I literally cannot express to you how excited I am to see the X-Files return to television this January on Fox. Cannot. Express. I can’t wait to see all my old friends, and frankly, I’m anxious to see just how the heck they will accomplish the setup and the dismount alone, let alone the promised mix of monster-of-the-week and mytharc in the middle. But of course if you ask me the bit I’m the most excited about, it’s hands down, no contest: seeing more Scully. Where is she now? Has she changed? What is her life like? What kind of adventures has she had while we weren’t watching?
I’m not alone in saying that Scully was and is a very influential character for me personally. She’s one of the few characters I’ve really both identified with and aspired to be like — an uber-competent badass professional woman, wry but not goofy, who knows her shit, and who wore kind of terrible suits for a couple seasons there (let’s never speak about my first couple years out of grad school, guys).
She’s not completely un-problematic, though. Despite all her awesomeness, and all that she has done for women in science, the X-Files’s treatment of my favorite agent can whip back and forth from feminist to backwards in the blink of an eye. On that note, I have a short wishlist for you:
A Desk for Scully
In the excellent fourth season episode Never Again, Scully finally asks Mulder (after four years of sometimes creative fan complaints), “Why don’t I have a desk?” Mulder responds that he thought she had an “area.”
In fact, the iconic X-Files office has one desk, with one Fox Mulder nameplate on it. Despite Scully’s single episode of getting riled up over the situation, it didn’t change.
By the time of the eighth season episode Patience, when Mulder has been abducted by aliens, and Agent John Doggett is Scully’s new partner, Scully says (after staring mournfully at Mulder’s nameplate), “I never had a desk in here, Agent Doggett, but I’ll see that you get one.”
I don’t hold out much hope for poor Scully getting a nameplate, but I feel strongly about this: she deserves it. These two are (or should be) equal partners, and she’s an experienced doctor and government agent. By now in 2015 — very experienced. After all she’s been through and all she’s done, she deserves more than a little respect. And I don’t care how hard it is, set designers and scriptwriters, that means more than just an imaginary “area.”
It took four seasons to even mention the problem, and by now, it’s way past time to fix it. Treat Scully like a professional and give her a damn desk.