Times Mulder and Scully Should Have Made Out This Week: ‘I Want to Believe’

I’ve never been so conflicted.

Times Mulder and Scully should have made out in I Want to Believe:

  • I don’t know about y’all but I really liked The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008), a two-hour supercut of Mulder and Scully making snow angels and drinking hot cocoa in “West Virginia.”

You have to hand it to this movie for wasting absolutely no time reminding us to trust no one. “This is West Virginia,” it says. “No,” I say, the daughter of a West Virginian, but even if I weren’t, I’d know.

  • “Scully. Dana Scully.”
I just teared up.

I need a momenttttt

  • I love her doctor hair. I love the low ponytails and the messy buns and the braids that she throws her hair into like it’s second nature, like she’s not even trying. I bet Mulder braids it sometimes, sitting on the porch while she leans against him, looking at the stars. I bet he’s good at it.
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital for saving people

ron swanson very good

  • This place is all wrong. Scully’s faith isn’t an ornament in a horror movie; it’s a set of questions she asks in the dark. It’s also a kind of interpersonal answer, in that it offers her a set of concrete things she can do for other people. Scully’s beliefs show themselves in the cross necklace she gives to a frightened child and the handful of dirt only she thinks to throw on her partner’s grave. Her faith is how she interacts with the world and tries to make sense of it, and it’s as much a struggle for her as Mulder’s beliefs are for him. The point of Scully’s Catholicism isn’t to create divisions but to break them down, to blur the lines between her and Mulder: They each see the value in continuing to fight for whatever kind of hope they have, but they don’t want that hope to be blind. What they want most is the truth.

xfiles iwtb scully hospital

  • But this isn’t the environment for honest questions and active answers, and Scully knows it. As much as she commands the room, she’s chafing against it, and that makes me sad for her. Maybe I’m just not used to seeing Scully painted with the brush strokes that The X-Files usually reserves for Mulder. He’s supposed to be the one who stands before a disapproving tribunal and pleads a case that no one wants to hear. It’s the FBI’s job to be the faceless enemy in Mulder and Scully’s quest. But the entire idea behind this movie relies on watching the FBI court Mulder and Scully; it’s turned the Bureau from a bunch of old white guys into Amanda Peet and Xzibit; the old white guys have erased themselves from the narrative; the FBI can’t be the villain. So Scully’s beliefs, complex and quiet, are inverted into something too loud and too simple and pitted against her instead.
  • Anyway! Free Scully from the garbage hospital.
  • Nice of them to let her work pediatrics when her residency was in forensics, though. I know she could go back to residency, but we should maybe address it.
  • “I don’t work with Fox Mulder any longer. I don’t work with the FBI.”

mmmmMMMohmygod you’ve got so much integrity you’re not even really lying

Called Out

Called Out

  • Love This Gate
xfiles iwtb scully gate

They live in the middle of nowhere and they know that this gate is both too much and not enough for whatever’s out there. But she still opens and closes it every day, rain or shine.

  • Love This Driveway
"If I had to settle down, build a home, it'd be a place like this."

“If I had to settle down, build a home, it’d be a place like this.”

  • Love This Unremarkable House
It's like if Mulder's apartment became a house and Scully added some art to the walls. She definitely bought those chairs and that cabinet. He bought the old plaid chair.

It’s like if Mulder’s apartment moved to the country and developed Scully’s taste in art. They built a home together. They went looking for homes together. I think they saw something of themselves in this place: There’s no way for anyone who isn’t in it to understand its magic. And after so many years of being pressed on every side—by the Syndicate and the Bureau, by “the darkness” and near-death experiences—those forces let go, and Scully and Mulder still hold themselves together. The pull between them was always stronger than the pressure on them. They’ve become, and to some extent always were, this island of a house, still standing even though it has nothing to lean on but itself.

  • I’m trying not to be easy for this parallel, but I’m so easy for it. I’m putty in this parallel’s hands; let it mold me.

xfiles iwtb scully door

xfiles pilot scully door

Nobody down here but Dana Scully’s most wanted.

  • “You’ve become awfully trusting, Mulder, for a man wanted by the FBI” is (a) clunky exposition (b) a confusing attempt to keep the exact state of Scully and Mulder’s relationship vague for a little while longer, even though it’s really not that odd for him to assume that it’s her because she lives there (c) all of the above.
  • “‘Auf einer Wellenlänge,’ as the Germans say. It’s a precognitive state often confused with simple human intuition, in which the brain perceives the deep logic underlying transitory human existence, unaided by the conscious mind, materializing much as you did just now. Though if you’d actually materialized, you’d be rapidly dematerializing.” Ahh, there’s the man who corrects how people pronounce “ronin.”
Mulder are you coming on to me

Mulder, are you coming on to me?

  • The deep logic underlying Mulder’s transitory human existence is Scully.
  • That’s not innuendo, because you know she’s on top.
  • Screenshots from this movie are the reason I wasted months of my life thinking beards didn’t suit David Duchovny. I can never get those months back.


  • “But who believes that crap anymore?” makes me sadder than it should. It’s a joke. I know it’s a joke. But Mulder isn’t supposed to make jokes like that to Scully. He’s self-deprecating with other people and earnest with her.


