July 15, 2017

The X-Files 5.15, Travelers: Patriot Games

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:32 pm by Jenn

Mulder is probably getting a glimpse of his future here

Summary: It’s 1990 in Caledonia, Wisconsin, and a sheriff is accompanying a landlord to a house where the tenant, Edward Skur, needs to be evicted. Skur won’t open the door, so the landlord lets himself and the sheriff inside. The two men brave a horrible smell to search the house, finding a long-dead body in the bathtub. Someone suddenly attacks the sheriff, which was a bad move, since the sheriff has a gun. The attacker tumbles down the stairs, and when the sheriff goes to him, the man says, “Mulder.”

In D.C. (still in 1990), Mulder goes to see a man named Arthur Dales, a former FBI agent. Dales opened a file on Skur in 1952 – a file that starts with an X. Mulder thinks that means it’s unsolved; Dales corrects that it’s just been designated that way. Mulder wants to know why Dales’ notes have been censored, and why someone wants the case buried. The report says that Skur disappeared 38 years ago while being investigated for a horrific murder. He’s the man the sheriff shot in the house.

Dales thinks that now that Skur is dead, there’s no reason to talk to Mulder. But when Mulder introduces himself, he notes that Dales recognizes his name. Dales mentions HUAC, the committee that investigated communists in America but found “practically nothing.” He thinks that’s exactly what they wanted to find. Mulder’s a little dense and doesn’t get the connection. Dales says maybe he’s not supposed to get it. He won’t be letting Mulder in today.

Mulder watches a newsreel about the HUAC while reading over the file about Skur. He finds a card confirming that Skur was a communist. As the narrator talks about travelers working as spies in the State Department, Mulder recognizes his father on the newsreel. He returns to Dales’ apartment the next morning, threatening to subpoena him if he won’t cooperate. Dales reveals that Skur worked for the State Department, like the elder Mulder. Mulder asks if his father was involved in the death of the man Skur was suspected of killing 38 years ago.

Dales finally lets Mulder in, telling him that Dales liked to remove his victims’ organs and tissue without tearing their skin. Mulder says the coroner can’t figure out how that was possible. Dales doesn’t know, but he does know why Skur did it. Mulder brings up Skur’s communist leanings, though Dales doesn’t consider that significant. Skur was “just another name on a list,” a suspected State Department spy.

We flash back to Leesburg, Virginia, in June of 1952. A young Dales and his partner, Agent Michel, go to Skur’s house and arrest him for contempt of Congress in front of his wife and young kids. Michel finds Skur’s card identifying him as a communist, but Skur claims Michel planted it on him. Dales has a moment of sympathy for Skur’s family, but Mrs. Skur just tells him to leave.

After work, Skur goes to a bar, where he gets a call from Michel telling him that Skur’s dead, having hanged himself in his cell. He thinks the communists’ leaders tell them to kill themselves if they’re captured. 1990 Skur tells Mulder that he wasn’t sure what to tell Mrs. Skur, so he sat in his car in front of the Skurs’ house and drank for a while. In the flashback, Skur returns to the house, alive and well. Dales chases him down the block, and Skur ambushes him, opening his mouth and letting out a probe-looking thing. A neighbor hears the noise and frightens Skur away before he can hurt Dales.

Dales returns to work in D.C. the next day and sees photos of a dead Skur. Michel is sure that Skur is really, truly dead, and whoever Dales saw at the house the night before was someone else. After all, he was drunk; this could be a case of mistaken identity. Michel urges Dales to leave Skur’s name out of his report, but the report has already been filed.

Someone from the Department of Justice calls Dales, summoning him to meet with Roy Cohn in the Attorney General’s office. (There’s another man there, looking very CSM-esque, but that’s never followed up on.) Dales knows that Cohn prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and is now working with Joseph McCarthy to rid the country of communists. Dales says he’s not political, but Cohn says everything is. He brings out Dales’ report and starts talking about secrets, especially ones that need to be kept from the public “for the greater good.” Dales catches on that Cohn wants him to take references to Skur out of his report.

He clearly doesn’t want to, but Dales amends his report anyway. He’s about to look at a heavily redacted file on Skur when Michel calls him away. They head to Chevy Chase, Maryland, to investigate a murder, though the scene is quiet, with no police officers around. They go into a house where a German record is playing; Dales recognizes the song playing as one he heard the day his military unit arrived in Berlin during World War II. They smell a “hospital smell” that Michel thinks might be formaldehyde, then find a dead body.

The police arrive, claiming that the FBI called them, not the other way around. The dead man is a doctor, and a nurse called the authorities when he didn’t come to work. Dales finds and pockets a note on the back of a bar coaster that reads, “Come alone.” He goes to the bar that night and meets with Bill Mulder. Dales thinks Bill killed Skur, but Bill says he tried to save him. If Dales isn’t careful, the killer will get him, too. Meanwhile, Michel goes home, and the music in the background tells me that something bad is about to happen.

Bill tells Dales that Skur isn’t a communist – “all of these men” are. Skur, Gissing, and Oberman are all patriots working in the State Department. Dales recognizes the other two names from a censored report. Bill tells him that Gissing and Oberman killed themselves because they couldn’t handle what they’d become. He thinks Skur was targeted for murder, but he escaped and now wants to clear his name. Bill is willing to risk his career and his family to make sure the truth gets out so Skur is saved.

Michel turns on his TV and watches a McCarthy hearing while his cat makes a mess. At the bar, Bill tells Dales that he can’t arrest Skur’s pursuers – “it’s…political.” This makes Dales think that McCarthy and Cohn are involved. Bill confirms that Skur wants vengeance for what McCarthy and Cohn did to him, but now he thinks Skur and Michael are part of the conspiracy. Dales rushes to the phone to warn Michel, but it’s too late – Michel can’t come to the phone because Skur is choking up something gross-looking that forcing it into Michel’s body.

Dales accompanies other officers to the crime scene, where the coroner is no Scully. Cohn arrives and tells the authorities to take Michel’s body to Bethesda, since he’s a veteran; he ignores them when they say they need to perform an autopsy. Cohn threatens to have Dales interrogated for ties to communism in order to keep him away from the investigation. “See?” he says, satisfied that Dales will keep quiet. “You’re a patriot again.”

Dales ignores the threat and goes back to his office to look into Gissing and Oberman’s deaths. He asks for their files, and though the clerk says they’re missing, she recognizes one of the names from an X-file. Dales wonders why unsolved names are filed under X instead of U. The clerk explains that she put them under U until she ran out of room; the X drawer has plenty of room. She’s familiar with the file and tells Dales that a German doctor was found dead in his office at the VA last week. Gissing was found dead nearby, apparently dead of suicide. Dales wonders how Gissing killed the doctor. “That’s why it’s an X-file,” the clerk says. “They don’t know.”

Gissing’s body is still at the morgue, so Dales goes to examine it. He has a scar from recent surgery, and Dales asks the coroner to cut him open, thinking that will help him figure out how Michel died. The coroner finds suture in Gissing’s esophagus, indicating that something was sewn into it from inside his body. The something is alive, and looks like a big spider, and will be featuring in my nightmares for at least the next two weeks.

Dales goes to Skur’s house to try to get Mrs. Skur to confirm that her husband is still alive. He thinks Skur was discredited as a cover-up for whatever was done to him, Gissing, and Oberman. They thought they were receiving surgery for their war injuries, but they really underwent xenotransplantation. Nazi doctors experimented with this method of grafting a different species into the human body – Dales thinks they continued those experiments on the three men. He wants to expose what happened, and he needs Skur to help him.

As Dales leaves, Cohn and Mulder arrive to whisk him away. Mrs. Skur heads into a bunker, where her husband is hiding. He’s getting worse and thinks it’s too late for Dales to help him. He can’t help himself anymore. Mrs. Skur is the unlucky next victim of her husband’s now-uncontrollable urge to kill.

Dales is taken to FBI headquarters to meet with J. Edgar Hoover. He tells Dales that in less than seven years, the Soviet population has grown by more than 400 percent. The U.S. is now outnumbered 8 to 5, and there’s a serious threat of the Soviets ruling the world. The U.S. needs to use the Soviets’ methods to ensure survival and scare their enemies. Dales gets only one chance to prove his patriotism.

Mulder sends Dales off to try to get Skur to trust him so the FBI can ambush him. Dales wonders if Bill’s plan all along was to use him to get to Skur. Bill just says he follows his orders. Dales waits for Skur in the bar, and the FBI use surveillance equipment to listen in as Skur says he’s been turned into a killing machine. Dales assures Skur that he doesn’t want to kill him, and Skur says he knows. Then he tries to employ his gross killing thing on Dales. Bill wants to go in and help, but he has to stay put in the car. Dales can handle himself, however, and he uses handcuffs to secure Skur.

In 1990, Mulder laments that Bill got involved with the bad guys. Dales says no one is really free to choose. If Mulder keeps looking into old X-files, he’ll suffer the same fate as Dales and be banished. Mulder still wants to know why Skur said Bill’s name as he died, but Dales doesn’t know. Mulder then asks how Skur got away and was able to hide out for 38 years. Dales says he heard various stories about Skur’s fate, and wondered if someone with a conscience let him go. A flashback to 1952 shows that that’s exactly what happened – and Bill was the one who set him free, in hopes that someday, the truth would come out.

Thoughts: There are three noteworthy guest stars in this episode:

  • 1990 Dales is played by Darren McGavin, who was the show’s first choice to play Bill Mulder.
  • 1952 Dales is played by Frederic Lane, who usually plays villains, so it was nice to see him as a good guy.
  • Skur is played by Garret Dillahunt.

I know this show can get pretty gross, but Skur’s method of killing is really up there on the list. I may not eat for a while.

I guess we’re supposed to see Bill as a hero, but…he let a killer go. If Skur kept killing people over the next 38 years, it’s Bill’s fault.

March 25, 2017

The X-Files 4.23, Demons: Ask Your Doctor If Ketamine-Induced Hallucinations Are Right for You

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

“Imagine going through your whole life looking like that”

Summary: Samantha Mulder wakes an adult Mulder in their childhood home, scared because their parents are fighting. It’s clearly a dream, but reality isn’t much more normal when Mulder wakes up for real – he’s wearing a shirt covered in blood. He calls Scully to tell her he’s in a motel in Providence, Rhode Island, though he doesn’t know how he got there, and he doesn’t know where the blood came from. He also doesn’t think it’s his.

