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Syzygy was written by the creator of the X-Files, Chris Carter. At times, he sure can come up with some unique and interesting takes on the x-files. Syzygy is one of those for sure. Mulder and Scully go to a small town where satanic killings are supposedly taking place. The entire town is in a frenzy. The funny thing is, Mulder and Scully get taken up in it. They start behaving very oddly toward each other. Granted, they do disagree about cases quite frequently, but it's rare that they are mean to each other. In Syzygy, Mulder and Scully become quite rude with each other, giving you the idea that something is not quite right in this town. And that's what made this episode so interesting, seeing Mulder and Scully in a different light. I found it to be a very creative episode. Seeing Mulder drink or Scully smoke, and many other things out of character. Chris Carter assembles a mob in this episode, an element he uses two seasons later in The Post-Modern Prometheus. One of my favorite lines in the episode is when Mulder is defending Scully to Detective White when Scully is being abnormally abrasive; "She tends to be rather rigid, but rigid in a wonderful way, not like she was today." The tension in Syzygy between Mulder and Scully may be a bit unnerving at first, but it does give you a different insight into their characters, which I liked.
Syzygy the Limerick:
A lady whose surname is White
Whose town wasn't feeling quite right
The planets aligning
And teen girls maligning
Spark Mulder and Scully to fighting.
Syzygy is defined as a kind of unity, especially through coordination or alignment, most commonly used in the astronomical and/or astrological sense. This episode uses this definition both literally and loosely with double meaning. The double meaning is seen best to me with Scully's comment after the mob digs up the dead dog Mr. Tippy's bones.
SCULLY: This is called 'rumor panic'. It's when XXX that links up with a popular satanic cult myth and an increase of attention in a community. A villain or villains are singled out as the focus of the community's confusion and angst about unexplained events, like the death of the high school boys. There have been at least twenty incidents since 1983 from upstate New York to Reno, Nevada and not one of them has turned up a single shred of evidence to support the wild allegations.
So in this sense the "syzygy" is the unity of the town against the "satanists". Other types of syzygy seen throughout the show are the repetition of lines, the matching up of the girls stories both in the beginning about the cultists and then at the end when they are implicating each other. They cut scenes back and forth between them saying the exact same thing.
Another characteristic of this episode is how everyone is acting completely out of character. Examples are the obvious Scully and Mulder fighting. At first it seems like they probably are just a little sick of each other but it turns into outright hostility. It all starts with the bickering in the car about directions at the beginning. From there it just goes into Scully being completely unwilling to accept any evidence, and Mulder acts pretty much clueless about anything that is going on. Detective White is another example. I mean a detective would normally not take eyewitness accounts as enough to go on but anytime Scully asks for evidence to support the claims or if they have even looked for the evidence Detective White acts like she had never even thought to do that. Then of course we have other small examples such as the dog mating with the gas grill, the school principal becoming a mob leader, and the pediatrician wearing high heels and make up.
This leads into my favorite scene. The hotel scene. We see more uncharacteristic traits here. Mulder is drinking and Scully is smoking. Interestingly though there are still things that each does that is characteristic of them. Such as Mulder being determined to watch something on TV even though it is the same Sabre Dance movie on every channel where as Scully just turns it off. But then of course we are right back to the strange when Detective White shows up and starts making out with Mulder. The scene is quite comical to me because Mulder is so drunk and knows that something weird is going on but doesn't really seem to care.
Another great element to this show is the astrologist. I love how she milks everything she can out of Mulder money-wise instead of giving him information. She even maxes out his business credit card and then Mulder is seen writing her a check so obviously the $300 he was good for wasn't enough. She has some witty lines too which I enjoyed.
Finally I enjoyed the soundtrack to this episode. We hear "Hand of Death (Burn Baby Burn)" by Rob Zombie, "All Over You" by Live, and "Deep" by Danzig. The most notable song for the X-Files I think is "Hands of Death". This song is used in a number of The X-Files episodes as well as other Chris Carter shows.
So in conclusion this episode had a lot of things that made it wonderful for me. There are a number of other things that I enjoyed that I will not mention but I will just conclude by saying that this was a wonderfully written comical episode about people acting strangely and blaming that strangeness on Satan instead of taking responsibility for their own actions. I give the episode a 10/10.
