May 12, 2018

The X-Files 7.15, En Ami: The Worst Road Trip Since “Drive”

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

Same

Summary: In Goochland, Virginia, a couple is driving home with their son, Jason, reminding him that people’s words can’t hurt him. He’s still not prepared when they’re accosted by protesters carrying signs talking about the family’s faith. They have to be escorted into their house by a police officer.

Jason’s father, Cameron, tells him that the protesters think they should take him to the hospital to have his cancer treated. But his parents believe that since God gave him cancer, God is the one who has to heal him. That night, Jason wakes up to a huge storm outside his window. A bright light appears, and he stands in front of his window with his arms open. A group of men in suits approach the house.

Scully is leaving for work when she finds a copy of the Goochland Guardian outside her door. There’s a note attached with a verse from Psalms: “You are the God who performs miracles. You display your power among the peoples.” The front-page article is about a miracle. Scully takes the paper with her to the office, where Mulder tells her that Jason McPeck woke up completely cured of cancer. The McPecks’ religion forbids medical treatment, and they believe their son was cured by angels.

Scully knows that spontaneous remission has happened before, so this isn’t really a miracle. But Mulder thinks something else is going on, since he got word of Jason’s recovery from an anonymous email from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. He thinks that plus the paper at Scully’s door means this is an X-File someone wants them to investigate. Even if it’s not, Mulder’s curious to get answers.

So Scully goes to the McPecks’ and sees for herself that Jason is back to his normal self. He tells her that the angels came from the sky in a ball of light and looked like human men. Like the angels in the Bible, they told him not to be afraid. Unlike the angels in the Bible, they pinched the back of his neck – the same place Scully had her chip removed years ago.

When she goes back to her car, she finds an unwelcome guest: CSM. He tells her he’s doing God’s work and claims he saved Jason. Scully kicks him out of the car but finds it hard to ignore him when he asks if she’s not curious about his claims, since she’s a doctor. He’s the one who sent her the newspaper and sent Mulder the email. CSM announces that he’s dying and wants to make things right. He has a cure for cancer and wants to give it to Scully.

Scully won’t take the bait, and CSM tells her she’s the only person he’ll give it to. If Mulder hears anything about his claims, CSM will take the secret to his grave. Scully sees that he’s left something on the seat, but she drives off without looking at it. She heads back to her office and studies the card CSM left her, blank except for a phone number. She dials the number, hangs up, then has the number traced so she can get the address associated with it.

This leads her to an office building where security guards give her a visitor’s pass and send her to the third floor. She ends up in CSM’s office, where he tells her that he’s looking back on his life and has realized he has no legacy to leave behind. He’s dying of some complication from the procedure he underwent back at the beginning of the season. Scully thinks he wants to use her to make himself look respectable.

CSM says they’re wasting time with the past while millions are dying of cancer. Scully’s game to go along with his plan, but it’ll involve a road trip. CSM is taking a huge chance by offering her access to this huge secret. He’s destroyed a lot of people, including those closest to him. Now he wants to do something good before he dies.

Mulder gets a message from Scully (“Mulder, it’s me”) telling him she’s going out of town for a family emergency. He leaves her a message in return (“Scully, it’s me”) saying he hopes everything’s okay. She’s getting ready to go off on her road trip, and has stuck a microphone in her bra so she can record whatever CSM says to her.

Scully drives, and objects when CSM tries to light up in the car. He throws out his cigarette and says he’ll just quit. He wants to earn her trust, knowing that she thinks he’s heartless. He admits that he’s always felt affection toward her, and his intentions are honorable. After all, he could have let her die when she had cancer, but he saved her. Now, CSM wants to give Scully the same power to save lives.

In the morning, Mulder goes to Scully’s apartment building to find out if she left under suspicious circumstances. The landlord tells him that she went with a driver he’s seen before – a driver with a fondness for smoking. Scully has been driving all right, but CSM hasn’t told her where they’re going. He notes that she still doesn’t trust him. How long did it take her to trust Mulder? CSM knows they didn’t immediately click. He psychoanalyzes that Scully is drawn to powerful men but fears their power. She’s devoted to Mulder, to the point where she would die for him, but she won’t let herself love him.

The two are finally at their destination, where CSM plans to show Scully that he’s capable of more than destruction. They’re being followed by someone. Scully and CSM are at a house to see a woman named Marjorie who can back up CSM’s claims. He tells Scully that the woman, who looks to be in her 70s, is actually 118. Scully sees a scar on the back of her neck. CSM thinks that being able to save lives and see people’s joy after their recovery is why Scully became a doctor.

Mulder has checked with Maggie, who doesn’t know anything about a family emergency, and is now in Skinner’s office to get help finding out why Scully disappeared. Skinner thinks she left willingly, so they shouldn’t worry about her. Scully calls just then to tell both men that everything’s fine. Mulder doesn’t believe her.

Scully and CSM stop at a gas station, and Scully goes to use the bathroom while CSM fills up the car. She leaves a message for Mulder through her hidden microphone, telling him she weighed the risks before agreeing to the road trip. She gives her location and puts the tape in an envelope to mail to Mulder, planning to send more along the way. When Scully leaves the bathroom, CSM’s ready to drive. He offers her a Lifesaver, which I guess is his version of a joke. A man back at the gas station steals Scully’s tape from the mailbox.

Scully and CSM reach their next destination in the middle of the night. Scully’s asleep, and CSM puts on gloves to do who knows what. The Lone Gunmen are also awake in the middle of the night, having spent some time looking into Scully’s disappearance. They show up at Mulder’s apartment in disguise and tell him they found a series of communications between Scully and someone named Cobra. They think she’s gone to great lengths to keep her location hidden. Mulder says she knows he’ll find her no matter what.

Scully wakes up in a fishing cabin, wearing pajamas she definitely wasn’t wearing in the car. She accuses CSM of drugging her, which he denies. She was tired, and he wanted to make her comfortable. They’re in Milford, Pennsylvania, but Scully thinks this is outside of their deal, so she’s done with the trip. CSM tells her she’s free to go, but Scully knows she won’t get any answers if she leaves, so she decides to stick around. They’re still being watched.

Mulder takes the Lone Gunmen to Skinner’s office to tell his boss that Scully’s been communicating with someone who works on a Department of Defense shadow project. Except the Scully sending the emails to Cobra is an impostor, someone who hacked her email and intercepted the messages from Cobra. They’re supposed to meet so Cobra can hand over information on his project. But the Gunmen can’t figure out where the meeting is supposed to take place. Mulder thinks CSM is the impostor, and they need to stop him before something horrible happens to Scully.

In Milford, CSM tells Scully that his contact has invited them to dinner. He’s bought her a dress, and it’s low-cut, so I don’t think Scully will be able to wear her microphone. At dinner, CSM tells her that his contact “is to human genetic science what Oppenheimer and Fermi were to the advent of nuclear warfare.” Cobra wants assurances from Scully that his research will be used by the good guys. The two toast to the future.

CSM has another revelation for Scully: The cancer cure isn’t just for cancer – it can cure all human disease. It’s mostly extraterrestrial. Scully knows that this cure can make CSM well. He tells her that the power in something like this can be used for both good and evil. People will be able to choose who lives and who dies. CSM doesn’t seem sure that he actually wants to be cured. Maybe dying is the last good thing he can do.

As a man watches Scully from a nearby table, CSM goes outside for a cigarette and tells another man that Cobra hasn’t shown up. The man warns that Scully won’t wait forever. CSM tells him to just do his job. As a waiter clears her plate, Scully notices a note giving her a location, Calico Cove. She and CSM head to a dock on a lake, and she heads off by herself in a boat.

The man who was watching Scully at the restaurant comes to meet her; he’s clearly Cobra, and he thinks Scully is the person he’s been communicating with. Someone watches through a sniper scope as Cobra hands over his work on a CD. Scully asks where the science came from, revealing that they’ve never spoken before. Before Cobra can respond, someone starts shooting. Cobra’s dead, and Scully’s next in the shooter’s sights. But before the sniper – the man CSM spoke to outside the restaurant – can kill Scully, CSM takes him out.

Scully returns to the cabin, where CSM pretends he’s been waiting for her the whole time. She blasts him for claiming that no one else knew what was going on. He tells her to keep Cobra’s research. She takes it home with her and gives it to the Lone Gunmen, but the CD is blank. All of Scully’s work was for nothing.

Scully takes Mulder to CSM’s office building, but it’s empty. Mulder says that CSM used her, and told her things that would make her believe him, like about Marjorie’s age (he showed Scully her birth certificate). Scully thinks Jason’s recovery is undeniable proof that there’s a cure for cancer. But Mulder knows that sooner or later, the chip in his neck will disappear, and they still won’t have any proof. CSM conned Scully, and Mulder’s surprised that he left her alive.

Scully insists that CSM was sincere, but Mulder disagrees. As he voices over that CSM did everything to get the cure for himself, even if it means sacrificing the rest of the human race, CSM enjoys a glass of wine, the CD by his side. Scully thinks CSM’s longing for something more than power was genuine. At the cabin, CSM tosses the CD in the lake and lights up a cigarette.

Thoughts: This episode was written by William B. Davis (CSM), probably just as an excuse for him to work with Gillian Anderson.

Goochland is a real place, and I bet everyone who lives there hates that name.

In season 11, CSM claims that in this episode, he drugs Scully so he can impregnate her. But as of the end of season 11, that wasn’t verified, and I choose to remain in denial. I’ll buy that he gave her the ability to conceive, which leads to William, but I’m in denial that CSM is his father.

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April 28, 2018

The X-Files 7.13, First Person Shooter: Ready Player One

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

Just…whatever

Summary: Three guys are gearing up for some sort of battle that looks like it’s taking place in a science fiction movie. They’re actually playing a game, being observed by a couple of techs. It’s like a virtual-reality simulation, but without the virtual-reality gear. Their opposition arrives on motorcycles, and the three guys are greatly outnumbered but still able to defeat them, thanks to their weapons. The techs are impressed.

The guys get to move to phase two of the game, which involves shooting at people who also have guns. There is…a lot of shooting. It goes on for a while. One of the three guys, Lo-Fat, takes a hit and “bleeds” yellow blood. The other two guys, Moxie and Retro, continue the battle on their own. They get separated, and Retro encounters a scantily clad woman who introduces herself as Maitreya. She tells him it’s her game, then shoots him.

Mulder and Scully go to the corporate offices of FPS in Inland Empire, California, to investigate. They have their badges and their retinas scanned, then have to sign nondisclosure agreements. Mulder explains that FPS stands for First Person Shooter; they make “digital entertainment,” or what most people would call video games. The Lone Gunmen are there, thrilled to be part of the “new American Gold Rush.” They tell the agents that there was an accident.

The Gunmen are consultants, and Langly even worked on a game, creating some of the villains. The game goes out in a few days, and the IPO is coming shortly after. But now someone’s dead, so the Gunmen would like the agents to figure out what happened before word gets out and the game gets bad publicity.

One of the techs, Ivan, tells the agents that there’s no way Maitreya could have actually killed Retro. The guns used in the simulation feed off a mainframe, and though the effects feel real, they’re not. Scully sees gunshot wounds and blood on Retro’s body, despite Ivan’s insistence that the vest he was wearing should have only “bled” paint. All the villains in the game are fake; nothing could have hurt Retro. The other tech, Phoebe, confirms that everything in the game is digital and virtual.

