Tonight’s episode, “Babylon,” introduces Mulder and Scully to Agents Miller and Einstein, their younger doppelgängers. They are on a bombing case in Texas, but one of the suicide bombers didn’t die in the explosion. Miller is hoping that Mulder has a way to reach the vegetative bomber. What we end up with is Mulder pairing up with Einstein and Scully with Miller to try their own crackpot schemes to get through to the failed suicide bomber.
This episode had a lot of fun, individual scenes and aspects. But when taken as a whole, it just didn’t work for me. Without having seen the last episode, I think “Babylon” was the weakest episode of the “season.”
Miller and Einstein
The conceit of Miller and Einstein being a young Mulder and Scully was a cute idea, but it didn’t work. Einstein was too abrasive and Miller was like a puppy: cute but dumb. The chemistry that Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny brought to Scully and Mulder is something special; a once-in-a-lifetime shot. It can’t be replicated. Splitting up Mulder and Scully to work with their new counterparts was a waste. Mulder not wanting to “bother” Scully with his shroom trip because she was dealing with the loss of her mother (yet he didn’t mind challenging her belief in a god and religion?) was stupid. She would have been happy for the distraction. Scully doesn’t even have a reason for wanting to work with Miller over Mulder. It’s not like he would have laughed at her idea. I guess she didn’t want the young agents to think she was trying to “take over” their investigation…?
Initially I thought that the Arab guys were a red herring; that the actual bombers would be a couple of Americans trying to frame Muslims. That seems to be the way most shows would have handled it. But making the terrorists Muslims allowed for the horrifyingly ignorant hate speech of the other agents, and the nurse. It was an interesting tactic that could have played into this country’s growing islamophobia, but I think it was an honest portrayal. By the way, I am certain that, as Einstein was leading the nurse out of the hospital room, I heard her pronounce the word “government” as “guvmint.”
So far this season, Mulder has not driven a car. Not once. Back in the day, he always drove. But if you watch this season, Scully is always the driver. In the first episode, Mulder arrives to meet Scully via Uber. There is no car at his house. When he arrives in Texas in tonight’s episode, rather than renting a car, he has Einstein pick him up from the airport. Initially, when I noticed Scully was always driving, I just thought that it was an equal rights thing. But then all the pieces started to fall into place. Could Mulder’s potential bi-polar disorder (which I still maintain he was diagnosed with since we last saw him) be keeping him from being behind the wheel? Or am I reading WAY too much into this?
How great was Mulder’s trip? Mulder is so great when he is goofy, so it was nice to see an extended goofball trip. Brought back hints of Hank Moody from CALIFORNICATION. Plus, the trip sequence gave us a chance to get a scene with the Lone Gunmen. I would have loved to see more of them; as it stood, it was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-them cameo with no words. Still great to have Langley, Frohike, and Byers back on the show.
The Last Scene
To me, the last scene, with Mulder and Scully going for a walk (while holding hands) is basically them reigniting their romantic relationship. They were never very kissy or touchy throughout the series (there is not even any definitive start to their relationship; even the episode in which Scully got pregnant is open to debate). They have a deeper connection, and that was what I saw in that last scene. Just holding hands, talking, even laughing a little bit. As far as I am concerned, they are back together. I bet Scully stayed the night.