August 19, 2017

The X-Files 5.20, The End: Checkmate?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:53 pm by Jenn

“I’d rather be watching ‘Bob’s Burgers'”

Summary: There’s a chess tournament going on in Vancouver, and a man from Russia is playing a preteen boy from the U.S. There’s a huge audience, so apparently this is a big deal. (Maybe people in Vancouver need to find more things to do.) The boy hears voices in his head as he plays, apparently the thoughts of all the people in the audience. One voice is particularly loud, and may belong to a man who’s loading a sniper rifle. He takes aim at the boy’s opponent, then the boy. As the boy stands up and makes his last move, declaring checkmate, his opponent is shot.

A couple of men drop onto a mountain in Quebec via parachutes and try to ambush the cabin where CSM has been staying. CSM’s security system warns him and he’s able to shoot one of the men before he can be shot. The other man starts to head into the house but sees CSM’s footprints heading into some nearby woods. After a brief chase, the second gunman stops CSM. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Krycek. CSM tells him to go ahead and shoot, but Krycek says he was sent to bring CSM back.

A note reading “you are here” has been placed on the UFO in Mulder’s “I want to believe poster.” Skinner is in the office waiting for Mulder; he claims it’s so they can discuss Mulder’s long-term plans. What does he hope to find? Mulder says whatever he’s looking for is in the X-files, and he’ll know when he finds it. Skinner’s really there to tell Mulder about the assassination of the Russian chess player. The shooter used to work for the NSA. Jeffrey Spender is in charge of the case, having been assigned by someone outside of the bureau, and he wants Mulder to work with him.

Mulder heads to a meeting Spender’s running, with Scully already in attendance. Mulder watches footage of the shooting and announces that the boy, not the Russian, seems to be the target. Another agent in the room agrees with Mulder – she thinks the boy was able to precognitively sense that the shooter was aiming for him. Mulder and the agent exchange a look that lets us know this isn’t the first time they’ve met.

Krycek delivers CSM to WMM, the Elder, and some other Syndicate members. He’s all “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated; your assassin sucks; I’ll let it go THIS TIME.” The Syndicate tells him about the death of the Russian, mentioning that the boy is “a problem.” CSM asks, not serious, if they want him to kill the boy. They’re horrified by the suggestion and say that CSM knows what they want him to do. They’re sure he shares their intentions.

Mulder and Scully drive somewhere with the agent from the meeting, Diana Fowley. She’s been out of the country for a while and asked to be reassigned so she could attend to some things in the U.S. Scully notes that Fowley’s been in the FBI since 1991, the same time Mulder started working on the X-files. Yeah, that sure is a coincidence, Scully!

The boy is watching The Simpsons when the agents arrive to talk to him. He’s happy to be in a country with good TV; he lives in the Philippines and all they have on TV is Baywatch. The boy, Gibson, is being kept there until his parents come get him. Mulder wants to see if Gibson can beat a chess computer he’s brought, guessing that he can’t. He’s figured out that Gibson’s so good at the game because he can read his opponents’ thoughts. That’s why he knew there was a shooter.

Gibson confirms Mulder’s suspicions by saying that Mulder’s thinking about one of the agents he brought with him. One of them is thinking about him, too. (Yeah, like they both aren’t.) Fowley asks which one, but Gibson says that Mulder doesn’t want him to answer that. Mulder tells Scully that, despite Gibson’s status as a prodigy, he’s not actually that good at chess. Scully disagrees – no one has passed all the rigorous testing required of someone who claims to be psychic. Mulder thinks Gibson’s skills are exactly why he was marked for murder.

Scully notes that people would want to use Gibson’s skills, not eliminate them. His psychic abilities would give them advantages in things like war and business. Fowley points out that he could also reveal lots of secrets that people want to stay hidden. Mulder suggests that they test him and run a brain scan. He tells Fowley that she knows what to do. Scully finally catches on that the two of them know each other.

Mulder goes to see the shooter in jail, but Spender doesn’t want to let them talk. Mulder thinks Spender’s trying to protect something and is sending the agents on a wild goose chase. He’s sure that Gibson is the key to the incident, and the shooter knows why. The shooter, however, isn’t very forthcoming, thanks to Spender’s refusal to give him food or water for the past 16 hours.

Mulder sends Spender to get them while he lists the shooter’s credentials and notes that he also failed to kill Saddam Hussein during a raid on his palace. Mulder threatens to tell Spender that the shooter knows Gibson reads minds. The shooter is still unwilling to help, since he doesn’t think Mulder can get him immunity or placement in the Witness Protection Program. Mulder tells him to think about it, then leaves.

Gibson has undergone the testing at a psychiatric hospital, and he tells Scully he knows that she’s wondering about Fowley. Fowley’s wondering about Scully as well. Gibson goes to his next test, a variation on the Zener cards. He guesses all of them correctly. Fowley tells Scully that she’s seen clairvoyants with more than 90 percent accuracy, but never anything like this. She mentions working with Mulder on cases involving criminal psych patients who may have been misdiagnosed. Scully excuses herself.

In prison, the shooter receives a note reading “you’re a dead man.” It’s written on the inside of a flattened Morley cigarette carton. Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and asks them to look at Gibson’s brain scans. She also wants them to tell her about Fowley. They’re familiar with her because she was “Mulder’s chickadee” right after he left the academy. She was there at the inception of the X-files. Byers says he’s always wondered why they split up.

Gibson watches cartoons while Mulder and Fowley discuss his excellent scores on all the tests. Mulder thinks they’re missing something, though. Fowley praises him for figuring out what was going on from the footage from the tournament. Mulder says he’s been working on this kind of stuff for five years. Fowley says she sometimes wonders how things might have turned out if she’s stayed instead of moving to counter-terrorism. She thinks he could have benefited from having a partner who thinks like him, and not a skeptic.

Mulder defends Scully, saying she makes him work for his successes. He’s “done okay” without Fowley. She assures him that she’s on his side. Scully’s about to join them when she sees them having an intimate conversation, so instead she goes to her car to pout. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks him to meet her at the office to go over something she’s found out about Gibson.

As she’s leaving the parking garage, Spender arrives and is quickly summoned to talk to CSM. Spender doesn’t know who CSM works for, which means he’s even more out of his league than anyone thought. CSM tells him he needs to control the board and know who to sacrifice and when. He can’t join up with someone else’s cause – he needs to always pursue his own self-interest. As CSM leaves, Mulder comes into the garage and sees them talking. He’s surprised that CSM isn’t dead after all.

Mulder takes Scully to a meeting in Skinner’s office and urges her to tell him and other agents there about Gibson’s test results. Neurological tests show that Gibson uses an area of his temporal lobe – called the “God nodule” by neuroscientists – that no one else uses. Mulder says that famous scientists like Einstein, Newton, and Stephen Hawking are also believed to use portions of the brain that no one else does. Gibson may be the key to understanding human potential, paranormal phenomenon…and everything in the X-files.

