The X-Files (1996) – Talitha Cumi, and Herrenvolk

The third season of The X-Files comes to an end with Talitha Cumi which unearths some Mulder family secrets while advancing the series’ mythology arc. The episode was written by series creator Chris Carter from a story he developed with David Duchovny. It first aired on 17 May, 1996.

When a shooting at a fast food restaurant leads to no deaths, or injuries, Mulder (Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate, especially when word begins to spread of a man who healed those who were injured.

This man, Jeremiah Smith (Roy Thinnes) is more than he appears to be, and is possibly a shape-shifting alien. Scully attempts to find him on her own after Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) delivers some troubling news to Mulder; his mother (Rebecca Toolan) has fallen ill and collapsed.

When Mulder goes to see her, he ends up on a quest through his family history, which reveals a disturbing connection with Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and, Mulder thinks, a connection to the case they are working on. And after a discovery at the family’s old summer cottage, he learns he’s right.

If Smith is a shape-shifter, it’s soon revealed he’s not the only one, as the Bounty Hunter (Brian Thompson) is back as well, determined to hunt Smith down. But CSM has grabbed him, and locked him away, and he and Mulder come into conflict again, with little revealed, but a lot hinted at.

And X (Steven Williams) comes to pass on more info, and claim the item Mulder has found, only to have a knock-down drag out fight with him, even as Mulder suggests that the date for colonisation has been set. Finally when Mulder, Scully and Jermiah connect, the Bounty Hunter shows up, and we are left with a To Be Continued which wasn’t resolved until…

4 October, 1996. Herrenvolk (German for ‘master race’), the first episode of season four was written by Carter, and really grew the mythology arc. More clones are discovered, bees are introduced as a carrier, and X has his cover blown, and pays the consequences.

Mulder is determined to get Smith to his mother to heal her, and has a chance to blow the conspiracy wide open. But we viewers know, even going in that it can’t happen. And we are given a change in the opening credits, with the familiar phrase, “The Truth is Out There” replaced with “Everything Dies,” you know that means something is going to go down in this episode!

But while Mulder and Smith escape together, Scully is grabbed by the Bounty Hunter, who wants to use her in an attempt to find them. Smith guides Mulder to a remote location, where ‘the plan’ is underway, so he can see what is going on, how things are progressing, and perhaps see his sister, or at least young clones (Vanessa Morley) of her.

Smith is offering Mulder glimpses of many things, but what connections can be made, and what will the whole picture reveal?

When the Hunter releases Scully, she conducts her own investigation, and learns that it looks like some government agency is cataloguing citizens via DNA samples… but for what purpose?

With the loss of X, Mulder will need a new contact, who is flushed by CSM and The Elder (Don S. Williams), and the series introduces Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden).

We’re not at the point in the series where the viewer really needs to pay attention to the reveals and information provided in the mythology episodes, because otherwise, you could get lost pretty quickly. The main thrust of it is the plan for colonisation, and will Mulder and Scully be able to stop it?

The episode ends with a surprising reveal, CSM has the Hunter heal Mulder’s mother. He says this is to keep Mulder in the game, because he’s important to the final equation… hmmm.

Season Four continues Thursday with perhaps the most controversial episode of the entire series. The Truth is Out There.

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