The X-Files Newbie Recap: “Leonard Betts,” “Never Again,” & “Memento Mori”

“Mulder, I need to know you’re out there if I am ever to see through this.”

As the quest for truth is to Mulder, so Mulder is to Scully. A woman’s heart is a deep ocean of sobs.

Leonard Betts

In which a paramedic can regenerate whole parts of his body—and possibly even the body itself. Useful, if unpleasant. Mulder and Scully join the case of a paramedic whose body goes missing from the morgue. The guy in question, Leonard Betts, was decapitated in a crash. His head remains at the morgue but the body appears to have just walked out. Scully reckons it’s the work of body snatchers, while Mulder licks his lips and considers fruitier alternatives.

Scully attempts to do an autopsy on the head. She notes that, unusually, rigor mortis hasn’t set in despite it being several hours since death. Then the eyes and mouth open and flutter, nearly giving her a heart attack. She attempts to put the head into a PET scan but some kind of radiation appears to be interfering with the results. Scully calls Mulder to update him. He’s looking around Leonard’s apartment, finding little except a bathtub full of iodine. He pauses mid-investigation to clarify whether Leonard’s disembodied head winked or blinked at Scully. Some kind soul already made a .gifset of this on Tumblr, so here you go:

http://thexfilesgifs.tumblr.com/post/123042144014

After Mulder leaves, someone emerges from the bathtub—what appears to be Leonard himself, with a freshly-grown noggin.

Juicy.

In an effort to carry out a proper autopsy, Scully puts the head into a hi-tech mummification procedure. She and another doctor take tissue samples and are shocked to discover that essentially every cell in Leonard’s body was cancerous. They think there must be a mistake, as if he were this sick he would have been dead long ago. Mulder gets to thinking. He contacts a Dr. Burks at the University of Maryland. Burks pioneered a specific form of photography which, he claims, allows him to capture images of people’s life force. Scully is about as enthused as you can imagine but when Burks photographs the head, the image shows a rough outline almost like shoulders. Mulder suggests that maybe Leonard’s cancer was not acting as a destructive force but as part of an evolutionary leap, enabling him to somehow regenerate parts of his body. He points to the bathtub of iodine at Leonard’s house, noting that iodine has been used to aid regeneration.

Scully’s background search on Leonard reveals that he had some kind of alter ego named Albert Tanner. While Leonard had no living relatives, Tanner’s mother lives in the area. They go to visit her and see photos of Leonard in the house. However, Mrs Tanner claims her son died six years earlier in an accident.

In the meanwhile, Leonard’s partner EMT, Michele, has been hearing his voice on ambulance radios. She attempts to investigate and, after leaving work one night, hurries after a man who looks like him. She discovers it is Leonard and tries to talk to him, but he attacks and kills her. A security guard catches him and handcuffs him to a car, but Leonard escapes after cordially ripping off his own thumb. Lovely. When Mulder and Scully examine the scene the next day, they discover piles of cancerous tumours stored in the boot of his car. Mulder wonders if they’re a form of nourishment, allowing him to regenerate by feeding on cancer. Scully looks like she’s going to be sick. I wouldn’t blame her. There’s much worse to come for beloved Dana, alas.

They head back to Mrs Tanner’s and get a warrant to search the house. Mrs Tanner refuses to cooperate, saying only that her son was put on Earth for a purpose they don’t understand. They find the key to a storage locker and go to check it out. Leonard has, in the meantime, killed a man he found in a bar after telling him he had something he needed. Turns out that thing is a cancerous lung, which Leonard promptly removes. When Mulder and Scully arrive at the storage locker, he’s inside seemingly regenerating a whole new body. He tries to flee in a car but they shoot, and the car explodes in the sudden and spectacular fashion only seen in movies.

The body from the car is taken to the morgue and compared with the exhumed body of Albert Tanner. They appear to be identical, which Mulder takes as proof of his regeneration theory. They decide to go and stake out Mrs Tanner’s house, given she’s the only person he seems to have contact with. Inside, Leonard’s being patched up. Mrs Tanner, who evidently also has cancer, tells him to take something from her to heal himself. An ambulance rolls up outside and our heroes race into the house ahead of it. They find Mrs Tanner, alive but with a surgical wound, and rush her out. Scully goes with her to the hospital while Mulder calls for reinforcements.

