June 15, 2019

The X-Files 11.2, This: Langly Calling from the Imitation Zone

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

“Mulder, if you Rick Roll me one more time, I’m leaving you for real”

Summary: The Ramones’ “California Sun” is playing as a car speeds somewhere, carrying three people who look like they’ve either just committed a crime or are on their way to commit one. Mulder and Scully are asleep on Mulder’s couch, oblivious to the fact that a familiar (though distorted voice) is speaking Mulder’s name through his phone. A staticky video shows Langly trying to reach out to his old friend. The three possible criminals arrive at their destination: Mulder’s house.

Langly asks Mulder and Scully if he’s dead, then says that if he is, “they know that I know.” The agents realize someone’s outside the house, and the second the door begins to open, Mulder tells Scully, “Go.” He moves a couch in front of the door while Scully slides under a table to grab a gun. She turns the table on its side and hides behind it as the three criminals enter and start shooting. After a brief firefight, two men are down, and the agents are unharmed. The third man gets away.

Mulder’s phone lights up again, and Langly repeats his message: “They know that I know.” Scully uses Mulder’s landline (which looks like it’s been around since the ’70s) to call in the attack, and the two start bagging up evidence. Mulder won’t give up his phone, knowing no one will do anything with it. He asks if there’s any possibility that Langly’s still alive. Scully doesn’t think so, since the Lone Gunmen’s bodies were completely destroyed.

Mulder thinks Langly’s message was more than just a warning that the three men were coming to the house. Langly asked if he was dead, which is pretty weird. Two military vehicles arrive, and at first the agents think they’re there to respond to the attack, but they quickly realize that’s probably not right. The phone rings, but Mulder says not to answer. He yells for the people outside to identify themselves. A Russian man shouts back that they need to answer the phone.

As Scully wonders if they should call Skinner, admitting that she’s no longer sure whose side he’s on, Mulder warns the group outside that they’re armed federal agents. The guy outside tells Mulder and Scully to come out. She calls Skinner, who tells her to surrender – it’s her and Mulder’s only chance. The guy outside tells Mulder that he knows what he did. The men who attacked the agents were wearing body cams, so the people outside know exactly what happened during the firefight.

Scully relays Skinner’s message that they should surrender. Mulder’s not about to give himself over to people whose allegiance he doesn’t know, so he tells the guy outside that they’re ready to fight. “We don’t need to identify ourselves,” the guy says. “What world are you living in?” He sends his men into the house, which leads to another shootout. This time, Mulder and Scully lose and are captured.

The Russian enters and tells his men that Price is going to be upset about the deaths of two of her best guys. She’ll want this group to finish what the original attackers couldn’t. The Russian wants Mulder’s phone, but Mulder’s not going to hand it over. The Russian mocks Mulder’s “I want to believe poster,” then says that America would have been okay losing the Cold War if they’d known they could make a profit off of it. He plans to kill the agents after he gets his hands on the phone.

The men toss the room, looking for the phone, which was stashed in the oven. The Russian finds it when it comes back on and replays Langly’s message. The agents choose that minute to surprise the other men, shoot one of their guns around the room, and escape. They escape through the woods around the house, handcuffed together.

Skinner arrives just in time to rescue them (and undo their handcuffs). He explains that the men are from an American security contractor headquartered in Moscow. They got permission from the Executive Branch to have authority over the FBI. Skinner thought they just wanted to question the agents, not kill them. He wants to take the agents to a secure place, but they don’t trust him. He gives them a pocketknife and all the money he has on him so they can go on the run.

Scully asks if Langly’s alive. Skinner reminds her that they were both at the Lone Gunmen’s funeral, which doesn’t answer her question. He thinks he did: “They’re buried in Arlington.” Back in the house, the Russian orders one of his men to hack Mulder’s phone and find out how Langly contacted him. But there’s a kill switch in the program, which shuts down any link to who sent Langly’s message.

Mulder and Scully go to Arlington National Cemetery and find the Lone Gunmen’s graves. Mulder notes that Langly’s birthdate is wrong; it’s seven months off from his and Mulder’s shared birthday. The other guys’ are right, which the agents know because Byers was born the day JFK was assassinated and Frohike was born the day FDR died. Mulder wonders if any president died on March 28, 1969, the birthdate on Langly’s headstone. Scully somehow knows it was Eisenhower.

She notes that JFK was the 35th president, Eisenhower the 34th, and FDR the 32nd. Mulder teases that she’s showing off. They wonder if skipping over the 33rd president (Truman, for the record) is significant. They go three rows up and three rows over (checking in both directions), which takes Mulder to Deep Throat’s grave. He reveals that he was in the cemetery the day of Deep Throat’s funeral, watching from a distance. In case anyone cares, Deep Throat’s real name was Ronald Pakula.

Mulder says that Deep Throat’s dead because the world was complex and dangerous back in 1994. Now it seems like a simpler time. Everything they feared back then has come to pass. Scully doesn’t get the connection between the Lone Gunmen and Deep Throat, who died eight years apart. Langly couldn’t have even known he would be buried at Arlington. Mulder realizes that the cross on Deep Throat’s headstone is different from the crosses on the others. Instead of being engraved, it’s a separate piece that Mulder turns to the side, revealing something underneath.

As someone tries to sneak up on the agents, they use Skinner’s pocketknife to pry the thing out of the headstone. Mulder recognizes it as a memory medallion, a disc with a QR code that can be scanned to play a video of the deceased. The agents don’t have their phones, so they can’t scan it. Scully spots the person sneaking up on them, and they’re able to hide behind headstones while he shoots at them. Mulder manages to come around the behind the shooter (who was the surviving man from the original attack) and knock him out on Deep Throat’s headstone. The agents run off and leave him there.

The agents hide out somewhere for the night, then hit an Internet café in Annandale (not Annadale, chyron writer) the next morning. They’re starving, and managed to snag bran muffins so good that Mulder wants to open an X-File on how it was made. They scan the QR code, which gives them video footage of the exterior of a building in New York. Mulder knows from Edward Snowden’s documents that it was code-named Titanpointe and used by the NSA as a surveillance station in a program called Blarney.

In the ’90s, Mulder opened an X-File on the building, with info from Langly. He thinks they should look at their files. Of course, they can’t go to their office, since that would make them easy to find. But they can go to the FBI building and ambush Skinner to get his help. Skinner says he’s not working with their attackers, but the world is different now than it was back when the X-Files started. There are tons of organizations all fighting each other and trying to eliminate each other, including the FBI.

Scully tells Skinner that, even if they don’t trust him, they need his help. Skinner wonders how they got to this point. Scully says they’re not asking for rescue, just assistance. Skinner informs the agents that they can access their files from anywhere – the magic of technology! The private company that employs the Russians digitized all the X-Files so other agencies can refer to them. Mulder asks why Skinner didn’t tell them when the X-Files were reopened. Scully asks if Skinner’s working with the Russians.

Skinner says the contents of the X-Files is now public information, though it’s controlled by the FBI. Unfortunately, they’re not intact – all Mulder’s files on Blarney and Titanpointe are missing. Langly has also been erased from the files, though Byers and Frohike remain (and are linked to his name as related subjects, so…someone screwed up there).

There’s a file under Frohike’s name (called “Spank Bank,” and using an icon of Scully’s face – classy) that leads to a folder using Joey Ramone, Langly’s favorite rocker, as an icon. This takes the agents to contact information for a woman named Karah Hamby. There’s a note saying to go to her if Langly is scrubbed from the X-Files. Skinner’s on the phone across the room and doesn’t see the agents getting this info. He tells the agents that he’s trying to call off the Russians’ pursuit of the agents, but the FBI isn’t on good terms with the White House.

Karah Hamby is a professor at Semple Technical Academy in Bethesda, which is where the agents present her with the memory medallion. She thought that after five years passed without contact from them, she’d be able to let go of her regrets. She warns that the Russians’ organization, Purlieu Services, is watching. They came to her and Langly 15 years ago with the math and science to prove that humans can live forever.

They had their bodies copied and uploaded into a simulation. After Langly died, he was basically resurrected in the simulation. If Langly’s reaching out now, Purlieu must have lied about what was possible in the simulation. Hamby says that they wanted to have an eternal life together, so they accepted Purlieu’s offer. There was a limit on two-way contact, but Langly must have hacked it to reach out.

Mulder asks why Langly contacted him, of all people. Hamby says he must have figured out he’s in a simulation but still remembered working on X-Files with Mulder. Purlieu must know that he’s trying to tell the agents about the simulation. Hamby says they need to make it easier for Langly to make contact. She starts to give the agents what they need to do that, but the third attacker has found them and shoots her before she can finish. Scully takes him out, so two people will be joining Langly in his simulated world.

The agents go to a bar, where “California Sun” is playing, and Scully takes a nap while Mulder tries to use Hamby’s work on her phone. However, he knows Purlieu will try to use the phone to find them, so they can’t keep it on the whole time they’re on the run. Langly makes contact again, excited that both agents are there. He confirms that he’s not real, though that’s not bad – the simulation is like Heaven. He gets to eat whatever he wants and go to Ramones concerts every night. Also the New England Patriots never win. “I’m begging you, destroy it,” he says.

Langly continues that it’s like a work camp for digital slaves. The science known by the people in the simulation will be used by the elite to leave the real planet for space. The simulated people have no choices or dreams. Everything’s fake and everyone hates it. They’re all completely different from the people they were in life. Langly tells the agents to go to Titanpointe and shut down the simulation.

The agents take a bus to New York, unsure of how they’ll get access to the building while they’re there. Right now, Scully’s more focused on the bus ride and the rambunctious kids around them. But they come up with a plan: Scully uses her FBI credentials to take Mulder to the New York field office, pretending he’s there to be questioned. An employee sexually harasses Scully (and I hope she gets him fired later), then lets them in. Mulder does a Hannibal Lechter impression to pretend he’s too dangerous to be uncuffed.

The harasser asks Scully, who he calls “hon,” where her home office is. SCULLY, HAVE HIM FIRED. She addresses him as “bro” and says she’s married to the bureau. The agents start to take an elevator up to the floor where the simulation tech is housed, but Mulder thinks they could get ambushed, so they should take the stairs. Scully has to agree, even though the building has 29 floors. They get ambushed anyway, just on the stairs instead of coming off the elevator.

Scully is able to escape, but Mulder is captured and greeted by the Russian. He tells Mulder he’s on Purlieu’s side now. He’s taken to the 29th floor for a meeting with Price, who admits that she didn’t see his value before. Over the past few days, she’s come to respect his “instinct for survival.” She wants him to change how he looks at everything. He won’t face the question of CSM, and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen.

As Scully fights her way to the simulation tech, Price tells Mulder that the world is about replacements. What he needs to know is this: Life on the planet is about to be destroyed. The simulation tech is necessary for our evolution as a species. Langly’s the only person who’s figured out he’s in the simulation, and of all the billions of people he could have contacted, he chose to call Mulder. That must mean something. Price thinks that when Mulder understands that the simulation is meant to advance life, not end it, he won’t want to destroy it.

Mulder has a proposal: If he kills CSM, can he and Scully upload into the simulation and spend eternity together after they die? Price says it won’t be the two of them. They can take a piece of a person any time that person makes a call. Mulder says in that case, he doesn’t have a choice. Price laughs that he can choose not to use his phone. Mulder says he wants to believe, but he’d like to see the tech first. Meanwhile, Scully’s found it.

Price asks why Mulder wants to see it. He says it’s the closest he’ll get to seeing God. Price sends him off with the Russian, but Mulder spots a shadow around the corner and realizes Scully’s close by. He overpowers and knocks out the Russian, making Scully wonder how Mulder’s able to operate so well while handcuffed. “As if you didn’t know,” Mulder replies, which, honestly, answers some questions I didn’t need answered.

Scully uncuffs Mulder and goes to the tech room while he continues fighting with the Russian. As Mulder smashes the Russian’s face, Scully smashes the glass cage around the technology. She shuts it down, whispering a goodbye to Langly. The winner of the men’s fight joins her, and fortunately, it’s Mulder. He’s pleased that he got his phone back. He’s ready to take the Russian to the FBI and start a case against Price, though he may need a few minutes first. (Fighting at this age isn’t as easy as it was when he was younger.)

The agents return to the building sometime later with more FBI agents, but, unsurprisingly, all the simulation tech is gone, as is Price. Back at home, the agents start to clean up the trashed house, then opt for a nap instead. Langly comes up on the phone, yelling that they need to destroy the backup. He disappears, then is replaced by the third shooter and “California Sun.”

Thoughts: Two of the boys on the bus are played by Gillian Anderson’s sons.

Why does Scully know multiple presidents’ dates of death? When would that knowledge ever come in handy? Maybe in some obscure trivia contest?

Scully asking one of the kids on the bus, “Are you kidding me?” as he’s getting in her personal space is the most I’ve ever related to her.

June 8, 2019

The X-Files 11.1, My Struggle III: Oh, Good, More Conspiracies

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

Haven’t we done this before?

Summary: Two years after “My Struggle II” aired, CSM greets us with a voiceover, immediately answering a question many have had for years: His real name is Carl Gerhard Busch. He’s seen a lot of history unfold, and knows that if people knew what was really going on behind the scenes, they would riot. CSM claims he’s not a bad man; he makes others great. That’s what makes him great.

CSM says both of his sons have made sacrifices and paid horrible prices while searching for the truth CSM has “parceled” out to them. There’s definitely life out there on other planets. CSM doesn’t want trust or loyalty, just for his sons to realize that CSM was right and did what needed to be done. P.S. The moon landing was fake.

Zoom in on Scully’s eye, then quick flashbacks of the events of the previous episode. Scully’s unconscious, having been found on the floor of the X-Files office by Mulder, who looks much better than he did in “My Struggle II” – as if he was never sick at all. Mulder and Skinner go to the hospital where she’s taken, and a neurologist, Dr. Joyet, tells them she doesn’t know what happened. All she knows is that Scully has abnormal brain activity, but no apparent damage.

Joyet shows the men scans of Scully’s brain and says she’s never seen what’s happening there before. There’s a flashing in her hypothalamus, her fight-or-flight center. Skinner sees the flashing as a code, six dots and two dashes: “Find him.” Joyet lets the men visit Scully, and Mulder vows to stay with her as long as she’s in the hospital. Skinner thinks they should focus on the “him” of the code – probably William. Scully must want him because she’s dying. Mulder refuses to believe that and again says he’s staying with Scully.

Great, more voiceover. Mulder fears that he’s responsible for Scully’s condition. If he is, how can he fix it? Scully has more flashbacks, then wakes up. She tells Mulder he has to go find CSM. She knows “how it begins.” The Spartan virus will become an epidemic and lead to massive destruction. But there’s a cure, so Mulder needs to find William and get his stem cells.

Mulder tells Scully there’s no plague, and besides, CSM is dead. Scully insists that he’s alive in Spartanburg. Mulder thinks Scully’s confused because of the weird activity in her brain. Scully tells him that CSM will kill him if Mulder doesn’t stop him.

Since the last time we saw him, Jeffrey Spender’s face has improved a lot. Wherever he is now, someone’s trying to run him down in a parking garage. He manages to dodge his would-be assassin’s car and lock himself out of reach of the driver. The driver says he just wants “the boy.” Spender won’t help, so the driver leaves.

