6×22 – BIOGENESIS
Recap by Bolissa
So, a couple weeks ago I decided to pop in my X-Files DVDs and watch the whole series. Or at least all the episodes I can sit through without becoming bored or infuriated. So, I get to the Season 6 finale “Biogenesis” and I instantly remember watching it for the first time, back in 1999 at the age of 17. That Sunday night I watched it with my mom upstairs in my parents’ bedroom. When the episode ended, my mom said “Wow.” The first time I watched the “Biogenesis” and “Sixth Extinction” episodes, I remember thinking that the whole idea of the Navajo writings on the alien spacecraft, and how Mulder and Scully are tied together by fate was a really amazing turn for the series. It appeared as though the mytharc was going to go someplace really cool. And… then we all know what happened after that. But let’s try not to go down that road because I’ve managed to bury a lot of the bitterness and anger. So remember all that hullabaloo about Mulder’s Stupid Mysterious Fake Ass Brain Disease? Well, let’s take a trip down memory lane and find out where it all started. Hopefully the trip won’t be too painful.
OK, so here we go!
Chris Carter penned this episode, so it really shouldn’t shock anyone that it starts off with Scully doing a voice over about life. So is she talking to herself or what? I don’t know. Maybe she’s writing in a journal. Since this is part of a 3-episode arc, maybe this V.O. is Scully writing in her journal while in Africa. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We haven’t gotten to that part yet.
“From Space, it seems an abstraction — a magician’s trick on a darkened stage. And from this distance one might never imagine that it is alive. It first appeared in the sea almost four billion years ago in the form of single-celled life. In an explosion of life spanning millions of years, nature’s first multicellular organisms began to multiply… and then it stopped. 440 million years ago, a great mass extinction would kill off nearly every species on the planet leaving the vast oceans decimated and empty. Slowly, plants began to evolve, then insects, only to be wiped out in the second great mass extinction upon the Earth. The cycle repeated again and again. Reptiles emerging, independent of the sea only to be killed off. Then dinosaurs, struggling to life along with the first birds, fish, and flowering plants — their decimations Earth’s fourth and fifth great extinctions. Only 100,000 years ago, Homo Sapiens appear — man. From cave paintings to the Bible to Columbus and Apollo 11, we have been a tireless force upon the earth and off, cataloging the natural world as it unfolds to us. Rising to a world population of over five billion people all descended from that original single cell, that first spark of life. But for all our knowledge, what no one can say for certain, is what or who ignited that original spark. Is there a plan, a purpose or a reason to our existence? Will we pass, as those before us, into oblivion, into the sixth extinction that scientists warn is already in progress?”
While Scully blah blahs about science and life and whatnot, we’re treated to lots of scenes of earthy stuff. Just take scenes from that Planet Earth series on The Discovery Channel and insert here. We then are transported to a beach where some Africans spot an artifact in the sand and start yelling in… Swahili? Or at least I think maybe they’re speaking Swahili? I can’t think of any other African languages right now, which is really ignorant of me. ["It's the Ivory Coast, so I think... some form of French?" - raceguy] Anyways, they seem pretty freaked out. While this freak out commences, Scully continues talking to herself. Or writing in her journal. Whatever. “Or will the mystery be revealed through a sign, a symbol, a revelation?”
Old Credits. Like balm for my scars.
Ivory Coast, West Africa. Dr. Merkmallen finds another artifact in the sand. Once he’s in his office at the University, the two pieces connect like magnets and fly across the room. Since there aren’t any AlienMiracleBabies around, it jams itself into a Bible. Subtle. Dr. Merkmallen seems pretty shocked, as one would, and removes the artifact. It starts spinning on the desk but then he wraps it in cloth. As he gets on the phone, the camera pans down to show us that the Bible is opened up to Genesis 1:28, a verse explaining God’s purpose for the earth. Interesting.
