The X-Files

Season 6 Episode 18


Aired Monday 9:00 PM Apr 18, 1999 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (13)

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out of 10
626 votes
  • Milagro

    Milagro was a heart wrenching episode of The X-Files and I really enjoyed watching because the story was simply awesome! There was a lot of great character development, sentiment, and emotions in this episode. I found the story particularly interesting as the main character of the episode lived next to Mulder and admired Scully from a distance. There were moments of true horror as hearts were being removed, and there were sweet emotions as the writer wrote about Scully and his fondness for her. I liked how every thing played out and it was a poetic justice of sorts. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!!!!!
  • A writer becomes obsessed with Scully.

    Being the highest rated X-Files episode on, I was expecting (perhaps unfairly) for this to be a classic episode on the same level as "Ice" or "Small Potatoes" or "Pusher." However, while it was a clever idea, one that, as a Creative Writing major, I can appreciate... there was just something lacking here. Maybe a little bit of humor. But it was a darn good episode either way, one I'd call "one of the best of Season 6." Just not classic the way I expected it to be.

    Scully was the focus of the episode. Mulder's next door neighbor, a writer named Philip Padgett, is enamored by Scully and seems to know more about her than she does of herself. He's writing a story that seems to predict her behavior and her thoughts... oh yeah, and the villain in his book, a man who rips hearts from living bodies, is the same one Mulder and Scully are currently looking for.

    When I think back on the episode, it really didn't do too much. There's so much focus on Padgett that we don't get much of a story built outside of "Padgett loves Scully." I do like how it turns out that he created the villain out of his imagination in order to get Scully's attention. It reminded me a lot of Lisey's Story by Stephen King. Despite there never being much of an explanation, I felt okay with not knowing everything.

    But overall, it was a good episode. Oh, and fun fact: the actor playing Padgett was John Hawkes, the actor from Winter's Bone, and he did a fantastic job.
  • a story w/in a story.

    a writer narrating a story about a character that rips out heart & was brought to life by his active imagination. he even writes about scully & seemed to read her mind like the scene in the church where she was confronted by him & declared his admiration & even assessed her that left scully creeped out but she connected w/ him just the same. i like this episode w/ the concept of the writer narrating a story that's rich in conversations & story telling. it all ends when the writer burned his book destroying his character to put a stop to the killings w/ his parting words 'a chance to give what he could not receive' meaning he just wanted love, the reason why he'd done these crimes. imagine that.
  • This is one of my favorite episodes.

    This is one of my favorite episodes. Why? Let's just say I was facinated by the writter, Padgett.
    In one why I thought it was romantic, the things he said, but in another way it was very creepy. It was a very mysterious man.
    He just want's to show his love to Scully and she is attracted to him in a way, she's probably attracted to his mysterious side.
    It's also Padgett that sees that Scully isn't able to respond to his love, because she has another love (finally someone who dares to say it).

    The second "storyline" as I call it, are the murders. The ripping out of the haert, I think that everyone viewer has his on interpretation of the motive. And is given a change to develop the motive untill the end of the eppy.
    The viewer itself is trying to feel what the killer feels and does it automaticly.
  • Evil Hearted You

    An introspective MOTW episode that plays like some sort of writer's personal ego-fantasy. The script is relatively well-written but it suffers from being too "writerly," for lack of a better term. For example, the opening teaser depicts the slow dull agony that is writer's block. It's a nicely shot sequence but it ultimately adds nothing to the story (other than perhaps highlight the fact that the lead character is a writer) and, as a result, it comes across as a bit gratuitous, masturbatory even. The episode also seems a bit pretentious, mostly due to the overuse of voiceover to explain subjective mental states, always a tricky thing to pull off successfully.

    Padgett seems altogether too creepy for Scully to show any interest in him. I realize the plot conceit is that he seems able to change reality to conform to his writing, but I found Scully's receptiveness to his unnervingly direct advances too unbelievable for me to really get into the story. In the similarly themed episode from Season Four, "Never Again," at least we are given some insight into the why and the how Scully becomes involved with the protagonist. Here, we are simply asked to believe Scully's actions without any insight into her motivations, which seems to be lazy writing.