When they arrive at the hospital, Scully calls to say Mrs Tanner took a turn for the worst en route. She notices iodine dripping down the ambulance and tells Mulder to haul ass over as soon as he can. When she goes to climb the ambulance, Leonard appears and attacks her, telling her she has something he needs. (Meep.) She manages to shock him with the defibrillator and quite literally blow him away. Later, he’s pronounced dead … again. Scully goes home and wakes up at 2am with a nosebleed. The scene ominously fades to black.

This is unpleasant. I already knew a cancer diagnosis was coming thanks to an unscrupulous Facebook commenter, but having a whole episode about a guy who feeds on cancer was a stark way of forecasting the horror. Nevertheless, I liked this one. It’s a neat and effective horror tale and full of suitably gross imagery. Also pleasing to see Paul McCrane from E.R. do a nicely sinewy turn as Betts.

Next up: the perils of a haunted tattoo.

Never Again

A thoroughly, thoroughly weird and supremely unedifying episode in which Dana suffers from professional and personal ennui, dates a stranger, gets a tattoo and almost gets torched for her troubles. The subtext is horrible and the very cogent questions about purpose and direction seem to get lost in a funk of lecherous 90s jazz music. For all this, we get a little insight into what drives Scully as a person—though not much resolution—and a helpful reminder, in case anyone needed one, that Mulder can literally make anything about himself. There’s something quite galling in the fact Mulder’s harebrained notions actually keep him motivated while upstanding, rigorously professional Scully finds herself listing a little at the intransigence of their work.

But first, events: a man gets a divorce and a drunken tattoo. It’s a pin-up-like image of a woman with bright red lips and a banner reading “never again”. It starts to talk to him, or he thinks it does, causing him to act out and firstly get sacked, then murder his neighbour. Thank heavens none of my tattoos are possessed. It’d be a struggle to deal with a demonic teapot telling me to set things on fire tbh.

Scully ends up getting involved in a roundabout way when Mulder is shipped off on holiday. He hasn’t taken any leave in four years (tragically predictable) so the Bureau insists he feck off for a week or they’ll start docking holiday pay. He’s all amped up cos he just got a potential source from Russia and there’s talk of recovered aircraft in the Sea of Barents. So far, so standard. In the background, Scully wanders around feeling aimless. Mulder asks her to follow up on his lead while he’s gone and she resists. She says she feels like she’s lost sight of herself. Their work takes them in an endless line but her life is standing still. Mulder, proving you can be a dick and a dote all at once, comments that she was just “assigned” to the X-Files but this is his life’s work. Precisely pet, it’s yours and not hers. Scully is in need of a new sense of purpose. I think we can all relate. At a certain stage, you wake up and look around and find you’re not where you expected to be, which isn’t in and of itself a bad thing but it is a little worrisome when you’ve forgotten what you’re supposed to be looking for. Mulder leaves her in this ropey mood and takes off on what he terms a “spiritual journey”. I think we went through that before, you nitwit. Deep Throat and your dad spoke to you from the sky. It was cultural appropriation and silly. Have fun on your trip.

In the absence of anything better to do, Scully takes herself to Philly to follow up on Mulder’s sources. This takes her to a tattoo shop, where the aforementioned dude with the possessed tatt is asking to have it covered up. His name is Eddie. They get to chatting and he says the tattoo was impulsive. Scully says she wishes she were more impulsive. Eddie leaves her his number and heads off. Later that evening, she decides to call him and go on a date. She’s handed Mulder’s sources off to the local Bureau. When he calls for an update, he’s dismayed but she says they’re basically two-bit swindlers and she won’t get wrapped up in it. Mulder seems flabbergasted at the idea she’s going on a date. Not that he can talk, given he’s in Memphis throwing kung fu shapes round a gift shop. Gobshite. He and Krycek are made for each other.

Oh, I almost forgot: Eddie’s tattoo calls Scully a “cheap redhead” when they first meet. Rude. The voice is Jodie Foster’s, which is cool, but that’s simply uncalled for.

They head to a dive bar for the date, cos Scully feels like living dangerously. She tells Eddie that she’s recognised a pattern of behaviour in herself—an authority figure comes into her life, compelling her to seek their approval, and it continues until at a certain point she just kind of peters out. She doesn’t quite finish this anecdote, but it kinda makes sense. She mentions that when she was 13 she’d sneak onto the porch and smoke so that if her dad found her, he’d hit the roof. It’s a curious way of looking for attention. Rooting one’s sense of self in the approval (or disapproval) of others is a surefire way to unfulfillment. Scully’s clearly feeling like she needs something bold and dramatic to happen to shake up the unsuspecting pattern her life has fallen into, but that’s something much easier said than done and it doesn’t attack the root causes of your listlessness.

