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“Home Again” and Looking at the Big and Little Questions on The X-Files

9 Feb

Mulder’s quest began a long time ago with a simple question that lacked in a simple answer – who took his sister and why? That night is what led to his interest (okay obsession) with all things paranormal, ultimately leading to his partnership with Scully. In this 6-episode revival The X-Files isn’t so concerned with what happened to Samantha Mulder (‘explanations’ in the past range from cloning, a shadowy government conspiracy, aliens and a serial killer giving Mulder answers and then taking them away), but rather addressing the child that Scully and Mulder had and then gave up for adoption in order to protect him. William is the thread that runs throughout and a sadness hangs over Scully (and Mulder) in the same way Samantha did during the original series.

With William it isn’t so much what happened to him – even though Scully has plenty of those questions – as they know the reason why he is no longer in their life, but more about the decision they made and if there could have been another way. A lot of this is saturated in guilt; Mulder felt guilty for being the one not taken way back when and now Scully is consumed with this feeling that she abandoned her child.The X-Files 10.04 Mulder and ScullyThere is no way to reconcile this guilt other than by bringing William back into the fold in some way or other and it definitely seems like they are building to some kind of resolution. Or as much of a resolution as The X-Files can offer because they’re going to leave some questions (okay probably a lot) unanswered in case they want to do more (which if the ratings are any indication, Fox will definitely want more). When it comes to this storyline YMMV depending on how invested you are in this side of Mulder and Scully’s relationship and for the record I am very much in. I wear my shipper status and feelings with pride.

The intimacy levels are not just about the romantic and the bond between Mulder and Scully goes beyond William and any potential romantic involvement. The way “Home Again” (written by Glen Morgan) mirrors the season 2 return of Scully in “One Breath” (co-written by Glen Morgan) is achieved on several levels. From overt references with a flashback clip of Mulder talking to Scully, the talisman (Scully’s cross necklace/her mother’s mysterious quarter chain) and the desire to will someone back to life. Mulder needed to know what had happened to Scully after Duane Barry abducted her and Scully’s questions in the present shifts the focus onto a few personal mysteries rather than a larger conspiracy. Gillian Anderson nails the heightened emotions with this devastating line “I don’t care about the big questions right now, Mulder. I just want a chance to ask my mother a few of the little ones.”

In a touching conversation at Margaret Scully’s bedside, Scully wonders if they ever encountered anyone with the ability to wish another person back to life. Mulder of course did such a thing when Scully was in her coma – “I invented it” – and the “you’re a dark wizard” response is a much needed moment of levity before Scully’s mother wakes up, mentions William and then dies. Giving Scully even more reason to question her decision and think about the son she gave up. Mulder’s close relationship with Scully’s mother began in “One Breath” and Mulder and Scully’s lives have been so entwined on every level that I am so glad he was here for Scully in this moment (initially I was concerned he would be stuck in Philadelphia working on the case for the whole episode). Scully perfectly fits under Mulder’s chin in a visual which yep, caused more feelings.The X Files 10.04 Mulder and ScullyThe big and little questions of The X-Files come in a variety of forms and one of the prevailing strengths of this show is its ability to weave between themes that impact the overall worldview of these characters (generally the mythology infused episodes) and ones that focus on something smaller (monster of the week episodes). These ‘monsters’ come in many different forms and can be funny (like last week’s episode “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster), scary (“Home”), other worldly (“Squeeze) or very much rooted in reality (“Irresistible”).

What “Home Again” does is combine a MOTW with the overall mythology and at times this episode does suffer from doing too much and would maybe have benefited from an extended run time. That’s not to say it isn’t a good episode and for me it is on a par with last week’s super fun standalone outing; while the monster backstory is pretty forgettable everything that radiates from Scully is engrossing. It also does a good job of  reinforcing the strength of the Mulder and Scully relationship no matter how long they have been apart and what they have both sacrificed; the core of The X-Files is always them.

