April 15, 2017

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

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

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 25, 2017

The X-Files 4.23, Demons: Ask Your Doctor If Ketamine-Induced Hallucinations Are Right for You

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:31 pm by Jenn

“Imagine going through your whole life looking like that”

Summary: Samantha Mulder wakes an adult Mulder in their childhood home, scared because their parents are fighting. It’s clearly a dream, but reality isn’t much more normal when Mulder wakes up for real – he’s wearing a shirt covered in blood. He calls Scully to tell her he’s in a motel in Providence, Rhode Island, though he doesn’t know how he got there, and he doesn’t know where the blood came from. He also doesn’t think it’s his.

Scully rushes to Providence and finds Mulder in the bathtub, trying to get warm. She diagnoses him with shock, and further determines that he’s missing two days’ worth of memories. She sees that two rounds have been fired from his gun, something else Mulder has no memory of. Scully wants him to see a neurologist, since he could be sick. Mulder’s more interested in finding out if a crime has been committed.

Mulder finds a set of keys on a keychain inscribed with the name Amy. Scully matches them to a car with blood on the steering wheel. It’s registered not to an Amy, but to a David Cassandra of Providence. Scully wants Mulder to sit out the investigation, but he needs to find out if his gun was used to hurt or kill someone.

Someone’s having an arts-and-crafts day, cutting out faces from a bunch of pictures. As blood drips down his face, it becomes clear that the face he’s cutting out is his own. Mulder and Scully go to David’s house, where the housekeeper confirms that Amy also lives there, and that the keys belong to her. Mulder spots a painting of a house on the wall and says he’s seen it before, but he doesn’t know where. It’s the house Amy grew up in, and it’s all she paints – over and over, dozens of times.

Mulder’s sure he’s been to the house, which the housekeeper says is in Chepachet. Mulder remembers that that’s where his parents’ summer house was. The agents head their next, finding the place abandoned. Mulder is suddenly hit with a headache and has flashes of his dream. Teena is screaming at Bill, who says he’s just following orders. CSM is also in the house, and he accuses Mulder of spying on his parents.

Sometime during the flashes, Mulder collapses, unresponsive. When he wakes up, he tells Scully about his memory. She thinks he had a “clonic event, kind of an electrical storm in the brain.” He needs to see a specialist to find out more. Mulder insists he feels fine, then heads into the house. He finds the inside familiar but isn’t sure when he was last there. As he checks upstairs, Scully finds a possible match for the blood on his shirt – two dead bodies. She guesses they’re David and Amy.

The police arrive, and Mulder worries about having to speak to them, since he looks pretty dang guilty of murder right now. The detective he talks to, Curtis, is suitably skeptical about Mulder’s claim that he didn’t see David or Amy before he and Scully found their bodies. Scully won’t let Curtis take Mulder to the station for questioning, since he needs to see a doctor. She tells him to keep his mouth shut until she examines the bodies.

Working with a local medical examiner, Scully finds a puncture wound in Amy’s head. The examiner doesn’t think an autopsy is necessary, since Amy and David both obviously died from gunshot wounds, but Scully wants to find out why they were killed. Meanwhile, Curtis tells Mulder that his gun appears to be the murder weapon, but he has further evidence that contradict Mulder’s claim that, if he killed anyone, he wasn’t aware of it. The evidence is David and Amy’s blood on Mulder’s shirt, and it’s enough for Curtis to arrest Mulder.

Scully arrives as Mulder is processed and tells Curtis that she has her own evidence – she found ketamine, which can cause hallucinations, in Amy’s system. Mulder’s bloodwork shows ketamine as well, which could explain his blackouts and memory loss. Curtis points out that that still doesn’t prove his innocence. Scully, however, won’t believe that Mulder murdered anyone until she has proof that he pulled the trigger.

As Mulder is taken to a cell, arts-and-crafts man passes by – he’s a police officer. He’s carrying around one of his pictures, as well as a gun. Scully’s on her way out of the police station when she hears a shot. By the time she gets to Officer Arts and Crafts, he’s dead. Scully finds the same puncture wound on his head as she found on Amy’s.

Curtis takes Scully to Officer Arts and Crafts’ office, which is full of pictures – some have had their faces removed, but the ones that are still intact each have a drop of something red on the forehead. Curtis says that the officer was placed on desk duty last year because his behavior had become unstable. Specifically, he’d started believing in aliens.

Scully thinks Officer Arts and Crafts’ compulsive behavior means he was traumatized in some way. She finds a magazine called Abductee with Amy’s picture on the cover. Scully tells Curtis that Amy’s puncture wound was deep enough to go into her brain. She thinks Officer Arts and Crafts knew something about what happened and killed himself. They could be dealing with some kind of suicide pact.

In his cell, Mulder has his dream again, this time seeing Bill fight with CSM. Teena yells at the men, “Not Samantha!” Bill looks up to see his son watching the argument. When he wakes up, Mulder yells for a guard. He spends the night demanding to talk to Scully, so she’s allowed to visit him in the morning. He tells her he didn’t kill Amy and David, and Scully says she has evidence that will prove that. The blood on his shirt was the Cassandras’, but it doesn’t match a splatter pattern consistent with Mulder being their killer.

Scully goes back to her theory of a suicide pact, though now she thinks Amy and David’s deaths were a case of murder-suicide. She thinks Mulder contacted Amy to talk about her abduction. Amy was undergoing psychiatric treatment to recover memories; her repetitive behavior, painting the same house over and over, was an expression of the treatment. Scully has learned that Officer Arts and Crafts was also undergoing psychiatric treatment.

She tells Mulder about Waxman-Geschwind Syndrome, which causes dreams about the past and trance-like states. Hmm, sound familiar, Mulder? Mulder wonders why he couldn’t stop what was happening. Scully doesn’t know either, but at least she’s gotten Mulder released from jail.

The two go to see Amy’s psychiatrist, Dr. Goldstein, finding Mulder’s car in the parking lot. Mulder doesn’t find the place familiar, and Goldstein doesn’t give any indication that he’s met Mulder before. Goldstein tells the agents that he was using light and sound to stimulate electrical impulses in Amy’s brain to help her recover memories. He confirms that he also used this method on Officer Arts and Crafts.

Goldstein was unaware of Officer Arts and Crafts’ suicide, but doesn’t seem to think the therapy could be to blame. In fact, Amy was happy after her treatment. Goldstein is offended that Amy might have taken her own life. “I know what you do,” Scully sneers as she and Mulder leave. Both agents are sure that Goldstein treated Mulder, leading to his seizures and blackouts. He probably also gave Mulder and Amy ketamine.

As they leave the office, Mulder has another memory, this one of Bill grabbing Teena as she cried for her baby. Scully wants Mulder to stop investigating, but Mulder refuses – he thinks his memories will lead him to the truth behind Samantha’s disappearance. He wants to go see his mother. Scully agrees to go with him, but she’s smart enough not to let Mulder drive.

As soon as the agents get to Teena’s house, Mulder accuses his mother of keeping things from him. She told him that Samantha was taken because Teena had to make a choice, but Mulder thinks she was forced to give up her daughter. He also thinks that Teena had a relationship with CSM, and he was the one who forced him to choose Samantha.

Teena’s offended that Mulder would accuse her of betraying Bill, and is so upset that she slaps him. He’s not done, though – he wants to know if Bill was really his father. Teena refuses to answer any more questions. She notices that Mulder’s head is bleeding. Teena runs upstairs, and when Scully goes in to check on Mulder, she sees him driving off in her car.

Mulder goes back to Goldstein’s office to ask what the doctor did to him. Goldstein argues that the hole in his head was part of the treatment, and nothing serious. Mulder asks him to finish what he started. Goldstein injects him with ketamine and administers the treatment, giving Mulder all the flashes he’s been having. They end with the night of Samantha’s abduction.

While Mulder has his flashes, Goldstein ties him down, then puts his drill to Mulder’s head to make another puncture wound. The police arrive shortly after and arrest Goldstein. Mulder’s gone, and Goldstein won’t tell the police where he is. Scully chases after the doctor as he’s taken to the police station, demanding to know where Mulder went. Goldstein says that before Mulder left, he said he was going to exorcise his demons.

This means a trip to the Mulders’ home, the place where Mulder last saw his sister alive. Police surround the house, but Scully warns them not to shoot if Mulder leaves, since he’s not dangerous. She lets herself in, but Mulder isn’t in the mood for visitors right now, even when this one comes with a rare in-person “Mulder, it’s me.”

Mulder continues his memory flashes, adding Samantha’s abduction to the mix. He’s holding a gun, which can’t be good. The flashes add visions of Samantha shattering to reveal CSM standing behind her, and Samantha telling Teena that she’s afraid. Mulder points his gun at Scully, who asks if this means so much to him that he’s willing to shoot her. She tells him that these memories might not be his. “This is not the way to the truth,” she says.

Scully calmly tells Mulder to trust her and put down the gun: “Let it go.” Outside, the police hear multiple shots fired, but no one’s hurt – Mulder’s shooting in the opposite direction from where Scully’s standing. She puts her head on his back as he collapses.

Back in D.C., Scully types up her report, saying that Mulder hasn’t recovered any memories of his missing time. His seizures have stopped and don’t seem to have caused any permanent damage, but she thinks the trauma of the experience will stay with him. Scully thinks he’s going to start understanding the path he’s on, but she’s not sure it will lead him to the answers he’s looking for.

Thoughts: Mulder calls Scully at 5 a.m. and she gets to Providence an hour later? I don’t think so.

Heeeeey, David Duchovny in just a white T-shirt and jeans. How YOU doin’?

When Mulder and Scully go to Goldstein’s office, I had to pause Netflix to laugh at Gillian Anderson’s horrific parking job. Couldn’t they have done another take? Or did she do that every time?

December 24, 2016

The X-Files 4.10, Paper Hearts: Confessions of a Serial Killer

Posted in TV tagged , , at 11:01 am by Jenn

The FBI quickly realized that playing pickup games with inmates was a bad idea

The FBI quickly realized that playing pickup games with inmates was a bad idea

Summary: Mulder wakes up to see a red light shining on his wall. The light floats around, spelling out “FOLLOW,” so he does. The light takes him to Bosher’s Run Park in Manassas, spelling out “MAD HAT” on the side of a white El Camino. It shines on a tree, then points Mulder to a girl lying on the ground. The light becomes a heart on the girl as she sinks into the leaves she’s lying on.

