2023/06/22

 

Season 8 started different! Mulder had been kidnapped by aliens and Scully stayed behind alone, well alone! Anyway, because Mulder is missing in action, Scully is assigned to a new partner, Special Agent John Doggett, portrayed so well by actor Robert Patrick. I hear all the time that people hate the last two seasons, but I am definitely not one of them, in fact, I find season 8 refreshing, it has good stories, some standalone, some strong mythology stories, especially the ones where Scully is desperately searching for Mulder.

 

In this season Scully is more the believer and Agent Doggett is the sceptic, he is like the Scully from season 1 through 7. I thought Robert Patrick played his role very convincing, of course I was missing Mulder, but Robert Patrick’s character Doggett was a capable replacement and it resulted in a lot of interesting mythology stories where Gillian Anderson really shines as Scully! With every rewatch I am amazed with this season, how she acted. It almost seemed to me like restrains were falling off. I don’t mean to say that in the first 7 seasons she wasn’t a wonderful actress and that David Duchovny was holding her back or something, but the material she got to work with in the first 15 episodes of the 8th season, she really nailed it. I’ve always loved the Mulder / Scully dynamic, they are probably my favorite couple on TV, but Scully being alone in a sense, desperate to find Mulder, was just fantastic TV! This is just my humble opinion. Towards the end of the season Mulder comes back in a very bizarre way, yes indeed, this is The X-Files, bizarre is their middle name!

 

It was kind of strange, these 3 characters together and Mulder and Doggett did butt heads more than once. Scully gets a baby, Mulder is the father…, they have a relationship beyond their partnership. It is not all clear how far this goes, it is suggested they are in a relationship but it’s not really shown in that way. Agent Doggett definitely has feelings for Scully, not certain it is brotherly love or romantic love, I think the latter, the way he reacts towards Mulder and Scully being together, suggests he too has romantic feelings for her, which are unrequited. As you might know, in season 9 Doggett is paired up with Monice Reyes (Annabeth Gish). She is there for 4 episodes in season 8, including the season 8 finale. I thought she too is a fine addition to the cast and I believe that I would have enjoyed a few more seasons of Doggett and Reyes in charge of The X-Files but we all know how it went. Anyways the Reyes character immediately felt good to me, from the first episode in season 8, also more the believer, which would the direct opposite of Doggett skepticism.



I am not going to review every episode at length, but only the ones that made a real impact on me. I have to warn you though, as I said before, I really love this season! It starts with the aftermath of Mulder being kidnapped by aliens in “Within” / “Without”. These two episodes set the bar for the rest of the season, especially in terms of the mythology. Scully and Skinner are being interviewed by Doggett, who fails to let them know who he is. Infective immediately he will lead the X-Files. New deputy director Kersh puts Doggett on the case of finding Mulder. Scully doesn’t trust anyone at the moment, certainly not Agent Doggett. The aliens themselves are destroying the evidence and are most likely looking for Gibson Praise, the alien even comes to try and get him as Mulder. Gibson tells Scully she is very close to finding him. In reality the spaceship is cloaked very near their position. Skinner tells Doggett he believes he is assigned to the X-Files because it is a set-up, because he could have become the director but making reports about aliens will dimmish that. Note - In these episodes particularly I really am amazed with Scully’s character, how she acts, reacts, how determined she is, this is amplified by the music mirroring Scully’s feelings. The way she (Gillian Anderson) brings this over to the viewer is just truly amazing! Furthermore, The Lone Gunmen are there too!

 

“Patience” is also a strong episode, standing on its own, when a women is pulled out of a river, floating for 44 years, a man, part bat returns after picking up the scent of this women, who happened to be his wife! “Roadrunners” is another favorite of mine, it revolves mostly around Scully who gets stuck in something that looks like a very small town. Her car breaks down and when it is deliberately loaded with sugar she has no other option that to stay the night. However, these people are not what they seem and she becomes the sacrifice for a sort of parasite which whom is revered by all town members. Note – A creepy good episode but also very annoying at times…in a good way! In “Invocation” a child disappears in the middle of a crowd and reappears 10 years later as the same boy he was 10 years ago, also a creepy episode, and here we learn that Doggett also had a son who was kidnapped. “Redrum” is an okay episode where a man (Joe Morton, Eureka)  is accused of murdering his wife and he suddenly lives his life backwards to the actual crime! In “Via Negativa” Doggett and Skinner team up to stop a cult leader who can kill people in their dreams. Scully goes to the hospital for a check-up of her baby. At this point she hasn’t told Doggett. “Surekill” is about a man who can see through solid walls and he uses his skill to become rich by attacking crime gangs after they made their money.



In “Salvage” a man dies, but is being rebuild from self-replicating metal which was sent by accident to the wrong salvage disposal. He is believed to be dead from Gulf War Syndrome but comes back to life and slowly turns into metal while taking revenge on those who made him that way. “Padlaa” is another really creepy episode! small Indian man on a creaky cart (goes squeak, squeak) with powers of illusion is believed to have the ability to take over people's bodies and kill them by leaping into their anal cavity. Doggett and Scully try to stop his gruesome killing spree. Scully is really trying to think like Mulder, a free spirit but she find it very difficult. In “The Gift” Doggett is investigating a case where he thinks it possible that Mulder killed someone, 3 rounds are missing from his ankle gun. Skinner tries to convince him that Mulder didn’t do that and if he would pursue this, Scully would also be made responsible because she also signed off on the case. It is about a creature who can eat disease away! “Medusa” is another creepy episode where Policeman is killed in a mysterious way in the metro station, Scully and Doggett come to investigate but aren’t received happily because they want the train to be riding again as soon as possible. Doggett and a team go into the tunnels and soon find more bodies wrapped in plastic and the killer attacks Doggett but dies in the attempt, he has the same wounds as the one he killed, his face eaten away. Scully wants to quarantine the station but the manager doesn’t want that of course. Note – Guest starred: Penny Johnson (Star Trek: DS9, The Orville).

