In tonight’s episode, there was a delicate balance between “monster of the week” and “emotional backstory.” It was well done: the Trashman story wasn’t so complex that it needed an entire episode; and Scully didn’t need to spend an entire episode mourning her mother and worrying about her son.
Trashman seemed very much like a golem and looked very much like Tarman. Before leaving at the episode’s end, the artist replaced Trashman’s face with a very 1970s happy face. That somehow seemed much creepier than the human face it previously had. On the other side of the spectrum, Scully tells Mulder that she believes he will find the answers to the “biggest mysteries,” and that she will be there with him when he does. I take this to mean that basically they are getting back together.
Also: this was a banner episode for all you flashlight aficionados.
Okay, on to the obsessing!
I was hoping that, with a title like “Home Again,” we would revisit the Peacocks in the season four episode “Home.” “Home” was one of the most twisted episodes of THE X-FILES ever, centered around the murderous, inbred Peacock brothers who kept mother Peacock under the bed (BOXING HELENA-style) until they wanted to procreate. Along the way are some good ol’ fashioned THE HILLS HAVE EYES antics. But as far as I can tell, “Home Again” has nothing to do with “Home.” I even watched the old episode again, looking for any links. Nothing. This leads me to believe “Home Again” refers to Scully begging her mother “not to go home yet,” and is a cruel joke from series creator Chris Carter.
As the guest credits rolled, the first name that popped up was Tim Armstrong. “Hey, that’s the guy from Rancid and Op Ivy” I thought, but I figured it must be a coincidence. Nope, no coincidence. The punk rocker played Trashman in this episode.
As Scully and Mulder are sitting at the waterfront, a makeshift memorial service for Margaret, Scully calls him “Fox.” I get it: it’s supposed to be a sign of intimacy, that Scully is talking to Mulder on a personal level. After all, she is talking about their son. But it just feels weird and wrong. As far as I can remember, Scully only ever tried to call him Fox once, in the first season episode “Tooms,” (to which Mulder responds that he “even made my parents call me Mulder”).
When filling in Scully on the case, Mulder glosses over the appearing-and-disappearing street art. Instead, he focuses on the suspect’s profile, a “mission-oriented killer.” I can’t help but feel like this is Mulder’s way of “soothing” Scully, by focusing on the factual parts of the case, not the “spooky” part.
It was a little heavy-handed and obvious: the “Trashman” is there to take out society’s trash, not those who are treated like trash. It’s like all the forces in Scully’s life are uniting to make her feel terrible about giving up her baby for adoption: her mother’s dying words about William and her deathbed desire to reunite with her estranged son; then the artist’s assertion that Trashman was a “thought form.” This clearly hit a nerve with Scully as, before she became pregnant, she was told that she was infertile. With her mother’s death, the guilt of giving up the baby, and missing Mulder, she can’t help but wonder if William was a “thought form,” and then if he was, did she get rid of him when things got too hard?
I think that Margaret Scully found her grandson, William, and the quarter is from him. There could be a lot of reasons for the quarter, everything from the innocuous (he thought it was a “lucky quarter”) to the insane (he knew that his mother would be able to find him with it). We’ve only got two episodes left, but I bet we see teenage William by the end.