Dana and the Scullys

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Title: Dana and the Scullys
Creator: LoneThinker
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
Topic: The Scully family dynamic
External Links: The X-Files: commentary and analysis of Dana Scully, Archived version
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Dana and the Scullys is an essay by LoneThinker.

It is one of many essays at The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives.

The Essay

Rewatching Christmas Carol, I noticed something in the family dynamic that I hadn't seen as clearly before. There always seems to be an edginess about Scully's meetings with her family, a tinge of painful anticipation at those times when Scully knows she'll see them, and indeed, we've seen Maggie confront her daughter angrily in--of all places--the hospital (Memento Mori) where Maggie has just learned that her daughter has cancer. And of course, we know what Bill thinks of his sister's career... and her partner.

In Christmas Carol, both Bill and Maggie are seen enforcing the "I thought you came here to be with the family" message. When Scully goes off working on the case surrounding Emily's adopted mother, neither of them asks her what's wrong or if something important is up; instead they just show their disapproval over the fact that she didn't make it to the family functions. The kicker occurs when Bill talks to Scully about her theory that Melissa is Emily's mom. He doesn't say, "Do you think this could be affecting you because of what's happened to you?" On the contrary, he accuses her; he blatantly states that this whole thing "is about you". He's given himself an honorary psychology doctorate and has diagnosed her without any request on her part, and with no input whatsoever from Scully. He treats her as if she is incompetent and in need of his superior guidance. My guess is that this may echo attitudes and treatment Scully received when she was growing up, as well. It may help to explain her tendency to keep her own counsel rather than share with others (including Mulder) who may not agree with her on some point or other.
The X-Files: commentary and analysis of Dana Scully