July 8, 2017

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

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

Whoever’s responsible for this shot: Excellent work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fun exchange:

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

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

April 15, 2017

The X-Files 5.2, Redux II: You Gotta Have Faith

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

Summary: Mulder rushes to the hospital, where Scully has been admitted after collapsing. This hospital is not going to win any awards for helpfulness, as Mulder spends a full minute trying to get Scully’s location. Skinner finally finds him and tells him she’s lost enough blood to put her body into shock. She’s dying. Mulder doesn’t handle that revelation well, as you can expect.

Mulder and Skinner meet with Blevins, who’s not thrilled that now they’ll have to determine the identity of the dead man in Mulder’s apartment. The hospital staff’s unhelpfulness is contagious, and Mulder has caught it. He’s also upset that Skinner made him leave the hospital. Skinner says he didn’t have a choice, and warns that he can always tell the higher-ups that Mulder killed the man in his apartment. He wants to know why Scully lied for her partner. Mulder says there’s a mole, but he doesn’t know who it is. Skinner tells him to remember who his friends are, and who he can trust.

The Syndicate guy called the Elder is watching a science-y panel discussion when CSM rejoins him at the racetrack, confirming that Mulder’s not dead after all. He tells the Elder that Mulder got into the super-top-secret facility, and CSM let him get away. He thinks that what Mulder saw there will only help the Syndicate. Now they can give Mulder the help he needs. In exchange, they’ll get his loyalty.

Mulder returns to the hospital, where Scully’s now awake, but worried that someone will see Mulder and realize he’s alive. She wants to know what’s going on, but Mulder thinks she should focus on other things. Scully thinks Skinner is the FBI mole, and if Mulder testifies before the committee, Skinner will bust him. She volunteers to take the rap for killing Ostelhof, so she can take some of the heat off of her partner.

Maggie and Bill Jr. arrive just then, ending the conversation. Mulder meets Bill Jr. for the first time, and Scully’s brother asks him to keep work out of Scully’s hospital room, so she can “die with dignity.” Go away, Bill. As someone opens a case containing a gun, CSM comes by the hospital and lets Mulder know he knows what he was up to in the super-top-secret facility. He claims that the “cure” Mulder found, which Mulder thinks was just water, is actually crucial to Scully’s survival.

After a chat with CSM, Mulder goes back to the Lone Gunmen and does something science-y, revealing a microchip in the water. He thinks it’s connected to the chip Scully had removed from her neck after her abduction. Skinner and Kritschgau appear before the committee to discuss Ostelhof’s murder, though Kritschgau says he doesn’t know who killed him or how his death is connected to Mulder and Scully. He then reveals that his own son died that morning. Kritschgau has been working for a Congressional lobbying firm called Roush, which no one there has heard of.

Mulder presents the microchip to the Scullys and Scully’s doctor, along with a theory that it could save Scully. She’s the only one who believes it. The doctor says there are no other “conventional” methods of treatment anyway, so Scully figures Mulder’s plan is worth a shot. Speaking of shots, the guy who received the case assembles the gun inside it.

While Scully undergoes her “unconventional” treatment, Mulder and Bill Jr. grumble at each other. Bill asks if this whole “quest” of Mulder’s has been worth it – has he found what he’s been looking for? Mulder says no, but he can sympathize with Bill over having lost loved ones along the way. Bill thinks Mulder’s pretty pathetic for going through all this just to find some “little green aliens.”

CSM calls Mulder to confirm that he found the chip, and do ask if Mulder has decided to trust him yet. Of course he hasn’t. CSM asks to meet him at a diner, showing up with a woman who either is or looks exactly like the Samantha impostor from “Colony” and “End Game.” She says she believed she’d never see Mulder again; “he” always told her that something had happened to him that night. Mulder’s surprised when she says “he,” AKA CSM, is her father.

Samantha tells Mulder that she’s never been able to remember everything that happened, and she’s always been too scared to want to get all of her memories back. As a child, her foster parents took her to meet the man they said was her father. He told her to keep quiet to protect her family. He was the only person she could remember from before the day she disappeared. Later, though, she remembered Mulder and whatever happened when she was taken.

Mulder wants to help Samantha remember, but she declines; she only came to meet him because she was told he’d been looking for her. Mulder starts crying, thinking he’s finally found her after so many years of searching. He tells Samantha that whatever CSM has told her is probably untrue – after all, he’s known where Mulder is for years, so why did he wait so long to bring Samantha to him? Mulder wants to take Samantha to see Teena, but Samantha gets anxious and says she needs time. She doesn’t want to disrupt the life she’s made for herself. She needs to think about it first.

Scully gets her treatment, asking her doctor if he’s ever witnessed a medical miracle first. He’s not sure he has, but he’s seen dramatic recoveries. Even if those were miracles, he doesn’t want to give them that label. Meanwhile, the man with the gun trains it on Mulder as he meets with CSM on a street corner. Mulder wants to know why CSM is helping him. CSM claims he’s ready to offer the truth, but Mulder says he already knows it, thanks to Kritschgau. CSM says Kritschgau’s the liar, and Mulder has only seen pieces of the whole. If Mulder wants more, he’ll have to quit the FBI and work for CSM.

Mulder refuses, noting that CSM hasn’t actually given him anything. He knows CSM killed Bill Mulder and Melissa, and if he kills Scully as well, Mulder will repay the favor. CSM reminds him that he has to testify before the committee soon, and he won’t be protected. His offer is still on the table. The sniper puts his gun away as Mulder heads off alone.

At the hospital, Scully tearfully tells Maggie that she’s sorry she’s pushed away her faith when she could use it most. Why does she still wear her cross necklace if she’s not going to rely on her faith? She regrets shutting down the priest Maggie wanted her to talk to at dinner. Scully’s scans haven’t shown any improvement, and she’s pretty sure she’s not going to make it. The Elder watches a panel discussion on human cloning, spotting Skinner in the background. He calls someone and orders him to fix things – then the Elder will “fix it for good.”

Mulder goes back to the hospital and breaks down next to Scully’s bed as she sleeps. The next morning, he goes to see Blevins, who has the ballistic data proving that Mulder killed Ostelhof. He wants to know if Skinner is the mole Scully was going to name before she collapsed. If Mulder names him, Skinner will face the charges Mulder is now in danger of facing. Mulder just tells Blevins he’ll see him at the hearing.

He goes back to the hospital and tells Scully that when he visited last night, he felt lost. Now he thinks he knows what he needs to do. He won’t be accepting CSM’s deal, and he won’t be naming Skinner as the mole, even if it means ensuring his own protection. He also won’t let Scully take the blame for Ostelhof’s murder. “We all have our faith, and mine is in the truth,” Mulder says. Scully’s family priest arrives, and Scully tells Mulder she’ll pray for him as he leaves.

