May 18, 2019

The X-Files 10.4, Home Again: Do You Think Band-Aid Appreciated the Product Placement in This Episode?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:35 pm by Jenn

Cheery

Summary: In West Philadelphia, a “relocation project” is underway. This is a nice way of saying that the city is moving homeless people to an old hospital in Bucks County. They’ve enlisted the fire department to use a hose to give them an incentive to move. Joseph Cutler, a guy in charge of the project, warns another group of homeless people that their street is next. They all run off when a garbage truck arrives and a huge man with a Band-Aid on his nose gets out.

Band-Aid Nose Man (his given name, apparently) follows Cutler to his office as the lights go out. Cutler gets spooked and calls the police while pulling a gun out of his desk drawer. BANM just stands outside the office for a few moments, then bursts in and literally tears Cutler’s arms off. Then he calmly walks back to the garbage truck, gets in the back, and lets himself get compacted with the trash.

Mulder and Scully come to the crime scene the next day and meet Detective Aaron Dross. He knows about their experience with “spooky cases,” and though he called the FBI for backup, he doesn’t want to give them the case. Scully reminds him that since Cutler was a federal employee, the case falls under their jurisdiction.

The agents start looking for clues, quickly realizing that they won’t get any on BANM – he left no fingerprints or footprints. Scully says it looks like Cutler was torn apart, which she doesn’t think would be possibly for a human being to do. Scully. Sweetie. Do you remember anything you’ve experienced in the past 23 years? Mulder looks out the window and sees a painting of a large man on a billboard nearby.

As Dross comments that the homeless in the city hate Cutler, Scully gets a call from her brother, Bill. She’s stunned by what he tells her: Their mother is in the ICU, having had a heart attack. Mulder immediately sends her off to be with her family. As she leaves, he notices a security camera over the door.

Footage from that and other cameras doesn’t show Mulder and Dross much, but it allows Mulder to figure out, from Cutler’s eyeline, that his attacker was very tall. Also, there was no artwork on the billboard last night, so maybe it was painted as a response or comment on Cutler’s murder. Before Mulder can go on the hunt for the person who painted the large man, he realizes there’s an extra-sticky Band-Aid on the sole of his shoe.

Scully goes to Beatus Medical Center in D.C., where Maggie’s on life support. A nurse tells Scully that her mother regained consciousness briefly and repeatedly asked for someone named Charlie. That would be Scully’s other brother, who’s estranged from Maggie. Scully’s surprised that she only asked for Charlie. She tells Maggie that she’s been where Maggie is, and she knows her father and Melissa are there, but Scully, Bill, William, and Charlie are all still alive. They’d like her to stick around.

Back in Philly, Mulder wants access to the roof of a building that will get him closer to the billboard. He overhears a woman named Nancy Huff fighting with a guy named Daryl Landry about the relocation project and Cutler. Landry worked with Cutler; Nancy’s president of the Bucks County School Board. She hates that the project is moving people out of Philly so they can build a big apartment building.

Landry notes that the hospital the homeless are being moved to is empty. They’re being moved to a safe place away from drugs. Nancy doesn’t want the “downtown people” in a building just a couple blocks from a high school; after all, if one of the homeless killed Cutler, they shouldn’t be around kids. Mulder tells them they’re both speaking for themselves while trying to speak for others. He wants to know who speaks for the homeless. “The Band-Aid Nose Man,” says a homeless man nearby, pointing to the billboard. Mulder asks for details, but the man doesn’t offer any.

In D.C., after a flashback of Mulder sitting by Scully’s bed while she was comatose, Scully looks through the jewelry Maggie was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital. One piece is a quarter on a chain. Bill calls, still trying to get a flight out of Germany. As another patient in the ICU flatlines and is taken away, Scully tells Bill that she won’t say if Maggie will die before he arrives. She’ll keep Maggie on life support, as per her wishes.

Mulder gets the Band-Aid from his show analyzed, but there’s nothing on it. No, really nothing – the analyst couldn’t identify organic or inorganic materials. Scully questions her mother’s treatment and learns that she changed her advance directive last year. Scully thought she wanted to be kept on life support, but now Maggie has a DNR.

In Philly, two guys study the painting of the large man, which they’ve pulled down from the billboard. They’ve been doing this with all the drawings by this artist, and selling them to collectors. As one guy calls a collector, the cart that the painting is on starts moving by itself. When the guy looks back at the panel, the artwork is gone. The guy’s partner finds him dead, thanks to BANM, who kills the partner as well. Blood splatters on the empty panel, which is now signed “Trashman.”

Maggie’s doctor tells Scully that it’s time to extubate her so they can respect her wishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean Maggie will die immediately. Mulder arrives at the hospital, and Scully is clearly pleased to have some support. Back in Philly, the homeless are put on a bus to be taken to Bucks County, but Nancy has gotten an injunction to have them turned away.

Mulder fills Scully in on his discoveries and his theory that Cutler’s killed, dubbed the Trashman, thinks he’s helping the homeless by getting rid of the people trying to relocate them. He’s pretty sure the Trashman will kill again. Scully tells him that Maggie asked for Charlie, but no other family members. She doesn’t even know where Charlie is. Scully doesn’t know why Maggie would change her living will, or why she wears the quarter necklace. Maggie gets extubated as Scully laments that her medical team doesn’t care about all the unanswered questions Scully has.

In Philly, Nancy listens to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on her way home to her mansion. It’s full of modern conveniences like a Keurig and a trash compactor. The garbage truck arrives soon after, and BANM lets himself into the house. Nancy sees some globs of green stuff on her stairs, with maggots swarming them. When she sees BANM, she tries to run from him, but she’s no match for him. Once he’s killed her, he destroys any evidence in the trash compactor.

In D.C., Scully and Mulder sit by Maggie’s bed, and she wonders if they ever came across someone who could will someone back to life. Mulder says he invented that while sitting by Scully’s bedside while she was comatose. She teases that he’s a “dark wizard.” Charlie calls, having been tracked down by Bill, and Scully asks him to say something to Maggie through the phone. She thinks this will bring Maggie back to life. Charlie talks to his mother, impatiently asking why she wanted to see him. Maggie wakes up, happy to see Mulder. “My son is named William, too,” she tells him, then flatlines.

When orderlies come to retrieve Maggie’s body so they can harvest her organs, Scully yells at them to leave. Mulder comforts her as she clutches the quarter necklace. She hates that Maggie’s last words were about a grandchild Scully gave away. She begs Mulder to take her back to Philly so she can get back to work. When he gently declines, she leaves.

Both agents go to see Mulder’s analyst, who’s analyzed paint samples from the Trashman’s signature on his artwork. The paint is a high-end brand carried in only one store in central Pennsylvania. Now wearing the quarter necklace, Scully stakes out the store, following in her car as Mulder tracks a teen who buys some spray paint. They tail him to an old building, and he grants them access, then runs off.

Mulder complains about having to take the stairs in the dark. Scully points out that “back in the day,” she took the stairs all the time, while wearing three-inch heels. “‘Back in the day’ is now,” Mulder replies. They get out their trusty flashlights and come across someone who looks human, then something that…definitely doesn’t. They follow the possible human, who tells them he’s in danger but doesn’t want their help.

They burst into the room where he’s holed up and see a sculpture that looks like BANM. The possible human tells them they can put their guns away – he’s tried guns, and they don’t work. He doesn’t want them to use their flashlights, either. If he can’t see “them,” and “they” can’t see him, he won’t be hurt. Meet the Trashman.

He tells the agents that the people who live on the streets get treated like trash. People who throw away their trash in the proper places feel like they’re doing the right thing. Once the trash is carted away, it’s not the people’s problem anymore. But then the trash goes into a landfill, and toxins from the plastics go into the water. People don’t think there’s a problem if they don’t see it.

The Trashman says he was trying to give the voiceless a voice through his art. His pictures look down on the people who think they’re superior. He thought up BANM, but he didn’t kill anyone – that’s all on BANM. The Trashman has made other sculptures that came to life, like what the agents saw in the hallway, and they’ll go away eventually, but BANM is different. Trashman thinks he’s a tulpa.

Mulder disagrees that tulpas exist (even though, you know, he’s dealt with one), and even if a thought form could be real, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The Trashman thinks all the time he spent thinking about his BANM artwork brought him into being. Scully has flashbacks of delivering William and of seeing him move the mobile as she looks around the Trashman’s studio. He says we just hold the pencil or clay, and if you think really hard, spirits come to you and take on a life of their own. Scully remembers introducing William to Mulder for the first time, then her mother’s recent death, then telling Mulder that she gave William up.

The Trashman says BANM came to him in his dreams, from another world, and now it’s alive. It has its own life and does what it wants. The Trashman just wanted to scare people who were taking dignity away from the homeless. He thought something violent, and it went into his artwork and made it violent. BANM thinks that’s what he’s supposed to be.

Scully says that if it was the Trashman’s idea, it’s his responsibility. He’s just as bad as the people he hates. Mulder thinks that Landry is BANM’s next target. He got the injunction lifted, and the Trashman knows that he’s moving the homeless to Bucks County tonight.

The agents go looking for Landry as he takes the homeless to Bucks County. We know he’s evil because he doesn’t care that a man has been separated from his dog. Everyone goes to their new rooms as Landry follows a weird smell and the sound of buzzing flies. Looks like BANM has beaten the agents to finding him. There are globs and maggots, just like at Nancy’s house, and Landry keeps going down the dark hallway they’re in, because he’s an idiot.

Landry spots BANM behind him and runs. The agents arrive with the Trashman and hear him screaming as BANM corners him in a bathroom. They’re too late – BANM has already killed Landry. Scully wonders how BANM was able to leave the room, since there’s only one entrance/exit, and they’re standing in it. All he’s left behind are a Band-Aid and some flies. Sometime later, the Trashman returns to his basement studio to collect some of his things. BANM’s sculpted head has been replaced with a smiley face, and there’s a painting of him on the exterior wall of the building.

Scully and Mulder take Maggie’s ashes to a little beach and sit on a log to chat. Scully thinks Maggie asked for Charlie because she wanted to make sure he was okay before she died. She made him, so he was her responsibility. Her last works about William were a message that Mulder and Scully need to make sure William’s okay, even though they can’t see him.

