The X-Files #139: Folie à Deux

"Scully, you have to believe me. Nobody else on this whole damn planet does or ever will. You're my one in five billion."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: A man goes postal after seeing his boss turn into a life-sucking insect.

REVIEW: Vince Gilligan channels Kafka in this office space horror story about how working in a call center destroys your soul and turns you into a lifeless zombie. The boss is even a big ugly bug. If you're too "awake", ask too many questions, then you risk seeing the truth. And that is so terrifying, you're likely to fall prey to something primal in yourself. Fear, leading to violence. And the creature knows the effect is has in its true form; it uses it to get recalcitrants out of the way. One such recalcitrant is Gary Lambert (played by Continuum's Brian Markinson, he also plays a recurring character on Millennium) who, possibly thanks to the previous episode's lack of supernatural elements, might very well be imagining it. We follow him in his descent into madness, until Mulder walks into a hostage crisis, almost comically, and the power to see the truth is communicated.

And then it's Mulder who's seen as crazy! That's an interesting story structure, but of course, it takes people a while to think something is wrong because he's the guy who's ALWAYS ranting about something impossible or other. In fact, after spending the whole season more or less letting go of that persona, and the early part of this episode moaning about the reputation he's made for himself at the bureau, he sees something and though he's called irrational, to us, that's good old Mulder! He's back! Of COURSE he goes too far. Of COURSE telling truth to power won't work. What's actually amazing is that this is the first time he's sent to a mental hospital for it!

And there we get a key scene. He tells Scully, who is in full skeptic mode, that she's the only one who can believe him and who MUST believe him. He reminds her of her role in his life, of the thing he NEEDS from her. He needs to be believed, and she's uniquely suited to believing him because of their shared experience. And even she must admit that there are oddities here - the "zombie" Lambert killed has a suspicious time of death that predates the hostage crisis - but it's not until this scene that she makes a real effort to find out more. And acting on Mulder's counsel, when she finds the WILLINGNESS to believe, that's when she sees the truth and manages to save Mulder from the Bug Boss and his creepy zombie nurse. And even so, in her report to Skinner, she can't bring herself to say what she saw. She blames a shared madness. But then perhaps The X-Files and shows like it ARE a little like a shared madness, something impossible and unexplainable we manage to experience apart from our zombie, desk-bound lives...

REWATCHABILITY: High - An interesting, metaphorical monster, but more than that, the episode gets at the core of the Mulder-Scully relationship and brings it back to its roots.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine