February 10, 2018

The X-Files 7.2, The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati: The Last Temptation of Mulder

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

In case you wanted to be hit over the head with the episode’s Christ imagery…

Summary: Mulder’s having a dream about a couple on a beach with their little boy. In reality, a doctor is telling his mother that his brain is being destroyed. Teena’s upset that they’re sedating Mulder so much that he’s basically a zombie. She asks him for a sign that he can hear her. He can, but he can’t communicate that to her.

CSM visits later, voicing over stuff about fathers and mothers. He knows Mulder can hear him. Mulder thinks that he could always hear CSM’s voice, even when his head was full. The two appear to communicate telepathically as CSM injects Mulder with something. Mulder thinks he’s being killed, but the injection revives him. CSM wants to give him a choice between life and death. Mulder’s “account is squared” with everyone.

Mulder points out that he’s dying, but CSM says only part of him is. He’s not Jesus or Hamlet; he can recover and leave the hospital, and everyone will forget him. “Arise,” CSM says, like he’s Jesus. Mulder sits up, and CSM tells him to take his hand. Mulder doesn’t know why, though; all the voices in his head are gone, and he can’t read CSM’s mind anymore. CSM tells him he has to take the first step. Mulder thinks about the boy on the beach again as CSM announces that he’s Mulder’s father. So now I guess he’s Darth Vader.

Kritschgau finds Scully sleeping in her office instead of working and chastises her for it. She doesn’t care for his opinion, since he drugged Mulder. Kritschgau tells Scully that Mulder believes he was infected with an alien virus two years ago, and that the virus was reactivated by something else alien. He’s proof that alien life exists. Scully doesn’t care, since Mulder’s dying – their only job is to save him. “You destroy this and I’ll destroy you,” Kritschgau threatens.

Skinner calls Scully to tell her to get to the hospital. Mulder has disappeared. When they meet up, Skinner says that the authorities at the hospital claim that Teena checked Mulder out. Skinner doesn’t want to be involved in the case any longer, so Scully’s on her own. Really, it’s that Skinner’s in a “compromised position,” so it’s better if he doesn’t know what his agents are up to.

Back on the dream beach, a boy a few years older than the one from the earlier dream approaches Mulder. “The child is father to the man,” he says in CSM’s voice. Noooo, that’s not creepy at all. Mulder wakes up in CSM’s car and learns that CSM had doctors tend to him. He thought Mulder would die, either at the hands of the Syndicate, the FBI, or his own foolishness, so CSM had to save him.

Mulder doesn’t think CSM can just make him disappear, but CSM says they’ve made whole cultures vanish. Mulder will just become a man without a name, like CSM. Mulder wants to contact Scully, but CSM says that’ll put her in danger. In a sense, he’s entering a witness protection program. CSM offers Mulder a cigarette, saying that maybe now he smokes.

Scully goes home and is surprised by a visit from Hosteen, who was basically at death’s door the last time Scully saw him. He tells Scully that she needs to find Mulder – not just for his sake, but “for the sake of us all.” Meanwhile, CSM takes Mulder to a house in a suburb somewhere, encouraging him to consider accepting this new life.

Scully verifies with another FBI agent that Teena signed Mulder out of the hospital against medical advice. However, someone painted over surveillance cameras, so they can’t see who actually moved him. There’s a small, visible spot through the paint, and Scully easily recognizes the person Teena’s talking to on the footage. After all, there’s only one person she knows who would smoke in a hospital.

Mulder goes into his possible new home and finds the fridge well stocked. (I don’t know who puts sunflower seeds in the fridge, but okay.) Deep Throat is there; he says he’s not dead, just “really relaxed.” He calls the bullet he took a punctuation mark that ended one chapter of his life and allowed him to start a new one. Mulder admits that he felt responsible for Deep Throat’s death, but Deep Throat doesn’t want him to feel guilty about anything. He’s not the center of the universe. The two of them are just “puppets in a master plan.”

Mulder has suffered enough, and Deep Throat wants him to enjoy his life. He shows Mulder pictures of his family, inviting him to have dinner with them – they live just down the street. But first, Mulder needs a nap. In a dream, he finds a boy on the beach, building a sand castle that gets knocked down by a wave. Mulder tells him he can just start again. When Mulder wakes up, he’s shirtless, and Fowley’s in his house, ready for some lovin’. She takes off a pair of handcuffs on his wrist, which we will never, ever tell Scully about, right, guys?

Scully tries to call Teena, who doesn’t answer her phone. Scully gets a delivery containing a book on Native American practices and sees that writing on the cover matches writing on the stone. Inside the book is a chapter on the Anasazi – a whole culture that disappeared without a trace. The words “sixth extinction” are used. Scully calls Skinner to ask if he sent the book, which explains everything she found in the Ivory Coast. It also talks about a myth about a man who can save everyone by protecting them against a plague.

Skinner can’t talk right now, though, since there’s someone in his office. Scully goes to see him in person, finding him just as someone leaves his office after attacking him. She tries to chase the attacker, but he pulls a fire alarm and disappears in a crowd.

Mulder’s now living a nice little suburban life with Fowley, but he doesn’t want to turn his back on his commitments to the X-Files, Scully, and Samantha. Fowley tells him he’s being childish. He needs to let go of his fantasies and be a real part of the world. Specifically, he needs to become a father. Mulder’s like, “We had sex once. Can we put the brakes on? Also, I don’t trust you.”

Scully goes to Kritschgau, accusing him of leaking information, which led to Skinner’s attack. She sees the symbols from the stone on his computer and guesses that he hacked into her files. He admits that he’s having the NIH analyze the symbols. Scully deletes the files as Kritschgau says that someone’s looking for Mulder.