Spender scoffs at the idea that Gibson was a target for murder because of the X-files. Mulder can’t make the connection completely, but he thinks the shooter can. He wants them to offer the shooter immunity so he’ll talk. Scully says they’re trying to quantify proof of everything she and Mulder have been investigating. Fowley argues that they can’t quantify spirituality. The X-files are basically an indulgence; their higher-ups are never going to allow them to offer an immunity deal for this kind of investigation.

Skinner dismisses everyone but Mulder, then warns him that he’s taking a huge risk with his future career. Mulder thinks things will fit together, and he’ll get the answers he’s spent so long looking for. He gets Skinner to talk to the Attorney General, who agrees to offer the shooter immunity. The shooter tells Mulder and Spender that Gibson is a “missing link” – genetic proof that a person can be more human than human. Gibson appears to have genes that indicate he’s part alien.

On a street somewhere, WMM and Krycek confront CSM for failing to do what he was supposed to. CSM says that Mulder going to the Attorney General is just “part of the game.” They’re taking the other side’s pieces one by one; eventually the board will be cleared.

Scully accompanies Gibson to a safehouse, where he enjoys an episode of King of the Hill. (How interesting that everything he watches is on Fox! I wonder why?) Scully asks him how he does what he does. Gibson says it’s like listening to multiple radios. Part of the reason he likes chess is because he only has to listen to one “radio” at a time. Plus, there’s no talking, so no one’s saying one thing and thinking something else. He says that sometimes people worry about what others are thinking, while those others worry about the same thing.

Gibson continues that people make up things to believe, but it’s not real. Some people try to be good while others don’t care, like Scully. He clarifies that he means Scully doesn’t care what people think, “except for her.” Fowley comes by to stay with Gibson so Scully can go home. Gibson announces that he knows people want him dead. Scully promises to protect him. In prison, the shooter gets another cigarette box, but this one has no message. The man delivering the message shoots him.

Back at the safehouse, Fowley awakens from a nap to find Gibson at the window. He tells her there’s a man with a gun outside, but he’s there to kill her, not him. He’s right, and someone shoots Fowley through the window. She’s alive, barely, but a U.S. marshal is dead. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that the shooter is dead, and they found the blank cigarette note. Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.

CSM has grabbed Gibson and taken him to meet WMM. WMM tries to convince Gibson that he has nothing to be afraid of, but Gibson knows he’s a liar like CSM is. WMM tells CSM his work is done, but CSM says it’s just beginning. He hands over the boy, who gets in the car with WMM and Krycek. Krycek offers to kill CSM, but WMM says he’s useful, and Krycek might need him in the future.

As Spender organizes a search for Gibson, Mulder attacks him, demanding to know who Spender really works for. He vows to see Spender prosecuted, warning that his days are numbered. Spender says Mulder’s the one whose days are numbered.

Scully and Skinner talk on the phone about the developments in the case, and how Spender is saying things that make both agents look bad. Scully tells Mulder that Fowley isn’t doing well, and their jobs aren’t lookng much better. The Department of Justice wants the X-files to be closed down. Mulder laments that everything has been part of a strategy he couldn’t see. Scully admits that the bad guys may have finally won.

CSM lights a cigarette in Mulder’s office, then leaves with Samantha’s X-file. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who asks how he got in. CSM says he has access and can give it to Spender. Spender asks who he is. “I’m your father,” CSM replies. (Well, it’s no “Luke, I am your father”). A smoke alarm sounds – Mulder’s office is on fire. When he and Scully go in to check it out, they see that everything has been destroyed, including the “I want to believe” poster.

Thoughts: Gibson looks like a mini-Frohike. I hope that’s on purpose.

I can’t believe I have to put up with this Scully/Fowley jealousy crap. Frigging male showrunners and writers.

Gibson is present for a murder and his parents don’t immediately rush out to get him? Why weren’t they with him anyway? Does he have a guardian? No one seems worried about him. Scully, adopt him, please.

How do you like your new role as Syndicate chauffeur, Krycek? Do you feel like you’ve made good choices to get you to this place?

That’s a wrap on season 5! I’m excited for some fun episodes coming in season 6.

June 17, 2017

The X-Files 5.11, Kill Switch: Going Viral

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:19 pm by Jenn

Right back at ya, episode

Summary: A man is working on a laptop at a diner, trying to hack something. In Logan Circle in D.C., a drug dealer named Jackson gets a call from a man who wants to offer him some help. Jackson’s former partner, Kenny, stole his money, and the man on the phone wants Jackson to know he can find him at the diner. As Jackson heads over with a gun, the man on the phone places more calls, sending all sorts of criminal types to the diner to get revenge on various people who have wronged them. Men start arriving at the diner as the hacker finally succeeds at his hack. As he puts a CD in the computer, U.S. Marshals burst in and a gunfight takes place.

Mulder and Scully come in to find out what happened to the Marshals. They got a tip telling them a fugitive cartel leader was at the diner, though Mulder thinks it was a lie. All the other criminals in the diner were local drug dealers, not the types who would be in the company of a major cartel boss. Mulder IDs the hacker as Donald Gelman, a Silicon Valley “folk hero” who practically invented the Internet. He disappeared years ago, before he could make a deal with Bill Gates. Mulder thinks the shootout was planned to kill Gelman.

He takes Gelman’s computer from the scene, putting the CD he was about to burn in the car’s CD player. It plays the Platters’ “Twilight Time.” The agents take the computer to the Lone Gunmen, who tell them more about Gelman – he was in on all of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and that other guy’s work, but he was also under investigation by the NSA. They’re not familiar with his computer, which Mulder thinks is the reason he was killed. While Scully reads one of the Lone Gunmen’s newsletters, the guys try to hack his system. Scully’s the one who suggests that they check his email.

Gelman has one message in his inbox, from someone named Invisigoth. It’s a warning that someone named David is missing, and “the hunted has become the hunter.” Mulder guesses that a string of digits in the message belongs to a shipping container, so he and Scully track it down. There, they find a woman who tazes Mulder and runs away. Scully tackles her and gets tazed as well, but she’s not incapacitated enough to keep her from firing a warning shot that makes the woman stop.

Mulder checks out the woman’s computer setup and guesses she’s Invisigoth. Invisigoth isn’t very helpful and won’t answer any questions. She gets distracted when her computer lets her know that they’re being targeted by a DOD satellite, and they need to get out of there. Scully finds this ridiculous, but Mulder listens and rushes her off. The three speed away just before a missile blows the shipping container to bits. To his credit, Mulder doesn’t say, “I told you so.”

Invisigoth is still hesitant to give the agents any identifying information, but she does confirm Mulder’s theory that Gelman wrote some sort of sentient AI program. She says that he created a sequence of viruses and released it on the Internet 15 years ago. She compares it to primordial ooze. Gelman found her while she was working in Tokyo and offered her a job. Scully is, as ever, skeptical, saying that Invisigoth could have rigged the container to explode. She doesn’t think the DOD has the kind of technology Invisigoth says they have, like an armed satellite that could be controlled by an evil AI program.

