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.

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.”

August 19, 2017

The X-Files 5.20, The End: Checkmate?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:53 pm by Jenn

“I’d rather be watching ‘Bob’s Burgers'”

Summary: There’s a chess tournament going on in Vancouver, and a man from Russia is playing a preteen boy from the U.S. There’s a huge audience, so apparently this is a big deal. (Maybe people in Vancouver need to find more things to do.) The boy hears voices in his head as he plays, apparently the thoughts of all the people in the audience. One voice is particularly loud, and may belong to a man who’s loading a sniper rifle. He takes aim at the boy’s opponent, then the boy. As the boy stands up and makes his last move, declaring checkmate, his opponent is shot.

A couple of men drop onto a mountain in Quebec via parachutes and try to ambush the cabin where CSM has been staying. CSM’s security system warns him and he’s able to shoot one of the men before he can be shot. The other man starts to head into the house but sees CSM’s footprints heading into some nearby woods. After a brief chase, the second gunman stops CSM. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Krycek. CSM tells him to go ahead and shoot, but Krycek says he was sent to bring CSM back.

A note reading “you are here” has been placed on the UFO in Mulder’s “I want to believe poster.” Skinner is in the office waiting for Mulder; he claims it’s so they can discuss Mulder’s long-term plans. What does he hope to find? Mulder says whatever he’s looking for is in the X-files, and he’ll know when he finds it. Skinner’s really there to tell Mulder about the assassination of the Russian chess player. The shooter used to work for the NSA. Jeffrey Spender is in charge of the case, having been assigned by someone outside of the bureau, and he wants Mulder to work with him.

Mulder heads to a meeting Spender’s running, with Scully already in attendance. Mulder watches footage of the shooting and announces that the boy, not the Russian, seems to be the target. Another agent in the room agrees with Mulder – she thinks the boy was able to precognitively sense that the shooter was aiming for him. Mulder and the agent exchange a look that lets us know this isn’t the first time they’ve met.

Krycek delivers CSM to WMM, the Elder, and some other Syndicate members. He’s all “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated; your assassin sucks; I’ll let it go THIS TIME.” The Syndicate tells him about the death of the Russian, mentioning that the boy is “a problem.” CSM asks, not serious, if they want him to kill the boy. They’re horrified by the suggestion and say that CSM knows what they want him to do. They’re sure he shares their intentions.

Mulder and Scully drive somewhere with the agent from the meeting, Diana Fowley. She’s been out of the country for a while and asked to be reassigned so she could attend to some things in the U.S. Scully notes that Fowley’s been in the FBI since 1991, the same time Mulder started working on the X-files. Yeah, that sure is a coincidence, Scully!

The boy is watching The Simpsons when the agents arrive to talk to him. He’s happy to be in a country with good TV; he lives in the Philippines and all they have on TV is Baywatch. The boy, Gibson, is being kept there until his parents come get him. Mulder wants to see if Gibson can beat a chess computer he’s brought, guessing that he can’t. He’s figured out that Gibson’s so good at the game because he can read his opponents’ thoughts. That’s why he knew there was a shooter.

Gibson confirms Mulder’s suspicions by saying that Mulder’s thinking about one of the agents he brought with him. One of them is thinking about him, too. (Yeah, like they both aren’t.) Fowley asks which one, but Gibson says that Mulder doesn’t want him to answer that. Mulder tells Scully that, despite Gibson’s status as a prodigy, he’s not actually that good at chess. Scully disagrees – no one has passed all the rigorous testing required of someone who claims to be psychic. Mulder thinks Gibson’s skills are exactly why he was marked for murder.

Scully notes that people would want to use Gibson’s skills, not eliminate them. His psychic abilities would give them advantages in things like war and business. Fowley points out that he could also reveal lots of secrets that people want to stay hidden. Mulder suggests that they test him and run a brain scan. He tells Fowley that she knows what to do. Scully finally catches on that the two of them know each other.

Mulder goes to see the shooter in jail, but Spender doesn’t want to let them talk. Mulder thinks Spender’s trying to protect something and is sending the agents on a wild goose chase. He’s sure that Gibson is the key to the incident, and the shooter knows why. The shooter, however, isn’t very forthcoming, thanks to Spender’s refusal to give him food or water for the past 16 hours.

Mulder sends Spender to get them while he lists the shooter’s credentials and notes that he also failed to kill Saddam Hussein during a raid on his palace. Mulder threatens to tell Spender that the shooter knows Gibson reads minds. The shooter is still unwilling to help, since he doesn’t think Mulder can get him immunity or placement in the Witness Protection Program. Mulder tells him to think about it, then leaves.

Gibson has undergone the testing at a psychiatric hospital, and he tells Scully he knows that she’s wondering about Fowley. Fowley’s wondering about Scully as well. Gibson goes to his next test, a variation on the Zener cards. He guesses all of them correctly. Fowley tells Scully that she’s seen clairvoyants with more than 90 percent accuracy, but never anything like this. She mentions working with Mulder on cases involving criminal psych patients who may have been misdiagnosed. Scully excuses herself.

In prison, the shooter receives a note reading “you’re a dead man.” It’s written on the inside of a flattened Morley cigarette carton. Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and asks them to look at Gibson’s brain scans. She also wants them to tell her about Fowley. They’re familiar with her because she was “Mulder’s chickadee” right after he left the academy. She was there at the inception of the X-files. Byers says he’s always wondered why they split up.

Gibson watches cartoons while Mulder and Fowley discuss his excellent scores on all the tests. Mulder thinks they’re missing something, though. Fowley praises him for figuring out what was going on from the footage from the tournament. Mulder says he’s been working on this kind of stuff for five years. Fowley says she sometimes wonders how things might have turned out if she’s stayed instead of moving to counter-terrorism. She thinks he could have benefited from having a partner who thinks like him, and not a skeptic.

Mulder defends Scully, saying she makes him work for his successes. He’s “done okay” without Fowley. She assures him that she’s on his side. Scully’s about to join them when she sees them having an intimate conversation, so instead she goes to her car to pout. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks him to meet her at the office to go over something she’s found out about Gibson.

