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[identity profile] amyhit.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] xf_book_club
The next fic was nominated by [livejournal.com profile] lightlack and enthusiastically seconded by myself. It’s written by [livejournal.com profile] threeguesses, who is one of my favorite writers to come out of the pre/post IWTB era. Her writing in this fandom was not prolific, but her stories have always stood out (at least for me) for their powerful concepts, enthralling emotional currents, and the deceptive simplicity of threeguesses’ writing. Undoubtedly you know how "five things" fics work, in which case you also know the title of this week’s fic tells you just about everything that can be revealed about it without spoiling the sense of discovery that comes with each new segment.


five things that never happened to dana scully

The author is still around and writing up a storm (though sadly not in this fandom), and I’m sure she would appreciate feedback. There’s lots to say about this fic, so please do let us know what you think. And, as always, the nomination post is open for new suggestions.

Date: 2012-02-26 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlegreen42.livejournal.com
I think the tags you used are fine. I don't think they're too spoilery -- but then, I didn't look at them until after reading the fic. But I wouldn't worry too much about it.

The way revelation is such a huge part of them. What's changed? What's different?

What I like about this -- and other -- "what if?" fics, is that it gives a bigger picture of who these characters are -- well, at least, as understood through the minds of the individual fic writers -- because you can see how they would act in situations the show would never have put them in. Reading this is actually jump-starting my brain to conjure up "what if?" scenarios of my own (which I may or may not turn into an actual fic, ha ha).

Date: 2012-02-26 11:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
I don't think you should worry too much about the tags. I never look at them unless I'm searching for a fic, and I suspect that is true for most.

Date: 2012-02-26 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] littlegreen42.livejournal.com
I do always like these "what if?" type fics, and this was enjoyable to read. As usual, I'm not completely sure what I want to say about this, but I'll try my best to comment on each section:

1 - While I'm not the biggest fan of domesticated Mulder and Scully, the fact that they're both still working on the X-Files (at least, I'm assuming they're still on the X-Files, Mulder was only "on loan" Violent Crimes) while living together and raising a family made me like this. I don't like to think that they can only choose between one of the two, living a "normal" life, or working on The X-Files (though I suppose that Mulder would have to greatly tone down his reckless, risk-taking behaviours upon becoming a "family man" -- though that's probably something he should do, anyway, ha ha).

2 - I liked this one, but I'm not sure if I buy the idea of Samantha basically being a female version of her brother.

3 - The problem is, Scully doesn’t really know how to be someone’s mother; she’s never been very good at hugs; she’s rubbish at make believe. She only knows how to tie her shoes one way (and it doesn't involve bunny rabbits). But she tries. She goes through the motions; bath time and band aids and hold hands to cross the street. She does it again and again and eventually it becomes… well, if not natural, at least second nature.

This is pretty much how I'd imagine Scully would approach motherhood.

4 - I find it very believable that Mulder would start out rambling on about some random supernatural topic before jumping in to tell Scully his feelings. It's like he had to make himself feel comfortable at first by beginning to talk about the kind of stuff he feels most at ease discussing, before doing something he probably feels a lot less comfortable doing.

5 - Short, but effective.

Date: 2012-02-26 06:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] infinitlight.livejournal.com
not sure if I buy the idea of Samantha basically being a female version of her brother.

I didn't read it so much as being a female version of him. I assume he's the one who's been taken in this scenario, and so she's become the one working the X-Files because of the impact the abduction had on her. I always thought "spending lots of time trying to learn about UFOs" was a pretty reasonable life choice for someone who believed they'd seen a family member abducted by aliens.

It's logical that they'd have other things in common (channel surfing, smirking :); they're siblings.

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Date: 2012-02-27 07:04 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
This is pretty much how I'd imagine Scully would approach motherhood.

