4x13 "Never Again"

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How would you rate 4x13 "Never Again"?

1 = never should have been made
 
2 = mostly time wasting material
 
3 = fun, average, undemanding
 
4 = good episode, totally had fun watching it
 
5 = one of the best hours of TV you'll ever see
 
 
 
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4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Rey Solo on Tue 01 May 2012, 09:10

4x13 "Never Again"
Original Air Date: 2 February 1997
Written by: Glen Morgan & James Wong
Directed by: Rob Bowman

While Mulder is on vacation, Scully finds her life in danger when she becomes involved with a man bearing a tattoo that talks to him and is telling him to stay away from other women.


So... this was the last episode of the evening and I swore I would go to bed before getting into it. HA! Yeah right! I'm sorry, but when an episode opens up with Rod "The Bod", I simply can not turn away... ESPECIALLY once he's wet! Shallowness aside, I love and adore this episode (I feel I've been saying that a lot....). I love that Scully, FOR ONCE on this frickin' series took time for herself. I love her chemistry with Ed. I love her conflict and struggle with Mulder as another father figure she needs to rebel against. I love that Jodi Foster did the voice of Betty because she's so amazingly awesome at cackling. And I wish that what Morgan and Wong wrote of the sex scene in the script would've been shot... wusses! <--that's at 1013 and co, NOT M&W.

Hands down, I think... no... I KNOW M&W write Scully the best! THE best! She's strong and independent in their scripts and I love that. wub
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Cassiopeia on Tue 01 May 2012, 10:57

IMO, Morgan & Wong write Mulder and Scully the best - they're the only writers that demonstrated, to me, that they "got" Mulder and Scully, and their complex father-figure/daughter (superior/inferior) relationship, and they were the only writers that really, really, REALLY wrote those two characters properly. Watching the s4 episodes of The Wongs last night was a great reminder of *why* I am a fan of the show, I adore the characterizations of Mulder and Scully that The Wongs provided.

Under Morgan & Wong, Mulder and Scully are not flat, dull, two-dimensional characters, they become real people that you can identify with, that you can imagine actually do exist in the real world, they are flawed, they grow from their experiences, and they are human... three-dimensional:

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* Some think it means that a character needs a history/backstory.

Scully talks about her Navy Captain father, rebelling and smoking her mother's cigarettes.

* Others talk about it in terms of desire– a character needs to have strong desire(s) to drive the story.

Scully has a strong desire to be independent from Mulder's control in "Never Again" and that desire is what drives her actions from beginning to end in the episode.

* Some refer to it in terms of the trinity of: thoughts, emotions and actions. That by fleshing out a character’s thoughts, emotions and actions in every scene that character becomes 3-dimensional.

We are shown Scully's thoughts when she picks up and keeps the dead flower petal, this also shows us her emotions. These thoughts and emotions drive her into the actions she takes in the episode. The entire Scully story of "Never Again" is created by this trinity (thoughts, emotions and actions), and with her, they are present in every scene.

* Then there is the “quirks, interests, likes, dislikes” route– that if you give your character a lot of likes, hobbies and interests he’ll be a more complete, interesting character and thus 3-dimensional.

Mulder goes to Graceland, Scully is interested in going to a crummy bar, and is willing to get a tattoo.

* The last one that I’ll mention is what I believe to be the closest to the truth, albeit a big vague: make a character seem real, like us. If we can relate to the character then they will be more realistic and engaging to us. A 3-dimensional character will seem real when we watch them, but why? What is it specifically that makes them seem real? And why does that make them 3-dimensional?

I think I mentioned this up at the beginning of this reply, Morgan & Wong write Mulder and Scully like real, living/breathing, human beings - when Mulder and Scully are written in this way, IMO, the viewer is more likely to relate to their actions, their thoughts and their emotions. You can imagine that they are somewhere out there in the real world, and are not just TV characters. They seem like they are actually real. Morgan & Wong, IMO, achieved this more than all other writers on this series.

When a character has an internal conflict between two opposing desires, that creates a dimension in that character.