The committee reconvenes, and Mulder and Skinner join the fun. Mulder gives his own version of Scully’s monologue from the previous committee hearing, about how she was sent to spy on him four years ago. She lied about his death at his request, so he could continue his efforts to uncover the conspiracy. As Mulder rants about the conspirators, the sniper fixes his weapon on CSM.

Father McCue prays over Scully while Mulder tells the committee that Scully is a victim of the conspiracy. The committee just wants to know who shot Ostelhof, but Mulder won’t say until he names the FBI mole…Blevins. Everyone’s shocked, but probably not as shocked as Skinner is. And definitely not as shocked as CSM, who’s just been shot by the sniper. He lies bleeding on the floor, looking at a picture of the Mulder kids, as Blevins is also shot.

Skinner meets up with Mulder at the hospital and announces that CSM is dead. Well, presumably. There was a lot of blood, but no body. (Anyone who’s ever watched a soap opera knows that means nothing.) Mulder admits that he didn’t have any proof that Blevins was the mole, but it turns out he was right. Mulder’s sure that’s being covered up right now. But there’s no time to dwell on that – Scully is officially in remission. As Skinner goes to see her, Mulder cries over the same picture of himself and Samantha that CSM looked at as he (supposedly) died.

Thoughts: I guess self-defense wasn’t a possibility for Ostelhof’s death? This makes no sense.

I wonder if CSM periodically lets himself be spotted with random dark-haired women just to make Mulder think he’s with Samantha. That would be an amusing way to mess with Mulder’s head.

As annoying as Bill Jr. is (be nice to your sister’s friends, dude), at least he’s there for Scully, unlike a certain brother who’s mentioned in the revival but never shows up for anything, INCLUDING HIS MOTHER WHEN SHE’S DYING.

April 8, 2017

The X-Files 5.1, Redux: Dead Man Talking. A Lot. Seriously, We Get It, Guys

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:18 pm by Jenn

Mulder, this is neither the time nor the place to practice your runway walk

Summary: 24 hours before the end of “Gethsemane,” Mulder (still crying on his couch) gives a voiceover about realizing that his belief in aliens is pointless. He loads his gun as he says that it’s time for his journey to end. Just then, Kritschgau calls to report that he was followed after he left Mulder’s apartment. Mulder interrupts to ask if the people following him gave Scully cancer. Kritschgau warns that they could be listening in, so they can’t talk. Mulder realizes that his apartment has been bugged and confronts the man watching him, who fires a gun.

Scully gets home in the middle of the night and is surprised to find Mulder in her bedroom with the lights off. (He probably wishes he hadn’t announced his presence – she was about to take her shirt off.) He tells her there’s a dead man in his apartment, and he’s been under surveillance for at least two months. The dead man, Ostelhof, worked for the Department of Defense and the military, which means the conspiracy surrounding Scully’s cancer circles back to the FBI.

Mulder shows Scully phone records proving that Ostelhof made multiple calls to someone at the FBI. He wonders if this has been going on for the whole four years he and Scully have been working together. Mulder wants to know who he can and can’t trust, especially since Scully’s health is now at risk. If the FBI can lie to them, the agents can lie right back – “a lie to find the truth.”

The next morning, Scully is called to Mulder’s apartment to ID the body we now know isn’t Mulder’s. Mulder voices over about the hoax set up to destroy him, and the illness killing his partner. He’s asking Scully to lie after she’s shown so much integrity. After Scully IDs the body as Mulder’s, Skinner arrives and Scully gives him the (fake) news. Skinner wonders how she could be sure the body’s Mulder’s since the deceased took a bullet to the face. Scully says she recognized his clothes.

Skinner sends Scully to Section Chief Blevins, who thinks she can answer some questions. Meanwhile, Mulder goes to a research facility to find out more about Ostelhof. He uses Ostelhof’s ID to gain access, but doesn’t bother to disguise himself, so I guess he’s not worried about someone recognizing him as a guy who’s supposed to be dead.

Scully and Skinner meet with Blevins, who’s heard that she had contact with someone from the DOD. Scully says that Kritschgau (though she won’t give his name) had information about the alien corpse, which he said was a hoax. Blevins warns that, whether or not she gives answers now, Scully will need to speak to a panel that night. Scully reluctantly IDs her contact as Kritschgau.

Kritschgau spots Mulder at the research facility and asks how he got access to the building. Mulder explains that Ostelhof is dead, and Kritschgau informs him that he now has a higher security clearance than Kritschgau himself does. He could even get access to information that could help him find a cure for Scully. CSM goes to Mulder’s apartment and looks at a picture of young Mulder and Samantha, then the blood on the floor. He looks up to see the hole in the ceiling where the surveillance camera watched Mulder for months.

Scully asks an FBI operator named Holly to find out who Ostelhof kept calling at the bureau. Holly can’t say for sure who got the calls, but Skinner uses the extension in question. The doctor who was working with the Yukon ice-core samples then calls Scully, telling her there’s something at his lab she needs to see.

Kritschgau tells Mulder that he has clearance for a biological quarantine wing that houses DNA for basically everyone in the country. For 50 years, the government has used hoaxes to distract citizens from the threats of nuclear warfare. Even when there was no war to fight, the government needed money, so they made stuff up. They took advantage of Roswell to make people think there were aliens trying to contact us, which kept people from finding out bigger secrets. UFOs were really experimental aircraft.

Kritschgau tells Mulder that people claiming they were abducted by aliens were actually used for super-classified experiments. The government feeds “the American appetite for bogus revelation.” Mulder points out that he’s seen aliens himself, so there has to be some truth behind the hoaxes. “You’ve seen what they wanted you to see,” Kritschgau corrects. The government wants to control life itself. Mulder notes that Scully would have been able to determine that the alien body was fake if she’d gotten a chance to do further testing. Kritschgau says that the conspirators had hoped she wouldn’t be alive by the time the body was found.

Mulder accuses Kritschgau of being part of the conspiracy. Kritschgau takes responsibility for his actions, but now that his son has been affected – he’s sick from his time in the Gulf War – Kritschgau wants to stop the conspiracy. Plus, the research facility could have a cure for his son. Moments after Mulder heads to the super-top-secret-classified section alone, Kristchgau is detained.

CSM meets with one of his Syndicate buddies (the only one who’s ever allowed to talk) at a racetrack, angry that he was never told that Mulder was under surveillance. His buddy claims he doesn’t know what CSM is talking about. He also believes that Mulder’s dead, and he thinks the possibility of losing Scully put him over the edge. CSM says he’s never underestimated Mulder, and he still doesn’t.

