"Per Manum"

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It is a staple of mythology episodes that we often do not know the truth until the very last scene, when all of our assumptions are shattered as we learn something unknown to that point. In the recent past, this method has produced lackluster results. For instance, how many people were truly shocked to discover that there were multiple Alien Bounty Hunters? Not me...nor did it really impact on the episode at hand.

In the case of this episode, that last scene changed everything.

I'm a noromo, more or less, in that I do not want to see Mulder and Scully getting frisky on screen. On the other hand, I have always maintained that they love one another, and that they consummated that relationship in "all things". I felt that Mulder and Scully treated each other very differently after that episode, expressing a greater bond between the two of them. I naturally assumed that this led to her pregnancy, going so far as to immediately suggest that their mutual experience with Purity, as well as the exposure to the Colonist craft during the "Biogenesis" trilogy, enabled them to conceive together.

This episode seemed to suggest that it never happened. Instead, this episode told the story of a Scully finding one last hope for motherhood, and in the process, giving herself over to doctors who were part of the ongoing Project. The plot throughout this episode was somewhat hard to figure out, but I think I have the basics down. Women who were left barren due to the extraction of ova for the purpose of generating clones ("Momento Mori") were pulled into further experiments under the guise of attempting in vitro fertilization. In reality, the women were implanted, through normal means or during abductions, with eggs containing alien DNA.

Obviously this part of the Project was even more carefully hidden than the vaccine phase of the Project, because it survived the purge by the Rebels in "One Son". Additionally, the alien DNA used in these experiments was generated from the virus, unlike the initial experiments that produced hybrids like Emily. I would wager that these experiments were meant to create a different type of hybrid, fully capable of withstanding Purity. And I would also wager that every fetus was preserved in order to find some way to take the fetal tissue and implant it into humans, to create an even more effective and natural resistance to the virus.

Mr. Haskell was part of this phase of the Project, a ringer within Mufon who helped identify the women in question and lead them towards the doctors within the conspiracy. Scully's doctor was obviously within the Project, and so when the time came, they prepared a means to draw her into their web.

It is interesting to note that there are still members of the Project within the government, still under orders. And it is even more interesting to note that friends of Agent Doggett can be counted among their numbers. Because that suggests, very strongly, that this is not just a remnant of the Project that was missed in the purge, but rather, that this is a vital direction for the present stage of the Project.

And that means that Krycek, possibly through Kersh, has been running things from the sidelines.

This knowledge reminds us that Colonization is still set to begin, and very soon...and that there are people out there still trying to find a way to survive it, by any means necessary. But all of that, if my gut is correct on that last scene, is completely separate from Scully's condition.

Yes, Scully was referred to her current doctor, the one that is part of the Project. But here's the part that they kept unclear. At the end, Scully reveals that the procedure did not take. Based on Mulder's dialogue early in the episode, the flashbacks appear to have taken place sometime before their relationship deepened. Meaning that it was likely before "all things".

If the procedure did not take, then there are only a couple of possibilities. Either the doctors lied to her, in which case she is still part of the ongoing Project. Or the doctors told her the truth, in which case her child was conceived by some other means. And I'm betting that Krycek understands that Scully's child is something the Project wants. That is my current interpretation, and so my initial theory, from waaaay back after "Requiem", still stands. Only now I think we see what began Scully's crisis of faith and life in "all things". That decision, to involve Mulder, initiated the events that led to the comsummation of their relationship. And that, in a miracle, allowed Scully to conceive, due to the changes created in their biology and genetics by the alien virus.

Do I know this for sure? Nope. But I believe it is the way things happened. And the noromo in me thanks 1013 for exploring this plotline in a way that respected those of us who did not need to see them doing anything overtly.

Some other thoughts:

- Doggett was barely in this episode, but I really got some strong feeling from him. I was practically begging Scully to tell him the truth. It's a good thing he never lets anything go, isn't it? And finally, I think that Doggett's experiences are starting to show.

- I liked Scully's reasoning for not telling Doggett, though. It was not that she didn't trust him, but the reaction of the Bureau once it inevitably got out. She knew that her part in the search for Mulder would come to an end once her pregnancy was common knowledge.

- Odd that this episode should have so many scenes for "Scully's X-Ploitation List"! She had that tight, unbuttoned blouse again...

- And we also had the "Lost and Lonely, Pregnant Scully" music again. At least this time the voice was much more muted, which fit the tone better. The keyboards are utterly beautiful on their own.

- Was it me, or was Mulder very muted during this episode? Did DD have to force himself to fake the boredom that he exhibited during season 7, or was that intentional in order to suggest his illness?

Overall, I truly loved this episode. I kept myself in the dark regarding spoilers from "The Gift" to the end of the season, and so this episode had a huge amount of impact.

I give it a 9/10.


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