March 9, 2019

The X-Files 9.15, Jump the Shark: The Good Fight

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 12:40 pm by Jenn

“What do you mean, a press pass for a conspiracy-theory paper isn’t good enough for a medical conference?”

Summary: Morris Fletcher gives us a voiceover narration about the Lone Gunmen and their adventures over the past few years. Over the course of their spin-off, they hired an intern named Jimmy Bond, and made an enemy of a woman named Yves Adele Harlow, who later became an ally. Morris calls the guys idealists but warns that “those who fight the good fight don’t always win.”

20 miles west of Harbor Island in the Bahamas, Morris is enjoying some time with a woman who is definitely not his wife. They’re in the Bermuda Triangle, which he claims he named. There are powerful forces underwater that haven’t yet been discovered by humans. Some men board their boat and give Morris a message: He’s fired. They pour gas on the boat, take off with Morris’ girlfriend, and throw a stick of dynamite on the boat. Morris jumps overboard as it explodes, destroying blueprints of a spaceship.

Morris ends up at the U.S. Coast Guard Base in Miami, where he requests a meeting with Doggett and Reyes. He’s in trouble for violating an act regarding federal secrets, thanks to his lax attitude toward checking in with former employer every month. He tells the agents he used to work at Area 51 and was one of the Men in Black. Doggett and Reyes are unimpressed.

Morris announces that he wants to make a deal to save his life. Reyes tells him that his girlfriend, Brittany, has turned up safe and told the agents what happened on the boat. Morris asks for protection in exchange for all the details of the government’s alien cover-up. The documents recovered from the boat are just the tip of the iceberg. But Reyes has no interest in that iceberg, since the blueprints are of the Jupiter 2 from Lost in Space.

Morris explains that he was freelancing for a foreign billionaire who believed Morris was in the Bermuda Triangle to get him a UFO the Air Force lost. The billionaire learned Morris was lying and now wants him dead. Reyes and Doggett, still unimpressed, start to leave, but they stop when Morris calls out, “Super-soldiers!” He may be able to find one for the agents to talk to.

Doggett and Reyes go to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and ask the guys to help them find Morris’ super-soldier. They recognize her as Yves, who disappeared a year ago. They laugh at the idea that she’s a super-soldier; they thought she was just a hacker. Morris joins the group, and the guys react badly. They warn the agents that Morris is a professional liar. He hired them to find Yves so he could kidnap her. Morris tells the agents that they shouldn’t rely on the Lone Gunmen to help them find Yves.

She’s currently at Hartwell College in Kearny, New Jersey, where she sprays a professor named Houghton with some kind of substance. A colleague sees her running away, then finds Houghton’s body, bloody from a big hole in his chest. The Lone Gunmen search for her, using anagrams of her name, which is itself an anagram of Lee Harvey Oswald. Morris amuses himself by making fun of their newspaper and not knowing who the Ramones are. He tells Langly to cut his hair and grow up already.

Langly gives an impassioned speech about how Joey Ramone is his hero because he never gave up, no matter how many times people tried to knock him down. And he’s not really dead, since guys like him live forever. Morris really doesn’t care. He thinks it would be easier to find Yves if they had her real name, which he claims is Lois Runce. They don’t believe him.

There’s a knock at the Gunmen’s secret door, which they say no one knows about, though it seems like Yves might. Jimmy’s the knocker, though, and he collapses as soon as the door opens. Once he’s recovered, he tells the guys he’s been all over the world looking for Yves, whose real name he confirms is Lois Runce. He found her in Kearny, but she ran away from him. Jimmy thinks she killed someone.

Yves throws whatever she pulled out of Houghton’s chest in a furnace and says, “One down.” Doggett and Reyes go to Hartwell and meet John Gillnitz, the colleague who saw Yves running away after killing Houghton. He has no idea why anyone would want to kill Houghton; he studied immunology in sharks.

Apparently the Lone Gunmen aren’t the greatest hackers in the world, as we’ve been led to believe, because they have to ask a guy named Kimmy for help tracking down Yves. They think she’s coming to D.C., and they want Kimmy to hack a satellite so they can keep an eye on her. The Gunmen head out, leaving Jimmy behind to look after Morris.

Doggett and Reyes go to the medical examiner’s office in New Jersey to find out what’s going on with Houghton’s body. His chest contains bioluminescence, and the ME says it looks like it bled out of him. Also, he had past operations, which the ME thought were from a pacemaker insertion, but he actually found living tissue grafted into Houghton’s chest. It looks like it held something that’s now missing. Reyes guesses that Yves killed Houghton to remove whatever was inside him.

The agents question Morris, who claims not to know anything about Houghton or his murder. Kimmy’s having trouble with his hacking, since the Lone Gunmen’s equipment is awful. They told the agents they’d cleared out a lot of their stuff because they were getting better equipment, but Kimmy knows they’re actually broke and had to sell their stuff to pay their rent. No one’s reading their paper, thanks to Morris – when he took Yves, the Gunmen spent all their money trying to find her.

Byers calls Reyes and summons her to the Hotel Farragut, where the Gunmen have found Yves. She’s followed a man to his room, seemingly to do to him what she did to Houghton. The Gunmen burst into the room to stop her, allowing the man to knock her out and escape.

Jimmy and the agents come to the hotel, but the man, alias Leonard Southall, has disappeared. Since Yves was able to be rendered unconscious, the Gunmen figure she’s not really a super-soldier. Jimmy doesn’t believe that Yves was really going to kill Southall, but she confirms that was her plan. If she doesn’t finish her mission, innocent people will die.

Everyone returns to the Lone Gunmen’s lair so Yves can confront Morris for sending everyone after her. He’s wearing a tracking device that Yves thinks he was going to activate when he knew Yves had been captured. The whole thing, including the stuff with the boat and Brittany, was a scam to get the agents and the Gunmen to track Yves down for him.

Yves reports that the billionaire Morris works for is her father. He’s a murderer, and she hates everything he stands for. Jimmy reminds Yves that she’s a murderer, too. Her excuse is that Houghton was a terrorist her father paid to do research that would lead to the development of a weapon. He was carrying a virus inside him, wrapped in shark cartilage. Southall has the same thing inside him, and is basically a human time bomb. At 8:00 tonight, in five hours, it’ll rupture and kill anyone within five or six miles. Yves doesn’t think Morris knew all the details of the terrorism plot.

The Gunmen get to work finding Southall while Morris tries to give them encouragement that the end of their newspaper doesn’t mean the end of good guys fighting for what’s right. Maybe it’s time to pass the torch. Byers doesn’t know what they would do instead, though. Like Joey Ramone, he doesn’t want them to ever give up.

Langly and Kimmy get Southall’s location, and since he’s in Jersey, Yves guesses he’s going to Hartwell. She’s right, and they send a group of authorities to capture Southall. However, medical testing finds nothing in Southall to indicate that he has a virus inside him. Doggett thinks they have the wrong guy. Yves says there must be someone else, but time’s running out – it’s already 7:00. The real second man goes to a medical conference, where a security scan doesn’t detect anything off about him. It’s John Gillnitz.

The good guys wonder why Southall would go to Hartwell if he supposedly wasn’t involved in the terrorism plot. Morris uses Three-Card Monte as a metaphor to help them understand that he’s a decoy. The real second man is probably hiding in plain sight. Yves easily figures out it’s Gillnitz.

The Gunmen, Yves, and Jimmy head to the conference, but a security guard doesn’t accept the Gunmen’s press passes. Jimmy takes a unique approach to the situation: He yells out Gillnitz’s name, then headbutts the security guard so they can get past him. They all chase Gillnitz, willing to do whatever it takes to protect everyone the virus could harm, even if it means killing Gillnitz.

The Gunmen find the terrorist with just two minutes left until 8:00. Jimmy and Yves don’t hear them yelling, which means the Gunmen have to save the day on their own. Frohike pulls a fire alarm, which triggers fire doors and traps them in a hallway with Gillnitz. Yves and Jimmy arrive in time to see Gillnitz collapse and spasm from the bioluminescence leaking out of him. The doors are airtight, and the Gunmen have already been exposed, so Yves won’t let Jimmy try to save them. The Gunmen tell Yves and Jimmy to keep fighting the good fight and never give up.

Sometime later, the Gunmen are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Kimmy says a tearful goodbye to them, then leaves Scully, Doggett, Skinner, Yves, and Jimmy with their coffins. Skinner pulled some strings to get them buried their, and feels it was the least he could do. Scully tells Jimmy and Yves that the Gunmen meant a lot to her, and she’s not sure they knew it. Jimmy says no one knew that the Gunmen were such heroes.

Morris arrives to repeat what Langly said about how people who don’t give up never die. He’s not sure what that means. Scully says that, like everyone else buried there, the world is a better place because the Gunmen were in it. They’re gone, but they’ll live on through their friends.

Thoughts: Yves is played by Zuleikha Robinson. Gillnitz is played by Marcus Giamatti, brother of Paul.

Goodbye, lovely Gunmen. I hope your afterlife has better hacking equipment.

I don’t have words for how much I love Michael McKean.

If my parents named me Lois Runce, I’d change my name, too.

February 2, 2019

The X-Files 9.10, Providence: “Bring Me the Head of Fox Mulder”

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

When you’re not sure what’s going on with a spaceship, it’s best to stand directly on top of it

Summary: Some guy gets the pointless episode-opening voiceover as he talks about God coming to him in Iraq in 1991. While under attack, he had an omen about his men dying. While the rest of his people were killed, he was left alive, rescued by some more soldiers. Those four head into a building that explodes, but they come out unharmed. Now the surviving soldier (who’s from the Alberta dig site that unearthed the spaceship) thinks his mission on Earth is to tell people about those angels and a god who came before all other gods.

Follmer recaps the previous episode, telling a taskforce that William has been kidnapped by the woman who ambushed the Lone Gunmen. The guys are all fine and present at the meeting, as is Toothpick Man. Doggett is absent, but he has a good excuse, as he’s in a coma. Follmer says that the kidnapper and Comer’s motives are still unknown. The FBI is confident they can get William back unharmed.

Skinner catches Scully sitting in on the meeting and tells her to go home and let the rest of the bureau find William. Scully isn’t about to trust Follmer to lead the rescue mission. They know he withholds information from Kersh, and he’s already failed twice to prevent attacks on William. Skinner thinks she’s crazy to think that Follmer and Kersh could be part of William’s abduction.

Scully reminds Skinner of all the stuff Follmer and Kersh have already been involved in. She thinks they’re leading an effort to eliminate the X-Files and everyone connected to it. Skinner says she’d have to group him with Kersh and Follmer in her accusations. Instead, Scully leaves to find William on her own.

Skinner goes to the hospital, where Reyes is by Doggett’s side. There’s a possibility that he’ll never wake up. Skinner tells Reyes about sitting with dying soldiers in Vietnam and telling them they would be okay even when it was obvious they wouldn’t. Talking to them felt like praying – they might not be able to hear him, but God could.

Scully calls to check on Doggett, then asks to meet with Reyes, without Skinner knowing. The abductor has been ID’d, thanks to the Lone Gunmen, and Scully needs Reyes’ help to find information on her. She doesn’t want the FBI to know what they’re up to. The Gunmen hack a phone company to try to track a cell phone in their car, which the kidnapper also took. There’s no signal yet, but the guys will keep trying.

Reyes thinks Scully is nuts to go off alone, since the Gunmen have already failed her with William. (Ouch.) Scully doesn’t think she has any other choice – she doesn’t believe the FBI is as confident in getting William back as Follmer said they were. The Gunmen announce that they’ve picked up a cell signal in Pennsylvania, so Scully heads out, willing to go alone if Reyes won’t tag along.

