two-parter like no other, penned by the trio John Gillnitz (Shiban,
Gilligan, Spotnitz), Christmas
Carol/Emily is the natural mythological outcome of the Scully
arc. After being abducted (2X06:
Ascension) and left barren because of
experiments conducted on her (4X15:
Scully finds that her ova has been used
to create children. After
too many Mulder-centric episodes, we
finally get a Scully one. The
first part, Christmas
Carol, entirely centered around Scully (Mulder barely appears),
is a superb depiction of Scully's emotional distress in an intimist
atmosphere unique for the X-Files; many dream sequences and memories
from the past haunt Scully in what should have been a Christmas full of
joy. The second part is much more like a normal XF
mythology episode, with experiments, hybrids and green ooze.
The villa of Dr.
After discovering Scully's ova in 4X15:
Memento Mori (and taking a vial), Mulder kept this
to himself; Scully discovers this in shock. The investigation in the
case of Emily Sim leads Mulder to a villa full of elderly people, a kind of convalescent home run by Dr. Calderon, Emily's doctor. There, Mulder
entire embryos created from Scully's ova. He steals what looks like a
liquid solution with hybrid genetic material (the same material Emily
injected with in the hospital); Mulder keeps it for himself once again.
be no more word of this later in the series -- probably the alien
biological material decays after a short period (as in 2X10: Red Museum).
The embryos are
a green liquid and look much like the embryos from 2X16: Colony
which are later placed
in vats and tanks. These have to be hybrid embryos, created from the
of the abducted women like other unsuccessful and cloned hybrids we've
seen before. Periodically,
women in Calderon's villa
are told that they'll be put into
their "beauty sleep": they're
put to sleep and are administered a treatment that they're told "take[s] off years from [their] appearance".
The truth is quite different; indeed, Anna Fugazzi claims she's 71 but
looks rather older. The elder women are used as biological vessels
for bringing hybrid babies to maturity: the hybrid embryos are inserted
in vivo during their
drug-induced sleep. The women are given PMZ 200 and Duratab; these are the hormones estrogen
and pretosterone, the quintessential female hormones that a normal
pregnant woman have "in abundance",
only women that age would need them to be provided externally to carry
out a normal pregnancy. The grown embryo in the flask that Mulder saw
was perhaps another way to produce these babies, in vitro.
These babies are not like the hybrids encountered before (2X17: End Game
or 4X15: Memento
Mori). The previous
ones used an enucleated ova and a hybrid nucleus made from the fusion
of the DNA from another
human being, and alien DNA; the Kurt Crawfords in Memento Mori were not
related to Scully. Emily was the genetic daughter of Dana
Scully, so she wasn't made from an enucleated egg: it was one of
Scully's eggs, with Scully's DNA in its nucleus, that was really
fertilized. Moreover, conventional blood tests and a
host of other tests were made on Emily, as on any normal human being,
so she didn't have the body
chemistry of the 'green blood' hybrids (at least, not in the
beginning). She can't have been entirely human from the beginning,
because it would have been much easier to experiment on a random child
of the general population rather than to go to great lengths to create
a baby from abductees' eggs. So she must have been in part alien from
the beginning, only less so than the clone hybrids encountered before.
Her physical similarity with Melissa Scully when she was young just
comes from family ties.