Scully rushes to Providence and finds Mulder in the bathtub, trying to get warm. She diagnoses him with shock, and further determines that he’s missing two days’ worth of memories. She sees that two rounds have been fired from his gun, something else Mulder has no memory of. Scully wants him to see a neurologist, since he could be sick. Mulder’s more interested in finding out if a crime has been committed.

Mulder finds a set of keys on a keychain inscribed with the name Amy. Scully matches them to a car with blood on the steering wheel. It’s registered not to an Amy, but to a David Cassandra of Providence. Scully wants Mulder to sit out the investigation, but he needs to find out if his gun was used to hurt or kill someone.

Someone’s having an arts-and-crafts day, cutting out faces from a bunch of pictures. As blood drips down his face, it becomes clear that the face he’s cutting out is his own. Mulder and Scully go to David’s house, where the housekeeper confirms that Amy also lives there, and that the keys belong to her. Mulder spots a painting of a house on the wall and says he’s seen it before, but he doesn’t know where. It’s the house Amy grew up in, and it’s all she paints – over and over, dozens of times.

Mulder’s sure he’s been to the house, which the housekeeper says is in Chepachet. Mulder remembers that that’s where his parents’ summer house was. The agents head their next, finding the place abandoned. Mulder is suddenly hit with a headache and has flashes of his dream. Teena is screaming at Bill, who says he’s just following orders. CSM is also in the house, and he accuses Mulder of spying on his parents.

Sometime during the flashes, Mulder collapses, unresponsive. When he wakes up, he tells Scully about his memory. She thinks he had a “clonic event, kind of an electrical storm in the brain.” He needs to see a specialist to find out more. Mulder insists he feels fine, then heads into the house. He finds the inside familiar but isn’t sure when he was last there. As he checks upstairs, Scully finds a possible match for the blood on his shirt – two dead bodies. She guesses they’re David and Amy.

The police arrive, and Mulder worries about having to speak to them, since he looks pretty dang guilty of murder right now. The detective he talks to, Curtis, is suitably skeptical about Mulder’s claim that he didn’t see David or Amy before he and Scully found their bodies. Scully won’t let Curtis take Mulder to the station for questioning, since he needs to see a doctor. She tells him to keep his mouth shut until she examines the bodies.

Working with a local medical examiner, Scully finds a puncture wound in Amy’s head. The examiner doesn’t think an autopsy is necessary, since Amy and David both obviously died from gunshot wounds, but Scully wants to find out why they were killed. Meanwhile, Curtis tells Mulder that his gun appears to be the murder weapon, but he has further evidence that contradict Mulder’s claim that, if he killed anyone, he wasn’t aware of it. The evidence is David and Amy’s blood on Mulder’s shirt, and it’s enough for Curtis to arrest Mulder.

Scully arrives as Mulder is processed and tells Curtis that she has her own evidence – she found ketamine, which can cause hallucinations, in Amy’s system. Mulder’s bloodwork shows ketamine as well, which could explain his blackouts and memory loss. Curtis points out that that still doesn’t prove his innocence. Scully, however, won’t believe that Mulder murdered anyone until she has proof that he pulled the trigger.

As Mulder is taken to a cell, arts-and-crafts man passes by – he’s a police officer. He’s carrying around one of his pictures, as well as a gun. Scully’s on her way out of the police station when she hears a shot. By the time she gets to Officer Arts and Crafts, he’s dead. Scully finds the same puncture wound on his head as she found on Amy’s.

Curtis takes Scully to Officer Arts and Crafts’ office, which is full of pictures – some have had their faces removed, but the ones that are still intact each have a drop of something red on the forehead. Curtis says that the officer was placed on desk duty last year because his behavior had become unstable. Specifically, he’d started believing in aliens.

Scully thinks Officer Arts and Crafts’ compulsive behavior means he was traumatized in some way. She finds a magazine called Abductee with Amy’s picture on the cover. Scully tells Curtis that Amy’s puncture wound was deep enough to go into her brain. She thinks Officer Arts and Crafts knew something about what happened and killed himself. They could be dealing with some kind of suicide pact.

In his cell, Mulder has his dream again, this time seeing Bill fight with CSM. Teena yells at the men, “Not Samantha!” Bill looks up to see his son watching the argument. When he wakes up, Mulder yells for a guard. He spends the night demanding to talk to Scully, so she’s allowed to visit him in the morning. He tells her he didn’t kill Amy and David, and Scully says she has evidence that will prove that. The blood on his shirt was the Cassandras’, but it doesn’t match a splatter pattern consistent with Mulder being their killer.

Scully goes back to her theory of a suicide pact, though now she thinks Amy and David’s deaths were a case of murder-suicide. She thinks Mulder contacted Amy to talk about her abduction. Amy was undergoing psychiatric treatment to recover memories; her repetitive behavior, painting the same house over and over, was an expression of the treatment. Scully has learned that Officer Arts and Crafts was also undergoing psychiatric treatment.

She tells Mulder about Waxman-Geschwind Syndrome, which causes dreams about the past and trance-like states. Hmm, sound familiar, Mulder? Mulder wonders why he couldn’t stop what was happening. Scully doesn’t know either, but at least she’s gotten Mulder released from jail.

The two go to see Amy’s psychiatrist, Dr. Goldstein, finding Mulder’s car in the parking lot. Mulder doesn’t find the place familiar, and Goldstein doesn’t give any indication that he’s met Mulder before. Goldstein tells the agents that he was using light and sound to stimulate electrical impulses in Amy’s brain to help her recover memories. He confirms that he also used this method on Officer Arts and Crafts.

Goldstein was unaware of Officer Arts and Crafts’ suicide, but doesn’t seem to think the therapy could be to blame. In fact, Amy was happy after her treatment. Goldstein is offended that Amy might have taken her own life. “I know what you do,” Scully sneers as she and Mulder leave. Both agents are sure that Goldstein treated Mulder, leading to his seizures and blackouts. He probably also gave Mulder and Amy ketamine.

As they leave the office, Mulder has another memory, this one of Bill grabbing Teena as she cried for her baby. Scully wants Mulder to stop investigating, but Mulder refuses – he thinks his memories will lead him to the truth behind Samantha’s disappearance. He wants to go see his mother. Scully agrees to go with him, but she’s smart enough not to let Mulder drive.

As soon as the agents get to Teena’s house, Mulder accuses his mother of keeping things from him. She told him that Samantha was taken because Teena had to make a choice, but Mulder thinks she was forced to give up her daughter. He also thinks that Teena had a relationship with CSM, and he was the one who forced him to choose Samantha.

Teena’s offended that Mulder would accuse her of betraying Bill, and is so upset that she slaps him. He’s not done, though – he wants to know if Bill was really his father. Teena refuses to answer any more questions. She notices that Mulder’s head is bleeding. Teena runs upstairs, and when Scully goes in to check on Mulder, she sees him driving off in her car.

Mulder goes back to Goldstein’s office to ask what the doctor did to him. Goldstein argues that the hole in his head was part of the treatment, and nothing serious. Mulder asks him to finish what he started. Goldstein injects him with ketamine and administers the treatment, giving Mulder all the flashes he’s been having. They end with the night of Samantha’s abduction.

While Mulder has his flashes, Goldstein ties him down, then puts his drill to Mulder’s head to make another puncture wound. The police arrive shortly after and arrest Goldstein. Mulder’s gone, and Goldstein won’t tell the police where he is. Scully chases after the doctor as he’s taken to the police station, demanding to know where Mulder went. Goldstein says that before Mulder left, he said he was going to exorcise his demons.

This means a trip to the Mulders’ home, the place where Mulder last saw his sister alive. Police surround the house, but Scully warns them not to shoot if Mulder leaves, since he’s not dangerous. She lets herself in, but Mulder isn’t in the mood for visitors right now, even when this one comes with a rare in-person “Mulder, it’s me.”

Mulder continues his memory flashes, adding Samantha’s abduction to the mix. He’s holding a gun, which can’t be good. The flashes add visions of Samantha shattering to reveal CSM standing behind her, and Samantha telling Teena that she’s afraid. Mulder points his gun at Scully, who asks if this means so much to him that he’s willing to shoot her. She tells him that these memories might not be his. “This is not the way to the truth,” she says.

Scully calmly tells Mulder to trust her and put down the gun: “Let it go.” Outside, the police hear multiple shots fired, but no one’s hurt – Mulder’s shooting in the opposite direction from where Scully’s standing. She puts her head on his back as he collapses.

Back in D.C., Scully types up her report, saying that Mulder hasn’t recovered any memories of his missing time. His seizures have stopped and don’t seem to have caused any permanent damage, but she thinks the trauma of the experience will stay with him. Scully thinks he’s going to start understanding the path he’s on, but she’s not sure it will lead him to the answers he’s looking for.

Thoughts: Mulder calls Scully at 5 a.m. and she gets to Providence an hour later? I don’t think so.

Heeeeey, David Duchovny in just a white T-shirt and jeans. How YOU doin’?

When Mulder and Scully go to Goldstein’s office, I had to pause Netflix to laugh at Gillian Anderson’s horrific parking job. Couldn’t they have done another take? Or did she do that every time?

December 3, 2016

The X-Files 4.7, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man: Sympathy for the Devil

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:32 pm by Jenn

"Yes, I will be your soulless killing machine. Does it come with health care? Because I'm about to ruin my lungs"

“Yes, I will be your soulless killing machine. Does it come with health care? Because I’m about to ruin my lungs”

Summary: A title card quotes to us from Henry IV, Part 1: “For nothing can seem foul to those that win.” CSM arrives at an abandoned warehouse, lighting up with a lighter that says “trust no one.” He opens his briefcase and uses the technology inside to eavesdrop on Mulder, Scully, and the Lone Gunmen. The Gunmen are wary about being overheard, and Frohike refuses to say anything else until they put on a filter that blocks surveillance. Too bad CSM has tech to cut through that filter, and he starts assembling a rifle as Frohike reveals that the Gunmen have uncovered secrets from CSM’s background.

Frohike continues that CSM came on the scene just as Leon Trotsky was assassinated. His father was a Communist activist who spied for the Nazis during the Nazi-Soviet pact. He was executed under 1917’s Espionage Act. His mother also died (of lung cancer) when CSM was young, so he became a ward of the state. He was a loner who disappeared for a while, then reappeared a year and a half after the Bay of Pigs.

