Season 3, Episode 24: “Talitha Cumi”
“Talitha Cumi” is one of Cigarette Smoking Man’s greatest episodes. I daresay that he’s the real star of the show, not Mulder and Scully. In this episode, CSM is everything from sadistic to cunning to creepy to frustrated to downright angry. The best part of this episode is watching him go from emotion to emotion and getting more sinister all the time. The rest of the episode is…eh.
Like I said before, mythology episodes are so hard to judge. They’re especially hard to judge when they have two parts, and two parters are even harder to judge when the first part is a season finale. It’s going to be difficult as hell for me to talk about “Talitha Cumi” without also discussing the events in “Herrenvolk,” the first episode of Season 4, but I’ll do my best. Just don’t expect this review to be “Jose Chung” length or anything.
If you’re reading this, I assume you’ve already seen the episode, so I’m not going to pad this review with a plot summary. Instead, I’m going to return to CSM, because he is so much fun to watch in this episode. You see, we haven’t seen CSM loose his cool before, at least not too much, and “Talitha Cumi” is one of the episodes that helps us get to know him better as a villain. Season 4 will mark the rise of CSM as the ultimate nemesis in the series, and he will play an even larger role in the mythology episodes to come. That’s amazing coming from a character whose original job was just to stand around in the background and smoke.
We also have the appearance of Jeremiah Smith, a character who fulfills a very common X-Files archetype I’m going to start calling Jesus-of-the-week. Now, I have no problem with Jesus figures, but there might be a little too many of them in The X-Files for my taste. That’s a nitpick, but seeing that we have several more Bible-thumping Christian episodes to slug through before the series is over, I can’t let it slide by. Besides, I never miss an opportunity to coin a new term. Throw Jesus-of-the-week up there with DFWS, Awesome Mulder/Scullyism, Shippyness, and Holy Mulder as one of the catchphrases nobody but me uses.
Ah, and Mr. X. We’ll be discussing him more once I get to “Herrenvolk,” but suffice to say his appearances in “Wetwired” and “Talitha Cumi” are a welcome sight after his long, unexplained absence. There’s an interesting juxtaposition in this episode between him and CSM, about how they approach Mulder and the fact that they both claim to have important information for him, but I’m feeling especially lazy today. Let’s finish off Season 3 with a bang.
Final score for “Talitha Cumi” is 6/10. While it does give us an interesting exploration into CSM’s character, overall it’s a really, really weak season finale. I’m not saying it’s a weak episode, but as a season closer it just doesn’t do it for me. It’s certainly no “Anasazi.” Like many of the two-parters, a lot of this story’s really amazing moments come in Part 2, “Herrenvolk.” So don’t feel down, X-Philes, it does not end here. Unfortunately, though, I have to give every episode a score.
Notable Nuggets (and Nitpicks)
- What does “Talitha Cumi” even mean? (*heads to Google*) – Answer: “Little maid, arise.” Ooooh, I see what they did there! Kind of!
- I do not buy for a second that Mulder did as well as he did in the little brawl between him and Mr. X. I’m not saying Mulder isn’t a strong young lad, but come on. It’s Mr. X. The dude could probably kill someone with a mere glance.
- There’s some Mulder puppy dogging in this episode. There will be even more Mulder puppy dogging in the next episode. Prepare yourselves.