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.

October 15, 2016

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

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

Awww, they have matching coats!

Awww, they have matching coats!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote this episode.

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

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

October 8, 2016

The X-Files 3.23, Wetwired: Let’s Go to the Videotape

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

I had roughly this many videotapes in the '90s, too

I had roughly this many videotapes in the ’90s, too

Summary: It’s after 10 at night in Braddock Heights, Maryland, and a man is digging a big hole to bury another man’s body. You know, just typical springtime fun. Though the digger says the other man’s killing days are over, so I guess he thinks he’s done something good. The digger washes up back at home, but his victim shows up in his house. The digger uses his shovel to kill the victim again, and is dragging his body outside when the police arrive. Both cops look like his victim. The digger attacks one and gets tased in return. There’s a glitch like the diggers watching a faulty TV, and he sees the cops’ real faces. They find a body in the digger’s trunk – it’s his wife, Sarah.

Mulder’s in downtown D.C., meeting with a man who contacted him wanting to talk. He suggests that Mulder look into the five murders the digger (Joseph Patnik) committed. The man denies that he’s one of Mulder’s “sources,” but he won’t clarify who, exactly, he is. He does warn that if Mulder doesn’t look into the crimes, more will die. So Mulder looks into them, visiting Patnik at a psychiatric hospital. He tells Scully that Patnik says he killed the same man over and over, but he wouldn’t die. A babysitter in Patnik’s neighborhood recently attacked the children she was watching, saying she thought they were wolves.

Patnik’s doctor, Stroman, tells the agents that Patnik has been having outbursts, though he’s calm now. They found amphetamines in his system. Suddenly Patnik starts screaming and has to be sedated again. The agents see that Patnik was watching TV when a news story came on about murderous Bosnian dictator Lladoslav Miriskovic (not to be confused with Slobodan Milosevic, I imagine). The agents head to Patnik’s house, wondering why Mulder’s source pointed them toward the case. Scully wonders if they’re being used. Mulder doesn’t think it matters, since they need some answers anyway.

The agents hear screaming from upstairs, but it’s just the movie a couple of preteen boys are watching. As the boys leave, the TV goes snowy – a cable guy appears to be working on the lines. Scully notices the Patniks’ extensive videotape collection, which seems to consists mostly of recorded news broadcasts. Scully wonders if there’s a connection between them and Patnik’s crimes. The agents review some of the tapes their motel rooms that night, and Scully discovers that pieces on Miriskovic aired on each night Patnik committed a murder.

Mulder dismisses the theory that violence on TV leads to violence in real life; it’s pseudoscience. Scully thinks that Patnik’s drug use combined with the violent imagery made him kill. Mulder argues that that’s not enough to make a previously stable person violent – “not even must-see TV can do that.” He heads off to bed while Scully keeps watching the tapes. She passes the time by crunching ice, eventually going outside to get more. She sees Mulder in his car in the parking lot, having a chat with CSM. She sees Mulder hand CSM a videotape and then drive off with him.

The next morning, a woman is washing dishes and watching a game show when her kitchen starts to glitch. She looks in the backyard and sees her husband fooling around with a woman in their hammock. She responds by grabbing a gun. Mulder tells Scully about the latest murder, and she meets him in the car, checking the ashtray first (it’s empty). She asks if he took the car out last night, since it’s parked in a different spot now. Mulder says he got a newspaper that morning.

At the latest crime scene, the agents learn that the killer, Helene, said she saw her husband in the hammock with a blonde. Apparently the blonde was really the couple’s golden retriever. (Thankfully, the dog is unharmed.) Oh, and the man in the hammock isn’t even Helene’s husband; he was a neighbor. Helene was in the wrong backyard. The agents check out the house, which is full of items purchased from home-shopping channels. There are also a bunch of videotapes, which Scully starts watching.

Mulder spots the same cable guy from the Patniks’ house outside. He goes to talk to the guy, who drives off. Mulder then climbs the utility pole himself (seems about right for him) and sees that the worker installed something in a box, possibly a scrambler. Scully suggests that they hand it over to Pendrell for analysis, and Mulder says he’ll take care of it. Instead, he takes the device to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him it adds something between the still pictures transmitted in a normal TV broadcast. It’s emitting some sort of signal.

