'Deadalive' is a special feat for two reasons - it is the first X-Files DVD feature video, and more importantly, it marks the return of Mulder to the show, in a shocking two-parter.
An initial criticism to this disc is the fact that it only features two episodes - 'This Is Not Happening' and 'DeadAlive'. A better idea would have been to also include 'Three Words', which follows 'DeadAlive', and really brings Mulder back into the show.
'This Is Not Happening' is one of the better episodes of Season 8, which hasn't been such a bad season. The longly-titled episode involves the finding of a woman abducted the same night as Mulder. This woman, Theresa Hoese, is almost dead. On finding her, Scully's hopes of finding Mulder are raised, but so is the fear of finding him dead. Introduced in this episode is the rather different Agent Monica Reyes, who has an 'open mind' to the paranormal. When Theresa is taken from a hospital by a man Scully recognises as the alien healer Jeremiah Smith, Agent Reyes is able to find the location where Smith took her. The Agents track him down, only to find...Mulder, in a shocking cliffhanger. 'This Is Not Happening' is a great episode, spoiled only by its rather hasty cliffhanger, which ultimately lets down the next episode. Apart from that, this is gripping to watch, and all the actors deliver good performances (although Agent Reyes' double-meaning way of talking is quite annoying. Don't worry, she gets better in later episodes).
'DeadAlive' spends its entirety teasing about how Mulder will come back (the title just about gives away to unsuspecting fans what has happened and what undoubtedly will). And then it gives us a rather substandard explanation for his easy and almost accidental recovery. Gone are the scientific reasons that made the shocking events so believable. It seems like they made up the story simply to get it over with and get onto using David Duchovny again. Of course, not all in this episode is a let down - Gillian Anderson and Robert Patrick evoke some good performances in their limited screen time, good old Krycek makes an appearance (but his motives are unclear), and it marks a clear return of the alien conspiracy. While Mulder's recovery may be dumb, the reasoning behind the alien conspiracy and the new 'alien facsimiles' is rather good, and almost a return to form. Overall, the episode is not one of the best, but it delivers, and the ending is a nice scene between Scully and the newly returned Mulder.
DVD extras include some behind the scenes features on the episodes and John Doggett. Didn't they used to put that stuff on the tapes? So the DVD extras are quite pathetic to be honest. No deleted scenes and none of the extras that come on the mighty X-Files DVD Season collections, which rock supremely.
Although this is not a brilliant DVD that will revolutionalise film distribution forever, and although the number of episodes is appalling (what about 'Three Words', which is basically part three of this story, and 'Per Manum', which is one of the most important mythology episodes to date). This is not a valiant effort by any means, but the episodes are good, and the move to DVD is a good one. And we can't really expect to see much in the way of extras for two episodes of a television series.
So, well done X-Files team for a DVD that's just about good enough to buy. But when you sit down and make the disc for 'Existence', how about using the space provided on the huge format and putting the Season finale two-parter on along with 'Per Manum', 'Three Words' and 'Vienen', all important mythology episodes.
Overall, this is a good two-parter to invest in, and seeing as DVD format beats VHS, I would recommend this title.