Season 1, Episode 4: “Conduit”
“Conduit” is the first episode having to do with Mulder’s sister, Samantha. She was mentioned in “Pilot” but so far hasn’t yet been brought up since. Samantha is, of course, very important as she is the reason Mulder developed an interest in the paranormal in the first place. Every episode involving Samantha, therefore, is supposed to explore Mulder’s emotions and the pain his sister’s loss has inflicted upon him. “Conduit” does that, but just barely.
I have a lot of difficulty finding things to say about this episode, because honestly, there isn’t much to say. With the exception of one scene, nothing in the episode is particularly interesting, and Mulder emotes so little that any emotional exploration that could have been done here is lost in the investigation, which is slow-paced and uninteresting. However, I can’t truly say that this episode didn’t need to exist because it did. The problem with the Samantha storyline is that it involved more complex emotions than the series was prepared to handle at this early point in the show, but if they didn’t do a Samantha episode, people would forget that Samantha was important. But this episode is so forgettable that I don’t see how it succeeded on either front.
In any case, I apologize for this review because it’s going to be extremely short. I honestly have nothing to say about this episode because the episode gives me nothing to say. It’s like talking about sandpaper. And yes, that makes me sad, albeit not excessively so, as this is a Season 1 episode.
But oh, X-Files. You beautiful show. You beautiful show with your beautiful exceptions.
Remember back a few paragraphs when I said that, with the exception of one scene, nothing in “Conduit” was particularly interesting? Well, there is one scene in this episode which I’ve always found fantastic. It’s the very end, when Scully listens to Mulder’s regression hypnosis tape and he talks about his sister. As the audio of the tape plays, we see Mulder sitting in a church, crying over a photograph of Samantha. In case you don’t remember it, here it is:
Video password is mulderandscully
And no, I don’t think the show is deliberately promoting its own catchphrase. The scene is beautifully written and, though I might meet opposition here, well-acted. I’ve never minded David Duchovny as Mulder because I think his “monotony” matches up perfectly with Mulder’s character, and in emotional scenes like this one, he manages to very subtly bring out the sorrow of a character who honestly hasn’t given himself time or permission to open up to very many people.
I actually remembered this scene as being one of my favorites from the first season, but completely forgot what episode it had come from. Which, you know, is very telling.
Thank you, X-Files, for your marvelous exceptions.
Final score for “Conduit” is 4/10. The episode is boring and bland, until the fantastic final scene.
- Hooray to Billy for being the first in a long line of creepy X-Files children.
- Also congratulations to the teacup at the beginning for giving a great THERE’S A UFO shake.
- Mulder is briefly flirty with Scully at the beginning of this episode, but he’s pretty flirty.
- Also, this episode is the first time we see a shirtless Mulder. An important detail that must not be overlooked.