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.

May 6, 2017

The X-Files 5.5, The Post-Modern Prometheus: Monster’s Ball

Posted in TV tagged at 1:07 pm by Jenn

One of my favorite moments from the whole series

Summary: A comic book about a creature named the Great Mutato leads us to a group of teens heading to a comic-book convention. One, Izzy, has to remind his mom that he’s 18 and can do what he wants, since she doesn’t want him to go. His mother, Mrs. Berkowitz, passes the time by watching an episode of The Jerry Springer Show about a woman with a “wolf baby.” Mrs. Berkowitz is so interested in the show that she doesn’t notice a tent being lowered over the house. She finally turns away from the show when a creature enters the house amid smoke and Cher’s version of the song “When You’re Without Love.”

Mulder and Scully drive to their next case as Scully reads a letter from Mrs. Berkowitz talking about the strange circumstances of Izzy’s conception 18 years ago. She felt like something had taken control of her body, and when she woke up three days later, she was pregnant. Now she’s had another strange experience, hearing Cher and seeing a lumpy-headed creature. She’s again missing three days and again woke up pregnant. She got Mulder’s name from the mom of the “wolf baby.” Mulder thinks he should get his own 1-900 number.

When the agents arrive at the Berkowitz house, Mulder tells Mrs. Berkowitz that the “wolf baby” just has a condition that makes him really hairy. Scully asks about Izzy’s conception, which the police didn’t look into, since there wasn’t exactly a crime. Now, things are even stranger, since Mrs. Berkowitz shouldn’t be able to conceive another child. In the three days she was gone, someone cooked something in her kitchen and ate a bunch of peanut butter. Scully thinks they’re just dealing with an alcoholic who blacked out.

Scully checks out Izzy’s room while Mrs. Berkowitz asks Mulder if she might have been abducted by aliens. Mulder isn’t sure, and admits he’s not sure he still believes in those. Scully finds a comic book in Izzy’s room and shows Mrs. Berkowitz the cover, which portrays a Frankenstein’s monster-like creature Izzy created called the Great Mutato. It looks exactly like the creature Mrs. Berkowitz says she saw in her house. Mrs. Berkowitz doesn’t get the connection.

Izzy arrives home and tells the agents he based Mutato off of a creature a lot of people in town have seen. Mrs. Berkowitz points out that just because the creature looks like a comic-book character doesn’t mean her experience didn’t happen. Izzy shows the agents how he uses peanut butter sandwiches to lure Mutato. Scully thinks the town is so obsessed with the media that they want a chance in the spotlight. Mulder chastises her, saying that not everyone wants to be on Jerry Springer. Scully says they’re just blaming human actions on a non-human creature.

Mulder argues that since the creature hasn’t been verified, it could still exist, at least in the sense that people believe in it. They hear moaning and see a creature approaching the sandwiches left for it. As Mulder chases it, Scully sees that bites have been taken out of the sandwich. Mulder loses the creature’s trail but comes across an old man who wants the agents, Izzy, and Izzy’s friends to get off his property. He denies the existence of a monster and sends the agents to talk to the responsible party.

Said party is the man’s son, Dr. Pollidori, who is rumored to be a Frankenstein-like mad scientist. He calls himself a scientist studying a gene that affects growth and development. He shows the agents a video of a fruit-fly gene he’s been able to alter to create whatever he wants. For example, he’s made a fly with legs growing out of its mouth. Mulder asks why Pollidori would do something like this. “Because I can,” he replies. Performing these sorts of experiments on humans would be unethical, but Pollidori admits that they’re possible.

After leaving the doctor’s lab, Scully denies that it would be able to make these kinds of alterations on human genes. Mulder wonders who would be able to resist the power of creating something in his or her own image. Scully points out that that already exists – it’s called having a baby. She doesn’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary about Mrs. Berkowitz’s pregnancy. At Pollidori’s house, he’s getting ready to go out of town; when he comes back, his wife, Elizabeth, wants to revisit their discussion about having children. He’s against it, and would prefer winning a Nobel Prize.

