The X-Files: Never Again
The series of posts I started recently about The X-Files became dominated by treatments of religion and religious people also that was not my intention to start off with. On the surface this episode is about a man who has a tattoo unfortunately using ink made from rye grass which makes him psychotic. This would make it a rather pedestrian X-Files episode and so surely the main purpose of the episode is the underlying themes of Rebellion, authority because in The X-Files of the outsiders wisdom, a figure represented in this episode by the tattooist himself.
The tattooists Wisdom is perhaps a little trite, since it is limited to unfortunately making his own dies from ride grass and telling his customers that people get the tattoo they deserve. In my own opinion, and anyone who has looked at this block at any length will see that I have tattoos myself, deserve is not quite the word.
I can see what he means. If you walk into the tattooist and point at a picture on the wall and have that, then frankly you really will get what you deserve. Perhaps the phrase should be more that people get the tattoos they choose. In my own case my tattoos aren't perfect but I don't regret them in fact can forget I've got them: I don't really see them when I look down on myself or photos. Obviously the man in this X-Files episode is going about his tattoos in quite a different way. And therefore this episode is more of a parable about what happens when you learn from one thing to another without thinking about it.
I meant to say at the beginning of this post that even though I have been talking about religion in these posts, religion is always twinned with the other Concepts I mentioned, name the authority, individualism, identity, and so on. I meant to start out by saying that the 1990s we're a slightly strange age where all of these were concerned. Hate when large numbers of people started to get information technology for the first time, and with that went a certain liberation of how people felt they could express their religious beliefs and values. This was also the age of Charmed, the craft, and an explosion as the Millennium approached of alternative religious beliefs and practices.
To return to tattoos briefly it was also the age when tattooing began to become more mainstream it had been in the past, when tattoos for the province of sailors and prostitutes. Stop looking at me!
I suppose where I'm feeling my way towards here, is that what is encapsulated in this episode is a more mature and yet at the same time homespun and almost rebellious to see some of those which have been examined in the other episodes I have written about here.
Well this episode is rather disappointing as an x- file because it's plot and it's solution totally completely mundane it does have a very adult and very frightening message that you have to take responsibility for the consequences of your actions. It's also cleverly avoids the Trap of making the message that Scully should have done what Mulder told her to, that's cleverly making the apparently more conservative member of the team that won who rebels and asserts her own independence. Mulder tries to make out that what has happened is about a desk but the entire contents of the episodes make it clear that it runs much deeper.