    Ultimately, the storyline itself doesn't work because there is too little direct action to sustain the viewer's interest. The murders themselves are mere window dressing for the psychological drama. We don't know why the murders occur, a fact that the killer even comments upon when he asks Padgett for his motivation. It's like, "Ho hum, here comes the hooded, faceless killer again." The whole setup just becomes so contrived that it becomes hard to care.
  • A horiffying tale of how the love in your heart might be literally stolen away serves as a backdrop for a much needed exposition of Scully's current psyche.

    ”Milagro” was like a Spotnizified classic Morgan & Wong script, this episode presented a horrifying case that served only as a backdrop for an intense study of Mulder & Scully’s relationship. The post-“One Son” relationship was not so clearly developed. “One Son” ended with Scully appropriately pissed at Mulder for essentially abandoning her and his quest for Agent Fowley. “Agua Mala” addressed this only with a brief final scene in which Arthur Dales encourages Mulder to show more appreciation for his partner. “Arcadia” ignored it nearly entirely through an albeit entertaining diversion (though Scully did seem annoyed in many of those scenes). “Monday” was also entertaining but was constrained in any character development by its format. “Alpha” actually demonstrated the most animosity by Scully towards Mulder (in the form of jealousy, yet again). But here we finally get the opportunity required for the necessary exposition to deal with Scully’s current psyche. Through a tortured writer’s prose (profiling?) we get a very revealing glimpse at Scully’s heart and fears. Agent Scully began her work on the X-Files as a fiercely independent and strictly rational scientist. She worried she was a disappointment to her father (“Beyond the Sea” “One Breath” “The Blessing Way”). At times she stood firmly up against Mulder’s crazy ideas with her science (“Deep Throat” “731” “Field Where I Died” “Never Again”). Yet more often than not she was left clinging to disparate scientific theories when Mulder’s explanations were more satisfying. Since “The Red and the Black” and “Fight the Future” she has been more willing to hear out Mulder’s point of view. But she’s not ready to believe in him. Only fairly recently was she fully re-acquainted with her own personal beliefs and faith in the Church. When the series began she had drifted from these beliefs, partly due to her scientific mind and partly due to her estrangement from her father. Yet in “Redux II” and “All Souls” she seems very firmly rooted in her faith, a characteristic that Mr. Padgett only glosses over here. Scully’s journey on the show seems to be nearly complete. She has rediscovered her own beliefs and has dealt with the more overt mysteries surrounding her abduction, the chip in her neck, etc. Yet this does not address a central aspect of her life. Why has she chosen to remain alone? Why does she still stand by Mulder? Just as Padgett says he must know a character more completely than she knows herself, he also possesses the answers to these questions before Scully will learn them. Bringing us to Mr. Padgett. He understands that Scully seeks validation. He comes to understand that Scully is fully in love with Mulder. His novel addresses these themes by bringing in the Brazilian to symbolize “man’s only true power” over what he might possess in his own heart. This power is what Padgett believes to be in his own heart – hate, evil and destruction. His final act is an offer of proof that he might possess more. His final act is an offer of proof that he might possess more. He also managed to frighten Scully to an extent not seen since “Irresistible” when she was being abducted every other week. This marks the first legitimate “breakdown” she has in front of Mulder. The crimes themselves are crucial but very horrifying and distracting to the story. The Brazilian himself offers a chilling observation in the following dialogue: “[Scully] is a doctor, she would be horrified by what you do” “I’m horrified!” This and the fact that some of Padgett’s prose sounds more like Chris Carter’s overwrought dialogue are really the only flaws to the episode. “Milagro” serves a much needed purpose at this point in the 6th season and sets up Scully’s frame of mind nicely for what may come next.
  • A writer moves in next to Mulder and seems to write the very case he's working on...

