3X13 - "Syzygy" (26 January 1996)
* * * ½
I'm still very confused about this episode. On one hand, it was done well,
and on the other, I didn't like it. Undoubtedly the most disturbing motif
was the "out-of-character" instances which evolved because of
the "syzygy" circumstances. I haven't braved the multitides
of comments on alt.tv.x-files regarding this episode (yet), so I have
no clue as to any "inside" info. However, he whole out-of-character
bit really disturbed me (as it was supposed to, I gather), and we saw
a lot of recklessness from M & S, including:
- Mulder drinking (although he doesn't usually drink)
- Mulder driving after drinking (by himself)
- Scully smoking (although from "Beyond the Sea," we can
figure she doesn't usually smoke)
- Scully driving through a stop sign
They were pretty much like this for the entire episode, and I just hope
no newcomers watching the show last Friday got turned off or got the wrong
idea (which would be difficult) about M & S. Overall, though, Anderson &
Duchovny must have had a field day! I mean, all that nagging between M &
S! (Not just the usual nagging, I mean them getting on each other's cases
-- NPI.) Did anyone count how many scowls Mulder made (at Scully)? Or how
many times Scully said "Okay. Fine. Whatever" (to Mulder) (or whatever it
was)? Some things turned out kind of cheesy: (1) The recurring Keystone
Cops movie playing (with the music) in the police station with the weapons
going off, and (2) when both M & S yelled at the principal, "Put the gun
down!" in unison. But I loved these out-of-character instances (only after
pondering about them for a while):
- Scully driving angrily on the road scattered with chickens that had
fallen from the sky
- Mulder twisting his arm/the TV remote at different angles to try and
change the movie
- Mulder and the astrology woman who waited for his Visa Gold card to
- Scully pacing her room (the smoking I didn't like much, but oh well)
and muttering to herself
- Scully telling Mulder that "you and Agent White seem to have a certain
. . . simpatico. I'm leaving for Washington in the morning" and
turning on her heel
- S telling M "Why don't you ever let me drive?! ... Because you're
the guy?! The macho man?" and he says "I didn't know if
your little feet could reach the pedals." (Inside jokes for netpickers?)
Anyway, with this episode, Carter sure left me in a bind between love/hate.
It was hard for me to adapt to the ironic humor in this one. I hope by next
week, M & S will be back to their normal selves. (Is Agent White M's prospective
SO? Or is it someone else? It would make more sense if it were someone else.)
3X14 - "Grotesque" (2 February 1996)
* * *
This really is reminiscent of "usual" X-Files fare: dark and creepy.
Don't tell me no one else got a bit edgy when Mulder started delving into
the mind of the murderer! Although I admit it bugged me one one level,
the obvious lack of dynamic rapport between M & S (as Scully got worried
about Mulder getting too obsessive) was done in an interesting (yet frustrating)
manner -- it allowed for more character development. I especially took
notice when Scully told Mulder that she "was scared." Anderson did a great
job conveying Scully's worry and concern for Mulder, and Duchovny convincingly
portrayed a rather "over-the-edge" Mulder. It was also good to see A.D.
Skinner back . . . preparing us for more to come?
3X15 - "Piper Maru" Part 1 of 2 (9 February
* * * ¾
This was definitely not exactly what I was hoping for, although it did
have some great support. I have mixed feelings for this episode. It had
plenty of suspense in it, but I thought the "alien transformations" and
the "inkblotted eyes" (that's what I'm calling them) were just plain cheesy
(or, "hokey," as Scully might say). I'm really looking forward
to a good explanation for them. On the other hand, though, Carter threw
some enticing bait our way:
- Lots of film for Skinner; and his getting shot in the chest should
have been the cliffhanger. Oh well. Scully's reaction to "the phone
call" was interesting.
- Krycek's return. (Doesn't he wear anything besides black leather now?)
- Mulder head-butting Krycek. A little too reminiscent of Skinner
& X in "End Game"? Anyway, it made me smile.
- Scully and planes (go Scully)! And Mulder saying, "I just got turned
on" . . .
- And of course, another look into Scully's emotions! All the
scenes set at the naval base were wonderful. Also, the beginning
(with Scully talking to Skinner) was marvelous! The inside look at her
dealing with her emotions is pretty much what saved the episode from
getting a lesser rating.
Ah, the nitpicks! Well, aside from the corny motifs I mentioned before,
the main thing that bugged me was how Mulder essentially ditched Scully
(in a way) by taking off to Hong Kong by himself without telling her why.
Also, I found it perturbing that she didn't mention Skinner's morning announcement
about Melissa's case to Mulder ("It's nothing"). Is this a part of "The
Rift," or am I just being paranoid? I also found Scully's exchange with
Mulder on "Mulder & the desert & the hoe" a bit disturbing in a way; it
was as if he was alone: she was not a part of the search. Anyway, if the
preview for "Apocrypha" hadn't shown them back in the same frame, I would
have seriously been disappointed. There had better not be a rift
going here. At least, not permanently.
3X16 - "Apocrypha" Part 2 of 2 (16 February
* * * * ¾
Wow. There is so much to compliment on this episode! Excellent.