Scully says they made a sacrifice to keep him safe, but she still thinks of him all the time. (Also, she calls Mulder “Fox.”) She thinks Mulder will get all his questions answered, and she’ll be there when he does. But Scully’s own mysteries will never have an answer. She’ll never know if William thinks of her or feels doubt because his birth parents gave him up. Does he have the same unanswered questions that Scully has about the quarter? “I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” Scully says. Mulder doesn’t know how to respond, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: John DeSantis (BANM) is six-nine. Yow.

So…both of Scully’s brothers are kind of jerks. At least Melissa was okay, so Scully wasn’t completely surrounded by annoying siblings growing up.

Please admire my restraint in beginning this recap, “In West Philadelphia,” but not continuing he lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

March 9, 2019

The X-Files 9.15, Jump the Shark: The Good Fight

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 12:40 pm by Jenn

“What do you mean, a press pass for a conspiracy-theory paper isn’t good enough for a medical conference?”

Summary: Morris Fletcher gives us a voiceover narration about the Lone Gunmen and their adventures over the past few years. Over the course of their spin-off, they hired an intern named Jimmy Bond, and made an enemy of a woman named Yves Adele Harlow, who later became an ally. Morris calls the guys idealists but warns that “those who fight the good fight don’t always win.”

20 miles west of Harbor Island in the Bahamas, Morris is enjoying some time with a woman who is definitely not his wife. They’re in the Bermuda Triangle, which he claims he named. There are powerful forces underwater that haven’t yet been discovered by humans. Some men board their boat and give Morris a message: He’s fired. They pour gas on the boat, take off with Morris’ girlfriend, and throw a stick of dynamite on the boat. Morris jumps overboard as it explodes, destroying blueprints of a spaceship.

Morris ends up at the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Miami, where he requests a meeting with Doggett and Reyes. He’s in trouble for violating an act regarding federal secrets, thanks to his lax attitude toward checking in with former employer every month. He tells the agents he used to work at Area 51 and was one of the Men in Black. Doggett and Reyes are unimpressed.

Morris announces that he wants to make a deal to save his life. Reyes tells him that his girlfriend, Brittany, has turned up safe and told the agents what happened on the boat. Morris asks for protection in exchange for all the details of the government’s alien cover-up. The documents recovered from the boat are just the tip of the iceberg. But Reyes has no interest in that iceberg, since the blueprints are of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space.

Morris explains that he was freelancing for a foreign billionaire who believed Morris was in the Bermuda Triangle to get him a UFO the Air Force lost. The billionaire learned Morris was lying and now wants him dead. Reyes and Doggett, still unimpressed, start to leave, but they stop when Morris calls out, “Super-soldiers!” He may be able to find one for the agents to talk to.

Doggett and Reyes go to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and ask the guys to help them find Morris’ super-soldier. They recognize her as Yves, who disappeared a year ago. They laugh at the idea that she’s a super-soldier; they thought she was just a hacker. Morris joins the group, and the guys react badly. They warn the agents that Morris is a professional liar. He hired them to find Yves so he could kidnap her. Morris tells the agents that they shouldn’t rely on the Lone Gunmen to help them find Yves.

She’s currently at Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey, where she sprays a professor named Houghton with some kind of substance. A colleague sees her running away, then finds Houghton’s body, bloody from a big hole in his chest. The Lone Gunmen search for her, using anagrams of her name, which is itself an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Morris amuses himself by making fun of their newspaper and not knowing who the Ramones are. He tells Langly to cut his hair and grow up already.

Langly gives an impassioned speech about how Joey Ramone is his hero because he never gave up, no matter how many times people tried to knock him down. And he’s not really dead, since guys like him live forever. Morris really doesn’t care. He thinks it would be easier to find Yves if they had her real name, which he claims is Lois Runce. They don’t believe him.

There’s a knock at the Gunmen’s secret door, which they say no one knows about, though it seems like Yves might. Jimmy’s the knocker, though, and he collapses as soon as the door opens. Once he’s recovered, he tells the guys he’s been all over the world looking for Yves, whose real name he confirms is Lois Runce. He found her in Kearny, but she ran away from him. Jimmy thinks she killed someone.

Yves throws whatever she pulled out of Houghton’s chest in a furnace and says, “One down.” Doggett and Reyes go to Hartwell and meet John Gillnitz, the colleague who saw Yves running away after killing Houghton. He has no idea why anyone would want to kill Houghton; he studied immunology in sharks.

Apparently the Lone Gunmen aren’t the greatest hackers in the world, as we’ve been led to believe, because they have to ask a guy named Kimmy for help tracking down Yves. They think she’s coming to D.C., and they want Kimmy to hack a satellite so they can keep an eye on her. The Gunmen head out, leaving Jimmy behind to look after Morris.

Doggett and Reyes go to the medical examiner’s office in New Jersey to find out what’s going on with Houghton’s body. His chest contains bioluminescence, and the ME says it looks like it bled out of him. Also, he had past operations, which the ME thought were from a pacemaker insertion, but he actually found living tissue grafted into Houghton’s chest. It looks like it held something that’s now missing. Reyes guesses that Yves killed Houghton to remove whatever was inside him.

The agents question Morris, who claims not to know anything about Houghton or his murder. Kimmy’s having trouble with his hacking, since the Lone Gunmen’s equipment is awful. They told the agents they’d cleared out a lot of their stuff because they were getting better equipment, but Kimmy knows they’re actually broke and had to sell their stuff to pay their rent. No one’s reading their paper, thanks to Morris – when he took Yves, the Gunmen spent all their money trying to find her.

Byers calls Reyes and summons her to the Hotel Farragut, where the Gunmen have found Yves. She’s followed a man to his room, seemingly to do to him what she did to Houghton. The Gunmen burst into the room to stop her, allowing the man to knock her out and escape.

Jimmy and the agents come to the hotel, but the man, alias Leonard Southall, has disappeared. Since Yves was able to be rendered unconscious, the Gunmen figure she’s not really a super-soldier. Jimmy doesn’t believe that Yves was really going to kill Southall, but she confirms that was her plan. If she doesn’t finish her mission, innocent people will die.

Everyone returns to the Lone Gunmen’s lair so Yves can confront Morris for sending everyone after her. He’s wearing a tracking device that Yves thinks he was going to activate when he knew Yves had been captured. The whole thing, including the stuff with the boat and Brittany, was a scam to get the agents and the Gunmen to track Yves down for him.

Yves reports that the billionaire Morris works for is her father. He’s a murderer, and she hates everything he stands for. Jimmy reminds Yves that she’s a murderer, too. Her excuse is that Houghton was a terrorist her father paid to do research that would lead to the development of a weapon. He was carrying a virus inside him, wrapped in shark cartilage. Southall has the same thing inside him, and is basically a human time bomb. At 8:00 tonight, in five hours, it’ll rupture and kill anyone within five or six miles. Yves doesn’t think Morris knew all the details of the terrorism plot.

The Gunmen get to work finding Southall while Morris tries to give them encouragement that the end of their newspaper doesn’t mean the end of good guys fighting for what’s right. Maybe it’s time to pass the torch. Byers doesn’t know what they would do instead, though. Like Joey Ramone, he doesn’t want them to ever give up.

Langly and Kimmy get Southall’s location, and since he’s in Jersey, Yves guesses he’s going to Hartwell. She’s right, and they send a group of authorities to capture Southall. However, medical testing finds nothing in Southall to indicate that he has a virus inside him. Doggett thinks they have the wrong guy. Yves says there must be someone else, but time’s running out – it’s already 7:00. The real second man goes to a medical conference, where a security scan doesn’t detect anything off about him. It’s John Gillnitz.

The good guys wonder why Southall would go to Hartwell if he supposedly wasn’t involved in the terrorism plot. Morris uses Three-Card Monte as a metaphor to help them understand that he’s a decoy. The real second man is probably hiding in plain sight. Yves easily figures out it’s Gillnitz.

The Gunmen, Yves, and Jimmy head to the conference, but a security guard doesn’t accept the Gunmen’s press passes. Jimmy takes a unique approach to the situation: He yells out Gillnitz’s name, then headbutts the security guard so they can get past him. They all chase Gillnitz, willing to do whatever it takes to protect everyone the virus could harm, even if it means killing Gillnitz.

The Gunmen find the terrorist with just two minutes left until 8:00. Jimmy and Yves don’t hear them yelling, which means the Gunmen have to save the day on their own. Frohike pulls a fire alarm, which triggers fire doors and traps them in a hallway with Gillnitz. Yves and Jimmy arrive in time to see Gillnitz collapse and spasm from the bioluminescence leaking out of him. The doors are airtight, and the Gunmen have already been exposed, so Yves won’t let Jimmy try to save them. The Gunmen tell Yves and Jimmy to keep fighting the good fight and never give up.

Sometime later, the Gunmen are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Kimmy says a tearful goodbye to them, then leaves Scully, Doggett, Skinner, Yves, and Jimmy with their coffins. Skinner pulled some strings to get them buried their, and feels it was the least he could do. Scully tells Jimmy and Yves that the Gunmen meant a lot to her, and she’s not sure they knew it. Jimmy says no one knew that the Gunmen were such heroes.

Morris arrives to repeat what Langly said about how people who don’t give up never die. He’s not sure what that means. Scully says that, like everyone else buried there, the world is a better place because the Gunmen were in it. They’re gone, but they’ll live on through their friends.

Thoughts: Yves is played by Zuleikha Robinson. Gillnitz is played by Marcus Giamatti, brother of Paul.

Goodbye, lovely Gunmen. I hope your afterlife has better hacking equipment.

I don’t have words for how much I love Michael McKean.

If my parents named me Lois Runce, I’d change my name, too.

February 26, 2019

ER 3.11, Night Shift: He Gant Take It Anymore

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 5:03 pm by Jenn

‘Bye! See you on “House”!

Summary: Mark and Chuny are on their way to County to work a night shift. Things are quiet when they arrive, and they learn there are no patients in the ER. Mark mentions that he’s up for tenure, and his biggest competition is Weaver. She’s currently working on a research study about the effects of exercise on night-shift workers. She’s enlisted Wendy to help her get the staff to do things like jumping jacks. Lydia isn’t bored enough yet to participate.

Keaton is packing up her office and practicing her Urdu in preparation for her move to Pakistan. Carter stops by, then has to hide when Gant comes in looking for him. Carol learns that the ER budget is screwed up, so two nurses have to be fired. The three on the chopping block are Malik, Chuny, and Connie. Carol only has until 8 the next morning to decide who to get rid of.

