The X-Files S10 Ep4 – Home Again

Well. Geez. I guess I should have guessed when it was announced that Sheila Larken, aka Maggie Scully, was going to be on the show that it wouldn’t be in a happy, light episode.

I wanted to get the picture of their crossed flashlight beams, but it was too dark (of course).

I wanted to get the picture of their crossed flashlight beams, but it was too dark (of course).

The monster of the week is certainly creepy: a giant, clay, sort of golem creature who sees himself as a protector of a population of homeless people in Philadelphia. It/he kills those who threaten their livelihood by tearing them to pieces. Mulder and Scully are unfazed by the impossibility of the crime scenes, of course.

What does faze Scully is a phone call from her brother Bill, informing her that their mom had a heart attack. So she heads for DC to the hospital, where Maggie lies in a coma. In the first of several beautiful, heartbreaking scenes, Dana begs her mother not to go home yet, even though she knows from experience that Ahab (her father) and her sister Melissa are there, where Maggie is currently.

That’s when she learns that Maggie was calling for Charlie before she went comatose. Charlie is Dana’s other brother, whom we only ever heard about but never saw in the classic show. Now we get the explanation for his absence: he’s been estranged from the family for years.

When Mulder goes to DC to visit the Scully women, it’s just in time to support our Scully as she deals with her mother being extubated, as per her updated living will. Scully has lots of questions for her mother: why this update? Why did she only want to speak to Charlie? What’s with the quarter she now has on a necklace?

In the end, Maggie Scully revives at the sound of her prodigal son’s voice over the phone just long enough to tell Mulder and his partner that she also has a son named William, and then to die. Scully doesn’t get her answers. She only gets Mulder’s quiet comfort.

Then, over Mulder’s objections, she insists on going back to work. They discover a connection between the murders and a street artist who calls himself “Trash Man”. He claims to have accidentally created the murdering monster. Scully tells him that if there’s anything to this, the being he created is his responsibility. To throw him away would be just as bad as the people who treat the homeless like trash.

Our agents never even end up seeing the monster face-to-face, which is… weird. In fact, there’s a pervasive weirdness to all these episodes of the revival thus far. (Less noticeable last week.) They all feel well-characterized, with some excellent story telling – and with huge, unfinished holes. The old show would have more of an explanation for the creature than a vague reference to folklore, for instance. This version feels rushed, but who was rushing them? Overall, I’m still really enjoying the show, but each episode feels less cohesive than it should.

Both Scully women broke my heart this week.

Both Scully women broke my heart this week.

Anyway, at the end of the episode, a grieving Scully tells Mulder that she thinks her mother was reminding her that William will always be his parents’ responsibility, even though they don’t know where he is. She says she believes Mulder will find his truths, but she doesn’t know that her own mysteries will ever be solved – and what if William thinks they treated him like trash? A blessedly sensitive Mulder just holds her, then, because what other comfort can he give?