Joyet agrees with Mulder that Scully’s visions are just that, visions. Nothing with the Spartan virus actually happened. The question now is where the visions came from. Joyet has seen some stuff in her time, and she figures Scully’s experiencing the aftermath of some experiments. Impatient, Scully wants to leave and investigate, but Mulder says he’ll handle it. On his way out of the hospital, he gets a voice mail from Spender.

Scully has more visions, this time from the future instead of the past. She sees CSM telling someone they can’t be found, and Mulder getting in a car accident. As she wakes up, we briefly see a teen boy doing the same, seemingly having had the same visions as Scully. Mulder listens to Spender’s message, which warns that someone came after him looking for William. Everyone connected to him is in danger.

CSM knows that Mulder will be looking for him, and just like in Scully’s vision, he tells Reyes they can’t be found. Meanwhile, someone follows Mulder as he heads off on a road trip, voicing over more pointless stuff about Scully. He knows he’s being followed, so he tries to get away from his pursuer. CSM gloats to Reyes that Mulder can’t stop what’s already been put into motion.

The car chase goes on forever. Is this what it’s like watching The Fast and the Furious? I’ll pass. Mulder’s pursuer crashes, but Mulder is able to get away. Back at the hospital, Scully has William-related dreams/flashbacks, waking up when Spender comes by. She asks where William is, but he reminds her that she made him promise never to tell her. Scully says Mulder’s life is at stake. Spender can only provide the adoptive family’s last name, Van De Kamp.

Scully tells Spender that CSM’s alive, and she tries to leave again to go on the hunt. Joyet stops her, but even the risk of a seizure won’t keep Scully in the hospital. CSM admits to Reyes that, though he knows William’s in danger, he doesn’t know who the danger is coming from. Reyes thinks someone knows William is CSM’s weakness. CSM says no one could know that. Even if his plans were to get out, people would dismiss them as “fake news.” No one wants to accept the threat of our impending extinction.

Mulder’s still driving and voicing over. Scully calls him to tell him that Spender gave him William’s last name. She’s left the hospital and is in the X-Files office. She promises that she knows what she’s doing. Mulder tells her he’s in South Carolina, just as Scully’s visions showed that everything begins. She insists that they find William. She has more visions, this time seeing the teen boy in distress as a man says he’s a special child. Scully winds up unconscious on the floor of the office again.

CSM tells Reyes that he thinks Scully will forgive him once she sees “the beauty of a planet returned to its savage state.” Reyes reminds him that he’ll be killing humans, and the survivors will hate him. CSM’s like, “What else is new?” More driving and voicing over from Mulder as Reyes tells CSM that Scully and William have a bond beyond science. CSM thinks Scully’s unaware of it – only he and Reyes know.

More driving and voicing over. We get it! Mulder wants the truth! CSM tells Reyes he’s worried about William. Reyes thinks he’s in love with Scully. CSM says he worries for her; Mulder always protected her, but now he’s forced CSM’s hand. Reyes asks what will happen if Scully finds William first. CSM says they won’t let that happen.

Mulder reaches CSM’s gigantic house and runs around for a while with his gun drawn. When he finally finds people, they’re not CSM and Reyes. They’re Erika Price and a guy known only as Mr. Y. Skinner goes to the X-Files office looking for Scully, who’s no longer there. She’s also left her phone behind, so she’s out of contact.

Skinner gets in his car to go searching for her and is surprised by Reyes and her gun. As Scully drives somewhere, looking like she’s seconds from causing an accident, Skinner turns the tables on Reyes and holds her at gunpoint instead. Then CSM joins them, asking if he can smoke in the car. Meanwhile, Scully predictably crashes her car.

Price and Mr. Y claim they don’t know where CSM is, though he was at the house not long ago. They were part of the Syndicate, but they’re not co-conspirators. Price says that CSM wants to exterminate humanity. CSM tells Skinner that the new human religion is faith in technology, while a simple pathogen could destroy everyone.

Price and Mr. Y tell Mulder that aliens aren’t a threat anymore – they don’t want to come to a dying planet. CSM is going to release an alien pathogen to wipe everyone out. Mulder needs to kill him, or he’ll never see William again. CSM tries to make a deal with Skinner: Bring William to CSM, and Skinner will get immunity from the pathogen. Mulder asks why CSM wants William. As in Scully’s vision, Mr. Y says he’s a special child.

They tell Mulder that years ago, aliens came to study humans and were going to work with the Syndicate. CSM was going to be in charge. Of course, that went badly, and everyone realized he was a bad leader. CSM puts a different spin on it, telling Skinner that he protected humanity as long as he could. He used aliens as test subjects to try to protect humans from the pathogen. I guess the moon landing was a way of making humans look heroic.

CSM says this is “the fourth turning,” the end stages of civilization: “The only truth left is to survive it.” Scully and William have immunity and will survive along with some elites. Mr. Y and Price urge Mulder to kill CSM before he can wipe out humanity. He won’t be expecting Mulder to do the deed. Mulder wants more information, like what Price and Mr. Y want. They plan to colonize space and build habitable structures. Mulder doesn’t believe them – they want a war, and they want to use Mulder to start it.

Mr. Y offers to take Mulder and William along to the safety of space, but Mulder would rather go with Scully’s plan to save everyone. CSM thinks his conversation with Skinner is over, so Reyes gets out of the car, but Skinner has more to discuss. Mulder heads back to D.C., calling Skinner along the way, but he’s still talking to CSM. Skinner wants to know why he’s supposed to betray Mulder and Skinner to get William. This means turning his back on humanity.

Scully’s back in the hospital, thanks to two FBI agents who found her after the car crash and took her to the place listed on the medical bracelet she was still wearing. They’re Miller and Einstein. Joyet calls Mulder to let him know that Scully had a setback but is back in her care. As Miller and Einstein leave the hospital, they pass by a man who goes to Scully’s room and tries to smother her with a pillow. He switches to strangulation when that fails. Mulder arrives in time to save her.

Sigh, more voicing over. Conspiracies! William! Girlfriend in the hospital! Mulder is so conflicted! He tells Scully he recognized her attacker, whom Scully says couldn’t have been sent by CSM, since CSM wouldn’t try to hurt her. She thinks her visions are coming from William, somehow. He’s trying to guide both Mulder and Scully. CSM can’t act without William, which the teen knows. CSM won’t find William, but William will find Mulder and Scully. They just have to keep doing their work and wait.

Skinner arrives, and Mulder instantly gets suspicious about where he’s been, even before he smells the smoke on Skinner’s clothes. The two men start scuffling and have to be broken up. Mulder asks whose side Skinner is on. Skinner just tells him to leave it alone. In a flashback, we see the rest of Skinner and CSM’s conversation. CSM has an offer for Scully, which Skinner says she’ll never take. CSM thinks she will, since she’ll have to choose between Mulder and William.

CSM continues that he and “Dana” have a history that goes back 17 years, to “En Ami.” As we know, he took her to a house while she was asleep/unconscious, and CSM claims he impregnated her at the time. According to CSM, he, not Mulder, is William’s father. Elsewhere, William – now known as Jackson – is hearing distorted voices, possibly from the same visions Scully was having.

Thoughts: Price is played by Barbara Hershey.

Spender has Mulder’s phone number – do you think they’ve kept in touch over the years? They probably have a lot to talk about.

Way to keep an eye on the woman with abnormal brain activity and a risk for seizures, Skinner. Mulder’s justified in being mad.

Miller and Einstein don’t appear to know Scully, which I guess means both “My Struggle II” and “Babylon” didn’t happen. To bad I still had to recap “Babylon.”

June 1, 2019

The X-Files 10.6, My Struggle II: This Isn’t Going to Help Defeat the Anti-Vaxxer Movement

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

Our hero

Summary: Scully gives a voiceover to recap what the series is all about. Instead of video clips, we get photos. To sum up: Weird stuff happened, the Syndicate may still be at work, and Scully appears to have alien DNA. There, you’re all caught up.

Scully goes to work and sees that Mulder’s been watching Tad’s show, which is airing on the Internet again. He claims that there’s been a discovery: Almost every American has alien DNA. Tad calls and summons Scully to Mulder’s house, which has been ransacked. Tad was supposed to meet Mulder there, but he’s not home. Scully confronts him about his revelation on his show, and Tad says he has a doctor who can verify that his claims are true.

After calling the police, Scully returns to the X-Files office and meets up with Skinner and Einstein. She thinks Mulder took off because he doesn’t want to hear Scully’s opinions on his belief in Tad’s revelation. Einstein thinks they should dismiss the crazy Internet conspiracy theorist, but Scully doesn’t think they can just throw out his theory. It’s possible that some entity was given the ability to tamper with humans’ DNA.

The two women go to Our Lady of Sorrows and encounter a man who’s confused and looking for help. He has a gross-looking wound on his arm but doesn’t know where it came from. Meanwhile, Mulder, who looks like he’s been beaten up, drives somewhere, ignoring a call from Skinner.

Scully draws some blood from Einstein as she tells her she found alien DNA in herself. Einstein doesn’t get why she was even looking for it. Scully tells her that the science they were taught doesn’t take them near the truth. She brings up smallpox vaccines, which could have been used to inject more than just a vaccination. If there’s even a small possibility that happened, they need to investigate.

Miller arrives and tells the women that people are starting to freak out about Tad’s revelation. He’s posted a new video with a doctor named Rubell, his supposed conspiracy verifier. Rubell says that a fast-moving virus will soon spread through the population. People like police officers and healthcare workers will be the first affected. Scully thinks it’s already happening.

She asks a nurse named Sandeep for an update on the confused guy she ran into earlier. His identity is still unknown, but he may be in the military. Scully orders a treatment, telling Sandeep that she thinks the man’s lesion came from exposure to anthrax. Miller and Einstein overhear, and Scully explains that soldiers deployed to Iraq are given doses of anthrax in the event of nuclear warfare. Now, the vaccines may be attacking their immune systems.

Einstein remains skeptical, but Scully says anthrax is just the tip of the iceberg. We may be on the verge of a global contagion. Einstein wants them to wait until her test results are back, but Scully doesn’t think they’ll matter. She goes to the chapel and calls Mulder, who ignores her call as well as he heads into South Carolina.

Miller goes to the X-Files office and watches Tad’s latest video, which confirms Scully’s theory: Other military personnel are showing signs of exposure to anthrax. Tad thinks this is the first wave in a “rolling contagion,” the result of a “far-reaching conspiracy of men.” Miller notices that Mulder has a phone-finder app, so he uses it to track Mulder’s phone to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

At the hospital, the unknown soldier’s lesion now looks 50 times grosser than before. Einstein argues that this could be the result of a faulty vaccine, not a conspiracy. Scully tells her they don’t have time to consider all the possibilities – they need to move to fight the worst-case scenario.

Einstein continues that only one class of people has been infected. If something in their DNA has been triggered, why is it happening now? Something has to be taken away from the genome to shut down a person’s body, not added to it. Scully gets a call from someone she hasn’t spoken to in so long that she doesn’t even recognize the caller’s voice. It’s someone who was there for her once before when she needed help: Reyes.

The two former colleagues meet downtown and give exposition about how Reyes left the FBI a decade ago, very suddenly. She made decisions that she’s not sure Scully will understand. Years ago, CSM – post-explosion and pre-reconstructive surgery – summoned Reyes to his hospital room. She told him he was an evil liar, but she still accepted a deal he offered. He promised to spare her life when he tampered with everyone’s DNA to kill everyone but some elite people.

Reyes tells Scully that the conspiracy is more complex than she thinks. Oh, isn’t it always? She accused CSM of playing God, but CSM said everyone’s fates have been sealed since birth. She told him he would die alone, but he disagreed – she would be there to continue to light his cigarettes. Reyes tells Scully that because of her abduction and alien DNA, she’s one of the elite. She and Reyes are both protected from the global massacre about to take place.

Scully asks about Mulder, and Reyes says CSM loves him, so he sent someone to offer Mulder a deal. That would be the man who beat Mulder up and left his house trashed. Despite being eligible for AARP, Mulder was still able to put up a good fight against CSM’s man. Now he’s in Spartanburg to discuss the deal with CSM in person.

CSM mocks that he’s controlled Mulder before Mulder even knew he existed. Mulder tells him it’s time for CSM to stop whatever he put in motion. CSM says it’s too late. Mulder doesn’t believe him, but CSM corrects that he doesn’t want to believe. Okay, I could really do without CSM smoking through a tube in his throat.

CSM thinks Mulder will accept his deal because it will allow him to stay with Scully. Mulder makes it clear that CSM will die if he harms Scully. CSM argues that he didn’t set out to destroy the world – people did. He’s not responsible for climate change or any other alterations to nature. Neither of them could have saved mankind from destruction. CSM just sped up the timetable.

Mulder asks what the deal is. CSM says he can have “a seat at the big table.” Mulder knows he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if he survived while billions died. CSM points out that the two of them and Scully could create a new world. Mulder’s already feverish, so if he doesn’t accept this deal, he’ll die along with everyone else.

Tad gives an update: Hospitals and shelters are overflowing, and the mainstream media isn’t paying enough attention to what’s happening. He claims chemtrails are releasing aluminum into the atmosphere. You had me until then, Tad. Scully reunites with Einstein, who can no longer ignore the possibility of massive contagions wiping everyone out. Scully says she was wrong about the science causing all this. Alien DNA isn’t responsible for the contagions – it’s what will save everyone.

They’re calling this the Spartan virus, a virus within a virus administered through smallpox vaccines. Scully thinks they still have time to save everyone. She just needs to use her own alien DNA to create a vaccine that will beat the Spartan virus. They just need to move fast.

Mulder’s now so sick that he’s on CSM’s floor, but he still won’t take his deal. CSM says he’ll miss Mulder, who made his life worthwhile. He pulls off part of his face, which turns out to be prosthetic. Mulder wishes Scully were there to see the monster CSM has become. Scully and Einstein look at Scully’s DNA again, but now there’s nothing alien in it.

Sandeep comes to the lab to tell Scully that the staff is getting sick, so they’re running out of time. Tad continues his updates – people are dying, but he and his crew will keep broadcasting as long as there’s hope of stopping the contagions. Scully and Einstein (who’s not sick yet) go over the science again, trying to figure out how alien DNA protects Scully from the Spartan virus. What makes Scully different? Einstein thinks the sample they studied was too small.

Miller finds Mulder at CSM’s and announces that they’re leaving. CSM warns that he has no idea what’s coming next. Einstein draws more of Scully’s blood, sure that the next examination of it will show the alien DNA again. Einstein’s getting sick now. Miller drags Mulder to his car, but Mulder thinks the younger agent should just save himself. Miller asks why Mulder didn’t accept CSM’s offer. CSM tells Miller to say goodbye for him before Mulder dies.

This time Scully’s alien DNA shows up on examination, so she’s just hours from developing a cure. Miller calls her from his car, telling her that he found Mulder but he’s not doing well. Scully promises that help is coming. Miller isn’t sure they can make it back to D.C., since there’s now a gas shortage. Scully administers her cure to Einstein so she can help pass it out to everyone else.

Tad is looking worse as he says lines of communication are starting to fall. People are starting to riot in the streets as Scully heads out to find her boyfriend. She tells everyone to go to the hospital because help is coming. Tad announces that there’s a vaccine – the ray of hope everyone needs to keep them from giving up entirely.

