Scully believes the key to true understanding is through science. She also doesn’t have the luxury to believe what comes easiest, as she needs to be able to explain it in her reports to their superiors. My answer is two-fold. One, is who Scully is as an individual.
Two, is who Scully is within the bureau.
We’ll start with childhood Dana growing up with an older sister who was very new-agey. Melissa Scully loves mysticism. I am willing to believe there was some sibling rivalry growing up in the Scully household, that led Dana to reject the things that Missy loved – starting Dana down her path of “hard science”.
She then studied sciences in school, where she learned not only how many things work, but about how many things we don’t yet understand. Much of science is still in the “we don’t really understand why this works yet, but it’s a large area of research in the community”. So Scully’s studies would have taught her that “just because we don’t understand how something works yet, doesn’t mean we can’t figure it out”. Scully herself often says in her reports that although science cannot yet explain what she has seen, she believes it is the way to understand what happened. For example at the end of Teliko, she writes: My conviction remains intact that that the mechanism by which Aboah killed and in turn survived, can only be explained by medical science, and that science will eventually discover his place in the broader context of evolution. She never denounces what she’s seen as absurd, but she isn’t going to say that it’s supernatural, either. Just a piece of science that we don’t yet understand. It's not that Scully doesn't believe. In the Pilot Mulder asks her if she believes in aliens. And her response is not “aliens are ridiculous”.
Her response is, ”Given the distances needed to travel from the far reaches of space, the energy requirements would exceed a spacecraft's capabilties th.
”. Her answer speaks to an understanding of space travel, and the probability of habitable planets besides our own. It also says, she’s given it thought, and with our current understanding of space travel requirements, and distances between habitable planets, it would be highly unlikely that aliens would come to Earth on a regular basis, if at all.
Episode after episode, Mulder will spout some theory, which is correct, but sounds insane, and Scully’s first response is often “Is that what you are want me to write in my report?” or “Is that what you are going to tell Skinner?”
Scully knows where the X-Files stands within the bureau. They are considered a joke by some of their peers, and a threat that needs to be portrayed as a joke by others. She knows she was assigned to the X-Files to repudiate what Mulder believes. So she knows she needs to find evidence to substantiate their claims.
She has to report on their work, and she needs to prove why what they believe is rational. Mulder loves jumping in, without worrying about rationality. He doesn’t care if something makes sense or not. He’s more of a “seeing is believing”. But Scully knows that when they write a report, to others who weren’t there to see it, they need evidence to explain what was seen. “You should have been there” won’t cut it. An example of Scully’s belief in contrast to Mulder: Think of the episode Tooms. Scully knows what Toom’s is capable of, because he distorted his body to squeeze through her apartment vents and attack her. But when they show up at his probation hearing Mulder starts talking about how Tooms was squeezing through tiny tubes and killing people to eat their livers. The court basically treats Mulder like a crazy person, and releases Tooms.
After the hearing, Scully says to Mulder “Do you know what you sounded like, in there?” His response was “I don’t care what I sounded like, as long as I told the truth. ” – Okay, well that’s all well-and-good Mulder, but maybe if you told the truth in a manner that didn’t sound unfounded and irrational, Tooms wouldn’t have been let out to kill more people!
This is why you need science: to show, not tell others what is the truth.
Scully believes many of the same things as Mulder, but needs understanding. If you understand the “why”, then you can explain it to others, without sounding crazy.
There's a fan theory that I subscribe to that for every paranormal alien/monster/whathaveyou case they go on, there's 10 they go on where it turns out Scully is right and everything is more or less normal and explained.
They just don't show those cases on tv.
I love that theory and it can be applied to most tv shows.
We only get to see the interesting bits, the boring day to say stuff isn't really seen at all.
We got a glimpse of that in the episode (can't recall title ), where Mulder keeps repeating the same day.
He was going about normal, boring business and a got a glimpse because wierd shit started happening. But he does go to the bank, and they have boring meetings, they're just boring.
Her science often saves them, like when they get stuck on that ship in the ice and have to drink tuna can juice. Her scientific medical log of that trip helped the doctors treat their weird as hell symptoms. She basically keeps them alive.