The next day, the agents go to J.J.’s Country Diner for breakfast, getting a look at all the jolly townspeople. “FBI Hunt Hometown Monster!” a newspaper headline declares. A twitchy reporter studies Mulder, then leaves. The townspeople think Jerry Springer is coming to town to feature Mrs. Berkowitz. Scully tells Mulder about the newspaper article, which includes their entire conversation word for word. The agents suspect that Izzy or one of his friends recorded them and gave the recording to a reporter in hopes of drumming up publicity for Izzy’s comic book.

At the Berkowitzes’, the agents get confirmation that Izzy recorded them. The recording also plays “When You’re Without Love” and Mutato’s moans. Elsewhere in town, Mutato dances around and sings along with Cher. Scully thinks this is all a hoax, but Mulder wants to go back to see Pollidori. He quotes Frankenstein, saying that the titular doctor “prefigures the post-modern prometheus,” reanimating matter. Scully thinks Mulder’s applying a literary stereotype to Pollidori, but Mulder doesn’t know who else would be capable of impregnating Mrs. Berkowitz.

On the way to Pollidori’s house, Mulder remembers that Mrs. Berkowitz saw mist or smoke in the house the night she was supposedly impregnated. He pulls over, having spotted a house that’s been tented for fumigation. “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” plays as the agents check out the house, which is where Mutato had his little one-man (one-creature?) dance party. They both pass out just before the elder Pollidori approaches, saying he told them there were no monsters. When the agents wake up, they discover that they’re in Dr. Pollidori’s house.

Elizabeth now says she had the same experiences as Mrs. Berkowitz. Mulder announces that Elizabeth could have been impregnated, which thrills her. The twitchy reporter is present and very interested in this story. Mulder sees that a frying pan has been used, just like in the Berkowitzes’ house, and finds an empty jar of peanut butter. Elsewhere in town, Mutato watches Mask, which is a) about a boy with facial deformities and b) stars Cher. His caretaker, Mr. Pollidori, gets a visit from his doctor son, who wants to know if his theory is true. Why would he do this? “Because I can,” Mr. Pollidori replies. The doctor attacks him.

The next time Mulder goes to J.J.’s Diner for breakfast, their welcome isn’t as warm. Spitting and spilled coffee are involved. The townspeople are mad that the agents now think Mrs. Berkowitz’s claims are a hoax. Izzy is found wearing a mask, so everyone thinks he was just pulling a prank. Mrs. Berkowitz defends her son to an angry crowd while Scully tells Mulder that she founds an anesthetic used by farmers in the Pollidoris’ frying pain. They have to register to use it. The only person who’s registered locally is Mr. Pollidori, who is now dead. The Great Mutato cries over his body, then buries him in his barn.

When the agents arrive at the farm, they find the freshly dug grave and realize they’re probably too late to talk to Mr. Pollidori. They hear someone in the loft, but it’s just the twitchy reporter. She knows Mr. Pollidori was murdered, and she saw Mutato burying him. She shows the agents pictures of him. Just then, a crowd of angry townspeople arrives with torches and lanterns. (Possibly pitchforks, too, but I didn’t see them.) They’re led by Dr. Pollidori, who wants the townspeople to find and kill the monster.

The twitchy reporter takes notes as the townspeople swarm the property, hunting for Mutato. Scully knows the only way Dr. Pollidori could have ever seen the creature is if he was on the property himself. The agents find Mutato’s basement dwelling, which is basically a shrine to Cher. They find the creature himself and see how scared he is. Meanwhile, the barn is set on fire and the animals all escape, so it’s pandemonium outside. The twitchy reporter spots the agents trying to sneak off with Mutato, so everyone heads to the basement for a confrontation.

Dr. Pollidori demands that the agents hand over the monster. Mrs. Berkowitz wants to see his face (faces, really, since he has two). Dr. Pollidori says his father created Mutato, who then killed him. Mutato suddenly speaks, shocking everyone. He knows he looks monstrous, but he doesn’t act that way. When Mr. Pollidori learned that the doctor was conducting horrifying experiments, he rescued Mutato from the lab. Mr. Pollidori hid him while he studied his son’s science, hoping to create a mate for Mutato. The science was too advanced, but at least he wound up with some cool animals.

Mutato still wants a mate, but if one can’t be created, he’ll take the blame for his father’s murder. Dr. Pollidori calls his brother a mistake. Mutato knows that what he and his father did was wrong, but going into people’s houses allowed him to learn more about humanity. A townsperson speaks up, saying Mutato isn’t a monster. He just wants love, guys! Your prejudices are the real monsters!

