Thu
Mar 7 2013 4:00pm

Reopening The X-Files: “Requiem”

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Season 7, Episode 22: “Requiem”
Original Airdate: May 21, 2000

This is how it ends. Not with a voiceover, or with a Grey. Not even with an ending, because yeah, no, no, “Requiem” is not the end of The X-Files. But it is, or it could be. Like most of the show, it was conceived to cover a number of potential bases: that the show would have another season, that the show would not have another season but would have a movie, that the show would not have another season and would not, either, have a movie. It pays homage to its roots while maintaining the hazy melancholy that permeated the whole of the season, the long, longing looks at the door. And then it ends. And Mulder is gone.

Who will mourn at the departure of Fox Mulder? Are we meant to? Or is it too late for us, who have watched him die repeatedly, who have already seen him give up, then give up giving up? One might feel cynical, realizing that after seven seasons she cares very little about Mulder, but then, one might try to find out why. He hasn’t done anything wrong, particularly. He’s maybe abandoned Scully one zillion too many times, he’s maybe been a bit too pigheaded, or hardheaded, or half-headed. But what strikes me now is that Mulder’s real failing—here, now, Season 7 Episode 22—is that he doesn’t seem to want anything, anymore.

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Oh, I know. Mulder’s want has always been a little abstract. The truth, the truth, what is the truth, these men, they make it up as they go along. As Krycek more or less once told us. But then over that, layered, there was Samantha, there was what happened to my sister. There was something very personal, and something very immediate. And as the show progressed, it added to Mulder’s troubles—killing his father, then his mother, then telling him that his father wasn’t even his father.

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

But somehow these things never meant as much as Samantha. That’s clear even here, what with Mulder allowing Krycek into his damn office and letting him state a damn case. Krycek has done Mulder so many wrongs, so so so so so many wrongs, but it’s been the nature of the show to let those things roll off, if rolling those things off served the plot. So what if Krycek killed Mulder’s father? I mean, it’s not like Krycek killed Samantha. If Krycek had killed Samantha, well. That would have been a real crime. And we wouldn’t all be standing here together, today.

Things never meant as much as Samantha, which is why it was a problem, when the show closed the book on her. She was Mulder’s original driver, and then she was gone. The conspiracy was his second, and then that was gone, and then—what was left? “Requiem” leads with a device, an FBI internal-affairs sort, standing in for…me, maybe? Reprimanding Mulder for his bloated expense account and snapping, “So, what exactly is left to investigate?”

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Things never meant as much as Samantha, except—well, one thing did. One person. Scully, from whom all blessings flow. The ever-warming relationship between Mulder and Scully gave us something to hang onto. Hell, the ever-warming relationship between Mulder and Scully gave the writers something to hang onto, particularly in this season. Think of Scully falling asleep and Mulder pulling a blanket around her, think of the two of them having a beer and movie night, think of them laughing on the set of a movie, think of them in a morgue with an invisible man. If Season 7 was anything substantial, it was a quiet tribute to these two people, and to their partnership.

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Accordingly, the best moments of “Requiem” are between our agents. They’re in Oregon, in the same town they visited in the pilot. A spacecraft has collided with a military plane and it’s out there, somewhere, in the forest, and also folks keep getting abducted. The game is Alien Bounty Hunter in nature, that square-faced, green-blooded killer who is there to remove evidence of Colonization. Which is to say, there to take away any former abductees. And midway through the investigation Scully feels a little ill, a little lightheaded, a little appearing at the door of his motel the way she did in the pilot, except this time she just wants to crawl straight into bed with Mulder. He holds her, he keeps her warm, and as they lie there the subtext all evaporates. He wants her to go home. He feels bad that she’ll never be a mother. He feels bad that she hasn’t had the chance to do anything else with her life. He feels so, so bad.

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem Episode

Of course by the end of the episode, it’s Mulder that’s gone, and Scully who will carry the torch. Who will never do anything else with her life, and who will own that, because Scully has never done this under duress. She has always made the choice to give up whatever else she had given up. No kidding, “the personal cost is too high,” no kidding. Between the two of them they have nearly no immediate family left, between the two of them they’re down to each other. Which is why taking Mulder away could absolutely, totally work. Could give Scully a drive that she needs to sustain a path—and a show. A Samantha of her own.

The X-Files Season 7 Episode 22 Mulder Scully Rewatch Requiem

There are other melodramas in “Requiem.” There is Krycek, and there is Marita. The two of them scheming together, Krycek (accidentally? On purpose? Who cares?) leading Mulder to his abduction, the way he led Scully to hers. There is the Cigarette-Smoking Man near death, grey and fragile, and Krycek pushing him down the stairs (to his death? to his coma?) while Marita looks on. There is Skinner, accompanying Mulder back to Oregon, losing Mulder in Oregon. And then the big guy: Scully’s mysterious, sudden pregnancy. Whether any of this adds up in the future, who knows. Whether any of this adds up in the future, who cares. “Requiem” at its best is a requiem, not a prelude. A cliffhanger, technically, but an ending, for sure.


