November 18, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November 4, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 23, 2017

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

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

I want to know who thought this was a good idea

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2017

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

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

One of my favorite moments in the entire series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 9, 2017

The X-Files 6.2, Drive: Mulder Needs This Like a Hole in the Head

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

“Jesse, we have to drive!”

Summary: A Fox news break shows a high-speed police car chase focused on a blue car. It’s been traveling through Nevada, and two people appear to be inside. The passenger may be a hostage. The news feed cuts out, and we join the driver and passenger inside the car. The passenger is a woman lying in the backseat, experiencing a loud ringing in her ears.

Police put down spikes and successfully stop the car. They pull out the driver, who’s more concerned about his passenger, Vicky, than about himself. The police pull out Vicky and put her in the back of a squad car. A cameraman in a helicopter gets footage of her banging her head on the window, followed by a splatter of blood.

Mulder and Scully go to Buhl, Idaho, to chat with a man named Virgil (who thinks they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses). They’d liked to know what he plans to do with the 5,000 pounds of fertilizer he recently purchased. Virgil says he grows sugar beets and isn’t planning on blowing anything up. Virgil has the TV on, and the agents catch a glimpse of a news report about the end of the car chase. Vicky is dead, but there’s no word on what happened.

The agents are asked to help investigate, but Scully reminds her partner that they’re no longer with the X-Files. They’re supposed to be investigating domestic terrorism. Besides, she thinks Vicky was shot, so there’s nothing to investigate. Mulder disagrees – he thinks the driver, Vicky’s husband, was trying to warn the cops before she died. He convinces Scully to go to Nevada with him.

In Elko, Nevada, the driver is in police custody. He realizes his nose is bleeding, and he starts getting the same ringing in his ears that Vicky had. He begs for help, yelling, “It’s starting!” Mulder and Scully meet with a police captain named Van Gelder, who says that the driver claims the police are going to kill him the way they killed Vicky. Van Gelder promises that they had nothing to do with Vicky’s death.

Mulder reads up on the driver, Patrick Crump, who had no police record before he hijacked a car and led the cops on a chase. Scully heads out to examine Vicky’s body while Mulder waits around to be allowed to talk to Crump. He checks out a map and follows the route Crump and Vicky took. They started going in one direction, then changed course and headed towards Wells, Nevada. Mulder wonders why.

Scully begins examining Vicky, who looks like she was shot in the head but doesn’t have evidence of an entry wound or gunpowder residue. Basically, it looks like she was shot from the inside of her head, or, as the coroner puts it, “like a little bomb went off in her ear.” Blood squirts out of the hole in Vicky’s brain, spraying Scully.

Crump’s in bad physical shape, so the police send him to the hospital. Mulder follows the ambulance, where Crump’s condition seems to stabilize. Suddenly the ambulance starts swerving, then stops. Crump jumps out the back with a gun, which he points at Mulder.

Scully calls her partner from the coroner’s lab (“Mulder, it’s me”), which she’s quarantined. She warns that Vicky may have died from something communicable, which has also killed someone in Montello, Nevada, the Crumps’ hometown. Scully orders Mulder not to have any contact with Crump, but it’s too late. Crump has started a new car chase, this time with Mulder driving at gunpoint.

Van Gelder comes to the lab and talks to Scully on the phone from the next room. The police are going to put up a roadblock and stop the chase. Scully tells him the steps that need to be taken once the two men are stopped; they need to be quarantined separately. But someone gets a message to Van Gelder from Crump, who says he’ll kill Mulder if the police don’t stop following them.

The police listen, so now it’s just Mulder and Crump on the road. Mulder tries to get Crump to let him out so he can drive off on his own. Crump refuses, then throws Mulder’s phone out the window for good measure. When Mulder slows down at a red light, Crump, who appears to be in pain, tells him to keep driving. Mulder realizes there’s a connection between the car’s speed and Crump’s condition, so he floors it. He guesses that Vicky died because the car stopped moving. “I think I saw this movie,” he says.