No one saw what happened, and the techs’ monitoring of Retro was all normal, so no one knows what really happened. Scully says Retro was murdered, so they need to call the police. Mulder asks Phoebe exactly what she saw from her control booth. She shows him recordings confirming that Retro was fine until he suddenly wasn’t. There’s no way to know what happened. Phoebe does something computery to look at the wireframe, though Retro was in an unmapped part of the building. The wireframe shows Maitreya standing over Retro’s body.

Phoebe does more computery stuff and is able to show what Maitreya looked like when Retro saw her. As Maitreya leaves the scene of her crime, she looks straight at the camera Phoebe’s watching her through. A detective named Lacoer has arrived, but he’s disappointed that there’s no suspect or motive for Retro’s murder. He also scoffs at the picture of Maitreya, who looks like…well, like a video game character, not someone he can actually go looking for in the real world. Mulder announces that no one programmed her into the game. Scully says that it doesn’t matter – Maitreya is just some “immature, hormonal fantasy.”

A man named Darryl Musashi comes in, surprising the Gunmen. They tell the agents that he’s a game designer who also does some work for the CIA. They think Ivan called him in to beat Maitreya in the game. Scully complains that the men are all acting like teenagers. Mulder seems to have fallen into that behavior as well.

Mulder, Ivan, Phoebe, and the Gunmen watch as Darryl enters the game. He waits fearlessly for the motorcycle guys and quickly wins phase one. He then skips phase two and goes straight to the place where Retro met Maitreya. She arrives in samurai gear and cuts off his hands as the audience watches on a screen, unable to do anything. Maitreya says something in Japanese before finishing Darryl off.

Scully autopsies Retro but doesn’t get any answers – whatever killed him didn’t leave any evidence behind. Mulder arrives and she tells him that the suits players wear monitor their vital signs. When they’re shot, they get jolted with electricity to keep them from rejoining the game. Scully thought Retro’s suit might have malfunctioned, but she was wrong. She wonders what kind of person likes dressing up to play what’s basically “high-tech cowboys and Indians.” Of course, Mulder is exactly that kind of person.

Scully continues that the game just makes the country even more violent than it already is. There’s no redeeming value in the game in causing mayhem and cranking up your testosterone. Mulder says that’s a sexist view and argues that the game could be an outlet for certain impulses. Scully just doesn’t get why men like to blast stuff. Mulder reminds her that their suspect is a woman, albeit a digital woman. She reminds him that digital images can’t kill people.

Mulder finally gets around to telling her that they have a second victim, so she’ll need to perform another autopsy. His head his no longer attached to his body, so I’m guessing his cause of death is pretty apparent. Mulder gets a call from the sheriff’s department telling him that a woman has been picked up to be questioned about the murders.

The woman was picked up at a strip club, so the male officers at the station are having a great night. Scully is not. The woman, Jade Blue Afterglow (she claims that’s her real name), says she knows nothing about FPS but doesn’t seem too worried that she’s a murder suspect. Mostly, she thinks the situation is ridiculous. When Mulder shows her a picture of Maitreya, she explains that she underwent a body scan at a medical-imaging place; they must have given her image to FPS to use for their game. Mulder lets her leave, then tells Scully he feels the need to blast something.

The agents return to FPS and find Phoebe napping in the tech office. Scully tells her that it looks like Ivan scanned Jade and put her in the game. The Gunmen are getting ready to go into the game and troubleshoot some things. But the game starts up by itself, and Phoebe can’t make it stop. Only the background was supposed to run, not the real gameplay, yet the Gunmen are being shot at. Mulder gets suited up and goes into the game after them.

Byers has already been shot, but isn’t seriously hurt. Mulder provides cover fire while the Gunmen head for a module. Mulder sees Maitreya and goes after her, annoying Scully. Maitreya greets him with a sword, dressed as…I don’t know, sexy Joan of Arc? She vanishes right before his eyes, then reappears behind them. The Gunmen hear gunfire and run after Mulder, but accidentally exit the game. Mulder’s now in it by himself.

Scully joins the Gunmen and demands to know where Mulder is. They can’t explain it – he should be with them. Phoebe can determine that Mulder’s still alive, since she can still monitor his vitals, but they don’t know exactly where he is…or where the game is. Wherever it is, Maitreya has now left Mulder in it alone. Mulder wanders around a little until he finds her. She does a bunch of gymnastics, then disappears again.

The Gunmen want to build a kill switch to shut down the game, but Phoebe tells them it won’t work. Ivan joins the group and thanks Scully for inadvertently saving the game. When the authorities saw that an FBI agent performed Retro’s autopsy and couldn’t determine a cause of death, they decided not to shut down the game. Scully, of course, doesn’t care, since Mulder and the game are missing. She brings up Jade, but Ivan doesn’t seem familiar with her name.

Phoebe suddenly runs out, and Scully follows her, realizing that Phoebe was the one who scanned Jade. Phoebe says Scully wouldn’t understand what it’s like “choking in a haze of rampant testosterone” every day. Scully manages not to roll her eyes. Phoebe explains that she was using Jade for her own game, not this one. Somehow, Jade fed off of male aggression (uh, okay) and jumped into this game. Scully tells her she’ll have to find a weakness and destroy Jade. Phoebe says she has no weaknesses.

Mulder’s out of ammo, but he’s still ready to fight Maitreya hand-to-hand. Well, more specifically, he’s ready to take a beating from her. As the others discuss how Maitreya put herself in the game and hijacked it, Frohike sees that Mulder’s vitals are going nuts. Ivan turns on Phoebe, but Scully tells him it’s “no fair picking on a girl.” Oh, come on.

Mulder manages to defeat Maitreya, and when he goes to get her sword, the game glitches and puts him in a Wild West ghost town. The others can now see what’s happening, but are unable to turn off the game. Maitreya finds Mulder again, and her combination of a halter top and chaps is certainly a look. She duplicates herself, and Mulder complains that she’s cheating.

Inevitably, Scully joins the game and shoots at the multiple Maitreyas. The Gunmen are thrilled. Phoebe and Ivan warn that the game gets harder from here – in fact, no one’s ever beaten this level. Scully has become the first, but her reward is more Maitreyas to shoot. Langly wonders how the agents are supposed to kill something that won’t die.

Phoebe knows of a kill coming in that can destroy the game. Ivan tries to stop her, not wanting to kill his baby, but Phoebe won’t put it ahead of human lives. Once the Maitreyas have been defeated, a tank appears, because why wouldn’t there be a tank in the Wild West? That tank explodes and another appears in its place. Scully just keeps shooting while Mulder tries to use the sword to wedge open the door Scully came through.

Ivan and Phoebe face off as the Gunmen try to get Phoebe to give them the command that will shut down the game. She finally sides with the Gunmen, and the game is no more. The agents don’t reappear, and the Gunmen worry that they’ve killed them. Phoebe finds one of their guns near the door, which the group opens to rescue the agents. Mulder is possibly having the best day of his life.

Mulder voices over something dumb about victory and whether it’s real when the game is virtual. There are no laws or rules in the virtual world, so anything could come out of the darkness. Back the tech room, the computers start up again, and Ivan is pleased to see a new player on his screens – one who looks like Scully.

Thoughts: This episode was written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox.

Phoebe is played by Constance Zimmer.

Imagine Scully on Westworld. Just imagine it.

I’m definitely not the target audience for this episode. I played laser tag once, though.

January 20, 2018

The X-Files 6.21, Field Trip: The Field Where I Almost Died

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

I like Scully’s coat, but, uh, I wouldn’t wear it now

Summary: A couple named Wallace and Angela comes home from a hike, which she didn’t enjoy very much. She has a headache now, so he offers to let her hit him in the head with a rock until she feels better. Angela takes a shower and briefly sees yellow goo running down the walls. Then she sees it running down her body. She still has a headache when it’s time for bed, and she’s a little freaked out by what she saw. She and Wallace lie in bed together, in the same position as two skeletons found in an open grave in a field.

In D.C., Mulder shows Scully a picture of the skeletons, which were ID’d as Wallace and Angela. They were last seen in Brown Mountain, North Carolina. They’d been missing for only three days, and the temperatures weren’t consistent with ones that would lead to their bodies decomposing. Scully thinks they were murdered and had their bodies destroyed in a ritualistic manner, maybe with acid. Mulder tells her that there was no sign that anyone else had been around the area where the skeletons were found.

700 years ago, a bunch of people saw lights in the sky in Brown Mountain, and Mulder thinks that unexplained phenomenon, which was probably UFOs, is linked to Angela and Wallace’s deaths. Scully asks if he really thinks aliens flew over the same mountain for 700 years. She asks Mulder to come up with a logical explanation for once. He points out that he hasn’t been wrong very often in the past six years, so maybe she should listen to him. He’s at least earned the benefit of the doubt.

The agents go to Asheville to examine the skeletons. Scully asks the coroner to confirm that the skeletons are really Angela and Wallace’s, and not two people who have been dead for six months. The coroner says he triple-checked the dental records. Scully finds yellow goo on a skeleton, but the coroner thinks it’s just “bog sludge.” Mulder heads off to check out the place where the bodies were found while Scully starts her examination.

Mulder finds yellow goo at the open grave, then recognizes a man walking around as Wallace. Wallace runs from him and appears to hide in a cave. Meanwhile, the coroner tells Scully that the bog sludge is actually a digestive secretion – basically, stomach juices. It also contains an enzyme only found in plants. The coroner remembers it from a previous case involving skeletal remains, but the victims had been missing a long time, so no one thought anything strange was going on. However, the bodies were found near where Wallace and Angela’s were.

Scully quickly calls Mulder, but I guess there’s no reception in the cave. She tells the coroner to send the goo to Quantico while she goes to the mountain to find her partner. In the cave, Mulder finally finds Wallace, who begs Mulder not to take him. He thinks Mulder is “one of them.” Mulder informs Wallace that his skeleton was found, but Wallace knows it’s fake, placed by the aliens who abducted him and Angela. They wanted to fake the couple’s deaths so no one would go looking for them. They returned Wallace, but Angela’s still with the aliens, undergoing experiments.

Scully arrives at the mountain and follows Mulder’s footprints to the cave. She tramples some mushrooms and kicks up some dust on her way. Mulder tells Wallace that they need to find a way out of the cave; he doesn’t realize that there’s an opening in the rock wall behind him that used to be solid. Wallace thinks the aliens are messing with Mulder’s head and are right outside. Mulder starts to leave, but a bright light shines in the cave. Wallace runs and Mulder chases him again.

The light is from Scully’s flashlight, which isn’t much use to her. Unable to find her partner, she leaves. Further in the cave, there’s another light, which soon goes out. Mulder wonders if the aliens are looking for something other than Wallace. Or maybe they were just making a return trip, as Angela is now in the cave with the men. Mulder questions her about what she remembers while Wallace studies the yellow goo running down the cave walls.

