July 15, 2017

The X-Files 5.15, Travelers: Patriot Games

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

Mulder is probably getting a glimpse of his future here

Summary: It’s 1990 in Caledonia, Wisconsin, and a sheriff is accompanying a landlord to a house where the tenant, Edward Skur, needs to be evicted. Skur won’t open the door, so the landlord lets himself and the sheriff inside. The two men brave a horrible smell to search the house, finding a long-dead body in the bathtub. Someone suddenly attacks the sheriff, which was a bad move, since the sheriff has a gun. The attacker tumbles down the stairs, and when the sheriff goes to him, the man says, “Mulder.”

In D.C. (still in 1990), Mulder goes to see a man named Arthur Dales, a former FBI agent. Dales opened a file on Skur in 1952 – a file that starts with an X. Mulder thinks that means it’s unsolved; Dales corrects that it’s just been designated that way. Mulder wants to know why Dales’ notes have been censored, and why someone wants the case buried. The report says that Skur disappeared 38 years ago while being investigated for a horrific murder. He’s the man the sheriff shot in the house.

Dales thinks that now that Skur is dead, there’s no reason to talk to Mulder. But when Mulder introduces himself, he notes that Dales recognizes his name. Dales mentions HUAC, the committee that investigated communists in America but found “practically nothing.” He thinks that’s exactly what they wanted to find. Mulder’s a little dense and doesn’t get the connection. Dales says maybe he’s not supposed to get it. He won’t be letting Mulder in today.

Mulder watches a newsreel about the HUAC while reading over the file about Skur. He finds a card confirming that Skur was a communist. As the narrator talks about travelers working as spies in the State Department, Mulder recognizes his father on the newsreel. He returns to Dales’ apartment the next morning, threatening to subpoena him if he won’t cooperate. Dales reveals that Skur worked for the State Department, like the elder Mulder. Mulder asks if his father was involved in the death of the man Skur was suspected of killing 38 years ago.

Dales finally lets Mulder in, telling him that Dales liked to remove his victims’ organs and tissue without tearing their skin. Mulder says the coroner can’t figure out how that was possible. Dales doesn’t know, but he does know why Skur did it. Mulder brings up Skur’s communist leanings, though Dales doesn’t consider that significant. Skur was “just another name on a list,” a suspected State Department spy.

We flash back to Leesburg, Virginia, in June of 1952. A young Dales and his partner, Agent Michel, go to Skur’s house and arrest him for contempt of Congress in front of his wife and young kids. Michel finds Skur’s card identifying him as a communist, but Skur claims Michel planted it on him. Dales has a moment of sympathy for Skur’s family, but Mrs. Skur just tells him to leave.

After work, Skur goes to a bar, where he gets a call from Michel telling him that Skur’s dead, having hanged himself in his cell. He thinks the communists’ leaders tell them to kill themselves if they’re captured. 1990 Skur tells Mulder that he wasn’t sure what to tell Mrs. Skur, so he sat in his car in front of the Skurs’ house and drank for a while. In the flashback, Skur returns to the house, alive and well. Dales chases him down the block, and Skur ambushes him, opening his mouth and letting out a probe-looking thing. A neighbor hears the noise and frightens Skur away before he can hurt Dales.

Dales returns to work in D.C. the next day and sees photos of a dead Skur. Michel is sure that Skur is really, truly dead, and whoever Dales saw at the house the night before was someone else. After all, he was drunk; this could be a case of mistaken identity. Michel urges Dales to leave Skur’s name out of his report, but the report has already been filed.

Someone from the Department of Justice calls Dales, summoning him to meet with Roy Cohn in the Attorney General’s office. (There’s another man there, looking very CSM-esque, but that’s never followed up on.) Dales knows that Cohn prosecuted Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and is now working with Joseph McCarthy to rid the country of communists. Dales says he’s not political, but Cohn says everything is. He brings out Dales’ report and starts talking about secrets, especially ones that need to be kept from the public “for the greater good.” Dales catches on that Cohn wants him to take references to Skur out of his report.

He clearly doesn’t want to, but Dales amends his report anyway. He’s about to look at a heavily redacted file on Skur when Michel calls him away. They head to Chevy Chase, Maryland, to investigate a murder, though the scene is quiet, with no police officers around. They go into a house where a German record is playing; Dales recognizes the song playing as one he heard the day his military unit arrived in Berlin during World War II. They smell a “hospital smell” that Michel thinks might be formaldehyde, then find a dead body.

The police arrive, claiming that the FBI called them, not the other way around. The dead man is a doctor, and a nurse called the authorities when he didn’t come to work. Dales finds and pockets a note on the back of a bar coaster that reads, “Come alone.” He goes to the bar that night and meets with Bill Mulder. Dales thinks Bill killed Skur, but Bill says he tried to save him. If Dales isn’t careful, the killer will get him, too. Meanwhile, Michel goes home, and the music in the background tells me that something bad is about to happen.

Bill tells Dales that Skur isn’t a communist – “all of these men” are. Skur, Gissing, and Oberman are all patriots working in the State Department. Dales recognizes the other two names from a censored report. Bill tells him that Gissing and Oberman killed themselves because they couldn’t handle what they’d become. He thinks Skur was targeted for murder, but he escaped and now wants to clear his name. Bill is willing to risk his career and his family to make sure the truth gets out so Skur is saved.

Michel turns on his TV and watches a McCarthy hearing while his cat makes a mess. At the bar, Bill tells Dales that he can’t arrest Skur’s pursuers – “it’s…political.” This makes Dales think that McCarthy and Cohn are involved. Bill confirms that Skur wants vengeance for what McCarthy and Cohn did to him, but now he thinks Skur and Michael are part of the conspiracy. Dales rushes to the phone to warn Michel, but it’s too late – Michel can’t come to the phone because Skur is choking up something gross-looking that forcing it into Michel’s body.

Dales accompanies other officers to the crime scene, where the coroner is no Scully. Cohn arrives and tells the authorities to take Michel’s body to Bethesda, since he’s a veteran; he ignores them when they say they need to perform an autopsy. Cohn threatens to have Dales interrogated for ties to communism in order to keep him away from the investigation. “See?” he says, satisfied that Dales will keep quiet. “You’re a patriot again.”

Dales ignores the threat and goes back to his office to look into Gissing and Oberman’s deaths. He asks for their files, and though the clerk says they’re missing, she recognizes one of the names from an X-file. Dales wonders why unsolved names are filed under X instead of U. The clerk explains that she put them under U until she ran out of room; the X drawer has plenty of room. She’s familiar with the file and tells Dales that a German doctor was found dead in his office at the VA last week. Gissing was found dead nearby, apparently dead of suicide. Dales wonders how Gissing killed the doctor. “That’s why it’s an X-file,” the clerk says. “They don’t know.”

Gissing’s body is still at the morgue, so Dales goes to examine it. He has a scar from recent surgery, and Dales asks the coroner to cut him open, thinking that will help him figure out how Michel died. The coroner finds suture in Gissing’s esophagus, indicating that something was sewn into it from inside his body. The something is alive, and looks like a big spider, and will be featuring in my nightmares for at least the next two weeks.

Dales goes to Skur’s house to try to get Mrs. Skur to confirm that her husband is still alive. He thinks Skur was discredited as a cover-up for whatever was done to him, Gissing, and Oberman. They thought they were receiving surgery for their war injuries, but they really underwent xenotransplantation. Nazi doctors experimented with this method of grafting a different species into the human body – Dales thinks they continued those experiments on the three men. He wants to expose what happened, and he needs Skur to help him.

As Dales leaves, Cohn and Mulder arrive to whisk him away. Mrs. Skur heads into a bunker, where her husband is hiding. He’s getting worse and thinks it’s too late for Dales to help him. He can’t help himself anymore. Mrs. Skur is the unlucky next victim of her husband’s now-uncontrollable urge to kill.

Dales is taken to FBI headquarters to meet with J. Edgar Hoover. He tells Dales that in less than seven years, the Soviet population has grown by more than 400 percent. The U.S. is now outnumbered 8 to 5, and there’s a serious threat of the Soviets ruling the world. The U.S. needs to use the Soviets’ methods to ensure survival and scare their enemies. Dales gets only one chance to prove his patriotism.

Mulder sends Dales off to try to get Skur to trust him so the FBI can ambush him. Dales wonders if Bill’s plan all along was to use him to get to Skur. Bill just says he follows his orders. Dales waits for Skur in the bar, and the FBI use surveillance equipment to listen in as Skur says he’s been turned into a killing machine. Dales assures Skur that he doesn’t want to kill him, and Skur says he knows. Then he tries to employ his gross killing thing on Dales. Bill wants to go in and help, but he has to stay put in the car. Dales can handle himself, however, and he uses handcuffs to secure Skur.

In 1990, Mulder laments that Bill got involved with the bad guys. Dales says no one is really free to choose. If Mulder keeps looking into old X-files, he’ll suffer the same fate as Dales and be banished. Mulder still wants to know why Skur said Bill’s name as he died, but Dales doesn’t know. Mulder then asks how Skur got away and was able to hide out for 38 years. Dales says he heard various stories about Skur’s fate, and wondered if someone with a conscience let him go. A flashback to 1952 shows that that’s exactly what happened – and Bill was the one who set him free, in hopes that someday, the truth would come out.

