The Themes Behind the Files

The truth behind the X-Files: the recurring themes; the underlying stories contained in the X-Files which help make the show what it is, and which keep us coming back for more. This is what is known as the X-Files mythology, and it proves that world behind the X-Files is not a simple one.

Please note: sorry to disappoint, but this page is no longer updated as of 1999. I just don't have the time or energy to assemble these mythology reports on a regular basis, especially with the rapidly changing plot of the show. My apologies. But, the good news is, my past reports will remain archived here. You can still read them... just keep in mind that most of them are slightly outdated.

Full Disclosure
Movie Mythology
Mulder and Scully's Relationship
Scully's Cancer
Who is Mulder's Father?
The X-Files and Moby Dick


Two Fathers; One Son

Before you read this section, you might want to review my Purity Control section, which sums up all the mythology before Full Disclosure.

It's all gone to hell...

For a story arc which was supposed to resolve a 6-year long alien conspiracy, it appears that all we have really witnessed is the end of one story and the beginning of another; a new chapter. But before we ponder all these new twists and turns, for we are just as in the dark about them as we were about the issues six years ago, we should review what we know so far.
Purity Control: the codename given to the fifty-year long project, which touched off with the crash of the UFO in Roswell, New Mexico, 1947. In collaboration with the aliens (or perhaps initially coerced by the aliens), a group of scientists and shadowy government characters began work on an alien-human hybrid, a form which would be immune to the effects of colonization. However, it seems that only a select few were intended to be saved. The Syndicate members and their close friends and family were chosen by the aliens to become hybrids, so that they may survive while the rest of the world perished in the colonization process.
But there was more going on than met the eye. Unknown to the aliens, the Syndicate were working under a guise. While they laboured fifty years to create an alien-human hybrid, they were also secretly attempting to create a vaccine which could destroy the black oil virus and thus thwart colonization. (This vaccine was successfully created by the Russians, and delivered into the eager hands of the Syndicate by Krycek). In actuality, the Syndicate never intended to succeed with the hybridization process, for as soon as a successful hybrid was created, colonization would begin. And for a long time, it appeared that hybridization would be impossible.

Then in 1973, the aliens presented the Syndicate with an alien fetus, the source of the alien DNA needed for hybridization. As part of the agreement, each Syndicate member was to give up a family member to take part in the hybridization experiments, as insurance. The family members would be returned when the colonization process began. (On this note, CSM cheated. He never really loved his wife, Cassandra Spender. It can be assumed that he married her knowing that he would have to give her up). Bill Mulder gave up Samantha (though we know from Paperclip that Mulder was supposed to have been given up originally. Whatever made him change his mind remains a mystery, though it probably has to do with Mulder's still-undetermined lineage). So with new resources, the Syndicate continued to work on hybridization. They began abducted women, stealing their ova and performing tests. Scully was one of the thousands of victims, taken not so much because she was needed for the experiments, but to keep Mulder in check. Cassandra Spender was another victim; she was the woman CSM traded.
Again, however, the 25 years of experiments seemed to be going nowhere, exactly where the Syndicate wanted them to go, since by creating a hybrid, they would be sealing their fate. But Cassandra Spender changed all that. When she was abducted from the bridge in Patient X and thrown back into the experiments, she became a success. She was the alien human hybrid that the Syndicate had worked so long to create (or pretended to create as a cover-up for their development of a vaccine). Now, as the plan went, the Syndicate was to turn Cassandra over to the aliens, whereupon they would all receive the hybridization gene and then become hybrids themselves, immune to colonization. The Syndicate would gather at a "safe house," along with their friends and family members, while the killer bees carrying the alien virus were released on the rest of the world. That was the plan. But it didn't work out that way.

