Well, while you’re raving with Jose Chung I’ll be sharing a pitcher of beer with John Doggett. I think he’d be great company in a social situation, and I’m sure he has some fantastic stories to share from his time in the Marines. Runner-up: First Elder. I’ve always thought he sounded like a gangster, so I’d like to get him drunk and find out what his background really is.”

TONY: “I still reckon the First Elder is actually a Marlon Brando impersonator who wandered on set and they went “let’s give him a part!””

CARL: “Haha. If I had to go for a non-alcoholic drink, I think I’d have liked the opportunity to go to the Well-Manicured Man’s country estate, as seen in Fight the Future, for a cup of tea. As a working-class lad from the north of England, I’d find it interesting to rub shoulders with the upper-classes.”

BAZ: “Agree that Doggett would be great to have a beer with. I imagine the Lone Gunmen would be a lot of fun though. Full of wild stories and conspiracy theories, probably in disguise as they try and infiltrate a shadowy government organization while being sociable and bickering among themselves.”

MICHAEL: “I mean technically Frank Black was in The X-Files for an episode, so I would say him. I feel like it wouldn’t take long for him to open up about the things he’s seen and the things he’s had to do, which would be really interesting at first and then kind of depressing. CSM would be my runner up because I’d love to hear him muse on about his past.

TONY: “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man… in a pub!”

MICHAEL: “Exactly!”

SARAH: “I think The Lone Gunmen would be a lot of fun. Also, I’d love to chat with Josh Exley from ‘The Unnatural’. He’d probably have some interesting stories.”

SAM: “Can I say Stella Gibson? Ha! Otherwise (I want to say Scully but I don’t want to be predictable) I would have to say Doggett too. I think me and him would have blast in Sheffield on a Saturday night: pizza and cheesy chips after. Plus, he’s a badass so I’d feel totally safe!”

PAIGE: “So many candidates — and Jose Chung would certainly be a fun one — but I’m going for my drink with Reyes. She’s misunderstood by so many — particularly now since Season 10 muddied her waters. But she’s a straight shooter who thinks outside the lines. And whale sounds aside, she seems like a quality individual to know. S10 sure messed with that, but as her drinking buddy, I’m holding out hope that she was doing that because of Doggett.”

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

INTRODUCTIONS: The Truth is in Here – (Paige Schector)

Paige Schector invites us to explore the truth as she introduces her X-Files fandom…

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The X-Files fit right into my proverbial wheelhouse. Growing up, my favorite film was Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I would watch it over and over ago, just totally bemused by the idea of aliens coming to this  planet and being friendly. I would sketch Devils Tower all over my school notebooks and pads. In fact, I still kind of do that today.

So a series about the paranormal? Let’s just say I was all in from the get-go.

I loved the fact that not all the episodes were about the conspiracy, the mythology. A lot of my favorite episodes were stand alones (a.k.a. monster-of-the-week) stories. The first season had some truly dazzling works of art. We got an inkling of the acting powerhouse Gillian Anderson would become in “Beyond the Sea” and then saw a blueprint for Mulder and Scully simultaneously being on each others’ side while still retaining their own sensibilities in “Ice.”

Back in the day, you were a shipper or a no-romo. I was kind of neither. I didn’t mind the idea of Mulder and Scully getting together, nor did I think it was necessary to advance the plot or hold my interest. What I gravitated to were stories reminiscent of The Twilight Zone and just the bond Scully and Mulder had — that was what seemed so unique and fresh to me. To kiss or not to kiss, that wasn’t my question.

nickAnd then the second season brought my favorite character, Alex Krycek, onto the canvas. I’m not sure I knew of Ratboy’s effect on me until I met Nick Lea at the 1998 X-Files Expo in Florida. It didn’t matter that Krycek’s motivations would seemingly change from story arc to arc, I just loved how he was giving it everything he got. He was fun … and easy on the eyes as well.

Third season brought my favorite TV writer to the forefront. Darin Morgan dazzled late in Season 2 with “Humbug,” but he really hit his stride with the trifecta of “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” “War of the Coprophages” and “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.” I call the latter my favorite hour of television ever — except when I’m watching the Millennium-istic  sequel “Jose Chung’s Doomsday Defense.”

By this time, I was totally obsessed with the show. I was buying memorabilia on eBay and participating actively in chat rooms and message boards. Anyone else remember “keepers?” I was keeper of Krycek’s jeans and Mulder’s leather jacket. I went to the aforementioned Expo and saw ‘Fight the Future’ a handful of times in the theater.

Along the way, I was not only becoming a diehard fan of the likes of David, Gillian, Nick, Mitch Pileggi, Bill Davis, etc., but I was also starting to appreciate certain styles. I loved late great director Kim Manners’ approach before seeing in gag reels and interviews that he seemed like a real cool guy. Vince Gilligan’s quirky scripts quickly became favorites as well.

One of my treasumitchred memories revolves around the Season 6 episode “S.R. 819.” I remember where I was and what I was doing. In the years before text messaging and Twitter, my friend and I were on the phone every commercial break. “It’s Krycek! It’s Krycek!” … “I know! I know!” Television viewing ain’t like that any more.

I didn’t stop watching because David Duchovny left the show — I actually thought Robert Patrick did a fine job as a different type of character. It was when they took Krycek out at the end of Season 9 that I lost my taste for it. (Although I still believe he can and should be brought back as a Super Soldier.) I did, of course, watch the Season 9 finale. Ghost Krycek helps Mulder? Well, he never was predictable.

Since then, I’ve gone back and now I really treasure Season 9. It has some of my favorite episodes of the series run — specifically “John Doe,” “4-D”  and “Audrey Pauley.” I valued The X-Files as a concept beyond Mulder and Scully … although I don’t believe trying to reboot their relationship with Agents Einstein and Miller from Season 10 is the way to do that.

guysThe X-Files remained important to me after it went off the air. For the past five years or so, I’ve attended pop-culture conventions with my sister and started getting people from the show to sign my copy of The Complete X-Files. I call it my X-Files yearbook project. So far I’ve gotten David, Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz, Darin and Glen Morgan, Robert, Nick, Mitch, Bill, Jerry Hardin, Martin Landau, Brad Dourif, Veronica Cartwright and James Remar. Before the “project” started, I also met and talked X-Files with Gillian, Robert Patrick and Tom Noonan — so obviously I hope to see them again (and others like The Lone Gunmen).

Nowadays, we keep tabs on Gillian and David at Facebook and Twitter. We all experienced Season 10 together and we can see X-Files panels that took place at different conventions on YouTube soon after. And message boards have given way to fabulous Facebook groups and blogs like that of X-Cast.

Most recently, I started writing a rewatch blog with my sister. Starting with the pilot, we do an episode a week. I serve as the resident “expert,” she’s the “amateur,” and we have a lot of fun bonding over my favorite show. And now I’m very excited about adding X-Cast to my proverbial list of credits.

Paige is a sports editor by trade and an X-Files blogger on the side. Her favorite episode is Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space,’ her favorite season is Season 3 and her favorite character is Alex Krycek.