Scully calls Mulder (no “Mulder, it’s me,” unfortunately), who tells him that someone may be conducting a test. She tells him she talked to Pendrell, who said Mulder never brought him the device. Mulder says he took it somewhere else and tries to explain the device to her. Scully hears clicks on the line, though Mulder doesn’t hear them. She hangs up on her partner and doesn’t answer when he calls back. She unplugs the phone and pulls apart the receiver. Next, she checks a lamp, the underside of the couch, the backs of paintings, and a light socket. As she’s trashing the room, the walls start to glitch.

Seeing headlights outside makes Scully panic, and she goes for her gun when someone knocks at her door. It’s a good thing her shots miss because Mulder’s there with a motel clerk. Scully runs off and still hasn’t turned up in the morning. Mulder calls Maggie, trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Skinner arrives and Mulder tells him to keep the investigating officers from treating this like a manhunt for an escaped criminal. He thinks Scully’s suffering from the same psychosis as Patnik and Helene. She’s not responsible for her violent actions. Skinner suggests that it might be a good idea to find her before she hurts anyone.

Mulder puts an X on his window, even though the last time he spoke to Mr. X, he was told there would be no more communication. The Lone Gunmen call to tell Mulder they found something interesting on a tape from Scully’s room. Mulder joins them to learn that there were red and green lights being transmitted between frames in a home-shopping segment. The signal triggers something in the brain, similar to subliminal messages used in movie theaters in the past to make people buy popcorn.

Byers says that American and Russian scientists have been working on this technology for a long time. The guys just don’t know why Mulder wasn’t affected. Mulder asks if color could be a factor – he’s red-green colorblind, so he may not see the signal like others do. As the guys discuss the possibility, Mulder gets a call from the police reporting that Scully may have been found…or rather, her body may have been found. He heads to the morgue, taking a moment to steady himself. Before he can go inside, his source arrives and demands a conversation. He tells Mulder to keep following the evidence before “they” can destroy it.

The body in the morgue is, of course, not Scully’s, and Mulder wants someone to let Maggie know. Maggie hasn’t been answering her phone, so Mulder pays her a visit. She doesn’t want to let him in the house, which makes him realize that Scully’s there. Scully greets her partner with a gun, thinking he’s there to kill her. Mulder explains to her that she’s sick, but Scully thinks he’s been working against her from the beginning. He was one of the people behind her abduction, he put the chip in her neck, and he killed Melissa. Maggie moves in front of Scully, reminding her daughter that she’d never let anyone hurt her. Scully calms and cries in her mother’s arm.

Scully’s admitted to Georgetown Hospital, embarrassed that she believed the things the signal made her think were real. Mulder tells her that the other killers were also affected by events they thought were playing into their worst fears. Patnik, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, wanted to kill Miriskovic because he saw him as a modern-day Hitler. Helene was scared that her husband would cheat on her. Mulder thinks the TV signal turns people’s fears into reality. Scully admits that she thought she saw Mulder talking to CSM as if Mulder were reporting to him. Mulder thinks it’s reasonable that CSM could be behind all of this.

On his way out, Mulder chats with Scully’s doctor, who hasn’t found anything medically wrong with her patient. The only abnormal thing she’s found is high levels of serotonin, which has in the past been linked to mania. Now they’re back to normal. Mulder wonders if the doctor might have suspected that Scully was on amphetamines, but the doctor says that doesn’t fit with the high serotonin levels. Mulder calls Patnik’s psych hospital to talk to Stroman, who’s no longer working there. For some reason, Mulder guesses that his new phone number is the one for the motel where he and Scully were staying.

Mulder returns to the hotel (where the clerk makes him go into the room first this time), but Stroman’s already checked out. While the clerk gets Stroman’s phone records, Mulder finds the butt of a Morley cigarette in an ashtray. He traces a number on the phone records to a house, arriving just before the cable guy shows up and lets himself in. Mulder watches through a window as the cable guy and Stroman wonder where the person they’re supposed to meet is. When Mulder starts to break in, he hears gunshots. Both men are now dead, thanks to Mr. X. Mulder’s unknowingly been working off of his tip the whole time.