Thoughts: There are three noteworthy guest stars in this episode:

  • 1990 Dales is played by Darren McGavin, who was the show’s first choice to play Bill Mulder.
  • 1952 Dales is played by Frederic Lane, who usually plays villains, so it was nice to see him as a good guy.
  • Skur is played by Garret Dillahunt.

I know this show can get pretty gross, but Skur’s method of killing is really up there on the list. I may not eat for a while.

I guess we’re supposed to see Bill as a hero, but…he let a killer go. If Skur kept killing people over the next 38 years, it’s Bill’s fault.

July 8, 2017

The X-Files 5.14, The Red and the Black: Resist or Serve

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

Whoever’s responsible for this shot: Excellent work

Summary: Someone types a letter to his son as a boy trudges through snow. The letter is about magic and weapons and getting rid of monsters. The writer hopes he and his son will one day be able to reconcile. The boy accepts the letter and some money, then heads off to mail the letter to the FBI. A helicopter flies over a dam in Pennsylvania, where a bunch of people are dead on the bridge from “Patient X.” Mulder is on the scene as workers take away all the bodies (or at least the ones that aren’t burned to ashes). He thinks he sees Scully in a body bag, but when Skinner joins him, he reveals that Scully’s still alive.

Jeffrey Spender arrives and asks Mulder if his mother was there. Mulder and Scully can’t give him an answer. Meanwhile, Marita is also in some trouble; the Well-Manicured Man is overseeing her treatment at a hospital, but the black oil has already gone to work on her. In better medical news, Scully is awake and only has minor injuries from whatever happened at the bridge. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember what that was. She sees news footage of the scene and realizes that everyone else on the bridge was burned alive. She doesn’t even remember why she was on the bridge.

Spender comes to the hospital to tell Mulder that Cassandra wasn’t among the victims. He doesn’t know how she got to the bridge, and he’d like to know why she and Scully were both there. Mulder is sure that Cassandra will be found, but Spender wants Mulder to stay out of it.

WMM has Krycek chained up on a Russian ship, where they talk about how Marita took Dmitri. WMM thinks Krycek was smart to infect Dmitri so he could in turn infect anyone who tried to find out what he knew about Kazakhstan. Now Dmitri’s dead, so his secret are safe. Krycek is the only person left who knows what Dmitri saw, but WMM isn’t interested in making a deal. He thinks Krycek only infected Dmitri because he knew he could cure him. The Russians must have a cure for the black oil, which means the colonists can keep up whatever they’re doing. Krycek denies that there’s a cure, and he’s not going to help Marita anyway. WMM says Krycek needs to be able to save himself, too. A UFO crash-lands on what we’ll later learn is a military base in West Virginia. Someone’s dead, but someone with a sewn-up face has survived.

Back at the hospital, Scully looks through photos from the bridge, but they don’t jog her memory. Mulder tells her that the other survivors don’t remember what happened either. He reveals that they found implants in some of the other would-be abductees, which he thinks is the reason everyone was led to the bridge. Scully doesn’t know why she was a target, or why she survived. Mulder’s more interested in finding out who created the implants and why one was put in Scully’s neck. Was she just being monitored, or is it a means of destruction?

Mulder thinks the truth he’s been looking for so long is in Scully. She reminds him that he’s always been looking for answers about Samantha’s abduction, and though she didn’t believe him, she followed his journey. He relied on his memories because they were all he had to guide him. Whether or not Mulder still trusts him, they’ve led the two of them here. Now Scully doesn’t have memories, and she can’t follow Mulder again. Mulder thinks he can find a way to give Scully back her memories and prove that he’s believed the wrong thing for so long. Scully isn’t sure that’s what he really wants.

The Syndicate passes around pictures of the survivor in West Virginia, thinking he was responsible for the deaths on the bridge. They label him a resistance fighter opposing the alien colonists. WMM is sure this is what Krycek has been trying to keep secret – a war has started. He claims that Krycek gave him the cure for the black oil, which is now being administered to Marita. This means “resistance is possible,” with the weapons and magic they now possess. If not, they can align with the resistance. The Elder disagrees – they need to turn in the resistance fighter. WMM wants to see if the cure works first.

Mulder takes Scully to see Dr. Werber so he can try to hypnotize her and help her recover her memories. He regresses her to the bridge, which he calls “the night place,” and she sees a bunch of lights in the sky. The lights all fly away, and then Scully sees everyone get set on fire. She’s distressed, and Mulder takes her hand. Scully says the fire-starters have no faces, no eyes, and they’re coming towards the group. More lights arrive, and it’s now clear that they’re shining from the bottom of a UFO. The UFO fires on the fire-starters, then hovers right over the people on the bridge. A beam comes down and pulls Cassandra up to the UFO.

Scully’s upset, so Werber stops the session and brings her back to reality. She confirms that Mulder stayed with her the whole time. Then he gets up and walks out. The two go see Skinner after he watches the tape of the session, and Mulder says everything lines up with other stories of regression. He’s sure that Scully witnessed something major, but he still thinks his memories of Samantha’s abduction are false. Skinner needs facts to work with while he heads up the investigation into what happened on the bridge. Mulder announces that the situation was staged to cover up some sort of classified military operation.

Skinner asks what happened to Cassandra, if everything else was staged. Mulder thinks she was taken aboard a military aircraft as part of the ploy. Skinner says he’s doubted Mulder a number of times, only to be proven wrong, but now he doubts Mulder only because aliens actually seem more reasonable than what Mulder thinks happened. Marita still has oil in her system, so the Elder doesn’t think the cure worked. WMM thinks they need more time, and can’t hand over the alien rebel yet. The Elder tells him he’s already done it.

Scully finds Spender in her and Mulder’s office, and he asks why she went to see Cassandra. He shows her a video of himself at 11 years old, undergoing regression hypnosis. He sees flashing lights in the sky, then watches Cassandra being beamed up. He admits to Scully that the story is a lie, just something he thought happened because Cassandra told him about it so many times. It wasn’t the truth, just a substitute. The truth is that Spender’s father left the family, and Cassandra lost it.

Spender calls Werber’s process “having a dream and then pretending it’s real.” Scully, however, thinks her story is real. Spender notes that Mulder could have planted ideas in her head, and Scully could have made herself believe that one of his abduction tales really happened to her. “Don’t let yourself be used,” Spender warns.

Mulder comes home to a note that says, “Things are looking up.” Suddenly he’s attacked by Krycek, who says he’s not there to kill Mulder, but to help him. He tells Mulder to pay attention because there’s a war coming, and everyone on Earth is in danger. The site in Kazakhstan, Skyland Mountain, and the bridge are all “alien lighthouses where the colonization will begin.” The war will be a battle between Heaven and Earth. Everyone will have to resist or serve.

Mulder laughs off Krycek and his claims that he wants to help. Krycek says someone sent him to enlist Mulder because he knows they can resist. The incinerations were attempts to rebel, and one of the rebels is in captivity. “If he dies,” Krycek warns, “so does the resistance.” He wishes Mulder good luck in Russian, then leaves. Meanwhile, the Bounty Hunter (hey, buddy! Long time, no see!) sneaks onto a military base.

Scully comes to Mulder’s apartment to tell him that she may have been wrong about her memories. Mulder shows her the note, which has the name of an Air Force base written on the back. Since the base holds hazardous materials, the agents have some trouble being allowed in. Mulder sends the soldier delaying them to talk to a superior, apparently planning to just drive in while someone else is leaving – someone Scully recognizes. So Mulder jumps on board the other driver’s truck and leaves Scully behind at the gate.

Scully finds a black-oil victim on the truck, which is being driven by the Bounty Hunter in disguise. The Bounty Hunter checks on his cargo but doesn’t see Mulder. Suddenly the truck is filled with a bright light, and the black-oil victim approaches the Bounty Hunter with his fire-starter. Mulder yells, “NOOOOOO!” really dramatically and pulls his gun. Elsewhere, Marita’s eyes show that she’s been cured. Military personnel collect Mulder from the truck, which is now empty. He’s reunited with Scully and tells her he doesn’t know what happened.

Skinner calls Spender to his office to warn that Mulder has opened an X-file about what happened to Cassandra. Skinner thinks Spender will do fine at the FBI; he also reveals that Spender has a “patron” with a high level of influence who’s in his corner. As he leaves, Spender receives the letter from the beginning of the episode, sent from Canada. The boy goes back to the letter writer with his envelope – Spender has had it returned to sender. (Returned to Spender?) P.S. The letter writer is a not-so-dead-after-all CSM.

Thoughts: Dear everyone in this show: A vaccine and a cure are not the same thing. You can’t call it a vaccine if it’s administered after the infection. It’s a cure.

A fun exchange:

Krycek: “You must be losing it, Mulder. I could beat you with one hand.”
Mulder: “Isn’t that how you like to beat yourself?” [Is this a masturbation joke??]
Krycek: *ready to shoot*
Mulder: “If those are my last words, I can do better.”

New rule: The title of the episode has to be explained in the episode.

July 1, 2017

The X-Files 5.13, Patient X: Krycek’s Back to Screw Stuff Up, Possibly Just for the Fun of It

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:28 pm by Jenn

He could do better. Her…probably not

Summary: This is one of those episodes that starts with Mulder giving a voiceover about something that isn’t really related to the episode. Specifically, he’s talking about the universe and gods. Blah blah, signs, revelations, destiny written in the stars. Somewhere in Kazakhstan, two teen boys see something in the sky and run off to spread the word. They smell fire and come across a bunch of burning cars. They yell for their parents but get no response. A man emerges, on fire, and the boys run off. They get separated, and one hears the other scream as the burning man approaches him.

