David and Jesse L. — call me!!!
So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of “The X-Files,” for better or worse. I particularly like the episode from season 6 called “The Unnatural,” about an alien in the 1940s who defects from his people because he falls in love with the game of baseball.
In order to hide his true nature from the authorities, he takes the form of an African-American player for a barnstorming Negro Leagues team called the Roswell Grays (a reference to both the great Homestead Grays as well as the notorious mythology of a crash of an alien ship at Roswell, N.M., in 1947).
This alien, played by the very handsome Jesse L. Martin (in his pre-“Law & Order” days), is hunted by other aliens because they believe he betrayed them by joining human society and shunning his “true race.” The character is named Josh Exley, a power-hitting catcher very obviously modeled after Josh Gibson.
(The episode also posits that all the great players — including Mantle, Ruth, Williams and other whites — were all actually aliens. Yeah, it’s “The X-Files.” It’s weird.)
That’s all I’ll say about the plot of the episode — I don’t want to play spoiler. But I highly, highly recommend it, because it’s both a touching tribute to the racism faced by Negro Leaguers as well as an installment in the series’ overarching mythology about an impending alien invasion of Earth. Again, keep in mind that this is a sci-fi series based on complex, weird conspiracy theories.
But the episode was written and directed by series star David Duchovny, aka FBI agent Fox Mulder, and Martin delivers a stellar performance. It’s actually a very heartbreaking, bittersweet tale, and from the time it aired 15 years ago, it’s gotten rave reviews and has been consistently ranked in the top 10 greatest “X-Files” episodes ever.
So … one of my wild dreams has been to interview Duchovny and/or Martin about the episode. So if but some extremely slim and random chance that either or both of them read this, please contact me!!!