Well, whatta you know, not a whisper of William this week. Could he have been a macguffin this whole time, or will he play into next week’s season finale? Well, one thing’s for sure, the penultimate episode, “Babylon,” was one for the books.
The episode started out innocently enough with Mulder and Scully watching videos of people hearing strange trumpet-like sounds coming from apparently nowhere. This is a real phenomenon that has happened around the world with no explanation. Many theories have been posited, and people of faith believe it could be a manifestation of the beginning of the end of times as described in the Book of Revelation (not Revelations as they kept saying on the show).
A knock at the door leads to one of the best bits of dialog in the entire series:
Scully: “Nobody here but the FBI’s most unwanted.” She smirks at Mulder. “I’ve been waiting 23 years to say that.
Mulder: “How’d it feel?”
Scully: “Pretty good.”
Enter Agents Miller and Einstein, a young team that suspiciously resembles our heroes, circa 1993, with his sense of wonder in all things unexplainable and her matter-of-factness and impatience with his wild ideas. The two are investigating a recent terrorist attack (yes, this is a “ripped from the headlines” episode) on a restaurant in Texas. Miller believes he can communicate with the nearly brain dead terrorist if Mulder can clue him in on someone to communicate with the (near) dead. Einstein just wants to go and collect some cold, hard facts to find the terrorist cell and prevent another attack. They leave Mulder’s office with little assistance, but …
Scully ends up contacting Miller and arranges to meet him in Texas, as she is curious to see if contact is possible, the death of her mother still weighing heavily on her mind. Mulder contacts Einstein and poses a theory to her that with the right chemical assistance, he will be able to “speak” with whatever is left of the terrorist in the hospital. Yes, Mulder is suggesting Einstein, a medical doctor herself, administer the ‘shrooms … which she refuses. Until she gets to Texas and sees Miller with Scully in the hospital. She calls Mulder, and thus begins a very strange trip indeed.
Of all the weird things we’ve seen on The X-Files, watching Mulder float/strut down a hospital corridor, finger-gunning and high-fiving everyone, and then two-stepping at a local honkytonk, with Director Skinner and … THE LONE GUNMEN in tow, transitioning to a fifty shades of terrifying with Agent Einstein as a dominatrix, to a sort of Viking long boat captained by the Cigarette Smoking Man with the terrorist and an unknown woman posed as Michelangelo’s Pieta, with the young man whispering something to Mulder in Arabic really took the cake. If viewers were divided over the “Were-Monster” episode, this segment might really send them over the edge.
Oddly enough, a combination of Scully’s and Mulder’s methods seemed to produce results — even though Mulder was told Einstein only gave him a placebo — and then the unknown woman arrived who, of course, was the young man’s mother. Her voice seemed to stimulate his brainwaves, but he died shortly after her arrival with Mulder desperately trying to recall the Arabic words, which Miller was able to translate as Babylon Hotel. Sure enough, there was a Babylon Hotel with a terrorist cell preparing for another attack, the combined forces of X-Files veterans and rookies saving the day.
The episode, while silly in places, did pose a profound question about words and thoughts having weight. Not physical weight, but a weight that could push someone into doing something they would normally never do. For the young man, it was strapping on a suicide vest and killing in the name of his God. For Mulder, just the idea that he had taken a hallucinogen took his brain to that place. But it also made him a little more open to the idea of God and faith in general, which surprised Scully. A final scene with them on Mulder’s porch as they spoke and then held hands and walked down the lane really showed us how much these two truly care for each other. And just as it seemed that they might finally embrace or kiss or something, Mulder the non-believer heard trumpets in the sky. Oddly, Scully did not. What could it all mean? From the previews for the finale, it looks like the end of the world.
What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!