Mulder complains that he doesn’t have evidence now, but Mr. X reminds him that he was warned about this happening. Mr. X says he had to move quickly because he was being watched. His orders were always to kill the cable guy and Stroman; he just hoped Mulder would finish his investigation first. Mulder wants to know why the signal was being used in the first place – sales? Voting? Mr. X says “they” won’t stop there.

Mulder calls him a coward for putting Mulder and Scully in danger without risking his own life. Mr. X just smirks and starts to leave. Mulder pulls his gun, but Mr. X isn’t intimidated. He tells Mulder he’s putting his life in danger right now. He knows Mulder won’t kill him – Mulder needs him. Mulder has no choice but to let him go.

A few weeks later, Mulder turns in a report on the case, though he doesn’t have much information to provide. Scully tells him and Skinner that the cable guy didn’t have any record of shady behavior, and the only doctor with a medical license in Stroman’s name was a guy from Falls Church (hometown shout-out!) who died in 1978. Mulder says the killer remains unknown. Said killer sneaks down an alley one night and gets in a car with…CSM. Mr. X assures him that all the tech from the case has been removed, though Mulder still has a transmitter. The man who originally contacted Mulder has been eliminated. And his source, like Mulder said, is still unknown.

Thoughts: I assume the author of Channel X watched this episode.

I was under the impression that you couldn’t by an FBI agent if you were red-green colorblind, but it looks like there’s a special test that they’ll give colorblind applicants, and if you pass it, you’re in. Not that this is the most ridiculous thing to happen on the series anyway.

Scully, it’s okay to change out of your work clothes once you’re back in your motel room.

Helene’s victim’s name is John Gillnitz, a name used multiple times over the course of the series. It’s a combination of the names of three show writers: John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz.

September 24, 2016

The X-Files 3.21, Avatar: More Like Suck-ubus, Right?

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

In a shocking plot twist, Grandma was Little Red Riding Hood all along!

In a shocking plot twist, Grandma was Little Red Riding Hood all along!

Summary: It’s March 7th, 1996, in D.C., and Skinner’s about to sign some paperwork. (We’re not supposed to realize he’s signing his divorce papers, but it’s kind of obvious.) He can’t bring himself to do it, telling his lawyer he’ll sign tomorrow. He goes to the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel, where a woman joins him at the bar, trying to avoid a conversation with another man. They end up having sex, and let me tell you, if there’s anything I never wanted to see Skinner do, it’s that. He sees his new bed buddy as an old woman, for some reason. When he wakes up, she’s dead.

The police are called, and Mulder gets the lead detective, Waltos, to let him talk to Skinner. Apparently Skinner’s having trouble remembering everything that happened. Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”), having heard that Skinner called in a homicide. Mulder tells her that he seems to have been there at the time of the murder. Skinner tells him not to get involved, which, of course, Mulder won’t listen to. Waltos tells him that Skinner only remembers taking the woman to bed, but since he won’t take a polygraph, it’s a little suspicious.

The victim has no ID, and Mulder’s eager to find out who she is. Waltos tells him the police are doing their job. Mulder asks Scully to meet him at the coroner’s office so they can check out the woman’s body. Scully agrees with the county coroner that the woman’s neck was broken without a struggle, and most likely in a “manual trauma.” She also may have had a mild allergic reaction to latex, so now Mulder and Scully get to think about their boss using a condom.

Mulder tells Scully that the victim was named Carina; she was a legal secretary who was recently fired for moonlighting for one of her firm’s clients. Specifically, she was working as a prostitute. As Scully turns off the light to leave, she notices a glowing substance around Carina’s nose and mouth. The agents head to Georgetown to chat with Lorraine Kelleher, the very successful madam Carina worked for. Lorraine’s surprised to hear that her upcoming meeting with Carina won’t be going forward. She first declines to reveal who Carina was hired by the previous night, saying that she works for the government just like the agents do, but she confirms that Skinner hired Carina.

