Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 4 (Part 4) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 4 (Part 4)

August 4, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 4 (Part 4)

Credit: Fox

On Friday, September 10, 1993, Fox debuted THE X-FILES. Now, ahead of the show’s 30th anniversary, Give Me My Remote is looking back at all 11 seasons (and the two feature films) in a new daily series Take Two.

If you’ve read About Last Night, this will be formatted in a similar way: Each episode will get its own subsection/reaction, though in this case there may be slight spoilers or alluding to what comes ahead in the series. In the event a major spoiler is discussed, there will be a warning to be extra safe. Each Take Two will cover approximately 5 episodes and will wrap up the Friday before the show’s 30th birthday.

(I’ll also note how I’m watching the episodes, because some of the streaming platforms have utilized syndicated cuts of this show.)

Today, we’re continuing season 4!

(These were viewed on the original season 4 DVD set—released back in 2001. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)

“Memento Mori”:

Well, for context, I cried just thinking about this episode, so, yeah, I love it and yeah it broke me in the best and worst ways. 

There is absolutely an argument to be made about Scully being put through more trauma after everything she’s been through. (And lord knows more is to come.) This I excuse, for lack of a better term, a bit more because it was something they set up early on and it speaks to the cruelty of the conspiracy’s experiments—they don’t care if the women involved undergo painful deaths in the aftermath, as long as they get what they need. 

And this happening to Scully is a special kind of torture, because she’s a doctor—she knows how her body is betraying her, knows what could happen next. For someone who clings to “I’m fine” like a security blanket, she has to acknowledge she isn’t. She has to tell her mom—who already lost two family members in less than five years—and Mulder they are likely on the verge of losing her, too. It’s brutal. It’s heartbreaking. It’s unbelievable. Even if you knew Scully likely wasn’t going to die, it’s a very human condition for her to be faced with.

Of course, then you throw in the complex mess of Mulder desperately trying to find answers…and finding out things that will continue to play out for the rest of the series. Not only was Scully abducted, but they stole her eggs, leaving her barren. It’s particularly brutal because Scully and Mulder had just discussed kids in “Home” and now he’s the sole person with knowledge her family path will be more complex than most.

But in the more immediate future, his concern is keeping her alive. Naturally, he’s desperate enough to try and summon CSM, willing to do what it takes to keep her alive. I am always fascinated by how much Skinner is willing to sacrifice for Mulder and Scully, and he makes a big move by refusing to allow Mulder to deal with CSM, and essentially stepping in for his agent. It never feels unearned, but it’s a huge risk for Skinner to take on.

It’s a beautiful episode, with gorgeous performances from Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny. The staff also wrote a really well-balanced hour of TV.

  • Mulder bringing Scully the flowers? My heart. He looks like such a kid, knowing he’s about to be destroyed, but still trying to do something to make Scully a little bit happier.
  • “The truth will save you, Scully. I think it’ll save both of us.” I really love this dialogue, because there’s two ways you can read it: One is that the ~big mysteries~ will literally save her life and also lead him to have peace after decades of searching. And it can also be read as Mulder’s fate is tied in with Scully’s; if he loses her, too, he’ll be lost. She needs to be fine, because both of their survival depends on it.
  • I’ve seen the take where Mulder and Scully kiss in the hallway, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…yeah, I think the right cut aired. It’s not about whether the kiss was romantic or not, or whether they were in love then; the scene flows more naturally the way it aired. A kiss, no matter the context, would have shifted the focus of the scene to WHAT DOES IT MEAN?? (On the flip side—spoiler alert—these two should have kissed WAY BEFORE THEY ACTUALLY DID. Sigh.)


Realized we’re in a stretch of episodes that I have a fondness for, for non-textual reasons. I’ll always have a bit of extra affection for this because Baby!Marisa went to a screening/Q&A with Howard Gordon for this episode…it was the very first XF event I ever went to. 

Honestly, in the rewatch, the toughest thing about this episode is how Scully’s cancer diagnosis is ignored. Love ends up bringing someone back to life (ish)…with Scully’s potential death looming, it should have been a factor. (Or at least acknowledged that losing someone can change a person.)

Deeply depressing that antisemitism has not changed, though.


I don’t mean this as cruel as it sounds, but this is a deeply forgettable episode. It’s not bad! It’s just not good or particularly engaging, especially given what else has been going on. 

Honestly, the most interesting element is that both Mulder and Scully are baffled by what’s going on. Mulder so frequently has a very strong theory (even if it’s wrong), but even he’s confused for much of the episode. 

“Tempus Fugit”:

As I mentioned on the Big Kid podcast, this was the first episode of the show I ever watched, so it will always, always, always have a special place in my heart.

It’s fascinating, because with some shows I can tell you the instant I was hooked or why it happened. With this, I was just so enamored with it all. Which, look, with hindsight is a little amusing, because it’s a decent episode, but wouldn’t make my top 20 episodes now.

It’s also something that relies a lot on the audience remembering the show’s history—specifically from season 1—in an era pre-streaming services. (Or, you know, for a kid who had never seen a minute of the show previously, just picking up context clues.) It’s an interesting choice to go to Max rather than the other mythology threads, but it works.

  • Look, I just hope Mulder has gotten better about remembering and celebrating birthdays in the years since this.
  • In all seriousness, there’s something bittersweet about Mulder finally remembering Scully’s birthday now. It’s after she made it clear she wasn’t happy with the scraps she was getting (in “Never Again”) and with the knowledge she could be dying from cancer. If things hadn’t gone well, this might have been the only chance he had to celebrate her birthday. (Yes, I just made myself sad, too.)
  • Mulder diving when he has no experience…how did this man not die 1908983013 times during this series?!


Again, can’t swear if it’s my bias or not, but I think “Tempus” is the stronger of the two parts. (Also, now the airplane stuff just makes me think of MANIFEST, which is no one’s fault but my own.) 

But poor Pendrell. I’m sure there would be some solace for him that he died quasi-protecting Scully. (Ish.) Less so that she didn’t even know his first name. 


This feels a bit like “The Field Where I Died,” in the sense the trope it utilized (in this case, time travel) isn’t something you can really do frequently, so I wanted more from it?

But outside of that, it’s a fine episode. Perfectly decent background noise; not bad, but just not top-tier.

What did you think of these THE X-FILES episodes?


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