Mulder awakens from his dream, looks up the park, and drives over in the middle of the night. There are leaves next to the tree from his dream, but no body. In the morning, Mulder gets a team to dig around in the dirt. As he tells Scully that he’s had a recurring dream about the girl, one of the diggers finds a skull.

The diggers start to expose an entire skeleton, but Mulder thinks they’re moving too slowly. He tells Scully he already knows that the victim was strangled, and her killer took a heart-shaped piece of fabric from her clothing after she was dead. Scully thinks he’s guessing at this because of his dream, but Mulder’s focused on a serial killer named John Lee Roche who killed 13 girls between the ages of eight and ten. Well, 14 girls now.

Back at their office, Mulder shows Scully Roche’s file, telling her that he killed girls between 1979 and the early ’90s. The case was called Paper Hearts because of the pieces of cloth taken. Mulder helped find the killer, a vacuum cleaner salesman who used his job to check out potential victims. The hearts were never found, and though Roche confessed to killing 13 girls, Mulder always wondered if there were 13 hearts. With a 14th victim, he’s even more curious.

Scully thinks Mulder’s dream was his way of unconsciously processing the case. After all, he once said “a dream is an answer to a question we haven’t had time to ask.” She congratulates him on finding the 14th victim and suggests that they get her identified so Mulder can finally put the Paper Hearts case behind him.

This doesn’t take long, and Scully IDs the girl as Addie Sparks, who disappeared from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, in 1975. Mulder isn’t sure Addie was one of Roche’s victims, since they thought his earliest murder took place in 1979. Scully says Addie’s death matches everything about Roche’s other murders.

The agents go see Addie’s father, who recognizes a little pouch found on his daughter’s body (her mother sewed it to leave her teeth in for the Tooth Fairy). Mr. Sparks confirms that Roche is already in prison. He used to think that it was worse to think his daughter was missing than know she was dead, but he was wrong. He’s sad to know that the agents might have to visit other families to tell them that their children are dead – are there other victims they weren’t aware of?

As the agents leave the house, Mulder flashes back to the part of his dream with the El Camino. He remembers that Roche drove an El Camino and wonders if he left them in his car. Mulder still wants to find the hearts and count them. They track down the person who bought it at auction (and who’s kind of excited that he drives a car once driven by a serial killer). They don’t find the hearts, but Mulder remembers “MAD HAT” from his dream and thinks of the camper shell the owner took off. It’s in the backyard, and inside is a copy of Alice in Wonderland and 16 cloth hearts.

Mulder and Scully go see Roche in prison, where he’s playing basketball in a gym, so I guess this isn’t a maximum-security facility, even though he’s a freaking serial killer. The agents ask him why he said there were 13 victims when there were really 16. Roche says 13 “sounds more magical.” Mulder urges him to name the last two victims so their families can get closure.

Roche remarks that he knows Mulder takes the situation personally. He offers to give the agents information if Mulder can sink a three-pointer. Mulder does it easily, because David Duchovny is a basketball wizard. Roche has another condition before he’ll tell the agents anything: He wants the hearts.

Mulder studies the hearts at his desk, then looks up to see the red light again. It takes him to another room in the basement, which turns into his family’s living room. Samantha’s there, playing a board game and watching a news report on the Watergate scandal, though she wants to watch a movie instead. It’s the night of her disappearance, and Mulder reenacts the events, saying the same things he said and going for his father’s gun as he did as a child. But instead of aliens, Roche arrives to abduct Samantha. Mulder wakes up and looks at the two unidentified hearts.

He goes back to see Roche at the prison, asking why Roche remarked about Mulder taking things personally. He wants to know where Roche was on November 27th, 1973. Roche says that he sold a vacuum to Bill Mulder and had a long conversation with him. If Mulder brings the hearts, Roche will tell him more. Mulder punches Roche just as Scully arrives. He tells her that Roche took Samantha, just like his dream said.

Scully disagrees – Roche has access to “the Net” (oh, 1996, you’re so funny) and could have easily looked up Mulder’s personal information. She thinks Roche is playing mind games with him. Mulder walked into their meeting with his “heart on [his] sleeve” (nice one, Scully); Roche saw where he was vulnerable and took advantage of it. The case is bringing back old feelings, but Mulder’s dreams are just dreams.

Mulder notes that his dream about the park came true, so this one could be true, too. He reminds Scully that she doesn’t believe that Samantha was taken by aliens, which means they don’t know exactly what happened to her. He doesn’t know what to believe, but he knows he needs to find the truth.

Mulder goes to his mother’s house and searches the basement. He shows her the two unidentified hearts and asks if she’s ever seen the fabric before. She doesn’t recognize them, but since her stroke***, her memory isn’t great. (Other than that, she seems to have fully recovered, though.) Mulder asks about the vacuum Bill bought her and checks to see if it’s the same kind Roche said it was.