Mulder and Fowley visit CSM, who lives in the neighborhood. He tells them he has some grandchildren, and also lives with someone Mulder would find very familiar: Samantha. She’s thrilled to see her brother. The real Mulder is in some sort of lab, still unconscious. CSM and Fowley are with him, talking about the kinds of dreams he might be having. CSM thinks that, like other extraordinary men, Mulder’s being tempted by something ordinary in his dreams. Those dreams are all he has now.

Fowley goes to FBI headquarters, where Scully finds her and asks for a cigarette. Fowley decides they should just talk about what they both know this is really about. She tells Scully that instead of worrying about where Mulder is, Scully should think about what she could have done to prevent all this. Scully tells her to think about Mulder as a person, with all his promise, and tell her that Mulder wouldn’t work his hardest to save her. Fowley says she’s thinking about that – she’s always thinking.

CSM chats with a doctor at the lab about an alien-human hybrid and why they’ve kept Mulder alive for so long. Long story short: Mulder is immune to the coming apocalypse, so he’s going to undergo a procedure that may allow them to save everyone. But it might kill him, which CSM is okay with, since it means he “suffers a hero’s fate.”

Suddenly Dream Mulder and Dream Fowley are getting married. Then things speed up, and Mulder’s older. Fowley’s dead, and at her funeral, CSM tries to comfort his son. In the lab, CSM tells Fowley not to think of Mulder as a man, like Scully wanted her to. She needs to think about the sacrifice he’s making to save everyone. Fowley wishes he’d had a choice in the matter. Oh, NOW you think about that.

CSM thinks Mulder would have made this choice – he gets to “become the thing he sought for so long.” He spent his life looking for aliens, and now he’ll be one. Mulder’s part in the procedure is almost done, and CSM will now take over.

An unaged CSM talks to an older Mulder about the boy he sees on the beach. Mulder says he’s seen the boy thousands of times, but he never understands what the boy wants him to see. CSM tells him to close his eyes. The boy is ready to show him. On the beach, the boy has build a huge spaceship out of sand, but now he wants to destroy it. He tells Mulder it’s Mulder’s ship, and Mulder’s the one destroying it. He was supposed to help.

Hosteen returns to Scully’s apartment, telling her she’s looking in the wrong place. Scully doesn’t know how to save Mulder anyway; the science doesn’t make sense to her. Hosteen points to her cross necklace and asks if she’s looked for him there. They kneel to pray together, and Hosteen tells Scully, “There are more worlds than the one you can hold in your hand.”

CSM is ready to undergo the procedure (which I guess will give him Mulder’s immunity?), telling Fowley that he’ll carry on for his son. This is God’s blessing; the knowledge needs to be spread. Mulder wakes up during the procedure, looking straight at Fowley, who can’t bring herself to watch what’s going to happen.

Mulder dreams of being old and on his deathbed, with a still-unaged CSM by his side. Samantha and Deep Throat are dead for real, as are Fowley and Scully. CSM tells Mulder it’s time for him to let go. His loved ones are waiting for him. He tells Mulder to close his eyes. The two of them are the last ones left – “the end and the beginning.” There’s nothing left for Mulder to do, since the apocalypse has come and everything’s on fire, and there are spaceships flying into buildings and stuff. What a wonderful world!

Someone starts a fire in Kritschgau’s apartment after either wounding or killing him. It’s Krycek, and he leaves with a file. Someone slips an envelope under Scully’s door containing an access card for the Department of Defense. As the procedure continues and Scully uses the card, Mulder dreams of Scully coming to his deathbed. She’s mad that he believed the story that she was dead. She calls him a traitor and a coward. He’s not supposed to die “in a comfortable bed with the devil outside.”

Mulder argues that CSM has taken care of him. Scully says he’s made Mulder trade his mission for a comfortable life. Mulder obviously doesn’t know it’s the end of the world outside. He says he’s too tired to look out the window, but Scully tells him to get out of bed and fight. The procedure is done by the time the real Scully finds the real Mulder and wakes him up. He struggles to stay awake, and she begs him to help her fight. He asks her to help him in turn.

A week later, Mulder’s recovering at home, ready to go back to work. Scully visits, and he tells her that Hosteen died last night. He was in a coma for two weeks, so there was no way he could have come to see her at her apartment. Scully says that’s impossible, and Mulder asks if it’s more impossible than what she saw in the Ivory Coast. (Or, you know, THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.) Scully says she doesn’t know what to believe anymore. She was so determined to save Mulder that she was able to deny what she saw. Now she doesn’t know what the truth is.

Then Scully breaks her own news of death: Fowley was found murdered just hours earlier. Scully didn’t trust her, but she knows Fowley sent her the book that helped her save Mulder, so Fowley deserves some credit. Mulder says that he was like Scully once. He chose a path that took him away from his beliefs, and in the end, his world was unrecognizable. Scully told him the truth. “Even when my world was falling apart, you were my constant, my touchstone,” he says. She tells him he’s the same to her. In one last dream scene, Mulder and the boy build a big sand spaceship together.

Thoughts: One of the boys in Mulder’s dream (they keep changing ages) is played by the same twins who played Owen in early years of Party of Five. Two of the doctors involved in the procedure are played by Brian George and David Brisbin. Coincidentally Brisbin’s character appears to be an anesthesiologist, which is what he plays on ER.

David Duchovny co-wrote the episode and personally rewrote the ending because he thought Mulder was too upset about Fowley. Gillian Anderson’s hair is different in the final scene because she got it cut between the original taping and the reshoot.

For connections between this episode and the movie The Last Temptation of Christ (the inspiration for my recap title), see the X-Files wiki.

AS IF Mulder would be tempted to marry Fowley. AS IF Scully wouldn’t be his literal dream wife.