Randy entertains herself by drawing on the empty patient board while the nurses discuss how they would want to die if they had the choice. Chuny picks OD while Malik thinks a stroke is the way to go. Connie points out that he wouldn’t necessarily die. Doug arrives and apologizes to Carol for surprising her with Charlie on Christmas Eve. Carol reports that the girl stole Helen’s silverware. Doug announces that his New Year’s resolution is to stop being so charitable.

Weaver tells Mark that they need to do a safety check, which involves running down a checklist and keeping the ER up to code. Doug volunteers himself and Carol to do it. She reminds him that he was going to stop being charitable. Wendy asks if anyone wants to participate in Weaver’s study, and everyone yells, “No!” Hey, don’t take it out on the messenger.

Gant finally finds Carter and complains that Benton hasn’t given him the time off he requested to go see his girlfriend. Carter points out that since Monique seems to have moved on to another guy, going to see her probably won’t do anything. Carter lies about being busy so he doesn’t have to go get dinner with Gant. He’s tired of listening to Gant complain about Monique.

A woman named Shelly comes in with symptoms of meningitis. She refuses any treatment, even a shot of antibiotics. Mark warns that she could die, but Shelly, who sounds mentally addled, doesn’t care. Mark doesn’t think she’s competent to refuse treatment and wants to work her up. Lydia and Chuny tell him that, thanks to new hospital regulations, he’ll have to go through the risk management department first.

Carol and Doug check out a trauma room and write down all the potential safety risks. Weaver attempts to get Jeanie to agree to her study, and Jeanie attempts to use her HIV as an excuse not to participate (she’s not sure she’s healthy enough not to skew the results). They head into the trauma room where Carol and Doug are working, and Carol accidentally drops a clock on Weaver’s head when Jeanie bumps into her ladder. She needs stitches, so Randi finally has a patient to put on the board.

Carter’s in the ER when a patient comes in via ambulance, so he tries to elbow his way into a case that should be overseen by Doyle. They disagree about which of the patient’s complaints needs attention first. The patient shuts down the discussion by revealing that he just wants a flu shot. Malik recognizes him as a frequent visitor who calls 911 and plays possum when he wants a ride to the hospital. Carter generously tells Doyle the patient is all hers.

Benton asks Anspaugh about continuing to work in pediatric surgery after Keaton works. Anspaugh tells him to talk to a doctor named Kenner. Shelly knows that Mark wants to give her a spinal tap without her consent, so she talks to the hospital’s lawyer, Guinet. He thinks Shelly is mentally competent to make her own decisions, which means a possible lawsuit if Mark proceeds. Guinet tells Mark, Lydia, and Chuny that their jobs could be at risk if they do anything without Shelly’s consent. They should put her on a psych hold and call for a consult first.

Weaver bugs Jeanie about her study while she gets her stitches. She and Wendy shut down all of Jeanie’s attempts to turn them down, and Weaver adds a drop of guilt to get Jeanie to change her mind. Since the only patient in the ER is Shelly, and no one’s allowed to even touch her, the staff is back to being bored. Lydia’s trying to find her family.

Doug and Carol are continuing their safety check when Charlie shows up asking for money. She needs to pay a pimp $100 so he’ll leave her alone. Doug thinks she’s lying, so he sends her away. Charlie yells that he’s a pervert, got her pregnant, and now won’t pay for her abortion. “Lovely girl,” Carol comments as she and Doug leave.

Benton tries to get a few moments with Kenner, who’s busy. He gives Gant some assignments on top of the assignments he’s already trying to complete. Apparently no one else Benton supervises ever has to do any work. Connie and Chuny read personal ads in the lounge while Mark does paperwork. Things get awkward when one of the men who wrote an ad sounds like Mark. He insists it’s not him.

Psych finally sends someone for a consult, but it’s an intern, since no one in psych actually takes anything seriously in the ER. Doug and Carol end up in a storage hallway where they used to make out when they were dating. Shelly’s temperature is up to 103.5, so Mark and Lydia think they need to get a move on her treatment. The psych intern ignores them and continues his assessment, which Shelly passes. (She even throws in an insult – when he tells her to spell “world backwards,” she replies, “U-O-Y-W-E-R-C-S,” which is “screw you” backwards.)

The intern tells Mark that Shelly’s status is fine, so she’s allowed to refuse treatment. Mark notes that the intern is making a life-or-death decision for Shelly. The intern says she has the right to make her own decision, even if it’s a bad one. Mark demands to see someone higher up.

One of Kenner’s patients declines while Kenner’s still in surgery, so Benton takes over his care. He’s annoyed that Gant isn’t around. Jeanie has to ride an exercise machine with dark glasses on, so her body thinks it’s night. Between scenes, Gloria Reuben fires her agent. Benton finds Gant hanging out with Carter in the cafeteria and yells at him in a room full of people for not doing his job properly. If he makes another lazy, stupid mistake, he’s gone. Carter tries to cheer his friend, but he’s called away for a code.

Carol admits that when she and Doug were together, she wasn’t happy with herself. Now, she feels more confident and in control. She even got a B+ on her chemistry midterm. Carol confides that she has to fire two nurses and has no idea who to choose. Doug tells her that he was happier when they were together.

Carter and Doyle meet up while running to another wing of the hospital for a code. All they find are a maintenance worker and an overflowing toilet. When they finally get to the patient, the maintenance worker is putting his CPR training into use and doing their job for them. Once the patient is stable, Doyle tells the maintenance worker that Carter can take him to the broken toilet.

Doug and Carol talk about Charlie and how many chances she should get. Carol thinks they have to cut her off at some point, which Doug finds familiar. Chuny reads Mark the personal ad she and Connie wrote for him. They call him handsome and say he likes motorcycles. Mark hasn’t ridden the bike in a while and doesn’t want to mention it, since he could attract “motorcycle chicks.” Chuny says she’s one of them.

Lydia realizes that Shelly’s gone and alerts Mark. He finds her on a bus bench, and when she won’t go back inside, he picks her up and carries her in. They’re giving her a spinal tap when Guinet arrives and notes that they haven’t gotten a psych hold. He takes down Mark, Lydia, Chuny, and Malik’s names in case of legal action.

Doug teases Carol for falling asleep while they were having a deep conversation. Now she only has five hours to decide who to fire. But there’s a bigger problem – Charlie’s returned to the hospital covered in blood, having been beaten. Gant tells Carter that he thought about telling Anspaugh about Benton’s treatment of him, but maybe Benton’s right and he’s not as on top of things as he could be.

Weaver makes Jeanie run around outside while Wendy drives her around in a golf cart. Where did they get a golf cart? Charlie has a broken jaw and wrist, plus some facial injuries. Carol thinks she may have been raped. Malik tells Chuny and Carol his million-dollar idea: flypaper in a can. You spray it on your car, then peel it and all the bugs sticking to it off in one sheet. He’ll call it Bug Off. His second idea: stethoscope condoms.

Benton returns to Kenner’s patient and tells Kenner the treatment he gave him. He’s doing better, and Kenner’s appreciative, but not appreciative enough to bring Benton onto his team just yet. Benton says that he and Keaton just didn’t mesh, so she won’t give him a recommendation. Kenner urges him to have another discussion with Keaton about that meshing, and get her to give the recommendation.

Doug wants to get Charlie to tell him what happened before he gives her a rape exam. Carol runs into her three nurses on the chopping block, seeing how much they’re enjoying each other. Carter and Keaton spend their last few minutes together in her office, unable to get to the unlocked door before Benton can open it and see them together. Carter tries to hide his identity by putting a book in front of his face. Nice try, Carter.

Chuny thinks Mark showed a lot of guts by standing up to Guinet. Guts, stupidity – it’s all the same, right? He tells her he’s going to take full responsibility, so she doesn’t need to worry. Shelly’s spinal fluid shows she does have meningitis, so I guess this was all worth it. Carol goes looking for the nursing budget, and Randi says she took a look and figured out how to solve everything. If ER nurses work eight-hour shifts instead of 12-hour shifts, the hospital can stop paying them overtime and will save more than enough money to keep everyone on staff.

Keaton asks Benton if he’s going to be discreet about her relationship with Carter, or if he’s going to use it to blackmail his way into another pediatric rotation. That thought hadn’t even crossed Benton’s mind. He doesn’t want Keaton’s recommendation if it isn’t based on his work as a doctor. Keaton tells him he’s going to be a great surgeon, but not one who operates on children.

Shelly’s brother George arrives, having finally been tracked down by the police. He heard from her a few days ago, when she called to say she was sick. She doesn’t have any psychiatric problems, so her mental state was the result of the meningitis. Carter tells Benton that he and Keaton never discussed Benton, and definitely never said anything negative about him. Again, the thought hadn’t crossed Benton’s mind.

Anspaugh calls Benton over to discuss a complaint Gant has made about yelling at him in the cafeteria. Benton argues that Gant neglected his duties, so Benton had every right to chastise him. Gant says that he should have addressed him privately. Since Carter was present, Anspaugh asks his opinion. Carter says he understands why Gant’s upset, but given the circumstances, Benton was justified in his actions. Anspaugh tells Gant to toughen up, and next time something like this happens, he should discuss it with Benton before tattling to Daddy.

Carol gathers the nurses to announce that she thinks she’s solved the budget problems without having to fire anyone. The nurses aren’t happy that they have to give up overtime and work more hours for less money. Lydia reminds everyone that there’s a contract negotiation coming up, so if management tries to float this plan, the nurses will walk.

Carter tries to smooth things over with Gant, but Gant doesn’t blame him for speaking his mind when he was put on the spot. Carter leaves him to go search for something to do. Doug takes Charlie for a CAT scan and gently asks if she was raped. She asks him not to tell the police or a social worker, then says she was. Chuny catches Mark as he’s leaving and he invites her to get breakfast with him. He needs to ride his bike around a little to charge up the battery, so she offers to ride with him.

Jeanie drops out of Weaver’s study when she learns she’ll have to get in some sort of glass box to have her lung function tested. Not wanting all of her research to be for nothing, Weaver puts Wendy in the box. Doug tells Carol that Charlie was raped, and he clearly has no intention of keeping his promise not to tell the police or a social worker. Mark and Chuny skip breakfast in favor of a romp in his bed. Oh, and he still has the dog.