  • Scully says that she had a visitor, and suddenly he’s all puppy dog eyes and worry.

xfiles iwtb mulder worried

  • ‘Mulder, the FBI is desperate for your forgiveness’ and ‘Mulder, they’ve just been happy to have you out of their hair’ are opposite sentiments and should not both be true, but they ARE both true, because the FBI. Loves. The GAME. The suits love nothing more than to use Mulder as their pawn; they can’t do this without him, even when he gets out of hand. Part of me likes watching the Bureau squirm, likes watching it cast its eyes to the ground and whisper, “I made a mistake,” while Mulder barks, “Louder! I can’t hear you!” into a megaphone. Drop and give him 20, FBI. But a bigger part of me resents how easily the enemy can be defanged, because what does it say about everything Mulder and Scully lost in their fight if all the Bureau needed was a little time apart? An organization that wanted Mulder dead doesn’t want him dead anymore. Why? Just because. His life hinges on a whim. They’re making it up as they go along, and Scully and Mulder pay the price.
Some things never change

Some things never change

xfiles iwtb scully lips

  • Mulder, Too, Has Known Pain
xfiles iwtb mulder samantha pic

“Shit,” I almost forgot how much I care. What a drag.

  • He wants that peg leg. He wants to be totally content here, because he has Scully, and he doesn’t need anything else. But he’s throwing pencils at the ceiling and doing push-ups to pass the time, and he knows he’s meant to be doing more. Mulder doesn’t stay in the comfortable bed with the devil outside, even when Scully is in that bed with him. Mulder gets out there and helps people. He helps when it’s a terrible idea for his own safety, he helps when he knows Scully is going to have to dive in after him to bring him back, and he helps when the people asking for his help don’t deserve it. He can’t do anything else.
  • Working with Scully is always his one condition. Give Mulder the opportunity to make any demand he’d like; he’ll choose partnership with Dana Katherine Scully, M.D. every time.

Of course she gets shotgun

  • Zip your coat, Mulder.
Mulder never zips his coat, not once, not in this entire movie

Mulder doesn’t zip his coat once in this entire movie

  • I’d care about this if things were different:

xfiles iwtb samantha mulder

  • I can’t believe The X-Files found the one thing not made funny by the X-Files theme.

xfiles iwtb bush joke

  • From the show that named Octavia Spencer’s character Octavia and everyone else William, it’s Dakota Whitney!
  • Whitney doesn’t even try to engage with Scully; she acts like the X-Files were just Mulder’s game, and Scully did her part by getting Mulder here. How can Whitney claim to have done her research but not understand that everything Mulder and Scully accomplished was because they were working together? What does their time in the basement look like when it’s written down in official reports? What sense can you get of Mulder and Scully through the FBI’s eyes, when from the beginning they were more than the FBI knew how to handle? They never could color inside the lines or investigate with conventional methods; they were humans up against a machine, and it actually feels entirely right that the Bureau would have no language to describe them, that Scully met a man whose entire life was files and together they did something that no file could capture. Even Whitney has no idea who she’s just called in. So Scully enlightens her: She refuses to be cut out. She asks the pertinent questions and makes herself a part of this, like she has from day one.
  • An aside: Look at her.
xfiles iwtb scully hoover


  • It’s like they’re the only ones in the room.

xfiles iwtb scully mulder eye contact

  • Annnnnnd now if someone could please make the pedophilia jokes stop.
  • I expected better of Billy Bones from Muppet Treasure Island, tbh.
  • “Bugger” is not a Scully word.
  • “Well, I have another word if you’d like.” “I’m sure you do!” He loves her.
  • “You were good in there.” He LOVES her. “All I had were questions. But you pushed him, you challenged him. Like old times.” He loves old times.
xfiles iwtb mulder old times

And gazing

  • “I want you here.”
"This isn't my life anymore, Mulder."

“This isn’t my life anymore, Mulder.”

  • Why did Scully tell Mulder to get involved if she didn’t plan to join? She knows she’s never been able to let him run off without her. And why would she claim that this would be good for him if she didn’t already know, at some level, that they each need a monster to fight? I understand wanting to get away, wanting to not be the kind of person whose life stabilizes in the shadows, but Mulder and Scully can’t be the light in the dark places if there isn’t any darkness at all. Their relationship inverts the way we think about light: What’s bright is there to hurt them. It’s blinding and antiseptic; it floods hospital rooms and train cars and drags them into spaceships. The light dissects them. The darkness lets them heal. Mulder and Scully run into each other’s arms in deep woods and find hope in the night sky and, lighting department be damned, kiss in dimly lit rooms. They deserve more light, but they can’t push away the darkness entirely without also pushing away a part of themselves.
Look at him! He's already Mulder again; look at his eyes. He has someone to help. Mulder knows, and always knew, even in the years he spent repeating that he was just fine staying inside, that this is what he's meant for.

Look at him! He’s already Mulder again; look at his eyes. He has someone to help. But what excites him even more is the idea of helping someone with Scully again: the idea of needing her not to get the get the groceries or hold a bank account but to save a life together, like old times.

xfiles iwtb scully smile

Not a big fan of old times right now. Still a big fan of Mulder.

  • “Let’s just say I want to believe.” Scully rolls her eyes from the other car.
  • “And his sister was abducted by ET.” I think I gave Drummy a fair shot, but he can go now.
xfiles iwtb mulder she's dead

Contractually obligated sad Samantha face

  • “Why go to such great lengths to create such an elaborate fiction?” says the man who believes that the government is engaged daily in the process of crafting elaborate lies to distract us from the imminent reality of alien colonization, who once took a brief hiatus from that viewpoint because he decided that the really elaborate lie was actually the aliens.
  • Mulder, zip your coat.

xfiles iwtb mulder zip 2

  • “I’m not the most popular girl at the FBI right now for calling you in, believe me.” Oh honey, they would never let this happen if they didn’t want it to.
  • “Yeah, well. I’m only half the team.”
Th other half is so pretty. Have you seen how pretty she is?

The other half is so pretty. Have you seen how pretty she is? Every time she talks about science I propose to her. She shot me once.

