May 20, 2017

The X-Files 5.7, Emily: Merry Christmas! Your Kid’s Dying!

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

The only light moment in this horribly depressing episode

Summary: Scully voices over something about nothingness as we see her walk through a windy desert to retrieve her cross necklace from the sand. She believes that she will eventually end up alone, as she always is. Mulder is now in San Diego, meeting up with Scully and Emily at the children’s center where Emily’s staying. Emily’s not that interested in chatting with him (she’d rather color a potato), but he gets her to warm up to him with an impression of Mr. Potato Head. He notices that she’s wearing her mother’s necklace.

Mulder tells Scully that Frohike hacked into a database to get the name of Emily’s surrogate mother, Anna Fugazzi. Fugazzi means “fake,” so that’s a dead end. Scully can’t figure out how Emily was created. She insists that she can protect her, even though it’s obvious someone is targeting her. Mulder asks why she didn’t call him sooner. He’s hesitant to testify on Scully’s behalf at a hearing to decide whether she can have custody of Emily. “She’s a miracle that was never meant to be,” he says.

He goes to the hearing anyway, sharing a brief moment with Scully’s family before he’s questioned about his theory that the government abducted Scully and extracted her ova. The hearing judge doesn’t know how to understand “this Michael Crichton bit” that makes the case so strange. Why would someone kidnap Scully, take her ova, create a baby, and then place the baby for adoption? Mulder doesn’t think it matters – Emily is Scully’s daughter, so she should get custody. No one should question the circumstances or stand in the way of her chance to be with her child.

The agents head to Bill Jr.’s house, where Scully asks why Mulder never told her that her ova were all removed during her abduction. He admits that he knew children were being created, but not why or by whom. The phone rings, but no one speaks when Scully answers. Mulder has the call traced to the children’s center where Emily’s staying. The agents rush over and find Emily feverish. Mulder discovers a gross-looking blotch on the back of her neck.

The agents take Emily to the hospital, where a doctor orders a biopsy of the blotch, calling it a cyst. While Scully tries to relay Emily’s medical history to the doctor, Mulder watches the biopsy, suddenly calling for the doctor performing it to stop. She doesn’t listen, and when she punctures the cyst, green stuff gushes out. The doctor passes out from the toxins in the goo, but Emily is unaffected.

Emily is quarantined and sleeps while Scully asks Mulder why he wanted the procedure stopped. He says he realized that Emily could have the same chemistry as beings they’ve encountered before. He had the doctor placed in a cooling bath, as Scully did for him when he was exposed. Scully worries that this will be the way the rest of Emily’s life goes. The other doctor, Vinet, tells the agents that he contacted Calderon, but he refused to release Emily’s records from his medical trial. Calderon also insists that Scully has no authority over Emily.

Mulder goes to see Calderon himself but gets the same resistance Vinet did. Calderon says it has to do with the company’s legal liability. Mulder pounds on the guy a little, demanding to know what the pharmaceutical company really does. He angrily asks if Calderon’s life is worth saving more than Emily’s. Calderon won’t answer, but Mulder promises he’ll be back for answers. When Calderon leaves the office in a hurry, Mulder follows him.

Scully chats with Emily before she’s taken to undergo some tests. Emily says her mom told her she wouldn’t have to have any more tests. Scully tells her they just want her to get better. Meanwhile, Mulder follows Calderon to a house where he meets with the two suited men Marshall Sim met with in the previous episode. He warns them that Mulder is on to them, but they’re not concerned. One of them sticks Calderon with an alien ice pick, so now he’s out of the equation. Both suited men then make themselves look like Calderon. Mulder follows one of them as he leaves the house.

Vinet tells Scully that Emily has some sort of infection that’s growing rapidly, cycling through her central nervous system. One of the fake Calderons passes by in the hallway, unnoticed, as Vinet tells Scully that they don’t have many options for treatment. The fake Calderon gets access to Emily’s room, leaving just as Scully returns. She chases the fake doctor, pulling her gun when he ignores her. When she reaches him, he’s become someone else.

Mulder follows the other fake Calderon to the pharmaceutical company, getting confused when Scully calls to tell him Calderon was at the hospital and may have injected Emily with something. Mulder thinks the doctor was there to treat her. He believes the pharmaceutical company wants to protect her, but for reasons different from their own. Krisge arrives at the hospital, and Scully fills him in, theorizing that the pharmaceutical company wants to keep performing tests on Emily. Meanwhile, Mulder follows Calderon to a retirement home, where he finds a resident named Anna Fugazzi.

Back at the hospital, Vinet tells Scully that Emily’s condition seems to be improving, but her tests show more problems. Basically, she’s doomed. Susan, the social worker, tells Scully that the court doesn’t think Scully’s decisions are helping Emily. They think Calderon’s treatments were helping her, and she’s getting worse because they ceased. Scully’s upset that people think she’s not trying to save her daughter’s life. Susan points out that she doesn’t have any rights to make decisions for Emily. Scully makes it clear that if the court removes Emily from the hospital, she’ll get worse.

Mulder calls Frohike, who looks up the names of other residents at the retirement home. All of the women had babies in the past few years, despite being in their ’70s or older. They’re also receiving hormones that pregnant women wouldn’t need to be given. Mulder asks Anna about Calderon, who she says is supposed to be there – she was supposed to start her “beauty sleep.” At the hospital, Emily is placed in a hyperbaric chamber, so she’s just having the worst Christmas ever. She gets upset, and Scully notices something wriggling under her skin.

Mulder finds a room in the retirement home where patients sleep while receiving IVs full of something prescribed by Calderon. He also finds something that looks like a little alien baby, labeled with Scully’s name. If that’s not creepy enough, its legs are moving. He steals some capsules, then tries to flee before one of the fake Calderons can see him. Krisge catches him, and once he realizes who Mulder is, he turns his attention to the approaching fake Calderon. Calderon throws him aside and starts to walk away, but Krisge shoots him, even after Mulder warns him not to.

Mulder leaves Krisge behind with Calderon’s toxic green blood so he can call for backup. Krisge makes it out okay…or so Mulder believes. He heads back to the hospital, where Emily is now comatose. Scully says she’s okay – this is what’s meant to be. Even if she could treat Emily, she wouldn’t. Emily wasn’t created to be loved, but to serve someone’s agenda. By letting her die, Scully puts a wrench in someone’s plans. Mulder offers to stay with Scully while she watches her daughter die, but Scully wants to be alone.

After some amount of time, Emily’s gone, and the family holds a funeral. Tara and Bill Jr. have now had their baby, a boy named Matthew. After everyone else leaves, Scully asks Mulder why people would create a person who was only meant to die. Mulder thinks there was a purpose in Scully finding Emily and trying to save her. He tells her the retirement home has been shut down, and Calderon’s work has all disappeared, so all the answers they could look for are gone.

Scully knows Emily is the only remaining evidence of Calderon’s project, and she’s not about to forget. She opens to Emily’s casket and sees her necklace on a blanket that looks like sand, just like her dream or vision or whatever at the beginning of the episode. It’s a miracle! Or something!

Thoughts: Did everyone get all the Christ imagery? The cross necklace? A child created just to die? Are we all on the same page? Good.

Way to leave a horribly sick three-year-old completely unattended, you terrible San Diego hospital.

If they hadn’t already figured out that Emily was an alien, it would have been clear once they put her in the hyperbaric chamber. No kid would be the calm about getting in there.

Imagine being the kid playing Emily and having this on your résumé. “Oh, you were a child actor? What were you in?” “Two episodes of The X-Files, as Scully’s dying alien child.” “…I don’t know how to respond to that.”

February 18, 2017

The X-Files 4.18, Max: Flight Risks

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

I don't think Max had a future as an interior decorator

I don’t think Max had a future as an interior decorator

Summary: The lights Mulder has encountered underwater are from other divers, so he quickly surfaces and flees. Back on land, he tries to outrun a Jeep full of soldiers who capture him. Back in D.C., Scully tends to Pendrell, but it doesn’t look good. She goes after NTSB guy, who’s wounded but still able to run. When she returns to Pendrell, she orders him to stay alive so they can celebrate her birthday together. While paramedics tend to him, Scully realizes her nose is bleeding.

