The X-Files: Season 4

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“The X-Files” is returning to FOX on January 24, 2016. Join Mieke Zamora-Mackay as she recaps each season for this popular TV show in preparation for the arrival of “The X-Files” Season 10.  In this post she recaps season four.

Season four focuses mostly on the alien colonization theme of the mytharc.

In “Herrenvolk” (S4:E1), Jeremiah Smith leads Mulder to a mysterious bee farm in rural Alberta, Canada, which is being farmed by children clones, the female of which is in the likeness of Samantha Mulder. They are quickly found by the Alien Bounty Hunter who manages to eliminate Smith and one of the clone Samanthas Mulder had hoped to save.

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A connection between The Syndicate and the Alien Bounty Hunters is established, when Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM) orders him to heal Teena Mulder. The Syndicate realizes that there is a leak in their organization and smoke out X and eliminates him in a trap. Just prior to X’s death, he manages to scribble the letters “S”, “R”, “S”, “G”, in his own blood. This message directs Mulder to the Office of the Special Representative to the Secretary General of the United Nations, where he meets Maria Covarrubias. She advises him that the farm has been abandoned, but produced a photograph of the farm as it is being tilled by the clone children.

Following a tip from within a suspected domestic terrorist group, the agents meet the seemingly immortal Alex Krycek again in “Tunguska” (S4: E8). Mulder finds himself in a gulag in provincial Russia and is subjected to some form of experiment by Russian scientists in which he is infected with the black oil.

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In “Terma” (S4: E9), we learn that the Russians have been working on a possible vaccine against the black oil in secret. Having learned that The Syndicate is also trying to develop their own vaccine, the Russians employ an assassin to kill off one of the Syndicate’s leading research doctors, as well as the patients she’d been testing the vaccine on. We learn just how duplicitous Krycheck is, as it is revealed that he is involved with the Russians as well.One of the milestones in Scully’s personal story arc is the discovery of her aggressive cancer, in “Leonard Betts” (S4: E12). The cancer is caused by the removal of the implant from her neck. The season moves into high emotional territory as Scully and the other members of the team come to terms with her diagnosis. In “Memento Mori” (S4: E14), Scully finds that all but one of the MUFON ladies she met previously have died due to similar circumstances. Mulder learns that during Scully’s abduction, her ova had been harvested and used as biological material for other alien hybrid clones. Meanwhile, Skinner, after dissuading Mulder from making a deal with CSM to save Scully, makes his own deal with the devil. Despite her condition, Scully continues to work.

In “Tempus Fugit” (S4:E17), when a commercial airliner is downed by what Mulder believes to be a UFO, the agents find US Air Force air controller, Louis Frish, willing to tell them the truth about what happened in the air that night. He reveals that as the commercial airliner was mid-flight, a UFO approached and was intercepted by a second aircraft, resulting in the crash of the passenger plane and the UFO. He points toward the Great Scandaga Lake as the possible crash site for the UFO. Scully brings Sergeant Frish to Washington, DC to put him into protective custody, while Mulder travels to the lake to see what he can find. While stopping at a bar, Scully encounters Agent Pendrell, who seems to have found the liquid courage to engage Scully on a more personal level. However, the Men in Black come to try and take Frish, and in the process shoot the endearing Pendrell. Meanwhile, Mulder finds the crashed UFO in the bottom of the lake, as well as the remains of an alien inside the ship. The government successfully covers up the UFO crash and salvages the ship and body from the lake in “Max” (S4:E18).

In “Zero Sum” (S4:E21), we learn just how far Skinner is willing to go to save Scully as well as the relevance of the bees from early in the season. Under the direction of CSM, he cleans up a crime scene where a swarm of bees attack a postal worker and steals collected evidence. However, when he finds that he is being set up to take the blame for murder, he attempts to learn more about what exactly he’s become involved with. It is revealed that the bees are part of an experiment being run by the Syndicate as a mode of delivery of some sort of disease… or possibly a vaccine. At the moment however, the bees carry strains of small pox instead.

In the final episode, “Gethsemane” (S4:E24), the frozen remains of an Extraterrestrial Biological Entity (EBE) is found in the St. Elias Mountains in Canada. The team leader behind this discovery, Professor Arlinsky, sends ice core samples to Mulder and Scully. As Scully has the samples tested, Mulder goes to Canada with the professor. In the mountain range, they find the camp destroyed and the crew murdered. The EBE however managed to be hidden by a lone survivor of the massacre, and Mulder and Arlinsky bring the EBE back to United States for further study. During the autopsy, Mulder and Arlinsky believe they have undeniable proof of extraterrestrial life. Meanwhile, Scully encounters Michael Kristchgau, who claims that the entire alien conspiracy that Mulder is involved in a complete fabrication. Scully confronts Mulder with this information, revealing that the entire alien myth was created and perpetrated by the US government, in its attempt to hide its agenda of the global business of warfare. Mulder refuses to believe his claims until Scully reveals that she was given cancer to further perpetrate his belief in the lie. When Mulder finds Arlinsky dead, and the EBE remains gone, he becomes despondent. At the end of the episode, Scully tearfully informs an FBI panel inquiry that Mulder has killed himself.

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One of the most interesting episodes of the series was “Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man” (S4: E7). While part of the general mytharc of the show, this episode presents us with a possible picture of who exactly this man is. Presented as if it was a narration by Lone Gunman, Frohike, is appears that CSM is the most dangerous man in the world, having been a key player in many major world changing events. If Frohike is to believed, CSM was the true assassin of JFK and Martin Luther King. Despite having a hand in and orchestrating several other major events, CSM is also depicted as a failed novelist, whose stories have been found to be so farfetched as unbelievable. Several times, he is shown to have a possible change of heart, willing to turn away, if only one of his novels was published.

I did not find any of the “Monster of the Week” episodes particularly remarkable in this season. I did however find that the non-mytharc episodes were darker and edgier than what was the norm at the time the season was running. Some episodes were closer in darkness the kind of shows we see more frequently now. On example is “Home” (S4:E2), wherein a family of inbred brothers go on a rampage, reminded me of the first season of “True Detective.”

After watching this season, I realize that I had stopped watching the show during its original run around this time. As such, from this point onwards, I am experiencing the rest of the show’s run from a first timer’s point of view. I think there’s something pretty cool about that.

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One Reply to “The X-Files: Season 4”

  1. Funnily enough, my wife and I are going through an X-Files re-watch, and we’re on Season 4. I too more or less stopped watching at this point, though I was never an avid fan to begin with. So far, I’ve enjoyed the re-watch, and I’ve actually got a greater appreciation for the show than I had before.

    It did occur to me though, Scully seems to spend a lot of time being captured or knocked unconscious. A shot every time this happens would result in much drunken merriment within three episodes!

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