Mulder’s mad that his boss was so indiscreet, but he knows there isn’t enough evidence to prove he’s a murderer. After all, someone could have stolen his credit card. Scully’s like, “To pay for the prostitute who died in his bed?” That happens all the time! It’s just a coincidence, Scully! She points out that they don’t know anything about Skinner’s personal life. He could be murdering hookers all over the country, for all they know! Mulder reminds her that Skinner has put his career on the line for them multiple times, so they owe it to him to try to help.

Skinner’s released, so Mulder and Scully meet him at the police station to ask him what happened the night before. Skinner tells them they’ll have to investigate without his help. He clearly didn’t know Carina was a prostitute when they hooked up, so that’s something. He sees an old woman in a red jacket nearby, and nearly gets hit by cars when he tries to run across the street to her. She mouths something at him, then seems to disappear. Skinner finally makes it across the street to someone in a red jacket, but she’s younger. She also knows him – she’s his wife, Sharon.

The agents go inside the police station with Sharon, who confides that she and Skinner have been separated for eight months. She doesn’t like that he’s built a wall around himself to keep people out. They felt more like roommates than spouses, and she didn’t want to live like that anymore. Sharon tells Mulder that Skinner’s talked about him and clearly respects him. She thinks Mulder can tell her if Skinner’s a murderer. He says no, but if you have to ask someone if your husband of 17 years killed someone, that probably won’t ease your fears.

The agents go to Skinner’s office, where an agent named Bonnecaze has taken over. There’s a hearing the next day to determine if Skinner should keep his job as assistant director. Bonnecaze tells the agents to stop investigating, and to present any evidence they’ve already found at the hearing. Mulder tries to tell Skinner as Scully says he’s acting like he’s guilty. If he’s unstable enough to hire a prostitute, “what else is he capable of?” Mulder wants to give their boss the benefit of the doubt. Plus, Skinner didn’t seem to know that Carina was a prostitute. Scully thinks he just doesn’t remember.

Scully shows Mulder a video of a man having a form of night terrors called REM sleep behavior disorder. People commit acts of violence while dreaming. Scully reveals that Skinner’s been receiving treatment at a sleep-disorder facility for the same disorder for months. He has a recurring dream about an old woman who talks to him (though he can’t understand her) and sometimes straddles his chest. Scully thinks Skinner may have accidentally killed Carina in his sleep, thinking she was the old woman.

Mulder tells Scully that in the Middle Ages, people reported the same behavior, attributing it to a succubus. If the succubus became too attached to the man with the behavior, she would kill any woman she thought was a romantic rival. Sometimes a luminous substance was left behind. Hmmm, just like the glowing substance Scully saw on Carina! She takes Mulder to see Carina’s body, but the substance is gone. Fortunately, Scully got a sample. Unfortunately, the lab claims there was nothing analyzable in the sample container. Mulder wonders if Skinner suspects himself as the killer and is running because he’s not sure.

Sharon visits her husband to check on him and have a lovely conversation about how their marriage has collapsed. She wants Skinner to let her help him, or at least comfort him. He declines, so she leaves. He finds their wedding picture (he had hair!) and falls asleep holding it. He wakes up after dark, hearing screams, and sees the old woman in the red jacket. Moments later, Waltos comes to his door to tell him that Sharon was in a car accident – someone ran her off the road. And not that there’s any connection or accusation, but Waltos would like to see Skinner’s car keys.

Mulder meets up with Skinner at the police station while Sharon undergoes brain surgery. Skinner isn’t being charged (yet), but Mulder knows the police are building a case against him. Skinner wants to know if Scully thinks he’s innocent. Mulder admits that she wants to know why he’s not doing more to defend himself. Skinner replies that he can’t do that when he doesn’t know what’s happening. Mulder asks about the old woman, and what the police might discover in their investigation.

Skinner says that he started seeing the woman “again” a few months ago. He first saw her in Vietnam, but since he was using drugs, he thought she was just a hallucination. Skinner thinks the woman was watching him when he killed people, and she kept him from being killed. Mulder wonders if she’s trying to protect him. However, only Skinner can figure out what he needs protection from. If I were him, I’d start with CSM, who’s watching the conversation through a window.

