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5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of X Files season, but the great tales continue, 26 July 2012
This review is from: X Files: Season 8 [DVD] (DVD)
Season 8 of the X Files is rather different to the previous 7. For starters, Scully is assigned a new sidekick, Agent John Doggett, and Assistant Director Skinner is given a more prominent role. Mulder performs a Lazarus type of miracle and there are many more `mythology' episodes here (compared to 'one-off' stories). Many episodes are also interlinked together more than in the past and a few other new faces make a contribution to the X Files department, such as Agent Monica Reyes and Agent Leyla Harrison. The main themes explored across the 21 episodes are Mulder's disappearance and Scully's pregnancy. In between all this, other paranormal themes investigated include time anomalies, cults, dream manipulation, x ray vision, pathogens, mutants and a soul eater.

The following is a brief synopsis of each individual episode:

*8.1 Within (Theme: alien abduction) In a continuation from series 7, Mulder is missing and a new special agent - John Doggett - arrives on the scene to investigate his disappearance. Doggett and Scully get off to a terrible start, but their paths continue to cross as they pursue leads as to his whereabouts. Gibson Praise, the boy genius with telepathic powers, is reintroduced and all roads lead to the Arizona desert.

*8.2 Without (Theme: alien abduction) The search for Mulder and Gibson Praise continues in the Arizona desert. This episode takes place over one evening and sees the return of the infamous alien bounty hunter. Will Doggett see the light and start believing in extraterrestrial activity?

*8.3 Patience (Theme: mutants) Scully and Doggett are sent to Idaho to investigate 2 gruesome murders. The clues lead to a 44 year old tale involving a human bat- like creature. Mutants stories have been covered a lot in the X Files, but this was one is significant as it gives Scully and Doggett a chance to bond in the face of mutual adversity.

*8.4 Roadrunners (Theme: cults) Scully makes the mistake of setting off to the Utah desert on her own to investigate what appears to be a ritual killing. There, she becomes isolated and is at the mercy of a bizarre 47-strong Christian cult group.

*8.5 Invocation (Theme: supernatural) A 7 year old boy vanishes from a playground in Oklahoma then miraculously reappears 10 years later - and is still a 7 year old. A series of supernatural events take place around the boy (who refuses to speak) as Scully and Doggett investigate the possibility of conventional abduction leads.

*8.6 Redrum (Theme: time anomaly) A top Baltimore prosecutor and personal friend of Doggett finds himself in prison accused of murdering his wife. Every day when he wakes up, he finds that he is actually going back in life one day a time (the title of the episode is 'murder' spelt backwards...) and in doing so finds that he has a chance to change the sequence of events that unfolded. This is an unusual and very clever X File - with a particularly poignant ending.

*8.7 Via Negativa (Theme: Inception) 20 members of a cult are found dead in a house in Pittsburgh and 2 FBI agents are also killed in the same way when investigating it (by an axe to the forehead). With Scully incapacitated in a Washington hospital, Doggett and Skinner investigate the cult leader's belief in opening the `third eye' by reaching a higher state through a drug, and then invading people's dreams.

*8.8 Surekill (Theme: X Ray vision) A Massachusetts realtor is somehow gunned down while locked inside a police holding cell on his own. A number of local drug dealers are also shot - apparently from behind walls. Assigned to the case, Scully and Doggett soon find themselves onto twins who own a local pest control company and their pretty but duplicitous secretary.

*8.9 Salvage (Theme: mutants) An Indiana scrap metal worker and Gulf War veteran is exposed to a new metal experiment and mutates into a super strong and dangerous creature that is part man part metal being. He then seeks revenge on those who ruined his life.

*8.10 Badlaa (Theme: Indian mysticism) A disabled Indian mystic with a grudge kills several American businessmen in India and uses one as a carrier to arrive in the USA. In the Maryland area he then takes a school janitorial job as cover while he continues his murderous spree - greatly aided by the ability to make himself invisible, or even to assume other people's appearances.

*8.11 The Gift (Theme: Soul Eater) While investigating Mulder's disappearance, Agent Doggett uncovers knowledge that his predecessor visited the small Pennsylvanian village of Squamish and discharged his otherwise unknown weapon (a Walther PKK) 3 times in a house. Doggett's trail, assisted by Skinner and the Lone Gunmen, leads him to a cover-up and a local belief in a creature that can cure illnesses by consuming them.

*8.12 Medusa (Theme: pathogens) A Boston transit police officer is mutilated on a late night train. Doggett leads a small team into the tunnel and in doing so they encounter more bodies and a deadly calcium-based pathogen. Meanwhile, the operators are hindering the investigation due to their determination to get the trains back up and running by 4pm.

*8.13 Per Manum (Theme: Government conspiracy) A woman dies after giving birth to an alien creature and her husband seeks out Scully and Doggett to help uncover the truth. Scully is personally drawn into this investigation as the woman's history and medical records mirror her own recent experiences. Mulder makes several appearances here in narrative flashbacks.

*8.14 This is Not Happening (Theme: Alien abduction) Scully, Doggett and Skinner set off to Montana to investigate a claim of an alien abductee being dumped in a field late at night. The woman in question has evidence of torture wounds and coincidentally disappeared just before Mulder. An unusual doomsday cult are also found to be operating in the area. This is really the first instalment of a 3-part episode.

*8.15 Deadalive (Theme: Alien abduction) Mulder is buried with a solemn ceremony however another abductee who was presumed `dead' - Billy Miles - is fished out of the Atlantic Ocean months later in a semi-conscious state, leading to Skinner hiring a digger. The old foe, Krycek, also makes a re-appearance with his claim to have an alien vaccine.

*8.16 Three Little Words (Theme: government conspiracy) A census worker shoots himself on the lawn of the White House while trying to pass on a computer disk to the President. Mulder, back on his feet, gets involved, despite not being reassigned to X Files again. He doesn't trust Doggett; who, likewise, thinks he may also be being used in a cover up involving US census data on alien infiltration.

*8.17 Empedocles (Theme: evil) A New Orleans office worker is fired. After witnessing a car crash in which one of the burnt occupants gets out and walks right through him, he becomes evil and goes on a murder spree. Due to visions at the crime scene, Agent Monica Reyes links the case to the murder of Doggett's son 4 years previously and tries to enlist Mulder's help in linking the incidents.

*8.18 Vienen (Theme: alien virus) Most of an oilrig crew in the Gulf of Mexico are infected with the black oil alien virus. Doggett is dispatched to investigate and finds Mulder already there - against the wishes of Kersh, the FBI boss.

*8.19 Alone (Theme: mutants) Scully goes off on maternity leave and Doggett is assigned a new X Files partner - the inexperienced Leyla Harrison from Accounts. Dispatched to New York State to investigate a dead body containing traces of venom, they fall captive to a mutant creature that is part man and part reptile. Mulder, officially sacked by the FBI, drives up to help out while Scully also dons a white coat again to lend her expertise.

*8.20 Essence (Theme: alien hybrids) Billy Kay returns as an alien hybrid hit man and kills several leading people in the field of human genetics. The doctors are also linked to Scully and her pregnancy, so a worried Mulder engages Doggett and Skinner to investigate. Meanwhile, Scully's mother also hires a maternity nurse - who isn't quite what she had in mind.

*8.21 Existence (Theme: alien hybrids) Agent Reyes drives Scully to a remote outpost in Northern Georgia to give birth away from those determined to stop her. Meanwhile, back in Washington, Mulder, Doggett and Skinner all have to contend with the enemy within.
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