This was achieved in two steps. A hybrid cell nucleus was first
created, like with the cloned hybrids. Instead of replacing the nucleus
of an ova and replacing it with this new nucleus, the two nuclei were
fused together: the egg was fertilized by the hybrid nucleus (which
acts here as a substitute to sperm). With two successive
mixing of genes (one in the 'sperm', one in the fertilization of
Scully's egg), this is a second-generation hybrid and the resulting
embryo carries less alien material than a cloned hybrid -- a 'light'
These babies were gestated and born to surrogate mothers, unlike the
cloned hybrids, which are entirely grown in vats and tanks. The
subsequent experiments conducted on the embryos, babies and children
are made with the purpose to achieve a successful hybrid through gene
therapy. Babies like Emily are 'slightly' hybrid at first, and through
a gene therapy treatment -- the green fluid injections -- that is
researched, they grow into fully
successful hybrids. The
real purpose of all hybridization experiments (6X12: One Son) is to turn
who is entirely human at first into a successfully viable hybrid. Thus
Dr. Calderon's program ran as follows: First, to turn a hybrid baby
stable and successful hybrid child. Then, to create babies with a
genetic makeup less and less heavy in alien genes, and to adjust the
aforementioned hybridization procedure to each case: turning light
hybrids into full hybrids post-birth. In the end, it
wouldn't be nesessary to have a 'light' hybrid to begin with, a plain
human baby would do. With
many iterations and successive adjustments, the definitive gene therapy
would be discovered. This particular experimentation method was chosen
because hybridization might be easier on a younger body -- in the same
way desensitization to allergies is easier at a younger age.
What is also likely
this second-generation program
was research of a way to make a different
kind of hybrid. Mulder becomes a one-of-a-kind hybrid at one point,
method much different than the one 'usually' sought for (7X03: The
Sixth Extinction). In Emily,
we can sense that Dr.
Calderon was trying to turn Emily into a hybrid while preventing her
body to show outside signs of alien body chemistry (the cyst appears
the treatment has stopped). Maybe the treatment aimed at limiting the
alien genes only in the pineal gland, as was the case with Mulder later
on. The resulting hybrid would have an entirely human body chemistry,
but present certain aptitudes of hybrids: mind-reading for example, and
importantly, immunity to the Black Oil. Indeed, what determines if a
gene therapy hybrid is successful or not is its immunity to the Black
Oil virus. But the human and alien elements were still not in balance
in Emily's body.
Continuity error (the
of not keeping a Series Bible): Mulder
states that back in 1994, Scully "was missing for 4
weeks"; in season 2 we had the
impression that she was missing much more than that, perhaps as much as
4 months (August to November), not weeks. It is also stated that Emily
was born in November
1994, at which time Scully's ova had just been taken. Either this is
another error, or children like Emily have
a gestation period much smaller than 9 months. The latter is possible,
since developing fully adult clone hybrids takes much less time than
normal human development.
The case of Emily Sim
The purpose of the
experiments is double: the creation of a successful
hybrid using progressive gene therapy; and to see how well a hybrid
will pass unnoticed while integrated in everyday society. After delivery, the babies
are given up for abductions. Their
condition is such that
they need constant medical attention, so when they're in their foster
family the parents are drawn to seek out medical help; through
apparent random circumstances, the doctors
appointed as the family's treating doctors are working for the Syndicate.
This way the Syndicate can closely
monitor the evolution
babies and can continue the experiments under the cover of classified
medical (though legitimate) research.
This happened with
and Dr. Calderon. Calderon pretended Emily Sim suffered from "a rare form of
autoimmune hemolytic anemia", a blood disorder. Emily was added
to Transgen Pharmaceuticals' program of clinical trials officially
dealing with experimental cures for rare diseases.
Emily's treatment over the years seemed to control certain alien
elements inside her. She was tested on often, a true hybrid living
among humans going unnoticed, perfectly infiltrated. Calderon's job is
double: like the 'Gregors' in Colony,
he works as a normal doctor for Transgen and at the same time works for
the Syndicate. And like the 'Gregors', he's a cloned hybrid, executed
with the alien stiletto. If
you watch 3X24:
closely enough, one of the Cigarette-Smoking Man's henchmen that
capture Jeremiah Smith at his workplace and
bring him to his detention cell is Dr. Calderon, or at least a clone of
Once taken away from
Calderon, Emily's health started to deteriorate.
It seems Calderon's treatment prevented the alien
elements inside Emily from spreading too fast and in an uncontrolled
manner. Beginning from a cyst that appeared in
the back of her neck, the 'green blood' typical of hybrid physiology
started to spread through the nervous system and into the entire body.
