April 22, 2017

The X-Files 5.3, Unusual Suspects: How I Met Your Mulder

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:25 pm by Jenn

Yeah, I would totally ask these guys for help uncovering a government conspiracy

Summary: It’s 1989, and the police are about to raid a warehouse in Baltimore. Whoever they’re looking for has disappeared, leaving behind a groaning, half-naked man. Finally the police find their men – specifically, the Lone Gunmen. “They’re here!” the half-naked man yells over and over. It’s Mulder, and he’s a little upset.

Also a little upset: the Lone Gunmen, who are fingerprinted and locked up in a cell. Baltimore Homicide Detective John Munch wants to question Byers first, but Byers has his own questions: Where is “she”? Munch says “she” is nowhere to be found. Byers asks about Mulder, who’s still babbling. There was a break-in and shoot-out, though there are no bodies and nothing was taken. Munch would like Byers to start talking.

He does, revealing that his full name is John Fitzgerald Byers, and he was born on 11/22/63, the day JFK was killed. (Before the assassination, his parents planned to name him Burt.) Byers works for the government “for the moment,” and recently attended an electronics show as his job for the FCC. Cut to the convention, where Byers has trouble getting people interested in his booth. A woman approaches and he nervously offers her a button, but she just walks away.

For some reason he can’t understand, Byers tells his colleague he’s going on a break so he can follow the woman. She next goes to Frohike’s booth, which offers a gadget that provides premium cable without a cable box. Langly is in the next booth over and thinks his converter is better. While the two of them bicker, the woman leaves, and Byers continues following her. She comes back toward him and he bumps into her, causing her to drop a picture of a little girl. Byers thinks the woman needs help, so he offers it to her.

The woman tells Byers that the girl in the picture is her daughter, who was kidnapped by her mother’s ex. She first liked him because he was “dark and mysterious,” but that darkness and mysteriousness got more pronounced over time. No one will help the woman find her daughter, so she came to Baltimore to look for the ex. Unfortunately, he found out she’s looking for him, so she could be in danger. She shares that the only other lead she has is “Arpanet/Whtcorps,” making her think her daughter’s disappearance has something to do with computers. Byers knows Arpanet is the government’s Internet, though, since it’s 1989, that word probably means nothing to her.

Byers is eager to help this sad, pretty lady, and since he has computer knowledge, he offers to go online for her. She introduces herself as Holly, just like the brand of sugar Byers has put in his coffee. (Since it’s 1989, he hasn’t seen The Usual Suspects yet.) Byers returns to his booth with Holly and accesses Arpanet to look up Whtcorps. It’s a project on the Defense Data Network, and Byers can’t get any further without DOD clearance. Holly starts to leave, since Byers can’t offer her any more help, but Byers has a little knowledge of government computer systems, and he’s able to hack in.

Holly gives him her daughter’s name, Susanne Modeski, and Byers accesses an encrypted file with her name. He’s shocked that a preschooler has an encrypted file in a secret DOD database. Holly isn’t, and she just asks Byers to decrypt the file and print it out. As soon as she has the print-out, she tells Byers they have to hide – her ex has arrived. They peek out from behind some curtains to see a man in a trench coat looking around the room. It’s Mulder. He passes Frohike’s booth, then Langly’s now-unmanned booth, looking for something in particular.

Byers takes Holly to Frohike for help with decrypting the Susanne Modeski file. Frohike thinks they should just beat up Mulder and get him to tell them where Susanne is. Holly tells the guys to stay away from him, but they won’t listen. “This dude doesn’t look so tough,” Frohike says as Mulder pauses at a booth educating the public about alien invaders. Byers and Frohike follow Mulder into a dark hallway, where Mulder calls them out, introduces himself as an FBI agent, and asks for help finding Holly. They claim ignorance. As they head off, Mulder takes a call from someone named Reggie on a cell phone even Zack Morris thought was too big.

Now that the guys know Holly’s ex is with the FBI, things are more complicated. Then things get worse when Byers’ co-worker is hauled off for using the booth’s computer to hack into a government system. Byers wants to turn himself in, but Frohike points out that they’ve gotten themselves involved in something huge and need to find out what’s going on. He wants Byers to hack into the FBI mainframe.

The guys find Langly, who’s playing in some sort of backroom Dungeons and Dragons game, and Frohike asks him for help. First, he has to admit that Langly’s “kung fu is the best.” The three men hole up in a hotel room, where Langly hacks into the FBI mainframe and looks up Mulder. He’s currently working for the violent crimes unit. Also, there’s nothing in his bio about him being crazy or having a daughter.

Byers has Langly look up “Holly Modeski” under “active cases,” then, when that turns up nothing, “Susanne Modeski.” That gets a hit, but not the way Byers expected. Susanne is actually Holly, an employee at an Army weapons facility in Whitestone, New Mexico. Byers realizes that’s what “Whtcorps” refers to. Susanne is also a wanted fugitive, accused of bombing a lab and killing four employees, then killing an MP who tried to detain her. She’s psychotic, paranoid, armed, and dangerous.

The guys notice the doorknob turning and back up to the other side of the room as Susanne enters. She sees that they looked her up, so she admits that her name is Susanne, not Holly. She used to be a chemist for the weapons facility, but she wasn’t responsible for the bomb. She also doesn’t have a daughter. She knew Byers wouldn’t believe her if she told him why she really needed help decrypting the file. Susanne believes it contains proof that the government is using an aerosolized gas that causes paranoia and anxiety. She thinks it’s going to be tested on people in Baltimore.

Susanne tries to convince the guys that the government wants to control every piece of people’s lives from birth to death. She’s also sure that they were behind JFK’s assassination. She finds a Bible in a drawer and tells the guys that the government puts them in hotel rooms as a front for surveillance. The guys are all skeptical, since the government is normally so helpful and provides good things for people. Plus, Byers works for the government, so they can’t all be bad people. Susanne just wants help deciphering the file, and if they won’t do it willingly, she’ll let her gun convince them.

Forced into action, the guys put the file through a decryption program and confirm Susanne’s theory. The file gives the location of the gas, but it also reveals that Susanne is under around-the-clock surveillance by a Dr. Michael Kilbourne – Susanne’s dentist. She heads to the bathroom with some sort of tool, and instead of just pulling out an implant, she just yanks out her whole tooth. Drama queen. Byers tells Munch that they flushed it so the implant couldn’t transmit their location.

Susanne and the guys head to the warehouse from the beginning of the episode and find boxes of asthma inhalers that Susanne is sure contain the gas. Mulder catches them and tries to arrest everyone. The guys argue that Susanne didn’t kill anyone, but Mulder shuts them up. Suddenly a couple of other men arrive and grab Susanne, shooting at Mulder. Despite having dozens of bullets fired at him, Mulder is uninjured…but the bullets hit the boxes, puncturing the inhalers and releasing the gas.

Mulder takes off his shirt, for some reason, and the mystery men approach to finish him off. Susanne shoots them, then leaves Mulder behind in the warehouse, shirtless and flailing. The Lone Gunmen are in shock when another group enters the warehouse. Their leader (our old buddy Mr. X) ignores them, instead approaching Mulder and telling his men to “sanitize it.” A semi-conscious Mulder watches as some men – who look to him like aliens – come in and take over the scene. They put the dead men in body bags as Mulder mumbles that he’s still alive.

A forklift removes all the boxes of inhalers as Mr. X considers Mulder. He tells a colleague to leave Mulder alone. Byers wants to know what’s going on, and why the government wants to test the gas on the public. Mr. X lines the men up like he’s going to execute them, but when he pulls his trigger, no bullet comes out. He tells the guys to behave themselves, then leaves. Byers protests over being intimidated into being quiet. This makes him think Susanne was right about the government being responsible for JFK’s assassination. “I heard it was a lone gunman,” Mr. X replies as he leaves.

Byers tells Munch that the police arrived next, and Munch knows the rest of the story. Munch asks if he looks like Geraldo to Byers. Byers is sent back to a holding cell, where the other guys complain about how Susanne got them in trouble. Byers is still interested in learning the truth, and still thinks Susanne needs help, though he now knows he can’t provide it.

The guys are soon released, since Mulder verified their statements. Munch advises the guys to start wearing tinfoil hats. They gather their belongings, but Langly has his cable converter confiscated. They overhear a cop telling Munch that Mulder’s stolen car was found at a train station, making Byers think that Susanne took the car and left it there to throw off the cops. The Baltimore Guardian‘s offices are nearby, and Byers thinks Susanne went there so she can go public.

That’s exactly where the guys find Susanne, but she tells them the paper didn’t believe her story. She’ll try talking to other papers and TV stations until someone finally listens. She appreciates what the guys did for her, and she kisses Byers to thank him for wanting to offer more help. A nearby payphone rings and the guys suddenly get tense. Susanne tells them that no matter how paranoid they are, it’s not enough. They need to use truth as a weapon and reach as many people as possible. A car screeches up and some men grab Susanne and pull her inside. As it drives off, the guys see Mr. X in the backseat.

The guys head back to the electronics show to clean up and mope together. Mulder finds them there and tells them that Susanne is no longer wanted by the FBI. He wants the guys to tell him what really happened the night before, since he has some weird memories. They confirm that he wants the truth, then invite him to sit down with them, since this could take a while. Byers starts off, telling Mulder that the government is involved in everyone’s lives, and we’re all under surveillance. “What?” Mulder exclaims in disbelief.

Thoughts: Shout out to the person on Tumblr with the How I Met Your Mother URL. It was too good not to borrow.

Munch is played by Richard Belzer in some sort of weird Homicide: Life on the Street/Law and Order cross-over.

I love that Byers spells Susanne with two S’s without being told, and it turns out to be the correct spelling. Whatever, show.

How paranoid were asthmatics after this episode?

October 22, 2016

The X-Files 4.1, Herrenvolk: Bees in the Trap

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:36 pm by Jenn

"Would you guys be able to transfer your work skills to tend to another kind of crop? Like, say, pot? I'm asking for a friend"

“Would you guys be able to transfer your work skills to tend to another kind of crop? Like, say, pot? I’m asking for a friend”

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.

October 15, 2016

The X-Files 3.24, Talitha Cumi: Stop Using Your Alien Powers for Good!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:55 pm by Jenn

Awww, they have matching coats!

Awww, they have matching coats!

