X-Files – “Existence”

I apologize for the late review. I’ve been having computer problems at home, so I can’t log in from there at the moment. I’m writing this from work, so I had to keep it brief. As a result, I chose to forgo the summary for the moment. It will follow at a later time. Read more for the review.

Cast

This episode starred Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), Zachary Ansley
(Billy Miles), Tom Braidwood (Frohike), David Duchovny (Fox Mulder),
Annabeth Gish (Monica Reyes), Dean Haglund (Langley), Bruce Harwood
(Byers), Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek), Robert Patrick (John Doggett),
James Perkins Jr. (Kirsch), and Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner).

Crew

The crew members that seemed to have the biggest impact this week
were Matt Beck (visual effects supervisor) Chris Carter (writer), Kim
Manners (director), Bill Roe (director of photography), and Mark Snow
(composer).

Original Airdate

Existence originally aired on Sunday May 20, 2001.

Synopsis

Since I’m posting from work, the synopsis will be following linked
from a comment when I get my home computer back online.

Random Blatherings

First of all, I’d like to point out that we haven’t seen the back
of Mulder’s neck clearly since his miraculous recovery. There’s no
guarantee that it really was Mulder kissing Scully. Krycek did tell
Skinner that killing Mulder would save thousands of lives…

Second, Krycek seemed to have a change of heart in the past few
months. What could cause such a drastic personality change? I won’t
be sure he’s dead until I see the back of the corpse’s neck. (Where
did the corpse go, anyway?)

Third, how did Skinner know where to find Doggett when he came back
into the FBI building? How would he know which floor Doggett ran to?

Fourth, who could have predicted the seeming
evidence that Scully’s baby is the rebirth of Christ?

High Point

Although the scene between Doggett and Kirsch was fantastic, I’d have
to say that the high point in the episode was the moment when Skinner
shot Krycek.

Low Point

For me, the low point of the episode was the kiss.

Review

This episode was nothing like any X-Files episode I can remember,
and I’ve seen them all. I give it 6 out of 6 for
originality.

The effects were great as well. From the makeup effects,
to the wounds to Krycek, to the reassembly of Billy Miles from a
single metal vertebra, the only qualm I have is the slight cartoony
quality of the bullet that landed between Krycek’s eyes. I give the
effects 5 out of 6.

The story and writing were also fantastic. The character
work with Doggett in his confrontation with Kirsch, the less than
comforting words from Reyes to Scully, and the various frantic, heated
discussions all kept the episode moving, and gave the cast and crew a
lot to work with. I give the writing 5 out of 6.

Speaking of the actors, they did a fantastic job this week. Robert
Patrick stole his final scene from Perkins and Gish, making it clear
that both the character and the actor will be able to determine the
future success of the X-Files. The writers can hand the X-Files over
to Doggett and Reyes, and I’ll keep watching, even though Reyes is a
lack-luster character. I give the acting 5 out of 6.

In terms of generating an emotional response, this episode
did a wonderful job. The cast and crew had me guessing, and kept me
paranoid and of balance. There were times when I felt Krycek should
not be trusted under any circumstances, and there were moments when I
thought he was the only character that could be trusted. I found
myself doubting Skinner’s motives for the first time since Paper
Clip
, and I was very anxious when Scully was giving birth in front
of so many, well, witnesses. I have to give this episode 5 out of 6.

The production this week was excellent. Mat Beck made this
stuff seem real, Mark Snow and Bill Roe maintained a fantastic
atmosphere, and Kim Manners kept it all together and made it move
along at a significant pace. I feel I would be ripping them off to
give them any less than 5 out of 6.

Overall, this is debatably the best episode so far in the
series. I feel compelled to give it 6 out of 6.

That adds up to a total of 37 out of 42, which is the highest score I’ve ever given. I find it hard to imagine myself giving a score this high again, actually.

Next Week

There won’t be new episodes of The
X-Files
until the fall, and there won’t be new episodes of The
Lone Gunmen
, ever. As a result, I’m not sure what to review next
week. You can help me decide; it’ll either be a movie (probably one I
have on DVD), or I can start reviewing X-Files from the beginning, and
build a database of reviews for the entire series. If you have any
requests, post them below, or e-mail me.

11 replies on “X-Files – “Existence””

  1. Dave says:

    Typo, or really clever line?
    Krycek did tell Skinner that killing Mulder would save thousands of lies…

    Having not seen the episode yet (yeah, I know, I’m bad), I’m not sure whether this is in fact a line from the show or just a typo. If it is a typo, though, it needs to stay as it somehow still makes sense. :)

  2. Dave says:

    Also: Math!
    Since fiziko forgot the total, my math has it as a 37/42 — I believe that’s his highest rating yet! Maybe I should get away from the code and watch that darn videotape…

  3. fiziko says:

    Dave’s right on both counts.
    The typo has been fixed (lies is now lives), and the total has been added to the body.

