September 23, 2017

The X-Files 6.4, Dreamland: The Man in the Mirror

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

I want to know who thought this was a good idea

Summary: Mulder and Scully are on a highway in Nevada, on their way to meet a source. Scully’s skeptical, as usual, thinking the source is just a sci-fi-loving nerd who won’t have anything useful to say. But Mulder believes that they’re going to learn something about Area 51. Scully wishes they had normal lives – that they could stop driving around the country, looking for answer, and settle down somewhere. Mulder doesn’t get that, since he considers this normal.

Cars approach the agents, blocking them from continuing to the meeting point. Military personnel make them get out of the car, and a man smoking a cigarette (but not CSM) tells them they have to leave, since they’re nearing a military testing ground. Scully sarcastically asks if they’re testing out alien technology. The man laughs this off. As the agents are about to leave, an aircraft flies overhead. It flashes a light on Mulder, and as it flies off, Mulder and the smoking man appear to switch bodies…but Mulder’s the only one who notices.

Scully drives off with the smoking man, though she thinks he’s Mulder. The real Mulder gets in a car and explains to another man, who calls him Morris, that he let the agents go because they didn’t know anything. The other man, Howard Grodin, is annoyed that now they won’t be able to find out who the agents were going to meet with. A third man says they’ll find out another way.

Mulder goes with his colleagues to the testing ground, pleased to see that he has Morris’ ID. The picture is still of Morris Fletcher, and Mulder can see on a surveillance monitor that when people look at him, he has Morris’ face. The men see a higher-up named Wegman and guess that something big is happening. While they’re looking into it, Mulder finds his office, which is full of pictures of Morris with powerful men, including Newt Gingrich, Bush Sr., and Saddam Hussein.

Scully and Morris stop at a gas station, where she addresses the fact that he’s been silent since they got back in the car. Her phone rings while she’s pumping gas, but Morris has cranked up the radio and can’t hear it. Mulder’s calling, but by the time Scully gets to the phone, he’s hung up. Morris asks “Dana” to go inside and get him a pack of Morleys, asking if she’s “going to be a Nazi” about his sudden smoking habit.

One of Morris’ coworkers tells Mulder that they found a leak in their organization – someone used Wegman’s phone to call the FBI just that morning. Morris’ phone rings, and Mulder picks up a call from Morris’ wife. She’s furious that he’s working late again and didn’t call. She reminds him to pick up milk on his way home. Mulder gets a ride from a coworker, but they don’t make a stop on the way, so he goes home milkless. He tries to make a call from Morris’ house, but it’s on base, so he’d have to go through an operator.

Morris’ wife is in bed when Mulder goes in, and I guess he doesn’t want to share a bed with a woman he doesn’t know, so he goes to the living room to watch porn instead. Meanwhile, Wegman is called to the scene of a fiery test-flight crash. The co-pilot is alive, but he’s jammed inside a boulder. The other pilot is shaken and only speaking Hopi.

At FBI headquarters, Scully waits for Mulder (well, Morris) to join her so they can have a meeting with Kersh. Morris arrives late, calling her Dana again, and says he got lost on his way in. Kersh questions the agents’ trip to Nevada, which has been followed by a call from the Pentagon demanding that Kersh reprimand them for trespassing on military property. Morris says they were supposed to meet with a whistleblower who claimed to work at Area 51, but it didn’t work out. If he had the contact’s name, he’d give it to Kersh.

Kersh reminds the agents that they’re not supposed to work on X-Files. Morris promises that they will never disobey orders again. As they’re leaving, Scully asks why Morris was so willing to give up the contact’s name. “He asked,” Morris replies before going back into the office to flirt with Kersh’s assistant. Scully questions Mulder’s weird behavior, so Morris teases that she’s jealous, then pats her on the butt.

Mulder is woken up by an angry Mrs. Fletcher (though he first thinks she’s Scully). She blasts him for watching porn in the living room, where their kids, Chris and Terry, could have seen him. Mulder, who has no idea what his supposed wife’s name is, asks where his car keys are. The Fletchers’ daughter comes downstairs, and when Mulder takes a stab in the dark and calls her Terry, she runs back up, crying. So that would be Chris. Also, Terry wants to be called Terrence instead.

Mulder tries to escape his new domestic non-bliss, but first Chris wants an answer about her nose. Mulder says she’s too young for plastic surgery. Chris cries again, because she only wanted a nose ring. She says she hates Mulder and wishes he were dead. I think he wishes the same thing right now. Morris’ wife, who accidentally helps Mulder out by revealing her name, Joanne, asks if he wants a divorce. Mulder says apologetically that he’s just not himself lately.

Joanne notes that Mulder’s still in the suit he wore yesterday, so he goes up to their room to change. Morris’ closet is full of black suits, prompting Mulder to remark, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Johnny Cash.” While getting dressed, he sees Morris’ reflection in the mirror instead of his own. Then the show makes the actors do some I Love Lucy-type pantomime that apparently someone thought would be funny. Joanne finds her non-husband dancing in front of the mirror when she brings him the phone. His coworker, Jeff, tells him to get to the office ASAP.

