by Chelsea Dee, Editor-at-Large
It’s been some time since I wrote for ComicsOnline.com, but I’m making a comeback. I missed you beautiful people. I love sci-fi. I love all of Star Wars and read the books in the extended universe, I’ve seen every Star Trek show, and I read sci-fi books. Any new science fiction show that starts I will support, even if I’m not particularly interested in it. I have no idea how I missed The X-Files. It just slipped past me, and I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down with the DVDs. It popped up on Netflix Watch Instantly, and I went Dee, you don’t have an excuse anymore. About a month ago I decided to use my free time to watch the entire series and recap it episode by episode from the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen most of it before. I am going in knowledgeable about common tropes and I do know the general concept for The X-Files.
This is what I knew going into the pilot: they are FBI agents looking for the truth about aliens. Mulder is the believer, Scully is the skeptic, they have a lot of UST, and I think Mulder’s sister was abducted. There’s a mysterious cigarette man who might be in the government or the one covering everything up. They study the paranormal in general, but it’s mostly focused on aliens. It went on a long time and people didn’t really like the last few seasons. I did see a few episodes in the past and the first movie, but I remember nothing about them. I do remember the movie had bees in it, because I’m terrified of bees. I’m ready to get on this X-Files Boat twenty years later. Sorry I’m so late to the party, feel free to laugh at me.
The pilot of any show has to do the following: introduce the characters, the main plot/driving force of the show, and set it firmly in whatever world it is. This was supposed to be modern day in the 90s, the main plot is that aliens/supernatural things exist, and we have Fox Mulder and Dana Scully as our characters. There’s a mysterious case of deaths in a small down, and there’s no reason for them to be dead plus these strange markings on their back. When cases have no discernible reasons for death, they’re considered unsolved and tossed aside for cases the FBI feel they can solve. Fox Mulder likes to pick up x-files, the ones who are ignored, and tie them into his notion that the supernatural and aliens exist. He’s looking for the mysterious. He says he’s able to keep his department open because he has friends in congress, whatever that means. Dana Scully is assigned to his department to assess him and his work. Basically, to spy, which he says up front and she more or less agrees with.
They get to work and strange things start happening on the way there. The plane hits horrible turbulence. The clock timer keeps messing up, the radio stations switch around, and all those dead are from the same class of kids. Scully spends most of the episode firmly in the land of science where everything has answers, they just haven’t gotten the right facts for it yet. Mulder is the believer of course, and he’s been obsessed with finding answers ever since he experienced his sister’s abduction at twelve years old. Eventually Scully gets nervous when they open up one of the coffins and find the decomposed body looks nothing like a human. She finds similar markings on her own back and panics, but Mulder reassures her it’s bug bites. They relax around each other finally and open up. This marks the beginning of their sexual tension too, which I can see immediately. There’s great chemistry between these two.
I have to say, I was expecting a little more ambiguity in the beginning. Like they were drawing us in so we don’t know if we believe in aliens or not. I don’t know why I was surprised they immediately told us yes aliens exist, this happened, accept it now. I guess I felt like I was going to be following bread crumbs for a lot longer, rather than going immediately to the gingerbread house. That doesn’t bother me. I love gingerbread. I could tell this was made in the 90s, but I have to say it didn’t bother me in the least. Yes it’s older and you can tell, and I doubt they had any real budget for special effects, but it worked for me. I don’t need CGI to get invested in the story.
I already thought I would love Mulder and Scully. I’ve heard so much about them over the years, it seemed crazy for me to get here and be like eh, they’re not that great. But they are. I was completely invested in both of them. I love how Mulder goes by the gut and he’s open minded and maybe a touch manic. And Scully is logical and reasonable. She’s sort of like the audience here; we don’t believe in aliens either, so her skepticism is just enough that the show is pulling her over the same way they’re pulling us in. This is just one episode, but I immediately wanted to switch to the next one, which is a great sign.
I WANT TO BELIEVE.
Questions I’m left with: I figure we’ll go into Mulder’s sister a lot more eventually. I wonder if he’ll ever see her again. Was that the cigarette guy? I think so. He was going into the Pentagon. Interesting. I’m still curious about how Mulder keeps getting support if no one believes him and/or they don’t want him investigating. Friends in Congress was a little hard to swallow. Are aliens going to be the only bad guys? I feel like they’re not, that would get old quick. Onwards! Plus look how young they are Wow.
I think the show opens well and does everything you need from a pilot.