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As far as TV shows go, The X-Files has brought us a fair amount of tragedy in its time on the air. And, as of tonight’s episode, that hasn’t changed with the reboot of the series. Something big happened, people. If you haven’t watched the latest episode of The X-Files and care about spoilers, you should look away right about…now.
The fourth installment of The X-Files six-episode reboot, “Home Again,” just aired, and FBI agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) lost her mother, Maggie, to a heart attack. Writer-director Glen Morgan spoke with Entertainment Weekly about the big moment that likely shocked a lot of fans.
… the reality is mostly these little mysteries in our lives that actually are the most important to us. So many people that we love pass away, and they take a lot of answers with them, and I just felt that that was worth exploring on a show like this.
Early in the episode, Scully got a phone call during a case in Philadelphia that she’d just started to investigate with her partner, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny). Unfortunately, it was her brother, Bill, calling to let Scully know that their mother had had a massive heart attack and was in the hospital in Washington D.C. Mulder, of course, told her to go to her mother and leave the case for him to solve, and she (mostly) did. What followed was a heartbreaking scene that will probably feel very familiar to anyone who has gotten word that a relative is seriously ill.
For a show that has focused so much on death by monster plotlines and wide-reaching alien and government conspiracies, any character who dies without being maimed by a supernatural creature is a rarity. And, obviously, to have one of our main characters dealing with something relatively mundane (compared to the kind of deaths they usually see) is perfect to drive home how much loss hurts, no matter how it comes to us, when our loved ones are involved.
As Glen Morgan said, we watch Scully deal with the loss of answers her mother’s condition brings on. When Scully gets to the hospital, she’s told by staff that her mother has only asked for one person, not herself or her brother Bill, but her estranged other brother Charlie. To be the only one by your mother’s bedside while she’s unconscious and probably dying, and hear that she only wants to talk with someone whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, has to hurt. But situations like the one Scully finds herself in are certainly one of the little mysteries of life that Morgan mentions.
Her mom’s illness sets Scully down a path of wondering about her own son with Mulder; a child they decided to put up for adoption to keep him safe from all the insane, government machinations that had repeatedly put their lives in danger. Most of all, Scully laments the fact that her mom never got to know their son.
At the end of the show, while speaking with Mulder after her mother’s funeral, Maggie’s urn by her feet, Scully hopes that their son doesn’t think that they threw him away like trash. Regrettably, that knowledge may have to remain one of the little mysteries of Scully’s life.