September 16, 2017

The X-Files 6.3, Triangle: Back to the Future

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

One of my favorite moments in the entire series

Summary: In the Sargasso Sea, an unconscious Mulder is floating in the water after a shipwreck. He’s rescued by a British ship’s crew who wonder if he’s an airman and ask where his uniform is. They call him Jerry and consider throwing him back in the water. When he shows them his ID, they say they’ve never heard of the FBI. They wonder if he’s in “the Fuhrer’s Secret Service.”

The crew takes Mulder to their Captain, Harburg, telling him they think Mulder is German. Harburg roughs him up a little and asks which flag he pledges allegiance to. Mulder’s confused and says he came looking for the ship, the Queen Anne. He has the location correct – they’re near Bermuda – and knows that the crew has had trouble getting an accurate compass reading. It’s because they’re in something called the Devil’s Triangle. He claims that the ship was caught in a time warp and is now in 1998.

The crew thinks Mulder’s nuts, and Harburg says he doesn’t have time for this, since they’re at war. Mulder says that in 1998, things are peaceful, other than a mess in the White House, “but that’ll blow over, so to speak.” (Cough.) Harburg says it’s September 3rd, 1939, and they’re on the ship to fight Hitler in Poland. In fact, the ship has just been invaded by Germans. Mulder tells the crew not to worry about it, since the war’s over. They can go to Germany and see some nice cars!

Mulder is locked in Harburg’s office while the crew goes to deal with the Germans. Mulder uses a radio to place a distress call but instead hears a news bulletin confirming Harburg’s story and the date. A German soldier comes in and Mulder fights him, knocking him out. He’s even more confused by the whole situation when he sees that the soldier looks just like Spender.

Mulder takes Spender’s uniform and tries to make an escape, but German soldiers chase him. He hides, then goes to a ballroom, where people are having a party, unaware that the ship has been taken over. Mulder finds a woman who looks like Scully but has no clue who that is. As he’s trying to convince her that he’s not a Nazi, soldiers capture him. “Wait until you get to Russia!” he yells. “Hope you fellas like the cold!”

The soldiers take Mulder to the steering room (that’s what it’s called, right? Don’t email me), where they order Harburg to hand over control of the ship. He refuses, so they shoot him. Mulder recognizes a soldier as CSM, who still hasn’t caught on that Mulder doesn’t “speak Nazi.” CSM orders his shooting, but Mulder doesn’t get what he’s being accused of. Another soldier, who looks like Skinner, joins the group and says something to CSM, who calls off Mulder’s execution.

In the present, the Lone Gunmen come to FBI headquarters to tell Scully that her partner’s in trouble. The S.S. Queen Anne, which vanished 60 years ago, suddenly appeared this morning. The official story was that the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but the Lone Gunmen believe its coordinates were kept secret so spies couldn’t locate it. They think it disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle and is now back. They told Mulder, who went looking for it, and now he’s missing.

Scully heads off to get help locating him, but the Lone Gunmen tell her it’ll be next to impossible without help from special imaging. She’ll need help from someone at the Pentagon. Scully barges into Skinner’s office to fill him in, but Skinner says he can’t help her. He doesn’t even want to know what Mulder may have gotten himself into this time. He yells, loudly enough for his secretary to hear, that he’s not allowed to have contact with Mulder or Scully anymore.

Scully thinks that after all they’ve gone through, Skinner would at least listen. She just needs information, and nothing more. Skinner won’t tell her if he has any contacts at the Office of Naval Intelligence, since it could cost him his job. He tells her to use her head to save her butt. Scully replies that he should use his own head, as he’ll be saving his own butt as well. (I may have paraphrased.)

Frustrated, Scully goes to Kersh’s office, but before she can give him any details about what she needs help with, she notices that CSM is there. Kersh takes her note from the Lone Gunmen, which contains the name of a Naval intelligence system, and sends her on her way as she says she doesn’t need to talk to him after all.