After being denied further access to Roche, Mulder goes to see Skinner, who’s upset with him for punching a prisoner. He thinks Mulder’s let Roche get in his head, and now he’s too close to the case. Scully backs him up, though, saying Roche was in Martha’s Vineyard around the time Samantha disappeared. They still need to identify two victims, and Mulder has the most insight into Roche, so who better to continue the investigation?

The agents are allowed to see Roche again, and Mulder brings the last two hearts this time. Roche says that one of them belonged to Samantha. Scully tells him to prove it, so Roche describes the scene in the Mulders’ living room when Samantha disappeared. Mulder asks where Samantha is, and Roche says he’ll answer if Mulder picks the heart that belonged to her. Mulder chooses one, and Roche says it’s a “good choice.”

Roche sends the agents to Forks of Cacapon, West Virginia, to dig in the dirt by a rock with “MAD HAT” spray-painted on it. Scully thinks Mulder should let someone else dig, but he ignores her, telling her to help him. They find a skeleton, but once it’s in a morgue, Mulder determines that it’s not Samantha – she broke her collarbone when she was six, and the skeleton doesn’t have a deformity in that bone. Scully confirms that it’s not Samantha’s. Mulder sadly notes that it’s still someone’s child.

The agents go back to Roche, who IDs the girl as Karen Philiponte from East Amherst, New York. He says he killed her in 1974, making her the first victim. Mulder hands over the last heart and Scully tells Roche to drop the mind games and just give them the information they want. Roche thinks Mulder wants to be led through everything that happened. He needs to go with the agents to get Samantha’s body. “I can’t wait to see your face,” he tells Mulder.

Scully’s disgusted and tells Roche he’ll never get out to go get the body. Mulder clearly isn’t so hesitant, so Scully tells him they can’t let Roche get his way. But Mulder ignores her again, arranging to get Roche out of prison so they can fly to Massachusetts together. On the way to the airplane bathroom, Roche stops to chat with a little girl, and he’s lucky Mulder doesn’t strangle him with his handcuffs.

Back in D.C., Scully tells Skinner that Mulder sprang Roche from prison without her knowledge. She wants to go after him, but Skinner decides to go to Massachusetts himself. He’s mad that Scully didn’t babysit her partner better, and now they have to rush to clean things up before they get out of control.

Mulder takes Roche to his family’s house to walk him through the events of November 27th, 1973. Roche says he didn’t plan to take Samantha that night, but when Bill and Teena left, he saw his chance. He watched Mulder and Samantha through the window for a while, then cut the power. The door was unlocked, so he didn’t have to kick it in. He just simply came in the front door and grabbed Samantha while Mulder was frozen in shock.

Mulder asks Roche to confirm that that’s exactly what happened, then reveals that it had to have been a lie. The house they’re in is six miles from the one Samantha was taken from. But Mulder thinks that when he profiled Roche years ago, somehow they formed a connection and Roche was able to get into his head. Roche argues that geography is the only error he made. Mulder notes that all of his other claims about his other murders were accurate. He thinks Roche watched the events of the abduction through Mulder’s eyes in his dreams.

Roche taunts that Mulder’s a little off since he believes in aliens and flying saucers. He’s telling the truth, and if Mulder doesn’t believe it, he’s not as open-minded as people think. Mulder notes that with this kind of demeanor, Roche must have been a great salesman. The men will be spending the night in a motel before heading back to D.C. and prison.

While Roche sleeps, Mulder looks at the hearts, hearing Samantha calling to him from an El Camino in the parking lot. He manages to unlock the door and get her out before the car can drive off. A red light in the window spells “BYE,” and suddenly the car and Samantha are gone. When Mulder wakes up, Roche is also gone, and his handcuffs are now on Mulder’s wrists.

Scully and Skinner are displeased with this turn of events, especially since Roche took Mulder’s badge and gun, along with the last heart. Mulder thinks he might have gone after the girl he was talking to on the plane. He calls the airline for a passenger manifest, learning that someone with his name called ten minutes earlier to get the girl’s identity.

Thanks to Mulder’s badge, Roche was able to pretend he needed to take the girl from her daycare because of an emergency. Mulder tells Scully that she was right – Roche was playing him the whole time. They consider that Roche might take the girl someplace familiar, since he used to live in Boston. Scully sees in Roche’s file that he lived on Alice Road, which sounds perfect to Mulder, as they found Alice in Wonderland in the camper shell: “He’s the Mad Hatter.”

The agents go to Roche’s old apartment, but Mulder quickly determines that it’s not where Roche and the girl went. He sees a lot behind the apartment building that’s full of old…cable cars? Subway cars? Something like that. As he’s looking around, he hears a girl screaming. When Mulder finally finds Roche, Roche says that maybe they have that connection Mulder mentioned after all.

The girl, Caitlin, is fine, but she’s sitting between Mulder and Roche, who’s holding a gun on her. Mulder tells Caitlin to close her eyes and count to 20. As she does, he holds his gun on Roche. Roche doesn’t think Mulder will shoot him – Roche still hasn’t said who the 16th heart belongs to, and Mulder can’t be 100 percent sure it wasn’t Samantha’s. As Caitlin nears 20, Roche moves his finger like he’s going to shoot her. Mulder shoots first, killing Roche while Caitlin runs to safety.

