September 16, 2017

The X-Files 6.3, Triangle: Back to the Future

Posted in TV tagged , , , , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

One of my favorite moments in the entire series

Summary: In the Sargasso Sea, an unconscious Mulder is floating in the water after a shipwreck. He’s rescued by a British ship’s crew who wonder if he’s an airman and ask where his uniform is. They call him Jerry and consider throwing him back in the water. When he shows them his ID, they say they’ve never heard of the FBI. They wonder if he’s in “the Fuhrer’s Secret Service.”

The crew takes Mulder to their Captain, Harburg, telling him they think Mulder is German. Harburg roughs him up a little and asks which flag he pledges allegiance to. Mulder’s confused and says he came looking for the ship, the Queen Anne. He has the location correct – they’re near Bermuda – and knows that the crew has had trouble getting an accurate compass reading. It’s because they’re in something called the Devil’s Triangle. He claims that the ship was caught in a time warp and is now in 1998.

The crew thinks Mulder’s nuts, and Harburg says he doesn’t have time for this, since they’re at war. Mulder says that in 1998, things are peaceful, other than a mess in the White House, “but that’ll blow over, so to speak.” (Cough.) Harburg says it’s September 3rd, 1939, and they’re on the ship to fight Hitler in Poland. In fact, the ship has just been invaded by Germans. Mulder tells the crew not to worry about it, since the war’s over. They can go to Germany and see some nice cars!

Mulder is locked in Harburg’s office while the crew goes to deal with the Germans. Mulder uses a radio to place a distress call but instead hears a news bulletin confirming Harburg’s story and the date. A German soldier comes in and Mulder fights him, knocking him out. He’s even more confused by the whole situation when he sees that the soldier looks just like Spender.

Mulder takes Spender’s uniform and tries to make an escape, but German soldiers chase him. He hides, then goes to a ballroom, where people are having a party, unaware that the ship has been taken over. Mulder finds a woman who looks like Scully but has no clue who that is. As he’s trying to convince her that he’s not a Nazi, soldiers capture him. “Wait until you get to Russia!” he yells. “Hope you fellas like the cold!”

The soldiers take Mulder to the steering room (that’s what it’s called, right? Don’t email me), where they order Harburg to hand over control of the ship. He refuses, so they shoot him. Mulder recognizes a soldier as CSM, who still hasn’t caught on that Mulder doesn’t “speak Nazi.” CSM orders his shooting, but Mulder doesn’t get what he’s being accused of. Another soldier, who looks like Skinner, joins the group and says something to CSM, who calls off Mulder’s execution.

In the present, the Lone Gunmen come to FBI headquarters to tell Scully that her partner’s in trouble. The S.S. Queen Anne, which vanished 60 years ago, suddenly appeared this morning. The official story was that the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat, but the Lone Gunmen believe its coordinates were kept secret so spies couldn’t locate it. They think it disappeared in the Bermuda Triangle and is now back. They told Mulder, who went looking for it, and now he’s missing.

Scully heads off to get help locating him, but the Lone Gunmen tell her it’ll be next to impossible without help from special imaging. She’ll need help from someone at the Pentagon. Scully barges into Skinner’s office to fill him in, but Skinner says he can’t help her. He doesn’t even want to know what Mulder may have gotten himself into this time. He yells, loudly enough for his secretary to hear, that he’s not allowed to have contact with Mulder or Scully anymore.

Scully thinks that after all they’ve gone through, Skinner would at least listen. She just needs information, and nothing more. Skinner won’t tell her if he has any contacts at the Office of Naval Intelligence, since it could cost him his job. He tells her to use her head to save her butt. Scully replies that he should use his own head, as he’ll be saving his own butt as well. (I may have paraphrased.)

Frustrated, Scully goes to Kersh’s office, but before she can give him any details about what she needs help with, she notices that CSM is there. Kersh takes her note from the Lone Gunmen, which contains the name of a Naval intelligence system, and sends her on her way as she says she doesn’t need to talk to him after all.

