July 14, 2018

The X-Files 8.2, Without: Trust No One, Indeed

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:01 pm by Jenn

“I gotta work on my tortured-loner look”

Summary: Scully voices over stuff about darkness and the stuff we don’t see and secrets. There’s a UFO. Okay, show, let’s get on with it. We pick up with the end of “Within,” and Doggett finding Gibson with Mulder, or at least someone who looks like Mulder. Doggett orders him to let Gibson go, and as soon as Mulder does, Gibson runs off. Doggett asks Mulder if he’s armed, but Mulder just stands and stares at him. When Doggett tells him to get on the ground, Mulder slowly backs up to the edge of the cliff they’re on and lets himself fall off. He looks dead for a minute, but he’s not. By the time Scully and Skinner reach Doggett and the other agents, Mulder’s gone.

Since Mulder just fell off a cliff, then ran away like nothing happened, Scully knows they’re really dealing with the Bounty Hunter. Doggett wonders who the Bounty Hunter wants a bounty for. Scully says it’s Gibson and explains how he’s part alien. Doggett notes that Scully’s theory sounds a lot like something Mulder would believe. She invites him to come up with a better idea. Skinner notes that, with the Bounty Hunter in play, it’ll be hard to know if the people they’re working with are really the people they appear to be. Scully thinks Mulder would find this all amusing.

Doggett heads back to Gibson’s school, but the boy hasn’t returned there. He decides they need to search again. The Bounty Hunter is also there, and he turns himself into a teacher to fool Doggett. Scully and Skinner arrive and wonder how Doggett knew to look for Gibson at the school. They figure since Gibson can read thoughts, he’s three steps ahead of them and won’t be returning to the school. They spot a girl taking a bike and leaving the school grounds. Scully follows her as Skinner talks to the teacher the Bounty Hunter is pretending to be.

Somehow Scully manages to keep up with the girl on the bike for a while, but she eventually loses her. Scully realizes the desert ground she’s standing on is actually the roof of an underground bunker. She goes inside and finds the girl and Gibson. Gibson’s worried that Scully will lead the aliens to her, but she insists that she can protect him. The girl, Thea, is worried, and Scully says she has a right to be – now they can’t be sure who to trust.

Gibson has injured his leg, so Scully tends to him the best she can, but she’ll have to go get a car to get him out of town. Gibson reminds her that she promised to take care of him in the past, but that didn’t turn out so great for him. Back at the school, Doggett gets a call from Kersh, who’d love to know how it’s possible that Doggett found Mulder, then lost him in the middle of the desert. I think Doggett would like to know that, too.

Skinner realizes that Kersh was spying on him and Scully, which is how Doggett knew where to look for Gibson. He’s just a pawn. Doggett is a good agent – he’s even been talked about as a potential future director – but he’s being set up to fail. The only way he can find Mulder is to listen to Scully and accept the truth. But even then, he’ll lose, because he can’t file a report mentioning aliens or the Bounty Hunter. Kersh doesn’t want Doggett to succeed.

Doggett realizes Scully is MIA and tells his agents to get in touch with her. The Bounty Hunter turns into her inside the school just as the real Scully returns outside. She, Skinner, and Doggett head inside to nab the Bounty Hunter, but he realizes he’s been found out. He strangles another agent and makes a break for it. Scully thinks she’s tracked down her twin, but it’s just her reflection in a mirror. The strangled agent is the only one who saw the fake Scully. The real one figures that the Bounty Hunter is now posing as someone else. Thea catches on and realizes that the Bounty Hunter has turned into a teacher again.

Apparently Scully’s dreams about Mulder undergoing alien testing are contagious, since he has one in his underground hideout. Scully starts to head back there, but Skinner spots her and stops her. She thinks he’s the Bounty Hunter and pulls her gun on him. They have a standoff for a little while, but Skinner backs down first, knowing he can prove who he is. After all, he knows Scully’s secret. When he mentions her pregnancy, she knows he’s the real Skinner.

He thinks this has gone too far, but she says it hasn’t gone far enough. She needs to leave without letting Doggett find out. Skinner reminds her that she promised Mulder wouldn’t let him ruin his career over this pursuit for the truth. But what about Scully? She has more at stake now than Skinner ever has. Scully emotionally says that she can’t take the chance that she’ll never see Mulder again. Gibson is their last chance, and if they don’t get back to him, they may lose that chance. Thea watches them drive off.

Gibson’s not in the bunker anymore, but since he was trying to make an escape on an injured leg, he hasn’t gotten very far. He tells Scully that Mulder is nearby. Scully thinks Gibson’s just delirious from a fever, but he tells her she’s close to finding her partner. She sends Skinner to the hospital with the boy while she stays behind to look for Mulder. Sometime later, Gibson wakes up in the hospital, agitated. Skinner tries to calm him as Thea appears.

In the desert, Scully calls for her partner/boyfriend/baby daddy but gets no response. She sees a light in the sky and thinks it’s from a UFO. It’s not – it’s just Doggett’s helicopter. She accuses him of following her, but he says he’s just going where the action is. Scully notes that the fact that the action is wherever she is should mean something. The two fight for a little while about the truth and their theories about what’s going on. Doggett wonders what Scully would do if she found Mulder out there. She says she’d do whatever it took. To do…what? I don’t know.

Doggett’s annoyed that Scully didn’t tell him where Gibson was. He knows that Skinner took the boy to the hospital. Scully asks how he knows that. Doggett says the only thing he knows about the case is that Mulder is going to look for Gibson. When Mulder turns up, Doggett will grab him. Scully realizes that Doggett had his agents follow Skinner, but how can he know for sure that they’re all his guys? They fly off to the hospital, not seeing a nearby UFO, which holds Mulder, positioned for testing just like he is in Scully and Gibson’s dreams.

At the hospital, the agents assigned to keep Gibson safe insist that they’ve been successful. Scully asks if Doggett believes that. They go to Gibson’s room, but it’s empty. The only way Gibson and Skinner could have left the room without agents seeing them is through the ceiling. Scully tracks them down, and Skinner confirms that they escaped through the ceiling. He didn’t know if he could trust Doggett’s agents, so they moved to another room. But just then, Doggett finds someone hiding in the ceiling – someone who looks just like Skinner.

Gibson is able to signal to Scully that her Skinner is a fake. The Bounty Hunter tosses her around, which can’t be good for the baby. She’s able to grab her gun and shoot him, which makes him bleed green, then melt into a puddle of goo. Scully collapses and cries. Doggett comforts her, but it’s just not the same as it would be if he were Mulder.

Everyone returns to D.C., where Doggett shows Kersh pictures that should prove that all this crazy stuff actually happened. But Kersh is the new Skinner, which means he doesn’t believe Doggett’s report. Doggett knows Kersh was setting him up to look crazy, but Kersh tells him to go look for more answers.

Instead, Doggett visits Scully in the hospital and does Mulder’s usual end-of-episode case wrap-up. Skinner is okay, and Gibson is safe. And if this weren’t enough of an indication that Doggett is the new Mulder, he tells her he’s now officially part of the X-Files. He promises his new partner that he’ll find Mulder. Well, he’d better hurry, because it’s time for Mulder to undergo more tests.

Thoughts: I wish we’d gotten a whole episode of Gibson at the school. What a smart idea to stash a mind-reader at a school where he doesn’t speak the language – he can still communicate with people.

Scully and Skinner need a code word so they always know they’re talking to each other, not an imposter. Of course, if Mulder were there, he’d call it a safe word.

Why is it that the Bounty Hunter needs his special alien ice pick to kill, but he could be brought down by a regular old bullet? Did I miss something? Don’t email me; I don’t care. He’s dead.


July 7, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 30, 2018

The X-Files 7.22, Requiem: Take Me Back to the Start

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

Like I was going to use any other picture here

Summary: There’s a fire burning in Bellefleur, Oregon, the aftermath of a plane crash. Detective Miles is on his way to the scene when his radio and clock start going crazy. His car stops on its own and he’s hit by one of his deputies, Ray Hoese. While Miles’ watch spins, he checks on Ray, who’s not in good shape. There’s alien acid on the ground. Suddenly Ray appears behind Miles, but most fans of the show know that, because of the alien acid, this is probably the Bounty Hunter.

Some number-crunchers total up all the money Mulder’s spent in expenses (rental cars, motel rooms, etc.) on his cases. He suggests that he and Scully share a motel room to save money. One of the number-cruncher thinks chasing aliens is a waste of time and resources, especially since Mulder hasn’t come to any conclusions. And since Samantha has been declared dead, there’s nothing left to investigate. Somewhere else on the planet, Marita goes to a prison to inform Krycek that he’s being released, though she wishes he weren’t.

The number-cruncher addresses Scully’s expense reports with the same criticisms he had for Mulder. Should the government really be footing the bill for the agents to investigate a conspiracy involving aliens enslaving humans? Scully won’t say for certain whether she does or doesn’t believe in aliens, but she admits that she’s seen things she can’t deny. Krycek takes a shower as Marita looks on, because…well, do you blame her? She tells him CSM sent her to get him, and that CSM is dying.

The number-cruncher tells Mulder this evaluation is about money, not the weirdness of his cases. Thanks to the Internet, the agents should be able to do their research from their offices, not on the road. It’s been seven years; the agents should be able to narrow down where the aliens are. It’s about reducing their vision.

In Bellefleur, two teen boys ask Miles about the plane crash. Miles tells them it was a Navy fighter, and definitely not anything extraterrestrial or supernatural. The fire’s out, and there’s nothing to see. The boys are skeptical. Back in D.C., Mulder tells Scully that he and the number-cruncher got into a tussle. He gets a call from Billy Miles, who tells the agents that the disappearances he experienced seven years ago are happening again – but not to him this time. Scully agrees to take a trip to Oregon – the site of her and Mulder’s first X-File together – and waste some more of the FBI’s money.