A group of UN peacekeepers comes to the scene the next day, accompanied by Marita. While the peacekeepers put out the dying fires, the remaining teen hides nearby. He’s found by a small group of men, including Krycek. Once Krycek determines that the boy, Dmitri, saw what happened, he says it’s too bad. He takes Dmitri to Marita, who happens to speak Russian and tells Krycek she and her peacekeepers have the scene under control. Krycek tells her they have no authority there. Marita needs to go back to her people and tell them what she saw there, and that “it’s all going to hell.” When Marita asks if Dmitri saw what happened, Krycek gives her an additional message: “Tell them to kiss my American a%$.”

At a panel discussion in Massachusetts, people watch a video of woman talking about the most recent of her multiple alien abductions. They told her she was an apostle and will be ushering in an “age of supernatural enlightenment.” The woman is labeled Patient X, and a man on the panel (which Mulder is also a member of) says we don’t have the language or physics to grasp her experience. A woman on the panel disagrees – we talk about needing proof as if it would change anything. Instead, we should be trying to find out why aliens are here.

Another panel member talks about what alien visits mean for our relationship with God. He’s interested in the lighthouses Patient X talks about, which are headquarters for alien activity. Mulder doesn’t believe Patient X’s testimony – he doesn’t think she’s lying, but she’s been lied to and believes she’s telling the truth. The power of suggestion makes people think that the problems they have, like Patient X’s, are due to something paranormal rather than something physiological.

The woman on the panel asks Mulder if this means he doesn’t believe in aliens. He says no, but he’s questioning his own misbelief. Mulder continues that if you look too hard, you’ll go crazy, but if you recognize that there are lies, you become enlightened. He announces that the government is hiding the fact that they’re gathering biological weapons. It’s “a conspiracy wrapped in a plot inside a government agenda.” The audience finds this theory very interesting.

As Mulder leaves after the discussion is over, he recognizes an audience member, Dr. Heitz Werber. Werber once helped Mulder try to recover his memories about Samantha’s abduction, and he’s surprised that Mulder seems to have given up on his theories about aliens. Mulder says he just doesn’t trust those memories anymore. Werber wonders if Mulder’s doubts mean the two of them were believing in something crazy all along. He reveals that he’s Patient X’s doctor, and he thinks Mulder should meet her.

Poor Dmitri is taken to a Russian gulag, where Krycek gives the OK for him to be subjected to experiments. He snags a vial of something, then leaves Dmitri to his fate. Back in the States, Werber introduces Mulder to the wheelchair-bound Patient X, whose name is Cassandra Spender. She’s considered Mulder a hero since he helped Duane Barry. She says that story saved her life as it inspired her to seek hypnotic regression for her own memories. Mulder asks if Cassandra is Werber’s patient voluntarily, then encourages her to check herself out of the hospital and get back to her life.

Cassandra disagrees – this is an important time, as the aliens are gearing up for a battle. She thinks that she, like Duane, will be summoned somewhere to do something important. Mulder tells her that Duane died after being visited by men from the government. He tries to tell Cassandra that there’s doubt about things that happened, but Cassandra is sure that she was abducted and had an unborn child taken from her. There are “other forces at work,” and she’s going to play an important role. Mulder needs to pay attention because he’s the only one who can help her. He insists that he isn’t.

In Russia, Dmitri undergoes the same black-oil experiments Mulder and Krycek did. Two men talk about the site where he was found, and how Krycek is the only person who knows what Dmitri saw. They discover that another prisoner has killed himself. I’m not really clear on what happened, but I’m guessing that this was a distraction so Krycek could grab Dmitri, who he’s now tending to on a ship. Poor Dmitri’s eyes and mouth have been sewn shut, but Kryeck promises to take good care of him.

At FBI headquarters, Scully meets an agent named Jeffrey Spender, who’s concerned about Mulder’s conversations with Cassandra (who happens to be Spender’s mother). Neither knows why the two are talking, but Spender thinks his mother is troubled, and that talking to Mulder will cause her more pain. He’s worried that if his mother’s condition spreads, he’ll get a reputation, I guess as the son of a crazy woman.

Marita addresses the Syndicate at their lair, telling them that the people in the burned cars seemed to have been killed by a biological weapon. At least two victims had something on them that Marita now has in a vial (I think it’s a neck implant). The Well-Manicured Man guesses that all the victims had them, and the place they were found was going to be the scene of a group abduction. One of the other Syndicate members is surprised, since he thought that wouldn’t be taking place for years. Did the timetable get moved up?

Marita thinks this is an act of war. She mentions Krycek’s presence and thinks he knows what really happened. The meeting is interrupted when Krycek himself calls the Syndicate’s “batphone.” He tells WMM that they’ve been working on a vaccine against the black oil, and he wants their research. In exchange, he’ll hand over Dmitri.

In their office, Scully gives Mulder a copy of a newspaper containing an article about the panel discussion. She’s surprised that he’s being quoted as doubting the existence of aliens; now he sounds like her. They talk about Cassandra, who Mulder thinks is proof that they’ve been chasing their tails for five years. Scully jokes that Mulder seems to have invalidated his own work, which means her job is done. She tells him she talked to Spender, who agrees with Mulder that Cassandra is unwell. Mulder’s frustrated that no one believes him about the government hiding something.

Scully has doubts about Mulder’s doubts, though – Cassandra says she was abducted at Skyland Mountain, just like Scully, and has an implant at the base of her neck. She tells Mulder that Spender wants him to keep quiet about anything he’s discussed with Cassandra. Mulder has no problem with that. Meanwhile, a convoy of cars heads to Skyland Mountain, though at least one of the drivers doesn’t seem sure why he’s there.

Scully visits Cassandra, who recognizes her but can’t remember where she’s seen her before. Cassandra soon realizes that Scully is also an abductee. Scully warns her not to remove her implant, but Cassandra’s ready for the consequences. She thinks the aliens have a lot to teach them, and Scully, as a doctor, should want to meet creatures who are such great healers. Maybe that’s why they abducted her in the first place. The drivers head up Skyland Mountain, and a man runs toward a car, begging for help. Behind him, another man touches something to him that lights him on fire.

Mulder and Scully are called to the mountain the next day; there are dozens of dead bodies, all burned. Scully guesses this is related to her abduction, while Mulder won’t believe that without evidence. The Syndicate watches news footage of the investigation, wondering how this could happen without their knowledge. WMM thinks someone’s trying to sabotage their work. They need to move “before the colonists intervene.” Cassandra’s also watching the news footage when she asks the agents to come see her. She tells them she knew all the victims, who were all her friends from a long time ago. Things weren’t supposed to happen like this.

Cassandra asks the agents to stop what’s happening, though she doesn’t know exactly what’s going on. Spender arrives and pulls the agents outside to chastise them for talking to his mother again. He tells them that Cassandra was in a cult with the Skyland victims; they all thought a UFO would take them someplace where they could live forever. Mulder tells Spender that they’ll leave Cassandra alone. As they leave, one of the men who experimented on Dmitri enters Cassandra’s room.

Marita tracks down Krycek as he’s doing something to Dmitri. They start making out (Marita and Krycek, not Krycek and Dmitri, though that would be a twist), and he says that if the Syndicate gives him what he wants, he’ll “rule the world.” Marita assures him that they’re on their way to getting what they want. They head off to go make evil babies or something while Dmitri gets left behind.

Scully wakes up in the middle of the night, seeming to sense something outside. She gazes up at the sky and feels the back of her neck, where her implant used to be. Krycek goes back to Dmitri’s holding place but finds it empty. WMM surprises him and asks where Dmitri is.

Scully meets Mulder in their office, where he shows her x-rays from three of the Skyland victims. They all have implants in their necks. The victims’ families said they weren’t in cults, but two were in MUFON groups and underwent treatment for depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Mulder thinks the implants were triggered by the government to lead the victims to Skyland so they could be monitored. Scully points out that the people were all then killed. She thinks they should give more thought to what Cassandra has said.

Marita calls Mulder to tell him about what happened in Kazakhstan. She’s the one who took Dmitri, and she wants Mulder to talk to him about what he witnessed. Dmitri has a different idea – he unstitches his eyes and surprises Marita at the payphone she’s on. While Scully tries to pull herself together, Mulder tracks Marita’s call and finds the payphone off the hook. There are smears of something on the glass. Mulder calls Cassandra but gets Spender instead. Cassandra’s disappeared, and Spender doesn’t know where she might have gone.

The experimenter takes Cassandra to a bridge, where a bunch of other people are gathered, waiting for something. Dmitri is also there, and he could probably use some medical attention, so it’s good that Scully has arrived. Everyone looks up to see a bright light in the sky, flying over them like a plane (or, you know, a UFO). There’s a bright flash, and everyone is stunned into silence. Scully finds Cassandra just before two men with formerly stitched faces light Dmitri on fire. To be continued…

Thoughts: Cassandra is played by Veronica Cartwright, who got an Emmy nomination for this role.

This show is much more fun when Mulder’s the believer and Scully’s the skeptic. Skeptical Mulder = depressed Mulder.

Is there a connection between the name Cassandra and the constellation Cassiopeia, which Scully sees when she wakes up before going to the bridge? Discuss.