After a long, quiet shift, the ER finally gets a trauma. A man was hit by an El train after either jumping or falling onto the tracks. His face is injured, so no one can tell who he is. Benton tells Lydia to page Gant, and as Carter and Doyle bicker once again, the patient’s pager goes off. Doyle realizes that Gant is the man they’re trying to save. The episode ends with them still working, but it’s time to say goodbye to Omar Epps: Gant is dead.

Thoughts: You have to love that every member of the main cast wound up working a night shift together. That’s not contrived at all.

If the budge issues hadn’t gotten sorted out, Carol’s probably could have still been solved easily. Chuny and Malik put the hospital at risk by following Mark’s orders, so Carol could have fired them without having to make her own decision.

Find me one person who thought Mark and Chuny made a good couple. Just one. And did that person also think Carter and Keaton made a good couple?

July 3, 2018

ER 1.24, Motherhood: Cue “The Circle of Life”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 5:02 pm by Jenn

Welcome to the madhouse, Susie

Summary: Susan’s asleep, so drink! Chloe wakes her up to announce that she’s going into labor. Well, really, she’s been in labor for a while; her contractions are now just two minutes apart. Susan quickly gathers her things including a giant boombox, and they rush to County. Susan hands her sister off to Carter, who isn’t very helpful with the Lamaze breathing. By the time Susan has put on a gown to help out with the delivery, the baby is already crowning.

Susan and Nurse Chuny Marquez deliver while Carter tries to find the right cassette to play. He fails, so Susan and Chloe provide their own soundtrack, singing the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” Mothers everywhere curse Chloe for having such a fast, easy delivery. Everyone else watching rolls their eyes, because the baby is gigantic and at least three months old.

Susan shows the baby off to Carol, still stunned that she delivered her own niece (and on Mother’s Day). Carol hopes to start trying for a baby soon after she gets married, though right now she’s just trying to get through all the preparations. Tag’s family is in town and driving her crazy. As they run up to the roof to meet a helicopter, Mark tells Carter that he’s been picked for the ER sub-internship he applied for. Carter hasn’t heard back about the surgical sub-internship yet, and needs to accept or decline the ER one by the end of the day.

Doug arrives at work and tells Rolando that there’s a horse in his parking spot. Rolando isn’t sure if that necessitates a call to security. Susan and Carol tend to a man named Josh who fell unconscious after mixing ammonia and bleach to clean his kitchen. In the trauma room next door, Mark, Carter, and Benton tend to a teenager named James who was impaled on rebar. Hicks comes by to help, so Mark goes over to check on Susan and Carol, who have things under control.

A scout mother named Dolores brings in some sick kids she’s diagnosed with giardia from contaminated water. Doug gets puked on. Mark checks out a girl named Joanie who appears to have the flu, but he wants to do a spinal tap to make sure she doesn’t have meningitis. Benton operates on James, actually letting Carter do some stuff for once. Benton even seems to be in a good mood, at least until things start going south for James.

Diane comes by to invite Doug along while she and Jake go house hunting. She tells him that, depending on how things go, Doug may one day get an invitation to live with them. Cue Doug’s internal screaming. Benton sends Carter off to do some charts and labs, allowing him to scrub in on another operation later if he does all the work. Then Benton has to tell James’ mother that he didn’t survive surgery. Happy Mother’s Day, James’ mom!

Carol fights with Tag over the phone, disagreeing with his insistence on having dinner with his mother three nights in a row. When she hangs up, she tells Mark and Susan that their wedding caterer canceled and the bridesmaids’ dresses are late. Mark summons Carter into the lounge to ask if he’s made a decision about the ER sub-internship. Carter turns it down, thinking he’ll get the surgical one. Mark says that people look down on medical doctors while surgeons get all the praise. But he thinks Carter will excel in any specialty.

Susan and Chloe’s mother, Cookie, comes to see her new granddaughter. She is…not very maternal. Chloe and baby Susie are supposed to move in with Chloe’s parents when they get out of the hospital, but Cookie was under the impression that they’d have more time to get ready. She starts badmouthing the baby’s father, which Susan decides is her cue to leave.

A girl named Kaitlin was playing in a mother-daughter softball tournament when she was stung by bees. Her mother, Mrs. Sandburg, thinks Kaitlin’s allergic, since she herself is allergic. Doug decides not to have a lengthy discussion with her about genetics. Carter stitches up a woman who passed out after drinking too much at a Mother’s Day brunch. Joanie doesn’t have meningitis, but Mark is concerned that her heart murmur might be worsening because of an infection.

Linda invites Doug to have drinks with her and her mother, or, when he turns down that offer, meet up with her afterward. She’s impressed when he resists the temptation to cheat on Diane. Benton, Susan, and Connie receive a patient who may have had a heart attack. Carter’s allowed to intubate the man, but Susan has to lend a hand. Cookie pops in to talk to her daughter, who’s a little busy. The trauma is soon over when the doctors find out what’s obstructing the patient’s airway: his dentures.

Carter’s next patient is supposed to be a very old woman named Ada who cut her arm. Unfortunately, she’s no longer conscious, and possible not even still alive. While various people run around in the background to tend to Ada, Cookie tells Susan that Chloe and the baby can’t come home with her. Susan will have to help her make other plans. Susan’s upset that her parents have changed their minds after promising to help. Cookie finally admits that she doesn’t want to take care of another child after parenting her own.

Carol and Susan take a break together, lounging in beach chairs on the hospital roof. They decide that while Tag honeymoons in Paris, Susan and Carol will go to Hawaii. They’ll leave Chloe and the baby with Tag’s family. Susan might even stay in Hawaii forever. Their fantasies end when Susan gets paged back to the ER, where Chloe’s giving the baby a little tour. Doug finds her and tells her she should wait a while before taking the baby around lots of people.

A man bursts into the ER with a woman named Nina who overdosed on drugs. Chloe is drawn to the sight, most likely remembering her own struggles with drugs. She asks Connie to take the baby back to the nursery. Joanie needs a valve replacement, and Mark tries to reassure her mother, Mrs. Lafferty, that it’s a routine procedure and nothing to worry about.

Carol and Susan return to work, still wearing their sunglasses from the roof. Susan finds Chloe crying on a staircase, overwhelmed by all the bad things she’ll have to protect her daughter from. After all, their parents couldn’t keep Chloe from getting into trouble. Chloe thinks she’ll feel better when she finally gets home. Susan decides not to tell her that she won’t be going to their parents’ house.

As Hicks tells Benton that a decision has been made about something – a decision Benton doesn’t agree with – two female gangbangers come in, one with a gunshot wound to the head and one with stab wounds. Rosario, the stabbing victim, insists that she’s fine and demands that the doctors let the other woman, Angelina, die. She probably will, as she’s so badly injured that Mark wants to see if she’s an organ donor. Just then, a third woman storms in and screams at Rosario for cutting off her ear. Malik has to tackle her and drag her out.

Jerry comes in to tell Benton that Mae’s nursing home is on the phone with an urgent call. Carter takes a moment to worry about him. Hicks then tells him that he hasn’t received the sub-internship. Once their traumas are done, Doug teases Susan, calling her Big Susie (since the baby is now Little Susie). He also praises Malik for his tackling skills. Malik tells Mark that the woman brought Rosario’s ear with her. Fun!

Benton races to Mae’s facility and learns that her heart stopped that afternoon. Using language similar to what Benton used when he told James’ mother about James’ death, the doctor tells Benton that Mae has died. Jackie and her children are also there, and Benton finds his sister sitting in their mother’s room, where her body is still in her bed. After a hug, Jackie leaves Benton alone to have some private final moments with Mae.

Mark and Doug are both at work late (Mark’s waiting for Jen to come in from Milwaukee), so they play some basketball. Doug is uncertain about moving in with Diane, and asks if Mark knew when the time was right to make that decision with Jen. He figures that if he’s not sure, he’s not ready. Mark asks if Doug’s lack of readiness has anything to do with Carol’s upcoming wedding. He shoots a basket, saying that if he makes it, Doug’s ready, and if he doesn’t, Doug isn’t. We don’t get to see what happens.

Susan gives Susie her first astronomy lesson, pointing out some constellations. Carter comes by to meet the baby and get some feedback on his decision to turn down the ER sub-internship. Susan says it’s too late, since Mark has already offered it to someone else. Jen arrives at the hospital just as Joanie’s condition deteriorates. Poor Jen has to wait while her husband saves a little girl’s life. How sad for Jen! Her life is so hard!

Diane goes by Doug’s house and sees him with Linda. He insists that nothing happened, then says that he’s just having a bad reaction to her suggestion that they move in together. He tells her this won’t happen again, but Diane thinks it will. Joanie has stabilized enough for surgery, and the surgeon is just as reassuring as Mark was. Carol and Jen eat pizza and compare pre-wedding disasters. Jen claims that Mark wanted a big wedding but she didn’t. When Mark finally joins them, Jen pretends to be understanding about the delay, but we all know she’s mad.

Jeanie comes to the nursing home, where Benton is still finishing up making arrangements for Mae’s body. He notes that he’s used the language Mae’s doctor did many times, about how they did everything they could to save Mae, but he’s never had to hear it himself. He thought he would be better prepared. Jeanie takes his hand as he gets emotional over his inability to fix his mother. Then the hand-holding turns to kissing. Back at County, as Benton mourns a death, Susan celebrates a birth, singing “Blackbird” to her new niece.

Thoughts: This episode was directed by Quentin Tarantino. Yeah, you read that right. Dolores is played by Kathy Griffin, so I’ve officially hit my yearly limit of having to watch her in things.

Want to feel old? Little Susie would now be 23.

I wonder why they killed Mae off so quickly. Did they realize that her story was too much of a burden on Benton? It was the inevitable ending for the plot, but it came on so fast.

April 7, 2018

The X-Files 7.10, Sein und Zeit: No One Shoots at Santa Claus

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

If I were Skinner and didn’t know that Mulder’s mom had just died, I would totally think they’d hooked up

Summary: A little girl named Amber Lynn LaPierre is praying before bed as her parents look on proudly but slightly impatiently. Her father, Bud, then goes to watch crime show on TV while her mother, Billie, gets ready for bed herself. She suddenly stops and goes to her closet, pulling out a dress. Bud hears her rifling through drawers, finding a pen so she can write a note stating that she’s kidnapped Amber Lynn.

Bud checks on his daughter and first thinks she’s dead, but she’s okay. In her bedroom, Billie keeps writing, ending her note with, “No one shoots at Santa Claus!” As Bud is leaving Amber Lynn’s room, he hears a bang and sees blood seeping under Amber Lynn’s bedroom door. He has to break down the door, and when he finally makes it in, Amber Lynn is gone.