Marita takes Krycek to D.C., where CSM is holed up at the Watergate. Krycek is angry that CSM had him thrown in prison, but CSM is no less angry that Krycek tried to sell something that was CSM’s. He wants a truce, since they “have a singular opportunity now.” The crash in Oregon was between a military plane and an alien ship, just like Roswell. Now they can rebuild their project. CSM smokes through a hole in his neck, which I really didn’t need to see. Marita asks how he knows that someone hasn’t already covered what CSM wants from the wreckage.

The two teens, Gary and Richie, search the crash site (somehow they got hold of a radiation detector), and Gary has a shaking experience like he’s in the cave in “Rush”. Richie’s flashlight catches fire and he runs away. The next morning, the agents meet up with Billy, who’s now a deputy, thanks to his father’s help. He’s gotten past his abductions, but others haven’t, and Miles denies that they ever happened. He’s sticking to the story about a Navy plane crash. Ray is missing, and Miles hasn’t helped with the search. Mulder thinks Miles will have to admit the truth when they find a UFO.

Miles arrives, confused as to why the agents are in Oregon, since the FAA is now saying there was no crash in the woods. He takes the agents out to the site, and Mulder sees the X he painted on the road seven years ago. Scully finds three bullet shells that seem to be from Ray’s gun. Mulder says he must have shot at nothing, since there’s nothing to find. Scully quietly asks Billy if Ray was a good deputy. Billy says he was; he’s married and just became a father. After the agents leave the site, Miles tosses the shells in his trunk…which already holds Ray’s body.

Mulder and Scully go to Ray’s house and learn that his wife is Theresa Nemman. She tells them that Ray is also an abductee, though he hasn’t told many people. She has medical records showing that he underwent a lot of tests when he was abducted. While she goes to get them, Scully plays with the baby. Mulder enjoys the sight, even knowing that, thanks to the aliens’ tests, Scully will never get to play with a baby of her own.

That night, Scully comes to Mulder’s motel room (“it’s me”), feeling sick. He tucks her into his bed and spoons her, allegedly to warm her up. He thinks she should go home, since this case will just keep reminding her of her own abduction experiences, and the fact that they’ve left her unable to have a baby. Mulder continues that the number-cruncher might have been right about the costs of their jobs. The personal costs might not make it worth it. They should have lives that focus on something other than chasing monsters. Scully stays put, though, so I’m not sure she agrees.

Krycek is in Oregon and hasn’t turned up any evidence of a UFO. He tells CSM that Mulder and Scully are there looking for Ray, and will probably find the ship before Krycek does. CSM thinks if Krycek finds Ray, he’ll find the UFO. Theresa wakes to a knock at her door and thinks her husband has come home. She guesses that he went missing because he was abducted again. She quickly realizes that Ray isn’t really Ray, but she’s ready with an alien ice pick. Unfortunately, the alien acid burns her eyes, and the Bounty Hunter is able to overpower her.

The next morning, the agents come to the Hoeses’ house, where Billy tells them he’s sure Theresa was abducted. They see a burn mark in the carpet, something they’ve both seen before – the remnants of the alien acid. Scully gets dizzy but wants to keep working. In D.C., CSM dismisses his aide, Greta, and tells Marita that he’s sure Krycek will find the UFO. It’s rebuilding itself after the crash, so time is running out.

CSM can’t give Krycek any help, since Krycek will want to sell the information he finds. That information is “the answer to all things – every possible imaginable question.” Not God, as Marita guesses; God is just alien intelligence that humans can’t understand. Marita asks if the aliens are coming. CSM says they’re coming back.

Mulder spots Richie in the crowd gathered outside the Hoeses’ house and thinks he knows something. Richie tells the agents and Billy that Gary was taken, and he knows Miles knows what’s going on. He takes the agents to the woods, where Scully has the same shaking experience Gary did. The guys don’t see, since they’re somewhere else, finding Richie’s flashlight. When Mulder makes to to where Scully’s been knocked to the ground, he tells her they need to warn Billy that these abductions are different from the ones seven years ago. These victims aren’t coming back.

Billy goes looking for his father at home, believing he’s the Bounty Hunter (in which case your gun wouldn’t do you any good, Billy). If Miles is really Miles, he should believe Billy about his abductions. Miles says he believes him; he just wants it all to go away. He calms Billy and takes his gun…then morphs into the Bounty Hunter. Mulder and Scully arrive moments later and find the house empty.

Two days later, the agents are back in D.C., and Mulder’s ready to hear their punishment for going to Oregon. Skinner’s in the clear, but he can’t do much for Mulder. He lets Marita and Krycek into the office, holding Mulder back when he tries to attack Krycek. Marita announces that CSM is dying and wants them to revive the conspiracy. They know there’s a UFO in Oregon; it’s just cloaked. The Bounty Hunter is getting rid of anyone who underwent testing so he can cover everything up. Krycek wants to give Mulder the chance to find proof (and, in the process, damn CSM’s soul).

Scully arrives just then, so Mulder has to bring her into the fold. He calls in the Lone Gunmen to confirm that there’s a cloaked UFO in the woods. Marita and Krycek repeat CSM’s warning that it’s rebuilding itself, so time is running out. Mulder tells Scully he’s not letting her go back to Oregon with him: “It has to end sometime. That sometime is now.” Since previous abductees are being taken, Scully’s at risk, and Mulder doesn’t want to lose her. She hugs him and tells him she won’t let him go alone.

So Mulder goes back to Oregon with Skinner at his side, while Scully looks at Billy’s medical records in D.C. She tells the Lone Gunmen that all the abductees have experienced strange brain activity, just like what Mulder experienced earlier in the year. She remembers being knocked down in the woods and thinks the abducting force was rejecting her. Mulder’s the one who’s really in danger. Suddenly she collapses.

In the woods, Mulder and Skinner set up some laser beams in an attempt to unclock the cloaked UFO. Mulder sticks his hand in the space where the beams stop and experiences the shaking. Skinner goes looking for him, but the field has now cloaked Mulder as well. He sees all the abductees standing together and goes to join them. They’re under the UFO, as if they’re waiting for it to beam them on board. The Bounty Hunter arrives, and he and Mulder stare each other down.

The UFO sheds its cloaking, and Skinner is able to see it fly away. He guesses that Mulder’s on board. In D.C., Krycek and Marita go back to CSM, who guesses that they failed. He knows his time is up. Krycek is ready to send the Devil back to Hell, ignoring CSM’s warning that he’ll be dooming all of mankind. Krycek ignores him and pushes him down a flight of stairs.

Scully’s in the hospital, undergoing tests (presumably not the kind the aliens performed on her), when Skinner gets back to D.C. He’s upset that he lost Mulder. Like Scully, Skinner can’t deny what he saw. Scully’s determined to find Mulder – she has to. As Skinner’s about to leave, Scully says she needs to tell him something, and he’ll have to keep it quiet. She can’t believe it or explain it, but she’s pregnant.

Thoughts: If I were Gillian Anderson, I would have been really ticked that David Duchovny made the show move production to California, then bailed.

Even without being Gillian Anderson, I’m ticked that they didn’t bring Krycek back for any of the revival episodes. I mean, they brought back Jeffrey Spender, and no one likes him.

Speaking of Krycek…stairs? That was your big murder plan? How dumb.

Season 7 is a wrap! Get ready for John Doggett!

June 23, 2018

The X-Files 7.21, Je Souhaite: When You Wish Upon a Powerful Spirit from Middle Eastern Folklore

Posted in TV tagged at 1:15 pm by Jenn

This is what I wanted, and I didn’t even have to wish for it

Summary: In Creve Coeur, Missouri, a man drives a golf cart around a storage facility, looking for a man named Anson Stokes. Anson is slacking on the job, but his boss, Jay, eventually finds him and chastises him. He warns that Anson will never own a boat like the ones in the magazine he’s reading if he doesn’t do his job. He tells Anson to clean out storage cube 407, which Anson discovers is full of furniture. There’s also a rolled-up rug, which Anson soon learns has a woman’s body inside it (not, as you might suspect, a dead body). When Jay comes back to check up on his employee, Anson and the woman are both gone. Jay yells until suddenly his mouth disappears.

About a month later, Jay goes to D.C. to discuss the case with Mulder and Scully. He can only have the discussion because his mouth has been reconstructed. Jay blames Anson for his condition, though Anson won’t talk to the police. The agents quickly head to the Mark Twain Trailer Court in Missouri, discussing whether or not Jay’s condition could have a medical explanation. You can probably guess which of them says it may and which says it doesn’t. The debate ends when the agents see a huge boat parked next to Anson’s trailer.

Insider, Anson sees the agents and thinks they’re from the IRS. He tells his brother, Leslie, to get rid of them. Leslie tries to play it cool, which lasts about five seconds. When he learns the agents are with the FBI, Leslie blurts that the boat isn’t theirs; they’re just holding it for someone else. I have a feeling Leslie spent a lot of his teenage years lying that he was just holding things for someone else. Mulder sees the woman from the rug in the brothers’ kitchen, then tells Leslie they’re there to talk to Anson about Jay. Leslie blames chemicals for his missing mouth. Maybe someone has a meth lab in a storage cube.

The agents next go to cube 407, which has been untouched since Jay lost his mouth there. Mulder finds a calendar from 1978, guessing that’s when the cube was first rented. Scully notes that the furniture is pretty expensive. Anson disappeared for a few days after Jay lost his mouth; maybe Anson stole something from the cube and sold it to get money for his boat. Of course, that doesn’t explain what happened to Jay. Mulder finds a photo of a man from the ’70s with two attractive women at his sides. The woman from the rug is also in the picture, looking exactly as she did in the Stokes’ kitchen.

