Season 3, Episode 16: “Apocrypha”
If you’ve been reading my reviews from the beginning, you might have noticed that for most of the mythology episodes with multiple parts, I put a lot more focus on the later ones. This isn’t because I necessarily think those are better, it’s just that it’s easier for me to talk about a lot of the elements of the mythology when I’m certain I’m not going to spoil a cliffhanger or something, and if ever any first-time watcher comes across this blog, I would hate to spoil any surprises for them. So most of what I have to say regarding two-parters is reserved for the second half.
Another difficulty that comes with two-part mythology episodes is that honestly, in my mind, they’re one big giant episode. Remember, I didn’t watch this show growing up, so I never had the experience of waiting a week to see the resolution to a cliffhanger, which is something I regret more and more every day, but obviously can’t help. You’re born when you’re born, after all, and as I was born somewhere in the middle of Season 4, I didn’t pick up on the show until a few years ago.
With that said, “Piper Maru” must have been one hell of a great cliffhanger, and I would give up vegetarianism to be able to experience it as one (okay, probably not, but I’d seriously consider it). As it is, I can’t unwatch “Apocrypha” (or anything afterwards, for that matter), so unfortunately I can’t really judge “Apocrypha” as a cliffhanger follow-up, only as a follow-up.
With that said, I like this one a lot.
It throws in thrills, chills, and Walter Skinners, as well as one of my favorite Lone Gunmen scenes…like, ever. That ice skating scene alone has already gotten this episode at least a 7/10, and we’ll see if the final score ends up being higher.
In “Apocrypha” we open with a scene with a young Bill Bulder, CSM, and other (supposed) members of the Syndicate trying to figure out what happened on the submarine discussed in “Piper Maru.” We then jump forward to Scully finding out about Skinner being shot in the restaurant. Mulder, supposedly, is still with Krycek, although judging from the closing scene of “Piper Maru” that isn’t to last very long.
Krycek is wanted by a lot of people, because he has information regarding the tape that I think is the same one from the “Anasazi”/”The Blessing Way”/”Paper Clip” trio, a digital tape that seems to bounce back and forth as an important plot device. In the end, the tape itself doesn’t amount to much – it’s the search for Krycek, the black oil, and Scully finding her sister’s killer that occupies most of this episode. So let’s take these one at a time.
Ah, Krycek. There’s something so pitiful about him. He’s no good guy, we know that, but he still seems to be an unwilling pawn in the Syndicate’s conspiracy, whether or not he started out that way. I’m just going to say it now, and I hope this doesn’t spoil anything for anyone: we never really learn where Krycek came from, how he got involved with the Syndicate, or exactly what his motivations are. This is why he’s continued to be a fan favorite for so long. He’s a mysterious, badass bad guy, but is also so pitiful at the same time. Poor Krycek.
The black oil, which as I said we’ll be seeing again, is the freakiest thing to show up in the mythology arc to date, and it’s the clearest evidence we have so far of aliens. Basically what the black oil does is it crawls on you, turns your eyes dark and liquidy, and then subjects you to its will, whatever that is. In other words, it’s basically a parasite. Remember, The X-Files loves its parasites.
(This is slightly off-topic but for anyone who saw the music video for Bastille’s “Pompeii,” which was a hit song this year, did you notice what was happening to everyone? Did you? Go watch it again.)
Then finally we come to the third major plot device, that of Scully finding her sister’s killer. Since this episode ends on this subject, I think it’s safe to say this is where the emotional core of the episode is. Unfortunately I think that this could have been woven into the episode’s narrative a little better. The scenes where Scully has to deal with this are well done, but they feel separate from the rest of the episode. Perhaps they could have devoted a whole episode to Scully’s sister, just like they often do for Samantha Mulder.
Kudos to Gillian Anderson, though, for what must have been a tough part to play, especially when Scully has to scream at the shooter while holding him at gunpoint and then realize that killing him isn’t going to do anything. It’s all done in her facial expressions (well, not the screaming part but you get the idea) and she did a great job with it.
Well, that’s “Apocrypha.” Good episode. But you know what we need? What we haven’t had for a while? A good monster-of-the-week. With an actual monster. Gee, I wonder what episode is going to be next.
*reads the title of the upcoming episode*
Oh my god yes.
Final score for “Apocrypha” is 8/10. If you want to know the truth, “Piper Maru” and “Apocrypha” are kind of the same episode to me. Perhaps “Apocrypha” could have handled the Melissa Scully thing better, but it’s still a really solid episode.
- Mulder brought Scully’s sister flowers. Sometimes he is so sweet.
- I love it when the Well Manicured Man fusses at CSM.
- I’ve said it before, I know, but where was Mr. X during all of this?