January 16, 2018

SVT Super Edition #12, Good-bye, Middle School!: What’s a Better Twist Than Ghosts? Twin Ghosts!

Posted in books tagged , at 4:53 pm by Jenn

Why does the twin in pink look two years younger than the other one?

Summary: Okay, this is confusing, so bear with me. There was a Unicorn Club series that took place during the twins’ seventh-grade year, and this book, while considered an SVT book, takes place after that series. So the twins are about to start eighth grade, which means we’re more than a year in the future after No Escape! Amy has moved away, and there’s a new Unicorn named Rachel, but pretty much everything else is the same.

There are too many students at SVMS, so the district is opening a new school. No one’s sure who will be going to which school yet, so some of the kids are worried about being separated from their friends. At the same time, Elizabeth has been accepted into a program she applied for that will have her building houses in Costa Rica for a month during the summer. Jessica is upset that they’ll be apart that long, because they’re still co-dependent. Then she hallucinates a Native American woman’s face at the bottom of Lila’s pool, so I guess the Unicorns have started doing drugs.

The Unicorns decide to have a big end-of-summer cookout at Secca Lake. Jessica starts worrying that she’ll be separated from them at school and won’t have any friends. She decides to invite the whole grade to the cookout, so they’ll see how cool she is and want to be friends with her. It’s not the best motive, but her desire to want to make more friends is pretty admirable. Winston is worried about hanging out near the haunted burial ground, which makes Liz a little nervous, too, but no way are they going to miss the big bash. Then Liz hallucinates a Native American mask with a scar. So maybe she’s on drugs, too.

Alice tells the girls that there’s a rumor that the new middle school will use an accelerated curriculum. Elizabeth loves that idea, but Jess doesn’t want to do any more studying than she has to. She thinks they might not end up at the same school. They fight, and this kicks off all sorts of angst about how they’re not as close as people think they are. Like it would be a fate worse than death for them to go to different schools and not spend 24 hours a day together. Girls, you’d still live together. Chill.

Jessica’s next hallucination is a voice at Secca Lake telling her to listen. There’s more fighting between the twins, and more angst about growing apart. They shut up long enough to plan the cookout with some of the other kids. Elizabeth, Randy, and Cammi go to the Bread Basket Bakery to buy dessert for the party, and the owner, known as Bakery Lady, mentions eerie stories she’s heard about Secca Lake. Later, Jess stops by the baker and meets the Bakery Lady’s sister. She repeats what the voice at the lake told Jess, warning her to listen.

Everyone has a great time at the party…except the twins, who keep moping about their bickering. The kids have all agreed to play Truth or Dare because there are some secrets being kept that others want out in the open. Each twin is asked why she’s moping, but neither wants to talk about it. They accept dares instead, and are sent off to creepy places alone. Jess has to go to a place called Echo Ledge and yell, “Listen!” so the other kids can hear her. Liz has to go to the burial ground and bring back a flower.

Both twins complete their dares but realize they’re not alone. The Bakery Lady has followed Liz and wants to tell her a story. Meanwhile, her twin, the Basket Lady, has a story for Jessica. The older twins reveals to the younger ones that they ran the bakery together until the Basket Lady decided she wanted to make baskets instead. They fought, and the Basket Lady left. She went to Secca Lake to gather reeds to make a basket, but she got sick and later died. The twins never spoke again and were never able to make up.

Jess and Liz realize that they need to reunite immediately, before one of them dies. Liz falls in a hole, and Jess starts to worry. The other kids note that she can just use her psychic abilities to find her sister. Apparently it hasn’t come out in the past year and a half that that was all a scam. Also, for some reason, no one’s worried that Liz is in danger. Jess has to guilt them into helping her look for her twin by reminding them of all the nice things Elizabeth has done for them.

Elizabeth hallucinates the Bakery Lady and Basket Lady’s fight, then wakes up and hears Jessica searching for her. She finds Liz, not because she’s psychic but because she knows her sister so well. It’s really because Jessica remembered what she kept hearing about listening, and heard Elizabeth in the dark. Also, I’m not sure how knowing Liz well would make Jess figure out that she was in a hole.

The next day, the twins go to the bakery to see the older sisters, but they’re told that they’re the real owner’s great-grandmother and great-aunt. Ghosts! Of course! Sigh. Also, their names were Bessie and Jessie. Double sigh. And yes, they were Native American, which just makes the whole thing feel offensive. But I guess if it makes Jessica and Elizabeth get along again, we’re supposed to be grateful.

Thoughts: Steven: “Ever convince kids a place is haunted? No? You really should.” Heh.

Lila likes chicken wings? Not a chance.

Randy wants Lois to teach him how to do the twist. IT IS 1998. I won’t miss this kind of ridiculousness from the ghostwriters.

So…that’s it for Sweet Valley Twins. And, at least for now, that’s it for me with books. I’ll be adding a new TV series to the lineup, so stay tuned…

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January 13, 2018

The X-Files 6.20, Three of a Kind: What Happens in Vegas…

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:31 pm by Jenn

The cigarette is a Morley, of course

Summary: Byers pulls up to a nice suburban house as he tells us that he keeps having a dream where JFK was never assassinated. The country is innocent and hopeful, people trust the government, and Byers has a sweet little family. All of his personal hopes, and those he has for the country, have been fulfilled. He has “everything that counts for everything in life.” But the dream always ends the same way – he loses everything, and ends up alone in a desert, holding his wedding ring.

In Vegas, defense contractors are gathering for Def-Con ’99 (heh). Byers is playing poker with some of them, though he’s using a fake name. He tries to get them to talk about their work, but they say they’re not doing anything new. Frohike serves some drinks, dressed as a casino employee. Byers is playing well, and no one realizes that it’s because he has Langly talking to him through an earpiece. There’s a camera in Byers’ watch, and Langly’s using it to look at the other players’ cards.

Langly helps Byers answer some questions about his work, which they think involves air conditioners. Langly tells Byers to fold, but Byers ignores him and puts down a flush. He loses, and the winning player reveals that he knows Byers and Frohike, who’s been hanging around the room, are working together. He advises them to find another game to cheat at.

Byers and Frohike meet up with Langly, who blasts them for losing $3,000. They’re trying to make some sort of undercover buy, but it’s not going well. Langly decides that the convention is a bust. Byers, however, thinks that the player he lost to is worth looking into. He wasn’t wearing a badge indicating that he’s there for the convention.

Someone knocks on the guys’ hotel-room door, and the guys get nervous, but it’s just two nerds named Jimmy and Timmy. They seem to be in competition with the Lone Gunmen. Jimmy says the theme of the convention this year is assassination; some new tech is supposed to be unveiled. But until then, would the Lone Gunmen like to join Jimmy and Timmy for a lobster buffet and strip show?

Frohike tells Byer that he’s noticed how nervous he gets when they come to these conventions. He thinks he’s on the lookout for Susanne Modeski. Byers points out that they met her at a convention. Frohike reminds him that it was in Baltimore, and it was ten years ago. Also, she’s probably dead by now. Byers disagrees – she was too important to the government for them to kill her. Frohike suggests that they take a break and get some lobster. They stop at a slot machine first, and Byers spots Susanne across the room. He follows her but loses sight of her.

Mulder calls Scully (“hey, Scully. It’s me.” Nope, not the same) at 2:34 a.m. and tells her she needs to go to Vegas. He insists it’s important but won’t tell her what it’s about. It turns out it’s not really Mulder – the Lone Gunmen are using a computer program to mimic his voice. He sounds a little robotic, but Scully buys it and agrees to fly out. Frohike knows she’ll be mad, but Byers wants help from a government agent, since they seem to be dealing with other government agents. Mulder’s known by the people who took Susanne, so Scully’s a better bet.

Langly asks Byers if he’s really sure that Susanne is there. He is. Frohike tells him to get a drink and chill out. When Byers goes to the ice machine, he spots the guy who beat him at poker. The winner knocks on a door and is greeted by Susanne. And let’s just say that she doesn’t seem to be in any kind of danger.

The guys look up the winner and ID him as Grant Ellis. He’s from New Mexico, is with the Department of Defense, and works for the same weapons facility Susanne worked for. Byers thinks that Ellis brainwashed Susanne after she refused to help out with the organization’s awful tests. Why else would she be meeting him in a hotel room and kissing him?

Frohike comes up with a plan and sends Byers and Langly to the hotel lobby while he keeps an eye on Ellis’ room. Byers and Langly are about to do…something when Jimmy and a couple other nerds spot them. The guys want to get into a certain highly guarded room, and Jimmy says he can get them in. However, he thinks the Gunmen just want to sit in on the next day’s session about the assassination technology. Byers wants in now, and tells Jimmy to prove that he can really gain entrance.

Jimmy crawls through a vent and spies on the current seminar, which is being led by Ellis. Susanne is also in attendance, and Jimmy is surprised to see Timmy in the audience. A couple of security guards catch Jimmy and pull him out of the vent. Timmy joins them and chastises Jimmy for screwing things up. They had big plans for him – they were going to make him a patsy when they employed their assassination technology. For now, though, they’ll just inject him with something.

Scully arrives in Vegas, and Byers and Langly tell her that Mulder might be out of touch for a few hours. They hear security guards talking about Jimmy and follow them outside, where Jimmy’s dead, having jumped in front of a bus. Byers is sure that’s a cover-up of some sort.

Upstairs, Frohike breaks into Ellis’ room and goes to plant a video camera in a vent. There’s already one there. Susanne comes in and Frohike hides, getting a glimpse of her as she undresses, because men wrote this episode. Someone knocks at the door, and Susanne pauses after she looks through the peephole to see who’s there: Byers.

