The X-Files (1997) – Small Potatoes, and Zero Sum

Small Potatoes brings back fan favourite writer Darin Morgan, this time in an acting role, in a script penned for him by Vince Gilligan. First debuting on 20 April, 1997, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) get to delve into a comic episode that sees them encountering Eddie Van Blundht (Morgan) after they investigate a small town where five recent births have all produced children with tails.

Only one woman tells a story of being with someone, the rest were all married, and were trying artificial insemination due to a lack in their husbands’ sperm motility.

The trail slowly and hilariously leads to Eddie, who was born with a vestigial tail, and also has an ability to manipulate the musculature of his body to appear to be different people, which leads to a fantastic climax where we see Scully and who she thinks is Mulder getting ready to have a romantic moment together.

Morgan is great, Gilligan pens a fantastic script and it’s very obvious that both Anderson and Duchovny are having a great time with this episode.

There are Star Wars references, brilliant gems of dialogue, laugh out loud facial expressions and character beats, and yet, it is still, undeniably, an X-file.

That’s how you do it.

Yes, there is a darker underside to the story, because Blundht is very much a sexual predator, but its overshadowed by the themes of the story which speak to celebrating who you are, and don’t miss out on the things you can achieve. And all of it is doused in laughter.

A great episode, that prepares us for the dark dive that is coming as we plunge towards the season finale…

Zero Sum sees Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) working to fulfill the debt he owes to CSM (William B. Davis) in this script written by Howard Gordon and Frank Spotnitz. First airing on 27 April, 1997, the story sees Skinner working to cover up evidence in the death of a postal worker that has something to do with a swarm of bees (a perfect delivery system!), Mulder investigate the death, while Scully is back in the hospital for more tests.

The story sticks with Skinner for almost the entire narrative, as we see him being manipulated by CSM, until he’s framed for murder, and his only way out may be to admit to Mulder what he’s done to keep Scully alive, and confront CSM.

The story moves the mythology arc along as The Syndicate appears to inquire about the package (the bees, which are carrying a strain of small pox as a test on the population) and reveals, once again, that not everyone can be trusted as we learn that Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden) is not all she seems to be.

With three episodes left in the season, the stakes are going up again, even as we remain convinced that the truth is out there…

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