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Sharna Pax

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  1. The X-Files

    I do love how Duchovny is such a good sport about everything X-Files related. I just rewatched a couple from Season 1 - Miracle Man and Born Again. Miracle Man is a little too religious for me, but there's one moment that cracked me up: Mulder and Scully are searching the courtroom where the plague of locusts happened, and Scully asks what they're looking for, and Mulder's like, "....clues???" Duchovny's delivery is really funny, somehow. I always get Born Again mixed up with Lazarus and Young at Heart, but on rewatch I quite liked it. I like the cop played by Maggie Wheeler, and I like that she makes a lot of the important connections on the case. And all the Chinatown/gangland killing/fishtank stuff is atmospheric enough to elevate a pretty generic reincarnation story; you really understand why this guy would feel compelled to come back from the grave for justice. There's a moment I really like, where Mulder and Scully are sitting with the little girl's mother as she reacts to the news of yet another death that her daughter was present at. Maggie Wheeler shows up to talk to Mulder, clearly about something important, but instead of just getting up and following her, he takes a moment to get the mom's attention and tell her gently that he has to leave. And it does take a little bit of time for her to look over at him, just like it would in real life, so we're just sitting there waiting with Mulder. It's the sort of inconsequential little scene that you rarely see, because shows tend to skip over that sort of thing in the interest of time. But it tells you a lot about what a genuinely nice person Mulder is - in the first season, at least. There's also a cute moment when the little girl is working with the police sketch artist/computer guy, and Mulder gets him to put a funny mustache on the face and makes the kid laugh. First season Mulder is a sweetheart, is what I'm saying.
  2. S03.E12: Chidi Sees the Time Knife

    I loved the totally dismissive, "Oh, that's the time-knife, we've all seen it." Poor Chidi.
  3. S03.E12: Chidi Sees the Time Knife

    I've been a bit lukewarm on this season as a whole, but I loved this episode. Shawn torturing Shakespeare, "possession of an unfried vegetable is a felony in Jacksonville," the whole chicken sandwich thing - it's all gold. Not crazy about the return of Derek! but I am really happy to be back in the fake Good Place. The idea of our four being tortured by "Michael" for eternity, and never knowing it's not really Michael, is genuinely incredibly horrifying. No wonder Michael collapses under it. But watching that scene, I had a minor epiphany about why I love The Good Place so much. You know how most shows with a supernatural element have a body-swap episode, in which someone, usually a bad person, takes possession of the main character's body and goes around doing stupid, cruel, and/or felonious things with it? It's usually played at least partly for laughs, but I have a really hard time watching that sort of thing, because all I can focus on is that people are being deceived or hurt by someone they think they can trust. And here, finally, is a show that not only doesn't use that kind of deception as a source of humor, but also shares my sense of how deeply upsetting it is. I think that says a lot about the fundamental sense of decency underpinning the show.
  4. S06.E02: Hitchcock & Scully

    Yes, that was really a tragic ending to the story. A little puzzling, because I've always thought of chicken wings as a relatively healthy fast food option, but I guess they were the gateway drug and a whole lot of terrible eating followed.
  5. Season 7: Let the flirting begin...

    I still seem to be on a random out-of-order Season 7 kick, so: Theef! I watched this as a kid and was so horrified by the microwave scene that I stopped watching immediately. I totally missed the best thing about Theef, which is that Mulder spends the whole episode kind of joyfully marveling over how awesome and amazing Scully is. I mean, obviously Mulder loves Scully, and we've known that at least since One Breath, but here he actually seems to have figured out that he's In Love with her, and he's stoked about it. Scully, for her part, acts totally professional, so it's an interesting reversal of the dynamic we usually see, where Scully seems to be the one pining after Mulder. It's not that Scully is distant - she's even slightly flirty in the usual Season 7 way - but he's the one purring requests for autopsy results at her and gazing after her as she leaves rooms and murmuring to himself about how she really does keep him guessing. Scully is chill, and Mulder is not, and I love it. Everyone, please do yourselves a favor and go to the ten-minute mark in this episode, and listen to the way Mulder says, "Go ahead, Scully, keep me guessing." I would try to describe his tone of voice, but I'd just sound like I was writing fanfic. Let's just say it is not the tone you would normally use to ask for autopsy results.
  6. Season 7: Let the flirting begin...

