Revisiting The X-Files: season 1 episode 22

News Matt Haigh
11 Dec 2008 - 06:26

Not long to go now, as Matt nears the end of his season one recap...

22. Born Again

I loved this episode. It features the most grumpy-looking little girl to ever grace a TV screen (imagine the sour, pouchy-cheeked face of an old man super-imposed onto that of an eight year old child); and also, it features Janice from Friends as a tough-talking New York cop. Thanks largely to the fact she has an entirely different voice, I didn’t even notice it was her for about twenty minutes, but that could also have been something to do with the fact her hair is screwed up in a big bun here, making her a doppelganger for Amy Winehouse.

The little girl herself is the focus of the story, when it appears she used the power of her mind alone to blast a policeman through a top storey window, sending him crashing to his death. Amy Winehouse (as she is to be called from this point on) calls in Mulder and Scully, knowing a little of their reputation for the bizarre, and explains that nobody else was in that room at the time of the man’s death. Instantly, Scully is searching for the most logical answer, while Mulder is talking about telekinesis and ghosts.

The ensuing tale is one of bent cops, back-stabbing and revenge from beyond the grave, as seems to be very common for this type of tale. The only reason people want to come back from the dead and haunt the living, it seems, is so that they can get revenge on the people who set them up and caused their demise in the first place. It turns out a group of cops (including the one the little girl blasted from the window) brought about the death of one of their number. This man, Mulder suggests, has been “born again” on earth as the little girl and wants to finish off the people who killed him.

In many ways, episode 22 shares a great deal in common with the episode called Shadows. In that episode, a dead man had returned to haunt a woman, and was capable of great acts of strength and violence, in a kind of inhuman, telepathic way. Here, much of that same idea is repeated, as it becomes relatively clear that the dead double-crossed cop has been reincarnated as the little girl, and is capable of bending objects to his will using the power of his mind alone. If one of them had to come out on top, I’d say Born Again just clinches it, owing mostly to the fact that the sight of that grumpy-faced little girl staring blankly out from behind a curtain should be good enough to haunt you for quite a few weeks afterwards.

Check out Matt's review of the preceding episode here.

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