As she’s leaving the parking garage, Spender arrives and is quickly summoned to talk to CSM. Spender doesn’t know who CSM works for, which means he’s even more out of his league than anyone thought. CSM tells him he needs to control the board and know who to sacrifice and when. He can’t join up with someone else’s cause – he needs to always pursue his own self-interest. As CSM leaves, Mulder comes into the garage and sees them talking. He’s surprised that CSM isn’t dead after all.

Mulder takes Scully to a meeting in Skinner’s office and urges her to tell him and other agents there about Gibson’s test results. Neurological tests show that Gibson uses an area of his temporal lobe – called the “God nodule” by neuroscientists – that no one else uses. Mulder says that famous scientists like Einstein, Newton, and Stephen Hawking are also believed to use portions of the brain that no one else does. Gibson may be the key to understanding human potential, paranormal phenomenon…and everything in the X-files.

Spender scoffs at the idea that Gibson was a target for murder because of the X-files. Mulder can’t make the connection completely, but he thinks the shooter can. He wants them to offer the shooter immunity so he’ll talk. Scully says they’re trying to quantify proof of everything she and Mulder have been investigating. Fowley argues that they can’t quantify spirituality. The X-files are basically an indulgence; their higher-ups are never going to allow them to offer an immunity deal for this kind of investigation.

Skinner dismisses everyone but Mulder, then warns him that he’s taking a huge risk with his future career. Mulder thinks things will fit together, and he’ll get the answers he’s spent so long looking for. He gets Skinner to talk to the Attorney General, who agrees to offer the shooter immunity. The shooter tells Mulder and Spender that Gibson is a “missing link” – genetic proof that a person can be more human than human. Gibson appears to have genes that indicate he’s part alien.

On a street somewhere, WMM and Krycek confront CSM for failing to do what he was supposed to. CSM says that Mulder going to the Attorney General is just “part of the game.” They’re taking the other side’s pieces one by one; eventually the board will be cleared.

Scully accompanies Gibson to a safehouse, where he enjoys an episode of King of the Hill. (How interesting that everything he watches is on Fox! I wonder why?) Scully asks him how he does what he does. Gibson says it’s like listening to multiple radios. Part of the reason he likes chess is because he only has to listen to one “radio” at a time. Plus, there’s no talking, so no one’s saying one thing and thinking something else. He says that sometimes people worry about what others are thinking, while those others worry about the same thing.

Gibson continues that people make up things to believe, but it’s not real. Some people try to be good while others don’t care, like Scully. He clarifies that he means Scully doesn’t care what people think, “except for her.” Fowley comes by to stay with Gibson so Scully can go home. Gibson announces that he knows people want him dead. Scully promises to protect him. In prison, the shooter gets another cigarette box, but this one has no message. The man delivering the message shoots him.

Back at the safehouse, Fowley awakens from a nap to find Gibson at the window. He tells her there’s a man with a gun outside, but he’s there to kill her, not him. He’s right, and someone shoots Fowley through the window. She’s alive, barely, but a U.S. marshal is dead. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that the shooter is dead, and they found the blank cigarette note. Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.

CSM has grabbed Gibson and taken him to meet WMM. WMM tries to convince Gibson that he has nothing to be afraid of, but Gibson knows he’s a liar like CSM is. WMM tells CSM his work is done, but CSM says it’s just beginning. He hands over the boy, who gets in the car with WMM and Krycek. Krycek offers to kill CSM, but WMM says he’s useful, and Krycek might need him in the future.

As Spender organizes a search for Gibson, Mulder attacks him, demanding to know who Spender really works for. He vows to see Spender prosecuted, warning that his days are numbered. Spender says Mulder’s the one whose days are numbered.

Scully and Skinner talk on the phone about the developments in the case, and how Spender is saying things that make both agents look bad. Scully tells Mulder that Fowley isn’t doing well, and their jobs aren’t lookng much better. The Department of Justice wants the X-files to be closed down. Mulder laments that everything has been part of a strategy he couldn’t see. Scully admits that the bad guys may have finally won.

CSM lights a cigarette in Mulder’s office, then leaves with Samantha’s X-file. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who asks how he got in. CSM says he has access and can give it to Spender. Spender asks who he is. “I’m your father,” CSM replies. (Well, it’s no “Luke, I am your father”). A smoke alarm sounds – Mulder’s office is on fire. When he and Scully go in to check it out, they see that everything has been destroyed, including the “I want to believe” poster.

Thoughts: Gibson looks like a mini-Frohike. I hope that’s on purpose.

I can’t believe I have to put up with this Scully/Fowley jealousy crap. Frigging male showrunners and writers.

Gibson is present for a murder and his parents don’t immediately rush out to get him? Why weren’t they with him anyway? Does he have a guardian? No one seems worried about him. Scully, adopt him, please.

How do you like your new role as Syndicate chauffeur, Krycek? Do you feel like you’ve made good choices to get you to this place?

That’s a wrap on season 5! I’m excited for some fun episodes coming in season 6.

July 8, 2017

The X-Files 5.14, The Red and the Black: Resist or Serve

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:01 pm by Jenn

Whoever’s responsible for this shot: Excellent work

Summary: Someone types a letter to his son as a boy trudges through snow. The letter is about magic and weapons and getting rid of monsters. The writer hopes he and his son will one day be able to reconcile. The boy accepts the letter and some money, then heads off to mail the letter to the FBI. A helicopter flies over a dam in Pennsylvania, where a bunch of people are dead on the bridge from “Patient X.” Mulder is on the scene as workers take away all the bodies (or at least the ones that aren’t burned to ashes). He thinks he sees Scully in a body bag, but when Skinner joins him, he reveals that Scully’s still alive.

Jeffrey Spender arrives and asks Mulder if his mother was there. Mulder and Scully can’t give him an answer. Meanwhile, Marita is also in some trouble; the Well-Manicured Man is overseeing her treatment at a hospital, but the black oil has already gone to work on her. In better medical news, Scully is awake and only has minor injuries from whatever happened at the bridge. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember what that was. She sees news footage of the scene and realizes that everyone else on the bridge was burned alive. She doesn’t even remember why she was on the bridge.

