January 20, 2018

The X-Files 6.21, Field Trip: The Field Where I Almost Died

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

I like Scully’s coat, but, uh, I wouldn’t wear it now

Summary: A couple named Wallace and Angela comes home from a hike, which she didn’t enjoy very much. She has a headache now, so he offers to let her hit him in the head with a rock until she feels better. Angela takes a shower and briefly sees yellow goo running down the walls. Then she sees it running down her body. She still has a headache when it’s time for bed, and she’s a little freaked out by what she saw. She and Wallace lie in bed together, in the same position as two skeletons found in an open grave in a field.

In D.C., Mulder shows Scully a picture of the skeletons, which were ID’d as Wallace and Angela. They were last seen in Brown Mountain, North Carolina. They’d been missing for only three days, and the temperatures weren’t consistent with ones that would lead to their bodies decomposing. Scully thinks they were murdered and had their bodies destroyed in a ritualistic manner, maybe with acid. Mulder tells her that there was no sign that anyone else had been around the area where the skeletons were found.

700 years ago, a bunch of people saw lights in the sky in Brown Mountain, and Mulder thinks that unexplained phenomenon, which was probably UFOs, is linked to Angela and Wallace’s deaths. Scully asks if he really thinks aliens flew over the same mountain for 700 years. She asks Mulder to come up with a logical explanation for once. He points out that he hasn’t been wrong very often in the past six years, so maybe she should listen to him. He’s at least earned the benefit of the doubt.

The agents go to Asheville to examine the skeletons. Scully asks the coroner to confirm that the skeletons are really Angela and Wallace’s, and not two people who have been dead for six months. The coroner says he triple-checked the dental records. Scully finds yellow goo on a skeleton, but the coroner thinks it’s just “bog sludge.” Mulder heads off to check out the place where the bodies were found while Scully starts her examination.

Mulder finds yellow goo at the open grave, then recognizes a man walking around as Wallace. Wallace runs from him and appears to hide in a cave. Meanwhile, the coroner tells Scully that the bog sludge is actually a digestive secretion – basically, stomach juices. It also contains an enzyme only found in plants. The coroner remembers it from a previous case involving skeletal remains, but the victims had been missing a long time, so no one thought anything strange was going on. However, the bodies were found near where Wallace and Angela’s were.

Scully quickly calls Mulder, but I guess there’s no reception in the cave. She tells the coroner to send the goo to Quantico while she goes to the mountain to find her partner. In the cave, Mulder finally finds Wallace, who begs Mulder not to take him. He thinks Mulder is “one of them.” Mulder informs Wallace that his skeleton was found, but Wallace knows it’s fake, placed by the aliens who abducted him and Angela. They wanted to fake the couple’s deaths so no one would go looking for them. They returned Wallace, but Angela’s still with the aliens, undergoing experiments.

Scully arrives at the mountain and follows Mulder’s footprints to the cave. She tramples some mushrooms and kicks up some dust on her way. Mulder tells Wallace that they need to find a way out of the cave; he doesn’t realize that there’s an opening in the rock wall behind him that used to be solid. Wallace thinks the aliens are messing with Mulder’s head and are right outside. Mulder starts to leave, but a bright light shines in the cave. Wallace runs and Mulder chases him again.

The light is from Scully’s flashlight, which isn’t much use to her. Unable to find her partner, she leaves. Further in the cave, there’s another light, which soon goes out. Mulder wonders if the aliens are looking for something other than Wallace. Or maybe they were just making a return trip, as Angela is now in the cave with the men. Mulder questions her about what she remembers while Wallace studies the yellow goo running down the cave walls.

Angela doesn’t remember much, but it sounds like her experience was similar to Scully’s when she was abducted. Mulder examines her neck and finds a scar from an implant. He tells the couple that Angela’s story sounds just like the ones other abductees have given, except for the fake skeletons. He wants to run, but Wallace and Angela are worried that the aliens will come back and abduct them again. They see a light and decide to hide. Mulder, however, goes toward the light and its accompanying rumbling.

Suddenly, Mulder’s in his apartment in D.C., summoning Scully to come meet him. She’s ticked that he ditched her in North Carolina. Wallace and Angela are also there, and Mulder tells Scully that she needs to forget about her scientific biases and listen to him. He’s positive that aliens exist, and that he’s finally found the truth. Not only did Angela have the same experience as Scully, but the group has brought a friend along with them to D.C.: a little gray man. “I abducted him,” Mulder says proudly.