FBI agents convene in the middle of the night to start searching for the apparent kidnapping victim. Mulder comes in, despite not being summoned; Skinner doesn’t see a point in involving him since it doesn’t appear to be an X-File. Mulder thinks the case will turn into a circus, and the right questions won’t get asked. Skinner gives in, giving him until noon to question Bud and Billie. He adds that the other agents have a pool going and believe that Amber Lynn is dead.

Mulder heads to Sacramento, where police and reporters are outside the LaPierres’ house, looking for answers. The couple has already called in a lawyer, Harry Bring, though his specialty is real estate law. Mulder asks if he’s ever handled a murder case – even though Amber Lynn hasn’t been declared dead, Mulder thinks that’s how this case will end. He tells Bring that if he really wants to help the LaPierres, he’ll get them a real lawyer.

Bud tells Mulder they’ll talk to him, since they have nothing to hide. Mulder asks about the note found in Amber Lynn’s bedroom around the time of her disappearance. He wants details, like what Bud was watching on TV. Bud says he’d never heard of it, but he liked it. Billie says she was asleep when Amber Lynn vanished.

The couple says they always lock their doors at night, and don’t know of anyone who would want to hurt their daughter. Billie’s getting upset, so Bring tries to end the conversation. Mulder tells the LaPierres that no matter what the FBI says or does, they’ll do everything they can to try to find Amber Lynn. Billie asks if they’ll succeed, but all Mulder can say is that he hopes so.

Scully arrives in Sacramento and finds Mulder lying awake in his motel room. He’s watching TV in the dark and doesn’t want her to turn on the light. She warns that Skinner’s mad at him, since Mulder missed his noon deadline. He’s sent Scully to get Mulder’s report. The media found out what the FBI is investigating, and the LaPierres are being held for questioning. Mulder says they didn’t hurt Amber Lynn, despite what the facts say: He knows they lied about where they found the note.

Mulder’s watching the news, and the story of Amber Lynn’s disappearance is drawing parallels to the story of Susan Smith’s crimes and JonBenet Ramsey’s murder. Scully notes that people have a “morbid fascination with the killing of an innocent.” Mulder announces that Amber Lynn isn’t dead. He answers a call from his mother, who has guessed that he’s working on Amber Lynn’s case. She asks him to call her when he gets home from Sacramento.

Back in D.C., the FBI examines the note, which doesn’t demand a ransom. The note was written on the kind of paper used by dry cleaners to protect clothes, and the page it was torn from was found in the LaPierres’ trash. The pen it was written with was also in the trash, and only has Billie’s fingerprints on it. However, they haven’t been able to determine definitively if the handwriting is Billie’s.

Mulder tells the task force that there are pieces of the story that don’t make sense. Bud was watching TV when he went to check on Amber Lynn; he turned it off when he went to her room, but it was on when the police first arrived. Mulder also finds it strange that no one noticed any strangers sneaking around the property, even though it wasn’t that late at night. Someone suggests that Bud is lying for Billie, but Mulder says that doesn’t explain what happened to Amber Lynn.

He leaves the meeting and searches a file cabinet in his office, trying to figure out why “no one shoots at Santa Claus” seems familiar. Scully follows him and tells him he’s personalizing the case because he’s connecting it to Samantha’s disappearance. Mulder points out that he’s never suggested that aliens had anything to do with Amber Lynn’s disappearance. Scully warns that the other agents on the task force don’t have the patience for Mulder to question their work. Mulder thinks he’s right, though: He’s found a note just like the one at the LaPierres’, from a case in 1987.

As a creeper in a van videotapes kids in California, Mulder and Scully go to a women’s prison to speak to a prisoner named Kathy Lee. In 1987, her six-year-old son Dean was taken from his bedroom, and the note left behind was found to be written by Kathy Lee. She was convicted, and Dean’s body has never been found. She testified that she had a vision of her son being dead the night he disappeared. Three years later, she changed her story and confessed to killing him during a psychotic break. Kathy Lee says she was “full of rage.”

Mulder shows her the note she supposedly wrote and asks what the phrase about Santa means. She says that no one would hurt a person like Santa, who brings you gifts, since that would compromise your chances of receiving those gifts. Mulder tells her about Amber Lynn’s disappearance and the note left behind. He tells Kathy Lee that both disappearances are similar, and, like Dean, Amber Lynn’s body hasn’t been found. Kathy Lee notes that she told the police where Dean’s body was, but it wasn’t really there.

Mulder presses Kathy Lee to explain what really happened to Dean, but she can’t. He knows it’s because she didn’t kill him. She only changed her story because she thought pleading insanity could get her paroled. Mulder needs her to assure the LaPierres that things will be okay. Kathy Lee she’s not the person to do that. As they leave, Scully blasts Mulder for acting unprofessionally. She can’t explain the matching notes, but she’s sure that Mulder’s personalizing the case. He says he’s not, and he’s going to find the missing kids. Scully warns him not to go in search of something he doesn’t want to find.

Back in her cell, Kathy Lee sees a ghostly vision of a little boy. She asks a guard to bring the agents back. Meanwhile, Teena calls Mulder again, leaving a message on his answering machine as she burns pictures of her children. She tells him there are a lot of things she hasn’t told him, and she hopes that one day, he’ll understand.

Mulder shows the LaPierres a tape of Kathy Lee telling them that Amber Lynn is okay. She knows they’re afraid of the truth because they’ve seen scary things, like she did. She doesn’t remember writing the note; it was like they wrote themselves. Kathy Lee knows in her heart that Dean is safe and in a better place.

The LaPierres are released, due to lack of evidence. The creeper from the van watches Mulder give a press conference while also watching multiple TVs showing footage he’s recorded of children playing, including Amber. There’s also a screen showing a man dressed as Santa. Mulder says that the LaPierres are no longer the main suspects in the investigation, and the FBI is hopeful that they’ll find Amber Lynn.

Skinner slams Mulder for making a connection between Amber Lynn and Dean’s disappearances when there’s no evidence that they’re connected. Mulder says that nothing else makes sense in the real world. Skinner points out that he has to live in the real world. He’s upset that Mulder talked his way onto the case, then gave the main suspects a defense. Scully interrupts to tell Mulder that Teena is dead.

The two of them go to Teena’s house in Connecticut, where it appears that she killed herself with both an overdose and gas from her oven. Mulder insists that she wouldn’t, and questions the missing pictures of him and Samantha. He thinks Teena wanted to tell him something about Amber Lynn, but couldn’t do it over the phone, in case the people who took Samantha overheard and went after her. Everything in the house seems staged, like someone murdered Teena and then arranged the scene to look like a suicide.

Mulder wants Scully to perform the autopsy and look for a needle puncture. Scully resists, since they’re friends, but Mulder knows that this is the only way he can learn the truth. He goes back to see Kathy Lee, wanting to understand the things she’s seen. He thinks she knows why Teena’s dead. Mulder offers to talk to the parole board on Kathy Lee’s behalf if she helps him. He tells her about Samantha, which makes Kathy Lee think that Teena wanted to tell him that she’d seen “the walk-ins.” They’re “old souls looking for new homes,” and Kathy Lee thinks Samantha is among them.

She continues that it’s hard to see them because they “live in the starlight.” Mulder asks if this means Samantha’s dead, but Kathy Lee just says that she was taken. She suffered harm in her life, like Dean, and now they’re being protected. Kathy Lee doesn’t know where they are, but they’re okay. At Santa’s North Pole Village, a kind of rundown play place, some kids are ready to see Santa. The creeper from the van goes to his workshop to get ready. This is where all his screens are, and where he keeps his Santa suit.

In D.C., Mulder listens to Teena’s message on his machine over and over, trying to figure out what she wanted to tell him. Scully arrives, and Mulder tells her that he thinks Teena wanted to talk about Samantha. She somehow knew that Samantha and Amber Lynn’s disappearances are connected. Mulder thinks Teena wrote a note like Kathy Lee and Billie did. If Kathy Lee’s right about walk-ins, Samantha was never abducted by aliens. Mulder’s been looking for her in the wrong place this whole time.

Scully has done the autopsy, and she can confirm that Teena killed herself. She had Paget’s carcinoma, an untreatable disease that would have eventually left her disfigured. Mulder tries to process this, then starts crying and insists that Teena was trying to tell him something. Scully thinks she was trying to tell him to stop looking for Samantha. She wanted to take away his pain.

That night, as Billie and Bud go to bed, Billie sees a ghostly vision of Amber Lynn. The next day, Skinner goes to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully has spent the night tending to her partner. He tells the agents that Billie wants to talk to Mulder, so they all need to go back to Sacramento. There, Billie tells the agents about her vision of Amber Lynn; she thinks her daughter was trying to say something to her. Billie isn’t sure, but she thinks it was the number 74.

Mulder thinks there’s no point in investigating, since they’re not going to find Amber Lynn. If Billie saw her as a ghost, they won’t find her alive and should stop hoping they will. The agents still can’t explain the note, though. Mulder finally acknowledges that he’s too close to the case, and since he’s just suffered a personal loss, he’d like to take some time off.

As the agents head to the airport, Scully sees a road sign for highway 74. She checks a map and sees that the highway goes to Santa’s North Pole Village. Remembering the reference to Santa in the notes, she tells Skinner to take them there. They search the place and find the creeper’s collection of videotapes, which go back to the ’60s. Mulder worries that Samantha will be on one of the tapes. Instead, Scully finds the one of Amber, dated two days before she disappeared.

The creeper arrives and locks the agents in his workroom, but Skinner’s still outside and catches him trying to run. There’s a chase, but when Skinner fires his gun in the air (so he’s shooting near Santa, but not at him), the creeper decides to just give up and let himself be arrested. While Scully reads the creeper his rights, Mulder looks around the property and finds a bunch of unmarked graves. To be continued…

Thoughts: The episode title is confusing, since it means “signs and wonders” but has nothing to do with that episode.

Mark Rolston (Bud) also played Odin in “Red Museum,” so I can’t blame the FBI for being suspicious of him here.

This episode may have the creepiest opening of any episode in the whole series.

Santa’s North Pole Village just makes me think of Nos4A2, which makes it even spookier.