Scully calls Mulder’s phone, but he doesn’t have good coverage in 1939, so that doesn’t help. Next she goes to Spender and orders him to help her under penalty of death. She warns him not to weasel her. She gives him the coordinates of the ship and tells him to give her information no matter what he has to do to get it.

The phone rings after Spender leaves, and Scully intercepts a call from CSM. He thinks she’s Fowley, so she plays along. He tells her that Scully just gave Kersh a puzzling piece of paper, but before he can get any further, he becomes suspicious about who he’s really talking to. Scully hangs up and starts to leave, running into Kersh’s secretary, who was sent to fetch her. She tells Scully that Spender is currently with Kersh.

Scully rushes off, berating herself for being stupid, and gets a broken phone call she thinks is from Mulder. She’s on an elevator, so she can’t move around much to get better reception. When the doors open, she encounters her caller, Skinner. He gets on the elevator with her and gives her the information she needs, even after saying he wouldn’t help. She’s so happy that she kisses him. When Skinner gets off the elevator, he yells at Scully for trying to get him to break protocol. Spender overhears, none the wiser. The Lone Gunmen meet Scully in the parking garage, and the four speed off before Spender can catch up to them.

Back on the ship, Mulder has been returned to the British crewmen, who are heading for the engine room, their new accommodations. He tells them a little of what’s going to happen in the coming years of World War II. He lets them know that they win, with help from the Americans, and spend the next few decades with “not much to apologize [for] over the next 50 years, except for maybe the Spice Girls.” Zig-a-zig-ah, Mulder.

A crewman tells Mulder that the ship is supposed to be carrying arms, but he’s skeptical since they’d have to be pretty light. Someone kept asking about a code word the crew is unfamiliar with, Thor’s Hammer. A Jamaican crewman joins the group and learns about the German invasion. Mulder announces that they can’t go to Germany. Thor’s Hammer is a person, rather than the weapon they think it is. He’s a scientist who’s going to help build a bomb that will win the war for whichever side uses it. Mulder saw him in the ballroom.

The Jamaican crewman (guess who his 1998 counterpart is) blasts Mulder for giving up so much information when there could be spies around. “Trust no one, mon!” he booms. The crewmen tell him to kill the engines so the Germans can’t take the ship to their homeland. They decide to go to England or Jamaica instead, but Mulder knows the Germans will hunt them down. He wants them to go back the way they came…to the future. Well, the past. If they keep going forward, Hitler will win the war.

Some Nazis come down and take Mulder back to the ballroom, where no one’s in a partying mood anymore. CSM questions Mulder in German, and Spender translates. They want to know who Thor’s Hammer is. Mulder says he doesn’t know, so the Nazis threaten to start killing passengers. Mulder repeats that he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is, and the men carry out their threat on a random passenger, then another.

Scully yells at the Nazis to listen when Mulder says he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is. Like her 1998 counterpart, she calls Spender a weasel. The men make her their next target, and Mulder finally agrees to cooperate. He tells them the first man they killed was Thor’s Hammer.

In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen locate the Queen Anne, which seems to appear out of thin air, with full power. In 1939, Mulder messes with the Nazis for a bit as they ask him the name of the scientist. A man steps forward, saying he’s really the scientist, so Scully pulls a Spartacus and says it’s really her. It turns out she works for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) and is traveling with Thor’s Hammer to protect him. CSM orders her and Mulder’s deaths.

The two are put on their knees for their execution, but just them, the engines shut down. The British crewmen rush in and start beating up the Nazis. In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen search the ship, which appears to be empty. Mulder takes 1939 Scully off to save the ship, but they’re spotted by Nazis. They’re about to be shot when Skinner saves them and sends them on their way with a “God bless America.”

Mulder and Scully run around the ship, using the same hallways Scully is searching in 1998. The two women round the same corner at the same time, in opposite directions, and both pause as they seem to sense each other’s presences. 1998 Scully and the Lone Gunmen find the ballroom, which was trashed during the big British/Nazi fight in 1939. Mulder tells 1939 Scully about the time warp, bringing up Albert Einstein and his predictions about a nuclear bomb. If Scully doesn’t turn the ship around, Germany will win the war, and Mulder will never exist, and Scully probably won’t either.