Scully calls Mulder’s phone, but he doesn’t have good coverage in 1939, so that doesn’t help. Next she goes to Spender and orders him to help her under penalty of death. She warns him not to weasel her. She gives him the coordinates of the ship and tells him to give her information no matter what he has to do to get it.

The phone rings after Spender leaves, and Scully intercepts a call from CSM. He thinks she’s Fowley, so she plays along. He tells her that Scully just gave Kersh a puzzling piece of paper, but before he can get any further, he becomes suspicious about who he’s really talking to. Scully hangs up and starts to leave, running into Kersh’s secretary, who was sent to fetch her. She tells Scully that Spender is currently with Kersh.

Scully rushes off, berating herself for being stupid, and gets a broken phone call she thinks is from Mulder. She’s on an elevator, so she can’t move around much to get better reception. When the doors open, she encounters her caller, Skinner. He gets on the elevator with her and gives her the information she needs, even after saying he wouldn’t help. She’s so happy that she kisses him. When Skinner gets off the elevator, he yells at Scully for trying to get him to break protocol. Spender overhears, none the wiser. The Lone Gunmen meet Scully in the parking garage, and the four speed off before Spender can catch up to them.

Back on the ship, Mulder has been returned to the British crewmen, who are heading for the engine room, their new accommodations. He tells them a little of what’s going to happen in the coming years of World War II. He lets them know that they win, with help from the Americans, and spend the next few decades with “not much to apologize [for] over the next 50 years, except for maybe the Spice Girls.” Zig-a-zig-ah, Mulder.

A crewman tells Mulder that the ship is supposed to be carrying arms, but he’s skeptical since they’d have to be pretty light. Someone kept asking about a code word the crew is unfamiliar with, Thor’s Hammer. A Jamaican crewman joins the group and learns about the German invasion. Mulder announces that they can’t go to Germany. Thor’s Hammer is a person, rather than the weapon they think it is. He’s a scientist who’s going to help build a bomb that will win the war for whichever side uses it. Mulder saw him in the ballroom.

The Jamaican crewman (guess who his 1998 counterpart is) blasts Mulder for giving up so much information when there could be spies around. “Trust no one, mon!” he booms. The crewmen tell him to kill the engines so the Germans can’t take the ship to their homeland. They decide to go to England or Jamaica instead, but Mulder knows the Germans will hunt them down. He wants them to go back the way they came…to the future. Well, the past. If they keep going forward, Hitler will win the war.

Some Nazis come down and take Mulder back to the ballroom, where no one’s in a partying mood anymore. CSM questions Mulder in German, and Spender translates. They want to know who Thor’s Hammer is. Mulder says he doesn’t know, so the Nazis threaten to start killing passengers. Mulder repeats that he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is, and the men carry out their threat on a random passenger, then another.

Scully yells at the Nazis to listen when Mulder says he doesn’t know who Thor’s Hammer is. Like her 1998 counterpart, she calls Spender a weasel. The men make her their next target, and Mulder finally agrees to cooperate. He tells them the first man they killed was Thor’s Hammer.

In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen locate the Queen Anne, which seems to appear out of thin air, with full power. In 1939, Mulder messes with the Nazis for a bit as they ask him the name of the scientist. A man steps forward, saying he’s really the scientist, so Scully pulls a Spartacus and says it’s really her. It turns out she works for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) and is traveling with Thor’s Hammer to protect him. CSM orders her and Mulder’s deaths.

The two are put on their knees for their execution, but just them, the engines shut down. The British crewmen rush in and start beating up the Nazis. In 1998, Scully and the Lone Gunmen search the ship, which appears to be empty. Mulder takes 1939 Scully off to save the ship, but they’re spotted by Nazis. They’re about to be shot when Skinner saves them and sends them on their way with a “God bless America.”