Dr. Pollidori lets Mutato take the fall for their father’s murder, but Mulder doesn’t like the ending to this story. Dr. Frankenstein is supposed to take the fall for his crimes. He wants to speak to “the writer.” As Cher sings “Walking in Memphis,” the townspeople take a road trip to Vegas to see Cher. Mutato gets to ride with the agents, and he enjoys Cher’s concert more than anyone. Mrs. Berkowitz and Elizabeth end up on The Jerry Springer Show, declaring their love for their baby Mutatos. Cher pulls Mutato on stage, Courteney Cox-style, and the agents celebrate solving the case with a dance.

Thoughts: Dr. Pollidori is played by John O’Hurley, who’s really good in this role. Mutato is played by Chris Owens, AKA the younger CSM, AKA the future Jeffrey Spender. Jerry Springer is played by himself.

Cher, however, is not played by herself. The story is that the show approached her about appearing, but she turned them down, even though she was a fan. After watching the episode, she wished she’d accepted.

The gimmick of the episode being in black and white doesn’t really work for me, but I also didn’t find it as distracting as I’d expected. There are a lot of fun little moments that make up for it, specifically:

  • Mutato dancing around the house by himself
  • Mulder trying to stand up and be assertive after being exposed to the chemicals, but falling over and ruining the moment
  • Mulder and Scully being all happy and cute together at the end

“Hey, Scully, let’s go into that house where toxic chemicals are in use, but let’s not bother to take any precautions.” “Okay, Mulder.”

April 29, 2017

The X-Files 5.4, Detour: Ad Noctum

Posted in TV tagged at 1:34 pm by Jenn

At least she’s not wearing that coat from “Darkness Falls”

Summary: Two men are in the woods in Leon County, Florida, doing some sort of surveying…thing before the forest is destroyed. They hate each other – one cares about the environment and the other doesn’t. The forest-hater gets his equipment stuck in the dirt, and when he tries to dig it out, he gets blood on his fingers and sees what looks like red eyes in the ground. His partner hears him yelling from a distance before the forest-hater seems to get attacked and disappear. Something chases the other guy through the woods, but as he’s hiding, he also sees the eyes in the ground. Something attacks him as well.

The next morning, a man and his preteen son, Louis, are hunting in the same woods. They see the surveyors’ equipment but no people. Their dog finds a bloody jacket, and before they can figure out what’s going on, they hear a noise like someone’s out there with him. Louis’ father tells him to run home with the dog while he confronts whatever’s out there with his hunting rifle. Louis obeys, running even after he hears a gunshot.

Mulder and Scully are just driving into Leon County, but not to investigate. They’re with two other FBI agents, Kinsley and Stonecypher, who are accompanying them to a team-building seminar. Mulder is in Hell. I don’t think Scully is enjoying herself either, but she’s at least amused by her partner. The agents come upon a police roadblock, and Mulder is thrilled to have an excuse to get out of the car. A woman approaches him, desperate to find out what’s going on. She’s Louis’ mother, Mrs. Asekoff, and though Louis made it home, Mr. Asekoff didn’t.

Scully follows Mulder to go get information while Kinsley shows Stonecypher a plaque stating that the forest predates the time of Ponce de Leon. Stonecypher doesn’t care – she just wants to make sure they’re at the seminar in time for the wine and cheese reception. (This is a fair concern; girlfriend could use some wine.) Mulder meets the officer in charge, Michele Fazekas, who says there’s no evidence that anyone was shot. Yeah, some surveyors disappeared and Mr. Asekoff may have been attacked by an animal, but that doesn’t mean something weird is going on.

Scully wants to get Mulder back on track to the seminar, but Mulder isn’t about to leave a case where something strange may have happened. Fazekas says there are a couple of animals in the woods, but the tracks they’ve found don’t match them. Mulder asks for the name of a motel he can check into, but Fazekas isn’t interested in his help. Mulder ignores her, telling Scully he’s skipping the seminar and sticking around.