He tells Susanne he’s there to save her, but she assures him she’s fine. Ellis isn’t her captor, he’s her fiancé. Byers asks if he dreamed Susanne’s apparent kidnapping years ago. She confirms that it happened, “but things got better.” She closes the door and goes to take a bath while Frohike escapes the room through a vent. (Lots of vents in this episode.)

Langly goes with Scully to a morgue so she can autopsy Jimmy’s body. Langly doesn’t have the stomach for it but tries to be brave. Since Jimmy’s cause of death is consistent with being hit by a bus, Langly wonders if “they” did something to make him kill himself. Scully wonders who “they” are. Good question, Scully. Langly holds on as long as he can but ultimately can’t handle the procedure. As he’s off throwing up, Scully sees the puncture wound where Jimmy was injected. Before she can do anything, Timmy arrives and gives her a puncture wound of her own.

Langly returns and finds Scully unconscious. She wakes up easily, and he guesses that she just got lightheaded from the autopsy. Whatever Timmy gave her has made her loopy, and she calls Langly “cutie.” He asks what killed Jimmy. Scully’s medical opinion is “beeeeeeep,” clap. In other words, he was hit by a bus. Langly rejoins the other Gunmen and gives them this expert opinion. Scully has gone off to do something else, and Langly thinks she’s just really jetlagged.

Frohike shows the guys footage from the camera he found in Ellis’ vent. Whatever Ellis is working on, Susanne is in on it, too. Byers insists that she’s being forced into whatever it is. She wouldn’t do something unethical, and she wouldn’t get involved romantically with Ellis. Susanne appears in the doorway and says that Byers doesn’t know Ellis like she does. She’s there to return the camera Frohike left in Ellis’ vent.

Susanne tells the guys that Ellis saved her life, and the lives of thousands of others. Frohike and Langly excuse themselves to go gamble while she explains things to Byers. Frohike calls her Mata Hari before they leave. Byers tells Susanne that he thinks Jimmy saw something he shouldn’t have at Ellis’ seminar. Susanne could be in danger, too. She says that she always is, as is Ellis.

She’s thought about what she would say to Byers if she ever saw him again. When she was taken ten years ago, “they” did things to her that made her feel like she was drowning. One day, Ellis saved her, but she wanted it to be Susanne. Ellis was working against the people who took her, stalling and sabotaging them. He reminded Susanne of Byers.

In the casino, Timmy invites Langly and Frohike to his room for a game of Dungeons and Dragons in Jimmy’s memory. Langly goes, but Frohike stays behind. He hears a familiar laugh and finds Scully in a bar, surrounded by attentive men. Someone offers her a cigarette, and she ignites the sexuality of thousands of teenagers by accepting it with her mouth. The offerer happens to be Morris Fletcher.

Scully asks for a light, and a bunch of men offer their lighters. “I just can’t decide who lights my fire,” she slurs. Frohike tells the men that Scully’s a federal agent, and if they touch her, they could be committing a federal crime. Morris is disappointed to see Scully go, but she leaves him with a “maybe next time” and a slap on the butt.

Langly arrives at the supposed D&D game, realizing too late that he’s been duped. Meanwhile, Susanne tells Byers that she and Ellis were going to go public with their research, then disappear. She thinks people are ready to accept the things Susanne and Ellis want them to know. If they don’t disappear, they’ll be killed.

Frohike brings Scully to the room; she’s all giggly, and Frohike thinks she’s drunk. Susanne knows better, immediately finding her puncture wound. She’s the one who developed the histamine gas Scully was given. Ellis had her develop a small batch so they could go public; at the same time, they’d have a weapon, just in case. Since Susanne and Ellis are the only two people who have access to the samples, and Susanne didn’t inject Scully, Ellis must be behind this.

Susanne gives Scully a counteragent as Langly joins the group. Susanne explains that the histamine messes with your higher brain function, allowing for suggestibility – in other words, brainwashing and mind control. Jimmy was told to kill himself, and Scully was told to forget her autopsy findings. So what do the bad guys want?

In a word: murder. Langly meets up with Timmy, who gives him a gun and some instructions. He sends Langly to the next session of Ellis’ seminar, where someone else is now speaking. Susanne keeps an eye on her watch. Scully, now back to normal, tries to get into the room, but the security guard outside the door doesn’t care that she works for the government; she hasn’t been authorized.

Ellis calls for a break, during which Langly approaches Susanne with his gun. He shoots her multiple times, then leaves. As Scully goes to check out the chaos, the security guard calls for an ambulance. Frohike intercepts the call, like this is Ocean’s Eleven. Scully tells the guard to detail Ellis and remove him from the room. Frohike and Byers, posing as EMTs, take Susanne out on a stretcher. Timmy kneels by Susanne’s blood on the carpet and pulls a Mulder by tasting it.

Scully takes Ellis to see Susanne, who’s perfectly fine. She confronts him for programming Langly to kill her. She was smart enough to check him and give him the antidote. They set the whole thing up, complete with fake bullets and fake blood. Ellis says that Susanne knows exactly why he set everything up: The project was over, and he didn’t need her anymore. Susanne’s upset that Ellis pretended to love her. What did he get in return? Ellis says they would have killed him if he hadn’t done their bidding.

Timmy shows up to kill Susanne, shooting Ellis first. He takes Susanne with him to gain entrance to the Lone Gunmen’s room. But Byers is ready with histamine and injects Timmy, saving everyone. While Timmy is arrested and confesses to the murders of Susanne and Ellis, Scully calls Mulder. She learns that the Lone Gunmen tricked her, and she’s just as mad as they expected she would be.

Susanne is still alive, and will now be able to fulfill her plan to disappear. She asks Byers to run away with her, but he thinks she’ll be safer on her own. The Lone Gunmen will take care of making her research public so she won’t be a target. That’s what the Gunmen do. Susanne gives him a kiss and a parting gift: Ellis’ ring. Just like in his recurring dream, Byers is in the desert, holding a ring. But unlike in the dream, he’s not alone – he has the other two Gunmen.

Thoughts: Ellis is played by the late Charles Rocket.

I didn’t like “Unusual Suspects” all that much, so I wasn’t looking forward to another Gunmen-centric episode, but this was a much better use of them.

I love drugged Scully. God bless Gillian Anderson.

January 9, 2018

SVT #118, No Escape!: Well, a Landslide Brought Them Down

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:10 pm by Jenn

I hope Terry gets workers’ comp

Summary: SVMS thinks 12-year-olds enjoy caving, so they’ve arranged a field trip for the sixth-graders to explore some caves. Jessica couldn’t care less about the trip itself, but she’s interested in hanging out with Aaron. Lila suddenly has a crush on him, too, so Jess isn’t thrilled to have to compete for Aaron’s attention. Aaron is a big fan of cave exploration, so the girls try to pretend they’re excited.

A cool new store called Metro is opening at the mall, and there will be a bunch of giveaways and sales. Jess and Lila are dying to go, but all the kids going on the field trip are supposed to attend a mandatory safety lecture at the same time. Eyeshadow is more important than safety, so the girls recruit Unicorns Tamara and Kimberly, here being more useful than they’ve been in the entire series, to attend the lecture for them and take the safety quiz at the end. (Anyone who doesn’t pass the quiz can’t go on the trip.) Since the seminar is run by a group outside of SVMS, the people in charge won’t know that Tamara and Kimberly aren’t Lila and Jess.

Elizabeth, of course, takes the lecture super-seriously, writing down everything they’re supposed to bring along, like garbage bags and three sources of light. Meanwhile, Jess and Lila buy phosphorescent nail polish and eyeshadow. Apparently neon is still hip in Sweet Valley in 1998, so the Unicorns are excited about the makeup. Lila and Jess give some to Kimberly and Tamara to thank them for attending the lecture for them. They don’t bother listening when Kimberly and Tamara want to tell them what they should know for the trip.

Liz packs everything essential for the trip, knowing that this is a situation that needs to be taken seriously. Jess is like, “I have gum and eyeshadow; I’m good to go.” The kids are split into smaller groups to explore different caves, and the twins wind up with each other’s bags. Elizabeth isn’t worried, though, since she’s sure Jessica packed everything she was supposed to. Oh, Liz. She’s in a group with Aaron, Lila, Winston, and Maria – in other words, three people who take the trip seriously, one who would rather be anywhere else, and Winston. Lila entertains herself by drawing on the cave walls with her glowing makeup.

There’s an earthquake and a landslide, and Elizabeth’s group gets trapped. Their guide, Terry, breaks his leg and hits his head, causing him to keep losing consciousness. A bunch of the kids’ bags get swept away by an icy river, which Liz falls into. While her bag (well, Jessica’s bag) is saved, it doesn’t have any of the supplies Liz hoped it would. She has to settle for putting on leggings and plastic bags to warm herself up.

Thanks to the earthquake, the river gets dammed up, and the water level in the cave starts to rise. The kids realize that they’re in danger, but the only way out is a small passageway. It also comes out that Aaron and Winston both cheated off of Liz on the safety quiz, so they’re clueless about what to do. (Even Aaron, the self-proclaimed cave expert.) Elizabeth agrees to crawl through the passageway and get help. She manages to take three light sources with her, but her flashlight breaks, and she doesn’t have many matches. She’s able to mark her path with glowing eyeshadow, though.

The other groups were less affected by the earthquake, if at all, so they’re all outside, waiting for Liz’s group. The kids are worried about their friends, but the group that runs the cave tours has a policy of waiting three hours to go looking for anyone missing. This is a horrible policy, especially with children involved. They keep insisting that Terry’s a good guide, so he’ll save the kids if anything bad happens. Yeah, unless Terry’s dead. I doubt this was all spelled out on the permission slip these kids’ parents had to sign. Wait, this is Sweet Valley. Their parents probably don’t even know where they are.

