April 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How paranoid were asthmatics after this episode?

April 15, 2017

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

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

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1, 2017

The X-Files 4.24, Gethsemane: The Biggest of Lies

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

Someone needs a hug

Summary: Archive footage of a 1972 NASA symposium at Boston University features someone talking about the real possibility of learning whether aliens exist in the not-too-distant future. In the present, Scully is called to Mulder’s apartment to identify a body. She then goes to FBI headquarters to discuss her experiences in the X-Files with a group of higher-ups. After four years, she can state that, in her scientific opinion, the investigations are all B.S. Mulder “became a victim of his own false hopes, and his belief in the biggest of lies.”

A helicopter flies over the St. Elias Mountains in the Yukon Territory, on its way to meet a man who’s seen something amazing. Three men start the trek to this incredible find, willing to climb all night to get there. They meet up with a group at a big wall of ice that appears to have something underneath it. Back in D.C., Scully tells the Feds that a man recently fooled Mulder into believing that his search for the existence of aliens was going to come to something. Now, Scully wants to expose Mulder’s work as meaningless.

Maggie hosts a get-together, in which we meet Scully’s brother Bill Jr. for the first time. There’s also a priest at the party, and Scully knows he’s there to bug her about not attending church anymore. Scully doesn’t think her spirituality is necessary in the fight against her cancer. She thinks she has all the strength she needs, and she doesn’t want to “go running back” to religion.

Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell Scully that a guy named Arlinski just contacted him about the thing in the Yukon. Bill Jr.’s disappointed that Scully’s obviously going to choose work over having dinner with family and friends. The agents meet up at the Smithsonian to talk to Arlinski, who was once accused of being involved in a scam involving UFO photos. Now, he wants the agents to look at photos from the Yukon – photos of what appears to be a 200-year-old body found by a survey team.

Arlinski claims that the agents are the only people who know about the body (other than the team still in the mountains). He’s obtained samples from the body and is convinced that it belonged to an alien. Mulder knows they can’t go public with this info; no one will take them seriously, and those in a position to cover it up will do so. Arlinski thinks Mulder will be able to get evidence, and all he wants for his aid is credit.

Scully declines to express an opinion, telling Mulder that this is his Holy Grail, not hers. Mulder argues that this isn’t a “pet project,” and he’s as skeptical of Arlinski as he needs to be, but he’s also excited about the possibility of a scientific breakthrough that will change what people know about alien life.

Scully doesn’t know why Mulder needs proof of something he already believes. He asks if her beliefs would change if someone could prove God’s existence. Scully says they would only change if someone disproved His existence. Mulder wonders if that means she accepts the possibility that there’s no God. She admits that she never thinks about that, and she doesn’t think it could be disproven anyway.

Mulder thinks it would be worth looking for the truth anyway. “Or is it just easier to go on believing the lie?” he asks. Scully tells him she’s not continuing this search with him, but she’ll look at the samples from Arlinski. Scully tells the Feds that at that point, she’d learned that her cancer had metastasized, and she was beginning the journey to the end of her life. She hadn’t said anything about it to Mulder.

In the Yukon, the men cut through the ice while one loads a gun, concerned about being alone with the survey team. The men have found a hole in the ice but can’t figure out how it was made. They’re eager to get the body out of the ice and get some more answers. Scully’s getting some at American University, learning that the ice sample is as old as Arlinski claims. It also contains some kind of hybrid cell from a plant or animal. For now, the doctor testing the samples is calling it chimerical.

The men in the Yukon awake in the middle of the night when they hear gunshots. The next day, Mulder and Arlinski arrive to find the camp empty. They find their guide dead, then trek up to the site to find out what happened. Back in D.C., Scully goes to meet the doctor with the ice samples but instead runs into a man who seems to have taken something from the lab. She chases after him when he leaves, but he roughs her up and pushes her down the stairs.

It’s dark when Mulder and Arlinski make it to the survey site, finding everyone dead. Arlinski rushes to the ice wall and discovers that the body is gone. He doesn’t know who could have taken it, since everyone who knows about the body is dead or was on a helicopter at the time of the theft. Mulder wonders if their radio communications were being tapped. The men realize that Babcock, Arlinski’s contact at the site, is still alive. He reveals that he buried the body, which certainly looks like it belonged to an alien.

Bill Jr. brings Scully a change of clothes after she spends the night in the hospital (she’s okay, though). He reveals that he knows about her cancer, even though she asked their mother not to tell him because she didn’t want sympathy. Bill Jr. wants to know why Scully’s still working when she’s practically at death’s door. He points out that Maggie must be suffering. Scully says she still has responsibilities, but Bill Jr. doesn’t think Mulder deserves that. After all, he’s not here to show his support.

Mulder and Arlinski have the alien body sent to D.C., where they melt the ice to fully excavate it. Arlinski thinks a simple examination will give them all the evidence they need that it’s an alien. Mulder knows they need to do a carbon-dating test to remove all doubt. Elsewhere in the city, Scully uses a fingerprint recovered from the stairwell to look for her assailant from the lab. She guesses he’s with the government, and she’s right. He’s Michael Kritschgau, and he works at the Pentagon.

Mulder and a mostly recovered Babcock record Arlinski’s examination of the alien body, which turns into something Mulder’s been wanting to see for a long time: an alien autopsy. It’s gross. Arlinski is able to confirm that the body isn’t human.

Scully stakes out an office building in Sethburg, Virginia, following Kritschgau as he leaves. She intimidates him in a parking lot, making him think she’s going to run him over, then chases him through rows of cars so she can arrest him. Even though he jumps in his car to flee, Scully is able to stop him. Kritschgau tells Scully he never meant to hurt her, and reveals that his life is in danger from the same people after her – the people who caused her cancer.

Arlinski tells Mulder that, even without further tests, he’s pretty sure they have an alien body in the lab. As Scully calls, she narrates to the Feds that Mulder told her they were steps away from confirming the existence of alien life. But Kritschgau told her how she and Mulder had been deceived for years. The same people behind the deception killed Melissa and gave Scully cancer.

Scully summons Mulder to meet her as a man with a gun keeps an eye on him. The man goes to the lab, where Arlinski realizes that Babcock has double-crossed him and leaked the news of the body. The man with the gun shoots Arlinski, then confirms with Babcock that Mulder’s “a believer.” That means Babcock and the shooter are the only two who know the truth.

Mulder meets Kritschgau, who tells him that everything he’s been working on is a lie – it’s just a distraction from shady things going on in the government. Mulder finds it a little coincidental that Kritschgau would run into Scully during this big investigation. Kritschgau insists that the lies started before Mulder was even born. He’s coming forward now because his son, who served in the Gulf War, has been affected.

Kritschgau continues that everything Mulder believes was manufactured. UFOs? Military aircraft. Evidence of alien biology? Just human anomalies that haven’t been explained yet. The body from the Yukon? Chimera cells poured into the ice (through the unidentified hole) to make Mulder think aliens were real. The conspirators wanted Mulder to go public with the news so everyone would think he’s nuts. The body has to already be gone.