If you don't mind my asking, why would you think that about her, in particular, as a character? She seemed to be having no problems interacting with Emily during the short time we saw her on screen with her. She had a mother who loved her and took good care of her, so she knows what good mothering looks like. She seemed like she was doing fine with being William's mother, apart from the shitstorm the writers threw at her.

She does it again and again and eventually it becomes… well, if not natural, at least second nature.

I can't help but approach this issue from a different angle. The truth is, no one knows how to be a mother, to be a parent, until they are one. And every time you think you've got it down, the kid gets older and the issues change, and you are right back where you started from, knowing nothing.

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Date: 2012-02-26 12:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] edisto0304.livejournal.com
Oh, this is a fantastic fic. Can't believe I never thought to recommend it before.

"5 things/times/ways" are one of my two favourite types of fanfics (along with 100 word drabbles) and this one is by far my favourite of them all!

I love how understated and, as the OP said, simplistic it seems at first, but then you realize it's really not. And there's the last one, the shortest of all, but also the one that stands out the most and makes for the perfect conclusion.

The first time I read the last one, I gasped out loud, felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and had tears in my eyes, because it reminded me of how different my own life would have been, if this show had never been made, been made in a different way or if somehow I had never started watching it or if anything else along the way had been different and it wouldn't have had the impact it has had on me.

Those three, down to the point, lines evoked a lot of thoughts in me and that's the beauty and shows the true brilliance of threeguesses' writing for me.

Date: 2012-02-27 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] infinitlight.livejournal.com
I don't think I had the same reaction here but I get what you mean about the last one. I had a similar feeling after I Want to Believe, thinking back on the show and my life. Weird feeling.

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Date: 2012-02-27 11:55 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
The first time I read the last one, I gasped out loud, felt like someone had punched me in the stomach and had tears in my eyes, because it reminded me of how different my own life would have been, if this show had never been made, been made in a different way or if somehow I had never started watching it or if anything else along the way had been different and it wouldn't have had the impact it has had on me.

Yeah, I had the same reaction the first time. It must only work once, though. It's still a great ending.

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Date: 2012-02-26 03:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zinnia-rose.livejournal.com
JADFKLAJDLDSKLKJ I love threeguesses' fic for The Good Wife and now that I know she wrote for XF too, I might have to ask her to marry me. :p

I loved all of these, but #3 broke my heart (in the best possible way) and #5...wow. It said so little but so much.

Date: 2012-02-28 01:12 am (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I agree. Number five is a stunner.

Date: 2012-02-26 10:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
I liked this very much. I kind of like "five things" stories because they expose so many life and character-changing possibilities and encapsulate for me the appeal of the ever-expanding landscape of fanfiction. If I don't like one fic event I can go to another. It's the ultimate freedom of the reader to play with action figures in the brain. It must be an excellent training regimen for writers.

I liked the happy stories best, natch, but the unhappy ones didn't hurt too much because... moving on. The Samantha Mulder one was not to my taste. She is not her brother. Still, why not? As long as you keep moving.

I of course loved the "happy ending" pillow talk, and I do think it carefully thought and shapely. Mulder, in rambling about ghost lights, is actually implying that he may have been lured astray and would rather come back to the human mundane. "I always wanted you to marry me" is such a poignant truth, so cut-to-the-chase. ( It seems to me that someone--Alelou--had Mulder saying something like that before the two had even kissed. Played for laughs, that one.)

Great head-butt ending. The possibility of no possibilities. Like edisto0304, it made me wonder how not just Scully's but my life would have changed as well.

These are beautifully done; threeguesses is a good writer. But I wonder--how to say?--if we get how close to meta they are. They are really like improv, practice, hinting at events that can't seem mortally serious because they "never happened." They make us think of the ephemeral quality of fic, but more regretfully of the let's-try-this hodgepodge of the last years of show canon. The X-Files was a cunning experiment in series tv and an enduring influence. I'm thinking if CC had treated it less like a "five things" hobby, it would have been a proud epic for whatever of the tech entertainment age we have left.

