‘The X-Files’ Episode 5 Recap: Babylon Falls

The X-Files Episode 5 Recap
Ed Araquel/FOX

Spoiler alert: This recap contains plot details for the fifth episode of “The X-Files,” titled “Babylon.”

Combining a dull terrorism investigation with leaden comedy, faux spirituality and an ill-advised honky-tonk dance sequence, Monday’s fifth episode of “The X-Files” reboot is arguably one of the most misguided entries in the series’ history. Not since Kathy Griffin guest-starred in the notoriously unfunny seventh season episode “Fight Club” has the show missed the mark this far in terms of tone and style.

Written and directed by Chris Carter, the episode – titled “Babylon” – begins with a young Muslim man’s afternoon prayer. In case we’re not sure that this is meant to be suspicious, the ominous music, moody shadows and low-angle framing lets us know from the very first second that he’s up to no good.

On his way to meet a friend at a Southwest Texas motel, the young man — whose name we’ll learn is Shiraz — pauses at a stoplight next to a pickup truck filled with lazy cliches. The cowboy-hatted driver (drinking a beer at the wheel, naturally) smirks at Shiraz, while his two bubble-headed female passengers giggle cruelly.

“Looks like we got a visitor,” one woman says.

“A little brownie,” the other replies.

“Are we in the wrong country?” the driver asks.

You get the impression that Chris Carter might be trying to tell us something.

After picking up his friend, Shiraz drives to a nearby art gallery, which he proceeds to blow up in a violent act of terror. The image of flaming victims running from the wreckage is genuinely shocking, and recalls the 1998 film “The X-Files: Fight the Future,” which began with a terrorist attack that was deliberately reminiscent of the Oklahoma City bombing.

The next day at their FBI office, Mulder and Scully meet Special Agents Miller and Einstein, a pair of young recruits who are assigned to the Texas bombing, and who bear an obvious resemblance to our heroes.

Longtime fans know that “The X-Files” has featured mirror-images of Mulder and Scully many times before. From Gary Shandling and Téa Leoni playing them in an episode titled “Hollywood A.D.” to a pair of identical twins in the aforementioned “Fight Club,” the theme of doppelgängers is nothing new to the series.

But Carter’s stiff direction and on-the-nose dialogue makes this latest version feel painfully contrived.

Part of the problem is that Miller and Einstein simply aren’t very interesting. Though we’re supposed to see them as alternate versions of Mulder and Scully, the similarity is disappointingly shallow.

The reason for their visit doesn’t make much sense either.

Apparently Shiraz is still alive, though in a vegetative state, and Miller wants to find a way to communicate with him. So he needs Mulder’s advice? Basically, it’s just an excuse to bring the four characters together so we can chuckle at how alike they are. But after the brutal opening sequence, this light-hearted meta-comedy feels awkward at best.

At this point, Carter reshuffles the deck, pairing Scully with Miller, and Mulder with Einstein, because how else is he going to continue making the same point over and over again?

In Texas, Scully tells Miller that she knows a way to communicate with Shiraz using “a rather novel, but not untested protocol.” Sadly, her intriguing method involves nothing more than putting a few wires on Shiraz’s head and starring intently at an EEG monitor.

Meanwhile, Mulder questions Einstein about the nature of reality and perception. “Do you believe that thoughts have mass? That ideas such as faith and forgiveness have weight?” he asks, sounding like a freshman college student who’s just discovered Carlos Castaneda.

There’s something weirdly off-putting about Mulder’s dialogue here; a pompous, condescending quality to his spiel about hallucinogenic mushrooms and their ability to expand consciousness. It’s hard to believe this is the same character who was so charming in the whimsical third episode of the reboot.

Ultimately, Mulder’s plan is as ludicrous as Scully’s is boring. He wants to take magic mushrooms, sit in Shiraz’s hospital room and wait for something interesting to happen.

Which, coincidentally, is exactly what we’ve been doing for most of this episode.

The magic mushrooms eventually lead to what might be the most embarrassing sequence in X-Files history. High on hallucinogens (which are actually placebos — don’t ask), Mulder wanders around in a blissed-out stupor, only to end up at a honky-tonk bar where he dances to “Achy Breaky Heart” while Skinner and the Lone Gunman cheer him on from the crowd.

If this was written to be funny, something got seriously lost in translation from page to screen.

Morphing from the honky-tonk bar to a dominatrix sex-fantasy involving Agent Einstein to a bizarre metaphysical dream featuring the Cigarette Smoking Man, Mulder’s mushroom trip drags on for so long that it starts to feel like an episode of “Californication.”

