The X-Files (1997) – Memento Mori, and Kaddish

Series creator Chris Carter penned Memento Mori which first aired on 7 February, 1997. It brings Scully’s (Gillian Anderson) cancer to the fore as the tumour becomes more aggressive and sends Mulder (David Duchovny) into an investigation of the MUFON group Scully met last year, a group of women who claim to be abductees and all recognised Scully from their experiences – something she doesn’t recall.

Following a trail of evidence, and shadowed by an assassin, Mulder finds more pieces of the puzzle as he encounters another clone hybrid (Kurt Crawford) and learns that the government is more than a little involved in the abduction cases that centre around Scully, and countless other women.

The Lone Gunmen help Mulder break into a government facility where he makes even more shocking discoveries, one of which could cost Scully her life if Mulder and the boys aren’t in time.

Meanwhile, Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) stands between Mulder and CSM (William B. Davis) and makes his own deal with the shadowy figure to return Scully to health. What will that cost him?

And the hybrids talk about subverting the program away from its original purpose (colonisation?), and that they are on Mulder’s side.

The shadowy lines are there, and the mysteries deepen, but it is really a chance for Anderson to shine in her performance as Scully -and she shines, and I love her voice overs in this episode.

This episode, while very mythology driven, is also very character driven, something that couldn’t have been done two seasons ago, because we were still learning the characters. Now, we’re truly emotionally invested in the characters, and Scully’s problems resonate with us.

Kaddish was written by Howard Gordon and first aired on 16 February, 1997. The story takes us into a bit of Jewish mysticism, as well as hate crimes, as it explores the murder of a young Hasidic Jew, the effect it has on his family, including his beloved Ariel (Justine Miceli), and the rampant anti-antisemitism that still runs rampant.

After a shopkeeper is murdered, and Mulder and Scully are brought into investigate it, they discover what appears to be a golem at work, and even as it goes about wreaking revenge for the life taken, there is also a love story at work, which layers out the tale beyond your basic monster-of-the-week episode.

The remarks some of the characters spout are truly upsetting, but are there to show how prevalent antisemitism remains, and Mulder and Scully are intent on walking the line between investigation, which the family feels is a violation, and the justice they more than deserve.

A justice the golem seems to be extracting on its own.

It’s a solid episode, and the season continues to shine with scares, thought-provoking stories, and great characters. The search continues next week, because the truth is out there…

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