Now the new chapter unfolds. Bring on the rebel aliens, a faceless race marred by self-mutilation to prevent infection from the black oil. Perhaps they represent the survivors of a race of aliens once colonized, and now intend to prevent colonization elsewhere. But that's just a guess. Who they are remains a mystery. What they really want remains a mystery. Perhaps by ending, or at least stalling, the colonization of earth, they have helped the human race. Or maybe, they have simply made things worse. Whatever their motives, they stole the alien fetus, the source of the DNA, and then torched the Syndicate, destroying fifty years of labour, and maybe the Syndicate themselves. As Krycek said, "it's all gone to hell."

So what's to become of the Syndicate? Is there even a Syndicate left? CSM and Fowley got away. CSM himself even remarked that, "there are people missing." Krycek, the man for himself, is still out there. There's still Strughold, the big boss, and the chapter in Tunis. Then there's the Syndicate's Russian counterparts. And Marita, wherever her loyalties lie. Maybe it will all just start again.


Reocurring themes in the X-Files over the past 5 years have been small pox, the black cancer, colonization, the "project", the "greater purpose", and killer bees. Now add to that list genetically altered corn crops. Over the years, these bits of mythology have been revealed sporatically and incompletely. When at first they seemed mutually exclusive, the movie has finally tied them together "in deepest consequence" (sorry, I'm quoting Macbeth *s*). Here I'll try to throw them together in a nutshell, starting with a very brief history and moving on to what we finally learned in the movie.

The small pox issue was first introduced in Anasazi. Basically, what was implied is that the small pox vaccination procedure actually has a dual purpose; one, to vaccinate against the virus, and two, to collect a tissue sample from the recipiant of the vaccine (this is done unknowingly, of course). As a result, the government has, on file, a tissue sample from virtually the whole population, to be used for innumerable purposes, from cloning and hybridization, to record keeping and research. The enormity of this filing system was discovered in Paperclip - "lots and lots of files" - where it was learned that a filing system is being kept, interestingly, in a deep mountain cavern behind the Strughold Mining Company Wearhouse (note the name Strughold *s*). These tissues samples are being kept as part of a record of abductees, Scully and Samantha Mulder being just two of hundreds of thousands (and possibly more).

Now for the black cancer. This first appeared in Piper Maru/Apocrypha as a dark oily entity which invaded human beings and took them over as a parasite would a host. Krycek of course, is infected with the oil in this first encounter. But in Tunguska/Terma, the black cancer resurfaces in the form of black worms, and it is revealed that the Russians are in the process of testing a vaccine against it; a cure which their American counterparts (Cancer Man and the Syndicate) lack. Mulder is a survivor of the black cancer, captured and unwillingly used as a test subject for the vaccine. The ramifications of this test are still unknown, however Mulder's seemingly successful recovery wins the attention of the Syndicate. In Patient X/The Red and the Black, the Syndicate is in dire need of this vaccine, as they fear the black cancer will interfere with "the project", which we now know to be colonization. They finally manage to seize the vaccine from Krycek and test it on Marita (the uniblonde informant), who had been infected with the black cancer by Krycek (however Krycek's purpose for infecting Marita is unclear. He does not work for anyone but himself, so surely he was not helping the Syndicate along). The vaccine successfully cures Marita, however at the hands of the Syndicate, her final fate is unknown.

Now for puzzle piece 3: Killer bees. First introduced in Herrenvolk and later showing up in Zero Sum, they carry a deadly virus (which many of us first assumed to be a new and deadly strain small pox) which is lethal to humans but to which clones are immune.

Ok, after that basic refresher, here's what we learned in the movie:
We know that the Syndicate made some sort of deal with the aliens just after World War II, though the true nature of this deal - how or why it came about it came about - has yet to be revealed. What is known is that the aliens want to colonize the earth, and that the Syndicate, by helping them, will receive immunity when colonization finally does take place. I'm assuming that shortly after World War II, and right about the time the alien spacecraft supposedly crashed in Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, the members of the Syndicate found out about the aliens' plot of colonization, or alternatively, were contacted by the aliens and asked to help. Perhaps seeing that colonization was inevitable (or maybe believing that they could stop it) the Syndicate agreed to assist the aliens in this endeavour. Whatever the reason for their inclusion in this greater purpose, the Syndicate is now a part of colonization, beginning a project known only as Purity Control.