Three days later, Merkmallen has landed in D.C. and arrives at American University. He asks some students where can he find Dr. Sandoz. At some lab in the Biology department, Merkmallen is greeted by “Dr. Sandoz”, an older guy wearing a white lab coat and he immediately creeps me out. He’s just super creepy. He also seems to be giving Merkmallen the skeeves, too. They sit down at a table and discuss the artifacts. Then a whole lot of monkeys in cages start freaking out. Maybe they thought Michael Jackson walked in the room. Or it could have something to do with Merkmallen’s mysterious artifact or maybe “Dr. Sandoz” was creeping them out, too. It’s hard to say. Creepy “Dr. Sandoz” takes this as his cue to kill Merkmallen. Aww, we hardly got to know you. Oh well. Will the real Dr. Sandoz please stand up? OK, here he is. He’s bald and short and wearing a bowtie. He pretty much looks like he belongs in the Biology department. He finds Merkmallen’s bloody body on the floor in the lab and the Creepy Dr. NotSandoz is gone. Dun dun DUN!
Skinman’s Office. He’s giving Mulder and Scully the assignment of finding out who murdered Merkmallen. It’s assumed he was murdered because of all the blood at the scene, but the body was missing. Not really an obvious X-File, but Skinner says that Mulder is familiar with Merkmallen’s work. Mulder comments that both Merkmallen and Sandoz believed in “Panspermia,” that life on earth originated elsewhere. Skinner wants Scully’s opinion. Scully agrees that many scientists believe that “microbes” from other planets landed in our atmosphere and flourished but it’s only a theory. Scully wants to know what this has to do with his death. Skinner tells them that Merkmallen found an artifact and shows her a rubbing of it. Merkmallen believed that the writings contained the answer to human existence. Scully shoots Skinner an eyebrow. For those of you who enjoy X-Files drinking games, there’s your first eyebrow out of many in this episode. Enjoy. Anyways, Mulder points out that Dr. Sandoz contributed to “a science journal” that he also found an artifact with similar writings. Scully gives a classic eyeroll. Ah, Season 6 Scully. How I’ve missed you. Scully thinks they should ask Dr. Sandoz some questions but he’s missing.
As Mulder and Scully get on the elevator, Scully tells him that she doesn’t think this case warrants their attention. Mulder claims that he’s just “a hired gun for the FBI.” How ironic. Right about now, I’m pretty sure the FBI has hired guns looking for Mulder. Scully sarcastically wonders why two men who claim we’re all martians could “come into foul play.” As a whole lot of people fill up the elevator, Mulder and Scully move to the back. Scully tries to have a heart-to-heart with Mulder, but he starts hearing a loud ringing noise and lots of indistinct voices. He looks around the elevator, wondering where it’s coming from as Scully continues to talk. He can’t really hear her until everyone else gets off the elevator and they’re alone again. Scully’s in mid-rant, telling him that this endless pursuit of the truth doesn’t make sense anymore. Word, Scully. WORD. Mulder stares at her blankly and Scully assumes that this is just another case of Mulder not wanting to listen to what people are telling him. As they get off the elevator, Scully tells him that he won. He uncovered the truth behind the Syndicate’s conspiracy and they’re all dead now, so what else does he hope to find. “My sister,” he says. Don’t even go there.
American University. Mulder and Scully check out the crime scene. Creepy Dr. NotSandoz is talking to Mulder about his crazy colleague Sandoz, and we learn that he’s actually Creepy Dr. Barnes. When Scully shows Creepy Dr. Barnes the rubbing, the ringing noise starts up again in Mulder’s head and he leaves the lab. Creepy Dr. Barnes, let’s just call him CDB, tells Scully that Sandoz believes that the artifacts are from aliens. Scully gives him an eyebrow. Out in the hall, Mulder’s splashing water on his face. He tells Scully that he hears a hollow noise and she checks to see if he’s got a fever. Mulder tells her that it may sound weird, but he thinks the rubbing is causing it. Scully’s not that shocked. She’s clearly heard crazier things from him. ["So, there's this two-headed, peanut-butter-sandwich-eating serial rapist with a Cher fetish..." - raceguy] She tells him that it’s just a piece of paper.
