November 18, 2017

The X-Files 6.12, One Son: No, Seriously, Trust No One

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

“What do you mean, this ‘isn’t an appropriate substitute’ for our loved ones? We folded it into a triangle!”

Summary: Mulder voices over about two fathers, CSM and Bill Mulder, who fought a 50-year war that served as the “dawn of Armageddon.” We flash back to October 13th, 1973, as the men in question gather at an airplane hangar to greet a group of aliens with an American flag. Mulder says they had to choose between fighting or fleeing.

Back in the present, Cassandra’s pleas for Mulder to shoot her are interrupted by a bunch of men in Hazmat suits who spray them and the apartment with something. They explain that they’re with the CDC and are quarantining Mulder, Scully, and Cassandra. Fowley’s with them, and she tells them they’ve come into contact with “a contagion of unknown origin.” The agents undergo decontamination showers and try not to look at each other naked. They’re then scanned with meters, but the men in Hazmat suits won’t tell them anything about what’s going on.

Scully guesses they’re at Fort Marlene, a facility equipped for high-risk contamination. Fowley apologizes to the agents for how the quarantine had to begin, but Cassandra underwent an experiment that killed seven doctors, so they have to take a lot of precautions. Scully points out that Cassandra was in a regular hospital for a week, and only then did Spender tell Fowley to call in the CDC. It looks really suspicious. No one’s sick, so why has Cassandra been isolated?

Mulder tries to quiet Scully, who’s determined to see Cassandra. Fowley reminds Scully that she was suspended from the FBI, so she has no rights. As the agents go to get new clothes, Scully makes sure Mulder knows how much she despises Fowley. She thinks they’re using Cassandra’s supposed infection as an excuse to stage a “high-tech government kidnapping.” But Mulder says Skinner told him he heard Spender calling the CDC.

Scully reminds her partner that Cassandra wasn’t sick; she just asked Mulder to kill her so all the tests and questioning will stop. Scully can relate, since she was also abducted and then underwent scrutiny afterward. She believes that Cassandra has been taken away so the process can continue. Mulder disagrees – he thinks Cassandra really is “the one.”

Krycek looks over Cassandra’s medical records and tells CSM and some other Syndicate members that Mulder’s suspicions seem to be correct. The rebel aliens want to keep the Syndicate from killing her. They know that when the aliens learn about her, colonization will begin. CSM thinks that’s exactly what should happen. They need to hand Cassandra over to the aliens and save themselves.

A Syndicate man argues that this is what Bill warned them would happen. CSM reminds him that Bill sacrificed Samantha because he know this day would come. They don’t have a choice now, if they want their living loved ones to stay living, and their dead loved ones to come back.

The agents are, indeed, at Fort Marlene, and not under much security, since Mulder’s allowed to wander around in search of a pair of shoes that fit. He spots a familiar woman and follows her to a room full of plastic-covered equipment. It’s Marita, and her eyes are red from all the Syndicate’s tests. She tells Mulder that Cassandra’s part of the hybrid program, but Marita was infected with the black oil so a vaccine/cure could be tested on her.

Mulder realizes that the hybrid program was never expected to succeed. It was just a way to buy time while the vaccine/cure was developed. Cassandra was an accidental success. Marita knows that colonization will begin if the aliens learn about her.

Spender and Fowley visit Cassandra, telling her they’re keeping her there to protect her from CSM. Spender promises that she won’t have to undergo any more tests. Cassandra tells him that he doesn’t understand what will happen to both of them if “they” find her out. She’s willing to be hurt or even killed if it means everyone else on the planet is protected. Spender just leaves the room.

I guess the quarantine’s over, because Mulder and Scully go see the Lone Gunmen. Scully asked the guys to dig up info on Fowley, and she wants to present Mulder with the truth about a woman he thinks he can trust. She spent seven years in Europe, working with a counter-terrorism unit, but there’s no information available on what she did there. Her travel records were purged from her FBI files, but the Lone Gunmen were able to find out that she traveled to all sorts of MUFON chapters.

Mulder doesn’t find this significant, but Scully thinks Fowley was monitoring abductees and the tests they underwent. She points out that Cassandra is the ultimate test subject, and Fowley’s watching over her – it all makes sense. Scully can prove or disprove Mulder’s beliefs, but not when Fowley is keeping them from seeing Cassandra. Why did Fowley come back into Mulder’s life just when he was getting closer than ever to the truth?

Scully says that Mulder always tells her to trust no one, but he trusts Fowley. Mulder argues that Scully hasn’t given him any reasons not to. Scully replies that she can no longer help him. Maybe she’s making things personal, but without the FBI, that’s all she has. If Mulder takes that away, there’s no point in her continuing.

Mulder goes to the Watergate Apartments to see Fowley; when she doesn’t answer her door, he picks the lock. He searches through her things for a minute, then gets interrupted by CSM. Mulder pulls a gun on him and reveals that he knows CSM’s real name. He has nothing to lose now. CSM says that Mulder couldn’t shoot him the last time he had the opportunity; why should this time be any different?

CSM says he’s looking for Spender to confront him for switching sides. Mulder doesn’t know how CSM can think his side is the wrong one, since the Syndicate’s side is the one doing experiments on innocent women. CSM says Bill had the same views back in the ’70s, but he came around to CSM’s side and gave up Samantha. Mulder says that Bill was forced to give her up. CSM tells him he’s wrong.

Over another flashback to 1973, CSM tells Mulder that their super-top-secret group had voted to align with the aliens. Bill objected, even though the agreement meant avoiding an alien invasion. CSM argues that they saved billions of lives, including Mulder’s. We see Bill arguing with CSM as the group’s family members, including Cassandra, arrive at the hangar. Mulder realizes that the men willingly gave up their family members “like they were things.”

CSM says the family members were sent away because it was the right thing. They would be experimented on, but they would come back to their families. The men made the painful decision to let the aliens take their loved ones, and they had to watch it happen. Mulder points out that Samantha was taken from the family’s house, not a hangar. CSM tells him that Bill refused to give up a member of his family, but the aliens insisted on taking someone. Without Samantha, the Syndicate couldn’t proceed.

The aliens provided the Syndicate with an alien fetus, from which they could use an alien genome to create an alien/human hybrid. They would create a new race that could survive the alien holocaust. Mulder would also survive, and live to be reunited with Samantha. CSM confirms that the plan was just to stall and use the alien DNA to make a vaccine/cure. Now it’s too late, and colonization will begin.

First a state of emergency will be declared. Then the bees will deliver the alien virus. Then the aliens will take over. CSM knows his only choice is to hand over Cassandra. Mulder tells him to stop it, or he will. CSM says he won’t if he wants to see Samantha again. Mulder points his gun at CSM again, demanding that he stop the colonization so people won’t die. His mistake is thinking that CSM cares about anyone except himself. Bill wanted Mulder and Samantha to be reunited, and Mulder will realize that, as his father’s son. If he doesn’t, he’ll “die in vain” with everyone else. “Save her. Save yourself,” CSM says.

Spender goes looking for CSM at the Syndicate’s headquarters in New York, but Krycek tells him that the group has all dispersed. They’re in West Virginia, awaiting colonization. CSM is going to get Cassandra, and the guards Spender has watching her will most likely not be any match for him. Krycek is right, and CSM’s people easily get access to her and drug her, even as she swears and yells at them.

CSM wants to chat with his ex before they go on their road trip, which means he has to listen to her call him a bastard and a coward. He wants to talk about the future, not the past. Cassandra notes that he stole her past from her. CSM says that they’re only alive because of what he did in the past. Cassandra didn’t understand before why she was abducted and experimented on, but now she knows it was because of CSM.

He swears that he wanted to save her and Spender, not cause any harm. Cassandra says that CSM can never save Spender now that he knows what his father has done. The only way to save everyone on the planet is if CSM kills Cassandra. But CSM still can’t do it.

Mulder’s still at Fowley’s apartment when she gets home. He tells her he came looking for evidence that her loyalties are with anyone other than him and the X-Files. Though he didn’t find anything, fate found him. He realized that the choices he thought he had in life were made for him. Mulder says that CSM is looking for Spender, who’s now fighting for the same cause Mulder used to fight for.

Mulder now knows it’s futile, though, since there’s no way to stop the colonization. Giving up is the only way to save everyone. Mulder gives Fowley the location of the first steps of the colonization process, El Rico Air Force Base. They need to go there if they want to survive. In response, Fowley kisses Mulder.

Spender goes looking for Cassandra at Fort Marlene but instead comes across Marita. She asks him for help, knowing that the Syndicate is going to abandon her there. He doesn’t know her, but she knows who he is and claims she can help him, since she knows where Cassandra is being taken.

Someone retrieves the alien fetus from a cryolab, warning an intruder that she’s at risk for contamination. The intruder is actually an alien rebel, though, so she’s not too worried. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that he and Fowley are coming to get her. Scully wants to take Mulder to Cassandra; Spender told her they’re taking his mother back to Potomac Yard.

The agents head over and, for some reason, fire their guns at the train car carrying Cassandra. They don’t stop it, but at least now the experimenters on the train know they’ve been found out. Mulder and Scully get a ride to El Rico from Skinner, where others have already gathered. CSM and Cassandra join them, and CSM tells the other Syndicate members about the gunfire at Potomac Yard. He notices that Krycek isn’t there.

That’s because Krycek is back at Fort Marlene to get the alien fetus. Of course, it’s already gone. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who says that security won’t let him take Marita out of the facility. He wants to help her tell her story of what CSM did to her. Krycek tells Spender it doesn’t matter – the rebels took what they came for, so they’re going to win.

Fowley arrives at El Rico just as the aliens arrive, reenacting the scene from 1973. The Syndicate members are confused; supposedly no one contacted the aliens to tell them they were ready. There’s a mole in the group, one of the rebels, and he alerted his buddies that it was time to attack. As CSM and Fowley escape, the other Syndicate members and their loved ones are burned alive.

Kersh receives photos of the aftermath from Mulder, Scully, Skinner, and Spender, and expresses sympathy over the (alleged) death of Cassandra. (She’ll be in season 11, so who knows?) Spender takes responsibility for all the deaths, and credits Mulder and Scully for their work trying to prevent them. He thinks Mulder and Scully should be reinstated to the X-Files division so they can prevent worse things from happening. Spender himself is ready to leave the FBI.

