1990’s fangirl squeee!
So recently (I am jobless and freeee!) I’ve been watching a lot of the X-Files. I’m the first to admit that the show has its problems – the main character is an jerk and the plot has more holes than swiss cheese – but it has a certain charm, a je ne sais quois that kept us enthralled every Friday night at 9pm, c. 1996.
The premise is this: plucky young FBI agent (Fox Mulder: goes by last name only*), who saw his sister abducted by aliens(?) twenty years ago, and has since devoted the full obsessive power of his mind to finding her (this involves a lot of running around with flashlights). Another agent (Dana Scully: medical doctor and practical redhead extraordinaire) has been sent to destroy his credibility and prove by extension that, after all, Big Brother knows best.
Mulder and Scully work together – quite aside from the FBI’s (presumably excellent) benefits package and the deep, unquenchable love that they bear each other**– because they agree on the fundamentals, but can’t make it work in the particulars.
Scully represents scientific inquiry: knowledge for its own sake. Mulder wants knowledge to enact some amorphous and convoluted revenge. Somehow, if the universe gives up its secrets, his sister will come home and his life will return to normal. In the midst of confronting the rest of the world, he never quite bothers to turn that seeking light upon himself. Even if his sister were returned, the bits of knowledge he gained in the search have destroyed the ‘normalcy’ he wants. The only normal world is the one of ignorance.
Scully understands that, instinctively. She wants ‘the truth’ because anything else is unjust. Revenge is a hollow thing, but justice – truth for its own sake – ah! that has a holier ring to it.
When Scully’s sister is killed – by stepping into a trap set for Scully herself – she says, “There is no justice.”
Mulder says, I don’t think this is about justice. I think it’s about fate. Blah blah something something, and why the hell are you coming back to work so soon?
“I need something to put my back up against,” she says.
… I feel the same way.
In an amorphous sort of connection, that’s why I write. There isn’t any justice, and revenge sits uneasily in my stomach – I’ve tried it: but truth – whosever truth, mine or someone else’s, it doesn’t always matter – that’s something I can put my back against.
* apparently, even in bed.
** the love that dare not speak its name, because calling out ‘Fox!’ in the throes of passion is too silly.