December 10, 2016
The X-Files 4.8, Tunguska: From Russia With Bacteria
Summary: Scully’s being sworn in for a hearing in front of the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism. She reads a prepared statement about how she joined the FBI because she believes in the country, but now she knows there are powerful men who don’t follow the rules. The chairman interrupts her to remind her that the hearing is about Mulder’s whereabouts. Scully declines to answer whether she knows where he is, saying that she could endanger Mulder’s life.
CSM looks on as Scully finishes her statement, which says that she can no longer do her job because of a “culture of lawlessness.” The men in power are behind the crimes being investigated; they’re the ones who should be testifying. The committee chair warns Scully that if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is, she’ll be held in contempt of Congress.
Ten days earlier, a man with a briefcase goes through customs at the Honolulu airport, having returned to the States from Japan and Georgia. He’s sent for a “random check,” though he argues that his diplomatic visa and connecting flight should get him out of it. When asked to open the briefcase, the man says he doesn’t have the combination. His reward is a full body-cavity search.
Someone gets the briefcase open and demands the paperwork. The man cautions that the cylinders inside the briefcase contain biohazardous materials, like, maybe put that on the cylinders so people don’t start messing around with them? A cylinder gets dropped, releasing our old friend, the black oil. The man demands to be let out of the room while the employee who just infected himself starts to spasm.
In Queens, Mulder and Scully are on a stakeout with team hoping to take down a potential Timothy McVeigh-type terrorist. There’s a firefight at a warehouse, and the terrorist tries to escape in a rental truck. Mulder and Scully catch him, and he gives himself up before Mulder has to shoot him. Mulder still chooses to attack him, though, since it’s another one of our old friends: Krycek.
Krycek claims that he ratted out the terrorists and handed the bust over to the agents. So I guess he’s a good guy now. He tells the agents that the terrorists found him in North Dakota and “liberated [him] on a salvage hunt.” Mulder thinks Krycek’s as scummy as the terrorists. Krycek says he has the same goal as the agents: find the men who killed Melissa and Bill, and who tried to kill him.
Krycek knows there’s no way to bring them to justice, so they need to be exposed: “Destroy the destroyers’ ability to destroy.” Mulder brings up the T word, but Krycek scoffs that the truth doesn’t exist – the bad guys make it up as they go. Mulder says he won’t help, but Krycek hints that there are more bombs being built for more nefarious purposes.
The agents escort Krycek to Dulles Airport to intercept someone returning to the country from Russia. When Scully approaches the man, he runs. Mulder handcuffs Krycek to something so he and Scully can run after the man. They chase him to the tarmac and lose him, though he leaves behind the diplomatic pouch he was carrying. The agents are annoyed to see that it just contains a rock. “What did you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?” Mulder quips.
Mulder takes Krycek to Skinner’s home in Crystal City to get authorization for a safehouse. Skinner says Krycek will be safe there, though not from Skinner himself, as he gets in a good gut punch. He handcuffs Krycek to his balcony and tells him to “think warm thoughts.”
The agents take the rock to NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a Dr. Sacks tells them it contains the same substances that have been found in meteorite fragments in Antarctica. Translation: The rock could be four billion years old and/or from Mars. After a pause, Mulder asks if it’s valuable. Sacks says no, though it could contain alien bacteria, which is pretty important. The agents ask him to analyze it.
Skinner leaves Krycek home alone for the day, soon running into CSM. He tells Skinner that the pouch the agents intercepted (which Skinner claims not to know about) is causing some problems in diplomatic circles. Even after the threat of being punished under the country’s treason laws, Skinner won’t tell CSM anything about how the agents knew the pouch was important. CSM warns that “wars have broken out over far less.”
The now-pouchless man sneaks into Skinner’s apartment, unaware that Krycek is there, thanks to Krycek having dangled himself over the balcony to hide. He grabs the man and pulls him over to his death. Meanwhile, in Mulder and Scully’s office, they discuss the fact that someone brought a pouch containing toxic soil into Hawaii a couple nights earlier. Mulder thinks Krycek’s intel is for real and he really wants to expose the same people they do. Scully’s worried that Mulder will go too far for her to follow.
Sacks drills into the rock, which sprays black oil on his protective suit. He’s stunned to see the oil turn into what look like leeches. Skinner calls the agents to let them know that the police are at his building, investigating the pouchless man’s death. Mulder heads over to see him, sending Scully to talk to Sacks about the rock. As Mulder enters Skinner’s building without anyone noticing, the police tell Skinner that someone reported a man hanging from his balcony.