As the kidnapper stops at a phone booth, the diggers in Alberta take pictures of their discovery. The kidnapper calls the soldier to confirm that she has William, and he tells her he’ll send someone to get her. Just then, pieces of the spaceship start moving and lights inside it turn on. The top closes, trapping two diggers inside. The soldier asks for tools to get them out.

Scully and Reyes race to Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, and find the Lone Gunmen’s car, which is now empty. Reyes returns to D.C. to check in on Doggett, who’s been taken for some scans. Reyes goes to the chapel, where Follmer interrupts her prayers and notes that she’s acting pretty “traditional.” She admits that she feels lost. He hugs her and promises he’s doing everything he can to find William and the kidnapper, despite the people in the FBI who are working against them.

Follmer knows that Scully and Reyes went off alone, and he chastises Reyes for not giving the FBI a heads up. He wants her cooperation, promising to share information he hasn’t already. First off, Comer wants to tell them something. He’s also in the hospital, not looking so great, but has tried to write Follmer a note. It just says “jacket,” and Follmer and Reyes can’t figure out what it means.

Reyes takes it to Scully, telling her that she’s only allowed to see it if she gives Reyes information to give Follmer. Scully tells her that Comer only made it from the Canadian border to D.C. without a scratch on him because of something in his jacket pocket. Obviously, the piece of the spaceship is the key here.

The women go to the hospital, taking the artifact to Comer’s room. It brings him back to consciousness and makes him agitated. Scully threatens to smother Comer with his pillow if he doesn’t tell her who sent him to kill William. Comer says that William has to die, so Scully puts a hand around his throat. He explains that he was sent to infiltrate a UFO cult whose followers believe an alien race will take over the world. They were sent to Alberta to find the ship, which the cult leader thinks is a temple that houses “the physical manifestation of God.”

Scully interprets this as Comer saying God told him to kill William. Comer corrects that the cult leader believes William is a savior who needs to be protected. William is prophesied to follow in Mulder’s footsteps and save the world from aliens…unless Mulder is killed. Reyes figures out that Comer came to kill William to end the prophesy. Scully thinks that means Mulder is dead, also in an attempt to end the prophesy. If William doesn’t die, all humans will.

Toothpick Man catches the agents in Comer’s room and makes them leave. They can’t get the artifact back without Toothpick Man seeing, so they have to leave it with Comer. Toothpick Man tells some minions to call Follmer and Skinner, then heads into Comer’s room. In Alberta, the men can’t be freed from the spaceship, but there are more important things to deal with – the kidnapper has arrived with William. The top of the spaceship opens, but the men who were trapped inside are dead.

Skinner and Follmer come to the hospital as Scully and Reyes go to the chapel. Scully doesn’t want to tell the other agents how Comer has made a miraculous recovery; the FBI will use that against them. Reyes thinks they need to tell the truth, but Scully knows there’s more going on. She’s always felt like something was wrong with her pregnancy and child, and now there’s confirmation.

Reyes disagrees, reminding Scully that the ship is full of scripture, and no scripture mentions the death of a child. They’re just dealing with false prophets. All they need to believe is that William could still be alive, and they can save him. They can also use the artifact to save Doggett. Skinner finds the women and tells them they need to get out of there. Comer’s dead.

Reyes returns to Comer’s room and tries to get his nurse to back up her story that he was alive when Toothpick Man got there. The artifact is gone, but the nurse denies seeing it. Reyes suspects that Toothpick Man killed Comer, but Follmer thinks she’s snapped. She goes looking for Scully to back up her story.

Scully’s with Doggett, feeling guilty for putting his life in danger. She promises that Reyes is fighting for him. Doggett wakes up and says he heard someone talking. “They’re” going to come to her, but she can’t trust them. Reyes comes in just as Scully gets a call from the soldier offering her the chance to see William, if she comes alone and follows his instructions.

Scully goes to Alberta and meets the soldier in a diner. He tells her he wants to protect William. He quotes Ephesians, a verse about giants walking the earth, which he thinks relates to the angels he saw in Iraq. Those “angels” were really supersoldiers. The soldier offers to let Scully see William if she brings him confirmation that Mulder’s dead. The soldier thought he was, but now he has reason to doubt it. If Mulder’s alive, he’s preventing William’s true destiny. “If you want to see the boy,” the soldier tells Scully, “you’ll bring me the head of Fox Mulder.”

Scully calls Reyes, who’s with the Lone Gunmen, putting trackers in the soldier’s cars. The women follow the trackers, but the Gunmen lose the signals. Frohike pretends they’re still going the right way, though he doesn’t fool Reyes. At the dig site, the spaceship is moving again, and William is no longer calm and quiet, as he’s been the whole episode. The kidnapper tells the soldier that the ship started moving when William started crying.

The women are lost, but Scully spots the lights from the spaceship in the distance and runs toward them. The spaceship moves a lot, and the lights go out. Then the whole ship lights up and goes up into the sky. Scully and Reyes see it fly off and think William’s on board. The dig site has been destroyed, and the diggers are dead, but there’s one person who’s alive in the wreckage: William.

Reyes finds Doggett, now fully healed, in the hospital chapel, and he tells her he knows she prayed for him. He thinks she’s the person he heard talking while he was in the coma, telling him to warn Scully about the soldier. Reyes says she only prayed for his life.

At FBI headquarters, Follmer tells Kersh that Skinner wouldn’t sign his report about Comer’s death, since Skinner thinks Comer was murdered. Follmer signed the report, but Comer’s monitors showed that he was improving before he died. Follmer wants to take his name off the report. Kersh would like an explanation, but since Follmer’s just backpedaling, Kersh isn’t going to agree to anything. He goes into his office and tells Toothpick Man that the case isn’t quite closed, and has been designated an X-File. Toothpick and his bumpy neck are sure they can take care of that.

Thoughts: I’d love to know how the kidnapper got William from all three Lone Gunmen without hurting any of them.

Scully’s scriptural knowledge is apparently so deep that she can identify some random passage from Ephesians on the first try.

I love that Scully calls out William’s name when she goes into the wreckage, as if he’s going to call out, “I’m over here, Mom!”

January 26, 2019

The X-Files 9.9, Provenance: Oh, Cool, the Baby’s in Danger Again

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

And Scully doesn’t see his fingers? Yeah, right

Summary: In Burke County, North Dakota, at the U.S./Canadian border, two Border Patrol agents are freezing their butts off. They spot someone on a motorbike and give chase. It goes on for a long time. These three characters have now had more screentime than Kersh has all season. Eventually, the motorbike goes up in flames and its rider is thrown off. His bag comes open, spilling out a bunch of paper full of symbols.

Scully gets to take a break from Quantico when she’s called to Kersh’s office at the FBI building. Skinner, Follmer, and some other men are also there. One of them has a toothpick in his mouth and is only known by the highly creative name Toothpick Man. Kersh shows Scully the biker’s pages and asks if she knows what they are. Scully dodges the question, saying that if they’re connected to the X-Files, Kersh and Follmer should ask someone who currently works on the X-Files. Scully asks for more information, but they won’t provide it.

As soon as she’s dismissed, Scully goes to the X-Files office and asks Doggett and Reyes if Follmer’s been down there, going through files. They haven’t seen him and don’t have any idea what’s been going on. She shows them rubbings from the spaceship in Africa, full of the same symbols as the pages in the biker’s bag. She didn’t say anything to Kersh and Follmer because she knows the symbols are powerful words. If the FBI has them, they must know just how powerful the symbols are.

Doggett heads to North Dakota, meeting up with Follmer at the border. Now it’s Follmer’s turn to dodge questions and pretend nothing important is going on. Doggett’s smart enough to know that the number of FBI agents searching the site for the now-missing biker means he must be significant. Follmer insists that the biker’s disappearance has nothing to do with Doggett or the X-Files. If Doggett keeps snooping around, he’ll regret it. The biker has actually been hiding out in the woods all night, and when he pulls a piece of metal with symbols on it out of his pocket, his burns from the bike crash instantly heal.

Back in D.C., Reyes has put together all the rubbings of the spaceship and wants to know if Scully knows what they say. They’re full of religious scriptures and science stuff, like the period table. All of it appears to be millions of years old. Reyes thinks they’re dealing with the actual word of God, which means everything humans believe in is in question.

Scully says she refused to believe that at first, but now she thinks the symbols hold some answers, especially about William. She thinks she was meant to find the symbols. Reyes wonders why the FBI would keep the truth from Scully. Hi, Reyes, welcome to the show. More importantly, what does the FBI hope to learn from the symbols?

Doggett returns to D.C. to yell at Skinner for not answering calls from him or Follmer. Skinner repeats Follmer’s insistence that the case isn’t an X-File. Doggett reveals that he was in North Dakota and knows agents are searching for the biker. Why is Skinner keeping Kersh and Follmer’s secrets? Skinner says he knows things Doggett doesn’t, and he’s keeping quiet for Doggett’s own good.

As Doggett sneaks into Kersh’s office, where he’s keeping the pages, an archaeological dig in Alberta, Canada, unearths what appears to be another spaceship. Doggett gets information on the biker, Robert Comer, who happens to be an FBI agent. Reyes has even worked with him before. For the past few months, he’s been working a case so secret that the details are redacted from his file. Doggett also nabbed the pages so the two of them and Scully can get a better look at them.

In Jessup, Maryland, Comer steals a truck and plans a trip to Georgetown. Scully leaves William with her mother, who doesn’t like that she’s running around in the middle of the night, looking for answers about the baby. No matter what Scully learns, she needs to love William like any other child. Maggie sees him as a miracle and isn’t sure they should question the circumstances of his existence. They should just take it on faith. Scully can’t do that – she needs to know if God is really responsible for her son’s conception.

Doggett fills Scully in on Comer, who’s been researching a UFO cult in North Dakota. The FBI thinks he joined the cult himself, which explains all the secrecy. Scully tells Doggett and Reyes that something else has to be going on; she was questioned about the symbols, not Comer. Reyes thinks the FBI doesn’t know what’s really going on. She’s looked at the pages and rubbings and has realized they don’t match. The UFO cult must have found a second spaceship.

In the morning, Maggie takes William for a walk, then returns home to find Comer waiting for her. Scully gets home just as Comer is roughing Maggie up. Maggie warns that Comer wants to kill the baby, so Scully fights him in the nursery. Comer gets the upper hand, locking Scully out and ignoring her threats. Fortunately, Maggie has found a gun, and Scully is able to bust down the nursery door and shoot Comer before he can hurt William.

Doggett and Reyes rush over, and Scully gives orders. Reyes will look after Maggie and William while Scully and Doggett deal with an injured Comer. Doggett insists that they get Comer to a hospital, but Scully won’t let the FBI take over and prevent her from getting answers. Doggett ignores her and calls 911. Comer tells Scully that William has to die, but he passes out before he can tell her whose orders he’s following. As paramedics take Comer away, Scully examines his jacket and finds the piece of metal inside.

In Calgary, Alberta, a newspaper announces that a missing FBI agent was shot in D.C. A woman who reads the headline seems very concerned. She goes to the site of the archaeological dig and shows it to a man there, who says, “This changes everything.” They know Comer could expose everything. That means they only have one option.

In D.C., Scully and Doggett are both called to the principal’s office – sorry, I mean Kersh’s office. The same people are present from Scully’s first questioning. Kersh tells her there will be an investigation into Comer’s attempt to kill William, but that’s not good enough for Scully or Doggett. He wants answers. Kersh knows that they already know about Comer’s undercover assignment. Skinner reveals that he asked to keep that case out of the X-Files because he thought it might be too much for Scully.