Scully meets up with the doctor at American University, who got the chimerical cells to divide when he combined them with fetal bovine cells. After that, they began to develop a lifeform. In the super-top-secret-classified section of the facility, Mulder sneaks around while hiding from soldiers. He voices over about finding a cure for Scully, like, yeah, we know why he’s there. Less talky, more searchy. Finally, he breaks into a room full of dead aliens.

Scully takes over the voiceover, talking about the organism from the ice that could provide proof of alien life – or it could just be a man-made chimera created to further the hoax. Maybe she was exposed to a virus being tested during her abduction. Mulder sees flashing lights in another room and finds a bunch of pregnant women undergoing some sort of procedure.

Scully gets the idea to run the ice-core sample against her own DNA to find out if there’s a match. She wants the results before her meeting with the panel that night. “Everything in my life depends on it,” she tells the doctor. Scully spots Skinner in the hallway at the lab and accuses him of spying on her for the DOD. Skinner says part of his job is to question his subordinates when he thinks they’re lying – you know, like she is now.

Skinner has gotten the forensics reports from the body in Mulder’s apartment, so he knows Scully’s lying about his death. He warns that every lie she tells compounds the truth. Scully’s like, “You’re one to talk.” She wants to know who’s responsible for her illness, and what really happened when she was abducted. Skinner wonders if that’s what she’s going to say to the panel that night to justify her actions. If they find out she lied about Ostelhof’s identity, she’ll be in a lot of trouble.

Scully thinks Skinner’s going to use her lie against her just like she’s been used all along “to preserve the lies.” Skinner asks where Mulder is, like Scully’s really going to tell him. He warns that refusing to answer questions won’t save her – and really, with the people they’re dealing with, it’s possibly that nothing will save her. Scully thinks the truth will.

As she runs tests on her blood, she continues the voiceover about her time with Mulder and how she was supposed to keep tabs on him. Now she wants to prove that he was targeted by someone in the FBI in an attempt to keep a secret under wraps. Mulder goes deeper into the facility as Scully voices over that she’s on the brink of finding a link between the conspiracy and her cancer. She’s ready to confront the panel with proof that could change the world.

Mulder finds a storage facility connected to the Pentagon; it contains drawers similar to the ones he and Scully found in “Paper Clip.” He looks through Scully’s file, then Kritschgau’s son’s. Meanwhile, CSM learns that Ostelhof entered the building and went into the Pentagon storage facility. CSM watches surveillance footage of Mulder in the facility, confirming that he’s not dead after all.

Scully isolates a virus from the ice-core lifeform (say that five times fast), hoping that science will give her answers, though she knows it might not save her. As Mulder uses a card from Scully’s file to find a box containing capsules, Scully gets her proof that her cancer was caused by the virus in the ice. Mulder voices over that he may have found Scully’s cure, and now it’s up to Scully to make the liars believe her lies.

Scully meets with the panel for a repeat of the scene in “Gethsemane” where she announces that Mulder’s beliefs were B.S. Mulder tries to leave the DOD facility, but his access card takes a while to cooperate. CSM lets him leave as Scully tells the panel that Mulder’s dead. Skinner arrives in time to hear Scully say she has proof that the same people behind the alien conspiracy gave her cancer and put events in motion that led to Mulder’s death. She adds that someone in the room was involved.

As Scully pulls out the file containing her evidence, she realizes her nose is bleeding. Skinner catches her as she collapses. “You…,” she murmurs. Elsewhere, Mulder takes the possible cure to the Lone Gunmen, who give him the bad news that it’s just water. To be continued…

Thoughts: Scully’s first mistake was pretending clothes were enough to ID a body. Skinner will believe a lot, but not that Scully would go on that instead of doing a DNA test.

Speaking of Skinner believing a lot, I have to laugh at him thinking that Mulder and Scully would be 100 perfect honest with him. Come on, man.

Seriously, though, if you’re going to fake your death, at least wear a wig or something.

Thanks for all the unnecessary voiceovers, show. I hope it was worth the money.

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?

March 11, 2017

The X-Files 4.21, Zero Sum: “A Man Digs a Hole, He Risks Falling Into It”

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

Be grateful I used this photo and not one of Skinner in his underwear

Summary: The Transcontinental Express Routing Center in Desmond, Virginia, is a busy place, but one of its workers, Jane, wants a break to go smoke. She goes to the bathroom and lights up in a stall as dozens of bees crawl out of a sink. Soon the bathroom is covered in bees, but Jane takes a while to notice. They swarm her, and when a co-worker finds her minutes later, she’s dead from their stings.

In D.C., Skinner reviews info about the incident, then deletes it, all from Mulder’s computer. Wearing black to indicate that he wants to be stealthy, Skinner then goes to the scene of the incident and examines Jane’s cigarette butt (bet it was a Morley) before flushing it. He cleans up the ashes and the floor underneath them, then examines a yellow substance on the ceiling.

Next Skinner goes to the morgue, where an attendant hears him moving around in the room with the bodies. So much for being stealthy. Skinner hides from the attendant, who doesn’t catch him leaving with Jane’s body slung over his shoulder. This morgue should probably up its security. Skinner takes the body to a furnace somewhere and gives it a free cremation.

Using Mulder’s badge, Skinner goes to Desmond’s police station and gets access to all the various fluids taken from Jane’s body for testing. He swaps out a vial of blood and wipes his fingerprints off the pen he used to sign in. He tosses it in a Dumpster just before an officer named Ray Thomas finds him and asks him what he thinks happened to Jane. “Mulder” surprises Thomas by not showing any interest in what’s clearing an X-file. Skinner leaves, passing a man sitting in his car, watching.

Once home, Skinner bags up all the clothes he was wearing, and thanks for the shot of Mitch Pileggi in his underwear, Kim Manners. That was really necessary, I’m sure. As he’s about to get rid of the bag, Mulder shows up to report that someone’s trying to cover up what happened to Jane. A detective sent Mulder emails about her case, but when he went to open them, they were gone. That detective, Thomas, is now dead. Mulder suspects the person who used his ID to get into Desmond’s forensics lab.

Skinner thinks Mulder should work with Scully on this, but Scully’s out of commission this week, undergoing tests at a hospital, because the show realized they hadn’t mentioned her cancer for a few episodes. Her tumor may be metastasizing. Skinner tries to hide how upsetting that news is. After Mulder leaves, he goes to his building’s parking garage for a secret meeting with CSM, who’s being driven around by the man who was watching Skinner at the police station.

Skinner is sure that CSM had Thomas murdered, and he’s no longer willing to participate in the cover-up. (He seems a little surprised that CSM would go so far as to have a police officer murdered, like that’s the worst thing he’s ever done.) CSM says it’s Skinner’s fault anyway, since he didn’t follow orders and “neutralize a potentially compromising situation.” CSM doesn’t think Skinner’s in any position to question their arrangement: “A man digs a hole, he risks falling into it.”