Tests show that the fabric of the 16th heart was made between 1969 and 1974. Scully tells Mulder that it didn’t belong to Samantha, but she’s sure they’ll find the real victim eventually. She suggests that Mulder get some sleep, which just makes him laugh. She leaves him alone in the office with the 16th heart, which he puts in a desk drawer.

Thoughts: This show has a lot of good one-episode guest stars, and Tom Noonan, who plays Roche, is somewhere near the top of my list of the best.

Someone needs to write another trippy children’s book that TV and movie writers can refer to instead of Alice in Wonderland.

I love that Skinner questions why Scully wasn’t with Mulder when he got Roche out of prison. Maybe because, even though I joke about them being married, they’re not actually together 24 hours a day? And why does he think Scully has any kind of control over Mulder’s behavior?

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.

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 27, 2016

The X-Files 2.16, Colony: Clone Wars

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:40 pm by Jenn

"Hello are you a ufo" works for this picture, too

“Hello are you a ufo” works for this picture, too

Summary: Mulder voices over that his sister disappeared when he was 12, and he’s always believed aliens took her. His search for the truth has meant he’s had to sacrifice relationships and career growth. Mulder is taken to the hospital with a body temperature of 86 degrees. He voices over that he’s willing to die because what happened to him justifies everything he’s worked for. He’s still sure that there are aliens among us. Scully questions Mulder’s doctor, announcing that he shouldn’t be warmed up – the cold is what’s keeping him alive.

We rewind two weeks and jump on the Alta, a research vessel in the Arctic Circle’s Beaufort Sea. The crew has spotted something in the sky. It zooms over them and crashes. Two days later, doctors at a Scranton hospital watch a news report on the crash. A Russian man believed to be a fighter pilot was extracted from the crash and taken to a military hospital for treatment for exposure to the icy water.

One of the doctors sees the face of the pilot and runs off…right into the pilot himself. The pilot demands to know where “he” is. The doctor’s cluelessness gets him stabbed in the back of the neck with something that looks like an ice pick. Something green bubbles out of the wound. The “pilot” then destroys the hospital’s electrical grid and walks out as the place catches on fire. And since I’m not going to keep calling him the pilot, just know that this is the Alien Bounty Hunter, and we will be seeing a lot more of him.

In D.C., Mulder tells Scully that someone emailed him three obituaries last night. All of them are of doctors, one being Landon Prince, the Scranton doc whose death we just saw. All work at abortion clinics and died in fires that were purposely set. Scully thinks they’re dealing with a militant pro-life group. But why would someone want Mulder to know about their deaths? Maybe because all three doctors look exactly the same. Mulder has already investigated to see if they were triplets, but they don’t have any blood connections. They also don’t have any records of any kind.

The agents go to Scranton and talk to a police officer who has arrested Reverend Calvin Sistrunk, a known harasser of abortion doctors. When he was arrested, he had a newspaper ad on him asking if anyone knows Prince (or one of his lookalikes). Mulder mentions that Prince’s remains haven’t been found, just like with the other two doctors. Wait, so he might not be dead? Then why was there an obituary? What kind of cops does Scranton employ?

Sistrunk is brought in so Mulder can interrogate him about the other two murders. Sistrunk says no. He got the ad from a paper in Binghamton, New York. The agents head there next to ask about the person who placed the ad. He paid in cash, and he wasn’t Sistrunk. He also asked to run the ad a second week but never paid the second fee. Scully tells Mulder that she has a bad feeling about the case. None of it makes sense. Mulder’s like, “Yeah, that’s why it’s an X-file.”

Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a pattern. The first two murders were in New Jersey and New York; now Prince has died in Scranton, and a man is looking for his lookalike in Binghamton. He’s moving north. Mulder agrees to pay the bill for the ad, since it’ll give them access to a voice-mail system set up by the ad-placer. The first message is from someone who claims he saw the Prince lookalike in Syracuse.

The agents call the FBI field office in Syracuse and ask Agent Barry Weiss to keep an eye on a doctor named Aaron Baker. When Weiss gets to Baker’s house, he sees the man fighting with someone unseen. It’s the Bounty Hunter, and he wants Baker to know that his plan won’t succeed. Weiss looks for a back entrance to the house, bursting in just after the Bounty Hunter ices Baker. He’s pretty surprised to see Baker’s body dissolving into green froth.

Weiss shoots the Bounty Hunter, whose body leaks the same green stuff. Weiss’ own body doesn’t like being exposed to the substance. As the agents arrive, Weiss – or at least someone who looks like him – approaches from the yard and says Baker isn’t home. He tosses the real Weiss’ car keys in his trunk, with his body, transforming back into the Bounty Hunter.

Skinner summons Mulder back to D.C. to yell at him for pursuing an investigation that was never authorized. Weiss has been found at the house Mulder sent him to. Mulder protests that he saw Weiss at the house, but Skinner doesn’t care. The investigation is over. In his office, Mulder gets a “Mulder, it’s me” call from Scully, who has gotten an email letting her know there’s another Prince lookalike. This one’s name is James Dickens, and he’s in D.C.