As if this clash of tones wasn’t strange enough, Carter repeatedly cuts to scenes of a menacingly-bearded Islamic terrorist building bombs in a creepy workshop somewhere in Texas.

Luckily, the solution to the case (if you can call it that) is finally discovered in Mulder’s subconscious.

During his drug trip, Shiraz whispered something to Mulder in Arabic, which Agent Miller conveniently translates. This deus ex machina leads the FBI to the nearby Babylon Motel, where the remaining members of the terrorist cell are swiftly arrested. In terms of detective work, this absurd denouement makes Agent Cooper hurling rocks at glass bottles in “Twin Peaks” look positively Sherlock Holmesian.

With the bad guys in custody, Miller and Einstein head home. Though Einstein congratulates her partner on solving the case, he modestly claims that he didn’t really do anything.

“Nothing but take down a terrorist cell ready to kill untold numbers,” she replies proudly.

But the sad truth is, he’s absolutely right. He didn’t do anything. And neither, really, did Mulder or Scully. The whole thing just wrapped itself up as if by magic.

The episode ends with Mulder and Scully discussing God’s will. What does he want? What do his words mean? Why do people put on suicide vests and blow up art galleries? Whatever happened to the flukeman?

Seriously… that guy was awesome.

“Maybe we should do like the prophets and open our hearts and truly listen,” Scully says, apparently having just binge-watched the first three seasons of “Touched by an Angel.”

And with that, the camera zooms off into outer space, “Men in Black”-style, while The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” song brings this penultimate installment to a merciful end.

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  1. This was an utterly horrific example of the reasons Trump is doing so well in America. If Scully can only utter one pathetic comment against anti Muslim xenophobia – while the good arguments are made on a TV in the background – even more pathetically – even I felt ashamed and I’m not American.

  2. Angel Gordon says:

    I hope they won’t be trying to replace milder and scully because I won’t watch it there’s no replacement for their chemistry or characteristics ……. Like all remakes most of em suck…..

  3. Christina says:

    I have enjoyed all the other episodes of the X-Files reboot up to this point, but I have to agree with the reviewer on this one – this episode was really bad! I convinced my husband to watch it with me (who doesn’t really care for the show) because I’ve been going on and on about how good the new season is. When they got to the honkey tonk trip scene, I was so utterly embarrassed that I could have crawled under my couch. My husband just looked at me and shook his head. Needless to say, he won’t be joining me on any future X-Files episodes (if they make any.) I tried to tell him that most of the episodes have been very good, but it was pointless. I’m angry that they would waste one of their six episodes on this nonsense, which was really only an excuse to see what would happen if they got paired with younger versions of themselves! Come on Chris Carter – we all know you can do better than this! Regardless, I still love the show and really hope to see more episodes made in the future.

  4. Overmountain says:

    Absolutely the worst episode in “X-Files” history. Government propaganda to the extreme, from racist stereotypes of Arabs and Muslims, to ignorant and archaic representations of people from Texas and the South, this episode will be the last that I watch. With groups like Freemasons and the Illuminati being giving credence in “Time” magazine, the slighted viewpoints from the writers and producers of this reboot force one to wonder: is there an agenda here?

  5. Gurubu says:

    This episode was horrible. Mulder was hallucinating off a placebo!? Even REAL magic mushrooms don’t give you visions. Dialogue feels weak as well. Is this a full blown comedy now. Even though Muldar immediately left the hospital room he was still able to hear the words from the guy in the coma (which I would have accepted if he stayed in the damn room instead of line dancing and then solving the case). The writing truly is horrible. Maybe i’m remembering the old xfiles incorrectly, but these new episodes are bland, boring, and not really all that funny. Chris Carter is truly experiencing the George Lucas effect. Time to step down and let someone new take over.

  6. Mark says:

    The only thing funny about the X-Files these days are articles like this! Can’t believe they did this to my X-Files!!! The “Achy Break Heart” mushroom scene, and entire episode, were absolutely unconscionable. Seriously though writer, how can anyone think the Were-Man in tights dancing around episode was good?!? Worst. Episode. Ever.

  7. Mal Warner says:

    I’ve enjoyed the X-Files reboot and feel that the creators are having the right amount of fun with it.

    Ep 5 Babylon was a good one IMO, with Carter and ensemble actually finding the perfect pitch with the orchestra in tune on a delicate edge between parody and seriousness.