Mulder and Scully run around the ship, using the same hallways Scully is searching in 1998. The two women round the same corner at the same time, in opposite directions, and both pause as they seem to sense each other’s presences. 1998 Scully and the Lone Gunmen find the ballroom, which was trashed during the big British/Nazi fight in 1939. Mulder tells 1939 Scully about the time warp, bringing up Albert Einstein and his predictions about a nuclear bomb. If Scully doesn’t turn the ship around, Germany will win the war, and Mulder will never exist, and Scully probably won’t either.

Just in case they never meet again, Mulder says goodbye to Scully with a kiss. She punches him in response, and he remarks that he was expecting a left hook. He jumps overboard, depending on her to steer the ship toward the future. This leads to the first scene of the episode, where Mulder is floating in the water.

Sometime later, Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, saying, “Mulder, it’s me.” She reminds him that he went looking for a ship in the Bermuda Triangle, and he tells her she was there. Skinner enters with the Lone Gunmen, and Mulder says they were there, too, a la The Wizard of Oz. He tells Scully that she saved the world. She says he was on a boat they found in pieces; the Queen Anne was just a ghost ship.

Everyone thinks Mulder’s insistence that he was in 1939 is just a side effect of his injuries from jumping overboard. After the men leave, Mulder tells Scully that he might never have seen her again, but she believed him about the ship. She thinks he was dreaming, so she teases that he should think to himself, “There’s no place like home.” Scully starts to leave, but Mulder summons her back and tells her he loves her. “Oh, brother,” she sighs as she leaves.

Thoughts: This episode is so much fun. The trivia is also fun.

I can’t believe Scully and Skinner kiss before she and Mulder do.

Considering the current political climate, I enjoyed watching Nazis get beaten up.

James Pickens, Jr.’s Jamaican accept is…questionable, at best.


September 9, 2017

The X-Files 6.2, Drive: Mulder Needs This Like a Hole in the Head

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:12 pm by Jenn

“Jesse, we have to drive!”

Summary: A Fox news break shows a high-speed police car chase focused on a blue car. It’s been traveling through Nevada, and two people appear to be inside. The passenger may be a hostage. The news feed cuts out, and we join the driver and passenger inside the car. The passenger is a woman lying in the backseat, experiencing a loud ringing in her ears.

Police put down spikes and successfully stop the car. They pull out the driver, who’s more concerned about his passenger, Vicky, than about himself. The police pull out Vicky and put her in the back of a squad car. A cameraman in a helicopter gets footage of her banging her head on the window, followed by a splatter of blood.

Mulder and Scully go to Buhl, Idaho, to chat with a man named Virgil (who thinks they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses). They’d liked to know what he plans to do with the 5,000 pounds of fertilizer he recently purchased. Virgil says he grows sugar beets and isn’t planning on blowing anything up. Virgil has the TV on, and the agents catch a glimpse of a news report about the end of the car chase. Vicky is dead, but there’s no word on what happened.

The agents are asked to help investigate, but Scully reminds her partner that they’re no longer with the X-Files. They’re supposed to be investigating domestic terrorism. Besides, she thinks Vicky was shot, so there’s nothing to investigate. Mulder disagrees – he thinks the driver, Vicky’s husband, was trying to warn the cops before she died. He convinces Scully to go to Nevada with him.

In Elko, Nevada, the driver is in police custody. He realizes his nose is bleeding, and he starts getting the same ringing in his ears that Vicky had. He begs for help, yelling, “It’s starting!” Mulder and Scully meet with a police captain named Van Gelder, who says that the driver claims the police are going to kill him the way they killed Vicky. Van Gelder promises that they had nothing to do with Vicky’s death.

Mulder reads up on the driver, Patrick Crump, who had no police record before he hijacked a car and led the cops on a chase. Scully heads out to examine Vicky’s body while Mulder waits around to be allowed to talk to Crump. He checks out a map and follows the route Crump and Vicky took. They started going in one direction, then changed course and headed towards Wells, Nevada. Mulder wonders why.

Scully begins examining Vicky, who looks like she was shot in the head but doesn’t have evidence of an entry wound or gunpowder residue. Basically, it looks like she was shot from the inside of her head, or, as the coroner puts it, “like a little bomb went off in her ear.” Blood squirts out of the hole in Vicky’s brain, spraying Scully.

