September 2013 saw the 20th anniversary of the first airing of The X-Files. To celebrate this on The Hex Dimension, I’m providing you with retrospectives on episodes and I’ll also be covering the films at the points that they fit into the series’ chronology. So, without further ado… welcome to “Lazarus”.
“Two men died in that crash room, Scully. One man came back. The question is … which one?” Mulder says ominously to Scully after an FBI agent goes missing from a hospital where he almost died or technically is dead for several minutes while being resuscitated beside the bank robber who shot him. What looked like a conventional Bonnie and Clyde style episode is given a new twist with the story embellished with elements of lore from tales of resurrection – like the biblical tale of Lazarus.
But what’s really neat in this episode of “psychic transference” is that there’s this tattoo of what looks like some kind of dragon on the bank robber’s – Dupree’s – arm, which then slowly transfers to Willis’s – the FBI agent’s – arm. This visual cue is a nice addition to all of the otherwise circumstantial evidence: Willis suddenly being left handed and knowing more about Dupree’s life than a year’s worth of investigating would entail. Mulder doesn’t let-up in his belief of what has happened – for him the evidence keeps being added to, meanwhile Scully is happy – so to speak – to believe that everything is happening as a result of Willis having some form of post-traumatic disorder from having been shot.
This tale of a twisted, law breaking couple isn’t so much an exploration of the relationship between the bank robbers, but an exploration of one of Scully’s previous relationships. This glimpse into Scully’s life before working on the X-Files with Mulder is poignant. They had what was essentially a caring, loving relationship before Willis’s more dogmatic attitudes towards his work appear to have driven Scully and him apart. So while we’ve got the outlines of the Bonnie and Clyde relationship with Lula and Dupree are given through Willis’s cool, unemotional, professional analysis that Mulder trawls through while trying to track them down, Scully’s bares her relationship in an impassioned manner.
“And for those of you —who don’t know already (voice unsteady) this one’s important to me. So, uh, let’s do it right. Thanks,” Mulder says to a room packed full of agents that are looking for Scully, Willis and Lula. The tenderness he speaks this line implies that Mulder doesn’t just want his work partner back safely, but that he wants someone who could be more than a good friend back safely.
But there is one thing that troubles me about the episode – why wasn’t Willis wearing a bullet proof vest back in the bank where the robbery at the beginning takes place? Especially when they knew they would have been armed – they’d been robbing banks for over a year. Just that one thing undermines the mysticism of an otherwise brilliant episode for exploring Scully’s past.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below.