There have been a number of times when watching THE X-FILES that I’ve half-expected Scully to turn to Mulder and, with the most serious of expressions, ask him what he’s on. Oddly enough, Fox Mulder is usually just that crazy and just that enthusiastic with no need for any kind of medicinal aid — save for that one time when he and Scully were both under the influence of some sort of mushroom thing. But that was the case, with the hallucinogen inhaled accidentally, as opposed to whatever bad trip Mulder willingly submitted to when trying to communicate with a comatose suspect in “Babylon.” I wish I was making this up. I’m not. Oh, and there were new characters: Agents Einstein and Miller, who were so disturbingly like the Mulder and Scully we met twenty-three years ago that I’ve dubbed them Baby Mulder and Baby Scully? So, that was an episode…
Getting this party (and I use that term super loosely) started. THE X-FILES’ “Babylon” began with a Muslim man saying his daily prayers and treating himself to a last meal of peanut butter and jelly in his apartment. Surely, with a simple sandwich as dinner this couldn’t possibly go there, right? Wait, it did. After driving through a town inexplicably populated with more cowboy and cowgirl stereotypes than I’ve seen since DR. QUINN, MEDICINE WOMAN, Shiraz met up with a friend, greeted him with “may peace be with you,” said some more prayers, and blew up an art gallery full of people.
Is now the appropriate time to talk about how not all Muslims are terrorists, and not all terrorists are Muslims? No? Good thing Scully made a similar comment later in the episode.
As people ran from the bombed building, covered in flames, Shiraz survived his own suicide bombing but ended up in the hospital, in a coma, with his head bearing a sickening resemblance to a deflated basketball.
Enter four FBI agents? As Mulder and Scully were debating whether or not “ear witness” testimony regarding strange noises claimed to be the actual voice of God could be taken seriously, a few things became obvious: First, Mulder had opened his mind to religious phenomena, even if only for investigative reasons. Second, Scully was either playing devil’s advocate to Mulder’s sudden belief, or she was actually discounting her own faith, which had always been so important to her. And third, there’s still nobody in that basement other than the FBI’s most unwanted.
Scully’s been waiting to say that for twenty-three years. As in, she remembered the very first thing Mulder ever said to her and wanted to use the line sometime…for twenty-three years. That might just be the best throwback in THE X-FILES season 10 yet.
As it turned out, though, the FBI’s most unwanted were wanted for consultation on the terrorist case by Agents Miller and Einstein. At least, Miller was definitely into using their paranormal experience and listening to Mulder’s crazy-talk, but Einstein had no idea why she and her partner were wasting their time. Scully had a tendency to agree every time Einstein interjected; neither Mulder nor Miller cared to listen to their nay-saying.
Einstein was both a medical doctor and a scientist working for the FBI. She was unimpressed by the entire discussion, even pitying “that poor Agent Scully” for all the science fiction and insanity she’d had to deal with from Mulder over the years, who she couldn’t possibly be working with for any reason other than that she was in love with him. I’d like to point out that this was Einstein’s theory. For once, I didn’t have to say it.
Miller, on the other hand, was totally into doing that fast-talking theory thing with Mulder.
Yes, Mulder and Scully, you were looking in a mirror with those two. Miller even sounds suspiciously like Mulder, but the best we can do for a name that matches Scully’s is to introduce a character named after the very famous scientist whose work she rewrote in her thesis. Got it.
Go home, Mulder. You’re drugged. Scully and Mulder each had their own brilliant plans for finding a way to communicate with the comatose terrorist. Scully wanted to use some sort of MRI technique (because Scully loves science and is a medical doctor, in case anyone has forgotten), while Mulder wanted a taste of magic mushrooms from Agent Einstein. He couldn’t ask Scully to help him break the law, as he had done repeatedly during their partnership, because it might hit too close to home what with Maggie’s recent coma and all. Not that any of their past cases hadn’t hit super close to home for Scully or anything. Nope.
While Scully was at the hospital with Agent Miller, warding off Department of Defense agents trying to boot them off the case, Mulder was busy Muldering Einstein. There’s no other way to explain it. He was Muldering her. To Mulder: rant your way through “woo woo treaties on the paranormal” to a redheaded, science-loving skeptic until she’s so annoyed with you that you wear her down enough for her to admit that your theory might have bear sort of weight.
