THE X-FILES Recap: Scully and Trashman Are Tearing Us Apart

the x-files

Glen Morgan’s “Home” is a classic episode of THE X-FILES. It paired grotesque killings, worthy of the first viewer discretion warning in series history, with the upbeat “Wonderful, Wonderful!” by Johnny Mathis while somehow managing to feature a meaningful look at Dana Scully’s desire for eventual motherhood. Nearly twenty years later, Morgan’s “Home Again” has revisited that idea of Scully as a mother against a background of a pretty nasty string of murders in which victims were quite literally torn apart to the sounds of Petula Clark’s cheerful “Downtown,” with a twist of the extra pain (this is The Pain Files, after all) of the loss of Scully’s own mother. Although the similarities are striking between “Home” and “Home Again,” one thing’s for certain: When it comes to THE X-FILES, nothing is ever quite the same. The darkness simply builds and builds.

People treat other people like trash — some more than others. The latest episode of THE X-FILES began with the abuse of less fortunate people in Philadelphia by one Joseph Cutler, who was part of a plan to relocate the homeless to an abandoned hospital. Cutler’s fatal flaw? He was far too gleeful regarding the attacking of the local homeless with high-powered hoses. As painful as that may have been for those unfortunate souls, Cutler was soon visited by who we later learned was the Trashman, who came to Cutler’s office in the middle of the night and proceeded to rip him apart.

Enter Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, who have had plenty of experience with these spooky cases, which the man formerly bullied with the nickname Spooky Mulder didn’t seem impressed to be asked about.

No footprints were left by the killer, which Mulder found interesting enough to make a light quip about how it would obviously be impossible for a man to be born without prints, but before he could really get down and dirty with investigating the case with his partner, she was called away on family business by her brother Bill.

William Scully, Jr., why does your sister have your full name as your caller id instead of simply “Bill?” Things that make you go hmm.

As Mulder stayed behind to work the case on his own, he found himself breaking up a fight between Nancy Huff and Daryl Landry, who were on opposite sides of the relocation issue. They were each speaking on behalf of those whom they represented, but Mulder wanted to know who spoke for the homeless. Almost out of thin air, a man appeared to say that the man with the Band-Aid on his nose was the guy to look for, but as Mulder was busy trying to figure out what that meant, the seemingly homeless man vanished.

Vanishment and appearances out of thin air would be the name of the game as the Trashman would arrive, rip victims apart, and toss them in the garbage disposal before returning to his truck. In the particularly horror movie-esque killing of Ms. Huff, Trashman somehow teleported himself from the street outside Nancy’s apartment to the top of her stairs before destroying her amidst the backdrop lightning and the soundtrack of “Downtown.”

It wasn’t until after Mulder and Scully were working together again that any resolution was found. After some brief joking in a dark, dank entryway over Scully’s ability to run in three-inch heels back in the day, followed by some waving of flashlight beams in one another’s faces that I can only describe as the classically inappropriately-timed Mulder and Scully flirting, they came upon the man who believed himself responsible for bringing Trashman to life.

Perhaps it was because I’d suffered through nearly an entire episode of Scully being upset (just like back in the day!) or perhaps this was the true intention, but most of what came out of the basement dweller’s mouth made zero sense until he made the very poignant comment about how we treat one another like trash. From there, he described how he’d envisioned the Trashman and wished for him so badly that Trashman had become a living entity — with a mind of his own. Mulder did his Mulder-speak thing where he drew on his vast knowledge of what Scully would have called “pure science fiction” had she not been too busy thinking about William, and came to the idea of a manifestation body. Mulder was convinced such things would never become the brutal murderers that Trashman was, but in the end, that was the best explanation we were going to get.

Trashman went after Landry as his final victim, but Mulder and Scully were too late. Scully had no idea how Trashman had vanished into thin air because her mind was clearly elsewhere, causing her to temporarily forget how these cases go, I’m guessing. Meanwhile, I was left wondering what what kind of sick mind has Trashman’s face turn into a gray version of one of those Wal-Mart smiley faces after completing his last mutilation.