Scully gets to her car and drives on the sidewalk in an attempt to get out of the city. That only works for her until she gets to a bridge. Mulder and Miller are stuck on the same bridge, so Miller and Scully decide to get out and walk to each other. “He saved your life. Old Smoky,” Mulder says when Scully reaches him. She promises that she’ll save him, too (and Miller).

Scully whispers to Miller that Mulder is worse off than she thought – he’ll need stem cells. The best source is William, who must also be protected by Scully’s alien DNA. The problem? Scully doesn’t know where he is. Well, that’s not Scully’s only problem: Now there’s a UFO over the bridge, with its spotlight right on Scully.

Thoughts: Between the soldier’s lesion, CSM’s post-explosion state, and his half-missing face, this episode gets a 9 out of 10 on the grossness scale.

I guess we’re supposed to think all the traffic jams in D.C. are from mass panic, but really, it’s not much worse than a regular rush hour around here.

One season left! Who’s ready to wrap this thing up?

May 25, 2019

The X-Files 10.5, Babylon: The One Where Mulder Tries to Fight Terrorism With Drugs

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

I have no words

Summary: A Muslim man named Shiraz prays at his home in Texas, then fixes himself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He drives somewhere, stopping at a stoplight while two women in cowgirl clothes cross the road. The people in the pickup next to Shiraz’s car make racist comments about him. Shiraz picks up a friend at a motel, and they park outside a place called Ziggurat and say a brief prayer together. They go inside, and moments later, the building explodes. Oh, they were terrorists! And Muslims! That’s totally new for American TV!

In D.C., Mulder plays Scully a video of what sounds like trumpets playing in the sky over various cities. Mulder says it was like the sound was coming from the heavens, as if God Himself was playing music. Scully notes that he doesn’t believe in God. Mulder says his beliefs don’t matter right now; the “earwitnesses” believe they heard something. It could be a sign of the end times.

After some discussion of whether Adam and Eve really ate an apple in the Garden of Eden, the agents get a knock on their office door. The knocker asks if anyone’s there, and Scully gets the chance to repeat what Mulder said to her the first time they met 23 years ago: “Nobody down here except the FBI’s most unwanted.” (She feels good about it.)

Mulder and Scully meet Agents Miller and Einstein, their mini-mes. Blah blah blah, Scully wrote a dissertation on Einstein’s twin paradox, she’s also a medical doctor, let’s get on with this mess. Einstein is also a medical doctor. No one cares. The younger agents are there to discuss Shiraz and his friend’s suicide bombing. Shiraz survived, barely, so Mulder guesses that the younger agents (well, mostly Miller) want to find a way to communicate with him. He may have information on sleeper cells.

Mulder and Miller both think that stories of other conversations with the dead mean they can communicate with the vegetative Shiraz. Scully and Einstein think it’s a waste of time. The women win the debate, so Einstein drags Miller away to go to Texas. After the younger duo leaves, Scully notes that Einstein calls Miller by his last name.

While waiting for a flight at the airport, Miller and Einstein watch a news segment about the suicide bombing. You may be surprised that the white man in the segment is anti-Islam, while the black woman in the segment says not all Muslims are terrorists. Miller comments that it must be weird putting on a bomb vest, knowing you’re about to die. Einstein thinks it was worse for the victims. Miller wonders who taught Shiraz this kind of hate. Einstein points out that Shiraz isn’t going to tell him.

Miller argues that it’s worth a shot to try to communicate with him. Einstein scoffs that no one takes the X-Files seriously; that’s why their basement is in the office. Miller says they have his dream assignment. Scully must have some reason for doing it, despite being a skeptic. “She’s clearly in love with him,” Einstein says, figuring it out after spending just three minutes with them.

Scully calls Miller to tell him she may have a way for him to communicate with Shiraz. She’s holding her mother’s quarter necklace. They agree to meet up in Texas. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Einstein to say the same thing Scully said to Miller. Einstein wonders why he’s calling her instead of Miller. Mulder says that Skinner has wonderful things to say about Einstein. “Yes, I helped him with his migraines, which he claims are due to you,” Einstein replies. Mulder asks her to stay in D.C. instead of going to Texas.

Somewhere, a Muslim man builds a bomb vest while listening to the people on the news fighting. Einstein goes back to the X-Files office, worried that there will be another act of terrorism while she’s there. Mulder talks about thoughts having mass, and faith and forgiveness having weight. Einstein says no. Mulder points out that words have the weight to inspire people to do things like kill. Einstein corrects that the words merely incite actions; they’re not dangerous by themselves.

Mulder asks if Einstein’s ever sucked on a lemon. “I am getting a taste of what Agent Scully must suffer,” she says. He continues that there’s a school of thought that every thought, word, and perception is a step in evolution. If Shiraz knows something that Einstein wants to know, she may need to expand her thinking about the material world.

Scully meets Miller in Texas, where Miller says he wants to believe (ding!) that there’s a way to reach Shiraz. Scully mentions that Maggie was recently in a coma, and Scully wasn’t able to communicate with her. If she’d come up with this idea then, she might have been able to get answers to some questions she’ll never be able to get now.

Back in D.C., Mulder calls Einstein a wugwump, then tells her to sit down and shut up. He really knows how to win over an adversary, doesn’t he? She doesn’t really want to talk about the “woo woo paranormal,” but she’ll give him two minutes to talk before she’s “due back on Earth.” Mulder’s big idea: magic mushrooms. They could allow a transcendent experience and expose a user to truths without altering his or her brain chemistry. Specifically, his – Mulder wants to be the test subject.

As a medical professional, Einstein can administer the mushrooms to Mulder. He claims he doesn’t want to “bother” Scully with this, because of Maggie’s recent coma. Einstein calls Mulder crazy and tells him that once she leaves the office, he’ll never see her again. “So that’s a maybe?” he calls after her.

Scully and Miller go to the hospital where Shiraz is barely alive. Doctors recently used an MRI to trigger electric activity in the brain of a man named Patient 23. She wants to use an EEG to do the same with Shiraz. Scully warns that, even if it works, it might be hard to get the answers Miller wants. Even harder now, since the Department of Homeland Security wants to take over the case.

Scully refuses to leave, so one DHS agent speaks to the other in Arabic. Miller kicks the DHS agents out, taking their picture so he can ID them later. Einstein arrives as they leave and sees that Scully has taken over her role as Miller’s partner. She calls Mulder and invites him to join the group in Texas.

She meets him at the airport and gives him two capsules containing magic mushroom…dust, I guess. She tells him Scully’s working with Miller, but she’ll deal with that later. Mulder asks how to say “howdy, pardner” in Arabic. At the hospital, an FBI agent named Brem tells Scully and Miller that the building is under a terror threat. He figures there’s a radical Muslim community in the area that wants to kill all Americans. Miller notes that other people want Shiraz to die, too.

Brem says the last thing he wants is for Shiraz to die and go to his paradise. Miller chastises him for being Islamaphobic when he and Scully are focusing on gaining Shiraz’s trust. Brem heads off to evacuate the floor in case of a terrorist attack. A nurse stays behind, and when she’s alone with Shiraz, she turns off his life support. She almost gets caught when Mulder and Einstein show up.

The nurse turns the machine back on and comments that Shiraz is receiving a lot of attention, despite not being worthy of it. Surprise – she’s racist! She hates refugees and brown people! While Einstein gets rid of the nurse, Mulder takes the mushrooms and sits by Shiraz’s bed. He then slips out while Einstein’s back is turned.

What happens next is…I don’t have a word for it. Mulder goes on an extended drug trip that takes him to a country-western bar. There is line dancing. David Duchovny’s children hide their faces in shame. There is a backflip. Women scream and swarm Mulder. He changes clothes and gets bling that says “MUSH” and “ROOM.” Some women do an impromptu dance routine that’s more suited to a dance squad, and that makes the more conservative patrons shake their heads. Skinner and the Lone Gunmen show up in cowboy gear.

Finally, Mulder ends up on his back somewhere, with Einstein, wearing dominatrix gear, over him. She makes him say “woo woo” and whips him. Next, Mulder is in the middle of a group of cloaked men who are praying in Arabic. CSM whips him and tells him he’s come to the right place for the truth. He sees Shiraz lying across a woman’s lap, like they’re the Pieta. They’re in boat, being rowed somewhere, while the soundtrack growls, “Misery’s the river of the world.” Mulder leans over Shiraz, who says something to him that we can’t hear.

The vest builder has finished his work, which includes matching vests for his buddies. So that can’t be good. Scully and Miller return to Shiraz’s room, and Miller, who worked in Iraq for a bit, asks in Arabic if Shiraz can hear them. Shiraz’s brain waves show that he might be able to, but Scully can’t tell for sure.

Mulder’s also in the hospital, waking up with Skinner by his bed. He tells Mulder that his actions were an embarrassment to Skinner and the FBI. (I think if Mulder saw footage of what happened, he’d be embarrassed, too.) Einstein arrives and reveals that she didn’t give him mushrooms – she gave him a placebo. Whatever Mulder thinks he was under the influence of, it was nothing more than the power of suggestion.

Mulder’s all, “But you were there!” like this is the end of “Triangle.” Skinner says he was in D.C. the whole time. Mulder insists that he talked to Shiraz, but he doesn’t know what he said, since Mulder doesn’t speak Arabic. Skinner leaves to get Mulder released, and Mulder tells Einstein that she was there, too – and she was “50 shades of bad.” Just like this episode! She does confirm that he danced. She figures that she’ll be punished with her own basement office.

As they’re leaving the hospital, Mulder recognizes the woman he saw holding Shiraz in his dream or drug trip or whatever. He takes her to Shiraz’s room and introduces her to the others as Noora, Shiraz’s mother. When she speaks to her son, his brain waves again indicate that he can hear. Noora chastises Shiraz for becoming a terrorist and killing innocent people. She thinks he lost his nerve when the time came to detonate his bomb. He’s told her that in her dreams and her prayers.

Miller asks for information on the terrorist cell Shiraz could have been working with, but Noora doesn’t know any names. Shiraz flatlines and dies before any more communication can take place. Mulder says again that Shiraz spoke to him. He remembers some of what was said and tells Miller, who translates it as “Babylon the hotel.” The terrorists are there now, praying in preparation for their next attack. FBI agents ambush them and capture them all.

Miller and Einstein head back to the airport, this time really done with the case. He’s humble about his role in taking down a terror cell and preventing any more deaths. Einstein feels like Miller also kept Shiraz safe. She, however, did nothing – but it worked. Miller says some things are just unexplainable. Einstein quotes the other Einstein, who said that there’s beauty in the mysterious. She promises she’ll never again abandon Miller for the paranormal. But now she’s convinced that words and ideas do have weight. Sometimes they just lead people to do crazy things.

Mulder is relaxing on his front porch when Scully comes to visit him. She’s amused by the whole drug trip and Mulder’s lack of understanding of what happened. But he thinks he saw powerful things, like unconditional love. Scully says she saw hate that seems endless. There are extremes in human nature, and the trick is reconciling the two.

They go for a walk together, holding hands, as Mulder says he’s been thinking about God. In the Bible, He punished people at the Tower of Babel and scattered them, making them different from each other. Does God want to be worshiped for His anger? What makes people want to murder for Him? Mulder thinks terrorists swallow a pill that uses the power of suggestion to make them violent. But a mother’s love can overcome that.

Scully says maybe the hatred ends in finding a common language – maybe that’s God’s will. But Mulder wonders how we can know, since God is “absent from the stage.” Scully suggests that it’s beyond words. We have to open our hearts and really listen. Mulder hears a noise like the trumpets heard all over the world, but Scully doesn’t. We end by panning out to the cosmos, for some reason.

Thoughts: Einstein is played by Lauren Ambrose. Miller is played by Robbie Amell (and named for Duchovny’s son).

Einstein may be the most quotable guest star to ever appear on this show. She’s like Scully without the affection for Mulder that makes her soften her words toward him. I love her.

I was going to refer to the person grumbling “misery’s the river of the world” as a Tom Waits wannabe, but I looked it up and, uh, it’s him. Tom Waits does a very good Tom Waits impression.

’90s/’00s/’10s music alert:

  • Carrie Underwood’s “Somethin’ Bad” at the beginning of the drug trip (so appropriate)
  • Billy Ray Cyrus’ “Achy Breaky Heart” and Trace Adkins’ “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” at the country-western bar
  • The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” in the final scene

May 18, 2019

The X-Files 10.4, Home Again: Do You Think Band-Aid Appreciated the Product Placement in This Episode?

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:35 pm by Jenn

Cheery

Summary: In West Philadelphia, a “relocation project” is underway. This is a nice way of saying that the city is moving homeless people to an old hospital in Bucks County. They’ve enlisted the fire department to use a hose to give them an incentive to move. Joseph Cutler, a guy in charge of the project, warns another group of homeless people that their street is next. They all run off when a garbage truck arrives and a huge man with a Band-Aid on his nose gets out.

Band-Aid Nose Man (his given name, apparently) follows Cutler to his office as the lights go out. Cutler gets spooked and calls the police while pulling a gun out of his desk drawer. BANM just stands outside the office for a few moments, then bursts in and literally tears Cutler’s arms off. Then he calmly walks back to the garbage truck, gets in the back, and lets himself get compacted with the trash.

Mulder and Scully come to the crime scene the next day and meet Detective Aaron Dross. He knows about their experience with “spooky cases,” and though he called the FBI for backup, he doesn’t want to give them the case. Scully reminds him that since Cutler was a federal employee, the case falls under their jurisdiction.

The agents start looking for clues, quickly realizing that they won’t get any on BANM – he left no fingerprints or footprints. Scully says it looks like Cutler was torn apart, which she doesn’t think would be possibly for a human being to do. Scully. Sweetie. Do you remember anything you’ve experienced in the past 23 years? Mulder looks out the window and sees a painting of a large man on a billboard nearby.

As Dross comments that the homeless in the city hate Cutler, Scully gets a call from her brother, Bill. She’s stunned by what he tells her: Their mother is in the ICU, having had a heart attack. Mulder immediately sends her off to be with her family. As she leaves, he notices a security camera over the door.

Footage from that and other cameras doesn’t show Mulder and Dross much, but it allows Mulder to figure out, from Cutler’s eyeline, that his attacker was very tall. Also, there was no artwork on the billboard last night, so maybe it was painted as a response or comment on Cutler’s murder. Before Mulder can go on the hunt for the person who painted the large man, he realizes there’s an extra-sticky Band-Aid on the sole of his shoe.

Scully goes to Beatus Medical Center in D.C., where Maggie’s on life support. A nurse tells Scully that her mother regained consciousness briefly and repeatedly asked for someone named Charlie. That would be Scully’s other brother, who’s estranged from Maggie. Scully’s surprised that she only asked for Charlie. She tells Maggie that she’s been where Maggie is, and she knows her father and Melissa are there, but Scully, Bill, William, and Charlie are all still alive. They’d like her to stick around.

Back in Philly, Mulder wants access to the roof of a building that will get him closer to the billboard. He overhears a woman named Nancy Huff fighting with a guy named Daryl Landry about the relocation project and Cutler. Landry worked with Cutler; Nancy’s president of the Bucks County School Board. She hates that the project is moving people out of Philly so they can build a big apartment building.