LBO. Chuck Burks is in da house! Scully and Chuck are rocking the projection screen. Chuck thinks this whole thing is fascinating and he’s amazed that it’s only happening to Mulder. Yeah, what’s up with that? Scully also has the alien virus in her system. Why didn’t she get the Mysterious Brain Disease? Maybe what Scully tells Moronica in “Provenance” is true, that she was meant to find that ship. This brings up questions of fate, Mulder and William. Which I guess ties in somehow with “Amor Fati.” But I’m getting ahead of myself, here.
Anyhoo, Chuck and Scully show Mulder some magazine articles about magic squares, CDB de-bunking Sandoz’ beliefs and uncovering religious and scientific fraud. Mulder thinks that proves that CDB would want to hide what he couldn’t disprove. Scully asks Mulder why there would be a real Native American artifact in Africa. Mulder tells her that a Mars rock was found in Antarctica. Scully’s like, “Duh. It was from outer space.” Mulder raises his arms in victory. Heh. Chuck wonders why would someone produce a fraud with Navajo writing in Africa. Which makes sense. If they really wanted people to believe it wasn’t fake, why not claim to find it in Arizona or New Mexico? As Chuck places the rubbing on the projector, the ringing noise starts in Mulder’s head again. He doubles over, holding his head and Scully takes him out to the hallway and the noise goes away. Scully wants Mulder to get an imaging scan. Mulder refuses, telling her he’s fine. Scully thinks Mulder should at least go home to bed. “Only if you’re coming, too.” Not really. Mulder refuses to go to bed. He thinks he knows what’s causing the problem. And he also knows that CDB killed Merkmallen. Scully’s like, “We can’t arrest him based on what the voices in your head are saying.” Mulder tells her that he’s going to show her where CDB stashed the body.
Casa de Sandoz. The Landlord, a bald version of Ian Holm, lets Mulder and Scully into the apartment. He seems really put out by it. Mulder finds Sandoz’ luggage and comments on his frequent trips to New Mexico. Scully points out the picture of Sandoz with Albert Hosteen. Mulder figures that Hosteen was helping Sandoz translate the artifacts. “Or write them,” she says. Mulder has no response to this. Scully wants to know where the body is. They walk into the kitchen. “Scully, you packing any latex?”, Mulder asks. She shoots an eyebrow. “No, Mulder. I don’t think now’s the appropriate time. We’re working on an assignment. And besides, I’ve got no ova so there’s really no need for the latex.” Famous last words. Anyways, Mulder comments that the garbage is stinking up the joint and he grabs a dish towel to open the trash. They’re greeted by the smell of decaying flesh and some flies for good measure. Hello, Dead Dr. Merkmallen.
Skinman’s Office. Mulder tells Skinner that Sandoz is innocent, that CDB killed Merkmallen for the artifact, which is genuine. Scully tells Skinner that certain body parts were taken to hide the evidence of galactic radiation. As Skinner places the rubbing on the desk, the ringing and voices kicks it up a notch inside Mulder’s head. Mulder starts interrogating Skinner about someone else being on the case, that Skinner is hiding something from them. Scully takes Mulder out to the hall and tells him he’s losing it. Which I think is kind of unfair. It’s not like Mulder’s drilling holes in his head. He tells Scully that Skinner’s not telling them the truth, that he’s “hearing people” and he thinks Skinner is spying on them. She wants Mulder to see a doctor but he wants to find the artifacts. She tells Mulder to go home and she’ll find the artifacts. Skinner is watching them from his office. After they walk away, Skinner collects a tape that’s been recording in his cabinet and slides it across the table to none other than Krycek. Yummy, yummy Krycek. ["Yummy, indeed. He's almost enough to make me jump ship. Add Knowle Rrrrrrrrooooaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrr into the equation, and I'd definitely go Brokeback." - raceguy]
Hospital, New Mexico. Scully’s visiting Albert Hosteen but she sees him being wheeled out in the hallway surrounded by medical staff. A nurse approaches her in Hosteen’s room after Scully finds another rubbing with a translation on the back, which happens to be Genesis 1:28 again. Scully tells the nurse that she’s here to see Hosteen and wants to know what’s wrong with him. The nurse tells her that she can’t give out that kind of information. Yeah, just ask those New Jersey hospital staff who got suspended after George Clooney’s motorcycle accident. But our Scully won’t take no for an answer and shows the nurse her badge. HIPAA SCHMIPAA, I say. The nurse tells Scully that Hosteen is dying of cancer.
