Monday, December 10, 2012

The X-Files: Christmas Carol/Emily (1997)

I actually considered skipping the write-up for this two-parter or combining it with the following year's Christmas episode, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas, but decided it really needed to be considered in its own right.

The first half focuses entirely on Scully, who's gone home to spend Christmas with the members of her family who weren't killed in earlier episodes. Scully is shocked to receive a phone call from her dead sister, who simply says that someone needs her help. Apparently calling rates from the great beyond are low enough to allow ghosts to place calls but just a little too high for them to have time to offer any useful details.

Scully immediately has the call traced and finds it was placed from a house where a woman has just apparently killed herself and not been murdered at all. Later investigation will reveal - I hope you're sitting down for this - that she actually was murdered, and that the murder was made to look like a suicide. As I recall, this actually describes pretty much every suicide that Scully came across over the course of the show.

But wait, there's more: the couple has a daughter who looks exactly like Scully's dead sister did at that age... and the daughter is adopted. She runs preliminary medical tests, which suggest there's a strong likelihood that the girl really is Scully's niece.

Things get progressively weirder, while Scully's mother and brother act more and more dickish about her skipping out of their holiday fun to investigate a killing which is clearly linked to them in a profound and mysterious way they don't seem to find remotely significant.

Then: wham-o! The more concrete medical tests come back. This isn't Scully's neice... it's her daughter. TO BE CONTINUED!

Part two opens with Scully wearing what looks like a bad Halloween costume while walking through CG sand. There's a really melodramatic voice over in the background, and eventually she turns into sand and blows away.

I think this was supposed to be a dream or something. Stupid goths.

Anyway, Mulder shows up, because someone needs to chase shape-shifting aliens around while Scully mopes and her family flat out tells her she's imagining the whole thing despite the fact she's holding definitive medical proof in her hands. Scully is trying to adopt the kid, leading to a number of contrived and illogical character moments. I think I've recapped enough plot, so I'll move onto the meat: Scully's daughter is some kind of bio-engineered alien/human hybrid or something who was gestated in the body of a 70 year old nursing home resident using eggs stolen from Scully back when she was abducted in season 2.

Got all that?

The kid goes into a coma and dies, Mulder finds a lab and leaves a crap load of evidence behind for no reason (seriously: you're not going to take the baby in a jar? Cause that's sort of the kind of proof I think you've been looking for this whole time), and Scully finally realizes that she should let the child go, because the child is not supposed to exist. Actually, her rationale is a little more idiotic than this: I really don't know why the writers thought this made sense.

These episodes were pointless, absurd, and worst of all: boring. Failing to deliver actual emotion, they cynically pretended to do so, shooting dramatic moments that lacked any substance. In a nutshell, these represented the worst aspects of The X-Files.

By now, I bet you're wondering what this has to do with Christmas? I'll tell you: there was a Christmas tree in the background of several scenes. Also, characters occasionally mentioned the holidays.

Okay, that wasn't a great answer, but at least I didn't string you along for nine years and change my mind fifteen times. I guess a bad reveal is better than none.

Got that X-Files writers?

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