November 17, 2018

The X-Files 8.20, Essence: No, We Still Don’t Know Who the Baby’s Father Is

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

If your life was in danger, you’d want these people helping you, right? Too bad, you only get Reyes

Summary: Ugh, this is one of those episodes that starts with a dumb Mulder voice-over. He talks about conception and biology and technology. Is fertilization still a miracle when humans manipulate the process? Also, how did Scully get pregnant? Was it God, or Mulder’s sperm? (Or, you know, aliens?)

Maggie’s throwing Scully a baby shower, and she wishes Scully would tell everyone the baby’s sex so she could know what color scheme to use. Maggie guesses it’s a boy, and Scully decides to humor her by telling her she’s right. The first guest to arrive is Lizzy Gill, who’s come early to help Maggie set things up. She’s a baby nurse, but she’s never met Scully, so that’s kind of weird.

Once all the guests have arrived, Scully opens presents while Lizzy takes on hosting duties. Maggie really wants Scully to hire her to help out once the baby’s born. This is probably a bad idea, since Lizzy sneaks into Scully’s bathroom and replaces some pills from the medicine cabinet.

At Zeus Genetics, Dr. Lev is working, surrounded by some ugly jarred babies. Billy Miles shows up to look at the ugly babies and confirm that Lev has been successful up till now. But he’s going to need to take an early retirement, by which I mean he’s going to die, and Billy’s going to torch his lab to destroy all his hard work.

Doggett does manly things at home, like clean his gun and watch NASCAR. Maybe he’s overcompensating because he’s mad that he didn’t get invited to the baby shower. Mulder comes by and shows Doggett a news report about the fire at Zeus. It’s being ruled as arson, so Mulder easily guesses that it’s part of a cover-up. Time for the guys to work together again!

They go to the FBI’s analysis center, where an agent named Crane is assisting with a search of everything recovered from Zeus. Crane agrees that there’s a cover-up of some sort, but it’s not anything the FBI should be involved in, and definitely not anything Mulder needs to be involved in. Mulder, however, has learned that Lev is MIA, which has to be significant. He reports that Lev and Parenti, Scully’s OB, were Zeus’ co-founders.

Doggett thinks Mulder thinks that Parenti burned down Zeus, which means they’ll need to track him down and question him. They break into his office, which they think is closed for the weekend, but isn’t. Parenti’s doing a procedure on a patient and isn’t pleased that the guys have interrupted. Doggett asks if the procedure has anything to do with the room he’s found that’s full of ugly jarred babies.

Parenti plays the “my colleague just died and a bunch of my life’s work was destroyed” card, which I guess is supposed to give him a pass from explaining all the jarred babies. Mulder thinks his work trying to prevent birth defects is really connected to alien embryos. Parenti notes that Scully’s baby is totally healthy, so what does that say for his experiments? Mulder isn’t so sure that Scully’s baby is totally healthy.

Scully takes one of the pills Lizzy replaced as Lizzy says goodbye. She must have called for a ride already, because it’s waiting for her when she exits the building. That guy should work for Uber in 15 years. Well, maybe not, since he’s Duffy Haskell, whcih can’t be good. Lizzy tells him that she thinks Scully trusts her. Duffy’s glad, saying they’re “almost at the end.”

Mulder and Doggett go back to the analysis center, since some teeth have been found that may be Lev’s. Some other unidentifiable biological material was also found, though Doggett is quick to point out that “unidentifiable” doesn’t necessarily mean “alien.” Mulder says they’ll just have to ask Parenti about it. But they’re probably too late, since Billy arrives while Parenti is packing up his ugly-jarred-baby lab and tells him the office is now closed.

By the time Mulder and Doggett get back to Parenti’s, it appears to be empty. Doggett is stunned to find Parenti’s head in one of the jars. Mulder runs into Billy, who throws him through a glass wall. Doggett threatens to shoot before he sees the telltale bumps on Billy’s neck that indicate that he’s no longer human. The two face off, but Doggett’s gun is no match for alien DNA, so Billy escapes.

Doggett takes Mulder to Scully’s place so she can stitch up the cuts he got from the glass (which are way too minor and too few for what just happened, but whatever). They tell her they saw Billy; Doggett thinks he was super-strong because he was on drugs, but Mulder knows better. He thinks Doggett should know better, too, since Doggett runs the X-Files. Doggett points out that Billy bled red blood, not green. Mulder says they’re dealing with something new, then.

He reminds Doggett that Billy underwent procedures, shed his skin, and is now supposedly in perfect health. Doggett notes that the same thing happened to Mulder. Mulder corrects that it didn’t happen – Scully stopped it. Scully just wants to know what Billy, Mulder, and Doggett were doing in Parenti’s office. Mulder tells her that he just needs to make sure the baby’s going to be okay. Scully trusts her new doctor and is sure herself.

Lizzy interrupts with some dry cleaning, and Scully tells the guys that Maggie asked her to help out. Mulder says he’s trying to do the same thing. He just doesn’t want any surprises when the baby’s born. In the bedroom, Lizzy calls Duffy to tell him that Mulder and Doggett are there, “asking the right questions.” Duffy tells her to keep a cool head. Then he gets ambushed and gets his own head cut off…by Billy.

The head isn’t found for almost 24 hours, when Doggett meets Skinner at the scene of the decapitation, a warehouse/medical facility. The coroner says the method of decapitation “defies logic.” Just like so many things on this show, coroner. Skinner’s like, “I’m not saying they make alien babies, here but I’m not saying they don’t make alien babies here.” Lev and Parenti have records there, showing that they and Duffy were monitoring Scully’s pregnancy.