Spender comes to the hospital to tell Mulder that Cassandra wasn’t among the victims. He doesn’t know how she got to the bridge, and he’d like to know why she and Scully were both there. Mulder is sure that Cassandra will be found, but Spender wants Mulder to stay out of it.

WMM has Krycek chained up on a Russian ship, where they talk about how Marita took Dmitri. WMM thinks Krycek was smart to infect Dmitri so he could in turn infect anyone who tried to find out what he knew about Kazakhstan. Now Dmitri’s dead, so his secret are safe. Krycek is the only person left who knows what Dmitri saw, but WMM isn’t interested in making a deal. He thinks Krycek only infected Dmitri because he knew he could cure him. The Russians must have a cure for the black oil, which means the colonists can keep up whatever they’re doing. Krycek denies that there’s a cure, and he’s not going to help Marita anyway. WMM says Krycek needs to be able to save himself, too. A UFO crash-lands on what we’ll later learn is a military base in West Virginia. Someone’s dead, but someone with a sewn-up face has survived.

Back at the hospital, Scully looks through photos from the bridge, but they don’t jog her memory. Mulder tells her that the other survivors don’t remember what happened either. He reveals that they found implants in some of the other would-be abductees, which he thinks is the reason everyone was led to the bridge. Scully doesn’t know why she was a target, or why she survived. Mulder’s more interested in finding out who created the implants and why one was put in Scully’s neck. Was she just being monitored, or is it a means of destruction?

Mulder thinks the truth he’s been looking for so long is in Scully. She reminds him that he’s always been looking for answers about Samantha’s abduction, and though she didn’t believe him, she followed his journey. He relied on his memories because they were all he had to guide him. Whether or not Mulder still trusts him, they’ve led the two of them here. Now Scully doesn’t have memories, and she can’t follow Mulder again. Mulder thinks he can find a way to give Scully back her memories and prove that he’s believed the wrong thing for so long. Scully isn’t sure that’s what he really wants.

The Syndicate passes around pictures of the survivor in West Virginia, thinking he was responsible for the deaths on the bridge. They label him a resistance fighter opposing the alien colonists. WMM is sure this is what Krycek has been trying to keep secret – a war has started. He claims that Krycek gave him the cure for the black oil, which is now being administered to Marita. This means “resistance is possible,” with the weapons and magic they now possess. If not, they can align with the resistance. The Elder disagrees – they need to turn in the resistance fighter. WMM wants to see if the cure works first.

Mulder takes Scully to see Dr. Werber so he can try to hypnotize her and help her recover her memories. He regresses her to the bridge, which he calls “the night place,” and she sees a bunch of lights in the sky. The lights all fly away, and then Scully sees everyone get set on fire. She’s distressed, and Mulder takes her hand. Scully says the fire-starters have no faces, no eyes, and they’re coming towards the group. More lights arrive, and it’s now clear that they’re shining from the bottom of a UFO. The UFO fires on the fire-starters, then hovers right over the people on the bridge. A beam comes down and pulls Cassandra up to the UFO.

Scully’s upset, so Werber stops the session and brings her back to reality. She confirms that Mulder stayed with her the whole time. Then he gets up and walks out. The two go see Skinner after he watches the tape of the session, and Mulder says everything lines up with other stories of regression. He’s sure that Scully witnessed something major, but he still thinks his memories of Samantha’s abduction are false. Skinner needs facts to work with while he heads up the investigation into what happened on the bridge. Mulder announces that the situation was staged to cover up some sort of classified military operation.

Skinner asks what happened to Cassandra, if everything else was staged. Mulder thinks she was taken aboard a military aircraft as part of the ploy. Skinner says he’s doubted Mulder a number of times, only to be proven wrong, but now he doubts Mulder only because aliens actually seem more reasonable than what Mulder thinks happened. Marita still has oil in her system, so the Elder doesn’t think the cure worked. WMM thinks they need more time, and can’t hand over the alien rebel yet. The Elder tells him he’s already done it.

Scully finds Spender in her and Mulder’s office, and he asks why she went to see Cassandra. He shows her a video of himself at 11 years old, undergoing regression hypnosis. He sees flashing lights in the sky, then watches Cassandra being beamed up. He admits to Scully that the story is a lie, just something he thought happened because Cassandra told him about it so many times. It wasn’t the truth, just a substitute. The truth is that Spender’s father left the family, and Cassandra lost it.

Spender calls Werber’s process “having a dream and then pretending it’s real.” Scully, however, thinks her story is real. Spender notes that Mulder could have planted ideas in her head, and Scully could have made herself believe that one of his abduction tales really happened to her. “Don’t let yourself be used,” Spender warns.

Mulder comes home to a note that says, “Things are looking up.” Suddenly he’s attacked by Krycek, who says he’s not there to kill Mulder, but to help him. He tells Mulder to pay attention because there’s a war coming, and everyone on Earth is in danger. The site in Kazakhstan, Skyland Mountain, and the bridge are all “alien lighthouses where the colonization will begin.” The war will be a battle between Heaven and Earth. Everyone will have to resist or serve.

Mulder laughs off Krycek and his claims that he wants to help. Krycek says someone sent him to enlist Mulder because he knows they can resist. The incinerations were attempts to rebel, and one of the rebels is in captivity. “If he dies,” Krycek warns, “so does the resistance.” He wishes Mulder good luck in Russian, then leaves. Meanwhile, the Bounty Hunter (hey, buddy! Long time, no see!) sneaks onto a military base.

Scully comes to Mulder’s apartment to tell him that she may have been wrong about her memories. Mulder shows her the note, which has the name of an Air Force base written on the back. Since the base holds hazardous materials, the agents have some trouble being allowed in. Mulder sends the soldier delaying them to talk to a superior, apparently planning to just drive in while someone else is leaving – someone Scully recognizes. So Mulder jumps on board the other driver’s truck and leaves Scully behind at the gate.

