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The Jersey Devil
The X-Files: One Shot
1x04: Season 1, Episode 5 (October 8, 1993)
(Director of Photography: John S. Bartley)
My prior caption (from June 25, 2015):
One of my (many) interpretations of the series is that it’s about one person perverting another to their perspective, of which this image is a more comical variant. “Perverting” might be too harsh, honestly. I think, instead, of what Don Bachardy said of his time spent with long-term love Christopher Isherwood: “He warped him to his mold…It was exactly what the boy wanted.”
More thoughts: “The Jersey Devil”—written by series creator Chris Carter—is an important episode in the run of The X-Files, though not for its modern Bigfoot (or, really, Bigfootess) monster plot, which is pretty tossed off. It’s a crucial installment, however, for the Mulder/Scully relationship, illustrating the, at this point, cavernous ideological and emotional divides between them, gaps that can only be bridged by the divesting of almost all other attachments. This is something Scully in particular engages in here, burning personal bridges much as she did professional ones in “Squeeze.” By episode’s end, she’s more in Mulder’s orbit than ever, and it’s quite evident that there’s no going back.
Carter couches this in the language of screwball comedy. Character peccadilloes and longings (Mulder’s porn obsession; the pull Scully feels between career and motherhood) are treated like shocking reveals in a slamming-doors farce. Dialogue often overlaps and tends to the sarcastically rapid-fire (see the Afterimages below for one shockingly callous, and hilarious, exchange), while this climactic M&S banter has more than a bit of His Girl Friday about it:
Mulder: Don't you have a life, Scully?
Scully: You keep that up, Mulder, and I'll hurt you like that beast woman.
[She holds the door open for him.]
Mulder: 8 million years out of Africa…
Scully: …and look who's holding the door.
Bartley conjures some beautifully atmospheric images; the show’s soon-to-be-signature flashlight-piercing-the-darkness shot gets a test run here, interestingly enough at the break of dawn. Carter plants some unconscious narrative seeds that pay off way down the line in the later-seasons “William” arc. (“Having kids changes everything.” Boyhowdy, will it.) And the scene in which Scully goes on a date with the divorced, über-boring, Cirque du Soleil-loving Rob (Andrew Airlie) is its own special kind of incongruity, looking and feeling like it was air-lifted and dropped in from a much lesser FOX drama of the period. (Perhaps the short-lived Class of ’96, on which Gillian Anderson guest-starred. But why bring up bad memories?)
Flashlights pierce the dawn
I’m your biggest fan
Light from above
What series is this?