Season 5, Episode 7
Director: Kim Manners
Writer: Vince Gilligan, John Shiban, Frank Spotnitz
After a brilliant and emotional outing in “Christmas Carol,” The X-Files returns to more standard fare in “Emily.” The episode returns Mulder to the storyline as he tries to help Scully deal with the revelation that Emily is her biological daughter as well as dig into an investigation around Emily’s origin and her deadly disease. Given the ticking clock that is Emily’s health, this mythology episode has more human-centered urgency than they normally do. However, the shift to the series mythology takes some of the wind out of the earlier episode’s sails.
“Emily” begins with a dream sequence in which a Stevie Nicks-looking Scully wades through a desert of sand and wind. Her voice over kind of babbles about this or that (I wasn’t paying attention, really), but the visuals are quite stunning. What’s the metaphor here? I initially assumed it was Scully wading through the desert of her womb, but later revelations point us in a different direction. In the real world, Mulder arrives in San Diego to support Scully and meet Emily. He brings news that there are no true records of Emily’s birth, her birth mother listed as “Anna Fugazzi” (fake). During an adoption hearing, Mulder tells the presiding judge that Scully had been abducted and her eggs harvested, making her barren in the process. He argues that the judge has no other choice but to grant custody of Emily to Scully, her technical biological mother.
After the judge expresses doubt in Mulder’s story, Scully receives another mysterious phone call, this time from the children’s ward where Emily now lives. They race there and find Emily safe but suffering from a high fever and a seemingly infected green cyst at the base of her neck. They take her to the hospital where a nurse attempts to biopsy the cyst causing a green liquid to ooze from the wound and making the nurse severely ill in a similar manner to experiences with other alien/human hybrids. Mulder visits Dr. Calderon, the man who was treating Emily’s anemia in a top-secret, double-blind trial. Mulder roughs up Calderon but is unable to get information out of him. He follows Calderon to a house where Calderon meets two other men who use the sharp pointed object to stab Calderon in the back of the neck. He is an alien/human hybrid. The other two men shape-shift into Calderon’s image, and one visits the hospital to inject Emily with a green substance, causing her body to shut down further. After Mulder stumbles upon an operation where senior citizen Anna Fugazzi (and others) are apparently continuously impregnated with alien/human hybrids. There, he has an interaction with the Calderon shape-shifter.
Later, Mulder returns to the hospital where Emily has lapsed into a coma. She eventually dies, and Scully finds peace and acceptance in the event since Emily was not naturally conceived and was never intended to be in this world. They host a small funeral for Emily, and, when Scully opens the casket, it is filled with dust and Scully’s cross necklace, echoing the opening sequence. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
The grown-up emotions, exploration of female bonds, and Anderson’s fantastic performance from “Christmas Carol” are now all gone in “Emily.” Now that Mulder is back on the scene, the episode becomes more about him and his bravado over Scully’s emotional plight. It’s a shame, too, because this was Scully’s arc. This was Emily’s story, not Mulder’s, and it should remain as much. Yet, we have to journey back into the world of an X-Files mythology, so Mulder must step back into the limelight and overshadow Scully in her moment of glory. That’s not to say Scully/Anderson don’t figure prominently in the episode, but it’s disappointing to have so much of it dedicated to Mulder’s attempts to further uncover the truth. Granted, it would be unlikely that Scully would ever leave Emily’s side to accomplish the investigation Mulder undertakes. Still, I’m constantly in search of more moments with Dana Scully. Otherwise, the episode was a decent outing, destined to disappoint because it has to shift into more conspiratorial tendencies than the emotional moments of the previous episode.
At least we had “Christmas Carol.”