 

The 13th episode “Per Manum” was, up to that point in the season, my favorite episode. Doctors are delivering alien babies and kill the mothers. Scully’s doctor is one of these killer doctors! Doggett is kept out of the loop, according to Scully because she was afraid to be sidelined, afraid she could no longer try to find Mulder. Doggett assures her, he will help her find him. Note – till now my favorite episode of the season, Scully at the center, how she is dealing with this alien baby stuff, which makes her afraid she also has an alien baby inside her, thinking back about the time she asked Mulder to become the father, I love it!

 

Well the next two episodes are mythology episodes again, although I think you can count “Per Manun” also as a mythology episode. “This Is Not Happening” / “Deadalive” then become my favorite episodes of this season to this point! Bodies are being dumped in the desert, Skinner and Doggett inform Scully about it because Mulder could be dropped also. Two men, Jeremiah and another find these bodies and Jeremiah uses his healing powers. His accomplice is being captured. Doggett introduces Scully / Skinner to Special Agent Monica Reyes, she is specialized in occult murders and such and has a different view on the situation. Then Mulder is being dumped and found, Scully who met Jeremiah storms to where Mulder is found, appearing dead, she runs back to the house and sees Jeremiah being taken by the aliens. She yells: This is not happening!! DeadAlive is even better, Mulder has been buried but when Billie Myles is found, floating in the water, heavily bloated, but in the morgue he is still alive! Reason for Skinner to dig-up Mulder and he too is still alive! Krycek controls Skinner, he has the vaccine for Mulder but Skinner must make sure Scully child will not be born! When Skinner unplugs him from the respirator because he cannot choose against Scully’s child, it appears this is exactly what Mulder’s body needs! It appears this is how the aliens want to infiltrate earth, turn the body into aliens and this works by kept being hooked on the respirator. Happened to Billie Myles and he became a completely different person. Note – Again, Gillian Anderson does a terrific job in these two episodes, she is so strong in these episodes, with the same music which again helps getting the viewer feel what she is feeling all through the episodes!



Episode 16, “Three Words” is also a solid episode! Mulder is ready to get back to work but Kersh doesn’t want him back. He gets back with another division but again his request for reassignment to the X-files is been denied by Kersh. When a man with information about an alien invasion is killed on the White House lawn, Mulder conducts his own investigation to find further evidence of colonization. Note – Lone Gunmen are back and help Mulder into the datacenter where he should be able find the data about the colonization. In “Empedocles” an office worker, who has just been fired, murders his colleagues, believed to be under the influence of pure evil. Agent Reyes believes this evil may be linked to the death of Doggett's son. Scully needs to go to the hospital, problems with her pregnancy but turns out okay. Note - Here we see a definite change in the relationship between Mulder and Scully, more romantic like. Agent Reyes is back for a 2nd time this season. Again, I think she is a nice addition to the cast.

 

In “Vienen” Mulder gets fired because he made an unauthorized trip to an oil rig for investigating some mysterious murders which have happened and the Black Oil maybe involved. Doggett is also there and it not happy to see Mulder with whom he now unwillingly has to team up with. I thought “Alone” was a particularly good episode. The title is really accurate for a number of reasons. There is a bizarre reptile like creature killing people, one of its kind. Scully is going pregnancy leave, Doggett gets a new inexperienced colleague. Doggett fears Scully won’t return afterwards. When Doggett is missing on a case, Scully needs to help, she feels like she is abandoning Doggett. Mulder also helps out, he is on the right track quite fast. Note - Doggett has certain feelings for Scully, not sure if it’s brotherly love or more.

 

The season 8 finale is actually a two-parter “Essence” & “Existence”. Naturally this is a mythology story as we have come accustomed to with the X-files, to end the season with a mythology story. Alien hybrid Billie Myles seems to want to kill Scully’s unborn child, Krycek suddenly seems like an ally to Skinner and Mulder. Reyes takes Scully away, Mulder doesn’t know where to, to protect Scully and her unborn child. Doggett’s so-called friend knowle, who is also an alien hybrid by the way, is spotted by Mulder and Doggett with Krycek. Billie finds the women but instead of killing Scully and her child, is he and other alien hybrids adamant that the child should live and they all watch as Scully delivers the baby and leave her unharmed just as Mulder has found them. Krycek has again double-crossed Skinner and Mulder and pays the ultimate price.

 

Final Word:

The blog ran a bit too long I noticed, I am still trying to make them shorter but this is not always so easy. Anyway, as I said, I love this season, especially the mythology episodes where Scully is desperately looking for Mulder. The season also ends satisfactory enough had the show ended there. But we all know we did get another season, plus two more shorts ones later on. Doggett and Reyes take over the torch from Mulder and Scully, although Scully is there in season 9 but as I recall, a little more on the background. As I said earlier, would have like to have had more seasons with Doggett and Reyes at the helm!


Screencaps: The X-Files Archive



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