February 2, 2019

The X-Files 9.10, Providence: “Bring Me the Head of Fox Mulder”

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:23 pm by Jenn

When you’re not sure what’s going on with a spaceship, it’s best to stand directly on top of it

Summary: Some guy gets the pointless episode-opening voiceover as he talks about God coming to him in Iraq in 1991. While under attack, he had an omen about his men dying. While the rest of his people were killed, he was left alive, rescued by some more soldiers. Those four head into a building that explodes, but they come out unharmed. Now the surviving soldier (who’s from the Alberta dig site that unearthed the spaceship) thinks his mission on Earth is to tell people about those angels and a god who came before all other gods.

Follmer recaps the previous episode, telling a taskforce that William has been kidnapped by the woman who ambushed the Lone Gunmen. The guys are all fine and present at the meeting, as is Toothpick Man. Doggett is absent, but he has a good excuse, as he’s in a coma. Follmer says that the kidnapper and Comer’s motives are still unknown. The FBI is confident they can get William back unharmed.

Skinner catches Scully sitting in on the meeting and tells her to go home and let the rest of the bureau find William. Scully isn’t about to trust Follmer to lead the rescue mission. They know he withholds information from Kersh, and he’s already failed twice to prevent attacks on William. Skinner thinks she’s crazy to think that Follmer and Kersh could be part of William’s abduction.

Scully reminds Skinner of all the stuff Follmer and Kersh have already been involved in. She thinks they’re leading an effort to eliminate the X-Files and everyone connected to it. Skinner says she’d have to group him with Kersh and Follmer in her accusations. Instead, Scully leaves to find William on her own.

Skinner goes to the hospital, where Reyes is by Doggett’s side. There’s a possibility that he’ll never wake up. Skinner tells Reyes about sitting with dying soldiers in Vietnam and telling them they would be okay even when it was obvious they wouldn’t. Talking to them felt like praying – they might not be able to hear him, but God could.

Scully calls to check on Doggett, then asks to meet with Reyes, without Skinner knowing. The abductor has been ID’d, thanks to the Lone Gunmen, and Scully needs Reyes’ help to find information on her. She doesn’t want the FBI to know what they’re up to. The Gunmen hack a phone company to try to track a cell phone in their car, which the kidnapper also took. There’s no signal yet, but the guys will keep trying.

Reyes thinks Scully is nuts to go off alone, since the Gunmen have already failed her with William. (Ouch.) Scully doesn’t think she has any other choice – she doesn’t believe the FBI is as confident in getting William back as Follmer said they were. The Gunmen announce that they’ve picked up a cell signal in Pennsylvania, so Scully heads out, willing to go alone if Reyes won’t tag along.

As the kidnapper stops at a phone booth, the diggers in Alberta take pictures of their discovery. The kidnapper calls the soldier to confirm that she has William, and he tells her he’ll send someone to get her. Just then, pieces of the spaceship start moving and lights inside it turn on. The top closes, trapping two diggers inside. The soldier asks for tools to get them out.

Scully and Reyes race to Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, and find the Lone Gunmen’s car, which is now empty. Reyes returns to D.C. to check in on Doggett, who’s been taken for some scans. Reyes goes to the chapel, where Follmer interrupts her prayers and notes that she’s acting pretty “traditional.” She admits that she feels lost. He hugs her and promises he’s doing everything he can to find William and the kidnapper, despite the people in the FBI who are working against them.

Follmer knows that Scully and Reyes went off alone, and he chastises Reyes for not giving the FBI a heads up. He wants her cooperation, promising to share information he hasn’t already. First off, Comer wants to tell them something. He’s also in the hospital, not looking so great, but has tried to write Follmer a note. It just says “jacket,” and Follmer and Reyes can’t figure out what it means.

Reyes takes it to Scully, telling her that she’s only allowed to see it if she gives Reyes information to give Follmer. Scully tells her that Comer only made it from the Canadian border to D.C. without a scratch on him because of something in his jacket pocket. Obviously, the piece of the spaceship is the key here.

The women go to the hospital, taking the artifact to Comer’s room. It brings him back to consciousness and makes him agitated. Scully threatens to smother Comer with his pillow if he doesn’t tell her who sent him to kill William. Comer says that William has to die, so Scully puts a hand around his throat. He explains that he was sent to infiltrate a UFO cult whose followers believe an alien race will take over the world. They were sent to Alberta to find the ship, which the cult leader thinks is a temple that houses “the physical manifestation of God.”

Scully interprets this as Comer saying God told him to kill William. Comer corrects that the cult leader believes William is a savior who needs to be protected. William is prophesied to follow in Mulder’s footsteps and save the world from aliens…unless Mulder is killed. Reyes figures out that Comer came to kill William to end the prophesy. Scully thinks that means Mulder is dead, also in an attempt to end the prophesy. If William doesn’t die, all humans will.

Toothpick Man catches the agents in Comer’s room and makes them leave. They can’t get the artifact back without Toothpick Man seeing, so they have to leave it with Comer. Toothpick Man tells some minions to call Follmer and Skinner, then heads into Comer’s room. In Alberta, the men can’t be freed from the spaceship, but there are more important things to deal with – the kidnapper has arrived with William. The top of the spaceship opens, but the men who were trapped inside are dead.

Skinner and Follmer come to the hospital as Scully and Reyes go to the chapel. Scully doesn’t want to tell the other agents how Comer has made a miraculous recovery; the FBI will use that against them. Reyes thinks they need to tell the truth, but Scully knows there’s more going on. She’s always felt like something was wrong with her pregnancy and child, and now there’s confirmation.

Reyes disagrees, reminding Scully that the ship is full of scripture, and no scripture mentions the death of a child. They’re just dealing with false prophets. All they need to believe is that William could still be alive, and they can save him. They can also use the artifact to save Doggett. Skinner finds the women and tells them they need to get out of there. Comer’s dead.

Reyes returns to Comer’s room and tries to get his nurse to back up her story that he was alive when Toothpick Man got there. The artifact is gone, but the nurse denies seeing it. Reyes suspects that Toothpick Man killed Comer, but Follmer thinks she’s snapped. She goes looking for Scully to back up her story.

Scully’s with Doggett, feeling guilty for putting his life in danger. She promises that Reyes is fighting for him. Doggett wakes up and says he heard someone talking. “They’re” going to come to her, but she can’t trust them. Reyes comes in just as Scully gets a call from the soldier offering her the chance to see William, if she comes alone and follows his instructions.

Scully goes to Alberta and meets the soldier in a diner. He tells her he wants to protect William. He quotes Ephesians, a verse about giants walking the earth, which he thinks relates to the angels he saw in Iraq. Those “angels” were really supersoldiers. The soldier offers to let Scully see William if she brings him confirmation that Mulder’s dead. The soldier thought he was, but now he has reason to doubt it. If Mulder’s alive, he’s preventing William’s true destiny. “If you want to see the boy,” the soldier tells Scully, “you’ll bring me the head of Fox Mulder.”

Scully calls Reyes, who’s with the Lone Gunmen, putting trackers in the soldier’s cars. The women follow the trackers, but the Gunmen lose the signals. Frohike pretends they’re still going the right way, though he doesn’t fool Reyes. At the dig site, the spaceship is moving again, and William is no longer calm and quiet, as he’s been the whole episode. The kidnapper tells the soldier that the ship started moving when William started crying.

The women are lost, but Scully spots the lights from the spaceship in the distance and runs toward them. The spaceship moves a lot, and the lights go out. Then the whole ship lights up and goes up into the sky. Scully and Reyes see it fly off and think William’s on board. The dig site has been destroyed, and the diggers are dead, but there’s one person who’s alive in the wreckage: William.

Reyes finds Doggett, now fully healed, in the hospital chapel, and he tells her he knows she prayed for him. He thinks she’s the person he heard talking while he was in the coma, telling him to warn Scully about the soldier. Reyes says she only prayed for his life.

At FBI headquarters, Follmer tells Kersh that Skinner wouldn’t sign his report about Comer’s death, since Skinner thinks Comer was murdered. Follmer signed the report, but Comer’s monitors showed that he was improving before he died. Follmer wants to take his name off the report. Kersh would like an explanation, but since Follmer’s just backpedaling, Kersh isn’t going to agree to anything. He goes into his office and tells Toothpick Man that the case isn’t quite closed, and has been designated an X-File. Toothpick and his bumpy neck are sure they can take care of that.

Thoughts: I’d love to know how the kidnapper got William from all three Lone Gunmen without hurting any of them.

Scully’s scriptural knowledge is apparently so deep that she can identify some random passage from Ephesians on the first try.

I love that Scully calls out William’s name when she goes into the wreckage, as if he’s going to call out, “I’m over here, Mom!”

January 26, 2019

The X-Files 9.9, Provenance: Oh, Cool, the Baby’s in Danger Again

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

And Scully doesn’t see his fingers? Yeah, right

Summary: In Burke County, North Dakota, at the U.S./Canadian border, two Border Patrol agents are freezing their butts off. They spot someone on a motorbike and give chase. It goes on for a long time. These three characters have now had more screentime than Kersh has all season. Eventually, the motorbike goes up in flames and its rider is thrown off. His bag comes open, spilling out a bunch of paper full of symbols.

Scully gets to take a break from Quantico when she’s called to Kersh’s office at the FBI building. Skinner, Follmer, and some other men are also there. One of them has a toothpick in his mouth and is only known by the highly creative name Toothpick Man. Kersh shows Scully the biker’s pages and asks if she knows what they are. Scully dodges the question, saying that if they’re connected to the X-Files, Kersh and Follmer should ask someone who currently works on the X-Files. Scully asks for more information, but they won’t provide it.

As soon as she’s dismissed, Scully goes to the X-Files office and asks Doggett and Reyes if Follmer’s been down there, going through files. They haven’t seen him and don’t have any idea what’s been going on. She shows them rubbings from the spaceship in Africa, full of the same symbols as the pages in the biker’s bag. She didn’t say anything to Kersh and Follmer because she knows the symbols are powerful words. If the FBI has them, they must know just how powerful the symbols are.

Doggett heads to North Dakota, meeting up with Follmer at the border. Now it’s Follmer’s turn to dodge questions and pretend nothing important is going on. Doggett’s smart enough to know that the number of FBI agents searching the site for the now-missing biker means he must be significant. Follmer insists that the biker’s disappearance has nothing to do with Doggett or the X-Files. If Doggett keeps snooping around, he’ll regret it. The biker has actually been hiding out in the woods all night, and when he pulls a piece of metal with symbols on it out of his pocket, his burns from the bike crash instantly heal.

Back in D.C., Reyes has put together all the rubbings of the spaceship and wants to know if Scully knows what they say. They’re full of religious scriptures and science stuff, like the period table. All of it appears to be millions of years old. Reyes thinks they’re dealing with the actual word of God, which means everything humans believe in is in question.

Scully says she refused to believe that at first, but now she thinks the symbols hold some answers, especially about William. She thinks she was meant to find the symbols. Reyes wonders why the FBI would keep the truth from Scully. Hi, Reyes, welcome to the show. More importantly, what does the FBI hope to learn from the symbols?

Doggett returns to D.C. to yell at Skinner for not answering calls from him or Follmer. Skinner repeats Follmer’s insistence that the case isn’t an X-File. Doggett reveals that he was in North Dakota and knows agents are searching for the biker. Why is Skinner keeping Kersh and Follmer’s secrets? Skinner says he knows things Doggett doesn’t, and he’s keeping quiet for Doggett’s own good.

As Doggett sneaks into Kersh’s office, where he’s keeping the pages, an archaeological dig in Alberta, Canada, unearths what appears to be another spaceship. Doggett gets information on the biker, Robert Comer, who happens to be an FBI agent. Reyes has even worked with him before. For the past few months, he’s been working a case so secret that the details are redacted from his file. Doggett also nabbed the pages so the two of them and Scully can get a better look at them.

In Jessup, Maryland, Comer steals a truck and plans a trip to Georgetown. Scully leaves William with her mother, who doesn’t like that she’s running around in the middle of the night, looking for answers about the baby. No matter what Scully learns, she needs to love William like any other child. Maggie sees him as a miracle and isn’t sure they should question the circumstances of his existence. They should just take it on faith. Scully can’t do that – she needs to know if God is really responsible for her son’s conception.