Part I: “Things really did go well in Dealey Plaza.” It’s October 30th, 1962, at Ft. Bragg’s Center for Special Warfare in North Carolina. Soldiers do their daily exercises, chanting about going after Khrushchev and Castro. Later, one soldier reads The Manchurian Candidate, though one of his fellow soldiers thinks he should just go see the movie. The reader (okay, it’s CSM, let’s drop the mystery) says he’d rather read the worst novel ever written than sit through the best movie ever made.

CSM, who happens to be a captain, is summoned to see General Francis. His buddy reports that his one-year-old just said his first word: “JFK.” (That’s not a word, but okay.) He shows CSM a picture of his wife and son. P.S. The buddy is Bill Mulder. In General Francis’ office, CSM is questioned about activities he may have participated in, such as the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, training Cuban nationals during the Bay of Pigs, or the assassination of Rafael Trujillo. The questioner notes that CSM’s father was a known spy. CSM says he just wishes he’d been able to execute his father himself.

General Francis assures CSM that they know what it’s like to be scrutinized for someone else’s actions. He offers CSM a cigarette, but CSM declines: “I never touch ’em.” OKAY, WE GET IT. General Francis says that sometimes our objectives don’t match up with the objectives of others who want liberty and justice. “Viva la libertad,” says another man in the office. General Francis continues that a lot of powerful people aren’t qualified to lead others; some of them get caught up in bureaucracy. They should be looking to “another form of government.” CSM’s father did, and General Francis considers that extraordinary. He thinks that runs in the family.

Communism is evil, so CSM’s father deserved to be executed, but it’s also what brings CSM there today. A man comes out of the shadows to tell CSM that he’s going to be presented with an extremely classified task. If he takes it, he’ll be let out of the Army. He’s going to be asked to kill an American man who used to command a Navy boat. The country was just almost destroyed by nuclear war, which never would have been a possibility if this individual didn’t provide air support during the Bay of Pigs. A patsy has been found and will be set up while CSM does the dirty work.

For slower members of the audience, a chyron informs us that CSM is now in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. He meets up with Lee Harvey Oswald, advising him not to smoke. CSM, using the name Mr. Hunt, is posing as someone who supports Lee’s political beliefs (and also a movie lover). He needs Lee to hide some curtain rods in the book depository; once they’ve been retrieved by a third party, Lee will be paid and can head to Cuba.

Lee holds up his end of the bargain while CSM goes to an overflow unit, posing as a worker with the city’s Department of Public Works. When JFK’s motorcade approaches, Lee’s co-workers wonder if he wants to come see it with them. Lee’s at a vending machine, picking out a soda, while CSM assembles a gun. He gets a signal from a man with an umbrella and fulfills his task, assassinating the president.

Lee quickly realizes that he’s about to be framed for the crime. He grabs a gun of his own and heads off to find CSM, but a police officer finds him first. Lee asks to see the officer’s credentials, suspicious that he’s with “them.” The officer gets out of his car to talk to Lee, who shoots him and runs off. He then goes to the movie theater, which is showing War is Hell. He fights the officers but is outnumbered and subdued. He yells that he’s “not the one” and complains about police brutality. CSM sits calmly nearby, lighting up a cigarette.

Part II: “Just down the road aways from Graceland.” CSM types something while Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech. “I can kill you whenever I please,” CSM murmurs to himself. “But not today.” He’s writing a story, and this is the end. He’s just finished Take a Chance, a Jack Colquitt Adventure, writing under the pen name Raul Bloodworth. He pauses as King says that some feel “Communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real.” CSM doesn’t like this.

He meets with J. Edgar Hoover and two other men, who are worried about King’s supporters. CSM likes and respects King, but he’s talking like a Maoist now. If African-Americans listen to King and refuse to fight in Vietnam, American will lose and “the first domino will have fallen.” CSM mocks Hoover’s letter trying to convince King to kill himself; it only let him know that he’s being watched.

One of the men suggests that they blackmail King with a faked film of him having an affair with a white woman, but CSM says they need a “more intense” idea. A general named Fryatt suggests just killing King and his supporters. CSM notes that a lot of supporters think they’re still fighting the Civil War. If they find a white patsy, this becomes an issue of race, “another patsy.” CSM has too much respect for King to let anyone else assassinate him.

On April 4th, 1968, CSM goes to Memphis and smokes while King gives his last speech. He looks at the picture of Teena and Mulder that Bill showed him back in the Army. Then he meets with James Earl Ray in a rooming house and gives him some money to go away for a while (he suggests that Ray see a movie). As soon as Ray’s gone, “Raul” gets his gun and goes to the Lorraine Motel to kill King.

As the news goes out across the country, CSM reads a rejection letter from a publisher who’s uninterested in Take a Chance. The characters are unbelievable and the ending is dumb. He should just burn it. CSM puts the picture of Teena and Mulder in a drawer as Robert Kennedy quotes Aeschylus: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” CSM recites along with him (while probably planning his assassination next).

Part III: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” It’s Christmas Eve 1991, and CSM is meeting with a few fellow CIA agents to wrap up some business before the holidays. They decide to let “the Anita Hill thing” go, and are pleased that Rodney King’s trial has been moved to Simi Valley, as CSM instructed. CSM and his nicotine patch ignore a call from Saddam Hussein so the conversation can continue.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is working on separating from Yugoslavia, but CSM knows America doesn’t care. Personally, he also doesn’t care about the upcoming Oscar nominations. What he does care about is making sure the Bills never win a Super Bowl. “Buffalo wants it bad,” an agent notes. “So did the Soviets in ’80,” CSM replies. The agent is shocked that CSM rigged the famous hockey game. “Don’t you believe in miracles?” CSM asks. Another agent explains that they drugged Russia’s goalie with Novocain via a pat on the back.

CSM starts to leave, but an agent thinks they should chat about “that spooky kid” working on the X-files. He might be trouble. CSM says he’ll keep an eye on him. Moments later, he learns that Gorbachev has resigned, which means the U.S. has no more enemies. CSM hands out Christmas presents to the agents, who invite him to join them and their families for the holidays. CSM says he’s going to see family of his own. He leaves, and the agents open their presents, seeing that CSM got them all the same tie.

CSM listens to Christmas music and works on his next Jack Colquitt story, which is about Colquitt being alone in his apartment on Christmas. Art imitates life! Sometimes Colquitt wants a second chance. Well, maybe Colquitt should take a writing class or something. Deep Throat calls to let CSM know that they’ve just received a surprise Christmas present.

CSM heads to Dogway, West Virginia, where an alien spacecraft has just been captured. CSM thinks they can get away with the kind of story they used to explain Roswell, since it had everyone looking in the wrong direction. Deep Throat disagrees – even with the Russians in disarray, the KGB will be on their backs, as will other countries. They probably have an operative advancing on them as they speak.

Deep Throat and CSM look in on their new alien buddy as CSM wonders how many historic events they’ve witnessed together. “How often did we make or change history? And our names can never grace any pages of record. No monument will ever bear our image, and yet once again tonight, the course of human history will be set by two unknown men standing in the shadows.”

An alien could advance Bill’s work, so CSM knows they need to kill it. Deep Throat reminds him that Security Council Resolution 10.13 requires them to kill any alien in their custody. He wants CSM to do it: “I’m the liar. You’re the killer.” CSM notes that Deep Throat’s lies have killed more people than CSM has: “I’ve never killed anybody.” He wants to keep up that streak. Deep Throat says that maybe CSM’s the liar after all.

Deep Threat knows that the world could be destroyed if they don’t kill their “new enemy.” The men decide to flip a coin to determine who gets the job. Deep Throat loses the toss, so he has the job of ridding the U.S. of its latest threat to democracy and peace and whatnot. He puts on a gas mask and enters the alien’s chamber as CSM takes off his nicotine patch and lights up a Morley.

Part IV: “The X-Files.” Frohike tells Mulder and Scully that this is where they enter the story. CSM attends Scully’s interview at FBI headquarters in March of 1992, then uses his briefcase surveillance device to listen in on Mulder and Scully’s first meeting. I sincerely hope that, later in the series, he has to listen to them make out.

In the present, CSM trains a rifle on the door of the Lone Gunmen’s lair as Frohike quotes Thoreau to the agents: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” CSM hasn’t had a quiet life, but it’s been pretty desperate. Frohike thinks he’s “the most dangerous man alive.” He thinks his actions are necessary, and he can never escape himself.

“Raul” has submitted another story to Pivotal Publishing, and this time it’s received interest. Second Chance involves alien assassinations, and a publisher wants to serialize it. This could lead to a huge career for “Raul.” However, he’ll have to give up some control. The story will be published in Roman a Clef on November 12th. CSM types up a letter of resignation and throws out his Morleys, ready to start a new life.

On November 12th, CSM picks up the new issue of Roman a Clef, which looks more like Playboy than a classy literary publication. He’s stunned to see that someone changed the ending of his story. After some heat from the news vendor, CSM buys the magazine anyway, along with a pack of Morleys.

He smokes at a bus stop, waxing poetic to a homeless man who’s just found a box of candy: “Life is like a box of chocolates – a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for.” You can’t return it because all you’ll get back is more candy. Sometimes you find something good, but the good ones don’t last. You end up with broken, crappy candy, “and if you’re desperate enough to eat those, all you’ve got left is an empty box filled with useless brown paper wrappers.” CSM tears up his resignation letter and heads to work as the homeless man picks up his magazine.

In the present, Frohike’s still looking for proof that everything he’s determined about CSM’s past is true. As he leaves the Lone Gunmen’s lair, CSM takes aim, saying, “I can kill you whenever I please.” He takes his finger off the trigger and lets Frohike go. “But not today.”

Thoughts: The younger version of CSM is played by Chris Owens, who later plays Jeffrey Spender.

“Mom, I got a role on The X-Files!” “That’s great! Who are you playing?” “Lee Harvey Oswald. …Hello? Mom?”

So are we supposed to feel bad for CSM, since he didn’t become a famous writer and he was alone his whole life? HE MURDERED PEOPLE.

October 15, 2016

The X-Files 3.24, Talitha Cumi: Stop Using Your Alien Powers for Good!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:55 pm by Jenn

Awww, they have matching coats!

Awww, they have matching coats!