That night, Louis falls asleep watching The Invisible Man, then wakes up to get his mother to confirm that his father is probably never coming home. She tells him they both need to be brave. Bo the dog keeps vigil at the backdoor, waiting for his owner. Mulder and Scully have checked into a motel, where Scully uses minibar resources to make them a wine and cheese reception, even though they’re not supposed to be “consorting” in the same motel room. (Oh, just wait a couple years. You’ll be doing more than “consorting” with him.)

Mulder tells her that there’s no way Mr. Asekoff was attacked by an animal he didn’t provoke, especially when Louis, who was weaker, was also there. Scully’s surprised that Mulder has found something legitimate about this case, rather than just using it as an excuse to get out of the seminar. She doesn’t think there are any major predators around. Mulder heads out without telling Scully where he’s going, making her comment that a seminar to improve communication might be good for him.

Over at the Asekoffs’, Bo runs out to the backyard, barking at something. Mrs. Asekoff can’t get him to come back inside, so she decides to leave him out for the night. When she tries to get back into the house, the door is locked and there’s something banging around inside. Louis hears his mother yelling for him, hears something eerie in another room, and runs downstairs. As he’s running outside to escape whatever’s in his house, he runs right into Mulder.

Scully joins her partner at the Asekoffs’, where police are searching the house for anything predatory. She finds a VHS of The Invisible Man in Louis’ VCR and guesses that he was just spooked by the movie. “The invisible man was invisible,” Mulder reminds her. Scully’s face: “I can’t believe I have to work under these conditions.” Mulder says that Louis claims the creature chasing him had glowing red eyes. Plus, the door was locked when Mrs. Asekoff tried to get back in, and there are muddy tracks by the door from whatever locked it.

The tracks don’t belong to a human, but they also don’t belong to any kind of animal Mulder’s familiar with. Fazekas backs this up, adding that she saw the same tracks in the woods. Mulder sums up that they’re dealing with a predator with low visibility and a lot of desire to attack. It also has the whole forest to hang out in, which puts it at an advantage over the humans.

Fazekas and the agents try to even up their odds with a guy named Jeff who has an infrared camera that detects body heat. Fazekas gives instruction: Stay close, and if you get in trouble, yell and stay put. Scully tells Mulder that the local police are busy looking for a murderer, but Mulder doesn’t think he’s connected to this case. He believes the creature they’re dealing with locked Mrs. Asekoff out to separate her from Louis and make him an easier target. He thinks something in the woods is pushing back because civilization is encroaching on its territory.

Mulder, Scully, and Jeff follow Fazekas through the woods as she marks their path with white stones. Jeff is surprised that he hasn’t detected any animals anywhere in the forest. Since nature is full of creatures either hunting prey or trying to avoid becoming prey, people who get distracted can end up as a meal. We get blinded by the beauty of nature and forget how cruel it is. Scully wonders if he’s quoting Walt Whitman, but he’s citing Fox’s When Animals Attack. An invisible creature with a human arm that seems camouflaged in its surroundings is watching them.

Jeff finally spots something, and the four of them give chase. Another creature appears on Jeff’s screen, so the humans split up, which is exactly what Fazekas said not to do, morons. The creature Jeff and Mulder are following disappears from Jeff’s screen, and Scully and Fazekas lose the trail of theirs as well. Scully thinks that the creature is doing what it did with Louis and his mother, trying to separate its prey. As the women pass a tree, red eyes start to glow from the bark.

Fazekas suddenly falls on the ground, and Scully hears rustling in the trees. She yells for Mulder, who gives a patented “SCULLAY!” yell back. The men find her, but Fazekas has disappeared. Mulder agrees with Scully’s guess that they were separated on purpose – Fazekas was in charge, and now the group is without their strongest member. Scully tries to use her cell phone to call for help, but Jeff tells her she won’t get a signal. He insists that they get out of the woods before the sun goes down. Mulder refuses to leave Fazekas behind, even if it means risking all of their lives.

Scully sides with Jeff, reminding Mulder that they don’t have supplies to sustain them overnight. Mulder gives in, putting Jeff and his camera in charge of getting them to safety. The agents discuss creatures that can regulate their temperatures, and therefore stay off of Jeff’s infrared. Scully mentions ticks, which remind Mulder of a 30-year-old case involving primitive-looking men with red eyes, known as Mothmen. Scully wonders if that case is filed next to “the cockroach that ate Cincinnati.”

