April 14, 2018

The X-Files 7.11, Closure: In Starlight

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Shouldn’t these kids have adult supervision?

Summary: The bodies of Ed’s victims are exhumed and taken away for examination as Mulder voices over something poetic about their deaths. That night, visions of the children crawl out of their now-empty graves and form a circle before vanishing. Mulder voices over that he wants to believe that they’ll one day be reborn.

At the Sacramento police station, officers review Ed’s tapes while Mulder looks at his pictures. Scully tells him that Ed committed his first murder when he was 19, after he was asked to play Santa at a school. He’s made a full confession, but he won’t admit to killing Amber Lynn, and her body wasn’t in any of the graves. Neither was Samantha’s. Mulder says he just wants this to be over.

A man named Harold Piller comes to the station to offer his services as a police psychic. He’s intuited that they’re still looking for a girl who isn’t among Ed’s victims. He thinks he can find her. Scully sees that Piller has worked in many different countries, and hasn’t always succeeded at finding missing people. He explains that in one instance, he determined that the kids were walk-ins, transported from the sites of their supposed deaths “in starlight.”

Scully pulls Mulder aside to warn him that he’s vulnerable and shouldn’t believe that Piller can help them. He reminds her that Kathy Lee also mentioned walk-ins, so there may be something there. Scully argues that it’s just an explanation to offer comfort when people can’t explain what really happened. Mulder thinks the bodies really are somewhere else. Maybe Samantha’s is, too. Scully says that she’s going back to D.C.; there’s nothing more for them to do in Sacramento.

Mulder and Piller go to the mass grave site as Piller explains that his son disappeared under “strange circumstances” and was never found. One day, Piller started to see him. Mulder asks why walk-ins take children. Piller tells him that in most cases, the parents have a vision of the kids being dead. He thinks good spirits are responsible for those; they’re showing the fates the kids were going to meet. The spirits intervene and transform their fates into starlight, saving the kids.

In this instance, though, Piller knows that Ed’s victims all died horribly, pleading for their lives. He can see them. Mulder asks about Amber Lynn, but Piller says she was never there. However, he can sense a connection between her and Mulder. He can sense that Mulder lost a young girl close to him a long time ago. He guesses it was Mulder’s sister. He thinks Samantha and Amber Lynn also have a connection of some kind. Piller’s sure they’ll find them.

In a video from 1989, Mulder undergoes hypnosis to try to remember what happened the night of Samantha’s disappearance. Scully watches the tape with an agent named Schoniger, who says that Mulder seemed to really be in a hypnotic state. However, he thinks his guilt and fear are preventing him from remembering what really happened to Samantha. His delusion of abduction is playing into his hope that Samantha’s still alive.

Scully asks why Mulder has picked alien abduction as his theory for what happened. Schoniger thinks that in the 16 years between Samantha’s disappearance and Mulder’s first regression hypnotherapy in 1989, he saw a lot of imagery that he made fit. Schoniger guesses that Samantha was just kidnapped (by a human) and murdered. He wonders why Scully’s digging into the case. Scully says that someone owes it to Mulder. Schoniger thinks she should leave the past in the past, but Scully wants Mulder to get closure.

Mulder checks into a motel and falls asleep watching Planet of the Apes. Piller comes by to tell him he’s sensed a visitor who wants to tell them something. He tells Mulder to grab a pen and paper, then relays a message from Teena. It’s about Samantha. A vision of Teena appears behind Mulder, trying to say something to Piller, but she disappears before Piller can get anything from her. Mulder decides Piller is a fraud and kicks him out. But Piller sees that Mulder has written “April Base” without realizing it.

Scully goes back to Teena’s house and finds a scrap of paper that came from something she burned along with her pictures. The only thing she can make out are the letters CGBS. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and tells him there was a Treasury Department investigation into Samantha’s disappearance. She’s matched the scrap of paper to a copy of the document in the investigation file that calls off the search for Samantha. CGBS are the initials of the person who ended the search – C.G.B. Spender, AKA CSM.

Mulder isn’t surprised that CSM was involved in the investigation, since he was a friend of Bill Mulder’s. He doesn’t think there’s any reason to try to contact him and ask questions. Besides, Mulder’s busy checking out April Air Force Base with Piller. It’s decommissioned, so Mulder doesn’t think it hold any answers for them. Piller accuses him of being afraid of finding out the truth. The base must be important, since Mulder wrote the name down himself. Mulder wonders why it’s so important to Piller.

Scully arrives home to find CSM waiting for her. She thinks he’s sick, since he doesn’t look well, and he tells her he had an operation. She confronts him over ending the search for Samantha. CSM says he did it because he knew no one would find her – she’s dead. Scully asks why he didn’t say anything earlier. Why let Mulder keep believing she’s alive. CSM insists that he was just being kind. Otherwise, Mulder wouldn’t have had any hope.