Scully follows Mulder back to the lab, where they find the body gone and Arlinski and Babcock dead. Mulder thinks this is confirmation that the body was for real. Scully believes Kritschgau, but Mulder thinks he’s spouting lies created to obfuscate the facts. After everything he’s seen and experienced, there’s no way the alien was fake.

Scully thinks Mulder just finds it easier to believe the lie. Mulder wonders what Kritschgau could have said to Scully to make her believe him. She tells him that, according to Kritschgau, the conspirators gave her cancer to make Mulder believe their lies. Mulder walks out.

Mulder watches the footage from 1972, crying as he hears Carl Sagan and other scientists talk about aliens and whether we can communicate with them. At the meeting with the Feds, Scully cries as well, announcing that the body she identified was Mulder’s. It appears that he committed suicide.

Thoughts: Done with season 4! And…there are still six seasons left. Wow.

John Finn (Kritschgau) was also Pacey’s dad on Dawson’s Creek. He totally looks like a guy who would push you down the stairs.

Writers, please give characters names like Smith and Jones so I don’t have to type “Kritschgau” over and over.

Chimerical Ice is the name of my new emo band.

March 25, 2017

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

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

“Imagine going through your whole life looking like that”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 18, 2017

The X-Files 4.22, Elegy: Mulder Tries to Make “Fetch” Happen

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Yeah, it still doesn’t make sense

Summary: It’s closing time at Angie’s Midnight Bowl in D.C., and one employee, Harold, is doing a meticulous job of putting away shoes. His boss, Mr. Pintero, tries to send him home, then chastises him for not working faster. Harold appears to have autism or some similar disorder, and he gets upset when Pintero tries to rush him along.

Harold finally leaves, and Pintero notices that the pinsetter in one lane is still sweeping aside pins and returning balls. He sees blood on a ball and under the pins. When he looks up into the machine, he sees a young woman bleeding and trying to speak. Pintero goes to the phone to call the police, but they’re already there. When Pintero runs out to talk to them, he sees a woman on the ground, bleeding – the same woman he saw inside.

Mulder and Scully check out the alley, though Scully would rather be anywhere else. Having to wear bowling shoes doesn’t help. The pinsetter Pintero saw the woman on is broken, as if something heavy was on top of it. The body and blood were gone when Pintero came back inside, but he insists that the woman in the alley was the same woman he saw outside. Scully’s face: “Sure, sure.”

Mulder thinks they’re dealing with a ghost who was trying to tell Pintero something. Specifically, he thinks the ghost was a death omen. He bowls a strike, then tells Scully this has happened twice recently. He uses a soda to expose something written on the alley, under the pinsetter, where the blood used to be: “SHE IS ME.”

The police put together a taskforce to look for what they think is a serial killer. The head of the taskforce, Hudak, catches Mulder whispering to Scully and asks if he has something to share with the class. Mulder presents his theory that they’re dealing with a fetch or wraith. He asks about written messages in the other cases.

Hudak tells him that, according to a 911 caller, the dying words of one of the other victims, Penny, were “she is me.” However, there’s no way she could have said anything, since her larynx was severed. Mulder thinks someone should follow up. Hudak is like, “Thanks for volunteering to take care of that.”

The agents go to New Horizon Psychiatric Center, which happens to be where Harold lives. The residents are gathered so the agents can talk to them all together. Mulder asks if anyone used the pay phone on Friday night, since someone used it to call 911. One resident, Chuck, confesses, but he’s lying. Mulder shows everyone a picture, and everyone confirms that they know her. Scully then shows everyone a magazine with Jay Leno on the cover, and they all say he’s the murderer.

Harold stays quiet the whole time, which catches Mulder’s attention. Apparently no one thought to mention to the agents that he was at the scene of the last crime just before it occurred. Scully looks at crime-scene photos and notices that the victims all wore rings that their killer moved to their opposite hands. She suspects ego-dystonia, a form of OCD characterized by the impulse to constantly reorganize. Mulder figures they’re in the right place to find someone with that kind of behavior.

Mulder has guessed that Harold made the 911 call after Penny’s murder. Harold insists that he didn’t do anything and hasn’t heard the words “she is me.” But when Mulder asks if he’s ever seen a ghost, Harold gets agitated. Scully admits that Mulder’s cracked the case. Harold recites numbers to calm himself down.

Scully looks into Harold’s background and tells Mulder that he’s spent his life in and out of facilities like New Horizon because of autism and ego-dystonic OCD. She thinks he was put in a “challenging situation” and lashed out, but Mulder points out that he didn’t get agitated until Mulder asked about a ghost. They also don’t know why he said “she is me.” Scully learns that Harold is at New Horizon voluntarily, so he can come and go whenever he wants, which gives him the opportunity to kill people.

Scully’s nose starts bleeding, so she goes to the bathroom to take care of it. The words “SHE IS ME” appear on a mirror in blood, and Scully sees a ghostly woman with a slashed neck. Mulder knocks on the door, and when Scully looks away for a moment, the ghost disappears. Mulder tells her that a new victim was just found – a college student whose throat was cut. She is, unsurprisingly, the woman Scully saw in the bathroom.

The victim, Lauren, has had her ring moved like the other victims, and since Harold left the facility after the agents saw him, he’s still a suspect. Scully decides to see a doctor instead of going with Mulder to look for Harold. Wherever Harold is, he’s reciting numbers and papering the walls with bowling scorecards that have “SHE IS ME” written on them in blood. He sees a bunch of ghosts and laments that he just wants to be left alone.

Scully has some blood drawn (there’s a lot of blood in this episode) so she can find out if her tumor caused her to hallucinate in the bathroom. Then she meets with an FBI psychiatrist, Dr. Kosseff, who wants to talk about her hesitation to discuss her fears with Mulder. Scully instead talks about how she’s kept working despite her diagnosis. Dr. Kosseff wonders if she feels like she owes it to Mulder to keep up their work. Scully admits that she’s realizing how much she relies on him and his passion.

Dr. Kosseff asks what happened in the bathroom. Scully confides that she doesn’t know what to trust anymore – did she see a ghost because of stress, because of a subconscious suggestion, or because of her own fears? She thinks Lauren was trying to tell her something in the bathroom. Scully insists that she doesn’t know what that might be, but Dr. Kosseff wants to know if she’s sure.

Mulder goes to the bowling alley to find Harold, hearing from Pintero that the idea of Harold being a killer is absurd. Mulder sees some activity around lane 6, where the body was found, and where Harold happens to be hiding. Mulder chases him as Harold chants “she is me” over and over. When Harold is taken to the police station for questioning, he switches to reciting numbers again. His lawyer is very protective, but Hudak has no patience or the ability to be nice.

Mulder uses a softer touch, determining that Harold’s scared because the dead women’s ghosts keep coming to visit him. Each time Mulder says one of their names, Harold recites different numbers – the women’s bowling scores. Hudak thinks this means Harold killed the women. Mulder assures Harold that he knows he’s innocent, but Harold will have to help clear his name.