Mulder knows that Crump’s life is now in his hands, so he asks Crump to explain things. There’s a helicopter following them, which makes Mulder think the roadblock is still in play. He’s right, and the people waiting there have taken the precautions Scully told them to. Crump and Mulder change direction, and while Van Gelder thinks Crump dictated the new route, Scully thinks it was Mulder. Maybe he knows something they don’t. A CDC doctor examines Vicky and the other victim’s bodies but doesn’t see any signs of an infectious disease. Scully doesn’t want to call off the quarantine just yet, though.

Kersh calls Scully to ask how things are going in Buhl. “Think carefully,” he warns when she pauses to decide what to say. She comes clean, admitting that she and Mulder are in Nevada. Kersh tells her that agents at a local field office are available to help her find her partner. He thinks that he might want to see Mulder alive even more than Scully does. Scully looks at the second victim’s information and sees that he’s a meter reader. She wonders if he read the meter at the Crumps’ house.

In the car, Crump demands that Mulder call him Mr. Crump, but he doesn’t have a gun on me so I don’t have to afford him that courtesy. Also, he asks if Mulder is a Jewish name, so he really doesn’t deserve my respect. Mulder replies, “It’s Mr. Mulder to you, you peanut-picking bastard.” He again asks what’s going on. Crump suddenly cries out in pain and tells Mulder to turn to the left, even though there’s no road there, only trees. He bangs his head on the window until Mulder makes it to an intersecting road and makes the turn. He realizes that Crump needs to keep moving west.

Scully lets herself out of quarantine to check out the Crumps’ house in Montello. A K-9 dog has a very strong reaction to something on the premises, running around and barking his head off. Scully gets a sample of the dog’s blood, but moments later, he dies the way Vicky did.

Mulder tries to go through the events of Crump’s day. He didn’t go to work, since it was raining and he’s a roofer. Vicky was cooking breakfast when Crump noticed that her nose was bleeding. Mulder asks what caused it, and Crump says he has no idea – “what am I, like, Quincy?” Wow, what a timely reference. Vicky developed a headache that kept getting worse, and Crump didn’t know what to do, so he started to take her to the hospital. She felt better the faster he drove, so he kept driving.

Mulder expresses sympathy for Crump’s loss, but Crump doesn’t think the “Jew FBI” is capable of sympathy. He believes he and Vicky were “government guinea pigs.” Mulder notices that the car is running out of gas and informs his captor, “on behalf of the international Jewish conspiracy,” that they’re going to have to stop soon.

In Montello, there are still no signs of an infectious disease. Scully sees that there’s a house nearby, so she and a CDC doctor go check on the Crumps’ neighbors. Their pet birds are dead, so that can’t be good. But fortunately, the old, deaf woman who lives there is alive, though probably traumatized by the sight of doctors in Hazmat suits entering her house in the dark.

Mulder pulls into a gas station, promising Crump that he’ll gas up fast. He’s delayed when he pulls up to the wrong side, then when the employee inside won’t turn on the pump until he pays. Mulder thinks fast, stealing another car. He leaves behind a note for Scully in his passenger seat.

Scully mulls over the meaning of the old woman’s survival, then decides they’re not dealing with something infectious. Since the inner ear is affected, maybe they’re dealing with a sound. Van Gelder calls to tell her that Mulder stole a car. He reads Mulder’s note to Scully, which explains that Crump is sick and has to keep moving so he doesn’t die. Scully tells Van Gelder this means they have to let him through the roadblock. As their phone connection cuts out, Scully sees what look like clothes on the ground outside the Crumps’ house, as well as a plate identifying the property as belonging to the government.

Crump’s getting worse, so Mulder has to drive faster to keep him comfortable. Crump semi-apologizes for “the Jew stuff,” but Mulder isn’t going to accept that. Crump wonders if Mulder is doing exactly what the government wants him to. If he is, he’s taking away Crump’s dignity. It would be better if the government just killed him. Mulder notes that, if Crump dies, the government gets off the hook, so Crump needs to stay alive to stick it to them.