Mulder and Piller return to the base after dark and climb the fence that’s there to keep people out. Piller senses that Samantha was there, but he can’t determine which house she was in. As they’re hiding from an officer driving around the base, Mulder finds handprints in some cement, with Samantha’s name written next to them. There’s also a set of handprints labeled “Jeffrey.”

Scully comes to Sacramento and gets filled in. Mulder believes that Samantha was abducted and returned, then lived with the Spenders. Scully tells him that CSM said Samantha is dead. Of course, Mulder thinks he lied, but Scully doesn’t think he has a reason to lie. She believes that Piller has been lying to Mulder this whole time.

The agents confront Piller with information he didn’t provide before: He’s the main suspect in his son’s murder, and he’s been institutionalized for schizophrenia. Piller thinks Mulder should believe him anyway, considering what he’s shown Mulder. He has no reason to mislead Mulder. They have the same goal, and Piller thinks his gift is meant to help people. He wants to prove that Samantha is really out there.

The three go back to the base and enter the Spenders’ empty house. Piller tells them to hold hands while he tries to summon the family’s presences. Scully is adequately sarcastic, while Mulder hopes they play spin the bottle afterward. Visions appear, and a boy takes Mulder to one of the bedrooms. He finds a diary that Piller tells him was Samantha’s.

Mulder and Scully read the diary in a diner, learning that Samantha underwent tests as late as 1979. She only has a few memories of her past, but is able to remember Mulder. She hopes someday he reads her diary. The last passage is about how Samantha wants to run away. As they leave the diner, Mulder looks up at the stars and talks about how old the light is by the time we see it. It starts at the beginning of time and will continue to the future. Maybe they’re souls looking for homes. Mulder wonders what Teena was trying to tell him.

The agents split up to get some sleep, and a vision of Teena visits her son to whisper something in his ear. The next morning, Scully brings Mulder a page from a 1979 police department blotter about a runaway matching Samantha’s description. They look through hospital records to find out if Samantha was a patient under a fake name. Mulder finds a file on a Jane Doe who was paranoid and had been abused. He thinks CSM lied about Samantha being dead because she’s still alive.

Scully points out that 1979 was 21 years ago, and they have no idea where Samantha could be now. They don’t know who released her from the hospital, but they do have the name of the nurse who signed her into the ER. When the two of them and Piller go to the nurse’s house, Mulder gets the feeling that this is the end of the road, and he’s finally about to learn the truth.

Scully and Piller go up to the house first and speak to the nurse, Arbutus (…what?) Ray. She had a vision of the girl, dead, but no one believed her. Somehow, it made sense to her. Some men came to get the girl, and the one Arbutus thought was her father glared when she asked him to put out his cigarette. She took the men to the girl’s room, which was locked, but she had vanished.

The boy from the Spenders’ apartment leads Mulder to a clearing where a bunch of ghostly children are playing. Mulder recognizes Amber Lynn, who gives him a smile. Samantha runs up to her brother and hugs him, appearing almost real for a moment. When Mulder rejoins Scully and Piller, he repeats that this is the end of the road. He saw Piller’s son and knows that all the missing kids are dead, but they’re okay. Piller needs to let go. Now Piller’s the skeptic, refusing to believe Mulder. Mulder can’t explain what happened, but he tells Scully he’s fine: “I’m free.”

Thoughts: Piller calling himself a police psychic makes me want an X-Files/Psych crossover so badly.

Who’s responsible for letting Mulder wear his hair the way he did in 1989?

I’m not saying a so-called psychic is reliable, but if my choices are believe him or believe CSM, I’m siding with the psychic.

But seriously: Arbutus?

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April 7, 2018

The X-Files 7.10, Sein und Zeit: No One Shoots at Santa Claus

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

If I were Skinner and didn’t know that Mulder’s mom had just died, I would totally think they’d hooked up

Summary: A little girl named Amber Lynn LaPierre is praying before bed as her parents look on proudly but slightly impatiently. Her father, Bud, then goes to watch crime show on TV while her mother, Billie, gets ready for bed herself. She suddenly stops and goes to her closet, pulling out a dress. Bud hears her rifling through drawers, finding a pen so she can write a note stating that she’s kidnapped Amber Lynn.

Bud checks on his daughter and first thinks she’s dead, but she’s okay. In her bedroom, Billie keeps writing, ending her note with, “No one shoots at Santa Claus!” As Bud is leaving Amber Lynn’s room, he hears a bang and sees blood seeping under Amber Lynn’s bedroom door. He has to break down the door, and when he finally makes it in, Amber Lynn is gone.

FBI agents convene in the middle of the night to start searching for the apparent kidnapping victim. Mulder comes in, despite not being summoned; Skinner doesn’t see a point in involving him since it doesn’t appear to be an X-File. Mulder thinks the case will turn into a circus, and the right questions won’t get asked. Skinner gives in, giving him until noon to question Bud and Billie. He adds that the other agents have a pool going and believe that Amber Lynn is dead.

