Season 1, Episode 12: “Fire”
Hey, guess what, everybody? We all hate Phoebe Green!
Sometimes, when your two favorite characters (whom you desperately want to get together) have romantic encounters with other people, you, as a viewer, manage to find every single little imperfection with those outside people and turn them into reasons to despise them. Example: Diana Fowley. Oh, we’ll get to her later, but just know that she’s in a very different category than Phoebe Green.
No, Phoebe Green is just awful. If Mulder and Scully were married at this point I would still hate her. Phoebe’s manipulative, she’s annoying, and she’s just downright despicable. Her sole reason for popping back into Mulder’s life suddenly is to get into his pants.
The X-Files is really, really bad at doing love triangles. It’s not hard to see why. We’ve already invested ourselves in Mulder and Scully, and when you throw other people into the mix, it steps all over that sacred, beautiful relationship. And I don’t even necessarily mean that in a romantic sense. Think about it: Mulder and Scully tend to be either absent or involved very little when the other is romantically involved with someone else, and that is why these episodes generally don’t work. Diana Fowley is an exception, because she was involved with more than Mulder. But most of the others – “3” and “Never Again” and “Fire” – they suck.
Part of the reason for that, I think, is because usually the other person isn’t a good match. Phoebe Green is one of these people, and I’m not saying that because I’m a Shipper. Mulder and Phoebe really don’t make a good pair. From the get-go, it’s pretty obvious that all Phoebe wants is to get into Mulder’s pants. Scully knows this, but she’s so amused that she lets it happen. (If Phoebe had showed up in a later season, Scully would have kicked her ass. But for now Scully is still on the “mostly amused by Mulder” phase of their relationship, so she doesn’t mind that much when Mulder gets his hands tied with Phoebe.)
Also, Mulder’s spontaneous fear of fire – something that was never mentioned before and will never be brought up again – is, as David Duchovny said in one of his X-Files 20th Anniversary interviews, “so silly.” Mulder being afraid of fire does nothing for the episode except make Phoebe look even more despicable, and the fact that the show never brings this fear up again is pretty telling that it was just a ridiculous thing to add in.
Not all is lost, however. I’d like to bring your attention back to the quote box at the top of the page, to where I make a desperate plea for help from one Dana Scully. “Save us, Scully!” I said.
And she does.
It’s Scully who pulls this episode out of the gutter. Her amused reactions and facial expressions to Mulder and Phoebe are priceless. The scene where Mulder and Phoebe are kissing at the party is one of the most hilarious moments in the show, with Scully rolling her eyes. You just know she’s thinking “Really? He’s doing this now, the idiot?” And no, she’s not jealous. Shipper though I may be, I can’t stretch the truth. Scully is amused and annoyed by Mulder’s interactions with Phoebe in this episode, but she is not jealous of them. Sorry, Shippers. That time will come. It’ll come in Season 6, but it will come.
“Fire” would have been a lot worse if it hadn’t been for our dear Scully, but she doesn’t make it a good episode; she only keeps it from being dreadful. Thankfully, Phoebe Green goes away forever after this one, so despite my negative view of her, I can’t find it within myself to hate her too much. She, as Mulder discovers at the end, isn’t worth it.
Final score for “Fire” is 5/10 stars. Would have been lower if not for Scully. Thank you, Scully.
- The ending scene where Scully scares Mulder with her British accent is pretty funny, especially if you know that Gillian Anderson is, in fact, British. That’s a legitimate accent, folks.
- Awesome Scullyism Award for “So, Sherlock, is the game afoot?” and “Must be an X-File.”
- After they pull Mulder out of the smoky hotel hallway, Scully has her hands all over him, checking him out. I would have loved to see Phoebe Green’s face during that scene.