Destination: Olivette, Missouri
Mulder: “I don’t know if you noticed, but I never made the world a happier place.”
Scully: “Well, I’m fairly happy… that’s something.”
Well, I’m happy too. This was one of the best X-Files ever; it was practically perfect in every way. It’s also kind of sad, because even though there are still many good stories to come, I don’t think that the magic of this episode was ever recaptured again.
I love the themes in this tale. I’ve always been a fan of “careful what you wish for” stories. The Monkey’s Paw is just a simple short story that has been haunting literature for over a hundred years. If you’ve never heard of it, look it up; it’s great. It is usually true that what is dead should stay dead, because zombies are really not much fun. I’m getting ahead of myself, though.
Anson is just an average guy with a job he isn’t thrilled with, and a brother who is in a wheelchair after an unfortunate incident while playing mailbox baseball. Their lives are changed forever when they unroll a rug that has a genie inside.
I loved Jenn, as Mulder named her. She was so funny and her deadpan delivery was just perfect. She kept rolling her eyes at the stupidity around her, and she just knew that the humans were going to make dumb choices. There wasn’t anything that she could do about it; not that she cared much to try, anyway. Of course, Anson makes the world’s dumbest wish and wants to become invisible at will. I think we all saw that truck coming, even if Anson didn’t.
Brother Leslie is not much brighter than Anson, so of course he wishes his brother back to life, and this is where things go really wrong. I loved Dead Anson; he was even funnier zombie-ized than when he was alive. The irony of Leslie finally realizing that he could wish for working legs just as Dead Anson lit the match that made the whole trailer go boom… priceless. Nice work, effects team; that explosion and fireball were very impressive, as was the leg falling not five feet (pun intended) beyond where Mulder and Scully had been knocked to the ground.
Mulder and Jenn had a lot of good scenes together and I loved Jenn’s backstory. In 15th century France, a magic sack of turnips that never emptied might have come in handy. Mulder and Scully also had a lot of delightful banter and lots of smiling gazes towards one another. What more could you ask for? I know, have Mulder be given three wishes because he was the last one to unroll Jenn. Yes!
I loved the scene after Mulder wished for peace on earth. His first concern was for Scully when he saw that everyone had disappeared. I loved Jenn’s speech about not being able to change the hearts of six billion people and when she snuck in, “Bet you wish you hadn’t made your first wish,” to get rid of Mulder’s second wish. Jenn is so tricky, I love that. The best part is when Mulder is berating Jenn about her tricks and Skinner and company appear behind him. It made it look like Mulder had been standing there yelling at an empty chair and it’s so great.
The date night coziness, and Jenn finally getting her wish at last, was very satisfying. My only problem was that Scully said, “What’s the occasion?” That makes me think that winding up at one of their places to relax after work has not been an ongoing thing, and that makes me sad. Come on, Show! For once can’t they not muddy the waters and let us see how close Mulder and Scully have become?
The guest cast were very good. I really enjoyed Kevin Weisman as Anson and Paula Sorge as Jenn. I guess Will Sasso (Leslie) was the biggest name, as he was the most heavily promoted at the time, but I’d never heard of him.
For the scene of peace on earth, the producers had to shut down eight blocks of downtown LA on a Sunday morning. That wouldn’t have been easy.
The scene where the boss lost his mouth reminded me of Twilight Zone: The Movie, which had a similar scene. “Wish it away, Anthony, wish it away!” I could barely look at that poor guy with his mouth of stitches. Ouch. Scully’s reaction was great, too.
Poor Scully was so happy to have the invisible body, though I don’t know how she got that much yellow powder out of those tiny jars. The part where she kept searching in the morgue locker for the now missing body with those Harvard people behind her was very funny.
Jenn: “White Elephant… it’s a big expensive item that serves no purpose and is ultimately more trouble than it’s worth.”
Anson: “So, what the hell did you give it to me for?”
Jenn: “Because you asked for it.”
Anson: “Fine, you know what… I can appreciate that, that’s… but don’t you think maybe you could have found some fricking water to put it in?”
Jenn: “You didn’t specify water.”
Leslie: “This isn’t what I asked for… he’s all weird and messed up.”
Jenn: “He’s been hit by a truck, what’d you expect?”
Leslie: “I asked you to bring him back to normal.”
Jenn: “You asked me to bring him back.”
Leslie: “Okay, now he’s starting to smell bad, come on, this isn’t what I wanted! Look, he’s got to at least be able to talk. Wish number two, I wish Anson could talk.”
Jenn: “No, you don’t.”
Jenn: “Ask him, he’s got it all figured out.”
Scully: “I know what he’d say; he’d say you’re some kind of genie from a thousand and one nights or something like that, and you grant people wishes.”
Jenn: “Well, there you have it.”
Mulder: “I have to get this last wish perfect; I’m not going to leave you any loopholes, not going to let you interpret this as an edict to bring back the Third Reich, or to make everyone’s eyes grow on stalks.”
Jenn: “Geez, I was so looking forward to that.”
Scully: “Skinner called me, Mulder. Is everything all right?”
Mulder: “You don’t remember disappearing off the face of the earth for about an hour this morning?”
Mulder: “Well, then I guess everything is okay.”
This is an exceptionally good story and a true classic, belonging beside such episodes as "Small Potatoes," "Pusher," and "Bad Blood." In the spirit of being careful what you wish for: I had wished for The X-Files to continue, back in the day, even with the behind the scenes trouble that I knew would change it. C’est la vie.
Five out of five solid gold wheelchairs.
Mallena loves her DVR, her Pug, anything in the sci-fi, fantasy, and supernatural genres, and her family. Well, maybe not in that exact order.
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