At the trailer park, Anson complains that he’s “two down” but has nothing to show for it. The woman from the rug tells him his boat is a white elephant that serves no purpose. Anson complains that he didn’t find her any water to put it in. She says he didn’t specify that he wanted the boat to go in the water. Anson can’t use the boat, and he can’t pay the taxes due on it, so it really is useless. Leslie suggests that he use his last wish to get rid of it. Anson reminds his brother that he wasted his first two wishes, so he’s not going to waste his third.

He wants to clarify with the woman that he’s in brainstorming mode right now, so if he accidentally says “I wish,” that doesn’t mean he’s actually using his third wish yet. The woman suggests that he use it to give Jay his mouth back. Anson argues that he didn’t officially wish for Jay to lose his mouth, so it shouldn’t have counted. Leslie thinks Anson should wish for money, but Anson takes it a step further, thinking they should wish for something that generates money. “Brains? Talent? Hard work?” the woman suggests.

Leslie wants a money machine, since that would literally generate money. Then he thinks of an infinite number of wishes. The woman tells them they only get three. She gestures to Leslie, who uses a motorized scooter to get around, trying to indicate that Anson should wish for his brother to be able to walk again. Anson doesn’t get the hint. He finally decides on his third wish: the ability to turn invisible at will. He could be a spy! The woman thinks this is unoriginal, but she doesn’t really get a say in the matter, so she grants the wish.

Anson isn’t sure his clothes will turn invisible when he does, so he strips before he tries out his new power. It works, and Anson runs outside to go see the world, or whatever. He’s so focused on crossing a busy street to bug a couple of pretty women that he doesn’t pay attention to the traffic. And since he’s invisible, the driver of a truck speeding by doesn’t see him, so Anson goes squish.

A biker riding past hits Anson’s unseen body, which is eventually brought to a local morgue for Scully to autopsy. At first it looks like there’s nothing on the table, but Scully can feel the body, which freaks her out. She uses some yellow powder to make it visible, enjoying herself a little. When Mulder joins her, Scully says that this is one of the most amazing things she’s seen in their seven years working together. This could change the face of science.

Mulder disagrees, having gathered information on the man from the ’70s picture. His name was Henry, and he became super-rich practically overnight. Then he died of…basically, a giant erection. Mulder thinks the woman from the kitchen is the key to this case. He wants to find her, but Scully thinks she should stay with Anson’s body.

Mulder returns to the Stokes’ trailer, where someone has written “you suck!” on the side of the boat. He’s surprised that Leslie isn’t shocked to hear that Anson was invisible when his body was found. Mulder thinks the woman, who’s since disappeared, is a jinniyah, a spirit or demon from Middle Eastern folklore. In common parlance, she’s a genie. The two men sing the I Dream of Jeannie theme song together before Mulder points out that the genie on that show never killed anyone. He thinks Anson found the genie’s living quarters and made some wishes.

Leslie agrees to hand over the genie’s living quarters, but instead of the rug, he gives Mulder a little box. Then he goes to cube 407, where the rug is again rolled up around a body. Mulder goes back to the morgue, where Scully reluctantly puts Anson’s body in a drawer and checks out the box. Mulder has already guessed that it’s not the genie’s home.

He’s contacted Quantico and used their facial-recognition software to find pictures of the genie (who, from here on out, we’ll call Jenn, since that’s what Mulder dubs her later, and I’m sick of not having a name for her). She’s present at one of Benito Mussolini’s speeches and at an event with Richard Nixon. Mulder thinks both men got their power through wishes Jenn granted.

Leslie takes Jenn back to his trailer, ready to make three wishes. Jenn finally says out loud that he should use one to address his disability. Leslie, like Anson, doesn’t get it; he thinks she means he should wish for a solid gold wheelchair. But there’s a wish he wants granted even more than that. Water for the boat? No, probably not.

Scully contacts some science-y people to come see Anson’s body, but when she doesn’t see him in his drawer, she figures the powder somehow came off and he’s just invisible again. She’s wrong. Zombie Anson is back in the trailer with his brother, and no one’s happy with the situation. Jenn points out that Anson was hit by a truck, so his condition wouldn’t have been great even if he hadn’t been brought back from the dead. He can’t even talk. So Leslie uses his second wish to give his brother the ability to speak. He immediately regrets it, since all Anson does is yell in horror.

Scully feels stupid about her show-and-tell failure and inability to prove that she was in contact with an invisible man. Mulder has already figured out that Anson was brought back from the dead, thanks to Leslie. At the trailer, Anson finally stops yelling and tells Leslie how awful his situation is. Leslie regrets wasting two wishes on his ungrateful brother. He at least turns up the heat in the trailer, since Anson’s cold, but it’s not enough, so Anson goes to light the stove. As Leslie considers his third wish and the agents arrive outside, Anson lights the stove, and all the gas that’s been pouring out of it. The trailer blows up.

Jenn and her rug land unharmed after the blast, so Mulder finally gets the chance to question her. Scully’s disappointed that Anson is visible again. She asks Jenn how his body got to the trailer park. Jenn tells her to ask Mulder, since she knows he’s figured everything out. Mulder says he still hasn’t decided if Jenn is a good genie or a bad genie. Could she be cursed? Jenn says all of mankind is cursed with stupidity – they always ask for the wrong thing. Over 500 years, people haven’t changed (though they do smell better now). They’re all shallow and self-destructive.

Scully can’t wrap her mind around the fact that Jenn has been around for 500+ years. Jenn explains that she was human once. She was born in France in the 15th century, and she unrolled a rug one day and discovered an ifrit, a very powerful genie. She wished for a stouthearted mule, a sack that was always full of turnips, and “great power and long life.” This turned her into a genie and made her regret not being more specific.

Since Jenn hasn’t committed any crimes and the agents can’t actually prove that she granted the Stokes’ wishes, Scully tells her she’s free to go. Jenn says she’s not – Mulder unrolled her, so he gets three wishes. He’s pleased by this turn of events. The three head home to D.C., and Mulder takes Jenn to his place while he contemplates his wishes. He asks Jenn what she would ask for. Jenn says it doesn’t matter, but she’d wish that she’d never heard of wishes before. She’d rather enjoy her life than worry about what it isn’t. She’d just sit down with some coffee and watch the world.

Mulder thinks people screw up their wishes because they just want things for themselves. (Jenn says it’s “like a chimpanzee with a revolver.”) He wants to give altruism a shot, so he wishes for peace on earth. Jenn grants this, but not in the way Mulder had expected. Instead of removing conflict, she just removes all the humans from the planet. Let it be known that the first person Mulder thinks of is Scully. He runs to the FBI building to find her, but she’s part of humankind, so she’s gone.

Mulder summons Jenn and chastises her for purposely twisting his words. She asks if he really expected her to change everyone’s hearts, even though religion has never been able to do that. She guesses that Mulder wishes he hadn’t screwed up his first wish. He says he does, then rants that not everyone is evil and selfish, and Jenn is awful. He doesn’t realize that Jenn has undone his first wish, and people have returned to the planet, including the conference room he’s in. Skinner and some other agents hear the whole rant.

In order to ensure that Jenn fulfills his third wish exactly as he requests, Mulder types up a sort of contract. Scully comes to his office to talk to him about the rant Skinner said he went on. She asks Jenn to leave, and when Jenn disappears without a trace, Mulder suggests that she used the same trick as Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie. He still wants to make a perfect wish that benefits everyone in the world. Scully thinks the point of life is for humans to bring that about themselves, without a shortcut. Scully leaves, Jenn returns, and Mulder ditches his contract to make his third wish.

That night, he invites Scully over to watch Caddyshack and drink beer. He notes that he obviously didn’t make the world a better place with his third wish. Scully says she’s happy, at least. She asks what the wish was, but Mulder doesn’t answer. Somewhere in the world, Jenn gets a cup of coffee, ready to sit and watch the world for the first time in 500 years.

Thoughts: Leslie is played by Will Sasso. Anson is played by Kevin Weisman, who fulfilled Anson’s wish to be a spy with his role on Alias.

I’m adding Jenn to my list of my favorite one-episode characters. Paula Sorge plays her perfectly.

I love that when Scully puts Anson’s body in the morgue drawer, she whispers goodbye to it. She’d gotten attached!

June 16, 2018

The X-Files 7.20, Fight Club: Let’s Adapt the First Rule of Fight Club and Not Talk About This Episode

Posted in TV tagged at 1:12 pm by Jenn

Double your annoyingness, double your irritation

Summary: In Kansas City, Kansas, two religious prosthelytizers ride their bikes to a house where a woman has just moved in. Her car’s license plate identifies her as Betty, originally from Missouri. She sends them away, since she’s waiting for a call from her cable company. The men next go to another house with a car that has a similar license plate (this one is for Lulu, from Arkansas) and bumper stickers. They’re confused when the woman who opens the door looks just like Betty.

Lulu angrily tells them to leave. The two men start pushing each other, then have a full-on fist fight on Lulu’s front porch. Someone notifies the police, who try to break up the fight, but the prosthelytizers just keep pounding on each other.

The next day, a pair of FBI agents – one male and brunette, the other female and redheaded – visit Betty to investigate what they think may be a religious hate crime. Betty recognizes the two prosthelytizers and is shocked that they attacked each other. The agents ask Betty if she practices voodoo or the occult. Betty says no, then casually says that, according to many, everyone has a twin out there. The agents are suspicious. And despite their voices, which sound like Mulder and Scully’s, these agents aren’t them.

Betty wonders why the agents aren’t talking to her supposed twin. The agents tell her that they went to Lulu’s house, but it’s empty now. In fact, they can’t be sure Lulu exists. Just then, Lulu drives by. The agents start hitting each other as Betty and the prosthelytizers look on. Fake Scully wins the fight and drives off in the agents’ car, while fake Mulder tries to cling to the door. The car eventually crashes.

