The X-Files

Season 4 Episode 13

Never Again

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Feb 02, 1997 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (14)

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  • We get the world we deserve.

    ........ a talking tattoo. Now yes there was an explanation for this behavior and it isn't that far fetched of a story. A mark on the body that casts an influence over somebody, making them compulsive to dangerous or more. Its a reminder to him of his mistakes but the tattoo influencing him felt a bit too strong, maybe do away with the voice though no disrespect to Jodie Foster, she's great but perhaps if we didn't know what was going through his brain might have made this character study more interesting.

    The Scully's other side here was pretty well handled but after seeing her as this one type of person for these seasons now it'll take a bit of time getting used to her when she's acting fed up and wanting to be out of the crime scene for a change.

    Mixed feelings here folks but still well made as usual.

  • Never Again

    Never Again was a great episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching as Mulder left Scully to investigate a mysterious case by herself. The story was pretty decent but it was also a little slow at times. It was interesting to see a man who thought his tattoo was talking to him and influencing him. Scully was torn between her work on the X-Files and having a real life and it was nice to explore her feelings a little bit. The ending was pretty good. I look forward to watching the next episode!!!!!
  • Just a simply bad episode.

    This episode was dumb. It is a story that was not interesting on any level. It seemed that the writers wanted to give Scully an opportunity to be in the spotlight, but it really didn't work. Rather, it was slow, distracting, and not interesting for anyone.

    The show centers around a man who has a tattoo that "speaks" to him and convinces him to perform various actions. Scully visits him for a one-night stand and almost gets killed...that's the story. Seriously dumb. People like this show because of the conspiracies, not because of the "almost get killed" scenes. Nor is this show popular because of its sexuality. The show must rely upon its mysteries.
  • "This is not about you, Mulder. " --Dana Scully


    Dana Scully, having come to a minor crisis in her life brought on by depression, finds herself rebelling against Mulder, against her job, against her self.

    When Mulder is forced to go on vacation (to Graceland, of course), he reluctantly leaves her in charge of a case. In a scene we have waited for for years, Scully finally asks why she does not have a desk, flat-out refuses to investigate a farcical case, and stonily refuses to be drawn into a debate with Mulder over her commitment to The X-Files. They part on poor terms, and Scully goes off to Philadelphia, where she meets Ed Jerse, a man coming out of a divorce and a drinking binge, and when their paths cross sparks fly. The only trouble is that Ed is more than he seems to be--his own newly acquired tattoo, which Scully so much admires, talks to him. Stranded by a storm, on the outs with Mulder, alone and depressed, Scully takes Ed up on his dinner invitation, which becomes a date at a bar, which becomes a tattoo a deux, which leads to a night in Ed's apartment.

    And thats where the rug got jerked out from under our expectations. Everything in this episode was leading up to sex. I didn't need to see it, but I needed to know it happened. I didn't need a last-minute cop-out, where Ed takes the couch and Dana sleeps in her clothes. The intent of the entire first half of the episode was clearly slanted that way. The whole point of the episode is that Scully is seeking to re-make her self--through a tattoo which symbolizes her facing of her fears, everything from snakes (see One Breath), disfigurement, independence, to a sexual encounter not sanctioned by an authority figure. She spent half an hour letting down her barriers. So what happened? Did a show which does not hesitate to show more blood suddenly get Puritanical on us? Or is the famous double standard at work? In "Fire", Mulder embraced and kissed his old girlfriend, but in "Lazarus" Scully didn't even touch her former lover. In "3", Mulder kisses a vampire groupie, but in "Never Again", Scully doesn't even get a lip lock. The raw sensuality and eroticism of the tattoo scene itself notwithstanding, the story's potential for revelation and discovery was thrown away with both hands. This attempt to maintain a falsely virginal aspect to Agent Scully only renders her character naive.

    It's too bad, because this episode was remarkable in many ways. The elegant dialogue is at its best here. Scully's "This is not about you, Mulder" is eerily echoed by the tattoo's "Hear that? It's you, Ed! It's all about you!" How many times did the talk of lines and circles, of authority and rebellion underscore the events unfolding? Jon Joffin's circling camerawork, which metaphorically echoed the dialogue, was impressive. I was particularly struck by the long tracking shot after Ed enters his downstairs neighbor's apartment to kill her for playing the Partridge Family too loud (justifiable homicide if I ever saw it). The camera backs away from the door, circles backwards down the stairs, into the basement in a scene reminiscent of Hitchcock's "Frenzy". Yet director Rob Bowman shows us only spatters of blood, lets us hear the weight of a body bumping down the stairs, and never shows us the actual violence spawned by rage and fear. This is the X- Files at its best--terror without gore.

