Mythology
Mythology

Continued


SCULLY'S CANCER

Most of us were shocked into silence at the end of Leonard Betts, when it was first implied that Scully had cancer. There were feelings of impending doom, but Memento Mori offered us a glimmer of hope. Thankfully now with the turn of events in Redux II we can breathe a little easier!! It now seems that Scully's cancer has gone into remission for good. However, many things could have contributed to her recovery: the microchip, her faith, the agressive therapy given by the doctor, a miracle. It all comes down to what you believe, or want to believe, for that matter.
Still, we remain much in the dark on this whole issue. We know Scully's cancer was a result of her abduction - the abduction itself remains mysterious. Anything else is just speculation. As for a recurance, we can only take solace in the small clue given in Clide Bruckman's Finale Repose. When Scully reluctantly asked him how she would die, he replied simply, "you don't".
An interesting thing about Scully's cancer, and I did not notice this until after I went back and watched several reruns, is that there was more foreshadowing than I originally thought. Of course it has been implied since The Blessing Way (season 3) that Scully's life was in danger; she found the microchip in her neck. And in Nisei/731, the women she met from MUFRON confirmed the worst of her fears: "we're all dying because of what they do to us." But I noticed a few months ago while watching Unruhe that there was significant foreshadowing in this episode, which looked from the outside to be a stand alone. Scully is abducted by a man who seems to track down women with physical and emotional problems, claiming that the problems the women experience are the result of the "howlers", which he attempts to "excosize". While he is holding Scully captive, he points to her forehead, stating that she had the howlers "right there." It was not until Memento Mori that we learn that this was the exact location of her cancerous tumor. Coincidence? Maybe...


THE X-FILES & MOBY DICK

The X-Files has been compared to many other sci-fi series, Star Wars (a personal favourite of mine) being most noted. But there is a more obvious comparison, that being between The X-Files and the 19th century novel Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville.

Aside from the direct symbolism between the novel and the series (which is of course discussed at length between Mulder and Scully themselves in Quagmire), "Moby Dick mythology" first appears directly in the brilliant episode Beyond the Sea. The novel was a childhood favourite of Scully's, and she earned the nickname Starbuck (the loyal first officer on the ship Pequod) from her father, whom she in turn called Ahab (the captain). But if one digs a little deeper into Scully's character, it is easily seen how the title Starbuck actually suits her. We know that Scully has a strong loyalty to her family, but aslo a desperate need for her parents to approve of her choice to join the FBI. As much as she wanted to please her parents, she couldn't become strictly a physician, a career in which she would have been happy, but "incomplete". So is the same with Starbuck, who had a fierce loyalty to the eccentric Captain Ahab, but who objected to his decision to put the ship and crew in danger for his vengeful quest to slay the white whale.

Later, in Quagmire (and probably one of the most memorable scenes in the series), Mulder and Scully are "marooned" on a rock in the middle of the night after their boat sinks, not realizing that they are only a few yards from the darkened shore. Believing that she is stranded, Scully, angry, frustrated and trying to deal with the loss of her dog Queequag (the dog itself is adequately named after the cannibal from Moby Dick. In Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose, he ate the remains of an old woman, his deceased former owner), as at the point where she is willing to give up. Finally, Mulder asks her why she chose the name Queequag for her dog, a question which sparks her lengthy comparison between him and Ahab. Like Ahab, Mulder is selfish and comsumed by his quest for the truth, just as Ahab is lustily driven in his quest to find the white whale. But Ahab was so consumed by his quest that it became self-destructive; he was destined to destroy himself and everybody he brought along with him. Given the similarities, Scully offers this comment to Mulder, "the truth or a white whale? What difference does it make?" Perhaps she had caught a glimpse of Mulder's fate (and possibly her own), and warned him early on about it; a prophecy. Whether or not Mulder will ever fufill this prophecy to it's fullest extent is unclear, but he has at times come close. We saw him almost destroy himself in Gethsemane. And Scully (a person on the journey with him; like Ahab's crew) has had her life shattered by her abduction and her cancer, among other things. But the Moby Dick analogy can be expanded further still. If Scully says that Mulder is Ahab, then she is his Starbuck, loyal but objecting, a sometimes unwilling follower, just as she was to her father (however I hate to having to refer to Scully as "second in command" to Mulder. As far as I am concerned, they are equals. I'm only bringing this up for the sake of analogy). But as for Mulder's fate, we might already have a clue in the exchange between Mulder and Scully at the end of Quagmire, after Mulder "slew" the alligator that was ravagaing the lakeshore.

Scully: "So, you slew the big white whale, Ahab."
Mulder: "Yeah, but I still don't have that pegleg."

Maybe there is hope afterall.

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