  • Whitney still doesn’t get that Mulder’s insights are made better when they’re challenged by Scully. I still don’t get why every woman on this show who isn’t Scully or Monica has to be written like she’s lowkey crushing on Mulder. Lowkey crushes on Scully are fine; who could blame? But Scully appreciates Mulder when no one else does—that’s the point. It’s not that I want to sentence him to a life of being ignored by everyone but Scully because it’s romantic. It’s just that when someone else does tell him that his insights are needed, he deserves those words to be free of ulterior motive.
  • Scully knows a frightened kid when she sees one. She knows fear when she sees it.
  • “Don’t be afraid.”
  • Give her someplace to cry in peace!
Give her Mulder's shoulder to lean on!

She needs Mulder!

  • [*NSYNC VOICE] Here we goooOOOooo
xfiles iwtb mulder feel you thinking

Also what Mulder says right before Scully tells him that they should get married

  • Scully and Mulder read each other’s minds all the time, but if they didn’t each occasionally find each other mysterious and unknowable, they wouldn’t need each other. What makes their relationship work is that even when they don’t know each other’s thoughts, they feel them; they understand that something important is going on beneath the surface, and they make room for it. Last time we saw them like this, it was Scully who asked what he was thinking. Now it’s Mulder’s turn to reach out to get inside her head—and he didn’t always do that. It took Mulder a long time to understand that asking Scully about herself wasn’t a breach of the unspoken trust between them. He got there.
  • This is the best shot in movie history:
xfiles iwtb mulder little something


Yes yes yes here we go, Mulder has got the flow

*Yes yes yes here we go, Mulder has got the flow*

  • They’re spooning and Scully is making complimentary dick jokes. And nothing else happens in this movie, bye
  • I love the way his whole world shrinks to the size of Scully’s problems.
Why haven't you told me about this before?

“Why haven’t you told me about this before?”

  • “Why bring a kid into the world just to make him suffer?” IDK, ASK CHRIS CARTER.
  • “How old is he?” Rip my heart out and impale it on those West Virginia mountains; he knows what she’s thinking. On this, he can read her mind.
  • “I think our son left us both with an emptiness that can’t be filled.” I feel the same about “William” (2002, dir. David Duchovny).
  • When Scully encounters a problem that can’t be cured, she curses God, because she was raised to believe that things should be just. Mulder wasn’t. He’s never seen anyone in a position of power lose sleep over others’ suffering, his own included, so he’s never thought of himself as deserving an unburdened life. It was always Scully who wanted that for him, so of course he wants the same for her. It’s this cycle of justice between just the two of them: this dance they do to make the world balance out beneath their feet. They take each other’s burdens because she showed him how. Just as Scully saved Mulder from phenomena she didn’t always believe in, he’ll curse a God he doesn’t believe in if it means that she can get some sleep. And she accepts it. This totally symbolic gesture is the biggest comfort to her, because she trusts him not to let her go through this alone. That’s all they each need.
xfiles iwtb mulder scully kiss

Remember when Scully and Mulder were casually affectionate in the home they shared and this was just life?

  • Can we also talk about the fact that Mulder is under the blanket? He’s not reaching out to her from the top of the covers; he’s not sprawled halfway under the sheets while she gets ready in the bathroom; he’s not alone on his couch with the TV blaring or asleep at his desk at 3 a.m.; Fox Mulder is wrapped in a comforter with the woman he loves. I just had to walk it off.
xfiles iwtb mulder scully scratchy beard 1

He’s going in for more. He is Going In for More

xfiles iwtb mulder scully scratchy beard 2


Anyway I love The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008) and Scully should laugh all the time

  • A concept: Scully and Mulder talking about FBI toxicology reports in bed together in 2016.
  • Their pillow talk would be all existential questions and suffering and dick jokes and “hey, there were traces of animal tranquilizer in that severed arm.”
  • You could just trim it, Mulder!
Change your fate

Change your fate

  • Hang this in a museum.
xfiles iwtb scully abs

Skeptical Partner Wants Both Sex and Reasonable Discourse: A Painting

  • If you think I didn’t tear up at this .gif, let me tell you something.
She woke up like this

I did.

  • Touch himmm
xfiles iwtb scully mulder abs

Do it Scully

  • Whitney calls Scully to fill her in on the case because she knows Scully is with Mulder in the middle of the night and also because she is definitely afraid of her.
I wouldn't even make direct eye contact with her, personally.

I wouldn’t even make direct eye contact with her, personally.

  • What is this tomfoolery?
xfiles iwtb whitney touching mulder

Did we ASK for another Diana Fowley?? Did we ask for a show that thinks most women are Diana Fowley?

I like this because Scully isn't jealous; she's literally just

I like this because Scully isn’t jealous; she’s just appalled

  • Mulder, your COAT.

xfiles iwtb mulder zip 3

  • Father Joe is a mess of a character and Mulder’s “Tell me” is wasted on him. I love his “Tell me”—the way the emphasis is never on the “tell,” but the “me.” It’s not an order; it’s an invitation. Mulder is here to listen to victims when no one else will. But Father Joe is not a victim.
  • “Mulder, stop.” Okay? Why? He’s just asking questions. He’s not jumping onto a moving train or getting experimental brain surgery or sailing into the Bermuda Triangle all on his sweet lonesome. I routinely make terrible decisions and regret them a few hours later, because I am a Mulder, but Scully is a Scully, and she’s ride or die. She doesn’t give anyone advice that she hasn’t thought through. What is Scully seeing from Mulder now that she, of all people, isn’t ready for? What happened to,”I worry about you and the effects of long-term isolation”? What about the look she gave him when he handed her the folder? What changed her mind?


