There were a number of items that were addressed in this episode, and a number of mythology threads advanced considerably. Perhaps the most important aspect of all of this concerns the overall motivations of the aliens. Who were the aliens, and just what were they really up to?
I’ll answer the question first, and then explain how previous episodes support the theory.
The aliens were the newly advanced version of the gestated alien host bodies, last seen in “The Beginning”. They are essentially an alien means of creating a suitable slave hybrid; they are human, but their physical forms have been vastly augmented and they are completely under the control of the Colonists/black oil. I call them the Servitors. Their goal has been to infiltrate the governments of the world in order to complete the preparations previously delegated to the Syndicate, and utilize those resources to eliminate any remaining Syndicate operations that might result in effective human resistance. Hence, their slow and secret involvement with Doggett and the X-Files…why eliminate a resource that can tell you exactly what has been discovered regarding their operations, and can help you uncover the remaining Syndicate operations?
During the purge of the Syndicate operations, they discovered that Agent Scully had been part of the Project, and might be carrying a human/alien hybrid. Their goal was to take Scully, induce labor, and eliminate the child (and Scully, most likely) if the child turned out to be a hybrid. If not, then there would be no threat presented by the child…therefore, both Scully and child would be permitted to live, if for no other reason than to provide the Colonists with a few more hosts for gestation!
Any and all attacks against Doggett, Skinner, and Mulder were based on the assumption that they were trying to keep the Servitors from getting Scully’s child. Knowle’s comments presumed that Doggett was under the impression that Scully’s child was a hybrid, after all. Billy attacked Reyes for the same reason. The sheriff (I call her Aunt Bee) did not attack because Reyes did not attempt to stop her from getting to Scully and the child.
Note that I do not say, at any moment, that Krycek was in any danger from the Servitors. That is because he never was. Krycek was working with the Servitors, even as he was working against them. Krycek has always been Mulder’s dark reflection: he takes “Trust No One” to the extreme. He is perfectly willing to play both sides against each other in the hopes that he might be the one to remain when all is said and done.
Krycek said it directly, right at the beginning: the new aliens were “created to aid in repopulation”. This confirms that the Servitors are taking the place of the Syndicate and helping in the plan to spread the black oil via the global petrochemical distribution network (“Vienen”). He also admitted that he “does not know the technical details”. This explains why he can only say that Scully’s child is “more human than human”, and does not know its exact origin (“Essence”).
If Krycek was working with the Colonists, then there should have been evidence of this before “Existence”. In fact, there was evidence of this in “Requiem”. Krycek was sent by Cancer Man to recover the alien craft piloted by the Bounty Hunter, but instead went to Mulder and Skinner. Why? Because he had cut a deal with the Colonists (probably through the Bounty Hunters) to eliminate the remains of the Syndicate (perhaps why Marita is nowhere to be found) and use their remaining resources to place the X-Files under their surveillance. Which, of course, is why Kersh was immediately placed over Skinner within days of Mulder’s disappearance and a friend of Knowle’s was placed in charge.
At the same time, Krycek was attempting to keep at least some of the remaining Syndicate resources available, especially the remains of the Vaccine Project. This delivered the key to his own survival, in terms of infection by the black oil during colonization, since his allies were able to create a vaccine capable of preventing infection by the new Servitor version of the alien virus. His attempt to kill Scully’s child (“DeadAlive”) goes back to the rationale given for killing Cassandra Spender. The creation of a viable hybrid immune to Purity would mean a rapid beginning of colonization, before that means of survival could spread throughout the population. Krycek would want to prevent this, because even with a vaccine, he would still need to find a way to stay alive in the new world to come…provided through his alliance with the Colonists.
In “Existence”, we first see Krycek leave Skinner to be attacked or killed by Billy Miles. Note that Krycek was not at all surprised to see Billy coming. I would wager that he knew it would be happening when he heard Crane and/or Knowle in the hallway, talking to Doggett. He did not even show a moment of fear. Even when Skinner was attacked, his expression was one of calculation.
Similarly, once it is clear that Doggett is not going to tell Knowle where Scully is, Knowle and Krycek meet in order to determine the response. They might have been waiting for confirmation regarding the Scully’s location, based on Kersh’s tapping of Doggett’s call to Reyes. Since Knowle, obviously someone in a degree of authority among the Servitors, was still under the assumption that Scully’s child was a hybrid, he knew that Scully and the baby would be killed. He also had to know, perhaps based on his conversation with Krycek, that Doggett, Skinner, and Mulder would attempt to investigate. At any rate, as soon as Knowle goes to get Crane and deal with Doggett before joining the others, Krycek goes to kill Mulder.
Now we can place Krycek’s comments to Mulder into the proper context. He was hoping that Mulder would somehow win, but events had come to a point where Krycek had to kill Mulder in order to save himself and possibly the world. After all, Krycek was the only one who had the vaccine!
So now we know who the aliens are, why they wanted Scully’s baby to be born, why they killed the doctors in “Essence”, why they let Scully’s baby live, and why Krycek’s actions were critical to understanding how it all fits together.