Kersh and Follmer continue that Comer was sent to infiltrate the cult after a series of threats on Mulder’s life. Scully asks why they showed her the rubbings. Follmer says that before they lost contact with Comer in North Dakota, he sent a communication that Mulder was dead. Scully just looks at all the men and then leaves.

Reyes brings William home to Scully, who starts to tell her about Mulder. They hear a rattling sound from the next room and realize the metal piece is shaking around in the drawer Scully stashed it in. When she opens the drawer, the metal flies out and straight into the nursery, cutting through some of the bars of William’s crib. It stops above his head, slowly rotating, just like the mobile he seemingly moved with his mind.

Doggett comes over and Reyes tells him what happened. She thinks William has some sort of connection to the piece of metal. Whether or not Doggett believes that (uh, he doesn’t), the cult does, because they were willing to have William killed. As the three agents put William (aww, three agents and a baby) in the car to take him somewhere, Doggett spots the woman from Calgary watching them. He sends the women off and starts to approach the woman. She’s not in the mood to talk, so she runs him over with her car.

Scully and Reyes take William to the only people left Scully can trust: the Lone Gunmen. Ooh, now it’s three men and a baby! They promise that they’ll keep the baby safe and keep in touch with disposable cell phones that have scrambled signals. The women head back to Scully’s place, where they realize that Doggett has been injured. Scully decides William isn’t safe and rushes off, but it’s too late – the woman from Calgary has already found the Lone Gunmen and is ready to shoot them in order to get William. To be continued…

Thoughts: Toothpick Man is played by Alan Dale. Comer is played by Neal McDonough, who I’m always glad to see pop up in a show I’m watching.

Way to secure your super-important evidence, Kersh. Your desk is a great hiding place. No one would ever think to look there.

“A guy who tried to kill my son for no apparent reason says my boyfriend’s dead. He must be telling the truth.” Whatever, Scully.

December 8, 2018

The X-Files 9.2, Nothing Important Happened Today II: The Third Man

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:11 pm by Jenn

“True Detective” season 4?

Summary: A man goes through a bunch of scans to gain access to a secret lair. He’s supposed to deliver a message to a Dr. Nordlinger, but he wants to sidestep proper procedure to get confirmation that Nordlinger receives the message. Nordlinger himself emerges from a lab and takes the note, which tells him there’s an emergency and he needs to return to the operations base. Nordlinger tries to keep his cool as he assures the message deliver, whom he calls Captain, that he’s returning to base. But really, the captain is returning them to base, because he’s in charge of steering the ship they’re on.

Follmer is still looking for Doggett at the water plant, and Doggett’s still underwater, being pulled down by Shannon. Follmer leaves without noticing either of them. Once Doggett loses consciousness, Shannon kisses him. Or maybe she’s giving him mouth-to-mouth, but since he’s still underwater, that’s not going to do much good.

Follmer returns to his office and summons Reyes and Skinner so he can lecture them about their investigation. He tells them that Doggett is nowhere to be found. He’s giving them a chance to put a positive spin on the mess Doggett’s made. Reyes says that they were following up on a lead that they think will take them to a bigger conspiracy. The investigation is totally legitimate. Follmer warns that Reyes will lose her job if she keeps chasing shadows and conspiracies.

Reyes asks how he knows there isn’t one. Follmer says that she’s just engaging in a witch hunt, and taking on the whole FBI is a horrible idea. Unless she distances herself from Doggett, the only person who will be exposed is Reyes. Instead, Reyes announces that she’s distancing herself from Follmer and his political games. He tells her she’s making a big mistake. “I seem to make one every time I walk in your door,” she replies.

Doggett wakes up in his bed, coughing from all the water he breathed in. He’s shocked to see Shannon in his bedroom. She says she had to hold him underwater so no one would know what he was starting to figure out. She reveals that she’s a super-soldier from the program Knowle told him about. Shannon has no weaknesses, doesn’t need to sleep, and can breathe underwater. She saved Doggett’s life.

Doggett asks how Shannon knows what he and Knowle talked about. She says that she and Knowle are the Adam and Eve of the super-soldier program. That means Knowle is still alive, since super-soldiers can’t be killed. Shannon and Knowle are almost completely alike, except Shannon hates being a super-soldier. She wants Doggett’s help to stop the program from expanding. He needs to expose Wormus and the water-plant guy’s deaths so everyone will know what’s in the water supply.

The ship is now in Baltimore, and the captain is ready to leave, even though the crew is under orders to stay put. The captain says they can’t risk not making contact now. Skinner goes to Scully’s place to ask why he’s supposed to just let Mulder disappear and not follow up. Scully tells him that something happened with William that she can’t explain. Skinner says she’s made a big mistake by letting Doggett and Reyes pull her into their investigation. But Scully is desperate for answers. Skinner urges her to get in touch with Mulder and let him know what’s going on. She says it’s too dangerous to bring him back into the fold.

The captain tries to call Wormus, who, of course, doesn’t answer his phone. He returns to the ship, where his second-in-command has been replaced…by Knowle. Reyes and Doggett call Scully to tell her they may have some answers about William. When she goes to meet them at Doggett’s place, Shannon is there. She explains that an additive called chloramine is being put in the water. Scully says it’s just like chlorine, so there’s no danger there. Shannon says the molecular makeup has been altered, so yeah, it actually is dangerous.

She continues that the chloramine is being used to create mutated offspring that will grow up to be super-soldiers. Shannon’s the prototype, and considering how powerful she is, the generations coming after her must be even more awesome. She thinks William is a super-soldier. Scully doesn’t buy that Shannon is trustworthy, so Shannon shows her the standard mutation that all super-soldiers have, a bulge in their necks.

Knowle takes a peek at some of the ship’s logs, telling the captain he just wants to be prepared in case something happens to the captain. He asks what the ship’s mission is. The captain doesn’t know; he and his crew don’t ask questions. Suddenly an alarm goes off and everyone runs out to the deck. Divers jump into the water and pull out the body of the officer Knowle replaced.

While Scully gives Shannon an examination to confirm that she’s not human, Reyes tells Doggett that Shannon’s story doesn’t make sense. Why did she have to kill two people to contact Doggett? Doggett has now become the Mulder to Reyes’ Scully, believing the story. But Scully’s still a skeptic, as she’s unable to determine from Shannon’s examination that she’s anything other than human. The bulge in her neck is just a spinal deformity. Doggett thinks Shannon’s the key to the whole case.

Skinner calls Doggett to tell him that Kersh is suspending him. Doggett angrily goes to the office, yelling that Kersh is just making himself look more suspicious by doing this just as Doggett’s about to tie him to the conspiracy. Follmer joins them, backing up Kersh’s decision. Doggett’s like, “Cool, more conspirators! This is awesome!” Follmer tells him that with all this paranoia, he’s sounding a lot like Mulder. Doggett says he answers to Skinner, not Kersh or Follmer, so he’s not accepting his suspension.

Reyes looks up Shannon in the DOJ’s employee database, where she’s listed as a special investigator. The Lone Gunmen surprise her in her office to show her how they’ve hacked the EPA’s phone system. Someone’s been trying to call Wormus, even though his death has been on the front page of the newspaper. They intercept a call coming in right then, and get the message from the captain that they’re in port and one of his men is dead. The captain wants Wormus to call the FBI, just like they talked about, and expose the conspiracy. The Lone Gunmen aren’t the only ones listening, though – so is Knowle.

Reyes goes to Follmer and asks for Shannon’s case files. She wants to show Follmer that he’s on the wrong side of this fight. She thinks the DOJ is setting Doggett up. Follmer agrees with her that Doggett is generally a good person and thinks he’s doing the right thing. Reyes asks him to do the same.

She then finds Doggett and Scully to warn them that Shannon is lying. Both of the men she killed were whistleblowers who wanted to expose the program, just as Shannon claimed she wanted. Reyes thinks she killed them to silence them, and is using Doggett to lead her to a third man. She knows that the captain was in touch with Wormus and the water guy about the secret lab on his ship. Doggett notes that Shannon is the only sure part of this conspiracy, but Scully wants answers from the lab.

The captain takes a hostage in the lab, where some sort of fertility stuff is going on, and demands all the data Nordlinger has compiled. Meanwhile, Scully, Doggett, and Reyes arrive at the ship, having arranged to meet with the captain. Instead, they’re met by Knowle. Doggett tells the women to run while he pulls his gun on Knowle. Of course, super-soldiers can’t be stopped by bullets, so it’s a waste of ammo. There’s a fight, and Knowle easily wins. But just as he’s about to crush Doggett’s skull, Shannon arrives and decapitates Knowle.

She’s disappointed that Doggett didn’t trust her, but before that conversation can continue, a hand reaches through her body, pulls out her heart, and throws her in the water. Doggett catches up with Scully and Reyes, and they search the ship but don’t see anyone. The women find the captain, but he won’t be much help to them, considering his head is no longer attached to his body. Doggett comes across a bomb and realizes that the crew has arranged to destroy the ship.

He goes looking for the women, who have found the lab and realized that it’s being used to manipulate ova. There’s less than a minute left before the bomb detonates, but Scully wants to search the names of the test subjects and see if she’s one of them. Doggett tells her that they need to leave now if she ever wants to see William again. They’ll find another way to get answers. The three agents make it off the ship before it explodes, of course.

48 hours later, Doggett has completed a report about the investigation. It talks about a conspiracy in the government, mentioning the super-soldiers but not Kersh. Doggett was unable to find anything tying him to the investigation, though he’s sure Kersh is involved somehow. He just has one question: Why did Kersh secretly send him Wormus’ obituary? Kersh won’t confirm that he did it, but Doggett thinks he’s the only one with a reason. Does Kersh want him fired or killed?

Kersh asks if Doggett’s familiar with King George III, the king of England when America declared independence. In his diary, on July 4th, 1776, he wrote, “Nothing important happened today.” Kersh’s point is that even kings can miss the start of revolutions if they’re not paying attention. Doggett asks if this means Kersh was actually trying to help him.

Kersh wonders if Doggett would believe him if he said that he warned Mulder that he needed to disappear to keep himself safe. Would Doggett believe that Kersh was under the same threat from the same people? Doggett realizes that Scully believed the threat and made Mulder leave.

Doggett and Follmer end up on an elevator together, and Follmer says that Kersh has Doggett where he wants him. Follmer claims to be “a friend to the X-Files.” It’s somewhat comforting to have Doggett there. Reyes gets on the elevator as Follmer gets off, and Doggett tells him he knows where to reach the two of them. Somewhere underwater, Shannon opens her eyes…but it’s just a dream Scully’s having. She checks on William, who’s in his bassinet, under a mobile that again begins to move when she’s not looking.

Thoughts: Reyes keeps calling Scully “Dana.” It’s weird.

Imagine if a higher-up at your company said you were suspended, and you basically said, “I don’t have to listen to you; you’re not my real dad.” Now imagine that the higher-up was possibly part of a dangerous conspiracy that knew you were trying to expose it. What I’m saying is that Doggett has more guts than I thought.

Apparently Lucy Lawless was originally going to be a recurring character in the ninth season, but she had a high-risk pregnancy and had to bow out. It’s fine; they have plenty of characters.

December 1, 2018

The X-Files 9.1, Nothing Important Happened Today: Water, Water Everywhere, and Who Knows What the Government Put in It?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 1:07 pm by Jenn

When Xenas attack

Summary: A man at a Baltimore bar scoops some ice out of his drink with his hand and drops the cubes on the floor, then licks his fingers. Season 9 is starting on a classy note. He approaches a woman and starts talking about how the government added stuff to the water that makes him want to avoid ice. The woman invites him to go out and “get some air.”