Landry notes that the hospital the homeless are being moved to is empty. They’re being moved to a safe place away from drugs. Nancy doesn’t want the “downtown people” in a building just a couple blocks from a high school; after all, if one of the homeless killed Cutler, they shouldn’t be around kids. Mulder tells them they’re both speaking for themselves while trying to speak for others. He wants to know who speaks for the homeless. “The Band-Aid Nose Man,” says a homeless man nearby, pointing to the billboard. Mulder asks for details, but the man doesn’t offer any.

In D.C., after a flashback of Mulder sitting by Scully’s bed while she was comatose, Scully looks through the jewelry Maggie was wearing when she was admitted to the hospital. One piece is a quarter on a chain. Bill calls, still trying to get a flight out of Germany. As another patient in the ICU flatlines and is taken away, Scully tells Bill that she won’t say if Maggie will die before he arrives. She’ll keep Maggie on life support, as per her wishes.

Mulder gets the Band-Aid from his show analyzed, but there’s nothing on it. No, really nothing – the analyst couldn’t identify organic or inorganic materials. Scully questions her mother’s treatment and learns that she changed her advance directive last year. Scully thought she wanted to be kept on life support, but now Maggie has a DNR.

In Philly, two guys study the painting of the large man, which they’ve pulled down from the billboard. They’ve been doing this with all the drawings by this artist, and selling them to collectors. As one guy calls a collector, the cart that the painting is on starts moving by itself. When the guy looks back at the panel, the artwork is gone. The guy’s partner finds him dead, thanks to BANM, who kills the partner as well. Blood splatters on the empty panel, which is now signed “Trashman.”

Maggie’s doctor tells Scully that it’s time to extubate her so they can respect her wishes. That doesn’t necessarily mean Maggie will die immediately. Mulder arrives at the hospital, and Scully is clearly pleased to have some support. Back in Philly, the homeless are put on a bus to be taken to Bucks County, but Nancy has gotten an injunction to have them turned away.

Mulder fills Scully in on his discoveries and his theory that Cutler’s killed, dubbed the Trashman, thinks he’s helping the homeless by getting rid of the people trying to relocate them. He’s pretty sure the Trashman will kill again. Scully tells him that Maggie asked for Charlie, but no other family members. She doesn’t even know where Charlie is. Scully doesn’t know why Maggie would change her living will, or why she wears the quarter necklace. Maggie gets extubated as Scully laments that her medical team doesn’t care about all the unanswered questions Scully has.

In Philly, Nancy listens to Petula Clark’s “Downtown” on her way home to her mansion. It’s full of modern conveniences like a Keurig and a trash compactor. The garbage truck arrives soon after, and BANM lets himself into the house. Nancy sees some globs of green stuff on her stairs, with maggots swarming them. When she sees BANM, she tries to run from him, but she’s no match for him. Once he’s killed her, he destroys any evidence in the trash compactor.

In D.C., Scully and Mulder sit by Maggie’s bed, and she wonders if they ever came across someone who could will someone back to life. Mulder says he invented that while sitting by Scully’s bedside while she was comatose. She teases that he’s a “dark wizard.” Charlie calls, having been tracked down by Bill, and Scully asks him to say something to Maggie through the phone. She thinks this will bring Maggie back to life. Charlie talks to his mother, impatiently asking why she wanted to see him. Maggie wakes up, happy to see Mulder. “My son is named William, too,” she tells him, then flatlines.

When orderlies come to retrieve Maggie’s body so they can harvest her organs, Scully yells at them to leave. Mulder comforts her as she clutches the quarter necklace. She hates that Maggie’s last words were about a grandchild Scully gave away. She begs Mulder to take her back to Philly so she can get back to work. When he gently declines, she leaves.

Both agents go to see Mulder’s analyst, who’s analyzed paint samples from the Trashman’s signature on his artwork. The paint is a high-end brand carried in only one store in central Pennsylvania. Now wearing the quarter necklace, Scully stakes out the store, following in her car as Mulder tracks a teen who buys some spray paint. They tail him to an old building, and he grants them access, then runs off.

Mulder complains about having to take the stairs in the dark. Scully points out that “back in the day,” she took the stairs all the time, while wearing three-inch heels. “‘Back in the day’ is now,” Mulder replies. They get out their trusty flashlights and come across someone who looks human, then something that…definitely doesn’t. They follow the possible human, who tells them he’s in danger but doesn’t want their help.

They burst into the room where he’s holed up and see a sculpture that looks like BANM. The possible human tells them they can put their guns away – he’s tried guns, and they don’t work. He doesn’t want them to use their flashlights, either. If he can’t see “them,” and “they” can’t see him, he won’t be hurt. Meet the Trashman.

He tells the agents that the people who live on the streets get treated like trash. People who throw away their trash in the proper places feel like they’re doing the right thing. Once the trash is carted away, it’s not the people’s problem anymore. But then the trash goes into a landfill, and toxins from the plastics go into the water. People don’t think there’s a problem if they don’t see it.

The Trashman says he was trying to give the voiceless a voice through his art. His pictures look down on the people who think they’re superior. He thought up BANM, but he didn’t kill anyone – that’s all on BANM. The Trashman has made other sculptures that came to life, like what the agents saw in the hallway, and they’ll go away eventually, but BANM is different. Trashman thinks he’s a tulpa.

Mulder disagrees that tulpas exist (even though, you know, he’s dealt with one), and even if a thought form could be real, it wouldn’t hurt anyone. The Trashman thinks all the time he spent thinking about his BANM artwork brought him into being. Scully has flashbacks of delivering William and of seeing him move the mobile as she looks around the Trashman’s studio. He says we just hold the pencil or clay, and if you think really hard, spirits come to you and take on a life of their own. Scully remembers introducing William to Mulder for the first time, then her mother’s recent death, then telling Mulder that she gave William up.

The Trashman says BANM came to him in his dreams, from another world, and now it’s alive. It has its own life and does what it wants. The Trashman just wanted to scare people who were taking dignity away from the homeless. He thought something violent, and it went into his artwork and made it violent. BANM thinks that’s what he’s supposed to be.

Scully says that if it was the Trashman’s idea, it’s his responsibility. He’s just as bad as the people he hates. Mulder thinks that Landry is BANM’s next target. He got the injunction lifted, and the Trashman knows that he’s moving the homeless to Bucks County tonight.

The agents go looking for Landry as he takes the homeless to Bucks County. We know he’s evil because he doesn’t care that a man has been separated from his dog. Everyone goes to their new rooms as Landry follows a weird smell and the sound of buzzing flies. Looks like BANM has beaten the agents to finding him. There are globs and maggots, just like at Nancy’s house, and Landry keeps going down the dark hallway they’re in, because he’s an idiot.

Landry spots BANM behind him and runs. The agents arrive with the Trashman and hear him screaming as BANM corners him in a bathroom. They’re too late – BANM has already killed Landry. Scully wonders how BANM was able to leave the room, since there’s only one entrance/exit, and they’re standing in it. All he’s left behind are a Band-Aid and some flies. Sometime later, the Trashman returns to his basement studio to collect some of his things. BANM’s sculpted head has been replaced with a smiley face, and there’s a painting of him on the exterior wall of the building.

Scully and Mulder take Maggie’s ashes to a little beach and sit on a log to chat. Scully thinks Maggie asked for Charlie because she wanted to make sure he was okay before she died. She made him, so he was her responsibility. Her last works about William were a message that Mulder and Scully need to make sure William’s okay, even though they can’t see him.

Scully says they made a sacrifice to keep him safe, but she still thinks of him all the time. (Also, she calls Mulder “Fox.”) She thinks Mulder will get all his questions answered, and she’ll be there when he does. But Scully’s own mysteries will never have an answer. She’ll never know if William thinks of her or feels doubt because his birth parents gave him up. Does he have the same unanswered questions that Scully has about the quarter? “I need to believe that we didn’t treat him like trash,” Scully says. Mulder doesn’t know how to respond, so he just holds her.

Thoughts: John DeSantis (BANM) is six-nine. Yow.

So…both of Scully’s brothers are kind of jerks. At least Melissa was okay, so Scully wasn’t completely surrounded by annoying siblings growing up.

Please admire my restraint in beginning this recap, “In West Philadelphia,” but not continuing he lyrics to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air theme song.

May 11, 2019

The X-Files 10.3, Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster: Believe It or Not

Posted in TV tagged at 1:24 pm by Jenn

If only Mulder had taken a picture of this

Summary: Two stoners are in the woods in Shawan, Oregon, huffing spray paint under a full moon. It makes one stoner feel existential, wondering if they’re wasting their lives by getting high all the time. It makes the other stoner wish he was a werewolf, though if he were, he’d still just get high all the time. Suddenly a scaly creature runs by, yelling. The stoners find two men on the ground. One, an Animal Control guy named Pasha, is fine. The other is dead.

Despite only being back in the X-Files division for one case, Mulder’s already bored. He’s amusing himself by throwing pencils at his “I want to believe” poster – though when Scully enters their office, she says it’s her poster. Mulder’s feeling dismayed because a lot of their unexplained phenomena from the past have now been explained. Scully asks if he’s been taking his meds.

Mulder thinks it might be time to put away the childish things he used to pursue. He thought he would enjoy going back to works, but not if it means chasing after monsters for the rest of his life. Fortunately, Scully has heartening news: Their new case is about a monster.

The agents head to the woods to find out more about the creature spotted in Oregon. The stoners are the only reliable witnesses, since Pasha didn’t see what ran by. Mulder’s theory: mountain lion or wolf. Scully thinks it’s significant that the last of the creature’s three victims wasn’t clothed. The wounds on the bodies are unique enough to indicate that the attacker was human. Whether or not this is an X-File, Scully wants to solve the case.

The scaly creature is now at a truck stop, watching a prostitute, Annabelle, who’s not having any luck getting work tonight. When the creature rushes her, she hits him with her purse. The bag now has a huge hole in it, which Annabelle shows Mulder and Scully when they come to question her. She tells them the creature has horns on the back of its head, like some kind of lizard. Also, it had two eyes and was wearing tighty-whities, just like Annabelle used to wear before she transitioned.

The agents ask where the lizard creature went next. Annabelle says she already told the police that it slithered away, but the cops think she’s on crack. To be fair, she is. Pasha is called back into action, and he nervously looks in a nearby field for the creature. He got a call about a stray dog and is praying that’s what they’re dealing with here. I don’t think dogs make noises like the growl the agents hear.

Mulder uses his phone to take pictures, which means he takes the first crime-scene photo of the next victim the agents find. He follows growling noises around the truck stop but only comes across Pasha. Pasha tries to help him figure out his new camera app, which accidentally distracts both men, allowing the creature to attack them. They’re both okay, but Pasha decides this is the last straw and he’s done with Animal Control.

Mulder’s pretty sure he got a picture of the creature, which runs by again. The agents follow it to a port-a-potty, but when they open the door, they find a human. Thanks to his hat and the fact that he’s facing forward, they don’t see the horns on the back of his head.

Scully tries to autopsy the latest victim while Mulder shoves his phone in her face, trying to figure out exactly what he took pictures of. He’s pretty sure it’s a man-sized creature (he won’t say “monster”), and not something like a Sasquatch. Scully suggests a “mangy Sasquatch.” Mulder also has a video of his attack, but it just shows him yelling, since the camera’s pointed the wrong way.

Mulder insists that the creature shot blood at him out of its eyeball. Well, he thinks that’s what happened. The blood in his eyes made it hard for him to see. Scully thinks it’s just residue from their victim. Mulder tells her about a lizard that shoots blood out of its eyes. “Scientific fact!” he exclaims. “Mulder, the Internet is no good for you,” Scully says.

Mulder won’t admit that he may have been attacked by a man-sized reptile, and Scully’s autopsy shows that the bites on the latest victim were made by a human. So maybe they’re dealing with a man-sized lizard with human teeth? Now that he thinks about it, Mulder admits that that sounds silly. But Scully’s enjoying herself. She sends Mulder to their motel for the night, hoping he doesn’t dream about monsters.

Yelling from the manager’s office keeps Mulder awake, and he goes to see why someone was shouting about a monster. The manager claims that another guest called him a monster for requesting payment for an overdue bill. I don’t know if I would believe a guy who appears to be drinking rubbing alcohol, but okay. Mudler goes to the trashed room of another guest, which contains Clozapine, a bag from a smartphone store, and a broken mirror.

A taxidermied animal head (one of many in the motel) is on the floor, and Mulder sees that its eyes are just holes. He realizes that the wall panel where it’s supposed to go is actually a door leading to a hidden hallway. He finds Scully’s room and looks in on her through her room’s animal head. Then he goes back to the manager’s office and reveals that he’s figured out the manager saw something in the trashed room and yelled about a monster.

We see what the manager saw: First, the sight of Mulder in bed, wearing his red Speedo. Then he heard the guy from the port-a-potty yelling at himself in the mirror, saying he’s tired of looking at himself every day. Then he broke his alarm clock, saying it won’t wake him up tomorrow. He said something was happening again, then ran to the broken mirror in time for his face to transform into that of the lizard creature.

The manager confirms the man’s identity for Mulder, who goes to Scully’s room to tell her about the werelizard they appear to be dealing with. He does both sides of the conversation, knowing she’ll tell him he’s thinking a myth is real, and that every known law of science says it’s not possible for a person to become an animal, then turn back. Maybe they’re dealing with a genetic experiment that went awry. All Mulder knows is that the werelizard is a monster. “Yeah, this is how I like my Mulder,” Scully remarks.

He asks if that means she believes him. “No! You’re bat-crap crazy!” she says. She wants to talk to the alleged werelizard before they jump to any conclusions. Mulder doesn’t think he’ll be coming back to his room tonight. And on a related note, he thinks the two of them should also find somewhere else to stay.

The next day, Mulder meets with a Dr. Rumanovitch, who tells him a fairytale about a man-eating lizard-dragon. The creature can only be killed by a lance of green glass stabbed in its appendix. (Dr. R. doesn’t know why, though.) In the fairytale, the constable who’s been looking for the lizard-dragon discovers upon his appendix-stabbing that he’s the creature. The moral: The real monsters of the world are inside us.

Dr. R. thinks the man the agents are looking for is delusional and believes he turns into a werelizard when the moon is full. The man is his patient, and Dr. R. prescribed him Clozapine, an antipsychotic. He doesn’t think it did him any good, though – “he seemed pretty crazy.” There isn’t much information in Dr. R.’s records, like any indication of where the agents can find him. The name the patient gave Dr. R., Guy Mann, is most likely a pseudonym.

Dr. R. tells Mulder that he advised Guy to go for a walk in a cemetery the next time he thought he was turning into a werelizard. It would remind him that death takes care of all of our anxieties. He thinks this is sound treatment advice because it’s what he does. Dr. R. then writes Mulder his own prescription, thinking he might be crazier than the guy who thinks he’s a werelizard.

Scully goes to the smartphone store the bag in Guy’s room came from and calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) with the surprising news that she found Guy himself. He seems to work there. Scully starts to tell Mulder about some discrepancies in the blood tests she ran yesterday, but she loses her phone connection with him. She goes into the store to talk to Guy, and by the time Mulder arrives, the store has been trashed. Scully says that Guy just suddenly yelled that he quit and ran out the back.