  • “This is about you trying to save your sister.” A bright-eyed Scully with velvet on the collar of her brand new blazer said as much to her partner’s face in Iowa in 1993, because she needed him to know that she saw him making every case personal. But it isn’t 1993 anymore, and this Scully would never. This Scully knows that every case is personal. (“It could have been you once, or me.”) This woman walks into a child’s empty room every day of her life, too. She watched Mulder dig his hands into the dirt to uproot that feeling, and she dug in with him. Mulder already found his closure with Samantha; they both know that. The extent to which this is about his sister is the extent to which everything and everyone always will be, and he’d be a completely different person if that weren’t the case.
xfiles iwtb scully mulder cannot save her

But he can never stop trying to make it so no one else has to hear that.

  • If Scully is worried about Mulder, it’s only because she’s not including herself in the equation. Samantha is the reminder that not everyone wins, but Scully is the hope.
  • Isn’t the fact that Mulder has to ask someone for a flashlight proof enough that he’s hasn’t been living his best life?
  • “Don’t give up.” Don’t be creepy, maybe.
I hate this

I hate this

  • Father Joe doesn’t deserve “Don’t give up” any more than he deserves “Tell me.” And does he know who he’s talking to? Dana Scully has sometimes refused to give up on as many as three so-called “lost causes” before breakfast. The only difference between her perseverance and Mulder’s is that his focuses on caring for the ideal Everyone and the people he’s just met who represent that ideal, while hers has more to do with long-term relationships. It’s no surprise that Scully won’t give up on Christian (from the show that brought you a bunch of Melissas and a half-dozen Williams, it’s a sick Christian in need of Scully’s care!), especially after William. What is a surprise is the way she’s going about it. The Mulder brush strokes continue to be all over Scully: She’s the one fighting an unfriendly panel. She’s the one keeping quiet about her plan and ignoring her partner’s phone calls. While he volunteers to lose sleep on her behalf and tries to keep her in the loop (“an exact match for the previous amputation you noted, Scully”), she goes rogue. She takes risks. She googles stem cell therapy. She googles it.

xfiles iwtb google

ron swanson computer parks and rec


  • Scully would call an expert.
  • How many of Mulder’s voicemail messages do we think get cut off at the tone? All of them?
  • Why are we all here if Scully doesn’t get to be the one to ask what Mulder is thinking and then pop a trunk with him in perfect time?

xfiles iwtb pop trunk

  • “These young people look so much the same.”
Chris Carter about Amanda Peet and Gillian Anderson

Also this movie’s opinion on Amanda Peet and Gillian Anderson

  • You can’t make me feel good about this, Mark Snow. I see you.
What a shot though

Nice shot though

  • Proud of Scully for taking a break from studiously avoiding Mulder to let him braid her hair this morning.
xfiles iwtb scully braid

Great job Mulder!!!

  • This is a familiar lack of personal space and I’ve missed it and love it and welcome it back with open arms.

xfiles iwtb mulder it's the boy

  • “I need you on this with me.”
They can try though.

Mulder is less desperate this time than he was 10 years ago. He’s more sure of himself: He needs her on this WITH HIM. This isn’t about her utility to his mission. This is about THEM, together.

  • He’s so focused on her. What is she afraid of? He is fine, and I think what scares Scully is not that Mulder is “actually okay” but that she is—that she never really left behind a life of chasing slim leads and taking big risks and refusing to give up in the first place. She just channeled it into one boy.


  • “I can’t look into the darkness with you anymore, Mulder.” Oh God, not the darkness.
I am forever grateful for this line though.

I am forever grateful for this line though.

  • “Scully, this is who I am. It’s who I’ve always been. This is who I was before I met you. It’s what I do; it’s everything I know.” “Write it down. Put it in a book.”
  • Should I even respond to that? It’s so silly that I’m not even mad. I just want to pat that line on the head and send it to bed with a glass of warm milk. When it wakes up tomorrow, it’ll understand what it did. “Put it in a book.”
  • “PUT IT IN A BOOK,” says Scully to Mulder, because he loves making everything about him, and it’s his dream to turn his sister into a merchandising opportunity, and he’s been itching to give everyone more ammunition to dismiss his ideas, and the people who were trying to kill them both for a long time would definitely not mind.
  • She can’t tell him to stop investigating because she doesn’t want him to stop.
"But I can tell you that I won't be coming home."

“But I can tell you that I won’t be coming home.”

For like a night, right?

For like a night, right?

  • Reminder that she talked him into taking the case.
  • This is fun.

xfiles iwtb scully good luck

  • Christian’s parents clearly have no idea what they want so I’m glad we’ve already started sticking a needle in his brain.
xfiles iwtb if you were a mother


xfiles iwtb scully if you were a mother

she’s thinking about it

  • “He’s not my husband.”
Scully is having a very bad day

Scully is having a very bad day

  • SCULLY: (Calls out a pedophile priest for his actions) THIS MOVIE: Whoa there Scull, little harsh, don’tcha think?
  • Hey just wondering but where are the aliens and why have they been replaced by a nightmare that someone’s homophobic uncle had about The Gay Agenda?
  • “Three guesses who he’s married to in the state of Massachusetts.” Oh no
  • “I think this is a longer conversation.” Which Mulder should have with Scully.
  • The FBI hasn’t changed.
xfiles iwtb drummy lights

Great crime-solving, Drummy

  • Mulder’s luck hasn’t changed, either. Being kept on the sidelines is still working to his advantage.

xfiles iwtb mulder bad guy

  • But he also keeps losing people.
...who call him Fox

…who call him Fox

xfiles iwtb hands

Light and dark find middle ground

  • “I just want to be sure.”
xfiles iwtb scully i just want to be sure

That’s all she’s ever wanted for him

  • As soon as Scully starts interrogating Father Joe, she and Mulder find their old rhythm: She feels him thinking. It’s like she’s saying what he can’t.

xfiles iwtb interrogating

  • Again: FINALLY.

xfiles iwtb scully why i fell in love

  • She told him not to argue, and he didn’t—they’re really giving Mulder’s post-abduction phase a run for its money in the terrible communication department—so it took her this long to remember what one hallway speech accomplished a decade ago. This would be a great time for Scully to make a hallway speech of her own, but Mulder cuts it short, because he’s decided to take the exact wrong lesson from the wrong things she was saying, which she now knows were wrong (or maybe he’s just bitter).
xfiles iwtb mulder why we can't be together

“It’s like you said: That’s why we can’t be together.”