The man drives her home in his convertible, and as they approach a drawbridge, she puts her hand on his leg. Instead of…doing the thing he thought she was going to do and starting season 9 on a REALLY classy note, she forces his foot down on the accelerator. They speed through the gates on the bridge and plunge into the water below. The man struggles to get out of his seatbelt, but the woman grabs his ankle to keep him underwater.

New credits! Do not like.

48 hours after the opening scenes, Scully’s tending to a very unhappy William while an unseen Mulder takes a shower. There’s a bunch of luggage in the living room. Doggett wakes up for work as Reyes gets a call from Brad Follmer, an FBI agent who was surprised to hear that she’s in D.C. She reluctantly agrees to stop by his office. Doggett grabs a quick breakfast, ignoring a news report about the death of the man from the bar, Carl Wormus, and employee at the Environmental Protection Agency.

Follmer is watching the same report in his office when Reyes arrives, trying to avoid talking to him by leaving him a note. As soon as they’re in his office, he kisses her. She reminds him that they’re at work, though he points out that when they worked together in New York, she never had a problem with that. Follmer is now the assistant director, and he wants to show Reyes some security tapes. One shows her arriving at the building to meet with Doggett. Since Doggett’s part of the internal investigation into Kersh’s activities, Reyes could be in some trouble.

Doggett and Kersh run into each other in an elevator and sneer at each other for a little while. Kersh figures that if Doggett can’t turn up anything negative about him, no one can. Doggett finds Reyes in the X-Files office and complains that he has a tough job in having to investigate Kersh. Reyes tells him the job might be harder than he thinks. One of the security tapes Follmer gave her, which should show the car chase Doggett and Skinner had with Knowle, shows…nothing. According to the evidence, there was no activity in the parking garage, and no witnesses will be able to argue otherwise.

Doggett goes to Mulder’s apartment, which is completely empty. Meanwhile, the woman who killed Wormus resurfaces (literally) in a water reclamation plant. A worker spots her walking around naked as he starts to make a call to a Naval ship. Doggett next goes to Scully’s, upset that she hasn’t answered his calls. He thought she had fled town liked Mulder clearly has. Scully confirms that he’s gone.

The plant worker follows the woman’s wet footprints, and when he finds her, it’s safe to say he’s probably going to suffer the same fate as Wormus. At the FBI building, Doggett and Reyes meet with Skinner; none of the three of them knows where Mulder went. Reyes tells Doggett that there’s yet another complication. Skinner tells Doggett that he needs to drop the Kersh investigation. Doggett guesses that Skinner is afraid of whoever’s behind this conspiracy. Alternately, he’s afraid of the real tape turning up and showing that Skinner killed Krycek.

Skinner says his real fear is that Doggett will push things too far and bring danger on Scully, Mulder, and William. Doggett interprets this as meaning that if he doesn’t drop the investigation, he’s on his own. Skinner doesn’t respond, so Doggett figures that’s his answer. But just as he’s leaving, Reyes tells him he’s not alone.

Reyes meets Follmer at a bar, where he asks why she’s risking her career to join Doggett’s investigation. She tells him there’s no investigation anymore. Follmer’s surprised that Doggett would give it up so quickly. Reyes says this means she has to go back to New Orleans. The X-Files division is getting dropped along with the investigation. This was Reyes’ dream assignment, and she was happy to be in D.C., so she’s disappointed. I think Follmer wants to give her a memorable goodbye present.

Doggett goes back to Scully’s apartment and asks for her help. She tells him she doesn’t know how to find Mulder (and if she did, she most likely wouldn’t tell Doggett). Doggett asks why Scully all of a sudden thinks she can’t trust him. She begs him to drop it, but Doggett wants to bring the people who tried to kill all of them to justice. He wants to know what she and Mulder are keeping from him. How long can she hide the truth?

Doggett continues that Knowle told him William was the result of a government experiment to create super-soldiers. Scully insists that the baby is totally fine, so there’s no need to go down that road. Doggett hopes she’s right, and doesn’t want to pretend things are fine when they’re not. Scully asks him to leave and never come back. He leaves, but we all know he’ll be back.

He goes home and calls a bunch of his old Marine buddies to ask them for info about Knowle. The last person on the list, Shannon McMahon, is the woman from the bar…and she’s now in the FBI building, passing Reyes as she gets off an elevator. At home, Scully and the baby both nap, the star mobile over William’s bassinet slowly turning in a circle.

In the X-Files office, Reyes breaks a pencil point and goes looking for a new one. There are a bunch stuck in the ceiling, of course. She hears a noise and goes to investigate, seeing the elevator doors as they close behind whoever dropped off an envelope with Wormus’ obituary inside. Scully wakes up to William crying and the mobile turning over his bassinet. Suddenly she’s not so sure about her insistence that the baby is normal.

She calls the X-Files office and tells Doggett that he should probably keep investigating after all. He tells her they never dropped the investigation, and now they have a body to examine. So Scully ends her maternity leave after less than a week and meets Doggett and Reyes at the morgue to discuss Wormus’ death. Skinner somehow gets word and calls Doggett to tell him that the FBI has turned against him, since he’s investigating Kersh. He needs to watch his back. Scully doesn’t see the point in autopsying Wormus’ body, but Doggett disagrees.

He summons the Lone Gunmen to his place; they’re blue because they’re poor and unemployed (I guess this was after their spin-off was canceled?). Langly is literally blue but won’t explain why. The guys hack Wormus’ files but don’t see anything strange, other than Wormus’ obsession with water. At the same time, Scully tells Reyes that water was exactly what killed Wormus – he drowned, that’s all. Reyes is impressed that Scully’s able to do her job in the midst of all the insanity in her life.

Reyes continues that she knows Scully’s afraid that something’s wrong with William. Scully says she can’t let her fears get the better of her, like Wormus’ fears got the better of him. Reyes offers to listen if Scully ever wants to talk. Just then, Scully notices fingerprints on Wormus’ ankle, making her and Reyes think someone may have held him underwater.

Follmer tells Kersh that Doggett has gotten hold of Wormus’ body and is clearly looking into something. He thinks Doggett should be punished for taking things too far. Kersh appreciates Follmer’s disclosure and gives him permission to…well, punish Doggett, I guess. But Follmer says there’s a conflict and can’t do it himself. Kersh doesn’t see why not, since Follmer doesn’t have any personal vendetta against Doggett.

Shannon goes to Scully’s apartment, where Maggie’s looking after William. Shannon lies that she’s one of Scully’s co-workers and would like to leave a note. Maggie would prefer if Shannon just left her name so Maggie can tell Scully to call her. Instead, Shannon just leaves. She goes to the morgue and follows Scully and Reyes as they’re leaving the morgue. Reyes remembers her from the elevator and gets suspicious but warns Scully not to show that they’ve seen Shannon.

The two are intercepted by Follmer, who has Polaroids he wants the women to look at. He takes them back to the morgue, but Wormus’ body isn’t there anymore. Follmer guesses that Doggett moved him somewhere. Reyes says he didn’t and asks Scully to back her up. Instead, Scully just says she needs to get home to William. Follmer tells Reyes that he’s on to her and Doggett, and if he goes down, he’ll take Reyes with him.

Reyes accuses Follmer of sending her Wormus’ obituary to set her and Doggett up. Follmer denies this, but Reyes says she’s on to him and doesn’t appreciate him being territorial. She goes to Doggett’s (Frohike likey), and the Lone Gunmen tell her that Wormus was getting encrypted data from a reclamation plant worker named Roland McFarland (wow, horrible name). The Gunmen don’t know what the data was, but they figure Roland’s probably dead now, too.

Doggett and Skinner, who’s suddenly joined the investigation, go to the plant to search Roland’s office. Doggett finds a bunch of files about something called chloramine. They take the files and run just moments before Follmer arrives with his own search team. We kill, like, an entire minute of the episode watching Skinner and Doggett run around the plant.

They get separated, and when Follmer spots Skinner, he thinks Skinner’s there chasing Doggett. They lose him, since he can hold his breath for a really long time and has decided to hide underwater, in the same tank Shannon came out of. Well, now all the files are wet! Great plan, Doggett! But that’s the least of his problems, since Shannon is also in the water, grabbing his ankle and ready to drown him like she drowned Wormus. To be continued…

Thoughts: Follmer is played by Cary Elwes. Shannon is played by Lucy Lawless.

Imagine going through your life with the last name Wormus.

Scully looks way too put-together for someone with a newborn, especially someone taking care of him alone. Her hairs looks better than mine!

November 24, 2018

The X-Files 8.21, Existence: It’s a Boy! And He Doesn’t Have a Tail or Anything!

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , at 12:56 pm by Jenn

Oh, my heart

Summary: At 4:05 a.m., Dr. James Langenhahn goes to work at the District Pathology Lab, ready to examine a mostly destroyed body. He’s supposed to “establish and confirm the real fact of death,” but considering his assistant has already described the body as looking like hamburger, he’s…yeah, he’s dead. (It’s a pretty solid guess that this is Billy Miles’ body.) Langenhahn finds something in the pile of meat that looks like a metal vertebra. He tells his assistant to include it in his report, then leaves. Once the room is empty, the metal vertebra starts spinning and growing.

Scully and Reyes are on the road to a safe place, and have made it as far as Georgia. Scully notes Reyes’ tension and realizes it’s because she’s concerned for Scully’s impending delivery. The place they’re headed won’t have much to offer in the way of medical care, and Reyes has no experience delivering a baby. Scully points out that she’s never had one before, so they’re in the same boat.

Back in D.C., Mulder shows Skinner and Doggett a surveillance photo from the morgue – Billy walked out looking completely fine. Krycek reminds the agents that he’s unstoppable, even after being reduced to hamburger by the garbage truck. Skinner wants more of an explanation, but Krycek can’t get more detailed than saying he’s a replicant. Doggett doesn’t think Billy will be able to find Scully or the baby, but Krycek thinks another replicant could.

As Doggett gets a visit from Knowle, Scully and Reyes arrive at their destination, Democrat Hot Springs. It’s Doggett’s birthplace, which Scully somehow finds comforting. Reyes picks out an abandoned building for them to take shelter in, a house with “water from the rock, Exodus 7:16” on its window. Ironically, there’s no running water inside. Reyes lights a cigarette – guess she didn’t quit after all – and sees a bright light in the sky.

Knowle tells Doggett that Billy may have come out of a Cold War program to create super-soldiers. Doggett says that while Billy did seem pretty super, he didn’t seem like a soldier. He was a rumored alien abductee. Knowle says he’s halfway to understanding what the agents are after.

Knowle confirms that Billy’s after Scully, who was also part of the program. Her abduction was part of a military operation. The chip was used to both monitor her and make her pregnant with “the first organic version of that same super-soldier.” Knowle wants Doggett’s help to catch Billy so he can be stopped. Doggett pretends not to know where Scully is, but Knowle is sure that someone involved knows – and that person is in danger.

Mulder leaves, getting impatient with the elevator and deciding to take the stairs. Seconds later, Billy arrives via elevator and ready to do some murdering. Krycek’s Spidey sense tells him something’s wrong, so he leaves Skinner’s office just seconds before Billy arrives. Skinner goes after him, but Krycek deliberately fails to hold the elevator for him. Skinner makes it through the doors just in time…but so does Billy’s hand. It smacks Skinner in the face, then stays put, unaffected, as the elevator starts going down.

Skinner ends up in the hospital with a concussion and Mulder by his side. Doggett comes by and tells Mulder that an old friend gave him some information about Billy and the super-soldier program. Mulder demands to know who Doggett’s source is, since he appears to be making stuff up. Doggett doesn’t think it matters – Knowle says Scully’s in danger, and he has the same goal as the agents, to stop Billy.