Kersh asks why Mulder never gave him any answers before now. Mulder’s like, “I’ve spent years saying this stuff; no one ever listened to me.” The Syndicate members made the choice long ago to align themselves with the bad guys, but instead, they allowed another enemy to take hold. “The future is here. All bets are off,” he says. Kersh asks Scully to make some sense of this, but Scully sides with Mulder.

Spender finds CSM in his office, looking at a picture of himself with Bill in 1973. He tells Spender who Bill is, that he was a good man who betrayed CSM. Spender isn’t up for a father/son reunion, and CSM isn’t that surprised, though he’d hoped his son would honor him “like Bill Mulder’s son.” CSM pulls a gun and seemingly shoots Spender, then leaves with the picture.

Thoughts: It’s not mentioned in the episode, but IMDb lists a character as “C.G.B. Spender’s daughter,” indicating that he and Cassandra had another child, and she was the one CSM gave up to the aliens. That would definitely explain why Cassandra hates him so much.

What kind of lax medical facility is Fort Marlene running, where Mulder and Marita could cross paths?

And in a similar vein, Fowley should have better security for someone who works on such super-top-secret projects.

The scene where Mulder and Scully shoot at the train is so unintentionally funny. What, exactly, did they think the bullets would do?

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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.

November 4, 2017

The X-Files 6.10, Tithonus: What’s Black and White and Dead All Over?

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Fellig looks like a woman who just had a man tell her to smile

Summary: A woman delivers mail in an office building in New York City, quickly realizing that a man is following her. She speeds up, rushing to get on an elevator so she can get away from her stalker. But he follows her, seeing the reflections of everyone else in the elevator in black and white, while he remains in color. He gets off, and the woman relaxes. The man runs down the stairs as the elevator starts to shake and the power goes out. The elevator plummets, and the man is there to take a picture of the aftermath.

In D.C., Mulder and Scully are still conducting background checks, and still bored with their new roles. Mulder won’t quit, though, since he knows that’s what the agency wants. Scully gets a call summoning her to Kersh’s office – just her, not Mulder. He thinks she’s going to be punished even further.

Instead, Kersh introduces Scully to Agent Peyton Ritter, who’s from the New York office. He was scanning old crime-scene photos when he found one of Margereta Stoller, a woman who overdosed on nitrous oxide. She supposedly died at 11:14, though the clock in the photo states an earlier time. Another photo states a later time. Both photos were taken by Alfred Fellig, a photographer often used by the NYPD. He’s the man from the elevator.

Ritter suspects that Fellig killed Margereta, then came back an hour later to take photos for his job. Thanks to shadows, Ritter has discovered the same weirdness at three other crime scenes. Scully points out that the victims all died by different methods, so if they were killed by the same person, he doesn’t have a consistent M.O. Ritter hopes that Scully can help him unravel what’s happening. Kersh dismisses him from the room, then tells Scully he wants her to work the case with Ritter. Mulder isn’t invited.

In New York, Fellig watches a man get off a bus, seeing him in black and white. The man goes to his apartment building and promptly has a heart attack. Fellig spies on him through the window and takes pictures of the man’s dying moments instead of calling for help.

Back in D.C., Mulder looks into the Fellig case himself, giving Scully some suggestions of what might be going on. She denies that this will be a permanent arrangement; they won’t be split up permanently. Mulder knows that if she does a good job on this case, she won’t be doing any more background checks. Mulder meets Ritter and manages not to get territorial over his partner.

Scully and Ritter head to New York to talk to an NYPD officer about Fellig. Ironically, Scully has to look through Fellig’s background check for more information. In all the photos of Fellig through the years, since 1964, he looks exactly the same. Ritter calls him “a regular Dick Clark.” (Unlike Fellig, that joke didn’t age well.) He’s starting to think this approach is a dead end.

In the Bronx, a man runs down a street, yelling for someone to call the police. He ends up in an alley, struggling with a man who robs him at knifepoint. The robber hears the sound of a camera, sees Fellig, and runs off. Fellig approaches the robbery victim and snaps a photo of his body. Behind him, the robber is ready to claim another victim. He stabs Fellig and takes his camera. But Fellig just pulls the knife out of his back and walks away, leaving it behind in a pool of his blood.

Scully and Ritter wind up with the knife and tie it to Fellig via his fingerprints. They guess that he killed the robbery victim, as well as another person whose body isn’t there. Another officer tells the agents that Fellig has been found. He’s brought to the police station for questioning, specifically about how he’s always on the scene when someone dies. “I have a nose for news,” Fellig quips. He claims that the robber chased him but ran off. He must have touched the knife after the robber dropped it.

Scully notices that Fellig seems to be in pain; she guesses the blood from the second victim was his. He admits that he was cut and shows the agents his wounds. Ritter sends Fellig to get his blood drawn and have his wounds photographed (presumably by someone other than Fellig). Ritter wonders why Scully seems to be trying to get Fellig cleared. She replies that she thought they were looking for the truth.

Mulder calls Scully and says in a goofy voice that they used to sit next to each other at the FBI. She tells him the Fellig case isn’t an X-File, but they haven’t made much progress. They had to let Fellig go. Mulder looks up the robber, Wiggins, and confesses that he’s been keeping an eye on the case via the progress reports Ritter’s been sending Kersh, which Mulder’s computer happens to be “intercepting.” The good news is that Ritter has been saying nice things about Scully. Mulder offers to run a background check on Fellig, since that’s his job now.

That night, Scully takes over Ritter’s spot in a stakeout of Fellig’s apartment building. She looks at the crime-scene photos again and notices something that piques her interest. She then hears the sound of a camera coming from Fellig’s apartment. She goes up to ask about the photo from the scene of Margereta’s death and asks flat-out why he keeps showing up at crime scenes early, then coming back to take photos. Fellig offers to show her what’s going on if she’ll go for a drive with him.

He takes her to a street corner and tells Scully that the prostitute hanging out there is going to die. He takes out his camera, ready to capture it on film. Scully thinks Fellig is saying that the prostitute is going to be murdered. Fellig says he doesn’t know how people will die, just when. As usual, Scully’s skeptical, but a man approaches the prostitute and starts hassling her, making it look like she will, in fact, be murdered. Scully jumps out of the car to arrest the man and save his potential victim. But as the prostitute is walking away, she gets hit by a truck. Nice try, though, Scully.

The next morning, Scully brings the man in for possession of an unlicensed gun. Ritter blasts her for talking to Fellig instead of continuing the stakeout. She passes on his claim that he knows when people are going to die, though that’s not something they can arrest him for. Ritter disagrees – he questioned Wiggins, who says that Fellig killed the robbery victim. Scully doesn’t think they can take the word of a man who’s already a convicted felon, but Ritter doesn’t care. They can still arrest Fellig.

Ritter tells Scully that Kersh warned him about her. If she screws up his case, Kersh will hear about it. He asks “Dana” if they’re clear. Scully icily makes it clear that that’s not the name she prefers. Her real partner calls, and she tells him that it turns out the case is an X-File after all. Mulder isn’t surprised, since Fellig appears to be 149 years old. Alfred Fellig doesn’t exist before 1964, but his fingerprints match those of a Henry Strand, who applied for a press pass in 1939, at the age of 53. And before that, another man with the same fingerprints was born in 1849.

Scully knows that Fellig can’t be more than 65. Mulder says that that’s just what he wants her to think. He points out that, for someone like Fellig, “life in prison” means something more significant than it would for another criminal. He thinks Scully should track him down before he changes his identity again and disappears.

Scully does exactly that, going to Fellig’s apartment to warn that he’ll be arrested and charged with murder in a couple of hours. He tells her that all he does is take pictures; he doesn’t kill people. Scully’s disgusted that he profits off of people’s deaths and doesn’t try to help them. Fellig admits that he doesn’t feel sorry for them – in fact, he’s jealous of them. Fellig doesn’t take their lives; “he does.” Scully asks who “he” is, but Fellig doesn’t explain.

Scully follows Fellig into his darkroom, seeing a picture from the elevator. He points out a lens flare and tells her that it’s a photo of Death himself. He takes pictures to try to get a better glimpse. Scully doesn’t buy it, but she wonders why Fellig wants a picture of Death. He says that he wants to look into Death’s face so he can die. No other method of trying to end his life has worked. “I got left behind,” he says. He can’t remember a time when he wanted to be alive. “This is all I know to do.”

Despite Scully’s assertion that she doesn’t believe him, Fellig thinks she does – that’s why she’s there. She looks at some of his other photos, including one from 1928, and asks how he knows when people are about to die. He says it’s something he’s picked up over the years. Scully gets overwhelmed and leaves to call Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”). She gives him the name of the photographer who took the 1928 picture, Louis Brady, so he can find out if it’s one of Fellig’s former identities. Fellig overhears the conversation, and when Scully returns to the darkroom, he bumps into her and steals her cell phone.

Mulder looks up Louis Brady and confirms that he’s Fellig. He also committed two homicides in 1929. Unable to reach Scully, since Fellig turned off her phone, Mulder calls Ritter and tells him that Fellig is a murderer. He killed two people, hoping to “catch up with death,” and served a year in prison before simply walking off a work detail. Mulder tells Ritter not to worry about the math, but just go save Scully from Fellig.

Scully wonders how Fellig can feel like he’s lived enough. There’s so much for him to learn. Fellig, however, feels like he’s missing out on something that everyone else gets to experience. Scully asks about love, but Fellig notes that that doesn’t necessarily last forever. He was married once, but it was so long ago that he’s forgotten her name. He doesn’t like that he’s still around after someone he loved has left him. Suddenly, he sees Scully in black and white and tells her to count her blessings.

Scully asks Fellig why, if all he says is true, he is this way. She needs science to explain this. Fellig says that he had yellow fever decades ago, and survived when so many didn’t. He saw Death in a contagion ward, taking people all around him. Fellig worried that, if he saw Death’s face, Death would take him, too. When Death came, Fellig turned away, and Death killed a nurse instead. Fellig feels like the nurse took his place. Now he knows that you have to be careful what you wish for. He missed his chance to die, but Scully’s lucky.

She realizes that Fellig took her picture from his apartment the night before – does that mean she’s going to die. Fellig starts to take another photo, but Scully handcuffs him so he can’t. She looks for her phone, asking why Fellig took it. What doesn’t he want her to know? He calmly tells her that Death is coming and Scully should make her peace with it.

