January 21, 2017
Summary: Scully gives us a voiceover about “[feeling] time like a heartbeat” and sharing a burden through words. She wants the person reading her words to know that she feels comfort because she’s receiving understanding. She’s standing in a hospital gown, looking at a scan of her head, which shows a mass right between her eyes. Scully finishes her voiceover by asking forgiveness for not finishing the journey with her audience.
Mulder joins Scully at Holy Cross Memorial Hospital in D.C., where Scully has just received her medical news. She tells him she feels fine, despite the tumor in her brain. He’s the only person she’s called. The tumor is inoperable, and its size and placement make it hard to treat. Mulder refuses to believe that. Scully’s amused that, for once, she believes something he doesn’t – she’s certain that the cancer isn’t going anywhere and will most likely kill her. Mulder still won’t accept this, saying that there have to be people out there who’ve received treatment.
Scully gives the news to Skinner, asking him to keep it quiet. She plans to delay treatment until she and Mulder meet with the MUFON women in Pennsylvania, as Betsy was being treated for the same type of cancer. Scully wants to pursue this as a case rather than a personal matter. But when the agents arrive at Betsy’s house, they learn that she died a few weeks earlier. They’re just in time to see files from Betsy’s computer being downloaded by someone.
The agents trace the hack to a man named Kurt Crawford and go to his apartment. Mulder heads to the back of the building just as someone tries to sneak out. The agents capture Kurt, but the exertion of the chase gives Scully a nosebleed. She tells Mulder again that she’s fine. Kurt tells the agents he was in Betsy’s MUFON group and downloaded her files at her request. He ran because he believes his life is in danger.
Scully wants to question the other MUFON members, but Mulder says they can’t. Kurt confirms that all of the other members have died of brain cancer except one, Penny Northern. Kurt believes the women’s stories about being abducted and developing tumors as a result. Mulder thinks Scully’s in denial about her illness coming from the same circumstances. Scully notes that Penny’s still alive, so there’s nothing definitive about the situation.
Mulder suggests that Scully talk to Penny, but Scully doesn’t see the point. What would they talk about, knowing what it’s like to be dying of cancer? Mulder puts it in FBI terms, pointing out that she’s a witness they need to talk to. So Scully visits Penny in the hospital, surprised that Penny seemed to expect her. Her doctor, Scanlon, thinks he’s found the cause of the cancer, though it’s probably too late to do anything. Scully seems to grasp that it might not be too late for her.
Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”), who’s at Betsy’s with Kurt, looking through her files. Penny and Betsy were both treated for infertility at the same clinic. Scully asks him to come to the hospital with her overnight bag and call her mother. Whatever Mulder found isn’t important right now. “The truth is in me,” she says, and she needs to suspend the investigation and look into what’s happening to her. Mulder immediately heads off, leaving Kurt in Betsy’s apartment. Seconds later, a man enters the apartment with an icepick, and someone ends up as green acid.
Scully spends the night at the hospital, waking to meet Dr. Scanlon, who she first sees as an alien-like being. She’s bracing herself for chemo and radiation, which Scanlon says will make her “feel like dying.” Maggie arrives, and Scully repeats her new mantra, that she’s fine. Maggie’s upset that Scully didn’t tell her about her diagnosis right away. Scully says that she wanted all the answers first, and though she hasn’t found any yet, she has some clarity, as well as a possible way to fight back.
Maggie makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out of whatever happens. She cries as she says that Scully was always the strong one. Having lost Melissa, Maggie only has one daughter left. Scully remains stoic as her mother breaks down. She undergoes some scans, voicing over about how cancer “starts as an invader, but soon becomes one with the invaded,” turning a person’s body against itself. You can destroy it, but you risk destroying yourself in the process.
The voiceover is a letter written to Mulder in case Scully doesn’t survive. She wants him to know that he should never feel like there was something more he could have done. Though they’ve been working together, “this last distance must necessarily be traveled alone.”
Mulder, having not read the letter yet, is still determined to do something. He goes to the clinic where Betsy and Penny were treated and tries to access some files, but has to hide when he hears someone approaching. It’s Kurt, who survived the icepick assassin after all. Kurt and Mulder are looking for the same thing, so Kurt gets to work hacking the computer with the files they need. Mulder notices a snowglobe of a place called Vegreville, which turns out to be the password.
Back at the hospital, Scully has a nightmare about her head being drilled while she was abducted. Penny comforts her when she wakes up, feeling sick for the first time. Scully remembers hearing Penny’s voice in her dream. Penny says “they” let her sit with Scully during the procedures, though she’s not sure why. Scully doesn’t want to hear about this right now, but Penny thinks it’s important for her to understand what’s happening to her.
Mulder returns to D.C. and asks Skinner to get him a meeting. He has a disk containing a file from the clinic; it has Scully’s name, even though he’s pretty sure Scully’s never undergone treatment for infertility. Since the file is a directory for a mainframe at the Lombard Research Facility, Mulder doesn’t know what it’s about. That’s why he wants to meet with CSM. Skinner warns that if Mulder offers up anything, CSM will “own” him. But Mulder thinks CSM knows what happened to Scully and may know how to save her. “You can’t ask the truth of a man who trades in lies,” Skinner says, refusing the request.
Fortunately, Mulder has the Lone Gunmen to turn to. They decrypt the file, which contains a gene code from her blood post-abduction. The branching in the code can lead to mutation. The Gunmen think someone was doing research to find the cause of the mutation, though Mulder notes that someone could instead be looking for a cure. He invites the Gunmen to come to Lombard with him: “Pick out something black and sexy, and prepare to do some funky poaching.”
Skinner goes to Mulder’s office and finds CSM, who’s surprised that Mulder’s been relegated to the basement. Skinner spits that at least Mulder doesn’t have to “take an elevator up to get to work,” which I think is his way of saying that CSM is from Hell, but…try harder, Skinner. Despite Mulder and Skinner’s agreement to keep Scully’s illness confidential, CSM knows she’s sick. He notes that modern medicine can lead to miracles. Skinner would like for one, so he asks what he needs to do to save Scully. CSM will get back to him. “Which way is the elevator?” he asks pointedly as he leaves.
Mulder and Byers stake out Lombard while Frohike and Langly sneak inside and patch into the facility’s security cameras. Mulder and Byers head in next but immediately hit a roadblock with a security code. While Langly figures it out, Mulder looks at a directory of doctors and sees that Scanlon is on staff there. Langly gets the code, but Mulder sends Byers off on another mission, telling him to contact Scully and get her to stop treatment.
Scully writes to Mulder again, now feeling the effects of her treatment. Penny’s condition has worsened, and Scully dreads going down the same road. She can feel Mulder close, even though he’s not with her. She’s grateful for his work and needs to know he’s out there if she has any hopes of beating the cancer.
The security feed and comms get fuzzy, and Langly and Byers lose contact with Mulder just as Byers sees security guards arriving at the facility. Mulder makes it to a lab, where he’s greeted by a bunch of clones of Kurt. The lab is full of tanks containing more clones. Mulder thinks Kurt was using him, but the clones really want him to help them end the project that created them. Mulder recognizes a clone in a tank as the boy from the farm. Kurt confirms that the adult clones are the end result of the experiment.
Mulder thinks the clones want the developing clones to be destroyed. They say they actually want what Mulder wants. One shows him a storeroom full of ova harvested from abducted women, including Scully. The ova are then used to create clones. Unfortunately, the procedure leaves them barren and gives them cancer. The Kurt clones want to save them, since they’re technically the clones’ mothers.
When Mulder’s comms return, Langly warns that there’s a security breach. In another part of the building, Byers hides from guards. Langly gives Mulder directions to get out of the building, but the Gunmen can’t get the doors open fast enough for him to leave. A guard finds Mulder and fires at him, trying to break through bulletproof glass. The Gunmen manage to get Mulder out just as the shooter breaches the glass.
Mulder goes straight to Scully’s room, which is empty except for her journal. Byers meets up with him and assures him that he reached Scully. She’s sitting with Penny, who’s barely holding on. Scully confirms that Scanlon probably isn’t coming back. Penny tells her to keep looking for answers, and Scully promises not to give up hope. Her stoicism is beginning to falter.
