The X-Files

Season 5 Episode 7

Emily (2)

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Dec 14, 1997 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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  • The secret of the oooze

    No not that stuff from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but its certainly getting around. This episode ramped things up now that were dealing with the alien hybrid story and shape shifters once again deceive Fox which is my only real complaint about this episode. Come on Mulder you should know better by now.

    It didn't have as much of the slower, heart tugging tone previously but the story didn't get too bogged down by details and most importantly that ending was a sure kick in the balls. Not only did we have to loose Emily but they stole her body and replaced it with sand bags in the coffin, leaving only the cross necklace. That will go down as one of my favorite moments in the series, a literal blow to her faith.
  • Emily

    Emily was a perfect follow up to Christmas Carol and I really enjoyed watching as the story came to a conclusion. It was interesting to learn more about Emily and how her condition was progressing along with her Dr.'s connection to the larger conspiracy. There was a lot of great character development for Scully and it was nice to see Mulder doing every thing he could to help her and Emily. It was awesome when Mulder discovered the "test tube babies" and definitely a classic X-Files scene. There were some sad moments towards the end regarding Emily and her fate. Scully is blessed to be an Aunt after losing her own daughter. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • Overall, this episode was not as strong as the previous installment, largely due to the shift from in-depth character exploration to a rehashing of earlier elements of the mythology.

    After a rare example of character exploration in “Christmas Carol”, the writers returned to the typical fare for mythology episodes in the second half. In a number of ways, this is a sequel to “Momento Mori”, in which many of the consequences of Scully’s abduction are given new and more psychologically damaging forms. It’s not enough that Scully can’t have children, thanks to the tests, but her genetic material is being used for more than just generating new clone workers for the conspiracy.

    As with most of the mythology episodes, previous interpretations regarding the goals and policies of the conspiracy and Cancer Man pertain directly to the interpretation of the current episode. Therefore, the speculation and interpretation outlined in previous reviews are assumed to be familiar to the reader. In particular, the summary of the mythology given in the review for “Herronvolk” is critical to the analysis of this episode, as well as the conjecture in “Momento Mori”.

    As outlined in the review for “Herrenvolk”, the conspiracy had a three-phase plan for the genetic alteration of the human race into an artificially evolved form. “Phase II” was the use of abducted men and women for the purposes of gathering genetic material, and then using extracted ova in the attempt to create a biological analogue to the nanotech that was developed during “Phase I” for the creation of “super soldiers”.

    The point of this episode is to underscore the fact that embryos and fetuses were being engineered, implanted into human test subjects, and then experimented upon to determine if which alterations would generate the desired result. Finding the right genetic alteration was only part of the equation; working out how reproductive biology should be altered to “naturally” result in the desired genetic alterations was a different story.

    Emily represents a point very close to the end of “Phase II”. She is, in the end, a failed test subject. In essence, Cassandra Spender would eventually be the test subject that gives the conspiracy the answer they need; “Phase II” then shifts focus to altering women’s biology to produce these “hybrids” (thus, Scully’s experiences in seasons 8 and 9). The conspiracy believes in later seasons that William is the culmination of their efforts; Emily is a precursor to that end, even if the writers were unaware of it at the time.

    This overall theme of history repeating itself is closer to the concepts of “Never Again”. Scully’s tattoo in that episode is once again reflected. Scully sees herself as falling, once again, into a state of isolation and loneliness. For those keeping track, she is still keeping Mulder at a certain distance emotionally, even if he’s filling one of Scully’s traditional “authoritative father figure” roles. Scully doesn’t seek solace from Mulder; she sees herself as ultimately being alone in this ordeal. (Again, this is not unlike the situation that occurs, quite against Scully’s desire, in the later seasons.)

    Mulder looks like he’s incredibly uncomfortable in this episode, but that’s exactly what one would expect of a man who has made Scully and her emotional stability a major personal priority. Mulder reacts much as he did in “Momento Mori”; pushing Scully when it’s necessary, but in the end, acting to what he perceives as being in her best interests. (Why else would he do that “Mr. Potato Head” thing?)

