Actor William B Davis played The X-Files‘s face of evil since the pilot, a role that expanded over time for one reason or another, but Davis did write one episode, and that’s this one. According to Wikipedia, he claimed that part of the reason he did so was he wanted to work more with Gillian Anderson.
You know, Anderson seems really cool, so I can’t say that I blame him.
The Case: A Cure-All?
The Rest: Potentially salacious comments about Anderson aside, there’s a good reason Davis might have wanted to work more with her, and it’s an obvious one: Scully and the Smoking Man don’t really interact much on the show. He’s more likely to deal with Mulder or Skinner, and that’s about it. True, he and Scully have exchanged words in the past, and Davis’s silent role as the sinister-looking guy in the background for the pilot episode was a Scully scene, but the two actors haven’t really been given much of a chance to interact with each other. Besides, there is something to be said about what sort of relationship, if any, Scully would have with the Smoking Man.
And he’s oddly friendly. There’s something here about a miracle cure, one from alien sources, that the Smoking Man needs Scully’s help retrieving because he wants to do good in the world before he dies, and thought Scully is very slow to trust him, recording conversations on a hidden microphone inside her bra (this episode may have focused more on Anderson’s boobs than most since the pilot when she was in her underwear), and trying to keep Mulder abreast of what was going on.
No, I did not intend a pun when I mentioned she had a microphone in her bra and she was trying to keep Mulder abreast of what was going on.
I will say Scully is awfully forgiving of the guy in many situations, going out to dinner with him and not getting too upset when he obviously changed her clothes. She even ends up believing him in the end while Mulder, the Lone Gunmen, and to a lesser extent Skinner are all looking for her. It is, of course, all a fake. The whole thing was intended to draw a potential informant out who incorrectly thought he was communicating with Scully. Why Scully? Why not Mulder? Possibly because Mulder’s longer history with the Smoking Man would have made it harder for the scam to work on him. Or Davis just wanted to do some scenes with Anderson.
Regardless, the Smoking Man prevails, getting the disk Scully retrieved while giving her a blank one. He does dispose of the real disk himself while the agents speculate on why he did what he did. The thing is, the script doesn’t give a hint, but Davis’s performance in the final moments, showing what looks to me like potential regret as he does what he does, probably say more about the character than any line of dialogue the character has. Perhaps some of his talk about how he’s been a destroyer for so long and he wanted to give back was real, and he just, for one reason or another, can’t.
So, for that alone, this episode was worth the viewing.
Up next, suburban monsters.