As Mulder and Crump approach California, “running out of west,” Scully goes to a Naval research station in Wendover, Nevada, to ask a lieutenant about the electrical equipment in Montello. The lieutenant thinks she’s with the FCC, since he’s already spoken to them. He explains that there was a power surge during a conduction test the previous morning. He won’t tell Scully the possible effects such a surge might have on a human being.

Mulder and Crump have driven all night, and a couple of CHiP officers are now on their trail in California. One of them has a phone for Mulder so he can talk to Scully. She offers to get on a jet and meet him wherever he’s going. Scully tells him about the radio-transmission waves used in a Naval mission that appear to be causing Crump’s problems. Basically, he’s being affected by an electrical weapon. The agents aren’t sure why the movement of the car is making things better.

Scully has a plan, though she knows Crump won’t like it. Mulder tells his captor that he was right about the government being to blame, though it may not have been on purpose. Scully plans to put a huge needle in Crump’s ear to relieve the pressure in his head. It’ll hurt a lot and probably leave Crump deaf, but at least his inner ear won’t explode. Crump decides that’s a fair trade-off.

The agents meet up in Loleta, California, but despite Mulder driving up toward the triple digits in speed, it’s too late – Crump is dead when they arrive. When the agents return to D.C., Kersh lectures them about all the money they racked up during the investigation. He wants to bill Scully instead of Mulder, so Mulder can’t keep relishing his role as martyr. Mulder says they’ll go back to looking into big piles of manure, and Kersh replies that he can always quit. But that would mean he can’t stick it to the government, so he’s not going to do that. (He will storm out of the office, though.)

Scully wants Kersh to show some compassion for Mulder, who’s been through a lot. Plus, the investigation is going to lead to the end of the project in Montello. Kersh says that can’t be proven – the closing of the Naval facility is supposedly coincidental. He doesn’t care if they save “a busload of doe-eyed urchins on their way to Bible camp.” They’re no longer in the X-Files. “Big piles of manure,” Scully spits out as she leaves the office.

Thoughts: As you can see from the picture above, Crump is played by Bryan Cranston. Van Gelder is played by Michael O’Neill, who also worked with James Pickens, Jr. in a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (he played the guy who went on a shooting rampage in the hospital).

The point of Crump’s antisemitism was…?

I wish we could have seen the CHiP officer trying to pass the phone to Mulder through the window while they were both speeding down the highway. Talk about a missed opportunity for comedy.

Now let’s all go watch Speed!

September 2, 2017

The X-Files 6.1, The Beginning: The Last, Best Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

This is wrong! Put it back the way it was!

Summary: A company van takes employees from Roush Technologies in Phoenix home from work. One man, Sandy, is sick, but his colleagues don’t seem to care. Sandy goes home to an empty house, and as his condition worsens, his hand becomes translucent and swollen, like there’s another creature’s hand inside it. The next morning, a co-worker comes to pick him up for the carpool and finds him dead, with a huge hole in his stomach, like something tore out of him. The co-worker is attacked, probably by that something.

In D.C., Mulder tries to recover the files that were burned in his office seven months ago. He tells a panel of agents that, even without everything restored, he and Scully should be able to immediately revive the X-Files division. As Scully joins her once and future partner, Assistant Director Maslin scoffs at their claims that they saw a spaceship in Antarctica. Another agent asks if the “spacelings” the agents saw were different from the creatures in Men in Black. Mulder admits that he didn’t see it.

Maslin tries to sum up the agents’ claims about the spacelings intentions and the Syndicate’s conspiracy. When she puts it all out there in a nutshell version, it does sound pretty crazy. The panel doesn’t think Mulder has given any good reasons for the reopening of the X-Files. Another agent notes that Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses are a little ridiculous, too. (Heh.) Maslin reminds Mulder and Scully that their job isn’t to do science stuff or work on personal projects. Mulder announces that Scully will present evidence that his claims are real.

