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Hi guys,

I have been dipping in to the X-Files a lot more of late and I sat down for a double bill of En Ami and Audrey Pauley yesterday and the latter left me somewhat confused and I wondered what your thoughts on the episode were.

Firstly, it occurred to me just how similar in structure this is to the episode 4D. In a lot of ways they are identical. It begins with a touching moment between Doggett and Reyes, the main narrative concerns the incapacitation of one of them with the other fighting against popular consensus in the belief that they can save them and ends with another touching moment between the two but with an ultimately open ended sense of will-they-won't-they.

That said, that isn't a moan as I enjoy both episodes immensely but here's my thing: a doctor is killing patients at the hospital where he works in order to provide organs for transplantation. Audrey somehow has the ability to harvest the souls of those he has targeted and house them within a mental structure she has created that represents the hospital. She keeps them there, and attends to them, until such time as their life support is terminated.

Now, if the above is right then I can pretty much accept that. My worry is if the suggestion is that brain dead patients are not actually brain dead but residing in some sort of metaphysical limbo that Reyes demonstrates is not a permanent state but an escapable one. I find that a thoroughly unpleasant assertion that implies that when we pull the plug on our loved ones that we are responsible for their demise and a demise that is depicted in the narrative as unpleasant and deeply painful and one which need not occur if we allow the individual enough time to work out 'how to escape'.

The only way I could reconcile it is to subscribe to theory that Audrey somehow extracts their consciousness in an order to care for them after the Doctor's attack. That way the brain death was not caused by the Doctor's intervention, and therefore not a typical brain death, but caused by Audrey's rescue attempt and unique abilites.

Does any of the above make sense as I am finding it somewhat difficult to explain myself due, in no small part, to how confused this episode made me.

Eth :blush:

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Guest SpooktalkGiGi

Hi Mark,

Well this is interesting speaking of patients being brain dead. I was listening to Coast to Coast AM yesterday and they were talking about a study being done in the UK with patients who are considered being brain dead. In the study they found that a certain percentage of patients thought to be brain dead can actually communicate with doctors. Some of them have actually been speaking while still thought to be brain dead. I only heard a bit of the show but what i did hear sounded very interesting. Do you know anything about it?

Laura :)

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Hi Laura,

That case did indeed make the news recently and the wide ranging implications of it are still being felt within the scientific community. The gentlemen in question wasn't brain dead but in a persistent vegetative state. A patient in PVS was largely considered to have progressed to a state of wakefulness without any sense of awareness. This latest study seems to have thrown that baby out with the bath water. From a personal perspective I found the results of the study to be deeply alarming. It had been my hope that if those poor souls in PVS's were blissfully unaware of what transpired but by encouraging this individuals to communicate by activating certain areas of the brain based on imaginary scenarios, they found they were accurately able to answer questions put to them.

In the case of Audrey Pauley, what we are dealing with here is brain death: the irreversible end of all brain activity which is why the depiction of brain death as something akin to PVS left me somewhat confused.

Eth

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