August 10, 2019

The X-Files 11.10, My Struggle IV: The Last Good Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

And so we end as we began: With these two nerds chasing a mystery

Summary: Our last-ever episode-beginning voiceover comes from Jackson. He knows his original name was William, and that he’s somehow connected to Scully and the future. He doesn’t know what his role will be in the future, but his visions are starting to make him understand. He doesn’t want any part in the suffering that will come.

Jackson had a happy childhood, and started to develop powers at a young age, such as breaking a window by stomping his foot. In middle school, he made a bully’s ears bleed. Every time kids at his school caught on that he was different, he had to leave. Eventually, Jackson started using his powers for evil, such as changing traffic lights with his mind and causing accidents. He was sent to a school for delinquents, and when forced to go to therapy, he would make stuff up.

Someone from the government caught on, so Jackson started lying low. He realized people were watching the house, which made him want to stay in line. Then he decided to play a joke on Sarah and Brianna, which got out of control and put him back on the radar of some powerful people. Now his parents are dead and he’s being hunted.

Jackson wants answers about who he is and how to get his life back. He wanted to ask Scully, but he thinks he can only get the answers from his father, a man he’s seen in his visions: CSM. CSM is with Mulder, threatening to kill him, though Mulder doesn’t think he can go through with it. CSM raises his gun and fires.

At what must be an earlier time (though he’s in the same clothes), Mulder goes to the Timberland Motel in Norfolk, Virginia, looking for Jackson. Back in D.C., Kersh tells Skinner that Mulder’s been going off about a conspiracy on the Internet. Skinner needs to rein him in. Kersh announces that he’s closing the X-Files and taking Mulder and Scully’s badges.

Tad’s latest live stream is about the coming global contagion that Scully and Jackson had visions about. It shows footage of Mulder at the motel. Kersh doesn’t care if the conspiracy is rooted in any kind of truth; it’s going to cause mass panic and needs to be shut down. As he leaves Kersh’s office, Skinner gets a call from CSM, who says the contagion is coming because Skinner didn’t find Jackson.

Scully finds Skinner and tells him Mulder needs his help. She knows he’s with Jackson, and that they’re both being pursued. Skinner tells her that Kersh is ending everything; Mulder’s started something that can’t be stopped. Scully says she made the claims on the Internet, not Mulder – and they’re all true. Skinner asks where Mulder and Jackson are.

15 hours earlier, Scully goes to Mulder’s house while on the phone with Reyes. She thinks Jackson has been captured in Tennessee and is being taken to Maryland. As CSM lights a cigarette outside the car Reyes is calling from, she tells the agents this may be their last good chance to save their son. Mulder asks what she means. Reyes says that whoever controls Jackson also controls the future. Then she hangs up.

Mulder wonders if he and Scully can trust Reyes. CSM doesn’t appear to have any suspicions about who Reyes was just talking to. Scully doesn’t think Jackson is really on the plane, but Mulder wants to believe Reyes’ claims. What if this really is their last good chance? Scully sends him off, telling him to come back alive.

A plane lands in Braddock Heights, Maryland, carrying only Mr. Y. He goes into a hangar, which Mulder manages to sneak into, briefly evading some armed guards. When they find him, he overpowers one and grabs his gun. He confronts Mr. Y, who says they couldn’t catch Jackson. Mulder asks why everyone wants him. Mr. Y says Jackson has something everyone wants – something they would kill for.

A guard approaches, so Mulder turns and shoots him. While Mulder’s distracted, Mr. Y reaches for a gun under his desk, but Mulder is faster than him and shoots him dead before Mr. Y can fire. Well, probably dead. It’s The X-Files, after all. Jackson is also dealing with armed guards on what looks like an abandoned ship. Cue the extended action sequence, in which Jackson outruns multiple men, then hides in a homeless encampment, making himself look like someone else.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he hasn’t had any luck finding Jackson yet, but he did get to engage in some payback. Scully reports that there’s a cluster of recent lottery winners in Tennessee. Mulder goes to the convenience store where one of the winning tickets was sold; the kid who bought it seemed to know exactly which numbers to play. Security footage confirms for Mulder that it was Jackson.

Scully has a vision, which gets interrupted when Mulder calls to tell her that Jackson cashed in his ticket, then hitched a ride somewhere with a truck driver. The agents think he’s heading northeast. Someone arrives at the convenience store and plants a tracking device in Mulder’s car before Mulder heads off on Jackson’s trail.

Scully calls Tad to tell him a conspiracy he needs to talk about on his show. Jackson tells the truck driver that he has superpowers. Scully outlines the contagion for Tad as Mulder tries to get the truck to pull over. Jackson proves his powers to the truck driver by changing the radio station with his mind, then turns into a monster. The driver pulls over with Mulder right in front of him. But it’s not the truck Jackson’s in.

Tad asks Scully if he can name her as his source for the contagion information. She says he can credit her as a federal agent. She adds that Mulder is the planet’s only hope. She and Jackson have a shared vision of CSM shooting Mulder, who then falls into a body of water. Scully calls Mulder to warn him that he’s in danger, but he doesn’t care. He just wants to know where Jackson went after he left the truck.

The man who placed the tracker in Mulder’s car sees that he’s coming up on him, but Mulder’s now going in the opposite direction. As the tracker pulls his car over, he spots Jackson leaving the drain pipe he’s been hiding in and walking down the road. He offers Jackson a ride to his destination, Norfolk.

Mulder gets there first, going to a house. Jackson pays Sarah a visit, throwing some snark at Sarah’s friend Maddy. Mulder’s at Brianna’s, wanting to know if Jackson has been there. She says they don’t talk anymore, but Mulder thinks she’s covering for him. Brianna says Jackson’s in a lot of trouble, but if Mulder wants answers, he’s asking the wrong girl.

Over at Sarah’s, Jackson tells her that he can’t live like this anymore. She urges him to go to the police, but he says they killed his parents because he’s a freak. Sarah firmly says he’s not. He tells her suicide is an option to end his life being hunted, but another choice is running away with Sarah. Thanks to his lottery winnings, they could go anywhere. Since Sarah’s parents are coming home, she offers to meet him somewhere later. He says he’ll be at the Timberland.

Mulder goes to Sarah’s sometime later, but she doesn’t want to tell him anything if she can’t be sure Jackson trusts him. Mulder says he’s Jackson’s father. Maddy calls bull. As Price and some men find a car full of blood, we go back to the beginning of the episode, when Mulder got to the Timberland. He tells Jackson he’s his father, and whether or not Jackson believes that, he gives Mulder a chance to explain himself. Mulder just hugs him and promises to protect him.

The blood in the car belongs to the man tracking Mulder, who looks like he basically exploded. But now Price has a way to track Mulder. As she and her men head to the Timberland, Jackson tells Mulder that the people looking for him are never going to stop. He knows what’s going to happen because of his visions. Mulder says that Scully has the same ones. Jackson asks why Mulder doesn’t. He doesn’t want to live in a world where what’s going to happen happens. Mulder offers to help, but Jackson knows from the visions that Mulder’s going to die.

As Jackson argues that Mulder’s just helping his pursuers find him, Price and her men prepare to burst into the motel room and start shooting. Jackson hears or senses them outside and tells Mulder it’s too late. He tells Mulder to go out the back, but Mulder isn’t about to leave Jackson behind again. The men burst in and start to restrain Mulder and Jackson. Jackson tells Mulder to get down, then starts making the men, then Price, explode. When they’re all dead, Jackson runs away.

Mulder calls Scully as she’s talking to Skinner in the earlier scene. Other people at the motel are filming the chaos, which explains how footage of Mulder ends up on Tad’s live stream. Scully tells Mulder she’s going to join him in Norfolk, but Mulder doesn’t think it’ll matter – Jackson won’t listen to reason. Scully is sure that he’ll listen to her. She tells Skinner this is no longer about the FBI, so he can’t rein her in like he’s supposed to. Skinner invites himself along to Norfolk.

Tad begins his live stream as Reyes and CSM arrive at the Timberland. He points out Mulder on the footage, naming him the FBI source and saying he witnessed the execution of military personnel who arranged an assault on a teenager. What happened was so insane that it can only be part of a kind of conspiracy the world has never seen before. CSM finds the tracker’s device, which will lead him to Mulder.

Kersh texts Skinner a bunch of times, complaining about Mulder’s antics. Dude, go back to Seattle Grace Mercy West or whatever it’s called and leave these people alone. Scully asks why Skinner is violating Kersh’s orders. Skinner knows how important it is to find Jackson, and says he’s explained before why he’s willing to risk his career. He has information about Jackson…and who his father is.

Mulder has tried to call Sarah to find out where Jackson might have gone, but Maddy’s the one he talks to instead. She sends him to an old sugar factory. Scully’s stunned by Skinner’s news about Jackson. Somehow, some way, she and Skinner spot Mulder’s car on the way to the factory, and they chase after him. As Scully goes into the factory to find her boyfriend and/or son, Skinner spots CSM and Reyes’ car and approaches it with his hands up.

Scully thinks she sees Jackson, but she loses him. She finds Mulder instead. Outside, Skinner pulls his gun. Reyes starts to back up the car, but CSM moves the gearshift into drive and stomps on the gas pedal, forcing her toward Skinner. He shoots, hitting Reyes. Oh, good job, Skinner. Mulder and Scully hear gunshots outside and realize Skinner’s in trouble. CSM speeds toward him as Skinner runs, but he gets trapped between his own car and CSM and is run over.

Mulder tells Scully that Jackson doesn’t want to be found. They need to let him go – there’s nothing they can do. They can’t protect him. Jackson knows that Scully loves him, though Scully doesn’t get how he could. Well, it’s because the person she’s talking to is Jackson, not Mulder. The real Mulder finds them, but Jackson runs away again. As they run around the factory some more, CSM gets out of the car and takes Skinner’s gun.

More running. Even more running. Jackson spends, like 50% of this episode running. Mulder ends up outside, where CSM stops him and demands to know where Jackson is. Mulder says Jackson would rather be dead, now that he knows the truth. CSM is ready to kill Mulder, even though, as Mulder points out, he’d be shooting his firstborn son. CSM notes that he shot his secondborn, so this isn’t a big deal.

Once again, we’ve come back around to a scene from the beginning of the episode, with CSM ready to shoot, and Mulder saying he doesn’t think CSM can do it. CSM says Mulder doesn’t know him very well, then shoots. Mulder falls into the water…then appears behind CSM. He shoots CSM a bunch of times and shoves him into the water, where I think we can all agree that CSM is really, truly, finally dead. Probably.

Scully joins Mulder, who tells her that CSM shot Jackson thinking he was Mulder. Scully reminds him that Jackson wanted them to let him go. Mulder’s distraught, saying Jackson was their son. She corrects him – Jackson was an experiment, just an idea. She carried him and gave birth to him, but she wasn’t his mother.

“But for so long, I believed,” Mulder says. “What am I now if I’m not a father?” Scully tells him he is a father. She puts his hand on her stomach. He says it’s impossible that they conceived a child, and she says she knows, but it’s still true. They hug, exhausted and heartbroken but also hopeful. And somewhere in the water, Jackson surfaces, still alive.

Thoughts: Maddy is played by David Duchovny’s daughter West, which…is really the only explanation you need for why the character is in the episode.

I’m going to pretend that Skinner’s still alive. He deserved better.

Can’t wait for this baby to grow up and ask why Mommy and Daddy call each other by their last names.

And that’s it for the series! It was a bumpy ride sometimes, but I’m glad I rewatched it.

Up next: something completely different.

July 13, 2019

The X-Files 11.6, Kitten: The Monsters Are Here

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

That’s right, kids, it’s a Skinner episode!

Summary: Somewhere near Khe Sanh, Vietnam, in 1969, a nervous Marine named John says a prayer in a helicopter. He and his platoon are told to protect and deliver a crate marked “MK Naomi.” As the helicopter is landing, shots are fired, and the Marines run into the jungle with the crate. One of the other Marines notices how scared John is and promises to have his back if John has his.

They take the crate to a hut, but one of the three men is injured and gets left behind. The helpful Marine goes out to help him, leaving John in the hut with the crate and some scared villagers. Yellow smoke comes out of the crate, and by the time the helpful marine gets back to the hut, he can barely see anything, though he is able to see what looks like John turning into a monster. He becomes human again and approaches the helpful Marine with a knife. The helpful Marine reminds John that John knows him: He’s his buddy Skinner.