While considered a "comedy" episode, unlike most of the comedy episodes
it also can be very creepy at times. The comedy of the episode comes
from a look at the Mulder/Scully dynamic that is almost spoof-like in
nature. This comedy is well presented in great bits of dialog. The
dialog and the comedy flows naturally the plot and theme of people
acting strangely due to the alignment of the planets, however, what
makes it work is the fact that every funny line and out of character
action comes from the vision normally presented of the characters. For
instance, while he never drinks, it seems with in the basic boundaries
of the Mulder character to chug vodka. It should be noted though that
unlike the other comedy episodes, the comedy tends to be less laugh out
loud funny, and more smooth and witty, although there are a few of the
laugh out loud moments in this episode.
Now for the other side of the episode, and that is the fact that it is downright creepy and surreal. Going into this episode knowing nothing about it, when things begin to get really weird, I started to think I might be dreaming or something. This comes not just from the dialog, but from the mood and tense atmosphere created by the solid art direction and typically excellent music and cinematography.
In conclusion, unlike most of the comedy episodes, Syzygy is not an episode to show to those new to The X-Files. It is twisted and creepy, and delves deep into the Mulder Scully dynamic.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Two comedies in a row? Sure. Fine. Whatever. While the previous episode
was a lot ickier, this one was a lot darker.
It wasn't exactly creepy, but it did have that 90's B-horror slasher flick atmosphere. The only difference is that it had a very clever and fun script. There were a huge amount of memorable lines, some of them were easily some of the best X-Files dialog moments. ever.
What I loved most about this episode was that both Mulder and Scully got to play a different character. Especially Scully, who was rude and loud all the way through. She might have been a little irritating at first, but it was fitting and she had the best lines for once.
The only minor bad points was the teen cast, none of them were very talented and delivered some lines badly. But that can easily be overlooked.
I'm gonna give this episode FOUR stars, yet another strong Season 3 episode.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This episode means a lot to me personally. I remember when this aired
here in 1996, I was a 17 year old girl, a little insecure and a huge
fan of the series already. I had some kind of "trauma", because my
birthday, which is shortly after Christmas was often forgotten by many
Apart from this episode being written fantastically funny and I found (and still find) it very exciting I was really flabbergasted when in the show they said that this very special important star constellation was on January 12th, 1979. As this is my birthday I remember feeling like I was even part of the show. And it felt like my birthday was something special after all. So, still a nice memory and still one of my favourite episodes!
This falls with the more tongue-in-cheek episodes like Coprophages and
Clyde Bruckmann, though it is not on that level. The story is really
trite at first glance, the upteenth time that we're bothering with
satanists and some demon compelling the slaughter of innocents. The
small-town setting is fine, I prefer this batch of Twin Peaksesque
episodes to the ones taking place in nature or the city. Red Museum is
a good one.
But in actuality this is self-aware spoof on sexual tension.
You'll see this in suddenly this rivalry between Mulder and Scully, triggered by jealousy. It isn't the first time we've seen something of the sort, but the first time it's so pronounced and catty. The episode starts (and ends) with our pair lost in countryside streets and arguing about directions.
In the paranormal plot, this is reflected in two high-school best friends, girls, who suddenly fight with each other, causing havoc with mysterious powers, killing boys. Mulder gets drunk. Scully smokes. As the local spiritualist reveals, a rare alignment of planets is causing cosmic disturbances, and get this, especially to people born a certain year! Horrendously silly but knows it.
Knowingly pokes fun. Never more obvious than in the climax inside a police station with guns shooting by themselves which is mirrored in a Keystone Kops slapstick that comes on TV.
Hidden away in this whimsical episode was Ryan Reynolds.
He was a bit fat. Suddenly his character in Just Friends seemed even better.
While the episode itself was yet another well titled, in fact its title is an esoteric word that at first glance appears invented by Chris Carter, episode, and the plot at times seemed all too familiar, the repeated clichés were turned into great wit, and their use fantastic.
Add to the fact that Mulder and Sculley both were pulled into the teenage fervor, being short, coy and all around immature "sure, fine, whatever," and it was a great episode.
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