  4. Myxx says:

    What’s the problem with the kiss?
    You give no real reason for your dislike of the kiss, only that you considered it the low point of the episode. Why so? If you are going to provide a thorough and detailed analysis of the episode, which I feel was one of the weaker ones with its amateur attempt at symbolism, I have always been a shipper. Romance is simply another part of life. And I submit to you that Mulder’s motives would have remained the same no matter whether or not he loved her.

    Their relationship has always been kept discreet. You never had gushy kissing, or gratuitous sex. It was simply accepted that after all this time and after all they had shared, it was only natural they had only each other left. Dana could no longer trust her mother, lost her sister and father, and her brother was always distant. Mulder had lost his mother, father (though it is still believed CSM was his real father), and sister. The only true thing Scully could ever count on was Mulder’s faith and determination to win out no matter what. How could one not find at least respect if not love for such a way of life? Scully needed someone like this as she herself was just as driven, just as stubborn, just as desperate for a deeper meaning to everything.

    Again, in what way did their implied relationship degrade, reduce, or otherwise minimize the impact of their roles, jobs, or adventures?

  5. rickyjames says:

    Symbolism Is Better Than Plot Holes…
    …And this episode had plenty. I was glad to see the Gunmen made it out of the vault OK (three wise men bearing gifts – cute). I agree with the post above, the kiss was OK and at least four years overdue even in the most platonic relationship, but now that its a done deal, let’s get on with John and Monica (sympathetic heros on a first name basis at last!). I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but I think the torch has been more than successfully passed – I can hardly wait!!!!!

  6. fiziko says:

    Why I dislike the kiss
    I have always agreed with Chris Carter on their

    relationship. Mulder and Scully have a lot of

    professional respect for each other, and are as close

    as two people can really get, but that doesn’t mean

    they have a romantic relationship.

    The main reason I’ve been opposed to the idea so far

    is that a romantic relationship between the two main

    characters would change the nature and direction of

    the show from dramatic mystery solving to a simple

    relationship show. The writers are in a position

    (forced upon them by Duchovny) to find two new

    characters to play the leads. Now that Gillian has

    announced her intention to allow her contract to run

    out after season nine, they can effectively write

    them off as a couple, and leave the focus on the

    X-Files where it belongs, as investigated by Doggett

    and Reyes. This is a direction I can live with.

    I also have to admit that the miss-kiss from Fight

    The Future
    did not seem natural at all, but this

    one wasn’t as bad. There was some awkwardness, but

    that could be chalked up to a first kiss scenario.

    Perhaps when I’ve had more time to stew on it, and

    see where they take the series this fall, I’ll be

    more forgiving.

  7. xah says:

    kissing
    When a movie features an important kiss scene, they

    supposedly film that scene first, when the actor and

    actress first meet, in order to avoid the awkwardness

    of kissing one’s friend that would otherwise come out

    on screen. On the X-Files, however, it took 9 years of

    filming to finally film the kiss scene. Duchovny and

    Anderson are friends. So when they kissed for the

    camera, it must have been awkward for them. It was

    awkward just looking at them. At first it didn’t look

    right. Why would they kiss like that? They just leaned

    over the baby. It didn’t look like they were even

    really into it. I was kind of hoping they would kiss,

    so I wasn’t too surprised when they did. I was

    expecting them to have a thunderbolt revelation,

    though, and then a fiery look into one another’s eyes,

    followed by a passionate embrace.

    Instead, we got a casual kiss. It was the kind of kiss

    that a longtime husband and wife might share. Tender,

    but not overwhelmingly passionate.

    And who the heck was the father of the baby? Either

    Scully really is the Virgin Mary who was immaculately

    conceived, or Mulder was the father. But Mulder stopped

    giving her his sperm two months before Scully’s 9 month

    pregnancy began. (I think.) So what happened?

    Maybe Scully and Mulder secretly hooked up at that

    point. Or even before. There was that episode where

    they had a night on the town together. As was

    mentioned, it’s implausible that these two particular

    characters would not have become a couple under the

    circumstances they have faced, and faced together.

    Maybe their secret romance was the biggest X-File of

    them all.

  8. fiziko says:

    Paternity
    A secret romance is not enough to explain paternity.

    Scully had no ova left; she needed outside help to

    become pregnant. Knowle’s explanation (sorry for

    spelling his name Nolan in the review; at work, I

    have fewer resources to double-check things) of the

    chip impregnating her seems to be the only one that

    does not require divine intervention.

