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New Podcast! The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch – Episode #44 (Never Again/Memento Mori)

I’m thrilled to be a part of The X-Cast X-Files Podwatch, a daily snippet podcast rewatching the entirety of The X-Files between now and the launch of the new season. It is something of a spin-off of The X-Cast, a great X-Files podcast run by the charming Tony Black. Tony has assembled a fantastic array of guests and hosts to go through The X-Files episode-by-episodes. With the new season announced to be starting in early January, Tony’s doing two episodes of the podcast per day, so buckle up. It’s going to be fun.

My second appearance of the fourth season is actually my second appearance with the wonderful Clara Cook. We’re covering the episodes Never Again and Memento Mori, in which I have some… perhaps unconventional opinions about the relative quality of these two episodes. I think I’ve admitted before, I alternate between One Breath and Never Again as possibly my favourite X-Files episode ever, so it was a thrill to get to talk about it.

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The X-Files – Memento Mori (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

It is easy to see why Scully’s cancer arc is so fondly remembered.

It arrived at a point where the show was at the very top of its game. Scully’s cancer arc comes amid a slew of beloved and classic episodes, in the middle of a season that contains Home, Unruhe, Paper Hearts and many more. It is the defining mythology plot point for the show’s fourth season, which was the point at which The X-Files just exploded into the centre of popular consciousness. More than that, the episode introducing Scully’s cancer – Leonard Betts – was the most-watched episode of The X-Files ever broadcast.

What's in your head?

What’s in your head?

Memento Mori has its own endearing aspects. If Leonard Betts was the show’s highest profile and most populist success, Memento Mori counts as one of the show’s biggest critical successes. The episode is largely responsible for winning Gillian Anderson her Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. It also took home the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series and received a nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. It is perhaps the most prestigious episode of the fourth season.

However, in spite of all of that, Memento Mori remains something of a mess. It feels like a clumsy retread of One Breath, a story that worked much better in the show’s second season.

Send in the clones...

Send in the clones…

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The X-Files – Leonard Betts (Review)

This February and March, we’re taking a trip back in time to review the fourth season of The X-Files and the first season of Millennium.

Leonard Betts is a big one. In fact, it may just be the biggest one.

Leonard Betts attracted the largest audience in the history of The X-Files, with almost thirty million people tuning in to watch the episode. This audience was largely carried over from Superbowl XXXI, but it arrived at a fortuitous moment for the series. The X-Files was exploding into the mainstream. Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz had spent Christmas 1996 in Hawaii plotting The X-Files: Fight the Future, a blockbuster movie based on the series. The week before, Mulder and Scully had paid a visit to Springfield in The Springfield Files.

What a waste...

What a waste…

The show’s moment had arrived. Leonard Betts makes for quite the moment. It might not be the best episode in the history of the show; it might not even be the best episode of the season. However, it ranks with Pusher as one of the great archetypal episodes of The X-Files. The show captures so much of what makes The X-Files great, almost perfectly distilling the appeal of the show into a tight forty-odd minute package. It is a beautifully-crafted piece of television that checks all of the right boxes. This is a pretty fantastic introduction to the show and its world.

Leonard Betts is an episode that has been put together with incredible skill, one that demonstrates why The X-Files had such an impact on the popular consciousness.

Comfortable in his skin...

Comfortable in his skin…

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