In the present, Mulder and Scully go in to see Kersh, who’s on a day pass from Shondaland. He wants to know where Skinner is. He asks if the agents have ever wondered why Skinner hasn’t been put in charge of the FBI after all his years of service. It’s because of his loyalty to Mulder, Scully, and the X-Files. Now, Skinner’s AWOL, and Kersh is sure that the agents know why.

Kersh continues that Skinner hasn’t been himself since Mulder and Scully came back to the FBI. The director is asking questions that Kersh can’t answer, and it looks like Skinner’s been investigating things he shouldn’t. If Mulder and Scully care about Skinner’s future at the FBI, they need to bring him back.

The agents break into Skinner’s apartment, wondering if his recent strange behavior has to do with them. Mulder says he’ll keep a look out for CSM’s cigarette butts. The apartment is sterile and impersonal, reminding Scully that, even after all their time working together, they don’t know much about Skinner. She sees an envelope addressed to him, using his military title. Inside is a human ear. Mulder immediately regrets opening someone else’s mail. The ear comes with a note: “The monsters are here.”

The wrapping around the ear is from a newspaper, the Mud Lick Messenger, so the agents drive to Mud Lick, Kentucky. Scully has asked for some info on Skinner’s platoon, but it’s classified. Mulder thinks they’ll get some answers when they go to the morgue and look at a body there that’s probably missing an ear. The agents pass a homeless veteran on their way to the morgue; he tells them they won’t find a kitten in there.

The body belongs to Dr. Wegweiser, the town’s only physician. He disappeared during a hike and was found snared in a hunting trap. He’s missing some teeth along with his ear, which a local cop finds interesting, as he and his wife have both had teeth fall out recently. (The cop never gets a name, but I’ll call him Jones, the actor’s last name.) There are wood splinters in the wounds Wegweiser sustained from the trap, and Jones confirms that it included a tripwire and bamboo. Mulder recognizes this as a trap used in Vietnam and wonders if Wegweiser was a veteran.

Jones says there’s an institution nearby, Glazebrook, where lots of vets were treated in the ’70s. Some of them stuck around Mud Lick after that. Mulder mentions seeing one outside the morgue. Jones IDs him as a “harmless” vet named Davis. Scully asks for a list of past and current patients from Glazebrook. Jones doesn’t think the institution will be very helpful, but he’ll do what he can. He’s eager to help ease the fears of the people of Mud Lick, who’ve been talking about a monster in the woods.

A hunter currently in the woods may be about to see that monster for himself. As he’s approaching his dog, who’s definitely seen something, he falls into a hole. He’s found there sometime later, dead from a spike he landed on, but Skinner. The next morning, the hunter’s friend alerts the police to the hunter’s death. He was also out in the woods, and the hunter, nicknamed Banjo, was a Vietnam vet. His friend confirms that both of them had been losing teeth.

Scully spots a deer cam, and Jones tells her they can look at the footage back at the station. Banjo’s friend is confused – this is Banjo’s property, and he’s never put up deer cams before. At the station, the agents and Jones look at the footage, which clearly shows Skinner above the hole Banjo fell into. The agents are unable to keep poker faces, and Jones quickly catches on that they know him. He thinks Skinner is the monster everyone’s been talking about.

Scully tells Jones that Skinner is their FBI boss and couldn’t be a killer. Well, he’s capable of it, but if he were killing people, he wouldn’t get caught on tape. Jones asks some reasonable questions about why Skinner didn’t call any authorities when he found a dead body. Mulder doesn’t know, but he’s sure Skinner’s innocent. Jones will decide that for himself once he brings Skinner in for questioning.

As soon as Jones leave to send out an APB for Skinner, Mulder and Scully go back to the footage. It also shows a monster like the one Skinner saw in Vietnam. For once, Mulder doesn’t think it’s an actual monster, just a man in a mask. Still, it must have a connection to Skinner. Scully wonders if Skinner’s experiencing delayed PTSD 50 years after Vietnam. The ear could have triggered it. This makes Mulder do some word association, from trigger to Banjo.

He approaches Davis and asks if the kitten he mentioned before is actually someone’s nickname. Davis says he told Eagle where to find Kitten’s kitten. Mulder jumps from “eagle” to “bald,” guessing that’s Skinner. Meanwhile, Skinner’s at a trailer in the woods, where cats and rabbits are being kept in cages, and a deer carcass is hanging. He lets himself in and finds a picture of John with his wife and child (though the wife’s face has been cut out). He looks through a photo album, smiling at pictures of himself and John from Vietnam.

Flashback! John has become a confident, brutal killer, taking ears from his victims. A platoonmate (that’s what they’re called, right? Don’t email me) notices that John’s mouth is bleeding, thanks to a tooth that’s falling out. It’s the third one he’s lost this week. A young Vietnamese man enters their…camp (again, don’t email me) with grenades hung around his neck. Skinner tells his platoonmates to get down, then shoots the man dead. John is proud, and Skinner can’t help smiling to himself.

In the present, Skinner gets caught in the trailer by someone who looks exactly like John did in the ’60s. He introduces himself as Davey, whom Skinner realizes is John’s son. Davey knows who Skinner is, since John talks about him a lot. Not positively, though, since he calls Skinner “Baby-Killer.” He blames Skinner for how the family’s life has turned out. Skinner testified against John when they got back from Vietnam, and John spent almost 40 years in Glazebrook as a result.

Skinner says that until he got the package from John, he didn’t even know John was still alive. He basically vanished after Vietnam. Skinner blames the government, who also turned John into a killer. Davey says John doesn’t want Skinner’s help. He’s heard John’s stories about monsters in the jungle, and his exposure to experimental weaponized gas. He wasn’t crazy, like Skinner said he was when John was court martialed, but no one believed him, even his wife. Davey, however, does believe his father.

Skinner insists that the gas used John’s fears against him. The exposure changed him. Davey points out that Skinner didn’t mention the gas at the trial. He spent his childhood visiting John at Glazebrook, separated by glass and unable to touch his own father. How could Skinner let that happen to someone he considered a friend? Skinner says he was commanded to keep quiet about the gas. He’s felt guilty ever since, and thinks about John every day. But gas or no gas, John killed innocent people and was dangerous. Now people are getting hurt again, and Skinner really does want to help. Davey agrees to take him to see John.

Scully confirms that Kitten is John’s nickname, but she can’t get any other information from his military files. Mulder wonders if Skinner’s stalled career really is because of them. Scully thinks he made a choice to stay loyal to them. His moral compass has always directed his life. Though he’s been acting strange, they need to give him the benefit of the doubt, especially now that they’re starting to see what he’s sacrificed for them.

Instead of Glazebrook, Davey takes Skinner into the woods, where John’s body is hanging from a tree. Davey says that’s what the government drove him to. As Skinner approaches the body, he falls into a hole like the one Banjo fell into. “Now who sees monsters?” Davey asks. He cuts down the body so it lands on Skinner, then covers the hole.

Mulder and Scully visit Davey sometime later, but he claims not to know who Skinner is. He also says that John’s been gone for weeks. Skinner doesn’t have cell service in the hole, but his phone still works, so he’s able to use the light from it to look around. Mostly, that just lets him see that he’s been impaled by a spike and has no way of escaping.

Davey keeps an eye on the woods in the backyard as he puts on some music for the agents and acts like a model host. Scully asks him questions about John as Mulder snoops around the trailer. Davey says that John was released from Glazebrook just a month ago, after the doctors decided he was no longer a threat to himself. Davey doesn’t think he was ever a threat to anyone. Well, maybe one person.

Mulder sees the photo with John’s wife’s face cut out, and Davey says she died years ago. He won’t talk about how. Scully asks what Davey meant when he said John was a threat to someone. Davey says he had secrets about the government. While at Glazebrook, he was the subject of tests and experiments. The doctors wanted to learn to harness people’s fears to manipulate them into violence. Davey thinks they’re still working on perfecting the MK Naomi gas. They could use it to influence everyone’s minds and actions.

Scully thinks Davey’s describing a dystopian novel. Mulder agrees with Davey that the government has been working on projects like this since the ’50s, such as MK Ultra, and they’re not just going to stop without being successful. Mulder looks through the photo album, seeing pictures of John and Skinner together, and decides he and Scully need to leave. For once, he tells her to drive. Davey waves goodbye while holding a knife behind his back.

Mulder tells Scully that there were a bunch of photos of Skinner and John in the album, so Davey had to have been lying when he said he’d never heard Skinner’s name before. He also saw an SUV on the property, which must have been Skinner’s. He sends Scully off to find a place with cell reception so she can call Jones. Meanwhile, Mulder will go back to the property and try to find Skinner.

He lets himself back into the trailer, where the chorus of a John Cale song is playing on the record player, repeating the line, “Say fear is a man’s best friend.” As the record stops, Mulder finds a monster costume in the closet. After he leaves, Davey, wearing the costume without Mulder realizing he was there, lifts his head. Mulder runs into the woods and hears Skinner yelling for help. He’s somehow managed to get himself off the spike he was impaled on, so Mulder moves to help him out of the hole. That’s when Davey rushes him and pushes him into the hole.

Davey pours gas in the hole and is about to light a match and burn the two agents alive. Skinner raises his gun, ready to once again kill someone to save himself, but Scully returns and beats him to it. Somehow, during the rescue mission, Davey disappears. Mulder and Scully leave Skinner behind and search the woods, where Davey’s waiting for them with another spikey trap. Skinner finds him first, beats him up, releases the trap, and kills Davey.

The agents go back to the trailer, deciding this is the right time to have a conversation about Skinner’s stalled career. Skinner doesn’t care if the other two have held him back – he wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them, and he doesn’t just mean their rescue from the hole. He enlisted in the Marines on his 18th birthday. He was naïve and thought he was doing the right thing. John was drafted, and it changed his entire life. He was too young to even understand what the war was about.

Skinner always felt like he had to protect John, but he didn’t and couldn’t. The experiences Skinner had in Vietnam dented his blind trust in the government. He’s never been able to fix that. When Mulder and Scully came along, he learned to have the guts to expose what was in the shadows. If it was between advancing his career and working with people pulling puppet strings, or working on the X-Files, he’d choose Mulder and Scully every time.

Skinner will continue his work, but he’ll also try to expose the truth of the MK Naomi experiments. He owes it to himself and John. Mulder promises that he and Scully will be with him all the way. As Skinner leaves the trailer, he pulls out a loose tooth. Meanwhile, a crate leaves Mud Lick and is put on a plane, which flies over fields, dusting crops. Maybe Davey was right about people having their minds and actions manipulated by chemicals.

Thoughts: John and Davey are played by Haley Joel Osment. You’re welcome for not making any “I see dead people” jokes. Cory Rempel, who plays the younger version of Skinner, is Mitch Pileggi’s nephew.

Who names a town Mud Lick?

Imagine being a Marine and getting the nickname Kitten. It might make me homicidal, too.

If John was in Glazebrook for almost 40 years (1979 to 2017, and why didn’t he go in until four years after the war ended?), and Davey was born, say, nine years after he went in (just going off of Haley Joel Osment’s birth year, 1988), when was Davey conceived? They should have just said Davey was really John, and one of the side effects of the gas was a halt to aging.

April 13, 2019

The X-Files 9.20, The Truth, Part 2: It’s Still Out There

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:06 pm by Jenn

An almost-happy ending! Except it’s not the ending

Summary: It’s the day after Gibson threw out a bombshell at Mulder’s trial. Mulder meets with the agents (minus Scully, who’s with Gibson) and laments that Gibson exposed himself to the conspirators. But the agents think it was a good move, since some of the judges are leaning in Mulder’s favor. Skinner urges Mulder to testify, but Mulder refuses. Doggett says they’ll take the stand in his place, even if it means risking their jobs. Reyes agrees – they came here to do their job. Mulder says the judges control the game, so Doggett suggests that they ram them with it.

When the trial resumes, Doggett is put on the stand and talks about the super-soldiers. Agent K. doesn’t want more sci-fi in the trial, but Skinner ties the super-soldiers to Knowle. Agent K. objects again, since Doggett wasn’t at the scene when Mulder killed Knowle. Skinner asks how Mulder could have killed him if Knowle is unkillable. Doggett mentions the magnetite; since Mulder didn’t use it on Knowle, Knowle can’t really be dead.

Agent K. starts his cross-examination by praising Doggett’s professional record, which Agent K. isn’t going to question. But can he really back up Mulder in claiming the super-soldiers are aliens? Doggett’s a skeptic, so how can he believe Mulder’s theories? Doggett can’t answer that question.