Jessica desperately wants to go find her sister; she feels horrible that Elizabeth doesn’t have anything that could actually help her. She, Amy, and Todd sneak off to go on a rescue mission. They find the marks Lila made on the walls and are able to find Elizabeth’s group and send help to them. Liz, however, has no idea where she’s going and has run out of matches. She can hear a rescue team searching for her, but they can’t hear her yelling for help. She searches her things and finds a camera Jessica threw in her bag. Liz uses the flash to get the rescuers’ attention and is found.

Liz is pretty ticked at Jessica for not packing right, but it’s hard to hold a grudge when Jessica is apologetic and so happy that Liz is okay. They use the last photo on the camera to commemorate their field trip. Somehow, the book doesn’t end with the kids’ families filing a class-action lawsuit against the tour group.

Thoughts: I don’t buy Lila wanting to go on the trip just because everyone else is going. She should have gotten Tamara to fail the quiz for her.

I’ll never cheat on a quiz again, she thought. On second thought, maybe that was a bit drastic.” That’s our Jess.

Lila: “What kind of cave is this? I’m going to see if Daddy can sue them.” Winston: “Lila…you can’t sue a ground tremor.” She’ll probably try, though.

January 6, 2018

The X-Files 6.19, The Unnatural: “E.T. Steal Home”

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

I don’t know about you guys, but I do this with my co-workers all the time

Summary: In Roswell, New Mexico, on July 2nd, 1947, a light is shining over a mound of dirt. But it’s not a UFO, it’s a light on a baseball field. (The boundaries are marked by cacti, and sometimes the balls stick to them.) When a player named Josh Exley comes up to the plate, everyone in the outfield backs up. He hits a foul ball, but an outfielder has trouble finding it. Something out in the darkness tosses the ball back to him.

The catcher remarks that he heard the Yankees wanted to recruit Exley, but Exley says he enjoys the quiet of the “cactus league.” The catcher has heard rumors that Exley, who’s black, could be the next Jackie Robinson. Exley says he doesn’t want to be a famous man like Robinson – he just wants to be a man. He hits a home run, his 61st of the season, and his teammates lift him up in victory.

The celebration ends when Klan members ride onto the field on horses. Their leader shouts racial slurs at the other black players and mocks the white ones for hanging out with them. The meek pitcher, who’s been having trouble with his throws, gets in some practice by throwing at the Klansmen. One of the coaches unmasks the leader…who’s an alien.

In the present, there’s a baseball game, commentated by Vin Scully, on a TV at FBI headquarters. Scully’s annoyed that Mulder has her working on such a nice day. She asks if he’s ever thought about trying to find a life on this planet. Mulder says he’s tried, and that’s why he’s looking elsewhere.

Scully has brought in an ice cream cone – well, a nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicle – and taunts Mulder for spending the day looking through New Mexico obituaries from the 1940s. Why worry about people who died 50 years ago? They should let sleeping dogs lie. The two toss cliché phrases at each other until Mulder grams Scully’s snack from her. It falls on the book he’s been looking at, and Scully sees that he’s secretly been reading up on baseball.

Mulder waxes poetic about the things you can learn from box scores. Some things are the same as they were 50 years ago, like numbers. Scully asks if Mulder’s mother ever told her to go play outside. Mulder gets distracted by a photo of Arthur Dales and rips it out of the book. Scully calls him a rebel for defacing government property.

Mulder goes to Dales’ home (in D.C., not Florida), and is confused when the man there, who’s not Dales, says he is. He explains that he’s Dales’ brother, and for some reason, they have the same name. They also had a sister and a goldfish named Arthur. Dales knows who Mulder is, thanks to his brother; they’ve talked about him a lot (nothing flattering). This Dales isn’t interested in a chat, and he closes the door on Mulder.

Since Mulder has never given up on a possibly interesting story, he decides to ask some questions through the door. Why is Dales (not the original, as Mulder thought, but the brother he’s speaking to) in a picture with Exley, who disappeared in 1947 after hitting 61 home runs? And what about the third man in the picture, who looks just like the Bounty Hunter? Dales thinks Mulder’s uninterested in baseball, but Mulder is a big fan.

Dales invites Mulder in and looks through some boxes while talking about how “the baseball gods” could answer all of Mulder’s questions about government conspiracies. He asks Mulder if he believes that love and passion could make a man shape-shift. “What exactly has your brother told you about me?” Mulder asks.

He wants to know why the Dales brothers didn’t say anything about the Bounty Hunter, if they’ve known about him and colonization plans for 50 years. Dales says that no one would believe him. Mulder’s offended that Dales doesn’t think he was “ripe” enough to be told. Dales finds a coin bank shaped like a baseball player that he says will tell Mulder all he wants to know.

We go back in time to June 29th, 1947, when Dales (the brother, not the original, but played by the actor who played the original in Travelers – this episode is confusing) goes to a ballpark to meet Exley for the first time. He works for the Roswell police and has been assigned to serve as Exley’s bodyguard. Exley doesn’t want the protection, but there’s a $500 bounty on his head from the KKK, and Dales isn’t about to let anyone, no matter his race, religion, or nationality – even Canadian! – be murdered if he can prevent it.

Dales is playing on a Negro League team, the Roswell Grays, and they’re on their way to their next game. Dales studies French on the bus. Exley asks Dales if he can get them some police uniforms to play in. Dales jokes that, instead of the Grays, they could be the Black and Blues. The players pretend to be offended, but everyone has a good laugh. Later, after many of the men on the bus have fallen asleep, Dales wakes up during a thunderstorm and checks on Exley. He’s stunned to see that Exley’s reflection in his window looks like an alien.

In the present, Mulder thinks Dales is messing with him. “E.T. steal home! E.T. steal home!” he jokes. Dales insists that he’s telling the truth. In fact, all the great baseball players were aliens. That includes Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays (“well, obviously,” says Dales). None of the greats fit in on Earth or in any other world. But on the field, they did. Mulder thinks he’s being metaphorical, but Dales says he only has time to be truthful. He gets a medication delivery from a kid he calls Poor Boy.

Back in 1947, two boys, one black and one white, argue about whether or not a ball Exley hit is worth anything, since he’s not in the majors yet. Dales is in the Grays’ dugout, practically part of the team now. They even share chaw with him (though it makes him sick). There’s a big crowd at the game, so Dales is on the lookout, and he tackles Exley to protect him from what he thinks is a gun. It turns out to squirt water, so Dales says Exley had a bee on him. (This freaking show and freaking bees.)

Later in the game, Exley gets hit by a pitch, and when his team checks on his mental state, he starts speaking an unrecognizable language. After a moment, he recovers, and when they ask where he’s from, he says Macon. The others don’t give the weird moment a second thought. But Dales goes to collect Exley’s glove and finds an acidic green substance on it.

Dales goes to a police station and calls Exley’s hometown, Macon, to do a background check on him. At the same time, he hands over Exley’s glove for testing. A Macon officer is very interested in Exley’s current whereabouts, as he disappeared five years ago…when he was six years old. The officer is also interested in Exley’s whereabouts because he’s the Bounty Hunter.

The two boys who were arguing earlier hang around the Grays’ dugout during their next game. The white one, called Poor Boy, tells Exley that some Yankee scouts are there to watch him. Exley plays poorly in the game, so Poor Boy thinks he’ll lose his chance at playing in the majors. As soon as the disappointed scouts leave, Exley hits a home run.

On the bus after the game, Dales confronts Exley for tanking the game, then reveals that he knows Josh Exley isn’t his real name – he took the missing boy’s identity. Exley denies that he’s from Macon, though Dales points out that he said he was after he was hit in the game. Exley says he also spoke in tongues, like he did in church when he was a kid. He says he was joking around.

Dales knows Exley’s trying to stay out of the spotlight because he’s hiding something. But tanking the game means he disappointed the fans, his teammates, and his race. That last one hits Exley hard. Dales is determined to find out his secret, but Exley warns that he’d better be looking into the right secret. In the team’s motel that night, Dales hears some noises from Exley’s room. He picks the lock, lets himself in, and sees an alien. Both of them scream in surprise, and Dales passes out.

Exley revives Dales, who immediately passes out again. Exley gives him water, but that only revives him briefly. “You’re supposed to be a big, bad policeman,” Exley chastises. When Dales is finally conscious, he thinks he’s dreaming. Exley confirms that this is what he really looks like. He shifts into the appearance of a woman, asking if that makes it easier for Dales to handle the revelation. Dales says that makes it weirder. Someone comes in looking for Exley and sees Dales with a hot woman instead.

On the bus the next day, Exley quietly tells Dales that his fellow aliens wanted him to keep to himself and not intermingle with humans. Dales guesses that he broke the rules because he came to Earth and fell in love with a woman. Exley laughs and says that he fell in love with baseball. His people don’t laugh or smile, but seeing his first baseball game brought joy out of him. It was the first “unnecessary” thing he’d ever experienced, and he couldn’t make himself go home. The players start a singalong, harmonizing on “Come and Go With Me to That Land.”

The bus’ journey turns into a ’40s TV commercial for Gray Bus Lines. The tagline, voiced over by Vin Scully, is “you can go home again.” In the present, Mulder guesses that Exley made himself appear black so people wouldn’t be suspicious not to see him in the majors. He thinks Dales is implying that Exley had something to do with the Roswell crash in July of 1947. Dales tells him to stop jumping to conclusions and “trust the tale.” Things that fascinate us are true. (This, contrary to what Dales said before, is a metaphor.)

Mulder still isn’t sure if Exley was an alien or a hybrid. He admits that he’s an idiot. As the Bounty Hunter appears on the 1940s broadcast on Dales’ TV, Dales says that since Exley had the same characteristics that make a man a man, he was human. Back in 1947, the Bounty Hunter stashes a body in a car trunk, then goes to meet the rest of the team.

