Emily (The X-Files)
|The X-Files episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Kim Manners|
|Written by||Vince Gilligan
|Original air date||December 14, 1997|
|Running time||45 minutes|
"Emily" is the seventh episode of the fifth season of American science fiction television series The X-Files. It was written by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz and directed by Kim Manners. The episode explores the series' overarching mythology. The episode premiered in the United States on December 14, 1997 on the Fox network, earning a Nielsen household rating of 12.4 and being watched by 20.94 million people in its initial broadcast. It received mixed reviews from television critics.
The show centers on FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal, while the skeptical Scully has been assigned to debunk his work. In this episode, Scully fights to protect her daughter’s life, while Mulder discovers her true origins. It is eventually discovered that Emily was created during Scully's abduction. Emily suffers from a tumorous infection and subsequently dies.
"Emily" is the second of a two-part story that began with episode six, "Christmas Carol". The young actress who originally played Emily was terrified of the hospital setting in the episode's sequel "Emily", and as a result the producers had to recast the role and reshoot all footage featuring her including her scene featured in this episode. Filming for the episode was also disrupted when angry demonstrators protested at one of the show's filming sites.
Continuing from the previous episode, agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) arrives at the hospital in San Diego where Scully introduces him to Emily. Mulder tells Scully that he had Melvin Frohike look into Emily's case: her surrogate mother is a woman named Anna Fugazzi (slang for fake), and there are no true records of how Emily came into the world. Mulder, along with Scully's family, attend a meeting regarding Emily's adoption at the San Diego Hall of Justice. Mulder tells the Judge that Emily was conceived from Scully's ova, which was taken from her during her abduction, which the Judge does not believe. Later, Scully receives a call from the County Children's Center that cuts off abruptly. She and Mulder head there, where they find Emily safe, but coming down with a fever. They find a greenish cyst on the back of Emily's neck. Later, when a nurse pierces the cyst with a needle, green liquid comes out, causing her to become gravely ill, yet Emily appears unaffected. Mulder believes that Emily has the same body chemistry that they have seen before with alien-human hybrids.
Dr. Calderon, Emily's doctor who works for a company called Prangen, refuses to transfer Emily's medical records to the County Children's Center, prompting Mulder to rough him up. Later, Mulder follows Calderon after he leaves his office. Scully has imaging tests conducted on Emily. Calderon goes to see the Dark Suited Men, one of whom kills him by stabbing him in the neck with an alien stiletto; both men then morph into Calderon. Mulder follows as one of them leaves. The results of Emily's tests show her to be suffering from a tumorous infection. The other Calderon arrives at the hospital and injects Emily with an unknown green substance; he escapes by morphing into someone else. Scully believes that he is continuing the treatments, and the Sims were murdered because they were trying to stop him. Mulder follows the first Calderon clone into a building, where he meets Anna Fugazzi, an elderly woman in a nursing home.
The doctor tells Scully that Emily is getting worse. A woman from the adoption agency arrives and wants to stop Scully from making decisions for Emily. Mulder connects the names of the women in the nursing home to recent births and finds that Dr. Calderon was treating them. Emily reacts badly to being placed in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Mulder finds medical records with Scully's name on them at the nursing home, along with a live fetus in a refrigerated chamber. Mulder finds Calderon entering soon after, and Detective Kresge arrives as well. Mulder and Kresge confront Calderon, who attacks Kresge. Despite Mulder's warning Kresge shoots Calderon, whose wounds cause him to spew green blood which incapacitates Kresge. Mulder quickly leaves the building to avoid being affected by the blood. Calderon morphs into Kresge, and deceives Mulder and escapes. Mulder returns to the hospital, where Emily has gone into a coma. Days later Emily has died. Mulder visits Scully at the funeral chapel, telling her that Kresge is recovering and all evidence at the nursing home and Prangen is gone. The only evidence left is Emily's body, but the agents instead find sand bags in her coffin along with Scully's cross necklace, which she had previously given to Emily.
