August 2, 2015

The X-Files 1.8, Ice: “We’re Not Who We Are”

Posted in TV tagged at 11:08 am by Jenn

Heeee, Xander Berkeley's face

Heeee, Xander Berkeley’s face

Summary: In Icy Cape, Alaska, 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, sits the Arctic Ice Core Project’s research facility. The temperature is around -33 degrees. A dog roams the building, which is full of dead people. It appears that only one human is alive, and he’s covered in blood. He sits in front of a video camera and says, “We’re not who we are.” He wants whatever’s going on to stop. Suddenly someone else grabs him from behind. The two men fight, pulling guns on each other. Slowly, they both lower their weapons, then shoot themselves in the head.

In D.C., Mulder and Scully watch a video of the men and the rest of their crew reporting that they were successful in their drilling mission. Mulder exposits that they were drilling into ice so deep that it preceded humanity. They were there for a year with no incident until a week ago. The agents watch footage of the preceding scene, which cuts out as the men start fighting. Mulder and Scully are being sent to investigate why seemingly psychologically sound men would kill themselves. They’ll be traveling with three scientists, and only have a window of a few days to get to Icy Cape.

The agents meet Denny Murphy, a geology professor, in Nome, Alaska. They’re then joined by Dr. Hodge, a medical doctor, and Dr. Nancy Da Silva, a toxicologist. Everyone checks each other’s credentials to confirm they’re who they say they are. The doctors and Murphy are only somewhat familiar with why they’re going to Icy Cape. The group’s pilot, Bear, arrives but won’t show his credentials. All the others need to know is that he can fly a plane.

The group soon arrives in Icy Cape, and Mulder and Scully quickly start investigating the crime scene. Mulder finds the ice the previous group drilled for; it’s already melted. Da Silva’s jumpy, and it doesn’t help things when the previous team’s dog jumps out and scares her and Mulder. Hodge sedates the dog, but not before it bites Bear.

The group finds black nodules on the dog, which Da Silva notes are symptoms of the bubonic plague. They also find spots where it looks like the dog has scratched off its fur. Oh, and something’s moving underneath the dog’s skin. In the bathroom, Bear fixes himself up, noticing that he’s forming black nodules as well.

Scully tells Mulder that the three men who died before Campbell and Richter (the men who committed suicide) were strangled. Richter and Campbell clearly killed themselves. Bear asks about black nodules, but Scully didn’t find any. Hodge reports that the dog’s nodules are now gone. They could have indicated the early stage of a progressing disease. That doesn’t make Bear feel any better.

Mulder finds “we are not who we are” written on a report in the lab. He and Murphy discuss the depth of the ice and how far the drillers got. Scully and Hodge disagree on her finding of ammonium hydroxide in Richter’s blood. Hodge knows that’s impossible – ammonium would vaporize inside a human. Da Silva says she didn’t find any toxins in the air. Murphy reveals that the ice contains high levels of ammonium…and also something that looks like a writhing fish skeleton.

Scully thinks the thing is the larval stage of a bigger animal. Murphy figures that whatever’s in the ice core could have infected the drillers. Da Silva scoffs that something could survive in the ice for that many millions of years. Hodge and Bear suggest that they leave and continue their research somewhere a little less strange. Mulder notes that they need to be quarantined. Bear announces that he’s leaving no matter what, but Da Silva points out that he was bitten by the dog.

Scully and Hodge agree to test everyone to see if anyone’s infected. Bear refuses to give up any bodily fluids – all he agreed to do was fly the team there and back. He’s going to skip the second half of that task and leave now. Mulder thinks the rest of the group still needs to stay so they can avoid possibly infecting anyone else. The group votes, and with Scully and Murphy siding with Mulder, majority rules that they take medical precautions.

Mulder asks Bear again to submit to testing. Instead, Bear tries to knock Mulder out and leave. The group ends up restraining Bear, who definitely has something crawling around under his skin. Hodge decides to cut it out, though Mulder notes that they don’t know what it is. Hodge removes the crawly thing, calming Bear. Mulder uses the radio to report that they have a biological hazard and need pickup and quarantine procedures. He’s told that the weather prohibits a pickup until the next day. When Mulder returns to the group, Scully tells him that Bear is dead.

Hodge tells the group that the crawly thing, which looks like a tapeworm, could be transmitted through any means. There are more in the lab. Scully reports that the worms were extracted from the hypothalamus, which could explain people’s violent behavior. Hodge thinks that extracting the worm is what causes the aggression. If the drillers removed worms from each other, they could have triggered each other’s murders. Scully says that doesn’t explain why Campbell and Richter killed themselves instead of each other. “Maybe they did it to save us,” Mulder says.