Dales learns that the green stuff on Exley’s glove is from a lifeform that isn’t carbon-based. He’s called around to ask questions, but Dales tells him to keep quiet. He just wants the glove back. Exley – or someone who looks like Exley – shows up at the tech’s lab, saying Dales sent him to get his lab. He attacks the tech, then morphs into the Bounty Hunter.

The real Exley is at a ball field, and when Dales finds him there, he warns that he’s being accused of murder. Instead of running away, like Dales suggests, Exley wants to toss the ball around for a little while. He reveals that he talked to his family and wants to go home. He doesn’t have the sense of loyalty that would keep him on Earth, playing for humans. His family is still his family. Sirens approach, and Exley decides it’s time to leave. He asks Dales to tell people, including his kids, how good Exley was.

Dales doesn’t cooperate with the local cops, just telling them that Exley said he was going home. Dales refuses to betray Exley, even if it means he’s considered an accomplice or loses his job. After the police leave, Dales finds a map of the desert, with a home plate drawn on it.

We revisit the game from the beginning of the episode, and see that everyone fled after the Klan leader was unmasked. It’s the Bounty Hunter, there to kill Exley. Dales drives out there to save Exley, who says that dying would be the right thing to do. The Bounty Hunter is disgusted that Exley would risk the project for a game. Exley takes one last moment of pride in his 61st home run.

The Bounty Hunter wants Exley to show his true face in his moment of death. The Bounty Hunter goes first, morphing into an alien. Exley says that the face he’s wearing is his true face; he won’t shift. Dales arrives just as the Bounty Hunter is riding away, having icepicked Exley. Dales doesn’t care that Exley’s blood could harm him – it’s regular red blood, not green acid. Exley laughs, then dies in Dales’ arms. “Come and Go With Me to That Land” plays as current-day Dales remembers the moment. “I got a brother in that land where I’m bound,” the song says.

Scully finds Mulder at a batting cage, having been summoned by a message from “Fox Mantle.” He wants to give her a birthday present, though it’s not her birthday. Mulder knows that she’s never hit a baseball. Scully says no; she’s found more necessary things to do. He shows her how to hold the bat, telling her he’s paying Poor Boy to shag balls and run the pitching machine.

Poor Boy’s totally going to go home and tell his parents how he saw two FBI agents with their hands all over each other, because…seriously. Mulder helps Scully hit some balls, joking about all the stuff he puts her through. “Shut up, Mulder. I’m playing baseball,” she tells him. Up in the night sky, some of the stars shine brighter than the others.

Thoughts: This episode was written and directed by David Duchovny.

Exley is played by Jesse L. Martin. The second Dales is played by M. Emmet Walsh.

Darrin McGavin (the original Dales) was supposed to be in the episode but had to step out because he got sick. They wrote in the character of his brother, but I guess didn’t bother to come up with a new name.

Vin Scully (the namesake of Dana Scully, by the way) recorded his part for free because of budget issues.

January 2, 2018

SVT #117, Down With Queen Janet!: No, Seriously, Why Is This Girl So Popular?

Posted in books tagged , at 4:48 pm by Jenn

Horrible girl, cute necklace

Summary: The school year is, miraculously, coming to an end. For real. Janet will soon be moving on to high school, and she’s been asked to give a speech at the eighth-graders’ graduation ceremony. I have a feeling that the students were asked to vote for the speaker they wanted, and they all voted for Janet out of fear for their lives. Janet’s excited about the speech, and about the huge party her parents are letting her throw to celebrate the end of the school year.

She enlists Jessica to “help” with the party planning, which really means that Janet comes up with ideas and makes Jessica write them down and do all the work. The food will be from a local barbecue joint, which seems very unglamorous for Janet, but what do I know? Again, everyone’s so scared of Janet that I’m sure they’ll gush about how wonderful the party was, even if they all wind up with food poisoning.

Janet has been meaner than usual (which I didn’t think was possible), and when Lois Waller spills her lunch on Janet in the cafeteria, she ends up humiliated in front of a bunch of people. Elizabeth stands up for Lois, which just makes Janet turn on her, as well as Sophia. Jess thinks Janet has gone too far, but she’s not about to say anything and become Janet’s next victim.

Elizabeth suddenly wants to befriend Lois, despite never paying much attention to her before. Lois confides that she and Janet were best friends when they were kids, but when Janet started middle school, she was suddenly too cool for Lois. Liz is furious that Janet could treat a former friend so badly, and she wants Janet to be punished. She convinces a very reluctant Lois to throw her own party the same night as Janet’s.

Liz is even more sure of her decision when Janet goes on a rampage of meanness and uninvites various people from her party for dumb reasons. Everyone Janet turns on gets invited to Lois’ party instead. Janet just mocks them all, since they’re a bunch of losers she wouldn’t want to hang out with anyway. Elizabeth tries to drum up support for Lois’ party, but no one wants to get on Janet’s bad side, so they’re still going. They don’t seem to care that Janet’s such a horrible person. I mean, she’s going to have a cool band! It’ll be worth possibly being ripped to shreds in front of the whole school!

Things come close to boiling over when Elizabeth tells Jess she should come to Lois’ party. After all, Janet has been mean to Elizabeth, and Jessica needs to stand up for her sister. Jess thinks that Liz is just trying to be noble, and hasn’t realized that having the party at Lois’ isn’t the way to confront the problem. If no one comes to Lois’ party, she’ll just feel worse than she already does. Liz is the only one who will feel better. This is exactly right, but Liz doesn’t see it. She tells Jess that if she doesn’t come to Lois’ party instead of Janet’s, Liz might never forgive her.

On party night, it looks like Jessica’s prediction might come true, as no one shows up to Lois’ house. But no one comes to Janet’s party either. People start arriving at Lois’, and the party turns into a pretty happening affair. Joe even wants to go, even though he’d implied that some high schoolers might come to Janet’s party. Eventually, Lois’ house is packed, while Janet’s is empty.

Jessica spends the early part of the evening trying to decide what to do. She knows Elizabeth is right, and she should stand up for her sister. But she also doesn’t want to endanger her friendship with Janet. She finally goes to Janet’s…but only to tell her that she’s going to Lois’ party. She’s chosen her sister over her so-called friend. It’s the right choice. I mean, Elizabeth may be boring, but at least she doesn’t criticize Jessica’s clothing.

But Lois feels bad for Janet. She still wants Janet to be happy, despite their ruined friendship and Janet’s behavior toward her. Lois goes to Janet’s house and tells her that if she wants to remain popular, she needs to be nicer to people. Janet admits to being scared about becoming a small fish in the big pond of Sweet Valley High School. Yeah, like that’s an excuse for being horrible to people. Lois invites Janet to her place, and they take the food and band over to Lois’ house to have a joint party.

Jessica writes Janet’s speech for graduation, but Janet ditches it and talks about how she’s only recently realized how important her friends are to her. I guess they all forgive her, possibly because she’s leaving the school soon and they won’t have to deal with her anymore. They probably also go back to ignoring Lois, at least until she throws another party. Middle schoolers are jerks.

Thoughts: Janet’s so obsessed with her party being perfect that Jessica thinks she’s acting like it’s her wedding. Ugh, imagine what a grade-A bridezilla Janet would be.

“There are two parties tonight? I didn’t realize that.” Alice Wakefield, mother of the year. Your daughters have only been fighting about this for a week.

Lois: “All you have to do is start treating them the way you want them to treat you.” Janet: “How do I do that?” Never mind, Lois. She’s too dumb to help.

“[Jessica] had wanted Janet to apologize, and she was glad Lois and Janet had found a way to work things out. But she didn’t want her to go through a major personality change!” Um, why not? She’s awful!

December 30, 2017

The X-Files 6.18, Milagro: I’ve Heard of True Crime, But This Is Ridiculous

Posted in TV tagged at 1:30 pm by Jenn

I no longer trust men with typewriters. (Exception: Tom Hanks)

Summary: A man is sitting in front of a typewriter, staring at a blank page. He has outlined the story he wants to write, but the words aren’t coming. He tries all day but doesn’t get anything on the page. Finally, he goes to his bathroom, reaches into his chest, and pulls out his heart. It immediately becomes a New York Times bestseller, and the movie rights are purchased for eight figures. Okay, everything except that last part.

The man puts his heart in the incinerator in the basement of his apartment building, then takes the elevator back to his apartment. Along the way, Scully joins him. The writer stares at her, and she tries to hide her discomfort. They get off on the same floor, but he’s not following her – she’s in the building to see Mulder, and the writer lives next door.

Scully mentions the encounter to Mulder, who says he’s met the guy but doesn’t know anything about him other than that he’s a writer. They look at some crime-scene photos of a man who was murdered and had his heart removed, just like a previous victim. The writer listens through an air vent as Mulder says that he thinks this is a case of psychic surgery. The killer uses a branch of alternative medicine to commit murder. It’s kind of the perfect crime. Scully points out that they just have to find the killer’s motive.

The writer smokes in bed that night, unable to sleep. Meanwhile, a teen couple goes parking, though the girl, Maggie, isn’t sure she’s ready for sex. Her boyfriend, Kevin, insists that he’s not up to anything untoward. Maggie ditches her date, and when he goes looking for her, he encounters a man in a hooded sweatshirt instead. He’s still alive when his heart is ripped out. Back at home, the writer finally has inspiration to write.

Mulder gets called to the crime scene, and he phones Scully at the office to tell her their heart-removing killer has claimed a third victim. There are no witnesses and no evidence. Scully spots an envelope that was slipped under the office door and opens it. It contains a pendant. The writer voices over as he writes Scully’s thoughts about the investigation. He calls her “a marshal of cold facts” and says she’s not up to doing the job Mulder can do. He thinks she longs to let someone into her heart.