Mulder retrieves Krycek, who’s amused by the situation and can’t wait to see how Mulder handles it. Out of actual insults, Mulder tells Krycek his haircut is dumb. Krycek confirms that the dead man is the one from the airport, then tells Mulder to worry more about the pouch. Just then Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell Mulder that Sacks is catatonic, thanks to whatever’s in the rock.
Mulder goes to New York to ask Marita about the Russian pouch. She does some asking around and finds out that it originated in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Mulder recognizes this name, saying it’s near Tunguska. Marita offers to get him some diplomatic credentials and make his journey to Russia a little smoother. She believes in his mission and wants to help.
Sometime later, Mulder returns to Krycek, who’s been handcuffed in Mulder’s car this whole time. He’s annoyed that Mulder’s still keeping him in the dark. Mulder’s annoyed with Krycek’s face. Back in Maryland, Scully and Pendrell put on protective suits to find out what’s going on with Sacks and the rock. Even though Sacks doesn’t seem to be breathing, he’s alive.
Mulder goes to the airport, telling Krycek he’s leaving him in the car but will send Scully to check on him in a week or so. Krycek lets out a stream of bad words in Russian, which brings Mulder back to the car. Krycek reveals that his parents immigrated to the States from Russia during the Cold War.
In Charlottesville, the Well-Manicured Man is taking some time off of evildoings to watch his daughter or granddaughter or maybe just some random woman ride a horse. CSM comes out to let him know that the man with the Russian pouch is dead, but they’re not in danger of being exposed. However, someone with diplomatic credentials has been booked on a flight to Krasnoyarsk. WMM calls CSM an idiot, warning that this is going to take some work to clean up.
Mulder, Scully, and Skinner receive a summons for the subcommittee hearing, alerting them to the fact that this investigation is pretty serious. Scully tells her boss that Mulder’s off on his own, looking for answers. He’s now in Tunguska with Krycek, his own personal Russian translator. Krycek still doesn’t know what’s going on. Mulder finally tells him that a “cosmic event” took place in Tunguska in 1908; people think a piece of meteor or comet hit the earth, but no one has ever determined exactly what it is. Mulder thinks someone has finally found the answer.
The men crawl under barbed wire and spy on workers in what looks like a mining camp. I believe the correct term is gulag, boys. Their spy skills are a little rusty, and they’re quickly captured by men on horseback. Mulder’s placed in a tiny cell, and a prisoner next door tells him the only thing he’ll find here is death and suffering.
Krycek is put in Mulder’s cell after what he claims was an interrogation. The people in charge think Mulder and Krycek are spies, though Krycek said they were just Americans who got lost. Feeling a little more confident now that they’re on equal footing and Mulder doesn’t have a weapon, Krycek tells Mulder not to touch him again.
Scully and Skinner meet with their summoner, Senator Sorenson, before the subcommittee hearing. (This sentence was brought to you by the letter S.) Sorenson would like to know what the pouchless man was doing on Skinner’s balcony before his death. Scully says they’ll file a report once they figure out what their investigation is actually about. Sorenson asks after Mulder, but Scully can’t say where he is.
The men at the gulag offer their prisoners food, but it contains at least one cockroach, so this isn’t exactly a five-star resort. Krycek is interrogated again, this time in his and Mulder’s cell, but since the conversation is in Russia, Mulder can’t follow it (and Krycek could be saying anything). After Krycek is taken away, the prisoner next door tells Mulder that Krycek isn’t his friend. He’s deceiving Mulder and speaking formally to the guards. The prisoner also says that the guards are conducting some kind of experiment.
The guards come back for Mulder, injecting him with something. He wakes up held down on a table by chain link fencing, surrounded by other men in the same state. Some of them start screaming. Black oil comes out of a tube, squirting onto Mulder’s face and crawling under his skin. To be continued…
Thoughts: “You know what this episode needs? Shirtless Mitch Pileggi,” is something someone actually thought.
I need Marita to stop talking like she’s trying to seduce Mulder. I mean, it’s fine (and understandable) if she wants to, but there’s a time and a place, you know? Also, what are the odds that the two of them hooked up while Krycek was waiting in the car?
According to the hearing summons, Skinner’s middle name is Sergei. Huh?