Invisigoth says they’re off the grid now, and her little hideout must have been targeted because someone used Gelman’s computer to try to contact her. Only Gelman and a guy named David Markham knew where she was. They were tending to the AI, which went rogue one day. They’ve been trying to find it, but it won’t reveal itself, so it’s “wildlife” now. When Mulder tells Invisigoth that Gelman is dead, she says the AI must have arranged a hit to kill off its creator and protect itself. Next, it’ll target her and David.

Gelman was working on more viruses to bind the AI; he called it the Kill Switch. Mulder says all they have is the CD, which Invisigoth says is exactly what they need. The agents take her to the Lone Gunmen’s lair, and they ID her as Esther Nairn, one of their tech heroes. Scully mocks her as she starts to employ the Kill Switch. They can’t use it over the Internet; they’ll have to find out where the AI’s hardware is and “feed it the poisoned apple.” David was looking for the hardware when he disappeared.

The Lone Gunmen have some suggestions to help, noting that they’ll need someone from the government to help them access what they need. Lucky for them, they have a couple buddies in the government. Mulder goes to Fairfax to trace a T3 connector while the Lone Gunmen take a nap together. Esther frees herself from Mulder’s handcuffs and kidnaps Scully at gunpoint. They’re on their way to find David. Scully’s so calm on the phone that Mulder doesn’t sense any danger, so he continues his search.

Esther is saddened to find David’s house obliterated like her shipping container. While she’s out of the car, Scully frees herself from the cuffs Esther used to chain her to the steering wheel. Esther’s upset about David’s apparent death, but not too upset to grab the gun before Scully can. However, Esther welcomes being killed. Mulder’s hunt for the hardware takes him to an RV that houses someone – or something – who’s very concerned about security.

Esther tells Scully that she stopped working for Gelman after he learned that she and David planned to inject memory and consciousness into the AI. They wanted to put their minds into the AI so they could live together forever. Gelman was worried that others would want to do the same, so he shut them down. Mulder breaks into the RV, which is full of computers, a robot, and David’s corpse, which is connected to the computers through virtual-reality-type goggles. Mulder is suddenly pulled into a piece of equipment and electrocuted.

Mulder’s taken to a hospital where a very old surgeon calls for him to be prepped even as he begs the staff to call Scully. The surgeon ignores him and starts up some sort of drill. Scully can’t call Mulder because, according to Esther, it recognized her voice when she spoke to Mulder. They decide to continue Mulder’s search and see if they can shut the AI down at the source. Mulder’s out of surgery, and a nurse named Nancy tells him they were “able to save the right one.” His left arm, however, is now gone. Nancytells “Fox” that “they’re evil” and want something from him. If he doesn’t tell them what they want, he’ll lose his other arm. He begs for help, but Nancy smothers him with a pillow.

Scully and Esther get stopped on a bridge, and Esther guesses that the AI has found them. This is the worst possible time, since there’s a tanker trunk nearby full of flammable materials. While Scully tries to get the driver to leave his truck, Esther tries to use Gelman’s computer, then decides Scully’s right and she needs to throw it off the bridge. Back in the hospital, three nurses do something under Mulder’s covers, which I don’t think is any kind of appropriate medical treatment. Nancy tells him again that he needs to tell the doctor what he knows, or next his legs will be gone – his right arm has already gone the way of his left.

Suddenly Scully arrives and beats up all the nurses. She tells Mulder that they want the Kill Switch virus – “do we have it?” He says they do, then kicks her across the room. The room starts to glitch, and we see that Mulder’s been using David’s virtual-reality goggles this whole time. The real Scully is still with Esther, just now arriving at the RV. Scully shoots out the security system, and the women can hear Mulder calling for help inside. Robot pinchers grab at him and he loses consciousness.

The robot heads toward Scully, who again uses bullets to solve her problems. She asks Esther what the AI is thinking, but she doesn’t know – it created the whole system they’re looking at. A CD drive opens, and Esther guesses that it wants the Kill Switch. She doesn’t want to hand it over, since the AI could figure out how to defeat it. When Esther hesitates, Scully inserts the CD, freeing Mulder. Esther starts typing something, telling the agents to leave without her. She’s ready to take Mulder’s place and join David’s consciousness forever in the AI.

Hooking herself into the system causes a fire, and the RV ends up in little bits like the shipping container and David’s house. When the agents return the next day, Mulder wonders if Esther was able to create artificial life that’s now evolving. The Lone Gunmen get a message that says “bite me,” so he’s probably right. In North Platte, Nebraska, two boys in a trailer park go around an RV to retrieve a football, not realizing that a security camera mounted on the vehicle is watching them.

Thoughts: This episode was written by sci-fi/cyberpunk novelists William Gibson and Tom Maddox.

Jackson is played by Peter Williams, brother of Steven Williams (Mr. X).

For a high-tech genius, Gelman’s email system is really outdated, even for 1998.

Of course all the Lone Gunmen are in love with Esther. OF COURSE.

May 20, 2017

The X-Files 5.7, Emily: Merry Christmas! Your Kid’s Dying!

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:16 pm by Jenn

The only light moment in this horribly depressing episode

Summary: Scully voices over something about nothingness as we see her walk through a windy desert to retrieve her cross necklace from the sand. She believes that she will eventually end up alone, as she always is. Mulder is now in San Diego, meeting up with Scully and Emily at the children’s center where Emily’s staying. Emily’s not that interested in chatting with him (she’d rather color a potato), but he gets her to warm up to him with an impression of Mr. Potato Head. He notices that she’s wearing her mother’s necklace.

Mulder tells Scully that Frohike hacked into a database to get the name of Emily’s surrogate mother, Anna Fugazzi. Fugazzi means “fake,” so that’s a dead end. Scully can’t figure out how Emily was created. She insists that she can protect her, even though it’s obvious someone is targeting her. Mulder asks why she didn’t call him sooner. He’s hesitant to testify on Scully’s behalf at a hearing to decide whether she can have custody of Emily. “She’s a miracle that was never meant to be,” he says.

He goes to the hearing anyway, sharing a brief moment with Scully’s family before he’s questioned about his theory that the government abducted Scully and extracted her ova. The hearing judge doesn’t know how to understand “this Michael Crichton bit” that makes the case so strange. Why would someone kidnap Scully, take her ova, create a baby, and then place the baby for adoption? Mulder doesn’t think it matters – Emily is Scully’s daughter, so she should get custody. No one should question the circumstances or stand in the way of her chance to be with her child.

The agents head to Bill Jr.’s house, where Scully asks why Mulder never told her that her ova were all removed during her abduction. He admits that he knew children were being created, but not why or by whom. The phone rings, but no one speaks when Scully answers. Mulder has the call traced to the children’s center where Emily’s staying. The agents rush over and find Emily feverish. Mulder discovers a gross-looking blotch on the back of her neck.

