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Season 4 of The X-Files was stellar television and Season 5 continues in that vein, containing fantastic episodes, good switches in tone and mixture of genres. Season 5 finds the show at probably its most popular and most creative and I am so grateful to it for that. Mystery, humour, tension and emotional drama collide in what promises to be an eventful and extremely memorable season. Warning, some spoilers will follow during the review.

We begin where Season 4 left off with it appearing that Mulder(David Duchovny) had committed suicide after he was given evidence that everything he believed was true about aliens and conspiracy was fake and as a cover for something else. The X Files Season 5 PosterMulder does not kill himself when he realises that there is a mole in the FBI who has been orchestrating cover ups and passing covert information to The Syndicate. Faking his death with the help of loyal Scully(Gillian Anderson) who puts her job and health on the line, Mulder manages to uncover the traitor as the man who initially assigned Scully to The X-Files and discover a chip, thanks to the unlikely help of Cigarette Smoking Man(William B. Davis) that could help Scully’s cancer. After getting the chip to Scully, her cancer goes into remission and she returns to work. Also, Cigarette Smoking Man is having his own disruptions within The Syndicate due to his difference of opinion and he appears to be shot, but somehow vanishes yet survives in the most peculiar fashion. There are more hints dropped at a closeness between Mulder and CSM that prove most interesting. Mulder’s faith in something out there is now at a nadir. Scully attempts to break through to Mulder after discovering that there is some truth in extraterrestrial life forms, but in seems in vain. Thankfully, Mulder eventually returns to his old self later on as the strange cases mount up again. And the cases and conspiracy that is in fact very much true continue to unravel once Mulder gets his groove back and he and Scully venture into darker and more complicated terrain than ever before. Mulder and Scully Season 5Scully discovers that during her abduction she was impregnated and finds the child born as a result of it. Tragically the girl named Emily dies due to sickness. Meanwhile, a group of alien rebels who are against the plans for colonization begin to target former abductees and fight back in an attempt to destroy the nefarious plans the Syndicate and the other aliens has for the Earth. A woman named Cassandra Spender(an excellent guest star in Veronica Cartwright) says she was abducted and Scully becomes curious as she is starting to believe in the idea of something out there, which culminates in Cassandra eventually being abducted again. Mulder finds some way of getting Scully to remember parts of  the abduction through hypnosis as a war begins brewing. Also throw in the re-emergence of Black Oil,  The Syndicate’s attempts to control it with a vaccine and returning of slippery Krycek(Nicholas Lea), and you have an inventive and intriguing season.

In terms of quality, Season 5 is up there with the best. Everything has the feeling of expansion to it, as more mysteries open up and questions slowly get answered in cryptic fashion. And the visuals are once more a high point within the season, seriously they are absolutely marvellous. Credit to the effects department too who have created some terrifying evils that Mulder and Scully encounter, many of which will induce nightmares. Season 5 is shorter in comparison to other seasons( mainly due to the face that filming of the feature film was in production) but this doesn’t hamper proceedings. It in turn brings a striking immediacy to the fold and lets the writers explore the mythology as well as the personal dramas that affect both Mulder and Scully, whether together or apart. Scully Season 5The arc of Mulder becoming disillusioned with the belief in extraterrestrials is fascinating as it really flips the formula. It gives the chance to see Scully becoming more convinced in alien life where as she is normally the one to think of something scientific to discredit it. The arc thankfully doesn’t go on for a long time, because if it did I think people would be getting annoyed because it is Mulder we are talking about here. And you got to hand to everyone involved for throwing in curve balls that add significantly to the mystery of the show.

There are many episodes within Season 5 that deserve a whole lot of praise for the themes they present and visual style. The two-part opener of Redux and Redux II is extremely tense and filled with drama as Mulder unearths the mole, and before this we are led to believe that it could be Skinner(Mitch Pileggi) and then manages to save Scully from a certain death. The atmospheric Detour features the duo stumbling on a seemingly unusual entity that appears to have been once human but has adapted to become part of the woods it lives in. I must say this episode is very well done and the theme of survival is observed with style. The Post Modern PrometheusOne showstopper of Season 5 is The Post-Modern Prometheus; a wonderfully done episode filmed in black and white and serves as an homage to old horror movies. In the episode, Mulder and Scully investigate claims that a creature impregnated a woman. It transpires that the creature is actually the result of an experiment who wanted to have someone to love. The being is in reality a very gentle person who the townspeople think is a freak, but in the end he is probably more human than any of them. The themes of acceptance and what makes a person human come into play in touching fashion as everyone comes to see that the deformed creature is actually just a lonely soul in want of company. There is Chinga, penned by Stephen King that is somewhat of a point of contention with fans but an episode I found supremely creepy as a china doll influences those around it to mutilate themselves. And a big favourite of mine and so far one of the best episodes in the history of the show is the humour and horror of Bad Blood. Bad BloodIn this episode, Mulder kills what he believes to be a vampire, but then seems to be just a young man, or is it? The humour from this episode is derived from watching Mulder and Scully’s differing view points on what actually transpired and the way they both in turn observe each other. The blend of witty writing, dark humour and horror results in a classic episode. And when the alien rebels arc arrives and the two-part saga of ‘Patient X’ and ‘The Red and the Black’ comes around, a whole lot of action and mystery is to be found as it builds nearer to the climax.

Once more, the principal stars of the show David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are on hand to deliver outstanding work as the duo of Mulder and Scully. Duchovny brings a level of weariness to Mulder this time around as he feels betrayed and his beliefs are conflicted.Mulder and Scully Dance I liked how Duchovny brought out this side to Mulder, and then eventually showcased his immersion back into the role of believer once more. As the audience, as we know ourselves that he has been lied to and that there is something out there, we all feel something of a relief when Mulder regains his old determined mojo. Gillian Anderson is on stellar form as Scully, who is at her most emotional and less skeptical this season, as she grows closer to fully believing after rejecting other possibilities for so long. Anderson imbues Scully with a level of personal detachment that withers as everything around her gets more intense and personal. Anderson really showcases both Scully’s strengths and weaknesses this season to marvellous effect. The growing relationship between the pair is of a fine quality with it being one of trust and care. There are hints of possibly more to their relationship, but these are subtle and never in your face. Mitch Pileggi is suitably authoritative as Skinner, who finds himself drawn into more unusual cases than before. William B. Davis continues his impressive run as Cigarette Smoking Man, who this time around is manipulating from the sidelines after his skirmish with The Syndicate. John Neville is featured a bit more than usual as Well Manicured Man whose gentlemanly charm and seeming niceness mask the fact that he’s a very dark person indeed. Nicholas Lea is back once more as Krycek, who sides with anyone who can be of use and Laurie Holden is used a lot better as Marita, who pays the price for going against her nefarious colleagues. Plus, special mention has to go to the wonderful Veronica Cartwright in her role as the alien abductee Cassandra.

  1. Redux – A
  2. Redux II – A+
  3. Unusual Suspects – B+
  4. Detour – A
  5. The Post-Modern Prometheus – A+
  6. Christmas Carol – C+
  7. Emily – B+
  8. Kitsunegari – B+
  9. Shizogeny – D-
  10. Chinga – A
  11. Kill Switch – A+
  12. Bad Blood – A+
  13. Patient X – A
  14. The Red and the Black – A+
  15. Travelers – B
  16. Mind’s Eye – B
  17. All Souls – B+
  18. The Pine Bluff Variant – A
  19. Folie à Deux – A
  20. The End – A

All I have left to say is that Season 5 is a thrilling ride if ever there was one in The X-Files. It is the show at the height of its powers and has me very excited for what will arrive next.