Another not-quite-closed case for the X-files.

Dana Scully cries. We all cry. Case? What case? From the moment Scully received that phone call from Bill Junior about Maggie Scully’s heart attack, it was obvious the real focus of “Home Again” was going to be on watching the inhumanly talented Gillian Anderson prove she’s still got it. Actually, let’s all agree that Anderson’s better than ever. Forget the cancer arc, forget Mulder’s abduction and subsequent near-death, forget giving up William: This is everything.

Fourteen minutes into an episode, and I’ve never been so wrecked in all my life. While the Trashman was ripping his victims apart from the outside, Dana Scully and her latest personal tragedy were destroying viewers from the inside.

Following Scully’s initial reaction of shock to her brother’s phone call, it was Mulder’s hesitance to reach out and comfort his partner, friend, and former lover before squeezing her elbow and telling her to go to her mother that drove the existence of their strange estrangement home again. After that brief bought of awkwardness, though, Fox Mulder was Dana Scully’s rock and only comfort as she watched Maggie die, then suffered through the lasting old wounds that losing her mother caused. It, at least for this viewer, once again raised the question of why and how these two needed a wedge driven between them in the first place. Aside from that initial hesitance, which could easily have been written off as shock or not wanting to mix personal emotions with on-the-job behavior, the dynamic between Mulder and Scully was nothing more or less than that of two people who cared deeply for one another and had a long, long history of comforting one another at the worst of times.

As Scully spent quite a lot of her time suffering at her mother’s side, with neither of her brothers present to share the burden as Bill was in Germany and Charlie and Maggie were estranged, her medical training barely made an appearance. At one point, she asked a nurse why a particular medication was being used, only to learn that her mother had changed her advance directive without telling her. Otherwise, Scully was the grief-stricken daughter, begging her mother to wake up, bargaining with her for more time, and wanting more time to ask her mother the simple questions. She refused to let Bill know whether she expected Maggie to live long enough for him to get there because she was a daughter first, and as she held her dying mother’s hand or kissed her on the forehead with an ever-deepening mask of grief on her face, it was clear that Dana Scully simply didn’t have the capacity to consider the medical odds because the answers would break her. Gone was the Dana Scully of old who stoically stood by and said she was “fine” when her world was obviously crumbling, and in its place was a woman who had suffered far too much and was forced to do so yet again.

Mulder arrived just in time for Maggie’s extubation, and he sat not by Scully’s side but across the room, where they had some sort of silent conversation that ended only when Scully asked whether they’d ever managed to find a way to wish someone back to life. Mulder answered that he’d invented it when Scully herself was in a hospital — just like this. Viewers had received the treat of watching a flashback to that particular past trauma earlier in the episode as Scully remembered the first of her own many near-deaths. For continuity’s sake, I’m going to guess she and Mulder had that conversation at some point…

Just before Maggie’s death, Scully was finally able to reach Charlie so he could say goodbye to his mother and tell her he was there, despite whatever had caused their estrangement. Following this, Maggie woke up long enough to clutch Mulder’s hand and say that she, too, had a son named William before flatlining. Of note, Scully’s own mother didn’t acknowledge her before dying. So, once again, Dana Scully can’t have any happiness whatsoever.

After Maggie’s death, when the gurney was brought in to take her for organ harvesting, Scully had a meltdown, demanding that the gurney be taken away. But it was Mulder who stepped in, took her into his arms, and held her as she cried and asked why her mother made that comment about their son. (Thanks for the nearly identical pose to the hug in “Memento Mori,” you soul-slicing show, you). Finally breaking the hug, Scully demanded to get back to work while Mulder tried to talk her out of it, only to be left in the hallway, staring after her like a lost puppy as she stormed off to get back to business. Perhaps this was the reappearance of “I’m fine” Scully in its own way.