Doggett fills Scully in on Comer, who’s been researching a UFO cult in North Dakota. The FBI thinks he joined the cult himself, which explains all the secrecy. Scully tells Doggett and Reyes that something else has to be going on; she was questioned about the symbols, not Comer. Reyes thinks the FBI doesn’t know what’s really going on. She’s looked at the pages and rubbings and has realized they don’t match. The UFO cult must have found a second spaceship.

In the morning, Maggie takes William for a walk, then returns home to find Comer waiting for her. Scully gets home just as Comer is roughing Maggie up. Maggie warns that Comer wants to kill the baby, so Scully fights him in the nursery. Comer gets the upper hand, locking Scully out and ignoring her threats. Fortunately, Maggie has found a gun, and Scully is able to bust down the nursery door and shoot Comer before he can hurt William.

Doggett and Reyes rush over, and Scully gives orders. Reyes will look after Maggie and William while Scully and Doggett deal with an injured Comer. Doggett insists that they get Comer to a hospital, but Scully won’t let the FBI take over and prevent her from getting answers. Doggett ignores her and calls 911. Comer tells Scully that William has to die, but he passes out before he can tell her whose orders he’s following. As paramedics take Comer away, Scully examines his jacket and finds the piece of metal inside.

In Calgary, Alberta, a newspaper announces that a missing FBI agent was shot in D.C. A woman who reads the headline seems very concerned. She goes to the site of the archaeological dig and shows it to a man there, who says, “This changes everything.” They know Comer could expose everything. That means they only have one option.

In D.C., Scully and Doggett are both called to the principal’s office – sorry, I mean Kersh’s office. The same people are present from Scully’s first questioning. Kersh tells her there will be an investigation into Comer’s attempt to kill William, but that’s not good enough for Scully or Doggett. He wants answers. Kersh knows that they already know about Comer’s undercover assignment. Skinner reveals that he asked to keep that case out of the X-Files because he thought it might be too much for Scully.

Kersh and Follmer continue that Comer was sent to infiltrate the cult after a series of threats on Mulder’s life. Scully asks why they showed her the rubbings. Follmer says that before they lost contact with Comer in North Dakota, he sent a communication that Mulder was dead. Scully just looks at all the men and then leaves.

Reyes brings William home to Scully, who starts to tell her about Mulder. They hear a rattling sound from the next room and realize the metal piece is shaking around in the drawer Scully stashed it in. When she opens the drawer, the metal flies out and straight into the nursery, cutting through some of the bars of William’s crib. It stops above his head, slowly rotating, just like the mobile he seemingly moved with his mind.

Doggett comes over and Reyes tells him what happened. She thinks William has some sort of connection to the piece of metal. Whether or not Doggett believes that (uh, he doesn’t), the cult does, because they were willing to have William killed. As the three agents put William (aww, three agents and a baby) in the car to take him somewhere, Doggett spots the woman from Calgary watching them. He sends the women off and starts to approach the woman. She’s not in the mood to talk, so she runs him over with her car.

Scully and Reyes take William to the only people left Scully can trust: the Lone Gunmen. Ooh, now it’s three men and a baby! They promise that they’ll keep the baby safe and keep in touch with disposable cell phones that have scrambled signals. The women head back to Scully’s place, where they realize that Doggett has been injured. Scully decides William isn’t safe and rushes off, but it’s too late – the woman from Calgary has already found the Lone Gunmen and is ready to shoot them in order to get William. To be continued…

Thoughts: Toothpick Man is played by Alan Dale. Comer is played by Neal McDonough, who I’m always glad to see pop up in a show I’m watching.

Way to secure your super-important evidence, Kersh. Your desk is a great hiding place. No one would ever think to look there.

“A guy who tried to kill my son for no apparent reason says my boyfriend’s dead. He must be telling the truth.” Whatever, Scully.

January 19, 2019

The X-Files 9.8, Hellbound: Under My Skin

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

There weren’t a lot of non-gross options for pictures for this episode

Summary: A man is speaking at a support group at a church in Novi, Virginia, telling the other participants how much better he is because he’s been coming there. Another man, Ed, says our lives “only go one way,” and the speaker can’t undo the crimes he’s committed. He’s going to Hell just like everyone else in the group. Ed says he’s only there because he drove a friend, Victor, who isn’t doing well. He’s been having dreams about people being skinned alive.

The group leader, Lisa, is concerned as the first speaker, Terry, tells Victor that everyone there is afraid. That fear often comes out in dreams. After the meeting, Ed tells Victor that the group is useless, and clearly isn’t helping his nightmares. What also doesn’t help: the fact that when Victor looks at Ed, he sees him without his skin.

Reyes is looking at Victor’s criminal file when Doggett meets her in Quantico in the middle of the night. Victor was murdered five days ago. They meet up with Scully, who looks very put together for that time of night. The three agents look at Victor’s skinned body, which Doggett thinks was the work of a gang. Reyes says more has to be going on – Victor was skinned alive just hours after he talked about dreaming about people being skinned.

Doggett figures that a lifelong criminal like Victor had some enemies, and one of them finished him off. He doesn’t get why this is a case for them. Scully says that Victor was skinned in a way that made him suffer for as long as possible. Okay, but that still doesn’t make it an X-File, and Reyes doesn’t even know why she’s feeling like she needs to solve the case. She’s like Scully and Doggett’s help, though.

Doggett and Reyes meet up with a detective named Van Allen, who doesn’t hide his disinterest in the case. They talk to Lisa, who tells them about Ed’s animosity toward Victor at the meeting (which, by the way, was for anger management). She says other stuff about the participants’ pasts. Doggett is surprised that Reyes contacted Lisa about the investigation, not the other way around. Lisa appreciates that someone’s looking into what happened to an otherwise forgettable person like Victor. Van Allen finds Reyes familiar and wonders if she’s ever been to Novi before. She hasn’t.

Ed and Terry both happen to work at Maneri Meat Packing, where Ed gets to spend his days skinning pigs. He only cares about Victor’s death in terms of how it affects him – now Ed gets a promotion. Terry’s annoyed that the FBI wants to talk to them. He accuses Ed of messing with Victor’s head. Ed threatens to cut him, so I guess those anger-management meetings really aren’t helping.

Terry’s pretty sure that Ed killed Victor. He reminds Ed that he said they can’t walk away from who they are. Ed replies that he’ll see Terry in Hell. As Ed leaves for the day, Terry sees someone without skin walking around among hung-up pig slabs. He follows the person outside but only sees Ed.

At Quantico, Scully studies up on skinnings. The cadet who pulled all the case files for her could only find ones about post-mortem skinnings, and most of them are gang-related, as Doggett suspected. But one of the cases involves a victim whose body ended up looking a lot like Victor’s. The case is from 1960.

Scully goes to a retirement home to speak to Dr. Bertram Mueller, the examiner who did the autopsy on the body in 1960. He was a John Doe who was skinned alive, and though Mueller is 84 and must have autopsied thousands of bodies, this one clearly sticks out in his memory. He tells Scully that it was the most inhuman thing he’s ever seen.

Scully can’t find the police records for the case, but Mueller says there was no investigation. Since the victim was a John Doe, the sheriff didn’t bother to look into his murder, for fear of stirring up the community. Not long after that, the sheriff killed himself. Mueller wonders if Victor was murdered by a copycat killer. Scully notes that if that’s the case, the copying is perfect. She doesn’t know why someone would mimic an obscure crime, though. Mueller reveals that the John Doe wasn’t the only victim, just the first.

Terry’s hosing blood off the floor at work when he senses he’s not alone. He thinks Ed is back for a fight, but Terry’s ready with his own knife. He stalks the person in there with him, but the person gets the upper hand and knocks him out. Terry wakes up upside-down, strung among all the pig carcasses. He realizes what he’s in for as his attacker starts…well, gutting him like a pig, I’d say. The good news is that Terry won’t be the one to clean up this blood, since he’ll be dead.

Reyes goes back to see Lisa but instead comes face to face with someone who’s been skinned. It’s really just a nightmare, and Doggett hears her yelling in her sleep and wakes her up. Lisa has called to report that Terry’s dead. They meet Van Allen at the crime scene, and when Reyes sees Terry’s skinned body, it’s too much for her to handle and she has to run outside. There, she runs into Scully, who wants to talk about the 1960 murders.

Doggett’s stomach is stronger than Reyes, and he takes a closer look at Terry’s body. That’s how he discovers that Terry isn’t dead after all. The poor guy is hanging upside-down, surrounded by dead pigs, with all his skin removed, and he’s still alive. He’s barely able to tell Doggett that Ed was his attacker.

Elsewhere in town, Ed kicks out his girlfriend as he packs a bag. She leaves the house and runs right into Doggett, who’s there with a team to capture Ed. For some reason, they allow Lisa to talk to him in an interrogation room at the police station. She thinks he’s innocent – why would he kill two people when his life is going so well? Doggett reminds her that she said he had a bad temper. Plus, he was trying to run; innocent people don’t do that. Reyes thinks he was running from something other than his crimes.

Reyes takes Lisa’s place in the interrogation room and brings up Victor’s dreams about skinned bodies. She thinks Ed is seeing them now – and so is Reyes herself. Doggett pulls her out of the room and chastises her for basically giving Ed a defense to use in court. Yeah, I’m sure the judge will dismiss the case because of nightmares. Anyway, Van Allen tells the agents that Ed’s girlfriend gave him an alibi, and a bartender where they were drinking confirmed her story. Ed’s not the killer. (But he’s also not sober, as Lisa thinks.)

Ed is released, with a warning from Doggett that they know where to find him. Lisa tells Ed he’s always welcome at the group meetings. As he walks past her, Ed sees her without her skin. Scully summons Reyes back to Quantico to look at two of the bodies from 1960. She found cuts on their legs and shoulders, which were made with the same knife used to kill Victor. In addition, the two victims were ex-cons, and the days they were killed were the same days Victor and Terry were born. Scully thinks Reyes knew that something like this would come up in the investigation.

Doggett is staking out Ed’s house when Reyes calls to ask for Ed’s birthday. She thinks he’s going to be the next victim. Doggett calls Van Allen as he heads to the house to see if Ed is still there. He is, but his skin isn’t. Someone was supposed to be watching the house at all times, but the patrolman on duty left for a few minutes. Doggett finds it hard to believe that Ed could have been skinned in just those few minutes.

Reyes tells Doggett about the birthday connection and her theory that the killer isn’t using them to choose his victims. She thinks Ed had a premonition and knew he was going to die, just like Victor did. She has some kind of memory of this happening before. “These men were born to die this way, the same way they died before,” she says. Well, not the men – their souls. They’re killed over and over in different lifetimes by a killer who won’t let them rest.

Doggett asks if she’s suggesting this is reincarnation. He thinks they’re just dealing with a clever killer. But Reyes knows that a rag was stuffed in Ed’s mouth, and that the soot on it is coal dust from a mine. She has no idea how she would know that. But the mine is a lead, so the agents head there expecting to find a fourth victim. Doggett checks out a house on the property while Reyes goes into the mine alone, which can’t be a good idea.

Reyes finds newspaper clippings about the 1960 deaths while Doggett finds a skeleton. The murders go back even further than 1960, and one of the investigators from before that time disappeared. The skeleton is his. The murders began in 1868, when a prospector was skinned in a mining dispute, and his four killers were acquitted. So it looks like someone’s been trying to get revenge for a century and a half because justice wasn’t served.

Reyes continues searching the mine and finds a bunch of bodies hanging on the walls. A man surprises her and tells her she shouldn’t have come there. He grabs her and tells her she can’t stop it – she never does. Doggett goes to the mine and finds Reyes alone. She tells him Van Allen is the killer. He was the first victim in 1868, and he keeps coming back to avenge himself over and over. The cases never get solved because the lead investigator always kills himself, then comes back to start killing again.

There are currently only three victims, but Reyes thinks she knows who the fourth will be. She calls Lisa to confirm that she’s been having the same premonitions as Victor, Ed, and Terry. Reyes tells her that Van Allen is coming for her and she needs to leave the church. Too late – Van Allen is there to do some more skinning.

