X-Files Review – “Badlaa”

Another week, another column. Click the Read More link to see my thoughts and contribute yours.

Well, I just typed a long synopsis, but then I had a program crash, and lost everything in the Window manager. So, I’ll try it without a synopsis this week.

Scully’s Role

She’s back! That’s right, Scully had a major role this week, which is a nice change from the episodes earlier this season. She also did some major soul searching at the episode’s end.

This week, Scully was trying to convince Doggett that the killer they were after was a siddhi priest who could kill people, and then ride around in the corpse’s abdomen until he found a new host. Understandably, this was a hard sell. She ended up pursuing the leads in this vein, while Doggett stuck to more traditional methods, such as finding a recent murder with the same M.O. in the country the latest victim had just left.

It was Scully’s pursuit of these techniques that resulted in her soul-searching at the end of the episode. We finally got something that has been missing since Within and Without; she tried to deal with the loss of Mulder. She felt that it was her responsibility to pursue the kinds of theories and investigations that Mulder pursued, but she didn’t feel up to the task. (Doggett’s staunch skepticism probably doesn’t help much.)

Scully and Doggett’s Relationship

These two have an interesting dynamic. Up to this point, the wild theories have always been Scully’s, and Doggett has tolerated them. This week, Doggett seemed to release months of pent-up frustration after Scully brought in Chuck to help out. Doggett’s reaction to Chuck’s “briefing” was perfect. Robert Patrick portrayed slight amusement and frustration over lost time flawlessly. When Doggett asked about Chuck’s credentials, the character’s stance was laid clear.

Later in the episode, this frustration came out while investigating a new crime scene. Doggett confronted Scully, challenging their involvment in the case, and challenging her investigative methods. The relationship between these two is shaping up nicely.

The Less Fantastic Bits

Overall, this was a great episode. The one part that stuck in my craw was the lack of motive for the killer. We already knew he was a siddhi priest who rode to America in the abdomen of a business traveller, who was seeking revenge against the death of his son in a chemical spill from an American company. So, why did he choose the victims he chose? Was he trying to protect other children? If so, why did he kill the father of the bullied boy? And, most confusingly, why did he return to India at the end of the episode after going to all that trouble to get to America? Or, was that actually a different siddhi priest, who had chosen to appear exactly like the one we saw through the rest of the episode? Frankly, this just didn’t make sense.


Despite the above problems, this was still a good episode. We finally saw Scully being used as an investigator, and she finally acknowledged Mulder’s absense. The relationship between Scully and Doggett also moved along. As for the motives of the killer, perhaps they are completely unknown. Perhaps, the killer wasn’t the father of the dead boy from the chemical spill. The killer never explained his actions, and never gave away his identity, so I’m willing to let the problems above slide, and give this episode 3 stars out of 4.

2 replies on “X-Files Review – “Badlaa””

  1. Badlaa and The Future of the X-files
    The reason this episode doesn’t make sense is because we will be seeing him in the future (a new re-occurring character?) and this was just a build up episode. I don’t think the priest was actually in the United States. I think it was a physical manifestation of his spiritual presence. We shall see.

    I have a thought on the direction X-Files will be moving in. I have a feeling that when Mulder is dealt with and if the series continues the episodes will start to be more about Scully, her faith and paranormal conspiracies/phenomena (Millennium like). What about this Immaculate Conception of hers? Could Scully be giving birth to the Anti-Christ? An alien? Could they be the one and the same? Who the hell knows but it should be interesting to watch! :-)

  2. the villain
    The villain smacked of a bias against people with

    disabilities, and of orientalism. I thought the music

    was in poor taste as well. Were we supposed to be

    spooked out by the foreign sounding chanting? As for

    the emotional end, I didn’t really buy it. Call me

    cynical, but I don’t think Scully really cared _that_

    much about Mulder. (BTW, sorry if this has line break


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