X-Files (2016) season 10, episode 4
WRITER: GLEN MORGAN
DIRECTOR: GLEN MORGAN
AIR DATE: February 8 2016
"Home Again" turns out to be an up and down episode for season ten of The X-Files. Glen Morgan, who had a hand in many episodes of the initial run, such as "Squeeze", "Tooms", "Home", and "Beyond the Sea", writes and directs this episode. That last episode, from season one, which featured the death of William Scully (Don S. Davis) and its effect on Scully (Gillian Anderson), figures prominently in this episode.
The monster of the week angle to this is a bit off. Mysterious and gruesome deaths take place against the backdrop of homeless people being pushed around by city officials. The deaths have happened in ways that seem impossible for anyone to have committed, and certainly in the first case seems at least somewhat justifiable; the victim is a sneering and contemptuous sort. The deaths are graphic - like the classic and disturbing episode "Home", which featured very dark matter, the same applies here where victims are quite literally ripped apart. Still, there are some issues with the monster of the week. The person behind it (Tim Armstrong) comes across as murky and ambiguous, and things end up feeling unresolved.
The other half of the episode, however, makes up for that, and really, one could have gotten away with writing the whole episode from this plotline. Scully and Mulder (David Duchovny) are in the midst of investigating the case when she gets a call - her mother Margaret (Sheila Larken) has suffered a heart attack and is in hospital in a precarious state. For Scully, a hospital vigil and worry about a dying mother leads to questions about the estrangement between her mother and her brother Charlie. I recall the character mentioned during the initial run, but we only really got to know her other siblings, Bill and Melissa. What fuelled that estrangement is unexplained, but unanswered questions weigh heavily in the episode.
Fox comforts Dana
Scully’s vigil and the building sorrow that we can see coming is something we can relate to if we’ve lost a parent or if we’re dealing with aging parents. Anderson plays to that throughout, conveying Scully’s sorrow and uncertainty. The loss of the character is one that the audience feels too - there’s enough history invested in Margaret Scully that we would. The character appeared frequently in the series, and was sympathetic - a marked difference with Mulder’s parents, who could be distant or difficult. As to Mulder himself, his instincts in the circumstances are just right - he urges Scully to go to her mother immediately, and when time allows is there with Scully. He’s completely supportive when Scully needs it, and it speaks to the bond between them.
While the episode doesn’t quite hit the marks with its supernatural element plot, the characterization of the other part of the story works well. Death is something we can all relate to in one way or another, and a character losing someone who’s been a rock in her life comes across as ringing true. With two more episodes left to go, it also stands to reason that if there’s a prevailing trend in this return of the series, it’s the notion of Scully and Mulder’s son. Are we to see William himself before it’s all said and done? Time will tell.