The X-Files: Chimera

Case: Scully is alone on a stakeout while Mulder searches for a missing woman in suburbia.

Destination: Washington, DC and Bethany, VT

“Hey Scully, tough it out. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?”

I like to learn things, so I looked up the definition of a chimera. A chimera in Greek mythology is a fire-breathing female monster with a lion’s head, a goat’s body, and a serpent’s tail. Huh, sounds scary. Another definition is more poetic; it is a thing that is hoped or wished for, but in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve. That’s a little sad, but it does fit this story pretty well.

The episode starts off with Scully and Mulder in a seedy part of DC, looking for a woman who is apparently making prostitutes, and herself, disappear. At least, that is what Mulder thinks. Scully, like usual, isn’t quite as enthused with the stakeout. When Mulder gets called away by Skinner to handle a case of a more important missing woman, poor Scully gets left behind.

This episode does have some interesting things going for it. We get comedy from Scully and her distasteful stakeout; we get some deep thoughts about mirrors, doorways, summoned spirits, split personality, and ravens. We see a supposedly perfect housewife’s monster within. We also get to see that housewife try to drown Mulder in a bathtub. Those kinds of scenes must be really hard to film; I wouldn’t want to have someone dunk me like that, over and over. I’d get water up my nose.

Anyways, this story gives us another glimpse into the ugliness that can be hiding behind the green and peaceful facade of suburbia. All Ellen wants is to keep her gracious home clean, cook elaborate meals, and take care of her baby girl and her beloved husband. After she finds out that her husband is having affairs, she swallows her rage and becomes Loving Ellen on the outside, and Murderous Monster Ellen on the inside; a being that can first be seen in mirrors. Well, until ravens appear and the monster manifests itself and starts killing.

I did like the reveal where Ellen remembers the terrible things that her alter ego has done and her perfect world starts to crumble. Multiple personalities are a fascinating subject and if you don’t think too hard about how Ellen actually becomes that scary looking monster, then this story is pretty good.

I liked Ellen taking care of Mulder; setting him up in her guest room, dishing up her delicious meals right to his plate, cleaning and ironing his shirts for him. I don’t think Mulder takes care of himself very well, so it was nice to see him look so comfy. Scully wasn’t as happy, at first, but when she solved her case, she seemed pretty pleased too.

The murdered women didn’t come off as very sympathetic, since they were sleeping with Ellen’s husband. The second victim was not very nice. She left her young child home alone all night and told him to eat no more than two cookies for breakfast. Nice parenting. I feel bad for the children left motherless, though.

Other Thoughts:

Gillian Anderson was only available for one day of filming, which is why Scully was separated from Mulder. Gillian was busy with another upcoming episode.

Fun Fact: Crows are a whole family of birds. All ravens are crows, but crows are also jays, magpies, and other birds. Ravens are bigger than crows, but crows are noisier.

Wendy Schaal plays Martha, the first missing woman. If you were a child of the seventies and eighties, you might recognize her from many movies and TV shows. She was in The 'Burbs, Innerspace, Fantasy Island, and lots more.

I loved the scene where Scully calls Mulder as he is eating dinner at Ellen's house. Scully is staring at cold pizza while Mulder eats a gourmet meal. It reminded me of a scene from Stargate- SG1; Daniel is very high after using a princess’s sarcophagus, but Carter and O’Neill are locked up as slaves in her mine. Daniel goes down to visit and tells them that he's going to a celebratory dinner in his honor; so then Carter, in a pathetic and wistful voice says, “You get dinner?”  Aww, someone get Carter and Scully a cookie.

Quotes:

Mulder to Ellen: “No, no capers, thank you.”
Scully on phone: “I’m sorry, what?”
Mulder to Scully: “I said, what a crazy caper, I’ll talk to you later, and uh, keep warm, bye.”

Scully: “Mulder, when you find me dead, my desiccated corpse propped up, starring lifelessly through the telescope at drunken frat boys peeing and vomiting into the gutter, just know that my last thoughts were of you, and how I’d like to kill you.”
Mulder: “I’m sorry, who is this?”

Ellen: “Do you have a significant other?”
Mulder: “Not in the widely understood definition of that term.”

Final Analysis:

This is a serviceable story that almost achieves some greatness, but doesn’t quite make it. Some parts were creepy, and the guest stars did a fine job, but something was missing. I did like it as a study of a woman who just wanted her world to be lovely and perfect, but alas, it was just an illusion.

Three and a half ravens out of five.

Mallena loves her DVR, her Pug, almost anything in the sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural genres, and her family.  Well, maybe not in that exact order.

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