Summary: A man at a busy fast-food restaurant in Arlington, Virginia, is ranting about being mistreated by someone. He pulls a gun and takes everyone hostage (though he’s kind enough to let the children go). An employee calls the police as another customer approaches the first man and calmly tries to talk him down. “They made me do it,” the first man says. The second man calms him enough to take the gun.

Outside, the world’s fastest sniper team gets ready to take out the possible shooter. He sees a couple of customers trying to leave and shoots them, but the snipers shoot him as well. The calm man assures the hostage-taker that he’s not going to die, then puts a hand on his wound, clearing up the blood.

By the time Mulder and Scully arrive on the scene, the medics are there and confused that they didn’t actually need to come – no one’s hurt. All the witnesses are also confused. One of the men who was shot has a mark on his shirt from the bullet and blood, but he’s totally fine. He tells Scully that the calm man healed him. Mulder sits with the shooter, Galen Muntz, who says that God took pity on him and forgave him, sparing his life. He thinks the calm man was God’s vessel to heal him. However, the calm man is now gone, so the agents can’t talk to him.

Up in Rhode Island, Teena Mulder has gone to her family’s old home to see an old friend: CSM. He wants her to try to remember something. Someone takes pictures from a distance as the two fight. Back in Virginia, the agents learn that the calm man said his name was Jeremiah Smith, but the address he gave the police was for a P.O. box. A police officer says he seemed to vanish in an instant.

Skinner calls Mulder at the restaurant to tell him that Teena’s been admitted to a hospital in Rhode Island. Mulder rushes up there to find his mother unconscious after a stroke. Scully tries to assure her partner that Teena could make a full recovery. When she wakes up, she can’t speak, but she writes her son a note: PALM. Teena’s soon taken to another facility, and Scully again assures Mulder that she’s getting good care.

Mulder wonders if there’s a connection between his mother’s illness and the incident in Virginia – Jeremiah used the palm of his hand to heal people. Scully thinks it’s just a coincidence. Instead of staying near his mother, Mulder decides to return to D.C. and find out who Jeremiah is. He reviews footage shot by a local news crew and sees the moment Jeremiah disappears while speaking to a detective. He’s replaced by someone wearing the same clothes.

A bunch of men in suits head to the Social Security Administration, where Jeremiah’s working. CSM is among the men, smoking even though this is a GOVERNMENT BUILDING, SIR. Jeremiah tries to leave, but the men grab him and leave. He’s taken Hannibal Lechter-style to a prison cell.

Mulder returns to Rhode Island, where Mr. X joins him at the family home. He reveals that CSM was there with Teena, showing Mulder pictures of their fight. Mr. X figures that Mulder knew they knew each other, and why they were there. He’s the one who called an ambulance for Teena, but he doesn’t know what she and CSM were fighting about. He thinks CSM was looking for. Mulder says that his mother hasn’t been to the house since she divorced his father. Mr. X thinks the thing CSM wants is very old.

Jeremiah shows up at FBI headquarters, telling Scully he wants to turn himself in. He tells her, Skinner, and some other agents that he doesn’t remember anything that happened at the restaurant. He hasn’t done anything wrong, so they have to let him leave.

In Rhode Island, Mulder searches the house but can’t find anything that fits with the word “palm.” He pulls out Teena’s note and rearranges the letters to come up with the word “lamp.” There are plenty in the house to choose from, but the second one he checks contains what looks like a retractable ice pick.

CSM visits Jeremiah’s cell to slam him for helping people instead of working toward his “greater purpose.” His actions could have huge consequences. Jeremiah says that CSM’s actions take away people’s freedom. People believe in authority and science, so they don’t need other explanations. They need to keep this up if the “project” is going to be successful. And CSM thinks it will be, since the date has been set.

Jeremiah turns into Bill, questioning how many people have to die so CSM will be successful. CSM says he’s not impressed with Jeremiah’s miracles or trickery. He’ll get justice. Bill/Jeremiah asks where that will come from. “By those who possess the tool of your destruction,” CSM replies.

Mulder’s back at FBI headquarters, demanding that Skinner help him look into CSM’s background. Skinner can’t help, and it doesn’t really matter, since Mulder can go to Jeremiah for answers without going through CSM. Mulder and Scully go to the SSA to talk to Jeremiah, who pulls the same trick as before, disappearing and leaving behind someone wearing his clothes. That man easily leaves the building without anyone noticing.

CSM returns to Jeremiah’s cell so they can babble some more about miracles and what people believe. CSM says people fear God without believing in Him. If they can appease people’s consciences, they can rule them. Jeremiah turns into Deep Throat and mocks CSM for a minute, then turns back into himself. He announces that CSM is dying of lung cancer, but CSM accuses him of lying.

The man who left the SSA appears at Jeremiah’s prison with a new face and his own retractable ice pick. It’s our old buddy the Bounty Hunter! He’s led to Jeremiah’s cell, but it’s empty. Meanwhile, Mulder visits his mother, who isn’t doing so well. After crying for a few minutes, Mulder leaves the room and sees CSM in the hallway. Mulder attacks him, pulling his gun. CSM says he met with Teena at her request because she had questions about Samantha’s whereabouts. But the person with that information has disappeared.

Scully works late at FBI headquarters, looking up information on every Jeremiah Smith who works for the SSA. There are six of them, and they all look exactly alike. Mr. X meets up with Mulder, asking for the ice pick, but Mulder won’t hand it over. He knows it’s the only way to kill “them.” Mr. X warns that Mulder will be killed for the ice pick, even if it means he becomes a martyr. Mulder knows they’re facing colonization, and the date has been set.

Mr. X again demands the ice pick, and Mulder again refuses to give it over. The two men fight and end up pulling guns on each other. Mulder notes that Mr. X will never get the ice pick if he shoots Mulder. Mr. X is considering doing it anyway, since Mulder’s squandered everything Mr. X has done for him. But it doesn’t really matter, since one way or another, Mulder’s a dead man walking.

Scully gets a visit at home from Jeremiah, or at least someone who looks like him. She’s smart enough to make him follow some instructions that ensure she’s not putting herself in danger. Jeremiah wants to hand over some information about an “elaborate plan” and Samantha. Scully wonders why Jeremiah didn’t tell her this before. He says they’ve never talked – the person she talked to before was an imposter.

Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) and Scully tells him Jeremiah’s there. Mulder tells her to meet him at a construction site; her apartment isn’t safe. When Scully and Jeremiah arrive, Mulder separates them, pulling out the ice pick. Jeremiah promises to explain everything, but first Mulder wants him to go see Teena. Before they can go anywhere, the Bounty Hunter arrives, ready to use his ice pick on Jeremiah. To be continued…

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote this episode.

The SSA looks like a horrible place to work. It’s just a big room full of people working on computers. There aren’t even any cubicle walls. I’d go crazy there.

And just like that, I’m done with season 3. Only seven more seasons to go!

October 8, 2016

The X-Files 3.23, Wetwired: Let’s Go to the Videotape

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:21 pm by Jenn

I had roughly this many videotapes in the '90s, too

I had roughly this many videotapes in the ’90s, too

Summary: It’s after 10 at night in Braddock Heights, Maryland, and a man is digging a big hole to bury another man’s body. You know, just typical springtime fun. Though the digger says the other man’s killing days are over, so I guess he thinks he’s done something good. The digger washes up back at home, but his victim shows up in his house. The digger uses his shovel to kill the victim again, and is dragging his body outside when the police arrive. Both cops look like his victim. The digger attacks one and gets tased in return. There’s a glitch like the diggers watching a faulty TV, and he sees the cops’ real faces. They find a body in the digger’s trunk – it’s his wife, Sarah.

Mulder’s in downtown D.C., meeting with a man who contacted him wanting to talk. He suggests that Mulder look into the five murders the digger (Joseph Patnik) committed. The man denies that he’s one of Mulder’s “sources,” but he won’t clarify who, exactly, he is. He does warn that if Mulder doesn’t look into the crimes, more will die. So Mulder looks into them, visiting Patnik at a psychiatric hospital. He tells Scully that Patnik says he killed the same man over and over, but he wouldn’t die. A babysitter in Patnik’s neighborhood recently attacked the children she was watching, saying she thought they were wolves.

Patnik’s doctor, Stroman, tells the agents that Patnik has been having outbursts, though he’s calm now. They found amphetamines in his system. Suddenly Patnik starts screaming and has to be sedated again. The agents see that Patnik was watching TV when a news story came on about murderous Bosnian dictator Lladoslav Miriskovic (not to be confused with Slobodan Milosevic, I imagine). The agents head to Patnik’s house, wondering why Mulder’s source pointed them toward the case. Scully wonders if they’re being used. Mulder doesn’t think it matters, since they need some answers anyway.

The agents hear screaming from upstairs, but it’s just the movie a couple of preteen boys are watching. As the boys leave, the TV goes snowy – a cable guy appears to be working on the lines. Scully notices the Patniks’ extensive videotape collection, which seems to consists mostly of recorded news broadcasts. Scully wonders if there’s a connection between them and Patnik’s crimes. The agents review some of the tapes their motel rooms that night, and Scully discovers that pieces on Miriskovic aired on each night Patnik committed a murder.

Mulder dismisses the theory that violence on TV leads to violence in real life; it’s pseudoscience. Scully thinks that Patnik’s drug use combined with the violent imagery made him kill. Mulder argues that that’s not enough to make a previously stable person violent – “not even must-see TV can do that.” He heads off to bed while Scully keeps watching the tapes. She passes the time by crunching ice, eventually going outside to get more. She sees Mulder in his car in the parking lot, having a chat with CSM. She sees Mulder hand CSM a videotape and then drive off with him.

The next morning, a woman is washing dishes and watching a game show when her kitchen starts to glitch. She looks in the backyard and sees her husband fooling around with a woman in their hammock. She responds by grabbing a gun. Mulder tells Scully about the latest murder, and she meets him in the car, checking the ashtray first (it’s empty). She asks if he took the car out last night, since it’s parked in a different spot now. Mulder says he got a newspaper that morning.

At the latest crime scene, the agents learn that the killer, Helene, said she saw her husband in the hammock with a blonde. Apparently the blonde was really the couple’s golden retriever. (Thankfully, the dog is unharmed.) Oh, and the man in the hammock isn’t even Helene’s husband; he was a neighbor. Helene was in the wrong backyard. The agents check out the house, which is full of items purchased from home-shopping channels. There are also a bunch of videotapes, which Scully starts watching.