Angela doesn’t remember much, but it sounds like her experience was similar to Scully’s when she was abducted. Mulder examines her neck and finds a scar from an implant. He tells the couple that Angela’s story sounds just like the ones other abductees have given, except for the fake skeletons. He wants to run, but Wallace and Angela are worried that the aliens will come back and abduct them again. They see a light and decide to hide. Mulder, however, goes toward the light and its accompanying rumbling.

Suddenly, Mulder’s in his apartment in D.C., summoning Scully to come meet him. She’s ticked that he ditched her in North Carolina. Wallace and Angela are also there, and Mulder tells Scully that she needs to forget about her scientific biases and listen to him. He’s positive that aliens exist, and that he’s finally found the truth. Not only did Angela have the same experience as Scully, but the group has brought a friend along with them to D.C.: a little gray man. “I abducted him,” Mulder says proudly.

He continues that the alien speaks to him telepathically and explained everything to him. Scully can hear the alien, too, and is amazed that Mulder’s theories have finally been confirmed. But then he starts questioning the skeletons and the goo they found on them. Scully’s suddenly skeptical about science. Mulder has a headache now, and when he goes to splash some water on his face, he briefly sees the water in the sink as the yellow goo. When he returns to the others, he sees the room warping and the people dissolving into the goo. In reality, Mulder’s still in the cave, stuck to the wall, with goo dripping all over him.

Scully brings the coroner to the mountain and sees that the goo is seeping up through the ground. The coroner, who I really wish had a name so I could stop typing “the coroner,” notices footprints going both in and out of the cave. Scully’s surprised that she didn’t see that before. She also didn’t see a skeleton lying in a field nearby. The two take it back to the coroner’s office and use Mulder’s dental records to ID it as his body.

Scully guesses that the goo they keep finding sped up the decomposition process, but the coroner points out that there’s no goo on the skeleton. The coroner thinks they need to look for the most logical explanation. He gives the same one Scully did when Mulder first presented the case. He promises to handle all the arrangements and have Mulder’s remains sent to Washington.

In D.C., Scully meets with Skinner, who accepts her explanations for what happened. Scully’s surprised, since she couldn’t find Mulder’s cause of death or explain what happened to his body. To her, what she did come up with is the least plausible explanation. Skinner thinks it was the most likely answer, though. Scully notes that she was assigned to the X-Files to be a skeptic; now she’s acting like Mulder. Her scientific approach has never explained any of their cases. But Skinner doesn’t think Mulder’s theories were right.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment for a wake. The Lone Gunmen are there, and Langly’s wearing a tuxedo T-shirt, because of course he is. Byers tells Scully that they’re investigating on their own; she’s relieved that she’s not the only person who thinks there are more answers to be found. But the Gunmen think Mulder was murdered in a ritualistic manner – it’s the obvious answer. They promise to make the killer pay. Scully can’t believe she’s the only person asking questions here. Of all people, the Gunmen should be skeptical.

Skinner notices that Scully’s struggling and tells her to go home and rest. Scully sees yellow goo dripping in front of her. She demands to know where Mulder really is, yelling that something else is happening. There’s a knock at the apartment door, but no one moves to answer it. Scully opens the door and Mulder enters, only now the apartment is empty.

Mulder tells Scully that he was abducted from the cave and taken to the same place Wallace and Angela described. She reminds him that Wallace and Angela are dead, not realizing that, since she found Mulder’s remains and he’s still alive, Wallace and Angela’s remains don’t mean anything. She wonders why the aliens returned Mulder to D.C. when they took him from North Carolina. She realizes that he doesn’t remember getting there.

Scully starts questioning everything: Why did Mulder knock on his own apartment door? Why isn’t he surprised that Scully’s there? Where are Angela and Wallace? What happened to everyone at the wake? Scully realizes this is a hallucination, though she’s not sure which one of them is having it. She remembers the mushrooms and guesses that their spores led to this weirdness. They might still be in the cave at Brown Mountain.

Scully continues that Angela and Wallace could have been digested by the yellow goo, which is the same hallucinogenic substance as the spores from the mushrooms. Maybe that organism needs to feed on living tissue. It could lure its prey into the cave and use the goo to keep it still. Mulder starts to get the picture as Scully suggests that they’re being digested right now. Mulder sees her dissolve in yellow goo.

At the mountain, Mulder digs himself out of the ground, then pulls out an unconscious Scully. They return to D.C. and give Skinner their report about a giant mushroom that eats people. They’ve confirmed that the spores create a substance similar to LSD. Skinner buys everything, but Mulder’s a little fuzzy on how they escaped. Did Scully’s realization of what was going on just break the mushroom’s spell? Can you will yourself out of a chemical hallucination?

Skinner guesses that the effects just wore off, but Mulder notes that he and Scully don’t show any signs of being exposed to the yellow goo, even after being exposed to it for hours. He thinks they’re still underground – they never escaped. Scully guesses that he has PTSD and is confused about what’s real and what isn’t. Mulder says that Skinner isn’t real, and he’ll prove it. He pulls out his gun and shoots Skinner, who bleeds yellow goo. Then Scully sees Mulder dissolve.

In the cave, the agents are both covered in yellow goo. Fortunately, people are looking for them, led by Skinner and the coroner. Mulder’s able to reach a hand aboveground and get himself and Scully rescued. They’re loaded into the same ambulance and reach for each other’s hands. And then I guess the giant mushroom is destroyed before any stoners in the area can learn about it and organize a big party at the mountain.

Thoughts: All three guest stars in the episode are recognizable:

The first clue that none of this was real is that Mulder doesn’t have a victory dance prepared when Scully tells him he was right about everything.

So…I guess Wallace and Angela are really dead? That sucks.

January 13, 2018

The X-Files 6.20, Three of a Kind: What Happens in Vegas…

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

The cigarette is a Morley, of course

Summary: Byers pulls up to a nice suburban house as he tells us that he keeps having a dream where JFK was never assassinated. The country is innocent and hopeful, people trust the government, and Byers has a sweet little family. All of his personal hopes, and those he has for the country, have been fulfilled. He has “everything that counts for everything in life.” But the dream always ends the same way – he loses everything, and ends up alone in a desert, holding his wedding ring.

In Vegas, defense contractors are gathering for Def-Con ’99 (heh). Byers is playing poker with some of them, though he’s using a fake name. He tries to get them to talk about their work, but they say they’re not doing anything new. Frohike serves some drinks, dressed as a casino employee. Byers is playing well, and no one realizes that it’s because he has Langly talking to him through an earpiece. There’s a camera in Byers’ watch, and Langly’s using it to look at the other players’ cards.

Langly helps Byers answer some questions about his work, which they think involves air conditioners. Langly tells Byers to fold, but Byers ignores him and puts down a flush. He loses, and the winning player reveals that he knows Byers and Frohike, who’s been hanging around the room, are working together. He advises them to find another game to cheat at.

Byers and Frohike meet up with Langly, who blasts them for losing $3,000. They’re trying to make some sort of undercover buy, but it’s not going well. Langly decides that the convention is a bust. Byers, however, thinks that the player he lost to is worth looking into. He wasn’t wearing a badge indicating that he’s there for the convention.

Someone knocks on the guys’ hotel-room door, and the guys get nervous, but it’s just two nerds named Jimmy and Timmy. They seem to be in competition with the Lone Gunmen. Jimmy says the theme of the convention this year is assassination; some new tech is supposed to be unveiled. But until then, would the Lone Gunmen like to join Jimmy and Timmy for a lobster buffet and strip show?

Frohike tells Byer that he’s noticed how nervous he gets when they come to these conventions. He thinks he’s on the lookout for Susanne Modeski. Byers points out that they met her at a convention. Frohike reminds him that it was in Baltimore, and it was ten years ago. Also, she’s probably dead by now. Byers disagrees – she was too important to the government for them to kill her. Frohike suggests that they take a break and get some lobster. They stop at a slot machine first, and Byers spots Susanne across the room. He follows her but loses sight of her.

Mulder calls Scully (“hey, Scully. It’s me.” Nope, not the same) at 2:34 a.m. and tells her she needs to go to Vegas. He insists it’s important but won’t tell her what it’s about. It turns out it’s not really Mulder – the Lone Gunmen are using a computer program to mimic his voice. He sounds a little robotic, but Scully buys it and agrees to fly out. Frohike knows she’ll be mad, but Byers wants help from a government agent, since they seem to be dealing with other government agents. Mulder’s known by the people who took Susanne, so Scully’s a better bet.

Langly asks Byers if he’s really sure that Susanne is there. He is. Frohike tells him to get a drink and chill out. When Byers goes to the ice machine, he spots the guy who beat him at poker. The winner knocks on a door and is greeted by Susanne. And let’s just say that she doesn’t seem to be in any kind of danger.

The guys look up the winner and ID him as Grant Ellis. He’s from New Mexico, is with the Department of Defense, and works for the same weapons facility Susanne worked for. Byers thinks that Ellis brainwashed Susanne after she refused to help out with the organization’s awful tests. Why else would she be meeting him in a hotel room and kissing him?

Frohike comes up with a plan and sends Byers and Langly to the hotel lobby while he keeps an eye on Ellis’ room. Byers and Langly are about to do…something when Jimmy and a couple other nerds spot them. The guys want to get into a certain highly guarded room, and Jimmy says he can get them in. However, he thinks the Gunmen just want to sit in on the next day’s session about the assassination technology. Byers wants in now, and tells Jimmy to prove that he can really gain entrance.

Jimmy crawls through a vent and spies on the current seminar, which is being led by Ellis. Susanne is also in attendance, and Jimmy is surprised to see Timmy in the audience. A couple of security guards catch Jimmy and pull him out of the vent. Timmy joins them and chastises Jimmy for screwing things up. They had big plans for him – they were going to make him a patsy when they employed their assassination technology. For now, though, they’ll just inject him with something.

Scully arrives in Vegas, and Byers and Langly tell her that Mulder might be out of touch for a few hours. They hear security guards talking about Jimmy and follow them outside, where Jimmy’s dead, having jumped in front of a bus. Byers is sure that’s a cover-up of some sort.

Upstairs, Frohike breaks into Ellis’ room and goes to plant a video camera in a vent. There’s already one there. Susanne comes in and Frohike hides, getting a glimpse of her as she undresses, because men wrote this episode. Someone knocks at the door, and Susanne pauses after she looks through the peephole to see who’s there: Byers.

He tells Susanne he’s there to save her, but she assures him she’s fine. Ellis isn’t her captor, he’s her fiancé. Byers asks if he dreamed Susanne’s apparent kidnapping years ago. She confirms that it happened, “but things got better.” She closes the door and goes to take a bath while Frohike escapes the room through a vent. (Lots of vents in this episode.)

Langly goes with Scully to a morgue so she can autopsy Jimmy’s body. Langly doesn’t have the stomach for it but tries to be brave. Since Jimmy’s cause of death is consistent with being hit by a bus, Langly wonders if “they” did something to make him kill himself. Scully wonders who “they” are. Good question, Scully. Langly holds on as long as he can but ultimately can’t handle the procedure. As he’s off throwing up, Scully sees the puncture wound where Jimmy was injected. Before she can do anything, Timmy arrives and gives her a puncture wound of her own.

