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The last season of The X-Files was my favourite of the show so far, so I was wondering how Season 4 would turn out. Thankfully, I can happily report that Season 4 is just as good as Season 3 and is full of emotion, horror and mystery that continues to grow. Be warned readers, spoilers will follow in my overview of the fourth season.

We begin where Season 3 left off as Mulder(David Duchovny) is trying to protect the healer Jeremiah Smith from the Alien Bounty Hunter. Jeremiah manages to get some information to Mulder about the Syndicate’s motives, which somehow links to the idea of alien colonization. X Files Season 4 PosterMulder is also shown various clones of his sister rekindles his determination and is also relieved when his mother begins to recover from her stroke. Jeremiah eventually runs away and escapes from the bounty hunter, but his bits of information have made an impact on Mulder in a big way. Meanwhile Scully(Gillian Anderson) has her own difficulties to contend with. She is diagnosed with terminal cancer, which Mulder comes to believe is due to her abduction in Season 2. With her health in the balance and her future uncertain, Scully continues with her work not knowing how long she will be able to. The Syndicate becomes aware of X’s betrayal and he is subsequently killed, but not before managing to point Mulder in the direction of a new informant. The new informant is Marita Covarrubias(Laurie Holden), who supplies Mulder with necessary information but keeps a distance. The Cigarette Smoking Man(William B. Davis) is still looming large with his own plans, as well as the slimy Krycek(Nicholas Lea) who pulls Mulder into one of his dangerous schemes. With more avenues of answers beginning to open regarding the alien conspiracy and many twists that get very personal for all of those involved, Mulder and Scully Season 4it’s up to Mulder and Scully to continue the search for the elusive truth, aided by the helpful Skinner(Mitch Pileggi) that could be closer than any of them think and will lead to a whole lot of danger.

Like with the visuals of Season 3, Season 4 is amazing in capturing a real sense of atmosphere and emotion that is closely tied to the stories told. There is real sharpness to the cinematography that generates some striking images and haunting ambience. Cigarette Smoking ManCreepiness and dangerous events abound in this season, and the ante is upped to a higher level which is always good for a show like this. The scripts are top-notch. Aside from the paranoia and science fiction, there is welcome drama that is handled well and elicits strong emotions. Mordant humour can also be found in many episodes, showing how the writers, producers and directors know how to blend all these elements together to create quality television. And I can’t forget the continuing brilliance of composer Mark Snow, whose music is spellbinding and spine chilling.

One of the central highlight episodes from this season is the extremely disturbing ‘Home’. No discussion of Season 4 would be complete without covering this episode. It truly is one of the best episodes of the show so far and really lingers long in the memory. In the episode, Mulder and Scully are called into a quiet small town in Pennsylvania to investigate the unearthing of a baby that was buried alive and sported multitudes of birth defects. TX Files Homehe trace for answers leads to the Peacock family; three brothers who live in a house without modern amenities and are shut ins. The episode gets a whole lot more disturbing as it is revealed that the brothers are the products of incest and inbreeding. And to make matters even more horrifying, their amputee mother is the one who has been impregnated many times by her sons. Violent imagery like the booby-trapped residence of the brothers, unnerving contrasts between light and dark and a lot of themes, chief among them the startling dismantlement of the American Dream, ‘Home’ is a brutal hour of television that once seen will never leave you. ‘Home’ may be the main highlight but there are a whole lot of other episodes that are of excellent quality. The haunting and gory ‘Sanguinarium’ examines the horrors of cosmetic surgery tinged with sorcery and magic. A dark mordant humour and unreliable narrator is effectively used in ‘Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man’ as the past of the villain is revealed, or is it? X Files TunguskaThe tense two parts of ‘Tunguska’ and ‘Terma’ boast striking visuals and intriguing stories about the reappearance of Black Oil, along with Krycek dragging Mulder into his own revenge plan. A lot of credit must go to the chilling ‘Paper Hearts’ in which Mulder confronts an imprisoned serial killer who claims that his sister was one of his victims many years before. We watch as Mulder is drawn into the mind games of this man and how he is left to figure out what exactly did happen to his sister. It’s a spooky and atmospheric episode that does well at tapping into the psyche of Mulder and how haunting the disappearance of his sister is for him. There is the emotional ‘Memento Mori’ when Scully is diagnosed and we watch her process this information, try to remain strong but in the end be devastated and then inspired to fight it, with Mulder doing everything he can to draw lines between her abduction and her cancer. On the other end of the spectrum of emotions is humour found in ‘Small Potatoes’ in which a shape shifting man causes havoc by impersonating different men, including Mulder. This episode really shows how funny the show can be.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are really allowed to strut their emotional stuff this season and they do it excellently. Duchovny excels at projecting the torments of Mulder and how his desire for the truth puts him in danger that he often doesn’t stop to think about. We relate to Mulder’s quest because he is so dedicated to it, yet we like Scully, can see that it can cloud his judgement. Mulder can be a flawed character who won’t listen to reason, but Duchovny makes him an excellent character to watch as he unfolds and is put through an emotional tailspin. Gillian Anderson is no less impressive as Scully, who goes through the wringer of feelings here. Mulder and Scully StillWe sympathise with Scully and her devastating news and get to see her let her guard down and be human. Scully always prides herself on always having the answers, but when something is this close to her, Anderson reveals Scully’s fears and insecurities and makes them palpable. Mulder and Scully have continued to grow as a pair over the past three seasons, and it is here in Season 4 when we see how really close they are. The chemistry is there but there is a deep connection formed that compliments the other and reveals how each would do anything for the other, even in the most dire circumstances. It’s wonderful to see Skinner develop more as he becomes more involved. Mitch Pileggi excellently exudes authority and graveness as he is forced to make many deals with the devil to ensure the safety of Mulder and Scully. He has truly become a very valuable ally to the duo’s quest. I enjoyed the expansion on Cigarette Smoking Man, who is played with evil relish by William B. Davis. He just has that wicked presence that you can’t help but feel unnerved by. You couldn’t have asked for a better person to portray the character because no one could come close to Davis. Nicholas Lea is back as the slithering Krycek, out for himself and no one else as he plots his own revenge against The Syndicate. New to the cast is Laurie Holden as the new contact for Mulder. While she is quite good at playing Marita as mysterious, helpful and a little distant, she doesn’t quite have the snap of Deep Throat or X. It’s not that she’s bad, she just can’t measure up to the stature of Mulder’s past informants.

  1. Herrenvolk – A
  2. Home – A+
  3. Teliko – B-
  4. Unruhe – B+
  5. The Field Where I Died – D-
  6. Sanguinarium – A
  7. Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man – A+
  8. Tunguska – A
  9. Terma – B+
  10. Paper Hearts – A+
  11. El Mundo Gira – D
  12. Leonard Betts – A
  13. Never Again – B
  14. Memento Mori – A
  15. Kaddish – C+
  16. Unrequited – C
  17. Tempus Fugit – B+
  18. Max – B+
  19. Synchrony – C
  20. Small Potatoes – A+
  21. Zero Sum – B+
  22. Elegy – A
  23. Demons – B+
  24. Gethsemane – A

Season 4 is an emotional and excellent season of The X-Files that is very much on par with Season 3 in terms of quality, mystery and depth.