Mulder heads to Sacramento, where police and reporters are outside the LaPierres’ house, looking for answers. The couple has already called in a lawyer, Harry Bring, though his specialty is real estate law. Mulder asks if he’s ever handled a murder case – even though Amber Lynn hasn’t been declared dead, Mulder thinks that’s how this case will end. He tells Bring that if he really wants to help the LaPierres, he’ll get them a real lawyer.

Bud tells Mulder they’ll talk to him, since they have nothing to hide. Mulder asks about the note found in Amber Lynn’s bedroom around the time of her disappearance. He wants details, like what Bud was watching on TV. Bud says he’d never heard of it, but he liked it. Billie says she was asleep when Amber Lynn vanished.

The couple says they always lock their doors at night, and don’t know of anyone who would want to hurt their daughter. Billie’s getting upset, so Bring tries to end the conversation. Mulder tells the LaPierres that no matter what the FBI says or does, they’ll do everything they can to try to find Amber Lynn. Billie asks if they’ll succeed, but all Mulder can say is that he hopes so.

Scully arrives in Sacramento and finds Mulder lying awake in his motel room. He’s watching TV in the dark and doesn’t want her to turn on the light. She warns that Skinner’s mad at him, since Mulder missed his noon deadline. He’s sent Scully to get Mulder’s report. The media found out what the FBI is investigating, and the LaPierres are being held for questioning. Mulder says they didn’t hurt Amber Lynn, despite what the facts say: He knows they lied about where they found the note.

Mulder’s watching the news, and the story of Amber Lynn’s disappearance is drawing parallels to the story of Susan Smith’s crimes and JonBenet Ramsey’s murder. Scully notes that people have a “morbid fascination with the killing of an innocent.” Mulder announces that Amber Lynn isn’t dead. He answers a call from his mother, who has guessed that he’s working on Amber Lynn’s case. She asks him to call her when he gets home from Sacramento.

Back in D.C., the FBI examines the note, which doesn’t demand a ransom. The note was written on the kind of paper used by dry cleaners to protect clothes, and the page it was torn from was found in the LaPierres’ trash. The pen it was written with was also in the trash, and only has Billie’s fingerprints on it. However, they haven’t been able to determine definitively if the handwriting is Billie’s.

Mulder tells the task force that there are pieces of the story that don’t make sense. Bud was watching TV when he went to check on Amber Lynn; he turned it off when he went to her room, but it was on when the police first arrived. Mulder also finds it strange that no one noticed any strangers sneaking around the property, even though it wasn’t that late at night. Someone suggests that Bud is lying for Billie, but Mulder says that doesn’t explain what happened to Amber Lynn.

He leaves the meeting and searches a file cabinet in his office, trying to figure out why “no one shoots at Santa Claus” seems familiar. Scully follows him and tells him he’s personalizing the case because he’s connecting it to Samantha’s disappearance. Mulder points out that he’s never suggested that aliens had anything to do with Amber Lynn’s disappearance. Scully warns that the other agents on the task force don’t have the patience for Mulder to question their work. Mulder thinks he’s right, though: He’s found a note just like the one at the LaPierres’, from a case in 1987.

As a creeper in a van videotapes kids in California, Mulder and Scully go to a women’s prison to speak to a prisoner named Kathy Lee. In 1987, her six-year-old son Dean was taken from his bedroom, and the note left behind was found to be written by Kathy Lee. She was convicted, and Dean’s body has never been found. She testified that she had a vision of her son being dead the night he disappeared. Three years later, she changed her story and confessed to killing him during a psychotic break. Kathy Lee says she was “full of rage.”

Mulder shows her the note she supposedly wrote and asks what the phrase about Santa means. She says that no one would hurt a person like Santa, who brings you gifts, since that would compromise your chances of receiving those gifts. Mulder tells her about Amber Lynn’s disappearance and the note left behind. He tells Kathy Lee that both disappearances are similar, and, like Dean, Amber Lynn’s body hasn’t been found. Kathy Lee notes that she told the police where Dean’s body was, but it wasn’t really there.

Mulder presses Kathy Lee to explain what really happened to Dean, but she can’t. He knows it’s because she didn’t kill him. She only changed her story because she thought pleading insanity could get her paroled. Mulder needs her to assure the LaPierres that things will be okay. Kathy Lee she’s not the person to do that. As they leave, Scully blasts Mulder for acting unprofessionally. She can’t explain the matching notes, but she’s sure that Mulder’s personalizing the case. He says he’s not, and he’s going to find the missing kids. Scully warns him not to go in search of something he doesn’t want to find.

