August 16, 2015
The X-Files 1.10, Fallen Angel: Mad Max
Summary: There are flames in the woods of Townsend, Wisconsin, but the sheriff’s deputy who arrives on the scene is unable to radio the fire department. Meanwhile, the U.S. Space Surveillance Center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, spots something in the sky. It was first spotted near Connecticut, but now it’s over Townsend. A higher-up announces that it was a meteor, and definitely not anything top-secret. The higher-up makes a call, confirming a “fallen angel,” and mobilizes Operation Falcon. In Townsend, Deputy Wright sees a bright light and disappears.
Townsend’s residents are evacuated, and the official story is that a train crashed and spilled toxic cargo. Mulder knows better, flashing back to a conversation with Deep Throat, who told him about Operation Falcon. Commander Calvin Henderson is in charge of a mission to retrieve the pieces of a crashed aircraft. Deep Throat warns that Mulder only has a couple days to get on top of things before it’s all swept under the rug.
Now in Townsend, Mulder goes to the woods and finds an area marked off by lasers. There are military personnel all over the place, but they think they’re participating in a drill. Mulder hides on the underside of a Jeep to sneak into the operation’s headquarters. Once darkness falls, Mulder goes to the crash site and takes some pictures. He’s caught by a soldier who knocks him out, but his camera keeps taking photos.
Mulder is taken to Henderson, who warns that Mulder violated a federal quarantine. He claims that they’re trying to protect the environment. Mulder needs to forget that he saw anything. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. He’s taken to a holding cell, where he meets another captive, Max Fenig. He’s with NICAP, the National Investigative Committee of Aerial Phenomenon. Basically, he’s a conspiracy theorist, and a slightly nuttier version of Mulder.
The two men spend the night in their cells, and in the morning, Mulder’s there alone. Scully arrives to retrieve her partner, very much unamused. She yells at Mulder for ignoring protocol like he always does. She confirms that there was no toxic spill, but there was a downed jet carrying a nuclear warhead. Scully believes this cover story because it came from someone with a high classification. Mulder thinks the operation is overkill. Plus, there’s no way the pilot could have survived, as the higher-ups claim.
The air inside the laser fence starts moving around, and something escapes the area. Meanwhile, Scully takes Mulder to his motel, even though she’s supposed to take him back to D.C. for an Office of Professional Responsibility hearing. His room has been trashed, and someone’s still there. The agents enter the bathroom, where a pair of flailing legs is trying to escape through the window. The legs belong to Max, who admits that NICAP has been following Mulder for years through his travel expenses. Mulder’s surprised that anyone was paying attention to his work.
Max takes the agents to his trailer, which is basically Mulder’s alien-themed dream home. The men talk about crop circles while Scully snoops, seeing that Max is on medication. Max has tapped into a lot of communications, and he has a recording of Wright’s call in the woods. After his encounter with the light, someone called for medical aid.
The agents next go to a high school serving as the evacuation center so they can talk to Wright’s wife. She complains that the government won’t release her husband’s body. Scully tells her that’s illegal; she deserves to know the truth. “I can’t afford the truth,” Mrs. Wright says. She needs her husband’s pension. Suddenly the lights go out. Back at Operation Falcon headquarters, they’ve picked up a high-frequency signal. A team is sent out to “search and destroy.” After, like, five minutes (seriously, it takes forever), a bright light flashes and there’s screaming.
Mulder and Scully go to the hospital to talk to Dr. Oppenheim, the doctor who was on duty when Wright was brought in. He won’t talk, so Mulder guesses that the government is blackmailing him to keep quiet. Oppenheim confirms that Wright came in with firefighters, all of them dead from fifth- and sixth-degree burns. The bodies were all taken away before Oppenheim could examine them. Mulder wonders if the burns could have been caused by ionizing radiation.
Scully entertains this idea, but notes that the radiation could have come from exposure to the supposed nuclear warhead. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a close-encounter situation. Scully reminds him that he needs to go back to D.C. for his hearing. Suddenly the men from the search team are brought in, burned. Henderson walks in after them, giving Mulder a long look.
Mulder badgers Henderson about chasing after a being that reacts like a cornered animal. Henderson tries to get rid of the agents, but Oppenheim demands that Scully be allowed to stay. Mulder is kicked out, so he goes back to Max’s trailer, where he finds Max having a seizure. Once it ends, Max is surprised to learn what happened, since his medication has kept his epilepsy at bay for seven years.
Max tells Mulder that his seizures started when he was a kid. His doctors thought they were the result of a head injury, though Max doesn’t remember hitting his head. He used to wake up in strange places with no memory of arriving there. As Max goes to bed, Mulder sees a strange mark behind his ear. He goes back to his motel and looks up other instances of small scars behind people’s ears.
Scully returns in the morning, telling Mulder that all the burned men except two died. He shows her pictures of two women with no connection to each other who disappeared, then returned with the mark behind their ears. Scully thinks he’s crazy for thinking that Max was abducted. She reports that the medication he takes for epilepsy is also used to treat schizophrenia. Mulder tells her that Max isn’t the one who thinks he was abducted.
Another “meteor” is sighted over Townsend as Max gets a visit from the thing that escaped the lasers. (I don’t know technical terms here.) Max’s ears start bleeding and he wakes up. Mulder and Scully head over to see him, but his trailer is empty. Scully finds blood on his pillow. The agents hear on his surveillance that a trespasser has been spotted somewhere. Scully reminds Mulder of his hearing, but he’s sure that Henderson is going after Max.
Indeed, Operation Falcon tracks Max to a waterfront, and Henderson orders men to “take him with extreme caution.” When Scully and Mulder arrive, they find the men dead. Max is cowering in an old building, scratching at his scar and babbling that “they’re” coming for him. As more men from Operation Falcon arrive, they take Scully into custody, then prepare to swarm the building. A soldier using heat vision spots three creatures in the building.
Mulder tries to get Max to leave with him, but they’re interrupted by the…thingy. There’s a bright light, and Mulder is thrown across the room. He finds Max suspended in the air, caught in a beam of light. The light goes even brighter, and suddenly Mulder’s the only person left in the building. As the soldiers enter the building, Mulder finds Max’s NICAP cap. (Heh.) He tells Henderson that “they” got to Max first.
In D.C., Scully is questioned for Mulder’s hearing. She thinks he should be judged by different criteria than other agents. The man in charge of the hearing doesn’t care what she thinks. Mulder’s sure he’ll be ousted from the FBI, and he doesn’t blame Scully for telling the truth about his actions. As he enters the hearing room, Scully reads a newspaper article reporting that the “toxic cleanup” in Townsend was a success.
Mulder fights the hearing committee over their claims of what happened in Townsend. He’s sure that Max was abducted and everyone knows it. The head of the hearing tells him that Max’s body was found in a cargo container a few hours after he disappears. Mulder announces that too many people know what’s really going on; the government will never able to cover everything up.
Later, the head of the hearing meets Deep Throat to slam him for countermanding the committee’s recommendation to can Mulder. Deep Throat says they have a dilemma because of Mulder’s passions. His insubordination is a small price to pay for making sure Mulder’s safe from coming in contact with the wrong people. After all, they need to keep their friends close and their enemies closer.
Thoughts: It looks like Max was a prototype for the Lone Gunmen.
Hey, Operation Falcon, can you “search and destroy” a little faster? People’s lives are in danger, and the show is only an hour long.
I need the show to give things names so I don’t have to say “thingy.”