Frisch doesn’t think his phone call to his girlfriend tipped anyone off, since he didn’t say where he was, so Scully thinks someone on the inside has turned on them. Skinner arrives, having been told about Frisch’s transfer into protective custody; he’s now being arrested for providing false testimony. Scully argues that his life is in danger because he’s blowing the whistle on the military.

Skinner tells her that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are overruling that decision. They’re also on the hunt for Mulder for interfering with the investigation into the plane crash. The military admits they were responsible for the crash, but they don’t back up Frisch’s version of events. Skinner notices that something’s off with Scully and tells her he’s not going to let her stay in the field if it’s not safe. Scully insists, as always, that she’s fine.

Mulder’s taken to Von Drehle Air Force Reserve Installation, where Scully gets him released and tells him the military had no choice but to confess their part in the plane crash. They’re saying that the air-traffic controllers gave bad coordinates, which makes Scully think that Frisch and his partner didn’t see the second plane, a fighter jet, until it was too late to keep it from crashing into the first plane. The partner allegedly killed himself because he felt so guilty. The military claims that Frisch is trying to blame them for his mistake.

Scully admits that she’s not sure she believes that the second plane was a military jet. Mulder shows her some burns he got from the crash site in the lake, possibly the beginning stages of the burns suffered by some of the crash victims. Scully says that there’s no proof that the plane crashed into anything, at least according to Millar. She doesn’t think he’s lying, since he had no reason to volunteer anything – especially about how he found Sharon. And it turns out Sharon isn’t Max’s sister after all; she’s a former aeronautics engineer who met Max in a psychiatric facility.

It also turns out that Pendrell being loaded into an ambulance was the last glimpse we’ll get of him: He’s dead. Scully’s upset that innocent people are dying, and they’re not yet sure if it’s “for the truth or for the lies.” Mulder vows to find the truth, because why else would they be fighting?

The agents go to Max’s old trailer, which looks the same as it did the last time they were there. Scully compares him to Mulder, as they both led “Spartan lives” in order to leave room for their passions. Mulder’s interested in finding out why Max wanted to see him (which he figures is what Max was doing, since he had Mulder’s card on him). He was taking a big risk, so it had to have been for a major reason.

Mulder puts on a video of Max talking about his life. He always wanted to be left alone, but as an abductee, he’s never alone, since he’s always wondering if the aliens will come back for him. He wants to prove to the public that aliens exist, and that only a few members of the government, FBI, and military know about them. They’re using some of the aliens’ technology in U.S. military operations, and someone needs to confront them and make them admit it. Meanwhile, divers, one with radiation burns, pull aliens and their aircraft from the lake. NTSB guy arrives, pleased that their mission was successful.

The search for the crash victims is almost complete, and Millar thanks everyone involved for their work. Mulder can tell that he’s not convinced of what he’s been told about the crash. He shares his theory that Max knew about the crash ahead of time but got on the flight anyway. He was probably followed by someone who wanted the proof of alien life that he carried with him. This was the guy with the gun, who was unable to kill Max and take the proof before aliens intercepted the plane.

Max would have known what was happening, that he was going to be taken, but Mulder thinks the military plane got involved and screwed up the aliens’ plans. Frisch and his partner couldn’t see the alien craft on radar, so they couldn’t stop whatever happened. Mulder imagines Max being pulled outside the plane as the other passengers watch in awe. He thinks that if the military jet hadn’t been there, Max would have been abducted and returned without anyone knowing.

Next Mulder thinks that the jet intercepted the plane and the alien craft on orders of taking down the aliens. Max was returned to the plane, but the crash ensued and everyone was killed instead of just having their memories erased and losing nine minutes of their lives. Millar doesn’t exactly believe Mulder’s story, but even if he did, he can’t sell it to the government. Scully notes that the door and seats contain traces of radioactivity, which Mulder hasn’t been able to explain. Millar thinks he knows the reason, and it’s inside Max’s carry-on bag.

Millar promises to include the contents of the bag in his official report, though he can’t credit them with the cause of the crash. Scully tells Mulder that they might not ever get all the answers, which means Max and Pendrell’s deaths might never be explained. Mulder wants to go talk to Sharon, whether or not she’s mentally stable.

Well, really, he wants Scully to go talk to Sharon while he goes back to Max’s trailer, which is now trashed. He runs into the trailer park manager, who mentions that he has some of Max’s mail. While he gets it, Mulder pauses Max’s video, seeing Sharon in the background. He sees that the return address on one of Max’s letters is Paul Gidney, Max’s alias. Inside is a claim ticket.

Scully visits Sharon, who admits that she lied about being Max’s sister. Scully asks her to spill anything about what Max was up to. Sharon hesitates, worrying that it could get her into trouble. Scully sees blisters on Sharon’s face and asks what she was exposed to. Sharon says she stole something, and Scully realizes it was from whoever she worked for when she was in aeronautics. Max had her take something that he claimed was alien technology. It was in three parts, and each of them had one, but they were taken. Scully asks about the third part.

Mulder figures out that the claim ticket is for a piece of luggage at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Men in suits watch from a distance as he gets it, then asks for a security entrance to a tunnel. As he escapes, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and tells him he has the third part, though she doesn’t know what it is. She warns him not to take it out of its container, but mid-’90s cell service was pretty bad, and static on the line keeps Mulder from hearing her.

Even without hearing Scully’s warning, Mulder doesn’t open the bag. Instead, he puts it through an x-ray machine. Scully thinks they’re dealing with some industrial espionage. Mulder gets on a flight to D.C., because that worked out so well for Max when he took his part on a plane. Apparently Mulder’s FBI skills are on the fritz because he doesn’t see that NTSB guy is on the same flight.

After some time in the air, NTSB guy sits down with Mulder and starts a conversation. But Mulder’s FBI skills are back in full force, and he warns that he has a gun on NTSB guy. NTSB guy doesn’t think Mulder will shoot, since he could cause a crash. NTSB guy has come prepared with a parachute and is sure he’ll be able to escape. He’s also willing to sacrifice himself to continue the cover-up. There are dozens of lights on outside, and no one would notice if one went out. Does Mulder think it’s worth it to sacrifice millions of lives just to keep some lights on?

Mulder asks what the thing in the bag is, guessing it’s an alien source of energy. NTSB guy sticks to the story that the plane crash was caused by human error. Mulder orders him to go to the bathroom so Mulder can keep him contained for the rest of the flight and ensure he pays for the crash. He then calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her he’s captured Pendrell’s killer. He checks the time and realizes his watch has stopped.

Mulder warns a flight attendant that the plane is going to be intercepted, so the pilot needs to be ready. NTSB guy emerges from the bathroom with a gun, because I guess Mulder didn’t consider checking him for weapons. Mulder gives up Max’s bag just moments before the plane begins to shape. Looks like it’s time for another abduction, y’all! NTSB guy keeps his eye and weapon on Mulder, who pulls out his own gun and demands the bag.

The emergency door gets suck out of the plane, and Mulder tells NTSB to let go of the bag so the aliens can have it. A light fills the plane, and we skip forward to it landing in D.C. Scully and Skinner are among the agents there to get NTSB guy, but he’s no longer on the flight. Everyone on the plane is fine, and no one seems to have gone through any trauma. Also, Mulder’s watch is nine minutes slow. Skinner asks after NTSB guy, and Mulder replies, “I think he got the connecting flight.”

Later, the agents and Sharon watches the rest of Max’s video, where he talks about alien technology that the U.S. could use for things like space travel. He doesn’t get why the government wants to keep them quiet. Sharon asks to keep Max’s things, which Mulder thinks could be very important one day. Scully thinks Max would want her to have them.

Scully steps outside the trailer to look up at the sky and think about Pendrell; she notes to Mulder that she didn’t even know his first name. She has Mulder’s birthday gift with her, and she thinks he gave it to her to help her remember that people can achieve anything they can imagine as long as they dream and work hard. They also need to work together “because no one gets there alone.” We can praise those who do the work, but we also need to remember those who sacrifice their lives in the process. “I just thought it was a pretty cool keychain,” Mulder quips.

Thoughts: Way to not do anything to try to help Pendrell, everyone else in the bar.

’90s music alert: “Unmarked Helicopters” by Soul Coughing. Wow, remember Soul Coughing? I barely do.

Farewell, Agent Pendrell. (Aw, that rhymes.) As the kids would say, you were a beautiful cinnamon roll, too pure for this world.

