Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 8 (Part 2) - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

Take Two: THE X-FILES Season 8 (Part 2)

September 6, 2023 by  

THE X-FILES Season 8 (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 finishing season 8!

(These were viewed on the original season 8 DVD set—released back in 2003. The episodes are also streaming for free on Freevee or with a Hulu subscription.)


Look, arguably the best thing about this episode—outside of the insane sets—is the bonkers-good guest cast. Ken Jenkins! Penny Johnson [Jerald]! Brent Sexton!

And the case itself is fine. There’s lingering tension because Scully doesn’t go with Doggett underground to investigate—we know she’s pregnant and likely trying to keep out of trouble as much as possible, but he doesn’t, and it leads to suspicion from someone on the ground—but it works. And the effects are good. It’s a passable, fine hour, which, honestly, is an improvement over some of the other hours we’ve seen so far this season.

“Per Manum”:

Okay, I’m going to first address the elephant in the room—Scully is only 14 weeks pregnant in this episode?! Like, yes, she’s not showing, but…what??? Even if she was four weeks pregnant as of the finale, that means only ten-ish weeks passed the entire season so far? Oy.

This, along with “Redrum,” is one of my favorite episodes of the season. The show does a really good job of balancing the stakes in the present day, while also allowing us a glimpse into Mulder and Scully’s life that we rarely get during “normal” episodes.

Scully’s fertility/Mulder having her ovum was a plot point from years ago, and I appreciate that not only did they bring it back, but they also brought it back in a way that it kind of made sense Mulder kept quiet at the time. Honestly, him not saying something during the Emily era is silly, but if he already knew they weren’t viable, I can see a case for why he would have kept quiet to not add more bad news and grief to her plate. (She deserved to know, to be clear. But…timing.)

But it was all handled beautifully. I will always wish we had seen Scully actually ask Mulder to father her child, but the scene where he tells her “yes” is one of the best acting performances from David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson of the entire series. Mulder doesn’t just blindly jump in and agree, even though he clearly loves Scully—he points out he is concerned this will impact them. (And he’s right about that. Having a child together is considerably a bigger change than even a romantic coupling, because their—or at least her, if she didn’t want him to actively parent with her—priority would be someone else outside of them.)

As strange as it sounds, it’s also a lovely change to see two adults actively choose to try and have a child together rather than it being a mistake. Obviously the latter can be more dramatic, but this makes sense for these people. Obviously it didn’t take, and there’s a real dark undertone to the season 11 retcon, but this wasn’t the entire accident it initially appeared to be back at the end of season 7.

  • “I’m not ready to accept that I will never have children.” — Okay, but I do wish Scully had clarified a bit here that she meant biological children. She very easily could have adopted a child. Well, she could have tried…it’s possible the government agencies would have looked at her application and turned her away.
  • I have never understood the claim that they were taping over another woman’s (recent) ultrasound)…wouldn’t she have taken it home?
  • “Never give up on a miracle.”

“This is Not Happening”:

Despite Mulder being a presence in the last episode, and him barely being in this one, it very much feels like this marks a transition period for the show. We meet Reyes. Mulder returns, albeit not the way Scully wanted. I guess you can look at the first batch of episodes of the season as the prologue for XF 2.0? It’s hard to say how many versions there ultimately were, because things changed a lot after this.

But it’s a solid episode, as the aliens are seemingly done with their recent abductees, dropping them near-death in various places. Jeremiah Smith was the best part of the underwhelming season 3 finale/season 4 premiere arc, and his powers would be useful to the abductees clinging to life.

Of course, it ends up being moot for Mulder, who is found days post-his death. We’ve dealt with a bunch of “Mulder is dead” fakeouts, but this was the first time we saw him dead…and I remember that hiatus before “Deadalive” as being totally brutal, even though it was clear he wasn’t going to be dead-dead. 