Mulder makes sure that Doggett didn’t tell Knowle where Scully is. Doggett’s starting to think that being the only one who knows is going to come back to harm him. Mulder doesn’t want to know, but Doggett’s afraid for Scully’s fate if something happens to him. Mulder decides that they should go on the only lead they have and talk to Knowle about any possible ways to stop Billy.

In Democrat Springs, Reyes has fixed up a little temporary home for her and Scully. She wishes they had whale songs to set the mood. She makes some whale sounds, reminding Scully of her sister. Reyes spots someone outside the house and goes out to investigate. Just as she’s decided there’s nothing there, a truck speeds up. The driver is a game warden who gets her to put her gun down and show some ID.

Once the two women have agreed they’re no harm to each other, Reyes brings the game warden (who never gets a name, but I’ll call her Martha, since that was her portrayer’s role on True Blood) into her and Scully’s house. Martha can’t believe that Scully plans to deliver the baby there. Reyes argues that Scully’s a doctor, but Martha doesn’t think that’s any match for the circumstances. Scully makes it clear that she’s so desperate, she doesn’t have a choice. Martha softens and offers up some supplies to help out.

Mulder and Doggett have no luck trying to get in touch with Knowle back in D.C. Doggett wonders how long Mulder can keep up with trying to fight threats. He’s given up almost a decade of his life to this. Mulder admits that it might never end. They see Krycek arriving in the parking garage of the FBI building, and realize that Knowle is in his car with him.

Reyes tells Scully that she looks beautiful even with everything she’s dealing with. This is not the time to hit on her, Monica! Scully asks if she’s feeling any vibes like she usually does. Reyes says that things feel a little off. She goes out to get more water from a pump and sees the light in the sky again. Her vibes have clearly abandoned her, because she doesn’t notice Billy until he’s right on top of her. She aims her gun at him, but it’s Martha who ends up shooting him.

The women think Billy’s dead and assure Scully that everything’s okay. Scully’s like, “You don’t really get how this all works, do you?” Martha says she’ll have to report the incident, but Scully tells her that’ll have to wait – she just had a contraction. That baby must be Mulder’s, because it already has horrible timing.

Mulder and Doggett split up, Mulder to keep an eye on Krycek and Doggett to follow Knowle as he goes somewhere inside the building. It turns out he’s there to see Crane and discuss how Doggett doesn’t expect anything but needs to be eliminated. Doggett leaves without being noticed and runs to Skinner’s office to make a phone call. Skinner himself is there, not letting a little concussion stop him from…whatever these guys are doing.

Doggett calls Mulder, who’s still in the car, and tells him that Knowle came to talk to Crane. Mulder thinks Krycek, Knowle, and Crane are all working together. They tricked the agents into chasing Billy and thinking they could protect Scully. Since Doggett called Reyes from a phone in the building, the three conspirators probably know where she is.

Mulder tells Doggett to tell him where Scully is. Doggett hesitates, thinking they can take out the conspirators and put an end to the threat. Mulder thinks they might be replicants, which leaves the agents at a big disadvantage. Doggett finally tells Mulder that Scully’s in Democrat Hot Springs. But before Mulder can get on the road, Krycek punches through his car window (always so dramatic) and forces him out of the car.

Krycek holds a gun on his old enemy and says it doesn’t seem fair that it comes down to this. He claims that he’s the one who kept Mulder alive for years. They wanted the same thing. Mulder disagrees – he wanted to stop the conspiracy, while Krycek wanted to save himself. Krycek admits that he tried to kill Scully’s baby to stop the replicants, but it’s too late. Mulder wouldn’t let it go, so Krycek has to finish him off. He can’t know how deep this goes.

Mulder would rather have Krycek kill him than insult him by trying to make him understand the conspiracy. Krycek starts to pull the trigger, but he’s shot first, but Skinner. Looks like Krycek isn’t a replicant or super-soldier, since two bullets pretty much incapacitate him. He warns that it’ll take a lot more than bullets to take down the replicants. But if Skinner fires just one more, Krycek will give him what he needs to save thousands. All Skinner has to do is shoot Mulder. Instead, he shoots Krycek, probably killing him (but on this show, who knows?).

Skinner stays behind while Mulder heads to the airport to fly to Georgia. He’ll have to hurry if he wants to see the birth of the baby, since Scully’s contractions are already two minutes apart. Reyes has a vision, I think (it’s hard to tell), of the baby. Back in D.C., Doggett comes face to face with Knowle and Crane, who ignore him when he threatens to shoot him. They chase him as he finds Skinner and runs off with him.

I guess Reyes’ vision made her think she can’t trust Martha, so she breaks something over her head and holds a gun on her. Martha declares that the baby will be born as a bunch of cars pull up to the house. Billy gathers himself from the dirt outside, back to normal again.

Doggett and Skinner jump in a car and use it to run over Crane. It doesn’t do much good, as he jumps on top of it and swings himself around to punch through the window. As Billy and his replicant friends enter the house in Georgia, Reyes tries to convince Scully that everything’s going to be okay. Scully begs her not to let the replicants take the baby.

We go back and forth between Scully’s delivery and a car chase between Knowle, Skinner, and Doggett. Skinner finally gets rid of Crane by driving his side of the car into a cement column. Knowle ends up crashing, but if he’s a super-soldier, that’s not going to stop him for long. As the replicants stare at the two women, Reyes delivers Scully’s baby.

Mulder also likes to make a memorable entrance, so he gets a helicopter to take him to the house. The replicants are leaving, and he fears that one of them has Scully stashed in a car. Reyes assures him that she’s still safe, though she needs to go to the hospital. I hope Mulder asked the helicopter pilot to wait.

Sometime later, Doggett and Reyes turn in a report about the replicants and Scully’s delivery, but Kersh isn’t happy with it. He doesn’t get why Reyes thinks she was on this case, as if that’s his biggest issue here. But Doggett thinks he had the authority to bring Reyes on board since the office is now under investigation – he knows that Kersh was part of Knowle and Crane’s late-night meeting. Since Knowle and Crane are now missing, Kersh is the only person who can provide answers. Kersh booms that Doggett investigates what Kersh tells him. Doggett says he’s just doing his job, investigating X-Files.

Mulder lets himself into Scully’s apartment (looks like he has his own set of keys) just as the Lone Gunmen are leaving after dropping off some gifts. They’re the Three Wise Men here, you see. They don’t get how Mulder found Scully, since Doggett was never able to give him her exact location. “There was a light. I followed it,” Mulder explains. So the baby is Jesus, I guess.

Mulder happily checks in on Scully and the baby…who looks totally normal and human. Scully has finally picked a name for her son – William, after Mulder’s father (also her father, but she doesn’t mention that). Mulder jokes that the baby looks like Skinner. Scully doesn’t understand why the replicants left the baby alone. Mulder says he must not have been what they were looking for. But he still thinks the baby is a miracle.

Scully says she feared the truth the second she found out she was pregnant. She still doesn’t know how she got pregnant. Mulder says they both feared the possibilities and the truth. But now they know it. Scully asks what the truth is, but instead of answering, Mulder kisses her. And she kisses back! They’re totally making out! They stand there with the baby – their baby – for their last happy moment together until the end of next season.

Thoughts: Martha is played by Dale Dickey, who was in some True Blood episodes with Robert Patrick.

Whose pretty face will I miss more, Mulder’s or Krycek’s? I can’t decide.

I have very little use for Skinner, but he looks really menacing and awesome when he shows up to save Mulder from Krycek. It would have been more satisfying if Mulder had killed Krycek, though, since Krycek killed his father.

Time for season 9! Say goodbye to Duchovny for a few weeks!

October 20, 2018

The X-Files 8.16, Three Words: A Conspiracy? On This Show? Are You Sure?

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

When Mulder’s playing computer games, it’s impossible to get him to go do something else

Summary: There’s a small crowd of tourists outside the White House at 6:44 p.m. A man climbs the fence and takes off running across the lawn. Of course, Secret Service agents stop him and get him on the ground as he says he needs to tell the president something about aliens. The man insists that aliens are taking over the U.S. One of the agents says that the man has a weapon, so Salt gets shot. Before he dies, he hands one of the agents a CD labeled “fight the future.”

Mulder is still in the hospital, having flashes of memory of the experiments the aliens did on him. Scully and a doctor arrive with the news that he’s completely cured of the alien virus. His scars are even repairing themselves. Mulder says he feels like Austin Powers, though he doesn’t elaborate on that.

Scully takes him home, because apparently someone kept paying his rent even after he was thought to be dead. Scully tells him how much she’s been through: learning that he was taken, finding him “dead,” and now getting him back. Her prayers have been answered. Mulder notes that she also got her prayers about getting pregnant answered. He’s happy for her but isn’t sure where he fits in. He’s still processing everything that happened.

In Perkey, West Virginia, a prisoner gives Absalom a book called The Coming Apocalypse. Inside is a news article about the man on the White House lawn. His name was Howard Salt, and he was working on the U.S. census. Kersh is watching a news report about Salt when Doggett and Skinner come to his office. He says they never expected Salt to behave like he did, but then again, people aren’t always what they seem.

Kersh tells Skinner and Doggett that Scully submitted an application on Mulder’s behalf, wanting him to be reinstated to the X-Files. He may be having trouble processing things, but he wants to get back to work. Kersh doesn’t have that same desire. Doggett and Scully have been more successful in solving cases over the past few months than Mulder and Scully were in seven years. Skinner defends Mulder, but Kersh isn’t about to give him any credit for taking on “personal crusades.”

He wants Skinner and Doggett to back him in his decision to keep Mulder off the X-Files. Doggett reminds Kersh that he did his job, which was finding Mulder. Kersh can’t now ask Doggett to take him off of his pet project. Kersh threatens to close the X-Files, but Doggett doesn’t like that idea either. Skinner ends the meeting before Doggett can fight any more.

Skinner goes to Mulder’s to give him the news, though Mulder doesn’t think the decision to keep him off of the X-Files is really Kersh’s. Skinner says he wants to punish Mulder, though in the process, he’s also punishing Scully and Skinner. Scully asks if they’re going to just sit back and let the FBI get what they want. Mulder reminds her that she’s having a baby in a few months, which means she’ll be a little too busy to fight the FBI.

Skinner wants to keep the X-Files open with Doggett in charge. This is the first Mulder has heard Doggett’s name or known that Scully was working with a partner other than himself. He wonders if Doggett is involved in this push to get Mulder out of the X-Files. Scully says Doggett’s a good guy. Mulder decides he really is ready to go back to work.

Some inmates from Absalom’s prison work on a road crew in West Virginia, and for some reason, someone thought it was a good idea to give them shovels. Absalom finds a piece of wood with a nail in it and slips it up his sleeve. On the way back to their prison vans, Absalom overpowers a guard and runs off. The prisoners cheer him on as he manages to outrun a prison van (sure) and lose it by running past a passing train (sure, sure).

Absalom surprises Doggett in his home, I guess having stopped somewhere along the way to look up his address (sure, sure, sure). He has a gun (we’ll just pretend it’s Doggett’s), and subdues Doggett so he can check him for alien implants and make sure he’s still human. Once he has, he shows Doggett an article about Salt and says he was killed for what he knew. Absalom thinks he’ll be killed, too. He only has one chance to save himself.

Absalom wants to take a road trip with Doggett and spread the word that the alien invasion has begun. Some people have been taken away to serve gods unknown to humans. Absalom’s preachings are parables and secrets that have been kept from the world. Doggett’s phone rings, but Absalom won’t let him answer.

