March 11, 2017
Summary: The Transcontinental Express Routing Center in Desmond, Virginia, is a busy place, but one of its workers, Jane, wants a break to go smoke. She goes to the bathroom and lights up in a stall as dozens of bees crawl out of a sink. Soon the bathroom is covered in bees, but Jane takes a while to notice. They swarm her, and when a co-worker finds her minutes later, she’s dead from their stings.
In D.C., Skinner reviews info about the incident, then deletes it, all from Mulder’s computer. Wearing black to indicate that he wants to be stealthy, Skinner then goes to the scene of the incident and examines Jane’s cigarette butt (bet it was a Morley) before flushing it. He cleans up the ashes and the floor underneath them, then examines a yellow substance on the ceiling.
Next Skinner goes to the morgue, where an attendant hears him moving around in the room with the bodies. So much for being stealthy. Skinner hides from the attendant, who doesn’t catch him leaving with Jane’s body slung over his shoulder. This morgue should probably up its security. Skinner takes the body to a furnace somewhere and gives it a free cremation.
Using Mulder’s badge, Skinner goes to Desmond’s police station and gets access to all the various fluids taken from Jane’s body for testing. He swaps out a vial of blood and wipes his fingerprints off the pen he used to sign in. He tosses it in a Dumpster just before an officer named Ray Thomas finds him and asks him what he thinks happened to Jane. “Mulder” surprises Thomas by not showing any interest in what’s clearing an X-file. Skinner leaves, passing a man sitting in his car, watching.
Once home, Skinner bags up all the clothes he was wearing, and thanks for the shot of Mitch Pileggi in his underwear, Kim Manners. That was really necessary, I’m sure. As he’s about to get rid of the bag, Mulder shows up to report that someone’s trying to cover up what happened to Jane. A detective sent Mulder emails about her case, but when he went to open them, they were gone. That detective, Thomas, is now dead. Mulder suspects the person who used his ID to get into Desmond’s forensics lab.
Skinner thinks Mulder should work with Scully on this, but Scully’s out of commission this week, undergoing tests at a hospital, because the show realized they hadn’t mentioned her cancer for a few episodes. Her tumor may be metastasizing. Skinner tries to hide how upsetting that news is. After Mulder leaves, he goes to his building’s parking garage for a secret meeting with CSM, who’s being driven around by the man who was watching Skinner at the police station.
Skinner is sure that CSM had Thomas murdered, and he’s no longer willing to participate in the cover-up. (He seems a little surprised that CSM would go so far as to have a police officer murdered, like that’s the worst thing he’s ever done.) CSM says it’s Skinner’s fault anyway, since he didn’t follow orders and “neutralize a potentially compromising situation.” CSM doesn’t think Skinner’s in any position to question their arrangement: “A man digs a hole, he risks falling into it.”
In the morning, Skinner is awoken by a call from Mulder, who’s at the morgue, having just discovered that Jane’s body is missing. He also knows that the blood sample was replaced, since it didn’t show a folic acid deficiency Jane had. Mulder knows that the gun used to kill Thomas is one often used by police and federal agents. Skinner’s one of the officers who uses it, and his own gun is gone.
He calls CSM to ask if his gun was used to kill Thomas, like, of course! Catch up, Skinner! He threatens to call the authorities, but CSM knows he won’t, since he would have to admit to his crimes. Plus, it would be pretty hard to convince the authorities that he didn’t kill Thomas.
Skinner wants to know why Thomas had to die. CSM replies that he’s giving Skinner what he wants: a cure for Scully. Skinner orders CSM to do whatever he’s planning to do to heal Scully immediately. If necessary, Skinner will turn CSM in, no matter the risk to himself. CSM dangles the idea of Scully’s recovery in front of Skinner, warning that his fate might not be as positive.
Skinner goes back to the routing center (where Jane’s co-worker, Misty, is suspicious) and studies the ceiling, which is seeping that yellow substance again. He tears a hole in the wall and finds a huge honeycomb. He takes a sample to an entomologist, wanting to know if the bees that made the honeycomb are lethal. The tech finds a larva, which could give him some info when it hatches. The tech asks if this case is related to one Mulder called him about six months ago, involving killer bees.
Returning to Mulder’s office, Skinner reads up on his own bee case, finding Marita’s name in the file. Mulder finds him there and shows him surveillance photos from a bank that show Thomas talking to Skinner outside the police station. The officer who helped Skinner at the forensics lab has ID’d the man as the fake Mulder, though the surveillance photo is too grainy for Mulder to see who he is.
Skinner calls Marita to ask about what she and Mulder talked about regarding the bees. She tells him that there was no evidence of beehives or bee husbandry. Skinner tells her that he may soon have the evidence Skinner didn’t. Chances of that are unlikely, as the larva at the entomologist’s house has now developed, and it’s brought a bunch of its friends over for a party. Since the entomologist didn’t get an invitation, the bees attack him.
Mulder has Skinner meet him at a lab to examine the entomologist’s body. He thinks the bee stings on his body and Jane’s aren’t bee stings – they’re smallpox blisters. Somehow, the two contracted an especially bad strain of a disease that supposedly doesn’t exist anymore. Mulder isn’t that surprised, since he contacted the entomologist months ago about bees that might be carrying smallpox; now he has the evidence he was looking for, in the stingers removed from the man’s body. He thinks someone’s developing a method of delivery for a deadly disease.