Mulder spots the same cable guy from the Patniks’ house outside. He goes to talk to the guy, who drives off. Mulder then climbs the utility pole himself (seems about right for him) and sees that the worker installed something in a box, possibly a scrambler. Scully suggests that they hand it over to Pendrell for analysis, and Mulder says he’ll take care of it. Instead, he takes the device to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him it adds something between the still pictures transmitted in a normal TV broadcast. It’s emitting some sort of signal.

Scully calls Mulder (no “Mulder, it’s me,” unfortunately), who tells him that someone may be conducting a test. She tells him she talked to Pendrell, who said Mulder never brought him the device. Mulder says he took it somewhere else and tries to explain the device to her. Scully hears clicks on the line, though Mulder doesn’t hear them. She hangs up on her partner and doesn’t answer when he calls back. She unplugs the phone and pulls apart the receiver. Next, she checks a lamp, the underside of the couch, the backs of paintings, and a light socket. As she’s trashing the room, the walls start to glitch.

Seeing headlights outside makes Scully panic, and she goes for her gun when someone knocks at her door. It’s a good thing her shots miss because Mulder’s there with a motel clerk. Scully runs off and still hasn’t turned up in the morning. Mulder calls Maggie, trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation. Skinner arrives and Mulder tells him to keep the investigating officers from treating this like a manhunt for an escaped criminal. He thinks Scully’s suffering from the same psychosis as Patnik and Helene. She’s not responsible for her violent actions. Skinner suggests that it might be a good idea to find her before she hurts anyone.

Mulder puts an X on his window, even though the last time he spoke to Mr. X, he was told there would be no more communication. The Lone Gunmen call to tell Mulder they found something interesting on a tape from Scully’s room. Mulder joins them to learn that there were red and green lights being transmitted between frames in a home-shopping segment. The signal triggers something in the brain, similar to subliminal messages used in movie theaters in the past to make people buy popcorn.

Byers says that American and Russian scientists have been working on this technology for a long time. The guys just don’t know why Mulder wasn’t affected. Mulder asks if color could be a factor – he’s red-green colorblind, so he may not see the signal like others do. As the guys discuss the possibility, Mulder gets a call from the police reporting that Scully may have been found…or rather, her body may have been found. He heads to the morgue, taking a moment to steady himself. Before he can go inside, his source arrives and demands a conversation. He tells Mulder to keep following the evidence before “they” can destroy it.

The body in the morgue is, of course, not Scully’s, and Mulder wants someone to let Maggie know. Maggie hasn’t been answering her phone, so Mulder pays her a visit. She doesn’t want to let him in the house, which makes him realize that Scully’s there. Scully greets her partner with a gun, thinking he’s there to kill her. Mulder explains to her that she’s sick, but Scully thinks he’s been working against her from the beginning. He was one of the people behind her abduction, he put the chip in her neck, and he killed Melissa. Maggie moves in front of Scully, reminding her daughter that she’d never let anyone hurt her. Scully calms and cries in her mother’s arm.

Scully’s admitted to Georgetown Hospital, embarrassed that she believed the things the signal made her think were real. Mulder tells her that the other killers were also affected by events they thought were playing into their worst fears. Patnik, whose parents were Holocaust survivors, wanted to kill Miriskovic because he saw him as a modern-day Hitler. Helene was scared that her husband would cheat on her. Mulder thinks the TV signal turns people’s fears into reality. Scully admits that she thought she saw Mulder talking to CSM as if Mulder were reporting to him. Mulder thinks it’s reasonable that CSM could be behind all of this.

On his way out, Mulder chats with Scully’s doctor, who hasn’t found anything medically wrong with her patient. The only abnormal thing she’s found is high levels of serotonin, which has in the past been linked to mania. Now they’re back to normal. Mulder wonders if the doctor might have suspected that Scully was on amphetamines, but the doctor says that doesn’t fit with the high serotonin levels. Mulder calls Patnik’s psych hospital to talk to Stroman, who’s no longer working there. For some reason, Mulder guesses that his new phone number is the one for the motel where he and Scully were staying.

Mulder returns to the hotel (where the clerk makes him go into the room first this time), but Stroman’s already checked out. While the clerk gets Stroman’s phone records, Mulder finds the butt of a Morley cigarette in an ashtray. He traces a number on the phone records to a house, arriving just before the cable guy shows up and lets himself in. Mulder watches through a window as the cable guy and Stroman wonder where the person they’re supposed to meet is. When Mulder starts to break in, he hears gunshots. Both men are now dead, thanks to Mr. X. Mulder’s unknowingly been working off of his tip the whole time.

Mulder complains that he doesn’t have evidence now, but Mr. X reminds him that he was warned about this happening. Mr. X says he had to move quickly because he was being watched. His orders were always to kill the cable guy and Stroman; he just hoped Mulder would finish his investigation first. Mulder wants to know why the signal was being used in the first place – sales? Voting? Mr. X says “they” won’t stop there.

Mulder calls him a coward for putting Mulder and Scully in danger without risking his own life. Mr. X just smirks and starts to leave. Mulder pulls his gun, but Mr. X isn’t intimidated. He tells Mulder he’s putting his life in danger right now. He knows Mulder won’t kill him – Mulder needs him. Mulder has no choice but to let him go.

A few weeks later, Mulder turns in a report on the case, though he doesn’t have much information to provide. Scully tells him and Skinner that the cable guy didn’t have any record of shady behavior, and the only doctor with a medical license in Stroman’s name was a guy from Falls Church (hometown shout-out!) who died in 1978. Mulder says the killer remains unknown. Said killer sneaks down an alley one night and gets in a car with…CSM. Mr. X assures him that all the tech from the case has been removed, though Mulder still has a transmitter. The man who originally contacted Mulder has been eliminated. And his source, like Mulder said, is still unknown.

Thoughts: I assume the author of Channel X watched this episode.

I was under the impression that you couldn’t by an FBI agent if you were red-green colorblind, but it looks like there’s a special test that they’ll give colorblind applicants, and if you pass it, you’re in. Not that this is the most ridiculous thing to happen on the series anyway.

Scully, it’s okay to change out of your work clothes once you’re back in your motel room.

Helene’s victim’s name is John Gillnitz, a name used multiple times over the course of the series. It’s a combination of the names of three show writers: John Shiban, Vince Gilligan, and Frank Spotnitz.

July 9, 2016

The X-Files 3.10, 731: Speed 3: Strangers on a Train

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:32 pm by Jenn

"I'm too old for this s%$#"

“I’m too old for this s%$#”

Summary: In Perkey, West Virginia, a military convoy has arrived at Hansen’s Disease Research Facility and is moving its residents outside. Either those residents all have giant heads and deformed fingers, or they’re aliens. One of them hides under the floor and is able to stay back when the others are taken to a field and executed.

Elsewhere, Mulder has just done the most Mulder thing imaginable and is train-surfing. Scully demands to know what’s on the train, but Mr. X won’t tell her how the Japanese government and World War II doctors are involved. When she struggles with him, he asks if she’s going to shoot him like the men who shot Melissa. Mr. X tells her to look to her neck implant to figure out who’s behind everything. In fact, it could answer all her questions.

Mulder makes it inside the train and tries to access an area marked as quarantined. A conductor he talks to is no help but suggests that Mulder talk to a doctor on board, Shiro Zama. When Zama doesn’t answer his door, the conductor helps Mulder break in. No one’s inside, but Mulder finds and confiscates Zama’s things. He gives the conductor an unloaded gun and asks him to detain Zama if he returns.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters to talk to Pendrell about the implant. He first thought it was placed to record neural impulses, but now he thinks it was replicating memory formation. Basically, it was a hard drive collecting Scully’s memories. Pendrell accidentally destroyed the chip while working on it, but he was able to determine that the technology came from Japan. The contact person on the shipment carrying that technology? Shiro Zama. Scully leaves while Pendrell beats himself up for being doofy in front of her.

On the train, the American airport killer from the previous episode follows Zama, cornering him in a bathroom just before Mulder passes by. (The killer never gets a name, but we’ll call him Stephen, after the actor who plays him.) Following the information Pendrell found on Zama, Scully heads to Perkey and finds the abandoned research facility. She sees some people (aliens?) running around and finds them hiding under the floor. They’re scared, thinking Scully’s going to hurt them.

Mulder continues searching the train for Zama, who, of course, is dead. Back in Perkey, Scully questions the people at the facility, who explain that they’ve lived there their whole lives. She determines that Hansen’s is basically a leper colony. The whole medical staff left just before “death squads” started coming to execute the residents.

Scully doesn’t get why so many people were kept at the facility when leprosy is treatable. The group’s spokesperson tells her that their disfigurements forced them into “camps” instead of treatment. Other patients arrived with similar deformities, but were burned by Zama’s treatments. The spokesperson takes Scully to the mass grave that holds all of the patients/aliens killed by the death squads.

A helicopter arrives, so Scully and the spokesperson run into the woods to hide. Scully’s captured by a group of men and hears a gunshot. Mulder returns to Zama’s car and tells the conductor that Zama’s dead. He wants to keep the train from making any stops until he finds the murderer. Mulder goes back to the quarantine area, this time spotting its patient. But before he can do anything, Stephen grabs him and tries to garotte him like he killed Zama.

The conductor comes to Mulder’s rescue, pulling the unloaded gun on Stephen to get him to drop Mulder. Stephen claims he’s in law enforcement; when he pulls his badge, the conductor runs, locking Stephen and Mulder in the car together. Mulder still has his weapon, so now he has the upper hand on his would-be killer.

Stephen announces that he’s with the NSA, and what he’s after isn’t an alien – it’s a bomb. Entering the car triggered the explosive, which could be wired to anything. Stephen claims that he killed Zama so Zama couldn’t kill his cargo. Mulder doesn’t believe him, so he’ll keep holding his gun on Mr. NSA, thank you. Stephen notes that firing could set off the bomb, but Mulder will take his chances.

In Perkey, Scully’s taken to a man from the Syndicate (known as the Elder) who waxes poetic about the facility. The patients were exposed to Zama’s treatments. Scully corrects that the Elder means Ishimaru, accusing the government of hiding him after the war. The Elder says that Ishimaru went rogue and exposed the patients to horrible things. He won’t tell Scully if she’s been exposed, too, but he tells her he has answers for her.