Mulder and Scully go to see Skinner’s impounded car, which sure looks like it hit another car. Skinner’s prints were the only ones found on the steering wheel. With half an hour to go before Skinner’s hearing, Mulder cuts off the airbag and takes it to Pendrell (yay, Pendrell!), who’s able to find an impression of the face of whoever was driving the car when it crashed. From the impression, he should be able to create a replication of the driver’s face.

Scully goes to the hearing and testifies that there’s no conclusive evidence that Skinner killed Carina. She puts forth Mulder’s theory about a “visitation,” though she won’t say whether she believes this. The man running the hearing asks if Skinner might sometimes bend the rules a little for Mulder. Has Scully’s loyalty to Skinner led her to conceal anything? Scully says no, but the people in charge are done listening to her.

Mulder and Scully meet up, and she announces that Skinner’s been announced. Mulder thinks he’s being set up – the impression from the air bag shows a face that isn’t Skinner’s. Scully wonders why the people behind this setup don’t just kill Skinner. Mulder thinks they can use the driver (who must have hired the prostitute, as Scully says in a voiceover that was obviously added in later for clarification) to find the people behind the conspiracy.

The agents return to Lorraine’s apartment, but she’s dead, apparently having jumped from the roof. They spot Judy, one of Lorraine’s other prostitutes, and take her to a diner to ask her questions. She recognizes the driver’s face and confirms that he hired Carina. The agents convince Judy to arrange a meeting with the driver at the Ambassador Hotel, pretending she wants money to leave town before the FBI asks too many questions.

Skinner visits an unconscious Sharon and tells her he’s not signing the divorce papers. He kept himself closed off from her for years because he didn’t want to tell her about all the horrible things he’s seen, or about the things he couldn’t explain. He wishes he’d told her before that the thought of ending each day with her got him through his work. As Skinner’s kissing her goodbye, an alarm on one of Sharon’s monitors goes off. He leaves to call a doctor, but when he looks back, the old woman is in Sharon’s bed, beckoning him. When he goes back in, she’s Sharon again, and she has something to tell him.

Mulder and Waltos stake out the lounge at the Ambassador Hotel while Scully and Judy wait in a room. Scully hears a noise and tells the men to come upstairs. The driver has somehow gotten into the room, where he knocks out Scully and aims his gun at Judy. Mulder and Waltos hear gunshots as they race toward the room. When they arrive, the driver’s dead and Judy’s okay, thanks to Skinner.

Skinner quickly gets his job back, but not everything gets wrapped up. The driver still hasn’t been ID’d, and Skinner figures they’ll never get answers. Mulder wonders how he knew something was going to happen at the hotel. Skinner says whatever happened can’t go in an official report. Mulder asks for the info off the record, but Skinner won’t give it even then. After the agents leave, Skinner puts his wedding ring back on and gets back to work.

Thoughts: This episode was co-written by David Duchovny.

Waltos is played by Tom Mason (Joe on Party of Five). Carina is played by Amanda Tapping, who’s done all sorts of sci-fi/fantasy TV shows.

Sharon seems pretty together for someone who’s ending a miserable marriage with a possible murderer.

This episode makes no sense. Obviously they just wanted to give Skinner something to do. Thanks for trying, guys!

August 20, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 9, 2016

The X-Files 3.10, 731: Speed 3: Strangers on a Train

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

"I'm too old for this s%$#"

“I’m too old for this s%$#”

Summary: In Perkey, West Virginia, a military convoy has arrived at Hansen’s Disease Research Facility and is moving its residents outside. Either those residents all have giant heads and deformed fingers, or they’re aliens. One of them hides under the floor and is able to stay back when the others are taken to a field and executed.

Elsewhere, Mulder has just done the most Mulder thing imaginable and is train-surfing. Scully demands to know what’s on the train, but Mr. X won’t tell her how the Japanese government and World War II doctors are involved. When she struggles with him, he asks if she’s going to shoot him like the men who shot Melissa. Mr. X tells her to look to her neck implant to figure out who’s behind everything. In fact, it could answer all her questions.

