The X-Files: Patient X

Case: Several groups of alien abductees are being targeted and killed by an unknown enemy.

Destination: Kazakhstan, Washington D.C., Skyland Mountain

Mulder is uncharacteristically less than exuberant in the first part of this two-part mythology episode. Early on, he is asked to speak at a symposium about alien abduction and he all but declares it as a dopey hoax. He has sharply (well, to be fair, it’s taken five seasons) abandoned his beliefs in favor of a more practical explanation… that this is a conspiracy wrapped in a plot inside a government agenda. (That line is really quite good, right?) What proceeds is some decent writing, some odd off-the-rails storytelling (long arc-wise), the best guest casting ever (Veronica Cartwright as Cassandra Spender), a random (rare) but pretty hot sex scene between Krycek and Marita Covarrubias and the return of Skyland Mountain. Then, you guys, we've got ourselves a cliffhanger!

To me, ‘Patient X’ is where the writing staff really begins to plays fast and loose with the mounting mythology. (Hey writers, not in a bad way but you lost me at Russian gulag last season.) Though looking back now, I don’t think they had a choice but to repeatedly pull sh*t out of their collective arse because network television. Unfortunately, during the original broadcast, for the most part, these choices they made with the long story alienated (heh) their audience and whereby people may have once thought the MOTW got them through to the next riveting conspiracy episode, by now, it was the reverse. However, I want to add that because the show is so irrefutably well-acted by Duchovny and Anderson, the season as a whole just felt more cohesive, strange creative choices be damned. (This is the source, cause and origin to the show doing something unprecedented and coming back 20 years later, in my opinion.)

A word about Veronica Cartwright: she has bored into some of my earliest memories thanks to seeing Invasion of the Body Snatchers at age 6 and Alien at 7, in the movie theater. (This information should explain a lot about me, by the way.) Casting her in this role is one of my favorite bits of stunt casting on anything to date. I love her anyway but she’s ideal as Jeffrey “I’m a dick” Spender’s wacky mom. I mean I almost fainted the first time I saw ‘Patient X’. Can we just look at her in two of her most iconic roles?

By the way, I kid you not, my dad looks like Donald Sutherland.

Just two rad women trying to make it in a man's world[in space].

Let's turn our attention now to the two hottest actors on the show who can have sex without consequences (or even without any real reason, like just because they're both really cute). This scene does not make any sense except to satisfy a fanbase who loved Nick Lea and possibly Laurie Holden.

I'm so pretty. I like you. But I'm angry with you for some reason.

There was one more thing in 'Patient X' that I loved more this time around than ever before. The funny, frank, intimate conversation that Mulder and Scully have in his office after the symposium is a real standout. Who else can you share a moment with where you're caught somewhere between foolishness and shame (with a hint of self-pity) than someone you trust without question? Mulder doesn't even blink before lamenting to Scully his regret over how deeply wrong he has been about so far pretty much everything. Neither one flinches. There isn't a single second of anything false or apprehensive or compulsive here. Scully just says: You've come a long way, Mulder. He has. From trust no one to this. They've both come a long way.

Other Thoughts

-- There’s a lot of Russian language here though.

-- Spender (played by Chris Owens) is a great weasily foil for anyone he comes into contact with going forward.

-- Chris Owens played The Great Mutato in 'Post-Modern Prometheus'.

-- The fingerprints on the window are a very nice, very eerie touch.


Spender: "I’d like to build a reputation here, not be given one."
Scully: "I think I understand." (Scully has his number alarmingly fast, even for her.)

Scully: "Shouldn’t that be my picture next to that headline? Or is that just you having a little fun?"
Mulder: "Do I look like I’m having fun, Scully?"
Scully: "You look constipated actually."
Mulder: "That would make sense. I’ve had my head up my rear-end for the last five years."

Scully: "Mulder, why are you tiptoeing around the obvious fact here? I mean, this is Skyland Mountain. We're right back here on Skyland Mountain." (They drilled holes in my damn teeth.)

Spender: "A UFO cult believed they were going to be carried to immortality in some kind of flying mother wheel." (Heh, is 'mother' wheel a nod to Alien?)

Quotes: The Krycek Edition

Krycek: "Your authority isn’t recognized here. Only your lies."

Krycek: "You tell them to kiss my American ass."

Krycek: "Well look who’s answering the bat phone."

Final Analysis: Do it. If only for Veronica Cartwright's sake!


drnanamom said...

Great review Heather and I agree with your analysis of the writers, etc. And who doesn't like a conspiracy, wrapped in a plot etc. I would say that X-files did convoluted better than some modern day shows.

ChrisB said...

I agree with your analysis of the mythology at this point. Too much of it all with no resolution. It's become all a bit eye rolling.