  • This episode has to have the record of the most times the title is said, right? 
  • They knew exactly what they were doing by having Monica get introduced while smoking.
  • (I do appreciate that Scully warmed up to her relatively fast, when she realized Monica was just very, very open to everything, but seeing this specific case in a different way.)
  • Man, Scully is just an open wound this entire case. It makes sense; she has a lot going on, even before you account for the fact that she’s pregnant and there have already been like a dozen dangerous situations she and her unborn child have found themselves in. But she’s also lucky it didn’t get, well, worse, because she was desperate for any hint about Mulder and was not in the right place to really assess if she was being jerked around.


Well, Mulder is dead, everything is not-good, and suddenly it’s three months later…and then maybe he’s not quite so dead.

Outside of the aforementioned hiatus from hell, the actual time in the show where Mulder is “dead” is really small. (Kind of jealous of those people who watched it on DVD or streaming for the first time.) 

But for as quickly as Mulder’s vital signs showed he was alive, it was also clear things were very wrong. Bringing Krycek into the mix was fun, because God knows that man always is in the middle of too much, but is also a (begrudgingly) good resource. 

His stakes being Mulder’s life for Scully’s unborn baby? Kind of twistedly brilliant. Skinner would have done almost anything to save Mulder, but he wouldn’t do that. (I am very glad that decision wasn’t placed in Scully’s hands, because that would have been the worst torture possible.) Skinner opting to take out Mulder in the hopes of protecting Scully—but accidentally saving his life in the process? Chef’s kiss.

And then there was Mulder and Scully’s proper reunion. As dark and twisted Scully’s “I had you big time” in FIGHT THE FUTURE was—you know, after she stopped breathing and he had to revive her—Mulder took it a step further with his “Who are you?” after he woke up post-death. (To his credit, it lightened the mood, but, sir, Scully went through hell.)

  • “For all of his pain and searching, the truth that he worked so hard to find was never truly revealed to him.” I don’t really know how much more Mulder really needed? He got resolution on Samantha, at the very least.
  • “I don’t truly believe that Mulder’s the last.” LOL, Skinner trying to hint at the paternity of Scully’s unborn baby is not stealth at all.
  • The first thing Scully does is put her hand over Mulder’s now-beating heart? My god.
  • Kersh telling Doggett to drop the Mulder thing…THE DUDE IS ALIVE. He was not alive. HOW DO YOU DROP THAT? Wouldn’t it be more suspicious to let it go entirely??
  • (I am Team Skinner, but Krycek screwing with Skinner is a little funny.)
  • “The truth may hurt, but it’s all that matters.” Ouch, Scully with a truth bomb.
  • Speaking of my poor abused heart, Mulder telling Scully he only knew “what I see in your face” kills me. Her face said so much, but also…man, it only told a fraction of it all.
  • “Anybody miss me?” More than you can imagine, Mulder.

“Three Words”:

Things get a little bit murky post-Mulder’s return, as everything is kind of a conspiracy-based episode, but we also don’t officially dive back there until later in the season.

Outside of the Mulder/Scully of it all, one of the most interesting notes about this episode is that Doggett and Scully have been more successful, solve-wise, on the X-Files than Mulder and Scully were. Which actually ties into part of the “off” feeling about this season so far. There are a few monsters, but a lot of it is more human-based people they’re chasing. Some of that might be due to the fact they’re 175+ episodes in and finding new monsters isn’t easy, but it also feels like it’s harder for Scully to be a believer with those creatures, and she kind of had to fit into that slot.


