Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Dramatically Licentious Syzygy

In an X-Files episode titled Syzygy, Episode 13 of Season 3 (via Netflix) astrology played a role!

Scully and Mulder were sent to investigate a series deaths all involving boys from the same high school. They find the town in uproar, rumors of a satanic cult are spreading. Everyone in town seems to be acting slightly out of character, including, eventually, Mulder and Scully.

Mulder's visit to a local astrologer, Madame Zirinka, reveals that an unusual planetary alignment is currently in place. The astrologer tells Mulder that the planets in question, Mars, Uranus and Mercury come into such an alignment only once every 84 years. If certain additional alignments are present, anyone born on January 12, 1979 (birthdate of two female school friends mentioned in the episode) will have all the energy in the cosmos focused on them.
See HERE and HERE.
The planetary alignment which was stated to be the cause of the problems was between Mercury, Mars and Uranus. The alignment was shown onscreen in the episode and was depicted at night near a full moon. A full moon is always opposite from the sun and so Mercury could never be in a visual alignment with a full moon. Additionally, Uranus is not visible with the naked eye.
(See HERE)
Dramatic license was obviously in play, but did the episode's writers bother to consult an actual astrologer, I wonder? The 84 years equates roughly to the time it takes Uranus to orbit the Sun, so it's Uranus' party we're dealing with, I guess. On 12 Jan 1979 Uranus was at 20.7 Scorpio, but that doesn't tell us much. It's all about those "additional alignments" happening on the uncertain date of these X-Files events. Crafty scriptwriters!

It was nice to see astrology given a role in an X-Files episode. Not before time! It was all a bit nutty, lots of X-File in-jokes, an episode not meant to be taken too seriously. Whenever astrology manages to edge its way into drama, the only way the writers know to go is "nutty". Pity! Still, I did enjoy the Syzygy episode.


Sonny G said...

I tried a couple times but never could watch that show and the 2 main actors were a major turn off, visually as well as their acting ability.

glad you found an episode you enjoyed.

Bob said...

I was born in January. I turned 18 during my senior year in high school.

Those girls were born in January of 1979. They would have turned 18 in 1997. Year must be 94, 95, 96, or 97. Birthday cake has "Happy Birthday Terri and Margi" on it. Date must be January 12 during basketball season.
It was high school basketball season before any snow was on the ground in NH - not December, January, or February. No snow anywhere - not March. Trees were bare - mid October to mid November, but not in 1997 - girls would have been out of school. Police arrive at hanging scene wearing open jackets. Later people are digging in the ground which is not frozen and some with open coats, most not wearing hats, some not wearing gloves. Not December, January, or February. Most likely October of 94, 95, or 96. Forget about planetary alignment - the so called astrologer was a con artist. The lights under the Moon were UFOs. If January the location may have been in California (inland and Northern part of the state) Nevada or Arizona but not in a Southern state - nobody has an accent. Location probably lied about to protect tourist trade.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I guess "X-Files" is/was an acquired taste.

The few episodes (and film) I saw back in the UK were, I think, from the later seasons. The early season shows are quite new to me. Husband didn't watch the show when it was aired in the USA in the 1990s either. Some episodes are fairly horrific; we enjoy best those involving the show's "mythology" about possible UFOs, aliens, dark government doings etc. But we're finding all episodes watchable enough, and a nice change from police, romances, courtroom drama and suchlike.

mike said...

The astrological alignment seems OK to me and the script writers apparently put a touch of effort into that tidbit. They could have done much worse, like saying that Uranus & Pluto were again in alignment 84 yrs later. Sci fi is fiction, but most fans do enjoy having science-based reality thrown-in, and all too often it's lacking. Neil deGrasse is our popularized, outer space, sci fi movie judge...he loves to critique and point-out the flaws.

"The Real Science Behind the X-Files: Microbes, Meteorites, and Mutants"

Twilight said...

Bob ~ LOL! Well thanks for that bit of good detective work! I'll have to watch the episode again sometime, to piece those points together. During original viewing I was concentrating on the story line in general, only started thinking about astrological details later.

The more I think about the episode, the more I think it was basically a spoof, sending itself up - using astrology as a kind of pivot, without even trying to make details fit. Annoying for those of us who try to take astrology more seriously. We're used to being thought of as idiots by so-called "intellectuals" as well as by many others who aren't even that - not even when in inverted commas. :-/

Yes, I bet the episode was filmed in California rather than in New Hampshire, where the story was set. In fact I suppose most episodes were filmed in California - I can't imagine that week by week crews were moved clear across the US, just for a 45 minute episode.

I like the idea that the lights in the sky were UFOs not planets. :-)

mike (again) said...

I said, "like saying that Uranus & Pluto were again in alignment 84 yrs later", but actually that could occur, too...ooooops.

Twilight said...

mike ~ As you say, yes script writers could have done much worse! Depending on who is writing the script for each episodes (there were several different writers) we're beginning to recognise those who enjoy adding a little humour to the mix.

After all, the whole series was never meant to be any kind of documentary-style show - it acts fast and loose with reality, always - that's the fun of it. There's always an undercurrent of secret government activities going on though - that could be more true than we know. That's the fascination!
:-) Fun and fascination!

Thanks for the link - that book will be a good read I'm sure.

mike (again) said...

Did Mulder & Scully break into a song and dance?

"Aquarius, Aquarius
When the moon is in the seventh house
And Jupiter aligns with Mars
Then peace will guide the planets
And love will steer the stars
This is the dawning of the age
Of a Aquarius, the age of Aquarius
Aquarius, Aquarius"

mike (again) said...

I should clarify my second "ooooops" comment. Technically, the two are on a 138 yr heliocentric synodic cycle. Pluto moves at different geocentric speeds through each sign, due to it's severe elliptical path.

The waxing Uranus in Aries square to Pluto in Cancer of 1930-1934 was followed by the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of 1962-1969, and our current Uranus in Aries-Pluto in Capricorn square was (is) 2012-2015. Uranus in Aries in the early 1930s is again squaring Pluto, but with Pluto in different signs, 84 years later.

84 years later, Uranus can be in the same alignment, but Pluto will be in different signs.

Twilight said...

mike ~ No, sadly, no song and dance -the episode could have closed with a chorus line singing along with that - Madame Z the astrologer leading - it'd have fitted nicely!


Interesting! In the 30s U/P cranking up fascism in Europe, in the 60s hippie culture in the USA, in 2012/5....we can't tell yet, need a bit more distance.