We know very little about Purity Control itself other than the fact that it is the code name for the joint Syndicate-alien project of colonization. (Purity Control's only mentions in the X-Files to date are in The Erlenmeyer Flask, where Scully steals an alien-human hybrid embryo - a product of the project - and delivers it to Deepthroat in exchange for Mulder's life; and in Red Museum, where Scully suspects that Purity Control is being used on a number of children receiving what are assumed to be vitamin injections). Part of Purity Control involves the collection of DNA samples from each and every person after 1950, extracted unknowingly at the time of a routine small pox vaccination (here I'm assuming, is where small pox fits in). This DNA is most likely on file for the purpose of creating alien-human hybrids. Purity Control is also greatly assisted by ex-Nazi war criminals, of which the new Syndicate big boss, Strughold, is one.

And now things start falling into place. The tool that the aliens use for the colonization process is the black oil, which itself is a highly evolved pathogen. In the movie, it is revealed that this pathogen is actually millions of years old, and the original inhabitant of the earth; and alien visitor that arrived here long before the dinosaurs. It is so old that it has evolved to the point where it is actually an intelligent life form, and is the key factor in colonization.

In order for colonization to be accomplished, the black oil must be successfully spread to the population, infecting people all over the earth so that humankind will cease to exist and the aliens colonists can take over. Now this is where the bees and corn crops come in *s* The corn crops, first introduced in the movie, are actually of a genetially altered variety. They have been developed, firstly, to grow in discrete climates like the desert; and more importantly, tampered with to carry the virus which is the black oil. The Syndicate uses the killer bees to pollinate the corn crops, and in doing so, the bees become infected with the black oil and hence are carriers of the virus; they are vectors. Thus what the Syndicate and the aliens have is a medium to transport the virus: the bees are unleashed, they sting people, and people becomce infected. It all seems to be a carefully manifested plan, but as the movie reveals, something has gone terribly wrong, and neither the Syndicate nor the aliens were entirely honest with the other.

As Well-Manicured Man explains, the Syndicate originally believed that the black oil would simply control people, like a parasite does a host, or in some cases, become a part of a combined element in the creation of alien human hybrids. However, something went terribly amiss. It now seems that the black oil uses people as hosts to incubate its young, completely destroying the human in the process. As WMM puts it, people will simply become "digestives for the creation of a new race of alien life forms." The aliens were actually using the Syndicate all along. But luckily, the Syndicate does have one line of defense, and this is where the vaccine comes in. The vaccine, developed by the Russians and stolen by Krycek, seems to be effective in destroying the black oil; it is the only line of defense against colonization. So there we have it:

The Syndicate struck up a deal with the aliens to colonize the planet. The project they speak of is referred to as Purity Control. Part of Purity Control is to collect DNA samples from the population by means of small pox vaccinations, and the DNA is used (possibly) to make hybrids with alien DNA and the black oil. The black oil is the deadly plague and the very life force of the aliens themselves. It is spread by killer bees infected from genetically altered corncrops. However, the Syndicate uses the vaccine to cure the virus. So now the only question is, is the Syndicate actually aiding the aliens by helping them colonize the planet, or secretly plotting to destroy them with the vaccine?? Only time will tell....
one more thing though. Both Mulder and Scully have receieved the black oil vaccination. Does this mean that they are now immune?? hmm...


Note: I had to update this since Triangle!! And then again after Rain King!! *giggle*

Well, I had to talk about it sometime. I mean, I've finally come to the conclusion that I'm definitely a shipper--actually, I always was one. Yes, I was your average closet shipper *LOL* I'm such a sucker for romance :-)
Anyway, in breifly analyzing Mulder and Scully's relationship, I've tried to look at exactly what is there, avoiding most of the "what if" assumptions. This is what I've come up with.