Scully’s calling Doggett from a task-force meeting run by Skinner to educate some agents about Absalom. He wrote “fight the future” on the wall of his cell before he escaped the road crew. Though no one’s ever been able to prove that Absalom healed returned abductees, there’s evidence that they were tortured. They need to find Absalom and bring him in so the FBI can get some answers. Skinner doesn’t want to be in charge of this case, since it’s clearly and X-File, but Scully will have to find Doggett before Skinner can hand off the responsibility. (I don’t know why Scully can’t run the investigation while Skinner looks for Doggett, but whatever.)

They both get delayed when Mulder shows up in his office, ready to work. He recognizes Salt from a picture of Absalom’s returned-abductee friends, and he agrees with Absalom that Salt was killed because he knew something. Scully says that Mulder makes this sound like there’s a conspiracy. Scully…what show do you think you’re on? Mulder notes the coincidence of the FBI trying to shut down the X-Files just as there are questions that need to be answered.

Back at Casa Doggett, Absalom is taping a weapon to Doggett’s back so they can put some sort of plan into action. He declares that they’re going to become “overnight sensations.” Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully go to the FBI’s evidence room to look through Salt’s personal effects. Scully’s concerned that Mulder’s willing to take such a big risk – this could get him fired – on the off chance that he’ll find something. Scully, again…what show do you think you’re on? She doesn’t get how Mulder thinks Absalom and Salt can have any answers when there’s no way they’re credible. Mulder’s like, “Hi, have you heard of the X-Files?”

As he starts up Salt’s laptop, Scully tries again to convince him that he’s risking too much – the X-Files and his own freedom. Mulder figures prison would be better than a spaceship where he has to undergo horrible experiments. Scully starts to ditch him, but she comes back when Mulder finds a huge, encrypted file on the computer. She decides to join in the fun and take the hard drive with Mulder.

Doggett and Absalom go to the Federal Statistics Center in Crystal City, Virginia, and it becomes clear that Absalom kidnapped Doggett because he needed an FBI agent to help him get into the building. Security scans show the gun taped to Doggett’s back, but not until the men are already inside the building. Absalom wants to get to some data before he has Doggett call the FBI and tell them what they’re up to. He thinks the proof of the alien invasion is in the census data.

Security guards swarm the men, and even though Absalom warns that he has a weapon, one of the guards shoots him. R.I.P., Absalom, assuming he can be killed. Doggett ends up in Skinner’s office, where he meets Mulder for the first time. Mulder doesn’t give him a warm welcome, since he thinks Doggett is part of the conspiracy to bury the truth. He thinks Doggett got Absalom killed.

Mulder goes to see the Lone Gunmen, who are happy to see him. They’d like to know about his involvement in Scully’s pregnancy, but she doesn’t want to talk about that. She’d much rather discuss the data on Salt’s computer, which he downloaded the day he died. It’s data from the Census Bureau, of course, but firewalls went up on everything at the facility 15 minutes after Salt was shot. Mulder sees this as confirmation that he’s right about the data being important to this conspiracy.

Unfortunately, the encryption is too complicated even for Langly, so they’ll need a password to get to it. That is, unless Mulder’s willing to break into the Federal Statistics Center. He guesses that Scully told the Gunmen to back her up in convincing Mulder not to keep taking risks to pursue the conspiracy. Of course, that’s not going to work.

Doggett has a clandestine meeting with Knowle so he can ask who’s responsible for the conspiracy. Knowle doesn’t care how long he and Doggett have been friends – he’s not getting involved. Doggett says he’s been accused of taking part in the conspiracy. He thinks he’s being used and doesn’t know it. Knowle still won’t help, other than to tell Doggett that there are three words that are key to this investigation.

Doggett next goes to Mulder’s building and intercepts Scully as she’s arriving. He knows he won’t be able to talk to Mulder, so he relays a message for Scully to pass along. He knows about the CD Salt had on him, and he knows the password needed to decrypt Salt’s data. It’s three words: fight the future.

Scully goes up to see Mulder, though she’s hesitant to give him Doggett’s information. She eventually does, and Skinner goes to Doggett’s to tell him what was in the data. It’s the names of people who have a certain genetic profile. Scully’s worried that Mulder’s going to use this information to do something dangerous. Doggett admits that he gave Scully the password, but he won’t tell Skinner how he got it. Skinner wonders whose side Doggett is on. Doggett says he’s starting to wonder the same thing.

Skinner can’t reach Scully, which is weird because…didn’t she just call him to tell him about the data? Doggett heads off, not wanting to give Skinner any information about his plans. He says Skinner will just have to trust him. Doggett returns to the Federal Statistics Center, running into Scully and telling her she needs to leave. He’s afraid he may have accidentally set her up to be the conspiracy’s next victim.

Mulder’s inside with with Lone Gunmen for an Ocean’s 11-esque job, complete with cutting security feeds, opening locked doors, and dangling on cables. Mulder sneaks around the building, looking for a data bank, while Doggett sneaks around looking for him. Mulder finds the data bank and starts emailing files, ignoring Doggett when he finds him and warns him to get out. Doggett shoots through a glass door to get access to the room Mulder’s in, but Mulder still thinks Doggett is part of the conspiracy and again refuses to listen to him.

Mulder states his theory: People with a certain genetic profile are targets for abduction and replacement with alien facsimiles. He’s sending the info out to the press, starting with The Washington Post. He invites Doggett to shoot him if he really wants to stop Mulder. Outside, Scully calls Byers to warn that people are coming and the guys need to get Mulder out of there. Mulder thinks Doggett set him up, but Doggett points out that he wouldn’t be trying to get Mulder to leave if that were the case.

Langly tells Mulder that the data is trapped, so he can’t upload it or transmit it. Men are now swarming the building, and the agents are trapped. The Lone Gunmen come up with a plan and send the men into the ceiling so they can escape the building without being seen.

The next day (I guess), Doggett meets with Knowle again, allowing him two minutes to explain himself before Doggett exposes him as a liar. Skinner is nearby, ready to get Knowle blacklisted. Knowle says he told Doggett what he could; he’s not responsible for what Doggett did next. If Doggett exposes him, he won’t have a source anymore. He’s just on the tip of an iceberg.

Doggett doesn’t appreciate being used to get Mulder killed, but Knowle says that wasn’t the point. The truth is right in front of him, in the X-Files. Knowle is trying to point him in the right direction. Doggett leaves, dissatisfied by unable to do anything else. Knowle watches, pleased, with the kind of bulge in his neck that Absalom would be interested in knowing about.

Thoughts: So I guess Mulder and Scully aren’t discussing her pregnancy, the details of the conception, how he might be the baby’s father, etc.? What an elephant to always have in the room.

I’m surprised Kersh didn’t have Mulder barred from the building. Or can anyone with a badge just waltz in, whether or not they’re still employed there?

Salt wrote his password right on the CD? Wow. Dumb.

I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating: Mulder in a leather jacket gets a 10/10 from me.

September 15, 2018

The X-Files 8.11, The Gift: Surprise! The Gift Is a Bunch of Goo!

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:17 pm by Jenn

If you ask me, this is the real gift

Summary: Someone is driving through the rain at night in Squamash Township, Pennsylvania. Drive, someone, drive! The driver approaches a house, carrying a gun, and passes through a door with a cross-like symbol on it. The people inside the house aren’t happy to see this person. The driver shoots a creature in the house, then gets back in the car. We finally see who it is: Mulder. Yay, he’s back!

Now Doggett’s driving his car somewhere. Drive, Doggett, drive! He has a flashback to Scully talking to Skinner about how Mulder was dying but didn’t tell anyone. Then he has a flashback to asking Scully how far she thinks Mulder would go to get the truth. He promises to find Mulder, no matter what that entails.

It looks like it entails Doggett going to Squamash Township to meet up with Sheriff Kurt Frey. Kurt confirms that Mulder visited last spring to look into the disappearance of a woman named Marie Hangemuhl. Kurt says Marie wasn’t really missing, and Mulder wasn’t really investigating. Marie was in her house the whole time; her sister just got worried and called the authorities.

Kurt doesn’t know why the FBI is involved in a crime that’s not a crime. Why send two agents at two separate times, let alone one? Doggett asks if Mulder had a personal connection to the case, since cell phone records show that he came back a week before he disappeared. This is news to Kurt. The two go to the house Mulder visited in the first scene, which we now know belongs to Paul and Marie Hangemuhl. Paul is annoyed that he has to rehash things; it’s a personal matter, nothing for the FBI to worry about.

Flashback! Mulder questions the Hangemuhls, who insist that Marie’s sister is worried over nothing. However, Marie had told her sister that she was leaving town because she was afraid of something. Mulder thinks the two are covering up their knowledge of something or someone coming to the house. Paul angrily says that they had a fight, but everything’s fine now.

In the present, Doggett goes over Mulder’s visit with the couple. They lie that he never came back (and he definitely didn’t shoot anyone in their house, no, siree!). Doggett notices a dialysis machine, and Paul says that Marie has end-stage kidney failure. Doggett tries to ask about the visitor Mulder thought was coming to the house, but Paul counters by asking if Mulder had mental issues. There’s a local folk legend about a creature in the woods, and Mulder thought it was real. He thought the creature was coming to eat Marie alive.

As they leave, Doggett asks Kurt if the couple owns a gun. He saw three holes in the wall that had been plastered over. Kurt is willing to go back in and ask, but Doggett declines. He goes back to Virginia and searches Mulder’s apartment, taking a moment to feed the fish. He finds Mulder’s gun hidden under the sink. In Pennsylvania, Kurt oversees some digging of an area marked with stones in the shape of the symbol that was on the Hangemuhls’ door. Paul has heard rumors about something and has come by to get confirmation from Kurt.

Doggett takes Mulder’s gun to the FBI’s firearms-toolmarks unit and tells Skinner it was missing three rounds – possibly the three bullets that left holes in the Hangemuhls’ wall. But Mulder never filed a report about discharging the three rounds, or even about his visit to the house. The reports he filed during that time period state that he was in D.C. Skinner defensively asks if Doggett’s calling Mulder a liar. Yeah, I think so, Skinner.

Doggett has found blood on the gun, which is enough to prove that Mulder shot someone. Skinner angrily insists that Mulder didn’t kill someone and run away – he was abducted. He thinks this is about Doggett anyway. He wants to give the FBI an explanation for Mulder’s disappearance so Doggett can get transferred off the X-Files. Doggett says he just wants the truth. Skinner tells him to ask Scully, but Doggett says he can’t. She co-signed Mulder’s false reports, so whatever’s going on, she’s in on it. Skinner doesn’t want Scully’s job to be at risk, but Doggett has another idea.

In Pennsylvania, Kurt, Paul, and some others descend on a cabin and yell for someone to bring out…something. A woman emerges and says the something is dead. (The woman doesn’t get a name, but I’ll call her Sheila, since she’s played by the actress who played David’s mother on Beverly Hills, 90210.) Something human-ish runs into the woods, and the people chase him, letting their hunting dogs lead the way. They capture him in a net and drag it back to their trucks as Sheila begs them to leave him alone.

Doggett and Skinner return to Pennsylvania and go to the sheriff’s station looking for Kurt. He pretends he’s just coming back from a hunting trip. The agents ask about a death certificate he filed for an unidentified transient found in the woods. Doggett asks why no case report was filed. The body was dumped outside a cabin the morning after Mulder came back to Pennsylvania. Since it’s logical to assume that Mulder killed the man, Doggett and Skinner would like to examine the body.

Kurt directs the agents to the grave, where the agents discuss whether Mulder would kill someone, and why the people in town would cover it up. But they’re not going to get any answers from the body, since it’s missing from its grave – which was, of course, the spot marked by the stones. Doggett guesses that Kurt is the graverobber. But there’s also another route out of the grave, which means, as unlikely as it sounds, the unidentified man may have crawled out of his own coffin after being shot three times and buried. Skinner’s also interested in why someone left the stones on top of the grave.