Lisa tries to run as Van Allen says there’s no point, since this always ends the same. But this time is different, because Reyes and Doggett are a step ahead. They ambush Van Allen, and when he moves to attack Reyes, she shoots him. She demands to know what it all means before he can die.

Van Allen ends up in the hospital, in critical condition. Doggett encourages Reyes to go home since she’s not going to be able to talk to him for a while. Reyes says that Doggett still doesn’t believe that she has a connection to the killings. Doggett says it doesn’t matter; the important thing is that she saved Lisa. Scully tells Reyes that Doggett’s trying to grasp this, but it’s hard to understand.

Reyes asks if Scully believes in second chances and the opportunity to correct our mistakes in another life. She thinks all the victims were trying to atone for the original murder. Scully wonders how Reyes fits into the cycle of murders. Reyes doesn’t know, but she’s sure that she always failed to stop the killings and bring about justice. And she’s sure that Van Allen always knew about her involvement, and knows her worst fear is failing again.

Scully says that maybe in this life, Reyes will succeed. But not today, because Van Allen’s dead, which means he’s free to come back in a few decades and kill again. So the parents of a baby just born down the hall, who has Van Allen’s eyes, are going to be in for a shock in a few years.

Thoughts: Terry is played by Don Swayze, brother of Patrick.

Imagine being cast on this show and then learning that you have to do something like cut off a pig’s skin. I know actors have to pay their dues early in their careers, but that may be going too far.

Also, imagine being in the props department and having to deal with all those pig carcasses. Fake or not, they’re gross.

January 12, 2019

The X-Files 9.7, John Doe: La Verdad Está Ahí Afuera

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:24 pm by Jenn

I’m not going to lie, this look really works for Robert Patrick

Summary: We know this is a special episode because it comes with title screens. On Day One, Doggett wakes up on a dirt floor in an abandoned building. Someone steals his shoe, and Doggett chases him outside and onto a street in what Hollywood always thinks Mexico looks like. As Doggett tries to steal his shoe back, the thief calls to some police officers. They’re not happy with the thief, but they’re more interested in Doggett and whether he has papers. Ooh, the Mexican police want papers from a white guy! Twist! Unfortunately, Doggett doesn’t have any. Even more unfortunately, he can’t remember his name.

Day Two. Doggett is in a holding cell with a bunch of other people. To add insult to injury, he still only has one shoe. He thinks that yelling “andale” will make the police pay attention to him, but he’s wrong. One of the other prisoners mocks Doggett for taking his single shoe off to hit the bars of their cell, then putting the shoe back on. Doggett’s pleased to have found someone who speaks English. The guy tells him they’re in Mexico and asks what he remembers. Doggett just wants to get out of jail and call the American embassy.

The guy points out that from there, Doggett will have trouble getting home, since he doesn’t know where home is. He thinks going home might not be a good idea anyway, since Doggett is in a part of Mexico that Americans don’t come to unless they want to disappear. Doggett gets defensive, saying the guy doesn’t know him. “You don’t know you,” the guy points out.

Doggett has a dream about his son, Luke, calling for him. Then we skip ahead to Day Eight. The guy who speaks English (Domingo) is released from the holding cell, and after he learns from the police that no one’s coming for Doggett, he offers to bail Doggett out. Domingo has a job for Doggett but won’t give him any details, knowing Doggett won’t care as long as he gets his freedom. If he works hard enough, Domingo might get him another shoe.

Once he’s free, Doggett says goodbye to Domingo, but Domingo sees Doggett as his property now. Doggett tries to run, but Domingo has a buddy, Nestor, and Nestor has a gun, which he sticks in Doggett’s back. Doggett disarms Nestor and takes the gun (and his other shoe). Domingo notes that, if nothing else, they now know that Doggett isn’t a man of his word.

Doggett tracks down the shoe thief and asks what else he stole from Doggett. All he gets is a little silver skull charm. The thief tells Doggett that he’s disappeared. Out of options, Doggett finds Domingo in a bar and agrees to work for him. The job is as a coyote, moving people across the border. Domingo doesn’t think Doggett is above the job, since he must have done something horrible to lead him to needing it.

Domingo pays Doggett in advance so he can rent a room above the bar. Doggett shows Domingo the skull and asks if it means anything. All it means is that Doggett has silver and still asked Domingo for money. Nestor warns Domingo that he’s making a mistake; he doesn’t know what Doggett wants. Domingo says he just wants to remember, “same as all the rest.”

Doggett studies his face in the mirror of his room, seeing two little scars on his head. He realizes that the tattoo on his shoulder means he’s a Marine. Elsewhere, we get a glimpse of the Mexican version of CSM, whose charm bracelet is missing a little silver skull.

Day 12. In D.C., Scully and Skinner meet with Kersh to tell him that they’ve gotten word from U.S. Customs. There’s a surveillance photo of Doggett walking across the border from Laredo, Texas, into Mexico. Apparently Americans can just walk into Mexico? They should put some sort of barrier there to keep that from happening. I don’t know what it could be; I don’t have any ideas there. Skinner wants to send a task force there, but Kersh refuses. They’ve been searching Texas for Doggett, and now it looks like he just walked away. He’s Mexico’s problem now.

Scully argues that Doggett could be injured and could need their help. Kersh says he’s as concerned as she is (yeah, I bet), but he can’t use American resources to search Mexico. There’s too much political stuff he’d have to deal with. Skinner notes that Reyes is in San Antonio and was raised in Mexico, so she could help. Kersh says she can do whatever she wants, as long as she stays in the U.S.

So Reyes uses the FBI’s San Antonio field office to bug a Mexican businessman named Molina. He’s been dodging her for two weeks, claiming he’s been too busy with his tractor dealership to help. Reyes addresses him in Spanish, asking if he also sells drugs. Molina’s American lawyer objects to the language switch, since he doesn’t speak Spanish.

Reyes asks Molina about a missing businessman named Hollis Rice. Doggett was investigating his disappearance, and Reyes thinks he questioned Molina two weeks ago. Molina says he doesn’t remember talking to anyone named Doggett. Molina’s lawyer says his client is an upstanding citizen and a pillar of the community. Reyes asks if anyone actually uses that phrase other than mob lawyers. (Nice one.) She thinks Molina runs a smuggling operation, and Rice was involved somehow, then disappeared because he crossed Molina.

Reyes continues that Doggett is also missing in Mexico, and she’ll do anything it takes to get him back. Molina’s only hope is to help her. The lawyer calls an end to the interrogation, unless Molina is under arrest. He’s not, so they leave. Reyes gets the last word, telling Molina in Spanish that he should think hard about his future.

Doggett has another dream about Luke. The boy wakes him up at 5:30 in the morning, eager to show him something. Before Doggett can find out what the surprise is, he’s woken up by a ringing phone. He’s fallen asleep in the waiting room of some office where he’s waiting to use the phone. Doggett calls the Marine Corps Public Affairs Office and, lying that his name is Detective Ladatel (the first word he sees on a sign nearby), ask for help with an amnesiac Marine who was hit by a taxi. He uses info from his tattoo to try to help ID himself.

Police enter, so Doggett runs off. He goes to work, fixing trucks for Domingo since he refuses to do anything further as a coyote. Domingo has found a missing-persons flier for Henry Bruck, a suspected murderer. Though the flier doesn’t contain a picture or any details, Domingo figures it’s Doggett. He promises to keep Doggett safe.

That night, Nestor meets with the Mexican CSM (we’ll call him HF, for Hombre Fumando). He says that he and Domingo are friends of HF’s cartel, and Domingo has taken in a disappeared American who’s different from all the others. He knows that HF already knows all this. Actually, HF knows even more than that – he knows Doggett is an FBI agent.

Nestor asks why Doggett is still alive. HF says he takes his orders from the cartel, and his orders never said to kill Doggett. Ahh, I get it. The cartel isn’t a drug cartel – it’s the Mexican version of the Syndicate. HF continues that if Doggett were to die tonight, it wouldn’t be any of his concern.

Scully goes to San Antonio and tells Reyes that Skinner’s on his way to Mexico to work with the feds there to find Doggett. She’s learned that the Marines are looking for an unidentified man in Mexico. Reyes recognizes Doggett’s alias, Ladatel, as a Mexican phone calling card, not a name. They decide to trace the call Doggett placed to the Marines.

Nestor corners Doggett at the garage, where he’s working under a truck. Nestor reveals that he speaks English and tells Doggett, “See you in Hell, FBI.” He pulls a gun and fires at Doggett, who releases the jack holding up the truck so the truck blocks him from getting shot and injures Nestor’s foot at the same time. Hey, if Doggett hadn’t gotten his other shoe back, he could take Nestor’s! Doggett hides, then pounces on Nestor as he’s trying to get off another shot.

Domingo returns to the garage and finds Nestor dead. Doggett accuses Domingo of sending Nestor to kill him. He thinks Domingo knows who he is. Domingo says he’s a killer, for starters, since he killed Nestor. He calls Doggett a “desaparecido,” someone the cartel makes disappear. They run the town and kill people who make trouble. People who are more trouble dead than alive get their memories taken away.

Doggett asks how he can get his memory back. Domingo says he can’t. But Doggett’s dreams are clearly some sort of glitch in the process, because they’re breaking through his amnesia. While Doggett is distracted by a memory, Domingo starts pounding on him.

Reyes questions a police officer, pretending Doggett is her husband who abandoned her and their kids. He tells her that he and his fellow officers found an American who had been beaten to death. She asks to see the body, but it’s not Doggett (probably Henry Bruck, then). However, he does have the same scars on his head that Doggett has.

Domingo goes to HF to tell him that Nestor is dead. He knows that Nestor wouldn’t have tried to kill Doggett without HF’s permission. Domingo has overpowered Doggett and wants HF to have the honor of finishing him off. HF asks what Domingo told Doggett when he inevitably asked about his identity and his memories. Domingo says he didn’t reveal anything, but HF doesn’t believe him. He wants to see the truth with his own eyes. By this, he means use his eyes, which are now glowing, to remove Domingo’s memories from his head.

Doggett wakes up (this is turning into a drinking game) in the garage as a car arrives. He grabs a tire iron to use as a weapon and almost clocks Reyes over the head with it. He grabs her gun and holds it on her, unsure if he can believe her when she tells him they need to leave. He’ll need to make a decision quickly, because the police are there to kill him on behalf of the cartel.

Doggett thinks he and Reyes can just hide and wait for the cops to get bored. (I will not call it a Mexican standoff. I will not.) He tells her the only thing he can remember is his son. Reyes tells him the boy’s name was Luke. Doggett asks how old Luke is, and Reyes realizes sadly that she’ll have to tell him that Luke is dead. Her face says it all, but Doggett remembers that Luke was kidnapped and murdered.

As Doggett is crying over Luke’s death, the police throw a smoke canister through the window. Reyes tells her partner he needs to focus. The police start firing into the garage, which is really not a place the agents should be hiding out, with all that gas around. Reyes tells Doggett that they can’t die there. There’s a bus in the garage, so they board it and try to use it to escape, but Doggett’s driving abilities must have been removed with all of his other memories, because he tips it over just a few yards from the police.

Before the police can resume shooting, the feds arrive, led by Skinner, and stop the standoff. Well, that was anticlimactic. Doggett returns the skull to HF and accuses him of taking away his identity. He now knows he was in Mexico looking for Rice, who suffered the same memory loss as Doggett. But HF failed with Doggett, who now remembers everything.

Skinner tells Doggett to leave so the other agents can detain HF. But HF stops Doggett when he asks why Doggett would want to remember his past. There’s no way he’s happier now that he remembers. HF saw all the pain Doggett has suffered and doesn’t know why he’d want it back. “Because it’s mine,” Doggett replies.

With his memories fully restored, Doggett can now fill in the rest of the scene he kept dreaming about. Luke wanted to show him that he could ride his bike on his own. He should be wearing a helmet, unless he wants to end up with amnesia like his father, but whatever, good for him. Reyes is sorry that Doggett had to go through all that pain, but Doggett is fine remembering the bad as long as he can also remember the good.

Thoughts: In a couple of Doggett’s dreams/memories, we see his wife in bed with him when Luke comes in. She’s played by Barbara Patrick, Robert Patrick’s real-life wife.

