When I initially began my research for this blog I discovered an enormous wealth of material already out there. I read all of it and took notes like an undergrad, thinking I’d reference everything in my posts. Alas, I am too opinionated and long-winded. But! Because all of it so awesome, I decided instead to include a weekly Suggested Further Reading post to supplement my weekly episode analysis. Some of the readings are quite different from mine, but that’s what makes life fun.
Grace Duffy, Magical Amazing Person, For The Mary Sue*
*The first recap series I ever read and still one of my absolute faves! Read her shit.
“They discuss the Oregon case, with Mulder showing her pictures of the marks found on the most recent victim (Karen, the girl from the opening scenes). Scully suggests they may be attributable to animal bites or puncture wounds but is unable to identify the chemical compound drawn from them. Mulder declares that he has “plenty of theories” as to what they might be. If this were tumblr, I’m pretty sure that line would be tagged “That’s it. That’s the show.” The air between them is already so charged from this opening scene that it could be captioned “there’s a fire between us, so where is your god” from Babylon Zoo’s Spaceman. (’90s classic for a ’90s classic, lads.) Mulder posits the existence of UFOs, a notion Scully vehemently disagrees with—“What I find fantastic is the idea that there could be any explanation beyond the realm of science.” Lads, I think they like each other.”
April Walsh from Medium
Introducing her recaps for Medium’s Legendary Women
“I’m just focusing on Scully because we do love our strong ladies here at Legendary Women and Scully might even be our absolute favorite. Back in 2011, we even had an entire month dedicated to Dana Scully and all the ways we felt she and The X-Files changed the way women were presented on TV for the better.”
“I love Mulder and Scully. I love them both separately and together. Speaking of together — God, how I wanted them together! No show drew out the UST like this show. Just warning you: shipper on deck, like hardcore. Couldn’t even pretend to a be noromo if I wanted.”
On the Pilot
“[Their first meeting] is magical, but they barely get to consider making out like teenagers before they’re whisked off to deal with a bunch of post-teens in Oregon with a bad case of the nasal probes and unidentified puncture wounds.”
“Well, Scully does save one mysterious nasal insert, but The Smoking Man locks it away in The Pentagon. We also start a series-long gag with the flavor of that Warner Brother’s dancing frog where Mulder sees all the paranormal porn he wants and Scully juuuussst misses it.”
Meghan Deans from Tor
On Scully and the Panel o’ Patriarchy:
“Scully also says that she sees the FBI as a place where she can distinguish herself, prompting the furrowed-brow men to take their brows and furrow them further. What a nice young woman, they think. She wants to impress us and therefore she’ll absolutely always entirely do what she’s told! Pleased with their own brilliance, the brow-furrowers drop the other shoe and inform her that she’s been assigned to work with this Mulder fellow on the X-Files. Our nice young Scully cuts straight to it: “Am I to understand that you want me to debunk the X-Files project?”
On the mosquito bites:
“It’s all very sweet, I guess. And I suppose it shows how deeply Scully is affected by the case. But all that robe-throwing and soul-bearing reads as clumsy and forced. Mulder and Scully will have, someday, a complex relationship to rival them all. There’s time enough for development, but the pilot doesn’t know that.”
On worldbuilding and technique:
“It’s somehow all as creepy as it is familiar, and herein lies the show’s game: to take on pervasive legends and to present them not as reality unquestionable but as a reality possible; one that you might find if you just believed.”
Autumn Tysko’s Reviews
On Scully’s emotional openness:
“Despite her beliefs, Scully is supportive, even gently grasping his hand to prod him on when he stops. The ultimate issue of trust is also first broached as she tells him “you’ve got to trust me” insisting she isn’t part of some greater agenda.”
“[Scully] hugging Mulder in relief is in sharp contrast to the Scully we now know that tries so hard to never show fear or weakness. Though of all the emotional outbursts there is nothing quite like seeing a sopping wet Scully laugh in Mulder’s face. That I could stand more of.”
On the two-way mirror thing:
There is one last great moment that I want to mention as I think it is one of the best indicators of the Mulder/Scully connection ever on the show. While Mulder is in the interview room with Billy Miles and Scully stands hidden behind the mirror with her superiors they share a moment of intense eye contact which should be impossible but they somehow still seem to see and understand each other.”
Kevin Phipps from the AV Club
“While much of the pleasure of the show comes from watching the chemistry between the two leads develop over the seasons, it’s interesting to see how much of it is already in place here. Mulder instantly takes to Scully, enthusiastically sharing the details of the case with her. Taken aback by his enthusiasm for what her scientific impulses tell her his bullshit, Scully counters his assertions. And on this foundation a series was built.”