Reyes is up next, intended to serve as a level-headed witness so Skinner can show that even rational people believe paranormal stuff has happened. Reyes talks about the circumstances of William’s birth and the audience Scully had while delivering him. Agent K. asks why William would be important to aliens. Blah blah, government conspiracy, the world’s worst surrogate program. Agent K.’s like, “Oh, how convenient that the ship where women were experimented on exploded!”

He asks about William, and Reyes testifies that he has telekinetic abilities. Agent K. asks for a demonstration, but of course, William is now living with an anonymous family. “She gave up the miracle child,” Agent K. spits out. Mulder somehow doesn’t scratch his eyes out. After she’s dismissed from the stand, Reyes accuses Agent K. of not caring about William. He’s just happy that Scully gave him up, thereby giving away proof of an alien conspiracy.

Kersh warns Reyes to behave herself, so she turns on him, saying he’s made a mockery of the X-Files agents and their sacrifices. What’s the point of the trial – to destroy Mulder, who seeks the truth, or to destroy the truth so no one can look for it? “Either way, you lose,” Reyes tells Kersh.

Scully has missed the entire day of proceedings, so Doggett and Reyes visit her that night with big news: Knowle’s body may have been found. Scully reminds them that super-soldiers can’t be killed, but the government claims Knowle is really dead. Doggett stays behind with Gibson while Scully and Reyes go to Quantico so Scully can perform the autopsy. The body is burned, so it can’t be ID’d just on sight. Scully asks Reyes to do whatever it takes to get Knowle’s records.

The trial is about to start back up when Scully arrives with what she says is the proof they need to get Mulder exonerated. Her autopsy shows that the body belongs to a man who died of a broken neck; the body was burned post-mortem. Kersh won’t dismiss the trial, telling Scully she’s in contempt of court. She says Kersh is the one in contempt, since he won’t look at evidence that shows Mulder’s innocent.

Kersh argues that Scully didn’t have authorization to do the autopsy, so she should be removed from the courtroom. Mulder defends his girlfriend, which doesn’t help. Kersh throws them both out and adjourns the trial. Later, everyone returns for the verdict, which Kersh claims is fair and impartial. Mulder is declared guilty of first-degree murder.

Mulder’s allowed to say something before his sentence is determined. Instead of yelling, “F&$% ALL Y’ALL” and flipping a table, Mulder congratulates the judges for succeeding where everyone else has failed. They’ve shown that the truth doesn’t matter if there are enough liars to cover it up. True evil isn’t the devil, but humans.

If Mulder’s guilty, it’s because he dared – and still dares – to believe that the truth will out. The truth wants to be known, and eventually, it’ll come to the judges as it’s come to Mulder. He warns that if the judges think they’re really rid of their headache, it’s only because they’ve cut off their own heads.

Scully, Reyes, Doggett, and Gibson are at Scully’s place when the call comes from Skinner – Mulder has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. Scully breaks down. Later that night, as a very much alive Knowle goes to the Marine base where Mulder’s being held, Skinner and Doggett go to Mulder’s cell and tell him they’re getting him out of there.

Knowle discovers Mulder missing and orders the base sealed. This only slows Mulder and his rescuers down a little, and they continue their escape…until they run into Kersh. He knows they can’t make it out the way they’re going, so he takes them out another exit. Reyes is waiting there at a hole in a fence and drives the getaway vehicle.

The group meets up with Scully and Gibson, and Kersh tells Mulder he needs to go to Canada, then leave the continent within 24 hours. Mulder and Scully leave Gibson behind with the other agents and flee. But Mulder heads south instead of north, since he still has some truth to pursue.

Doggett and Reyes take Gibson to the X-Files office, promising to protect him. But the office has been packed up, and Skinner hasn’t been able to ask Kersh who’s responsible. He thinks they’ve been found out for helping Mulder escape. They go to see Kersh, who’s already talking with Toothpick Man. He and Gibson glare at each other for a little while, and Gibson tells Doggett and Reyes that TM knows where Mulder and Scully are going. They’re not going to Canada, and they’re in a lot of danger.

The lovebirds have reached the Texas/New Mexico border, and while Scully sleeps in the car, Mulder gets out for a bathroom break. He gets a visit from the Lone Gunmen, who tell him to turn around. He shouldn’t be risking his and Scully’s lives or happiness. Mulder still wants to find the truth, but the Gunmen say he already knows it. Mulder tells them he wants to know if he can change it. They warn that he’ll just get himself killed.

Scully wakes up and interrupts, and the journey continues. Mulder has changed into jeans and a white T-shirt, and I give my 100% approval. They end up at some Anasazi pueblos, and Mulder explains that he was sent a message from a wise man who lives in the ruins. He thinks they’ll find the truth there.

Doggett and Reyes take a helicopter to the same area as a woman (whose name is never spoken but who is apparently Lana Chee) leads Mulder and Scully to the wise man – CSM. He says that Mulder now knows the truth, though he hasn’t told Scully yet. CSM helped him find it by sending him to Mouth Weather. He mocks that Mulder could have exonerated himself by testifying at his trial. But he’s too afraid to speak the truth.

CSM is hiding out from the aliens, since they fear the magnetite in the area. That’s what brought down the UFO in Roswell. Wise men have been hiding out there for 2,000, watching Native American culture die: “The original shadow government.” Doggett and Reyes land just as Knowle arrives at the pueblos.

CSM is ready to tell Scully everything Mulder is too scared to. Every president since Truman has been spooked by the tale. The Mayans were even scared, which is why their calendar stops on December 22, 2012 – the day of the final alien invasion. Mulder saw that date on the computer at Mount Weather, so he knows the truth the government is trying to keep hidden.

Mulder taunts that CSM is drunk with power, but doesn’t actually have the power to do anything. CSM claims he’s been protecting Mulder for years in anticipation of this moment, when Mulder would be broken and afraid. Now he can die. Outside, military helicopters arrive as Doggett and Reyes face off with Knowle. Their bullets don’t do anything, but the magnetite in the hills does. His body turns gray and flies into a hill.

Mulder and Scully come outside, and Doggett and Reyes warn that the government is coming for them. Doggett wants the lovebirds to come with him and Reyes, but Mulder sends them off. The helicopters now have two cars to track, but they decide to let all the agents go. Then they blast the pueblos with explosives in an attempt to kill CSM. CSM sits quietly and accepts his supposed fate. (Spoiler: Despite being pretty much set on fire, CSM survives.)

In Roswell, Mulder and Scully check into a motel and mirror one of their first moments together in the X-Files. Mulder repeats what he was supposed to be brainwashed into believing – that he’s guilty and should be punished. When they first met, he tried to convince Scully of the truth, in a motel just like this. Though he succeeded in that, he failed in every other way.

Scully doesn’t agree, adding that Mulder kept the truth from her not because he was broken or afraid, but because he didn’t want to accept it. He says he was afraid the truth would crush Scully’s spirit. Scully says she won’t accept the truth if Mulder won’t. He only fails if he gives up, and she knows he never will. She would do this whole crazy thing all over again.

Mulder points out that the search for the truth hasn’t gotten them to a very good place. Scully repeats that she knows he won’t give up. He’s always said he wants to believe, but in what? If he finally knows the truth, what’s left to believe in? Mulder says he wants to believe that the dead aren’t lost to us: “That they speak to us as part of something greater than us.” If the two of them are powerless now, they can get power when they listen. Scully believes the same thing. He looks at her cross necklace, then gets in bed with her and says, “Maybe there’s hope.”

Thoughts: Say goodbye to Doggett, whose X-Files service has ended. Robert Patrick was a great addition to the cast.

The Marine base has very bad security. A supposedly dead man gets in using his real ID, which doesn’t make anyone suspicious. And Doggett and Skinner just walk in and get Mulder out of his cell. Shouldn’t there be guards with guns or something?

So much New Mexico in the last two episodes. Maybe that’s what inspired Vince Gilligan to set Breaking Bad there.

Here ends the original run of the show. Things are about to get…wildly inconsistent.

April 6, 2019

The X-Files 9.19, The Truth, Part 1: A Guilty Man

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

Not seen: Skinner looking suuuuuuuper awkward

Summary: A helicopter lands at the Mount Weather Complex in Bluemont, Virginia, and a bunch of people in suits get out. One of them is the long-missing Fox Mulder. That’s right, David Duchovny is finally back! The people get on a bus, which drives underground to some caverns. Once it stops, Mulder runs off to spy on a lab from a catwalk. He gets access to a restricted area of the complex and types something on a computer. “END GAME” comes up on the screen. He enters a code and gets a date: December 22, 2012.

Mulder gulps, but before he can react any further, someone else enters the room. It’s Knowle, and he doesn’t look happy. Well, he never looks happy, but he looks especially serious right now. Mulder ambushes him, but Knowle is super-strong and just picks him up and throws him through a window. Mulder is somehow able to escape with only a couple small cuts on his face.

But as Mulder runs from Knowle, he encounters another enemy: the supposedly dead Krycek. Mulder chooses the enemy he knows and keeps going toward Krycek. He won’t address how he’s alive, but he does tell Mulder that there are others. An alarm sounds and Mulder has to run again. This time Knowle catches him and bends him over the side of a catwalk. Mulder is somehow able to flip Knowle over so he falls onto some sort of electrical thing and gets fried. The good news is Knowle is taken care of. The bad news is that guards are able to capture Mulder.

Sometime later, Mulder’s in a military prison, and a soldier wants to know what he’s thinking. Mulder can’t come up with the right answer. He wants to get out of there (wrong!), and he’s thinking about William and Scully (double wrong!). The soldier demands answers, but Mulder isn’t forthcoming.

After a few days of this, judging by Mulder’s stubble, Mulder asks the soldier what he’s supposed to be thinking. The soldier tells him he’s a guilty man. Mulder agrees, saying he deserves the harshest punishment for his crime. Satisfied that the naked, sleep-deprived Mulder has been successfully brainwashed, the soldier leaves.

Scully and Skinner are allowed to visit Mulder, but his reunion with Scully after months apart isn’t the way she expected. For starters, he calls her Dana. She hugs him, but he doesn’t hug back. He just asks if she’s okay, as if he’s confused about why she would be so emotional right now. Mulder says he’s being treated well, then greets Skinner as Walter. He admits to killing Knowle and going in search of something that didn’t exist. He made a horrible mistake and should be punished.

Skinner reminds Mulder that, no matter what happened, he deserves a lawyer and a fair trial. Mulder doesn’t care about that – he’s a guilty man. When they’re told the visit is over, Mulder just turns away and lets Scully and Skinner leave. Then he starts talking to Krycek, who isn’t really there. Mulder asks why Krycek is helping him, and Krycek says Mulder can’t do this alone.

Scully and Skinner go to the FBI building and fill Doggett and Reyes in on what’s going on. Doggett doesn’t get how Knowle was alive before Mulder killed him. Reyes is like, “Duh, super-soldier.” Doggett points out that, if that’s the case, Mulder couldn’t have killed him. Scully decides her best option is to “beg mercy of the man upstairs.” I don’t think she means God.

Kersh goes to Mulder’s prison, the brig at Quantico, and meets with General Mark Suveg. Kersh wants mercy for Mulder, due to his “good character.” Suveg says this looks bad for the Marines but worse for the FBI. He’ll give Kersh and the FBI a chance to clean up their mess – Mulder will get a fair hearing from his own agency, but in Suveg’s court. Kersh doesn’t think that’s legal. Suveg doesn’t care, as long as Mulder is found guilty. Kersh resists, but Suveg reminds him that there are sources in the government they shouldn’t tick off.

Scully and Skinner return to Mulder’s cell, freaking out when he does a Hannibal Lechter impression. He laughs, admitting that he’s been faking his brainwashing the whole time. Then he makes out with Scully right in front of Skinner. It goes on for a good ten seconds and, uh, was not scripted. Skinner looks hilariously uncomfortable. Mulder tries to greet him warmly, but Skinner wants him to be serious. Mulder knows he’s going to trial and that the government doesn’t care for his side of the story. He also knows Knowle was a super-soldier.

Skinner warns that there are tons of witnesses ready to testify against Mulder and destroy him. Scully promises to get Mulder a good lawyer, but Mulder knows that won’t do anything. He chooses Skinner as his attorney. Please keep in mind that Skinner isn’t a lawyer. Mulder promises that he knows what he’s doing. Doggett and Reyes join the group and announce that the military claims they have Knowle’s body. Apparently he could be killed after all.