    Those who slam this episode completely miss the boat in my opinion, one of the biggest clues being that they actually think the show’s creator is out of touch with his own oeuvre. He more than anyone, to me, seems to understand the time that has passed and how this should be played.

    Just ask George Lucas how it feels to have them turn on you! ;)

    • Gurubu says:

      Its funny you mentioned George Lucas. Prime example of how to sink a ship and Carter is going in the same path. We aren’t the same people as we were in the past. Time for Carter to step down and let someone new take over (although that probably won’t happen).

  8. RamblinRoyce says:

    The orignal and the reboot are both good. All you crying, whining, complaining bitches shut your damn mouths.

  9. Serafin says:

    so, what was the bright light shooting out of milky way, just a little bit right from the planet earth (looked like shooting star) at the end scene viewing the space.

  10. Scott says:

    The new season of X-Files is horribly bad. Ep 4 had some cute charm, but Ep 5 makes me feel like Rupert Murdock is pulling the strings and injecting the same right wing fear driven ideology into our beloved show. They even rewrote the entire underly plot too (Ep 1), making it no longer about aliens, but about some shadowy “big government” conspiracy testing humans for their own purposes; complete with a younger version of Alex Jones, the right wing-nut conspiracy theorist.

    All in all, the new season of X-Files has proved to be something completely different from the original. They’ve taken the aliens + illuminati intrigue out of X-Files and made it into some Tea Party fantasy. It’s pure crap and I can’t wait for it to go off the air and end it’s own embarrassment.

  11. Alonso says:

    I’m afraid the reviewer completely missed the point. Shiraz and his buddy did NOT bomb the art gallery (did you see any explosive belts or vests on them?) Shiraz was a hero for being able to communicate to Mulder the location of the terrorist cell. The reviewer apparently fell for Mr Carter’s little trap in which he allowed us to indulge our prejudices about Muslims at the beginning of the episode, thinking that Shiraz is a bomber.

    • Larry says:

      You are aware that this is an FBI terrorist investigation. They don’t label a badly burned person as the terrorist without evidence. They can pinpoint the source of the explosion, get pieces of the belt from the body to determine that he was wearing it. It is as I said, you are not observing objectively. You are just seeing what you want to see. I believe that the images that Mulder saw in his hallucination indicated his needing forgiveness from his mother. He may have been a hero of sorts, but it was as an act needing redemption and that was what the story was about. I thought that was a good part about the episode. It is all the other unnecessary garbage in the episode that I thought was horrible.

      • Alonso says:

        ” I feel like Scully arguing with Mulder. ” – LOL, I’ll take that as a compliment, thanks. Yes, I’m enjoying it immensely and I’m genuinely sorry you’ve been disappointed in the current series. Maybe I’m reading too much into these episodes, or projecting my own desires onto them, but that’s what makes art fun!

      • Larry says:

        Sorry Alonso, I feel like Scully arguing with Mulder. I guess I am really just disappointed with the new X-Files in general. I loved the show because it was originally suspenseful and clever science fiction. I am a big science fiction fan, but not ScyFy channel crap. But even the last two or three seasons of the original X-Files show went way downhill and seemed to just drag out a conspiracy that would never end. The conspiracy episodes began to drag even earlier. The last episode was the one of the most horrible things I had ever seen on TV. With the new series I had hoped that maybe something might conclude but it just more of the same with even less heart than the final regular seasons. Maybe I should just try to remember how good it was in the beginning. I hope you are enjoying the season.

      • Alonso says:

        One of the themes of the X-Files is that bureaucracies such as the FBI often get things wrong, so I don’t see any inconsistency in the FBI mistakenly believing Shiraz was a bomber. Secondly, do you really believe that someone wearing a bomb harness of the size on the guys in the motel would have even a torso left after it went off? Go back and look at the episode and see if you can find any visual evidence of Shiraz and his buddy wearing bomb harnesses. Of course, I could be wrong, but it seems fairly clear to me.

      • Larry says:

        Let me just add something if I didn’t make it clear. The meaning I got from the episode was about a good kid getting pulled into something bad by his peers. Something that happens all the time. The use of radical terrorists was used because it was timely and controversial. They are looking for ratings and the wisdom of that is Hollywood wisdom. (And that’s an Oxymoron if I ever heard one)

    • Larry says:

      Oh please, if he was not a bomber then how did he know the location of the terrorist cell? I think someone else was not getting the point and just seeing what they want or hope the episode means. I think a lot less thought went into these episodes than people perceive.

      • Alonso says:

        He knew the location of the terrorist cell because he was in a near-death plane of existence that allowed him to “see” the circumstances that led to his near death state.