  9. fiziko says:

    OT: The Lone Gunmen
    It seems the thirteenth, as yet unaired episode of

    the Lone Gunmen will air on June 1. I’ll review that

    one as well.

  10. Erf says:

    A different higher power?
    There was a lot of (blatant) symbolism in this ep (although I didn’t pick up on the “three wise men” angle — awesome), but I think it points somewhere that isn’t quite so obvious. This is hinted at by Mulder’s monologue at the beginning, but also by stuff that’s said and stuff that happens during the ep.

    Case in point: In the Biblical tale of Jesus, he was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Here, the baby is conceived by the power of a microchip.

    I think the “higher power” responsible for bringing this baby about is not divine, but alien or government or something. The light that Mulder followed could have been provided by a spacecraft, for example. All the alien replicants were there to watch the baby being born (a “heavenly host”), but then they just let it be. They witnessed what the baby was, but that was it.

    It will be *very* interesting to see where this goes, and who the higher power turns out to be (and why this power arranged Scully’s baby…).

  11. fiziko says:

    Synopsis

    Here’s that summary I promised.

    The episode really had two parallel stories. One was
    the story involved Mulder, Knowle, Doggett, Krycek and
    Skinner back at FBI headquarters, and the other was about
    Scully and Reyes in Northern Georgia. The episode
    intercut between them, but I’ll summarize them
    seperately.

    In the male half of the story, Doggett, Mulder and
    Skinner do their best to get more information out of
    Krycek. This was unsuccessful, but Knowle approached
    Doggett and offered him help stopping Billy Miles. Mulder
    and Doggett went to meet him, while Skinner stayed with
    Krycek.

    Billy Miles (who had reassembled himself from a single
    metal vertebra during the teaser) came to FBI
    headquarters. Krycek and Skinner left, and Krycek offered
    Skinner no help in escaping. Skinner did manage to get in
    the elevator with Krycek, but Billy punched his hand
    through the elevator doors, hitting Skinner in the head
    and stopping the elevator.

    Mulder and Doggett, meanwhile, found that Knowle was no
    real help. He was a hard man to find, although he had
    warned Doggett that anyone who knew Scully’s location was
    in danger. (Doggett was the only one who knew.) After
    returning to the FBI, they found Knowle and Krycek meeting
    in a car in the basement. Doggett followed Knowle into
    the FBI, while Mulder stayed in the parkade watching
    Krycek.

    While inside, Doggett found Knowle and Agent Crane meeting
    with someone obscured from his vantage point. While
    trying to avoid detection, he found Skinner in his office,
    recovered from the concussion he’d received, and they
    phoned Mulder to fill him in.

    Mulder was sufficiently distracted to lose track of
    Krycek, who surpsied him and pulled him out of his
    vehicle. Krycek held him at gunpoint, but Skinner arrived
    and shot his good arm before he could pull the trigger.
    After a second bullet in the leg, and a third between the
    eyes, Skinner and Mulder assumed Krycek was dead and went
    back to help Doggett.

    The three of them soon found themselves in a car chase
    with Knowle and Crane, both of whom were now known as
    bumpy-necked aliens. They escaped, and Mulder left in
    search of Scully, without getting the location from
    Doggett.

    Scully and Reyes were hiding from the world in a ghost
    town. (It wasn’t a ghost town when Doggett grew up
    there.) They found a place for Scully to give birth, and
    soon met a local law enforcement officer. The officer
    offered to help to a point.

    Reyes went for some water, and spotted Billy Miles.
    Before Miles could attack her, the law enforcement officer
    shot him with her shotgun, and came to help with the
    birth. Reyes noticed bumps on her neck, like the ones on
    Billy, and threw boiling water in her face. The law
    enforcement woman insisted that the child would be born.
    After hearing this, Reyes allowed her (and the dozens of
    other aliens who’d arrived) to watch from a distance. The
    child was born just before Mulder arrived by helicopter,
    and took them to a hospital.

    In the final two scenes of the episode, Doggett confronted
    Kersh. Doggett was taking command of the X-Files, since
    Crane, Krycek, and Knowle had all entered the building on
    Kersh’s authority, and his office was under investigation.
    Doggett also assigned Reyes to the X-Files.

    In the final scene, the three wise men, er, lone gunmen,
    arrived bearing gifts to see the baby. They left when
    Mulder arrived to see Scully. He told her that he found
    her by following a star. (A bright light had been visible
    in the sky from Georgia throughout the episode.) He then
    kissed her, and she kissed him back.

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