Penny dies, and Scully can no longer keep her emotions hidden. Mulder tells her he read a little of what she wrote to him, but Scully now wants to throw it away. She’s decided not to let the cancer beat her. She’s going to work as long as she can. Mulder is determined to find Scanlon and figure out exactly what happened to Scully and the other women. He knows that Scully will find a way to save herself.
Scully notes that many people live with cancer, and she will, too. She has things to prove to herself and her family, and things to finish. Mulder hugs her, happy to be able to keep working with her. “The truth will save you, Scully,” he tells her. “I think it’ll save both of us.” He kisses her forehead, but only her forehead, because they cut the version where they kiss on the lips. As she goes back to her room, Mulder hides a vial of ova in his pocket.
Mulder calls Skinner to let him know that Scully’s going to keep working. He thanks Skinner for talking him out of meeting with CSM; he’ll just find another way to get the truth. “There’s always another way,” Skinner says. “Yes, I believe there is,” CSM agrees from the other side of Skinner’s desk. “If you’re willing to pay the price.”
Thoughts: Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for this episode.
Way to protect your witness who thinks his life is in danger, guys.
And way to keep your shady doctor’s identity secret, Lombard. Also, did Scully do ANY research before she started treatment with Scanlon?
I finally feel like Skinner is really part of this show. He was pretty ineffectual in the past, but in this episode, we see that he knows exactly what’s going on and is willing to go to great (possibly dangerous) lengths for his agents.
October 8, 2016
Summary: It’s after 10 at night in Braddock Heights, Maryland, and a man is digging a big hole to bury another man’s body. You know, just typical springtime fun. Though the digger says the other man’s killing days are over, so I guess he thinks he’s done something good. The digger washes up back at home, but his victim shows up in his house. The digger uses his shovel to kill the victim again, and is dragging his body outside when the police arrive. Both cops look like his victim. The digger attacks one and gets tased in return. There’s a glitch like the diggers watching a faulty TV, and he sees the cops’ real faces. They find a body in the digger’s trunk – it’s his wife, Sarah.
Mulder’s in downtown D.C., meeting with a man who contacted him wanting to talk. He suggests that Mulder look into the five murders the digger (Joseph Patnik) committed. The man denies that he’s one of Mulder’s “sources,” but he won’t clarify who, exactly, he is. He does warn that if Mulder doesn’t look into the crimes, more will die. So Mulder looks into them, visiting Patnik at a psychiatric hospital. He tells Scully that Patnik says he killed the same man over and over, but he wouldn’t die. A babysitter in Patnik’s neighborhood recently attacked the children she was watching, saying she thought they were wolves.
Patnik’s doctor, Stroman, tells the agents that Patnik has been having outbursts, though he’s calm now. They found amphetamines in his system. Suddenly Patnik starts screaming and has to be sedated again. The agents see that Patnik was watching TV when a news story came on about murderous Bosnian dictator Lladoslav Miriskovic (not to be confused with Slobodan Milosevic, I imagine). The agents head to Patnik’s house, wondering why Mulder’s source pointed them toward the case. Scully wonders if they’re being used. Mulder doesn’t think it matters, since they need some answers anyway.
The agents hear screaming from upstairs, but it’s just the movie a couple of preteen boys are watching. As the boys leave, the TV goes snowy – a cable guy appears to be working on the lines. Scully notices the Patniks’ extensive videotape collection, which seems to consists mostly of recorded news broadcasts. Scully wonders if there’s a connection between them and Patnik’s crimes. The agents review some of the tapes their motel rooms that night, and Scully discovers that pieces on Miriskovic aired on each night Patnik committed a murder.
Mulder dismisses the theory that violence on TV leads to violence in real life; it’s pseudoscience. Scully thinks that Patnik’s drug use combined with the violent imagery made him kill. Mulder argues that that’s not enough to make a previously stable person violent – “not even must-see TV can do that.” He heads off to bed while Scully keeps watching the tapes. She passes the time by crunching ice, eventually going outside to get more. She sees Mulder in his car in the parking lot, having a chat with CSM. She sees Mulder hand CSM a videotape and then drive off with him.
The next morning, a woman is washing dishes and watching a game show when her kitchen starts to glitch. She looks in the backyard and sees her husband fooling around with a woman in their hammock. She responds by grabbing a gun. Mulder tells Scully about the latest murder, and she meets him in the car, checking the ashtray first (it’s empty). She asks if he took the car out last night, since it’s parked in a different spot now. Mulder says he got a newspaper that morning.
At the latest crime scene, the agents learn that the killer, Helene, said she saw her husband in the hammock with a blonde. Apparently the blonde was really the couple’s golden retriever. (Thankfully, the dog is unharmed.) Oh, and the man in the hammock isn’t even Helene’s husband; he was a neighbor. Helene was in the wrong backyard. The agents check out the house, which is full of items purchased from home-shopping channels. There are also a bunch of videotapes, which Scully starts watching.
Mulder spots the same cable guy from the Patniks’ house outside. He goes to talk to the guy, who drives off. Mulder then climbs the utility pole himself (seems about right for him) and sees that the worker installed something in a box, possibly a scrambler. Scully suggests that they hand it over to Pendrell for analysis, and Mulder says he’ll take care of it. Instead, he takes the device to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him it adds something between the still pictures transmitted in a normal TV broadcast. It’s emitting some sort of signal.
Scully calls Mulder (no “Mulder, it’s me,” unfortunately), who tells him that someone may be conducting a test. She tells him she talked to Pendrell, who said Mulder never brought him the device. Mulder says he took it somewhere else and tries to explain the device to her. Scully hears clicks on the line, though Mulder doesn’t hear them. She hangs up on her partner and doesn’t answer when he calls back. She unplugs the phone and pulls apart the receiver. Next, she checks a lamp, the underside of the couch, the backs of paintings, and a light socket. As she’s trashing the room, the walls start to glitch.
Seeing headlights outside makes Scully panic, and she goes for her gun when someone knocks at her door. It’s a good thing her shots miss because Mulder’s there with a motel clerk. Scully runs off and still hasn’t turned up in the morning. Mulder calls Maggie, trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Skinner arrives and Mulder tells him to keep the investigating officers from treating this like a manhunt for an escaped criminal. He thinks Scully’s suffering from the same psychosis as Patnik and Helene. She’s not responsible for her violent actions. Skinner suggests that it might be a good idea to find her before she hurts anyone.
Mulder puts an X on his window, even though the last time he spoke to Mr. X, he was told there would be no more communication. The Lone Gunmen call to tell Mulder they found something interesting on a tape from Scully’s room. Mulder joins them to learn that there were red and green lights being transmitted between frames in a home-shopping segment. The signal triggers something in the brain, similar to subliminal messages used in movie theaters in the past to make people buy popcorn.
Byers says that American and Russian scientists have been working on this technology for a long time. The guys just don’t know why Mulder wasn’t affected. Mulder asks if color could be a factor – he’s red-green colorblind, so he may not see the signal like others do. As the guys discuss the possibility, Mulder gets a call from the police reporting that Scully may have been found…or rather, her body may have been found. He heads to the morgue, taking a moment to steady himself. Before he can go inside, his source arrives and demands a conversation. He tells Mulder to keep following the evidence before “they” can destroy it.
The body in the morgue is, of course, not Scully’s, and Mulder wants someone to let Maggie know. Maggie hasn’t been answering her phone, so Mulder pays her a visit. She doesn’t want to let him in the house, which makes him realize that Scully’s there. Scully greets her partner with a gun, thinking he’s there to kill her. Mulder explains to her that she’s sick, but Scully thinks he’s been working against her from the beginning. He was one of the people behind her abduction, he put the chip in her neck, and he killed Melissa. Maggie moves in front of Scully, reminding her daughter that she’d never let anyone hurt her. Scully calms and cries in her mother’s arm.
Scully’s admitted to Georgetown Hospital, embarrassed that she believed the things the signal made her think were real. Mulder tells her that the other killers were also affected by events they thought were playing into their worst fears. Patnik, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, wanted to kill Miriskovic because he saw him as a modern-day Hitler. Helene was scared that her husband would cheat on her. Mulder thinks the TV signal turns people’s fears into reality. Scully admits that she thought she saw Mulder talking to CSM as if Mulder were reporting to him. Mulder thinks it’s reasonable that CSM could be behind all of this.