  12. X-Fanny says:

    Couldn’t disagree more. I thought this episode was engaging, funny and touching. I was really moved at the end, to tears, and really thought about the message as the credits rolled. I thought is was one of the best of the entire series. This and the were-lizard were everything the x-files is about for me.

  13. NuneNone says:

    Chris Carter is a great used car salesman.

    He’s gotten credit for the hard work of everyone else throughout this series. RANDY STONE cast Duchovny and Anderson. MORGAN AND WONG wrote the best episodes out of the gate, then Vince Gilligan and the rare DARIN MORGAN script make the best of the series. Carter has only written 2 or 3 good scripts through the entire run of the 9 season series — anything else decent he co-wrote with other writers.

    Carter’s had one successful series based upon the work of those mentioned above (and other people like KIM MANNERS, ROB BOWMAN, FRANK SPOTNITZ, JOHN SHIBAN, etc.), Millennium’s best work was under Morgan and Wong. EVERYTHING else Carter’s done has completely tanked because he doesn’t have the skills or the talent.

    When will Fox wake up and pay attention to who does things well and who actually doesn’t? They’re burning this franchise over a guy who has sold himself as the end all be all because apparently no one at Fox TV actually reads the credits.

    DEAR FOXTV: Relegate Chris Carter to “Consulting Producer” who has zero influence or responsibility, let VINCE GILLIGAN right this ship when he’s not working on “Better Call Saul” and hope you haven’t entirely lost fan & media good will.

  14. Agent x says:

    The entire series makes one wonder. WHAT? was this whole x files reboot about. 1. Was it actually a planned reboot of the entire series that had such a terrible secret viewer response that it was cancelled after just 6 episodes. A planned, actual s10 that failed so miserably that the producers were forces to mislead the world into buying these 6 episodes just to recover there losses. 2. Was this some sort of cruel competition between the producers to see who could make the worst episode possible ,in television history just to mess with everyone and in doing so…make sure that the x files could never be remade again,EVER!!!

  15. Mark Jones says:

    The whole season has been subpar from the get go but this episode has the dubious distinction of being the first X Files episode that I switched off without watching it all the way through. The last X Files movie was a warning – please don’t give Chris Carter any more money to do this again.

    • NuneNone says:

      There were so many elements right with “I Want To Believe”, the atmosphere, acting, music, etc. but the most fundamental element — the actual script — was complete crap. Not only has Fox ignored who actually made the series its best but they apparently suffer from short term memory. If the second movie had all those elements but a great monster of the week like Morgan and Wong wrote during their heyday, it would’ve been an awesome film. (Because really, the first movie’s plot actually made no sense although more entertaining than the second film.) But check his remarks about his second movie, Carter wrote and directed it but the film’s box office failure was budget, summer release, etc., but he apparently did everything just right.

  16. Gabby Simone says:

    The main issue with the episode was tone. The intro was chilling and could’ve made for an excellent dramatic episode. The comedic scenes were funny and would’ve played well in an episode about made up monsters. But not when dealing with something as serious as Islamic terrorism. Also, let Mulder and Scully kiss and be happy together already. The estrangement was a bad idea and at this point, makes no sense anymore.

  17. SMH in Seattle says:

    It would have cost Chris Carter and Fox way less money just to spray paint a wall with, “Go home Muslims! We don’t want you here!”

    • Big Deal says:

      That’s not what this episode was about. Try watching it again? And btw, Dana Walden is a yuuuugeee Hillary cheerleader, so no. And number two, America is about to do that this coming November.

  18. I want to forget says:

    I think you went a little too easy on Carter. This episode was a steaming pile of dog s**t, from start to end. And I thought Trump was bad when it comes to his anti-Muslim stance. Ha! He’s nothing compared to Carter. This man is disgusting. The show needs to end. Permanently. BURN IT ALL.

    • Big Deal says:

      I think you went a little to easy on Trump. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called illegals migrants “a horde of evil” yesterday. Sweden admitted their past their breaking point, as they struggle to deal with increasing migrant violence and the “totally unprecedented” influx of refugees (read “The week even Sweden said: Enough” in the Guardian. Great article).

      The E.U. just gave Greece a three-month deadline to enforce their border with Turkey. The Greek-Macedonian border is getting razor wire fences three feet deep and Austria announced a plan to limit new arrivals, while Poland and other Eastern European countries are forming anti–refugee fronts ahead of the Brussels summit.

      The show better not end. S**t on carter all you want. As if you could do better.