This is the case Mulder and Scully get in D.C., and both note the similarities between these agents and themselves. For example, fake Mulder and Scully have worked together for seven years, though they’re not romantically involved. Scully doesn’t appreciate playing Watson to Mulder’s Sherlock while he dangles clues in front of her. She’d like the whole story. Mulder won’t give it, so Scully has to make guesses. She figures out that the agents came into contact with a third party who somehow set them off. From there, she gets to Mulder’s theory: doppelgangers.

Scully elaborates on doppelgangers and the possibility that a person can conjure a lookalike to commit acts he or she wouldn’t normally commit. Mulder finally shows her a picture of his suspect, Betty. Scully’s proud of herself for successfully impersonating Mulder. He tells her this doesn’t mean he’s going to start doing the autopsies.

Back in Kansas City, Lulu goes to a copy center called Koko’s to follow-up on a sales job she applied for. She’s told that since she moves around a lot and has had 17 jobs in 17 states in three years, she’s not an ideal candidate. She promises that she’s on a career path now and will commit. The copy machines in the building all start going crazy, and the interviewer decides he needs immediate help, so Lulu gets the job.

Betty drives by the copy center, sees the chaos, and moves on to apply for a job at another Koko’s. She gets the same resistance, having also had 17 jobs in 17 states – the same 17 jobs Lulu had. Betty makes the same promise that she’s there for the long haul and will commit to her new job.

At the Porcherie Hotel, a man named Bert Zupanic puts a bunch of money in a briefcase. Mulder and Scully arrive to ask if he knows how they can get in touch with Betty. Bert denies knowing her, but the agents have a newspaper picture of her appearing in a parade with Betty. It sounds like he knows Lulu, not Betty, but Scully thinks he’s lying. Mulder, however, believes Bert and breaks into his hotel room after he leaves.

Bert goes to Froggy’s Bar with his briefcase o’ money and starts talking to Betty, thinking she’s Lulu. She’s surprised that he knows her drink. Bert thinks she’s in trouble and warns her not to go home tonight. Things become clear for Bert when Betty introduces herself. Just then, Lulu arrives. Betty whispers something to Bert, and the bar begins to shake. All the glasses and mirrors in the place break, and Betty uses the distraction to run out.

Scully meets up with Mulder at an auditorium, where Mulder has befriended a man named Argyle Saperstein and gotten some information. Bert is a wrestler who will be competing there in a few days, so Mulder thinks that’s where they’ll be able to find Betty. The agents can just relax and sight-see until the fight. But Scully has learned about Lulu and discovered that she and Betty have, for the past 12 years, followed each other around the country. Everywhere they go, destruction follows.

As the agents leave to continue investigating, Argyle calls Bert and demands his money. He tells Bert that the FBI is looking for him, and his good-luck charm isn’t so lucky after all. Bert has reconnected with Betty, who’s spent the night with him. Argyle tells him that if he doesn’t bring the money to Froggy’s, there won’t be a wrestling match.

As Betty ducks into the bathroom to get ready for work, Lulu arrives and accuses Bert of two-timing her. She finds Betty’s barrette under the bed but thinks its her own, convincing herself that she’s jealous over nothing. Bert manages to see her off before Betty discovers that anyone has come by. But other people in the hotel start fighting, and shots are fired.

Lulu goes to Froggy’s for lunch, and Argyle mistakes her for Betty. When Bert comes in, the bar starts shaking like it did the previous night. Betty has arrived, confusing Argyle, who thought she just went to the restroom a few seconds ago. Bert rushes Betty out, but when Lulu emerges from the bathroom, the bar shakes again. Betty returns, and the two women stare each other down. Everything breaks again. (How did they fix the mirrors so quickly anyway? Whatever.) Both women flee, but Bert ends up unconscious on the floor. Argyle takes his money and runs.

When Bert regains consciousness, Mulder and Scully are there to ask him about Betty and Lulu. The agents know that something like this will happen again unless they can find the women. Bert sends them to the women’s places of work, and Betty easily comes clean to Mulder, telling him that Lulu follows her around, trying to ruin her life. Betty won’t let Lulu win this time; she wants to stay in Kansas.

Mulder calls Scully, who tells her that Lulu said the same things to her that Betty said to Mulder. Scully thinks the two women have a psychic connection. Lulu approaches Betty’s Koko’s, so the two women are again in close proximity. Mulder’s right between them, and when a manhole cover pops out, he’s sucked down into a sewer.

Scully comes to Betty’s Koko’s, where there’s no sign of Mulder or either woman. Betty’s boss tells her that Mulder left but agrees to let her use the Internet. This leads Scully to the local penitentiary and an inmate named named Bob Danfous. Bob is very angry about something and doesn’t want to help Scully. She has determined that he’s Betty and Lulu’s father, thanks to sperm donations. Scully would like information about Bob’s family history so she can figure out what’s going on with Betty and Lulu. Bob has no interest in telling her anything.

Betty goes to Bert’s room to complain that he’s ignoring her. He tells her he’s lost the financing for his fight, but she’s his good luck. If she could just help him get some money, he’ll be able to fight, and possibly get his big break. She leaves, and moments later, Lulu shows up. She and Bert have the same conversation he just had with Betty.

Betty breaks into her Koko’s after-hours and uses a copier to make counterfeit money. Across town, Lulu does the same. Under town, Mulder makes his way out of the sewer. He calls Scully, who tells him the women are sisters. Mulder has figured out that Betty and Lulu are both in love with Bert, which is why they both want to stay in Kansas. They need to be kept apart at the fight. But there’s another wrinkle: Bert – or someone who looks like him – is in lockup with Bob.

The other Bert gets his money from Betty in time for his fight, so now Argyle’s willing to back him. The match begins, and Bert (or whoever he is) is clearly the superior fighter. Mulder arrives and finds Betty, trying to get her to leave. Then Lulu shows up, and the sisters fight over which of them is really Bert’s good-luck charm.

Out of ideas, Mulder picks Betty up and starts to carry her out of the auditorium. She stops them at the wrestling ring, and the sisters start to bicker. Then the audience starts fighting each other. Things suddenly stop when Scully arrives with the Bert from lockup. The two Berts see each other and try to charge, which makes the audience start fighting each other again. The referee is like, “I didn’t get paid for this.”

Scully’s episode-ending voiceover talks about sperm donations and the two sets of siblings, who met each other despite astronomical odds. Betty and Lulu met each other a dozen years ago and displayed mannerisms from their father. Argyle listens to Scully’s voiceover and asks what it all means. She thinks that nature can only produce so many originals, and when copies meet, things go bad. She and Mulder suffered some injuries in the big fight, and he has to agree that it’s best to keep everyone separated.

Thoughts: Betty and Lulu are played by Kathy Griffin. Fake Mulder and Scully are played by Steve Kiziak (David Duchovny’s stunt double) and Arlene Pileggi (Gillian Anderson’s stand-in, who also plays Skinner’s assistant, Arlene, and is married to Mitch Pileggi).

Not only did Chris Carter give us this dumb episode, he didn’t even bother to write an ending. Thanks a lot, Carter.

Bert, why use the wrestling name Titanic when you already have the word “panic” in your last name and can make a ton of plays on words with it?

The only amount of cleverness I appreciate in this episode is two women who look alike getting jobs in copy centers.

June 9, 2018

The X-Files 7.19, Hollywood A.D.: Jesus, Mary, and Mulder

Posted in TV tagged at 1:25 pm by Jenn

Living the dream, right?

Summary: A gun battle is taking place in a cemetery, and a man yells for Mulder to give up because his sniper zombies are everywhere. In case that wasn’t strange enough, Mulder isn’t Mulder – he’s Garry Shandling. The yelling man is supposed to be CSM, and he offers to trade Scully for something called the Lazarus Bowl. Scully isn’t Scully; she’s Tea Leoni. Garry/Mulder threatens to break the bowl if the fake CSM doesn’t release his fake partner. The bowl’s destruction will render the zombies dead again.

Fake CSM (who’s dressed in religious garb) knows that Garry/Mulder won’t break the bowl, since it’s his Holy Grail. It’s engraved with the words Jesus spoke when he raised Lazarus from the dead. The words can still be used to raise the dead now (hence the zombies). It’s proof of the paranormal, and fake CSM knows Garry/Mulder won’t smash it any more than he’d let something happen to Scully.

A zombie appeals to Garry/Mulder, saying he doesn’t want to go back to being dead. If he saves the bowl, the zombies will ditch the fake CSM and serve Garry/Mulder instead. But Garry/Mulder “would rather serve in Heaven than rule in Hell,” so he tosses the bowl in the air. As the zombies and CSM rush to save it, Garry/Mulder tackles Tea/Scully and they land in a coffin. She asks if she’s feeling his flashlight against her leg, or if he’s just happy to see her. It’s his flashlight.

The action is taking place in a movie being screened at Darryl Zanuck Theater in Hollywood. The audience, which includes David Alan Grier and Minnie Driver, is pleased to see “Mulder” and “Scully” finally kiss, after “Mulder” declares his love, “no ifs, ands, or–” “bees.” The real Scully is uncomfortable watching this unfold, and Mulder full-on hates it. Skinner, however, is enjoying the film and the popcorn.

18 months earlier, Skinner tells Mulder and Scully about a pipe bomb at Crypt of Christ’s Church. A man sitting in the room with them says into a tape recorder that Scully is like “Jodie Foster’s foster child in a Payless budget,” and Mulder is “a Jehovah’s Witness meets Harrison Ford’s Witness.” The agents try to ignore them. Scully recognizes the church as being headed by a Cardinal O’Fallon, a big name in Catholicism who’s been considered the possible first American Pope. Mulder thinks this is a terrorist attack that the ATF should handle.

