October 20, 2018

The X-Files 8.16, Three Words: A Conspiracy? On This Show? Are You Sure?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:18 pm by Jenn

When Mulder’s playing computer games, it’s impossible to get him to go do something else

Summary: There’s a small crowd of tourists outside the White House at 6:44 p.m. A man climbs the fence and takes off running across the lawn. Of course, Secret Service agents stop him and get him on the ground as he says he needs to tell the president something about aliens. The man insists that aliens are taking over the U.S. One of the agents says that the man has a weapon, so Salt gets shot. Before he dies, he hands one of the agents a CD labeled “fight the future.”

Mulder is still in the hospital, having flashes of memory of the experiments the aliens did on him. Scully and a doctor arrive with the news that he’s completely cured of the alien virus. His scars are even repairing themselves. Mulder says he feels like Austin Powers, though he doesn’t elaborate on that.

Scully takes him home, because apparently someone kept paying his rent even after he was thought to be dead. Scully tells him how much she’s been through: learning that he was taken, finding him “dead,” and now getting him back. Her prayers have been answered. Mulder notes that she also got her prayers about getting pregnant answered. He’s happy for her but isn’t sure where he fits in. He’s still processing everything that happened.

In Perkey, West Virginia, a prisoner gives Absalom a book called The Coming Apocalypse. Inside is a news article about the man on the White House lawn. His name was Howard Salt, and he was working on the U.S. census. Kersh is watching a news report about Salt when Doggett and Skinner come to his office. He says they never expected Salt to behave like he did, but then again, people aren’t always what they seem.

Kersh tells Skinner and Doggett that Scully submitted an application on Mulder’s behalf, wanting him to be reinstated to the X-Files. He may be having trouble processing things, but he wants to get back to work. Kersh doesn’t have that same desire. Doggett and Scully have been more successful in solving cases over the past few months than Mulder and Scully were in seven years. Skinner defends Mulder, but Kersh isn’t about to give him any credit for taking on “personal crusades.”

He wants Skinner and Doggett to back him in his decision to keep Mulder off the X-Files. Doggett reminds Kersh that he did his job, which was finding Mulder. Kersh can’t now ask Doggett to take him off of his pet project. Kersh threatens to close the X-Files, but Doggett doesn’t like that idea either. Skinner ends the meeting before Doggett can fight any more.

Skinner goes to Mulder’s to give him the news, though Mulder doesn’t think the decision to keep him off of the X-Files is really Kersh’s. Skinner says he wants to punish Mulder, though in the process, he’s also punishing Scully and Skinner. Scully asks if they’re going to just sit back and let the FBI get what they want. Mulder reminds her that she’s having a baby in a few months, which means she’ll be a little too busy to fight the FBI.

Skinner wants to keep the X-Files open with Doggett in charge. This is the first Mulder has heard Doggett’s name or known that Scully was working with a partner other than himself. He wonders if Doggett is involved in this push to get Mulder out of the X-Files. Scully says Doggett’s a good guy. Mulder decides he really is ready to go back to work.

Some inmates from Absalom’s prison work on a road crew in West Virginia, and for some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to give them shovels. Absalom finds a piece of wood with a nail in it and slips it up his sleeve. On the way back to their prison vans, Absalom overpowers a guard and runs off. The prisoners cheer him on as he manages to outrun a prison van (sure) and lose it by running past a passing train (sure, sure).

Absalom surprises Doggett in his home, I guess having stopped somewhere along the way to look up his address (sure, sure, sure). He has a gun (we’ll just pretend it’s Doggett’s), and subdues Doggett so he can check him for alien implants and make sure he’s still human. Once he has, he shows Doggett an article about Salt and says he was killed for what he knew. Absalom thinks he’ll be killed, too. He only has one chance to save himself.

Absalom wants to take a road trip with Doggett and spread the word that the alien invasion has begun. Some people have been taken away to serve gods unknown to humans. Absalom’s preachings are parables and secrets that have been kept from the world. Doggett’s phone rings, but Absalom won’t let him answer.

Scully’s calling Doggett from a task-force meeting run by Skinner to educate some agents about Absalom. He wrote “fight the future” on the wall of his cell before he escaped the road crew. Though no one’s ever been able to prove that Absalom healed returned abductees, there’s evidence that they were tortured. They need to find Absalom and bring him in so the FBI can get some answers. Skinner doesn’t want to be in charge of this case, since it’s clearly and X-File, but Scully will have to find Doggett before Skinner can hand off the responsibility. (I don’t know why Scully can’t run the investigation while Skinner looks for Doggett, but whatever.)

They both get delayed when Mulder shows up in his office, ready to work. He recognizes Salt from a picture of Absalom’s returned-abductee friends, and he agrees with Absalom that Salt was killed because he knew something. Scully says that Mulder makes this sound like there’s a conspiracy. Scully…what show do you think you’re on? Mulder notes the coincidence of the FBI trying to shut down the X-Files just as there are questions that need to be answered.

Back at Casa Doggett, Absalom is taping a weapon to Doggett’s back so they can put some sort of plan into action. He declares that they’re going to become “overnight sensations.” Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully go to the FBI’s evidence room to look through Salt’s personal effects. Scully’s concerned that Mulder’s willing to take such a big risk – this could get him fired – on the off chance that he’ll find something. Scully, again…what show do you think you’re on? She doesn’t get how Mulder thinks Absalom and Salt can have any answers when there’s no way they’re credible. Mulder’s like, “Hi, have you heard of the X-Files?”

