In this week's Top Ten Tuesday we investigate the cliche that is Scully in Peril by taking a look at the times our favorite female fibbie was kidnapped, abducted, implanted by slugs, and nearly beheaded. Read after the jump to see what made our list.
10. "Never Again"
The first entry on our list sets the tone for the remainder and tells us something very important about Scully. While this may be a list of moments she found herself in danger, it is not a list of moments when her agency was stripped, or of times when she needed a man’s help. Instead, it is a mixture of times she rescued herself, times she was helped by a partner, and times when neither she nor anyone else were able to truly save her. In this first entry then, Scully has no saviour running to save her. She is saved by a combination of her own strength and the desire of her attacker to stop himself becoming even more of a monster. The final moment of their fight scene, in which we see Scully lit by flames watching as Ed burns the tattoo from his arm, paints her as a woman capable of saving herself. It is a picture of strength, something we will see slowly drained from her character over the coming months.
"Mmm-hmmm. Who’d she call? Who’d she call, Eddie? Come on. Aren’t you just dying to know?"
9. "Our Town"
Scully’s experience at the hands of the residents of Dudley, Arkansas is unusual for how little she is involved in her own rescue. As we will see Scully is usually fighting with everything she has whenever she finds herself in danger but here she is seen to be fairly placid - seemingly paralysed by fear. This allows Mulder to perform a full on Dramatic Rescue complete with a frantic drive across town, anxious running through a crown with his gun drawn, and a tender reunion.
"Once we start turning on ourselves we're no better than the animals. It's the FBI we should be worried about. They're the real problem."
In “Unruhe” Scully is able to keep Gerald Schnauz talking for long enough to allow Mulder and the police to discover where she is being kept. It’s an impressive feat as we see her maintain an incredible level of calm, even though she knows her truly horrifying fate if she cannot succeed. Her ability to keep a level head while Schnauz shouts and waves a leucotome (that’s the technical term for the terrifying giant needle-like device he uses to perform his botched lobotomies, also known as an orbitoclast) in her face shows that Scully is a much braver woman than she might outwardly appear.
"Ich habe keine Unruhe. Ich brauche nicht gerettet zu werden."
In the later seasons Scully’s ratio of mortal peril to cases opened thankfully dropped, but it didn’t go away entirely.You would think that by her eighth year working in the X-Files division she would have figured out that when dealing with an isolated small town at the centre of a disappearance (or several), that the entire town is in on it. Instead “Roadrunners” proves that this is not the case and she somehow winds up in danger once again, only with no Mulder to come to her aid. It's up to John Doggett to take his cue, arriving just in the nick of time to save his new partner from the Jesus Slug. The episode also gives Doggett the chance to perform an impressively theatrical Hero's Walk as he carries an unconscious Scully out of the town in true Gone with The Wind style.
"Cut it out of me now!"
Freshly back to the Bureau following her months-long disappearance and (presumably) some sick leave to boot, Scully is ready to leap back to work - which is why it feels all the more hilariously tragic that she should immediately find herself in peril once again! Not from aliens, mysterious viruses, and shady secret governments this time, but from a fungus. What makes this a great moment is that Scully handles the situation entirely by herself. She realises that Mulder won’t get to her in time and she figures out a way to protect herself, in doing so regaining the agency that had been stripped from her during previous episodes.
"Jesse? Are you OK? Jesse, what's wrong? Jesse?"
Scully may be famous for her ability to wind up in peril, but at least she managed to make it to episode three before requiring dramatic assistance from her partner; Mulder didn’t even make it through two. "Squeeze" was Scully’s first time in significant jeopardy after taking on a role in the X-Files division and it was our first time seeing how tough she could be. Although Mulder does join the fight by the end, Scully does a damn fine job of holding Tooms off, and even ends up saving Mulder's butt at the very end by cuffing the suspect to her own bathtub.
"He's not gonna get his quota this year."
4. "End Game"
“End Game” may not be the most dramatic, tragic, or frightening example of the times Scully found herself in danger but it makes the list simply for having such high stakes. The episode puts Mulder in the position of having to choose between Scully’s life and that of his long-lost sister. The choice he makes has ramifications not only within his family but within his relationship with Scully because we get to see just how important their partnership has become to him.
"Okay, I'm going to take my left hand and reach into my pocket and get my I.D., okay? Just don't shoot me. I got shot once and I didn't much care for it."
3. Fight The Future
Scully’s kidnapping and exposure to the alien virus in Fight the Future certainly ranks as the grandest scale of peril Scully has ever faced, and the greatest effort on Mulder’s behalf in order to rescue her. As we know from Roi & Jessa’s extensive research in On The Verge, his trip most likely took him to Base 1 via Los Angeles, Auckland, Christchurch, and McMurdo Research Station - a roundtrip (assuming they returned the same way) of over 25,000 miles! Makes the Proclaimers vow to walk 1,000 miles look trifling in comparison!
"I had you big time."
2. “Duane Barry”/”Ascension”/”One Breath”
The complete Abduction arc takes second place, although if this ranking were based on importance to the ongoing plot it would easily have come out on top. The Abduction arc would create a cornerstone for Scully’s entire life, affecting everything from her health to her career and family choices. It is also unique in that Mulder’s rescue attempt fails so completely. While in other moments on this list he is able to either rescue her himself, inadvertently cause the danger to be elinated, or at least be there to help her recover from rescusing herself, on this occasion the danger simply comes to be despite his best efforts.
"Mulder! I need your help! Mulder!"
The Abduction arc may have had the most tangible impact on Scully’s life, but in terms of emotional trauma nothing competes with Donnie Pfaster. Pfaster’s first appearance in “Irresistible” shook Scully to the point of making her choose to visit the Employee Assistance Program - a decision you can tell she would never make lightly - and his reappearance five years later in “Orison” has an obvious, visible impact on her from the beginning. Whether or not Scully was in more danger from Pfaster than she was from Tooms, the Black Oil, or Schnauz is ultimately hard to quantify, however I feel that if you were to ask her directly the moment when she felt most threatened, she would have no doubts in naming this case.
"There's no way out, girly girl."