In the morning, Skinner is awoken by a call from Mulder, who’s at the morgue, having just discovered that Jane’s body is missing. He also knows that the blood sample was replaced, since it didn’t show a folic acid deficiency Jane had. Mulder knows that the gun used to kill Thomas is one often used by police and federal agents. Skinner’s one of the officers who uses it, and his own gun is gone.

He calls CSM to ask if his gun was used to kill Thomas, like, of course! Catch up, Skinner! He threatens to call the authorities, but CSM knows he won’t, since he would have to admit to his crimes. Plus, it would be pretty hard to convince the authorities that he didn’t kill Thomas.

Skinner wants to know why Thomas had to die. CSM replies that he’s giving Skinner what he wants: a cure for Scully. Skinner orders CSM to do whatever he’s planning to do to heal Scully immediately. If necessary, Skinner will turn CSM in, no matter the risk to himself. CSM dangles the idea of Scully’s recovery in front of Skinner, warning that his fate might not be as positive.

Skinner goes back to the routing center (where Jane’s co-worker, Misty, is suspicious) and studies the ceiling, which is seeping that yellow substance again. He tears a hole in the wall and finds a huge honeycomb. He takes a sample to an entomologist, wanting to know if the bees that made the honeycomb are lethal. The tech finds a larva, which could give him some info when it hatches. The tech asks if this case is related to one Mulder called him about six months ago, involving killer bees.

Returning to Mulder’s office, Skinner reads up on his own bee case, finding Marita’s name in the file. Mulder finds him there and shows him surveillance photos from a bank that show Thomas talking to Skinner outside the police station. The officer who helped Skinner at the forensics lab has ID’d the man as the fake Mulder, though the surveillance photo is too grainy for Mulder to see who he is.

Skinner calls Marita to ask about what she and Mulder talked about regarding the bees. She tells him that there was no evidence of beehives or bee husbandry. Skinner tells her that he may soon have the evidence Skinner didn’t. Chances of that are unlikely, as the larva at the entomologist’s house has now developed, and it’s brought a bunch of its friends over for a party. Since the entomologist didn’t get an invitation, the bees attack him.

Mulder has Skinner meet him at a lab to examine the entomologist’s body. He thinks the bee stings on his body and Jane’s aren’t bee stings – they’re smallpox blisters. Somehow, the two contracted an especially bad strain of a disease that supposedly doesn’t exist anymore. Mulder isn’t that surprised, since he contacted the entomologist months ago about bees that might be carrying smallpox; now he has the evidence he was looking for, in the stingers removed from the man’s body. He thinks someone’s developing a method of delivery for a deadly disease.

Skinner asks if they can stop whoever’s using these killer bees. Well, Skinner, I don’t think Mulder was just going to go off on vacation and act like there was nothing left to do. He’s on his way to the photo lab to see if the photo of the fake Mulder could be enhanced. Meanwhile, Skinner meets with Misty, sensing that there’s something she didn’t tell the police earlier. He admits that Jane’s death might not have been an accident. Misty admits that men came to the center and warned her to keep her mouth shut. They were looking for a package kept in a room next to the bathroom.

Mulder’s photo tech has trouble enhancing the photo of Skinner, but his work is good enough for Mulder to recognize his boss. In New York, the Syndicate meets to confirm that all evidence of the killer bees has been taken care of or is in the process of being taken care of. CSM is sure that Skinner will succeed, since he has no other choice. If he tries to expose them, he’ll expose “his own duplicity.” The Syndicate’s “trial run” is already happening.

The problem with killer bees is that they’re not picky about who they sting, so when some find their way to a playground in Payson, South Carolina, kids are their next victims. One boy, David, loses his glasses in the ensuing chaos and doesn’t make it inside with the rest of the kids. When his teacher goes back to help him, she’s swarmed.

Skinner goes to the hospital to let a doctor know that the stung kids need to be treated for smallpox. All the kids in town who haven’t been stung need to be vaccinated immediately. The doctor points out that kids aren’t vaccinated for smallpox anymore; besides, smallpox has an eight-day incubation period, and the kids were only stung a few hours ago.

Marita shows up, since she was already in the area – some packages were sent to Payson from Canada, and she wants to know what they contained. My guess is…smallpox. Marita demands to know what Skinner knows about the situation. He tells her he thinks someone’s experimenting with using bees as carriers. When she learns that Skinner hasn’t shared his findings with Mulder, Marita guesses that he’s involved.

Skinner heads home to Virginia, finding his gun back in its rightful place. But Mulder’s also there, and he accuses Skinner of a) killing Thomas, b) working with CSM all along, c) knowing when Mulder’s father was killed, and d) knowing when Scully was taken. Skinner says he was set up, and the police are probably on their way to arrest him. He admits that he’s lied to Mulder, but he had a reason, and he’s sure Mulder will be understanding.

Skinner reminds Mulder that he once warned him not to pursue what happened to Scully. He should have followed his own advice. Mulder asks for the gun, which he takes to a lab so they can find out if it was used to kill Thomas. Long story short: It was. He tells a ballistics tech that he found it in a sewer near the place where Thomas was killed. The tech notes that the serial number was filed off, and unless there are fingerprints on the gun, it’s untraceable. Skinner’s off the hook.

Skinner takes the gun with him when he ambushes CSM, though CSM doesn’t think Skinner will kill him and risk Scully’s life. Skinner doesn’t think CSM ever planned to cure her. CSM says he saved her when he “had her returned” to Mulder, so he could save her again. He doesn’t think Skinner will take the chance and pull the trigger. He does anyway, but doesn’t shoot CSM.

As Skinner leaves, CSM gets a phone call and tells the person on the other end that Skinner was just there to kill him. He’s sure Mulder will soon contact the caller to find out if there’s more that Skinner doesn’t know. The caller is Marita, and she promises to tell Mulder whatever CSM wants her to say. “Tell him what he wants to hear,” CSM replies.

Thoughts: Usually I find Skinner pretty pointless, but I like this episode. It’s a nice change to see things from someone else’s perspective.

The morgue attendant (who looks like Milo Ventimiglia) is a lot less freaked out than he should be about hearing noises from a room full of dead bodies.

Anyone else wondering what honey from smallpox-carrying bees tastes like? Probably not great.

January 21, 2017

The X-Files 4.14, Memento Mori: How to Save a Life

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

I love this

I love this

Summary: Scully gives us a voiceover about “[feeling] time like a heartbeat” and sharing a burden through words. She wants the person reading her words to know that she feels comfort because she’s receiving understanding. She’s standing in a hospital gown, looking at a scan of her head, which shows a mass right between her eyes. Scully finishes her voiceover by asking forgiveness for not finishing the journey with her audience.

