September 11, 2015

The X-Files 1.15, Lazarus: Bonnie and Clyde, “X-Files”-Style

Posted in TV tagged at 1:08 pm by Jenn

A dragon breathing fire that spells "Lula"? What a cliché

A dragon breathing fire that spells “Lula”? What a cliché

Summary: Scully participates in a sting at the Maryland Marine Bank, working with a fellow agent, Jack Willis. In a car outside, a man with a tattoo on his arm makes out with his wife/getaway driver. Then he puts on a mask and storms the bank with a gun. As he gets money from a teller, Scully and Willis reveal themselves as FBI agents. The robber pretends to put down his gun, then shoots Willis. Scully then shoots the robber, who dies at the hospital.

Doctors work on Willis until they realize they can’t bring him back. Scully demands that they keep working, threatening to continue shocking Willis herself if they don’t. As the doctors shock Willis, the robber’s body responds as if he’s being shocked, too. Willis is revived, to the doctors’ surprise. We get a close-up of the robber’s tattoo, so I guess that’s important. Two days later, Willis regains consciousness at Bethesda Naval Hospital and walks out of his room like nothing happened. He seems surprised to see his own face in a mirror, and remembers shooting…himself.

Willis goes to the morgue to look at the robber’s body, cutting off his finger to get his wedding ring. Later, Scully and Mulder arrive to check out the body of the robber, Warren Dupre. Three of his fingers are missing, and he has Willis’ fingerprints on him. Willis is missing, and Scully thinks he’s suffering from psychosis after his trauma; similarly, soldiers sometimes mutilate the bodies of dead enemies.

Mulder reads up on Dupre’s partner/wife, Lula, who he met when he was working as a guard at a prison where she was an inmate. She was released a week before the couple began their Bonnie-and-Clyde spree. They’ve now killed seven people and stolen almost $100,000. The FBI hasn’t been able to find Lula yet. Mulder figures out that Willis took Dupre’s wedding ring. Willis breaks into Dupre’s house, looking for Lula, who’s at least smart enough not to hide in her own home. Willis now has Dupre’s tattoo on his arm. So it looks like he’s not really Willis after all.

Mulder determines that whoever took Dupre’s fingers was left-handed. Willis was right-handed, but Dupre was left-handed. Mulder shows Scully Willis’ cardiac activity from his time at the hospital, showing her that he demonstrated two heartbeats. Both men went into cardiac arrest at the same time, and were both technically dead for two minutes. Mulder thinks that Dupre came back from the dead, but in Willis’ body.

The agents visit a man named Dr. Varnes to talk about near-death experiences. Science time! Varnes tells them that people can emerge from these experiences with major personality changes. In one instance, a man who almost died in a plane crash had visions that let him see the memories of another passenger. The man was labeled schizophrenic but eventually killed his wife (possibly for having an affair with the other passenger).

Cue Scully trying to come up with a logical reason for Willis to act strangely. She reveals to Mulder that she and Willis dated for close to a year, possibly while he was her instructor at the academy. She mentions that they have the same birthday. Willis was always very focused on work, and he could have been prone to a psychotic break. Or at least that makes more sense to her than being possessed by a dead robber.

Not-Willis visits Lula’s brother, Tommy, who claims not to know where she is. They happen to see a news report about her, but the sound on the TV isn’t working, so they don’t know what the report is about. Tommy notes that Not-Willis is bleeding. Not-Willis waxes poetic about how even ugly things are beautiful because of Lula. Then he accuses Tommy of selling them out to the FBI. Tommy won’t be alive to rat out his family anymore.

Scully and Mulder are called to the scene of the crime hours later. Not-Willis also shows up, having a flash of memory of Scully shooting him. He tries to pass for an FBI agent investigating the scene. Scully doesn’t think he’s ready to go back to work, but Not-Willis is adamant that they can find Lula through Tommy. After all, he was killed with the kind of gun Lula favors. Meanwhile, Mulder finds a fingerprint on the TV that doesn’t belong to Tommy.

Later, Mulder finds Not-Willis at a shooting range and asks him to sign a birthday card for Scully. Mulder gives the card to her, telling her that Not-Willis signed it without mentioning that her birthday isn’t for two more months. Oh, and he signed it with his left hand. P.S. The print from the TV is gone. Mulder asks Scully to accept that there was a psychic transference during Willis and Dupre’s deaths. Scully: “Um, no. Not doing that.” Mulder piles on the evidence, proving that Not-Willis signed the card with a signature different from his normal one.

