And we're back! Moving, NaNoWriMo, the holidays, and then a monster of a head cold derailed the X-Files rewatch project, but over the next few days I'm going to offload my various comments on X-Files Season two.
2x01: Little Green Men
I'm going to keep harping on this for the rest of forever, but as previously mentioned, I think fandom as a whole oversimplifies the "skeptic vs. believer" dynamic between Mulder and Scully.
Neither of them seem to be coping well with the separation - on the one hand, there's a level of shock from how the final moments of Season 1 played out... I think that's the first time they've really seen that particular casual and deliberate level of murder before (the DNA researcher Scully had taken the sample to as well as Deep Throat being killed). They've probably known intellectually the risks of what they're doing, but it's suddenly incredibly visceral and real. Added to that, there's the knowledge that anyone they take something to or bring into this equation even in the most innocent of circumstances, could be in put in danger.
Please note that Mulder has pretty much given up. He's questioning himself, whether or not there was ever anything to actually look for or investigate - it's Scully who is insisting that "no, we shouldn't stop" and that there's something real to work on. (Also I love the way she ruffles his hair. It's comfortable, and comforting, and she's trying so damn hard to retain a connection to him because she can tell he's slipping away from her by degrees.)
They do a fantastic job throughout the episode with Skinner and CSM. Skinner initially comes across as a "bad guy" - but they're making it very clear here, when he tells CSM firmly that he doesn't smoke, that he's not on the Consortium's side of this thing. He doesn't like or trust CSM, that's obvious, too.
I have to wonder a bit at Matheson's agenda, and I'm not sure it ever really gets explored. We know that Deep Throat at least claimed to be wracked with some guilt over his part in his previous activities (E.B.E.), but we never get any kind of information about why Matheson is involved of helping Mulder out.
"Now I can only trust you." Trusting no one is hard - now Mulder has a new level of doubt. He also doubts himself. He's come to rely on Scully's input, and without that, he doesn't seem to be sure what really happened and what did he really see?
The wire tap shocked Skinner, and then he kicks CSM out. Is the wire tap what turned the tide for Skinner? Was that his last straw? (And by extension got the X-FIles back?)
The lack of translation/subtitles while the truck driver is ranting heightens the sense of how out of his depth Mulder is here and keeps us in his shoes.
Remember how in Season one, we talked about the reaction Scully has in the face of possible real, visceral evidence? Her tone of voice and level of deference shift, and they do it again here. Scully asks "is that them?"
2x02: The Host
Mulder is thinking if leaving, Scully asks "What would you do?", Mulder says his only reason to stay would be to work with her and "they won't let us work together". There's a direct parallel much later in Fight the Future when Scully talks about leaving the FBI.
And we have the introduction of Mr. X. "Reinstatement of the X-Files must be undeniable." Why is that the case?
Mulder is obviously dosed with the same chemicals the inadvertent murderers are. Is it just that Mulder's anxiety isn't triggered? Or that he doesn't, on a base level, have the same sort of anxiety issues the other victims do?
Compare and contrast Krycek's first approach to Mulder (I followed your work) vs. Scully's - Krycek emphasizes Mulder's conspiracy work, while Scully implied respect in general but also in a non-sycophantic way. She implies respect even in disagreement, she doesn't try to manufacture trust by falling in line with Mulder's ideas.
I love the body language when Mulder and Scully hunch close and shut Krycek out.
X tells Mulder "I don't want to be here" - so what does X want? There's implication that he's doing it out of a respect for Deep Throat, and that he has regret about his death, but he's certainly more reluctant to give Mulder information, and he's obviously not in anywhere near the same level of power that Deep Throat was.
There's this beautiful hesitant longing between M&S when they're on the phone together. <3 <3 <3
Mulder goes nuts and Krycek is all like WTF and then Mulder floats his psychic theory Krycek just accepts it.