They all head to the bowling alley to look for ways the real killer might have left the building. Harold is worried because the shoes are all out of line, so Angelo assures him that he can come back and straighten them out when this is all over. Mulder and Hudak find Harold’s lair full of scorecards he’s memorized. Since he’s memorized dozens of scores, Hudak can’t prove that Harold targeted the victims specifically. Suddenly Hudak cries out, seeing a ghost – it’s Pintero. Downstairs, Pintero has just died of a heart attack.

Mulder goes to see Scully, who’s praying at home. He starts to ask for her medical expertise before making sure she’s okay. He tells her that Harold saw Pintero’s ghost before he died. Mulder thinks Harold forms some sort of psychic bond with people, since his autism prevents him from expressing their attachment in other ways.

Scully notes that Harold isn’t the only person who saw the victims before they died; for example, Pintero saw the woman in the alley. Mulder thinks it’s because those other seers were close to death themselves. He wants Scully to determine if Harold is dying, too. Obviously, this is bad news for Scully, who’s one of those seers.

The police take Harold home to New Horizon, where a doctor named Alpert tries to give him his medication. Instead of taking them, Harold recites numbers. A nurse named Innes urges Harold to take his “poison” since he doesn’t have anything to live for now. She wants to know if he told the police about his girlfriends or his pictures. She mocks that the girlfriends never loved him back because no one could ever love him.

Mulder comes to see Harold, arriving just in time to hear Innes scream. Harold has knocked her down and fled. Scully arrives next, as Mulder tells Alpert that Hudak will probably arrest Harold. He tells Scully that Harold might be sicker than they think. Harold’s roommate, Chuck, is hanging around, so Mulder sends Scully to talk to him. Meanwhile, Innes arms herself with something sharp.

Chuck tells Scully that Harold stopped taking his medication because he knew Innes was poisoning him. Chuck knows that Harold would never hurt anyone – “he really loved them.” He shows Scully a stack of pictures Harold gave him, all of the victims. Innes is the only other person who knew about them. Scully goes to confront Innes in the bathroom and sees her clutching a bunch of pills. Innes attacks Scully, but even with a brain tumor, Scully can hold her own. Also, her gun is more powerful than Innes’ scalpel (which Scully guesses is the murder weapon).

The story comes out: Innes was taking Harold’s medication, which can cause violent behavior. Scully thinks she was trying to destroy Harold’s happiness by killing women he liked. Maybe she thought she would never be happy again like the women were – hence “she is me.” Harold has been found, but unfortunately, he’s dead, seemingly from respiratory failure. Scully doesn’t think he was dying before this, so she can’t explain his visions.

She finally tells Mulder that she saw Lauren’s ghost in the bathroom before she learned Lauren was dead. She didn’t say anything because she didn’t want to believe it. She still doesn’t. Mulder thinks Scully came back to New Horizon to disprove that it was real. Scully says she came because he asked her to. He asks why she can’t be honest with him.

Scully wonders if he wants her to say she believes when she doesn’t. “Is that what you think I want to hear?” Mulder shoots back. He’s angry that she would hide something from him when they’re supposed to be working together. She’s just hiding the truth from herself. He knows what she’s afraid of, and he has the same fear. Scully insists that her doctor said she was fine. “I hope that’s the truth,” Mulder replies.

The agents leave separately, and Scully cries alone in her car. She sees Harold’s ghost in her rearview mirror, but when she turns to the backseat, he’s gone.

Thoughts: I’m sure the autism and psychiatric-facility communities both love this episode.

I wish Scully had mentioned that ego-dystonic behavior is also called ego alien behavior. I mean, ALIENS!

I also wish Scully had mentioned, at least to Dr. Kosseff, that this isn’t the first time she’s seen a dead person trying to communicate with her.

Harold’s lawyer: “Don’t ask him anything about his guilt or innocence.” Hudak: “Yeah, okay. So, Harold, why did you kill a bunch of people?” Dude. Come on.

March 11, 2017

The X-Files 4.21, Zero Sum: “A Man Digs a Hole, He Risks Falling Into It”

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

Be grateful I used this photo and not one of Skinner in his underwear

Summary: The Transcontinental Express Routing Center in Desmond, Virginia, is a busy place, but one of its workers, Jane, wants a break to go smoke. She goes to the bathroom and lights up in a stall as dozens of bees crawl out of a sink. Soon the bathroom is covered in bees, but Jane takes a while to notice. They swarm her, and when a co-worker finds her minutes later, she’s dead from their stings.

In D.C., Skinner reviews info about the incident, then deletes it, all from Mulder’s computer. Wearing black to indicate that he wants to be stealthy, Skinner then goes to the scene of the incident and examines Jane’s cigarette butt (bet it was a Morley) before flushing it. He cleans up the ashes and the floor underneath them, then examines a yellow substance on the ceiling.

Next Skinner goes to the morgue, where an attendant hears him moving around in the room with the bodies. So much for being stealthy. Skinner hides from the attendant, who doesn’t catch him leaving with Jane’s body slung over his shoulder. This morgue should probably up its security. Skinner takes the body to a furnace somewhere and gives it a free cremation.

Using Mulder’s badge, Skinner goes to Desmond’s police station and gets access to all the various fluids taken from Jane’s body for testing. He swaps out a vial of blood and wipes his fingerprints off the pen he used to sign in. He tosses it in a Dumpster just before an officer named Ray Thomas finds him and asks him what he thinks happened to Jane. “Mulder” surprises Thomas by not showing any interest in what’s clearing an X-file. Skinner leaves, passing a man sitting in his car, watching.

Once home, Skinner bags up all the clothes he was wearing, and thanks for the shot of Mitch Pileggi in his underwear, Kim Manners. That was really necessary, I’m sure. As he’s about to get rid of the bag, Mulder shows up to report that someone’s trying to cover up what happened to Jane. A detective sent Mulder emails about her case, but when he went to open them, they were gone. That detective, Thomas, is now dead. Mulder suspects the person who used his ID to get into Desmond’s forensics lab.

Skinner thinks Mulder should work with Scully on this, but Scully’s out of commission this week, undergoing tests at a hospital, because the show realized they hadn’t mentioned her cancer for a few episodes. Her tumor may be metastasizing. Skinner tries to hide how upsetting that news is. After Mulder leaves, he goes to his building’s parking garage for a secret meeting with CSM, who’s being driven around by the man who was watching Skinner at the police station.

Skinner is sure that CSM had Thomas murdered, and he’s no longer willing to participate in the cover-up. (He seems a little surprised that CSM would go so far as to have a police officer murdered, like that’s the worst thing he’s ever done.) CSM says it’s Skinner’s fault anyway, since he didn’t follow orders and “neutralize a potentially compromising situation.” CSM doesn’t think Skinner’s in any position to question their arrangement: “A man digs a hole, he risks falling into it.”

In the morning, Skinner is awoken by a call from Mulder, who’s at the morgue, having just discovered that Jane’s body is missing. He also knows that the blood sample was replaced, since it didn’t show a folic acid deficiency Jane had. Mulder knows that the gun used to kill Thomas is one often used by police and federal agents. Skinner’s one of the officers who uses it, and his own gun is gone.

