June 16, 2018

The X-Files 7.20, Fight Club: Let’s Adapt the First Rule of Fight Club and Not Talk About This Episode

Posted in TV tagged at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Double your annoyingness, double your irritation

Summary: In Kansas City, Kansas, two religious prosthelytizers ride their bikes to a house where a woman has just moved in. Her car’s license plate identifies her as Betty, originally from Missouri. She sends them away, since she’s waiting for a call from her cable company. The men next go to another house with a car that has a similar license plate (this one is for Lulu, from Arkansas) and bumper stickers. They’re confused when the woman who opens the door looks just like Betty.

Lulu angrily tells them to leave. The two men start pushing each other, then have a full-on fist fight on Lulu’s front porch. Someone notifies the police, who try to break up the fight, but the prosthelytizers just keep pounding on each other.

The next day, a pair of FBI agents – one male and brunette, the other female and redheaded – visit Betty to investigate what they think may be a religious hate crime. Betty recognizes the two prosthelytizers and is shocked that they attacked each other. The agents ask Betty if she practices voodoo or the occult. Betty says no, then casually says that, according to many, everyone has a twin out there. The agents are suspicious. And despite their voices, which sound like Mulder and Scully’s, these agents aren’t them.

Betty wonders why the agents aren’t talking to her supposed twin. The agents tell her that they went to Lulu’s house, but it’s empty now. In fact, they can’t be sure Lulu exists. Just then, Lulu drives by. The agents start hitting each other as Betty and the prosthelytizers look on. Fake Scully wins the fight and drives off in the agents’ car, while fake Mulder tries to cling to the door. The car eventually crashes.

This is the case Mulder and Scully get in D.C., and both note the similarities between these agents and themselves. For example, fake Mulder and Scully have worked together for seven years, though they’re not romantically involved. Scully doesn’t appreciate playing Watson to Mulder’s Sherlock while he dangles clues in front of her. She’d like the whole story. Mulder won’t give it, so Scully has to make guesses. She figures out that the agents came into contact with a third party who somehow set them off. From there, she gets to Mulder’s theory: doppelgangers.

Scully elaborates on doppelgangers and the possibility that a person can conjure a lookalike to commit acts he or she wouldn’t normally commit. Mulder finally shows her a picture of his suspect, Betty. Scully’s proud of herself for successfully impersonating Mulder. He tells her this doesn’t mean he’s going to start doing the autopsies.

Back in Kansas City, Lulu goes to a copy center called Koko’s to follow-up on a sales job she applied for. She’s told that since she moves around a lot and has had 17 jobs in 17 states in three years, she’s not an ideal candidate. She promises that she’s on a career path now and will commit. The copy machines in the building all start going crazy, and the interviewer decides he needs immediate help, so Lulu gets the job.

Betty drives by the copy center, sees the chaos, and moves on to apply for a job at another Koko’s. She gets the same resistance, having also had 17 jobs in 17 states – the same 17 jobs Lulu had. Betty makes the same promise that she’s there for the long haul and will commit to her new job.

At the Porcherie Hotel, a man named Bert Zupanic puts a bunch of money in a briefcase. Mulder and Scully arrive to ask if he knows how they can get in touch with Betty. Bert denies knowing her, but the agents have a newspaper picture of her appearing in a parade with Betty. It sounds like he knows Lulu, not Betty, but Scully thinks he’s lying. Mulder, however, believes Bert and breaks into his hotel room after he leaves.

Bert goes to Froggy’s Bar with his briefcase o’ money and starts talking to Betty, thinking she’s Lulu. She’s surprised that he knows her drink. Bert thinks she’s in trouble and warns her not to go home tonight. Things become clear for Bert when Betty introduces herself. Just then, Lulu arrives. Betty whispers something to Bert, and the bar begins to shake. All the glasses and mirrors in the place break, and Betty uses the distraction to run out.

Scully meets up with Mulder at an auditorium, where Mulder has befriended a man named Argyle Saperstein and gotten some information. Bert is a wrestler who will be competing there in a few days, so Mulder thinks that’s where they’ll be able to find Betty. The agents can just relax and sight-see until the fight. But Scully has learned about Lulu and discovered that she and Betty have, for the past 12 years, followed each other around the country. Everywhere they go, destruction follows.

As the agents leave to continue investigating, Argyle calls Bert and demands his money. He tells Bert that the FBI is looking for him, and his good-luck charm isn’t so lucky after all. Bert has reconnected with Betty, who’s spent the night with him. Argyle tells him that if he doesn’t bring the money to Froggy’s, there won’t be a wrestling match.