Skinner asks if they can stop whoever’s using these killer bees. Well, Skinner, I don’t think Mulder was just going to go off on vacation and act like there was nothing left to do. He’s on his way to the photo lab to see if the photo of the fake Mulder could be enhanced. Meanwhile, Skinner meets with Misty, sensing that there’s something she didn’t tell the police earlier. He admits that Jane’s death might not have been an accident. Misty admits that men came to the center and warned her to keep her mouth shut. They were looking for a package kept in a room next to the bathroom.
Mulder’s photo tech has trouble enhancing the photo of Skinner, but his work is good enough for Mulder to recognize his boss. In New York, the Syndicate meets to confirm that all evidence of the killer bees has been taken care of or is in the process of being taken care of. CSM is sure that Skinner will succeed, since he has no other choice. If he tries to expose them, he’ll expose “his own duplicity.” The Syndicate’s “trial run” is already happening.
The problem with killer bees is that they’re not picky about who they sting, so when some find their way to a playground in Payson, South Carolina, kids are their next victims. One boy, David, loses his glasses in the ensuing chaos and doesn’t make it inside with the rest of the kids. When his teacher goes back to help him, she’s swarmed.
Skinner goes to the hospital to let a doctor know that the stung kids need to be treated for smallpox. All the kids in town who haven’t been stung need to be vaccinated immediately. The doctor points out that kids aren’t vaccinated for smallpox anymore; besides, smallpox has an eight-day incubation period, and the kids were only stung a few hours ago.
Marita shows up, since she was already in the area – some packages were sent to Payson from Canada, and she wants to know what they contained. My guess is…smallpox. Marita demands to know what Skinner knows about the situation. He tells her he thinks someone’s experimenting with using bees as carriers. When she learns that Skinner hasn’t shared his findings with Mulder, Marita guesses that he’s involved.
Skinner heads home to Virginia, finding his gun back in its rightful place. But Mulder’s also there, and he accuses Skinner of a) killing Thomas, b) working with CSM all along, c) knowing when Mulder’s father was killed, and d) knowing when Scully was taken. Skinner says he was set up, and the police are probably on their way to arrest him. He admits that he’s lied to Mulder, but he had a reason, and he’s sure Mulder will be understanding.
Skinner reminds Mulder that he once warned him not to pursue what happened to Scully. He should have followed his own advice. Mulder asks for the gun, which he takes to a lab so they can find out if it was used to kill Thomas. Long story short: It was. He tells a ballistics tech that he found it in a sewer near the place where Thomas was killed. The tech notes that the serial number was filed off, and unless there are fingerprints on the gun, it’s untraceable. Skinner’s off the hook.
Skinner takes the gun with him when he ambushes CSM, though CSM doesn’t think Skinner will kill him and risk Scully’s life. Skinner doesn’t think CSM ever planned to cure her. CSM says he saved her when he “had her returned” to Mulder, so he could save her again. He doesn’t think Skinner will take the chance and pull the trigger. He does anyway, but doesn’t shoot CSM.
As Skinner leaves, CSM gets a phone call and tells the person on the other end that Skinner was just there to kill him. He’s sure Mulder will soon contact the caller to find out if there’s more that Skinner doesn’t know. The caller is Marita, and she promises to tell Mulder whatever CSM wants her to say. “Tell him what he wants to hear,” CSM replies.
Thoughts: Usually I find Skinner pretty pointless, but I like this episode. It’s a nice change to see things from someone else’s perspective.
The morgue attendant (who looks like Milo Ventimiglia) is a lot less freaked out than he should be about hearing noises from a room full of dead bodies.
Anyone else wondering what honey from smallpox-carrying bees tastes like? Probably not great.
February 4, 2017
Summary: There’s a big gathering near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in D.C., and a general named Bloch is giving a speech about the country’s armed forces. Mulder, Scully, and Skinner are there, trying to track a man in the crowd. Scully spots the man, who then sees her as well. The agents quietly close in on him, but they all lose sight of him. Skinner warns that he’s right in front of Mulder, but as Skinner moves to protect Bloch, the man vanishes.
12 hours earlier, a helicopter lands at Fort Evanston, Maryland, carrying a lieutenant general named MacDougal. He finds a playing card in his limo, the king of hearts, with a skull and crossed bloody bayonets on the back. Suddenly the man from the rally is in the limo. He shoots MacDougal dead, but when the driver pulls the car over to check on him, the shooter is gone.
Skinner tells a group of agents about the mysterious murder, which authorities suspect was the work of the driver, Private Burkholder. There may be an accomplice, and Burkholder could have ties to a paramilitary group called the Right Hand, which is known for leaving playing cards on their victims. Mulder and Scully enter as Skinner tells the agents to look into the Right Hand’s leader, an ex-Marine named Denny Markham. The agents only have 12 hours to prevent more murders before the rally.
Mulder and Scully have just come from interviewing Burkholder, who passed a polygraph. Mulder believes he’s innocent, but Skinner thinks someone involved is lying. Scully asks for permission for her and Mulder to serve a warrant on Markham. Skinner warns them to be extremely careful so no other soldiers are killed.
The agents head to Demeter, Virginia, driving past a sign with a handprint on it. The same handprint is on a locked gate Markham is hesitant to open for them. He lets them in, but dogs chase them back out. Markham comes out to speak to the agents through the gate, though it’s mostly to refuse to answer any questions. Scully points out that a new anti-terrorism law gives the agents the right to hold him for questioning. A team of snipers hiding in the nearby woods does, too.
Markham won’t break confidentiality with the people on the Right Hand’s mailing list, and adds that they’re willing to do pretty much everything to protect themselves from a corrupt government. Mulder shows Markham the king of hearts, leading Markham to warn that more men will be killed. The snipers clear a bunch of weapons from Markham’s house as Markham chats with Mulder, giving him a picture of the killer, Nathaniel Teager.