When Scully and Ed are at the crummy bar (Hard Eight Lounge) on their date, she tells him that her internal conflict is between wanting and needing the approval of an authoritative figure, and at the same time her desire to rebel against it. In the case of "Never Again", her internal conflict is between 1) wanting to please Mulder to gain his approval, and 2) rebelling against Mulder to prove to him (and herself?) that she can do "this" on her own. She's struggling with being co-dependent and dependent (again, Morgan & Wong were way ahead of the other writers in exploring this aspect of the Mulder/Scully relationship, long before the co-dependent romantic relationship between them ever took off):

I mean sometimes, I, uh... I've always gone around in this, uh ... this circle. It usually starts when an authoritative or controlling figure comes into my life. And part of me likes it, needs it, wants the approval. But then at a certain point, along the way, I just, you know .... Okay, umm....
My father was a Navy Captain. I worshipped - - I worship - - the sea that he sailed on. And when I was 13 or so I went through this .... thing, where I would sneak out of my parents house and smoke my mother's cigarettes. And I did it because I knew that if he found out, he would kill me.
And then... along the way, there are other ... fathers.


A person’s true character is always revealed by the choices they make.

Scully's choices: to do as Mulder asked her to do even though he's not he superior, to transfer the Pudovkin case to the local FBI field office without consulting Mulder first, to call Ed and ask him out on a date, to open up to Ed about one of her personal struggles, to spend the night with Ed (and have sex with him), to get a tattoo, to call Mulder for help and then hang up on him - showing us that she was reaching out for help and then wanted to handle the situation independently.

Mulder chose to play superior to Scully and assign her to the Pudovkin case. He chose to make a short trip to Graceland and then spend the remainder of his vacation at work in his basement office, he chose to make fun of the situation that Scully got into with the tattoo ink and Ed, choosing to ridicule her for her actions and congratulate her on her second appearance in the X-Files, and lucky for him he chose not to finish what he was saying to her in reply to her comment:

"Not everything is about you, Mulder. This is my life." - Scully

"Yes but it's m-" - Mulder

Perfection.
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Rey Solo on Sat 13 Oct 2012, 12:24

I'm confused. Why isn't there an option to give this episode a 5 rating vote a thousand times! OMG! I LOVE IT!
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by gorgclaud on Sat 13 Oct 2012, 12:25

banana
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Rey Solo on Sat 13 Oct 2012, 12:26

Hi Claudine! *waves*
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by gorgclaud on Sat 13 Oct 2012, 12:35

Hi Kristi!!!!!
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Sue866 on Wed 17 Oct 2012, 23:24

I just got done with this episode a bit ago. Man, I love it more than I had before. I didn't give it a "5" because...well, I don't know. I should change it. I wouldn't call it the "best hours of TV" because it seemed more to be of a emotional-level episode than pure crime/entertainment. But this episode is so Extremely Telling that I don't know where to begin.

What stood out the most, the loudest, was the final scene when Scully has returned to the basement, still without a desk. She is standing in the doorway, alone, and then Mulder comes up behind her and Scolds, mocks, berates, and SHAMES her. He is SUCH A DICK to her this whole episode but this final tirade is just.......urgggghhh. I love when she says "It's not about you" and "it's my life". The final image of them both looking up and not looking at each other is classic, to me.

The rest of the episode is so interesting in the dynamic of Scully realizing her tendency to try to please "father-figures" at all costs to herself - to her own happiness. But when she tries to buck the system, it is to/with a woman-hating man who believes women always have the control. To amp it up, this woman (Scully) of the three that the "tattoo" hates (the tattoo is not the real X-File, it's Ed Jerse's sociopathic craziness that kills) IS a powerful woman - she works for the FBI. This is what sets him off. I think in some ways he knew what he was doing was wrong, he knew he was crazy and he recognized the signs. I even think he contemplated a bit about going to the doctor with Scully. It's after he confirms his supsicions about her power at the FBI that he snaps again.

I'm going to have to get my thoughts together more on this one because it's late and it's past bedtime. I look forward to reading others' comments.
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Cassiopeia on Thu 18 Oct 2012, 19:26

The rest of the episode is so interesting in the dynamic of Scully realizing her tendency to try to please "father-figures" at all costs to herself

A character flaw that The Wongs excelled at showing us, that Carter unfortunately never developed her or progressed her to grow out of. It is this very reason why I think she's still with Mulder: he's an authority figure/father figure to her, and she feels the obligation/need to please him at all costs to herself.