The curtain to the darkroom is pulled aside, and Fennig raises his camera to capture a picture of Death. Instead, Ritter’s there. He shoots Fellig, hitting him through his camera and shattering the lens. He realizes too late that the bullet has also passed into Scully. Ritter runs off to get help.

Fellig’s blood pours out of him, through his camera. He picks up another one and starts to take Scully’s picture, seeing her in black and white. “Did you see him?” he asks her. “Don’t look. Close your eyes.” She does, and as Fellig takes her hand, he turns black and white as well, taking Scully’s place.

A week later, Scully’s recovering at NYU’s hospital, with Mulder nearby. He tells Ritter he was lucky, I guess since he didn’t accidentally kill a fellow FBI agent. Fellig’s coroner’s report just says that he died of a gunshot wound. Scully, on the other hand, is recovering quickly. She murmurs that people don’t live forever, but Mulder isn’t sure. Maybe “Death only looks for you once you seek its opposite.”

Thoughts: Ritter is played by a pre-Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place Richard Ruccolo.

I wish they’d written Fellig less two-dimensionally, but I guess he’s supposed to be depressed. Still, Ritter’s the more interesting character. It’s hard to feel sympathy for Fellig. Like, do something meaningful with your 149 years.

So after this episode and “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose,” the question is: Is Scully immortal? Discuss.

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.”

October 21, 2017

The X-Files 6.8, The Rain King: “You’re Not Just a Weatherman, You’re THE Weatherman”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:21 pm by Jenn

Look how concerned he is that Scully’s seeing this

Summary: A woman named Sheila signs a valentine, leaving a lipstick print on it. It’s Valentine’s Day, and Sheila’s in Kroner, Kansas, eating candy and watching TV. She tunes in for Holman Hardt’s weather forecast, turning it off when her fiancé, Daryl, comes home. He’s upset that she put a marriage announcement in the newspaper, since he thought they were going to keep it quiet until business picked up. Since it hasn’t rained in a while, and there’s no rain in the forecast, he’s not optimistic.

Daryl slams Sheila for eating candy, since her butt is already getting big. He goes out to his car, mocking Sheila’s assurance that it’ll rain soon. Sheila puts on the radio, which is playing “Rainy Days and Mondays.” Daryl listens to the same song in his car, drinking a beer as he drives away. As Sheila cries into her candy, it starts raining outside. Daryl’s happy at first, but the rain turns to hail and breaks his windshield. He crashes his car as heart-shaped hailstones continue to fall from the sky.

Six months later, Mulder and Scully arrive in Kroner via a prop plane. They’re greeted by the town’s mayor, Jim Gilmore, and a young baton twirler. Gilmore apologizes for not arranging better accommodations, but he didn’t realize Mulder would be bringing his wife with him. He also apologizes for the poor welcoming committee. Gilmore tells the agents that drought has devastated the town, and Daryl is profiting by charging people for rain. You can hire him to come to your farm and do his “dog and pony show,” and it’ll rain. Gilmore thinks he’s causing the drought so he can make money.

Scully’s starting to get why Mulder didn’t tell her the reason they were coming to Kroner. He denies that he “intentionally misled” her. Kroner seems to be “ground zero for extreme weather,” and if Daryl is controlling it for profit, he’s a criminal, so they’re right to investigate. Scully thinks the people of Kroner are just frustrated and looking for a scapegoat. Mulder asks how many scapegoats turn that into a business – specifically, Rain King, Inc.

They go to Daryl’s office, where Mulder asks to see “the king,” putting an Elvis-ish spin on the word. Daryl’s receptionist tells them he’s out of town, and she’s unwilling to give them any information without a warrant or subpoena. Besides, he’s a hero to Kroner, so the FBI shouldn’t be accusing him of anything nefarious. Holman’s giving a forecast on TV, and the receptionist credits Daryl with the rain Holman says is coming. Scully won’t give up, so the receptionist hands over a client list.

Mulder gets the idea to visit the TV station where Holman does his forecast. Sheila works there and greets them enthusiastically, saying she couldn’t be happier for them. It turns out she’s mistaken them for a couple named the Gundersons who won a contest. Holman takes the agents to his office and raves about how awesome it is to be a meteorologist in a place with so much interesting weather. He doubts that Daryl can control the weather, which is all Scully needs to hear.

Mulder asks about the rain, which Holman puns is “a more clouded issue.” Mulder brings out Daryl’s client list – dozens of people are claiming that he made it rain for their farms. Holman says he went to high school with Daryl, and though he’s not very accomplished, it’s true that it rains wherever he goes.

The agents head to a farm, where some people are having a picnic and waiting for Daryl. Scully feels bad for these people who are putting their trust in someone who could be scamming them. Daryl arrives on crutches and chastises his receptionist for bringing him the wrong boot for his prosthetic leg. Mulder asks him to explain his “unique ability,” but Daryl says it’s just a gift. He comes from a line of healers, and his spirituality allows him to connect with the “unseen real.”

The receptionist puts on some music, and Daryl dances around, saying he communicates with his ancestors (he’s 1/64th Cherokee) to bring rain. Scully walks away, done with this craziness. Mulder notes that plenty of Native Americans in the past performed rain dances; Daryl’s just doing the same thing. Scully doubts that the rain dancers in the past looked quite this stupid. She doesn’t think that Daryl looks like a man who can control the weather. She has to stop talking when it suddenly starts raining.

At the TV station, Sheila chats with Holman about their upcoming 20th high school reunion. She wishes the agents would leave Daryl alone. It turns out that she and Daryl have broken up; he was only with her for her money. Holman can’t believe that she still loves him after that. It looks like he wishes she would love him instead.

Scully has trouble sleeping, thanks to the noise caused by the rainstorm outside. Mulder’s still awake by choice, eating sunflower seeds and reading up on tornadoes in Kroner. He gets up to close a window and sees a cow being pulled into the air by one of those tornadoes. It comes crashing back down right through the roof over his motel room. R.I.P., Bessie or Elsie or whoever you were.

The next morning, Mulder’s things are moved into Scully’s room, since the rest of the rooms in the motel are booked for the high school reunion, and the people working there think Mulder and Scully are dating anyway. Mulder thinks Daryl tried to kill him with the cow on purpose, to try to scare off the FBI. Scully asks if he was checked for head trauma. Holman shows up and blames the cow incident on a regular old tornado. Sheila arrives next and announces that she’s to blame for Mulder’s near death by bovine.

Scully tries to ease Sheila’s guilt, but she says this isn’t the first time something like this has happened. The high school was destroyed by a tornado the night of the senior prom. On her wedding day, it snowed, even though it was July. Three years later, the day her divorce was finalized, the clouds in the sky looked like they were laughing at her. In the ten years since, nothing has happened until last night. The agents learn that Sheila and Daryl were engaged until six months ago, when he crashed during the hail storm and lost his leg.

Mulder promises Sheila that none of the weird weather is her fault. She says she wants to believe him. A medic who heard the whole conversation tells Mulder that the hail didn’t cause Daryl’s accident – he was drunk. No one said anything because he’d already been punished enough by losing his leg. Holman is shocked to hear this. Out at a farm, Daryl brags to his receptionist about his powers of concentration and his ability to make it rain. Then the rain stops.

At their motel, Mulder shows Scully an old newspaper article about a time it rained rose petals. Scully tells him there’s no case, and he himself told Sheila she wasn’t controlling the weather. Mulder continues that Holman’s mother died the day of the flower shower. Every time there’s a big meteorological event, he’s hospitalized for exhaustion. He thinks Holman is controlling the weather. If people with seasonal affective disorder can be drastically by the weather, why can’t the opposite be true? Maybe he has feelings that he’s not expressing, and they come out in the weather.

Holman wants to get those feelings out the right way, telling Sheila that he’s in love with her. He practices making his declaration, getting interrupted when Sheila calls to tell him that she’s decided she’s over Daryl. She wants someone who makes her feel safe, someone she can talk to. Then she confides that she’s decided to pursue Mulder. Holman responds with a lightning storm.

Mulder goes to see Holman the next day, asking him to get help for his problems: “You’re not just a weatherman, you’re the weatherman,” Mulder says. Holman says that if he could control the weather, he would end the drought. Mulder doesn’t think he can control his abilities, and in fact, his emotions make the weather go out of control. He needs to express his feelings for Sheila. Holman confirms Mulder’s theory, confiding that he accidentally destroyed the school when he found Sheila getting it on with her boyfriend. But how can he, a frog, telling Sheila, a swan, he wants to be with her?

Scully calls her partner (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him they’re not going to be able to leave Kroner as planned, thanks to thick fog. “Holman!” Mulder chastises. He tells Scully that Holman wants his dating advice. Scully’s speechless, then asks the last time Mulder went on a date. “I will talk to you later,” Mulder replies, hanging up on her. (If you can find this scene, please watch it, because I can’t do it justice here. Duchovny and Anderson’s delivery makes it gold.)

Daryl learns from his receptionist that his business isn’t doing well. She tells him he’s like Jim Morrison or Kurt Cobain, who “shined too bright for too short a time.” But she’ll still tell their future kids how awesome he was. Daryl’s distressed about his money woes, but the receptionist isn’t worried – she can always go back to Dairy Queen, where she was making almost $6 an hour. Daryl has another idea, knowing that Sheila has money. He decides it’s time to break up with the receptionist and go back to his former fiancée.

At the TV station, Holman tells Mulder that he’s always been envious of men like him who have so much experience. After all, Mulder gets to spend all day with the “beautiful, enchanting” Scully. He’s surprised that the partners have never hooked up, especially since they seem to gaze at each other. Mulder claims he’s happy enough just being friends with Scully. He takes Holman to Sheila in hopes that the drought will end if Holman tells her how he feels. As a P.S., Mulder says he doesn’t gaze at Scully.

Holman starts to bare his soul to Sheila, declaring his love, but she thinks he just means as a friend. It starts raining, and Mulder thinks Holman succeeded, but Holman tells him that Sheila said she’s in love with Mulder. She tells Daryl the same thing when he comes by to try to get her back. Daryl doesn’t get the appeal and takes a swing at Mulder. Sheila yells at him to avoid Mulder’s face, which is a good priority. Since Daryl’s drunk, Mulder doesn’t have much trouble ducking his punches and subduing him. Scully and Holman come around the corner just in time to see Sheila thanking Mulder with a kiss.