Scully finds a black-oil victim on the truck, which is being driven by the Bounty Hunter in disguise. The Bounty Hunter checks on his cargo but doesn’t see Mulder. Suddenly the truck is filled with a bright light, and the black-oil victim approaches the Bounty Hunter with his fire-starter. Mulder yells, “NOOOOOO!” really dramatically and pulls his gun. Elsewhere, Marita’s eyes show that she’s been cured. Military personnel collect Mulder from the truck, which is now empty. He’s reunited with Scully and tells her he doesn’t know what happened.

Skinner calls Spender to his office to warn that Mulder has opened an X-file about what happened to Cassandra. Skinner thinks Spender will do fine at the FBI; he also reveals that Spender has a “patron” with a high level of influence who’s in his corner. As he leaves, Spender receives the letter from the beginning of the episode, sent from Canada. The boy goes back to the letter writer with his envelope – Spender has had it returned to sender. (Returned to Spender?) P.S. The letter writer is a not-so-dead-after-all CSM.

Thoughts: Dear everyone in this show: A vaccine and a cure are not the same thing. You can’t call it a vaccine if it’s administered after the infection. It’s a cure.

A fun exchange:

Krycek: “You must be losing it, Mulder. I could beat you with one hand.”
Mulder: “Isn’t that how you like to beat yourself?” [Is this a masturbation joke??]
Krycek: *ready to shoot*
Mulder: “If those are my last words, I can do better.”

New rule: The title of the episode has to be explained in the episode.

July 1, 2017

The X-Files 5.13, Patient X: Krycek’s Back to Screw Stuff Up, Possibly Just for the Fun of It

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:28 pm by Jenn

He could do better. Her…probably not

Summary: This is one of those episodes that starts with Mulder giving a voiceover about something that isn’t really related to the episode. Specifically, he’s talking about the universe and gods. Blah blah, signs, revelations, destiny written in the stars. Somewhere in Kazakhstan, two teen boys see something in the sky and run off to spread the word. They smell fire and come across a bunch of burning cars. They yell for their parents but get no response. A man emerges, on fire, and the boys run off. They get separated, and one hears the other scream as the burning man approaches him.

A group of UN peacekeepers comes to the scene the next day, accompanied by Marita. While the peacekeepers put out the dying fires, the remaining teen hides nearby. He’s found by a small group of men, including Krycek. Once Krycek determines that the boy, Dmitri, saw what happened, he says it’s too bad. He takes Dmitri to Marita, who happens to speak Russian and tells Krycek she and her peacekeepers have the scene under control. Krycek tells her they have no authority there. Marita needs to go back to her people and tell them what she saw there, and that “it’s all going to hell.” When Marita asks if Dmitri saw what happened, Krycek gives her an additional message: “Tell them to kiss my American a%$.”

At a panel discussion in Massachusetts, people watch a video of woman talking about the most recent of her multiple alien abductions. They told her she was an apostle and will be ushering in an “age of supernatural enlightenment.” The woman is labeled Patient X, and a man on the panel (which Mulder is also a member of) says we don’t have the language or physics to grasp her experience. A woman on the panel disagrees – we talk about needing proof as if it would change anything. Instead, we should be trying to find out why aliens are here.

Another panel member talks about what alien visits mean for our relationship with God. He’s interested in the lighthouses Patient X talks about, which are headquarters for alien activity. Mulder doesn’t believe Patient X’s testimony – he doesn’t think she’s lying, but she’s been lied to and believes she’s telling the truth. The power of suggestion makes people think that the problems they have, like Patient X’s, are due to something paranormal rather than something physiological.

The woman on the panel asks Mulder if this means he doesn’t believe in aliens. He says no, but he’s questioning his own misbelief. Mulder continues that if you look too hard, you’ll go crazy, but if you recognize that there are lies, you become enlightened. He announces that the government is hiding the fact that they’re gathering biological weapons. It’s “a conspiracy wrapped in a plot inside a government agenda.” The audience finds this theory very interesting.

As Mulder leaves after the discussion is over, he recognizes an audience member, Dr. Heitz Werber. Werber once helped Mulder try to recover his memories about Samantha’s abduction, and he’s surprised that Mulder seems to have given up on his theories about aliens. Mulder says he just doesn’t trust those memories anymore. Werber wonders if Mulder’s doubts mean the two of them were believing in something crazy all along. He reveals that he’s Patient X’s doctor, and he thinks Mulder should meet her.

Poor Dmitri is taken to a Russian gulag, where Krycek gives the OK for him to be subjected to experiments. He snags a vial of something, then leaves Dmitri to his fate. Back in the States, Werber introduces Mulder to the wheelchair-bound Patient X, whose name is Cassandra Spender. She’s considered Mulder a hero since he helped Duane Barry. She says that story saved her life as it inspired her to seek hypnotic regression for her own memories. Mulder asks if Cassandra is Werber’s patient voluntarily, then encourages her to check herself out of the hospital and get back to her life.

Cassandra disagrees – this is an important time, as the aliens are gearing up for a battle. She thinks that she, like Duane, will be summoned somewhere to do something important. Mulder tells her that Duane died after being visited by men from the government. He tries to tell Cassandra that there’s doubt about things that happened, but Cassandra is sure that she was abducted and had an unborn child taken from her. There are “other forces at work,” and she’s going to play an important role. Mulder needs to pay attention because he’s the only one who can help her. He insists that he isn’t.

In Russia, Dmitri undergoes the same black-oil experiments Mulder and Krycek did. Two men talk about the site where he was found, and how Krycek is the only person who knows what Dmitri saw. They discover that another prisoner has killed himself. I’m not really clear on what happened, but I’m guessing that this was a distraction so Krycek could grab Dmitri, who he’s now tending to on a ship. Poor Dmitri’s eyes and mouth have been sewn shut, but Kryeck promises to take good care of him.

At FBI headquarters, Scully meets an agent named Jeffrey Spender, who’s concerned about Mulder’s conversations with Cassandra (who happens to be Spender’s mother). Neither knows why the two are talking, but Spender thinks his mother is troubled, and that talking to Mulder will cause her more pain. He’s worried that if his mother’s condition spreads, he’ll get a reputation, I guess as the son of a crazy woman.