No nitpicks come immediately to mind. Excellent. Top-notch. This
one ranks up there with "Paper Clip." Perhaps "The Rift" is finally narrowing?
- The almost-last scene set at the cemetery. Wow. (And did you catch
Scully's smile when she saw Mulder kneel to put down the flowers? The
wonderful power of subtlety...)
- Scully confronting her sister's murderer. All that rage. All that
anger and frustration. And she still -- although reluctantly -- "let
him go." Wow.
- Mulder waking up at the hospital, and Scully waiting there for him.
As usual. Did you sense the unspoken, our-expressions-say-it-all "inside"
jokes between them? ("Again, Mulder?") Wow.
- The "Skinner" scenes. They added yet another dimension to the
- Scully taking charge and demanding more from the other agents. Wow.
- The Lone Gunmen . . . ice skating! I really laughed during
this part (especially Byers on skates, in his suit!) (after all, it
is filmed in Canada . . . ).
- "1013" on the right door! Is there some hidden meaning behind why
the symbol of Ten Thirteen Productions is the marker to Krycek's unknown
3X17 - "Pusher" (23 February 1996)
* * * * *
Did I say that "Apocrypha" was top notch? It was. Did I say "Paper Clip"
was top-notch? It was. Actually, they are still top notch.
But "Pusher" blew me away.
I could talk about this episode for hours. Days. Suffice it to say that
after watching "Pusher," it took me a while to catch my breath. I admit
it had its flaws, but again, I don't rate each episode on the basis of
technical achievements alone but on the basis of entertainment value.
This was a very well-balanced Mulder & Scully episode -- not a Mulder
episode, not a Scully episode, but a Mulder and Scully episode.
A quick rundown of a few great points:
- The reassurance both M & S give each other (e.g. the hands!).
- The entire last scene. My heart was doing acrobatics. And not just
- "I think you drooled on me." (!)
- Mulder & Scully admitting the other was right!
- The ever-present suspense and tension throughout the episode.
- Wonderful insight on the characters of M & S.
- Again with the last scene: we can analyze each action, each word spoken.
As it's been stated on the 'Net, Mulder fought much harder to avoid
shooting Scully than himself. This scene has to be one of the
most memorable in X-Files history.
- The image that will haunt me most forever: Mulder jerking the gun
to his head and pulling the trigger, and Scully leaping up and screaming
at Modell with all the anger, frustration, fright and heartbreak anyone
can have . . . geeez Anderson and Duchovny are good.
Did I say "Wow" for the "Apocrypha"? Well for this one, I say Wow.
The story of the Pusher, and the inside jokes were normal (dare I say average?),
but the key to the hold-your-breath episodes was the character interaction
between Mulder and Scully. I had to literally catch my breath while I sat
mesmerized for a few minutes, trying to digest everything.
3X18 - "Teso Dos Bichos" (8 March 1996)
* * ¾
All I can say is: strraaannnge. So, this was the "killer pussy
cat" episode that Anderson referred to on her Late Show with Letterman
appearance. It was not as creepy as "Grotesque," but it also was not as
"standard" as "The Walk." Rats and killer cats . . . let me guess . .
. this must be the anti-climactic counterpart to "Pusher." :-)
3X19 - "Hell Money" (29 March 1996)
* * ½
The cultural aspect of this episode was a plus; however, the story wasn't
too engaging. The episode was one of the "all-dark" ("dark" as in lighting
-- as well as story content) shows, e.g. "Grotesque." There were a few
- In the car, when Mulder says if he hears another firecracker he'll
- Mulder & Scully at the morgue (what a pleasant setting), and Scully
offers the pun on the second victim "leaving his heart in San Francisco".
- Scully lifting Johnny Lo's eyelid and tapping on his glass eye.
- Mulder jumping down into the "empty" grave.
- The recurring frog image throughout the episode -- I especially liked
the scene where Mulder & Scully enter a shot while Detective Chang (was
that his name?) is on the phone; the camera is focused on the detective,
and we only see the backs of M & S's coats passing in front of his desk;
then a hand (Scully's) places the jar with the frog on his desk. All
of this happens wonderfully fast. Anyhow, I found the scene amusing:
while M & S talk to the detective rather seriously (and Mulder eats
sunflower seeds), the frog keeps hopping around in the jar.
- Mulder & Scully's new mini-flashlights! (Are they new? I never noticed
them before.) These didn't look like normal flashlights; they were nifty
palm-sized lights that really pierced the darkness. Are these Maxabeams
A few nitpicks:
- When Mulder & Scully arrive at the organ donor office, and the worker
opens the glass entry door, there is a very obvious overdub by
Anderson: we hear her say "Agents Mulder and Scully" to introduce the
two, while we see Scully displaying her ID through the door. Then the
worker opens the door and Scully (I think) says thanks and starts asking
questions. Anyhow, the overdub was too obvious and distracting.
- Why did the daughter open the door for Mulder & Scully without even
asking them who they were? That was a bit too strange. In this
particular case, Scully didn't even introduce herself.
- The daughter's accent was okay, but it wasn't convincing. She also
pronounced, too smoothly, what kind of leukemia she had.
