February 18, 2017
Summary: The lights Mulder has encountered underwater are from other divers, so he quickly surfaces and flees. Back on land, he tries to outrun a Jeep full of soldiers who capture him. Back in D.C., Scully tends to Pendrell, but it doesn’t look good. She goes after NTSB guy, who’s wounded but still able to run. When she returns to Pendrell, she orders him to stay alive so they can celebrate her birthday together. While paramedics tend to him, Scully realizes her nose is bleeding.
Frisch doesn’t think his phone call to his girlfriend tipped anyone off, since he didn’t say where he was, so Scully thinks someone on the inside has turned on them. Skinner arrives, having been told about Frisch’s transfer into protective custody; he’s now being arrested for providing false testimony. Scully argues that his life is in danger because he’s blowing the whistle on the military.
Skinner tells her that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are overruling that decision. They’re also on the hunt for Mulder for interfering with the investigation into the plane crash. The military admits they were responsible for the crash, but they don’t back up Frisch’s version of events. Skinner notices that something’s off with Scully and tells her he’s not going to let her stay in the field if it’s not safe. Scully insists, as always, that she’s fine.
Mulder’s taken to Von Drehle Air Force Reserve Installation, where Scully gets him released and tells him the military had no choice but to confess their part in the plane crash. They’re saying that the air-traffic controllers gave bad coordinates, which makes Scully think that Frisch and his partner didn’t see the second plane, a fighter jet, until it was too late to keep it from crashing into the first plane. The partner allegedly killed himself because he felt so guilty. The military claims that Frisch is trying to blame them for his mistake.
Scully admits that she’s not sure she believes that the second plane was a military jet. Mulder shows her some burns he got from the crash site in the lake, possibly the beginning stages of the burns suffered by some of the crash victims. Scully says that there’s no proof that the plane crashed into anything, at least according to Millar. She doesn’t think he’s lying, since he had no reason to volunteer anything – especially about how he found Sharon. And it turns out Sharon isn’t Max’s sister after all; she’s a former aeronautics engineer who met Max in a psychiatric facility.
It also turns out that Pendrell being loaded into an ambulance was the last glimpse we’ll get of him: He’s dead. Scully’s upset that innocent people are dying, and they’re not yet sure if it’s “for the truth or for the lies.” Mulder vows to find the truth, because why else would they be fighting?
The agents go to Max’s old trailer, which looks the same as it did the last time they were there. Scully compares him to Mulder, as they both led “Spartan lives” in order to leave room for their passions. Mulder’s interested in finding out why Max wanted to see him (which he figures is what Max was doing, since he had Mulder’s card on him). He was taking a big risk, so it had to have been for a major reason.
Mulder puts on a video of Max talking about his life. He always wanted to be left alone, but as an abductee, he’s never alone, since he’s always wondering if the aliens will come back for him. He wants to prove to the public that aliens exist, and that only a few members of the government, FBI, and military know about them. They’re using some of the aliens’ technology in U.S. military operations, and someone needs to confront them and make them admit it. Meanwhile, divers, one with radiation burns, pull aliens and their aircraft from the lake. NTSB guy arrives, pleased that their mission was successful.
The search for the crash victims is almost complete, and Millar thanks everyone involved for their work. Mulder can tell that he’s not convinced of what he’s been told about the crash. He shares his theory that Max knew about the crash ahead of time but got on the flight anyway. He was probably followed by someone who wanted the proof of alien life that he carried with him. This was the guy with the gun, who was unable to kill Max and take the proof before aliens intercepted the plane.
Max would have known what was happening, that he was going to be taken, but Mulder thinks the military plane got involved and screwed up the aliens’ plans. Frisch and his partner couldn’t see the alien craft on radar, so they couldn’t stop whatever happened. Mulder imagines Max being pulled outside the plane as the other passengers watch in awe. He thinks that if the military jet hadn’t been there, Max would have been abducted and returned without anyone knowing.
Next Mulder thinks that the jet intercepted the plane and the alien craft on orders of taking down the aliens. Max was returned to the plane, but the crash ensued and everyone was killed instead of just having their memories erased and losing nine minutes of their lives. Millar doesn’t exactly believe Mulder’s story, but even if he did, he can’t sell it to the government. Scully notes that the door and seats contain traces of radioactivity, which Mulder hasn’t been able to explain. Millar thinks he knows the reason, and it’s inside Max’s carry-on bag.
Millar promises to include the contents of the bag in his official report, though he can’t credit them with the cause of the crash. Scully tells Mulder that they might not ever get all the answers, which means Max and Pendrell’s deaths might never be explained. Mulder wants to go talk to Sharon, whether or not she’s mentally stable.
Well, really, he wants Scully to go talk to Sharon while he goes back to Max’s trailer, which is now trashed. He runs into the trailer park manager, who mentions that he has some of Max’s mail. While he gets it, Mulder pauses Max’s video, seeing Sharon in the background. He sees that the return address on one of Max’s letters is Paul Gidney, Max’s alias. Inside is a claim ticket.
Scully visits Sharon, who admits that she lied about being Max’s sister. Scully asks her to spill anything about what Max was up to. Sharon hesitates, worrying that it could get her into trouble. Scully sees blisters on Sharon’s face and asks what she was exposed to. Sharon says she stole something, and Scully realizes it was from whoever she worked for when she was in aeronautics. Max had her take something that he claimed was alien technology. It was in three parts, and each of them had one, but they were taken. Scully asks about the third part.
Mulder figures out that the claim ticket is for a piece of luggage at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Men in suits watch from a distance as he gets it, then asks for a security entrance to a tunnel. As he escapes, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and tells him he has the third part, though she doesn’t know what it is. She warns him not to take it out of its container, but mid-’90s cell service was pretty bad, and static on the line keeps Mulder from hearing her.
Even without hearing Scully’s warning, Mulder doesn’t open the bag. Instead, he puts it through an x-ray machine. Scully thinks they’re dealing with some industrial espionage. Mulder gets on a flight to D.C., because that worked out so well for Max when he took his part on a plane. Apparently Mulder’s FBI skills are on the fritz because he doesn’t see that NTSB guy is on the same flight.
After some time in the air, NTSB guy sits down with Mulder and starts a conversation. But Mulder’s FBI skills are back in full force, and he warns that he has a gun on NTSB guy. NTSB guy doesn’t think Mulder will shoot, since he could cause a crash. NTSB guy has come prepared with a parachute and is sure he’ll be able to escape. He’s also willing to sacrifice himself to continue the cover-up. There are dozens of lights on outside, and no one would notice if one went out. Does Mulder think it’s worth it to sacrifice millions of lives just to keep some lights on?
Mulder asks what the thing in the bag is, guessing it’s an alien source of energy. NTSB guy sticks to the story that the plane crash was caused by human error. Mulder orders him to go to the bathroom so Mulder can keep him contained for the rest of the flight and ensure he pays for the crash. He then calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her he’s captured Pendrell’s killer. He checks the time and realizes his watch has stopped.
Mulder warns a flight attendant that the plane is going to be intercepted, so the pilot needs to be ready. NTSB guy emerges from the bathroom with a gun, because I guess Mulder didn’t consider checking him for weapons. Mulder gives up Max’s bag just moments before the plane begins to shape. Looks like it’s time for another abduction, y’all! NTSB guy keeps his eye and weapon on Mulder, who pulls out his own gun and demands the bag.
The emergency door gets suck out of the plane, and Mulder tells NTSB to let go of the bag so the aliens can have it. A light fills the plane, and we skip forward to it landing in D.C. Scully and Skinner are among the agents there to get NTSB guy, but he’s no longer on the flight. Everyone on the plane is fine, and no one seems to have gone through any trauma. Also, Mulder’s watch is nine minutes slow. Skinner asks after NTSB guy, and Mulder replies, “I think he got the connecting flight.”
Later, the agents and Sharon watches the rest of Max’s video, where he talks about alien technology that the U.S. could use for things like space travel. He doesn’t get why the government wants to keep them quiet. Sharon asks to keep Max’s things, which Mulder thinks could be very important one day. Scully thinks Max would want her to have them.
Scully steps outside the trailer to look up at the sky and think about Pendrell; she notes to Mulder that she didn’t even know his first name. She has Mulder’s birthday gift with her, and she thinks he gave it to her to help her remember that people can achieve anything they can imagine as long as they dream and work hard. They also need to work together “because no one gets there alone.” We can praise those who do the work, but we also need to remember those who sacrifice their lives in the process. “I just thought it was a pretty cool keychain,” Mulder quips.
Thoughts: Way to not do anything to try to help Pendrell, everyone else in the bar.
’90s music alert: “Unmarked Helicopters” by Soul Coughing. Wow, remember Soul Coughing? I barely do.
Farewell, Agent Pendrell. (Aw, that rhymes.) As the kids would say, you were a beautiful cinnamon roll, too pure for this world.
February 11, 2017
Summary: “Somewhere over upstate New York,” a man named Rebhun talks to his seatmate about how he no longer gets nervous about flying, since statistically, it’s safe. His seatmate happens to be Max Fenig, and he seems more nervous about another man on the plane than he is about flying. He watches the man head to the bathroom, where he takes apart a pen and uses something inside to load a weapon. Turbulence hits the plane as the man emerges from the bathroom, and lights shine through the windows. A panel near Max starts to get pulled outside.