June 24, 2017

The X-Files 5.12, Bad Blood: “That Is…Essentially Exactly the Way It Happened”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Don’t worry, Mulder, he’s not a threat. Well, not to your relationship with Scully, at least

Summary: A redheaded boy runs through the woods in Chaney, Texas, being chased by someone he says is going to kill him. He’s right, since his pursuer eventually catches up to him and stakes him through the heart. The pursuer happens to be Mulder, and when Scully joins him, he shows her the boy’s fangs. Mulder is horrified to see that the fangs are removable, and he just staked a human. When the agents return to D.C., Mulder struggles to write up a report, telling Scully not to talk about it and taking out his frustration on a trash can. The agents each wonder what the other will tell Skinner.

Mulder wants to know if Scully’s going to back up his story, since he’s the one who could go to prison. Scully points out that the family of the boy, Ronnie Strickland, wants to sue the FBI for $446 million, and she’ll most likely be Mulder’s codefendant. Mulder insists that he didn’t overreact – Ronnie was a vampire. He wants Scully to tell him her version of events.

Scully starts her story: The previous morning, Mulder told her they were going to Chaney, population 361, and was really excited to investigation “nocturnal exsanguinations.” Cows have been found in the area drained of their blood, with puncture wounds on their necks. Scully thinks this is the work of a cult, but Mulder suspects vampires. It’s only then that he mentions there was a human death.

The agents go to a funeral home in Texas so they can look into the death of Dwight Funt. They meet the sheriff, Lucius Hartwell, who seems to find Scully attractive. Mulder’s eager to get investigating and tells Scully to “get those little legs moving.” Funt has puncture wounds on his neck, just like the cows, and Scully thinks they’re looking for a killer who pretends to be a vampire. Hartwell agrees with her. He edges Mulder out to talk to Scully about medical stuff and call her Dana.

In the present, Mulder objects that Hartwell never knew Scully’s first name. Scully continues: Mulder notices that Funt’s shoes are untied, then asks Hartwell if there’s “an old cemetery in town, off the beaten path – the creepier, the better.” Mulder assigns Scully to stay behind and autopsy Funt while he and Hartwell go to the cemetery. Scully asks what she’s supposed to look for in the autopsy. Mulder admits that he doesn’t know. “He does that,” Scully tells Hartwell.

She starts the autopsy on Funt, “who is arguably having a worse time in Texas than I am, though not by much.” Everything looks normal, and she can see that Funt’s last meal before his death was pizza. She then checks into the Davey Crockett Motor Court, though Mulder corrects that it was the Sam Houston Motor Lodge. Scully puts some money in the vibrating bed and tries to relax, but a muddy, disheveled Mulder shows up to talk business. She tells him she found knock-out drops in Funt’s system, and she thinks the “vampire” doped his victim before extracting his blood.

Mulder announces that another person has died, so Scully needs to go do another autopsy. He’s happy to take over relaxing for her. She leaves just as the pizza she ordered arrives, delivered by Ronnie Strickland. Scully autopsies Paul Lombardo, a tourist from Florida, and discovers the same knock-out drops in his system. She gets a phone call but only hears breathing on the line. Lombardo’s stomach contents are the same as Funt’s, making her realize that the pizza delivery guy is the killer. That means Mulder could be in danger.

Scully rushes back to the motel, where she finds Ronnie next to Mulder’s unconscious body. She shoots at him but he runs off. Scully checks on Mulder, who sings a verse of the theme from “Shaft” as he comes to. In the present, Mulder objects to this part of the story. Scully continues that she shot out one of Ronnie’s tired, so he ran off on foot. She followed him into the woods but lost him, and when she found him, Mulder had already killed him. She plans to tell Skinner that Mulder was overexcited because of the drugs in his system.

Mulder says that’s not what happened at all – Scully’s just afraid to tell the truth. So she asks for his version of events. He tells her that she was grumpy when she got to work, and he was no more excited than usual. In Mulder’s version, he’s not nearly as insistent about this being the work of a vampire as Scully claimed. At the funeral home, Mulder notices that there are a lot of caskets for a town with so few people. The funeral director tells him it’s because of “repeat business,” then says he was joking.

Mulder thinks Scully didn’t hear this conversation because she was distracted by the attractive sheriff. Mulder remembers him as having huge buckteeth and an exaggerated southern accent. Scully doesn’t find that a significant observation, but Mulder says he’s trying to be thorough. The agents view the body, and Mulder talks about the history of vampires. Scully thinks the killer is a human who wishes he could be a vampire. Mulder notes that there are lots of different kinds of vampires; some are killed by sunlight, some have red hair, and some aren’t eternal.

He notices the untied shoes, and in the present, Scully wonders why that’s important. Mulder says he’ll get there. He continues his version, telling Scully about going to the cemetery with Hartwell. Mulder explains that cemeteries are a haven for vampires, so he wants to see signs that they’ve been there, like the lack of birdsong, broken tombstones, or the sound of a creature eating its death shroud in the tomb. Mulder needs a new hobby, guys. Ronnie passes by in his delivery car, and he and Hartwell greet each other. Mulder thinks if they wait long enough, the vampire will return to the cemetery.

Scully asks again about the significance of Funt’s untied shoes, but Mulder has more to tell first. He and Hartwell sit in the car, waiting for their killer. Hartwell questions why Mulder has sprinkled sunflower seeds on the ground. Mulder explains that vampires are compulsive about things like untying knots and counting seeds on the ground. He thinks that compulsion made the vampire untie Funt’s shoes. This leads to a conversation about Rain Man and counting cards.

Hartwell is alerted to a situation at an RV park, so he and Mulder drive over. They find a group of people (including Ronnie) watching an RV drive in circles in the parking lot. Mulder and the sheriff try to shoot out the RV’s tires, which proves harder than they thought. Plan B is Mulder grabbing on to the vehicle to try to slow it down manually. Eventually the RV stops, and the men find Lombardo’s body inside. No one at the scene saw anything.

Mulder goes to the motel, where Scully yells about having to do an autopsy. She’s especially annoyed because she’s hungry – all she’s had to eat all day is half a bagel with light cream cheese. After she leaves, Mulder takes a shower, then accepts Scully’s pizza delivery. He recognizes Ronnie but doesn’t find it suspicious that this guy keeps turning up. After dinner, Mulder notices that his shoes are untied and puts all the pieces together.

With the drugs in his system making it hard to function, Mulder rolls out of bed and calls Scully. He can’t quite talk, so all she hears is his breathing. Ronnie comes back to the room, baring his fangs. Mulder distracts him by throwing sunflower seeds on the ground, then tries to escape while Ronnie counts them, annoyed. But the drugs knock Mulder out, and he doesn’t wake up until Scully arrives.

Mulder thinks Scully’s bullets did hit Ronnie, but they didn’t affect him. He also says he saw Ronnie fly at Scully before running out. The chase begins, and Mulder stakes Ronnie. He thinks the boy’s autopsy will back up his story. But when the coroner removes the stake from Ronnie’s body, the boy revives. His eyes glow, and though his fangs are gone, that won’t stop him from biting the coroner.

Scully and Mulder wait together outside Skinner’s office (she tries to straighten his tie, because they’re married), still unsure of what each will say. Scully thinks Mulder needs to remind Skinner multiple times that he was drugged, which means he wasn’t thinking clearly. Mulder tells her to let it go, but when Skinner appears, Mulder immediately blurts out that he was drugged. Instead of interviewing the agents, Skinner tells them to go back to Texas: Ronnie’s not dead, and he chewed on the coroner’s neck.

The agents go back to the cemetery in Texas, since Mulder says a vampire has to sleep in “his native soil.” He thinks Scully was right about the killer being someone who’s watched a lot of vampire movies. It’s just that, in this case, he’s also a real vampire. Hartwell comes by to offer his help, so Mulder has him stay with Scully while he goes looking for Ronnie’s family. Since their mail comes general delivery, he thinks they live at the RV park.

Hartwell and Scully share some coffee and discuss vampires, which she’s heard are seductive and charming. Though, since there are so many different kinds, according to Mulder, she doesn’t know for sure. Hartwell apologizes on Ronnie’s behalf – “he makes us all look bad.” Now “we” pay taxes and make good neighbors. Ronnie just doesn’t know how to keep a low profile. As Scully realizes what Hartwell’s saying, the drugs in her coffee start to take effect, and Hartwell’s eyes start to glow.

At the RV park, Mulder finds a coffin in one of the vehicles and opens it to find Ronnie napping. He starts to read Ronnie his rights, sitting on top of the coffin to keep it closed. Other vampires approach as he handcuffs the coffin to keep it closed, then grabs two baguettes to use as a cross. The vampires aren’t repelled (maybe he should have tried garlic bread?), and they swarm and attack Mulder. The next morning, Scully finds him asleep in a car, his shoes untied. Scully just woke up in the cemetery and doesn’t know what happened. All the RVs in the park are gone – as Mulder says, “they pulled up stakes.”

Back in D.C., the agents tell Skinner their sides of the story, though they can’t confirm each other’s versions. “That is…essentially exactly the way it happened,” Mulder says. “Essentially,” Scully agrees. “Except for the part about the buckteeth,” Mulder allows.

Thoughts: Hartwell is played by Luke Wilson. Ronnie is played by Patrick Renna, who was in a bunch of stuff as a kid, including The Sandlot.

