Mulder has quickly switched out his off duty casual wear back to his FBI Agent suit attire in the second episode of the new X-Files revival – which, thankfully was a huge improvement on the first – and TV Ate My Wardrobe costume designer favorite Christopher Hargadon manages to banish the thought of all things 90s baggy in an instant.
I’m not even going to think about the logistics of Mulder and Scully getting their old office and positions back after so much time away; instead let’s focus on a few things that jumped out regarding the clothes they are wearing now they are back on their old stomping ground.
In each instance there is a color that ties Mulder and Scully together with the last shot being the most overt with Scully’s top wine color top and Mulder’s tie. In their dressing down from Skinner – just like old times! – they’ve both opted for serious and muted attire. This somber look also mirrors their shared grief when it comes to the son they gave up and we get to see both characters imagine what could have been starting with the good, quickly followed by the devastating if William had stayed in their lives.
And when we first see Mulder and Scully back on the case the blue of Mulder’s tie and Scully’s jacket combined with their matching white shirts show that despite the time they have spent apart they are very much on the same page; this is one partnership with roots that go deep. So while the tailoring is sharper and the silhouettes are more defined, they are still very much the Mulder and Scully of the past; the rich history and intimacy is evident in not only how they look at each other, but how they mirror each other. Right down to the flashlights.
At times I wish they had let these factors do all the talking because the dialogue in both these first two episodes does a lot more explaining than is necessary and feels pretty clunky in places. The chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny has not lost any of its fire and yep those feeeeeeelings are very much in place.
In the UK Vogue January 2016 issue Gillian Anderson talks about Scully’s updated look saying “I had worked with Chris [Hargadon] on Hannibal, in which he got to express his creative genius through Hannibal’s fine tailoring. Our squarish FBI agents were perhaps not quite so fun to dress, yet it was still essential to precisely define their typical wardrobes. So Scully is still a bit homely but with a taste for fabric and color, more cotton than silk, no zips or accents, nothing too fitted, no patterns.” Pretty much the opposite of what you might see the Alicia Florrick, Diane Lockhart or Lucca Quinn wear on The Good Wife.
I was excited to see Hargadon working on The X-Files because even though there was no way Scully would wear anything like Bedelia wore; he clearly has an excellent eye for tailoring. He is also killer when it comes to making a murder suit, a skill which could come in handy on this show. The links to Hannibal in “Founder’s Mutation” came in the slightly more obscure (suicide method) to the more overt with Kacey Rohl’s (Abigail Hobbs) guest starring.
One other costuming moment that stood out comes at the end of the episode and Mulder’s vision of William being taken; the grey tee evokes plenty of memories of Mulder from the season 2 premiere “Little Green Men.”