X-Files Review – “Provenance”

One of the last episodes of The X-Files
aired last night. It was the first of two parts.
You know what to do.


as Dana Scully

as John Doggett
Agent Reyes


Written by Chris
and Frank

Directed by Kim

A more complete cast and crew list can be found here.

Original Airdate

originally aired on
March 3,


Provenance was the first part of a two
part episode that
Chris Carter promises will explain what there is
to know about William
Scully and the super soldiers.

The episode opens with an illegal border crossing
from Canada into the
United States. The man attempting to cross drove
off a cliff,
apparently ending his life in an explosion. The
camera panned over,
revealing that he was carrying rubbings very
similar to those Scully
made off a spaceship way back in The Sixth

Scully was soon called into the FBI main office
to tell most of the
FBI senior staff what she knew about the
rubbings, although she
withheld information because the FBI staff was
obviously withholding
information from her. She left the meeting to
tell Doggett and Reyes
that the rubbings were from a space ship that was
found in Africa, and
that the symbols were writings, and were powerful
words. Doggett and
Reyes soon began to investigate on their own.

Doggett’s investigation led him to break into
Skinner’s office after
investigating the scene at the border (which was
being watched by
A.D. Follmer.) In Skinner’s office, he found the
FBI file on the dead
man and the rubbings, both of which he stole.

Doggett and Reyes met in Reyes’ apartment, and
called Scully to meet
them. They soon found that the rubbings that
Doggett stole didn’t
match the ones Scully made, so they concluded
that the cult that the
border-jumper had joined had found a second craft.

When Scully returned home, she found the border
jumper had attacked
her mother and was trying to kill William.
Scully shot him three
times to halt the attack. He was still lying
bleeding on her floor
when Doggett and Reyes showed up. Doggett called
the paramedics,
while the border jumper managed to say that
William must die.

After the attacker was removed, Scully found the
man’s coat on her
floor, which had a piece of the space craft in
its pocket. After
Reyes returned with Mrs. Scully and William, the
piece flew out of the
drawer Scully had it in, and stopped in midair,
floating just above
the baby.

In the final act of the episode, the FBI finally
tell Scully why she
wasn’t involved in the case from the beginning.
The FBI agent
originally went undercover in the cult because
they had been making
threats to Mulder’s life, and more recently had
claimed Mulder was
already dead.

Scully and Reyes brought William to the Lone
Gunmen to protect him, while Doggett stayed
outside Scully’s apartment
building to check on a vehicle that had been
sitting there. The
driver hit Doggett with the vehicle while
pursuing Scully and Reyes.

When Scully and Reyes returned to Scully’s
apartment building, they
found the place swarming with police and medical
officials, with
Skinner overseeing it all. Reyes ran to see
Doggett, while Scully got
into her car to go back to her son.

The final scene of the episode closed with the
Lone Gunmen being
forced into a collision. Byers was the only one
who stayed fully
conscious, but the cult member who’d driven them
into a wall and run
over Doggett had a gun to his head when “To Be
Continued” appeared on

High Point

Doggett has always played by the books. This
week we saw just what it
would take for him to break regulations and break
into Skinner’s
office for the sake of an investigation.

Low Point

Scully’s intuitive leap connecting the baby with
the rubbings. She
has become more willing to accept extreme
possibilities, but even she
needs some evidence for something like this.

The Review

The originality of this week’s episode
was somewhat lacking.
It’s hard to be original at this point in the
series though, since
they’re wrapping up the storylines they’ve
introduced in the past.
It’s just a generally bad time to introduce
anything new into the
mix. I give it 3 out of 6.

The only real visual effects this week
were the fireball at
the beginning (which is a twenty year old effect
at least) and the
flying spaceship bit, which was done back in the
seventh season.
Nonetheless, both were well done, although the
hovering spaceship bit
looked like CGI. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story this week was pretty good,
except for the
aforementioned leap that Scully took. The
elements are starting to
come together with more answers than questions.
The major characters
were all used well, right down to the Lone
Gunmen. I give it 5
out of 6.

The acting this week was very good. In
fact, it was the
first episode in which I was satisfied with the
work done both by Cary
Elwes (as A.D. Follmer) and Annabeth Gish (as
Reyes). Gillian
Anderson did very well, showing a new kind of
vulnerability for
Scully. Shiela Larken’s work as Margaret Scully
was very good as
well. Robert Patrick (as Doggett) and Mitch
Pileggi (as A.D. Skinner)
have yet to miss their marks in the entire
series, in my opinion. I
give the acting 5 out of 6.

As far as the emotional response is
concerned, anticipation
was the strongest emotion I felt. Some of that
was anticipation for
the upcoming answers, and some was anticipation
for the potential
death of William Scully, Demon Sprog. Either
way, it kept me
watching, and excited for next week. 5 out of 6.

At this point in the series, should I even bother
talking about the
production, or should I just give it 5
out of 6 and be done
with it? These people have their trade down pat,
and they have the
budget to do it the way they want to do it. I
would like to point out
Mark Snow’s great score, particularly in the last
scene of act one,

Overall, this was a fine addition to
the mytharc of the
series. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Provenance received 31 out of

Notes on the Future

Next week, we not only get part two of this
Providence,) but we get the premier of
the final Star
trailer. That’s right, it launches
March 10 between
Malcolm in the Middle and The

The schedule of all upcoming episodes is available here.

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

  1. Plot speculation
    Hey everyone. Do you think this is leading up to a Childhood’s End ending for the series? I remember that, in one scene in this episode, someone says that Scully’s son, William, will “lead the human race” (or some very similar statement). Here’s my 2 cents’ worth of speculation about the plot at this point: the aliens are a race sent to “shepherd” humans through their inclusion into the cosmic consciousness; people like Smoking Man are part of this process; some others (like the people who discovered the 2nd spacecraft) are trying to stop this from happening because they fear the ultimate and fiery end of the human race; and the X-Files people, including Scully, have gotten themselves unwittingly involved in all this. Scully is therefore the Madonna figure; the mother of the first human child to achieve “breakthrough”. What do y’all think? Rock on and peace, — Ihab

    • Re: Plot speculation

      Also the writers are sort of playing the science vs religion card. Scully in particular has always had issues with religion while being trained as a scientist. At first she was analytical and scrutinized Murder’s approach to investigation. Since then she has developed quite a bit of Mulder in her (sorry for the pun). I thought the episode was very good and kept me on the edge of my seat and look forward to the remaining eps.

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