I feel like they only showed Scully weighing all of Funt and Lombardo’s organs to make Gillian Anderson touch gross-looking things.

I’ll admit, I laughed at “pulled up stakes” and “so we staked out the cemetery.”

Mulder only tips Ronnie 2 cents for the pizza, so Ronnie’s almost justified in attacking him.

June 17, 2017

The X-Files 5.11, Kill Switch: Going Viral

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

Right back at ya, episode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 10, 2017

The X-Files 5.10, Chinga: You Do the Hokey Pokey and You Kill Some Innocent People. That’s What It’s All About!

Posted in TV tagged at 1:10 pm by Jenn

Eh, I’ve seen scarier

Summary: A girl named Polly is annoyed to have to go grocery shopping with her mother. (I feel you, kid.) Everyone who sees Polly gives her strange looks, but that’s not the weirdest part of this shopping trip. Polly’s doll opens her eyes, and Polly’s mother, Melissa Turner, sees a ghostly figure on the door of a freezer case. Melissa cuts the trip short, begging Polly not to “do this.” People in the store start tearing at their eyes and hitting themselves. A butcher calls the police, then sees a reflection of Polly’s doll. He suddenly grabs a knife and tries to keep himself from stabbing his face.

Scully’s in a peaceful seaside town in Maine, pumping gas into her rented convertible, when Mulder calls her (“Scully, it’s me”). They’d both planned to take the weekend off, but Mulder has a case. He also wants to warn Scully not to talk and drive, and to be wary of decapitation while she’s driving a convertible. Scully hangs up on him. She then sees Melissa fleeing the grocery store with Polly, and notices a man leaving with scratches all over his face. Scully goes inside and finds everyone else in the same state.

A manager tells Scully that Dave may be dead, and she finds him with the knife in his face. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell him that now she has a case. He’s supposed to be on vacation, too, but he’s in his office, watching The World’s Deadliest Swarms. Scully tells him about the weirdness in Maine, which he blames on sorcery or witchcraft. She hasn’t seen any evidence of that, and when he questions whether she would know what to look for, she rattles off a list. “Scully? Marry me,” Mulder says. He agrees that witchcraft probably isn’t at play here.

Scully watches a surveillance tape and sees Melissa leaving the store with Polly, unaffected by whatever caused everyone else to turn violent. The police captain, Bonsaint, tells her that something has always seemed off about Melissa. P.S. She and Dave the butcher were seeing each other. A deputy named Buddy calls Melissa to tell her he knows she was at the store. Polly, who’s blasting a record playing “The Hokey Pokey,” sternly orders Melissa to hang up the phone.

Melissa goes to another room as Buddy warns her to keep quiet. Then he tells her that Dave is dead, and Buddy wants to come over to comfort Melissa. The doll opens her eyes and says, “Let’s have fun.” Melissa tells Dave not to come over, though she can’t tell him why. She’s outside now, and the doll’s silhouette appears behind some laundry hung out to dry. Sometime later, Scully and Bonsaint come over but no one answers the door. They see the backdoor open and check the backyard, but Melissa’s no longer there.

Scully sees that a window was nailed shut. Bonsaint tells Scully that Melissa’s a local who married a fisherman who died last year. Polly is said to be autistic, and people started a rumor about Melissa being a witch after Polly seemingly knocked a teacher to the ground for slapping her. Scully asks about Dave and Melissa’s relationship, but Bonsaint clarifies that it was more like Dave had a crush on Melissa that she didn’t return. Scully wonders if Dave got violent, and Melissa nailed the window shut to keep him from coming by. Bonsaint doubts that, wondering if Melissa nailed the window to keep something – or someone inside instead of keeping someone from getting in.

Melissa and Polly are at an ice cream parlor with Buddy, who thinks mother and daughter should leave town. Buddy regrets not making a move on Melissa years ago; now she needs someone who can provide for her. As Melissa tells Buddy that had a premonition of Dave dead before he died (that would be the figure she saw on the door of the freezer case), Polly goes to the counter and demands more cherries. When an employee turns her down, the doll opens her eyes. “Let’s have fun!” she says, so I guess that’s the only thing she can say. Buddy gives Melissa a key to a cabin where she and Polly can hide out. Suddenly, the employee’s hair gets caught in a churner, nearly scalping her.

Bonsaint takes Scully to visit a woman named Jane who knows exactly why they’re there. She insists that Melissa is descended from Salem witches and passed her “cursed lineage” on to Polly. Jane tried to save Polly, but all it did was get her school shut down when she slapped Polly. She wishes they lived in the time when people knew what to do with witches – then Melissa would get what’s coming to her. Scully’s like, “Wow, the people in this town sure are nice!” She asks Bonsaint if there’s any truth to the talk about Melissa’s family tree. She thinks Bonsaint should talk to Melissa and find out what’s going on. But since Scully’s still on vacation, she’s not going to continue with the case.

Melissa and Polly head to Buddy’s cabin even as a ranger warns that the weather might leave them without electricity. Polly demands to go home, and her doll is ready to make that happen. Melissa sees a vision of Jane on the back window, begging for help. She speeds off. Back in town, Jane hears “The Hokey Pokey” in her house and realizes the record player is on. She hears the doll saying she wants to play. Jane breaks a record and raises a piece as a weapon, ready to fight the doll. Instead, she turns the weapon on herself.

The next morning, Scully tries to relax in a bubble bath, ignoring her phone. Once she’s out of the bath, she also tries to ignore the message light blinking on the phone. Bonsaint comes by and tells her that Jane is dead, so Scully puts her vacation on hold to go to the crime scene. Somehow, Mulder tracks her down to ask if Scully needs any help on the case – he was the person whose call she ignored. He’s now at home, bouncing a basketball to make it sound like there’s construction going on outside his window. (I don’t know. Mulder’s weird.) Now he thinks there’s a medical explanation for the violence at the grocery store.

Scully writes off Mulder’s idea that the people at the store were infected by “dancing sickness,” then hangs up so he can go back to drinking expired beverages from his nearly empty fridge. “The Hokey Pokey” starts playing on the record player, and Buddy turns it off. Scully tells Bonsaint that it might be time to start considering “extreme possibilities.” So the lesson here appears to be that when Mulder and Scully go on vacation, he starts acting like her and she starts acting like him.

“The Hokey Pokey” is playing at the Turners’ house, where Melissa tries to approach her sleeping daughter. The doll scares her off and the record restarts. She sees another vision in her window, this time of Buddy. Bonsaint chows down on a huge lobster at a restaurant while Scully asks about Melissa’s husband’s death. Bonsaint always found it strange that he was killed by a grappling hook. He points out the boat Mr. Turner died on, and Scully recognizes a fisherman on board as a man from the grocery store.

At the Turners’, Polly demands popcorn from her mother, then listens to “The Hokey Pokey” for the millionth time. Buddy arrives and accuses Melissa of killing Jane. He calls Polly a brat, so you know the doll is going to have something to say about that. Scully talks to the fisherman, who tells her that Mr. Turner caught the doll in a net, then gave it to Polly for her birthday. Three days later, Mr. Turner was dead, and the fisherman blames the doll. Mr. Turner heard the doll’s voice on the boat and went looking for it with a grappling hook – the same hook that killed him.

Mulder calls as Scully’s leaving and tries to tell her about a virus that might have caused the violence. She asks about cursed objects, like talking dolls. Mulder says that the lore claims the objects can pass their magic on to people, possessing them. Witches have been punished just for saying that the objects exist. Scully’s like, “This is totally just conjecture. I didn’t actually find a talking doll that’s connected to murders. This is all hypothetical.” Mulder suggests that she check the back of the hypothetical doll for a pull ring.

Scully and Bonsaint decide to go see Melissa again, but she’s a little busy frantically making popcorn just a few feet away from Buddy’s dead body. After Polly goes to bed, Melissa loads a shotgun and nails all the windows shut. Polly wakes up, as does the doll. Melissa’s next vision is of herself with a hammer in her forehead. When Scully and Bonsaint arrive, he recognizes Buddy’s car outside. They bang on the door as Melissa prepares to set the house on fire. The doll isn’t pleased and tells Melissa not to play with matches, then makes the match go out.

Melissa goes for some cutlery instead, but the doll tells her not to play with knives. Scully guesses that Melissa is about to kill herself, so she looks for another way into the house. “Let’s play with the hammer,” the doll suggests. Melissa grabs it just as Scully and Bonsaint make it inside. “I don’t like you anymore,” the doll says, making Melissa hit herself with the hammer. Scully tells Polly to give her the doll, which just repeats that she wants to play. As Melissa hits herself over and over, Scully takes the doll and microwaves it, breaking its hold on Melissa.

Scully returns to the office to find Mulder entertaining himself by sharpening a bunch of pencils. She asks about his “I want to believe” poster, which he says he got in a head shop downtown a few years ago. She says she wants to send one to Bonsaint. Amazingly, Mulder doesn’t interrogate her about who this guy is and why she wants to send him a present, and whether he’s handsome or rich or if they’re getting married. Instead, he asks about the case, but Scully says she didn’t follow up – she was on vacation.

Mulder tells her he accomplished a ton without having her questioning his every move. Well, he certainly accomplished throwing a bunch of pencils up into the ceiling tiles. “There’s got to be an explanation,” he says. “Oh, I don’t know,” Scully replies. “I think some things are better left unexplained.” Back in Maine, a fisherman makes a surprising catch: a burned doll that wants to play.