Two questions remain: so just what is the deal with Scully’s baby, and what was the significance of the star?
I have always been of the strong opinion that Scully’s baby was the unexpected result of she and Mulder having one moment of guilt-free intimacy in “all things”. It is the one concession that I make in this regard, because to me, they treat each other very differently after “all things”. This is certainly the case in “Requiem”, where they are far more cuddly than they had been before. But if you place events in a certain context, it is not so much sweet as bittersweet.
I always thought that it was a little odd that after seven years, Scully would suddenly have an epiphany on the order that she did, and question her choices as strongly as in “all things”. But perhaps it was triggered by what had just happened in the weeks leading up to that point. Mulder had undergone a certain epiphany of his own in “Closure”, having understood and at least partially accepted his sister’s fate. Soon afterward, she was thrown into a certain amount of turmoil when Cancer Man held the promise of a cure for her condition, in the form of a complete medical database for all ailments, in her hands, only to apparently not provide that cure in the end (“En Ami”).
In between these events, I believe we must now also consider her failed attempt to use in-vitro methods to have a child, possibly in response to discovering that Mulder’s sister was dead. When those methods apparently failed, it would have shaken Scully to the core. To lose yet another possible cure for her barren condition in “En Ami” might have forced her to re-evaluate her priorities.
Only I believe that “En Ami” was the very point at which her condition was cured. Remember that in that episode, Cancer Man revealed that the chip implants had been used to cure any number of ailments, not the least of which were cancer and natural aging. Curing a barren condition would likely require a few adjustments, but Scully already had that chip in her neck from “Redux II”.
This was also the same episode in which Cancer Man, obviously dying, spoke with Scully at length about her fear of loving Mulder, and his need to create a legacy for himself. And at one point, Scully was unconscious for more than enough time for something to be done to her implant.
What was done? One cannot be sure. But it stands to reason that Cancer Man would have been aware of the current activities regarding the hybrid Project, including the in-vitro experiments, and would have known the current status of Scully’s biology. It is a bit of a leap for Scully to go from barren to suddenly able to support a fetus, but there is one time that something might have happened that could have repaired some of the earlier damage from her abduction.
This is also supported by Knowle’s comment in “Existence” that the child was the organic result of the implant in Scully’s neck. While the overall assertion by Knowle was a carefully constructed lie, it was obviously meant to be a lie hidden within the truth. After all, the Syndicate experiments that involved Scully were the latter stages of the same experiments conducted before 1973, the experiments meant to create human “super soldiers” that could withstand alien colonization (“Anasazi”, “Nisei”, “Two Fathers”, “One Son”).
In “Biogenesis”, Mulder was exposed to radiation from an alien artifact which caused the latent alien virus still dormant within his system to activate and cause abnormally enhanced brain activity. This process created a tumor in his brain near the God module, the same part of the brain which was naturally enhanced in Gibson Praise (“The Beginning”). This is the same tumor that was later unsuccessfully removed and implanted in Cancer Man, in order to grant Cancer Man immunity to the black oil.
But Scully was more than exposed to the artifact. She was exposed to the whole alien craft from which the artifact originated, after all, and she had been infected by the black oil in “Fight the Future”. And yet there seemed to be little or no effect on her biology, and certainly not in the way that Mulder was effected. Or was she?
Scully has been shown as psychic now and again over the years, and it has been hinted that her abilities might be related to Gibson’s abilities. If so, that part of her brain was already partially naturally activated, and her exposure to the radiation from the alien craft would only have enhanced those abilities during her exposure…such as granting her visions (“Sixth Extinction”, “Amor Fati”).
That exposure might also have augmented her ability to heal, much as Mulder’s later exposure to the new form of the alien virus (“DeadAlive”) augmented his immune system to a certain extent. Certainly Mulder recovered from his brain surgery in record time! So it is more than possible that this reactivation of the dormant alien virus changed their biology in a way that made it possible for them to conceive together, and generate a perfect hybrid in the process…one that, like Gibson, would appear to be perfectly human.
But it also left Mulder with at least part of his brain tumor intact, and so he was slowly dying over the course of the following year. He never told Scully, but this is perhaps why he was willing to provide his genetic material as shown in “Per Manum”. With Samantha gone, that would be the only way for his family to go on, and Scully would be the one person he would trust enough.
With the failure of that procedure, and Mulder’s secretly impending death, I see their one moment of physical contact in “all things” as hardly romantic, but something that served both of their emotional needs at the time. Mulder was willing to give her the time he had left, and was also prepared to help her get on with her life after he was gone.
Therefore, Scully’s child is her son from that moment in “all things”, a desperate moment that was never meant to be much more than what it was…two people with no one else in the world, seeking one moment of solace. But more importantly, Scully’s child is also a natural hybrid of active human and alien genetic material, and therefore immune to the virus and able to pass or confer that immunity to his children (or possibly other humans).
