October 28, 2017

The X-Files 6.9, S.R. 819: Like “The Ring,” But With a Tighter Deadline

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Make up your mind – are you supposed to be homeless or Jesus?

Summary: At D.C. General Hospital, a doctor named Cabrera consults with an intern about a patient who has just been transferred to her care. She tells the intern to contact Scully because the patient is going to die. It’s Skinner, and he looks pretty bad, all veiny and weak. He tells Cabrera a name, then flatlines. The intern wants to shock him and revive him, but Cabrera tells him to let Skinner die. Skinner voices over about making choices, or, in his case, not making choices, which is how he’s ended up dead.

24 hours earlier, Skinner’s at a boxing gym, sparring with a guy named Dre, when his vision starts to blur. Dre’s able to get the upper hand (or upper fist, in this case) and win the bout. Skinner loses consciousness, then wakes up in the hospital just after 9:30. He gets a phone call from a robotic voice that informs him, “It’s in you.” He has 24 hours left, and is already dead. Ooh, it’s like The Ring!

A doctor named Plant comes in as the phone call ends, and Skinner tries to shake off the weird call. Plant tells him he’s fine and can leave, though he has a nasty bruise over his ribs. The doctor assures him he’ll live. Instead of going home or going out to live up what may be the last 24 hours of his life, Skinner goes to work, where Mulder’s amusing himself with his favorite office activity, throwing pencils at the ceiling. Skinner decides to lie down to get some rest.

Scully shows up and examines her former boss. Mulder tells her about the phone call, which Skinner thinks was just a prank. Scully guesses that he was poisoned, and whatever he was given didn’t show up on the doctor’s blood tests. Mulder thinks whoever drugged him wanted to see who he would turn to for help. This must have to do with the X-Files. Skinner calls him paranoid.

The agents ask Skinner to walk them through his day. At first he doesn’t remember anything out of the ordinary happening, but then he recalls a man stopping him in the hallway to ask the time. The man grabbed his wrist, which may have allowed him to transfer poison. The agents look at surveillance footage and Scully recognizes the man as Kenneth Orgel, an advisor to a Senate subcommittee on ethics in technology. When he signed in, he stated he was going to see Skinner.

Scully recommends that Skinner go back to the hospital for observation, but Skinner wants to find the man who poisoned him. He and Mulder track Orgel down in Chevy Chase, Maryland, but Orgel claims not to know who Skinner is. He’s acting weird, and Mulder catches on that he’s not home alone. He sends Skinner to the back of the house while he tries to get in the door. Skinner gets in but is overpowered by two armed men who then takes off with Orgel.

Mulder chases them, capturing one while the other gets Orgel into a car and speeds off. Skinner’s still in the house, his health quickly worsening. Mulder’s captive will only speak Arabic, and he has diplomatic papers, so Skinner has to let him go. He decides he needs to stay out of whatever’s going on while Mulder goes to look into the man they just released, Alexander Lazreg, a cultural attaché with the Tunisian mission in D.C.

Scully goes to the hospital to talk to Plant about Skinner. She invites herself to examine his blood samples, which supposedly haven’t been processed, though Scully disagrees. Mulder looks through Orgel’s things and finds a picture of him with Mulder’s senator friend, Matheson. At the hospital, Scully finds carbon in Skinner’s blood, though she and Plant have no idea how that could act as a poison. It’s also multiplying at a fast rate.

Mulder goes to Matheson’s house and shows him the picture. In it, Matheson and Orgel are holding a copy of a Senate resolution, S.R. 819. Matheson says it’s a health-funding bill. Mulder knows it’s connected to Skinner’s approaching death, and he wants to piece together how Orgel and the Tunisian mission are involved. Matheson tells him that the bill provides supplies to the World Health Organization, allowing third-world countries to access medical technology. He doesn’t want to be involved in whatever’s going on, even if someone might be dying. He kicks “Fox” out.

Skinner follows someone to an Embassy Row parking garage as the blood in his veins darkens. The man he followed spots him and fires his gun at him. Skinner’s barely well enough to shoot back, but he loses the shooter in rows of cars that are starting to look blurry to him. The shooter is about to sneak up on Skinner and finish him off when a speeding car plows into the shooter, then drives off. Skinner collapses, unable to see who just saved him from the shooter.

Scully realizes that the carbon is creating a matrix stimulated by blood flow and movement. It’s building valves and dams in the vascular system. Plant says that means it’s building up to a heart attack. The two learn that Skinner was found in the parking garage and is being taken to D.C. General Hospital. He’s send straight to surgery, where Cabrera plans to remove his arms to save his life. Scully and Plant interrupt the procedure and announce that Skinner needs to have a scope inserted instead.