Teager was a Green Beret in Vietnam, left for dead after the rest of his squadron died. The Right Hand found him in a POW camp in 1995. Scully disagrees that there were still POWs in Vietnam after 1973. Markham tells her the government tried to kidnap Teager after the Right Hand found him, but he vanished before they could get him.
Mulder thinks “a phantom POW left for dead comes back to avenge injustices” is a reasonable explanation for this case. Scully figures it’s just a cover-up for a conspiracy. She suggests that they give Markham a polygraph; when he inevitably fails, they’ll have their answers. Meanwhile, Teager approaches a woman named Mrs. Davenport at the Vietnam Memorial, telling her that her husband, Gary, isn’t dead. He gives her Gary’s dog tags, then disappears.
Mulder and Scully head to the memorial next, confirming with Skinner that Mrs. Davenport IDed Teager. Skinner has also confirmed that Teager’s remains have been stored at a lab since he supposedly died in the 1970s. Scully thinks someone’s posing as Teager to mess with Mrs. Davenport and distract the agents. Poor Mrs. Davenport is now conflicted about whether her first husband is really dead or not. She starts crying blood, which can’t make her day any better. Mulder thinks there’s a connection to Teager’s ability to vanish into thin air.
While Scully takes Mrs. Davenport to get an eye exam, Mulder meets with a Dr. Keyser at the lab holding Teager’s remains. The remains include teeth with scoring on them, and since there’s no way to know if the scores were made before or after death, Mulder notes that they’re not exactly proof that Teager is dead. In fact, the official report says the results are “inconclusive,” so whoever declared Teager dead chose to ignore that.
Mulder calls a general named Steffan to warn that he may be in danger. Steffan signed Teager’s death certificate, and Mulder thinks Teager might go after him next. Steffan reluctantly agrees to listen to Mulder and follow his instructions to keep himself safe. Steffan goes to his office at the Pentagon, and Teager follows, unseen even as he passes through a metal detector. But there’s a king of diamonds on Steffan’s desk when he arrives.
Scully takes Mrs. Davenport to Georgetown Medical Center, where a doctor finds a retinal blind spot on her eye that could explain her inability to see Teager when he supposedly disappeared. Scully calls Mulder, who finds it odd that someone could have a blind spot she never noticed before. The doctor thought Scully was crazy for suggesting that the blind spot was responsible for Mrs. Davenport thinking a human being disappeared.
Steffan calls Mulder to tell him about the card, not realizing that Teager is also in his office. Mulder orders him to call in some officers to protect him, but it’s too late – Teager shoots Steffan while he’s still on the phone. An invisible Teager watches as Mulder picks up the card, then looks right where he’s standing without seeing him.
Scully examines Steffan’s body but can’t explain how he could be shot at such a highly guarded facility. Skinner shows her and Mulder surveillance footage from the entrance, and they clearly see Teager enter then Pentagon. Mulder tells Skinner his theory that Teager can turn invisible by manipulating a blind spot. He thinks Teager learned the trick from the guerrilla fighters who kept him as a POW for 25 years.
Skinner knows he can’t protect all the soldiers arriving for the upcoming rally and parade, so Scully suggests that he cancel the events. Mulder says it doesn’t matter – the only way to protect everyone is to catch Teager. To do that, they need to figure out who his next victim is and protect him. Well, that sounds reasonable. It’s not like there are thousands of military personnel in D.C.
Bloch visits Markham, who doesn’t share his concerns that soldiers are being killed. Markham may be charged with conspiracy and treason, along with possession of illegal arms, but Bloch can offer him a deal if he helps find Teager. Markham says that Bloch can’t give Teager what he wants, at least not without harming his reputation. Teager is sending a message.
As the parade begins, Mulder meets Marita at the Lincoln Memorial to get info on Teager. She tells him that MacDougal and Steffan are connected to a recent news story about the “disposing” of soldiers in South Vietnam. Mulder’s familiar with the scandal – commandos and spies were sent to Vietnam but weren’t protected, so they were captured and killed.
The operation was disavowed, and the three men responsible for their mission – who include Steffan and MacDougal – erased their lives from official records. Those men are now facing charges, and their testimonies could be used to calculate reparations for the soldiers who died. Mulder realizes that this means the U.S. government wants MacDougal, Steffan, and their third comrade dead. They only asked the FBI to protect the men because they know the agents can’t.
Mulder asks Marita for the name of the third man, which I’m sure everyone in the audience has already figured out. Scully and Skinner definitely have, as they run through the parade to grab Bloch. Scully sees Teager in the crowd and pulls a gun to stop him from shooting anyone. Of course, he disappears.
Scully and Mulder meet up later, and Mulder is sure that Scully was sure she saw Teager, though his disappearance makes her wonder. He tells her and Skinner what Marita said about the government wanting the FBI to fail in their investigation. Now they can continue denying that there were POWs left behind after 1973. Mulder thinks Markham is their most valuable ally right now.
Mulder challenges Bloch to come clean, but Bloch is giving a speech at the rally and isn’t going to let a pesky thing like his life being in danger keep him from his duty. So the agents’ 12 hours are up, and the rally begins. A rally attendee recognizes Teager and follows him behind some fences, where – you guessed it – Teager disappears. But this time he’s just hiding for dramatic purposes.
The attendee, Danzinger, is shocked to see his supposedly dead buddy alive and well. Teager tells him that “they” wanted him to believe Teager was dead. He promises that after tonight, Danzinger will believe. Teager says he waited for rescue, but no one came for him. He knows the people in charge thought it was easier to just let him die rather than have to admit the truth. Danzinger reminds Teager that the war has been over for 20 years, but Teager says for him – and the others – it’s still going on. He gives Danzinger a list of names, then disappears.