American University. Guess who’s not home in bed? Mulder starts going through CDB’s office looking for the artifact. He hears, I think, CDB coming down the hall and once CDB gets into the office he can tell someone’s been in there. CDB checks out the lab, where Mulder’s hiding with the monkeys. The ringing starts up in Mulder’s head and as he walks down the hall he’s hearing voices again. He crawls up some stairs before collapsing.
Hospital, New Mexico. As Hosteen returns to his room, Scully spots Sandoz at the door and a chase ensues. The camera goes in for a super close-up of Scully’s face as she’s straining to hear something. Is she starting to hear vocies, too? Oh, it’s just the alarm on the door that Sandoz was trying to go through. Sandoz is caught and she wants some answers, dammit! Get in line, Scully.
Stairwell of Brain Pain. Mulder’s still rolling around, clutching his head. Here comes Krycek, casually stepping over Mulder’s body as if he wasn’t even there, and walks upstairs. He meets CDB on the roof. I think this is the same exact roof that Billy Miles was thrown off of in “Essence.” ["Yes, it is." - raceguy] Krycek hands CDB a tape and tells him that they’re “destined to be great friends.” Who exactly is Krycek working for? I mean, we don’t see him again until “Requiem,” right? ["Here and 'Amor Fati,' then 'Requiem,' yes." - raceguy] For some reason, CSM had him put in prison in Tunisia. Why? Over this Stupid Mysterious Brain Disease fiasco? I guess we’ll never know.
Hospital, New Mexico. Sandoz tells Scully his tale of meeting Hosteen and having the artifact translated. Hosteen sensed its “power and importance.” He translated one of Merkmallen’s rubbings, “a passage from the Bible on an artifact that is extraterrestrial.” Scully is just one huge eyebrow right now. Sandoz basically says that the Bible came from aliens. Yeah, I really can’t figure out why anyone would want him dead. Sandoz pulls out an artifact and places it on the table. It starts spinning, but Scully grabs it before it can fly through the air at anyone. Couldn’t that artifact have cured Hosteen? Poor guy. I really liked him.
Scully calls Mulder at home and The Fowl One answers. Scully asks for Mulder and Diana hands him the phone. Scully asks Mulder where he is. Um, Scully? You called him. At home. But it’s OK, I’m sure hearing Diana Fowley’s voice has thrown your normal brain function off balance a little bit. Scully asks Mulder who answered the phone. Mulder avoids this question and asks Scully where she is. She tells him that she’s with Sandoz in New Mexico and Mulder asks about the artifact. Scully reluctantly tells him about the passage from Genesis. Mulder jumps on this and starts babbling about how we all came from the aliens. She refuses to believe that. Well, she sure changed her tune at Mulder’s Fake Trial.