On Duchovny, the Mosquito Bite, and Silence of the Lambs:
“David Duchovny plays him as one of the cool guys, quick with a quip and dismissive of authority. It’ll take a while before we see the depths of the loneliness that drive him. Scully begins as something of a cipher, her personality largely on loan from Jodie Foster in Silence Of The Lambs. But already there’s a vulnerability to her portrayal. The underwear shot may seem a bit gratuitous–and maybe a rebuttal to the Fox execs who protested that Gillian Anderson didn’t have enough sex appeal for the lead slot–but it leads to the nice moment when she asks Mulder to look at what turns out to be a pair of mosquito bites. The trust is there already. One further note about Silence Of The Lambs: Scully isn’t the only element on loan. Carter also nicked, and made good use of, that film’s emphasis on the forensic elements of investigation and the fact that crime and other sorts of drama isn’t confined to New York and L.A.”
Darren from m0vieblog
On Influences and Cultural Impact:
“Indeed, you could make a valid argument (and I undoubtedly will over some of the shows to come) that The X-Files is a “missing link” that serves to connect the serial killer films of the nineties (The Silence of the Lambs, se7en, Kiss the Girls, etc.) with the massive explosion in murder-related police procedurals on television a decade later (CSI, Criminal Minds). […]
[con’t]For the moment, though, it’s worth noting that Carter very shrewdly identified The Silence of the Lambs as a horror template that could work on television in the nineties. One of the best aspects of The Silence of the Lambs was the was that it eschewed the traditional “damsel in distress” formula that plagued the genre, instead crafting a strong and compelling (and well-developed) female lead character. Although some of the procedural aspects of The X-Files owe a massive debt to The Silence of the Lambs, Dana Scully is the most obvious illustration of the film’s influence on the show.”
*I really don’t agree with the assessment of Scully as ‘on loan’ from Clarice Starling or even that Scully is very obviously influenced by Starling. She’s got red hair and she’s in the FBI. In my reading, that’s it. It annoys me to see Anderson’s performance reduced thus.
On the Mulder’s Posturing and the Mosquito Bites:
“Here, however, Mulder decides to exhume one of the bodies, and jokes about Scully’s possible reaction to that. “I’ve arranged to exhume one of the other victims’ bodies to see if we can get a tissue sample to match the girl’s. You’re not squeamish about that kind of thing, are ya?” Of course, Scully doesn’t seem perturbed or disturbed in the slightest, and Mulder’s mockery of Scully seems to contain a hint of sexism. One wonders if Mulder might have asked the same question of a male colleague.
[con’t] Still, that makes it a little disappointing when The Pilot gives us the show’s only real overt attempt to sexualise Scully. When the power goes out, we’re treated to a shot of Scully taking off her dressing gown revealing a bra and panties. It feels disturbingly trashy, and it is somewhat telling that this is would be the most notable example of the show turning Scully into a sex object during the series’ ten years on the air. I sense the involvement of the network.”
WTF DID I MISS on Tumblr
“[Scully] goes into this tightwad’s office, like you can tell just from looking at him that he’s an asshole. And there’s this broody silent fuck in the room, just creeping on their meeting while he smokes a cigarette. Spoilers: He’s a huge villainous pile of shit. Anyways, the tightwad like “interviews” her and she’s like “FUCK YOU I’M A REBEL~ lol”. And basically they assign her to work with Mulder, WHO IS FUCKING *FAMOUS* – he’s got like this A+ reputation (more like C- but I love him, so) and he’s super fucking smart and also hot but she doesn’t know this yet. But basically it’s her job to fuck his shit up and just make him look so stupid 24/7.”
“…Super Special Dirt™, disguised as normal dirt. Scully decides, on visual inspection alone, that it is important enough to pocket. RIGHT THEN, this asshole shows up, like ‘PUT MY DIRT BACK AND GTFO, BITCH.'”
201 Days of the X-Files Blog by tjyoung123
- The original script for this episode called for Mulder and Scully to howl at the moon at one point.
- Carter decided to play against established stereotypes making the male character a believer and the female a skeptic as the latter role had traditionally been a male one on television.
Eat the Corn’s Pilot Influences
- Twin Peaks: FBI + paranormal
- Silence of the Lambs: procedural criminal investigation with graphic violence, focus on forensic evidence, a heavy atmosphere, and a very dark palette, also a female FBI agent with red hair WHATEVER
- Raiders of the Lost Arc: the last shot
- Mytharc: The episodes about aliens
- MOTW: Monster of the Week; the episodes not about aliens
- MSR: Stands for Mulder/Scully Romance or Mulder/Scully Relationship. Classic 90s fandom term.
- UST: Unresolved Sexual Tension. The internet has it that The X-Files invented this term. Also a classic term.
- Shipper: Listen we all know what this means. I mention it because The X-Files fandom definitely invented this term. (Shipping was around before, but not as a cultural force in the mainstream with a term to describe it. I do see you, Kirk/Spock shippers. Respect.)
- Noromo: The opposite of shipper. Those who
are incomprehensible to medo not want to see Mulder and Scully in a romantic relationship for a variety of reasons, some pretty legit if I’m honest. Classic term.
- 1013 and 1121: Carter’s birthday and his wife’s, respectively. TONS of clocks and room numbers in the show with these numbers, which is annoying if you keep expecting it to mean something. 1013 is also the name of Carter’s production company.