Thoughts: This is the episode that was co-written by Stephen King. The story is that he had a bunch of Mulder/Scully stuff in the original script that Chris Carter took out, because Chris Carter hates it when people are happy.

This idea of cursed, talking toys really gives Toy Story a whole new spin, doesn’t it?

Once again I have to ask: How does Mulder function without Scully? Does she normally buy him groceries?

June 3, 2017

The X-Files 5.9, Schizogeny: Acts of Nature

Posted in TV tagged at 1:23 pm by Jenn

He’s a hero and he never even gets a name. Sad

Summary: A teen boy is playing a video game in his room in Coats Grove, Michigan, when his father gets home from work. The father, Phil Rich, is annoyed to see a shovel in the yard and calls out for his son, Bobby. Bobby’s mother, Patti, tries to calm Phil, but he’s fed up with their son’s irresponsibility. He makes Bobby finish whatever he was supposed to do in the yard, even though it’s after 10:00 at night. Bobby lashes out and threatens his father with the shovel, then drops it and runs off.

Phil chases him into an orchard as it starts storming. Bobby pauses when he sees a man watching him, then takes off again. Phil trips on a root and falls in the mud. Bobby watches as Phil struggles, but when Patti finds them, Phil is sinking in the mud, as if it’s quicksand. Bobby is unable to pull his father to the surface.

Scully pulls more than 12 pounds of mud out of Phil’s stomach when she performs his autopsy. She’s surprised that he seems to have been murdered – held down in the mud until he suffocated – since he’s supposedly well-liked in town. Well, with the exception of Bobby, who’s actually his stepson, even though they have the same last name. Mulder says that they had to use a backhoe to excavate Phil’s body, which was found upright. Scully has logical explanations for how Bobby could have buried his father alive while he was vertical, even though Bobby is barely 110 pounds. Scully suspects an accomplice.

Mulder visits Bobby in his room, noticing a poster that says “ich bin ein auslander” – “I am an outsider.” Mulder shares the anecdote that when Kennedy said “ich bin ein berliner,” he was calling himself a cocktail sausage. “Who’s Kennedy?” Bobby asks. Mulder asks him what happened to Phil, but Bobby isn’t too concerned about being a murder suspect. Downstairs, Patti tells Scully that Bobby and Phil were close when Bobby was younger, but Bobby’s now a typical teenager who clashes with his parents. Plus, Phil’s been stressed out because of his nut trees, which are all diseased. Scully wonders if Phil instigated things.

Bobby tells Mulder that he kind of thought that Phil might pull him down into the mud. Phil shoved him around in the past, but Bobby wasn’t big enough to fight back. Mulder says people believe Bobby dug the hole to trap Phil and get the upper hand. Bobby admits that when he found Phil, he felt like his stepfather “had it coming.” Patti tells Scully that when she found the two, she thought Bobby was trying to help Phil. Scully warns that if Patti’s hiding anything about past abuse, Bobby could look really bad in front of a judge.

The agents check out the dying trees in Phil’s hazelnut orchard as they discuss whether or not Bobby’s a murderer. Scully thinks the disease affecting the trees created a huge sinkhole that trapped Phil. Mulder laughs off her excuses for how Phil then ingested all that mud. Scully mentions that Bobby doesn’t have friends and has been in therapy for his anger for years. She sees the man Bobby saw the night Phil died and tries to approach him. Mulder doesn’t see him since he’s held back when his foot gets caught on a root.

At school, Bobby tells a girl named Lisa that he finally stood up to Phil. A boy attacks Bobby, calling him a psycho, so Bobby says maybe he’ll kill the boy, too. The boy walks away, and Bobby tells Lisa that you just have to stand up to bullies. Meanwhile, the agents go see Bobby’s therapist, Karin Matthews, who relays stories Bobby told her of Phil’s abuse. Mulder notices some mud on her shoes. He thinks Karin is trying to paint Bobby as Phil’s killer, but Mulder thinks he’s innocent.

Bobby tracks down Lisa on her way home, annoyed that she won’t talk to him. She tells him he scared her when he got violent with his bully. Bobby encourages her to stand up to her father the way he stood up to Phil. After all, her problems could disappear forever like his did. Lisa’s father is angry when he sees his daughter talking to Bobby, then stunned into silence when Lisa screams at him to shut up, then runs off. Suddenly someone flies in through the window and attacks Lisa’s father, who ends up dead in the front yard.

Mulder and Scully check out the second crime scene, though Mr. Baiocchi’s body has already been removed. They rightfully assume that Lisa shoved her father out the window during a fight about Bobby. Karin comes over to counsel Lisa, but Mulder takes her out of the room so Scully can talk to the teen. Karin tells Mulder that Lisa’s been under her treatment for four years for an eating disorder. She’s not surprised that Lisa and her father may have fought about Bobby; he was disapproving of their friendship. Karin tells Mulder that she advises her patients to break the cycle of abuse by standing up to their abusers.

Scully tells Mulder that Bobby was outside the house just before Mr. Baiocchi died, so he could have committed another murder. But Mulder has figured out from the way the window was broken that Mr. Baiocchi was pulled, not pushed, out the window. Plus, there’s no way a scrawny kid like Bobby could have had the muscle to pull him out. Scully goes to the school to question Bobby while Mulder meets with the doctor who performed Mr. Baiocchi’s autopsy. He died of a broken neck, but Mulder finds a splinter on his body.

Scully doesn’t find any wounds on Bobby’s arms, indicating that he couldn’t have broken a window and pulled someone through it. Mulder brings Scully the splinter, which he finds significant. Lisa’s staying with Karin until her aunt can come get her, and as she’s trying to fall asleep, she relives arguments between herself and her father. Then she hears what sounds like her father’s voice in the hallway. When she takes a peek, she only sees Karin at the closed basement door.

Mulder takes Scully to the Baiocchis’ house and climbs the tree outside Lisa’s window to match the splinter to the wood of the tree. “Is this demonstration of boyish agility turning you on at all?” he asks his partner. (She doesn’t answer, but…probably.) Suddenly the man from the orchard shows up, telling Scully he takes care of the trees. She asks him to identify the splinter, which he says is from the tree Mulder’s currently in. The agents are confused, since the splinter is live wood, and the trees are all supposedly dying. The man chops the tree with his axe and shows what looks like blood running out. Mulder asks what could cause that. “A very bad man,” Mr. Orchard says.

At Karin’s, Lisa cautiously approaches the basement door, then goes downstairs. The floor is covered in dirt, and Lisa sees…something I can’t because the lighting in this scene is too dark. The light goes on and a voice calls Lisa a snoop, “just like you.” When the agents come by the next morning, they have questions for Karin, not Lisa. Her father died 20 years ago in an orchard. Mr. Orchard worked for Karin’s father, and he claims that Mr. Matthews’ death led to the death of all the trees. Karin dismisses this idea, then tells the agents that Lisa’s left town to live with her aunt. Lisa is actually trapped in the basement, and Karin tells her that she needs to be quiet or “he” will hurt her.

Mulder digs up Mr. Matthews’ grave, because of course. Instead of a body, there are only tree roots in the coffin. Back at Karin’s, Lisa’s aunt Linda arrives to get her niece, and Karin tells her that Lisa left town. Linda hears Lisa breaking a basement window and yelling for help. Before Linda can call the police, someone (or something – it’s this show, after all) attacks and kills her.

At the cemetery, Mulder tells Scully that he thinks they’re dealing with an “act of nature.” He believes that the livelihood of the people in the area are tied to the trees. Mr. Matthews, Phil, and Mr. Baiocchi all worked in the orchard. Phil tripped on a root, and Mr. Matthews’ body appears to have been pushed out of his grave by a root system. The men’s lives and deaths seem to be tied to the trees. Scully notes the more obvious connection: all the men were abusing their children. Is Mulder suggesting that nature stood up to the fathers on behalf of their children?

The agents return to Bobby’s house, offering him the chance to tell them what happened the night Phil died, no matter how weird it sounds. Mulder thinks Bobby really did try to save Phil; he didn’t want his stepfather to die. Bobby confides that he couldn’t stand up to Phil, but Karin made him. We see flashes of a session between Bobby and Karin, in which Bobby had to pretend to be Phil, and see himself as a victim. Karin told Bobby that he had the power to end things. Bobby cries as he says that he didn’t mean for Phil to die.

In the basement, Lisa hears her father’s voice yelling, but it’s Karin messing with her. When the agents arrive, they find the front door open and muddy footprints leading to the basement. Linda’s dead body is still right outside, and she’s not the only formerly living being there: There’s a skeleton in the room, surrounded by tree roots. “Talk about putting down roots,” Mulder quips. He guesses the skeleton was Mr. Matthews’, and the roots pulled him into the basement like Phil was pulled into the mud. He pegs Karin as both the killer and a victim.

The agents find Lisa, and Scully stays with her while Mulder engages in a car chase with Karin. A tree branch falls as he’s driving past, and he barely manages to duck out of the way before he’s impaled. Karin goes to Bobby’s house, insisting that he’s in danger, but Patti says he’s not there. Bobby flees into the orchard, where Karin appears to use her mind to make the mud pull him down. Mulder arrives and tries to pull Bobby out, telling Karin to stand up to the abusive father she seems to be channeling. Karin, however, says that Karin’s death. And then she really is, thanks to Mr. Orchard and his axe. He says it’s all done, then leaves as Karin’s body sinks into the mud.

