The X-Files: Demons

Case: Mulder wakes up covered in blood and suffering from amnesia. Is it possible that he fired the two bullets missing from his gun?

Destination: Various towns in Rhode Island

Scully: “This is not the way to the truth, Mulder.”

The timing of this episode is interesting. Scully is very sick and may only have weeks or months to live. Why would Mulder choose now to explore his past in such a risky and controversial way; in effect, putting his own life at risk?

I believe it is because Mulder is highly aware of the ticking clock. He knows that Scully is the only one who truly understands him and truly cares about him. He doesn’t want to have to continue his search without her. So, he will do whatever it takes to find the answers he seeks before she leaves him.

The answers, however, continue to elude him. His visions, whether they are true memories or simply hallucinations, lead him to his mother’s house where he confronts her in a scene that is difficult to watch. Here is a man who expects to be betrayed. He expects that everyone close to him, even his mother, is hiding The Truth about what happened that awful night so many years ago.

I feel for Mulder at this moment. He knows he is about to lose Scully; he has now lost his mother. These two women are the only people that Mulder loves and who love him in return, so much that they support his crazy choices. No wonder he returns to the quack; he is more desperate than ever to find Samantha, yet another loved one who has left him.

Admittedly, it is about now that the show’s mythology skids off the rails never to recover. The idea that Mulder’s parents chose Samantha to go, the idea that Mrs. Mulder and CSM were involved, while intriguing, leave me somewhat cold. The ultimate downfall of this show’s arc is beginning to show. Rather than answer what has come before, more ideas are thrown into the mix. Too much is, well, too much.

None of this matters, however, because what this episode does extraordinarily well is show us just how committed Mulder and Scully are to their quest and to each other. On the surface, this is a show about Mulder, his past, and his current choices. It is, however, Scully who shines through.

Scully is sick. Yet, she wakes up on a Sunday morning, gets herself to Rhode Island, and immediately begins taking care of Mulder. I love watching her with him. In the hotel room, she is gentle, yet firm. She is obviously gravely concerned, but never lets Mulder see it. She supports him throughout this ordeal, going so far as to drive him to his mother’s house when she knows he needs to be somewhere else.

The final scene moves me. Unflappable in the face of a gun to her head, Scully manages to talk Mulder down. When he finally gets rid of the gun, her only reaction is to go to him and wrap her arms around him. That shot is one of my favorites of the entire series. Mulder is spent; Scully is literally holding him together. This is what a true friendship looks like.

Other Thoughts

-- A great deal of praise must be heaped on Kim Manners for his outstanding direction. The dream sequences are affecting and eerily beautiful. My favorite shot, however, is the one where Scully is hugging Mulder at the end. The camera angle and the lighting are magnificent.

-- There is an essay just begging to be written about Mulder’s relationship with his parents and its effect on his adulthood issues. He never completely trusted or got along with his father; he inherently trusted and took care of his mother. Until now.

-- One of life’s little ironies. The show takes place on April 12th, today’s date.

-- Cassandra (David and Amy’s last name) is a figure from Greek mythology. A prophet, her curse was that she was never believed.

Quotes

Scully: “You are taking a big risk, Mulder. I feel strongly about this.”
Mulder: “I know you do, but it’s my risk.”

Scully: “You are a danger to yourself and a danger to me.”

Scully: “I know what you do.”

Scully: “Are you going to shoot me, Mulder? Is that how much this means to you?”

Final Analysis: One of the greats. The mythology, as it begins to fall into the abyss, takes a back seat to the wonderful evolution of the Mulder/Scully relationship.

ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.

3 comments:

Heather said...

Chris:
What a solid review! I love your analysis of Mulder's unconscious motivation to quickly resolve the Samantha arc. I agree that the direction (as it always was, really) is stunning from Manners. I always loved this episode -- not just as a shipper -- but because it's murky, creepy, personal to our leads and intriguing. Again, great job.

Juliette said...

I need to re-watch this one as I have muddled memories of it being good but confusing - but then, I feel that way about most of the arc plot episodes!

drnanamom said...

There was always a feeling that the arc for this series was made up as they went along rather than thought out but I must admit that I admire how the writers often manage to knit together the crazy ideas that get thrown out - not always well but in some manner. I imagine that the 'real' conspiracies probably look like this. Someone had a plan, told a lie and then it just built. I also imagine that they probably don't even fully know and certainly don't control all that goes on.