Scully's pregnancy has been a cold affair since it was introduced at the end of last season, kept on the back-burner presumably to give Doggett's introduction some breathing room. Per Manum is really the first episode to push her story center stage, and it winds up being one of the more successful mythology hours. It goes without saying that these types of X-File turn out stronger when they directly involve characters we love, and Scully gets pulled through the ringer here. Gillian Anderson is always great, but I especially enjoyed seeing Scully working the case through the vacuum of her inner denial, verbally reacting to things as an FBI agent while internally breaking down over her own personal involvement in the case.
Mulder makes another re-appearance, again in flashbacks, though they're less detached than the ones in The Gift. Kim Manners intriguingly shifts from past to present day with gorgeous scene overlaps, while Mulder and Scully's relationship is engagingly intimate. Scully's desire for a child is moving, equally Mulder's without-question decision to father her baby. And then there's that additional game-changer, where we discover the artificial insemination didn't take. Was her pregnancy a genuine miracle? Or something else? It's another layer of intrigue.
There's also something visually arresting about the sterile labs of Scully's hospital, like something out of Gattaca. Finally, Doggett is proving to be a strong partner to Scully. He appears visibly hurt when she essentially withdraws herself from his life, while all the while continuing to help her out behind her back. They just make an interesting pair.
This was a strong episode, working like a tightly-scripted thriller while really thrusting the individual character beats and emotions center stage. I should also add that I apologize if this review reads like a collection of notes rather than something truly well-written, but any long-term readers (who deserve a damn medal if they're still reading these things) will know that I struggle to be articulate with this show, as entertaining as it is most of the time. B+
Guest stars Mitch Pileggi (Walter Skinner); Jennifer Griffin (Dr. Miryum); David Purdham (Dr. Lev); Jay Acovone (Duffy Haskell); Saxon Trainor (Mary Hendershot); Steven Anderson (Dr. James Perendi); Megan Follows (Kath McCready); Adam Baldwin (Knowle Rohrer)
Writers Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz Director Kim Manners