  • Mulder isn’t the type to get dramatic to prove a point, and he definitely isn’t the type to decide, after finally letting himself believe that this relationship is worth it for Scully too, that they don’t fit together after all. For himself, Mulder leaps without looking, but for Scully, he stops and thinks. I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your file because of me. I couldn’t let you risk your life on this. I’m not going to watch you die, Scully, because of some hollow personal quest of mine. It took Scully repeatedly reassuring him that she wouldn’t put herself on the line for anyone but him, that he was worth it, for Mulder to accept that she wasn’t going anywhere. Which is exactly why Scully would never hold her presence in Mulder’s life above his head like some kind of bargaining chip, using their relationship to make him do what she asked. He introduced himself to Scully in the context of what he’d lost, and she promised the opposite. She didn’t have to agree with him to stand by him. If Scully could go back on that now (which she wouldn’t, in this context, but here we are), it sends him right back to the start, convinced that he’s meant to be alone.
  • A nice 360-degree view of Mulder not zipping his coat, for fashion:


  • The badge never really explained his incessant questions, but now he doesn’t even have a badge.
  • Puppy just…bites his phone.

xfiles iwtb mulder bites phone

  • I know we’re doing the whole homage thing, but if you think Mulder has anyone other than Scully in his contacts, you’re lying.
He's also memorized Scully's number.

He’s also memorized her number.

  • Scully was so worried about the darkness but honestly the most dangerous thing Mulder has done in this movie is look at his phone while driving.
xfiles iwtb car


  • Hey Chris.
I read that the urn holds the ashes of his dog, who died during filming. He looks so sad!! R.I.P., Frankie the dog

Apparently the urn holds the ashes of his dog, who died during filming. He looks so SAD. Everything is sad.

  • I can’t believe we went straight from that to the image of a dog’s severed head, which I had to look at with my own two eyes.
  • “Yeah, it’s me.” Does that sound like the voicemail greeting of a man who expects calls from more than one person?
  • “Mulder, the FBI agent’s alive.” Okay well her body may be alive but she has no head; I feel like that’s an important distinction, Scully.
Also I'm not calling her by her name because it makes me miss Monica Reyes too much, Mulder, you understand

Also I can’t call Monica Bannan by her name, Mulder. It makes me miss Monica Reyes too much

  • “I can’t reach Mulder.” “Well, where is he?” “If I knew that, I wouldn’t be calling.”
Let her run the Bureau already

Let her run the Bureau already

  • “Then let me talk to somebody there with some balls who can.” Bless.
  • She’s missed yelling into her phone. She’s been saving that up.
  • A beacon in the night:

xfiles iwtb skinner

  • I already feel safer than I did ten seconds ago. Why hasn’t Skinner been here the whole time?
xfiles iwtb skinner comforts scully

Pretending that he has any confidence in Mulder’s judgment: It’s like riding a bike.

  • Meanwhile, Mulder interrupts an illegal head transplant to ask them nicely to stop; does anyone here speak English? He has a wrench.

xfiles iwtb mulder wrench

  • “I know Mulder. He’d get to a phone and call first.”

xfiles iwtb skinner wouldn't do anything crazy

xfiles iwtb scully skinner

Scratchy beard is the scene I’d save from a fire, but this is my actual favorite moment of the movie.

  • Love Means Never Having to Pretend Your Partner Makes Good Choices
  • Maybe, but at least he has a smartphone.
xfiles iwtb scully hey

I’m taking that “hey” as a Doggett shout-out and you can’t stop me

  • His half-conscious smile has me big time.

xfiles iwtb scully leaning over mulder

xfiles iwtb mulder smile


  • Give Skinner Backup 2k8

xfiles iwtb skinner gun

  • Scully busts in like, ‘I’ve been running my hands through Mulder’s hair and it isn’t doing anything. I’m a medical doctor.’
xfiles iwtb scully mulder needs warm clothes

People are dying but Mulder needs a coat

  • But there’s a role in this that she’s meant to play, and it’s why Mulder needed her. Skinner picks up on what Scully needs from him without having to ask. He’ll get Mulder. She’ll get the dying people. “I have work to do here.”
This is exactly what she did when Mulder was "I have work to do here."

This is exactly what she did when Mulder was hypothermic in a tub.

