The X-Files (1999) – Field Trip, and Biogenesis

Frank Spotnitz created the story which Vince Gilligan and John Shiban wrote the teleplay for the sixth season’s penultimate episode, Field Trip, which first aired on 9 May, 1999.

Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) head to Brown Mountain, home of the Brown Mountain Lights, which Mulder believes may be UFO related, to investigate two skeletons that purport to be the bodies of two missing hikers.

Upon arriving on the site, both agents have vastly different experiences, but Scully may be on the right trail when she begins to suspect a plant may be the culprit, digesting the campers, and now, possibly she and Mulder as they live out strange reflections of their lives while trapped underground. Mulder’s is very alien-centric, while Scully is confronted with reports and evidence of things she doesn’t believe.

And it’s Scully who is right on this one, there is nothing UFO-related going on here, though Mulder’s fantasies would tell you something different. But in the end, the pair come out of it together, ready to face what comes next.

Throughout the story both characters hear things they have said to one another regarding their theories about what is happening, Mulder believes his, but the more Scully’s gets regurgitated back to her is the indicator that she knows something is wrong.

This is a really strong episode, playing everything straight, and it makes a number of things frightening, ramping us up for what ever cliffhanger the creators are going to give us when we hit the sixth season finale with…

Biogenesis. The season finale was written by Spotnitz and series creator Chris Carter and brought the season to a close, and a cliffhanger on 16 May, 1999. The episode pulls out all the stops with its guest star list making us realise that this is a big one, CSM (William B. Davis), Fowley (Mimi Rogers), Krycek (Nicholas Lea), Chuck (Bill Dow), Navajo code talker Albert Hosteen (Floyd ‘Red Crow’ Westerman) and Mitch Pileggi’s Skinner.

Mulder seems to be succumbing to something that may be driving him insane, and it’s all tied to an artifact that Scully believes is a fake, a triangular stone that is covered in a language that seems to be Navajo, but seems to have come from beyond the solar system and may be proof of the theory of panspermia – to quote Battlestar Galactica the belief that ‘life here, began out there.’

While Mulder is sidelined, Scully discovers a conspiracy at work within the Bureau (Skinner is forced to aid Krycek because of earlier events). As bodies begin to pile up, the investigation leads her to the Ivory Coast of Africa, and a humbling and awesome discovery that leads into a cliffhanger, even while Mulder’s health hangs in the balance.

Is it an alien ship? What’s happening with Mulder? And where will all of this lead?

We’ll have to wait until Season Seven gets underway to learn whether or not the truth is out there…

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