Theatre of the Mind ~ Essence

By the time the first half of the Season 8 ending two-parter aired, X-Files fans had learned that there would be a Season 9 and it would include the participation of Gillian Anderson but not of David Duchovny. Some fans were happy that the show would continue, some were not. Phile Fandom seemed to be more divided than at any other time in the show's history. But I think it's safe to say that no matter how you felt about Season 8 and no matter how you felt about the future of the X-Files in general, the end of the season would be bittersweet. Season 8 at least held the *promise* of Mulder returning and the rekindling of the Mulder/Scully magic (although many felt that didn't happen). Season 9 would hold no such promise. So the "end of an era" was nigh, and the big question for shippers everywhere was this: Could there be a satisfying conclusion to the Mulder and Scully saga knowing that the show would continue with one but not the other? Salt without pepper? Bread without butter? Yin without yang? Sort of like "existence" without "essence"

1. Due to some violent content, parental discretion is advised. (Anticipating shipper uproar?)

2. The last Mulderlogue *ever*. I'm getting all verklempt already.

3. "A union of perfect opposites." :::sigh:::

4. That's Mulder Essence all right ... I'd know those swimmers anywhere!

5. Science ... technology ... religion ... conspiracies ... you might call this baby "the key to everything" (I wouldn't, but you might).

6. Only a daddy-to-be would be concerned about explaining anything to himself, his perfect opposite, and his unborn bambino. CC can play around with paternity all he wants, but Mulder *is* the father of this child, emotionally if not biologically.

7. TWC1: The man is leaving the ******* show. Couldn't you at least, one last time, use a decent ***-****** ******* picture in the ******* credits? (Sorry, having an Osbourne moment.) 9. Here's everything that has happened so far in Season 8 (just in case you haven't been watching).

10. The return of Ma Scully! Yippee! (Thanks for coming to Mulder's funeral, BTW, Mrs. Scully. We know you always liked him best.)

11. Everything else you're keeping secret like ... WHO'S THE DADDY? You mean you haven't even told your mother, Scully? That's just wrong!

12. It's Frances Fisher as Lizzy Gill. Well, at least she should know something about being aboard a sinking ship. (She played Rose's mom in "Titanic.")

13. We want Babysitting!MaScully next season, not a baby nurse!

14. Scully looks like she is having almost as much fun as she had in Chaney, Texas.

15. I think the primary conspiracy at this baby shower is where did Scully get all these friends?

16. Arlene Pileggi (Mitch's wife) appears as a guest at the shower.

17. Ooooh! Aaaaaah! Where are the annoying baby shower games like ... GUESS WHO'S THE DADDY?

18. Lizzy: First the Quicker Picker Upper, then the Itchy Tablet Switcher! Well, now at least we know that Scully's poor judgment in selecting house guests, primary care physicians, and obstetricians is hereditary.

19. If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs ... we wouldn't need a parental discretion warning.

20. MMM: What can possibly be more Manly than watching NASCAR (on FOX of course) *and* cleaning your gun. If Doggett was chugging an Old Milwaukee, he'd be off the Manly Man Moment Meter!

21. TWC2: Woo-hoo! Nothing like that ever comes to my door on *any* morning.

22. Once again, everybody except Scully gets to call him Fox. (Preferable to Mul-dah, I might add.)

23. Two Manly Men in Manly Men Outfits in a Manly Man Ride ... The Boys are Back in Town!

24. He should have said, "Hi, Gene," that would have been waaaaay funnier.

25. What is it with these two and pissing? They are either having a contest, talking about it, or serving it with cornflakes.

26. Mulder plays the Scully card; Doggett is on board.

27. Did Mulder have to turn in his lock pick when he left the Bureau too? :::sniff:::

28. Didn't Dr. Parenti meet Mulder during the IVF procedure? He's probably not good with faces, but he never forgets a specimen.

29. TWC3: If I had my feet up in the stirrups ready for that ... um ... procedure, and I saw *him* in the hallway, I'd say "Hold it! I'll have some of *that*!

30. Lots and lots of jars. Ewww.

31. Horse pills. Gestation period of a horse = 11 months. Hmmmm ...

32. Duffy Haskell, I liked you so much better when you were Detective Curtis in "Demons."

33. Scully used to trust no one, back in the day.

34. Don't listen to Agent Crane the Pain listen to Mul-dah!

35. I don't think Billy is there to help Dr. Parenti pack.

36. Must be a nice night for breaking and entering.

37. Wow, I bet getting that head in that jar was tough - like building a ship in a bottle. (Tough - but poetic justice.)

38. Hey, Billy, long time no see. How's life been treating you since we were dead?

39. Crashing!Mul-dah!

40. Two times, square in the chest, no effect. If Mulder starts singing the theme from "Shaft," we'll know we've got real problems.

