06 May 2007

Season 4: The Field Where I Died (4x05)

Writers: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Director: Rob Bowman

The Temple of the Seven Stars, a religious cult in Apison Tennessee, who believe in reincarnation are brought to the attention of the FBI after an informant calls with accusations of child abuse and weapons stockpiling. Fearing another Waco, the FBI raid the cult's compound but do not find any weapons, they also can not find the religious cult's charismatic leader Vernon Ephesian. Mulder acting on impulse searches a nearby field and discovers Vernon and his six wives about to commit suicide in a hidden bunker. Mulder finds himself strangely drawn to one of the wives, Melissa.

The two agents take the cult members in to custody, but with no evidence of weapons of child abuse, they only have one day to interrogate them. Melissa it turns out is the informant who called the FBI and appears to suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder. It is one of her personalities that telephoned the FBI. But Mulder believe there might be more to it than that, that it could be evidence of past lives. Melissa changes to another identity, that of an American Civil War nurse Sarah Kavanaugh, she claims that she watched her fiancee Sullivan Biddle die in the field where Mulder found Vernon and his wives, that it was Mulder in a previous life. Mulder undergoes regression hypnosis and seems to confirm Melissa's account, however Melissa does not believe Mulder and refuses to co-operate. She is released along with Vernon and his other wives, and is later found among the dead in the cult's mass suicide.

Mulder and Melissa's Civil War personas Sullivan Biddle and Sarah Kavanaugh were taken from real life Civil War soldier Sullivan Ballou who wrote a now-famous (and very moving) letter to his wife, Sarah, in which he assured her that his love for her was 'deathless' and that even though he might be killed in the war, he would always be with her, he would wait for her, and that 'we shall meet again'. One week after writing the letter, Sullivan Ballou was killed in the First Battle of Bull Run. Although his references probably refer to being together in heaven, they can also be interpreted as meeting in another life, much like ''The X-Files'' episode.

Kirsten Cloke, playing Melissa Ephesian, is the wife of Glen Morgan, co-writer of this episode.

Mulder's speech in the teaser is part of a long poem by Robert Browning titled "Paracelsus".

Two personalities of Melissa were cut due to time constraints.

Mulder: I, too, have spent a life the sages' way and tread once more familiarpaths. Perchance I perished in an arrogant self-reliance an age ago...and in that act, a prayer for one more chance went up so earnest,so... instinct with better light let in by death that life was blottedout not so completely... but scattered wrecks enough of it to remaindim memories... as now... when seems once more... the goal in sightagain.

Melissa: I don't believe in it.
Mulder: Why?
Melissa: Those tapes are saying that we chose the lives we live before we're born, and who we live with. It's a nice idea. It's a beautiful idea. I want to believe. And if I knew it were true, I'd want to start over. I'd want to end this pointless life.
Mulder: Sarah... if it were true... no life would be pointless.

Mulder: Dana, if um, early in the four years we've been working together an event occurred that suggested or somebody told you that we'd been friends together... in other lifetimes... always... would it have changed some of the ways we've looked at one another?
Scully: Even if I knew for certain, I wouldn't change a day. Well, except maybe that Flukeman thing... I could have lived without that just fine.

Episode Number: 78
Season Number: 4
First Aired: Sunday November 3, 1996
Production Code: 4X05

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