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.

May 14, 2016

The X-Files 3.2, Paper Clip: Let’s Make a Deal

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

"That's not the Uber I ordered..."

“That’s not the Uber I ordered…”

Summary: Hosteen is voicing over again, this time about animals being symbolic to the Navajo. Mulder’s recovery reminded them of the Gila monster, which healed a man by putting his parts back together. Lightning and thunder brought him back to life. After Mulder was better, the Navajo learned from other tribes that something big had happened. He tells the story of White Buffalo Woman, who taught Native Americans how to live virtuously and pray. Then she turned into a white buffalo and returned to the heavens. The day Mulder was healed, a white buffalo was born, an omen that big changes are coming.

Back in Mulder’s apartment, Scully and Skinner are still facing off. He insists that he’s trying to help her, but he’s not about to put down his weapon. Fortunately, Mulder arrives to serve as Scully’s backup. Skinner finally gives up his gun, and Scully explains that she was warned that someone she trusted would try to kill her. Skinner shows them the recording, which Mulder says CSM killed Bill over. Mulder says, “I was a dead man. Now I’m back,” which would be a great tagline for a probably bad movie.

Mulder explains what’s on the cassette, then tries to make Skinner give it to Scully. Skinner points out that it’s the only leverage they have against the conspirators, so they need to protect it. Mulder backs down and takes Scully away to search out more truths. She tells him that she assured Teena that he would be okay, even though she had no proof she was right. She just knew. Meanwhile, Maggie arrives at the hospital where she thinks Scully has been brought in. She’s shocked to hear that Melissa’s the daughter who was shot. She’s in an induced coma, and the doctors can’t do anything more for her except monitor her.

Scully and Mulder take the picture of Bill and the conspirators to the Lone Gunmen. Byers brings up Operation Paper Clip, a World War II agreement with Nazi war criminals that gave America access to their scientific knowledge. Langly IDs a man in the picture as one of those war criminals, Victor Klemper. He experimented on Jewish people, and some of his tests led to space travel. Byers notes that the picture was taken in 1973, but Operation Paper Clip was supposed to have ended in the 1950s, which means there’s yet another secret the American government has been keeping. Langly reports that Klemper is alive and still living in the U.S.

Frohike arrives, happy to see Mulder alive. He gives Scully the news that Melissa’s in the hospital, and she immediately realizes that her sister’s shooting was meant for her. Mulder talks her into staying away from the hospital. CSM and his Syndicate have realized their mistake (well, Krycek’s mistake), and WMM wants to know who will fix it. He warns that Scully believes that Mulder is still alive. CSM is sure he’s not, and still has his buddies snowed that he has the cassette. They question that, asking to see the tape. CSM claims it’s someplace safe, but he’ll bring it to them tomorrow.

Mulder and Scully find Klemper in a greenhouse, and after some blathering about history, he’s all, “We did good work! So what if innocent people died?” Mulder thinks Klemper knows why Bill was killed. Klemper replies that it was probably in their best interest. Mulder shows him the picture, but Klemper hesitates to reveal any more truths. The only help he’ll give is asking if Scully knows the formula for Napier’s Constant, then revealing that the photo was taken outside the Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia. They’re on their own for the rest.

As soon as the agents leave, Klemper calls WMM to tell him that Mulder visited, but Klemper didn’t tell him anything. Now the Syndicate knows that Mulder is alive. Maggie spots a man in a suit outside Melissa’s hospital room, then gets a visit from Hosteen. Scully sent him to comfort Maggie in her place. Maggie allows him to pray for her daughter, who she thinks is getting better. Mulder and Scully head to the now-abandoned Strughold facility, which holds a bunch of doors that can only be opened by keypad codes. Napier’s Constant, 27828, opens one of the doors. Before Mulder goes through it, Scully wants him to think about the possibility that they might discover something bad about Bill.

Skinner summons CSM to the FBI building to report that he may have found the tape. However, it could have fallen into other hands. CSM isn’t interested in making a deal. He gets more and more frustrated as Skinner stays calm, saying they’ll talk again. Skinner, basically: “I know you do bad things.” CSM, basically: “Then maybe I’ll do bad things to you.” Mulder and Scully go underground, finding a tunnel full of file cabinets. The files all seem to be medical, and are helpfully stored in alphabetical order. In each one, Scully finds a birth certificate, smallpox vaccination certificate, and old tissue collection cassette.

Mulder asks what year Scully was born, then looks up her file. The tissue sample is recent, judging from the plastic container used. Mulder then looks for Samantha’s file, discovering that the label with her name has been placed over a label with his name – the file was originally his. The lights suddenly go out, and Mulder runs out of the tunnel to the front of the building. The windows are full of lights. In the tunnel, Scully sees something alien-like skittering around. As she runs away from it, Mulder runs out the back of the building in time to see a large spacecraft flying over it. Scully sees another alien in the tunnel, standing in front of more light.

Cars approach the building, so Mulder goes back in to retrieve Scully. He dodges bullets on his way back to the tunnel and reunites with his partner. She’s found a way out, and they’re able to escape the building undetected. In the morning, Skinner meets them at a diner in Craiger, Maryland, and tells them he has a plan to protect them: He’ll turn over the tape and get them reinstated at the FBI. Mulder refuses to give up the cassette even if it means saving his own life. He thinks the tape holds an explanation for the records they found.

Skinner wonders what Mulder’s hoping to find. Mulder replies that he wants to know why Bill was killed, what happened to Samantha, and why Scully was targeted. Scully, however, is on Skinner’s side – she would rather be safe and see Melissa than get answers that only Mulder wants. Since Skinner hasn’t been able to copy the tape, they’ll have to hand over the only version they have. Skinner promises to turn state’s evidence if his deal isn’t honored. Mulder lets Scully have the final vote in the matter. She tells Skinner to make the deal but not hand over the tape until Mulder okays it.

The agents leave the diner together as Hosteen voices over that he prayed for Melissa for two days. She improved, but Hosteen learned that the white buffalo calf stopped nursing. Then the mother buffalo died. Hosteen knows that sometimes, one creature must be sacrificed so another can live. Skinner arrives at the hospital with a message from Scully so her mother knows she’s all right. The man in the suit is still outside Melissa’s room, and Skinner decides to find out why. He chases him to a stairwell, where he and the man engage in some hand-to-hand combat. Krycek joins in, beats on Skinner a little, and steals the cassette.

Krycek and his criminal buddies then stop at a convenience store in D.C. to get some drinks. Krycek’s left alone in the car, growing suspicious when the other guys stop to look at him from the store’s doorway. He notices that the dashboard clock is flashing 12:00. Unlike on a VCR, where this meant that you didn’t know how to set the clock, Krycek realizes that this means his life is in danger. He takes off running as the car explodes. His buddies should be a lot more worried about how they’re going to explain this to CSM.

Mulder and Scully return to Klemper’s greenhouse, but instead encounter WMM. Klemper’s dead, and Mulder knows it wasn’t due to a bad heart. He recognizes WMM from the photo. WMM tells them about the spacecraft found in New Mexico in 1947 and the body retrieved from it. Mulder puts together his talk of Joseph Mengele with his mention that Klemper made flower hybrids to figure out that Klemper was trying to create a human-alien hybrid. The bodies in the boxcar in the desert were his failed human test subjects.

Scully denies that the technology was available; DNA wasn’t even identified until 1944. WMM says that Bill was in charge of collecting genetic data on Americans in case they needed to be identified in the event of nuclear holocaust. Mulder realizes that, due to the DNA samples collected from people who received smallpox vaccinations, Klemper had access to every person’s record from 1950 forward. Scully thinks WMM is just making stuff up, but WMM says he has no reason to lie. Scully, basically: “Whatever, Nazi.” Mulder notes that Scully’s file was in the mine – the records are of abductees.

Mulder asks WMM why Samantha was taken. WMM explains that Bill threatened to expose the project, so Samantha was taken as insurance. Mulder wants to know why he wasn’t taken. WMM can’t say, but he warns that Mulder’s still in danger for threatening to expose the project: “You have become your father.” Mulder wonders why WMM has told him all this. WMM replies that Mulder wanted to know it, didn’t he? He says there’s still more – more than Mulder will ever know.