 

February 10, 2018

The X-Files 7.2, The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati: The Last Temptation of Mulder

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

In case you wanted to be hit over the head with the episode’s Christ imagery…

Summary: Mulder’s having a dream about a couple on a beach with their little boy. In reality, a doctor is telling his mother that his brain is being destroyed. Teena’s upset that they’re sedating Mulder so much that he’s basically a zombie. She asks him for a sign that he can hear her. He can, but he can’t communicate that to her.

CSM visits later, voicing over stuff about fathers and mothers. He knows Mulder can hear him. Mulder thinks that he could always hear CSM’s voice, even when his head was full. The two appear to communicate telepathically as CSM injects Mulder with something. Mulder thinks he’s being killed, but the injection revives him. CSM wants to give him a choice between life and death. Mulder’s “account is squared” with everyone.

Mulder points out that he’s dying, but CSM says only part of him is. He’s not Jesus or Hamlet; he can recover and leave the hospital, and everyone will forget him. “Arise,” CSM says, like he’s Jesus. Mulder sits up, and CSM tells him to take his hand. Mulder doesn’t know why, though; all the voices in his head are gone, and he can’t read CSM’s mind anymore. CSM tells him he has to take the first step. Mulder thinks about the boy on the beach again as CSM announces that he’s Mulder’s father. So now I guess he’s Darth Vader.

Kritschgau finds Scully sleeping in her office instead of working and chastises her for it. She doesn’t care for his opinion, since he drugged Mulder. Kritschgau tells Scully that Mulder believes he was infected with an alien virus two years ago, and that the virus was reactivated by something else alien. He’s proof that alien life exists. Scully doesn’t care, since Mulder’s dying – their only job is to save him. “You destroy this and I’ll destroy you,” Kritschgau threatens.

Skinner calls Scully to tell her to get to the hospital. Mulder has disappeared. When they meet up, Skinner says that the authorities at the hospital claim that Teena checked Mulder out. Skinner doesn’t want to be involved in the case any longer, so Scully’s on her own. Really, it’s that Skinner’s in a “compromised position,” so it’s better if he doesn’t know what his agents are up to.

Back on the dream beach, a boy a few years older than the one from the earlier dream approaches Mulder. “The child is father to the man,” he says in CSM’s voice. Noooo, that’s not creepy at all. Mulder wakes up in CSM’s car and learns that CSM had doctors tend to him. He thought Mulder would die, either at the hands of the Syndicate, the FBI, or his own foolishness, so CSM had to save him.

Mulder doesn’t think CSM can just make him disappear, but CSM says they’ve made whole cultures vanish. Mulder will just become a man without a name, like CSM. Mulder wants to contact Scully, but CSM says that’ll put her in danger. In a sense, he’s entering a witness protection program. CSM offers Mulder a cigarette, saying that maybe now he smokes.

Scully goes home and is surprised by a visit from Hosteen, who was basically at death’s door the last time Scully saw him. He tells Scully that she needs to find Mulder – not just for his sake, but “for the sake of us all.” Meanwhile, CSM takes Mulder to a house in a suburb somewhere, encouraging him to consider accepting this new life.

Scully verifies with another FBI agent that Teena signed Mulder out of the hospital against medical advice. However, someone painted over surveillance cameras, so they can’t see who actually moved him. There’s a small, visible spot through the paint, and Scully easily recognizes the person Teena’s talking to on the footage. After all, there’s only one person she knows who would smoke in a hospital.

Mulder goes into his possible new home and finds the fridge well stocked. (I don’t know who puts sunflower seeds in the fridge, but okay.) Deep Throat is there; he says he’s not dead, just “really relaxed.” He calls the bullet he took a punctuation mark that ended one chapter of his life and allowed him to start a new one. Mulder admits that he felt responsible for Deep Throat’s death, but Deep Throat doesn’t want him to feel guilty about anything. He’s not the center of the universe. The two of them are just “puppets in a master plan.”

Mulder has suffered enough, and Deep Throat wants him to enjoy his life. He shows Mulder pictures of his family, inviting him to have dinner with them – they live just down the street. But first, Mulder needs a nap. In a dream, he finds a boy on the beach, building a sand castle that gets knocked down by a wave. Mulder tells him he can just start again. When Mulder wakes up, he’s shirtless, and Fowley’s in his house, ready for some lovin’. She takes off a pair of handcuffs on his wrist, which we will never, ever tell Scully about, right, guys?

Scully tries to call Teena, who doesn’t answer her phone. Scully gets a delivery containing a book on Native American practices and sees that writing on the cover matches writing on the stone. Inside the book is a chapter on the Anasazi – a whole culture that disappeared without a trace. The words “sixth extinction” are used. Scully calls Skinner to ask if he sent the book, which explains everything she found in the Ivory Coast. It also talks about a myth about a man who can save everyone by protecting them against a plague.

Skinner can’t talk right now, though, since there’s someone in his office. Scully goes to see him in person, finding him just as someone leaves his office after attacking him. She tries to chase the attacker, but he pulls a fire alarm and disappears in a crowd.

Mulder’s now living a nice little suburban life with Fowley, but he doesn’t want to turn his back on his commitments to the X-Files, Scully, and Samantha. Fowley tells him he’s being childish. He needs to let go of his fantasies and be a real part of the world. Specifically, he needs to become a father. Mulder’s like, “We had sex once. Can we put the brakes on? Also, I don’t trust you.”

Scully goes to Kritschgau, accusing him of leaking information, which led to Skinner’s attack. She sees the symbols from the stone on his computer and guesses that he hacked into her files. He admits that he’s having the NIH analyze the symbols. Scully deletes the files as Kritschgau says that someone’s looking for Mulder.

Mulder and Fowley visit CSM, who lives in the neighborhood. He tells them he has some grandchildren, and also lives with someone Mulder would find very familiar: Samantha. She’s thrilled to see her brother. The real Mulder is in some sort of lab, still unconscious. CSM and Fowley are with him, talking about the kinds of dreams he might be having. CSM thinks that, like other extraordinary men, Mulder’s being tempted by something ordinary in his dreams. Those dreams are all he has now.

Fowley goes to FBI headquarters, where Scully finds her and asks for a cigarette. Fowley decides they should just talk about what they both know this is really about. She tells Scully that instead of worrying about where Mulder is, Scully should think about what she could have done to prevent all this. Scully tells her to think about Mulder as a person, with all his promise, and tell her that Mulder wouldn’t work his hardest to save her. Fowley says she’s thinking about that – she’s always thinking.

CSM chats with a doctor at the lab about an alien-human hybrid and why they’ve kept Mulder alive for so long. Long story short: Mulder is immune to the coming apocalypse, so he’s going to undergo a procedure that may allow them to save everyone. But it might kill him, which CSM is okay with, since it means he “suffers a hero’s fate.”

Suddenly Dream Mulder and Dream Fowley are getting married. Then things speed up, and Mulder’s older. Fowley’s dead, and at her funeral, CSM tries to comfort his son. In the lab, CSM tells Fowley not to think of Mulder as a man, like Scully wanted her to. She needs to think about the sacrifice he’s making to save everyone. Fowley wishes he’d had a choice in the matter. Oh, NOW you think about that.

CSM thinks Mulder would have made this choice – he gets to “become the thing he sought for so long.” He spent his life looking for aliens, and now he’ll be one. Mulder’s part in the procedure is almost done, and CSM will now take over.

An unaged CSM talks to an older Mulder about the boy he sees on the beach. Mulder says he’s seen the boy thousands of times, but he never understands what the boy wants him to see. CSM tells him to close his eyes. The boy is ready to show him. On the beach, the boy has build a huge spaceship out of sand, but now he wants to destroy it. He tells Mulder it’s Mulder’s ship, and Mulder’s the one destroying it. He was supposed to help.

Hosteen returns to Scully’s apartment, telling her she’s looking in the wrong place. Scully doesn’t know how to save Mulder anyway; the science doesn’t make sense to her. Hosteen points to her cross necklace and asks if she’s looked for him there. They kneel to pray together, and Hosteen tells Scully, “There are more worlds than the one you can hold in your hand.”

CSM is ready to undergo the procedure (which I guess will give him Mulder’s immunity?), telling Fowley that he’ll carry on for his son. This is God’s blessing; the knowledge needs to be spread. Mulder wakes up during the procedure, looking straight at Fowley, who can’t bring herself to watch what’s going to happen.

Mulder dreams of being old and on his deathbed, with a still-unaged CSM by his side. Samantha and Deep Throat are dead for real, as are Fowley and Scully. CSM tells Mulder it’s time for him to let go. His loved ones are waiting for him. He tells Mulder to close his eyes. The two of them are the last ones left – “the end and the beginning.” There’s nothing left for Mulder to do, since the apocalypse has come and everything’s on fire, and there are spaceships flying into buildings and stuff. What a wonderful world!

Someone starts a fire in Kritschgau’s apartment after either wounding or killing him. It’s Krycek, and he leaves with a file. Someone slips an envelope under Scully’s door containing an access card for the Department of Defense. As the procedure continues and Scully uses the card, Mulder dreams of Scully coming to his deathbed. She’s mad that he believed the story that she was dead. She calls him a traitor and a coward. He’s not supposed to die “in a comfortable bed with the devil outside.”

Mulder argues that CSM has taken care of him. Scully says he’s made Mulder trade his mission for a comfortable life. Mulder obviously doesn’t know it’s the end of the world outside. He says he’s too tired to look out the window, but Scully tells him to get out of bed and fight. The procedure is done by the time the real Scully finds the real Mulder and wakes him up. He struggles to stay awake, and she begs him to help her fight. He asks her to help him in turn.

A week later, Mulder’s recovering at home, ready to go back to work. Scully visits, and he tells her that Hosteen died last night. He was in a coma for two weeks, so there was no way he could have come to see her at her apartment. Scully says that’s impossible, and Mulder asks if it’s more impossible than what she saw in the Ivory Coast. (Or, you know, THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.) Scully says she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. She was so determined to save Mulder that she was able to deny what she saw. Now she doesn’t know what the truth is.

Then Scully breaks her own news of death: Fowley was found murdered just hours earlier. Scully didn’t trust her, but she knows Fowley sent her the book that helped her save Mulder, so Fowley deserves some credit. Mulder says that he was like Scully once. He chose a path that took him away from his beliefs, and in the end, his world was unrecognizable. Scully told him the truth. “Even when my world was falling apart, you were my constant, my touchstone,” he says. She tells him he’s the same to her. In one last dream scene, Mulder and the boy build a big sand spaceship together.

