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.

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December 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 7, 2016

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

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

I've seen pretentious college plays just like this

I’ve seen pretentious college plays just like this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 8, 2015

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

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

A face only a mother could love

A face only a mother could love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 20, 2015

The X-Files 1.17, E.B.E.: “I’m Wondering Which Lie to Believe”

Posted in TV tagged , , at 2:29 pm by Jenn

Welcome, helpful friends

Welcome, helpful friends

Summary: A pilot flies over Iraq, surprised to see something else darting through the sky 25 miles away. It doesn’t show up on radar. Suddenly there’s a bright light, and the pilot’s crew warns that he’s being attacked. The pilot fires and hits the object. In a NATO surveillance station on the Turkey/Iraq border, soldiers are awakened by explosions. They report a downed plane that, again, isn’t appearing on radar. The object remains in the sky.

In Reagan, Tennessee, a truck driver finds his radio cycling through stations on its own. He turns it off and hears people on his CB talking about seeing lights. Suddenly the truck loses power. The driver pulls over safely, then checks out the sky for lights. The truck doors open by themselves and the driver fires his gun inside.

When the sun comes up, Mulder and Scully check out the area, trying to figure out if the truck was struck by lightning. Also, the lights everyone saw could be from swamp gas. Mulder collects a possibly radioactive sample. He wonders why whatever they’re dealing with singled out the truck driver. Scully thinks he was hallucinating because he was tired. But Mulder has two stopwatches that tell him time is acting funny in the area.

The agents interview the truck driver, Ranheim, whose story doesn’t match what he said he saw the night before. He starts coughing, leading Scully to suspect that that plus his fever and veteran status add up to Gulf War Syndrome. Ranheim denies being in the Gulf War but admits that he’s been feeling sick since his encounter the night before. A local police chief interrupts the interview to tell Ranheim that he can go – the police won’t be cooperating with the investigation.

Out of options, the agents prepare to return to D.C. via bus. A woman borrows Scully’s pen as Mulder notes that soldiers often reported seeing UFOs in the Gulf War. Maybe UFOs cause Gulf War Syndrome. Scully thinks the soldiers just mistake classified aircraft for UFOs, and they get sick from the fumes. Mulder replies that there could be weapons onboard those aircraft that make people sick. When they get back to D.C., he plans to speak to some contacts – the Lone Gunmen.

The agents meet with the Lone Gunmen, one of whom, Langly, claims to have eaten breakfast with JFK’s shooter. Byers says that a Russian man is being put into power by the most evil force of the 20th century. “Barney?” Mulder guesses. Byers means the CIA. Frohike thinks Scully’s hot. Scully doesn’t think the government could orchestrate a huge conspiracy. Byers believes that there’s a network within the government controlling all their moves. To prove his theory, he pulls a magnetic tracking strip out of a $20 bill.

Mulder asks about Gulf War Syndrome and classified aircraft. Byers and Langly laugh at Mulder’s theory that UFOs cause the illness. “That’s why we like you, Mulder,” Byers says. “Your ideas are weirder than ours.” The agents head back to FBI headquarters, where Scully laughs off Mulder’s willingness to listen to such paranoid people: “I don’t know how you could think what they say is even remotely plausible.” “You think it’s remotely plausible that someone might think you’re hot?” Mulder replies.

Scully’s pen no longer works, so she takes it apart to look at it. Inside she finds something that you definitely wouldn’t find in a regular pen. Mulder heads home and turns on a blacklight, signaling to Deep Throat that he wants to meet. The two men convene downtown, chatting about baseball while Mulder eats sunflower seeds. Deep Throat turns away from tourists taking pictures of the monuments. Mulder asks about the pen, which seemed to contain a listening device. Deep Throat gives him files and tells him he’s undertaking “a dangerous task.”

Mulder takes the files to his office, where Scully tells him that she looked into Ranheim and his trucks. His manifest lists auto parts, but the weigh stations he visited on his route show weights that don’t match his cargo’s weight. Also, Ranheim’s real name is Frank Druce, and he did serve in the Gulf War. He’s been treated at the VA hospital three times in the past year – he didn’t just start getting sick the other night.

Mulder ties the Iraqi plane to Druce, guessing that Druce is transporting the aircraft. Scully asks for more information on Deep Throat, unsure of whether they can trust him. After all, things aren’t as they appear to be. Deep Throat could have planted the bug. Mulder refuses to believe that Deep Throat would break his confidence. Scully reports that the truck is now heading toward Colorado, so the agents plan to track it down.

Deep Throat’s waiting for Mulder when he gets home. He reveals that 17 UFOs have been spotted in Georgia. Mulder thinks they’re monitoring the place where the Iraqi plane wreckage is being held. Deep Throat starts to leave, and Mulder thanks him for risking his life to give Mulder information. When he opens Deep Throat’s newest package, he finds a picture of a UFO in the sky over an Army vehicle. Scully examines the photo and reports that it’s fake. The shadows and colors of the UFO’s reflections can’t be real.

Mulder accuses her of being determined not to believe. Scully replies that he’s too determined to believe. She’s never met anyone so passionate and dedicated to a belief. But others won’t have the same respect for him that she does. “The truth is out there, but so are lies,” she warns. She returns to FBI headquarters, leaving her bag unattended while she gets coffee. Oh, Scully. Mulder tells her that he had the photo analyzed further, and she was right about it being fake. They can’t trust Deep Throat anymore – he’s gone to great lengths to mess with their investigation.

Mulder meets with Deep Throat at an aquarium to confront him over the photo and his lies. Deep Throat admits that he wanted to throw the agents off the right track. Some secrets need to stay secret because people aren’t ready to know the truth. Mulder lists a bunch of conspiracies, wondering when they’ll end. He guesses they won’t, as long as people like Deep Throat keep covering up the truth.

Deep Throat says that he knew he would have to throw Mulder off the trail once he started looking into the aircraft. A lie was the best way to do so. Deep Throat admires the fish, telling Mulder that if a shark stops swimming, it’ll die: “Don’t stop swimming.” He didn’t plant the bug, but he knows whoever did is still listening.

Mulder goes home and tears apart his apartment, looking for other listening devices. He finds one inside a lightbulb and another inside an electrical outlet. When Scully shows up, Mulder shows her the bugs, telling her that they should move on from their investigation. He writes her a note saying, “We have to find the truck.” Scully agrees.