The next morning, Scully wakes Mulder with a rare in-person “Mulder, it’s me.” She wants him to confide in her; she thinks they’ll lose the case otherwise. Mulder won’t tell her anything that might put her at risk. Scully’s scared of losing him again after she just got him back, but he promises again that he knows what he’s doing.

Scully cries as she tells Mulder he has no idea what she went through while he was gone. But Skinner already told him that she gave William up. She’s worried that Mulder won’t forgive her, but he knows she did what she had to do. He tells her he was hiding out in New Mexico, just looking for the truth. Scully thinks he found something, but again, Mulder says he can’t tell her what it was. He asks her to trust him, because he knows things it’s better she stays clueless about.

Skinner goes to the courtroom to prepare for the trial. He meets the prosecutor, Agent Kallenbrunner, and I’m not typing that over and over, so he’s Agent K. now. (Not to be confused with Tommy Lee Jones’ character in Men in Black.) A panel of judges enters, including Toothpick Man. Kersh is serving as the judge. Let the bizarre trial begin!

Agent K. has no witnesses to call, but he has the sworn testimonies of all the people who saw Mulder kill Knowle. Skinner asks to have the proceedings dismissed because this isn’t a fair trial. He’s not a lawyer and Kersh isn’t a judge. Kersh shuts him down, then again when Skinner asks for a delay while they try to track down Marita. Skinner grumbles that he’ll call another witness under protest. Kersh tells him there’s no court record, by the way. Mulder’s fine with moving ahead anyway.

Skinner calls Scully as his first witness. She testifies that over her years working with Mulder, she came to believe in his theories about aliens. Agent K. has an understandable objection about what this has to do with Mulder killing Knowle. Skinner’s like, “No, let’s keep talking about meteors and alien viruses.” There are flashbacks, so this is kind of a clip show. Scully says that the government learned about the alien virus in 1947, when a UFO crashed in Roswell. The virus hid underground in black oil, and can communicate with UFOs.

There’s more recapping, and then Agent K. cross-examines by asking Scully for proof of aliens. Can they call one as a witness? Does she have any rocks from Mars? He cuts to the chase: Isn’t it true that Mulder and Scully were lovers, and she got pregnant with his child? Skinner objects, but Agent K. decides he’s done with the witness. Mulder silently indicates to Scully that he still knows what he’s doing.

Spender is called next, and his face is still deformed, so that’s fun. He testifies about CSM’s part in the government conspiracy, but Agent K. and Kersh don’t see the connection to Mulder’s case. Skinner continues, getting Spender to testify that he and Mulder are half brothers, sharing CSM as a father. He adds that CSM had Krycek kill Bill Mulder. Bill always felt ashamed of his decision to give up Samantha to cover up the conspiracy.

Spender confirms that Samantha was sent to California and raised with Spender, but was taken many times for testing. She was part of the conspiracy’s cloning experiment and died in 1987. When Spender started working for the FBI, he didn’t know about CSM’s crimes. CSM tried to kill him, then made him undergo testing like Samantha did.

Agent K. says that Spender must want his father to pay for his crimes. Spender believes CSM is already dead. Agent K. notes that while they were working together at the FBI, Spender wrote reports trashing Mulder. Spenders says he wrote those before he knew the truth about the conspiracy. Agent K. doesn’t think that matters.

In Weed Hope, New Mexico, a teen boy pays a visit to someone in a camper. He has news about Mulder being in trouble. The camper’s owner, Gibson, says he’ll get ready to leave. With the trial over for the day, Scully goes to Mulder’s cell and begs him to take a plea bargain. Mulder refuses, since they’ve worked too hard to expose the truth. In that case, Scully wants him to testify on his own behalf, but he won’t do that either. She reminds him that they’re fighting the fight together.

After Scully leaves, Mulder hears a voice speaking in the dark. It’s Mr. X, and he is TICKED. He reminds Mulder that the men deciding his fate have too much power to be afraid of what he can tell them. Mulder says he refuses to back down. Mr. X. says he’ll need help, then, and gives him a piece of paper with Marita’s address.

At his place with Reyes, Doggett calls around to find out where Knowle’s body is, but he can’t get any cooperation. Reyes sees someone in the yard, so the two agents grab their guns and go to investigate. It’s the kid who visited Gibson, there to tell the agents that he wants to help Mulder.

Mr. X.’s help pans out, and on the second day of the trial, Marita comes to testify. She talks about the Syndicate and their work to develop a vaccine for the alien virus. They used human subjects for testing. Marita eventually turned on the Syndicate, which is why she helped Mulder when he approached her. But the Syndicate used her as a test subject while trying to develop a vaccine to save only themselves. Renegade aliens brought down the conspiracy, and the Syndicate members are all dead (allegedly).

Skinner asks why Marita resisted testifying – she shouldn’t be afraid of anything now, if the conspiracy has been stopped. Skinner thinks it’s still going on, with the super-soldiers, and that Marita knows who they are. As Skinner tries to get her to respond, Krycek appears to Mulder and warns, “They’ll kill her.” Mulder tells Skinner to dismiss Marita, no matter how helpful she might be to his case.

As Marita leaves, Doggett pulls Skinner aside to give him a message. Skinner reveals that there’s a surprise witness. When Gibson enters, Mulder gets agitated, telling Skinner he wants Gibson away from the proceedings for his protection. Skinner says that Gibson’s trying to protect Mulder now.

Gibson testifies that he’s been hiding Mulder in the desert for the past year. Skinner recaps the whole thing about Gibson having weird DNA and being able to read minds. Mulder notes that Gibson is reading Agent K.’s mind right now, as well as the minds of the judges. Even the mind of Toothpick Man…who’s not human. Mulder yells that Toothpick Man is “one of them” and needs to be examined. He’s removed from the courtroom as he shouts that they’re all afraid of the truth. To be continued…

Thoughts: Agent K. is played by Matthew Glave, who also plays Dale on ER.

I would like to never hear the name Knowle Rohrer again, please. How does anyone say it with a straight face?

Mulder doesn’t get a bed in the brig, but he does get unlimited visits from Scully. So that’s nice.

February 2, 2019

The X-Files 9.10, Providence: “Bring Me the Head of Fox Mulder”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:23 pm by Jenn

When you’re not sure what’s going on with a spaceship, it’s best to stand directly on top of it

Summary: Some guy gets the pointless episode-opening voiceover as he talks about God coming to him in Iraq in 1991. While under attack, he had an omen about his men dying. While the rest of his people were killed, he was left alive, rescued by some more soldiers. Those four head into a building that explodes, but they come out unharmed. Now the surviving soldier (who’s from the Alberta dig site that unearthed the spaceship) thinks his mission on Earth is to tell people about those angels and a god who came before all other gods.

Follmer recaps the previous episode, telling a taskforce that William has been kidnapped by the woman who ambushed the Lone Gunmen. The guys are all fine and present at the meeting, as is Toothpick Man. Doggett is absent, but he has a good excuse, as he’s in a coma. Follmer says that the kidnapper and Comer’s motives are still unknown. The FBI is confident they can get William back unharmed.

Skinner catches Scully sitting in on the meeting and tells her to go home and let the rest of the bureau find William. Scully isn’t about to trust Follmer to lead the rescue mission. They know he withholds information from Kersh, and he’s already failed twice to prevent attacks on William. Skinner thinks she’s crazy to think that Follmer and Kersh could be part of William’s abduction.

Scully reminds Skinner of all the stuff Follmer and Kersh have already been involved in. She thinks they’re leading an effort to eliminate the X-Files and everyone connected to it. Skinner says she’d have to group him with Kersh and Follmer in her accusations. Instead, Scully leaves to find William on her own.

Skinner goes to the hospital, where Reyes is by Doggett’s side. There’s a possibility that he’ll never wake up. Skinner tells Reyes about sitting with dying soldiers in Vietnam and telling them they would be okay even when it was obvious they wouldn’t. Talking to them felt like praying – they might not be able to hear him, but God could.

Scully calls to check on Doggett, then asks to meet with Reyes, without Skinner knowing. The abductor has been ID’d, thanks to the Lone Gunmen, and Scully needs Reyes’ help to find information on her. She doesn’t want the FBI to know what they’re up to. The Gunmen hack a phone company to try to track a cell phone in their car, which the kidnapper also took. There’s no signal yet, but the guys will keep trying.

Reyes thinks Scully is nuts to go off alone, since the Gunmen have already failed her with William. (Ouch.) Scully doesn’t think she has any other choice – she doesn’t believe the FBI is as confident in getting William back as Follmer said they were. The Gunmen announce that they’ve picked up a cell signal in Pennsylvania, so Scully heads out, willing to go alone if Reyes won’t tag along.

As the kidnapper stops at a phone booth, the diggers in Alberta take pictures of their discovery. The kidnapper calls the soldier to confirm that she has William, and he tells her he’ll send someone to get her. Just then, pieces of the spaceship start moving and lights inside it turn on. The top closes, trapping two diggers inside. The soldier asks for tools to get them out.

Scully and Reyes race to Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, and find the Lone Gunmen’s car, which is now empty. Reyes returns to D.C. to check in on Doggett, who’s been taken for some scans. Reyes goes to the chapel, where Follmer interrupts her prayers and notes that she’s acting pretty “traditional.” She admits that she feels lost. He hugs her and promises he’s doing everything he can to find William and the kidnapper, despite the people in the FBI who are working against them.

Follmer knows that Scully and Reyes went off alone, and he chastises Reyes for not giving the FBI a heads up. He wants her cooperation, promising to share information he hasn’t already. First off, Comer wants to tell them something. He’s also in the hospital, not looking so great, but has tried to write Follmer a note. It just says “jacket,” and Follmer and Reyes can’t figure out what it means.

Reyes takes it to Scully, telling her that she’s only allowed to see it if she gives Reyes information to give Follmer. Scully tells her that Comer only made it from the Canadian border to D.C. without a scratch on him because of something in his jacket pocket. Obviously, the piece of the spaceship is the key here.

The women go to the hospital, taking the artifact to Comer’s room. It brings him back to consciousness and makes him agitated. Scully threatens to smother Comer with his pillow if he doesn’t tell her who sent him to kill William. Comer says that William has to die, so Scully puts a hand around his throat. He explains that he was sent to infiltrate a UFO cult whose followers believe an alien race will take over the world. They were sent to Alberta to find the ship, which the cult leader thinks is a temple that houses “the physical manifestation of God.”

Scully interprets this as Comer saying God told him to kill William. Comer corrects that the cult leader believes William is a savior who needs to be protected. William is prophesied to follow in Mulder’s footsteps and save the world from aliens…unless Mulder is killed. Reyes figures out that Comer came to kill William to end the prophesy. Scully thinks that means Mulder is dead, also in an attempt to end the prophesy. If William doesn’t die, all humans will.

Toothpick Man catches the agents in Comer’s room and makes them leave. They can’t get the artifact back without Toothpick Man seeing, so they have to leave it with Comer. Toothpick Man tells some minions to call Follmer and Skinner, then heads into Comer’s room. In Alberta, the men can’t be freed from the spaceship, but there are more important things to deal with – the kidnapper has arrived with William. The top of the spaceship opens, but the men who were trapped inside are dead.

Skinner and Follmer come to the hospital as Scully and Reyes go to the chapel. Scully doesn’t want to tell the other agents how Comer has made a miraculous recovery; the FBI will use that against them. Reyes thinks they need to tell the truth, but Scully knows there’s more going on. She’s always felt like something was wrong with her pregnancy and child, and now there’s confirmation.

Reyes disagrees, reminding Scully that the ship is full of scripture, and no scripture mentions the death of a child. They’re just dealing with false prophets. All they need to believe is that William could still be alive, and they can save him. They can also use the artifact to save Doggett. Skinner finds the women and tells them they need to get out of there. Comer’s dead.

Reyes returns to Comer’s room and tries to get his nurse to back up her story that he was alive when Toothpick Man got there. The artifact is gone, but the nurse denies seeing it. Reyes suspects that Toothpick Man killed Comer, but Follmer thinks she’s snapped. She goes looking for Scully to back up her story.

Scully’s with Doggett, feeling guilty for putting his life in danger. She promises that Reyes is fighting for him. Doggett wakes up and says he heard someone talking. “They’re” going to come to her, but she can’t trust them. Reyes comes in just as Scully gets a call from the soldier offering her the chance to see William, if she comes alone and follows his instructions.