The conductor offers to try prying the door open, but Stephen warns against that. He gives up his access card but says it won’t work. Mulder figures out that there’s a code, which Stephen got from Zama before he died. Stephen confirms this, but says using the code to enter the car triggered the bomb. They’ll need a different code to leave the car. Mulder thinks the bomb is on their car, but Stephen says he doesn’t know where it is.

Mulder decides to call his bluff and use the entry code to get out. Just before he finishes inputting the code, Stephen gets a phone call…for Mulder. It’s the Elder, and he has Scully on the line. We get a “Mulder, it’s me” before she warns Mulder that they’re involved in something very different from what they thought. The alien on the train isn’t an alien; he’s one of Zima’s human guinea pigs and has been exposed to radiation and diseases.

Mulder doesn’t know why Scully believes what the Elder has told her. Scully says she believes what she’s seeing – she’s on a train car just like the one from the autopsy video, and she knows she’s been there before. It’s where she was taken when she was abducted. Zama used a secret railroad to conduct his tests, and Scully and the MUFON women were among his patients. The UFO Mulder went looking for was part of a Russian sub.

Scully continues that the president recently made a public apology to citizens affected by radiation tests before 1974. The tests continued after, including on the person in quarantine. Scully warns that there’s a bomb on the train, and if it goes off, thousands will develop hemorrhagic fever, since that’s what the quarantined patient was exposed to. Mulder tells her that it’s a little late not to enter the car. She tells him the bomb is on a timer, but at least she knows it’s inside a vent.

Mulder gets Stephen to open a vent in the car, exposing the bomb’s timer. Fortunately, they have over an hour and a half to deal with it. Scully tells Mulder to get the train stopped, but he pretends they’re losing their connection and he can’t hear her. Instead, he tells the conductor to inform the engineer to reroute the train to an unpopulated area and unhook the car. As he does so, Stephen warns Mulder that “they” won’t reach the car in time to save them.

So now it’s just Mulder, Stephen, and the patient in Middle of Nowhere, Iowa. Stephen spots an unguarded scalpel, so Mulder should probably do a better job of securing him. Also, half an hour has passed, so…maybe do something? Mulder calls Scully to tell her he plans to wait and see what happens. Good plan!

Once the timer is down to 38 minutes, Mulder finally realizes that no one’s going to come rescue him. He starts interrogating Stephen, asking who he’s protecting, and what his orders were after he killed Zama. He thinks Stephen knows what the alien really is. Stephen won’t answer, so Mulder threatens to shoot him in the stomach so he dies slowly. Well, more specifically, he threatens to “miss” Stephen’s stomach and shoot him somewhere a little farther down.

Stephen finally reveals that the patient is a weapon. What could be more valuable than a biological weapon or atomic bomb? An army immune to biological weapons and atomic bombs. Mulder realizes that Zama was testing those immunities on civilians, as well as on alien-human hybrids. Stephen taunts that if the patient were one of those hybrids, someone would have come to save him by now, right?

Scully heads to Mulder’s apartment and tries to call Senator Matheson, then puts an X on the window. While she’s waiting for Mr. X, she puts on the autopsy video. Sometime later, she calls Mulder to tell him that the video shows Zama punching in the code to leave the train car. It takes some work, but she’s able to get five of the six numbers and make a confident guess about the sixth.

The code is right, but before Mulder can leave the car, Stephen attacks and beats him up. However, as he’s exiting the train, he takes a bullet courtesy of Mr. X. With less than a minute left on the timer, Mr. X heads to the quarantine area, then carries an unconscious Mulder off the train. The car explodes, with just one fatality.

A week later, the fate of the train car is unknown. Matheson won’t return Mulder’s calls. Scully says that someone called a hospital to alert them to Mulder’s location, which means Mr. X vanished and Mulder doesn’t know he was there. Scully managed to get Zama’s briefcase back, but Mulder says the journals inside aren’t the ones he found in Zama’s car – they’ve been rewritten. The bodies at Hansen’s have all been removed.

Mulder argues that he knows what he saw, and everything’s being covered up again. Scully says she knows what she saw, and they’re not going to get anything beyond the cover-up and apologies. Mulder doesn’t want apologies, he wants the people who are responsible to be held accountable: “I want an apology for the truth.” Elsewhere, CSM looks on as someone translates Zama’s journals from Japanese to English.

Thoughts: It’s not explained in the episode, but it’s called “731” after a real Japanese army unit that experimented on POWs and Chinese civilians.

Stephen: “You’re gonna die. You know that?” Mulder: “What do you care? You were trying to kill me anyway.” Heh. Point Mulder.

Mulder, don’t call the patient a “thing.” Aliens have feelings, too.

For those of you who like TV Easter eggs, part of the exit code is Chris Carter’s favorite number, 1013.

July 2, 2016

The X-Files 3.9, Nisei: All Aboard the Alien Autopsy Crazy Train

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 12:41 pm by Jenn

Look at him. You know he's thinking this is one of the coolest moments of his life

Look at him. You know he’s thinking this is one of the coolest moments of his life

Summary: A group of kids riding their bikes wave as a train passes by on its way to drop off a train car. That night, a man emerges from the car and leaves as some other men board the train. The inside of the car has been turned into a medical facility, and the men speak Japanese while they perform some sort of operation. Everything seems fairly normal, except for the fact that their patient’s blood is green. Also, then some men come in and shoot all the doctors, so I guess that’s not normal. The shooters bag up the patient, which…I’m not saying it’s an alien, but it certainly looks like one.

Mulder’s having a lazy morning in his office, watching a mail-order video of an alien autopsy. Scully scoffs that “it’s even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network.” They study a recording of the train operation, wondering why they can’t actually see the alien being autopsied. The screen goes fuzzy just as the men with guns arrive. Mulder got the video from someone in Allentown, Pennsylvania, who says he got the feed off of a satellite dish in the middle of the night.

Road trip to Allentown! They visit the headquarters of Rat Tail Productions and quickly discover that the house has been broken into. Mr. Rat Tail is tied up on the bed, dead for just a few minutes. Mulder spots someone running out of the house and chases him through some backyards and down the street. When Mulder finally catches him, the man pulls some self-defense moves on him and kicks his gun away. Mulder has smartly ensured that he can’t lose his gun, so he easily recovers it. He asks the man his name, but the man will only respond in Japanese.

Scully meets up with her partner at the Allentown police station, complaining that there’s no Japanese interpreter to help them question the man. Skinner joins them and announces that they have to release the man – he’s a high-ranking Japanese diplomat named Kazuo Sakurai. Mulder half-lies that they’re in Allentown working on a case of video piracy. Skinner advises him to return to D.C. Scully, however, can’t shake the case – why would a diplomat be in a dead video producer’s house?

Mulder still has Sakurai’s bag, so he and Scully check out the contents. They find satellite photos and a list of Allentown-area members of the Mutual UFO Network. One name, Betsy Hagopian, is circled. Mulder takes the photos to the Lone Gunmen, who tell him he’s found some espionage pictures of a boat the Japanese are looking for called the Talapus. Frohike’s surprised that Sakurai was so reckless with his findings. The ship is now in Newport News, Virginia. Meanwhile, a Japanese man gets in a car in D.C. and is strangled.

Scully pays a visit to Betsy Hagopian’s house, meeting two women who claim they know her – she’s one of them. The women knew Mr. Rat Tail (real name: Steven); he was a member of their chapter. Scully’s confused about why they say they know her, too. She’s surprised when they guess that she had an unexplained experience in her life last year. They tell her to wait for the rest of their chapter to arrive.

While Mulder starts looking into what happened to the Talapus, the women in Allentown tell Scully that all of them have been “taken.” They remember bits and pieces of being in the same bright place Scully was kept during her abduction. They think Scully should consider undergoing regression hypnosis to recover all of her memories. Scully thinks she doesn’t want to be a part of their book club or whatever.

Mulder runs around the shipyard for a while, letting himself onto a boat where he finds a work shirt from the Talapus. Some soldiers arrive and storm the boat, so Mulder jumps overboard. In Allentown, Scully doesn’t understand why she can’t remember the MUFON women when they can remember her. They tell her that’s normal. Scully remembers being on a table with some sort of tool stuck in her belly (which looks pregnant). The MUFON women ask about her neck implant, since all of them have them.

Scully decides it’s time to leave, but realizes she hasn’t seen Betsy, the person she came to talk to. The women take her to a hospital, where Betsy’s being treated for cancer. They think it’s connected to her abduction, and they’ll all eventually suffer the same fate. In Newport News, Mulder gets back to dry land and peeks into a warehouse. A bunch of people in white Hazmat suits are working on something under a big clear tarp.

Mulder heads home and finds his door open a crack and his electricity out. Skinner’s there, and he tells Mulder that someone broke in before he got there. Sakurai was released the previous night but was found dead this morning in a canal. The Japanese government thinks someone killed him for his briefcase, which was never entered into evidence. Skinner’s smart enough to know that Mulder took it, but Mulder’s smart enough to have left it with Scully. Skinner tells him to get it back – they’re dealing with something bigger than even the FBI, and he doesn’t want to be involved.

The next day, Mulder goes to see his buddy Senator Matheson, who tells him to return the satellite photos and make everything go away. Mulder refuses – he’s seen something he wants to follow up on. Matheson tells him that four Japanese doctors were murdered in Nashville while participating in a highly classified project. Mulder figures they were working on the alien autopsy. Matheson gives Mulder their names and warns that he doesn’t have much time to expose whatever’s going on. Mulder wonders what that whatever is. “Monsters begetting monsters,” Matheson replies.

Scully returns to D.C. and tells Mulder about the MUFON women. Her skepticism about the situation is slipping, since the women seem to know so much about her. She spots a picture Mulder’s looking at of a group of Japanese scientists from World War II. Scully recognizes one of the men, Takeo Ishimaru, though Mulder says he died in 1965. He was the commander of the 731, an elite section of Japan’s medical corps, which performed experiments that would have made Mengele proud. Four of those doctors were the men murdered in Nashville, possibly by the U.S. government.

Mulder thinks the doctors were trying to create an alien/human hybrid. Scully scoffs, but Mulder reminds her of all the things she’s seen, including the tunnel full of files and her implant. Why can’t she believe? “Believing’s the easy part, Mulder. I just need more than you. I need proof,” she says. “You think that believing is easy?” he asks.