  19. Kornelija LE says:

    They could have made the same point using a hateful extremist without a religious affiliation for example a human “shooting up” a movie theatre and trying to kill himself in the end but surviving… That would be relevant to this country, without having the negative effect of painting a horrible and ignorant picture of an entire religion and group of human beings. This episode was shameful.

    • That is exactly how I feel..actually turned the episode off and stopped watching. That is the first time that I have ever not watched an X-Files show. I am tired of ONLY Muslims being called terrorists. Hateful propaganda! The Christians have done far worse over the course of history. Why did they have to go on with trend of making shows about the so-called terroristic crap!

  20. David McEwan says:

    I loved the Mulder/Scully clones. I loved seeing Mulder do line dancing. I have to ask, when Scully said prophecies have failed, even in the bible, what prophecy/prophecies was she referring to? Mulder said that God told Adam “the day you eat of that fruit you will surely die”, and Mulder then points out that Adam didn’t die that day, but lived for 900 years, and then Scully asks, ‘you know that’s not literal, right?”…well, Adam did die that day, not physically, but spiritually. His fellowship with his Creator was severed, and that was death, and he ran and hid from God. People lived much longer in those days, as did all things. Things lived longer and grew bigger.

  21. reverend boone says:

    I could not disagree more with this appraisal. This was in my eyes perhaps one of the strongest episodes in franchise history. ” faux spirituality” ? Not at all, rather it took the age old argument – realism verse idealism to a new threshold. In that light it invited The viewer into a conversation . It did so, not so much dogmatic answers but some great questions about Religion and spirituality. The tone seems to be a new approach for the X files and i get the feeling they are just getting into their groove that way. Essentially they appear aimed at engaging very emotionally charged topics in our Times, all the while having both humor and depth ( pointing towards the intuitive). I think they’ve done nothing less than fill a cultural void, ( last filled by Lost) , and create a dialogue that perhaps aids us to overcome the problem of ” Babylon”, which could be defined as excessively polarized empirical beyond reason, mentality. The subtext of the show has always had at its core a philosophical question about the limits of our knowledge empirically speaking, and it beckons us into a realm of intuitive possibilities. This last episode leaped to whole new level.

  22. Shah says:

    PS: The young doppelgangers are supposed to be shallow versions of the real thing. Thats the POINT. No depth – kinda like the article you threw together last minute for Variety. Remember guys – they actually pay these people to write this superficial slop.

  23. Shah says:

    Chris Carter is the ONLY living human being to open a TV show right out of the gate with a completely accurate Muslim prayer. That’s right – completely spot on – but you wouldn’t know that Matthew because religion is clearly irrelevant to you. Not even Malcolm X or Sleeper Cell can lay claim to that. You guys are way out of your depth and despite what you think – you do NOT understand The X-Files or Chris Carter. You also seem to be offended by Scully’s Christian values by mocking her with that ridiculous Touched by an Angel comment. American secular vitriol is so bitter lately. You are sad and pathetic. The X-Files will influence the world longer than anyone will remember your name.

  24. Larry says:

    I am a long time X-Files fan and I, not only think that this episode was more than a little lacking (I am trying to be kind here) but the whole series. I have just finished reading a fairly new book entitled “Trust No One, X-Files, Book 1” which consists of 15 new short stories of the X-Files. All of these are written by different authors. You could take the plot of any 6 of these stories, modernize them to present day(because they take place at different times during the X-Files) and they would have made far superior episodes than any that have appeared so far. They are scary, suspenseful and laugh out loud funny in parts. The presentation of this new TV series has saddened me greatly. My worst fear is that the two new characters from last night’s episode are being introduced to replace Mulder and Scully to continue a new X-Files series, because they were awful.

  25. A M Rohn says:

    The concept of getting the patient to say’ yes’ and to determine how it appears in brain waves is fascinating. Concept sound ,execution of concept impossible for TV, to many critics.Mulder and mushrooms was still better entertainment than anything else I watched last night. We can only hope for a reboot

  26. Shamis Sabri says:

    just watched the 5th episode. quite different from the rest ive seen so far. but it was good,liked it. not sure why the hate amongst the viewers- thats exactly what the episode was all about. what an irony.

  27. Dale says:

    This isn’t as bad as you indicate, but it’s not very good either. I have had a problem with the “forced humor” in all these episodes, but maybe it’s the writers trying to give us Mulder & Scully in a more light-hearted state because they are now older and have seen and been through just about any and everything. This really doesn’t set well with me because I always (no matter how bad the episode) thought that at least they were serious about the work. I really didn’t enjoy Einstein (blouse unbuttoned and all) that much and Tom Cruise (I mean Miller) was pretty square. I thought this episode did ask the important question though, where does all the hate come from? Epically pumped for the finale next week though.