Hey, show, don’t cast a white actress to play a character with the last name Reyes, then pretend she grew up in Mexico and is fluent in Spanish. Annabeth Gish’s accent gives away her lack of fluency.

Domingo: “I’d invite you to have a drink with us, but Nestor hates you.” For some reason, that cracked me up.

I hope Scully’s okay. She disappears after she gets to Mexico. Maybe she found a fun bar and spent the rest of the case doing tequila shots.

January 5, 2019

The X-Files 9.6, Trust No 1: Instead of the Shadow Man, They Should Call Him Sir Veillance

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

Even for the early ’00s, this is laughably outdated

Summary: Ugh, a voiceover. Scully talks about the miracle of William’s birth and how they may never know the truth behind it. If he ever finds his perfect match, he should take a risk and go on adventures with that person to find the truth. Truth doesn’t come from science, but from your own heart. Also, Mulder is Scully’s true love, and she all but admits it. There’s a montage of past Mulder/Scully moments, ending with her kneeling over a body, so I guess we’re supposed to think that Mulder comes back in this episode and dies, but there’s no way that’s going to happen.

A security camera watches Scully as she waits for someone on a train platform. Then at some other point at time, she takes William to the Federal Grounds Internet Café in D.C. She checks her email, receiving a message from trust_no1@mail.com, entitled “Dearest Dana.” (By the way, Scully’s email address is queequeg0925@hotmail.com.) The email writer says he’s lonely and wants to come home to her and William. But can it really be Mulder if he calls her Dana?

Another woman enters with a baby as Scully sends an email back warning that Mulder isn’t safe. She stops writing when she hears the other woman’s baby crying and realizes the woman isn’t in the café anymore. She’s stepped outside to fight with someone. Scully stays with the baby until the woman comes back to get her.

Scully rereads her email before Doggett and Reyes come to see her at her new job. They tell her that someone keeps contacting the FBI insisting on talking to Mulder. He won’t say who he is, and he keeps covering his tracks. Today he admitted that he has information on the super-soldiers and wants to give Mulder their names. This person will only talk to him. Scully says she can’t contact Mulder, and she’s not sure it would be a good idea to do so anyway.

She tries to move on to teaching her class, but Doggett pulls her away to tell her how important the list of super-soldiers’ names could be. If they can track them all down and neutralize them, it could be safe for Mulder to come home. Scully’s worried they’ll just put him in more danger. Doggett asks how long she’s going to refuse to trust him or anyone else. If she keeps this up, Mulder will never be able to come home.

When Scully gets home that night, the woman from Federal Grounds is on her street, again fighting with the man from before. He takes the baby from her as she begs him not to leave. Scully offers to call the police, but though the woman is upset, she’s not upset enough that this looks like a kidnapping. Scully lets the woman, Patti, come to her apartment to use her phone and talk. Patti can tell that Scully’s parenting alone and says that maybe her partner will come back.

In Bethesda, Doggett and Reyes meet up to discuss the source who’s been trying to contact Mulder. He called Doggett’s cell phone, and though Doggett couldn’t trace the call, he was able to find the general area where it was placed. He thinks he’s found the exact building the source called from. Reyes is now on Scully’s side, worrying that they’ll endanger Mulder even more. But when a guy Doggett thinks is the source arrives at the building, he ignores her warnings and goes out to search the guy’s car. Oh, and the guy? The same man Patti was fighting with.

The man is at the building to work and avoid small talk with one of his co-workers. That co-worker (who only ever gets identified as the Shadow Man, so we’ll go with that) is watching surveillance footage of Doggett and Reyes as they search the other man’s car. He may also be the person watching Scully as she waits on the train platform, joined by a man whose face we can’t see.

Early the next morning, after a night on stakeout, Doggett sees the man from the street leaving work and follows him. Patti, who has spent a sleepless night on Scully’s couch, turns off the baby monitor and starts to take William out of his bassinet. Scully wakes up when Doggett calls to tell her the guy they’re tailing has arrived at her building. Scully hears William and senses that something’s wrong. She approaches the room with her gun out and orders Patti to put him down.

As Patti obeys, looking like she didn’t mean any harm, Doggett catches the man from the street trying to pick Scully’s lock. He takes the guy down and confirms that Scully doesn’t know him. (I’m tired of calling him “the man from the street.” The actor’s name is Steven, so I’m calling him that now.) Scully thinks that Patti and Steven staged their argument to con her for some reason. She suspects they’re after William. Patti says she wants to help him, but Steven tells her not to say anything further.

Upset, Patti says that Steven told her Scully could help them. All Steven will tell the agents is, “They’re watching.” He works for the NSA, and if the agents call the police on him, he’ll be detained until another NSA agent can come get him. He and his fellow agents don’t exist as citizens. He only came over to get Patti, who wants help for their daughter, Joy. She thinks both William and Joy are “different.”

Doggett asks how they could know anything about William. Steven says he knows almost everything about Scully, Doggett, and Reyes. He knows that Scully saw the mobile spinning over William’s bassinet, as if he was moving it with his mind. The same thing happened with Joy. Reyes asks how they’re surveilling everyone, wondering if Steven is the person trying to contact Mulder. He says he just looks at what he’s told to look at. But his supervisor has looked into the super-soldier program and crimes committed against innocent people. The supervisor says Mulder’s the only one who can connect all the dots.

The Shadow Man, using a voice modulator, calls to tell Scully that he’s been listening to the whole conversation. He was also watching through the window before she closed her blinds. He warns that something else is coming, and he’d like to talk to Mulder. He knows Scully’s in contact with him, since they’re exchanging emails. Scully refuses to continue talking to the Shadow Man unless they meet in person. He agrees to meet her at the Internet café but tells her not to keep trying to find him.

Scully gets ready to leave, asking Reyes to babysit. Doggett doesn’t like the idea of Scully going to meet the Shadow Man alone, but she reminds him that he told her she has to trust someone. She waits on the bus bench outside the café, confirming for the Shadow Man when he calls that she has a gun just in case. He tells her to follow his instructions exactly and not talk to anyone else about it. If she doesn’t do what he says, she should be prepared to use her gun in self-defense.

The Shadow Man sends Scully to a car and tells her to drive. He’s not too concerned with traffic safety. He sends her to an alley to switch cars and tells her to head west on the interstate. It’s dark when Scully finally reaches her unknown destination and is told to open her trunk and change clothes. Scully says she’s in the middle of nowhere, but the Shadow Man says that doesn’t exist anymore. As she’s finishing changing clothes, he appears in person and blows up the car.

The Shadow Man checks out Scully’s watch; when she complains that this has gone on too long, he reminds her that this is all about seeing Mulder again. She wonders how he knew her clothing size. The Shadow Man tells her he knows everything about her from childhood to adulthood – her ATM PIN, her college boyfriend’s name, her real hair color (which…is red, since she had red hair as a kid, but whatever), etc. He even knows that she and Mulder slept together. “I was as surprised as you are,” he says.

Scully wants to know what gives the Shadow Man the right or authority to spy on her. He tells her he’s the future, and he’s risking his life meeting with her. But he needs to tell Mulder what he knows, or there won’t be a future. He sends Scully to another car and tells her to get in touch with Mulder in the next 24 hours, or Scully will never hear from the Shadow Man again.

Doggett bugs Scully at work again the next day, telling her he’s worried about what he’s gotten her involved in. He’s been thinking about why the Shadow Man needs Scully to contact Mulder for him. Obviously, he’s using Scully because he knows Mulder will do whatever she wants. Scully reminds Doggett that the Shadow Man contacted him first. He only contacted Scully after Patti started talking. Doggett suggests that Patti and Steven are working with the Shadow Man.

Scully believes that Patti is as scared for Joy as Scully is for William. Patti and Steven don’t even necessarily trust the Shadow Man. Doggett doesn’t know why the Shadow Man thinks Scully can ensure a safe way home for Mulder. She admits that she and Mulder prearranged that stuff when he left, and she’s put the wheels in motion. He’ll be arriving via train at midnight. Doggett tells Scully she can’t be the one to meet Mulder when he arrives, no matter how badly she wants to see him. Scully says it’s too late, and she’s sticking to her and Mulder’s plan. At 10:48 that night, she goes to the train station, under the Shadow Man’s surveillance.

Meanwhile, Doggett goes to an FBI lab to meet up with an agent named Edie Boal. He wants her to get forensic information from Scully’s clothes, which the Shadow Man handled. As Reyes keeps an eye on Scully at the station, Steven spraypaints a camera to cut off one of the Shadow Man’s surveillance tools.

20 minutes to midnight, Doggett gets impatient in his office. The train platform starts filling up as a train approaches. As things go slow-motion, Steven pulls out a gun and points it at Scully. Reyes sees and warns her, but Steven isn’t aiming at Scully after all. He yells for her to run as the Shadow Man nears with his own gun drawn. Reyes pushes Scully down to the ground as the Shadow Man shoots Steven, then turns on the women.

Before they can reach for their own weapons, Doggett appears and shoots the Shadow Man. He falls off the platform and gets run over by the train. Scully and Reyes yell for the station manager to get the train to stop, but he orders the conductor to keep moving. Wave goodbye to Mulder as he rides by. And also wave goodbye to Steven, because he’s dead.

When the sheriff’s department arrives to investigate, the Shadow Man’s body is gone. Patti tells Scully that she and Steven had nothing to do with the Shadow Man’s game. Scully already knows. Doggett confirms for Scully and Reyes that the Shadow Man is missing, and the DNA found on the clothes can’t be tested. Doggett thinks he’s a super-soldier.

Scully immediately says that they need to warn Mulder. She tells the station manager that they need to get a message to the conductor. She thinks the Shadow Man got on the train and is going after Mulder. Just then, a message comes over the manager’s walkie-talkie reporting a jumper on the train, about to jump into a quarry.

The agents speed to the quarry, splitting up for some reason so Doggett and Reyes are on foot and Scully’s in a car. Doggett yells to a man in the quarry, thinking he’s Mulder, but the man keeps running. Scully comes across the Shadow Man and tries to run from him, but she’s in a quarry, so she can’t really get away. She pulls her gun, as if a bullet will stop a super-soldier. He tells her that either Mulder or William has to die. Scully demands to know what’s wrong with William. Before he can respond, the Shadow Man starts convulsing. His skin turns gray and he flies into a wall of the quarry, as if he’s being pulled in by a giant magnet.

We’re left with just an episode-ending voiceover as Scully emails Mulder. She thinks he jumped off the train because he knows about the super-soldiers. She hopes whatever iron compound is in the quarry is the key to destroying all the super-soldiers. She’s determined to see Mulder again and regain the comfort and safety they only enjoyed for a short time. She signs the email “Dana,” which is just…weird.

Thoughts: The Shadow Man is played by Terry O’Quinn, in his third role on the show. Patti is played by Allison Smith. Boal is played by Kathryn Joosten.

Ten begrudging cool points to whoever named a D.C. coffee shop Federal Grounds.

Trivia: Scully was afraid of clowns as a kid.

Are we not allowed to see Scully or Reyes shoot people? Why does Doggett always end up saving them?

December 29, 2018

The X-Files 9.5, Lord of the Flies: The Bug Whisperer

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

Being attacked by bugs could definitely traumatize someone enough to lead him to cooking meth

Summary: Two obnoxious teen boys calling themselves Sky Commander Winky and Captain Dare welcome us to their Jackass-type show, creatively called Dumbass. Looks like the title is fitting. Captain Dare puts on a football helmet and lets Winky fire balls at him. Later, Captain Dare asks a girl named Natalie for a kiss before he lets himself be dragged behind a car in a Porta-Potty. Natalie doesn’t bother to hide how stupid she thinks this all is. The rest of the crowd gathered thinks the guys are awesome.

Captain Dare’s next stunt is riding a shopping cart down a hill, supposedly flying over Natalie as she holds up a torch. She objects to participating, but Winky’s excited to see the cart get set on fire, then extinguish itself in a kiddie pool. Somehow, Natalie agrees to the stunt, lying down on the road and holding the little torch in her mouth. But Captain Dare and Winky’s expert calculations fail, and Captain Dare tips the cart over before he even get to her. Even with the helmet on, Captain Dare (real name: Bill) gets his head caved in. And that, kids, is why you don’t try this at home.