  • “Fight the Future”?? Guys, you already named a film that.
  • “Like Austin Powers.” Oh my God, Mulder. (Though, I regret to inform you, his comparison…works? Oy.)
  • Hey, all it takes is an abduction, torture, and a little bit of dying to cure your incurable brain disease!
  • “Something looks different.” “It’s clean.”
  • Look, I know Scully’s pregnancy and Mulder’s literal death meant Scully will automatically win the “whose left behind post-abduction experience was worse,” but I also don’t think it’s fair for her to say she didn’t think he’ll understand what it was like. He very much lived through her abduction and near-death. 
  • “My prayers have been answered.” “In more ways than one.” Oh my God, you guys are adults, just talk about the baby!!! Address the elephant in the room!!!
  • Speaking of which, Mulder saying he’s really happy for Scully and also noting he doesn’t know where he fits in right now—it’s so, so valid. The show does brush up against it, but Mulder went through a very, very, very traumatizing event and came back to find everything in his life upside down. He didn’t have his life-long work, his partnership with Scully was basically non-existent and she was pregnant. Not to mention the inexplicable things that happened to him. It’s too much.
  • “This is America, just because you get more votes doesn’t mean you win.” Gonna go lay down in the street now, thanks.
  • It makes a lot of sense Mulder wouldn’t trust Doggett, both because he’s naturally suspicious of virtually everyone, but he also doesn’t know where or how he fits into his old spot. Mess. 
  • It’s interesting Doggett got his own X-like figure in Knowle, but clearly that went to hell fast. (At least in terms of trustworthy-ness.)


The show briefly touched upon Doggett’s son earlier, but this is the first real glimpse we get into the boy’s death. While it’s really great Reyes is a part of this, part of me wishes this card had been played while Scully was still Doggett’s active partner. Reyes and Scully trying to handle Doggett and the case would have been interesting; Mulder didn’t have any loyalty toward Doggett.

It also feels like the episode is trying to do too much. It’s this case, plus Doggett’s backstory and Scully having more pregnancy issues. It really should have only been two of the three things. 

  • “You got something going on with the pizza man I should know about?” ASK HER, MULDER.
  • “The pizza man is not above suspicion.” Mulder, you dummy.
  • Scully gets so excited about the present.
  • I get this is the early 2000s, but constantly asking about Scully’s husband versus the baby’s father…sure is something. I can’t decide if it’s the show trying to be extra coy to delay the baby daddy reveal or if it was just a very antiquated way of thinking. 
  • Peeling off your face? GROSS, no thanks.
  • It’s interesting that Scully says she changed her mindset because she realized she was afraid to believe. I absolutely believe that, to a degree, she had built her entire life around science and things she could prove, but…I don’t know. I would have loved to have heard more from her about that.
  • The really interesting thing about Reyes’ history with Doggett is that she pushes him in a way that Scully can’t. It’s not to downplay the good, brief partnership Scully and Doggett had, but Reyes saw this man at his literal worst. She can push buttons no one else can.
  • “That’s the other gift you gave me, Mulder. Courage to believe. I hope that’s a gift I can pass on.” How these two humans did not combust while talking around this child’s lineage is beyond me.


There are interesting elements to this episode, especially Mulder and Doggett working together (much to both of their chagrins), but it’s easily the roughest of Mulder’s return episodes for me. It feels a bit like too much mythology at once, and I would have rather had Mulder and Doggett trapped somewhere investigating a literal creature.

It’s nice that it leads to Mulder falling on his sword for Doggett, because he thinks Doggett might be able to give the X-Files credibility, but…

  • “When he gets old enough, you tell the kid I went down swinging.” Mulder, you just died and came back to life. Maybe stop putting your life in danger for, like, a whole month? Please?


Much like “Vienen,” the case isn’t the most strong one the show has done. Unlike “Vienen,” this one is fun and includes a monster. Already a win.

And then there’s Leyla Harrison, an X-Files fangirl, who was paired with Doggett and could cite old cases Mulder and Scully worked on. It’s cute, it’s a lovely homage to the past, because—spoiler alert—it’s the last real Monster of the Week episode Mulder and Scully are a part of during the show’s original tenure. (It’s also very bittersweet Scully had her dog’s old tag in the office; it’s very funny she re-gifted Mulder’s season 4 birthday present to her to Doggett.)

I’m glad we get a beat of Scully feeling restless about leaving work and being concerned about Doggett. As much as this was Mulder’s life quest, it became Scully’s, too. She sacrificed so much and wants the work to be done well. And she saw that Doggett, while having a different approach, did care about the truth. It’s lovely they allowed for that complexity without minimizing how much she wants this child and/or what Mulder means to her.