    The acting was first rate. Jodie Foster's manic laugh (as the voice of the tattoo) was marvelous. Duchovny himself let us see the Dark Side of Fox Mulder: snotty, arrogant, self-centered, and very nasty in a fight. Anderson is outstanding, showing us Scully's sensuality, her lack of self-confidence, her fear, her despair in subtle and understated nuance. It is a landmark performance from Anderson, who continues to shine this season. Mark Snow outdid himself on the music for the tattoo scene, which became a raga-like purr weaving itself through an intimate moment of shared physicality. The Elvis glasses on Mulder, as well as the Elvis-fu Mulderdance at Graceland, were almost de rigeur by now.

    It was not until the second viewing that I realized that Ed's tattoo opened her eye when "she" was talking to him. The crowning moment, however, was the final scene. After a quietly stormy opening, a rocky parting, and a reunion marked by Mulder's sneer, we get a scene which, with very few words, reveals his need for Scully, his dependence on her, and the assumptions he has made about her life. Mulder does indeed think of Scully as part of the X-Files: she has become part of the office furniture, and when she rebels he is astonished to discover how intimately entwined their lives have become. It is fitting that Morgan and Wong's last contribution to The X-Files should be an unfinished sentence spoken in a half-lit room, with no music to break the tension, the promise, or the sense of unease.

  • Scully meets a guy with an interesting tattoo...

    Okay, maybe my summary isn't the best description of what this episode is, but I was surprised at how much I ended up liking the episode by its end. It begins with Mulder and Scully once again splitting up onto two different paths and converging by the end. In a way, the episode reminded me of the Season 2 episode "3," which is easily my least favorite episode of the entire series. However, this episode succeeds where that one fails by having both Mulder and Scully in it and giving us a legitimate reason as to why Scully seems to be going off the rails.

    The "X-File" of the episode is a bit weak; a man gets a tattoo impulsively after he gets a divorce and he's surprised to find the tattoo talking to him, forcing him to do things he doesn't want to do. Apparently, it's a tattoo that hates women and tries to protect him from being hurt again.

    The best parts of the episode come in the second half.. the build-up to the conclusion isn't nearly as fun and exciting as the actual conclusion. The show has moments where it does action sequences very well, and this was one of those episodes.. I'm not sure I really care about the way it ended, but the episode itself was very strong. And Mulder and Scully, in the final moments, share a scene that is sad and mysterious at the same time.. and it helps to remember that Scully has some form of cancer from last episode, which likely explains her behavior. Overall, a pretty good episode.
  • great episode.

    a tattoo that seems to speak. it's interesting to watch this episode w/ jodie foster voicing out betty the tattoo. after the previous episode that alerted agent scully about her cancer, she seems to be thinking deep about her life. agent mulder and agent scully decided to take time off each other and go on a vacation. but scully went on an investigation that mulder had previously asked her to anyway but encountered another x file. feeling that she's missing having a life, she hooked up w/ a good-looking guy she met at a tattoo studio who hears voices from the tattoo he has in his arms. a voice that makes him unstable. in the end, agent scully helped solved the case and rescued ed.
  • Scully doesn´t know where she stands

    As a shipper, I didn´t like this episode very much, but it doesn´t mean it´s not good or interesting. I´ll say it was interesting because it seems that Scully may have realized that working on the X-files is not everything. I think Mulder and Scully had left a lot of things unsaid during the years that this was the limit. She seemed totally overwhelmed by being left alone and getting orders from Mulder that she didn´t give the right attention to the case. So she fell for the first guy that listens to her. It was like she was rebeling. So this guy was so troubled
    and a drug from getting a tattoo makes him believe the tattoo has a mind and speaks. I have no idea if she slept with Ed or didn´t but maybe it doesn´t matter. She feels the danger and calls Mulder but it was late. I wish they could´ve said more in that last scene. It wasn´t just about the desk. It was about so much more. It was about what she felt, where she stood, if he cared. LG
  • Tattooed Love Boy

    I really liked this episode, despite the relative lack of "X" stuff. Although it's in the mold of a MOTW episode, it dovetails nicely with the previous episode ("Leonard Betts") in showing Scully's sudden desire to "smell the roses" before they are gone, nicely illustrated with the dried rose petal that she picks up and leaves on Mulder's desk.

