Skinner in the Wings

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Title: Skinner in the Wings
Creator: lucyskull
Date(s): late 1990s
Medium: online
Fandom: X-Files
External Links: The Cave's X-Files Commentary Archives: Skinner: Skinner in the wings, Archived version
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Skinner in the Wings is an essay by LoneThinker with replies by Littljoe and Livasnaps.

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


Skinner begins this series as a company man who does whatever he's told (much the same, in one respect, as Scully.) We see CSM sitting in Skinner's office, letting his toxic smoke drift all over the room. He listens in. He gives orders and Skinner appears to carry them out without much consideration for their negative effects. Just doing his job, as he often says.

Yet at a certain point he's obviously had enough. His first little indication of rebellion, putting the 'Thank you for not smoking' sign on his desk, is immediately challenged by CSM, yet Skinner is not deterred. Often we wonder about his allegiances. He seems to know the value of working behind the lines, and yet more and more he seems to come through for Mulder and Scully, such as in Paper Clip, where he tries to bargain for their safe return to the Bureau. In Memento Mori he tries forcefully to protect Mulder by not letting him attempt to make a deal for Scully's life with CSM, because he knows from personal experience CSM's treachery and modus operandi. Dealing with CSM is like borrowing money from the mob; Skinner understands this and stands firm against Mulder's attempt to get him to arrange a meeting between himself and CSM.

But--and this seems to be a huge 'but'--Skinner turns right around and, very conscious of the consequences, makes a deal with CSM himself for Scully's life. Not to let the significance of this decision slip past us, Zero Sum follows Skinner through an entire episode where he is reduced to doing whatever dirty work CSM assigns him in order not to be exposed.