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JanetMacklin

Season 2: Ascending To The Stars

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My very favorite season.  If I ignore '3' and 'Excelsis Dei', then every other episode is great.  

I think this is the season where the show really came into its own, with standalone episodes like Our Town and Humbug in between episodes that built the mytharc without making it a huge impossible tangle.

The end of Colony was the best cliffhanger I'd ever seen. To this day, I probably can't name too many that have been better at making me wish for a week to go by.

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Season two is when I started watching; The Host was my first episode, and I found it wonderfully bizarre.  Since the show aired on Fridays then, and I was young and thus usually out, I didn't see it again until Duane Barry.  For obvious reasons, after that I was hooked and started recording it weekly -- an obsession was born.

I like the first season - and came to hate the mytharc - but I'm not sure how sustainable a series of MOTW episodes was, so I think Gillian's birth control issues saved the show in a way. 

Among the MOTW episodes, I love Irresistible, Die Hand Der Verletz, Fresh Bones, Dod Kalm and Our Town.  And I have such an appreciation for Humbug, the first humorous episode.  I'd seen the Jim Rose Circus as an opening act at a concert, so seeing them pop up on what was now my favorite show was a hoot.  I'm glad it came together so well even though it was a departure for the series, because future humorous episodes wound up being among my favorites, too. 

 

 

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The Host was my first episode too, Bastet.  I think we discussed that before at TWoP but I don't remember now.  I was captivated by the chemistry between Mulder and Scully, even when they were working apart.  I remember I was baking cookies or something and I burned them because I couldn't tear myself away from the TV.  Good times, heh.

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Among the MOTW episodes, I love Irresistible, Die Hand Der Verletz, Fresh Bones, Dod Kalm and Our Town.  And I have such an appreciation for Humbug, the first humorous episode.  I'd seen the Jim Rose Circus as an opening act at a concert, so seeing them pop up on what was now my favorite show was a hoot.  I'm glad it came together so well even though it was a departure for the series, because future humorous episodes wound up being among my favorites, too. 

 

Totally on the same page regarding favourite season 2 eps (sans one of them - sorry, ol' Boney). I find that my most rewatched episodes are the humorous ones or the extra creepy ones.

 

My whole family started watching from the beginning (I was only 10 and my teacher was appalled when I said that my favourite tv-show was The X Files, heh) and when Scully got abducted and didn't appear in 3 I was devastated, thinking she wouldn't return. My older brother just scoffed and said, "Eh, Scully's not that important anyway." He just had Mulder on his brain. I considered it a personal Fuck You to my brother when she returned and continued to be awesome and vital to the show.

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Watching Die Hand Die Verletzt now. I mean, Scully's face at the first crime scene. A total "What the fuck ever." I love it! And then there were frogs (courtesy a tornado, obviously).

Mrs. Paddock is amazing. I'm sad she didn't reappear.

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We've had a lot of fun doing this for S1, so why not tackle the same challenge for S2: What are your five favorite and least favorite episodes of the season...and why?!

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Ah well, now you're getting into the Krycek seasons!  I can't do a best five this season because it's my favorite season.  I have to cheat and do a best dozen.

 

Favorite: 

 

Little Green Men

Sleepless

Duane Barry

Ascension

Anasazi

Humbug

Our Town

Død Kalm

Colony 

Endgame

Firewalker

Die Hand die verletzt

(Honorable mentions to F. Emasculata and The Calusari - okay, so that makes fourteen.)

 

 

My least favorites, though, is easy.

3

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Oh goodness, it turns out I love too much of season 2.  How could I pick a top five?  I said in the season one thread that season 3 or 4 is my favorite, but maybe it's actually season 2.  

 

Okay, some favorites:

 

Little Green Men

The Host

Duane Barry

Ascension

One Breath

Irresistible

Die Hand Die Verletzt

End Game

Humbug

Anasazi (possibly my favorite mytharc episode)

 

ETA: Hee, ElleryAnne, I see you also cheated and chose more than five.  Limiting to five is impossible for this season!  I could probably do it if I counted the abduction trilogy as one big episode.

 

 

Oh right, and least favorites:

 

3

Fresh Bones

Fearful Symmetry

Død Kalm

F. Emasculator (just because it's disgusting)

Edited by smrou
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I'll play...

Favorites:

Die Hand Die Verletzt - just creepy as all get out.  That big giant snake.  And Mrs. Paddock.  I'm a bio teacher and every time we dissect pigs I think of that scene.

