I’ve watched it twice, and I’m still not sure how to talk about it. It’s funny as hell. It touches on what it means to remember anything, and how it effects us. What is better, the memory, or the truth? And what’s the difference?
I have at least a couple of memories that are different than the people who were there with me. It is well documented that memory is totally unreliable, and this episode plays with that idea in some really fun and disturbing ways.
Did I mention it was super funny?
Okay, so Mulder comes home from Squatchin’, and takes a phone call from Scully about their dinner date for the next night. There is the the old masking tape ‘x’ taped up in the window as Mulder explains that it isn’t about seeing a Big Foot, but about reconnecting with nature, and clearing his mind from all the crazy in the world.
Mulder meets a guy in a parking garage. A sweaty, nervous dude who begs Mulder to help him remember who he is, after mentioning that Mulder’s favorite The Twilight Zone episode doesn’t exist.
Mulder is dubious.
Cut to Mulder in the middle of his living room, surrounded by piles of VHS tapes, searching frantically for the Twilight Zone episode. Scully shows up for their date, and halfheartedly tries to talk him down, as he doubles down on his intention to find that episode among all his tapes.
Scully wisely leaves once she realizes that Mulder is spiraling. And as she makes her way to her car, with some takeout in hand, the same man approaches her in the parking garage, asking her to help him, after handing her a box of a childhood treat that she loved, but that she remembered having a different name.
Much like Mulder, she dismisses him as cuckoo bananas. When she and Mulder have a confab in their office the next day, going over some of the most famous memory head-scratchers out there, they decide to go talk to the sweaty forehead guy, now known as Reggie Somebody.
Once the trio meets in yet another parking garage, they have an extended conversation that pings and pongs through various subjects- The Mandela effect; the multiverse; the Grenada war; Doctor They; aliens – compounding the idea of memory and the pitfalls of building your whole life on what you think you know.
But then, what other choice do you have? You only have the facts as you know them. As the mysterious Doctor They tells Mulder, truth and facts seem to have no value in our post conspiracy world. Doctor They twirls around creepy statues (famously located in Vancouver. A nod to the fake reality of the show that takes place in the DC area, but is really filmed in Canada?), and unravels Mulder’s whole reason for being, leaving him stunned among the grotesque bronze menagerie of emotions.
And one last meeting of our trio in a parking garage (are these all different parking garages? Does it matter??), Reggie reveals that he was the architect of the X-Files, and Foxy and Sculls were part of his team. We get a hilarious clip show of The X-Files’ greatest hits, with Reggie in tow, tossing out snarky comments along the way.
Of course, Scully has the “real” file on Reggie Murgatroyd. Turns out he was a government drone, who hopped from one civil servant position to another, ending with a stint at a NSA listening post, where he regularly eaves dropped on Mulder and Scully conversations. And when he finally cracked, he was sent to the Spotnitz Sanatorium, which he seems to regularly escape from.
Out of sheer curiosity, our heroes ask Reggie about their final case together, and we get a story about an alien coming down to earth, and telling the intrepid trio that the rest of the universe has decided, after many years of watching the human race, that we are not allowed to leave our galaxy because we are so awful. That they are worried we will infect the other civilizations with our horribleness (FAIR). Then the alien hands Mulder a book called “All The Answers”, a booby prize of sorts, which contains the fact that Big Foot doesn’t exist.
As the ambulance takes Reggie away in a straight jacket, Skinner enters the garage, peeks into the retreating vehicle, and asks ,”Where are they taking Reggie?”
One last twist that proves Reggie’s story? Or Doctor They’s? What is real, ya’ll???
When Mulder and Scully go back to his place, and make the Goopy treat (using Mulder’s Big Foot impression as the mold), Scully decides against taking a bite, wanting to keep the memories intact.
So are we better off with our fond memories of The X-Files? Is all the rebooting going on right now just us trying to grasp at those fond memories that we all have. And would we all be better off keeping those treasured memories, as flawed as they may be?
I love the ruminations on the concept of truth, and memory. Science and fact, and how we have hit a place in our history where nothing really seems to matter anymore except what we choose to believe. And in a world like that, is there a place for the people like Mulder, and the X-Files?
As usual, a Darin Morgan episode is both funny and deep, and chock full of so many little treats, multiple viewings of the episode is highly recommended.
Next! Scary things regarding William! Something happens on the same abandoned ferry set that Supernatural used for it’s last two episodes, because everything is filmed in Vancouver now!