Things are much calmer at a restaurant where Mulder surprises Scully’s with a birthday dessert. She points out that this is the first time in four years he’s remembered her birthday. He gives her an Apollo 11 keychain. A woman named Sharon approaches the agents to tell them that her brother told her to find them if he didn’t make it. Her brother is Max, and he was supposed to be delivering something to D.C., something the government might kill him for. His plane went down on the way to D.C.
The agents head to New York and interrupt a meeting with a taskforce discussing the crash. All 134 passengers and crew members have been declared dead. The plane’s last recording before the crash is of the pilot calling mayday before the feed goes to static. Mulder asks if the plane was forced down, since the pilot said there was something approaching. A man from the NTSB is very interested in this conversation but stays quiet.
Mulder says a passenger on the plane was abducted by aliens multiple times and predicted the crash, so it’s reasonable that another aircraft caused it. A member of the taskforce says no one named Max Fenig was on the passenger manifest. The taskforce leader, Millar, slams Mulder for bringing his craziness to the situation. Scully’s like, “Thanks for this awesome birthday present, partner.”
The agents and the taskforce go to the crash site, where only pieces of the plane have been found. The official story is that the crash was caused by either a lightning strike or some other weather phenomenon. Of course, Mulder won’t buy that. Scully wants to know what it means if it turns out Max really was on the plane. Mulder says that whoever (or whatever) went after Max thought his death was important enough to sacrifice 133 other lives.
The man from the NTSB steals the weapon from the body of the man from the bathroom, and another man sprays him with something. Elsewhere, Scully finds another victim whose watch stopped at the same time as another watch Mulder finds. The crash took place at 7:52 p.m., and the watches stopped at 8:01. Scully dismisses the time of the crash as just an estimate. Mulder thinks they won’t find Max after all – he probably wasn’t on the plane when it crashed. Just then, someone finds a survivor.
Scully has Sharon brought to New York with Max’s things so the agents can figure out what he had with him on the plane. The survivor was exposed to high levels of radiation, and if Max was carrying whatever caused his burns, people could still be in danger. Scully then meets back up with Mulder, who tells her that the survivor is Rebhun (first name: Larold. Yes, really); he was sitting next to someone named Paul Gidney, an alias Max has used in the past. Scully has learned that Max used another alias to get a job at an energy site that stores uranium and weapons-grade plutonium.
Max wrote letters mentioning a theft, so he may have come across a dangerous situation. If he was carrying dangerous chemicals with him, their instability could have caused the crash. Mulder thinks Max was abducted from the plane, causing the crash; the burns came from the abduction, not chemicals. He thinks the crash will be declared unsolved unless the agents find out what really happened. He’s sure that when Max is returned, he’ll confirm Mulder’s suspicions. Scully tells Mulder that Max was already “returned” – they found his body.
Sharon is looking through Max’s letters in a motel when the room starts to shake and lights shine through the windows. Back at the crash site, Mulder finds one of his business cards on Max’s body. He checks out a couple more bodies but doesn’t seem to find what he’s looking for. In fact, that’s the point – he tells Scully that none of the bodies has a watch on. Mulder thinks someone stole them to keep people from finding out that they all lost nine minutes.
The agents meet with Sergeant Louis Frisch, who was working in an air-traffic control tower the night of the plane crash. He tells them that the crash began at 7:52, and there was radar confirmation about 45 seconds later. As the agents leave, Mulder mentions to Scully that the story has been that there was no radar confirmation. Scully figures the news about the confirmation just came after their initial briefing.
But as the agents leave, Frisch lets his partner know that he said what he was supposed to say. He doesn’t know the truth, and he doesn’t want to know. His partner, Gonzales, vows to tell the truth if the agents ever question him. Frisch doesn’t like that, since that would let the authorities know that he lied. He heads off on his own.
Sharon’s motel room has been trashed, and she’s missing. Mulder notices warping on the door, which is off its hinges. He thinks Sharon was abducted. Millar arrives to tell the agents that they may have found the cause of the crash, but it’s a pretty crazy theory. There are some cracks on the plane that make it look like it was shaken. Mulder thinks his abduction theory is looking more and more like a reality.
Frisch heads back to work and apologizes to Gonzales, but it’s too late – Gonzales is dead, seemingly having shot himself. Frisch sees a convoy of cars approaching the building. They’re led by the NTSB guy, and they’re looking for Frisch. Mulder listens to the mayday recording from the plane, then calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that the air-traffic controller’s voice sounds familiar. He asks her to come to his motel room to listen to it. On her way over, Frisch grabs her and tells her he was responsible for the crash.
The agents take Frisch to the crash site to introduce him to Millar. Millar was told that the controller was a civilian, not an Army sergeant. Frisch says his commanding officer told him to lie about what happened. He saw another aircraft intercept and shadow the plane for ten minutes before the crash. There was an explosion, and the plane disappeared from his screen.
Millar denies that the evidence lines up with Frisch’s story. Mulder says the military is trying to cover up something, possibly that there was a third aircraft that Frisch didn’t see, which was shot down by the second aircraft. The plane Max was on might have just been collateral damage. That means there could be a second crash site. That also means that Frisch’s life could be in danger, since he’s put together what the military wants to keep hidden.
Now Millar is willing to consider Mulder’s theory, so he and the agents head out to look for the second crash site. But the agents spot NTSB guy’s convoy heading toward them and have to do some fancy driving to get away from them. (Well, Mulder does the driving. Scully’s contribution is just saying his name in a warning tone over and over. Thanks for your help, Scully.) Mulder has to fly under a plane that’s landing, causing the cars chasing him to spin off on other directions.
Millar goes to the first crash site and sees what looks like a UFO searching the wreckage. Its searchlight goes out and it seems to disappear, then suddenly reappear right over Millar. The light goes out again and it seems to drop out of the sky. Millar hears a woman calling for help nearby and finds Sharon, who begs him not to let them take her again.
Mulder is starting to wonder if there’s no second crash site after all – maybe the second crash happened in a lake instead of on land. He sends Scully and Frisch to D.C. while he looks into the descent of the second aircraft. Or maybe the third. I really don’t know at this point. Anyway, he goes to rent a boat and learns that there’s already a search underway.
Scully takes Frisch to her place, where he worries that he’ll be prosecuted for lying about the crash. It wasn’t his fault, but he watched the plane fall and will have to live with trying to cover up what really happened. He’s mad at himself for treating the passengers and crew like numbers and dots instead of real people. Scully promises to do whatever she can to ensure Frisch can tell his story to someone who will do the right thing. He asks if he can call his girlfriend to let her know he’s okay.
Back in New York, Mulder goes diving in the lake, thinking that the time he “got a quarter off the deep end at the Y pool” is enough experience. Scully and Frisch head to a bar to meet with a federal marshal; Pendrell is there, a little drunk, and thinks the two of them are on a date. Scully spots NTSB guy entering and realizes something’s off. He fires at Frisch but hits Pendrell instead. In the lake, Mulder finds wreckage of an aircraft, along with what looks like an alien. He starts to flee but is stopped by a bright light. To be continued!
Thoughts: I feel bad for the actor playing Max. He gets invited back to the show three years after his episode, but he doesn’t get any lines, he has two minutes of screen time, and they kill him.
Someone actually named a character Larold. I hope that person was never given the responsibility of naming a child.
I really need this show to tell us people’s names so I don’t have to figure them out from IMDb.
I can’t believe Scully thought letting Frisch use her home phone was a good idea. Come on!
December 10, 2016
Summary: Scully’s being sworn in for a hearing in front of the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism. She reads a prepared statement about how she joined the FBI because she believes in the country, but now she knows there are powerful men who don’t follow the rules. The chairman interrupts her to remind her that the hearing is about Mulder’s whereabouts. Scully declines to answer whether she knows where he is, saying that she could endanger Mulder’s life.
CSM looks on as Scully finishes her statement, which says that she can no longer do her job because of a “culture of lawlessness.” The men in power are behind the crimes being investigated; they’re the ones who should be testifying. The committee chair warns Scully that if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is, she’ll be held in contempt of Congress.
Ten days earlier, a man with a briefcase goes through customs at the Honolulu airport, having returned to the States from Japan and Georgia. He’s sent for a “random check,” though he argues that his diplomatic visa and connecting flight should get him out of it. When asked to open the briefcase, the man says he doesn’t have the combination. His reward is a full body-cavity search.
Someone gets the briefcase open and demands the paperwork. The man cautions that the cylinders inside the briefcase contain biohazardous materials, like, maybe put that on the cylinders so people don’t start messing around with them? A cylinder gets dropped, releasing our old friend, the black oil. The man demands to be let out of the room while the employee who just infected himself starts to spasm.
In Queens, Mulder and Scully are on a stakeout with team hoping to take down a potential Timothy McVeigh-type terrorist. There’s a firefight at a warehouse, and the terrorist tries to escape in a rental truck. Mulder and Scully catch him, and he gives himself up before Mulder has to shoot him. Mulder still chooses to attack him, though, since it’s another one of our old friends: Krycek.
Krycek claims that he ratted out the terrorists and handed the bust over to the agents. So I guess he’s a good guy now. He tells the agents that the terrorists found him in North Dakota and “liberated [him] on a salvage hunt.” Mulder thinks Krycek’s as scummy as the terrorists. Krycek says he has the same goal as the agents: find the men who killed Melissa and Bill, and who tried to kill him.
