The MySteRy of Syzygy | The K Files | An X Files Podcast | Case File 309
In a NEW podcast investigation, Agents Moeller and Lopez analyze a historic MSR episode from the pre-miniseries X-Files era, cult third season favorite, Syzygy. The episode retains its watch-ability even into this new X Files world due to a snarky script by Chris Carter and singular performances from Duchovny and Anderson, in which they more than deliver said snark. At each other.
The bon mots are plentiful (bonus gifs below). And, for a master class in silent acting, see Gillian Anderson’s mega attitude reacting to Mulder’s hovering over her and Detective White during the scene following the teaser (or any of Anderson’s scenes, truthfully).
Watch the episode here:
Our investigation begins with Mulder and Scully at a literal crossroads engaging in a familiar debate: which direction to go at a stop sign (see also Fight the Future). This episode, written by Chris Carter, signifies also a defining moment in their relationship both personal and professional.
Carter’s scripts are written specifically: Sclly wants to turn right and Mulder wants to turn left. Mulder has lead agents to uncover masculine/feminine forces in the universe/psyche as characterized by Greeks scholars, Carl Jung, etc – using this codex, masculine forces in the universe/psyche identify with the left side of the body and feminine, the right.
Each character is asking the other to get in harmony with them in their way. Scully’s hunch to turn right (and in fact often when it comes to driving, subtly on the show) is wrong, but, the point is she wanted him to go with her, regardless, in the same way she follows him when he’s acting single-mindedly.
The setting for this quintessential MSR story is not just a four way stop at the edge of one of Chris Carter’s many petri dishes of the psyche, but also a cosmic event: the titular syzygy is the convergence of several planets’ worth of gravity on Comity and its denizens.
Here our agents face the monsters of their relationship: Detective White personifies Scully’s jealousy at someone who’s not her being in “sypmpatico with Mulder”; the Pediatrician = a more subversive love that Mulder (esp in early seasons) seems inclined toward and which Scully might be a little either intimidated by/not ready for/intrigued but feels weird about her intrigue/probably some stuff for Mulder too that we will not peer into at this time/will they be compatible in bed…; and the Principal stands in for rebellion against authority/blaming elders, leaders, and parents for problems and failing to take responsibility for your role in your misfortunes, move on and heal.
The list goes on, but you come to see when you analyze the story in this way that the Comity-ians extol their goodness (Detective White: “These were good kids;” “He’s the principal…a good man…” etc), but are not all that great in their dealings with each other. Syzzgy or no, the people of the town see their secret feelings play out publicly, a sort of spiritual ventilation, or airing out of the toxins.
To whit – the principal announces at the end, regarding the ensuing mayhem in the thrilling final battler of the story: “I believe it was Satan… Yes sir: Satan, it was.” And he’s not wrong – Scully explains the codex for us early on in the episode.
She tells Detective White (and Mulder mocks her) that satanic cult fear mongering in a community represents and is perpetuated by denial or misplaced blame.
So what is the misplaced blame, the identity of this week’s monster? What we’ve been talking about, that Comity is not so nice, and in fact, filled with lies. Scully again hits it early on, firing a slice of repartee at Mulder with extreme prejudice in reply to his comment regarding Detective White suddenly departing because she might be a virgin. Scully “doubt[s] she’s even a blond.”
The lesson seems to be not that every small town is weird and full of jerks, but that everyone has bad parts they’d rather keep hidden, so try not to judge anyone else or make anyone else feel badly about differences in appearance, etc.
But the lesson seemingly goes unlearned. Two 16 year old girls, fixed in the center of eternity yet powered by total chaos, reckon all liars, including themselves in the end.
Which is really the point. Two bodies, pulled together by gravity and their own stubborn choices, will slowly circle each other, growing closer while pulling apart, until they either create or destroy, depending on your perception.
This is a cosmic relationship, and a dualistic relationship that plays out in Mulder and Scully as individuals and a couple. Chris Carter asks what M and S approach as they draw ever closer? They careen through the crossroads without stopping, is the answer.
The earlier moment at the crossroads is answered after the case is solved, as the characters drive away. Mulder is still questioning, but Scully, firmly in the driver’s seat for the time being, chooses for them: straight on through to the other side. Just like The K Files.
After the jubilance of the miniseries faded, K Files agents were compelled to seek the truth in the deepest mystery of The X Files: the full, panoramic view of moments in M & S’s shared journey towards each other and together. We’re investigating case files now in pursuit of all the relationship moments both visible and inferred – so stay tuned.
The Truth is Already Here.
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