November 19, 2016
The X-Files 4.5, The Field Where I Died: See You in Another Life, Mulder
Summary: Mulder opens us up with a voiceover of a poem while he looks at old pictures in a field. At 5:15 a.m., federal agents raid the Temple of the Seven Stars in Apison, Tennessee, to look for illegal firearms. They have a warrant to arrest a man named Vernon Ephesian. Mulder and Scully are among the agents looking for him, but Mulder gets distracted when he sees a door. He goes out back to a field while Scully reminds him that there are no hiding places out there. A woman’s voice says she was dead but “behold, I am alive forevermore.”
The agents find a hidden bunker in the field, where Vernon and some women are about to drink something together. Mulder stops them, pausing when he sees one of the women. The people are all arrested, and the agents head to Chattanooga, where Skinner joins them. He plays a phone call from someone reporting the goings-on at the Temple of the Seven Stars – Vernon was mistreating children, and there were a ton of weapons. Thanks to the call, the ATF were allowed to investigate, and now some awful people are behind bars.
Scully wonders how Mulder knew there was a bunker, since no one else knew after an 18-month investigation. He doesn’t respond. Skinner’s angry since they haven’t found the weapons, which means someone must have tipped Vernon off to the raid. The charges against Vernon and his cohorts aren’t going to stick without evidence, so the agents only have 24 hours to find the weapons. They also need to find Sidney, the person who called in the tip in the first place. Skinner’s worried that Vernon had him killed.
While the other agents head off, Skinner keeps Mulder and Scully behind to remind them that they’re supposed to look into claims that Ephesian has supernatural abilities, like astral projection and channeling. Scully thinks he’s just a paranoid sociopath and uses the book of Revelation to manipulate his followers. Skinner reminds her that he almost got six women to kill themselves. If Vernon and his followers are released, he could become so paranoid that the FBI ends up dealing with another Waco or Jonestown.
The agents meet with Vernon, who says their arrival was written in Scripture. Well, really, the apostle John Mark said that believers would be tried, but Vernon has a different interpretation than, oh, every other Biblical scholar in the world. Mulder points out that that message is from a letter to the church at Smyrna, while Vernon’s church is supposed to be a reincarnation of the church at “Ephesia” [sic]. Vernon points out that his church is the Temple of the Seven Stars, meaning all seven churches that got the message. Besides, his members aren’t reincarnated. He himself claims he was there when John Mark gave his message.
Scully asks if Sidney got a “crown of life” for being a member, even if he tipped off the Feds to Vernon’s practices. Vernon’s lawyer speaks up, saying there are no members at the temple named Sidney. Vernon calls Scully a nonbeliever, but he doesn’t care what she thinks of him. However, he’d like her and Mulder to keep an open mind so they’ll know that soon, everyone will “be destroyed by God’s mighty men.” Vernon’s just following God’s orders so his soul will be protected from evil.
Mulder and Scully return to the temple’s compound as members are released. Scully isn’t looking forward to having to interview Vernon’s six wives, since she knows they’ll only say what he’s been saying, and no one will mention Sidney. Mulder wants to start with Melissa, the wife who gave him pause in the bunker. She tells the agents she doesn’t know where she’s from, though she’s only been at the temple for a year. She’s totally okay with being one of multiple wives since Scripture says it’s cool.
Scully asks about children, and Melissa says Vernon told her they have to wait until the “right soul” is ready to be reincarnated. She clams up when the agents ask about child abuse. Suddenly she starts speaking in Sidney’s voice, saying she saw some things that might have been considered abuse. Scully’s like, “Cool, multiple personalities, case closed.” But since Sidney thinks the current U.S. president is Harry Truman, Mulder thinks they’re dealing with someone channeling a past life. He tells Scully he “just knew.”
With 15 hours to go before Vernon and his wives’ arraignment, Skinner urges Mulder and Scully to come up with something. Confirming that Melissa, as Sidney, called in the tip isn’t enough, since Melissa won’t give them anything else. Mulder thinks Sidney wants to talk, and he thinks taking her back to the compound will make her want to talk. Skinner and Scully think Melissa could just be putting on a show. Mulder argues that Melissa fits the diagnostic criteria. Since they could be facing a disaster, Skinner allows Mulder to move forward with his plan.
After Skinner leaves, Scully calls Mulder out for not mentioning that he thinks they’re dealing with a past life. She doesn’t believe he really feels responsible for helping Melissa or the people at the temple. He’s only responsible to himself. Mulder just ignores her. They take Melissa to the compound and urge her to talk so she can help the children. She takes them to her bedroom and starts crying when she looks at pictures from happier days. Mulder sees a verse from Revelation on the door: “Behold, I am alive forevermore.”
Melissa next goes to the children’s playroom and speaks to Scully using a child’s voice, saying her name is Lily. When Scully tries to ask her questions, Sidney emerges and tells the agents to leave Lily alone. Mulder says they’ll leave and everyone will be safe if Sidney tells them where the guns are. Melissa leads them to the door Mulder went through to the backyard, where he found the bunker. Mulder gets a strange feeling as he and Scully follow her.