Scully goes to Alberta and meets the soldier in a diner. He tells her he wants to protect William. He quotes Ephesians, a verse about giants walking the earth, which he thinks relates to the angels he saw in Iraq. Those “angels” were really supersoldiers. The soldier offers to let Scully see William if she brings him confirmation that Mulder’s dead. The soldier thought he was, but now he has reason to doubt it. If Mulder’s alive, he’s preventing William’s true destiny. “If you want to see the boy,” the soldier tells Scully, “you’ll bring me the head of Fox Mulder.”

Scully calls Reyes, who’s with the Lone Gunmen, putting trackers in the soldier’s cars. The women follow the trackers, but the Gunmen lose the signals. Frohike pretends they’re still going the right way, though he doesn’t fool Reyes. At the dig site, the spaceship is moving again, and William is no longer calm and quiet, as he’s been the whole episode. The kidnapper tells the soldier that the ship started moving when William started crying.

The women are lost, but Scully spots the lights from the spaceship in the distance and runs toward them. The spaceship moves a lot, and the lights go out. Then the whole ship lights up and goes up into the sky. Scully and Reyes see it fly off and think William’s on board. The dig site has been destroyed, and the diggers are dead, but there’s one person who’s alive in the wreckage: William.

Reyes finds Doggett, now fully healed, in the hospital chapel, and he tells her he knows she prayed for him. He thinks she’s the person he heard talking while he was in the coma, telling him to warn Scully about the soldier. Reyes says she only prayed for his life.

At FBI headquarters, Follmer tells Kersh that Skinner wouldn’t sign his report about Comer’s death, since Skinner thinks Comer was murdered. Follmer signed the report, but Comer’s monitors showed that he was improving before he died. Follmer wants to take his name off the report. Kersh would like an explanation, but since Follmer’s just backpedaling, Kersh isn’t going to agree to anything. He goes into his office and tells Toothpick Man that the case isn’t quite closed, and has been designated an X-File. Toothpick and his bumpy neck are sure they can take care of that.

Thoughts: I’d love to know how the kidnapper got William from all three Lone Gunmen without hurting any of them.

Scully’s scriptural knowledge is apparently so deep that she can identify some random passage from Ephesians on the first try.

I love that Scully calls out William’s name when she goes into the wreckage, as if he’s going to call out, “I’m over here, Mom!”

January 26, 2019

The X-Files 9.9, Provenance: Oh, Cool, the Baby’s in Danger Again

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

And Scully doesn’t see his fingers? Yeah, right

Summary: In Burke County, North Dakota, at the U.S./Canadian border, two Border Patrol agents are freezing their butts off. They spot someone on a motorbike and give chase. It goes on for a long time. These three characters have now had more screentime than Kersh has all season. Eventually, the motorbike goes up in flames and its rider is thrown off. His bag comes open, spilling out a bunch of paper full of symbols.

Scully gets to take a break from Quantico when she’s called to Kersh’s office at the FBI building. Skinner, Follmer, and some other men are also there. One of them has a toothpick in his mouth and is only known by the highly creative name Toothpick Man. Kersh shows Scully the biker’s pages and asks if she knows what they are. Scully dodges the question, saying that if they’re connected to the X-Files, Kersh and Follmer should ask someone who currently works on the X-Files. Scully asks for more information, but they won’t provide it.

As soon as she’s dismissed, Scully goes to the X-Files office and asks Doggett and Reyes if Follmer’s been down there, going through files. They haven’t seen him and don’t have any idea what’s been going on. She shows them rubbings from the spaceship in Africa, full of the same symbols as the pages in the biker’s bag. She didn’t say anything to Kersh and Follmer because she knows the symbols are powerful words. If the FBI has them, they must know just how powerful the symbols are.

Doggett heads to North Dakota, meeting up with Follmer at the border. Now it’s Follmer’s turn to dodge questions and pretend nothing important is going on. Doggett’s smart enough to know that the number of FBI agents searching the site for the now-missing biker means he must be significant. Follmer insists that the biker’s disappearance has nothing to do with Doggett or the X-Files. If Doggett keeps snooping around, he’ll regret it. The biker has actually been hiding out in the woods all night, and when he pulls a piece of metal with symbols on it out of his pocket, his burns from the bike crash instantly heal.

Back in D.C., Reyes has put together all the rubbings of the spaceship and wants to know if Scully knows what they say. They’re full of religious scriptures and science stuff, like the period table. All of it appears to be millions of years old. Reyes thinks they’re dealing with the actual word of God, which means everything humans believe in is in question.

Scully says she refused to believe that at first, but now she thinks the symbols hold some answers, especially about William. She thinks she was meant to find the symbols. Reyes wonders why the FBI would keep the truth from Scully. Hi, Reyes, welcome to the show. More importantly, what does the FBI hope to learn from the symbols?

Doggett returns to D.C. to yell at Skinner for not answering calls from him or Follmer. Skinner repeats Follmer’s insistence that the case isn’t an X-File. Doggett reveals that he was in North Dakota and knows agents are searching for the biker. Why is Skinner keeping Kersh and Follmer’s secrets? Skinner says he knows things Doggett doesn’t, and he’s keeping quiet for Doggett’s own good.

As Doggett sneaks into Kersh’s office, where he’s keeping the pages, an archaeological dig in Alberta, Canada, unearths what appears to be another spaceship. Doggett gets information on the biker, Robert Comer, who happens to be an FBI agent. Reyes has even worked with him before. For the past few months, he’s been working a case so secret that the details are redacted from his file. Doggett also nabbed the pages so the two of them and Scully can get a better look at them.

In Jessup, Maryland, Comer steals a truck and plans a trip to Georgetown. Scully leaves William with her mother, who doesn’t like that she’s running around in the middle of the night, looking for answers about the baby. No matter what Scully learns, she needs to love William like any other child. Maggie sees him as a miracle and isn’t sure they should question the circumstances of his existence. They should just take it on faith. Scully can’t do that – she needs to know if God is really responsible for her son’s conception.

Doggett fills Scully in on Comer, who’s been researching a UFO cult in North Dakota. The FBI thinks he joined the cult himself, which explains all the secrecy. Scully tells Doggett and Reyes that something else has to be going on; she was questioned about the symbols, not Comer. Reyes thinks the FBI doesn’t know what’s really going on. She’s looked at the pages and rubbings and has realized they don’t match. The UFO cult must have found a second spaceship.

In the morning, Maggie takes William for a walk, then returns home to find Comer waiting for her. Scully gets home just as Comer is roughing Maggie up. Maggie warns that Comer wants to kill the baby, so Scully fights him in the nursery. Comer gets the upper hand, locking Scully out and ignoring her threats. Fortunately, Maggie has found a gun, and Scully is able to bust down the nursery door and shoot Comer before he can hurt William.

Doggett and Reyes rush over, and Scully gives orders. Reyes will look after Maggie and William while Scully and Doggett deal with an injured Comer. Doggett insists that they get Comer to a hospital, but Scully won’t let the FBI take over and prevent her from getting answers. Doggett ignores her and calls 911. Comer tells Scully that William has to die, but he passes out before he can tell her whose orders he’s following. As paramedics take Comer away, Scully examines his jacket and finds the piece of metal inside.

In Calgary, Alberta, a newspaper announces that a missing FBI agent was shot in D.C. A woman who reads the headline seems very concerned. She goes to the site of the archaeological dig and shows it to a man there, who says, “This changes everything.” They know Comer could expose everything. That means they only have one option.

In D.C., Scully and Doggett are both called to the principal’s office – sorry, I mean Kersh’s office. The same people are present from Scully’s first questioning. Kersh tells her there will be an investigation into Comer’s attempt to kill William, but that’s not good enough for Scully or Doggett. He wants answers. Kersh knows that they already know about Comer’s undercover assignment. Skinner reveals that he asked to keep that case out of the X-Files because he thought it might be too much for Scully.

Kersh and Follmer continue that Comer was sent to infiltrate the cult after a series of threats on Mulder’s life. Scully asks why they showed her the rubbings. Follmer says that before they lost contact with Comer in North Dakota, he sent a communication that Mulder was dead. Scully just looks at all the men and then leaves.

Reyes brings William home to Scully, who starts to tell her about Mulder. They hear a rattling sound from the next room and realize the metal piece is shaking around in the drawer Scully stashed it in. When she opens the drawer, the metal flies out and straight into the nursery, cutting through some of the bars of William’s crib. It stops above his head, slowly rotating, just like the mobile he seemingly moved with his mind.

Doggett comes over and Reyes tells him what happened. She thinks William has some sort of connection to the piece of metal. Whether or not Doggett believes that (uh, he doesn’t), the cult does, because they were willing to have William killed. As the three agents put William (aww, three agents and a baby) in the car to take him somewhere, Doggett spots the woman from Calgary watching them. He sends the women off and starts to approach the woman. She’s not in the mood to talk, so she runs him over with her car.

Scully and Reyes take William to the only people left Scully can trust: the Lone Gunmen. Ooh, now it’s three men and a baby! They promise that they’ll keep the baby safe and keep in touch with disposable cell phones that have scrambled signals. The women head back to Scully’s place, where they realize that Doggett has been injured. Scully decides William isn’t safe and rushes off, but it’s too late – the woman from Calgary has already found the Lone Gunmen and is ready to shoot them in order to get William. To be continued…

Thoughts: Toothpick Man is played by Alan Dale. Comer is played by Neal McDonough, who I’m always glad to see pop up in a show I’m watching.

Way to secure your super-important evidence, Kersh. Your desk is a great hiding place. No one would ever think to look there.

“A guy who tried to kill my son for no apparent reason says my boyfriend’s dead. He must be telling the truth.” Whatever, Scully.

January 12, 2019

The X-Files 9.7, John Doe: La Verdad Está Ahí Afuera

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by Jenn

I’m not going to lie, this look really works for Robert Patrick

Summary: We know this is a special episode because it comes with title screens. On Day One, Doggett wakes up on a dirt floor in an abandoned building. Someone steals his shoe, and Doggett chases him outside and onto a street in what Hollywood always thinks Mexico looks like. As Doggett tries to steal his shoe back, the thief calls to some police officers. They’re not happy with the thief, but they’re more interested in Doggett and whether he has papers. Ooh, the Mexican police want papers from a white guy! Twist! Unfortunately, Doggett doesn’t have any. Even more unfortunately, he can’t remember his name.

Day Two. Doggett is in a holding cell with a bunch of other people. To add insult to injury, he still only has one shoe. He thinks that yelling “andale” will make the police pay attention to him, but he’s wrong. One of the other prisoners mocks Doggett for taking his single shoe off to hit the bars of their cell, then putting the shoe back on. Doggett’s pleased to have found someone who speaks English. The guy tells him they’re in Mexico and asks what he remembers. Doggett just wants to get out of jail and call the American embassy.

The guy points out that from there, Doggett will have trouble getting home, since he doesn’t know where home is. He thinks going home might not be a good idea anyway, since Doggett is in a part of Mexico that Americans don’t come to unless they want to disappear. Doggett gets defensive, saying the guy doesn’t know him. “You don’t know you,” the guy points out.

Doggett has a dream about his son, Luke, calling for him. Then we skip ahead to Day Eight. The guy who speaks English (Domingo) is released from the holding cell, and after he learns from the police that no one’s coming for Doggett, he offers to bail Doggett out. Domingo has a job for Doggett but won’t give him any details, knowing Doggett won’t care as long as he gets his freedom. If he works hard enough, Domingo might get him another shoe.

Once he’s free, Doggett says goodbye to Domingo, but Domingo sees Doggett as his property now. Doggett tries to run, but Domingo has a buddy, Nestor, and Nestor has a gun, which he sticks in Doggett’s back. Doggett disarms Nestor and takes the gun (and his other shoe). Domingo notes that, if nothing else, they now know that Doggett isn’t a man of his word.

Doggett tracks down the shoe thief and asks what else he stole from Doggett. All he gets is a little silver skull charm. The thief tells Doggett that he’s disappeared. Out of options, Doggett finds Domingo in a bar and agrees to work for him. The job is as a coyote, moving people across the border. Domingo doesn’t think Doggett is above the job, since he must have done something horrible to lead him to needing it.

Domingo pays Doggett in advance so he can rent a room above the bar. Doggett shows Domingo the skull and asks if it means anything. All it means is that Doggett has silver and still asked Domingo for money. Nestor warns Domingo that he’s making a mistake; he doesn’t know what Doggett wants. Domingo says he just wants to remember, “same as all the rest.”