    I have to admit that this episode passed over my head. I seemed to miss vital portions of it and will have to watch it back again I think, to try and grasp the story. Basically, and if I saw it right, a writer moves in next door to Mulder. We see him writing about a murder that Mulder and Scully are investigating. A strange case where the victims hearts are ripped out of their chests without leaving any marks - surgical or otherwise!

    I guess the episode was all about hearts, especially as the writer had fallen for Scully big time. She was in his novel. He sent her a Milagro, a pendant of some sort. He also to her to a church to see a painting of the Sacred Heart, after he sees she wears a cross around her neck.

    I'll keep an eye out for a rerun of this episode to try and close out some of the outstanding issues for me. Definitely worth watching!
  • One of the weirdest episodes ever, but riveting.

    I did have the hardest time scoring this, because for a long time I couldn't decide if I loved it or hated it! In the end, the story is intriguing enough and Gillian Anderson so good, that it has to get a high rating. Basically, and without giving too much away, a writer moves in next door to Mulder and is obsessed with Scully, so much so that she becomes a character in his novel. At the same time M & S are tracking a series of impossible murders, where the heart has been removed with no evidence of any damage to the chest. Psychic surgery? Or is it all part of the novel being written?

    It's a frustrating episode though, because it's very unclear how much is imagination and how much is reality. People are definitely killed, yet nobody is brought to justice. Some scenes are obviously acting out what is written, others seem very much of the real world. It's a very cleverly written episode though, with a teleplay by Chris Carter that uses some of the most flamboyantly over the top language in the novel writing voiceovers, which is very funny.

    Odd, unusual, bizarre... whatever word you want to use. Not your usual X Files that's for sure.
  • An amazing departure from the average X-File

    This is my favorite X-Files episode, at least this far in the series. It's a fascinating exploration of Scully (which are always revealing and intriguing to me because Scully is harder to read than Mulder, so you really have to pay attention to understand her). The story examines a writer who, through some funky break in reality, conjures the physical presence of one of his characters.

    (Digression: At this point the show seemed less concerned with actually explaining how things come to be. Instead the writers hope you'll suspend your disbelief long enough to be pulled in by the story. There's an attempt to explain the events through the mentioning of psychic surgery, so I suppose we're led to believe that it's the writer's ability to psychically project his story onto the unfortunate people who happen to come into contact with his murderous main character. Nevertheless, this episode is more an examination of Scully than an X-File, so the basis for the story is less important than the story itself.)

    The insights into Scully's thoughts were fascinating, and rationalized her behavior in a male-dominated workplace extraordinarily well. It really makes the viewer think about the tight rope a character like Scully has to walk, wanting to be respected in her own right and seen as something more than a beautiful woman, but also trying to avoid becoming desexed and masculine.

    Also worth mentioning, abashed shipper that I am, are the developments in the Mulder-Scully relationship. Since the new direction their relationship has taken since FTF, Mulder seems to have come to terms quite quickly with his feelings for Scully (heck, he came right out and said it in Triangle). Scully's behavior has changed, but she's never as open with her feelings as Mulder is. An earlier reviewer put it much more eloquently than I ever could, but suffice it to say that Scully has yet to fully accept how she feels about Mulder, possibly because she thinks that by making herself vulnerable in such a way she would lose his respect. This episode states the truth very plainly, which at first blush was annoying as it was very un-X-Files, but by the end of the episode I thought it had been handled neatly.

    For me, the highlight of this episode was the scene where Mulder finds Scully lying covered in blood on his floor, possibly dead. It was like the culmination of their relationship--in that moment its evolution was fully realized. Mulder (once again) has to face the devastating possibility of losing Scully, his supporter and lifeline. And Scully, at least for a moment, abandons all rationalization and pretense and clings helplessly to Mulder for support. The scene was beautifully understated and shocking.

    So, to return to my actual duty as reviewer, lovely lovely episode. The dialogue is deeply nuanced and beautifully written, and the performances are stellar. The underlying question of what motivates Scully's behavior as she draws closer to the writer, who by all accounts appears highly dangerous, plays out perfectly in her understated portrayal.
  • A rare 10.0 rating for a masterfully done episode, interesting and riveting - especially for the writer in me.