Just in case they never meet again, Mulder says goodbye to Scully with a kiss. She punches him in response, and he remarks that he was expecting a left hook. He jumps overboard, depending on her to steer the ship toward the future. This leads to the first scene of the episode, where Mulder is floating in the water.

Sometime later, Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, saying, “Mulder, it’s me.” She reminds him that he went looking for a ship in the Bermuda Triangle, and he tells her she was there. Skinner enters with the Lone Gunmen, and Mulder says they were there, too, a la The Wizard of Oz. He tells Scully that she saved the world. She says he was on a boat they found in pieces; the Queen Anne was just a ghost ship.

Everyone thinks Mulder’s insistence that he was in 1939 is just a side effect of his injuries from jumping overboard. After the men leave, Mulder tells Scully that he might never have seen her again, but she believed him about the ship. She thinks he was dreaming, so she teases that he should think to himself, “There’s no place like home.” Scully starts to leave, but Mulder summons her back and tells her he loves her. “Oh, brother,” she sighs as she leaves.

Thoughts: This episode is so much fun. The trivia is also fun.

I can’t believe Scully and Skinner kiss before she and Mulder do.

Considering the current political climate, I enjoyed watching Nazis get beaten up.

James Pickens, Jr.’s Jamaican accept is…questionable, at best.

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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.

July 8, 2017

The X-Files 5.14, The Red and the Black: Resist or Serve

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:01 pm by Jenn

Whoever’s responsible for this shot: Excellent work

Summary: Someone types a letter to his son as a boy trudges through snow. The letter is about magic and weapons and getting rid of monsters. The writer hopes he and his son will one day be able to reconcile. The boy accepts the letter and some money, then heads off to mail the letter to the FBI. A helicopter flies over a dam in Pennsylvania, where a bunch of people are dead on the bridge from “Patient X.” Mulder is on the scene as workers take away all the bodies (or at least the ones that aren’t burned to ashes). He thinks he sees Scully in a body bag, but when Skinner joins him, he reveals that Scully’s still alive.

Jeffrey Spender arrives and asks Mulder if his mother was there. Mulder and Scully can’t give him an answer. Meanwhile, Marita is also in some trouble; the Well-Manicured Man is overseeing her treatment at a hospital, but the black oil has already gone to work on her. In better medical news, Scully is awake and only has minor injuries from whatever happened at the bridge. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember what that was. She sees news footage of the scene and realizes that everyone else on the bridge was burned alive. She doesn’t even remember why she was on the bridge.

Spender comes to the hospital to tell Mulder that Cassandra wasn’t among the victims. He doesn’t know how she got to the bridge, and he’d like to know why she and Scully were both there. Mulder is sure that Cassandra will be found, but Spender wants Mulder to stay out of it.

WMM has Krycek chained up on a Russian ship, where they talk about how Marita took Dmitri. WMM thinks Krycek was smart to infect Dmitri so he could in turn infect anyone who tried to find out what he knew about Kazakhstan. Now Dmitri’s dead, so his secret are safe. Krycek is the only person left who knows what Dmitri saw, but WMM isn’t interested in making a deal. He thinks Krycek only infected Dmitri because he knew he could cure him. The Russians must have a cure for the black oil, which means the colonists can keep up whatever they’re doing. Krycek denies that there’s a cure, and he’s not going to help Marita anyway. WMM says Krycek needs to be able to save himself, too. A UFO crash-lands on what we’ll later learn is a military base in West Virginia. Someone’s dead, but someone with a sewn-up face has survived.

Back at the hospital, Scully looks through photos from the bridge, but they don’t jog her memory. Mulder tells her that the other survivors don’t remember what happened either. He reveals that they found implants in some of the other would-be abductees, which he thinks is the reason everyone was led to the bridge. Scully doesn’t know why she was a target, or why she survived. Mulder’s more interested in finding out who created the implants and why one was put in Scully’s neck. Was she just being monitored, or is it a means of destruction?