That answers the question regarding the circumstances surrounding Scully’s child, leaving only one final matter to be explained…the mysterious star.
This is perhaps the greatest leap of faith, because there is very little leading up to this point that applies. And yet, this might very well bring the entire story full circle.
During “Closure”, we learn that there is a group known only as “walk-ins” who take children in mortal jeopardy and transfer them bodily into some other place, some other world perhaps. In a sense, they might be considered angels, spirits, or even alien…or all three, depending on how you wish to define it. (Which introduces the amusing notion that Samantha was abducted by aliens, and then saved through abduction by different aliens!) But we also learn that the children are supposed to have been converted into “starlight”, where they await the moment when they might be reborn again.
One might then wonder if this is the meaning of the starlight pointing to where Scully’s child is being born. Could it be that this is Samantha’s soul, being reborn within Mulder’s son? (Remember that reincarnation never presumes retention of gender.) It would be fitting, then, that the child would be the key to human survival, and would come at the end of Mulder’s search for the truth within the context of the X-Files. It would be equally fitting that the child would be named William, after Mulder’s father…the man who worked from the very beginning to find a way to fight the future.
And now I think that all of the questions have been answered, in which case there is only the matter of where the series might go from here!
It is obvious that we have seen the end of the Mulder/Scully era on the “X-Files”. Mulder is not coming back on the series, but possibly future films. Scully will be back, but the focus will be strongly on the new partners in the department: Doggett and Reyes. The shot of them leaving Kersh’s office was classic, and I liked it instantly. Their future adventures out to be fun to watch.
I was less pleased with the resolution of Mulder and Scully’s time together, for two reasons. First, it was an unnecessary concession to the wishes of the more extreme shippers among fandom, and did not at all ring true in terms of the “X-Files” history. It would have been more likely that Scully would be forced to send the child into hiding, along with Mulder…something that we can only hope happens as soon as season 9 begins. Otherwise, my second fear is that we would be subjected to moments of Scully trying to conduct autopsies while rocking little Willy in a cradle by her feet. Such moments killed “Mad About You”, and that was a sitcom! The last thing the “X-Files” needs is a depiction of FBI daycare options.
Still, there was a part of me that was pleased for their moment of happiness.
I am truly sorry to see Krycek dead. I loved that character, and now there is a much less human face on the enemies that Doggett and Reyes might have to fight. Which brings me to certain concerns about the direction the series might take now. A lot of people want to see Doggett and Reyes investigate the new alien infiltration, and continue where Mulder and Scully left off. I’m not so sure that would be the best way to go. After all, the mythology has already been highly repetitive, and would be better served to come up sparingly until the next film. If the writers truly want to prove that they are worthy of keeping the series running for an indefinite future, they should attempt to let a new type of mythology emerge. If they must continue with the alien theme, then perhaps the “spiritual” alien concept could serve that purpose.
Doubtless there are going to be those who disagree with my interpretations, but I might add that most of this theory is nothing new. I have been saying 90% of these things since every step of the way, as each piece has been revealed. And so there is something to be said for the consistency of the interpretation, and its ability to provide accurate predictions as to the way the mythology would unravel.
This has been a great year, and I have enjoyed writing reviews for this forum. I have every intention of resuming reviews when the series returns in the fall. In the meantime, I hope to resume my looks back at early episodes, resuming with “Genderbender”, in honor of Nick Lea.
Some other thoughts:
- The reference to the Bible verse regarding “water from the rock” was a nice connection to the concept of the barren mother giving birth to new life, especially in the context that the new life might be the key to human survival.
- Skinner was not a Servitor! They are created when the human is infected with the virus, the human “dies”, and then the original human’s tissue sloughs off, leaving the new Servitor in perfect condition. Not only was there not enough time for that to happen, but Skinner was still wounded in the later scenes often mentioned.
- Who is Mulder to question how trustworthy Doggett’s source might be? Every one of his sources was a card-carrying member of the Syndicate!
- You know, one has to wonder about the security in the FBI building…how many times have people been shot at, murdered, assaulted, or otherwise received bodily harm while just in the freakin’ parking lot???
- Over the years, given Krycek’s role as the anti-Mulder, I always wondered if we would find out that they were brothers. Could Krycek’s reference have been meant as serious?
- Did anyone else notice the astounding lack of blood from Krycek’s fatal head wound? Hmm…dare I hope?
- One very nice effect: when Scully’s baby was born, they altered the sound of the baby’s crying just enough that it sounded very similar to the alien wailing in “Per Manum”, yet still very close to a normal baby’s crying. It kept the suspense going just a hair longer.
Overall, I must admit a little disappointment in this episode. For an episode that was billed as the resolution of the Mulder/Scully mythology, I was expecting a less vague ending to the season. But I suppose that was asking a little bit too much of 1013. I should have known better! Add that final scene to the mix, and it just did not deliver the kind of punch an X-Files season finale usually provides.
I give the episode a 7/10. For the season, this brings the final grade to 7.9/10.
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