The X-Files, “Audrey Pauley”

John, you are a dog person.

By Diana Estigarribia
March 20, 2002

If you’re not a Doggett fan, you can just stop reading right now.

Ahh…still there, I see. Even those of you who are anti-Doggetts have come around now, haven’t you, after seeing “Audrey Pauley”? Just as I suspected.

“Audrey Pauley” is the episode this Doggett-Reyes shipper has been waiting for all season. It also proves to the naysayers what great characters and actors Doggett/Patrick and Reyes/Gish are. To some fans, the new team is (perhaps pejoratively) the “Next Files,” and that’s too bad. Sunday’s episode is a hint of what might have been had we dove into this partnership sooner.

Coming home after a post-work brewsky, Monica and John share a moment in her car–things are left unsaid and lips are left unkissed. Monica’s car is then hit by a car at an intersection. She ends up in the hospital, declared brain dead. Only Doggett refuses to let her go, but time is working against him–Monica is an organ donor and she’s only got 48 hours before they will take her off life support. But Monica’s consciousness/soul is alive and kicking in a netherworld-hospital. And a mysterious attendant at the hospital is the key to getting Monica back.

“Audrey Pauley” is the flip side of this season’s earlier Doggett-is-dead episode, “4-D.” In that story, one Dogget from another time line was caught in our dimension, with only Monica fighting for him. In this episode, it’s Monica’s turn to spend some time in a not-quite afterlife limbo. Both episodes are vehicles for the partners to show how much they love each other.

Yep, I said love. In “4-D” Monica tells Doggett, “I would do anything for you.” In my book that means a lot. In this show, it’s Doggett’s turn to show just how attached–perhaps romantically–he is to his partner. What an amazing show we get, especially now that with the certain return of Mulder, we can dispense with the infatuation Doggett had for Scully. He [i.e., the writers] can come away from his feelings for Dana and concentrate on Monica.

Of course, I’m a fangirl with a crush on Doggett and this is all beneath the surface of the story. What we get is Monica’s soul running around the empty halls of an exact copy of the hospital where her body resides. It’s Twilight-Zoney and even derivative of other X-Files eps. The hospital attendant, Audrey, is somehow able to mentally project herself into this copy-hospital–which turns out to be a dollhouse model Audrey’s made in her room. How or even why this happens is never adequately explained.

There’s also an evil Dr. Death who is killing off patients, two other men that Monica meets in copy-hospital. Presumably this is because he’s got some kind of organ harvesting deal. Or maybe he’s just a psycho. He ends up taking out poor Audrey too, who was a very sympathetic character.

That wasn’t the only thing that kept this episode from being truly transcendent. First of all, no matter how much I want them to get together, the chemistry between Doggett and Reyes is more a consequence of the writing and some great work from two fine actors. It’s not a natural thing, if you know what I mean. It’s created by the talented professionals behind the story. I think it works, but we’re not talking about the level reached by Mulder and Scully, whose partner-lies-near-death/hospital episodes are deservedly legendary.

That said, it’s not fair to compare the two couples, and I do enjoy seeing these characters together. I think the show originally set it up so that Doggett was smitten with Scully; a real infatuation if not something more. My theory about his feelings for Reyes, on the other hand, is this: because she is so tied to the events surrounding his son’s kidnapping and murder, he’s taken the long road to seeing Monica as romance potential.

And as for our favorite redheaded FBI agent, the inconsistency of the writing is one of the things making the show’s last gasps so frustrating. Why was Scully even in this episode? Her role as the sober doctor refusing to give Monica another chance made no sense, especially since she and Mulder have been in the same circumstances so many times before. This from someone whose character was also on another plane in “One Breath,” though perhaps not as aware as Monica. I almost wish Scully hadn’t been written into this one; her character didn’t add anything to the drama.

But ultimately this is about Doggett. You know I’m a huge Patrick/Doggett dame, and this week, he delivered again. I loved the car scene. I loved him in the hospital. I loved the bawling, mucousy, “I need her…” scene so much, I had to keep myself from rewinding it. This is why I’m happy I stuck with this show.