"...Scully loves Mulder, and Mulder loves Scully..." - Chris Carter, Inside the X-Files
Before I tackle the controversial and much talked about "Romance Issue" on the X-Files, the following is from the Season 5 special, "Inside The X-Files":
The root beer/iced tea scene from Tooms is shown along with other scenes too many to explain and Mark Snow's patented romantic/angst-ridden piano theme plays when...
Sheila Larken: "It sounds cliche to say that they're best friends, but they're best friends beyond what lovers could ever be."
Chris Carter: "Scully loves Mulder, and Mulder loves Scully. It's a wonderful romance. It's just not a sexual romance. It's not a physical romance. It is a caring, tender, respectful relationship. It's an ideal, and I would never want to do anything to threaten it, to change it."
Gillian Anderson: "One of the things that keeps people watching and keeps the aliveness between us, are those moments where there is that intimacy. Where even just the touch of a hand can be the same as making love in another series."
As David speaks, the hallway scene from "Memento Mori" is being shown...
David Duchovny: "It's like the one friend, I guess, that he has in the world. I mean, I heard a phrase once, somebody was talking about their wife. This was a person who was very inept socially, not the wife but the man. There were many things said about him that weren't kind, and he said, 'My wife, who is lovely and social and everything like that, is my human credential.' And, like, makes him a human being, because people think, well, if *she* can stand him, he must have some humanity within him and sometimes I think about Scully as Mulder's human credential. It's the only thing that makes him not crazy in many ways."
The ending scene from Paper Hearts is shown where Scully gives Mulder a head hug...
I must rewatch that scene every now and then, particularly after a rather unsatisfying episode when M&S act more like strangers than would-be lovers. Oh well...
Chris Carter was a visionary genius when he created "The X-Files" and teamed up a man and a woman against the world. It brought about a modern-day epic that is as time-honored as a Greek classic. The on-going theme that the "Truth is Out There" brings about images of government cover-ups and alien encounters, but it is the weekly interaction of our two attractive characters that add immense world-wide appeal to the series.
You would think that a show dealing with government conspiracies, potential alien colonizations and evil shown in infinite forms could easily avoid the dreaded theme of *romance*, an issue that divides people right down the middle like abortion or the death penalty. Why is that? Before that can be answered, the romance issue is something that needs to be dissected to truly understand why it brings both controversy and praise.
From the Pilot episode, it was obvious that there was an undeniable chemistry between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. At first, it might have been a curiosity. After all, Scully was assigned to the X-Files to prove Mulder's work as being fraudulent and wasting Bureau time and money. Yet, she obviously had a fascination with Mulder from the way she spewed out information about him to Section Chief Blevins. Scully recognized brilliance in Mulder from his reputation and grudgingly admired him for it. As for Mulder, he was highly suspicious of Scully, because he knew that she was brought in to close down the X-Files by any means possible. However, he grudgingly admired her integrity as a medical doctor and an investigator and quickly realized that she was trying to solve the case as much as he was. By the end of their first case together, they developed a tenuous trust that has since only developed into an unbreakable bond between them with trust being the connection and love being the glue.
The complexity of their working relationship over the past six years has fit a model that does not appear to waver. Yet, the closeness between them that has been building with every year has become much more evident as of late. In essence, they maintain a professional working relationship with hints of subtextual flirtations that border on sexual innuendos. So what does that mean? Basically, Mulder and Scully have maintained a professional demeanor, because it's their job. They flirt with each other through both their trademark non-verbal communication (i.e. intense gaze, handholding, caress of a face) and on an intellectual level, and, particularly for Mulder, tend to hint at sex and other carnal suggestions.
During each season, there have been hints planted in most episodes regarding their growing affection and concern for each other. Ironically, the first season was inundated with unusually high flirtatious behavior between them. But as they were forced to be separated at the beginning of season two, their need to be together outweighed the unforseen forces trying to destroy their bond. Even after the X-Files were closed, they remained in constant contact with each other. It was evident that there was no one else that either trusted. After Scully's abduction, Mulder revealed his undying devotion to her as his need to find Scully thoroughly surpassed his lifelong obsession to find Samantha. Even at this early stage in their relationship, Mulder and Scully exhibited an exceptional trust and concern for each other.
The episode, "One Breath," thoroughly focused on that trust and concern. After finding out that Scully was found in an ICU unit at a local hospital, he did everything he could to find out what happened to her. With the aid of The Lone Gunmen, Mulder found out that Scully was dying from a failed immune system as a result of tests that had been done to her. His reaction to their findings revealed how much Scully means to him, because he looked as though a part of him was dying with Scully.