Krycek calls CSM to report that he’s alive and has the cassette, but CSM will never find him. CSM reports to the Syndicate that Krycek is dead and the cassette was destroyed in the car explosion. He’s still going to meet with the FBI, even though there’s no deal to make. Mulder goes back to his mother’s house to find out if Bill ever asked her if she had a favorite child. Teena says she couldn’t choose – it was Bill’s choice. She always hated him for it, and still does, even after his death.

CSM meets Skinner in his office, hiding his amusement when Skinner bluffs that he has the cassette. Skinner promises to hand it over after Mulder and Scully are reinstated. CSM knows Skinner can’t make the deal, so he suggests a few ways Skinner’s life might end. Skinner calls in Hosteen and announces that there’s a new deal: If anything happens to Mulder or Scully, Hosteen will reveal everything on the tape, which he’s memorized. (He’s also, in the Navajo storytelling tradition, told it to 20 more Navajo.) “Welcome to the wonderful world of high technology,” Skinner gloats.

But we don’t get a happy ending: Scully finally made it to Melissa, but the damage from her shooting was too extensive and Melissa didn’t survive surgery. Scully laments that her sister died for her. She now agrees with Mulder that there’s no justice, though Mulder thinks they’re dealing with something bigger: fate. They’ve both been reinstated at the FBI, and though they’ve both suffered recent losses, they want to go back to work. Mulder thinks they can still find truth through the X-Files. Scully tells him she’s heard the truth – now she wants answers.

Thoughts: I guess I should call CSM and his buddies the Consortium, but apparently the Syndicate is used a lot. Also, it’s just easier to type.

I tried to look up Napier’s Constant, but I found a bunch of math and it made my head hurt and I had to take a nap.

For the record, Samantha’s tissue cassette is plastic, which means the sample was taken more recently. Make if that what you will.

April 30, 2016

The X-Files 2.25, Anasazi: Kill Bill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-write this episode.

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

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

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

December 12, 2015

BH90210 10.17, Doc Martin: You Killed My Father. Prepare to Cry

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:34 pm by Jenn

One big happy...something

One big happy…something

Summary: Paramedics have been called to the Martins’ house, but there’s nothing they can do – Dr. Martin is dead. The medics think he had a stroke. When Felice comes home, she’s distressed that no one’s helping her husband. Over at the After Dark, Dylan and Noah get the news from Steve as Noah’s damaged car is towed. Noah asks Dylan not to tell Donna what happened to them, so she doesn’t worry.

Everyone gathers at the beach apartment to comfort Donna. Kelly can’t bother to keep her mouth shut, asking if Dr. Martin was supposed to be exercising. In other words, she’s trying to imply that Gina may have accidentally killed him. David follows Gina outside and basically says that it’s reasonable for people to wonder what happened. He points out that no one blamed her right out, as if that makes a difference.

Kelly later asks Matt if you need a license to be a personal trainer. Matt tells her to shut up already (okay, he’s nicer than that, but still). They change the subject to a potential job Pia the PR person has for Kelly. As they approach the street where Matt parked, they discover that it’s missing. A valet tells him that it seems to have been repossessed. Kelly wishes Matt had talked to her about his continuing money problems.

Dylan tries to comfort Gina, who now feels guilty that she couldn’t do more for Dr. Martin. She wishes she hadn’t pushed him to work out. Dylan wants her to think about how much it must have meant to him that she wanted him in her life. Felice and Donna discuss arrangements for Dr. Martin, but Felice gets frustrated because she’s going to have to deal with things that her husband usually took care of. David and Camille show up with flowers, and David pledges his support for his ex. Donna’s not sure how her family can still be a family without her father.

Matt confides in Kelly that after his suspension, he’s struggling to find clients. She offers to help him out with money, but he doesn’t like the idea of his fiancée bailing him out. He’s willing to go back to working for a big firm (which he previously hated) so they can be financially secure. Matt also doesn’t want Kelly to take the job with Pia just so they can have money. Kelly assures him that she’s actually interested in the job. She thinks things will turn out fine.

Gina goes to the Martins’ to check on Felice, who tells her that Dr. Martin used to work at a movie theater. She only found out when she read his obituary. Gina mentions that the obituary only said Dr. Martin had a wife and one daughter. Felice thinks she should shut up about it – outing herself as Dr. Martin’s daughter could ruin his reputation. “Don’t you see how one careless moment could destroy everything?” Felice yells, asking if Gina bothered to check her father’s blood pressure.

At the After Dark, Steve and Janet invite Noah over for dinner, but he doesn’t want anyone to babysit him. He realizes that Shane could have killed him, which would have been a crazy way to go out. Kelly asks Dylan about the kidnapping, wondering if he got a rush out of being in danger. He tells her that he risked his life to save Noah, and no, he didn’t enjoy it. He spits out that when his life flashed before his eyes, he didn’t give her a lot of thought.

David’s back at the Martins’ with Donna, who can’t sleep. She tells him that when she was a kid, she would fall asleep in her parents’ bed while her father read her Charlotte’s Web. She remembers her mother stroking her hair until she fell asleep, like David’s doing to her now. At the Beverly Royale, Dylan catches up with Gina, telling her not to let Felice bother her. They’re both sick of Beverly Hills, and he thinks they should move somewhere else together. Gina likes that idea.

Kelly accepts the job with Pia, who already has an assignment for her. She’ll be consulting on a campaign, and working to pass an initiative regarding gay student rights. Kelly’s excited to work for a cause she believes in. Dylan arrives and Kelly apologizes for calling him reckless when she didn’t know what really happened with Shane. He announces that he’s leaving town after Dr. Martin’s funeral. He doesn’t think there’s anything left for him in Beverly Hills.

David helps Donna out with some funeral-related tasks, and she tells him she really appreciates all his support. Gina comes over to tell them she’s leaving town after the funeral. She thanks Donna for being so great to her since their discovery that they’re sister. David thinks Gina should stick around; Dr. Martin’s death wasn’t her fault. Donna disagrees – she thinks he would still be alive if Gina hadn’t found out he was her father.

Kelly follows Dylan to his office to tell him she doesn’t want him to leave because of their fighting. She’ll miss him if he does go. She’s no longer supportive when she finds out he’s heading off with Gina. “By the way, how is Matt?” Dylan replies. Noah’s drunk at David’s house (does he live there, too? I seriously can’t remember), clearly traumatized by his abduction. He admits to David that he’s been thinking about suicide. David can relate, and he tells Noah that if he wants to kill himself, the responsibility’s all his own.

Dylan goes to see Donna before the funeral, but she’s not exactly in the mood to deal with more upheaval in her life. He tells her that sometimes leaving and coming back helps you see things differently. When he left, Donna was shy and sweet; now she’s confident and capable. He knows she can handle the responsibilities she’ll have to face with her father gone. She’s definitely more prepared than he was when his father died. Donna doesn’t get why he always runs away, or why he takes what he has for granted. More responsibilities mean she’ll need more help.

Kelly tells Matt that she took the PR job, and he admits he’s grateful to have her help. Kelly realizes that her assignment isn’t to support a ballot initiative for gay students’ rights – she’s been hired to prevent students from forming gay-related clubs. At the funeral, Felice tells David to seat Gina with the family. All Gina can focus on is her desire to get out of Beverly Hills.

Donna gives a nice eulogy, saying that her father was always the most important man in her life, and always will be. She reads a letter he wrote her while he was recovering from her stroke. It talks about having a second chance and getting to see what really matters in life – faith, love, and family. Donna gets too emotional to finish, so Gina takes over. Everyone cries. Felice personally asks Gina to sit with her and Donna, even giving her a hug.

After the service, Noah splits, asking Dylan to tell Donna he’ll catch up with her later. Dylan wonders if Gina’s changed her mind about running away – she’s in the front row now. Gina says that she got closure, but she doesn’t think Dylan did. Dylan has decided to stay in Beverly Hills to find the love, faith, and family Dr. Martin cherished.

David takes Camille back to his place, because I guess now that he’s done taking care of Donna, they can make out? Noah interrupts, and David looks through his groceries to make sure he didn’t buy any more alcohol. Noah was smart enough to put a bottle in his jacket pocket. At the Martins’, Gina says a final goodbye to Donna, who thinks she’s brave to head out on her own. They reminisce about playing together as kids, and how Donna always wished Gina could stay with her. She still does.

