Last week's new episode of The X-Files, Mulder & Scully Meet The Were-Monster, was one of those that I will happily watch again and again. It was very much a standalone story, one which was largely played for laughs (and played very well), and it will no doubt feature highly on my own personal favourite episodes of The X-Files, should I ever actually get around to compiling one!
This week, Home Again, was not always a comfortable watch. It was a much more downbeat episode featuring an extremely emotional story of personal tragedy juxtaposed against a grotesque monster of the week style adventure. However, it may just end up being looked back upon as the strongest episode of this revival, thanks in large part to the gifted cast and writers working on the series.
Scully had a lot of awkward dialogue to deliver in Home Again. That's not to say it was awkwardly written as Glenn Morgan's script was sublime in places, but the situation Scully was placed in was a hard ask of any character. Forced to face her mother's mortality with very little warning, as is so often the case in real life, Scully spent hours sat at her hospital bedside, reflecting on her own life, her family, her child and the scars she carries. Tormented by the name William (her brother, her son, Mulder even - it is his middle name), not knowing why her mother had only asked for Charlie (Scully's younger brother who has long been estranged from the family) in her few brief seconds of consciousness, and the significance of a pendant which Mrs Scully had in her few personal possessions, Dana needed answers to the little questions but sadly they were never going to come. In the hands of a lessor actress this could have gone horribly wrong, cringe worthy almost, but Gillian Anderson managed to deliver so much emotion in her words and in her subtle nuances, the sort which could only be achieved by someone who knows their character inside and out, it all combined to make the inevitable outcome even more heartbreaking. I had, up until, now, felt that this revival had been slightly short changing Anderson and a little light on the Scully side, but this episode more than rectified that niggle.
Alongside this is what, initially, appears to be a completely unrelated monster of the week tale, and it's one of the most grotesque and gruesome the series has ever delivered. There's a touch of the Victor Frankenstein about this creatures creator, the artist known as the Trash Man, although no body parts were assembled in this case, rather his monster was fashioned out of clay and willed into existence. The Band Aid Nose Man has taken on the role of guardian of the homeless, dishing out an extreme brand of justice by ripping his victims to pieces and depositing them in the trash.
After Scully's mother's passing and her need to get back to work we see the connection, Home Again is all about disposability. With flashbacks of Scully giving birth playing out whilst we hear the story of how the Tulpa came into existence, it all links together. The Trash Man doesn't feel he's responsible for his thoughtform creature's actions but Scully feels otherwise.
"If you made the problem, if it’s your idea, then you’re responsible. You put it out of sight so it couldn’t be your problem, but you’re just as bad as the people that you hate."This leads to Scully later expressing concern that her and Mulder had disposed of their child like trash. William is certainly playing an important role in this miniseries and I suspect it's not the last time we hear his name before the revival is over.
On rewatch (and this is a great one to rewatch) you'll notice a lot more of these disposable/trash references than just the obvious ones surrounding the Band Aid Nose Man. As I said at the start, this was not always an easy watch, especially if you've gone through a similar situation, but I applaud Glenn Morgan and everyone involved in this production for taking the time to include such a powerful story in what is a very limited run of new adventures. With episodes like Home Again it's hard to believe The X-Files has been away for 13 years, and it's almost as hard to accept that there are only 2 more episodes left before it goes away again.