Crump’s in bad physical shape, so the police send him to the hospital. Mulder follows the ambulance, where Crump’s condition seems to stabilize. Suddenly the ambulance starts swerving, then stops. Crump jumps out the back with a gun, which he points at Mulder.

Scully calls her partner from the coroner’s lab (“Mulder, it’s me”), which she’s quarantined. She warns that Vicky may have died from something communicable, which has also killed someone in Montello, Nevada, the Crumps’ hometown. Scully orders Mulder not to have any contact with Crump, but it’s too late. Crump has started a new car chase, this time with Mulder driving at gunpoint.

Van Gelder comes to the lab and talks to Scully on the phone from the next room. The police are going to put up a roadblock and stop the chase. Scully tells him the steps that need to be taken once the two men are stopped; they need to be quarantined separately. But someone gets a message to Van Gelder from Crump, who says he’ll kill Mulder if the police don’t stop following them.

The police listen, so now it’s just Mulder and Crump on the road. Mulder tries to get Crump to let him out so he can drive off on his own. Crump refuses, then throws Mulder’s phone out the window for good measure. When Mulder slows down at a red light, Crump, who appears to be in pain, tells him to keep driving. Mulder realizes there’s a connection between the car’s speed and Crump’s condition, so he floors it. He guesses that Vicky died because the car stopped moving. “I think I saw this movie,” he says.

Mulder knows that Crump’s life is now in his hands, so he asks Crump to explain things. There’s a helicopter following them, which makes Mulder think the roadblock is still in play. He’s right, and the people waiting there have taken the precautions Scully told them to. Crump and Mulder change direction, and while Van Gelder thinks Crump dictated the new route, Scully thinks it was Mulder. Maybe he knows something they don’t. A CDC doctor examines Vicky and the other victim’s bodies but doesn’t see any signs of an infectious disease. Scully doesn’t want to call off the quarantine just yet, though.

Kersh calls Scully to ask how things are going in Buhl. “Think carefully,” he warns when she pauses to decide what to say. She comes clean, admitting that she and Mulder are in Nevada. Kersh tells her that agents at a local field office are available to help her find her partner. He thinks that he might want to see Mulder alive even more than Scully does. Scully looks at the second victim’s information and sees that he’s a meter reader. She wonders if he read the meter at the Crumps’ house.

In the car, Crump demands that Mulder call him Mr. Crump, but he doesn’t have a gun on me so I don’t have to afford him that courtesy. Also, he asks if Mulder is a Jewish name, so he really doesn’t deserve my respect. Mulder replies, “It’s Mr. Mulder to you, you peanut-picking bastard.” He again asks what’s going on. Crump suddenly cries out in pain and tells Mulder to turn to the left, even though there’s no road there, only trees. He bangs his head on the window until Mulder makes it to an intersecting road and makes the turn. He realizes that Crump needs to keep moving west.

Scully lets herself out of quarantine to check out the Crumps’ house in Montello. A K-9 dog has a very strong reaction to something on the premises, running around and barking his head off. Scully gets a sample of the dog’s blood, but moments later, he dies the way Vicky did.

Mulder tries to go through the events of Crump’s day. He didn’t go to work, since it was raining and he’s a roofer. Vicky was cooking breakfast when Crump noticed that her nose was bleeding. Mulder asks what caused it, and Crump says he has no idea – “what am I, like, Quincy?” Wow, what a timely reference. Vicky developed a headache that kept getting worse, and Crump didn’t know what to do, so he started to take her to the hospital. She felt better the faster he drove, so he kept driving.

Mulder expresses sympathy for Crump’s loss, but Crump doesn’t think the “Jew FBI” is capable of sympathy. He believes he and Vicky were “government guinea pigs.” Mulder notices that the car is running out of gas and informs his captor, “on behalf of the international Jewish conspiracy,” that they’re going to have to stop soon.