Mulder follows Guy to a cemetery, where Guy’s doing some day drinking. Mulder pretends to be visiting a loved one and engages Guy in conversation. Guy says that, until a few days ago, he didn’t know that he could die. He always knew he could, and needed to avoid death, but he didn’t know the details. Mulder invites him to talk about his troubles – make a confession, if necessary. Guy says he just wants the madness of life to end. But he’s not going to kill himself. He’s going to kill Mulder.

“You ready?” Guy asks before breaking his green glass bottle to make himself a weapon. Mulder pulls his gun, but Guy doesn’t want to go that far. He pushes Mulder down, then pretends to trip so he can drop his weapon. Mulder picks it up, and Guy tries to guide it toward his appendix. Mulder refuses to kill Guy – he wants to help. Guy says killing him is the only way to help. He wants to be put out of his misery.

Mulder agrees to do so after Guy explains how this all happened. Guy pulls out another bottle, thinking Mulder will need a drink to get him through the tale. His story takes Mulder back to the night in the woods with the stoners. Guy, in his lizard form, was just minding his own business in the woods when Pasha and the soon-to-be-dead man came by, struggling with each other. Guy tried to stop the fight, but Pasha bit him on the neck. The stoners arrived just as Guy was running away in fright.

Mulder stops the story, confused because it doesn’t seem to start from the beginning. Guy says that’s how it all started, with an attempt to stop a predator. He didn’t even get the chance to shoot blood out of his eyeballs! Mulder doesn’t think the mark on Guy’s neck is from a bite; it looks more like a hickey. Guy says it looks different when he’s “normal.”

The next morning, Guy woke up human, both physically and mentally. He saw three dead bodies nearby and stole clothes from one of them. His next instinct was to go on the hunt – not for human victims, but for a job. He was hired at the smartphone store, despite not having any idea what he was talking about. It worked out fine because the customers don’t know what he’s saying either. Guy thinks he now has the one Darwinian advantage humans have over animals – the ability to B.S. “It’s better than camouflage!” Guy says.

This means, of course, that Mulder doesn’t know if he can believe what Guy’s telling him. It’s “disconcerting.” Guy doesn’t think it’s nearly as disconcerting as what he did next: He killed a cow. He did this by walking through a drive-through, not understanding why you have to be in a car to order there. Guy checked into the motel and watched porn the rest of the day. That night, he started to turn back into his lizard self.

Guy was thrilled to revert to his natural state, but the next morning, when his alarm went off, he turned back into a human. That means craving coffee (well, coffee grounds) and hating his job. He tried to quit, but human fears made him worry about being jobless and unable to pay his bills or get a mortgage, “whatever that is.” If he hasn’t written his novel by now, he’ll never write it.

His fears sent Guy to Dr. R., but the medication he was prescribed just clouded his thoughts. To make himself feel better, Guy got a puppy, Daggoo. He realized that the only way humans can be happy is to spend time with non-humans. Unfortunately, when Guy got home from work the next day, Daggoo was gone, possibly let out by a maid. The search for the dog took Guy to the truck stop and left him in an existential crisis.

As he was becoming depressed about his loss, Guy saw Pasha and was overwhelmed with the thought of revenge for being bitten. As he saw Pasha biting his last victim, the moon came out and turned Guy back into a lizard. He realized what human nature is capable of and wanted to be done with it. He was running back to the wild when he came across Annabelle. Then there’s a sidebar while Mulder tries to explain what transgender means, and Guy, the creature who can flip-flop between human and lizard, says the idea of changing one’s gender is crazy. He considers gender-confirmation surgery but draws the line at losing his genitals.

Anyway, Guy doesn’t remember everything about the rest of the night, though he does recall Mulder taking his picture in the port-a-potty. Mulder wants to know how this is all possible, but Guy has no idea. He just went back to the motel, and the next thing he knew, someone was screaming behind a jackalope head. (Another sidebar while Mulder reveals that jackalopes aren’t real, and Guy insists they are, since his friend George was gored by one.)

Guy went to work the next morning, where he met Scully. In his memory, she’s all flirty and tries to get him to join her in the backroom so she can take a picture of his junk. He also claims they made out in the backroom. Mulder gets Guy to admit that he’s lying. Ever since Guy turned human, he can’t help lying about his sex life. But the rest of the story is true, and now that he’s told it, Guy wants to die.

Mulder admits that he doesn’t believe the story. It’s too silly. Guy objects to Mulder calling his life “silly.” Mulder says they’re the same, since they both want to believe in things that aren’t real. Guy quotes Shakespeare, saying that there are more things in Heaven and Earth than can be dreamed of by humans. Mulder interprets this as saying that we’re all idiots. Guy says without believing in the unbelievable, we’re left with regret and self-doubt.

Calling Mulder “Foxman,” Guy says he dreads having to stay human and go back to work in the morning. Mulder reveals himself as an FBI agent, and Guy slams him for taking advantage. Mulder’s the real monster. He leaves, yelling to other people in the cemetery that Mulder’s a monster. Mulder consoles himself with Guy’s booze.

Sometime later, Mulder regains consciousness after his bender when his phone rings (playing the show’s theme song). It’s Scully, who’s at an animal shelter, hanging out with Daggoo. Mulder tells her he he got a taste of his old ways, then got drunk on it. He tries to explain Guy’s situation, lamenting that he believed anything so crazy. Scully tells him she’s waiting for Pasha.

As Pasha arrives, Daggoo gives Scully a little nip on the finger. Mulder looks at his pictures from the other night, thinking one may have been of a bite. Scully says Daggoo reminds her of poor, doomed Queequeg. She read a study saying that dogs can be hostile toward people who have harmed their masters. As she says she wishes having a dog/grudge-holder, Pasha attacks.

Mulder hears the struggle through the phone and calls for backup at the shelter. But when he arrives, Scully has taken care of everything herself. She informs Mulder that their killer was just a normal human. She saw on her autopsy that the last victim was strangled. Pasha starts to tell his tale of tragedy, describing how he felt the urge to hurt animals as a child, but Scully tells him to save it for his trial. “But I have a whole speech prepared!” Pasha objects.

Mulder asks why Scully again approached a suspect without backup. She tells him she thought he would want more time with Guy. Plus, she reminds him, she’s immortal. Mulder tells her that he figured out Pasha was their killer from his photos. However, this means accepting that Guy’s story is true, which Mulder can’t believe he’s saying. Scully decides to take a souvenir from the animal shelter: Daggoo. (This will be her second dog named after a Moby Dick character.)

Guy goes back to the woods that night, ready to return to his life as a lizard. Mulder finds him and tells him they caught the killer. Guy doesn’t care, and doesn’t think Mulder’s sure that his story was true. Guy fully admits that it’s crazy, but not crazier than a necktie. He’s ready for hibernation, hopeful that when he comes out of it, he won’t turn human anymore.

Mulder denies that Guy can hibernate for 10,000. Guy slams him for not believing him again. “I want to believe,” Mulder says. Guy is happy that Mulder was there to listen to him while he was going through a tough time. They shake hands, and suddenly Guy’s a lizard again. Finally, Mulder can believe in something unbelievable.

Thoughts: Guy is played by Rhys Darby. Pasha is played by Kumail Nanjiani.

Tombstones in the cemetery: Kim Manners (beloved X-Files director and producer), Jack Hardy (assistant director), Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat).

Mulder chastises Scully for approaching a suspect without backup, then immediately…approaches a suspect without backup. Sounds about right.

So when, exactly, did the werelizard read Shakespeare?

May 4, 2019

The X-Files 10.2, Founder’s Mutation: “A Mother Never Forgets”

Posted in TV tagged at 1:40 pm by Jenn

ANOTHER “X-Men” spin-off??

Summary: A scientist named Dr. Sanjay shows up for work at a place called Nugenics looking a little worse for wear. He hears a high-pitched sound that no one else in the building seems to hear. In a meeting, his team learns that the Founder isn’t pleased with their work. As his colleagues argue about the Founder, Augustus Goldman, and whether he really cares about their work, Sanjay hears more noises. His co-workers’ voices slow down and get distorted. It’s as if every noise in the room is amplified.

Eventually, Sanjay yells out, “Can’t anyone hear that?” His co-workers look at him like he’s nuts. He goes to an office, ignoring his co-workers while he does something with their data. As a security guard drills into his locked door, Sanjay, hearing the high-pitched noise again, writes something on his hand, then sticks a letter opener in his ear. It’s gross, and now he’s dead.

Now that the X-Files division has been reopened, Mulder and Scully are on the case! Scully thinks Sanjay had a psychotic break that led to his suicide. Mulder wonders why he would go to the most secure room in the building, full of isolated servers. Mulder thinks he was trying to access data that could only be accessed in that room.

Mulder tries to look at a hard drive, but a guy named Lindquist tells him it’s classified. The agents have security clearance to be in the room, but not to look at the server, which belongs to the Department of Defense. Mulder asks to talk to Goldman, but Lindquist stonewalls again. In fact, he can’t even confirm that he knows where Goldman is. Scully sees some security cameras and asks Lindquist if she can view their tapes. While Lindquist is distracted, Mulder steals Sanjay’s phone.

As they leave, Scully sees the phone and chastises Mulder for searching it without a warrant. Mulder doesn’t think he needs a warrant since Sanjay is the victim, not a suspect. Scully disagrees that there’s a victim here – Sanjay killed himself. As they pass a shady-looking janitor, Mulder sees that Sanjay had a lot of conversations with someone named Gupta. Scully somehow knows that the name Gupta means “secret.”

Mulder meets Gupta at the Corner Pocket Bar in D.C., trying to ignore some government-looking guys. Mulder asks to talk somewhere more private, promising that Gupta can trust him. Well, if he says you can, then obviously you can! They go to a storeroom, but it becomes clear that Gupta didn’t understand the nature of this meeting, because he tries to undo Mulder’s pants.

Mulder resists, so Gupta tells him he’s repressed. He himself finally let go of that self-loathing and feels free. Mulder needs to do the same. “The truth is in here,” Gupta says, pointing at Mulder’s heart. “Yeah, I’ve heard something like that,” Mulder replies. He informs Gupta that Sanjay is dead.

Scully does Sanjay’s autopsy, noticing the writing on his hand. Back at the bar, Gupta tells Mulder that Sanjay was distant over the past few weeks. He was upset because his kids were dying, though Mulder’s pretty sure that Sanjay didn’t have any children. Gupta says he lived two lives in two places.

Scully summons Mulder to the morgue and shows him the writing on Sanjay’s hand: “Founder’s mutation.” There’s nothing abnormal in her autopsy findings, but Mulder sees that the letter opener veers off at an angle, as if Sanjay was reaching for something specific. Scully brings up what Sanjay yelled at the meeting before he died about hearing something. Mulder wonders if he could have thought he was hearing something that wasn’t really a sound.

He wants to look for more clues, thinking Sanjay didn’t really live in the apartment they’ve already searched. So the agents head to Dupont Circle, discussing how Sanjay felt he had to keep his “lifestyle preferences” a secret in 2016. Mulder thinks that being gay wasn’t Sanjay’s only secret. Scully almost hits a teenager with her car, and somehow, Mulder doesn’t comment on it or use it as an excuse to let him drive.

The agents go to Sanjay’s house, where someone appears to be lurking. Scully finds photos of kids affected by horrible physical abnormalities. The police arrive, possibly summoned by a silent alarm the agents triggered, but they keep searching anyway. Mulder hears the same high-pitched tone Sanjay did; it’s so painful that it almost puts him on the ground. Voices get distorted, but Mulder can make out people saying “help me” and “find her.”

The agents meet with Skinner, taking him some files from the apartment, which the DOD again claims are classified. A guy named Murphy is there to guard them. Mulder thinks the kids from the photos are connected to Sanjay’s suicide. Since the DOD won’t let the FBI look at the files, Skinner considers the investigation over. Murphy warns the agents to keep anything they’ve seen quiet. “I’m familiar with Edward Snowden,” Mulder replies.

After Murphy leaves, naïvely thinking the agents will listen to him, Skinner asks Mulder for his opinion. He thinks the DOD is using the kids for experiments with genetic modifications. Scully isn’t sure, but she’s like to pursue that angle. Skinner offers, without really offering, to let their incident report get lost in the shuffle so they have time to investigate.

The agents are back in their basement office, except only Mulder’s name is on the door, boo! Scully asks what happened to Mulder in the house that put him on his knees. He tells her about the noise and the words “find her.” Scully tells him she didn’t hear anything. They look at the security footage from Nugenics, and the sight of some birds gives Mulder an idea. Vibrations can make worms come up from underground. He thinks they need Goldman to help them answer some questions.

Scully’s worried that Mulder will suffer the same fate as Sanjay. This could be dangerous. “When has that ever stopped us before?” Mulder asks. Scully has an idea of how to find Goldman. She connects with a colleague at Our Lady of Sorrows, Sister Mary, who confirms that Goldman has helped with funding. Specifically, he’s donated money for a program for pregnant women.

Scully asks for a meeting with Goldman, pretending they want to warn him about an upcoming government investigation. Sister Mary is reluctant to connect the agents to Goldman, but she agrees to give him a message. Mulder says to ask him about talking about the Founder’s mutation.

As Sister Mary leaves to make the call, a young pregnant woman named Agnes gets the agents’ attention. She tells the agents she doesn’t belong there; she doesn’t care what she signed. She no longer cares if her baby is sick – she’s changed her mind about giving him up. Agnes says that all the other pregnant women in the room have the same story. When she spots Sister Mary returning, Agnes panics and tells the agents she was just kidding around. Mulder gives her his card in case she wants to talk.

Sister Mary tells the agents that Goldman has agreed to meet with them. Mulder asks about the women in the room, and why they were chosen for the program. Sister Mary says they’re homeless and “damaged,” mainly by men. (No offense to Mulder.) As the agents leave, Mulder tells Scully that the whole thing is “insidious.” Goldman could be using the women as incubators for kids who will be experimented on.

Scully accuses Mulder of believing this all along but not saying it straight out. Does he think this is what happened to her all those years ago, when she got pregnant? Was she just an incubator? “You’re never ‘just’ anything to me,” he assures her. She asks if he ever thinks about William. He says he does, but he’s had to put it behind him. Scully laments having to miss all 15 years of her son’s life. She admits that sometimes she hates herself for not having the courage to keep him.

Mulder says that Scully did what she felt was necessary to keep William safe. She asks if Mulder thinks he was an experiment. Mulder doesn’t know. Scully worries that William’s fighting for his life like the kids on Sanjay’s wall. Mulder tells her the just have to pull the thread of the investigation and see what unravels.

Scully imagines herself walking William to school on his first day. The most important thing she wants him to remember is that she loves him. She takes him inside, and at the end of the day, she watches him run off to play with friends. Scully smiles and touches her cross necklace, but a wind blows in and changes her mood. She finds William on a stretcher, about to be loaded into an ambulance after breaking his arm.

The scene fades, and Scully’s now in a house, hearing William calling to her from behind a closed door. His face has changed, as if he’s becoming an alien, and he’s scared. In reality, Scully looks at a baby picture of her son, possibly the only picture she has left of him.

The agents meet with Goldman, who says “Founder’s mutation” is meaningless to him. He claims that his work is intended to save children. He walks the agents past some of his patients, who have what he claims are genetic abnormalities and cancers. They’re getting treatment without having to pay.