Krycek knows there’s no way to bring them to justice, so they need to be exposed: “Destroy the destroyers’ ability to destroy.” Mulder brings up the T word, but Krycek scoffs that the truth doesn’t exist – the bad guys make it up as they go. Mulder says he won’t help, but Krycek hints that there are more bombs being built for more nefarious purposes.
The agents escort Krycek to Dulles Airport to intercept someone returning to the country from Russia. When Scully approaches the man, he runs. Mulder handcuffs Krycek to something so he and Scully can run after the man. They chase him to the tarmac and lose him, though he leaves behind the diplomatic pouch he was carrying. The agents are annoyed to see that it just contains a rock. “What did you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?” Mulder quips.
Mulder takes Krycek to Skinner’s home in Crystal City to get authorization for a safehouse. Skinner says Krycek will be safe there, though not from Skinner himself, as he gets in a good gut punch. He handcuffs Krycek to his balcony and tells him to “think warm thoughts.”
The agents take the rock to NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a Dr. Sacks tells them it contains the same substances that have been found in meteorite fragments in Antarctica. Translation: The rock could be four billion years old and/or from Mars. After a pause, Mulder asks if it’s valuable. Sacks says no, though it could contain alien bacteria, which is pretty important. The agents ask him to analyze it.
Skinner leaves Krycek home alone for the day, soon running into CSM. He tells Skinner that the pouch the agents intercepted (which Skinner claims not to know about) is causing some problems in diplomatic circles. Even after the threat of being punished under the country’s treason laws, Skinner won’t tell CSM anything about how the agents knew the pouch was important. CSM warns that “wars have broken out over far less.”
The now-pouchless man sneaks into Skinner’s apartment, unaware that Krycek is there, thanks to Krycek having dangled himself over the balcony to hide. He grabs the man and pulls him over to his death. Meanwhile, in Mulder and Scully’s office, they discuss the fact that someone brought a pouch containing toxic soil into Hawaii a couple nights earlier. Mulder thinks Krycek’s intel is for real and he really wants to expose the same people they do. Scully’s worried that Mulder will go too far for her to follow.
Sacks drills into the rock, which sprays black oil on his protective suit. He’s stunned to see the oil turn into what look like leeches. Skinner calls the agents to let them know that the police are at his building, investigating the pouchless man’s death. Mulder heads over to see him, sending Scully to talk to Sacks about the rock. As Mulder enters Skinner’s building without anyone noticing, the police tell Skinner that someone reported a man hanging from his balcony.
Mulder retrieves Krycek, who’s amused by the situation and can’t wait to see how Mulder handles it. Out of actual insults, Mulder tells Krycek his haircut is dumb. Krycek confirms that the dead man is the one from the airport, then tells Mulder to worry more about the pouch. Just then Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell Mulder that Sacks is catatonic, thanks to whatever’s in the rock.
Mulder goes to New York to ask Marita about the Russian pouch. She does some asking around and finds out that it originated in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Mulder recognizes this name, saying it’s near Tunguska. Marita offers to get him some diplomatic credentials and make his journey to Russia a little smoother. She believes in his mission and wants to help.
Sometime later, Mulder returns to Krycek, who’s been handcuffed in Mulder’s car this whole time. He’s annoyed that Mulder’s still keeping him in the dark. Mulder’s annoyed with Krycek’s face. Back in Maryland, Scully and Pendrell put on protective suits to find out what’s going on with Sacks and the rock. Even though Sacks doesn’t seem to be breathing, he’s alive.
Mulder goes to the airport, telling Krycek he’s leaving him in the car but will send Scully to check on him in a week or so. Krycek lets out a stream of bad words in Russian, which brings Mulder back to the car. Krycek reveals that his parents immigrated to the States from Russia during the Cold War.
In Charlottesville, the Well-Manicured Man is taking some time off of evildoings to watch his daughter or granddaughter or maybe just some random woman ride a horse. CSM comes out to let him know that the man with the Russian pouch is dead, but they’re not in danger of being exposed. However, someone with diplomatic credentials has been booked on a flight to Krasnoyarsk. WMM calls CSM an idiot, warning that this is going to take some work to clean up.
Mulder, Scully, and Skinner receive a summons for the subcommittee hearing, alerting them to the fact that this investigation is pretty serious. Scully tells her boss that Mulder’s off on his own, looking for answers. He’s now in Tunguska with Krycek, his own personal Russian translator. Krycek still doesn’t know what’s going on. Mulder finally tells him that a “cosmic event” took place in Tunguska in 1908; people think a piece of meteor or comet hit the earth, but no one has ever determined exactly what it is. Mulder thinks someone has finally found the answer.
The men crawl under barbed wire and spy on workers in what looks like a mining camp. I believe the correct term is gulag, boys. Their spy skills are a little rusty, and they’re quickly captured by men on horseback. Mulder’s placed in a tiny cell, and a prisoner next door tells him the only thing he’ll find here is death and suffering.
Krycek is put in Mulder’s cell after what he claims was an interrogation. The people in charge think Mulder and Krycek are spies, though Krycek said they were just Americans who got lost. Feeling a little more confident now that they’re on equal footing and Mulder doesn’t have a weapon, Krycek tells Mulder not to touch him again.
Scully and Skinner meet with their summoner, Senator Sorenson, before the subcommittee hearing. (This sentence was brought to you by the letter S.) Sorenson would like to know what the pouchless man was doing on Skinner’s balcony before his death. Scully says they’ll file a report once they figure out what their investigation is actually about. Sorenson asks after Mulder, but Scully can’t say where he is.
The men at the gulag offer their prisoners food, but it contains at least one cockroach, so this isn’t exactly a five-star resort. Krycek is interrogated again, this time in his and Mulder’s cell, but since the conversation is in Russia, Mulder can’t follow it (and Krycek could be saying anything). After Krycek is taken away, the prisoner next door tells Mulder that Krycek isn’t his friend. He’s deceiving Mulder and speaking formally to the guards. The prisoner also says that the guards are conducting some kind of experiment.
The guards come back for Mulder, injecting him with something. He wakes up held down on a table by chain link fencing, surrounded by other men in the same state. Some of them start screaming. Black oil comes out of a tube, squirting onto Mulder’s face and crawling under his skin. To be continued…
Thoughts: “You know what this episode needs? Shirtless Mitch Pileggi,” is something someone actually thought.
I need Marita to stop talking like she’s trying to seduce Mulder. I mean, it’s fine (and understandable) if she wants to, but there’s a time and a place, you know? Also, what are the odds that the two of them hooked up while Krycek was waiting in the car?
According to the hearing summons, Skinner’s middle name is Sergei. Huh?
November 5, 2016
Summary: It’s May 17th, 1996, and a man on an airplane is being watched by someone wearing horrible white makeup. The man goes to wash his face in the bathroom and screams at something on the ceiling. When the plane lands in New York, another man is just regaining consciousness in the bathroom. His eyes are pale but the color soon fills in. A flight attendant checks in on the first man, who’s dead, and also now wearing the horrible white makeup.
Scully’s called in to work very early in the morning to meet with a Dr. Simon Bruin from the CDC. (Skinner’s also there, but no one cares.) Four young African-American men have recently disappeared in Philadelphia, and last night one of them, Owen Sanders, was found dead. His cause of death hasn’t been determined yet. He’s wearing the horrible white makeup, which we’re calling “depigmentation.” Bruin thinks they’re dealing with a disease rather than abductions and/or murders.
Mulder joins Scully as she starts a medical exam on Owen’s body. “There’s a Michael Jackson joke in here but I can’t quite find it,” Mulder quips. He doesn’t get why the CDC has been called in for cases that seem to be abductions. Scully explains that the missing men may have been exposed to a pathogen or disease. Mulder notes that that doesn’t explain why they all disappeared. He wonders if they’re looking at a “PR exercise” – someone wants to cover up the murders of young black men. Scully sighs that not everything is a conspiracy designed to “deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate.”
The man from the plane, Samuel Aboah, has a patch of lighter skin on his back but so far shows no signs of being attacked by the horrible white makeup. He gets a visit from Marcus Duff, his immigration counselor, who’s helping him with his naturalization petition. He asks if Samuel’s sick, since he’s looking a little sweaty. Duff can empathize over Samuel being in a new country without his family, but once Samuel’s a citizen, Duff can help him bring his family to the U.S.
Mulder gets Pendrell to analyze samples from Owen’s body, which include asbestos and a seed called adenia volkensii. It’s from a plant that only grows in West Africa. Mulder’s new mystery is finding out how the seed wound up on Owen in the U.S. He calls Scully, who tells him that a substance in the seed acts as a cortical depressant that could be lethal in huge quantities. None was found in Owen’ body, so Mulder wonders if he could have metabolized it. Scully says no, since he died too quickly for that to happen. She’s more interested in the fact that Owen’s pituitary gland was necrotized. That explains Owen’s lack of pigmentation.
Mulder’s on his way to New York to see Marita again, thinking she might know something about the men’s disappearances. She tells him she knows nothing, and there’s no way to guess how the seed wound up on Owen’s body. Mulder would like to know if Marita has any information whatsoever that will ever be useful to him in any way, at any time. He’s not asking for much, you know!
A teenager at a bus stop feels a sharp pain in his neck and finds a seed there. His vision gets wonky, as if he’s been drugged. He’s so weak that when the bus arrives, he can’t get on it, and the driver’s voice sounds distorted to him. When the bus leaves, the teen sees Samuel across the street. His eyes are pale again, and the light patches on his skin seem to be spreading. Also, African music is playing, because this episode is awful.