Mulder thinks the truth he’s been looking for so long is in Scully. She reminds him that he’s always been looking for answers about Samantha’s abduction, and though she didn’t believe him, she followed his journey. He relied on his memories because they were all he had to guide him. Whether or not Mulder still trusts him, they’ve led the two of them here. Now Scully doesn’t have memories, and she can’t follow Mulder again. Mulder thinks he can find a way to give Scully back her memories and prove that he’s believed the wrong thing for so long. Scully isn’t sure that’s what he really wants.

The Syndicate passes around pictures of the survivor in West Virginia, thinking he was responsible for the deaths on the bridge. They label him a resistance fighter opposing the alien colonists. WMM is sure this is what Krycek has been trying to keep secret – a war has started. He claims that Krycek gave him the cure for the black oil, which is now being administered to Marita. This means “resistance is possible,” with the weapons and magic they now possess. If not, they can align with the resistance. The Elder disagrees – they need to turn in the resistance fighter. WMM wants to see if the cure works first.

Mulder takes Scully to see Dr. Werber so he can try to hypnotize her and help her recover her memories. He regresses her to the bridge, which he calls “the night place,” and she sees a bunch of lights in the sky. The lights all fly away, and then Scully sees everyone get set on fire. She’s distressed, and Mulder takes her hand. Scully says the fire-starters have no faces, no eyes, and they’re coming towards the group. More lights arrive, and it’s now clear that they’re shining from the bottom of a UFO. The UFO fires on the fire-starters, then hovers right over the people on the bridge. A beam comes down and pulls Cassandra up to the UFO.

Scully’s upset, so Werber stops the session and brings her back to reality. She confirms that Mulder stayed with her the whole time. Then he gets up and walks out. The two go see Skinner after he watches the tape of the session, and Mulder says everything lines up with other stories of regression. He’s sure that Scully witnessed something major, but he still thinks his memories of Samantha’s abduction are false. Skinner needs facts to work with while he heads up the investigation into what happened on the bridge. Mulder announces that the situation was staged to cover up some sort of classified military operation.

Skinner asks what happened to Cassandra, if everything else was staged. Mulder thinks she was taken aboard a military aircraft as part of the ploy. Skinner says he’s doubted Mulder a number of times, only to be proven wrong, but now he doubts Mulder only because aliens actually seem more reasonable than what Mulder thinks happened. Marita still has oil in her system, so the Elder doesn’t think the cure worked. WMM thinks they need more time, and can’t hand over the alien rebel yet. The Elder tells him he’s already done it.

Scully finds Spender in her and Mulder’s office, and he asks why she went to see Cassandra. He shows her a video of himself at 11 years old, undergoing regression hypnosis. He sees flashing lights in the sky, then watches Cassandra being beamed up. He admits to Scully that the story is a lie, just something he thought happened because Cassandra told him about it so many times. It wasn’t the truth, just a substitute. The truth is that Spender’s father left the family, and Cassandra lost it.

Spender calls Werber’s process “having a dream and then pretending it’s real.” Scully, however, thinks her story is real. Spender notes that Mulder could have planted ideas in her head, and Scully could have made herself believe that one of his abduction tales really happened to her. “Don’t let yourself be used,” Spender warns.

Mulder comes home to a note that says, “Things are looking up.” Suddenly he’s attacked by Krycek, who says he’s not there to kill Mulder, but to help him. He tells Mulder to pay attention because there’s a war coming, and everyone on Earth is in danger. The site in Kazakhstan, Skyland Mountain, and the bridge are all “alien lighthouses where the colonization will begin.” The war will be a battle between Heaven and Earth. Everyone will have to resist or serve.

Mulder laughs off Krycek and his claims that he wants to help. Krycek says someone sent him to enlist Mulder because he knows they can resist. The incinerations were attempts to rebel, and one of the rebels is in captivity. “If he dies,” Krycek warns, “so does the resistance.” He wishes Mulder good luck in Russian, then leaves. Meanwhile, the Bounty Hunter (hey, buddy! Long time, no see!) sneaks onto a military base.