One of the kids, Adam, has an oversized bald head and only one eye. Scully chats with him, and he says he has no parents and has been there “forever.” Scully asks why the kids are all kept in sealed rooms, since they’re not contagious. Goldman says they want to eliminate environmental factors that could affect their treatment. He’s looking for the key to all these abnormalities. Scully asks if alien DNA is somehow involved, and if that’s why the DOD is part of this. “I was told you were the rational one,” Goldman says with surprise.

There’s a scuffle down the hall as one of the patients, a teen named Molly, fights an orderly. Goldman sends the agents away with his assistant, Sarah, as he goes to subdue Molly. Mulder gets a text telling him something’s happened to Agnes. The agents go to a tunnel, where Agnes has been found dead, supposedly the victim of a hit-and-run. There’s no sign that she’s still pregnant.

Scully autopsies Agnes and determines that she probably was killed in a hit-and-run. The baby was taken, most likely to “get rid of evidence.” She thinks Agnes left the hospital to talk to them. Mulder asks if the baby could still be alive. Scully says if Agnes didn’t survive, the baby probably didn’t. But if the baby wasn’t human, Mulder thinks it could have. Maybe the Syndicate is still working on creating human/alien hybrids.

Scully notes that this means changing the genetic makeup of an entire population. It’s a step toward evolution. Mulder says that every species has a founder’s mutation. Scully remembers reading a study about Y chromosomes in white European men being traced back to just three people from the Bronze Age.

Mulder has learned that Goldman’s wife, Jackie, was committed 17 years ago after being convicted of murdering her baby. That baby’s body was also never found. So the agents now have a new person to question. They meet with Jackie at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, but Jackie isn’t very talkative. She does throw an apple at a cat, though.

When Scully asks if they can ask questions, Jackie says she won’t talk about her husband – he’s the one keeping her there. Mulder asks if she misses her daughter. Jackie says she does…and her name was Molly. She remembers feeling that there was something odd about her daughter, but she didn’t know for sure what it was until the girl was two. She flashes back to finding Molly in the family’s pool, breathing underwater.

Jackie thinks Goldman experiments on the embryo, and since she was pregnant again at the time, she wanted to get away from him. In a flashback, Goldman catches Jackie trying to leave and assures her that she and Molly are both safe. Jackie pulls a knife on him and demands Molly. They fight and she slices Goldman’s arm, then runs off. She tells the agents that since Goldman worked for the government, she knew she couldn’t trust anyone to help her. She tried to run away, but she hit an animal in the road and crashed her car.

In flashback, Jackie crawls out of the wreckage and hears a high-pitched sound. “He was talking to me in the only way that he knew how,” she tells the agents. To make it stop, she stabbed herself in the stomach. But instead of trying to kill her unborn child, she was trying to let him out. When Jackie woke up in the hospital after passing out from blood loss, she was accused of killing her baby. She thinks about him every day. Scully can relate: “A mother never forgets.”

As the agents leave, Scully tells Mulder that she believes Jackie’s story. Mulder thinks the baby – now a teenager – is trying to communicate with him the way it did with Jackie. He stops a passing janitor and confirms that he works for a subcontractor, not for the hospital. The company, A-I Janitorial, also services Nugenics. Mulder goes back to the security footage and sees the shady-looking janitor just outside Sanjay’s office when he died. The janitor, Kyle Gilligan, also worked at St. Elizabeth’s last month.

The agents go to Kyle’s house, where his mother prevents them from questioning him. She claims he’s “simple” and doesn’t respond well to stressful situations. Mulder accuses her of finding Kyle after Jackie’s accident and taking him to raise herself. Mrs. Gilligan yells for the agents to leave as a huge flock of birds gathers in the yard. She whispers that bad things happen when the birds gather.

Mulder hears the tone, this time painful enough to leave him rolling around on the ground. Scully runs around the property, looking for Kyle, who’s in a stable. Mrs. Gilligan begs the agents not to take him away; he was just trying to protect her, and he doesn’t know what he’s doing. In the car, Mulder asks why Kyle killed Sanjay. Kyle says he didn’t – Sanjay was trying to help him. Mulder asks why he gets in people’s heads.

Kyle says he just wants to find his sister. He visited Jackie at St. Elizabeth’s last month, and she told him to find Molly. I guess Mulder wasn’t paying attention when they were with Goldman, but Scully was, because she knows where they can find Kyle’s. They take Kyle to Goldman (horrible idea! Worst idea ever!) for some bloodwork, and he asks what Kyle plans to do once he finds Molly. Kyle says he doesn’t know.

Goldman says he’ll let the siblings meet, but he takes Kyle to see another girl instead. Kyle quickly realizes she’s an impostor, then finds the real Molly. She communicates with him telepathically, saying she didn’t know she had a brother. They put their hands on either side of Molly’s windows, and the electrical charge between them shatters glass around them and leads to high-pitched tones.

The agents are thrown around as Kyle makes his father’s eyes and mouth bleed. Sometime later, the FBI and DOD come to the hospital, but the DOD takes over the scene. Mulder passed out and doesn’t know where Kyle and Molly went. But Mulder has a vial of Kyle’s blood, so there may be a way to track him.

Mulder imagines watching 2001 with William and talking to him about knowledge and early man. They make a model rocketship together and quote JFK’s speech about how we choose to do things like go to space because they’re difficult. William declares that he’ll go to space someday. Like Scully, Mulder hears William calling from his room, but when Mulder gets there, William’s being beamed up by aliens. The real Mulder sits in his kitchen, looking at the same baby picture Scully looked at earlier.

Thoughts: Goldman is played by Doug Savant. Agnes is played by Kacey Rohl, who was also in Hannibal with Gillian Anderson.

Just what every woman wants to hear from a nun – that she’s “damaged.”

Please enjoy this outtake of the actress playing Jackie throwing her apple in the completely wrong direction.

April 27, 2019

The X-Files 10.1, My Struggle: Here We Go Again

Posted in TV tagged , , at 1:20 pm by Jenn

All of their conversations look like this

Summary: Mulder gives a brief recap of the entire series to date, in case people had forgotten about it in the 13 years since the last episode (or the seven years since the second movie). He tells us there are UFO sightings all the time. There’s a huge cover-up, and people think they’re a hoax, but “are we truly alone? Or are we being lied to?”

We go back in time to Roswell in 1947, when a young Army medic is taken to the desert by a man in a black suit. The doctor is stunned when he sees a giant crashed UFO. At Our Lady of Sorrows, where Scully is still working, she gets a phone call from Skinner (who’s still the assistant director – no promotion in 13 years? Ouch).

Mulder’s watching a clip of Jimmy Kimmel telling then-President Obama that if he were elected president, his first priority would be looking through confidential documents to find out if aliens exist. After talking to Skinner, Scully calls Mulder, who complains that his life has become a punchline. Skinner wants to know if Mulder’s been watching an Internet celeb named Tad O’Malley, who’s reached out to the FBI.

Mulder pulls up a clip of Tad saying that the mainstream media is lying about people’s freedoms. He has conspiracy theories that go all the way back to Roswell. Mulder doesn’t know why Scully’s getting involved in this stuff again, but Scully’s just delivering a message from Skinner. Mulder is supposed to meet with Tad, and he wants Scully to tag along.

The two former partners meet up, but Scully’s the only one who bothered to dress professionally. She tells him she worries about him and is glad he’s gotten out of the house. There’s exposition that they no longer live together. Tad arrives and invites the agents to join him for a limo ride, wanting to ensure their conversation is private. He thinks some aircraft can eavesdrop, though he won’t say who’s behind that.

In the limo, Tad tells the ex-agents that he’s not a true believer like Mulder is. Also, he calls Scully “Dana,” and I don’t think Mulder likes that. Mulder corrects that he only wants to believe; he’s never been able to find real proof of aliens. Tad reminds him that he ran the X-Files, but that chapter of the ex-agents’ lives is over. They’ve both moved on (both from the job and from each other).

Mulder thinks Tad just spouts conspiracies for the money and doesn’t actually believe anything he says. He’s “The O’Reilly Factor with a shopworn little gimmick.” Tad says Bill O’Reilly knows very little of the truth. Mulder brings up a woman named Kelly Cahill who claims she and her husband saw a UFO in Australia. They lost an hour of time, and Kelly wound up with a triangular mark on her stomach. Tad wants Mulder and Scully to help him expose the conspiracy about alien abductions. He has something – and someone – to show them.

The limo takes the group to a secluded little cottage where a woman named Sveta lives. She contacted Tad and told him to call Mulder and Scully. Sveta met Mulder as a child, when he interviewed her family after she was abducted for the first time. Over 20 years, she’s been abducted multiple times, and has the little scoop-marked scars to prove it. The aliens replaced her memories, but she still recalls some things.

Like Scully, Sveta got pregnant after a number of her abductions, but the fetuses were taken, leaving the scars. Sveta continues that she has alien DNA. Mulder asks if Scully could test that, since Sveta hasn’t gotten confirmation from a doctor. He calls her “Dana,” which makes me uncomfortable. Back to 1947! The doctor and some other soldiers follow an alien crawling away from the UFO. The Man in Black shoots it, saying it might be dangerous. The doctor is upset.

Scully takes Sveta to a lab to do tests. Sveta knows Scully’s skeptical, since she has some mind-reading abilities. She claims she’s also telekinetic, but she can’t control it, so she can’t give a demonstration. Sveta guesses that Mulder and Scully used to be a couple, and that Mulder’s been depressed. That’s what led to their breakup. Sveta also guesses that they had a child together. Scully tells her to knock it off. Sveta’s mind-reading abilities end there, as she thinks Scully doesn’t know what it’s like to be abducted. Scully gives her a look, and Sveta changes her mind.

Tad retrieves Mulder from his house via helicopter and warns that they’re about to meet with some very paranoid people. They go to what looks like an empty airplane hangar and meet Garner, a scientist, who takes Mulder to an alien aircraft. It’s up and running, and Mulder looks like a kid on Christmas morning. The technology used to make it run has been kept secret for 70 years so oil companies could keep making money. The aircraft turns invisible, thanks to ununpentium.

1947! The doctor takes the alien’s corpse, though the Man in Black says there’s no point, since it’s dead. The doctor asks why he was brought out there in the first place. In the present, Tad catches Scully drawing some of her own blood and asks if she’s testing her own DNA to see if it’s alien. She tells him about her work on children born without ears. Tad notes that the kids look alien-like, which Scully claims is a coincidence. She has no interest in going back to her past chasing aliens.

Tad asks if Scully misses the X-Files. Scully says that it was challenging and made her feel alive; the same goes for her relationship with Mulder. But it ended up being “impossible.” Tad wants to make sure Scully doesn’t feel like Mulder put her on the spot with the Sveta stuff. Also, he wanted to see her again.

Mulder goes back to Sveta’s to ask for some clarification about her pregnancies. She says she doesn’t believe the aliens took the fetuses. Her experiences have affected her whole life, and she hasn’t been able to have a normal existence. She’s afraid it’ll only get worse. She confesses that humans took the babies, though they did take her aboard ships. She was afraid they would kill her if she told the truth.

Mulder promises that Sveta can trust him, even though he used to work for the government. She guesses that he always wondered if the government was lying to him. He calls Scully, who’s in Tad’s limo again, to tell her that they’ve been misled – maybe there’s no alien conspiracy. He thinks Sveta is the key to everything.

Mulder goes to his former X-Files office, accompanied by a bearded Skinner. Even though the office supposedly hasn’t been touched since the X-Files closed, the files are gone. Mulder tells Skinner that this is “about controlling the past to control the future. It’s about fiction masquerading as fact.” He thinks Skinner owes him answers. Skinner says he doesn’t take orders from Mulder, so Mulder asks who he does take orders from.

Skinner promises that he’s looking out for Mulder like he always has. Mulder rips his “I want to believe” poster and blasts himself for chasing nothing for a decade. He guesses Skinner’s been lied to, too. Skinner says he’s thought about Mulder every day since the X-Files closed, wishing Mulder were still there to investigate weird stuff. Mulder says that surveillance and policing post-9/11 were supposed to make us feel safer, but we’re actually in more danger. Skinner tells him to do something about it.

In another clip from his Internet show, Tad complains that the government targets people with registered guns. Then he does a segment on Scully and her work with earless kids. Scully’s watching the clip when she gets the results of her bloodwork. She asks a nurse to retest some of the samples. She adds that she’s expecting – well, hoping for – a call from Mulder.

In downtown D.C., Mulder meets up with an old man who once promised to give a confirmation if Mulder ever put the pieces together. He thinks the technology from the alien aircraft has been used in disappearances that have been misreported as alien abductions. The old man warns that the reason for this is more complicated than Mulder can know.

Mulder takes a stab at it: It’s a “conspiracy of men against humanity.” Ten years ago, the old man came to Mulder, wanting to spill his secrets. The old man – who’s the Army doctor from 1947 – says he didn’t know how his work would be used. He did experiments on the alien corpse that led to lies told to everyone in the world. Mulder wants to expose those lies, but the old man doesn’t think anyone will believe him. Mulder’s willing to be seen as a fool. The old man tells him he’s close to uncovering everything. As he leaves, he says that Roswell was a smokescreen. Mulder figured that out a while ago.

Scully goes to Mulder’s house, where he tries to tell her what he’s uncovered. She’s worried that he’s obsessed again, because he wants to believe so badly. Mulder does believe – he thinks Tad’s conspiracy theory is correct. The truth really is out there, and Tad is going to reveal it. Scully begs him to tread lightly, but Mulder says he knows what he’s doing.

Sveta reveals that she’s in the house, and Mulder again tells Scully that she’s the key to everything. Scully’s heard enough, so she leaves, but before she can drive off, Tad arrives and asks her to stay. She’s annoyed but agrees to hear what Mulder has to say. He tells the group something science-y about UFOs being attracted to America after the H-bomb, and wormholes and transducers and electrogravitic propulsion. Basically, aliens were worried about us self-destructing.

The government used technology from UFOs, then covered it up. The problem is that Mulder isn’t sure what the goal is. Tad blames corporate greed and the takeover of America, then the world. Eventually, we’ll go into a perpetual war, which will just be a distraction. Everything the government is doing right now is preparation for targeting us. Then some elites will take over and “cull, kill, and subjugate” the rest of us.

Tad thinks it’ll start on a Friday. Money will disappear; then bombs will knock out major grids. The government will tell us it’s an attack by Russia, or they’ll simulate an alien attack. Mulder says the Russians tried it in 1947. Scully says Tad can’t broadcast this theory – it’ll be seen as treason. It’s irresponsible to set off the kind of panic that would follow. Mulder and Sveta disagree, saying it’s irresponsible to keep the truth hidden. Scully informs Sveta that her test came back negative – she doesn’t have any alien DNA. Then she leaves.

Back at work the next day, Scully watches Tad’s show, in which Sveta admits that she lied about being abducted by aliens. Tad paid her to lie so he could get ratings. Mulder guesses that someone got to her. Tad says that whoever turned Sveta against him must be afraid about the truth coming close to being revealed.

As Scully gets her second results, Mulder goes to Sveta’s. The government has found Garner’s hangar, and they knock out the scientists and blow it up. After an operation, Scully tries to go back to Tad’s site, but it’s now unavailable. When she leaves work that night, she sees “don’t give up” written in the dirt on the back of her car.