Paul is painting the symbol on his door, possibly in blood, when Kurt comes by to tell him that they need to move quickly. Paul says Marie isn’t ready, but Kurt doesn’t care. Marie doesn’t think she can do this, but Paul says they don’t have any other options. Someone else arrives at the house, hauling the creature in his truck. Marie strips naked and kisses Paul, who promises he’ll be waiting for her when this is over. Kurt lets the creature out of the truck and into the house, where it starts feeding on Marie.

Sometime later, Doggett and Skinner come by and demand that Paul tell them why Mulder came back to town when he did. They ask to see Marie, who’s not downstairs with her husband. Skinner sees some blood on the floor, and Doggett says Paul missed a spot when he was cleaning up. In some cave somewhere, the creature is doing gross things to Marie that involve gross noises.

Doggett imagines Mulder’s visit to the Hangemuhls and his murder of the creature. Paul has told the agents that Marie coughed up the blood on the floor. Since Mulder’s not the type to just randomly kill someone, Doggett thinks he shot the transient to protect Marie. Skinner uses a piece of police technology to show Doggett the remains of the symbol Paul drew on the door in blood.

The agents place an early-’00s video Internet call to the Lone Gunmen. It’s late, so the Gunmen were asleep, and Langly isn’t wearing pants. The guys identify the symbol as a medicine wheel, which is associated with Native American shaman. The circle is the continuum between life and death, and the cross is paths of sorrow and happiness. The Lakota teach that these elements are all one. Only enlightened people can see that.

The Gunmen know of a legend of a soul-eater that eats sick people to consume their illnesses. The townspeople could have placed the symbol on the creature’s grave as a sign of respect, or put it on the door as a summons. Since Marie has a kidney disease, Doggett thinks this all makes sense. He’s now pretty sure there was no transient buried in that grave.

He goes to Sheila’s cabin and asks her about the body she supposedly found in the woods. He thinks she believes the same thing Mulder did, that the creature was a soul-eater, and she put the stones on his grave out of respect. Doggett thinks Mulder wanted to protect Marie, and he needs Sheila’s help to figure everything out. She tells him he has things backwards. Doggett hears a noise further in the cabin and goes to check it out. He finds a hidden door in the floor, leading to an underground cave.

Doggett stupidly goes into the cave alone and finds Marie covered in goo. He carries her out as Sheila looks on. Later, Marie reunites with Paul at the hospital, looking happy and healthy. In fact, her kidneys have completely healed. Skinner tells Doggett that Kurt wants to take his statement, but Doggett knows that Kurt and Paul have been in on the whole thing. He’s changed his theory: Marie wasn’t the person Mulder was trying to protect from the soul-eater.

Doggett returns to the cabin, where Sheila tells him that the soul-eater has a gift. People hate him because they need him. Sheila is just the latest in a long line of people who have taken care of him. Doggett presents his theory that Mulder came to Pennsylvania to save himself, not Marie. In flashback, we see Mulder undergoing the same process Marie did. Doggett says that he had an undiagnosed brain disease, and he was desperate for a cure. Sheila says they all are.

She hated how the soul-eater suffered, but she couldn’t bring herself to kill him. So Mulder came back to do it, wanting to take away the soul-eater’s pain. In flashback, we see Mulder firing the three shots; the soul-eater doesn’t try to run or fight him. Sheila kept the soul-eater with her instead of burying him, and now that the townspeople know he’s back, she knows they’ll come to him for more healing. He’ll keep suffering.

Doggett puts the soul-eater in his car and is about to leave when Kurt arrives with some of his posse. Kurt says the soul-eater belongs to them. Doggett argues that the soul-eater is a person and doesn’t belong to anyone. Neither man will back down, but Doggett thinks he can get away with just walking to the car and driving off. He’s wrong, and Kurt shoots him in the back. Before Kurt can get to the car, the soul-eater somehow disappears. Kurt knows he’ll come back, since he always does.

The men bury Doggett in the woods and leave, I guess not thinking Sheila will tell anyone what happened. Of course, since Doggett still has a season and a half left on the show, it’s no surprise when he wakes up in the cave covered in goo. Sheila is nearby with the soul-eater, who’s now dead. For years, the soul-eater took people’s sickness and became sick himself. Now that he’s taken someone’s death, he’s dead. Doggett freed him.

In D.C., Doggett tries to write a case report, but this is obviously a difficult one to explain. He tells Skinner that, after all this, he’s still no closer to finding Mulder. But Skinner thinks that Doggett now understands Mulder and his motives better. He thinks Doggett should skip this report; it’ll open a can of worms for Scully and harm both their reputations. In this instance, it’s better if Doggett and Skinner keep the truth to themselves. As Skinner leaves, Doggett studies a picture of the symbol, then looks up and briefly sees Mulder in the office with him.

Thoughts: Me, typing “Hangemuhls” over and over: “You’re killing me, writers.”

Who’s been paying rent on Mulder’s apartment? Rent in this area is pretty steep. What a waste of money.

Only one Scully scene? RIP-OFF.

August 18, 2018

The X-Files 8.7, Via Negativa: Third Eye Blindings

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

A trend that just never caught on

Summary: An FBI agent named Jim falls asleep during a stakeout, which his partner, Stedman, doesn’t appreciate. The front door of the house he was supposed to be watching is open, so the two go up to make sure everything’s okay. It’s not: There are bloody footprints leading inside, and everyone seems to have left. Also, there’s a painting of an eye on the ceiling, but I don’t think the agents are worried about that. Or at least not as worried as they are about all the dead people they find. The two agents split up to check out the rest of the house, and Jim hears gunshots. Before he can react, someone attacks him with an axe.

In Falls Church, Virginia (my hometown!), Doggett wakes up in the middle of the night when Scully calls. (No “it’s me,” because Doggett is not and will never be Mulder.) Skinner has informed her that an agent who was surveilling a religious cult in Pittsburgh has died, along with all the cult members. Scully can’t go with Doggett to investigate, but she doesn’t tell him that it’s for some medical reason.

Doggett goes to Pittsburgh alone and meets up with Skinner. Skinner explains that Jim and Stedman were surveilling the cult’s house because they thought the members were trafficking drugs. Jim was found in his car, which was locked from the inside. Doggett quickly determines that he couldn’t have been killed in the car, despite what blood-spatter patterns indicate – there’s no room for someone to swing a weapon at him.

Skinner takes him inside, where 20 cult members lie dead, having been killed the same way as Jim. All were struck in the forehead and killed with a single blow. The leader, Anthony Tipet, isn’t there. Skinner thought he was just a religious nut, not someone obsessed with the apocalypse. But now it looks like they’re dealing with another Jonestown or Heaven’s Gate situation.

Doggett thinks at least one person would have fought back, which is why Skinner believes they may have been drugged. Doggett suggests that he test Jim, too. Stedman is MIA, but Doggett, who’s familiar with the agent, knows he has a condo in Pittsburgh and might have just gone there. Doggett and Skinner go over and find Stedman dead in his bed.

The agents go back to D.C. and watch a tape of Tipet speaking to his members about how their bodies hold light and dark. If they’re brave enough to look into the darkness, they’ll see God. Skinner tells Doggett and Kersh that Tipet served 12 years in prison for murdering his wife, then became a minister. He tells his followers that they can ascend the via negativa, the path of darkness, to get closer to God. Then their spirits can “travel unhindered.”

Tipet is a big fan of a drug called Iboga, which Skinner thought might be the reason his followers didn’t fight their deaths. But there’s no trace of the drug in their systems. Doggett doesn’t know why Tipet would have killed all his followers anyway; he was paranoid, but his behavior didn’t indicate that he thought everyone should die. Whoever did commit the murders has left no evidence behind, including fingerprints. The house, Jim’s car, and Stedman’s condo were all locked from the inside.

Skinner says that it’s possible Tipet took Iboga, accomplished what he always preached about the via negativa, and was able to kill everyone only through the power of his consciousness. Basically, he’s a psychic killer, qu’est-ce que c’est. Kersh is the Scully to Skinner’s Mulder here, and asks Doggett if this is Scully’s theory. Doggett covers for his absent partner, saying she hasn’t reached a conclusion yet. Kersh asks what Doggett’s going to do about this mystery.

As Doggett and Skinner leave the meeting, Doggett slams Skinner for not running his theory by him first. Skinner says Doggett’s supposed to be helping unravel everything. Doggett’s solution is pretty simple: Find Tipet. The man in question is still in Pittsburgh, being mean to a homeless guy before calling a medical lab from a payphone to be mean to someone working there named Andre. “You did this,” Tipet spits out. He hopes God can help Andre, because Tipet can’t. Instead of asking God for help, Andre takes a razor blade to his own forehead.

Skinner brings Doggett a report stating that all the victims in Pittsburgh were killed by a single blow from an axe. Doggett thinks he’s found it – it’s a ceremonial axe mentioned in some literature Tipet makes his followers read. It’s used to kill nonbelievers. It’s also in Calcutta. Doggett thinks Scully should be running the investigation, but Skinner says she’s taking some personal leave. Annoyed, Doggett starts to call her, but Skinner sternly tells him to leave her alone.

The homeless man Tipet was mean to encounters Tipet again, then somehow gets stuck in quicksand right on the sidewalk in Pittsburgh. Suddenly Tipet has an axe, which he swings at the man. In D.C., Doggett is up late reading up on Tipet when Skinner brings over news of the homeless man’s death. He thinks his theory about how Tipet commits murders is correct. Doggett wonders why a man who claims to be looking for God is killing people. Just because he’s working in the X-Files division doesn’t mean he’s going to think like Mulder and Scully.

Skinner has more evidence, though: Records from a nearby payphone show that a call was recently placed to Andre Bormanis, a prison buddy of Tipet’s who now lives in D.C. The agents go to Andre’s home, which is where he runs his lab, doing some sort of experiments on rats. He swears he doesn’t do anything illegal; he just makes hallucinogens for Tipet so he can open his consciousness. Skinner sees cuts on Andre’s forehead and asks if they’re related to Tipet’s beliefs. Andre says they’re for protection.

He claims that only Tipet takes the drugs because he thinks he’s the only person with a mind strong enough to handle them. Doggett asks if Andre and the cult members admire or fear Tipet. He wants to take Andre in for questioning, and has to keep him from taking something from a petri dish as they’re leaving. Andre begs not to be left alone in lockup, but Doggett ignores him.

Down the hall, Doggett sees bloody footprints on the floor that lead him to Tipet. He’s hovering in midair, and there’s an eye in the middle of his forehead. Doggett looks down and sees that he’s holding Scully’s severed head. Fortunately, this is all a dream. When he wakes up, Scully calls and thanks him for not telling Kersh that she’s sitting this case out. She’s asked Skinner to talk to some of Mulder’s friends for help with the case. She encourages Doggett to trust his instincts.

Tests show that Andre was cooking up some kind of amphetamine no one’s ever seen before. Doggett thinks Andre made it for himself, not Tipet. He needs a way to stay awake. He heads back to Andre’s cell, where Andre is being surprised by a visit from Tipet…though only he can see Tipet. Dozens of rats swarm into the cell and attack Andre. By the time Doggett and Skinner get to him, he’s dead.

Doggett goes to his office, where he meets the Lone Gunmen for the first time. Frohike and Langly think they have the right to look through the X-Files, since they’ve helped solve so many of them. Doggett is willing to accept their help. They have a slide show ready to educate him on the Sahasrara, or third eye. There’s a belief that opening it will allow one to see God. The guys have a side argument about whether or not Frohike was really on Ken Kesey’s bus in 1964.