When Mulder comes to the office, Scully tells him that the pendant is a milagro, which is Spanish for “miracle.” It was dropped off with a receptionist, who couldn’t give a good ID. Mulder doesn’t think it’s from the killer, even though the pendant is shaped like a burning heart. He thinks the pendant is from a secret admirer with eyes for Scully. Mulder wants her to meet with the medical examiner to autopsy Kevin’s body, but Scully has another idea.

She goes to a church, where she pauses at a painting of St. Margaret Mary holding a burning heart. The writer joins her and tells her the story behind the painting – Jesus came to Margaret Mary with a heart so full that it couldn’t contain the flames of his love. Margaret Mary offered her own heart, and Jesus burned it with His, then returned it to her. The writer knows that Scully came just to see the painting. Scully recognizes him as the writer and asks why he followed her. He claims he didn’t; he just imagined that she would come to the church today.

As a writer, he imagines how people behave. He noticed her cross when he saw her in the elevator, and he used other pieces of his observations about her to piece together her possible movements. He admits that he sent her the pendant because he’s attracted to her. Scully doesn’t return his affections, but the writer thinks they have some things in common.

Scully leaves the church and meets up with Mulder at the morgue. She apologizes for disagreeing with his views on the milagro. Mulder, however, thinks that Scully was right. Many people who practice psychic surgery think they’re tools of God. She tells him the pendant is from the writer, who’s in love with her. She was freaked out by everything he knows about her, but she doesn’t think he’s the killer.

Mulder goes home and picks the lock on the writer’s mailbox in order to learn his name (Phillip Padgett) from his mail. Padgett comes in just as Mulder’s heading up, and the two ride the elevator together. Mulder then pretends to get Padgett’s name from the man himself. He asks if Padgett has written anything Mulder would know. Padgett says probably not. He’s aware that Mulder’s an FBI agent and asks if he’s working on anything interesting. When Mulder says he’s investigating a murder, Padgett asks if it’s anything he’d know. “Possibly,” Mulder replies.

Now it’s Mulder’s turn to listen at the vent while Padgett continues his story. It’s gross, and talks about Scully’s supposed feelings of flattery because of Padgett’s attention. (Really, though, pretty much everything he writes could be described as “gross.”) He thinks she denies herself feelings of pleasure. He imagines having sex with her, and thinks she would wonder what Mulder thinks of her.

Next door, Mulder looks at Padgett’s phone records and sees that he hasn’t placed or received any calls recently. Scully comes over, uneasy about having to pass by Padgett’s apartment. She can hear him typing. She stops at Padgett’s before going to Mulder’s and returns the milagro to him, telling him she can’t return the gesture. Padgett thinks she’s curious. She’s at least curious about the fact that he has no furniture.

Like Mulder, she asks if Padgett’s written anything she’d know. He says his books are all failures, but the one he’s working on now won’t be. Again, Padgett says that he and Scully have things in common. For one thing, they’re both lonely. Scully says loneliness is a choice. Padgett invites her to have coffee with him and make a different choice.

Mulder has gotten an idea and is looking through local papers. In one, he’s circled a Valentine’s Day message Kevin wrote to Maggie in the personals section. Next door, Scully sees that Padgett has typed, “How will it end?” on his typewriter. He tells her that she lives in his old neighborhood, and he moved into Mulder’s building because he couldn’t find a place in Scully’s. He’s writing about her, and he needs to be close to her. Scully asks to read what he’s written, but Padgett says it’s not finished.

He wants to take the conversation to the bedroom (since there’s nowhere else to sit), but Scully knows this is a bad idea. She waits while he gets a lightbulb for one of his lamps. She wonders why she’s still there when her instincts are telling her to leave. If Padgett knows her so well, he should be able to answer that. He tells her that motive is hard to figure out. Sometimes he can’t decide what it is until later.

As they sit down on the bed, the other lamp burns out. Just then, Mulder arrives, his gun drawn, and starts looking through Padgett’s manuscript. Padgett has written about the murders he’s committed, and it’s enough evidence for Mulder to justify arresting him.

At the police station, Mulder tries to get Padgett to admit that he used the personals to find victims. Padgett says he was just writing about the people he found. Scully doesn’t want Padgett to be questioned without a lawyer, but he’s willing to talk on his own. He won’t confess, saying he just wrote about murders, but didn’t commit any.

Mulder asks about a Brazilian psychic surgeon named Ken Naciamento – was he an accomplice? Padgett says he’s a central character, but characters direct the writer, not the other way around; Padgett didn’t make Ken do anything. Mulder wants to know why Padgett murdered three people. Padgett says he can’t answer that. As Mulder leaves, Padgett asks if he liked the book. “Maybe if it were fiction,” Mulder replies.

Scully has already tracked down information on Ken, who’s been dead for two years. Mulder doesn’t get how Padgett couldn’t be the killer; he wrote everything down. Scully thinks Padgett has the same skills Mulder does, to where he can imagine what a killer will do before he does it. Mulder informs her that she’s in the book, and there’s some sexy stuff in there. He assumes that didn’t actually happen.

Scully’s reading the rest of the manuscript when an officer brings her a statement Padgett wrote. It’s about grief and being heartbroken. Maggie is crying at Kevin’s grave when the killer approaches to make her his fourth victim. Scully reads the same scene and goes to the cemetery, but there’s no sign of Maggie. However, she hasn’t been seen anywhere else.

Scully tells Mulder that this could still be a product of Padgett’s imagination. Mulder thinks he just wanted to get them to the cemetery to mess with them. He sees a man in a hoodie arrive in a truck and thinks it’s Padgett, but it’s someone else. Mulder checks out the truck and finds Maggie’s body underneath piles of flowers. When Scully asks how he knew it was there, Mulder says he imagined it.

The agents head back to the police station, arguing about whether Padgett could have killed Maggie. Mulder doesn’t know how this all works, but he knows he’s right about Padgett. His idea to prove it is to tell Padgett he can go; they made a mistake by arresting him. Padgett says he also made a mistake. In his book, he wrote that Scully falls in love. Now he knows she’s already in love. (SHE SURE IS, BUDDY.)

Padgett goes straight home, ready to pick up his story where he left off. He looks up to see a man in the hooded sweatshirt Padgett wears when he kills people. It’s Ken, and he’s ready to see what happens in the story. Padgett can’t figure out the motive, though. Ken says that Padgett imagined him so perfectly that he made him real. Padgett says he needed the perfect crime. He thinks Scully would be horrified if she knew what Ken has done. Ken himself is horrified, but he wants to know why he kills. Padgett says it was all to meet Scully. Ken says that’s not a reason, it’s an excuse.

The agents hook up surveillance equipment through the vent so they can spy on Padgett. They don’t see Ken in the apartment; they just see Padgett staring at his typewriter. Padgett gives him the manuscript and says he misjudged Scully’s character. The men ask each other Ken’s motives, but Padgett says he doesn’t know. Ken says he’s a tool of the truth. He imagines that he can open his heart and expose the flames of passion inside, but he doesn’t have that power.

Padgett argues that he does have love in his heart. Ken compares it to the love of riches that a thief has. Man’s only true power is destruction. Padgett asks what the end of his story is. Ken says there can only be one true ending if he wants perfection: Scully dies. “It almost writes itself,” Ken says.

On surveillance, the agents see Padgett getting back to his manuscript. They see him leave and Mulder follows him to the incinerator, where he starts to burn his writing. Mulder stops him, hoping to keep him from destroying evidence. Upstairs, Scully is about to follow when she runs into Ken.

Mulder wants to see what Padgett wrote. “I’ll tell you,” Padgett replies. “He kills her.” As Ken tries to make this fiction a reality, Padgett tells Mulder that Ken told him how the story ends. Mulder’s confused, since they thought he was alone. Mulder is able to hear Scully shooting at Ken, so he runs up to save her. Padgett burns his manuscript, and when Mulder reaches Scully, she’s alone and still. She’s bloody, but she’s alive.

Padgett voices over his ending: He knew no one could ever read what he wrote. He had to commit a final act of destruction and give what he couldn’t receive. He’s dead, having ripped out his own still-beating heart.

Thoughts: Padgett is played by John Hawkes.

In the cemetery, there’s a closeup of a tombstone for Diana and Nicholas Salinger, the parents from Party of Five.

Padgett is like Shawn from Psych, if Shawn were a serial killer. You know, I might watch that show.

I guess Padgett wasn’t stalking Scully the day she became immortal.

December 27, 2017

SVT #116, Jessica Takes Charge: Even When These Kids Try to Do Nice Things, Disaster Follows

Posted in books tagged , at 4:14 pm by Jenn

This is exactly what working with children is like

Summary: For two weeks, all the sixth-graders at SVMS have to do volunteer work. (Yes, someone does mention that forced volunteer work probably doesn’t really count as volunteering.) Jobs vary from working at a soup kitchen to helping out at the mayor’s office. The tasks are assigned randomly, but no one seems to care if the kids swap with each other. Liz wants to work at the soup kitchen, since she likes actually helping people. Jess and Lila want the job at the mayor’s office, thinking it’ll be glamorous.

When the kids draw their assignments, Jessica gets one at the health trailer, which means she’ll be teaching little kids about health. Lila draws the soup kitchen, while Liz draws the mayor’s office. Lila and Jessica try to get Elizabeth to trade with them, upping the ante until Lila buys the job with $200 in cash and a ride in her limo. Elizabeth doesn’t feel great about taking money for the assignment, but Lila points out that she can donate it to the soup kitchen.

On Elizabeth’s first day of volunteering, she immediately sees what an impact the soup kitchen has on the people it serves. Almost 300 people eat there every day, and the staff is desperate for funds to keep up their work. They’re so busy that Liz forgets to give Andre, the man in charge, Lila’s “anonymous donation,” AKA the $200 she paid for the gig at the mayor’s office.

