X-Files Flashback: ‘Born Again’

Season 1, Episode 22
Director: Jerrold Freedman=
Writer: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon

Things I learned while watching “Born Again,” the twenty-second episode of The X-Files:

  1. Kids continue to be creepy as shit. The episode centers around Michelle Bishop, a little girl seemingly on a mission to kill random adults with her telekinetic abilities. She mentally pushes one out of a high-floor window. Another is hanged, I think, by trapping his scarf in the door of a city bus that is traveling high speeds. Meanwhile, the little girl seldom cracks a smile and is always blankly staring at her prey. Turns out, she’s the reincarnation of a policeman, Charlie Morris, whose partners murdered him after he discovered they stole a large sum of money. He’s out for revenge through Michelle’s body… and her awesome telekinetic abilities. Nothing here changes my declaration that “kids be creepy as shit,” especially not when Michelle overcomes her possess and becomes a normal girl at the end of the show. Still creepy.
  2.  Wearing a scarf is silly… and deadly. Undoubtedly one of the greatest deaths ever filmed on The X-Files was Leon Felder’s death. Felder, former cop by day/dandy by night, gets off a city bus and swoops his long scarf over his left shoulder. One creepy little girl uses her awesome telekinetic abilities to thread the scarf through the bus door and tie it on a handrail inside. When the bus takes off, Felder gives a “whaaaaaaaa” and begins to run alongside the bus. When the bus driver realizes the threat, Michelle uses her powers to make the bus go faster, and Felder dies from acute dandyness, his body limply hanging against the side of the bus. If we learned only one thing from The Incredibles and Edna Mode, then it’s “No capes!” Clearly, scarves qualify here as well.
  3. Maggie Wheeler isn’t a very good actress without her trademark accent. One of the episodes best cameos is the brief performance of Maggie Wheeler as Detective Sharon Lazard. Who is Maggie Wheeler you may ask? Why she’s none other than Janice from Friends. You remember Janice with the ear-shattering accent and hyena laugh, right? Well, here, Wheeler employs a deeper tone, a tougher, cop-pier tone to become Detective Sharon Lazard. You can practically see the performance on her face, and it’s not a good look. She most definitely needed a wacky accent to pull it all together.
  4. Origami is also creepy… Filed away under “Most bizarre display of eternal love” is Charlie Morris’s widow who maintained his collection of origami animals for nine years after his death. These are paper animals, mind you. Colored, paper animals cluttering up a dusty shelf. These are kept even after Morris’s widow married one of the men who killed her husband. And the origami collection persists. You’d think her new husband, perhaps feeling some tiny shred of guilt over murdering his wife’s first husband, would have – oh, I dunno – sneezed them into a trash can? Taken them out in a playful, spice-inducing, naked water gun fight? Used them as kindling in the fireplace? No, ever they remain like treasured family heirlooms. Paper animals, expertly folded, but paper still. Creepy girl even knocks on the door and leaves a folded giraffe on the doorstep, reminding the widow that her husband loves her still and is watching her every move. From beyond the grave. Still folding. Always folding.
  5. …but not as creepy as kids. Mulder and Scully pay a visit to Michelle’s child therapist to learn details about the troubled girl. Turns out, she has another hobby. When she’s not making origami animals as gifts for her wife from another life, she’s mutilating dolls in the same manner in which Charlie Morris was murdered. That’s right kids, she gouges out the right eye and removes the arm. What do you do for a little girl who does that? Why you give her Thorazine to mellow her out, the very same drug used on Michael Myers. Ah, early 90s child psychology. Good thing Mulder and Scully were able to sort all this out and bring peace to little Michelle Bishop and her (horrors) divorced mother.

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