He calls CSM to ask if his gun was used to kill Thomas, like, of course! Catch up, Skinner! He threatens to call the authorities, but CSM knows he won’t, since he would have to admit to his crimes. Plus, it would be pretty hard to convince the authorities that he didn’t kill Thomas.

Skinner wants to know why Thomas had to die. CSM replies that he’s giving Skinner what he wants: a cure for Scully. Skinner orders CSM to do whatever he’s planning to do to heal Scully immediately. If necessary, Skinner will turn CSM in, no matter the risk to himself. CSM dangles the idea of Scully’s recovery in front of Skinner, warning that his fate might not be as positive.

Skinner goes back to the routing center (where Jane’s co-worker, Misty, is suspicious) and studies the ceiling, which is seeping that yellow substance again. He tears a hole in the wall and finds a huge honeycomb. He takes a sample to an entomologist, wanting to know if the bees that made the honeycomb are lethal. The tech finds a larva, which could give him some info when it hatches. The tech asks if this case is related to one Mulder called him about six months ago, involving killer bees.

Returning to Mulder’s office, Skinner reads up on his own bee case, finding Marita’s name in the file. Mulder finds him there and shows him surveillance photos from a bank that show Thomas talking to Skinner outside the police station. The officer who helped Skinner at the forensics lab has ID’d the man as the fake Mulder, though the surveillance photo is too grainy for Mulder to see who he is.

Skinner calls Marita to ask about what she and Mulder talked about regarding the bees. She tells him that there was no evidence of beehives or bee husbandry. Skinner tells her that he may soon have the evidence Skinner didn’t. Chances of that are unlikely, as the larva at the entomologist’s house has now developed, and it’s brought a bunch of its friends over for a party. Since the entomologist didn’t get an invitation, the bees attack him.

Mulder has Skinner meet him at a lab to examine the entomologist’s body. He thinks the bee stings on his body and Jane’s aren’t bee stings – they’re smallpox blisters. Somehow, the two contracted an especially bad strain of a disease that supposedly doesn’t exist anymore. Mulder isn’t that surprised, since he contacted the entomologist months ago about bees that might be carrying smallpox; now he has the evidence he was looking for, in the stingers removed from the man’s body. He thinks someone’s developing a method of delivery for a deadly disease.

Skinner asks if they can stop whoever’s using these killer bees. Well, Skinner, I don’t think Mulder was just going to go off on vacation and act like there was nothing left to do. He’s on his way to the photo lab to see if the photo of the fake Mulder could be enhanced. Meanwhile, Skinner meets with Misty, sensing that there’s something she didn’t tell the police earlier. He admits that Jane’s death might not have been an accident. Misty admits that men came to the center and warned her to keep her mouth shut. They were looking for a package kept in a room next to the bathroom.

Mulder’s photo tech has trouble enhancing the photo of Skinner, but his work is good enough for Mulder to recognize his boss. In New York, the Syndicate meets to confirm that all evidence of the killer bees has been taken care of or is in the process of being taken care of. CSM is sure that Skinner will succeed, since he has no other choice. If he tries to expose them, he’ll expose “his own duplicity.” The Syndicate’s “trial run” is already happening.

The problem with killer bees is that they’re not picky about who they sting, so when some find their way to a playground in Payson, South Carolina, kids are their next victims. One boy, David, loses his glasses in the ensuing chaos and doesn’t make it inside with the rest of the kids. When his teacher goes back to help him, she’s swarmed.

Skinner goes to the hospital to let a doctor know that the stung kids need to be treated for smallpox. All the kids in town who haven’t been stung need to be vaccinated immediately. The doctor points out that kids aren’t vaccinated for smallpox anymore; besides, smallpox has an eight-day incubation period, and the kids were only stung a few hours ago.

Marita shows up, since she was already in the area – some packages were sent to Payson from Canada, and she wants to know what they contained. My guess is…smallpox. Marita demands to know what Skinner knows about the situation. He tells her he thinks someone’s experimenting with using bees as carriers. When she learns that Skinner hasn’t shared his findings with Mulder, Marita guesses that he’s involved.

Skinner heads home to Virginia, finding his gun back in its rightful place. But Mulder’s also there, and he accuses Skinner of a) killing Thomas, b) working with CSM all along, c) knowing when Mulder’s father was killed, and d) knowing when Scully was taken. Skinner says he was set up, and the police are probably on their way to arrest him. He admits that he’s lied to Mulder, but he had a reason, and he’s sure Mulder will be understanding.

Skinner reminds Mulder that he once warned him not to pursue what happened to Scully. He should have followed his own advice. Mulder asks for the gun, which he takes to a lab so they can find out if it was used to kill Thomas. Long story short: It was. He tells a ballistics tech that he found it in a sewer near the place where Thomas was killed. The tech notes that the serial number was filed off, and unless there are fingerprints on the gun, it’s untraceable. Skinner’s off the hook.

Skinner takes the gun with him when he ambushes CSM, though CSM doesn’t think Skinner will kill him and risk Scully’s life. Skinner doesn’t think CSM ever planned to cure her. CSM says he saved her when he “had her returned” to Mulder, so he could save her again. He doesn’t think Skinner will take the chance and pull the trigger. He does anyway, but doesn’t shoot CSM.

As Skinner leaves, CSM gets a phone call and tells the person on the other end that Skinner was just there to kill him. He’s sure Mulder will soon contact the caller to find out if there’s more that Skinner doesn’t know. The caller is Marita, and she promises to tell Mulder whatever CSM wants her to say. “Tell him what he wants to hear,” CSM replies.

Thoughts: Usually I find Skinner pretty pointless, but I like this episode. It’s a nice change to see things from someone else’s perspective.

The morgue attendant (who looks like Milo Ventimiglia) is a lot less freaked out than he should be about hearing noises from a room full of dead bodies.

Anyone else wondering what honey from smallpox-carrying bees tastes like? Probably not great.

March 4, 2017

The X-Files 4.20, Small Potatoes: Tail as Old as Time

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

I would trust this man

I would trust this man

Summary: At Tablers Community Hospital in Martinsburg, West Virginia, a woman named Amanda is in labor and isn’t happy about it. A nurse tries to get information on the baby’s father, but Amanda isn’t sure how to get in touch with him, since he’s not local. Actually, he’s from another planet. The baby, a girl, comes quickly, and the doctor says that she’s fine, but he’s lying. Well, unless “perfectly fine” includes having a tail. “Not another one,” the doctor laments.

Mulder and Scully get involved in the case after her reads a tabloid article about monkey babies in a small town. He’s surprised that Scully isn’t more interested in children being born with vestigial tails. Scully says it’s not completely unheard of, though five in one town is an anomaly. She just thinks the local Health Department should handle it. She figures Mulder wants to look into things as well because the tabloid is blaming aliens.

The agents meet Amanda, who has a good outlook on the tail, which can be removed when the baby’s a few months old. Scully asks if Amanda had any fertility treatments; she didn’t, and wasn’t trying to get pregnant. The father came over to her place one day, one thing led to another, and nine months later, Amanda’s a mom.