The pilot, McDonough, is still speaking Hopi, and claiming that his name is Lana Chee. The real Lana Chee has been brought in, and she seems to think she’s McDonough. She tells Wegman that there was a loss of power during the previous night’s test flight, as if the plane “just wasn’t in the mood to fly.”

While Scully does some actual work, Morris plays a golfing computer game. Mulder calls Scully from a phone booth (“Scully, it’s me”), but she doesn’t recognize his voice, and she thinks her partner is sitting just a few feet away, so she thinks he’s a nutbar when he tries to explain that he and Morris swapped bodies. She tells Morris to pick up another line so he can listen in on the call. Scully thinks the caller is Morris’ source and starts to run a trace, but Morris suggests that they tell Kersh so they don’t get in trouble. He tells the “little lady” to “get [her] panties on straight” – they’re feds, so they have to play by the rules.

Mulder buys sunflower seeds at a gas station convenience store, driving off before literal tumbleweeds blow in. Moments later, the store starts shaking as if there’s a big earthquake, and the windows blow in. Mulder’s on his way to the office when he passes his coworkers, who tell him to head back the way he came. He goes back to the now-destroyed gas station and alerts his coworkers and a few soldiers that there’s an attendant. They find him stuck in the floor, with only his upper body showing.

Grodin thinks they need to leave in case whatever caused the destruction comes back. Mulder insists that they get the attendant a doctor, but a soldier shoots and kills the attendant, taking care of that problem. Grodin orders the soldiers to burn the station down.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, arriving just as Kersh’s assistant is leaving. She tells Morris that the call from the supposed source came from a location near where they were stopped in Nevada. He brushes off the importance of the call, so Scully yells that something’s wrong with him. He’s suddenly uninterested in the X-Files, which were formerly his “life’s crusade.” Morris reminds her that they’re off the X-Files.

A lizard-rock hybrid is brought to Wegman, having been found right near where the flight crashed. Grodin thinks they’re dealing with a warp – a tear in the space-time continuum. The test flight’s anti-gravity system may have caused some blip in reality that now allowed two things to exist in the same time and space. Jeff thinks this theory is bogus, since he, Grodin, and Morris were right at ground zero at the time of the warp. Grodin thinks that’s evidence that it did happen, since lost time is often a symptom of being neat anti-gravity propulsion systems.

Mulder keeps his mouth shut when Grodin and Jeff wonder if there were other consequences of the warp; instead, he asks what they do about it. Grodin tells him to keep it out of the media and get rid of any witnesses. Mulder’s more interested in finding out how to reverse the effects. Grodin replies that they might not be able to. Meanwhile, Scully goes back to Nevada and sees the destruction at the gas station. She finds the coins Mulder didn’t take as his change stuck inside each other.

Mulder is again woken up by an angry Joanne, who wonders why her husband is so distant. She thinks he must be in love with another woman – the Scully he mentioned in his sleep. Mulder asks if Scully sounds like a woman’s name. He pretends that he’s under a lot of pressure at work, saying that there are things about him that Joanne doesn’t know. He adds that he’s not the man she married. Joanne thinks he’s admitting that he can’t get an erection, which is something she can work with. Mulder makes this face.

Just as Joanne is softening toward her husband, Scully comes to the house. Looks like Mulder’s sleeping in the living room again tonight, whether or not he wants to. Scully recognizes “Morris” as the man she and Mulder encountered the other night, and he again tries to explain the body swap. He tries to prove he’s really Mulder by reciting things he knows about her, like her full name, her mother’s name, and the fact that her brother hates him. Also, she’s been eating yogurt with bee pollen in it lately, even though he keeps telling her that, as a scientist, she should know that eating pollen is ridiculous.

As Joanne starts throwing Morris’ things outside, calling him a cheater, Scully stays skeptical about Mulder’s claims. He vows to prove to her that everything he’s claiming is true. As Scully drives off, Morris watches from his car. He calls Grodin, saying he’s Mulder, and tells him that someone has been calling to offer him classified information. Mulder steals the flight-data recorder from the test flight, unaware that Grodin’s watching.

Kersh calls Scully, busting her for going back to Nevada – Morris told him that she disobeyed orders again. If she doesn’t follow Kersh’s instructions completely, she’s fired. Mulder goes to a convenience store to meet Scully and give her the flight-data recorder, but she’s followed Kersh’s instructions, which involve having Mulder detained by the military. She yells at Scully that Morris isn’t him, since this isn’t something Mulder would do. It looks like Scully is finally starting to agree. To be continued…

Thoughts: Morris is played by Michael McKean, who’s always good in everything he does. Joanne is played by Nora Dunn, who I think is very underrated and needs to be in more things.

This show had a pretty good-sized budget, right? So they could have reshot the pantomime until it matched up perfectly, yes? (Or, you know, cut the whole thing, because it’s dumb.)

God bless the attendant for scoffing at Mulder saying he can keep his 11-cent change: “Wow. Maybe I’ll just close early.”

How awkward do you think things were between Mulder and Kersh’s assistant after this?


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