TV – The X-Files Season 10, Episode 5

The X-Files Season 10 Episode 5

By the rivers of Babylon. No, that’s a different article, this is Steve Taylor-Bryant’s take on the penultimate episode of The X-Files. Babylon…

“Nobody except the F.B.I’s most unwanted! I’ve been waiting 23 years to say that”

A Muslim is praying to Allah before driving through South Texas to a motel to meet his friend. They drive to an art gallery, pray together in the car, before entering. The gallery explodes and many people are dead or on fire. In Washington Mulder and Scully are watching a video of people staring at the sky. These are ear witnesses to strange noises described as God blowing his own horn. They are discussing the bible when the door goes and its two young agents, Miller (Robbie Amell) and Einstein (Lauren Ambrose) who want Mulder and Scully to help them with the terrorist case. Miller, much to Einstein’s disbelief, wants to find a way to talk to the surviving terrorist, Shiraz (Artin John), who is in a coma. Mulder and Miller believe there is many ways to talk to the near dead whilst Scully and Einstein remain sceptical. Whilst watching a news report on the terrorist attack over art, Miller wants to get inside Shiraz’s head whilst Einstein slags off The X-Files. Scully phones Miller and thinks there is a scientific way of trying to communicate with Shiraz and offers to come to Texas and try whilst Mulder asks Einstein on the phone if she will return to The X-Files and listen to his idea to try.

Einstein tells Miller she will catch another flight as she needs to board the crazy train and reluctantly goes to meet Mulder. Mulder talks about the powerful weight of words and Neo Darwinists and tells Einstein she needs to expand her mind. Mulder explains about the scientific validity of magic mushrooms and says Einstein should help him take a trip so he can communicate with Shiraz in the other world between life and death. Scully meanwhile tells Miller about the use of an MRI scanner to solicit yes and no answers from coma patients, particularly Patient 23, but warns him it might not work. Homeland Security burst in and try to relive Miller and Scully of the case but when Miller argues and tries to photograph the agents, who can communicate in Arabic, they back off. Mulder arrives in Texas and finds Einstein who gives him medicinal mushrooms. She is annoyed that Miller chose to work with Scully and so this is more petulance than any agreement she may have with Mulder’s idea. Scully and Miller are informed that a terror threat has been received by the hospital but refuse to leave Shiraz, whilst they are talking to the agents that informed about the threat outside the nurse at Shiraz bedside is acting strangely. She closes the room door and switches off his life support, only switching it back on when Mulder and Einstein arrive. The nurse starts on an anti-immigrant rant and is still bemoaning the U.N conspiracy to fill America with terror cells when Mulder disappears after taking the drugs.

Mulder is tripping along the hospital corridor, then the middle of the road, then a country and western club where he both line dances with a group and does back flips and Travolta type moves on his own, he drinks with cowboys and girls in tight denim whilst wearing lots of bling before finding Agent Einstein is taking him for a sado masochism session. He awakes on a boat rowed by hooded people being whipped by the Cigarette Smoking Man, before seeing a mother holding Shiraz. He approaches and Shiraz whispers in his ear. Mulder comes around in hospital bed being berated by Skinner (Mitch Pillegi) for frightening people in a club and embarrassing the bureau especially as Einstein had given a placebo and not actual narcotics. As Einstein is taking Mulder out of the hospital he recognises the lady of his dream, Shiraz’s mother Noora (Nina Nayebi) who lets into the building and takes to see Shiraz. She speaks to her son who has his brain activity light up before passing away. Mulder tells his cohorts that Shiraz spoke to him but in Arabic and gives Miller the words to translate. Shiraz had given Mulder the location of the bomb factory, the Babylon Motel, and SWAT go in and arrest everyone. Miller and Einstein are at the airport and realise they really didn’t do much but learnt a lot, Einstein especially has her opinion of the power of words changed. Mulder is at home examining the marks on his body from his trippy state when Scully arrives. She thought the placebo was a great idea of Einstein’s but Mulder can’t understand how he saw what he saw. They both agree human nature has its extremes and Mulder talks about how all the gods are angry and their disciples are studying ancient angry texts. They talk about the power of suggestion and how a mother’s love could overcome the angst. They discuss the need for a common language beyond words as Mulder hears the strange horn noises in the sky.

I wasn’t looking forward to this episode as I thought the idea of giving Mulder and Scully mini-me types just wouldn’t work, but it did. The episode was by no means a classic and was yet again a political rant about left and right and their views on religion and Muslims in particular. I applaud the show for trying to get through to people via the medium of television but I didn’t find the message strong enough to have any impact so it sort of came off as very insensitive and stereotypical of both Muslims as terrorists and white Americans as racists. Politics aside though there was parts I really did enjoy. Duchovny has not really opened up this season so far, letting all the co-stars take the plaudits, but in the mushroom scene which played out like an awful 90’s era pop video, he seemed to be really having fun at last and the rest of the episode was better for it. I enjoyed Robbie Amell as Miller and Ambrose as Einstein was a delight and my fears dissipated eventually, although I have been left feeling like Babylon was more of a soft back door pilot for a new show with younger agents, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing with the quality of Carter and his team reinventing The X-Files for a new generation, but didn’t think doing it within the show, if that’s what they have done – still a theory at this point, worked as well as maybe it does with the CW and their new show launches within Arrow and the like.

Not brilliant but still highly watchable. It tried to do something brave and whilst in my opinion it failed at least it tried, and the introduction of Miller and Einstein was not that bad. Nowhere near the best of the new season but not the worst either and still better than some shows that exist on television at the moment.

Image - IMDb.