The miniseries return of The X-Files is the latest in the remake revolution. The first episode was not good, the second was solid X-Files, while the third was straight up fantastic.
But what about the fourth, called "Home Again," which aired tonight at 8 p.m.? It just so happened to be set in Philadelphia.
This isn't the first episode set in Philadelphia. "Never Again" was about tattoo ink that causes hallucinations, and "Teliko," about an albino vampire that sucks the melanin out of its black male victims. Both are solid jaunts, although never again features rebellious Scully (she gets a tattoo!), which we don't get to see very often.
Tonight's episode was a scary Monster of the Week entry that features excellent work by Gillian Anderson and some genuinely tense moments. Here's what you need to know about the episode's Philly connections.
1. The episode may be called "Home Again," and written by legendary X-Files scribe Glen Morgan, but, alas, it's not a sequel to my favorite episode "Home," about a mutant family that lives in rural Pennsylvania (also penned by Morgan). "Home" is one of The X-Files' scariest episodes -- The X-Files tended to be more creepy than straight up scary -- and "Home Again" follows in the footsteps of Morgan's landmark episode in that there are some great moments of actual terror.
2. The episode is pegged on some Banksy-meets-Get Up style street art, but what brings Mulder and Scully up to Philly is the death of an official whose arm and head are detached from his body by a force the FBI deems inhuman. When the official is murdered, he's in the process of relocating Philadelphia's homeless to Bucks County.
3. Does this episode really have anything to do with Philadelphia? Not really. Like the previous Philly-set X-Files episodes, they could be anywhere, but have tangential relationships to Philadelphia (we have a sizable population of black men, for instance, which is why is made sense to set "Teliko" here). The setting needed to be a city with a sizable homeless population with rich suburbs, and in close proximity to Washington, D.C., because…
4. Scully has to head back home after personal tragedy. Gillian Anderson is phenomenal in this episode, bringing a real sense of disorientation and sadness to the situation she's in. My notes literally say "Scully is being awesome but when is Scully not being awesome?"
5. Um, hey Glen Morgan, I know you're a legendary X-Files writer and all, but there's no South Walnut Street in Philly. Google Maps it, bro.
6. There's a reference to the "drug bazaar, the rats, the urine in the streets" of Philadelphia. Cool your jets Morgan, we don't live in the underground of Demolition Man.
7. Pennsbury High School gets a shoutout!
8. So what about the accents? Like many shows, the accents are a weird Brooklynese, except for one detective who tries out our long 'O' sound. Still, it sounds awf.