Mulder asks about the father, wondering if Amanda was abducted by aliens. Amanda outlines a regular fling like anyone would have with a human. Only she had her fling with Luke Skywalker, renowned Jedi knight. He didn’t have a lightsaber, but he sang Amanda the theme song from Star Wars. After learning that Amanda has seen the move 368 times, Mulder decides to duck out. Amanda wants to know if her baby’s father could also be the father of the other tailed babies in town.

A group of people, including Mulder and a guy named Eddie, is outside the nursery, admiring Amanda’s daughter. Scully takes Mulder to the local Health Department, so they can compare the children’s DNA. They all have the same birth defect, meaning they all have the same father. He probably also had a tail, though it was probably removed. Mulder wonders how this could happen. “Birds and the bees and the monkey babies,” Scully replies. “Birds do it, bees do it, even educated M.D.s do it,” Mulder says, which I think is his admission that he wants Scully to do it with him.

Mulder thinks that since the mothers all share the same OB, and four of them underwent fertility treatments, the doctor is the father. “So much for not putting all your eggs in one basket,” he says, which doesn’t really make sense. The agents gather all the angry parents (one of whom thinks Mulder and Scully are another couple with a tailed baby) at the doctor’s clinic, but he insists that he did everything by the book. However, he was surprised that his process to get the women pregnant worked all four times. Now he wonders if it really did.

Mulder wanders off and finds Eddie working on a sink. He notices a scar on Eddie’s butt, right where a tail might once have been. Eddie realizes Mulder’s on to him and takes off running, but Mulder tackles him and shows off his scar to all the parents. Paternity tests prove that Eddie Van Blundht (the H is silent) is the father of all five tailed babies.

The agents are interested in finding out how Eddie fathered five children with women who claim they never slept with him. He doesn’t think he did anything wrong, since the women all got babies and no one got hurt. Mulder and Scully step aside, and Scully presents her theory that Eddie roofied all the women and raped them. They at least have enough to go on to keep Eddie in custody while they investigate.

A sheriff’s deputy takes down Eddie’s information as Eddie studies him carefully. Suddenly, the deputy realizes that Eddie now looks just like him. Eddie knocks him out, and when he’s found the next morning, the sheriff is confused, since he said goodnight to the deputy as he left the night before. The deputy tells the agents that Eddie turned into him before knocking him out. Scully predicts Mulder’s theory that they’re dealing with someone who can take on other people’s appearances. “Should we be picking out china patterns or what?” asks a surprised Mulder.

Scully thinks the deputy is confused, and the sheriff just mistook Eddie for him since Eddie was wearing the deputy’s uniform. Mulder points out that all the mothers mistook Eddie for their husbands, and Amanda mistook him for Luke Skywalker. There has to be something else going on, and yeah, it could include aliens, so maybe don’t be so judgmental, Scully.

As the agents head over to Eddie’s parents’ house, Mulder asks Scully who she would be for a day, if she could be anyone. She picks herself, so he calls her boring. She’s not interested in being someone else for a day, though Mulder would like to see how people react to others. Scully picks Eleanor Roosevelt, but Mulder vetoes this, saying she can’t pick a dead person, for some reason.

The elder Mr. Van Blundht, who still has his tail, tells the agents that he doesn’t know where his son is. He didn’t think his son should have his removed, since without it, he was nothing interesting – just “small potatoes.” As Mr. Van Blundht continues talking about his son, Mulder wonders how he knows Mulder’s name. He quickly realizes that this is really Eddie pretending to be his father. But when you’re looking for a guy who can transform into someone else, it’s easy for him to run off and disappear.

Eddie transforms into a guy named Fred, the supposed father of one of the tailed babies. He tricks Fred’s wife, who’s just confused about the clothes her not-husband is now wearing. The agents search Mr. Van Blundht’s house, finding his dead body, which has been there for a while. Meanwhile, the real Fred comes home, and he and his wife realize there’s an intruder in the house. Now Eddie looks like Mulder, and he pretends he was checking the place out.

Scully autopsies Mr. Van Blundt’s body, finding striated muscle tissue all over him. She’s pleased that the body is completely intact, though not for long, as Mulder accidentally breaks off his tail. He wonders if Eddie and his father have the same muscle structure, and somehow use it to turn into other people. Scully thinks Eddie just has an identical twin.

Mulder decides to look into Eddie’s M.O., since Amanda doesn’t fit the pattern of the other mothers. Amanda’s still in the hospital, since it’s not clear if she’s sane enough to take care of a child on her own. Mulder shows her a picture of Eddie, who she dated in high school, though she really regrets that now. She thinks he’s a loser and came from a loser family. Mulder asks about any good qualities Eddie might have had. Amanda admires his love of Star Wars, though Eddie’s no Luke. What’s becoming evident, though not to Amanda, is that this isn’t really Mulder.

Fake Mulder (we’ll call him Muldie) hides as the real Mulder comes to see Amanda. She’s confused, since he just questioned her. Fred calls Mulder to follow up on his search of their home, and now Mulder’s the one who’s confused. Fred wants to know how Mulder chased Eddie into his bathroom, then asked to borrow a suit. Mulder catches on quickly, asking Amanda, “I was just here – where did I go?”

Following a lead to the men’s locker room, Mulder apprehends a security guard, apologizing in advance if he has the wrong guy. The doctor from the clinic enters, so Mulder handcuffs both men. He plans to give them blood tests, then release the innocent one. He calls Scully (“hey, it’s me” – close enough) and summons her to the hospital, then gets distracted by a flickering light and a gap in the ceiling tiles. Eddie’s hiding up there, and wants Mulder to know how good-looking he is before he attacks.

When Scully gets to the hospital, Mulder is releasing the guard and doctor, though he’s lost track of the real Eddie. He tells Scully that she was right, and the case is nothing – just “small potatoes.” As Scully leaves with her partner – or at least with a guy who looks just like him – the real Mulder, stuck in the boiler room, yells for help.

Scully and Muldie head home to D.C. and present Skinner with their case report. He’s unimpressed with Muldie’s misspelling of “Federal Bureau of Investigation” (twice). Scully confirms that Mr. Van Blundht died of natural causes, but his son hid his body so he could take his identity and continue collecting his Social Security checks. So Eddie’s not a murderer, but he’s a rapist. Muldie takes offense.

As the agents leave their meeting, Muldie asks if Scully has weekend plans. That right there should be a red flag to her. She wants to look at Mr. Van Blundht’s tissue more carefully, so she heads off to Quantico. Muldie decides to get acquainted with Mulder’s office, almost falling out of his chair. “This is where my tax dollars go?” he asks as he looks over Mulder’s decorations.

He heads home, wondering where he sleeps, as the audience has wondered for years. He ignores answering-machine messages from the Lone Gunmen (they think there was a third gunmen at Dealey Plaza, and they’re going out for cheesesteaks) and a woman named Chantal who misses “Marty”‘s calls on her phone-sex line. Muldie practices presenting his badge and declaring himself an FBI agent, then does a DeNiro impression in the mirror and admires his handsome new face.