Mulder voices over his case report, saying that authorities couldn’t figure out what caused the mud to pull people under, or how Mr. Matthews’ body ended up in her root cellar. “Rage unconfronted takes its own path,” he says. He believes Karin tried to help abused teens find the strength to stand up to their abusers since she wasn’t able to stand up to her father. What happened in the orchard was release. Well, thanks for waiting 20 years to figure it all out, Mr. Orchard!

Thoughts: Lisa is played by Katharine Isabelle, who later did Hannibal with Gillian Anderson. Her father was The X-Files‘ art director.

Karin has been telling her teen patients to stand up to abusers, and none of THEM has died? I mean…that doesn’t exactly sound like an effective technique. “Dad, stop hitting me! I mean it!” “Sorry, son. I didn’t realize you didn’t like that.”

Mulder’s one-liners are always dumb (“putting down roots” – feh), but I do kind of love that he keeps saying them even though Scully has never laughed at them and at this point just ignores them. It’s like he thinks that maybe some day, he’ll get her to crack.

May 27, 2017

The X-Files 5.8, Kitsunegari: Quit Playing Games With My Heart

Posted in TV tagged at 1:18 pm by Jenn

I thought of so many “Arrested Development”/Blue Man Group jokes for this, I couldn’t choose one

Summary: A patient is working hard in physical therapy in a prison, under the watch of a therapist who doesn’t get how dangerous he is. As two orderlies return the patient to his room, they discuss his past crimes (he’s a “cop-killer”). One orderly warns the other not to let his guard down around the patient/con. This is good advice, as the patient is “Pusher” Modell. The orderly doesn’t take the advice, though, because that night, he enters Pusher’s cell alone. By the next morning, Modell has made his escape. “He had to go,” the naive orderly explains.

Mulder and Scully are summoned as Skinner addresses a group of agents before sending them out for a manhunt. They tell the group how dangerous Pusher is, and how he likes to play games and leave clues. They warn everyone not to talk to him, even if he’s not armed, and especially if they don’t have backup. Scully tells Mulder that Pusher’s weak because of his injuries from “Pusher” and the brain tumor he still has. She’s worried that Mulder’s putting himself at risk by being involved in the investigation, since Pusher targeted him last time.

Pusher makes his way to Occaquan, fooling a store clerk into thinking a baseball bat is a rattlesnake. He sees on TV that Mulder and Scully are on the taskforce looking for him. The physical therapist at the prison tells Mulder and Scully that Pusher had a visitor the day before from someone with the Little Sisters of Charity. She knows Pusher belongs in prison, but she never had any problems with him. (Of course, if she’s chatted with him, he could have done all sorts of stuff and then made her forget it.)

Pusher calls the prison, asking to talk to Mulder. Mulder orders him to come back to prison or Mulder will drag him back. The taskforce traces the call, and Scully makes Mulder hang up before Pusher can say anything dangerous. When the agents arrive at the store Pusher visited, they only find the wrapper of a carbo-boost bar he ate. They think they spot him down the street, but it’s the clerk wearing Pusher’s prison clothes. “He had to go,” he tells the agents.

The agents next track Pusher to a house with Japanese characters painted on the walls in Pusher’s favorite color, cerulean blue. They think Pusher had the homeowner paint the walls, then kill himself by drinking the rest of the paint. The victim is Nathan Bowman, the prosecutor who put Pusher in prison. An agent translates the Japanese characters as “kitsunegari,” or fox hunt. So that kind of answers Scully’s question about whether he wants to target Mulder again.

Mulder sees a picture of a woman and guesses that Pusher might go after Bowman’s wife, Linda. He calls her realty office and learns that she left for an appointment with a Mr. Fox Mulder. They send two local officers to the appointment location, an abandoned building in Falls Church. Pusher guides one toward him with his voice, surrendering when he’s found. But when the taskforce arrives, they find that the officer has detained his partner, thinking he’s Pusher.

Linda arrives for the meeting late, and the agents have to tell her that her husband has been killed. Apparently she doesn’t watch the news, since she also doesn’t know that Pusher escaped from prison. Skinner takes her into protective custody and tells Mulder and Scully to find Pusher, like, yeah, they’re trying. Mulder wonders why Pusher hasn’t killed anyone this time around. He borrows Scully’s radio as Pusher watches the movement at the scene from a nearby building, eating another carbo-boost bar.

Mulder finds the bar’s wrapper and searches the building for Pusher, who asks what took him so long. He calls Scully for backup as Pusher asks him to hold on. Mulder’s anger is no match for Pusher’s…pushing, and as backup arrives, Mulder exits the building alone. “He had to go,” he tells Scully.

Mulder’s embarrassed that he let Pusher go, even though Scully says it could have happened to anyone. Mulder knows that Pusher sought him out personally to deliver a message: “Don’t play the game.” He hasn’t killed anyone, and Mulder isn’t convinced that Pusher actually murdered Bowman. He knows Pusher’s involved, and somehow related to what’s going on, but he thinks something’s going on that they don’t know about. For starters, why is he pursuing Linda?

The agents visit Linda in a safehouse in Annandale, but she only knows what her husband told her about the case. Bowman thought it would have been better if Mulder had killed Pusher so the taxpayers wouldn’t have to pa9y for his trial. Bowman was proud of himself for convicting Pusher, as if this was his “brush with greatness.” Linda reveals that she and Bowman were only married for two months, after knowing each other just two days. She doesn’t want it to sound like Bowman was impulsive – she wouldn’t “paint him as that.” Mulder gets it, saying that Bowman was “true blue.”

As the agents leave, Mulder tells Scully his theory that Linda, not Pusher, killed Bowman. The game Mulder’s not supposed to play is Linda’s. She hasn’t shown any interest in the details of her husband’s death, and she’s not scared that a serial killer seems to be stalking her. Scully and Skinner think Mulder’s getting overinvolved. Mulder suggests that Linda might have the same abilities Pusher does. Skinner tells him he’s off the case and needs to hand over his gun, just to be on the safe side.

Mulder heads back to the prison to talk to the physical therapist again. She says one of the nuns from Little Sisters of Charity once referred to Pusher as a “conquered warrior.” This is the same nun who visited the day before Pusher escaped. Mulder shows the therapist a picture of Linda, but the therapist can’t see well enough and needs to get her glasses. But first, she needs to answer a phone call telling her to electrocute herself.

A Falls Church police car brings Pusher to the safehouse, where he tells a U.S. Marshal standing watch to go home. Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) from the prison to tell her about the physical therapist’s death. He thinks Linda made her kill herself – if she were innocent, the physical therapist would have identified her as Pusher’s visitor. He tells Scully to trace the call the therapist and make sure Linda can’t make any phone calls from the safehouse. He’s stunned to hear that Scully isn’t there, telling her that no one at the safehouse switchboard is answering the phone.

Skinner’s there and has the same concerns, since no one’s answering the ringing phone. He catches Pusher and Linda together and orders Pusher to get on the ground. Pusher says he has a gun and points it at Skinner. Skinner shoots him but realizes that Pusher’s unarmed. Mulder and Scully come to the scene, where Skinner insists that Pusher had a gun, though it hasn’t been found. Mulder thinks Pusher’s taking the fall for Linda, who’s now been let out of protective custody.

Mulder heads to the hospital to make sure he’s the first person to get to talk to Pusher once he’s out of surgery. Scully thinks this is a bad idea, so Mulder tells her to call him when she thinks he’s come to his senses. He waits in Pusher’s room while he sleeps, only leaving when a nurse tells him to leave so she can change the patient’s bandages. Only it’s not a nurse – it’s Linda wearing a fake badge that says “nurse.”

Once Mulder’s gone, she wakes Pusher and asks him why he came to see her. “Don’t make a mistake,” he tells her. She insists that she won’t let “them” get away with this – she’s going to finish what he started. Pusher begs her to stop, but he’s weakening. She uses her abilities to convince him he’s not in any pain, then convinces his heart to stop beating.

Mulder finds Linda’s fake badge, which has the address of the abandoned warehouse written on the back. He goes back to the warehouse and finds Scully there with a gun. She tells him he was right about Linda, who’s making her turn on her partner. She begs Mulder to make her stop. Unwilling to kill her partner, she turns the gun to her own head and pulls the trigger.

Linda arrives and tries to convince Mulder that she’s Scully and Scully is Linda (or was, since she’s seemingly dead). Mulder tries to resist, even when Linda tells him things about his family to try to convince him she’s Scully. She reminds him that Pusher warned him not to play Linda’s game. Linda fires a shot over Mulder’s shoulder, and someone behind him falls to the floor. When he turns back to Linda, he sees that she’s really Scully, and she shot the real Linda. “You think you can hold me?” Linda asks.

The agents learn that she has a tumor just like Pusher’s…and they’re twins. She didn’t know she had a brother until a few weeks ago, and must have gone on her “fox hunt” as revenge for what the agents did to Pusher. Skinner’s proud that Mulder figured things out, but Mulder doesn’t feel too proud of himself, since he almost killed his partner. Skinner tells him he won the game. Mulder asks why he feels like he lost, then.

Thoughts: Falls Church is my hometown, and I remember hearing back when this episode was filming that someone from the show worked with the police department to make sure the squad cars and officers’ jackets were accurate.

