The X-Files (1999) – S.R. 819, and Tithonus

John Shiban pens an episode that brushes up against the mythology episodes as it sees the return of Mulder’s (David Duchovny) ‘ally,’ Senator Matheson (Raymond J. Barry) and the villainous, Krycek (Nicholas Lea). First airing on 17 January, 1999, S.R. 819 sees Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) falling deathly ill after being infected with some strange virus.

When Mulder discovers the condition of his former boss’ condition, he reaches out to Scully (Gillian Anderson) and the pair soon find themselves mired in conspiracy relating to a health bill meant to be passed in the Senate, a bill that is tied to the World Health Organisation.

Mulder believes it may have something to do with the X-files, Skinner isn’t so sure, even as he creeps closer and closer to death, all of it controlled by remote by a mysterious bearded man in the shadows. The man is none other than Krycek, and we are left with a horrifying reality at the end of the episode…

Despite Skinner’s seemingly miraculous recovery it’s revealed that Krycek is leaving Skinner infected, and able to claim Skinner’s life at any point.

I like Skinner being made more central again. Since the agents’ reassignment to background checks, working under Kersh (James Pickens Jr.), we haven’t seen lots of him, and this story brings him back into the fold of the series again. And also gives us hope that maybe, the duo will get reassigned back to the X-files in the near future…

Tithonus features Geoffrey Lewis as a guest star in a script written by Vince Gilligan. It debuted on 24 January, 1999. Scully gets pulled in by Kersh to investigate what Mulder believes is an x-file. She’s paired with Peyton Ritter (Richard Ruccolo) and the pair head off to New York to investigate a photographer, Alfred Fellig (Lewis) who is always present for people’s death, whether murder or accident.

Ritter believes he’s a serial killer, but soon Scully begins to suspect something more, all while Mulder, tied to his desk, does some investigating of his own. It seems Fellig has been around since the 1840s, has been trying to catch up to death so that he can die.

It also ties in again with the prediction by Clyde Bruckman that Scully doesn’t die, which dies directly into the climax of the episode. It also presents the idea of death as a presence, and not just an event. Something Fellig has been searching for for years.

I’ve always been a fan of Geoffrey Lewis, so I was delighted to see him show up on The X-Files, and with a script by Vince Gilligan, you know it was going to be a good episode.

Next week, it’s a little deeper into the mythology arc with an epic two parter, but we’ll have to wait until next week, because the truth is out there…

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