He continues that the alien speaks to him telepathically and explained everything to him. Scully can hear the alien, too, and is amazed that Mulder’s theories have finally been confirmed. But then he starts questioning the skeletons and the goo they found on them. Scully’s suddenly skeptical about science. Mulder has a headache now, and when he goes to splash some water on his face, he briefly sees the water in the sink as the yellow goo. When he returns to the others, he sees the room warping and the people dissolving into the goo. In reality, Mulder’s still in the cave, stuck to the wall, with goo dripping all over him.

Scully brings the coroner to the mountain and sees that the goo is seeping up through the ground. The coroner, who I really wish had a name so I could stop typing “the coroner,” notices footprints going both in and out of the cave. Scully’s surprised that she didn’t see that before. She also didn’t see a skeleton lying in a field nearby. The two take it back to the coroner’s office and use Mulder’s dental records to ID it as his body.

Scully guesses that the goo they keep finding sped up the decomposition process, but the coroner points out that there’s no goo on the skeleton. The coroner thinks they need to look for the most logical explanation. He gives the same one Scully did when Mulder first presented the case. He promises to handle all the arrangements and have Mulder’s remains sent to Washington.

In D.C., Scully meets with Skinner, who accepts her explanations for what happened. Scully’s surprised, since she couldn’t find Mulder’s cause of death or explain what happened to his body. To her, what she did come up with is the least plausible explanation. Skinner thinks it was the most likely answer, though. Scully notes that she was assigned to the X-Files to be a skeptic; now she’s acting like Mulder. Her scientific approach has never explained any of their cases. But Skinner doesn’t think Mulder’s theories were right.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment for a wake. The Lone Gunmen are there, and Langly’s wearing a tuxedo T-shirt, because of course he is. Byers tells Scully that they’re investigating on their own; she’s relieved that she’s not the only person who thinks there are more answers to be found. But the Gunmen think Mulder was murdered in a ritualistic manner – it’s the obvious answer. They promise to make the killer pay. Scully can’t believe she’s the only person asking questions here. Of all people, the Gunmen should be skeptical.

Skinner notices that Scully’s struggling and tells her to go home and rest. Scully sees yellow goo dripping in front of her. She demands to know where Mulder really is, yelling that something else is happening. There’s a knock at the apartment door, but no one moves to answer it. Scully opens the door and Mulder enters, only now the apartment is empty.

Mulder tells Scully that he was abducted from the cave and taken to the same place Wallace and Angela described. She reminds him that Wallace and Angela are dead, not realizing that, since she found Mulder’s remains and he’s still alive, Wallace and Angela’s remains don’t mean anything. She wonders why the aliens returned Mulder to D.C. when they took him from North Carolina. She realizes that he doesn’t remember getting there.

Scully starts questioning everything: Why did Mulder knock on his own apartment door? Why isn’t he surprised that Scully’s there? Where are Angela and Wallace? What happened to everyone at the wake? Scully realizes this is a hallucination, though she’s not sure which one of them is having it. She remembers the mushrooms and guesses that their spores led to this weirdness. They might still be in the cave at Brown Mountain.

Scully continues that Angela and Wallace could have been digested by the yellow goo, which is the same hallucinogenic substance as the spores from the mushrooms. Maybe that organism needs to feed on living tissue. It could lure its prey into the cave and use the goo to keep it still. Mulder starts to get the picture as Scully suggests that they’re being digested right now. Mulder sees her dissolve in yellow goo.

At the mountain, Mulder digs himself out of the ground, then pulls out an unconscious Scully. They return to D.C. and give Skinner their report about a giant mushroom that eats people. They’ve confirmed that the spores create a substance similar to LSD. Skinner buys everything, but Mulder’s a little fuzzy on how they escaped. Did Scully’s realization of what was going on just break the mushroom’s spell? Can you will yourself out of a chemical hallucination?

Skinner guesses that the effects just wore off, but Mulder notes that he and Scully don’t show any signs of being exposed to the yellow goo, even after being exposed to it for hours. He thinks they’re still underground – they never escaped. Scully guesses that he has PTSD and is confused about what’s real and what isn’t. Mulder says that Skinner isn’t real, and he’ll prove it. He pulls out his gun and shoots Skinner, who bleeds yellow goo. Then Scully sees Mulder dissolve.

In the cave, the agents are both covered in yellow goo. Fortunately, people are looking for them, led by Skinner and the coroner. Mulder’s able to reach a hand aboveground and get himself and Scully rescued. They’re loaded into the same ambulance and reach for each other’s hands. And then I guess the giant mushroom is destroyed before any stoners in the area can learn about it and organize a big party at the mountain.

Thoughts: All three guest stars in the episode are recognizable:

The first clue that none of this was real is that Mulder doesn’t have a victory dance prepared when Scully tells him he was right about everything.

So…I guess Wallace and Angela are really dead? That sucks.

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