On his way out, Mulder chats with Scully’s doctor, who hasn’t found anything medically wrong with her patient. The only abnormal thing she’s found is high levels of serotonin, which has in the past been linked to mania. Now they’re back to normal. Mulder wonders if the doctor might have suspected that Scully was on amphetamines, but the doctor says that doesn’t fit with the high serotonin levels. Mulder calls Patnik’s psych hospital to talk to Stroman, who’s no longer working there. For some reason, Mulder guesses that his new phone number is the one for the motel where he and Scully were staying.
Mulder returns to the hotel (where the clerk makes him go into the room first this time), but Stroman’s already checked out. While the clerk gets Stroman’s phone records, Mulder finds the butt of a Morley cigarette in an ashtray. He traces a number on the phone records to a house, arriving just before the cable guy shows up and lets himself in. Mulder watches through a window as the cable guy and Stroman wonder where the person they’re supposed to meet is. When Mulder starts to break in, he hears gunshots. Both men are now dead, thanks to Mr. X. Mulder’s unknowingly been working off of his tip the whole time.
Mulder complains that he doesn’t have evidence now, but Mr. X reminds him that he was warned about this happening. Mr. X says he had to move quickly because he was being watched. His orders were always to kill the cable guy and Stroman; he just hoped Mulder would finish his investigation first. Mulder wants to know why the signal was being used in the first place – sales? Voting? Mr. X says “they” won’t stop there.
Mulder calls him a coward for putting Mulder and Scully in danger without risking his own life. Mr. X just smirks and starts to leave. Mulder pulls his gun, but Mr. X isn’t intimidated. He tells Mulder he’s putting his life in danger right now. He knows Mulder won’t kill him – Mulder needs him. Mulder has no choice but to let him go.
A few weeks later, Mulder turns in a report on the case, though he doesn’t have much information to provide. Scully tells him and Skinner that the cable guy didn’t have any record of shady behavior, and the only doctor with a medical license in Stroman’s name was a guy from Falls Church (hometown shout-out!) who died in 1978. Mulder says the killer remains unknown. Said killer sneaks down an alley one night and gets in a car with…CSM. Mr. X assures him that all the tech from the case has been removed, though Mulder still has a transmitter. The man who originally contacted Mulder has been eliminated. And his source, like Mulder said, is still unknown.
Thoughts: I assume the author of Channel X watched this episode.
I was under the impression that you couldn’t by an FBI agent if you were red-green colorblind, but it looks like there’s a special test that they’ll give colorblind applicants, and if you pass it, you’re in. Not that this is the most ridiculous thing to happen on the series anyway.
Scully, it’s okay to change out of your work clothes once you’re back in your motel room.
Helene’s victim’s name is John Gillnitz, a name used multiple times over the course of the series. It’s a combination of the names of three show writers: John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz.
May 14, 2016
Summary: Hosteen is voicing over again, this time about animals being symbolic to the Navajo. Mulder’s recovery reminded them of the Gila monster, which healed a man by putting his parts back together. Lightning and thunder brought him back to life. After Mulder was better, the Navajo learned from other tribes that something big had happened. He tells the story of White Buffalo Woman, who taught Native Americans how to live virtuously and pray. Then she turned into a white buffalo and returned to the heavens. The day Mulder was healed, a white buffalo was born, an omen that big changes are coming.
Back in Mulder’s apartment, Scully and Skinner are still facing off. He insists that he’s trying to help her, but he’s not about to put down his weapon. Fortunately, Mulder arrives to serve as Scully’s backup. Skinner finally gives up his gun, and Scully explains that she was warned that someone she trusted would try to kill her. Skinner shows them the recording, which Mulder says CSM killed Bill over. Mulder says, “I was a dead man. Now I’m back,” which would be a great tagline for a probably bad movie.
Mulder explains what’s on the cassette, then tries to make Skinner give it to Scully. Skinner points out that it’s the only leverage they have against the conspirators, so they need to protect it. Mulder backs down and takes Scully away to search out more truths. She tells him that she assured Teena that he would be okay, even though she had no proof she was right. She just knew. Meanwhile, Maggie arrives at the hospital where she thinks Scully has been brought in. She’s shocked to hear that Melissa’s the daughter who was shot. She’s in an induced coma, and the doctors can’t do anything more for her except monitor her.
Scully and Mulder take the picture of Bill and the conspirators to the Lone Gunmen. Byers brings up Operation Paper Clip, a World War II agreement with Nazi war criminals that gave America access to their scientific knowledge. Langly IDs a man in the picture as one of those war criminals, Victor Klemper. He experimented on Jewish people, and some of his tests led to space travel. Byers notes that the picture was taken in 1973, but Operation Paper Clip was supposed to have ended in the 1950s, which means there’s yet another secret the American government has been keeping. Langly reports that Klemper is alive and still living in the U.S.
Frohike arrives, happy to see Mulder alive. He gives Scully the news that Melissa’s in the hospital, and she immediately realizes that her sister’s shooting was meant for her. Mulder talks her into staying away from the hospital. CSM and his Syndicate have realized their mistake (well, Krycek’s mistake), and WMM wants to know who will fix it. He warns that Scully believes that Mulder is still alive. CSM is sure he’s not, and still has his buddies snowed that he has the cassette. They question that, asking to see the tape. CSM claims it’s someplace safe, but he’ll bring it to them tomorrow.
Mulder and Scully find Klemper in a greenhouse, and after some blathering about history, he’s all, “We did good work! So what if innocent people died?” Mulder thinks Klemper knows why Bill was killed. Klemper replies that it was probably in their best interest. Mulder shows him the picture, but Klemper hesitates to reveal any more truths. The only help he’ll give is asking if Scully knows the formula for Napier’s Constant, then revealing that the photo was taken outside the Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia. They’re on their own for the rest.
As soon as the agents leave, Klemper calls WMM to tell him that Mulder visited, but Klemper didn’t tell him anything. Now the Syndicate knows that Mulder is alive. Maggie spots a man in a suit outside Melissa’s hospital room, then gets a visit from Hosteen. Scully sent him to comfort Maggie in her place. Maggie allows him to pray for her daughter, who she thinks is getting better. Mulder and Scully head to the now-abandoned Strughold facility, which holds a bunch of doors that can only be opened by keypad codes. Napier’s Constant, 27828, opens one of the doors. Before Mulder goes through it, Scully wants him to think about the possibility that they might discover something bad about Bill.
Skinner summons CSM to the FBI building to report that he may have found the tape. However, it could have fallen into other hands. CSM isn’t interested in making a deal. He gets more and more frustrated as Skinner stays calm, saying they’ll talk again. Skinner, basically: “I know you do bad things.” CSM, basically: “Then maybe I’ll do bad things to you.” Mulder and Scully go underground, finding a tunnel full of file cabinets. The files all seem to be medical, and are helpfully stored in alphabetical order. In each one, Scully finds a birth certificate, smallpox vaccination certificate, and old tissue collection cassette.
Mulder asks what year Scully was born, then looks up her file. The tissue sample is recent, judging from the plastic container used. Mulder then looks for Samantha’s file, discovering that the label with her name has been placed over a label with his name – the file was originally his. The lights suddenly go out, and Mulder runs out of the tunnel to the front of the building. The windows are full of lights. In the tunnel, Scully sees something alien-like skittering around. As she runs away from it, Mulder runs out the back of the building in time to see a large spacecraft flying over it. Scully sees another alien in the tunnel, standing in front of more light.
Cars approach the building, so Mulder goes back in to retrieve Scully. He dodges bullets on his way back to the tunnel and reunites with his partner. She’s found a way out, and they’re able to escape the building undetected. In the morning, Skinner meets them at a diner in Craiger, Maryland, and tells them he has a plan to protect them: He’ll turn over the tape and get them reinstated at the FBI. Mulder refuses to give up the cassette even if it means saving his own life. He thinks the tape holds an explanation for the records they found.
Skinner wonders what Mulder’s hoping to find. Mulder replies that he wants to know why Bill was killed, what happened to Samantha, and why Scully was targeted. Scully, however, is on Skinner’s side – she would rather be safe and see Melissa than get answers that only Mulder wants. Since Skinner hasn’t been able to copy the tape, they’ll have to hand over the only version they have. Skinner promises to turn state’s evidence if his deal isn’t honored. Mulder lets Scully have the final vote in the matter. She tells Skinner to make the deal but not hand over the tape until Mulder okays it.