Mulder joins Scully at Holy Cross Memorial Hospital in D.C., where Scully has just received her medical news. She tells him she feels fine, despite the tumor in her brain. He’s the only person she’s called. The tumor is inoperable, and its size and placement make it hard to treat. Mulder refuses to believe that. Scully’s amused that, for once, she believes something he doesn’t – she’s certain that the cancer isn’t going anywhere and will most likely kill her. Mulder still won’t accept this, saying that there have to be people out there who’ve received treatment.

Scully gives the news to Skinner, asking him to keep it quiet. She plans to delay treatment until she and Mulder meet with the MUFON women in Pennsylvania, as Betsy was being treated for the same type of cancer. Scully wants to pursue this as a case rather than a personal matter. But when the agents arrive at Betsy’s house, they learn that she died a few weeks earlier. They’re just in time to see files from Betsy’s computer being downloaded by someone.

The agents trace the hack to a man named Kurt Crawford and go to his apartment. Mulder heads to the back of the building just as someone tries to sneak out. The agents capture Kurt, but the exertion of the chase gives Scully a nosebleed. She tells Mulder again that she’s fine. Kurt tells the agents he was in Betsy’s MUFON group and downloaded her files at her request. He ran because he believes his life is in danger.

Scully wants to question the other MUFON members, but Mulder says they can’t. Kurt confirms that all of the other members have died of brain cancer except one, Penny Northern. Kurt believes the women’s stories about being abducted and developing tumors as a result. Mulder thinks Scully’s in denial about her illness coming from the same circumstances. Scully notes that Penny’s still alive, so there’s nothing definitive about the situation.

Mulder suggests that Scully talk to Penny, but Scully doesn’t see the point. What would they talk about, knowing what it’s like to be dying of cancer? Mulder puts it in FBI terms, pointing out that she’s a witness they need to talk to. So Scully visits Penny in the hospital, surprised that Penny seemed to expect her. Her doctor, Scanlon, thinks he’s found the cause of the cancer, though it’s probably too late to do anything. Scully seems to grasp that it might not be too late for her.

Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”), who’s at Betsy’s with Kurt, looking through her files. Penny and Betsy were both treated for infertility at the same clinic. Scully asks him to come to the hospital with her overnight bag and call her mother. Whatever Mulder found isn’t important right now. “The truth is in me,” she says, and she needs to suspend the investigation and look into what’s happening to her. Mulder immediately heads off, leaving Kurt in Betsy’s apartment. Seconds later, a man enters the apartment with an icepick, and someone ends up as green acid.

Scully spends the night at the hospital, waking to meet Dr. Scanlon, who she first sees as an alien-like being. She’s bracing herself for chemo and radiation, which Scanlon says will make her “feel like dying.” Maggie arrives, and Scully repeats her new mantra, that she’s fine. Maggie’s upset that Scully didn’t tell her about her diagnosis right away. Scully says that she wanted all the answers first, and though she hasn’t found any yet, she has some clarity, as well as a possible way to fight back.

Maggie makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out of whatever happens. She cries as she says that Scully was always the strong one. Having lost Melissa, Maggie only has one daughter left. Scully remains stoic as her mother breaks down. She undergoes some scans, voicing over about how cancer “starts as an invader, but soon becomes one with the invaded,” turning a person’s body against itself. You can destroy it, but you risk destroying yourself in the process.

The voiceover is a letter written to Mulder in case Scully doesn’t survive. She wants him to know that he should never feel like there was something more he could have done. Though they’ve been working together, “this last distance must necessarily be traveled alone.”

Mulder, having not read the letter yet, is still determined to do something. He goes to the clinic where Betsy and Penny were treated and tries to access some files, but has to hide when he hears someone approaching. It’s Kurt, who survived the icepick assassin after all. Kurt and Mulder are looking for the same thing, so Kurt gets to work hacking the computer with the files they need. Mulder notices a snowglobe of a place called Vegreville, which turns out to be the password.

Back at the hospital, Scully has a nightmare about her head being drilled while she was abducted. Penny comforts her when she wakes up, feeling sick for the first time. Scully remembers hearing Penny’s voice in her dream. Penny says “they” let her sit with Scully during the procedures, though she’s not sure why. Scully doesn’t want to hear about this right now, but Penny thinks it’s important for her to understand what’s happening to her.

Mulder returns to D.C. and asks Skinner to get him a meeting. He has a disk containing a file from the clinic; it has Scully’s name, even though he’s pretty sure Scully’s never undergone treatment for infertility. Since the file is a directory for a mainframe at the Lombard Research Facility, Mulder doesn’t know what it’s about. That’s why he wants to meet with CSM. Skinner warns that if Mulder offers up anything, CSM will “own” him. But Mulder thinks CSM knows what happened to Scully and may know how to save her. “You can’t ask the truth of a man who trades in lies,” Skinner says, refusing the request.

Fortunately, Mulder has the Lone Gunmen to turn to. They decrypt the file, which contains a gene code from her blood post-abduction. The branching in the code can lead to mutation. The Gunmen think someone was doing research to find the cause of the mutation, though Mulder notes that someone could instead be looking for a cure. He invites the Gunmen to come to Lombard with him: “Pick out something black and sexy, and prepare to do some funky poaching.”

Skinner goes to Mulder’s office and finds CSM, who’s surprised that Mulder’s been relegated to the basement. Skinner spits that at least Mulder doesn’t have to “take an elevator up to get to work,” which I think is his way of saying that CSM is from Hell, but…try harder, Skinner. Despite Mulder and Skinner’s agreement to keep Scully’s illness confidential, CSM knows she’s sick. He notes that modern medicine can lead to miracles. Skinner would like for one, so he asks what he needs to do to save Scully. CSM will get back to him. “Which way is the elevator?” he asks pointedly as he leaves.

Mulder and Byers stake out Lombard while Frohike and Langly sneak inside and patch into the facility’s security cameras. Mulder and Byers head in next but immediately hit a roadblock with a security code. While Langly figures it out, Mulder looks at a directory of doctors and sees that Scanlon is on staff there. Langly gets the code, but Mulder sends Byers off on another mission, telling him to contact Scully and get her to stop treatment.

Scully writes to Mulder again, now feeling the effects of her treatment. Penny’s condition has worsened, and Scully dreads going down the same road. She can feel Mulder close, even though he’s not with her. She’s grateful for his work and needs to know he’s out there if she has any hopes of beating the cancer.

The security feed and comms get fuzzy, and Langly and Byers lose contact with Mulder just as Byers sees security guards arriving at the facility. Mulder makes it to a lab, where he’s greeted by a bunch of clones of Kurt. The lab is full of tanks containing more clones. Mulder thinks Kurt was using him, but the clones really want him to help them end the project that created them. Mulder recognizes a clone in a tank as the boy from the farm. Kurt confirms that the adult clones are the end result of the experiment.