For now, she settles for getting a tattoo. On her back. That’ll hurt like a bitch, pet. Trust me, I know. The artist uses the same ink he used in Eddie’s tattoo. These tattoos all heal in a suspiciously short period of time. They head back to Eddie’s place and, cos of the storm, she ends up staying. Eddie put his cigarette out on his tattoo earlier and now it’s bleeding. Scully takes a look, there’s a weird and very awkward shuffling of limbs and they end up making out. It’s quite painfully scored by the aforementioned sleazy soft jazz. I hate you, writers. Can’t you give this poor woman a normal date and normal sex with a normal human, for Christ’s sake?! Lord only knows what’ll happen to her ink.

The next morning, Eddie nips out for food while Dana sleeps in. Two detectives arrive. They’re investigating the murder of a woman in the apartment downstairs. Blood was found in the apartment which didn’t match the victim’s, and it contained elements of an hallucinogenic substance. Scully looks it up and realises that it was used in the dye in both her and Eddie’s tattoos. When he comes back, she tells him the cops were there. He lies and says he cut himself while helping the neighbour move. Scully, unfazed, says they need to go to the hospital and get tested for this substance. While she gets dressed, he hears his tattoo speaking to him again and attacks her. He drags her downstairs to where he burned the other victim’s body, but at the last minute flips and shoves his arm in the fire instead. It burns off the tattoo and Scully calls an ambulance.

She arrives back at the Bureau to find Mulder, fresh as a daisy and irritating as ever. He’s not particularly ceremonious in inviting her back, although he had been worried. He asks, seemingly genuinely perplexed, “all this because I didn’t get you a desk?” Scully retorts what we’re all thinking—”not everything is about you, Mulder. This is my life.” Indeed. The episode ends on a suitably ambivalent note.

Well. That was weird. Very, very weird. One of the strangest I’ve seen. I appreciate the attempt at character development there but I do think there were probably nicer ways of doing it. Scully didn’t need to go on a brief impetuous journey where she got inked, dated strangers in dive bars and almost got killed for her trouble. The subtext there is awful, by the way. She tries to live dangerously for a while and almost gets murdered, while Mulder gets to fart about in Memphis doing exactly nothing for a week. This is irritating, because Scully’s sense of frustration at unchanging circumstances is completely understandable and yet here it’s shoehorned into a bizarro narrative about haunted tattoos. I mean, there is a rational explanation for the way Eddie snaps and starts hearing voices when he gets inked. The Russian “source” also turns out to be a common scumbag. In that sense, maybe it’s fitting this forms the backdrop to a Scully-centric episode, justifying her faith in the real world and plausible explanations. It just all seems very rambling.

There are elements of this which are thought-provoking. Scully’s insights about authority figures in her life, in particular. It was established early on that she felt a strong need to prove herself and almost justify her choice of career, so if she finds herself flagging it makes sense that it would knock her confidence. What does it say if the career she chose over the prestige of medicine turns out to be a dead end of hopeless inadequacy? It matters little what she and Mulder achieve behind closed doors if they never get any open, objective justice in their cases. Were I a therapist—and I have a well-configured nose for drugstore psychology—I would say Scully needs to reset her goalposts and start thinking of herself as the authority figure in her life. Scary responsibility to take on, but ultimately the only way to ensure you’re properly in control and not just reacting to the whims of others. Now that Scully’s dad, the seminal authority figure, is gone, she’ll never actually be able to prove herself anyway so she has to do it for herself. It makes sense that this would prompt a reconsideration of her professional identity and what she wants to achieve, but again, it would have been nicer to see this explored with a little bit of depth and nuance and significantly fewer near-death experiences. Of course, the next episode drops her into the deep end in a big way, so she’ll be forced to confront all this in a rather stark way quite soon.

I would reflect on Mulder’s involvement in all this but that seems almost to detract from the focus on Scully alone. We know he cares about her and we know he’s a single-minded buffoon often blinded by his frenzied devotion to his work. This is not to excuse his tendency towards idiocy but Scully doesn’t really need his presence to develop as a character, as much as he is an integral part of her life. That’s presumably why he was shipped off for much of this episode; tis just a pity the writers couldn’t think of anything more profound to do with her.