  28. eideard says:

    Disappoiting, trite, a commercial for populist stereotypes. I turned it off when M & S lurched off into Christian introspection. Deleted the season pass instructing the DVR to record the final episode.

  29. Babylon was great…one of the best.

  30. maddy says:

    The episode was seriously problematic. Muslims are presented either as monstrous villains (terrorists who want to blow up all the white people) and victims (a mother crying at the bedside of her wayward son). The racism is awkwardly cut up with an attempt to lighten and brighten — and only failing.

    Possibly one of the worst episodes of X-Files I’ve ever seen.

    • Diana Lesky says:

      Maybe it was problematic if you have delicate sensibilities. One month before production began for Chris Carter and company, two Muslims attempted to shoot up the Mohammad Art Contest at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland Texas. So…yeah. That’s real life right there. Radical Islamic terrorism. And obviously the basis for the episode. May I prescribe some Bill Maher outside of your safe space?

      X-Phile since ’93. My top 10 includes all the usual suspects (Jose Chung, PMP, Bad Blood, Clyde Bruckman etc) AND I loved the episode. Preferred it over Founder’s Mutation for sure, as well as Home Again (minus the wonderful M&S scenes in that one).

      Loved Duchovny in it. Dude can dance. Sexy.

      Tipping my hat to you Chris, ignore the haters.

  31. Dave Bradbury says:

    Give it a rest Variety. You’ve done nothing but critise The X Files since it returned. Millions of fans are enjoying it so that’s all the counts. Stop trying to kill it.

    • Tom Ranwell says:

      That’s simply not true. The recapper praised the 2nd and 4th episodes and raved about the 3rd, calling it one of the best in the show’s history. No one’s “trying to kill it.” They just felt differently than you did about this particular episode.

  32. ace says:

    After the recent were-lizard episode, which was so brilliant, this was SUCH a disappointment. Bad, bad writing. I love the X-Files, but this was a huge misstep.

  33. Kurt says:

    Seriously, having to listen to the lumineers play through the end of that episode was painful. It just simply didnt work. You know that feeling that you want something from times past to be good again, but it just isn’t. That’s how that ending was. Kinda what you would expect from Alice Cooper at the grammy’s, except he killed it.

  34. Loved this episode. The X-Files has done it all. What’s left? It’s about being darkly comical and covering new ground. I, personally, do hope Mulder becomes a recreational psychedelic drug user after this episode. Fear & Loathing in Babylon!! Great sunset hobby for the character.

  35. MK says:

    I rather enjoyed the episode.. For the whole new series in general, the actors look like they are having more fun, are more relaxed, sometimes a little tongue-in-cheek and just enjoying being Mulder and Scully again. I’m looking forward to future episodes!

  36. * sorry ahead my poor English*

    If you called this episode is crappy, I do understand. There are many flaws to talk, that’s true. It’s sort of rude, nonsense, and a perfect awkward farce. Chris Carter sometimes looked like crossing the line of political correction. But I have to confess, I loved even season 7 “Fight Club” and season 9 “Improbable” with same reasons. I like the way he shows the ridiculous happenings in life. In “Improbable”, CC talks about the coincidences which look like God’s works. But those things could be the effort of scientific investigation, or punitive justice, or karma, or whatever. It depends on human perception. I like that theme.

    In this episode, it’s not important that Mulder took what kind of thing(but our all intentions are on that, that’s one of the reason this episode is failed in directing, I guess. Mulder’s mind palace was cute but too long). The matter was that everything is connected in non logical way. There were an answer to solve the problem in the bomber’s head but we don’t have no scientific way to get that. How much we eager to know, that’s useless. Then what remains? Mysticism. That’s the absurd of life. I should admit that, writing was too poor to show that. If my guess is not far from Chris Carter’s intentions. I was thinking there should be a plot twist and they got the wrong guy as a bomber blah blah until 40 minutes on running time.

    There is a thing I really do concern – treating political correctness. As a foreigner, describing ethnic group in The X-Files is sensitive issue. Now it’s 2010s and I wish Chris Carter put more attention about ethnic groups and sexism problems. In this point, I wish he get a partner or successor so soon.

    Summary: I loved this week episode, but it’s hard to recommend to other people. The second feature film was also in that category: “I liked it but do not recommend to others”.

