6.12: One Son
This second part gets an extra (half) point for at least seemingly bringing plot threads to a head (hah) even if you’re catching yourself, amid the reams of exposition attempting to bring it all into a coherent whole, going “Is that right?” And I say that having been collectively returning to these mythology episodes over the past year or so. We’re also back to ponderous Mulder voiceovers, following last week’s CSM interlude. Generally, though, this is a step up in gear, simply because Carter and his team finally do what they’ve been promising. Albeit, letting CSM escape AGAIN, well… we’ll never be free from him.
Mulder: Two fathers whose paths would converge in a new battle – an invisible war between a silent enemy and a sleeping giant on a scale to dwarf all historical conflicts. A fifty-years war, its killing fields lying in wait for the inevitable global holocaust.
But there’s some reasonable material in One Son, notably in Mulder having to consider the position presented by CSM, unpalatable as it is: that there was no choice (“You gave them your children!”) This being a plan to buy time, boosted by Fox’s dad holding out and via some hangar flashbacks with hair pieces. Maybe they would develop that vaccine to save everyone (this whole idea gives the benefit of the doubt to Elites, that rather than full complicity in evil schemes perpetrated, they are reluctant stooges. However, the leverage of abducted family members – if one wants to swap it for standard blackmail material – does have some relevance in terms of ensuring cooperation of those who aren’t at the very top of the totem).
Mulder: That’s where it all begins. That’s where we need to be if we want to survive it.
I really don’t know what to make of Fox announcing he’ll up and off to El Rico air force base (intent as he is to bring Scully too – “You’re coming with us” – before getting fortuitously waylaid). Even thinking about that seems like giving up and reneging on everything he stands for; surely it would be better to just go down in the “viral” apocalypse and keep one’s honour and beliefs intact?
He’s also still on Diane’s side, making excuses for her despite Scully’s strident opposition. And we’re fully on board with Dana. And not just because she’s seen Mulder’s member in a nudey glance in the showers and can’t entertain the thought that Diane would have it to herself – she does get pregnant with William soon after. When she announces “It is personal, Mulder” she should have slapped him round the chops a bit too, to sober him up. Instead, he’s still on board with the scientology seller. I don’t think Diane’s ever officially fessed up as being on the dark side, but at very least, she’s willing to deal with the devil in order to get information (CSM, the MUFON members visits that Scully uncovers thanks to the Gunmen).
There’s daft stuff in here, admittedly, such as Maria hiding in the shadows in hospital wards like an in-patient Phantom of the Opera, popping her head out every so often to offer portents of doom. Krycek’s realisation he’s screwed is good value, though, while CSM shooting his son in the head out of maximum disappointment is particularly ruthless. The latter is dramatically potent, but how much sense it makes after we’ve just seen him almost – only almost, mind – vulnerable when talking to Cassandra is questionable (“I ordered them, yes. But it was never my intention to harm you… It was to save you. And Jeffrey”).
Generally, these episodes work better with hindsight than they did at the time – for me, obviously – as there was a prevailing feeling of “Ah well, I guess we better wrap this up, then, even somewhat coherently”. I mean, that is, basically, what Carter and Spotnitz were doing here, but they also manage to include a degree of escalation that gives One Son the edge on the first instalment. Now, of course, they’re left casting about for what to do next, since the vaguely announced apocalypse wouldn’t really bed in again until it as retconned in the return series to herald a genuinely intended real-world apocalypse. Unfortunately, the show’s ability to sustain dramatic tension in its myth arc would have been entirely exhausted by that point, despite fourteen years to recharge it.