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February 3, 2018

The X-Files 7.1, The Sixth Extinction: Death and Resurrection

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:15 pm by Jenn

My next Halloween costume

Scully’s still in the Ivory Coast, and still voicing over stuff. She came here to look into something she didn’t believe in, but she’s staying anyway, and will be there as long as Mulder’s sick. She’s not sure how to reconcile what she’s found with what she believes. She thinks Mulder should have been the one to find the spaceship. As huge bugs swarm around a lantern, Scully voices over that she’s going to figure out the link between Mulder’s sickness and the stone rubbing. Every illness contains the source of its cure.

There’s a man in Scully’s tent, but he disappears before she can see him. She turns off the lantern and grabs a machete that just happens to be lying around. The bugs are suddenly dying. Scully goes outside, but the beach is empty. When she returns to the tent, the bugs are flying around again. They cover the lantern and swarm her.

Back in the U.S., Skinner learns from Mulder’s doctor that his brain is dying. When Skinner goes in to see him, Mulder doesn’t seem to hear him. But then he attacks Skinner, trying to strangle him. Once Skinner has been rescued, Mulder just starts yelling. Skinner finds a piece of Mulder’s hospital gown in his pocket, with “HELP ME” written on it.

In the Ivory Coast, men come to the beach to dig out the spaceship. A woman named Amina finds Scully in her bug-covered tent and asks to see the spaceship. Scully asked for it to be kept a secret, but Amina says it’s become pretty well-known thanks to word of mouth, what Merkmallen called the “African Internet.”

Scully tells Amina, who’s also a biology professor, about what happened to her the night before, with the vanishing man and the bugs. Amina tells her not to tell anyone else – the men working there will see it as an omen and will want to stop unearthing the spaceship. For now, they need to let the men keep digging. One of the men starts yelling that the water is boiling. Scully sends him off to the hospital with burns. Amina tells her it’s another warning.

In Georgetown, Mulder is now restrained, and Skinner has to sneak in to see him. He promises to help, though he doesn’t know what to do, and he probably doesn’t have much time. Mulder can’t speak, but he can write on Skinner’s hand. Scully voices over that she can feel Mulder slipping away as she continues to try to figure out what’s happening with the spaceship. She just wants to learn how to use its power to save her partner.

A Jeep arrives on the beach, and the man who gets out wants to show Scully something. He’s brought Barnes with him. Scully tells Amina that Barnes killed Merkmallen, which Barnes denies. He tells Scully that the spaceship has extraterrestrial origins. Scully points out that he doesn’t believe in that stuff. “Neither do you,” he replies, but she’s there, so…

Barnes wants to help Scully help Mulder. He can read the symbols that will give them the answers theologians have been looking for all this time. Scully knows the news will get out quickly without Barnes’ help, so she allows him to stay. His driver shows them blood in the ocean water. Scully looks over at some rocks and sees the vanishing man from her tent standing there.

Mulder’s message has directed Skinner to Kritschgau, though neither man is sure why. Kritschgau goes to the hospital to see Mulder, who’s basically catatonic. His brain waves start changing whenever Kritschgau speaks. Skinner tells Kritschgau that Mulder said he was hearing voices. Kritschgau thinks Mulder’s anticipating things – he’s responding to questions Kritschgau hasn’t asked yet.

The men take Mulder to the hospital’s drug lockup so they can inject him with something that will allow him to communicate again. Kritschgau has read studies about remote viewing, a kind of ESP, and knows Mulder is being drugged the way those subjects were. Their brains worked overtime, but there was a drug they could be given that would make their bodies keep up. Skinner realizes that Mulder knew about this, and knew Kritschgau knew, which is why he wanted Skinner to contact him. As soon as Mulder is injected, he says, “They’re coming.”

After noticing that Mulder wasn’t in his room, someone called Fowley, but when she arrives, Mulder’s back where he’s supposed to be. Skinner claims he found Mulder wandering in the hallway. He pulls rank on Fowley, ordering her away. Mulder is somehow able to read minds now (I don’t know), and he warns Skinner that Fowley knows what’s going on. He tells Skinner to find Scully. Skinner says he doesn’t know where she is.

Mulder knows that Krycek is involved, and Skinner’s being blackmailed, so he doesn’t think Mulder can trust him. He just needs Kritschgau to prove what’s causing his illness. Kritschgau doesn’t believe in aliens, so he just thinks Mulder has a brain abnormality. Mulder still believes, though, and thinks Kritschgau is the key to helping him.

Scully puts together pictures of the spacecraft so she can look at the symbols. Barnes has written down the alphabet of the ancient Navajo language they’re written in, so Scully can translate. A lot of the workers have been scared away, so only a few men are still digging, but they’ve found some amazing things – Scripture from multiple sources and times. Scully’s worried that the secret won’t stay secret, and that she’s too late to help Mulder.

Amina brings Scully more symbols; they’re a passage from the Quran talking about the day of final judgment. Scully has found panels that correspond to human chromosomes. They may contain a map to human genomes. She sees this as beautiful, intricate artwork. Amina sees it as the word of God. Barnes disagrees, saying God doesn’t exist. Suddenly he believes in aliens and thinks life began somewhere other than Earth. The women think he’s gone crazy, and when Barnes picks up a machete, they probably think he’s confirmed their diagnosis.

Barnes tells Scully that she’s wasting her time and can’t help Mulder. Scully insists that the symbols have power. Barnes agrees, but he says Mulder got too close to it. He sits by the entrance of the tent, holding the machete, and tells the woman that no one will leave before he does.

Kritschgau tells Skinner about the remote-viewing tests as he sets Mulder up to do some. He’s supposed to touch screens and determine where an image of a UFO is – kind of a high-tech version of Three-card Monte – but his accuracy rate is only about 5%. Mulder’s confused, since he can see the images in his head. They do the test faster, and Mulder’s accuracy goes way up. In fact, he can anticipate where the UFO will be before it gets there.

