Picking up where last season left off, Mulder and Scully zero in on mystery man Jeremiah Smith, who has promised to reveal the Cigarette-Smoking Man's secrets to them. Naturally, once they escape from the assassin sent to kill him, Smith dummies up, and hence forward expresses himself in cryptic locutions which conceal as much as they reveal. Mulder discovers his silent sister, still eight years old, working in a bee-filled greenhouse with other equally silent children. Mulder finds out that "Samantha" is one of several clones, and when he tries to bring one of them with him, Smith protests that "She's not your sister." "Then what is she?" he angrily asks--and of course gets no answer. No self- respecting X-File character would ever come right out and say something as obvious as "They've cloned your sister and turned her into a serf. From the final clue X left scrawled in his own blood, Mulder pursues his investigation about the Canadian farm at the United Nations. Meanwhile the assassin, in a surprise twist, heals Mrs. Mulder at the behest of the Cigarette Smoking Man.
The introduction of "the bees" was never my favorite X-files story arc. It was never fully explained. Then again, not much was explained in this episode. Its' frustrating how Jeremiah refuses to answer even the simplest of answers from Mulder. Although it did make me relate to Mulders own sense of frustration. Perhaps thats the purpose. To put us in Mulders shoes. But I think it has more to do with this story arc not being fully thought out. And why was the assasin effected by the bees? When the bees sting him he has red spots on his face and body, but isn't his blood green?
I did like how this time around the interaction between Mulder and Scully harked back to the earlier Carter scripts like the pilot and "Deep Throat" where they function as two halves of the same brain. They are a great team even when they are split up, so much so that now Scully is accused of mouthing Mulder's theories.
It seems to me a great turning point has come for Fox Mulder in "Herrenvolk". In the hospital scenes in Act Four, I was struck by his silence, his anguish, his hopelessness. Yet Mrs. Mulder is still alive, and Samantha may be. What has so crushed him? I believe Mulder is mourning the death of hope. He now knows that Samantha cannot be restored to him, and that there is no hope of healing his broken past. Samantha is dead or cloned or otherwise changed beyond human ken, and if anything of his sister or his past is restored to him it will not be his peace of mind.
Scully marks a milestone of her own, as she publicly and irrevocably aligns herself with Mulder by validating his paranoid conspiracy theories to a host of government bureaucrats.
There were some interestingly nasty moments in "Herrenvolk", not least of them the implication that the Assassin murdered the Samantha-clone left in the car when Mulder was knocked out. And how did the First Elder get his hands on X's photos of the Smoking Man and Mrs. Mulder arguing outside the summer house? We last saw them as Mulder handed them to Assistant Director Skinner.
So Mulder's family is enlarged by a host of clonesisters, Scully comes into her own as Mulder's equal in the eyes of the Bureau , and the Cigarette Smoking Man stuns us all as a compassionate Machiavelli. Once again Chris Carter re-invents his show's format, proving that he has more facets than Jeremiah Smith has faces.
A good opener, but this season premiere and last seasons season finale were not as strong as the story arc that ended season 2 and began season 3.