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Television

The X-Files
7.2: The Sixth Extinction: Amor Fati

 

I remembered this plotline falling apart in a manner I found more disappointing than almost any other in the mythology arc, simply because it had so much potential than most to go to interesting places. Returning to it, I had consequently prepared myself for the worst myth-arc episode bar none – certainly thus far in the run. That is, until I recalled Demons, which stinks the place out that bit more. But Amor Fati is undoubtedly pathetic, redundant drivel, ditching everything about Mulder with a head full of stuff & ancient aliens that was interesting and intriguing and settling instead on some half-baked dream-fantasy voyage – again intentionally echoing Season 2/3, but interminably in this case – and yet another unnecessary and tedious intervention by CSM.

I should make one admission straight up, though. I erred when I suggested, of Season 4 and Mulder’s Tunguska experiences, that per Terma, “Perhaps the biggest miss is that jacking Mulder full of worms has no repercussions at all”. Because Kritschgau tells us that’s why he’s having these troubles, and it’s evidently why CSM wants a piece of him (none of this is entirely persuasive, but that’s what happens when you have Carter struggling to find some material with which to extend himself; this quite patently wasn’t foreseen when they miraculously cured him in Terma, just as they decided to leave Mulder’s visions at that this time. Well, until they retconned him looking for a cure for slowly dying from them during Season 7 in Season 8). You can’t just “extract” his altered genetics (and give it all to CSM), so quite why his experiences are diffused is unclear (and why CSM isn’t worried he’ll have them too). Perhaps they did CSM the world of good, as he’s evidently able to withstand being entirely incinerated by The Truth’s missile attack.

CSM: Extraordinary men are always tempted by the most ordinary things.

The worst of it is, that, aided and abetted by Duchovny, who gets a story co-credit, Amor Fati is a case of philosophical incontinence inspired by the cross vision of Last Temptation of Christ – I see someone else already used The Last Temptation of Mulder, so I won’t, but it really is that tiresomely transparent – yet extended beyond the bounds of any sense of engagement. I guess Carter thinks he’s pleasing fans wheeling on Deep Throat and Samantha. Really, though, this is the ripest of the ripe, and an exercise in cumulative tedium that gives Duchovny some abjectly awful old-age make up (he just doesn’t have the face for it) and a ropey alien apocalypse vision out of T2. If nothing else, the thought of Diana going all succubus on him and making him a dad should have roused him from his slumber in a cold sweat. Look at what she did to Tom Cruise!

And, oh look, another myth arc episode where Chris arbitrarily kills characters off when they either had more potential – Kritschgau – or they were only ever delivered as a garbled mess (Fowley). The joke of it is, everything with CSM is desperately depressing by this point, a character who outlived his value by at least a couple of seasons (ever since they decided he was “popular’ enough to give him his own episode, basically). He’s the one who should be permanently perishing, but with good reason. That way we could avoid the “I’m your father” and the cobblers of having the special sauce DNA given to him (why should he be a match any more than anyone else previously? Oh right, cos he’s Mulder’s father. Sigh).

As to the thematic takeaway, the only point of note is that a condition that initially appears as a transhumanist leap – Mulder with super powers – is underlined as a bad thing, something only bad people (CSM) would be interested in, to bad ends (surviving the alien apocalypse). That notwithstanding, it would have been much more interesting had Carter, bereft of a plan to do anything with it, had not simply drawn a line under Mulder’s new-found skillset and left it there. This was the most fertile arc idea period, and he simply killed it stone dead (but hey, he’ll fashion a super-powered baby instead).

It should also be stressed that neither Kim Manners (last ep) nor Michael Watkins (this one, his third, and possibly given to him because it somewhat echoes his work on Arcadia in the witness protection community scenes) is a patch on Bowman’s for Biogenesis. Mulder’s beach dream is ghastly stuff, and the final imagery of the alien ship sandcastle should never had got past quality control.

Scully’s doing badly here too. She has visions of Albert – who is dead – but because she is Scully she can’t countenance them when she’s told he was in hospital at the time. She has a go at Michael and deletes the files on his computer (and why exactly? He’s already sent them off). She has a go at Fowley, but in a manner that’s utterly ineffectual. If she’d pistol whipped her, that might have been something. The episode ends on an affirmation of her being Fox’s touchstone and a kiss on the forehead. It won’t be long before there’s a little Mulder (okay, CSM) crawling around. Carter just couldn’t resist digging that hole and then shooting himself in the head. The only shame is he didn’t fill it in after himself. I’d say this is the worst the season gets, but my recollection is that Closure has him adding insult to injury.

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