The fog has lifted, so now Mulder and Scully can go home. Mulder, who’s covered in Sheila’s lipstick, sees on Holman’s weather radar that thunderstorms are moving in, so their flight is probably canceled. The reunion is still on, with a Wizard of Oz theme, though people have to avoid the buckets placed around the high school gym to catch leaks. The agents show up looking for Holman, who says the thunderstorms aren’t his fault.

Sheila asks Mulder to dance, but the agents get her to dance with Holman instead. He finally tells Sheila that he’s been in love with her since high school. Mulder and Scully watch them from a distance, swaying back and forth, either to get a better view of them or because they like the song. When Sheila runs off, Mulder jokes that he’ll build an ark if Scully gathers the animals.

Scully follows Sheila to the bathroom and tells her Mulder’s theory about Holman and the weather. Sheila thinks Scully’s just jealous because Sheila and Mulder have a “special connection.” Daryl shows up to the reunion, looking for Sheila. Scully tells her that she and Mulder aren’t involved, and Holman really does want to be with her. Sheila’s surprised, since she and Holman have only ever been friends. Scully thinks that the best relationships are ones that start out as friendships. One day, you see something new in your friend, and the friend becomes the only person you want to be with.

The storm drains are filling up from all the rain, and the bathroom sinks back up and start to flood. The women leave the bathroom as Mulder and Daryl fight in the gym. The power goes out as Daryl passes out, claiming he could take on Mulder if he had two legs. Sheila comes back to the gym and confirms that Holman can affect the weather. She kisses him and tells him that’s the most romantic thing she’s ever heard. As they kiss again, sparks fly and the rain stops.

“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” comes over the sound system and everyone starts dancing. The receptionist comes to bring Daryl his leg back, and the two of them make up. Mulder asks Holman how it went, and Holman replies, “You should try it sometime.” A year later, Holman and Sheila have a baby, and the skies over Kroner are beautiful, with a rainbow right outside the family’s window.

Thoughts: Gilmore is played by Dirk Blocker (Hitchcock on Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that I love the running joke of everyone thinking Mulder and Scully are a couple. I also love that, while Scully corrects everyone, Mulder says nothing until he’s talking to Holman.

Mulder: “I do not gaze at Scully.” Everyone who’s ever seen an episode of the show: “Uh-huh.”

Having a Wizard of Oz-themed reunion right after a tornado was a rough coincidence, but it’s Kansas, so that probably happens a lot.

October 14, 2017

The X-Files 6.7, Terms of Endearment: Definitive Proof That Children Are Little Demons

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

Hee hee hee

Summary: A couple has just had a sonogram, and their doctor is breaking the news that that the baby seems to have an abnormal skeletal formation. The husband, Wayne, walks out, upset, and his wife, Laura, tries to tell him it might be nothing. They’ll have to wait and see. The two go home to Hollins, Virginia, and Laura takes a pill and drinks some milk before going to sleep.

A devilish-looking creature suddenly appears, surrounded by flames, and attacks Laura. Wayne has disappeared, and Laura can’t fight off the creature, so she bites it (A for effort, Laura). The creature reaches in and takes the baby, which has horns. It’s a nightmare, and when Laura wakes up, Wayne is next to her in bed again. However, the baby is no longer inside her.

A Hollins deputy, Stevens, gives the case to Spender, having heard that he specializes in weird stuff like this. Stevens happens to be Laura’s brother. Spender promises to make the case a priority, and Stevens is grateful that Laura will have someone who will listen to her. As soon as Stevens leaves the office, Spender shreds the paperwork.

Mulder retrieves the shredded pieces and puts them together, taking the case from Spender and pretending it was assigned to him. Stevens drops him off at Wayne and Laura’s house, thanking the FBI again for looking into things. Laura tells Mulder that the baby had horns and a tail; it was “some kind of monster.” She gets emotional and leaves the room. Wayne tells Mulder that she’s been struggling ever since the doctor told them there were complications. Mulder asks Wayne if he was really in bed with Laura the whole time, since she said he wasn’t. Wayne says that was just in her dream.

Scully’s interviewing a potential FBI agent, Ginsberg, but she doesn’t seem to buy his claim that he’s never smoked pot or spent time with people who have. Mulder calls her (“Scully, it’s me”) to explain why he’s not at work with her. He wants her to look at Laura’s medical charts. Scully thinks Mulder’s act of taking a discarded case out of Spender’s trash isn’t any better than Spender’s decision to get rid of it in the first place. She’s annoyed that he’s off chasing an X-File while she’s stuck doing background checks.

Mulder says this is “a classic case of demon fetal harvest.” Scully tease that she saw Rosemary’s Baby, too. Wayne listens in on their phone conversation via a baby monitor. That night, as a fire burns in an outdoor stove, Wayne digs around in the leaves in the yard. Laura comes out, seeing the fire, and he tells her he was just burning leaves. He was just doing his chores and trying to make things look nice. Yeah, I’ve never seen someone do chores while looking so squirrelly or crying.

The next day, Mulder, who spent the night in his car outside Wayne and Laura’s house, is woken by a call from Scully. She looked at the baby’s medical charts and saw the birth defects, which could have involved horns. Mulder draws horns on a picture of Wayne and asks if he might have passed the defects on to the baby. Scully blames Laura instead – she had an herb called mandrake in her system, and may have tried to self-abort. Thanks to Virginia laws about third-trimester abortion, Mulder can arrest her.

Mulder watches Wayne drive off somewhere while Scully tells him that the couple’s doctor said Laura took the news of the baby’s defects very calmly. Mulder clearly still thinks Wayne had something to do with what happened. Scully warns him to proceed carefully, since this could be an emotional situation. Mulder goes up to the house as Wayne goes to see…his other baby mama! Wayne’s a two-timer!

Stevens and some other deputies come to Laura and Wayne’s, where Mulder has accused Laura of trying to abort her baby. Stevens objects, saying that Laura wouldn’t even have access to mandrake. She says she only took herbal sleep aids. Wayne comes home, and Stevens yells at him for not being there when Laura was being interrogated. Mulder promises Wayne that he’s not trying to hurt Laura – and he knows Wayne would “hate like the devil for that to happen as well.”

Wayne allows the deputies to search the house, which contains a number of health supplements. He decides it’s time to tell Laura that he got out of bed the night the baby was taken, and when he came back to the bedroom, he saw her chanting over their just-born baby. Wayne took the baby from her and burned its body in the outdoor stove to protect her. He knew he couldn’t bring back Wayne Jr., and he didn’t want to lose Laura as well. Just then, the deputies find the baby’s body.

Laura tells the deputies that when she heard about the baby’s defects, she thought she had done something wrong, and that the baby was evil. But she didn’t mean to hurt him; the herbal medication must have been to blame. Mulder eyes Wayne suspiciously as Stevens arrests his sister. “I know what you are,” Mulder tells Wayne as he leaves the house.

Wayne rushes to see his other baby mama, Betsy, who’s about to leave for a sonogram. Oh, and she thinks they’re married. Mulder follows Wayne, who claims he’s on his way to an appointment with a client (he’s in medical insurance and travels a lot for work). Mulder invites himself along on the appointment, so Wayne changes course and goes to a client’s house. He takes some of her blood so he can make sure the woman, Kim, isn’t a “policy risk.”

They chat about kids, and Wayne says he feels like he’s been trying for a baby forever. Kim, however, has been blessed with three perfect boys, even though she calls them monsters. When Wayne leans over, Kim sees little nubs on his neck, like the ones the doctor saw on the baby’s sonogram. He hears a horn honking and looks outside to see Mulder letting Kim’s sons play in Wayne’s convertible.

Wayne comes out and orders the kids out of the car, not acting like someone who loves children as much as he claims. Scully calls Mulder to tell him that Wayne called Kersh to complain that Mulder’s been harassing him. Mulder tells her to tell Kersh that he’s in Hollins doing a background check.

Wayne visits Laura in lockup and tells her that the lawyers he’s been talking to think they can get her acquitted. Laura has found a hole in his story – the baby was found wrapped in her nightgown, but she was still wearing it when she woke up from her nightmare. Also, she remembered something about the creature. Wayne stops her, promising that he just wants to protect her. As he hugs her, she sees wounds in his neck. He grabs her wrists and tells her he wishes she could have been the one. Then he sucks something out of her.

Medics are called to Laura’s cell, where Wayne says she just collapsed. Mulder’s face: “Sure she did, buddy.” The medics revive Laura and rush her to the hospital. Wayne goes to Betsy’s, and she tells him that the doctor found growths on the baby. Like Laura, Betsy isn’t too concerned. And like with Laura, Wayne promises that he loves Betsy no matter what. Why doesn’t he get her some milk before bed?

Scully meets Mulder at the hospital where a comatose Laura has been taken, and she reveals that there’s no medical evidence that Wayne did anything to her. Mulder’s pleased by that – he was hoping the result would be “not a shred of evidence.” He actually did what he said he would, performing a background check on Wayne. He’s actually a Czech national who came to the U.S. in 1984 and was acquitted of the murders of his two previous wives.

In Slavic societies, Wayne’s original name is synonymous with the devil – specifically, a demon that sucks the souls of its victims. Scully admits that men can be demonic, but why would a real demon pretend to be a normal husband and father, just to suck some souls? Mulder doesn’t know, but this makes more sense than any other theory he can come up with.

Wayne fixes up some demon brew for Betsy as a team searches his and Laura’s property for more dead demon babies. Mulder and Scully arrive just as they find a skeleton. Mulder tells Stevens to put out an APB for Wayne, knowing he won’t come back to the house. He tells Scully that Wayne’s trying to breed, and will do or say anything to succeed. He’s killing the demonic babies because he wants a normal child.

Betsy has the same demonic encounter that Laura did, only she knows right away that the demon trying to take her child is really Wayne. Mulder gets a second address for Wayne from his office and guesses that he has a second wife. He probably uses his job to screen potential wives, then “plants as many seeds as he can.” A car almost runs the agents off the road, and they pull over to see Betsy getting out of Wayne’s convertible. She tells them that her husband took her baby.

The three of them meet up with some deputies and head back to Betsy’s house. Wayne’s digging in the backyard, and when the agents confront him, he laments that he just wanted a normal life and a normal family. He tells them that Betsy took the baby. He starts to say something about his second wife, but Stevens shoots him before he can finish. “I just wanted what everyone wants,” Wayne says.