Summary: A man at a busy fast-food restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, is ranting about being mistreated by someone. He pulls a gun and takes everyone hostage (though he’s kind enough to let the children go). An employee calls the police as another customer approaches the first man and calmly tries to talk him down. “They made me do it,” the first man says. The second man calms him enough to take the gun.

Outside, the world’s fastest sniper team gets ready to take out the possible shooter. He sees a couple of customers trying to leave and shoots them, but the snipers shoot him as well. The calm man assures the hostage-taker that he’s not going to die, then puts a hand on his wound, clearing up the blood.

By the time Mulder and Scully arrive on the scene, the medics are there and confused that they didn’t actually need to come – no one’s hurt. All the witnesses are also confused. One of the men who was shot has a mark on his shirt from the bullet and blood, but he’s totally fine. He tells Scully that the calm man healed him. Mulder sits with the shooter, Galen Muntz, who says that God took pity on him and forgave him, sparing his life. He thinks the calm man was God’s vessel to heal him. However, the calm man is now gone, so the agents can’t talk to him.

Up in Rhode Island, Teena Mulder has gone to her family’s old home to see an old friend: CSM. He wants her to try to remember something. Someone takes pictures from a distance as the two fight. Back in Virginia, the agents learn that the calm man said his name was Jeremiah Smith, but the address he gave the police was for a P.O. box. A police officer says he seemed to vanish in an instant.

Skinner calls Mulder at the restaurant to tell him that Teena’s been admitted to a hospital in Rhode Island. Mulder rushes up there to find his mother unconscious after a stroke. Scully tries to assure her partner that Teena could make a full recovery. When she wakes up, she can’t speak, but she writes her son a note: PALM. Teena’s soon taken to another facility, and Scully again assures Mulder that she’s getting good care.

Mulder wonders if there’s a connection between his mother’s illness and the incident in Virginia – Jeremiah used the palm of his hand to heal people. Scully thinks it’s just a coincidence. Instead of staying near his mother, Mulder decides to return to D.C. and find out who Jeremiah is. He reviews footage shot by a local news crew and sees the moment Jeremiah disappears while speaking to a detective. He’s replaced by someone wearing the same clothes.

A bunch of men in suits head to the Social Security Administration, where Jeremiah’s working. CSM is among the men, smoking even though this is a GOVERNMENT BUILDING, SIR. Jeremiah tries to leave, but the men grab him and leave. He’s taken Hannibal Lechter-style to a prison cell.

Mulder returns to Rhode Island, where Mr. X joins him at the family home. He reveals that CSM was there with Teena, showing Mulder pictures of their fight. Mr. X figures that Mulder knew they knew each other, and why they were there. He’s the one who called an ambulance for Teena, but he doesn’t know what she and CSM were fighting about. He thinks CSM was looking for. Mulder says that his mother hasn’t been to the house since she divorced his father. Mr. X thinks the thing CSM wants is very old.

Jeremiah shows up at FBI headquarters, telling Scully he wants to turn himself in. He tells her, Skinner, and some other agents that he doesn’t remember anything that happened at the restaurant. He hasn’t done anything wrong, so they have to let him leave.

In Rhode Island, Mulder searches the house but can’t find anything that fits with the word “palm.” He pulls out Teena’s note and rearranges the letters to come up with the word “lamp.” There are plenty in the house to choose from, but the second one he checks contains what looks like a retractable ice pick.

CSM visits Jeremiah’s cell to slam him for helping people instead of working toward his “greater purpose.” His actions could have huge consequences. Jeremiah says that CSM’s actions take away people’s freedom. People believe in authority and science, so they don’t need other explanations. They need to keep this up if the “project” is going to be successful. And CSM thinks it will be, since the date has been set.

Jeremiah turns into Bill, questioning how many people have to die so CSM will be successful. CSM says he’s not impressed with Jeremiah’s miracles or trickery. He’ll get justice. Bill/Jeremiah asks where that will come from. “By those who possess the tool of your destruction,” CSM replies.

Mulder’s back at FBI headquarters, demanding that Skinner help him look into CSM’s background. Skinner can’t help, and it doesn’t really matter, since Mulder can go to Jeremiah for answers without going through CSM. Mulder and Scully go to the SSA to talk to Jeremiah, who pulls the same trick as before, disappearing and leaving behind someone wearing his clothes. That man easily leaves the building without anyone noticing.

CSM returns to Jeremiah’s cell so they can babble some more about miracles and what people believe. CSM says people fear God without believing in Him. If they can appease people’s consciences, they can rule them. Jeremiah turns into Deep Throat and mocks CSM for a minute, then turns back into himself. He announces that CSM is dying of lung cancer, but CSM accuses him of lying.

The man who left the SSA appears at Jeremiah’s prison with a new face and his own retractable ice pick. It’s our old buddy the Bounty Hunter! He’s led to Jeremiah’s cell, but it’s empty. Meanwhile, Mulder visits his mother, who isn’t doing so well. After crying for a few minutes, Mulder leaves the room and sees CSM in the hallway. Mulder attacks him, pulling his gun. CSM says he met with Teena at her request because she had questions about Samantha’s whereabouts. But the person with that information has disappeared.

Scully works late at FBI headquarters, looking up information on every Jeremiah Smith who works for the SSA. There are six of them, and they all look exactly alike. Mr. X meets up with Mulder, asking for the ice pick, but Mulder won’t hand it over. He knows it’s the only way to kill “them.” Mr. X warns that Mulder will be killed for the ice pick, even if it means he becomes a martyr. Mulder knows they’re facing colonization, and the date has been set.

Mr. X again demands the ice pick, and Mulder again refuses to give it over. The two men fight and end up pulling guns on each other. Mulder notes that Mr. X will never get the ice pick if he shoots Mulder. Mr. X is considering doing it anyway, since Mulder’s squandered everything Mr. X has done for him. But it doesn’t really matter, since one way or another, Mulder’s a dead man walking.

Scully gets a visit at home from Jeremiah, or at least someone who looks like him. She’s smart enough to make him follow some instructions that ensure she’s not putting herself in danger. Jeremiah wants to hand over some information about an “elaborate plan” and Samantha. Scully wonders why Jeremiah didn’t tell her this before. He says they’ve never talked – the person she talked to before was an imposter.

Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) and Scully tells him Jeremiah’s there. Mulder tells her to meet him at a construction site; her apartment isn’t safe. When Scully and Jeremiah arrive, Mulder separates them, pulling out the ice pick. Jeremiah promises to explain everything, but first Mulder wants him to go see Teena. Before they can go anywhere, the Bounty Hunter arrives, ready to use his ice pick on Jeremiah. To be continued…

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote this episode.

The SSA looks like a horrible place to work. It’s just a big room full of people working on computers. There aren’t even any cubicle walls. I’d go crazy there.

And just like that, I’m done with season 3. Only seven more seasons to go!

August 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

Summary: It’s August 19th, 1953, and a sailor is giving a statement in a Naval hospital in Pearl Harbor. He testifies that his submarine was on a suicide mission. He tells some men what Johansen did to the sick sailors, sacrificing their lives. Now we get to see what happened on the side of the door Johansen wasn’t on – one of the sailors’ eyes turned black and he knocked out another man. That man’s eyes leaked oil on the floor and into a drain.

The sailor in the hospital calls the oil “the enemy” and says it’s what killed his fellow sailors and caused everyone’s burns. He thinks they were sent to guard it. After it burned everyone, it “slithered away” into the sea. He says it’s still down there. The Navy will deny it, but he wants to make sure the truth gets out. And he thinks he can trust the men he’s speaking with to make sure that happens. Since one of them is Bill Mulder and the other is smoking a cigarette, he probably can’t.

Now, 40+ years later, Scully goes Northeast Georgetown Medical Center to find out how Skinner is. She wants to start looking for the shooter, but the two agents she speaks with don’t seem to see that as a priority. Skinner wakes up from surgery long enough to tell Scully that the shooter was someone he’s seen before. Meanwhile, Mulder and Krycek land in D.C. and continue their road trip to Krycek’s digital tape. Krycek hands over a key labeled C.I. but won’t tell Mulder what that means.

Scully demands guards outside Skinner’s hospital room, knowing Skinner’s still in danger from the shooter. Also in danger: Mulder and Krycek, who are being followed. The car following them forces them off the highway, knocking out Mulder. Krycek is pulled from the car, but he can’t give the other men the tape they’re after. Mulder wakes up to see a flash of light and hear shouts from the men.

Pendrell summons Scully to an FBI lab to let her know he’s gotten some of the shooter’s hair fibers, so he can run his DNA against other criminals in D.C. Elsewhere, CSM meets with a doctor treating two men for massive radiation burns. The doctor’s never seen anything like this before, but CSM has. He tells the doctor to have the bodies destroyed even though the men are still alive.

Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, because they are married. He fills her in on the developments with Krycek and the flash of light he saw. She tells him about Skinner and shares her theory that his shooter was also Melissa’s killer. The hair fibers do seem to match up. Meanwhile, the Syndicate meets to discuss the possibility that they’ve had an information leak. Their “associate” in D.C. has been asked to join them and explain himself.

Scully visits Skinner and gives him the news that he was shot by the person who killed Melissa. Skinner tells her that he was urged to stop investigating Melissa’s murder, which makes Scully think that the government doesn’t want them to find the killer. Skinner knows where he saw the shooter before – he was in the stairwell with Krycek when Krycek attacked him and stole the digital tape. Skinner warns Scully not to let her anger get out of control. In fact, it might be better if she steps away. But she knows that’s what they want.

Scully tries to go through proper channels to request a search for Krycek. She thinks he’s key to both of the cases she’s dealing with. Mulder gets his hands on Gauthier’s diving suit and a sample of the oil found on it. It’s supposedly just diesel oil, but Mulder’s figured out that it’s what’s infecting people. Of course, he describes it as some sort of alien substance that turns people into killers, so Scully finds it a little unbelievable. Mulder thinks Krycek’s been infected, so they need to find out what the oil wants.

The Lone Gunmen are having a lovely afternoon ice skating…and also keeping an eye on some men in trenchcoats. Frohike retrieves an envelope from a storage locker, and the guys take it to Mulder. Unfortunately, the digital tape that should be in there is gone. That’s because Krycek has it, and he wants to trade it to CSM for something.