Costuming wise this is also reflected once again in their mirrored style/color choices from matching black coats in the emotional final scene to the blue of Scully’s shirt and the polka dots (!) on Mulder’s tie.The X-Files 10.04 Scully and MulderThe phrase “back in the day” gets used a couple of times; first at Margaret Scully’s bedside with regards to wishing someone back to life and later on when Mulder points out he’s not running up stairs to which Scully replies “Mulder, back in the day I used to do stairs and three inch heels.” Take that Jurassic World pump doubters. Mulder always one with a quippy comeback remarks “Scully, back in the day is now.”

What this does is deliver a playful moment in an episode that is steeped in heavy emotion showing that The X-Files is still a master at weaving between super serious or scary with lighthearted interactions. This pair has been through so much trauma on every level, but thankfully they still have each other and a sense of humor. This is required when going into dark buildings which may or may not house a dude who can pull arms off a human like wings off a fly.

Oh yes they also have flashlights and this prop will never not make me giddy. The X-Files 10.04 flashlightsThe flashlight moment which was teased in the trailer happened in “Home Again” and yep it was wonderful.

[Source]

The episode ends with Scully doubling down on her partnership with Mulder and his work while also pointing out that there are so many mysteries with regards to William that she’ll “never have answered.” Mulder gives no verbal confirmation that they didn’t “treat him like trash” but the gesture of pulling her into him is an act of comfort and one intended to give Scully reassurance. I also have a feeling we might get some William answers or at least vague hints by the time this mini-series is over. Nothing concrete of course.

Watch the promo for next week’s episode “Babylon” below and just know that Lauren Ambrose being back on TV is another reason to celebrate.

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Mulder and Scully Costume Updates and Mirroring on The X-Files

26 Jan

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.

The X-Files 10.02 Mulder and Scully The X-Files 10.02 Scully and Mulder The X-files 10.02In 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.”

The X-Files 10.02 Mulder Mulder Little Green MenThe 2016 version is far less sweaty and has longer sleeves, but you get the point.

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny Discuss Old Tensions and More on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

13 Jan

The X-Files will be back on screens very soon (Sunday, January 24) and last night the premiere took place at the California Science Center in LA. We’re very much in a 90s nostalgia period with both the pop culture and fashion of the time and like many this was not only a show I was obsessed with, but it was my first experience of actively shipping a couple on screen (and maybe a little off screen too).

Regardless of whether these six episodes are good (and I really want them to be, but don’t necessarily expect it after the last movie and tangled web of the mythology arc) it has tapped into some long dormant feelings and it is a lot of fun seeing how playful Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are with each other.

Gillian Anderson and David DuchovnyCase in point their appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! where they discuss getting back into character, bad monsters and rumors of an unhappy relationship.

This is far from the case now and when Gillian Anderson tries to explain why they maybe didn’t get on it descends into the best kind of chaos and PDA.

The new(ish) rumors are that they are/have been dating and while this is very much not confirmed they certainly still have cracking chemistry and in a comedy sketch complete with wigs and oh so many 90s references – does anyone else find the sound of dial-up strangely comforting? – Mulder and Scully go way further than we have ever seen them go before on the TV series.

And for more fun X-Files related things check out the new episode of The X Files Files and a conversation Kumail Nanjiani recorded at 3 a.m. with Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny discussing old plots and monsters of the week. Anderson’s lack of memories of these moments is hilarious.

The X-Files returns Sunday, January 24 followed by another episode Monday, January 25 and for a 21-minute preview head here.

Getting Older and Fighting the Same Fight: Previewing The X-Files Revival

29 Dec

In just under a month The X-Files will be back on our screens and Fox has released a 21-minute preview to wet those appetites; it is safe to say I was pretty giddy within the first few minutes and there is nothing quite like hearing those opening bars of the Mark Snow theme to give you goose bumps.

The X-Files Scully and MulderThe preview includes interviews with the cast (new and old) and creators outlining what The X-Files is – not sure they’re going to get too many people watching who don’t know – and setting up the revival. There will be two mythology episodes bookending the six episodes and a whole lot of monsters in-between. The Rhys Darby/Kumail Nanjiani episode looks particularly funny and it is the one I am most looking forward to.

