Friday, September 18

X-Files Season One: Episodes 4-6 (Conduit, The Jersey Devil, Shadows)

1x04: Conduit 

Mulder is totally okay with them "agreeing to disagree". He doesn't need Scully to be his sycophant. He doesn't even need her to believe in his theories - just in him. He needs her respect and her partnership. I get this kind of peripheral impression of a plant that's been denied water or sunlight suddenly having access to it and just drinking in as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Scully takes his side outwardly, then challenges him to his face in private. Yes. Good. She's not going to undercut his perspective or authority in view of other people... and questioning or challenging him in private doesn't undercut anything at all.

Is there a question to be looked at here about devotion versus loyalty? Are those different ideas? (I think they might be.) Scully is, pretty much from day one, extremely loyal to Mulder. He, on the other hand, will become devoted to Scully. In part, I think the distinction stems from their basic characters, and shouldn't be taken as a measure of level of commitment between them. Scully leads with her head, Mulder leads with his heart.  

"Loyalty" is a more academic, clear-eyed term, implying stepping deliberately into a choice of committing yourself to a person, idea, or organization. "Devotion" has a blind implication of emotional intensity guiding one's decisions or actions. More specifically:

Devotion (from  - n., early 13c., from Old French devocion "devotion, piety," from Latin devotionem (nominative devotio), noun of action from past participle stem of devovere "dedicate by a vow, sacrifice oneself, promise solemnly," from de- "down, away" + vovere "to vow," from votum "vow". In ancient Latin, "act of consecrating by a vow," also "loyalty, fealty, allegiance;" in Church Latin, "devotion to God, piety." 
Loyalty (from - n., c.1400, from Old French loialté, leauté "loyalty, fidelity; legitimacy; honesty; good quality" (Modern French loyauté), from loial.

Scully's expression when he tells the bartender he doesn't believe in UFOs is priceless.

At the end of the episode, Mulder says "I want to believe" NOT "I (do) believe" - he wants to believe in things because he wants to believe the voices, he wants Samantha to come back. But, he doubts. He is not slavishly blind with actual belief, at least not in regards to the larger question of alien phenomena, at least inasmuch as it pertains directly to his situation.

1x05: The Jersey Devil

The big deal here seems to mostly focus on Scully's still seemingly normal life, and her deliberate choice of departure from it by the end of the episode. There's a nice trilogy of responses that builds up in episodes 3-5: first, she's faced with having to make a decision in regards to her career path and her peers in "Squeeze". Next, she has to face the possible career repercussions from her superiors during the meeting with the Director in "Conduit". Now, she's having to decide about whether or not she'll depart from the personal life that she's had until now - not just her friend and godson, but dating, having a family someday, all of her non-work life options are put in contrast with this new opportunity of following Mulder on his quest. Nice.

I don't understand why or how this is so very far afield from any other Jersey Devil legends ever? Every other account I have ever heard of the Jersey Devil is a winged horse-hooved creature with big almost moth-man like eyes. This... is not that. It doesn't even reference that, so idek.

Also? The phone conversation when Mulder calls her from the drunk tank is priceless and will never not be fun.

1x06: Shadows

This ep doesn't lend itself to much meta delving, but highlights a couple nice character moments between the two of them.  

First, Scully knows that Mulder lied. Loooooooooooved that scene. I love that she can read him that well, and I'm a sucker for anything that puts them in an "us vs. them" position where they're not even remotely at odds with one another over anything in the background. Separately, they're intellectual powerhouses, with an understanding and resolve that put most people to shame. Together? They're on another playing field entirely. I know that the show isn't ever going to give me as much of that shared directionality as I crave (I seem to be continually disappointed by my fandoms in that regard) but I'll take any and every hint of it I can get.  

Second, Scully's poltergeist reference. I love how much fun they have with one another!
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