I wouldn't say that Ed gets angry at her on his own because of her authority role in society as a FBI agent, I really do think that his behaviour was because of the ink in the tattoo that he got. Ed doesn't seem like a "bad" guy to me, and I would have loved to have known more about his life pre-tattoo.
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Sue866 on Fri 19 Oct 2012, 00:03

Dana Doggett wrote:
I wouldn't say that Ed gets angry at her on his own because of her authority role in society as a FBI agent, I really do think that his behaviour was because of the ink in the tattoo that he got. Ed doesn't seem like a "bad" guy to me, and I would have loved to have known more about his life pre-tattoo.

While I feel the behaviour was amplified slightly by the ink and it was becoming "audible" to him (in his mind), the tendency was already there. The tattoo was just nicely coincidental to the divorce and the celebration at the skanky bar.

The episode shows very tell-tale signs that he blames all this problems on women - the tattoo was of a woman! How easy to blame her and not himself. He was angry after a bitter divorce proceeding where she won everything, the kids, I'm assuming money - That usually happens when the man efs up. Did he cheat? This is only speculation but it's not out of realm and could be a woman-hating behaviour. The second thing was losing his job. He blamed the "loser" connotation on the two women in the cubicle when there were a lot of other people surrounding him. We know he feels like a loser, now his wife is to blame for that along with the women he works with. Then to top all that off, his BOSS is a woman and she fires him. Then he tries to grovel to get his job back. You have to know he really hates begging for a job from a woman.
(JERSE hangs up, hits the phone, and shoves it off the desk. He puts his head in his hands.)

VOICE: (mocking) "Thank you for your time." (giggle) If you were any kind of man, you would have told her to kiss your ass, but no. Another woman sticks it to you. Ain’t that right ... Eddie.
That isn't really the tattoo talking or Jodi Foster - it's all his actual feelings/thoughts. The ergot just amplified him and made him lose more reason - like thinking it's the woman downstairs. Now it's her fault. Now, notice in that scene that that woman is a pretty girl. And she acts as if she knows who is pounding - indicating she's had run-ins with him before. And not pleasant ones. She tries to drown him out and not deal with him. And when he comes downstairs she doesn't try to exchange pleasantries like he's a friendly neighbor. He probably ogled her and made her nervous. (Yes, I know I'm inserting things not in the script, but it makes sense to me.)

(Downstairs, woman is changing paper in bottom of birdcage. She glances up, then sits on sofa and turns on TV. The Partridge Family singing "Doesn’t Somebody Want to be Wanted")

KEITH PARTRIDGE: I go downtown, and roam all around
but every street I walk, I find another dead end.
I’m on my own, but I’m so all alone
I need somebody so I won’t have to pretend....

VOICE: You hear that? It’s you, Ed. It’s all about you
He even believes loser songs are all written about his sad existence...


(Jehova's Witness Lady: W-we’ll come back some other time. (They hand him pamphlet -picture of praying hands and words - "Are you a Failure?" and leave.)

VOICE: Mm-mm-mm. You see? Even the Jehovah Witness babe won’t waste her time on you. No woman would, and you just sit and take it. (JERSE clasps hands over his ears) Take it like a man.
The "voice" (aka Jerse's head) refers to a religious woman as "babe". Telling, much?


Here's the loudest clue of all - at the tattoo parlor, the writers explain it all with the tattoo artists words when Scully is there and meets Jerse for the first time.

SVO: Tattoo reflect on body what lies in person’s soul......


And then the "voice" calls Scully a cheap red-head, which is actually Jerse's thoughts. Sure he was attracted to her and liked her and was drawn to her. That does NOT mean he respected her as a woman.

VOICE: You’d break my heart over a cheap redhead?


This whole exchange is so telling too.:
JERSE: Mind some advice from a stranger? Make sure you’ve thought it over before you get it done.

SCULLY: What, you didn’t get the tattoo you deserve?

JERSE: Mine was too impulsive.

SCULLY: Never say never. Yeah, sometimes I wish I were that impulsive.

JERSE: Careful what you wish for. There’s more fashionable places in the city. How did you end up here?

