November 11, 2017

The X-Files 6.11, Two Fathers: Hey, Big Spender

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

Hey, Skinner, can you let them have a family moment without lurking around?

Summary: Doctors in Hazmat suits operate on someone in a train car. The patient’s blood comes out green, and her incision immediately heals. A doctor named Openshaw comes to the train in Potomac Yard in Arlington, and is told that his work is completed. He goes in to see the patient, who he’s been working on for 25 years. A colleague leaves to celebrate with the other doctors but is immediately set on fire. The fire-starter, whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut, goes into the train car and sets Openshaw on fire as well. He then turns his attention to the patient: Cassandra Spender.

“This is the end,” CSM announces to an unseen audience, noting how unbelievable it seems. No one could have scripted what happened. They had a “perfect conspiracy” with aliens who wanted to destroy the planet. Their job was to prepare the way for the invasion and help the aliens create a slave race of alien/human hybrids. The plans were secret for more than 50 years, and they would have been successful if an alien race hadn’t interfered – and if CSM’s own son hadn’t betrayed him.

Skinner visits Spender in his office to catch up on whatever Spender’s been working on for the past few months. He knows Spender’s been spending most of his time looking into Cassandra’s disappearance, and he has some news. The two men go to Potomac Yard, where only two people survived the fire-starter’s spree. Cassandra is one of them, but she won’t tell the agents what happened. She only wants to talk to Mulder. Spender resists the request, but Skinner wants to bring Mulder in. He asks if Spender is afraid of the truth. If he really wants to know what happened to his mother, he should take advantage of the resources available to him.

CSM continues his tale, saying that Spender refused to believe that Cassandra had been abducted by aliens. Even after CSM got Spender placed in charge of the X-Files, he still couldn’t believe in the possibilities of aliens. When he finally came around, he turned to Mulder instead of to CSM. Mulder’s currently playing basketball (because David Duchovny likes to show off) and being super-white with “street” slang. Scully finds him and tells him that he needs to come to work for once, since there’s an X-File waiting for him.

They head to the office, where Spender tells Mulder that Cassandra wants to talk to him. Mulder wants a polite request, and when Spender won’t offer it, Mulder tells him to find the truth himself. Meanwhile, CSM goes to the medical center where Openshaw worked and looks in on the doctor, the only other survivor of the fire-starter’s attack. He’s in a hyperbaric chamber and covered in bandages, but he’s conscious. CSM learns for the first time that “Cassandra is a success.”

CSM says that the timing is wrong. Openshaw tells him that he’s prepared a syringe for Cassandra. CSM thinks she was saved to expose them. Openshaw warns that Cassandra will be given medical tests, so she needs to be terminated. He knows he’ll be questioned next, which means he needs to be terminated, too. CSM does the honors. “A man should never live long enough to see his children or his work destroyed,” Openshaw says before dying.

CSM calls a man in Silver Spring, Maryland, to tell him about the fire-starter’s attack. He’s summoning the Syndicate for a meeting. But just then, a man who looks like Openshaw shows up at the Syndicate member’s door. The Syndicate man tears off Openshaw’s face, but it’s not enough to keep himself from being burned alive.

Mulder looks through pictures from Potomac Yard, though he tells Scully he’s not working on the case. He thinks Spender offered him the case as a set-up. Scully sees the burned bodies in the pictures and thinks this is exactly what happened in the memories she recovered through hypnosis. She thinks Cassandra may be able to expose who abducted Scully. Mulder’s still hesitant to talk to her, so Scully says they can see Cassandra without Spender finding out.

Scully goes to see her first, surprised to learn that Cassandra’s medical problems have been resolved, and she no longer needs a wheelchair. She plans to keep her stories to herself this time around, since no one has believed her abduction tales in the past. The only person she’ll tell is Mulder. The two meet up with him, and Cassandra announces that Samantha is with the aliens. Scully asks about the train car and the operation. Cassandra says the doctors there were working with the aliens. She’s always thought the aliens had come to do good, but now she knows that’s wrong.

Cassandra continues that the aliens have come to take over the universe. They’re infecting everything living with their life force, black oil, which they call purity. (This explains the substance labeled “purity control.”) Scully notes that the doctors were burned, not infected. Cassandra says they were attacked by a rebel group of aliens who mutilate their faces so they won’t be infected.

Cassandra knows that Spender won’t believe this, even though he’s in danger. He’s unknowingly working with the Syndicate to continue doing whatever it is they did to Cassandra and Scully. Mulder asks if Cassandra knows who the men are. She says yes, adding that one of them is her ex-husband, Spender’s father.

CSM tells his audience that Cassandra was the key to the Syndicate’s plans, even though they didn’t know it. He killed to keep them in the dark, but he should have killed Cassandra instead. However, he couldn’t bring himself to kill his son’s mother, despite never having loved her. The Syndicate was distracted by the arrival of the alien rebels, unaware that they would never win. The rebels had already used their powers of disguise to infiltrate the group.