Barnes seems to be dozing off in the tent, so the women keep an eye on him to see if they can run. Something rattles and wakes Barnes. It looks like some dead fish have been revived, and Barnes credits the spaceship. He’s distracted enough that Scully’s able to grab something to use to knock him out.

She and Amina escape in Barnes’ Jeep and head to the police, but Scully sees the vanishing man in the road and tells Amina to stop. He disappears again, then appears in the Jeep. “Some truths are not for you,” he tells Scully, reaching out to touch her forehead. It’s actually Amina reaching for her, making sure Scully’s still alive. She tells Scully the men were right to see everything as an omen and run away. Scully decides it’s time to go back to the U.S.

Mulder’s in bad shape again, and Skinner doesn’t want Kritschgau to inject him again for more tests. He thinks Kritschgau is using Mulder to get revenge on the FBI. Kritschgau insists that he’s trying to prove what Mulder’s been working on the whole time. Now Mulder’s the proof – “he’s the X-File.”

Skinner thinks they’ve gone too far, but Kritschgau thinks Mulder would keep going if it meant finally uncovering the truth. Skinner gives in. They inject Mulder again, but Fowley arrives before they can move him. She detains Kritschgau as Skinner tries to explain to Fowley and Mulder’s doctor what they were trying to do. Mulder suddenly starts seizing.

Barnes’ driver goes looking for him in the tent and is rewarded with a machete in the neck. Back in the U.S., Fowley tells Mulder that she knows what’s going on with him, and that he knows she’s a traitor. She needs him to look inside her and understand that she has her reasons for the actions she’s taken. She tells him she loves him, then leaves.

As soon as she’s back in D.C., Scully goes to Skinner to ask where Mulder is. He tells her she probably can’t get in to see him, since he and Kritschgau screwed up and now Mulder’s under heavy guard. He also can’t be treated because the doctors don’t know what’s wrong with him. Scully insists that Mulder isn’t dying; in fact, he’s more alive than his body can handle. And it may be from something extraterrestrial. Skinner agrees but doesn’t think anything can be done. Scully thinks that her medical credentials will get her access to her partner.

Barnes looks at all the pictures of the spaceship, getting distracted when he hears a glass of water being knocked over. He realizes that the driver’s body is gone and thinks that means the driver has come back to life. There are footprints on the beach (but only one set, because I guess this is when Jesus is carrying the driver). The zombie driver attacks Barnes with the same machete used to kill him.

Mulder’s ears are ringing and he’s hearing voices, but Scully’s is loud and clear as she convinces the doctors to let her see him. We get a rare in-person “Mulder, it’s me.” She asks for a sign that he can hear her, but he’s catatonic again and doesn’t give one. She thinks he would be able to find a way to hold on and stay alive if he knew what she’d been through.

Scully says that she’s found the key to every question that’s ever been asked. It’s a puzzle, and they’ll have to put the pieces together. She beg him to hold on. Back in the Ivory Coast, some soldiers accompany Amina to the beach to retrieve Barnes’ body. The spaceship is gone. To be continued, again…

Thoughts: Look, I don’t care what mysteries of the universe I could be solving – if there’s a swarm of bugs involved, I’m out. I’m not even getting to the point where the ocean’s turning to blood.

I feel like Scully and Amina could have easily gotten away from Barnes. Just lift up another wall of the tent and run. Barnes was middle-aged and Scully has FBI training; they could have outrun him.

Wow, Fowley is really a useless character, isn’t she? Also, what happened to Kersh? We haven’t seen him in ages.

April 15, 2017

The X-Files 5.2, Redux II: You Gotta Have Faith

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:08 pm by Jenn

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

Summary: Mulder rushes to the hospital, where Scully has been admitted after collapsing. This hospital is not going to win any awards for helpfulness, as Mulder spends a full minute trying to get Scully’s location. Skinner finally finds him and tells him she’s lost enough blood to put her body into shock. She’s dying. Mulder doesn’t handle that revelation well, as you can expect.

Mulder and Skinner meet with Blevins, who’s not thrilled that now they’ll have to determine the identity of the dead man in Mulder’s apartment. The hospital staff’s unhelpfulness is contagious, and Mulder has caught it. He’s also upset that Skinner made him leave the hospital. Skinner says he didn’t have a choice, and warns that he can always tell the higher-ups that Mulder killed the man in his apartment. He wants to know why Scully lied for her partner. Mulder says there’s a mole, but he doesn’t know who it is. Skinner tells him to remember who his friends are, and who he can trust.

The Syndicate guy called the Elder is watching a science-y panel discussion when CSM rejoins him at the racetrack, confirming that Mulder’s not dead after all. He tells the Elder that Mulder got into the super-top-secret facility, and CSM let him get away. He thinks that what Mulder saw there will only help the Syndicate. Now they can give Mulder the help he needs. In exchange, they’ll get his loyalty.

Mulder returns to the hospital, where Scully’s now awake, but worried that someone will see Mulder and realize he’s alive. She wants to know what’s going on, but Mulder thinks she should focus on other things. Scully thinks Skinner is the FBI mole, and if Mulder testifies before the committee, Skinner will bust him. She volunteers to take the rap for killing Ostelhof, so she can take some of the heat off of her partner.

Maggie and Bill Jr. arrive just then, ending the conversation. Mulder meets Bill Jr. for the first time, and Scully’s brother asks him to keep work out of Scully’s hospital room, so she can “die with dignity.” Go away, Bill. As someone opens a case containing a gun, CSM comes by the hospital and lets Mulder know he knows what he was up to in the super-top-secret facility. He claims that the “cure” Mulder found, which Mulder thinks was just water, is actually crucial to Scully’s survival.