Then again, maybe the absence of resolution is the point. In life, as for Scully in this, there are no easy answers. No eurekas. It’s a process and a journey, and it’s meant to be unclear. Scully picks up a leaf (I think it’s a leaf) at the DC Vietnam memorial early in the episode and it recurs throughout—Mulder finds it on her desk when he’s looking for her and she picks it up again at the end. It’s used as a kind of token for her directionless feelings, although I’m not sure what it’s actually meant to convey. Given where she found it, is it supposed to symbolise lost or sacrificed potential? That would make sense, as I guess Scully’s wondering what she might have made of herself if she’d stayed in medicine instead of joining the Bureau. You could drive yourself loopy wondering what if though, Dana. There may yet be great things in store. The point is not to close yourself off to them.

Memento Mori

In the course of my prep for this, I went back and reread my recaps of “Nisei” and “731”, among others. I wrote in one of them that I didn’t want beloved Dana coming down with cancer. I can now officially look back on the me of 2015 and call her a sweet summer child.

Alas, as was suggested in “Leonard Betts”, our wonderful Scully is actually sick with cancer. I can’t help but feel that it would have made more sense to place this episode immediately after that one but whatever. The ep opens with a Scully voiceover, imparting thoughts and wisdom to Mulder as the camera tracks slowly towards her in brilliant light. She’s examining an X-ray of her head and a tumour is clearly visible. I feel the need to note this monologue in its entirety, because it’s gorgeous:

“For the first time I feel time like a heartbeat, the seconds pumping in my breast like a reckoning, the numinous mysteries that once seemed so distant and unreal threatening clarity, in the presence of a truth entertained not in youth but only in its passage. I feel these words as if their meaning were weight being lifted from me, knowing that you will read them and share my burden as I have come to trust no other. That you should know my heart, look into it, finding there the memory and experience that belong to you—that are you—is a comfort to me now as I feel the tethers loose and the prospects darken for the continuance of a journey which began not so long ago, and which began again with a faith shaken and strengthened by your convictions. If not for which I might never have been so strong now as I cross to face you and look at you, incomplete, hoping that you will forgive me for not making the rest of the journey with you.”

I mean, just leave me here to die. For the love of all that is good and holy. Dana’s staring death in the face and her response is to write this beautiful, achingly poetic letter—just one of many she imparts to a diary for Mulder. I love so much about this. I love that despite its clear poignancy, these words are sober and accepting. They’re not flowery or hyperbolic and there’s no real sentiment to them—she speaks in truths, frank and resolved, and in a perfect reflection of the clarity and commitment which make her such an admirable person. It’s painful. Who wrote this? I want to hug and also kill you.

After that beautiful aside, we open with Mulder arriving at a DC hospital. Scully has learned she has an inoperable tumour. There’s very little which can be done, and if it spreads into her brain her chances of survival are essentially zero. Mulder is the only person she’s called. He’s stunned and disbelieving, and when he says as much she replies, “For all the times I have said that to you, I am as certain about this as you have ever been.” I reiterate: leave me here to die. Just boil the kettle on your way out, and I’ll cry myself into oblivion.

The two of them inform Skinner and ask him to keep it confidential. Walter, not one for sentiment either, clears his throat and says he’s sorry for Scully. The man is as steady and unmoving as a lighthouse. It’s really quite a sight to behold. Scully doesn’t want anyone to know cos she wants to follow up a lead. She intends to revisit a group of women she met before, all of whom had incurable cancer after being abducted and having implants placed in their nose. That was in “Nisei”, when Mulder had gotten a hold of an alien autopsy video and found a Japanese diplomat in the house of the guy who sold it to him. Said diplomat (they’re always diplomats) had a briefcase with a link to one Betsy Hagopian. Mulder and Scully head to Betsy’s house and discover that she died two weeks earlier. Scully looks haunted as she stares at the room where she sat with all those women, all as afflicted as she is now. She and Mulder discover interference on the phone and head down to the basement, where they find a computer copying files. They trace the remote connection to a Kurt Crawford.

Kurt claims to be a member of the same UFO network that Betsy was in. All of the women Scully met have died in the past year from brain cancer. Only one is still alive but she’s in hospital and essentially on her way out. Mulder takes Scully aside and encourages her to go and speak to this woman, Penny. He tries to bring up the cause of her cancer, but Scully’s reluctant to accept that she was even abducted to begin with. Mulder tells her to go as an investigator, exercising professional diligence, if she can’t face going as a patient. It’s a nice little moment and speaks to the level of understanding between them, something we see often from Scully but not as often from him.

