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The X-Files: Vienen

Case: Fun with Mulder and Doggett on an oil rig.

Destination: Gulf of Mexico

“I never would have believed it – these stories about you.”
“Really? What stories are those?”
“That you could find a conspiracy at a church picnic.”
“What church?”
       --Doggett and Mulder

Yay – a scene in Kersh’s office. I really don’t like that man; he’s a big meanie. Kersh shuts down Mulder when he wants to go investigate mysterious happenings on an oil rig. That rig is really impressive and it is cool that the production is able to go shoot on a real location. Of course, Doggett is not amused when he is told that he’s not the first agent on the scene. Surprise – it’s Mulder – who was definitely not invited.

Okay folks, we get a return of that old favorite: the black oil. I liked those past episodes featuring that particular sticky substance during the first run, but now the mythology has become so twisted and incomprehensible that this is just another episode about gobbly-gook. However, the ocean setting, along with the cool rig, masterful performances by Patrick and Duchovny, and great action scenes, do make this one stand out.

After a lot of running around the rig, including many stairs, we get to the explosive scene near the end. It is pretty intense when the possessed oil workers are trying to kill Mulder and Doggett. Mulder figured out that the uninfected workers tried to break the rig’s radio so that “the Mothership” would lose contact with them. Also, having the workers back off and just stand and stare is creepy. The visuals of the tight corridors, fire, and Mulder and Doggett passing through them is filmed nicely. The rig exploding and our heroes deciding when to jump is also spectacular. I loved Mulder’s expression on the way down. I can just see Duchovny in the special effects room jumping off a platform and having the director tell him to look really freaked out.

It is a sad end of an era when Mulder is fired from the FBI and has to finally vacate his office for the last time. He's encouraged by the fact that Doggett has seen the black oil possession with his own eyes and that Doggett is a good man to carry the torch. I just wish that we had seen Scully’s reaction.

Other Thoughts:

Doggett and Mulder did look very good, together. They are both tall, handsome, intense, and have the same lean and mean body type. Doggett is reasonable and doesn't block Mulder actions, like stupid characters are always doing to prove how smart or powerful they are. He might be skeptical, but he still listened to Mulder.

At least Scully is in the episode, though she has to listen to Kersh in his meanie-weenie boss voice. Skinner tries to stand up for her, but of course, Kersh threatens him too.

Miguel Sandoval plays the part of an oil executive. He was in Medium with Patricia Arquette. That was a good show.


Doggett: “Black oil. Five years ago, you and Agent Scully investigated a case of a World War II plane salvaged from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, where a substance was brought to the surface which you describe as a highly contagious virus of extraterrestrial origin, that has radioactive properties and can take over a man's body... and is a part of an alien conspiracy to colonize the planet, if I'm not mistaken.” (Thanks for the info, John)
Mulder: “And you'd love to help, but you left your lightsaber at home.”

Kersh: “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say this was a Mulder stunt.”

Doggett: “So you're taking the fall... not for me?”
Mulder: “For you, for the X-Files – you're all the credibility this office has left. You have Kersh's ear and you've seen it now... out on that platform, you saw it for yourself.”

Mulder: “Answer the phone, Agent Doggett. You're in charge now.”

Final Analysis: There is a lot to like about this episode, but this is just not the kind of tale that I like all that much. I want Mulder and Scully battling forest bugs, ice creatures, or mutants together. Doggett and Mulder can take care of themselves, and I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoy it when Mulder has to save Scully from something. (Please don’t take away my honorary feminist card.) Scully rescued Mulder, too, now and then. I also like those moments. If I’m judging this episode purely on manly derring-do, then it’s really good. I’ll let you decide the rating.

Mallena loves watching Mulder and Doggett jump from high places.


  1. I thought this was one of the most enjoyable season 8 episodes, though it felt more like a traditional thriller than an X-files episode. I also liked that the black oil seemed to be behaving along the lines it did in Piper Maru again. While I think I remember enjoying all the black oil episodes as episodes, collectively they made no sense at all.

  2. The best way to enjoy the X-Files, I guess, is to just let the mythology flow over you and don't worry too much about it. The same thing could be said if you were infected by black oil, I suppose.

  3. Nice point about just letting the mythology wash over you and also about the black oil - has anyone checked your eyes lately :)?

  4. You will be exterminated. Wait, wrong show.


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