Bloch takes the stage and finds an ace of clubs on his podium. Now we’re back at the opening scene of the episode, with the agents scanning the crowd for Teager. Once he disappears, Mulder tells Scully that he thinks Teager can only hide himself in someone’s direct line of sight. They go to meet up with Skinner and Bloch, and Mulder figures out that Teager’s waiting in Bloch’s car.
There’s some gunfire, but an agent is able to shoot the invisible Teager and stop him from driving off. Teager’s vanishing trick is the next thing to vanish, and he appears to everyone as he’s dying. He recites his date of birth and service number to Scully over and over. There’s a close-up of an American flag, in case we’ve already forgotten that this is our country’s fault, or whatever.
Sometime later, Mulder and Skinner meet up at the Veterans Memorial, where Mulder brings the news that officials won’t admit that Teager was Teager. They claim he’s Thomas Lynch, a member of the Right Hand who spent time in psychiatric facilities. Markham is backing up that story. Mulder complains that the government is lying again, “trying to make him invisible.” Okay, we get it. Really.
Mulder wants to try to get Teager’s body released, but Skinner tells him the investigation has been sent to another agency. They found Teager, and now he’s dead, so their job is done. Mulder’s upset that the government denied Teager’s life, and now they’re denying his death. He points out that Skinner could have suffered the same fate. After Mulder leaves, Skinner studies the wall, finding Teager’s name.
Thoughts: It’s funny to watch an episode about the U.S. military full of actors with Canadian accents.
Teager must have also learned a trick to make himself look younger, because he doesn’t look old enough to have served in a war that occurred 20 years before the episode aired.
No way would Scully pull a weapon on someone standing with a bunch of civilians, especially when she didn’t see him holding a weapon. Nice try, show.
December 10, 2016
Summary: Scully’s being sworn in for a hearing in front of the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism. She reads a prepared statement about how she joined the FBI because she believes in the country, but now she knows there are powerful men who don’t follow the rules. The chairman interrupts her to remind her that the hearing is about Mulder’s whereabouts. Scully declines to answer whether she knows where he is, saying that she could endanger Mulder’s life.
CSM looks on as Scully finishes her statement, which says that she can no longer do her job because of a “culture of lawlessness.” The men in power are behind the crimes being investigated; they’re the ones who should be testifying. The committee chair warns Scully that if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is, she’ll be held in contempt of Congress.
Ten days earlier, a man with a briefcase goes through customs at the Honolulu airport, having returned to the States from Japan and Georgia. He’s sent for a “random check,” though he argues that his diplomatic visa and connecting flight should get him out of it. When asked to open the briefcase, the man says he doesn’t have the combination. His reward is a full body-cavity search.
Someone gets the briefcase open and demands the paperwork. The man cautions that the cylinders inside the briefcase contain biohazardous materials, like, maybe put that on the cylinders so people don’t start messing around with them? A cylinder gets dropped, releasing our old friend, the black oil. The man demands to be let out of the room while the employee who just infected himself starts to spasm.
In Queens, Mulder and Scully are on a stakeout with team hoping to take down a potential Timothy McVeigh-type terrorist. There’s a firefight at a warehouse, and the terrorist tries to escape in a rental truck. Mulder and Scully catch him, and he gives himself up before Mulder has to shoot him. Mulder still chooses to attack him, though, since it’s another one of our old friends: Krycek.
Krycek claims that he ratted out the terrorists and handed the bust over to the agents. So I guess he’s a good guy now. He tells the agents that the terrorists found him in North Dakota and “liberated [him] on a salvage hunt.” Mulder thinks Krycek’s as scummy as the terrorists. Krycek says he has the same goal as the agents: find the men who killed Melissa and Bill, and who tried to kill him.
Krycek knows there’s no way to bring them to justice, so they need to be exposed: “Destroy the destroyers’ ability to destroy.” Mulder brings up the T word, but Krycek scoffs that the truth doesn’t exist – the bad guys make it up as they go. Mulder says he won’t help, but Krycek hints that there are more bombs being built for more nefarious purposes.
The agents escort Krycek to Dulles Airport to intercept someone returning to the country from Russia. When Scully approaches the man, he runs. Mulder handcuffs Krycek to something so he and Scully can run after the man. They chase him to the tarmac and lose him, though he leaves behind the diplomatic pouch he was carrying. The agents are annoyed to see that it just contains a rock. “What did you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?” Mulder quips.
Mulder takes Krycek to Skinner’s home in Crystal City to get authorization for a safehouse. Skinner says Krycek will be safe there, though not from Skinner himself, as he gets in a good gut punch. He handcuffs Krycek to his balcony and tells him to “think warm thoughts.”
The agents take the rock to NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a Dr. Sacks tells them it contains the same substances that have been found in meteorite fragments in Antarctica. Translation: The rock could be four billion years old and/or from Mars. After a pause, Mulder asks if it’s valuable. Sacks says no, though it could contain alien bacteria, which is pretty important. The agents ask him to analyze it.
Skinner leaves Krycek home alone for the day, soon running into CSM. He tells Skinner that the pouch the agents intercepted (which Skinner claims not to know about) is causing some problems in diplomatic circles. Even after the threat of being punished under the country’s treason laws, Skinner won’t tell CSM anything about how the agents knew the pouch was important. CSM warns that “wars have broken out over far less.”