Sometime later, CSM goes to New York to meet with the Syndicate; they’re upset that he moved the salvaged UFO without their knowledge. He should have just taken it to Nevada, “like the others.” WMM wants to know why CSM went after Skinner, and why the shooting was so sloppy – there were witnesses, so the shooter’s face is out there. CSM takes no responsibility for the shooter’s screw-ups, but WMM orders him to take responsibility for getting rid of him.

Frohike is able to see indentations from writing on the envelope, and from there Mulder’s able to use a pencil to shade in a New York phone number. He calls it and reaches the Syndicate. Mulder tells WMM that he got the number from Krycek, so WMM asks to meet with him. The FBI finally IDs the shooter, Luis Cardinal, but since he entered the U.S. illegally, there’s no paper trail on him. He’s probably already left the country. The FBI thinks they’ve hit a dead end, but Scully won’t give up.

Mulder heads to Central Park – alone, at night – to meet with WMM, because he’s not as smart as he seems. WMM says he’ll consider handing Krycek over to Mulder if Mulder tells him what he knows. WMM confirms that the aircraft recovered from the ocean was a UFO (a Foo Fighter) shot down by American fighter planes during WWI. No one’s sure what happened to the sub that went down to recover it back in the ’50s. Mulder says he knows what killed the sailors, but he won’t share the info until he gets Krycek.

WMM wonders why Mulder didn’t kill Krycek before, when he had the chance. Mulder says he wants the tape, since Krycek has been selling its secrets. He realizes that WMM doesn’t really know where Krycek is, and was hoping Mulder could give him information. WMM replies that “anyone can be gotten to.” Mulder hurries off to call Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) and warn her that Skinner’s in danger. She heads to his hospital room and discovers that the guards she had posted there are gone – and so is Skinner.

The guards have Skinner in an ambulance, supposedly to transport him to another hospital. Scully hitches a ride with them, which allows her to notice something strange about Skinner’s IV bag. (I don’t think it’s hooked up properly.) She ambushes Cardinal, and a chase ensues through the streets of D.C. Scully finally corners Cardinal, who begs for his life, telling her she really wants Krycek. The police arrive and arrest Cardinal, so that was anticlimactic.

Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know he was right to be worried about Skinner – Cardinal was going to kill him. She relays the message that Krycek is going to an abandoned missile site in North Dakota. Mulder asks her to meet him at the airport so they can go to North Dakota together and check out the salvaged UFO.

The two head to Black Crow, North Dakota, and start checking out silos. There are only 200, so I’m sure it won’t take long! They hear someone approaching in the first one they check out, and while they’re hiding, they come across bodies covered in burns. Men in military gear chase them through tunnels, eventually surrounding them just before they can access a door marked 1013 that has a warning about radioactive materials.

The agents are taken outside just as CSM arrives. Mulder demands answers, but CSM claims he doesn’t know what happened to Krycek after his disappearance months earlier. After the agents are gone, CSM and the military go back inside to remove the bodies. CSM smirks at the door to room 1013, behind which Krycek is leaking oil onto a spiral symbol. The symbol absorbs the oil completely.

Back in D.C., Skinner’s out of the hospital and back to work. Mulder thanks him for keeping up the investigation into Melissa’s murder, but Skinner says he was mistaken about it. Mulder finds Scully at Melissa’s grave, and she repeats what Johansen said about the dead speaking to us from beyond the grave. Maybe that’s what our consciences are.

Scully thought she would feel closure once Cardinal was brought to justice, but now she knows that “no punishment is ever enough.” Mulder tells her that they might have found a different kind of justice – Cardinal is dead. The two discuss Krycek, and whether the Syndicate got to him. Scully wonders if we bury the dead alive, like Johansen said. Well, in Krycek’s case, it sure seems that way, since he’s stuck in a silo, trapped eight stories underground, behind door 1013. See you later, buddy!

Thoughts: The Syndicate’s phone number ends in 1012, not 1013. I feel cheated.

Oh, show. No one in D.C. would say “the D.C. airport.”

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, so a town called Black Crow makes me giggle. Does Jon Snow live there?

May 7, 2016

The X-Files 3.1, The Blessing Way: In Space, No One Can Hear You Blather

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

I've seen pretentious college plays just like this

I’ve seen pretentious college plays just like this

Summary: As the fire burns in the boxcar in the New Mexico desert, Hosteen voices over that there’s an old Navajo saying about how something only lives as long as the last person who remembers it. That means trusting memory over history. “History serves only those who seek to control it,” and we should beware people who want to put out the flame of memory: “Their false memory is written in the blood of those who may remember, and of those who seek the truth.”

CSM sends his minions into the Hosteens’ house to hold them at gunpoint while he demands to know where Mulder is. Hosteen says he’s out of luck. Later, Scully arrives, after the others have left, and Hosteen and Eric (who’s been beaten up) send her to the smoldering boxcar. She yells Mulder’s name, but there’s no response.

Scully leaves the reservation, followed by a helicopter that stops her on the road. CSM’s minions detain her and ask for the M.J. documents. She lets them take the files, but they want a digital recording, too, which Scully says Mulder has. When she returns to FBI headquarters, she’s suspended for insubordination. She turns in her badge and gun but won’t answer any more questions. As far as she knows, Mulder is dead.

Skinner pretends this has been difficult for him, too. Scully’s upset that the people who killed Bill and probably killed Mulder are going to get away with it. Skinner argues that the FBI is just following protocol. Scully goes straight to Mulder’s desk and retrieves a cassette case hidden there. It’s supposed to contain the digital recording, but the box is empty.

In New York, a group of shady men meets to discuss whether their 40 years of secret-keeping have been disturbed. CSM arrives to announce that they’re still in control, though there’s still a problem that needs to be handled. Mulder’s dead, and no one will ever find his body. The stolen files have been recovered, and anyone working on their super-top-secret projects can keep working.

Scully goes to her mother’s house for comfort, worrying that she’s made a mistake and her father would be ashamed of her. Hosteen voices over that some boys came by to tell Eric that they saw buzzards in the quarry near the boxcar. Hosteen says that either means something has died or that death is close. A group goes out to look, finding Mulder buried under a pile of rocks, still alive thanks to being underground.

Mulder is taken to a hogan and people are summoned for a ceremony called the Blessing Way Chant. Hosteen says this is the only way Mulder’s life can be saved. Meanwhile, a drunk Frohike visits Scully to pay his respects. He thinks Scully will continue Mulder’s work, but she doesn’t think she can do so once she’s pushed out of her job. Frohike shows her a news article about the Thinker’s “execution-style” murder. Scully notes that he was killed after Mulder disappeared.

In the hogan, the ceremony is underway, though Hosteen worries that Mulder’s body will give up before they can heal him. Mulder’s…spirit, I guess, floats in space, surrounded by men in shadows. Deep Throat appears and says some flowery stuff about truth, then tells Mulder not to look into the abyss. We see a smoke bomb being dropped into the boxcar sometime in the past, and the aliens inside running for cover.

Next up at Mulder’s space funeral: Bill, who’s unhappy that he had to lie to his son for so long. Now his lies have put Mulder’s life at risk. Mulder is the memory, and it lives in him, so if he dies, the truth will, too. Mulder asks if Samantha is there. Bill says no, then continues that Mulder needs to keep seeking the truth.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters, entering with a tour group instead of through the employees’ entrance. A security guard thinks she’s set off the metal detector because of something like a shirt pin, not for any sketchy reasons. Scully meets with Skinner, telling him that she thinks the Thinker’s death is connected to Mulder’s disappearance. She’d like to find out if the ballistics match the bullet that killed Bill. If so, Mulder didn’t kill his father.

Skinner says that the police who investigated the Thinker’s murder would have said something if their tests had turned up anything the FBI needed to know. Scully says she’s trying to cooperate with the investigation, but Skinner thinks she’s trying to earn her way back from suspension. He’s unhappy that he’s supposed to find the cassette, wondering if it was worth Mulder’s life. If Scully really wants to help with the investigation, she’ll find the recording.

After Scully leaves the office, CSM enters from the next room and asks if Skinner talked to Scully about the tape. Skinner says Scully claims not to have it. CSM says that’s “unfortunate.” As Scully leaves the building, she decides to go back through the metal detector to see why she set it off. When the security guard runs a wand over her, it goes off at the back off her neck.

Scully runs to a bureau doctor and gets an x-ray that shows something small in her neck. There’s also a small scar over the area. The doctor thinks she was probably hit with buckshot in the line of duty and didn’t realize it. After three days of unconsciousness, Mulder wakes up and starts to recover his strength.

The doctor removes what looks like a computer chip from Scully’s neck. She takes it to her sister, Melissa, who thinks she’s repressed the memory of where it came from. Melissa suggests that Scully see someone who could help her remember, but Scully refuses. Melissa’s upset that her sister never sees the world any way but scientifically. Her grief keeps her from accessing her true feelings. Melissa asks Scully to do this for her.

So Scully goes to see Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a psychiatrist who wants to hypnotize her so she can access her memories. She remembers being afraid that she would die, but Pomerantz thinks someone took care of her. Scully recalls lights and loud sounds, but not the details of whatever procedure she underwent. Her captors seemed concerned about her well-being.

Pomerantz wonders if someone from the FBI was there. “I had to trust them,” Scully says. She couldn’t resist them. Pomerantz accidentally brings Scully out of her hypnotic state, and she decides it’s not working. She heads home, spotting Skinner leaving her building.

On the reservation, Hosteen tells Mulder that he’s okay to leave, but he can’t bathe or change clothes for a few days. Mulder jokes that his social life will be affected. He asked for sunflower seeds while he was sick, so someone has brought him some. Hosteen tells him that he was dreaming, but also visiting the origins of the reservation. He wipes out a sand drawing and declares the ceremony over.

Scully calls Skinner to ask why he went by her place, but he denies being there. That’s because CSM is in his office. Mulder voices over about being on the bridge between two worlds and seeking truth. Now he’s back, but he’s afraid he’s too late. Scully has been dreaming this just before Bill’s funeral in Massachusetts. She tells Teena that she has a strong feeling that Mulder is still alive and will be found.

One of CSM’s buddies is also at the funeral, and he listens in as Scully tells Teena she’ll keep her updated. The man, who is often called the Well-Manicured Man (WMM from here on out), then pulls Scully aside to ask about Mulder. He says he’s part of a “global consortium” that’s very interested in the recording – interested enough to commit murder over it. He’s sure Mulder’s dead, and he wants to warn Scully that her life could soon end, too.

