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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 delight 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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New Podcast! Not Another X-Files Podcast Podcast #717 – “all things”

Last year, I stopped by Not Another X-Files Podcast Podcast to discuss Vince Gilligan and Rob Bowman’s all-time classic, Drive. So I was thrilled to be invited to join Carolyn and Vanessa to discuss all things.

Positioned towards the tail end of the awkward seventh season of The X-Files, all things is an interesting beast. It is written and directed by series star Gillian Anderson. Unlike Duchovny, Anderson had never really expressed an interest in writing and directing beforehand and hasn’t really embraced that career subsequently. As such, all things is a very strange piece of television, primarily a way for Anderson to explore themes and ideas that were clearly of interest to her.

I’ve always had an awkward relationship with all things. It is not, on its own terms, an especially strong episode. However, it has a strong central vision and an interesting approach to its material, produced with an energy that is largely lacking from the season around it. It’s an oddity in many ways. It is not entirely successful, but it is interesting. It was great to get a chance to hammer it out with Carolyn and Vanessa.

You can check out the podcast here, and past episodes here. Or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 4, Episode 15 (“Kaddish”)

Always a delight to stop by The X-Cast again. This time discussing a (relatively) underrated fourth season installment, Kaddish with the fantastic Russell Hugo.

Kaddish exists at a very weird point in the fourth season of The X-Files. It arrives following a blockbuster run of episodes, including Leonard Betts, Never Again and Memento Mori. Those are big episodes in the context of the show’s larger run the kind of stories that people have very strong opinions about. Kaddish follows those episodes, and so tends to be overlooked. In fact, it explicitly avoids dealing with any of the fallout from those episodes, at least directly. However, on its own terms, it’s a very lyrical and abstract story, a tale that is perhaps more timely now than when it was broadcast, a gothic fairy tale that hints at the big themes of the stories around it: about life, love, mortality, and loss. It’s beautiful in its own intimate way.

As ever, you can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 4, Episode 13 (“Never Again”)

I had the pleasure of popping by The X-Cast again, this time to discuss Never Again with the wonderful Deana Ferrer.

Long-time readers of the blog will know (or at least suspect) that Never Again stands out as one of my favourite episodes of The X-Files. Most days, it’s a toss up between that and One Breath. There are a lot of reasons for that, but I think the most obvious is that – as I’ve gotten older – I’ve found myself identifying more with Scully than with Mulder. Scully’s anxieties and uncertainties here, her self-doubt and her insecurity, all resonate with me more and more as I get older. More than any other X-Files episode, I understand the feelings that drive Never Again.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. It is also a fantastically constructed episode of television, an interesting illustration of how continuity is an external construct in long-form narratives, and something that pushes very strongly at certain ideas of what The X-Files is and what The X-Files is about. So it was a pleasure to join Deana to discuss the episode, to break it down and to try to make sense of it all. I know it’s a controversial episode, so I simply hope that we make a relatively coherent argument for it.

As ever, you can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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New Podcast! The X-Cast – Season 4, Episode 7 (“Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man”)

This was a surprise and a delight. Reteaming with Carl Sweeney, with whom I last discussed Unruhe, I’m back on The X-Cast this week covering Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man.

To tip my hand quite early, Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man is one of my favourite episodes of The X-Files. More than that, it’s one of my favourite pieces of nineties pop culture in general, the twisted evil twin of Forrest Gump and an exploration of the first half of the American Century through the lens of conspiracy theory. It’s a prime example of the sort of experimentation that made The X-Files such a great piece of nineties television, anchored in a playful and self-aware script from Glen Morgan and some great direction from James Wong.

So it was fantastic to get the chance to talk about it at length with Carl – even “Bad Carl” – on The X-Cast. You can listen to the episode here, or click the link below.

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

I’m back on The X-Cast this week, covering Unruhe with the incomparable Carl Sweeney.

Unruhe is an interesting episode. It is an episode of The X-Files focusing on a serial killer at the point in time when Chris Carter had just launched Millennium to deal specifically with that menace. In fact, it served as something of a trial run for writer Vince Gilligan, who would write another (more popular) episode focusing on a serial killer later in the fourth season with Paper Hearts.

Unruhe is often overlooked in discussions of the fourth season, and it is easy to understand why given the quality of the episodes around it. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating piece of work that speaks to a lot of the core interests of the series and also reflecting a lot of the work of writer Vince Gilligan. As such, it was a thrill to be asked to discuss the episode.

The truth is 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 1 (“Herrenvolk”)

I’m back on The X-Cast this week, covering Herrenvolk with the one and only Tony Black, kicking off the podcast’s fourth season coverage.

Herrenvolk is an interesting episode, arriving at a pivotal time in the history of The X-Files. Chris Carter’s attention was divided over the fourth season, split between the first season of Millennium and the pre-production on what would become The X-Files: Fight the Future. As a result, the fourth season is a particularly disjointed and unfocused point in the show’s run, but one that contains no shortage of treasures.

It was, always, a delight to talk over the episode with Tony. I’m always honoured to be asked back. We also talk a little bit about the fourth season of the series as a whole, about its reputation and legacy and about where it would rank personally. I hope you enjoy it.

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

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