    • Big Deal says:

      Political correctness is a claptrap.

      So Carter used a parallel to the Garland TX shooting for this episode. Big deal. All religions are not alike, ok. When’s the last time the Amish went rambo in San Beradino or at the Bataclan in Paris?

      And sexism? Because of Mulder’s sit down and shut up to Einstein? The girls dancing in the bar? Because Scully still doesn’t have a desk?

      It’s a TV SHOW. The season 10 premiere suggests that 911 was a false flag perpetrated by our government! Mulder was one half spread eagle in a red speedo two episodes ago! Scully took out a man’s knees while Mulder stood around at watched one episode ago!

      No episode has been perfect–maybe MASMTWM–but this one was pretty damn good if you could just let yourself enjoy it instead of being offended like half the college students these days.

    • I realized I misunderstood the story line – I didn’t hear some dialogues by bad connection during watching streaming. It’s all my fault, so please forget above that. Sorry for confusing!

      Summary again: I love this episode, even though I know many people didn’t get satisfied.

  37. BMAN says:

    One of the worst episodes yet. The acting was mediocre, the story was stupid, and the direction was horrible. Chris Carter has lost his mojo on writing good X-Files stories. FOX need to dump him and his writing cronies and bring in someone who can reboot the franchise back to its former glory.

  38. prowe89 says:

    Variety doesn’t understand The X Files.

  39. I know it will never happen but this episode proves once and for all that Chris Carter needs to be replaced by Vince Gilligan

  40. DaveC310 says:

    These episodes have been really disappointing. It feels like the two main actors don’t believe a word they’re saying. I liked Lauren Ambrose as “Agent Einstein” but the episode fell flat. The whole thing has felt disjointed and uneven. I wish Chris Carter had tried a little harder.

  41. rockerrick says:

    Your critique is spot on I am sorry to say. Carter is blowing it (again) with terrible writing and direction. Frankly, I was hoping that his misguided (there’s that word again) adventure in episode 1 was due to a little rust. However, Babylon is scrap and possibly the worst episode ever written or conceived for the X Files. He is killing the spirit of the show and making it a parody. Someone needs to kill the Buddha and take charge before the show NOW. I am a huge fan of the show and will forgive almost anything. However, this episode was a travesty and made me cringe in embarrassment. I hope the last episode is better.

  42. Mitchy Pilleggio says:

    You know what? This episode wasn’t for you. And that’s part of what makes it such a great episode. This episode is for the people who love the ridiculous old episodes, the ones like Tesos Dos Bichos where funding cuts lead to an army of housecats instead of a ghost leopard, or that one with Bambi the cockroach scientist.

    It was a love letter for the fans who don’t watch the X-files looking for reasons to be arch and superior and hate on the show, but rather who watch X-files to buy fully into the ridiculousness, and love the bad episodes as much as the good ones. I know, I know — call the critic a snob, it’s not the first time someone ever said it. But that dream sequence is perfect so bad its good TV. Fun TV.

    And the whole thing is great from start to finish. To recap, first of all its premise is Mulder and Scully vs Terrorism, so it’s already this x filesy sendup of right-winger too scary shows like 24, and also just like “Daaaamn it be 2015 and mulder and scully vs the terrorists yo!” I guarantee you millions of fans said that in unison tonight. That you were not among them… well to each their own, but if you’re gonna throw shade, I’ll defend the X-files. Anyway, then Mulder communicates with the dead while on shrooms.

    The episode had a moral too that’s relevant to our discussion. In that, It’s not unlike the placebo effect when you buy into a show you want to be good, when you give it that leeway in terms of suspension of disbelief, quickness to laugh or be startled, your affection for the characters etc… It can make you love a show that the uninitiated would think you’d have to be high to love. And maybe you do, but I’m covering for Carter on that one.

    Anyway the beautiful thing about the whole cord cutting trend of the world is that gatekeepers like you matter less and less. Creators can give their work right to the fans and get the fans feedback and cut out the middleman. I mean think about why it makes sense for Fox to air this type of episode: this whole thing, just like with twin peaks, is in response to renewed interest in the show on Netflix. And I guaruntee the ridiculous “bad” episodes have just as many watches on Netflix as the critic pleasers like Postmodern Prometheus. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they have more; since the “bad” episodes have more replay value in terms of drinking games and saying the hilarious line along with the monster etc…

    So yeah, if anything this review represents a desperate, clawing attempt to hold on to what little credibility your profession still commands. Pathetic.