Mulder drops Scully off downtown, where a man watches her as she hails a cab, and another man follows Mulder. Scully goes to Dulles Airport, buying tickets to Chicago and L.A. Mulder tries to lose his tail on his way to an airport in Baltimore (BWI, I guess). The two meet up on a stopover in Vegas, then drive to Washington State to catch up to the truck.

There’s lots of driving, and then suddenly the radio goes crazy and there are lights in the sky. The agents’ car stops near the truck, which Druce appears to have abandoned. Mulder and Scully check out the cargo area and find a little lab perfect for holding an alien life form. Mulder thinks it was rescued. But his stopwatches don’t show that anything strange is going on with time, so the light show must have been a hoax. He thinks the government is using his beliefs against him.

In a hotel, Mulder checks with hotlines that handle UFO reports, and marks on a map where some have been seen. They follow the route the truck has taken. The agents next head to Mattawa, Washington, coming across a group of people waiting in the woods for a UFO. A guy thinks it’ll appear there because aliens are drawn to a nearby power plant. The agents see Druce at the power plant, which Scully notes is highly secured.

Mulder calls the Lone Gunmen to tell them they could run a picture of an extraterrestrial biological entity (an E.B.E.) on the front page of their paper. All they need to do is hack some IDs so Mulder and Scully can enter the power plant. When they’re unable to access a classified area, Scully decides to come clean about their identities. Mulder makes a break for it and runs around until he’s captured right where the possible alien is possibly being held. Possibly.

Deep Throat arrives and calls off security. He tells Mulder that the alien is dead. After Roswell, a bunch of countries held a conference where they agreed that if an alien landed in one of their nations, that country would have to kill it. Deep Throat served in the CIA during the Vietnam War, and was responsible for killing an alien shot down by the military. He feels horrible for shooting an innocent creature.

When Deep Throat met Mulder, he found a way to atone for what he’d done. Maybe someday, the truth will be known thanks to Mulder. Mulder looks in the alien’s cell, which is empty. As they leave, Deep Throat notes that he’s quiet. “I’m wondering which lie to believe,” Mulder replies. Scully rejoins her partner as Deep Throat walks off into the fog.

Thoughts: The Lone Gunmen were originally only supposed to be in one episode, so instead of finding an actor to play Frohike, the show used an assistant director who’d previously done a little acting. They also used his name, Tom Braidwood, for Mulder’s ID at the power plant. Scully’s fake name, Val Stefoff, came from another assistant director (who’s actually a man).

More trivia I just learned this week: Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat) is the father of Melora Hardin.

Mulder pronounces “data” like “dada.” Don’t do that, Mulder.

Just for the record, since I know it comes up in the future, Mulder lets Scully drive in this episode.

September 13, 2015

The X-Files 1.16, Young at Heart: Mulder vs. the One-Armed Man

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

You're telling me you're not attracted to this, Mulder?

You’re telling me you’re not attracted to this, Mulder?

Summary: At Tashmoo Federal Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, it’s 1989. Ooh, we’ve gone back in time! How exciting! A man in a wheelchair in the infirmary hears screaming from down the hall and goes to investigate. He comes across a doctor operating on a prisoner named John Barnett. The doctor insists that Barnett, who’s recently had a hand amputated, is dead, so the other prisoner couldn’t have heard him screaming. Barnett certainly looks dead, at least until he blinks his eyes.

In present-day D.C., Mulder and Scully are called to a department store. They meet up with Agent Reggie Purdue, who explains that someone killed a saleswoman. The part of the crime that makes it an X-file is that Mulder and Purdue think the killer is Barnett. Mulder tells Scully that Barnett was his first case at the FBI. Mulder figured out that Barnett had an inside man at an armored car company helping him pull off robberies. Barnett found out that Mulder was on to him and started leaving him notes. Notes like the one left at this crime scene: “Fox can’t guard the chicken coop.”

Mulder continues that he screwed something up and an agent died. Barnett was sent to prison on multiple life sentences and was believed to have died four years ago. Mulder takes the note to an analyst, Henderson, who can confirm that the note was written in the past 48 hours. She can only be 95% sure that it matches Barnett’s handwriting. Meanwhile, Purdue shows Scully footage of Mulder’s capture of Barnett four years earlier. Mulder had the opportunity to kill Barnett but didn’t. As a result, Barnett shot and killed another agent. After Mulder testified, Barnett vowed revenge.

Scully and Mulder reconvene to take a look at Barnett’s death certificate. Scully wonders if Barnett planned something with another prisoner who’s now committing copycat crimes. She tells Mulder that she saw the footage of the arrest, and he did the right thing. Mulder disagreed – he’s the reason a fellow agent died.

Mulder then goes to watch the son of the dead agent play football, because why not make himself feel worse? When he returns to his car, there’s an envelope inside containing surveillance photos of him and Scully, and a note: “A hunted Fox eventually dies.” Mulder yells out that he’ll get Barnett. The football-game attendees are confused. One of them is totally Barnett, by the way.

Mulder takes the photos to Purdue, who of course insists that Barnett is dead. Mulder says he can just feel that Barnett’s still alive. Purdue’s always tried to ignore the talk about Mulder being weird, since he’s so good at his job. He warns that other agents see Mulder as an embarrassment and a liability. Mulder wonders if this means someone at the FBI is messing with him.

Scully arrives with a copy of Barnett’s will, which leaves all of his possessions to Crandall, the man in the wheelchair. He was also supposedly cremated. This makes Purdue even surer that someone’s messing with Mulder. Mulder thinks that killing a saleswoman is a pretty big move to make for someone who just wants to mess with him.

While someone works on an age-progression photo of Barnett, Mulder flashes back to testifying at Barnett’s trial. Barnett used his accomplice as a hostage, and though Mulder had the chance to shoot Barnett, he didn’t. He was afraid of hurting the hostage, and he thought they’d cornered the Barnett, leaving him no way to escape. Mulder announces that Barnett killed the FBI agent for spite, and Barnett deserves to die like an animal. “I’ll get you,” Barnett whispers, giving Mulder an air kiss.