    Turning this episode on, I had no idea I was in for such a well-written masterpiece perfectly suited for me. If Chris Carter had come to me to ask what elements I'd like to see in an episode, this is what would have happened. First of all, the premise of the episode - a writer who has pictured his character so clearly, he came to life - is so intriguing. As a writer, I often indulge in "conversations" with my characters, to help me figure out who they are and what makes them tick. The final scene between Padgett and his character was like watching a delirious dream of something very happy coming true in my head. Of course, my writing projects aren't murder mysteries, thank goodness. But my characters do often tell me what to do. It's nice. And a little crazy. Writers are crazy.

    Second, the psychoanalysis within the episode was enough to intoxicate me. The fact that Chris Carter wrote this obscure, quiet little episode is a bit of a hint, but I didn't pick it up until later. When Padgett began telling Scully things about herself that she could only know in her deepest subconscious, I knew it was Chris Carter's voice speaking through Padgett, telling the viewer what HIS view of Scully's inner motivations were. That she feels she has to project a vision of an independent, strong woman to overcome the barrier caused by her beauty and her womanhood. It was so gratifying to be able to hear Chris Carter's take on Scully's character, her motivations. Amazing. And again, so good to see the other side of Scully - beyond the black blazers.

    Third, Mulder's behavior was also very amusing to watch. You could easily say it was motivated by jealousy, but I don't think it's that simple. When Mulder first gets an inkling of what may be going on, it seems he's more impatient with Scully. I've been saying for a while that Mulder knows he loves Scully, but he's waiting for her to realize it. This makes sense with Chris Carter's explanation for the characterizations of Mulder and Scully. He's often said that Mulder is the more feminine character, intuitive and in touch with his feelings. If that is the case, then yes it makes sense that Mulder would be the first to know, recognize and acknowledge his feelings for Scully. For her to resist the idea, and be almost stubbornly set against it in her subconscious, is very stereotypically masculine. Anyway, the way Mulder reacts to the events in this episode tell me that he's not jealous, but that he knows better. He's in love with Scully, and she's given him enough signs to know that she is probably in love with him too. But although normally, Mulder has no qualms with pushing his beliefs onto her, in this arena he would never say a word to her to push her against her readiness or willingness to accept the truth that he knows. So when she shows interest or excitement at another male figure in her life, Mulder is more impatient for her to get over it and face the truth she is denying. The scene where Padgett confronts them with the truth, that Scully's already in love, it's interesting to watch Mulder's face. He shows no surprise, only a bemused smile, and a quick flicker of his eyes in Scully's direction. But when Scully is operating within her full faculties, protective wall and rigidity in place, she seems incapable of confronting her emotions absent hard, cold facts. It's only in the cathartic emotion of escaping a horrible death, and waking up to Mulder's familiar and comforting face that she allows herself to react viscerally, a gut reaction to reach out and embrace him. Not only embrace him, but cling to him in a literal enactment of how she feels about Mulder. He is her strength, he provides her with support and comfort. She can always rely on him to be strong, and to respect her individuality and intelligence even when she is in a vulnerable position and unable to maintain her strong facade.

    But getting away from the dissection of Mulder and Scully's relationship, this episode was beautifully written. I don't know if it was because it's from the viewpoint of a writer, but the dialogue in this episode and the interactions between the actors were so beautiful and convincing and seamless, the direction was so simple and it really captured the mood of the episode so well. In fact, I'll just quote what Kim Manners said about filming my favorite scene in this episode - the church scene - to sum up my feelings on it. "This is a terrific scene. This is a great example of a well-written scene. Actors don't struggle with scenes like this too much, when they're really well-written. As I recall, we didn't go more than two or three takes for each camera, cuz the material's just so good - the actors just eat it up. It's also very easy for an actress like Gillian to work with an actor like John Hawke. It really becomes a joy to watch two actors bounce off each other. They didn't improvise, but look at the tears in her eyes. Nobody came in with menthol crystals and glued those to her eyes - she's listening to the actor here, and he's listening to her. This is a really good example of two actors who are in the scene together. And the reason they're in the scene is because they're listening to each other, they're not listening to each other just for their cues to say their lines. They're literally listening to what the other person is saying, and that's why Gillian got so emotional out there because she was totally in the scene. This is when acting is not acting, it's the real deal."