Doggett and Reyes go to Ocean County, New Jersey (not to be confused with Atlantic City, I assume), to check out Bill’s body. The medical examiner, Dr. Fountain, thinks they’re medical experts, which he really needs since he has no idea what happened to Bill’s body. But he’s feeling pressured to get some answers, since Bill’s parents are suing everyone possible, including the company that made his helmet (fair), the county for making the road too steep (probably not fair), and the grocery store he stole the shopping cart from (definitely not fair).

Fountain tells the agents about the Dumbass show, which makes Doggett figure that this was, you know, an accident. Fountain says since the agents are the experts in unexplained events, they should explain this to him. Reyes sees something fluttering under one of Bill’s closed eyelids and cuts it open. A ton of flies buzz out.

Scully is next to come to Ocean County, and she’s as stumped as Fountain is. She thinks the flies caused Bill’s head to cave in, since the crash didn’t – there’s no sign of trauma from the tip-over. Doggett wonders if someone put something in Bill’s helmet, like Spanish fly. Scully’s more interested in finding out more about the flies themselves, then looking into possible murder motives.

A man saunters into the office, telling the agents that they’re dealing with an Australian bush fly. They’ll often crawl into people’s skulls looking for protein, eventually killing them. This is Rocky Bronzino, an entomologist from Rutgers. He’s full of charm, but Scully isn’t impressed. He says the flies from Bill’s body are harmless. Reyes tells him they’re the agents’ primary murder suspects.

Poor Natalie is struggling to make it through the day at school, sitting alone at lunch and missing her boyfriend. Winky ambushes her to make a memorial video for Bill. Natalie yells that Winky and his brother (who also worked on the show) are jerks for making Bill participate in their stunts.

Another guy in the cafeteria, Dylan, starts to approach and rescue Natalie, but Winky turns on him. Before he can do whatever a stereotypical bully would do to a quiet, geeky kid like Dylan, a teacher (principal? Guidance counselor? I don’t know) named Mrs. Lokensgard summons Winky (real name: David) to her office. This just makes thinks worse for Dylan, since Mrs. Lokensgard is his mom, and now it looks like he needs her to stick up for him.

Doggett and Reyes watch footage of Bill’s last stunts, and it looks like Doggett’s more amused than he should be. He guesses that the flies saw Bill as a good meal because he had “crap for brains.” Reyes thinks Doggett must have engaged in some stupidity in his youth as well. (Wrong, Reyes. Doggett was born 22 and serious.) Doggett says this is different – these kids take pride in being stupid. Reyes points out the accuracy of the show’s title.

The agents are in Mrs. Lokensgard’s office to talk to David, who recently tried to sell the video of Bill’s death to some TV networks. He says Fox was the only network that showed any interest. (This is supposed to be a joke, since that was The X-Files‘ network, but really, it sounds plausible.) The agents suspect that David killed Bill to make money. In fact, they think he put something in Bill’s helmet. David starts fidgeting and thinks he’s about to suffer the same insect-related fate as his best friend. The agents see “DUMBASS” spelled out in insect bites on his back.

Dylan gets home late that night and tries to skip dinner, but his mother insists that they talk. He ignores her and goes to his room to listen to music and look at a picture of Natalie. Bugs cover his windows and walls as he cries himself to sleep.

Back at the medical examiner’s office, Scully tells Doggett and Reyes something Rocky discovered: All the flies from Bill’s bodies were female. She thinks this means something about Bill made the flies attack. Doggett wonders if they were trying to “express themselves,” like the lice that attacked David and bit “DUMBASS” into his skin. Reyes no longer thinks David was responsible for Bill’s death, but she does believe that someone is controlling bugs.

The agents have looked at pictures from the crowds gathered at various Dumbass stunts and spotted Dylan in all of them. He’s also had run-ins with Bill and David. Obviously, the agents need to question him. At the Lokensgards’ house, Natalie comes by to talk to Dylan, but his mother sends her away. Dylan goes out his window to avoid his mother and catch up to his crush. It doesn’t work, since Mrs. Lokensgard intercepts him and tells him to stay away from Natalie. She wants to talk about the changes his body is going through, but Dylan doesn’t want to have that talk with his mother.

Scully and Rocky go to the street where Bill died, and he waxes poetic about flowers and pheromones. Strangely, the bio sensor they’re using doesn’t detect any pheromones in the area. Scully doesn’t get why pheromones would make a harmless fly become violent anyway. Rocky says bugs are unpredictable and react to stimuli. He moves closer to Scully as he says that something must be driving the bugs “crazy with desire.” The same thing appears to be happening to him. He doesn’t even back off when Scully tells him she has a child.

The bio sensor picks up something approaching, but Rocky and Scully look in the air for bugs, not on the ground for people, so they miss Dylan riding by on his bike. At school, he crashes it when he finds Natalie, who feels bad about how David treated him the day before. She wishes they could go back in time, make everything go away, and start over. She and Dylan were friends as kids, and she has fond memories of playing together. He once carved their names in a tree they hid in during a game of Manhunt.

Doggett and Reyes show up to question Dylan, showing him footage from Dumbass. He tries to stay calm. The same can’t be said for his mother, who gets understandably upset when she learns that her son is being questioned in her office without her knowledge. As files appear on the ceiling, only noticed by Dylan, Mrs. Lokensgard defends her son. It’s hard to continue that, though, when she and the agents realize that he’s covered in flies.

By the time a team arrives to get rid of the bugs, they’re gone. Dylan’s unharmed, and his mother isn’t about to let the agents keep questioning him. David and his brother glare at Dylan as his mother whisks him away. Reyes thinks this was a show – Dylan made the bugs attack him so he’ll look like a victim instead of a perpetrator. Doggett asks if he’s “the horse whisperer, only for bugs.” Reyes doesn’t know, but she has an idea to follow up on.

The agents take Scully a tissue that Dylan used to wipe off some sweat during his questioning. They hope there will be something Scully can find in his sweat. Indeed, Rocky finds a huge amount of insect pheromones in Dylan’s sweat. Scully thinks his hormones are attracting bugs, but Reyes thinks there’s something else going on – he’s able to control the bugs. They saw him talking to Natalie, whom Doggett recognizes as Bill’s girlfriend. Maybe she’s the key.

Natalie comes by Dylan’s house again that night, climbing up to his window even after he tells her not to. He remembers the exact time she was last there, in the fourth grade. They talk about Dylan’s love of Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd; Dylan feels a kinship with him because they’re both misunderstood. Natalie wishes that she’d expressed her condolences back when Dylan’s father disappeared years ago. She hasn’t forgotten her friendship with Dylan, and she’s just now remembering how special he is to her.

They kiss, and he dubs it “amazing.” But something’s up with Dylan’s tongue, and Natalie ends up with blood in her mouth. She runs off crying. Seconds later, David and some of his friends arrive, calling Dylan “fly boy.” They take Dylan for a ride in their car and ask how he killed Bill. He offers to give a demonstration, telling David to film it. Dylan opens his mouth and some insect thing emerges. The car’s driver freaks out and crashes.

Scully and Rocky go to the Lokensgards’ house, where they detect insect pheromones. Scully considers that enough probable cause to allow them to enter without permission. Rocky’s excited because he’s never worked with a partner before. Scully: “I have.” He thinks this is a special kind of partnership where both of them get to use their knowledge to reach higher than they could on their own. “You complete me,” he says. Scully tries to keep things professional.

Doggett and Reyes come across the crashed car, which is now full of what looks like a bunch of spider’s webs. David tells them that Dylan attacked them and chewed himself out the back window, because he’s a bug. Reyes heads off to look for him at Natalie’s house. Doggett calls Scully to tell her about the crash, thinking she should come see it for herself. She leaves Rocky behind at the Lokensgards’ house.

Reyes tells Natalie that she may be the key to stopping Dylan’s weird rampage. Natalie’s upset because she thought Dylan was normal, but he’s a freak. Reyes thinks he’s acting strangely because he’s going through changes. His bad kissing experience with Natalie might have led to his attack on David and his friends. Ugh, way to blame her for a guy’s behavior.

Before Reyes can take Natalie off to look for Dylan, Dylan finds them. He’s confused because he thought she wanted someone different from Bill and David; why is she so upset? He claims he’s been trying to protect her, and invites her to come somewhere with him. Meanwhile, Rocky’s pheromone detector leads him to Mrs. Lokensgard, who has the same insect tongue thing and web-shooting abilities as her son.

Just as Mrs. Lokensgard is done dealing with Rocky, Dylan and Natalie arrive, planning to take his mother’s car and run off together. Dylan doesn’t realize that his mom knows exactly who – or what – he is. She was never able to tell his father that she and Dylan aren’t like other people.

Doggett finds Reyes webbed up at Natalie’s house and frees her. They head to the Lokensgards’, where Scully has already arrived, having lost phone contact with Rocky. Instead, she finds Natalie there, unharmed but upset. She points Scully toward the attic, which is full of victims trapped by webs. “Help me,” one of the victims squeaks, a la The Fly. It’s Rocky, who has a big smile on his face when Scully gives him CPR (which he shouldn’t need, since he was breathing enough to talk, but okay).

Scully gives the end-of-episode report wrap-up: One of the bodies in the attic belonged to Dylan’s long-missing father. Mrs. Lokensgard was something between human and instinct, according to Rocky. She just couldn’t hide her biology any longer. She and Dylan are on the run now, to try to hide in another town, and Scully laments that Dylan couldn’t fight his biology long enough to be accepted. However, she thinks love could overcome biology, since the heart wants what it wants. Dylan has one last message for Natalie: a swarm of fireflies outside her bedroom window, spelling out “I love you.”

Thoughts: David is played by Aaron Paul. Mrs. Lokensgard is played by Jane Lynch.

Whoever came up with the name Rocky Bronzino gets a gold star.

I hope Scully charged him with sexual harassment after the case was over, though, because…ew.

December 22, 2018

The X-Files 9.4, 4-D: Two Doggetts, No Waiting

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

Imagine having this ability and using it to kill people instead of, like, jumping to the front of the line at Disney World

Summary: Reyes is in the mailroom of an apartment building, fixing a bike chain, while Doggett and Follmer watch a man named Lukesh on video surveillance. The three agents are working a sting to capture Lukesh, a suspected murderer who tears out his victims’ tongues. If he opens the mailbox for apartment 4-D, they’ll know they have the right guy. Once they’ve confirmed his identity, Reyes pulls her weapon and follows him into a stairwell. She loses sight of him, but he still has his eyes on her.

Doggett and Follmer hear Reyes scream as Lukesh attacks her. They run to the building and find Reyes bleeding in the stairwell, possibly dead and possibly minus one tongue. Doggett goes looking for Lukesh as Follmer warns that he took Reyes’ gun. Doggett corners Lukesh in an alley, but the man just smiles at him. When Doggett turns to tell his backup that he’s found their man, Lukesh disappears. He reappears behind Doggett and fires Reyes’ gun at him.

Reyes, completely unharmed, is unpacking in her huge new apartment. Doggett, also completely unharmed, comes over pretending that he wants to help, though he’s conveniently just missed the movers. He at least brings her some food, though she’s not as excited as he is about the best Polish sausage in D.C. Reyes gets a call from Skinner telling her that Doggett was found shot in an alley. Reyes is confused, since Doggett was just in her apartment five seconds ago. She’s even more confused to realize that he’s no longer there.

She goes to the hospital, where Follmer tells her he’s in charge of finding out what happened. He has no idea why Doggett was in the alley. Reyes insists that he was with her. Scully joins them with the news that Doggett will probably be paralyzed for life, assuming he survives the shooting. Reyes thinks they have the wrong man, but she’s the one who’s wrong – the patient she goes to see is definitely Doggett.

In the FBI’s ballistics lab, Follmer and Skinner learn that Doggett was shot with a gun like the kind issued to FBI agents. Follmer’s annoyed that Skinner has had the bullet for a couple of hours and is just now telling him anything about it. They need to improve their communication. He tells Skinner to run the bullet through the FBI’s databases. Skinner knows the bullet didn’t come from Doggett’s gun, which means Follmer must think it came from another agent’s weapon.