    The snippy conversation Scully has with Mulder before he leaves on a forced vacation was hilarious. I never realized that she didn't have a desk. LOL! I also loved Mulder's nerdy and single-minded need to instruct her on exactly what to do during his absence and his repeated phone calls to check on her progress - no wonder she needs a break from him. Scully's pointed observation that the Russian's story was lifted from a Rocky & Bullwinkle episode was also priceless. Mulder ownage!

    As a whole, this episode was very well written and it was well-acted. I'm not sure I buy how "easy" Scully was to pick up, it doesn't seem in character for her, but perhaps that was the point - she needs a change and a chance to walk on the wild side. I liked her expression as she is tattooed, a perfect mix of apprehension and sensualism.

    The music and soundtrack used for this episode were brilliant, the best yet in my opinion. The songs chosen for the bar scenes, in particular, were smart and witty.
  • Nickelback have a song called Never Again

    Never Again see’s a man with nothing much to live for get a tattoo. The only problem is that the tattoo talks to him and makes him kill any women he likes. This “killer tattoo” starts to get rather jealous when its owner starts to take a liking to Skully. So it’s up to Skully to find out what’s going on before it’s too late. This is a good episode, and we see a bit of character development from Skully, as she goes on a date and she gets a tattoo- the first time we’ve really seen her let her hair down- and hopefully not the last
  • Scully on her own.

    This was a really interesting episode to revisit - a voyage into Scully's viewpoint, something that has been building up within her all this time. It's perhaps fitting that the questions she asks of herself and her life are the same that many female fans have posed indignantly again and again. Why doesn't Scully have her own office, her own desk? Why does it seem that Scully is always following Mulder's orders? Why doesn't she get to choose the case they're going to follow?

    Of course, these answers don't all reflect the choice of the producers or writers of the show to sacrifice character to plot. Instead, it provides an insight into Scully's character - an emerging co-dependency between herself and Mulder that she is trying to fight off, even as late as the 4th season. The re-evaluation of her life is coming because of forced stimuli, but in reality they are all questions she should have been asking all along but probably have suppressed due to other concerns. Although the two stars spend only a few, tension-filled moments together and those moments are painful to watch, it's a necessary phase the agents have to pass through in the growth of their relationship. Before they fully accept the others' permanence in their lives, they must deal with the chafing and perhaps stifling feeling of not living a solo life anymore. For Scully, she needs to justify her inevitable following of Mulder's orders by acting out and also listening to her self-destructive desires and tendencies.

    I think the most revealing part of the episode is Mulder's very last line. Scully tells him that not everything is about him, and that this is her life. Hurt by this and his perception that she is acting in rebellion against HIM, Mulder tries to understand her but retorts with a, "Yes, but it's m--" and stops himself. I believe what he's about to say is, "Yes, but it's my life too." It shows that Mulder is ready at this point and is undergoing the process of accepting that Scully is becoming a permanent and necessary fixture in his life. This comes easier to Mulder because, in a way, he's been waiting his whole life for someone like Scully to come along. But Scully resists the idea - that's what this episode is all about - and Mulder seems to recognize her reluctance to really let him into her life, all the way, forever. It hurts him, but he can't do much about it but wait for her to either bail on him or commit.
  • I just love this episode.

    If Mulder didn't understand why Scully "refused" an assignment, he's was really in the dark, wasn't he? I didn't see this episode till after the series ended. I was very pleased with Gillian's acting in this one. She had me convinced she was getting the "TATTOO". I was glad her relationship with Rob Rowland had ended by the time I watched it. He did not "FIT" her at all, nor did he fit in any of the X-files episodes!!! I believe they could have found a better actor for her to play off of. But, then that's my opinion, isn't it?!!! The episode had me watching everymove she made and wondering to myself,"Would a grown woman actually act this way?" I just don't believe Scully would have!!! As Gillian said" Scully is amazingly intelligent". ( I know bad spelling and grammer, SORRY.) I do love the part with "Moose and Squirle". I have often used that as Catch phrase for Mulder and Scully.
  • The one with the tattoos

    ‘Never Again’ was a great way to continue this season with a thrilling twist towards the end and character development for Scully.