As Betty ducks into the bathroom to get ready for work, Lulu arrives and accuses Bert of two-timing her. She finds Betty’s barrette under the bed but thinks its her own, convincing herself that she’s jealous over nothing. Bert manages to see her off before Betty discovers that anyone has come by. But other people in the hotel start fighting, and shots are fired.

Lulu goes to Froggy’s for lunch, and Argyle mistakes her for Betty. When Bert comes in, the bar starts shaking like it did the previous night. Betty has arrived, confusing Argyle, who thought she just went to the restroom a few seconds ago. Bert rushes Betty out, but when Lulu emerges from the bathroom, the bar shakes again. Betty returns, and the two women stare each other down. Everything breaks again. (How did they fix the mirrors so quickly anyway? Whatever.) Both women flee, but Bert ends up unconscious on the floor. Argyle takes his money and runs.

When Bert regains consciousness, Mulder and Scully are there to ask him about Betty and Lulu. The agents know that something like this will happen again unless they can find the women. Bert sends them to the women’s places of work, and Betty easily comes clean to Mulder, telling him that Lulu follows her around, trying to ruin her life. Betty won’t let Lulu win this time; she wants to stay in Kansas.

Mulder calls Scully, who tells her that Lulu said the same things to her that Betty said to Mulder. Scully thinks the two women have a psychic connection. Lulu approaches Betty’s Koko’s, so the two women are again in close proximity. Mulder’s right between them, and when a manhole cover pops out, he’s sucked down into a sewer.

Scully comes to Betty’s Koko’s, where there’s no sign of Mulder or either woman. Betty’s boss tells her that Mulder left but agrees to let her use the Internet. This leads Scully to the local penitentiary and an inmate named named Bob Danfous. Bob is very angry about something and doesn’t want to help Scully. She has determined that he’s Betty and Lulu’s father, thanks to sperm donations. Scully would like information about Bob’s family history so she can figure out what’s going on with Betty and Lulu. Bob has no interest in telling her anything.

Betty goes to Bert’s room to complain that he’s ignoring her. He tells her he’s lost the financing for his fight, but she’s his good luck. If she could just help him get some money, he’ll be able to fight, and possibly get his big break. She leaves, and moments later, Lulu shows up. She and Bert have the same conversation he just had with Betty.

Betty breaks into her Koko’s after-hours and uses a copier to make counterfeit money. Across town, Lulu does the same. Under town, Mulder makes his way out of the sewer. He calls Scully, who tells him the women are sisters. Mulder has figured out that Betty and Lulu are both in love with Bert, which is why they both want to stay in Kansas. They need to be kept apart at the fight. But there’s another wrinkle: Bert – or someone who looks like him – is in lockup with Bob.

The other Bert gets his money from Betty in time for his fight, so now Argyle’s willing to back him. The match begins, and Bert (or whoever he is) is clearly the superior fighter. Mulder arrives and finds Betty, trying to get her to leave. Then Lulu shows up, and the sisters fight over which of them is really Bert’s good-luck charm.

Out of ideas, Mulder picks Betty up and starts to carry her out of the auditorium. She stops them at the wrestling ring, and the sisters start to bicker. Then the audience starts fighting each other. Things suddenly stop when Scully arrives with the Bert from lockup. The two Berts see each other and try to charge, which makes the audience start fighting each other again. The referee is like, “I didn’t get paid for this.”

Scully’s episode-ending voiceover talks about sperm donations and the two sets of siblings, who met each other despite astronomical odds. Betty and Lulu met each other a dozen years ago and displayed mannerisms from their father. Argyle listens to Scully’s voiceover and asks what it all means. She thinks that nature can only produce so many originals, and when copies meet, things go bad. She and Mulder suffered some injuries in the big fight, and he has to agree that it’s best to keep everyone separated.

Thoughts: Betty and Lulu are played by Kathy Griffin. Fake Mulder and Scully are played by Steve Kiziak (David Duchovny’s stunt double) and Arlene Pileggi (Gillian Anderson’s stand-in, who also plays Skinner’s assistant, Arlene, and is married to Mitch Pileggi).

Not only did Chris Carter give us this dumb episode, he didn’t even bother to write an ending. Thanks a lot, Carter.

Bert, why use the wrestling name Titanic when you already have the word “panic” in your last name and can make a ton of plays on words with it?

The only amount of cleverness I appreciate in this episode is two women who look alike getting jobs in copy centers.

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