Reyes tells Scully that she’s sure Doggett was with her at the same time he was shot. Scully tells her that she had a similar experience when her father died. Maybe Doggett visited Reyes to say goodbye. Reyes thinks that Scully’s experience with her father was sweet, but this isn’t the same.

Skinner calls Scully and tells her to take Reyes to a police station. Follmer’s there waiting for them with some questions about Reyes’ claim that she was with Doggett when he was shot. Reyes clarifies that he was with her when Skinner called to say Doggett had been shot. Follmer plays good cop, asking for a reason Reyes would want to cover this up. Ballistics tests show that the bullet that shot Doggett came from Reyes. There’s also an eyewitness who saw her at the scene. It’s Lukesh.

For some reason, Reyes is allowed to go back to the hospital instead of being arrested. Skinner says he knows she didn’t shoot Doggett, but it doesn’t really matter what he believes. There are holes in the case. First of all, Reyes’ apartment is 14 miles from the scene of the shooting. Second of all, the bullet definitely came from her gun. Reyes asks for information on the eyewitness, but Skinner and Scully won’t tell her anything.

Doggett opens his eyes, though Scully says that could just be an involuntary muscle spasm. Doggett starts moving a finger, and Skinner realizes that he’s trying to communicate with Morse code. Before he loses consciousness again, he taps out “Lukesh.”

The man himself is back at his apartment building, going about his day like nothing’s happened. Also, he lives with his mom (who seems to have both physical and mental difficulties) and his first name is Erwin, so maybe we shouldn’t be surprised that he’s a serial killer. Oh, and he feeds his victims’ tongues to his mom, but she likes clamato juice, so it’s hard to decide which is grosser.

Skinner goes with Reyes to her apartment, where she throws out the remains of her Polish sausage (hey, no explanation for why that’s there other than Doggett had to have brought it? No? Okay). Skinner has decided to bend the rules and show her Lukesh’s file. He was diagnosed with a delusional disorder that started to emerge after his father committed suicide. Reyes thinks Doggett’s Morse code message was trying to tell them that Lukesh shot him. Maybe Doggett was in the alley by Lukesh’s apartment because he was investigating him.

Follmer calls Skinner to blast him some more for his poor communication skills. He wants Skinner to bring Reyes back to the hospital to talk to Doggett. He’s now conscious and can use a communication device often used with people who have spinal injuries. However, he won’t talk to anyone but Reyes.

Doggett taps out “alive,” which Reyes thinks refers to himself. He’s actually saying that she’s alive, which is a surprise to him. He taps out that her throat was cut – Lukesh killed her, then tried to kill Doggett. Across town, Lukesh sneaks out after his mom is asleep and vanishes into some sort of invisible portal with a straight razor.

Doggett has no sensation from the chest down, but he’s getting better with the tapping technology, so…that’s nice. Reyes tells him that the case isn’t going anywhere since there are so many unanswered questions. She asks him about the hot dog stand where he stopped for food before coming to her apartment. He tells her the Polish sausage there is the best in the city. Reyes wonders what it would take for them to both be in two places at once.

Doggett thinks it would be ridiculous for them both to have identical twins they don’t know about, but Reyes says it kind of makes sense. There could be a parallel universe full of doubles. Doggett says she’s been watching too much Star Trek. She reminds him that he said Lukesh disappeared when Doggett looked away for just a second. Then he reappeared and shot Doggett with Reyes gun, which she had on her the whole time. Maybe Lukesh can open a door to another dimension, and Doggett unknowingly followed him through that door. Then the Doggett at Reyes’ place was forced out of his dimension.

Follmer and Skinner bring Lukesh back to the police station to turn the tables – there’s an eyewitness who says he shot Doggett. They tell him that Doggett has regained consciousness and believes Lukesh is a serial killer. Follmer asks him to consent to a test that would shot gunshot residue on his hands if he’s recently fired a gun. Lukesh casually threatens to lawyer up, then says that Doggett is obviously confused.

Skinner asks about Lukesh’s mother; they live together, so can she corroborate his story? Lukesh says she was sleeping and is in poor health, so she’s not a good witness. When Skinner presses the issue, Lukesh gets angry, refusing to let the FBI harass his mother when he’s innocent. Skinner dismisses him with, “Say hi to Mama.”

Instead of leaving the station, Lukesh wanders into a bullpen, where Reyes sees him. “What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?” he taunts. She tells him she’s figured out his secret and knows he lives in two worlds, one where he’s normal and one where he carries out sick fantasies. He kept his anger inside so long that he couldn’t restrain it anymore. Lukesh tells her that he enjoyed cutting her and watching her bleed.

He goes home and realizes that Reyes’ gun, which he’d stashed in a kitchen drawer, is gone. His mother found it, and she’s upset that her son has been keeping secrets. She knows he sneaks out of the house and must be doing something horrible. Lukesh says he doesn’t know how the gun got there. His mother says that the FBI keeps calling to speak to her; she has no idea why. He deletes their messages without listening to them. He has plans for his mother that don’t involve her talking to the FBI…or anyone else.

In a kinder use of a razor, Reyes shaves Doggett’s face at the hospital. He teases that she missed a spot. He thinks her theory is right, and that there are two Doggetts in this dimension. There shouldn’t be two, and he’d like Reyes to turn off his life support so the other Doggett will come back. Reyes thinks he’s using the theory as an excuse; there’s no way he would ever believe it. He asks if she does. If so, she can prove it. Reyes says she would do anything for him, but not that.

Skinner calls to report that Lukesh’s mother is dead, killed in the same way Doggett said Lukesh kills his victims. He doesn’t know if they’ll be able to find Lukesh, but Reyes guesses that he’ll find them. She goes home, jumpy about the possibility of Lukesh already being there waiting for her, but the other agents are keeping the building under video surveillance and will know if she’s in danger.

Unfortunately, Lukesh grabs her, pulls out her audio equipment, and keeps her out of the agents’ sight. When Reyes stops talking to the other agents through their comms, Scully guesses that Lukesh has gotten inside. He holds his straight razor to Reyes’ throat and tells her this time he’s going to bleed her slowly. Of course, the other agents come in and take him down before he can hurt her.

Reyes goes back to the hospital to test her theory. She cries as she turns off Doggett’s life support. Then she suddenly finds herself back in her apartment, with Doggett and the Polish sausage. He doesn’t understand why she’s crying, but she assures him that she’s okay.

Thoughts: Great casting on Lukesh. At first glance, he seems like a normal guy, but when you look closer, you can see something sinister in him.

Am I wrong or do Doggett and Reyes have…chemistry?

Is Morse code taught at the FBI academy or something? Or did Doggett and Skinner both learn it in the military?

December 15, 2018

The X-Files 9.3, Dæmonicus: Could It Be…Satan?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:33 pm by Jenn

“Hang on. They need me for another unnecessary vision on ‘Dexter'”

Summary: In Weston, West Virginia, a dog named Happy is…not so happy. She’s desperate to go out, and runs off into a field when her owner finally opens the door. The owners are playing Scrabble, and when the wife goes to let the dog out, the husband peeks at her letters. He gets 50 bonus points for playing “triumph.”

The lights go out, and the husband tells the wife to hide in the basement. He shakily loads a gun and points it at an intruder in the house. When the intruder approaches, the man shoots him. He realizes too late that the intruder, who looked like a man, was actually his wife. Duct tape on her mouth prevented her from saying anything to make him realize who she was. Two people with demonic faces enter the room and approach the man. But who will take care of Happy??

Reyes is called to the scene the next morning, finding the dead couple posed at their Scrabble board. The wife is holding the gun, so it looks like she killed her husband, then herself. There’s only one word on the board now: “daemonicus.” Reyes touches one of the tiles (without gloves – come on, Reyes!), then looks up to see that the ceiling fan above them has stopped turning.

Doggett arrives, and the ceiling fan starts moving again. He tells Reyes that the couple was Darren and Evelyn Mountjoy. Despite the bodies being posed as if this was a murder/suicide, the cops suspect it wasn’t. They think two people came to the house and murdered the couple, then posed them, which Reyes says is consistent with satanic rituals. On top of that, “daemonicus” is Latin for Satan. Doggett notes that it’s worth 50 bonus points.

He wonders if the theory here is that the couple was possessed. Reyes thinks something else is going on. Doggett asks if she really believes that Satan himself is the killer here. Reyes starts to tell him what happened just before he came in, but he’s interrupted when someone from the coroner’s office notices movement on Evelyn’s body. There are two snakes poking out from holes in her shirt.

With Reyes and Doggett working the X-Files division, Scully has a new job – instructor of forensic pathology at the FBI’s training academy in Quantico. A student asks if she’s ever slayed a vampire. Scully says X-Files show us that evil comes from people, not monsters, but sometimes science has to be laid aside while other possibilities are considered.

Doggett and Reyes separately come to Quantico to talk to Scully about the snakes. She’s found adhesive residue on Evelyn’s body, which means she was tied up and prevented from speaking. Reyes figures out that Darren was tricked into shooting his wife. Scully has also found fingerprint bruising on Darren’s collarbone, indicating that he was held down when he was shot. This reinforces Doggett’s belief that they’re looking for two killers.

The snakes were harmless, sewn into Evelyn after her death by someone who apparently has surgical training. Scully thinks they were just symbolic. Reyes tells her that when she was in the house, before Doggett came in, she felt like she was in the presence of evil. She’s never felt anything like that before in all her years of investigating satantic rituals. Scully says she’s felt similar things before, and it’s best that Reyes trust her instincts. Doggett gets a call from a hospital stating that one of the patients there may be involved in the murders.

As the killers, now holding their demonic faces (which were just masks), head somewhere to no doubt plan their next crime, Doggett and Reyes go to Chessman State Mental Hospital in Kitsonville, West Virginia. A doctor named Monique Sampson tells them that a patient named Kenneth Richman, a former doctor, is missing. He was originally admitted because he killed three patients; he sewed strychnine tablets into their surgical incisions during operations. But since Richman is a loner, Sampson doesn’t know who his co-murderer might be.

Reyes asks if Richman ever talked about demonic possession or satanic lore. Sampson says he was always coherent and never did anything like speaking in tongues. She figures out that Reyes wants to know if Richman was possessed. Sampson says this is the 21st century; doctors no longer blame demons for patients’ mental illnesses. (But they apparently still call their facilities mental hospitals instead of psychiatric facilities, so…) Reyes says she’s not talking about mental illness. Doggett makes a hilarious “oh, this should be good” face.

Sampson is called away, so Reyes and Doggett discuss whether Richman is the likely suspect here. If so, who was his accomplice? Sampson tells them it might be Paul Gerlach, a guard who’s now also missing. As they leave the room’s chessboard floor (keeping with this episode’s game theme), the killers, now with their masks back on, face off in some woods. One shoots the other.

Doggett and Reyes are taken to see Josef Kobold, a patient who was supposedly the last person to see Richman and Gerlach together. His padded cell is next to Richman’s, so he might know why Gerlach would help Richman escape. Kobold points out that one could have forced the other to escape, or they could be working together. They could be “of one mind, like a snake eating its own tail.”

Doggett asks for his help, if he knows anything that can help them. Kobold says they’re too late to stop the killers from hurting anyone else. He asks if Doggett believes in the power of the devil. Doggett thinks the devil is just a story made up to scare people. Kobold asks how Doggett can protect him in that case. Doggett points out to Reyes that Kobold isn’t really a good source of information.

The demon-faced killer cleans blood off his hands and leaves the cloth behind as he gets in his truck. He hears demonic whispering, which Kobold can hear as well, miles away. The next day, Sampson asks Doggett and Reyes to come back to see Kobold, who’s been asking for Doggett. He’s also saying “prince of the apostles” over and over. Kobold tells the agents that “he” is speaking to him, whispering in his ear. “He” has killed again, and Kobold can show them where it happened.

I guess Kobold couldn’t just, like, draw a map or something, because the agents get him put in chains and take him with them to the scene of the latest murder. He’s happy to be out of his “cage” and outside for the first time in years. But once he’s pointed them in the right direction, Doggett sends him back to his cage. He tells Reyes he thinks Kobold is putting on a show. Reyes disagrees, since he’s just spotted the newest victim’s body, hanging upside-down from a tree, dripping blood on the ground.

