‘The X-Files’ Miniseries Episode 5: Electric Mulderland

 Spoilers ahead for the ‘X-Files’ Miniseries!

David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Robbie Amell and Lauren Ambrose in a scene from 'The X-Files' episode "Babylon"

‘The X-Files’ | FOX

Throughout The X-Files miniseries reboot, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) have faced some pretty frightening foes. And they’ve been forced to look deep inside themselves to figure out where they’re going in life. In this week’s episode, they come face to face with two agents that seem to have graduated from the Mulder and Scully School of FBI-ing. And while it makes for an entertaining and lively hour, it felt like something was missing until the penultimate episode’s closing moments.

Mulder and Scully meet a team of FBI agents  Agents Miller (The Flash‘s Robbie Amell) and the yes-she’s-distantly-related-to-that-Einstein (Six Feet Under‘s Lauren Ambrose)  who are investigating the recent bombing of an art gallery that was displaying a piece that blasphemed the Prophet Mohammad. And they’re instantly tuned in to the fact that the younger duo have quite a bit in common with them. Miller, the unexplained phenomenon fanatic, is hoping Mulder might have insight into how they might be able to speak with the comatose surviving bomber. Einstein, the skeptic and medical doctor, is annoyed at her partner’s implausible ideas and more focused on preventing future violence. And in this young duo, Mulder and Scully clearly see themselves  and a chance to get some help in getting to the bottom of the case.

Mulder spends his time trying to convince Einstein that there’s something more to life than what’s right in front of her face. And when she questions why he’s reached out to her, he lays it all out  he wants her to issue him a “magic mushroom”-type pharmaceutical that he believes will allow him to communicate with the comatose bomber on another plain of existence.

Meanwhile in Texas, Scully and Miller arrive at the bomber’s bedside and she fills her new ally in on some new technological advances in magnetic imaging. She believes this method is the only way they’ll have a chance at communicating with him. Miller’s totally in, despite her decidedly un-paranormal methods. After Einstein realizes Scully has teamed up with Miller, she relents and procures the hallucinogenic substance for Mulder.

As Miller and Scully are trying to hook up their own attempts to communicate with the bomber, they fight against an attempted federal shutdown due to a bomb threat and a vengeful, anti-Arab nurse who wants to pull the plug on the bomber.

Mulder, on the other hand, is having way more fun, since he’s in the midst of a psychedelic trip. Before he tries to chat with the bomber, he takes a small (and hilarious) detour into the heart of Texas honky tonk so he can line dance to “Achy Breaky Heart,” get down with some cowgirls and briefly reunite with his favorite deceased fellow conspiracy theorists the Lone Gunmen. Then, things get a little freakier and Mulder descends into a nightmarish place where Agent Einstein doles out some 50 Shades-esque punishment… and the Smoking Man joins in for good measure. When Mulder finally connects with the alleged bomber in his hallucinogenic state, he gets only a brief chance to interact with him before his long, strange trip is done.

Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) gets his psychedelic groove on in the 'X-Files' miniseries fifth episode, "Babylon"

‘The X-Files’ | FOX

Back in reality, Miller and Scully try to get through to the bomber through the electromagnetic system. And Mulder wakes up in a hospital to find Skinner at his bedside, annoyed  and Einstein claiming she gave him a placebo. By the time the four agents have convened in the bomber’s room, he’s passed away  but luckily, they’re able to combine their efforts to work toward a solution. Mulder remembers the Arabic that he spoke to him; and Miller speaks Arabic, so he’s able to translate. It turns out that the now-deceased bomber gave Mulder the location of his terror cell, and the FBI is able to stop them before they commit further acts of violence.

Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) in 'The X-Files' episode "Babylon"

‘The X-Files’ | FOX

“Babylon” ends with Einstein and Miller debriefing at an airport; they bicker and butt heads, and we get the feeling that they’ll be battling one another for many cases to come. And Scully visits Mulder at his secluded home, where they walk hand-in-hand and talk about love, hate and the power of suggestion.

Directed and written by X-Files creator Chris Carter, “Babylon” gives a lot more than it takes from fans  which is more than can be said for last week’s heartbreaker. Mulder’s foray into psychedelic living was riotous, and the cameo appearance of past key players was a welcome surprise. And as Carter has proved many times, he’s clearly mastered the Mulder/Scully dynamic to the point where he’s able to have fun with it. Agents Miller and Einstein are incredibly Mulder and Scully-esque, but for the most part it works  they’re never too over-the-top in their obvious homage to our favorite duo.

And “Babylon” is in many ways an appropriate and timely episode which blends timely current events with one of the show’s most successful themes  the believer vs. the skeptic  in a way that feels fresh and entertaining. But ultimately, until the episode’s closing moments, it all felt a little bit lacking. It wasn’t until we saw Mulder and Scully together in the last uncharacteristically optimistic scene, holding hands and looking for a sign in the sky, that what was missing became obvious. And that’s because the people on screen weren’t Mulder and Scully 2.0, but the real characters we’ve tuned in to see for the past five episodes.

Follow Katherine Webb on Twitter @katiedoubleyew.

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