This back of the neck is central to all aspects of the XF mythology.
The pineal gland, where the Black Oil congregates when it infects a
Amor Fati), is around the centre of the brain but not very
from the base of the neck. It could be that
the hybrid nature of Emily was concentrated in her pineal gland, that
area effectively consisting of 'green blood' and not human tissue (the
hospital doctor says: "whatever it is, it may already have been
present in some amount.").
Without her treatment, the 'green area'
progressively started to expand and replace the human parts of Emily
and "depriving it of the oxygen it
survive", "anaerobic channels following the path of
the nervous system"
-- this being interpreted by the doctor as a "necrotizing of the tissue", the
death of this tissue because of the lack of oxygen. Scully and the
doctor, totally inexperienced with hybrid material, are unable to
hinder its growth. The human, oxygen-based body chemistry is replaced
from the alien/hybrid, anaerobic (ie oxygen-less) body chemistry. Could
this be the reason why hybrids can 'breathe' (well, survive)
Mulder clearly states
the 'green blood' of Emily is similar to
that of the Alien Bounty Hunter encountered in 2X17:
End Game: "If Emily was someone's creation, then it
occurred to me that
she might share the same body chemistry that we've seen before."
Emily, the Alien Bounty Hunter, the 'Gregors' and
Samanthas, all share a common biology, this 'green blood' body
chemistry (the relation of all
this to the Black Oil will become clearer in 5X14: The Red and the Black and 5X20: The End).
Like Mulder in The
Erlenmeyer Flask and End Game, the nurse who
biopsy on Emily's cyst is exposed to the toxic retro-virus in the
'green ooze'. "So I
had them put the ER doctor in a cooling bath like you did when I was
exposed to this", the means to fight the toxicity devised by
Scully in End
Game. The nurse survives, "in
out of consciousness". Similarly, Detective Kresge is exposed to
'blood' of one of the shapeshifters (an unfortunate event: why did he
come to Dr. Calderon's villa in the first place?); in the end he
The purpose of Emily's
Emily's condition can
better understood through Dr. Calderon's official description of the
disease she was cured for: "a rare form of
autoimmune hemolytic anemia".
Autoimmunity is an immune response against one's own body because the
immune system failed to differentiate parts that come from the body
itself (cells or proteins or agents) from alien/outside bodies
virus or other agent). The body attacks itself.
In Emily's case, the
human immunity system attacks the alien parts in Emily, and vice-versa,
on the level of the retrovirus or 'green
blood' identified by Scully in End
Game. This retrovirus that was present in Emily's body
her own hybrid
genome coded for it. An anemia is a deficiency in red blood cells (or erythrocytes),
the cells that carry oxygen to the different body organs (thus a
consequence of anemia is hypoxia, a deficiency in oxygen, thus the
necrotizing referred above). A hemolytic anemia is a deficiency caused
by the destruction of reb
blood cells faster than the bone marrow can produce them. In End Game,
we learn that "When the body's
exposed to [the
retrovirus], it triggers a massive production of red blood cells."
The production of erythrocytes is like an immune response of the body
to the presence of the alien
the retrovirus destroys erythrocytes and the body produces them in
great quantities in order to compensate. In Emily's body, the presence
of the retrovirus was such that it destroyed erythrocytes faster than
the body could provide for. An autoimmune hematolytic anemia caused by
hybridization that was supposed to be tempered and controlled by a
From Emily's evolution over
episodes, it looks as if Emily is being converted
from a normal human being to a full hybrid (ie her entire body occupied
by the 'green blood'). The Syndicate shapeshifter that took the form of
Dr. Calderon performed an injection on Emily. At first, it looks like
the injection made her better; but later on Emily gets worse and
ultimately she doesn't survive the process. This 'it-is/it-isn't'
good for her aspect is hard to interpret! When Emily is taken away, Dr. Calderon refuses to
give his help (pretending "exposure
to litigation") "so she may
resume her treatment [with Transgen]." Did Dr. Calderon and his supervising shapeshifters
want to keep Emily alive as long as possible or accelerate her death
since she had fallen into the wrong hands? What transpires from the episode is that Emily was
getting worse once without her treatment. Scully: "Who are the men who would create a life
whose only hope was to die?" If she was to die anyway, then
why give her an injection that would kill her?