The agents leave the diner together as Hosteen voices over that he prayed for Melissa for two days. She improved, but Hosteen learned that the white buffalo calf stopped nursing. Then the mother buffalo died. Hosteen knows that sometimes, one creature must be sacrificed so another can live. Skinner arrives at the hospital with a message from Scully so her mother knows she’s all right. The man in the suit is still outside Melissa’s room, and Skinner decides to find out why. He chases him to a stairwell, where he and the man engage in some hand-to-hand combat. Krycek joins in, beats on Skinner a little, and steals the cassette.
Krycek and his criminal buddies then stop at a convenience store in D.C. to get some drinks. Krycek’s left alone in the car, growing suspicious when the other guys stop to look at him from the store’s doorway. He notices that the dashboard clock is flashing 12:00. Unlike on a VCR, where this meant that you didn’t know how to set the clock, Krycek realizes that this means his life is in danger. He takes off running as the car explodes. His buddies should be a lot more worried about how they’re going to explain this to CSM.
Mulder and Scully return to Klemper’s greenhouse, but instead encounter WMM. Klemper’s dead, and Mulder knows it wasn’t due to a bad heart. He recognizes WMM from the photo. WMM tells them about the spacecraft found in New Mexico in 1947 and the body retrieved from it. Mulder puts together his talk of Joseph Mengele with his mention that Klemper made flower hybrids to figure out that Klemper was trying to create a human-alien hybrid. The bodies in the boxcar in the desert were his failed human test subjects.
Scully denies that the technology was available; DNA wasn’t even identified until 1944. WMM says that Bill was in charge of collecting genetic data on Americans in case they needed to be identified in the event of nuclear holocaust. Mulder realizes that, due to the DNA samples collected from people who received smallpox vaccinations, Klemper had access to every person’s record from 1950 forward. Scully thinks WMM is just making stuff up, but WMM says he has no reason to lie. Scully, basically: “Whatever, Nazi.” Mulder notes that Scully’s file was in the mine – the records are of abductees.
Mulder asks WMM why Samantha was taken. WMM explains that Bill threatened to expose the project, so Samantha was taken as insurance. Mulder wants to know why he wasn’t taken. WMM can’t say, but he warns that Mulder’s still in danger for threatening to expose the project: “You have become your father.” Mulder wonders why WMM has told him all this. WMM replies that Mulder wanted to know it, didn’t he? He says there’s still more – more than Mulder will ever know.
Krycek calls CSM to report that he’s alive and has the cassette, but CSM will never find him. CSM reports to the Syndicate that Krycek is dead and the cassette was destroyed in the car explosion. He’s still going to meet with the FBI, even though there’s no deal to make. Mulder goes back to his mother’s house to find out if Bill ever asked her if she had a favorite child. Teena says she couldn’t choose – it was Bill’s choice. She always hated him for it, and still does, even after his death.
CSM meets Skinner in his office, hiding his amusement when Skinner bluffs that he has the cassette. Skinner promises to hand it over after Mulder and Scully are reinstated. CSM knows Skinner can’t make the deal, so he suggests a few ways Skinner’s life might end. Skinner calls in Hosteen and announces that there’s a new deal: If anything happens to Mulder or Scully, Hosteen will reveal everything on the tape, which he’s memorized. (He’s also, in the Navajo storytelling tradition, told it to 20 more Navajo.) “Welcome to the wonderful world of high technology,” Skinner gloats.
But we don’t get a happy ending: Scully finally made it to Melissa, but the damage from her shooting was too extensive and Melissa didn’t survive surgery. Scully laments that her sister died for her. She now agrees with Mulder that there’s no justice, though Mulder thinks they’re dealing with something bigger: fate. They’ve both been reinstated at the FBI, and though they’ve both suffered recent losses, they want to go back to work. Mulder thinks they can still find truth through the X-Files. Scully tells him she’s heard the truth – now she wants answers.
Thoughts: I guess I should call CSM and his buddies the Consortium, but apparently the Syndicate is used a lot. Also, it’s just easier to type.
I tried to look up Napier’s Constant, but I found a bunch of math and it made my head hurt and I had to take a nap.
For the record, Samantha’s tissue cassette is plastic, which means the sample was taken more recently. Make if that what you will.
May 7, 2016
Summary: As the fire burns in the boxcar in the New Mexico desert, Hosteen voices over that there’s an old Navajo saying about how something only lives as long as the last person who remembers it. That means trusting memory over history. “History serves only those who seek to control it,” and we should beware people who want to put out the flame of memory: “Their false memory is written in the blood of those who may remember, and of those who seek the truth.”
CSM sends his minions into the Hosteens’ house to hold them at gunpoint while he demands to know where Mulder is. Hosteen says he’s out of luck. Later, Scully arrives, after the others have left, and Hosteen and Eric (who’s been beaten up) send her to the smoldering boxcar. She yells Mulder’s name, but there’s no response.
Scully leaves the reservation, followed by a helicopter that stops her on the road. CSM’s minions detain her and ask for the M.J. documents. She lets them take the files, but they want a digital recording, too, which Scully says Mulder has. When she returns to FBI headquarters, she’s suspended for insubordination. She turns in her badge and gun but won’t answer any more questions. As far as she knows, Mulder is dead.
Skinner pretends this has been difficult for him, too. Scully’s upset that the people who killed Bill and probably killed Mulder are going to get away with it. Skinner argues that the FBI is just following protocol. Scully goes straight to Mulder’s desk and retrieves a cassette case hidden there. It’s supposed to contain the digital recording, but the box is empty.
In New York, a group of shady men meets to discuss whether their 40 years of secret-keeping have been disturbed. CSM arrives to announce that they’re still in control, though there’s still a problem that needs to be handled. Mulder’s dead, and no one will ever find his body. The stolen files have been recovered, and anyone working on their super-top-secret projects can keep working.
Scully goes to her mother’s house for comfort, worrying that she’s made a mistake and her father would be ashamed of her. Hosteen voices over that some boys came by to tell Eric that they saw buzzards in the quarry near the boxcar. Hosteen says that either means something has died or that death is close. A group goes out to look, finding Mulder buried under a pile of rocks, still alive thanks to being underground.
Mulder is taken to a hogan and people are summoned for a ceremony called the Blessing Way Chant. Hosteen says this is the only way Mulder’s life can be saved. Meanwhile, a drunk Frohike visits Scully to pay his respects. He thinks Scully will continue Mulder’s work, but she doesn’t think she can do so once she’s pushed out of her job. Frohike shows her a news article about the Thinker’s “execution-style” murder. Scully notes that he was killed after Mulder disappeared.
In the hogan, the ceremony is underway, though Hosteen worries that Mulder’s body will give up before they can heal him. Mulder’s…spirit, I guess, floats in space, surrounded by men in shadows. Deep Throat appears and says some flowery stuff about truth, then tells Mulder not to look into the abyss. We see a smoke bomb being dropped into the boxcar sometime in the past, and the aliens inside running for cover.
Next up at Mulder’s space funeral: Bill, who’s unhappy that he had to lie to his son for so long. Now his lies have put Mulder’s life at risk. Mulder is the memory, and it lives in him, so if he dies, the truth will, too. Mulder asks if Samantha is there. Bill says no, then continues that Mulder needs to keep seeking the truth.
Scully goes back to FBI headquarters, entering with a tour group instead of through the employees’ entrance. A security guard thinks she’s set off the metal detector because of something like a shirt pin, not for any sketchy reasons. Scully meets with Skinner, telling him that she thinks the Thinker’s death is connected to Mulder’s disappearance. She’d like to find out if the ballistics match the bullet that killed Bill. If so, Mulder didn’t kill his father.
Skinner says that the police who investigated the Thinker’s murder would have said something if their tests had turned up anything the FBI needed to know. Scully says she’s trying to cooperate with the investigation, but Skinner thinks she’s trying to earn her way back from suspension. He’s unhappy that he’s supposed to find the cassette, wondering if it was worth Mulder’s life. If Scully really wants to help with the investigation, she’ll find the recording.
