CTP Episode of the Day - 05.10.06

Today's Cherished Episode: The Gift (8x11)
Original Air Date: February 4, 2001
Written By: Frank Spotnitz
Directed By: Kim Manners

Doggett comes upon an old case that Mulder kept secret from Scully and he follows up the investigation, hoping to find a possible connection to Mulder's disappearance.

(Thanks to chrisnu for today's episode pics.)

"It'll come back. It always does."

Some "The Gift" Tidbits & Musings:

-- "The Gift" was smack dab in the middle of Season 8 and just in time for February sweeps -- and The Absent Center Returns! It was heavily promoted as David Duchovny's return to the X-Files, but he was seen only in the flashback part of the story, his participation was minimal, and there was no on-screen time with Gillian Anderson. In fact, Scully didn't appear in the episode at all; she was only shown briefly in flashbacks from "Within/Without."

-- Doggett says "Agent Mulder disappeared last May." Well that blows the old timeline right out of the water. Assuming that Scully was at least a month pregnant when Mulder was abducted, and we know it's past December (thanks to the timeline in "Redrum"), that confirms that Scully should be at least eight months pregnant at this point in Season 8 - and she's not even showing yet.

-- When Doggett searches Mulder's apartment, he looks through the trash. First of all, shouldn't the Search for Mulder Task Force have searched Mulder's apartment as part of the Search for Mulder? (And if they did and missed that gun taped under the sink, then no wonder they couldn't find Mulder!) Second of all -- no one has emptied Mulder's trash in eight months? Pee-you!!

-- The gun under the sink that Doggett finds is identified as Mulder's Walther PPK -- a second weapon he carried in an ankle holster. This was the gun he used to kill John Lee Roche in "Paper Hearts."

-- The Lone Gunmen in their jimmies and unmentionables talk to Doggett and Skinner via notebook computer on a high speed, broadcast quality, full-color, full-duplex, wireless Internet DS-3 digital connection. In Squamash, Pennsylvania. Uh-huh. Sure. Fine. Whatever.

-- "Well, that's the part that takes some conjecture there, Agent Dogbird." That's why we love Langly.

-- No matter how silly the brain disease thing, it would be just like our Mulder to pass up what might be his only chance to be cured because he couldn't cause another being any more pain.

-- This episode evokes comparisons to "Leonard Betts," except where Leonard had to consume illness for his own survival, the Soul Eater does the same so that others can survive. He was forced to use his "gift" to help cure the sick, thus increasing his own suffering. Mulder and Doggett both show their compassion by trying to free the creature from this vicious cycle, both through the most supreme sacrifice: death (Mulder's later, Doggett's sooner). Doggett finally "connected" with Mulder (getting inside his head, as Skinner said), and perhaps this is why he "sees" Mulder in the basement in the final scene.

-- "The Gift" might as well have been called "Deus Ex Machina," an unexpected, artificial, or improbable character, device, or event introduced suddenly in a work of fiction or drama to resolve a situation or untangle a plot. Because that's what it was -- a retro-story designed to give credence to the out-of-nowhere bombshell dropped in "Within" -- that Mulder was dying of a brain disease and kept that fact secret from Scully. Putting that aside, I didn't mind this "monster-of-the-week" episode and I was glad that Doggett finally got some insight into what kind of man Mulder really was. But while it was nice to have Mulder back even for a little while, it made me miss his presence that much more. The fact that he shared no screen time with Scully was a big let-down. And since Mulder's participation was so limited during Season 8, I wish TPTB had made the most of the opportunities they had. IMBO, they didn't do that with "The Gift."

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy!) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "The Gift"!