August 22, 2017

SVT #102, The Mysterious Dr. Q: As Usual, Bruce Screws Everything Up

Posted in books tagged , , , , , at 5:15 pm by Jenn

I hope Jess hypnotizes Liz into developing a better fashion sense

Summary: Jessica’s excited because a hypnotist is coming to SVMS for an assembly. Elizabeth will be writing a story for The Sixers debunking hypnotism. Meanwhile, Bruce urges Todd to ask her out after Todd admits that he has a crush on her. Also meanwhile, Amy’s mom is doing a news story on female pilots and gives Amy the opportunity to interview a pilot’s daughter. Amy’s thrilled until she learns that the interviews will take place on a helicopter – she’s scared of flying. To her credit, she decides to suck it up and face her fears.

At school, Todd writes Elizabeth a note asking her to a movie. She’s thrilled and immediately finds him and accepts. Everyone goes to the assembly, where the hypnotist, Dr. Q, brings the twins and some other kids on stage for a demonstration. Elizabeth plays along with the hypnosis and wonders if the other volunteers are faking as well, or if Dr. Q really hypnotized them.

Since Lila didn’t get chosen, Jessica suggests that she hypnotize her. She thinks she knows how to do it since she’s seen it done. Yes, and since I’ve watched multiple episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and ER, I’m confident that I could remove a ruptured spleen if necessary. Jess tries it out, but it doesn’t work. Wow, what a surprise! Amy’s also disappointed not to be picked, since she was hoping to have Dr. Q hypnotize her to overcome her fear of flying. Throughout the book, Amy is the only person who truly grasps the point of hypnotism.

Bruce asks Elizabeth to a movie, and, of course, she turns him down. She goes to interview Dr. Q for The Sixers, and Amy and Jessica crash the meeting, Jess so she can learn about hypnosis and Amy so she can be hypnotized. Dr. Q warns Jessica that she shouldn’t mess around with hypnosis. She explains the practice to Elizabeth, who still thinks it’s a scam.

Jessica decides to prove Liz wrong by hypnotizing her and some of their friends – Lila, Amy, Janet, and Bruce. Bruce disrupts the process by listening to a baseball game and talking out loud about the Twins and certain plays. Jess tries to ignore him as she hypnotizes Janet and Amy to overcome their fear of spiders, and makes Lila quack whenever she sees the principal, Mr. Clark. As she’s trying to hypnotize Elizabeth into adoring her, someone yells at Bruce.

Thanks to the distractions and Bruce’s comments about the game, Amy and Janet end up thinking they’re identical twins, Elizabeth falls in love with Bruce, and Lila starts calling the principal Mr. Quack. Jessica’s thrilled. Todd, not so much – now Elizabeth wants to go to a movie with Bruce instead. Todd gets Jess to go to the movie with him so they can spy on the new couple. They end up getting kicked out when Todd dumps food on Bruce just as he’s about to kiss Liz.

Amy and Janet are suddenly BFFs, constantly talking about how much they love being twins and the awesome parts of their shared childhood. I don’t know how that’s possible, since it’s not like Jessica planted false memories in them, but okay. Lila and Jessica both get in trouble when Lila keeps quacking at Mr. Clark. Elizabeth isn’t sure why she’s suddenly into Bruce, or why she even wants to hang out with him, but she just goes with it.

Jessica realizes that everything’s backfired and she needs to fix it. She calls Dr. Q and begs for her help, then gathers everyone for another hypnosis session. This time Steven’s watching baseball, and the game again interferes with Jessica’s efforts. Everyone hears her yelling at Steven to turn the volume back to normal, then telling him to forget all about baseball. When her hypnosis subjects awaken, they’re back to their usual selves, but they don’t know what baseball is.

Dr. Q arrives and saves the day. She restores everyone’s memories of baseball and hypnotizes Amy to not be afraid of flying. Elizabeth is now over Bruce (and even dumps a milkshake on him to prove it) and back with Todd. Janet and Amy hate each other again. And Amy’s able to do her interview without any fear. Thanks, Dr. Q! Sorry Jessica is such an idiot!

Thoughts: Who approved an assembly with a hypnotist? No parents had objections?

Todd gets 5 points for deciding that “cad” is the best word to describe Bruce, but he loses them for shouting at him that he hopes Liz turns into a pumpkin, which makes no sense.

Ellen, to Amy and Janet when they won’t shut up about being twins: “Hey, guys, like, nobody cares.” Turns out Ellen’s good for something after all.

I wish it had turned out that no one was really hypnotized and everyone was just messing with Jessica.

August 19, 2017

The X-Files 5.20, The End: Checkmate?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:53 pm by Jenn

“I’d rather be watching ‘Bob’s Burgers'”

Summary: There’s a chess tournament going on in Vancouver, and a man from Russia is playing a preteen boy from the U.S. There’s a huge audience, so apparently this is a big deal. (Maybe people in Vancouver need to find more things to do.) The boy hears voices in his head as he plays, apparently the thoughts of all the people in the audience. One voice is particularly loud, and may belong to a man who’s loading a sniper rifle. He takes aim at the boy’s opponent, then the boy. As the boy stands up and makes his last move, declaring checkmate, his opponent is shot.

A couple of men drop onto a mountain in Quebec via parachutes and try to ambush the cabin where CSM has been staying. CSM’s security system warns him and he’s able to shoot one of the men before he can be shot. The other man starts to head into the house but sees CSM’s footprints heading into some nearby woods. After a brief chase, the second gunman stops CSM. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Krycek. CSM tells him to go ahead and shoot, but Krycek says he was sent to bring CSM back.

A note reading “you are here” has been placed on the UFO in Mulder’s “I want to believe poster.” Skinner is in the office waiting for Mulder; he claims it’s so they can discuss Mulder’s long-term plans. What does he hope to find? Mulder says whatever he’s looking for is in the X-files, and he’ll know when he finds it. Skinner’s really there to tell Mulder about the assassination of the Russian chess player. The shooter used to work for the NSA. Jeffrey Spender is in charge of the case, having been assigned by someone outside of the bureau, and he wants Mulder to work with him.

Mulder heads to a meeting Spender’s running, with Scully already in attendance. Mulder watches footage of the shooting and announces that the boy, not the Russian, seems to be the target. Another agent in the room agrees with Mulder – she thinks the boy was able to precognitively sense that the shooter was aiming for him. Mulder and the agent exchange a look that lets us know this isn’t the first time they’ve met.

Krycek delivers CSM to WMM, the Elder, and some other Syndicate members. He’s all “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated; your assassin sucks; I’ll let it go THIS TIME.” The Syndicate tells him about the death of the Russian, mentioning that the boy is “a problem.” CSM asks, not serious, if they want him to kill the boy. They’re horrified by the suggestion and say that CSM knows what they want him to do. They’re sure he shares their intentions.

Mulder and Scully drive somewhere with the agent from the meeting, Diana Fowley. She’s been out of the country for a while and asked to be reassigned so she could attend to some things in the U.S. Scully notes that Fowley’s been in the FBI since 1991, the same time Mulder started working on the X-files. Yeah, that sure is a coincidence, Scully!

The boy is watching The Simpsons when the agents arrive to talk to him. He’s happy to be in a country with good TV; he lives in the Philippines and all they have on TV is Baywatch. The boy, Gibson, is being kept there until his parents come get him. Mulder wants to see if Gibson can beat a chess computer he’s brought, guessing that he can’t. He’s figured out that Gibson’s so good at the game because he can read his opponents’ thoughts. That’s why he knew there was a shooter.

Gibson confirms Mulder’s suspicions by saying that Mulder’s thinking about one of the agents he brought with him. One of them is thinking about him, too. (Yeah, like they both aren’t.) Fowley asks which one, but Gibson says that Mulder doesn’t want him to answer that. Mulder tells Scully that, despite Gibson’s status as a prodigy, he’s not actually that good at chess. Scully disagrees – no one has passed all the rigorous testing required of someone who claims to be psychic. Mulder thinks Gibson’s skills are exactly why he was marked for murder.

Scully notes that people would want to use Gibson’s skills, not eliminate them. His psychic abilities would give them advantages in things like war and business. Fowley points out that he could also reveal lots of secrets that people want to stay hidden. Mulder suggests that they test him and run a brain scan. He tells Fowley that she knows what to do. Scully finally catches on that the two of them know each other.

Mulder goes to see the shooter in jail, but Spender doesn’t want to let them talk. Mulder thinks Spender’s trying to protect something and is sending the agents on a wild goose chase. He’s sure that Gibson is the key to the incident, and the shooter knows why. The shooter, however, isn’t very forthcoming, thanks to Spender’s refusal to give him food or water for the past 16 hours.

Mulder sends Spender to get them while he lists the shooter’s credentials and notes that he also failed to kill Saddam Hussein during a raid on his palace. Mulder threatens to tell Spender that the shooter knows Gibson reads minds. The shooter is still unwilling to help, since he doesn’t think Mulder can get him immunity or placement in the Witness Protection Program. Mulder tells him to think about it, then leaves.

Gibson has undergone the testing at a psychiatric hospital, and he tells Scully he knows that she’s wondering about Fowley. Fowley’s wondering about Scully as well. Gibson goes to his next test, a variation on the Zener cards. He guesses all of them correctly. Fowley tells Scully that she’s seen clairvoyants with more than 90 percent accuracy, but never anything like this. She mentions working with Mulder on cases involving criminal psych patients who may have been misdiagnosed. Scully excuses herself.

In prison, the shooter receives a note reading “you’re a dead man.” It’s written on the inside of a flattened Morley cigarette carton. Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and asks them to look at Gibson’s brain scans. She also wants them to tell her about Fowley. They’re familiar with her because she was “Mulder’s chickadee” right after he left the academy. She was there at the inception of the X-files. Byers says he’s always wondered why they split up.