In Montello, there are still no signs of an infectious disease. Scully sees that there’s a house nearby, so she and a CDC doctor go check on the Crumps’ neighbors. Their pet birds are dead, so that can’t be good. But fortunately, the old, deaf woman who lives there is alive, though probably traumatized by the sight of doctors in Hazmat suits entering her house in the dark.

Mulder pulls into a gas station, promising Crump that he’ll gas up fast. He’s delayed when he pulls up to the wrong side, then when the employee inside won’t turn on the pump until he pays. Mulder thinks fast, stealing another car. He leaves behind a note for Scully in his passenger seat.

Scully mulls over the meaning of the old woman’s survival, then decides they’re not dealing with something infectious. Since the inner ear is affected, maybe they’re dealing with a sound. Van Gelder calls to tell her that Mulder stole a car. He reads Mulder’s note to Scully, which explains that Crump is sick and has to keep moving so he doesn’t die. Scully tells Van Gelder this means they have to let him through the roadblock. As their phone connection cuts out, Scully sees what look like clothes on the ground outside the Crumps’ house, as well as a plate identifying the property as belonging to the government.

Crump’s getting worse, so Mulder has to drive faster to keep him comfortable. Crump semi-apologizes for “the Jew stuff,” but Mulder isn’t going to accept that. Crump wonders if Mulder is doing exactly what the government wants him to. If he is, he’s taking away Crump’s dignity. It would be better if the government just killed him. Mulder notes that, if Crump dies, the government gets off the hook, so Crump needs to stay alive to stick it to them.

As Mulder and Crump approach California, “running out of west,” Scully goes to a Naval research station in Wendover, Nevada, to ask a lieutenant about the electrical equipment in Montello. The lieutenant thinks she’s with the FCC, since he’s already spoken to them. He explains that there was a power surge during a conduction test the previous morning. He won’t tell Scully the possible effects such a surge might have on a human being.

Mulder and Crump have driven all night, and a couple of CHiP officers are now on their trail in California. One of them has a phone for Mulder so he can talk to Scully. She offers to get on a jet and meet him wherever he’s going. Scully tells him about the radio-transmission waves used in a Naval mission that appear to be causing Crump’s problems. Basically, he’s being affected by an electrical weapon. The agents aren’t sure why the movement of the car is making things better.

Scully has a plan, though she knows Crump won’t like it. Mulder tells his captor that he was right about the government being to blame, though it may not have been on purpose. Scully plans to put a huge needle in Crump’s ear to relieve the pressure in his head. It’ll hurt a lot and probably leave Crump deaf, but at least his inner ear won’t explode. Crump decides that’s a fair trade-off.

The agents meet up in Loleta, California, but despite Mulder driving up toward the triple digits in speed, it’s too late – Crump is dead when they arrive. When the agents return to D.C., Kersh lectures them about all the money they racked up during the investigation. He wants to bill Scully instead of Mulder, so Mulder can’t keep relishing his role as martyr. Mulder says they’ll go back to looking into big piles of manure, and Kersh replies that he can always quit. But that would mean he can’t stick it to the government, so he’s not going to do that. (He will storm out of the office, though.)

Scully wants Kersh to show some compassion for Mulder, who’s been through a lot. Plus, the investigation is going to lead to the end of the project in Montello. Kersh says that can’t be proven – the closing of the Naval facility is supposedly coincidental. He doesn’t care if they save “a busload of doe-eyed urchins on their way to Bible camp.” They’re no longer in the X-Files. “Big piles of manure,” Scully spits out as she leaves the office.

Thoughts: As you can see from the picture above, Crump is played by Bryan Cranston. Van Gelder is played by Michael O’Neill, who also worked with James Pickens, Jr. in a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy (he played the guy who went on a shooting rampage in the hospital).

The point of Crump’s antisemitism was…?

I wish we could have seen the CHiP officer trying to pass the phone to Mulder through the window while they were both speeding down the highway. Talk about a missed opportunity for comedy.

Now let’s all go watch Speed!

