The X-Files: Herrenvolk

Case: A conspiracy to colonize earth is slowly being uncovered and it has something to do with cloning and bees.

Destination: An isolated area of Alberta, Canada

Skinner: “So what you're saying, Agent Scully, is that we’re being catalogued, tagged and inventoried?"

Season four's opening episode continues to careen into the X-Files mythology, exposing puzzle pieces galore and moving character development along at a clip, well at least those that don't end up dead. I actually found the opening somewhat jarring. I expected to pick up where we left off in the season three finale but instead we start with what looks like a 'regular' X-Files case, a man dying horribly from a bee sting while a set of quintuplets looks on. Before we get any further than the introduction we jump back to where last season left off. Cancer Man's nasty alien shows up to kill Jeremiah and the chase is on through the obligatory abandoned factory.

I think that The X-Files does these spooky chases very well. The camera work was interesting and the music was perfect but I do sometimes get tired of this particular way of building tension and providing action. What I did like about this episode was learning various things about the aliens. They are obviously strong and able to jump from great heights although they can't rip open locked steel doors. You have to stab them in the back of the neck to kill them but not any old place will do. If you don't get it right you get an angry alien. They don't want to hurt us unnecessarily but they are willing if given a reason. They all have different jobs and because of that, some are immune to alien bee stings and some are not. Finally, if you want to get the whole plan of invasion from them, a car ride to Canada is not enough, you have to go see the bees.

At least the trip to the bees brought us back to the opener. It seems that there are farms set up to grow alien plants which look like ginseng so that bees can collect their pollen. A handy side effect is deadly bees. The poor communications guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. The aliens have developed a cloning program to produce workers for these farms and it looks like Samantha was one of the originals for the program. In addition to this, the aliens are cataloguing us through smallpox inoculations and the Social Security database. It is obvious that this is a full scale program with government co-operation. As with the aliens, we are lucky that there are dissenters in the government. We get to meet Marita Covarrubias who confirms what Fox has seen. It is fortunate that a new government source has shown up as Mr. X is no longer with us.

We learn a lot about our characters in this episode as well. It becomes clear that Cancer Man cares for Teena Mulder. When he is sure that Mulder will not be able to bring Jeremiah to heal her, he comes up with an excuse to get his alien to do it. His justification confirms that Mulder is still alive because he is integral to "the project" not just because they don't want him to be a martyr. But I thought his justification, making sure that Mulder had something to lose, was a bit thin. Even with his mother gone, Mulder would still have Scully. On that note, I was a bit surprised at how Mulder left Scully behind with no explanation. Of course, he knows Scully can take care of herself but he didn't call her or check that she was alright. Is there a hierarchy - Samantha, his mother, Scully? Jeremiah asks Mulder why he is taking the Samantha clone as she is just a small part of what is going on but he doesn't realize that Samantha is the reason that Mulder is Mulder. Her disappearance is what started him on the path he is on now. It was heartbreaking to see Mulder walk into the hospital having lost his sister again and as he believes, his mother.

Scully is awesome in this episode. She remains calm while an alien has a weapon pointed at her - probably for most of the night. She contacts X herself and with his help figures out the alien cataloguing system. And she continues to support Mulder despite being abandoned and overlooked. Her faith in both her science and Mulder's ideas is lovely to behold.

Other Thoughts

Poor Mr. X. All that work trying to stay alive just got him murdered. I actually wasn't sure why Mr. X would go to the trouble of telling Mulder about the danger his mother was in, particularly after the fight they had last week.

I quite enjoy Agent Pendrell's obvious crush on Scully.

The tech was particularly funny for me tonight. Telus is a Canadian cell phone company and I didn't even know it had been around that long. The cell phones are finally getting smaller. And the comment about information taking up 7 10GB hard drives had me laughing out loud.

'Herrenvolk' is German for master people or race.

Smallpox inoculations would no longer be an effective cataloguing technique since children don't get them anymore.


CM's Alien: “Hegemony, Mr. Mulder. A new origin of the species.”

Jeremiah: “Parenting is unnecessary, a needless division of energy.” (Some days I felt like that.)

Mr. X: “Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through, Agent Scully.”

CM's alien: “Everything dies.”

Scully: “You can’t blame yourself for what you could only hope.”

Mulder: “I’ve seen too many things to not believe.”

Scully: “Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know about it. And that’s a place to start. That’s where the hope is.”

Marita Covarrubias: “Not everything dies, Mr. Mulder.”


Heather said...

What a great review. I love the quotes you pulled out. I also love what you said about Jeremiah not realizing that Samantha is what/who makes Mulder who he is. Very poetic and evocatively said.

ChrisB said...

Another great review, Doc. Agree with you completely about Scully. Her entire demeanor at the hospital, caring for Mulder more than anything or anyone else, gets me every time.