Gibson watches cartoons while Mulder and Fowley discuss his excellent scores on all the tests. Mulder thinks they’re missing something, though. Fowley praises him for figuring out what was going on from the footage from the tournament. Mulder says he’s been working on this kind of stuff for five years. Fowley says she sometimes wonders how things might have turned out if she’s stayed instead of moving to counter-terrorism. She thinks he could have benefited from having a partner who thinks like him, and not a skeptic.

Mulder defends Scully, saying she makes him work for his successes. He’s “done okay” without Fowley. She assures him that she’s on his side. Scully’s about to join them when she sees them having an intimate conversation, so instead she goes to her car to pout. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks him to meet her at the office to go over something she’s found out about Gibson.

As she’s leaving the parking garage, Spender arrives and is quickly summoned to talk to CSM. Spender doesn’t know who CSM works for, which means he’s even more out of his league than anyone thought. CSM tells him he needs to control the board and know who to sacrifice and when. He can’t join up with someone else’s cause – he needs to always pursue his own self-interest. As CSM leaves, Mulder comes into the garage and sees them talking. He’s surprised that CSM isn’t dead after all.

Mulder takes Scully to a meeting in Skinner’s office and urges her to tell him and other agents there about Gibson’s test results. Neurological tests show that Gibson uses an area of his temporal lobe – called the “God nodule” by neuroscientists – that no one else uses. Mulder says that famous scientists like Einstein, Newton, and Stephen Hawking are also believed to use portions of the brain that no one else does. Gibson may be the key to understanding human potential, paranormal phenomenon…and everything in the X-files.

Spender scoffs at the idea that Gibson was a target for murder because of the X-files. Mulder can’t make the connection completely, but he thinks the shooter can. He wants them to offer the shooter immunity so he’ll talk. Scully says they’re trying to quantify proof of everything she and Mulder have been investigating. Fowley argues that they can’t quantify spirituality. The X-files are basically an indulgence; their higher-ups are never going to allow them to offer an immunity deal for this kind of investigation.

Skinner dismisses everyone but Mulder, then warns him that he’s taking a huge risk with his future career. Mulder thinks things will fit together, and he’ll get the answers he’s spent so long looking for. He gets Skinner to talk to the Attorney General, who agrees to offer the shooter immunity. The shooter tells Mulder and Spender that Gibson is a “missing link” – genetic proof that a person can be more human than human. Gibson appears to have genes that indicate he’s part alien.

On a street somewhere, WMM and Krycek confront CSM for failing to do what he was supposed to. CSM says that Mulder going to the Attorney General is just “part of the game.” They’re taking the other side’s pieces one by one; eventually the board will be cleared.

Scully accompanies Gibson to a safehouse, where he enjoys an episode of King of the Hill. (How interesting that everything he watches is on Fox! I wonder why?) Scully asks him how he does what he does. Gibson says it’s like listening to multiple radios. Part of the reason he likes chess is because he only has to listen to one “radio” at a time. Plus, there’s no talking, so no one’s saying one thing and thinking something else. He says that sometimes people worry about what others are thinking, while those others worry about the same thing.

Gibson continues that people make up things to believe, but it’s not real. Some people try to be good while others don’t care, like Scully. He clarifies that he means Scully doesn’t care what people think, “except for her.” Fowley comes by to stay with Gibson so Scully can go home. Gibson announces that he knows people want him dead. Scully promises to protect him. In prison, the shooter gets another cigarette box, but this one has no message. The man delivering the message shoots him.

Back at the safehouse, Fowley awakens from a nap to find Gibson at the window. He tells her there’s a man with a gun outside, but he’s there to kill her, not him. He’s right, and someone shoots Fowley through the window. She’s alive, barely, but a U.S. marshal is dead. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that the shooter is dead, and they found the blank cigarette note. Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.

CSM has grabbed Gibson and taken him to meet WMM. WMM tries to convince Gibson that he has nothing to be afraid of, but Gibson knows he’s a liar like CSM is. WMM tells CSM his work is done, but CSM says it’s just beginning. He hands over the boy, who gets in the car with WMM and Krycek. Krycek offers to kill CSM, but WMM says he’s useful, and Krycek might need him in the future.

As Spender organizes a search for Gibson, Mulder attacks him, demanding to know who Spender really works for. He vows to see Spender prosecuted, warning that his days are numbered. Spender says Mulder’s the one whose days are numbered.

Scully and Skinner talk on the phone about the developments in the case, and how Spender is saying things that make both agents look bad. Scully tells Mulder that Fowley isn’t doing well, and their jobs aren’t lookng much better. The Department of Justice wants the X-files to be closed down. Mulder laments that everything has been part of a strategy he couldn’t see. Scully admits that the bad guys may have finally won.

CSM lights a cigarette in Mulder’s office, then leaves with Samantha’s X-file. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who asks how he got in. CSM says he has access and can give it to Spender. Spender asks who he is. “I’m your father,” CSM replies. (Well, it’s no “Luke, I am your father”). A smoke alarm sounds – Mulder’s office is on fire. When he and Scully go in to check it out, they see that everything has been destroyed, including the “I want to believe” poster.

Thoughts: Gibson looks like a mini-Frohike. I hope that’s on purpose.

I can’t believe I have to put up with this Scully/Fowley jealousy crap. Frigging male showrunners and writers.

Gibson is present for a murder and his parents don’t immediately rush out to get him? Why weren’t they with him anyway? Does he have a guardian? No one seems worried about him. Scully, adopt him, please.

How do you like your new role as Syndicate chauffeur, Krycek? Do you feel like you’ve made good choices to get you to this place?

That’s a wrap on season 5! I’m excited for some fun episodes coming in season 6.

August 15, 2017

SVT #101, Twins in Love: Putting the “Dude” in Dude Ranch

Posted in books tagged , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Purple jeans, everyone. Purple. Jeans

Summary: The Wakefields are going on vacation to a dude ranch. Has anyone ever been to a dude ranch in real life? All my knowledge of them comes from books and Hey Dude. Hilariously, the ranch is called the Triple Z, but no one ever makes the obvious comment that that means ZZZ, as in snoring. The owners should have run that by a marketing team. Anyway, Elizabeth is excited to ride horses, while Jessica is excited to…I was going to say ride boys, but this is Sweet Valley. She wants to find a cute guy and get a peck on the cheek.

When the Wakefields arrive at the ranch, everyone makes a big deal out of the fact that the girls are twins. I can imagine that that gets old really fast for identical twins. The family gets right to horseback-riding, and Jessica gets right to boy-watching. Elizabeth is, surprisingly, the twin who meets a cute guy first, but Jess follows shortly after. They soon realize that they’ve fallen for the same guy. They fight about it, then decide to let the guy pick which one of them he likes more. (Please note that at this point, neither of them even knows the guy’s name.)

The twins both run into their dream guy, Nick, and basically have a shoving match right in front of him. Nick does not immediately peace out and avoid them for the rest of his vacation. Instead, he introduces them to his brother Chris. His identical twin brother. In fact, the girls didn’t even fall for the same guy at the same time – Jess fell for Chris and Liz fell for Nick.

The two sets of twins go riding together, and both pairs hit it off. We learn that the boys always wear different brands of shoes, and Chris is right-handed while Nick is left-handed. The new lovebirds all have dinner together. Elizabeth tells them that she and Jess can be told apart by different hairstyles and the fact that Liz wears a watch while Jess doesn’t. Jess snarks that, in addition, she has fashion sense while Liz doesn’t. (This reminds me of The Parent Trap: “I have class and you don’t.”)

As dinner progresses, the girls start to think they’ve fallen for the wrong guys. For instance, Nick keeps doing a Jim Carrey impression. Liz, I feel your pain. The girls separately wonder if they should swap guys. The next day, when Jessica encounters Nick, she tells him she’s Elizabeth. Liz does the same with Chris, then flips out when she learns that Jess impersonated her. Then the girls realize the situation is actually kind of funny, and they agree to pull a twin switch with the guys.

On the kids’ next double date, the girls aren’t any more interested in their new guys than they were in their old ones. Liz sees Chris – or the guy she thinks is Chris – waving with his left hand and thinks that the boys also pulled a twin switch. The girls switch back to themselves, but the guys seem to also switch back as well. The girls keep running to the bathroom to switch outfits, eventually ending up wearing the wrong shoes, though the guys don’t seem to notice.

For their next double date, Jess suggests that she and Liz dress the same to make switching easier. This works well enough to fool Alice, which doesn’t surprise me at all. A problem arises when the girls go on a ride and are given each other’s horses. Liz’s horse isn’t a big Jessica fan and ends up throwing her off. The guys figure out that the girls lied to them and huff off, claiming they never pulled a switch. Which I guess just means that neither guy is that interesting and the girls shouldn’t be with them.

Before the Wakefields leave the ranch, the guys come to make up with the girls…and reveal that they did, in fact, switch. So their anger at the girls is unfounded, since they pulled the same stunt. But it turns out that the twins pulled one last swap for their final meeting. Too bad they’ve wound up with the guys they don’t like, so they didn’t really accomplish anything.

The B-plot is boring and dumb, though I guess that’s not much different from the rest of the book. Steven wants to win a horse race at the end of the week, so he asks to spend the week riding a horse named Rocket that used to compete in derbies. He realizes too late that Rocket hasn’t competed in a long time and is nowhere near as fast as she used to be. Steven decides not to bother with the race, but then Rocket gets stung by a bee and takes off, accidentally winning the race. The prize is a hat. Yeehaw.

Thoughts: The ghostwriter severely overestimates any preteen girl’s interest in any plotline involving Steven.

Chris slices his Jell-o into 16ths and eats it with a fork. I think that’s a sign that he’s a future serial killer.

Jessica’s favorite color is pink, not purple. What would Janet say??

