By Josh Melo
‘The X-Files’ Review – S10 Ep.5 (Babylon)
The penultimate episode of the mini-series revival of The X-Files has come and gone. While not the laugh out loud adventure that was Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster, Babylon is a solid blend of whacked out meta-humor and relevant worldly commentary. It isn’t the best episode of the season, but it adds yet another unique and memorable entry to The X-Files canon.
With so few episodes to work with, telling a convincing tale from start to finish would have been a tall order. So instead of making the effort, the writers opted to not even try at all. Instead, they went out of their way to make each and every episode of the six-entry season a unique experience. From the conspiracy laden premiere to the “batcrap” crazy adventure with the Were-Monster, none of these new installments played the same way. That holds true with the second to last episode of the season, Babylon. If the Were-Monster was the full on comedy episode, Babylon acts more like a dramedy.
Magical mushrooms and country music video segments not withstanding, Babylon provides a surprisingly timely commentary on Muslim misrepresentation and terrorism as a whole. While there isn’t a large focus on the paranormal or extraterrestrial, Babylon delves into the realm of ideas and communication. When a pair of younger doppelganger versions of Mulder and Scully find their way down to the X-Files office, the four pair off to learn that science and faith aren’t mutually exclusive ideals.
The introduction of Robbie Amell’s Agent Miller and Lauren Ambrose’s Agent Einstein weren’t the most interesting aspects of the episode but they did make it possible for Mulder and Scully to play to the nostalgic side of their characters long time fans will have fallen in love with. While Miller and Scully had their moments, the majority of the fun came from Mulder and Einstein’s snarky back and forth. The (debatably) wiser Mulder brings forth the concept of ideas as tangible things, that thoughts and words carry with them a weight just like a desk or a person would. The banter sometimes gets longwinded but to see Duchovny look so alive in his expository mode is simply a ton of fun, especially when you think back to the revival’s premiere (how far we’ve come indeed).
Despite the grandiose, contemplative nature of Mulder and Einstein’s conversation, the end goal is to get medical consent to take a bunch of magical mushrooms and try and talk to a Muslim terrorist on life support. Where the idea behind the plan was sound, the execution was nothing short of a trip. Almost immediately abandoning the patient, Mulder makes his way through town, hitting up the local line dancing bar, casino, what appears to be a red room with the cigar smoking man and a boat carrying the dying body of the young man from the bombing and his mother (it get’s more than a little strange).
The “mushrooms” sequence wasn’t as hilarious as the Were-Monster episode but it did provide a few good chuckles while still communicating this odd idea of cross dimensional communication Mulder brought up earlier. Plus, we got see Duchovny bust out some stellar dance moves along the way.
To wrap this psychedelic communications mumbo-jumbo in real world issues was a smart play. The misrepresentations of political and religious groups is at the forefront of contemporary thought, so to broach the subject in such a fun, yet informative, way makes the episode all the more impactful. This also proved to be only the second episode to feature a satisfying ending. Aside from the Were-Monster episode, all other cases have been left opened. Last week saw the Band-Aid nose man (still weird to write) run free, the conspiracy from the premiere hasn’t been mentioned since and the case with the super powered children ended with them running off into the nether. It’s fun to see Mulder and Scully get a definite win for a change, especially within the confines of a fun episode like this one.
With only one more episode to go, how the writers will choose to wrap things up is sure to be a major fan concern over the next week. Will we get another one-off adventure? Or will we return to the global conspiracy that brought Mulder and Scully back into the public consciousness? While I would personally love another mind trip experience, the likelihood of capping the season with something more substantial seems high.
That being said, I can’t really complain about how this revival turned out. Some episodes stand out amongst the rest, but I can’t point to a definitive “bad” outing. Let’s see if the season can end on an equally strong note.
Overall, Babylon gets an 8.5/10.