season 5, episode 8, “kitsunegari”
from time to time “the x-files” will bring back some of its more interesting characters. tooms came back later in season 1 and max fenig made an appearance in a two parter several seasons after we were first introduced to him. “kitsunegari” gives us robert patrick modell aka pusher. he was a great character in a great episode and definitely worthy of a 2nd episode. unfortunately, his comeback isn’t treated quite as well as with tooms or max, but it’s a decent episode with a good twist.
if you can call it a twist, though. mulder figures it out pretty quickly, but nobody listens to him, including scully, which is maddening. that’s actually what brings down the episode, in my opinion. in “pusher” she may have not believed him fully, but she sided with him against skinner and the other agents. she knew back in season 3 that mulder’s hunches usually turn out to be right. i can understand her resistance at first. pusher was able to get inside mulder’s head and nearly got the both of them killed by mulder’s own hand, no less. she must be concerned for mulder, but it’s getting in the way of her openness towards mulder and his theories. mulder gets irritated with her and they argue testily. not in their usual flirty way. remember the whammy line? no, this is something different. it makes me feel like my parents are fighting. and it also feels like this conflict is attempting to unnecessarily add drama. skinner suspends mulder from the case and scully agrees with him. does she not see the possibility that mulder is right? skinner is proved wrong when modell ‘pushes’ him into thinking he’s got a gun and shoots him. instead of conceding to mulder, he gets angry and defensive. that’s not helping mulder any, either because lady pusher is still trying to avenge modell.
linda bowman was the interesting part of this episode to me. the fraternal twin of modell has the same ability to push. she constructs an elaborate game to make mulder pay for what he did to her brother. the game and the clues are interesting. the art direction and set dressing in the cerulean blue paint scene is incredible. what a way to go. forcing yourself to ingest paint. that’s something you don’t see on everyday television. the reveal that the nurse is linda bowman with a crude tag that says ‘nurse’ is eerie. the bond between brother and sister was played really well in the hospital scene. she’s doing what she’s doing out of love. but, it’s not what modell needs or wants. when she takes away his pain and helps him die, it is especially moving because we are seeing what their power could do for good instead of evil.
the end scene tries to recreate the tension of the russian roulette scene. it comes kind of close, but it’s hard to get back that magic from “pusher.” duchovny plays it really well. you can see the turmoil he’s going through again. his worst nightmare manifesting in front of his very eyes. the anguish he must feel especially after coming so close to losing scully recently to cancer. even when everyone is safe in the end, he feels like he’s lost. i wonder if a part of that feeling is because he had to fight so hard for scully to believe him or was it all from being messed with by the pusher siblings.
it’s kind of unbelievable that modell is alive much less mobile. but, hey, this is “the x-files.”
BAMF!scully in a lavender pantsuit briefing a roomful of mostly male FBI agents. in a lavender pantsuit.
shots of mulder running are always welcome.
love diana scarwid as linda bowman. she was great in “mommie dearest” and “wonderfalls.”
i don’t know why i think it’s funny that they use all three names, robert patrick modell. i guess it’s supposed to be like lee harvey oswald or james earl ray, but i see it more like jonathan taylor thomas or tiffani amber thiessen.
scully should have used better reference points for mulder besides ” your mother is teena. your sister is samantha.” those are facts anyone could find out about him. and bowman as scully seems forced, overall, and diminishes the quality of this scene.
scully is a pretty good shot.
scully’s “mulder” after she shoots linda is heartbreaking.
scully is so concerned and overprotective of mulder.
mulder’s reaction to ‘scully’ shooting herself and his overall horrific feeling that he almost killed her again.
repeated: “he had to go.”
modell: “it’s alive.”
modell: “when did you turn into clint eastwood?”
m: “i’m going to take a wild stab here and guess this is a clue.”
m: “a little on the nose, don’t you think?”
m: “what do we still agree on?” mom and dad, stop fighting!
modell: “hey, it’s mel cooley.” i love love love that they brought back this reference to skinner.
m: “you give me a call when you think i’ve come to my senses.” really, please stop fighting.
skinner: “you did a good job, no one could’ve figured it out but you.” ugh, now you say that.