Back in her cell, Kathy Lee sees a ghostly vision of a little boy. She asks a guard to bring the agents back. Meanwhile, Teena calls Mulder again, leaving a message on his answering machine as she burns pictures of her children. She tells him there are a lot of things she hasn’t told him, and she hopes that one day, he’ll understand.

Mulder shows the LaPierres a tape of Kathy Lee telling them that Amber Lynn is okay. She knows they’re afraid of the truth because they’ve seen scary things, like she did. She doesn’t remember writing the note; it was like they wrote themselves. Kathy Lee knows in her heart that Dean is safe and in a better place.

The LaPierres are released, due to lack of evidence. The creeper from the van watches Mulder give a press conference while also watching multiple TVs showing footage he’s recorded of children playing, including Amber. There’s also a screen showing a man dressed as Santa. Mulder says that the LaPierres are no longer the main suspects in the investigation, and the FBI is hopeful that they’ll find Amber Lynn.

Skinner slams Mulder for making a connection between Amber Lynn and Dean’s disappearances when there’s no evidence that they’re connected. Mulder says that nothing else makes sense in the real world. Skinner points out that he has to live in the real world. He’s upset that Mulder talked his way onto the case, then gave the main suspects a defense. Scully interrupts to tell Mulder that Teena is dead.

The two of them go to Teena’s house in Connecticut, where it appears that she killed herself with both an overdose and gas from her oven. Mulder insists that she wouldn’t, and questions the missing pictures of him and Samantha. He thinks Teena wanted to tell him something about Amber Lynn, but couldn’t do it over the phone, in case the people who took Samantha overheard and went after her. Everything in the house seems staged, like someone murdered Teena and then arranged the scene to look like a suicide.

Mulder wants Scully to perform the autopsy and look for a needle puncture. Scully resists, since they’re friends, but Mulder knows that this is the only way he can learn the truth. He goes back to see Kathy Lee, wanting to understand the things she’s seen. He thinks she knows why Teena’s dead. Mulder offers to talk to the parole board on Kathy Lee’s behalf if she helps him. He tells her about Samantha, which makes Kathy Lee think that Teena wanted to tell him that she’d seen “the walk-ins.” They’re “old souls looking for new homes,” and Kathy Lee thinks Samantha is among them.

She continues that it’s hard to see them because they “live in the starlight.” Mulder asks if this means Samantha’s dead, but Kathy Lee just says that she was taken. She suffered harm in her life, like Dean, and now they’re being protected. Kathy Lee doesn’t know where they are, but they’re okay. At Santa’s North Pole Village, a kind of rundown play place, some kids are ready to see Santa. The creeper from the van goes to his workshop to get ready. This is where all his screens are, and where he keeps his Santa suit.

In D.C., Mulder listens to Teena’s message on his machine over and over, trying to figure out what she wanted to tell him. Scully arrives, and Mulder tells her that he thinks Teena wanted to talk about Samantha. She somehow knew that Samantha and Amber Lynn’s disappearances are connected. Mulder thinks Teena wrote a note like Kathy Lee and Billie did. If Kathy Lee’s right about walk-ins, Samantha was never abducted by aliens. Mulder’s been looking for her in the wrong place this whole time.

Scully has done the autopsy, and she can confirm that Teena killed herself. She had Paget’s carcinoma, an untreatable disease that would have eventually left her disfigured. Mulder tries to process this, then starts crying and insists that Teena was trying to tell him something. Scully thinks she was trying to tell him to stop looking for Samantha. She wanted to take away his pain.

That night, as Billie and Bud go to bed, Billie sees a ghostly vision of Amber Lynn. The next day, Skinner goes to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully has spent the night tending to her partner. He tells the agents that Billie wants to talk to Mulder, so they all need to go back to Sacramento. There, Billie tells the agents about her vision of Amber Lynn; she thinks her daughter was trying to say something to her. Billie isn’t sure, but she thinks it was the number 74.

Mulder thinks there’s no point in investigating, since they’re not going to find Amber Lynn. If Billie saw her as a ghost, they won’t find her alive and should stop hoping they will. The agents still can’t explain the note, though. Mulder finally acknowledges that he’s too close to the case, and since he’s just suffered a personal loss, he’d like to take some time off.

As the agents head to the airport, Scully sees a road sign for highway 74. She checks a map and sees that the highway goes to Santa’s North Pole Village. Remembering the reference to Santa in the notes, she tells Skinner to take them there. They search the place and find the creeper’s collection of videotapes, which go back to the ’60s. Mulder worries that Samantha will be on one of the tapes. Instead, Scully finds the one of Amber, dated two days before she disappeared.

The creeper arrives and locks the agents in his workroom, but Skinner’s still outside and catches him trying to run. There’s a chase, but when Skinner fires his gun in the air (so he’s shooting near Santa, but not at him), the creeper decides to just give up and let himself be arrested. While Scully reads the creeper his rights, Mulder looks around the property and finds a bunch of unmarked graves. To be continued…

Thoughts: The episode title is confusing, since it means “signs and wonders” but has nothing to do with that episode.

