I don't really have any planned out thought processes about this one, but it definitely warranted at least some discussion, as it left me with a definite need to Say Something.
The first thing I wanted to mention was how much this reminded me of Stranger Than Fiction (the film with Will Ferrell and Emma Thompson), at least in the way that whatever Padgett wrote became true. Given that STF was a fairly light-hearted film, it was interesting how this episode took that same idea (admittedly much earlier) and made it dark and disturbing.
This episode was another one I remembered solely for the shippy ending, which probably accounted for the fact that I'd blocked out the majority of the rest of it. And yeah. On watching it properly, it made me incredibly uncomfortable. I imagine that's the point, of course; however much it makes the viewers squirm is nothing compared to what Scully must be going through when Padgett corners her in the church. That scene is relentless in the way it's written, and thus incredibly effective. The addition of Padgett's weird ability to write things and make them happen takes that stalker mentality and adds a whole new level of threat and danger.
I liked the idea of him creating a character who could do things he would never imagine or be able to achieve. It really plays on that aspect of writing which is pure psyche-satisfaction, even Mary Sue-ism. I also liked that his own character then went all pop pscyhologist on him to make him figure out his own motives, which - again - seems a literal interpretation of the catharsis of writing. The entire episode is basically an exercise in demonstrating the power of words, which is especially true considering it's very well-written to start with.
Scully's breakdown at the end is almost a relief, as it feels as though she's been bottling everything up since the start. It's difficult to tell how many of Padgett's suppositions are correct (though he seems to have Mulder completely sussed :P) - I'm not sure if Scully IS trying to make Mulder notice her, for example, as I'm fairly sure they have some kind of Unspoken Thing by this point. It's probably so internalised that Padgett wouldn't pick up on it until that small, physical gesture later on when he realises his 'mistake'. The ending would certainly prove, however, that his 'correction' is much more accurate.
As much as Padgett is essentially quite a tragic character, and obviously troubled, I still found it difficult to feel sorry for him. I think this has a lot to do with that ingrained "KILL" reaction towards anyone who happens to interfere with Mulder and Scully (at least in my case), or perhaps just that he goes about things in the wrong way. And he's just plain creepy, so I imagine the majority of female viewers are automatically turned off him by the first scene with Scully in the lift. I'm sure we've all had scary blokes stare at us for an inappropriate amount of time, and it's not pleasant. Creepy McCreeperton.
As an aside, I was convinced that the guy playing the murderer character (Nestor Serrano, apparently) was the voice of Jacques in that episode of The Simpsons where Marge learns to bowl on her own to spite Homer. A quick IMDB search informs me otherwise, however. I was also convinced that Carnivale's Lodz had appeared in "The Pine Bluff Variant", but that also turned out not to be the same guy.
I suck at this. ;)
Anyway, that's that. One more tape of season six to go. When I started this rewatch the end seemed so far away; now it's drawing closer I don't want it to end. :(