At the hospital, Stevens tries to keep his sister and brother-in-law separated, but Mulder tells him to calm down, since he’s already in enough trouble. He takes Stevens to see Betsy so they can get some answers. Wayne wakes up from surgery, then starts spasming. The soul he sucked from Laura goes back to her body and she wakes up from her coma as Wayne flatlines.

Mulder meets Scully back at the house, where Scully is still excavating demon skeletons. None of these has any defects, and Betsy’s baby isn’t there. Mulder isn’t surprised – he thinks the baby’s were Betsy’s, not Wayne’s. He believes that Betsy killed normal babies to keep Wayne from having what he wanted. Wayne realized that he’d met someone even more evil than he was. Indeed, Betsy heads out of town in Wayne’s car with her newborn demon, pleased that she kept Wayne from getting the one thing he wanted.

Thoughts: Wayne is played by Bruce Campbell.

’90s music alert: Garbage’s “Only Happy When It Rains,” which should have been saved for the next episode.

What a weird, dumb episode sandwiched between two fun ones. We all deserved better, but especially Bruce Campbell.

Thanks for showing up for no reason, Spender!

October 7, 2017

The X-Files 6.6, How the Ghosts Stole Christmas: The Nightmare Before Christmas

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:00 pm by Jenn

Fantastic casting right here

Summary: It’s Christmas Eve, “somewhere in Maryland.” Mulder’s waiting for Scully outside a spooky old house so they can do a stakeout. She’s late because she left her holiday shopping until the last minute. She complains about the number of times she’s heard “Silent Night” (if she heard it one more time in the store, she was going to take hostages) and how she needs to wrap her presents, so this is a waste of her time. But she’s willing to listen to Mulder’s explanation for why they’re there.

Mulder tells her that no one lives in the house; they’re staking out the former occupants, who have supposedly come back. Scully details the horror-movie clichés present and correctly guesses that her partner wants to do some “ghostbusting.” She starts to leave, but Mulder tells her that back in 1917, amid a time of “dark, dark despair,” a pair of “star-crossed lovers” died in the house.

The man was Maurice, the woman Lyda. They thought they were going to be separated, so they made a suicide pact so they could be together forever. Every Christmas Eve, their ghosts return to the house. Scully praises Mulder’s storytelling skills, but of course she doesn’t believe in ghosts, so she’s going home.

As Scully starts to leave, Mulder goes up to the house to check things out. Scully decides to start putting her New Year’s resolution into practice early and not follow him. But suddenly she can’t find her keys. Mulder goes in the abandoned house alone, and thunder crashes just as Scully joins him to ask if he took her keys. Mulder suggests that a ghost snagged them. They hear footsteps above them, then the chime of a grandfather clock. Scully tries to explain the sound of wind upstairs. Suddenly the front door slams shut, and Scully can’t get it open.

Mulder tries to convince Scully that ghosts are usually friendly, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. He heads upstairs to check things out, while Scully sees that it’s less than an hour to midnight, so she only has 55 minutes to do her pre-Christmas preparation before it’s no longer pre-Christmas. Even though she sees what looks like a spirit, she thinks Mulder’s let horror movies go to his head when there’s nothing out of the ordinary going on. Besides, why would a ghost show up for no apparent reason? Humans just made up ghost stories to explain human feelings and desires.

Mulder tries multiple doors, all unlocked, but finally one opens…on its own. Scully admits to being afraid, but she knows there’s no reason to be scared. She checks out the room with the open door and realizes that there’s a light on, though it wasn’t on when she and Mulder were outside. The room is a big library, and all of its lights are working. That combined with the clock downstairs keeping time and a dying fire in the fireplace make Scully think that someone’s living in the house.

Since every couple who’s ever lived in the house has died tragically – in the last 80 years, three double murders have occurred in the house, all on Christmas Eve – Mulder thinks the house is cursed. So why would anyone want to live there? The door slams shut and the lights go out, so that doesn’t help ease his fears. The agents hear something under the floorboards, and Mulder bends down to listen while Scully looks for a way out of the library. She sees something that catches her attention, but when she tries to alert Mulder, he comes up behind her and scares her, just for kicks.

Mulder thinks there’s a hiding place under the floorboards so he grabs a fireplace poker to pull them up. Scully’s scared, but Mulder reminds her that she’s been in scarier situations. Plus, she has a gun. Mulder finds two corpses under the floorboards…two corpses who look an awful lot like a decaying Mulder and Scully. In fact, they’re wearing the same clothes the agents currently have on.

Quickly realizing that they’re looking at their own dead bodies, the agents run to another room, but mysteriously find themselves in the same room they just left. They keep moving back and forth between the rooms, but when each is in a different room, the doors between them close. “SCULLAY!” Mulder yells, unable to hear his partner.

Because he’s Mulder, he uses his gun to shoot off the lock, but now there’s a brick wall on the other side. Suddenly, a man appears in the room to ask why Mulder’s in his house. The electricity is working again, and the man doesn’t seem to see the brick wall keeping Mulder from leaving. Mulder thinks this whole experience has been a trick, and the man is a ghost. The man cracks up, guessing that Mulder’s a ghost hunter. He’s not the first to show up.

Mulder asks if the people under the floorboards were also ghost hunters, but the floorboards are back in their rightful place. Now Mulder’s not sure what’s going on. The man asks if he’s drunk, high, or “overcome by the impulse to make everyone believe [him].” He’s a mental-health professional, specializing in disorders involving pathological behavior involving the paranormal. He’s made up the term “soul prospectors” to describe ghost hunters who are narcissistic, self-righteous, antisocial workaholics.

The man continues that Mulder has probably convinced himself he’s seen aliens because he’s lonely. He’s just chasing “paramasturbatory illusions” that he thinks will give his life meaning. He probably thinks he’s passionate and misunderstood, and people probably don’t want to spend time with him. The man guesses that Mulder spends every Christmas alone, and he doesn’t believe Mulder when he says his partner is also there. How did he get her to stick around – steal her car keys?

The man thinks that Mulder’s afraid of his loneliness, so he gets Scully to accompany him on crazy treks. The brick wall is gone, so the man encourages Mulder to leave the room and change his life. But as he’s trying to leave, the brick wall reappears, and Mulder’s stuck.

In the next room, Scully gets frightened by a woman who thought Mulder and Scully were ghosts. Like Mulder, Scully notices that the floorboards are back in place. The woman tells her that there are ghosts in the house – her house – and she laughs off Scully’s claims about the corpses.

Scully keeps her gun trained on the woman while she explains that she came to the house with her partner. The woman feels bad that Scully runs around with a partner who believes in things she doesn’t. She’s trying to find fulfillment with someone else – “intimacy through codependency.” The woman continues psychoanalyzing Scully, saying her only joy in life is trying to prove Mulder wrong.

Scully asks why everything in the house is covered, if the woman actually lives there. The woman says they’re having the house painted. Why is there no Christmas tree, then? Well, because they’re Jewish. The man comes into the room, telling Scully that her partner will be in soon. Scully makes the two put their hands up, and for the first time she notices a giant hole in the woman’s stomach. When she takes off the man’s hat, she sees a hole in his head. It’s enough to make Scully pass out.

The man and woman – Maurice and Lyda from Mulder’s story – complain that they only get one night a year to drive people crazy, and they have to use cheap tricks to do it. He thinks their pop psychology just annoys people. Lydasays they can’t let their reputations slip; otherwise, they’ll be taken off the tour literature. Maurice doesn’t get why Lyda wants to scare people on Christmas Eve. She says it’s more fun to torture them when they’re filled with the hope of the season. Maurice decides it’s time to show these two miserable people “just how lonely Christmas can be.”

Lyda finds Mulder searching the library for a way out. She bars him from leaving, but when realizes that he can touch her, he just moves her away from the door. Too bad he can’t do that with the brick wall that’s appeared there. Lyda, now behind Mulder, doesn’t appreciate being called a frump or a ghost. Mulder figures out who the man and woman are; he’s confused because they were young when they died, and now they’re not.

Lyda looks through some books, amusing Mulder with her psychokinetic skills, until she finds one called <i>How the Ghosts Stole Christmas </i>by R. Grimes. She starts a fire in the fireplace without touching it, then shows Mulder a picture in the book of Maurice as a young man. She thinks Mulder and Scully came there to do the same thing she and Maurice did there 80 years ago. Mulder says they didn’t, but Lyda notes that he knew the house was haunted. They should have discussed their feelings for each other before they got there.

Mulder learns that the story of the suicide pact is false – according to Lyda, she and Maurice died in a murder-suicide. Mulder thinks that Lyda’s trying to say that Scully’s going to shoot him. Lyda notes that Mulder might shoot her first, but he says that would never happen. He also wouldn’t let Scully shoot herself. Lyda reminds him of the bodies under the floor, then hands him his own gun, which is missing from his holster. She tells him this is the last Christmas he’ll ever spend alone.

Next door, Scully regains consciousness and finds that Maurice has locked her in the library. She warns that she’ll shoot him if she needs to, but Maurice thinks it’s more likely that she’ll need to use her gun to protect herself from her partner. Scully can now hear Mulder yelling for her, but Maurice says he’s capable of some very dangerous things. He offers her back her car keys as he says that Mulder’s acting out his fear of being alone. Scully ignores him and tells him to open the door.

Maurice goes to the door, giving Scully one last warning that he’s seen a number of murders in the house. Scully says she doesn’t believe him. Maurice finally lets Mulder in, and he immediately shoots at his partner. He tells her there’s no way out of the house, and one of them has to murder the other. Even if they get out, they’ll just go back to their lonely lives. Scully says she doesn’t believe him, but Mulder doesn’t listen. This time, his bullet hits her in the stomach.

As Scully collapses, Mulder approaches, wishes her a Merry Christmas, and puts the gun to his head. But he’s really Lyda, just making herself look like Mulder. Maurice grabs her to stop her from shooting herself and pulls her out of the room. The real Mulder makes it in and finds Scully, who says she didn’t believe that he would hurt her…but she would. She still has her own gun, and she uses it to shoot her partner. Again, it’s Lyda playing a trick, and she’s pretty pleased with herself.

The ghosts put “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the record player as Scully wakes up alone. Mulder finds her and they struggle to point their guns at each other, weak from blood loss. They both admit to being afraid. Mulder wishes he’d thought of this possibility before. They each accuse the other of shooting first, which makes Mulder realize that it’s just a trick. Neither of them is hurt. They open the front door, and the second they step outside, their wounds and blood are gone.

