The X-Files (S10E05): “Babylon”

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Reviewed by David Paul Hellings

@HellingsOnFilm

“I saw things, though, Scully. Powerful things” – Mulder

A young Muslim man prays at home in Texas, drives through cowboy country past accusatory, Stetson wearing folks, picks up a Muslim friend, before both walk into a large store and it explodes. A standard suicide bombing or is there something more going on here?

Ear witnesses heard the sound of trumpets from the sky, as though the voice of God, providing an amusing interplay between Mulder the sceptic quoting the Bible and Scully the believer pointing out that events in the Old Testament didn’t actually happen, before a younger mirror version of both agents by way of two junior FBI members: Special Agent Miller (Robbie Amell) and redhead cynic Special Agent Einstein (Lauren Ambrose) arrive seeking advice on the case. It’s a fun scene that allows us to enter the kind of pseudo-reality reserved for this series, and the episode continues the playful tone by pairing up the opposing male and female counterparts within the investigation.

“The X-Files” finds itself in a highly topical and sensitive plot area in the penultimate episode of this “Event” series (as the Fox TV marketing department decided to call it). Can Scully and Agent Miller retrieve information from the technically dead comatose bomber by accessing his thoughts? Can Mulder convince Agent Einstein that the route to the information is by her giving him magic mushrooms?

“Babylon” contains conspiracy, racists, paranoia (of foreigners and their religion) and takes risks in its storytelling and subject matter that may not find favour with many of the Fox Network’s usual demographic, but shows again that the series’ creators have always been prepared to push the envelope in terms of content. Realising, however, that an all out serious commentary wouldn’t work (and has been done in “Homeland”), we get instead a Mulder trip that includes The Lone Gunmen, line dancing, and a whip cracking Cigarette Smoking Man that almost beats Homer’s super hot chili trip in “The Simpsons”.

“Babylon” approaches the subject of forced belief in a way only “The X-Files” can and shows once more that the creators have had fun and freedom in this mini-series. Will it have attracted a new audience? Perhaps not. But, it’s preaching to the converted perfectly. Only one episode remains, and there’s a fan sadness in that statement and realisation. A joy.

This review originally appeared on SFFWorld at:
http://www.sffworld.com/2016/02/the-x-files-s10e05-babylon/

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