Our Town - also creepy.  Even though the ending was stupid because in reality Scully should've been able to easily escape from that contraption.  There was plenty of room.  Also, "Good People Good Food" is hilarious.

Anasazi -- holy crap that cliffhanger.  I think this is my favorite mytharc episode. 

The Host -- they were separated and Scully did the whole cloak and dagger routine because she knew that was the only way Mulder would meet her.  Loved that.  Also, there's a mutant worm in the NJ sewer, and it's really Darin Morgan in the suit.  What's not to love?

Duane Barry/Ascension - I'm cheating here and picking 2. 

But I can't stop there. I have to add Humbug for bringing the fun, and F. Emasculata for taking the gross factor to new heights.  So that's 8.  But I only have 2 least favorites: Fearful Symmetry was a snoozefest, and 3, which I've only seen maybe twice. 

 

Edited by janestclair
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Favorites:

 

One Breath - My favorite Muldercentric episode, because Mulder is all about Scully in this one.

 

Irresistible - Donnie Pfaster is pitch-perfect creepy, and Scully is so perfectly Scully

 

Our Town - Delightfully macabre

 

Humbug -  It's hilarious, and the funny episodes wound up consistently being among my favorites over the course of the series.  This one started a wonderful trend.

 

Die Hand Der Verletzt - Pretty much everything I like in a MOTW, including a terrific guest cast.

 

Oh, ass - I forgot The Anasazi.  I'm not losing any of the above, so my Top 5 is a Top 6.

 

Least Favorites:

 

3 - Duh.

 

Fearful Symmetry - I actually want to like this one for its message, but it's just not well done.

 

The Calusari - That kid is creepy, and not in the good way.  But I do love "Did you learn about wind in kindergarten?"

 

Sleepless - Mulder and Scully give good phone, but it's not enough; I don't even remember what the X-File in this one is about.

 

Blood - See above.

Edited by Bastet
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Favs:

Little Green Men

Ascension

One Breath

Die Hand Die Verletzt

Anasazi

Least Favs:

3 (is this the Space of season 2?!)

Fresh Bones

Fearful Symmetry

F. Emasculata

Soft Light

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Die Hand Der Verletz - Pretty much everything I like in a MOTW, including a terrific guest cast.

Yes, such good guest stars.  And I'm a wuss when it comes to anything remotely scary so people are often surprised when they learn how big an XF fan I am, but I always say that XF was rarely actually scary (I don't know if everyone would agree with me on that, but it's how I feel anyway).  But this episode is one of the few that actually scares me.  And I love it anyway!  Or because of that, perhaps!  I just know better than to watch it by myself after dark is all.

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Favorites:

 

One Breath - you know, you get a lot of death imagery across televised media. Going toward the light, going through a tunnel, the standards. But Scully sitting in a canoe, moored to a dock was new, gorgeous and effective.Not there nurse? Perfect. I seem to forget if this was the episode where Mulder and X had their parking garage shouting match, but if I'm right, kudos go to both.  And "I had the strength of your beliefs"!

 

Ascension - "Did you hurt her!?" Alex Krycek, serial double-crosser. I'm on pins and needles every single time I watch.

 

Die Hand Der Verletz - fantastic episode. It actually frightened me. And it recalls many talk shows I saw as a kid in the 90s, where kids would describe cult behavior to mask abuse of some sort. Granted there was actual cult/satanist behavior present here, but the story one character told sounded like one of those shocking, terrible segments.

 

End Game - "It was the only way we could get you to help us," (or The Case of Too Many Samanthas). Also, Scully not taking anyone's flack when she's Mulder's medical doctor.

 

Anasazi - because I am a huge mytharc fan until roundabout season 6. 

 

(Honorable mention: Dod Kalm - Makes me cry every time. I assume loving this episode is a bit unpopular because the makeup is so woefully bad)

 

Least favorite:

Fearful Symmetry- Heavy-handed, boring. So boring. 

 

Soft Light - Personal Pet Peeve? When the show follows the subject of the investigation (too much) at the expense of Mulder and Scully screen time. The friend I originally watched with was very offended when I mentioned this. Anyway, this episode has a ton of it, so pass.

 

Fresh Bones - Whoever greenlit this episode, just...no. Who thought that was a good idea?

 

Our Town - I just dislike it. And again, I think Mulder and Scully spend a lot of the episode apart, or that there is a lot of subject of investigation following. I could be wrong.

 

Excelsis Dei - protagonist following, Mulder not believing a woman's report of rape, just no. But I was fascinated by how Mulder would ever escape that flooded room.

