season 4, episode 21, “zero sum”
another skinner-centric episode. it’s much better executed than “avatar.” the complexities of skinner’s precarious role as the x-files’ ally really comes into play here. remember when skinner made a deal with the devil (aka cigarette smoking man) to heal scully in “memento mori?” well, “zero sum” is him paying that debt and it feels pointless, too, because scully is in the hospital, her tumor possibly metastasizing. skinner’s end of the bargain is to cover up an x-file that involves those pesky bees from “herrenvolk.” he goes to great lengths and does a thorough job of completing his task, but it’s hard getting anything past mulder. mulder is investigating on his own while scully undergoes testing and he notices that the evidence in this case is being systematically erased. he goes to skinner for help not knowing that it is him that is doing the erasing. this creates such dramatic tension between them and for skinner’s inner conflict. mulder does discover that it is skinner that was covering up the evidence. when mulder confronts him, skinner tells him that he made a deal with csm for scully’s well being. if mulder can understand anything, it’s that. he tries to help skinner out of his deep hole. skinner confronts csm and almost kills him. he would have if he didn’t think that csm was the key to scully’s cure. the skinner/csm dynamic is always great. you have one guy with so much dignity and loyalty having to succumb to someone so manipulative and dishonest. and then another interesting pairing is revealed at the end of the episode. marita covarrubius, mr. x’s successor and mulder’s new informant attempts to aid skinner in his investigation into the bees. but in the “trust no one” fashion of “the x-files,” we see marita call and report to the devil himself.
no scully, boo.
skinner impersonating mulder.
the skinman in tightie whities.
one of the files in mulder’s office is labeled “foo fighters.”
the postal worker from the beginning claims the woman that died was her best friend. they seemed irritated as fuck with each other in the teaser. i call bullshit.
that playground scene is an homage to “the birds” right down to the kid with glasses. i think alfred hitchcock would have really liked “the x-files.”
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
this episode was dedicated to mitch pileggi’s father, vito j. pileggi.
mitch pileggi was on twitter all day today chatting with fans in honor of the 201 days of x-file global rewatch of “zero sum.” he was lovely and gracious and candid and funny. i commented on one of his reponses and he tweeted back. he sounds like an awesome dude.