Mulder has figured out what the Japanese boat was tracking: a UFO that’s now in a warehouse in Newport News. He thinks that’s how the alien in the video got to Earth. He shows Scully the list of names from Matheson, saying he got them from someone who, like her, wants proof, but who’s also willing to believe. Scully takes an implant to the wonderful, lovable Agent Pendrell. He determines that it’s a microprocessor like those used in brake systems and video games. Recently, one was developed to harness disabled people’s brainwaves to help them use computers.

Mulder’s now sneaking around somewhere new, a rail yard in West Virginia. A van arrives and some Japanese men bring the possible alien to the train car where the autopsy was performed. The train leaves the station, and Mulder tries to run after it, then I guess realizes he can’t outrun a train. In Mulder’s office, Scully rewatches the video, pausing on a shot of Ishimaru. She remembers him leaning over her during her abduction.

We get a rare “Scully, it’s me” when Mulder calls from the rail yard to tell her he saw the Japanese men putting the alien on a train. She tells him Ishimaru’s on the video, but that’s not how she recognized him. Inside the train station, an American man knocks out one of the Japanese men from the rail yard. (More about the American guy in the next episode.) Mulder tries to get a seat on a train to Vancouver so he can meet up with the other train, but he’s too late.

Scully goes back to Mulder’s apartment and encounters Mr. X. He warns her that Mulder’s in danger and can’t get on the train he’s tracking. Scully tries to blow him off, reminding X that he’s lied to her and Mulder before. But Mr. X is insistent, so Scully calls Mulder and tells him not to get on the train – “they” know where he is. Mulder’s found a bridge he can jump off of to land on the train, and no matter how firmly Scully tells him not to do it, it, of course, does. To be continued…

Thoughts: Poor, doomed Agent Pendrell. He deserved so much better.

Writing “Some soldiers arrive and storm the boat, so Mulder jumps overboard” doesn’t even faze me. Like, of course he does. Why wouldn’t he? It’s the Mulder thing to do.

Also, for an FBI agent, Mulder isn’t very good at being stealthy. Maybe Mr. X can give him some lessons.

April 16, 2016

The X-Files 2.23, Soft Light: Me and My Shadow

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:30 pm by Jenn

"Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior General Electric?"

“Do you have a moment to talk about our Lord and Savior General Electric?”

Summary: The guest in room 606 at the Hotel George Mason in Richmond, Virginia, is trying to relax when he hears someone knocking insistently on the door across the hall. The visitor (who we’ll eventually learn is named Banton) is insistent that someone named Morris talk to him. As Banton backs away from the door, his shadow spills under the door of 606’s room. The shadow turns into something resembling a puddle of gas, and a blue light starts flashing. 606 falls through the floor. Banton uses his finger to extinguish a light, then runs from his shadow.

Mulder and Scully are, of course, summoned to the hotel to investigate the third apparent abduction in the area in the past month. They were called there by Kelly Ryan, one of Scully’s students from her time teaching at Quantico. Kelly’s just been made a detective and wants some help with the case. When Mulder meets Kelly, she says she’s heard a lot about him. “We’ll talk later,” Mulder tells Scully.

Kelly tells the agents that the man from 606 is Patrick Newirth, a top executive from Morley Tobacco (important!) who was in Richmond for a meeting. He was discovered missing when he didn’t answer his wake-up call. The door was locked and chained; the windows are all locked and there’s no fire escape Newirth could have climbed down. Scully checks out an air vent, having learned her lesson about strange abductions from Eugene Tooms.

Kelly continues that the only forensic evidence she’s found is a big burn mark stain on the carpet. Stains were found at the scenes of the other abductions as well. Newirth wasn’t a smoker (even though he worked for a tobacco company), and the mark contains materials that Scully says could come from burned flesh. Mulder notices that the mark looks like an arm, and in the place a person would be standing if he were looking out the door’s peephole.

The agents check out the hallway, and Mulder requests that the lightbulb Banton touched be dusted for prints. The lightbulb is out, but he rotates it to turn it back on. He also wants to look into the last abductee, Margaret Wysnecki. He wonders why Kelly was given this case, her first as a detective. Kelly says no one else wanted it, since it’s probably not going to lead to any big media attention. She asks for Mulder’s opinion on what happened. He suggests spontaneous human combustion. Kelly’s like, “Oh, yeah. Sure. I thought of that, too.”

Scully accuses Mulder of teasing Kelly, but he’s serious about his combustion idea. She tells him there’s no scientific evidence to back that up. Like that’s ever stopped Mulder. The agents head to the Wysnecki house, where Mulder notices that a streetlight is out and turns it back on. He thinks it’s significant that both crime scenes had nonworking lightbulbs. He snags this one for fingerprints. Inside the house, the agents find a burn mark.

Margaret Wysnecki recently retired from the Laramie Tobacco Company, but since so many people in Richmond work for cigarette companies, Mulder doesn’t find this significant. Plus, the first abductee, Gail Lambert, worked for Polarity Magnetics as an engineer, so there isn’t much of a pattern. Mulder finds a train ticket in Margaret’s trash dated the day she disappeared. He remembers that Newirth came to town via train, but Gail’s case doesn’t mention anything about trains. Mulder thinks there could still be a connection.

Speaking of train stations, that’s where Banton is right now, smoking a cigarette. He watches the floor carefully as he leaves the station and enters an alley. A police car drives up and Banton runs, but another police car traps him. Banton tells the cops to stay away and runs into a dark area of the alley. The police call him out and Banton reluctantly stands under a light, warning that he’s a dangerous man. He backs away from one cop and his shadow does to the other cop what it did to Newirth. The other cop comes closer and also vanishes, leaving behind the oily goo.

The next morning, Kelly meets the agents at the scene, confirming that she sent two officers there the night before as the agents requested. The cops are now missing, and there are two scorch marks in the alley. Kelly feels horrible that she sent her officers into a dangerous situation, and that she’s in over her head in her first case. Mulder asks about fingerprints on the bulb from the hotel, but there were no matches.

Mulder doesn’t know what’s going on, but he’s sure they’re on the right track. He guesses that their culprit was at the train station when Margaret and Newirth came to town, so he could be on surveillance tapes. The agents view a bunch of tapes but don’t see anyone they think is their guy, until Mulder wonders why the same man keeps showing up, seemingly doing nothing. It’s Banton. Enhancement shows that his jacket bears a patch from Polarity Magnetics, where Gail worked.

So the agents go to Polarity, where an employee IDs Banton, his business partner. The man hasn’t seen him in five weeks and wasn’t sure Banton was even still alive, after an accident. The man, Davey, explains that Banton was interested in dark matter and subatomic particles. (Long story short: Banton believed in the existence of building blocks of the universe that haven’t been proven to actually exist. Sound familiar?)

Davey takes the agents to Banton’s particle accelerator, where his accident occurred. Banton had to go in to make an adjustment, which is a no-no. He accidentally locked himself inside and Davey wasn’t there to free him. Something happened that left Banton’s shadow burned into the wall. Scully’s surprised that he survived at all. Mulder translates for us laypeople: Banton basically underwent a really, really powerful x-ray. Davey came in after it happened and thought Banton looked calm, like he was going to experience dark matter in a physical way, like he’d wanted.

Scully thinks the material in the lab is like what they’ve found at the crime scenes, and they could be dealing with spontaneous human combustion after all. Mulder, however, thinks they’re dealing with something else. All the agents know is that they need to find Banton. They go to the train station, and Mulder sits in Banton’s favored spot, trying to see what he was looking at on the floor. Scully doesn’t think there’s any point; Banton’s probably mentally ill.

Scully hasn’t shared any of the weird details of the case with Kelly, which is probably a good idea. Besides, they don’t have a motive or murder weapon. Mulder sees that because of the diffused lighting – soft light – in this part of the station, there aren’t a lot of shadows on the floor. He wonders if Banton kept looking for his shadow on the floor. Just then Banton approaches, running when Mulder sees him. He tries to lose the agents by getting on and off a train, but they catch him.

Banton begs the agents to leave him alone, warning that they’re making a mistake. He stops Mulder from walking into his shadow, saying it’ll kill him. Mulder shoots out the lights above them so the shadow can’t be seen anymore. He and Scully take Banton to a psychiatric hospital, and though they order the doctor to keep his room dark, Banton insists on soft light. He confirms that his condition is connected to dark matter – it’s like a black hole now. It turns matter into energy.

Banton denies that he ever meant to hurt anyone, especially Gail. He went to see her, and she suddenly disappeared. Mulder asks a dumb question, confirming that Banton can’t control what happens. Banton says he’s just trying to figure out the nature of his shadow before the government finds out about it. He’s sure the government is pursuing him and wants to suck out his brain to get the knowledge he’s been hiding. He begs the agents to hide him, thinking that his shadow won’t be tethered to anything if he dies.

Kelly arrives and introduces the agents to another detective, Barron, who’s confused as to why the FBI is involved. Evidence shows that Banton was present at the crime scenes, so he’s probably the culprit. Banton will now be transferred to the city jail. Mulder protests that the police don’t understand how dangerous the situation is. Scully stays quiet, and Mulder accuses her of supporting Kelly’s ambition. For the first time, she’s putting herself ahead of her work. Scully points out that they don’t have jurisdiction and were just doing a favor.

Mulder believes that Banton’s paranoia is well-founded (I mean, really), and that they just handed him over to the people he wants to avoid. Scully says Banton is delusional, despite the evidence they’ve found in the case. It’s not their job to explain what’s going on. Mulder disagrees and returns to the train station, where he meets up with Mr. X. But X can’t help, since his identity has been compromised and he’s not willing to put himself in danger anymore. He tells Mulder not to contact him again unless it’s “absolutely necessary.”

The light outside Banton’s cell is dying, and when it finally goes out, Mr. X arrives. He tells a nurse he’s there to transfer Banton to jail, moving in two men to secure him for the journey. The shadow zaps them, so it’s just Banton vs. Mr. X now. Mr. X lets Banton go, because he’s not about to let himself be done in by a killer shadow. When Mulder and Scully get to the hospital the next morning, they learn that someone turned out the lights purposely, and Banton’s on the loose.

Kelly’s in trouble, since she was in charge of Banton’s transfer, but that’s kind of the least of anyone’s problems right now. Mulder thinks that, since Banton is just trying to control his shadow, he’s on his way back to his particle accelerator. That’s where Davey encounters his old partner, who says he has dark matter inside him and needs to destroy it. But Kelly’s tracked him down and wants to take Banton back into custody. Unwilling to let himself be captured again, Banton takes a step forward and lets his shadow zap Kelly.