When he is given a tip by his informant, Mr. X, that his apartment would be broken in, this would be Mulder's chance to get revenge for what happened to Scully. But after being persuaded by Scully's sister, Melissa, Mulder instead stays with Scully all night for what was expected to be her last on earth. In the morning, Mulder returns home to find his apartment ransacked. After a moment, he finally lets go of all the pent up emotions that he has kept within himself and breaks down in the corner and cries. Mulder feels helpless and believes that he failed both himself and Scully for not being able to exact revenge to the people responsible for her impending death. It was the most poignant and heartbreaking scene of Season 2 and further signified his true devotion to his partner.
Though Season 3 started with Mulder supposedly dead, and Scully getting in trouble, much of the season appeared at times as though Scully's presence was a nuisance to Mulder. Yet, there were three definitive episodes that stood out in regards to their budding romance: "War of the Coprophages," "Syzygy" and the classic, "Pusher."
In "War of the Coprophages," both Mulder and Scully have a rare weekend off, but neither can go those full 48 hours away from each other *without* talking to one another. They are constantly in phone contact, and even though Scully humors Mulder, she does not want to leave the friendly confines of her apartment. But we see the first glimpse of Scully jealousy as Mulder recounts his meeting with the rather fetching Dr. Bambi Berenbaum. Suddenly, Scully cannot pack fast enough to be at Mulder's side!
In "Syzygy," Scully is not shy in showing her displeasure for Mulder's apparent interest in Detective White. The look on Scully's face upon catching the two of them in Mulder's hotel room about ready to christen the bed with their passions was absolutely hilarious!!! Though some would argue that the circumstances of the case where there was a shift in the cosmos warranted the strange behavior in Mulder and Scully. However, I can easily refute that argument by stating that if Mulder and Scully had *no* romantic feelings to speak of, then there should not have been any kind of awkwardness or tension between them AFTER the cosmos shifted back to normal. Right?
As for Vince Gilligan's classic, "Pusher," this episode more than any other up to this point literally defined their unspoken devotion to each other. Scully uncharacteristically showed more emotion during the Russian roulette scene than what is normal. Also, Gilligan treated fans to *two* very romantic hand clasping scenes between the two heroes.
During the fourth season, cancer overshadowed the Mulder/Scully dynamic as both of them had to cope with a very real disease. The pinnacle episode is arguably "Memento Mori." No matter how many times I watch this episode, I am always amazed at the excellent writing and the execution by Duchovny and Anderson. When there is a meaningful episode that reveals so much of the inner strengths of Mulder and Scully, those two actors prove that they are the anchors of the series and that absolutely no other science-fiction show can possibly match their brilliance in making the writers words come to life. Mulder again showed that he would do anything to find a cure for Scully. In turn, Scully reveals her terminal illness to him before even her own family. Though not a very "happy" episode, it further revealed the devotion the two have for each other.
On a lighter note, Gilligan's brilliant "Small Potatoes" revealed that Scully does not mind one bit that Mulder shows an interest in her outside of their work. Unfortunately, it was the wrong Mulder. I just hope the real one does not have to go through a whole bottle of wine and a few Scully stories of youthful indiscretion before he can plant a kiss on her.
If "Memento Mori" showed the devotion Mulder and Scully have for each other, then "Redux II," the second episode of Season 5 revealed their love. The complexity of the episode speaks volumes of the brilliant writing, but it is the many displays of love that stand out. Upon hearing that Scully is in the hospital, Mulder does not hesitate to reveal that his death was faked so he can see Scully. When she awakens to find out Mulder is in trouble, she tells him to sacrifice her good name so that he will avoid formal criminal charges. The smoking man promptly offers Mulder a way to not only save Scully but himself as well. He even tempts Mulder with Samantha, who may or may not be the real deal. In the end, Mulder chooses integrity and his concern over Scully rather than any selfish choices. In turn, Scully implicitly trusts Mulder's choice for her "cure." Their love in this episode is so evident that Mrs. Mulder thought she was imposing on their privacy when she walked into Scully's hospital room. Truth be known, Bill, Jr., hates Mulder, because he blames him for his sister's disease. Yet, he sees the unconditional devotion his sister has towards Mulder, and it frightens him. He has never seen such behavior before from his no-nonsense sister. So many displays of love between Mulder and Scully in this classic episode that definitely pulls at the emotional heartstrings throughout.