The young actress who originally played Emily was terrified of the hospital setting in this episode, and as a result the producers had to recast the role and reshoot all footage featuring her in the previous episode "Christmas Carol". Director Kim Manners recalls, "I called Bob Goodwin and said, 'We're dead in the water here, pal. This little actress is not cooperating at all'. We recast that role and started up again the next day." The show's casters replaced her with Lauren Diewold, who had previously appeared on an episode of Millennium. Due to the show's shooting schedule, the producers were unable to use Gillian Anderson to reshoot the previous episode's scenes, resulting in Anderson's double being used instead, with the footage pieced together in the editing room.
The building used for the nursing home in this episode was picketed by anti-redevelopment protesters due to the building being converted into a condominium complex. As a result, the producers kept a low profile by removing all X-Files insignia from their clothing. A number of protestors still arrived, forcing the police to get involved.
"Emily" premiered on the Fox network on December 14, 1997. This episode earned a Nielsen rating of 12.4, with a 19 share, meaning that roughly 12.4 percent of all television-equipped households, and 19 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode. It was viewed by 20.94 million viewers.
The episode received mixed reviews from television critics; many were more critical of the episode than "Christmas Carol". Todd VanDerWerff from The A.V. Club gave the episode an B and wrote that he did not "totally buy “Emily” […] even though I like large portions of" the episode. VanDerWerff wrote positively of "most of the Scully scenes", noting that Anderson "found some of the raw sense of hope and loss" that the shots required. However, he was critical of the episode's plot, arguing that it only "goes through the motions" and "is about everybody getting really worked up over a little girl we’ve just met." He concluded that "two-parter is strongest when it grabs hold of this notion. But it’s at its weakest when it turns into just another episode of The X-Files." John Keegan from Critical Myth gave the episode a 7 out of 10, and wrote "Overall, this episode was not as strong as the previous installment, largely due to the shift from in-depth character exploration to a rehashing of earlier elements of the mythology. Emily is a good plot device in terms of personalizing the conspiracy’s depredations just a bit more, but at times, it seems like the writers are victimizing Scully a bit more than necessary. Unlike the later mythology episodes, however, this one manages to avoid any unnecessary new elements."
Other reviews were decidedly more mixed to negative. Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, rated the episode three stars out of five. The two wrote that "Mulder catches up with the store and immediately this all becomes a little more formulaic." The two praised the episode's teaser, referring to it as "deathless prose", but were more critical of the plot, arguing that the episode "feels too soon to see yet more sequences of people standing around emoting as they watch the dying in the hospital", a reference to the show's earlier arc involving Scully's cancer. Shearman and Pearson, however, did compliment the performance of both Diewold and Anderson, and called the finale scene "wonderful". Paula Vitaris from Cinefantastique, on the other hand, gave the episode a negative review and awarded it one star out of four. She heavily criticized the episode's characterization, noting that the episode's opening sequence was "ludicrous" and its revelations were "out of the blue". Vitaris reasoned that, because Scully had spent time with her mother, remembered fondly her sister, and reconnected her faith in God in "Redux II", "this development just doesn't track." Vitaris also criticized Mulder's antics, calling him a "thug" for beating up "an unarmed man and kicking him while he's down."
- Meisler, pp. 87–96
- Frank Spotnitz. The Truth About Season 5 (DVD). The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.
- Meisler, p. 97
- Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 121
- The X-Files: The Complete Fifth Season (Media notes). R. W. Goodwin, et al. Fox. 1997–98.
- Meisler, p. 284
- VanDerWerff, Todd (30 April 2011). "'Emily'/'19:19'". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Keegan, John. "Emily". Critical Myth. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Shearman and Pearson, p. 130–131
- Vitaris, Paula (October 1998). "Fifth Season Episode Guide". Cinefantastique 30 (7/8): 29–50.
- Hurwitz, Matt and Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files: Behind the Series the Myths and the Movies. New York, US: Insight Editions. ISBN 1933784725.
- Meisler, Andy (1999), Resist or Serve: The Official Guide to The X-Files, Vol. 4, London: HarperCollins, ISBN 0-00-257133-1
- Shearman, Robert; Pearson, Lars (2009). Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 097594469X.
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