The couple runs to the car as the song says that “through the years, we all will be together.” Maurice and Lyda are proud of themselves, thinking they almost succeeded. They wonder what Mulder and Scully were really looking for at the house. Maurice says that for some people, Christmas is “just another joyless day of the year.” But Maurice and Lyda haven’t forgotten the meaning of the holiday.

Mulder watches the end of A Christmas Carol alone at home, unmoved by Scrooge’s happiness, which Scrooge doesn’t think he deserves. Scully comes by to confirm that everything that happened at the house was just in their heads. Mulder says it must have been. Scully wants to make sure that Lyda wasn’t right about her only joy in life coming from disproving Mulder. Mulder wonders when she’s ever actually disproven him.

Now Mulder isn’t sure Scully really wants to be out in the field with him. Scully says maybe she does. The agents had agreed not to get each other presents, but they both did, so they exchange gifts side by side on the couch, unlonely for at least a few minutes.

Thoughts: Maurice and Lyda are played by two Hollywood legends, Ed Asner and Lily Tomlin. Apparently Tomlin had approached the show seasons before, wanting to do an episode, so they wrote this role for her. They wanted Bob Newhart for Maurice, but he turned them down, so they got Asner instead. (I think Asner was better for this role, so that worked out great.)

With only four people in the episode, this is the smallest cast to ever appear in The X-Files. It’s something you don’t really notice when you’re watching, though; it doesn’t feel like anyone’s missing.

I wish this episode had come up closer to Halloween. The atmosphere and plot are perfect for it.

September 30, 2017

The X-Files 6.5, Dreamland II: A New Man

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

I love this shot so much

Summary: Morris Fletcher narrates a little story for us about Mulder’s life. He mentions Samantha’s disappearance, Mulder’s push to solve mysteries, and his subsequent mental instability. Until recently, he was “one step away from pushing a baby carriage of tin cans down the street,” but now Morris knows things are going to change.

We go back to Mulder being removed from the convenience store, yelling about how the other Mulder isn’t him. Morris tells “Dana” that he went to Kersh behind her back because he was worried that she would lose her job. Scully says he did the right thing, reminding him that she’s been telling him for years that he needs to follow the rules. “It’s the new me,” Morris says.

Mulder is taken to a cell next to McDonough’s. McDonough says they’re both in a lot of trouble, and is offended when Mulder (who sees him as Lana) calls him “ma’am.” Back at FBI headquarters, Morris plays his golf game some more, then checks in with Scully after she meets with Kersh. She’s been suspended for two weeks. Morris pretends to be upset on her behalf, inviting her over for dinner to “help ease the pain.”

McDonough tells Mulder about the test flight, but he’s not interested and tells “Grandma Top Gun” to shut up. Wegman summons Mulder so he, Grodin, and Jeff can confront him for replacing the data recorder and giving the FBI a fake one. They wish he’d told them he was going to trick the feds.

Realizing he’s not in trouble, Mulder says he didn’t know if he could trust them – after all, one of them could be the security leak. He tried to get Mulder’s contact through Scully, but Mulder screwed it all up. Grodin asks for the real flight data recorder, and Mulder nervously says that of course he’ll get it. Wegman praises him for making a big move, unlike some of his colleagues. In fact, Grodin’s facing the trouble Mulder just avoided.

Morris prepares for his big date night with Scully, quickly realizing that it’s not going to go as smoothly as he’d thought, and not because of her. Mulder’s bedroom is full of junk, making Morris guess that he hasn’t had sex in ten years. (I guess that vampire in that horrible episode doesn’t count.)

Mulder goes to Morris’ house for more abuse from his fake family. Two guys are parked outside, watching, but they’re not very good at subtlety, since Mulder notices them. He tries to explain everything to Joanne, who’d rather complain about Scully being a tramp than listen to her husband’s stories. She figures he’s having a weird midlife crisis.

Mulder shows her the men in the car, saying that Morris has a dangerous job, and if anything goes wrong, he and Mulder are both in trouble. Joanne says that if Mulder doesn’t like the person he’s become, that’s fine, but he can’t just make up a fictional life to replace reality. “Accept who you are, however repulsive that may be,” she tells him.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, which Morris has managed to make look respectable. He even bought a waterbed and put a mirror on the ceiling. Scully seems a little charmed, so Morris breaks out a bottle of champagne, expecting to get some. Scully has a different idea: handcuffs. Morris is too dumb to catch that he’s on to her. She knows that Mulder was telling the truth, and that Morris isn’t the real Mulder.

The bad news is that Morris doesn’t know how to undo the body swap – and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t do anything about it, because he hates his life. To him, the body swap is a gift. He also knows that no one will believe Scully when she tries to get help, so he doesn’t need to do anything. Scully threatens to shoot him, but he sticks to his claim that he can’t do anything. He also says he doesn’t know anything about Mulder’s source.

The phone rings, and the answering machine (which has an outgoing message Morris changed to advertise that he’s about to get laid) takes a message from Mulder’s source. Scully makes Morris take the call. Over at the Fletchers’ house, Joanne complains that Mulder’s still there. He suggests that they find a place to go where they’ll be around a lot of people.

Scully and Morris go to the Little A’Le’Inn to meet the source; it happens to be the same place Mulder has taken Joanne. The source turns out to be Wegman, thrilling Morris. Wegman says he sabotaged the UFO, but he didn’t mean to make it crash; he just disabled its stealth mode so Mulder would be able to see it.

While they chat, Mulder goes outside to avoid some of Morris’ colleagues and meets up with Scully. He’s surprised to see her. As Morris gets what he supposedly came for from Wegman, Joanne ducks outside and sees Mulder with Scully. Morris passes his wife on his way out and seems to soften when he realizes how upset she is. Jeff arrives, looking for him, so Morris leaves. Joanne throws her drink on Mulder to let him know she saw him in the car with Scully.

Mulder goes to the bathroom to clean up, and Morris follows, so the two men are finally alone together. “So you’re the guy that wants my life,” Mulder comments. “I assume that means all the a%$-kickings.” Morris stops him from attacking by warning that Jeff’s outside and can’t see them together. He reveals whatever Wegman gave him, and Mulder orders him to take it straight to Scully. Morris repeats that Jeff can’t see them both, so Mulder needs to sneak it past him.

Wegman starts to leave the bar, but when he spots Jeff, he ducks into the bathroom. Mulder and Morris have jumped in a stall together and are peering over the top. Scully goes inside and sees Joanne and Jeff, then spots Wegman leaving. He tells Jeff to detain Mulder as he’s leaving with a bag of beer, not the flight data recorder Wegman gave him. Morris has the real one and is making his getaway with Scully.

The Lone Gunmen are enjoying a home-cooked meal together (the cook is Frohike) when Scully and Morris drop by. Morris looks around the guys’ lair while they examine the flight data recorder and tell Scully what the aircraft contained. Scully tells the guys that Morris isn’t Mulder, but she can’t really explain the body swap. Morris mentions the warp in the space-time continuum.

He’s pretty amused by everything about the Lone Gunmen, including some of the things they write about in their newsletter. Saddam Hussein isn’t testing a mandroid army in the desert – there is no Saddam Hussein! He’s an actor named John Gillnitz, and the government hired him in 1979 to play a dictator whenever they need a distraction. In fact, most of the stories the Lone Gunmen believe are things Morris thought up while on the toilet.

The next day, Mulder goes to see Wegman, who’s figured out the body swap. Wegman is shredding documents and knows that it’s too late to save himself – once Mulder and Morris have swapped back, Morris will make Wegman disappear. Mulder asks why Wegman sabotaged the aircraft in the first place. Wegman says he regrets spending his entire career hiding the truth from the public.

Mulder asks what the truth is. Wegman claims he doesn’t know; they oversee the flights, but they don’t know what kind of technology they use. Mulder wonders why Wegman contacted him to leak information. Wegman’s familiar with Mulder’s history of looking for aliens, and he’s also curious about whether they exist.

The Lone Gunmen break the encryption on the data recorder, seeing the anti-gravity technology being used. Morris laughs at another of their newsletters, headlined “Monica: Minx or Mandroid?” After he and Frohike bicker a little, Scully leaves with Morris, telling the guys to contact her when they get more out of the data recorder.

Some 20-somethings have infiltrated Area 51, which could probably use better security. One guy knows the area is called Dreamland, and that they’re in the perfect spot to see UFOs. Something flies over them, and the two 20-somethings who were making out end up fused together. So that’s awkward.

Scully meets up with Mulder again, and he worries that she hasn’t found anything that will resolve the body swap. He’s afraid he’ll have to find a way to put Morris’ two kids through college. Scully has heard from Frohike, who reported that the Lone Gunmen were able to analyze the crash data, but the body swap was a random event they probably can’t recreate. Even if they could, any slight error could lead to Mulder getting fused to, say, a rock.

Mulder asks after the new him, and Scully tells him that Morris is Kersh’s new favorite agent. She reveals that she’s been fired from the FBI, so there’s not much she can do now. Mulder encourages her to take the data recorder to Kersh and use it to get her job back. “I’d kiss you if you weren’t so damn ugly,” Scully tells him. Morris honks at them impatiently from the car, and Mulder wonders if shooting him would be considered murder or suicide. Scully’s about to leave, reluctantly, when Mulder calls her back to give her some sunflower seed husks. How…romantic?

The nonfused 20-something stops Grodin as he’s driving by and drags him to his friends. But they’re no longer fused together and don’t seem to remember it ever happening. Grodin promises that he believes their buddy when he says they were stuck together.

Scully laments the loss of her partner as Morris tells her how much he’s enjoying the perks that come with being an FBI agent. He offers to talk to Kersh about getting her job back once they’ve handed over the data recorder. He thinks they’ll have fun together once she gets to know him. Scully lets him know that she still has her gun. They drive by the gas station that was destroyed in the previous episode, but which is now back in its original condition. The attendant is even alive and well, with no memory of what happened two days before.

As Grodin puts Lana and McDonough in a cell together, Scully and Morris go to the Fletchers’ house, where Mulder is moving out. Joanne is annoyed to see Scully at her house again. While Mulder and Scully talk, Morris manages to convince Joanne that he’s really her husband by telling her things about their life together.