Somehow Muldie finds out where Scully lives and visits her with a bottle of wine. He pretends to be interested when she says she found another anomaly in Mr. Van Blundht’s biology. He’d much rather talk to Scully, since they never just chat. Scully’s up for this, telling Muldie about a prom disaster she never mentioned to him before. She tells him she’s seeing a whole new side to him, and she likes it.

Muldie asks if Scully ever wishes things were different. How far is she from the person she thought she would be when she was younger? Does she wish she could go back and do things differently? Scully turns the question back on him, but instead of responding, he moves closer and starts to kiss her. Just then, the real Mulder bursts into the apartment. Busted, Eddie turns back into himself.

A month later, Mulder visits Eddie in prison, where he’s wearing a hat that declares him a “superstar!” in an attempt to improve his self-esteem. It doesn’t help, since the other inmates just beat him up and take it. Mulder wonders why he was summoned, while Eddie wonders if his partner didn’t come with him. He reveals that he’s on muscle relaxants that prevent him from shape-shifting.

Eddie laughs at Mulder for being a loser by choice while Eddie has no say in the matter. He thinks Mulder should treat himself, since Eddie would do so if he were in Mulder’s place. Mulder leaves, joining Scully, who assures him that he’s not a loser. He notes that he’s not Eddie either. As they head off together, a janitor mops the floors, wearing Eddie’s orange coveralls and “superstar!” hat.

Thoughts: Eddie is played by Darin Morgan, who also played the Flukeman. Tail or no tail, loser or no loser, this is a much better look for him.

One of the headlines on Mulder’s tabloid is “Etap Bigshot Busted,” a reference to “Unruhe.” The mugshot is of the show’s assistant prop master, Jim Pate, whose last name was reversed to provide the name Etap.

I love how Skinner asks who misspelled “Federal Bureau of Investigation,” like, did he really think it was Scully?

February 25, 2017

The X-Files 4.19, Synchrony: The Iceman Cometh

Posted in TV tagged at 1:27 pm by Jenn

This ice sculpture is shockingly lifelike

This ice sculpture is shockingly lifelike

Summary: An old man runs to MIT around 11:40 at night as two 20-something men fight about one of them going to someone behind the other’s back. The old man warns one of the younger men that he’s heading toward a dangerous street. The younger men try to get him to back off, but when a security officer arrives, the old man announces that one of them, Lucas, is going to get hit by a bus and be killed at 11:46. He warns the other man, Jason, to protect him. Jason is surprised that the man knows his name.

As the security officer takes the old man away, Jason tries again to work things out with Lucas, but Lucas is done talking. The two students split up, but when Jason sees a bus coming, he decides he should listen to the old man. Just as predicted, Lucas is struggling with his books and doesn’t see the bus. Jason runs to warn him, but it’s too late. It’s 11:46 and Lucas is dead. Also, the driver thinks Jason pushed Lucas in front of the bus, so this is really not Jason’s day. (Well…not Lucas’ either.)

Mulder presents the situation to Scully, explaining that just before his death, Lucas was arguing with Jason, his academic advisor. Jason has been arrested for murder and won’t tell the police what they were fighting about. Mulder shows Scully a taped interrogation where Jason claims that an old man warned that Lucas was going to be hit by a bus. No one has been able to talk to the old man, or to the security officer, since he’s dead.

The agents go to Massachusetts and discover that the security officer’s body is frozen. In normal circumstances, it would look like he’d passed out after drinking and froze to death, but it only got down to 28 degrees the previous night, and the body is 15 degrees. Or at least it was – now it’s 8. Scully thinks a chemical like liquid nitrogen is to blame, and she’s curious as to how this is connected to Lucas’ death.

Mulder goes to the police station to meet Jason, who’s chatting with his girlfriend, Lisa. After she leaves, Jason asks if the police are going to blame him for the security officer’s death as well as Lucas’. Mulder tells him about the body being frozen, and Jason thinks he’s playing mind games. He finally reveals the reason for his and Lucas’ fight: Lucas was going to rat on Jason for falsifying data in a paper. Jason says he didn’t, though he did interpret data in a not-completely-sound way.

Mulder guesses that the two men were competing for the same grant. Jason explains that they study cryobiology, the effects of freezing temperatures on biological systems. Scully calls (no “Mulder, it’s me,” sadly) to tell her partner that she found Jason’s fingerprints on the security officer and his car, so Jason is looking at a second murder charge.

A man named Dr. Yonechi tries to check into a hotel, but his name isn’t on the list of reservations. The old man approaches him, claiming he was sent to pick up Yonechi and take him to a different hotel. Once they’re at the new hotel, the old man thanks Yonechi for his contribution to the old man’s work on vitrification. Yonechi is confused – no one’s solved vitrification yet. The old man says that Yonechi found a way to substitute sugar for water. He pulls out a blade and stabs Yonechi in the hand, then apologizes, saying, “This is the only way.”

Yonechi becomes frozen corpse #2, and the agents learn that an old man was seen with him before his death. They think the man is Jason’s accomplice, and they’re using Jason’s cryobiology research to kill his competition. Scully shows Mulder an analysis of the chemical found in the wound the old man made in Yonechi’s hand; the security officer had one, too. Mulder thinks he knows someone who can enlighten them.

The agents visit Lisa, who’s also a cryobiologist, and show her the analysis. She tells them Jason was working on a rapid-freezing agent that allow a cell to be thawed so it can survive the freezing process. But Jason is nowhere near developing the agent; so far it’s just theoretical. They’re still at least ten years away from having the right technology. Scully and Mulder disagree. When Lisa learns that Yonechi was only frozen a couple hours ago, she announces that he might not really be dead.

Lisa has Yonechi brought to the lab and submerges him in some gross-looking yellow liquid. Once his temperature reaches 97 degrees, she pulls him out. Scully doubts that this will work – no way can a person survive after his body was as cold as Yonechi’s was. Mulder’s like, “Well, if he’s still dead, they can’t kill him more, so…” Lisa then proves Scully wrong by reviving Yonechi, but his temperature climbs so quickly that he starts seizing. Eventually he catches on fire, and the burns he suffers are definitely not survivable.

Scully asks Lisa what could be to blame for this kind of cellular reaction. Lisa thinks that the chemical that froze Yonechi was unstable, so they accidentally caused an opposite reaction by raising his temperature. She thinks he could have survived if he’d stayed in the yellow liquid. Mulder’s more interested in finding out where the freezing compound came from, since it’s not supposed to exist.

Lisa runs off to talk to Jason, with the old man right on her trail. She finally confronts him for following her, but he plays innocent. She guesses that he’s the man Jason saw the night of Lucas’ death, and he killed both Lucas and Yonechi. The old man warns that he can kill her, too. In fact, that’s why he’s there. He pulls out his blade but doesn’t use it on her.

Lisa gives the agents a sketch of the man and tells them about the encounter. Scully encourages her to be completely honest; otherwise she could be considered responsible for any crimes Jason committed. Lisa reveals that she, not Jason, falsified the data in Jason’s research so he could get the grant. Scully thinks she knows who the old man is, but Lisa insists that she doesn’t. She also thinks her secret is safe with him, though Scully wonders if a man who lied for her wouldn’t also lie to her.

