The X-Files: Christmas Carol

Case: It’s Christmas and Scully feels compelled to work on a case that inspires a series of flashbacks to when she was younger.

Destination: San Diego, California

“I just never realized how much I wanted it until I couldn’t have it.”

The mythology of The X-Files has, until now, been Mulder’s. It has been his obsession that has fueled the cases and the story that we have witnessed to date. Scully has been, more or less, along for the ride. Until now.

Hoping to escape for Christmas and the birth of her nephew, Scully becomes caught up in a strange case that may or may not involve Melissa. She has seen enough by this point that she does not hesitate to throw herself into the fray. She needs to discover The Truth.

And, a painful one it is. It would be bad enough to realize that your sister had a child that you never knew about. But, a child of one’s own? After being told that bearing a child is not an option? The shock and the pain must be terrifying.

It makes sense that something of such magnitude would drive Scully to the next level of commitment to the cause. Everything that has happened to her is a direct result of whatever happened to her way back in season two. Now, however, it is more than just Mulder and she involved. There is a child. Perhaps, her child.

What makes this episode interesting to watch is that Scully is the believer while her family are the skeptics. She is the one willing to believe that Melissa is coming to her in some way and she is convinced that some odd connection exists between Emily and her.

The other point this episode drives home is that Scully’s family are basically unsupportive of her. They spend the episode being judgmental, dismissive, and clueless about their daughter, sister, and sister-in-law. Her new family, the one who supports her (and has through everything that has happened to her) is Mulder.

Having said that, it is an interesting beat when Scully calls Mulder and then hangs up on him before saying anything. She is not ready to completely embrace his beliefs and his drive. At least not yet.

As this is the first of two parts, it’s difficult to judge how good an episode it is until the resolution. I will say that this episode contains some of Gillian Anderson’s finest acting and it makes me want to immediately find out what happens next.

Other Thoughts

-- All of the scenes with the young actress playing Emily had to be re-shot. The original young girl freaked out during a scene that will play next week and no one could calm her down enough to get the shot.

-- The opening shot of Tara putting the Christ child into the cradle is symbolism with an anvil.

-- Scully’s badge number is 2317616.

-- Like Scrooge, Scully is visited by visions, ghosts from her past. The dead rabbit dream is eerie, meant I would guess to show us that Scully is still unsure that she could safely care for another living thing. Th funeral scene is just awful. I do like the early morning Christmas present scene. It’s nice to find out that Scully has been wearing that cross for so many years. Finally, it is Melissa who supports Scully's decision to join the FBI.

-- I always smile at Scully’s delight over “Hotel California.” I, too, found it under my Christmas tree one year. Thanks again, Santa.

-- Teenaged Scully was played by Anderson’s younger sister.

Quotes

Detective Kresge: “You got a call from her? She must have dialed 1-800-THE-GREAT-BEYOND.”

Mrs. Scully: “It means God is with you. He’ll watch over you wherever you go.”

Scully: “I mean, to be honest, I’ve started to question my priorities since I was first diagnosed with cancer, and I feel like I’ve been given a second chance. Ever since I was a child, I’ve never allowed myself to get too close to people. I’ve avoided emotional attachments. Perhaps I’ve been so afraid of death and dying that any connection seemed like a bad thing. Something that wouldn’t last. But I don’t feel that any more.”
All kudos to Anderson who delivered this speech with just the right amount of pathos, pain, and conviction.

Final Analysis: Part one of two, we’ll suspend final judgement until next week. A good, but not great, opener.

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:

Juliette said...

I like this episode a lot, even though I'm seriously tiring of the mytharc by this point - the personal connection to Scully brings me back in a bit.

Heather said...

Chris:
I'm overjoyed to say that, without knowing its author before I clicked on it, I knew it was your review by the end of the first paragraph.
Agreed that this arc is some of GA's best acting. Ever. She sells the sh*t out of this story.
Another great review!

drnanamom said...

Thanks for the review Chris and I agree GA's acting was tremendous. It is interesting that after a speech like the one she gave she would actually be less likely to be granted custody of a child rather than more likely since it was really about her and not the child - still I found it to be a powerful moment.