The injection was part of her treatment, to keep her alive, in hopes
that after the insignificant "custody
matters" regarding Scully's adoption of Emily were taken care
of, Emily would return to the hands of Transgen and the Syndicate's
experiments. To preserve a valuable test subject.
The two shapeshifters
Who are the two
shapeshifters that have close ties to Mr. Sim? We see them in the Sim's
house meeting with Mr. Sim. We see them watching the arrest of Mr. Sim
from afar. When they visit Mr. Sim in jail (to kill him) they say they
were his lawyers. After things get out of Dr. Calderon's control, they
kill him and it is revealed that they can shapeshift. They're not Alien
Bounty Hunters (all of them appear in the guise of actor Brian Thomson,
see Colony for example) and
they're not Rebels (introduced later, see 5X13: Patient X). Using Dr.
Calderon's form, they continue his work. One of them injects Emily with
her treatment. The other one monitors the elderly patients in the
villa. The only other person capable of shapeshifting we
have seen is Jeremiah Smith, who is established to be a genetically
engineered successful hybrid (3X24: Talitha Cumi). And precisely, when Scully tries to catch
the shapeshifter that gave Emily the injection in the hospital, he
takes the form of an elderly man that we have already
seen: the face that Jeremiah used to escape from the police at the
beginning of Talitha
This is the second use of an actor from that episode, with the actor of
Dr. Calderon, in
roles that are important if you pay enough attention.
This is no
coincidence: this is a nod to the viewers that the shapeshifters
are of the same breed as Jeremiah. Successful hybrids, created like
Jeremiah. These two are the executive task force of the Syndicate, sent
to monitor Dr. Calderon and Emily through Mr. Sim.
Following 4X01: Herrenvolk
Memento Mori, the
Alien Bounty Hunter left a stiletto to the Syndicate so that it can
deal with its
internal problems by itself without having to call for the help of the
Colonist. In this transfer of power, the Grey-haired Man was in
possession of the
tool of destruction; now
it is in the hands of these two hybrids. It is still a mystery why the Syndicate would entrust
two hybrids with a stiletto -- hybrids are famous for their
disobedience. But perhaps
this rebellious disobedience came from hybrids being used as an
work-force; these two have a certain managing responsibility, their
loyalty is ensured with a higher rank.
Who killed Roberta Sim?
against the heavy tests from the beginning. It is even likely that Mr. Sim was in on the nature of
Emily from before the adoption: he is the one that brought Emily to
Transgen and Calderon ("Her father brought her to our attention.").
Contrarily to his wife, he
uses everything in his power for the experiments to happen. Dr. Calderon says "[Mrs. Sim] filed the
paperwork [to pull Emily from the program], but her husband later
withdrew it." She got economical compensation from Transgen
to keep her quiet, but she didn't. The Sims' "wasn't a
happy household"; the
complained of the couple fighting and screaming. Urged by the two
shapeshifters, and possibly helped by one of them, Marshall Sim
commited the murder of Roberta Sim. He injected her and drugged her
with the doritriptan prescribed to him by Dr. Calderon, did the killing
and staged it as a suicide.
Meanwhile, one of the shapeshifters was
covering for Mr. Sim by taking his form and taking Emily to Transgen ("Mr. Sim was at the doctor's office with
his daughter. He was there all morning."). Mr. Sim called the
shapeshifter to inform him of the murder, then called the police and disconnected the phone to
complete the suicide setting. Events are difficult to reconstruct.