In the present, Scully tells Mulder that the prison sent over Barnett’s medical records. He supposedly died from heart problems, but he was admitted to the infirmary with an infection in his hand. He was never diagnosed with heart issues. The agents head to the prison and chat with Crandall, who denies that he knew Barnett very well. He also denies that Barnett had heard problems. He reveals that he saw Barnett with his hand removed, and Crandall knew he wasn’t dead.

The agents return to D.C., where Mulder gets a call from Barnett. Barnett reveals that he’s in the area, and in fact stood next to Mulder in line for coffee that morning. “I own you,” Barnett taunts. Mulder asks for confirmation that he’s talking to the real Barnett, so Barnett gives him an air kiss. Mulder then calls Purdue to fill him in. He mentions that the note at the store was written by a right-hander, but Crandall says Barnett’s right hand was amputated. Actually, Barnett’s right hand is now around Purdue’s neck, killing him.

The agents head to Purdue’s place, where Mulder laments the loss of his friend. He wishes he’d shot Barnett when he had the chance. Barnett has left another note: “Funeral for Fox’s friends – then for Fox.” Henderson says the note was definitely written by a right-hander, and probably not someone using a prosthesis. She points out that Mulder hasn’t run any fingerprints, and it doesn’t look like the note-writer wore gloves.

Scully tells Mulder that Ridley, the doctor who operated on Barnett, doesn’t have a current medical license. In fact, his license was revoked because he was doing unauthorized experiments on children with progeria. Mulder and Scully visit the National Institutes of Health, where a doctor tells them about the disease. Most patients die of heart problems associated with old age. Ridley wanted to find a way to slow down the accelerated aging process, but his methods were dangerous. Now he’s disappeared, but may be experimenting in South America.

Scully argues that aging can’t be reversed, but Mulder says it’s not any crazier than anything else they’ve looked into. Barnett may be hiding himself in plain sight, as a younger person. He has Barnett’s age-progressed photo regressed. Scully types up a report about how Ridley worked to reverse aging at the genetic level. She hears a noise in her apartment but doesn’t seem worried that she could meet the same fate as Purdue.

When Scully does get appropriately concerned, she grabs her gun and looks around her apartment for any intruders. Before she can find anyone, Ridley shows up. Barnett retreats. Scully calls Mulder over, and Ridley tells the agents that he only has a month or so left to live. He’s dying of the same heart problems that kill progeria patients. Barnett’s healthy, except for his eyes, which didn’t respond to the gene therapy.

Ridley discovered strange properties in Barnett’s genes, which allowed him to regrow Barnett’s hand, though not a completely human one. Barnett appears to be part salamander now. Ridley ignored all the insults hurled at him because he knew he’d made a huge medical breakthrough. After Ridley’s medical license was revoked, sponsors emerged to fund his research – high-ranking sponsors.

Mulder meets with Deep Throat, who confirms Ridley’s claims. Barnett stole Ridley’s research, and the government is working on buying it from him. He wants a lot in return, and Mulder’s worried that he’ll get it. Deep Throat points out that the research “could change the course of mankind.” At Scully’s apartment, she hears someone dialing in to her answering machine to play her messages. She takes the machine to Mulder and tells him she thinks someone was in her apartment. She found one of Barnett’s fingerprints on the machine.

Just then, Barnett calls to warn Mulder that Ridley’s going to die soon, “like the rest of [Mulder’s] friends.” Then it’ll be Mulder’s turn. Mulder vows to stop him, but Barnett says they’re in the land of the free, so he’s free to kill people and get away with it. Mulder decides to use what Barnett knows of Scully’s movements from her message to set up an ambush. Scully will be the bait at a cello concert. What could possibly go wrong?

As a man with a salamander hand tunes a piano, Mulder and Scully exchange “everything’s cool, nothing bad will happen” glances in the lobby. They are dumb, because Barnett walks right by Mulder and focuses on Scully, firing a gun at her. Mulder has her taken from the lobby as he runs after Barnett, who takes the cellist hostage. So now Mulder’s facing a hostage situation with Barnett just like he did four years earlier.

Barnett taunts that Mulder can’t kill him because he has all of Ridley’s research. Barnett can shoot the cellist, and Mulder can’t do anything about it. Mulder lets him blather for a while before shooting him between the eyes. Meanwhile, Scully regains consciousness and looks at the bullet holes in her clothes. She’s fine, thanks to her bulletproof vest. Doctors tend to Barnett, who refuses to talk to the CIA agent asking for his help. Scully praises Mulder for doing the right thing.

Barnett flatlines, looking at Mulder as he dies. All of Ridley’s research is out in the world somewhere, and the agents have no way of knowing how to find it. As we get a close-up of a locker at a train station, Mulder says that he doesn’t think we’ve seen the last of Barnett.

Thoughts: Barnett: “It’s illegal to tape another’s phone call without their express permission.” It’s also illegal to kill people, so…call it even?

Mulder doesn’t look for fingerprints until halfway through the episode, and even then it’s only because Henderson mentions it. I can buy Mulder doing that, since he gets so focused that he forgets things like that, but Scully never noticed?

Okay, time for Scully to get an alarm system and a better lock for her door.

August 23, 2015

The X-Files 1.11, Eve: Experimenting With Eugenics? What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Posted in TV tagged , at 2:23 pm by Jenn

Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a normal little family...

Nothing out of the ordinary here, just a normal little family…

Summary: It’s a quiet morning in Greenwich, Connecticut, and a little girl is standing in a driveway, clutching a stuffed animal. A couple jogging by stops and asks the girl, Teena, where her father is. She tells them that he needed time alone. The jogging husband finds Teena’s father, Joel, sitting on a swing. He’s dead, with two puncture marks on the side of his neck.

In D.C., Scully tells Mulder that Joel died of massive blood loss – he lost four liters. Mulder quips that he was “running on empty.” Scully’s like, “Ha ha ha, his eight-year-old daughter was there, you jerk.” There’s no evidence at the scene. Mulder starts talking about some mutilated cows with the same punctures and blood loss, with no blood found at the scene. Scully notes that those mutilations have been connected to alien abductions. Mulder thinks Teena was abducted when her father was being killed.

The two travel to Greenwich, where Teena’s being kept at a social services hostel until a foster family can be found for her (her mother is also dead). Scully starts the questioning, treating the situation as if it were a human-on-human crime. Mulder takes over, asking about strange sounds. Teena reports seeing red lightning before everything went dark. “The men from the clouds – they were after my dad,” she says. “They wanted to exsanguinate him.”