September 2, 2017

The X-Files 6.1, The Beginning: The Last, Best Chance

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , at 1:09 pm by Jenn

This is wrong! Put it back the way it was!

Summary: A company van takes employees from Roush Technologies in Phoenix home from work. One man, Sandy, is sick, but his colleagues don’t seem to care. Sandy goes home to an empty house, and as his condition worsens, his hand becomes translucent and swollen, like there’s another creature’s hand inside it. The next morning, a co-worker comes to pick him up for the carpool and finds him dead, with a huge hole in his stomach, like something tore out of him. The co-worker is attacked, probably by that something.

In D.C., Mulder tries to recover the files that were burned in his office seven months ago. He tells a panel of agents that, even without everything restored, he and Scully should be able to immediately revive the X-Files division. As Scully joins her once and future partner, Assistant Director Maslin scoffs at their claims that they saw a spaceship in Antarctica. Another agent asks if the “spacelings” the agents saw were different from the creatures in Men in Black. Mulder admits that he didn’t see it.

Maslin tries to sum up the agents’ claims about the spacelings intentions and the Syndicate’s conspiracy. When she puts it all out there in a nutshell version, it does sound pretty crazy. The panel doesn’t think Mulder has given any good reasons for the reopening of the X-Files. Another agent notes that Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses are a little ridiculous, too. (Heh.) Maslin reminds Mulder and Scully that their job isn’t to do science stuff or work on personal projects. Mulder announces that Scully will present evidence that his claims are real.

Cut to the end of the hearing, and Scully clearly didn’t do what Mulder hoped she would. She doesn’t have enough evidence to back up Mulder’s theories. She hasn’t been able to identify the virus she contracted from the bee, but it’s not extraterrestrial. Mulder is adamant that the virus generates an alien being inside human hosts. Scully disagrees – it attacks and destroys human cells, but it doesn’t create a new being. They may not have all the answers, but Mulder can’t question science.

CSM shows the Syndicate pictures of Sandy and his co-worker, saying he was able to convince the Phoenix police that a “crazy Indian” attacked them. He knows the public is racist enough to buy the story. Sandy is on the Syndicate’s side, and he must have accidentally injected himself at work. The Syndicate is distressed that the creature that came out of Sandy’s body is now on the loose. The Elder asks if CSM can take care of this problem.

Skinner, who was at the hearing but didn’t say anything, because of course he didn’t, meets up with Mulder in a lab to tell him that his request to return to the X-Files has been denied. There was a unanimous vote against it. Since Skinner isn’t siding with the majority, he can’t help Mulder, especially when there’s no evidence to back up his claims. But there’s a folder on Mulder’s desk in his burned-out office that might help him. It contains a picture of Sandy’s body.

Spender joins Mulder in the office, and Mulder guesses that Spender is his replacement. He’s wrong – it’s Fowley. Mulder’s mad, saying that Fowley betrayed him. CSM ignores a no-smoking sign and interrupts a surgical procedure to announce that he’s taking the patient. The surgeon objects, but CSM says, “It’s him or it’s us.” The patient is poor Gibson, and he’s having something done to his brain, but the doctors haven’t even done him the courtesy of rendering him unconscious first.

Mulder and Scully go to Phoenix to check out Sandy’s house. Scully tries to remind her partner that they’re violating the law and contaminating a crime scene; when he ignores her, she sighs, “Why do I bother?” Mulder finds streaks of blood on the wall and deep scratches in the wood floor, so the police’s story that Sandy and his co-worker were attacked by an unarmed human is probably B.S. Fortunately, the attacker broke a nail, and it’s clear it didn’t belong to a human.

Mulder guesses that Sandy was infected and basically birthed the attacker, which hung out for a few hours before attacking the co-worker. Scully can’t believe that the creature was only a few hours old. Outside, CSM and Gibson check out the crime scene from a car. Gibson says that “it” was there, but it left. CSM isn’t sure, so Gibson asks why he doubts someone he’s so afraid of. He knows that CSM is thinking about destroying him, and most likely will kill him if he doesn’t find the creature.