Not-Willis gets a possible tip about Lula and tries to hurry off as Scully questions him about the missing print. He’s not happy that she seems to be implying that he made it disappear on purpose. Then he invites Scully along to look for Lula. They learn that she’s rented an apartment, then spot her at the end of a hallway in the building. They chase her to a basement, where Lula tries to attack Scully. Once Lula’s subdued, Scully hands her over to Not-Willis. He throws his handcuffs to Scully, ordering her to put them on herself. She hesitates, so he pulls his gun on her.

Not-Willis takes Scully and Lula to his house, trying to convince Lula that he’s really Dupre. She seems to believe him, but finds it strange that her husband has a different face. Mulder and another agent visit the apartment building but find no sign of Scully or Not-Willis. The other agent wonders why they didn’t call for backup. He thinks Mulder’s working on an X-file, but Mulder says it doesn’t matter – the point is to find Scully.

Not-Willis calls Mulder for no apparent reason but lets him talk to Scully. She tries to warn him of something, but Not-Willis hangs up before she can say more than, “Don’t.” Scully tells Not-Willis that the FBI won’t negotiate with him the way he wants. She tries to make him remember who he was as Willis. She starts to break through, but he fights it. Not-Willis is angry that Scully told the doctors to save Willis, not Dupre. She shot him and then let him die.

Lula tries to calm Not-Willis, reminding him that Scully’s their ticket to freedom. Scully grows worried when she realizes that Not-Willis has been drinking a lot of soda. Willis is diabetic, and the sugar from the soda could put him in a coma. He needs to get access to insulin. At FBI headquarters, Mulder looks through Dupre and Lula’s files, listening to an audio report Willis made about their deep devotion to each other.

The FBI learns that a drugstore was broken into and insulin was stolen. Mulder connects this to Scully, knowing that Willis is diabetic. As FBI agents head out to search the area, Lula stops Scully from giving Not-Willis any insulin. She turns her gun on Not-Willis, telling him that she, not Tommy, tipped off the FBI. She ran as soon as he entered the bank. She thought she would be free of him and would get to keep all the money for herself. She smashes the vial of insulin.

Lula calls Mulder, assuring him that Scully’s alive. Mulder threatens to hurt her if she hurts Scully. Lula demands a million dollars by that time the next day. Other agents are able to trace the phone number, but it’s no help, since Lula made the call on Scully’s cell phone. With no other leads, Mulder has a recording of Lula’s call analyzed, which allows him to hear a plane taking off in the background. Now the agents can narrow down the area where Scully might be. “This one’s important to me, so let’s do it right,” Mulder tells the other agents.

Willis is starting to break through again, and Scully tries to get him to remember more of a trip they took together. She also tries to keep him awake, but he’s not doing well. He flashes back to the bank robbery, briefly turning into Dupre. A man comes to the door and tries to sell Lula a Bible, but she sends him away. The man is actually an FBI agent, and the encounter lets him confirm that they’ve found the right house.

Lula tells Scully that the time for the money drop is approaching, but Scully tells her it’s too late for Not-Willis – he’s dead. Lula leans over him to take off her wedding ring, but he’s still alive. He grabs her gun, telling her that she’s the reason he came back. As the FBI closes in, Not-Willis tells Lula not to be afraid of the light, then shoots her. When the FBI bursts in, they find Scully alive, but Lula and Not-Willis dead. His tattoo disappears.

Later, Mulder gives Scully the watch she gave Willis on his birthday years earlier. She wonders what to tell the kid Willis has been a Big Brother for. Mulder tells her that the official story is that Lula died in a shootout with the FBI, and Willis was killed in the line of duty. Now Scully wonders what she’s supposed to tell herself. She notices that the watch is dead – it stopped at the exact moment Willis went into cardiac arrest. Mulder tells her that means whatever she wants it to mean.

Thoughts: Shouldn’t body-swap plots be wackier? There’s no wackiness here. In fact, there isn’t much wackiness in this season at all.

Why did Not-Willis invite Scully along to look for Lula? Why not go after her himself and run off with her?

Scully’s insulin story would have also worked if Willis hadn’t been diabetic. (Actually, I thought that was the case and she was trying to get rid of him.) She could have injected him with insulin and made him sick/killed him.

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