    Now aware of the situation, Mulder has every reason to think that Scully is in danger. He also has more than enough information to know that Emily is part of the conspiracy’s experiments, though he cannot understand the full complexity of “Phase II” at this point (indeed, he never really would). He only knows that Emily is the product of experiments by the conspiracy using Scully’s extracted eggs. The answer must inevitably lie in the knowledge of what Emily was meant to be, and therefore, what efforts were devoted to make that happen.

    That’s not what Scully is looking for, however. In a way, Scully is using Mulder in the same manner that he often uses her: a means of validating a personal agenda. She assumes that Mulder will back her completely, because of course, she’s not thinking clearly through much of the episode. Mulder, on the other hand, gets to play the role that Scully normally plays by bringing in information that might complicate Scully’s case but needs to be addressed. It places them at odds to certain extent, but if Mulder didn’t care so damn much, he wouldn’t bother.

    Continuity issues aside (and the writers really mess up in this episode), Mulder’s explanation for Emily’s existence and Scully’s peculiar brand of motherhood is a real treat. Clearly, the court is correct in pointing out how crazy it sounds, and yet to many fans of the series, it was a bit redundant and obvious. It just goes to show how quickly the unusual and insane can begin to sound normal and logical.

    To her credit (and to the credit of their relationship), Scully doesn’t get angry with Mulder over his selective disbursement of information. If it had been anyone else, would Scully have been so understanding? After all, what Mulder knows is incredibly personal. How else could Scully react to the fact that her medical and reproductive history is so freely available? Mulder is the one person who can understand her the most at this point, in terms of trust, so getting angry with him would be pointless.

    One is left to assume that Melissa once again sent Scully to Emily’s side. There’s a lesson in play there, but it’s somewhat lost in the midst of so much rehashing of the mythology. Is it meant to personalize the stakes of the conspiracy’s Project even more for Scully? Or is it more psychological than that? Scully needs to have her eyes opened to a wider reality, and this experience demonstrates to her, once again, that there are forces in play beyond the conspiracy itself.

    Emily’s medical condition is more than just a means of attaching a deadline to Mulder’s frantic search for clues to the scope of the reproductive experiments. It’s also a way to communicate to the audience the nature of the genetic alterations themselves. The cyst on the back of the neck is clearly the same kind of organ that resides in the same location within the clones and the “hunters”, who have the more perfected biology. Dr. Calderon’s treatments were designed, it seems, to regulate and study, under controlled conditions, the growth of the biological nanotech circulatory system in combination with normal human tissue.

    It’s such an obvious connection to make that it seems foolish that Mulder would fail to warn the medical staff until the absolute last moment. But it does give the writers a way to tie the effects of the retrovirus from “The Erlenmeyer Flask” onward to this episode, unifying that aspect of the mythology. (Similarly, this identical nature makes it necessary to establish two distinct and opposing forces with identical biology, thanks to “Colony” and “Endgame”.)

    One aspect of the episode that doesn’t quite gel is the struggle for authority over Emily’s care. Surely the situation is plain enough that Scully’s participation cannot be determined as the prevailing factor in Emily’s chances of survival. It seems designed to show how far Scully will go in the hopes of preserving something that the conspiracy has taken away from her, no matter how impossible the task. But it doesn’t come across very well, and it doesn’t mesh with the mythology-heavy nature of the story, either.

    The biological nanotech circulatory system is tied directly into the nervous system. This makes sense if that genetically engineered system is designed to allow a person to change appearance and heal quickly. The organ attached to the brain stem would make many of the “advanced” functions of the nanotech autonomic, while leaving higher-order functions to connections with the cortex. Of course, that kind of adaptive biology is not capable with normal human tissue; the experiment was apparently geared towards introducing the genetic roadmap for creating the nanotech system in the hopes that natural infant development would force the human biology to adapt.

    So what is the nature of the treatment itself? One can assume that the conspiracy is aware of the tests, under the impression that the goal is still creating the better soldier to defeat the future invasion of Purity. The fact that Purity is, in fact, a future iteration of the same retroviral nanotech (a carrier for a malevolent non-corporeal intelligence) is unknown to the conspiracy itself, but critical to understanding the plot. Emily is a failure in certain terms, but in essence, the nanotech itself is invasive. Calderon’s treatment could very well be a prototype version of the Syndicate’s vaccine. The effect seems to bear that out: while she’s on the treatment, the nanotech’s presence is contained. As would soon become obvious, the transition to the Purity form involves a much more difficult challenge, the solution of which is essentially the creation of Purity itself. (Scully’s theme works for Cancer Man’s doomed crusade, too!)