    Just popping in here to say that in my ideal version of the X-Files mythology (which I know is not the official version of the story, but sorry, Chris Carter, I've got my fingers in my ears and I can't hear you) the explanation for Scully suddenly being able to get pregnant is that when you free a genie, she grants you your heart's desire, and what Mulder wants most is for Scully to be healthy. It's cheesy, but it has the advantage of not involving the Cigarette Smoking Man in any way. I'm not actually as big a fan of "Je Souhaite" as most people are - I find the humor sort of unpleasant, and I hate seeing poor Scully get so excited about the invisible corpse and then be embarrassed in front of her colleagues. But I love Mulder and Scully drinking beer and watching a movie together at the end. And once a few years ago I was traveling by myself and found myself in a small city in France, during a festival. I went to a cafe for dinner, and was sitting by the window with my glass of wine and my book, just sort of watching the crowds go by, and I was feeling a little left out because everyone else seemed to be in a huge pack of friends, having a wonderful time. And then I remembered that I was living the best life of the genie from "Je Souhaite," and I felt much better. So I guess I like "Je Souhaite" better than I think I do.
  7. Season 1: The FBI's Most Unwanted

    I just watched Darkness Falls, which is one I've always liked a lot. I'm not sure just why I like it so much, because it's a really standard base-under-siege story, but I find the atmosphere really compelling - all that PNW darkness and rain is so very X-Files. And there's also something appealingly retro about the episode; it kind of reminds me of classic Tom Baker Doctor Who, with the slow pacing and the way the suspense builds. And I guess I just like hanging out in a cabin in the woods with Mulder and Scully; it feels cozy and comforting, even if there are killer bugs outside. Watching it again, I still loved it, but it struck me for the first time that it's really not a good episode for Scully. For one thing, she doesn't really do anything all episode. There's none of the usual thesis/antithesis interplay where Mulder comes up with a theory and Scully challenges it with science. Instead, Mulder immediately figures out about the bugs, Spinney confirms his theory, the other characters argue about it, and Scully just sits there. Later, Scully sees some bugs on her and freaks out, and Mulder has to talk her down and explain that the bugs are on everything but won't swarm in the light. It's not that there's any great shame in freaking out about killer bugs - it's probably exactly what I would do - but I'm pretty sure a later episode would have had another character freak out and Scully be the one giving the scientific explanation and telling everyone to keep calm. The thing that really irritates me, though, is when they're looking at the rings of the old growth tree that's been cut down, and Scully asks the ranger, "The center rings are the older rings, right?" Why is Scully asking a question that could be easily answered by most third graders? That's not the kind of writing I expect for Dana Scully, Scientist. A couple of other things I noticed on this rewatch: I read somewhere that Gillian Anderson had serious morning sickness during this episode, and you can definitely tell once you're looking for it. During the scene where they're looking at the old-growth tree, there's a moment where they pan over to Scully and she looks exactly like she's about to throw up. I assume they left it in by accident, but it's really obvious once you see it. I've always found Spinney's death very sad, but it gets more horrifying the more I think about it. He's attacked just seconds before Mulder and Scully are, so he's probably still alive when the rescuers arrive. But he's off somewhere in the woods, and the rescuers don't know to look for him. They keep repeating that there are "two, possibly three" people in need of help. They have no way of knowing that there are actually four. It's awful to think of him dying out there while everyone else is airlifted to safety, when he could have been saved.
  8. Season 7: Let the flirting begin...

