TV - The X-Files Season 6, Dreamland I/II

The X-Files

After his Top 5 earlier Steve Taylor-Bryant remembers the Dreamland two-parter...

With the simplicity of the age old body swap concept you wouldn’t expect a great drama to play out across two whole episodes, but that is the beauty of The X-Files, even when the whole is beginning to fail, the small parts are still full of the essence of genius. That is what Dreamland I/II are, they are little gems of genius that hark back to The Twilight Zone, Spielberg at his best, The X-Files when it first started, and the like.

An informant of Mulder's (David Duchovny) has told the F.B.I agent about some strange goings on at the iconic Area 51 so Mulder and Scully (Gillian Anderson) take a trip to the Nevada testing base where they are confronted by a smarmy, yet bored, shadowy agent Morris Fletcher (Michael McKean) the head of a unit of Men in Black types. As a UFO flies overhead Mulder and Fletcher go through a body swapping incident, unbeknown to Scully.

Mulder struggles with being Fletcher, where does he live? Why is Fletcher’s wife so angry? But Fletcher is loving being Mulder, chilling out more than he could before and making a pass at Scully, who is now very suspicious of her partner. After finding a survivor of the wreckage and evidence of another body swap gone wrong, Mulder now suspects that Fletcher's boss is the informant and desperately tries to inform Scully of what has happened but Fletcher as Mulder phones Area 51 and reports Mulder as Fletcher as the source of all their leaks resulting in Mulder/Fletcher being dragged off by the Military police.

The X-Files

After pretending he actually is Fletcher, Mulder lies his way through a meeting to evade the prison cell, but still wants people to know he is not Fletcher. He tries telling Fletcher's wife who thinks he’s going nuts, Scully has now guessed that Fletcher is actually inhabiting Mulder's body and starts demanding to know how to switch them back. Scully gets Fletcher/Mulder to set up a meeting for all the parties involved with Mulder's informant. 

After decamping to a Nevada bar Scully Fletcher/Mulder, Mulder/Fletcher and Fletcher's wife meet the mysterious informant who is in actual fact Area 51's General Wegman, who admits that he sabotaged the UFO to try and get the stealth module, which he hands to he thinks is Mulder. After thinking that they may never be put back the right way Fletcher/Mulder manages to convince his wife that he and Mulder/Fletcher have actually swapped and set about finding an actual way to rectify things using the warp drive that Wegman gave them. After letting the warp drive overcome them Mulder and Fletcher revert back and the last few days are undone and reset.

The above recap sounds very freaky Friday and far too humorous to be a science fiction television episode but it truly is remarkable. Duchovny's portrayal, including the ridiculous mirror dance, is astonishing as is that of his body counterpart Michael McKean. Scully's willingness to believe is slightly heightened in this two-parter which adds an extra dynamic to her relationship with both versions of Mulder and the Area 51 aspect is a must see for any science fiction fan.

Image - XFiles Wiki.