Marita addresses the Syndicate at their lair, telling them that the people in the burned cars seemed to have been killed by a biological weapon. At least two victims had something on them that Marita now has in a vial (I think it’s a neck implant). The Well-Manicured Man guesses that all the victims had them, and the place they were found was going to be the scene of a group abduction. One of the other Syndicate members is surprised, since he thought that wouldn’t be taking place for years. Did the timetable get moved up?

Marita thinks this is an act of war. She mentions Krycek’s presence and thinks he knows what really happened. The meeting is interrupted when Krycek himself calls the Syndicate’s “batphone.” He tells WMM that they’ve been working on a vaccine against the black oil, and he wants their research. In exchange, he’ll hand over Dmitri.

In their office, Scully gives Mulder a copy of a newspaper containing an article about the panel discussion. She’s surprised that he’s being quoted as doubting the existence of aliens; now he sounds like her. They talk about Cassandra, who Mulder thinks is proof that they’ve been chasing their tails for five years. Scully jokes that Mulder seems to have invalidated his own work, which means her job is done. She tells him she talked to Spender, who agrees with Mulder that Cassandra is unwell. Mulder’s frustrated that no one believes him about the government hiding something.

Scully has doubts about Mulder’s doubts, though – Cassandra says she was abducted at Skyland Mountain, just like Scully, and has an implant at the base of her neck. She tells Mulder that Spender wants him to keep quiet about anything he’s discussed with Cassandra. Mulder has no problem with that. Meanwhile, a convoy of cars heads to Skyland Mountain, though at least one of the drivers doesn’t seem sure why he’s there.

Scully visits Cassandra, who recognizes her but can’t remember where she’s seen her before. Cassandra soon realizes that Scully is also an abductee. Scully warns her not to remove her implant, but Cassandra’s ready for the consequences. She thinks the aliens have a lot to teach them, and Scully, as a doctor, should want to meet creatures who are such great healers. Maybe that’s why they abducted her in the first place. The drivers head up Skyland Mountain, and a man runs toward a car, begging for help. Behind him, another man touches something to him that lights him on fire.

Mulder and Scully are called to the mountain the next day; there are dozens of dead bodies, all burned. Scully guesses this is related to her abduction, while Mulder won’t believe that without evidence. The Syndicate watches news footage of the investigation, wondering how this could happen without their knowledge. WMM thinks someone’s trying to sabotage their work. They need to move “before the colonists intervene.” Cassandra’s also watching the news footage when she asks the agents to come see her. She tells them she knew all the victims, who were all her friends from a long time ago. Things weren’t supposed to happen like this.

Cassandra asks the agents to stop what’s happening, though she doesn’t know exactly what’s going on. Spender arrives and pulls the agents outside to chastise them for talking to his mother again. He tells them that Cassandra was in a cult with the Skyland victims; they all thought a UFO would take them someplace where they could live forever. Mulder tells Spender that they’ll leave Cassandra alone. As they leave, one of the men who experimented on Dmitri enters Cassandra’s room.

Marita tracks down Krycek as he’s doing something to Dmitri. They start making out (Marita and Krycek, not Krycek and Dmitri, though that would be a twist), and he says that if the Syndicate gives him what he wants, he’ll “rule the world.” Marita assures him that they’re on their way to getting what they want. They head off to go make evil babies or something while Dmitri gets left behind.

Scully wakes up in the middle of the night, seeming to sense something outside. She gazes up at the sky and feels the back of her neck, where her implant used to be. Krycek goes back to Dmitri’s holding place but finds it empty. WMM surprises him and asks where Dmitri is.

Scully meets Mulder in their office, where he shows her x-rays from three of the Skyland victims. They all have implants in their necks. The victims’ families said they weren’t in cults, but two were in MUFON groups and underwent treatment for depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Mulder thinks the implants were triggered by the government to lead the victims to Skyland so they could be monitored. Scully points out that the people were all then killed. She thinks they should give more thought to what Cassandra has said.

Marita calls Mulder to tell him about what happened in Kazakhstan. She’s the one who took Dmitri, and she wants Mulder to talk to him about what he witnessed. Dmitri has a different idea – he unstitches his eyes and surprises Marita at the payphone she’s on. While Scully tries to pull herself together, Mulder tracks Marita’s call and finds the payphone off the hook. There are smears of something on the glass. Mulder calls Cassandra but gets Spender instead. Cassandra’s disappeared, and Spender doesn’t know where she might have gone.

The experimenter takes Cassandra to a bridge, where a bunch of other people are gathered, waiting for something. Dmitri is also there, and he could probably use some medical attention, so it’s good that Scully has arrived. Everyone looks up to see a bright light in the sky, flying over them like a plane (or, you know, a UFO). There’s a bright flash, and everyone is stunned into silence. Scully finds Cassandra just before two men with formerly stitched faces light Dmitri on fire. To be continued…

Thoughts: Cassandra is played by Veronica Cartwright, who got an Emmy nomination for this role.

This show is much more fun when Mulder’s the believer and Scully’s the skeptic. Skeptical Mulder = depressed Mulder.

Is there a connection between the name Cassandra and the constellation Cassiopeia, which Scully sees when she wakes up before going to the bridge? Discuss.

December 17, 2016

The X-Files 4.9, Terma: In Soviet Russia, Oil Changes You

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:31 pm by Jenn

I don't know about you guys but I look at my co-workers like this all the time

I don’t know about you guys but I look at my co-workers like this all the time

Summary: At a convalescent home in Boca Raton, Florida, someone’s Auntie Janet is summoned to be euthanized in the back of someone’s van. But something goes wrong and fluids start leaking out of her. Over in Russia, a man in St. Petersburg named Vassily Peskow gets a late-night message from someone in Krasnoyarsk. Vassily says he’s retired, but the messenger delivers a letter and a verbal message from a Comrade Arntzen anyway: “The Cold War isn’t over.”

Mulder is back in his cell in the gulag, unable to remember being returned there. His neighbor tells him he was exposed to the “black cancer” that comes from the rock. The neighbor was a geologist and was present when the first rock fragments were uncovered. He tells Mulder that hundreds of men have died in the gulag, and the search for a cure is taking a long time. Mulder wonders if the tests being performed are attempts to find that cure.