Doggett can see a connection between the third eye and the victims’ wounds, though he still doesn’t get why Tipet would kill everyone. The Lone Gunmen bring up MK Ultra and the use of hallucinogens to try to create psychic assassins. Maybe Tipet was able to do it. Doggett notes that that would explain why Andre was afraid to fall asleep – Tipet would invade his consciousness and make his nightmares come true. Doggett himself doesn’t believe this possibility, but he knows that if Tipet does, he’ll seek out more drugs so he can keep killing. The Lone Gunmen are impressed with his work as a beginner.

Skinner goes with Doggett to look around Andre’s lab, where I hope someone’s taking care of the rats. Skinner thinks someone’s been there. Indeed, it’s Tipet, and he’s turned on a circular saw. The agents pull their guns and tell him to stay away from it. Tipet tells them he doesn’t want this to happen, but it has to. He’s the only one who can stop what’s happening. Then he lowers his head onto the saw.

Tipet’s rushed to the hospital, where Doggett sees Scully’s name on a sign-in sheet. She’s being seen for acute abdominal pain. After briefly looking in on her, Doggett meets with Skinner and Kersh to present his theory about Tipet opening his followers’ minds through the via negativa. Kersh accepts this idea and tells him to file a report. But Doggett says the case isn’t over. There’s no murder weapon or forensic evidence. They can’t explain how Tipet killed everyone. Kersh says firmly that the case is closed, even without all the details filled in.

Doggett leaves a message on Scully’s answering machine telling her that they seem to have caught the murderer, but he’s not satisfied with the ending of the case. He thinks Tipet may have been right, and they should have let him die. Maybe Doggett just needs sleep and will feel better about the case in the morning. Yeah, or maybe he’ll be murdered in his sleep, as he obviously fears, since he thinks he sees Tipet behind him in his mirror. Doggett goes up to bed, unaware that someone with an axe is in his house.

In the morning, Doggett looks in his mirror and sees an eye opening in his forehead. At work, no one notices it, but Skinner can tell that something’s off about Doggett. Doggett admits that he’s not sure he’s awake. He thinks he dreamed seeing Tipet in his house with an axe the night before. Skinner assures him that he’s awake. Doggett guesses that all of Tipet’s victims felt the same way – they were dreaming but didn’t realize it. Skinner says that Tipet’s in a coma and will never wake up, so Doggett’s safe. Doggett disagrees. Tipet knows him and could target him next.

Skinner sends Doggett home to rest, but before Doggett can leave the building, he comes across Tipet. “She’s going to die,” Tipet warns. Doggett thinks Tipet is threatening to kill Scully, but he’s actually predicting that Doggett will do it. Definitely in a dream, Doggett finds himself at Scully’s door with blood on his hands. He goes inside, somehow acquiring an axe. He approaches Scully’s bed, where she’s asleep, and raises the weapon…then tosses it aside. He picks it up again and starts to swing it toward his own head.

Scully wakes Doggett up in his own bed, and he tells her she saved his life. She reports that Tipet is dead, having never regained consciousness. Scully’s fine and ready to go back to work. Doggett says that Tipet thought he could look into the darkness inside himself and find God. But when Doggett looked into his own darkness, he only saw violence. Maybe those images came from somewhere else. Scully tells him it was just a nightmare, nothing else. Doggett doesn’t seem to believe her.

Thoughts: Okay, who ordered The Skinner and Doggett Show?

Tipet, if you don’t have any spare change, just walk away. Murder is not a proportionate response.

Does this mean the homeless man’s worst fear was drowning in quicksand? I get it; I saw The Neverending Story.

July 7, 2018

The X-Files 8.1, Within: Doggett Is the New Mulder, But Scully and Skinner Are Also the New Mulder

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:04 pm by Jenn

This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Ha ha, just kidding

Summary: Scully wakes from a dream in which Mulder is undergoing a procedure that doesn’t look very comfortable. After a clip-show recap of “Requiem,” Scully stares at herself in a mirror for a while as she finishes getting ready for the day. At work, some agents are going through the stuff in her and Mulder’s office, hoping for something that will help them find Mulder. Scully tells them they’re wasting their time looking for him. She wants to know whose idea it was to search.

Skinner has just heard about the manhunt as well, and agrees with Scully that the FBI won’t find Mulder. However, he thinks he can. Scully wonders who’s going over Skinner’s head to organize the search. Skinner tells her it’s their new deputy director: Kersh. He’s been promoted, and he hopes Scully and Skinner will cooperate with the search. He’s assigned Special Agent John Doggett to lead the taskforce to find Mulder. Kersh warns the agents not to bring aliens or anything paranormal into the hunt. If they do, they’re fired.

Scully and Skinner know that Kersh has only organized a search to make the FBI look better. Scully thinks the bureau would be happier if Mulder stayed missing. Skinner has to go make a statement, and he’s decided to tell the truth: He saw a UFO. Scully reminds him that that’s exactly what Kersh doesn’t want him to say. Skinner doesn’t care – he won’t sell Mulder out. Scully asks what good it’ll do Mulder if Skinner risks his job.

As Skinner heads in to give his statement, Scully sits in a waiting area and chats with another agent. He gets her a cup of water and tells her he’s there to help develop a character background for Mulder. He’s not sure the agents can ever really know each other, even their partners. Scully disagrees, sure she knows Mulder as well as anyone else does.

The agent says he’s heard the rumors about the two of them – not that they were involved, but that Mulder never really trusted Scully. He confided in other women instead. Scully’s hurt. The agent asks Scully what she thinks happened to Mulder. She tells him he doesn’t know Mulder at all, and never did. She turns the agent’s badge around, having realized that he’s Doggett. Then she throws her water in his face.

At home that night, Scully looks up Doggett in the FBI’s database. He was a Marine and New York police officer before joining the bureau. She has to pause her investigation to run to the bathroom and throw up (I guess her morning sickness doesn’t just come in the morning). She tries to call her mom, leaving a message that they need to talk. There’s a click on the line, like someone’s picked up the phone, but no one says anything.

Scully sees movement on the street outside her window and calls Doggett to tell him to stay out of her business. She thinks he’s tapped her phone and is having her watched. He’s confused. Scully sees someone moving around outside her apartment door and runs to the hallway with her gun, but the only person she finds is her landlord. He tells her he saw Mulder in the hall. Scully returns to her apartment, thinking Mulder will be waiting for her there, but he’s not. Her computer’s missing, though.

Scully goes to Mulder’s apartment, where his computer is also missing. She goes to bed holding one of Mulder’s shirts and has another dream about him undergoing alien testing. It involves having the roof of his mouth drilled open. Cheery! Meanwhile, Skinner meets up with the Lone Gunmen, who have hacked into some satellites to look into Mulder’s abduction. They can’t get the data they need to figure out where the UFO went after that. Skinner thinks this is the path that will lead them to Mulder.

At FBI headquarters, Doggett and Kersh talk about their experiences in the military (Kersh served in Vietnam) before Doggett confirms that he’s really in charge of the search for Mulder. Kersh hasn’t asked anyone else to head up another search, has he? You know, someone who might now be keeping tabs on Scully? Kersh says no, then tells Doggett that this is his chance to show the bureau how good he is at his job.

Scully’s asleep on Mulder’s couch when Doggett shows up at his apartment. She says she came to feed the fish and then took a nap. She doesn’t like Doggett’s attitude with her; he might have been able to get away with it when he was an NYPD officer, but he needs to change his tone when speaking to a fellow FBI agent. Doggett points out that she yelled at him on the phone, so she’s not exactly showing him the same respect she wants from him. He claims he’s not watching her; he’s also just there to feed the fish.

Scully mocks that Doggett would have no idea where to find Mulder. He tells her he knows what happened, or at least what Scully’s going to say happened. He doesn’t get how a scientist would believe that someone was abducted by aliens. Scully repeats her typical stance that she’s seen things she can’t explain, and she can’t just dismiss them because someone doesn’t believe. Doggett asks for help figuring out, from Mulder’s rental-car records, where he went on four consecutive weekends. Scully doesn’t know, so Doggett says what he said before: Maybe she doesn’t know her partner as well as she thinks she did.

Doggett, Scully, and Skinner are all summoned to the office, and Skinner is questioned about some files that were removed after hours. Whoever came in used Mulder’s pass card. Skinner said in his statement that Mulder felt threatened by the FBI. Maybe he’s gone rogue. Skinner clarifies that Mulder felt threatened by budget cuts. He thinks Mulder was only after the truth; he wouldn’t retaliate against the bureau. Kersh says they’re after the truth, too.

An agent gives Skinner some phone logs showing that he was in the office late the previous night. Maybe he used Mulder’s pass card. After all, Skinner was the last person to see Mulder. Scully tells Doggett that Skinner’s telling the truth, and he wouldn’t have used Mulder’s pass card. Doggett believes this, but he also knows that someone used Mulder’s credit card to buy flowers in Raleigh a couple days ago. Scully says that that’s where Teena’s buried; Mulder must have been going to her grave those four weekends. Doggett says that’s one reason.

Someone opens a crate containing a headstone with all four Mulder family members’ names on it. This floors Scully, who sits and stares at it for a while. Skinner comes by later, and both say they’re not sure what to think. Doggett joins them with Mulder’s medical records, which mention his brain problems the previous year. That combined with the headstone, which apparently Mulder ordered, make Doggett think that he was dying. Maybe Scully really didn’t know her partner after all.

Doggett asks how badly Mulder would want to prove his theories if he thought he was dying. He was about to lose his job and his life; why not go all out? He could have stolen files from the office, as well as Scully’s and his own computers, either in a final attempt to figure out the truth or because he wanted to cover it up. Maybe he even staged his own disappearance. Skinner won’t deny what he saw, and he tells Doggett all about it. Scully asks Doggett not to report it.

Skinner and Scully go to the Lone Gunmen to continue tracking the UFO’s path. Skinner thinks it’s in Arizona. Langly suggests figuring out who the aliens want to abduct next, and finding that person first. Scully starts putting it all together: Mulder isn’t the one removing evidence of aliens, it’s the aliens themselves. The proof of their existence isn’t in a computer or a file, but in a person. In his office, Doggett comes across info on that same person: Gibson Praise.

He tells his taskforce that Mulder thought Gibson could read minds and might have alien physiology. He thinks Mulder is looking for Gibson, so if they find the boy, they’ll find Mulder. Doggett tells another agent to send out Mulder’s picture to the press so everyone in the southwest knows what he looks like. On the way to find Gibson, Scully has another dream about Mulder undergoing testing. She and Skinner are searching on their own, but Doggett has the benefit of a helicopter and a bunch of agents, so they know Gibson’s living at a school for deaf children in Flemingtown, Arizona.

While she and Skinner are stopped at a gas station, Scully sees something appear in the distance, then disappear. They’ve also tracked Gibson to the school, and are just 20 minutes away. Gibson is called to the principal’s office, where another student gives him a weird look.

Doggett arrives just moments before Scully and Skinner, but Gibson, being psychic, knows he’s being pursued and escapes through a window. Now, instead of searching for Mulder, everyone’s on the hunt for Gibson. Whoever finds him first leads him off to the mountains, and Doggett follows their footprints. Eventually, he catches up to them as Gibson asks for release from his captor: Mulder. To be continued…

Thoughts: Giving agents access to the FBI database from their home computers seems like a good way for confidential information to get out.

No wonder the number-crunchers were upset with Mulder in “Requiem” – he was using bureau money to rent a car to go to his mother’s grave. Come on, Fox.

The cliffhanger would be a lot more…cliffhanger-y if they didn’t show Gibson trying to fight Mulder. He trusts Mulder, so his objections make it obvious that that’s not Mulder.

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