X-Files Flashback: ‘Closure’


Season 7, Episode 11
Director: Kim Manners
Writer: Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz

“Closure,” the much-anticipated resolution to the Samantha Mulder storyline, begins on a somber, ominous and deeply sad note as officials work to clear the over-populated makeshift cemetery of dead little girls. Grown men sob as the skeletal remains are unearthed. It’s incredibly depressing until David Duchovny’s voice over hits this completely bizarre line: “Were they still dreaming of ice cream and monkey bars?” I mean, I understand the sentiment for sure. The dead little girls had their lives interrupted by the sadistic child killer arrested at the end of “Sein und Zeit,” and Mulder wonders if their minds were still trapped in that state of innocence. Yet, the juxtaposition of “ice cream and monkey bars” just doesn’t work on any level, especially the sound of the words clanging together like some horribly dented bell. It’s symptomatic of this ponderous and monotonous voice-over delivered by Mulder that nearly derails the episode even before it begins.

After the clearing of the field, it is evident that neither Samantha Mulder nor the recently missing Amber Lynn LaPierre were included in the gruesome discovery. Mulder is then approached by a psychic, Harold Piller (The Silence of the Lambs‘ Anthony Heald), who eventually claims to be channeling Mulder’s mother as Mulder writes April Base, a reference to April Air Force Base. Scully, meanwhile, continues to chase the case through facts and files, hoping to bring some sort of closure to Mulder’s pain. In his mother’s apartment, she finds evidence of a burned original document calling off the search for Samantha Mulder as signed by Cigarette Smoking Man, but Mulder blows her off, preferring the conspiracy path with the questionable psychic at the base.

The Cigarette Smoking Man suddenly appears in Scully’s apartment, telling Scully to stop searching for Samantha because he believes her dead although he coldly agrees that he allowed Mulder to believe “his ignorance gives him hope.” Mulder and Pillar break into the base and eventually find evidence that Samantha lived there with Jeffrey Spender. After Mulder shares the information with Scully, she reveals that Pillar is under investigation for the disappearance of his own son and has a history of instability. Still, he convinces them to participate in a seance where Mulder uncovers a diary allegedly written by Samantha in 1979 where she describes painful tests and a fading memory.

The trail eventually leads to a hospital nurse who remembers Samantha because she disappeared under similar circumstances to Amber Lynn LaPierre. Hearing this, Mulder lapse into an Enya video where he encounters dozens of ghost children, including Samantha (who, by the way, looks nothing like all the other Samantha’s we’ve seen on The X-Files thus far). Mulder returns to the real world and tells Pillar that Samantha and his son are dead. After Pillar freaks out and runs away, Mulder tells Scully he’s finally free. Cue Enya.


“Closure” apparently provides an end to the Samantha Mulder storyline. And there is evidence provided by Mulder where he does indeed achieve the closure promised in the title of the episode. That’s great. What about the viewers? This episode highlights the absolute worst qualities of the series’s mythology episodes. There’s a great deal of activity and talk and supernatural events, all signifying nothing. That’s fine. I’m completely accustomed to that, honestly. Yet, when an episode promises “Closure” and that “Closure” is effectively equated to completely resolving the Samantha Mulder mystery, said episode pretty damn well provide a great answer to a mystery that has plagued the audience for seven seasons. Guess what? You tell me what happened to Samantha Mulder. I have no idea. What happened to Pillar’s son? What happened to Amber Lynn LaPierre? Nothing. No answers. We know they’re dead and super happy, running amok in Enyaland. It’s like the finale of Lost in that it uses metaphorical and pseudo-religious platitudes to gloss over the fact that there’s no satisfactory answer there.

It’s a cop-out. An infuriating cop-out that provides no “Closure” at all. Good thing Mulder’s happy and free.

I’m pissed off and sad.

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