April 1, 2017
The X-Files 4.24, Gethsemane: The Biggest of Lies
Summary: Archive footage of a 1972 NASA symposium at Boston University features someone talking about the real possibility of learning whether aliens exist in the not-too-distant future. In the present, Scully is called to Mulder’s apartment to identify a body. She then goes to FBI headquarters to discuss her experiences in the X-Files with a group of higher-ups. After four years, she can state that, in her scientific opinion, the investigations are all B.S. Mulder “became a victim of his own false hopes, and his belief in the biggest of lies.”
A helicopter flies over the St. Elias Mountains in the Yukon Territory, on its way to meet a man who’s seen something amazing. Three men start the trek to this incredible find, willing to climb all night to get there. They meet up with a group at a big wall of ice that appears to have something underneath it. Back in D.C., Scully tells the Feds that a man recently fooled Mulder into believing that his search for the existence of aliens was going to come to something. Now, Scully wants to expose Mulder’s work as meaningless.
Maggie hosts a get-together, in which we meet Scully’s brother Bill Jr. for the first time. There’s also a priest at the party, and Scully knows he’s there to bug her about not attending church anymore. Scully doesn’t think her spirituality is necessary in the fight against her cancer. She thinks she has all the strength she needs, and she doesn’t want to “go running back” to religion.
Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell Scully that a guy named Arlinski just contacted him about the thing in the Yukon. Bill Jr.’s disappointed that Scully’s obviously going to choose work over having dinner with family and friends. The agents meet up at the Smithsonian to talk to Arlinski, who was once accused of being involved in a scam involving UFO photos. Now, he wants the agents to look at photos from the Yukon – photos of what appears to be a 200-year-old body found by a survey team.
Arlinski claims that the agents are the only people who know about the body (other than the team still in the mountains). He’s obtained samples from the body and is convinced that it belonged to an alien. Mulder knows they can’t go public with this info; no one will take them seriously, and those in a position to cover it up will do so. Arlinski thinks Mulder will be able to get evidence, and all he wants for his aid is credit.
Scully declines to express an opinion, telling Mulder that this is his Holy Grail, not hers. Mulder argues that this isn’t a “pet project,” and he’s as skeptical of Arlinski as he needs to be, but he’s also excited about the possibility of a scientific breakthrough that will change what people know about alien life.
Scully doesn’t know why Mulder needs proof of something he already believes. He asks if her beliefs would change if someone could prove God’s existence. Scully says they would only change if someone disproved His existence. Mulder wonders if that means she accepts the possibility that there’s no God. She admits that she never thinks about that, and she doesn’t think it could be disproven anyway.
Mulder thinks it would be worth looking for the truth anyway. “Or is it just easier to go on believing the lie?” he asks. Scully tells him she’s not continuing this search with him, but she’ll look at the samples from Arlinski. Scully tells the Feds that at that point, she’d learned that her cancer had metastasized, and she was beginning the journey to the end of her life. She hadn’t said anything about it to Mulder.
In the Yukon, the men cut through the ice while one loads a gun, concerned about being alone with the survey team. The men have found a hole in the ice but can’t figure out how it was made. They’re eager to get the body out of the ice and get some more answers. Scully’s getting some at American University, learning that the ice sample is as old as Arlinski claims. It also contains some kind of hybrid cell from a plant or animal. For now, the doctor testing the samples is calling it chimerical.
The men in the Yukon awake in the middle of the night when they hear gunshots. The next day, Mulder and Arlinski arrive to find the camp empty. They find their guide dead, then trek up to the site to find out what happened. Back in D.C., Scully goes to meet the doctor with the ice samples but instead runs into a man who seems to have taken something from the lab. She chases after him when he leaves, but he roughs her up and pushes her down the stairs.
It’s dark when Mulder and Arlinski make it to the survey site, finding everyone dead. Arlinski rushes to the ice wall and discovers that the body is gone. He doesn’t know who could have taken it, since everyone who knows about the body is dead or was on a helicopter at the time of the theft. Mulder wonders if their radio communications were being tapped. The men realize that Babcock, Arlinski’s contact at the site, is still alive. He reveals that he buried the body, which certainly looks like it belonged to an alien.