Jeff thinks they’re going the wrong way, since he’s lost sight of Fazekas’ stones. “This is not happening,” says Jeff, who must have seen “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space.'” Scully spots something moving, but it doesn’t show up on Jeff’s infrared. The woods are silent, making Scully think any potential prey in the area is trying to stay hidden. There’s rustling nearby, so Mulder goes after whatever could be making noise. Jeff catches sight of something on his screen, but it disappears.

Mulder sees the camouflaged creature and chases it, firing his gun, but he loses it pretty quickly. Scully picks up the creature’s path and also fires, but since it’s invisible, she can’t tell if she hit it. As Jeff takes off running, falling to the ground like Fazekas did, the agents try to keep their guns trained on a creature they can’t see. Something attacks Mulder, who vanishes. Scully follows his yells of “SCULLAY!” and finds him nearby, having been dragged by something invisible.

Without Jeff, and with the sun long gone, the agents are stuck in the woods for the night. Scully thinks she can use gunpowder from her weapon to start a fire. Mulder hopes it’ll start raining marshmallows after that. He needs to warm up, since his body is in shock. He notes that the best way to warm up is to crawl into a sleeping bag with another person. Scully remarks that maybe it’ll start raining sleeping bags. She asks if Mulder has ever thought seriously about dying. “Once, when I was at the ice capades,” he replies.

Scully admits that when she was fighting cancer, she was angry at the injustice of her situation, but she realized that the point was to find meaning. Mulder says that humans are lucky to get more than a few decades of life. Scully compares it to Vegas – “the house always wins.” Mulder asks who Scully who she related to more as a kid, Wilma Flintstone or Betty Rubble. She almost gets a fire started but it goes out. She asks Mulder if the Mothmen case was for real, then cuddles up with him and tells him to sleep while she keeps watch. Mulder asks her to sing so he knows she’s awake, so she serenades him with Three Dog Night’s “Joy to the World.”

In the morning, Mulder wakes up alone, since Scully’s scavenging for food nearby. She suddenly vanishes, and Mulder finds her in a big hole. Fazekas is also down there, unconscious. Scully sees a network of tunnels and quickly realizes that she’s not the only conscious creature down there. Mulder drops his gun down to her, then follows it himself. He spots the creature and Scully fires at it, hitting it this time. It looks like a big tree man. Scully figures there’s a scientific explanation.

We see “ad noctum” carved in the wall as Mulder and Scully gather all the missing people from the episode stuck in the cave with them. Stonecypher and Kinsley finally prove their worth, coming to the scene to rescue the agents and the injured victims. Mrs. Asekoff happily thanks all the authorities as Mulder looks at the plaque Kinsley showed Stonecypher earlier. He tells Kinsley that Scully found “ad noctum” (“into darkness”) on the wall of the cave; Spanish conquistadors carved it on the posts they lashed the natives to before killing them. Maybe they adapted to their environment and have remained alive for all these centuries.

Kinsley laughs off Mulder’s theory – he just wants there to be a case so he can write off the cost of his motel. Stonecypher joins the men to report that Jeff remains missing, and the second predator hasn’t been found either. She wonders why the creatures went after Louis in the house. Mulder thinks they were fighting against any encroachment of civilization. Stonecypher notes that that means anyone who’s gone into the woods is at risk. Mulder suddenly realizes that Scully, who’s gone back to the motel alone, is in danger. He takes off in Kinsley’s car, annoying Kinsley, who left his jacket in there. Mulder races to the motel, but Scully’s fine. They leave unharmed, so the creature hiding under the bed will have to find a different source for its next meal.

Thoughts: Jeff is played by Anthony Rupp, Mark from the original cast of Rent. Too bad he wasn’t with Mulder and Scully when the singing started.

Show, stop making me have to type names like Fazekas and Stonecypher over and over.

So why did the creatures gather all those people and leave them alive? What’s the point? Wouldn’t it make more sense to scare them off and hope they never come back?

April 22, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How paranoid were asthmatics after this episode?

April 15, 2017

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

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

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 1, 2017

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

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

Someone needs a hug

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chimerical Ice is the name of my new emo band.

March 25, 2017

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

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

“Imagine going through your whole life looking like that”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 18, 2017

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

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Yeah, it still doesn’t make sense

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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