Doggett studies his face in the mirror of his room, seeing two little scars on his head. He realizes that the tattoo on his shoulder means he’s a Marine. Elsewhere, we get a glimpse of the Mexican version of CSM, whose charm bracelet is missing a little silver skull.

Day 12. In D.C., Scully and Skinner meet with Kersh to tell him that they’ve gotten word from U.S. Customs. There’s a surveillance photo of Doggett walking across the border from Laredo, Texas, into Mexico. Apparently Americans can just walk into Mexico? They should put some sort of barrier there to keep that from happening. I don’t know what it could be; I don’t have any ideas there. Skinner wants to send a task force there, but Kersh refuses. They’ve been searching Texas for Doggett, and now it looks like he just walked away. He’s Mexico’s problem now.

Scully argues that Doggett could be injured and could need their help. Kersh says he’s as concerned as she is (yeah, I bet), but he can’t use American resources to search Mexico. There’s too much political stuff he’d have to deal with. Skinner notes that Reyes is in San Antonio and was raised in Mexico, so she could help. Kersh says she can do whatever she wants, as long as she stays in the U.S.

So Reyes uses the FBI’s San Antonio field office to bug a Mexican businessman named Molina. He’s been dodging her for two weeks, claiming he’s been too busy with his tractor dealership to help. Reyes addresses him in Spanish, asking if he also sells drugs. Molina’s American lawyer objects to the language switch, since he doesn’t speak Spanish.

Reyes asks Molina about a missing businessman named Hollis Rice. Doggett was investigating his disappearance, and Reyes thinks he questioned Molina two weeks ago. Molina says he doesn’t remember talking to anyone named Doggett. Molina’s lawyer says his client is an upstanding citizen and a pillar of the community. Reyes asks if anyone actually uses that phrase other than mob lawyers. (Nice one.) She thinks Molina runs a smuggling operation, and Rice was involved somehow, then disappeared because he crossed Molina.

Reyes continues that Doggett is also missing in Mexico, and she’ll do anything it takes to get him back. Molina’s only hope is to help her. The lawyer calls an end to the interrogation, unless Molina is under arrest. He’s not, so they leave. Reyes gets the last word, telling Molina in Spanish that he should think hard about his future.

Doggett has another dream about Luke. The boy wakes him up at 5:30 in the morning, eager to show him something. Before Doggett can find out what the surprise is, he’s woken up by a ringing phone. He’s fallen asleep in the waiting room of some office where he’s waiting to use the phone. Doggett calls the Marine Corps Public Affairs Office and, lying that his name is Detective Ladatel (the first word he sees on a sign nearby), ask for help with an amnesiac Marine who was hit by a taxi. He uses info from his tattoo to try to help ID himself.

Police enter, so Doggett runs off. He goes to work, fixing trucks for Domingo since he refuses to do anything further as a coyote. Domingo has found a missing-persons flier for Henry Bruck, a suspected murderer. Though the flier doesn’t contain a picture or any details, Domingo figures it’s Doggett. He promises to keep Doggett safe.

That night, Nestor meets with the Mexican CSM (we’ll call him HF, for Hombre Fumando). He says that he and Domingo are friends of HF’s cartel, and Domingo has taken in a disappeared American who’s different from all the others. He knows that HF already knows all this. Actually, HF knows even more than that – he knows Doggett is an FBI agent.

Nestor asks why Doggett is still alive. HF says he takes his orders from the cartel, and his orders never said to kill Doggett. Ahh, I get it. The cartel isn’t a drug cartel – it’s the Mexican version of the Syndicate. HF continues that if Doggett were to die tonight, it wouldn’t be any of his concern.

Scully goes to San Antonio and tells Reyes that Skinner’s on his way to Mexico to work with the feds there to find Doggett. She’s learned that the Marines are looking for an unidentified man in Mexico. Reyes recognizes Doggett’s alias, Ladatel, as a Mexican phone calling card, not a name. They decide to trace the call Doggett placed to the Marines.

Nestor corners Doggett at the garage, where he’s working under a truck. Nestor reveals that he speaks English and tells Doggett, “See you in Hell, FBI.” He pulls a gun and fires at Doggett, who releases the jack holding up the truck so the truck blocks him from getting shot and injures Nestor’s foot at the same time. Hey, if Doggett hadn’t gotten his other shoe back, he could take Nestor’s! Doggett hides, then pounces on Nestor as he’s trying to get off another shot.

Domingo returns to the garage and finds Nestor dead. Doggett accuses Domingo of sending Nestor to kill him. He thinks Domingo knows who he is. Domingo says he’s a killer, for starters, since he killed Nestor. He calls Doggett a “desaparecido,” someone the cartel makes disappear. They run the town and kill people who make trouble. People who are more trouble dead than alive get their memories taken away.

Doggett asks how he can get his memory back. Domingo says he can’t. But Doggett’s dreams are clearly some sort of glitch in the process, because they’re breaking through his amnesia. While Doggett is distracted by a memory, Domingo starts pounding on him.

Reyes questions a police officer, pretending Doggett is her husband who abandoned her and their kids. He tells her that he and his fellow officers found an American who had been beaten to death. She asks to see the body, but it’s not Doggett (probably Henry Bruck, then). However, he does have the same scars on his head that Doggett has.

Domingo goes to HF to tell him that Nestor is dead. He knows that Nestor wouldn’t have tried to kill Doggett without HF’s permission. Domingo has overpowered Doggett and wants HF to have the honor of finishing him off. HF asks what Domingo told Doggett when he inevitably asked about his identity and his memories. Domingo says he didn’t reveal anything, but HF doesn’t believe him. He wants to see the truth with his own eyes. By this, he means use his eyes, which are now glowing, to remove Domingo’s memories from his head.

Doggett wakes up (this is turning into a drinking game) in the garage as a car arrives. He grabs a tire iron to use as a weapon and almost clocks Reyes over the head with it. He grabs her gun and holds it on her, unsure if he can believe her when she tells him they need to leave. He’ll need to make a decision quickly, because the police are there to kill him on behalf of the cartel.

Doggett thinks he and Reyes can just hide and wait for the cops to get bored. (I will not call it a Mexican standoff. I will not.) He tells her the only thing he can remember is his son. Reyes tells him the boy’s name was Luke. Doggett asks how old Luke is, and Reyes realizes sadly that she’ll have to tell him that Luke is dead. Her face says it all, but Doggett remembers that Luke was kidnapped and murdered.

As Doggett is crying over Luke’s death, the police throw a smoke canister through the window. Reyes tells her partner he needs to focus. The police start firing into the garage, which is really not a place the agents should be hiding out, with all that gas around. Reyes tells Doggett that they can’t die there. There’s a bus in the garage, so they board it and try to use it to escape, but Doggett’s driving abilities must have been removed with all of his other memories, because he tips it over just a few yards from the police.

Before the police can resume shooting, the feds arrive, led by Skinner, and stop the standoff. Well, that was anticlimactic. Doggett returns the skull to HF and accuses him of taking away his identity. He now knows he was in Mexico looking for Rice, who suffered the same memory loss as Doggett. But HF failed with Doggett, who now remembers everything.

Skinner tells Doggett to leave so the other agents can detain HF. But HF stops Doggett when he asks why Doggett would want to remember his past. There’s no way he’s happier now that he remembers. HF saw all the pain Doggett has suffered and doesn’t know why he’d want it back. “Because it’s mine,” Doggett replies.

With his memories fully restored, Doggett can now fill in the rest of the scene he kept dreaming about. Luke wanted to show him that he could ride his bike on his own. He should be wearing a helmet, unless he wants to end up with amnesia like his father, but whatever, good for him. Reyes is sorry that Doggett had to go through all that pain, but Doggett is fine remembering the bad as long as he can also remember the good.

Thoughts: In a couple of Doggett’s dreams/memories, we see his wife in bed with him when Luke comes in. She’s played by Barbara Patrick, Robert Patrick’s real-life wife.

Hey, show, don’t cast a white actress to play a character with the last name Reyes, then pretend she grew up in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. Annabeth Gish’s accent gives away her lack of fluency.

Domingo: “I’d invite you to have a drink with us, but Nestor hates you.” For some reason, that cracked me up.

I hope Scully’s okay. She disappears after she gets to Mexico. Maybe she found a fun bar and spent the rest of the case doing tequila shots.

December 8, 2018

The X-Files 9.2, Nothing Important Happened Today II: The Third Man

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

“True Detective” season 4?

Summary: A man goes through a bunch of scans to gain access to a secret lair. He’s supposed to deliver a message to a Dr. Nordlinger, but he wants to sidestep proper procedure to get confirmation that Nordlinger receives the message. Nordlinger himself emerges from a lab and takes the note, which tells him there’s an emergency and he needs to return to the operations base. Nordlinger tries to keep his cool as he assures the message deliver, whom he calls Captain, that he’s returning to base. But really, the captain is returning them to base, because he’s in charge of steering the ship they’re on.

Follmer is still looking for Doggett at the water plant, and Doggett’s still underwater, being pulled down by Shannon. Follmer leaves without noticing either of them. Once Doggett loses consciousness, Shannon kisses him. Or maybe she’s giving him mouth-to-mouth, but since he’s still underwater, that’s not going to do much good.

Follmer returns to his office and summons Reyes and Skinner so he can lecture them about their investigation. He tells them that Doggett is nowhere to be found. He’s giving them a chance to put a positive spin on the mess Doggett’s made. Reyes says that they were following up on a lead that they think will take them to a bigger conspiracy. The investigation is totally legitimate. Follmer warns that Reyes will lose her job if she keeps chasing shadows and conspiracies.

Reyes asks how he knows there isn’t one. Follmer says that she’s just engaging in a witch hunt, and taking on the whole FBI is a horrible idea. Unless she distances herself from Doggett, the only person who will be exposed is Reyes. Instead, Reyes announces that she’s distancing herself from Follmer and his political games. He tells her she’s making a big mistake. “I seem to make one every time I walk in your door,” she replies.

Doggett wakes up in his bed, coughing from all the water he breathed in. He’s shocked to see Shannon in his bedroom. She says she had to hold him underwater so no one would know what he was starting to figure out. She reveals that she’s a super-soldier from the program Knowle told him about. Shannon has no weaknesses, doesn’t need to sleep, and can breathe underwater. She saved Doggett’s life.

Doggett asks how Shannon knows what he and Knowle talked about. She says that she and Knowle are the Adam and Eve of the super-soldier program. That means Knowle is still alive, since super-soldiers can’t be killed. Shannon and Knowle are almost completely alike, except Shannon hates being a super-soldier. She wants Doggett’s help to stop the program from expanding. He needs to expose Wormus and the water-plant guy’s deaths so everyone will know what’s in the water supply.

The ship is now in Baltimore, and the captain is ready to leave, even though the crew is under orders to stay put. The captain says they can’t risk not making contact now. Skinner goes to Scully’s place to ask why he’s supposed to just let Mulder disappear and not follow up. Scully tells him that something happened with William that she can’t explain. Skinner says she’s made a big mistake by letting Doggett and Reyes pull her into their investigation. But Scully is desperate for answers. Skinner urges her to get in touch with Mulder and let him know what’s going on. She says it’s too dangerous to bring him back into the fold.

The captain tries to call Wormus, who, of course, doesn’t answer his phone. He returns to the ship, where his second-in-command has been replaced…by Knowle. Reyes and Doggett call Scully to tell her they may have some answers about William. When she goes to meet them at Doggett’s place, Shannon is there. She explains that an additive called chloramine is being put in the water. Scully says it’s just like chlorine, so there’s no danger there. Shannon says the molecular makeup has been altered, so yeah, it actually is dangerous.

She continues that the chloramine is being used to create mutated offspring that will grow up to be super-soldiers. Shannon’s the prototype, and considering how powerful she is, the generations coming after her must be even more awesome. She thinks William is a super-soldier. Scully doesn’t buy that Shannon is trustworthy, so Shannon shows her the standard mutation that all super-soldiers have, a bulge in their necks.

Knowle takes a peek at some of the ship’s logs, telling the captain he just wants to be prepared in case something happens to the captain. He asks what the ship’s mission is. The captain doesn’t know; he and his crew don’t ask questions. Suddenly an alarm goes off and everyone runs out to the deck. Divers jump into the water and pull out the body of the officer Knowle replaced.