It’s Gerlach, and Scully gets to do another autopsy. She recognizes Kobold’s mention of “prince of the apostles,” a nickname for St. Peter, who was also hung upside-down at his death. Reyes notes that satanists use that symbol. Maybe the killer is a medium, “a willing host for Satan.” She points out that Kobold brought up the devil and snakes without knowing that she and Doggett thought the case had a satanic element.

Doggett still thinks Kobold is playing them. He was a history professor before he killed six students and ground up their bodies for fertilizer. Reyes wonders why Kobold didn’t escape with Richman, if he’s just messing around. Doggett hasn’t figured that out yet, and Scully doesn’t yet have an opinion on the case. But Reyes is determined to prove that Kobold can help them.

She and Doggett go back to Kobold’s cell, but he says he can’t do anything for them while he’s in there. “He” is sending Kobold too many voices, and he can’t hear any of them individually. He needs a bigger room with a view of the sky. Reyes is willing to give him that, telling a protesting Doggett that they can’t turn their backs on an offer of help. Outside, Monique leaves the facility for the day, and the killer follows in his truck.

Kobold is moved to a new room that’s bigger than my entire apartment (and has more light). He wonders why Doggett agreed to work in the X-Files division, since he’s obviously a skeptic. Is he looking for approval from some woman? Reyes? Or does Doggett have a dark secret he’s trying to appease his guilt over? Doggett doesn’t want to hear anything more from Kobold, so he starts to leave, but he stays behind when the demonic whispers overcome Kobold.

As the killer follows Sampson home, someone at the facility tries to sedate a now-seizing Kobold. Reyes thinks he’s trying to say the Latin word for “physician.” She puts together what this means and rushes to Sampson’s house with Doggett and some cops. But they’re too late – the killer has already claimed another victim, killing Sampson with a bunch of syringes to the face.

Scully comes to the house and identifies the substance in the syringes as an antipsychotic being given to Richman. Also, Kobold’s in a car outside the house, for some reason. Doggett repeats what Scully said in her lecture at Quantico about this being about humans, not monsters. (Apparently he was at the lecture.). Scully reminds him that she also said that when science isn’t enough, they have to “consider extreme possibilities.” She can sympathize with Doggett’s frustration, but he has to put it aside and remain objective. Doggett thinks both she and Reyes are falling for whatever Kobold is pulling to mess with them.

Kobold is taken back to his new cell, which can’t really be called a cell, because it’s HUGE. Doggett comes to visit, having read something Kobold wrote once about the influence of Satan in Renaissance thinking. He thinks Kobold has planned this whole thing. Now Kobold thinks Doggett has feelings for Scully but knows he can’t compete with Mulder. “You want her, but she feels sorry for you,” he taunts. “They both do.”

Doggett grows furious and grabs Kobold by the shirt. This is horrible timing, as just then, Kobold starts puking up gallons of some reddish substance. It’s gross and goes on forever. Scully examines him and declares him fine, because this sort of thing is totally normal. Reyes thinks the substance was ectoplasm, which Scully remembers Mulder saying was a byproduct of telepathic communication. Doggett asks if they’ve stumbled into Ghostbusters.

Reyes thinks this could be the proof they need that Kobold is telling the truth. Doggett still thinks it’s a game, but Scully sides with Reyes; at least testing the substance will give them some answers. Doggett again accuses her of falling for Kobold’s games. He’s just trying to distract them from whatever’s really going on. Scully says that Reyes is trying to figure out that truth; what is Doggett doing? Reyes acknowledges that this could be a hoax, but they need to look at the evidence. Why doesn’t Doggett want to do that? He says he’s already told her why.

There’s a thunderstorm that night, but even over the noise of the thunder, Custer, the officer assigned to sit outside Kobold’s room, can still hear whispering inside. When he checks on Kobold, he sees the patient’s face turn demonic. Sometime later, Doggett calls Scully to report that Kobold told the guard he knows where Richman is. Scully recognizes the location as a marina, Happy Landing, which she just happens to be near. (Why did Richman leave West Virginia and go to Virginia? No clue.) Reyes and Doggett arrange to meet Scully there.

Scully checks out the place alone, of course, which means she’s disappeared by the time Doggett and Reyes get there (with Kobold, AGAIN). They hear a gunshot one of the marina buildings, and the agents run off to check it out. Kobold stays back with Custer. Fortunately, Scully’s fine, and Richman’s dead by his own hand, though it’s not clear why he waited for Doggett and Reyes to arrive before killing himself. Doggett goes back outside and sees Kobold running away. He shoots Kobold, who falls in the water.

Scully’s next Quantico lecture is about uncertainty. It’s very rare to wrap up a case with all questions completely answered. As the class ends, Doggett and Reyes arrive and ask Scully not to file a report on the case. They know that Kobold got information about all of them from the Internet, so he was able to get their attention and make sure they were investigating the case. He messed with them the entire time, getting them to play the game he planned out. But Scully doesn’t get why the game ended the way it did.

Kobold’s body hasn’t been found, which means the game isn’t really over. Doggett writes “daemonicus” on the blackboard and brings up Reyes question from before, about why Kobold didn’t escape with Richman. Doggett thinks it was about misdirection. He talks about the snake eating its own tail, and the case beginning and ending in the same place, as we see him go to Kobold’s original cell. He finds a page from a phone book with the Mountjoys’ address circled.

In the classroom, Doggett explains the real meaning behind the use of the word “daemonicus.” The DAE stands for Darren and Evelyn. MONI comes from Monique Sampson. CUS is for Custer, and Doggett thinks he was the person shot in the marina. That means Kobold is out somewhere, free. Doggett declares this checkmate, but Reyes isn’t sure. Scully thinks it’s that she felt the presence of evil, but Reyes says she believes Doggett felt it, too.

Thoughts: Kobold is played by James Remar.

How did Richman get away with poisoning one patient, let alone three? I would think an autopsy would sort everything out pretty quickly.

Even a guy who’s never met Mulder knows Scully wants him. I love it.

So no one noticed that “daemonicus” also contains the letters that spell “Monica”? The leftover letters spell “deus,” or God. They also spell “used.” Or the D and S could stand for Doggett and Scully. See, I can play games, too!

December 8, 2018

The X-Files 9.2, Nothing Important Happened Today II: The Third Man

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

“True Detective” season 4?

Summary: A man goes through a bunch of scans to gain access to a secret lair. He’s supposed to deliver a message to a Dr. Nordlinger, but he wants to sidestep proper procedure to get confirmation that Nordlinger receives the message. Nordlinger himself emerges from a lab and takes the note, which tells him there’s an emergency and he needs to return to the operations base. Nordlinger tries to keep his cool as he assures the message deliver, whom he calls Captain, that he’s returning to base. But really, the captain is returning them to base, because he’s in charge of steering the ship they’re on.

Follmer is still looking for Doggett at the water plant, and Doggett’s still underwater, being pulled down by Shannon. Follmer leaves without noticing either of them. Once Doggett loses consciousness, Shannon kisses him. Or maybe she’s giving him mouth-to-mouth, but since he’s still underwater, that’s not going to do much good.

Follmer returns to his office and summons Reyes and Skinner so he can lecture them about their investigation. He tells them that Doggett is nowhere to be found. He’s giving them a chance to put a positive spin on the mess Doggett’s made. Reyes says that they were following up on a lead that they think will take them to a bigger conspiracy. The investigation is totally legitimate. Follmer warns that Reyes will lose her job if she keeps chasing shadows and conspiracies.

Reyes asks how he knows there isn’t one. Follmer says that she’s just engaging in a witch hunt, and taking on the whole FBI is a horrible idea. Unless she distances herself from Doggett, the only person who will be exposed is Reyes. Instead, Reyes announces that she’s distancing herself from Follmer and his political games. He tells her she’s making a big mistake. “I seem to make one every time I walk in your door,” she replies.

Doggett wakes up in his bed, coughing from all the water he breathed in. He’s shocked to see Shannon in his bedroom. She says she had to hold him underwater so no one would know what he was starting to figure out. She reveals that she’s a super-soldier from the program Knowle told him about. Shannon has no weaknesses, doesn’t need to sleep, and can breathe underwater. She saved Doggett’s life.

Doggett asks how Shannon knows what he and Knowle talked about. She says that she and Knowle are the Adam and Eve of the super-soldier program. That means Knowle is still alive, since super-soldiers can’t be killed. Shannon and Knowle are almost completely alike, except Shannon hates being a super-soldier. She wants Doggett’s help to stop the program from expanding. He needs to expose Wormus and the water-plant guy’s deaths so everyone will know what’s in the water supply.

The ship is now in Baltimore, and the captain is ready to leave, even though the crew is under orders to stay put. The captain says they can’t risk not making contact now. Skinner goes to Scully’s place to ask why he’s supposed to just let Mulder disappear and not follow up. Scully tells him that something happened with William that she can’t explain. Skinner says she’s made a big mistake by letting Doggett and Reyes pull her into their investigation. But Scully is desperate for answers. Skinner urges her to get in touch with Mulder and let him know what’s going on. She says it’s too dangerous to bring him back into the fold.

The captain tries to call Wormus, who, of course, doesn’t answer his phone. He returns to the ship, where his second-in-command has been replaced…by Knowle. Reyes and Doggett call Scully to tell her they may have some answers about William. When she goes to meet them at Doggett’s place, Shannon is there. She explains that an additive called chloramine is being put in the water. Scully says it’s just like chlorine, so there’s no danger there. Shannon says the molecular makeup has been altered, so yeah, it actually is dangerous.

She continues that the chloramine is being used to create mutated offspring that will grow up to be super-soldiers. Shannon’s the prototype, and considering how powerful she is, the generations coming after her must be even more awesome. She thinks William is a super-soldier. Scully doesn’t buy that Shannon is trustworthy, so Shannon shows her the standard mutation that all super-soldiers have, a bulge in their necks.

Knowle takes a peek at some of the ship’s logs, telling the captain he just wants to be prepared in case something happens to the captain. He asks what the ship’s mission is. The captain doesn’t know; he and his crew don’t ask questions. Suddenly an alarm goes off and everyone runs out to the deck. Divers jump into the water and pull out the body of the officer Knowle replaced.

While Scully gives Shannon an examination to confirm that she’s not human, Reyes tells Doggett that Shannon’s story doesn’t make sense. Why did she have to kill two people to contact Doggett? Doggett has now become the Mulder to Reyes’ Scully, believing the story. But Scully’s still a skeptic, as she’s unable to determine from Shannon’s examination that she’s anything other than human. The bulge in her neck is just a spinal deformity. Doggett thinks Shannon’s the key to the whole case.

Skinner calls Doggett to tell him that Kersh is suspending him. Doggett angrily goes to the office, yelling that Kersh is just making himself look more suspicious by doing this just as Doggett’s about to tie him to the conspiracy. Follmer joins them, backing up Kersh’s decision. Doggett’s like, “Cool, more conspirators! This is awesome!” Follmer tells him that with all this paranoia, he’s sounding a lot like Mulder. Doggett says he answers to Skinner, not Kersh or Follmer, so he’s not accepting his suspension.

Reyes looks up Shannon in the DOJ’s employee database, where she’s listed as a special investigator. The Lone Gunmen surprise her in her office to show her how they’ve hacked the EPA’s phone system. Someone’s been trying to call Wormus, even though his death has been on the front page of the newspaper. They intercept a call coming in right then, and get the message from the captain that they’re in port and one of his men is dead. The captain wants Wormus to call the FBI, just like they talked about, and expose the conspiracy. The Lone Gunmen aren’t the only ones listening, though – so is Knowle.

Reyes goes to Follmer and asks for Shannon’s case files. She wants to show Follmer that he’s on the wrong side of this fight. She thinks the DOJ is setting Doggett up. Follmer agrees with her that Doggett is generally a good person and thinks he’s doing the right thing. Reyes asks him to do the same.