At the hospital, Penny recognises Scully immediately. She tells her about a doctor named Scanlon, who had been treating the affected women. Scully is moved to call Mulder, saying she’s going to stay at the hospital for treatment. She asks him to call her mum as well. He says he’ll be right there. He’s been with Kurt, sorting through the files that Betsy wanted Kurt to have. In them, he discovers evidence that the affected women were treated at an infertility clinic. After he leaves to do what Scully asked, another car rolls up and a man comes inside looking for Kurt. He has one of the little dagger thingies the alien bounty hunter had and lo, it’s revealed Kurt is one of the alien clones the bounty hunter was after. He dissolves into green goo and the files disappear. This is quite exciting actually. It’s a convergence of two different plot strands—the alien colonists from “Colony” and “End Game” and most recently “Talitha Cumi” and “Herrenvolk”, and the hybrids created by rogue experiments on humans in “Nisei” and “731”. Everyone’s after one another. Hashtag it’s all connected.

Scully’s mum arrives at the hospital. She’s in bits and angry at Dana for not telling her sooner. I feel for her. The poor woman’s been through the ringer over the past while, and Dana’s her only daughter now. Scully meets Scanlon to discuss her treatment and continues confiding her thoughts to a diary, addressed to Mulder. In one particularly poignant note, she says that although they’ve travelled this far together, this last distance “must necessarily be travelled alone”. I believe that’s something that’ll ring true for both of them at different stages in this show.

Mulder is at the fertility clinic looking for more info. He finds Kurt there, evidently (unbeknownst to him) a different one. They crack a computer password with the improbable ease of all television shows (imagine your password being written on a snowglobe on your desk) and discover Scully’s name on one of the clinic files. Mulder high-tails it back to Skinner, demanding a meeting with the CSM. Skinner warns him that if he tries to bargain with him, the CSM will own him forever. He stands firm when Mulder insists and urges him to find another way to save Scully. Mulder heads to the Lone Gunmen. They recognise the genetic code on Scully’s file. Mulder enlists their help in breaking into the clinic again.

Elsewhere, Skinner meets the CSM. Of course, The Fucker Himself knows all about Scully’s illness. Skinner asks what it’ll take to save Scully’s life and the CSM says he’ll have to get back to him. I hope you enjoy being such an asshole, friend. It must make you feel so necessary and important. What’s more enjoyable about this scene is seeing the lengths to which these three will go to help one another. Mulder, Scully, Skinner, all so eager to show their suaveness around one another and yet hopelessly devoted in private. Sigh. You’re a good man, Walter, though you try so hard to hide it.

At the clinic, Langly and Frohike take out the power while Mulder and Byers sneak inside. Mulder sees Dr. Scanlon’s name on a wall and immediately dispatches Byers to the hospital to stop Scully’s treatment. He keeps rooting and discovers the Kurt clones working in one of the rooms. It’s like when he discovered fake Samantha’s clones all over again, and—pleasingly for continuity—also in a reproductive health clinic. The Kurts say they’re attempting to subvert the project that created them. They have cabinets full of human ova. Betsy’s name is on one and Dana’s is on another. The clones tell Mulder that the eggs were harvested during her abduction, in a high radiation environment which spurs superproduction of ova. I’m reminded of BSG’s “The Farm” and feel a little ill. The Kurts also say that the affected women are barren as a result of the same experiment and they’re being left to die by men running the project. Faceless old men determining whether women live or die by restricting their reproductive choices? Get right out of town! This might be the most realistic thing TXF has ever shown. The Kurts want to save the women as they’re their mothers, basically. The eggs are used to grow the clones and hybrids. Mulder takes a vial of ova from the cabinet with Scully’s name on and goes to leave.

