Our summer binge is long over but The X-Files is a show that I never stop thinking about. While not perfect, it’s a groundbreaking show that’s influence can be felt and seen in so many shows that followed it. So, because of that and because I’ve had so much fun doing this rewatch, I’m keeping the fun going and will keep on going until I hit the final episode of the revival. This time I’m going to do things slightly differently though as some weeks we’ll be combining episodes and in time, when we reach the movies and spin offs I’ll get into those as well. This week, we’re looking at both “The Walk” and “Oubliette.” One is more memorable than the other but both feel like more typical F.B.I. business.
1. The Premise
“The Walk” takes Mulder and Scully to a VA hospital in Maryland. A former colonel, Victor Stans, has tried multiple times to kill himself but he keeps being stopped by some kind of unseen figure. He wants to die after the death of his wife and children but for some reason, this unseen force or person won’t let him do it. He puts himself in a tub of scalding hot water but is once again stopped and permanently scarred. Mulder and Scully are not really wanted there by General Callahan but as things get worse, a bigger mystery opens up and there is definitely something weird happening here.
“Oubliette” is a kidnapping case, which is a much more straightforward F.B.I. case. A young girl named Amy is kidnapped by a photographer named Carl. He takes her photo at her school picture day and becomes enamored with her to the point that he abducts her. When this happens, another woman named Lucy collapses with a nosebleed. Mulder and Scully become involved because of Mulder’s sister. He’s got a thing about kidnappings because of what he went through and he’s often drawn to these kinds of cases. It turns out that Lucy was abducted by the same man and it seems like she’s experiencing what Amy is going through and it all begins to take a toll on Mulder in a really profound and difficult way. Both of these episodes are a little closer to what normal F.B.I. agents do. They’re dealing with a military matter and also a kidnapping. It’s when things go off the rails that it gets interesting. “Oubliette” is definitely the stronger of the two episodes though.
2. War Is Hell
“The Walk” does something very similar to what “The List” did last week. “The List” touched upon some of what happens in the U.S. prison system in a very X Files way. “The Walk” gets into what it’s like to come back from war and as you can expect, it’s not pretty. Rappo and Roach and even Sterns are all messed up from what they saw in the war. Rappo is basically able to do what he does because of his desire to get back his ability to walk. It’s not a deep look at all of this but it’s a very relevant take for the time the show takes place.
3. A Confusing Mess
The thing about “The Walk” that doesn’t really work is that it never really explains or tells us anything. The idea of a quadriplegic gaining back his ability to walk through astral projection is an “iffy” idea to start with but lots of things are left untouched. Rappo’s anger is looked at but it’s not completely addressed or explored. Roach’s part in all of it isn’t completely clear. It’s all so weird and the special effects are almost unfinished. It’s all very weird and confusing.
4. A Horrifying Connection
As we find out in “Oubliette,” Amy and Lucy are connected. Everything Amy feels, Lucy feels and everything that happens to her, happens to Lucy. If Amy gets a black eye, Lucy gets one and that keeps escalating as the episode goes on. Because of this, Scully starts to think that Lucy is connected in a different way but this truly is sympathy pain in the worst way. Lucy keeps suffering with Amy at the same time and ultimately she dies and it’s tragic and it absolutely destroys Mulder.
5. Mulder’s Demons
One of the biggest things about “Oubliette” that makes it stand out is how much this case impacts Mulder. Mulder lost his sister to an abduction and it isn’t easy for him to hide how much this case bothers him. Lucy and Amy are connected which is a whole thing in and of itself but really this episode acts as a vehicle for David Duchovny to show off that he’s an actual good actor. “Oubliette” tests Mulder so much and it hits on all his pressure points. Scully is right when she says to him that he’s getting too close to this because he is. He bonds with Lucy and when she dies, he completely loses it. He feels this sense of loss again that he had with his sister and he feels the loss of losing a victim. It’s an incredibly somber ending but it really works for this episode and makes you feel something.