Written By: Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed By: David Nutter
The X-Files is off to a stonking good start with this season 2 opening. Having seen season one of the series would obviously heighten ones enjoyment of the episode, but the episode does so much well in re-establishing the series with this episode.
Its prologue about the Voyager program serves almost as a mission statement for the show. Primarily, it establishes a real world context for the work conducted by Mulder and Scully in The X-Files division of the FBI. One of the reasons I feel the show resonated so strongly with its audience is that it provided a real world launching point for many of its stories. The episodes that worked less well were those that relied too much on the fantastic. Secondly, the Voyager program represented an attempt by humanity to reach to the stars and try to find the still-hidden truths about the Universe – a notion that reflects the very notion of what the X-Files was about.
As the plot of this episode gets underway, The X-Files has been shut down following the events of last seasons finale. Mulder is working as an Analyst on robbery cases, while Scully is at the Academy teaching pathology students. Mulder and Scully have taken to meeting covertly (Mulders choice), with Mulder still obsessing over the closure of the department. Amusingly the two FBI agents meet in the carpark of the Watergate building, which makes me wonder how many covert meetings now take place at that hotel for ironies sake.
Mulder is given information that a blue beret team are en route to a satellite dish in Puerto Rico where evidence exists relating to the existence of extra-terrestrials. Mulder rocks up there, has an encounter, and is then met by Scully. After an escape from the worlds worst blue beret team, Mulder and Scully return to Washington where Mulder is chewed out by FBI Asst Director Skinner for abandoning his current surveillance job. At the back of the room is the enigmatic Smoking Man, who see’s this as an opportunity to tell Mulder that he’s through. Midway through a game of cockmanship with Mulder, Skinner demands that the Smoking Man leaves the office.
In an episode in which little of note really happens, the episode offers a lot of great groundwork in re-establishing the show for both new viewers as well as season 1 viewers. We’re witness to what will be one of multiple takes on the events that surrounded the abduction of Mulders sister when they were both kids. Getting to the truth of that incident is almost like Rashomon with no two interpretations ever the same. And we also bare witness to an aspect of Mulder and Scully’s relationship that is fundamental to their dynamic as the series goes on: Even without their jobs binding them together, Mulder and Scully remain close friends.