season 5, episode 6, “christmas carol”
it’s christmastime and here’s a painful little two-parter from the folks at 1013. hold up, i do not remember putting more scully suffering on my christmas list. the suffering begins from the get go as scully and her mom arrive at bill jr.’s for the holiday. scully has to suffer through her pregnant sister-in-law shoving her fertility in her face. we learn that scully has found out fairly recently that she was left barren as a result of her abduction. here, scully, let me show to your room. you’ll be staying in the nursery. god damn it. tara and bill say things to scully like “life beforehand was somehow less. just a prelude” and that she has “an emptiness. a void” how about you two just shut the fuck up. and then the adoption lady adds to it, although with a bit more sensitivity, “you are a single woman who has never had a long term relationship.” scully is like, well, merry fucking christmas.
even though i don’t really like this two parter, i don’t have much beef with “christmas carol” besides the annoying bits i mentioned above. gillian is amazing as always. the mark snow score is haunting and spooky with a bit of christmas carol-esque tinge to it. that musical cue he uses for these little horror movie moments is really effective. chill-inducing. the casting of the young scullys is great. the whole storyline is actually pretty cool. melissa calling from beyond the grave gives it a ghost story element, which works. the dream sequences kind of serve as a christmas ghosts of past, present, and future guiding scully along the way. all of this is all scully, too. she’s thinking like mulder and making leads in this case that the local pd is missing. i like how strong she is in this despite the fact that almost everyone she comes across is trying to cut her down, including her own family. it’s nice to see here because we certainly don’t get it in “emily.”
these two episodes are straight up mythology episodes, but they don’t feel like it. usually the mythology episodes are action packed and fast paced. this is a slower, more methodical approach. the continuity of the clones made from the ova taken from abducted women continues here and i appreciate that. it’s the conclusion of this part of it in “emily” that is the downfall. the shot of emily watching scully leave at 3am indicates a connection that emily inexplicably feels. this reminds me of the kurt crawford clones in “momento mori.” they were trying to save the abductees dying of cancer. “they’re our mothers.” and the feeling goes both ways when scully thinks that emily is melissa’s daughter. scully can’t deny her connection with this little girl. and obviously, more so, when the dna tests reveal that scully is emily’s mother in a classic “x-files” cliffhanger.
nothing says christmas like some catholic guilt about your dead sister.
scully calls mulder but doesn’t say anything when he answers. she’s always afraid to admit that she’s entertaining the paranormal ideas to him. it takes her so long to be able to get past that fear.
what the fuck is on your head, mulder?
maggie says “oh, i had some tough little girls” and i love her even more.
i wish it was possible to bottle the comfort in a maggie hug.
danny and john gilnitz are both referenced.
scully is unfazed by all the condescending remarks she gets from men. kresge dishes it out at first and then the old ME chides her even after she found the evidence that he overlooked. she holds her own when marshall sim yells at her and she stands up to bill’s passive aggressive judgmental bullshit.
the parallel between the flashback/dream where young scully gets the cross necklace for christmas and then present scully putting the necklace on emily is nice.
“man’s work” ugh, i hate this so much.
scully’s flawless immortal face is in full force in the episode. seriously, like every frame is gorgeous.
someone shouldn’t be rejected from adopting because they are single or haven’t had a long term relationship. however, the point about her dangerous job should be a factor.
gillian is so good in this scene with the adoption agent.
melissa and her chokers. oy.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
zoe anderson, gillian’s little sister, played the adolescent scully.
continuity goof (maybe?): in “ascension” maggie tells mulder that she got scully the cross necklace for her birthday and here it shows scully and melissa getting them for christmas. but, then young scully looks up at her mother and it is present scully looking down at her, so maybe this was an alteration because of the dream and not a goof.
scully is compelled to call mulder in the middle of a painful dinner with bill and tara. she needs some comfort. even though she doesn’t say anything, the need was there enough for her to make the call.