Date: 2012-02-27 06:48 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
But I wonder--how to say?--if we get how close to meta they are. They are really like improv, practice, hinting at events that can't seem mortally serious because they "never happened." They make us think of the ephemeral quality of fic, but more regretfully of the let's-try-this hodgepodge of the last years of show canon. The X-Files was a cunning experiment in series tv and an enduring influence. I'm thinking if CC had treated it less like a "five things" hobby, it would have been a proud epic for whatever of the tech entertainment age we have left.

I agree, whether it was intentional or not, this fic feels more like a commentary on the canon itself than a real story.

Naturally, I thought the "happy ending pillow talk" seemed pretty unlikely, but not the least unlikely of the five. The one that really didn't work for me this time around was number four. "I always wanted you to marry me" is such a poignant truth, so cut-to-the-chase. It is certainly cut to the chase, but it doesn't sound like something Mulder would say to her ever, which is what makes it metafic, at least to me. I don't think marriage was ever what he wanted with her, and I sure don't see her ever wanting to marry him. That's so—conventional—so not them. (The only way I could make that work was to transport them to an AU in an alternate universe on an entirely different show, where they cease to be the Mulder and Scully of our "The X-Files." I still love them, wherever they are.)

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Date: 2012-02-27 10:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badforthefish.livejournal.com
Aw, damn I missed "Get Up Mulder"! I've been so engrossed in the "Hunger Games" trilogy that I haven't taken the time to read anything else or do anything else outside work for that matter. *hangs head*

So, as much as I loved [livejournal.com profile] threeguesses Gardening InTropical Climates I'm quite underwhelmed by this one. And it as nothing to do with the writer's skills. I just don't care for the "Five Things" format at all. I find it...a bit...I don't know...pointless? Maybe because each section - short as they are - leave you with a frustrating taste of "wow, that could have been a great AU story." if they're good, or eye rolling "Phew, I'm glad this did not happen" if they're not.

The only one I really liked in this was #5, because it's a perfect way to end this kind of story. And who hasn't wondered what would have happened if Scully hadn't been well, Scully?" (and please nobody says "Cynthia Nixon" or I'll shoot. )

#1 made me cringe, but it's no secret I have a terribly low tolerance threshold for sweet and cuddly baby fic.

#2 Interesting idea but this Samantha sounds too much like a dude with her "Pretty girl like you and a place like this." and not a very subtle one at that. Plus, making this Samantha gay feels sloppy to me, because this means the writer doesn't have to make too many efforts to make this character sound like her brother - being all flirty with Scully. The real challenge here would have been to keep this Sam straight and still manage to convey the thing (you all know that thing) that sparks between M&S. Now there, I would have been impressed. As it is, meh. ( And just to be on the safe side in case anybody decides to get offended for the wrong reasons, I have NO issues with Sam being gay or Scully being gay. Their sexual orientation is not what I'm talking about here.)

#3 See, I don't buy Scully not knowing how to be a mother. We've seen many times that Scully is great with kids. As much as I loathe baby fic I do see why people would want to write about Scully with kids in tow. She's got this all emcompassing compassion and kindness coupled with this no bullshit attitude that is the trademark of great motherhood. And besides I don't buy her losing touch with Mulder, not like this. So to me, this "what if" just feels pretty pointless.

#4.Nothing much to say about that one. It's not bad, it's just not very original is all.

So yeah, it's definitely well written, and I love this author's lean writing style and effortless humour, still, I don't think this one is anything much to write home about. But since I don't really care for the genre this kind of story is always going to be a hard sell. *shrugs*




Edited Date: 2012-02-27 10:25 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-02-27 11:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
I have some librarian hard-selling The Hunger Games to me. I should read it, but it sounds so dystopic. And I have a limited tolerance for that kind of mean-world agony. Too much like rl.

