"What happened to 'Trust no one'?" "I changed it to 'Trust everyone.' I didn't tell you?"
REVIEW: The episode begins at the end before we flash back a couple weeks. At two ends, really. We find Mulder at an Arctic location dying (a physical end) and having found incontrovertible proof of alien existence (the end of a character arc). But be warned, this is a two-parter, and we won't get back to this point until the next episode. There's no doubt this is an important story, and Carter wants to make sure we don't mistake it for a mystery-of-the-week. It is NOT the tale of Soviet clones it at first pretends to be. Instead, it connects to the green-blooded human-alien hybrids of the previous season's finale. If they ARE hybrids. Because this episode introduces Brian Thompson as the impressive Bounty Hunter who seems more alien than human. That shape-shifting ability could mean he's fully alien, but what does that mean for the so-called "hybrids" we've met before and who have the same noxious blood? They didn't seem to have that ability. Or has the Bounty Hunter been bred for this purpose? The "Gregors" are not clones, but constructs that can be dissolved with whatever the Bounty Hunter injects into them, and are similarly green-blooded. Is it true, then, to say the aliens have been colonizing Earth for decades (at least the 70s). Are the Gregors vessels for alien minds, or are they a slave race that has gone off-grid and now needs to be eliminated? So many questions!
In the middle of this, Mulder's sister returns to provide at least some of the answers. Samantha's abduction was the source of his obsession with the X-Files, so her sudden return seems anti-climactic. It's almost a throwaway, her family too stunned, perhaps, to question it much. The casting is part of it; Megan Leitch does an okay job, but isn't particularly interesting. But ultimately, they bring her back so he can be do exposition. She's the one who tells Mulder about the Bounty Hunter's abilities, abilities we are already aware of. It's disappointing. Mulder's cold, distant father also makes his first appearance, and seems a more intriguing character. In this world of conspiracies, might he have something to hide? Did he serve his own daughter up for abduction and testing? (And did she say use the plural on abductionS?) One to watch out for.
While Mulder goes domestic, Scully gets a big share of the action, finding herself spooked and paranoid about being followed by whoever is assassinating the Gregors. Tension mounts because we know more than she does. The Bounty Hunter's right there listening to your conversation! No! It all leads to a cool cliffhanger where she finds out, the hard way, that the enemy can change his face. That's not Mulder at the door! No!
THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE: The bulk of the review sounds like it should be part of this section, all questions and theories. One thing I haven't mentioned is the idea that each of the Gregors is working with fetuses. What's that about? Are they trying to reproduce? The babies have the same green jelly running through their veins. And the fact a Gregor raised an amnesiac Samantha after she was returned by the aliens should make us paranoid about her true identity. What color would she bleed? Is she REALLY Samantha Mulder, or is she a Gregorian homunculus? It would explain why she can spot the Bounty Hunter in whatever form; only Gregors have been able to do that to date. I'm not ready to trust her.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - I'm a little nonplussed by Samantha showing up, but the big mytharc advances considerably, in an action-packed episode replete with new recurring characters.