Langly returns and finds Scully unconscious. She wakes up easily, and he guesses that she just got lightheaded from the autopsy. Whatever Timmy gave her has made her loopy, and she calls Langly “cutie.” He asks what killed Jimmy. Scully’s medical opinion is “beeeeeeep,” clap. In other words, he was hit by a bus. Langly rejoins the other Gunmen and gives them this expert opinion. Scully has gone off to do something else, and Langly thinks she’s just really jetlagged.

Frohike shows the guys footage from the camera he found in Ellis’ vent. Whatever Ellis is working on, Susanne is in on it, too. Byers insists that she’s being forced into whatever it is. She wouldn’t do something unethical, and she wouldn’t get involved romantically with Ellis. Susanne appears in the doorway and says that Byers doesn’t know Ellis like she does. She’s there to return the camera Frohike left in Ellis’ vent.

Susanne tells the guys that Ellis saved her life, and the lives of thousands of others. Frohike and Langly excuse themselves to go gamble while she explains things to Byers. Frohike calls her Mata Hari before they leave. Byers tells Susanne that he thinks Jimmy saw something he shouldn’t have at Ellis’ seminar. Susanne could be in danger, too. She says that she always is, as is Ellis.

She’s thought about what she would say to Byers if she ever saw him again. When she was taken ten years ago, “they” did things to her that made her feel like she was drowning. One day, Ellis saved her, but she wanted it to be Susanne. Ellis was working against the people who took her, stalling and sabotaging them. He reminded Susanne of Byers.

In the casino, Timmy invites Langly and Frohike to his room for a game of Dungeons and Dragons in Jimmy’s memory. Langly goes, but Frohike stays behind. He hears a familiar laugh and finds Scully in a bar, surrounded by attentive men. Someone offers her a cigarette, and she ignites the sexuality of thousands of teenagers by accepting it with her mouth. The offerer happens to be Morris Fletcher.

Scully asks for a light, and a bunch of men offer their lighters. “I just can’t decide who lights my fire,” she slurs. Frohike tells the men that Scully’s a federal agent, and if they touch her, they could be committing a federal crime. Morris is disappointed to see Scully go, but she leaves him with a “maybe next time” and a slap on the butt.

Langly arrives at the supposed D&D game, realizing too late that he’s been duped. Meanwhile, Susanne tells Byers that she and Ellis were going to go public with their research, then disappear. She thinks people are ready to accept the things Susanne and Ellis want them to know. If they don’t disappear, they’ll be killed.

Frohike brings Scully to the room; she’s all giggly, and Frohike thinks she’s drunk. Susanne knows better, immediately finding her puncture wound. She’s the one who developed the histamine gas Scully was given. Ellis had her develop a small batch so they could go public; at the same time, they’d have a weapon, just in case. Since Susanne and Ellis are the only two people who have access to the samples, and Susanne didn’t inject Scully, Ellis must be behind this.

Susanne gives Scully a counteragent as Langly joins the group. Susanne explains that the histamine messes with your higher brain function, allowing for suggestibility – in other words, brainwashing and mind control. Jimmy was told to kill himself, and Scully was told to forget her autopsy findings. So what do the bad guys want?

In a word: murder. Langly meets up with Timmy, who gives him a gun and some instructions. He sends Langly to the next session of Ellis’ seminar, where someone else is now speaking. Susanne keeps an eye on her watch. Scully, now back to normal, tries to get into the room, but the security guard outside the door doesn’t care that she works for the government; she hasn’t been authorized.

Ellis calls for a break, during which Langly approaches Susanne with his gun. He shoots her multiple times, then leaves. As Scully goes to check out the chaos, the security guard calls for an ambulance. Frohike intercepts the call, like this is Ocean’s Eleven. Scully tells the guard to detail Ellis and remove him from the room. Frohike and Byers, posing as EMTs, take Susanne out on a stretcher. Timmy kneels by Susanne’s blood on the carpet and pulls a Mulder by tasting it.

Scully takes Ellis to see Susanne, who’s perfectly fine. She confronts him for programming Langly to kill her. She was smart enough to check him and give him the antidote. They set the whole thing up, complete with fake bullets and fake blood. Ellis says that Susanne knows exactly why he set everything up: The project was over, and he didn’t need her anymore. Susanne’s upset that Ellis pretended to love her. What did he get in return? Ellis says they would have killed him if he hadn’t done their bidding.

Timmy shows up to kill Susanne, shooting Ellis first. He takes Susanne with him to gain entrance to the Lone Gunmen’s room. But Byers is ready with histamine and injects Timmy, saving everyone. While Timmy is arrested and confesses to the murders of Susanne and Ellis, Scully calls Mulder. She learns that the Lone Gunmen tricked her, and she’s just as mad as they expected she would be.

Susanne is still alive, and will now be able to fulfill her plan to disappear. She asks Byers to run away with her, but he thinks she’ll be safer on her own. The Lone Gunmen will take care of making her research public so she won’t be a target. That’s what the Gunmen do. Susanne gives him a kiss and a parting gift: Ellis’ ring. Just like in his recurring dream, Byers is in the desert, holding a ring. But unlike in the dream, he’s not alone – he has the other two Gunmen.

Thoughts: Ellis is played by the late Charles Rocket.

I didn’t like “Unusual Suspects” all that much, so I wasn’t looking forward to another Gunmen-centric episode, but this was a much better use of them.

I love drugged Scully. God bless Gillian Anderson.

November 18, 2017

The X-Files 6.12, One Son: No, Seriously, Trust No One

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

“What do you mean, this ‘isn’t an appropriate substitute’ for our loved ones? We folded it into a triangle!”

Summary: Mulder voices over about two fathers, CSM and Bill Mulder, who fought a 50-year war that served as the “dawn of Armageddon.” We flash back to October 13th, 1973, as the men in question gather at an airplane hangar to greet a group of aliens with an American flag. Mulder says they had to choose between fighting or fleeing.

Back in the present, Cassandra’s pleas for Mulder to shoot her are interrupted by a bunch of men in Hazmat suits who spray them and the apartment with something. They explain that they’re with the CDC and are quarantining Mulder, Scully, and Cassandra. Fowley’s with them, and she tells them they’ve come into contact with “a contagion of unknown origin.” The agents undergo decontamination showers and try not to look at each other naked. They’re then scanned with meters, but the men in Hazmat suits won’t tell them anything about what’s going on.

Scully guesses they’re at Fort Marlene, a facility equipped for high-risk contamination. Fowley apologizes to the agents for how the quarantine had to begin, but Cassandra underwent an experiment that killed seven doctors, so they have to take a lot of precautions. Scully points out that Cassandra was in a regular hospital for a week, and only then did Spender tell Fowley to call in the CDC. It looks really suspicious. No one’s sick, so why has Cassandra been isolated?

Mulder tries to quiet Scully, who’s determined to see Cassandra. Fowley reminds Scully that she was suspended from the FBI, so she has no rights. As the agents go to get new clothes, Scully makes sure Mulder knows how much she despises Fowley. She thinks they’re using Cassandra’s supposed infection as an excuse to stage a “high-tech government kidnapping.” But Mulder says Skinner told him he heard Spender calling the CDC.

Scully reminds her partner that Cassandra wasn’t sick; she just asked Mulder to kill her so all the tests and questioning will stop. Scully can relate, since she was also abducted and then underwent scrutiny afterward. She believes that Cassandra has been taken away so the process can continue. Mulder disagrees – he thinks Cassandra really is “the one.”

Krycek looks over Cassandra’s medical records and tells CSM and some other Syndicate members that Mulder’s suspicions seem to be correct. The rebel aliens want to keep the Syndicate from killing her. They know that when the aliens learn about her, colonization will begin. CSM thinks that’s exactly what should happen. They need to hand Cassandra over to the aliens and save themselves.

A Syndicate man argues that this is what Bill warned them would happen. CSM reminds him that Bill sacrificed Samantha because he know this day would come. They don’t have a choice now, if they want their living loved ones to stay living, and their dead loved ones to come back.

The agents are, indeed, at Fort Marlene, and not under much security, since Mulder’s allowed to wander around in search of a pair of shoes that fit. He spots a familiar woman and follows her to a room full of plastic-covered equipment. It’s Marita, and her eyes are red from all the Syndicate’s tests. She tells Mulder that Cassandra’s part of the hybrid program, but Marita was infected with the black oil so a vaccine/cure could be tested on her.

Mulder realizes that the hybrid program was never expected to succeed. It was just a way to buy time while the vaccine/cure was developed. Cassandra was an accidental success. Marita knows that colonization will begin if the aliens learn about her.

Spender and Fowley visit Cassandra, telling her they’re keeping her there to protect her from CSM. Spender promises that she won’t have to undergo any more tests. Cassandra tells him that he doesn’t understand what will happen to both of them if “they” find her out. She’s willing to be hurt or even killed if it means everyone else on the planet is protected. Spender just leaves the room.

I guess the quarantine’s over, because Mulder and Scully go see the Lone Gunmen. Scully asked the guys to dig up info on Fowley, and she wants to present Mulder with the truth about a woman he thinks he can trust. She spent seven years in Europe, working with a counter-terrorism unit, but there’s no information available on what she did there. Her travel records were purged from her FBI files, but the Lone Gunmen were able to find out that she traveled to all sorts of MUFON chapters.

Mulder doesn’t find this significant, but Scully thinks Fowley was monitoring abductees and the tests they underwent. She points out that Cassandra is the ultimate test subject, and Fowley’s watching over her – it all makes sense. Scully can prove or disprove Mulder’s beliefs, but not when Fowley is keeping them from seeing Cassandra. Why did Fowley come back into Mulder’s life just when he was getting closer than ever to the truth?

Scully says that Mulder always tells her to trust no one, but he trusts Fowley. Mulder argues that Scully hasn’t given him any reasons not to. Scully replies that she can no longer help him. Maybe she’s making things personal, but without the FBI, that’s all she has. If Mulder takes that away, there’s no point in her continuing.

Mulder goes to the Watergate Apartments to see Fowley; when she doesn’t answer her door, he picks the lock. He searches through her things for a minute, then gets interrupted by CSM. Mulder pulls a gun on him and reveals that he knows CSM’s real name. He has nothing to lose now. CSM says that Mulder couldn’t shoot him the last time he had the opportunity; why should this time be any different?

CSM says he’s looking for Spender to confront him for switching sides. Mulder doesn’t know how CSM can think his side is the wrong one, since the Syndicate’s side is the one doing experiments on innocent women. CSM says Bill had the same views back in the ’70s, but he came around to CSM’s side and gave up Samantha. Mulder says that Bill was forced to give her up. CSM tells him he’s wrong.

Over another flashback to 1973, CSM tells Mulder that their super-top-secret group had voted to align with the aliens. Bill objected, even though the agreement meant avoiding an alien invasion. CSM argues that they saved billions of lives, including Mulder’s. We see Bill arguing with CSM as the group’s family members, including Cassandra, arrive at the hangar. Mulder realizes that the men willingly gave up their family members “like they were things.”

CSM says the family members were sent away because it was the right thing. They would be experimented on, but they would come back to their families. The men made the painful decision to let the aliens take their loved ones, and they had to watch it happen. Mulder points out that Samantha was taken from the family’s house, not a hangar. CSM tells him that Bill refused to give up a member of his family, but the aliens insisted on taking someone. Without Samantha, the Syndicate couldn’t proceed.