Mulder makes it inside the train and tries to access an area marked as quarantined. A conductor he talks to is no help but suggests that Mulder talk to a doctor on board, Shiro Zama. When Zama doesn’t answer his door, the conductor helps Mulder break in. No one’s inside, but Mulder finds and confiscates Zama’s things. He gives the conductor an unloaded gun and asks him to detain Zama if he returns.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters to talk to Pendrell about the implant. He first thought it was placed to record neural impulses, but now he thinks it was replicating memory formation. Basically, it was a hard drive collecting Scully’s memories. Pendrell accidentally destroyed the chip while working on it, but he was able to determine that the technology came from Japan. The contact person on the shipment carrying that technology? Shiro Zama. Scully leaves while Pendrell beats himself up for being doofy in front of her.

On the train, the American airport killer from the previous episode follows Zama, cornering him in a bathroom just before Mulder passes by. (The killer never gets a name, but we’ll call him Stephen, after the actor who plays him.) Following the information Pendrell found on Zama, Scully heads to Perkey and finds the abandoned research facility. She sees some people (aliens?) running around and finds them hiding under the floor. They’re scared, thinking Scully’s going to hurt them.

Mulder continues searching the train for Zama, who, of course, is dead. Back in Perkey, Scully questions the people at the facility, who explain that they’ve lived there their whole lives. She determines that Hansen’s is basically a leper colony. The whole medical staff left just before “death squads” started coming to execute the residents.

Scully doesn’t get why so many people were kept at the facility when leprosy is treatable. The group’s spokesperson tells her that their disfigurements forced them into “camps” instead of treatment. Other patients arrived with similar deformities, but were burned by Zama’s treatments. The spokesperson takes Scully to the mass grave that holds all of the patients/aliens killed by the death squads.

A helicopter arrives, so Scully and the spokesperson run into the woods to hide. Scully’s captured by a group of men and hears a gunshot. Mulder returns to Zama’s car and tells the conductor that Zama’s dead. He wants to keep the train from making any stops until he finds the murderer. Mulder goes back to the quarantine area, this time spotting its patient. But before he can do anything, Stephen grabs him and tries to garotte him like he killed Zama.

The conductor comes to Mulder’s rescue, pulling the unloaded gun on Stephen to get him to drop Mulder. Stephen claims he’s in law enforcement; when he pulls his badge, the conductor runs, locking Stephen and Mulder in the car together. Mulder still has his weapon, so now he has the upper hand on his would-be killer.

Stephen announces that he’s with the NSA, and what he’s after isn’t an alien – it’s a bomb. Entering the car triggered the explosive, which could be wired to anything. Stephen claims that he killed Zama so Zama couldn’t kill his cargo. Mulder doesn’t believe him, so he’ll keep holding his gun on Mr. NSA, thank you. Stephen notes that firing could set off the bomb, but Mulder will take his chances.

In Perkey, Scully’s taken to a man from the Syndicate (known as the Elder) who waxes poetic about the facility. The patients were exposed to Zama’s treatments. Scully corrects that the Elder means Ishimaru, accusing the government of hiding him after the war. The Elder says that Ishimaru went rogue and exposed the patients to horrible things. He won’t tell Scully if she’s been exposed, too, but he tells her he has answers for her.

The conductor offers to try prying the door open, but Stephen warns against that. He gives up his access card but says it won’t work. Mulder figures out that there’s a code, which Stephen got from Zama before he died. Stephen confirms this, but says using the code to enter the car triggered the bomb. They’ll need a different code to leave the car. Mulder thinks the bomb is on their car, but Stephen says he doesn’t know where it is.

Mulder decides to call his bluff and use the entry code to get out. Just before he finishes inputting the code, Stephen gets a phone call…for Mulder. It’s the Elder, and he has Scully on the line. We get a “Mulder, it’s me” before she warns Mulder that they’re involved in something very different from what they thought. The alien on the train isn’t an alien; he’s one of Zima’s human guinea pigs and has been exposed to radiation and diseases.