Cut to the end of the hearing, and Scully clearly didn’t do what Mulder hoped she would. She doesn’t have enough evidence to back up Mulder’s theories. She hasn’t been able to identify the virus she contracted from the bee, but it’s not extraterrestrial. Mulder is adamant that the virus generates an alien being inside human hosts. Scully disagrees – it attacks and destroys human cells, but it doesn’t create a new being. They may not have all the answers, but Mulder can’t question science.

CSM shows the Syndicate pictures of Sandy and his co-worker, saying he was able to convince the Phoenix police that a “crazy Indian” attacked them. He knows the public is racist enough to buy the story. Sandy is on the Syndicate’s side, and he must have accidentally injected himself at work. The Syndicate is distressed that the creature that came out of Sandy’s body is now on the loose. The Elder asks if CSM can take care of this problem.

Skinner, who was at the hearing but didn’t say anything, because of course he didn’t, meets up with Mulder in a lab to tell him that his request to return to the X-Files has been denied. There was a unanimous vote against it. Since Skinner isn’t siding with the majority, he can’t help Mulder, especially when there’s no evidence to back up his claims. But there’s a folder on Mulder’s desk in his burned-out office that might help him. It contains a picture of Sandy’s body.

Spender joins Mulder in the office, and Mulder guesses that Spender is his replacement. He’s wrong – it’s Fowley. Mulder’s mad, saying that Fowley betrayed him. CSM ignores a no-smoking sign and interrupts a surgical procedure to announce that he’s taking the patient. The surgeon objects, but CSM says, “It’s him or it’s us.” The patient is poor Gibson, and he’s having something done to his brain, but the doctors haven’t even done him the courtesy of rendering him unconscious first.

Mulder and Scully go to Phoenix to check out Sandy’s house. Scully tries to remind her partner that they’re violating the law and contaminating a crime scene; when he ignores her, she sighs, “Why do I bother?” Mulder finds streaks of blood on the wall and deep scratches in the wood floor, so the police’s story that Sandy and his co-worker were attacked by an unarmed human is probably B.S. Fortunately, the attacker broke a nail, and it’s clear it didn’t belong to a human.

Mulder guesses that Sandy was infected and basically birthed the attacker, which hung out for a few hours before attacking the co-worker. Scully can’t believe that the creature was only a few hours old. Outside, CSM and Gibson check out the crime scene from a car. Gibson says that “it” was there, but it left. CSM isn’t sure, so Gibson asks why he doubts someone he’s so afraid of. He knows that CSM is thinking about destroying him, and most likely will kill him if he doesn’t find the creature.

The car leaves before the agents exit the house, trying to connect the creature to what happened to Scully. She takes his hand and reminds Mulder that she still has to follow what science tells her; it wouldn’t be honest of her if she suddenly started believing his theories. Mulder tells her that her science is wrong.

Just outside of Phoenix, a nuclear plant employee named Homer (I wonder what that’s a reference to?) is dozing on the job. He and a co-worker notice a temperature change in the core, so Homer goes to check it out. Of course, he gets attacked. The agents come in, meeting up with Spender, who thinks Skinner must have told them about the attack. He refuses to let them in, and Fowley won’t budge either. She does admit that there may be a connection to Sandy and his co-worker’s deaths. Mulder tells her that he hopes she knows “whose errands [she’s] running.”

Scully pulls her partner away, wondering how Mulder knows they’re dealing with something connected to the previous deaths. They return to their car to find Gibson unconscious in the backseat. They take him to a motel, where they discover that he had some sort of brain surgery. Gibson chastises Scully for mentally comparing him to Frankenstein’s monster. She tells him he has an infection, and CSM didn’t change his bandages, so that’s just more proof that he’s a horrible person.

Gibson tells her and Mulder that he had the procedure so he can read people’s minds. He was able to escape CSM because he knew what CSM was thinking. The Syndicate was using him because he can communicate with “it.” Scully asks what “it” is, and Gibson says she already knows; she just doesn’t want to believe it. Mulder pulls Scully aside to say that they can use Gibson just as CSM was trying to. Scully refuses, knowing that Gibson needs medical attention. They need to protect him because he could be the key to proving Mulder’s theories. He could be their “last, best chance.”