The agents take Emily to the hospital, where a doctor orders a biopsy of the blotch, calling it a cyst. While Scully tries to relay Emily’s medical history to the doctor, Mulder watches the biopsy, suddenly calling for the doctor performing it to stop. She doesn’t listen, and when she punctures the cyst, green stuff gushes out. The doctor passes out from the toxins in the goo, but Emily is unaffected.

Emily is quarantined and sleeps while Scully asks Mulder why he wanted the procedure stopped. He says he realized that Emily could have the same chemistry as beings they’ve encountered before. He had the doctor placed in a cooling bath, as Scully did for him when he was exposed. Scully worries that this will be the way the rest of Emily’s life goes. The other doctor, Vinet, tells the agents that he contacted Calderon, but he refused to release Emily’s records from his medical trial. Calderon also insists that Scully has no authority over Emily.

Mulder goes to see Calderon himself but gets the same resistance Vinet did. Calderon says it has to do with the company’s legal liability. Mulder pounds on the guy a little, demanding to know what the pharmaceutical company really does. He angrily asks if Calderon’s life is worth saving more than Emily’s. Calderon won’t answer, but Mulder promises he’ll be back for answers. When Calderon leaves the office in a hurry, Mulder follows him.

Scully chats with Emily before she’s taken to undergo some tests. Emily says her mom told her she wouldn’t have to have any more tests. Scully tells her they just want her to get better. Meanwhile, Mulder follows Calderon to a house where he meets with the two suited men Marshall Sim met with in the previous episode. He warns them that Mulder is on to them, but they’re not concerned. One of them sticks Calderon with an alien ice pick, so now he’s out of the equation. Both suited men then make themselves look like Calderon. Mulder follows one of them as he leaves the house.

Vinet tells Scully that Emily has some sort of infection that’s growing rapidly, cycling through her central nervous system. One of the fake Calderons passes by in the hallway, unnoticed, as Vinet tells Scully that they don’t have many options for treatment. The fake Calderon gets access to Emily’s room, leaving just as Scully returns. She chases the fake doctor, pulling her gun when he ignores her. When she reaches him, he’s become someone else.

Mulder follows the other fake Calderon to the pharmaceutical company, getting confused when Scully calls to tell him Calderon was at the hospital and may have injected Emily with something. Mulder thinks the doctor was there to treat her. He believes the pharmaceutical company wants to protect her, but for reasons different from their own. Krisge arrives at the hospital, and Scully fills him in, theorizing that the pharmaceutical company wants to keep performing tests on Emily. Meanwhile, Mulder follows Calderon to a retirement home, where he finds a resident named Anna Fugazzi.

Back at the hospital, Vinet tells Scully that Emily’s condition seems to be improving, but her tests show more problems. Basically, she’s doomed. Susan, the social worker, tells Scully that the court doesn’t think Scully’s decisions are helping Emily. They think Calderon’s treatments were helping her, and she’s getting worse because they ceased. Scully’s upset that people think she’s not trying to save her daughter’s life. Susan points out that she doesn’t have any rights to make decisions for Emily. Scully makes it clear that if the court removes Emily from the hospital, she’ll get worse.

Mulder calls Frohike, who looks up the names of other residents at the retirement home. All of the women had babies in the past few years, despite being in their ’70s or older. They’re also receiving hormones that pregnant women wouldn’t need to be given. Mulder asks Anna about Calderon, who she says is supposed to be there – she was supposed to start her “beauty sleep.” At the hospital, Emily is placed in a hyperbaric chamber, so she’s just having the worst Christmas ever. She gets upset, and Scully notices something wriggling under her skin.

Mulder finds a room in the retirement home where patients sleep while receiving IVs full of something prescribed by Calderon. He also finds something that looks like a little alien baby, labeled with Scully’s name. If that’s not creepy enough, its legs are moving. He steals some capsules, then tries to flee before one of the fake Calderons can see him. Krisge catches him, and once he realizes who Mulder is, he turns his attention to the approaching fake Calderon. Calderon throws him aside and starts to walk away, but Krisge shoots him, even after Mulder warns him not to.

Mulder leaves Krisge behind with Calderon’s toxic green blood so he can call for backup. Krisge makes it out okay…or so Mulder believes. He heads back to the hospital, where Emily is now comatose. Scully says she’s okay – this is what’s meant to be. Even if she could treat Emily, she wouldn’t. Emily wasn’t created to be loved, but to serve someone’s agenda. By letting her die, Scully puts a wrench in someone’s plans. Mulder offers to stay with Scully while she watches her daughter die, but Scully wants to be alone.

After some amount of time, Emily’s gone, and the family holds a funeral. Tara and Bill Jr. have now had their baby, a boy named Matthew. After everyone else leaves, Scully asks Mulder why people would create a person who was only meant to die. Mulder thinks there was a purpose in Scully finding Emily and trying to save her. He tells her the retirement home has been shut down, and Calderon’s work has all disappeared, so all the answers they could look for are gone.

Scully knows Emily is the only remaining evidence of Calderon’s project, and she’s not about to forget. She opens to Emily’s casket and sees her necklace on a blanket that looks like sand, just like her dream or vision or whatever at the beginning of the episode. It’s a miracle! Or something!

Thoughts: Did everyone get all the Christ imagery? The cross necklace? A child created just to die? Are we all on the same page? Good.

Way to leave a horribly sick three-year-old completely unattended, you terrible San Diego hospital.

If they hadn’t already figured out that Emily was an alien, it would have been clear once they put her in the hyperbaric chamber. No kid would be the calm about getting in there.

Imagine being the kid playing Emily and having this on your résumé. “Oh, you were a child actor? What were you in?” “Two episodes of The X-Files, as Scully’s dying alien child.” “…I don’t know how to respond to that.”

April 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How paranoid were asthmatics after this episode?

April 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 21, 2017

The X-Files 4.14, Memento Mori: How to Save a Life

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:10 pm by Jenn

I love this

I love this

Summary: Scully gives us a voiceover about “[feeling] time like a heartbeat” and sharing a burden through words. She wants the person reading her words to know that she feels comfort because she’s receiving understanding. She’s standing in a hospital gown, looking at a scan of her head, which shows a mass right between her eyes. Scully finishes her voiceover by asking forgiveness for not finishing the journey with her audience.

Mulder joins Scully at Holy Cross Memorial Hospital in D.C., where Scully has just received her medical news. She tells him she feels fine, despite the tumor in her brain. He’s the only person she’s called. The tumor is inoperable, and its size and placement make it hard to treat. Mulder refuses to believe that. Scully’s amused that, for once, she believes something he doesn’t – she’s certain that the cancer isn’t going anywhere and will most likely kill her. Mulder still won’t accept this, saying that there have to be people out there who’ve received treatment.

Scully gives the news to Skinner, asking him to keep it quiet. She plans to delay treatment until she and Mulder meet with the MUFON women in Pennsylvania, as Betsy was being treated for the same type of cancer. Scully wants to pursue this as a case rather than a personal matter. But when the agents arrive at Betsy’s house, they learn that she died a few weeks earlier. They’re just in time to see files from Betsy’s computer being downloaded by someone.

