The X-Files: Biogenesis

Case: An odd artifact lands Mulder in a padded room and Scully in Africa.

Destination: Ivory Coast, Washington, D.C., Gallup, New Mexico

“But, for all our knowledge, what no one can say for certain is what or who ignited that original spark.”

Oh boy. Once again, Chris Carter has taken the mythology of this show and turned it on its head. It seems that aliens may have been responsible for not only all previous life disappearing from time to time, but they may be responsible for human life as well. I know, but stay with me here.

What Carter is doing is exploring the idea of the beginnings of life. As a premise, it is fascinating and it is worth exploring -- especially in a show like this one. The problem is that, once again, Chris Carter is being Chris Carter.

Rather than resolve all that has come before, he takes his idea of aliens creating life and throws it into the now overcomplicated mix. To ensure that we all understand that this is a new chapter in the mythology, Carter brings back characters who tend to only show up during the mythology episodes.

I love Krycek as a villain and am always pleased when he is around. The whole idea of him working with Skinner is unsettling. Skinner has been such a supporter -- what is he doing consorting with the enemy?

Speaking of which, the whole idea that Mulder would call Fowler when he was so confused doesn’t work. The entire sixth season has been about Mulder and Scully becoming closer all the time. To have Mulder turn to someone else when he is so vulnerable feels forced and unreal.

The other problem with this episode is the effect the piece of paper has on Mulder. I have no problem when the show goes weird, but this is a step too far. While watching Mulder begin to sense all kinds of things he couldn’t possibly know is fun, it is incredibly difficult to watch Mulder slowly lose his mind. The shot of him in the padded cell is affecting. This show works when something is happening to one of the two leads because we now care so much about them. Unfortunately, it is difficult to be too concerned about Mulder. It’s not likely that one of our heroes will remain crazy for all that long.

In spite of all its problems, there are some very good aspects to this episode. The scene with Mulder and Scully in the elevator gives us a good sense of where they are emotionally. Scully feels that they have achieved their goal; they have uncovered most of The Truth and that Mulder can now rest. He cannot. As long as his sister is still out there somewhere, he will keep digging and keep pushing.

While she may not be completely on board, Scully has her partner’s back while everyone else is playing games. The scene in the hallway when she calls out Skinner and Fowler borders on the shrill, but she has seen and done too much to buy into anything they will say to her at this point.

This is not a terrible episode. Although the story struggles in typical Chris Carter fashion, it is all leading up to that final shot. While the actual execution of the shot is not perfect, it is an OMG moment and a great way to end the season.

Other Thoughts

-- Even The X-Files recycles shots. In the teaser, the shot of the cavemen walking through the snow is taken from the first movie. While I am not particularly a fan of the language of the teaser, the images are wonderful.

-- When watching this episode on Netflix with subtitles, we are told that the language spoken by the men in Africa is Swahili. It is, in fact, French, the language of the Ivory Coast.

-- It was nice to see Chuck again, although I’m still not entirely sure what a magic square is.

Quotes

Scully: “I mean, this endless pursuit of the truth, Mulder. It just... it doesn’t make any sense to me now.”

Scully: “Look, after all you’ve done, after all you’ve uncovered, a conspiracy of men doing human experiments, men who are now all dead.. you exposed their secrets. I mean, you’ve won. What more could you possibly hope to do or to find?”
Mulder: “My sister.”

Final Analysis: Not great, but with a final shot that is exciting, surprising, and leaves me wanting to find out what happens next.

ChrisB is losing patience with the mythology.

4 comments:

Billie Doux said...

Congratulations to Team X-Files for completing season six!

Mallena said...

Congrats from me, also. It is hard finding reviews for older shows, and it's more fun to do a rewatch if there is a review to read. Thanks for everything. However, this is one of the mythology episodes that I fast forward through because it doesn't make much sense and it's tiring to try to fit this into CC's tangled storytelling web. I do enjoy cursing Diana Fowler, plot device that she is, and Mulder' s craziness is fun.

Juliette said...

We've reached the point where I have absolutely no idea what's going on in the mythology any more - though to be fair, I had very little idea in the first place once we got past Scully's abduction!

Heather said...

Chris,
Lol I've concluded that it takes something more than patience to stay with show. Especially after S10. I agree though that going to the origins of humanity as 'alien' is genius. For me, this point on the mythology (S6-7) is kind of a sweet spot, even with all of its tediousness and incongruity. Love your review. Looking forward to piggy backing on it!