The aliens provided the Syndicate with an alien fetus, from which they could use an alien genome to create an alien/human hybrid. They would create a new race that could survive the alien holocaust. Mulder would also survive, and live to be reunited with Samantha. CSM confirms that the plan was just to stall and use the alien DNA to make a vaccine/cure. Now it’s too late, and colonization will begin.

First a state of emergency will be declared. Then the bees will deliver the alien virus. Then the aliens will take over. CSM knows his only choice is to hand over Cassandra. Mulder tells him to stop it, or he will. CSM says he won’t if he wants to see Samantha again. Mulder points his gun at CSM again, demanding that he stop the colonization so people won’t die. His mistake is thinking that CSM cares about anyone except himself. Bill wanted Mulder and Samantha to be reunited, and Mulder will realize that, as his father’s son. If he doesn’t, he’ll “die in vain” with everyone else. “Save her. Save yourself,” CSM says.

Spender goes looking for CSM at the Syndicate’s headquarters in New York, but Krycek tells him that the group has all dispersed. They’re in West Virginia, awaiting colonization. CSM is going to get Cassandra, and the guards Spender has watching her will most likely not be any match for him. Krycek is right, and CSM’s people easily get access to her and drug her, even as she swears and yells at them.

CSM wants to chat with his ex before they go on their road trip, which means he has to listen to her call him a bastard and a coward. He wants to talk about the future, not the past. Cassandra notes that he stole her past from her. CSM says that they’re only alive because of what he did in the past. Cassandra didn’t understand before why she was abducted and experimented on, but now she knows it was because of CSM.

He swears that he wanted to save her and Spender, not cause any harm. Cassandra says that CSM can never save Spender now that he knows what his father has done. The only way to save everyone on the planet is if CSM kills Cassandra. But CSM still can’t do it.

Mulder’s still at Fowley’s apartment when she gets home. He tells her he came looking for evidence that her loyalties are with anyone other than him and the X-Files. Though he didn’t find anything, fate found him. He realized that the choices he thought he had in life were made for him. Mulder says that CSM is looking for Spender, who’s now fighting for the same cause Mulder used to fight for.

Mulder now knows it’s futile, though, since there’s no way to stop the colonization. Giving up is the only way to save everyone. Mulder gives Fowley the location of the first steps of the colonization process, El Rico Air Force Base. They need to go there if they want to survive. In response, Fowley kisses Mulder.

Spender goes looking for Cassandra at Fort Marlene but instead comes across Marita. She asks him for help, knowing that the Syndicate is going to abandon her there. He doesn’t know her, but she knows who he is and claims she can help him, since she knows where Cassandra is being taken.

Someone retrieves the alien fetus from a cryolab, warning an intruder that she’s at risk for contamination. The intruder is actually an alien rebel, though, so she’s not too worried. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that he and Fowley are coming to get her. Scully wants to take Mulder to Cassandra; Spender told her they’re taking his mother back to Potomac Yard.

The agents head over and, for some reason, fire their guns at the train car carrying Cassandra. They don’t stop it, but at least now the experimenters on the train know they’ve been found out. Mulder and Scully get a ride to El Rico from Skinner, where others have already gathered. CSM and Cassandra join them, and CSM tells the other Syndicate members about the gunfire at Potomac Yard. He notices that Krycek isn’t there.

That’s because Krycek is back at Fort Marlene to get the alien fetus. Of course, it’s already gone. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who says that security won’t let him take Marita out of the facility. He wants to help her tell her story of what CSM did to her. Krycek tells Spender it doesn’t matter – the rebels took what they came for, so they’re going to win.

Fowley arrives at El Rico just as the aliens arrive, reenacting the scene from 1973. The Syndicate members are confused; supposedly no one contacted the aliens to tell them they were ready. There’s a mole in the group, one of the rebels, and he alerted his buddies that it was time to attack. As CSM and Fowley escape, the other Syndicate members and their loved ones are burned alive.

Kersh receives photos of the aftermath from Mulder, Scully, Skinner, and Spender, and expresses sympathy over the (alleged) death of Cassandra. (She’ll be in season 11, so who knows?) Spender takes responsibility for all the deaths, and credits Mulder and Scully for their work trying to prevent them. He thinks Mulder and Scully should be reinstated to the X-Files division so they can prevent worse things from happening. Spender himself is ready to leave the FBI.

Kersh asks why Mulder never gave him any answers before now. Mulder’s like, “I’ve spent years saying this stuff; no one ever listened to me.” The Syndicate members made the choice long ago to align themselves with the bad guys, but instead, they allowed another enemy to take hold. “The future is here. All bets are off,” he says. Kersh asks Scully to make some sense of this, but Scully sides with Mulder.

Spender finds CSM in his office, looking at a picture of himself with Bill in 1973. He tells Spender who Bill is, that he was a good man who betrayed CSM. Spender isn’t up for a father/son reunion, and CSM isn’t that surprised, though he’d hoped his son would honor him “like Bill Mulder’s son.” CSM pulls a gun and seemingly shoots Spender, then leaves with the picture.

Thoughts: It’s not mentioned in the episode, but IMDb lists a character as “C.G.B. Spender’s daughter,” indicating that he and Cassandra had another child, and she was the one CSM gave up to the aliens. That would definitely explain why Cassandra hates him so much.

What kind of lax medical facility is Fort Marlene running, where Mulder and Marita could cross paths?

And in a similar vein, Fowley should have better security for someone who works on such super-top-secret projects.

The scene where Mulder and Scully shoot at the train is so unintentionally funny. What, exactly, did they think the bullets would do?

September 30, 2017

The X-Files 6.5, Dreamland II: A New Man

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

I love this shot so much

Summary: Morris Fletcher narrates a little story for us about Mulder’s life. He mentions Samantha’s disappearance, Mulder’s push to solve mysteries, and his subsequent mental instability. Until recently, he was “one step away from pushing a baby carriage of tin cans down the street,” but now Morris knows things are going to change.

We go back to Mulder being removed from the convenience store, yelling about how the other Mulder isn’t him. Morris tells “Dana” that he went to Kersh behind her back because he was worried that she would lose her job. Scully says he did the right thing, reminding him that she’s been telling him for years that he needs to follow the rules. “It’s the new me,” Morris says.

Mulder is taken to a cell next to McDonough’s. McDonough says they’re both in a lot of trouble, and is offended when Mulder (who sees him as Lana) calls him “ma’am.” Back at FBI headquarters, Morris plays his golf game some more, then checks in with Scully after she meets with Kersh. She’s been suspended for two weeks. Morris pretends to be upset on her behalf, inviting her over for dinner to “help ease the pain.”

McDonough tells Mulder about the test flight, but he’s not interested and tells “Grandma Top Gun” to shut up. Wegman summons Mulder so he, Grodin, and Jeff can confront him for replacing the data recorder and giving the FBI a fake one. They wish he’d told them he was going to trick the feds.

Realizing he’s not in trouble, Mulder says he didn’t know if he could trust them – after all, one of them could be the security leak. He tried to get Mulder’s contact through Scully, but Mulder screwed it all up. Grodin asks for the real flight data recorder, and Mulder nervously says that of course he’ll get it. Wegman praises him for making a big move, unlike some of his colleagues. In fact, Grodin’s facing the trouble Mulder just avoided.

Morris prepares for his big date night with Scully, quickly realizing that it’s not going to go as smoothly as he’d thought, and not because of her. Mulder’s bedroom is full of junk, making Morris guess that he hasn’t had sex in ten years. (I guess that vampire in that horrible episode doesn’t count.)

Mulder goes to Morris’ house for more abuse from his fake family. Two guys are parked outside, watching, but they’re not very good at subtlety, since Mulder notices them. He tries to explain everything to Joanne, who’d rather complain about Scully being a tramp than listen to her husband’s stories. She figures he’s having a weird midlife crisis.

Mulder shows her the men in the car, saying that Morris has a dangerous job, and if anything goes wrong, he and Mulder are both in trouble. Joanne says that if Mulder doesn’t like the person he’s become, that’s fine, but he can’t just make up a fictional life to replace reality. “Accept who you are, however repulsive that may be,” she tells him.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, which Morris has managed to make look respectable. He even bought a waterbed and put a mirror on the ceiling. Scully seems a little charmed, so Morris breaks out a bottle of champagne, expecting to get some. Scully has a different idea: handcuffs. Morris is too dumb to catch that he’s on to her. She knows that Mulder was telling the truth, and that Morris isn’t the real Mulder.

The bad news is that Morris doesn’t know how to undo the body swap – and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t do anything about it, because he hates his life. To him, the body swap is a gift. He also knows that no one will believe Scully when she tries to get help, so he doesn’t need to do anything. Scully threatens to shoot him, but he sticks to his claim that he can’t do anything. He also says he doesn’t know anything about Mulder’s source.

The phone rings, and the answering machine (which has an outgoing message Morris changed to advertise that he’s about to get laid) takes a message from Mulder’s source. Scully makes Morris take the call. Over at the Fletchers’ house, Joanne complains that Mulder’s still there. He suggests that they find a place to go where they’ll be around a lot of people.

Scully and Morris go to the Little A’Le’Inn to meet the source; it happens to be the same place Mulder has taken Joanne. The source turns out to be Wegman, thrilling Morris. Wegman says he sabotaged the UFO, but he didn’t mean to make it crash; he just disabled its stealth mode so Mulder would be able to see it.

While they chat, Mulder goes outside to avoid some of Morris’ colleagues and meets up with Scully. He’s surprised to see her. As Morris gets what he supposedly came for from Wegman, Joanne ducks outside and sees Mulder with Scully. Morris passes his wife on his way out and seems to soften when he realizes how upset she is. Jeff arrives, looking for him, so Morris leaves. Joanne throws her drink on Mulder to let him know she saw him in the car with Scully.

Mulder goes to the bathroom to clean up, and Morris follows, so the two men are finally alone together. “So you’re the guy that wants my life,” Mulder comments. “I assume that means all the a%$-kickings.” Morris stops him from attacking by warning that Jeff’s outside and can’t see them together. He reveals whatever Wegman gave him, and Mulder orders him to take it straight to Scully. Morris repeats that Jeff can’t see them both, so Mulder needs to sneak it past him.

Wegman starts to leave the bar, but when he spots Jeff, he ducks into the bathroom. Mulder and Morris have jumped in a stall together and are peering over the top. Scully goes inside and sees Joanne and Jeff, then spots Wegman leaving. He tells Jeff to detain Mulder as he’s leaving with a bag of beer, not the flight data recorder Wegman gave him. Morris has the real one and is making his getaway with Scully.

The Lone Gunmen are enjoying a home-cooked meal together (the cook is Frohike) when Scully and Morris drop by. Morris looks around the guys’ lair while they examine the flight data recorder and tell Scully what the aircraft contained. Scully tells the guys that Morris isn’t Mulder, but she can’t really explain the body swap. Morris mentions the warp in the space-time continuum.

He’s pretty amused by everything about the Lone Gunmen, including some of the things they write about in their newsletter. Saddam Hussein isn’t testing a mandroid army in the desert – there is no Saddam Hussein! He’s an actor named John Gillnitz, and the government hired him in 1979 to play a dictator whenever they need a distraction. In fact, most of the stories the Lone Gunmen believe are things Morris thought up while on the toilet.

