“Fallen Angel” is a solid mythology centric episode and follows up naturally on the first season episode “Deep Throat”. With the added benefit of having a few episodes under its belt and the characters introduced, the episode can more easily unroll the themes of alien abduction, crashed alien ships and the government conspiracy to cover this up both within and without the FBI without the stiff but necessary back story that earlier episodes would have required.
The feel of this episode is darker, with location, subject matter and music all playing a part. It’s fitting that Mulder should be alone in the beginning and has me thinking of his actions before Scully came on the scene. It’s not hard to see him continuing on in this way, a single man searching for the truth against dark forces that would prevent him, even to the point of death. Definitely to the point of imprisonment. If the X-Files were to take place today, it’s not hard to imagine Mulder disappeared to some black site somewhere and never be seen or heard from again.
Not alone for long, Mulder is rejoined by Scully, who has, once again, entered the picture after he’s been imprisoned by some authority. As much as she wants to put the whole mess behind them both and get them back to the FBI, where they are facing an OPR (Office of Professional Responsibility – like Internal Affairs) review, once confronted with the medical facts on the ground, she sets the demands of the bureau and the threats of the military into the background and aids Dr. Oppenheimer (great name choice). The first-hand experience she gains upon treating the injured makes an easy lie of the ever-changing military cover story and this is really brought out when, near the end of the episode, she reads the newspaper article about the toxic spill and cleanup, something she knows from firsthand experience to be false.
In watching this series, and this episode in particular, it’s not hard to draw a direct parallel between Mulder and Fennig and I believe that we are meant to see that, outside of the FBI, or without the FBI, that Mulder’s life could very easily be like Fennig’s. A solitary man driven by his beliefs and obsessions, following the truth wherever it leads him. Fennig’s trailer looks much like Mulder’s office, the two men’s initials are switched – MF and FM – and it’s from Fennig that the phrase “Trust No One” is first uttered. From this we also get that Mulder is not only far more widely known than he may realize, with people tracking his movements through FOIA requests, but also that Mulder has written at least one article (OMNI – Gulf Breeze sightings) under a pen name – M.F. Luder – which sets up the use of aliases that becomes a common way for he and Scully to know each other later on.
To follow up on the episode “Deep Throat”, we have a re-appearance of Mulder’s source, a man with the power to shut down the OPR inquiry into the X-Files. We’re left to wonder at the motives – whether it was to protect Mulder or, as the character states, to keep his enemies closer.
The names “Fallen Angel” and “Operation Falcon” may or may not be in use regarding the retrieval teams sent out after such crashes; they may exist in the documentation under other names. What can’t be denied is that the teams themselves exist, just as all the standard excuses exist and have been put into use at one time or another. From meteor to toxic train wreck to downed Libyan jet fighter carrying nukes, we’ve heard them all. The mention of a meteor hovering over the town was a nice touch. The gear required to deal with a toxic train wreck – where there are no train tracks present – is also a nice touch.
What really stood out for me was the mention of a downed Libyan fighter jet as the reason for the secrecy as this tied in neatly with talk of the “Libyan hit squads” that President Ronald Reagan believed/wanted to believe/was led to believe were being sent to the US to assassinate him during the 80′s. This was all a part of the convoluted stew that was the Iran-Contra affair and Manucher Ghorbanifar, an Iranian arms dealer with ties to Israel’s Mossad, sent the nugget about the hit squads out to receptive ears. And so it wasn’t much of a surprise to me to hear this as another of the reasons why some military unit would be sent out in secrecy to track this thing down.
- COLONEL CALVIN HENDERSON: I suggest you forget what you saw, what you think you saw for your own well being.
- MAX FENNIG: Someone’s always paying attention, Mr. Mulder.
- CAPTAIN KORETZ: Well, sir. The meteor, seems to be hovering over a small town in Eastern Wisconsin.
- SCULLY: The government can’t do that. I’m sure if you appealed to…
MRS WRIGHT: No!
SCULLY: You’re entitled to the truth.
MRS WRIGHT: I can’t afford the truth.
- MULDER: You can deny all the things I’ve seen. All the things I’ve discovered. But not for much longer. Because too many others know what’s happening out there. And no one. No government agency has jurisdiction over the truth.
Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10
Original Air Date—19 November 1993
Director: Larry Shaw
Writers: Chris Carter, Howard Gordon, Alex Gansa
An unidentified craft has crashed in the town of Townsend, Wisconsin, causing the government to ‘quarantine’ the area. With information from Deep Throat, Mulder sets off to investigate by himself. Both him and the military are searching for one thing: The alien pilot who escaped.
- This is the first episode that references the line “Trust no one.”