Speaking of purple, I don’t buy that Elizabeth has purple jeans. Maybe I’m just in denial that purple jeans exist.

August 12, 2017

The X-Files 5.19, Folie à Deux: Kill My Boss? Do I Dare Live Out the American Dream?

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

And you thought YOUR office’s team-building activities were torture!

Summary: In Oak Brook, Illinois, employees are diligently working in their cubicles, calling uninterested people who really don’t care about buying vinyl siding. One worker, Gary, hears insect noises but can’t find the source. He and a co-worker make fun of their boss, who thinks everyone needs to smile because their customers can hear it in their voices. On his next call, Gary hears the noises again, then sees what looks like the shadow of a giant bug outside the office. He’s able to continue reciting his script, but stops when a huge bug flits into the office. “It’s here,” he whispers to his customer.

Mulder and Scully meet with Skinner in his office and are assigned to go to the office to perform a “threat assessment.” The office received an anonymous taped manifesto threatening violence. Since there was an incident with a gunman in the office a few years ago, they know they need to take this seriously. Skinner wants Mulder and Scully to handle the case instead of anyone in the Chicago field office, since the manifesto talks about monsters. “Monsters. I’m your boy,” Mulder says.

As they leave, Mulder complains to Scully that he’s become the go-to guy for weird stuff. He doesn’t think Scully even needs to come to Chicago with him, since she’s not Monster Boy and the case probably isn’t for real. Mulder heads out to Illinois and hears the manifesto, in which Gary talks about a monster in the office that needs to be killed before it kills them. (The company doesn’t realize the voice is Gary’s, though.) Mulder asks about the incident with the gunman, which was at another location, and which a manager, Greg Pincus, thinks was over a woman.

Mulder calls Scully and asks her to check on the phrase “hiding in the light,” which Gary uses on the tape. Mulder thinks it came up in an old case. Scully isn’t looking forward to having to look through hundreds of case files for one phrase. Gary notices that Mulder just left Pincus’ office and wonders what’s going on. Moments later, Gary’s co-worker, Nancy, is called in to see Pincus. Gary tries to warn her not to do something, but she brushes him off. As she goes to talk to Pincus, Gary sees him turn into the giant bug.

Nancy screams from the office, but when Gary tries to check on her, his boss sends him back to work. Nancy leaves Pincus’ office looking and acting like a zombie, at least in Gary’s eyes. She tells Gary that Pincus just wants to greet everyone. At the Chicago field office, Mulder listens to the manifesto again, taking notes to form a profile of the speaker. Meanwhile, Gary loads a gun.

Scully calls Mulder to tell him that a man named Gerald said “hiding in the light” to a police officer in Florida back in 1992. He thought there was an “evil presence” at his church, then shot a bunch of people there, saying “the afflicted ones wouldn’t bleed.” Mulder decides it’s time for Scully to join him in Illinois, even though admitting this case is for real after all means he runs the risk of Scully saying, “I told you so” (which she does).

Mulder goes to the office, which is suddenly empty. Nancy, who’s hiding, tries to warn him that someone’s there. It’s Gary, and he’s ready to add Mulder to his collection of hostages. When Scully makes it to Illinois, she walks into the middle of a hostage situation; the investigation is being overseen by an agent named Rice. Gary has said he wants to broadcast a “stunning revelation,” and they’re about to try to call Mulder on his cell phone, but Scully tells him they need to assess the situation first.

Gary secures all his co-workers/hostages, plus Mulder. He tells them that Pincus is the real threat, though Pincus isn’t the one holding a huge gun and screaming at everyone. Mulder calmly asks why they should be afraid of Pincus. He claims he’s there applying for a job, so Gary won’t know he’s an FBI agent. Gary says that Pincus is a monster, but he’s clouded everyone’s minds so they can’t see it. He wants to harvest their souls and turn everyone into monsters, too.

Mulder says he wants to believe Gary, but he’ll need to put down the gun to get everyone to truly listen to him. Gary doesn’t believe that Mulder wants to believe, but he says Mulder will. Whenever Gary turns away, Mulder tries to go for his gun, but he’s not quiet enough. Gary tells everyone to be quiet because he hears something in a vent. He starts shooting at it, and outside, Rice decides it’s time to make contact with the hostages by calling Mulder.

Mulder’s trying to go for his gun again when his phone rings. Gary stops him from answering it, and when he reaches over to take it himself, he sees Mulder’s gun. He knocks Mulder in the head, and when another hostage, Mark, tries to take advantage of the distraction to tackle Gary, Gary shoots him.

Gary finds Mulder’s badge and answers Rice’s phone call. “I just shot a zombie,” Gary says, though he says the zombie isn’t dead. Soon, though, he’s going to start killing real people. Rice fills Scully in, and Scully tells him it’s time to give Gary a platform to broadcast his “stunning revelation.” Gary has Mark’s body removed as Mulder tries to get him to realize that he killed a human, not a zombie. Gary claims that Pincus used telepathy to get Mark to attack him. Pincus wants to turn them all into “mindless drones” and take away who they are. Then he can control them and make them spy on each other for him.

Pincus points out that, if he’s a monster, Gary doesn’t need hostages. Gary says he’s going to put Pincus on TV and everyone will see who he is. Mulder’s phone rings again, and he tells Gary to answer it. Rice tells him they’re sending in a cameraman so Gary can go on TV and make his revelation. Thanks to closed-circuit monitoring, the agents outside can now see what’s going on in the cafeteria where everyone’s being held. They’ll be able to figure out a way into the room to end the crisis.

Gary goes live, telling the country that Pincus is a monster. He plans to shoot Pincus and show everyone who he really is. Mulder stands between Gary and Pincus, trying to talk him down. The lights go out and Gary hears the insect noises. He tells Mulder to turn and look at it, and when Mulder does, he sees the giant bug. Suddenly the SWAT team drives a FREAKING TANK through the wall and takes out Gary. The hostages are all fine and will have a great story to tell at parties for the rest of their lives.

Mulder studies Pincus, who looks normal. He leans over Gary, who’s still alive. “Now you know,” he whispers before dying. Once the local agents have gotten things under control, Mulder asks Pincus why Gary branded him a monster. He wonders if there’s a connection to the company’s previous incident in 1994, or to the case in Florida with Gerald. Scully’s like, “Monster Boy’s at it again.”

The agents return to D.C., where Mulder uses a map to mark the places where the weird incidents have occurred. He tells Scully that “hiding in the light” and similar phrases have been used in five other cases; all the cases involved someone claiming there was an evil entity only they could see. The company has offices near all of the cities where those cases occurred, and Pincus has been to all those locations. Mulder thinks Gary was right about Pincus being an insect-like being that causes people to see him as a regular human.

Scully admits that there could be a condition that causes people not to see what’s right before their eyes. However, Gary was mentally ill, so they can’t believe that he saw a real insect. Mulder wonders if he saw the insect because he was disturbed, or if he was disturbed because he saw the insect. He admits that he saw it, too. Scully thinks that Mulder was suffering from trauma and just picked up Gary’s delusions – it’s known as folie à deux.

Mulder thinks he can prove Gary’s theory about zombies by having Scully autopsy Mark’s body. Scully refuses to play along with Gary’s delusions, so Mulder says he’ll take care of things himself. First he goes with Rice to Gary’s house, where, just like Mulder, Gary has marked locations on a map. Mulder thinks he was tracking Pincus’ movements over the past few years. Mulder looks out a window and sees Nancy in the yard, first as her normal self, then as a zombie. Mulder runs outside but doesn’t see anyone. A car pulls away, carrying Nancy and being driven by Pincus.

Back in D.C., Skinner asks Scully why Mulder went back to Illinois. Scully says he’s looking into a possible connection between multiple cases. Skinner says the agents in Chicago think Mulder’s behaving erratically. Scully says she’ll go out and join him, but Skinner wants her to do Mark’s autopsy first. He’s surprised that Scully doesn’t seem to know she was supposed to do it, or that Mulder had Mark’s body sent to Quantico.

Scully goes to Quantico but decides only to do an external exam of the body. An assistant starts as Scully tries to call Mulder. The assistant thinks Mark died 48 to 72 hours ago, judging by the rate of decomposition. However, the hostage situation only took place the previous afternoon. In Illinois, Mulder follows Pincus to a house where he tries to attack a woman. By the time Mulder gets inside, the woman has been zombified. He searches the house, then spots the giant bug scuttling up to the roof.

Skinner comes to Illinois to apologize to the woman (one of Gary’s co-workers), who has accused Mulder of breaking into her house for no reason. He was screaming about monsters, “even worse than Gary.” Pincus is there, and the woman shows no signs that she was ever scared of him. Mulder thinks Pincus has already infected her. Pincus is willing to drop the matter, since he still sees Mulder as a hero. Mulder shouts that Gary knew Pincus’ secret. As Skinner yells at him, Mulder hears the insect noises and sees Pincus turn into the bug. He begs Skinner to turn and look at it, but Skinner restrains him.

Mulder lands himself in a hospital, where he jokes to Scully that, after five years working together, she must have expected to see him in a psychiatric ward some day. She tells him that Mark’s body decomposed at a weird rate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that, as Gary claimed, Mark was already dead when Gary shot him. Mulder pushes her to find out what Pincus did to the woman at her house.

Scully tells him there’s nothing left to investigate, and Mulder needs to start seeing past his delusion. He tells her that she’s the one who needs to see, because she’s the only person on the planet who gets him. “You’re my one in five billion,” he tells her.

Scully heads back to Quantico to have another look at Mark’s body. She finds three puncture wounds on the back of his head, like bite marks a large insect might make. At the hospital, a nurse gives Mulder a sedative, then tells him to sleep tight and not let the bedbugs bite. Oh, nurse. He hears insect noises and sees the giant bug appearing outside his window. He calls for the nurse, yelling that “it’s here.”