  • “Skinner??” He’s so excited.
  • And I hugged you until you were not frozen anymore
This is beautiful


  • Imagine I Want to Believe with more Skinner.
  • If there is only one (1) thing about this movie that keeps me up at night, it’s this: Mulder is upset that a psychic pedophile priest will be remembered as a pedophile rather than as a psychic. As if Mulder’s wide-eyed wonder at the paranormal somehow surpasses his boundless humanity. He got into this for his sister, and he’s lost a son. Mulder would never dismiss the suffering of children just because the man who made them suffer is a psychic. He’s never put much stock in redemption, either—not for the bad guys.

xfiles iwtb mulder father joe injustice

xfiles iwtb scully father joe injustice

  • Now Scully is trying to claim that she took “Don’t give up” to mean, “Don’t give up on Christian,” when she already wasn’t giving up on him—and let’s be real, she was never going to give up on Mulder, either, so she really didn’t need to hear it at all, certainly not from Father Joe, and quite frankly I think she overreacted to that one.
  • “Why would he say that? ‘Don’t give up.’ Why would he say such a thing to you?” Everyone needs to calm down.
Puppy already needs another walk

Puppy already needs another walk

  • Mulder sees no higher virtue than not giving up. Scully came to him in a dream once to remind him that his place is not a comfortable bed with the devil outside, and now he says that “the opposite of what the devil might say” is “Don’t give up.” Complacency is the greatest vice on The X-Files. If you quit, the bad guys win. Everything that sets Mulder and Scully apart—what they know, who they know, the support and opposition they’ve met along the way—is a byproduct of their refusal to stop looking. This is what this show has to say for itself, and this is where the story of two people in an extraordinary situation can meet any one of us right in the middle of our ordinary lives: It argues that the only thing standing between us and Something More is very hard work, which is not glorified, but which can be worth it.

xfiles iwtb scully hug

xfiles iwtb mulder hug

  • Unless you just want to take a vacation or whatever…???
  • Mulder and Scully are never really talking about what they’re talking about, but I have no idea what they’re talking about here. Is Scully still planning to do the surgery? Is she not? “If you have any doubts—any doubts at all,” Mulder says, “just call off that surgery this morning, and then we’ll get out of here, just me and you.” I don’t even know what she’s doubting! Her stance on the surgery? We can’t be expected to believe that she’s doubting their relationship now—not after everything they just went through—but unless Mulder is asking her not to give up on the two of them, he’s doing a complete 180 on “Don’t give up.”
  • This is a complicated situation. It’s a painful and risky procedure (that she still might not have the parents’ full consent for, which is not okay), but I still don’t like the idea of Mulder and Scully’s relationship being positioned as the opposite of trying to save someone: as what happens when they run away. That’s never been the case. They can have both. Scully is about to prove that they can have both when she performs the surgery and then takes him canoeing.
  • “As far away from the darkness as we can get?” Not The Darkness again!!!
  • “I think the darkness finds you and me.” Or sometimes you run headlong into it, Mulder. “But let it try.” It will.
  • This is a callout post for Mark Snow. First of all, how dare you.

Her little “kiss me” pout though

We've compensated for the good lighting by making this kiss all about the back of Mulder's head

You either get good lighting or a good angle: You have to pick one (1)

xfiles iwtb scully mulder kiss 3


xfiles iwtb cc tongues

xfiles bad blood damn right

  • The real universal invariant is the forehead touch.

xfiles iwtb mulder scully forehead

xfiles iwtb mulder scully cheek

It’s okay, Mulder. She’ll be back tonight to help you look for the Speedo.

  • The X-Files: I Want to Believe (2008): a cinematic masterpiece:
xfiles iwtb vacation


  • David said about the story, “Mulder is Mulder. He needs to be out there. And the kind of romantic part of the film is that he really rediscovers that passion and still says at the end, to Scully, ‘I’d rather have you.'” And that’s something. This very confused little movie does at least declare that if it had to pick one, it would pick Mulder and Scully’s relationship over any conspiracy. Me too, movie.
  • But those priorities shouldn’t have to be at odds, because Mulder and Scully wouldn’t exist without his passion. Even when Scully’s whole focus is on him (That’s what I’m fighting for, Mulder: You and me), it’s because “this is us fighting this fight.” The last thing we saw from them both was her encouragement to keep fighting, as long as he didn’t do it alone. They’ve been on the run and in hiding since then; they’re beaten down and tired, and Scully is afraid to jump back into this life. I get that. Scully and Mulder deserve a break. But if they’re trying to convince themselves that they can only be together in the tropical sun, I’m not sure they learned anything today.

Anyway, they’ll figure it out in season 10. Which is this month, because it’s been half a year since my last post, and I’m garbage. I’m back now! I’ll be here to talk out every new episode, for better or for worse. Mainly better. I can’t wait. Think of this post as a cleansing of old wounds. Now the healing can begin.


  1. So great to see this post today. I told my husband “My recapper is back! You know, the woman who works for EW and loves the X-files and Parks and Rec and she’s a shipper who totally understands how the relationship is what makes the mythology and the monsters of the week interesting and she can see the good parts of IWTB without pretending the bad parts aren’t there! ” Ahem. Anyway. Nice to see this post and I’ll just calm down and see myself out.

  2. Thank you for articulating so clearly what was utterly WRONG with this film. Now let’s put this madness behind us and never speak of it again. 😉

  3. You are back and Musings of an X-Phile is back and THE X-FILES is back and 2016 is shaping up to be the greatest year ever. I’m so excited!

    Anyway, I think you hit the nail on the head with the problems in this film. The biggest one for me is that the central conflict, the whole thing about “The Darkness,” seems to come out of nowhere. It’s a non-issue. And Scully’s characterization in this film is full of weird inconsistencies and frankly, out-of-character moments.

    I know a lot of people like this movie, or at the very least give it a free pass, but for me it’s unforgivably disappointing. I hope the Revival doesn’t head in the direction this movie was going, especially with Scully’s character. Any more of this and the story would be dead in the water.

    I loved this post, though. Much more enjoyable than the film itself. So happy you’re back!

      1. Hi Kelly, I just discovered you because of your appearance on The XO Files podcast. After reading this, I’m dying to hear what you think of how the revival has treated/is treating their relationship. It’s frustrating to me, to say the least! Such progress in the movie, gone?!

  4. You’re back! Happy to see you got completely caught up before the new series starts. I was not a fan of this movie. I remember thinking it was just very cold and dark and had some out of character moments. And I had totally forgotten about that tropical shot at the end. And I thought Scully would never wear a bikini. She’s a one-piecer, Super excited for the new eps!