The now-pouchless man sneaks into Skinner’s apartment, unaware that Krycek is there, thanks to Krycek having dangled himself over the balcony to hide. He grabs the man and pulls him over to his death. Meanwhile, in Mulder and Scully’s office, they discuss the fact that someone brought a pouch containing toxic soil into Hawaii a couple nights earlier. Mulder thinks Krycek’s intel is for real and he really wants to expose the same people they do. Scully’s worried that Mulder will go too far for her to follow.
Sacks drills into the rock, which sprays black oil on his protective suit. He’s stunned to see the oil turn into what look like leeches. Skinner calls the agents to let them know that the police are at his building, investigating the pouchless man’s death. Mulder heads over to see him, sending Scully to talk to Sacks about the rock. As Mulder enters Skinner’s building without anyone noticing, the police tell Skinner that someone reported a man hanging from his balcony.
Mulder retrieves Krycek, who’s amused by the situation and can’t wait to see how Mulder handles it. Out of actual insults, Mulder tells Krycek his haircut is dumb. Krycek confirms that the dead man is the one from the airport, then tells Mulder to worry more about the pouch. Just then Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell Mulder that Sacks is catatonic, thanks to whatever’s in the rock.
Mulder goes to New York to ask Marita about the Russian pouch. She does some asking around and finds out that it originated in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Mulder recognizes this name, saying it’s near Tunguska. Marita offers to get him some diplomatic credentials and make his journey to Russia a little smoother. She believes in his mission and wants to help.
Sometime later, Mulder returns to Krycek, who’s been handcuffed in Mulder’s car this whole time. He’s annoyed that Mulder’s still keeping him in the dark. Mulder’s annoyed with Krycek’s face. Back in Maryland, Scully and Pendrell put on protective suits to find out what’s going on with Sacks and the rock. Even though Sacks doesn’t seem to be breathing, he’s alive.
Mulder goes to the airport, telling Krycek he’s leaving him in the car but will send Scully to check on him in a week or so. Krycek lets out a stream of bad words in Russian, which brings Mulder back to the car. Krycek reveals that his parents immigrated to the States from Russia during the Cold War.
In Charlottesville, the Well-Manicured Man is taking some time off of evildoings to watch his daughter or granddaughter or maybe just some random woman ride a horse. CSM comes out to let him know that the man with the Russian pouch is dead, but they’re not in danger of being exposed. However, someone with diplomatic credentials has been booked on a flight to Krasnoyarsk. WMM calls CSM an idiot, warning that this is going to take some work to clean up.
Mulder, Scully, and Skinner receive a summons for the subcommittee hearing, alerting them to the fact that this investigation is pretty serious. Scully tells her boss that Mulder’s off on his own, looking for answers. He’s now in Tunguska with Krycek, his own personal Russian translator. Krycek still doesn’t know what’s going on. Mulder finally tells him that a “cosmic event” took place in Tunguska in 1908; people think a piece of meteor or comet hit the earth, but no one has ever determined exactly what it is. Mulder thinks someone has finally found the answer.
The men crawl under barbed wire and spy on workers in what looks like a mining camp. I believe the correct term is gulag, boys. Their spy skills are a little rusty, and they’re quickly captured by men on horseback. Mulder’s placed in a tiny cell, and a prisoner next door tells him the only thing he’ll find here is death and suffering.
Krycek is put in Mulder’s cell after what he claims was an interrogation. The people in charge think Mulder and Krycek are spies, though Krycek said they were just Americans who got lost. Feeling a little more confident now that they’re on equal footing and Mulder doesn’t have a weapon, Krycek tells Mulder not to touch him again.
Scully and Skinner meet with their summoner, Senator Sorenson, before the subcommittee hearing. (This sentence was brought to you by the letter S.) Sorenson would like to know what the pouchless man was doing on Skinner’s balcony before his death. Scully says they’ll file a report once they figure out what their investigation is actually about. Sorenson asks after Mulder, but Scully can’t say where he is.
The men at the gulag offer their prisoners food, but it contains at least one cockroach, so this isn’t exactly a five-star resort. Krycek is interrogated again, this time in his and Mulder’s cell, but since the conversation is in Russia, Mulder can’t follow it (and Krycek could be saying anything). After Krycek is taken away, the prisoner next door tells Mulder that Krycek isn’t his friend. He’s deceiving Mulder and speaking formally to the guards. The prisoner also says that the guards are conducting some kind of experiment.
The guards come back for Mulder, injecting him with something. He wakes up held down on a table by chain link fencing, surrounded by other men in the same state. Some of them start screaming. Black oil comes out of a tube, squirting onto Mulder’s face and crawling under his skin. To be continued…
Thoughts: “You know what this episode needs? Shirtless Mitch Pileggi,” is something someone actually thought.
I need Marita to stop talking like she’s trying to seduce Mulder. I mean, it’s fine (and understandable) if she wants to, but there’s a time and a place, you know? Also, what are the odds that the two of them hooked up while Krycek was waiting in the car?
According to the hearing summons, Skinner’s middle name is Sergei. Huh?
November 5, 2016
Summary: It’s May 17th, 1996, and a man on an airplane is being watched by someone wearing horrible white makeup. The man goes to wash his face in the bathroom and screams at something on the ceiling. When the plane lands in New York, another man is just regaining consciousness in the bathroom. His eyes are pale but the color soon fills in. A flight attendant checks in on the first man, who’s dead, and also now wearing the horrible white makeup.