Honestly, in regard to the topic, I think that the "five things" trope(?) means that you aren't committed to buy any of them. You're just indulging in multiple universes. I prefer fics that take the au idea more seriously, like "Lullaby for a Stormy Night" or "Tikkun Olum."

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Date: 2012-02-27 06:21 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I would love to hear your thoughts on "Get up Mulder." It is never too late to comment on a story.

The first time through, I enjoyed reading this one more than you. I was completely engaged in it, but this time around, I can totally see where you're coming from. I agree, #5 absolutely was the knock out blow, a perfect ending for this story. It made me gasp the first time around.

#2 Interesting idea but this Samantha sounds too much like a dude with her "Pretty girl like you and a place like this." and not a very subtle one at that. Plus, making this Samantha gay feels sloppy to me, because this means the writer doesn't have to make too many efforts to make this character sound like her brother - being all flirty with Scully. The real challenge here would have been to keep this Sam straight and still manage to convey the thing (you all know that thing) that sparks between M&S. Now there, I would have been impressed. As it is, meh. ( And just to be on the safe side in case anybody decides to get offended for the wrong reasons, I have NO issues with Sam being gay or Scully being gay. Their sexual orientation is not what I'm talking about here.)

You put this very well. Not only that, Samantha's character isn't developed enough. She just seems like a knock-off of Mulder, rather than a person in her own right. Not only that, and this was my problem with this section when I read it the first time, she in no way resembles the Samantha we saw on screen. Or the Samantha hybrid, whatever. Stupid myth-arc. Also her line sounds just as stupid coming from a woman's mouth as it does from a guy's. Ugh, Maybe worse. I am sure she had her fine qualities but we never got to see them.

Anyway, I don't think any of these scenarios was meant to be taken seriously for their plots; instead, I think collectively they all must be a statement about the series itself. It must be a metafic, because not only did none of these things happen to Dana Scully, none of them could have. They aren't true AUs, except maybe the Emily one, and even there, I can't see it happening. Scully would never let herself lose touch with Mulder, even if she did go back to work at Quantico in order to raise Emily. Mulder would never let himself lose touch with Scully. The only fic I've ever found myself going, okay, maybe I can buy into this scenario was Syntax6's last, still unfinished story. I even had problems with Rivkat's "Up the Ladder." In rejecting it, I learned something about how I see Mulder and Scully.

Number one couldn't have happened because David Duchovny left the series, which made the happy family alternative an impossibility. It's an AU, but only if you throw out season nine, which isn't a bad idea, now that I think about it. The closest story to this that I can think of is mine, the cross-over. But to get that to work, I had to move them to an Alternate Universe on a completely different show. This isn't any longer "The X-Files," it's something else, which tells me another thing about how I see the show. It would have been fun to read had she developed it further.
Edited Date: 2012-02-27 06:23 pm (UTC)

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Date: 2012-02-27 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] infinitlight.livejournal.com
re #2: See, I never see the M/S dynamic as being particularly sexual, so that might be why this section worked better for me than for others. To me M/S have always seemed more like extremely close platonic friends. They might flirt, they might have occasional tension-relieving sex (I do read fanfic, after all) but romance is a hard sell for me.

Samantha even makes the first move. I can't see Mulder doing the same in the circumstances.

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Date: 2012-02-29 03:51 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (Default)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
#3 See, I don't buy Scully not knowing how to be a mother. We've seen many times that Scully is great with kids. As much as I loathe baby fic I do see why people would want to write about Scully with kids in tow. She's got this all emcompassing compassion and kindness coupled with this no bullshit attitude that is the trademark of great motherhood. And besides I don't buy her losing touch with Mulder, not like this. So to me, this "what if" just feels pretty pointless.

