Last week’s The X-Files, “Home Again,” was a complete departure from last week’s light-hearted episode. The episode was written and directed by Glen Morgan. This episode was a return to a monster of the week, but also featured an amazing performance by Gillian Anderson (Scully) as she dealt with her mother’s death. I apologize for the lateness of this review, but computer issues prevented me from posting it before this week's episode aired.
Naturally, it’s the middle of the night and we follow Cutler (Alessandro Juliani) back to his office. He’s in charge of displacing the locals and has no sympathy for them. A garbage truck pulls up and a huge figure is alone in the road as it pulls away. The lights go out and the shadowy figure appears outside Cutler’s door. He goes for a gun and calls 911, neither of which save him from the figure getting into the office and literally just pulling him apart! It’s terrifically horrific!
Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully show up, and we get the hero shot of them with their badges. They’ve been called in by the local pd because of their reputation with “spooky” cases. The bloody footprint they find has no prints, which Mulder points out is impossible as everyone is born with them. Cutler is literally all over the office – his head is in the wastebasket, which Mulder hilariously points out is the wrong recycling bin! Mulder also points out that it took four horses to draw and quarter a man that way.
Scully receives a phone call from her brother Bill that her mother, Margaret (Sheila Larken), has suffered a heart attack and is in ICU. Mulder tells Scully to just go to her mother. It’s clear from his face that he’s worried about Scully. I loved the camera work in this scene as Scully leaves that perfectly reflects the disorientation she’s feeling. Her walk down the stairwell is terrifically shot.
While Scully deals with her mother’s emergency, Mulder works the case. His first clue is some street art of a hanged man that’s been put up after the murder. Mulder discovers that there are a lot of parties fighting over the relocation project. Daryl Landry (Daryl Shuttleworth) has been working with Cutler and Nancy Huff (Peggy Jo Jacobs) represents the Buckcounty School Board who oppose the project because they’re building a ten story apartment. Mulder wants to know who – if anybody – is speaking for the people who are being displaced. It would seem to be no one.
We see that two guys have stolen the hanged man street art, and we see that the tag is TRASHMAN. The picture appears and disappears. While one leaves the room the other ends up dead with a plastic bag over his head. Fitzpatrick (Seth Whittaker) comes back in to find the large, slimy man there who rips him apart. There’s a great shot of his spinal column!
Meanwhile, Scully is in the ICU with her mother who is on a ventilator. It’s wonderful to see another side of the seemingly always self-possessed Scully, and Anderson does a brilliant job showing us this softer, less assured side. The Nurse (Jannen Karr) tells Scully her mother was briefly conscious and asked for Charlie, Scully’s estranged brother.
She strokes her mother’s cheek and gently tells her she’s there. She tells her mother that she’s been where she is – for those new to the show, Scully was in a coma for some time. There’s a terrific flashback from the original season of Mulder sitting beside Scully’s bed, encouraging her to come back to him. William calls and Scully tell him to get there as soon as he can. She tells him that they’ll keep their mother on life support because that was what she wanted. Scully knows because they had talked about it after Scully’s own coma.
Scully is therefore shocked to find out that Margaret has changed her Advanced Medical Directive to do not resuscitate. The Dr (Veena Sood) tells Scully that they will have to extubate Margaret because it was her wish and that’s the law. Mulder drops into the hospital and Scully is clearly relieved to have the support and pleased to see him.
Scully tells him about her mother asking for Charlie, changing her will, and having a necklace Scully doesn’t understand around her neck. Mulder tells her that the killer is a man who believes that he’s helping the homeless. He also says he can’t stay because he suspects more will die if he does. We see Huff torn apart in her suburban mansion after delivering an injunction to prevent the homeless being treated in her local hospital.
Scully watches as the doctor removes the breathing tube and comments that she’s not interested in the big questions right now, she’d just like the chance to ask her mom a few little ones – to clear up those things troubling her. Scully asks Mulder why they never came across a way to wish someone back to life and he tells her that he invented one when she was in the hospital. She smiles and the memory and tells him that he’s a “Dark Wizard.”
It was really interesting to see Scully deal with her grief. She freaks out when they come with a gurney for her mother. Mulder calms her down and reminds her that Margaret is an organ donor, so they need her body right away. As a doctor, you would think Scully would know all this, but it’s nice to see her very human side here. Scully is troubled that her mother’s last words were about the child they gave away.
Scully insists that they drive to Philadelphia right away. She needs to work right now. Mulder looks after her, clearly sad that she won’t allow herself to just grieve.
The two track down the paint used in the street art which leads to a foot chase. I loved that he almost gets away because Mulder refuses to shoot and says he doesn’t do stairs anymore. Scully retorts that “back in the day I did stairs in three inch heels!” Mulder grounds us in the present by saying “back in the day is now.” Yes, Mulder, it is! I also love that the show can make fun of the entire common occurrence of women ridiculously having to run in heels while chasing or being chased by bad guys!
I loved that we finally get the best blue flashlight shot in this episode. As they enter, their beam cross to form the iconic X.
The two find a clay man tied to a post. I’m still thinking Golem. Of course, the clay man is played by John DeSantis who did play a Golem on Supernatural. They also find the Trashman (Tim Armstrong) who tells them that the people on the street have no voice and are treated like garbage so he was trying to give them a voice through art – not violence. He explains that the clay may is a Tulpa – a thought form brought into being.
Mulder is skeptical. Trashman insists that he came to him and told him what he wanted to be. Scully draws a parallel to William. Children come alive with a life of their own. You’re responsible if you made it. You’re just as bad as those you hate. It’s interesting that Mulder and Scully really don’t do anything to protect Landry who is also ripped apart.
There is a terrific final shot of the clay man with a ridiculous and totally creepy happy face for his head – and a final hangman on the wall.
The final scene is Mulder and Scully scattering Margaret’s ashes. Scully muses that Margaret wanted to know Charlie would be ok because she had made him. She wanted to make sure. This of course raises questions about their own child. She says, “We’d be responsible and make sure William is safe. Even if we can’t see him.”
She goes on to tell Mulder that she thinks he’ll eventually find answers to his big mysteries. But she doesn’t believe that she’ll get answers to her little mysteries – like the significance of that necklace. But what Scully needs to believe is that they didn’t treat William like trash. Which seems to set us up nicely for a quest to find their son and make sure he is safe – which hardly seems likely. We’ve already had flashes of both Mulder and Scully worried that he is in danger after all.
What did you think of the episode? Favorite scene? Favorite line? Do you think they will or should go after William? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.