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 “Born Again”.
Michelle, the little girl whom much of this episode focuses on, gives me the creeps to the same degree as the girls from the earlier episode “Eve”. When Detective Sharon Lazard meets Michelle on the corner of an alleyway in downtown Buffalo, Jerrold Freedman, director for the episode, wastes no time in getting Andre Libman, who played Michelle, to just give off the right amount of creepy little girl vibe.
We know from the start that there’s something not quite right with the kid and will wonder for some time just what is going on with her. “But I’m telling you … this kid … something’s just not right about her.” Det. Lazard explains when Mulder and Scully are called to investigate the apparent suicide of another detective that Det. Lazard left Michelle with for just a few minutes.
There’s an early scene where Michelle is asked to describe the look of the detective’s killer, Michelle maintains this dead-eyed stare where she’s never quite looking at anyone or anything. It’s like there’s no life behind her eyes, no little girl in there.
Okay, as I draw near the end of season one, I have to say that the number of episodes where someone comes back from the dead in some manner and begins to wreak havoc on the lives of the living – there episodes were too many. And “Born Again” is one such episode, with having this little girl who isn’t all that she seems and has a whole dead cop reincarnation going for her. Anyway, by the end of the first season, the episode after this one deals with similar subject matter, there will have been four episodes where the dead aren’t quite dead (“Shadows”, “Lazarus”, “Born Again” and the following episode “Roland”).
So if there’s anything that ends-up repetitive in season one that isn’t about aliens, it’s about ghosts and reincarnation of sorts. But is there anything that really helps this particular episode stand out from the rest?
It’s one of the stranger cornerstones of The X-Files universe – the importance given to the process of deep hypnosis alongside the ideas of past life regression. Mulder persuades the mother of Michelle to put her through the process in order to prove that she is the reincarnation of Detective Charlie Morris.
The use of the process here is interesting, not least due to its association with helping people relive past lives, but also because writers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon mixed it up with other psychic phenomena. The impression that gets left of the video recording of the hypnosis session is a nice inclusion to the overall supernatural elements of the episode, like telekinesis and so on.
But none of this is enough to make this episode stand out from the other ghostly happenings in the rest of the first season.
What did you think of this episode? Let us know in the comments below.