Scully’s called to the bus stop the next morning and interviews the bus driver, who tries to justify leaving the teen behind because he had a schedule to stick to. Mulder arrives, and Scully explains that the teen, Alfred, didn’t come home from his job at a fast-food restaurant the night before. Scully thinks he was suffering from dementia, but Mulder thinks they’re looking at the same thing that killed Owen. He’s gotten hold of a file from the FAA about the death of the man on the plane. He was flying to New York from Burkina Faso, and the embassy took the body before it could be autopsied.
Police canvas the area, looking for Alfred, and one of them knocks on Samuel’s door. (He scoffs at Samuel’s last name, but the cop is African-American, so see, the episode isn’t totally racist!) Samuel’s lucky that the police don’t come inside, since Alfred is there. He doesn’t look so great, but who would after being drugged and kidnapped by a guy who then pulls a thing out of his throat that looks like a giant asparagus spear?
Mulder and Scully meet with Duff, knowing that many of his cases deal with “aliens” from Africa and the Caribbean. (You just had to say “aliens,” didn’t you, Mulder?) Mulder asks him to cross-reference the names of people on the flight from Burkina Faso with people who have applied for work or residence visas in the past few months. Duff points out that he’s a social worker; he doesn’t help the police find people in the country illegally. Scully gets him to help by telling him they may be dealing with a health crisis.
The agents then stake out Samuel’s apartment, debating whether they’re really dealing with a pathogen. They don’t know what they’re looking for, but since it leads to death, it’s definitely a problem. Scully says that sometimes you have to start at the end (with death) and work your way back to the beginning.
Samuel arrives home from work as a day laborer and runs as soon as Mulder tries to talk to him. Not suspicious at all! The agents chase him into an alley, where he sees to disappear. Scully sees a hole in a fence and thinks Samuel was able to squeeze through it. Mulder spots a drain pipe in the side of the building and discovers Samuel’s hiding spot.
A doctor examines Samuel and declares him asymptomatic, but Scully thinks he could still be a carrier. Duff arrives to argue for his client’s release; he shouldn’t have been arrested since the agents said his health was just in danger. Since Samuel’s English isn’t that great, Scully asks Duff to serve as a translator. She and Mulder want to know why he ran when they tried to talk to him. Duff says that in Samuel’s home country, police weren’t exactly champions of human rights. Mulder disagrees, saying Samuel has to be hiding something. He’s going to see someone who’s been deceiving, inveigling, and obfuscating all along.
Mulder next goes to the Burkina Faso embassy, getting himself a meeting with a diplomat named Diabria thanks to some help from the UN. He thinks Diabria knows exactly what’s happening. Diabria says that his people are farmers, and he grew up hearing stories about the Teliko, “spirits of the air” that spend their days in small, dark places like holes in the ground (or like the medical cart Samuel has just hidden inside). At night, they come out to…scare children, apparently. Diabria saw one as a child, and his cousin was found dead the next day, looking just like the man who died on the plane.
As an orderly unwittingly lets Samuel out of his room, Scully shows a doctor X-rays of Samuel’s throat, which show something inside it. He also has no pituitary gland. Mulder arrives to tell his partner that Samuel has disappeared. Samuel stalks Duff at his office, getting himself a ride home and planning something dastardly with the asparagus stalk. Later, Duff’s car turns up abandoned. That’s the least of his problems, though – Samuel’s sticking something sharp from the asparagus stalk up Duff’s nose. A cop finds Duff half alive with the sharp thing still in his nose.
Samuel escapes through the drain pipe again as Duff is taken to the hospital and the agents are summoned. Mulder thinks that Samuel’s lack of pituitary gland indicates that he’s from a lost tribe of sub-Saharan albinos who have, for evolutionary purposes, had to steal hormones from other people’s pituitaries. I mean, of course. Mulder thinks it’s totally reasonable to base his logic on an old folktale. Scully wonders why Samuel would come to the U.S. Mulder’s like, “Because freedom, duh.”
Remembering that asbestos was found on Owen’s body, Mulder thinks they should check out a construction site where Samuel has done some work. He’s there, all right, and he’s become the latest victim of the white makeup. He shoots Mulder with a seed, so that’s one less FBI agent Samuel will have to overpower. Scully keeps looking around on her own, crawling through a duct while Samuel watches her through a vent. This goes on forever.
Eventually Scully finds Alfred’s body, then a drugged Mulder. She finally comes across Samuel and tries to shoot him, but he’s too fast for her. Scully finds more bodies and has to stash Mulder with them while she calls for help. Mulder sees Samuel approaching and, unable to speak, tries to alert Scully with his eyes. Proving that the partners can communicate even without words, Scully catches on and shoots Samuel before he can attack her.
Scully’s end-of-episode case report/wrap-up says that Duff is fine and will testify against Samuel in his capital murder case. However, Samuel’s health isn’t great, since he hasn’t been able to access any delicious pituitary glands. Scully thinks this is all science stuff, and she’s not sure science will ever have an explanation for Samuel’s condition. She thinks the case has really highlighted how we’re afraid of the “alien” among us. It makes us “deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate,” hiding the truth both from others and from ourselves.
Thoughts: Duff is played by Carl Lumbly, Dixon from Alias.
Mulder, if you want to talk to your informant who knows highly classified things that she could probably be killed for knowing, maybe don’t stalk her at night. Women don’t really appreciate that.
Can we all just pretend this episode never happened? Great, thanks.
October 22, 2016
Summary: A repairman climbs a telephone pole off a quiet road in Alberta, Canada, and starts to make his repairs. He’s stung by a bee, which he knocks to the ground. Five identical boys approach and stare at the man, who’s starting to get freaked out. He’s also starting to seize. The hook holding him to the pole breaks and the man falls. The boys come closer, stare at him for a few moments, then leave. And I don’t think they’re going to call an ambulance.
We pick up where we left off at the end of “Talitha Cumi,” with the Bounty Hunter advancing on our heroes and Jeremiah Smith. Jeremiah runs, so Mulder runs after him, telling Scully to stay out of the Bounty Hunter’s way; he doesn’t think the Bounty Hunger wants to hurt her. Mulder reminds Scully that her gun won’t work on him. So of course, Scully pulls her gun on him. The Bounty Hunter just knocks her down and follow the men into a building.
There’s a lot of running, and eventually Mulder catches up to the Bounty Hunter but loses him. Jeremiah makes it out a back door and up to the roof, with the Bounty Hunter right behind him. Mulder helps Jeremiah escape, and they lock the Bounty Hunter on the roof. Scully goes to bring the car around, but the Bounty Hunter jumps onto the hood, stopping her. He heads back inside, and the other three disappear. Mulder has hidden himself in a pile of wood chips, and is able to ambush the Bounty Hunter and stab him with the ice pick.
Jeremiah steals a boat and abandons Mulder, warning that there will be more Bounty Hunters coming. Mulder asks Jeremiah to help Teena. Jeremiah lets him on the boat, and they take off without Scully. NICE PARTNER YOU ARE, MULDER. She goes to make sure the Bounty Hunter is really dead. Guess what? He’s not. He demands to know where Mulder and Jeremiah went, but she can’t tell him.
Mulder and Jeremiah disembark somewhere, and Jeremiah tells Mulder that agents will be waiting for them at the hospital, so it won’t be safe. He knows they’re willing to kill Jeremiah to preserve their plan. He tells Mulder that the goal of colonization is hegemony – “a new origin of species.” Mulder wants to take the risk if it means saving Teena, but Jeremiah notes that the agents will kill him before he can help her. Instead, Jeremiah wants to show Mulder the work in progress…and he’ll be able to see Samantha.
CSM visits Teena in the hospital, getting confirmation that Mulder won’t be coming. He also learns that pictures were taken of him and Teena at the Mulders’ house, which means the Syndicate could have a security leak. They want to plant some information and see where it goes to determine the source of the leak. The false information will be that Teena’s in danger.
In the morning Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to check on her and warn that people will try to use her to find him. She tries to tell him something, but he’s too busy babbling about his trip to Alberta to let her tell him that the Bounty Hunter has taken her hostage. As the Bounty Hunter leaves her, Scully tells Mulder that he’s alive and coming for him.
Not long after, Mulder and Jeremiah run out of gas and have to walk the rest of the way to their destination. In D.C., Skinner calls Scully in to his office after hearing that she and Mulder have gotten in trouble yet again. Skinner wants to know more about Jeremiah Smith – specifically, how there are so many of them who all look alike, and why they’re all missing. Pendrell joins them to reveal that all of the men’s hard drives contain tons of encrypted data. Scully asks for a copy of a portion of the data, having an idea of who might be able to help her figure out what it means.
In Alberta, Mulder and Jeremiah come across the repairman’s body, which has been there for 24 hours. Mulder figures that Jeremiah knows what killed the man. The bees crawling all over him are probably a good indication. Mulder and Jeremiah make it to a farm, where Jeremiah says plants are being grown for pollen. There are kids working there, and one of them looks like Samantha.
Mulder approaches the girl, who doesn’t seem to recognize him. Jeremiah explains that she won’t talk to him because she doesn’t have any language – “she’s a drone.” Mulder, Jeremiah, the Samantha drone, and a boy head to a house as Jeremiah explains that the kids are part of an “agrarian workforce.” There are no parents because the kids all take care of themselves. Oh, also, all the boys look alike, and all the girls look like Samantha. It’s clone headquarters!