He asks after Krycek, who the neighbor thinks is buddies with the guards now. Mulder decides that the possibility of one day killing Krycek is a good motivation to survive. The neighbor gives him a shiv he once made to kill himself, saying he’d rather take hope from the rock than die – if the black oil could survive “against all odds,” the men can survive, too.

In Maryland, Dr. Sacks is still unconscious. Scully and another doctor scan him and find a nest of wormy organisms next to his pineal gland. Vassily is now in the U.S., surprising a woman named Dr. Charne-Sayre on a horse farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. (She appears to be the woman who was riding a horse in “Tunguska.”) He says he’s there to see her, but he’s really there to strangle her.

Skinner tracks down Scully at her apartment, demanding answers about the pouch and Krycek. He’s annoyed that he’s going into the subcommittee hearing the next day not knowing what to say. Scully can only tell him they’re dealing with a biohazardous organism; they haven’t found out anything else.

Skinner, however, has learned that the pouch was supposed to be delivered to Dr. Charne-Sayre. Scully recognizes her as an expert on variola viruses – in other words, smallpox. Charne-Sayre thinks the remaining stores of the virus in the U.S. and Russia. Skinner reveals that Charne-Sayre was killed earlier that night, supposedly in a riding accident.

In the gulag, Mulder and a bunch of other men are taken outside. He meets his neighbor, who points out that Krycek is now on such good terms with the guards that he even hugs one. Mulder runs up to Krycek, knocks him out, and drives off with him in the back of a delivery truck. Guards on horseback go after them, but their horses aren’t fast enough. The truck’s brakes are bad, so Mulder has a hard time controlling the truck. Krycek jumps out the back just before Mulder crashes the truck and rolls it down a hill.

WMM summons CSM to Charne-Sayre’s farm, wanting him to look into the doctor’s death. CSM asks if WMM was sleeping with Charne-Sayre, a foolish mistake that could compromise their work. WMM just orders CSM to find her killer. CSM tells WMM to end the congressional investigation, but WMM says he can’t. However, Sorenson is an honorable man: “They’re all honorable men.” CSM mentions that Mulder was captured in Russia, then escaped. “Wake the Russian bear and it may find we’ve stolen its honey,” he says.

Speaking of Mulder, he’s not in the truck when the guards find it. Krycek is trying to find his way through the woods when he comes across a group of men. They don’t believe his story that he escaped from the gulag. He tells them he’s American and was falsely accused of smiling. The men decide that they have the same enemy, so he’s safe with them. Mulder, meanwhile, has hidden himself under leaves, and the guards can’t find him.

We’re back at the beginning of “Tunguska,” with Scully beginning her testimony at the hearing. Sorenson receives a message while she makes her opening statement. He threatens here with contempt of Congress if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is. Cut to Scully being escorted to a cell for not revealing where her partner is.

The man whose truck Mulder stole finds him in the leaves and takes him home so his wife can tend to him. She finds a puncture wound on his arm and realizes he was subjected to “the test.” She explains that her husband only made deliveries at the gulag and is afraid of the men who run it. Mulder doesn’t want the guards to find him with these innocent people, so he decides to leave.

The wife calls in her son, who only has one arm, which means he can’t be given the test. Mulder says that the smallpox scar on the wife’s arm is a form of identification. He offers to help the family escape if they can help him get to St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, it’s too late. But the men who’ve taken in Krycek have the same solution as this family, surprising him in the middle of the night to cut off his arm.

Scully spends her time in lockup reading Charne-Sayres’ work on smallpox. Skinner visits to question her insistence on keeping quiet, but Scully says there’s more going on. The subcommittee is focused on finding Mulder instead of the fact that Charne-Sayres is dead and Sacks has been infected with whatever was in the pouch being sent to her. Since a lot of men on the subcommittee are lawyers, Scully thinks they’re asking the wrong question on purpose – they don’t want the answer to the right one.

Skinner thinks they’re looking for Mulder because he has the right answers. Scully points out that they might want to keep him from finding those answers. She wants to believe that the men on the subcommittee think they’re doing the right thing, but in this case, she needs to align herself with Mulder. Meanwhile, Vassily visits Sacks and injects him with something that makes black oil leak out of him.

CSM tells WMM that he’s tied Charne-Sayre’s murder to Vassily. WMM is stunned that anyone outside of him, CSM, and four other people knew about their project. He’s sure that Charne-Sayre never told anyone. He orders CSM to find Vassily, but CSM thinks someone else is going to take care of that for them.

Scully returns to the hearing the next day, but she still won’t reveal Mulder’s whereabouts. She thinks it’s much more important to talk about the pouchless man and Charne-Sayre’s deaths. Sorenson demands an answer, but Scully doesn’t need to give one: Mulder’s there. Scully announces that Charne-Sayre must have known something about the origins of the biohazardous organism, and that may have been linked to the death of the pouchless man.

Skinner interrupts to tell Scully that Sacks is dead and the pouch contents are gone. The hearing goes to recess, and Mulder and Scully reunite with a hug. Skinner interrupts AGAIN to get them back on topic. Scully asks Skinner to send her and Mulder to Boca Raton; if they’re not back for the next hearing session, he’ll need to stall the subcommittee. He approves the trip but warns that he can’t help if the agents aren’t back for the next session.

Scully explains to Mulder that Charne-Sayre was a doctor at some convalescent homes in Boca Raton, and one of her patients recently died. Vassily has followed the same thread and is now at one of the homes, swapping out some pills. When the agents arrive, they find one man dead and a woman leaking black oil. Mulder realizes that the patients are test subjects who’ve been poisoned. Scully calls for a quarantine and has the home sealed. Vassily’s still in the home, having hidden in a bed like a patient.

I guess the quarantine doesn’t apply to the agents, since they go to a prison to talk to a man named Terry Mayhew. He was one of the militia members Krycek set up in “Tunguska,” though he wasn’t going by Krycek – he used the name Arntzen. Mulder wants to know how Krycek and Mayhew met. Mayhew says Krycek wanted to build two “devices,” and he talked about the “black cancer.” The U.S. government knew about the oil and didn’t have a cure or inoculation for it.