Mulder arrives and tells Scully about Venus Sydrome, a global-warming scenario that will lead the planet to the brink of the Sixth Extinction. The elite will go off into space and fight the poor souls left on Earth. Scully tells Mulder that Tad’s been shut down, so they need to find Sveta and protect her. She sequenced both Sveta’s and her own entire genomes, and she now believes the conspiracy is true. Both ex-agents get messages from Skinner, and Mulder asks if Scully’s ready for whatever comes next. She says she doesn’t think they have a choice.

Sveta’s driving somewhere when her car shuts down. A green light shines through her roof, and she looks up to see a UFO. She tries to get out of the car, but she doesn’t have enough time before the UFO blows up her car. In an unknown location, FREAKING CSM, who is somehow STILL FREAKING ALIVE, FREAKING A, gets a call letting him know the X-Files division has been reopened.

Thoughts: Tad is played by Joel McHale.

Oh, good, another “key to everything.” We can’t have enough of those.

In a way, it makes sense that CSM keeps coming back from the dead. I mean, you can’t kill the Devil, right?

April 20, 2019

The X-Files, I Want to Believe: Heads Up

Posted in movies tagged at 1:05 pm by Jenn

Ew

Summary: In Somerset, West Virginia, a woman comes home to her dog, who’s barking frantically. Meanwhile, a group of FBI agents searches a snowy area. The woman, who’s wearing a medical-alert bracelet, gets out of her car, not seeing someone pass behind it. Two of the FBI agents, Dakota Whitney and Mosley Drummy, tell the others to give some space to a man named Father Joseph Crissman, who’s out ahead of the pack, looking for something.

The woman sees footprints in the snow behind her tire treads and realizes someone’s in her house. Crissman runs out ahead of the pack as the woman grabs a garden tool to use as a weapon. She slashes at her intruder, cutting his face and hand. But there’s another man with him, and he chases her out into her yard. As he tackles her, Crissman tells the FBI agents to dig in a certain spot in the snow. They find the severed arm of the first attacker.

At Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital, Scully, now working as a doctor, does a teleconference with another physician about a young patient. The other doctor reminds her that there’s no cure for the boy’s condition. Scully tells the boy, Christian, and his family that they’ll run more tests. Drummy shows up, asking how they can get in touch with Mulder. Scully resists putting them in contact with each other, but Drummy needs help saving another agent.

Scully goes to a house in a secluded area and chastises the person living there for not having more security measures. It’s Mulder, and he’s still wanted by the FBI for escaping his death sentence, but he’s not too concerned about being captured. Also, he grew a beard, and it looks awful. Scully tells him the FBI wants his help, and has even offered to drop the charges against him if he’ll work with them.

Mulder thinks the FBI should be asking for his forgiveness, but Scully believes that’s what they’re doing. She tells him a psychic has come forward with some possible evidence. Mulder thinks the FBI is lying to draw him out. He’s not interested in helping, even if it means saving an agent. Scully points out that one of them could have been in this position of needing help.

She continues that she worries about Mulder, who’s been isolated for so long. He tells her he’s fine, with his sunflower seeds and the articles and photos on his walls and the pencils in his ceiling. Scully says she’ll turn down the case for him, but after looking at a picture of Samantha, Mulder realizes he needs to help. He just has one condition: Scully has to come along.

The two are picked up by a helicopter and flown to D.C. They meet up with Drummy and thank him for the ride, but he says he didn’t send the helicopter. They go into the FBI building and Drummy leaves them in a hallway. Mulder locks eyes with another agent for a few moments (she’s played by Vanessa Morley, who played Samantha as a child), and Scully looks at a picture of then-President George W. Bush (cue the theme music).

Drummy takes Mulder and Scully to a meeting with Whitney, who thanks Mulder for his trust. Mulder doesn’t think that’s important if the agent they’re looking for is dead. The missing agent is Monica Bannan, the woman from Somerset. Though she’s been gone a few days, Whitney thinks she’s still alive. They found the arm about ten miles from Bannan’s house, with blood matching blood found in her garage.

Crissman has tied the two scenes to each other, but Mulder doubts he’s reliable since he calls himself a psychic. He called six hours after Bannan’s disappearance to tell the FBI he had a vision and knows she’s alive. Mulder thinks the FBI should be surveilling him. Whitney reveals that Crissman is a convicted pedophile, which…really makes their dependence on him sound even worse.

Whitney and Drummy take Mulder and Scully to the dorm where Crissman lives with other convicted sex offenders. How has any angry local not firebombed that entire building? Scully immediately tears into Crissman, asking what he was just praying for. Does he think God’s listening to him and will redeem his soul? Crissman asks if she thinks God listens to her prayers, like, she’s not a child molester, dude.

Crissman says he has to believe God’s listening; otherwise Crissman wouldn’t have visions. Scully notes that they might not be coming from God. Mulder gets the discussion on track, asking what Crissman sees in the visions. Crissman sees everything that happened in the first scene, and though he doesn’t know for sure that Bannan’s alive, he feels that she is.

Mulder asks for a demonstration, but Crissman would like Scully to leave first. Scully taunts that he might be seeing things as a way of trying to distract people from who he really is. She goes outside, trying to avoid Crissman’s roommate, and gets spooked when Mulder sneaks up on her. He applauds her for challenging Crissman, just like in the old days.

Scully looks at the case file and asks how Crissman could lead agents to the arm without having a single guess about Bannan’s abductor. She thinks Bannan’s dead and Crissman is a fraud. Mulder allows that she could be right, but there’s still the possibility that Crissman really is a psychic. They’re going on a field trip so Crissman can show Mulder his skills.

Scully decides it’s time for her to bow out of the case – this isn’t her life anymore. She’s done “chasing monsters in the dark.” She also thinks Mulder’s done enough and can leave the case. He wears her down without much work, and she agrees to come along to Somerset. In the car, Mulder gives Bannan’s ID to Crissman, who says he has no idea who Bannan is.

Crissman asks how Mulder got involved in this case. Mulder tells him about the X-Files and how he wants to believe in the paranormal. “His sister was abducted by ET,” Drummy says. Crissman guesses she’s dead. He starts feeling something and realizes they’re going to the place where Bannan was attacked and abducted. But when they get to her house, he says they’re in the wrong place.

As Crissman goes inside, Whitney tells Mulder that he could have recognized the house when they pulled up because it’s been on the news. Maybe he wants to atone for his sons. While Whitney knows they need to consider him a suspect, she wants to keep an open mind. She admits that she’s not very popular with the bureau right now, since she called on Mulder for help. Mulder’s like, “Join the club.”

Whitney asks about Mulder’s past dealings with psychics; she looked at the cases and is impressed. Mulder makes sure Scully gets some of the credit. Crissman falls to his knees in the yard and tells the agents that Bannan tried to run, but the attackers were able to grab her. She’s in pain, but Crissman doesn’t know where she is. “I can’t see!” he says, distressed. Drummy thinks he’s making it all up. Then Crissman starts bleeding out of his eyes.

Scully goes back to her actual job and checks on Christian. He’s distressed by the way a priest, Father Ybarra, is looking at him. This movie doesn’t make the Catholic Church look very good, does it? Scully chastises Ybarra for looking at Christian’s chart, but he thinks part of his job is overseeing how his doctors are treating the patients. He thinks there are other facilities that are better for Christian; here, his suffering is just being prolonged. Scully goes to her office and cries a little.

A woman goes swimming in a pool, not realizing she’s being watched by Bannan’s second attacker. On her way home, she speeds up to pass a snow plow, which forces her off the road and into a hay bale. The driver is, of course, the second attacker, and this woman will be his second abductee. In the distance, dogs howl.

Since Mulder and Scully’s current relationship hasn’t been made clear yet, here’s a scene to confirm that they’re together. They’re in bed, talking about Christian and how there’s nothing Scully can do for him. She’s lying awake, cursing God for being cruel. Mulder asks if she thinks God’s losing any sleep. She guesses that he thinks she’s struggling with this patient because of William. He offers to take over the God-cursing for a while.

Scully criticizes Mulder’s scratchy beard, then tells him that the arm Crissman led the agents to had traces of drugs on it, one used by people who’ve undergone radiation, the other an animal tranquilizer called acepromazine. Now Mulder’s the one who can’t sleep. He remembers that Crissman heard barking dogs during one of his visions. Scully reminds him that Crissman is a phony, but Mulder thinks there has to be something to him crying tears of blood at a crime scene.

Drummy and Whitney call just as Mulder’s about to shave his ridiculous beard. No, Mulder, don’t stop shaving! Scully will fill you in on the call later! Anyway, Crissman is leading Whitney and Drummy to a barn, and fortunately, Mulder shaves off the whole hairy mess before he and Scully join them there. Whitney says that Crissman led them to the exact same site as before. He’s convinced they’re going to find a body, though he still insists Bannan is alive.

A search hasn’t turned up anything, and it’s been hours, so Drummy calls it off. Crissman tells Mulder that he had a vision of a face, but it’s not clear. It’s like he’s seeing it through dirty glass. Mulder asks Scully for her input, but she reminds him that this isn’t her job anymore. She regrets getting him involved in the case. She thinks he’s back on his Samantha obsession. Scully says firmly that Mulder can’t save her. He tries to ignore her, calling for the searchers to come back.

The search reconvenes, and again, Crissman picks a spot in the snow and digs. At the same time, the second attacker (okay, I’m sick of calling him that; his name is Janke) takes a bag out of his snow plow. Drummy complains that they’re trying to dig through solid ice, but Mulder thinks this is the “dirty glass” Crissman saw in his vision. Janke watches the search from a hill, leaving just before the searchers find a head under the ice. As they head off to get equipment to pull up the head, Crissman tells Scully not to give up.

Janke goes to some sort of kennel facility, where his second abductee is being kept. She’s taken to a lab where the first attacker is lying on a gurney. At Our Lady of Sorrows, Ybarra is holding a staff meeting, where he announces that they’re sending Christian to hospice. Scully’s late to the meeting, so she misses out on being the only person to object to the decision. Scully says they can treat Christian with stem cells, though it would be a tough procedure. She thinks she gets to make the decision, since she’s Christian’s doctor, but Ybarra pulls the I-talked-to-God-and-he-said-no card.

Mulder calls Scully from a lab, where he’s seen Bannan’s medical-alert bracelet in a photo. He leaves Scully a message (“Scully, it’s me”) telling her that the head in the ice doesn’t belong to Bannan. Also, it was down there with at least 11 other limbs, all removed in the same manner as the first attacker’s arm. There’s no pattern to the victims, but they had the same drugs on them as the first arm.

Mulder tells Whitney that he’s pretty sure they’re dealing with a serial killer. Whitney’s more concerned with the fact that they’re no closer to finding Bannan. Crissman has a vision of the second abductee and thinks she was taken by the same people as Bannan. Mulder asks for a car and a list of people who have disappeared over the last three days.

The second abductee’s car is found and she’s ID’d as Cheryl Cunningham. Drummy thinks she crashed her car, walked for help, got tired and cold, and passed out. Mulder disagrees and has Crissman sit in the car to see if it sparks anything for him. It’s a crime scene, and he could be accidentally destroying evidence, but okay. He doesn’t get anything, so Whitney and Drummy think they’re done with him.

Mulder finds a medial-alert bracelet like Bannan’s, which makes him think there’s a connection to her case. The agents find Cheryl’s bathing suit in her trunk, and when Whitney smells chlorine on it, the agents decide to head to the nearest pool. The guy manning the front desk is no help, so Mulder heads off into the women’s locker room.

Scully prepares Christian for his treatment, and he notes that she looks scared. She performs some sort of brain procedure, then gets a visit from Mulder. She tells him the treatment consists of a series of radical, painful procedures, which is why no one wanted to do it before.

Mulder changes the subject to his case – he learned that Bannan and Cheryl were both members at the pool, and both have AB negative blood, a rare type. Scully immediately thinks they were abducted for organ harvesting. Since she knows the world of hospitals and transplants, Mulder thinks she can be helpful again. Scully thinks Mulder’s done enough by breaking the case and can back off.

Mulder says they’re close to solving the case and can’t stop now. She says again that the FBI isn’t her life anymore. She “can’t look into the darkness” with Mulder anymore, knowing what it does to both of them. He needs to look at himself and remember how much their lives have changed. They have a home together, and Scully doesn’t want the darkness to invade it. Mulder says this is all he knows. Scully won’t tell him to give up, but she also won’t support his decision to continue with the case. In fact, she won’t go home if he’s still working it. Mulder just wishes her luck.

Christian’s parents tell Scully that they want to stop his treatment. Instead of putting their faith in medicine, they’ll be putting it in God. Christian’s mother thinks Scully would understand if she had kids. (Oh, come on, show.) Scully guesses that Ybarra changed their minds. She tells them she doesn’t want to give up, because she may have finally found a way to save Christian.

Janke observes an organ harvest at a hospital and is stopped as he’s leaving to deliver an organ somewhere. Robert Koell from the DA’s office in Richmond wants to see his paperwork and license to transport organs. He also has some questions about whether Janke has ever transported an organ in a manner that wasn’t legal. I guess he figures Janke will just come clean right there in the hospital hallway.

Scully goes to Crissman’s to find out why he told her not to give up. He claims not to know anything about her or her job. He just knows that she’s a woman of faith, though not in the same things as her “husband.” Crissman says that the men who live in his building all hate themselves for their appetites and urges. They don’t come from God, but they also don’t come from him; he castrated himself decades ago. Crissman didn’t ask for his urges or his visions.

Scully leaves but stops when Crissman quotes Proverbs 25:2: “God’s glory to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search out a matter.” He wants to know why she’s there and what she’s afraid of. Scully asks again why Crissman told her not to give up. He says he doesn’t know. He’s only ever wanted to serve God. Scully tells him he’s free to ask for God’s pity, but he won’t get any from her. Crissman starts seizing, and at first Scully thinks he’s faking, but she quickly tries to help him.

At the kennel, or wherever, a doctor unlocks the large crate Cheryl’s being kept in so he can give her a meal. Suddenly he runs back into the lab, where someone is seizing. Cheryl’s able to escape, but just as she makes it outside the building, an angry, lopsided dog rushes her.

Mulder, Whitney, and Drummy arrive at Crissman’s place as he’s being taken to the hospital. They agents have worked with the DA’s office and consulted with a witness who’s seen Janke at the pool, so he’s their main suspect. Mulder thinks Janke is the man from Crissman’s visions. Scully tells Mulder they’re wasting their time. As he asks her why she’s there, Drummy shows them a picture of the first attacker, Franz. He’s Janke’s employer/husband, and was one of the 37 altar boys Crissman molested.

Whitney and Drummy head off to search the guys’ offices, and Scully tells Mulder his part in the investigation is over. He disagrees and catches a ride to the offices. Whitney keeps him outside as Drummy leads a search team inside. Mulder thinks Crissman led them there. Janke arrives as the agents are searching the offices, and he’s able to leave without them seeing him, but he walks right by Mulder and Whitney.

A chase ensues, but Mulder loses Janke in an underground construction site. Whitney loses both of them, but a helpful construction worker points her in the right direction. There’s running and climbing. Drummy heads back outside, finding the organ-transplant cooler Janke left on the street. Just as he opens it to find Bannan’s head inside, Janke ambushes Whitney and shoves her off the scaffolding. So not only did Whitney not solve her case, but she got killed while failing to do her job.