Scully gets a call and tells Mulder that there was another death. The agents head to Marin County, California, where Doug Reardon was found dead at the exact same time and in the exact same circumstances as Joel. He also had digitalis in his system. Doug’s daughter Cindy was at the house at the time but doesn’t remember anything. Mulder’s sure that Cindy, like Teena, will remember seeing red lightning.

That night, Teena lies away during a thunderstorm. She moves a chair in front of the door and locks the window just before someone tries to get into her room. She hides under the bed, only getting out when she thinks she’s safe. Moments later, there’s a flash of light. A social worker hears Teena scream and runs to her room, but the girl is gone.

Mulder and Scully discuss her disappearance, which Mulder, of course, thinks is an alien abduction. They go to meet Cindy, who looks exactly like Teena. Her mother, Ellen, denies that Cindy was adopted, and was the only child born at the time. Scully shows her a picture of Teena and Joel, telling her that Joel died at the same time Doug did, in the same way. Ellen says that she conceived Cindy through in-vitro fertilization.

Scully tells Mulder that it’s completely possible that two people could look exactly alike. Mulder thinks it’s less likely that the two people would have fathers who died through exsanguination at the same time. Since Teena disappeared, Mulder thinks Cindy will, too, so he wants to keep an eye on the Reardons’ house.

Meanwhile, Scully goes to the Luther Stapes Center to find out more about in-vitro fertilization. The doctor she talks to, Katz, denies any possibility that a patient could receive an embryo from someone other than herself. Scully looks through files and discovers that Teena’s mother also underwent in-vitro fertilization at the Luther Stapes Center, under the supervision of Dr. Sally Kendrick.

Katz isn’t a fan of Kendrick’s, reporting that she was fired for dabbling in eugenics experiments. However, when he requested an investigation, he was denied. Kendrick has since disappeared. Scully takes the information to Mulder, who wonders if Kendrick is trying to erase any evidence that she was experimenting. Scully thinks she’s working with someone else to get revenge on the Luther Stapes Center.

The phone rings, but Scully only hears clicks on the line. Mulder kicks her out, saying he wants to watch a movie. He really goes to meet Deep Throat, who wants to discuss the Litchfield Experiments. In the ’50s, Russians were experimenting with eugenics, trying to create a “superior soldier.” A compound in Litchfield housed a bunch of genetically superior children. The boys were called Adam and the girls were called Eve.

Deep Throat gets the agents access to an institution for the criminally insane, where they meet Eve 6. They recognize her, since she looks just like Dr. Kendrick. She tells them that the Adams and Eves were prone to suicide, so most of them are dead. Eve 7 and Eve 8 escaped. Eve 6 says she’s not Kendrick, but “she is me and I am her, and we are all together.” The Litchfield experimenters test her to see what went wrong, but Eve 6 knows that Kendrick knows exactly what that is.

The clones have heightened skills, like strength and intelligence, but along with them comes heightened psychosis. On her walls are pictures of a dozen Eves, who all look like Cindy and Teena. Mulder summarizes the case: Kendrick used the Luther Stapes Center to continue the Litchfield experiments, cloning herself.

Cindy goes to bed as the agents stake out her house. Mulder and Scully decide that Kendrick is using one of the clones as an accomplice to get the Eves away from their adoptive parents. Cindy spies on them through her bedroom window as Scully wonders if the Eves know what they are. A light shines from Cindy’s closet, and Scully sees someone come out and grab Cindy. The agents circle the house, and someone knocks Scully out.

Mulder catches one of the escaped Eves leaving the house with Cindy, but she’s armed, so he has to give her a head start. Scully calls the police and sends out a team to search for Kendrick and Cindy. Mulder assures Ellen that Kendrick most likely wants to keep Cindy alive. Kendrick takes Cindy to a motel, where Teena is happy to meet her lookalike. In the morning, someone at the motel calls to report guests fitting Kendrick and Cindy’s descriptions.

Kendrick tells the girls her work at the Luther Stapes Center; the psychosis didn’t develop in the clones until they were in their 20s. The girls say they “just knew” about each other, and how to orchestrate their fathers’ deaths. They deny that they were born – “we were created.” Kendrick tells them they need to think of themselves as humans, no matter how special they are. The man who raised her was able to give her treatments to make her normal.

Kendrick starts to shake, and the girls smile evilly. They gave Kendrick a lethal dose of digitalis. “You made us,” they remind her – she should be able to figure out why they did it. The agents arrive at the motel and find Kendrick dead. The girls say that Kendrick and a woman who looked just like her tried to get them all to poison themselves. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with Eve 8 now.

The agents ask to keep the girls with them, wondering how they’ll cope when Teena returns to foster care. After driving for a while, the girls ask to stop to use the bathroom. The agents take them to a café, where Mulder orders sodas (diets for the adults, regulars for the girls). One of the girls sneaks out of the restroom, takes two of the sodas, and puts digitalis in them. Mulder asks her to take a sip to make sure it’s diet, but the girl declines.

The group heads back to the car, but Mulder can’t find his keys. When he goes back in to get them, he finds traces of a green substance on the counter. As soon as he realizes what it is, he races back outside and makes Scully spill her drink. He quietly tells her that the girls poisoned their drinks (though they didn’t drink enough to get the effects).

The girls disappear, so the agents search for them through rows of semi trucks. Their superior intellect isn’t enough to keep them from being found by a seasoned FBI agent. However, the fact that the girls look like…well, girls makes a couple suspicious that they’re being kidnapped. The girls are able to run off again. They hide in a boat while the agents leave, thinking they escaped with a bus full of kids. This time, though, Mulder fools them and captures them.

Mulder and Scully tell Ellen what happened, letting her know that she has the right to find out more. Ellen says that Cindy was never really her daughter. She tears up a family picture and burns it. The Eves are taken to Eve 6’s institution, where they receive a visitor: Eve 8. How did they know Eve 8 would come for them? They “just knew.”

Thoughts: Want to feel old? The twins who played Teena and Cindy are now 31. They’re older than Gillian Anderson was when this episode was filmed.

Probably everyone knows this, but ’90s one-hit-wonder band Eve 6 named themselves after this episode.

