[The X-Files 101]
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[Season 6]

[The beginning]
Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Vancouver anymore...

The sixth season's opening is anything but subtle. The production has moved from Vancouver to Los Angeles, and we are reminded of this every step of the way, from the very beginning. We start with a shot of a blazing sun in [supposedly] Arizona. It doesn't take a big leap to compare and contrast the next scene, with two men running towards us, with the scene of the two cavemen at the beginning of the XF movie. In evolutionary terms, 37,000 years is not a very long time.

Maslin: And, so, the plot...I-I'm just trying to get this straight. The plot is for these spacelings to take over the planet aided by a group of men here on Earth?

Mulder: A shadow conspiracy within our own government.

Maslin: Who are growing corn in the middle of the desert, which features pollen which was genetically altered to hold a virus, which will be taken away by bees whose sting transmits the virus, causing the growth of an extraterrestrial biological entity inside the human host?

The Beginning

The move from Vancouver to Los Angeles is more than a note on the side. We lost the richness of the Vancouver settings, but more importantly, we lost the crew that developed this show. The Los Angeles crew may be technically proficient, but they simply cannot have the same insight into this show. This is not their fault, obviously. They inherited a successful product, while the Vancouver crew worked on it through much tougher times. Was this move necessary? Not for the audience, and not for the show.

Next time, I'll wear a clown suit
and do balloon tricks. --Mulder.

The Beginning
Now--the X-Files is not dead, but it seems weaker, lost and adrift. The movie did a much better job recruiting new fans while pleasing philes at the same time. The recap in The Beginning was too literal and cheap. They shouldn't have to spell everything out like they are explaining something to a moron. The XF became a successful show because it was dark and not easy to follow (among other reasons), not because it tried to please a wider audience. The short exchange between Mulder and Scully in Biogenesis...

Scully: Mulder...look, after all you've done, after all you've uncovered...a conspiracy of men doing human experiments, men who are all now dead. You exposed their secrets. I mean, you've won. What more could you possibly hope to do or to find?
Mulder: My sister.
...is simply insulting. It is quite appalling to see Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz listed as the writers here. Mulder uncovered and exposed nothing. He has no hard evidence. He has won nothing. Worse than that, this little dialog reduces Scully to the role of Mulder's sidekick, after all these years and all they've been through. What about her sacrifices and losses? What about her quest? What about her cancer and the computer chip implanted in her neck? What about that wonderful reaffirmation of their partnership and their joint quest at the end of the movie? Reducing everything to Mulder's quest for his sister at this point is offensive.

Mulder: I don't see there's any
argument here. You admit yourself
that the crime report is a lie.

Scully: Mulder, that doesn't mean
that I can just accept your theory.

The Beginning
We did have interesting episodes (Triangle, Dreamland, S.R. 819...), including a successful follow-up to the 5th season's Unusual Suspects, Three of a Kind. It is not common for "sequels" to be as good as, or better than, the original. So what is there to complain about? Overall, the 6th season is unsatisfactory because it lingered on the important issues instead of developing them. The big revelations at the end of the 5th season and the movie didn't go anywhere.

Farmer: Jehovah's Witness?

Scully: No, sir. Federal Bureau
of Investigation.

The Beginning proposed new questions and then dropped the ball. Where is Gibson Praise? He is too important to simply disappear, like Krycek and Marita. Why are the "new" aliens more predatory? We only had Two Fathers/ One Son to advance the "mythology." Why is the green goo toxic to humans only sometimes? When Krycek kills the alien rebel, he and Spender do not seemed bothered by the green goo at all. Biogenesis is work in progress, and we have to wait until the resolution to see where they are going. It certainly didn't have many shocking revelations, like Anasazi.

[Triangle] What the 6th season had was plenty of experimental episodes. Triangle had an uncommon continuity that energized the story, and the letterbox presentation gave it a movie look. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas was interesting, though the "You shot me first!" exchange was anything but funny. Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin may be good, but big names do not belong in the XF. As Chris Carter's experimental episodes go, 5th season's Post-Modern Prometheus was more solid and enjoyable. The Unnatural, written and directed by Duchovny, was another interesting variation. Dreamland was funny and well done.

[Skinner] S.R. 819 put Skinner in the foreground, and forced him in a very interesting relationship with Krycek. Now that Krycek has the power of life and death over Skinner, Skinner is more willing than ever, and less able than ever, to strike back. Skinner is now forced to betray Mulder and Scully [Biogenesis], and it is going to be very interesting to see when and how he breaks free from Krycek's leash.

[Aliens] The "mythology" had been exposed to a great extent in the 5th season's The Red and the Back, the XF movie, and now Two Fathers/ One Son. The alien invaders, an evolved virus called purity and also referred to as the black oil and black cancer, are coming back to reclaim the planet. The group of men known as the Syndicate or the Elders, has agreed to collaborate with the invaders hoping to survive the invasion, and secretly stall the invaders. The Syndicate has agreed to create a race of human/alien hybrids, and for this purpose the aliens have provided a sample of their DNA in the form of the alien fetus [The Erlenmeyer Flask]. In exchange, the Syndicate has turned over their children to the aliens. Supposedly, the aliens are also experimenting on these people trying to create human/alien hybrids. Some of the humans have been returned and periodically taken again (like Cassandra and Max), while others have apparently never returned (like Mulder's sister).

Stacy Muir: You two looking for
Karin about boarding?

Mulder: No, it's actually more of
a behavior problem.

Scully: Yeah, he doesn't listen
and he chews on the furniture.

Aiming for more than just survival, Bill Mulder proposed to use the alien DNA to develop a vaccine to be used against the black oil. The Syndicate has been partially successful in developing this vaccine--it worked for Mulder [Tunguska], Scully [the XF movie], and Marita [One Son]--but this vaccine is only effective while administered within 96 hours after infection [the XF movie]. Cassandra Spender was the first successful human/alien hybrid. As soon as the aliens found out about her, colonization would begin. Another race of aliens, the alien rebels, oppose colonization and have tried to expose the project. In One Son, the alien rebels steal the alien fetus and kill most of the Elders. Cassandra is presumed dead.

Langly: You know, Byers,
growing old with
us ain't so bad.

Frohike: Oh, shut up, Langly.
You really want him to kill

Three of a Kind
Cancer Man ("C.G.B. Spender") is disappointed in his son, so he kills him [One Son]. Fowley has been working for Cancer Man for a while, and she's apparently the only person he trusts.

[Biogenesis] Biogenesis parallels The Erlenmeyer Flask, in some ways. Both end with Scully making a big discovery that goes against her beliefs, Mulder is incapacitated, and their work is on the rocks--in Erlenmeyer, the X-Files are closed, and in Biogenesis Skinner himself is forced to betray Mulder and Scully. Let's not forget the monkeys. Now, we wait half a year for the conclusion, at the beginning of the final season. They better be good.

Proceed to Season 7.

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X-Files 101

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