The X-Files #251: Existence

"I think what we feared were the possibilities. The truth we both know."
ACTUAL DOCUMENTED ACCOUNT: Scully delivers her baby while Mulder and Doggett face off against replicants and Skinner kills Krycek.

REVIEW: Like the 7th season finale, the 8th feels at times like a SERIES finale, though not an entirely perfect one. There's perhaps too much going on, which leads to some shortcuts being taken. The whole thing with the aliens who want Scully's baby, for example. Our heroes do discover the FBI's been infiltrated by alien replicants, and indeed, almost everyone who isn't a regular seems to be one, but their allegiances and agendas are a bit of a mess. Part of the problem is that they keep killing one another, and it's hard to say if it's because they're on opposite sides or if it's an easy fake out because they can regrow their bodies from a single vertebrae (a very cool bit, by the way). They get Scully's secret location because they're tapping phones, and then kind of waste Mulder and Doggett's time with irrelevant action bits (haven't we already gotten a car chase/fight in a parking garage already this season?) so they don't run to help Scully. Just what they want from the baby isn't clear either because the arrive at the birth en masse, as if on a pilgrimage, and then leave without it. I suppose there'll be a follow-up, but it still seems an outrageous deus ex machina.

An apt expression given that Chris Carter makes the baby's birth a kind of Second Coming complete with motifs from the Nativity story. A strange light acts as the Star of Bethlehem. The babe is spared the death evil parties had prepared for it. The Lone Gunmen show up with gifts, like three wisemen. And of course, Scully was barren and plays the part of the Virgin Mother. It's all a bit tacky, frankly. Unless she DID give birth to the Second Coming, but I don't think that's the path they want to go down on. The baby will be called William, after Mulder's father, which is a good indication that he's the father, though Scully's own dad and brother were both called Bill as well. But in the show's final moments, fans finally get a real Scully-Mulder kiss, one that implies that the conceived the child in the usual manner, tough good luck finding a spot for it in their timelines. That time she crashed at his apartment? Maybe, but that certainly wasn't the intention of that scene. Whatever. It's a tender moment, even if I'm not sure how Mulder will be a parent to this child, as the scene suggests, if Anderson is staying with the program and Duchovny isn't. We'll see.

Looking to the future, Doggett and Reyes get a shining moment standing up to Kersh together, as a team, cocky in the wake of the deputy director being investigated for his connections to the alien replicants that were hanging out in his office in this very episode. Unfortunately, it feels a little premature of them since Kersh isn't going anywhere. His reaction is something I'd expect from an angry principal in a high school comedy. One character that DOES go out into that good night for good is Krycek. I wish we'd understood his motives more, but I'm not about to feel sorry for a guy who wanted to kill a baby in his last few appearances. His last speech to Mulder indicates he sees himself as a hero, but he's completely deluded about that. Shockingly, Skinner shoots him in the head while he's unarmed, and Mulder just moves on to the next thing. Krycek's last action was to look in your direction in forgiveness(?), Fox, and that's your reaction? Haha. Sorry Krycek.

One last thing. Though the situation was resolved without much help from anyone, Reyes had a good role in keeping Scully safe during Existence, and I especially appreciated Scully comparing her to her sister Melissa. Reyes is capable and fearless, but also rather neurotic and awkward, a good combination going forward. I want to see this character evolve over the next year's worth of episodes. I also wondered if she was gay, given some of the comments she made about Scully and the latter's slight but polite discomfort. I don't need to know for sure - though the next season might want to confirm or deny it through its story choices - as The X-Files has always been rather good at keeping its sex as detectable, or possibly imagined, undercurrents. Just look at this episode, with its miracle baby conceived outside of any sexual relationship we can prove!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A nice farewell for Duchovny and Lea, but too much happens and is glossed over for it to get the best possible recommendation.



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