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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 14 (“The Red and the Black”)

Continuing on from our discussion of Patient X last week, I was thrilled to join the sensational Kurt North on The X-Cast to discuss the second half of my second favourite mythology two-parter, The Red and the Black.

This was a fun and wide-ranging discussion of the two-parter, which really leaned into the sort of goofy epic stuff that I loved about The X-Files at its peak, the sort of free-wheeling “all ideas at the wall” approach to plotting that managed to fold in concepts like an existential “war in heaven” while recycling ideas from Millennium for a blockbuster adventure that seemed to be as interested in setting up Two Fathers and One Son as it was in lining up with the pending release of The X-Files: Fight the Future. There’s an enjoyable ambition to the two-parter, which has largely been missing from the mythology since Talitha Cumi.

As ever, I hope you enjoy. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 13 (“Patient X”)

Anybody who has heard me talk about The X-Files knows that Patient X and The Red and the Black are comfortably my second-favourite mythology episodes, behind Nisei and 731. So it was a huge pleasure to be invited on The X-Cast to discuss them with the sensational Kurt North.

I get into it a lot on the podcast itself, but I think a large part of what I love about Patient X and The Red and the Black is that there is so much to it. As a two-parter, it’s the rare X-Files mythology episodes that manages to blend the propulsive blockbuster aesthetic of stories like Colony and End Game with the more existential musings of episodes like Biogenesis, The Sixth Extinction and The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati. It has both big ideas and an epic scope, offering one of the strongest overlaps between The X-Files and Star Wars, which has always been bubbling away in the background as a key influence.

As ever, I hope you enjoy. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below. Kurt and I will be teaming up again next week to discuss The Red and the Black.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 8 (“Kitsunegari”)

Last year, I was extremely privileged to get to discuss the wonderful Pusher with the sensational Tony Black on The X-Cast. For those who don’t know, Pusher is Tony’s favourite episode ever – and comfortably sits around the edge of my top ten. So no pressure.

As such, it was a delight to get to join Tony for Kitsunegari, the fifth season sequel to Pusher. Outside of the mythology, it was relatively rare for The X-Files to do direct sequels to earlier episodes – even popular ones. Kitsunegari is an entry in a very select club that includes Tooms and Orison. However, it is also an episode with which I’ve had a very complicated relationship. It often feels like a parody of a sequel to Pusher rather than an entirely earnest follow-up, and as such as always felt like it belongs to the fifth season’s broader preoccupations with monstrous progeny as a metaphor for the show’s unexpected evolution and direction. Of course, I’ve always worried that I read too much into it.

As ever, you can make up your own mind. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 3 (“Unusual Suspects”)

Think of it as a prequel podcast for a prequel episode. Before I recorded the podcasts for Redux I and Redux II, I actually joined Sarah Blair on The X-Cast to discuss Unusual Suspects. Appropriately enough, given the episode’s production history, it was the first fifth season podcast that I recorded.

Unusual Suspects is one of my low-key favourite episodes of The X-Files. Gun to my head, whether pressed by a lone gunman or not, it is one of the most underrated episodes in the show’s entire eleven-season run. Notably, it is the only time (barring collaborations on Memento Mori or Emily) that Vince Gilligan takes a proper shot at writing a conspiracy or mythology episode. As such, he gets a chance to put his mark on some of the most coveted toys in The X-Files toy chest. The results are suitably Gilliganian, a story about little men and uncontrollable chaos stemming from the law of unintended consequence.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 2 (“Redux II”)

It’s a bit of a change up on The X-Cast this week. Last week, I joined Tony Black to discuss the first part of the fifth season premiere Redux I. This week, Tony swapped out with Russell Hugo, whom I joined to discuss Redux II.

Redux II is an interesting beast. I am actually appreciably fonder of Redux II than I am of Redux I. I think the second part of the premiere does a lot of the stuff that the first half attempts, but in a much more interesting and compelling manner. It’s not quite as good as Gethsemane at the end of the fourth season, but it’s still a surprisingly ambitious and adventurous story for The X-Files to tell at this point in its run – the moment at which the series is at the peak of its popularity and The X-Files: Fight the Future is looming large in the horizon. I hope this was a fun and interesting discussion.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 5, Episode 1 (“Redux I”)

The X-Cast just kicked off its season coverage, and I’m back with Tony Black to discuss the first part of the fifth season premiere Redux I.

Redux I was famously the second-most watched episode of The X-Files, behind Leonard Betts. It’s easy to see why. Not only was the episode following on from an edge-of-the-seat cliffhanger involving the supposed suicide of the male lead on one of the buzziest shows of the decade, but it was also the launch of the season that would lead into the feature film adaptation, The X-Files: Fight the Future. As such, it was a pretty daring move on the part of Chris Carter to devote so much of the premiere to purple prose monologues playing over Mulder walking down grey corridors.

I think this is a pretty fun and interesting discussion. Redux I is always an episode that I’ve have complicated and conflicted feelings about, and the podcast was a nice opportunity to work through some of those strange emotions. Anyway, I hope there’s something worthwhile in here.

You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 4, Episode 24 (“Gethsemane”)

So The X-Cast has reached the end of its fourth season coverage, and I’m delighted to be joining Tony Black to discuss the fourth season finale Gethsemane.

Gethsemane is an interesting season finale, and a defining episode of The X-Files. It opens with what appears to be the suicide of Fox Mulder, and then builds to that as a season-bridging cliffhanger. Of course, the audience knows from the outset that the cliffhanger will be Mulder’s death, and the audience also understands that Duchovny is going to spend the summer shooting The X-Files: Fight the Future. So there’s an incredible tension there, right at the moment when the series had become one of the most popular television shows of the decade.

More than that, though, there’s something very lyrical and poetic about Gethsemane, which eschews the sort of action and adventure beats that defined a lot of The Erlenmeyer Flask or Anasazi or Talitha Cumi. There is a sense that writer Chris Carter (working without partner Frank Spotnitz) is meditating upon some of the internal contradictions of the show, and trying to work through some of the tensions that simmered through a complicated and scattershot fourth season as a whole.

The truth is in here. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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