After a chat with CSM, Mulder goes back to the Lone Gunmen and does something science-y, revealing a microchip in the water. He thinks it’s connected to the chip Scully had removed from her neck after her abduction. Skinner and Kritschgau appear before the committee to discuss Ostelhof’s murder, though Kritschgau says he doesn’t know who killed him or how his death is connected to Mulder and Scully. He then reveals that his own son died that morning. Kritschgau has been working for a Congressional lobbying firm called Roush, which no one there has heard of.

Mulder presents the microchip to the Scullys and Scully’s doctor, along with a theory that it could save Scully. She’s the only one who believes it. The doctor says there are no other “conventional” methods of treatment anyway, so Scully figures Mulder’s plan is worth a shot. Speaking of shots, the guy who received the case assembles the gun inside it.

While Scully undergoes her “unconventional” treatment, Mulder and Bill Jr. grumble at each other. Bill asks if this whole “quest” of Mulder’s has been worth it – has he found what he’s been looking for? Mulder says no, but he can sympathize with Bill over having lost loved ones along the way. Bill thinks Mulder’s pretty pathetic for going through all this just to find some “little green aliens.”

CSM calls Mulder to confirm that he found the chip, and do ask if Mulder has decided to trust him yet. Of course he hasn’t. CSM asks to meet him at a diner, showing up with a woman who either is or looks exactly like the Samantha impostor from “Colony” and “End Game.” She says she believed she’d never see Mulder again; “he” always told her that something had happened to him that night. Mulder’s surprised when she says “he,” AKA CSM, is her father.

Samantha tells Mulder that she’s never been able to remember everything that happened, and she’s always been too scared to want to get all of her memories back. As a child, her foster parents took her to meet the man they said was her father. He told her to keep quiet to protect her family. He was the only person she could remember from before the day she disappeared. Later, though, she remembered Mulder and whatever happened when she was taken.

Mulder wants to help Samantha remember, but she declines; she only came to meet him because she was told he’d been looking for her. Mulder starts crying, thinking he’s finally found her after so many years of searching. He tells Samantha that whatever CSM has told her is probably untrue – after all, he’s known where Mulder is for years, so why did he wait so long to bring Samantha to him? Mulder wants to take Samantha to see Teena, but Samantha gets anxious and says she needs time. She doesn’t want to disrupt the life she’s made for herself. She needs to think about it first.

Scully gets her treatment, asking her doctor if he’s ever witnessed a medical miracle first. He’s not sure he has, but he’s seen dramatic recoveries. Even if those were miracles, he doesn’t want to give them that label. Meanwhile, the man with the gun trains it on Mulder as he meets with CSM on a street corner. Mulder wants to know why CSM is helping him. CSM claims he’s ready to offer the truth, but Mulder says he already knows it, thanks to Kritschgau. CSM says Kritschgau’s the liar, and Mulder has only seen pieces of the whole. If Mulder wants more, he’ll have to quit the FBI and work for CSM.

Mulder refuses, noting that CSM hasn’t actually given him anything. He knows CSM killed Bill Mulder and Melissa, and if he kills Scully as well, Mulder will repay the favor. CSM reminds him that he has to testify before the committee soon, and he won’t be protected. His offer is still on the table. The sniper puts his gun away as Mulder heads off alone.

At the hospital, Scully tearfully tells Maggie that she’s sorry she’s pushed away her faith when she could use it most. Why does she still wear her cross necklace if she’s not going to rely on her faith? She regrets shutting down the priest Maggie wanted her to talk to at dinner. Scully’s scans haven’t shown any improvement, and she’s pretty sure she’s not going to make it. The Elder watches a panel discussion on human cloning, spotting Skinner in the background. He calls someone and orders him to fix things – then the Elder will “fix it for good.”

Mulder goes back to the hospital and breaks down next to Scully’s bed as she sleeps. The next morning, he goes to see Blevins, who has the ballistic data proving that Mulder killed Ostelhof. He wants to know if Skinner is the mole Scully was going to name before she collapsed. If Mulder names him, Skinner will face the charges Mulder is now in danger of facing. Mulder just tells Blevins he’ll see him at the hearing.

He goes back to the hospital and tells Scully that when he visited last night, he felt lost. Now he thinks he knows what he needs to do. He won’t be accepting CSM’s deal, and he won’t be naming Skinner as the mole, even if it means ensuring his own protection. He also won’t let Scully take the blame for Ostelhof’s murder. “We all have our faith, and mine is in the truth,” Mulder says. Scully’s family priest arrives, and Scully tells Mulder she’ll pray for him as he leaves.

The committee reconvenes, and Mulder and Skinner join the fun. Mulder gives his own version of Scully’s monologue from the previous committee hearing, about how she was sent to spy on him four years ago. She lied about his death at his request, so he could continue his efforts to uncover the conspiracy. As Mulder rants about the conspirators, the sniper fixes his weapon on CSM.

Father McCue prays over Scully while Mulder tells the committee that Scully is a victim of the conspiracy. The committee just wants to know who shot Ostelhof, but Mulder won’t say until he names the FBI mole…Blevins. Everyone’s shocked, but probably not as shocked as Skinner is. And definitely not as shocked as CSM, who’s just been shot by the sniper. He lies bleeding on the floor, looking at a picture of the Mulder kids, as Blevins is also shot.

Skinner meets up with Mulder at the hospital and announces that CSM is dead. Well, presumably. There was a lot of blood, but no body. (Anyone who’s ever watched a soap opera knows that means nothing.) Mulder admits that he didn’t have any proof that Blevins was the mole, but it turns out he was right. Mulder’s sure that’s being covered up right now. But there’s no time to dwell on that – Scully is officially in remission. As Skinner goes to see her, Mulder cries over the same picture of himself and Samantha that CSM looked at as he (supposedly) died.

Thoughts: I guess self-defense wasn’t a possibility for Ostelhof’s death? This makes no sense.