When the man listening in lets his phone keep ringing instead of answering it, the agents can no longer ignore his presence. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that he’s a college friend named Wayne Federman. He’s working on a screenplay about FBI agents and wants to see what their procedure is all about. His movie will be like a cross between Silence of the Lambs and The Greatest Story Ever Told. Skinner tells Mulder that Wayne will go to the church with him while Scully stays behind. Mulder asks if he’s being punished.

On the way to the church, Wayne asks if Mulder and Scully are more than partners. Mulder won’t give an answer, which we all know is “yes.” He meets with O’Fallon, who says there’s nothing in the crypt worth targeting; it just contains bones, relics, and documents. It’s like God’s refrigerator. (Wayne loves that line.) Wayne asks if the church has the Shroud of Turin. O’Fallon says no, but they do have St. Peter’s bathrobe.

The cardinal takes the agents to the crypt, where Wayne’s phone goes off again as Mulder says that he thinks the bomb was a message. Wayne realizes the ringing phone isn’t his – it’s one buried under some rocks. Wayne asks if it’s St. Jude’s cell phone. Mulder IDs it as belonging to Micah Hoffman, one-third of his Holy Trinity. (The other two are Willie Mays and Frank Serpico.) It’s lying atop a very dead body.

Scully joins Mulder and Wayne, and they talk about Hoffman’s role as a ’60s radical who vanished in the ’70s, after Altamont. Mulder asks Scully what she was doing back at work, but she just says paperwork. The agents and their new shadow go to Hoffman’s studio, where they find a bomb in progress. Scully guesses that he accidentally killed himself in the crypt. Wayne makes some puns about Hoffman’s bomb and forgery habits until Mulder shuts him up, because he’s the only one who can make puns around here.

The agents find a text written in Greek, which Scully translates as a Gospel of Mary Magdalene. It’s a heretical account of Jesus’ life post-resurrection. Scully thinks Hoffman forged it, and Wayne wonders what O’Fallon would be doing with the forgeries. He likes the way the agents work, doing their own thing without permission. The men go back to the crypt and find a skeleton and pages of the forged gospel. Wayne asks if it’s a real fake or a fake fake.

Wayne takes a phone call, not noticing when a skull skitters across the floor, out of his path. Some bones assemble themselves, and a hand bone steals Wayne’s flashlight so the bones can have some light as they try to reassemble a broken bowl. Wayne tells the agents what happened later at a diner; Scully thinks he hallucinated, but Wayne believes he saw CGI special effects. He doesn’t really care either way – he just wants to go write his movie. He also thinks both agents are crazy, Mulder for believing what he does, and Scully for not believing it.

After Wayne leaves, Scully tells Mulder that the story reminds her of the Lazarus Bowl, a story one of her nun teachers told. She was the Mulder of Scully’s school and told the kids about a bowl spun by Lazarus’ aunt while Jesus spoke the words that brought Lazarus back to life. The words became etched in the bowl like music in a record. “It’s just not true that you can’t get good science at Catholic school,” Mulder quips. According to Sister Spooky, the words in the clay can still raise the dead.

Mulder sends Scully back to their office with the bowl so our buddy Chuck Burks can determine if it still plays “Christ’s greatest hits.” Chuck tells Scully that everything vibrates, even if we can’t hear it or have learned to block it out. The bowl vibrates at a frequency they can hear, and it sounds like all the keys of music at once. Chuck describes it as “heavenly.”

Mulder goes back to see O’Fallon, who translates a passage of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. According to this gospel, Jesus and Mary got it on. Mulder tells him all the documents in the crypt were forgeries, though they’re very good forgeries. O’Fallon bought them from Hoffman but doesn’t know why he was in the crypt or why someone might want to kill him. O’Fallon admits that he bought the texts to hide them from others who might feel the way he did when he read them – angry at Jesus for not being perfect after all.

Scully’s back in her office when Mulder calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks her to do Hoffman’s autopsy. He thinks Hoffman was already dead when the bomb went off, killed by O’Fallon over the documents. Scully tells Mulder that the bowl has properties Chuck has never seen before. Wayne calls Mulder and asks who should play him in the movie. Mulder suggests Richard Gere, which just makes Wayne laugh. It’ll be Garry Shandling, and he and Tea Leoni want to meet Mulder and Scully in Hollywood. Gere will be playing Skinner.

Scully is performing Hoffman’s autopsy when his corpse sits up and starts talking to her. She drops her scalpel, and when she bends down to pick it up, accidentally cutting herself, the corpse returns to its table, dead again. Mulder comes to the lab, and Scully tells him that Hoffman had wine and poison in his stomach. Mulder thinks O’Fallon poisoned his communion wine.

They get an arrest warrant but wait until O’Fallon’s finished performing Mass before they approach him. Scully genuflects before a cross, then sees the sculpture of Jesus come to life and speak to her. Of course, it goes back to normal, and she tries to brush off what she saw. As soon as the Mass is over, Mulder arrests O’Fallon…but has to stop when a very much alive Micah Hoffman enters the sanctuary.

Skinner yells at his agents for the misidentification back in his office. Scully points out that the corpse in the crypt looked like Hoffman and had his phone with it. “If I’m carrying Marilyn Monroe’s purse, do you assume that I slept with JFK?” Skinner asks. Somehow, Mulder restrains himself from making any comments. He notes that O’Fallon is hiding something, and Hoffman has committed forgery, so there’s still a crime to investigate. Skinner tells the agents to leave both men alone and be glad they still have their jobs. They’re on leave for the next four weeks.

Chuck has found something else in the bowl – a voice speaking Aramaic. The first part is Beatles lyrics, but the second is a command for a man to rise from the dead. The agents go to Hoffman’s studio, where he explains that after Altamont, he chose a life of crime over law school. He targeted O’Fallon because he loves God but doesn’t care about people – “he has Christ in his brain but not in his heart.”

Hoffman studied Jesus as if he were researching an acing role, then gave O’Fallon the forgeries. Afterward, Hoffman underwent a conversion like Saul on the road to Damascus. He went from impersonating Jesus to actually being him. He set off the bomb in the crypt to destroy the blasphemous forgeries. Mulder asks how the phone wound up in the crypt. “God works in mysterious ways,” Hoffman replies.

Scully goes to Mulder’s place that night, unable to sleep. He’s watching Plan 9 from Outer Space for the umpteenth time, reciting all the dialogue. Watching the movie helps him work through cases. Scully asks if it’s at all possible that Hoffman is really Jesus. Mulder says no, but “crazy people can be very persuasive.” Scully wonders if faith is just a form of insanity. He reminds her that a broken clock is right 730 times a year. Then he admits that he’s seen the movie 42 times.

The characters in the movie start talking about Hollywood, which reminds Mulder of Wayne’s invitation for the agents to come out there. Since they have four weeks off, this is the perfect time to go. Out in California, they meet Garry and Tea, the latter of whom asks Scully for tips on running in heels. Scully runs back and forth in the background while Garry asks Mulder questions that will help him develop his character.

The agents watch a scene being filmed, kicked off by a director yelling, “Kick it in the a$%” a la longtime X-Files director Kim Manners. But a zombie quickly ends the scene, complaining about the turkey he bit off of Tea’s shoulder. He’s a vegetarian, like half the zombies in the cast, and he can’t work like this.

That night, Scully calls Mulder from her hotel room (“Mulder, it’s me”), where she’s taking a bubble bath. She claims she’s packing, and he claims he’s working on his computer, but he’s also in a bubble bath. He wonders why zombies always want to hurt people when they come back from the dead. Scully psychoanalyzes them, saying they’re the animalistic part of humans. Mulder thinks they just want to party – eat, drink, dance, and make love. Scully laughs that they have a gentler side.

Skinner calls Mulder to apologize for being so hard on him over the O’Fallon case. He’s also in Hollywood, having gotten an associate producer credit on the movie, and is also taking a bubble bath, though he at least admits it. Mulder tries to switch back to his call with Scully to spill the news but accidentally stays on the line with Skinner. When Mulder switches over to Scully for real, she tells him that she thinks Tea has a crush on him, and Garry may, too.

Fast-forward to the movie premiere, and the awkward love scene in the coffin. Tea/Scully puts the brakes on it by announcing that she’s in love with Skinner. The real Mulder blurts that he can’t take it anymore and leaves the theater. On the screen, Garry/Mulder asks what Skinner has that he doesn’t. “A bigger flashlight,” Tea/Scully replies. No confirmation whether this is true, but Skinner does have a young, attractive date.

Scully finds Mulder back on the movie set, eating popcorn from a commemorative Lazarus Bowl. Scully has just heard that Hoffman was murdered in his home by O’Fallon, who then killed himself. Mulder compares them to Jesus and Judas. Scully thinks this is really the end of the case, but Mulder says it’s just starting. Because of the movie, O’Fallon will never be taken seriously. He’s even listed in the movie’s credits as Cigarette-Smoking Pontiff. The whole thing is a joke now, and Mulder and Scully will be remembered that way.

Mulder babbles about dead people’s reputations and the plastic sheen of Hollywood. Scully says the dead don’t care what people think about them. The movie set is fake; there aren’t really zombies there. Mulder says dead people are everywhere. Scully reminds him that they’re not, and Skinner gave her a bureau credit card, so the should go do something fun. As they leave the set, she tells Mulder she’s in love with Skinner. Mulder leaves his bowl on the head of a statue, and a tree branch scraps it like a record needle. A bunch of zombies on the set rise from the dead and dance.

Thoughts: David Duchovny wrote and directed this episode. He was, of course, married to Tea Leoni at the time, and was good friends with Garry Shandling. He had also just done Return to Me (a really good movie) with Minnie Driver and David Alan Grier, which explains their cameos.