41. That was close - nearly a Manly Man Penalty for leaving Mulder all alone with Billy "The Guillotine" Miles. I guess Doggett was just gathering up his courage (and his balls).

42. Thankfully, Mulder still has his head, because even with his amazing powers that help him cheat death on a regular basis, I don't think he can do that Leonard Betts thing.

43. Mulder!Torture/Scully!Comfort. I'm getting all verklempt again.

44. New Discovery During This Viewing I: While Mulder is teasing that he can see why Scully gave up a career in medicine, she says "Oh, Mulder," under her breath very lovingly. Never noticed it before, and the sweetness of it nearly made me cry.

45. Mulder says that Scully has "manos de piedra," which translates to "hands of rock/stone." "Manos de Piedra" was also the nickname of boxer Roberto Duran who uttered the infamous words "no mas" during his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard.

46. MSRM: For once, I'm glad that Doggett was around for a scene between Mulder and Scully, because I think it says volumes that they are being tender and playful with each other in front of someone else. This is behavior they usually reserve only for each other. They are finally letting others see what we've known for a long time: they are together in every way, and they don't care who knows it. (And the cotton ball swat was so cute!)

47. TWC4: A little boo-boo, a little ice, a tight black tee, all very nice - Holy Flaming Cow!

48. Mulder sure seems to know his way around Scully's place. (More verklemptness.)

49. We all know you read *all* the X-Files, Agent Doggett. You've told us twice already.

50. Too bad we never got to see Mulder deal with being an "alien abductee who was returned after hideous procedures were performed on him". Too busy with body-jumping evil and slimy reptile scientists.

51. Protective!Mulder ... :::sigh::: But enough with the "your/this baby" stuff. Johnny knows whose baby it is ... we all know whose baby it is. (Except for Chris and Frank.)

52. Damnit, Mulder, Scully's really good at picking people to trust implicitly . Oh, hi Lizzie!

53. "Two partners." Ugh. That's just wrong.

54. Keeping a *cool* head might be slightly less important than keeping your head in general.

55. Totally OT: The day after "Essence" aired, a friend of mine (not an XF fan) told me that she had tried to watch some of the show, but, she said, "every time I turned it on somebody's head was falling off." That still makes me laugh.

56. Speaking of laughing "Heads have been rolling, Agent Doggett." Skinner - what a cut up!

57. Human cloning ... alien babies ... monitoring Scully's pregnancy. Nooo! This is not happening!

58. New Discovery During This Viewing II: In the show, upon entering the warehouse Mulder says, "And what point would that be?" But in closed captioning, he says, "You fellas are starting the party without me."

59. I guess we know who Skinner bet on in the Scully's Baby Paternity Pool.

60. FWIW, I think Mulder's comment that who the baby's father is is "Scully's business" only means that since Scully hasn't seen fit to impart this information to anyone, it's not his place to do so now.

61. The question isn't "who" but "how".

62. GPM: Did I mention I love Protective!Mulder? Though Scully's hang-up sort of kills the moment.

63. TWC5: If I wanted anything of Scully's (besides Mulder), it would be her bathroom.

64. Busted!

65. I'm glad Scully had time to style her wet hair before rushing to the hospital.

66. Dr. Tasha Yar!

67. Only on the X-Files would people deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate just to put supplements in your pre-natal vitamins.

68. Poor Ma Scully. Despite this faux pas, we hope it's not another three seasons before we see you again. This episode has been a wonderful reminder of what great work Gillian Anderson and Sheila Larken do together.

69. Communication unspoken. That look shared between Mulder and Scully just about says it all.

70. The consortium fronting this little cloning operation. What a shock. Not.

71. TWC6: Furious!Mulder - hoo boy!

72. Perfect human child. Mulder!Leap. Meeting over. You're asking me?

73. Crane the Pain really is a pain in my patootie.

74. How I wish they had run off together and Mulder had to deliver the baby ... oh well. It's still nice to know that Scully will follow him anywhere, even when he doesn't know why. That's faith. That's love.

75. TWC7: Doggett in Kevlar ... doesn't do a thing for me but SLS is scraping her tongue off the floor right about now. (Okay, I'll admit it *does* make his ears look smaller.)

76. Power out? Time to go. C'mon Scully, get those little legs moving!

77. Why does Mulder want to drive? Because he's the guy? Because he's the big macho man? Naw, he just wasn't sure her big belly could fit behind the steering wheel.