Jessica has a horrible time at the health trailer, mostly because her supervisor, Nurse Jennings, is awful. Jess has to put together a model of the human heart and lungs, but she has no idea what she’s doing. Nurse Jennings yells at her for snacking on a candy bar, since it’s not healthy. Jess’ partner is Winston, who just makes wisecracks the whole afternoon. She hates every minute of it.

Lila isn’t having a much better time. The office manager, Ashlee, doesn’t want a preteen volunteer, and she definitely doesn’t want one who thinks she should have the red carpet rolled out for her just for showing up. She makes Lila fold brochures all afternoon, like some sort of pauper. Lila doesn’t even get to meet the mayor! The only good thing that happens is the arrival of a cute high-school intern named Paul. Lila quickly falls in luuuuuuv with him and bores Jessica by gushing about him whenever she can.

The next day, a camera crew shows up at the health trailer, and Jessica learns that the mayor will be stopping by for a photo op. She hears the crew talking about the volunteer program; the one for the middle-schoolers is too new for anyone to know if it’s worth it yet, but the one for the high-schoolers is going really well. Specifically, Paul is thriving after being placed in the program as punishment for vandalism and shoplifting. Jess is thrilled to hear that Lila’s new crush is a juvenile delinquent.

Over at the soup kitchen, Liz finally remembers to give Andre the $200. They’re putting on a rummage sale for an Outreach Fair (part of the outreach program that’s arranged all the volunteer work), and things are hectic enough even without Jeff, the young grandson of a worker named Mrs. Tooney, getting in everyone’s way. Mrs. Tooney admires a red cookie jar just like one she owns. Her grandmother used to store money in it during the Depression, and Mrs. Tooney picked up the habit and keeps her money in the same jar now.

A group from the daycare where Mandy’s volunteering comes to the health trailer for the mayor’s photo op. Andre, Paul, and Lila also come over; Paul’s hoping to find some information on nutrition for his grandfather, who’s been having stomach problems. Even though Jess has only been working at the trailer for about a day, she’s expected to give a presentation to the kids. All she has to help her is a pamphlet about the digestive system, but it happens to be in Spanish, so that’s no good.

The presentation goes horribly, to no one’s surprise. Jessica gives a valiant effort, but she keeps forgetting what she’s talking about, and the kids end up thinking that you use both your lungs and your stomach to breathe. Also, the ghostwriter has never spoken with children and has no idea how they talk. The big finale involves a bunch of pamphlets getting knocked over and raining down on Jessica. Thanks to the news crew there for the mayor, the whole disaster ends up on the local news.

That’s not the worse disaster to come out of the presentation, though – in all the chaos, Andre misplaces Lila’s $200. Everyone searches the pamphlets, but they can’t find it. Jessica remembers Paul picking up a pamphlet and looking surprised, so she guesses that Andre tucked the money inside one, and Paul stole it. In Sweet Valley, you’re guilty until proven innocent, so Paul loses the internship that helped turn his life around.

Lila refuses to believe that her crush could do something so horrible, so she goes to his house to get his side of the story. She meets Paul’s grandfather, who only speaks Spanish. Paul swears he’s innocent, and he won’t take any money from Lila to repay the missing $200 and make everything go away. After all, it would just make him look guilty. Lila takes out her anger on Jessica, which is fair, since Jess is the reason Paul became a suspect.

At the Outreach Fair, Jeff tries to argue with his grandmother that your lungs are in your stomach, one of the things Jessica accidentally said in her presentation. He also mentions that he has money in a cookie jar. Elizabeth puts together that Jeff found the $200 and stashed it in the red rummage-sale cookie jar. Liz goes to get the jar from the sale, but someone just bought it.

Elsewhere at the fair, a glimpse of a Spanish brochure about colon health makes Lila piece together what happened with Paul. He wasn’t surprised because he found money in a pamphlet; he was surprised because he found one in Spanish, which means he could give it to his grandfather. Lila and Liz run into each other and go in search of the cookie jar.

The girls finally find the antiques dealer who bought the jar, but he won’t let them take it back. Instead of just telling the man that she needs to look inside (she doesn’t think just having the money turn up will exonerate Paul), Lila tries to buy the jar. The bidding goes up to $600 before the mayor happens to walk by and wonder what’s going on. Finally, Lila explains everything and is allowed to retrieve the money from the jar.

The mayor makes a public apology to Paul and offers him his internship back. Paul gives a shout-out to the outreach program, which ends up getting the funding it needs to continue. The mayor gives Paul some money so he can take Lila and some friends out for ice cream. She picks Mandy and Elizabeth, then extends an olive branch to Jessica. The fair is a big success, Paul’s reputation is restored, and the soup kitchen gets its $200. Happy ending!

Thoughts: Elizabeth mentions a boy at the soup kitchen who asks for a tuna sandwich for his stuffed tiger. 10 begrudging cool points to the ghostwriter for the Calvin and Hobbes reference.

Paul was caught spray-painting “Jazz rules!” Um, what?

“Rich as a toad”? Shut up, Ashlee.

“I’d been looking all over for something in Spanish to give him.” You live in Southern California, Paul. Look harder next time.

December 23, 2017

The X-Files 6.17, Trevor: A New Twist on Climate Change

Posted in TV tagged at 1:31 pm by Jenn

Yeah, well, I want the last hour of my life back, so I guess we’re both out of luck

Summary: In Jasper County, Mississippi, a tornado is coming, and inmates at a prison camp are hurrying to board up their cabins. One, Whaley, says that the boards won’t do much good; they need to dig a hole and get underground. Another inmate tells him to shut up and help already. Whaley doesn’t like this disrespect and starts mocking the other inmate. For that, he gets a nail through the hand.

The nailer, Rawls, is sent to the “box,” even though a storm is coming. The warden doesn’t care, saying he can’t be responsible for acts of God. Rawls is placed inside a structure that looks like an outhouse. In the morning, when the tornado has passed, the box is gone, and there’s no sign of Rawls. The warden is dead, his body having somehow been ripped in half.

The warden’s body is sent to Jackson, where Scully gets to autopsy it. Since it looks like it was sawed in half, she asks if they should arrested David Copperfield. “Yes, we should. But not for this,” Mulder replies. He IDs the warden as Raybert Fellowes, and tells Scully that there was no blood found on the scene. Scully says he wasn’t just cut in half; a lot of his midsection is missing. He may have been burned with acid. There was also no trace of that in the office.

Scully suggests spontaneous human combustion, thinking that’s what Mulder will offer up as an explanation. “Dear diary, today my heart leapt when Agent Scully suggested spontaneous human combustion,” Mulder remarks. Scully admits that it’s happened a couple times, so it’s possible. Then she tells him to shut up, even though he hasn’t said anything.

Mulder and Scully chat with one of the prison guards, who blames Rawls for Fellowes’ murder. Part of the box was found three miles away, and no human could have gotten into the office, so Rawls, who’s presumed dead, must have murdered Fellowes as a ghost. Scully’s still on the spontaneous-human-combustion theory, since climatic conditions seem to be involved in those instances. The tornado could have contributed.

Mulder thinks Fellowes was murdered, so Scully asks how Rawls could get into a locked office, then prop Fellowes’ body against a door. Mulder finds a piece of the wall that crumbles and suggests termites. The agents look into Rawls’ past, which details a history of violence and robbery. There’s a picture of him with a woman.

In Meridian, Mississippi, a buttoned-up couple has tea while watching a news story about the tornado. When the woman, June, hears Rawls’ name, she fumbles her teacup. That night, a security guard comes across Rawls in a destroyed general store, where he’s getting some new clothes. The guard handcuffs Rawls to a pole and moves away to call in the situation. Rawls escapes his cuffs, then steals the guard’s car.

The agents meet up with the guard, and Mulder easily breaks the handcuffs. Meanwhile, Rawls goes to his last house and tears the place apart looking for something. A buddy named Bo comes by to tell him that the news is saying he’s dead. Rawls asks about June, and Bo says she took off a long time ago. “I want what’s mine,” Rawls says. Bo says he’ll look up her address, instead going for his gun. Rawls is a step ahead and isn’t concerned about being shot. When Bo fires at him, the bullet does nothing to Rawls’ body.

The agents arrive at the house sometime later and find Bo’s corpse. Whatever happened to Fellowes’ midsection has also happened to Bo’s face. The agents think Rawls came there looking for the $90,000 he once stole. They guess that Rawls will next go looking for the woman in the picture: June. Mulder finds flattened bullets in the wall, but one disintegrates when he breaks it.

Scully finds info on June, though there’s no record over her after 1996. Mulder guesses that she changed her name so she wouldn’t end up like Bo. The state police have put out an APB on Rawls, and Mulder says they shouldn’t shoot to kill, since that won’t do anything. He thinks the bullets went straight through Rawls; he seems to have the ability to pass through solid objects or turn them to dust. Scully asks about the science behind that – it’s basically alchemy. Mulder blames the tornado.

The agents have a phone number for June’s sister, Jackie, who later calls June to warn that the police want to talk to her. June believes the news report that Rawls is dead, but Jackie suggests that she call him just to make sure. Moments after the sisters hang up, Jackie hears an intruder in her house. It’s Rawls, of course. Jackie barricades herself in a bedroom as Rawls strips. He gets into the room and corners Jackie just as the agents are arriving. They find “I want what’s mine” written on a wall. Rawls is gone, but he left Jackie alive.

The agents make arrangements for Jackie and her young son so they’ll be safe. Bo’s car, which Rawls stole to get to Jackie’s, is still on the street, so the agents aren’t sure how he’s moving around now. Scully would also like to know more about Jackie’s claim that Rawls came through her bedroom wall. They head to Meridian to find June, unaware that Rawls is hiding in the trunk of their car.