Mulder thinks the clones want the developing clones to be destroyed. They say they actually want what Mulder wants. One shows him a storeroom full of ova harvested from abducted women, including Scully. The ova are then used to create clones. Unfortunately, the procedure leaves them barren and gives them cancer. The Kurt clones want to save them, since they’re technically the clones’ mothers.

When Mulder’s comms return, Langly warns that there’s a security breach. In another part of the building, Byers hides from guards. Langly gives Mulder directions to get out of the building, but the Gunmen can’t get the doors open fast enough for him to leave. A guard finds Mulder and fires at him, trying to break through bulletproof glass. The Gunmen manage to get Mulder out just as the shooter breaches the glass.

Mulder goes straight to Scully’s room, which is empty except for her journal. Byers meets up with him and assures him that he reached Scully. She’s sitting with Penny, who’s barely holding on. Scully confirms that Scanlon probably isn’t coming back. Penny tells her to keep looking for answers, and Scully promises not to give up hope. Her stoicism is beginning to falter.

Penny dies, and Scully can no longer keep her emotions hidden. Mulder tells her he read a little of what she wrote to him, but Scully now wants to throw it away. She’s decided not to let the cancer beat her. She’s going to work as long as she can. Mulder is determined to find Scanlon and figure out exactly what happened to Scully and the other women. He knows that Scully will find a way to save herself.

Scully notes that many people live with cancer, and she will, too. She has things to prove to herself and her family, and things to finish. Mulder hugs her, happy to be able to keep working with her. “The truth will save you, Scully,” he tells her. “I think it’ll save both of us.” He kisses her forehead, but only her forehead, because they cut the version where they kiss on the lips. As she goes back to her room, Mulder hides a vial of ova in his pocket.

Mulder calls Skinner to let him know that Scully’s going to keep working. He thanks Skinner for talking him out of meeting with CSM; he’ll just find another way to get the truth. “There’s always another way,” Skinner says. “Yes, I believe there is,” CSM agrees from the other side of Skinner’s desk. “If you’re willing to pay the price.”

Thoughts: Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for this episode.

Way to protect your witness who thinks his life is in danger, guys.

And way to keep your shady doctor’s identity secret, Lombard. Also, did Scully do ANY research before she started treatment with Scanlon?

I finally feel like Skinner is really part of this show. He was pretty ineffectual in the past, but in this episode, we see that he knows exactly what’s going on and is willing to go to great (possibly dangerous) lengths for his agents.

December 17, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 10, 2016

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

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

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

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

Summary: Scully’s being sworn in for a hearing in front of the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism. She reads a prepared statement about how she joined the FBI because she believes in the country, but now she knows there are powerful men who don’t follow the rules. The chairman interrupts her to remind her that the hearing is about Mulder’s whereabouts. Scully declines to answer whether she knows where he is, saying that she could endanger Mulder’s life.

CSM looks on as Scully finishes her statement, which says that she can no longer do her job because of a “culture of lawlessness.” The men in power are behind the crimes being investigated; they’re the ones who should be testifying. The committee chair warns Scully that if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is, she’ll be held in contempt of Congress.

Ten days earlier, a man with a briefcase goes through customs at the Honolulu airport, having returned to the States from Japan and Georgia. He’s sent for a “random check,” though he argues that his diplomatic visa and connecting flight should get him out of it. When asked to open the briefcase, the man says he doesn’t have the combination. His reward is a full body-cavity search.

Someone gets the briefcase open and demands the paperwork. The man cautions that the cylinders inside the briefcase contain biohazardous materials, like, maybe put that on the cylinders so people don’t start messing around with them? A cylinder gets dropped, releasing our old friend, the black oil. The man demands to be let out of the room while the employee who just infected himself starts to spasm.

In Queens, Mulder and Scully are on a stakeout with team hoping to take down a potential Timothy McVeigh-type terrorist. There’s a firefight at a warehouse, and the terrorist tries to escape in a rental truck. Mulder and Scully catch him, and he gives himself up before Mulder has to shoot him. Mulder still chooses to attack him, though, since it’s another one of our old friends: Krycek.

Krycek claims that he ratted out the terrorists and handed the bust over to the agents. So I guess he’s a good guy now. He tells the agents that the terrorists found him in North Dakota and “liberated [him] on a salvage hunt.” Mulder thinks Krycek’s as scummy as the terrorists. Krycek says he has the same goal as the agents: find the men who killed Melissa and Bill, and who tried to kill him.

Krycek knows there’s no way to bring them to justice, so they need to be exposed: “Destroy the destroyers’ ability to destroy.” Mulder brings up the T word, but Krycek scoffs that the truth doesn’t exist – the bad guys make it up as they go. Mulder says he won’t help, but Krycek hints that there are more bombs being built for more nefarious purposes.

The agents escort Krycek to Dulles Airport to intercept someone returning to the country from Russia. When Scully approaches the man, he runs. Mulder handcuffs Krycek to something so he and Scully can run after the man. They chase him to the tarmac and lose him, though he leaves behind the diplomatic pouch he was carrying. The agents are annoyed to see that it just contains a rock. “What did you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?” Mulder quips.

Mulder takes Krycek to Skinner’s home in Crystal City to get authorization for a safehouse. Skinner says Krycek will be safe there, though not from Skinner himself, as he gets in a good gut punch. He handcuffs Krycek to his balcony and tells him to “think warm thoughts.”

The agents take the rock to NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a Dr. Sacks tells them it contains the same substances that have been found in meteorite fragments in Antarctica. Translation: The rock could be four billion years old and/or from Mars. After a pause, Mulder asks if it’s valuable. Sacks says no, though it could contain alien bacteria, which is pretty important. The agents ask him to analyze it.

Skinner leaves Krycek home alone for the day, soon running into CSM. He tells Skinner that the pouch the agents intercepted (which Skinner claims not to know about) is causing some problems in diplomatic circles. Even after the threat of being punished under the country’s treason laws, Skinner won’t tell CSM anything about how the agents knew the pouch was important. CSM warns that “wars have broken out over far less.”

The now-pouchless man sneaks into Skinner’s apartment, unaware that Krycek is there, thanks to Krycek having dangled himself over the balcony to hide. He grabs the man and pulls him over to his death. Meanwhile, in Mulder and Scully’s office, they discuss the fact that someone brought a pouch containing toxic soil into Hawaii a couple nights earlier. Mulder thinks Krycek’s intel is for real and he really wants to expose the same people they do. Scully’s worried that Mulder will go too far for her to follow.

Sacks drills into the rock, which sprays black oil on his protective suit. He’s stunned to see the oil turn into what look like leeches. Skinner calls the agents to let them know that the police are at his building, investigating the pouchless man’s death. Mulder heads over to see him, sending Scully to talk to Sacks about the rock. As Mulder enters Skinner’s building without anyone noticing, the police tell Skinner that someone reported a man hanging from his balcony.