Edited by ScullyInApt42
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End Game - "It was the only way we could get you to help us," (or The Case of Too Many Samanthas). Also, Scully not taking anyone's flack when she's Mulder's medical doctor.

Scully taking control over Mulder's medical care is pretty much what put this episode on my favorites list.  Also this:

cap749.jpg

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I'm glad to see so much love for Die Hand Die Verletzt.". I feel that, much like Darkness Falls, I don't see it often mentioned on forums. So... Yay!

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Yes!  That smile.

 

Darkness Falls would be next on my list.  Except now I can't watch it without feeling sorry for poor, puking Gillian.

 

I like Fresh Bones -- a dude comes OUT OF HER HAND.  And I like Chester.  Plus, Callum Keith Rennie.

 

(Honorable mention: Dod Kalm - Makes me cry every time. I assume loving this episode is a bit unpopular because the makeup is so woefully bad)

 

I like that one, but I feel sorry for the actors having to go through the prosthetic makeup process.  "As certain as I am of this life ... Howard Gordon is a dead man."  (That's from the gag reel, and cracks me up.)

Edited by Bastet
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I think Die Hand Die Verletzt is one of those episodes that doesn't stand out as particularly special, but is just a really really solid X-File.  Like, it's not particularly funny, it's not particularly shippy, it's not significant to the mytharc.  So there's nothing to make it really stand out, necessarily, but it's creepy and well-acted and just a really well done episode.  

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I may have let out a fangirl squeeee when Mulder covers Scully with his body at the end of DHDV. It was so subtle, but I totally was all "awwwwwwwwww."

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I like that, too (when, quite frankly, it's something that would bug me nine times out of ten). 

 

And I know this is twisted, but I get a real kick out of them being dragged across the gym floor.

Edited by Bastet
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I like that one, but I feel sorry for the actors having to go through the prosthetic makeup process.  "As certain as I am of this life ... Howard Gordon is a dead man."  (That's from the gag reel, and cracks me up.)

You know what I like in Dod Kalm? Mark Snow's score.  And when Scully mixes up that cocktail with sardine juice and lemons and Mulder wants her to have it instead of him. But oh dear God, that make up.  It's laughably bad. Solid X-File otherwise.

 

I think Die Hand Die Verletzt is one of those episodes that doesn't stand out as particularly special, but is just a really really solid X-File.  Like, it's not particularly funny, it's not particularly shippy, it's not significant to the mytharc.  So there's nothing to make it really stand out, necessarily, but it's creepy and well-acted and just a really well done episode.  

 

I wholeheartedly concur with this. 

 

I may have let out a fangirl squeeee when Mulder covers Scully with his body at the end of DHDV. It was so subtle, but I totally was all "awwwwwwwwww."

 

Yes!!!  Me too!

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I wish I could love DHDV like so many of you do.  But all I can see when I watch it is the absurdity, heh.

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Mulder not believing a woman's report of rape,

 

I do like Gillian's tone of voice as Scully reacts to that, though.

 

And when Scully mixes up that cocktail with sardine juice and lemons

 

Don't forget the snow globe water.

 

Make-up aside, I like Dod Kalm.

 

"You're lucky you inherited your father's legs."

"What?"

"Sea legs."

 

Not that it's news that Gillian is amazing, or even that she's a master of the little things, but there's a great example in this episode: when Mulder wakes up Scully at the table, Gillian sounds 100 percent like someone who has just woken up.

 

And I like Trondheim, despite his actions, because they make sense and he's not entirely wrong -- he only steals the water from Scully when she won't listen to him about not wasting any more on Mulder (which is the same argument Mulder makes); until then, he was willing to continue sharing with her.

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Other than One Breath, Irresistible, and Anasazi in the "Love" category, and 3 in the "Hate", I don't really have any strong feelings about S2.  Everything else was just kind of there, some better than others though.

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Ha!  Since we were all posting so close together yesterday, I just went back to see if I missed anyone's list.  What I had missed is this hilarious typo that will forever be my new name for the episode (which I like, because I'm one of three fans not grossed out by it):

 

F. Emasculator

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Favorites:

Irresistible

The Host

Little Green Men

Red Museum

F. Emasculata

 

Honorable mentions: Firewalker, Soft Light, Our Town, and all the mythology episodes.

 

Least favorites:

Fearful Symmetry (I wanted to like this one, because the premise reminds me of that Kolchak episode with the aliens who steal bone marrow from zoo animals. But the gorilla puppet ruins it for me).

Excelsis Dei

I don't think I've ever seen 3, but it seems to be unanimously despised. 

