This episode has always felt like an oddball to me. I know they need to venture outside of the expected once in a while, and this episode has its upsides for sure, but it’s always felt a little weird.
I guess I ultimately feel like it peaked within the first couple scenes, first the standoff at the bank and even more so the resuscitation of Willis (or, really, Dupre). Seeing Dupre’s body rise and fall in the background in time with the defibrillator jolts on Willis’s chest has ALWAYS creeped me the hell out. And the entire premise of the episode — his spirit jumping into Willis’s body — is a cool one, but they don’t spend a lot of time exploring it, so the episode plays out more like a true crime show than The X-Files.
Two men died in that crash room, Scully. One man came back. The question is … which one?
But I did enjoy the aspect of them exploring more of Scully’s past. We actually get to see an ex-boyfriend of hers — proving that she’s got somewhat of a pattern of being attracted to serious, career-driven (or maybe a bit career-obsessed) men given Willis’s determination to solve this case. We even get to see her somewhat wistfully reminiscing on their memories together, both when she’s telling Mulder about their history and when she’s trying to coax Willis’s consciousness back to the forefront.
We also see a few instances of Mulder showing his feelings for Scully. He surprisingly didn’t seem TOO jealous when she mentioned having a past relationship with Willis — he only stopped and commented “the plot thickens” — but his emotions come out more when he’s briefly put on the phone with Scully when Willis calls, even calling her Dana. When he’s contacted by Lula later on, he gets downright threatening — “You listen to me — you lay one hand on Scully, and so help me, God –“. And when he’s briefing the room later on, preparing them to canvas the area to find Scully, he finishes with “And for those of you –who don’t know already (voice unsteady) this one’s important to me. So, uh, let’s do it right. Thanks.”.
It’s an exciting episode, with Scully being narrowly saved from her hostage situation, and it has a somewhat tender ending, with Mulder letting her know that the official story would mention Willis being killed in the line of duty, and, ultimately, telling her that Willis’s watch stopping at his exact time of death “means whatever you want it to mean”.
It’s weird, and I like it, but I don’t love it!