Friday, July 28, 2017

The X-Files - Lazarus


Written on Wednesday


While some of the first season stories didn’t exactly rock my world, I always did enjoy the little details provided for Mulder and Scully. Like in the yet reviewed-for-the-blog Fire when Mulder endures the return of someone he once was involved with, in Lazarus we meet Special Agent (of the Crimes Division in Washington) Jack Willis (Christopher Allport). He has been trying to catch a former security officer at a woman’s prison, William Dupree (Jason Schombing) and Dupree’s lover, Lula (Cec Verrell), who had been an inmate where he worked. They have been robbing banks and joints, leaving behind a trail of bodies (seven, according to Scully) and had stolen over $150,000 in cash. Finally Willis was on the verge of catching Dupree in the act, working off a tip provided by a source close to the criminal. While in the getaway car, Lula waits (or so we are led to believe…) for Dupree to rob the bank but in a shootout is killed by Scully, but not before firing his shotgun into Willis. Both Willis and Dupree are taken to the hospital and appear to be on their way to flatline.

While Dupree is left on a slab, Scully orders the staff to continue attempting to revive Willis. Astonishingly, as the staff hits Willis with the paddles, urged assertively by Scully despite considering him a lost cause, Dupree’s body also jolts repeatedly. What Scully doesn’t realize is that the body of her former lover (Scully tells Mulder that she dated him while a student under him “at the Academy”) has the presence of Dupree! Yes, Dupree now occupies the body of Willis, taking on his personality and the tattoo on his arm is starting to emerge on Willis’ arm! Mulder notices odd signs of irregular behavior like when Willis writes with his left hand (Willis is right-handed, while Dupree is left-handed), forgets Scully’s birthday (still two months away, Scully had revealed to Mulder that the two of them shared the same birthday), and was in possession of a finger print lifted from the TV set of Lula’s murdered brother (shot in the face by Dupree occupying Willis’ body) that conveniently goes missing before it can be identified. Lula has fled with the money and it takes a bit before Willis can track her down, accompanied by Scully who he soon handcuffs and holds hostage. Lulu soon reveals her true colors to Dupree when Scully warns them that Willis is diabetic and the sugary soft drinks he’s been gobbling up will soon send his body into a coma! The whole time Lula had just been using Dupree to accumulate the green, soon insisting (with Willis’ gun) Scully put down the stolen insulin before it could be administered by hypo.

Scully’s inability to consider (until seeing it for herself) Mulder’s potential “soul transference” theory, and the signs that confront her is one of the main reasons I like this episode. The tattoo transferring with the personality didn’t really do much for me, but the screenplay/direction goes out of its way to recognize such a visual tell. It emphasizes the actually transfer. Even at one point—reminding me of the Gemini confessional when Dourif and Miller’s faces alternate in the cell of The Exorcist: Legion—you see Dupree’s face momentarily causing Scully to wince because she needed to confirm what her eyes had just witnessed. Meanwhile the episode offers the possibility that somehow Willis was gradually slipping back into his body, as Dupree fights him for control. Also a development I found worthwhile was Mulder’s taking charge of the task force to find Scully, Willis, and Lula. Helping him is a trenchcoat officer named Briskin who comes to his defense when officers of the task force joke about Mulder’s X files reputation. Mulder catching a slight aircraft sound in the background of a phone call from Lula is key to finding Scully. Scully’s skepticism being challenged by what she actually experiences was a bright spot in the episode as well, I thought. Not being able to conclude scientifically with a deducted answer that fits something extraordinary places Scully in a position she’s most uncomfortable. It is also what she needs. The stopped watch from Willis’ arm leaves her mulling it over, as Mulder amusingly walks away, accosted with this confluence of experience she wasn’t prepared for. The little details that defined Willis before Dupree raided his body offer a backstory for him, like when Mulder listens to his audio recordings and Scully describes his work ethic.





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