Mulder retrieves Krycek, who’s amused by the situation and can’t wait to see how Mulder handles it. Out of actual insults, Mulder tells Krycek his haircut is dumb. Krycek confirms that the dead man is the one from the airport, then tells Mulder to worry more about the pouch. Just then Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell Mulder that Sacks is catatonic, thanks to whatever’s in the rock.

Mulder goes to New York to ask Marita about the Russian pouch. She does some asking around and finds out that it originated in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Mulder recognizes this name, saying it’s near Tunguska. Marita offers to get him some diplomatic credentials and make his journey to Russia a little smoother. She believes in his mission and wants to help.

Sometime later, Mulder returns to Krycek, who’s been handcuffed in Mulder’s car this whole time. He’s annoyed that Mulder’s still keeping him in the dark. Mulder’s annoyed with Krycek’s face. Back in Maryland, Scully and Pendrell put on protective suits to find out what’s going on with Sacks and the rock. Even though Sacks doesn’t seem to be breathing, he’s alive.

Mulder goes to the airport, telling Krycek he’s leaving him in the car but will send Scully to check on him in a week or so. Krycek lets out a stream of bad words in Russian, which brings Mulder back to the car. Krycek reveals that his parents immigrated to the States from Russia during the Cold War.

In Charlottesville, the Well-Manicured Man is taking some time off of evildoings to watch his daughter or granddaughter or maybe just some random woman ride a horse. CSM comes out to let him know that the man with the Russian pouch is dead, but they’re not in danger of being exposed. However, someone with diplomatic credentials has been booked on a flight to Krasnoyarsk. WMM calls CSM an idiot, warning that this is going to take some work to clean up.

Mulder, Scully, and Skinner receive a summons for the subcommittee hearing, alerting them to the fact that this investigation is pretty serious. Scully tells her boss that Mulder’s off on his own, looking for answers. He’s now in Tunguska with Krycek, his own personal Russian translator. Krycek still doesn’t know what’s going on. Mulder finally tells him that a “cosmic event” took place in Tunguska in 1908; people think a piece of meteor or comet hit the earth, but no one has ever determined exactly what it is. Mulder thinks someone has finally found the answer.

The men crawl under barbed wire and spy on workers in what looks like a mining camp. I believe the correct term is gulag, boys. Their spy skills are a little rusty, and they’re quickly captured by men on horseback. Mulder’s placed in a tiny cell, and a prisoner next door tells him the only thing he’ll find here is death and suffering.

Krycek is put in Mulder’s cell after what he claims was an interrogation. The people in charge think Mulder and Krycek are spies, though Krycek said they were just Americans who got lost. Feeling a little more confident now that they’re on equal footing and Mulder doesn’t have a weapon, Krycek tells Mulder not to touch him again.

Scully and Skinner meet with their summoner, Senator Sorenson, before the subcommittee hearing. (This sentence was brought to you by the letter S.) Sorenson would like to know what the pouchless man was doing on Skinner’s balcony before his death. Scully says they’ll file a report once they figure out what their investigation is actually about. Sorenson asks after Mulder, but Scully can’t say where he is.

The men at the gulag offer their prisoners food, but it contains at least one cockroach, so this isn’t exactly a five-star resort. Krycek is interrogated again, this time in his and Mulder’s cell, but since the conversation is in Russia, Mulder can’t follow it (and Krycek could be saying anything). After Krycek is taken away, the prisoner next door tells Mulder that Krycek isn’t his friend. He’s deceiving Mulder and speaking formally to the guards. The prisoner also says that the guards are conducting some kind of experiment.

The guards come back for Mulder, injecting him with something. He wakes up held down on a table by chain link fencing, surrounded by other men in the same state. Some of them start screaming. Black oil comes out of a tube, squirting onto Mulder’s face and crawling under his skin. To be continued…

Thoughts: “You know what this episode needs? Shirtless Mitch Pileggi,” is something someone actually thought.

I need Marita to stop talking like she’s trying to seduce Mulder. I mean, it’s fine (and understandable) if she wants to, but there’s a time and a place, you know? Also, what are the odds that the two of them hooked up while Krycek was waiting in the car?

According to the hearing summons, Skinner’s middle name is Sergei. Huh?

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 22, 2016

The X-Files 4.1, Herrenvolk: Bees in the Trap

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:36 pm by Jenn

"Would you guys be able to transfer your work skills to tend to another kind of crop? Like, say, pot? I'm asking for a friend"

“Would you guys be able to transfer your work skills to tend to another kind of crop? Like, say, pot? I’m asking for a friend”

Summary: A repairman climbs a telephone pole off a quiet road in Alberta, Canada, and starts to make his repairs. He’s stung by a bee, which he knocks to the ground. Five identical boys approach and stare at the man, who’s starting to get freaked out. He’s also starting to seize. The hook holding him to the pole breaks and the man falls. The boys come closer, stare at him for a few moments, then leave. And I don’t think they’re going to call an ambulance.

We pick up where we left off at the end of “Talitha Cumi,” with the Bounty Hunter advancing on our heroes and Jeremiah Smith. Jeremiah runs, so Mulder runs after him, telling Scully to stay out of the Bounty Hunter’s way; he doesn’t think the Bounty Hunger wants to hurt her. Mulder reminds Scully that her gun won’t work on him. So of course, Scully pulls her gun on him. The Bounty Hunter just knocks her down and follow the men into a building.

There’s a lot of running, and eventually Mulder catches up to the Bounty Hunter but loses him. Jeremiah makes it out a back door and up to the roof, with the Bounty Hunter right behind him. Mulder helps Jeremiah escape, and they lock the Bounty Hunter on the roof. Scully goes to bring the car around, but the Bounty Hunter jumps onto the hood, stopping her. He heads back inside, and the other three disappear. Mulder has hidden himself in a pile of wood chips, and is able to ambush the Bounty Hunter and stab him with the ice pick.

Jeremiah steals a boat and abandons Mulder, warning that there will be more Bounty Hunters coming. Mulder asks Jeremiah to help Teena. Jeremiah lets him on the boat, and they take off without Scully. NICE PARTNER YOU ARE, MULDER. She goes to make sure the Bounty Hunter is really dead. Guess what? He’s not. He demands to know where Mulder and Jeremiah went, but she can’t tell him.

Mulder and Jeremiah disembark somewhere, and Jeremiah tells Mulder that agents will be waiting for them at the hospital, so it won’t be safe. He knows they’re willing to kill Jeremiah to preserve their plan. He tells Mulder that the goal of colonization is hegemony – “a new origin of species.” Mulder wants to take the risk if it means saving Teena, but Jeremiah notes that the agents will kill him before he can help her. Instead, Jeremiah wants to show Mulder the work in progress…and he’ll be able to see Samantha.

