season 4, episode 22, “elegy”
all aboard the feels train! this episode begins an emotional roller coaster that goes through to the next season. five full episodes of knock-down, drag-out feels fuckery. also known as the meat of the cancer arc. we learned about scully’s cancer in “leonard betts.” we had a heavy episode when she was first diagnosed and underwent treatment in “momento mori.” we had a break from it for seven episodes including a funny episode. the writers have decided it’s now time to destroy us and it begins with this episode.
it starts off as a simple x-file, a ghost story, really. a man sees an apparition of a girl with her throat slit. shortly after she turns up dead nearby. our agents investigate. mulder has a theory and scully is skeptical. their investigation leads them to harold, an autistic gentleman who works at the bowling alley, the site of the ghost sighting. going over his file, scully’s nose starts to bleed. reminding them both that she has cancer. she goes to wash up in the bathroom and sees an apparition herself. she doesn’t tell mulder what she’s seen even when they find the girl’s body. the same one she saw in the bathroom. shaken, she uses her illness to try to distance herself. she goes to check in with her doctor. she really should’ve told mulder. sometimes scully’s skeptism can overwhelm her. she said way back in “beyond the sea” that she’s afraid to believe. she has become more open as the years go by and has seen things that she cannot deny, but this cancer has made her vulnerable so she’s reverting back to a comfort zone. one where science is sacred and something she can put her back up against.
she’s not too stubborn to realize she needs help. she just can’t bring herself to get the help from mulder. she goes to see the FBI psychiatrist that she saw in “irresistible.” she admits to her and i think recognizes it herself that mulder is the strength she’s been drawing on since learning of her disease and that she’s afraid of failing him. giving into visions of ghosts is failing her rational mind and she feels weak. admitting it to mulder would show that weakness. mulder tells scully that he has found a connection between the people who have seen the visions, that they are all dying. he wants her to examine harold to see if it fits this theory. he just drops a “leonard betts” type bomb. little does he know that scully was one of these people who saw a ghost. “what is a death omen if not a vision of our own mortality.” scully is being forced to face these fears and her science might prove the thing of which she is most afraid.
scully ends up figuring out that the nurse at harold’s home is the killer. they have a struggle in the bathroom and scully shoots her. case solved. but, there is so much more that this case has opened up for mulder and scully personally. scully finally admits to mulder that she had a vision of the the third victim and they have an incredibly moving exchange which ends unresolved. it’s an argument of sorts, but one that comes from a place of so much love for each other.
m: why didn’t you tell me?
s: because i didn’t want to believe it. because i don’t want to believe it.
m: is that why you came down here to prove that it wasn’t true?
s: no, i came down here because you asked me to.
m: why can’t you be honest with me?
s: what do you want me to say? that you’re right? that that i believe it even if i don’t? is that what you want?
m: is that what you think i want to hear?
m: you can believe what you want to believe, scully, but you can’t hide the truth from me because if you do then you’re working against me. and yourself. and i know what you’re afraid of. i’m afraid of the same thing.
s: the doctor said i was fine.
m: i hope that’s the truth.
i mean, come on. pick me up off the floor after that. mulder is hurt that she can’t be honest to him or to herself. scully’s fears are making her vulnerable and in front of mulder, which is even worse for her. she’s so afraid of failing him and he’s telling her that she is, in a way. but, he knows why and he’s telling her that he’s afraid, too. it’s all too much for scully (and me, frankly). she says she’s going home and he lets her leave. the only way he can think of to help her is with the truth. “the truth will save you, scully. it will save both of us.” scully sees a vision of harold in her car who was, in fact, dying and breaks down in tears.
i love sloppy joes.
when scully’s nose bleeds, mulder says “oh, scully” and it is HEARTBREAKING. good delivery, duchovny.
lots of scully saying “i’m fine.” mulder doesn’t quite know yet that it is an indication that she is not fine at all.
give gillian anderson all the awards for her acting in the scene with the psychiatrist. she’s just excellent.
well, that nurse is just delightful. NOT! jesus.
both anderson and duchovny kill that scene at the end.
laying on the floor of the bowling lane very close. very, very close.
m: “what is that face, scully?” s: “i’d think after four years you’d know exactly what that face it.” married couple, much?
mulder shows off his bowling skills and bowls a strike. scully seemed impressed (and maybe a bit turned on?)