Scully puts an X on Mulder’s window in D.C., then spends the day trying to decrypt the Jeremiahs’ data. Mr. X eventually arrives and tells Scully that he has information about Teena that Mulder needs to hear. He won’t give the news to Scully. Scully asks about the data, which all begins with the letters SEP. Mr. X confirms that it’s from the Smallpox Eradication Program. “Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through,” he cautions her. He tells her to leave the data alone and protect Teena.
Mulder wants to take one of the Samantha drones with him, but Jeremiah says she’s not really his sister. He demands that Jeremiah explain everything to him. Before he can, the Bounty Hunter shows up. The Samantha drone leads Mulder and Jeremiah to an apiary so Mulder can hide from the Bounty Hunter. Mulder douses himself in gas (which I guess repels bees?), and the three prepare to hang out with the bees for a while, quickly realizing that they’ve trapped themselves.
The Bounty Hunter heads into the apiary, finding only the gas can. Mulder, Jeremiah, and the Samantha drone have hidden themselves behind a wall of…honeycomb? Sure, honeycomb. They push it over on the Bounty Hunter and escape while he’s distracted by the swarms of bees. In D.C., Scully takes the SEP confirmation to Pendrell, adding that the other letters in the data refer to protein amino acid sequence codes. The records have to do with inoculations. Scully thinks the final pieces of data are inventory codes referring to those who received inoculations.
Scully takes her findings to Skinner and a group of other agents, telling them she had a biopsy taken from her smallpox-vaccination scar. The results include a unique protein that she thinks is a kind of tag. When anyone over the past 50 years received an inoculation, he or she may have also received one of these tags. Scully knows she sounds Mulder-ish, but she did a biopsy on Pendrell as well, and found a different protein. She thinks a government agency is cataloging everyone. She also thinks Jeremiah can give them details.
Skinner pulls Scully out of the meeting to tell her she sounds a little wacky. Scully notes that she’s using science to prove her theories, which is what she was assigned to do in the X-Files in the first place. Mulder calls from a pay phone and asks Scully to meet him at the hospital where Teena’s being treated. He’s bringing Jeremiah and a special guest with him. Scully promises that he’ll be protected when he arrives, since so many people want to talk to Jeremiah.
But there’s no protection for Mulder before that, as the beestung Bounty Hunter finds him and crashes his car into the phone booth. Mulder begs to be allowed to take Samantha with him, but the Bounty Hunter taunts that he’s only been shown pieces of the whole project. Jeremiah’s “inconsequential” and a traitor. Mulder offers to trade his life for Teena’s, but the Bounty Hunter won’t make the deal – after all, sooner or later, everything dies. Jeremiah runs off, struggling to escape, as the Bounty Hunter approaches Samantha.
Scully and Skinner head to Rhode Island, waiting five hours for Mulder to join them. He finally arrives, alone and in shock. “She’ll never know,” he tells Scully, referring to his mother. Back in D.C., Mr. X returns to Mulder’s apartment, summoned by another X in the window. No one’s there, so he leaves, but there’s an assassin waiting for him in the elevator.
In Rhode Island, Mulder laments that he wasn’t able to bring Jeremiah to save Teena. He tells Scully about seeing the Samantha drone, and says he’s seen too many things not to believe. Scully thinks they should cling to the hope they’ve found; it’s a good place to start. “Nothing happens in contradiction to nature,” she says. “Only in contradiction to what we know of it.”
Scully tells him that they have a mutual acquaintance who knows the truth and can help them. Too bad that mutual acquaintance is now bleeding to death in Mulder’s apartment, where he’s dragged himself to write SRSG in his own blood. And that’s the end of Mr. X.
A month later, Mulder meets with a woman named Marita Covarrubias at the UN building in New York. Marita is the special assistant to the Special Representative to the Secretary General (who in some circles might be referred to as the SRSG). Mulder sent him some material, but he can’t get a meeting in return.
Marita tells Mulder that the farm in Alberta has been abandoned, and no beehives were found. The plants being grown were ginseng. Marita asks why the farm is so important to Mulder. He tells her he’s suffered some losses recently and was hoping to get…he trails off. He looks at a picture of the drones on the farm as Marita tells him, “Not everything dies.”
Teena’s still in the hospital, and not conscious to receive her newest visitor, the Bounty Hunter. CSM is also there, and he tells the Bounty Hunter that they have to remove an “unnecessary obstacle” to continue the project. The obstacle isn’t Teena, though – it’s Mulder. If Teena died, Mulder would have nothing less to lose, which would make him even more dangerous than he already is. That’s why the Bounty Hunter has been called in – not to kill Teena but to heal her.
Thoughts: This show and freaking bees.
How many swear words do you think Scully used when she eventually confronted Mulder for ditching her to run off with Jeremiah?
I’ll miss you, Mr. X. You were much more interesting than Deep Throat.
September 24, 2016
Summary: It’s March 7th, 1996, in D.C., and Skinner’s about to sign some paperwork. (We’re not supposed to realize he’s signing his divorce papers, but it’s kind of obvious.) He can’t bring himself to do it, telling his lawyer he’ll sign tomorrow. He goes to the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel, where a woman joins him at the bar, trying to avoid a conversation with another man. They end up having sex, and let me tell you, if there’s anything I never wanted to see Skinner do, it’s that. He sees his new bed buddy as an old woman, for some reason. When he wakes up, she’s dead.
The police are called, and Mulder gets the lead detective, Waltos, to let him talk to Skinner. Apparently Skinner’s having trouble remembering everything that happened. Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”), having heard that Skinner called in a homicide. Mulder tells her that he seems to have been there at the time of the murder. Skinner tells him not to get involved, which, of course, Mulder won’t listen to. Waltos tells him that Skinner only remembers taking the woman to bed, but since he won’t take a polygraph, it’s a little suspicious.
The victim has no ID, and Mulder’s eager to find out who she is. Waltos tells him the police are doing their job. Mulder asks Scully to meet him at the coroner’s office so they can check out the woman’s body. Scully agrees with the county coroner that the woman’s neck was broken without a struggle, and most likely in a “manual trauma.” She also may have had a mild allergic reaction to latex, so now Mulder and Scully get to think about their boss using a condom.
Mulder tells Scully that the victim was named Carina; she was a legal secretary who was recently fired for moonlighting for one of her firm’s clients. Specifically, she was working as a prostitute. As Scully turns off the light to leave, she notices a glowing substance around Carina’s nose and mouth. The agents head to Georgetown to chat with Lorraine Kelleher, the very successful madam Carina worked for. Lorraine’s surprised to hear that her upcoming meeting with Carina won’t be going forward. She first declines to reveal who Carina was hired by the previous night, saying that she works for the government just like the agents do, but she confirms that Skinner hired Carina.
Mulder’s mad that his boss was so indiscreet, but he knows there isn’t enough evidence to prove he’s a murderer. After all, someone could have stolen his credit card. Scully’s like, “To pay for the prostitute who died in his bed?” That happens all the time! It’s just a coincidence, Scully! She points out that they don’t know anything about Skinner’s personal life. He could be murdering hookers all over the country, for all they know! Mulder reminds her that Skinner has put his career on the line for them multiple times, so they owe it to him to try to help.
Skinner’s released, so Mulder and Scully meet him at the police station to ask him what happened the night before. Skinner tells them they’ll have to investigate without his help. He clearly didn’t know Carina was a prostitute when they hooked up, so that’s something. He sees an old woman in a red jacket nearby, and nearly gets hit by cars when he tries to run across the street to her. She mouths something at him, then seems to disappear. Skinner finally makes it across the street to someone in a red jacket, but she’s younger. She also knows him – she’s his wife, Sharon.
The agents go inside the police station with Sharon, who confides that she and Skinner have been separated for eight months. She doesn’t like that he’s built a wall around himself to keep people out. They felt more like roommates than spouses, and she didn’t want to live like that anymore. Sharon tells Mulder that Skinner’s talked about him and clearly respects him. She thinks Mulder can tell her if Skinner’s a murderer. He says no, but if you have to ask someone if your husband of 17 years killed someone, that probably won’t ease your fears.
The agents go to Skinner’s office, where an agent named Bonnecaze has taken over. There’s a hearing the next day to determine if Skinner should keep his job as assistant director. Bonnecaze tells the agents to stop investigating, and to present any evidence they’ve already found at the hearing. Mulder tries to tell Skinner as Scully says he’s acting like he’s guilty. If he’s unstable enough to hire a prostitute, “what else is he capable of?” Mulder wants to give their boss the benefit of the doubt. Plus, Skinner didn’t seem to know that Carina was a prostitute. Scully thinks he just doesn’t remember.
Scully shows Mulder a video of a man having a form of night terrors called REM sleep behavior disorder. People commit acts of violence while dreaming. Scully reveals that Skinner’s been receiving treatment at a sleep-disorder facility for the same disorder for months. He has a recurring dream about an old woman who talks to him (though he can’t understand her) and sometimes straddles his chest. Scully thinks Skinner may have accidentally killed Carina in his sleep, thinking she was the old woman.
