July 14, 2018

The X-Files 8.2, Without: Trust No One, Indeed

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

“I gotta work on my tortured-loner look”

Summary: Scully voices over stuff about darkness and the stuff we don’t see and secrets. There’s a UFO. Okay, show, let’s get on with it. We pick up with the end of “Within,” and Doggett finding Gibson with Mulder, or at least someone who looks like Mulder. Doggett orders him to let Gibson go, and as soon as Mulder does, Gibson runs off. Doggett asks Mulder if he’s armed, but Mulder just stands and stares at him. When Doggett tells him to get on the ground, Mulder slowly backs up to the edge of the cliff they’re on and lets himself fall off. He looks dead for a minute, but he’s not. By the time Scully and Skinner reach Doggett and the other agents, Mulder’s gone.

Since Mulder just fell off a cliff, then ran away like nothing happened, Scully knows they’re really dealing with the Bounty Hunter. Doggett wonders who the Bounty Hunter wants a bounty for. Scully says it’s Gibson and explains how he’s part alien. Doggett notes that Scully’s theory sounds a lot like something Mulder would believe. She invites him to come up with a better idea. Skinner notes that, with the Bounty Hunter in play, it’ll be hard to know if the people they’re working with are really the people they appear to be. Scully thinks Mulder would find this all amusing.

Doggett heads back to Gibson’s school, but the boy hasn’t returned there. He decides they need to search again. The Bounty Hunter is also there, and he turns himself into a teacher to fool Doggett. Scully and Skinner arrive and wonder how Doggett knew to look for Gibson at the school. They figure since Gibson can read thoughts, he’s three steps ahead of them and won’t be returning to the school. They spot a girl taking a bike and leaving the school grounds. Scully follows her as Skinner talks to the teacher the Bounty Hunter is pretending to be.

Somehow Scully manages to keep up with the girl on the bike for a while, but she eventually loses her. Scully realizes the desert ground she’s standing on is actually the roof of an underground bunker. She goes inside and finds the girl and Gibson. Gibson’s worried that Scully will lead the aliens to her, but she insists that she can protect him. The girl, Thea, is worried, and Scully says she has a right to be – now they can’t be sure who to trust.

Gibson has injured his leg, so Scully tends to him the best she can, but she’ll have to go get a car to get him out of town. Gibson reminds her that she promised to take care of him in the past, but that didn’t turn out so great for him. Back at the school, Doggett gets a call from Kersh, who’d love to know how it’s possible that Doggett found Mulder, then lost him in the middle of the desert. I think Doggett would like to know that, too.

Skinner realizes that Kersh was spying on him and Scully, which is how Doggett knew where to look for Gibson. He’s just a pawn. Doggett is a good agent – he’s even been talked about as a potential future director – but he’s being set up to fail. The only way he can find Mulder is to listen to Scully and accept the truth. But even then, he’ll lose, because he can’t file a report mentioning aliens or the Bounty Hunter. Kersh doesn’t want Doggett to succeed.

Doggett realizes Scully is MIA and tells his agents to get in touch with her. The Bounty Hunter turns into her inside the school just as the real Scully returns outside. She, Skinner, and Doggett head inside to nab the Bounty Hunter, but he realizes he’s been found out. He strangles another agent and makes a break for it. Scully thinks she’s tracked down her twin, but it’s just her reflection in a mirror. The strangled agent is the only one who saw the fake Scully. The real one figures that the Bounty Hunter is now posing as someone else. Thea catches on and realizes that the Bounty Hunter has turned into a teacher again.

Apparently Scully’s dreams about Mulder undergoing alien testing are contagious, since he has one in his underground hideout. Scully starts to head back there, but Skinner spots her and stops her. She thinks he’s the Bounty Hunter and pulls her gun on him. They have a standoff for a little while, but Skinner backs down first, knowing he can prove who he is. After all, he knows Scully’s secret. When he mentions her pregnancy, she knows he’s the real Skinner.

