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"Biogenesis"
The X-Files episode
Biogenesis TXF.jpg
A human baby fetus
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 22
Written by Chris Carter
Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Rob Bowman
Production no. 6X22
Original airdate May 16, 1999 (Fox)
Guest stars
Episode chronology
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"Field Trip" "The Sixth Extinction"

"Biogenesis" is the 139th episode and the twenty-second episode of the sixth season of the science fiction television series The X-Files. The episode first aired in the United States and Canada on May 16, 1999 on the FOX Network, and subsequently aired in the United Kingdom and Ireland on Sky1. It was written by executive producers Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz, and directed by Rob Bowman. The episode is the first of a three-part episode and continues with the episodes "The Sixth Extinction" and "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati".

"Biogenesis"tells the story of a bizarre rock inscribed with Navajo writing is found in Côte d’Ivoire, and its discovery is closely followed by the death of the African scientist involved. While its appearance in Washington begins to affect Mulder’s mental health, leading him to turn to Agent Fowley for help; a disturbed Scully - determined to disprove the theory that life on Earth began with aliens - heads to New Mexico and finds a dying Albert Hosteen - who has discovered that the rock includes passages from the Bible, and a map of the human genome. While Mulder breaks down in a mental institution, Scully journeys unexpectedly to Africa. The episode was generally positively received by fans and critics alike.

Contents

Plot summary

A metallic artifact covered with strange letters is found on the West African coast. A Dr. Merkmallen, who possesses a similar artifact finds that the two fuse with each other when brought near one another. He heads to the U.S. to meet with a Dr. Sandoz who has found a similar object, but is killed by Dr. Barnes, who claims to be Sandoz. Skinner brings agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) on the case, providing them with a rubbing of the artifact. Mulder says that both men espoused to a theory known as 'Panspermia' that theorizes that life originated off of Earth. While heading to the basement Mulder suffers from a headache and has a hard time hearing Scully. The agents visit with Dr. Barnes at the University who claims not to believe in the theories of the now missing Dr. Sandoz. Mulder once again feels strange when near the rubbing. The agents meet with Chuck Burks, who tells them that the symbols on the artifact is Navajo. Mulder, who continues to feel strange declines Scully's recommendations to go to the hospital and tells Scully that he believes Barnes murdered Merkmallen.

The agents head to Dr. Sandoz's apartment and find a picture of him with Albert Hosteen. They find the body of Merkmallen in his garbage disposal. Mulder and Scully report to Skinner on the case. Mulder believes that Sandoz is being framed and that the artifact emits radiation. He also thinks that someone else is involved on the case, which Skinner denies. After the agents leave Skinner provides a video tape of their conversation to Alex Krycek. Krycek later provides the tape to Dr. Barnes. Scully discovers that Albert is dying of cancer. Mulder heads back to the University but passes out in the stairwell. Scully finds Sandoz at the hospital and confronts him. He claims that Albert was helping him translate the pieces of the artifact that he and Merkmallen had and that it included passages from the Bible.

Scully heads to New Mexico with Sandoz and contacts Mulder, who is resting at home. Mulder believes that the artifact proves that humanity was created by aliens. Diana Fowley takes care of Mulder and contacts the Cigarette Smoking Man. A healing ceremony is held for Albert, but Scully is forced to leave when Skinner contacts her, telling her Mulder is in the hospital. Mulder is being held in a padded cell and is displaying abnormal brain activity. Scully, after learning that Skinner knows about their earlier conversation with Burks calls him and Fowley liars and leaves. Scully is about to find a surveillance camera in the X-Files office when she is called by Sandoz telling her that the artifact contains information on human genetics. Sandoz is killed by Krycek shortly afterwards. Scully heads to the West African Coast where she discovers that the artifact is part of a large spacecraft partially buried in the ocean.[1]

Production

The episode started a new mythology for the series questioning the origin of human life. Chris Carter claimed to be interested in the subject for a while, citing the possibility of extraterrestrial involvement in great exinctions that had happened millions of years ago.[2] Carter claimed that early in the show he had met with a man who was one of the people responsible for leading the project of mapping the human genome and that he was interested enough in the subject to tie it into the show's alien mythology.[3] The scientific basis for extraterrestrials pursued the writers to help Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully's (Gillian Anderson) beliefs come together, which was furthered in the later seasons of the show.[2] Frank Spotnitz claimed that the ideas used in this episode had been discussed between him and Carter for a few years, and had become easier to bring up after clearing away elements of the conspiracy in the episodes "Two Fathers" and "One Son". Carter developed the script in Vancouver, Canada while working on the pilot for his series Harsh Realm, providing pages to the production crew via the fax machine.[2]

Actor Solomon Merkmallen was portrayed by Michael Chinyamurinidi, whom had moved to the U.S. ten years earlier and had previously tried out for the episode "Teliko" in season four. A number of Los Angeles, California. based African immigrants were used for the fishermen on the African coast.[2] Duchovny expressed anxiety during filming due to shooting due to the imminent birth of his first child, who was born two days after filming concluded.[2]

The University scenes were shot at UCLA.[2] The African coastline was filmed at Leo Carillo State Beach. Conditions meant that the crew only had approximately 45 minutes per day for filming there. The spacecraft was created digitally and the effect ended up costing approximately $150,000.[2] The extraterrestrial writing on the artifacts was based on the Kecksburg Incident, where an extraterrestrial object appeared in a small town in December 1965.[2] Hosteen Etsity, who previously assisted with the episode "The Blessing Way" oversaw the navajo symbols and religious ceremonies in the episode.[2]

Reception

The episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 9.4, with a 14 share. It was viewed by 15.86 million viewers in the United States.[4]

References

  1. ^ Meisler,Andy (2000). The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 5. Harper Prism. p. 279–290.  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Meisler,Andy (2000). The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 5. Harper Prism. p. 290–291.  
  3. ^ Hurwitz, Matt, Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files. Insight Editions. p. 169.  
  4. ^ Meisler,Andy (2000). The End and the Beginning: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 5. Harper Prism. p. 294.  

External links

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