The nurse returns and tells Mulder that nothing could be at the window, since they’re on the third floor. She turns on the lights and opens the curtains so Mulder can see that there’s nothing outside. Mulder asks her to take off his restraints, but instead, she opens the window, prescribing fresh air. She tightens Mulder’s restraints and leaves. Of course, the bug comes back.

Scully comes by but the nurse won’t let her see her partner after visiting hours. Scully sees her turn into a zombie, then runs down the hall to Mulder’s room. The bug has gotten inside, and Scully shoots at it, but it gets away. Still, at least now Mulder knows that she knows he wasn’t crazy.

Scully fills out a report, telling Skinner that Mulder is fit for duty, though she isn’t sure exactly what happened. Someone injected a toxin into Mark, and Pincus, the nurse, and a bunch of employees – all the people described as zombies – have disappeared. Scully knows for sure that there was an “intruder” in Mulder’s room, though she can’t testify for sure that it was, you know, a giant bug.

After the meeting, Scully tells Mulder that she told Skinner the truth, or at least the truth she gathered from all the weird facts. All she can come up with is folie à deux – “a madness shared by two.” She should make that three, because an employee in the Missouri branch of Gary’s company has just heard insect noises…

Thoughts: My recap title comes from a Simpsons Halloween episode in which Homer, like Gary, suspects that his boss is a murderous monster.

Some nice continuity: Mulder’s finger is still bandaged from “The Pine Bluff Variant.”

I know our country’s screwed up, but I can’t imagine that any news outlet would air a man who’s about to commit murder on live TV. The potential FCC fine alone would be a huge deterrent.

No wonder Scully feels like the basement office isn’t hers – only Mulder’s name is on the door.

August 8, 2017

SVT #100, If I Die Before I Wake: Deliver Us from Eva

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:07 pm by Jenn

Well, they should have known something was wrong with the house when they saw that there were giant eyes inside

Summary: Eva is ready to finish off the twins, Amy, Winston, and Todd on the Riccolis’ widow’s walk. Even though they have the advantage of five people against one, and Todd is ready to fight, the kids resign themselves to death. Eva attacks Elizabeth, who falls from the widow’s walk, but Eva grabs her arm to save her, I guess so she can kill Liz herself. Come on, Eva, let gravity help! She loses her grip and Liz falls again, then suddenly wakes up inside the house. The other babysitters are also alive and well, though confused about how all five of them could have had the same dream. Liz also has cuts from where Eva scratched her in the “dream.”

It’s pretty early in the morning, but the sitters keep themselves awake until the kids get up. Amy, Todd, and Winston leave, and the twins fall asleep for about an hour while the kids are watching TV. They don’t have any dreams, so they figure they’ve somehow defeated Eva. When the twins get back home, Andrew calls to tell them that the kids’ nightmares have also ended. The twins think the horrible stuff is behind them and start looking forward to Halloween, which is the next week.

Fast-forward a few days, and everyone’s getting costumes. Steven wishes he could find something super-scary, but the store everyone’s shopping in doesn’t have anything he likes. Since his sisters have been talking about Eva a lot, he decides to dress up as her and scare the crap out of the twins. This means he’ll have to wear a nightgown with daisies on it and carry a teddy bear, but it’s a sacrifice Steven is willing to make.

The twins visit the Riccolis, who are all happy now, partly because their nightmares are gone and partly because Mr. Riccoli has finally joined them. He and Mrs. Riccoli ask the twins to babysit the kids on Halloween while they go to a party, and since they figure Eva’s out of the picture, the girls say yes. (Jess will have to miss a Unicorn party, and Lila bugs her about it, so Jess makes her fall out of a canoe at Secca Lake.) At home, Jessica gives Alice a Halloween costume she bought her, but Alice is apparently anti-Halloween (how have we never heard about this on any of the series’ past Halloweens?) and won’t even consider wearing it.

Jessica hears scratching noises at her window one night and thinks she sees Eva outside. The next night, Liz thinks she sees her, too. When the twins start talking about Eva at breakfast, Steven takes advantage of the conversation to ask a few questions about what Eva looks like, so he can put the finishing touches on his costume. The twins think they see Eva again that night and wonder if she somehow left their dreams and became real.

While doing some landscaping at the Riccolis’, Steven finds a piece of cloth with daisies on it under a boulder. Even though he was just thinking about Eva, he doesn’t put it together that this must be from her nightgown. Meanwhile, the twins pay a visit to a cemetery and find Eva and her parents’ graves. They’re shocked to see that Eva has followed them there and run from her. Eva loses her bunny slipper, and Elizabeth picks it up, for some reason. The twins barely get away.

Halloween is the next day, and the twins ask Amy, Todd, and Winston to join them at the Riccolis’ that night. Steven is just about ready to put his costume to scarifying use when he decides he’s missing something. He remembers that Jessica has a teddy bear (which is actually Eva’s) and goes to get it from her closet. He spots the bunny slipper, too, and decides to take it as well. Jessica sees him heading back to his room and thinks he’s really Eva, freaking out the twins. Steven pretends he was asleep and didn’t see anyone in his room.

While trick-or-treating that night, Steven comes across the real Eva, who’s not happy that he has her bear and her slipper. Steven’s so shocked and scared that all he can think to do is give them to her. Eva isn’t appropriately grateful, telling Steven that he and his sisters will die that night. Steven rushes home, where Alice has received a picture and letter from Eva, leading her to remember the last night she babysat Eva: Halloween exactly 25 years ago. Eva’s parents got to a party, and Alice puts Eva to bed with her teddy bear and one bunny slipper. She makes sure to lock the balcony door so Eva won’t fall if she sleepwalks.

Alice’s friends Dyan, Jim, and Walter (Amy’s mom, Todd’s dad, and Winston’s dad, remember) surprise her by sneaking into the house through Eva’s window. Alice realizes too late that they didn’t lock the balcony door after they came in. By the time she gets up to Eva’s room on the third floor, Eva’s on the balcony. Alice doesn’t finish her flashback until later, but it’s pretty obvious what happens: Eva falls over the railing.

Steven interrupts Alice, babbling about “she” and the twins being in danger. She tells him the twins are trick-or-treating, since she doesn’t know they’re babysitting. Steven runs around town looking for them, learning from Lila that they’re at the Riccolis’. As he’s on his way over there, Jessica is lured to Eva’s room by a voice she thinks is Elizabeth’s. She passes out, and the others start getting worried when she doesn’t come back, but they don’t bother going to look for her. When they hear a scream, they run up to Eva’s room, where Liz sees that the picture of Eva and Alice that used to be there is gone.

As Eva locks the sitters in a room together, Steven shows up. His costume is so good that the sitters think there are somehow two Evas now. Steven is able to slow Eva down while the sitters go get the kids out of the house. They realize that the house is on fire and they can’t make it outside by going downstairs. They’re able to get the kids out through a window, since the roof slopes low enough that they don’t have to jump too far to the ground. But Eva’s still coming for them…

At home, Alice finishes the rest of her flashback, then reads Eva’s letter, which reveals that she didn’t die after her fall. She was somehow able to keep coming back to the house without her parents knowing. She blames Alice for her fall, since Alice scared her when she was on the balcony. She admits to using makeup to make herself look like a monster so she can scare the sitters. Now she plans to go even further and kill Alice’s daughters as revenge. Alice realizes this is all real, and that her kids are in danger. She rounds up her old friends and tells them to meet her at the Riccolis’ house. Just then, the Riccoli kids arrive to confirm that Eva is about to kill the sitters.

Back at the house, the sitters head to Eva’s bedroom, since they have no other place to hide. The house starts falling apart due to the fire, but the sitters and Steven are able to escape through a window. Eva isn’t so lucky, as the house collapses her around her, apparently killing her for real this time.

Sometime later, Alice and the twins go to the cemetery to visit Eva’s grave, which actually contains her body now. They’ve figured out that Eva, like Miss Havisham in Great Expectations, was never able to let go of what happened to her. They think the gardener who died in Too Scared to Sleep may have been helping her stay hidden. Though they can’t explain the shared nightmares, they think Eva was hurting them in real life, and they just thought she was harming them in their dreams. But who cares about details – Eva is gone, and everyone is safe. Let’s just hope the Riccolis had excellent insurance.

Thoughts: If you ask me, this whole thing is Mr. and Mrs. Sullivan’s fault. They should have moved Eva to a different bedroom or made the railing on the balcony higher when she started sleepwalking. And it wasn’t Alice’s fault that the balcony door was unlocked – it was Jim, Dyan, and Walter’s fault. Eva spent 25 years being mad at the wrong person.

So did Eva never grow? She should have been in her 30s during this miniseries, but apparently she was the same size as when she was a kid.

The ghostwriter needs to make up her mind whether Alice was 12 or a sophomore when she sat for Eva.

Winston: “I’m too nice to die!” Okay, Winnie.

August 5, 2017

The X-Files 5.18, The Pine Bluff Variant: Lies Within Lies

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:30 pm by Jenn

It’s weird watching a monster have a moral crisis

Summary: Mulder’s out for a run in Folger Park in D.C., as part of some sort of surveillance operation. Scully and Skinner are among the agents keeping their eyes on a man named Jacob Haley, who’s there to meet with someone. Scully sees Haley notice Mulder and warns her partner. Haley then hands an envelope to the person he’s meeting with, who suddenly collapses. Haley calls out for help, then takes off. Mulder runs after him as other agents go to the man who collapsed. Something is eating away his flesh.

The others lose track of Mulder, who doesn’t respond when Scully warns him through an earpiece that Haley is armed. She decides to chase him herself, but when she finds Mulder, she sees him chatting with someone who then drives off. Mulder tells her he lost Haley.