Looking it over again, I have to agree, 100%. There is nothing in character about anything that happens in this one. Scully is great with children. I don't think Mulder or Scully would allow themselves to lose touch with one another. I think to say otherwise implies that the only thing that they have between them is the work, and by this time in the series that's just not the case. This starts in fifth season with "Emily." They've been together six years. It's an au, sure, but it's one that must fundamentally change their characters for it to work, which in effect obliterates the series as we know it completely.

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Date: 2012-02-28 05:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nailseabelle24.livejournal.com
“They are really like improv, practice, hinting at events that can't seem mortally serious because they "never happened." They make us think of the ephemeral quality of fic, but more regretfully of the let's-try-this hodgepodge of the last years of show canon”
 
My thoughts exactly. I enjoy these 5 Things type of fics because they are experimental and inventive (and pure fantasy). Looking at the larger picture, the whole show is a fabulous fantasy. Chris Carter was no respecter of what his characters could or couldn’t act like (see Scully in Seasons 8 & 9 as an example); so in my mind at least 3 of these alternatives could potentially have been canon (except the last one and the Samantha one, given that this type of show would never have got the green-light in the early nineties without the potential for man/woman sexual tension. And hetero sexual tension sells better than the alternative, I would guess).  As always, I feel very comfortable reading this type of fic because, thankfully CC and others didn’t go down any of these five paths. I can relax in the knowledge that the version we saw on TV is immutable, allowing me to enjoy the thrill of the AU rollercoaster without fear.  Sorry about the long ramble!

Date: 2012-02-28 10:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
Long ramble? You're not in the running with me, kiddo. And as long as you're interesting, you may take as long as it takes. Discussion of fic is not so common that anyone is eager to stifle it.

Agreed that I could like none of these scenarios better than what Chris Carter gave us to a point. And I know that Wendy is no shipper, but I do think that chemistry makes history. DD and GA created accidentally and together a slow-burning fire that other shows are still trying to reproduce with wet wood.

Chemistry

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Date: 2012-03-01 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lightlack.livejournal.com
As usual, I haven't commented because I'm a terrible person, but I'm just taking a moment to be impressed that a fic I nominated somehow managed to get so many comments on it.

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Date: 2012-03-01 10:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
You know, I also believe that it's never too late to comment on a fic. I think we should establish some kind of, um, board convention or tradition whereby someone can say, "I think the third chapter of this fic fails on account of blah, blah, AND...by the way...I've added an interesting take to the fic two discussions back, so everybody rush right over!" Or words to that effect. Because if it doesn't get mentioned it won't get read.

Date: 2012-03-04 05:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] badforthefish.livejournal.com
We're discussing Macho!Mulder in the "Get Up Mulder" thread. Join us!

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Date: 2017-01-11 04:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bmerb.livejournal.com
Jumping in, in defense of number 2. Sam doesn't actually start with the comment about pretty girl in a place like this. In a twist on Mulder's initial statement ("nobody here but the FBI's most unwanted") we get the following:
“Samantha Mulder,” the woman holds out her hand without looking up, “one-way ticket to the dead end of your career.” There is a pencil in her hair and ink stains on her fingertips.... Samantha finally swivels to look at her. “Dana Scully,” she drawls (and Scully has never heard her name said with that many l’s), “Why on earth are you getting on this train?”

It's only after this exchange, which feels sarcastic and defensive to me, but not specifically dude-like, that Sam says the pretty girl in a place like this line in response to Scully's confusion. I read this as a sort of throwing out of a shared reference, aka, "this is a shithole dead end for your career, how did you end up here?"

Did Mulder ask Scully who she had ticked off to get stuck partnered with him? Is that canon or fanon or just my head canon? Well whatever it is, this Scully/Sam interaction reads very similarly to the canon one, although perhaps with the added friction of Sam's reputation inside the bureau (if Fox Mulder was "Spooky" I can only imagine what a woman with similar credentials would be called but I can guarantee you it would be more derogatory, particularly if there was even a whiff of rumored homosexuality).

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X-Files Book Club

July 2017

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