  5. This was great! I think it’s going to be important to remember how things were when we last saw them when we’re all tuning in on the 24th. Even though they panned away showing them in a tropical paradise, I wondered if everything was resolved or fixed. I have a few theories on that but won’t bore you with them. I really love this blog.

      1. I’m only watching it due to the actors treating fans ok and because I moderate on an XF board. I’ll never accept the break up. No matter how they frame it.


  6. Reblogged this on XInTheWindow and commented:
    If you haven’t read ‘Times Mulder and Scully Should Have Made Out’, you need to cancel everything for the next several hours. Grab some coffee, some snacks, tissues (not for crying, but for wiping tears of laughter), and tuck in. Do it. Do it now.

    Kelly, I have missed you SO MUCH! January is here!!!!

    With love, a fellow Phile.

  7. I tuned out when the helicopter came to their house. WTF? Mulder and Scully would drive two states over for a helicopter rendezvous. They wouldn’t invite the FBI to their secret fort!!

    I only discovered your make-out recaps with this recent re-marathon, and I loved every single one. I’m looking forward to your impressions of the new episodes!

  8. Thanks for catching up to this movie. Rewatched it recently and saw a lot of things I’d forgotten from years ago. Your recap makes it even better. Looking forward to Season 10, now just days away.

  9. Yay! I’m so glad you’re back! This post made me smile from ear to ear on an otherwise mundane Monday. I can’t wait to read your recaps of Season 10!

  10. You’re back! Awesome! I just realised that you posted the blog for I want to believe and that’s great! I haven’t read the whole post yet since its getting to half past midnight where I am and I ought to be getting up early tomorrow, but I can’t stop Youtubing X-Files fan videos between watching full episodes from Season 1 and reading your blog. I’ll definitely read the full post tomorrow and share my views. Counting the days till 24th Jan!

      1. I thought that I was the only person that did this- 🙂
        BTW-I think all the sad scenes coming up for Season 10 are from Margaret Scully’s passing (just at thought)

      2. Lol! Comforting to know I’m not alone in this universe of fan videos, shippers and reruns of X-Files episodes!

  11. You did such a damn good job of this and I thank you for it with all of my heart.

    If I try to go into more detail I will end up addressing every single thing you said and nobody wants that. But I’ll still probably end up doing my obligatory ‘taking a screenshot of my personal favourite part from this volume and tweeting it to you over-enthusiastically’ thing, so look forward to that.


  12. I found your blog through a twitter link from musings of an xphile and I’m SO glad I read this – I had every single one of these thoughts while watching this movie. I’m one that’s always been ok with it – I don’t hate it with a fiery passion but I also don’t love it without restraint – it was a solid effort and there are so many things I don’t like that they did or that didn’t make sense for characters but oh goodness did I love seeing Mulder and Scully back on my screen in a new story…

    I am now going to read through ALL the rest of your posts 😀

  13. Ok, so I’ve read the whole post and thank you for so accurately pointing out the things that made this movie fall short of everyone’s expectations. I didn’t love the movie, and have only been able to watch it once, although I was glad to see Mulder and Scully again. Here’s what upset me the most about IWTB: I didn’t like the direction they chose for the characters. I especially hated seeing Mulder so bitter and angry at the world. It felt like he was even putting distance between himself and Scully and that made no sense. I understand that Mulder would be frustrated after all that he’s been through, but it still left me feeling quite frustrated towards the writers!
    I also couldn’t figure Scully out. I mean if she fell in love with Mulder because of his stuborness, because he won’t give up, why does she now find that same stuborness a problem? Why did she tell him to take the case then act like she was mad at him? I can understand that Scully has lost a lot during their quest, but so has Mulder and as far as we know these two, they have never kept score as to who lost the most. So why would she suddenly behave like she’d been wronged (by the “darkness”), like she had to run away from the fundamentals of what makes them who they are? What on earth was that “But I can tell you that I won’t be coming home”? Is that supposed to be Scully resorting to emotional blackmail? That is completely and totally not Scullyesque at all!
    The next thing, like you said was Whitney’s low key crushing on Mulder. I mean what is wrong with that woman? Hasn’t she seen Scully? We definitely do not need more Diana Fowleys. One was quite enough (shudders at the memory).
    Third, I found Father Joe very disturbing. I mean were we supposed to somehow sympathise with him…for being psychic? Not working. “If there is only one (1) thing about this movie that keeps me up at night, it’s this: Mulder is upset that a psychic pedophile priest will be remembered as a pedophile rather than as a psychic. As if Mulder’s wide-eyed wonder at the paranormal somehow surpasses his boundless humanity. He got into this for his sister, and he’s lost a son. Mulder would never dismiss the suffering of children just because the man who made them suffer is a psychic.” SO TRUE!
    Even Skinner seems to have lost it. What does he mean by “I know Mulder. He’d get to a phone and call first. He wouldn’t do anything crazy.” Umm…does that sound at all like the Mulder we know and love? But yea, the look Scully gives him is priiiiiiiceless!
    The movie in general was messed up and confused and left me feeling messed up and confused. I’m not even sure how I feel about Mulder and Scully rowing off into the sunset or whatever. The saving grace of this movie was scratchy beard scene. If you ever need help saving this scene from a fire, you can count on me!

  14. Thank you so much for this update! I HATED this movie when it came out. Watching it again this year, I was more accepting of it. It was painfully uneven in spots. Other parts I could dig (scratchy beard scene). I don’t know what they were going for. You, however, managed to make me laugh at CCs dead dog, so now we have that. That kind of sums up my confusion at this movie.