    I wonder if he was contrasting that to the dynamic between David and Gillian - do they just listen for their cues, to say their lines?
  • A interesting scully based episode looking at the enigmatic agent through the eyes of a romeo and thriller writer.

    I loved this episode. If you are into the mythology of the show and need something big to happen for an XF to hit the spot then this isn't the episode for you. However if like me you love the character of scully and have been aching to see her beauty and intelligence acknowlegded then this is a show not to be missed. In this episode we get to see that scully is human...she has emotional and physcial needs and like every woman makes scarfices in her personal life for her job. But we also get to see that this for scully is a choice she is in control of her life.

    The storyline is pretty good in itself with out the wonderful character scenes. the notion of a psychic surgeon and imagionation being powerful enough to kill is original and as interguing as scully herself.

    A great scully episode with the added bonus of seeing Gillian Anderson in a state of semi undress and some great moments for the shippers out there.
  • One more bit of ammo for the "shippers" who think that Scully shouldn't even bother looking at a man who isn't Mulder:)

    Okay, ladies, I know that the mysterious guy archtype has a sexy allure, but c'mon! If you're 1/5 as smart as Scully is supposed to be, you wouldn't ever, under any circumstances, let this freakshow neighbor of hers within 100 feet of you.
    As far as ambiguous X-File endings go, this one is a whopper. No real notion of what this guy's deal is, or why on earth he A.) felt the need to rip his own heart out and B.) actually had the ability to do so. A cool visual, but you have to have some semblance of an idea of what to do with that visual. And we get nothing.
  • its a good epy not the best i have seen but its a really good "scully" epy..

    PHILLIP PADGETT: I'm a writer. That's what I do-- imagine how people behave. I have to admit I've noticed you. I do that... Notice people. I saw that you wear a gold cross around your neck so I was taking a chance with the painting-- explaining something you may have already known. I saw Georgetown parking permits on your car dating from 1993 and a government-exempt sticker that lets you park anywhere you like. You don't live in this area but as a federal employee, you have reason to frequent it. You're fit, with muscular calves so you must exercise or run. There's a popular running route right nearby that you might use at lunch or after work. You'd have noticed this church in passing and though parking is always a problem in this part of town your special privileges would make it easy to visit … not as a place of worship but because you have an appreciation for architecture and the arts... and while the grandeur is what you'd take away from your visit … this painting's religious symbolism would have left a subconscious impression jogged by the gift you received this morning.

    (Apparently, he is correct about everything. SCULLY stares at him.)

    SCULLY: That was from you?

    PHILLIP PADGETT: I have to admit to a secret attraction.

    (SCULLY, looks away rolling her eyes, not wanting to deal with this.)

    PHILLIP PADGETT: I'm sorry I didn't include a note explaining that but you didn't know me then.

    SCULLY: Yeah, and I don't know you now and I don't care to.

    PHILLIP PADGETT: I see this is making you uncomfortable and I'm sorry. It's just that I'm taken with you. That never happens to me. We're alike that way.

    (SCULLY stares at him, tears in her eyes. She slowly turns and leaves the church.)
    PHILLIP PADGETT: In my book, I'd written that Agent Scully falls in love but that's obviously impossible. (looking at MULDER) Agent Scully is already in love.

    (He leaves. MULDER watches SCULLY watch him go.)

    how can this man know this already, it was a good epy, not the best i have seen but i fairly good one.. this writer has an infatuation wit scully and just that my first quote right there how he notices all of the small details but yet insome form,he conjures all of that to make scull feel its unexplainable... but i really like this episode..
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