He thinks this has gone too far, but she says it hasn’t gone far enough. She needs to leave without letting Doggett find out. Skinner reminds her that she promised Mulder wouldn’t let him ruin his career over this pursuit for the truth. But what about Scully? She has more at stake now than Skinner ever has. Scully emotionally says that she can’t take the chance that she’ll never see Mulder again. Gibson is their last chance, and if they don’t get back to him, they may lose that chance. Thea watches them drive off.

Gibson’s not in the bunker anymore, but since he was trying to make an escape on an injured leg, he hasn’t gotten very far. He tells Scully that Mulder is nearby. Scully thinks Gibson’s just delirious from a fever, but he tells her she’s close to finding her partner. She sends Skinner to the hospital with the boy while she stays behind to look for Mulder. Sometime later, Gibson wakes up in the hospital, agitated. Skinner tries to calm him as Thea appears.

In the desert, Scully calls for her partner/boyfriend/baby daddy but gets no response. She sees a light in the sky and thinks it’s from a UFO. It’s not – it’s just Doggett’s helicopter. She accuses him of following her, but he says he’s just going where the action is. Scully notes that the fact that the action is wherever she is should mean something. The two fight for a little while about the truth and their theories about what’s going on. Doggett wonders what Scully would do if she found Mulder out there. She says she’d do whatever it took. To do…what? I don’t know.

Doggett’s annoyed that Scully didn’t tell him where Gibson was. He knows that Skinner took the boy to the hospital. Scully asks how he knows that. Doggett says the only thing he knows about the case is that Mulder is going to look for Gibson. When Mulder turns up, Doggett will grab him. Scully realizes that Doggett had his agents follow Skinner, but how can he know for sure that they’re all his guys? They fly off to the hospital, not seeing a nearby UFO, which holds Mulder, positioned for testing just like he is in Scully and Gibson’s dreams.

At the hospital, the agents assigned to keep Gibson safe insist that they’ve been successful. Scully asks if Doggett believes that. They go to Gibson’s room, but it’s empty. The only way Gibson and Skinner could have left the room without agents seeing them is through the ceiling. Scully tracks them down, and Skinner confirms that they escaped through the ceiling. He didn’t know if he could trust Doggett’s agents, so they moved to another room. But just then, Doggett finds someone hiding in the ceiling – someone who looks just like Skinner.

Gibson is able to signal to Scully that her Skinner is a fake. The Bounty Hunter tosses her around, which can’t be good for the baby. She’s able to grab her gun and shoot him, which makes him bleed green, then melt into a puddle of goo. Scully collapses and cries. Doggett comforts her, but it’s just not the same as it would be if he were Mulder.

Everyone returns to D.C., where Doggett shows Kersh pictures that should prove that all this crazy stuff actually happened. But Kersh is the new Skinner, which means he doesn’t believe Doggett’s report. Doggett knows Kersh was setting him up to look crazy, but Kersh tells him to go look for more answers.

Instead, Doggett visits Scully in the hospital and does Mulder’s usual end-of-episode case wrap-up. Skinner is okay, and Gibson is safe. And if this weren’t enough of an indication that Doggett is the new Mulder, he tells her he’s now officially part of the X-Files. He promises his new partner that he’ll find Mulder. Well, he’d better hurry, because it’s time for Mulder to undergo more tests.

Thoughts: I wish we’d gotten a whole episode of Gibson at the school. What a smart idea to stash a mind-reader at a school where he doesn’t speak the language – he can still communicate with people.

Scully and Skinner need a code word so they always know they’re talking to each other, not an imposter. Of course, if Mulder were there, he’d call it a safe word.

Why is it that the Bounty Hunter needs his special alien ice pick to kill, but he could be brought down by a regular old bullet? Did I miss something? Don’t email me; I don’t care. He’s dead.

