Autumn Tysko's X-Files Reviews

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Biogenesis

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"Matter and gas."

As with all the cliffhangers (especially those over the summer) the audience is left to wonder what really mattered and what was merely 1013 gas. As opposed to most of the mythology episodes served up by the X-Files lately, "Biogenesis" was actually a fairly clean script with a minimum of foolishness, but when it was foolish it went for it with a gusto. I found myself captivated by the episode and liked the feeling of trying to puzzle out exactly what the impact of all of this would be - something that hasn't been that much fun in a while. Perhaps it was the more spiritual bent "Biogenesis" took - hitting at the very heart of why do we exist. Perhaps it was because it involved Scully by spearing her own personal crux between faith and science. Perhaps it was because we finally got to see Mulder screaming in the loony bin - something that's been a long time in coming. Or, perhaps it was I was just thankful for the complete and total lack of those idiotic bees. Whatever the reason, I found myself fascinated by what "Biogenesis" could mean for the series. That is, of course, if 1013 decides to make it matter next year instead of just dissolving it into so much mythology gas leaving nothing but a bad smell.

While we are all no doubt interested in Scully's internal musings, the teaser was not that. It was instead "Dr. Dana Scully Explains it all to you" from the start of time to now in four easy minutes. Sometimes I really pity the actors on this show being tasked with trying to make stuff like that interesting. Luckily, the second voice over was a little more personal and less like a history lesson. I'd much rather watch characters interacting or Paranoid!Scully searching the office for bugs than hear Scully explain how bugs actually evolved over time.

Good work by both Duchovny and Anderson to cap off the season. I did enjoy some of the little digs they managed like Mulder's stressing "science journal" in the meeting with Skinner or the small victory he had over Scully saying "it was from outer space" . It was however annoying to see the writing backtrack on Scully - turning her into that always trying to wrap things up "what more could you possibly hope to find" version of herself - just so we could have a gratuitous Samantha reference. Duchovny certainly has that man pain look down as the voices in his head started talking to him. (I do think all that hair on his head could be increasing the pressure as well and perhaps at least one of the things he might have been hearing was "get a haircut" ). I did also get a perverse pleasure out of his screaming nut moments. I'm only human. Anderson had a few of those patented little moments I especially liked like that subtle squint when Fowley answered the phone at Mulder's or the look that crossed her face at "he was asking for you last night" . My favorite moment was how she played Scully's reluctance to enter the Navajo ceremony out of respect for their beliefs. Moments like that define Scully for me. There was a lot of confusion and soul searching going on with Scully in this episode and the capable Anderson got to run the gamut of concern, suspicion, paranoia, anger and awe. The last scene at the hospital as she sees past all that Dana/hand holding BS and her suspicions set in is a wonderfully righteous moment that I'm sure A.D. "oopsie did I mention a report I shouldn't have" Skinner will not soon be forgetting.

I have to say I was disappointed in once again Carter insisting on playing the Fowley card in a mythology episode. First, she appears out of nowhere with no good explanation. Second, she makes Mulder look like a total idiot whenever she is with him. Third, she's always thrown in because the boys at 1013 seem to think it is cool to make Scully appear jealous of her. Thankfully Gillian Anderson manages to still infuse Scully with dignity while all this foolishness is going on and the hissing is kept to a minimum. However, hands down the most annoying thing was of course having Fowley began to disrobe in Mulder's apartment because the only logical purpose it served was for the writers to tweak the audience. It's pure self indulgence on the part of Carter and Spotnitz and serves to take everyone away from the story while they have their little chuckle at how they imagine the audience will react to their veiled assertion that their most ridiculous creation is going to try to seduce an ill man. Whatever.

I've got to talk about the cliffhanger for this one, because behavior like this from the writing staff is to be encouraged. First of all, no one "appears" to be dead. For that alone we should thank our lucky stars. How old was that little "shocking twist" getting? Also, in the biggest and most refreshing surprise, they actually end the season on a big Scully revelation for a change - one key to her beliefs. Plus, Mulder is halfway around the world pulling the legs off the bugs in his special room at the time wearing that fetching little dress. Finally a finale that leaves BOTH our Heroes in an interesting and challenging position, and sets up for a hell of a season opener. Thank you.

So, now that Scully has been abducted, experimented on, had a horde of little aliens run by her in the dark, seen shape-shifters and dissolving clones, had a daughter die from the heebie greenies, seen someone sucked into a spaceship while her implant called her to a dam, was stung by an evil alien minion bee, has been shoved in an alien pod naked in green goo, chased through a spaceship by a lizard alien, fallen off a giant spaceship while it took off, and now stood on another one, all I ask is that they not turn this into another game called "I had a farce in Africa" and have her blow off the whole damn thing. Meanwhile, Mulder surely will not be able to keep this new Gibson Praisesque power (and kudos to the little boy for handling his gift a lot better than Mulder - perhaps Mulder should stop screaming and start watching the cartoon network to calm his nerves). If you thought Mulder's leaps of logic were incredible before, he could have every case wrapped up in the teaser in season seven with his new Spooky sense. Someone get him a cape for his hospital smock. So, we can also look forward to figuring a way out of that predicament. Meanwhile, in our brief time with CancerMan we see he is attending a meeting with the new Junior Consortium and they are all worried about annihilation. Plus, for the Skinner fans, they get to spend the summer fretting about Skinner being turned into a traitorous liar and Krycek lackey. We also are left to ponder whether or not we are the byproduct of aliens and their own little take on the whole Genesis 1:28 be fruitful and multiply idea - something that has been hinted at for a while. All in all, lots to keep fans minds pondering in the long summer, and a lot more interesting pondering than the eternal alt.tv.x-files question "IS MOULDER DED?" Technically there were a few really odd moments in this episode. I cannot for the life of me figure out why director Bowman and Director of Photography Bill Roe appeared to go to videotape rather than film stock when Scully first enters the hospital in New Mexico. The whole sequence before she got to Albert's room was oddly lit and shot. Then there was that really weird close-up of Scully's ear as she was tracking down Sandoz where I half expected to hear that "Bionic Woman" hearing noise. I guess we were supposed to realize Scully was hearing the stair alarm going off, but it was just odd. Let's not forget the super ridiculous Skinner spying on them scene as he peers out the door Mulder just slammed just in time for Mulder telling Scully about the spying. How more obvious could that have been? Also, as much as I liked the ending, and believe me, I really liked the ending, I do have a complaint. It really destroyed the impact of a breathtaking moment of discovery to leave the audience thinking that Scully and all the fishermen were too stupid to be able to see this big honking UFO with huge pieces of it sticking dramatically out of the water because they were distracted by a little piece of metal in the sand a few feet away.