Back at FBI headquarters, Scully watches footage of the surveillance, which seems to show Mulder making contact with Haley. She asks Mulder what really happened. How did 12 agents with eyes on everyone lose Haley?
If Mulder helped him, he was aiding a terrorist. Skinner addresses a joint FBI/CIA taskforce formed to capture Haley, who wants to overthrow the government. His contact from the park, an arms dealer named Cadre, received bearer bonds from Haley, who know has a bunch of weapons.

An agent named Leamus discusses Cadre’s death with Scully – he was killed by a bioweapon that originated in the former Soviet Union. Leamus wonders if this means there’s a toxin in the air at the park. Scully says it’s probably not a problem, and Mulder points out that everyone else at the park is still alive, so Scully must be right.

The agents wonder how Haley was able to escape all the agents watching him. Mulder notes that he has a lot of training. Skinner thinks their next threat is August Bremer, who’s just as dangerous as Haley. Leamus warns everyone to keep the information confidential so the media doesn’t find out about the terrorists they’re pursuing. As the meeting breaks up, Scully tries to approach Mulder, but he ignores her.

In Gables Corner, Ohio, Bremer goes to a small movie theater and buys a ticket for Die Hard With a Vengeance. He asks for fresh popcorn, sending the woman who serves him to a machine in the back. As she works, Bremer puts on gloves and pulls out an aerosol container.

Meanwhile, Scully tails Mulder to the Aaron Burr Motor Court in Angola, Delaware, where he gets a room and accepts a phone call from Haley. Haley accuses Mulder of setting him up, but Mulder claims he was trying to warn Haley about an anonymous tip. Mulder continues that he believes in Haley’s ideals; they’re not as bad as the government’s. He’s risking his job to help Haley, so Haley needs to trust him.

Back in Gables Corner, two teenagers sneak into the movie theater via the back door. They see a gross corpse sitting in one of the seats. In Delaware, Scully demands Mulder’s room number and the name he’s using. “Are you the wife?” the desk clerk asks. “Not even close,” she replies. She heads for Mulder’s room, where he’s getting another call from Haley telling him they’re moving forward as planned. Before Scully can reach him, Mulder leaves in the same car he stopped by at the park.

Scully follows Mulder and his mystery driver, keeping her headlights off so they don’t see her. Another car swerves into her path and cuts her off, making her lose the tail. The car that stopped her is full of men who take her to an office where Skinner and Leamus are waiting to speak to her. They apologize for the way they stopped her, but they think their actions may have saved Mulder’s life.

The men know that Scully’s suspicious that Mulder is betraying his country, but he’s actually on a deep-cover assignment. After he spoke at a UFO conference about his skepticism toward the U.S. government, Haley contacted him, thinking he could be used as a mole. Scully accuses Leamus and Skinner of putting Mulder’s life in danger by not telling her about the assignment. She reminds them that they don’t know anything about the bioweapon. Just then, a man tells the agents that the bioweapon has been used at the Ohio movie theater.

Mulder is taken to a storeroom to meet with Haley. Haley accuses Mulder of setting up surveillance in the park, and has a goon break Mulder’s little finger for not telling the truth. Mulder reminds Haley that he let him go. If he were setting Haley up, he wouldn’t have gotten in the car with his goons, and there would already be agents swarming the storeroom. Haley says there’s a war going on, and Mulder is either on the right side or the wrong side. He holds up an aerosol container and threatens to use it, but Mulder sticks to his claims: He didn’t set Haley up. It must have been one of his own people.

Scully and Skinner go to Ohio to check out the movie theater, which is declared safe. In total, 14 people are dead, and the two teens who snuck in the back are the only survivors. The site is pretty gruesome. Scully notes that, since there were survivors, the toxin probably isn’t airborne, which means everyone who died must have touched something that was infected. She gets an idea when she spots a ticket stub on the floor.

Mulder goes home, where Scully’s waiting for him in the dark. She tells him she knows about his assignment, then takes care of his broken finger. He wonders why the people at the movie theater were killed. Scully thinks he’s being tested. Mulder tells her that Haley let him live because he still needs him. Plus, Haley trusts Bremer even less than he trusts Mulder. The agents don’t realize that Bremer is listening in on their conversation from his car.

Even though it’s the middle of the night, Mulder goes to FBI headquarters, his finger splinted, and meets with Skinner and Leamus. He relays the information that Haley’s group seems to be targeting a bank or armored car next. Leamus is ready with redacted surveillance files to make Haley think Mulder’s telling the truth. Skinner wants to put a tail on Mulder for his next meeting, but Leamus says it’s a bad idea. This means Mulder goes to his next meeting with Haley all alone. “If you don’t hear from me by midnight, feed my fish,” Mulder tells his boss.

Scully meets with a CDC scientist who tells her they found bacteria on Cadre’s bearer bonds, but not on the ticket stub. They still haven’t figured out how the biotoxin was spread at the theater. The bacteria is a strain of especially lethal strep, genetically engineered to survive outside a body. The scientist compares it to scratch-and-sniff technology. He doesn’t think it’s from Russia, since they don’t have this kind of technology.

Mulder takes the redacted surveillance files to Haley, who mutters, “Lies within lies.” He tells Mulder he’s accompanying the group on their next mission. Mulder refuses to put on the hood Haley gives him, but Haley won’t accept that answer. (Mulder, you need to pick your battles with the terrorist, mmkay?)

Scully calls Skinner to fill him in on the bacteria, asking to speak to only him, since Leamus is in the room. She thinks the toxin was created domestically; the Army had a Pine Bluff facility in the ’60s that was working on something similar. She thinks the bioweapons program continued in secret. Mulder could be on a suicide mission. When Skinner gets off the phone, he just tells Leamus that Scully’s concerned for Mulder.

Haley and Mulder join Bremer and the rest of Haley’s group to prepare for whatever terrorist version of Ocean’s 11 they have planned. Bremer asks Mulder if he’s a believer. “I have my beliefs,” Mulder replies. Bremer asks if he’s willing to die for them, and Mulder says he hopes it doesn’t come to that. Bremer gives him a monster mask.

Scully realizes that the bacteria must have been spread through the money at the movie theater. Meanwhile, the terrorists head to a bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, disguising themselves with monster masks. They gain entry by hiding out in an armored car, pretending to make a delivery. They give themselves three minutes to get access to the vault. One of the tellers moves to hit a panic button, so Mulder offers to keep an eye on him. One of the terrorists shoots the teller, and Mulder is ordered to finish him off.

Mulder hesitates, but Haley keeps pushing him to act even as the others lose interest when the vault is opened. The terrorists gather a few bags of money and spray the rest with aerosol canisters. Just as Mulder has to make a decision whether or not to shoot an innocent man, a terrorist stops him, saying his weapon is traceable. He shoots the teller himself, then ushers all the terrorists out of the bank.

The terrorists burn their masks, and Bremer adds the stolen money to the fire. Mulder realizes that the heist was just a decoy so they could contaminate the rest of the money in the vault. Bremer says they’re done testing Mulder, and he’s been very helpful, but it’s time for him to die. Haley stops Bremer, saying it’s too late to try to protect his secret, since Haley already knows it: Thanks to an alias used in the surveillance files, Haley knows that Bremer’s the mole. In response, Bremer exposes Mulder as a double agent, playing a recording of his conversation with Scully.

Scully finds Skinner and Leamus to tell them they need to get Mulder out of there ASAP. She knows the money is contaminated. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of bank robberies that morning, and the agents don’t know which one Mulder was part of. Scully looks at a few surveillance screens, trying to recognize her disguised partner.

Bremer has Haley and Mulder lined up for execution, but he gives Haley his keys and allows him to leave. Mulder quips his way to the site of his potential death, because he’s certainly not going to start being serious now. He kneels and waits for a bullet to end his life, but when the shot comes, it’s a goon who’s killed. Bremer sends Mulder away, knowing that “they” will kill both of them if he doesn’t leave.

Mulder goes back to the bank, where Scully tells him they’ve already taken care of things. She was able to figure out which bank he went to from the surveillance footage – she saw the splint on his finger. Mulder tells Skinner that Bremer is on their side. But Scully tells him that the biotoxin may have been created by the U.S. government, so the whole operation could have been a setup.

Leamus joins the group to deny that the government would use its own citizens for something like this. Scully thinks he knew what was really going on the whole time. Mulder wants the money to be rechecked – it’s as dirty as Leamus is. Leamus asks what Mulder would want to see happen if he blew the whistle. Wouldn’t he do the same thing Haley’s group wants to do? Mulder says he just wants people to know the truth. Leamus replies that sometimes the government’s job is the keep people from learning the truth.

Meanwhile, Haley’s getaway car doesn’t take him very far – at some point, it pulls off a quiet, secluded road, the horn blaring. Haley’s dead, his head pressed to the horn, his skin being eaten away by the biotoxin. He probably should have made sure he was wearing gloves when he took his keys back from Bremer.

Thoughts: Leamus is played by Sam Anderson, who I’ve seen in a bunch of things but will always think of as Bernard from Lost. Haley is played by the late Daniel von Bargen. The movie theater employee is played by Kate Braidwood, daughter of Tom Braidwood, AKA Frohike.

Angry, broken-fingered, death-threat-shouting Mulder is kind of hot. Okay, I’ll see myself out.

Oh, the Russians don’t have the technology for this kind of biotoxin? Are you sure they’d tell you if they did?

August 1, 2017

SVT #99, The Beast Must Die: I’ll See You in My Dreams

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Two girls, two awful outfits

Summary: We pick up right where The Beast is Watching You left off, with the twins trapped in Eva’s bedroom while a fire is burning downstairs. The Riccoli kids are all asleep and somehow don’t hear the girls yelling and pounding on the door. Fortunately, Steven happens to be on his way over to scare his sisters, and he rescues the kids. Eva’s ticked and adds Steven to her kill list. The twins manage to break down the door, and Steven’s plan to scare them succeeds as they’re terrified to see what they think is a monster with the kids. (He’s wearing a mask.) When Mrs. Riccoli comes home, she figures Andrew, who has a history of playing with matches, started the fire, but he insists he was asleep. Steven backs that up.

