Feb 16, 2016


The suggestible Mulder's vision of 2012
Back at the end of the original run of The X-Files, we were told that the alien invasion of Earth would happen in 2012. Then, in 2015 when the X-Files miniseries was being crafted, terror attacks in Paris (Charlie Hebdo) and Texas were in the news. It is no surprise that Chris Carter decided to put Arabic-speaking terrorists into his X-Files miniseries (episode 5: 'Babylon').

Where are we? Babylon.
I suppose it was painful for Carter to watch when 24 became the new darling of Fox TV. I never watched 24, but Carter's 'Babylon' is just how I'd expect Chris Carter to make a paranormal episode of 24. Rather than torture a captured bomber for information about the next terror attack, "spooky" Mulder solves the case by achieving telepathic contact with a brain-dead terrorist. Or something. At the end of the episode, nobody understands what just happened. But this is the X-Files, understanding is not in the cards.

The suggestible terrorist
Sadly for Chris Carter, the world did not end in 2000 or in 2012. Sadly, for the rest of us, Carter is still giving us TV shows about the "end times". In 'Babylon', Mulder starts out investigating "ear witnesses" to the heavenly trumpets of the apocalypse. At the end of the episode, Mulder himself seems to hear the heavenly music. Of course, this is at the end of a story in which swallowing two niacin capsules causes Mulder to have a dream-like vision in which the brain-dead terrorist speaks to Mulder in Arabic.

At the Ziggurat: black-vested greeters welcome terrorists
Chris Carter's theme here is the power of words and the "suggestibility" of people, whether it be the case of Mulder believing that he has ingested a hallucinogen or a terrorist believing that "infidels must die". Carter's plot quickly diverges from reality when two Arabic-speaking terrorists simply walk in the front door of the the Ziggurat Gallery in Texas and set off a bomb, targeting an offensive "art" display.

We all know the real story from Garland, Texas: there was heavy security and everyone was expecting trouble. Here, in Carter's fantasy, we need a big bang before the opening credits can role, so the art Gallery has no security, just convenient parking. Worse, the gratuitous burning extras in the teaser scene did not match the blasted but un-burned terrorist who spends most of the episode in the hospital.
An X-Files meet cute: Einstein's twin paradox. Scully: "Nobody here but the FBI's most unwanted".

Episodes A and B
Scully: "She calls him Miller."
Mulder: "It's not important what I believe, what's important is what they believe."

Episode A. Scully latches onto Special Agent Miller's business card and follows him to Texas. She wants to use EEG to look for brain wave activity in the brain-dead terrorist, an idea that is so crazy she only want's to run it past Miller, the agent of the very open mind.

Einstein: pity for Scully
Meanwhile, in Episode B, Mulder is mysteriously able to entice the Skeptical Agent Einstein to "catch the crazy train" and abandon her flight to Texas.

In full-on 24 fashion, Einstein ensures us that the "clock is ticking" and Chris Carter shows us a terrorist bomb-builder preparing more bombs.

Doing a complete 180, Einstein returns to Mulder's basement office for some Foxy smooth talking and a medical consultation. Fox wants Dr. Einstein to give him a dose of psilocybin so that he can telepathically contact the brain-dead terrorist. This is the X-Files, so nothing needs to make sense... just go with it.

The suggestible Mulder in
Mulder's magic mush room.
Mother Love
Plan B. Agent Einstein refuses to work with Mulder until she teleports to Texas and discovers that Scully is already working with Agent Miller on Plan A. Channeling her inner Scully, Agent Einstein does another 180. Now she seems willing to humor Mulder while mercilessly taunting him for his batshit-crazy ideas. After Mulder teleports to Texas, Einstein hands him two capsules and warns him not to take both at one time because the dose of this Schedule 1 drug might be too high.
Mulder: "Sit down and shut up." Einstein's first lesson in Mulder's basement school of the paranormal.

Not Psilocybin
Telepathic contact with the dead
50 shades of bad
Later, we learn that Einstein only gave Mulder niacin capsules and we see Mulder with what looks like a niacin rash (but is the rash where the '50 shades of bad' Einstein struck Mulder in his hallucination?). Still, the suggestible Mulder has a hallucinatory episode in which the brain-dead terrorist speaks to him and he sees the mother of the terrorist.

mother love
Importantly, when the two terrorists went into the Ziggurat art gallery, the brain-dead terrorist saw the victims and he could not detonate his suicide vest.
let's rumble

Later, while in a vegetative state in his hospital bed, he achieves telepathic contact with his mother and Mulder. The brain-dead terrorist tries to provide the location of the remaining terrorists who are preparing for their next attack.

The brain-dead terrorist is an Arabic detector.
Brain Dead, er, or Not
Episode A. Now hospitalized, the brain-dead terrorist has brain activity whenever someone speaks Arabic. After hearing his mother's voice, the terrorist finally dies. And, miraculously, Mulder is then able to "hear" what the terrorist has been trying to communicate: "Babylon motel".

The Babylon motel
The FBI raids the Babylon motel and captures the terrorists before they can detonate additional bombs.

The power of words. Afraid of three words.
After the terrorism storm blows out to sea, Agent Einstein literally lets her hair down.

Mixing old X and new Y
I want to believe
that the finale won't stink
The last scene of 'Babylon', set in Texas, with the two younger agents waiting for their flight back to Washington, could have been a 2.5 minute set-up for X-Files: The Next Generation. We get to see Miller and Einstein locked in a partnership where they alternately share loving gazes and looks of dismay at the conceptual gulfs that separate them.
My Struggle, too

When are 2 doctors
better than 1?
Episode 6
I've been following The X-Files "season 10" in an attempt to learn if Chris Carter will provide a science fiction backstory for the paranormal story lines in the X-Files. Heading into the final episode, we are being teased with the idea that "alien DNA" has been inserted into everyone. Will we get to see the results of Scully's genome project for telepaths? Will Drs. Einstein and Scully science the shit out of alien DNA?

Next: science fiction in Deep Time.

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