Scully comes to Mulder’s apartment to tell him that she may have been wrong about her memories. Mulder shows her the note, which has the name of an Air Force base written on the back. Since the base holds hazardous materials, the agents have some trouble being allowed in. Mulder sends the soldier delaying them to talk to a superior, apparently planning to just drive in while someone else is leaving – someone Scully recognizes. So Mulder jumps on board the other driver’s truck and leaves Scully behind at the gate.

Scully finds a black-oil victim on the truck, which is being driven by the Bounty Hunter in disguise. The Bounty Hunter checks on his cargo but doesn’t see Mulder. Suddenly the truck is filled with a bright light, and the black-oil victim approaches the Bounty Hunter with his fire-starter. Mulder yells, “NOOOOOO!” really dramatically and pulls his gun. Elsewhere, Marita’s eyes show that she’s been cured. Military personnel collect Mulder from the truck, which is now empty. He’s reunited with Scully and tells her he doesn’t know what happened.

Skinner calls Spender to his office to warn that Mulder has opened an X-file about what happened to Cassandra. Skinner thinks Spender will do fine at the FBI; he also reveals that Spender has a “patron” with a high level of influence who’s in his corner. As he leaves, Spender receives the letter from the beginning of the episode, sent from Canada. The boy goes back to the letter writer with his envelope – Spender has had it returned to sender. (Returned to Spender?) P.S. The letter writer is a not-so-dead-after-all CSM.

Thoughts: Dear everyone in this show: A vaccine and a cure are not the same thing. You can’t call it a vaccine if it’s administered after the infection. It’s a cure.

A fun exchange:

Krycek: “You must be losing it, Mulder. I could beat you with one hand.”
Mulder: “Isn’t that how you like to beat yourself?” [Is this a masturbation joke??]
Krycek: *ready to shoot*
Mulder: “If those are my last words, I can do better.”

New rule: The title of the episode has to be explained in the episode.

July 1, 2017

The X-Files 5.13, Patient X: Krycek’s Back to Screw Stuff Up, Possibly Just for the Fun of It

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:28 pm by Jenn

He could do better. Her…probably not

Summary: This is one of those episodes that starts with Mulder giving a voiceover about something that isn’t really related to the episode. Specifically, he’s talking about the universe and gods. Blah blah, signs, revelations, destiny written in the stars. Somewhere in Kazakhstan, two teen boys see something in the sky and run off to spread the word. They smell fire and come across a bunch of burning cars. They yell for their parents but get no response. A man emerges, on fire, and the boys run off. They get separated, and one hears the other scream as the burning man approaches him.

A group of UN peacekeepers comes to the scene the next day, accompanied by Marita. While the peacekeepers put out the dying fires, the remaining teen hides nearby. He’s found by a small group of men, including Krycek. Once Krycek determines that the boy, Dmitri, saw what happened, he says it’s too bad. He takes Dmitri to Marita, who happens to speak Russian and tells Krycek she and her peacekeepers have the scene under control. Krycek tells her they have no authority there. Marita needs to go back to her people and tell them what she saw there, and that “it’s all going to hell.” When Marita asks if Dmitri saw what happened, Krycek gives her an additional message: “Tell them to kiss my American a%$.”

At a panel discussion in Massachusetts, people watch a video of woman talking about the most recent of her multiple alien abductions. They told her she was an apostle and will be ushering in an “age of supernatural enlightenment.” The woman is labeled Patient X, and a man on the panel (which Mulder is also a member of) says we don’t have the language or physics to grasp her experience. A woman on the panel disagrees – we talk about needing proof as if it would change anything. Instead, we should be trying to find out why aliens are here.

Another panel member talks about what alien visits mean for our relationship with God. He’s interested in the lighthouses Patient X talks about, which are headquarters for alien activity. Mulder doesn’t believe Patient X’s testimony – he doesn’t think she’s lying, but she’s been lied to and believes she’s telling the truth. The power of suggestion makes people think that the problems they have, like Patient X’s, are due to something paranormal rather than something physiological.

