X-Files Flashback: ‘Colony’

Season 2, Episode 16
Director: Nick Marck
Writer: Chris Carter

The X-Files hit its first series 2-part episode a few back with “Duane Barry” and “Ascension,” which detailed the probable alien abduction of an endangered (and pregnant) Scully. It’s the first one we’d encountered, and the effect was significant. Watching the two back to back certainly gave a more cinematic sensation – something The X-Files would legitimately attempt a few years later with their big-budget motion picture. With “Colony,” they attempt the same effect again, and, while the episode is intriguing and entertaining enough, it feels a little soon to be jumping back into a continuing storyline.

“Colony” begins with an apparently injured Mulder checked into a field hospital suffering from hypothermia. As doctors place him into a bath for treatment, Scully bursts onto the scene warning the attending physicians that the cold is the only thing keeping Mulder alive. As if by cue, he begins to flatline. Cut to two weeks earlier, crew on a freighter spot a UFO hovering above them that seems to crash into the sea. As they rescue the sole occupant, the event is reported as a downed Russian fighter, but the pilot re-appears in Pennsylvania and attacks a doctor by stabbing him in the back of the neck, causing the doctor to bleed a bubbly green substance and die. Mulder and Scully are pulled into the events after an anonymous source sends Mulder a series of clips illustrating the deaths of other doctors. Photographs show that all three doctors are identical, and other identical doctors exist in multiple locations.

Mulder and Scully play beat the clock to save these seemingly twin doctors from their assassin, a shape-shifting being who is easily able to assume the appearance of anyone he’s seen. As the assassin finds and murders more twins, Mulder receives a phone call from his parents and returns home to Massachusetts where his alien-abducted sister supposedly reappears. She and Mulder re-connect as Scully further investigates the mysterious assassin and the twin doctors. Scully finally stumbles upon a lab that contains large vats of a viscous green fluid and what appear to be tiny cloned babies. The lab is eventually destroyed by the assassin, but Scully finds the remaining four doctors who are reportedly Russian clones. Taken into custody, the doctors are nonetheless murdered by the assassin in prison as he, naturally, assumed the identity of an authority figure. Scully and Mulder finally reconnect as she receives a phone call from him – just as “Mulder” knocks on her hotel room door.

As I’ve said before, it’s difficult to gauge the merits of a story when you only know the first half of the tale. Without knowing the end game, the juxtaposition of Mulder’s returned sister and the cloned doctors seems to overstuff the episode. The focus is clearly on the doctors’ storyline, so, after a year and a half of episodes during which Mulder pines for his missing sister, Samantha, it’s odd to only receive five minutes of screen time dedicated to the story. If it is her… Still, I’m very intrigued as to where the second part of the storyline goes and, particularly, how the two halves truly mix together.

Otherwise, the shape-shifting serial killer is effectively scary, particularly when he impersonates Mulder at the end of “Colony.” Is it a new turn of events to place Scully in mortal danger again? Not really. In fact, it’s a little tiring to see such a strong woman placed into danger situations demanding rescue by Mulder time after time in Season Two. Scully’s character arc has shifted from one of strength and resolve in Season One to one of the damsel in distress in Season Two, a little bit of a step back if you ask me.

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