Mark Rolston (Bud) also played Odin in “Red Museum,” so I can’t blame the FBI for being suspicious of him here.

This episode may have the creepiest opening of any episode in the whole series.

Santa’s North Pole Village just makes me think of Nos4A2, which makes it even spookier.

 

February 10, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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!

May 14, 2016

The X-Files 3.2, Paper Clip: Let’s Make a Deal

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

"That's not the Uber I ordered..."

“That’s not the Uber I ordered…”

Summary: Hosteen is voicing over again, this time about animals being symbolic to the Navajo. Mulder’s recovery reminded them of the Gila monster, which healed a man by putting his parts back together. Lightning and thunder brought him back to life. After Mulder was better, the Navajo learned from other tribes that something big had happened. He tells the story of White Buffalo Woman, who taught Native Americans how to live virtuously and pray. Then she turned into a white buffalo and returned to the heavens. The day Mulder was healed, a white buffalo was born, an omen that big changes are coming.

Back in Mulder’s apartment, Scully and Skinner are still facing off. He insists that he’s trying to help her, but he’s not about to put down his weapon. Fortunately, Mulder arrives to serve as Scully’s backup. Skinner finally gives up his gun, and Scully explains that she was warned that someone she trusted would try to kill her. Skinner shows them the recording, which Mulder says CSM killed Bill over. Mulder says, “I was a dead man. Now I’m back,” which would be a great tagline for a probably bad movie.

Mulder explains what’s on the cassette, then tries to make Skinner give it to Scully. Skinner points out that it’s the only leverage they have against the conspirators, so they need to protect it. Mulder backs down and takes Scully away to search out more truths. She tells him that she assured Teena that he would be okay, even though she had no proof she was right. She just knew. Meanwhile, Maggie arrives at the hospital where she thinks Scully has been brought in. She’s shocked to hear that Melissa’s the daughter who was shot. She’s in an induced coma, and the doctors can’t do anything more for her except monitor her.

Scully and Mulder take the picture of Bill and the conspirators to the Lone Gunmen. Byers brings up Operation Paper Clip, a World War II agreement with Nazi war criminals that gave America access to their scientific knowledge. Langly IDs a man in the picture as one of those war criminals, Victor Klemper. He experimented on Jewish people, and some of his tests led to space travel. Byers notes that the picture was taken in 1973, but Operation Paper Clip was supposed to have ended in the 1950s, which means there’s yet another secret the American government has been keeping. Langly reports that Klemper is alive and still living in the U.S.

Frohike arrives, happy to see Mulder alive. He gives Scully the news that Melissa’s in the hospital, and she immediately realizes that her sister’s shooting was meant for her. Mulder talks her into staying away from the hospital. CSM and his Syndicate have realized their mistake (well, Krycek’s mistake), and WMM wants to know who will fix it. He warns that Scully believes that Mulder is still alive. CSM is sure he’s not, and still has his buddies snowed that he has the cassette. They question that, asking to see the tape. CSM claims it’s someplace safe, but he’ll bring it to them tomorrow.

Mulder and Scully find Klemper in a greenhouse, and after some blathering about history, he’s all, “We did good work! So what if innocent people died?” Mulder thinks Klemper knows why Bill was killed. Klemper replies that it was probably in their best interest. Mulder shows him the picture, but Klemper hesitates to reveal any more truths. The only help he’ll give is asking if Scully knows the formula for Napier’s Constant, then revealing that the photo was taken outside the Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia. They’re on their own for the rest.

As soon as the agents leave, Klemper calls WMM to tell him that Mulder visited, but Klemper didn’t tell him anything. Now the Syndicate knows that Mulder is alive. Maggie spots a man in a suit outside Melissa’s hospital room, then gets a visit from Hosteen. Scully sent him to comfort Maggie in her place. Maggie allows him to pray for her daughter, who she thinks is getting better. Mulder and Scully head to the now-abandoned Strughold facility, which holds a bunch of doors that can only be opened by keypad codes. Napier’s Constant, 27828, opens one of the doors. Before Mulder goes through it, Scully wants him to think about the possibility that they might discover something bad about Bill.

Skinner summons CSM to the FBI building to report that he may have found the tape. However, it could have fallen into other hands. CSM isn’t interested in making a deal. He gets more and more frustrated as Skinner stays calm, saying they’ll talk again. Skinner, basically: “I know you do bad things.” CSM, basically: “Then maybe I’ll do bad things to you.” Mulder and Scully go underground, finding a tunnel full of file cabinets. The files all seem to be medical, and are helpfully stored in alphabetical order. In each one, Scully finds a birth certificate, smallpox vaccination certificate, and old tissue collection cassette.

