Season 4, Episode 5: “The Field Where I Died”
You guys know I love this show, right? I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. And believe me, there’s nothing I’d like better to do than to praise the hell out of the show in light of the very wonderful news that’s just been released. Wouldn’t that have been fun?
But no. Things didn’t turn out that way, apparently. As a reviewer – sloppy and amateur as I am – I do not give Get Out Of Jail Free Cards. Not even for Mulder and Scully. Not even after an X-Files greenlight.
Jeez, what bad timing.
So…yeah. I really hate this episode. I can’t think of an episode since Season 2’s “3” that I dislike more. With “The Field Where I Died,” it’s a bit more personal, since it’s a lot better than “3” technically – hell, just going by the production quality alone, the episode’s really good. Maybe I should just watch it on mute. But “The Field Where I Died” has an element to it that makes me squirm in frustration, and that’s this: it’s unbearably pretentious.
If you couldn’t tell from the Quote Box, I can’t stand dialogue like that. I love Morgan & Wong (well, most of the time), but I swear to God they somehow wrote an episode designed to personally piss me off. Maybe it doesn’t get to everybody, but this is the sort of stuff that drives me up a wall.
That’s not the only reason I dislike this episode, though. You see, Morgan & Wong, despite all of their cleverness and brilliance with episodes like “Beyond the Sea” and “Home,” really should have stuck to monsters and developing Scully rather than touching on Mulder and Scully’s relationship. Because if you didn’t think that’s what they were doing, think again. And, if you think this episode is all about that Mulder/Scully relationship that I’ve been rambling on about, think again again.
It may not be so obvious to a first-time viewer, but once you get to “Never Again” – a little later in the season – you’ll start to see where Morgan & Wong stand on this whole Mulder-and-Scully thing. Morgan & Wong are perhaps the most powerful NoRoMos that have ever been associated with The X-Files. It was only due to the fact that Chris Carter had control over the overarching storyline that Mulder and Scully weren’t split apart and then slowly brought back together over the course of a season. And before you laugh at me for my conjecture, I’m not conjecturing. That was really one of their plans.
As Salome says in Musings of an X-Phile, it was incredibly important “that Chris Carter hold tightly to the reins of his own creation.” It’ll be more clear why in “Never Again.”
Which, come to think of it, may be part of the problem for me. I never liked “The Field Where I Died,” but after seeing “Never Again,” it went into a whole other category of dislike. Because, once you know Morgan & Wong’s intentions, it’s really, really hard what to make of an exchange like this:
MULDER: Dana, if, um… early in the four years we’ve been working together… an event occurred that suggested or somebody told you that… we’d been friends together in other lifetimes… always… wouldn’t it have changed some of the ways we looked at one another?
SCULLY: Even if I knew for certain, I wouldn’t change a day.
Many people see this as romantic. I don’t. Especially since Morgan & Wong go to such great lengths to put Scully in the role of friend as they explore Mulder’s past lives. They make her a man. They make Melissa Mulder’s wife. These things are set up to be compared, and they are set up to make you look at the characters differently.
Which is fine. I don’t have a problem with a different take on the Mulder and Scully relationship. I can respect NoRoMos, even if I don’t and probably won’t ever understand them. But I do wish that Morgan & Wong had made their point in a way that was less pretentious, less forced, and less muddy.
Because in the end, that’s the biggest problem with “The Field Where I Died.” It tries to set up the Mulder and Scully relationship differently, but it never ends up doing that. Aside from that one conversation, Mulder and Scully never discuss, or appear to contemplate what the other means to them. If The X-Files is all about a relationship unspoken, a relationship with an assumed nature (that of the romantic), you cannot say “oh, they’re just friends” and not explain why. Tell me, Morgan & Wong. Why aren’t Mulder and Scully in love with each other?
And then there’s the other part of this episode, the cult suicide. That’s heavy, heavy, heavy stuff, and while the episode is appropriately somber, I almost wish the main focus had been on that. You’re so confused about what to feel sad for – Mulder’s emotions regarding Melissa, or the cult suicide. Certainly you can feel sad about both. But what does the episode feel sad for?
To top it all off, this episode just isn’t an enjoyable watch. It’s kind of dull, actually. The cinematography is beautiful and David Duchovny gives a great performance, but other than that, the episode is honestly quite boring.
Boring, pretentious, forced, and useless. Oh, Morgan & Wong. You’re killing me here.
Final score for “The Field Where I Died” is 1/10. I’m sorry, guys, I really am. This makes me feel dirty, actually. But I really do hate this episode. I can’t stand it.
Notable Nuggets (There aren’t Any, But I’ve got good news instead)
- So, how about that greenlight, huh? Are you spasming every waking moment of your life like I am? I cannot tell you what that news did for my week. I was having the crappiest of all weeks and then suddenly all my problems went away. Well, they didn’t, but it feels like they did.
- There aren’t a whole lot of details concerning the new series, but what we do know is this: Darin Morgan is coming back, it’s being shot in Vancouver, Darin Morgan is coming back, Darin Morgan is coming back, production should start this summer, William B. Davis (CSM) is returning, Darin Morgan is coming back, Darin Morgan is coming back, and Darin Morgan is coming back.
- Darin Morgan is coming back.