Still in possession of his arms, Skinner is transferred to another room while Scully promises that they’ll help him. The events of the day flash through Skinner’s memory, but he still can’t remember everything that happened to him. At FBI headquarters, Skinner’s secretary catches Mulder searching his office for anything about S.R. 819. There’s a locked drawer, and when Mulder goes to get a letter opener to force it open, he finds a confidential letter that piques his interest.

Mulder joins Scully and Skinner at the hospital, where Scully admits that they still don’t know what’s going on. They can keep lasering Skinner’s arteries open so his blood can circulate, but sooner or later, they’re going to run out of time. They don’t have the technology to fight the toxin. Mulder disagrees, showing her the confidential letter. It’s from Matheson, who was doing a security check for the bill. Skinner was supposed to review it and Orgel’s analysis of the bill.

Scully guesses that this means Orgel poisoned Skinner to cover up his analysis. Mulder tells her that Orgel actually came to tell Skinner about a violation of laws involving the exportation of medical technology. Skinner’s phone rings, and Mulder answers a call from the same robotic voice that spoke to Skinner before. It’s been transmitted via some sort of ’90s text-to-voice technology being used by someone in the hospital hallway.

Mulder spots the messager and chases him to the parking garage, but loses him. He follows a speeding car, but the driver crashes into someone else and runs off. The messager then calls Matheson to warn that there’s a new threat to the bill. Matheson claims not to buy the messager’s threats, but the messager says that Orgel does. He offers to tell Matheson how to find Orgel.

The messager’s crashed car is taken to a garage, and Mulder has things inside it analyzed. The analyst finds hairs from a wig and ’70s-era chemicals on the tires, indicating that it was parked somewhere like a chemical plant. That’s where Matheson goes next, and it’s where Orgel has been strapped to a table to face the same veiny fate as Skinner. The messager looks on as Orgel promises not to expose anyone to the FBI, then starts writhing and yelling in pain. The messager appears to be using his messaging technology to dial up the torture.

Back at the hospital, Scully tells Skinner she has a treatment that might cure him, though it’s pretty radical and might send his body into shock. Skinner apologizes for not joining her and Mulder on their quest for the truth. If he dies now, it’ll be in vain. Scully tries to assure him that his life won’t have amounted to nothing. He regrets playing it safe and never choosing sides or letting Scully and Mulder pull them into their craziness. Scully says he’s been their ally plenty of times, but Skinner wishes he’d been better at it.

Skinner remembers his encounter with Orgel again, then recalls that he saw the messager in the hallway when they met. He was also at the boxing gym and the hospital, and is the driver who ran down the man who was going to shoot Skinner in the garage. Skinner tells Scully to look for him on the surveillance tape.

Mulder gets to the plant and finds Matheson standing over the table Orgel was lying on. Matheson says that Orgel is dead, and he took whatever he knew with him. Mulder demands to know what Skinner was given, but Matheson says he already knows that it’s the same technology S.R. 819 will export. It’s technology the world only thinks is hypothetical – nanotechnology. Mulder says technology can be stopped, but Matheson warns that if the truth is exposed, everyone who knows about it will be killed. He claims he’s a victim fighting for his life, and it’s too late to stop what’s been put into motion.

We’re back to the opening scene of the episode, when Skinner is allowed to flatline and is declared dead at 9:33. But the messager uses his technology to restore Skinner’s heartbeat and revive him. Skinner is briefly able to see his bearded, bewigged savior through the window before he disappears.

Three weeks later, Skinner’s pretty much recovered and is back at work. Mulder and Scully shows him pictures of the messager, but Skinner says he doesn’t recognize him. S.R. 819 has been withdrawn, making Skinner think that the messager got what he wanted. Mulder doesn’t understand why the messager would call to tell him he was being poisoned if he was trying to kill him to keep him from investigating S.R. 819. He even used his own government’s resources and killed one of his own to save Skinner.

Skinner asks if Mulder still thinks this was about the X-Files. Mulder does, and he has an idea who was behind it, but he’ll need Skinner’s authorization to investigate. Skinner declines, reminding Mulder that he works for Kersh now. He declares the matter closed.

As Skinner leaves for the evening, he finds the messager in his car. He’s no longer wearing the wig, and he’s shaved his beard, which means we can all admire his pretty, pretty face: It’s Krycek. He reminds Skinner that he can use his technology anytime he wants to. Skinner asks what this is all about, but Krycek only replies, “All in good time,” then leaves him in peace.

Thoughts: “Guys, I’ve barely been in this season. Can I have my own episode?” “Okay, Mitch, but we’re going to make you look gross.” “I’ll take it.”

Plant and a nurse both make a joke to Skinner about how at least no one bit off his ear. The ’90s were a weird time.

As we learned from Alias, nothing good happens in parking garages.

Having your arteries lasered sounds like such a fun time, doesn’t it?

Krycek saying he can kill Skinner whenever he wants made me think of CSM saying, “I can kill you whenever I please.”

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: