'You're my tool, you understand? I come to you when I need you.'
Title: One Breath
Season: Two (1994)
Written by: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Directed by: R.W. Goodwin
In all honesty any one of the three episodes making up The X-Files' first multi-part story could have been chosen to represent the series. But as good as they are, do Duane Barry or Ascension feature Steven Williams as X uttering Tarantinoesque dialogue about high capacity compact handguns, calling Mulder a 'damned schoolboy' or shooting a man in the head at point blank range? No they do not.
One Breath introduces some trippy, existential elements to proceedings with Scully in limbo, something that would be reprised in season three's The Blessing Way. However, the most surreal aspect of these episodes has to be Gillian Anderson's physique. With this abduction trilogy written to fit around her first pregnancy (her second was written into the series) then you can't help but notice that in her post-birth state she's more… ample… in a particular area than usual. Between Williams' show-stealing turn as X and Anderson's expanding bosom then David Duchovny is stuck in the middle as an Agent trapped in an escalating situation which he does not fully understand. Even though the alien mythology episodes eventually got more and more convoluted, the strength and impact of this one still stands up sixteen years later.
Apologies, incidentally, for the questionable politics of applying One Breath to the track Sweet Black Angel. Every episode represented had to fit one of the Exile On Main St. tracks, and One Breath is an episode where Scully's sister is sweet, Scully sees what might possibly be an angel, and Steven Williams is, er... well...
Let's put it this way: it's not as questionable as the song itself, which might explain why these days Mick Jagger regards the classic release as 'not one of my favourite albums'.