Mulder encourages Scully to sleep, but she doesn’t want to waste time they could be spending on figuring out more about the worm. Mulder starts his alien talk – a meteor could have crashed in the ice millions of years ago and released a parasite. Scully notes how little time it took for Bear to start becoming violent. If they don’t stop the worm now, they could spread infection to millions. Mulder argues that if they do stop the worm, they won’t be able to study it and learn more about aliens.

While the two argue, Hodge and Da Silva wonder whether the FBI knew about the worm before the team came to Icy Cape. They note that Hodge and Scully both came into contact with Bear’s blood. Scully insists that they take the worms outside and incinerate them. Hodge and Scully face off a little, then agree that they should check everyone for nodules and isolate anyone who has them. Everyone separates by gender and strips, but no nodules are found. As everyone goes to bed, Mulder reminds Scully that the dog’s nodules went away.

Scully decides not to take any chance, using a desk to block the door to the room she’s staying in. Murphy tries to distract himself by listening to classic sports highlights. Hodge makes a list of ways the current team might have gotten infected, noting that Murphy could have come in contact with an ice sample. In the middle of the night, Mulder wakes up and finds Murphy’s room empty. By the way, the dog is still alive and still scaring people.

In the lab, Mulder sees blood and ice melting out of a fridge. He opens it to find Murphy’s body inside. The rest of the team joins him, and Hodge and Da Silva accuse Mulder of killing Murphy. Mulder says it had to have been one of them. Scully tells Mulder to put his gun down and let Hodge run tests on him. Mulder refuses, so Scully asks him to let them check him for nodules. As he resists again, Scully pulls out her own gun. They scream at each other to put down their weapons. “For God’s sakes, it’s me!” Mulder insists. “You may not be who you are,” Scully replies.

Mulder lets Scully lock him up, telling her he’ll be safer than she’ll be with Hodge and Da Silva. Scully returns to the lab and tries to check a sleeping Da Silva for nodules. Hodge catches her and points out that, since Scully has a weapon, they could be in real trouble if she gets infected. She removes her ammo and throws it out into the snow. Hodge says this isn’t a good time for the three of them to turn on each other. Scully reminds him that there are four of them. If Mulder’s infected, it’s not his fault, and they can’t turn their backs on him. Hodge says if he’s infected, he stays put.

Scully makes a distress call, but no one responds. Hodge and Da Silva do some lab work, but Da Silva’s not on her game, and Hodge doesn’t help by yelling. As they fight, Scully sees that putting infected blood on infected blood has made two worms kill each other. Even putting two worms next to each other makes them want to fight. Hodge doesn’t get why the worms would kill each other; they should need each other to procreate. Da Silva says that they’re hermaphroditic – they don’t need other worms to reproduce.

Scully thinks they should introduce a worm into a body that’s already infected. First they’ll use the poor dog as a guinea pig. The dog whines and twitches, then calms. Not long after, it passes the worms and seems fine. Next up is Mulder, but Scully wants to talk to him first and get his consent. She locks herself in with Mulder, who says he doesn’t trust Hodge. How do they know Mulder’s really infected? If he’s not, their treatment will actually be the infection.

Mulder wants to trust Scully, so he lets her inspect him for nodules. There’s nothing. As she starts to leave the room, he pulls her back and inspects her as well, also finding nothing. There’s only one worm left, and Da Silva worries that Mulder will talk Scully out of putting it inside him. Scully announces that she and Mulder aren’t infected, so Hodge or Da Silva must be. Hodge says he’ll submit to inspecting if they do it back in the main building.

As the group turns to leave, Da Silva and Hodge grab the agents. Da Silva locks Scully up, then helps Hodge put the worm in Mulder’s ear. Hodge realizes at the last second that Da Silva has a worm in her neck. Da Silva runs off, and Mulder frees Scully while Hodge picks up the worm. Everyone heads to the lab, where Da Silva grabs a gun and tries to fend the others off. The agents restrain her and Hodge puts the worm inside Da Silva, curing her.

Sometime later, Da Silva and the dog are quarantined while the agents and Hodge return to Nome. Mulder decides he wants to go back to Icy Cape to do more research on the ice. Hodge tells him that after they were evacuated, the facility was torched. Mulder tells Scully that whatever’s under the ice is still there. “Leave it there,” she replies.

Thoughts: This episode is full of recognizable guest stars:

I love stories set in the Arctic. My favorite is probably the Pretender episode “Qallupilluit.”

Bear looks like Steven Tyler. That is all.

Da Silva: “Those are symptoms of bubonic plague.” Everyone else: no reaction. Uh, did you guys not hear her?


  1. BSCAG said,

    It’s always interesting to watch shows or movies from a while ago and recognize actors who have since become more famous.

    • Jenn said,

      There are a ton of them on The X-Files.

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