I keep telling myself I need to approach this episode more
seriously. I must talk about the emotional undercurrents
that existed between the characters, what it meant, and the
reaction the duo had to Mulder's "overreacting". I just don't
want to. All I can think is, well, I thought it was funny.
Really, really funny. Not great. Not perfect. Funny. So shoot
me. In a way, I am reminded of "War of the Coprophages" which
I think was probably the lesser of the four Darin Morgan
episodes, but one that I have watched much more than any of
his other efforts because it makes me laugh so damn much. I
can see "Bad Blood" serving the same purpose in the future.
So, as it is likely the last funny episode we will get until
sometime next fall, I keep dwelling on what it is instead of
what it is not.
"Syzygy" bothered me when I first saw it because of the way
the relationship between Mulder and Scully was portrayed,
but this particular take did not because it was so obviously
colored by viewpoint - the viewpoints of two people who have
spent enough time together over five long years that there
are times when every little personality quirk drives you up
the wall and sometimes you are convinced you are with the
most annoying person on the planet. A pretty common thing in
relationships. "Bad Blood" was an example of the 5 year itch
between two people who spend way too much time together and
sometimes drive each other nuts. I guess by the starting date
stamp of February 10th Valentine's Day didn't go so well this
year for Moose & Squirrel.
Writer Vince Gilligan and director Cliff Bole last teamed up
to delight us with "Small Potatoes" and they toy with the idea
of perception here - Mulder's, Scully's and ours. Scully's tale
makes it clear why those who favor
her character may refer to Mulder as a PUNK. He exhibits all
the Mulder characteristics that can make one cringe: not
divulging all the information, leaping along, laughing at
Scully's "theories", treating her as a tag along autopsy tool,
and even mocking her height ( "get those little legs moving").
Mulder's tale makes it clear why those who favor his character
may refer to Scully as a pill. She exhibits all the Scully
characteristics that make them cringe: dismissing Mulder's
ideas, eye rolling skepticism, and inattention. The truth is,
of course, neither of these. It is telling that Mulder turns
Scully into an "I do it all for you" cream cheese harpy and
Scully turns Mulder into someone who can't even remember her
name ("He does that"). Their views of themselves - Scully,
loyally trudging along, the epitome of "smart is sexy" with
those doctor terms coming trippingly off her tongue an erotic
call to small town sheriffs and Mulder seeing himself as
considerate, approval seeking (he appeared downright Scully-
whipped at the start of his story), never jumping to hasty
conclusions and "as always...very eager to hear [Scully's]
opinion" are just as comic.
Luke Wilson does an admirable turn as Sheriff Hartwell, the
man in the middle. He plays both the appreciative, sexy man
that finally seems to perk up Dana one moment and his buck-
toothed idiot "Rainman" loving cousin the next. He does both
with great comic timing. I sort of think that Scully's
willingness to shower the man with smiles Mulder usually only
sees when he wakes up in a hospital may have altered Mulder's
perception a bit, but I digress. Their reactions to Hartwell
were amongst the episode's funniest. Scully and her "You really
know your stuff, Dana" and Mulder with his recollection of a
Scully so distracted that she repeats the question he just asked.
Anderson and Duchovny clearly relish any chance they get to
do something a little different with their characters and
because of this their exaggerated portrayals of Mulder and
Scully are full of laughs. In the past Duchovny has been given
more of a chance to show his comedic talents and it was nice
to see Anderson getting to do so as well here. I thought I was
going to bust a gut with her Shrew!Scully reactions during
Mulder's vampire monologue with that wide eyed head shake,
that bagel rampage, or the vibrato voiced speeches from the
bed. His buck toothed lip pull and coffin ride that would put
some tenderfoots on a mechanical bull to shame were a riot.
In the end they were the Scully and Mulder we know. Their
last trip through the graveyard was actually full of small
concessions to each other as they returned to the regular
give and take. When they quibbled over Hartwell's teeth once
again, it was business as usual.
So yeah, I liked it, and I'm not ashamed to say so.
Don't ... don't even start with me.
-Retread Alert: The mortician has been around the block a
time or two. He removed Scully's chip in "Blessing Way",
lost his pants in "Small Potatoes", and was an evil scientist
in "Soft Light".