Bill Jr. brings Scully a change of clothes after she spends the night in the hospital (she’s okay, though). He reveals that he knows about her cancer, even though she asked their mother not to tell him because she didn’t want sympathy. Bill Jr. wants to know why Scully’s still working when she’s practically at death’s door. He points out that Maggie must be suffering. Scully says she still has responsibilities, but Bill Jr. doesn’t think Mulder deserves that. After all, he’s not here to show his support.
Mulder and Arlinski have the alien body sent to D.C., where they melt the ice to fully excavate it. Arlinski thinks a simple examination will give them all the evidence they need that it’s an alien. Mulder knows they need to do a carbon-dating test to remove all doubt. Elsewhere in the city, Scully uses a fingerprint recovered from the stairwell to look for her assailant from the lab. She guesses he’s with the government, and she’s right. He’s Michael Kritschgau, and he works at the Pentagon.
Mulder and a mostly recovered Babcock record Arlinski’s examination of the alien body, which turns into something Mulder’s been wanting to see for a long time: an alien autopsy. It’s gross. Arlinski is able to confirm that the body isn’t human.
Scully stakes out an office building in Sethburg, Virginia, following Kritschgau as he leaves. She intimidates him in a parking lot, making him think she’s going to run him over, then chases him through rows of cars so she can arrest him. Even though he jumps in his car to flee, Scully is able to stop him. Kritschgau tells Scully he never meant to hurt her, and reveals that his life is in danger from the same people after her – the people who caused her cancer.
Arlinski tells Mulder that, even without further tests, he’s pretty sure they have an alien body in the lab. As Scully calls, she narrates to the Feds that Mulder told her they were steps away from confirming the existence of alien life. But Kritschgau told her how she and Mulder had been deceived for years. The same people behind the deception killed Melissa and gave Scully cancer.
Scully summons Mulder to meet her as a man with a gun keeps an eye on him. The man goes to the lab, where Arlinski realizes that Babcock has double-crossed him and leaked the news of the body. The man with the gun shoots Arlinski, then confirms with Babcock that Mulder’s “a believer.” That means Babcock and the shooter are the only two who know the truth.
Mulder meets Kritschgau, who tells him that everything he’s been working on is a lie – it’s just a distraction from shady things going on in the government. Mulder finds it a little coincidental that Kritschgau would run into Scully during this big investigation. Kritschgau insists that the lies started before Mulder was even born. He’s coming forward now because his son, who served in the Gulf War, has been affected.
Kritschgau continues that everything Mulder believes was manufactured. UFOs? Military aircraft. Evidence of alien biology? Just human anomalies that haven’t been explained yet. The body from the Yukon? Chimera cells poured into the ice (through the unidentified hole) to make Mulder think aliens were real. The conspirators wanted Mulder to go public with the news so everyone would think he’s nuts. The body has to already be gone.
Scully follows Mulder back to the lab, where they find the body gone and Arlinski and Babcock dead. Mulder thinks this is confirmation that the body was for real. Scully believes Kritschgau, but Mulder thinks he’s spouting lies created to obfuscate the facts. After everything he’s seen and experienced, there’s no way the alien was fake.
Scully thinks Mulder just finds it easier to believe the lie. Mulder wonders what Kritschgau could have said to Scully to make her believe him. She tells him that, according to Kritschgau, the conspirators gave her cancer to make Mulder believe their lies. Mulder walks out.
Mulder watches the footage from 1972, crying as he hears Carl Sagan and other scientists talk about aliens and whether we can communicate with them. At the meeting with the Feds, Scully cries as well, announcing that the body she identified was Mulder’s. It appears that he committed suicide.
Thoughts: Done with season 4! And…there are still six seasons left. Wow.
John Finn (Kritschgau) was also Pacey’s dad on Dawson’s Creek. He totally looks like a guy who would push you down the stairs.
Writers, please give characters names like Smith and Jones so I don’t have to type “Kritschgau” over and over.
Chimerical Ice is the name of my new emo band.