The good news is that now Davey believes Banton, so now he can be an accomplice in Banton’s plan to fix everything – or at least that’s what Banton hopes. He locks himself in the accelerator, but Davey won’t cooperate. He’s working with the government and is ready to turn over his partner. Mr. X has different plans, though, and kills Davey as Mulder and Scully arrive at the lab. They find Kelly’s scorch mark, then hear the whirring of the accelerator. They reach it in time to see Banton turn into nothing but shadow.

Mulder sees that the accelerator was sealed from the outside, most likely by Mr. X. Mulder finds his buddy and accuses him of lying – Mr. X knew who Banton was and used Mulder to find him. Mulder refuses to be used again. Mr. X ignores his question about who he answers to, reminding Mulder that he’s never made any promises. Mulder asks for just one: the promise that this will be their last meeting. Mr. X warns that this is a dangerous time for Mulder to try to seek answers on his own. Then he says that he didn’t kill Banton.

Kelly is given a police funeral, which Scully attends on her own. When Mulder meets her at the cemetery, she says she feels horrible that a student came to her for help and wound up dead. Mulder tells her that Morris West, a physicist from Polarity, reported Davey missing. He wonders if Davey, not Banton, was the person they saw in the accelerator. This means Banton is still out there somewhere. More specifically, he’s in a government lab, crying while he undergoes tests under Mr. X’s watchful eye.

Thoughts: Banton is played by Tony Shalhoub.

When I was a kid, I read a book about unsolved disappearances, and the suggestion for one person’s disappearance was spontaneous human combustion. That’s always stuck with me, so this episode kind of freaked me out.

So now we have a unique new way to quit your job: “Sorry, I can’t come in anymore. My shadow might kill you.”

March 5, 2016

The X-Files 2.17, End Game: Samantha or Shamantha?

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

The only time Gillian Anderson will ever be taller than David Duchovny

The only time Gillian Anderson will ever be taller than David Duchovny

Summary: In the Beaufort Sea, 87 miles from Alaska, the USS Allegiance has found something on its radar. It’s emitting radio signals, but nothing they can understand. They’re instructed to fire on command. Before they can, a loud noise sounds throughout the submarine and the power goes out. A commander decides they should surface, but they’re under 32 feet of ice, so that’s not really an option.

We head back to where we left off in the last episode, with Scully at a Maryland motel, on the phone with one Mulder while another stands in her room. She hangs up on the caller, telling in-person Mulder that it was a wrong number. Then she grabs her gun and makes him face the wall. Mulder plays innocent, then punches her and demands to know where the real Mulder is. This is, of course, the Bounty Hunter.

The real Mulder makes it to the motel with Samantha, but Scully and the Bounty Hunter are long gone. Samantha’s sure that she’s alive; the Bounty Hunter took her to get to Samantha. She guesses that the Bounty Hunter got in by disguising himself as Mulder. Fortunately, Samantha knows how to kill him. Unfortunately, exposure to his blood is fatal, so if you’re going to kill him, you better do it right. Mulder wants to find the Bounty Hunter, but Samantha says he’ll find them.

They go to Mulder’s apartment so he can pace and question what’s going on with Samantha. She tells him the doctors are the progeny of two original colonists, and they want to inherit the planet someday. The doctors worked at abortion clinics to get access to fetal tissue; they’ve found a way to combine human and alien DNA. The Bounty Hunter is after them because they’re performing unsanctioned experiments considered a “dilution” of the race.

Mulder isn’t sure he believes the story. Samantha urges him to trust her, seeing as how she’s his sister. Skinner arrives, or at least someone who claims to be Skinner, and Mulder turns out the lights while Samantha grabs an ice pick. She soon determines that he’s the real Skinner, so Mulder fills him in on who Samantha is. Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and confirms Samantha’s suspicions: She’s been taken so the Bounty Hunter can trade her for Samantha.

Mulder only has an hour to make the swap at a bridge in Bethesda, so he enlists Skinner’s help. Skinner and a sniper hide out, waiting to take out the Bounty Hunter as soon as Scully’s safe. All the parties arrive at the meeting point, and Mulder offers Samantha up for the trade. Scully’s released, and Samantha moves to stab the Bounty Hunter in the back of the neck. He overpowers her as Mulder pulls a gun, telling the Bounty Hunter that he won’t be leaving alive.

The Bounty Hunter now wants to know where “she” is. Mulder demands that he let Samantha go. No one moves, so the sniper shoots the Bounty Hunter, who falls into the water with Samantha. And that’s why you don’t do a hostage exchange on the bridge. A search team looks all night, but Samantha doesn’t resurface. Scully wishes that Mulder had told her on the phone that Samantha was the person the Bounty Hunter was looking for. All he says is that the Bounty Hunter is an alien, and now he has to tell his father what happened.

Bill arrives in D.C. and Mulder tells her that Samantha’s gone again. Bill’s mad that Mulder authorized a swap, allowing the Bounty Hunter to take his sister. Mulder gets emotional, because his sister’s gone and his father’s a jerk and he just needs a hug. Bill gives him an envelope Samantha left for him at the house; it holds an address and an access card. Mulder goes to the address and finds a women’s clinic. But moments later, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him that Samantha’s body has been found.

After determining that the Bounty Hunter hasn’t been found, Mulder hangs up. Too bad he didn’t stay on the line – Scully’s about to see Samantha’s face being eaten away by green goo. Mulder sneaks into the clinic and finds…Samantha. She guesses that “she” is dead, then takes him to a room containing the same kind of containers Prince was working with in the warehouse. There’s another Samantha clone there (a Shamantha, if you will), and the clones know the Bounty Hunter’s on his way to kill them.

Mulder meets the original Shamantha, who tells him he has no choice but to save them. Mulder disagrees – he can choose to leave. “We know where your sister is,” the original Shamantha says. How else would the clones know so much about Samantha? An alarm sounds, indicating that the Bounty Hunter has arrived. Mulder quickly encounters him and gets knocked out. Somehow, the clinic catches fire, and Mulder has to be rescued by firefighters. He’s told that there’s no one else in the building.

At FBI headquarters, Scully types a report, even though the episode’s only halfway over. The Bounty Hunter is at large, and Agent Weiss’ body is being studied for a possible contagion. Scully thinks the thickening of his blood was an immunological response. A doctor tells her that lowering the temperature by just five degrees renders the virus dormant. Scully remembers that the body of the Samantha clone started to corrode after being pulled from the icy river.

Mr. X is taking in an opera at the Kennedy Center in D.C. when Mulder summons him for a meeting. Mr. X refuses to help: “The fat lady is singing.” Besides, he thinks everyone’s dead. Mulder thinks the Bounty Hunter is still alive. Mr. X tells him that the USS Allegiance has found him, and an attack fleet is ensuring that he’s contained. He doesn’t think Mulder can win this battle.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment (awww, she even says “Mulder, it’s me” when she knocks on the door) and finds a couple days’ worth of newspapers outside. She lets herself in and checks out his email, finding a message from the man himself. It informs her that he’s off on a mission he didn’t tell her about because it could jeopardize her career. She said a line has to be drawn, so he’s drawing it for her.

Scully goes to Skinner and tells him off the record that Mulder’s gone rogue. She asks him to try to reach Mulder through “unofficial channels.” Skinner refuses – they need to stay loyal to the FBI, unlike Mulder. Scully argues that Mulder saved her life, so she has to do the same for him. He points out that if Mulder wanted that, he would have told Scully how to find him.

Back at Mulder’s apartment, where his masking-tape X is still in the window, Scully waits for contact. Mr. X finally arrives, but he refuses to help her. As he leaves the building, he runs into Skinner, who already knows who he is. Skinner attacks Mr. X, ready to fight for information. Mr. X is also ready to fight, so if you want to see two middle-aged men beat each other up in an elevator, this is the place. Mr. X ends things by pulling his gun. Skinner tells him he’ll be killing two men if he pulls the trigger.

Skinner wins the battle, telling Scully that Mulder went to Alaska and chartered an ATV. Scully asks how he got the information. “Unofficial channels,” Skinner replies. In Alaska, Mulder finds the Bounty Hunter’s icy hiding place, and there’s definitely someone else alive in there. There’s lots of running through the submarine until Mulder comes across a young lieutenant named Terry Wilmer.

Wilmer tells him they spent a few days under the ice until they found a place to surface. Then a man arrived and killed everyone else. Wilmer only survived by playing dead. As the power in the sub comes back up, Mulder demands to know where Samantha is. He’s already correctly determined that Wilmer is really the Bounty Hunter.

Mulder again asks where Samantha is. The Bounty Hunter wonders if he’s really willing to die for the answer. Of course, Mulder is, so he keeps asking. The Bounty Hunter says she’s alive, but Mulder soon won’t be. Mulder manages to get his gun back and shoot the Bounty Hunter, but not in the neck. This means exposure to the Bounty Hunter’s toxic blood. The Bounty Hunter banishes Mulder from the sub, leaving him out on the ice while he powers up and goes back underwater.

Now we’re back where “Colony” started, with Scully telling Mulder’s doctors not to warm him up. His heart is failing not because of hypothermia but because his blood is thickening. Scully’s insistent enough to convince the lead doctor to let her take over. And since this is only the second season of the show, she’s able to save her partner.

Scully sits with Mulder at the hospital while a voiceover tells us what she puts in her case report. The Bounty Hunter has disappeared, along with the sub. Scully’s willing to admit that something supernatural could have happened. Unexplained phenomena have strengthened her faith, and haven’t turned her away from science. After all, science saved Mulder.

Mulder wakes up with Scully by his side and tells her he has “a bad case of freezer burn.” He’s sorry for not taking her along on his mission, but not that sorry, since she could have been in danger. He didn’t find what he was looking for, but he found something he thought he’d lost – “faith to keep looking.”

Thoughts: I don’t buy Scully cowering in the car while Mulder faces off with the Bounty Hunter. But I guess there wasn’t really anything for her to do.

They need a way to ID a person and make sure he or she isn’t the Bounty Hunter. Like how they splash people with holy water in Supernatural to make sure they’re not demons.

Mulder: “How was the opera?” Mr. X: “Wonderful. I’ve never slept better.” Which I guess means he went to the opera reluctantly, which means he probably went on a date. Awww, is Mr. X married?

