Whether audiences realize it or not, Episode 4 was a Scully love fest. For some reason a recurring theme in the X-Files is to have family members killed off as a major plot point. From the death of Scully’s father early on in Season 1, to the suicide of Mulder’s mother, the series has always mine this to bring complexity to both characters.
Another monster-of-the-week episode this one references a few classic episodes. The first is the obvious call back to the episode where Scully is in a coma, ‘One Breath.’ The other less obvious reference is the monster itself. Trash Man is obviously a call back to ‘Arcadia,’ an episode from Season 6 where a Tulpa creature kills suburban residents.
The storyline with this episode’s monster works incredibly well, especially for audiences looking for those gory details. Scully’s own storyline gives her character an emotional spotlight, and she’s definitely active in how she handles this crisis. Yet, these two storylines feel completely separate, as this IGN review points out. For Scully to connect the case to her son seems like a stretch.
But this episode is really about setting up a new mission for Scully. The events around Margaret’s coma bring up tons of unanswered questions for Scully. What is the significance of that quarter? Why did she change her living will? Scully is at her best when she gets her own storylines, as it builds her character and makes her more than just Mulder’s appendage. Hopefully the series will work off these questions, and possibly bring back Scully’s son? William Scully (the third) at this point would be in his teens, and bring up some great original storyline possibilities.
The X-Files needs to get away from the nostalgia-fest it’s currently playing at. Taking risks with stories, like bringing back Scully’s son, would bring some originality back to the show.