Chris Carter retcons a little with the Mulder and Scully relationship suggesting it was purely platonic and it was only in the most recent movie where there was any romance (okay), but things are certainly just as intimate as they were before even if the pair haven’t  seen each other recently. It doesn’t look like it will take any time at all for them to get back into their routine and yep so many feelings from this preview alone. I’ve mentioned it many times before how much Scully and Mulder mean to me and like many others this is the first TV couple I actively shipped. Hence the lack of chill about this revival.

They also bring up the fact that they are both a lot older and it has been over twenty years since they first stated their partnership and the child Scully gave up for adoption is now 15 years old (way to make me feel old by pointing this out guys). By the way Gillian Anderson getting all teary is crushing out of context so expect major misty eyes while watching this scene in context.

There is a very cute moment about age and heels because Mulder does not do stairs anymore; Scully gives him the best response to this complaint. Speaking of cute moments, we’ve also got this blooper and those giddy feelings I mentioned are all pointing to this. It’s all about the shoulder squeeze.

The X-FilesSee – no chill whatsoever.

The preview reveals quite a lot of story points and some behind the scenes stuff so if you want to go in completely fresh then it might be best to avoid, however I think they are holding a whole lot back.

The X-Files returns Sunday, January 24 2016.

Getting the Team Back Together on The X-Files: New Key Art 

11 Nov

The X-Files promotional gifts have so far been all about the trailers hinting at both the overall conspiracy that binds these characters together and those pesky monsters that have a habit of causing mischief. Fox has just released new key art and while Mulder and Scully take center stage (of course) there are also a couple of familiar faces joining them. And their trusty flashlights.

The X FilesOh hey there Skinner and Cigarette Smoking Man (smoking a cigarette).

And for their hero pose. I’m kinda sad they’re not doing their crouched stance.

The X-Files Mulder and ScullyNow for my favorite and the one which evokes the kind of creepy atmosphere this show is so good at delivering. It looks like it could have been pulled straight from the opening credits. Plus it includes that all important piece of advice to live by if you happen to live in an endless cycle of conspiracies. You can totes trust your partner if their name is Mulder or Scully. That is a given.

The X-Files Scully and MulderThe X-Files returns Sunday, January 24 and that doesn’t seem all that far away now.

 

New X-Files Trailer: Monsters, Flashlights and Sunglasses 

27 Oct

The X-Files revival is still a few months away and so far the promotional material has mainly focused on showing the alien conspiracy angle and letting us know that Mulder and Scully are estranged. It’s not all mythology episodes and the monster of the week are also making a comeback; much to my delight. I don’t think I am alone in the opinion of preferring these types of episodes over the alien storyline, particularly when the latter became convoluted and messy.  The monsters are coming with Scully explicitly saying so in this new trailer in a tone that seems less sceptical than you might expect, but things are not always as they seem on The X-Files. Other moments to get excited about include the lack of baggy suits (although I kinda miss them), the return of Mulder’s sunglasses and some playful flashlight interactions. Yes that is a smile on Scully’s face. The feelings are still being felt. There’s also a whole lot of creepiness, some folks who are less than thrilled to see Mulder and Scully and Mulder waking up shirtless in an unnerving environment. Sounds like The X-Files I know and love.

Watch the new trailer below and head here for the first full length one.

New X-Files Trailer: Phone Calls, Shoulder Grabs and All the Feelings 

29 Sep

Ever since The X-Files revival was announced anticipation levels have been slowly building with every brief clips of new footage (flashlights!), magazine cover and Instagram tease/throwback. The first full length trailer has now been unleashed just prior to New York Comic-Con – where some lucky fans will get to see the all new premiere episode – and it is full of intrigue, paranoia and good old fashioned Mulder and Scully intensity.

You can watch the whole thing below and we’ve picked some standout moments. I’ve mentioned it in the past, but it’s worth repeating that while I soured on the whole mythology side by the end of the show, my Mulder and Scully feelings were strong from start to finish.