SCULLY: I’m in town visiting my aunt in the neighborhood. How bout you.

JERSE: There’s a real crummy bar across the street. It’s good for when you’re feeling down.
I was kind of down last week and uh...

SCULLY: So it wasn’t so much "impulsive" as it was "hammered?"

JERSE: Have you ... um... seen much of Philadelphia?

SCULLY: No.

JERSE: There’s a couple of really nice restaurants by the river, if you’re interested.

SCULLY: I’d like that. But um.... I’m ... um leaving tonight.

JERSE: Uh, if you’re ever in town again, that’s my home number. I work there mainly. (hands her a card, then leaves, clutching his arm)
Let's break it down. He warns her not to be impulsive and to think it through before doing something she shouldn't. He's warning her about him. But then Scully opens up her vulnerability by wishing she could be impulsive. Her saying that was a flirty taunt that she wants to be bad. He warns her again to be "careful" what she wishes/asks for. She still seemed interested in him and that was his clue to move in on her weakness. She seemed receptive despite the warnings. She was seemingly drawn to his charms. But even Scully ultimately lied at the first date question because she was too quick to say yes and then went back to being cautious by saying she wouldn't be in town. I believe Scully enjoyed the flirting, that was "dangerous" enough to her but she didn't want to go all the way, so to speak.

Then we get to this amazing exchange with Mulder... Gosh this scene makes me so mad at Mulder:
SCULLY: Hello?

MULDER: (we see back of his head) Scully.

SCULLY: Mulder. What’s wrong?

He is in MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE

MULDER: (wearing 70’s Elvis sunglasses) Nothing’s wrong. I’m just at that special place, and I wanted to share it with you. Did you know that Elvis bought all the furniture in just 30 minutes? (walking around a room in Graceland)

SCULLY: How did you know where I was?

MULDER: I-I checked where we always stay in Philadelphia. I knew you wouldn’t abandon me. How’s the case going?

SCULLY: I’ve handed it over to the Philadelphia bureau.

MULDER: The Philadelphia bureau? They don’t know or care about the X-files. What are you doing?

SCULLY: Mulder, there is no Xfile. Your contact is connected to the Vorofskoi Mir, extortion, credit fraud, cons, he is nothing but a swindler.

MULDER: How do you know?

SCULLY: What do you mean, how do I know? You assigned me the background check. I did as told, as always.

MULDER: Okay, just hold off until I get there, okay?

SCULLY: What, you don’t think I’m capable?

MULDER: Of course I believe that you’re capable, it’s just that in this case I need you to...

SCULLY: It’s not just in this case, Mulder.

MULDER: Wh-what’s the agent’s name in Philadelphia?

SCULLY: It is over. Done. Pudovkin is out of our hands. Look Mulder, I have to go.

MULDER: (sneering) What, have you got a date, or something? (SCULLY doesn’t answer) Y-you’re kidding.

SCULLY: I have everything under control. I will talk to you later. (She hangs up)

(MULDER hangs up his cel, then does an Elvis dance move)

(SCULLY looks at card JERSE gave her.)

Mulder spiked some more rebellion in Scully and she daringly calls for the date after all. She isn't doing it out of thinking straight - she's doing it out of anger at Mulder and to prove something to Mulder and to herself. These are not good reasons to go on a date with a stranger, who was at a sketchy tattoo parlor (remember the artist was talking about how he did tattoos in prison, with nasty colorants - URINE! - this is not a high class place), in the bowels of downtown Philadelphia, alone with no one she knows anywhere around. This is not a smart idea.

Then we get a glimpse again how he feels about his rejection from Scully:

JERSE"S APARTMENT
VOICE: Isn’t it better this way, baby? Me and you alone. Women are so petty.... jealous.... controlling. That bitch today would have been just like all the others.

Because she rejected his advances, she's just like all the other women he's dealt with.

SCULLY: I’m a doctor. Do you want me to take a look at it?

JERSE: No, it’s okay. It’s been nothing but trouble. (He puts fresh bandage on it.)

(SCULLY looks at picture of kids and JERSE with burned out face.)

This shows that Scully went into "woman nurturing/mothering" mode. This scene isn't a huge red-flag but it could be said that he refused her help because that's what it implied to him - that he needed a woman's help.