During the Trashman’s creator’s discussion of wanting something so badly that it becomes a real entity and has a life of its own, Scully thought about how she could have maybe wished William into existence, only for him to become something far different than she would have ever expected. As Mulder argued with the man about the possibilities, Scully remembered watching William make his mobile move, introducing William to his father for the first time (kill me), and telling Mulder she’d given their son away, all while toying with the mysterious quarter necklace she’d found amongst her mother’s possessions.

Coming out of her memory-driven trance, Scully drew a parallel between how the Trashman had become this monster without his creator’s intention and how she had given up her son when he didn’t turn out to be what she’d imagined: “You’re responsible. If you made the problem, if it was your idea, then you’re responsible. You put it out of sight so it wouldn’t be your problem, but you’re just as bad as the people that you hate.”

Because the heartbreak of losing one’s mother isn’t enough, Dana Scully must also have this mixed up with the heartbreak of having given up her own son. Can Scully not beat herself up over this, please? No? Ok, carrying on.

After the case was as closed as the ones on THE X-FILES ever get, Dana and Fox — because she used his first name here and it’s very telling that this was a personal moment, completely removed from their working relationship — had a conversation on a log with Maggie’s ashes at their feet. Scully said she finally understood why Maggie had asked for Charlie and no one else: She wanted to make sure that he was okay before she went away. She also understood why Maggie had brought up William: She wanted them to know to take responsibility and know that William was okay, even if they were unable to see him. Scully admitted that, while she knew the decision she and Mulder had made to give William up for adoption was best for him, she couldn’t help but think of him, citing all sorts of questions that a mother who’s given up her child may have.

The conversation, as well as the episode, ended with Scully telling Mulder she needed William to know that they didn’t treat him like trash by giving him away, as Mulder wrapped an arm around her shoulders, pulling her in to rest her head against his shoulder.

Final thoughts.

  • That’s two out of four episodes so far where the memory of William has played a major role, and the wounds run about as deeply as ever. Kudos to the team at THE X-FILES for not sweeping this under the rug, as they so easily could have with only an intended six-episode revival and a representative smattering of episode types.
  • How Glen Morgan managed to cram such a personal, relatable story for Maggie Scully’s death and your trademark bizarre case into an hour of broadcast television (so probably more like forty-three minutes), I have no idea. But, much like “Home,” I have a feeling “Home Again” is one that will be talked about for many years to come.
  • Maybe it was the realness of Scully’s latest loss that made it so much harder to watch. Gone were the alien conspiracies and miracle babies, and left in their place was only the human suffering that we all face.
  • I’ve praised her plenty above, but this is seriously Gillian Anderson’s episode. I can’t say that enough. When you’re this good, you’re simply this good.

There are only two episodes left of THE X-FILES season 10. Tune in for the next one on February 15 at 8/7c on Fox.

 

 

NCIS: LOS ANGELES Sneak Peek: Hint Of A Showman

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The best in Russian dressing returns tonight when Vyto Ruginis recurs as “Shady” Arkady Kolcheck on NCIS: LOS ANGELES.

The most delicious of conmen, a wounded Arkady was last seen in imminent threat of being captured in Moscow when he volunteered to remain behind in order to give his daughter, Anna (Bar Paly), and the NCIS: LA team time to escape.

Whether his selfless act was out of love or to set himself up to snow someone else is still in question, but Callen (Chris O’Donnell) cannot seem to let the issue go.  Hetty (Linda Hunt) warns the team that NCIS cannot guarantee its safety on an unsanctioned mission.

With a strategy that has more layers than a set of matryoshka dolls, NCIS: LOS ANGELES endeavors to locate Arkady, who is rumored still to be in Russia.

Callen, Anna, Sam (LL Cool J), Deeks (Eric Christian Olsen) and Kensi (Daniela Ruah) go undercover at a gala to try to access the Russian Consul General’s computer.  Decked out in formalwear, Callen and Anna take to the dance floor.

