The X-Files

Season 3 Episode 13


Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 26, 1996 on FOX

Episode Fan Reviews (22)

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  • Sure. Fine. Whatever.

    At this stage in the game, Season 3 is shaping up to be a very experimental one for "The X-Files". The "Anasazi" trilogy that opened the season pushed the mythology into uncharted, more personal, yet more global waters. Darin Morgan continues to explore comedy as a tool for his episodes with his two contributions thus far. Even Chris Carter has been in fairly experimental mode, certainly as a director, with his green-hued "The List". Here though is Chris Carter the writer having a go at something a little different. Get this for high concept: Mulder and Scully hate each other's guts. Something as simple as that yields an episode that is jam-packed with quotable line after quotable line, with "Sure. Fine. Whatever." now becoming the stuff of legend. It means that "Syzygy" not only has the rare distinction of being a laugh-out-loud episode, but also it's
    undoubtedly the hardest to spell! Of course any long lasting or close relationship gets tested at some point, so in effect the events depicted here are a refreshing new angle on the relationship between the two. The fact that the two actors attack this with such vigour is testament to how much they both enjoy the change. Anderson in particular makes Scully as snippy as possible. What could be funnier than seeing her stalk off down a corridor in anger, or pacing up and down her hotel room, smoking no less, and whining on about "Detective White". (Who meanwhile is trying to do the horny thing with a surprisingly unwilling and drunk Mulder.) This proves to be very fertile ground for the character of Scully. Natural animosity and dismissal of small town beliefs is actually the perfect scenario for her innate cynicism, something that Mulder doesn't miss an opportunity in calling attention to. Of course let's not forget that this rare planetary alignment (a plot device that emerges very slowly, thereby giving us much time to enjoy the uncharacteristic behaviour of the agents) doesn't just affect the partnership of Mulder and Scully. Take a look at the teenage Carrie wannabes, Terri and Margie. Initially the syzygy homes in on these two and channels their wants and desires, most of which they don't even seem to understand themselves, in destructive directions. It was only a matter of time before such uncontrollable hormones would be unleashed against each other. The two actresses capture well that listless, always pretending to be bored quality that seems to be the hallmark of such girls. The episode also gives Carter the chance to take a few potshots at smalltown life. He would do this to even more exaggerated effect with Season 5's "Post-Modern Prometheus", and it is slowly starting to become an X Files theme in itself, as the last episode "War of the Coprophages" proved. At this juncture though, it seems little more than good-natured ribbing. So we do get a giggle out of the town's paediatrician being a closet transvestite, and the local psychic complaining about the difficulties of running a small business. Just as daring as the fractured relationship on show here is the very tone of the episode as well. This could have gone in many different ways, but the overall tone is one of slapstick. And that's despite the number of teenage deaths that occur throughout. But just take a look at the very well-executed climax where Terri and Margie cause all sorts of havoc in the police station, especially with guns going off left, right and centre. It's all set to Keystone Kops music, giving the whole thing a very goofy quality, when in reality it's a highly dangerous situation. And it's interesting to note too that the moment after the planetary alignment has occurred at midnight on the girls' birthday, everything reverts back to the way it was. Mulder and Scully go back to being (largely) in sync with each other, by shouting "Put that gun down!" in unison to the descending lynch mob. And the two teenage girls revert to being just that. Two teenage girls. Only with really bad hair. Carter can't resist one last pop at our dynamic duo as they drive off into the sunset, with Scully hilariously telling Mulder to shut up. And he, equally delightfully, repeating her mantra of "Sure. Fine. Whatever." A million T-shirt slogans instantly appear in sympathy. 9/10