While Scully gives Shannon an examination to confirm that she’s not human, Reyes tells Doggett that Shannon’s story doesn’t make sense. Why did she have to kill two people to contact Doggett? Doggett has now become the Mulder to Reyes’ Scully, believing the story. But Scully’s still a skeptic, as she’s unable to determine from Shannon’s examination that she’s anything other than human. The bulge in her neck is just a spinal deformity. Doggett thinks Shannon’s the key to the whole case.

Skinner calls Doggett to tell him that Kersh is suspending him. Doggett angrily goes to the office, yelling that Kersh is just making himself look more suspicious by doing this just as Doggett’s about to tie him to the conspiracy. Follmer joins them, backing up Kersh’s decision. Doggett’s like, “Cool, more conspirators! This is awesome!” Follmer tells him that with all this paranoia, he’s sounding a lot like Mulder. Doggett says he answers to Skinner, not Kersh or Follmer, so he’s not accepting his suspension.

Reyes looks up Shannon in the DOJ’s employee database, where she’s listed as a special investigator. The Lone Gunmen surprise her in her office to show her how they’ve hacked the EPA’s phone system. Someone’s been trying to call Wormus, even though his death has been on the front page of the newspaper. They intercept a call coming in right then, and get the message from the captain that they’re in port and one of his men is dead. The captain wants Wormus to call the FBI, just like they talked about, and expose the conspiracy. The Lone Gunmen aren’t the only ones listening, though – so is Knowle.

Reyes goes to Follmer and asks for Shannon’s case files. She wants to show Follmer that he’s on the wrong side of this fight. She thinks the DOJ is setting Doggett up. Follmer agrees with her that Doggett is generally a good person and thinks he’s doing the right thing. Reyes asks him to do the same.

She then finds Doggett and Scully to warn them that Shannon is lying. Both of the men she killed were whistleblowers who wanted to expose the program, just as Shannon claimed she wanted. Reyes thinks she killed them to silence them, and is using Doggett to lead her to a third man. She knows that the captain was in touch with Wormus and the water guy about the secret lab on his ship. Doggett notes that Shannon is the only sure part of this conspiracy, but Scully wants answers from the lab.

The captain takes a hostage in the lab, where some sort of fertility stuff is going on, and demands all the data Nordlinger has compiled. Meanwhile, Scully, Doggett, and Reyes arrive at the ship, having arranged to meet with the captain. Instead, they’re met by Knowle. Doggett tells the women to run while he pulls his gun on Knowle. Of course, super-soldiers can’t be stopped by bullets, so it’s a waste of ammo. There’s a fight, and Knowle easily wins. But just as he’s about to crush Doggett’s skull, Shannon arrives and decapitates Knowle.

She’s disappointed that Doggett didn’t trust her, but before that conversation can continue, a hand reaches through her body, pulls out her heart, and throws her in the water. Doggett catches up with Scully and Reyes, and they search the ship but don’t see anyone. The women find the captain, but he won’t be much help to them, considering his head is no longer attached to his body. Doggett comes across a bomb and realizes that the crew has arranged to destroy the ship.

He goes looking for the women, who have found the lab and realized that it’s being used to manipulate ova. There’s less than a minute left before the bomb detonates, but Scully wants to search the names of the test subjects and see if she’s one of them. Doggett tells her that they need to leave now if she ever wants to see William again. They’ll find another way to get answers. The three agents make it off the ship before it explodes, of course.

48 hours later, Doggett has completed a report about the investigation. It talks about a conspiracy in the government, mentioning the super-soldiers but not Kersh. Doggett was unable to find anything tying him to the investigation, though he’s sure Kersh is involved somehow. He just has one question: Why did Kersh secretly send him Wormus’ obituary? Kersh won’t confirm that he did it, but Doggett thinks he’s the only one with a reason. Does Kersh want him fired or killed?

Kersh asks if Doggett’s familiar with King George III, the king of England when America declared independence. In his diary, on July 4th, 1776, he wrote, “Nothing important happened today.” Kersh’s point is that even kings can miss the start of revolutions if they’re not paying attention. Doggett asks if this means Kersh was actually trying to help him.

Kersh wonders if Doggett would believe him if he said that he warned Mulder that he needed to disappear to keep himself safe. Would Doggett believe that Kersh was under the same threat from the same people? Doggett realizes that Scully believed the threat and made Mulder leave.

Doggett and Follmer end up on an elevator together, and Follmer says that Kersh has Doggett where he wants him. Follmer claims to be “a friend to the X-Files.” It’s somewhat comforting to have Doggett there. Reyes gets on the elevator as Follmer gets off, and Doggett tells him he knows where to reach the two of them. Somewhere underwater, Shannon opens her eyes…but it’s just a dream Scully’s having. She checks on William, who’s in his bassinet, under a mobile that again begins to move when she’s not looking.

Thoughts: Reyes keeps calling Scully “Dana.” It’s weird.

Imagine if a higher-up at your company said you were suspended, and you basically said, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my real dad.” Now imagine that the higher-up was possibly part of a dangerous conspiracy that knew you were trying to expose it. What I’m saying is that Doggett has more guts than I thought.

Apparently Lucy Lawless was originally going to be a recurring character in the ninth season, but she had a high-risk pregnancy and had to bow out. It’s fine; they have plenty of characters.

December 1, 2018

The X-Files 9.1, Nothing Important Happened Today: Water, Water Everywhere, and Who Knows What the Government Put in It?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

When Xenas attack

Summary: A man at a Baltimore bar scoops some ice out of his drink with his hand and drops the cubes on the floor, then licks his fingers. Season 9 is starting on a classy note. He approaches a woman and starts talking about how the government added stuff to the water that makes him want to avoid ice. The woman invites him to go out and “get some air.”

The man drives her home in his convertible, and as they approach a drawbridge, she puts her hand on his leg. Instead of…doing the thing he thought she was going to do and starting season 9 on a REALLY classy note, she forces his foot down on the accelerator. They speed through the gates on the bridge and plunge into the water below. The man struggles to get out of his seatbelt, but the woman grabs his ankle to keep him underwater.

New credits! Do not like.

48 hours after the opening scenes, Scully’s tending to a very unhappy William while an unseen Mulder takes a shower. There’s a bunch of luggage in the living room. Doggett wakes up for work as Reyes gets a call from Brad Follmer, an FBI agent who was surprised to hear that she’s in D.C. She reluctantly agrees to stop by his office. Doggett grabs a quick breakfast, ignoring a news report about the death of the man from the bar, Carl Wormus, and employee at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Follmer is watching the same report in his office when Reyes arrives, trying to avoid talking to him by leaving him a note. As soon as they’re in his office, he kisses her. She reminds him that they’re at work, though he points out that when they worked together in New York, she never had a problem with that. Follmer is now the assistant director, and he wants to show Reyes some security tapes. One shows her arriving at the building to meet with Doggett. Since Doggett’s part of the internal investigation into Kersh’s activities, Reyes could be in some trouble.

Doggett and Kersh run into each other in an elevator and sneer at each other for a little while. Kersh figures that if Doggett can’t turn up anything negative about him, no one can. Doggett finds Reyes in the X-Files office and complains that he has a tough job in having to investigate Kersh. Reyes tells him the job might be harder than he thinks. One of the security tapes Follmer gave her, which should show the car chase Doggett and Skinner had with Knowle, shows…nothing. According to the evidence, there was no activity in the parking garage, and no witnesses will be able to argue otherwise.

Doggett goes to Mulder’s apartment, which is completely empty. Meanwhile, the woman who killed Wormus resurfaces (literally) in a water reclamation plant. A worker spots her walking around naked as he starts to make a call to a Naval ship. Doggett next goes to Scully’s, upset that she hasn’t answered his calls. He thought she had fled town liked Mulder clearly has. Scully confirms that he’s gone.

The plant worker follows the woman’s wet footprints, and when he finds her, it’s safe to say he’s probably going to suffer the same fate as Wormus. At the FBI building, Doggett and Reyes meet with Skinner; none of the three of them knows where Mulder went. Reyes tells Doggett that there’s yet another complication. Skinner tells Doggett that he needs to drop the Kersh investigation. Doggett guesses that Skinner is afraid of whoever’s behind this conspiracy. Alternately, he’s afraid of the real tape turning up and showing that Skinner killed Krycek.

Skinner says his real fear is that Doggett will push things too far and bring danger on Scully, Mulder, and William. Doggett interprets this as meaning that if he doesn’t drop the investigation, he’s on his own. Skinner doesn’t respond, so Doggett figures that’s his answer. But just as he’s leaving, Reyes tells him he’s not alone.

Reyes meets Follmer at a bar, where he asks why she’s risking her career to join Doggett’s investigation. She tells him there’s no investigation anymore. Follmer’s surprised that Doggett would give it up so quickly. Reyes says this means she has to go back to New Orleans. The X-Files division is getting dropped along with the investigation. This was Reyes’ dream assignment, and she was happy to be in D.C., so she’s disappointed. I think Follmer wants to give her a memorable goodbye present.

Doggett goes back to Scully’s apartment and asks for her help. She tells him she doesn’t know how to find Mulder (and if she did, she most likely wouldn’t tell Doggett). Doggett asks why Scully all of a sudden thinks she can’t trust him. She begs him to drop it, but Doggett wants to bring the people who tried to kill all of them to justice. He wants to know what she and Mulder are keeping from him. How long can she hide the truth?

Doggett continues that Knowle told him William was the result of a government experiment to create super-soldiers. Scully insists that the baby is totally fine, so there’s no need to go down that road. Doggett hopes she’s right, and doesn’t want to pretend things are fine when they’re not. Scully asks him to leave and never come back. He leaves, but we all know he’ll be back.

He goes home and calls a bunch of his old Marine buddies to ask them for info about Knowle. The last person on the list, Shannon McMahon, is the woman from the bar…and she’s now in the FBI building, passing Reyes as she gets off an elevator. At home, Scully and the baby both nap, the star mobile over William’s bassinet slowly turning in a circle.

In the X-Files office, Reyes breaks a pencil point and goes looking for a new one. There are a bunch stuck in the ceiling, of course. She hears a noise and goes to investigate, seeing the elevator doors as they close behind whoever dropped off an envelope with Wormus’ obituary inside. Scully wakes up to William crying and the mobile turning over his bassinet. Suddenly she’s not so sure about her insistence that the baby is normal.

She calls the X-Files office and tells Doggett that he should probably keep investigating after all. He tells her they never dropped the investigation, and now they have a body to examine. So Scully ends her maternity leave after less than a week and meets Doggett and Reyes at the morgue to discuss Wormus’ death. Skinner somehow gets word and calls Doggett to tell him that the FBI has turned against him, since he’s investigating Kersh. He needs to watch his back. Scully doesn’t see the point in autopsying Wormus’ body, but Doggett disagrees.

He summons the Lone Gunmen to his place; they’re blue because they’re poor and unemployed (I guess this was after their spin-off was canceled?). Langly is literally blue but won’t explain why. The guys hack Wormus’ files but don’t see anything strange, other than Wormus’ obsession with water. At the same time, Scully tells Reyes that water was exactly what killed Wormus – he drowned, that’s all. Reyes is impressed that Scully’s able to do her job in the midst of all the insanity in her life.

Reyes continues that she knows Scully’s afraid that something’s wrong with William. Scully says she can’t let her fears get the better of her, like Wormus’ fears got the better of him. Reyes offers to listen if Scully ever wants to talk. Just then, Scully notices fingerprints on Wormus’ ankle, making her and Reyes think someone may have held him underwater.

Follmer tells Kersh that Doggett has gotten hold of Wormus’ body and is clearly looking into something. He thinks Doggett should be punished for taking things too far. Kersh appreciates Follmer’s disclosure and gives him permission to…well, punish Doggett, I guess. But Follmer says there’s a conflict and can’t do it himself. Kersh doesn’t see why not, since Follmer doesn’t have any personal vendetta against Doggett.

Shannon goes to Scully’s apartment, where Maggie’s looking after William. Shannon lies that she’s one of Scully’s co-workers and would like to leave a note. Maggie would prefer if Shannon just left her name so Maggie can tell Scully to call her. Instead, Shannon just leaves. She goes to the morgue and follows Scully and Reyes as they’re leaving the morgue. Reyes remembers her from the elevator and gets suspicious but warns Scully not to show that they’ve seen Shannon.