Mulder pulls Scully aside to ask why the old man would keep Lisa’s secret. Scully thinks he wants to protect Jason as well. Mulder wonders if the medical tool the old man keeps using on people was originally designed for another purpose. A police officer approaches to tell the agents that there’s a lead on the old man’s location.

Mulder and Scully let themselves into the old man’s hotel room when he doesn’t answer the door. Scully finds Yonechi’s flight information, and Mulder finds a picture of Yonechi, Lisa, and Jason toasting something together. Mulder thinks they’re celebrating “something that never happened.” He believes someone’s trying to alter the future.

He elaborates: If Lucas hadn’t been hit by a bus, he would have gone before the grant committee and revealed Jason and Lisa’s lie. Jason wouldn’t be able to work with Yonechi, and the celebration in the photo never happens. Since the old man couldn’t save Lucas, he had to kill Yonechi to try to get to the same outcome. Scully wonders when the photo was taken (or “never taken”). Mulder guesses it’s at least five years from now, after the freezing compound is developed.

Mulder believes that the old man brought the compound with him to the present. Oh, and he thinks the old man is Jason. He reminds Scully that her graduate thesis was on quantum physics, so she can’t rule out the possibility of time travel. She doesn’t think humans could survive time travel, though. Mulder comes up with one way of getting to the next step: ask Lisa if the photo was ever taken.

Old Jason comes home, not looking so great, and uses his blade on himself to feel better. Lisa finds him there, having guessed who he really is. He tells her she’s the one who made this all possible. 30 years ago, or ten years from Lisa’s present time, she’ll meet someone who tells her about subatomic particles that can go back in time at the temperature absolute zero. She’ll use this development to further her research and “change the course of history.”

Lisa asks why Old Jason said he came back to kill her. He says he couldn’t go through with it. She realizes he’s cold, like, what didn’t you get about absolute zero? Suddenly Old Jason decides he can go through with it after all, and he stabs Lisa, freezing her. Young Jason gets the news just as Mulder bails him out of lockup. He also gets the news that the old man they’re looking for is him, and Mulder thinks he’s going to go after his younger self next. “Puts a whole new spin on being your own worst enemy, huh?” Mulder quips, because there’s never a wrong time for death-related humor.

Young Jason’s confused – he and Lisa have never met Yonechi. Mulder says that a photo analyst confirmed that the photo of the three of them together is real. Young Jason doesn’t think any of this is possible; it’s just science fiction. Mulder’s like, “Well, so is a rapid-freezing compound, yeah?” He thinks there’s some application of the compound for time travel. Now he’d like to know why Old Jason wants to stop time travel.

Mulder and Young Jason head to the cryolab, but when Jason uses a biometric scanner to gain entry, a security officer says that according to the computer, he’s already there. Mulder sends Jason to meet Scully and Lisa while he looks for Old Jason. Lisa’s team is trying to revive her like they revived Yonechi, though they’re not sure what to do when they get her heart beating again. Scully tells them to put her back in the yellow liquid.

Mulder gets access to Jason’s research files from an assistant. Scully calls (still no “Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him that Lisa’s doing much better than Yoneshi was when he was in her condition. Mulder asks about Young Jason, but he hasn’t come to the lab yet. The assistant tells Mulder that Jason’s files are all empty, and his data’s gone.

Young Jason has figured out where his old self would go to stop himself, the mainframe where his files are held. Old Jason wants his research to be destroyed. Young Jason just wants Lisa to be okay. Old Jason says that they helped create a world “without history, without hope. A world where anyone can know everything that will ever happen.” As Mulder tracks the Jasons down, Young Jason demands that Old Jason help him save Lisa.

Mulder gets Young Jason to leave Old Jason alone, promising that Lisa’s alive. If Young Jason hurts his older self, they’ll never know the truth. But Old Jason isn’t about letting any truth get out – he thinks the world would be better off if he never existed. As Mulder uses a fire extinguisher to try to break down the door to the lab they’re in, Old Jason holds on to Young Jason until they both burst into flames.

The good news is that Lisa’s survived her ordeal, thanks to her own research. She’s sure that Old Jason was telling the truth when he said who he was. Scully gently tells her that there was a fire in the mainframe and her boyfriend’s dead.

Old Jason, meanwhile, has disappeared. Mulder plans to believe in what he saw forever, quoting Scully’s thesis to her about the universe only producing one outcome. Does this mean the future can’t be altered, and Old Jason won’t be able to prevent time travel from being discovered? This is one question Scully can’t answer. And as soon as Lisa has recovered, she’s right back in her lab, working on research that could lead to who knows what.

Thoughts: Cryogenic freezing AND time travel? They couldn’t just pick one weird scenario for this episode?

Mulder: “Although common sense may rule out the possibility of time travel…” Right, like common sense has ever had a place on this show.

That guy Lisa’s supposed to meet in ten years should probably watch his back.

February 18, 2017

The X-Files 4.18, Max: Flight Risks

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

I don't think Max had a future as an interior decorator

I don’t think Max had a future as an interior decorator

Summary: The lights Mulder has encountered underwater are from other divers, so he quickly surfaces and flees. Back on land, he tries to outrun a Jeep full of soldiers who capture him. Back in D.C., Scully tends to Pendrell, but it doesn’t look good. She goes after NTSB guy, who’s wounded but still able to run. When she returns to Pendrell, she orders him to stay alive so they can celebrate her birthday together. While paramedics tend to him, Scully realizes her nose is bleeding.

Frisch doesn’t think his phone call to his girlfriend tipped anyone off, since he didn’t say where he was, so Scully thinks someone on the inside has turned on them. Skinner arrives, having been told about Frisch’s transfer into protective custody; he’s now being arrested for providing false testimony. Scully argues that his life is in danger because he’s blowing the whistle on the military.

Skinner tells her that the Joint Chiefs of Staff are overruling that decision. They’re also on the hunt for Mulder for interfering with the investigation into the plane crash. The military admits they were responsible for the crash, but they don’t back up Frisch’s version of events. Skinner notices that something’s off with Scully and tells her he’s not going to let her stay in the field if it’s not safe. Scully insists, as always, that she’s fine.

Mulder’s taken to Von Drehle Air Force Reserve Installation, where Scully gets him released and tells him the military had no choice but to confess their part in the plane crash. They’re saying that the air-traffic controllers gave bad coordinates, which makes Scully think that Frisch and his partner didn’t see the second plane, a fighter jet, until it was too late to keep it from crashing into the first plane. The partner allegedly killed himself because he felt so guilty. The military claims that Frisch is trying to blame them for his mistake.

Scully admits that she’s not sure she believes that the second plane was a military jet. Mulder shows her some burns he got from the crash site in the lake, possibly the beginning stages of the burns suffered by some of the crash victims. Scully says that there’s no proof that the plane crashed into anything, at least according to Millar. She doesn’t think he’s lying, since he had no reason to volunteer anything – especially about how he found Sharon. And it turns out Sharon isn’t Max’s sister after all; she’s a former aeronautics engineer who met Max in a psychiatric facility.