I wonder if CSM periodically lets himself be spotted with random dark-haired women just to make Mulder think he’s with Samantha. That would be an amusing way to mess with Mulder’s head.

As annoying as Bill Jr. is (be nice to your sister’s friends, dude), at least he’s there for Scully, unlike a certain brother who’s mentioned in the revival but never shows up for anything, INCLUDING HIS MOTHER WHEN SHE’S DYING.

April 8, 2017

The X-Files 5.1, Redux: Dead Man Talking. A Lot. Seriously, We Get It, Guys

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:18 pm by Jenn

Mulder, this is neither the time nor the place to practice your runway walk

Summary: 24 hours before the end of “Gethsemane,” Mulder (still crying on his couch) gives a voiceover about realizing that his belief in aliens is pointless. He loads his gun as he says that it’s time for his journey to end. Just then, Kritschgau calls to report that he was followed after he left Mulder’s apartment. Mulder interrupts to ask if the people following him gave Scully cancer. Kritschgau warns that they could be listening in, so they can’t talk. Mulder realizes that his apartment has been bugged and confronts the man watching him, who fires a gun.

Scully gets home in the middle of the night and is surprised to find Mulder in her bedroom with the lights off. (He probably wishes he hadn’t announced his presence – she was about to take her shirt off.) He tells her there’s a dead man in his apartment, and he’s been under surveillance for at least two months. The dead man, Ostelhof, worked for the Department of Defense and the military, which means the conspiracy surrounding Scully’s cancer circles back to the FBI.

Mulder shows Scully phone records proving that Ostelhof made multiple calls to someone at the FBI. He wonders if this has been going on for the whole four years he and Scully have been working together. Mulder wants to know who he can and can’t trust, especially since Scully’s health is now at risk. If the FBI can lie to them, the agents can lie right back – “a lie to find the truth.”

The next morning, Scully is called to Mulder’s apartment to ID the body we now know isn’t Mulder’s. Mulder voices over about the hoax set up to destroy him, and the illness killing his partner. He’s asking Scully to lie after she’s shown so much integrity. After Scully IDs the body as Mulder’s, Skinner arrives and Scully gives him the (fake) news. Skinner wonders how she could be sure the body’s Mulder’s since the deceased took a bullet to the face. Scully says she recognized his clothes.

Skinner sends Scully to Section Chief Blevins, who thinks she can answer some questions. Meanwhile, Mulder goes to a research facility to find out more about Ostelhof. He uses Ostelhof’s ID to gain access, but doesn’t bother to disguise himself, so I guess he’s not worried about someone recognizing him as a guy who’s supposed to be dead.

Scully and Skinner meet with Blevins, who’s heard that she had contact with someone from the DOD. Scully says that Kritschgau (though she won’t give his name) had information about the alien corpse, which he said was a hoax. Blevins warns that, whether or not she gives answers now, Scully will need to speak to a panel that night. Scully reluctantly IDs her contact as Kritschgau.

Kritschgau spots Mulder at the research facility and asks how he got access to the building. Mulder explains that Ostelhof is dead, and Kritschgau informs him that he now has a higher security clearance than Kritschgau himself does. He could even get access to information that could help him find a cure for Scully. CSM goes to Mulder’s apartment and looks at a picture of young Mulder and Samantha, then the blood on the floor. He looks up to see the hole in the ceiling where the surveillance camera watched Mulder for months.

Scully asks an FBI operator named Holly to find out who Ostelhof kept calling at the bureau. Holly can’t say for sure who got the calls, but Skinner uses the extension in question. The doctor who was working with the Yukon ice-core samples then calls Scully, telling her there’s something at his lab she needs to see.

Kritschgau tells Mulder that he has clearance for a biological quarantine wing that houses DNA for basically everyone in the country. For 50 years, the government has used hoaxes to distract citizens from the threats of nuclear warfare. Even when there was no war to fight, the government needed money, so they made stuff up. They took advantage of Roswell to make people think there were aliens trying to contact us, which kept people from finding out bigger secrets. UFOs were really experimental aircraft.

Kritschgau tells Mulder that people claiming they were abducted by aliens were actually used for super-classified experiments. The government feeds “the American appetite for bogus revelation.” Mulder points out that he’s seen aliens himself, so there has to be some truth behind the hoaxes. “You’ve seen what they wanted you to see,” Kritschgau corrects. The government wants to control life itself. Mulder notes that Scully would have been able to determine that the alien body was fake if she’d gotten a chance to do further testing. Kritschgau says that the conspirators had hoped she wouldn’t be alive by the time the body was found.

Mulder accuses Kritschgau of being part of the conspiracy. Kritschgau takes responsibility for his actions, but now that his son has been affected – he’s sick from his time in the Gulf War – Kritschgau wants to stop the conspiracy. Plus, the research facility could have a cure for his son. Moments after Mulder heads to the super-top-secret-classified section alone, Kristchgau is detained.

CSM meets with one of his Syndicate buddies (the only one who’s ever allowed to talk) at a racetrack, angry that he was never told that Mulder was under surveillance. His buddy claims he doesn’t know what CSM is talking about. He also believes that Mulder’s dead, and he thinks the possibility of losing Scully put him over the edge. CSM says he’s never underestimated Mulder, and he still doesn’t.

Scully meets up with the doctor at American University, who got the chimerical cells to divide when he combined them with fetal bovine cells. After that, they began to develop a lifeform. In the super-top-secret-classified section of the facility, Mulder sneaks around while hiding from soldiers. He voices over about finding a cure for Scully, like, yeah, we know why he’s there. Less talky, more searchy. Finally, he breaks into a room full of dead aliens.

Scully takes over the voiceover, talking about the organism from the ice that could provide proof of alien life – or it could just be a man-made chimera created to further the hoax. Maybe she was exposed to a virus being tested during her abduction. Mulder sees flashing lights in another room and finds a bunch of pregnant women undergoing some sort of procedure.