-It looks like all those pencils in the ceiling for "Chinga"
did some serious damage as the office ceiling is now devoid
of the tiles and looks nothing like it did then.
-There were some editing problems in the beginning as subsequent
shots between Scully and Mulder kept switching between her arms
crossed and her hands in her lap depending on the perspective.
-Only Scully could root around in some dead guy's stomach looking
at half digested pizza and decide with a sigh it is what she wants
for dinner. Though I have to wonder about her choice in pizza.
How someone could actually order a pizza without cheese is beyond
-Frank's Fashion Spot: After seeing it a few times now I
officially HATE that black suit of Scully's with the zippered
jacket. It just looks stupid, and is frankly not flattering
on her at all when she sits in it, and that is not right.
-So Scully can roll and shoot out someone's tires after being
knocked down but Mulder can't even hit the wheel of a slow
moving RV in a whole clip? Time to go back to the firing range.
-So close and yet so far. I think they hung those glasses on
Mulder's lamp in his office just to taunt those who find them
so, um, intriguing.
-I guess there is some sort of contest going on between Duchovny
and Anderson this season to see who can have the most memorable
bad singing moment on the show. Right now I'd have to call it a
-Our Little Sailor: This was a particularly prolific episode
for Scully and her favorite cuss word. She racked up no less
than four uses of "hell". Mulder threw in a few damns himself,
though the classic was that expertly timed cut in the teaser
that let everyone know just what he was saying without actually
-Too bad that the only time Scully gets to mutter "My God"
in bed is when the magic fingers are provided by a 50 cent
donation. No wonder she is giving the Sheriff googly eyes
and a come hither smile.
-Nice little moment: After Scully realizes with embarrassment
that the Sheriff did not actually know her name when she
continues the story she has already edited it to have him say
"Agent Scully you really know your stuff."
-I never knew just how pesky those large intestines can be.
They seem to have a life of their own once they leave the body.
-At least Gilligan knows what a Chupacabra is. They suck goats,
hence the name. No mention of fungus, FYI Mr. Shiban - goat
sucking not episode sucking.
-Mulder and Scully must really have an interesting relationship
on the road. In "Detour" she has no qualms about packing for
him and here he undresses in her room as if it were his own.
That plaintive little reminder "This one's my room Mulder. Don't
get mud everywhere." makes me wonder what sort of destruction
Mulder might have done in the past. If Scully sees Mulder as one
to jump on her bed covered in mud giggling madly it ought to be
interesting. Too bad we missed that little adventure.
-The coffin names in the mortuary were just too funny. Scully's
story starts with "The Iditarod" and Mulder's with "The Velvet
Fox". Also a nice touch to have Mulder babbling on to the
mortician at the start of Scully's tale about how good the
cherry casket looks.
-The set decorators were obviously having a good time with
this one between that and the box marked "Head. Human Remains.
Handle With Care." All it was missing was "This side up".
-Mark Snow made some interesting musical choices this episode.
Some worked - mostly his plays on classical tunes, but the
lovey music when Scully first sets eyes on the sheriff was a
-My nomination for best use of screen titles yet: the dance
card between Davy Crockett and Sam Houston.
-If the town is too small for a Dominos it is sure to have
an "Aunt B". However being a pizza delivery guy for them is
rough. Just ask the guy in D.P.O. or Ronnie here.
-The cell phone call was funny both times. Though I must admit
"creep" really cracked me up.
-I've got to wonder if Scully sees herself as a bit of a comic
book action hero. First the light bulb dramatic pizza epiphany
moment as she connects the dots and realizes Mulder is in danger,
then her big door kicking, guns blazing rescue.
-Perhaps since it has been established before Scully can act
with superhuman speed it was OK for her to change clothes,
shoes, and put all her jewelry back on before rushing to rescue
Mulder. That shooting roll just does not look as hip in scrubs
and she needed those three inch heels to give her leverage on
the door kick.
-Mulder points out the vampire tendencies, but he misses them
both times. Ronnie comes to the graveyard in his Gremlin, and
the Sheriff picks up spilt seeds right in front of him.
"Anyway, I was drugged."
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