October 2000

The X-Files Season Seven Episode Guide

by Paula Vitaris


5/16/00. Written by Chris Carter. Directed by Kim Manners.

Editor: Heather MacDougall.

"Requiem" is the best mytharc episode and season finale in several years. But that's not saying much, considering the unholy mess the mytharc has become. And it ends on one of the most egregious missteps yet in the X-Files mythology, which is saying much, because there have been so many.

Mulder and Scully travel to Bellfleur, Oregon, the site of the pilot episode. A dying Cigarette Smoking Man wants a crashed alien ship before it can "rebuild itself" and depart, to serve as the foundation of a new conspiracy to battle aliens. He orders Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden) - remember her? - to spring Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) - remember him? - from a Tunisian prison. Mulder disappears aboard the repaired ship. Back in D.C., Scully, hospitalized, tells a Skinner, still devastated from the loss of Mulder, that she's pregnant.

There is also the question of the father. an alien baby is cheesy beyond all redemption. Could the CSM have been up to something really nasty when an unconscious Scully was in his clutches during "En Ami"? The most likely possibility is Mulder, thanks to the teaser of "All Things." Chris Carter said in an interview that "Requiem" would reer back to "All Things," so naturally Mulder is now the number one Daddy candidate.

Mulder's story is also bungled somewhat; this is the fallout to no follow-up from "Closure." Since "Requiem" takes us back to Bellefleur, we can't help but compare the obssessed, passionate Mulder of the pilot - to the apathetic Mulder we see now. He seems to be ding his find-the-aliens thing by rote. One might construe that Mulder is suffering depression following the end of his quest, but the show itself has done nothing to suggest anything so logical. Any emotion he shows is focused not on aliens, but on Scully (but that's bungled, too). And the moment that should have been the climax of the season (now that the search for Samantha has ended) is presented far too casually. There is one superb idea here: that Mulder chooses, like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters (or Bull in the series finale of Night Court!) to go with the aliens. But again, Mulder makes that choice with a singular lack of affect. There's no foreshadowing of the abduction, no pull for him towards the forest, no suspense, no terror, no exhultation.

The real fun of "Requiem" - and the only hope of even a semi-decent eighth season - comes courtesy of the long-awaited return of the always-intense, always-watchable Nicholas Lea as Krycek, the series' most underused character. And Laurie Holden, as Marita Covarrubias, shows unexpected potential to turn into someone intriguing. Marita's and Krycek's offer to team up with Mulder and Scully is a bonafide and welcome surprise; it may very well create genuine tension and conflict next season. Nicholas Lea, as Krycek, energizes every scene he's in, and maybe, if Krycek plays a prominent role next season, we may also finally get that "all about Krycek" episode the show has needed for so long. The demise of the Cigarette Smoking Man, pushed, wheelchair and all, down the stairs by Krycek a la Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death, is definitely a good idea. The Cigarette Smoking Man was once one of the great television villains, but he's been toothless for far too long. Unfortunately, it's another one of those "is he or isn't he" kinds of deaths so beloved by The X-Files. Kudos, though, for the CSM's refusal to give up smoking (the cigarette in the tracheotomy tuby is right out of Dead Again) and for his taste in buxom blonde nurses; he's a horny old devil right to the end.

If only next season could be the Alex and Marita show; these two lusty, conniving rogues would inject a jolt of electricity, mischievousness and sly fun into a exhaused show that's been running on fumes for far too long. They sure would be a lot more entertaining to watch than Scully giving birth to a baby. Unless it was Rosemary's baby. Maybe the CSM is the devil after all.


Rob Bowman

The Files auteur on his major discovery, Krycek's Nicholas Lea.

By Miwa Hirai

Rob Bowman, director of X-Files-The Movie, was side-lined most of season seven, directing a movie called Riptide. He returned only briefly to direct the Scully-centered episode "Orison" (see page 23).

Relaxing in his bungalow on the Fox lot, Bowman noted that he now eschews TV almost exclusively for film work, but The X-Files is the exception. "It's very different from other TV shows," he said. "It's a high-level, quality show which spends time and money. Every episode you've got to be a filmmaker, like we make a movie every episode." As to the future of the series, Bowman, noted, "I would like the show to be a movie series. And I think it should be."

Bowman established himself as a director for the mythology episodes of The X-Files. That led him to the show's first movie, as a feature film director. "The script was very ambitious and originally expensive. We wanted the movie to be very successful although we only had 57 days for actual shooting as David [Duchovny] and Gillian [Anderson] had to go back to Vancouver for Season 5. We couldn't spend much time for prep, either. Moreover it was very difficult to shoot the complicated set. We shot various units throughout 80 days, 40 days for close-ups of monsters, and also shot buildings and facilities in Washington, D.C."

The director had to wrap up the post-production duties of the film while he was shooting "The Pine Bluff Variant" in Season 5, which was the last episode he shot in Vancouver. Looking back on the Vancouver days, the first episode which Bowman directed on The X-Files was "Genderbender" in Season 1. This was probably the first episode that introduced sexual content into the show. Nicholas Lea, not as the infamous anti-hero Alex Krycek, played the role of a nightclub guy who'd survived an erotic experience with a sex- changing alien.

"At that time I had just finished a Warner Bros job, so I was looking for another thing to do. I wanted to make a serious movie or something involving working hard. I like mysterious and spookier things. I just love entertainment. When I saw the X-Files' pilot, I thought that was exactly what I wanted to do. It's darker, intelligent, and off-beat. It has everything I like. So I told my agent that I wanted to get involved."

"The script of 'Genderbender' was single-spaced description, very complicated. I asked Chris Carter how he would like me shoot this. He said, 'Why don't you figure it out and let me know?'" Bowman giggled.

"In that episode, Nick's role was just a small one. We just wanted to have a clubguy. I thought Nick had a sort of chilly quality. When the role of Krycek came up, we did a little casting in Vancouver, but I really had a strong belief that Nick was the right choice. He seemed purely intelligent, having his own agenda. He's a very strong guy, big shoulders, and strong face. I would have 40 to 50 choices but I thought he was the right actor. I think Nick Lea, on screen, is gold. Any time Krycek is in the episode it's better," said Bowman of his X-Files discovery.

"Since then we became friends. We spent a lot of time together on the set. Many great moments. I'm very proud about it because he was a great local Vancouver actor who became a very big part in the show. I wished he was in the movie, although it was different from the storyline of his involvement. I think he is the kind of actor who, given the right role, could be a movie star. Hope he does," Bowman smiled.

[The rest of the article talks about episodes Bowman's done, Gillian and David as actors, and the Mulder/Scully relationship. No more about Nick.]

Thanks to Mrs. Fish for the transcripts.

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