Everyone else gathers at the beach apartment, where Kelly and Dylan agree that they want to smooth things over. He tells her that’s one of the reasons he’s staying in town. David checks on Donna, promising that he and the rest of the gang are there for her like she was for him when his grandfather died. And then they make out. Okay, not really, but they should.

Thoughts: I wonder if the show decided to get rid of Gina or if Vanessa Marcil realized she was wasting her time and should get out.

Tori Spelling does a good job in this episode. She’s goot at portraying low-key sadness.

David, please never work for a suicide hotline.

November 8, 2015

The X-Files 1.24, The Erlenmeyer Flask: Opening Pandora’s Box

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:22 pm by Jenn

A face only a mother could love

A face only a mother could love

Summary: A man leads police on a car chase that ends at a waterfront warehouse. The man gets out to run, fighting off the police with their own batons. One officer tases him, then shoots him, but that doesn’t slow him down. The man jumps in the water and disappears, leaving behind some sort of green liquid instead of blood.

It’s Sunday, May 8th, 1994, and Mulder’s awakened by a phone call from Deep Throat. He alerts Mulder to a news report about the car chase and the chasee’s disappearance in Ardis, Maryland. Mulder tapes the report and watches it over and over at FBI headquarters. Scully doesn’t get what he’s looking for. Mulder knows that Deep Throat wouldn’t tell him to watch the news unless there were something important there, though Scully notes that Deep Throat has lied before.

The agents go to the scene to ask about someone from the tape who doesn’t appear to be law enforcement (he doesn’t have a badge). A police officer questions their involvement, since the identity of the fugitive hasn’t been released. They head to an impound lot to check out the fugitive’s car, which was stolen from a rental lot in Gaithersburg. Mulder notices that the car in the lot isn’t the same as the one from the news, which has a caduceus on it. They may be dealing with a doctor.

The agents run the real car’s license plates, wondering why someone led them to the wrong car. The license plate takes them to Dr. Berube at Emgen Corporation in Gaithersburg. Berube’s surprised to learn that his car was ever missing, let alone used for a crime. Scully tries to greet a lab monkey but gets screamed at (both by the monkey and Berube). She decides they don’t have enough to go on, so they should stop working off of anything Deep Throat leads them to. He’s probably just messing with Mulder.

Mulder heads home, but Deep Throat’s waiting there for him, urging him to keep working. Mulder’s on Scully’s side now, announcing that he’s done following Deep Throat’s false leads. Deep Throat says Mulder has become dependent on him, but Mulder thinks it’s the other way around. “You’ve never been closer,” Deep Throat tells him.

At Emgen, the badgeless man visits Berube to ask who he’s been in contact with recently. The man asks about Dr. Secare, but Berube claims not to know who he’s talking about. The man decides to put an end to Berube’s work…and Berube. Meanwhile, the search for the fugitive ends when the rescue crew decides they’re not going to find him. The man is still in the water, and still alive.

The next day, Mulder and Scully are called to Amgen, where Berube’s death has been labeled a suicide. Mulder’s suspicious, of course. Scully reads that Berube was mapping human genes, which makes Mulder even more suspicious. He picks up a flask labeled “purity control” and asks Scully to find out what it contains. Scully hopes it’s not monkey pee.

Mulder goes to Berube’s house, and when no one answers the door, he goes through a window. Scully has the flask tested and learns that it contains a weird type of bacteria. In Berube’s home office, Mulder finds a phone bill showing that Berube made a call to the same person in Ardis every day. He also finds a set of keys that he pockets. As the badgeless man pulls up to the house, preparing to shoot Mulder, Mulder intercepts a phone call meant for Berube. It’s the fugitive, and he needs medical attention from Berube.

Mulder tries to get the fugitive’s location, but a passerby hangs up the phone to call an ambulance. Seconds later, Mulder gets a call from a tech telling him that the number Berube called is for Zeus Storage at 1616 Pandora Street. The fugitive is taken away in an ambulance, but when a paramedic inserts a needle in his chest to release air, something toxic is released instead. The ambulance driver pulls over and the fugitive jumps out.

Mulder lets Scully know that the fugitive is still alive, but his location is unknown. Scully tells him that the bacteria in the flask contain a virus, and it looks like Berube was cloning them. The cells are from a plant, and Scully thinks they were being prepared to be injected in someone. The bacteria date back to a time before humans even existed. At Zeus Storage, Mulder finds a bunch of tanks containing what appear to be humans, or at least creatures that look human.

Scully learns that the bacteria contain base pairs, genes containing nucleotides. There are four building blocks that make up every living thing, but these bacteria have a new base pair. There are fifth and sixth nucleotides that don’t exist anywhere else in nature. In other words, they’re extraterrestrial. Men approach Mulder outside Zeus Storage, so he runs through some alleys to escape them. Scully calls him at home and he tells her to come to Zeus.

When the agents meet up, Scully announces that she was wrong, and Mulder was right to keep investigating. She should know by now that she should trust his instincts. “Why? Nobody else does,” he teases. Scully isn’t sure what to believe, and Mulder warns that it doesn’t matter, because what she’s about to see will blow up her belief system. Except, of course, now there’s nothing there.

Deep Throat joins the agents, telling them that the tanks were probably destroyed. He can’t get any information because there are black organizations within the intelligence community that even he can’t touch. Scully wonders why Berube was killed, like, hello, Scully, he was experimenting with extraterrestrial organisms! Keep up! Deep Throat says Berube was too successful – his work led to the creation of a human/alien hybrid.

Secare was an old friend of Berube’s who was dying of cancer. Thanks to Berube’s work, he recovered, but also developed super-strength and the ability to breathe underwater. Having a hybrid out in the world was a liability, so the government went after him. Scully asks why Deep Throat always gives them so little information but is now telling them a lot. Deep Throat notes that it doesn’t matter – no one will believe them without Secare. Also, he’s done contacting them.

Scully goes to Georgetown to see the scientist who tested the bacteria for her, but the doctor has been killed in a horrible “car accident.” Meanwhile, Mulder goes back to Berube’s house and follows a thumping noise to the attic. Secare is there, but before he can have a chat with Mulder, a gas-mask-clad badgeless man shoots him. Toxic air is released, knocking out Mulder. When he comes to, his phone is ringing, but I don’t think the badgeless man is going to let him answer.

Scully goes to Mulder’s place, where Deep Throat tells her that he’s been gone all night. He doesn’t think Mulder will be killed; he’s too high-profile now. Deep Throat thinks he can get Scully access to a containment facility housing the “original tissue.” The people Mulder’s with may be willing to trade him for it. Scully does get access to the facility, and though she doesn’t have a password, she successfully guesses that it’s “purity control.”

From a container of liquid nitrogen in a cabinet marked “purity control,” Scully retrieves a little alien…thing. It’s half gross, half cute. She takes it to a meeting spot, where Deep Throat tells her the exchange is a go. He made the deal, so he wants to go, but Scully refuses to trust him. Deep Throat tells her that in 1987, a bunch of children were injected with clone DNA from the alien thing. “That’s the kind of people you’re dealing with,” he notes.

Scully wonders why those people are willing to trade the alien for Mulder. Deep Throat says that they have to keep it under wraps; the agents are the only people who can expose it. Scully reluctantly hands over the alien, seeing the badgeless man drive by as she goes back to her car. Deep Throat and the badgeless man get out of their cars to make the exchange, but the only thing the badgeless man gives Deep Throat is a bullet in the chest. Mulder’s dumped out the back of the badgeless man’s van as he drives off. After briefly checking on Mulder (priorities), Scully goes to Deep Throat, who tells her with his dying breath, “Trust no one.”

13 days later, Mulder calls Scully in the middle of the night to tell her that the X-Files section is being shut down on orders from the executive branch. They’re being reassigned to other sections. Mulder won’t give up, though – he can’t, “not as long as the truth is out there.” In a scene similar to the one at the end of the pilot, CSM places the alien in a box in a Pentagon storeroom.

Thoughts: Done with season 1! On to the really weird stuff.

Zeus Storage on Pandora Street? Clever. And a better idea than Pandora Storage, which doesn’t sound very secure.

I believe this is the first episode where Mulder answers a phone call from Scully and she greets him with, “It’s me.”