    The episode begins rather slow with a guy going to a shop and getting a new tattoo. The guy seems rather depressing, soon his tattoo begins to talk to him and is jealous of other women. The tattoo makes him kill a woman who was making noise downstairs and he burns her.

    Meanwhile Scully and Mulder aren’t exactly getting along and he is going for vacation, he decides to leave her with a case while he goes to an Elvis place. When Scully takes off to go to a tattoo shop she meets the guy Ed, his tattoo is very jealous but he decides to talk to Scully and give him his phone number to hang out.

    When Scully calls Mulder and they have a disagreement she tells him she has a date and goes over to Ed’s place and they hang out and go out, but his tattoo is bleeding but he doesn’t want to show it to her and instead tells her to get her own and so she does. At his house he shows her his tattoo and then they start to make out, the next morning some police men come to their place and tell Scully that the woman below is missing and that his blood was found at the apartment which also had something in it. Scully looks it up and it turns out to be something which makes them act differently.

    Scully asks Ed about it and he tells her about the tattoo, then when she goes to change he finds out that she’s an investigator and he gets mad and attacks her, then tries to burn her but she escapes. Instead he burns up his own hand which looked very nasty.

    The great thing about this episode is that Scully could shine once more and prove that she’s also on the show. She also got a tattoo and finally became a woman. I really enjoyed the sexual tension between Scully and Ed. Most of this episode was great, the twist was that the tattoo wasn’t really talking to him it was just that he was poisoned. Also the episode ends with a fun joke of Mulder telling Scully that she has already survived two X-files.
    ‘Never Again’ was an excellent episode that started a bit slow but turned out great.
  • Scully stops being only an agent of the FBI and starts being a woman.

    Obviously, this is a very Scully centered episode, focusing on her journey of self-discovery after the somewhat alarming idea that was put forth to her in the previous episode. There are some masterful parts with Mulder, however, that delve into his character as well. He doesn\'t seem to understand, or even be aware of the fact, that he is overshadowing Scully. His innocent disbelief at what she has just gone through shows very readily on his face; his work is his life and he just can't grasp that it isn't the same for her.

    This is the first time that we really get the chance to see Scully push back against the flow that seems to have been forced upon her life. She struggles to break the unending ring formed from her relationships with father-figures and when she does so, it results in one of the most astoundingly erotic scenes on television. Frankly, my mouth dropped at the "inking" and was really drawn to the characters reactions. Simply fabulous.
  • An odd little show

    What is "Never Again"? As an X-File, it's a middle-of-the-road affair: a tattoo that produces hallucinations and violent behavior due to a psychotropic substance used in the ink - isn't that something pretty realistic, down to earth, mundane even? Yes, at least it's nothing paranormal, I'd say. So watched from this perspective, the episode might look like a disappointment, and sure enough, for thrills or spookiness, look elsewhere.

    So we'll subtract the supernatural. What we're left with is a character study and, in a way, a romance for Scully. And here's where the gold lies. After "Leonard Betts"'s revelation that Scully might have cancer, it's only fitting that in this show, she would examine her unhappiness with her life - or what's left of it once she's not with the FBI. And so we see the story of a lost woman who's desperate to find some human connection, to break out and be alive again. So Scully gets 1. drunk, 2. a tattoo, 3. laid (possibly) - that's all new. And very exciting for an X-Phile like me who appreciates the character work done on the show.

    However, a few things still bug me. The mystery's not mysterious enough, as explained above. Jodie Foster, while a cool credit to see, is distracting as the voice of Betty. An unknown would've diverted less attention away from the story because the only effect we get from having a star in the role is: Look, it's Jodie Foster doing the voice!! Not so good. Also disconcerting - although intended under the premise of "Scully's unhappy with Mulder" - is the tone of voice the two characters take with each other.

    Like "Field Where I died" and "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man", this episode is a fourth season experiment with the X Files formula. It works splendidly in places, but leaves a sour taste because it raises the question "When does X Files stop being X Files and start being a soap opera?" I certainly don't mind so much, but there have been other episodes (e.g. "Paper Clip", "Irresistible", "One Breath") that managed to be both at the same time: Great character drama AND exciting, paranormal thrillers. Given the choice, I prefer to get the whole package.