(Season 1, Episodes 1-4)
The X-Files is one of those shows that managed to transcend its genre to become a bona fide hit. It was one of Fox’s biggest sensations early on and became a supernatural phenomenon the likes of which hadn’t been matched, except perhaps for Buffy several years later. And somehow I missed it. And similar to my problem with jumping onto Buffy the Vampire Slayer after it had already started, this one premiered my first year in college and I generally had other things going on on Friday nights, so I missed it’s debut.
Then when I started hearing all these great things about it, I balked because I’d already missed too much of the “mytharc.” About one third of The X-Files episodes tied into this arc. It was the major driving thrust of Mulder’s obsession and the focus of the show. The rest of the episodes would be considered filler, though they also had some elements that were important from time to time. Still, the mytharc concept was so important that they released The X-Files Mythology, a 4-volume set of DVDs with just the “mytharc” episodes. But I’m not going to cop out on this one and go that route. It’s all or nothing, baby!
1 – “Pilot” [Mytharc]
(Original Air Date: September 10, 1993)
Things kick off with a murder case in Bellefleur, Oregon. What better way for new FBI Agent Dana Scully to get acquainted with her new partner Fox “Spooky” Mulder than traveling together. She’s been assigned to join him to work on “The X-Files,” which really means spy on him and bring proof to the higher ups that he’s a quack so they can shut him down.
The chemistry between the two leads was palpable from their first moment on the screen. And damn if Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny don’t look young! I pegged Anderson at 25 and Duchovny at 33 when this whole thing began, which puts me at … feeling very old!
I’m thinking Ray Soames was one helluva looker! We got our first look at something odd when his body was exhumed and what came out was a decomposing mutant monkey thing. And then confirmation that there’s a cover-up going on, at least on a local level, when the corpse was stolen and all the data collected on it burned. I have a feelling Mulder and Scully will be encountering a lot of this kind of thing.
Mulder filled Scully in on the story of his sister’s disappearance when she was eight and he was twelve. She vanished from her bed, which led him to his more outlandish beliefs and obsessions. He’s learned that the powers that be, higher than his level, have been witholding information and blocking his attempts to learn more.
As for what happened in the woods, it’s not definitive that we’re dealing with aliens here, but there was something definitely bizarre about the light and the swirling winds. But of course Scully wasn’t there to see it; she only saw a bright light from a distance.
In the end, the one piece of evidence she acquired, the gray device from Soames’ nasal cavity, was interred in a massive evidence warehouse in the Pentagon by “Cancer Man” or “The Cigarette Smoking Man” as the PC preferred.
2 – “Deep Throat” [Mytharc]
(Original Air Date: September 17, 1993)
I’m guessing the “Deep Throat” referenced in the title was the guy who locked himself in a bathroom with Mulder to tell him to drop a case investigating the military, and a quick look online tells me I’m right. Apparently a man went crazy and got taken in by the military and now his wife can’t get any status on him. But Deep Throat says Mulder has important work to do, and this case isn’t part of that.
Like that’s going to stop Mulder. So it’s off to Ellens Air Base in Idaho to solve the case of the missing test pilot, which turned out to be a conspiracy much larger. Pilots testing aircraft built from technology harvested by UFOs. Roswell UFOs perhaps.
This time Scully’s skepticism led to Mulder getting help from a stoner Seth Green and heading into the base on his own. Which of course meant he’d see something unexplainable without her; a flying triangle. And get captured and have his memory selectively wiped like the other pilots.
But at least it looks like he has a strange ally in Deep Throat who confirmed that not only are “they” here, but “they’ve been here for a long time.” Whatever that means. Still, he seeks the truth as much as Mulder does and can provide assistance when it suits his own interests to do so.
3 – “Squeeze”
(Original Air Date: September 24, 1993)
Our first “monster-of-the-week” outing gives us Eugene Toomes, who has the ability to hibernate for thirty years and apparently squeeze his body into heating vents, among other things. When he comes out, he harvests five livers for some reason and goes back to nest.
Other than Mulder making Scully’s buddy Donal Logan look stupid by actually identifying the guy properly, the main focus outside the monster was to emphasize how ridiculed Mulder is. And now, by extension, Scully.
In the end, Toomes looked poised to escape, seeing his chance through the narrow meal slot in the door. “Oh yeah,” his eyes were saying. “I can fit through that.” And I believe he can.
4 – “Conduit” [Mytharc]
(Original Air Date: October 1, 1993)
The NSA are dicks. That’s the first thing I learned here, but it seems the stance for this show is that virtually everyone in government who isn’t Scully or Mulder are going to be dicks of one kind or another.
With “Conduit” things come back to bright lights and possible alien abductions. And we get to listen to some of Mulder’s regression therapy sessions where he recalls the events of the night his sister vanished. In it he says someday his sister will return and no harm will come to her. Does she?
Not much was done with Kevin, the “conduit” of the title. He can apparently catch snippets of data and record it in binar, as well as creating massive murals of his sister in the same way. But what all that means and where sister Ruby went remain a mystery. She indicated she can’t talk about it and then her mother silenced her. Hopefully we’re not done with the kid as I find myself intrigued by what he might be listening in to.
I got as much fun out of seeing how dated some of the technology is as I did watching the stories unfold. From needing to find real phones to communicate with one another to microfiche research and giant satellite dishes in the front yard, it was a time capsule to a bygone era. You forget how much some things have changed in sixteen short years.