Normally, it would
ended there, with Mrs. Sim's death being foldered as suicide, if not
for Scully's obsession with the case -- or should we say Melissa's
phonecalls. The opening of a murder
investigation led Dr. Calderon unwittingly pointing to Mr. Sim as the
perpetrator (through the
doritriptan prescriptions); perhaps the eventuality
to frame Mr. Sim was even planned by the two shapeshifters as a plan B
when things would go too far. With
Mr. Sim in jail, the shapeshifters had him sign a statement that
made him the killer. Then they killed him in his cell to silence
him, again staging a suicide. Emily would then be sent to an orphan
center and then maybe to another family; she would
start being treated again without any problem. Scully blocked Dr.
access to her and started raising questions, so the only solution was
to terminate the program. Dr.
Calderon, having failed
to keep the program a secret and having led Mulder to the villa, was
8 & 9 addendum : Hybrid or
There's been some controversy as to what nature the experiments
depicted here are all about. The feel of these episodes is quite
different from other mythology episodes, and we see no member of the
Syndicate at all. Could these be experiments conducted by the alien
Colonists without the knowledge or consent of the Syndicate? There was
even more debate when word came out that a
scene that was finally cut from 8X21:
Existence linked Emily to the creation of the Supersoldiers
see in seasons 8 and 9. Indeed, a series of babies are
created using surrogate mothers. Emily is a child that
turns from human to hybrid, with a nevralgic spot on the base of her
neck, placed in a normal family that doesn't suspect anything. The
exact profile of the children born from from chloramine, the growing
generation of Supersoldiers which is central to seasons 8 and 9.
Furthermore, Calderon was trying to prevent the 'green blood' biology
from appearing; like William and the baby Supersoldiers, Emily would be
a hybrid with human biology. As for the cyst, we know
the 'green blood' triggers massive production of erythrocytes.
Red blood cells are known to carry iron. Iron is necessary to produce a
Supersoldier. Thus the presence of the 'green blood' wouldn't necessary
mean conventional hybrid, but a first stage before a Supersoldier.
It can be argued that nobody had thought of all
these in season 5, but the same can be said of so many other threads of
the mythology, the explanation of which is invented later in the game.
can explain Emily without having to refer to the
Supersoldiers or anything else not introduced prior to 7X22: Requiem!
order to tie Emily to the
Supersoldiers, one would have to go at great lengths.
- First of all, the
ova used to create the babies come from the abductees; these ova are in
possession of the Syndicate (Memento
- The 'green blood' producing the iron necessary for a Supersoldier is
an attractive argument, only that Emily suffers from hematolytic
anemia, a deficiency and not an overabundance. To make a Supersoldier,
few alien genes are necessary, and the body chemistry is human; with
too many alien genes, you get the retrovirus and a 'green blood' body
- By definition the Supersoldier program is a program of the
alien Colonists, hidden from the human conspirators. Then the two
shapeshifters, who seem to be Calderon's superiors, would have to be
either hybrids that are manipulated, or alien Colonists themselves.
Hunters. In no moment do we see them taking the shape of the familiar
ABH (actor Brian Thomson), the 'original' face of the host of the ABH
The Red and the Black
to clear that up).
- The fact that the hybrids are mind-readers discards any possibility
of manipulation: Calderon
would know if those were Alien Bouny Hunters he was dealing with. And
rebellious nature of the hybrids-as-workforce, he'd make it known at
least to the Syndicate. For
the same reason of mind-reading, the shapeshifting Calderon's superiors could not be manipulated by the
thinking that they're working for the Syndicate when in fact they're
working for the aliens' secret agenda. A hybrid would know the truth.
- The Syndicate keeps a close eye on the cases of the X-Files. They
would know of the presence of the Supersoldiers through this case and
would have started worrying years earlier.
- The scene from Existence
was cut. There was a reason for it, maybe it was because Carter himself
couldn't make sense of these two episodes.