For more Mitch Pileggi/Steven Williams fighting, watch the Supernatural episode “And Then There Were None.”

February 21, 2016

The X-Files 2.15, Fresh Bones: That Voodoo That You Do So Well

Posted in TV tagged , at 2:18 pm by Jenn

'Hello are you a ufo?'

“Hello are you a ufo?”

Summary: Folkstone, North Carolina, looks like a nice little town. But in one house, the morning isn’t off to a good start. The husband, Jack McAlpin, is an angry Marine. His wife takes care of their toddler son alone and endures her husband’s anger. Looks like someone has PTSD. Though I’m not sure that explains his hallucinations of maggots in his cereal bowl. McAlpin takes off in the family car, seeing a decaying face in his rearview mirror. Taking his eyes off the road means he’s unable to keep from crashing the car into a tree marked with a weird symbol.

A few days later, Mulder and Scully head to Folkstone, reading up on McAlpin. His death has been ruled a suicide, since he had no drugs or alcohol in his system and didn’t try to steer away from the tree. This is the second recent suicide of Marines from the same base. The base is also home to thousands of refugees; recently, a ten-year-old boy died during a riot. The military refused Mrs. McAlpin’s requests to investigate her husband’s death, so she contacted the FBI on her own.

The agents check out the tree and its symbol, which Scully thinks is ritualistic. Mulder notes that most of the refugees on base are Haitian. Mrs. McAlpin thinks one of them killed her husband. The agents next visit Mrs. McAlpin, who says that her husband started getting angry after working at the refugee camp. He wouldn’t talk to anyone about his problems. Mulder asks if he believed in voodoo. Yes, Mulder, a white Marine in North Carolina practiced voodoo.

Mrs. McAlpin reports that a Marine named Harry Dunham told her the symbol on the tree was also found on the stool another Marine used to hang himself. Dunham is from New Orleans and has some superstitions about voodoo. Mrs. McAlpin found a large seashell in the sandbox, and guess what symbol is carved on it?

At the refugee camp/INS processing center, refugees mill around under military guard. A refugee yells something at Scully, and a young boy chases him off, then offers Scully a lucky charm made of cloth. Scully’s spooked, but Mulder buys the charm. The agents meet with Colonel Wharton, who thinks his Marines are absorbing too much hatred from the refugees. Wharton can’t do anything other than try to process the refugees quickly.

Mulder asks about the symbol, which Wharton doesn’t think is connected to the Marines’ deaths. However, he blames voodoo for the riot that killed the boy; the refugees had performed a ritual that same night. He thinks a refugee named Pierre Beauvais incited the riot. Scully heads to the camp’s makeshift morgue to look at McAlpin’s body, which hasn’t been autopsied yet since his cause of death was obvious, but it’s been replaced by a dead animal.

Mulder is led to Beauvais by Dunham, the Marine Mrs. McAlpin mentioned. He “can’t say” what he thinks is going on. Beauvais isn’t any more helpful when Mulder asks what he knows about the Marines’ deaths. After all, he’s been locked up. Mulder asks about the symbol, hoping Beauvais can help Mrs. McAlpin find some peace. Beauvais says the symbol is the loco-miroir, “the crossroads between the two worlds.” It’s a mirror where a man has to confront his true self. “These Marines – maybe they didn’t like what they saw,” Beauvais says.

Mulder asks about the riot, and Beauvais says the refugees just want freedom. They want to go home, and Wharton won’t let them. Scully arrives, and before she can tell Mulder that McAlpin’s body is gone, Beauvais tells him. “They will only warn you once. After that, no magic can save you,” he says. Back in their car, Scully guesses that Beauvais had the body switched with an animal corpse. Mulder’s hoping the lucky charm he bought will offer some protection. Scully almost drives them into a person standing in the middle of the road…a person who turns out to be McAlpin.

After a doctor’s exam, the agents learn that McAlpin has amnesia, probably from a head injury suffered in his car crash. Scully thinks there’s a reasonable explanation for his having been declared dead: Someone just screwed up. However, he has a large amount of a toxic substance in his bloodstream, the kind you could only get from eating a ton of pufferfish. Mulder: “He’s a zombie!” No, seriously – someone at Harvard did a study on the same poison in Haiti, which he said led to zombification. In smaller doses, a victim could declare clinically dead.

Now Mulder wonders if the other Marine, Guttierez, is really dead, so he and Scully go to the cemetery. An employee tells them the body has already been stolen. Body-snatchers in the area often sell the bodies to medical schools, but sometimes to people who practice voodoo. Nearby, the three see someone digging up another grave – it’s the boy who sold them the charm. And he’s not digging up the grave; he’s just scooping up frogs.

The agents take the boy to a restaurant, asking how he’s able to get in and out of the camp. He says he just does. The kid, Chester, gets 50 cents per frog from Beauvais. Scully says some frogs produce the toxin found in McAlpin’s blood, so Beauvais could be behind what happened. Mulder tells her that he thinks they’re being followed.

He heads outside to find Dunham, who wants to warn the agents about something, but not with Chester around. He reveals that Beauvais threatened to take the Marines one by one if Wharton didn’t release the refugees. Instead, Wharton ordered beatings. Dunham is horrified by the sorts of things the Marines have been ordered to do. He says Beauvais threatened to take their souls. Dunham has experience with voodoo curses; after his fiancée’s father screwed someone on a real estate deal, she died on their wedding day and snakes were found inside her.

After Dunham leaves, Scully says that he’s just afraid because of his superstitions. Mulder wonders why he wants to avoid Chester, who has headed back to the camp on his own. The agents track him down, but he disappears on a dock. All Mulder finds is a cat (leading to one of my favorite Tumblr posts, pictured above). Back on base, Wharton tells the agents that he filed a complaint with the Justice Department because they tried to have Guttierez exhumed. Not that it matters, since the body’s gone. Scully thinks it’s retaliation for the way Wharton has treated the refugees.

Wharton laughs off Beauvais’ accusations, saying that the Marines are the real victims. After the agents leave, Wharton starts to eat his breakfast, but his ham appears to be bleeding. Also bleeding: Scully, who cuts her hand trying to start the car. She finds a thorny branch stuck in the steering wheel but brushes it off as a scare tactic. As she and Mulder drive off, we see the symbol drawn on the ground under the car. Meanwhile, Wharton pays Beauvais a visit, demanding the “secret.”

Mulder finds a playing card – the 10 of diamonds – in his hotel room, which means Mr. X wants to meet him on County Road 10. He’s surprised that Mr. X still wants to work with him, considering their last encounter. Mr. X warns that in the next 24 hours, he and Scully will be sent back to D.C., and only military personnel will have access to Folkstone. “The Statue of Liberty is on vacation,” he says.

Mulder wonders why the refugees haven’t just been sent someone else. Mr. X reports that two of Wharton’s Marines committed suicide in Haiti. Mulder thinks the military is allowing Wharton to get revenge. If Congress knew, he thinks they would object, because the government always cares about people from other countries! Oh, silly Mulder. Mr. X warns that soon it will be as if nothing has happened in Folkstone.

Scully tries to get in touch with Dunham, checking out the wound on her hand. She goes to Mulder’s motel room to tell him that Dunham has been reported AWOL. But guess what – he’s been found. Unfortunately, he’s been found by Scully, bloody, in Mulder’s bathtub. Also, he’s dead. Mulder has also made his own discovery: McAlpin, who’s been hanging around the motel with a bloody knife.

On base, the agents question McAlpin, who doesn’t remember anything from the past few days except the feeling of being asleep and not being able to wake up. He signed a confession to Dunham’s murder, most likely at Wharton’s urging. The agents ask Wharton if McAlpin has been in contact with Beauvais since his return to the base. Wharton says no, and also, Beauvais committed suicide the night before. HOW CONVENIENT.

Scully has a headache, but I’m sure it doesn’t have anything to do with the thorny branch. The agents head to McAlpin’s house, where his wife says that he wouldn’t have killed Dunham, who was his friend. McAlpin left the house to see the agents, and told his wife that if anything happened to him, she should give them a sealed envelope. It contains a picture of both Wharton and Beauvais in Haiti.

The agents let themselves in Wharton’s office, where they find complaints Dunham and Guttierez filed against the colonel concerning abuse. The paperwork has been decorated with what looks like chicken feet. The agents also find someone’s dog tags. A Marine catches them in the office, and Mulder tells him that Wharton killed Beauvais; if the Marine was involved, he’ll be tried as an accomplice. Scully adds that Wharton tried to kill Guttierez and McAlpin to stop them from testifying against him.

Mulder tells the Marine to look in a trunk for proof. The trunk contains bones that Mulder thinks were Guttierez. Wharton has also been holding on to Guttierez’s dog tags. The Marine says they buried Beauvais that afternoon. Wharton is still there, surrounded by candles as he unearths Beauvais’ coffin. He’s doing what I guess is supposed to be a voodoo ritual when the agents arrive.

Scully doesn’t feel well, so she sends Mulder off ahead. Her wound looks worse, and her mouth is filling with blood. Something clear oozes out of her hand, followed by hands. Apparently someone was hiding inside her hand. That might be the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written. Mulder approaches Wharton, who says something in Creole in a demonic voice. He stabs his knife into the ground, resurrecting Beauvais. Beauvais attacks him, saying that people who do evil will see evil.

In the car, Scully reaches for the lucky charm as the man from her hand says something in French. When she grabs the charm, the man disappears. She feels better, and hey, there’s a cat on the hood of the car that she can snuggle with. She catches up to Mulder, who was knocked out during the Wharton/Beauvais confrontation and doesn’t know what happened. Wharton is dead, and Mulder says Beauvais was responsible, though he’s in his coffin.

At the base the next day, Scully checks out a passenger manifest but can’t find Chester’s name. Apparently he was the kid who died in the riot six weeks earlier. OH, FOR THE LOVE OF. At the cemetery, the gravedigger fills in Wharton’s grave, unable to hear the man inside yelling to be let out.

Thoughts: Wharton is played by Daniel Benzali.

This episode is both offensive AND dumb. That’s quite the accomplishment.

When I die, please replace my body with a dog’s. You know, just to liven things up.

So Wharton is Pharoah, and Beauvais is both Moses and God? And hey, both stories contain frogs and blood!

I thought the end twist with Chester might happen, but I didn’t think the show would actually go there. Clearly I underestimated the dumbness of this episode.