Mulder and Scully meet up at the hospital, where Mulder hopes to get Crissman’s help with information about Janke and Franz. Scully breaks doctor/patient confidentiality to tell Mulder that Crissman has end-stage lung cancer. Crissman tells Mulder that he had another vision, this one of a man speaking a foreign language. He IDs the man as Janke, but he doesn’t recognize Franz. Scully accuses him of lying.

Crissman realizes that Franz was his connection to Cheryl – his visions were God’s way of getting Crissman to save her. Scully asks if Bannan is still alive, and Crissman says she is. Mulder leaves to look for Cheryl. Scully stops him and tells him she understands why he’s committed to the case. His stubbornness is why she fell in love with him. But Mulder thinks they can’t be together anymore.

Janke returns to the lab, angry about Franz’s condition. Franz is in such bad shape that he doesn’t mind that his severed arm has been replaced with Bannan’s. Maybe he likes her manicure. Mulder returns to the spot where all the body parts were found, sees blood on a toppled “no hunting” sign, and checks out the spot where Janke looked down on the search.

Mulder then heads to a nearby feed store to find out if Janke has ever bought acepromazine there. He spots a snow plow pulling into the parking lot and takes off. Janke comes in without seeing him. Dogs chase Janke’s plow as he drives off, unaware that Mulder’s also tailing him. Mulder starts to call Scully but instead becomes an object lesson on why you don’t use your phone while you’re driving. Janke has noticed him and makes him crash. He uses his plow to make Mulder’s car tumble down a snowy hill.

While doing research on stem cells, Scully comes across experiments done in Russia (Janke’s home country) to create two-headed dogs. She leaves Mulder a voicemail message saying she thinks Franz and Janke have been doing the same experiments, but on humans. She thinks Bannan is alive after all.

Mulder digs himself out of his overturned car as Mulder calls Drummy to tell him she can’t reach Mulder. Drummy tells her it’s not an FBI matter. Scully angrily asks for help, and when Drummy won’t provide it, she asks to speak to someone who’s actually useful. Back at the kennel, Cheryl has been recaptured and is about to become the mad scientists’ next victim.

Janke runs into trouble with his snow plow and strands himself. Mulder finds his abandoned plow and takes some sort of tool out of it to use as a weapon. Janke makes it back to the lab on foot, so he’s with Franz while he’s being prepared for another operation. He tells Franz, “You don’t need this one anymore.” A drugged Cheryl is placed in an ice bath, presumably so her head can be removed and replaced by Franz’s, which is currently on Bannan’s body.

Mulder reaches the kennel but can’t get through the chained gates. Then he’s attacked by the lopsided dog. Janke hears barking and goes out to investigate. He finds the dog half-dead – but also half-alive, because it has two heads, and only one head is dead.

Scully is summoned to the spot where Mulder’s car has been found, and she’s brought along a friend who was only deemed important enough to appear almost an hour and a half into the movie: Skinner. Mulder’s not in the car, so Skinner thinks he climbed out and is fine. He is, and he’s also managed to hide from Janke.

The mad scientists proceed with the head transplant, and security in that place is really lacking, because Mulder is able to walk right into the lab. He demands that the mad scientists fix up Cheryl, but they’ve come too far to stop now – they’ve already removed Franz’s head, which is still functioning even without a body. Janke arrives and starts pounding on Mulder.

Skinner and Scully drive around looking for Mulder as Skinner tries to be reassuring that Mulder hasn’t done anything crazy. Scully gives him a look like, “I don’t even need to tell you how dumb that sounds.” Janke drags a semi-conscious Mulder and a headless Bannan to a shed, where Mulder spots an axe. Scully and Skinner pass a bunch of mailboxes, and Scully sees the number 25-2 on one. She remembers that Crissman quoted Proverbs 25:2. She looks in the box and finds an invoice for medical supplies.

As Skinner starts to call someone about the address on the invoice, Scully hears dogs barking, another part of Crissman’s visions. Mulder’s able to reach the axe in the shed, but Janke has called dibs on it and takes it from him. Just as he’s about to perform his own mad-science experiment, Scully hits him over the head and knocks him out. Mulder sends Scully and Skinner into the lab to save Cheryl, who’s still alive. Once he’s detained all the mad scientists, Skinner goes to the shed to warm up Mulder.

We don’t get to see the rest of the rescue mission, and instead pick up sometime later at Mulder’s house. Scully arrives and announces that Crissman died. The FBI has named him as an accomplice and isn’t mentioning his visions. Mulder thinks he had a connection to Franz, who also had lung cancer. He thinks Crissman died at the same time Scully ended the mad-scientists’ work and saved Cheryl. Scully tells him the FBI won’t listen if he tries to tell them that.

Mulder’s upset that they’re not doing justice to Crissman’s name. Scully’s like, “You mean the child molester?” She wanted to believe him, and even acted on his visions. Mulder asks what Crissman said to her, but she doesn’t answer. He pins an article about the mad scientists to his wall, right over the crumpled “I want to believe” poster Doggett rescued from his office.

Scully finally tells Mulder that Crissman said not to give up, and she didn’t. As a result, she saved Mulder, but it’s also made her keep treating Christian. She thought God was telling her to keep up the treatment. Mulder wonders if Crissman’s prayers were answered after all. What if God forgave him because he never gave up? Scully notes that he can’t prove that.

As Scully leaves to go to the hospital, Mulder asks why Crissman would tell her not to give up. She thinks it was meant for Mulder. Mulder says that if Crissman were evil, why would he say the opposite of what the Devil would say? She needs to keep it in mind. If she has any doubts, she should call off Christian’s next surgery, and the two of them can head off somewhere. They may not be able to get away from the darkness, though – it’ll probably find them.

They kiss, and then Scully heads off to the hospital. Everyone gets ready for another one of Christian’s surgeries, and Scully sees some nuns watching from outside the room. She decides to proceed.

Thoughts: There are three recognizable stars in this movie:

Trivia I love: The dog with two heads was named Okie, so they called his fake second head Dokey.

Either Scully’s a surgeon now or Our Lady of Sorrows has some lax standards for who can perform operations.

There’s a post-credits scene of Mulder and Scully in a rowboat. She’s wearing a bikini, and he’s wearing the infamous red Speedo.

April 13, 2019

The X-Files 9.20, The Truth, Part 2: It’s Still Out There

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 1:06 pm by Jenn

An almost-happy ending! Except it’s not the ending

Summary: It’s the day after Gibson threw out a bombshell at Mulder’s trial. Mulder meets with the agents (minus Scully, who’s with Gibson) and laments that Gibson exposed himself to the conspirators. But the agents think it was a good move, since some of the judges are leaning in Mulder’s favor. Skinner urges Mulder to testify, but Mulder refuses. Doggett says they’ll take the stand in his place, even if it means risking their jobs. Reyes agrees – they came here to do their job. Mulder says the judges control the game, so Doggett suggests that they ram them with it.

When the trial resumes, Doggett is put on the stand and talks about the super-soldiers. Agent K. doesn’t want more sci-fi in the trial, but Skinner ties the super-soldiers to Knowle. Agent K. objects again, since Doggett wasn’t at the scene when Mulder killed Knowle. Skinner asks how Mulder could have killed him if Knowle is unkillable. Doggett mentions the magnetite; since Mulder didn’t use it on Knowle, Knowle can’t really be dead.

Agent K. starts his cross-examination by praising Doggett’s professional record, which Agent K. isn’t going to question. But can he really back up Mulder in claiming the super-soldiers are aliens? Doggett’s a skeptic, so how can he believe Mulder’s theories? Doggett can’t answer that question.

Reyes is up next, intended to serve as a level-headed witness so Skinner can show that even rational people believe paranormal stuff has happened. Reyes talks about the circumstances of William’s birth and the audience Scully had while delivering him. Agent K. asks why William would be important to aliens. Blah blah, government conspiracy, the world’s worst surrogate program. Agent K.’s like, “Oh, how convenient that the ship where women were experimented on exploded!”

He asks about William, and Reyes testifies that he has telekinetic abilities. Agent K. asks for a demonstration, but of course, William is now living with an anonymous family. “She gave up the miracle child,” Agent K. spits out. Mulder somehow doesn’t scratch his eyes out. After she’s dismissed from the stand, Reyes accuses Agent K. of not caring about William. He’s just happy that Scully gave him up, thereby giving away proof of an alien conspiracy.

Kersh warns Reyes to behave herself, so she turns on him, saying he’s made a mockery of the X-Files agents and their sacrifices. What’s the point of the trial – to destroy Mulder, who seeks the truth, or to destroy the truth so no one can look for it? “Either way, you lose,” Reyes tells Kersh.

Scully has missed the entire day of proceedings, so Doggett and Reyes visit her that night with big news: Knowle’s body may have been found. Scully reminds them that super-soldiers can’t be killed, but the government claims Knowle is really dead. Doggett stays behind with Gibson while Scully and Reyes go to Quantico so Scully can perform the autopsy. The body is burned, so it can’t be ID’d just on sight. Scully asks Reyes to do whatever it takes to get Knowle’s records.

The trial is about to start back up when Scully arrives with what she says is the proof they need to get Mulder exonerated. Her autopsy shows that the body belongs to a man who died of a broken neck; the body was burned post-mortem. Kersh won’t dismiss the trial, telling Scully she’s in contempt of court. She says Kersh is the one in contempt, since he won’t look at evidence that shows Mulder’s innocent.

Kersh argues that Scully didn’t have authorization to do the autopsy, so she should be removed from the courtroom. Mulder defends his girlfriend, which doesn’t help. Kersh throws them both out and adjourns the trial. Later, everyone returns for the verdict, which Kersh claims is fair and impartial. Mulder is declared guilty of first-degree murder.

Mulder’s allowed to say something before his sentence is determined. Instead of yelling, “F&$% ALL Y’ALL” and flipping a table, Mulder congratulates the judges for succeeding where everyone else has failed. They’ve shown that the truth doesn’t matter if there are enough liars to cover it up. True evil isn’t the devil, but humans.

If Mulder’s guilty, it’s because he dared – and still dares – to believe that the truth will out. The truth wants to be known, and eventually, it’ll come to the judges as it’s come to Mulder. He warns that if the judges think they’re really rid of their headache, it’s only because they’ve cut off their own heads.

Scully, Reyes, Doggett, and Gibson are at Scully’s place when the call comes from Skinner – Mulder has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. Scully breaks down. Later that night, as a very much alive Knowle goes to the Marine base where Mulder’s being held, Skinner and Doggett go to Mulder’s cell and tell him they’re getting him out of there.

Knowle discovers Mulder missing and orders the base sealed. This only slows Mulder and his rescuers down a little, and they continue their escape…until they run into Kersh. He knows they can’t make it out the way they’re going, so he takes them out another exit. Reyes is waiting there at a hole in a fence and drives the getaway vehicle.

The group meets up with Scully and Gibson, and Kersh tells Mulder he needs to go to Canada, then leave the continent within 24 hours. Mulder and Scully leave Gibson behind with the other agents and flee. But Mulder heads south instead of north, since he still has some truth to pursue.

Doggett and Reyes take Gibson to the X-Files office, promising to protect him. But the office has been packed up, and Skinner hasn’t been able to ask Kersh who’s responsible. He thinks they’ve been found out for helping Mulder escape. They go to see Kersh, who’s already talking with Toothpick Man. He and Gibson glare at each other for a little while, and Gibson tells Doggett and Reyes that TM knows where Mulder and Scully are going. They’re not going to Canada, and they’re in a lot of danger.

The lovebirds have reached the Texas/New Mexico border, and while Scully sleeps in the car, Mulder gets out for a bathroom break. He gets a visit from the Lone Gunmen, who tell him to turn around. He shouldn’t be risking his and Scully’s lives or happiness. Mulder still wants to find the truth, but the Gunmen say he already knows it. Mulder tells them he wants to know if he can change it. They warn that he’ll just get himself killed.

Scully wakes up and interrupts, and the journey continues. Mulder has changed into jeans and a white T-shirt, and I give my 100% approval. They end up at some Anasazi pueblos, and Mulder explains that he was sent a message from a wise man who lives in the ruins. He thinks they’ll find the truth there.

Doggett and Reyes take a helicopter to the same area as a woman (whose name is never spoken but who is apparently Lana Chee) leads Mulder and Scully to the wise man – CSM. He says that Mulder now knows the truth, though he hasn’t told Scully yet. CSM helped him find it by sending him to Mouth Weather. He mocks that Mulder could have exonerated himself by testifying at his trial. But he’s too afraid to speak the truth.

CSM is hiding out from the aliens, since they fear the magnetite in the area. That’s what brought down the UFO in Roswell. Wise men have been hiding out there for 2,000, watching Native American culture die: “The original shadow government.” Doggett and Reyes land just as Knowle arrives at the pueblos.

CSM is ready to tell Scully everything Mulder is too scared to. Every president since Truman has been spooked by the tale. The Mayans were even scared, which is why their calendar stops on December 22, 2012 – the day of the final alien invasion. Mulder saw that date on the computer at Mount Weather, so he knows the truth the government is trying to keep hidden.

Mulder taunts that CSM is drunk with power, but doesn’t actually have the power to do anything. CSM claims he’s been protecting Mulder for years in anticipation of this moment, when Mulder would be broken and afraid. Now he can die. Outside, military helicopters arrive as Doggett and Reyes face off with Knowle. Their bullets don’t do anything, but the magnetite in the hills does. His body turns gray and flies into a hill.

Mulder and Scully come outside, and Doggett and Reyes warn that the government is coming for them. Doggett wants the lovebirds to come with him and Reyes, but Mulder sends them off. The helicopters now have two cars to track, but they decide to let all the agents go. Then they blast the pueblos with explosives in an attempt to kill CSM. CSM sits quietly and accepts his supposed fate. (Spoiler: Despite being pretty much set on fire, CSM survives.)

In Roswell, Mulder and Scully check into a motel and mirror one of their first moments together in the X-Files. Mulder repeats what he was supposed to be brainwashed into believing – that he’s guilty and should be punished. When they first met, he tried to convince Scully of the truth, in a motel just like this. Though he succeeded in that, he failed in every other way.

Scully doesn’t agree, adding that Mulder kept the truth from her not because he was broken or afraid, but because he didn’t want to accept it. He says he was afraid the truth would crush Scully’s spirit. Scully says she won’t accept the truth if Mulder won’t. He only fails if he gives up, and she knows he never will. She would do this whole crazy thing all over again.

Mulder points out that the search for the truth hasn’t gotten them to a very good place. Scully repeats that she knows he won’t give up. He’s always said he wants to believe, but in what? If he finally knows the truth, what’s left to believe in? Mulder says he wants to believe that the dead aren’t lost to us: “That they speak to us as part of something greater than us.” If the two of them are powerless now, they can get power when they listen. Scully believes the same thing. He looks at her cross necklace, then gets in bed with her and says, “Maybe there’s hope.”

Thoughts: Say goodbye to Doggett, whose X-Files service has ended. Robert Patrick was a great addition to the cast.

The Marine base has very bad security. A supposedly dead man gets in using his real ID, which doesn’t make anyone suspicious. And Doggett and Skinner just walk in and get Mulder out of his cell. Shouldn’t there be guards with guns or something?

So much New Mexico in the last two episodes. Maybe that’s what inspired Vince Gilligan to set Breaking Bad there.

Here ends the original run of the show. Things are about to get…wildly inconsistent.

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