After Scully leaves the office, CSM enters from the next room and asks if Skinner talked to Scully about the tape. Skinner says Scully claims not to have it. CSM says that’s “unfortunate.” As Scully leaves the building, she decides to go back through the metal detector to see why she set it off. When the security guard runs a wand over her, it goes off at the back off her neck.
Scully runs to a bureau doctor and gets an x-ray that shows something small in her neck. There’s also a small scar over the area. The doctor thinks she was probably hit with buckshot in the line of duty and didn’t realize it. After three days of unconsciousness, Mulder wakes up and starts to recover his strength.
The doctor removes what looks like a computer chip from Scully’s neck. She takes it to her sister, Melissa, who thinks she’s repressed the memory of where it came from. Melissa suggests that Scully see someone who could help her remember, but Scully refuses. Melissa’s upset that her sister never sees the world any way but scientifically. Her grief keeps her from accessing her true feelings. Melissa asks Scully to do this for her.
So Scully goes to see Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a psychiatrist who wants to hypnotize her so she can access her memories. She remembers being afraid that she would die, but Pomerantz thinks someone took care of her. Scully recalls lights and loud sounds, but not the details of whatever procedure she underwent. Her captors seemed concerned about her well-being.
Pomerantz wonders if someone from the FBI was there. “I had to trust them,” Scully says. She couldn’t resist them. Pomerantz accidentally brings Scully out of her hypnotic state, and she decides it’s not working. She heads home, spotting Skinner leaving her building.
On the reservation, Hosteen tells Mulder that he’s okay to leave, but he can’t bathe or change clothes for a few days. Mulder jokes that his social life will be affected. He asked for sunflower seeds while he was sick, so someone has brought him some. Hosteen tells him that he was dreaming, but also visiting the origins of the reservation. He wipes out a sand drawing and declares the ceremony over.
Scully calls Skinner to ask why he went by her place, but he denies being there. That’s because CSM is in his office. Mulder voices over about being on the bridge between two worlds and seeking truth. Now he’s back, but he’s afraid he’s too late. Scully has been dreaming this just before Bill’s funeral in Massachusetts. She tells Teena that she has a strong feeling that Mulder is still alive and will be found.
One of CSM’s buddies is also at the funeral, and he listens in as Scully tells Teena she’ll keep her updated. The man, who is often called the Well-Manicured Man (WMM from here on out), then pulls Scully aside to ask about Mulder. He says he’s part of a “global consortium” that’s very interested in the recording – interested enough to commit murder over it. He’s sure Mulder’s dead, and he wants to warn Scully that her life could soon end, too.
Scully starts to walk away, but WMM continues that she’ll be killed in one of two ways. Either she’ll be killed in her own home with an unregistered weapon that will be left behind, or she’ll be asked to meet with someone she trusts who’s luring her into a trap. She’d be wise to stay somewhere else right now.
Scully wonders why she’s a target. “You want something they don’t – justice,” WMM replies. She wants to know why he’s helping her. He says his colleagues are being impulsive, and her death would draw “unnecessary attention” to the consortium. Scully says he’s really protecting himself. WMM says the consortium predicts the future, “and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Teena comes home from her husband’s funeral to find her not-dead-after-all son in her house. He shows her some pictures of Bill from 1972 and asks who the men are with him. Teena doesn’t remember their names, but one is Deep Throat and one is WMM. Mulder thinks they have something to do with what happened to Samantha.
Scully gets home as Melissa calls to find out what happened with Pomerantz. Scully says something weird happened, then tells Melissa she can come over. As soon as end their conversation, someone else calls, then immediately hangs up. Scully calls Melissa to say she’ll come to Melissa’s instead, but her sister’s already on her way over.
As Scully leaves her building, Skinner arrives and tells her to get in his car. Remembering what WMM said, Scully’s wary about going anywhere with someone she trusts, but she has a gun with her, so she gets in the car. They go to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully pulls her weapon and says she knows what’s going on. She asks who sent Skinner after her, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
Melissa arrives at Scully’s apartment, which two men have broken into. She’s immediately shot…by Krycek. He realizes he shot the wrong sister and leaves. At Mulder’s, Skinner tells Scully he’s not going to kill her – he wants to give her the recording. He took it from Mulder’s desk before she could. They hear someone outside the door, and the distraction allows Skinner to pull his own gun for a stand-off with Scully. To be continued (again)…
Thoughts: “Okay, David, in this episode, you’re going to lie around half-naked under tree branches while men chant over you and dead people tell you not to go into the light. Also, sometimes you’re in space. Action!”
Deep Throat, are you getting paid by the word? Just say, “It’s not your time yet.” There’s no need to be so dramatic.
Skinner needs some sort of code to use with Mulder and Scully that means, “I’m going to say I’m not helping you, but I really am.”
January 3, 2016
Summary: Maggie Scully tells Mulder a story about a time when Scully was a child, playing in the woods with her brothers. They had BB guns and were only supposed to shoot at cans, but the boys started shooting at a snake instead. Scully joined in but stopped when she realized they’d actually hurt the snake. She felt guilty for taking something that wasn’t hers to take. Even though she was afraid of snakes, she picked it up to try to save it.
Mulder tells Maggie that she can’t give up – it’s too soon. Maggie says that she knows now how Scully felt that day. By the way they’re picking up a headstone for Scully’s grave. WAY TO HOLD OUT HOPE THAT SHE’S NOT DEAD, GUYS. Later, Mulder gets a call and rushes to Georgetown Medical Center, where – guess what – Scully’s not dead. She’s unconscious and doesn’t look great, but still, not dead. I hope you guys saved your receipt for that headstone!
Mulder demands answers, but no one can even tell him how Scully arrived at the hospital. He vows to find out what happened. Once Mulder has calmed down, a doctor tells him and Maggie that Scully’s in critical condition, and no one knows how she got to the hospital. Since there’s no recent medical history to go on, the doctor can’t figure out what happened. In addition, Scully’s living will states that she shouldn’t be kept alive in this condition. Mulder was the witness who signed the will.
Another Scully joins the group – Scully’s sister Melissa. She believes she can talk to Scully even in her comatose state. She says that Scully’s trying to decide whether to stay alive or “move on.” Scully’s doing that from a little boat, watching Mulder, Melissa, and a nurse on a dock. Mulder decides that he needs to do something more productive, so he goes home, turns on a black light, and puts an X on his window with masking tape, waiting for Mr. X to get in touch. In the morning, Mulder doesn’t get a message in his morning paper, so he takes the tape off the window.
Back at the hospital, Frohike (wearing a tux – aww) comes to visit Scully. He notices something weird on Scully’s chart and smuggles it out of the hospital (in his pants, which Mulder says must have provided a lot of extra storage space). Langly notes that Mulder’s a little blue and invites him over for a nitpick-a-sci-fi-show-on-the-Internet party that weekend.
Byers sees that there are weird combinations of amino acids in Scully’s blood. He’s sent Scully’s medical information to a hacker named the Thinker, and the Thinker reports that the amino acids appear to be the result of “branched DNA.” Basically, Scully was used for experiments and may have been grafted with something inhuman. Fortunately, the experiment is done. Unfortunately, Byers doesn’t think Scully will survive, and there’s nothing Mulder can do.
From her boat, Scully sees a nurse on the dock. The nurse, Owens, tells her that she’s going to try to help Scully find her way home. Scully can only leave when the time is right. Mulder arrives, noticing a man in a suit standing nearby as Scully has some blood drawn. Another patient codes, briefly distracting Mulder. When he looks back, Scully’s blood is gone, as is the man. Mulder runs after him but can’t catch the guy before he gets on an elevator.
Mulder tracks down the man in a parking garage, where he runs into Mr. X. In a message from someone who is very adamant that Mulder listen, Mr. X orders him to stop investigating what happened to Scully. Mulder tells him to go to Hell, since Mr. X didn’t respond to his summons. Mr. X sings his usual song about how he’s not going to let Mulder get him killed like he did Deep Throat. Mulder doesn’t summon him; Mr. X only comes to Mulder when Mr. X needs him.
He repeats what Byers said: There’s nothing Mulder can do to save his partner. Mr. X used to be like Mulder, but he’s changed. He doesn’t think Mulder has the heart necessary for this. If he doesn’t walk away, he won’t be able to live with himself. Mulder spots the man from before in the garage and chases him into the laundry room. He retrieves the vial of Scully’s blood and asks the man who sent him to get it. The man won’t answer, but he will fight Mulder to get the vial back. This time Mr. X lends a hand, but he kills the man, then tells Mulder he’ll handle things from here.