Jessica already wasn’t that thrilled to be babysitting so much, and after this latest scare, she announces she’s done going to the Riccolis’ house. Alice is relieved, as she’s never liked how much time the twins have been spending at the old Sullivan house. Alice flashback time! Eva hates going to sleep because she has horrible nightmares, but Alice assures her that nothing will happen to her while Alice is around.

One afternoon when the twins are enjoying their free time, Mrs. Riccoli calls to beg them to come over. Her mother has been hospitalized, and Mrs. Riccoli has to fly out to Florida to see her right away. She apparently doesn’t know anyone else in town, so she asks two 12-year-olds to watch her kids for the weekend. (Remember that Mrs. Riccoli is a college professor, which means she must know a few dozen 20-somethings who would be much more responsible, and would probably appreciate the money. But whatever.) Jessica reluctantly accepts the job once Mrs. Riccoli offers to pay her and Liz triple their usual rate.

Elizabeth isn’t happy to have to cancel her plans with friends, but she can’t in good conscience leave the Riccolis in the lurch, so she and Jess go over for their marathon sitting job. (Todd will be joining them later.) Liz falls asleep and dreams about going back to Eva’s room, where a doll comes to life. The monster girl from the kids’ dreams attacks, trying to strangle her. Jessica wakes up her sister when she screams in her sleep, and both realize that Liz now has red marks on her neck.

Alice calls to check on her daughters, then has another flashback: One night when she was sitting for Eva, her friends Dyan, Jim, and Walter came by to visit. These would be Amy’s mother, and Todd and Winston’s fathers. Alice and Jim appear to have crushes on each other, which we’ve never heard about before and never will again. Nothing happens in this scene, really; it’s just setting up the kids’ friendship.

Over at the Riccolis’ house, Elizabeth asks Jess to wake her up after she’s been asleep for five minutes. She dreams about Eva’s room again, and the monster girl threatens her. Jess falls asleep as well and winds up in Liz’s dream. They hide from Eva, but she finds them and tries to strangle both twins. Fortunately, Todd arrives and wakes them up before Eva can finish them off. But somehow, Eva’s teddy bear makes it to the real world with them. Spooky…

The babysitters decide to try to stay awake the rest of the night, but Todd nods off for a little while and also dreams about Eva. Amy and Winston come over the next morning to relieve the overnight sitters and learn about the weird goings-on in the house. Wait…the twins, Amy, Todd, and Winston – the children of Alice, Dyan, Jim, and Walter? No way! What a strange coincidence! When the twins get home, they ask Alice about Eva, but Alice won’t tell them anything.

All five sitters go back to the house for a second night of sitting, and the sitters decide they need to stay awake all night. (By the way, the kids have stopped having nightmares, so at least the job is a lot easier now.) Jess tries to make coffee, but she screws it all up. Winston realizes it was decaf anyway, so it wouldn’t have mattered if she’d made it right. The sitters play board games for a while, but that’s not exactly a thrill a minute.

Eventually they decide that they can sleep for ten minutes at a time, setting an alarm to wake them up before Eva can attack them in their dreams. I’m sure sleeping in ten-minute increments all night will make them feel refreshed and ready to take care of five kids the next day! Winston accidentally unplugs the alarm clock, which Eva was about to unplug anyway, and all five sitters end up in the same dream. They’re all on the house’s widow’s walk, and Eva is thrilled to have them all in one place.

In the B-plot, Steven and Joe, who have just started a landscaping business, get a job from a man named Mr. Morgan. He needs them to spiff up his yard over the weekend, to get it ready for a dinner party on Sunday. Steven takes one look at Mr. Morgan’s daughter, Karen, and falls instantly in love. Joe proposes a bet: Whichever of them can’t get a date with Karen for Saturday night has to take one of the twins’ jobs at the Riccolis’ house.

Steven is completely oblivious to the fact that Karen clearly has no interest in him, and that’s even before Joe charms her a little. Then it turns out that Karen already has a boyfriend, which will make winning the bet even harder. But Joe manages to pull it off, getting a date with Karen while Steven does most of the landscaping work. Then Steven gets pulled over for riding his lawn mower in the street. Womp womp. At least he has a chance to make some money at the Riccolis’ house. You know, if Eva doesn’t murder everyone there first.

Thoughts: If I ever decide it’s a good idea for 12-year-olds to watch my five kids for an entire weekend, I authorize someone to call Child Protective Services on me.

Steven, who’s 14, doesn’t know what a cul-de-sac is. I’m so sad.

“He’d never even thought of feet as having looks before – but hers were amazing.” That’s a side of Steven I never wanted to know about.

July 29, 2017

The X-Files 5.17, All Souls: I’m No Angel

Posted in TV tagged at 1:29 pm by Jenn

“Thanks for taking 16 years to get me out of my crappy life, God”

Summary: A priest goes to a family’s house to baptize a teenage girl named Dara who appears to be both physically and mentally disabled. That night, Dara, who previously used a wheelchair, walks out of the house into a rainstorm. Her father rushes outside as she approaches a man who disappears in a flash of light. When Dara’s father reaches her, her eyes have been burned away. The camera guy tries to make a point by showing us a utility pole shaped like a cross.

At St. John’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Scully sneaks a glance at a picture of Emily before going into the confessional for the first time in months. She tells the priest that she always tries to save people and obey the lie, but now her work and her faith aren’t quite meshing. At Easter services the previous week, Father McCue, the Scullys’ priest, asked her to help a family. He thinks working with them might help her come to terms with her grief over Emily. Scully cries as she asks the priest for forgiveness – “an innocent girl is dead because of me.” She thinks she could have saved Emily.

We flash back to the previous week, when Father McCue tells Scully about the Kernoffs, Dara’s family. It seems she didn’t survive the night of her miraculous recovery. He thinks Scully can use her personal experiences to help comfort them, since their faith isn’t helping much. So Scully meets the Kernoffs, learning that Dara was adopted six years ago. Mrs. Kernoff believes that, since Dara was baptized, she’s in Heaven, but Mr. Kernoff is angry over the loss of his daughter.

The police think Dara was struck by lightning, but Mrs. Kernoff is more interested in how she left the house, since she’s never been able to walk. Mr. Kernoff thinks she was on her knees when he found her because she was praying. Mrs. Kernoff can’t understand how God would do something like this to a girl who turned to Him.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt led to help the Kernoffs because she also lost a daughter. But she’s a scientist, and in this instance she couldn’t look to evidence for answers. In the past, she meets with a medical examiner who says she can’t say for sure that Dara was struck by lightning. The ME hasn’t been to church since she was a child, but she went last Sunday because of this case.

She shows Scully photos of Dara showing that she once had surgery to remove extra fingers. She had no other signs of trauma. “It’s as if God Himself struck her down,” the ME says. Scully thinks they should find out more about Dara’s birth mother, and she wants to do it herself.

Meanwhile, a priest goes to a psychiatric hospital to see a patient named Paula who can’t walk and who has extra fingers. (Well, he dresses like a priest, but the cross hanging from his rearview mirror is upside-down, which isn’t exactly Catholic.) Father Gregory wants to adopt Paula, but her social worker, Aaron Starkey, puts a halt on the proceedings since he’s new to the case and wants to familiarize himself with it first.

Scully studies the pictures of Dara some more, then looks at her photo of Emily. Mulder calls and she asks him to get Dara’s birth and adoption records. By the way, this will be off the books. Mulder rushes off, saying he’s pursuing a suspect, but he’s actually on his way to a porno. Stay classy, Mulder. Back at the psychiatric hospital, Paula – who looks just like Dara – gets a visit from a man who glows, illuminating what look like angel’s wings.

Paula is found dead the next morning, in the same state as Dara. Scully sees a cross hanging upside-down on her wall. Mulder arrives, starting to piece together what Scully’s been working on. He gives her Dara’s birth records but can’t get her adoption records, since they’re sealed. Scully guesses that Dara and Paula were twins. Mulder corrects her – Dara was one of a set of quadruplets. They wonder who turned Paula’s cross upside-down, which would be seen as an act of sacrilege.

Scully catches Mulder up on the case, and he predicts that they’re looking for a religion-obsessed killer. Aaron joins them and says he doesn’t think the cross was Paula’s. He mentions that she was about to be adopted by Father Gregory. Mulder and Scully visit his church, finding upside-down crosses and a book of scripture that isn’t entirely canonical. A girl watches them from what appears to be a closet.

Father Gregory seems upset to hear that Paula has died, and defensive when he thinks they might be accusing him of something. He says he wanted to adopt Paula to protect her. He also knew her mother. Scully asks for her name, since the other two quadruplets might be in danger. Father Gregory says the girls’ mother died in childbirth, and he can’t give her name; he was her confessor, and that would violate her privacy.

Mulder asks what Father Gregory wanted to protect Paula from. Father Gregory starts talking about a struggle for all souls between good and evil, and they need to stay out of it to protect themselves, as well as the lives of the “messengers.” He’s done talking to them.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt like Father Gregory was talking only to her, speaking a language only she could understand. The priest seizes on the word “messengers.” In the past, Mulder tells Scully that Father Gregory is probably their guy – he thinks he’s doing God’s work. Mulder believes that the girls’ mother is still alive. Scully tries to confirm that Mulder is saying they’re not dealing with anything supernatural. She brings up Dara’s baptism, but Mulder thinks it’s just a coincidence. God may have His reasons for things, but there are also crazy people who think they’re doing His work.