Fear not, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s commercial fans, Paly is dressed more like she is in the TV spot than a babushka in the matryoshka doll set.

Best inside joke of the week:  Anna telling Callen that it looks as though he has dance experience.  O’Donnell was nominated for a Golden Globe for the feature film, SCENT OF A WOMAN, for which Al Pacino won an Academy Award as a blind man who does a mean tango.  Perhaps O’Donnell will have a chance to show off any fancy footwork that he may have learned from THE GODFATHER.

NCIS: LOS ANGELES also stars Barrett Foa, Renée Felice Smith and Miguel Ferrer.  Guest starring tonight are Ravil Isyanov, Rizwan Manji, Zoran Korach, Angelina Assereto, Griffin Freeman, Mo Anouti, Mikal Vega and Salvator Xuereb. Tonight’s episode, “Matryoshka, Part 1,” was written by Kyle Harimoto and R. Scott Gemmill and directed by Dennis Smith.

NCIS: LOS ANGELES airs tonight at 10:00 p.m. on CBS (U.S.) and on GlobalTV (Canada).

SUPERGIRL Sneak Peek: Mercy Mercy Me

Supergirl photo s1e13 For The Girl Who Has Everything

There is a hallucinogen-producing plant that has been used around the DC Universe called a “Black Mercy.”  Tonight on SUPERGIRL, Kara’s evil uncle, Non (Chris Vance), uses a Black Mercy to trap his niece into a coma-like state.

The Black Mercy’s effects are not the most horrific punishment.  Although the victims are unable to move or comprehend most events around them, the plant keeps the victims captive by tapping into the pleasure centers of the brain.

The result is that the victims think they are living in a perfect world, enjoying everything they ever have wanted.  The same thing happens tonight to SUPERGIRL (Melissa Benoist).

As Uncle Non and Aunt Astra (Laura Benani) plot to manipulate Earth’s satellite system and network during a solar storm, Non decides to get Kara out of the way with a Black Mercy (that octopus-like plant skulking on the Danvers sisters’ ceiling at the end of last week’s episode).

Imprisoned in the tendrils of the hypnotic plant, SUPERGIRL is wheeled into the DEO so Alex (Chyler Leigh) and Hank (David Harewood) can try to figure out how to remove the parasite and neutralize its effects.

Meanwhile, Kara slumbers in what seems to be a new reality.  She believes that she is back on an unexploded Krypton, living happily with her father, Zor-El (Robert Gant), and mother Alura (also played by Laura Benani).

Her cousin, Kal-El (Daniel DiMaggio) is there, having never been sent to Earth because there was no impending explosion, leaving Earth with no Superman.

With SUPERGIRL unavailable to save the day, Hank, Alex and the DEO suit up to fend off the attack by Astra, Non and the Kryptonian force that serves them.

Desperate times calling for desperate measures, Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) is consulted.  James (Mehcad Brooks) and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) are allowed to visit for some last goodbyes.

How to deal with this dilemma?  There could be a small flaw in Non’s plan.

When victims notice something out of sync in the fake reality created by a Black Mercy, the plants often start to lose grip on the hosts, slowly making them easier to detach.

Many people in the DC Universe have been victims of a Black Mercy, including Green Arrow, Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.  Even the evil Mongul, the supervillain who harvests the plants, has fallen victim to the Black Mercy’s effects.

Generally due to a flaw in the fictitious dream world, the victim awakens as the plant loses control of the brain and is detached from the body.  Wonder if SUPERGIRL will see something incompatible in her dream-Krypton, or if she will sense the doom on the horizon for another planet she calls home…Earth.

SUPERGIRL also stars Calista Flockhart as media mogul, Cat Grant.  Other guest stars tonight include Briana Venskus, Christopher Showerman, Alice Aoki, Emma Caulfield, Sarah Robson and Onrico Nightingale.