The doctor wants to talk to Mulder and the Scullys about Scully’s living will again. He doesn’t think Scully will improve, no matter how long she’s been in this condition. Mulder says that they can treat branched DNA; they should study her condition instead of just giving up. Melissa argues that death is natural, but prolonging a life isn’t. Mulder mocks her for being “politically correct.” Melissa replies that she loves Scully, but letting her go is the right thing to do.
Maggie says that Scully has already made the decision for them. Mulder (who she calls Fox) has built a friendship with Scully out of respect. Maggie has already lost her husband, and she obviously doesn’t want to lose her daughter, but she respects Scully’s decisions. She invites him to join her and Melissa for their last moments with Scully as a family. Meanwhile, the rope tying Scully’s boat to the dock breaks and she begins to drift.
CSM takes Skinner a report on Mulder’s recent activities. Skinner’s like, “You can’t smoke in here; there’s a sign.” CSM lights up anyway, like, “Here’s what I think of your sign.” He takes a few puffs and puts on the cigarette, like, what a waste of a butt. Anyway, Mulder comes in after CSM leaves, and Skinner questions him about the death of the man in the laundry room. Mulder claims that he was with Scully at the time and has no idea what’s happening. He mocks that Skinner’s usually the one who answers questions with denial.
Mulder continues that CSM (“Cancer Man”) is responsible for whatever happened to Scully. He’s willing to give up his job and badge if Skinner will give him answers. Skinner reminds him that they work for the government, not the mafia. He liked and respected Scully, but all agents know the possible risks of working for the bureau. Mulder admits that he might not have told Scully all the risks. Skinner replies that that means he’s as much to blame as CSM.
Scully’s dreams have taken her from the boat to a wooden table, where she’s asleep in a white dress. Her father arrives and tells her that when he realized he would never see her again, his life “felt as if it had been the length of one breath, on heartbeat.” It made him realize how much he loved her. He wishes he could trade anything in his life for one more second with Scully. They’ll be together again soon, but not now. Nurse Owens speaks to Scully again, telling her that her time isn’t over.
Melissa tells Mulder that even if he spent the rest of his life hunting down the people responsible for Scully’s condition, it wouldn’t matter. Besides, they’ll get what’s coming to them. A woman approaches and asks Mulder if he has change for the cigarette machine. He doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter – there’s already a pack of Morleys in the bin. Mulder opens the pack and retrieves a Post-It with an address on it.
Mulder finds CSM at that address and finally gets to ask his questions. CSM isn’t threatened, though; he’s watched presidents die. Mulder asks why Scully was harmed instead of him. CSM replies that he likes both Mulder and Scully. He’s “in the game” because he thinks he’s doing the right thing. Mulder wonders who CSM is to decide what’s right. “What are you?” CSM replies. If people knew what he does, “it would all fall apart.”
CSM continues that he told Skinner that Mulder shot the man in the hospital, but he doesn’t believe that. Now that Mulder has come after him, CSM has more respect for him – he’s “becoming a player.” Mulder’s welcome to kill him, but he’ll never know the truth. Mulder can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. CSM promises not to tell anyone about this encounter. Otherwise, rumors might get spread.
Mulder prints out a letter of resignation and starts packing up his office. Skinner comes by, telling Mulder that his basement office is where they used to keep the copy machine. He tears up the resignation letter, refusing to accept this form of self-punishment from Mulder. Mulder announces that he hates who he’s become. He’s already losing enough and doesn’t want to lose more of himself.
Skinner tells Mulder that he enlisted in the Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, believing that going to Vietnam was the right thing. Three months into his tour, Skinner killed a child. He lost his faith in everything – his country, himself – and believed there was no point to anything anymore. Skinner’s platoon was captured, and he had an out-of-body experience. He didn’t recognize himself. Skinner felt at peace, even knowing his life was over.
He was taken to the hospital and woke up two weeks later. He’s afraid to look into what happened, but he knows Mulder isn’t. Skinner reiterates that he refuses to accept Mulder’s resignation. Mulder realizes that Skinner gave him CSM’s address, which means he risked his own life. “Every life, every day, is in danger,” Skinner points out.
Mulder meets with Mr. X, who gives him a plane ticket and the warning that some men are going to search his apartment that night. Mulder needs to be there to defend himself. This is the only way Mulder will be able to stop them. After tonight, Mr. X won’t be in touch for some time. Mulder waits in his apartment, but instead of a group of men, Melissa shows up. Scully’s weakening, so Mulder needs to come see her before she dies.
Mulder declines, and Melissa warns that his retreat further into the darkness isn’t going to help. Mulder snaps at her to stop with the New Age-y stuff. Melissa replies that her positivity doesn’t have to be seen as silly. He needs to just express his feelings – she and Scully both expect more. Even if it doesn’t bring Scully back, at least she’ll know how Mulder feels, and so will he. After Melissa leaves, Mulder sits back down with his gun, waiting for the men.
Later, Mulder makes it to the hospital after all, taking Scully’s hand and telling her that he feels that she doesn’t believe it’s her time. She needs to hold on to her beliefs like she always does. Whether it will bring her back or not, he’s there with her. Mulder spends the night there, returning home to find his apartment trashed. He’s missed his chance at confrontation and answers. Mulder crouches on the floor and cries.
Dream Scully is now on a bed by a lake in the woods. The woods slowly disappear and become a hospital room. She’s awake. As soon as Mulder hears, he returns to the hospital, where Scully admonishes her mother for calling him Fox. Scully doesn’t remember anything after being grabbed by Duane Barry, but Mulder’s not going to fill her in just yet. He wants her to watch a football video and rest.
Scully tells him that she came back through the strength of his beliefs. Mulder gives her back her cross necklace and leaves. Sometime later, Scully asks a nurse if she can talk to Nurse Owens. Guess what? There’s no Nurse Owens! Spooky!
Thoughts: Why would you buy a headstone when you don’t have a body??
I guess Scully’s brothers were too busy to visit their dying sister? Eh, Bill Jr.’s a jerk anyway.
Can someone please get the comatose woman a blanket? She might be cold.
The only thing that would have made the CSM/Skinner smoking scene better is if CSM had used the no-smoking sign to light a match.
Even in 1994, hospitals still had cigarette machines. America is weird.
Skinner’s a much better character when he’s actually helpful. Too bad he never gets much development over the course of the series.
That Nurse Owens thing was a pointless piece of an otherwise excellent episode. She wasn’t even a necessary character.
December 20, 2015
Summary: It’s a dark and stormy night in D.C., and Mulder has just gotten home to hear Scully’s message on his answering machine. When he realizes that she’s in danger, he rushes to her apartment. The police are there, but Scully isn’t. In flashback, we see Duane Barry coming through her window and grabbing her. Scully’s mother Maggie arrives, and Mulder tells her that her daughter’s not there. Maggie tells him she had a dream about Scully being taken. She wanted to call, but she was afraid of spooking Scully. But she knows Scully would have just laughed – “she doesn’t believe in that kind of thing, you know.”
The next day, Mulder, Krycek, and some other agents gather with Skinner to discuss Duane Barry. Skinner asks Mulder if he thinks Duane is crazy or following instructions from aliens. Mulder tells everyone about the implant, which he thinks Duane used to find Scully. He remembers Duane mentioning a mountain, but he’s not sure which. Skinner orders Mulder to leave the case; he’s too close to it. Mulder protests, but Skinner won’t budge. CSM is there for the whole thing, just puffing away and giving everyone cancer.
A police officer pull Duane over on a road somewhere, noticing blood on his knuckles. He pulls his gun and tells Duane to put his hands up. Duane refuses, insisting that he has to keep moving to his destination. He cautions the officer to let him keep going, for his own sake. Scully, tied up in the trunk, makes a noise, getting the officer’s attention. Before the officer can react, Duane kills him. At FBI headquarters, Mulder sees footage of the encounter as recorded by the officer’s dashboard camera. Scully is visible in the trunk.