The next day, Mulder goes to see Wegman, who’s figured out the body swap. Wegman is shredding documents and knows that it’s too late to save himself – once Mulder and Morris have swapped back, Morris will make Wegman disappear. Mulder asks why Wegman sabotaged the aircraft in the first place. Wegman says he regrets spending his entire career hiding the truth from the public.

Mulder asks what the truth is. Wegman claims he doesn’t know; they oversee the flights, but they don’t know what kind of technology they use. Mulder wonders why Wegman contacted him to leak information. Wegman’s familiar with Mulder’s history of looking for aliens, and he’s also curious about whether they exist.

The Lone Gunmen break the encryption on the data recorder, seeing the anti-gravity technology being used. Morris laughs at another of their newsletters, headlined “Monica: Minx or Mandroid?” After he and Frohike bicker a little, Scully leaves with Morris, telling the guys to contact her when they get more out of the data recorder.

Some 20-somethings have infiltrated Area 51, which could probably use better security. One guy knows the area is called Dreamland, and that they’re in the perfect spot to see UFOs. Something flies over them, and the two 20-somethings who were making out end up fused together. So that’s awkward.

Scully meets up with Mulder again, and he worries that she hasn’t found anything that will resolve the body swap. He’s afraid he’ll have to find a way to put Morris’ two kids through college. Scully has heard from Frohike, who reported that the Lone Gunmen were able to analyze the crash data, but the body swap was a random event they probably can’t recreate. Even if they could, any slight error could lead to Mulder getting fused to, say, a rock.

Mulder asks after the new him, and Scully tells him that Morris is Kersh’s new favorite agent. She reveals that she’s been fired from the FBI, so there’s not much she can do now. Mulder encourages her to take the data recorder to Kersh and use it to get her job back. “I’d kiss you if you weren’t so damn ugly,” Scully tells him. Morris honks at them impatiently from the car, and Mulder wonders if shooting him would be considered murder or suicide. Scully’s about to leave, reluctantly, when Mulder calls her back to give her some sunflower seed husks. How…romantic?

The nonfused 20-something stops Grodin as he’s driving by and drags him to his friends. But they’re no longer fused together and don’t seem to remember it ever happening. Grodin promises that he believes their buddy when he says they were stuck together.

Scully laments the loss of her partner as Morris tells her how much he’s enjoying the perks that come with being an FBI agent. He offers to talk to Kersh about getting her job back once they’ve handed over the data recorder. He thinks they’ll have fun together once she gets to know him. Scully lets him know that she still has her gun. They drive by the gas station that was destroyed in the previous episode, but which is now back in its original condition. The attendant is even alive and well, with no memory of what happened two days before.

As Grodin puts Lana and McDonough in a cell together, Scully and Morris go to the Fletchers’ house, where Mulder is moving out. Joanne is annoyed to see Scully at her house again. While Mulder and Scully talk, Morris manages to convince Joanne that he’s really her husband by telling her things about their life together.

The agents decide that the events of the time warp are reversing, so they need to go back to the highway where the body swap took place. Before they can leave, Jeff arrives with some soldiers to arrest Morris as a traitor and get the data recorder. Everyone heads back to Area 51, but Grodin stops them on the highway and reveals that Lana and McDonough are back to their normal selves. He regrets screwing up his career record and wants to make things right again.

Mulder knows that the reversal will mean everyone will forget what happened over the past few days. Morris decides to take his last few moments as Mulder to tell “Dana” that “it’s been real” and touch her butt again. Stay classy, Morris. An aircraft flies over, the swap is reversed, and the past few days are erased. In fact, everyone’s in the same clothes they were wearing at the time of the original body swap.

As Mulder heads home that night, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know that Kersh doesn’t know about their trip to Nevada. Mulder has decided that Scully was right about his potential source just being a sci-fi-loving nut. He thanks her for going to Area 51 with him. Not everything has been reversed – Scully finds the two coins fused together, and Mulder’s apartment is still redecorated. In fact, he has to look at the number on his door to make sure he’s in the right place.

Thoughts: The way they did the body swap is kind of confusing; at a couple points, I forgot that people weren’t seeing what we were seeing. I wonder how these two episodes would have gone if David Duchovny and Michael McKean had actually switched characters.

The Lone Gunmen think Monica Lewinsky’s a mandroid? I would have guessed they would peg Hillary for that.

Even when she’s working with a fake Mulder, Scully doesn’t get to drive.

September 16, 2017

The X-Files 6.3, Triangle: Back to the Future

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

One of my favorite moments in the entire series

Summary: In the Sargasso Sea, an unconscious Mulder is floating in the water after a shipwreck. He’s rescued by a British ship’s crew who wonder if he’s an airman and ask where his uniform is. They call him Jerry and consider throwing him back in the water. When he shows them his ID, they say they’ve never heard of the FBI. They wonder if he’s in “the Fuhrer’s Secret Service.”

The crew takes Mulder to their Captain, Harburg, telling him they think Mulder is German. Harburg roughs him up a little and asks which flag he pledges allegiance to. Mulder’s confused and says he came looking for the ship, the Queen Anne. He has the location correct – they’re near Bermuda – and knows that the crew has had trouble getting an accurate compass reading. It’s because they’re in something called the Devil’s Triangle. He claims that the ship was caught in a time warp and is now in 1998.

The crew thinks Mulder’s nuts, and Harburg says he doesn’t have time for this, since they’re at war. Mulder says that in 1998, things are peaceful, other than a mess in the White House, “but that’ll blow over, so to speak.” (Cough.) Harburg says it’s September 3rd, 1939, and they’re on the ship to fight Hitler in Poland. In fact, the ship has just been invaded by Germans. Mulder tells the crew not to worry about it, since the war’s over. They can go to Germany and see some nice cars!

Mulder is locked in Harburg’s office while the crew goes to deal with the Germans. Mulder uses a radio to place a distress call but instead hears a news bulletin confirming Harburg’s story and the date. A German soldier comes in and Mulder fights him, knocking him out. He’s even more confused by the whole situation when he sees that the soldier looks just like Spender.

Mulder takes Spender’s uniform and tries to make an escape, but German soldiers chase him. He hides, then goes to a ballroom, where people are having a party, unaware that the ship has been taken over. Mulder finds a woman who looks like Scully but has no clue who that is. As he’s trying to convince her that he’s not a Nazi, soldiers capture him. “Wait until you get to Russia!” he yells. “Hope you fellas like the cold!”

The soldiers take Mulder to the steering room (that’s what it’s called, right? Don’t email me), where they order Harburg to hand over control of the ship. He refuses, so they shoot him. Mulder recognizes a soldier as CSM, who still hasn’t caught on that Mulder doesn’t “speak Nazi.” CSM orders his shooting, but Mulder doesn’t get what he’s being accused of. Another soldier, who looks like Skinner, joins the group and says something to CSM, who calls off Mulder’s execution.

In the present, the Lone Gunmen come to FBI headquarters to tell Scully that her partner’s in trouble. The S.S. Queen Anne, which vanished 60 years ago, suddenly appeared this morning. The official story was that the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but the Lone Gunmen believe its coordinates were kept secret so spies couldn’t locate it. They think it disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle and is now back. They told Mulder, who went looking for it, and now he’s missing.

Scully heads off to get help locating him, but the Lone Gunmen tell her it’ll be next to impossible without help from special imaging. She’ll need help from someone at the Pentagon. Scully barges into Skinner’s office to fill him in, but Skinner says he can’t help her. He doesn’t even want to know what Mulder may have gotten himself into this time. He yells, loudly enough for his secretary to hear, that he’s not allowed to have contact with Mulder or Scully anymore.

Scully thinks that after all they’ve gone through, Skinner would at least listen. She just needs information, and nothing more. Skinner won’t tell her if he has any contacts at the Office of Naval Intelligence, since it could cost him his job. He tells her to use her head to save her butt. Scully replies that he should use his own head, as he’ll be saving his own butt as well. (I may have paraphrased.)

Frustrated, Scully goes to Kersh’s office, but before she can give him any details about what she needs help with, she notices that CSM is there. Kersh takes her note from the Lone Gunmen, which contains the name of a Naval intelligence system, and sends her on her way as she says she doesn’t need to talk to him after all.

Scully calls Mulder’s phone, but he doesn’t have good coverage in 1939, so that doesn’t help. Next she goes to Spender and orders him to help her under penalty of death. She warns him not to weasel her. She gives him the coordinates of the ship and tells him to give her information no matter what he has to do to get it.

The phone rings after Spender leaves, and Scully intercepts a call from CSM. He thinks she’s Fowley, so she plays along. He tells her that Scully just gave Kersh a puzzling piece of paper, but before he can get any further, he becomes suspicious about who he’s really talking to. Scully hangs up and starts to leave, running into Kersh’s secretary, who was sent to fetch her. She tells Scully that Spender is currently with Kersh.

Scully rushes off, berating herself for being stupid, and gets a broken phone call she thinks is from Mulder. She’s on an elevator, so she can’t move around much to get better reception. When the doors open, she encounters her caller, Skinner. He gets on the elevator with her and gives her the information she needs, even after saying he wouldn’t help. She’s so happy that she kisses him. When Skinner gets off the elevator, he yells at Scully for trying to get him to break protocol. Spender overhears, none the wiser. The Lone Gunmen meet Scully in the parking garage, and the four speed off before Spender can catch up to them.

Back on the ship, Mulder has been returned to the British crewmen, who are heading for the engine room, their new accommodations. He tells them a little of what’s going to happen in the coming years of World War II. He lets them know that they win, with help from the Americans, and spend the next few decades with “not much to apologize [for] over the next 50 years, except for maybe the Spice Girls.” Zig-a-zig-ah, Mulder.

A crewman tells Mulder that the ship is supposed to be carrying arms, but he’s skeptical since they’d have to be pretty light. Someone kept asking about a code word the crew is unfamiliar with, Thor’s Hammer. A Jamaican crewman joins the group and learns about the German invasion. Mulder announces that they can’t go to Germany. Thor’s Hammer is a person, rather than the weapon they think it is. He’s a scientist who’s going to help build a bomb that will win the war for whichever side uses it. Mulder saw him in the ballroom.

The Jamaican crewman (guess who his 1998 counterpart is) blasts Mulder for giving up so much information when there could be spies around. “Trust no one, mon!” he booms. The crewmen tell him to kill the engines so the Germans can’t take the ship to their homeland. They decide to go to England or Jamaica instead, but Mulder knows the Germans will hunt them down. He wants them to go back the way they came…to the future. Well, the past. If they keep going forward, Hitler will win the war.

Some Nazis come down and take Mulder back to the ballroom, where no one’s in a partying mood anymore. CSM questions Mulder in German, and Spender translates. They want to know who Thor’s Hammer is. Mulder says he doesn’t know, so the Nazis threaten to start killing passengers. Mulder repeats that he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is, and the men carry out their threat on a random passenger, then another.

Scully yells at the Nazis to listen when Mulder says he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is. Like her 1998 counterpart, she calls Spender a weasel. The men make her their next target, and Mulder finally agrees to cooperate. He tells them the first man they killed was Thor’s Hammer.

