One of the things that really struck me when I started watching this episode was how memorable nearly every episode of The X-Files is – I mean I saw the pre-credit sequence and INSTANTLY I remembered the rest of the episode. All of it.
So either The X-Files is really really memorable. Or I have an amazing memory for this kind of thing.
Anyway, back to this episode. You can pretty much instantly tell that this episode will be another abduction story straight away – the kids out camping really gives it away but even so, it was all still very OMG all the same. I wasn’t sure about this coming again so soon – the first episode featured alien abductions as a theme – but looking back, this does further develop the relationship between Mulder and Scully and at the very least, shows us more about why Mulder is so passionate about the X-Files.
The whole thing about Scully having to report back on Mulder and his shenanigans got old pretty quickly – I was already sick of it by this point, but I suppose that if I was watching this for the first time, and not the Nth time, it would really emphasis that Mulder is really out there and his distance from the rest of his colleagues at the FBI. As usual, Scully is the sceptic here but I really liked that Mulder accepted that she disagreed with him and you can see how it makes for a better investigation. Mulder is forced to explain his theories and reasoning and set it all out logically, rather than haring off on a whim (although, yeah, later he does kind of ditch the explaining his actions part before doing them).
Yet again I am reminded just how long ago this was made because David Duchovny looks SO SO SO young. Like. REALLY young. Gillian Anderson, on the other hand, hasn’t aged at all since this episode was made. It also occurred to me that the kid in this episode is probably old enough to drive and vote and rent cars and all those things. It’s WEIRD. Y’know. Time passing. As it does.
It was a nice touch to have Mulder linger over the photos of the two kids on the mantelpiece – it draws us back to his sister Samantha and draws the parallel more forcefully between the two sets of siblings.
One thing that did kind of put me off was that it seemed like Darlene Morris hadn’t noticed that her son was receiving magic signals from the TV and drawing 1s and 0s non-stop. Ok, fair enough about missing the magic signals – but still – the 1s and 0s? Maybe she had too much on her plate for it. Who knows.
Another point I liked was how Mulder brought the police officer up on writing off Ruby and Darlene just because the girl got into trouble and the mother was a bit wacky. Mulder gets written off by SO MANY characters because of his “spooky” reputation and it was nice to see him defend someone else with the same kind of problem.
Back to random inexplicable things. Why does Scully wake up in her motel room BEFORE the NSA burst in? Is she just a really light sleeper? I didn’t understand that. I know it brings the fear in for the audience, but it didn’t make that much sense to me. Plus I did wonder why they didn’t just go to Mulder’s room, if that’s who they were looking for. Later on too, when Scully and Mulder are at Lake Okobogee, why does Mulder follow the wolf? Really, WHY? It’s just a wolf. Does Mulder have a psychic link with his furry friend because his first name is Fox?
The reveal that all those pages of binary drawn by Kevin made up a picture of his sister Ruby was great – when they were too close to the information it was impossible to see, but as soon as they took a step back they could see the whole picture. In some ways this is a theme that recurs a lot – Mulder and Scully are too close to certain events to see the shape of the conspiracy around them later on.
The “truth” gets touched on a lot during this episode. At the beginning you have Blevins showing Scully more of the “truth” about Mulder’s obsession with the X-Files, followed by an introduction to Darlene Morris, a woman whose story about alien abduction was probably frequently disbelieved. Later on, Tessa tries to distort the truth about who was in the woods and what happened to Greg, but slips and reveals that Ruby wasn’t there at all. Ruby is prevented from telling her story about what happened while she was missing and it seems that Mulder is more angry about the truth being suppressed than he had been about any injustice suffered by Darlene due to her own honesty about her abduction experience. Finally Scully is listening to the tapes of Mulder’s hypnotic regression – and the episode ends with the recording of Mulder saying “I want to believe” – the phrase on the poster in his office.
It seems that Scully takes Mulder’s story more seriously or at least gives more of her time to the idea of his sister’s abduction, more willing to believe herself and Mulder’s scene in the church at the end kind of highlights his own self-belief – he is still searching for his sister and keeps going with the faith in himself that eventually, with enough investigation, he could find her again. Truth and belief – basically the driving force behind a lot of Mulder and Scully’s journey.