October 3, 2015

BH90210 10.7, Laying Pipe: The Pink Moment

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

There's fire at Marta's show. Steve's not a fan

There’s fire at Marta’s show. Steve’s not a fan

Summary: For once, we start someplace other than the After Dark. Donna’s on her way to the boutique when she encounters a homeless man who spent the night outside the store. He says, “Kenny and Louis,” then apologizes and runs off. At the Peach Pit, Steve and Janet ask Kelly and Dylan to be their baby’s godparents. They’re good examples of integrity and loyalty. Janet considers this an important position; she was close with her godmother. The four will be heading to Ojai to speak to the pastor who will be performing the wedding. Dylan laughs at the idea of Steve driving a minivan.

Nearby, Matt’s talking to Walter about getting clemency for Pete. Kelly tries to strike up a conversation with Matt, but when he brings up Pete, she changes her mind. Matt thinks she should work on compassion before she becomes a godmother. Dylan and David go with Steve to pick out a minivan, basically the last thing Steve wants to have to do. Dylan mentions that Steve didn’t tell Janet a lot of the details of Dylan’s past when his name came up for godfather. This car-buying trip is made worse by the fact that Steve’s trading in his Corvette.

Part of Gina’s deal to keep her mouth shut about Mel going to the strip club is that she gets to be his personal trainer/fashion consultant. He finally convinces her to just accept money and go away. Steve gets the minivan without trading in the Corvette, deciding instead to sell it. The potential buyer offers $28,000, annoyed that Steve didn’t disclose an oil leak. Steve won’t take the money, telling David that Janet agreed to let him keep it.

Gina wants to spend Mel’s money on Dylan, but he has to go to Ojai. She’s happy about Dylan being the godfather until she learns that Kelly’s the godmother. “Why is it that every single road leads back to you and Kelly?” she asks. She envisions them playing Mommy and Daddy to Steve and Janet’s child. She urges Steve to turn down the role, but of course he won’t do that. At the boutique, Donna blows Noah off, telling him she might not move in with him after all (since he got her arrested and all). She’s stunned to see that the homeless man has died outside the store.

At the beach apartment, Donna wishes she’d given the man food or water when she first met him. Kelly and Noah try to convince her that it was a chance encounter and she didn’t have any responsibility to help him. Donna, however, thinks the man crossed her path for a reason. She wants to find out more about him. In Ojai, Steve and Janet do a run-through of their wedding. The pastor tells Kelly and Dylan that they’re part of a “spiritual support system” for their new family. In the baby’s eyes, “[Kelly] and Dylan will be linked for life.”

At the After Dark, a woman tells David she’s interested in buying the Corvette. She recognizes David, because apparently he’s a big celebrity now. When she offers $28,000, David calls Steve to get an approval on the deal. Janet answers and it quickly becomes clear that she never said Steve could keep the car. She tells David to sell the car, and he agrees to pretend they never had this conversation.

Donna and Noah visit a coroner, who tells them that they’ll hold on to the homeless man’s body in case someone comes to claim it. If not, he’ll be cremated and his ashes will be disposed of. Donna hates how “anonymous” the situation is. She and Noah look at a picture of the man with his wife and daughter when he was younger. In Ojai, Dylan tells Kelly that he’s happy to be linked to her for life. He talks about the “pink moment,” the time in an Ojai sunset when everything goes…well, pink. Janet interrupts to tell them they’re going home because Steve’s cheating on her with his car. Kelly and Dylan decide to stay back for a while.

David hangs out with the car buyer, Marta, who’s a performance artist. He agrees to go see her work the next day (though he’s probably more interested in taking her to bed). She records him saying that he thinks the guy should pick up the check on a date. Walter waits in Matt’s office for news on Pete, who has just ten hours left. Kelly calls to let Matt know she’s spending the night in Ojai…with Dylan. Gina flips out and heads to Ojai before she winds up with another Mexico incident on her hands.

Donna and Noah go to a bar to ask if anyone in the area knew the homeless man. Someone IDs him as Willard Reiner, a thief who swindled everyone at the bar and left his family. He guarantees that no one will be sad that Willard’s dead. Dylan chats with the pastor, confiding that the last time he was in Ojai, he was with Toni. Now he’s discussing marriage-related things again, but with another couple. The pastor guesses that he has feelings for Kelly and is feeling guilty. The pastor thinks he’s right to move on and find someone other than Toni to watch the sunset with.

Gina’s credit card is rejected at a gas station, so she calls Mel to demand more money. Donna’s decided to stop the search for information on Willard, since he was a jerk. Noah thinks she needs to stop holding people to such high standards. Guys, I don’t think he’s talking about Willard anymore. On the way back to Ojai, Steve gets called “sir” by a guy in a Corvette. Janet tells Steve that who he is as a person is much more important than the car he drives. But if it’ll make him happy, he can keep the Corvette.

Kelly and Dylan check the news for any updates on Pete, though she’s happier being in Ojai than back with Matt. But when the news comes that Matt got Pete clemency, Kelly’s proud of her boyfriend for saving a life. Dylan encourages her to call Matt instead of watching the pink moment – in fact, if she’s going to watch it with anyone, it should be Matt. As they’re hugging, Gina shows up, yelling at them for being inside when they were supposedly going to watch the sunset.

At the Peach Pit, Steve tells David that they need to get the car back from Marta. He accuses David of using the Corvette to pick up women. David denies it, but really, that’s kind of what he did. Off-screen, Donna and Noah run Willard’s obituary in the paper, which leads them to his daughter, Wendy. She tells them how he was a bus driver who was hit by a drunk driver. Two kids – Kenny and Louis – were killed, and though it wasn’t Willard’s fault, he blamed himself. Wendy’s grateful that Donna worked so hard to reconnect the family. Donna’s realized that Noah was right about her standards, and now she just wants to be happy with him.

David, Steve, and Janet go to Marta’s performance space, where she plays David’s voice as part of her piece. It’s called “The Chauvinist,” and will be an hour of deconstructing “in an effort to reconstruct.” And what are they deconstructing? The Corvette. With a chainsaw. David makes sure Steve kept the money, because that there’s a final sale. Kelly returns from Ojai and congratulates Matt on Pete’s clemency. He wishes she’d been there to share the moment with him, but he’s happy she didn’t stay with Dylan in Ojai.

Gina learns that Mel stopped payment on her check, which is a pretty dumb move on his part if he hasn’t already told Jackie what’s going on. Dylan tries to smooth things over, but Gina tells him she doesn’t trust him. Tell me again why they’re together? After Dylan leaves, Gina calls Jackie to let her know what Mel’s been up to. Dylan goes to the beach apartment and sees Kelly and Matt having fun through the window.

Thoughts: Luke Perry directed this episode. So…good for him.

I don’t get why this is called “Laying Pipe.” Also, the next episode is called “Baby, You Can Drive My Car,” which makes more sense for this episode.

The West Wing did Donna’s storyline just a few weeks after this episode aired (“In Excelsis Deo”). I…I can’t believe The West Wing did a plot from this show. I think my head just exploded.

The pastor is played by Ken Jenkins from Scrubs.

There was no point in Kelly calling Matt to tell him she was staying in Ojai, other than to have Gina freak out about it. How dumb.

I wonder what the patient in Mel’s office thought hearing his side of the phone conversation with Gina. “Who’s Gina? Why does he hate her? Did she stop flossing?”

I feel for you, Steve. I feel so old when people call me “ma’am.”

September 29, 2015

SVU #44, Love Me Always: Jessica’s Status as a Black Widow Is Solidified

Posted in books tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:03 pm by Jenn

One of the worst covers of the series

One of the worst covers of the series

Summary: Clay’s trial for killing Officer Riviera is approaching, and Jessica is reluctantly staying away from Nick, who’s hiding out in case Clay wants to have him offed. Jessica’s been ordered to stay away from the trial, and I think it’s really cute that Nick believes she’ll listen to him. She shows up at the courthouse in disguise, pretending to be an old woman. Nick, however, is a trained detective, not to mention her boyfriend, so the disguise doesn’t fool him.

