season 3, episode 21, “avatar”
this episode focuses on assistant director walter skinner. skinner is such an interesting character and this episode does him an injustice. it feels like a lifetime movie. it’s melodramatic and angsty. i also expect more from a script in which david duchovny is involved. the idea of the succubus is rife with possibility and i like using that x-filey phenomenon to explore skinner’s character, but it just doesn’t work, overall.
the conspiracy tie in does work, however. skinner is a conflicted character, trying to ride the line between supporting his truth seeking agents and cooperating with the higher-ups. he doesn’t like doing the dirty work for the black government, but he also wants to keep his job. but, more and more, he feels compelled to help his agents. whether or not it is out of sympathy for everything they’ve gone through or respect for the truth, we just don’t know. this episode kind of shows that he does it just because he’s a nice and honorable person. regardless of his reasons for supporting the x-files, he ends up being punished for it. an attempt on his life is made in the “piper maru/apocrypha” two-parter and now they are trying to discredit him by framing him in the murder of a prostitute. and not only that, it causes his agents to question his respectability. mulder doesn’t doubt his innocence. scully doesn’t want to think he did it, but requires proof, naturally. although scully says they don’t know much about him, she still cares enough to try and help him. it’s an interesting dynamic with their sometimes fuzzy boss/employee boundaries.
it was an effective reveal that the bad guys were watching them when they had the call girl act like she wasn’t with FBI. dun-dun-duuuuuun!
s: “truth is we don’t know much about him.” m: “we know that he’s put his ass on the line for us a number of times. we owe it to him to find out what really happened.” s: “even if it means proving his guilt?” sad, but reasonable.
skinner spoke to his wife about mulder. and you can tell he really cares what scully’s opinion of him is.
mulder cares so much about the truth that he doesn’t care if it doesn’t go in the report, he wants to hear it from skinner, off the record. skinner doesn’t give it to him. mulder is always coming up short in the truth department.
s: “business must be booming.” m: “i think you mean banging.” good one, mulder.