On his way out, he stumbles across the guy who killed the Kurt clone earlier. Is this another bounty hunter? I’m guessing so as he has the same weapon, though maybe he’s a government type who just happened to come into possession of same. The bounty hunter’s in league with the CSM, as we know now. He follows Mulder like a freaking terminator, shooting wildly through glass doors until Langly overrides the security and Mulder can flee. He heads straight for Scully’s bedside. She’s not there, but Byers is—he reached her earlier and she’s now sitting with Penny. Mulder waits outside. Inside, Penny tells Scully not to give up hope. Scully says she hasn’t and she won’t. She steps out of the room the next morning to find Mulder waiting. He tells her he read some of what she wrote in her journal to him. She seems a little embarrassed, saying she had decided to throw it out. She’s decided she won’t let the cancer beat her. She’s leaving the hospital and is able to work. Mulder tells her she’s just beginning to remember what happened. It can’t be explained yet but it will be, and she’ll find a way to save herself. Scully says she will carry on as she has things to finish and to prove to herself and her family but for her own reasons. This is such a deft delineation of what makes them both tick. Mulder’s idealism and Scully’s dedicated realism. Her conviction lies in herself; his lies in the truth. It’s a gorgeous, stirring moment.

They embrace. There are hugs and forehead kisses and for one brief magical moment, I really thought they were going to kiss. I would have forgiven a kiss at that point too. Normally I’m all about the slow burn when it comes to my OTPs but that moment would have been perfect and effortless. Much like the first time Roslin and Adama kiss in BSG, if you want an example. My heart’s all aflutter.

Mulder calls Skinner, finding him in the office at 5:30am. He tells him Scully’s coming back to work. Walter’s pleased, but he’s sitting with the CSM, who says there’s always another way “if you’re willing to pay the price”. He drops his cigarette into a coffee cup and leaves while Skinner stares at it portentously. What have you done, babe?! That is a loaded look if ever I saw one. I’m afeared.

So! Brilliant, moving episode. Let’s discuss. Firstly, the cancer diagnosis. It seemed fairly clear that was coming even just a few episodes ago, and to be honest it doesn’t really worry me the way it could because (as I have said 100 times during these recaps) five more seasons and two movies suggest Scully will be grand. That said, it’s an emotional hammer blow for her, forcing her to confront the frailty and shortness of life at a time when she was just starting to feel a bit out of sorts. Everything now seems suddenly escalated in importance, as the prospect of dying young and without many of the things we aspire after in life becomes very real. I like how calmly she responded to it, even if it was more resignation at first and later supplanted by a newfound urge to survive. It seems very in keeping with her character that she would approach this diagnosis with all her MD professionalism and clinical detachment. Even right down to the way she didn’t immediately inform her mother speaks to her cerebral way of looking at things, hardly ever pausing to well in the emotions.

And yet, there are plenty of emotions here. The way she may finally be finding the strength to face up to the abduction, and everything it means for her now. The way she writes those valedictory letters to Mulder, completely absolving him of any responsibility to search for answers and simply underlining his importance to her. Their relationship is so solid and sincere and utterly earned—after all they’ve been through, their trust and understanding is implicit and yet they still find a way to assure the other of their significance. Mulder is about as sensitive as you can expect him to be, really, but even if there is a vested interest in his quest for answers, I feel that were Scully’s cancer entirely natural he’d still attempt to move heaven and earth to help her. Skinner too, probably. Walter mentions that the FBI can put them in contact with the best physicians in the country. My bones ache for these three.

As for the mytharc elements: nothing too revelatory here, aside from the aforementioned convergence of plotlines. Betsy Hagopian and her group’s cancer was linked to the experiments the Japanese were doing on humans with alien DNA, creating hybrids resistant to atomic fallout. Scully remembered one of those Japanese doctors from her abduction, suggesting that the Japanese faction were also involved in harvesting eggs, which in turn links back to the alien colonists. They were using human tissue harvested in reproductive health clinics to create hybrids of their own, removing their identical appearance and thus paving the way for their colonisation of Earth. The Japanese doctors were gunned down by someone working for the US government, who also cleaned out the camps where the Japanese-created hybrids were kept. The US government, of course, have a project of their own going with the smallpox vaccinations and alien tissue taken from downed aircraft. Does your head hurt? I’m going to need to draw the world’s biggest flowchart to keep up with all this. Someone colour code it for me.

Fairly draining week, all in all. Looks like I’m almost halfway through season 4 now and the rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper. I do hope they find a way to save Scully which doesn’t involve too much misery or suffering or invasive treatment. I have a niggling suspicion that whatever happens with her—and given she’ll likely be the only person from the afflicted group to survive—will have a rather telling impact on how these stories develop as we go forward. Ominous music! Til next week, X-Philes. Stay, as ever, spooky.

Grace Duffy is a pop culture devotée and sometime film critic currently catching up on her classic sci-fi. You can read more on her Tumblr or catch her frequent TV liveblogs on Twitter.

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