Jessica’s barely able to keep her mouth shut during the trial, since Nick’s testimony doesn’t go well. This is doubly depressing for Nick, since he goes through with his plan to commit perjury, lying that he (not Jessica) heard Clay admitting to killing Riviera. With things looking bleak for the police, Nick convinces the prosecutor to offer Clay a deal if he turns on the head of the mob organization he works for. This almost succeeds, until Clay hears Nick sneeze behind a two-way mirror and refuses to cooperate in anything he’s involved in. I don’t know how Clay knew it was Nick, but whatever. Also, he threatens to kill Nick.

Jessica tries to find out where Nick’s hiding out, so she can visit him. The police chief tells her a story about how he and his then-girlfriend were separated because they witnessed a crime, and it was super-difficult and blah blah blah, I thought it would end with the girlfriend being murdered, and a lesson for Jess that you don’t mess around when it comes to dangerous situations. But the chief and his girlfriend are now married and have been happy for decades, so I guess the lesson is that Jessica should get what she wants because what’s better than two people in love, even if they’d be risking their lives to see each other?

The police chief has Jessica followed so someone can slip her the address of the safehouse where Nick’s been hiding out. Jessica thinks she’s being followed by a hitman sent by Clay. It’s really dumb. Nick and Jessica are allowed to spend some time together, and she decides she can’t live without him, so they should get married, and then she can go with him into witness protection. Nick’s like, “But your codependence with your twin!” Jess is willing to leave Liz forever if it means she gets to stay with Nick. He doesn’t really respond, just telling her not to come to court when the verdict’s read.

Of course, Jessica doesn’t listen. This time she disguises herself as an old man. I kind of wish she’d resurrected Perdita del Mar for this. The chief tells Nick, in so many words, that he needs to break up with Jessica so she won’t want to come with him to witness protection. Jessica gets kicked out of the courtroom, but Nick manages to sneak away for one last makeout session. Then he’s dragged back to the courtroom, just like in a nightmare Jessica had, and she freaks out about never seeing him again.

She’s right to freak out: The verdict is read and Clay is sent to prison, but a masked gunman appears and shoots Clay. Jessica is back on campus at this point, so she and Elizabeth rush to the courthouse. Unfortunately, it’s too late: Nick’s dead. Now I’m sad. I liked him, and Jessica’s going to be devastated. Plus, this is, like, her fifth boyfriend who’s died. You suck, ghostwriter.

Hey, remember Todd? He still exists. Elizabeth runs into him and they chat about nothing for a little while before he heads to a session with a school therapist. Finally, someone in this town is getting well-needed counseling! Todd is still struggling with Gin-Yung’s death. He’s not as interested in basketball anymore, so his counselor advises him to find a new activity. How about music? When Todd heads to the music building to see what’s available for him to try out, he sees Dana. He thinks she’s hot. We don’t care, Todd.

The writers have suddenly decided that Dana needs our sympathy, so they let us know that all her friends hate her (because she ditched them when she was dating Tom). Also, she’s struggling with cello lessons, and everyone thinks she’s a jerk because she kept Tom and Elizabeth apart. Apparently everyone at SVU ships Tom and Elizabeth. Ugh.

At least one person has sympathy for Dana: Elizabeth. She tries to chat with her, but things go south when she brings up Tom. Liz gushes about how Tom is such a great guy for not just wanting to have sex with girls – he wants real relationships with them. Dana’s confused, so Elizabeth tells her that Tom said they never slept together. Dana gets offended, because why would a guy she was completely in love with deny having sex with her? She makes it clear that they humped like bunnies.

Elizabeth is humiliated that Tom lied to her. Now she can never trust another guy! Wow, Liz. She feels like he betrayed her. Not to go all Ross Geller on anyone, but they were on a break. But Elizabeth never let a little thing like facts get in the way of indignation, so she dumps Tom. Buddy, she probably did you a favor. But don’t think this means Elizabeth’s going to run back to Todd – after she bombs a recital and risks her scholarship, Dana runs into Todd, who asks her to get coffee. Todd, no! This is a bad idea!

Danny spends the whole book feeling horrible for the way he treated Isabella, and worrying that he’ll never get to talk to her again. Her parents consider moving her to Switzerland, but Mrs. Ricci decides that she should stay in Sweet Valley so Danny can visit her. Danny makes it his mission to bring Isabella out of her coma, so he plays her favorite Elvis songs and sprays her favorite perfume in her room. It’s actually kind of sweet. And somehow, it works! Except Isabella has total amnesia and can’t remember who Danny or anyone else is! GASP!

Denise is still furious with Winston for kissing visiting prep-schooler Brenda, though Winston maintains that she kissed him and he didn’t reciprocate. He’s desperate to make things up to Denise, so he goes to Bruce for advice. Yeah, read that sentence again. I wonder why this plan doesn’t work? Bruce tells Winston that Lila always responds to expensive jewelry, so Winston should win Denise back with something shiny. Winston gives this a try, not realizing that the ivory figuring he bought her was made possible by the death of an elephant. Wow, romantic.

Winston gets some advice from some random girl in his dorm, who tells him to think about Denise specifically, not women in general. He needs to do something to remind her why she fell in love with him in the first place. Winston’s brain interprets this as “buy her a cheeseburger and use that as a metaphor.” Denise finds this ridiculous, but when she sees how sad her reaction makes him, she feels bad. She decides to drag out her anger a little longer, but eventually forgives him after he serenades her with “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” It’s a kind of funny moment where all the girls in the dorm hear him singing outside Denise’s window and chant for her to take him back. So at least one couple in Sweet Valley is happy.

Thoughts: Brenda is described as a “brunette ringer for Jessica.” Does that mean there’s yet another Wakefield lookalike in Sweet Valley?

Nina (who has one unremarkable scene in the book) eats cottage cheese on toast. Is that a thing?

Isabella studied aikido. Sure, she did.

Why have Winston get relationship advice from someone we’ve never met before? Why not, say, Nina?

Elizabeth goes to the movies in a “short gold summer dress.” Wrong twin, ghostwriter.

“I mean, what does my sex life have to do with you, Elizabeth?” This might be the first thing Dana’s ever said that I agree with.

September 6, 2015

The X-Files 1.13, Beyond the Sea: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 2:18 pm by Jenn

“I cut up my favorite shirt for this bit! I hope it turns out to be worth it!”

Summary: Scully’s parents are over, and her father wonders if she’s going to leave her Christmas tree up all year. Scully says yes, since her father always made them take it down right away when she was a kid. As the family says goodbye (Scully calls her father Ahab and he calls her Starbuck), Scully’s mother gives her husband a prompting look. He asks his daughter how work is, and when she says it’s fine, he doesn’t follow up.

That night, Scully falls asleep on the couch, waking up to see her father sitting in the living room with her. He says something but Scully can’t hear it. She looks away, and when she looks back at where he was sitting, he’s not there. Moments later, Maggie calls to tell Scully that her father has died. He had a massive coronary an hour earlier. Scully looks across the room to the empty chair her father was just occupying.

At Jackson University in Raleigh, North Carolina, a couple makes out in a car. Someone with a flashlight interrupts, ordering them out of the car. Only the guy gets out, and he refuses to show any ID until the man with the flashlight shows some. Instead, the man hits him. Back in D.C., Mulder’s surprised to see Scully at work. He asks how she is, calling her Dana. She insists that she’s fine.

Mulder fills her in on the abductions of the couple, Elizabeth and James. They disappeared exactly one year after a couple at Duke University disappeared. Those two were found a week later, dead after being tortured. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a serial kidnapper/killer. If so, they have five days to find Elizabeth and James.

There’s the added wrinkle of Luther Lee Boggs, a death-row inmate put away by Mulder. He claims to have information about the abductions. He’s set to be executed in just days but thinks he should have his sentence reduced because he’s been helpful, and because he possesses unique talents: He acquired his information on the kidnappings through “psychic transmissions.”

Scully notes that Mulder sounds skeptical, for once. He tells her that Boggs has done this before; he was supposed to be executed once before but used his “skills” to get a stay. Mulder thinks he’s pulling the same scam again. But Boggs fits the profile of a serial killer, and appears to kill because he likes it. Now Boggs wants to talk to Mulder, thinking Mulder can understand who he is.

Scully wants to come along to the meeting, even though her father’s funeral is that day. Mulder advises her to take some time off, but Scully wants to work. He tells her he’s sorry for her loss, then leaves her behind. Scully’s tempted to look at a file marked “visionary encounters w/ the dead,” but decides not to open it.

