On Friday, June 3rd 2016 at 1:30 pm, those who still want to believe descended on Phoenix Comic Con. The conspiracy theorists, and FBI's most unwanted met up to discuss their favorite episodes, the relevance of X-files in the current age, and answer some fun trivia questions.
- Eric Downing
- Hayley Tracy (@hayleytracyaz)
- Lee Payne
Being that this was a fandom panel, where the main focus of the panel was discussing favorite episodes, and answering trivia, I figured I would approach this article in a different way. I do not think that transcribing the discussion would do this panel justice. I feel like the best way to capture the true spirit of this panel would be to act as an additional panelist and discuss my favorite episodes.
Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose
This is an episode that shows up on every top 10 list and there is a reason. The main focus of the story is around Clyde Bruckman, an insurance salesman who can see how people die. The interesting twist is that the monster of the week in this episode is also a psychic, so you end up with some interesting interactions that would otherwise be impossible. However, the x-file in this episode is not what won an emmy; the excellent writing and believable nature of Bruckman's misery is what won it that award. The loneliness of Clyde is undeniable in the script and is then cemented by Peter Boyle's performance. One of the highlights is when you see the witty back and forth that Bruckman shares with Scully while sitting together in a motel room. The story is a near perfect portrayal of a lonely man looking for any connection with another human. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though because I like to think that he found that connection, however briefly it might have lasted.
In this episode, we follow a group of Vietnam veterans who have been experimented on by the government. The experiment was conducted in order to create a group of soldiers that would never have to sleep. The procedure consisted of removing part of the brain which tells the body that it needs rest. While in Vietnam, this group of modified special ops soldiers were some of the deadliest in the war. However, twenty four years after the war has ended, without one hour of sleep, a single soldier decides to take revenge on those responsible for his pain. Although this may not be the most plausible of x-files, it is one of the most interesting to think about. We know that the government has the scientists to carry out experiments like this. We also know that if certain experimentation provided a tactical advantage, it would be difficult for the military to ignore. That just leaves the one question; is the government conducting horrifying experiments on their soldiers?
- Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man
The reason this episode is in my top list is because we get some really interesting backstory about The CSM (cigarette smoking man). Throughout the episode we see how the CSM shaped the modern day world, whether it be the JFK assassination or the MLK assassination. To me, this was very fun to see, but the most interesting part about this episode was the discovery of CSM's passion. He wanted to be a writer. The moment that sold me on this episode is when after years of submitting stories, and years of rejection letters, he finally gets accepted to a magazine. He types up a resignation letter (to whoever CSM's boss could be) and goes to the newstand to pick up a copy of the magazine that contains the story. Once he realizes the magazine altered his story, turning it to crap, he is heart broken. He ends up tearing up his resignation letter and leaving the magazine on a bus stop bench. I believe that this is a pivotal moment for the character. This was the death of his last bit of hope and humanity. Without this rejection letter, I do not think that the X-files would have ever come to be.
I think that this panel is a perfect example of why comic-cons are such special events. In the real world, I only have one friend who is interested in the x-files. The remainder of my friends simply do not understand or appreciate the masterpiece created by Chris Carter. But for this one hour, on one day, I was surrounded by 100 people who share the same passion as me. A group of new friends. A group of fellow X-philes who I can chat with about my favorite episodes, or deconstruct the subtext of Mulder & Skully Meet the Weremonster, without having to worry about a confused look coming across their face.
This was hands down my favorite panel of the entire weekend, and I hope to see these folks revisit their panel at Tucson Comic Con in November.