The two are intercepted by Follmer, who has Polaroids he wants the women to look at. He takes them back to the morgue, but Wormus’ body isn’t there anymore. Follmer guesses that Doggett moved him somewhere. Reyes says he didn’t and asks Scully to back her up. Instead, Scully just says she needs to get home to William. Follmer tells Reyes that he’s on to her and Doggett, and if he goes down, he’ll take Reyes with him.

Reyes accuses Follmer of sending her Wormus’ obituary to set her and Doggett up. Follmer denies this, but Reyes says she’s on to him and doesn’t appreciate him being territorial. She goes to Doggett’s (Frohike likey), and the Lone Gunmen tell her that Wormus was getting encrypted data from a reclamation plant worker named Roland McFarland (wow, horrible name). The Gunmen don’t know what the data was, but they figure Roland’s probably dead now, too.

Doggett and Skinner, who’s suddenly joined the investigation, go to the plant to search Roland’s office. Doggett finds a bunch of files about something called chloramine. They take the files and run just moments before Follmer arrives with his own search team. We kill, like, an entire minute of the episode watching Skinner and Doggett run around the plant.

They get separated, and when Follmer spots Skinner, he thinks Skinner’s there chasing Doggett. They lose him, since he can hold his breath for a really long time and has decided to hide underwater, in the same tank Shannon came out of. Well, now all the files are wet! Great plan, Doggett! But that’s the least of his problems, since Shannon is also in the water, grabbing his ankle and ready to drown him like she drowned Wormus. To be continued…

Thoughts: Follmer is played by Cary Elwes. Shannon is played by Lucy Lawless.

Imagine going through your life with the last name Wormus.

Scully looks way too put-together for someone with a newborn, especially someone taking care of him alone. Her hairs looks better than mine!

November 24, 2018

The X-Files 8.21, Existence: It’s a Boy! And He Doesn’t Have a Tail or Anything!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 12:56 pm by Jenn

Oh, my heart

Summary: At 4:05 a.m., Dr. James Langenhahn goes to work at the District Pathology Lab, ready to examine a mostly destroyed body. He’s supposed to “establish and confirm the real fact of death,” but considering his assistant has already described the body as looking like hamburger, he’s…yeah, he’s dead. (It’s a pretty solid guess that this is Billy Miles’ body.) Langenhahn finds something in the pile of meat that looks like a metal vertebra. He tells his assistant to include it in his report, then leaves. Once the room is empty, the metal vertebra starts spinning and growing.

Scully and Reyes are on the road to a safe place, and have made it as far as Georgia. Scully notes Reyes’ tension and realizes it’s because she’s concerned for Scully’s impending delivery. The place they’re headed won’t have much to offer in the way of medical care, and Reyes has no experience delivering a baby. Scully points out that she’s never had one before, so they’re in the same boat.

Back in D.C., Mulder shows Skinner and Doggett a surveillance photo from the morgue – Billy walked out looking completely fine. Krycek reminds the agents that he’s unstoppable, even after being reduced to hamburger by the garbage truck. Skinner wants more of an explanation, but Krycek can’t get more detailed than saying he’s a replicant. Doggett doesn’t think Billy will be able to find Scully or the baby, but Krycek thinks another replicant could.

As Doggett gets a visit from Knowle, Scully and Reyes arrive at their destination, Democrat Hot Springs. It’s Doggett’s birthplace, which Scully somehow finds comforting. Reyes picks out an abandoned building for them to take shelter in, a house with “water from the rock, Exodus 7:16” on its window. Ironically, there’s no running water inside. Reyes lights a cigarette – guess she didn’t quit after all – and sees a bright light in the sky.

Knowle tells Doggett that Billy may have come out of a Cold War program to create super-soldiers. Doggett says that while Billy did seem pretty super, he didn’t seem like a soldier. He was a rumored alien abductee. Knowle says he’s halfway to understanding what the agents are after.

Knowle confirms that Billy’s after Scully, who was also part of the program. Her abduction was part of a military operation. The chip was used to both monitor her and make her pregnant with “the first organic version of that same super-soldier.” Knowle wants Doggett’s help to catch Billy so he can be stopped. Doggett pretends not to know where Scully is, but Knowle is sure that someone involved knows – and that person is in danger.

Mulder leaves, getting impatient with the elevator and deciding to take the stairs. Seconds later, Billy arrives via elevator and ready to do some murdering. Krycek’s Spidey sense tells him something’s wrong, so he leaves Skinner’s office just seconds before Billy arrives. Skinner goes after him, but Krycek deliberately fails to hold the elevator for him. Skinner makes it through the doors just in time…but so does Billy’s hand. It smacks Skinner in the face, then stays put, unaffected, as the elevator starts going down.

Skinner ends up in the hospital with a concussion and Mulder by his side. Doggett comes by and tells Mulder that an old friend gave him some information about Billy and the super-soldier program. Mulder demands to know who Doggett’s source is, since he appears to be making stuff up. Doggett doesn’t think it matters – Knowle says Scully’s in danger, and he has the same goal as the agents, to stop Billy.

Mulder makes sure that Doggett didn’t tell Knowle where Scully is. Doggett’s starting to think that being the only one who knows is going to come back to harm him. Mulder doesn’t want to know, but Doggett’s afraid for Scully’s fate if something happens to him. Mulder decides that they should go on the only lead they have and talk to Knowle about any possible ways to stop Billy.

In Democrat Springs, Reyes has fixed up a little temporary home for her and Scully. She wishes they had whale songs to set the mood. She makes some whale sounds, reminding Scully of her sister. Reyes spots someone outside the house and goes out to investigate. Just as she’s decided there’s nothing there, a truck speeds up. The driver is a game warden who gets her to put her gun down and show some ID.

Once the two women have agreed they’re no harm to each other, Reyes brings the game warden (who never gets a name, but I’ll call her Martha, since that was her portrayer’s role on True Blood) into her and Scully’s house. Martha can’t believe that Scully plans to deliver the baby there. Reyes argues that Scully’s a doctor, but Martha doesn’t think that’s any match for the circumstances. Scully makes it clear that she’s so desperate, she doesn’t have a choice. Martha softens and offers up some supplies to help out.

Mulder and Doggett have no luck trying to get in touch with Knowle back in D.C. Doggett wonders how long Mulder can keep up with trying to fight threats. He’s given up almost a decade of his life to this. Mulder admits that it might never end. They see Krycek arriving in the parking garage of the FBI building, and realize that Knowle is in his car with him.

Reyes tells Scully that she looks beautiful even with everything she’s dealing with. This is not the time to hit on her, Monica! Scully asks if she’s feeling any vibes like she usually does. Reyes says that things feel a little off. She goes out to get more water from a pump and sees the light in the sky again. Her vibes have clearly abandoned her, because she doesn’t notice Billy until he’s right on top of her. She aims her gun at him, but it’s Martha who ends up shooting him.

The women think Billy’s dead and assure Scully that everything’s okay. Scully’s like, “You don’t really get how this all works, do you?” Martha says she’ll have to report the incident, but Scully tells her that’ll have to wait – she just had a contraction. That baby must be Mulder’s, because it already has horrible timing.

Mulder and Doggett split up, Mulder to keep an eye on Krycek and Doggett to follow Knowle as he goes somewhere inside the building. It turns out he’s there to see Crane and discuss how Doggett doesn’t expect anything but needs to be eliminated. Doggett leaves without being noticed and runs to Skinner’s office to make a phone call. Skinner himself is there, not letting a little concussion stop him from…whatever these guys are doing.

Doggett calls Mulder, who’s still in the car, and tells him that Knowle came to talk to Crane. Mulder thinks Krycek, Knowle, and Crane are all working together. They tricked the agents into chasing Billy and thinking they could protect Scully. Since Doggett called Reyes from a phone in the building, the three conspirators probably know where she is.

Mulder tells Doggett to tell him where Scully is. Doggett hesitates, thinking they can take out the conspirators and put an end to the threat. Mulder thinks they might be replicants, which leaves the agents at a big disadvantage. Doggett finally tells Mulder that Scully’s in Democrat Hot Springs. But before Mulder can get on the road, Krycek punches through his car window (always so dramatic) and forces him out of the car.

Krycek holds a gun on his old enemy and says it doesn’t seem fair that it comes down to this. He claims that he’s the one who kept Mulder alive for years. They wanted the same thing. Mulder disagrees – he wanted to stop the conspiracy, while Krycek wanted to save himself. Krycek admits that he tried to kill Scully’s baby to stop the replicants, but it’s too late. Mulder wouldn’t let it go, so Krycek has to finish him off. He can’t know how deep this goes.

Mulder would rather have Krycek kill him than insult him by trying to make him understand the conspiracy. Krycek starts to pull the trigger, but he’s shot first, but Skinner. Looks like Krycek isn’t a replicant or super-soldier, since two bullets pretty much incapacitate him. He warns that it’ll take a lot more than bullets to take down the replicants. But if Skinner fires just one more, Krycek will give him what he needs to save thousands. All Skinner has to do is shoot Mulder. Instead, he shoots Krycek, probably killing him (but on this show, who knows?).

Skinner stays behind while Mulder heads to the airport to fly to Georgia. He’ll have to hurry if he wants to see the birth of the baby, since Scully’s contractions are already two minutes apart. Reyes has a vision, I think (it’s hard to tell), of the baby. Back in D.C., Doggett comes face to face with Knowle and Crane, who ignore him when he threatens to shoot him. They chase him as he finds Skinner and runs off with him.

I guess Reyes’ vision made her think she can’t trust Martha, so she breaks something over her head and holds a gun on her. Martha declares that the baby will be born as a bunch of cars pull up to the house. Billy gathers himself from the dirt outside, back to normal again.

Doggett and Skinner jump in a car and use it to run over Crane. It doesn’t do much good, as he jumps on top of it and swings himself around to punch through the window. As Billy and his replicant friends enter the house in Georgia, Reyes tries to convince Scully that everything’s going to be okay. Scully begs her not to let the replicants take the baby.

We go back and forth between Scully’s delivery and a car chase between Knowle, Skinner, and Doggett. Skinner finally gets rid of Crane by driving his side of the car into a cement column. Knowle ends up crashing, but if he’s a super-soldier, that’s not going to stop him for long. As the replicants stare at the two women, Reyes delivers Scully’s baby.

Mulder also likes to make a memorable entrance, so he gets a helicopter to take him to the house. The replicants are leaving, and he fears that one of them has Scully stashed in a car. Reyes assures him that she’s still safe, though she needs to go to the hospital. I hope Mulder asked the helicopter pilot to wait.

Sometime later, Doggett and Reyes turn in a report about the replicants and Scully’s delivery, but Kersh isn’t happy with it. He doesn’t get why Reyes thinks she was on this case, as if that’s his biggest issue here. But Doggett thinks he had the authority to bring Reyes on board since the office is now under investigation – he knows that Kersh was part of Knowle and Crane’s late-night meeting. Since Knowle and Crane are now missing, Kersh is the only person who can provide answers. Kersh booms that Doggett investigates what Kersh tells him. Doggett says he’s just doing his job, investigating X-Files.

Mulder lets himself into Scully’s apartment (looks like he has his own set of keys) just as the Lone Gunmen are leaving after dropping off some gifts. They’re the Three Wise Men here, you see. They don’t get how Mulder found Scully, since Doggett was never able to give him her exact location. “There was a light. I followed it,” Mulder explains. So the baby is Jesus, I guess.

Mulder happily checks in on Scully and the baby…who looks totally normal and human. Scully has finally picked a name for her son – William, after Mulder’s father (also her father, but she doesn’t mention that). Mulder jokes that the baby looks like Skinner. Scully doesn’t understand why the replicants left the baby alone. Mulder says he must not have been what they were looking for. But he still thinks the baby is a miracle.

Scully says she feared the truth the second she found out she was pregnant. She still doesn’t know how she got pregnant. Mulder says they both feared the possibilities and the truth. But now they know it. Scully asks what the truth is, but instead of answering, Mulder kisses her. And she kisses back! They’re totally making out! They stand there with the baby – their baby – for their last happy moment together until the end of next season.

Thoughts: Martha is played by Dale Dickey, who was in some True Blood episodes with Robert Patrick.

Whose pretty face will I miss more, Mulder’s or Krycek’s? I can’t decide.

I have very little use for Skinner, but he looks really menacing and awesome when he shows up to save Mulder from Krycek. It would have been more satisfying if Mulder had killed Krycek, though, since Krycek killed his father.

Time for season 9! Say goodbye to Duchovny for a few weeks!

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