Thoughts: One of the boys in Mulder’s dream (they keep changing ages) is played by the same twins who played Owen in early years of Party of Five. Two of the doctors involved in the procedure are played by Brian George and David Brisbin. Coincidentally Brisbin’s character appears to be an anesthesiologist, which is what he plays on ER.

David Duchovny co-wrote the episode and personally rewrote the ending because he thought Mulder was too upset about Fowley. Gillian Anderson’s hair is different in the final scene because she got it cut between the original taping and the reshoot.

For connections between this episode and the movie The Last Temptation of Christ (the inspiration for my recap title), see the X-Files wiki.

AS IF Mulder would be tempted to marry Fowley. AS IF Scully wouldn’t be his literal dream wife.

August 26, 2017

The X-Files, Fight the Future: Bee Movie

Posted in movies tagged , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Not the best picture of Mulder and Scully, really

Summary: Mulder and Scully have made it to the big screen! But first, we take a trip to Texas in 35,000 B.C. Two cavemen hear a screeching noise while checking out a cave. One finds another caveman trapped in something that looks like amber, then gets attacked by an alien. The second caveman finds his buddy dead and goes looking for his attacker. He comes across the alien, which attacks him as well. The caveman has a weapon and stabs the alien, which bleeds black oil that infects the caveman.

In the present (judging by the fact that the cavemen didn’t have jean shorts), a kid named Stevie falls into the same cave after digging around in the dirt with some friends. He finds a skull, then sees black oil seeping out of the ground. It crawls up his legs and under his skin. His friends ditch him and run home. Sometime later, firefighters arrive and one goes into the cave to get Stevie. His captain loses contact with him, which can’t be a good sign.

Next a team in Hazmat suits shows up and gets the civilians off the scene. They take the boy away in a sealed container, transporting him by helicopter. Some big trucks drive in, and Bronschweig, the man in charge of securing the scene, calls someone to report that the impossible scenario they didn’t bother to plan for now needs some sort of plan.

A week later, an FBI agent named Michaud is helicoptered to a roof near Dallas’ Federal Building, where he instructs other agents to make absolutely sure there’s no explosive device inside. Scully’s also on a building roof, letting Mulder know via phone (“Mulder, it’s me”) that no bomb has been found, despite a threat being called in. She uses, like 100 words to talk about how they need to follow the rules but still might not find a bomb. Anyway, Mulder’s there now, talking about hunches and expecting the unexpected.

Scully warns that Mulder needs to stop thinking unconventionally like he did when they were working X-files. He can’t be looking for things that aren’t there. Mulder jokes that they should call in a bomb threat in Houston so they can go to a game at the Astrodome. Scully tries to open the door letting them off the roof, telling Mulder it’s locked – “so much for anticipating the unforeseen.” She’s just messing with him. “I had you,” she gloats.

In the lobby, Scully continues teasing Mulder, saying she saw panic on his face. He claims she’s never seen him panic. He heads off to buy them sodas from a break room, but the machine doesn’t work. I guess he didn’t anticipate that unforeseen complication either. Mulder sees that the machine is unplugged, which gives him an idea. Unable to get out of the room (the door really is locked), he calls Scully in the lobby and lets her know he found the bomb in the machine.

With just under 14 minutes left on the timer, Mulder tells Scully to evacuate the building. She immediately gives orders to the people workers there, then calls Michaud to tell him he’s looking in the wrong place. Michaud and his agents hurry over to save Mulder (taking their sweet time – the counter’s below five minutes now). Scully calls and Mulder tells her he’s now making his not-panicking panicked face.

Michaud cuts through the door and the agents study the bomb. He says he can defuse it, but he wants everyone to leave. Mulder hesitates to leave him behind, but Scully makes him go with her. Instead of working on the bomb, Michaud sits and watches the timer count down. Mulder realizes that something’s wrong and turns back to the building. Scully insists that he head off to safety with her, and they drive away as the bomb explodes. “Next time, you’re buying,” Mulder tells Scully, because even though a man just died, he wouldn’t be Mulder if he didn’t make jokes.

The agents go back to D.C. and attend a review led by an agent named Cassidy. (Mulder’s late.) She tells them that five people died, including a young boy and three firemen. Mulder’s surprised to hear that the firemen were in the building – the agents were told that the building had been evacuated. Cassidy sends him away so she can question Scully first.

Mulder anxiously eats sunflower seeds until Skinner leaves the review to talk to him. He says Cassidy wants to know why Scully wasn’t in the right building. Mulder says she was with him. Skinner says that the city of Dallas sustained $45 million of damage, then that people are dead, as if the money is the more important thing. There also haven’t been any arrests, so the FBI is being scrutinized. Where did they screw up? Who will they be blaming?

Mulder’s willing to take the blame since he didn’t follow protocol. He feels horrible that he left Michaud alone with the bomb. But Scully also wants to take responsibility. She sends Skinner back into the review, then tells Mulder that the two of them are being given separate assignments. Scully hasn’t made a difference in the FBI, and she’s not going to be happy if she’s transferred to a field office somewhere. She wonders if Mulder’s heart is still in the work.

After the review is over, Mulder goes to a bar and gets hammered. He tells the bartender that he’s in charge of investigating aliens, but no one believes him when he tells them what he’s found out. They think he’s just running around, screaming that the sky is falling, but when it really happens, it’s going to be horrible. The bartender decides it’s time to cut him off. As he leaves, Mulder realizes that a man who was watching him has already left.

He goes to use the bathroom but finds an out-of-order sign on the door, so he does his business in an alley. The man from the bar approaches him and asks if the FBI is accusing him of screwing things up in Dallas. The man, Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, has been watching Mulder since he started at the FBI. He also knew Bill and says that, back when they worked together, they could have been called “fellow travelers.” Mulder wonders if Kurtzweil is a reporter. Kurtzweil says he’s an OB/GYN and knows something about the bombing that Mulder hasn’t been told.

Mulder says Kurtzweil can talk until Mulder hails a cab. Kurtzweil tells him that Michaud never tried to defuse the bomb. He also knows that the bomb was put in that building, not the Federal Building, because FEMA had a quarantine office there. The four supposed victims, other than Michaud, were dead before the bomb exploded. Mulder scoffs at the idea that Michaud didn’t try to stop the bomb, but Kurtzweil knows that the bomb was detonated so people could hide something – possibly something they couldn’t predict.

Mulder still thinks Kurtzweil is nuts, so he leaves him there on the street outside the bar. He starts to go home, then decides to go to Georgetown to see Scully, even though it’s 3 in the morning. She wonders if he got drunk before or after he decided to come see her. Mulder makes her get dressed so he can take her somewhere.

Back in Texas, the site around the cave has been turned into a research facility. CSM arrives to see what Bronschweig and his team have found. He thinks the fireman’s arrival raised the body temperature of someone already in the cave. That someone is the amberfied caveman, who is basically alive because of the black oil, though he’ll never recover from the infection. CSM wants to use the vaccine/cure on him; if it’s unsuccessful, they’ll burn his body “like the others.”

Mulder takes Scully to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where they’re told they can’t access the morgue. Mulder bluffs their way in, pretending they were summoned by the same general who has declared the morgue off-limits. The agents find the body of one of the firemen, which has something sticky all over it. Scully diagnoses a cellular breakdown of his tissue. She can also see that, despite what they were told, the body hasn’t been autopsied yet, so the report stating his cause of death as injuries from the explosion is false. Scully says she’s not sure anyone could determine a cause of death.

She realizes that there must be some sort of cover-up happening. Mulder says he has a hunch that whatever Scully finds from an autopsy, it won’t be something they can explain. But he’s being blamed for Michaud’s death, so he’d like to know what killed him. He knows Scully would feel the same if she were in his position.

While Scully gets to work, Mulder goes to Kurtzweil’s house, which is being searched by the police. A detective tells Mulder that Kurtzweil is being investigated for child pornography. Mulder finds books on Kurtzweil’s shelf about the apocalypse and tells the police not to bother letting him know if they find the doctor. As Mulder leaves, he spots Kurtzweil, who says the investigation is an attempt to discredit him. He claims that FEMA, which is super-powerful, wouldn’t normally be involved in the investigation of whatever’s going on in Texas. It must be bigger than they’re letting on.

Kurtzweil continues that he and Bill once looked into a case involving biological warfare. He thinks now they’re looking at “a plague to end all plagues.” For 50 years, the government has been working on a planned Armageddon. FEMA will end up in charge. Mulder thinks Kurtzweil is even more paranoid than he is. Kurtzweil warns that if he doesn’t go back to Texas, he’ll be as in the dark as everyone else in the country, and by the time he catches on, it’ll be too late.

Scully autopsies Michaud, finding something crystallized inside his body. She’s able to hide in another room before guards can see her. Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) and she tells him that Michaud was infected with something. He wants them both to go to Texas, though Scully has to go back to the review hearing the next day. As they’re talking, Scully hears the guards approaching and has to hang up so she can hide again.

Mulder goes to Texas alone and learns that FEMA found some bone fragments from an archaeological site. Scully joins her partner and tells him that the infection she found in the fireman’s body could lead to a major health threat. Mulder has Scully look at the bone fragments, even though they weren’t found near the explosion site. Scully’s stunned by what she sees under the microscope.

At the cave site, Bronschweig prepares to administer the vaccine/cure to the amberfied body. However, he realizes that “it’s” left the body, which means it’s gestated. “So much for little green men,” he says. Bronschweig decides to use the vaccine/cure on the now-sentient black oil, which looks like an alien, but it attacks him before he can. Bronschweig begs his crew for help, but they’re not about to let him come out of the cave and risk spreading the infection.

WMM is enjoying tea in England when he gets a phone call alerting him to “a situation.” CSM has arranged a meeting in London, as ordered by someone named Strughold. WMM meets up with the rest of the Syndicate there, and Strughold tells them that they need to reassess their role in colonization. The Elder clarifies: “The virus has mutated.” They’re now dealing with a new alien biological entity.

WMM says this is spontaneous repopulation, not colonization. This means they’ve been used and lied to this whole time. Strughold says they’re going to turn over a body infected by the new entity and tell “them” what the Syndicate has found. WMM thinks this will ruin them, but Strughold says it’ll buy them time to work on the vaccine/cure. CSM reveals that Mulder saw one of the infected bodies, which means someone tipped him off, probably Kurtzweil.