Mulder listens to a recording of one of Duane’s therapy sessions, where he talks about “ascending to the stars.” He realizes that the route where the officer was killed leads to the Blue Ridge Parkway. He looks in a phone book and sees an ad for Skylark Mountain. Its slogan: “Ascend to the stars.” Krycek thinks they should inform Skinner, but Mulder disagrees. As he and Krycek get ready to head to the mountain, Krycek makes a phone call, telling someone where they’re going. CSM watches them leave.
Mulder and Krycek make the drive, though Mulder’s so tired that he nods off at the wheel and almost kills them. He refuses to let Krycek take over. Mulder promises that they’ll let Skinner know when they find Duane, but he didn’t want to tell him ahead of time. Skinner would send in a bunch of agents and spook Duane. At Skylark Mountain, Mulder and Krycek are told that they can’t take a tram up because the cable has just been replaced and hasn’t been tested yet. It would take too long to drive up, though, so Mulder demands use of the tram.
Mulder leaves Krycek behind, telling him not to let the crew stop the tram no matter what. A worker tells Mulder not to go faster than 15 miles per hour. Raise your hand if you think Mulder will listen. Duane’s still on the road up the mountain, so Mulder has plenty of time but doesn’t realize it. He cranks the tram up past 30 miles per hour, testing the strength of the cable. He only slows down when he reaches the top.
As Duane reaches Skylark Summit, Krycek knocks out the operator monitoring Mulder’s progress. He shuts off the tram, trapping Mulder just short of the summit, then makes a call to his superiors. With no response from Krycek or the operator, Mulder climbs to the roof of the tram. Krycek turns it back on, and Mulder rides it to the summit, not falling to his death as Krycek had hoped. It’s dark when Mulder finds Duane’s empty car on the mountain, with only ropes and Scully’s cross necklace in the trunk.
There’s a bright light in the sky, and as it flies over Mulder, he hears Duane laughing victoriously. “You can’t touch Duane Barry anymore!” he yells. He tells Mulder that “they” took Scully. More lights appear, but it looks like these are from the FBI. Duane’s taken into custody, and Mulder questions him about what exactly happened. Duane tells him that he just walked Scully up the mountain and offered her up so he wouldn’t be abducted again.
Mulder asks if Duane killed her. Duane swears that he didn’t – he put Scully on a spaceship. He sees people in black suits outside and tells Mulder to go after them. Mulder sees blood on Duane’s hospital bracelet and demands to know if he hurt Scully. Duane continues to swear that he didn’t, but Mulder almost strangles him anyway. After he gains control of himself, Duane says he’s sorry, but “they” had to take Scully. Meanwhile, Scully is scanned, drilled, and seemingly impregnated by aliens.
Krycek tries to chat with Duane, but Mulder yanks him out of the room, announcing that he’s the only one allowed to talk to Duane. Krycek says he went in because Duane was gagging. When he asked Duane about Scully, Duane started whistling “Stairway to Heaven.” Skinner arrives and starts to reprimand Mulder for disobeying orders, but he’s interrupted when another agent yells for paramedics – Duane’s having trouble breathing. He doesn’t survive.
Duane’s body is taken to Quantico for an autopsy, and his death is attributed to asphyxiation. The pathologist, Dr. Slaughter, tells Mulder he’ll have to go through military channels for more answers – the FBI came to her as there was no FBI pathologist available (because Scully’s the only one, apparently). Krycek meets with CSM, who tells him to go along with Mulder’s story so Mulder will trust him. They won’t be eliminating Mulder; that would turn his “religion” into a “crusade.” Krycek wants to know what really happened to Scully, but CSM says he doesn’t need to know.
At FBI headquarters, Skinner announces that Duane died from a lack of oxygen. Mulder admits to losing control and choking Duane, but not killing him. Skinner says that Krycek corroborates Mulder’s story, but no one’s sure what really happened, so Mulder and Krycek both need to undergo lie-detector tests. Mulder thinks Duane could have been poisoned, and the military could be covering it up because they know where Scully is. Another agent asks why Mulder’s so paranoid. Mulder replies that he finds it hard to trust anyone.
Mulder meets up with Krycek and asks to borrow his car keys. He goes to see Senator Matheson, but Mr. X intercepts him, telling him that Matheson can’t help him without risking his career. Mulder’s out of options. He says that Deep Throat would have helped him, but Mr. X claims that the situation is out of even his reach. No matter who Mulder turns to, he’ll get a denial of anything that’s happening. Instead of trying to see Matheson, Mulder gets back in Krycek’s car, where he finds cigarette butts in the ashtray.
Mulder writes up an accusation saying Krycek is working for a rival group and tried to sabotage the investigation. Skinner tells him he’d better have some proof to back up what he’s saying. He can’t protect Mulder, and at some point the bureau is going to seek out more answers. Mulder hands over the cigarette butts, noting that Krycek was the last person to see Duane before he died and the last person to see the tram operator before he disappeared. Scully must have gotten too close to something, so Krycek and CSM shut her down.
Skinner asks if Mulder thinks Scully is dead. Mulder doesn’t know how far this shady group would go. They learn that Krycek didn’t show up for work, and his home phone number has been disconnected. Mulder’s furious that they have no way of tracking him down to make him pay. Skinner tells him he’ll do the only thing he can: He’s reopening the X-Files. It’s the one thing their enemies fear the most.
Mulder meets up with Maggie and tells her that he doesn’t know where Scully is, but he’s going to do everything he can to find her. She tells him she had the same dream as before, and it still scares her. Mulder thinks she should be more scared if she stops having the dream. He gives her Scully’s cross necklace and wonders why she wore it if she was such a skeptic. Maggie says she gave it to Scully on her 15th birthday. She gives it back to Mulder, telling him to return it to Scully when he finds her. Mulder goes back up the mountain and looks up at the stars.
Thoughts: Thank you to whoever scored Duane’s drive to “Red Right Hand.”
There’s no Skyland Mountain, but there is a Skyland Resort in Shenandoah National Park. I hope they put on a big event for the revival.
CSM is so dumb. Throw out your butts, you moron! You’re supposed to be part of a top-secret conspiracy!
September 6, 2015
Summary: Scully’s parents are over, and her father wonders if she’s going to leave her Christmas tree up all year. Scully says yes, since her father always made them take it down right away when she was a kid. As the family says goodbye (Scully calls her father Ahab and he calls her Starbuck), Scully’s mother gives her husband a prompting look. He asks his daughter how work is, and when she says it’s fine, he doesn’t follow up.
That night, Scully falls asleep on the couch, waking up to see her father sitting in the living room with her. He says something but Scully can’t hear it. She looks away, and when she looks back at where he was sitting, he’s not there. Moments later, Maggie calls to tell Scully that her father has died. He had a massive coronary an hour earlier. Scully looks across the room to the empty chair her father was just occupying.
At Jackson University in Raleigh, North Carolina, a couple makes out in a car. Someone with a flashlight interrupts, ordering them out of the car. Only the guy gets out, and he refuses to show any ID until the man with the flashlight shows some. Instead, the man hits him. Back in D.C., Mulder’s surprised to see Scully at work. He asks how she is, calling her Dana. She insists that she’s fine.
Mulder fills her in on the abductions of the couple, Elizabeth and James. They disappeared exactly one year after a couple at Duke University disappeared. Those two were found a week later, dead after being tortured. Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a serial kidnapper/killer. If so, they have five days to find Elizabeth and James.
There’s the added wrinkle of Luther Lee Boggs, a death-row inmate put away by Mulder. He claims to have information about the abductions. He’s set to be executed in just days but thinks he should have his sentence reduced because he’s been helpful, and because he possesses unique talents: He acquired his information on the kidnappings through “psychic transmissions.”
Scully notes that Mulder sounds skeptical, for once. He tells her that Boggs has done this before; he was supposed to be executed once before but used his “skills” to get a stay. Mulder thinks he’s pulling the same scam again. But Boggs fits the profile of a serial killer, and appears to kill because he likes it. Now Boggs wants to talk to Mulder, thinking Mulder can understand who he is.
Scully wants to come along to the meeting, even though her father’s funeral is that day. Mulder advises her to take some time off, but Scully wants to work. He tells her he’s sorry for her loss, then leaves her behind. Scully’s tempted to look at a file marked “visionary encounters w/ the dead,” but decides not to open it.
