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well, that sucked.
that_khyber
I forgot how bad Season Six was in places. I'm rewatching during workouts and I just stumbled through "Ghosts Who Stole Christmas","Terms of Endearment", and "Rain King."  The latter has its moments, and I think it may the absolute pinnacle of Pointlessly!Bitchy!Scully (my wife suggests asking your doctor about Aleve, Dana.)

But altogether, it's a real trifecta of shit, redeemed pretty much only by the gift scene in "Ghosts" (and Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner.)

Sure, there are worse episodes (any episode with a Spanish name is worse--think about it), but these three stinkers in a row are a real low point.

The only thing that bugged me about the writing on the show was that they tended to make one-shot characters into these really disposable cartoons; there's little or no sympathy at all in the portrayal of anyone besides Mulder and Scully. You never get the sense that there's any backstory, that Mulder and Scully have stepped into a place and a set of lives that existed before them and will exist after they've left. I think it's really on display here, especially in the nasty cornpone sentimentality of "Rain King." If I was from Kansas (and I'm not far, actually) I'd be pissed about that one.

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Drinking the Kool Aid from the Holy Grail. PEA, Stockholm, and Claustrophobia

up a ways in the comments, you said I think S6 in a lot of ways was an early swing at what they did so well in S7-- the episodes that had some whimsy and wonder and much more humanity, and where the narratives are a little more complex.

i feel like this is very true, but...i'm not sure exactly how to explain it, the way i've always sort of wondered if that vibe - that whimsy and wonder - wasn't some kind of fandom wide PEA induced hallucination...thing. because word by word, episode by episode, i'm not really sure how much actually changes script-wise during those two seasons. But the M/S relationship changes so sweepingly, by a few subtle degrees, and all of a sudden we were all seeing these paranormal occurrences through a filter of this new emotional complexity. and i'm just not entirely convinced it was the writing itself that made that happen for us. in S6 and S7 the writing itself was as erratic as ever, if not more so (i feel), but in it's own slightly stilted way the writing gave us license to brew our own final alchemy between mulder and scully as it suited us each to our own. And the sangreal product of that alchemy - begun by CC and adopted by us - made everything that happened in S7 light up, golden. trite as it is, how can anything be bad when you're in love?

maybe S6 was so awkward because it was the ooky science lab where all that transmutation was being tinkered with, er- , so to speak.

The only thing that bugged me about the writing on the show was that they tended to make one-shot characters into these really disposable cartoons; there's little or no sympathy at all in the portrayal of anyone besides Mulder and Scully. You never get the sense that there's any backstory, that Mulder and Scully have stepped into a place and a set of lives that existed before them and will exist after they've left.

funny how you should say this. it's one of the things i think a lot of us in fandom really respect and appreciate about your take on the x-files universe - that you give so much attention to 'the little guy'. at least, it's something that i've seen brought up before about your writing. HFtW/WIE&YB were great examples of this. and a character that comes to a brutal end in Imperial Violet who i remember having a very remarkable and distinct voice. that said, i also agree with what wendelah1 says:

With two strong sympathetic leads, maybe there isn't a lot of room left for creating hugely sympathetic, three dimensional secondary characters. Plus, the universe of The X-Files works against it, too. It is intensely claustrophobic. The more you open up the series, into a reality that includes other Real people, the less you have of that closed-in us-against-the-world feeling that is so quintessentially the Mulder and Scully show.

it's what makes an emotionally stunted fan like me fall head over heels in love, and it's pretty much the only thing that can. at a certain point there's almost a stockholm syndrome dynamic that happens between the viewer and the characters (as well as between mulder and scully themselves). i love them (and they love each other) for being brilliant and brave and nuanced and contradictory and strange - but i also love them because they are the only people in the whole barren fictional landscape whom it is fathomable to love. we're locked in a room called the x-files universe and mulder and scully are brilliant and everyone else is either terrifying or mundane (or both) - it only heightens how attractive they are.

props to you, Wen, for describing TXF as 'intensely claustrophobic'. that's going on my list of Best Ever Ways to Describe The X-Files.

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