The agents decide that the events of the time warp are reversing, so they need to go back to the highway where the body swap took place. Before they can leave, Jeff arrives with some soldiers to arrest Morris as a traitor and get the data recorder. Everyone heads back to Area 51, but Grodin stops them on the highway and reveals that Lana and McDonough are back to their normal selves. He regrets screwing up his career record and wants to make things right again.

Mulder knows that the reversal will mean everyone will forget what happened over the past few days. Morris decides to take his last few moments as Mulder to tell “Dana” that “it’s been real” and touch her butt again. Stay classy, Morris. An aircraft flies over, the swap is reversed, and the past few days are erased. In fact, everyone’s in the same clothes they were wearing at the time of the original body swap.

As Mulder heads home that night, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know that Kersh doesn’t know about their trip to Nevada. Mulder has decided that Scully was right about his potential source just being a sci-fi-loving nut. He thanks her for going to Area 51 with him. Not everything has been reversed – Scully finds the two coins fused together, and Mulder’s apartment is still redecorated. In fact, he has to look at the number on his door to make sure he’s in the right place.

Thoughts: The way they did the body swap is kind of confusing; at a couple points, I forgot that people weren’t seeing what we were seeing. I wonder how these two episodes would have gone if David Duchovny and Michael McKean had actually switched characters.

The Lone Gunmen think Monica Lewinsky’s a mandroid? I would have guessed they would peg Hillary for that.

Even when she’s working with a fake Mulder, Scully doesn’t get to drive.

September 23, 2017

The X-Files 6.4, Dreamland: The Man in the Mirror

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

I want to know who thought this was a good idea

Summary: Mulder and Scully are on a highway in Nevada, on their way to meet a source. Scully’s skeptical, as usual, thinking the source is just a sci-fi-loving nerd who won’t have anything useful to say. But Mulder believes that they’re going to learn something about Area 51. Scully wishes they had normal lives – that they could stop driving around the country, looking for answer, and settle down somewhere. Mulder doesn’t get that, since he considers this normal.

Cars approach the agents, blocking them from continuing to the meeting point. Military personnel make them get out of the car, and a man smoking a cigarette (but not CSM) tells them they have to leave, since they’re nearing a military testing ground. Scully sarcastically asks if they’re testing out alien technology. The man laughs this off. As the agents are about to leave, an aircraft flies overhead. It flashes a light on Mulder, and as it flies off, Mulder and the smoking man appear to switch bodies…but Mulder’s the only one who notices.

Scully drives off with the smoking man, though she thinks he’s Mulder. The real Mulder gets in a car and explains to another man, who calls him Morris, that he let the agents go because they didn’t know anything. The other man, Howard Grodin, is annoyed that now they won’t be able to find out who the agents were going to meet with. A third man says they’ll find out another way.

Mulder goes with his colleagues to the testing ground, pleased to see that he has Morris’ ID. The picture is still of Morris Fletcher, and Mulder can see on a surveillance monitor that when people look at him, he has Morris’ face. The men see a higher-up named Wegman and guess that something big is happening. While they’re looking into it, Mulder finds his office, which is full of pictures of Morris with powerful men, including Newt Gingrich, Bush Sr., and Saddam Hussein.

Scully and Morris stop at a gas station, where she addresses the fact that he’s been silent since they got back in the car. Her phone rings while she’s pumping gas, but Morris has cranked up the radio and can’t hear it. Mulder’s calling, but by the time Scully gets to the phone, he’s hung up. Morris asks “Dana” to go inside and get him a pack of Morleys, asking if she’s “going to be a Nazi” about his sudden smoking habit.

One of Morris’ coworkers tells Mulder that they found a leak in their organization – someone used Wegman’s phone to call the FBI just that morning. Morris’ phone rings, and Mulder picks up a call from Morris’ wife. She’s furious that he’s working late again and didn’t call. She reminds him to pick up milk on his way home. Mulder gets a ride from a coworker, but they don’t make a stop on the way, so he goes home milkless. He tries to make a call from Morris’ house, but it’s on base, so he’d have to go through an operator.

Morris’ wife is in bed when Mulder goes in, and I guess he doesn’t want to share a bed with a woman he doesn’t know, so he goes to the living room to watch porn instead. Meanwhile, Wegman is called to the scene of a fiery test-flight crash. The co-pilot is alive, but he’s jammed inside a boulder. The other pilot is shaken and only speaking Hopi.

At FBI headquarters, Scully waits for Mulder (well, Morris) to join her so they can have a meeting with Kersh. Morris arrives late, calling her Dana again, and says he got lost on his way in. Kersh questions the agents’ trip to Nevada, which has been followed by a call from the Pentagon demanding that Kersh reprimand them for trespassing on military property. Morris says they were supposed to meet with a whistleblower who claimed to work at Area 51, but it didn’t work out. If he had the contact’s name, he’d give it to Kersh.

Kersh reminds the agents that they’re not supposed to work on X-Files. Morris promises that they will never disobey orders again. As they’re leaving, Scully asks why Morris was so willing to give up the contact’s name. “He asked,” Morris replies before going back into the office to flirt with Kersh’s assistant. Scully questions Mulder’s weird behavior, so Morris teases that she’s jealous, then pats her on the butt.

Mulder is woken up by an angry Mrs. Fletcher (though he first thinks she’s Scully). She blasts him for watching porn in the living room, where their kids, Chris and Terry, could have seen him. Mulder, who has no idea what his supposed wife’s name is, asks where his car keys are. The Fletchers’ daughter comes downstairs, and when Mulder takes a stab in the dark and calls her Terry, she runs back up, crying. So that would be Chris. Also, Terry wants to be called Terrence instead.

Mulder tries to escape his new domestic non-bliss, but first Chris wants an answer about her nose. Mulder says she’s too young for plastic surgery. Chris cries again, because she only wanted a nose ring. She says she hates Mulder and wishes he were dead. I think he wishes the same thing right now. Morris’ wife, who accidentally helps Mulder out by revealing her name, Joanne, asks if he wants a divorce. Mulder says apologetically that he’s just not himself lately.

Joanne notes that Mulder’s still in the suit he wore yesterday, so he goes up to their room to change. Morris’ closet is full of black suits, prompting Mulder to remark, “Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Johnny Cash.” While getting dressed, he sees Morris’ reflection in the mirror instead of his own. Then the show makes the actors do some I Love Lucy-type pantomime that apparently someone thought would be funny. Joanne finds her non-husband dancing in front of the mirror when she brings him the phone. His coworker, Jeff, tells him to get to the office ASAP.

The pilot, McDonough, is still speaking Hopi, and claiming that his name is Lana Chee. The real Lana Chee has been brought in, and she seems to think she’s McDonough. She tells Wegman that there was a loss of power during the previous night’s test flight, as if the plane “just wasn’t in the mood to fly.”

While Scully does some actual work, Morris plays a golfing computer game. Mulder calls Scully from a phone booth (“Scully, it’s me”), but she doesn’t recognize his voice, and she thinks her partner is sitting just a few feet away, so she thinks he’s a nutbar when he tries to explain that he and Morris swapped bodies. She tells Morris to pick up another line so he can listen in on the call. Scully thinks the caller is Morris’ source and starts to run a trace, but Morris suggests that they tell Kersh so they don’t get in trouble. He tells the “little lady” to “get [her] panties on straight” – they’re feds, so they have to play by the rules.

Mulder buys sunflower seeds at a gas station convenience store, driving off before literal tumbleweeds blow in. Moments later, the store starts shaking as if there’s a big earthquake, and the windows blow in. Mulder’s on his way to the office when he passes his coworkers, who tell him to head back the way he came. He goes back to the now-destroyed gas station and alerts his coworkers and a few soldiers that there’s an attendant. They find him stuck in the floor, with only his upper body showing.

Grodin thinks they need to leave in case whatever caused the destruction comes back. Mulder insists that they get the attendant a doctor, but a soldier shoots and kills the attendant, taking care of that problem. Grodin orders the soldiers to burn the station down.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, arriving just as Kersh’s assistant is leaving. She tells Morris that the call from the supposed source came from a location near where they were stopped in Nevada. He brushes off the importance of the call, so Scully yells that something’s wrong with him. He’s suddenly uninterested in the X-Files, which were formerly his “life’s crusade.” Morris reminds her that they’re off the X-Files.

A lizard-rock hybrid is brought to Wegman, having been found right near where the flight crashed. Grodin thinks they’re dealing with a warp – a tear in the space-time continuum. The test flight’s anti-gravity system may have caused some blip in reality that now allowed two things to exist in the same time and space. Jeff thinks this theory is bogus, since he, Grodin, and Morris were right at ground zero at the time of the warp. Grodin thinks that’s evidence that it did happen, since lost time is often a symptom of being neat anti-gravity propulsion systems.

Mulder keeps his mouth shut when Grodin and Jeff wonder if there were other consequences of the warp; instead, he asks what they do about it. Grodin tells him to keep it out of the media and get rid of any witnesses. Mulder’s more interested in finding out how to reverse the effects. Grodin replies that they might not be able to. Meanwhile, Scully goes back to Nevada and sees the destruction at the gas station. She finds the coins Mulder didn’t take as his change stuck inside each other.

Mulder is again woken up by an angry Joanne, who wonders why her husband is so distant. She thinks he must be in love with another woman – the Scully he mentioned in his sleep. Mulder asks if Scully sounds like a woman’s name. He pretends that he’s under a lot of pressure at work, saying that there are things about him that Joanne doesn’t know. He adds that he’s not the man she married. Joanne thinks he’s admitting that he can’t get an erection, which is something she can work with. Mulder makes this face.

Just as Joanne is softening toward her husband, Scully comes to the house. Looks like Mulder’s sleeping in the living room again tonight, whether or not he wants to. Scully recognizes “Morris” as the man she and Mulder encountered the other night, and he again tries to explain the body swap. He tries to prove he’s really Mulder by reciting things he knows about her, like her full name, her mother’s name, and the fact that her brother hates him. Also, she’s been eating yogurt with bee pollen in it lately, even though he keeps telling her that, as a scientist, she should know that eating pollen is ridiculous.

As Joanne starts throwing Morris’ things outside, calling him a cheater, Scully stays skeptical about Mulder’s claims. He vows to prove to her that everything he’s claiming is true. As Scully drives off, Morris watches from his car. He calls Grodin, saying he’s Mulder, and tells him that someone has been calling to offer him classified information. Mulder steals the flight-data recorder from the test flight, unaware that Grodin’s watching.