June’s boyfriend greets the agents when they arrive, unaware that his girlfriend used to use a different last name. She guesses that Rawls is alive and will be coming to visit her. She tells the agents that she and Rawls used to be involved, and he was pretty volatile. He won’t stop until he gets what he wants. June claims that she didn’t know about the $90,000 until Rawls was already in prison. She found it accidentally and used it to buy and furnish her house. Her boyfriend, Robert, isn’t happy about this revelation.

The agents want to put June and Robert in protective custody until Rawls is found. Robert doesn’t think he’s in danger, and I’m guessing he also doesn’t want to have to spend 24 hours a day with June. The agents let him go, then start to head off with June, their car trunk now empty. Mulder sees a crack in it and realizes that Rawls used them as a Trojan horse.

Mulder goes back inside the house, where a naked Rawls is searching for his money. It’s hard to play cat and mouse when the mouse can move through solid objects, so Mulder’s at a disadvantage. Scully comes inside and finds “I want what’s mine” written on a wall. Well, not written – more like burned, the way Fellowes’ midsection and Bo’s face were basically burned away.

Mulder sees that the writing stops at the frame around a mirror and thinks this is significant. Electrostatic repulsion stops one solid object from interacting with another. Could Rawls’ ability have to do with electricity? That would mean he can’t pass through rubber or glass. Scully wonders why Rawls is after $90,000 if he can just pass through the wall of a bank and steal more. The agents realize he’s looking for something else. Some old hospital bills of June’s contain a clue: Seven years ago, just months after Rawls was sent to prison, June had a baby.

June is now in protective custody, and she wants to call Jackie, but the guards assigned to protect her say no. They won’t let her smoke in her non-smoking motel room, either. They’ll probably also have rules about whether or not Rawls can come through the ceiling.

Sometime later, the guards in the room are dead and June is gone. The agents don’t know where Rawls and June’s child is, so they can’t get there before the parents do. Mulder asks for some “special equipment.” Elsewhere, Rawls has pulled over his stolen car and is ignoring June while she tries to apologize for taking the money. He finally asks if she had a boy or a girl. It was a boy, Trevor. Rawls is mad that June never told him about their son.

Someone in the prison camp told Rawls that he had a child, which Rawls thinks is a message from God. God also gave him a way to escape the camp, so whatever happens must be God’s will. He demands that June tell him where to find their child.

As Mulder and Scully make calls to find out where Trevor is, Mulder gets some rubber bullets. There are no adoption records, so they wonder if someone in June’s family took in her child. They quickly realize that Jackie’s son must be June’s. They’re right, and as Mulder calls Jackie to warn her that Trevor could be in danger, June and Rawls arrive at her house.

Rawls thanks Jackie for taking care of his son, then goes in to talk to Trevor, who has no clue who Rawls is. He also thinks June is his aunt. Rawls shoves June in a pantry, then tries to reassure Trevor. As they chat, Jackie eyes the pot of soup she’s been cooking. June listens from the pantry as Rawls tells Trevor they’re going to pack up for a trip. Jackie sends him off to pack, then picks up the pot and throws its contents at Rawls. Unfortunately, they pass right through him.

Jackie yells for Trevor to run as she tries to fight Rawls. He goes after the boy, but the agents arrive and Scully runs off with Trevor. Mulder’s rubber bullets slow Rawls down a little, but he’s still able to pass through the wall of the house and hide inside. (It’s actually a cool special effect – Rawls disappears and we just see his clothes slide down the side of the house.)

Scully and Trevor make it to the car, but Rawls is close behind them. For some reason, there’s a phone booth on the property, and since Rawls can’t pass through glass, Scully hurries Trevor to it and they’re able to hide inside. Rawls uses a rock to break the glass, but when he sees how scared Trevor is, he backs off. He goes out to the road just as June drives by. The car passes right through him until his the windshield reaches him and kills him. Shaken, June says she doesn’t know what Rawls wanted. Mulder thinks he just wanted another chance.

Thoughts: Calling this episode “Trevor” was dumb. They don’t even mention his name until 3/4ths of the way in.

Someone at Fox must be wondering why I downloaded their app and then chose this as the first episode to watch.

A phone booth?? Who has a phone booth on their property??

December 19, 2017

SVT #115, Happy Mother’s Day, Lila: Pygmomlion

Posted in books tagged , , at 5:05 pm by Jenn

Lila would never wear jeans that hideous

Summary: It’s almost Mother’s Day, but who cares about moms when there’s going to be a fashion show? There are only 20 slots, and they all get taken before Jessica even learns about the show. All the Unicorns are in, so Jess feels left out. But then she learns that it’s a mother/daughter fashion show, and motherless Lila took a slot that could have gone to Jessica and Alice. Lila lies that her mother will be in town for the show. Jess is legitimately happy for her, which may be a first. Elizabeth isn’t sure Lila’s telling the truth. It would seem pretty coincidental to me if I didn’t know she was lying.

Lila tries to call her mother, who apparently moves around Europe a lot and doesn’t tell her daughter how to reach her. This is still more contact than I always assumed; I thought Grace didn’t keep in touch with Lila at all. From what we learn of her in SVH, she would be desperate for any contact she could get with Lila. Lila tries to talk to her father about her mother, but he’s on his way out of town for business, as usual. Poor, practically orphaned Lila.

Jessica wants to make a poster for Alice for Mother’s Day (how…thoughtful?), and she asks Tamara to help her. Tamara is more into fashion than art, and she doesn’t have much of an attention span, so it doesn’t go well. The girls end up splashing water at each other and get in trouble with the art teacher. As punishment, he sends them to deliver some things to the women’s shelter that will receive the proceeds from the fashion show. Jessica doesn’t want to spend too much time with homeless, jobless, sad women, but at least the trip gives her the chance to ask Marcella, an employee in charge of the show, if she and Alice can be alternates in case another mother/daughter pair can’t make the show.

The shelter gives Lila some inspiration for how to solve her problem: She’ll just pay a woman staying there to pretend to be her mother. Then she’ll have her father give the woman a job in Mexico so she’ll have to leave town and no one will spot her later and wonder why she’s still in Sweet Valley. That Lila, she’s a real do-gooder. She checks out her prospects and settles on a woman named Kate who bears enough resemblance to her that people will believe she’s Grace.

Just as Kate arrives at Lila’s house for a discussion of the deal, Jessica shows up. Lila pretends that “Grace” is out of it from a stampede during a safari that left her with some amnesia. This is also supposed to explain why she’s not wearing designer clothing. Jess finds Kate familiar but can’t place her. Lila glams Kate up and goes all <i>My Fair Lady </i>on her to teach her how to be a sophisticated world-traveler instead of some grimy, down-on-her-luck single mom. Kate doesn’t seem that interested; she appreciates the money, but her sophistication lessons mean she can’t be with her real daughter.

Jessica’s coming over for lunch with Lila and “Grace,” which will be Kate’s first real test to see if she can pass for an upper-class lady. There are a couple snafus over the stories Lila has told Jessica about her mother’s travels, so after lunch, Jess decides to follow Kate. She trails her to the women’s shelter, realizes that’s where she first saw Kate, and asks the workers there who she is. Just as Kate and Lila are connecting on a human level, and Lila’s realizing that poor people aren’t icky, Jessica announces that she’s on to Lila’s scheme. Kate blasts Jess for being a bad friend and just wanting her slot in the fashion show.

Lila’s miserable now and knows she can’t get away with her plan. To her credit, Jessica takes Kate’s words to heart and realizes how lucky she is to have a stable, loving family. She keeps quiet about Lila’s lies and comes up with a plan to cheer up her friend. She tells Lila to keep her slot in the fashion show; Jessica will make sure her modeling partner shows up. Then Jess gets a break when Tamara gets the flu and has to drop out of the show. Jess and Alice get her and her mother’s spots.

The girls and their mothers go to a fitting for the show, and Lila is stunned to learn that her new partner is…her father. Jessica told him everything, and he wanted to be there for his daughter. Unfortunately, the day of the show, Mr. Fowler doesn’t show up. Lila gets to do commentary, since she doesn’t have someone to model with. After the show, Alice relays a message that Mr. Fowler was in a car accident and is in the hospital. He was rushing to get to the show on time, but it was raining and he crashed. He’s not badly hurt, and Lila’s touched that he really cared enough to want to do something fun with her.

On Mother’s Day, Lila makes her father breakfast in bed. It’s not great, but it’s the thought that counts. They spend a bunch of time together, probably the most they’ve ever spent with each other. They decide to take flowers to the women at the shelter. Meanwhile, Alice tells Jessica that her kindness toward Lila was a wonderful Mother’s Day present. Yeah, I wouldn’t get used to it.

Thoughts: I hope the people who work at the shelter don’t give away personal information about the women staying there to just anyone, like they do with Jessica. Many of those women are most likely trying to escape domestic violence. I mean, obviously Jessica isn’t going to attack Kate, but it’s a bad policy.

Also, for a town that’s supposed to be perfect, Sweet Valley sure has a lot of homeless people.

Lila wants to wear a straw boater hat in the fashion show. Lila SUGGESTS wearing a straw boater hat. Lila should be checked for a head injury.

I’m surprised the book doesn’t end with Mr. Fowler and Kate meeting and falling in love.

December 16, 2017

The X-Files 6.16, Alpha: Doggone

Posted in TV tagged at 1:19 pm by Jenn

Yes. Good

Summary: A freighter in the Pacific Ocean is carrying something angry from Hong Kong. A couple of men take a peek inside and see the creature’s red eyes. It starts rattling its crate, then falls silent, making the men wonder if they’ve somehow killed it. They open the crate, which is probably a mistake, because when the freighter arrives at its destination, the police are called.