    In memory of Ricky Jay, I wanted to post about how much I like The Amazing Maleeni. I think it was the first X-Files episode I saw, and it gave me a totally skewed idea of what the show was like. So happy! So sunny! So inconsequential! Nobody gets murdered or even dies in the course of the episode; the only dead body we see turns out to have died of natural causes. There isn't any major crime, just an attempted theft that never comes off. You don't even have to dislike the bad guys. It's like X-Files Lite, but that makes sense for an episode where everything's illusion and trickery. And Mulder and Scully are having so much fun; there isn't so much of the outright flirting that you see in Rush and The Goldberg Variation, but they just seem happy and at ease and like they're having a lovely holiday together in the sun. Although it will always annoy me that the show never openly acknowledges the Mulder-Scully relationship that clearly exists in Season 7, I do love how happy and functional that relationship seems to be. So I can see how an episode like The Amazing Maleeni could come off as boring or pointless, depending on what you're looking for in The X-Files, but to me it's just pure comfort food. A minor detail I like: After Mulder busts out his whole theory about how Ricky Jay's character swapped places with his twin brother, and Ricky Jay responds by rolling his wheelchair back from the desk and showing Mulder the stumps of his legs, there's a tiny scene where Mulder and Scully are leaving the office and Mulder is face-palming in total humiliation, and it consistently cracks me up. I think because Mulder almost never gets embarrassed, no matter how stupid his theories sound.
  9. S05.E14: The Box

    ...says, "You didn't come here to hunt, did you?"* I just watched this episode - I've gotten behind on B99, and then I realized there was a Homicide, Life on the Street tribute episode, and I dropped everything and watched it instantly. I love how, while clearly being a ridiculous episode of B99, it actually follows the structure of "Three Men and Adena" pretty closely. In "Three Men and Adena," there's a moment where the suspect turns the interrogation around and starts needling the detectives about their insecurities. I love that this translates to Jake needing to go to the dentist and Holt flipping out about the value of a Ph.D. *(For those who didn't watch Homicide, that's the punchline to Lewis's favorite joke. You only ever hear the punchline, not the joke itself, presumably because it was too dirty for network TV.)
  10. S03.E06: The Ballad of Donkey Doug

    Was just coming here to post that! Amazing.
  11. X-Files song-a-thon!

    This John Prine song came out this spring, and it strikes me as just right for "Nothing Lasts Forever"-era Mulder and Scully. It was the line about New Year's Eve that first caught my attention, but really the whole song reminds me of them. It's about age, and heading into a new season of life, and missing someone you used to be close to, and reconciliation and forgiveness. Fair warning: if there's anyone you miss right now, it might make you cry.
  12. S01.E12: Prophecy Girl

    This one of my favorite episodes of television of all time. I think it gets overlooked a bit because most season finales tend to be huge sweeping epics that cover two or three episodes, and this one very efficiently wraps everything up in 45 minutes. However, just think about everything the episode accomplishes in those 45 minutes. 1. The pacing! Good lord, how did they fit so many iconic scenes into a single episode without it feeling rushed? We start out with ordinary, day-to-day teen angst - Xander trying to ask Buffy out, and Buffy rejecting him - and it's genuinely moving. We have time to feel for both Buffy and Xander. And then there's the prophecy, and we watch as Buffy absorbs the news, as she breaks down, as she tries to run away - and then as she gradually comes to accept that this is what she has to do. And the show makes all this character growth convincing, so that when Buffy goes off to meet the Master at the end, we know that she understands exactly what she's doing. We know how much this decision is costing her, and we know why she makes it. 2. This is related to my first point, but this is also the episode where every single major character comes into their own. Giles steps into the father figure role for good, refusing to let Buffy confront the Master and insisting on doing it himself. Xander and Angel put aside their mutual dislike and join forces to help Buffy - Xander going to Angel for help, Angel asking Xander to step in when Buffy needs mouth-to-mouth. Willow manages to get across to Buffy what it will be like if the Master wins, with her speech about the murder at the school. Buffy's mom tries so hard to help - the dress is a lovely effort - but is so heartbreakingly incapable of understanding what's going on. And Cordelia, of course, reveals her true colors as a badass who's willing to drive a car into the school if she has to. By the end of this episode, we know every character ten times better than we did at the beginning. And I think it's because - and this is unusual for the season finale of this kind of show - there's far more focus on character development than on action. The episode isn't really about Buffy's fight with the Master, which takes up very little time. It's about Buffy reaching the point where she is willing to fight the Master, knowing that she will die. And finally, Sarah Michelle Gellar's acting is brilliant here. She and Anthony Stewart Head are so good in the scene where Buffy learns about the prophecy - it's genuinely heartbreaking when Buffy says, "Giles, I'm sixteen years old. I don't want to die." So yeah, this may not be the Buffy episode that's usually ranked the highest, but it's up there with "Crosetti" from Homicide, Life on the Street and "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose" from The X-Files on my personal list of Best Episodes of TV Ever.
  13. S03.E01: Anne

