The X-Files sci-fi series features psychology, terrorism, faith and religion in one episode.
For television critics, the fifth episode of The X-Files entitled Babylon can be considered as the most unusual, unpredictable and some call it strange, messy and weird. Compared to its tradition of presenting paranormal incidents, it’s the first time the sci-fi series featured terrorism, psychology and extensively discussed faith and religion.
The episode also introduced a new agent couple (Miller and Einstein) who are noticeably the younger versions of main characters agents Mulder and Scully. And with the entire episode’s drama, many believe that Miller and Einstein will eventually be the replacements of the older agents in succeeding episodes or seasons.
The story started by detailing how a young Muslim named Shiraz and his companion prepared and detonated themselves in a busy fair killing and injuring many Americans. While the other suicide bomber was killed, Shiraz survived but was left on a state of coma. Texas FBI agents Miller and Einstein who were assigned to investigate the terrorist attack sought the help of agents Mulder and Scully for a possible way of communicating with Shiraz.
Dana Scully who is both a scientist and medical doctor recommended to Miller the use of MRI in communicating with Shiraz who’s been in coma. On the other hand, Mulder crafted his own theory that since the mind of Shiraz is currently on a different weight or state, the only way to communicate with him is to subject and bring one’s mind into that same weight or level of state. Mulder asked Einstein who is also a doctor to give him one of her “magic mushrooms” (hallucinogenic pill). But the hesitant young agent instead gave a placebo pill to Mulder.
Surprisingly, that placebo effect or power of suggestion worked its way through Mulder who will later on experience the wildest ride of his life in Texas. After moments of fun in a bar, in a starship and with Einstein dressed in a naughty dominatrix gear, Mulder’s hallucination suddenly changed into the darker side. While riding a boat traveling in dark waters, he mysteriously saw Shiraz at the other end lying on the lap of his mother. When Mulder approached the young Muslim, Shiraz uttered an Arabic phrase which later on was deciphered as Babylon Hotel.
Because of that “self-induced” tripping, Mulder had to wake up at the hospital where he eventually saw Shiraz’s mother, the woman on his tripping hallucination. The mother admitted having psychic conversations with his son and after discussing it with Mulder, Shiraz’ message on the agent’s vision (Babylon Hotel) lead to the capture of the rest of the terrorist ring.
The episode presented a dynamic change in the perspectives of the lead characters. Though a believer of supernatural things and conspiracy theories, Mulder was ever since considered a skeptic, cynical or non-religious. But in this episode, Mulder’s instances of hearing mysterious sounds they refer to as “the trumpet of God” triggered that interest to talk about the bible, God and His symbols. For Scully who is a Catholic, Mulder’s divine and religious association of the sounds he is mysteriously hearing can simply be explained by the power of suggestion.
"Every thought spoken… is a step in the evolution of mankind."
For all its paranoia, The X-Files could be very romantic. #Babylon
— Darren Mooney (@Darren_Mooney) February 16, 2016
It’s also vital to point that X-Files has reiterated that stereotype or common misconception of Muslims; being portrayed as essentially vile and terrorists. But the episode’s writer might have redeemed himself by pointing at the latter part of the story that Shiraz did had a change of heart though it’s already too late.
At the end of the episode, Mulder eventually discussed how terrorism can be psychological in nature. He thinks that young terrorists might virtually be under the power of suggestion, similar to the idea of him believing that he took the magic mushroom. As he cites it “They take the pill, but it’s all the suggestion.”