 

I can't even come up with more. I love practically every episode from this season. :)

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Looking ahead to the season two "most interesting villain" elimination game ...

 

Help me out with Dod Kalm – that pirate (or whatever he is) killed someone (and I guess Trondheim becomes a villain to Mulder & Scully), but isn’t the trouble ultimately caused by a meteor(ite)?

 

And who’s doing the killing in The Calusari?

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It's the spirit of the dead twin who does the killing in The Calusari. His name is Michael and the "normal" alive boy is called Charlie. The twin was stillborn and his spirit had attatched itself to Charlie and in the end the priests separate the bad spirit from Charlie... Or something.

 

Dod Kalm, oy. I scanned its wiki article and I isn't made very clear at all. Here is the closest to a description I could find: "Scully develops a theory that the Ardent is sailing near a metallic object beneath the ocean", "the agents realize that something from the ocean contaminated the Ardent's potable water and led to the aging."

Now, what name would one give that?

Edited by joelene
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I can remember nearly half a dozen things that were posited as the cause of the rapid aging, so maybe it was never decided what was the most likely cause?  Unless someone has a better recollection, I think we'll go with a "Whatever contaminated the water" type of answer for that one.

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I have a special place in my heart for Firewalker (and can't wait for the rewatch to reach this episode) because I ran into Leland Orser and Hiro Kanagawa on Granville Street in Vancouver in the summer of '96 or '97. Fun story, they were great to a ratty bunch of treeplanters in a sketchy area of town.

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I really like Firewalker. The fungus is actually based on a real fungus that affects ants, which I think is pretty cool.  

 

The zombie ant fungus is pretty cool.  As a biologist, little details like that entertain me.  The only problem with Firewalker is that it's basically Ice and/or Darkness Falls set in a volcano, both of which were better episodes. Also Shawnee Smith has always kind of bugged me for no apparent reason.  It is Scully's first episode back post-abduction, so it does have that going for it.  Plus they make the fungus look like a giant asparagus, so that's fun.  Bastet, I did not know they used a condom to create the asparagus.  That's certainly interesting. There's a joke in there that I can't quite find.

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(That's awesome! I wanted to be a biologist for a long time, but now I'm thinking about pursuing Computer Science/Mathematics).

 

Back on topic: I also didn't know about the condom. I guess you have to be innovative when you don't have access to today's high-tech special effects... lol

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So I'm burning my way through a rewatch right now, and... I think Aubrey is a spectacularly underrated episode? I mean, there are flaws with the way they get to a solution (as much as genetics make sense, BJ slashing words into her victim's chests isn't the same thing as Mulder's predisposition for sunflower seeds; also, what made Terry O'Quinn wonder why they were looking at a current case when the folder allegedly representing said case was closed on a table with no way for him to see what was inside?), but as an X-File it was good and as an homage to slasher films it was great too. Unfortunately, it has the misfortune of turning up directly before the Irresistible/DHDV/Fresh Bones/Colony/Endgame set of episodes, which is probably the single strongest consecutive run in the show's history, so it fades into the background a bit.

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I think of Aubrey as a really solid episode, though not a standout. I was curious how it did in our elimination game and it went out in the third round of eliminations (though I never voted to eliminate it), which I find a little surprising. It's not one I watch much, though, because I find it scary and I'm a wimp when it comes to scary episodes. 

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I started a whole series rewatch on Sunday because I had the chance and I am SUPER excited for the reboot. I just happen to be up to season 2 at the moment so I'm going to relfect on it first (I will edit as I go , I am only up to Red Museum).

 

Favourite Episodes

 

Duane Barry/Ascension (cheating a little but totally one episode) - This is the set of episodes that hooked me right in watching the series the first time as a 12-year-old, I had watched before (I particularly remember enjoying Beyond the Sea from season 1) but this is where my obsession began. They still hold up after all these years and are genuinely tense, extremely well-constructed episodes.

 

One Breath - So, so, so good. I remeber being genuinely worried at the time I first watched it that Scully wouldn't survive (I was unspolied, I am from Australia where The X-Files hadn't achieved pop culture status yet,I didn't have home internet until 2001 and I was 12 and had no idea how TV really worked.) But even without that element the episode still holds up wonderfully.

 

Irresistible - Donnie Pfaster is CREEPY and, poor, poor Scully, second kidnapping/abduction in the space of five episodes and four times in the space of 22 episodes, season two was very rough on Scully, I just want to hug her at the end of this episode.

 

Fresh Bones - There are a lot of genuinely scary moments in this episode. 

 

Humbug - This is a lot of fun to watch.