Also, Scully analyzed that photo a couple separate times - indicating that she was a little 'worried' about it.

JERSE: Sounds a little like you time has come around again. I want things more like a straight line, and I don’t ever want to go backward. That’s why I got the tattoo I deserve. Marked the moment, the feeling ... memorial of something that I never want to have happen again.

SCULLY: I want to see it.

JERSE: You know, Dana, just ‘cause I marked the moment wanting to go forward doesn’t mean that it worked.

SCULLY: (reaching for him) I want to see it.

JERSE: (stopping her) Come on. It’s all scabbed up.

SCULLY: It’s okay.

(JERSE grabs her hands roughly. SCULLY gasps)

JERSE: You’re so curious. Get your own.

So here Scully reaches for him, ignores his space, his personal bubble. He grabs her roughly. For most people that would be unacceptable and a red flag. It would be for me ON A FIRST DATE. But she got off on it, even took on his dare instead of walking out and not looking back.

Then at the tattoo parlor and back at his apartment:

(SCULLY jumps when the needle first touches her, but then gets a look almost of pleasure. JERSE watches. As her skin bleeds, her expression is pleasure/pain release.)

(JERSE’s apartment. Same mood as the tattoo parlor. JERSE looks at the weather outside.)

JERSE: Look, the weather and a few drinks under your belt ... I’d feel better if you stayed here. Hey, I’m not up to anything. I just want you to be safe. I’ll take the couch. That tattoo hurt at all?

SCULLY: Yeah, um.... it feels weird. I, uh, I can’t see it and..... but I feel different. It’s like, um, I don’t know how I feel about that.

(JERSE lifts her shirt and the bandage and looks at the tattoo)

JERSE: It looks all right.

SCULLY: (seeing blood on JERSE’s arm) Ed, you’re bleeding again. Will you let me take a look at it? I am a doctor. (She pulls off his jacket and shirt)

JERSE: They said this could happen.

SCULLY: Ed, it looks burned.

VOICE: Get her hands off of me!

(JERSE violently grabs SCULLY’s hands and holds her still, lips getting closer)

VOICE: Those are bad thoughts you’re having, baby. Kiss her and she’s dead.

(Camera goes out into the hall, and door magically closes)

Besides the obvious sexual tension at the tattoo parlor, Scully is being a "bad girl".
1. She's getting a tattoo - this has a stigma
2. She's getting a TRAMP STAMP - more stigma
3. She's doing it on impulse - a dare from a stranger
4. She's receiving pain and pleasure from it (and she doesn't know it, but some fun drugging effects)

Jerse sees she's taking all his leads and puts up with his rough behaviour. Then when they are back at the apartment she moves into his space AGAIN to "take care of him". She starts removing clothing. The "voice" (aka Jerse's thoughts) say "get her hands off me" - he's repulsed by women. But he's turned on and he wants her. "Kiss her and she's dead". There is not another jealous woman in the room, people, he's basically saying that if she lets him do what he wants to do to her he's going to lose respect for her, foreshadowing his actions the next day.

The next morning, she gets more clues from the detectives at his door (her other clues were stated above, along with the Jehovah's being stood up when she arrived for her date, the picture with the burn in it, his rough behaviour, etc.). She finally starts to put things together and calls the Bureau for Mulder. (What I don't get is why either one never called the others' cell phones.... ???) She hangs up, I believe, because she didn't want to ask for his help.

SCULLY: You need to tell that to the detectives. But what I’m also afraid of - - and this concerns both of us - - is that an ergot alkaloid was found in the blood which is why I think it may have been yours. Now ergot is a parasite that lives off of rye and related grasses. Svo said that he used rye somehow in his ink. Now if this is true, we may be subject to hallucinogenic ergotism. Aural, visual hallucinations. Dangerous and unlikely behavior. We need to go to the hospital to be tested.

JERSE: I don’t need that, Dana. It’s such a relief to be able to tell someone. I hear it, Dana. In my head, only deeper. It’s more than just some chemical reaction. She talks to me. She hates women ...my wife, my boss ... you. She’s so jealous, Dana. She makes me do things. I don’t want to, but she controls me. But I believe that you made her go away.