- All of this does not exclude the Colonists from using the results of
the research conducted here by the Syndicate for their own purposes
Emily is a
effort, part of the
Syndicate's hybridization experiments. The
bottom line is that Christmas
do not add many new mytharc elements to an otherwise
everexpanding hazy Syndicate -- these are emotional episodes building
on pre-existing mythology ground. Couple that with a storyline that is
hard to interpret in detail, and it can be understood why these
episodes are often put aside when the Syndicate mythology is described.
pain of Scully
This is an
extremely emotional arc for Scully. Mulder takes this personally more
than he would
like to show to Scully (see how he explodes in violence in Dr.
Calderon's office). We get to know the Scullys much better. Margaret
Scully must be glad to become a
grandmother with the birth of little Matthew, son of Bill Jr. and Tara;
with Melissa dead and Dana barren (and Charles, well, unaccounted for),
difficulty that Bill & Tara had to conceive must have been hard.
Bill & Tara Scully live in San Diego, in the same neighbourhood the
Scullys lived in when Bill, Dana and Melissa were younger. Dana reminds
herself of family moments, like when she had visited Commander Johansen
in San Diego (3X15:
This is the last time we see the Scully family because of the move from
Vancouver to Los Angeles after season 5 (we do see Sheila Larken, ma
Scully, in seasons 8 & 9).
What to do of
phonecalls out of
her grave? "Dana? She needs your
help. She needs you, Dana. Go to her." Melissa summons her
help to save a child from heavy suffering. Something that corresponds
exacly to the Walk-ins of 7X10: Sein
und Zeit & 7X11: Closure,
the spirits that take children out of this world when they're in
terrible pain. Was the Melissa of the phonecalls a Walk-in? Was it
Melissa's spirit, that could have 'turned into' a Walk-in? Both answers
bring into the spotlight the subtle spiritual world only hinted at in
the X-Files (1X12: Beyond the Sea,
With Scully hearing her dead sister and considering extreme
possibilities such as Emily being Melissa's secret child, Scully takes
on a role normally held by Mulder: that of the spooky workaholic. She
does not spend a single day of the holidays with her family in San
Diego. As the counterpoint, Mulder is very down to earth (Scully: "I can protect her too." Mulder: "Yeah, but
going to protect you?"). No Syndicate member appears and the
words 'extraterrestrial' or 'alien' are never mentioned here. These are
signs of the twist of faith that occurred with the Redux trilogy (4X24,
Mulder being more dubious and Scully more open to the religious and the
spiritual. A trend also hinted at in 5X06:
Post-Modern Prometheus for Mulder ("I don’t even know if I believe in that
stuff anymore.") and in 5X17:
All Souls for Scully, where she remembers again her experience
Religious imagery is found in Emily
as well: the last time we see Scully and Emily, they embrace in Emily's
hospital bed; this cross fades to an image of the virgin Mary holding
baby Jesus in a stained glass image in the church holding Emily's
funeral. Scully, like Mary, conceived Emily without any intercourse;
and Emily, like Jesus, lived a sinless life halted by a painful death.
Emily dies and Scully organises a funeral for her. But in the final
scene, she is surprised and shocked to find the coffin empty; Mulder
turns around and is surprised as well, neither of them knew. Emily's
body was stolen, replaced by sand to simulate the weight (or ashes, to
keep with with death symbolism); Scully just said "There is evidence of what they did",
but she is disproven. Only Scully's cross is left, the only thing now
linking her to Emily; Scully holds it thoughtfully, as in the sand
desert in the episode's teaser.
In these episodes, Scully discovers she has a
daughter she knew nothing about, fights for gaining her adoption, only
powerlessly see her suffer and die, and having her body stolen at the
end. She is given something she thought she would never be able to get,
a child, only to have it taken away in the worse way possible. The
Syndicate, not content to have ruthlessly desecrated her own body
without her consent during her abduction, meddles with things around
which she would like to build a wall, to protect and care for. By
reaching their hand and taking Emily away, and what's more not even
leaving her dead body as a consolation, the last wall is breached and
Scully is left alone, exposed naked to the world. "Alone, as ever", as she says in the
teaser of Emily, wandering in
a sand or ash desert -- the symbol of Emily's empty casket.