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July 7, 2018

The X-Files 8.1, Within: Doggett Is the New Mulder, But Scully and Skinner Are Also the New Mulder

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:04 pm by Jenn

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Ha ha, just kidding

Summary: Scully wakes from a dream in which Mulder is undergoing a procedure that doesn’t look very comfortable. After a clip-show recap of “Requiem,” Scully stares at herself in a mirror for a while as she finishes getting ready for the day. At work, some agents are going through the stuff in her and Mulder’s office, hoping for something that will help them find Mulder. Scully tells them they’re wasting their time looking for him. She wants to know whose idea it was to search.

Skinner has just heard about the manhunt as well, and agrees with Scully that the FBI won’t find Mulder. However, he thinks he can. Scully wonders who’s going over Skinner’s head to organize the search. Skinner tells her it’s their new deputy director: Kersh. He’s been promoted, and he hopes Scully and Skinner will cooperate with the search. He’s assigned Special Agent John Doggett to lead the taskforce to find Mulder. Kersh warns the agents not to bring aliens or anything paranormal into the hunt. If they do, they’re fired.

Scully and Skinner know that Kersh has only organized a search to make the FBI look better. Scully thinks the bureau would be happier if Mulder stayed missing. Skinner has to go make a statement, and he’s decided to tell the truth: He saw a UFO. Scully reminds him that that’s exactly what Kersh doesn’t want him to say. Skinner doesn’t care – he won’t sell Mulder out. Scully asks what good it’ll do Mulder if Skinner risks his job.

As Skinner heads in to give his statement, Scully sits in a waiting area and chats with another agent. He gets her a cup of water and tells her he’s there to help develop a character background for Mulder. He’s not sure the agents can ever really know each other, even their partners. Scully disagrees, sure she knows Mulder as well as anyone else does.

The agent says he’s heard the rumors about the two of them – not that they were involved, but that Mulder never really trusted Scully. He confided in other women instead. Scully’s hurt. The agent asks Scully what she thinks happened to Mulder. She tells him he doesn’t know Mulder at all, and never did. She turns the agent’s badge around, having realized that he’s Doggett. Then she throws her water in his face.

At home that night, Scully looks up Doggett in the FBI’s database. He was a Marine and New York police officer before joining the bureau. She has to pause her investigation to run to the bathroom and throw up (I guess her morning sickness doesn’t just come in the morning). She tries to call her mom, leaving a message that they need to talk. There’s a click on the line, like someone’s picked up the phone, but no one says anything.

Scully sees movement on the street outside her window and calls Doggett to tell him to stay out of her business. She thinks he’s tapped her phone and is having her watched. He’s confused. Scully sees someone moving around outside her apartment door and runs to the hallway with her gun, but the only person she finds is her landlord. He tells her he saw Mulder in the hall. Scully returns to her apartment, thinking Mulder will be waiting for her there, but he’s not. Her computer’s missing, though.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, where his computer is also missing. She goes to bed holding one of Mulder’s shirts and has another dream about him undergoing alien testing. It involves having the roof of his mouth drilled open. Cheery! Meanwhile, Skinner meets up with the Lone Gunmen, who have hacked into some satellites to look into Mulder’s abduction. They can’t get the data they need to figure out where the UFO went after that. Skinner thinks this is the path that will lead them to Mulder.

At FBI headquarters, Doggett and Kersh talk about their experiences in the military (Kersh served in Vietnam) before Doggett confirms that he’s really in charge of the search for Mulder. Kersh hasn’t asked anyone else to head up another search, has he? You know, someone who might now be keeping tabs on Scully? Kersh says no, then tells Doggett that this is his chance to show the bureau how good he is at his job.

Scully’s asleep on Mulder’s couch when Doggett shows up at his apartment. She says she came to feed the fish and then took a nap. She doesn’t like Doggett’s attitude with her; he might have been able to get away with it when he was an NYPD officer, but he needs to change his tone when speaking to a fellow FBI agent. Doggett points out that she yelled at him on the phone, so she’s not exactly showing him the same respect she wants from him. He claims he’s not watching her; he’s also just there to feed the fish.

