The X-Files: The Sixth Extinction

Case: Mulder is still hospitalized with an unknown condition and Scully must search for answers why.

Destination: Ivory Coast, Washington D.C.

"Some truths are not for you."

'The Sixth Extinction' is a really cool episode title, but that's pretty much it. It doesn't go down in the pantheon of great season openers, but Scully in Africa is kind of great.

There just isn't a lot to this episode in terms of plot developments, beyond the ones already introduced in 'Biogenesis'. The pacing is off as well, and the effect, for me, is that we are running in place. To some degree, that is the downside for the second episode of a three-parter, in its sheer design. But, as evidenced in previous seasons, the season opener can be compelling, even exciting. It just isn't here. All of that said, there are some standout moments, thanks to Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi and a few revelations from Scully's letters to Mulder. I've also always liked the Kritschgau character. Finally, buried in this episode is an interesting monologue from Diana Fowley that is quite impactful, as well. Although, maybe only in the fact that it gets fans quite riled up!


This episode is largely carried by Anderson. She has to sell her situation in order for the themes of the episode to come through clearly, and it's not an easy one to get on board with. But because of Anderson, we understand, from the teaser, just how high the stakes are for her and Mulder. As an aside, I rather like Scully in her Out of Africa /Michael Kors' Spring 1999 Collection khaki mode. And though sidelining either Mulder or Scully, for an episode, is one of Chris Carter's worst repeat offenses, luckily he learned from his writing compatriots in 'Memento Mori' that 'Dear Diary' moments are a very good insight into the feelings of someone who plays hers close to the vest. And Anderson sells those, too. But, of course she does. Ultimately, she plays Scully here with the right blend of fear, urgency and wonder.

Girl, you rock that sleeveless white button-down.

A contrivance or not (we'll have to keep watching to find out!), it was great having Kritschgau back. I always liked his no-nonsense intelligence and practicality and his introductory scene, where he attempts to turn Mulder's head around in 'Redux' remains a shining example of a one-er that really moves the action. Realistic to the outcome of his previous story, he is reluctant to get involved when Skinner approaches him but the two men play off each other very well while embarking on finding answers about Mulder's condition. Kritschgau is like that rogue, ambiguous, you-really-want-to-trust-him guy which adds intrigue to Skinner's serious, careful Mulder and Scully loyalist.

Who doesn't love a guy in a tan corduroy blazer.

As far as seeing the episode for its glimmers of awesome, I loved watching Scully uncover the human genome on the craft's surface, as well as the culmination of her hallucination of the man she kept seeing around the beach, then in the jeep. But the finest moment of greatness, to me, was Mulder passing Skinner the note on a piece of his gown written in blood (in my mind, at least). That one made me proud to be a tv fan. Though it came after, this falls in line with the brilliance of one of my favorite moments in Lost's 'Through the Looking Glass' that will heretofore be known as a 'Not Penny's Boat' moment.


Other Thoughts

*What's not to love about Scully and her machete, though?

*Love Skinner pulling rank on Diana.

*For some reason, though the direction was fine, the production values seemed low. Some scenes came off, dare I say, as a bit cheesy, and not in a good way. (Might have been Malibu posing as Africa.)

*I just want to add that 17 million people watched the original broadcast of this episode.

*50,000 dead crickets were rented from a local entomologist. Rented.

*Mitch Pileggi stepped up, as ever.

*Well, it's all out now. Fowler has 'always' loved Mulder and she admitted to Mulder that she's working with CSM.

Quotes

Scully: "I will continue here as long as I can... as long as you are beset by the haunting illness which I saw consume your beautiful mind."

Skinner: "Let go, Mulder, I don't want to hurt you." (And you know he could!)

Dr. Barnes: "This craft that's come ashore? Its extraterrestrial origins?"
Scully: "You don't even believe in that."
Dr. Barnes: "Nor do you. But here we are."

Kritschgau: "You asked me to come down here. You better be prepared to accept the responsibility, Mr. Skinner."

Nurse: "Who are you?"
Skinner: "I'm his boss (turns toward Diana Fowley), and hers. (Yeah you are.)

Scully: "Mulder, it's me. I know that you can hear me. If you can just give me some sign. I want you to know where I've been, what I found. I think that, if you know, that you could find a way to hold on. I need you to hold on. I found a key, the key to every question that has ever been asked. It's a puzzle but the pieces are there for us to put together and I know that they can save you if you can just hold on. Mulder, please. Hold on."

Final Analysis: As ever, the Mulder and Scully devotion carries us through this kind of cool, kind of just okay turn in the mythology. Chris Carter's monologues would be insufferable if not delivered by Gillian Anderson. Seriously.

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