SCULLY: We need to get help. Now, I’m going to go into the other room and I’m going to come back and we are going to go together. (Picks up her coat, her badge falls, but JERSE doesn’t see it. She picks it up goes into the other room.)

VOICE: Mmm-hmmm. Who’d she call? Who’d she call, Eddie? Come on. Aren’t you just dying to know?

Here we get her talking to him again like he's a child. She can 'help' him. Then he admits to hating the women in his life. How typical of someone blaming someone else for his own behaviour. Like he's the victim. He's pleading with her to believe that it's all gone now (but it's not).

They kept on showing her ID and badge as things he did not see. She obviously didn't tell him what she did for work. She was only 'visiting an aunt'. So because to him she is just a woman, he isn't threatened by her unless she's in his space, telling him what to do. His controlling tendencies make him check up on her and who she called. This is when it is revealed she called the Bureau. This is what infuriates him. It's not because he thinks she called the cops on him. It's because she worked there. It was when he was able to be patched through by using her name that he understood she WAS FBI. He had POWER over her. When he attacks her he screams "Never Again!" which I take to mean he never wanted to be overrun by a woman again. Here Scully is a threat to do that to him. She could cuff him, put him in jail, whatever.

It wasn't until Scully stabs him with the scissors that he took a second to see what he was doing. Granted there were some slight effects of the drug but the violence and unabashed anger and hate he was showing her is not the work of a "good" guy. This guy is abusive and his character reminds me quite a bit of the British burn guy. He had the same obsession/hate of women. He was charming, but not trustworthy or good. Granted, I agree both guys were good actors and good looking. But that doesn't mean you should date him!!!

This is my supporting argument that Ed Jerse is just another woman-hater. Maybe this is M&W's character study on Carter himself???


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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by TheInvisibleMan on Fri 19 Oct 2012, 10:48

Wow Sue, that was fantastic! I hadn't bothered to give Jerse's character any particular thought before, but that all made oh-so-much sense, I believe you're right. biggrin
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Cassiopeia on Sat 20 Oct 2012, 12:04

Dude! Sue, that is a very, very good commentary on the Ed Jerse character. Like Kira, I admit that I haven't spent too much time really analysing the character (you know, aside from OMGOMG look at how sexy he is, and he listens to Scully and Mulder does not - which in light of your analysis on Ed, really makes Mulder out to be a jerk - which we all know). You make me want to watch "Never Again" so I can view it with this new perspective (and I'm trying to avoid watching *any* XF episodes to put distance/time between me and the series).
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by TheInvisibleMan on Mon 19 Nov 2012, 23:21

I don't love this episode. While I can absolutely appreciate the phenomenal skills of Morgan and Wong and what an intricate story they tell (not to mention how brilliantly they capture the true essence of the characters), there are two things that stand in the way of my enjoyment here. One is that the whole evil-tattoo thing is not exactly compelling to me, though I don't find it a massive hindrance. My BIG problem is Mulder, who acts like such an unbelievable arse-head, watching this episode basically just makes me want to rage out. I have the same problem with Three Words in season eight, Mulder's behaviour makes me so angry that I can't get into what I'm seeing. The way Mulder acts here in Never Again is, in a single episode, pretty much the embodiment of every reason I could never ship Mulder and Scully together. He's just horrible, unforgivably so. He's not even in the episode all that much and he still ruins it for me. I just want to crack his skull.
mulder
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Sue866 on Wed 20 Nov 2013, 18:13

TheInvisibleMan wrote: ....My BIG problem is Mulder, who acts like such an unbelievable arse-head....

mulder 
I just watched this one again and while I enjoy the episode a lot for the Scully aspects, this episode makes me HATE Mulder! What a terrible whole episode of him being shitty and audacious. I love the Mulder/Scheisse emoticons!!! Brilliant!

I want to break down the episode for all his shitty, controlling comments.

Then in the first scene of Memento Mori following this episode he brings her flowers... Nice try, Mulder. We're not buying it.
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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

Post by Sue866 on Wed 20 Nov 2013, 20:32

I was searching around and found this quite well-written synopsis of Scully's character in "Never Again". I tend to agree with most of it.

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Re: 4x13 "Never Again"

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