3X20 - "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" (12 April
* * * * (on a different, "humorous" scale, not the usual "dramatic" scale)
If Darin Morgan really does leave, Chris Carter is losing a wonderful
writer. His creativity really has brought the show a fresh approach. Anyway,
as for this episode: to quote my brother, "It's a lark!" Its entire purpose
was to make fun of "The X-Files" and really get us all laughing. Here
is yet another episode that "beginning" viewers would not fully appreciate,
nor understand. The entire episode -- the editing, the camera shots, the
whole tongue-in-cheek attitude was very entertaining, although I definitely
was not prepared for this kind of an episode when I first saw it.
It took a second viewing to enjoy the humor, and I'm sure if I saw it
again, I would pick up on more things I overlooked before. To just name
a few memorable points:
- Scully's alien autopsy video (hosted by Yappi)!
- "This is not happening . . . "
- Mulder's scream . . . or rather, yelp.
- The "Space: Above and Beyond" T-shirt the guy witness was wearing.
- Scully's violent behavior toward the guy witness.
- Alex Trebek and Jesse Ventura!
- "Where's Scully?" "Oh, she went to go get some ice."
- The melted ice in the bucket.
- Scully saying, "The greatest thriller ever written"!
- Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung! And what a name: Jose Chung!
- "I'm a Republican"!
- The hypnotism sessions with the girl! (I just have to laugh when I
think of those.)
I could ramble on, but I think you get the point. If you've only seen it
once, see it again. I suppose it's kind of like "Syzygy." You have to adjust.
As for a comparison with this and "War of the Coprophages," well, "War"
cleverly combined an intriguing X-File with humor, whereas in "Jose
Chung," there was an avalanche of humor with an X-File message.
3X21 - "Avatar" (26 April 1996)
* * ½
This was definitely not a great episode. It provided some interesting
info on Skinner, and how M & S perceive him, but that's really it. The
entire old woman/dream/legend idea was strange (as it should be), and
kept me interested, but it seems as though we leave her behind as the
episode ends. Who is she? Is she, in some capacity, his wife? Aside from
some questions that popped up (What was Skinner doing at the Ambassador
hotel? Is the red rain slicker significant?), the episode leaves us with
chopped images: the old woman in the red raincoat, a glimpse of Cancerman
(Skinner was set up -- that part is clear enough), phosphorus on the first
corpse's mouth (that was a plus) . . . there were some good ideas, but
the story didn't unfold very smoothly, making it even harder to understand.
Another tangent: Scully's reaction to the woman in the hotel room (the
bathroom scene: right after she bursts in) puzzled me. If the woman suddenly
tenses and looks into the corner, I would think that Scully would follow
her gaze, and not simply stand there and ask, "What's wrong?" Did anyone
else also notice that this is the second time Scully has gotten bashed
on the head in the bathroom of a female witness (a la "2Shy", except it
was more brutal in "2Shy")?
3X22 - "Quagmire" (3 May 1996)
* * * ½
After seeing this episode again, I enjoyed it much more. It really wasn't
"less than standard fare," as I had said before. It wasn't always dark
and spooky, but a bit lighter in plot content (and not a lot of the 'gore'
factor). But I still think that the really interesting scenes were
the ones unrelated to the case:
- The entire lake sequence, resulting in the "stranded on the rock"
scene, when Scully makes an interesting discovery.
- All of the Queequeg scenes, especially in the beginning when Scully's
taking him everywhere, and also the scene where she's depressed about
losing him (and Mulder's reaction).
Its entirely obvious "Loch Ness" take-off plot vehicle didn't do so well,
but at least provided a fairly interesting analogy of Mulder/Ahab for Scully.
The very end (with the computer-animated sea serpent appearing), meant to
have a humorous effect (as I took it), but it just looked very hokey the
first time I saw the episode. After watching it again, I felt it
gave an interesting meaning to the episode, and to Mulder's obsession for
the 'truth.' The episode was a bit slow-paced, but it was thoughtful. Thoughtful
can be good.
3X23 - "Wetwired" (10 May 1996)
* * * ¼
An OK episode. It's a kind of "Pusher," except the victim this
time is Scully, and the culprit is TV signals (triggered by Cancerman?),
and except it doesn't have nearly as much tension as "Pusher"
did. It's interesting to see Mulder reacting (re: going to ID what could
be Scully's body in the morgue), and Scully running. The only thing is
that I know what's going to happen (except for that last scene with X).
Contrived, yes. "Pusher" dealt with the story better than this
episode. It was fun to see Anderson go psycho as Scully, though. ;-)
3X24 - "Talitha Cumi" (17 May 1996)
* * *
This season finale was kind of disappointing. I'm rather glad that it
deals with the government conspiracy thread, which I usually enjoy, but
this episode was standard fare. There was nothing too exciting or wonderful
about it. The whole Jeremiah Smith story wasn't much of a grabber. The
only thing that kept my interest was the Cancerman/Mr&Mrs Mulder story.
Hopefully, the season finale will prove better. There's been a lot of
speculation on the Net, and I won't go into that, but let's just say I'm
confident that Chris Carter won't ruin the show with soap opera-like plots