She then finds Doggett and Scully to warn them that Shannon is lying. Both of the men she killed were whistleblowers who wanted to expose the program, just as Shannon claimed she wanted. Reyes thinks she killed them to silence them, and is using Doggett to lead her to a third man. She knows that the captain was in touch with Wormus and the water guy about the secret lab on his ship. Doggett notes that Shannon is the only sure part of this conspiracy, but Scully wants answers from the lab.

The captain takes a hostage in the lab, where some sort of fertility stuff is going on, and demands all the data Nordlinger has compiled. Meanwhile, Scully, Doggett, and Reyes arrive at the ship, having arranged to meet with the captain. Instead, they’re met by Knowle. Doggett tells the women to run while he pulls his gun on Knowle. Of course, super-soldiers can’t be stopped by bullets, so it’s a waste of ammo. There’s a fight, and Knowle easily wins. But just as he’s about to crush Doggett’s skull, Shannon arrives and decapitates Knowle.

She’s disappointed that Doggett didn’t trust her, but before that conversation can continue, a hand reaches through her body, pulls out her heart, and throws her in the water. Doggett catches up with Scully and Reyes, and they search the ship but don’t see anyone. The women find the captain, but he won’t be much help to them, considering his head is no longer attached to his body. Doggett comes across a bomb and realizes that the crew has arranged to destroy the ship.

He goes looking for the women, who have found the lab and realized that it’s being used to manipulate ova. There’s less than a minute left before the bomb detonates, but Scully wants to search the names of the test subjects and see if she’s one of them. Doggett tells her that they need to leave now if she ever wants to see William again. They’ll find another way to get answers. The three agents make it off the ship before it explodes, of course.

48 hours later, Doggett has completed a report about the investigation. It talks about a conspiracy in the government, mentioning the super-soldiers but not Kersh. Doggett was unable to find anything tying him to the investigation, though he’s sure Kersh is involved somehow. He just has one question: Why did Kersh secretly send him Wormus’ obituary? Kersh won’t confirm that he did it, but Doggett thinks he’s the only one with a reason. Does Kersh want him fired or killed?

Kersh asks if Doggett’s familiar with King George III, the king of England when America declared independence. In his diary, on July 4th, 1776, he wrote, “Nothing important happened today.” Kersh’s point is that even kings can miss the start of revolutions if they’re not paying attention. Doggett asks if this means Kersh was actually trying to help him.

Kersh wonders if Doggett would believe him if he said that he warned Mulder that he needed to disappear to keep himself safe. Would Doggett believe that Kersh was under the same threat from the same people? Doggett realizes that Scully believed the threat and made Mulder leave.

Doggett and Follmer end up on an elevator together, and Follmer says that Kersh has Doggett where he wants him. Follmer claims to be “a friend to the X-Files.” It’s somewhat comforting to have Doggett there. Reyes gets on the elevator as Follmer gets off, and Doggett tells him he knows where to reach the two of them. Somewhere underwater, Shannon opens her eyes…but it’s just a dream Scully’s having. She checks on William, who’s in his bassinet, under a mobile that again begins to move when she’s not looking.

Thoughts: Reyes keeps calling Scully “Dana.” It’s weird.

Imagine if a higher-up at your company said you were suspended, and you basically said, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my real dad.” Now imagine that the higher-up was possibly part of a dangerous conspiracy that knew you were trying to expose it. What I’m saying is that Doggett has more guts than I thought.

Apparently Lucy Lawless was originally going to be a recurring character in the ninth season, but she had a high-risk pregnancy and had to bow out. It’s fine; they have plenty of characters.

December 1, 2018

The X-Files 9.1, Nothing Important Happened Today: Water, Water Everywhere, and Who Knows What the Government Put in It?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

When Xenas attack

Summary: A man at a Baltimore bar scoops some ice out of his drink with his hand and drops the cubes on the floor, then licks his fingers. Season 9 is starting on a classy note. He approaches a woman and starts talking about how the government added stuff to the water that makes him want to avoid ice. The woman invites him to go out and “get some air.”

The man drives her home in his convertible, and as they approach a drawbridge, she puts her hand on his leg. Instead of…doing the thing he thought she was going to do and starting season 9 on a REALLY classy note, she forces his foot down on the accelerator. They speed through the gates on the bridge and plunge into the water below. The man struggles to get out of his seatbelt, but the woman grabs his ankle to keep him underwater.

New credits! Do not like.

48 hours after the opening scenes, Scully’s tending to a very unhappy William while an unseen Mulder takes a shower. There’s a bunch of luggage in the living room. Doggett wakes up for work as Reyes gets a call from Brad Follmer, an FBI agent who was surprised to hear that she’s in D.C. She reluctantly agrees to stop by his office. Doggett grabs a quick breakfast, ignoring a news report about the death of the man from the bar, Carl Wormus, and employee at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Follmer is watching the same report in his office when Reyes arrives, trying to avoid talking to him by leaving him a note. As soon as they’re in his office, he kisses her. She reminds him that they’re at work, though he points out that when they worked together in New York, she never had a problem with that. Follmer is now the assistant director, and he wants to show Reyes some security tapes. One shows her arriving at the building to meet with Doggett. Since Doggett’s part of the internal investigation into Kersh’s activities, Reyes could be in some trouble.

Doggett and Kersh run into each other in an elevator and sneer at each other for a little while. Kersh figures that if Doggett can’t turn up anything negative about him, no one can. Doggett finds Reyes in the X-Files office and complains that he has a tough job in having to investigate Kersh. Reyes tells him the job might be harder than he thinks. One of the security tapes Follmer gave her, which should show the car chase Doggett and Skinner had with Knowle, shows…nothing. According to the evidence, there was no activity in the parking garage, and no witnesses will be able to argue otherwise.

Doggett goes to Mulder’s apartment, which is completely empty. Meanwhile, the woman who killed Wormus resurfaces (literally) in a water reclamation plant. A worker spots her walking around naked as he starts to make a call to a Naval ship. Doggett next goes to Scully’s, upset that she hasn’t answered his calls. He thought she had fled town liked Mulder clearly has. Scully confirms that he’s gone.

The plant worker follows the woman’s wet footprints, and when he finds her, it’s safe to say he’s probably going to suffer the same fate as Wormus. At the FBI building, Doggett and Reyes meet with Skinner; none of the three of them knows where Mulder went. Reyes tells Doggett that there’s yet another complication. Skinner tells Doggett that he needs to drop the Kersh investigation. Doggett guesses that Skinner is afraid of whoever’s behind this conspiracy. Alternately, he’s afraid of the real tape turning up and showing that Skinner killed Krycek.

Skinner says his real fear is that Doggett will push things too far and bring danger on Scully, Mulder, and William. Doggett interprets this as meaning that if he doesn’t drop the investigation, he’s on his own. Skinner doesn’t respond, so Doggett figures that’s his answer. But just as he’s leaving, Reyes tells him he’s not alone.

Reyes meets Follmer at a bar, where he asks why she’s risking her career to join Doggett’s investigation. She tells him there’s no investigation anymore. Follmer’s surprised that Doggett would give it up so quickly. Reyes says this means she has to go back to New Orleans. The X-Files division is getting dropped along with the investigation. This was Reyes’ dream assignment, and she was happy to be in D.C., so she’s disappointed. I think Follmer wants to give her a memorable goodbye present.

Doggett goes back to Scully’s apartment and asks for her help. She tells him she doesn’t know how to find Mulder (and if she did, she most likely wouldn’t tell Doggett). Doggett asks why Scully all of a sudden thinks she can’t trust him. She begs him to drop it, but Doggett wants to bring the people who tried to kill all of them to justice. He wants to know what she and Mulder are keeping from him. How long can she hide the truth?

Doggett continues that Knowle told him William was the result of a government experiment to create super-soldiers. Scully insists that the baby is totally fine, so there’s no need to go down that road. Doggett hopes she’s right, and doesn’t want to pretend things are fine when they’re not. Scully asks him to leave and never come back. He leaves, but we all know he’ll be back.

He goes home and calls a bunch of his old Marine buddies to ask them for info about Knowle. The last person on the list, Shannon McMahon, is the woman from the bar…and she’s now in the FBI building, passing Reyes as she gets off an elevator. At home, Scully and the baby both nap, the star mobile over William’s bassinet slowly turning in a circle.

In the X-Files office, Reyes breaks a pencil point and goes looking for a new one. There are a bunch stuck in the ceiling, of course. She hears a noise and goes to investigate, seeing the elevator doors as they close behind whoever dropped off an envelope with Wormus’ obituary inside. Scully wakes up to William crying and the mobile turning over his bassinet. Suddenly she’s not so sure about her insistence that the baby is normal.

She calls the X-Files office and tells Doggett that he should probably keep investigating after all. He tells her they never dropped the investigation, and now they have a body to examine. So Scully ends her maternity leave after less than a week and meets Doggett and Reyes at the morgue to discuss Wormus’ death. Skinner somehow gets word and calls Doggett to tell him that the FBI has turned against him, since he’s investigating Kersh. He needs to watch his back. Scully doesn’t see the point in autopsying Wormus’ body, but Doggett disagrees.

He summons the Lone Gunmen to his place; they’re blue because they’re poor and unemployed (I guess this was after their spin-off was canceled?). Langly is literally blue but won’t explain why. The guys hack Wormus’ files but don’t see anything strange, other than Wormus’ obsession with water. At the same time, Scully tells Reyes that water was exactly what killed Wormus – he drowned, that’s all. Reyes is impressed that Scully’s able to do her job in the midst of all the insanity in her life.

Reyes continues that she knows Scully’s afraid that something’s wrong with William. Scully says she can’t let her fears get the better of her, like Wormus’ fears got the better of him. Reyes offers to listen if Scully ever wants to talk. Just then, Scully notices fingerprints on Wormus’ ankle, making her and Reyes think someone may have held him underwater.

Follmer tells Kersh that Doggett has gotten hold of Wormus’ body and is clearly looking into something. He thinks Doggett should be punished for taking things too far. Kersh appreciates Follmer’s disclosure and gives him permission to…well, punish Doggett, I guess. But Follmer says there’s a conflict and can’t do it himself. Kersh doesn’t see why not, since Follmer doesn’t have any personal vendetta against Doggett.

Shannon goes to Scully’s apartment, where Maggie’s looking after William. Shannon lies that she’s one of Scully’s co-workers and would like to leave a note. Maggie would prefer if Shannon just left her name so Maggie can tell Scully to call her. Instead, Shannon just leaves. She goes to the morgue and follows Scully and Reyes as they’re leaving the morgue. Reyes remembers her from the elevator and gets suspicious but warns Scully not to show that they’ve seen Shannon.

The two are intercepted by Follmer, who has Polaroids he wants the women to look at. He takes them back to the morgue, but Wormus’ body isn’t there anymore. Follmer guesses that Doggett moved him somewhere. Reyes says he didn’t and asks Scully to back her up. Instead, Scully just says she needs to get home to William. Follmer tells Reyes that he’s on to her and Doggett, and if he goes down, he’ll take Reyes with him.

Reyes accuses Follmer of sending her Wormus’ obituary to set her and Doggett up. Follmer denies this, but Reyes says she’s on to him and doesn’t appreciate him being territorial. She goes to Doggett’s (Frohike likey), and the Lone Gunmen tell her that Wormus was getting encrypted data from a reclamation plant worker named Roland McFarland (wow, horrible name). The Gunmen don’t know what the data was, but they figure Roland’s probably dead now, too.

Doggett and Skinner, who’s suddenly joined the investigation, go to the plant to search Roland’s office. Doggett finds a bunch of files about something called chloramine. They take the files and run just moments before Follmer arrives with his own search team. We kill, like, an entire minute of the episode watching Skinner and Doggett run around the plant.

They get separated, and when Follmer spots Skinner, he thinks Skinner’s there chasing Doggett. They lose him, since he can hold his breath for a really long time and has decided to hide underwater, in the same tank Shannon came out of. Well, now all the files are wet! Great plan, Doggett! But that’s the least of his problems, since Shannon is also in the water, grabbing his ankle and ready to drown him like she drowned Wormus. To be continued…

Thoughts: Follmer is played by Cary Elwes. Shannon is played by Lucy Lawless.

Imagine going through your life with the last name Wormus.

Scully looks way too put-together for someone with a newborn, especially someone taking care of him alone. Her hairs looks better than mine!

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