Mulder tells Scully that in the Middle Ages, people reported the same behavior, attributing it to a succubus. If the succubus became too attached to the man with the behavior, she would kill any woman she thought was a romantic rival. Sometimes a luminous substance was left behind. Hmmm, just like the glowing substance Scully saw on Carina! She takes Mulder to see Carina’s body, but the substance is gone. Fortunately, Scully got a sample. Unfortunately, the lab claims there was nothing analyzable in the sample container. Mulder wonders if Skinner suspects himself as the killer and is running because he’s not sure.
Sharon visits her husband to check on him and have a lovely conversation about how their marriage has collapsed. She wants Skinner to let her help him, or at least comfort him. He declines, so she leaves. He finds their wedding picture (he had hair!) and falls asleep holding it. He wakes up after dark, hearing screams, and sees the old woman in the red jacket. Moments later, Waltos comes to his door to tell him that Sharon was in a car accident – someone ran her off the road. And not that there’s any connection or accusation, but Waltos would like to see Skinner’s car keys.
Mulder meets up with Skinner at the police station while Sharon undergoes brain surgery. Skinner isn’t being charged (yet), but Mulder knows the police are building a case against him. Skinner wants to know if Scully thinks he’s innocent. Mulder admits that she wants to know why he’s not doing more to defend himself. Skinner replies that he can’t do that when he doesn’t know what’s happening. Mulder asks about the old woman, and what the police might discover in their investigation.
Skinner says that he started seeing the woman “again” a few months ago. He first saw her in Vietnam, but since he was using drugs, he thought she was just a hallucination. Skinner thinks the woman was watching him when he killed people, and she kept him from being killed. Mulder wonders if she’s trying to protect him. However, only Skinner can figure out what he needs protection from. If I were him, I’d start with CSM, who’s watching the conversation through a window.
Mulder and Scully go to see Skinner’s impounded car, which sure looks like it hit another car. Skinner’s prints were the only ones found on the steering wheel. With half an hour to go before Skinner’s hearing, Mulder cuts off the airbag and takes it to Pendrell (yay, Pendrell!), who’s able to find an impression of the face of whoever was driving the car when it crashed. From the impression, he should be able to create a replication of the driver’s face.
Scully goes to the hearing and testifies that there’s no conclusive evidence that Skinner killed Carina. She puts forth Mulder’s theory about a “visitation,” though she won’t say whether she believes this. The man running the hearing asks if Skinner might sometimes bend the rules a little for Mulder. Has Scully’s loyalty to Skinner led her to conceal anything? Scully says no, but the people in charge are done listening to her.
Mulder and Scully meet up, and she announces that Skinner’s been announced. Mulder thinks he’s being set up – the impression from the air bag shows a face that isn’t Skinner’s. Scully wonders why the people behind this setup don’t just kill Skinner. Mulder thinks they can use the driver (who must have hired the prostitute, as Scully says in a voiceover that was obviously added in later for clarification) to find the people behind the conspiracy.
The agents return to Lorraine’s apartment, but she’s dead, apparently having jumped from the roof. They spot Judy, one of Lorraine’s other prostitutes, and take her to a diner to ask her questions. She recognizes the driver’s face and confirms that he hired Carina. The agents convince Judy to arrange a meeting with the driver at the Ambassador Hotel, pretending she wants money to leave town before the FBI asks too many questions.
Skinner visits an unconscious Sharon and tells her he’s not signing the divorce papers. He kept himself closed off from her for years because he didn’t want to tell her about all the horrible things he’s seen, or about the things he couldn’t explain. He wishes he’d told her before that the thought of ending each day with her got him through his work. As Skinner’s kissing her goodbye, an alarm on one of Sharon’s monitors goes off. He leaves to call a doctor, but when he looks back, the old woman is in Sharon’s bed, beckoning him. When he goes back in, she’s Sharon again, and she has something to tell him.
Mulder and Waltos stake out the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel while Scully and Judy wait in a room. Scully hears a noise and tells the men to come upstairs. The driver has somehow gotten into the room, where he knocks out Scully and aims his gun at Judy. Mulder and Waltos hear gunshots as they race toward the room. When they arrive, the driver’s dead and Judy’s okay, thanks to Skinner.
Skinner quickly gets his job back, but not everything gets wrapped up. The driver still hasn’t been ID’d, and Skinner figures they’ll never get answers. Mulder wonders how he knew something was going to happen at the hotel. Skinner says whatever happened can’t go in an official report. Mulder asks for the info off the record, but Skinner won’t give it even then. After the agents leave, Skinner puts his wedding ring back on and gets back to work.
Thoughts: This episode was co-written by David Duchovny.
Waltos is played by Tom Mason (Joe on Party of Five). Carina is played by Amanda Tapping, who’s done all sorts of sci-fi/fantasy TV shows.
Sharon seems pretty together for someone who’s ending a miserable marriage with a possible murderer.
This episode makes no sense. Obviously they just wanted to give Skinner something to do. Thanks for trying, guys!
August 20, 2016
Summary: It’s August 19th, 1953, and a sailor is giving a statement in a Naval hospital in Pearl Harbor. He testifies that his submarine was on a suicide mission. He tells some men what Johansen did to the sick sailors, sacrificing their lives. Now we get to see what happened on the side of the door Johansen wasn’t on – one of the sailors’ eyes turned black and he knocked out another man. That man’s eyes leaked oil on the floor and into a drain.
The sailor in the hospital calls the oil “the enemy” and says it’s what killed his fellow sailors and caused everyone’s burns. He thinks they were sent to guard it. After it burned everyone, it “slithered away” into the sea. He says it’s still down there. The Navy will deny it, but he wants to make sure the truth gets out. And he thinks he can trust the men he’s speaking with to make sure that happens. Since one of them is Bill Mulder and the other is smoking a cigarette, he probably can’t.
Now, 40+ years later, Scully goes Northeast Georgetown Medical Center to find out how Skinner is. She wants to start looking for the shooter, but the two agents she speaks with don’t seem to see that as a priority. Skinner wakes up from surgery long enough to tell Scully that the shooter was someone he’s seen before. Meanwhile, Mulder and Krycek land in D.C. and continue their road trip to Krycek’s digital tape. Krycek hands over a key labeled C.I. but won’t tell Mulder what that means.
Scully demands guards outside Skinner’s hospital room, knowing Skinner’s still in danger from the shooter. Also in danger: Mulder and Krycek, who are being followed. The car following them forces them off the highway, knocking out Mulder. Krycek is pulled from the car, but he can’t give the other men the tape they’re after. Mulder wakes up to see a flash of light and hear shouts from the men.
Pendrell summons Scully to an FBI lab to let her know he’s gotten some of the shooter’s hair fibers, so he can run his DNA against other criminals in D.C. Elsewhere, CSM meets with a doctor treating two men for massive radiation burns. The doctor’s never seen anything like this before, but CSM has. He tells the doctor to have the bodies destroyed even though the men are still alive.
Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, because they are married. He fills her in on the developments with Krycek and the flash of light he saw. She tells him about Skinner and shares her theory that his shooter was also Melissa’s killer. The hair fibers do seem to match up. Meanwhile, the Syndicate meets to discuss the possibility that they’ve had an information leak. Their “associate” in D.C. has been asked to join them and explain himself.
Scully visits Skinner and gives him the news that he was shot by the person who killed Melissa. Skinner tells her that he was urged to stop investigating Melissa’s murder, which makes Scully think that the government doesn’t want them to find the killer. Skinner knows where he saw the shooter before – he was in the stairwell with Krycek when Krycek attacked him and stole the digital tape. Skinner warns Scully not to let her anger get out of control. In fact, it might be better if she steps away. But she knows that’s what they want.
Scully tries to go through proper channels to request a search for Krycek. She thinks he’s key to both of the cases she’s dealing with. Mulder gets his hands on Gauthier’s diving suit and a sample of the oil found on it. It’s supposedly just diesel oil, but Mulder’s figured out that it’s what’s infecting people. Of course, he describes it as some sort of alien substance that turns people into killers, so Scully finds it a little unbelievable. Mulder thinks Krycek’s been infected, so they need to find out what the oil wants.
The Lone Gunmen are having a lovely afternoon ice skating…and also keeping an eye on some men in trenchcoats. Frohike retrieves an envelope from a storage locker, and the guys take it to Mulder. Unfortunately, the digital tape that should be in there is gone. That’s because Krycek has it, and he wants to trade it to CSM for something.
Sometime later, CSM goes to New York to meet with the Syndicate; they’re upset that he moved the salvaged UFO without their knowledge. He should have just taken it to Nevada, “like the others.” WMM wants to know why CSM went after Skinner, and why the shooting was so sloppy – there were witnesses, so the shooter’s face is out there. CSM takes no responsibility for the shooter’s screw-ups, but WMM orders him to take responsibility for getting rid of him.
Frohike is able to see indentations from writing on the envelope, and from there Mulder’s able to use a pencil to shade in a New York phone number. He calls it and reaches the Syndicate. Mulder tells WMM that he got the number from Krycek, so WMM asks to meet with him. The FBI finally IDs the shooter, Luis Cardinal, but since he entered the U.S. illegally, there’s no paper trail on him. He’s probably already left the country. The FBI thinks they’ve hit a dead end, but Scully won’t give up.
Mulder heads to Central Park – alone, at night – to meet with WMM, because he’s not as smart as he seems. WMM says he’ll consider handing Krycek over to Mulder if Mulder tells him what he knows. WMM confirms that the aircraft recovered from the ocean was a UFO (a Foo Fighter) shot down by American fighter planes during WWI. No one’s sure what happened to the sub that went down to recover it back in the ’50s. Mulder says he knows what killed the sailors, but he won’t share the info until he gets Krycek.
