X-Files Flashback: ‘Requiem’


Season 7, Episode 22
Director: Kim Manners
Writer: Chris Carter

So The X-Files seventh season ends with a throwback to not only the very first episode but also the original conspiracy theory which thrilled / frustrated millions for five or so years. “Requiem” marks such a return to the alien-centered story telling after a handful of episodes devoid of any connection to a larger overall conspiracy of which Chris Carter and team were so fond. As a result, I kind of forgot how much these details – the green blood, the alien bounty hunter, the abductions – frustrated me, particularly when the entire episode feels like a pale imitation of even the weakest conspiracy outing.

The prologue shows two Oregon police officers investigating a downed aircraft that is potentially of alien origin. Their cars are rendered useless as the power is cut, and the sheriff is body snatched by an alien. We know the story. We’ve been here before. After receiving heavy scrutiny from the FBI accounting team, Mulder and Scully investigate the situation, reconnecting with people from their very first abduction case. They even revisit the spot where they originally lost nine minutes of time, and Mulder marked an “X” on the ground. As the episode progresses, the Smoking Man, now apparently dying of cancer, calls for Alex Krycek and Maria Covarrubias’s assistance in finding the downed UFO before Mulder and Scully do. However, Mulder and Scully’s investigation is quickly cut short thanks to her failing health. Back in D.C., Scully and the Lone Gunmen discover that Scully was never in danger, but Mulder could potentially be abducted upon his return. Sure enough, Mulder and A.D. Skinner return to Oregon, and Mulder joins a group of individuals as they are taken by an alien aircraft. Meanwhile, Alex Krycek and Marita return to the Smoking Man and inform him of Mulder’s fate. They eventually push him down a flight of stairs. We close with Skinner telling Scully of his final encounter with Mulder, and she reveals to Skinner that she is pregnant.

In better days, “Requiem” would have been a 2-part episode, but maybe we should be thankful it wasn’t. It isn’t a terrible episode, and, in fact, it pulls off a near-miraculous final five minutes as Mulder is abducted, Smoking Man is apparently killed (not really), and Scully is apparently pregnant. Still, the bulk of the episode has the feeling of the recreation of an artist’s greatest hits when they’re really past their prime. All of the expected players are there, but they’re not playing the right tune, somehow.

The entire episode has the echo of former greatness, giving me pause that perhaps I didn’t appreciate some of the earlier material as much as I should have given what has come in later seasons. With that, unfortunately, that’s about all I have to say about “Requiem.” It’s not really one that’s inspired extensive thought from me. I suppose it’s a little tiring knowing Chris Carter and team are trying to return to the older stories after completely resolving them in a clear and satisfactory manner. Guess that’s what you have to do when the rug isn’t pulled out from under you as you once thought it would be.

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