Several MOTW were solved or lead to add'l motives/clues by Scully's background in science and medicine and it has saved them in many situations.
Definitely the paranormal and intangible cases (such as telekinesis or spirits) are harder to solve. But "monsters" with mutations, physical abnormalities she could crack through. She was a whiz... didn't really need to go back to a reference book. She just rattled off some chemistry jargon and it helped the case along.
When you get to the T1000 years, isn't she right because Dogget is now the skeptic? For example, coincidentally, she thinks someone is a metal man and Dogget tells her that kind of thing only happens in movies. Then it turns out he was indeed a metal man.
I mean, I guess it doesn't quite count, but Scully's usually just about as right as Mulder - at first. He comes up with an off the wall theory, she comes up with a completely rational theory, then she finds weird evidence, Mulder sees some weird shit, and then he smushes their theories into the actual solution.
Ex. Our Town - Mulder's like "WITCHES", Scully's like "Accidental consumption of body disposed of in chicken grinder," then she finds cuts on the bones, and he sees the heads in the cupboard and he's like, "People convinced of the magic gained by intentional cannibalism."
But always Mulder just gets the last word.
Some of them deal with human-level scientific crises or conspiracies where there isn't anything supernatural per se, like F. Emasculata in the second season or Wetwired in the third.
But in those cases, there aren't really supernatural explanations in play that could be proven "wrong", aside from some throwaway possibilities Mulder mentions when they first begin their investigations.
That said, there are a (very) few episodes where she is in the "believer" role and Mulder is the skeptic, and in those cases her supernatural explanation is correct and Mulder's skepticism is unwarranted.
An example that you've seen is "Beyond the Sea," where she believes a serial killer is channeling spirits, including her dead father, and Mulder thinks he's a fraud.
So really, it's not so much that Mulder is always right and Scully is always wrong; it's that the supernatural explanation is always right and the scientific one is always wrong.
But since Mulder is the believer and Scully is the scientist, it usually equates to him being right.
There are also episodes where the question of supernatural vs. mundane isn't really at issue, and the conflict of the episode comes from the characters being in a perilous or mysterious situation and trying to deal with it rather than figuring out an exact explanation for it.
Many people have pointed out that it's a little silly that she maintains her skepticism even when faced with overwhelming evidence she's seen with her own eyes; if she were really a scientist, she'd use that evidence to re-evaluate her beliefs. But it's just something you have to kind of accept about the show's premise.
Scully is a scientist, more specifically a medical doctor. As a scientist she understands first the protocol of research, theory, hypothesis or law. It is integral to her psyche. For her as an agent, and a scientist, evidence must be presented and reviewed with a critical eye. This critical thinking comes off as skepticism only due to the often extraordinary and emotional circumstances of the cases/mythology.
Once a person accepts the use of reason and logic as the only way to 'truth', then one does not, for me cannot, turn it off. Really you can't. This is not a negative trait because it keeps them honest, and it limits Mulder from becoming fanatical/disillusioned (or more so).
As far as her Christianity goes, this is her tragic flaw. She has the sharp critical mind but she too falls victim to her own visceral attraction to the supernatural. From a viewers point, this humanizes her for much of the population. Yet, I think it fouls the true strength of her as a human- she is like many who we owe so much for the selfless rationality that allowed us to progress as a species.
I think she is open to Mulder's ideas, as she does not refuse to investigate. She also does not look 'in to the void' purely because she has no evidence, merely that he does not have to vocabulary (science is the vocabulary) to describe it YET. Try and think of her as a structured and ethical person, only drawing conclusion based on verified or evidence based facts.
Her eyes are just mesmerizing. I liked the expression "ethereal beauty" that was used as her description in some recent article. Such phrasing suits perfectly for this picture. Though Scully's hair style in this picture isn't exactly my favorite.
I like the most her hairstyle from Season 3 and, ironically, Season 9 (ironically, because i actually hate everything about this season except Gillian's role in it and Scully's appearance).
And I like hers a little bit exaggerated, other-worldly looks. Like she is "too good for this world".
I always saw her more as a teacher than a healer but now that you say it I see what you mean. She often felt with the sick ones in all the cases. That's why she also chose to work as a doctor in the new series and she even tells Mulder that she doesn't want the darkness in her home anymore.