Krycek addresses the Syndicate, who think they’re about to be exposed. One member suggests that they join up with the resistance. Krycek reminds the men that they already gave up that option; what’s changed? They’ve been able to stall colonization, and their work on creating a hybrid should ensure their survival. The man who suggested joining the resistance points out that they’ll only be kept alive so they can be slaves to the aliens, which isn’t the best choice.

Krycek brings up the vaccine, and its part in fighting the future. CSM finally tells him to shut up. He reminds his colleagues that they’ve been working on this project for 50 years, and they can’t sacrifice themselves every time a new threat comes along.

Mulder and Scully use Spender and Fowley’s computer to look up the name Spender so their own computers won’t attract any attention. The name gives them three results: Spender, Cassandra, and CSM, whose real name is C.G.B. Spender. Skinner catches the two and tries to clear them out of the office before Spender can catch them, but it’s too late. Spender plans to make sure Skinner’s actions are mentioned when he’s fired.

Spender meets with CSM to confirm that he’s done what his father wanted and gotten Mulder and Scully booted from the FBI. Now he wants something in return: the truth about what happened to Cassandra. CSM knows that he won’t believe the truth, no matter which parent it comes from. First he needs to demonstrate that he’s ready to handle the responsibility of knowing the truth.

Spender gets sassy, so CSM smacks him. He argues that he gave Spender the position at the FBI, but Spender couldn’t do the job. Spender replies that keeping Mulder down wasn’t a job, it was CSM’s “dirty work.” CSM smacks him again and says, “You pale to Fox Mulder.”

Scully finds Mulder playing basketball again (without the slang this time) and tells him that C.G.B. Spender appears to be an alias. The two agents have been put on administrative leave, but Scully’s not going to spend her time off idle. She has a box full of information on CSM. This includes a picture of CSM and Bill Mulder in 1973, when they were working together on a highly classified 25-year-long State Department project.

Scully confirms that Cassandra was married to CSM, and was first abducted on November 27th, 1973, the same night Samantha disappeared. There are many names connected to both CSM and Bill, including Openshaw. Mulder guesses that the State Department project is still ongoing.

CSM tells his audience that Mulder now has names and dates to put some more pieces of the puzzle together and discover CSM and Bill’s sins. “The truth was out there, fatally exposed,” he says. CSM has one last chance to preserve his legacy – his ungrateful son. They meet up on a street in D.C., and CSM agrees that Spender deserves a chance to prove him wrong. He hands over an alien icepick and tells him to kill the man who has infiltrated the Syndicate disguised as one of his victims. Then he puts him in a car driven by Krycek, who warns him to watch where he points the icepick.

Spender goes to the house of the man who suggested the Syndicate join up with the rebels. (I’d really like a character name here, show.) Spender’s about to do his father’s bidding when the man grabs him. Spender tears off his face and struggles to jam the icepick in his neck, finally succeeding with help from Krycek.

Mulder summons Skinner to his apartment so the two of them and Scully can all get on the same page about the aliens’ colonization plans. Skinner wonders why Cassandra’s in danger but Scully isn’t. Mulder believes that Cassandra is the first successful human/alien hybrid, but the men who created her would rather kill her than risk having her expose what they did. Skinner says she’s under 24-hour guard, but that guard was arranged by Spender, so she’s probably not really safe.

Spender has a little trouble accepting that the man he just helped kill is now dissolving in a puddle of green acid. Krycek can relate, since it seems like something you’d only hear about in a story. But seeing it yourself makes you realize what “great men” like CSM have made sacrifices for. Sacrifices like Cassandra. Kryeck reveals that she’s been the subject of experiments for 25 years – experiments that CSM has been overseeing. That’s the whole reason Spender was put in charge of the X-Files. He was sent here tonight to protect the project and become a great man like his father. But Spender doesn’t want that.

CSM addresses his audience one last time, saying he’s never trusted anyone. The truth is finally out, and there’s only one person left he can turn to for help. It’s Diana Fowley, and she’s willing to help. It’s not too late for CSM to achieve what he’s been working toward.

Skinner goes to Cassandra’s hospital room, but she’s gone. Spender arrives moments later and realizes that “he” took Cassandra. In truth, no one took Cassandra – she left on her own, and is now at Mulder’s apartment. She begs him and Scully to keep her from the men looking for her. They have to kill her, or “it all starts.” As someone bangs on the door, Cassandra begs Mulder to shoot her, and Mulder prepares himself to give her what she wants. To be continued…

Thoughts: After six-and-a-half years, Mulder and Scully (and even Skinner) have never looked into CSM’s identity? Even with all the resources available to them through the Lone Gunmen? REALLY?

I really like Veronica Cartwright, and she’s great in this role, so I’m glad she’ll be in season 11. Can we have Krycek, too? He’s even more important to the show’s mythology.

Speaking of Krycek, I’m conducting an informal poll: Whose face is more punchable, Spender’s or Krycek’s?

I want to see Kersh’s reaction to Mulder’s street slang.

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