Mulder tells Scully to go ahead and prove him wrong. Then he just hangs up on her. Ah, just like old times. Technically, this was old times. Wasn’t it? Can we consider the season finale of Season 6 “old times?” Is everything before Season 8 “old times?” Or is basically everything before XFII: The Movie “old times?” Moving on… Mulder hands the phone to Diana and rolls over trying to sleep. She walks out towards Mulder’s kitchen and makes a phone call. She tells someone that Mulder called her, she found him in “a particular state of distress”, she doesn’t know why but she’s gonna stay there until she finds out. She then takes off her shirt and heads towards Mulder’s bedroom, I’m assuming. And now I’m feeling nauseous. Fans who read the spoilers for this episode were very aware of the scene that was cut from the final version where Mulder rejected Diana’s advances and so she shot him with a stun gun. Why didn’t they keep that in there?! Oh well. We cut to CSM hanging up the phone as he sits in a meeting with people we’ll never see again, discussing the alien invasion.
Scully’s back to her V.O., journal, whatever. “It began with an act of supreme violence — a big bang expanding ever outward, cosmos born of matter and gas, matter and gas ten billion years ago. Whose idea was this? Who had the audacity for such invention? And the reason? Were we part of that plan ten billion years ago? Are we born only to die? To be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth before giving way to our generations? If there is a beginning, must there be an end? We burn like fires in our time only to be extinguished. To surrender to the elements’ eternal reclaim. Matter and gas… will this all end one day? Life no longer passing to life, the Earth left barren like the stars above, like the cosmos. Will the hand that lit the flame let it burn down? Let it burn out? Could we, too, become extinct? Or if this fire of life living inside us is meant to go on, who decides? Who tends the flames? Can he reignite the spark even as it grows cold and weak?” ["If she doesn't shut up with the anvilicious monologue, I'm gonna blow out the candle myself." - raceguy]
While she’s talking, we see Hosteen being brought into a tent for a healing ceremony. Scully tells Sandoz that she doesn’t want to sit in on it because she doesn’t share their beliefs. ["Wait. Didn't she ASK him to visit Melissa back in 'Paper Clip?' And a faith healer to visit Daniel in all things, which she sat in on?" - raceguy] Skinner calls Scully to tell her something bad has happened to Mulder and he’s in the hospital. He tells her to get there right away. Scully’s cell phone works in the New Mexico desert? OK, sure. Fine. Whatever.
Georgetown Memorial Hospital. Skinner’s sitting on a bench or something with his head in his hands, contemplating his life and thinking maybe he should search the personal ads for a blue-eyed ex-cop with some dead son issues who wouldn’t mind relocating to Vermont. ["And who likes pie. Don't forget the Pie." - raceguy] Scully approaches Skinner and is surprised that Mulder’s in the Special Psychiatric Unit. Should she be really surprised, though? I mean, she must’ve thought that there was a likely chance he’d end up there one day. Skinner tells Scully that no one knows what Mulder’s problem is. Maybe Skinner should come by my place because I’ve got a huge list of Mulder’s problems. Skinner says that he knew she’d want to see Mulder and talk to the doctors. Skinner then holds Scully’s hand and she looks as though her heart just fell into her stomach. She goes to the observation room, where The Fowl One is watching Mulder on some monitors. He’s wearing a hospital gown and basically acting crazy: holding his head, mumbling indistinctly, etc. Diana thanks Scully for coming and tells her that Mulder was asking for her last night. Yeah, I bet he was. As soon as he saw Diana’s bra shoved in his face, he probably started screaming for Scully. Then Diana had to stun him and take him to the hospital. ["Psych ward, no less." - raceguy]
The doctor walks in and tells them they can’t be there. Scully wants to know what’s wrong with Mulder. As soon as she says his name, Mulder starts screaming at the camera. I think he knows his Scully is there, ya’ll! The doctor has no idea what’s wrong with Mulder and they have no idea how to treat him. Mulder has extremely abnormal brain function but he hasn’t had a stroke and they’re waiting to run more tests. Scully wants to know what they’re waiting for. The doctor tells her that Mulder’s extremely violent and that they’ve given him so much drugs that he should be in a “barbituate coma,” but there’s brain activity they’ve never seen before. Scully wants to talk to Mulder but the doctor tells her that he’s dangerous. “Not to me,” she says. Diana wants to speak to her privately. “About what?” Scully snits. Then there’s this Look of Death face-off between them. Hee! Skinner gets them into the hall. As Skinner opens the door, Mulder screams “SCULLAAAY!” into the camera and directly at her. He knows she’s there! He needs her! Even when he’s whacked out on drugs and aliens have taken over his brain, he needs the one person that without which he cannot live without!