The car leaves before the agents exit the house, trying to connect the creature to what happened to Scully. She takes his hand and reminds Mulder that she still has to follow what science tells her; it wouldn’t be honest of her if she suddenly started believing his theories. Mulder tells her that her science is wrong.

Just outside of Phoenix, a nuclear plant employee named Homer (I wonder what that’s a reference to?) is dozing on the job. He and a co-worker notice a temperature change in the core, so Homer goes to check it out. Of course, he gets attacked. The agents come in, meeting up with Spender, who thinks Skinner must have told them about the attack. He refuses to let them in, and Fowley won’t budge either. She does admit that there may be a connection to Sandy and his co-worker’s deaths. Mulder tells her that he hopes she knows “whose errands [she’s] running.”

Scully pulls her partner away, wondering how Mulder knows they’re dealing with something connected to the previous deaths. They return to their car to find Gibson unconscious in the backseat. They take him to a motel, where they discover that he had some sort of brain surgery. Gibson chastises Scully for mentally comparing him to Frankenstein’s monster. She tells him he has an infection, and CSM didn’t change his bandages, so that’s just more proof that he’s a horrible person.

Gibson tells her and Mulder that he had the procedure so he can read people’s minds. He was able to escape CSM because he knew what CSM was thinking. The Syndicate was using him because he can communicate with “it.” Scully asks what “it” is, and Gibson says she already knows; she just doesn’t want to believe it. Mulder pulls Scully aside to say that they can use Gibson just as CSM was trying to. Scully refuses, knowing that Gibson needs medical attention. They need to protect him because he could be the key to proving Mulder’s theories. He could be their “last, best chance.”

As the agents are putting Gibson in the car to take him to a hospital, Fowley shows up. She tells Mulder she took the job in the X-Files to make sure the work was continued by someone who believes in it. She’s on Mulder and Scully’s side. She thinks she and Mulder should go find the creature in the nuclear reactor before the Syndicate does. Mulder’s close to the truth and needs to see it. He tells Scully to take Gibson to the hospital while he and Fowley go on a creature hunt.

On their way to the plant, Fowley tells Mulder that Homer’s body was removed before she and Spender arrived. Mulder wonders if the creature’s looking for heat. Fowley agrees – the creature could still be developing, and could need heat to spur that along. Scully gets Gibson to a hospital, where he reads her thoughts to criticize that she wants to both make him well and learn from him. She tells him he’s special and knows it. “I’m a very special lab rat,” he corrects.

Mulder and Fowley sneak into the plant and locate the spot where Homer’s body was found, just above the core reactor. They find a sticky substance not unlike the stuff on the body of the firefighter after the bombing in Dallas. They also find something that looks like shed skin. Scully calls Mulder to tell him that Gibson has the virus in his system. Now she can admit that there’s a link to what they’ve been investigating. But before she can get back to Gibson, someone else finds him and rekidnaps him.

Gibson is taken to the plant, where Mulder and Fowley run around to avoid detection. Gibson says the creature is still in the building, but he doesn’t offer up a specific location. Mulder and Fowley find them but are locked out. As Fowley goes looking for another entrance, the creature attacks Gibson’s kidnapper. An alarm sounds and Mulder is surrounded by guards. Fowley joins them, pointing her gun at him. Mulder’s just concerned about Gibson’s safety, and his fate isn’t clear.

The agents return for another hearing and are instructed to immediately stop investigating the X-Files. As further punishment, they no longer report to Skinner, but to Assistant Director Alvin Kersh. Elsewhere, Spender meets with CSM, who’s proud of how he handled Mulder. Spender knows that the new work assignment won’t keep Mulder from the X-Files forever. CSM isn’t concerned. Spender knows CSM has killed before, but CSM says you can kill a person but “not what he stands for – not unless you first kill his spirit. That’s a beautiful thing to see.”

