There is a certain vindication in knowing that paying attention can actually get you somewhere on this show. Over the years, that has never truly been the case...clues and hints were dropped and then forgotten for years, sometimes never picked up again. Retroactive continuity, like that of Mulder's illness...just what did that have to do with anything, in the end...frustrated fan after fan.

So it is nice to know that this season, an effort was made to make sure that in some small fashion, the dots would connect.

As it turns out, I was correct in my interpretation regarding the "new" aliens...the fact that they are actively infiltrating the government and systematically destroying the remains of the Syndicate experiments involving human/alien hybridization. I said in my review for "Per Manum" that the in vitro clinic work was an offshoot of the Project that remained after the Rebels attacked in "One Son"...that was correct as well.

I also pointed out that the only real question that remained, after "Vienen", was the little matter of how Scully's child fit into the equation. It seemed as though Knowles had known about the in vitro experiments, and yet he was alien...why did he do nothing? The answer is simple...they wanted to know the full extent of the results of the experiments before destroying that phase of the Project. Why act too quickly and risk leaving something dangerous undetected?

Which explains why Billy Miles is acting at this stage of the game. Scully has obviously been under surveillance, and when the aliens discovered the nature of her child, they recognized that she presented the only true danger. So they eliminated the in vitro experiments and went after Scully.

Speaking of Scully, and therefore her child...I have been very strong in my opinion, since Mulder's return, that he did not know the identity of the father of Scully's child. The opening monologue clearly shows that Mulder questions the circumstances of the child's origin. Not just that, but it is clear in the way he refers to the child...not as his, not as theirs, but as Scully's. He claims no ownership, because he genuinely feels that such ownership is in doubt.

I, however, maintain that he is...in a sense...the father of Scully's child. I do not believe, even for a moment, this nonsense that the child is some miracle sent by God. In a figurative sense, perhaps, but nothing more. I maintain that the child is the result of the genetic manipulation caused in both Mulder and Scully by their exposures to the alien virus.

Why do I say this? Because the child was described as "more human than human" and "something a lab could never create". Which means it is not an alien baby in the sense of the in vitro experiments. Which means that the words used to describe the child are the same words used to describe Gibson Praise.

Which means, ultimately, that the child has naturally active alien genes that endow it with a natural immunity to the alien virus, and therefore can pass on that immunity. Which ought to sound familiar, because that was hinted at in "Vienen" when we were introduced, blatantly, to the idea of groups of humans with natural immunity to the virus.

I mentioned weeks ago that Krycek wanted the baby dead because once the Colonists discovered the child, they would begin the final phase of colonization. And Krycek confirmed that by saying that he wanted to kill the baby to keep the truth hidden from the wrong people.

So far, none of this is much of a surprise, and so I am looking forward to seeing how they end this season. I hope that it does not end just as Scully is giving birth...that is just the sort of idiotic cop-out that too many shows would allow themselves the luxury of taking.

The "X-Files" deserves better.

Some other thoughts:

- I'm glad those Learning Channel sex specials finally came in handy for someone...

- Do you think the actor who played Billy Miles asked RP to give him pointers on how to act like the T-1000?

- I'm so glad that we got to see Ma Scully do a baby shower scene, instead of that really boring idea of a confrontation with her daughter over some mysterious pregnancy...

- I just *knew* that Doggett was the NASCAR type...and ain't it neat how he still called Mulder "Agent"?

- Just what kind of idiot is this Dr. Parenti, anyway? Hey, I grow alien/human hybrid fetuses as part of a secret project...why don't I just keep them on a freakin' trophy case in my office? Yeah, that's a good hiding place!

- Proof that CC hangs out in the Medusa Lounge: FEAR THE JAR!

- Mulder and Doggett had some odd kinda thing going on when they went to visit Parenti's office the second time. First, they are walking towards the front door, then they break into a jog...and then they just kinda slow into a walk again! What, did they forget if they were in a hurry or not?

- Typical Skinner...wait just about until the child is born to actually ask if Mulder is the father or not...I mean, it's not as though you were the one frickin' person to know about the pregnancy for eight months!

- I thought it was great when Doggett left Mulder out in Parenti's office when Billy Miles attacked! "OK, Mulder, you wanted to piss people off..."

- Billy Miles' reference to the hybrid as an abomination is a nice nod to "Colony"/"Endgame", where we had the first unstoppable alien killer.

- Is it me, or does Krycek have some of the best entrances into an episode? Whack an alien in the neck with an icepick, slam into another one with a car, dress like Rob Zombie with a palm pilot...

- OK, after abductions, losing her entire family, cancer, infection with an alien virus...it's only *now* that Scully is tired of her life being one never-ending X-File????

- It's about time someone mentioned that little thing about Mulder coming back from the dead under rather dubious circumstances! Only, "Scully did her magic thingy" should have been questioned a little more closely...

- Am I the only one who thought that Doggett was eying up Krycek for that Skippy jar the entire time Rotboy was trying to rewrite the gospels?

- OH, and about that...I thought Mulder was supposed the be the Christ figure all this time!

- Granted, CC always comes up with some of the most bizarre cliffhangers, but exactly where did the Magic FBI TrashCompactor come from? How did that alien FBI agent know to be there? What, did Doggett call him up?

- Just how many of Doggett's friends and coworkers are aliens, anyway?

- Who wants to bet that next week, either Mulder or Doggett makes a joke about how many illegal aliens are on the government payroll...

Overall, this was a wonderful episode that served to prepare us for the final installment of the alien mythology (presumably) and managed to keep us in our seats the entire way.

I give it a 9/10.

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