Kersh calls Scully, busting her for going back to Nevada – Morris told him that she disobeyed orders again. If she doesn’t follow Kersh’s instructions completely, she’s fired. Mulder goes to a convenience store to meet Scully and give her the flight-data recorder, but she’s followed Kersh’s instructions, which involve having Mulder detained by the military. She yells at Scully that Morris isn’t him, since this isn’t something Mulder would do. It looks like Scully is finally starting to agree. To be continued…

Thoughts: Morris is played by Michael McKean, who’s always good in everything he does. Joanne is played by Nora Dunn, who I think is very underrated and needs to be in more things.

This show had a pretty good-sized budget, right? So they could have reshot the pantomime until it matched up perfectly, yes? (Or, you know, cut the whole thing, because it’s dumb.)

God bless the attendant for scoffing at Mulder saying he can keep his 11-cent change: “Wow. Maybe I’ll just close early.”

How awkward do you think things were between Mulder and Kersh’s assistant after this?

September 16, 2017

The X-Files 6.3, Triangle: Back to the Future

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

One of my favorite moments in the entire series

Summary: In the Sargasso Sea, an unconscious Mulder is floating in the water after a shipwreck. He’s rescued by a British ship’s crew who wonder if he’s an airman and ask where his uniform is. They call him Jerry and consider throwing him back in the water. When he shows them his ID, they say they’ve never heard of the FBI. They wonder if he’s in “the Fuhrer’s Secret Service.”

The crew takes Mulder to their Captain, Harburg, telling him they think Mulder is German. Harburg roughs him up a little and asks which flag he pledges allegiance to. Mulder’s confused and says he came looking for the ship, the Queen Anne. He has the location correct – they’re near Bermuda – and knows that the crew has had trouble getting an accurate compass reading. It’s because they’re in something called the Devil’s Triangle. He claims that the ship was caught in a time warp and is now in 1998.

The crew thinks Mulder’s nuts, and Harburg says he doesn’t have time for this, since they’re at war. Mulder says that in 1998, things are peaceful, other than a mess in the White House, “but that’ll blow over, so to speak.” (Cough.) Harburg says it’s September 3rd, 1939, and they’re on the ship to fight Hitler in Poland. In fact, the ship has just been invaded by Germans. Mulder tells the crew not to worry about it, since the war’s over. They can go to Germany and see some nice cars!

Mulder is locked in Harburg’s office while the crew goes to deal with the Germans. Mulder uses a radio to place a distress call but instead hears a news bulletin confirming Harburg’s story and the date. A German soldier comes in and Mulder fights him, knocking him out. He’s even more confused by the whole situation when he sees that the soldier looks just like Spender.

Mulder takes Spender’s uniform and tries to make an escape, but German soldiers chase him. He hides, then goes to a ballroom, where people are having a party, unaware that the ship has been taken over. Mulder finds a woman who looks like Scully but has no clue who that is. As he’s trying to convince her that he’s not a Nazi, soldiers capture him. “Wait until you get to Russia!” he yells. “Hope you fellas like the cold!”

The soldiers take Mulder to the steering room (that’s what it’s called, right? Don’t email me), where they order Harburg to hand over control of the ship. He refuses, so they shoot him. Mulder recognizes a soldier as CSM, who still hasn’t caught on that Mulder doesn’t “speak Nazi.” CSM orders his shooting, but Mulder doesn’t get what he’s being accused of. Another soldier, who looks like Skinner, joins the group and says something to CSM, who calls off Mulder’s execution.

In the present, the Lone Gunmen come to FBI headquarters to tell Scully that her partner’s in trouble. The S.S. Queen Anne, which vanished 60 years ago, suddenly appeared this morning. The official story was that the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but the Lone Gunmen believe its coordinates were kept secret so spies couldn’t locate it. They think it disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle and is now back. They told Mulder, who went looking for it, and now he’s missing.

Scully heads off to get help locating him, but the Lone Gunmen tell her it’ll be next to impossible without help from special imaging. She’ll need help from someone at the Pentagon. Scully barges into Skinner’s office to fill him in, but Skinner says he can’t help her. He doesn’t even want to know what Mulder may have gotten himself into this time. He yells, loudly enough for his secretary to hear, that he’s not allowed to have contact with Mulder or Scully anymore.

Scully thinks that after all they’ve gone through, Skinner would at least listen. She just needs information, and nothing more. Skinner won’t tell her if he has any contacts at the Office of Naval Intelligence, since it could cost him his job. He tells her to use her head to save her butt. Scully replies that he should use his own head, as he’ll be saving his own butt as well. (I may have paraphrased.)

Frustrated, Scully goes to Kersh’s office, but before she can give him any details about what she needs help with, she notices that CSM is there. Kersh takes her note from the Lone Gunmen, which contains the name of a Naval intelligence system, and sends her on her way as she says she doesn’t need to talk to him after all.

Scully calls Mulder’s phone, but he doesn’t have good coverage in 1939, so that doesn’t help. Next she goes to Spender and orders him to help her under penalty of death. She warns him not to weasel her. She gives him the coordinates of the ship and tells him to give her information no matter what he has to do to get it.

The phone rings after Spender leaves, and Scully intercepts a call from CSM. He thinks she’s Fowley, so she plays along. He tells her that Scully just gave Kersh a puzzling piece of paper, but before he can get any further, he becomes suspicious about who he’s really talking to. Scully hangs up and starts to leave, running into Kersh’s secretary, who was sent to fetch her. She tells Scully that Spender is currently with Kersh.

Scully rushes off, berating herself for being stupid, and gets a broken phone call she thinks is from Mulder. She’s on an elevator, so she can’t move around much to get better reception. When the doors open, she encounters her caller, Skinner. He gets on the elevator with her and gives her the information she needs, even after saying he wouldn’t help. She’s so happy that she kisses him. When Skinner gets off the elevator, he yells at Scully for trying to get him to break protocol. Spender overhears, none the wiser. The Lone Gunmen meet Scully in the parking garage, and the four speed off before Spender can catch up to them.

Back on the ship, Mulder has been returned to the British crewmen, who are heading for the engine room, their new accommodations. He tells them a little of what’s going to happen in the coming years of World War II. He lets them know that they win, with help from the Americans, and spend the next few decades with “not much to apologize [for] over the next 50 years, except for maybe the Spice Girls.” Zig-a-zig-ah, Mulder.

A crewman tells Mulder that the ship is supposed to be carrying arms, but he’s skeptical since they’d have to be pretty light. Someone kept asking about a code word the crew is unfamiliar with, Thor’s Hammer. A Jamaican crewman joins the group and learns about the German invasion. Mulder announces that they can’t go to Germany. Thor’s Hammer is a person, rather than the weapon they think it is. He’s a scientist who’s going to help build a bomb that will win the war for whichever side uses it. Mulder saw him in the ballroom.

The Jamaican crewman (guess who his 1998 counterpart is) blasts Mulder for giving up so much information when there could be spies around. “Trust no one, mon!” he booms. The crewmen tell him to kill the engines so the Germans can’t take the ship to their homeland. They decide to go to England or Jamaica instead, but Mulder knows the Germans will hunt them down. He wants them to go back the way they came…to the future. Well, the past. If they keep going forward, Hitler will win the war.

Some Nazis come down and take Mulder back to the ballroom, where no one’s in a partying mood anymore. CSM questions Mulder in German, and Spender translates. They want to know who Thor’s Hammer is. Mulder says he doesn’t know, so the Nazis threaten to start killing passengers. Mulder repeats that he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is, and the men carry out their threat on a random passenger, then another.

Scully yells at the Nazis to listen when Mulder says he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is. Like her 1998 counterpart, she calls Spender a weasel. The men make her their next target, and Mulder finally agrees to cooperate. He tells them the first man they killed was Thor’s Hammer.

In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen locate the Queen Anne, which seems to appear out of thin air, with full power. In 1939, Mulder messes with the Nazis for a bit as they ask him the name of the scientist. A man steps forward, saying he’s really the scientist, so Scully pulls a Spartacus and says it’s really her. It turns out she works for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) and is traveling with Thor’s Hammer to protect him. CSM orders her and Mulder’s deaths.

The two are put on their knees for their execution, but just them, the engines shut down. The British crewmen rush in and start beating up the Nazis. In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen search the ship, which appears to be empty. Mulder takes 1939 Scully off to save the ship, but they’re spotted by Nazis. They’re about to be shot when Skinner saves them and sends them on their way with a “God bless America.”

Mulder and Scully run around the ship, using the same hallways Scully is searching in 1998. The two women round the same corner at the same time, in opposite directions, and both pause as they seem to sense each other’s presences. 1998 Scully and the Lone Gunmen find the ballroom, which was trashed during the big British/Nazi fight in 1939. Mulder tells 1939 Scully about the time warp, bringing up Albert Einstein and his predictions about a nuclear bomb. If Scully doesn’t turn the ship around, Germany will win the war, and Mulder will never exist, and Scully probably won’t either.

Just in case they never meet again, Mulder says goodbye to Scully with a kiss. She punches him in response, and he remarks that he was expecting a left hook. He jumps overboard, depending on her to steer the ship toward the future. This leads to the first scene of the episode, where Mulder is floating in the water.

Sometime later, Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, saying, “Mulder, it’s me.” She reminds him that he went looking for a ship in the Bermuda Triangle, and he tells her she was there. Skinner enters with the Lone Gunmen, and Mulder says they were there, too, a la The Wizard of Oz. He tells Scully that she saved the world. She says he was on a boat they found in pieces; the Queen Anne was just a ghost ship.

Everyone thinks Mulder’s insistence that he was in 1939 is just a side effect of his injuries from jumping overboard. After the men leave, Mulder tells Scully that he might never have seen her again, but she believed him about the ship. She thinks he was dreaming, so she teases that he should think to himself, “There’s no place like home.” Scully starts to leave, but Mulder summons her back and tells her he loves her. “Oh, brother,” she sighs as she leaves.

Thoughts: This episode is so much fun. The trivia is also fun.

I can’t believe Scully and Skinner kiss before she and Mulder do.

Considering the current political climate, I enjoyed watching Nazis get beaten up.

James Pickens, Jr.’s Jamaican accept is…questionable, at best.

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