    There’s a recurring theme of using the elderly as test subjects themselves. They were used to test the effects of a “docile” form of Purity in “Terma”, where those infected apparently could never be cured. In this case, the elderly are used as incubators for the genetically engineered fetuses. This brings up an interesting point, of course: how is the conspiracy dealing with the problem of infection by the “mother”, when the child must inevitably be passing on some of the retrovirus?

    One aspect of the plot that makes no sense at all is Kresge’s presence at the nursing home. Why would he show up there? Sure, he was probably looking for Calderon, but if so, why react to Mulder as if he were a criminal? Wouldn’t Scully be able to describe Calderon and mention that Mulder was also looking for him? It seems a bit too convenient, designed to ensure that Kresge can mistakenly shoot “Calderon” and be infected.

    For that matter, given how Mulder remembers so much else about the “alien” biology, it’s a bit hard to believe that he would simply ignore the fact that Kresge walks right out of the building after he watches the cop drill “Calderon” and release the retrovirus! It’s the kind of scene that makes no sense at all and actually casts a bad light on the entire episode.

    In the end, of course, Scully is left with the fact that Emily cannot be saved, and that the conspiracy has once again stolen something from her that it had no right to take. Worse, it is now beyond clear that the conspiracy will happily create a child that will painfully suffer to achieve its own ends. It sends a message about the difference between heroes and villains. The Syndicate and their associates are focused on their own survival and selfish interests, and thus their efforts bring humanity to an untimely end. Mulder and Scully, though sometimes selfish, sacrifice nearly everything, often with no conception that they would become the parents of humanity’s heirs.

    This episode closes by harkening back to the religious metaphor of the Holy Mother. The funeral scene is incredibly well done, especially in the sense that most of the characters don’t know what to do. Ma Scully seems to be resigned with the fact that her family’s world is never going to be the same, while Bill looks like he’s never going to invite Scully to visit ever again. It’s entirely appropriate that Mulder is the one to remain.

    Duchovny’s performance in the final scene is nearly perfect. Who wouldn’t react in that exact same way to the unending grief of one’s closest friend? Scully retrieves her golden cross with a sense of wonder, and Anderson’s expression is that of one tested by God, seeking understanding and the comfort of faith. In fact, the scene is so strong in terms of the subtext and depth of characterization that the viewer can’t help but damn the fact that the episode that follows will simply pretend it never happened.

    After such a strong first half, focusing on Scully to near-exclusion of all else, the switch to a focus on the mythology is a bit disappointing. It’s also makes it hard to hold onto some of the plot elements that were so important to the first half. Here Kresge feels like an intrusion instead of a vital part of the tale, and Scully’s connection to Emily isn’t quite so mystical in its quality. In a way, it’s Mulder’s presence that steals away some of what made the story unique. Mulder doesn’t uncover anything new, and if the episode had remained focused on Scully, it would have made the entire arc more intimate.

    As it stands, however, it leaves Scully with a number of things to think about. Scully found it hard to resist a reversion to skepticism after Melissa’s murder; her own restoration was also a restoration of faith. Emily’s death, and the events that brought her to her “daughter” at the end, were outside of her faith and yet firmly a part of something inherently spiritual. This episode marks another step on Scully’s journey; even if she continues to resist the process, it’s clear that she can no longer truly deny that her perception is changing.
  • Scully continues to look into Emily's past

    The second part of Scully's little mini-arc comes to a close here, and while it was still entertaining and enlightening, I still wasn't as much of a fan of this one as I was the previous episode. The episode before this had much more of a heart; it focused on Scully's attempts to make sense of the fact that there was this child that may be related to her. This episode, despite having Mulder (in a series of scenes that were fantastic), suffers from getting things even more confusing then they were before.