Scully performs Paula’s autopsy and finds masses on her shoulders. She turns away to look at x-rays, and when she turns back to the body, she sees Emily instead of Paula. “Mommy, please,” Emily pleads with her. Scully breaks down into tears, turning away, and when she looks at the body again, it’s Paula. In the present, Scully tells the priest that she tried to convince herself that she was just imagining things because she was distressed, but now she thinks she was “meant to see Emily.” She was supposed to save the two remaining girls.

In the past, Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that he and Aaron found a third sister in D.C. She walked into a teen center, which means she’s not in the same physical or mental condition as Paula and Dara – or at least not yet. Scully tells Mulder that Paula shows evidence of having a progressive bone disease…one that seems to show wings. Mulder quips that maybe the third sister flew into the teen center. Scully wants to say more, but Mulder tells her to wait. He’s just seen Father Gregory’s car outside an abandoned church.

A girl stumbles through the church, putting up her hands like Dara and Paula when she sees a man approaching her. Mulder finds Father Gregory, who tells him that they’re too late – the girl is already dead. He’s right, and a third sister has died just like Paula and Dara.

Mulder takes a praying Father Gregory in for questioning, asking him what he’s praying about. Father Gregory says he’s praying for the girls’ souls. He accuses Mulder of making a mockery of his faith; he’s not interested in the truth. (This leads to one of my favorite reaction shots of Mulder.) Mulder wonders if Father Gregory burned out the girls’ eyes because they saw him for who he is, like Mulder does now.

When asked about the upside-down cross, Father Gregory lets Scully answer. She says it’s to symbolize St. Peter’s death – he insisted on being crucified upside-down out of humility. Father Gregory insists that he’s risked his life to save the girls from the devil. As the agents are called into the hallway, Father Gregory addresses Scully, saying he knows she’s guessed who the girls are. They need to save the fourth girl, or “his victory will be complete.” They need to let him go so he can protect her.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she didn’t tell Mulder what was going on. She felt like it was her job to save the fourth girl. The priest guesses that Scully didn’t believe Father Gregory about the devil being the treat to the girls’ lives. She confirms this, but says that she does believe Father Gregory was trying to help them.

The fourth girl, Roberta Dyer, has been located, though her life hasn’t been that great, as her father was investigated multiple times for child abuse. Scully reminds Mulder that Father Gregory called the girls messengers; she thinks he can help them save Roberta. Mulder scoffs at this, saying that Scully’s being manipulated. It scares him because he doesn’t understand why. She tells him that she had a vision of Emily, and he tells her she needs to leave the case. Her personal experiences are clouding her judgment.

Scully sends Mulder to find Roberta while she wraps things up with Father Gregory. But Aaron gets there first, asking Father Gregory where Roberta is. Father Gregory knows that Aaron is the killer, so there’s no way he’ll tell him. But Aaron appears to be the devil, and he makes Father Gregory’s hands burn, causing him to drop his cross.

Mulder and a team of officers go to the Dyers’ house, but Roberta’s father isn’t very cooperative. The basement door is locked, and he claims he doesn’t have the key. Mulder finds Roberta’s room, the conditions of which would have her immediately removed from the house if CPS actually bothered to look at it. Mr. Dyer laments that his checks will probably stop coming now. He was told that Father Gregory would take care of Roberta, but Mr. Dyer could keep collecting her disability checks.

As Scully leaves the police station, having trouble with her car keys, Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”). She tells him Father Gregory is dead, but no one can figure out what happened. Mulder tells her that they don’t know where Roberta is. Scully drops her keys, then sees a man approaching her. She looks up to see a man glowing, his face changing to the faces of different animals – a lion, a bull, and an eagle.

Scully goes to see Father McCue, who’s relieved that the FBI found the man who killed the quadruplets. Scully admits that the things she’s seen have made her wonder if there are “larger forces at work here.” She doesn’t think her visions of Emily are just due to the case. She tells Father McCue about the man with the four faces, and he shows her a picture of a seraphim, a four-faced angel.

Story time! An angel descended from Heaven and fathered four children, the nephilim, with a mortal woman. The children have angels’ souls but are “deformed” and “tormented” because they weren’t meant to exist. God sends the seraphim to retrieve the girls and protect them from the devil. If one looks at the seraphim, he or she gives up his or her soul to Heaven. But Father McCue doesn’t think that’s what happened with Scully – it’s just a story from a non-canonical text.

Scully asks Father McCue if he believes God has His reasons. Father McCue says yes – “it’s how God rewards our faith.” As Scully leaves the church, Aaron tells her that Mulder’s been trying to reach her. He found Roberta, and she’s at Father Gregory’s church. Aaron takes Scully to an empty building, where she sees horns on the head of his shadow. She heads upstairs as Aaron insists that Roberta is there. Indeed, she is, hiding, and Scully promises to protect her.

As Scully is leading the girl to safety, a bright light appears. Roberta starts to go toward it, but Scully tells her to stay. Roberta turns into Emily, who asks Scully to let her go. Aaron tells Scully to save the girl from the light, but instead, Scully lets her go. Emily walks to the light, and Scully closes her eyes so she doesn’t have to witness losing her daughter again. When the light goes out, Emily and Aaron are gone, and Roberta is dead.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt like she was releasing Emily’s soul to Heaven, but she’s still struggling to accept Emily’s death. The priest asks if Scully is sure that there’s life after death. Maybe this experience is meant to help her believe that. Can she accept her loss? Scully replies that maybe that’s what faith is.

Thoughts: There’s a song I’ve never heard of by a band I’ve never heard of (Technology vs. Horse) named after this episode. It’s called “That Episode of the X-Files Where Mulder and Scully Find the Little Girls with Their Eyes Burnt Out Because of Angels.” Apparently there’s no actual reference to the episode in the song.

This episode is so full of holes. What happened to the girls’ mother? Why weren’t they pursued until they were 16? Where was Dara before she was adopted? Why were some of the girls in worse physical/mental shape than the others. Whatever, this episode was dumb.

I’m also going to assume that the reason CPS never took Roberta out of her home was because her case worker was Aaron, because no one else could suck that much at doing his or her job.

July 25, 2017

SVT #98, The Beast is Watching You: Sweet Dreams, Sweet Valley

Posted in books tagged , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

The scariest thing about this is Jessica’s outfit

Summary: The girl from Too Scared to Sleep is still keeping an eye on the twins when they come to the old Sullivan house, ready to do something terrible to them if they ever fall asleep there. They’re none the wiser, and are even trying to explain away the weird stuff from their last sitting job with the Riccolis. They figure that Juliana was scratched by the cat and only thought a girl was responsible because of her nightmares. Jessica has also convinced herself that the Alice in the picture she saw in the hidden room isn’t her mother.

After the kids go to bed, the twins try to stay calm in the big, dark, possibly haunted house. Steven and Joe show up to scare them, traumatizing the kids in the process. Ned and Alice do some actual parenting, telling Steven not to go anywhere near the twins when they’re babysitting. Jessica mentions that Steven would have less time on his hands if he got a job like the twins did. Her parents think this is a wonderful idea. Steven does not. More on that in the B-plot.

Alice has a flashback to sitting at the old Sullivan house for a girl named Eva. Eva has night terrors and often sleepwalks, which is a big problem because her room’s on the third floor and there’s a balcony off of it. Alice has to make sure to lock the balcony whenever she puts Eva to bed. Eva likes to wear bunny slippers, but Alice only lets her wear one to bed because both would muffle her footsteps and prevent Alice from knowing where she is when she sleepwalks. It’s pretty obvious by this point that Eva is the girl watching the twins, and something horrible happened while Alice was babysitting her as a preteen.

Juliana seems to have gotten past her nightmares, but they’ve been passed on to her sister Gretchen. She dreams about a “monster girl” in a nightgown with yellow flowers on it – the same nightgown Eva wore as a child. The girl tries to push Gretchen down the stairs, but Gretchen wakes up. On another night, when Elizabeth and Todd are babysitting together, they smell smoke in Andrew’s bedroom but don’t find any signs of a fire. The boy tells them that he dreamed about a girl with a yellow-flowered nightgown and one bunny slipper who set the room on fire.

Jessica sits with Elizabeth again and falls asleep while putting Gretchen to bed. She dreams about the house back when the Sullivans lived there and is horrified at the sight of a grotesque figure wearing a yellow-flowered nightgown and one bunny slipper. The girl tries to push Jessica off the balcony, but Jess wakes up. She realizes that her shirt is ripped, just as it was ripped in her dream. At first the twins think that Jess just dreamed what Gretchen’s been dreaming because she’s heard all about it, but Elizabeth realizes that Jess never knew about the single bunny slipper, since only Andrew has mentioned it.

Things get worse when Gretchen sleepwalks and falls down the stairs while Jessica and Winston are watching the kids. She tells them she was dreaming about the monster girl. At this point, I would be taking all the kids to a psychiatrist, because clearly something is wrong, and it can’t just be about the move and the fact that their father hasn’t yet joined them permanently. I might also consider moving out, if my kids are all having the same dream about some monster who hasn’t been in a movie or TV show they all saw.

One night when the twins are sitting again, they decide to check out the third-floor room. They find a single bunny slipper in the closet and start freaking out. Then the door shuts and they can’t get it open. They smell smoke as Eva sets a fire to try to get rid of her unwelcome housemates once and for all.

In the B-plot, Ned gets a riding mower, and Steven and Joe decide to use it to start a landscaping business. Guys, it’s not landscaping if you’re just mowing lawns. Ned tells Steven he needs to read the user’s manual before he even turns on the mower. Steven is a moron and ignores him. He and Joe wreck the Wakefields’ yard, run over the neighbor’s fence, and almost drive the mower into the pool. For some reason, Ned doesn’t take the keys away and tell them to go get jobs at the mall.