Mulder joins the two agents, apparently having been called by Skinner. Instead of talking about Duffy’s death and his connection to Lev and Parenti, and what that means for Scully, Skinner wants to discuss the question the audience also wants answered: Who is the father of Scully’s baby? Mulder jokes that there’s a pool at the FBI. It sounds like Skinner thought Mulder was the father, then changed his mind when he found out Mulder was digging around.

Mulder says the father is irrelevant at this point: Scully was declared barren, and now she’s days away from having a baby. Skinner says that means they need to move fast to get some answers. Mulder calls Scully, who’s in the shower and asks Lizzy to get it. Lizzy doesn’t respond, so Scully answers (and we all get rewarded with a “Scully, it’s me”). Mulder asks her to meet him and Skinner so they can talk about a possible interference in her pregnancy.

Scully hears noises in the bathroom and catches Lizzy replacing more of her pills. She smartly rushes to the hospital to make sure she hasn’t taken any medication she shouldn’t. Her doctor assures her that everything’s fine – she was just taking vitamin supplements. There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. I don’t know about you guys, but I believe her!

Maggie feels horrible for putting Scully in this situation. She’s worried about Scully, who keeps everything inside. Skinner comes to the hospital and tells Mulder that, while they won’t be able to hold Lizzy on any crimes, Doggett has been talking to her, and Mulder should hear what she has to say.

Lizzy tells Mulder, Doggett, and Skinner that she’s spent the past few years working as a research scientist, trying to create human clones. She didn’t have much success, but the project was well-funded by the government. Those sponsors are all dead now. The project used DNA that the government has had since 1947, and was able to create alien babies. They implanted alien embryos in human mothers, and though the babies never lived more than a couple days, the scientists were able to collect tissues and stem cells to use in further experiments.

Mulder asks about those experiments, and though Lizzy isn’t familiar with them, she knows they were for good purposes. She promises that she was trying to protect Scully, not harm her or the baby. Mulder doesn’t believe her and demands to know what’s wrong with the baby. Lizzy says again that there’s nothing wrong with the baby. It’s special and perfect, the kind of baby a scientist could only dream of creating in a lab.

Mulder storms out, and Doggett tries to follow him but gets stopped by Crane. The FBI has gotten a call from Billy, who wants to turn himself in. While the two head over to get him, Mulder goes to Scully’s and tells her to pack a bag. He thinks she’s in danger, though he’s not sure who the threat is. Scully refuses to leave, saying she can’t live as “the object of some unending X-File.” Mulder promises that he’s going to make sure she and the baby are okay, but he can’t do it here.

Doggett and Crane lead a team into Parenti’s office to capture Billy, but he’s no longer there. Doggett calls Mulder to tell him. The lights go out in Scully’s apartment, and Mulder decides they need to leave without getting any of Scully’s things. They exit just seconds before Billy shows up. Mulder’s car is wedged into a parking spot between two other cars, so they can’t make a fast escape. But as Billy’s approaching the car, another comes along and flattens him. It’s driven by Krycek, and he’s there to help…allegedly.

Without any choice in the matter, Mulder and Scully join Krycek, speeding off as Billy collects himself from the pavement. They go to the FBI building, where Doggett protests that they shouldn’t be looking for help from someone who left him for dead. Mulder and Skinner ignore him, since Krycek has answers. He knows that other alien replicants are coming and will be almost impossible to stop. They want to wipe out any threats so they can come back in the future and take over the planet.

Doggett’s still skeptical, of course, but Krycek reminds him of what Billy did to Parenti and Lev. The replicants don’t answer to anyone; they only operate on their biological imperative to secure their survival. Scully guesses that they’re after the baby, which is a pretty safe bet. But Krycek says they didn’t even know about the baby. He’s not sure how they found out how special it is.

Scully disagrees – the baby is normal. Krycek says it’s a miracle, conceived by a barren mother. The replicants are afraid of what that could mean. The baby could turn out to be bigger than them – “more human than human.” Mulder thinks this means there’s a higher power. Doggett still thinks Krycek is a liar, but Krycek says they can’t afford to risk the fact that he’s right. There’s no hospital safe enough for Scully right now. He can’t even be sure they’ll make it out of the FBI building.

Mulder has an idea and tells Doggett to call Reyes. Skinner tells Krycek he doesn’t get to come along on the road trip, since they still can’t trust him. Doggett goes down to the parking garage to meet Reyes, then tells Skinner over the phone that he can bring Scully down. But then he spots Billy in the garage and tells Skinner and Mulder to keep her inside. They’re almost out of the elevator and have to rush back in as Billy approaches.

He takes the stairs up as Mulder, Scully, and Skinner return to the spot where they left Krycek. “Hey, look who’s back!” he says, all pleased with himself. Mulder’s so desperate to protect Scully that he hands her off to Krycek, then leads Billy on a wild goose chase while Scully and Krycek sneak down to the garage. Scully goes off with Reyes with a “drive safely” from Krycek.

Mulder and Skinner lead Billy to the roof, then trick him into attacking Skinner while he’s standing at the ledge, so Mulder can tackle Billy and make him fall off the roof. He lands in the back of a garbage truck, which…compacts him? I think? It looks like they orchestrated the whole thing with help from Crane, who then gives Scully and Reyes the all clear to drive off to safety. Or maybe not, since Crane has alien bumps on the back of his neck. To be continued…

Thoughts: Lizzy is played by Frances Fisher.

I can’t believe I’m about to watch an entire season of this show that won’t feature Mulder looking hot in a black T-shirt. Thanks a lot, Duchovny.

If I ever have a baby, I want Krycek in charge of driving me to the hospital. I feel like he and Mulder would have similar temperaments, but Mulder would get pulled over for speeding, while Krycek would be able to evade the police.

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