  • “Oprah. I watch a lot of Oprah.” Oh, Mulder.
  • Mulder helping Doggett shoot while blinded is pretty badass…and also speaks to how far they’ve come in a very short amount of time.
  • Like Leyla, I, too, would like to know how the heck Mulder and Scully managed to get out of their FIGHT THE FUTURE mess.


As if Billy didn’t go through enough in the pilot and then season 7 finale, now he’s back, undead, and a new breed of alien. Whee.

The episode is good, it’s tense, but it’s also hard to see Scully in such a state of distress. This entire pregnancy has been fraught with tension and trauma. Now, as she’s trying to get through these final weeks, her home is invaded by someone her mother thought was trustworthy. It’s a huge invasion of her privacy and deeply unsettling.

  • The biggest X-File of the series is WHO THESE FRIENDS OF SCULLY’S ARE?! We haven’t gotten any sign since like season 1 she had a life outside of her immediate family and work.
  • Okay, Scully kept her child’s paternity—and its gender—from her mother? Scully, what are you doing here? (Like, seriously, she didn’t need a shoulder after Mulder died?!)
  • Mulder and Scully being cute as she tends to his head wound? Ugh, I love them.
  • I do love that Skinner is more direct with Mulder about Scully’s unborn kid’s paternity, and Mulder is equally honest: It’s Scully’s place to talk about the father, but Mulder can honestly say he has no clue how the hell a barren woman is suddenly pregnant. It’s respectful, honest, without crossing any of Scully’s personal lines.
  • Scully calling herself an “object of some unending X-File”…God, I wish that would change for her.
  • Billy is way too blase about being smushed by a trash compactor!


I found myself deeply, deeply sad as the final scene of the episode started to play. Despite watching the hour easily 10 times (that’s probably being conservative, frankly), and even knowing we get a movie and two mini-seasons with Mulder and Scully, the fact still is…this is the end, in many ways. Yes, the show continues on for another season—and I actually like 9 more than 8, in many ways—but this is the end of Mulder and Scully’s journey in this go-round. The end scene with them and baby William? It’s the happiest they ever get to be; certainly it’s the happiest they are for almost 40 episodes plus one film to come. Part of me wants to freeze time and keep them there. Happy and loving and embracing the hope of it all; thinking things might be okay if they have each other and their son.

So, yeah, I’m sad. I’ve had more than two decades to reconcile that genuinely sweet moment with the horror of what’s to come, but it’s honestly something that’s gotten harder the more we got of the show. 

  • Krycek is such a POS—who wasted time!!—not holding the door for Skinner when Billy was coming for them. It could have shut faster if it hadn’t had to open up for Skinner.
  • Speaking of Krycek, he made the classic villain mistake: Monologuing so long before you take the Good Guy out, you end up getting killed yourself. Whoops!
  • (Skinner being the one to kill Krycek is extremely gratifying, though.)
  • With apologies to Monica, if someone tries to play whale songs when I’m in labor, I’m taking hostages.
  • (I do love how it led to Scully talking to Monica about Melissa, though.)
  • This is obviously not the approach the show takes, but Doggett talking to Mulder about slowing down is a repeat of season 7…but also should have been the direction they took him in in season 9. Let Mulder actually give it all up for Scully and William. Sigh.
  • “I’m prepared to use force” and then running is VERY funny to me.
  • Scully’s birth sequence is still so, so, so creepy. It’s supposed to be, but still.
  • I do love that Doggett stands up to Kersh and threatens to investigate him. Doggett has come so far!
  • “William. After your father.” AS IF THEY BOTH DON’T HAVE FATHERS NAMED WILLIAM?!
  • “That doesn’t make him any less of a miracle, does it?” I love the callback to “Per Manum”…Mulder viewing William as a miracle makes my heart so happy. 
  • “The truth we both know.” “Which is what?” I mean, I know Mulder and Scully barely got any time together in the insanity, but if this was the first and only conversation about who fathered her child…both entirely on brand and funny as hell. Guys, please use your words more often, I’m begging.

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


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