Mulder asks what year Scully was born, then looks up her file. The tissue sample is recent, judging from the plastic container used. Mulder then looks for Samantha’s file, discovering that the label with her name has been placed over a label with his name – the file was originally his. The lights suddenly go out, and Mulder runs out of the tunnel to the front of the building. The windows are full of lights. In the tunnel, Scully sees something alien-like skittering around. As she runs away from it, Mulder runs out the back of the building in time to see a large spacecraft flying over it. Scully sees another alien in the tunnel, standing in front of more light.

Cars approach the building, so Mulder goes back in to retrieve Scully. He dodges bullets on his way back to the tunnel and reunites with his partner. She’s found a way out, and they’re able to escape the building undetected. In the morning, Skinner meets them at a diner in Craiger, Maryland, and tells them he has a plan to protect them: He’ll turn over the tape and get them reinstated at the FBI. Mulder refuses to give up the cassette even if it means saving his own life. He thinks the tape holds an explanation for the records they found.

Skinner wonders what Mulder’s hoping to find. Mulder replies that he wants to know why Bill was killed, what happened to Samantha, and why Scully was targeted. Scully, however, is on Skinner’s side – she would rather be safe and see Melissa than get answers that only Mulder wants. Since Skinner hasn’t been able to copy the tape, they’ll have to hand over the only version they have. Skinner promises to turn state’s evidence if his deal isn’t honored. Mulder lets Scully have the final vote in the matter. She tells Skinner to make the deal but not hand over the tape until Mulder okays it.

The agents leave the diner together as Hosteen voices over that he prayed for Melissa for two days. She improved, but Hosteen learned that the white buffalo calf stopped nursing. Then the mother buffalo died. Hosteen knows that sometimes, one creature must be sacrificed so another can live. Skinner arrives at the hospital with a message from Scully so her mother knows she’s all right. The man in the suit is still outside Melissa’s room, and Skinner decides to find out why. He chases him to a stairwell, where he and the man engage in some hand-to-hand combat. Krycek joins in, beats on Skinner a little, and steals the cassette.

Krycek and his criminal buddies then stop at a convenience store in D.C. to get some drinks. Krycek’s left alone in the car, growing suspicious when the other guys stop to look at him from the store’s doorway. He notices that the dashboard clock is flashing 12:00. Unlike on a VCR, where this meant that you didn’t know how to set the clock, Krycek realizes that this means his life is in danger. He takes off running as the car explodes. His buddies should be a lot more worried about how they’re going to explain this to CSM.

Mulder and Scully return to Klemper’s greenhouse, but instead encounter WMM. Klemper’s dead, and Mulder knows it wasn’t due to a bad heart. He recognizes WMM from the photo. WMM tells them about the spacecraft found in New Mexico in 1947 and the body retrieved from it. Mulder puts together his talk of Joseph Mengele with his mention that Klemper made flower hybrids to figure out that Klemper was trying to create a human-alien hybrid. The bodies in the boxcar in the desert were his failed human test subjects.

Scully denies that the technology was available; DNA wasn’t even identified until 1944. WMM says that Bill was in charge of collecting genetic data on Americans in case they needed to be identified in the event of nuclear holocaust. Mulder realizes that, due to the DNA samples collected from people who received smallpox vaccinations, Klemper had access to every person’s record from 1950 forward. Scully thinks WMM is just making stuff up, but WMM says he has no reason to lie. Scully, basically: “Whatever, Nazi.” Mulder notes that Scully’s file was in the mine – the records are of abductees.

Mulder asks WMM why Samantha was taken. WMM explains that Bill threatened to expose the project, so Samantha was taken as insurance. Mulder wants to know why he wasn’t taken. WMM can’t say, but he warns that Mulder’s still in danger for threatening to expose the project: “You have become your father.” Mulder wonders why WMM has told him all this. WMM replies that Mulder wanted to know it, didn’t he? He says there’s still more – more than Mulder will ever know.

Krycek calls CSM to report that he’s alive and has the cassette, but CSM will never find him. CSM reports to the Syndicate that Krycek is dead and the cassette was destroyed in the car explosion. He’s still going to meet with the FBI, even though there’s no deal to make. Mulder goes back to his mother’s house to find out if Bill ever asked her if she had a favorite child. Teena says she couldn’t choose – it was Bill’s choice. She always hated him for it, and still does, even after his death.

CSM meets Skinner in his office, hiding his amusement when Skinner bluffs that he has the cassette. Skinner promises to hand it over after Mulder and Scully are reinstated. CSM knows Skinner can’t make the deal, so he suggests a few ways Skinner’s life might end. Skinner calls in Hosteen and announces that there’s a new deal: If anything happens to Mulder or Scully, Hosteen will reveal everything on the tape, which he’s memorized. (He’s also, in the Navajo storytelling tradition, told it to 20 more Navajo.) “Welcome to the wonderful world of high technology,” Skinner gloats.