The crate is still locked, but the men are missing. The cargo’s owner, Detweiler, is annoyed that no one called him the second it arrived, so he could care for the creature inside. When the crate is opened, the men’s bodies are found inside.

Mulder starts in on the case that night, telling Scully that they seem to be dealing with a case of death by…dog. The real mystery is how the men got inside the crate when it was found locked. In addition, the dog is gone – or, as Mulder says multiple times, trying to make his joke stick, “doggone.” No one’s examined the victims, so Scully gets volunteered.

She tells Mulder that bite wounds don’t kill, so the men must have bled to death. She can’t believe Mulder really wants her to believe that a dog pulled them inside his locked crate and killed them. “A bad dog,” Mulder replies.

In Bellflower, California, a good dog named Jojo barks at another dog just outside its fence. The owner goes to check out the other dog, but there’s nothing there. When the owner goes inside, he finds Jojo bleeding. A wolf-like dog with red eyes is now in the house, ready to take another victim.

Mulder and Scully go to San Pedro the next morning to look at the crate. They meet up with an officer named Jeffrey Cahn who tells them the dog doesn’t seem to be on the freighter, judging by a lack of waste. He adds that Detweiler is a cryptozoologist, something Mulder is very familiar with. Why would someone who studies Sasquatch and the Abominable Snowman be interested in a dog?

Detweiler joins the group and presents his theory that someone stole his dog – it’s a valuable wanshang dhole. Mulder knows that it’s supposed to be extinct. Detweiler claims he caught one on an expedition. He denies that the dog could have killed anyone; yes, it has mythical qualities, but it’s not a predator. The news out of Bellflower seems to contradict that.

The agents head to the house where Jojo and his owner, Jake, were attacked. Scully learns that Jake was a customs agent and may have been involved in stealing the wanshang dhole. (Look, I’m not going to type that over and over; we’ll call the dog Fang.) Mulder makes a quip about biting the hand that feeds you, which makes no sense, but it’s Mulder.

Scully notes that since all the doors to the house were shut, Jake must have been keeping Fang inside. Mulder asks how Fang got out if all the doors were closed. He doesn’t think Fang is a dog at all. He rewards Scully a biscuit for saying that Fang is able to cover up human crime scenes. Now they need to look for a dog that thinks like a human. Mulder thinks the best person to turn to is a human who thinks like an animal.

The agents go to meet a woman named Karin Berquist, who seems to be the Jane Goodall of canines. Mulder reveals that Karin’s the one who told him about the case. He’s interested in her field of study and has read one of her books. Karin happens to have an “I want to believe” poster.

Karin comes in with her dogs and closes all the blinds. She tells the agents that dogs are smarter than people. She talks about coyotes hunting in packs, and murder being a human thing. She also believes that the wanshang dhole is extinct. The agents don’t find her helpful, and Scully wonders how she and Mulder met in the first place. He admits that they’ve only chatted online.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife officer named Fiedler goes to an alley to check out a possible scavenging. He finds a hand in a Dumpster, most likely Jake’s hand, which Fang tore off. Fiedler goes into a nearby building, followed by a shadow that first looks human but then turns into Fang. RIP, Fiedler.

The agents and Cahn check out the scene the next morning, and Cahn tells the agents to do everything they can to find Fang. Karin arrives, having heard the story on the news: “Dog eats dogcatcher.” Mulder asks her why an animal that supposedly only kills when it needs to eat has now killed four people for apparently no reason. All of the victims may have come into contact with Fang before the attacks.

Karin thinks Fang is displaying regular alpha behavior. Mulder tells her that Fang is traveling a number of miles between killings, and seems to be tricking his victims. Karin says that canines are pretty direct and have simple motives. Most don’t kill for sport. However, she figures they’ll never know why Fang’s been acting the way he has, since someone will kill him before they can find out.

Mulder points out Detweiler, and though Karin isn’t familiar with him, she dislikes him on sight. Detweiler tells the two of them that his team tracked Fang for two weeks, then tranquilized him to catch him. Karin thinks that Detweiler admires Fang. He says he admires Fang’s ability to survive.

As Cahn talks to someone about getting together a group to kill Fang, something that seems to be low to the ground watches him. But it’s Detweiler who approaches Cahn. He has a warning: If Cahn kills Fang, Detweiler will kill Cahn.

Karin finds tracks in the building where Fiedler died, and is able to tell that Fang is highly evolved. Unlike other dogs, Fang has an extra toe pad. Scully notices Mulder’s hand on Karin’s while moving around a computer mouse, and because this show is run by men, of course she’s jealous. Scully notes that Karin said yesterday that a dog couldn’t act like Fang is; now she’s saying it’s practically Jack the Ripper. Karin says that in myth, the wanshang dhole can manipulate doors and exhibit other trickster behavior. Maybe there’s some basis in fact.

Alone in their car, Scully tells Mulder that she’s not sure about Karin’s motives. Maybe she’s arranged things so she could meet Mulder. Mulder denies that Karin killed four people just to meet him. Scully warns him, “Don’t underestimate a woman. They can be tricksters, too.”

Detweiler goes to an animal clinic, where a Saint Bernard named Duke barks at him. Detweiler’s there to get a tranquilizer. As the vet locks up for the night, saying good night to some of the dogs, they start getting agitated. Fang is there, and he wants to play! Or maybe kill. Yeah, probably kill. The vet is able to get away and trap Fang in a kennel. The police arrive and shoot, but they accidentally shoot Duke instead of Fang. Noooooooooo! (Fortunately, he’s not dead.)

The agents come in as the vet finishes patching up Duke. He wonders how Duke got back into the kennel, since the door was chained. Scully takes a look around and sees that the vet has a signed photo of Karin. She hears someone yelling and finds the vet bleeding next to Duke’s exam table. As the agents go off to call paramedics, Duke turns into Fang.

Scully visits Karin, having figured out why she likes her office dark and why she always wearings long sleeves: She’s sensitive to light and wants to cover up skin lesions caused by lupus. Karin finds it ironic that she studies dogs and has a disease named for wolves. She says she’s always felt more like a wolf than a person anyway. Scully thinks Karin lured Mulder out to California. “I lack your feminine wiles,” Karin snarks.

She’s not sure the wanshang dhole has survived all these years after supposedly going extinct, but if it did, it’s too smart to have been captured by someone liked Detweiler. It’s too cunning. Scully wonders if it’s more cunning than Karin. Scully’s been watching her. Karin says she’s been watching, but not seeing.

Mulder looks through the vet’s drawers, then calls Cahn to tell him that Detweiler was there to get tranquilizers. He asks Cahn to go to the lab and check something out. But Cahn won’t be going anywhere except the hospital – Fang is in his backseat, waiting for him.

Cahn survives the attack, and when Mulder goes to see him in the hospital, he finds Detweiler already there. He wants to know what Cahn’s attacker looked like. Mulder asks if Detweiler’s scared about Fang possibly being killed. He seems to know that it can’t be caught. In fact, Fang caught Detweiler. Now, at night, Detweiler becomes a trickster – a man who turns into an animal.

Mulder knows that Detweiler is the real killer, and murders just because he can. He got the tranquilizer for himself, hoping to stop the killer. Mulder figured it out when he found traces of the tranq in blood found at the clinic. Instead of, like, arresting Detweiler or trying to detain him in any way so he can’t hurt anyone else, Mulder lets him walk out. Detweiler runs into Karin, who says she won’t protect him any longer.

Mulder goes to see Karin at her office, where she says that she can get a sense of people right away from her dogs’ behavior – they’re excellent judges of character. At least one of her dogs likes Mulder, so that’s a plus. He’s guessed that Karin knows more about Fang than she’s said. She admits that she knew Detweiler was the real killer, but she only confirmed it when she saw him.

Karin thought she was protecting an animal, but now she knows that he has to be put down. She guesses that Detweiler will go back to finish off Cahn. Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to send her over to protect Cahn. He meets her there, and she complains that he’s wasting her time, since she hasn’t “seen hide nor hair” of Detweiler. Mulder praises her choice of words.

Scully scoffs at Mulder’s theory that Detweiler is going to turn into a dog, then come back to finish off Cahn out of a territoriality. She thinks Karin has manipulated the whole situation for her own purposes. Mulder is sure that Karin’s right and Detweiler will come back.

Karin kennels her dogs for the night, looking out into the conveniently atmospheric fog rolling in around her house. It’s 2 in the morning, and Scully has fallen asleep during her and Mulder’s stakeout. Mulder realizes that Karin lied to him, so they don’t need to stay.

In reality, it seems that Karin may have wanted to keep the agents out of the way so they’d be safe. She loads up a gun as Detweiler/Fang comes to her house. Mulder calls to say he and Scully are on their way and she needs to lock her doors. Fang comes into the house silently and faces off with Karin. She puts down her gun and lets Fang do what he wants – in this case, jumping on her so hard that he pushes her out a window. By the time the agents arrive, Karin’s dead – but Detweiler is, too, having accidentally impaled himself on a fence.

Back in D.C., Mulder’s blaming himself for the way things turned out. He beats himself up for believing Karin’s story so quickly. Scully asks why he wouldn’t believe her. Karin lived by her instincts and judged them pretty quickly; she saw Mulder as a kindred spirit. In a way, bringing him into the case was a way of demonstrating that she thought he was a good person. Scully gives Mulder a package that arrived from Karin’s kennels: her “I want to believe” poster. He immediately puts it on his wall.

Thoughts: How do I get Karin’s job, hanging out with dogs all day?

Please, show, I beg of you: Enough with Scully’s jealousy.

Karin calls Mulder by his first name at one point, but no one makes a “fox and hound” joke. What a waste.

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