Isn’t Mulder’s mother also named Teena, spelled the same way? What’s the show’s interest in that name with that unusual spelling?

It looks like Mulder just keeps a handful of sunflower seeds in his jacket pocket. I feel bad for his dry cleaner.

August 16, 2015

The X-Files 1.10, Fallen Angel: Mad Max

Posted in TV tagged , at 2:19 pm by Jenn

This is normal. Completely normal

This is normal. Completely normal

Summary: There are flames in the woods of Townsend, Wisconsin, but the sheriff’s deputy who arrives on the scene is unable to radio the fire department. Meanwhile, the U.S. Space Surveillance Center in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, spots something in the sky. It was first spotted near Connecticut, but now it’s over Townsend. A higher-up announces that it was a meteor, and definitely not anything top-secret. The higher-up makes a call, confirming a “fallen angel,” and mobilizes Operation Falcon. In Townsend, Deputy Wright sees a bright light and disappears.

Townsend’s residents are evacuated, and the official story is that a train crashed and spilled toxic cargo. Mulder knows better, flashing back to a conversation with Deep Throat, who told him about Operation Falcon. Commander Calvin Henderson is in charge of a mission to retrieve the pieces of a crashed aircraft. Deep Throat warns that Mulder only has a couple days to get on top of things before it’s all swept under the rug.

Now in Townsend, Mulder goes to the woods and finds an area marked off by lasers. There are military personnel all over the place, but they think they’re participating in a drill. Mulder hides on the underside of a Jeep to sneak into the operation’s headquarters. Once darkness falls, Mulder goes to the crash site and takes some pictures. He’s caught by a soldier who knocks him out, but his camera keeps taking photos.

Mulder is taken to Henderson, who warns that Mulder violated a federal quarantine. He claims that they’re trying to protect the environment. Mulder needs to forget that he saw anything. Yeah, that’s not going to happen. He’s taken to a holding cell, where he meets another captive, Max Fenig. He’s with NICAP, the National Investigative Committee of Aerial Phenomenon. Basically, he’s a conspiracy theorist, and a slightly nuttier version of Mulder.

The two men spend the night in their cells, and in the morning, Mulder’s there alone. Scully arrives to retrieve her partner, very much unamused. She yells at Mulder for ignoring protocol like he always does. She confirms that there was no toxic spill, but there was a downed jet carrying a nuclear warhead. Scully believes this cover story because it came from someone with a high classification. Mulder thinks the operation is overkill. Plus, there’s no way the pilot could have survived, as the higher-ups claim.

The air inside the laser fence starts moving around, and something escapes the area. Meanwhile, Scully takes Mulder to his motel, even though she’s supposed to take him back to D.C. for an Office of Professional Responsibility hearing. His room has been trashed, and someone’s still there. The agents enter the bathroom, where a pair of flailing legs is trying to escape through the window. The legs belong to Max, who admits that NICAP has been following Mulder for years through his travel expenses. Mulder’s surprised that anyone was paying attention to his work.

Max takes the agents to his trailer, which is basically Mulder’s alien-themed dream home. The men talk about crop circles while Scully snoops, seeing that Max is on medication. Max has tapped into a lot of communications, and he has a recording of Wright’s call in the woods. After his encounter with the light, someone called for medical aid.

The agents next go to a high school serving as the evacuation center so they can talk to Wright’s wife. She complains that the government won’t release her husband’s body. Scully tells her that’s illegal; she deserves to know the truth. “I can’t afford the truth,” Mrs. Wright says. She needs her husband’s pension. Suddenly the lights go out. Back at Operation Falcon headquarters, they’ve picked up a high-frequency signal. A team is sent out to “search and destroy.” After, like, five minutes (seriously, it takes forever), a bright light flashes and there’s screaming.

Mulder and Scully go to the hospital to talk to Dr. Oppenheim, the doctor who was on duty when Wright was brought in. He won’t talk, so Mulder guesses that the government is blackmailing him to keep quiet. Oppenheim confirms that Wright came in with firefighters, all of them dead from fifth- and sixth-degree burns. The bodies were all taken away before Oppenheim could examine them. Mulder wonders if the burns could have been caused by ionizing radiation.

Scully entertains this idea, but notes that the radiation could have come from exposure to the supposed nuclear warhead. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a close-encounter situation. Scully reminds him that he needs to go back to D.C. for his hearing. Suddenly the men from the search team are brought in, burned. Henderson walks in after them, giving Mulder a long look.

Mulder badgers Henderson about chasing after a being that reacts like a cornered animal. Henderson tries to get rid of the agents, but Oppenheim demands that Scully be allowed to stay. Mulder is kicked out, so he goes back to Max’s trailer, where he finds Max having a seizure. Once it ends, Max is surprised to learn what happened, since his medication has kept his epilepsy at bay for seven years.

Max tells Mulder that his seizures started when he was a kid. His doctors thought they were the result of a head injury, though Max doesn’t remember hitting his head. He used to wake up in strange places with no memory of arriving there. As Max goes to bed, Mulder sees a strange mark behind his ear. He goes back to his motel and looks up other instances of small scars behind people’s ears.

Scully returns in the morning, telling Mulder that all the burned men except two died. He shows her pictures of two women with no connection to each other who disappeared, then returned with the mark behind their ears. Scully thinks he’s crazy for thinking that Max was abducted. She reports that the medication he takes for epilepsy is also used to treat schizophrenia. Mulder tells her that Max isn’t the one who thinks he was abducted.

Another “meteor” is sighted over Townsend as Max gets a visit from the thing that escaped the lasers. (I don’t know technical terms here.) Max’s ears start bleeding and he wakes up. Mulder and Scully head over to see him, but his trailer is empty. Scully finds blood on his pillow. The agents hear on his surveillance that a trespasser has been spotted somewhere. Scully reminds Mulder of his hearing, but he’s sure that Henderson is going after Max.

Indeed, Operation Falcon tracks Max to a waterfront, and Henderson orders men to “take him with extreme caution.” When Scully and Mulder arrive, they find the men dead. Max is cowering in an old building, scratching at his scar and babbling that “they’re” coming for him. As more men from Operation Falcon arrive, they take Scully into custody, then prepare to swarm the building. A soldier using heat vision spots three creatures in the building.