While competing to see who can do a better job with the mower (the winner gets to name their business), Steven and Joe can’t get it to turn off. They ride it in circles around the yard, one behind the wheel and one on the hood. There’s an actual funny moment where the twins watch from the house, wondering if they should videotape the boys or place bets on how many laps they’ll end up taking. The boys take the mower out on the road and finally get it to stop at the Riccolis’ house. Mrs. Riccoli sees them and hires them to take care of the property, since the gardener died in the last book. Mrs. Riccoli, I’m going to tell you right now that this is a horrible idea.

Thoughts: Steven mentions a book called Dog Walking for Fun and Profit. That must be a short book. Step 1: Walk dogs. Step 2: Profit.

Jessica notes that Mrs. Riccoli is messy and leaves things like scissors on the floor of her study. Mrs. R., you have a two-year-old. Get it together.

“For safety reasons, the emergency shutoff may only be used once every ten minutes.” How is that safe? How is that mower manufacturer still in business?

July 22, 2017

The X-Files 5.16, Mind’s Eye: Do You See What I See?

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

I’m just glad Pennock didn’t end up dead or turn out to be a co-conspirator

Summary: It’s evening in the Southbridge District of Wilmington, Delaware, and a woman is arriving home with a bag of groceries. She lights a cigarette off of her stove and sits down to watch TV. Suddenly she sees an angry man in front of her, then a briefcase of drugs. At the Paradise Motel a few hours later, police find the woman hiding in a bathtub, holding something covered in blood. When they arrest her, they realize she’s blind.

The case goes to Mulder and Scully, who will work it with a detective named Pennock. The man the woman saw was a drug dealer, Paco Ordoñez, and he’s now dead. The woman, Marty Glenn, was arrested after being found cleaning up the crime scene. Despite being blind since birth, she has a long rap sheet, including two drug busts as a minor. That could be her connection to Paco. Pennock’s working on a theory that Marty has a kind of sixth sense that allows her to see despite being blind. He has 24 hours to build a case.

Mulder’s eager to meet Mulder, so Pennock takes him and Scully to her cell. Scully wonders why Marty hasn’t asked for a lawyer. Marty doesn’t think she needs one, but Scully notes that she hasn’t explained why she was in Paco’s motel room. Marty won’t answer when Scully asks if she went to buy drugs, and she knows the cause of death, so things aren’t looking great for her. However, she also knows that the murder weapon hasn’t been found. She jokingly tells Pennock that she fed it to her seeing-eye dog.

Mulder wants to know why Marty was cleaning up the scene, and why she was doing such a bad job at it. He thinks she’s covering for the real killer. Marty tells him to go to Hell, so yeah, this investigation is going great. Pennock thinks that Marty’s capable of murder and is taunting Mulder. Mulder disagrees – she’s posturing, trying to make them think she’s independent and strong. Pennock doesn’t think an innocent woman would act like this. Scully knows they can’t pin this on her without the murder weapon.

Scully goes to the crime scene with Pennock while Mulder has Marty undergo a lie-detector test. The test spikes when Marty’s asked if she’s ever seen Paco before, but the tech giving the test realizes what he said and retracts the question. Mulder, however, notices the spike and asks if Marty saw the murder. The test spikes again even as Marty says she never sees anything.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he thinks Marty knew Paco but didn’t kill him. Scully dryly asks if they’re dealing with a case of echolocation. She finds a slot in the bathroom wall meant for razor-blade disposal and looks inside for the murder weapon. Instead, she finds a pair of gloves. Back at the police station, Marty has a vision of a woman in a bar and demands to use a phone. She calls the bar and asks to speak to a man hitting on a woman there. As she warns the man to leave the woman alone, the woman is able to leave unharmed. “I’m watching you,” Marty warns the man.

Scully and Pennock present the gloves to Marty, who of course makes an O.J. Simpson joke. Her fingerprints are all over them, so the detective and agents don’t have a problem letting her try them on. She does, and they fit, but Marty knows that’s not enough for a conviction. Plus, they’re running out of time to build a case against her. Mulder tells Scully that Marty has never taken advantage of disability benefits. He thinks this shows pride. Scully says that doesn’t explain why she hid the gloves with her fingerprints on them. Did she try to cover for the real killer? Scully brings up the obvious explanation: Marty isn’t really blind, possibly because of a conversion disorder.

The man from the bar chats on a phone at a bus terminal, then stashes a briefcase in a locker. The agents have Marty undergo tests, but it seems she really is blind. Mulder sees her pupil dilate, then contract. Marty’s having a vision of a woman being approached at the bar she saw before.

Pennock introduces the agents to ADA Daniel Costa, who confirms that they don’t have enough to charge Marty with murder. Mulder wants to find out more about what just happened with Marty’s pupil, but Costa knows they can’t draw a line from that to the murder. They have to let Marty go.

Pennock finds two types of blood on the gloves, one belonging to Marty. As the agents watch Marty leave the police station, Mulder asks Scully if she really things a woman who needs a cane to get around is capable of murder. Out on the street, Marty has a vision of the man from the bar confronting a woman, asking if she’s the one who called him at the bar. He wants to know if she’s a cop. Marty sees the man pull a knife and takes off for the alley where the man and woman are fighting, getting some help from a man on the street. But when she gets to the alley, the woman is already dead.

Marty returns to the police station, this time voluntarily, and announces, “I killed them both,” showing off the blood on her hands. Mulder’s confused as to why she suddenly wants to confess. He doesn’t think Marty even knew the dead woman, Susan. Marty doesn’t want to answer any questions, but Mulder says he thinks she’s innocent. She witnessed the murderers somehow, but she was nowhere near the scenes. He thinks she tried to stop them. Mulder wants Marty to help the police prevent more murders from happening, but Marty’s done cooperating. Mulder asks who she’s willing to go to prison for. He refuses to let her pay for someone else’s crimes.

The man from the bar talks to his contact on the phone again, learning that their deal, whatever it was, is off. The contact got a call from a woman, someone he thinks was the man’s old girlfriend, warning him to stay away. The man pleads to keep the deal in place, since he has no other place to “take this stuff.” The contact says that’s not his problem anymore.

Mulder reads up on a case from 1970 as Pennock arrives to tell him that Marty signed a confession. Mulder thinks Pennock should be more concerned with the fact that Marty had no motive. But Pennock says that Marty told them it was about drugs, and where they could find them. Mulder accompanies him to the bus terminal, where the find the briefcase the man stashed in a locker. Pennock teases that Mulder is skeptical when he says this doesn’t mean Marty’s the killer.

Scully calls to tell Mulder that the blood on the gloves didn’t belong to Marty after all. Mulder thinks they need to talk to Marty and convince her to retract her confession. The man from the bar watches from a distance as Pennock leaves with his briefcase of drugs, then heads off after him.

Mulder goes to Marty’s cell to tell her he’s cracked the case – she’s protecting her mother’s murderer. Back in 1970, Marty’s mother was stabbed in the same manner Paco and Susan were killed. She was pregnant with Marty at the time, and Marty was delivered as her mother died. The lack of blood flow from her mother may have caused her blindness. Mulder thinks that when she lost her sight, she developed some sort of connection to her mother’s killer – she’s able to see through his eyes.

Mulder also thinks that Marty feels responsible for the killer’s crimes because she’s unable to stop them. He vows to find the real killer, whether or not Marty helps. As Marty is transferred to another facility, she tells Mulder she’s sorry. Pennock and another officer accompany Marty to a prison van, and she has a vision…of herself. The killer is watching from nearby.

Not long after Marty’s settled into a women’s prison, Mulder visits to tell her she’s being released, as the charges against her have been dropped. Everyone knows her confession was a lie. They got the killer’s fingerprints from the bus locker and have identified him as Charles Wesley Gotts. He was paroled from prison just a few weeks ago, and went missing not long after. They found his blood on the gloves, and testing the blood led to a bigger revelation: Gotts is Marty’s father.

Pennock joins the two, and Mulder tells Marty that they won’t charge her with aiding and abetting if she helps them find Gotts. Mulder knows that Marty would welcome the end of all her visions. She asks for protection, and Pennock promises he’ll guarantee her safety himself. The agents set up a sting at the bar, but Scully’s surprised that Marty is suddenly willing to help. Mulder thinks she always believed she would have to live her whole life with the visions; now that she knows they could end, she wants to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

As the agents are about to go inside, Mulder stops. Everything’s about to change for Marty, and he doesn’t think Gotts will be in the bar. Pennock takes Marty to her apartment to pack some of her things to take to protective custody. She informs him that Gotts is there, and has been watching Pennock for about a day. Now he knows where Marty lives. She knocks Pennock out and takes his gun, then goes downstairs to confront her father.

Mulder tries to call Pennock, telling Scully that Marty’s protecting herself, not Gotts. She doesn’t want to go back to prison, and this is the first time she’s had a choice in what happens to her. Gotts goes to Marty’s apartment and finds Pennock unconscious. Marty hears him open a switchblade and waits as Gotts searches the apartment. Thanks to her visions, she’s able to see him coming. “I hate the way you see me,” she says just before she shoots him. When the agents make it upstairs, they find Pennock arresting Marty for a murder they can be 100 percent sure she committed.

Sometime later, after she’s sentenced, Mulder visits Marty in lockup once again. She’s at least a little grateful for her visions, since now she knows what the ocean looks like. Mulder jokes that she’s lucky Gotts never went to the ice capades. It’s time for lights out, but obviously having her living space darkened doesn’t affect Marty. This is where she’ll be from now on.

Thoughts: Marty is played by Lili Taylor.

Will there ever be a crime show featuring gloves that doesn’t reference O.J.? I’m going to guess…no.

Mulder pulls a Riker maneuver in an interrogation room. Whatever, Mulder. Marty can’t see you. You did that just to amuse yourself.

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