    I love this episode. It's cheesy as all hell, but I love seeing Buffy do good on such a small, human scale. Most of the time, Buffy shows up and kicks ass and saves someone's life and you never see them again or have any idea how this affected them. But in this episode, Buffy has to actively engage with Lily as a human being and help her again and again over the course of the episode. And yes, Buffy eventually takes up her hammer and sickle and liberates the oppressed workers, but that alone doesn't save Lily. What saves her is Buffy getting her a job and giving her a place to live with the rent paid up for the first month. And not only that - when Lily takes the name Anne, you see how much Buffy has been a role model to her, just by existing. Even at her lowest point, Buffy is able to live her life and do her job and be independent, and just seeing that has made Lily realize that she can do the same thing. So it's an episode about how we can help each other out, and specifically about how women can help each other out, and though Buffy's superpowers come into it, they're not really the main story at all. And I love, love, love, that Angel follows up on this story and gives you periodic glimpses of Anne's life as a community organizer/ social worker, doing for others what Buffy did for her. She even comes into the last episode of Angel - as Angel & Co. are running around in the foreground being heroic and gearing up for the big fight, there's Anne in the background, just doggedly going about her work, running the homeless shelter, taking care of the people she's responsible for. She becomes this wonderful representation of practical, everyday heroism, and it's a lovely reminder - like Prom, but more subtle - of how much good Buffy has done without even knowing it.
  14. Yes, I love that. The sort of absent way he says it, as if he's barely aware of who he's talking to.
  15. Just watched a couple from Season 3: Nisei/731 and Wetwired. The Nisei two-parter was one I didn't remember much - not being one for the mythology - and I thought it was great. The dialogue is sparkly and zingy and fun, which is rare for a mythology ep - I think it must be the Spotnitz influence. I particularly like all the goofiness about Mulder's $29.95 alien autopsy video, and Scully saying, "This is even hokier than the one they showed on the Fox network!" It's the rare Scully line that would work equally well for Lisa Simpson. And I like the moment when Skinner shows up and Mulder goes, "Oh, look, a beacon in the night!" But good Lord, if I were Scully this is the episode where I would quit. First there's the creepy, creepy scene where she walks up to a house she's never been to and it's full of women who claim to know her from her abduction. Then they all creepily, silently hold up alien implants identical to hers, and then they tell her she's dying. To which Mulder's reaction is, "Well, that's disturbing, but let's hold that thought until I'm done jumping onto a moving train." And then, as if it weren't enough that she's probably dying of cancer and her partner just jumped onto a train that's about to explode, she meets a bunch of people with late-stage leprosy who take her to a massive pit full of dead bodies. At that point, I would be DONE. Cancer + leprosy + death pits + partner trapped on an exploding train? Sorry, but I am OUT. Wetwired is an interesting one. I've always liked it, but I forgot how much of it happens after Scully's mom talks her down. I thought it would end with Scully in her hospital bed and nothing solved or answered. But there's that whole coda where X kills the men responsible, and Mulder almost kills X, and then you see X getting in a car with the Smoking Man and you get the sense he's not long for this world. I hadn't realized how much this episode is here to set up everything that's coming at the beginning of Season 4. Mulder nerving himself to go identify Scully's body always kills me. And the look on his face as he watches Mrs. Scully do what he can't do and talk Scully down. I see some anxiety, and some frustration with himself that he can't get through to her after all, but mostly just admiration for Mrs. Scully's courage and presence of mind. Mulder is totally not red-green colorblind, though. I don't care what he says. He knows Scully's a redhead.