WMM wonders why Mulder didn’t kill Krycek before, when he had the chance. Mulder says he wants the tape, since Krycek has been selling its secrets. He realizes that WMM doesn’t really know where Krycek is, and was hoping Mulder could give him information. WMM replies that “anyone can be gotten to.” Mulder hurries off to call Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) and warn her that Skinner’s in danger. She heads to his hospital room and discovers that the guards she had posted there are gone – and so is Skinner.
The guards have Skinner in an ambulance, supposedly to transport him to another hospital. Scully hitches a ride with them, which allows her to notice something strange about Skinner’s IV bag. (I don’t think it’s hooked up properly.) She ambushes Cardinal, and a chase ensues through the streets of D.C. Scully finally corners Cardinal, who begs for his life, telling her she really wants Krycek. The police arrive and arrest Cardinal, so that was anticlimactic.
Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know he was right to be worried about Skinner – Cardinal was going to kill him. She relays the message that Krycek is going to an abandoned missile site in North Dakota. Mulder asks her to meet him at the airport so they can go to North Dakota together and check out the salvaged UFO.
The two head to Black Crow, North Dakota, and start checking out silos. There are only 200, so I’m sure it won’t take long! They hear someone approaching in the first one they check out, and while they’re hiding, they come across bodies covered in burns. Men in military gear chase them through tunnels, eventually surrounding them just before they can access a door marked 1013 that has a warning about radioactive materials.
The agents are taken outside just as CSM arrives. Mulder demands answers, but CSM claims he doesn’t know what happened to Krycek after his disappearance months earlier. After the agents are gone, CSM and the military go back inside to remove the bodies. CSM smirks at the door to room 1013, behind which Krycek is leaking oil onto a spiral symbol. The symbol absorbs the oil completely.
Back in D.C., Skinner’s out of the hospital and back to work. Mulder thanks him for keeping up the investigation into Melissa’s murder, but Skinner says he was mistaken about it. Mulder finds Scully at Melissa’s grave, and she repeats what Johansen said about the dead speaking to us from beyond the grave. Maybe that’s what our consciences are.
Scully thought she would feel closure once Cardinal was brought to justice, but now she knows that “no punishment is ever enough.” Mulder tells her that they might have found a different kind of justice – Cardinal is dead. The two discuss Krycek, and whether the Syndicate got to him. Scully wonders if we bury the dead alive, like Johansen said. Well, in Krycek’s case, it sure seems that way, since he’s stuck in a silo, trapped eight stories underground, behind door 1013. See you later, buddy!
Thoughts: The Syndicate’s phone number ends in 1012, not 1013. I feel cheated.
Oh, show. No one in D.C. would say “the D.C. airport.”
I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, so a town called Black Crow makes me giggle. Does Jon Snow live there?
July 9, 2016
Summary: In Perkey, West Virginia, a military convoy has arrived at Hansen’s Disease Research Facility and is moving its residents outside. Either those residents all have giant heads and deformed fingers, or they’re aliens. One of them hides under the floor and is able to stay back when the others are taken to a field and executed.
Elsewhere, Mulder has just done the most Mulder thing imaginable and is train-surfing. Scully demands to know what’s on the train, but Mr. X won’t tell her how the Japanese government and World War II doctors are involved. When she struggles with him, he asks if she’s going to shoot him like the men who shot Melissa. Mr. X tells her to look to her neck implant to figure out who’s behind everything. In fact, it could answer all her questions.
Mulder makes it inside the train and tries to access an area marked as quarantined. A conductor he talks to is no help but suggests that Mulder talk to a doctor on board, Shiro Zama. When Zama doesn’t answer his door, the conductor helps Mulder break in. No one’s inside, but Mulder finds and confiscates Zama’s things. He gives the conductor an unloaded gun and asks him to detain Zama if he returns.
Scully goes back to FBI headquarters to talk to Pendrell about the implant. He first thought it was placed to record neural impulses, but now he thinks it was replicating memory formation. Basically, it was a hard drive collecting Scully’s memories. Pendrell accidentally destroyed the chip while working on it, but he was able to determine that the technology came from Japan. The contact person on the shipment carrying that technology? Shiro Zama. Scully leaves while Pendrell beats himself up for being doofy in front of her.
On the train, the American airport killer from the previous episode follows Zama, cornering him in a bathroom just before Mulder passes by. (The killer never gets a name, but we’ll call him Stephen, after the actor who plays him.) Following the information Pendrell found on Zama, Scully heads to Perkey and finds the abandoned research facility. She sees some people (aliens?) running around and finds them hiding under the floor. They’re scared, thinking Scully’s going to hurt them.
Mulder continues searching the train for Zama, who, of course, is dead. Back in Perkey, Scully questions the people at the facility, who explain that they’ve lived there their whole lives. She determines that Hansen’s is basically a leper colony. The whole medical staff left just before “death squads” started coming to execute the residents.
Scully doesn’t get why so many people were kept at the facility when leprosy is treatable. The group’s spokesperson tells her that their disfigurements forced them into “camps” instead of treatment. Other patients arrived with similar deformities, but were burned by Zama’s treatments. The spokesperson takes Scully to the mass grave that holds all of the patients/aliens killed by the death squads.
A helicopter arrives, so Scully and the spokesperson run into the woods to hide. Scully’s captured by a group of men and hears a gunshot. Mulder returns to Zama’s car and tells the conductor that Zama’s dead. He wants to keep the train from making any stops until he finds the murderer. Mulder goes back to the quarantine area, this time spotting its patient. But before he can do anything, Stephen grabs him and tries to garotte him like he killed Zama.
The conductor comes to Mulder’s rescue, pulling the unloaded gun on Stephen to get him to drop Mulder. Stephen claims he’s in law enforcement; when he pulls his badge, the conductor runs, locking Stephen and Mulder in the car together. Mulder still has his weapon, so now he has the upper hand on his would-be killer.
Stephen announces that he’s with the NSA, and what he’s after isn’t an alien – it’s a bomb. Entering the car triggered the explosive, which could be wired to anything. Stephen claims that he killed Zama so Zama couldn’t kill his cargo. Mulder doesn’t believe him, so he’ll keep holding his gun on Mr. NSA, thank you. Stephen notes that firing could set off the bomb, but Mulder will take his chances.
In Perkey, Scully’s taken to a man from the Syndicate (known as the Elder) who waxes poetic about the facility. The patients were exposed to Zama’s treatments. Scully corrects that the Elder means Ishimaru, accusing the government of hiding him after the war. The Elder says that Ishimaru went rogue and exposed the patients to horrible things. He won’t tell Scully if she’s been exposed, too, but he tells her he has answers for her.
The conductor offers to try prying the door open, but Stephen warns against that. He gives up his access card but says it won’t work. Mulder figures out that there’s a code, which Stephen got from Zama before he died. Stephen confirms this, but says using the code to enter the car triggered the bomb. They’ll need a different code to leave the car. Mulder thinks the bomb is on their car, but Stephen says he doesn’t know where it is.
Mulder decides to call his bluff and use the entry code to get out. Just before he finishes inputting the code, Stephen gets a phone call…for Mulder. It’s the Elder, and he has Scully on the line. We get a “Mulder, it’s me” before she warns Mulder that they’re involved in something very different from what they thought. The alien on the train isn’t an alien; he’s one of Zima’s human guinea pigs and has been exposed to radiation and diseases.
Mulder doesn’t know why Scully believes what the Elder has told her. Scully says she believes what she’s seeing – she’s on a train car just like the one from the autopsy video, and she knows she’s been there before. It’s where she was taken when she was abducted. Zama used a secret railroad to conduct his tests, and Scully and the MUFON women were among his patients. The UFO Mulder went looking for was part of a Russian sub.
Scully continues that the president recently made a public apology to citizens affected by radiation tests before 1974. The tests continued after, including on the person in quarantine. Scully warns that there’s a bomb on the train, and if it goes off, thousands will develop hemorrhagic fever, since that’s what the quarantined patient was exposed to. Mulder tells her that it’s a little late not to enter the car. She tells him the bomb is on a timer, but at least she knows it’s inside a vent.
Mulder gets Stephen to open a vent in the car, exposing the bomb’s timer. Fortunately, they have over an hour and a half to deal with it. Scully tells Mulder to get the train stopped, but he pretends they’re losing their connection and he can’t hear her. Instead, he tells the conductor to inform the engineer to reroute the train to an unpopulated area and unhook the car. As he does so, Stephen warns Mulder that “they” won’t reach the car in time to save them.
So now it’s just Mulder, Stephen, and the patient in Middle of Nowhere, Iowa. Stephen spots an unguarded scalpel, so Mulder should probably do a better job of securing him. Also, half an hour has passed, so…maybe do something? Mulder calls Scully to tell her he plans to wait and see what happens. Good plan!
Once the timer is down to 38 minutes, Mulder finally realizes that no one’s going to come rescue him. He starts interrogating Stephen, asking who he’s protecting, and what his orders were after he killed Zama. He thinks Stephen knows what the alien really is. Stephen won’t answer, so Mulder threatens to shoot him in the stomach so he dies slowly. Well, more specifically, he threatens to “miss” Stephen’s stomach and shoot him somewhere a little farther down.