Scully starts to walk away, but WMM continues that she’ll be killed in one of two ways. Either she’ll be killed in her own home with an unregistered weapon that will be left behind, or she’ll be asked to meet with someone she trusts who’s luring her into a trap. She’d be wise to stay somewhere else right now.

Scully wonders why she’s a target. “You want something they don’t – justice,” WMM replies. She wants to know why he’s helping her. He says his colleagues are being impulsive, and her death would draw “unnecessary attention” to the consortium. Scully says he’s really protecting himself. WMM says the consortium predicts the future, “and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Teena comes home from her husband’s funeral to find her not-dead-after-all son in her house. He shows her some pictures of Bill from 1972 and asks who the men are with him. Teena doesn’t remember their names, but one is Deep Throat and one is WMM. Mulder thinks they have something to do with what happened to Samantha.

Scully gets home as Melissa calls to find out what happened with Pomerantz. Scully says something weird happened, then tells Melissa she can come over. As soon as end their conversation, someone else calls, then immediately hangs up. Scully calls Melissa to say she’ll come to Melissa’s instead, but her sister’s already on her way over.

As Scully leaves her building, Skinner arrives and tells her to get in his car. Remembering what WMM said, Scully’s wary about going anywhere with someone she trusts, but she has a gun with her, so she gets in the car. They go to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully pulls her weapon and says she knows what’s going on. She asks who sent Skinner after her, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Melissa arrives at Scully’s apartment, which two men have broken into. She’s immediately shot…by Krycek. He realizes he shot the wrong sister and leaves. At Mulder’s, Skinner tells Scully he’s not going to kill her – he wants to give her the recording. He took it from Mulder’s desk before she could. They hear someone outside the door, and the distraction allows Skinner to pull his own gun for a stand-off with Scully. To be continued (again)…

Thoughts: “Okay, David, in this episode, you’re going to lie around half-naked under tree branches while men chant over you and dead people tell you not to go into the light. Also, sometimes you’re in space. Action!”

Deep Throat, are you getting paid by the word? Just say, “It’s not your time yet.” There’s no need to be so dramatic.

Skinner needs some sort of code to use with Mulder and Scully that means, “I’m going to say I’m not helping you, but I really am.”

April 30, 2016

The X-Files 2.25, Anasazi: Kill Bill

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:38 pm by Jenn

This is just how the first season of "Lost" ended

This is just how the first season of “Lost” ended

Summary: It’s April 9th, and on a Navajo reservation in Two Grey Hills, New Mexico, a young man is woken in the middle of the night by an earthquake. In the morning, the man’s grandfather tells him to leave the snakes alone when he goes out riding. The grandfather, Albert Hosteen, thinks the earth has something to say. The grandson, Eric, rides his motorcycle to some red rocks and sees something white underground where the dirt has been displaced. Eric brings his family out to see what he’s brought home, but Albert says it should be returned: “They will be coming.” The thing Eric found is a skeleton, and if I had to guess, I’d say it belonged to an alien.

In Dover, Delaware, a man is ready a book about conspiracy theories while his computer does some hacking. In the United Nations building in New York, an Italian man learns that the “MJ documents” have been breached. Japanese and German men confer, then speak to CSM. He tells some minions that he’s gotten the phone call he never wanted to receive. While masked men break into the hacker’s apartment, Mulder gets a visit from the Lone Gunmen, who are trying to dodge a killer named Garnet who’s after the hacker, Kenneth Soona. He’s the “Thinker” they’ve worked with before. The Gunmen think Soona will try to contact Mulder.

A shot is fired nearby, and Mulder runs to an apartment in another hallway where a woman has just shot her husband of 30 years. The Gunmen decide this is too weird for them and leave. Mulder goes to the U.S. Botanic Garden and meets with Soona, who thinks he’s found the Defense Department’s original files about aliens. This means he has information on Roswell and MJ-12. He didn’t think he’d be successful in the hack, so he didn’t take any precautions with his identity. Soona gives all his downloaded info to Mulder, asking him to promise to make the conspirators answer to the people.

Mulder takes the information (on a cassette – awwww, remember cassettes?) to his office the next day, telling Scully he’s about to uncover “the biggest lie of all.” He’s found the Holy Grail of the DOD’s secrets. Too bad it’s all encrypted and Mulder can’t read it. Scully thinks it’s written in Navajo, telling Mulder that the Allies used the language in World War II and the Japanese couldn’t interpret it. Mulder tells her to find someone who can. Scully’s worried about him since he hasn’t been sleeping. Mulder goes to see Skinner, who wants to know if the rumor’s true that Mulder has received sensitive files. Mulder says no, then tries to leave. When Skinner tries to make him stay, they get into a fistfight.

Scully’s summoned to Skinner’s office the next day for a meeting about Mulder and Skinner’s fight. She doesn’t know why Mulder’s acting so weird, since he only said he’s not sleeping well. One of the attendees wonders if Scully would lie to protect her partner – the partner she was originally supposed to discredit. She’s warned that she could be fired if she tries to protect Mulder. Scully doesn’t seem too worried.

Up in Martha’s Vineyard, Bill Mulder gets a visit from CSM, who was never supposed to contact him again. Bill’s annoyed that the MJ documents weren’t destroyed decades ago. CSM confirms that Mulder has them, as Soona has come forward. Bill’s name is in the files, and he doesn’t want Mulder to know. CSM thinks the encryption will protect him. Bill wonders if Mulder will also be protected. CSM urges Bill to deny everything if his involvement is ever revealed.

Scully finds Mulder napping in his apartment, trying to sleep off a fever. She tells him she covered for him at work and warns that Skinner’s looking for a reason to punish him. She’d like to know what she’s lying to keep secret. She wants to know if the cassette is worth Mulder risking everything. Mulder angrily says he’ll tell her more when the encryption is broken. Scully says she’s meeting someone soon, but she needs assurance that she’s doing the right thing. Mulder doesn’t answer as he puts a masking-tape X on his window. She asks why he attacked Skinner, but Mulder doesn’t know.

Scully meets with someone from the Navajo Nation who can only recognize a few words (“goods/merchandise” and “vaccination”). She says they stand out because they’re modern words. She has someone in mind who can help with the rest. Bill calls Mulder to summon him to the family home, though leaving D.C. will mean Mulder can’t meet with Mr. X. Scully goes back to Mulder’s apartment, where a shot is fired through the window that still has an X on it.

Up at the Mulder compound, Bill tells his son that back when he had to make choices, they were complicated; now they’re clear. He’s proud that Mulder has never joined up with people who might change his doctrines. Once Mulder hears the words, he’ll understand. Mulder asks for details, and Bill clarifies that the word is “merchandise.” He goes to the bathroom to take some medication, not realizing that our old buddy Krycek is lying in wait in the bathtub. Mulder hears a shot and runs to check on his father, who uses his dying breath to ask for forgiveness.

Mulder calls Scully to report that Bill has been killed. Scully wonders if Mulder’s responsible, and when he says he isn’t, she tells him to run away. Mulder’s worried about that making him look guilty. Scully points out that he’ll look guilty no matter what – he’s being set up. Mulder wants to meet her at his apartment, but Scully knows that’s not safe, considering the shot that came through the window while she was there. Instead, the agents reconvene at her place, and Scully realizes that Mulder’s condition is worsening.

In the morning, Mulder (whose personal doctor helpfully removed his clothes during the night) wakes up alone and finds his gun missing. Scully’s taken it to the FBI’s firearms unit to see if it was used to kill Bill. Mulder thinks Scully still suspects that he killed his father. Scully says she wants to be able to give Skinner answers. Mulder yells at her for making reports on him over the past two years. “You have my files and you have my gun,” he says. “Don’t ask me for my trust.”

Scully retrieves the bullet that was fired through Mulder’s window, spotting a man wheeling what looks like an oxygen tank to a van outside. Whatever the tank actually holds, a new one has been hooked up in the building’s boiler room. That night, Mulder spots someone outside his building and chases him. It’s Krycek, who manages to lose a fight to Mulder despite the fact that Krycek’s the only one armed and Mulder has a fever. Krycek won’t admit to killing Bill, but Mulder beats him up anyway.

Scully arrives and orders Mulder to drop Krycek’s gun. Mulder refuses, even though Scully has her own gun trained on Krycek, so Scully shoots Mulder in the shoulder, allowing Krycek to get away. When Scully wakes up on April 16th (to a “Mulder, it’s me”), Hosteen is there with Scully. Mulder’s understandably upset that his partner shot him, but Scully knows that if Mulder had shot Krycek, they would never be able to prove that Mulder didn’t kill Bill. For the first time, Scully’s able to tell Mulder that she’s sorry his father is dead.

Scully explains that when she went to get the bullet from Mulder’s apartment, she saw someone taking out the tank. She found a dialysis filter in the new one and guesses it was used to transmit LSD or dopamine into Mulder’s building. That explains Mulder’s weird behavior and the random shooting in the building. Scully thinks their enemies are trying to turn people against Mulder. She knocked him out for a couple of days to make sure the side effects of the psychosis are gone. They’re now in Farmington, New Mexico.

Hosteen was a Navajo code-talker in World War II, and he’s been working on translating the MJ documents. He says he got an omen last week that let him know Mulder would be coming. Scully tells Mulder that the reservation holds some more evidence of the conspiracy, and Mulder will be able to go see them. Scully has skipped a meeting with Skinner, so now she’s put her job on the line, but she’s obviously more concerned about Mulder. He thanks her for taking care of him. Scully reveals that her name is in the files, along with Duane Barry’s – something having to do with a test. She asks Mulder to find out what it all means.

Mulder and Hosteen head to Hosteen’s house, talking about how secrets “push their way up through the sands of deception” so people can learn them. Hosteen asks Mulder to confirm that he’s ready to put his life on the line to learn the truth. More than 600 years ago, the Anasazi tribe lived on the reservation; now, there’s no evidence of their existence. People claim they never existed because they’re not willing to sacrifice themselves to learn the truth. Hosteen, however, doesn’t believe that anything can disappear without a trace. He thinks the Anasazi were abducted “by visitors who come here still.”

