Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 2) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 2)

August 10, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 5 (Part 2)

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 5!

(These were viewed on the original season 5 DVD set—released back in 2002. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)

“The Post-Modern Prometheus”:

Much like “Small Potatoes,” this is an episode that quasi-glosses over the cruel nature of the crimes being committed because of the ~vibes~. 

Admittedly, this one works a bit better for me, because there’s a real argument to be made that what we’re seeing isn’t exactly how it went down. (Even ignoring the black & white element.) The episode starts with opening a comic book and concludes with it being shut. Mulder and Scully take their perp to a Cher concert. While the core of the story may be real for them, it feels like we’re supposed to assume we have an unreliable narrator, of sorts.

Which, look, helps. It’s still an icky pattern, but centering the monster, literally and figuratively, when it’s intentionally supposed to be a biased POV is different than just doing that carelessly.

  • The episode is really gorgeously shot, too, and the music is such a fun touch. (And, of course, the Cher needle drops. I will never hear “Walking in Memphis” without associating it with this show and Mulder/Scully dancing.)
  • We saw Mulder have to contend with so much of his belief system getting rocked in the finale/premiere, but this is the first time it’s addressed outside of that. There’s a lot going on early in the season, but I wish we had gotten to explore a bit of what a floundering Mulder looked like. Or was Scully being cured enough to ease the pain and angst of everything else?
  • “Scully, do you think it’s too soon to get my own 1-900 number.” I know we saw modern Mulder online, but my God, can you imagine if the bulk of the series existed when Mulder could have a Twitter account and get random requests for help?
  • Maybe we don’t defend rape by saying it gave the survivor a loving son? Please, show, I beg.
  • “I want to speak to the writer.” Yeah, well…

“Christmas Carol” and “Emily”:

These are likely going to be the only two I do this for, because while there are interesting things in “CC,” to ignore what happens in “Emily” is a disservice. So let’s just put these two together.

This is an arc that was set up last season, but also feels fundamentally cruel to do at this point in the season and series. Scully only just survived an almost fatal illness, and now she has to spend time with her about-to-pop SIL while grappling with her inability to have a child…only to find out she has a dying biological daughter out there.

I deeply wish this had been held until later in the season (or put in next season), because I think this is a compelling story, one which allows Gillian Anderson to shine. But, man, Scully needs a decade-long vacation from the blows life keeps throwing at her.

As it is, it’s a gut-punch to see Scully so obviously flail. She desperately wants Emily, wants to protect her, but she’s thinking as a possible mother, not looking at the bigger picture.

  • Scully being rejected for adoption due to being single and working the way she does…sigh. Look, I can get it logically makes sense if you have a sick kid you can’t just suddenly skip town when your partner wants to investigate the latest spooky thing. But it’s also sad how frequently this approach is done on shows I love.
  • God, it kills me when Mulder first sees Scully and Emily together. For as much as Mulder is at his softest around Scully, he reaches a whole new level in times of extreme crisis (like her cancer battle) or when he knows she’s being set up for an unbearable heartbreak. And in this case, given Mulder’s general vulnerability around young girls who have been hurt, this is just hitting all the Mulder targets. And then he gets on Emily’s level, literally and figuratively, by being goofy with her. My whole damn heart, man.
  • Too. Many. Dead. Animals.
  • Mulder being asked if FBI stands for Federal Bureau of Imagination makes me laugh out loud every time.
  • Look, Mulder does a lot of stupid, short-sighted things, and this is not conduct becoming of a lawman…but beating the hell out of the doctor for Scully and Emily? Yeah, I get it. (The fact that Mulder specifically calls out medical rape is both a relief and a frustration. This is a show that knows this concept exists—and believe me when I say this is not a given; a show with its entire concept hinging on medical rape couldn’t seem to grasp the nature of the story they were telling at a TCA panel. And that was a few short years ago.—so I wish they would handle it better.)
  • Aaaand to add insult to injury, Scully can’t even properly bury Emily. Sigh.


“Pusher” is a practically perfect episode, so it’s hard for any sequel to quite live up to that, but this one is realllllly good. 

Part of what makes it work is we know how Modell works and there’s no reason to trust him. He does shady stuff, and so it’s easy, upon first watch, that his sister is actually the one really pulling the strings this go-round.

Linda’s also good at manipulating them, tipping off Mulder just enough with her paint-riddled comments, but vaguely enough that he kind of looks crazy to everyone else. (Yeah, just another day that ends in “y.”)

Of course, Linda’s powers can rival her brother’s…and her almost pulling off what Modell started in “Pusher” is a fantastic twist: Linda makes Mulder see “Scully” shoot herself, with “Scully” claiming Linda was making her do it. Then “Linda” approaches Mulder, and he’s ready to take her out…but it’s Scully. As she tries to convince him it’s her, she points out the core issue: If Mulder kills Scully, even under Linda’s manipulation, he’ll never forgive himself; he simply won’t survive it. They’re eventually able to break the spell—thanks to Scully shooting the real Linda—but it’s such a smart way to pay homage to the incredible “Pusher” standoff, while giving it a new twist.

Man, I just love this episode.

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


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