Stephen finally reveals that the patient is a weapon. What could be more valuable than a biological weapon or atomic bomb? An army immune to biological weapons and atomic bombs. Mulder realizes that Zama was testing those immunities on civilians, as well as on alien-human hybrids. Stephen taunts that if the patient were one of those hybrids, someone would have come to save him by now, right?
Scully heads to Mulder’s apartment and tries to call Senator Matheson, then puts an X on the window. While she’s waiting for Mr. X, she puts on the autopsy video. Sometime later, she calls Mulder to tell him that the video shows Zama punching in the code to leave the train car. It takes some work, but she’s able to get five of the six numbers and make a confident guess about the sixth.
The code is right, but before Mulder can leave the car, Stephen attacks and beats him up. However, as he’s exiting the train, he takes a bullet courtesy of Mr. X. With less than a minute left on the timer, Mr. X heads to the quarantine area, then carries an unconscious Mulder off the train. The car explodes, with just one fatality.
A week later, the fate of the train car is unknown. Matheson won’t return Mulder’s calls. Scully says that someone called a hospital to alert them to Mulder’s location, which means Mr. X vanished and Mulder doesn’t know he was there. Scully managed to get Zama’s briefcase back, but Mulder says the journals inside aren’t the ones he found in Zama’s car – they’ve been rewritten. The bodies at Hansen’s have all been removed.
Mulder argues that he knows what he saw, and everything’s being covered up again. Scully says she knows what she saw, and they’re not going to get anything beyond the cover-up and apologies. Mulder doesn’t want apologies, he wants the people who are responsible to be held accountable: “I want an apology for the truth.” Elsewhere, CSM looks on as someone translates Zama’s journals from Japanese to English.
Thoughts: It’s not explained in the episode, but it’s called “731” after a real Japanese army unit that experimented on POWs and Chinese civilians.
Stephen: “You’re gonna die. You know that?” Mulder: “What do you care? You were trying to kill me anyway.” Heh. Point Mulder.
Mulder, don’t call the patient a “thing.” Aliens have feelings, too.
For those of you who like TV Easter eggs, part of the exit code is Chris Carter’s favorite number, 1013.
July 2, 2016
Summary: A group of kids riding their bikes wave as a train passes by on its way to drop off a train car. That night, a man emerges from the car and leaves as some other men board the train. The inside of the car has been turned into a medical facility, and the men speak Japanese while they perform some sort of operation. Everything seems fairly normal, except for the fact that their patient’s blood is green. Also, then some men come in and shoot all the doctors, so I guess that’s not normal. The shooters bag up the patient, which…I’m not saying it’s an alien, but it certainly looks like one.
Mulder’s having a lazy morning in his office, watching a mail-order video of an alien autopsy. Scully scoffs that “it’s even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network.” They study a recording of the train operation, wondering why they can’t actually see the alien being autopsied. The screen goes fuzzy just as the men with guns arrive. Mulder got the video from someone in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who says he got the feed off of a satellite dish in the middle of the night.
Road trip to Allentown! They visit the headquarters of Rat Tail Productions and quickly discover that the house has been broken into. Mr. Rat Tail is tied up on the bed, dead for just a few minutes. Mulder spots someone running out of the house and chases him through some backyards and down the street. When Mulder finally catches him, the man pulls some self-defense moves on him and kicks his gun away. Mulder has smartly ensured that he can’t lose his gun, so he easily recovers it. He asks the man his name, but the man will only respond in Japanese.
Scully meets up with her partner at the Allentown police station, complaining that there’s no Japanese interpreter to help them question the man. Skinner joins them and announces that they have to release the man – he’s a high-ranking Japanese diplomat named Kazuo Sakurai. Mulder half-lies that they’re in Allentown working on a case of video piracy. Skinner advises him to return to D.C. Scully, however, can’t shake the case – why would a diplomat be in a dead video producer’s house?
Mulder still has Sakurai’s bag, so he and Scully check out the contents. They find satellite photos and a list of Allentown-area members of the Mutual UFO Network. One name, Betsy Hagopian, is circled. Mulder takes the photos to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him he’s found some espionage pictures of a boat the Japanese are looking for called the Talapus. Frohike’s surprised that Sakurai was so reckless with his findings. The ship is now in Newport News, Virginia. Meanwhile, a Japanese man gets in a car in D.C. and is strangled.
Scully pays a visit to Betsy Hagopian’s house, meeting two women who claim they know her – she’s one of them. The women knew Mr. Rat Tail (real name: Steven); he was a member of their chapter. Scully’s confused about why they say they know her, too. She’s surprised when they guess that she had an unexplained experience in her life last year. They tell her to wait for the rest of their chapter to arrive.
While Mulder starts looking into what happened to the Talapus, the women in Allentown tell Scully that all of them have been “taken.” They remember bits and pieces of being in the same bright place Scully was kept during her abduction. They think Scully should consider undergoing regression hypnosis to recover all of her memories. Scully thinks she doesn’t want to be a part of their book club or whatever.
Mulder runs around the shipyard for a while, letting himself onto a boat where he finds a work shirt from the Talapus. Some soldiers arrive and storm the boat, so Mulder jumps overboard. In Allentown, Scully doesn’t understand why she can’t remember the MUFON women when they can remember her. They tell her that’s normal. Scully remembers being on a table with some sort of tool stuck in her belly (which looks pregnant). The MUFON women ask about her neck implant, since all of them have them.
Scully decides it’s time to leave, but realizes she hasn’t seen Betsy, the person she came to talk to. The women take her to a hospital, where Betsy’s being treated for cancer. They think it’s connected to her abduction, and they’ll all eventually suffer the same fate. In Newport News, Mulder gets back to dry land and peeks into a warehouse. A bunch of people in white Hazmat suits are working on something under a big clear tarp.
Mulder heads home and finds his door open a crack and his electricity out. Skinner’s there, and he tells Mulder that someone broke in before he got there. Sakurai was released the previous night but was found dead this morning in a canal. The Japanese government thinks someone killed him for his briefcase, which was never entered into evidence. Skinner’s smart enough to know that Mulder took it, but Mulder’s smart enough to have left it with Scully. Skinner tells him to get it back – they’re dealing with something bigger than even the FBI, and he doesn’t want to be involved.
The next day, Mulder goes to see his buddy Senator Matheson, who tells him to return the satellite photos and make everything go away. Mulder refuses – he’s seen something he wants to follow up on. Matheson tells him that four Japanese doctors were murdered in Nashville while participating in a highly classified project. Mulder figures they were working on the alien autopsy. Matheson gives Mulder their names and warns that he doesn’t have much time to expose whatever’s going on. Mulder wonders what that whatever is. “Monsters begetting monsters,” Matheson replies.
Scully returns to D.C. and tells Mulder about the MUFON women. Her skepticism about the situation is slipping, since the women seem to know so much about her. She spots a picture Mulder’s looking at of a group of Japanese scientists from World War II. Scully recognizes one of the men, Takeo Ishimaru, though Mulder says he died in 1965. He was the commander of the 731, an elite section of Japan’s medical corps, which performed experiments that would have made Mengele proud. Four of those doctors were the men murdered in Nashville, possibly by the U.S. government.
Mulder thinks the doctors were trying to create an alien/human hybrid. Scully scoffs, but Mulder reminds her of all the things she’s seen, including the tunnel full of files and her implant. Why can’t she believe? “Believing’s the easy part, Mulder. I just need more than you. I need proof,” she says. “You think that believing is easy?” he asks.
Mulder has figured out what the Japanese boat was tracking: a UFO that’s now in a warehouse in Newport News. He thinks that’s how the alien in the video got to Earth. He shows Scully the list of names from Matheson, saying he got them from someone who, like her, wants proof, but who’s also willing to believe. Scully takes an implant to the wonderful, lovable Agent Pendrell. He determines that it’s a microprocessor like those used in brake systems and video games. Recently, one was developed to harness disabled people’s brainwaves to help them use computers.
Mulder’s now sneaking around somewhere new, a rail yard in West Virginia. A van arrives and some Japanese men bring the possible alien to the train car where the autopsy was performed. The train leaves the station, and Mulder tries to run after it, then I guess realizes he can’t outrun a train. In Mulder’s office, Scully rewatches the video, pausing on a shot of Ishimaru. She remembers him leaning over her during her abduction.
We get a rare “Scully, it’s me” when Mulder calls from the rail yard to tell her he saw the Japanese men putting the alien on a train. She tells him Ishimaru’s on the video, but that’s not how she recognized him. Inside the train station, an American man knocks out one of the Japanese men from the rail yard. (More about the American guy in the next episode.) Mulder tries to get a seat on a train to Vancouver so he can meet up with the other train, but he’s too late.
Scully goes back to Mulder’s apartment and encounters Mr. X. He warns her that Mulder’s in danger and can’t get on the train he’s tracking. Scully tries to blow him off, reminding X that he’s lied to her and Mulder before. But Mr. X is insistent, so Scully calls Mulder and tells him not to get on the train – “they” know where he is. Mulder’s found a bridge he can jump off of to land on the train, and no matter how firmly Scully tells him not to do it, it, of course, does. To be continued…
Thoughts: Poor, doomed Agent Pendrell. He deserved so much better.
Writing “Some soldiers arrive and storm the boat, so Mulder jumps overboard” doesn’t even faze me. Like, of course he does. Why wouldn’t he? It’s the Mulder thing to do.
Also, for an FBI agent, Mulder isn’t very good at being stealthy. Maybe Mr. X can give him some lessons.