O’Fallon is played by Harris Yulin.

This is one of those episodes that’s better in theory than in execution. It’s too cutesy and jokey for its own good.

June 2, 2018

The X-Files 7.18, Brand X: Meet the Beetles

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

This episode is the best anti-smoking PSA I’ve ever seen

Summary: The FBI is keeping a close watch on a house in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, while Skinner protects the couple inside. The husband, Jim, is supposed to testify before a grand jury, but his wife, Joan, thinks it’s too risky. As Skinner gives the couple some privacy, Jim starts coughing. He doesn’t realize that he’s coughed a bug and some blood into his glass of water. Later that night, Joan wakes up alone in bed and goes looking for her husband. She finds him in the bathroom, dead, with half his face missing.

In the morning, Mulder and Scully come to help Skinner figure out what happened. He tells them that Jim was a biochemist with Morley Tobacco and was supposed to testify against them this morning. No one knows what his testimony was going to be about, but it was big enough that he received death threats. Kersh assigned Skinner to protect Jim, and we can all agree that he did a heck of a job.

Scully looks at pictures of Jim’s body and wonders if someone threw acid on him. Mulder points out that he would have screamed, and Joan would have heard. Skinner tells the agents that they need to close the case ASAP. Scully heads off to do the autopsy while Mulder looks around the house. There are no ashtrays, which means Jim worked for Morley but didn’t smoke. This kind of hit was pretty high-profile; was the killer trying to send a warning to other potential witnesses?

As Skinner and Mulder are about to leave to talk to a Morley executive named Peter Voss, Mulder finds Jim’s glass from the previous night, with the bug still inside. The two men go to Morley, but security is tight. Fortunately, Daniel Brimley, the head of corporate security, just happens to be walking by, and he says everyone’s fine with the agents talking to Voss. After all, Morley definitely had nothing to do with Jim’s death.

Mulder and Skinner ask Voss questions, but Voss’ lawyer keeps him from answering anything, since he would violate his employer’s confidentiality agreements. Skinner threatens to get a federal warrant to search the building. Mulder shows Voss the bug, which Voss IDs as a tobacco beetle. He doesn’t think it’s strange that one turned up in Jim’s house. The lawyer asks what Mulder’s getting at, and Mulder says he can’t answer that, since it would violate FBI confidentiality.

That night, Voss gets home to find a man outside his house. He says that he and Jim had an arrangement; with Jim dead, the man should now have an arrangement with Voss. Voss knows exactly what he’s talking about and hands over a couple boxes of cigarettes. The man says that won’t be enough, and Voss promises to get him more, as long as the man doesn’t come back to the house. The man says he has a theory about how Jim died, but Voss doesn’t want to hear it. The man will just tell him another time, since the two of them will be seeing each other a lot.

Mulder and Skinner meet up with Scully, who found tissue damage in Jim’s mouth and throat. It’s not from any corrosive agents, and his cause of death was, basically, choking. Mulder thinks they’re not dealing with a murder after all. He shows Scully the beetle and suggests that a bunch of them killed Jim. Skinner asks if he’s supposed to tell Kersh that killer bugs were responsible for Jim’s death, as if that’s the most ridiculous thing Kersh has ever heard or will ever hear from this trio.

A man in an apartment building yells through the wall at his neighbor for smoking when he knows he’s not supposed to. The smoking neighbor is the man from Voss’ house, and he’s not about to put out his cigarette. The yeller starts coughing up blood, like Jim did. The next morning, the yeller is dead, and there are beetles all over his room.

Mulder makes an obligatory roach motel joke when he, Scully, and Skinner arrive to examine the body. Skinner notes that this victim, Thomas Gastall, isn’t a corporate whistleblower, so his death’s similarity to Jim’s is especially mysterious. Mulder grabs another beetle and suggests that they didn’t see any at the scene of Jim’s death because they went out a window. Scully’s willing to accept that the bugs spread some sort of bacteria to the two men. That means there might be other victims in the building.

Mulder chats with the smoking neighbor, noting that he’s not surprised to hear about Gastall’s death. The neighbor, who introduces himself as Darryl Weaver, didn’t hear or see anything suspicious, though he’s interested in a possible reward for information. Scully and Skinner are equally unsuccessful at finding any witnesses, and right now have no angles to pursue other than the beetles. Scully decides to get in touch with an entomologist she knows (not Bambi), while Mulder goes to take care of something that’s been “bugging” him.

He goes to Voss’ house and tells him about Gastall’s death and the presence of beetles. Voss doesn’t want to talk, and Mulder accuses him of hiding behind his lawyers. How many people’s deaths will it take for Voss to decide to do the right thing? After Mulder leaves, Voss gets a call from Brimley, who’s sitting outside the house. Voss tells him about Gastall’s death and says they need to come forward. Brimley disagrees, telling him to remember what really matters to him. Brimley will clean up the mess, starting with Weaver, though Voss says he doesn’t know where Weaver is.

Scully’s entomologist friend, Libby Nance, examines the beetle and tells Scully and Skinner that it’s different from the ones she’s seen before. This one has some physical deviations, possibly from genetic engineering. Scully suggests transgenomics, DNA manipulation that occurs on the genetic level. Nance has heard of tobacco companies using transgenomics to alter tobacco crops, in an attempt to create what Skinner dubs super-tobacco. When tobacco bugs eat super-tobacco, they could become super-bugs. But does that mean they’re dangerous to humans?

Voss does, in fact, know where Weaver is, and he goes by his apartment. Weaver calls himself a guinea pig, and though he accepts Voss’ $4,000 bribe to leave town, he won’t actually go. He thinks he has a sweet set-up, with free cigarettes and a nice cash flow. Weaver wants to light up in his apartment, but Voss looks nervous. He warns that Morley will kill Weaver if he tries to blow the whistle on whatever’s going on. Weaver isn’t concerned. Voss leaves, defeated, and doesn’t notice Brimley arriving.

Gastall’s lungs are full of beetle larvae, which is both gross and informative. Scully thinks the larvae pupate in lungs, then exit the body en masse once they’re matured. Skinner notes that Jim didn’t have beetles in his lungs, and they don’t know how the beetles got into Gastall’s in the first place. Mulder has a coughing fit across the room, so the agents have just identified the next victim.

Mulder undergoes a procedure at Asheford Medical Center to remove the larvae from his lungs. (The closed captions say “machine slurping” – thanks, captions!) Scully looks on worriedly, probably wondering if she can ever kiss him again without thinking about beetles. She tells Skinner that the beetles could have laid eggs, so that’s even grosser to think about. She guesses that Mulder and Jim inhaled the larvae in smoke, despite not being smokers. Maybe they were just around a smoker. Now, who would Mulder have been around who smokes? Who, I wonder?

Skinner goes back to Morley with his federal warrant and tries to talk to Voss as other agents search the offices. Voss’ lawyer sticks to his line about Voss not violating confidentiality agreements. Skinner angrily says that this is bigger than that – they’re trying to save lives. Voss says they were trying to do the same thing. Morley knew people would keep smoking, despite the known risks, so they were going to genetically engineer a “safer” cigarette. Unfortunately, the bugs got genetically engineered, too.

The four test subjects were fine at first, but then three of them died. Hey, I wonder who the fourth was? Jim was going to testify about the trials, but he got infected while monitoring a focus group. Skinner asks for the name of the fourth subject, then goes straight to Weaver’s apartment. He’s not there, but Brimley is, along with a few dozen beetles escaping his body.

Weaver stops at a gas station and realizes he only has one cigarette left. (Of course he’s the sort of person who lights up at a gas station.) He goes to buy some beer, declining to buy more cigarettes since his brand isn’t carried there. As some sheriff’s deputies arrive, Weaver flees.

Mulder wakes up after his procedure and learns that Weaver was a Morley test subject. He appears to have an immunity or intolerance to the beetles, and Scully hopes they can use that to treat Mulder. Mulder starts wheezing and struggles to breathe as the eggs in his lungs hatch. His doctor wants to open his chest to get out the bugs, but Scully doesn’t think Mulder’s strong enough. For now, they just need to wait. The doctor says that, sooner or later, doing nothing will kill Mulder.

Skinner goes to Voss’ house with some agents who will provide her protection (because that worked out so well for Jim). Voss’ wife hasn’t been able to reach him at work, so Skinner goes to Voss’ lab to make sure he’s okay. He’s alive, but only because Weaver’s more concerned with getting test cigarettes than killing him. Weaver doesn’t think Skinner will shoot him, despite Skinner’s threats, since he needs Weaver to save Mulder.

Weaver starts to light up, saying that Voss is on to something with his “safer” cigarettes. Cars killed people before they were perfected; eventually, cigarettes will stop being harmful. This is all just part of the scientific process. Skinner again threatens to shoot Weaver, and Weaver again calls his bluff. He notes that he could be the cure for cancer – Skinner wouldn’t risk letting him die. But Weaver’s wrong (Skinner just shoots him in the shoulder, though).

Weaver is taken to Asheford, where Scully notices the yellowing on his fingers from smoking and requests an unusual treatment: nicotine. Two weeks later, Mulder’s healthy and back at work. He and Scully discuss how the nicotine in the cigarettes was actually keeping Weaver alive. He was such a heavy smoker, enjoying cigarettes that weren’t from Morley, that the nicotine in his system killed the beetles before they could kill him. Giving Mulder nicotine acted as a kind of chemotherapy.

Mulder tells Scully that he bought some Morleys, but he’s not going to take up smoking. That addiction can be stronger than heroin. This has been a PSA from The X-Files. But after Scully leaves the office, Mulder takes a look at the pack of cigarettes he just threw away. Oh, Mulder. Scully definitely won’t want to kiss you again if you take up smoking.

