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Of Death Stars, Sarlaccs and Sexting: The Curious Sexual Energy of “Star Wars”…

At its core, Star Wars is a Jungian, Campbellian and Freudian story about what it’s like to grow up.

This is perhaps most obvious within the original trilogy. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back is ultimately about the realisation that your parents will eventually and inevitably fail you. Star Wars: Episode VI – The Return of the Jedi is about growing up and learning to make peace with them anyway. Of course, the individual films frame these core themes through their own lenses. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens reframes that adventure so it centres on people who have rarely had the opportunity to anchor such a story. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi asked what that meant in 2017.

Naturally, this coming of age story is framed in terms of adventure – young characters discovering that they are part of an epic mythology that guides them towards confrontations with ancient and incredible evils, often learning hidden truths about themselves and their destiny. There’s a reason that the Star Wars franchise has come to be associated with the “monomyth”, distilling the hero’s journey into something with a story with universal resonance. It is a story about what it feels like to grow up.

It is also, inevitably, very much about sex. And in some very interesting (and quite eccentric) ways.

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The X-Files – Syzygy (Review)

This November (and a little of December), we’re taking a trip back in time to review the third season of The X-Files and the first (and only) season of Space: Above and Beyond.

On original broadcast, Syzygy and War of the Coprophages were separated by three weeks, airing either end of January.

That probably helps to make Syzygy seem like less of a disappointing retread on initial broadcast, but it doesn’t help on modern binge re-watches. Even allowing for the three weeks between the episodes, Syzygy was always going to suffer in comparison its direct predecessor. If War of the Coprophages was Darin Morgan affectionately mimicking Chris Carter’s style, then Syzygy feels like Carter’s attempt to write a script in a voice quite close to that of Darin Morgan.

The horny beast...

The horny beast…

Structurally, the third season is constructed quite cleverly – and Syzygy is a massive part of that. The third season seems to fold in on itself, which means it makes sense for Syzygy to serve as a fun house mirror War of the Coprophages from a purely structural perspective. The problem is that this decision adds a lot to the third season of the whole while undermining Syzygy itself. It feels like an unsatisfactory decision.

However, even divorced from context, Syzygy is still a mess of an episode. Carter would go on to provide some of the show’s most comedic hours in later seasons, and Syzygy marks a starting point of that trend. It is not an auspicious beginning.

Reading the signs...

Reading the signs…

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