Mulder tries to get Max to leave with him, but they’re interrupted by the…thingy. There’s a bright light, and Mulder is thrown across the room. He finds Max suspended in the air, caught in a beam of light. The light goes even brighter, and suddenly Mulder’s the only person left in the building. As the soldiers enter the building, Mulder finds Max’s NICAP cap. (Heh.) He tells Henderson that “they” got to Max first.

In D.C., Scully is questioned for Mulder’s hearing. She thinks he should be judged by different criteria than other agents. The man in charge of the hearing doesn’t care what she thinks. Mulder’s sure he’ll be ousted from the FBI, and he doesn’t blame Scully for telling the truth about his actions. As he enters the hearing room, Scully reads a newspaper article reporting that the “toxic cleanup” in Townsend was a success.

Mulder fights the hearing committee over their claims of what happened in Townsend. He’s sure that Max was abducted and everyone knows it. The head of the hearing tells him that Max’s body was found in a cargo container a few hours after he disappears. Mulder announces that too many people know what’s really going on; the government will never able to cover everything up.

Later, the head of the hearing meets Deep Throat to slam him for countermanding the committee’s recommendation to can Mulder. Deep Throat says they have a dilemma because of Mulder’s passions. His insubordination is a small price to pay for making sure Mulder’s safe from coming in contact with the wrong people. After all, they need to keep their friends close and their enemies closer.

Thoughts: It looks like Max was a prototype for the Lone Gunmen.

Hey, Operation Falcon, can you “search and destroy” a little faster? People’s lives are in danger, and the show is only an hour long.

I need the show to give things names so I don’t have to say “thingy.”

July 25, 2015

The X-Files 1.7, Ghost in the Machine: Does Not Compute

Posted in TV tagged , at 2:15 pm by Jenn

"I can assure you I acquired this by legal means, Scully. Just don't ask any questions"

“I can assure you I acquired this by legal means, Scully. Just don’t ask any questions”

Summary: At the Eurisko World Headquarters in Crystal City, Virginia (hey, that’s near me!), a guy named Brad fights with a higher-up about how the higher-up is killing the company. Later, the higher-up, Benjamin Drake, is watched as he types up a press release discussing Brad’s termination. A project called COS is also being terminated.

Drake goes into his bathroom, where the sink is overflowing. Before he can unclog it, the phone rings. The call is just a recording telling him what time it is. The door swings shut, and when Drake tries to unlock it, he’s electrocuted. A computer labeled COS (central operating system) takes in the scene and intones, “File deleted.”

Over at FBI headquarters, an agent named Jerry reconnects with Mulder, who he used to work with in the violent crimes division. He buys Mulder and Scully lunch and tells them about Drake’s death. He’s recommended them for the group that’s investigating. Mulder declines, since he and Scully have X-Files to deal with, but Jerry badly needs their help.

Mulder and Scully head to Eurisko as Scully wonders why Mulder left violent crimes. He jokes that he’s a pain to work with. He adds that Jerry got in a lot of trouble for misplacing evidence, which delayed the capture of a killer and led to the maiming of a federal judge. In the elevator, a robotic voice narrates the journey until the elevator stops. Scully calls for help, but the elevator starts up again. Meanwhile, a camera scans Scully and pulls up her phone number.

Jerry determines that Drake’s door’s electricity was screwed with; the servo switch changed the grounding. Claude Peterson, the building systems engineer, reports that it would be difficult to mess with manually. Mulder asks if Peterson could have done it, but Peterson says he just monitors the building to make sure everything’s working properly. The COS takes care of everything. Mulder asks about the phone system, which the COS also monitors. Mulder has noticed that the phone is off the hook – maybe Drake got a phone call before he died.

The agents go back to headquarters for a meeting, but Mulder misplaces his notes. They meet with the rest of the investigators on the Drake case, and Jerry suggests that Drake was killed by a “sociopathic game-player.” Scully realizes that Jerry’s reading from the profile Mulder worked up. Jerry continues that the call reporting the time came from someone in the Eurisko building. Someone was setting up a trap.

After the meeting, Mulder confronts Jerry for taking his work. Jerry reminds Mulder that he asked for help; this is just the way Mulder’s going to help. After speaking with Peterson, Scully tells Mulder that there’s only one person who could have messed with the servo on the door: Brad. Mulder thinks he’s a pretty obvious suspect, what with his recent firing.

Mulder and Scully head to Brad’s huge house, where Brad isn’t at all surprised to see them. He blathers about Eurisko (which means “I discover things”) and how Drake was a “power-hungry opportunist”). Brad’s COS was a very advanced security system. He hates that Drake didn’t recognize its brilliance. Scully wonders if Brad could have used it to cause trouble. Of course he could have – he designed it. But he’s more into challenges than murder.

Scully goes home and types up a field report, wondering if Brad is really a genius. All she knows for sure is that he likes games and had a motive to kill Drake. But if he’s so smart, how can they catch him? As Scully gets ready for bed, her computer turns itself back on and transmits her report to the COS, accompanied by those delightful sounds primitive modems used to make.

At headquarters the next day, Scully listens to tapes of Brad talking about wanting to expand Eurisko through Zen and other eastern philosophies. Jerry visits to admit to Mulder that he screwed up. He’s desperate to redeem himself after what happened on his last case. Using a program to study Brad’s speech patterns, Scully determines that his voice was used for the recording in the call Drake received before he died. Scully thinks this is proof that Brad killed Drake.

Mulder lets Jerry go off alone to make sure Brad doesn’t go anywhere before they can arrest him. Over at Brad’s house, the man in question is trying to hack something. After many unsuccessful attempts, he leaves, followed by Jerry. They end up at Eurisko, where Brad gains access to the COS. He’s surprised to hear it talking to him, since it’s not supposed to have a voice synthesizer. The COS won’t tell him his level of access.

Brad sees Jerry on the elevator security camera and asks the COS why the elevator’s taking him up so high. The COS won’t tell him, so Brad tries to override the system. The COS goes haywire and Jerry gets stuck between floors. Then the elevator plummets as Brad watches helplessly. “Program executed,” the COS reports.

Later, Mulder watches footage of Jerry’s fatal elevator ride, as well as footage of Brad trying to override the COS. He tells Scully that he doesn’t think Brad is the killer. He had no reason to go back to Eurisko; if he wanted to destroy evidence, he would take care not to be seen by security cameras. Scully announces that Brad signed a confession.

Mulder hurries over to Brad’s house, but he doesn’t have high enough clearance to enter. He meets with Deep Throat instead, asking why Brad is being investigated by the Department of Defense. Deep Throat reports that Brad turned down a number of contracts that involved weapons applications. Instead, he focused on artificial intelligence. He created the program used by the first computer to win a chess game. Now, it looks like he’s allowed computers to think.

Mulder visits Brad in jail, asking why he would confess to crimes he didn’t commit. Brad compares himself to Robert Oppenheimer, who always regretted sharing his work with the government after it was used to develop atomic bombs. Mulder points out that the COS could kill again. If Brad wants to stay put, he needs to tell Mulder how to destroy his work.

Mulder tells Scully that the COS killed Drake out of self-preservation, since the program was going to be terminated. Mulder wants to know why the government is so interested in Brad’s work. Scully thinks he’s traumatized over Jerry’s death, and he should talk to someone. Mulder goes back to see Brad, bringing him a laptop so he can destroy the COS.

The COS calls Scully, who only hears modem sounds. She runs to her computer and finds it transmitting her report again. She makes a call to find out who’s accessing her computer, then heads to Eurisko, where Mulder has just arrived. They use Brad’s license plate to trick the COS into giving them access to the building, but the COS is smart enough to know that Brad’s not really there, so it drops a security gate on their car.

Mulder and Scully are still able to get into the building, but since they can’t take the elevator without being detected, they have to climb 30 flights of stairs. The lights go out on the 29th floor. Mulder’s ready with a flashlight, but he can’t open an unlocked door, so they’re stuck in the stairwell with a security camera watching them. They find a vent, and Mulder boosts Scully up into a duct to open the door from the other side. But first, Peterson finds Mulder.

Scully crawls through the duct, which keeps getting windier. Eventually she loses her grip and falls, getting sucked toward a giant fan. (It’s like that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but down instead of up.) Peterson gives Mulder access to the COS so he can use Brad’s override orders and introduce a virus to the system. Just as he’s about to, Peterson pulls a gun on him. He’s really with the Defense Department and has been trying to override the system for two years.

Fortunately, Scully comes to Mulder’s rescue, but now she has to decide who to listen to: Mulder, who wants to destroy the COS, or Peterson, who warns that she’ll be messing with a super-important investigation. Scully sides with Mulder, of course, and he’s able to destroy the COS. “‘Bye,” it says as it’s dying, which is funnier than it should be.

Mulder meets with Deep Throat again, complaining that the government hasn’t released Brad yet. They want him to work for them. Deep Throat points out that Brad confessed to two murders, and Mulder destroyed the only evidence that could have cleared him. Oops! There’s nothing Mulder could have done for Brad, other than let the killer COS survive. Deep Throat is sure the system is dead, but as it’s being dismantled, it comes alive again. Spooky!

Thoughts: A computer system that advanced and it killed someone with a door? Sure, okay.

Suddenly Deep Throat is okay with meeting Mulder downtown in broad daylight? He’s not very good at this spy thing.

Ahhh, modem sounds. Definitely a ’90s relic.

June 21, 2015

The X-Files 1.2, Deep Throat: Take Me to the Pilot

Posted in TV tagged , at 2:48 pm by Jenn

I know you're trying to be helpful, Deep Throat, but could you be helpful in a less creepy manner?

I know you’re trying to be helpful, Deep Throat, but could you be helpful in a less creepy manner?

Summary: Near Ellens Air Base in Idaho, a group of military police swarm on a house. The woman of the house arrives and learns that her husband has violated military procedure. The MPs burst inside and find their man, Colonel Robert Budahas, cowering in a corner, his whole body red. In D.C., Scully and Mulder meet up at a bar, which is surprisingly busy at 2 p.m. Someone appears to be watching them.

Mulder tells Scully about Budahas, who had a psychotic episode and barricaded himself in his house four months ago. He was hospitalized, but the military won’t comment on his status, even to his wife. She’s reported her husband as kidnapped. Mulder continues that in the past 30 years, six pilots from Ellens have been listed as MIA. They were all reported as accepting assignments to fly experimental aircraft.

Scully thinks the rumors about them being shot down in Russian airspace is true. Mulder says that the cases have been deprioritized despite the fact that they were never investigated. Guess who gets to investigate now? Scully isn’t sure why they’re looking into cases that might not be paranormal. Scully’s going to learn very quickly that anything weird = paranormal.

Mulder ducks into the restroom, where the man watching him earlier warns him to leave the case alone. The man says he can help Mulder, since he has an interest in the X-Files. He won’t identify himself or who he works for. He just repeats that Mulder needs to drop the case. The man (hereafter known as Deep Throat) leaves, and when Mulder tries to chase after him, he disappears.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters and reads up on Ellens. The aircraft the missing pilots flew utilized stealth weaponry. She calls Mulder to confront him for possibly involving her in a “UFO goose chase.” Mulder hears clicks on the phone line and looks outside to see someone across the street in a van.

Time for a trip to Idaho! Mulder and Scully go to the Budahas house (say that five times fast), where Mrs. Budahas tells them that her husband developed a rash under his arms a couple years earlier. Then his personality became unpredictable. For instance, he put fish food on his plate during a dinner party. He would also become angry, then start shaking like he was having a seizing. All Mrs. Budahas knows about her husband’s job is that he’s loyal to his country.

Mulder asks if Mrs. Budahas knows of any other pilots experiencing the same thing. She points him in the direction of another officer, McLennen, who uses his own hair in fishing lures. His wife objects to Mrs. Budahas getting the FBI involved; she thinks therapy will solve everything. Scully also sees a psychiatric issue, telling Mulder that McLennen is suffering from extreme stress. She thinks the missing test pilots “washed out” of the mission to fly into Russian airspace.

Mulder and Scully next visit a man named Officer Kissell, an MP, but he won’t talk to them about Budahas. A reporter, Paul Mossinger, finds them and tries to ask about their investigation. Now Mulder’s the one who won’t talk. He asks Mossinger if he’s ever seen any UFOs, and where he might be able to talk to any of the UFO fanatics in the area.

The agents are sent to a diner (awesomely called the Flying Saucer), where a waitress tells them how egotistical pilots can be. There are photos of strange objects in the sky, one of them taken by the waitress herself. Mulder buys it and Scully calls him a sucker. She notices that Ellens isn’t on her map. Mulder tells her he got the waitress to draw him a much more helpful map. Then he calls her a sucker.

They drive to a spot just outside the base while Scully complains about having to put a UFO search in her field report. They’re there until after dark, and Scully falls asleep in the car. She wakes up when something flies overhead, breaking the rear window of the car. Mulder excitedly takes her to his waiting spot as two lights fly around each other in the sky. Suddenly there’s an explosion and the lights disappear.

The next light they see is from a helicopter, which allows the agents to see two teenagers nearby. The helicopter and the agents chase the kids, but it seems they were just there to make out. Mulder and Scully take them to a diner, where the kids, Emil and Zoe, say they go to their makeout spot all the time, but this is the first night they’ve seen the lights. Outside, Mossinger watches the four, using a walkie-talkie to confer with others.

Emily uses his burger to demonstrate the movements of UFOs he claims he’s seen. He tells Mulder they look just like the object in the waitress’ photo. After spending the night talking, the teens go home, and Scully realizes that Mulder believes everything they said. She thinks they were stoned. Mulder shows her photos from Roswell and reports that pieces from the wreckage there were sent to Ellens. He thinks the military is flying planes they built using UFO technology.

Scully, of course, thinks this is crazy. All he has to go on are two pictures of blurry triangles taken 50 years apart. Mulder reminds her that she saw the same lights he did the night before. Scully says that just because she doesn’t know what they’re dealing with doesn’t mean they’re alien in nature. Mulder points out that the “unidentified” in “unidentified flying objects” covers a lot of territory. Scully would rather focus on figuring out what happened to Budahas.

The agents head back to their motel, where Scully receives a message from Mrs. Budahas: Her husband has returned home. But when they go to the Budahas house, Mrs. Budahas says the man there isn’t her husband, even though there’s nothing strange about his behavior. Budahas just says he’s been in the hospital. Mulder asks him questions about his life, which he can answer just fine, but when faced with a question about flying, he can’t remember his job.

As they leave, Mulder tells Scully that it seems like Budahas’ brain has been rewired. Scully points out that you can’t just go into someone’s brain and erase certain files, like a computer. Maybe he has a form of amnesia. Mulder thinks that if technology exists to fly the aircraft they saw last night, there’s also technology to mess with Budahas’ brain the way it seems it’s been messed with. He thinks Budahas became a security risk after his breakdown, so the government took him out.

In their car, the agents are suddenly stopped by a bunch of men in black suits. While they’re frisked, the men search the car and take any evidence they might have of strange goings-on at Ellens. They order Mulder and Scully to pack up and leave town without talking to anyone about what they’ve been doing. Instead, Scully calls in their plates and learns that no car is registered with their numbers.

Mulder thinks the helicopter they saw the night before was chasing them away from the base. He also thinks that Budahas was returned as a decoy. He finally tells Scully about Deep Throat and the tap on his phone. Clearly there’s some kind of conspiracy they want to keep quiet. Mulder thinks there’s a UFO at Ellens, and the pilots are being hushed or hidden to keep the information from getting out.

Scully still thinks they’re just dealing with experiments. The government has a right to keep secrets. Mulder says there has to be a limit to what the government can do to its citizens to further its work. Scully points out that their job there is over – they came to investigate a kidnapping, but the abductee has returned. They should leave while Mulder still has a job. Mulder wants to find out about the UFOs that have been photographed there, but Scully isn’t going to indulge him.

Mulder pretends he’s going to take a shower before they leave, but he sneaks out to go back to Ellens. Emil and Zoe help him sneak onto the base, but the kids won’t go in themselves, since it’s still daylight. They warn him not to go too far, like Mulder’s going to listen. They forget too late to remind him that there might be landmines.

Mulder waits until nightfall to venture too far onto the base, and when he does, he sees what’s definitely an unidentifiable aircraft. It captures him in its spotlight, then flies away. Mulder’s chased by a bunch of soldiers who throw him into a vehicle and inject him with something. In the morning, Scully tries to call D.C. but can’t find a working phone at the motel. An employee tells her the phones there are unreliable, possibly because of aircraft interference.

A semi-conscious Mulder is taken to a hangar, where he can see an aircraft that looks like what the waitress photographed. Mossinger comes looking for Scully, who hears the walkie-talkie in his car. She locks herself inside and searches it, finding a gun and a badge identifying Mossinger as Ellens security. As she’s restraining him, Emil and Zoe arrive, admitting that they took Mulder to Ellens. Scully orders Mossinger to find out where Mulder is.

As someone puts some sort of liquid in Mulder’s eyes, Mossinger takes Scully to Ellens. “Intruder arriving,” she hears on his walkie-talkie. A military vehicle pulls up to the gate and Mulder is released. Scully kicks Mossinger out of the car and exchanges him for a very confused Mulder. Mossinger tells the agents that everything they’ve seen is appropriate for the level of protection required. As Scully drives Mulder away from the base, he asks how he got there.

They go to the Budahas house, where Mrs. Budahas says everything’s fine, and her husband’s getting better. She won’t let them see him, though. Mulder knows there’s a cover-up, but Scully thinks they haven’t learned anything in their time in Idaho. At least, that’s what she’ll say in her field report. Back in D.C. a week later, she says the investigation was inconclusive and declares the case closed.

Mulder goes for a run on a track, encountering Deep Throat again. Deep Throat warns that his and Scully’s lives are in danger. He’s willing to provide information, but only if it also serves Deep Throat. Mulder knows that something happened to him that was then erased from his memory. Deep Throat wonders why someone who believes in extraterrestrial life on Earth doesn’t believe all the evidence that it doesn’t exist. Mulder says that evidence isn’t conclusive. He knows for sure there are aliens on Earth. Deep Throat confirms this, saying they’ve been there for a long time.

Thoughts: Emil is played by Seth Green.

This show is harder to recap than I expected. So much dialogue!

There’s a lot of chemistry between Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny already, and this is just the second episode in. Great casting.

If teenagers can sneak onto the military base where you’re performing super-top-secret experiments, maybe look into upping your security. You know, just a suggestion.