Scully’s called in to work very early in the morning to meet with a Dr. Simon Bruin from the CDC. (Skinner’s also there, but no one cares.) Four young African-American men have recently disappeared in Philadelphia, and last night one of them, Owen Sanders, was found dead. His cause of death hasn’t been determined yet. He’s wearing the horrible white makeup, which we’re calling “depigmentation.” Bruin thinks they’re dealing with a disease rather than abductions and/or murders.
Mulder joins Scully as she starts a medical exam on Owen’s body. “There’s a Michael Jackson joke in here but I can’t quite find it,” Mulder quips. He doesn’t get why the CDC has been called in for cases that seem to be abductions. Scully explains that the missing men may have been exposed to a pathogen or disease. Mulder notes that that doesn’t explain why they all disappeared. He wonders if they’re looking at a “PR exercise” – someone wants to cover up the murders of young black men. Scully sighs that not everything is a conspiracy designed to “deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate.”
The man from the plane, Samuel Aboah, has a patch of lighter skin on his back but so far shows no signs of being attacked by the horrible white makeup. He gets a visit from Marcus Duff, his immigration counselor, who’s helping him with his naturalization petition. He asks if Samuel’s sick, since he’s looking a little sweaty. Duff can empathize over Samuel being in a new country without his family, but once Samuel’s a citizen, Duff can help him bring his family to the U.S.
Mulder gets Pendrell to analyze samples from Owen’s body, which include asbestos and a seed called adenia volkensii. It’s from a plant that only grows in West Africa. Mulder’s new mystery is finding out how the seed wound up on Owen in the U.S. He calls Scully, who tells him that a substance in the seed acts as a cortical depressant that could be lethal in huge quantities. None was found in Owen’ body, so Mulder wonders if he could have metabolized it. Scully says no, since he died too quickly for that to happen. She’s more interested in the fact that Owen’s pituitary gland was necrotized. That explains Owen’s lack of pigmentation.
Mulder’s on his way to New York to see Marita again, thinking she might know something about the men’s disappearances. She tells him she knows nothing, and there’s no way to guess how the seed wound up on Owen’s body. Mulder would like to know if Marita has any information whatsoever that will ever be useful to him in any way, at any time. He’s not asking for much, you know!
A teenager at a bus stop feels a sharp pain in his neck and finds a seed there. His vision gets wonky, as if he’s been drugged. He’s so weak that when the bus arrives, he can’t get on it, and the driver’s voice sounds distorted to him. When the bus leaves, the teen sees Samuel across the street. His eyes are pale again, and the light patches on his skin seem to be spreading. Also, African music is playing, because this episode is awful.
Scully’s called to the bus stop the next morning and interviews the bus driver, who tries to justify leaving the teen behind because he had a schedule to stick to. Mulder arrives, and Scully explains that the teen, Alfred, didn’t come home from his job at a fast-food restaurant the night before. Scully thinks he was suffering from dementia, but Mulder thinks they’re looking at the same thing that killed Owen. He’s gotten hold of a file from the FAA about the death of the man on the plane. He was flying to New York from Burkina Faso, and the embassy took the body before it could be autopsied.
Police canvas the area, looking for Alfred, and one of them knocks on Samuel’s door. (He scoffs at Samuel’s last name, but the cop is African-American, so see, the episode isn’t totally racist!) Samuel’s lucky that the police don’t come inside, since Alfred is there. He doesn’t look so great, but who would after being drugged and kidnapped by a guy who then pulls a thing out of his throat that looks like a giant asparagus spear?
Mulder and Scully meet with Duff, knowing that many of his cases deal with “aliens” from Africa and the Caribbean. (You just had to say “aliens,” didn’t you, Mulder?) Mulder asks him to cross-reference the names of people on the flight from Burkina Faso with people who have applied for work or residence visas in the past few months. Duff points out that he’s a social worker; he doesn’t help the police find people in the country illegally. Scully gets him to help by telling him they may be dealing with a health crisis.
The agents then stake out Samuel’s apartment, debating whether they’re really dealing with a pathogen. They don’t know what they’re looking for, but since it leads to death, it’s definitely a problem. Scully says that sometimes you have to start at the end (with death) and work your way back to the beginning.
Samuel arrives home from work as a day laborer and runs as soon as Mulder tries to talk to him. Not suspicious at all! The agents chase him into an alley, where he sees to disappear. Scully sees a hole in a fence and thinks Samuel was able to squeeze through it. Mulder spots a drain pipe in the side of the building and discovers Samuel’s hiding spot.
A doctor examines Samuel and declares him asymptomatic, but Scully thinks he could still be a carrier. Duff arrives to argue for his client’s release; he shouldn’t have been arrested since the agents said his health was just in danger. Since Samuel’s English isn’t that great, Scully asks Duff to serve as a translator. She and Mulder want to know why he ran when they tried to talk to him. Duff says that in Samuel’s home country, police weren’t exactly champions of human rights. Mulder disagrees, saying Samuel has to be hiding something. He’s going to see someone who’s been deceiving, inveigling, and obfuscating all along.
Mulder next goes to the Burkina Faso embassy, getting himself a meeting with a diplomat named Diabria thanks to some help from the UN. He thinks Diabria knows exactly what’s happening. Diabria says that his people are farmers, and he grew up hearing stories about the Teliko, “spirits of the air” that spend their days in small, dark places like holes in the ground (or like the medical cart Samuel has just hidden inside). At night, they come out to…scare children, apparently. Diabria saw one as a child, and his cousin was found dead the next day, looking just like the man who died on the plane.