Thoughts: Weaver is played by Tobin Bell.

But seriously, what is UP with this show and bugs?

Voss works for a tobacco company and lives in a huge house, but he claims to only have $4,000 in his bank account. I can’t decide if he’s a bad liar or a bad budgeter.

May 26, 2018

The X-Files 7.17, All Things: Moving in the Right Direction

Posted in TV tagged at 1:13 pm by Jenn


Summary: Scully’s getting dressed in a bathroom, voicing over stuff about time and life. We don’t usually stop to examine why all things happen. If we did, we might see our choices and how they shape us. Scully leaves, while Mulder remains asleep in the bedroom, because THEY’RE DOING IT, YOU GUYS. THEY’RE DOING IT.

63 hours earlier, Mulder’s listening to Moby’s “The Sky Is Broken” and working on a slideshow in his office. Scully brings him food and autopsy results proving that a woman died after drinking, not ingesting ectoplasm. He shows her some computer-generated crop circles and tells her that the circles have become more complex since 1991. Scully’s more interested in her salad than this presentation. She doesn’t even blink when Mulder says he’s not wearing pants.

His point is that crop circles aren’t random, and can now be predicted. He wants them to go to England, where circles are supposed to appear in 48 hours. Scully has work to do on their current case, and since it’s Saturday, she just wants to relax. She has no interest in “tracking down some sneaky farmers who happened to ace geometry in high school.” He doesn’t know what Mulder would learn from this trip anyway. He’s hurt, but will be going off without her. Scully wonders why he never just sits still instead of chasing the next big case. Mulder says he wouldn’t know what he’d be missing.

Scully goes to Washington National Hospital to get more information for her case. A nurse is tapping a pencil, and things suddenly go slow-motion. As Scully’s leaving, she realizes that the test results in the folder she was given are for a different patient. But she recognizes the name of the wrong patient as Daniel Waterston, who’s in the coronary care unit. She goes by Daniel’s room, where his daughter is getting bad news from a doctor.

When she leaves, Scully goes into Daniel’s room and watches him sleep for a minute. The doctor, Kopeikan, comes in and realizes that Scully was once Daniel’s student. Daniel has a serious heart condition, but it’s treatable. Scully doesn’t want to stick around and wait for Daniel to wake up, but she tells Kopeikan that he’s a remarkable man.

Back at home, Scully gets a call from Daniel’s daughter, Maggie, who knows that Scully came by. Kopeikan told Daniel, who asked Maggie to call. Daniel wants to see Scully. Scully says she might not have time, and it sounds like Maggie is fine with that. But if Scully does come, Maggie wants her to know that it doesn’t mean she accepts Scully being in her father’s life.

Scully gets another call, this one from Mulder, who’s packing for England. He’s heard that a group in D.C. has a lead on some other crop circles, and he’d like Scully to go get some information from them. Things go slow motion again as we see something swinging back and forth in Scully’s living room. She’s not interested in helping him with this ridiculous case, but she says she’ll try.

Scully goes back to the hospital, but she accidentally walks into the wrong room, where a family is celebrating some sort of good news. Next door, Daniel’s awake. Maggie walks out without a word, leaving Scully alone with her former teacher. She says he’s lucky that he diagnosed himself, but he says it had nothing to do with luck. She asks why Daniel’s in D.C., which he says is a long story. Scully holds his hand, though she looks a little uncomfortable. Clearly there’s some history here.

Scully thinks Daniel wants to tell her that she made a mistake joining the FBI. There’s some conversation about how she left him to pursue a job that he didn’t think was her passion. Scully regrets the visit, saying she just wanted to make sure Daniel was okay. He appreciates her coming by, knowing how difficult it must have been. She wouldn’t have come if she didn’t want to; that says a lot.

Mulder calls as Scully’s leaving, wanting to give her more information on the person he wants her to meet with. Things go slow motion as Scully sees a blond woman walking in front of her car and almost runs into her. The woman turns back and smiles at Scully as she walks away.

Scully meets with Mulder’s contact, Colleen, recognizing her from the room Scully mistakenly walked into at the hospital. Scully’s mentions that she’s a little shaken from almost hitting the woman with her car. Colleen says that car accidents are usually the result of people not paying attention to something. She gives Scully the paperwork Mulder wanted, recognizing that Scully’s a skeptic. Colleen insists that “there is a greater intelligence in all things,” like accidents or near-accidents. There are lessons to be learned, and Scully should slow down and pay attention.

Slow motion as Scully drops the papers, which include a picture of a crop circle labeled a heart chakra. She gets a call summoning her back to the hospital, as Daniel wants her to convince Kopeikan to give him a treatment that he isn’t comfortable with. Scully agrees with Daniel that prednisone won’t cause more heart damage. Maggie’s annoyed with both of them. Scully wonders how Maggie found out (I assume she means how Maggie found out about Daniel and Scully’s…whatever they had in the past). Daniel says he screwed up and things got bad at home.

He continues that he hasn’t been completely honest with Scully. After she left him, things got difficult, and he and his wife split up. He came to D.C. and has been living there for almost ten years. Scully guesses that he moved there for her. She tells him that the timing now is strange, and she only knew he was there because of the mix-up with the files. Daniel asks what she wants. She says she wants everything she should at this point in her life. “Maybe I want the life I didn’t choose,” she says. They hold hands again, and she cries.

As they’re sitting together, Daniel suddenly flatlines, and Scully starts to give him CPR. With help from some nurses, she shocks his heart, eventually reviving him. Later, she goes back to Colleen’s house, stepping inside for the first time and seeing a bunch of wood carvings and sculptures. Colleen guesses that Scully wants to talk about what Colleen said about how she should slow down.

Scully admits that she had a strange feeling when she was with Daniel and thinks his condition is worse than anyone realizes. Colleen says that holistic practitioners believe in things like energy and auras. When you witness a person’s energy field, you sense things beyond what regular medicine can tell you. It’s more like faith. Colleen thinks that Scully sensed Daniel’s pain and his need for healing. It’s not from his heart condition, but from his guilt or shame or fear. Those things create an imbalance that make us forget who we are.

Colleen asks if Scully ever has moments where “time seems to expand.” Scully may be more open to Colleen’s type of beliefs than she thinks – “it’s just what you do with it.” Colleen reveals that she was once a successful physicist, but she wasn’t happy. She cut herself off from the world, especially with regards to her relationship with her partner, Carol. Two years ago, Colleen was diagnosed with breast cancer, which made her realize she was on a self-destructive path. Now she’s happy.

Colleen continues that she met a healer who helped her see what her cancer was really about – shame. After that, she went into remission. Scully’s still skeptical, of course, and Colleen can see it. She knows Scully came for answers, but Colleen reminds her that everything happens for a reason.

Scully returns to see Daniel, who’s been in a coma since Scully revived him. Maggie’s furious, and she doesn’t accept Scully’s story that she left Daniel so his family wouldn’t fall apart. Scully moved on, but she left destruction behind, and the Waterstons have had to deal with that aftermath.

Slow motion as Scully leaves the hospital. She walks through what I guess is Chinatown, spotting the blond woman she almost hit with her car. She runs after the woman, who goes through a door that leads Scully to a shrine. Scully stops, having some sort of spiritual awakening, and flashbacks of past experiences. She has a vision of Daniel, who’s so translucent that she can see his heart.

Scully asks Colleen’s healer to come see Daniel in an attempt to do something with his chakras that will fix him. Kopeikan says it’s a waste of time and thinks Daniel would agree if he were conscious. Maggie overhears the conversation and allows the healer to continue, since he’s not hurting anyone. But the healer says there’s nothing he can do – Daniel’s ready to move on. There’s something holding him back, keeping him from letting go and moving on to the next plane. He’ll have to release it.

Scully has a dream about visiting herself in the hospital. The same Moby song from earlier is playing, and the Scully in the hospital bed tells the other, “Speak to me.” Scully wakes up to a phone call from Maggie, telling her to come back to the hospital. When Scully arrives, she finds Daniel awake. He says he wasn’t going to give up so easily. Scully thinks the healing ritual worked, but Daniel thinks it was crap. He’s determined to get better, which means he and Scully need to talk about what happens next for them.

There won’t be a “them,” though – Scully wants him to come to terms with the hurt he caused his family. He’s been running from it for 12 years. Maybe he’s still alive so he can make up with Maggie before he dies. Scully isn’t the same person she used to be, and she realizes it now that she’s seen Daniel again. She leaves Daniel alone with his daughter, but takes a few moments to pause outside the hospital. There, she sees the blond woman again.

After another chase, Scully reaches the blond woman…who’s actually Mulder. He admits that there were no crop circles – nothing happened. Scully thinks maybe sometimes nothing happens for a reason. The two of them go to his place and she fills him in on what she’s been going through. He can’t believe she had a spiritual awakening at a Buddhist shrine. She admits that she used to think she would spend the rest of her life with Daniel. What did she miss out on?

Mulder says that people would be leading multiple different lives if they made different choices. Scully asks if there’s only one choice, and the others are all wrong. What if there are signs along the way to pay attention to, leading you in the right direction? Mulder says in that case, one wrong turn would take you off of the path you’re supposed to be on. Scully falls asleep next to him on the couch, and the Moby song starts playing again. Mulder covers her with a blanket, and then at some point, they move to the bedroom, because THEY’RE TOTALLY DOING IT.

Thoughts: Gillian Anderson both wrote and directed this episode.

How many times in a day do you think Mulder calls Scully? I hope they have some sort of family plan.

Enough with the slow motion! This isn’t a music video!

When he gets back from England, Mulder’s wearing a hat that says “Stonehenge Rocks.” Ha!