The woman on the panel asks Mulder if this means he doesn’t believe in aliens. He says no, but he’s questioning his own misbelief. Mulder continues that if you look too hard, you’ll go crazy, but if you recognize that there are lies, you become enlightened. He announces that the government is hiding the fact that they’re gathering biological weapons. It’s “a conspiracy wrapped in a plot inside a government agenda.” The audience finds this theory very interesting.

As Mulder leaves after the discussion is over, he recognizes an audience member, Dr. Heitz Werber. Werber once helped Mulder try to recover his memories about Samantha’s abduction, and he’s surprised that Mulder seems to have given up on his theories about aliens. Mulder says he just doesn’t trust those memories anymore. Werber wonders if Mulder’s doubts mean the two of them were believing in something crazy all along. He reveals that he’s Patient X’s doctor, and he thinks Mulder should meet her.

Poor Dmitri is taken to a Russian gulag, where Krycek gives the OK for him to be subjected to experiments. He snags a vial of something, then leaves Dmitri to his fate. Back in the States, Werber introduces Mulder to the wheelchair-bound Patient X, whose name is Cassandra Spender. She’s considered Mulder a hero since he helped Duane Barry. She says that story saved her life as it inspired her to seek hypnotic regression for her own memories. Mulder asks if Cassandra is Werber’s patient voluntarily, then encourages her to check herself out of the hospital and get back to her life.

Cassandra disagrees – this is an important time, as the aliens are gearing up for a battle. She thinks that she, like Duane, will be summoned somewhere to do something important. Mulder tells her that Duane died after being visited by men from the government. He tries to tell Cassandra that there’s doubt about things that happened, but Cassandra is sure that she was abducted and had an unborn child taken from her. There are “other forces at work,” and she’s going to play an important role. Mulder needs to pay attention because he’s the only one who can help her. He insists that he isn’t.

In Russia, Dmitri undergoes the same black-oil experiments Mulder and Krycek did. Two men talk about the site where he was found, and how Krycek is the only person who knows what Dmitri saw. They discover that another prisoner has killed himself. I’m not really clear on what happened, but I’m guessing that this was a distraction so Krycek could grab Dmitri, who he’s now tending to on a ship. Poor Dmitri’s eyes and mouth have been sewn shut, but Kryeck promises to take good care of him.

At FBI headquarters, Scully meets an agent named Jeffrey Spender, who’s concerned about Mulder’s conversations with Cassandra (who happens to be Spender’s mother). Neither knows why the two are talking, but Spender thinks his mother is troubled, and that talking to Mulder will cause her more pain. He’s worried that if his mother’s condition spreads, he’ll get a reputation, I guess as the son of a crazy woman.

Marita addresses the Syndicate at their lair, telling them that the people in the burned cars seemed to have been killed by a biological weapon. At least two victims had something on them that Marita now has in a vial (I think it’s a neck implant). The Well-Manicured Man guesses that all the victims had them, and the place they were found was going to be the scene of a group abduction. One of the other Syndicate members is surprised, since he thought that wouldn’t be taking place for years. Did the timetable get moved up?

Marita thinks this is an act of war. She mentions Krycek’s presence and thinks he knows what really happened. The meeting is interrupted when Krycek himself calls the Syndicate’s “batphone.” He tells WMM that they’ve been working on a vaccine against the black oil, and he wants their research. In exchange, he’ll hand over Dmitri.

In their office, Scully gives Mulder a copy of a newspaper containing an article about the panel discussion. She’s surprised that he’s being quoted as doubting the existence of aliens; now he sounds like her. They talk about Cassandra, who Mulder thinks is proof that they’ve been chasing their tails for five years. Scully jokes that Mulder seems to have invalidated his own work, which means her job is done. She tells him she talked to Spender, who agrees with Mulder that Cassandra is unwell. Mulder’s frustrated that no one believes him about the government hiding something.