Mulder goes to Scully’s apartment to pick her up, but before he can go inside, he’s intercepted by a CIA agent named Ambrose Chapel. Chapel reveals that he’s also looking into the doctors’ deaths. He tells the agents that during the Cold War, Soviet scientists isolated twins’ DNA and reproduced it. In other words, the doctors are clones. They’re also all named Gregor, which must be pretty confusing (though all the Eves were named Eve, so…).

The Gregors all took positions at hospitals so they could wreak havoc (via blood supplies and medications) if war broke out. Scully wants to know why nothing’s been done if the CIA has been investigating for a year. Chapel says a spy-killer has been trying to take the Gregors out. He thinks the Gregors have been trying to contact the FBI for protection. Chapel reveals that he placed the ad so he could get to the Gregors first and try to get information out of them. Mulder tells him that they know where one might be.

In Germantown, Maryland, Dickens leaves a warehouse where it looks like he’s running secret tests. Scully, Mulder, and Chapel find him at home, and as soon as he sees Chapel, he jumps out a window. Even though he was a few stories up, he’s able to run off. Mulder and Chapel run after him as Chapel’s…wife? girlfriend? roommate? looks on impassively. The agents split up, and Mulder ends up running into traffic and getting hit by a car. Scully gets to him and he sends her off on Dickens’ trail while he tries to get his breath back.

Chapel tracks Dickens to an alley, doing that villain thing where he just walks normally while Dickens tries to escape. As Scully searches for the two men, we see that Chapel is actually the Bounty Hunter. He’s changed back into Chapel when Scully gets to him, and he tells her that Dickens got away by climbing a fire escape. He doesn’t mention the puddle of green goo nearby.

The agents return to the FBI building, disagreeing over whether to continue the investigation. Scully doesn’t trust Chapel, and she reminds Mulder that his motto is “trust no one.” Mulder says he’d rather trust everyone; he looked at Chapel history, and he’s completely legit. Scully thinks Chapel let Dickens get away. She reminds Mulder that Dickens ran from Chapel, not them. Maybe Chapel killed Weiss in Syracuse.

Scully continues that Mulder is always willing to follow a case even if it means sacrificing his sanity. She has to draw the line somewhere. An agent has already died because of their investigation. Mulder replies that they all know the risks, so Scully can accept them or not: “We all draw our own lines.” Scully shows him the spots on her shoes that came into contact with the green goo – they’ve been eaten away. Mulder tells her that Weiss’ cause of death can’t be established. Scully’s interested again.

Scully looks over Weiss’ autopsy report, spotting a note that his blood was “curdled like jelly.” Aaaaaaand I’m not eating jelly ever again. That means Weiss may have been given something that made his blood clot or thicken before his death. Mulder points out that the Gregors placed themselves at hospitals in case they needed to contaminate blood supplies. Scully thinks they could find answers in Dickens’ doctor’s bag, which she took from his apartment.

Skinner summons Mulder, but not to yell at him this time – Mulder’s father has been trying to reach him. There’s some sort of Mulder family emergency. Mulder calls home and learns that Bill Mulder got a strange phone call that afternoon. He won’t say anything over the phone; he just wants Mulder to come home.

Scully goes to the address on Dickens’ bag, which is for the warehouse. There’s dried green goo on the ground. Chapel is there, destroying stuff that looks like it was used for testing…something. Scully barely manages to run off without him seeing her. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me,” of course) from home to tell him she might be in danger. Mulder’s up in Martha’s Vineyard, where his father greets him outside the house. Mulder looks through the window to see his mother, Teena, talking to a woman. Bill tells his son that the woman is Samantha. She’s also the woman from Dickens’ apartment.

The newly reunited Mulder family stays up late together, trying to accept that Samantha is really Samantha. Mulder finally gets some alone time with his sister, who asks if it’s too late for a game of Stratego. She tells him she was returned with no memories of her abduction or her previous life. She was placed with another family, and though she didn’t remember the Mulders, she always felt out of place. A few years ago, she developed anxiety and underwent regression hypnotherapy. Suddenly, she could remember her abductions and the tests she underwent.

Samantha tells Mulder she’s in danger from the man hunting her “father and the other doctors.” One of the Gregors was her adoptive father. She warns Mulder that the Bounty Hunter’s lies destroy lives. She thinks he’ll be coming for her soon. Mulder tries to call Scully but just misses her. He leaves a message on her machine warning her not to trust Chapel. Samantha tells Mulder that the Bounty Hunter can make himself look like anyone, but she can recognize him.

In D.C., Scully gets on a bus, paying close attention to the people around her. She tries to call Mulder (another “Mulder, it’s me”), leaving a message that she’ll be staying at a motel in Germantown for a while. By the time he gets to her, she should have some important information about the case. The Bounty Hunter is on the bus and appreciates overhearing this.

But instead of a motel, Scully goes back to the warehouse, where she finds what looks like a fetus. And it’s moving! Eeeeeee! Someone’s watching, and Scully sees a Gregor in a lab coat trying to run out of the building. He’s not scared of her gun, saying that she can’t harm them. The remaining Gregors are all at the warehouse, and they need Scully’s protection. She gets them taken someplace safe, unaware that the Bounty Hunter is watching.