The rest of Season 5 showed variations of their playful flirtation, particularly in "Detour," "Chinga" and "Bad Blood." But another woman is thrown into the mix in the Season 5 finale, "The End." It is one thing to show Mulder interested in a Bambi Berenbaum, but when it is Diana Fowley, someone from his past, there will be a definitive strain on his current relationship with Scully. It does not help that Mulder avoids telling Scully details of his past with Diana. But clues from their awkwardness around her and Gibson Praise's telepathic powers, makes Scully curious enough to ask the three people who would know Mulder's past, The Lone Gunmen. They reveal the prior relationship between Mulder and Diana and how she was there when Mulder discovered the X-Files. The raw emotions of jealousy were never more evident in Scully after finding out that bit of information. It also did not help that she witnessed a casual handhold between Mulder and Diana without their knowledge. Thus, Scully's professional demeanor and her feelings for Mulder were truly tested.
The feature film thoroughly enhanced the romance between Mulder and Scully. Not only do we see our heroes save the world, but they also come very close to consummating their love through the most romantic physical act: a kiss. If not for a pesky bee, many non-shippers out there would have been defeated. But it futher shows the brilliance of Chris Carter to perpetuate the romance between Mulder and Scully that even he can no longer deny. Mulder had revealed so much of his heart to Scully in the movie that it is difficult to believe that they had *not* become lovers shortly after their Antarctic experience. Just like in "Small Potatoes," Scully revealed that she does not have any objection to Mulder showing a romantic interest in her.
As Season 6 continued the many themes brought forth from the feature film, the one recurring theme that has been most evident is romance. With the possible exception of three or four episodes, many either showcased or subtly hinted toward the romantic relationship of Mulder and Scully. Most notable are "Triangle," "Alpha," "Monday," "Milagro," and "Field Trip."
In "Triangle," Mulder actually told Scully, "I love you." Of course, Scully thought he was under the influence of drugs so she didn't take it seriously. But the look on his face and his hesitation in telling her his true feelings showed the sincerity of his statement. The drugs just helped Mulder conquer his usual inhibitions towards Scully.
In "Alpha," Scully was noticably jealous of another woman's interest in Mulder and confronted her. Again, a nice challenge to people not believing in romance: why would Scully even bother to confront her if she had no romantic feelings for Mulder? The woman did not have any malice towards Mulder, so it wasn't as though Scully was protecting him from danger. It is fairly evident that the theme of the episode dealt with dominance, and Scully reacted like any animal: protecting her dominance in her Alpha Male's (Mulder) life.
In "Monday," Scully watched Mulder die over and over and over. Though typical of many of Season 6 episodes where it bordered on surrealism rather than reality, many of the occurences in this episode *did not* happen. Though, Scully showed just how much she cares for Mulder upon watching him die in her arms. When was the last time she displayed such emotion with anyone else? And Mulder definitely showed his concern when he had a "feeling" that Scully was in danger.
In the surprisingly beautiful episode, "Milagro," another man, a writer, takes an interest in Scully. Though her actions may not have been totally her own, it is rather obvious that she displayed a curiosity about him that bordered on a dangerous fascination. Her embarrassment in front of Mulder for finding out that many of the writer's words were part of her daydreams struck a raw nerve in Mulder. Yet, it is the writer's proclamation that Scully was already in love with someone that reveals her subconscious feelings are not hidden from other people outside of Mulder.
Ironically, Season 6 ended unromantically just like it began. Many of the themes shown in "Biogenesis" hinted more towards the creation of life and the universe rather than the incredible bond of Mulder and Scully. There have been numerous rumors hinting towards a possible romance during the final season. Yet, those same rumors were also persistent before Season 6 began.
So how will it end? Only Chris Carter and the writers know for certain, but I definitely have a suggestion: Let Mulder and Scully be. The natural course of their relationship is so obviously down a romantic path that it should no longer be an underlying issue. So many people do not want to see a change in their relationship or dread the whole issue altogether. If that were the case, why has the show's viewing audience *increased* with each year becoming the most watched program on Fox television (even though the media plugs "Ally McBeal" more)? The simple premise that the show drives the characters is what makes their romance so special and keeps viewers coming back for more. After all, the show isn't called "The Romance of Mulder and Scully." It is "The X-Files," where the theme as of late is interesting stories that drive interesting characters, who happen to be in love and deeply devoted to each other.
As a good friend once told me, the show is written so well that a romance would not hurt the show if it is done tastefully rather than in the tradition of "Melrose Place." After all, would you want to see Mulder or Scully with someone else? If some of you said "Yes!" then read the fanfic, because I *highly* doubt anyone associated with the show will ever let that happen. But you never know.....
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