 

Least Favourite Episodes

 

3 - Nonac worthy, made even worse by the point in the series it occurs, seriously Scully is missing, presumed dead and the writers give us this turd of an episode. 

 

Firewalker - By no means bad, I just feel like Ice did a similar concept better.

 

​Fearful Symmetry -  Boring and heavy-handed.

Edited by JacquelineLHope
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Duane Barry/Ascension (cheating a little but totally one episode) - This is the set of episodes that hooked me right in watching the series the first time as a 12-year-old, I had watched before (I particularly remember enjoying Beyond the Sea from season 1) but this is where my obsession began. They still hold up after all these years and are genuinely tense, extremely well-constructed episodes.

 

You got such good episodes! I actually didn't watch it that much while it was airing, and it's a wonder I became a fan of this show at all with the ones I did see "live": Schizogeny, Alpha, Rush, First Person Shooter, Fight Club, Surekill, Lord of the Flies, Improbable, and The Truth. Like, without going all the way back into the early recesses of season one, there probably isn't a worse combination of nine episodes you could compile to try and sell this show with.

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3 (is this the Space of season 2?!)

 

 

 

3 is so much worse than Space, I actually don't mind Space that much, I can see that some people would find it boring but boring is mo much less of a sin than 3, which is just pure crap.

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You got such good episodes! I actually didn't watch it that much while it was airing, and it's a wonder I became a fan of this show at all with the ones I did see "live": Schizogeny, Alpha, Rush, First Person Shooter, Fight Club, Surekill, Lord of the Flies, Improbable, and The Truth. Like, without going all the way back into the early recesses of season one, there probably isn't a worse combination of nine episodes you could compile to try and sell this show with.

Wow. If someone still gives the show a chance after only watching those doesn't prove the power of Mulder and Scully's awesomeness then nothing will. Although it could've been worse if you managed to catch, say, 3 and The Field Where I Snoozed too.

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You got such good episodes! I actually didn't watch it that much while it was airing, and it's a wonder I became a fan of this show at all with the ones I did see "live": Schizogeny, Alpha, Rush, First Person Shooter, Fight Club, Surekill, Lord of the Flies, Improbable, and The Truth. Like, without going all the way back into the early recesses of season one, there probably isn't a worse combination of nine episodes you could compile to try and sell this show with.

 

HA!  That's funny.

 

Okay I actually kind of like Schizogeny and Rush.  And I don't hate Alpha.  Or The Truth.  Or Improbable.  Hmm, maybe it's not as bad as I thought at first glance, heh.

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Schizogeny, Alpha, Rush, First Person Shooter, Fight Club, Surekill, Lord of the Flies, Improbable, and The Truth. Like, without going all the way back into the early recesses of season one, there probably isn't a worse combination of nine episodes you could compile to try and sell this show with.

 

Wow.  The ultimate for me still remains a friend who got hooked on Moonlighting via the truly awful fourth season, but I must say this comes in a solid second.

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...And just imagine how much of an acid trip The Truth felt like without knowing Krycek and X and the Lone Gunmen were supposed to be dead.

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S3 is probably the most consistently stellar IMO, S5 and S6 have some of the series' most rewatchable episodes, but while I'm rewatching there's just something about S2 for me. I just feel so attached to it. (S1 has a place in my heart as well, but S2 has fewer skip-worthy episodes and a much less clunky feel to me!) There's something so eminently lovable about Scully, Mulder and Scully/Mulder back here in this season. Mulder was...softer? Saner? Just more frequently, openly appreciative of Scully and less annoyingly arrogant?! DD was at his most gorgeous and I'm ridiculously shallow? I can't quite pinpoint it, but I just adore Mulder for much of this season, while as early as S3 his character already starts to annoy me a bit more and delight me a bit less. And Scully's more vibrant for me in these first two seasons ----a little snarky, a little more open with her emotions, maybe a little less poised and contained. I always admire Scully, but I just seem to love and connect with her most this season. 

 

S2 ranks pretty low on most people's lists of best seasons, but somehow rewatching it just makes me happiest! 

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Season two suffers a bit in my season rankings for the low scores given to the Scully-lite episodes like Blood and Sleepless (not to mention the shitfest that is 3).  But once we get back on track, I love the MOTW episodes this season.  And the burgeoning mytharc was really interesting.  It's a great season, where the show really finds its groove and lays the groundwork for what's perfected in season three.

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Weirdly enough, I actually liked Sleepless a lot when I rewatched it...but I enjoyed nearly all non-S2 episodes when rewatching, so clearly I'm not too discerning a viewer :) 

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