Mulder gets Scully’s message and tries to reach her at the motel she said she was going to. The desk clerk starts to take down a message telling Scully to call Mulder, but he quickly forgets who the message is for. Scully arrives moments later and books a room, again just missing a call from Mulder. The Gregors are all placed in a federal lockup facility in Tileton, Virginia (which doesn’t exist, by the way), and a man with an icepick is easily able to get access. At the motel, Scully wakes up to Mulder at her door…and Mulder on the phone. To be continued!

Thoughts: David Duchovny co-wrote this episode.

The actor playing Sistrunk looks so much like Anthony Stewart Head that I almost did a double take.

Honestly, I’m surprised Mulder doesn’t run into traffic more often.

Why didn’t Mulder and Scully look into Dickens’ female companion? Why didn’t Scully at least secure her at the apartment? Why didn’t she say anything when she heard Mulder’s name? (I mean, I know the answer to that, but still.) Didn’t Mulder recognize Samantha as the woman at the apartment? I guess he’s too stunned to think about her return logically.

Scully in running leggings, a hoodie, and a fanny pack is adorable.

November 15, 2015

The X-Files 2.1, Little Green Men: Message Received

Posted in TV tagged , , at 2:15 pm by Jenn

That can't be good for his eyesight

That can’t be good for his eyesight

Summary: Gaze! Gaze at the cosmos while Mulder tells us about two spacecrafts being launched from Florida in 1977. One, Voyager 1, carried a message of greeting and music. 13 years later, it passed Neptune’s orbit and was never seen again. No messages were received back from the universe, and no further messages have been sent since.

In 1992, NASA launched a project in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, sending out microwaves. A senator terminated the project the next year. “I wanted to believe, but the tools have been taken away,” Mulder says – the X-Files sector has been shut down. In Puerto Rico, a printer starts printing, and the message from Voyager 1 plays. Message received.

In a hotel in D.C., Mulder listens to wiretap surveillance. If the pile of sunflower-seed shells on the floor is any indication, he’s been there a while. Scully’s at the FBI Academy in Quantico, showing students how to perform autopsies. She takes a moment to think about the man she’s about to cut open, and how many mysteries are left in his brain. One of the students notes that she sounds “spooky.”

The former partners run into each other at FBI headquarters, but Mulder doesn’t want to talk to Scully. He has a new desk now, and notices that a picture of Samantha has been turned face-down. As he leaves the office that night, Scully meets him at his car, telling him that, from a distance, he looked like Deep Throat. Mulder tells her that Deep Throat is definitely dead. He’s come to meet her because the picture’s position was an indication that she wanted to talk.

Mulder thinks it’s dangerous for them to chat, but Scully doesn’t think anyone’s watching them. She only used their secret protocol to summon him because she knew he wouldn’t come otherwise. She wants to make sure he’s all right. Mulder complains about the boring cases he’s been assigned. Scully reminds him that he said before that he would keep investigating, but now he’s given up.

Mulder asks if she’s ever been to the Palomar Observatory in San Diego. George Hale, the man who provided the telescope there, claimed he got the idea from an elf. Scully realizes that Mulder thinks he’s only been seeing elves all his life. “In my case, little green men,” he replies. “Seeing is not enough. I should have something to hold on to.” Without evidence, he has nothing – he learned that from Scully.

Scully thinks Samantha’s abduction should be enough to hold on to. But Mulder is no longer sure that really happened. Scully points out that the telescope was built, elves or not. He can’t give up. Next time they meet, it’ll be out in the open. As she leaves, Mulder sees a sign over a parking space, reserving it for staff of the Watergate Hotel.

In Chilmark, Massachusetts, a little over 20 years earlier, Fox and Samantha Mulder play a game while watching a news report about Watergate. He’s in charge while their parents are next door. Samantha changes the channel on the TV, and Fox yells at her to get out of his life. The lights go out, the house starts to shake, and multicolored lights shine through the windows. The front door slowly opens, illuminating what looks like an alien.

Samantha screams, and Fox sees that she’s levitating in the middle of the room. He rushes to grab a gun but gets distracted by the alien outside. Samantha’s pulled out of the house and everything goes slow-motion as Fox helplessly repeats his sister’s name, unable to help her. In the present, Mulder wakes up from his nightmare. Moments later, someone opens his door and tells him, “We’re going to the Hill.”

Mulder’s taken to see Senator Richard Matheson, who’s listening to the Brandenburg Concerto No. 2. It’s the same piece that was sent out with the Voyager 1. In four-and-a-half billion years, this music will still be traveling out in the universe. Matheson thinks that any other civilization that hears that music will think Earth is a wonderful place. It’s a great choice for first contact.

Mulder apologizes for letting Matheson down after all his support. He thinks they were getting close to something when the X-Files section was shut down, though he doesn’t know what that something was. Matheson starts the music over, writing a note letting Mulder know that someone may be listening. Using the music as a cover, he tells Mulder that he needs to go to Arecibo. He’ll only have 24 hours before “they” come after him.