Mulder and Scully probably have one of the most unique relationships in television history, most obvioulsy because it is entirely undefined. It cannot be simply equated to either friendship or love, though it contains elements of both. It is, of course, based on trust and respect, but I think it also draws upon an obscure sexual tension that both is and is not there, depending on how you look at it. It is more than apparent that there is an existing deep platonic love between the two - even CC will vouch for this - but it remains largely unspoken (well, until... *giggle* but I'll get to that later). There is also a strong element of conflict and competition between them: that of severely clashing interests.

It is quite apparent that both Mulder and Scully avoid the obvious; that is, trying to define what they have. In fact, they often converse on a level that may seem sometimes emotionless. Scully for one buries her emotions, never letting Mulder know exactly how she feels. (The careful watcher will tend to notice that the more she bottles up her emotions, the more cold she becomes on the outside, the more pain she is trying to hide). Scully's characteristic response to Mulder's queries of concern is, "I'm fine." This is because she wants Mulder to think she is strong and independant - which she most definitely is - but on another level, she quietly relies on him for support and fiercely seeks his approval. It's almost as if she wants him to be proud of her; she is afraid of rejection. This goes back to her parents, her constant desire to please them even though they didn't entirely approve of her choice to join the FBI. Scully also seems to believe that it is up to her to defend Mulder, to take the blame for him when he is in over his head. This is her way of displaying her concern for him, and it has shown through on many occassions.
While Scully mostly hides her feelings behind the false front of the emotionless rock, Mulder conceals his behind his cynical, almost dry sense of humour and his manufactured cocky composure. He denies that he is vulnerable by always letting on that he is in command of a situation by poking fun at it. But Scully can see through this, and Mulder knows it.
On some level, Mulder feels that it is his duty to protect Scully, though he knows this is exactly what she does not want. This need Mulder feels to protect Scully goes right back to his sister, but leans more on the fact that Scully is really the only significant other in Mulder's life. She is there for him all the time, and without her, he is lost, as we observe in her absense. Moreover, he is terrified of being alone. But Scully is determined to deny Mulder the opportunity to fufill this protective role. All things considered, what ends up happening is that both Mulder and Scully attempt to hide their feelings from the other, and they dance on eggshells around their emotions to avoid triggering an awkward situation. Thus what results is a suppression of feeling for the other and a relationship that remains verbally undefined (no I'm not psychiatrist *lol*).

Even so, there have been some instances on where this emotional barrier has been broken down. In Tooms, of course, the following conversation takes place:

Scully: "Mulder, I wouldn't put myself on the line for anybody but you."
Mulder: "If there's an iced tea in that bag, Scully, could be love."
Scully: "Must be fate Mulder. Rootbeer."
There are also many instances where both Mulder and Scully have seriously flirted, especially back in the first season when they were just getting to know each other. Now to avoid a lengthy documentation of all the "Mulder-Scully moments" in X-Files history, I'm going to skip right to the movie, where for the first time, the two allow the stops to be pulled and the barriers to be felled, if only for a brief period in time. Yet even though the relationship reached new ground, it is also simply a classic interaction between the two, only taken to a new level. In other words, Mulder and Scully coundn't have acted more like themselves.
Firstly, Scully can't bear to allow Mulder a glimpse at her true feelings, so she does what she can do best, which is to put up an emotional barrier. It is obvious that her decision to resign from the FBI was a bitter and crushing defeat, though one she had no choice but to accept. Moreover, she can't stand the thought of leaving Mulder, so she tries to make it seem like it doesn't matter. Her constant fear of rejection comes through when she says to Mulder, "You don't need me. You have have. I've only held you back."
But Mulder can of course see through her guise, and he tries to let her know this. Only this time, he feels he might be losing her for good; and as usual, he's afraid to be alone. In desperation, Mulder's unspoken feelings finally become spoken:
Mulder: "You're wrong. You've saved me. As difficult as that may sound, your Goddamn strict rationalism and science have saved me a thousand times over. You've kept me honest. You made me a whole person. I owe you everything, Scully... and you owe me nothing. I don't know if I want to do this alone. I don't even know if I can. And if I quit now, they win."
One stop short from saying those three words? Well... :-) But in saying this, Mulder finally verbalized the approval Scully always sought from him, and her tearful reaction to his words proves this. So for an instant, the unspoken became the spoken. And, that was the first time we really saw the "love" between them.