In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen locate the Queen Anne, which seems to appear out of thin air, with full power. In 1939, Mulder messes with the Nazis for a bit as they ask him the name of the scientist. A man steps forward, saying he’s really the scientist, so Scully pulls a Spartacus and says it’s really her. It turns out she works for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) and is traveling with Thor’s Hammer to protect him. CSM orders her and Mulder’s deaths.

The two are put on their knees for their execution, but just them, the engines shut down. The British crewmen rush in and start beating up the Nazis. In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen search the ship, which appears to be empty. Mulder takes 1939 Scully off to save the ship, but they’re spotted by Nazis. They’re about to be shot when Skinner saves them and sends them on their way with a “God bless America.”

Mulder and Scully run around the ship, using the same hallways Scully is searching in 1998. The two women round the same corner at the same time, in opposite directions, and both pause as they seem to sense each other’s presences. 1998 Scully and the Lone Gunmen find the ballroom, which was trashed during the big British/Nazi fight in 1939. Mulder tells 1939 Scully about the time warp, bringing up Albert Einstein and his predictions about a nuclear bomb. If Scully doesn’t turn the ship around, Germany will win the war, and Mulder will never exist, and Scully probably won’t either.

Just in case they never meet again, Mulder says goodbye to Scully with a kiss. She punches him in response, and he remarks that he was expecting a left hook. He jumps overboard, depending on her to steer the ship toward the future. This leads to the first scene of the episode, where Mulder is floating in the water.

Sometime later, Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, saying, “Mulder, it’s me.” She reminds him that he went looking for a ship in the Bermuda Triangle, and he tells her she was there. Skinner enters with the Lone Gunmen, and Mulder says they were there, too, a la The Wizard of Oz. He tells Scully that she saved the world. She says he was on a boat they found in pieces; the Queen Anne was just a ghost ship.

Everyone thinks Mulder’s insistence that he was in 1939 is just a side effect of his injuries from jumping overboard. After the men leave, Mulder tells Scully that he might never have seen her again, but she believed him about the ship. She thinks he was dreaming, so she teases that he should think to himself, “There’s no place like home.” Scully starts to leave, but Mulder summons her back and tells her he loves her. “Oh, brother,” she sighs as she leaves.

Thoughts: This episode is so much fun. The trivia is also fun.

I can’t believe Scully and Skinner kiss before she and Mulder do.

Considering the current political climate, I enjoyed watching Nazis get beaten up.

James Pickens, Jr.’s Jamaican accept is…questionable, at best.

August 26, 2017

The X-Files, Fight the Future: Bee Movie

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

Not the best picture of Mulder and Scully, really

Summary: Mulder and Scully have made it to the big screen! But first, we take a trip to Texas in 35,000 B.C. Two cavemen hear a screeching noise while checking out a cave. One finds another caveman trapped in something that looks like amber, then gets attacked by an alien. The second caveman finds his buddy dead and goes looking for his attacker. He comes across the alien, which attacks him as well. The caveman has a weapon and stabs the alien, which bleeds black oil that infects the caveman.

In the present (judging by the fact that the cavemen didn’t have jean shorts), a kid named Stevie falls into the same cave after digging around in the dirt with some friends. He finds a skull, then sees black oil seeping out of the ground. It crawls up his legs and under his skin. His friends ditch him and run home. Sometime later, firefighters arrive and one goes into the cave to get Stevie. His captain loses contact with him, which can’t be a good sign.

Next a team in Hazmat suits shows up and gets the civilians off the scene. They take the boy away in a sealed container, transporting him by helicopter. Some big trucks drive in, and Bronschweig, the man in charge of securing the scene, calls someone to report that the impossible scenario they didn’t bother to plan for now needs some sort of plan.

A week later, an FBI agent named Michaud is helicoptered to a roof near Dallas’ Federal Building, where he instructs other agents to make absolutely sure there’s no explosive device inside. Scully’s also on a building roof, letting Mulder know via phone (“Mulder, it’s me”) that no bomb has been found, despite a threat being called in. She uses, like 100 words to talk about how they need to follow the rules but still might not find a bomb. Anyway, Mulder’s there now, talking about hunches and expecting the unexpected.

Scully warns that Mulder needs to stop thinking unconventionally like he did when they were working X-files. He can’t be looking for things that aren’t there. Mulder jokes that they should call in a bomb threat in Houston so they can go to a game at the Astrodome. Scully tries to open the door letting them off the roof, telling Mulder it’s locked – “so much for anticipating the unforeseen.” She’s just messing with him. “I had you,” she gloats.

In the lobby, Scully continues teasing Mulder, saying she saw panic on his face. He claims she’s never seen him panic. He heads off to buy them sodas from a break room, but the machine doesn’t work. I guess he didn’t anticipate that unforeseen complication either. Mulder sees that the machine is unplugged, which gives him an idea. Unable to get out of the room (the door really is locked), he calls Scully in the lobby and lets her know he found the bomb in the machine.

With just under 14 minutes left on the timer, Mulder tells Scully to evacuate the building. She immediately gives orders to the people workers there, then calls Michaud to tell him he’s looking in the wrong place. Michaud and his agents hurry over to save Mulder (taking their sweet time – the counter’s below five minutes now). Scully calls and Mulder tells her he’s now making his not-panicking panicked face.

Michaud cuts through the door and the agents study the bomb. He says he can defuse it, but he wants everyone to leave. Mulder hesitates to leave him behind, but Scully makes him go with her. Instead of working on the bomb, Michaud sits and watches the timer count down. Mulder realizes that something’s wrong and turns back to the building. Scully insists that he head off to safety with her, and they drive away as the bomb explodes. “Next time, you’re buying,” Mulder tells Scully, because even though a man just died, he wouldn’t be Mulder if he didn’t make jokes.

The agents go back to D.C. and attend a review led by an agent named Cassidy. (Mulder’s late.) She tells them that five people died, including a young boy and three firemen. Mulder’s surprised to hear that the firemen were in the building – the agents were told that the building had been evacuated. Cassidy sends him away so she can question Scully first.

Mulder anxiously eats sunflower seeds until Skinner leaves the review to talk to him. He says Cassidy wants to know why Scully wasn’t in the right building. Mulder says she was with him. Skinner says that the city of Dallas sustained $45 million of damage, then that people are dead, as if the money is the more important thing. There also haven’t been any arrests, so the FBI is being scrutinized. Where did they screw up? Who will they be blaming?

Mulder’s willing to take the blame since he didn’t follow protocol. He feels horrible that he left Michaud alone with the bomb. But Scully also wants to take responsibility. She sends Skinner back into the review, then tells Mulder that the two of them are being given separate assignments. Scully hasn’t made a difference in the FBI, and she’s not going to be happy if she’s transferred to a field office somewhere. She wonders if Mulder’s heart is still in the work.

After the review is over, Mulder goes to a bar and gets hammered. He tells the bartender that he’s in charge of investigating aliens, but no one believes him when he tells them what he’s found out. They think he’s just running around, screaming that the sky is falling, but when it really happens, it’s going to be horrible. The bartender decides it’s time to cut him off. As he leaves, Mulder realizes that a man who was watching him has already left.

He goes to use the bathroom but finds an out-of-order sign on the door, so he does his business in an alley. The man from the bar approaches him and asks if the FBI is accusing him of screwing things up in Dallas. The man, Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, has been watching Mulder since he started at the FBI. He also knew Bill and says that, back when they worked together, they could have been called “fellow travelers.” Mulder wonders if Kurtzweil is a reporter. Kurtzweil says he’s an OB/GYN and knows something about the bombing that Mulder hasn’t been told.

Mulder says Kurtzweil can talk until Mulder hails a cab. Kurtzweil tells him that Michaud never tried to defuse the bomb. He also knows that the bomb was put in that building, not the Federal Building, because FEMA had a quarantine office there. The four supposed victims, other than Michaud, were dead before the bomb exploded. Mulder scoffs at the idea that Michaud didn’t try to stop the bomb, but Kurtzweil knows that the bomb was detonated so people could hide something – possibly something they couldn’t predict.

Mulder still thinks Kurtzweil is nuts, so he leaves him there on the street outside the bar. He starts to go home, then decides to go to Georgetown to see Scully, even though it’s 3 in the morning. She wonders if he got drunk before or after he decided to come see her. Mulder makes her get dressed so he can take her somewhere.

Back in Texas, the site around the cave has been turned into a research facility. CSM arrives to see what Bronschweig and his team have found. He thinks the fireman’s arrival raised the body temperature of someone already in the cave. That someone is the amberfied caveman, who is basically alive because of the black oil, though he’ll never recover from the infection. CSM wants to use the vaccine/cure on him; if it’s unsuccessful, they’ll burn his body “like the others.”

Mulder takes Scully to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where they’re told they can’t access the morgue. Mulder bluffs their way in, pretending they were summoned by the same general who has declared the morgue off-limits. The agents find the body of one of the firemen, which has something sticky all over it. Scully diagnoses a cellular breakdown of his tissue. She can also see that, despite what they were told, the body hasn’t been autopsied yet, so the report stating his cause of death as injuries from the explosion is false. Scully says she’s not sure anyone could determine a cause of death.

She realizes that there must be some sort of cover-up happening. Mulder says he has a hunch that whatever Scully finds from an autopsy, it won’t be something they can explain. But he’s being blamed for Michaud’s death, so he’d like to know what killed him. He knows Scully would feel the same if she were in his position.

While Scully gets to work, Mulder goes to Kurtzweil’s house, which is being searched by the police. A detective tells Mulder that Kurtzweil is being investigated for child pornography. Mulder finds books on Kurtzweil’s shelf about the apocalypse and tells the police not to bother letting him know if they find the doctor. As Mulder leaves, he spots Kurtzweil, who says the investigation is an attempt to discredit him. He claims that FEMA, which is super-powerful, wouldn’t normally be involved in the investigation of whatever’s going on in Texas. It must be bigger than they’re letting on.

Kurtzweil continues that he and Bill once looked into a case involving biological warfare. He thinks now they’re looking at “a plague to end all plagues.” For 50 years, the government has been working on a planned Armageddon. FEMA will end up in charge. Mulder thinks Kurtzweil is even more paranoid than he is. Kurtzweil warns that if he doesn’t go back to Texas, he’ll be as in the dark as everyone else in the country, and by the time he catches on, it’ll be too late.

Scully autopsies Michaud, finding something crystallized inside his body. She’s able to hide in another room before guards can see her. Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) and she tells him that Michaud was infected with something. He wants them both to go to Texas, though Scully has to go back to the review hearing the next day. As they’re talking, Scully hears the guards approaching and has to hang up so she can hide again.

Mulder goes to Texas alone and learns that FEMA found some bone fragments from an archaeological site. Scully joins her partner and tells him that the infection she found in the fireman’s body could lead to a major health threat. Mulder has Scully look at the bone fragments, even though they weren’t found near the explosion site. Scully’s stunned by what she sees under the microscope.

At the cave site, Bronschweig prepares to administer the vaccine/cure to the amberfied body. However, he realizes that “it’s” left the body, which means it’s gestated. “So much for little green men,” he says. Bronschweig decides to use the vaccine/cure on the now-sentient black oil, which looks like an alien, but it attacks him before he can. Bronschweig begs his crew for help, but they’re not about to let him come out of the cave and risk spreading the infection.

