(art by Aireen Arellano - to view larger version, click here)
SHOW: The X-Files
FIRST AIRED: May 04, 1997
In nine years of ghosts, monsters, beasts, aliens, and vampires (one of whom bore a striking resemblance to Ham), Fox Mulder himself remained the most improbable X-File. Prone to absurd leaps of logic yet always right, he somehow remained employed at the FBI despite spending our hard-earned tax dollars chasing bumps in the night.
As the supposed central figure of The X-Files, he fulfilled every mythological definition of hero, man on a quest, man vs. the system, man vs. the world, man vs. himself. He’s everything taught in a high school English class. But while the show’s writers insisted on casting Mulder as a Christ figure (no, seriously), as his partner, Scully traversed a journey more human and humane. “Elegy,” Season Four’s exploration of the most funereal aspects of Scully’s inner workings, demonstrates that while Mulder reflected our primal desires for possibility, ideals, and untainted hope, Scully bore the burden of reality, uncertainty, and death. Mulder might have been out there, but it was Scully who contended with bleak truth.
(art by Aireen Arellano / to view larger version, click here)
SHOW: Quantum Leap
EPISODE: “8 1/2 Months”
FIRST AIRED: Mar. 06, 1991
It’s as durable and tested as a law of physics: think about time travel long enough, and your head will start to hurt.
Quantum Leap is as smart and beloved as American time-travel franchises come, second only to maybe Back to the Future in terms of warm-hearted cult appeal, but its implied mysteries are as uncontrollable as those of any time-travel story when you start to track the plot’s implications into endless chains of “if, then.” Given the added dimensions of body switching and the cloudy idea of revising history “for the better,” more questions than answers are not only inevitable for a show like Quantum Leap, they’re tantalizing and expected and enjoyed… if you’re into that sort of thing.
Season Three’s “8 ½ Months” takes the show’s cans of worms to new echelons of weirdness, as the writers dealt themselves the tangled subject of a pregnant male time traveler deciding the fate of a teenage mother and her kid in 1950s Oklahoma. (Right?)