The story for tonight’s episode, “The Girl Who Has Everything,” was written by Executive Producer Andrew Kreisberg, with a teleplay by producer Ted Sullivan, and Derek Simon. ”The Girl Who Has Everything” was directed by Dermott Downs who did a great job directing last week’s DC’S LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.

Speaking of the DC TV-verse, mark those calendars for Monday, March 28, when THE FLASH (Grant Gustin) crosses country (and networks) for a guest appearance in National City.

SUPERGIRL airs tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS (U.S.) and Global TV (Canada).

Syfy Renews THE MAGICIANS for Season 2

Magicians

Syfy has officially announced the renewal of freshman fantasy series THE MAGICIANS, based on the Lev Grossman novels.

“Thanks to an extraordinarily gifted creative team of executive producers and our partners at Universal Cable Productions, THE MAGICIANS has become a buzzed-about hit, enchanting fans of the novels as well as attracting new and younger audiences to Syfy,” said Dave Howe, President, Syfy & Chiller.

During its first three episodes, THE MAGICIANS averaged 1.7 million viewers, 853K Adults 18-49 and 910K Adults 25-54 (based on L3 data). The series is also strong among younger viewers, with Adults 18-34 growing consecutively over each episode, averaging 180% above Syfy’s prime time delivery in that demo.

THE MAGICIANS is currently airing its first season on Syfy on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT.

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND Teasers: The Hazards of Texting

crazy ex-girlfriend

Have you ever sent a text to the wrong person? Did it turn in to a catastrophe? That’s what happens to Rebecca on this week’s CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND.

Josh and Rebecca are doing great and Josh is still feeling really friendly towards her after camping as they have a chance meeting at a local cafe. At the same time, Paula and Scott are speaking to the hip new priest about their marital problems. Apparently they had decided not to see a therapist (too much “touchy/feely stuff”, according to Scott), but the priest suggests they spend the night having dinner alone and reconnecting.

Later that day, Rebecca is participating in a mediation and she covertly texts Paula to tell her why she’s so happy lately. But, horror of horrors, she actually sent Josh the text about how she thought he looked hot that morning and that she loves him. Rebecca just freezes when she realizes what she’s done, even as the judge is breathing down her neck about responding to the other side’s argument. Paula soon realizes what Rebecca did and just blurts it out to the others, causing everyone else in the room to agreed to a break in the case and offer up their suggestions on how Rebecca should handle this. Her ultimate solution? To break into Josh’s apartment, find the phone he left behind for the day (as he told her that morning), and delete the message.

Unfortunately, Josh arrives home just as Rebecca is getting ready to leave and she weaves an incredible tale about why she’s in his apartment. Shockingly, he buys it. But Rebecca needs help from Paula to make her cover story look real, which interrupts her dinner with her husband and leads to Paula inviting Scott along to help with Rebecca’s latest crazy scheme. Naturally, the whole thing spins wildly out of Rebecca’s control, leading to a self-pitying song. Can Rebecca figure out how to clean up her latest mess or has she ruined her chances with Josh forever?

CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND airs on February 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

CASTLE Sneak Peeks: Back Together and it Feels So Good

castle

CASTLE is finally back after the excruciatingly long hiatus, and with it comes the intrigue, banter, and of course, humor, that we’ve come to expect. With the sneak peeks we get a glimpse into this musically themed episode. The first thing to note is that Ryan and Esposito seem to be under the impression that Rick has been cheating on Kate (as if!) and are none to thrilled with this digression. But, all personal troubles are forgotten as the trio enter the home of someone involved in the current case, and they begin a game of hide-and-seek for the girlfriend holed up in the apartment.

But the true excitement from the clip comes from the development in Castle and Becket’s relationship. They are back together; but don’t tell anyone, because apparently its a secret! While they lay around in bed, very much naked, they discuss the fact that Kate is done playing lone wolf and that their now secret relationship is aided by some very “public” fights. Could this have something to do with protecting Rick from the man Kate is hunting? We will have to watch to find out!