As he starts up Salt’s laptop, Scully tries again to convince him that he’s risking too much – the X-Files and his own freedom. Mulder figures prison would be better than a spaceship where he has to undergo horrible experiments. Scully starts to ditch him, but she comes back when Mulder finds a huge, encrypted file on the computer. She decides to join in the fun and take the hard drive with Mulder.

Doggett and Absalom go to the Federal Statistics Center in Crystal City, Virginia, and it becomes clear that Absalom kidnapped Doggett because he needed an FBI agent to help him get into the building. Security scans show the gun taped to Doggett’s back, but not until the men are already inside the building. Absalom wants to get to some data before he has Doggett call the FBI and tell them what they’re up to. He thinks the proof of the alien invasion is in the census data.

Security guards swarm the men, and even though Absalom warns that he has a weapon, one of the guards shoots him. R.I.P., Absalom, assuming he can be killed. Doggett ends up in Skinner’s office, where he meets Mulder for the first time. Mulder doesn’t give him a warm welcome, since he thinks Doggett is part of the conspiracy to bury the truth. He thinks Doggett got Absalom killed.

Mulder goes to see the Lone Gunmen, who are happy to see him. They’d like to know about his involvement in Scully’s pregnancy, but she doesn’t want to talk about that. She’d much rather discuss the data on Salt’s computer, which he downloaded the day he died. It’s data from the Census Bureau, of course, but firewalls went up on everything at the facility 15 minutes after Salt was shot. Mulder sees this as confirmation that he’s right about the data being important to this conspiracy.

Unfortunately, the encryption is too complicated even for Langly, so they’ll need a password to get to it. That is, unless Mulder’s willing to break into the Federal Statistics Center. He guesses that Scully told the Gunmen to back her up in convincing Mulder not to keep taking risks to pursue the conspiracy. Of course, that’s not going to work.

Doggett has a clandestine meeting with Knowle so he can ask who’s responsible for the conspiracy. Knowle doesn’t care how long he and Doggett have been friends – he’s not getting involved. Doggett says he’s been accused of taking part in the conspiracy. He thinks he’s being used and doesn’t know it. Knowle still won’t help, other than to tell Doggett that there are three words that are key to this investigation.

Doggett next goes to Mulder’s building and intercepts Scully as she’s arriving. He knows he won’t be able to talk to Mulder, so he relays a message for Scully to pass along. He knows about the CD Salt had on him, and he knows the password needed to decrypt Salt’s data. It’s three words: fight the future.

Scully goes up to see Mulder, though she’s hesitant to give him Doggett’s information. She eventually does, and Skinner goes to Doggett’s to tell him what was in the data. It’s the names of people who have a certain genetic profile. Scully’s worried that Mulder’s going to use this information to do something dangerous. Doggett admits that he gave Scully the password, but he won’t tell Skinner how he got it. Skinner wonders whose side Doggett is on. Doggett says he’s starting to wonder the same thing.

Skinner can’t reach Scully, which is weird because…didn’t she just call him to tell him about the data? Doggett heads off, not wanting to give Skinner any information about his plans. He says Skinner will just have to trust him. Doggett returns to the Federal Statistics Center, running into Scully and telling her she needs to leave. He’s afraid he may have accidentally set her up to be the conspiracy’s next victim.

Mulder’s inside with with Lone Gunmen for an Ocean’s 11-esque job, complete with cutting security feeds, opening locked doors, and dangling on cables. Mulder sneaks around the building, looking for a data bank, while Doggett sneaks around looking for him. Mulder finds the data bank and starts emailing files, ignoring Doggett when he finds him and warns him to get out. Doggett shoots through a glass door to get access to the room Mulder’s in, but Mulder still thinks Doggett is part of the conspiracy and again refuses to listen to him.

Mulder states his theory: People with a certain genetic profile are targets for abduction and replacement with alien facsimiles. He’s sending the info out to the press, starting with The Washington Post. He invites Doggett to shoot him if he really wants to stop Mulder. Outside, Scully calls Byers to warn that people are coming and the guys need to get Mulder out of there. Mulder thinks Doggett set him up, but Doggett points out that he wouldn’t be trying to get Mulder to leave if that were the case.

Langly tells Mulder that the data is trapped, so he can’t upload it or transmit it. Men are now swarming the building, and the agents are trapped. The Lone Gunmen come up with a plan and send the men into the ceiling so they can escape the building without being seen.

The next day (I guess), Doggett meets with Knowle again, allowing him two minutes to explain himself before Doggett exposes him as a liar. Skinner is nearby, ready to get Knowle blacklisted. Knowle says he told Doggett what he could; he’s not responsible for what Doggett did next. If Doggett exposes him, he won’t have a source anymore. He’s just on the tip of an iceberg.

Doggett doesn’t appreciate being used to get Mulder killed, but Knowle says that wasn’t the point. The truth is right in front of him, in the X-Files. Knowle is trying to point him in the right direction. Doggett leaves, dissatisfied by unable to do anything else. Knowle watches, pleased, with the kind of bulge in his neck that Absalom would be interested in knowing about.

Thoughts: So I guess Mulder and Scully aren’t discussing her pregnancy, the details of the conception, how he might be the baby’s father, etc.? What an elephant to always have in the room.

I’m surprised Kersh didn’t have Mulder barred from the building. Or can anyone with a badge just waltz in, whether or not they’re still employed there?

Salt wrote his password right on the CD? Wow. Dumb.

I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Mulder in a leather jacket gets a 10/10 from me.

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