The X-Files MSR Analysis Series: Season 1 Episode 8
Previous episode analysis - 1x07 Ghost in the Machine.
Ice is an episode that is largely about paranoia, but when it comes to the MSR, it’s more of an episode about trust.
Scully’s trust in Mulder, and his trustworthiness are focus points of the episode in general. When put in this pressure cooker environment, filled with paranoia and fear - how do Mulder and Scully cope? How does their relationship hold up? Well, it turns out that Scully, as always, is the real MVP. She passes this test with flying colours, whereas Mulder sadly falls at the final hurdle.
It could be easy to be critical of Mulder, sat writing this in 2017, but it’s worthwhile remembering that this is 8 episodes into the first season. Their newly minted partnership hadn’t yet been put to the test, and Mulder - while willing to give Scully a chance to prove her trustworthiness to him - still has not fully reached the point of complete trust in her by the time we get to Ice.
Mulder desperately wants to trust Scully, and he has on many occasions prior to this. But clearly he has some niggling doubts that when magnified by extreme stress, made it all too easy for him to turn on her when he makes his descent into full blown paranoia.
It would seem that the idea of having someone he can truly depend on to have his back, is still a very foreign concept to him at this point in their partnership.