Melissa uses a southern accent as she tells the agents that the weapons were placed in the bunker by people who thought they were about to die. Their own family members had just died on Missionary Ridge, and General Cleburn had left the Union Army. Melissa was a nurse and was supposed to meet the troops, but she wanted to find Cleburn. The women hid in the bunker while the armies battled above them. It was November 26th, 1863. “I was here, as were you,” Melissa tells Mulder. “This is the field where I watched you die.”
Mulder wants to have Melissa hypnotized, which gives Scully hope that he agrees with her that Melissa has multiple personalities and he wants to talk to one of them. Of course not! Mulder wants to regress Melissa to a past life. Scully objects, since Melissa’s not exactly stable right now, and regression could do further harm. Mulder yells that Scully heard everything he did – why can’t she feel it? How did he know about a bunker unless he knew about it 130 years ago? Scully wants to know why Mulder thinks Vernon’s nuts but he himself is sane.
A hypnotist puts Melissa under and gets her to talk about a woman named Elizabeth who came to the temple with her son, Scott. Vernon said Scott was a returning prophet and took him away from Elizabeth. Since Vernon’s children are God’s grandchildren, they were kept separate from the others. Elizabeth snuck in to see her son, and when Vernon caught her, he had his “mighty men” beat her in front of Scott. Scott cried, so Vernon punished him with a beating and made him sleep with the trash, saying he was no longer a child of God.
Sidney emerges and tells the hypnotist to leave Melissa alone. He says the guns are in the bunkers, though Sidney doesn’t know exactly where. Scully thinks they can use maps of the compound to find the other bunkers, but Mulder thinks they’ll get better information from Melissa’s Civil War personality. He gets the nurse to emerge, but all she says is that she misses Mulder. Scully notes to Mulder that they don’t have any details or proof that Melissa’s telling the truth. Mulder thinks they need to keep trying.
So Mulder takes Melissa’s place and lets himself be hypnotized. He’s regressed to a past life as a Jewish woman in Poland; Samantha is his son and Scully is his father. “Souls come back together,” Mulder says. “Different but always together, again and again, to learn.” He cries when he remembers seeing the Gestapo next to his dead father. One of the officers is CSM (of course): “Evil returns as evil, but love…love…souls mate eternal.” Past-life Mulder’s husband, Melissa, is taken to a concentration camp. “We’re always taken away,” Mulder says.
Next Mulder is rising above the field, after the federal soldiers have left. He’s dead, as is his sergeant, Scully. The nurse, Sarah Kavanaugh, holds Mulder, whose name is Sullivan Biddle. Mulder says she doesn’t know that he’s waiting for her so they can live again. Scully asks Mulder about bunkers in the field, but his “soul is tired” and he’s ready for a nap. Scully leaves him and goes to a Hall of Records to look up information on Sarah and Sullivan. She finds pictures of them, and I guess there’s kind of a resemblance?
Mulder studies the pictures while Vernon and Melissa are arraigned. Scully thinks they’re going to be released. Mulder asks if Scully would have felt differently about him if someone had told her in the past few years that they’ve actually known each other a long time. Scully says she wouldn’t change a day, even if she knew it for sure. “Well, maybe that Flukeman thing. I could have lived without that just fine,” she quips.
Melissa listens to a recording of her hypnosis session, but she doesn’t believe in past lives. She admits that it’s a nice idea that we chose the lives we lived and who we lived with. She says the magic words, “I want to believe,” and tells Mulder that if it were true, she’d want to “end this pointless life” and start over. Mulder says that if it were true, no one’s life would be pointless. He shows her Sarah’s picture, which she rips in half before leaving with Vernon.
Scully tells Mulder that since the field outside the compound doesn’t belong to the Temple of the Seven Stars, the ATF can keep searching for the weapons even as the church members move back in. Mulder wants to do another raid. Skinner thinks that he believes that Vernon will attack the ATF agents, following talk of battles in Revelation. But Mulder and Scully don’t think Vernon believes he can defeat the “devil’s army.” Instead, he’ll want to deny himself so his members can live forever.
Back at the compound, the followers are rounded up and locked in a room together. The ATF agents refuse Skinner’s orders to leave, but a hidden mic at the compound allows them to hear Vernon quoting Scripture to his followers about laying down his life for his brethren. Scully guesses that he’s going to get them all to kill themselves so their fellow believers can live. Out comes the Kool-Aid. Some of the temple members shoot at the ATF agents as the others start to carry out Vernon’s orders.
Mulder and Scully arrive as the shooting stops and the followers begin to drink. Vernon stops in front of Melissa, trying to urge her to give up her wicked, lying ways. But Melissa’s now Sidney, and when Mulder heads into the compound, she’s the only one who’s still alive. Vernon declares himself “alive forevermore” and gives Melissa another cup of Kool-Aid. She looks out at the field. Mulder finally gets to the room where all the believers have died and finds Melissa dead, holding the torn picture of Sarah. The episode-ending voiceover is the same as the one from the beginning, only now we know that the pictures Mulder is holding are of Sarah and Sullivan.
Thoughts: This has some interesting trivia about references in the episode. The trivia’s more interesting than the episode itself.
Writers, if you’re going to do all this Biblical stuff but have Mulder say “Ephesia” instead of “Ephesus,” I can’t take you seriously. Also, for your reference and for the reference of everyone else in the world: It’s Revelation, not Revelations.
So…we’re not going to talk about how Scully was Mulder’s father in a past life?