This episode is supposed to be set in Michigan so I feel obligated to write about it because I am from Michigan. This episode always startles me because I’ve not lived in Michigan for most of my adult life but the accents are spot-on. The very real Michigan accents but they’re definitely that kind of Midwestern flat with round O sounds.
The the setting, Coats Grove, is also really familiar to me. I used to drive through that area all the time and often on Coats Grove Road. It’s near Hastings, just north of Kalamazoo and Battle Creek. Even though this episode was likely filmed in British Columbia they definitely got the look and feel of the place right.
It’s not a town though. At the end, Mulder mentions “Coats Grove authorities.” Said authorities, I assure you. Coats Grove is not even a hamlet really, just a place. A road. The nearest actual town is Hastings, where you will find some authorities, probably some of whom love in Coats Grove, but there is no Coats Grove PD or anything like that, so I don’t know who the hell he is taking to.
It’s also not that muddy in Coats Grove.
“Kaddish” is a remarkably relevant episode, given that we currently have actual Nazis threatening Jewish community centers all over the United States and also one in the West Wing advising the man in the Oval Office. We’re living at a time when justice for minorities seems less and less likely to come from government agencies and police.
The dialogue in the scene where Mulder and Scully approach the father-in-law of a Hasidic man murdered by Nazis in a grocery store gave me chills this evening:
JACOB WEISS: Where were you when Isaac needed your protection? When we called the police, they said we were paranoid, that there was nothing to worry about. They always say that when someone threatens the Jews.
MULDER: So there was a specific threat of violence?
JACOB WEISS: The threat is always there. Just this morning, this is what I found under our door.
JACOB WEISS: And now you come here not to help us, but to ask our help so you can impose justice to the only man who has taken justice into his own hands.
MULDER: We would be happy not to disturb the grave site if you can tell us who that man is.
The authorities as represented here are not interested in justice, but investigating the killings of those who perpetrated a hate-crime against a member of a minority group. Minorities and the systematically marginalized are regularly told that they are imagining things or just being paranoid. It takes someone actually getting injured or killed for the authorities to respond, and then their response is typically nominal, at best. Once out of the hands of the police, courts treat minorities no better.
Since the inauguration, we have seen moves to systematically dismantle and remove civil rights protections for minorities and instead allow those with power to cast themselves as the objects of discrimination.
This conversation between Mulder and Scully after they leave Jacob Weiss and his daughter reflects the sort of false equivalency that we have heard and read in the news every day since November 9, 2016.
MULDER: …but it’s hard to fault his attitude when you see something like that. (He hands it to Scully.) Anybody delivering justice to a people who have known that kind of persecution and hatred, why wouldn’t they protect him?
SCULLY: Justice or revenge?
MULDER: I’m not saying those kids don’t deserve full prosecution under the law, but the hate mongering goes both ways.
SCULLY: Yes, but the right to free expression doesn’t extend to murder.
This sort of false equivalency should enrage us, but often, particularly if it doesn’t directly affect us, we let it go as being just words. Words, however, have power. Symbolic violence is still violence. People against whom violence is perpetrated should not be expected to defend or come to the aid of their attackers. It is an example of further violence to expect them to do so.
Mulder finally comes around to understanding the forces that animated the golem and motivated it to enact justice against the Nazis who murdered Isaac for no reason other than the fact of his existence:
SCULLY: Mud! (She follows him.) Mulder, what are you talking about? And… for what purpose? Exacting revenge?
MULDER: I don’t think it was hate that created this, Scully. I think it was love.
We all need to channel our love and pain into righteous rage and keep pouring it into our various golems, which take the form of protests, lawsuits against illegal and unconstitutional actions on the part of law enforcement and members of the executive, and other similar actions. It might also take the form of clay men who will strike out into the world and seek justice for us, but that seems like a lot more work than supporting the effective modes of action that we currently see taking shape all around us.
I can barely watch this episode. Thank God (swt) that is over.
I usually have to distract myself with something else while it is playing. Tonight it was grading student work that I am behind on. I am usually not squeamish at all, but there is something about an antebellum throwback amputee inbreeding horror episode that really gets to me. I’m not sure what it could be, exactly.
In recap, if you want to skip this episode, do so. I would also not recommend watching it when you are about to sleep or eat or be a human person.
And we’re back, somewhat out of time, for season 4.
We begin with the very weird “Herrenvolk.” I don’t have much to say about this episode, except that I can’t figure out who the blond boy drone clone is supposed to be. If the girl is a Samantha drone clone, then who the hell is the blond boy drone clone?
It’s a mystery. I’ve been wondering this for 20 years. I guess I shall have no answer today either.
And bees? WTF?
R.I.P. little buddy.
We’re still missing you 20 years later. And we’ll miss you forever.
Hi everyone, thanks for visiting. Are you excited about tomorrow’s new shows? Here at The X-Files 20 Years Later we are very excited. Maybe even excited enough to resume blogging our rewatch project. WHO CAN SAY THOUGH. Any requests for recaps of episodes we’ve missed in our indolence?
Clyde Bruckman makes the claim that if he can see the future that means that it must have already happened. He is right. This blog post was written in the future of the time that you are reading it. Or I am in the future of the time that I will have read this before I wrote it.
Now I am confused.
Bruckman’s dream about being dead and decomposing in a field of red tulips is oddly soothing, particularly coming from a guy who knows his own and everyone else’s future. The message is: we all died. We all know what happens when a person dies. There is something soothing about being completely aware and mindful of those truths.
The other message of the dream is that Clyde Bruckman is a total weirdo. That is pretty clear from his behavior also.
As weird as he might be, he lived by a strange code involving an overall orientation toward allowing the future to unfold as it is supposed to. In the end, this meant that he had to fulfill his destiny the only way he knew how, since he knew that he was slated to die.
And so it goes.
D.P.O. is clearly about what happens when you put massive firepower in the hands of idiots who are not capable of controlling their emotions.
This episode begins with the pointing of guns in faces.
This is a clear piece of evidence for the claims that if we all had guns we would all be safer.
Scully is there and she has her gun. Then AD Skinner busts in and he has his gun and the two are at a standoff (NO VIOLENCE). Then Mulder busts in and he points his gun at everybody and they all point their guns at him (NO VIOLENCE). Then everyone shouts a lot an demands things and finally something is resolved and no one gets shot.
Flash to Scully’s sister in the hospital. Someone shot her in the head. Her mom thought it was Dana at first and then realize that it wasn’t. I guess that is because Melissa Scully is not an FBI agent and doesn’t have a gun on her person at all times. Sorry about your luck. Should have been carrying a gun. Welcome to America. Don’t not carry a gun or you will get shot. If you have a gun you can deflect other bullets by just shooting randomly in all directions.
If you got ’em, shoot ’em, XX-philes.