“Beyond the Sea” plays at Bill Scully’s funeral, which takes place at the edge of…the Potomac, I guess. Someone scatters his ashes from a boat. Maggie tells Scully that “Beyond the Sea” was playing when her husband returned from sea and immediately proposed to her. Scully wants to know if her father was proud even though she joined the FBI instead of practicing medicine. “He was your father,” Maggie replies.
In North Carolina, Mulder and Scully meet with Boggs, who mumbles about all souls being connected. Mulder thinks he sees himself as their conduit. Boggs tells them that “from here, we can return to the past; we can see the present; we can know the future.” Mulder asks where, exactly, he is. Boggs refers to himself in the third person, saying that he needs to be “made redemptive for his transgressions.” Mulder’s like, “Yeah, that’s why you’re being executed.”
Boggs wants to trade his life for Elizabeth and James’. First Mulder wants proof that he can do what he claims: “Don’t get me wrong – I want to believe.” He gives Boggs a piece of cloth from an evidence bag, and Boggs uses it to relay the message that James is tied up with twine in a dark place, possibly a cellar or condemned warehouse. A stone angel is nearby, and possibly a waterfall. Once Boggs is done relaying the message, Mulder reveals that the cloth is from his own shirt and has nothing to do with Elizabeth or James.
Scully packs up to leave but stops when Boggs starts singing “Beyond the Sea.” When she looks at him, she sees her father. When he turns back into Boggs, he asks, “Did you get my message, Starbuck?” Scully runs out but tells Mulder that nothing happened. Mulder thinks the case is closed and Boggs is a fraud. He may have something to do with the kidnappings, but his fraud has been exposed, so he’s out of luck. Boggs is taken back to his cell, still singing “Beyond the Sea.”
Scully heads to her hotel, remembering the things Boggs said about James’ location. She spots a hotel called the Niagara and remembers that Boggs mentioned a waterfall. Across the street is a stone angel. Scully drives into the parking lot, seeing a sign on a warehouse door marking it condemned. After a brief look around, she finds a hole in the floor, blood, and a charm from a charm bracelet.
Mulder meets up with Scully in her hotel room, where she’s been sitting across from an empty chair. He tells her that police have ID’d the charm as Elizabeth’s. Mulder met with Boggs again, but he just “channeled” spirits for a while. Mulder eventually asked him to channel Jimi Hendrix so he could hear “All Along the Watchtower.” Scully blurts out that she lied to the police about how she found the warehouse. She said she’d noticed something suspicious there, but she really followed Boggs’ landmarks.
Mulder blasts her for listening to Boggs – he could have been setting her up for a trap. Scully says she lied on her report because she thought it made more sense than what really happened. Mulder says she just didn’t want to admit that she believed someone like Boggs, which is something he would do, but she wouldn’t. Scully says she just wanted to open herself up to “extreme possibilities.”
Mulder questions the timing, guessing that it has to do with Scully’s father. He knows that Bill never completely approved of Scully’s job at the FBI. He thinks she should back off the case because her judgment is clouded. Scully says she loves the job. “You love your father,” Mulder replies. She should only open herself up to extreme possibilities when they’re the truth. He continues that Boggs is way ahead of them, so they have to be careful.
The next morning, Mulder shows Scully a story he got a newspaper to print about Elizabeth and James being found safe. Boggs gets to use the phone today, and Mulder hopes he’ll call his accomplice. Instead, Boggs calls Mulder. He asks why Mulder doesn’t believe him but Scully does. Mulder replies that Scully believes that Boggs has Elizabeth and James. Scully insists that they keep talking to Boggs; he’s their only lead.
Boggs tells the agents that he knows who has James and Elizabeth but doesn’t know his name. He only sees a man in his 20s with a skull earring. He’s whipping Elizabeth with a wire. Boggs directs the agents to a boathouse, then warns Mulder not to go near the wooden cross. Blood will be spilled there.
In the boathouse, the kidnapper hears a rescue team coming and runs. Scully tends to Elizabeth as Mulder goes looking for James and the kidnapper. The kidnapper shoots him from a boat and takes off. When Scully arrives to help Mulder, she sees two wooden slats on the pier forming a cross. Mulder’s rushed to the hospital with a leg injury.
Elizabeth looks through mugshots, finally identifying the kidnapper as Lucas Henry. Scully learns that Henry witnessed a car accident in which his mother and high school sweetheart died. The seventh anniversary of the accident is approaching. Scully thinks he relives it every year, which is weird because no one’s mom is being kidnapped, but whatever. Henry is believed to have worked with Boggs on past crimes.
Scully confronts Boggs for setting a trap for Mulder because Mulder put him away. She yells that if Mulder dies, she’ll make sure she’s the one to throw the switch and execute Boggs. Boggs calls her Dana, and when she turns back around, she sees Mulder. “You’re the one who believed me,” he says. She covers her ears, insisting that she doesn’t believe Boggs. He wonders if she believes herself.
He “channels” Scully to tell her about a time when she was 14 and snuck a cigarette, trying to keep her parents from finding out. Boggs knows what Scully wants and who she wants to talk to. She might as well just ask. Scully admits that she’ll believe Boggs if he lets her talk to “him.” Boggs channels Bill and calls her Starbuck, but Boggs stops the conversation, demanding a deal first. Going back to the chair is the last thing he wants.
The last time Boggs was scheduled to be executed, a priest read him Scripture about how you must love in order to gain eternal life. Boggs saw his dead family (who he killed) in his cell as he ate his last meal. The rest of his victims lined the hallway as he was led to the chair. All of his victims’ fear entered him and made himself feel like he’d already been killed. When he sat in the chair, all their souls entered him.
Scully says that Boggs may be headed for a bad place, but Bill isn’t there, and Mulder won’t be. Boggs continues to refuse to give her what she wants until he’s gotten a deal. Scully says she doesn’t believe him. Boggs calls her a liar, then reminds her that he either knows how to find James and Henry or he can channel someone who can tell him. Either way, he’s Scully’s only hope.
Scully meets with the prison warden, who refuses to cut any deal with a convicted murderer who seems to still be committing crimes. Scully then visits Mulder in the hospital, lamenting that they’re running out of time. He warns her not to believe Boggs; he’d love to get revenge on Scully for what Mulder did to him. Scully thinks there might be another explanation. Mulder tells her again not to play Boggs’ game. He might be targeting Scully as his final victim.
But Scully goes back to Boggs, telling him he got his deal. He tells her that James and Henry are in a condemned factory, the Blue Devil Brewery. Scully doesn’t buy it, and Boggs tells her he knows she lied about the deal. As she leaves, he tells her, “Avoid the devil. Don’t follow Henry to the devil. Leave that to me.”
James and Henry are, in fact, in a condemned building, and just as Henry is about to finish James off, Scully arrives with another rescue team. She shoots Henry when he won’t drop his weapon, then chases him through the building. She finds him near a painting of a blue devil and stops. Good thing, too, because the floor gives out and Henry falls to his death.
Scully visits Boggs one more time, telling him that she believes that if he’d been involved in the kidnapping, Henry would have known not to go near the blue devil. Boggs’ information saved both James and Scully. Boggs tells her that if she comes to his execution that night, he’ll give her Bill’s final message.
Boggs has his last meal, seeing the ghosts of his family. His other victims’ ghosts again line the hallway as he’s led to the chair. The only person not present is Scully, who’s with Mulder. She’s realized that if Boggs knew they were partners, he could have gotten any information he wanted on Scully. “Dana,” Mulder says, “after all you’ve seen, after all the evidence, why can’t you believe?” Scully admits that she’s afraid to. Mulder notes that she couldn’t face the fear even if it meant knowing what her father wanted to say. Scully replies that she does know: “He was my father.”
Thoughts: I imagine that when this episode aired, the FOX execs who’s protested Gillian Anderson’s casting felt a little embarrassed.
It’s hard to pick my favorite part of this episode, because the whole thing is excellent, but it might be the fact that when Boggs “channels” for the first time, Scully and Mulder just stare at him like they see this all the time and he’s not particularly impressive.
Scully asking her mother if her father was proud of her made me think of Cole’s mother asking him if she makes her own mother proud in The Sixth Sense. (If you’ve never seen that scene, grab some Kleenex first.)
Stone angels? Doctor Who fans just shuddered.