Hallway Showdown. Diana asks Scully when did Mulder start getting sick. She tells her that it was when Skinner gave them this case. Diana wants to know the nature of the case and Scully tells her that it’s a murder investigation. Diana wants to know who was murdered and then Skinner butts in and says that the case has nothing to do with Mulder’s condition. Diana trusts Scully’s judgment. Well, at least there’s one positive thing about Diana. Diana wants to help, based on her background into the paranormal blah psychiatric wards blee, and her work on the X-Files. Skinner once again butts in and says that the X-File is a fraud, Scully has proof of a scholar de-bunking it. Basically, the conversation in the LBO between Scully, Mulder and Chuck. Scully eyeballs Skinner and he makes a “Busted!” face. “I never sent you that report,” she tells him. Skinner ignores this and tells Diana that the case is being resolved. Diana’s all, “Not as far as Agent Mulder’s concerned.” Diana then asks Scully that if she knows what’s happening, why she won’t tell her. Why? Because Scully doesn’t trust you Diana. At all. And she knows who you’re really working for. She may not be able to prove it, but she knows. Scully wants to get down to business, however, and asks Diana why she was with Mulder last night. Ooh, he’s in deep trouble when he gets out of the hospital! ["You heard the lady, Mulder. Scully's gonna go all dominatrix on yo' ass. Why couldn't that have been a DVD extra? And why couldn't Krycek show up in that episode?" - raceguy]
Diana tells Scully that Mulder called her, she found him in the Stairwell of Brain Pain and he could barely speak. But he did manage to get out that the only one who would believe him about an artifact was Diana. God, I hate her. Sure, I can buy that Mulder called her since Scully was in New Mexico and all. But he did not say that Diana was the only one who’d believe him. I mean, Scully’s his one in 5 billion. And I’d bet my life on the fact that if Scully had been in the D.C. area, he would’ve called her and not Diana. She rightfully calls Diana a liar and turns to leave. Skinner grabs her arm and she says that they’re both liars. Scully gives them one giant pissed off eyebrow before walking away. ["And anotherrr *hic* thinnng!" - raceguy]
New Mexico. Hosteen’s healing ceremony is still going strong. Sandoz looks as though he’s had a revelation and walks out of the tent.
LBO. Scully starts searching the office for a camera. Isn’t this something they should’ve been doing, like, every week since they started working together? She notices the smoke alarm on the ceiling and she stands on a chair to check it out. There’s definitely a camera in there. But before she can discover it, her phone starts ringing. Foiled! It’s Sandoz. She warns him that the line may not be secure but he doesn’t care. He tells her that the random letters that Hosteen was trying to translate on the other artifact are gene clusters. Sandoz then notices the horses freaking out and then she hears a gunshot. Sandoz is dead, ya’ll. Killed by Krycek. What is he up to? I don’t think he’s working for CSM. I mean, he saw Mulder in the Stairwell of Brain Pain. But based on Diana’s phone call to CSM, that was the first he heard of Mulder’s condition. Right? Unless it was really Krycek who called Diana. Does that even make any sense? Am I thinking too much about this? ["Yes." - raceguy] I should just be happy that Krycek is alive and in this episode.
Ivory Coast, West Africa, 36 hours later. Scully’s on the beach wearing a really nice beige dress. The Africans lead her to the water where she finds an alien spacecraft. I guess she has finally gotten the solid proof she needed. I mean, I can’t really see her trying to deny this. Now she is equipped to become the “believer” to Doggett’s “skeptic.” But let’s not speak of such things. Happy thoughts, people. Happy thoughts.
TO BE CONTINUED!!!
Recap by Bolissa