Mulder asks about the second bomb, since the Feds stopped the militia from building the first one. It takes a threat of violence, but Mayhew reveals that they stored the second bomb in Terma, North Dakota. Mulder has Scully start a search for stolen trucks and make sure the bomb can’t be taken to Canada. He thinks someone used Krycek, who then used the agents, all so the U.S. couldn’t get its hands on the rock. The agents figure that they would want to put it back in the ground.

Vassily transports a rental truck full of fertilizer (for his tomatoes, eh?) into Canada while Mulder and Scully take a helicopter to Terma. Mulder sends Scully to a refinery to hunt down the truck while he checks out Vassily’s. He can’t get in, but he sees a big pipe nearby. Vassily spots Scully arriving at the refinery while Mulder reaches into the pipe. Before he can reach what’s inside, an oil derrick starts spouting oil. Mulder has just a few seconds to run before it explodes, destroying whatever he was reaching for.

Scully’s close enough to see the explosion, but Vassily grabs her before she can go looking for her partner. He grabs her gun but tells her he’d rather not kill her if she doesn’t make him; his work is done. He lets her go, so she heads to the field to help Mulder. Whatever they were trying to get, it’s definitely gone.

The agents make it back for the next hearing, but all Scully can tell the subcommittee is that a bunch of people are dead, Krycek is missing and might also be dead, and the contents of the pouch are still gone. However, she thinks the biotoxin that killed Sacks is extraterrestrial.

Sorenson scoffs, which makes Mulder mad. Scientific journalists want to explore other planets, and there’s proof on Earth of life on other planets. The whole committee should be held in contempt for ignoring the evidence. The hearing is recessed, and CSM, who was sitting in the back, leaves before anyone can see him.

In St. Petersburg, Vassily gets a visit from the person who gave him his orders to kill Charne-Sayre. It’s Krycek, and he’s pleased with Vassily’s work. Also, he has a brand-new accessory to show off: a prosthetic hand. In the U.S., Sorenson gives CSM all the evidence the agents presented at the hearing, and CSM tosses it all in a trash can, probably planning to burn it all with his cigarette.

Thoughts: Hey, Sorenson? It’s not Ms. Scully. It’s Agent Scully or Dr. Scully. Show some respect, huh?

NASA’s security is pretty awful if Vassily was able to get access to Sacks and inject him without anyone noticing.

God help me but after days of torture, travel, and what I imagine was some really subpar gruel and borscht, Mulder looks hot.

December 10, 2016

The X-Files 4.8, Tunguska: From Russia With Bacteria

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

I bet Mulder made Krycek wear a hat so he didn't have to look at that dumb haircut anymore

I bet Mulder made Krycek wear a hat so he didn’t have to look at that dumb haircut anymore

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?

August 20, 2016

The X-Files 3.16, Apocrypha: And That’s Why You Don’t Try to Make a Deal with CSM

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Oh, no, Krycek's trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

Oh, no, Krycek’s trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

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?

August 13, 2016

The X-Files 3.15, Piper Maru: Drop Dead Red

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

Did you miss me?

Did you miss me?

Summary: The crew on a salvage ship on the Pacific Ocean is preparing to send a diver underwater. They’ve been searching for something for three months, and the diver, Gauthier, confirms that they’ve found the aircraft they’ve been looking for. But moments later, the crew loses contact, so Gauthier can’t let anyone know when he sees a man trapped inside the aircraft, calling for help. The man’s eyes suddenly turn black. When Gauthier is pulled out of the water, his diving suit is covered in something oily. He tells the crew he doesn’t know what happened; he was disoriented. They don’t see his eyes turning black.

At FBI headquarters, Skinner tells Scully that he’s gotten a memo related to Melissa’s murder. Because no progress has been made in five months, the case is being closed. He thinks it’s just because of a lack of investigators, not because of any kind of cover-up. Scully notes that the FBI can piece together crimes when they only have tiny details, but no one can find Melissa’s killer even when they have the murder weapon. She thinks it’s just that no one’s interested in finding the murderer.

Scully keeps the news from Mulder, who wants to discuss the salvage ship, the Piper Maru. He tracked their course to the spot where the Talapus found the sub/UFO and wonders why the crew was there. He can’t ask them, since they’re all being treated for radiation exposure, and the French government is keeping them quiet. Scully laughs a little because Mulder’s so determined to continue working on cases that any other agent would find pointless. If he were dropped in the desert and told the truth was out there, he’d ask for a shovel, or maybe a backhoe.

Since the crew is now in San Diego, that’s where Mulder and Scully go next. They meet Dr. Seizer, who tells them the source of the crew’s exposure hasn’t been determined, and the government won’t release enough information for him to really treat everyone. Scully determines that the exposure was huge enough that the men are suffering close to what people in Hiroshima experienced after we dropped the atomic bomb. Seizer adds that the exposure came from a manmade source – it couldn’t exist anywhere in nature. “Not on this planet,” Mulder mumbles.

Everyone’s semi-comatose except for one who was completely asymptomatic. He left the hospital that morning, but he lives in San Francisco. It’s Gauthier, and he certainly looks completely healthy, if a bit confused by the things in his house. Back in San Diego, Scully tries to get Gauthier’s address while she and Mulder arrive at the Naval yard where the Piper Maru has been docked. They learn that the ship has been tested for radiation but none has been detected.

The agents board the ship and Mulder checks out Gauthier’s diving suit, which is still covered in oil. Mulder touches it with his bare hands, always a great move. Scully studies a dive map, on which is written “Zeus Faber.” Mulder looks for a VCR, since the dive suit has a video camera containing footage of Gauthier’s dive. Scully immediately recognizes the aircraft on the video as a P-51 Mustang. Mulder’s turned on by her knowledge of World War II planes. (Scully got her knowledge from watching her father and brothers put together model planes.) A Mustang is a fighter, so it wouldn’t have been carrying anything, but Scully knows where she can go for more info.