    Let’s go do Season 10, shall we?

  15. I’m so excited that you’re back to do the new episodes!!! Reading this post and finding that out – best day ever.

  16. How long has it been since I’ve laughed this much?? I’m so happy you’re back! Hahahaha it’s 2:40 in the morning and I seriously considered waiting until tomorrow to have time to elaborate a damn good comment, but here I am, just couldn’t wait. Mulder’s coat, Skinner, everything about your remarks is absolutey on point and hilarious. Such insights! I don’t know what I’m waiting for the most right now, the new episodes or your next posts! Hahaha Thank you for this, as always! And happy new year! 🙂

  17. This made me so happy! I started watching the X-Files just a bit behind you and have been eagerly running to read your thoughts as soon as I finished every episode. I finished the original series a couple weeks ago but hadn’t gotten around to watching I Want To Believe and somehow I thought ‘ah well, Kelly hasn’t put it up yet, maybe I should wait’ but then I watched it last night and found that you had put it up!!!
    Anyways, love your thoughts, you made my experience of watching the X-Files infinitely better. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the revival!
    Thanks so much for all of this!

  18. So happy to see this post today. I shared it in my Shipper group. I love your breakdowns of the episodes and this movie. Always makes me laugh!!!! Definitely some of my favorite reading. I can’t wait to see what you have to say about Season 10!!!!

  19. Ahh missed this! Hours away from the new episode… so excited and scared.

    This was a great recap. Indeed a confused and confusing movie. But worth it just for pleasure of watching Mulder and Scully together. Together-together. I remember coming away from this movie overjoyed at the thought of Mulder and Scully house-hunting together (!) and living together for all of those years.

    The most infuriating thing to me, was Scully GOOGLING STEM CELL RESEARCH. That’s not how doctoring works. You don’t GOOGLE experimental procedures you have zero experience with and then, after light reading of some random print-outs, PERFORM THE PROCEDURE YOURSELF. SCULLY. I feel moved to revoke your “I’m a medical doctor!”-shouting privileges.

    “And I hugged you until you were not frozen anymore” BYE I have to go re-watch that scene… before life went to hell for Mulder and Scully… again… *tear*

  20. Re-re-re-re-reading your blog to keep myself busy until the next episode of the revival! I’m loving it so far and can’t wait to see what you have to say about the new episodes! Awesome seeing Mulder, Scully and Skinner again. I wish Baby Goat had come back too!

  21. Thank you for coming back! I can’t wait to read your comments about the new season and all your insights! I didn’t recognize Chris Carter in the hospital’ hallway! However, you didn’t mention Vanessa Morley, aka season 4′ Samatha Mulder, in the FBI hallway, just beside the Bush picture! Did you know it was her? Thanks and hope to read you soon!

    1. I did know it was her! Haha that’s why I mentioned that I would have cared about it under different circumstances. But I could have been less vague. Anyway, yay thanks so much! I’m working on a new post 🙂

  22. “Scratchy beard is the scene I’d save from a fire, but this is my actual favorite moment of the movie.” <– I laughed so hard at this my 5-year-old wanted to know what was wrong.

    I've just discovered this blog and I love you. I'm rewatching the series for the first time since it aired. I was 14 when it premiered, and though I thought I'd seen most of the first five seasons, I'm realizing I'd only caught about 40%. I have had to force myself to slow down and only watch one episode per day (I lost about four days into the abyss), and coming back to your recaps has been part of the highlight of this rewatch.

  23. Ok so I reeeeaaally didn’t like this film the first time I watched it, I felt exactly like you do. The characters we off and I didn’t get anyone’s motivation. But I love X files so I tried to give this movie another shot and this is what I think about it now:

    I think CC was trying too hard to make this accessible to non X files fans, on the behind the scenes extras that I have with my copy CC stated that he wanted this to be a stand alone non mythology movie yes, but predominantly this was a love story. And as much as all us fans would love 1hr 40 of Mulder and Scully making thinly veiled sex jokes to each other (go away Whitney he’s taken) there needed to be conflict. In making that conflict fit with the characters, like always with the X files, it’s more about what you don’t see than what you do.
    It’s been 6 years since the season final and when we left our philanthropic heroes they were on the run from the government and worried about an alien invasion that’s due in 2012. When we left Mulder he didn’t know what to believe in anymore, and Scully just wanted to be with him. Can you imagine what 6 years of knowing the end of the world was coming and not being able to do anything about it would do to a person? That’s why Scully got Mulder onto the case, she was trying to give him something to believe in again. But she never thought after so long he would dive in head first like that. He is like a desperate man trying to cling to the past before the future destroys him. She gets scared because the Mulder she knows would never forgive father Joe for what he is, but this Mulder is all about the chase! She was ok going into the darkness with her Mulder, but this guy was the man before he met her. When I look at it that way I can totally see why Scully reacted the way she did, and Mulder too. And then in the end they resolve it by “her” Mulder coming back and choosing to believe that they can face it together.

    Wow sorry for the long post. I am genuinely concerned with how much I think about this. (My family are worried, send help and scratchy beard gifs) but I hope that this helps you see IWTB in a new light.

    Ps I love your blog!!!

    1. Thank you so much! I still don’t really believe that any version of Mulder would ever forgive Father Joe, but I’m always happy for people who have been able to find a way to make IWTB more bearable!

  24. I was so happy to find your blog today. I just recently re-watched this film, first film and all the ten seasons. I´ve been in a total x-files fan-girl zone for the past months and just counting days for the 11th season. I must say you made me like this film little bit more. The only reason I have it is that I can re-wind to the cratchy beard scene and the end kiss and watch them again and again. As a proud Scully/Mulder shipper for 20 years I salute you (all of you).

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