    Not really though, I mean like I said, you just didn’t get the episode because it was one of those “true fans” episodes. There still a place in the world for critics and the acclaimed both. But it’s also interesting what happens now that there’s a little more room in the culture for other kinds of “good TV.”

    Oh man and that Lone Gunman cameo tonight was a magnolia blossom on the 5th of June, sweetest honey, mana from on high. I’m truly grateful for this X-Files revival.

    • ace says:

      Ahh, a rant against the “gatekeepers.” Let me guess, you’re a terrible self-published author and/or failed screenwriter who thinks the reason no “gatekeepers” wanted to buy your dreadful work is because “they don’t recognize genius”… am I right?

  43. Elizabeth Crabtree says:

    I found that tonight’s episode was missing a lot. The chemistry between Mulder and Scully isn’t what it was at the end of the last series. The subject matters for new series didn’t hold my attention as the previous ones. I hope that next week’s will make up for it.

  44. Steve says:

    Also, when you separate Gillian & David, you don’t have the safety net of their chemistry to fall back on when the story is weak.


  45. Lincoln says:

    I think the idea of the X-files is grand and has tremendous potential in a world filled with birthers and conspiracy loons. I was very excited at the prospect of revisiting this world. However, the execution of this new series has a lot of rough patches, perhaps too many to sustain it beyond this 6 episode series. I love seeing Duchovny and Anderson together again. I sense that if the series were extended that they could settle into these roles again and take them to a new level – but they need better writing, and more compelling storylines.

    At its best, X-Files is quirky, poignant and suggests a deeper meaning. However, this episode – to me – represented the worst of the X-files: indulgent and ham-fisted, with poorly crafted storytelling and a nonsensical resolution that you will forget by tomorrow morning – cotton candy for the mind. Those in control of this franchise (and a franchise it is, though not of the stature of a Star Wars) should step back and let a new creative team take the mythology forward.

  46. Steve says:

    It was cringe-worthy. The dance sequence, the dismal attempt to inject comedy into a terrorism plot… it was a poorly executed, ill-conceived mess. Much like the first episode, he jams too many themes into a 45 min ep and the results aren’t pretty.

    It’s painfully obvious that he would be better off collaborating w/ another X-files writing vet, (or handing off the responsibility entirely) but he just too stubborn. He doesn’t have the finesse to craft MoTW episodes.

    Hopefully, if they renew the show for more seasons, someone sets up an intervention w/ him.

  47. Lone Gunman says:

    Yikes. What a shitty episode and the truth is after the first episode all of them have been awful. This should have been continuous narrative following the excellent first episode that was great and all the ep’s after it should have built on it and continued the mystery and the investigation. FOX Network should have demanded this be the case. Instead they let Carter and his idiot writers go crazy and the results are embarrassing for everyone. Terrible. They had something smart and cool and ambitious with that first episode but lost their way.

  48. Valerie says:

    I couldn’t bear to watch Mulder’s mushroom trip without cringing. I made my friend tell me when it was all over so I could resume watching.

    I agree this was a weak episode for the series.

  49. bricketh says:

    I don’t think the vision of the guy speaking in Arabic was from Mulder’s subconscious, but rather from the shared plane of existence that the mushrooms (or placebo) took him to. I know this episode had mixed reactions from fans and critics, but I have enjoyed everyone of the episodes so far, including the first and this one. In actuality, I have gone back to the original series and films, and with the benefit of hindsight, much more enjoyed the X-Files entries that fell flat for me in my initial viewing years ago. In fact, I now see that the show did give many more answers than I gave it credit for, probably because watching in realtime back then made it more difficult to keep up with all of the little details of the arc storylines. Now, I can go back and watch them in a series, and see all of the connections, from the black oil, to the syndicate, to the bounty hunters, to colonization, etc. It all flows much better today than I felt it did at the time.

    I know this episode was kind of a mixed back for many, but I thought it delivered on two points that a lot of episodes are said to not: it had a finite closure for the case, and the “paranormal” aspect was not the case itself, but Mulder’s approach to solving it. Normally, it is Mulder and Scully chasing something or just missing something otherworldly, but this time, he used his knowledge of the paranormal to bridge the gap for the real casework. It was not detective work this time, but I assume that was being done elsewhere, I thought the episode was fun, and while I agree that it was juxtaposed over a rather serious subject matter (and glossed over it, at that), it was a twist on the classic episodes that I don’t think had been done before (certainly not in this entertaining of a way).

  50. Mizzy says:

    You are the ONLY critic who didn’t like this episode.maybe it’s time to hang it up.

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