- So this was a very strange episode, and I definitely have mixed feelings about it, as I have done for some of the others.
- NGL, the teaser made me really uncomfortable. I mean, yeah, the entire episode was about the contrast between unconditional love and unconditional hate, but when the opening started with a nice-looking Islamic man going about his daily business, making himself a PB&J sandwich and meeting a friend, I thought it was going to be a sort of "Look how wrong your assumptions were!" moment... but no, he was in fact a suicide bomber.
Oddly enough, I had noticed this season that a couple of the episodes have featured Indian-American characters and I wondered if their casting was deliberate, given the tone of the first episode about current paranoia and the horrendous Islamophobia which has arisen as a result - a kind of your-perception-of-brown-people-has-been-c
hallenged type thing. And then "Babylon" went down the terrorism route and I just felt really disappointed.
There wasn't even anything mysterious about the teaser; it was literally just suicide bombers. And just... something about the way they double-bluffed the viewers made me really irritated.
- Anyway. That aside, the rest of the episode was interesting. I thought the casting of Agent Einstein (LOL) was perfect; she had Gillian Anderson's mannerisms circa 1993 down pat. I generally love that trope of other characters coming into a relationship dynamic several years later and immediately just getting it, so the bit with Einstein's theory... sorry, that just looks weird, from here on out her name is baby!Scully.... the bit with baby!Scully's theory, as to why an educated scientist and medical doctor had stuck around for so long with a kooky paranormal nut like Mulder was because she was in love with him, was awesome. (Canon shippers FTW.)
I wonder, in fact, whether she would have jumped to the same conclusion in one of the earlier episodes, as over the past four weeks we have slowly watched these two come back together again, which has included a notable difference in Scully's presentation and attitude towards Mulder...
- Agent Miller (also LOL) didn't remind me as much of a young David Duchovny, however, though his rookie enthusiasm was lovely to see. I also enjoyed that the episode paired up Scully/Miller and Mulder/Einstein, like they were kind of mentoring each other, though I would have liked to see some scenes between the two female and two male agents - there was a lot they could have done with this episode in terms of the characters not recognising themselves in their younger counterparts, and in that respect it missed a trick.
- I loved Scully repeating Mulder's famous line from the Pilot, "Nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted", his surprised reaction and her response of "I've been waiting 23 years to say that". (Though it made me feel SO OLD at the same time. Wow.)
- Some parts of this episode were pure comedy gold, most notably Mulder's "trip" and that exchange with baby!Scully in the office. (Unfortunately the transcript is not up yet on Inside the X so this is from memory.)
Einstein: [asks how all her years of education have left her a simpleton]
Mulder: No, not a simpleton, a mugwump.
Einstein: A what?
Mulder: Sit down and shut up.
Einstein: Do you speak to Agent Scully like that?
Mulder: Only when she's being a mugwump.
I had to rewind that bit to hear the second half because I was giggling so much.
As for the "trip"... oh dear lord. Mulder line dancing, Skinner in his stupid cowboy hat, the Lone Gunmen... it was just terrifying and hilarious in equal measure. Also the part where he was walking down the hospital corridor and high-fiving everyone, and the aftermath when he woke up in hospital to Skinner's patented Disapproving Glare.
They never did quite answer the question as to how Mulder managed to have a mushroom trip without any mushrooms... or indeed how he managed to communicate with the survivor, for that matter.
- The part where the hospital nurse just casually turned off the life support when she discovered the patient was an extremist was chilling. I kind of wish Scully had caught her and given her a full-on ass-kicking, though to be fair she had her moment with the government agent telling them to evacuate. Her quiet explanation that "Not every Muslim is a terrorist" was laced with weary impatience, like she'd had her fill of casual bigoted racists four million times over already. Which to be fair, being a woman in a man's world for her entire career, makes a lot of sense; Scully has had a lot of bigoted shit to deal with and I think I would be fed up of it as well.
- Of course, you should know by now that I can't let the final scene go without discussion... ;)
First of all: that song at the end was PERFECT. Like "Post-Modern Prometheus" all over again. Sometimes this show pitches stuff exactly right and nails it; this was one of those times. They may not have said it themselves, but the words were out there for the viewers nonetheless: it's a start, an acknowledgement, communicated silently and fully received. (With this show, sometimes that's the best you can hope for. :P)
Mulder seemed oddly content, sitting on his porch listening to music, and obviously when Scully pulled up he was trying to keep things on the downlow. (I had a little joyful squee to myself: "She's come home!") Unfortunately, I was so distracted by anticipation as to how the scene would pan out that I didn't pay much attention to their actual conversation, other than the parallels between unconditional love (as witnessed by Mulder when the survivor's mother was communicating with him) and unconditional hate (as witnessed by Scully at the hospital). Quite frankly, that expression on Mulder's face as he was talking about said unconditional love, whilst staring at Scully, was enough to break me. :P
Their little stroll, hand-in-hand, was adorable; I think we can safely say that some of the cracks are starting to mend now. I am convinced there would have been a kiss if not for Mulder hearing the imaginary trumpets, but Chris Carter is nothing it not an evil genius. I like to think that's what happened after the camera panned away...
...and then I let myself breathe. ISTG this show will actually kill me one of these days.
I am excited for the final episode (I forgot to watch the trailer, now I come to think about it) but it's a nervous excitement. I started the season convinced that the MSR would pan out the way I wanted, because any other outcome was inconceivable, and for the most part I believe it will, but... at the same time, I am aware of some minor spoilers and I think the finale will not satiate the Inner Shipper, who is already foaming at the mouth in anticipation. So basically, whilst I am confident that Mulder and Scully can repair their broken hearts and begin to reconcile the years lost, I am equally as confident that this will be off-screen and the viewers will be left ultimately disappointed - or at least, unfulfilled.
But actually, that's okay. If this revival has been successful then we may well get more episodes - maybe even ten or twelve next time which is closer in length to a full season these days - and however this season leaves things, it will need to continue in the same vein if it does get renewed. There's only so far Chris Carter can crush our hearts, and ultimately I do trust him. Though I may regret saying that next week. :P
Anyway, I think that about covers it. I should really have made proper notes for these episodes because my memory is definitely not what it was...
In other news, today the occupants of Lifford House have had to evacuate and work elsewhere due to a burst water main in the street. I thankfully had a meeting at the access centre this afternoon, and another one tomorrow morning, so hopefully by the time I've come out again it might be fixed...
Only one more of these entries to get through, and then we shall return to your regularly scheduled lack of posting other than to complain about my health and my job. Although there is every likelihood that after seeing Sunset Boulevard in April I will fall back into that fandom with an almighty crash, as usual, by which point I should hopefully have had time to get X-Files out of my system again.
So yeah: BE WARNED.