It also turns out that Pendrell being loaded into an ambulance was the last glimpse we’ll get of him: He’s dead. Scully’s upset that innocent people are dying, and they’re not yet sure if it’s “for the truth or for the lies.” Mulder vows to find the truth, because why else would they be fighting?

The agents go to Max’s old trailer, which looks the same as it did the last time they were there. Scully compares him to Mulder, as they both led “Spartan lives” in order to leave room for their passions. Mulder’s interested in finding out why Max wanted to see him (which he figures is what Max was doing, since he had Mulder’s card on him). He was taking a big risk, so it had to have been for a major reason.

Mulder puts on a video of Max talking about his life. He always wanted to be left alone, but as an abductee, he’s never alone, since he’s always wondering if the aliens will come back for him. He wants to prove to the public that aliens exist, and that only a few members of the government, FBI, and military know about them. They’re using some of the aliens’ technology in U.S. military operations, and someone needs to confront them and make them admit it. Meanwhile, divers, one with radiation burns, pull aliens and their aircraft from the lake. NTSB guy arrives, pleased that their mission was successful.

The search for the crash victims is almost complete, and Millar thanks everyone involved for their work. Mulder can tell that he’s not convinced of what he’s been told about the crash. He shares his theory that Max knew about the crash ahead of time but got on the flight anyway. He was probably followed by someone who wanted the proof of alien life that he carried with him. This was the guy with the gun, who was unable to kill Max and take the proof before aliens intercepted the plane.

Max would have known what was happening, that he was going to be taken, but Mulder thinks the military plane got involved and screwed up the aliens’ plans. Frisch and his partner couldn’t see the alien craft on radar, so they couldn’t stop whatever happened. Mulder imagines Max being pulled outside the plane as the other passengers watch in awe. He thinks that if the military jet hadn’t been there, Max would have been abducted and returned without anyone knowing.

Next Mulder thinks that the jet intercepted the plane and the alien craft on orders of taking down the aliens. Max was returned to the plane, but the crash ensued and everyone was killed instead of just having their memories erased and losing nine minutes of their lives. Millar doesn’t exactly believe Mulder’s story, but even if he did, he can’t sell it to the government. Scully notes that the door and seats contain traces of radioactivity, which Mulder hasn’t been able to explain. Millar thinks he knows the reason, and it’s inside Max’s carry-on bag.

Millar promises to include the contents of the bag in his official report, though he can’t credit them with the cause of the crash. Scully tells Mulder that they might not ever get all the answers, which means Max and Pendrell’s deaths might never be explained. Mulder wants to go talk to Sharon, whether or not she’s mentally stable.

Well, really, he wants Scully to go talk to Sharon while he goes back to Max’s trailer, which is now trashed. He runs into the trailer park manager, who mentions that he has some of Max’s mail. While he gets it, Mulder pauses Max’s video, seeing Sharon in the background. He sees that the return address on one of Max’s letters is Paul Gidney, Max’s alias. Inside is a claim ticket.

Scully visits Sharon, who admits that she lied about being Max’s sister. Scully asks her to spill anything about what Max was up to. Sharon hesitates, worrying that it could get her into trouble. Scully sees blisters on Sharon’s face and asks what she was exposed to. Sharon says she stole something, and Scully realizes it was from whoever she worked for when she was in aeronautics. Max had her take something that he claimed was alien technology. It was in three parts, and each of them had one, but they were taken. Scully asks about the third part.

Mulder figures out that the claim ticket is for a piece of luggage at the Syracuse Hancock International Airport. Men in suits watch from a distance as he gets it, then asks for a security entrance to a tunnel. As he escapes, Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and tells him he has the third part, though she doesn’t know what it is. She warns him not to take it out of its container, but mid-’90s cell service was pretty bad, and static on the line keeps Mulder from hearing her.

Even without hearing Scully’s warning, Mulder doesn’t open the bag. Instead, he puts it through an x-ray machine. Scully thinks they’re dealing with some industrial espionage. Mulder gets on a flight to D.C., because that worked out so well for Max when he took his part on a plane. Apparently Mulder’s FBI skills are on the fritz because he doesn’t see that NTSB guy is on the same flight.

After some time in the air, NTSB guy sits down with Mulder and starts a conversation. But Mulder’s FBI skills are back in full force, and he warns that he has a gun on NTSB guy. NTSB guy doesn’t think Mulder will shoot, since he could cause a crash. NTSB guy has come prepared with a parachute and is sure he’ll be able to escape. He’s also willing to sacrifice himself to continue the cover-up. There are dozens of lights on outside, and no one would notice if one went out. Does Mulder think it’s worth it to sacrifice millions of lives just to keep some lights on?

Mulder asks what the thing in the bag is, guessing it’s an alien source of energy. NTSB guy sticks to the story that the plane crash was caused by human error. Mulder orders him to go to the bathroom so Mulder can keep him contained for the rest of the flight and ensure he pays for the crash. He then calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her he’s captured Pendrell’s killer. He checks the time and realizes his watch has stopped.

Mulder warns a flight attendant that the plane is going to be intercepted, so the pilot needs to be ready. NTSB guy emerges from the bathroom with a gun, because I guess Mulder didn’t consider checking him for weapons. Mulder gives up Max’s bag just moments before the plane begins to shape. Looks like it’s time for another abduction, y’all! NTSB guy keeps his eye and weapon on Mulder, who pulls out his own gun and demands the bag.

The emergency door gets suck out of the plane, and Mulder tells NTSB to let go of the bag so the aliens can have it. A light fills the plane, and we skip forward to it landing in D.C. Scully and Skinner are among the agents there to get NTSB guy, but he’s no longer on the flight. Everyone on the plane is fine, and no one seems to have gone through any trauma. Also, Mulder’s watch is nine minutes slow. Skinner asks after NTSB guy, and Mulder replies, “I think he got the connecting flight.”

Later, the agents and Sharon watches the rest of Max’s video, where he talks about alien technology that the U.S. could use for things like space travel. He doesn’t get why the government wants to keep them quiet. Sharon asks to keep Max’s things, which Mulder thinks could be very important one day. Scully thinks Max would want her to have them.

Scully steps outside the trailer to look up at the sky and think about Pendrell; she notes to Mulder that she didn’t even know his first name. She has Mulder’s birthday gift with her, and she thinks he gave it to her to help her remember that people can achieve anything they can imagine as long as they dream and work hard. They also need to work together “because no one gets there alone.” We can praise those who do the work, but we also need to remember those who sacrifice their lives in the process. “I just thought it was a pretty cool keychain,” Mulder quips.

Thoughts: Way to not do anything to try to help Pendrell, everyone else in the bar.

’90s music alert: “Unmarked Helicopters” by Soul Coughing. Wow, remember Soul Coughing? I barely do.

Farewell, Agent Pendrell. (Aw, that rhymes.) As the kids would say, you were a beautiful cinnamon roll, too pure for this world.

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