As an orderly unwittingly lets Samuel out of his room, Scully shows a doctor X-rays of Samuel’s throat, which show something inside it. He also has no pituitary gland. Mulder arrives to tell his partner that Samuel has disappeared. Samuel stalks Duff at his office, getting himself a ride home and planning something dastardly with the asparagus stalk. Later, Duff’s car turns up abandoned. That’s the least of his problems, though – Samuel’s sticking something sharp from the asparagus stalk up Duff’s nose. A cop finds Duff half alive with the sharp thing still in his nose.
Samuel escapes through the drain pipe again as Duff is taken to the hospital and the agents are summoned. Mulder thinks that Samuel’s lack of pituitary gland indicates that he’s from a lost tribe of sub-Saharan albinos who have, for evolutionary purposes, had to steal hormones from other people’s pituitaries. I mean, of course. Mulder thinks it’s totally reasonable to base his logic on an old folktale. Scully wonders why Samuel would come to the U.S. Mulder’s like, “Because freedom, duh.”
Remembering that asbestos was found on Owen’s body, Mulder thinks they should check out a construction site where Samuel has done some work. He’s there, all right, and he’s become the latest victim of the white makeup. He shoots Mulder with a seed, so that’s one less FBI agent Samuel will have to overpower. Scully keeps looking around on her own, crawling through a duct while Samuel watches her through a vent. This goes on forever.
Eventually Scully finds Alfred’s body, then a drugged Mulder. She finally comes across Samuel and tries to shoot him, but he’s too fast for her. Scully finds more bodies and has to stash Mulder with them while she calls for help. Mulder sees Samuel approaching and, unable to speak, tries to alert Scully with his eyes. Proving that the partners can communicate even without words, Scully catches on and shoots Samuel before he can attack her.
Scully’s end-of-episode case report/wrap-up says that Duff is fine and will testify against Samuel in his capital murder case. However, Samuel’s health isn’t great, since he hasn’t been able to access any delicious pituitary glands. Scully thinks this is all science stuff, and she’s not sure science will ever have an explanation for Samuel’s condition. She thinks the case has really highlighted how we’re afraid of the “alien” among us. It makes us “deceive, inveigle, and obfuscate,” hiding the truth both from others and from ourselves.
Thoughts: Duff is played by Carl Lumbly, Dixon from Alias.
Mulder, if you want to talk to your informant who knows highly classified things that she could probably be killed for knowing, maybe don’t stalk her at night. Women don’t really appreciate that.
Can we all just pretend this episode never happened? Great, thanks.
October 22, 2016
Summary: A repairman climbs a telephone pole off a quiet road in Alberta, Canada, and starts to make his repairs. He’s stung by a bee, which he knocks to the ground. Five identical boys approach and stare at the man, who’s starting to get freaked out. He’s also starting to seize. The hook holding him to the pole breaks and the man falls. The boys come closer, stare at him for a few moments, then leave. And I don’t think they’re going to call an ambulance.
We pick up where we left off at the end of “Talitha Cumi,” with the Bounty Hunter advancing on our heroes and Jeremiah Smith. Jeremiah runs, so Mulder runs after him, telling Scully to stay out of the Bounty Hunter’s way; he doesn’t think the Bounty Hunger wants to hurt her. Mulder reminds Scully that her gun won’t work on him. So of course, Scully pulls her gun on him. The Bounty Hunter just knocks her down and follow the men into a building.
There’s a lot of running, and eventually Mulder catches up to the Bounty Hunter but loses him. Jeremiah makes it out a back door and up to the roof, with the Bounty Hunter right behind him. Mulder helps Jeremiah escape, and they lock the Bounty Hunter on the roof. Scully goes to bring the car around, but the Bounty Hunter jumps onto the hood, stopping her. He heads back inside, and the other three disappear. Mulder has hidden himself in a pile of wood chips, and is able to ambush the Bounty Hunter and stab him with the ice pick.
Jeremiah steals a boat and abandons Mulder, warning that there will be more Bounty Hunters coming. Mulder asks Jeremiah to help Teena. Jeremiah lets him on the boat, and they take off without Scully. NICE PARTNER YOU ARE, MULDER. She goes to make sure the Bounty Hunter is really dead. Guess what? He’s not. He demands to know where Mulder and Jeremiah went, but she can’t tell him.
Mulder and Jeremiah disembark somewhere, and Jeremiah tells Mulder that agents will be waiting for them at the hospital, so it won’t be safe. He knows they’re willing to kill Jeremiah to preserve their plan. He tells Mulder that the goal of colonization is hegemony – “a new origin of species.” Mulder wants to take the risk if it means saving Teena, but Jeremiah notes that the agents will kill him before he can help her. Instead, Jeremiah wants to show Mulder the work in progress…and he’ll be able to see Samantha.
CSM visits Teena in the hospital, getting confirmation that Mulder won’t be coming. He also learns that pictures were taken of him and Teena at the Mulders’ house, which means the Syndicate could have a security leak. They want to plant some information and see where it goes to determine the source of the leak. The false information will be that Teena’s in danger.
In the morning Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to check on her and warn that people will try to use her to find him. She tries to tell him something, but he’s too busy babbling about his trip to Alberta to let her tell him that the Bounty Hunter has taken her hostage. As the Bounty Hunter leaves her, Scully tells Mulder that he’s alive and coming for him.
Not long after, Mulder and Jeremiah run out of gas and have to walk the rest of the way to their destination. In D.C., Skinner calls Scully in to his office after hearing that she and Mulder have gotten in trouble yet again. Skinner wants to know more about Jeremiah Smith – specifically, how there are so many of them who all look alike, and why they’re all missing. Pendrell joins them to reveal that all of the men’s hard drives contain tons of encrypted data. Scully asks for a copy of a portion of the data, having an idea of who might be able to help her figure out what it means.
