The X Files Revisited: 1.11 Eve
The X Files ran for nine seasons and two movies, charting the efforts of Agents Mulder and Scully in their search for the unexplained. Now eight years after the second movie The X Files: I Want To Believe, the show is returning for six new episodes in 2016. Here at The Digital Fix, we are going to work our way through each season, reviewing some of the big episodes – and both movies – across the years in the build up to season ten. With 202 episodes, there is simply too much to cover every episode; instead we'll pick the story highlights of each year. Nearly halfway through season one, is this tale of killer clone children...
Creepy killer children always make for good television. They might look sweet and innocent but behind that facade is a cold blooded killer that would slit your throat at a moment's notice. Eve is an episode that takes this theme and runs with it in style, playing tricks on the viewer and Mulder and Scully to deliver a surprising great hour of television.
I say surprising because I forgot how good Eve was. Not Squeeze or Ice good but still with enough twists and turns, a riveting mystery and great performance from adult and child guest actors to make it a memorable part of the show's first year. The strength of the episode is the fact that you don't know what kind of episode it is. It begins as a possible vampire / alien abduction tale before turning into something far more sinister.
After the opening where a girl wanders into the street holding her stuffed bunny, while her dad is discovered dead on her swing in the garden, Mulder excitedly fills Scully in on the case. The father received 75% blood loss in the 10 minutes his daughter was away from his side. Not going with the obvious vampire route, the eager agent associates the puncture wounds on his neck with UFO-related cattle mutilations. He then proceeds to present Scully with a full slide pack of exsanguinated cows; just how long he had that up his sleeve waiting to present it, I don't know.
Their first interview with the daughter, Tina, seems to prove his theory right. Men from the clouds came to abduct her father, there was a bright light and they wanted to exsanguinate him. I'm sure I wasn't the only one picking up the use of such a big word. Of course, there is little time to ponder that as a second murder of a father in San Francisco is discovered, a murder that took place at exactly the same time as the first. Two serial killers in tandem? Random UFO mutilations? It certainly keeps the audience puzzles as much as it does Mulder and Scully and that's what I loved about the episode. By the time Tina is 'abducted' by something in a bright light on a stormy night, you really don't know what is coming.
The mystery of what is happening is turned on its head when Mulder and Scully meet the daughter of the second victim, a little girl called Cindy who bears a striking resemblance to Tina. This is where the story really comes into its own, as we realise are watching a story about some form of genetic cloning / fertility experimentation at a San Francisco fertility clinic. Even Scully's attempt to theorise that this could be random coincidence is half felt. It is one of those episodes where the truth cannot be denied, even if it is hard to determine exactly what it is.
With Mulder and Scully on the trail of missing Dr Sally Kendrick, a missing genius fertility doctor once caught tampering with genetic material prior to implant, the mystery continues to deepen with the surprise appearance of Mulder's informant Deep Throat. I was always unsure as to whether his appearance in non-alien related episodes was a good thing or not, but here it works. Sure his discussion about the Litchfield Experiments becomes little more than the exposition segment of the episode, but with Mulder realising he is looking at a mysterious government eugenics project from Cold War, it becomes an even more fascinating episode.
Eve is another episode that feels like a trial run for later stories. Clones, super soldiers...it is all here. If anything the creation of the Adams and Eves could have led to further episodes down the line - we never see the Adams, though we are made to assume that, like most of the Eve's they have gone insane and been put down. Now there's a thought - a crossover between The X Files and Orphan Black, using this episode as the template?
We are treated to brilliant, if slightly OTT, scene where Mulder and Scully visit one of the surviving Eve's in an Institute for Criminally Insane. With its dark, echoey corridors and wailing in the background, it feels more Bedlam than a place of modern psychiatric medicine. The Eve in her cell is full on crazy, gnashing her teeth cackling about how two of her sisters escaped. Harriet Harris plays madness well, while still differentiating herself as Sally Kendrick.
Again, Mulder and Scully - and the audience - thinks they have it all sussed. The two missing Eves killed the fathers and kidnapped the daughters, the results of Kendrick's own experimentations. Until the best twist of all. Kendrick / Eve 6 realises that the two girls in her care have known about their existence for a while and they planned their father's murders together.
Erika and Sabrina Krievins play creepy twins well. Their "we just knew" is just plain chilling. Their sideways looks and ability to get the upper hand by poisoning Kendrick, lead to them blaming it on 'Eve 8' when they are discovered by the FBI agents. "You're safe with us.". Scully tries to assure them as she and Mulder take them into their care. No you're not Scully. These are evil, evil children. Have you not seen the twins in The Shining?
Considering whey they end up, it is almost laughable to see Mulder and Scully trying to play parental figures here. They are completely unsuspecting of the monsters in their care, nor the poison the girls have slipped into their drinks. It is tense stuff, watching Mulder and Scully takes sips while the twin girls watch. Indeed, it is luck that Mulder forgets his keys at the truck stop and discovers residue from the poison when he goes back for them. The hunt for Cindy and Tina at the truckstop continues to rack up the tension, particularly when Mulder is stopped by two concerns citizens after he apprehends the two screaming girls.
The ending is a final nice dark twist. "Hello girls." the Eve in the Institute hisses as the two girls are placed in adjoining cells to her own - and labelled Eve 9 and Eve 10. Enter Eve 8, disguised as a doctor to release them all. "Hello Eve 8. We've been waiting... the girls call out in their insidious, monotone voices. "How did you know I'd come for you?" Eve 8 asks.
"We just knew. We just knew." Creepy stuff indeed...