78. Damn on street parking! Where's a Manly Man with a big Chevy truck when you need one?

79. Lock the doors yeah, that'll help.

80. Thwack! Too bad Pedestrian!Billy didn't realize that D.C. drivers brake for no one.

81. Ratboy Lovers Rejoice. The bitch is back. Unfortunately, so is Billy. He's like a Billy Bop Bag.

82. ROTFLMAO: I always laugh at Moose & Squirrel's reaction when Krycek yells "Let's go." They really haul ass! I guess he's the lesser of two evils.

83. TWC8: Why is it that when you get all the good looking guys in a room together and you're the only female in sight, you have to be having a really bad day?

84. Krycek has tried to kill *everyone* in that room at least once. Don't take it personally, Johnny.

85. "You can call them what you want. They're human replacements, alien replicants. They're virtually unstoppable." Hey, let's call them SUPERSOLDIERS!!

86. She's barren. We got it.

87. More human than human. So Scully is carrying little Gibson Mulder?

88. These aliens *really* have a God complex!

89. I gotta agree with Doggett on this one ... believing Krycek *not* a good idea!

90. Let's call Monica to help us! She's already signed for Season 9!

91. I gotta give Nic Lea credit I love to hate Krycek, him and his little know-it-all smirk.

92. No time for potties or cigarettes.

93. Billy's a little miffed about that hit and run thing.

94. Krycek's still smiling. He just knew they'd be back.

95. I've deluded myself into justifying quite a bit that happens on this show, but one thing I've never been able to justify is Mulder handing Scully over to Krycek for "protection." I know options were limited and time was of the essence, and they needed a diversion to get Scully out of harm's way, but HELLO! This is your sworn enemy, a man who's double and triple crossed you time and time again. Okay, you shared a kiss once, but just a few weeks ago he was scheming to kill Scully's baby. This is taking that whole "keep your enemies closer" thing just a bit too far. Krycek looks even more surprised than Scully at this turn of events.

96. But she still believes he knows what he's doing. That last look between them ... verklempt again.

97. Okay, Krycek did what he was supposed to do, but it's just wrong when he gets to hold Scully's hand in an episode and Mulder doesn't.

98. Meanwhile, Skinner gets to play the part that Krycek was born to play ... bait!

99. This is a very complicated plan. Did Mulder and Skinner work all this out in the elevator?

100. Tackling!Mulder saves Skinner's ass (and his head, quite literally).

101. Billy Miles will now attempt an inward 3.5 somersault dive with a reverse twist, from the pike position. (A 3.8 degree of difficulty!)

102. I guess you might say that Mulder and Skinner "squashed" the immediate threat.

103. For those desiring to nitpick the scientific inaccuracies of the show, it is my considered opinion that Mulder would not have been able to gather enough force to push Billy Miles off the top of the real Hoover Building to have him land in a garbage truck on the street ... that is, not without finding himself being hurled off the building and compacted too. (OT: During finale weekend, we actually pondered this while standing on Pennsylvania Avenue looking up and down, from the Hoover roof to the pavement.)

104. Crisis averted, Dogget and Krycek are in the garage checking out each other, Mulder and Skinner are on the roof checking out the chain of events below, and Scully and Monica are just checking out. Hey, wait a minute. Scully's leaving and Mulder is still on the roof! They're supposed to be together! We only have one more hour of this show left! We want them together! This is all wrong! This is not how the story is supposed to end! Where's the writer? I want to talk to the writer!

105. Crane the Pain is a replacement, a replicant ... big whoop. Tell us something we *don't* know.

106. To be continued? Sure ... fine ... whatever.

So the boys are left at the Hoover holding the Glad trash bag and Dana and Monica are off on their own little adventurous road trip a la Thelma and Louise. With only an hour left in the Mulder/Scully XF era, can all the loose ends be tied up? Will we learn how the barren woman became pregnant? To what and or whom Krycek's allegiance has been for the past eight years? If Monica quit smoking? If Walter and John will find happiness together? How Mulder and Scully got back from Antarctica after their Snowcat ran out of gas? If Polly will ever finish the Season 8 TOTM's? And of course, the big question: Who's the daddy? Will the game of my/your/this/that baby be solved? Will we get confirmation, proof positive, that the baby is an alien, a hybrid, a replicant, more human than human, or simply the union of perfect opposites? And how will Scully - and all the rest of us - say goodbye to plain old Fox Mulder? We'll know soon enough. "We're almost at the end."

Indeed. I could send along my apologies to you right now, but I know how that pisses you off. Oh well.

"Pissing people off comes with the territory." Apologies, as always,