It’s our first real Monster of the Week (MotW) episode! And despite only being the 3rd episode of the show, it’s managed to give a really lasting impression to viewers. Our monster, Eugene Victor Tooms, is certainly among the most memorable of the various XF villains.
It’s our first time seeing Scully outside of her new assignment, with other colleagues who respect her — but who clearly don’t respect her new partner. And so it’s also our first time seeing Scully’s real feelings on this assignment, and how she feels when people reduce her partner to “Spooky” Mulder.
There’s a very interesting comment at the start of this scene, as Scully is catching up with her old FBI Academy classmate (Tom Colton). In discussing a bit of acceleration he got in his career, Scully notes that he “lucked into the World Trade Center bombing.” While, obviously, this is referring to the 1993 bombing attack rather than the 2001 plane attacks, it’s no less odd to hear about it being a “lucky” thing. I don’t necessarily doubt that some might have considered those kinds of high-profile assignments as “lucky”, I wonder if it’s still considered that way these days. Does a terrorist bombing still get seen as an opportunity for career advancement? (It probably does, because human beings don’t necessarily change that much.)
The line is probably lost pretty quickly, because that’s when Colton starts ripping on Mulder and Scully is not having it. He mentions that if Scully does a good job helping on this weird case of his, maybe he can “rescue” her from the X-Files and she “won’t have to be Mrs. Spooky anymore.” Please, nerd. I also have serious doubts that other people call Scully “Mrs. Spooky”. This definitely feels like a dude who always wanted to get with her, missed his chance, and now could have a new chance, but he thinks he needs to rescue her. Dude needs to chill.
I like that Scully goes and tells Mulder about what people say about him, too. Mostly because it gives us this moment:
While Colton is trying to drag Mulder as loon — and Mulder plays into it gleefully by giving a lecture on the skin color of aliens — Mulder several times shows his respect to Scully. While at first he doesn’t expect the killer to return to the scene of the crime, he readily admits to Scully that she was right, and he backs her up to the other agents who say she just missed this one. He also gets a little territorial, at one point reaching out to pull at her necklace:
Throughout this episode, Scully is not her own woman. Mulder gives her more respect, but only just. He’s okay with her going to work with the Violent Crimes team to investigate this from the “normal” side of things, but he still does his own investigation from the “paranormal” side. When Scully is happily assisting the VC team, they constantly throw disrespect at her. And yet, it’s not disrespect about her, but it’s all about Mulder. She’s just a target, a safe place to aim their mudslinging. Which means that this woman, who’s just happy to be invited to provide some insights to an interesting case, ends up covered in mud.
But it’s okay, because Scully is a bad ass, and she can handle a bit of mud:
SCULLY: Is this what it takes to climb the ladder, Colton?
TOM COLTON: All the way to the top.
SCULLY: Then I can’t wait ’til you fall off and land on your ass.
Alas, this bad-assery isn’t enough to keep Scully from getting attacked by our bad guy, who I realize I haven’t talked about much here, after starting off talking about how memorable he is. Really, he’s like the creepiest. Santa. EVER.
He builds his 30-year hibernation nest by basically doing paper mache with newspaper. Makes me wonder: If he were to be back in 2023, would there still be newspapers that he could use? Hmm. Makes you think.
Also, we have the prediction by Mulder that Scully will be running the FBI by 2023. She’s got 7 years. Make a note.
This post ended up being focused a lot on how Scully was treated by a whole bunch of men around her. It’s something I didn’t notice when I was first watching the show, and it’s something I was interested to see if I picked up on it in this rewatch. Well, not the specific situation of everyone in the FBI fighting over Scully like she’s a prize to be won, but just from a more feminist slant. Considering how much of an icon Scully has become, it’ll be interesting to see how she was handled in the “text” itself. It’ll be interesting to me, for sure, so I hope you’ll be interested as well!
Coming a little later this week will be “Conduit”, and then next week there will be just one post. More on that later! Hey, if you’re reading and enjoying, feel free to leave comments, or to retweet my tweets or share Facebook posts. Spread the word! I’m doing this for me first and foremost, but it’s always fun to have friends along for the ride.