The X-Files: Bad Blood

Case: He said, she said, vampires, and a Scully crush.

Destination: Cheney, Texas

Scully: “Oh, you want our stories straight.”
Mulder: “No, no, I didn't say that! I just want to hear it the way you saw it.”

This is my favorite episode of the 200. Surprisingly, it does not contain my favorite moment, nor my favorite line. It is, however, an hour of pure joy.

This episode works because we not only get to see Mulder and Scully through our eyes, but through each other’s eyes as well as their own. As they try to coordinate their experiences, each tells his or her version of events. It is laugh out loud funny.

To Scully, Mulder is an arrogant pain in the ass while she is the sensible one. To Mulder, Scully is a nagging pain in the ass while he is the pragmatic one. Of course, neither version is entirely correct, but it happily confirms for us what we have long suspected about how these two view the world, themselves, and each other.

Scully’s version has her as the maternal one. She is supportive and protective, putting aside everything else to help Mulder. Mulder’s version has him being open to the suggestions of others and unfailingly polite. At this point in the series, we know that neither is entirely true.

The best part of this episode is that neither Mulder nor Scully come off looking bad, or even silly. Both are entirely sympathetic and likable. While we as the audience know and understand that The Truth portrayed in this episode is never shown to us, we quite happily listen to both versions and come to our own conclusions.

The story itself is only all right. Maybe it's due to the glut of vampires in popular culture these days, but a vampire story tends to be a bit yawn inducing. What is interesting about this particular band of monsters, however, is that they manage to stay under the radar and, in the end, our heroes let them just get on with their lives, albeit in a different place.

The story is told with a very light touch. Vince Gilligan, in what I would argue is among his best if not his best work on the series, avoided the temptation of making one version more real than the other. Both are flawed, yet it is the flaws that make us laugh and make us like these two characters even more than we already do.

Other Thoughts

-- Luke Wilson does a bang-up job as the sheriff. I love the way he is able to portray almost two different people depending on whose point of view we are seeing.

-- The cold open brilliantly sets the scene. The first time I saw this episode, I was stunned that Mulder had actually killed a young man by driving a stake through him. The “oh shi....” at the end quickly subverts that fear and lets us know that we are in for a comedic ride.

-- For those of us who ship Mulder and Scully, the last few episodes have been quite a tease. They are spending a great deal of time in each other’s hotel rooms these days. Mulder doesn’t hesitate before throwing himself onto Scully’s bed.

-- A two cent tip? I would be tempted to drug Mulder as well.

-- As hilarious as this script is (and I had to rein in the quotes section), the looks Mulder and Scully exchange throughout are also laugh out loud funny.

-- This is one of the few episodes that everyone, but everyone, agrees is among the best. It is consistently in top ten lists. Even better, both Gillian Anderson and Frank Spotnitz have both been quoted as saying it is their favorite.

Quotes

Sheriff: “You really know your stuff, Dana.”
Mulder: “'Dana??' He never even knew your first name.”
Scully: “You gonna interrupt me, or what?”

Scully: “What am I even looking for?”

Mulder: “I don’t know.”

Scully: “I just put money in the Magic Fingers?”
Mulder: “I won’t let it go to waste.”

Mulder: “But, as always, I am very eager to hear your opinion.”

Mulder: “Well, that’s one opinion and I respect that.”

Scully: “Mulder, please just keep reminding him you were drugged.”
Mulder: “Would you stop that?”
Scully:” It couldn’t hurt.”
Mulder: “Just stop it.”
Skinner: “Scully? Mulder?”
Mulder: “I was drugged!”

Scully: “Anyway, I was drugged.”
Mulder: “That is, essentially, exactly the way it happened.”
Scully: “Essentially.”
Fade to black...
Mulder: “Except for the part about the buck teeth.”

Final Analysis: One of the greats. I love every moment of it.

ChrisB laughed far too loudly at scenes she has seen many times.

4 comments:

Kathy said...

Well, when this episode aired originally, our culture wasn't going through vampire overkill. So, this was a nice twist on the old vampire legends.

My absolute favorite episode as well. I love everything about it. Since The X-Files can be a very dark show (understatement!), I love the humorous episodes. In early to mid series, they had a nice balance of dark episodes, light-hearted episodes, mytharc episodes, and downright hilarious episodes. And this is the funniest of the bunch of hilarious episodes!

My favorite moment (among many favorite moments) is a drugged-up Mulder singing "Shaft" and Mulder's enthused protest that he didn't do that! Ha!

Great review! Brought back so many memories!

Kat

Juliette said...

For once I totally agree with everyone else - this episode is brilliant! Hilarious, and both characters' views of each other and the world feel completely believable.

Heather said...

Chris:
Bless. I love what you've said here. Bad Blood is my favorite, too. Looking back, because it was an instant favorite, (not one that I grew to love over time) on par with the Darin Morgan eps, I think part of its immediate charm was the honestly the actors brought to it (especially Luke Wilson) and what would normally be played for laughs was not and vice versa. Also, the whole episode was just unexpected, it came out of left freaking field (and still remains there in many ways -- god love it) and that element of surprise as a viewer of this series for 5.5 seasons made it so endearing, too. I just love the dialogue, the inflections, the tone, the design, GA and DD... really all of it. Vince Gilligan hit this one out of the park. Loved reliving it here with your review. :)

Billie Doux said...

Really wonderful. Shaft, the flying squirrel, the magic fingers, the sunflower seeds, the teeth -- it was pretty much perfect.