The agents trace the hack to a man named Kurt Crawford and go to his apartment. Mulder heads to the back of the building just as someone tries to sneak out. The agents capture Kurt, but the exertion of the chase gives Scully a nosebleed. She tells Mulder again that she’s fine. Kurt tells the agents he was in Betsy’s MUFON group and downloaded her files at her request. He ran because he believes his life is in danger.

Scully wants to question the other MUFON members, but Mulder says they can’t. Kurt confirms that all of the other members have died of brain cancer except one, Penny Northern. Kurt believes the women’s stories about being abducted and developing tumors as a result. Mulder thinks Scully’s in denial about her illness coming from the same circumstances. Scully notes that Penny’s still alive, so there’s nothing definitive about the situation.

Mulder suggests that Scully talk to Penny, but Scully doesn’t see the point. What would they talk about, knowing what it’s like to be dying of cancer? Mulder puts it in FBI terms, pointing out that she’s a witness they need to talk to. So Scully visits Penny in the hospital, surprised that Penny seemed to expect her. Her doctor, Scanlon, thinks he’s found the cause of the cancer, though it’s probably too late to do anything. Scully seems to grasp that it might not be too late for her.

Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”), who’s at Betsy’s with Kurt, looking through her files. Penny and Betsy were both treated for infertility at the same clinic. Scully asks him to come to the hospital with her overnight bag and call her mother. Whatever Mulder found isn’t important right now. “The truth is in me,” she says, and she needs to suspend the investigation and look into what’s happening to her. Mulder immediately heads off, leaving Kurt in Betsy’s apartment. Seconds later, a man enters the apartment with an icepick, and someone ends up as green acid.

Scully spends the night at the hospital, waking to meet Dr. Scanlon, who she first sees as an alien-like being. She’s bracing herself for chemo and radiation, which Scanlon says will make her “feel like dying.” Maggie arrives, and Scully repeats her new mantra, that she’s fine. Maggie’s upset that Scully didn’t tell her about her diagnosis right away. Scully says that she wanted all the answers first, and though she hasn’t found any yet, she has some clarity, as well as a possible way to fight back.

Maggie makes it clear that she doesn’t want to be left out of whatever happens. She cries as she says that Scully was always the strong one. Having lost Melissa, Maggie only has one daughter left. Scully remains stoic as her mother breaks down. She undergoes some scans, voicing over about how cancer “starts as an invader, but soon becomes one with the invaded,” turning a person’s body against itself. You can destroy it, but you risk destroying yourself in the process.

The voiceover is a letter written to Mulder in case Scully doesn’t survive. She wants him to know that he should never feel like there was something more he could have done. Though they’ve been working together, “this last distance must necessarily be traveled alone.”

Mulder, having not read the letter yet, is still determined to do something. He goes to the clinic where Betsy and Penny were treated and tries to access some files, but has to hide when he hears someone approaching. It’s Kurt, who survived the icepick assassin after all. Kurt and Mulder are looking for the same thing, so Kurt gets to work hacking the computer with the files they need. Mulder notices a snowglobe of a place called Vegreville, which turns out to be the password.

Back at the hospital, Scully has a nightmare about her head being drilled while she was abducted. Penny comforts her when she wakes up, feeling sick for the first time. Scully remembers hearing Penny’s voice in her dream. Penny says “they” let her sit with Scully during the procedures, though she’s not sure why. Scully doesn’t want to hear about this right now, but Penny thinks it’s important for her to understand what’s happening to her.

Mulder returns to D.C. and asks Skinner to get him a meeting. He has a disk containing a file from the clinic; it has Scully’s name, even though he’s pretty sure Scully’s never undergone treatment for infertility. Since the file is a directory for a mainframe at the Lombard Research Facility, Mulder doesn’t know what it’s about. That’s why he wants to meet with CSM. Skinner warns that if Mulder offers up anything, CSM will “own” him. But Mulder thinks CSM knows what happened to Scully and may know how to save her. “You can’t ask the truth of a man who trades in lies,” Skinner says, refusing the request.

Fortunately, Mulder has the Lone Gunmen to turn to. They decrypt the file, which contains a gene code from her blood post-abduction. The branching in the code can lead to mutation. The Gunmen think someone was doing research to find the cause of the mutation, though Mulder notes that someone could instead be looking for a cure. He invites the Gunmen to come to Lombard with him: “Pick out something black and sexy, and prepare to do some funky poaching.”

Skinner goes to Mulder’s office and finds CSM, who’s surprised that Mulder’s been relegated to the basement. Skinner spits that at least Mulder doesn’t have to “take an elevator up to get to work,” which I think is his way of saying that CSM is from Hell, but…try harder, Skinner. Despite Mulder and Skinner’s agreement to keep Scully’s illness confidential, CSM knows she’s sick. He notes that modern medicine can lead to miracles. Skinner would like for one, so he asks what he needs to do to save Scully. CSM will get back to him. “Which way is the elevator?” he asks pointedly as he leaves.

Mulder and Byers stake out Lombard while Frohike and Langly sneak inside and patch into the facility’s security cameras. Mulder and Byers head in next but immediately hit a roadblock with a security code. While Langly figures it out, Mulder looks at a directory of doctors and sees that Scanlon is on staff there. Langly gets the code, but Mulder sends Byers off on another mission, telling him to contact Scully and get her to stop treatment.

Scully writes to Mulder again, now feeling the effects of her treatment. Penny’s condition has worsened, and Scully dreads going down the same road. She can feel Mulder close, even though he’s not with her. She’s grateful for his work and needs to know he’s out there if she has any hopes of beating the cancer.

The security feed and comms get fuzzy, and Langly and Byers lose contact with Mulder just as Byers sees security guards arriving at the facility. Mulder makes it to a lab, where he’s greeted by a bunch of clones of Kurt. The lab is full of tanks containing more clones. Mulder thinks Kurt was using him, but the clones really want him to help them end the project that created them. Mulder recognizes a clone in a tank as the boy from the farm. Kurt confirms that the adult clones are the end result of the experiment.

Mulder thinks the clones want the developing clones to be destroyed. They say they actually want what Mulder wants. One shows him a storeroom full of ova harvested from abducted women, including Scully. The ova are then used to create clones. Unfortunately, the procedure leaves them barren and gives them cancer. The Kurt clones want to save them, since they’re technically the clones’ mothers.

When Mulder’s comms return, Langly warns that there’s a security breach. In another part of the building, Byers hides from guards. Langly gives Mulder directions to get out of the building, but the Gunmen can’t get the doors open fast enough for him to leave. A guard finds Mulder and fires at him, trying to break through bulletproof glass. The Gunmen manage to get Mulder out just as the shooter breaches the glass.