Scully mocks that Doggett would have no idea where to find Mulder. He tells her he knows what happened, or at least what Scully’s going to say happened. He doesn’t get how a scientist would believe that someone was abducted by aliens. Scully repeats her typical stance that she’s seen things she can’t explain, and she can’t just dismiss them because someone doesn’t believe. Doggett asks for help figuring out, from Mulder’s rental-car records, where he went on four consecutive weekends. Scully doesn’t know, so Doggett says what he said before: Maybe she doesn’t know her partner as well as she thinks she did.

Doggett, Scully, and Skinner are all summoned to the office, and Skinner is questioned about some files that were removed after hours. Whoever came in used Mulder’s pass card. Skinner said in his statement that Mulder felt threatened by the FBI. Maybe he’s gone rogue. Skinner clarifies that Mulder felt threatened by budget cuts. He thinks Mulder was only after the truth; he wouldn’t retaliate against the bureau. Kersh says they’re after the truth, too.

An agent gives Skinner some phone logs showing that he was in the office late the previous night. Maybe he used Mulder’s pass card. After all, Skinner was the last person to see Mulder. Scully tells Doggett that Skinner’s telling the truth, and he wouldn’t have used Mulder’s pass card. Doggett believes this, but he also knows that someone used Mulder’s credit card to buy flowers in Raleigh a couple days ago. Scully says that that’s where Teena’s buried; Mulder must have been going to her grave those four weekends. Doggett says that’s one reason.

Someone opens a crate containing a headstone with all four Mulder family members’ names on it. This floors Scully, who sits and stares at it for a while. Skinner comes by later, and both say they’re not sure what to think. Doggett joins them with Mulder’s medical records, which mention his brain problems the previous year. That combined with the headstone, which apparently Mulder ordered, make Doggett think that he was dying. Maybe Scully really didn’t know her partner after all.

Doggett asks how badly Mulder would want to prove his theories if he thought he was dying. He was about to lose his job and his life; why not go all out? He could have stolen files from the office, as well as Scully’s and his own computers, either in a final attempt to figure out the truth or because he wanted to cover it up. Maybe he even staged his own disappearance. Skinner won’t deny what he saw, and he tells Doggett all about it. Scully asks Doggett not to report it.

Skinner and Scully go to the Lone Gunmen to continue tracking the UFO’s path. Skinner thinks it’s in Arizona. Langly suggests figuring out who the aliens want to abduct next, and finding that person first. Scully starts putting it all together: Mulder isn’t the one removing evidence of aliens, it’s the aliens themselves. The proof of their existence isn’t in a computer or a file, but in a person. In his office, Doggett comes across info on that same person: Gibson Praise.

He tells his taskforce that Mulder thought Gibson could read minds and might have alien physiology. He thinks Mulder is looking for Gibson, so if they find the boy, they’ll find Mulder. Doggett tells another agent to send out Mulder’s picture to the press so everyone in the southwest knows what he looks like. On the way to find Gibson, Scully has another dream about Mulder undergoing testing. She and Skinner are searching on their own, but Doggett has the benefit of a helicopter and a bunch of agents, so they know Gibson’s living at a school for deaf children in Flemingtown, Arizona.

While she and Skinner are stopped at a gas station, Scully sees something appear in the distance, then disappear. They’ve also tracked Gibson to the school, and are just 20 minutes away. Gibson is called to the principal’s office, where another student gives him a weird look.

Doggett arrives just moments before Scully and Skinner, but Gibson, being psychic, knows he’s being pursued and escapes through a window. Now, instead of searching for Mulder, everyone’s on the hunt for Gibson. Whoever finds him first leads him off to the mountains, and Doggett follows their footprints. Eventually, he catches up to them as Gibson asks for release from his captor: Mulder. To be continued…

Thoughts: Giving agents access to the FBI database from their home computers seems like a good way for confidential information to get out.

No wonder the number-crunchers were upset with Mulder in “Requiem” – he was using bureau money to rent a car to go to his mother’s grave. Come on, Fox.

The cliffhanger would be a lot more…cliffhanger-y if they didn’t show Gibson trying to fight Mulder. He trusts Mulder, so his objections make it obvious that that’s not Mulder.