Eric takes Mulder out to the red rocks to see the thing he uncovered in the dirt. CSM calls to ask Mulder’s location, which, of course, Mulder isn’t going to disclose (he says he’s at the Betty Ford Center). CSM warns Mulder not to listen to anything Bill told him. He authorized something and couldn’t live with it. CSM claims he had nothing to do with Bill’s murder. Mulder threatens to expose the “black-lunged son of a b%$@#,” but CSM replies that doing so would also expose Bill. After they hang up, CSM gets in a military helicopter and heads off to find Mulder.

Eric tells Mulder that he thinks the thing buried under the dirt is a boxcar. They find a hatch in the roof and open it. Mulder calls Scully from inside the boxcar to tell her it’s full of bodies. She tells him that the MJ documents mention experiments performed by Axis scientists who were granted immunity after the war. They were testing on humans, AKA “merchandise.” But the bodies in the boxcar look more alien than human. One seems to have a smallpox vaccination scar.

As the agents start to put things together, the boxcar hatch closes. Eric has spotted CSM’s helicopter. Soldiers emerge and CSM tries to question Eric, who won’t talk to him. They can’t find Mulder in the boxcar, telling CSM that if he was there, “he’s vanished without a trace.” CSM, like Hosteen, denies that that’s possible. He orders them to burn the boxcar. As they take Eric with them on the helicopter, a bomb detonates on the boxcar and it goes up in flames. To be continued…

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-write this episode.

My captions in one scene: “speaking native language.” Well, the Hosteens are Navajo, so do you think Albert might have been speaking…Navajo? Just a guess.

Mulder gets cell reception inside a boxcare in a desert quarry but my parents have to leave their building to get a signal. Thanks, technology!

And just like that, I’m done with season 2! On to Jack Black and Clyde Bruckman.

March 5, 2016

The X-Files 2.17, End Game: Samantha or Shamantha?

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

The only time Gillian Anderson will ever be taller than David Duchovny

The only time Gillian Anderson will ever be taller than David Duchovny

Summary: In the Beaufort Sea, 87 miles from Alaska, the USS Allegiance has found something on its radar. It’s emitting radio signals, but nothing they can understand. They’re instructed to fire on command. Before they can, a loud noise sounds throughout the submarine and the power goes out. A commander decides they should surface, but they’re under 32 feet of ice, so that’s not really an option.

We head back to where we left off in the last episode, with Scully at a Maryland motel, on the phone with one Mulder while another stands in her room. She hangs up on the caller, telling in-person Mulder that it was a wrong number. Then she grabs her gun and makes him face the wall. Mulder plays innocent, then punches her and demands to know where the real Mulder is. This is, of course, the Bounty Hunter.

The real Mulder makes it to the motel with Samantha, but Scully and the Bounty Hunter are long gone. Samantha’s sure that she’s alive; the Bounty Hunter took her to get to Samantha. She guesses that the Bounty Hunter got in by disguising himself as Mulder. Fortunately, Samantha knows how to kill him. Unfortunately, exposure to his blood is fatal, so if you’re going to kill him, you better do it right. Mulder wants to find the Bounty Hunter, but Samantha says he’ll find them.

They go to Mulder’s apartment so he can pace and question what’s going on with Samantha. She tells him the doctors are the progeny of two original colonists, and they want to inherit the planet someday. The doctors worked at abortion clinics to get access to fetal tissue; they’ve found a way to combine human and alien DNA. The Bounty Hunter is after them because they’re performing unsanctioned experiments considered a “dilution” of the race.

Mulder isn’t sure he believes the story. Samantha urges him to trust her, seeing as how she’s his sister. Skinner arrives, or at least someone who claims to be Skinner, and Mulder turns out the lights while Samantha grabs an ice pick. She soon determines that he’s the real Skinner, so Mulder fills him in on who Samantha is. Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and confirms Samantha’s suspicions: She’s been taken so the Bounty Hunter can trade her for Samantha.

Mulder only has an hour to make the swap at a bridge in Bethesda, so he enlists Skinner’s help. Skinner and a sniper hide out, waiting to take out the Bounty Hunter as soon as Scully’s safe. All the parties arrive at the meeting point, and Mulder offers Samantha up for the trade. Scully’s released, and Samantha moves to stab the Bounty Hunter in the back of the neck. He overpowers her as Mulder pulls a gun, telling the Bounty Hunter that he won’t be leaving alive.

The Bounty Hunter now wants to know where “she” is. Mulder demands that he let Samantha go. No one moves, so the sniper shoots the Bounty Hunter, who falls into the water with Samantha. And that’s why you don’t do a hostage exchange on the bridge. A search team looks all night, but Samantha doesn’t resurface. Scully wishes that Mulder had told her on the phone that Samantha was the person the Bounty Hunter was looking for. All he says is that the Bounty Hunter is an alien, and now he has to tell his father what happened.

Bill arrives in D.C. and Mulder tells her that Samantha’s gone again. Bill’s mad that Mulder authorized a swap, allowing the Bounty Hunter to take his sister. Mulder gets emotional, because his sister’s gone and his father’s a jerk and he just needs a hug. Bill gives him an envelope Samantha left for him at the house; it holds an address and an access card. Mulder goes to the address and finds a women’s clinic. But moments later, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him that Samantha’s body has been found.

After determining that the Bounty Hunter hasn’t been found, Mulder hangs up. Too bad he didn’t stay on the line – Scully’s about to see Samantha’s face being eaten away by green goo. Mulder sneaks into the clinic and finds…Samantha. She guesses that “she” is dead, then takes him to a room containing the same kind of containers Prince was working with in the warehouse. There’s another Samantha clone there (a Shamantha, if you will), and the clones know the Bounty Hunter’s on his way to kill them.

Mulder meets the original Shamantha, who tells him he has no choice but to save them. Mulder disagrees – he can choose to leave. “We know where your sister is,” the original Shamantha says. How else would the clones know so much about Samantha? An alarm sounds, indicating that the Bounty Hunter has arrived. Mulder quickly encounters him and gets knocked out. Somehow, the clinic catches fire, and Mulder has to be rescued by firefighters. He’s told that there’s no one else in the building.

At FBI headquarters, Scully types a report, even though the episode’s only halfway over. The Bounty Hunter is at large, and Agent Weiss’ body is being studied for a possible contagion. Scully thinks the thickening of his blood was an immunological response. A doctor tells her that lowering the temperature by just five degrees renders the virus dormant. Scully remembers that the body of the Samantha clone started to corrode after being pulled from the icy river.

Mr. X is taking in an opera at the Kennedy Center in D.C. when Mulder summons him for a meeting. Mr. X refuses to help: “The fat lady is singing.” Besides, he thinks everyone’s dead. Mulder thinks the Bounty Hunter is still alive. Mr. X tells him that the USS Allegiance has found him, and an attack fleet is ensuring that he’s contained. He doesn’t think Mulder can win this battle.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment (awww, she even says “Mulder, it’s me” when she knocks on the door) and finds a couple days’ worth of newspapers outside. She lets herself in and checks out his email, finding a message from the man himself. It informs her that he’s off on a mission he didn’t tell her about because it could jeopardize her career. She said a line has to be drawn, so he’s drawing it for her.

Scully goes to Skinner and tells him off the record that Mulder’s gone rogue. She asks him to try to reach Mulder through “unofficial channels.” Skinner refuses – they need to stay loyal to the FBI, unlike Mulder. Scully argues that Mulder saved her life, so she has to do the same for him. He points out that if Mulder wanted that, he would have told Scully how to find him.

Back at Mulder’s apartment, where his masking-tape X is still in the window, Scully waits for contact. Mr. X finally arrives, but he refuses to help her. As he leaves the building, he runs into Skinner, who already knows who he is. Skinner attacks Mr. X, ready to fight for information. Mr. X is also ready to fight, so if you want to see two middle-aged men beat each other up in an elevator, this is the place. Mr. X ends things by pulling his gun. Skinner tells him he’ll be killing two men if he pulls the trigger.

Skinner wins the battle, telling Scully that Mulder went to Alaska and chartered an ATV. Scully asks how he got the information. “Unofficial channels,” Skinner replies. In Alaska, Mulder finds the Bounty Hunter’s icy hiding place, and there’s definitely someone else alive in there. There’s lots of running through the submarine until Mulder comes across a young lieutenant named Terry Wilmer.

Wilmer tells him they spent a few days under the ice until they found a place to surface. Then a man arrived and killed everyone else. Wilmer only survived by playing dead. As the power in the sub comes back up, Mulder demands to know where Samantha is. He’s already correctly determined that Wilmer is really the Bounty Hunter.

Mulder again asks where Samantha is. The Bounty Hunter wonders if he’s really willing to die for the answer. Of course, Mulder is, so he keeps asking. The Bounty Hunter says she’s alive, but Mulder soon won’t be. Mulder manages to get his gun back and shoot the Bounty Hunter, but not in the neck. This means exposure to the Bounty Hunter’s toxic blood. The Bounty Hunter banishes Mulder from the sub, leaving him out on the ice while he powers up and goes back underwater.

Now we’re back where “Colony” started, with Scully telling Mulder’s doctors not to warm him up. His heart is failing not because of hypothermia but because his blood is thickening. Scully’s insistent enough to convince the lead doctor to let her take over. And since this is only the second season of the show, she’s able to save her partner.

Scully sits with Mulder at the hospital while a voiceover tells us what she puts in her case report. The Bounty Hunter has disappeared, along with the sub. Scully’s willing to admit that something supernatural could have happened. Unexplained phenomena have strengthened her faith, and haven’t turned her away from science. After all, science saved Mulder.

Mulder wakes up with Scully by his side and tells her he has “a bad case of freezer burn.” He’s sorry for not taking her along on his mission, but not that sorry, since she could have been in danger. He didn’t find what he was looking for, but he found something he thought he’d lost – “faith to keep looking.”

Thoughts: I don’t buy Scully cowering in the car while Mulder faces off with the Bounty Hunter. But I guess there wasn’t really anything for her to do.

They need a way to ID a person and make sure he or she isn’t the Bounty Hunter. Like how they splash people with holy water in Supernatural to make sure they’re not demons.

Mulder: “How was the opera?” Mr. X: “Wonderful. I’ve never slept better.” Which I guess means he went to the opera reluctantly, which means he probably went on a date. Awww, is Mr. X married?

For more Mitch Pileggi/Steven Williams fighting, watch the Supernatural episode “And Then There Were None.”