I’ve been watching The Vampire Diaries, and Pusher’s abilities remind me of how vampires can compel people to do whatever they want. They should have just given all the agents vervain to protect them.

Dear David Duchovny, please learn how to give fake chest compressions. The physical therapist never stood a chance with you working on her.

May 20, 2017

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

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

The only light moment in this horribly depressing episode

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 13, 2017

The X-Files 5.6, Christmas Carol: Only This Show Could Make Christmas Depressing

Posted in TV tagged , , , at 1:03 pm by Jenn

She’s so cute! (Don’t get too attached)

Summary: A pregnant woman on a Naval base in San Diego is decorating her house for Christmas. She’s Tara, wife of Scully’s brother Bill Jr. Scully and Maggie arrive for a visit, and Scully realizes that the house has the exact same layout as one her family lived in when they were in San Diego. As the family starts to get settled in, Scully answers a phone call from a woman calling her Dana. “She needs your help. Go to her,” she says. Scully immediately calls the FBI to get the call traced.

Bill Jr. drives Scully to the location where the call was placed, but local law enforcement has beaten them there. An officer refutes Scully’s claim that she got a call for help 20 minutes ago, since he’s been there 30 minutes and is sure no one made a phone call from the house – the only adult woman in the house is Roberta Sim, who committed suicide around three hours ago. As the officers on the scene start talking about how Scully’s crazy for thinking a dead woman called her, Scully tells her brother that the caller sounded like a different dead woman: Melissa.

The phone is off the hook, and the police confirm that phone records show a call made from the house to Bill Jr.’s, but it had to have been a mistake. Other than the mysterious phone call, the cop doesn’t think this case involve anything other than a suicide. Now he just needs to talk to Roberta’s husband and daughter. Merry Christmas, Sims!

Scully heads back to Bill Jr.’s for dinner, but she can’t get in the holiday spirit. She calls Mulder (for his ten seconds of screentime in this episode) but can’t bring herself to say anything. Talk at dinner turns to babies, and how having a child makes Tara feel like life really means something now. While they’re washing dishes, Maggie notices that something’s off with Scully; she doesn’t seem as happy for her brother and sister-in-law as she claims to be. Scully admits that, as a result of her abduction, she can’t have a baby. She’s just now realizing how much she wanted a child.

That night, Scully dreams of herself as a child, fighting with her brother. She’s hidden a rabbit from him, but when she goes to see it, she finds it dead, crawling with maggots. (Thanks, show.) Melissa is watching from the staircase, and she looks just like Roberta’s daughter. Scully wakes up to another phone call, this time on her cell phone. The caller again says, “She needs your help. Go to her.”

Scully goes back to the Sims’ house and tells Roberta’s husband, Marshall, that she got another call from the house. He tells her that’s not possible and he’d really like her to leave him alone. There are two men there wearing suits, and they’re having a “meeting.” As Scully leaves, the Sims’ daughter watches from her bedroom window.

Scully goes to the police station to talk to the officer, Kresge, who reluctantly agrees to let her look at the information collected about Roberta’s case. She learns that the police were called to the house two weeks earlier for a domestic dispute. Roberta’s bloodwork shows high levels of a migraine medication in her system; Kresge thinks she took a bunch to anesthetize herself before she committed suicide. Scully finds a picture of Roberta’s daughter in her purse and asks to borrow it.

Back at Bill Jr.’s, Scully looks through a photo album and compares the picture of Roberta’s daughter to one of Melissa as a child. They look exactly alike. Scully looks up the girl’s birth records and learns that her name is Emily, and the Sims are her adoptive parents. She calls the FBI again, asking a buddy to pull Melissa’s case files. She falls asleep at the desk and has another dream: She’s approaching the front of a church to see a body at a funeral. Inside the coffin, which is filled with water and blood, is a dead woman who opens her eyes.

Scully skips family time in the morning and heads back to the police station to ask Kresge to have Roberta’s body autopsied. She thinks Roberta was murdered by her husband. Kresge says Marshall has an alibi; he was at a doctor’s office with Emily. Scully finds it strange that the cuts on Roberta’s wrist don’t show any hesitation, a rarity for a person who kills herself. Also, how did Marshall call for help if the phone was off the hook for hours before he came home?

The autopsy is approved, and Scully performs it herself. She doesn’t find any of the migraine pills in Roberta’s stomach, so she figures the teeny needle puncture on her foot was an injection site for the medication found in her system. She thinks Roberta’s killer used the medication to anesthetize her so she wouldn’t fight back when she was murdered. This should be enough to open an investigation.

Marshall isn’t happy that the police are back to interfere in his life. When an officer finds a syringe in the trash, Marshall says it’s Emily’s; she has a severe form of anemia and needs regular injections. When Scully gets back to Bill Jr.’s, Melissa’s files are there, and she’s able to compare Melissa and Emily’s DNA. Maggie chastises her daughter for staying out all day and only getting home at 2:00 in the morning. Scully informs her that Emily’s DNA shows that she’s Melissa’s daughter.

Maggie denies that Melissa had a child and didn’t say anything. Scully reminds her that Melissa took off four years ago and wasn’t seen for months. She could have easily had a child and given her for adoption without anyone knowing. Maggie says that she had the experiences Scully’s going through now after her father died. She thinks Scully’s just struggling with her grief over her sister.

Scully has a dream about sneaking down early on Christmas morning to look at her presents with Melissa when they were preteens. Maggie catches them but lets Scully open a present – the cross necklace she still wears. Maggie says it’s a reminder that God will always be with Scully and always watch over her. When Scully looks up at her mother, she sees her own adult face instead.

Kresge stops by in the morning to tell Scully that Marshall has made a number of $30,000 bank deposits in the past 18 months. They were made out to Roberta, and the last one was deposited yesterday. They’re from a pharmaceutical firm in Chula Vista. Scully and Kresge head over there and speak to a doctor named Calderon, who says that Emily is a subject in one of the facility’s drug trials. The money is compensation for her participation, as well as a kind of peace offering to Roberta, who was never convinced that the drug trials were the right thing for her daughter.

Calderon reveals that he prescribed the migraine medication found in Roberta’s system, but it was for Marshall. The police quickly arrest Marshall for killing his wife. Scully makes arrangements for Emily to be taken by Social Services, and as she’s saying goodbye, Emily takes a liking to Scully’s cross necklace. Scully takes it off and puts it around the girl’s neck.

Scully goes home for a family gathering, but she’s still not in the mood for holiday cheer. Bill Jr. thinks her theory that Melissa called her from beyond the grave to send her in their niece’s direction sounds like something Mulder would come up with. Scully says it doesn’t matter where the call came from – Emily needs her help. Bill Jr. thinks she’s trying to fill some sort of void inside herself.

Scully gets another phone call, but this one is from Kresge, telling her that Marshall confessed to killing Roberta. Scully wonders why the witnesses at the doctor’s office said he was there the whole time. Scully goes to the county lockup, arriving just as the two men in suits from the Sims’ house are leaving. She’s told that they’re Marshall’s lawyers. Unfortunately, Marshall won’t be able to confirm or deny that, as he’s dead, having hanged himself in his cell.

Back at Bill Jr.’s, Scully tells her brother about the new developments in the case. He wonders if Emily’s parents were murdered because of something that has to do with her. He shows her a picture of Melissa from a few weeks before Emily was born, and Melissa definitely doesn’t look pregnant. Scully is still sure that Emily is Melissa’s daughter. Bill Jr. thinks she’s coming up with a wacky scenario to deal with her disappointment that she can’t have a baby of her own.

A woman named Susan arrives to talk to Scully about her desire to adopt Emily. Her application has been rejected, since she’s single and has never been married or had a long-term relationship. Plus, she’s in a high-stress job and doesn’t seem willing to make sacrifices there to become a parent. Scully admits that, since her cancer diagnosis, she’s been questioning her priorities.

Scully continues that she’s always kept a distance from people, even as a child, and now regrets not making more emotional attachments because she was afraid to lose people to death. Susan reminds her that Emily has major health problems; her illness is incurable and requires constant care. Adopting Emily would mean Scully has to relive her own health struggles, only this time through a small child. Susan agrees to review Scully’s application again, though.

That night, Scully dreams of herself and Melissa as adults, talking on a Christmas just before Scully went to Quantico. Scully’s worried that their father thinks she’s making a mistake leaving med school for the FBI. Melissa advises Scully to follow her heart and let it take her where she’s supposed to go. Scully doesn’t believe in fate; she thinks people have to choose their own paths. Melissa says that Scully doesn’t know how her life will change once she meets people in the FBI. She also doesn’t know how she’ll change other people’s lives.

Tara wakes Scully up on Christmas morning so the family can open presents together. They’re interrupted by an FBI courier who I hope got triple overtime for having to work on a holiday. His package contains more of Emily’s tests, and though they show that Melissa wasn’t her mother, Emily’s DNA showed similarities with someone else in their system. Merry Christmas, Scully: You’re Emily’s mother. To be continued!

Thoughts: The preteen version of Scully is played by Gillian Anderson’s sister, Zoe.

I assume they named the family Sim after Alastair Sim, who starred in A Christmas Carol?

Scully, trying to find support for her theory, says that Melissa could have used a surrogate to have Emily. And then…placed her for adoption? Come, on Scully.

What do you think Mulder did while Scully was out of town? He can barely function on his own even when she’s around to keep an eye on him. It must have been a disaster.

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