The next morning, having learned that Mulder has gone off the radar, Skinner asks Scully what she knows. He plays CSM a recording of Scully saying she isn’t up on Mulder’s plans, but she’d be happy to help find him. Skinner thinks she’s telling the truth about not knowing where Mulder is – otherwise, she wouldn’t be so worried about him. CSM offers Skinner a cigarette, which he declines.

In Puerto Rico, Mulder gets a ride to the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center. He breaks into the control room, which appears to have been abandoned a while ago. But the recording equipment is still working. Scully checks Mulder’s home answering machine, hearing a message from a woman he was supposed to have lunch with. She tries out his computer, guessing his password on the third try. (It’s not SPOOKY or SAMANTHA, but TRUSTNO1.)

As Scully prints out something Mulder was looking at regarding galactic latitude, two agents let themselves in. Scully’s unable to retrieve the printout before they see her. She claims she’s there to feed Mulder’s fish. The agents see the printout but think it’s a computer self-test. Scully spills fish food and uses the discarded printout to clean it up, then slips it into her sleeve.

In Puerto Rico, Mulder heads to the bathroom and is surprised to find a man hiding there. His name is Jorge, and he tells Mulder he saw multicolored lights in the sky. Then my high-school-level Spanish craps out and I don’t catch anything else. Mulder can only figure out that he saw men. Jorge draws him a picture of an alien face.

Scully takes the printout to the Naval Observatory, where a tech tells her that it shows a “wow signal.” In the ’70s, a colleague of his received a signal so strong, he wrote “wow” in the margins. It was intermittent, like Morse code, and seemed to turn itself on. This one is even stronger. It may be from a SETI facility, since some are still active.

Scully checks some flight manifests for the cities that house SETI facilities and finds a George Hale listed on a flight to Arecibo. Jorge checks out the machines in the control room, pressing a red one. “Nojo on the rojo!” Mulder warns. Suddenly the Voyager 1 message starts playing and Jorge panics. He wants to leave, but there’s a storm outside. Mulder turns off the recording and tells Jorge not to be afraid. But Jorge runs outside, and Mulder finds him dead, clearly having seen something frightening.

Scully goes to the airport, where two people are obviously watching her and doing a very bad job of hiding it. She calls Mulder’s home answering machine and recites some letters and numbers, which an agent writes down. She uses the reflective surface on the phone to keep an eye on her stalkers, then slips away when they’re not watching. It doesn’t matter anyway – they think she’s going to St. Croix, not Puerto Rico.

Mulder makes Scully a recording to document his observations of Jorge’s body. He doesn’t see any evidence of lightning strikes or any indications that aliens were responsible for Jorge’s death. All he can tell is that it looks like Jorge was scared to death. “Again, Scully, nothing but evidence, and again, no evidence at all,” Mulder says.

He wonders if the transmissions are coming from aliens or if they’re just part of a hoax. He’s trying to remember what Deep Throat said, to trust no one, but it’s exhausting. Scully’s the only person he can trust, but they’ve been separated. His whole life, he’s only wanted to see Samantha again, and to see the aliens. But he doesn’t know what he would do if that happened.

The building begins to shake, and Mulder sees lights outside. The printer keeps printing the transmission over and over. The audio message is distorted now, as if a tape is slowing down. Mulder replays his recording for Scully, hearing himself say that he should trust no one. “Trust no one,” the audio transmission repeats.

A door blows open and Mulder closes it, moving supplies in front of it. He looks outside and is blinded by a bright light. The door opens and Mulder goes for his gun. He fires over and over, but no bullets come out. When he looks up, he sees the same alien creature he saw in his childhood.

In the morning, Scully finds Mulder unconscious in the control room. “They came,” he says. He thinks he was contacted by the aliens that took Samantha. The printouts and transmissions are proof of contact. They hear noises outside and realize that a retrieval team has arrived. Mulder wants to take Jorge’s body with them, but Scully doesn’t think they can get it out of the country. She wants him to leave the evidence behind and save himself.

Eventually, Mulder has no choice but to take off with Scully and no printouts or recordings. Soldiers shoot at them but miss their getaway vehicle. There’s a crazy car chase, and the agents are able to get away. Scully sees a tape reel on the floor of the car.

Back in D.C., Mulder’s in a lot of trouble. He’s upset that Skinner left him on a surveillance case days after he had enough evidence. Also, Skinner was out of line putting a tap on his phone. CSM informs Mulder that his time is up. Skinner orders him to get out…but he means CSM, not Mulder. Instead of firing Mulder, Skinner sends him back to his surveillance assignment.

Mulder and Scully play the tape reel she found in the car, but there’s nothing on it. Scully thinks a surge during the storm could have erased it. Mulder’s back on the horse, though – even without evidence or the X-Files, he has his work, and he has Scully, and he has himself. She leaves him to complete his surveillance assignment alone.

Thoughts: Nice casting on the younger version of Mulder – he looks a lot like David Duchovny.

Sweaty, Puerto-Rican-temperature hair is not a good look for Mulder. His casual clothes are kind of nice, though.

How has no one gotten sick from CSM’s secondhand smoke? That should be a plot in the revival – a big lawsuit against CSM.