CSM visits Teena in the hospital, getting confirmation that Mulder won’t be coming. He also learns that pictures were taken of him and Teena at the Mulders’ house, which means the Syndicate could have a security leak. They want to plant some information and see where it goes to determine the source of the leak. The false information will be that Teena’s in danger.

In the morning Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to check on her and warn that people will try to use her to find him. She tries to tell him something, but he’s too busy babbling about his trip to Alberta to let her tell him that the Bounty Hunter has taken her hostage. As the Bounty Hunter leaves her, Scully tells Mulder that he’s alive and coming for him.

Not long after, Mulder and Jeremiah run out of gas and have to walk the rest of the way to their destination. In D.C., Skinner calls Scully in to his office after hearing that she and Mulder have gotten in trouble yet again. Skinner wants to know more about Jeremiah Smith – specifically, how there are so many of them who all look alike, and why they’re all missing. Pendrell joins them to reveal that all of the men’s hard drives contain tons of encrypted data. Scully asks for a copy of a portion of the data, having an idea of who might be able to help her figure out what it means.

In Alberta, Mulder and Jeremiah come across the repairman’s body, which has been there for 24 hours. Mulder figures that Jeremiah knows what killed the man. The bees crawling all over him are probably a good indication. Mulder and Jeremiah make it to a farm, where Jeremiah says plants are being grown for pollen. There are kids working there, and one of them looks like Samantha.

Mulder approaches the girl, who doesn’t seem to recognize him. Jeremiah explains that she won’t talk to him because she doesn’t have any language – “she’s a drone.” Mulder, Jeremiah, the Samantha drone, and a boy head to a house as Jeremiah explains that the kids are part of an “agrarian workforce.” There are no parents because the kids all take care of themselves. Oh, also, all the boys look alike, and all the girls look like Samantha. It’s clone headquarters!

Scully puts an X on Mulder’s window in D.C., then spends the day trying to decrypt the Jeremiahs’ data. Mr. X eventually arrives and tells Scully that he has information about Teena that Mulder needs to hear. He won’t give the news to Scully. Scully asks about the data, which all begins with the letters SEP. Mr. X confirms that it’s from the Smallpox Eradication Program. “Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through,” he cautions her. He tells her to leave the data alone and protect Teena.

Mulder wants to take one of the Samantha drones with him, but Jeremiah says she’s not really his sister. He demands that Jeremiah explain everything to him. Before he can, the Bounty Hunter shows up. The Samantha drone leads Mulder and Jeremiah to an apiary so Mulder can hide from the Bounty Hunter. Mulder douses himself in gas (which I guess repels bees?), and the three prepare to hang out with the bees for a while, quickly realizing that they’ve trapped themselves.

The Bounty Hunter heads into the apiary, finding only the gas can. Mulder, Jeremiah, and the Samantha drone have hidden themselves behind a wall of…honeycomb? Sure, honeycomb. They push it over on the Bounty Hunter and escape while he’s distracted by the swarms of bees. In D.C., Scully takes the SEP confirmation to Pendrell, adding that the other letters in the data refer to protein amino acid sequence codes. The records have to do with inoculations. Scully thinks the final pieces of data are inventory codes referring to those who received inoculations.

Scully takes her findings to Skinner and a group of other agents, telling them she had a biopsy taken from her smallpox-vaccination scar. The results include a unique protein that she thinks is a kind of tag. When anyone over the past 50 years received an inoculation, he or she may have also received one of these tags. Scully knows she sounds Mulder-ish, but she did a biopsy on Pendrell as well, and found a different protein. She thinks a government agency is cataloging everyone. She also thinks Jeremiah can give them details.

Skinner pulls Scully out of the meeting to tell her she sounds a little wacky. Scully notes that she’s using science to prove her theories, which is what she was assigned to do in the X-Files in the first place. Mulder calls from a pay phone and asks Scully to meet him at the hospital where Teena’s being treated. He’s bringing Jeremiah and a special guest with him. Scully promises that he’ll be protected when he arrives, since so many people want to talk to Jeremiah.

But there’s no protection for Mulder before that, as the beestung Bounty Hunter finds him and crashes his car into the phone booth. Mulder begs to be allowed to take Samantha with him, but the Bounty Hunter taunts that he’s only been shown pieces of the whole project. Jeremiah’s “inconsequential” and a traitor. Mulder offers to trade his life for Teena’s, but the Bounty Hunter won’t make the deal – after all, sooner or later, everything dies. Jeremiah runs off, struggling to escape, as the Bounty Hunter approaches Samantha.

Scully and Skinner head to Rhode Island, waiting five hours for Mulder to join them. He finally arrives, alone and in shock. “She’ll never know,” he tells Scully, referring to his mother. Back in D.C., Mr. X returns to Mulder’s apartment, summoned by another X in the window. No one’s there, so he leaves, but there’s an assassin waiting for him in the elevator.

In Rhode Island, Mulder laments that he wasn’t able to bring Jeremiah to save Teena. He tells Scully about seeing the Samantha drone, and says he’s seen too many things not to believe. Scully thinks they should cling to the hope they’ve found; it’s a good place to start. “Nothing happens in contradiction to nature,” she says. “Only in contradiction to what we know of it.”

Scully tells him that they have a mutual acquaintance who knows the truth and can help them. Too bad that mutual acquaintance is now bleeding to death in Mulder’s apartment, where he’s dragged himself to write SRSG in his own blood. And that’s the end of Mr. X.

A month later, Mulder meets with a woman named Marita Covarrubias at the UN building in New York. Marita is the special assistant to the Special Representative to the Secretary General (who in some circles might be referred to as the SRSG). Mulder sent him some material, but he can’t get a meeting in return.

Marita tells Mulder that the farm in Alberta has been abandoned, and no beehives were found. The plants being grown were ginseng. Marita asks why the farm is so important to Mulder. He tells her he’s suffered some losses recently and was hoping to get…he trails off. He looks at a picture of the drones on the farm as Marita tells him, “Not everything dies.”

Teena’s still in the hospital, and not conscious to receive her newest visitor, the Bounty Hunter. CSM is also there, and he tells the Bounty Hunter that they have to remove an “unnecessary obstacle” to continue the project. The obstacle isn’t Teena, though – it’s Mulder. If Teena died, Mulder would have nothing less to lose, which would make him even more dangerous than he already is. That’s why the Bounty Hunter has been called in – not to kill Teena but to heal her.

Thoughts: This show and freaking bees.

How many swear words do you think Scully used when she eventually confronted Mulder for ditching her to run off with Jeremiah?

I’ll miss you, Mr. X. You were much more interesting than Deep Throat.

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