Marita Covarrubias

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Marita Covarrubias
The X-Files character
A blonde-haired woman in a formal suit stands in the foreground; behind her two older men stand attentive but indistinctly-seen
Covarrubias addressing a meeting of the Syndicate
First appearance "Herrenvolk"
Last appearance "The Truth"
Portrayed by Laurie Holden
Information
Occupation Special Representative to the Secretary-General of the United Nations
Affiliated with United Nations
The Syndicate
Alex Krycek
The X-Files
Appearances
"Herrenvolk"[1]
"Teliko"[2]
"Tunguska"[3]
"Unrequited"[4]
"Zero Sum"[5]
"Patient X"[6]
"The Red and the Black"[6]
"One Son"[7]
"Requiem"[8]
"The Truth"[9]

Marita Covarrubias is a fictional character on the American science fiction television series The X-Files. She was initially introduced as an informant, leaking diplomatic information to FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder to aid his investigation of paranormal cases, dubbed X-Files. However, she was revealed to be an agent of the secretive Syndicate, although ultimately betraying that organization on several occasions. Introduced in the fourth season opener "Herrenvolk", the character remained a recurring presence until the series' finale, "The Truth".

The character of Marita Covarrubias was portrayed by Laurie Holden in all her appearances. She was introduced as a replacement for Steven Williams' character X, after the latter was killed by a Syndicate assassin. Holden's portrayal has received mixed criticism, being compared unfavorably to similar characters from the series.

Conceptual history[edit]

The X-Files' creator Chris Carter felt it would be "more interesting for Mulder's next contact to be a woman", noting that he "wanted there to be some suspicion about whether Mulder would become involved with her romantically.[10] X, the character who had previously filled Covarrubias' role as an informant in the series, had originally been cast as a female character. However Natalija Nogulich, the actress cast in that role, was replaced by Steven Williams after shooting her first scene.[11]

When auditioning for the role of Marita Covarrubias, Laurie Holden was not allowed access to an episode script, instead simply being told that her character worked for the United Nations and had an air of "intelligent seriousness".[12] The actress had never seen the series before she auditioned for the part, and was required to audition using only three pages of scripted material from what would be her debut episode.[10] Holden was required to learn Russian for the episode "Patient X", and commented that roughly fifteen seconds of screen-time took hours to rehearse.[13] The voice coach responsible for instructing Holden and Nicholas Lea in their Russian dialogue tested their proficiency by asking them to speak to Russian-speaking friends of his over the telephone.[14] Holden felt that the two-part episode "Two Fathers" and "One Son" offered her "cold, emotionless, private" character a chance to come across as "vulnerable, exposed and raw".[10]

Character arc[edit]

Laurie Holden portrayed Covarrubias in all of the character's appearances.

Marita Covarrubias is introduced as an informant to Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) after the death of his former source, X (Steven Williams). X scrawls the letters "SRSG" in his own blood as he dies, leading Mulder to the Special Representative to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.[15][16] Covarrubias uses her diplomatic connections to help Mulder infiltrate the Russian province of Krasnoyarsk, allowing him to reach the site of the Tunguska event.[17][18] However, it is later seen that Covarrubias is working for The Smoking Man (William B. Davis) and the Syndicate.[19][20]

During the fifth season, the Syndicate discovered that Covarrubias had betrayed them and was providing information to Mulder. As a result, Syndicate scientists infect her with black oil in order to test a vaccine they had been working to create.[21][22] In the following season, Covarrubias is discovered by FBI agent Jeffrey Spender (Chris Owens) at a decontamination chamber. She begs him to help her escape the facility, addressing him by name as well as giving him information about the whereabouts of his mother, Cassandra. Alex Krycek (Nicholas Lea), a former Syndicate agent now acting alone, is also present at the facility. He declines to help the pair, and leaves Covarrubias for dead.[23][24][25]

Covarrubias returns in the seventh season episode "Reqiuem", restored to health. She makes contact with Krycek at the behest of The Smoking Man, who wishes to resume the work of the now-eradicated Syndicate. Having been given the location of a downed UFO, she and Krycek betray The Smoking Man, instead going to FBI assistant director Walter Skinner and Mulder to inform them about the craft. They later turn on The Smoking Man, pushing him down a flight of stairs and leaving him for dead.[8]

In the series finale "The Truth", Skinner seeks Covarrubias as a witness in Mulder's trial for murder. After Skinner fails to track her down, the ghost of X hands Mulder a scrap of paper with her new address on it. She is called upon to testify, and speaks about her involvement with the Syndicate to some extent. However, when pressed for further information about the continuation of the conspiracy she clams up, and at Mulder's request is dismissed from the stand for fear that if she divulges certain knowledge, she would be killed.[9]

Reception[edit]

