TV Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Babylon 5.1
by Rick Norwood

The X-Files "Two Fathers"/"One Son" (****)
Other Babylon 5.1 Columns
For more information, you can try the following sites:
Rick Norwood's Website
Worldwide TV Schedule
The Official Babylon 5 Website
The X-Files
Pocket Books: Star Trek
Paramount Star Trek

Ratings are based on a four star system.
One star means that the commercials are more entertaining than the program.
Two stars watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars is good solid entertainment.
Four stars means you never dreamed television could be this good.

X-Files It is nice to get the "facts" behind the X-Files laid out for us in a more or less linear fashion, but most of what we learn we already knew. We pieced it together from the bits of information Chris Carter has allowed us to see over the past six years. What surprised me about this two-part episode was how emotionally powerful it was, thanks in large part to the excellent acting by the entire ensemble cast, especially by William B. Davis as the father, the Cigarette Smoking Man, and Chris Owens as the son, Agent Spender.

Almost all of the X-Files regulars appear in this story, some for what is probably the last time. The plot involves the decisive confrontation between the Conspiracy and the Alien Rebels for possession of the first successful human/alien hybrid, who turns out to be Agent Spender's mother, Cigarette Smoking Man's wife.

It is clear that Chris Carter did not have a coherent story line in mind from the beginning. Unlike George Lucas and J. Michael Straczynski, who could be counted on to know what a hint meant when they dropped it, Carter threw out mysterious happenings trusting that he would be ingenious enough to eventually tie them into the plot. With Star Wars and Babylon 5, we relax in the hands of master storytellers. With The X-Files, we are kept on the edge of our seats by the knowledge that not even the creator knows what is going on. We, as viewers, are as likely to be right in our conjectures as the writers are, because frequent internal contradictions make it clear that even what we are told and shown is not necessarily to be believed. The truth is not out there. It is inside us, in our nightmares and in our dreams. The truth is not discovered. It emerges. The fans have at least a fair chance of telling Chris Carter that he is wrong and making it stick.

Here is my truth, as gleaned from six years of X-Files. But it is not necessarily Chris Carter's truth. It is my truth.

A long time ago, aliens visited earth. They liked what they saw. Just as maggots reproduce by laying their eggs in flesh, the aliens reproduce by infecting humans with a substance called the Black Oil. The infected human incubates a monstrous alien baby, and is killed when the alien baby bursts free. In time, the monster matures into the adult form, which is slim, beautiful, and childlike.

At the time of their first visit, there were not enough humans on Earth to serve as alien incubators, and so the aliens waited, in a giant spaceship hidden under arctic ice, until the human population exploded. Now, in the 20th Century, there are enough people to provide the aliens with all the hosts they need.

The major governments of earth discovered the existence of the aliens in the early 50s, and agreed to kill all aliens they captured, and to keep the existence of aliens a secret. The military were given some of the alien technology to play with, but were not told about the aliens themselves -- that secret was much more closely held.

A conspiracy of wealthy men decided that it was in their own best interests to ally themselves with the aliens. They would help the aliens remain secret, help the aliens breed bees to spread the Black Oil. In exchange, the aliens would guarantee safety for the collaborators and their children. The Well Manicured Man was in the top level of the conspiracy, and at the same time part of a conspiracy within the conspiracy to find an antidote to the Black Oil. The Cigarette Smoking Man and Bill Mulder were recruited by the conspiracy to conduct assassinations and other covert operations. The Soviets, while part of the government agreement to kill all aliens, were not part of the cabal that collaborated with the aliens. The Soviets had an agenda of their own, including experiments with the Black Oil, and were eventually able to plant a mole, Alex Krycek, inside the conspiracy. The conspiracy considered the Soviets dangerous to their plans, and allied themselves with Senator Joe McCarthy and his communist witch hunt. Cigarette Smoking Man personally assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King when he saw King as "soft on communism".

The aliens demanded hostages -- one child from each member of the conspiracy -- as a guarantee against betrayal. Only Bill Mulder held back from this agreement, though he was convinced at the last minute that one of his children would be safer in the hands of the aliens than in the soon-to-be-exterminated (or, as he thought, enslaved) general population. As a result, while the other members of the conspiracy delivered their children willingly to the aliens, at an agreed upon meeting place in a airplane hanger, the aliens kidnaped Samantha Mulder from the Mulder home. Bill Mulder's wife never forgave him for allowing their daughter to be taken by aliens.

It was confused and conflicting memories of this kidnaping that sparked the interest of Samantha's brother Fox in the paranormal. Fox Mulder, estranged from his father, eventually joined the F.B.I., where he worked on the X-Files: bizarre, unsolved cases, some going back to the McCarthy era. He acquired the nickname, "Spooky", but prefers to be called just "Mulder". He may dislike his first name because it sounds too much like the name of a television network whose specials on "alien autopsies" make serious UFO investigators look bad.

The aliens proceed to gather a great deal of genetic information about humans. They keep vast files of data on human guinea pigs. They kidnap human women, impregnate them, and plant chips in their neck to keep track of them. The human children turned over to them are used to produce large numbers of clones, some of whom work in the alien bee farms.

Just as the humans are fragmented into many factions, the aliens have their dissidents and rebels. Chief among these are the Orion Shapeshifters, who can only be killed by being infected by the Black Oil or by having a spike driven into the back of their neck. These aliens are an entirely different species from the black oil/monster/childlike aliens. Some of the Shapeshifters work for the first group, others work against them. The Shapeshifters have marvelous healing powers.

The invasion will take place as soon as an alien/human hybrid can be created. Human doctors have been working on this for a long time, carrying out much of their work inside railway cars.

Alien rebels, who ruthlessly burn humans who get in their way, want to delay or prevent the invasion, for reasons of their own.

"Two Fathers"/"One Son", which outlines much, but not all, of the backstory given above, begins with the battle between aliens and rebels over the fate of the hybrid, Agent Spender's mother and Dana Scully's friend. I will not reveal here the events that ensue. Suffice it to say that they are major events in the mythos of The X-Files. Some people live, some die.

The rare story like this one is the only reason I continue to watch television.

Copyright © 1999 by Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide