November 18, 2017

The X-Files 6.12, One Son: No, Seriously, Trust No One

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

“What do you mean, this ‘isn’t an appropriate substitute’ for our loved ones? We folded it into a triangle!”

Summary: Mulder voices over about two fathers, CSM and Bill Mulder, who fought a 50-year war that served as the “dawn of Armageddon.” We flash back to October 13th, 1973, as the men in question gather at an airplane hangar to greet a group of aliens with an American flag. Mulder says they had to choose between fighting or fleeing.

Back in the present, Cassandra’s pleas for Mulder to shoot her are interrupted by a bunch of men in Hazmat suits who spray them and the apartment with something. They explain that they’re with the CDC and are quarantining Mulder, Scully, and Cassandra. Fowley’s with them, and she tells them they’ve come into contact with “a contagion of unknown origin.” The agents undergo decontamination showers and try not to look at each other naked. They’re then scanned with meters, but the men in Hazmat suits won’t tell them anything about what’s going on.

Scully guesses they’re at Fort Marlene, a facility equipped for high-risk contamination. Fowley apologizes to the agents for how the quarantine had to begin, but Cassandra underwent an experiment that killed seven doctors, so they have to take a lot of precautions. Scully points out that Cassandra was in a regular hospital for a week, and only then did Spender tell Fowley to call in the CDC. It looks really suspicious. No one’s sick, so why has Cassandra been isolated?

Mulder tries to quiet Scully, who’s determined to see Cassandra. Fowley reminds Scully that she was suspended from the FBI, so she has no rights. As the agents go to get new clothes, Scully makes sure Mulder knows how much she despises Fowley. She thinks they’re using Cassandra’s supposed infection as an excuse to stage a “high-tech government kidnapping.” But Mulder says Skinner told him he heard Spender calling the CDC.

Scully reminds her partner that Cassandra wasn’t sick; she just asked Mulder to kill her so all the tests and questioning will stop. Scully can relate, since she was also abducted and then underwent scrutiny afterward. She believes that Cassandra has been taken away so the process can continue. Mulder disagrees – he thinks Cassandra really is “the one.”

Krycek looks over Cassandra’s medical records and tells CSM and some other Syndicate members that Mulder’s suspicions seem to be correct. The rebel aliens want to keep the Syndicate from killing her. They know that when the aliens learn about her, colonization will begin. CSM thinks that’s exactly what should happen. They need to hand Cassandra over to the aliens and save themselves.

A Syndicate man argues that this is what Bill warned them would happen. CSM reminds him that Bill sacrificed Samantha because he know this day would come. They don’t have a choice now, if they want their living loved ones to stay living, and their dead loved ones to come back.

The agents are, indeed, at Fort Marlene, and not under much security, since Mulder’s allowed to wander around in search of a pair of shoes that fit. He spots a familiar woman and follows her to a room full of plastic-covered equipment. It’s Marita, and her eyes are red from all the Syndicate’s tests. She tells Mulder that Cassandra’s part of the hybrid program, but Marita was infected with the black oil so a vaccine/cure could be tested on her.

Mulder realizes that the hybrid program was never expected to succeed. It was just a way to buy time while the vaccine/cure was developed. Cassandra was an accidental success. Marita knows that colonization will begin if the aliens learn about her.

Spender and Fowley visit Cassandra, telling her they’re keeping her there to protect her from CSM. Spender promises that she won’t have to undergo any more tests. Cassandra tells him that he doesn’t understand what will happen to both of them if “they” find her out. She’s willing to be hurt or even killed if it means everyone else on the planet is protected. Spender just leaves the room.

I guess the quarantine’s over, because Mulder and Scully go see the Lone Gunmen. Scully asked the guys to dig up info on Fowley, and she wants to present Mulder with the truth about a woman he thinks he can trust. She spent seven years in Europe, working with a counter-terrorism unit, but there’s no information available on what she did there. Her travel records were purged from her FBI files, but the Lone Gunmen were able to find out that she traveled to all sorts of MUFON chapters.

Mulder doesn’t find this significant, but Scully thinks Fowley was monitoring abductees and the tests they underwent. She points out that Cassandra is the ultimate test subject, and Fowley’s watching over her – it all makes sense. Scully can prove or disprove Mulder’s beliefs, but not when Fowley is keeping them from seeing Cassandra. Why did Fowley come back into Mulder’s life just when he was getting closer than ever to the truth?

Scully says that Mulder always tells her to trust no one, but he trusts Fowley. Mulder argues that Scully hasn’t given him any reasons not to. Scully replies that she can no longer help him. Maybe she’s making things personal, but without the FBI, that’s all she has. If Mulder takes that away, there’s no point in her continuing.

Mulder goes to the Watergate Apartments to see Fowley; when she doesn’t answer her door, he picks the lock. He searches through her things for a minute, then gets interrupted by CSM. Mulder pulls a gun on him and reveals that he knows CSM’s real name. He has nothing to lose now. CSM says that Mulder couldn’t shoot him the last time he had the opportunity; why should this time be any different?

CSM says he’s looking for Spender to confront him for switching sides. Mulder doesn’t know how CSM can think his side is the wrong one, since the Syndicate’s side is the one doing experiments on innocent women. CSM says Bill had the same views back in the ’70s, but he came around to CSM’s side and gave up Samantha. Mulder says that Bill was forced to give her up. CSM tells him he’s wrong.

Over another flashback to 1973, CSM tells Mulder that their super-top-secret group had voted to align with the aliens. Bill objected, even though the agreement meant avoiding an alien invasion. CSM argues that they saved billions of lives, including Mulder’s. We see Bill arguing with CSM as the group’s family members, including Cassandra, arrive at the hangar. Mulder realizes that the men willingly gave up their family members “like they were things.”

CSM says the family members were sent away because it was the right thing. They would be experimented on, but they would come back to their families. The men made the painful decision to let the aliens take their loved ones, and they had to watch it happen. Mulder points out that Samantha was taken from the family’s house, not a hangar. CSM tells him that Bill refused to give up a member of his family, but the aliens insisted on taking someone. Without Samantha, the Syndicate couldn’t proceed.

The aliens provided the Syndicate with an alien fetus, from which they could use an alien genome to create an alien/human hybrid. They would create a new race that could survive the alien holocaust. Mulder would also survive, and live to be reunited with Samantha. CSM confirms that the plan was just to stall and use the alien DNA to make a vaccine/cure. Now it’s too late, and colonization will begin.

First a state of emergency will be declared. Then the bees will deliver the alien virus. Then the aliens will take over. CSM knows his only choice is to hand over Cassandra. Mulder tells him to stop it, or he will. CSM says he won’t if he wants to see Samantha again. Mulder points his gun at CSM again, demanding that he stop the colonization so people won’t die. His mistake is thinking that CSM cares about anyone except himself. Bill wanted Mulder and Samantha to be reunited, and Mulder will realize that, as his father’s son. If he doesn’t, he’ll “die in vain” with everyone else. “Save her. Save yourself,” CSM says.

Spender goes looking for CSM at the Syndicate’s headquarters in New York, but Krycek tells him that the group has all dispersed. They’re in West Virginia, awaiting colonization. CSM is going to get Cassandra, and the guards Spender has watching her will most likely not be any match for him. Krycek is right, and CSM’s people easily get access to her and drug her, even as she swears and yells at them.

CSM wants to chat with his ex before they go on their road trip, which means he has to listen to her call him a bastard and a coward. He wants to talk about the future, not the past. Cassandra notes that he stole her past from her. CSM says that they’re only alive because of what he did in the past. Cassandra didn’t understand before why she was abducted and experimented on, but now she knows it was because of CSM.

He swears that he wanted to save her and Spender, not cause any harm. Cassandra says that CSM can never save Spender now that he knows what his father has done. The only way to save everyone on the planet is if CSM kills Cassandra. But CSM still can’t do it.

Mulder’s still at Fowley’s apartment when she gets home. He tells her he came looking for evidence that her loyalties are with anyone other than him and the X-Files. Though he didn’t find anything, fate found him. He realized that the choices he thought he had in life were made for him. Mulder says that CSM is looking for Spender, who’s now fighting for the same cause Mulder used to fight for.

Mulder now knows it’s futile, though, since there’s no way to stop the colonization. Giving up is the only way to save everyone. Mulder gives Fowley the location of the first steps of the colonization process, El Rico Air Force Base. They need to go there if they want to survive. In response, Fowley kisses Mulder.

Spender goes looking for Cassandra at Fort Marlene but instead comes across Marita. She asks him for help, knowing that the Syndicate is going to abandon her there. He doesn’t know her, but she knows who he is and claims she can help him, since she knows where Cassandra is being taken.

Someone retrieves the alien fetus from a cryolab, warning an intruder that she’s at risk for contamination. The intruder is actually an alien rebel, though, so she’s not too worried. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that he and Fowley are coming to get her. Scully wants to take Mulder to Cassandra; Spender told her they’re taking his mother back to Potomac Yard.

The agents head over and, for some reason, fire their guns at the train car carrying Cassandra. They don’t stop it, but at least now the experimenters on the train know they’ve been found out. Mulder and Scully get a ride to El Rico from Skinner, where others have already gathered. CSM and Cassandra join them, and CSM tells the other Syndicate members about the gunfire at Potomac Yard. He notices that Krycek isn’t there.

That’s because Krycek is back at Fort Marlene to get the alien fetus. Of course, it’s already gone. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who says that security won’t let him take Marita out of the facility. He wants to help her tell her story of what CSM did to her. Krycek tells Spender it doesn’t matter – the rebels took what they came for, so they’re going to win.

Fowley arrives at El Rico just as the aliens arrive, reenacting the scene from 1973. The Syndicate members are confused; supposedly no one contacted the aliens to tell them they were ready. There’s a mole in the group, one of the rebels, and he alerted his buddies that it was time to attack. As CSM and Fowley escape, the other Syndicate members and their loved ones are burned alive.

Kersh receives photos of the aftermath from Mulder, Scully, Skinner, and Spender, and expresses sympathy over the (alleged) death of Cassandra. (She’ll be in season 11, so who knows?) Spender takes responsibility for all the deaths, and credits Mulder and Scully for their work trying to prevent them. He thinks Mulder and Scully should be reinstated to the X-Files division so they can prevent worse things from happening. Spender himself is ready to leave the FBI.

Kersh asks why Mulder never gave him any answers before now. Mulder’s like, “I’ve spent years saying this stuff; no one ever listened to me.” The Syndicate members made the choice long ago to align themselves with the bad guys, but instead, they allowed another enemy to take hold. “The future is here. All bets are off,” he says. Kersh asks Scully to make some sense of this, but Scully sides with Mulder.

Spender finds CSM in his office, looking at a picture of himself with Bill in 1973. He tells Spender who Bill is, that he was a good man who betrayed CSM. Spender isn’t up for a father/son reunion, and CSM isn’t that surprised, though he’d hoped his son would honor him “like Bill Mulder’s son.” CSM pulls a gun and seemingly shoots Spender, then leaves with the picture.

Thoughts: It’s not mentioned in the episode, but IMDb lists a character as “C.G.B. Spender’s daughter,” indicating that he and Cassandra had another child, and she was the one CSM gave up to the aliens. That would definitely explain why Cassandra hates him so much.

What kind of lax medical facility is Fort Marlene running, where Mulder and Marita could cross paths?

And in a similar vein, Fowley should have better security for someone who works on such super-top-secret projects.

The scene where Mulder and Scully shoot at the train is so unintentionally funny. What, exactly, did they think the bullets would do?

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November 11, 2017

The X-Files 6.11, Two Fathers: Hey, Big Spender

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

Hey, Skinner, can you let them have a family moment without lurking around?

Summary: Doctors in Hazmat suits operate on someone in a train car. The patient’s blood comes out green, and her incision immediately heals. A doctor named Openshaw comes to the train in Potomac Yard in Arlington, and is told that his work is completed. He goes in to see the patient, who he’s been working on for 25 years. A colleague leaves to celebrate with the other doctors but is immediately set on fire. The fire-starter, whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut, goes into the train car and sets Openshaw on fire as well. He then turns his attention to the patient: Cassandra Spender.

“This is the end,” CSM announces to an unseen audience, noting how unbelievable it seems. No one could have scripted what happened. They had a “perfect conspiracy” with aliens who wanted to destroy the planet. Their job was to prepare the way for the invasion and help the aliens create a slave race of alien/human hybrids. The plans were secret for more than 50 years, and they would have been successful if an alien race hadn’t interfered – and if CSM’s own son hadn’t betrayed him.

Skinner visits Spender in his office to catch up on whatever Spender’s been working on for the past few months. He knows Spender’s been spending most of his time looking into Cassandra’s disappearance, and he has some news. The two men go to Potomac Yard, where only two people survived the fire-starter’s spree. Cassandra is one of them, but she won’t tell the agents what happened. She only wants to talk to Mulder. Spender resists the request, but Skinner wants to bring Mulder in. He asks if Spender is afraid of the truth. If he really wants to know what happened to his mother, he should take advantage of the resources available to him.

CSM continues his tale, saying that Spender refused to believe that Cassandra had been abducted by aliens. Even after CSM got Spender placed in charge of the X-Files, he still couldn’t believe in the possibilities of aliens. When he finally came around, he turned to Mulder instead of to CSM. Mulder’s currently playing basketball (because David Duchovny likes to show off) and being super-white with “street” slang. Scully finds him and tells him that he needs to come to work for once, since there’s an X-File waiting for him.

They head to the office, where Spender tells Mulder that Cassandra wants to talk to him. Mulder wants a polite request, and when Spender won’t offer it, Mulder tells him to find the truth himself. Meanwhile, CSM goes to the medical center where Openshaw worked and looks in on the doctor, the only other survivor of the fire-starter’s attack. He’s in a hyperbaric chamber and covered in bandages, but he’s conscious. CSM learns for the first time that “Cassandra is a success.”

CSM says that the timing is wrong. Openshaw tells him that he’s prepared a syringe for Cassandra. CSM thinks she was saved to expose them. Openshaw warns that Cassandra will be given medical tests, so she needs to be terminated. He knows he’ll be questioned next, which means he needs to be terminated, too. CSM does the honors. “A man should never live long enough to see his children or his work destroyed,” Openshaw says before dying.

CSM calls a man in Silver Spring, Maryland, to tell him about the fire-starter’s attack. He’s summoning the Syndicate for a meeting. But just then, a man who looks like Openshaw shows up at the Syndicate member’s door. The Syndicate man tears off Openshaw’s face, but it’s not enough to keep himself from being burned alive.

Mulder looks through pictures from Potomac Yard, though he tells Scully he’s not working on the case. He thinks Spender offered him the case as a set-up. Scully sees the burned bodies in the pictures and thinks this is exactly what happened in the memories she recovered through hypnosis. She thinks Cassandra may be able to expose who abducted Scully. Mulder’s still hesitant to talk to her, so Scully says they can see Cassandra without Spender finding out.

Scully goes to see her first, surprised to learn that Cassandra’s medical problems have been resolved, and she no longer needs a wheelchair. She plans to keep her stories to herself this time around, since no one has believed her abduction tales in the past. The only person she’ll tell is Mulder. The two meet up with him, and Cassandra announces that Samantha is with the aliens. Scully asks about the train car and the operation. Cassandra says the doctors there were working with the aliens. She’s always thought the aliens had come to do good, but now she knows that’s wrong.

Cassandra continues that the aliens have come to take over the universe. They’re infecting everything living with their life force, black oil, which they call purity. (This explains the substance labeled “purity control.”) Scully notes that the doctors were burned, not infected. Cassandra says they were attacked by a rebel group of aliens who mutilate their faces so they won’t be infected.

Cassandra knows that Spender won’t believe this, even though he’s in danger. He’s unknowingly working with the Syndicate to continue doing whatever it is they did to Cassandra and Scully. Mulder asks if Cassandra knows who the men are. She says yes, adding that one of them is her ex-husband, Spender’s father.

CSM tells his audience that Cassandra was the key to the Syndicate’s plans, even though they didn’t know it. He killed to keep them in the dark, but he should have killed Cassandra instead. However, he couldn’t bring himself to kill his son’s mother, despite never having loved her. The Syndicate was distracted by the arrival of the alien rebels, unaware that they would never win. The rebels had already used their powers of disguise to infiltrate the group.

Krycek addresses the Syndicate, who think they’re about to be exposed. One member suggests that they join up with the resistance. Krycek reminds the men that they already gave up that option; what’s changed? They’ve been able to stall colonization, and their work on creating a hybrid should ensure their survival. The man who suggested joining the resistance points out that they’ll only be kept alive so they can be slaves to the aliens, which isn’t the best choice.

Krycek brings up the vaccine, and its part in fighting the future. CSM finally tells him to shut up. He reminds his colleagues that they’ve been working on this project for 50 years, and they can’t sacrifice themselves every time a new threat comes along.

Mulder and Scully use Spender and Fowley’s computer to look up the name Spender so their own computers won’t attract any attention. The name gives them three results: Spender, Cassandra, and CSM, whose real name is C.G.B. Spender. Skinner catches the two and tries to clear them out of the office before Spender can catch them, but it’s too late. Spender plans to make sure Skinner’s actions are mentioned when he’s fired.

Spender meets with CSM to confirm that he’s done what his father wanted and gotten Mulder and Scully booted from the FBI. Now he wants something in return: the truth about what happened to Cassandra. CSM knows that he won’t believe the truth, no matter which parent it comes from. First he needs to demonstrate that he’s ready to handle the responsibility of knowing the truth.

Spender gets sassy, so CSM smacks him. He argues that he gave Spender the position at the FBI, but Spender couldn’t do the job. Spender replies that keeping Mulder down wasn’t a job, it was CSM’s “dirty work.” CSM smacks him again and says, “You pale to Fox Mulder.”

Scully finds Mulder playing basketball again (without the slang this time) and tells him that C.G.B. Spender appears to be an alias. The two agents have been put on administrative leave, but Scully’s not going to spend her time off idle. She has a box full of information on CSM. This includes a picture of CSM and Bill Mulder in 1973, when they were working together on a highly classified 25-year-long State Department project.

Scully confirms that Cassandra was married to CSM, and was first abducted on November 27th, 1973, the same night Samantha disappeared. There are many names connected to both CSM and Bill, including Openshaw. Mulder guesses that the State Department project is still ongoing.

CSM tells his audience that Mulder now has names and dates to put some more pieces of the puzzle together and discover CSM and Bill’s sins. “The truth was out there, fatally exposed,” he says. CSM has one last chance to preserve his legacy – his ungrateful son. They meet up on a street in D.C., and CSM agrees that Spender deserves a chance to prove him wrong. He hands over an alien icepick and tells him to kill the man who has infiltrated the Syndicate disguised as one of his victims. Then he puts him in a car driven by Krycek, who warns him to watch where he points the icepick.

Spender goes to the house of the man who suggested the Syndicate join up with the rebels. (I’d really like a character name here, show.) Spender’s about to do his father’s bidding when the man grabs him. Spender tears off his face and struggles to jam the icepick in his neck, finally succeeding with help from Krycek.

Mulder summons Skinner to his apartment so the two of them and Scully can all get on the same page about the aliens’ colonization plans. Skinner wonders why Cassandra’s in danger but Scully isn’t. Mulder believes that Cassandra is the first successful human/alien hybrid, but the men who created her would rather kill her than risk having her expose what they did. Skinner says she’s under 24-hour guard, but that guard was arranged by Spender, so she’s probably not really safe.

Spender has a little trouble accepting that the man he just helped kill is now dissolving in a puddle of green acid. Krycek can relate, since it seems like something you’d only hear about in a story. But seeing it yourself makes you realize what “great men” like CSM have made sacrifices for. Sacrifices like Cassandra. Kryeck reveals that she’s been the subject of experiments for 25 years – experiments that CSM has been overseeing. That’s the whole reason Spender was put in charge of the X-Files. He was sent here tonight to protect the project and become a great man like his father. But Spender doesn’t want that.

CSM addresses his audience one last time, saying he’s never trusted anyone. The truth is finally out, and there’s only one person left he can turn to for help. It’s Diana Fowley, and she’s willing to help. It’s not too late for CSM to achieve what he’s been working toward.

Skinner goes to Cassandra’s hospital room, but she’s gone. Spender arrives moments later and realizes that “he” took Cassandra. In truth, no one took Cassandra – she left on her own, and is now at Mulder’s apartment. She begs him and Scully to keep her from the men looking for her. They have to kill her, or “it all starts.” As someone bangs on the door, Cassandra begs Mulder to shoot her, and Mulder prepares himself to give her what she wants. To be continued…

Thoughts: After six-and-a-half years, Mulder and Scully (and even Skinner) have never looked into CSM’s identity? Even with all the resources available to them through the Lone Gunmen? REALLY?

I really like Veronica Cartwright, and she’s great in this role, so I’m glad she’ll be in season 11. Can we have Krycek, too? He’s even more important to the show’s mythology.

Speaking of Krycek, I’m conducting an informal poll: Whose face is more punchable, Spender’s or Krycek’s?

I want to see Kersh’s reaction to Mulder’s street slang.

September 2, 2017

The X-Files 6.1, The Beginning: The Last, Best Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

This is wrong! Put it back the way it was!

Summary: A company van takes employees from Roush Technologies in Phoenix home from work. One man, Sandy, is sick, but his colleagues don’t seem to care. Sandy goes home to an empty house, and as his condition worsens, his hand becomes translucent and swollen, like there’s another creature’s hand inside it. The next morning, a co-worker comes to pick him up for the carpool and finds him dead, with a huge hole in his stomach, like something tore out of him. The co-worker is attacked, probably by that something.

In D.C., Mulder tries to recover the files that were burned in his office seven months ago. He tells a panel of agents that, even without everything restored, he and Scully should be able to immediately revive the X-Files division. As Scully joins her once and future partner, Assistant Director Maslin scoffs at their claims that they saw a spaceship in Antarctica. Another agent asks if the “spacelings” the agents saw were different from the creatures in Men in Black. Mulder admits that he didn’t see it.

Maslin tries to sum up the agents’ claims about the spacelings intentions and the Syndicate’s conspiracy. When she puts it all out there in a nutshell version, it does sound pretty crazy. The panel doesn’t think Mulder has given any good reasons for the reopening of the X-Files. Another agent notes that Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses are a little ridiculous, too. (Heh.) Maslin reminds Mulder and Scully that their job isn’t to do science stuff or work on personal projects. Mulder announces that Scully will present evidence that his claims are real.

Cut to the end of the hearing, and Scully clearly didn’t do what Mulder hoped she would. She doesn’t have enough evidence to back up Mulder’s theories. She hasn’t been able to identify the virus she contracted from the bee, but it’s not extraterrestrial. Mulder is adamant that the virus generates an alien being inside human hosts. Scully disagrees – it attacks and destroys human cells, but it doesn’t create a new being. They may not have all the answers, but Mulder can’t question science.

CSM shows the Syndicate pictures of Sandy and his co-worker, saying he was able to convince the Phoenix police that a “crazy Indian” attacked them. He knows the public is racist enough to buy the story. Sandy is on the Syndicate’s side, and he must have accidentally injected himself at work. The Syndicate is distressed that the creature that came out of Sandy’s body is now on the loose. The Elder asks if CSM can take care of this problem.

Skinner, who was at the hearing but didn’t say anything, because of course he didn’t, meets up with Mulder in a lab to tell him that his request to return to the X-Files has been denied. There was a unanimous vote against it. Since Skinner isn’t siding with the majority, he can’t help Mulder, especially when there’s no evidence to back up his claims. But there’s a folder on Mulder’s desk in his burned-out office that might help him. It contains a picture of Sandy’s body.

Spender joins Mulder in the office, and Mulder guesses that Spender is his replacement. He’s wrong – it’s Fowley. Mulder’s mad, saying that Fowley betrayed him. CSM ignores a no-smoking sign and interrupts a surgical procedure to announce that he’s taking the patient. The surgeon objects, but CSM says, “It’s him or it’s us.” The patient is poor Gibson, and he’s having something done to his brain, but the doctors haven’t even done him the courtesy of rendering him unconscious first.

Mulder and Scully go to Phoenix to check out Sandy’s house. Scully tries to remind her partner that they’re violating the law and contaminating a crime scene; when he ignores her, she sighs, “Why do I bother?” Mulder finds streaks of blood on the wall and deep scratches in the wood floor, so the police’s story that Sandy and his co-worker were attacked by an unarmed human is probably B.S. Fortunately, the attacker broke a nail, and it’s clear it didn’t belong to a human.

Mulder guesses that Sandy was infected and basically birthed the attacker, which hung out for a few hours before attacking the co-worker. Scully can’t believe that the creature was only a few hours old. Outside, CSM and Gibson check out the crime scene from a car. Gibson says that “it” was there, but it left. CSM isn’t sure, so Gibson asks why he doubts someone he’s so afraid of. He knows that CSM is thinking about destroying him, and most likely will kill him if he doesn’t find the creature.

The car leaves before the agents exit the house, trying to connect the creature to what happened to Scully. She takes his hand and reminds Mulder that she still has to follow what science tells her; it wouldn’t be honest of her if she suddenly started believing his theories. Mulder tells her that her science is wrong.

Just outside of Phoenix, a nuclear plant employee named Homer (I wonder what that’s a reference to?) is dozing on the job. He and a co-worker notice a temperature change in the core, so Homer goes to check it out. Of course, he gets attacked. The agents come in, meeting up with Spender, who thinks Skinner must have told them about the attack. He refuses to let them in, and Fowley won’t budge either. She does admit that there may be a connection to Sandy and his co-worker’s deaths. Mulder tells her that he hopes she knows “whose errands [she’s] running.”

Scully pulls her partner away, wondering how Mulder knows they’re dealing with something connected to the previous deaths. They return to their car to find Gibson unconscious in the backseat. They take him to a motel, where they discover that he had some sort of brain surgery. Gibson chastises Scully for mentally comparing him to Frankenstein’s monster. She tells him he has an infection, and CSM didn’t change his bandages, so that’s just more proof that he’s a horrible person.

Gibson tells her and Mulder that he had the procedure so he can read people’s minds. He was able to escape CSM because he knew what CSM was thinking. The Syndicate was using him because he can communicate with “it.” Scully asks what “it” is, and Gibson says she already knows; she just doesn’t want to believe it. Mulder pulls Scully aside to say that they can use Gibson just as CSM was trying to. Scully refuses, knowing that Gibson needs medical attention. They need to protect him because he could be the key to proving Mulder’s theories. He could be their “last, best chance.”

As the agents are putting Gibson in the car to take him to a hospital, Fowley shows up. She tells Mulder she took the job in the X-Files to make sure the work was continued by someone who believes in it. She’s on Mulder and Scully’s side. She thinks she and Mulder should go find the creature in the nuclear reactor before the Syndicate does. Mulder’s close to the truth and needs to see it. He tells Scully to take Gibson to the hospital while he and Fowley go on a creature hunt.

On their way to the plant, Fowley tells Mulder that Homer’s body was removed before she and Spender arrived. Mulder wonders if the creature’s looking for heat. Fowley agrees – the creature could still be developing, and could need heat to spur that along. Scully gets Gibson to a hospital, where he reads her thoughts to criticize that she wants to both make him well and learn from him. She tells him he’s special and knows it. “I’m a very special lab rat,” he corrects.

Mulder and Fowley sneak into the plant and locate the spot where Homer’s body was found, just above the core reactor. They find a sticky substance not unlike the stuff on the body of the firefighter after the bombing in Dallas. They also find something that looks like shed skin. Scully calls Mulder to tell him that Gibson has the virus in his system. Now she can admit that there’s a link to what they’ve been investigating. But before she can get back to Gibson, someone else finds him and rekidnaps him.

Gibson is taken to the plant, where Mulder and Fowley run around to avoid detection. Gibson says the creature is still in the building, but he doesn’t offer up a specific location. Mulder and Fowley find them but are locked out. As Fowley goes looking for another entrance, the creature attacks Gibson’s kidnapper. An alarm sounds and Mulder is surrounded by guards. Fowley joins them, pointing her gun at him. Mulder’s just concerned about Gibson’s safety, and his fate isn’t clear.

The agents return for another hearing and are instructed to immediately stop investigating the X-Files. As further punishment, they no longer report to Skinner, but to Assistant Director Alvin Kersh. Elsewhere, Spender meets with CSM, who’s proud of how he handled Mulder. Spender knows that the new work assignment won’t keep Mulder from the X-Files forever. CSM isn’t concerned. Spender knows CSM has killed before, but CSM says you can kill a person but “not what he stands for – not unless you first kill his spirit. That’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Mulder goes back to trying to restore the burned files, because he’s never followed a direct order before and he’s not about to start now. He thinks Fowley filed a false report about what happened at the plant because she’s trying to protect their work. Scully disagrees – Fowley’s report doesn’t mention Gibson, and seems to protect everyone and everything except Mulder. Mulder says that at least Fowley isn’t going to spout what Scully says about only science being right.

Scully says that she can’t believe in a lie, especially not something that’s the opposite of what she can prove. It’s about trust. Mulder asks if she wants him to make a choice. Scully replies that she wants him to trust her judgment – to trust her. He can’t if it refutes what he knows is true.

Scully shows him the results of tests done on the nail from Sandy’s house. The DNA matches the virus, as well as Gibson’s DNA. It’s a remnant that’s found in all human DNA, but it’s inactive in everyone except Gibson. Mulder says that that means Gibson is partially extraterrestrial. Scully corrects that that means everyone is. Back at the plant, Gibson is alive and well, staring into the core, where the creature is also still alive, and still developing. It sheds more of its body until it looks like an alien.

Thoughts: Kersh, who has four seconds of screentime and doesn’t say anything, is played by James Pickens, Jr. (Webber on Grey’s Anatomy, Henry on Beverly Hills, 90210). Maslin is played by Wendie Malick. Sandy is played by Rick Millikan, the show’s casting director.

Mulder and Fowley teaming up isn’t nearly as much fun as Mulder and Scully teaming up.

The FBI taking issue with Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses is pretty great. “You want the government to pay for your trip to Antarctica? You could have at least brought us souvenirs!”

August 19, 2017

The X-Files 5.20, The End: Checkmate?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:53 pm by Jenn

“I’d rather be watching ‘Bob’s Burgers'”

Summary: There’s a chess tournament going on in Vancouver, and a man from Russia is playing a preteen boy from the U.S. There’s a huge audience, so apparently this is a big deal. (Maybe people in Vancouver need to find more things to do.) The boy hears voices in his head as he plays, apparently the thoughts of all the people in the audience. One voice is particularly loud, and may belong to a man who’s loading a sniper rifle. He takes aim at the boy’s opponent, then the boy. As the boy stands up and makes his last move, declaring checkmate, his opponent is shot.

A couple of men drop onto a mountain in Quebec via parachutes and try to ambush the cabin where CSM has been staying. CSM’s security system warns him and he’s able to shoot one of the men before he can be shot. The other man starts to head into the house but sees CSM’s footprints heading into some nearby woods. After a brief chase, the second gunman stops CSM. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Krycek. CSM tells him to go ahead and shoot, but Krycek says he was sent to bring CSM back.

A note reading “you are here” has been placed on the UFO in Mulder’s “I want to believe poster.” Skinner is in the office waiting for Mulder; he claims it’s so they can discuss Mulder’s long-term plans. What does he hope to find? Mulder says whatever he’s looking for is in the X-files, and he’ll know when he finds it. Skinner’s really there to tell Mulder about the assassination of the Russian chess player. The shooter used to work for the NSA. Jeffrey Spender is in charge of the case, having been assigned by someone outside of the bureau, and he wants Mulder to work with him.

Mulder heads to a meeting Spender’s running, with Scully already in attendance. Mulder watches footage of the shooting and announces that the boy, not the Russian, seems to be the target. Another agent in the room agrees with Mulder – she thinks the boy was able to precognitively sense that the shooter was aiming for him. Mulder and the agent exchange a look that lets us know this isn’t the first time they’ve met.

Krycek delivers CSM to WMM, the Elder, and some other Syndicate members. He’s all “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated; your assassin sucks; I’ll let it go THIS TIME.” The Syndicate tells him about the death of the Russian, mentioning that the boy is “a problem.” CSM asks, not serious, if they want him to kill the boy. They’re horrified by the suggestion and say that CSM knows what they want him to do. They’re sure he shares their intentions.

Mulder and Scully drive somewhere with the agent from the meeting, Diana Fowley. She’s been out of the country for a while and asked to be reassigned so she could attend to some things in the U.S. Scully notes that Fowley’s been in the FBI since 1991, the same time Mulder started working on the X-files. Yeah, that sure is a coincidence, Scully!

The boy is watching The Simpsons when the agents arrive to talk to him. He’s happy to be in a country with good TV; he lives in the Philippines and all they have on TV is Baywatch. The boy, Gibson, is being kept there until his parents come get him. Mulder wants to see if Gibson can beat a chess computer he’s brought, guessing that he can’t. He’s figured out that Gibson’s so good at the game because he can read his opponents’ thoughts. That’s why he knew there was a shooter.

Gibson confirms Mulder’s suspicions by saying that Mulder’s thinking about one of the agents he brought with him. One of them is thinking about him, too. (Yeah, like they both aren’t.) Fowley asks which one, but Gibson says that Mulder doesn’t want him to answer that. Mulder tells Scully that, despite Gibson’s status as a prodigy, he’s not actually that good at chess. Scully disagrees – no one has passed all the rigorous testing required of someone who claims to be psychic. Mulder thinks Gibson’s skills are exactly why he was marked for murder.

Scully notes that people would want to use Gibson’s skills, not eliminate them. His psychic abilities would give them advantages in things like war and business. Fowley points out that he could also reveal lots of secrets that people want to stay hidden. Mulder suggests that they test him and run a brain scan. He tells Fowley that she knows what to do. Scully finally catches on that the two of them know each other.

Mulder goes to see the shooter in jail, but Spender doesn’t want to let them talk. Mulder thinks Spender’s trying to protect something and is sending the agents on a wild goose chase. He’s sure that Gibson is the key to the incident, and the shooter knows why. The shooter, however, isn’t very forthcoming, thanks to Spender’s refusal to give him food or water for the past 16 hours.

Mulder sends Spender to get them while he lists the shooter’s credentials and notes that he also failed to kill Saddam Hussein during a raid on his palace. Mulder threatens to tell Spender that the shooter knows Gibson reads minds. The shooter is still unwilling to help, since he doesn’t think Mulder can get him immunity or placement in the Witness Protection Program. Mulder tells him to think about it, then leaves.

Gibson has undergone the testing at a psychiatric hospital, and he tells Scully he knows that she’s wondering about Fowley. Fowley’s wondering about Scully as well. Gibson goes to his next test, a variation on the Zener cards. He guesses all of them correctly. Fowley tells Scully that she’s seen clairvoyants with more than 90 percent accuracy, but never anything like this. She mentions working with Mulder on cases involving criminal psych patients who may have been misdiagnosed. Scully excuses herself.

In prison, the shooter receives a note reading “you’re a dead man.” It’s written on the inside of a flattened Morley cigarette carton. Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and asks them to look at Gibson’s brain scans. She also wants them to tell her about Fowley. They’re familiar with her because she was “Mulder’s chickadee” right after he left the academy. She was there at the inception of the X-files. Byers says he’s always wondered why they split up.

Gibson watches cartoons while Mulder and Fowley discuss his excellent scores on all the tests. Mulder thinks they’re missing something, though. Fowley praises him for figuring out what was going on from the footage from the tournament. Mulder says he’s been working on this kind of stuff for five years. Fowley says she sometimes wonders how things might have turned out if she’s stayed instead of moving to counter-terrorism. She thinks he could have benefited from having a partner who thinks like him, and not a skeptic.

Mulder defends Scully, saying she makes him work for his successes. He’s “done okay” without Fowley. She assures him that she’s on his side. Scully’s about to join them when she sees them having an intimate conversation, so instead she goes to her car to pout. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks him to meet her at the office to go over something she’s found out about Gibson.

As she’s leaving the parking garage, Spender arrives and is quickly summoned to talk to CSM. Spender doesn’t know who CSM works for, which means he’s even more out of his league than anyone thought. CSM tells him he needs to control the board and know who to sacrifice and when. He can’t join up with someone else’s cause – he needs to always pursue his own self-interest. As CSM leaves, Mulder comes into the garage and sees them talking. He’s surprised that CSM isn’t dead after all.

Mulder takes Scully to a meeting in Skinner’s office and urges her to tell him and other agents there about Gibson’s test results. Neurological tests show that Gibson uses an area of his temporal lobe – called the “God nodule” by neuroscientists – that no one else uses. Mulder says that famous scientists like Einstein, Newton, and Stephen Hawking are also believed to use portions of the brain that no one else does. Gibson may be the key to understanding human potential, paranormal phenomenon…and everything in the X-files.

Spender scoffs at the idea that Gibson was a target for murder because of the X-files. Mulder can’t make the connection completely, but he thinks the shooter can. He wants them to offer the shooter immunity so he’ll talk. Scully says they’re trying to quantify proof of everything she and Mulder have been investigating. Fowley argues that they can’t quantify spirituality. The X-files are basically an indulgence; their higher-ups are never going to allow them to offer an immunity deal for this kind of investigation.

Skinner dismisses everyone but Mulder, then warns him that he’s taking a huge risk with his future career. Mulder thinks things will fit together, and he’ll get the answers he’s spent so long looking for. He gets Skinner to talk to the Attorney General, who agrees to offer the shooter immunity. The shooter tells Mulder and Spender that Gibson is a “missing link” – genetic proof that a person can be more human than human. Gibson appears to have genes that indicate he’s part alien.

On a street somewhere, WMM and Krycek confront CSM for failing to do what he was supposed to. CSM says that Mulder going to the Attorney General is just “part of the game.” They’re taking the other side’s pieces one by one; eventually the board will be cleared.

Scully accompanies Gibson to a safehouse, where he enjoys an episode of King of the Hill. (How interesting that everything he watches is on Fox! I wonder why?) Scully asks him how he does what he does. Gibson says it’s like listening to multiple radios. Part of the reason he likes chess is because he only has to listen to one “radio” at a time. Plus, there’s no talking, so no one’s saying one thing and thinking something else. He says that sometimes people worry about what others are thinking, while those others worry about the same thing.

Gibson continues that people make up things to believe, but it’s not real. Some people try to be good while others don’t care, like Scully. He clarifies that he means Scully doesn’t care what people think, “except for her.” Fowley comes by to stay with Gibson so Scully can go home. Gibson announces that he knows people want him dead. Scully promises to protect him. In prison, the shooter gets another cigarette box, but this one has no message. The man delivering the message shoots him.

Back at the safehouse, Fowley awakens from a nap to find Gibson at the window. He tells her there’s a man with a gun outside, but he’s there to kill her, not him. He’s right, and someone shoots Fowley through the window. She’s alive, barely, but a U.S. marshal is dead. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that the shooter is dead, and they found the blank cigarette note. Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.

CSM has grabbed Gibson and taken him to meet WMM. WMM tries to convince Gibson that he has nothing to be afraid of, but Gibson knows he’s a liar like CSM is. WMM tells CSM his work is done, but CSM says it’s just beginning. He hands over the boy, who gets in the car with WMM and Krycek. Krycek offers to kill CSM, but WMM says he’s useful, and Krycek might need him in the future.

As Spender organizes a search for Gibson, Mulder attacks him, demanding to know who Spender really works for. He vows to see Spender prosecuted, warning that his days are numbered. Spender says Mulder’s the one whose days are numbered.

Scully and Skinner talk on the phone about the developments in the case, and how Spender is saying things that make both agents look bad. Scully tells Mulder that Fowley isn’t doing well, and their jobs aren’t lookng much better. The Department of Justice wants the X-files to be closed down. Mulder laments that everything has been part of a strategy he couldn’t see. Scully admits that the bad guys may have finally won.

CSM lights a cigarette in Mulder’s office, then leaves with Samantha’s X-file. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who asks how he got in. CSM says he has access and can give it to Spender. Spender asks who he is. “I’m your father,” CSM replies. (Well, it’s no “Luke, I am your father”). A smoke alarm sounds – Mulder’s office is on fire. When he and Scully go in to check it out, they see that everything has been destroyed, including the “I want to believe” poster.

Thoughts: Gibson looks like a mini-Frohike. I hope that’s on purpose.

I can’t believe I have to put up with this Scully/Fowley jealousy crap. Frigging male showrunners and writers.

Gibson is present for a murder and his parents don’t immediately rush out to get him? Why weren’t they with him anyway? Does he have a guardian? No one seems worried about him. Scully, adopt him, please.

How do you like your new role as Syndicate chauffeur, Krycek? Do you feel like you’ve made good choices to get you to this place?

That’s a wrap on season 5! I’m excited for some fun episodes coming in season 6.