The character of Marita Covarrubias has been met with generally negative criticism. Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, felt that the character was "used so perfunctorily since her introduction" that her appearances added little to the episodes she featured in, describing her as a "bad parody" of the earlier characters Deep Throat and X.[26] Debra Warlick, writing for Cinefantastique, felt that Holden's acting in "One Son" was "heart breaking [sic]", but found that she had "unfortunately" been used simply to convey a plot point to other characters.[27] Also writing for Cinefantastique, Paula Vitaris noted that Covarrubias "is a problematic character", adding that "she never breaks out of her function as a plot device".[28] Zack Handlen, writing for The A.V. Club, felt that Covarrubias' introduction in "Herrenvolk" was ill-timed, noting that it "deflates the importance" of X's death in the episode.[29]

Writer Frank Spotnitz has described Covarrubias, along with Alex Krycek, as "young, attractive, vital [and] dangerous" compared to the other, older, characters working for the Syndicate.[30] Holden has compared the character to Mata Hari, adding that "you can't really read what she's saying or what her intentions are".[12] During the series' initial broadcast run, fans referred to Covarrubias as "UNblonde", a reference to her United Nations posting and her dyed hair.[10]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Meisler (1998), p. 19
  2. ^ Meisler (1998), p. 48
  3. ^ Meisler (1998), p. 95
  4. ^ Meisler (1998), p. 166
  5. ^ Meisler (1998), p. 220
  6. ^ a b Meisler (1999), p. 172
  7. ^ Meisler (2000), p. 147
  8. ^ a b Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter (writer) (May 21, 2000). "Requiem". The X-Files. Season 7. Episode 22. Fox.
  9. ^ a b Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter (writer) (May 12, 2002). "The Truth". The X-Files. Season 9. Episode 19 & 20. Fox.
  10. ^ a b c d Hughes, David (October 1999). "Laurie Holden: The UNblonde on playing femme fatale Marita Covvarubias". Cinefantastique 31 (8): 40–41. 
  11. ^ Paul Rabwin (narrator). Deleted Scenes: Sleepless (DVD). The X-Files: The Complete Second Season: Fox Broadcasting Company. Event occurs at 00:59–01:19. 
  12. ^ a b Flaherty, Mike (April 25, 1997). ""X" and the Single Girl". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 
  13. ^ Laurie Holden & Rob Bowman (narrators). Behind the Truth: Laurie Holden (featurette). The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season: Fox. Event occurs at 00:38–00:53. 
  14. ^ Fraga, p. 23
  15. ^ R. W. Goodwin (director); Chris Carter (writer) (October 4, 1996). "Herrenvolk". The X-Files. Season 4. Episode 1. Fox.
  16. ^ Meisler (1998), pp. 19–25.
  17. ^ Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz (writers) (November 24, 1996). "Tunguska". The X-Files. Season 4. Episode 8. Fox.
  18. ^ Meisler (1998), pp. 95–101
  19. ^ Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz (writers) (March 1, 1998). "Patient X". The X-Files. Season 5. Episode 13. Fox.
  20. ^ Meisler (1999), pp.173–184
  21. ^ Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz (writers) (March 8, 1998). "The Red and the Black". The X-Files. Season 5. Episode 14. Fox.
  22. ^ Meisler (1999), pp.187–196
  23. ^ Kim Manners (director); Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz (writers) (February 7, 1999). "Two Fathers". The X-Files. Season 6. Episode 11. Fox.
  24. ^ Rob Bowman (director); Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz (writers) (February 14, 1999). "One Son". The X-Files. Season 6. Episode 12. Fox.
  25. ^ Meisler (2000), 135–156
  26. ^ Shearman and Pearson, p. 102
  27. ^ Warlick, Debra (October 1999). "X-Files: Series creator Chris Carter on tying up the loose ends for the show's final season". Cinefantastique 31 (8): 35. 
  28. ^ Vitaris, Paula (October 1997). "Returning from Space, Glen Morgan and James Wong re-join the X-Files". Cinefantastique 29 (4–5): 35. 
  29. ^ Handlen, Zack (September 25, 2010). ""Herrenvolk"/"Pilot" | The X-Files/Millennium | TV Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 9, 2012. 
  30. ^ Flaherty, Mike (September 22, 2000). "Apocalypse How? 'The X-Files' Explained". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved January 1, 2012. 

References[edit]

  • Edwards, Ted (1996). X-Files Confidential. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316218081. 
  • Fraga, Erica (2010). LAX-Files: Behind the Scenes with the Los Angeles Cast and Crew. CreateSpace. ISBN 1451503415. 
  • Meisler, Andy (1998). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. ISBN 0061053864. 
  • Meisler, Andy (1999). Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 4. Harper Prism. ISBN 0061073091. 
  • Meisler, Andy (2000). The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 5. Harper Prism. ISBN 0061075957. 
  • Shearman, Robert; Pearson, Lars (2009). Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 097594469X.