But we don’t get a happy ending: Scully finally made it to Melissa, but the damage from her shooting was too extensive and Melissa didn’t survive surgery. Scully laments that her sister died for her. She now agrees with Mulder that there’s no justice, though Mulder thinks they’re dealing with something bigger: fate. They’ve both been reinstated at the FBI, and though they’ve both suffered recent losses, they want to go back to work. Mulder thinks they can still find truth through the X-Files. Scully tells him she’s heard the truth – now she wants answers.

Thoughts: I guess I should call CSM and his buddies the Consortium, but apparently the Syndicate is used a lot. Also, it’s just easier to type.

I tried to look up Napier’s Constant, but I found a bunch of math and it made my head hurt and I had to take a nap.

For the record, Samantha’s tissue cassette is plastic, which means the sample was taken more recently. Make if that what you will.

May 7, 2016

The X-Files 3.1, The Blessing Way: In Space, No One Can Hear You Blather

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

I've seen pretentious college plays just like this

I’ve seen pretentious college plays just like this

Summary: As the fire burns in the boxcar in the New Mexico desert, Hosteen voices over that there’s an old Navajo saying about how something only lives as long as the last person who remembers it. That means trusting memory over history. “History serves only those who seek to control it,” and we should beware people who want to put out the flame of memory: “Their false memory is written in the blood of those who may remember, and of those who seek the truth.”

CSM sends his minions into the Hosteens’ house to hold them at gunpoint while he demands to know where Mulder is. Hosteen says he’s out of luck. Later, Scully arrives, after the others have left, and Hosteen and Eric (who’s been beaten up) send her to the smoldering boxcar. She yells Mulder’s name, but there’s no response.

Scully leaves the reservation, followed by a helicopter that stops her on the road. CSM’s minions detain her and ask for the M.J. documents. She lets them take the files, but they want a digital recording, too, which Scully says Mulder has. When she returns to FBI headquarters, she’s suspended for insubordination. She turns in her badge and gun but won’t answer any more questions. As far as she knows, Mulder is dead.

Skinner pretends this has been difficult for him, too. Scully’s upset that the people who killed Bill and probably killed Mulder are going to get away with it. Skinner argues that the FBI is just following protocol. Scully goes straight to Mulder’s desk and retrieves a cassette case hidden there. It’s supposed to contain the digital recording, but the box is empty.

In New York, a group of shady men meets to discuss whether their 40 years of secret-keeping have been disturbed. CSM arrives to announce that they’re still in control, though there’s still a problem that needs to be handled. Mulder’s dead, and no one will ever find his body. The stolen files have been recovered, and anyone working on their super-top-secret projects can keep working.

Scully goes to her mother’s house for comfort, worrying that she’s made a mistake and her father would be ashamed of her. Hosteen voices over that some boys came by to tell Eric that they saw buzzards in the quarry near the boxcar. Hosteen says that either means something has died or that death is close. A group goes out to look, finding Mulder buried under a pile of rocks, still alive thanks to being underground.

Mulder is taken to a hogan and people are summoned for a ceremony called the Blessing Way Chant. Hosteen says this is the only way Mulder’s life can be saved. Meanwhile, a drunk Frohike visits Scully to pay his respects. He thinks Scully will continue Mulder’s work, but she doesn’t think she can do so once she’s pushed out of her job. Frohike shows her a news article about the Thinker’s “execution-style” murder. Scully notes that he was killed after Mulder disappeared.

In the hogan, the ceremony is underway, though Hosteen worries that Mulder’s body will give up before they can heal him. Mulder’s…spirit, I guess, floats in space, surrounded by men in shadows. Deep Throat appears and says some flowery stuff about truth, then tells Mulder not to look into the abyss. We see a smoke bomb being dropped into the boxcar sometime in the past, and the aliens inside running for cover.

Next up at Mulder’s space funeral: Bill, who’s unhappy that he had to lie to his son for so long. Now his lies have put Mulder’s life at risk. Mulder is the memory, and it lives in him, so if he dies, the truth will, too. Mulder asks if Samantha is there. Bill says no, then continues that Mulder needs to keep seeking the truth.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters, entering with a tour group instead of through the employees’ entrance. A security guard thinks she’s set off the metal detector because of something like a shirt pin, not for any sketchy reasons. Scully meets with Skinner, telling him that she thinks the Thinker’s death is connected to Mulder’s disappearance. She’d like to find out if the ballistics match the bullet that killed Bill. If so, Mulder didn’t kill his father.

Skinner says that the police who investigated the Thinker’s murder would have said something if their tests had turned up anything the FBI needed to know. Scully says she’s trying to cooperate with the investigation, but Skinner thinks she’s trying to earn her way back from suspension. He’s unhappy that he’s supposed to find the cassette, wondering if it was worth Mulder’s life. If Scully really wants to help with the investigation, she’ll find the recording.

