Story by David Duchovny and Chris Carter
Teleplay by Chris Carter
Directed by Nick Marck
Hold on to your hats folks, things are about to get epic here. We're about to say a big hello to the Alien Bounty Hunter, Mulder's parents, 'Samantha', and the "story by David Duchovny credit" which over the course of the next two seasons usually meant 'major mythology time'. After using the two part format as a means to explain the absence of its leading lady, now Chris Carter is going to use two episodes to expand the format of the show's developing mythology, if Scully's abduction was the catalyst for just how deep the show could go emotionally, then Colony, and subsequently Endgame are the ones that are indicative of just how huge and epic it could be.
Opening with the end of the tale which will culminate with Mulder at deaths door and flashbacking to reveal how he got to that point, Colony makes for confusing, enthralling, gripping and brilliant viewing. There's a sense at this point in the show, and this is something that would carry over in the mythology episodes of season three as well, that there is some fun to be had with these on going tales that make up the series' story arc, a glee to how Chris Carter and subsequently Frank Spotnitz can take their characters, which is quietly developing into an ensemble, a far cry from the two lead show of the first season, and have serious fun with them. The introduction of Samantha allows the series to introduce Mulder's family, his father, mother and sister (and a big hello to Peter Donat, Rebecca Toolan and Megan Leitch who we'll see countless times over the next number of years) and the impact that Samantha's abduction has had on them. There are so many wonderful moments to be had with the Mulder family, I don't know where to start; his questioning of why his mother is at his father's house, the way Mulder goes to hug his father only to be greeted with a cold hand shake (a scene that would be beautifully reversed come Anasazi) and the scenes between Duchovny and Leitch which are just wonderful.
The emotional stuff works so well, but once again, like Duane Barry/Ascension/One Breath, what Carter and Duchovny have done so well here is to mix the emotional with the thriller angle and whilst the idea of alien colonisation (a fancy way of saying invasion if anything else) and a shape shifting Alien Bounty Hunter may push the series further into the realm of out and out science fiction, the whole thing is so damn gripping, paranoid and allows the episode to finish with one of its best ever cliffhangers that it's hard to complain too much. The Bounty Hunter is a wonderful Terminator-esque character that it's fun that the series has went and cast Brian Thompson in the role who not only has a Schwarzenegger-like look, but was actually one of the punks at the start of James Cameron's film (he was the one that gets his heart ripped out trivia fans). His shape shifting ability allows the show to have some real, paranoid fun in this one as we're never sure if some of the characters we're seeing in certain scenes are who they say they are or the Bounty Hunter pretending to be them and this in turns leads to one of the best ever cliffhangers on The X Files as Scully is presented with Mulder in her hotel room and another ringing her mobile at the same time. It's beyond brilliant and never have the words "to be continued" left you dying so much inside to see part two.
In fact there are so many great set piece moments to go on top of the crowd pleasing developments of the show's universe that it's hard to keep count, just look at the brilliance of separating Mulder and Scully for the episode (something that would become a narrative trademark of these early mythology tales), with Mulder reminiscing with Samantha compared to Scully running around, the way the episode has fun with the constant mobile phone ringing, only for the characters to have just missed each other, the Bounty Hunter keeping tabs on Scully, the tension escalating, reaching breaking point only to throw in a humdinger on a cliffhanger on top of the cake.
I might be over praising it a bit to suggest this, but this is a real watershed episode for the show. It introduces new elements to its then developing mythology, it's the first episode to use the flashback narrative, opening with a main character in dire straits and then showing how we got to that point (Tunguska/Terma, Unrequited and Gethsemane are just some of the others that would use this story telling technique, but as Colony was the first it always seems to startling and fresh in this one) and is also the first time that the mythology is shown to be not just a fight to uncover conspiracies in the government, but an even bigger and more epic fight than ever before. We know this one is going to lead to the Arctic somehow going by its opening, but we'll have to wait to Endgame to see how, just the idea that the story is going away from the corridors of Washington to the icy atmosphere of the Arctic suggests that even bigger moments await.