Mulder goes straight to Scully’s room, which is empty except for her journal. Byers meets up with him and assures him that he reached Scully. She’s sitting with Penny, who’s barely holding on. Scully confirms that Scanlon probably isn’t coming back. Penny tells her to keep looking for answers, and Scully promises not to give up hope. Her stoicism is beginning to falter.

Penny dies, and Scully can no longer keep her emotions hidden. Mulder tells her he read a little of what she wrote to him, but Scully now wants to throw it away. She’s decided not to let the cancer beat her. She’s going to work as long as she can. Mulder is determined to find Scanlon and figure out exactly what happened to Scully and the other women. He knows that Scully will find a way to save herself.

Scully notes that many people live with cancer, and she will, too. She has things to prove to herself and her family, and things to finish. Mulder hugs her, happy to be able to keep working with her. “The truth will save you, Scully,” he tells her. “I think it’ll save both of us.” He kisses her forehead, but only her forehead, because they cut the version where they kiss on the lips. As she goes back to her room, Mulder hides a vial of ova in his pocket.

Mulder calls Skinner to let him know that Scully’s going to keep working. He thanks Skinner for talking him out of meeting with CSM; he’ll just find another way to get the truth. “There’s always another way,” Skinner says. “Yes, I believe there is,” CSM agrees from the other side of Skinner’s desk. “If you’re willing to pay the price.”

Thoughts: Gillian Anderson won an Emmy for this episode.

Way to protect your witness who thinks his life is in danger, guys.

And way to keep your shady doctor’s identity secret, Lombard. Also, did Scully do ANY research before she started treatment with Scanlon?

I finally feel like Skinner is really part of this show. He was pretty ineffectual in the past, but in this episode, we see that he knows exactly what’s going on and is willing to go to great (possibly dangerous) lengths for his agents.

December 3, 2016

The X-Files 4.7, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man: Sympathy for the Devil

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

"Yes, I will be your soulless killing machine. Does it come with health care? Because I'm about to ruin my lungs"

“Yes, I will be your soulless killing machine. Does it come with health care? Because I’m about to ruin my lungs”

Summary: A title card quotes to us from Henry IV, Part 1: “For nothing can seem foul to those that win.” CSM arrives at an abandoned warehouse, lighting up with a lighter that says “trust no one.” He opens his briefcase and uses the technology inside to eavesdrop on Mulder, Scully, and the Lone Gunmen. The Gunmen are wary about being overheard, and Frohike refuses to say anything else until they put on a filter that blocks surveillance. Too bad CSM has tech to cut through that filter, and he starts assembling a rifle as Frohike reveals that the Gunmen have uncovered secrets from CSM’s background.

Frohike continues that CSM came on the scene just as Leon Trotsky was assassinated. His father was a Communist activist who spied for the Nazis during the Nazi-Soviet pact. He was executed under 1917’s Espionage Act. His mother also died (of lung cancer) when CSM was young, so he became a ward of the state. He was a loner who disappeared for a while, then reappeared a year and a half after the Bay of Pigs.

Part I: “Things really did go well in Dealey Plaza.” It’s October 30th, 1962, at Ft. Bragg’s Center for Special Warfare in North Carolina. Soldiers do their daily exercises, chanting about going after Khrushchev and Castro. Later, one soldier reads The Manchurian Candidate, though one of his fellow soldiers thinks he should just go see the movie. The reader (okay, it’s CSM, let’s drop the mystery) says he’d rather read the worst novel ever written than sit through the best movie ever made.

CSM, who happens to be a captain, is summoned to see General Francis. His buddy reports that his one-year-old just said his first word: “JFK.” (That’s not a word, but okay.) He shows CSM a picture of his wife and son. P.S. The buddy is Bill Mulder. In General Francis’ office, CSM is questioned about activities he may have participated in, such as the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, training Cuban nationals during the Bay of Pigs, or the assassination of Rafael Trujillo. The questioner notes that CSM’s father was a known spy. CSM says he just wishes he’d been able to execute his father himself.

General Francis assures CSM that they know what it’s like to be scrutinized for someone else’s actions. He offers CSM a cigarette, but CSM declines: “I never touch ’em.” OKAY, WE GET IT. General Francis says that sometimes our objectives don’t match up with the objectives of others who want liberty and justice. “Viva la libertad,” says another man in the office. General Francis continues that a lot of powerful people aren’t qualified to lead others; some of them get caught up in bureaucracy. They should be looking to “another form of government.” CSM’s father did, and General Francis considers that extraordinary. He thinks that runs in the family.

Communism is evil, so CSM’s father deserved to be executed, but it’s also what brings CSM there today. A man comes out of the shadows to tell CSM that he’s going to be presented with an extremely classified task. If he takes it, he’ll be let out of the Army. He’s going to be asked to kill an American man who used to command a Navy boat. The country was just almost destroyed by nuclear war, which never would have been a possibility if this individual didn’t provide air support during the Bay of Pigs. A patsy has been found and will be set up while CSM does the dirty work.

For slower members of the audience, a chyron informs us that CSM is now in Dallas on November 22nd, 1963. He meets up with Lee Harvey Oswald, advising him not to smoke. CSM, using the name Mr. Hunt, is posing as someone who supports Lee’s political beliefs (and also a movie lover). He needs Lee to hide some curtain rods in the book depository; once they’ve been retrieved by a third party, Lee will be paid and can head to Cuba.

Lee holds up his end of the bargain while CSM goes to an overflow unit, posing as a worker with the city’s Department of Public Works. When JFK’s motorcade approaches, Lee’s co-workers wonder if he wants to come see it with them. Lee’s at a vending machine, picking out a soda, while CSM assembles a gun. He gets a signal from a man with an umbrella and fulfills his task, assassinating the president.

Lee quickly realizes that he’s about to be framed for the crime. He grabs a gun of his own and heads off to find CSM, but a police officer finds him first. Lee asks to see the officer’s credentials, suspicious that he’s with “them.” The officer gets out of his car to talk to Lee, who shoots him and runs off. He then goes to the movie theater, which is showing War is Hell. He fights the officers but is outnumbered and subdued. He yells that he’s “not the one” and complains about police brutality. CSM sits calmly nearby, lighting up a cigarette.

Part II: “Just down the road aways from Graceland.” CSM types something while Martin Luther King, Jr. gives a speech. “I can kill you whenever I please,” CSM murmurs to himself. “But not today.” He’s writing a story, and this is the end. He’s just finished Take a Chance, a Jack Colquitt Adventure, writing under the pen name Raul Bloodworth. He pauses as King says that some feel “Communism is a judgment against our failure to make democracy real.” CSM doesn’t like this.

He meets with J. Edgar Hoover and two other men, who are worried about King’s supporters. CSM likes and respects King, but he’s talking like a Maoist now. If African-Americans listen to King and refuse to fight in Vietnam, American will lose and “the first domino will have fallen.” CSM mocks Hoover’s letter trying to convince King to kill himself; it only let him know that he’s being watched.

