Earth has a visitor. But he is not friendly. He is an Alien Bounty Hunter. Using a shape-shifting ability he can disguise himself as anybody. If his skin is cut his blood is toxic to humans. He is almost invincible and can only be killed by piercing the base of his skull. He kills without remorse. To collect his bounty, he must kill several human/alien clones who are hiding out on Earth. He does this using a unique weapon – an ice pick-like spike.
His deadly quest will bring him face to face with one man who may be able to stop him: FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder.
For many fans (such as myself) the second season of The X-Files is it’s strongest. It is arguably this season of the show that birthed its overall mythology. Mulder and Scully’s character arcs were deepened as their search for the truth became more personal and dangerous. More supporting characters were fleshed out such as Mulder and Scully’s heroic boss Assistant Director Skinner.
In the 16th and 17th episodes of the second season – another enduring character was introduced to viewers. That of the mysterious Alien Bounty Hunter. He arrives on Earth when his spaceship crashes in the Beaufort Sea. After being retrieved by the crew of a Submarine his diabolical plan is put into action – attracting the attention of our intrepid heroes Mulder and Scully.
Death and mayhem follow the Bounty Hunter wherever he goes – and soon Mulder and Scully work to get to his intended targets before he does and place them into protective custody.
But then Director Skinner tells Mulder his family are trying to reach him. On contacting his Father, he is given some astounding news – his sister Samantha has returned.
Missing for many years – Mulder witnessed her abduction (supposedly) by extraterrestrials when he was a child. But is this family reunion everything it seems to be? And isn’t the timing a little odd considering the case Mulder is investigating?
Meanwhile, the Alien Bounty Hunter has taken Scully hostage. He will release her in exchange for Samantha.
Mulder is in an impossible situation.
This two-parter is considered by many to be a highlight of The X-Files and deservedly so. Broadcast in February 1995 – It was a major payoff for the fans. Up until this point, there was always an element of doubt to the discoveries made by Mulder in his investigations. Of course, he believed in the more fantastic explanations for the phenomena he and Scully witnessed – but Scully, ever the sceptic always preferred to approach matters with a more practical and realistic attitude.
This yin and yang in their belief system, however, rather than put them at odds made them a formidable investigative team.
With the arrival of this murderous invader from the stars, there was no longer any doubt about it. Aliens existed. There was a conspiracy. Mulder had been right all along. Fans of the show were delighted.
The suggestion for the story came from Fox Mulder himself – actor David Duchovny who contributed to the writing of these episodes. He suggested to (show creator and showrunner) Chris Carter the idea of an alien villain who could go on to become a recurring character.
It was Carter who then decided to use the story to delve deeper into the mystery of Samantha’s abduction.
For the Bounty Hunter himself – veteran character actor Brian Thompson was chosen due to his unique features and delivery.
Both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson do some of their best work as Mulder and Scully in this story. A story which also introduces Rebecca Toolan and Peter Donat as Mulder’s estranged parents.
Mitch Pileggi’s Assistant Director Skinner also has a bigger role as he finds himself in a desperate race to save the lives of his two Agents.
Most importantly a new narrative strand was added to the mythology that would go on to shape the rest of the series to come.
The episodes were directed by Nick Marck and Rob Bowman. The latter would go on to make his feature debut with the first spin-off movie in 1998.
Colony also has one of the greatest cliff-hanger endings ever seen on television. Scully checks into a hotel room and there is a knock at the door. She opens it and is relieved to see Mulder standing there. As she lets him into her room her mobile phone when rings. When she answers it – it is Mulder!
Who the HELL is the guy she just let in? Never have the words “To Be Continued” been crueller… and more thrilling!
Eventually, the show ran out of steam. It easily had about two or three seasons too many at the end of its run – and the mythology had been stretched out to an almost incomprehensible level.
To look back on Colony and Endgame is to look back on the show in its absolute prime. It has everything in it that is great about The X-Files and its impact on the genre of television science fiction must never be underestimated.
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