Einstein didn’t bite initially, but when she magically teleported from the X-files’ basement office back to Texas and found out that Scully was working with her partner, she called Mulder down to Texas and offered him some magical pills. They weren’t actually the requested hallucinogen, as was later revealed, but they still did the job somehow.
Mulder took his medicine while Einstein was walking an attempted murderer of an Islamophobic nurse out of the suspect’s room…and then?
It just got weird.
On a show like THE X-FILES, which has featured everything from aliens, to the conception of a baby by a supposedly barren mother in a supposedly platonic relationship with her partner, to vampires, to Flukeman, Pusher, a garbage monster, and even a guy who eats cancer or whatever, nothing should be shocking anymore. Fox Mulder’s trip, however, was. It was — well — it was something.
Mulder strutted down the hospital corridor to music that I’m guessing was playing in his own head. Then, he threw on some tight jeans and cowboy hat before doing the “Achy Breaky,” followed by some sort of awkward Mulder dance. Next, he was at a table, showing off the “MUSH ROOMS” bling on his hands while Skinner and even the dearly departed Lone Gunmen partied with him. Next, he was on a table, much like when he’d been abducted by aliens…except this time, he imagined that Dominatrix Agent Einstein was there (because even in his wildest dreams, Scully wouldn’t be caught dead, I guess). Finally, after a visit from The Smoking Man, he spoke with the terrorist. Too bad Mulder couldn’t understand a word of Arabic?
Go home, Mulder. You’re drugged.
I guess the hallucinations saved the day? Back at the hospital, Mulder woke up to a very upset Skinner, who labeled his “little scheme” an embarrassment. I’d tend to agree. Also embarrassments: How were Skinner, The Lone Gunmen, Emphysema Man, and even Agent Einstein major players in his crack dream, while Dana Katherine Scully was not? Did we really need Dominatrix Einstein? And since when does THE-XFILES feature either Mulder or Scully in a hospital bed without the corresponding partner paying a visit (unless, of course, said partner has been abducted or otherwise incapacitated)?
Agent Embarrassment soon found himself playing key witness, though. When he recognized Shiraz’s mom from his “dream,” Mulder provided the “Babel al something” Shiraz had muttered, which led the agents to a hotel by the name of Babylon, teeming with Arab terrorists. Why not?
Let’s all try some of whatever Mulder was having and see if that makes the case or the explanation make any more sense.
Scully and Mulder take a walk. After the case, Mulder had a lot of deep thoughts to share with Scully. There was a lot of talk about religions and their vengeful gods and whether or not women were having babies just to be martyrs. Now, one could take all of that at face value or look behind door number two.
“What’s behind door number two,” you ask? Subtext.
In an episode that seemed like the first true standalone of the revival, which claimed to have four such episodes, the end scene took a rather interesting turn. There was a lot of talk about opening one’s heart to truly listen and starting over “where it all began, in finding a common language again.” Were Scully and Mulder truly talking about something case-related, or was it hinting at something more? Add that to the line about mothers not having babies just to be martyrs in a season that has focused on William a surprisingly large amount, and I’d be willing to bet there was more going on in that field (and previously, on that porch with the “unconditional love” that Mulder saw) than simply philosophical thoughts following a very, very bizarre investigation by Mulder.
But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.
Other quick thoughts:
- No one will ever be able to match Gillian Anderson (or Dana Scully, for that matter), but Lauren Ambrose’s performance as Agent Einstein was as close as anyone’s ever going to get. Ambrose (or Einstein, if you wish to deal only in fictional characters) has got those eye rolls and sighs down to a science.
- We’re five episodes in, and there has barely been any Skinner. I find this a crime against Philes everywhere. If nothing else, I need to know how it is that he and Mulder are calling each other “Dude” now.
- “Do you talk to Agent Scully like that?” Only when he wants to be shot, Agent Einstein. Only when he wants to be shot.
- I’m counting at least three out of five episodes of THE X-FILES season 10 so far that placed an emphasis on the relationships between mothers and their sons. Two of those three featured Scully’s guilt over giving William up for adoption. Add Maggie’s need to talk to her estranged son Charlie before dying and now Shiraz’s reunion with his mother before his own death, and I’m dying for all of this potential foreshadowing to turn into actual foreshadowing. William, are you out there?
The season finale of THE X-FILES is coming. Tune in on Monday, February 22 at 8/9c on FOX.