Now... drum roll, please... Triangle. Mulder is suddnely faced with the prospect of never seeing Scully again, and he finally realizes where his feelings lie. Deep down he has always loved Scully, but fear of losing her always kept him from admitting it. Now, however, he can't deny how he feels, and he has to tell her. And sneaky Mulder!! *g* I think he seized the opportunity of being "delusional" to actually get his feelings out into the open. He knew that Scully wouldn't believe him, that she would dismiss any comment he made as nonesense, so what better way to say something as serious as "I love you" without consequence? He didn't have to put her - or himself - in an awkward position. If the situation didn't go over well, he could always use the old excuse, "I was drugged." *giggle* GO MULDER!!! So, interestingly, we now know that Mulder knows how he feels.

As for Scully, a confession from her would be much more disguised. Since she is so careful to reveal her emotions, an "I love you" statement from her would naturally be more metaphorical and require interpretation. And, as we know from Rain King, this is exactly what happened. Scully, trying to give love advice to Sheila, comes up with a most interesting statement which actually represents her own feelings toward Mulder:

Scully: "Well, it seems to me that the best relationships, the ones that last, are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before, like a switch has been flicked somewhere, and the person who was just a friend, is suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with."
This is a self-revelation on Scully's part. I honestly think she learned more from her own statement than Sheila did. I don't think you have to look really hard to see the love in there *g*

So ... Mulder and Scully definitely do love each other. They have trust, respect and understanding. They probably know each other better than they know themselves. But I refuse to make inferences further than that. So, that's it. Like I said, I'm leaving out the "what if" assumptions. After all, isn't that what fanfic is for? *s*


The Star Wars Scenario

This is yet another issue that is being kept in the dark. We are slowly and periodically being fed small clues. The issue was first brought up in Talitha Cumi, the season 3 finale. Clues continued to be revealed in many following episodes. Strong evidence surfaces in Demons, when Mulder asks his mother, "who is my father?", before storming out of the house. In Talitha Cumi, Cancer Man gave Mulder the haunting statement, "I've known your mother since before you were born, Fox". Was this a hint for Mulder, Cancer Man telling him that he is his father?
But then again, Cancer Man could just as easily be Samantha's father, as we saw in Redux II, and not Mulder's. Or he could be both. What we know from many episodes is that Cancer Man is much more involved in Mulder's past than originally thought. And it is almost certain that he had an affair with Mulder's mother, clearly demonstrated in Talitha Cumi, Herrenvolk and Demons. And we know that he was involved in the "choice" that Bill Mulder had to make concerning his children; which child would be taken away from the Mulder family. The fact that Samantha was taken instead of Mulder can be interpretted in two ways. In Paperclip, Scully and Mulder discover an archive of "lots and lots of files" containing data on hundreds of thousands of abductees, a base which contains Scully's own file, as well as Samanatha's. However, on closer inspection, Mulder learns that Samantha's file was originally intended to be his. He was supposed to be the one that was taken. Here is where the interpretation factor comes in: if Mulder is Cancer Man's son, it is logical that he would wish to spare him by letting him remain with his family. But consider this: if Samantha happens to be Cancer Man's daughter, perhaps he took her so that she could be with him. Even so, from the episodes it appears that there is more evidence leaning toward the idea that Mulder is Cancer Man's child. But the only thing we can be certain of is that Cancer man played a big part in Mulder's past, and he may even hold the key to his future.

Cancer Man now has yet another illegitimate child, Agent Spender, as revealed in The Red and the Black.

After Two Fathers, One Son things are even more uncertain. We'll have to wait a while, it seems.

Mythology Continued

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