“Beyond the Sea” plays at Bill Scully’s funeral, which takes place at the edge of…the Potomac, I guess. Someone scatters his ashes from a boat. Maggie tells Scully that “Beyond the Sea” was playing when her husband returned from sea and immediately proposed to her. Scully wants to know if her father was proud even though she joined the FBI instead of practicing medicine. “He was your father,” Maggie replies.

In North Carolina, Mulder and Scully meet with Boggs, who mumbles about all souls being connected. Mulder thinks he sees himself as their conduit. Boggs tells them that “from here, we can return to the past; we can see the present; we can know the future.” Mulder asks where, exactly, he is. Boggs refers to himself in the third person, saying that he needs to be “made redemptive for his transgressions.” Mulder’s like, “Yeah, that’s why you’re being executed.”

Boggs wants to trade his life for Elizabeth and James’. First Mulder wants proof that he can do what he claims: “Don’t get me wrong – I want to believe.” He gives Boggs a piece of cloth from an evidence bag, and Boggs uses it to relay the message that James is tied up with twine in a dark place, possibly a cellar or condemned warehouse. A stone angel is nearby, and possibly a waterfall. Once Boggs is done relaying the message, Mulder reveals that the cloth is from his own shirt and has nothing to do with Elizabeth or James.

Scully packs up to leave but stops when Boggs starts singing “Beyond the Sea.” When she looks at him, she sees her father. When he turns back into Boggs, he asks, “Did you get my message, Starbuck?” Scully runs out but tells Mulder that nothing happened. Mulder thinks the case is closed and Boggs is a fraud. He may have something to do with the kidnappings, but his fraud has been exposed, so he’s out of luck. Boggs is taken back to his cell, still singing “Beyond the Sea.”

Scully heads to her hotel, remembering the things Boggs said about James’ location. She spots a hotel called the Niagara and remembers that Boggs mentioned a waterfall. Across the street is a stone angel. Scully drives into the parking lot, seeing a sign on a warehouse door marking it condemned. After a brief look around, she finds a hole in the floor, blood, and a charm from a charm bracelet.

Mulder meets up with Scully in her hotel room, where she’s been sitting across from an empty chair. He tells her that police have ID’d the charm as Elizabeth’s. Mulder met with Boggs again, but he just “channeled” spirits for a while. Mulder eventually asked him to channel Jimi Hendrix so he could hear “All Along the Watchtower.” Scully blurts out that she lied to the police about how she found the warehouse. She said she’d noticed something suspicious there, but she really followed Boggs’ landmarks.

Mulder blasts her for listening to Boggs – he could have been setting her up for a trap. Scully says she lied on her report because she thought it made more sense than what really happened. Mulder says she just didn’t want to admit that she believed someone like Boggs, which is something he would do, but she wouldn’t. Scully says she just wanted to open herself up to “extreme possibilities.”

Mulder questions the timing, guessing that it has to do with Scully’s father. He knows that Bill never completely approved of Scully’s job at the FBI. He thinks she should back off the case because her judgment is clouded. Scully says she loves the job. “You love your father,” Mulder replies. She should only open herself up to extreme possibilities when they’re the truth. He continues that Boggs is way ahead of them, so they have to be careful.

The next morning, Mulder shows Scully a story he got a newspaper to print about Elizabeth and James being found safe. Boggs gets to use the phone today, and Mulder hopes he’ll call his accomplice. Instead, Boggs calls Mulder. He asks why Mulder doesn’t believe him but Scully does. Mulder replies that Scully believes that Boggs has Elizabeth and James. Scully insists that they keep talking to Boggs; he’s their only lead.

Boggs tells the agents that he knows who has James and Elizabeth but doesn’t know his name. He only sees a man in his 20s with a skull earring. He’s whipping Elizabeth with a wire. Boggs directs the agents to a boathouse, then warns Mulder not to go near the wooden cross. Blood will be spilled there.

In the boathouse, the kidnapper hears a rescue team coming and runs. Scully tends to Elizabeth as Mulder goes looking for James and the kidnapper. The kidnapper shoots him from a boat and takes off. When Scully arrives to help Mulder, she sees two wooden slats on the pier forming a cross. Mulder’s rushed to the hospital with a leg injury.

Elizabeth looks through mugshots, finally identifying the kidnapper as Lucas Henry. Scully learns that Henry witnessed a car accident in which his mother and high school sweetheart died. The seventh anniversary of the accident is approaching. Scully thinks he relives it every year, which is weird because no one’s mom is being kidnapped, but whatever. Henry is believed to have worked with Boggs on past crimes.

Scully confronts Boggs for setting a trap for Mulder because Mulder put him away. She yells that if Mulder dies, she’ll make sure she’s the one to throw the switch and execute Boggs. Boggs calls her Dana, and when she turns back around, she sees Mulder. “You’re the one who believed me,” he says. She covers her ears, insisting that she doesn’t believe Boggs. He wonders if she believes herself.

He “channels” Scully to tell her about a time when she was 14 and snuck a cigarette, trying to keep her parents from finding out. Boggs knows what Scully wants and who she wants to talk to. She might as well just ask. Scully admits that she’ll believe Boggs if he lets her talk to “him.” Boggs channels Bill and calls her Starbuck, but Boggs stops the conversation, demanding a deal first. Going back to the chair is the last thing he wants.

The last time Boggs was scheduled to be executed, a priest read him Scripture about how you must love in order to gain eternal life. Boggs saw his dead family (who he killed) in his cell as he ate his last meal. The rest of his victims lined the hallway as he was led to the chair. All of his victims’ fear entered him and made himself feel like he’d already been killed. When he sat in the chair, all their souls entered him.

Scully says that Boggs may be headed for a bad place, but Bill isn’t there, and Mulder won’t be. Boggs continues to refuse to give her what she wants until he’s gotten a deal. Scully says she doesn’t believe him. Boggs calls her a liar, then reminds her that he either knows how to find James and Henry or he can channel someone who can tell him. Either way, he’s Scully’s only hope.

Scully meets with the prison warden, who refuses to cut any deal with a convicted murderer who seems to still be committing crimes. Scully then visits Mulder in the hospital, lamenting that they’re running out of time. He warns her not to believe Boggs; he’d love to get revenge on Scully for what Mulder did to him. Scully thinks there might be another explanation. Mulder tells her again not to play Boggs’ game. He might be targeting Scully as his final victim.

But Scully goes back to Boggs, telling him he got his deal. He tells her that James and Henry are in a condemned factory, the Blue Devil Brewery. Scully doesn’t buy it, and Boggs tells her he knows she lied about the deal. As she leaves, he tells her, “Avoid the devil. Don’t follow Henry to the devil. Leave that to me.”

James and Henry are, in fact, in a condemned building, and just as Henry is about to finish James off, Scully arrives with another rescue team. She shoots Henry when he won’t drop his weapon, then chases him through the building. She finds him near a painting of a blue devil and stops. Good thing, too, because the floor gives out and Henry falls to his death.

Scully visits Boggs one more time, telling him that she believes that if he’d been involved in the kidnapping, Henry would have known not to go near the blue devil. Boggs’ information saved both James and Scully. Boggs tells her that if she comes to his execution that night, he’ll give her Bill’s final message.

Boggs has his last meal, seeing the ghosts of his family. His other victims’ ghosts again line the hallway as he’s led to the chair. The only person not present is Scully, who’s with Mulder. She’s realized that if Boggs knew they were partners, he could have gotten any information he wanted on Scully. “Dana,” Mulder says, “after all you’ve seen, after all the evidence, why can’t you believe?” Scully admits that she’s afraid to. Mulder notes that she couldn’t face the fear even if it meant knowing what her father wanted to say. Scully replies that she does know: “He was my father.”

Thoughts: I imagine that when this episode aired, the FOX execs who’s protested Gillian Anderson’s casting felt a little embarrassed.

It’s hard to pick my favorite part of this episode, because the whole thing is excellent, but it might be the fact that when Boggs “channels” for the first time, Scully and Mulder just stare at him like they see this all the time and he’s not particularly impressive.

Scully asking her mother if her father was proud of her made me think of Cole’s mother asking him if she makes her own mother proud in The Sixth Sense. (If you’ve never seen that scene, grab some Kleenex first.)

Stone angels? Doctor Who fans just shuddered.

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