Scully gets the idea to run the ice-core sample against her own DNA to find out if there’s a match. She wants the results before her meeting with the panel that night. “Everything in my life depends on it,” she tells the doctor. Scully spots Skinner in the hallway at the lab and accuses him of spying on her for the DOD. Skinner says part of his job is to question his subordinates when he thinks they’re lying – you know, like she is now.

Skinner has gotten the forensics reports from the body in Mulder’s apartment, so he knows Scully’s lying about his death. He warns that every lie she tells compounds the truth. Scully’s like, “You’re one to talk.” She wants to know who’s responsible for her illness, and what really happened when she was abducted. Skinner wonders if that’s what she’s going to say to the panel that night to justify her actions. If they find out she lied about Ostelhof’s identity, she’ll be in a lot of trouble.

Scully thinks Skinner’s going to use her lie against her just like she’s been used all along “to preserve the lies.” Skinner asks where Mulder is, like Scully’s really going to tell him. He warns that refusing to answer questions won’t save her – and really, with the people they’re dealing with, it’s possibly that nothing will save her. Scully thinks the truth will.

As she runs tests on her blood, she continues the voiceover about her time with Mulder and how she was supposed to keep tabs on him. Now she wants to prove that he was targeted by someone in the FBI in an attempt to keep a secret under wraps. Mulder goes deeper into the facility as Scully voices over that she’s on the brink of finding a link between the conspiracy and her cancer. She’s ready to confront the panel with proof that could change the world.

Mulder finds a storage facility connected to the Pentagon; it contains drawers similar to the ones he and Scully found in “Paper Clip.” He looks through Scully’s file, then Kritschgau’s son’s. Meanwhile, CSM learns that Ostelhof entered the building and went into the Pentagon storage facility. CSM watches surveillance footage of Mulder in the facility, confirming that he’s not dead after all.

Scully isolates a virus from the ice-core lifeform (say that five times fast), hoping that science will give her answers, though she knows it might not save her. As Mulder uses a card from Scully’s file to find a box containing capsules, Scully gets her proof that her cancer was caused by the virus in the ice. Mulder voices over that he may have found Scully’s cure, and now it’s up to Scully to make the liars believe her lies.

Scully meets with the panel for a repeat of the scene in “Gethsemane” where she announces that Mulder’s beliefs were B.S. Mulder tries to leave the DOD facility, but his access card takes a while to cooperate. CSM lets him leave as Scully tells the panel that Mulder’s dead. Skinner arrives in time to hear Scully say she has proof that the same people behind the alien conspiracy gave her cancer and put events in motion that led to Mulder’s death. She adds that someone in the room was involved.

As Scully pulls out the file containing her evidence, she realizes her nose is bleeding. Skinner catches her as she collapses. “You…,” she murmurs. Elsewhere, Mulder takes the possible cure to the Lone Gunmen, who give him the bad news that it’s just water. To be continued…

Thoughts: Scully’s first mistake was pretending clothes were enough to ID a body. Skinner will believe a lot, but not that Scully would go on that instead of doing a DNA test.

Speaking of Skinner believing a lot, I have to laugh at him thinking that Mulder and Scully would be 100 perfect honest with him. Come on, man.

Seriously, though, if you’re going to fake your death, at least wear a wig or something.

Thanks for all the unnecessary voiceovers, show. I hope it was worth the money.

April 1, 2017

The X-Files 4.24, Gethsemane: The Biggest of Lies

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

Someone needs a hug

Summary: Archive footage of a 1972 NASA symposium at Boston University features someone talking about the real possibility of learning whether aliens exist in the not-too-distant future. In the present, Scully is called to Mulder’s apartment to identify a body. She then goes to FBI headquarters to discuss her experiences in the X-Files with a group of higher-ups. After four years, she can state that, in her scientific opinion, the investigations are all B.S. Mulder “became a victim of his own false hopes, and his belief in the biggest of lies.”

A helicopter flies over the St. Elias Mountains in the Yukon Territory, on its way to meet a man who’s seen something amazing. Three men start the trek to this incredible find, willing to climb all night to get there. They meet up with a group at a big wall of ice that appears to have something underneath it. Back in D.C., Scully tells the Feds that a man recently fooled Mulder into believing that his search for the existence of aliens was going to come to something. Now, Scully wants to expose Mulder’s work as meaningless.

Maggie hosts a get-together, in which we meet Scully’s brother Bill Jr. for the first time. There’s also a priest at the party, and Scully knows he’s there to bug her about not attending church anymore. Scully doesn’t think her spirituality is necessary in the fight against her cancer. She thinks she has all the strength she needs, and she doesn’t want to “go running back” to religion.

Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell Scully that a guy named Arlinski just contacted him about the thing in the Yukon. Bill Jr.’s disappointed that Scully’s obviously going to choose work over having dinner with family and friends. The agents meet up at the Smithsonian to talk to Arlinski, who was once accused of being involved in a scam involving UFO photos. Now, he wants the agents to look at photos from the Yukon – photos of what appears to be a 200-year-old body found by a survey team.

Arlinski claims that the agents are the only people who know about the body (other than the team still in the mountains). He’s obtained samples from the body and is convinced that it belonged to an alien. Mulder knows they can’t go public with this info; no one will take them seriously, and those in a position to cover it up will do so. Arlinski thinks Mulder will be able to get evidence, and all he wants for his aid is credit.

Scully declines to express an opinion, telling Mulder that this is his Holy Grail, not hers. Mulder argues that this isn’t a “pet project,” and he’s as skeptical of Arlinski as he needs to be, but he’s also excited about the possibility of a scientific breakthrough that will change what people know about alien life.

