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Following on from the excellent first season, Season 2 of The X-Files deepens the mythology and mystery. After the first season, the only way was up and that is definitely the case this time around. Carrying on the torch lit but the set up in the debut season, this second one is a real success as the cases deepen for Mulder and Scully, introduces more memorable characters and gets a lot darker. Be warned readers, spoilers will follow in my review.

We open were the last season left off with The X-Files shut down just as both Mulder(David Duchovny) and Scully(Gillian Anderson) were growing closer to answers regarding government experiments and knowledge of extraterrestrials. The X Files Season 2 PosterMulder and Scully have both been reassigned since, with Scully teaching at the FBI academy and Mulder assigned to wire tapping operations. Mulder has lost some of his faith in what is out there, but slowly regains it once more. Scully though reassigned continues to converse with him in secret, for fear of being watched by the powers that be. Yet danger soon awaits both of the agents in various forms. In this case, Scully and Mulder are both affected by what they experiences. Scully in particular has an interesting arc here. In it she is abducted by aliens after a psychopathic former FBI agent and abductee uses her so that aliens won’t take him again for unusual tests. Scully mysteriously returns a while after with no memory of her abduction, which only deepens the mystery for Mulder. Eventually, Assistant Director Skinner(Mitch Pileggi) re-opens The X-Files, allowing the two to work together once more and delve into more unexplained mysteries and government secrets about aliens. We also have the mysterious Smoking Man(William B. Davis) skulking around and a new informant for Mulder, known as X(Steven Williams). Plus, there is a traitorous agent called Alex Krycek(Nicholas Lea), who is initially assigned to work with Mulder and is then revealed to be in league with those most corrupt. Scully and Mulder Season 2And not forgetting a shape shifting Alien Bounty Hunter to add to the mix. Let’s just say events get a lot more creepy and mysterious as the season progresses as curious things relating to Mulder( like the whereabouts of his missing sister) are teased out in typically enigmatic fashion leading to an excellent finale.

If Season 1 was the blue print for what was to come, Season 2 is the expansion of the story and underlying mythology with a deeper intent. The story arcs here have an added depth as they explore both personal things for Mulder and Scully. I like how we as the audience can see the growth in the relationship between the two. Comatose ScullyThis is most clearly evident when Scully is found comatose and Mulder, driven by anger and the desire to unearth the truth, does everything in his power to find out what happened to her. The writers really know how to explore the relationship without letting it fall into anything predictable. We sense the closeness between them but it isn’t forced and feels like a real development of caring friendship and respect. They are also adept at continuing the mythology and giving more clues about the government conspiracies, the disappearance of Mulder’s sister and the impact the abduction of Scully has on Mulder and herself. The paranoia is really cranked up this season and executed with atmospheric style and direction as government tampering and unexplained events plague the investigations of Mulder and Scully. The music provided from Mark Snow is also highly creepy and laced with unnerving tension. It’s often said that shows that have a successful first season can suffer in the second, but Season 2 of The X-Files is the exact opposite. It only gets better as it goes along. And with more darkness to the mix, it adds yet another layer of tension and suspense to the episodes. And speaking of effective episodes, many of them are in need of discussion and praise in this season. The opening episode ‘Little Green Men’ provides the first sight of a live alien and we flashback to the night Mulder’s sister Samantha was taken. The Duane Barry episodes are fantastically atmospheric and tense highlights, with the former crazed mental patient taking people hostage and speaking of his experiences of being an alien abductee. Duane BarryHis kidnapping of Scully is a creepy scene indeed and the way it plays out gets more unusual. In the tense and emotional ‘One Breath’ as Scully’s life hangs in the balance and we watch Mulder’s quest to get answers on why she is taken. Then there’s the creepy death fetishist who sees Scully as his next victim in the horrifying ‘Irresistible’ and black magic in ‘Die Hand Die Verletzt’. and special mention has to go to the tense finale ‘Anasazi’ that finishes with one hell of a cliffhanger. It’s safe to say that Season 2 of The X-Files is chock full of exceptional episodes to watch. I could go on listing the amazing episodes, but that would go on forever and this review would become very long-winded. Not every episode can be a success because that would be impossible,  but there are so many this season that are of sterling quality and style, that build on the ground work set up in the debut season and are consistently engrossing.

Once again turning in outstanding work is David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. Duchovny impresses by imbuing Mulder with a dogged sense of drive, building obsession to expose the truth and deep care he has for Scully, evident in how he goes after who he believes responsible for her abduction. I appreciated the added depth that was given to Mulder in the exploration of how his sister’s disappearance had an impact on him and his discovery that his own estranged father may know more than he’s letting on. Gillian Anderson exudes strength and a level-headed demeanor as Scully, who finds her faith being tested significantly this season. Anderson burrows into the impact the abduction has on Scully and how she tries to repress her vulnerability and fear in order to stay grounded within her personal life and job.Mulder and Scully Hug The chemistry between Duchovny and Anderson is once more a delight and has significant amounts of depth added that only expands the relationship between the two. Each of the two compliments the other and while they are often like the two sides of the coin, their banter and closeness shines through. I liked the expanded role given to Skinner this season and Mitch Pileggi makes the most of it. Seemingly gruff and not in favour of Mulder’s theories, Pileggi brings forth a sense of growing admiration for his work and even though he Skinner has his hands tied, he is starting to show signs of defiance to those who govern him. Steven Williams brings layers of ruthless mystery to the part of informant X, who you never quitAlex Kryceke know is on your side or not. Then there is the slimy presence of Alex Krycek, who is played wonderfully by Nicholas Lea and gives ounces of deceit and oiliness. Krycek is introduced as an energetic agent who helps Mulder, but he is really infiltrating his work while under the command of The Smoking Man and something shadowy. And speaking of The Smoking Man, William B. Davis is given more screen time this season and really makes a mark once more on the enigmatic character. Over two incredible episodes there is also Brian Thompson sending shivers down the spine as an alien bounty hunter.

  1. Little Green Men – A
  2. The Host – A
  3. Blood – B+
  4. Sleepless – B+
  5. Duane Berry – A+
  6. Ascension – A+
  7. 3 – D
  8. One Breath – A
  9. Firewalker – C-
  10. Red Museum – B
  11. Excelsis Dei – C –
  12. Aubrey – B+
  13. Irresistible – A
  14. Die Hand Die Verletzt – A
  15. Fresh Bones – B
  16. Colony – A
  17. End Game – A
  18. Fearful Symmetry – D
  19. Død Kalm – C+
  20. Humbug – A
  21. The Calusari – C+
  22. F. Emasculata – B+
  23. Soft Light – B-
  24. Our Town – B
  25. Anasazi – A+

Dark, effectively told and atmospheric to boot, Season 2 of The X-Files is a resounding success that helps expand the mythology and engross the audience with its stories. I can’t wait to see what Season 3 holds if this is anything to go by.

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