May 19, 2018

The X-Files 7.16, Chimera: Quoth the Raven: “Don’t Drag Me Into Your Bizarre Revenge Scheme”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:23 pm by Jenn

Hee, he looks so out of place

Summary: It’s Easter, and Martha Crittendon of Bethany, Vermont, is hosting a big party. She’s not pleased to see one of the guests, Jenny, but a friend named Ellen tells Martha to be nice. As the kids search for Easter eggs, Martha’s daughter Michelle comes across a raven that spooks her. Jenny watches her run away. That night, Michelle’s still shaken up and wants to see her father, Howard, who’s on a business trip. Martha calls him, but he can’t come home early. After she hangs up the phone, she sees that a window in the house is open and a raven has invited itself in. Martha realizes that something human-like has also come in.

Mulder and Scully is staking out a seedy area of D.C., waiting for a woman Mulder thinks is killing prostitutes. The police have raided a club called Dirty Dames twice to arrest her, but she hasn’t been found. She’s been seen going in but never coming out. Scully’s less than enamored of the stakeout, though Mulder finds it “ennobling.” He gets a call calling him away and leaves Scully to complete the stakeout on her own.

Mulder goes to meet with Skinner, who tells him that Martha disappeared two weeks ago. The ravens make Skinner think this is an X-File. Mulder confirms that ravens are symbolic in some cultures; Native Americans them as deceptive and Christians think of them as signs of evil. Michelle’s raven encounter and the bird found in the house make Skinner think this is an angle that should be explored, especially since the authorities haven’t come up with anything else. (Also, Martha’s father is a federal judge, so the FBI needs to look good here.)

In Bethany, Mulder meets Sheriff Phil Adderly, Ellen’s husband. Phil says that Martha was beloved, and there’s no evidence that she was kidnapped, so the investigation has hit a dead end. Phil is also certain that Howard had nothing to do with his wife’s disappearance. The house is very well decorated, such that Mulder asks if Martha’s last name isn’t really Stewart. He notices some scratch marks on the mantle and thinks they’re from the raven. The only sign of a struggle is a broken mirror.

Howard comes in and shows the men a pack of birth-control pills he found in Martha’s things. He suspects that she was having an affair. He had a vasectomy after Michelle was born, when the couple decided not to have more children, so why would Martha need birth control? (Well, doofus, because birth-control pills can be useful for some medical conditions, but whatever.) Howard also found a key he’s not familiar with. He thinks Martha just ran off with some guy and doesn’t want to be found.

Ellen helps pass out fliers about Martha’s disappearance as a raven watches her. Jenny surprises her, and Ellen offers her some fliers to put up on her side of town. Jenny takes offense and accuses Ellen and Martha of thinking they’re better than everyone else. Jenny says they have more in common than Ellen realizes. As she leaves, Ellen sees the human-like figure from Martha’s house reflected in a car window, which then breaks.

Phil can’t find any record of phone calls between Martha and a mystery boyfriend. Mulder wants to look at the raven angle, telling Phil that in folklore, ravens are companions to evil people. Phil points out that he’s going off of something said by a seven-year-old. But Mulder thinks the broken mirror has meaning, too; mirrors can be items of enchantment, so a broken one may be a clue.

Mulder meets Ellen, who offers to let him stay with her and Phil while he’s in town. They also invite him to dinner, probably the first home-cooked meal Mulder’s had in months, if not years. Scully calls to ask when she can leave the stakeout; the furnace broke, so now she’s freezing on top of having to spy on prostitutes all day and subsist on gross pizza. Mulder reminds her that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger, then requests no capers with his dinner.

Michelle’s also having a disappointing dinner; her father’s mac and cheese doesn’t taste as good as her mother’s. Howard suggests that they go get fast food instead. Michelle sees a raven in the backyard, so Howard goes out to see what’s happening. He finds a bunch of them digging at something buried in the backyard – a woman’s hand. It looks like Martha has been located.

Mulder comes over to oversee the medical examination and sees claw marks on Martha’s hand. The examiner thinks the body has been there since Martha disappeared, and the ravens have been feeding on her. Phil still thinks Howard is innocent, and Mulder agrees. Ellen comes by to be traumatized at the sight of her best friend’s body. She tells Phil and Mulder about the creature she saw reflected in the window – she thinks that’s what killed Martha.

Phil is skeptical, but Ellen’s news fits Mulder’s theory, so he believes her. He tells her and Phil that Victorians thought mirrors could summon spirits. Maybe the creature was brought forth to attack Martha. Of course, this means they need to figure out who would want to hurt Martha.

Ellen points Mulder and Phil toward Jenny, who should probably speak less ill of the dead when the dead was murdered and they’re looking for a suspect. Jenny thinks they should spend more time looking into Martha’s rumored boyfriend. Mulder brings up a past assault in Jenny’s history, but she says that was a long time ago. She claims she was home all night when Martha disappeared. Phil thinks Jenny’s innocent, but Mulder thinks she’s lying about her alibi.

Scully calls again, telling Mulder that when he finds her dead in her hideout, he should remember that her last thoughts were of him, and how she wants to kill him. “I’m sorry, who is this?” he teases. He tries to convince her that the location of his case is just as horrible as hers. Then he asks her to come to Bethany to do Martha’s autopsy. Just then, Scully notices a van outside, which she’s seen a couple times before. Suddenly, her horrible case just got interesting.

Ellen’s doing some housecleaning when she finds a key like the one Howard showed Mulder. She hears ravens and finds one in her daughter’s bedroom. She sees the creature in the mirror again and runs. It follows her as another mirror breaks. Ellen hides in a closet with her baby, crying out when the door opens, but it’s just Phil.

Phil thinks Ellen is just having emotional issues because her best friend just died. There’s no sign that anyone else was in the house, even with the two broken mirrors. Phil thinks Ellen broke them herself. Mulder sees the key on the carpet, and Ellen says she found it just before she saw the raven arrived. That night, Phil sneaks out to a motel and uses the key to open a room. He’s there for a fling with Jenny. He insists that they have to stop doing this, but she’s not ready to call it quits.

Mulder wakes up to find his shirt recently ironed. Ellen tells him that she does housework when she feels like her life is out of control. Phil’s still out; Ellen says he must have gone on a call. She’s happy to tend to Mulder, sensing that he doesn’t get that kind of treatment a lot. She notices his lack of a wedding ring and asks if he has a significant other. “Not in the widely understood definition of that term,” Mulder says, because he won’t admit that he and Scully are basically married. Ellen reminds him not to focus so much on work that he neglects a social life. A marriage and family could be a refuge for him.

Phil comes home, saying he was doing paperwork. After Ellen leaves the kitchen, Mulder mentions that he heard Phil leave during the night. Phil sticks to the story that he was working. Mulder tells him that Martha’s autopsy showed that, despite her birth-control pills, she was four weeks pregnant when she died. Howard’s vasectomy means he wasn’t the father. Does Phil know who it might have been? Phil’s smart enough to get that Mulder already knows the answer to that question. Mulder also knows that Phil has the key, though Phil won’t say what it unlocks.

Jenny calls her son from the motel, lying that she had to work a double shift. There are ravens outside her window, and the creature is suddenly in her room, accompanied by the breaking of the mirrors over the bed. (Nothing but the classiest rooms for Phil’s conquests.) The creature attacks Jenny, who ends up dead. At least now Mulder knows exactly what Phil’s key was for.

Phil insists that Jenny was alive when he left her in the motel. He admits to having affairs with Martha and Jenny, who apparently knew about each other. “You put the ‘service’ back in ‘to protect and serve,'” Mulder cracks. Phil cared about both women, and says that Ellen won’t let him leave. He thinks she got pregnant with their daughter to lock him up. Phil wants Mulder to go back to his theory about an evil entity, since that will take the heat off of him. But Mulder notes that the entity had to have been summoned by someone – possibly someone who didn’t even know he or she was summoning something.

Phil calls home and leaves Ellen a message letting her know that Mulder’s on his way to talk to her. Ellen misses the call because she’s busy with the baby. Ellen also has a gash on the back of her neck, which she only notices when she’s getting ready to take a bath. It’s from her fight with Jenny in the motel room.

Mulder arrives at the house as Scully calls to report that the stakeout is over. It wasn’t an X-File and there was no serial killer. The missing prostitutes are all in a halfway house, having been rescued by a Mr. Egbert, who was posing as a woman to get access to them. He wants them to become Christians and leave their jobs. Mulder and Scully thought they were searching for a woman who could disappear; instead, Mr. Egbert went into the club dressed as a woman and left dressed as a man. He was walking away under their noses the whole time.

This gives Mulder an idea. He tells Ellen that Jenny’s dead and Phil has been arrested for her murder, but Mulder thinks he’s innocent. He believes that Ellen is in denial about who she really is – hence the broken mirrors. Ellen doesn’t want to admit who she really is, because it’ll mean her marriage and life are lies. Her eyes black, she wishes that Mulder had never come to Bethany.

Mulder draws his gun, but Ellen, back to looking like the creature, attacks him and tries to drown him in the bathtub. Then she stops herself, turning back into Ellen. She ends up in a psychiatric hospital, where she’s diagnosed with multiple personalities. Mulder can accept this, since medical science isn’t going to figure out the truth. Ellen wanted a perfect life, and when she found out about Phil’s affairs, she bottled up her anger to keep her perfect façade. She thought she was protecting her family. Outside Ellen’s room, a raven comes by see her.

Thoughts: Fun fact: A group of ravens is called a conspiracy or an unkindness. Not as cool as a group of crows being called a murder, but still creepy.

I kind of want to use “paperwork” as a euphemism for sex, but I think that’ll get confusing.

I like Jenny’s son’s logic that he should be allowed to have oatmeal cookies for breakfast because oatmeal is a breakfast food.

May 12, 2018

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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