Scully doesn’t know why Mulder needs proof of something he already believes. He asks if her beliefs would change if someone could prove God’s existence. Scully says they would only change if someone disproved His existence. Mulder wonders if that means she accepts the possibility that there’s no God. She admits that she never thinks about that, and she doesn’t think it could be disproven anyway.

Mulder thinks it would be worth looking for the truth anyway. “Or is it just easier to go on believing the lie?” he asks. Scully tells him she’s not continuing this search with him, but she’ll look at the samples from Arlinski. Scully tells the Feds that at that point, she’d learned that her cancer had metastasized, and she was beginning the journey to the end of her life. She hadn’t said anything about it to Mulder.

In the Yukon, the men cut through the ice while one loads a gun, concerned about being alone with the survey team. The men have found a hole in the ice but can’t figure out how it was made. They’re eager to get the body out of the ice and get some more answers. Scully’s getting some at American University, learning that the ice sample is as old as Arlinski claims. It also contains some kind of hybrid cell from a plant or animal. For now, the doctor testing the samples is calling it chimerical.

The men in the Yukon awake in the middle of the night when they hear gunshots. The next day, Mulder and Arlinski arrive to find the camp empty. They find their guide dead, then trek up to the site to find out what happened. Back in D.C., Scully goes to meet the doctor with the ice samples but instead runs into a man who seems to have taken something from the lab. She chases after him when he leaves, but he roughs her up and pushes her down the stairs.

It’s dark when Mulder and Arlinski make it to the survey site, finding everyone dead. Arlinski rushes to the ice wall and discovers that the body is gone. He doesn’t know who could have taken it, since everyone who knows about the body is dead or was on a helicopter at the time of the theft. Mulder wonders if their radio communications were being tapped. The men realize that Babcock, Arlinski’s contact at the site, is still alive. He reveals that he buried the body, which certainly looks like it belonged to an alien.

Bill Jr. brings Scully a change of clothes after she spends the night in the hospital (she’s okay, though). He reveals that he knows about her cancer, even though she asked their mother not to tell him because she didn’t want sympathy. Bill Jr. wants to know why Scully’s still working when she’s practically at death’s door. He points out that Maggie must be suffering. Scully says she still has responsibilities, but Bill Jr. doesn’t think Mulder deserves that. After all, he’s not here to show his support.

Mulder and Arlinski have the alien body sent to D.C., where they melt the ice to fully excavate it. Arlinski thinks a simple examination will give them all the evidence they need that it’s an alien. Mulder knows they need to do a carbon-dating test to remove all doubt. Elsewhere in the city, Scully uses a fingerprint recovered from the stairwell to look for her assailant from the lab. She guesses he’s with the government, and she’s right. He’s Michael Kritschgau, and he works at the Pentagon.

Mulder and a mostly recovered Babcock record Arlinski’s examination of the alien body, which turns into something Mulder’s been wanting to see for a long time: an alien autopsy. It’s gross. Arlinski is able to confirm that the body isn’t human.

Scully stakes out an office building in Sethburg, Virginia, following Kritschgau as he leaves. She intimidates him in a parking lot, making him think she’s going to run him over, then chases him through rows of cars so she can arrest him. Even though he jumps in his car to flee, Scully is able to stop him. Kritschgau tells Scully he never meant to hurt her, and reveals that his life is in danger from the same people after her – the people who caused her cancer.

Arlinski tells Mulder that, even without further tests, he’s pretty sure they have an alien body in the lab. As Scully calls, she narrates to the Feds that Mulder told her they were steps away from confirming the existence of alien life. But Kritschgau told her how she and Mulder had been deceived for years. The same people behind the deception killed Melissa and gave Scully cancer.

Scully summons Mulder to meet her as a man with a gun keeps an eye on him. The man goes to the lab, where Arlinski realizes that Babcock has double-crossed him and leaked the news of the body. The man with the gun shoots Arlinski, then confirms with Babcock that Mulder’s “a believer.” That means Babcock and the shooter are the only two who know the truth.

Mulder meets Kritschgau, who tells him that everything he’s been working on is a lie – it’s just a distraction from shady things going on in the government. Mulder finds it a little coincidental that Kritschgau would run into Scully during this big investigation. Kritschgau insists that the lies started before Mulder was even born. He’s coming forward now because his son, who served in the Gulf War, has been affected.

Kritschgau continues that everything Mulder believes was manufactured. UFOs? Military aircraft. Evidence of alien biology? Just human anomalies that haven’t been explained yet. The body from the Yukon? Chimera cells poured into the ice (through the unidentified hole) to make Mulder think aliens were real. The conspirators wanted Mulder to go public with the news so everyone would think he’s nuts. The body has to already be gone.

Scully follows Mulder back to the lab, where they find the body gone and Arlinski and Babcock dead. Mulder thinks this is confirmation that the body was for real. Scully believes Kritschgau, but Mulder thinks he’s spouting lies created to obfuscate the facts. After everything he’s seen and experienced, there’s no way the alien was fake.

Scully thinks Mulder just finds it easier to believe the lie. Mulder wonders what Kritschgau could have said to Scully to make her believe him. She tells him that, according to Kritschgau, the conspirators gave her cancer to make Mulder believe their lies. Mulder walks out.

Mulder watches the footage from 1972, crying as he hears Carl Sagan and other scientists talk about aliens and whether we can communicate with them. At the meeting with the Feds, Scully cries as well, announcing that the body she identified was Mulder’s. It appears that he committed suicide.

Thoughts: Done with season 4! And…there are still six seasons left. Wow.

John Finn (Kritschgau) was also Pacey’s dad on Dawson’s Creek. He totally looks like a guy who would push you down the stairs.

Writers, please give characters names like Smith and Jones so I don’t have to type “Kritschgau” over and over.

Chimerical Ice is the name of my new emo band.