wendelah1: (The light at the end of the tunnel)
[personal profile] wendelah1 posting in [community profile] xfilesficrecs
"Agent Mulder, every life, every day, is in danger. That’s just life."

This is such a strange and wonderful episode. Her mother already has her gravestone picked out when suddenly, out of nowhere, Scully reappears in the ER of a DC hospital. She's comatose and on a ventilator, with a biological poison in her bloodstream. According to the doctor attending her, Scully is dying. The Lone Gunmen reluctantly agree. Over Mulder's objections, Melissa and Mrs. Scully elect to follow the terms of Scully's living will, and remove her from life support.

Right from the start, Mulder gets into fights with everyone, and I do mean everyone. He's belligerent with the hospital staff from the moment he arrives at the hospital. He fights with X about pursuing the man who stole the vial of Scully's blood. He's sullen with the Lone Gunmen, even though they're doing everything in their power to help Scully. He fights with Scully's sister about everything. He rages at Cancer Man before deciding not to kill him. He even fights with Skinner about resigning from the FBI. Have I left anyone out? Clearly, Mulder is at the end of his rope.

True confession: The first time I saw "One Breath," I hated it. Before you start to argue with me, hear me out. While watching the scene where Mulder is holding a gun to the Cigarette Smoking Bastard's head and threatening to blow his brains out, I found myself chanting, "Kill him. Kill him. KILL HIM!" Mulder doesn't do it, to his credit. But for a long, long time, I held that against Mulder, and the writers, too. Spender is an evil man. He deserved to die.

Then a good friend explained that the story is about Mulder turning away from darkness, away from his despair and self-blame, away from his loneliness, and from the hopelessness of the past few months. At Melissa's urging, Mulder gives up his final chance for vengeance. Instead, he returns to Scully's bedside. He can't tell Scully how he feels. Perhaps those feelings are too overwhelming; instead, he tells her that he's there for her.

My friend was partially right. And I, of all people, should have known that from the beginning. Sometimes the only thing we can offer in the face of suffering is our presence.

But there's more to "One Breath" than Mulder's psychological journey. While Mulder is fighting off his demons, Scully is in a parallel struggle. She's choosing between a life where she knows she'll be fighting against the darkness every day, for as long as she lives, and a release from all suffering and pain. The moment that Mulder turns away from darkness, and offers himself to Scully, her decision is clear. She chooses to return to this life, so that they can fight against the forces of evil together. It's an amazing thing to witness.

Whether it was intentional or not, the net result is to provide a rebuttal to the nihilism of "3." In the X-Files universe, there is an afterlife, that is uncontested. But more than that, there are moral choices to be made, and those choices matter, in this life.

AMPLE make this bed.
Make this bed with awe;
In it wait till judgment break
Excellent and fair.

Be its mattress straight,
Be its pillow round;
Let no sunrise’ yellow noise
Interrupt this ground.
—Emily Dickinson

Fanfic Recs:

This fic was nominated at the xf-book-club, a couple of years ago. I finally got around to reading it (so embarrassing...), and of course it's good! I think Martha wrote a fair amount of fic for the Lone Gunmen, so I'm looking forward to checking her stuff out.

"All the Wildflowers by Martha"
Rated PG | 14K | Category VA | Archived 97-09-25
Spoilers: One Breath
Keywords: none provided
Summary: Missing scenes from the episode. Frohike prepares to visit Scully in the hospital.

I admire Pares' writing, but somehow I'd forgotten she wrote this fic. I like her Frohike and Skinner and can easily imagine them meeting this way.

C.O. (1702 words) by Pares
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: The X-Files
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Melvin Frohike, Walter Skinner

Walter Skinner and Melvin Frohike weren't drafted. In a coffee shop in Maryland, they fight the same war in very different ways. Set pre-XF, circa 1973.

This fic was written for one of those random elements challenges they used to do back in the day. You'd never know it, the way it all fits together. You have to have talent to pull those off, methinks. Scully is back and Mulder is still having a hard time coping.

"Cannibals and Chlorine: A Love Story" by Gina Rain
Category: M/S UST
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Post One-Breath, Pre-Firewalker
Summary: Mulder experiences separation anxiety.

This is another one of my "kind of a post-ep" recs. Mulder and Scully go to a Halloween party. They're in costume. There's dancing. It's adorable. I rec this fic every chance I get. Did I mention Melissa makes a brief appearance there, too? I think I have to read it again now.

"October Skies" by Oracle
Classification: SRA 
Rated: PG-13
Key Words: Mulder/Scully romance, sallie safe
Spoilers: Duane Barry, Ascension, One Breath
Summary: "We'll be partying all night long, anyway," says Mulder, planning to take her home as soon as she yawns. "Right?" "You got it."


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