Mulder doesn’t know why Scully believes what the Elder has told her. Scully says she believes what she’s seeing – she’s on a train car just like the one from the autopsy video, and she knows she’s been there before. It’s where she was taken when she was abducted. Zama used a secret railroad to conduct his tests, and Scully and the MUFON women were among his patients. The UFO Mulder went looking for was part of a Russian sub.

Scully continues that the president recently made a public apology to citizens affected by radiation tests before 1974. The tests continued after, including on the person in quarantine. Scully warns that there’s a bomb on the train, and if it goes off, thousands will develop hemorrhagic fever, since that’s what the quarantined patient was exposed to. Mulder tells her that it’s a little late not to enter the car. She tells him the bomb is on a timer, but at least she knows it’s inside a vent.

Mulder gets Stephen to open a vent in the car, exposing the bomb’s timer. Fortunately, they have over an hour and a half to deal with it. Scully tells Mulder to get the train stopped, but he pretends they’re losing their connection and he can’t hear her. Instead, he tells the conductor to inform the engineer to reroute the train to an unpopulated area and unhook the car. As he does so, Stephen warns Mulder that “they” won’t reach the car in time to save them.

So now it’s just Mulder, Stephen, and the patient in Middle of Nowhere, Iowa. Stephen spots an unguarded scalpel, so Mulder should probably do a better job of securing him. Also, half an hour has passed, so…maybe do something? Mulder calls Scully to tell her he plans to wait and see what happens. Good plan!

Once the timer is down to 38 minutes, Mulder finally realizes that no one’s going to come rescue him. He starts interrogating Stephen, asking who he’s protecting, and what his orders were after he killed Zama. He thinks Stephen knows what the alien really is. Stephen won’t answer, so Mulder threatens to shoot him in the stomach so he dies slowly. Well, more specifically, he threatens to “miss” Stephen’s stomach and shoot him somewhere a little farther down.

Stephen finally reveals that the patient is a weapon. What could be more valuable than a biological weapon or atomic bomb? An army immune to biological weapons and atomic bombs. Mulder realizes that Zama was testing those immunities on civilians, as well as on alien-human hybrids. Stephen taunts that if the patient were one of those hybrids, someone would have come to save him by now, right?

Scully heads to Mulder’s apartment and tries to call Senator Matheson, then puts an X on the window. While she’s waiting for Mr. X, she puts on the autopsy video. Sometime later, she calls Mulder to tell him that the video shows Zama punching in the code to leave the train car. It takes some work, but she’s able to get five of the six numbers and make a confident guess about the sixth.

The code is right, but before Mulder can leave the car, Stephen attacks and beats him up. However, as he’s exiting the train, he takes a bullet courtesy of Mr. X. With less than a minute left on the timer, Mr. X heads to the quarantine area, then carries an unconscious Mulder off the train. The car explodes, with just one fatality.

A week later, the fate of the train car is unknown. Matheson won’t return Mulder’s calls. Scully says that someone called a hospital to alert them to Mulder’s location, which means Mr. X vanished and Mulder doesn’t know he was there. Scully managed to get Zama’s briefcase back, but Mulder says the journals inside aren’t the ones he found in Zama’s car – they’ve been rewritten. The bodies at Hansen’s have all been removed.

Mulder argues that he knows what he saw, and everything’s being covered up again. Scully says she knows what she saw, and they’re not going to get anything beyond the cover-up and apologies. Mulder doesn’t want apologies, he wants the people who are responsible to be held accountable: “I want an apology for the truth.” Elsewhere, CSM looks on as someone translates Zama’s journals from Japanese to English.

Thoughts: It’s not explained in the episode, but it’s called “731” after a real Japanese army unit that experimented on POWs and Chinese civilians.

Stephen: “You’re gonna die. You know that?” Mulder: “What do you care? You were trying to kill me anyway.” Heh. Point Mulder.

Mulder, don’t call the patient a “thing.” Aliens have feelings, too.

For those of you who like TV Easter eggs, part of the exit code is Chris Carter’s favorite number, 1013.

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