John Shiban pens the first episode up this week, Elegy, which debuted on 4 May,1997. And, honestly, I forgot how much I liked this episode. Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate a series of murders that seem connected to a bowling alley, and an autistic employee, Harold (Steven M. Porter).
According to the investigative team, all the evidence seems to suggest that Harold is responsible,but Mulder, following up some other leads, begins to believe that Harold’s connection to them has led him to have visions of the victims at the moment of their death.
Scully is less than sure, but after she has a mysterious encounter of her own, brought on by her medical condition, she doesn’t know what to think, or believe, and is unsure of whether she confide in Mulder about what she saw.
I really enjoy this episode, there’s a moodiness to it that suits this version of a ghost story, while also advancing the character arcs for both the leads, particularly Scully.
The story is well-crafted, and I like how the evidence, seen from one angle seems to incriminate Harold, but when Mulder’s methodology, and technique come into it, it’s revealed to be something else.
I don’t think the series did enough ghost stories, at least ones of this calibre, and so when they do come along, you can’t help but delight in how well they are made, and how they work within the structure of the series’ established universe.
But now, we take a breath before we plunge into the penultimate episode of the season…
Demons. Written by R.W. Goodwin, the penultimate episode of season four first aired on 11 May, 1997. While brushing up against the phenomena of alien abduction, there are no paranormal elements to this story. Instead we follow Mulder in a deep dive to understand the truth of his past.
When the FBI agent awakes with no memory and covered in blood, he becomes the prime suspect in what appears to be a double murder, but as Scully begins to look into things with the local PD, led by Detective Curtis (Jay Acovone) the evidence leads to a doctor, Goldstein (Mike Nussbaum) who uses a drug, and electrical stimuli to reveal detailed memories of the past.
Mulder is intent on discovering the truth about the night of his sister’s disappearance, but the drug used by Goldstein has hallucinogenic side effects and Mulder can’t be sure what he is seeing is the truth. But there are troubling things he glimpses – the possibility that his mother (Rebecca Toolan) may have had an affair with CSM (seen as a younger man played by Chris Owens) and leading him to wonder who his father is and who was actually responsible for choosing his sister to be taken and not him.
There’s lots of character set up, but how much of it is true, and how will it affect Mulder going forward?
Andrew Johnston makes another appearance in the series as yet another different character, this time a pathologist.
Next week, we come to the end of season four, and dive into the fifth because the truth is out there…