February 27, 2016

The X-Files 2.16, Colony: Clone Wars

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:40 pm by Jenn

"Hello are you a ufo" works for this picture, too

“Hello are you a ufo” works for this picture, too

Summary: Mulder voices over that his sister disappeared when he was 12, and he’s always believed aliens took her. His search for the truth has meant he’s had to sacrifice relationships and career growth. Mulder is taken to the hospital with a body temperature of 86 degrees. He voices over that he’s willing to die because what happened to him justifies everything he’s worked for. He’s still sure that there are aliens among us. Scully questions Mulder’s doctor, announcing that he shouldn’t be warmed up – the cold is what’s keeping him alive.

We rewind two weeks and jump on the Alta, a research vessel in the Arctic Circle’s Beaufort Sea. The crew has spotted something in the sky. It zooms over them and crashes. Two days later, doctors at a Scranton hospital watch a news report on the crash. A Russian man believed to be a fighter pilot was extracted from the crash and taken to a military hospital for treatment for exposure to the icy water.

One of the doctors sees the face of the pilot and runs off…right into the pilot himself. The pilot demands to know where “he” is. The doctor’s cluelessness gets him stabbed in the back of the neck with something that looks like an ice pick. Something green bubbles out of the wound. The “pilot” then destroys the hospital’s electrical grid and walks out as the place catches on fire. And since I’m not going to keep calling him the pilot, just know that this is the Alien Bounty Hunter, and we will be seeing a lot more of him.

In D.C., Mulder tells Scully that someone emailed him three obituaries last night. All of them are of doctors, one being Landon Prince, the Scranton doc whose death we just saw. All work at abortion clinics and died in fires that were purposely set. Scully thinks they’re dealing with a militant pro-life group. But why would someone want Mulder to know about their deaths? Maybe because all three doctors look exactly the same. Mulder has already investigated to see if they were triplets, but they don’t have any blood connections. They also don’t have any records of any kind.

The agents go to Scranton and talk to a police officer who has arrested Reverend Calvin Sistrunk, a known harasser of abortion doctors. When he was arrested, he had a newspaper ad on him asking if anyone knows Prince (or one of his lookalikes). Mulder mentions that Prince’s remains haven’t been found, just like with the other two doctors. Wait, so he might not be dead? Then why was there an obituary? What kind of cops does Scranton employ?

Sistrunk is brought in so Mulder can interrogate him about the other two murders. Sistrunk says no. He got the ad from a paper in Binghamton, New York. The agents head there next to ask about the person who placed the ad. He paid in cash, and he wasn’t Sistrunk. He also asked to run the ad a second week but never paid the second fee. Scully tells Mulder that she has a bad feeling about the case. None of it makes sense. Mulder’s like, “Yeah, that’s why it’s an X-file.”

Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a pattern. The first two murders were in New Jersey and New York; now Prince has died in Scranton, and a man is looking for his lookalike in Binghamton. He’s moving north. Mulder agrees to pay the bill for the ad, since it’ll give them access to a voice-mail system set up by the ad-placer. The first message is from someone who claims he saw the Prince lookalike in Syracuse.

The agents call the FBI field office in Syracuse and ask Agent Barry Weiss to keep an eye on a doctor named Aaron Baker. When Weiss gets to Baker’s house, he sees the man fighting with someone unseen. It’s the Bounty Hunter, and he wants Baker to know that his plan won’t succeed. Weiss looks for a back entrance to the house, bursting in just after the Bounty Hunter ices Baker. He’s pretty surprised to see Baker’s body dissolving into green froth.

Weiss shoots the Bounty Hunter, whose body leaks the same green stuff. Weiss’ own body doesn’t like being exposed to the substance. As the agents arrive, Weiss – or at least someone who looks like him – approaches from the yard and says Baker isn’t home. He tosses the real Weiss’ car keys in his trunk, with his body, transforming back into the Bounty Hunter.

Skinner summons Mulder back to D.C. to yell at him for pursuing an investigation that was never authorized. Weiss has been found at the house Mulder sent him to. Mulder protests that he saw Weiss at the house, but Skinner doesn’t care. The investigation is over. In his office, Mulder gets a “Mulder, it’s me” call from Scully, who has gotten an email letting her know there’s another Prince lookalike. This one’s name is James Dickens, and he’s in D.C.

Mulder goes to Scully’s apartment to pick her up, but before he can go inside, he’s intercepted by a CIA agent named Ambrose Chapel. Chapel reveals that he’s also looking into the doctors’ deaths. He tells the agents that during the Cold War, Soviet scientists isolated twins’ DNA and reproduced it. In other words, the doctors are clones. They’re also all named Gregor, which must be pretty confusing (though all the Eves were named Eve, so…).

The Gregors all took positions at hospitals so they could wreak havoc (via blood supplies and medications) if war broke out. Scully wants to know why nothing’s been done if the CIA has been investigating for a year. Chapel says a spy-killer has been trying to take the Gregors out. He thinks the Gregors have been trying to contact the FBI for protection. Chapel reveals that he placed the ad so he could get to the Gregors first and try to get information out of them. Mulder tells him that they know where one might be.

In Germantown, Maryland, Dickens leaves a warehouse where it looks like he’s running secret tests. Scully, Mulder, and Chapel find him at home, and as soon as he sees Chapel, he jumps out a window. Even though he was a few stories up, he’s able to run off. Mulder and Chapel run after him as Chapel’s…wife? girlfriend? roommate? looks on impassively. The agents split up, and Mulder ends up running into traffic and getting hit by a car. Scully gets to him and he sends her off on Dickens’ trail while he tries to get his breath back.

Chapel tracks Dickens to an alley, doing that villain thing where he just walks normally while Dickens tries to escape. As Scully searches for the two men, we see that Chapel is actually the Bounty Hunter. He’s changed back into Chapel when Scully gets to him, and he tells her that Dickens got away by climbing a fire escape. He doesn’t mention the puddle of green goo nearby.

The agents return to the FBI building, disagreeing over whether to continue the investigation. Scully doesn’t trust Chapel, and she reminds Mulder that his motto is “trust no one.” Mulder says he’d rather trust everyone; he looked at Chapel history, and he’s completely legit. Scully thinks Chapel let Dickens get away. She reminds Mulder that Dickens ran from Chapel, not them. Maybe Chapel killed Weiss in Syracuse.

Scully continues that Mulder is always willing to follow a case even if it means sacrificing his sanity. She has to draw the line somewhere. An agent has already died because of their investigation. Mulder replies that they all know the risks, so Scully can accept them or not: “We all draw our own lines.” Scully shows him the spots on her shoes that came into contact with the green goo – they’ve been eaten away. Mulder tells her that Weiss’ cause of death can’t be established. Scully’s interested again.

Scully looks over Weiss’ autopsy report, spotting a note that his blood was “curdled like jelly.” Aaaaaaand I’m not eating jelly ever again. That means Weiss may have been given something that made his blood clot or thicken before his death. Mulder points out that the Gregors placed themselves at hospitals in case they needed to contaminate blood supplies. Scully thinks they could find answers in Dickens’ doctor’s bag, which she took from his apartment.

Skinner summons Mulder, but not to yell at him this time – Mulder’s father has been trying to reach him. There’s some sort of Mulder family emergency. Mulder calls home and learns that Bill Mulder got a strange phone call that afternoon. He won’t say anything over the phone; he just wants Mulder to come home.

Scully goes to the address on Dickens’ bag, which is for the warehouse. There’s dried green goo on the ground. Chapel is there, destroying stuff that looks like it was used for testing…something. Scully barely manages to run off without him seeing her. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me,” of course) from home to tell him she might be in danger. Mulder’s up in Martha’s Vineyard, where his father greets him outside the house. Mulder looks through the window to see his mother, Teena, talking to a woman. Bill tells his son that the woman is Samantha. She’s also the woman from Dickens’ apartment.

The newly reunited Mulder family stays up late together, trying to accept that Samantha is really Samantha. Mulder finally gets some alone time with his sister, who asks if it’s too late for a game of Stratego. She tells him she was returned with no memories of her abduction or her previous life. She was placed with another family, and though she didn’t remember the Mulders, she always felt out of place. A few years ago, she developed anxiety and underwent regression hypnotherapy. Suddenly, she could remember her abductions and the tests she underwent.

Samantha tells Mulder she’s in danger from the man hunting her “father and the other doctors.” One of the Gregors was her adoptive father. She warns Mulder that the Bounty Hunter’s lies destroy lives. She thinks he’ll be coming for her soon. Mulder tries to call Scully but just misses her. He leaves a message on her machine warning her not to trust Chapel. Samantha tells Mulder that the Bounty Hunter can make himself look like anyone, but she can recognize him.

In D.C., Scully gets on a bus, paying close attention to the people around her. She tries to call Mulder (another “Mulder, it’s me”), leaving a message that she’ll be staying at a motel in Germantown for a while. By the time he gets to her, she should have some important information about the case. The Bounty Hunter is on the bus and appreciates overhearing this.

But instead of a motel, Scully goes back to the warehouse, where she finds what looks like a fetus. And it’s moving! Eeeeeee! Someone’s watching, and Scully sees a Gregor in a lab coat trying to run out of the building. He’s not scared of her gun, saying that she can’t harm them. The remaining Gregors are all at the warehouse, and they need Scully’s protection. She gets them taken someplace safe, unaware that the Bounty Hunter is watching.

Mulder gets Scully’s message and tries to reach her at the motel she said she was going to. The desk clerk starts to take down a message telling Scully to call Mulder, but he quickly forgets who the message is for. Scully arrives moments later and books a room, again just missing a call from Mulder. The Gregors are all placed in a federal lockup facility in Tileton, Virginia (which doesn’t exist, by the way), and a man with an icepick is easily able to get access. At the motel, Scully wakes up to Mulder at her door…and Mulder on the phone. To be continued!

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote this episode.

The actor playing Sistrunk looks so much like Anthony Stewart Head that I almost did a double take.

Honestly, I’m surprised Mulder doesn’t run into traffic more often.

Why didn’t Mulder and Scully look into Dickens’ female companion? Why didn’t Scully at least secure her at the apartment? Why didn’t she say anything when she heard Mulder’s name? (I mean, I know the answer to that, but still.) Didn’t Mulder recognize Samantha as the woman at the apartment? I guess he’s too stunned to think about her return logically.

Scully in running leggings, a hoodie, and a fanny pack is adorable.