One of the men suggests that they blackmail King with a faked film of him having an affair with a white woman, but CSM says they need a “more intense” idea. A general named Fryatt suggests just killing King and his supporters. CSM notes that a lot of supporters think they’re still fighting the Civil War. If they find a white patsy, this becomes an issue of race, “another patsy.” CSM has too much respect for King to let anyone else assassinate him.

On April 4th, 1968, CSM goes to Memphis and smokes while King gives his last speech. He looks at the picture of Teena and Mulder that Bill showed him back in the Army. Then he meets with James Earl Ray in a rooming house and gives him some money to go away for a while (he suggests that Ray see a movie). As soon as Ray’s gone, “Raul” gets his gun and goes to the Lorraine Motel to kill King.

As the news goes out across the country, CSM reads a rejection letter from a publisher who’s uninterested in Take a Chance. The characters are unbelievable and the ending is dumb. He should just burn it. CSM puts the picture of Teena and Mulder in a drawer as Robert Kennedy quotes Aeschylus: “Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” CSM recites along with him (while probably planning his assassination next).

Part III: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!” It’s Christmas Eve 1991, and CSM is meeting with a few fellow CIA agents to wrap up some business before the holidays. They decide to let “the Anita Hill thing” go, and are pleased that Rodney King’s trial has been moved to Simi Valley, as CSM instructed. CSM and his nicotine patch ignore a call from Saddam Hussein so the conversation can continue.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is working on separating from Yugoslavia, but CSM knows America doesn’t care. Personally, he also doesn’t care about the upcoming Oscar nominations. What he does care about is making sure the Bills never win a Super Bowl. “Buffalo wants it bad,” an agent notes. “So did the Soviets in ’80,” CSM replies. The agent is shocked that CSM rigged the famous hockey game. “Don’t you believe in miracles?” CSM asks. Another agent explains that they drugged Russia’s goalie with Novocain via a pat on the back.

CSM starts to leave, but an agent thinks they should chat about “that spooky kid” working on the X-files. He might be trouble. CSM says he’ll keep an eye on him. Moments later, he learns that Gorbachev has resigned, which means the U.S. has no more enemies. CSM hands out Christmas presents to the agents, who invite him to join them and their families for the holidays. CSM says he’s going to see family of his own. He leaves, and the agents open their presents, seeing that CSM got them all the same tie.

CSM listens to Christmas music and works on his next Jack Colquitt story, which is about Colquitt being alone in his apartment on Christmas. Art imitates life! Sometimes Colquitt wants a second chance. Well, maybe Colquitt should take a writing class or something. Deep Throat calls to let CSM know that they’ve just received a surprise Christmas present.

CSM heads to Dogway, West Virginia, where an alien spacecraft has just been captured. CSM thinks they can get away with the kind of story they used to explain Roswell, since it had everyone looking in the wrong direction. Deep Throat disagrees – even with the Russians in disarray, the KGB will be on their backs, as will other countries. They probably have an operative advancing on them as they speak.

Deep Throat and CSM look in on their new alien buddy as CSM wonders how many historic events they’ve witnessed together. “How often did we make or change history? And our names can never grace any pages of record. No monument will ever bear our image, and yet once again tonight, the course of human history will be set by two unknown men standing in the shadows.”

An alien could advance Bill’s work, so CSM knows they need to kill it. Deep Throat reminds him that Security Council Resolution 10.13 requires them to kill any alien in their custody. He wants CSM to do it: “I’m the liar. You’re the killer.” CSM notes that Deep Throat’s lies have killed more people than CSM has: “I’ve never killed anybody.” He wants to keep up that streak. Deep Throat says that maybe CSM’s the liar after all.

Deep Threat knows that the world could be destroyed if they don’t kill their “new enemy.” The men decide to flip a coin to determine who gets the job. Deep Throat loses the toss, so he has the job of ridding the U.S. of its latest threat to democracy and peace and whatnot. He puts on a gas mask and enters the alien’s chamber as CSM takes off his nicotine patch and lights up a Morley.

Part IV: “The X-Files.” Frohike tells Mulder and Scully that this is where they enter the story. CSM attends Scully’s interview at FBI headquarters in March of 1992, then uses his briefcase surveillance device to listen in on Mulder and Scully’s first meeting. I sincerely hope that, later in the series, he has to listen to them make out.

In the present, CSM trains a rifle on the door of the Lone Gunmen’s lair as Frohike quotes Thoreau to the agents: “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” CSM hasn’t had a quiet life, but it’s been pretty desperate. Frohike thinks he’s “the most dangerous man alive.” He thinks his actions are necessary, and he can never escape himself.

“Raul” has submitted another story to Pivotal Publishing, and this time it’s received interest. Second Chance involves alien assassinations, and a publisher wants to serialize it. This could lead to a huge career for “Raul.” However, he’ll have to give up some control. The story will be published in Roman a Clef on November 12th. CSM types up a letter of resignation and throws out his Morleys, ready to start a new life.

On November 12th, CSM picks up the new issue of Roman a Clef, which looks more like Playboy than a classy literary publication. He’s stunned to see that someone changed the ending of his story. After some heat from the news vendor, CSM buys the magazine anyway, along with a pack of Morleys.

He smokes at a bus stop, waxing poetic to a homeless man who’s just found a box of candy: “Life is like a box of chocolates – a cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for.” You can’t return it because all you’ll get back is more candy. Sometimes you find something good, but the good ones don’t last. You end up with broken, crappy candy, “and if you’re desperate enough to eat those, all you’ve got left is an empty box filled with useless brown paper wrappers.” CSM tears up his resignation letter and heads to work as the homeless man picks up his magazine.

In the present, Frohike’s still looking for proof that everything he’s determined about CSM’s past is true. As he leaves the Lone Gunmen’s lair, CSM takes aim, saying, “I can kill you whenever I please.” He takes his finger off the trigger and lets Frohike go. “But not today.”

Thoughts: The younger version of CSM is played by Chris Owens, who later plays Jeffrey Spender.

“Mom, I got a role on The X-Files!” “That’s great! Who are you playing?” “Lee Harvey Oswald. …Hello? Mom?”

So are we supposed to feel bad for CSM, since he didn’t become a famous writer and he was alone his whole life? HE MURDERED PEOPLE.

October 8, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 20, 2016

The X-Files 3.16, Apocrypha: And That’s Why You Don’t Try to Make a Deal with CSM

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

Oh, no, Krycek's trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

Oh, no, Krycek’s trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

Summary: It’s August 19th, 1953, and a sailor is giving a statement in a Naval hospital in Pearl Harbor. He testifies that his submarine was on a suicide mission. He tells some men what Johansen did to the sick sailors, sacrificing their lives. Now we get to see what happened on the side of the door Johansen wasn’t on – one of the sailors’ eyes turned black and he knocked out another man. That man’s eyes leaked oil on the floor and into a drain.