In Alberta, Mulder and Jeremiah come across the repairman’s body, which has been there for 24 hours. Mulder figures that Jeremiah knows what killed the man. The bees crawling all over him are probably a good indication. Mulder and Jeremiah make it to a farm, where Jeremiah says plants are being grown for pollen. There are kids working there, and one of them looks like Samantha.
Mulder approaches the girl, who doesn’t seem to recognize him. Jeremiah explains that she won’t talk to him because she doesn’t have any language – “she’s a drone.” Mulder, Jeremiah, the Samantha drone, and a boy head to a house as Jeremiah explains that the kids are part of an “agrarian workforce.” There are no parents because the kids all take care of themselves. Oh, also, all the boys look alike, and all the girls look like Samantha. It’s clone headquarters!
Scully puts an X on Mulder’s window in D.C., then spends the day trying to decrypt the Jeremiahs’ data. Mr. X eventually arrives and tells Scully that he has information about Teena that Mulder needs to hear. He won’t give the news to Scully. Scully asks about the data, which all begins with the letters SEP. Mr. X confirms that it’s from the Smallpox Eradication Program. “Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through,” he cautions her. He tells her to leave the data alone and protect Teena.
Mulder wants to take one of the Samantha drones with him, but Jeremiah says she’s not really his sister. He demands that Jeremiah explain everything to him. Before he can, the Bounty Hunter shows up. The Samantha drone leads Mulder and Jeremiah to an apiary so Mulder can hide from the Bounty Hunter. Mulder douses himself in gas (which I guess repels bees?), and the three prepare to hang out with the bees for a while, quickly realizing that they’ve trapped themselves.
The Bounty Hunter heads into the apiary, finding only the gas can. Mulder, Jeremiah, and the Samantha drone have hidden themselves behind a wall of…honeycomb? Sure, honeycomb. They push it over on the Bounty Hunter and escape while he’s distracted by the swarms of bees. In D.C., Scully takes the SEP confirmation to Pendrell, adding that the other letters in the data refer to protein amino acid sequence codes. The records have to do with inoculations. Scully thinks the final pieces of data are inventory codes referring to those who received inoculations.
Scully takes her findings to Skinner and a group of other agents, telling them she had a biopsy taken from her smallpox-vaccination scar. The results include a unique protein that she thinks is a kind of tag. When anyone over the past 50 years received an inoculation, he or she may have also received one of these tags. Scully knows she sounds Mulder-ish, but she did a biopsy on Pendrell as well, and found a different protein. She thinks a government agency is cataloging everyone. She also thinks Jeremiah can give them details.
Skinner pulls Scully out of the meeting to tell her she sounds a little wacky. Scully notes that she’s using science to prove her theories, which is what she was assigned to do in the X-Files in the first place. Mulder calls from a pay phone and asks Scully to meet him at the hospital where Teena’s being treated. He’s bringing Jeremiah and a special guest with him. Scully promises that he’ll be protected when he arrives, since so many people want to talk to Jeremiah.
But there’s no protection for Mulder before that, as the beestung Bounty Hunter finds him and crashes his car into the phone booth. Mulder begs to be allowed to take Samantha with him, but the Bounty Hunter taunts that he’s only been shown pieces of the whole project. Jeremiah’s “inconsequential” and a traitor. Mulder offers to trade his life for Teena’s, but the Bounty Hunter won’t make the deal – after all, sooner or later, everything dies. Jeremiah runs off, struggling to escape, as the Bounty Hunter approaches Samantha.
Scully and Skinner head to Rhode Island, waiting five hours for Mulder to join them. He finally arrives, alone and in shock. “She’ll never know,” he tells Scully, referring to his mother. Back in D.C., Mr. X returns to Mulder’s apartment, summoned by another X in the window. No one’s there, so he leaves, but there’s an assassin waiting for him in the elevator.
In Rhode Island, Mulder laments that he wasn’t able to bring Jeremiah to save Teena. He tells Scully about seeing the Samantha drone, and says he’s seen too many things not to believe. Scully thinks they should cling to the hope they’ve found; it’s a good place to start. “Nothing happens in contradiction to nature,” she says. “Only in contradiction to what we know of it.”
Scully tells him that they have a mutual acquaintance who knows the truth and can help them. Too bad that mutual acquaintance is now bleeding to death in Mulder’s apartment, where he’s dragged himself to write SRSG in his own blood. And that’s the end of Mr. X.
A month later, Mulder meets with a woman named Marita Covarrubias at the UN building in New York. Marita is the special assistant to the Special Representative to the Secretary General (who in some circles might be referred to as the SRSG). Mulder sent him some material, but he can’t get a meeting in return.
Marita tells Mulder that the farm in Alberta has been abandoned, and no beehives were found. The plants being grown were ginseng. Marita asks why the farm is so important to Mulder. He tells her he’s suffered some losses recently and was hoping to get…he trails off. He looks at a picture of the drones on the farm as Marita tells him, “Not everything dies.”
Teena’s still in the hospital, and not conscious to receive her newest visitor, the Bounty Hunter. CSM is also there, and he tells the Bounty Hunter that they have to remove an “unnecessary obstacle” to continue the project. The obstacle isn’t Teena, though – it’s Mulder. If Teena died, Mulder would have nothing less to lose, which would make him even more dangerous than he already is. That’s why the Bounty Hunter has been called in – not to kill Teena but to heal her.
Thoughts: This show and freaking bees.
How many swear words do you think Scully used when she eventually confronted Mulder for ditching her to run off with Jeremiah?
I’ll miss you, Mr. X. You were much more interesting than Deep Throat.