"The X-Files" Patient X (TV Episode 1998) Poster

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Role Reversal
Muldernscully24 November 2006
After the hilarity of Bad Blood, the X-Files goes serious again with the two parter of Patient X and The Red and the Black. These two episodes don't have as much action as I like my mythology episodes to have, but the heightened drama makes up for it. I find it interesting at the beginning when Mulder is at some kind of alien abduction conference. If he is a disbeliever now, which he has been since the beginning of the season, then why is he attending this conference? It seems strange that he'd still want to attend. Veronica Cartwright is an excellent addition as a guest actor, as Cassandra Spender. She stands firm in her belief even when Mulder dismisses her. I love Scully's lines after she learns of Mulder's actions at the conference, saying that Mulder has invalidated his own work. There's some beautiful piano music by Mark Snow as Scully struggles to deal with learning about implants being in the burn victims, making it personal for her. We are introduced to the character of Jeffrey Spender in this episode. It's a very quiet introduction, considering the larger part he will be playing in the rest of the series. What makes Patient X so interesting to me is the role reversal of Mulder and Scully. You don't see it in the Monster of the Week episodes, even though Mulder has stopped believing since the season premiere. Seeing Scully come around to believing Cassandra's story is quite intriguing. Also, the introduction of the faceless men injects new life into the mythology and piques my interest even more. And, as usual, the cliffhanger leaves you at the edge of your seat.
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What I've seen, I've seen because I wanted to believe.
Sanpaco1328 June 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Another mythology two parter. The episode begins in Russia with two teenagers coming across a field of burning cars. As they run around trying to get away, one is caught by a faceless alien who we later find out is the cause of the fire. Marita Covarrubias is called in with the UN to clean up the mess. Meanwhile, Krycek, who is still in Russia apparently since he lost his arm, is also at the scene and takes the surviving boy into custody. We next see Mulder sitting on a sort of debate committee whose purpose it appears is to determine the veracity of the claims of a "Patient X" that she was abducted by aliens as a means of being called as an apostle, to spread the message of peace and happiness that the little green men bring. In other words that the little green men are apparently arriving to spread the gospel of love and peace (about 2000 years too late I might add seeing as how Jesus Christ beat them to it). This is all occurring at a point in the series when Mulder has begun to seriously doubt the existence of Extra Terrestrials. A period I like to call the Mulder Apostasy in which he still believes in a conspiracy, however does not believe in the truth behind any of the actual existence of other life but that it is all a fabrication of those involved as a means of shifting focus. An elaborate lie that is meant to keep others from looking in the true direction for answers. As it turns out, Patient X is none other than Cassandra Spender. Mother of Agent Jeffrey Spender and ex-wife of CGB Spender otherwise known as the Cigarrette Smoking Man. Anyway, before this review gets too long I'll sum up the rest by saying that although Mulder doesn't actually believe in the existence of aliens or that Cassandra was abducted by aliens, his hypothesis that she has only been perpetrating a lie that she was led to believe was the truth turns out to be completely correct. Even when Mulder is wrong he's right. The episode continues with Cassandra trying to get Mulder to believe again and as he resists, Agent Spender tries to keep him from even conversing with his mother at all, and Scully becomes sympathetic to her plight as she was abducted under similar circumstances to her own. The cliffhanger is a group of abductees gathering at "a mountain" for no reason other than that they "were called" a la Close Encounters of the Third Kind. "This means something. This is important." Unfortunately what it means for those who have gathered, including Cassandra and Scully, is faceless aliens burning you alive because they are rebels and trying to sabotage the normal aliens operations and abductions. Not exactly the Stephen Spielberg style light and music show with happy E.T. aliens calling everyone "frieeeeend". Good episode. 9 out of 10.
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"Tell them it's all going to hell!"
classicsoncall13 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Our old friend and enemy Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea) makes a reappearance in this episode of the X-Files, positioning himself against the syndicate by kidnapping a Russian teenager who has seen the beginning of a war by alien rebels against the colonization plan. At a certain point, all of this conspiracy stuff starts to get convoluted and you have a hard time trying to keep the conspirators straight and what side they're on. Take Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden) for example. One minute she's in a passionate embrace with Krycek, and then she's skipping out on him with her interests lying in the direction of the syndicate.

And what about the syndicate member that left the meeting to bring Cassandra Spender (Veronica Cartwright) to the gathering on the bridge? Was he human, or was he an alien shape-shifter to begin with, working for the syndicate? After a while your own mind starts to imagine who and what the characters really are, leading one to doubt just about everything, much like Mulder here, who's ready to give up on a five year belief in UFO's and extraterrestrials in favor of a government conspiracy perpetrating a massive fraud to conceal it's own agenda.

With Mulder firm in his new belief, it's interesting to note the dynamic between him and Scully, who's now more or less leaning toward an acceptance of alien abductions, even though her own experience was revealed as part of a government conspiracy. Even the title of this episode might be considered up for grabs, as Patient X could refer to either Cassandra Spender or the Russian teenager Dmitri (Alex Shostak Jr.), just another way the X-Files keeps you guessing and on the fence.
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