As the agents are putting Gibson in the car to take him to a hospital, Fowley shows up. She tells Mulder she took the job in the X-Files to make sure the work was continued by someone who believes in it. She’s on Mulder and Scully’s side. She thinks she and Mulder should go find the creature in the nuclear reactor before the Syndicate does. Mulder’s close to the truth and needs to see it. He tells Scully to take Gibson to the hospital while he and Fowley go on a creature hunt.

On their way to the plant, Fowley tells Mulder that Homer’s body was removed before she and Spender arrived. Mulder wonders if the creature’s looking for heat. Fowley agrees – the creature could still be developing, and could need heat to spur that along. Scully gets Gibson to a hospital, where he reads her thoughts to criticize that she wants to both make him well and learn from him. She tells him he’s special and knows it. “I’m a very special lab rat,” he corrects.

Mulder and Fowley sneak into the plant and locate the spot where Homer’s body was found, just above the core reactor. They find a sticky substance not unlike the stuff on the body of the firefighter after the bombing in Dallas. They also find something that looks like shed skin. Scully calls Mulder to tell him that Gibson has the virus in his system. Now she can admit that there’s a link to what they’ve been investigating. But before she can get back to Gibson, someone else finds him and rekidnaps him.

Gibson is taken to the plant, where Mulder and Fowley run around to avoid detection. Gibson says the creature is still in the building, but he doesn’t offer up a specific location. Mulder and Fowley find them but are locked out. As Fowley goes looking for another entrance, the creature attacks Gibson’s kidnapper. An alarm sounds and Mulder is surrounded by guards. Fowley joins them, pointing her gun at him. Mulder’s just concerned about Gibson’s safety, and his fate isn’t clear.

The agents return for another hearing and are instructed to immediately stop investigating the X-Files. As further punishment, they no longer report to Skinner, but to Assistant Director Alvin Kersh. Elsewhere, Spender meets with CSM, who’s proud of how he handled Mulder. Spender knows that the new work assignment won’t keep Mulder from the X-Files forever. CSM isn’t concerned. Spender knows CSM has killed before, but CSM says you can kill a person but “not what he stands for – not unless you first kill his spirit. That’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Mulder goes back to trying to restore the burned files, because he’s never followed a direct order before and he’s not about to start now. He thinks Fowley filed a false report about what happened at the plant because she’s trying to protect their work. Scully disagrees – Fowley’s report doesn’t mention Gibson, and seems to protect everyone and everything except Mulder. Mulder says that at least Fowley isn’t going to spout what Scully says about only science being right.

Scully says that she can’t believe in a lie, especially not something that’s the opposite of what she can prove. It’s about trust. Mulder asks if she wants him to make a choice. Scully replies that she wants him to trust her judgment – to trust her. He can’t if it refutes what he knows is true.

Scully shows him the results of tests done on the nail from Sandy’s house. The DNA matches the virus, as well as Gibson’s DNA. It’s a remnant that’s found in all human DNA, but it’s inactive in everyone except Gibson. Mulder says that that means Gibson is partially extraterrestrial. Scully corrects that that means everyone is. Back at the plant, Gibson is alive and well, staring into the core, where the creature is also still alive, and still developing. It sheds more of its body until it looks like an alien.

Thoughts: Kersh, who has four seconds of screentime and doesn’t say anything, is played by James Pickens, Jr. (Webber on Grey’s Anatomy, Henry on Beverly Hills, 90210). Maslin is played by Wendie Malick. Sandy is played by Rick Millikan, the show’s casting director.

Mulder and Fowley teaming up isn’t nearly as much fun as Mulder and Scully teaming up.

The FBI taking issue with Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses is pretty great. “You want the government to pay for your trip to Antarctica? You could have at least brought us souvenirs!”