Reviews selected from TV Zone #141
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Reviews online this month (ratings given are out of 10):
Doctor Who The 8th Doctor encounters some Dark Progeny
Space: 1999 the second half of Season One makes a landing in a 21st-Century format
and The X-Files' Season 8 ends in fine style with Essence & Existence

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THE X-FILES
ESSENCE & EXISTENCE Rating: 9
Eps. H20 / H21 First aired: May 13 & 20 2001, Fox
First UK airing: 21st / 28th June, Sky One
Reviewed by
Gareth Wigmore
If essence precedes existence

Scully and Doggett - things that go bump?The final episodes of each season of The X-Files are nearly always disappointing. They tend to lead to fantastically overblown cliffhangers that are ‘resolved’ the following year. But that’s not the case for the last four episodes of Season Eight. Vienen and Alone are standalone episodes, although they do deal with Mulder’s expulsion from the FBI.

Both are entertaining, but don’t go anywhere near the highs of Essence and Existence, the two-part story that finishes the season and bucks the trend by having no silly cliffhanger. Instead, it ends on a note that rings absolutely true – and, as we all know, truth is a rare thing in The X-Files.

Following on from various strands of conspiracy this season, Essence and Existence race towards one event: the birth of Scully’s child. There’s been plenty of concern over whether it’ll be a normal baby or some nasty human-alien hybrid, but Krycek thinks it’ll be something quite different – a perfect human that’ll play a leading role in ‘the final days’. There’s something almost sacrilegious about the birth itself – Mulder following a strange light in the sky to find the mother and child, the Lone Gunmen (three wise men, you see) arriving bearing gifts – but only the most easily offended should get hot under the collar.

The reason that this two-parter works is that its plot is simple enough for the audience to still have a handle on, referring largely to Deadalive and the idea of aliens having created ‘human replacements’ like Billy Miles.

Mulder and Scully - the last time?Whether the presence of Patrick, best known for his role in Terminator 2, sparked off ideas in Chris Carter’s head or whether it’s just co-incidence, the debt to The Terminator is enormous, with Billy and several other characters having been transformed into relentless, unstoppable killing machines and who are determined to get at Scully’s baby, no matter what.

The simplicity of the ‘human replacement’ plotline may well go out of the window in time, though, and become as jaded and as mind-bogglingly confusing as many of the show’s other plotlines.

Reyes is especially prominent in Existence, and the character is all set up for her transition to permanent status. The final two scenes of the episode, and of the season, are both important, the first being Kersh bawling out the two FBI agents assigned to the X-Files – not Mulder and Scully, but Doggett and Reyes. The last scene, beautifully performed by the two original regulars, gives us a moment that every viewer has wanted for years, because its absence has just seemed false, absurd even. As Mulder says before he gently kisses her, their baby between them, he and Scully know the truth. I only wish the two of them – three of them, rather – could disappear into the sunset and never be seen again.

Also reviewed in more detail this issue: Vienen (H18), Alone (H19).
selected from TV Zone #141
© Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction
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