Thus ends another season.

Random Musings

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-Here's a fun way to spend the summer: Figure out how Chris Carter will try to weasel out of Scully realizing she's standing on the big honking UFO. My guess is that he will start doing interviews in a month and between his "beware Diana Fowley" cackles he will start talking about how jetlagged Scully was, thus making her "woozy" . Perhaps they'll even do an article in the official magazine about how long plane flights can alter your perception via jetlag.

-Mark Snow certainly has had an easier year since he wrote the movie score. He samples heavily from it here as well as from (and please do not ask how I recognized this - I'll almost embarrassed to admit it) "Teliko" .

-Not only do they sample from the movie's score, they also managed to sample from the movie itself. During that Discovery channel special masquerading as a teaser we even saw the cavemen from the film.

-If Scully is going to start doing voiceovers for the Discovery channel could she at least host "Shark Week" next year?

-Not only does the amazing, spinning, flying artifact imbed itself in the Bible highlighting an important passage, but it also manages to rearrange the whole bookshelf around it. Between the time it lands in the Bible and when Dr. Merkallen retrieves it, several of the books that were standing vertically to the right of it are now horizontal to the left.

-Frank's Fashion Spot: Sigh. Finally. It was not black. What a lovely choice for the professional gal searching the Ivory Coast for truth. And most importantly it was not black. Perhaps a little long for barefoot traipsing in the sand, but it was not black.

-Frank's Fashion Spot 2: Let's call it the Anti-Frank Fashion Spot shall we? Perhaps Fowley was merely trying to change out of that hideous green little shell and that explains it. Well, whatever the reason, at least we can rest assured that seeing Fowley and her twin torpedoes of 18 hour cross your heart deceit was enough to send Mulder to the rubber room screaming for Scully all night. Don't worry Mulder, it scared everyone.

-Anyone else think the magic squares thing was just tossed in there for absolutely no reason except for sort of sounding cool and occultish?

-Great work by production designer Corey Kaplan and team on the scenes at the Universite' Cote D'Ivoire. I loved the feel of that room. It really took you to another place.

-I do have to quibble however with the idea that the professor was having to call out on a rotary phone. Surely they'd have touch tone capability there, wouldn't they?

-Sort of a fun "death amongst the monkey cages" tie in to that first stunning finale "The Erlenmeyer Flask."

-Speaking of the monkeys, they also seemed to have quite an intense reaction to the artifact. What does it say that only Mulder and monkeys are bothered by this thing?

-The writers manage another dig at the fans who believe that after 6 years Scully also has a place in the downstairs office with Mulder's "I'm sorry, I thought this was my office" line.

-Even though it is not her office at least Scully knows where the missing screen was for the projector.

-Once again in the everyone gets to call him "Fox" but Scully category we have Chuck referring to him as that.

-While we are on Chuck, I was glad to see him again. It's a fun little character and I did like the idea of Scully being the one to call him in for something right up his "twisted little alley" . Plus he gets one of the best lines in the show: "been there, debunked that." -It seems Mulder has wasted no time in getting his pencils in the ceiling collection back. Had to make it home again I guess.

-I always think it is funny how Mulder and Scully make cops that have already searched crime scenes look immediately stupid by just waltzing up to the garbage and finding a big smelly clue.

-Was anyone else a little frightened thinking of that bow tied little nerd of a Doctor wearing the cowboy hat draped over his bedpost? I don't even want to go there.

-Also you have to love the CLUE photo: Here's me, my artifact and Albert! Say Scully is that Albert the World War II Navajo code talker for those just joining us? Why yes it is!

-Most distressing moment for me in the finale was when Scully answered "no" when asked if she was packing any latex by Mulder. MY GOD what is the world coming to? I thought those gloves just grew in her pockets or multiplied like bunnies in there. Or that every morning she put on her watch and shoved gloves in her suit pocket. I'm sadly disillusioned.

-Can someone who knows these things please explain why in the world your arms would have more radiation in them than the rest of the body? Or is that just with "cosmic galactic radiation" , which is, by the way, one of the silliest names for radiation I've ever heard. I think they should have made it even more impressive and called it "super kaduper cosmic galactic universal radiation" .

-I really enjoyed the moment where Scully smacked her hand down on the spinning artifact as if by doing that it would negate what had just happened. What they really ought to do is take the thing on Letterman for a version of "Stupid Artifact Tricks" .

-I found it very amusing the way Sandoz tells Scully not to tell anyone where he is after he listens to her do that very thing on the phone. Duh!

Autumn Tysko
"You're both liars."

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