After Scully leaves the office, CSM enters from the next room and asks if Skinner talked to Scully about the tape. Skinner says Scully claims not to have it. CSM says that’s “unfortunate.” As Scully leaves the building, she decides to go back through the metal detector to see why she set it off. When the security guard runs a wand over her, it goes off at the back off her neck.

Scully runs to a bureau doctor and gets an x-ray that shows something small in her neck. There’s also a small scar over the area. The doctor thinks she was probably hit with buckshot in the line of duty and didn’t realize it. After three days of unconsciousness, Mulder wakes up and starts to recover his strength.

The doctor removes what looks like a computer chip from Scully’s neck. She takes it to her sister, Melissa, who thinks she’s repressed the memory of where it came from. Melissa suggests that Scully see someone who could help her remember, but Scully refuses. Melissa’s upset that her sister never sees the world any way but scientifically. Her grief keeps her from accessing her true feelings. Melissa asks Scully to do this for her.

So Scully goes to see Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a psychiatrist who wants to hypnotize her so she can access her memories. She remembers being afraid that she would die, but Pomerantz thinks someone took care of her. Scully recalls lights and loud sounds, but not the details of whatever procedure she underwent. Her captors seemed concerned about her well-being.

Pomerantz wonders if someone from the FBI was there. “I had to trust them,” Scully says. She couldn’t resist them. Pomerantz accidentally brings Scully out of her hypnotic state, and she decides it’s not working. She heads home, spotting Skinner leaving her building.

On the reservation, Hosteen tells Mulder that he’s okay to leave, but he can’t bathe or change clothes for a few days. Mulder jokes that his social life will be affected. He asked for sunflower seeds while he was sick, so someone has brought him some. Hosteen tells him that he was dreaming, but also visiting the origins of the reservation. He wipes out a sand drawing and declares the ceremony over.

Scully calls Skinner to ask why he went by her place, but he denies being there. That’s because CSM is in his office. Mulder voices over about being on the bridge between two worlds and seeking truth. Now he’s back, but he’s afraid he’s too late. Scully has been dreaming this just before Bill’s funeral in Massachusetts. She tells Teena that she has a strong feeling that Mulder is still alive and will be found.

One of CSM’s buddies is also at the funeral, and he listens in as Scully tells Teena she’ll keep her updated. The man, who is often called the Well-Manicured Man (WMM from here on out), then pulls Scully aside to ask about Mulder. He says he’s part of a “global consortium” that’s very interested in the recording – interested enough to commit murder over it. He’s sure Mulder’s dead, and he wants to warn Scully that her life could soon end, too.

Scully starts to walk away, but WMM continues that she’ll be killed in one of two ways. Either she’ll be killed in her own home with an unregistered weapon that will be left behind, or she’ll be asked to meet with someone she trusts who’s luring her into a trap. She’d be wise to stay somewhere else right now.

Scully wonders why she’s a target. “You want something they don’t – justice,” WMM replies. She wants to know why he’s helping her. He says his colleagues are being impulsive, and her death would draw “unnecessary attention” to the consortium. Scully says he’s really protecting himself. WMM says the consortium predicts the future, “and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Teena comes home from her husband’s funeral to find her not-dead-after-all son in her house. He shows her some pictures of Bill from 1972 and asks who the men are with him. Teena doesn’t remember their names, but one is Deep Throat and one is WMM. Mulder thinks they have something to do with what happened to Samantha.

Scully gets home as Melissa calls to find out what happened with Pomerantz. Scully says something weird happened, then tells Melissa she can come over. As soon as end their conversation, someone else calls, then immediately hangs up. Scully calls Melissa to say she’ll come to Melissa’s instead, but her sister’s already on her way over.

As Scully leaves her building, Skinner arrives and tells her to get in his car. Remembering what WMM said, Scully’s wary about going anywhere with someone she trusts, but she has a gun with her, so she gets in the car. They go to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully pulls her weapon and says she knows what’s going on. She asks who sent Skinner after her, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Melissa arrives at Scully’s apartment, which two men have broken into. She’s immediately shot…by Krycek. He realizes he shot the wrong sister and leaves. At Mulder’s, Skinner tells Scully he’s not going to kill her – he wants to give her the recording. He took it from Mulder’s desk before she could. They hear someone outside the door, and the distraction allows Skinner to pull his own gun for a stand-off with Scully. To be continued (again)…

Thoughts: “Okay, David, in this episode, you’re going to lie around half-naked under tree branches while men chant over you and dead people tell you not to go into the light. Also, sometimes you’re in space. Action!”

Deep Throat, are you getting paid by the word? Just say, “It’s not your time yet.” There’s no need to be so dramatic.

Skinner needs some sort of code to use with Mulder and Scully that means, “I’m going to say I’m not helping you, but I really am.”

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.