Season 3, Episode 13: “Syzygy”
This is another one of those episodes that shouldn’t be taken seriously, like Season 2’s “Die Hand Die Verletzt.” If you don’t keep that in mind, this episode will be extremely painful for you to watch. If you take everything in a lighthearted manner, though, be prepared for some major laughs.
I confess that I actually love this episode. It’s not a huge fan favorite, I’m guessing because many fans don’t want to see Mulder and Scully fight. And I normally wouldn’t, either, but not in this case. After all, it was the alignment of the planets or whatever that set them at each other’s throats, wasn’t it?
See, that just illustrates my point. It’s ridiculous. It’s supposed to be ridiculous. Knowing that, I can sit back and laugh my head off. Mulder and Scully are hilarious in this episode, with Mulder being particularly nasty, Scully being particularly DFWS (newcomers visit the “Deep Throat” review), and shooting their little verbal barbs at each other with ingenious comedic flair. It’s priceless.
I never get tired of watching the scene in the hallway where Scully calls out Mulder for treating her rudely. Gillian Anderson should have gotten an Emmy for Scully’s reaction after Mulder says, “Must be Detective White.” Her face changes expression only slightly, but it’s enough to let us know that she was this close to pulling out her gun and shooting Mulder where he stood. In another episode, in another time, that might have made me furious, but here, I’m just laughing my head off.
I never understood why so many people dislike this one; I suppose it’s because they take it so seriously. I think it’s a rather well put-together episode, even apart from all the comedy. This might be the first time in the entire show Mulder and Scully’s UST had any direct competition with another character in the show, even if it was very brief. Phoebe Green from Season 1’s “Fire” came along too early, Jack Willis from Season 1’s “Lazarus” wasn’t even himself for the majority of the episode, and Scully wasn’t in Season 2’s “3.” If I’m not mistaken, I do believe that this is the first time the writers have deliberately placed sexual tension between one of the agents and another character and set it up specifically to be compared to Mulder and Scully’s relationship. I suppose we got a little bit of that in “War of the Coprophages” with Mulder and Bambi, but not much.
But with Mulder and Detective White, the tension is brought in right from the beginning, when Mulder says “You don’t suppose she’s a virgin, do you?” You bet your Darin Morgans Mulder meant what you think he meant in that line.
But I’m leaving out the whole other part of this episode, that of the evil teenage girls and the deaths of the high school kids.
If this is what you have a problem with in this episode, I can’t say I blame you too much. I’ve always found Terri and Margi’s blatant leftover 80’s over-the-topness funny, but I can definitely see why somebody wouldn’t. It does get a little too death-heavy towards the end of the episode as well, especially since these are high school kids dying. That’s something a lot of people don’t like to take lightly, and I can’t argue with that.
Still, the whole planetary alignment thing (and the hilarious astrologist Zirinka, who easily wins best guest character) give this episode a ridiculous edge and even an explanation for why everything is out of balance. If you ask me, it only reaffirms Mulder and Scully’s status as the one and only duo even more. They’re off balance because in normal astrological conditions, they’re an unbreakable pair. That’s something to take away from this episode, even if you don’t find it funny.
But I do. Oh, I do.
Final score for “Syzygy” is 8/10. Comedic gold.
- David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson are amazing in this episode. We won’t get to experience banter like this until Season 5’s “Bad Blood.”
- Mulder is quite slappable in this episode, but I think that’s part of the point. Still, you can’t help but feel bad for him when Detective White tries to clumsily seduce him.
- Scully smoking also never made me comfortable or got a laugh out of me. Eeek.