She actually opened up a bit and her being sceptical was only a way to see things from a dialectic point of view because she knew someone has to take the other side and defend it so the outcome can be close to the truth that way. Mulder was often right, but got his hints and clues often by Scully questioning him.
Unfortunately Mulder liked to look into the darkness so that he can feel connected to something in this life and he also needs her as a flashlight so he doesn't get lost aka he does get lost in the darkness without her.
I'm completely obsessed with Scully's look right now, and I recently went on a shopping spree at Ulta looking for something similar (no luck really). I actually hate lipstick for the most part, so I'm also looking for a good formula that works for me, which makes it difficult.
Revlon's Rum Raisin is lovely, and Nudie Red by Pacifica is VERY close...though the latter smells like clay and is slightly drying. I still wear it often!
I just bought Wet n Wild Sandstorm today because I've been looking for a 90s brown and when it's a bit faded it looks really close to her lip color, at least on me. I can't get a picture right now but it's only $1.99 at every drugstore/supermarket I've seen.
Scully always gets a bad wrap. She is a scientist who approaches everything with the scientific method to arrive at conclusions, and it that she servers an extremely vital role in the show. I always saw her skepticism as part of the show.
Like Mulder's believe in the extraterrestrial.
She's seen humankind being capable of doing such terrible things, there's probably no room for aliens to be a part of the explanation!
I lean toward "conflicted," which shouldn't be surprising.
I don't see the religious aspect as necessarily hypocritical. I think science and religion can co-exist for some people. For Scully, the cross necklace seems to hold more of a sentimental value than a religious one, as shown during the flashback in Christmas Carol and her mother's comment during Ascension that her daughter wore it because she gave it to her.
I don't remember Scully bringing up religion as an actual theory during investigations until after season two. This is after meeting Nurse Owens during One Breath, which was a defining moment, as she mentioned in Dod Kalm. ("But there's one thing I'm certain of, as certain as I am of this life -- we have nothing to fear when it's over.") She continues to struggle with this, of course, and has all but abandoned her religion by the time the cancer arc rolls around, but faith is rarely a sturdy, unchanging thing.
She refers to those as "parables" and "stories" in the series, not as factual events. I think her faith is based more on a deity than on Christianity specifically, though she does do various rituals on screen. We're just going to disagree on this one.
I think part of this is the Mulder-Scully balancing act, and her bristling at his downright disdain for the religion she was raised in. As a viewer I kind of liked that shakeup. I haven't watched the religious-based eps in a while -- does she leap immediately to the supernatural theories, or does she first say something like "well the suspect himself believes he's following the will of God, regardless of whether that's true"?
When Mulder goes off half cocked, what is the question we ask "What does Scully say?" As brave, intelligent and sometimes overzealous as Mulder is, Scully is without a doubt the solid foundation that makes the show work.
So do not be a Scater. Scully makes the xfiles work as much as Mulder does, maybe more so.
She approaches everything in a scientific way and in the end, when obviously science can't explain what it's happening it's that A. Science is not yet advanced enough (and so it needs to be worked on) or B. Science is wrong (and so the mistake must be found and fixed).
If Mulder's personnal quest is to find the truth, hers is definitely to understand the world. In an episode (can't remember which) it is said that immortality must get boring, and she asks how one can ever get bored when there's so much to learn in the world. While on some occasions she's considered certain events might be attributable to God (Sixth Extinction, All Souls, Orison to name a few) -- which Mulder is never supportive of, btw -- I think her reluctance on accepting aliens is based more on her belief that men are behind the bulk of the mythology.
After all, they've seen that men are involved, and on a worldwide scale at that (the train car experiments, the hybrid experiments, the infected bees, and so forth). The difference is, she believes it ends there and that aliens don't play a part in any of it. She sees this as a government conspiracy against its people, with predators and victims, and with aliens as a cover story.
She of course begins to question herself on this as the seasons go on and she gets more evidence (again, science!) to the contrary.
Although, I think there's this thing that happens when you're with a friend that goes too far in something and you go too far the other way around just to bring balance. Mulder wants to believe so much, he puts himself in danger.
You'll note that she's more willing to believe when he doesn't or when he isn't there.