Pencils on the ceiling/poster on the floor Mulder’s old office is missing most its furniture, but those pencils and THAT poster have survived (well the poster takes a beating courtesy of Mulder’s foot).

Perfect ‘my ex is calling and I don’t know what to do’ face Mulder and Scully are estranged in all senses, but Scully is still answering those calls. But first of all stare at the screen and a) wonder what the fuck he wants And b) wonder what the fuck to say. Although she doesn’t have too long to figure out because he’s calling from within viewing range. Way to go Mulder on the sneak visit. SURPRISE! 

Mulder is still a pro at the hangdog expression  That suit is also working in his favor. Still a dick move dropping by like this. 

Skinner grew a beard  And it looks pretty great.

Dramatic shoulder grab = ALL THE FEELINGS Especially when they are looking at each other like this.

Flashlights! Part of me misses the ‘Why so baggy?’ nature of their 90s looks, but the part of my brain that isn’t controlled by nostalgia is so here for these tailored suits from Hannibal costume designer Christoper Hargadon.

Scully is sceptical and thinks Mulder is pushing his luck (standard) This is an expression we have seen countless times and it is so good to see it again. In fact this is the moment which caused my already goofy grin to hit goofier heights.

Mulder believes And he will use the shoulder grab to help emphasize his point. I am also so here for that.

Smoking kills?  I’m looking forward to how they explain this one. Flashbacks is one possibility and his hand does look rather wrinkle free. 

Watch the full trailer below.

The X-Files returns Sunday, January 24 2016.

The X-Files Revival Thoughts: On Shipping, 90s Style and Why I Can’t Wait

25 Mar

There has been breaking news stories aplenty including TV cancelations (*sob*), surprise returns, clothing lines, firings, boybands losing a member, clickbait articles which take trolling to new lows and plenty of red carpet moments for big TV premiere events. So it is typical then that all of this has happened while I have been away from my computer and having a rather splendid time in London. Now comes the moment where I have to sit down, have a glass of wine and catch up. First up the one that made me squeal with delight and this comes courtesy of the big X-Files revival as Fox has ordered six brand new episodes.

XFiles_Article_1-3Now I know the last movie was terrible and the later seasons also suffered from convoluted mythology and a lack of one half of the main duo, but that still doesn’t stop me from getting crazy excited there will be more. A couple of weeks ago I started listening to Kumail Nanjiani’s excellent podcast The X Files Files so I’m already in a place of strong Mulder and Scully nostalgia; the timing of this announcement is pretty perfect to be honest.

I started watching The X-Files in 1994 when I was 12 and it was like a shot in the arm for what TV could do. It was scary, smart and featured a central pairing who made me feel a whole lot of things. Yes I shipped Mulder and Scully hard. But it wasn’t just about them getting together romantically and the intimacy between them was far more than just a potential hookup. In recent years/months/weeks there has been talk of more, another movie maybe and even with the memory of the last outing lingering it hasn’t been enough to make me not long for more not when Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny appear to be very up for doing more.

Going the TV route rather than a third movie automatically feels like the smart move going back to its original format rather than cramming a subpar monster story into a movie or crowbarring alien conspiracy into two hours. Six episodes means there could be some of both kinds of X-Files and even though I would prefer monster of the week over the government and aliens, I know that you can’t really have one or the other.

xfiles-first-season-promo-shoot-001A project which has long been simmering in my drafts folder can get the attention it deserves with a costuming/style retrospective of all those pantsuits and trench coats affectionately called “The 90s – Why So Baggy?” Now I have more than a good reason to start an X-Files rewatch, one I have been putting off through feelings of guilt that I should be sticking to stuff I haven’t seen multiple times. The last time I had a huge X-Files binge was when I was super ill and spent three days in bed. It was wonderful aside from the vomit and feeling like shit. Expect confessions regarding what style cues I took from both Mulder and Scully and odes to helmet hair.

 

 

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