The sailor in the hospital calls the oil “the enemy” and says it’s what killed his fellow sailors and caused everyone’s burns. He thinks they were sent to guard it. After it burned everyone, it “slithered away” into the sea. He says it’s still down there. The Navy will deny it, but he wants to make sure the truth gets out. And he thinks he can trust the men he’s speaking with to make sure that happens. Since one of them is Bill Mulder and the other is smoking a cigarette, he probably can’t.

Now, 40+ years later, Scully goes Northeast Georgetown Medical Center to find out how Skinner is. She wants to start looking for the shooter, but the two agents she speaks with don’t seem to see that as a priority. Skinner wakes up from surgery long enough to tell Scully that the shooter was someone he’s seen before. Meanwhile, Mulder and Krycek land in D.C. and continue their road trip to Krycek’s digital tape. Krycek hands over a key labeled C.I. but won’t tell Mulder what that means.

Scully demands guards outside Skinner’s hospital room, knowing Skinner’s still in danger from the shooter. Also in danger: Mulder and Krycek, who are being followed. The car following them forces them off the highway, knocking out Mulder. Krycek is pulled from the car, but he can’t give the other men the tape they’re after. Mulder wakes up to see a flash of light and hear shouts from the men.

Pendrell summons Scully to an FBI lab to let her know he’s gotten some of the shooter’s hair fibers, so he can run his DNA against other criminals in D.C. Elsewhere, CSM meets with a doctor treating two men for massive radiation burns. The doctor’s never seen anything like this before, but CSM has. He tells the doctor to have the bodies destroyed even though the men are still alive.

Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, because they are married. He fills her in on the developments with Krycek and the flash of light he saw. She tells him about Skinner and shares her theory that his shooter was also Melissa’s killer. The hair fibers do seem to match up. Meanwhile, the Syndicate meets to discuss the possibility that they’ve had an information leak. Their “associate” in D.C. has been asked to join them and explain himself.

Scully visits Skinner and gives him the news that he was shot by the person who killed Melissa. Skinner tells her that he was urged to stop investigating Melissa’s murder, which makes Scully think that the government doesn’t want them to find the killer. Skinner knows where he saw the shooter before – he was in the stairwell with Krycek when Krycek attacked him and stole the digital tape. Skinner warns Scully not to let her anger get out of control. In fact, it might be better if she steps away. But she knows that’s what they want.

Scully tries to go through proper channels to request a search for Krycek. She thinks he’s key to both of the cases she’s dealing with. Mulder gets his hands on Gauthier’s diving suit and a sample of the oil found on it. It’s supposedly just diesel oil, but Mulder’s figured out that it’s what’s infecting people. Of course, he describes it as some sort of alien substance that turns people into killers, so Scully finds it a little unbelievable. Mulder thinks Krycek’s been infected, so they need to find out what the oil wants.

The Lone Gunmen are having a lovely afternoon ice skating…and also keeping an eye on some men in trenchcoats. Frohike retrieves an envelope from a storage locker, and the guys take it to Mulder. Unfortunately, the digital tape that should be in there is gone. That’s because Krycek has it, and he wants to trade it to CSM for something.

Sometime later, CSM goes to New York to meet with the Syndicate; they’re upset that he moved the salvaged UFO without their knowledge. He should have just taken it to Nevada, “like the others.” WMM wants to know why CSM went after Skinner, and why the shooting was so sloppy – there were witnesses, so the shooter’s face is out there. CSM takes no responsibility for the shooter’s screw-ups, but WMM orders him to take responsibility for getting rid of him.

Frohike is able to see indentations from writing on the envelope, and from there Mulder’s able to use a pencil to shade in a New York phone number. He calls it and reaches the Syndicate. Mulder tells WMM that he got the number from Krycek, so WMM asks to meet with him. The FBI finally IDs the shooter, Luis Cardinal, but since he entered the U.S. illegally, there’s no paper trail on him. He’s probably already left the country. The FBI thinks they’ve hit a dead end, but Scully won’t give up.

Mulder heads to Central Park – alone, at night – to meet with WMM, because he’s not as smart as he seems. WMM says he’ll consider handing Krycek over to Mulder if Mulder tells him what he knows. WMM confirms that the aircraft recovered from the ocean was a UFO (a Foo Fighter) shot down by American fighter planes during WWI. No one’s sure what happened to the sub that went down to recover it back in the ’50s. Mulder says he knows what killed the sailors, but he won’t share the info until he gets Krycek.

WMM wonders why Mulder didn’t kill Krycek before, when he had the chance. Mulder says he wants the tape, since Krycek has been selling its secrets. He realizes that WMM doesn’t really know where Krycek is, and was hoping Mulder could give him information. WMM replies that “anyone can be gotten to.” Mulder hurries off to call Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) and warn her that Skinner’s in danger. She heads to his hospital room and discovers that the guards she had posted there are gone – and so is Skinner.

The guards have Skinner in an ambulance, supposedly to transport him to another hospital. Scully hitches a ride with them, which allows her to notice something strange about Skinner’s IV bag. (I don’t think it’s hooked up properly.) She ambushes Cardinal, and a chase ensues through the streets of D.C. Scully finally corners Cardinal, who begs for his life, telling her she really wants Krycek. The police arrive and arrest Cardinal, so that was anticlimactic.

Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know he was right to be worried about Skinner – Cardinal was going to kill him. She relays the message that Krycek is going to an abandoned missile site in North Dakota. Mulder asks her to meet him at the airport so they can go to North Dakota together and check out the salvaged UFO.

The two head to Black Crow, North Dakota, and start checking out silos. There are only 200, so I’m sure it won’t take long! They hear someone approaching in the first one they check out, and while they’re hiding, they come across bodies covered in burns. Men in military gear chase them through tunnels, eventually surrounding them just before they can access a door marked 1013 that has a warning about radioactive materials.

The agents are taken outside just as CSM arrives. Mulder demands answers, but CSM claims he doesn’t know what happened to Krycek after his disappearance months earlier. After the agents are gone, CSM and the military go back inside to remove the bodies. CSM smirks at the door to room 1013, behind which Krycek is leaking oil onto a spiral symbol. The symbol absorbs the oil completely.

Back in D.C., Skinner’s out of the hospital and back to work. Mulder thanks him for keeping up the investigation into Melissa’s murder, but Skinner says he was mistaken about it. Mulder finds Scully at Melissa’s grave, and she repeats what Johansen said about the dead speaking to us from beyond the grave. Maybe that’s what our consciences are.

Scully thought she would feel closure once Cardinal was brought to justice, but now she knows that “no punishment is ever enough.” Mulder tells her that they might have found a different kind of justice – Cardinal is dead. The two discuss Krycek, and whether the Syndicate got to him. Scully wonders if we bury the dead alive, like Johansen said. Well, in Krycek’s case, it sure seems that way, since he’s stuck in a silo, trapped eight stories underground, behind door 1013. See you later, buddy!

Thoughts: The Syndicate’s phone number ends in 1012, not 1013. I feel cheated.

Oh, show. No one in D.C. would say “the D.C. airport.”

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, so a town called Black Crow makes me giggle. Does Jon Snow live there?

July 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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