Though Kurtzweil is a kook and no one will believe him, at least according to WMM, the others know that they need to remove him from the equation. They also need to take out Mulder. WMM points out that that will just make him a martyr for his cause. Strughold says that, in that case, they need to take away “what he holds most valuable – that with which he can’t live without” [sic, ugh].

Mulder and Scully go to the cave site, but all traces of the investigation have been removed. Mulder sees that the grass at a nearby playground has recently been laid, and Scully can tell that the equipment is new. Stevie’s friends approach but won’t answer the agents’ questions about the playground or their new bikes. They also don’t believe that Mulder and Scully are FBI agents, since they look like door-to-door salesmen. When Mulder flashes his badge, one of the boys tells him that the crew left an hour ago.

The agents follow their trail, wondering what they’re transporting in their unmarked tanker trucks. They can’t decide which direction the crew went, left or right, so Mulder drives straight onto a dirt road. He boasts that he’s never been wrong in the five years he and Scully have worked together – “not driving, anyway.” The agents end up in the middle of nowhere, and Scully regrets coming to Texas in the first place. She doubts that the crew is hauling a virus in the tanker trucks. Mulder finally tells Scully that the virus might be extraterrestrial.

A train comes by, giving Mulder an idea. Well, really, two ideas, one of which is to follow the train. The end up at a site that looks like the one set up during the cave investigation. Scully wonders why there’s a cornfield around it, since they’re in the desert. They go inside a domed building, which Scully thinks is a venting system on top of a larger facility. There’s humming below them and catwalks above. Someone has definitely figured out they’re there, and the response is to release hundreds of bees.

The agents run for it, managing to escape without getting stung. They see lights approaching and realize they’re being pursued by helicopters. They run back through the cornfield, crouching down at one point to avoid detection. They get separated, so Mulder gets to run through the corn, yelling, “SCULLAY!” They both make it out of the cornfield, realizing that the helicopters have disappeared.

Scully makes it back to D.C. for the hearing, where she presents the bone fragments. Meanwhile, Mulder meets with Kurtzweil and tells him about the tanker trucks. Scully tells the hearing panel that Michaud may be involved in whatever’s going on. Mulder tells Kurtzweil about the bees and corn. As Cassidy questions Scully about the investigation, a bee crawls around Scully’s back. She admits that she’s working with Mulder again.

Kurtzweil and Mulder think that the corn is a way of carrying a virus contained in altered pollen. Mulder’s annoyed that Kurtzweil doesn’t have any answers; he doesn’t think Kurtzweil even knew Bill. In fact, he suspects that Kurtzweil has been using Mulder to get information. Kurtzweil points out that Mulder wouldn’t have known where to look without his help. He thinks there’s a reason Mulder and Scully were allowed to leave Texas alive. As Kurtzweil leaves, Mulder realizes that someone was listening to their conversation.

He goes home and looks through a photo album, seeing Kurtzweil in an old picture. Scully arrives and announces that she’s being transferred to Salt Lake City. She’s not willing to make the move, so she’s resigned. Mulder tells her she can’t quit now – they’re close to finding something. Scully asks him not to drag her into something crazy yet again. She’s ready to walk away. Mulder says he needs her, but she disagrees – she’s only ever held him back.

Mulder goes after Scully to argue that she can’t resign with a clear conscience. She reminds him that she was brought in as his partner to debunk his work. Mulder says that she really saved him with her science and reason. “You kept me honest,” he says. “You made me a whole person.” He owes her everything but she owes him nothing. Mulder isn’t sure he wants to move forward alone, or if he can, but he knows that if he quits, the bad guys win.

The two give each other meaningful looks for a while, then hug for an even longer while. She kisses his forehead, and after some more meaningful looking, Mulder moves in for a real kiss. But that STUPID FREAKING BEE interrupts them by stinging Scully. Mulder says it must have gotten in her shirt (unlike him, who won’t get into her shirt for another season or so). Scully immediately starts feeling like something’s wrong; it’s like she’s having an allergic reaction without having a bee allergy.

Mulder calls paramedics and tells them that they may be dealing with a virus. Instead of telling Mulder which hospital Scully’s being taken to, the paramedic driving the ambulance shoots him through the window. Moments later, an ambulance presumably carrying real paramedics arrives. Meanwhile, Scully’s taken to a plane, where CSM is ready to take her somewhere else.

Mulder wakes up in the hospital with the Lone Gunmen standing over him. He calls them the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto. They tell him the bullet only grazed him, but he’s been unconscious for a while. Mulder wants to go look for Scully, but Skinner comes in and stops him, noting that the bad guys will never let him find her. Mulder suggests that he and Byers trade places, which fools the person watching his room, allowing him to leave the hospital undetected.

WMM tracks down Kurtzweil and corners him in the alley behind the bar where he and Mulder keep meeting. When Mulder arrives, he finds only WMM and another Syndicate man in the alley. They tell him that Kurtzweil has already come and gone. WMM invites him into his car so they can discuss a way to save Scully. He gives Mulder a vaccine/cure that he has to administer within 96 hours, and the coordinates where he can find his partner.

WMM admits that the virus is extraterrestrial, and though they don’t know much about it, it was the original inhabitant of the planet. He waxes poetic about a virus being a “colonizing force” that can’t be defeated. It lives underground until it mutates and attacks. Mulder can’t believe that the Syndicate has been working to conceal a virus this whole time. WMM says he has it all backwards – today’s deadliest viruses are “newborns.” The one they’re dealing with now has been around longer than humans.

Aliens sent the viruses here centuries ago, and they’ve been waiting to be awoken. Humans will be the hosts. The vaccine/cure is humanity’s only defense. Bill was one of the people trying to conceal the truth. Without the vaccine/cure, humans will become slaves to aliens. Now the virus is gestating, and it’s time to fight. WMM only wants the truth out now because he wants to protect his family. He knows he’ll be killed for telling Mulder everything.

Mulder asks where Kurtzweil is, but WMM won’t tell him. Mulder demands to be let out of the car, so they take him back to the alley. WMM warns that the Syndicate will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. They ordered WMM to kill Kurtzweil, and now he’s supposed to kill Mulder. Instead, he kills his driver and tells Mulder to “trust no one.” WMM tells Mulder that the alien colonists don’t know about the vaccine/cure yet. If he can find Scully, he’ll understand how huge the project they’ve been working on for 50 years is. Mulder leaves, and WMM gets back in the car, which immediately explodes.

48 hours later, Mulder’s in Antarctica, on the hunt for Scully. The coordinates WMM gave him have led him to a spot near yet another investigation site. As he’s approaching, he falls through the snow into a tunnel. There’s a hole leading deeper underground that eventually takes Mulder to a cave containing frozen bodies, at least one of which is an alien. CSM arrives at the site and sees that he has a visitor. Mulder goes through a tunnel into a cavern filled with frozen bodies.

Using binoculars, Mulder is able to spot a container he figures is Scully’s. He slips on his way down and almost falls into the bottomless pit that the cavern leads to. He manages to grab on to something and make his way to Scully’s container, but only her cross necklace is inside. He checks out the rows of bodies and finds her frozen. As guards move in to intercept him, Mulder frees Scully from the ice and administers the vaccine/cure. It works immediately, pulling the virus from her into the cave’s weird life-sustaining system, but he can’t finish disconnecting her from the system before the cave starts to quake.

Someone tells CSM that there’s a contaminant in the system. CSM realizes that Mulder has the vaccine/cure. Mulder finishes freeing Scully as the facility’s apparent self-destruct system goes into effect. CSM orders everyone to abandon the facility, predicting that Mulder and Scully won’t make it out alive. Mulder takes his partner back the way he came in as all the frozen bodies start thawing. One of the aliens is really ticked about being trapped in ice.

Scully stops breathing, and Mulder has to put her down to revive her. “I had you big-time,” she teases. The trapped bodies start trying to break free of their frozen prisons, and somehow steam is released. The agents are able to get out just before an alien can get a good hold of Mulder and pull him back inside. They climb back to the surface as the ice around them starts to break and the whole facility collapses in on itself.

The agents can’t outrun the deepening pit, but something rising out of the ground pushes them back up, saving them. It’s a giant UFO. Mulder isn’t sure Scully sees it before it’s gone, but she assures him she saw it. He’s exhausted, so she cradles him in her arms, right at the edge of a gigantic ice canyon.

Back in D.C., Cassidy addresses Scully and Skinner as someone steals the bone fragments. Cassidy says that Scully’s report is implausible, and nothing in it really points to domestic terrorism. The bone fragments end up in a tanker truck supposedly transporting corn oil. The corn in Texas is set on fire. Scully gives Cassidy the bee that stung her and says that she doesn’t think the FBI currently has a devision that’s equipped to continue the investigation.

Mulder reads a news article about the hanta virus being contained in Texas. Scully joins him and he complains that the truth is once again being buried. Scully says she told the whole story, but Mulder knows it won’t make a difference. They’ve been here before, right next to the truth, and once again, they’re being knocked back to the beginning. Scully was right to want to quit. She’d be safer away from him, working as a doctor. Scully refuses, saying her work is with him. There’s a cure for the virus she was exposed to; they could save other people. She takes his hand and repeats what he said about the bad guys winning if she quits now.

In the desert of Tunisia, a helicopter delivers CSM to a cornfield. He tells a man that Mulder has seen more than he should, and now he’s determined to uncover the truth. The other man says that Mulder’s just one man, and “one man alone cannot fight the future.” CSM hands over a note he received, which the other man reads, then drops in the sand. It’s a telegram announcing that the X-files division has been reopened.

Thoughts: This movie features a cavalcade of stars:

  • Kurtzweil is played by the recently deceased Martin Landau.
  • Michaud is played by Terry O’Quinn, in his second role in the series.
  • Cassidy is played by Blythe Danner, who I love, and who should have had a bigger role, and who better be in the Will and Grace revival.
  • Strughold is played by Armin Mueller-Stahl.
  • She’s uncredited, for some reason, but the bartender Mulder mopes to is played by the also recently deceased Glenne Headly.

Once again, thanks, writers, for names like Kurtzweil and Bronschweig that I had to type over and over. We need more Smiths, Lees, and Kims on this show.

Whoever wrote the line “that with which he can’t live without,” your third-grade English teacher is weeping somewhere.

Aww, ‘bye, WMM. You were the only bearable part of the Syndicate.

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.

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