WMM is enjoying tea in England when he gets a phone call alerting him to “a situation.” CSM has arranged a meeting in London, as ordered by someone named Strughold. WMM meets up with the rest of the Syndicate there, and Strughold tells them that they need to reassess their role in colonization. The Elder clarifies: “The virus has mutated.” They’re now dealing with a new alien biological entity.

WMM says this is spontaneous repopulation, not colonization. This means they’ve been used and lied to this whole time. Strughold says they’re going to turn over a body infected by the new entity and tell “them” what the Syndicate has found. WMM thinks this will ruin them, but Strughold says it’ll buy them time to work on the vaccine/cure. CSM reveals that Mulder saw one of the infected bodies, which means someone tipped him off, probably Kurtzweil.

Though Kurtzweil is a kook and no one will believe him, at least according to WMM, the others know that they need to remove him from the equation. They also need to take out Mulder. WMM points out that that will just make him a martyr for his cause. Strughold says that, in that case, they need to take away “what he holds most valuable – that with which he can’t live without” [sic, ugh].

Mulder and Scully go to the cave site, but all traces of the investigation have been removed. Mulder sees that the grass at a nearby playground has recently been laid, and Scully can tell that the equipment is new. Stevie’s friends approach but won’t answer the agents’ questions about the playground or their new bikes. They also don’t believe that Mulder and Scully are FBI agents, since they look like door-to-door salesmen. When Mulder flashes his badge, one of the boys tells him that the crew left an hour ago.

The agents follow their trail, wondering what they’re transporting in their unmarked tanker trucks. They can’t decide which direction the crew went, left or right, so Mulder drives straight onto a dirt road. He boasts that he’s never been wrong in the five years he and Scully have worked together – “not driving, anyway.” The agents end up in the middle of nowhere, and Scully regrets coming to Texas in the first place. She doubts that the crew is hauling a virus in the tanker trucks. Mulder finally tells Scully that the virus might be extraterrestrial.

A train comes by, giving Mulder an idea. Well, really, two ideas, one of which is to follow the train. The end up at a site that looks like the one set up during the cave investigation. Scully wonders why there’s a cornfield around it, since they’re in the desert. They go inside a domed building, which Scully thinks is a venting system on top of a larger facility. There’s humming below them and catwalks above. Someone has definitely figured out they’re there, and the response is to release hundreds of bees.

The agents run for it, managing to escape without getting stung. They see lights approaching and realize they’re being pursued by helicopters. They run back through the cornfield, crouching down at one point to avoid detection. They get separated, so Mulder gets to run through the corn, yelling, “SCULLAY!” They both make it out of the cornfield, realizing that the helicopters have disappeared.

Scully makes it back to D.C. for the hearing, where she presents the bone fragments. Meanwhile, Mulder meets with Kurtzweil and tells him about the tanker trucks. Scully tells the hearing panel that Michaud may be involved in whatever’s going on. Mulder tells Kurtzweil about the bees and corn. As Cassidy questions Scully about the investigation, a bee crawls around Scully’s back. She admits that she’s working with Mulder again.

Kurtzweil and Mulder think that the corn is a way of carrying a virus contained in altered pollen. Mulder’s annoyed that Kurtzweil doesn’t have any answers; he doesn’t think Kurtzweil even knew Bill. In fact, he suspects that Kurtzweil has been using Mulder to get information. Kurtzweil points out that Mulder wouldn’t have known where to look without his help. He thinks there’s a reason Mulder and Scully were allowed to leave Texas alive. As Kurtzweil leaves, Mulder realizes that someone was listening to their conversation.

He goes home and looks through a photo album, seeing Kurtzweil in an old picture. Scully arrives and announces that she’s being transferred to Salt Lake City. She’s not willing to make the move, so she’s resigned. Mulder tells her she can’t quit now – they’re close to finding something. Scully asks him not to drag her into something crazy yet again. She’s ready to walk away. Mulder says he needs her, but she disagrees – she’s only ever held him back.

Mulder goes after Scully to argue that she can’t resign with a clear conscience. She reminds him that she was brought in as his partner to debunk his work. Mulder says that she really saved him with her science and reason. “You kept me honest,” he says. “You made me a whole person.” He owes her everything but she owes him nothing. Mulder isn’t sure he wants to move forward alone, or if he can, but he knows that if he quits, the bad guys win.

The two give each other meaningful looks for a while, then hug for an even longer while. She kisses his forehead, and after some more meaningful looking, Mulder moves in for a real kiss. But that STUPID FREAKING BEE interrupts them by stinging Scully. Mulder says it must have gotten in her shirt (unlike him, who won’t get into her shirt for another season or so). Scully immediately starts feeling like something’s wrong; it’s like she’s having an allergic reaction without having a bee allergy.

Mulder calls paramedics and tells them that they may be dealing with a virus. Instead of telling Mulder which hospital Scully’s being taken to, the paramedic driving the ambulance shoots him through the window. Moments later, an ambulance presumably carrying real paramedics arrives. Meanwhile, Scully’s taken to a plane, where CSM is ready to take her somewhere else.

Mulder wakes up in the hospital with the Lone Gunmen standing over him. He calls them the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto. They tell him the bullet only grazed him, but he’s been unconscious for a while. Mulder wants to go look for Scully, but Skinner comes in and stops him, noting that the bad guys will never let him find her. Mulder suggests that he and Byers trade places, which fools the person watching his room, allowing him to leave the hospital undetected.

WMM tracks down Kurtzweil and corners him in the alley behind the bar where he and Mulder keep meeting. When Mulder arrives, he finds only WMM and another Syndicate man in the alley. They tell him that Kurtzweil has already come and gone. WMM invites him into his car so they can discuss a way to save Scully. He gives Mulder a vaccine/cure that he has to administer within 96 hours, and the coordinates where he can find his partner.

WMM admits that the virus is extraterrestrial, and though they don’t know much about it, it was the original inhabitant of the planet. He waxes poetic about a virus being a “colonizing force” that can’t be defeated. It lives underground until it mutates and attacks. Mulder can’t believe that the Syndicate has been working to conceal a virus this whole time. WMM says he has it all backwards – today’s deadliest viruses are “newborns.” The one they’re dealing with now has been around longer than humans.

Aliens sent the viruses here centuries ago, and they’ve been waiting to be awoken. Humans will be the hosts. The vaccine/cure is humanity’s only defense. Bill was one of the people trying to conceal the truth. Without the vaccine/cure, humans will become slaves to aliens. Now the virus is gestating, and it’s time to fight. WMM only wants the truth out now because he wants to protect his family. He knows he’ll be killed for telling Mulder everything.

Mulder asks where Kurtzweil is, but WMM won’t tell him. Mulder demands to be let out of the car, so they take him back to the alley. WMM warns that the Syndicate will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. They ordered WMM to kill Kurtzweil, and now he’s supposed to kill Mulder. Instead, he kills his driver and tells Mulder to “trust no one.” WMM tells Mulder that the alien colonists don’t know about the vaccine/cure yet. If he can find Scully, he’ll understand how huge the project they’ve been working on for 50 years is. Mulder leaves, and WMM gets back in the car, which immediately explodes.

48 hours later, Mulder’s in Antarctica, on the hunt for Scully. The coordinates WMM gave him have led him to a spot near yet another investigation site. As he’s approaching, he falls through the snow into a tunnel. There’s a hole leading deeper underground that eventually takes Mulder to a cave containing frozen bodies, at least one of which is an alien. CSM arrives at the site and sees that he has a visitor. Mulder goes through a tunnel into a cavern filled with frozen bodies.

Using binoculars, Mulder is able to spot a container he figures is Scully’s. He slips on his way down and almost falls into the bottomless pit that the cavern leads to. He manages to grab on to something and make his way to Scully’s container, but only her cross necklace is inside. He checks out the rows of bodies and finds her frozen. As guards move in to intercept him, Mulder frees Scully from the ice and administers the vaccine/cure. It works immediately, pulling the virus from her into the cave’s weird life-sustaining system, but he can’t finish disconnecting her from the system before the cave starts to quake.

Someone tells CSM that there’s a contaminant in the system. CSM realizes that Mulder has the vaccine/cure. Mulder finishes freeing Scully as the facility’s apparent self-destruct system goes into effect. CSM orders everyone to abandon the facility, predicting that Mulder and Scully won’t make it out alive. Mulder takes his partner back the way he came in as all the frozen bodies start thawing. One of the aliens is really ticked about being trapped in ice.

Scully stops breathing, and Mulder has to put her down to revive her. “I had you big-time,” she teases. The trapped bodies start trying to break free of their frozen prisons, and somehow steam is released. The agents are able to get out just before an alien can get a good hold of Mulder and pull him back inside. They climb back to the surface as the ice around them starts to break and the whole facility collapses in on itself.

The agents can’t outrun the deepening pit, but something rising out of the ground pushes them back up, saving them. It’s a giant UFO. Mulder isn’t sure Scully sees it before it’s gone, but she assures him she saw it. He’s exhausted, so she cradles him in her arms, right at the edge of a gigantic ice canyon.

Back in D.C., Cassidy addresses Scully and Skinner as someone steals the bone fragments. Cassidy says that Scully’s report is implausible, and nothing in it really points to domestic terrorism. The bone fragments end up in a tanker truck supposedly transporting corn oil. The corn in Texas is set on fire. Scully gives Cassidy the bee that stung her and says that she doesn’t think the FBI currently has a devision that’s equipped to continue the investigation.

Mulder reads a news article about the hanta virus being contained in Texas. Scully joins him and he complains that the truth is once again being buried. Scully says she told the whole story, but Mulder knows it won’t make a difference. They’ve been here before, right next to the truth, and once again, they’re being knocked back to the beginning. Scully was right to want to quit. She’d be safer away from him, working as a doctor. Scully refuses, saying her work is with him. There’s a cure for the virus she was exposed to; they could save other people. She takes his hand and repeats what he said about the bad guys winning if she quits now.

In the desert of Tunisia, a helicopter delivers CSM to a cornfield. He tells a man that Mulder has seen more than he should, and now he’s determined to uncover the truth. The other man says that Mulder’s just one man, and “one man alone cannot fight the future.” CSM hands over a note he received, which the other man reads, then drops in the sand. It’s a telegram announcing that the X-files division has been reopened.

Thoughts: This movie features a cavalcade of stars:

  • Kurtzweil is played by the recently deceased Martin Landau.
  • Michaud is played by Terry O’Quinn, in his second role in the series.
  • Cassidy is played by Blythe Danner, who I love, and who should have had a bigger role, and who better be in the Will and Grace revival.
  • Strughold is played by Armin Mueller-Stahl.
  • She’s uncredited, for some reason, but the bartender Mulder mopes to is played by the also recently deceased Glenne Headly.

Once again, thanks, writers, for names like Kurtzweil and Bronschweig that I had to type over and over. We need more Smiths, Lees, and Kims on this show.

Whoever wrote the line “that with which he can’t live without,” your third-grade English teacher is weeping somewhere.

Aww, ‘bye, WMM. You were the only bearable part of the Syndicate.

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.

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