Catch an all new CASTLE tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on ABC (U.S.) and CTV (Canada).

SCORPION Sneak Peeks: Couples Therapy

scorpion

Walter and Toby are at each other’s throats in this week’s SCORPION. It turns out that their petty bickering has reached epic proportions, angering the rest of the team and causing Cabe to declare that they fight “like an old married couple”. Paige’s solution? To sentence the pair to couples therapy. Penn Jillette will be guest staring as Toby and Walter’s couples counsellor.

Meanwhile, a powerful earthquake hits Los Angeles, leaving a pinched gas line that could lead to a massive explosion. It’s up to Team Scorpion to save the day — and the city — with a little help from Ralph.

Don’t miss an all new episode of SCORPION on February 8 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS (U.S.) or CityTV (Canada).

Morning Static: THE GOOD WIFE, GILMORE GIRLS, DAREDEVIL & More!

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• The Business of Show: SHADES OF BLUE Renewed by NBC
• Watch: Zac Efron Plays High School Musical Coach in Late Late Show Video
• Noooooooooooooo! The Good Wife to End This Season
• Carpool Karaoke: Elton John & James Corden sing Lion King theme & more
• Cool Beans: Taylor Swift will open the Grammy Awards
• Streaming News: Netflix Acquires Adolf Hitler Satire ‘Look Who’s Back’
• The Masters of the Universe: 12 Things You Didn’t Know About He-Man
• Woo-Hoo! Liza Weil confirms she’s returning for the Gilmore Girls revival
• Ouch! This Photo Of John Wall Will Probably Get More Viewers Than Colin Cowherd’s TV Show
• I Want to Go There: ATX Television Festival Adds Reunions for Friday Night Lights and The O.C. Writers
• Smart: Les Moonves Is Pushing CBS To Compete With Netflix and Hulu
• Analysis: Why Can’t Apple Figure Out Television?
• Obama: “Our TV Shows Should Have Muslim Characters That Are Unrelated To National Security”
• Monday Morning Quarterback: Reviewing CBS’s broadcast of Super Bowl 50
• Daredevil season 2: New teaser trailer
• Puppy Bowl: A behind-the-scenes look at the stuff you don’t see on TV
• Paging the WB Legal Team! Toronto is getting a Friends Central Perk coffee shop

On TV Tonight: Monday February 8, 2016

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NET 8PM 8:30PM 9PM 9:30PM 10PM 10:30PM
ABC The Bachelor Castle
CBS Supergirl Scorpion NCIS: Los Angeles
CW Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Jane the Virgin
FOX The X-Files Lucifer
NBC Superstore Telenovela The Biggest Loser
MISC American Dad (TBS)
The Fosters (Freeform)
Recovery Road (Freeform)
The Magicians (Syfy)
Cake Wars (Food)
Angie Tribeca (TBS)
Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (10:30PM, TBS)
Hit the Floor (VH1)

Orange denotes what the TV Addict is watching and/or recording tonight!

BILLIONS Sneak Peeks: Making a Play

billions

Axe decides to take his childhood friends on a spontaneous trip to see Metallica in concert in Montreal in this week’s BILLIONS. At the concert he’s meets a beautiful and free-spirited young woman who tempts him and makes him question the limits of his own freedom. He also gets some interesting news from his “fixer” about Chuck’s investigation.

During his trip, Axe is also forced to fend off a short squeeze on one of his important holdings led by Chuck’s father (leading Chuck to be furious at his father for stock manipulation) and deal with a betrayal from one of his oldest friends.

Back in New York, Chuck and his team sits down for a day-long proffer session with Pete Decker, who shares with him important facts about the inner workings of Axe Capital and of Axe himself.

And when Axe returns from his trip he’s going to make a huge decision about the future of his firm.

Don’t miss an all new episode of BILLIONS tonight at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.