Anyway. "The End". It's quite an apt title. It was the last episode to be shot in Vancouver before the series moved to LA, and the end of the episode itself certainly indicates that things are at an end, with the burning of Mulder's office. And yet there are still more questions: the return of Cancer Man, and Agent Spender's agenda... not to mention whatever Diana Fowley is up to.
It's something of a running joke that Diana Fowley became nicknamed 'The Fowl One', and it was interesting to watch this development in the series from the (slightly) more objective perspective. At the point of original viewing, anyone who interfered with Mulder and Scully's dynamic was obviously instantaneously evil, usually with no grounding... but it seems that the episode was scripted in such a way as to make us hate her.
That there is only one letter / syllable's difference between Fowley and Scully's forenames is not a coincidence, I'm sure.
Scully has always been threatened by those pieces of Mulder's past which he has not revealed, and doubly so when it involves ex-girlfriends. We saw this in "Fire" with Phoebe Green to a lesser extent; at that point in the series, Phoebe was not written deliberately to be antagonising, merely as an incidental character. Even so, Scully became oddly territorial. By the end of the fifth season, however, there is so much more between them that Fowley's presence comes as a great spanner in the works.
The first thing the writers do to alienate us from Fowley is put her completely on Mulder's side and on his wavelength. Perhaps the viewers are so used to him being contradicted by Scully's scientific rationality that it comes as a surprise, but there's also a feeling of suspicion. What's she up to? Is she genuine? At this point in the series, it's better to take any potential 'good guy' with a pinch of salt.
She calls Mulder by his first name; moreover, she feels that it's her right to do so. The reaction is instant hatred. If Scully isn't allowed to use his first name, nor is anyone else, much less someone who disappeared out of his life for years.
The most telling sequence comes a few minutes later, as Scully arrives to deliver the evidence to Mulder in person and spies him hand-in-hand with Diana, before retreating to the car and pretending to be on her way to the office. It's an uncharacteristically cowardly exit, and in itself says an awful lot about her conflicted feelings about Fowley. She calls him up, using their familiar "it's me" greeting; it's an out-of-sight-out-of-mind mentally that doesn't quite work. I remember when this episode first aired, and the trailer focussed on that scene quite predominantly, with Aqua's "Turn Back Time" playing over the top (Sky One were always good at finding appropriate songs; "Memento Mori" had "Lean on Me" for its trailer, which I could never hear again afterwards without thinking of the episode...) It's a very small scene, yet incredibly significant.
As if this wasn't enough, when Fowley is looking after Gibson Praise, she falls asleep. No maternal instinct = no sympathy. Her words to Scully on arrival - "I've come to relieve you" - are also ironic. When she's shot through the window, it almost feels as though she deserves it.
Despite Fowley being incapacitated, I can't help but feel later on that Scully is hanging out at Mulder's apartment as some kind of personal safeguard...
In the end of "The End", however, it's just Mulder and Scully in the charred remains of their office. That last, sweeping shot is absolutely amazing, from Scully's quiet attempt at comfort to Mulder's shocked silence, as the blackened remnants of his life's work lie smoking before him. Another of those moments, like in "Post Modern Prometheus", which would have been a perfect final shot.
It's just a relief it wasn't. :)
So, a movie and four seasons to go, and my Inner Shipper is quite excited. The movie was something of a turning point in their relationship (Hallway Scene FTW!) and towards the end it starts to get quite intense in terms of pretty much everything. I'm also looking forward to watching seasons 8 and 9 and properly appreciating Doggett and Reyes, and moreover how Chris Carter managed to obtain almost the same level of tension with two entirely separate characters. it's no mean feat to do it once, but twice? Genius. I can vaguely remember some good episodes of seasons 8 and 9, but nothing beyond random images...
I kind of wish someone had done the re-watch along with me so I'd have someone to bounce ideas off. *sigh*
Aaanyway. That filled the lull in work for a bit (busy this morning, and I didn't get on lunch until 1.30)... better find something to do for the next 2.5 hours...