Gauthier searches his house for a letter, finding it just before his wife, Joan, arrives. She’s happy to see him, but he just stares at her. When she realizes he’s trashed the house looking for something, she starts to get concerned. She tries to run, but he grabs her, his eyes turning black. When Joan leaves the house again, her eyes turn black as well. Back in San Diego, Scully visits her father’s old friend, Commander Johansen, at Miramar Naval Air Station. She knows her way around the base, having lived there as a kid. She remembers playing hopscotch there with Melissa.

Meanwhile, Mulder goes to Gauthier’s house and finds the letter crumpled up. On it are the call numbers for the Mustang the crew found. Mulder finds the envelope the letter came in and sees the return address is for J. Kallenchuk Salvage Brokers. He hears someone in the house and finds an oily, barely conscious Gauthier. He doesn’t remember anything that happened after going on the dive. Gauthier’s concerned about Joan, but Mulder wants answers about J. Kallenchuk. Gauthier claims not to recognize the name. Mulder presses the issue, so Gauthier asks to speak to the French consulate.

Commander Johansen doesn’t remember Scully, but he’s happy to talk to her about the Mustang. He quickly determines that the call numbers aren’t accurate for a Mustang. Scully tells him she saw an illustration on the fuselage with the caption “Drop Dead Red.” That doesn’t ring a bell for Johansen, who blames his advanced age and flimsy memory. “Zeus Faber” doesn’t mean anything to him either. Since he’s no help, Scully decides to leave. She reminisces about living on the base and playing a game with the other kids called beckons wanted. As she leaves, she asks Johansen to say hello to his son for her, since they grew up together.

Mulder tracks down J. Kallenchuk’s office, which is being overseen by a woman who definitely has some secrets. First there’s the briefcase she closes before letting Mulder in. Then there’s the gun taped to the bottom of her desk, which she’s more than willing to use on Mulder. The woman, Geraldine, tells Mulder she has no way of contacting Mr. Kallenchuk while he’s out of the country. He leaves, but he’s not naïve enough to believe her. He stakes out the office, sees a bunch of French government officials arrive, and watches Geraldine head out the back door.

On her way off the base, Scully is detained – Johansen wants to talk to her again. He tells her his son died during the Gulf War, but “we bury our dead alive,” so they talk to us every day, begging for meaning. “It’s just the voices of the dead, trying to save us from our own damnation.” He knows all about the Mustang because he was sent to find it when he was an officer on a sub called the Zeus Faber.

Mulder follows Geraldine to the airport and keeps an eye on her while chatting with Scully on the phone (“Mulder, it’s me”). She tells him the Mustang was part of an escort for a plane carrying an atomic bomb. It appears the French military wanted to salvage the bomb, even though it’s been 50 years since it was built. Mulder doesn’t get why Gauthier shows no signs of radiation exposure despite being the one who got close to the plane. The conversation ends when Mulder heads off to get a ticket on a flight to Hong Kong. He doesn’t notice Joan Gauthier watching him.

In D.C., Skinner has a cup of coffee by himself at a restaurant. Some official-looking men enter together but sit at separate tables. One chats with Skinner, who’s justifiably suspicious even before they use his name. The men tell him to follow his orders and leave closed cases alone. After all, the people above him who made the decision to close it must have their reasons. If Skinner doesn’t listen, his career and future could be affected.

Johansen shows Scully a picture of his crew, who all died within months of their mission to find the Mustang and its squadron. They all died of radiation from the same bomb the military wanted to drop on Japan. The captain made them run silent instead of surfacing so the men could get medical treatment. Johansen tried to override the captain’s orders, even more forcefully after a sailor started waving a gun around. Johansen locked all the sick men in together, knowing he was dooming them. By the time they got to Pearl Harbor, all but seven of the 144 men were dead or dying. He never learned what happened.

Mulder corners Geraldine in Hong Kong, revealing that he knows her last name is Kallenchuk. And in fact, her first name isn’t Geraldine, it’s Jeraldine. So I guess there’s no Mr. Kallenchuk after all! Mulder knows she sold the Mustang to the French government, and that someone sold her secrets. Jeraldine won’t give up her sources, calling herself a middle man (or woman). Mulder informs her that her business transactions are killing people, so he’s going to arrest her. She knows he had to give up his gun at the airport, but she doesn’t know that he still has his handcuffs.

Mulder cuffs himself to Jeraldine and drags her to her Hong Kong office. There, he reunites with his old buddy Krycek. (Whichever airport he came through didn’t confiscate his gun.) Krycek pushes Jeraldine out of the room and closes the door on the handcuffs, trapping Jeraldine and Mulder on opposite sides of the door. Just as Mulder determines that Krycek must have sold Jeraldine information, shots ring out and Jeraldine goes down. Krycek goes out the window, leaving Mulder alone in the office to figure out how to free himself from the woman on the other side of the door.

French officials sneak down the hallway as Mulder manages to get himself out of his cuffs an escape. Before the officials can run after him, Joan appears. She starts glowing and temporarily blinds all the men. In D.C., Skinner goes back to the restaurant he was in before. A man complains to a waitress about the payphone being out of order; he’s going to miss a call, which will cost him time and money. Skinner steps in to defuse the situation, and the man shoots him. Poor Skinner.

Scully comes home to a phone call about Skinner’s shooting and quickly heads to the hospital to see him. Back in Hong Kong, Krycek (looking hotter than usual in a black jacket) is about to get a ticket to Washington when Mulder attacks him. He wants to shoot Krycek for killing Bill, but Krycek says it wasn’t him. Mulder demands the tape Krycek supposedly stole, and which Krycek claims is in a locker in D.C. If Mulder wants it, he’ll have to go with Krycek to get it. Yay, road trip! Mulder allows Krycek to get cleaned up in the restroom, which is where Joan finds him. When Krycek emerges, his eyes turn black. To be continued!

Thoughts: Piper Maru is the name of Gillian Anderson’s daughter. If you’d like to feel old, she was about one at the time of this episode and is now in her 20s.

One of the sailors in Johansen’s flashback is played by Michael Bublé.

I would watch a spin-off of Jeraldine being an awesome businesswoman.

This episode teaches us the Portuguese for “suck it,” which Skinner’s shooter says after the shooting: “chupa dura.” Who says TV isn’t educational?

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