Scully has doubts about Mulder’s doubts, though – Cassandra says she was abducted at Skyland Mountain, just like Scully, and has an implant at the base of her neck. She tells Mulder that Spender wants him to keep quiet about anything he’s discussed with Cassandra. Mulder has no problem with that. Meanwhile, a convoy of cars heads to Skyland Mountain, though at least one of the drivers doesn’t seem sure why he’s there.

Scully visits Cassandra, who recognizes her but can’t remember where she’s seen her before. Cassandra soon realizes that Scully is also an abductee. Scully warns her not to remove her implant, but Cassandra’s ready for the consequences. She thinks the aliens have a lot to teach them, and Scully, as a doctor, should want to meet creatures who are such great healers. Maybe that’s why they abducted her in the first place. The drivers head up Skyland Mountain, and a man runs toward a car, begging for help. Behind him, another man touches something to him that lights him on fire.

Mulder and Scully are called to the mountain the next day; there are dozens of dead bodies, all burned. Scully guesses this is related to her abduction, while Mulder won’t believe that without evidence. The Syndicate watches news footage of the investigation, wondering how this could happen without their knowledge. WMM thinks someone’s trying to sabotage their work. They need to move “before the colonists intervene.” Cassandra’s also watching the news footage when she asks the agents to come see her. She tells them she knew all the victims, who were all her friends from a long time ago. Things weren’t supposed to happen like this.

Cassandra asks the agents to stop what’s happening, though she doesn’t know exactly what’s going on. Spender arrives and pulls the agents outside to chastise them for talking to his mother again. He tells them that Cassandra was in a cult with the Skyland victims; they all thought a UFO would take them someplace where they could live forever. Mulder tells Spender that they’ll leave Cassandra alone. As they leave, one of the men who experimented on Dmitri enters Cassandra’s room.

Marita tracks down Krycek as he’s doing something to Dmitri. They start making out (Marita and Krycek, not Krycek and Dmitri, though that would be a twist), and he says that if the Syndicate gives him what he wants, he’ll “rule the world.” Marita assures him that they’re on their way to getting what they want. They head off to go make evil babies or something while Dmitri gets left behind.

Scully wakes up in the middle of the night, seeming to sense something outside. She gazes up at the sky and feels the back of her neck, where her implant used to be. Krycek goes back to Dmitri’s holding place but finds it empty. WMM surprises him and asks where Dmitri is.

Scully meets Mulder in their office, where he shows her x-rays from three of the Skyland victims. They all have implants in their necks. The victims’ families said they weren’t in cults, but two were in MUFON groups and underwent treatment for depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Mulder thinks the implants were triggered by the government to lead the victims to Skyland so they could be monitored. Scully points out that the people were all then killed. She thinks they should give more thought to what Cassandra has said.

Marita calls Mulder to tell him about what happened in Kazakhstan. She’s the one who took Dmitri, and she wants Mulder to talk to him about what he witnessed. Dmitri has a different idea – he unstitches his eyes and surprises Marita at the payphone she’s on. While Scully tries to pull herself together, Mulder tracks Marita’s call and finds the payphone off the hook. There are smears of something on the glass. Mulder calls Cassandra but gets Spender instead. Cassandra’s disappeared, and Spender doesn’t know where she might have gone.

The experimenter takes Cassandra to a bridge, where a bunch of other people are gathered, waiting for something. Dmitri is also there, and he could probably use some medical attention, so it’s good that Scully has arrived. Everyone looks up to see a bright light in the sky, flying over them like a plane (or, you know, a UFO). There’s a bright flash, and everyone is stunned into silence. Scully finds Cassandra just before two men with formerly stitched faces light Dmitri on fire. To be continued…

Thoughts: Cassandra is played by Veronica Cartwright, who got an Emmy nomination for this role.

This show is much more fun when Mulder’s the believer and Scully’s the skeptic. Skeptical Mulder = depressed Mulder.

Is there a connection between the name Cassandra and the constellation Cassiopeia, which Scully sees when she wakes up before going to the bridge? Discuss.