    The show is definitely interesting when it focuses on the conspiracy angle of things, but if the Cigarette Smoking Man was right from the beginning of the season, then it was all a hoax. Well, if Mulder knows this, why are there still people who can shape-shift and have green blood that hurts people when they're shot? It seems like something a little too difficult to fake. Either way, the case of Emily a.k.a Scully's child grows more difficult when Mulder realizes that this kid was a result of experimentation (when Scully was abducted, they took her eggs out and likely mixed them with alien DNA). The episode does do a great job at mining drama out of this revelation and the fact that Emily will likely die as a result.

    However, as great as Mulder was in this episode, and let me say that there were some scenes in here that rivaled any of Mulder's previous great moments, it was a little frustrating to see all of these alien/shape-shifting things and still have no idea what in the world it means in the grand scheme of things. I hope that there's some sort of explanation in the near future, but for now, I'm assuming this is the best we're going to get. However, there was good acting all around, especially near the end, where the inevitable happens. I think this was an interesting myth-arc episode, and it was clever in the way the writers were able to mix both the extra-terrestial style content with character development for Scully.
  • Better Than Christmas Carol

    Wow, what a difference a Mulder makes. While I thought "Christmas Carol" was only average, I loved this second part. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I enjoyed the emotionality of the episode.

    I really liked the opening teaser. Scully's monologue is good and steers clear of the pretension that so often mars the show's monologues. The overall look and feel of the teaser was fabulous, particularly the effect of Scully turning into sand. It's too bad the teaser is so short (at just over one minute, it's the shortest teaser yet), as it felt like something more was needed before the launch into the opening credits.

    I must say that the acting is a bit uneven in parts. Anderson again appears wooden and insincere during her dramatic scene with the adoption services worked in the hospital. I didn't much care for the actress playing the adoption services worker and my theory is that Anderson's performance with her may have suffered because Anderson had nothing to work with or to react against. Other than this scene, I though Anderson did a very fine job throughout the episode.

    Duchovny is all over the place. He is great when he first appears (or maybe it's just that I was so happy to see his return), especially when he meets Scully and Emily at the special needs school. He plays it very real and very sensitively. Later, when he meets Dr. Calderon at Transgen, Mulder uncharacteristically flips out and begins beeotch-slapping Calderon and waving his gun his face. It's a bit incongruous since it seemingly comes out of nowhere. I actually laughed out loud at the scene, mostly because Mulder slaps like a girl.

    Another awkwardly acted scene is when Mulder is met by Detective Kresge at the old folks home. With the Calderon alien bearing down on the two of them, Mulder rather weakly warns Kresge not to shoot, then he turns and quickly bails from the scene as Kresge begins firing and the green goo is released. Again, there was something comical about the way Duchovny played this scene or maybe it was just badly directed.

    What I liked best about this episode is how skillfully tension is developed and maintained throughout. Scully makes you care about Emily and you worry along with her. You feel Emily's terror as she is put through the MRI with its hideous clicking and whirrings. The music is again first-rate, Mark Snow really knows what he is doing by now and his soundscapes are near perfect.
  • The one where Scully looses her daughter

    A very moving second part which was slightly better than the first.

    The teaser begins with Scully walking somewhere in a storm looking for something, at the end she finds a cross. a very beautiful image and teaser.

    Mulder is brought in again, finally called by Scully and he meets Emily. They discuss her and say that she was not meant to be. Aberrantly the way she was by taking something out of Scully and impregnate it into some old women in a foster home.

    Then someone calls Scully and it comes from Emily’s house, she’s burning up and there is something green at the back of her head. When a woman tries to see what it is something comes out of it and burns just like it did Mulder in ‘Colony’.

    And there are more of those who can change their appearance, Mulder goes to the doctor that was treating her but he doesn’t want to help. Mulder threatened him and follows him to his home where he gets murdered by others like him with that poker thing.

    They need to continue doing tests of Emily but she is only getting worse, the men try to save her because they don’t want her to die but it only makes her worse.

    Meanwhile Mulder goes to the old women’s house and finds something that can cure Emily, he also finds baby clones there and a detective tries to stop him on the way out but there is someone else there, when the detective shoots him the green gas comes out and Mulder runs away. He goes to Scully but she has already decided not to threat her, she loves Emily but she was not meant to be and doesn’t want her to continue suffering so Mulder doesn’t give Scully the threatment.

    The episode was very moving and so was Emily’s funeral, Scully takes the cross just like at the beginning of the episode.
    a very moving end to Scully’s daughter.