January 3, 2016

The X-Files 2.8, One Breath: The Right Thing

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

Can't regift this!

Can’t regift this!

Summary: Maggie Scully tells Mulder a story about a time when Scully was a child, playing in the woods with her brothers. They had BB guns and were only supposed to shoot at cans, but the boys started shooting at a snake instead. Scully joined in but stopped when she realized they’d actually hurt the snake. She felt guilty for taking something that wasn’t hers to take. Even though she was afraid of snakes, she picked it up to try to save it.

Mulder tells Maggie that she can’t give up – it’s too soon. Maggie says that she knows now how Scully felt that day. By the way they’re picking up a headstone for Scully’s grave. WAY TO HOLD OUT HOPE THAT SHE’S NOT DEAD, GUYS. Later, Mulder gets a call and rushes to Georgetown Medical Center, where – guess what – Scully’s not dead. She’s unconscious and doesn’t look great, but still, not dead. I hope you guys saved your receipt for that headstone!

Mulder demands answers, but no one can even tell him how Scully arrived at the hospital. He vows to find out what happened. Once Mulder has calmed down, a doctor tells him and Maggie that Scully’s in critical condition, and no one knows how she got to the hospital. Since there’s no recent medical history to go on, the doctor can’t figure out what happened. In addition, Scully’s living will states that she shouldn’t be kept alive in this condition. Mulder was the witness who signed the will.

Another Scully joins the group – Scully’s sister Melissa. She believes she can talk to Scully even in her comatose state. She says that Scully’s trying to decide whether to stay alive or “move on.” Scully’s doing that from a little boat, watching Mulder, Melissa, and a nurse on a dock. Mulder decides that he needs to do something more productive, so he goes home, turns on a black light, and puts an X on his window with masking tape, waiting for Mr. X to get in touch. In the morning, Mulder doesn’t get a message in his morning paper, so he takes the tape off the window.

Back at the hospital, Frohike (wearing a tux – aww) comes to visit Scully. He notices something weird on Scully’s chart and smuggles it out of the hospital (in his pants, which Mulder says must have provided a lot of extra storage space). Langly notes that Mulder’s a little blue and invites him over for a nitpick-a-sci-fi-show-on-the-Internet party that weekend.

Byers sees that there are weird combinations of amino acids in Scully’s blood. He’s sent Scully’s medical information to a hacker named the Thinker, and the Thinker reports that the amino acids appear to be the result of “branched DNA.” Basically, Scully was used for experiments and may have been grafted with something inhuman. Fortunately, the experiment is done. Unfortunately, Byers doesn’t think Scully will survive, and there’s nothing Mulder can do.

From her boat, Scully sees a nurse on the dock. The nurse, Owens, tells her that she’s going to try to help Scully find her way home. Scully can only leave when the time is right. Mulder arrives, noticing a man in a suit standing nearby as Scully has some blood drawn. Another patient codes, briefly distracting Mulder. When he looks back, Scully’s blood is gone, as is the man. Mulder runs after him but can’t catch the guy before he gets on an elevator.

Mulder tracks down the man in a parking garage, where he runs into Mr. X. In a message from someone who is very adamant that Mulder listen, Mr. X orders him to stop investigating what happened to Scully. Mulder tells him to go to Hell, since Mr. X didn’t respond to his summons. Mr. X sings his usual song about how he’s not going to let Mulder get him killed like he did Deep Throat. Mulder doesn’t summon him; Mr. X only comes to Mulder when Mr. X needs him.

He repeats what Byers said: There’s nothing Mulder can do to save his partner. Mr. X used to be like Mulder, but he’s changed. He doesn’t think Mulder has the heart necessary for this. If he doesn’t walk away, he won’t be able to live with himself. Mulder spots the man from before in the garage and chases him into the laundry room. He retrieves the vial of Scully’s blood and asks the man who sent him to get it. The man won’t answer, but he will fight Mulder to get the vial back. This time Mr. X lends a hand, but he kills the man, then tells Mulder he’ll handle things from here.

The doctor wants to talk to Mulder and the Scullys about Scully’s living will again. He doesn’t think Scully will improve, no matter how long she’s been in this condition. Mulder says that they can treat branched DNA; they should study her condition instead of just giving up. Melissa argues that death is natural, but prolonging a life isn’t. Mulder mocks her for being “politically correct.” Melissa replies that she loves Scully, but letting her go is the right thing to do.

Maggie says that Scully has already made the decision for them. Mulder (who she calls Fox) has built a friendship with Scully out of respect. Maggie has already lost her husband, and she obviously doesn’t want to lose her daughter, but she respects Scully’s decisions. She invites him to join her and Melissa for their last moments with Scully as a family. Meanwhile, the rope tying Scully’s boat to the dock breaks and she begins to drift.

CSM takes Skinner a report on Mulder’s recent activities. Skinner’s like, “You can’t smoke in here; there’s a sign.” CSM lights up anyway, like, “Here’s what I think of your sign.” He takes a few puffs and puts on the cigarette, like, what a waste of a butt. Anyway, Mulder comes in after CSM leaves, and Skinner questions him about the death of the man in the laundry room. Mulder claims that he was with Scully at the time and has no idea what’s happening. He mocks that Skinner’s usually the one who answers questions with denial.

Mulder continues that CSM (“Cancer Man”) is responsible for whatever happened to Scully. He’s willing to give up his job and badge if Skinner will give him answers. Skinner reminds him that they work for the government, not the mafia. He liked and respected Scully, but all agents know the possible risks of working for the bureau. Mulder admits that he might not have told Scully all the risks. Skinner replies that that means he’s as much to blame as CSM.

Scully’s dreams have taken her from the boat to a wooden table, where she’s asleep in a white dress. Her father arrives and tells her that when he realized he would never see her again, his life “felt as if it had been the length of one breath, on heartbeat.” It made him realize how much he loved her. He wishes he could trade anything in his life for one more second with Scully. They’ll be together again soon, but not now. Nurse Owens speaks to Scully again, telling her that her time isn’t over.

Melissa tells Mulder that even if he spent the rest of his life hunting down the people responsible for Scully’s condition, it wouldn’t matter. Besides, they’ll get what’s coming to them. A woman approaches and asks Mulder if he has change for the cigarette machine. He doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter – there’s already a pack of Morleys in the bin. Mulder opens the pack and retrieves a Post-It with an address on it.

Mulder finds CSM at that address and finally gets to ask his questions. CSM isn’t threatened, though; he’s watched presidents die. Mulder asks why Scully was harmed instead of him. CSM replies that he likes both Mulder and Scully. He’s “in the game” because he thinks he’s doing the right thing. Mulder wonders who CSM is to decide what’s right. “What are you?” CSM replies. If people knew what he does, “it would all fall apart.”

CSM continues that he told Skinner that Mulder shot the man in the hospital, but he doesn’t believe that. Now that Mulder has come after him, CSM has more respect for him – he’s “becoming a player.” Mulder’s welcome to kill him, but he’ll never know the truth. Mulder can’t bring himself to pull the trigger. CSM promises not to tell anyone about this encounter. Otherwise, rumors might get spread.

Mulder prints out a letter of resignation and starts packing up his office. Skinner comes by, telling Mulder that his basement office is where they used to keep the copy machine. He tears up the resignation letter, refusing to accept this form of self-punishment from Mulder. Mulder announces that he hates who he’s become. He’s already losing enough and doesn’t want to lose more of himself.

Skinner tells Mulder that he enlisted in the Marine Corps on his 18th birthday, believing that going to Vietnam was the right thing. Three months into his tour, Skinner killed a child. He lost his faith in everything – his country, himself – and believed there was no point to anything anymore. Skinner’s platoon was captured, and he had an out-of-body experience. He didn’t recognize himself. Skinner felt at peace, even knowing his life was over.

He was taken to the hospital and woke up two weeks later. He’s afraid to look into what happened, but he knows Mulder isn’t. Skinner reiterates that he refuses to accept Mulder’s resignation. Mulder realizes that Skinner gave him CSM’s address, which means he risked his own life. “Every life, every day, is in danger,” Skinner points out.

Mulder meets with Mr. X, who gives him a plane ticket and the warning that some men are going to search his apartment that night. Mulder needs to be there to defend himself. This is the only way Mulder will be able to stop them. After tonight, Mr. X won’t be in touch for some time. Mulder waits in his apartment, but instead of a group of men, Melissa shows up. Scully’s weakening, so Mulder needs to come see her before she dies.

Mulder declines, and Melissa warns that his retreat further into the darkness isn’t going to help. Mulder snaps at her to stop with the New Age-y stuff. Melissa replies that her positivity doesn’t have to be seen as silly. He needs to just express his feelings – she and Scully both expect more. Even if it doesn’t bring Scully back, at least she’ll know how Mulder feels, and so will he. After Melissa leaves, Mulder sits back down with his gun, waiting for the men.

Later, Mulder makes it to the hospital after all, taking Scully’s hand and telling her that he feels that she doesn’t believe it’s her time. She needs to hold on to her beliefs like she always does. Whether it will bring her back or not, he’s there with her. Mulder spends the night there, returning home to find his apartment trashed. He’s missed his chance at confrontation and answers. Mulder crouches on the floor and cries.

Dream Scully is now on a bed by a lake in the woods. The woods slowly disappear and become a hospital room. She’s awake. As soon as Mulder hears, he returns to the hospital, where Scully admonishes her mother for calling him Fox. Scully doesn’t remember anything after being grabbed by Duane Barry, but Mulder’s not going to fill her in just yet. He wants her to watch a football video and rest.

Scully tells him that she came back through the strength of his beliefs. Mulder gives her back her cross necklace and leaves. Sometime later, Scully asks a nurse if she can talk to Nurse Owens. Guess what? There’s no Nurse Owens! Spooky!

Thoughts: Why would you buy a headstone when you don’t have a body??

I guess Scully’s brothers were too busy to visit their dying sister? Eh, Bill Jr.’s a jerk anyway.

Can someone please get the comatose woman a blanket? She might be cold.

The only thing that would have made the CSM/Skinner smoking scene better is if CSM had used the no-smoking sign to light a match.

Even in 1994, hospitals still had cigarette machines. America is weird.

Skinner’s a much better character when he’s actually helpful. Too bad he never gets much development over the course of the series.

That Nurse Owens thing was a pointless piece of an otherwise excellent episode. She wasn’t even a necessary character.

Next page