EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

Image Credit: FOX/ screengrab

'X-Files' Fridays: Duane Barry's not like these other guys

Season 2 | Episode 5 | “Duane Barry” | Aired Oct 14, 1994

It’s been over two decades since The X-Files made its debut, but the series is as relevant as ever, and with a revival on the horizon, there’s no better time to revisit it—or to discover it for the first time. Community Assistant Editors Andrea Towers, who watched in its original run, and Kelly Connolly, who was introduced to the show last summer, will be here each week to talk it out. Next up, Krycek fetches the coffee.

KELLY: When I got to “Duane Barry” for the first time last summer, the friend who introduced me to this show warned me that I wasn’t prepared. I wasn’t. I don’t think anyone CAN be when they’re first watching The X-Files. “Duane Barry” kicks this show into a whole new gear—nothing is ever the same after this, and not just because of the red Speedo.

ANDREA: Moment of silence for the red Speedo, please.

I think I will forever just hear “Mulder … Mulder, HELP ME!” Those final moments are chilling (and only supplemented by the very brief, adorable Easter egg of pickles and ice cream at the grocery store). It’s no secret that the whole arc of this series came about because they needed to figure out what to do with Gillian’s pregnancy, but seriously, I am so thankful that this happened the way it did. The mythology of the show was there, but it was THIS episode that really kicked everything—the show and their relationship—to another level. I feel kind of bad saying, “Thank you for getting pregnant, Gillian,” but really—thank you, Gillian.

KELLY: And even though the function of the episode, practically speaking, is its ending, everything that comes before it is just as important, because this whole story is about setting up questions of responsibility. The fact that Mulder breaks away from the FBI’s script might ultimately be what saves the lives of the other hostages, but does Scully pay the price? Is her abduction made possible by the fact that Mulder pulls Duane away from the bullet that might have killed him, because he just HAS to know if Duane is telling the truth? Mulder needs something to believe in. As much as that saves lives, it also puts them in danger. Obviously only Duane is to blame for everything still to come, but does Mulder believe that? He beats himself up over things—we see it in his martyrdom with the hostages, and in the way he’s constantly expecting authority figures to “chew him out”—so all of these questions of consequence are the ones that Mulder will go on to ask himself. But what he doesn’t know is that Scully’s curiosity plays a role too; she’s the one who runs the implant through the scanner and enables them to find her. Scully is in this as much as he is.

xfiles duane barry mulder

ANDREA: I think you make an important point in Scully really being the catalyst here, because she’s the one who sets off Duane Barry’s entire plan, albeit unknowingly. It’s kind of an important thing to realize: As much as they’re apart right now, Scully is still committing to this life, and not just by helping Mulder out. Her curiosity in trying to figure out the implant, and being intrigued by it, says a lot about what she feels is important. And we know Mulder will continue to beat himself up about her condition through this whole arc, but you’re right—he doesn’t know that she was the one who set it off. She believes in the truth. She needs something to believe in and hold on to also, because it’s never been JUST about Mulder against the FBI. From day one, it’s been about both of them against something greater.

KELLY: I’m glad you bring up the “something greater” that they’re fighting, because there’s a recurring motif in Duane Barry’s story, and it’s that he’s “not like these other guys.” He doesn’t want to be lumped together with everyone else. Mulder is the same: People tend to dismiss him on the basis of his beliefs. Even when they need him for those beliefs, they’d rather pretend that they don’t—that he can just follow a script, the same as everyone else. But Mulder sees Duane as a person first (“That man is afraid. And the only way you’re going to win his trust is by trying to understand what he’s afraid of”), and Scully sees Mulder as a person first, because they both know what it’s like to have their individuality dismissed. That’s part of why they can’t stop orbiting each other, even when they don’t technically work together.

ANDREA: Mulder sees everyone as a person first, and that’s why he’s the way he is. I realized recently that I have a thing for characters who, at their core, are very human … and Mulder really fits into that. It’s what keeps him grounded. We’ve talked about this before, but it’s what keeps him from not shooting people outright, what makes him different from Krycek or people that came before him. It’s why Scully understands him so well. He can follow a script with the best of them, but at the end, his choices are going to be because of what he understands of people. Mulder is “not like those other guys” as well, as you pointed out.

And I love how you bring up Mulder and Scully orbiting each other BECAUSE they’ve had their individuality dismissed. Because I think together, they make up a whole person greater than they would on their own, and they’re realizing that.

KELLY: She’s the voice in his head—the one he trusts. I love the way we cut between Mulder’s attempts to bond with Duane Barry and CCH Pounder’s deadpan pleas to cut it out; don’t feed into his psychosis. But the moment Scully says, “Mulder, it’s me,” and starts guiding him through the process, he listens. He knows she has information that actually matters. The information itself is a classic Scully explanation—brain injury rather than aliens—but she comes at the problem from the same angle, because she looks at Duane as a person first. Mulder says, “I can’t negotiate with him if he thinks I believe him,” and I think that’s half of what makes his partnership with Scully work so well: They don’t automatically share each other’s ideas. But the other half is that they always trust each other’s intentions, and that’s what the FBI is missing.

ANDREA: The FBI doesn’t know how to read them. Because the FBI also thinks that it can keep Mulder and Scully down by keeping them apart, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. It would almost be too easy if Scully were just suddenly on board with Mulder’s theories, sure. But just because they don’t see eye to eye on the alien thing, it doesn’t mean that Scully doesn’t think his ideas require validation. And what I love about this is that even though she can give him science and he can give her strange theories, that’s what helps them ultimately come together with a solution.

Duane Barry is such an interesting character to me, on the same level as Luther Boggs, in a way. They’re both not crazy—in fact, their motivations and accusations are actually valid—but no one sees them as people who deserve any kind of respect or understanding (even if that understanding is just so they can get to the bottom of a case), except for Mulder and Scully.

xfiles duane barry scully

KELLY: I like that parallel. Neither Duane Barry nor Luther Boggs is a good man, and Mulder doesn’t let Duane off the hook for the hostage shooting any more than Scully can forgive what Boggs has done—but they aren’t written off completely either. There’s a “version of the truth” in everyone’s experiences, and the more Mulder and Scully pay attention to those versions, the closer they get to the bigger truth. But Scully also points out that there’s such a thing as looking too hard. That might be what he’s doing with Duane by the end, and that might be what she’s doing when she scans the implant. And there are consequences. But I think Mulder and Scully’s determination saves their lives as much as it endangers them. She flies down in the middle of the night for Mulder. (“Don’t tell me to calm down!”)

ANDREA: I’m always intrigued by Scully’s actions at the end, what makes her really scan that implant. Is it curiosity in general? (We know she’s not the type to stick her hand in bile …) Is it a desperation of sorts, of wondering whether Mulder is really right after all this time? Either way, she’s come a long way from the girl in the pilot, and even that girl was ready to believe the impossible when it came down to it. Scully always tries to pull Mulder back from going over the edge. She doesn’t want him to look so hard that he becomes unstable, and that’s why her beliefs work so well. It’s not that she’s trying to argue against his own beliefs (despite her insistence that there is an explanation for EVERYTHING), but she sees him on the verge of becoming too erratic, too unstable, the epitome of what the FBI can use to claim his downfall. Scully brings him back from that ledge, even if she doesn’t know it or realize it.

KELLY: And he becomes someone she can call out for, so it’s mutual.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like