The X-Files: All Souls

Case: Angels and the devil battle over the souls of young girls while Scully mourns.

Destination: Alexandria, Virginia

Scully: “I’m afraid that God is speaking and no one is listening.”

From week to week, it is easy to forget that what happens to characters in a drama could have an ongoing emotional toll.

Scully has been traveling around the eastern seaboard doing her job and maintaining her usual stoicism. When she walks into the church and pulls out the picture of Emily, I was startled. Of course, she would not be over the loss of “her” daughter anytime soon.

Scully’s faith is an integral part of who she is. She always wears her cross (now, of course, because it reminds her of Emily) and she has been attending mass regularly. In the case of her religion, Scully is the believer while Mulder is the skeptic. She is willing to accept the idea of a God and a devil, although it goes without saying that the existence of either can never be proved.

This shift in point of view is a major theme of the fifth season. Over and over, we have seen Scully the more willing to believe while Mulder is struggling to believe anything other than the darkest of thoughts. This episode, however, takes the switch to an even darker and very creepy place.

It is possible to dismiss this episode outright as being too over the top. Angels impregnating humans and the devil coming to rid the world of the offspring is a lot to take in. I do believe that this episode has some unfortunate aspects. I find it troubling that all the girls are disabled. There is an unsettling feeling that these girls die because they are flawed; that they are not perfect in God’s eyes.

Moving beyond that troubling thought, however, is a fairly good episode. The religious iconography can be a bit much, but I like watching the exploration of Scully’s grief and her ability to believe in things unseen. The fact that the skeptic scientist in Scully, the one who cannot or will not believe in what cannot be proved or shown to her has this deep unwavering faith could turn out to be silly. Once again, Gillian Anderson shows us just what an incredible actor she is because these two things feel real.

Framing this episode with Scully in church also works well. Watching her uncontrollable grief at the beginning and then watching her come to some kind of peace at the end makes for a very satisfying character study in a short period of time.

Other Thoughts

-- Glenn Morshower did a fantastic job in this episode. Not surprising, He’s almost always exceptional.

-- I smiled at the reveal that Mulder basically blows off Scully to go watch porn in a movie theater.

-- Father Gregory is the same priest Scully met with earlier in the season. Nice continuity.

Quotes

Scully: “As much as I have my faith, Father, I am a scientist trained to weigh evidence. But, science only teaches us how. Not why.”

Mulder: “They say when you talk to God, it’s prayer. But, when God talks to you, it’s schizophrenia.”

Final Analysis: It has its flaws, but this an episode that is worth a watch just for Gillian Anderson’s performance.

ChrisB continues to be amazed at the stories this show chooses to tell.

3 comments:

Heather said...

Chris,
It's true -- Gillian Anderson is a queen who has handled everything that comes Scully's way with grace. This episode is, as you said, much more profound in the wake of Emily. As always, wonderful review. :)

drnanamom said...

I am constantly amazed by Gillian Anderson as well. The acting in this show is almost always exceptional. on another note, I am struck by how much Supernatural has stolen/borrowed from the X-Files. Obviously its writers were all X-Files fans.

Billie Doux said...

Some were X-Files writers and producers, Doc. :)