Meghan Deans could bring home a flying saucer and have an alien shake hands with the President. She Tumbls and is @meghandrrns.

10 comments
Gilbetron
1. Gilbetron
I've only very casually been following this rewatch, but this is a good place for me to interject something. I guess I am in the very small minority of fans who actually *liked* the episodes following Mulder's departure. Mulder was never my favourite... that torch always belonged to Scully. I always thought Gillian Anderson was a more versatile actor and carried the series' more emotional arcs. And, to me, the best arc of the series is Scully's determined odyssey in Season 8 to find Mulder, an arc which yields some really powerful moments. So, as a Scully fan, I have only excitement about what comes after this episode.
Gilbetron
2. Eugene R.
A good place and time and way for Mulder to depart, I agree. I missed his fixations that provided the show with its intellectual (and moral) center. Robert Patrick had a hard row to hoe taking over as Scully's new partner.
jeff hendrix
3. templarsteel
i thought this was were the X-files had ended for a couple of years till a friend of mine brought season eight and nine over to watch,but it would have been a great place for a movie to endcap the series.
Ian Tregillis
4. ITregillis
Krycek (accidentally? On purpose? Who cares?) leading Mulder to his abduction, the way he led Scully to hers.

Since I haven't been viewing episodes in tandem with this rewatch (just reliving them in my memory) I have completely forgotten the relationship between Krycek and Scully's abduction. Aside from the fact that we first meet Krycek when he shows up as Mulder's eager-beaver spit-shiny new partner when Scully disappears. But I'm hazy on the later developments.

Although, to be fair to myself, a similar haziness afflicted me even while I was watching the show every week.
Kristen Templet
5. SF_Fangirl
Interesting, Gilbetron @1. I prefer Scully to Mulder, but think this is definately where the series should have ended (if not sooner). Mulder was the believer, seeker and driver of the show. When Scully try to play the role of believer in one of next season's early episodes it went badly.

The X Files is a - if not the - prime example of a TV series that dragged on several seasons too long. Much as I loved Scully, the series could have gone on without her because she was not the unique, weird, and unusual one. Mulder could not be replicated and he was needed to center the show.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
When series play the "is it ending or not" hedge, often they do just end up muddling things where a crisp well written final drive might have served better.
Ian Tregillis
7. ITregillis
@6: I agree. It did feel to me as though the show took an unrecoverable stumble here.

One thing I did love about this particular episode was the bit where they're driving down the road, and the car loses power, and they get out after it rolls to a stop, only to discover the big 'X' that Mulder had spray-painted on the road way back in the pilot episode. That won a lot of points from me. (That was this episode, right?)
Gilbetron
8. PeterK
Am I the only one who was hoping for Krycek and Marita to do something-anything-in season 8? I found them both fascinating in "Requiem" and far more interesting than "Mulder n Scully-lite" (Doggett/Reyes) though season 8 got off to a great start. By the time Reyes appeared on the scene however and Mulder "returned", Krycek was killed and Marita (along with CSM) were seen again 2 yers later in the series finale, just a couple of eps after the Gunmen were killed. What they did to this show is criminal. Despite the initial strengths of season 8, the show should have ended with "Requiem". The X universe might have been a bit tarnished by that point but it was still intact and would be fertile ground to revisit.
Gilbetron
9. Rachel C. Grizotti
Well... IMHO: this was the end of the serie PERIOD! and i really love this episode.
i watched the last 2 seasons of course but they were so irrelevant for me... i'm sorry but i couldn't just like it!!! XF without Mulder ! was not XF!!! you were right at pointing out that it had nothing to be said anymore... Mulder finaly met the truth and experienced it, honestly if only they have ended in season seven's Requiem i'd be much happier now. and please don't take me as a hater i did tried to like season 8/9 but i could not accept that reality :(
Gilbetron
11. fattyz
I'm re-watching them now. It ended when Mulder left. It was not him leaving, but the breakup of the Mulder Scully dynamic that WAS the show. Of course the writing was great and the supporting cast but it all was a package, and it was gone when half the dream team left. It was a great show up till the end of season 7! What other show could be down right scary, funny, romantic, thoughtful I mean, they did it ALL. It was a once in a lifetime chance they got all that talent together in one place. Then Mulder left and it was over. I think the ratings back that up.

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