While the season’s two-part finale is replete with characteristic bugbears – usually of characters behaving in characteristically dim-watt ways – its saving grace is that it moves at a clip, such that even the somewhat daft premise of all this, and where we’ve got to – the aliens/super soldiers want Scully’s baby! – avoids miring itself in ponderousness. Were these episodes swathed in ruminative voiceovers mulling the meaning of it all (we only get Mulder on the miracle of life), I suspect they’d be unbearable. Generally, though, I’m mildly on board with the sub-Terminator dramatics that punctuate much of the proceedings.
I don’t disagree with Rob Shearman’s take, though; rather, the degree to which the faults here affect one’s enjoyment is a YMMV. At this point, I have a particularly low tolerance threshold for Doggett being eternally baffled, and an equally low one for Mulder being a stroppy so-and-so. But they still can’t really spoil an episode featuring Omen nanny (Frances Fisher) and Billy Miles being Patrick’s name-making character, an unstoppable killing machine (with an added, ornate methodology of leaving severed heads in fridges). Kim Manners and Chris Carter elsewhere exhibit a positively Sam Raimi-esque sense of humour (“You have to keep a cool head” Haskell instructs nursy on the phone. Cue Billy Miles knocking Haskell’s clean off). The early scene in the clinic, as Mulder is thrown through a plate-glass door, and Doggett fires several rounds into Billy, is top-notch suspense fare.
Skinner: What do they want?
Krycek: They want to knock out any and all attempts by us to survive the final days – when they come back to retake the planet.
Krycek’s explanation for the search for the chosen child isn’t altogether convincing. But then, this is what you get when you have a series writing itself into a corner. He suggests “They’re afraid of its implications. That it could somehow be greater than them. Something… more human than human” and you’re left thinking, well… Okay. But it isn’t very persuasive. If William were revealed as Clark Kent, maybe. Or even John Connor.
This is a pretty good Krycek two-parter, though. It hasn’t always been that way, as he’s often been either underwritten or used as a rentathug. Dare I say it too, the mythology of the super soldiers is pretty good, muscular stuff. You’ve got Billy pushed off a roof into a garbage truck at one point, and even being turned to mush isn’t keeping him down (the episode ends on his metallic spinal column re-fusing together).
Doggett: What is this place?
Skinner: An illegal medical facility for the purpose of human cloning. It goes on from here. In fact, it occupies the entire warehouse.
Doggett: You read about these things but you don’t imagine they exist.
Skinner: Yeah, just like aliens.
Doggett: Come on, what are you saying? That that’s what was going on here? That they’re making alien babies?
Also of note, the matter-of-fact way a human cloning facility is introduced into the conversation. Early on, we see Dr Lev holding an alien/hybrid baby, which is quite shocking in its almost casual reveal. Skinner later tells Doggett they’re at a cloning facility, the latter’s reaction being germane for once, and illustrative of the official theoretical-only narrative.