Mulder goes back to trying to restore the burned files, because he’s never followed a direct order before and he’s not about to start now. He thinks Fowley filed a false report about what happened at the plant because she’s trying to protect their work. Scully disagrees – Fowley’s report doesn’t mention Gibson, and seems to protect everyone and everything except Mulder. Mulder says that at least Fowley isn’t going to spout what Scully says about only science being right.

Scully says that she can’t believe in a lie, especially not something that’s the opposite of what she can prove. It’s about trust. Mulder asks if she wants him to make a choice. Scully replies that she wants him to trust her judgment – to trust her. He can’t if it refutes what he knows is true.

Scully shows him the results of tests done on the nail from Sandy’s house. The DNA matches the virus, as well as Gibson’s DNA. It’s a remnant that’s found in all human DNA, but it’s inactive in everyone except Gibson. Mulder says that that means Gibson is partially extraterrestrial. Scully corrects that that means everyone is. Back at the plant, Gibson is alive and well, staring into the core, where the creature is also still alive, and still developing. It sheds more of its body until it looks like an alien.

Thoughts: Kersh, who has four seconds of screentime and doesn’t say anything, is played by James Pickens, Jr. (Webber on Grey’s Anatomy, Henry on Beverly Hills, 90210). Maslin is played by Wendie Malick. Sandy is played by Rick Millikan, the show’s casting director.

Mulder and Fowley teaming up isn’t nearly as much fun as Mulder and Scully teaming up.

The FBI taking issue with Mulder and Scully’s travel expenses is pretty great. “You want the government to pay for your trip to Antarctica? You could have at least brought us souvenirs!”

August 26, 2017

The X-Files, Fight the Future: Bee Movie

Posted in movies tagged , , , , , at 1:13 pm by Jenn

Not the best picture of Mulder and Scully, really

Summary: Mulder and Scully have made it to the big screen! But first, we take a trip to Texas in 35,000 B.C. Two cavemen hear a screeching noise while checking out a cave. One finds another caveman trapped in something that looks like amber, then gets attacked by an alien. The second caveman finds his buddy dead and goes looking for his attacker. He comes across the alien, which attacks him as well. The caveman has a weapon and stabs the alien, which bleeds black oil that infects the caveman.

In the present (judging by the fact that the cavemen didn’t have jean shorts), a kid named Stevie falls into the same cave after digging around in the dirt with some friends. He finds a skull, then sees black oil seeping out of the ground. It crawls up his legs and under his skin. His friends ditch him and run home. Sometime later, firefighters arrive and one goes into the cave to get Stevie. His captain loses contact with him, which can’t be a good sign.

Next a team in Hazmat suits shows up and gets the civilians off the scene. They take the boy away in a sealed container, transporting him by helicopter. Some big trucks drive in, and Bronschweig, the man in charge of securing the scene, calls someone to report that the impossible scenario they didn’t bother to plan for now needs some sort of plan.

A week later, an FBI agent named Michaud is helicoptered to a roof near Dallas’ Federal Building, where he instructs other agents to make absolutely sure there’s no explosive device inside. Scully’s also on a building roof, letting Mulder know via phone (“Mulder, it’s me”) that no bomb has been found, despite a threat being called in. She uses, like 100 words to talk about how they need to follow the rules but still might not find a bomb. Anyway, Mulder’s there now, talking about hunches and expecting the unexpected.

Scully warns that Mulder needs to stop thinking unconventionally like he did when they were working X-files. He can’t be looking for things that aren’t there. Mulder jokes that they should call in a bomb threat in Houston so they can go to a game at the Astrodome. Scully tries to open the door letting them off the roof, telling Mulder it’s locked – “so much for anticipating the unforeseen.” She’s just messing with him. “I had you,” she gloats.

In the lobby, Scully continues teasing Mulder, saying she saw panic on his face. He claims she’s never seen him panic. He heads off to buy them sodas from a break room, but the machine doesn’t work. I guess he didn’t anticipate that unforeseen complication either. Mulder sees that the machine is unplugged, which gives him an idea. Unable to get out of the room (the door really is locked), he calls Scully in the lobby and lets her know he found the bomb in the machine.

With just under 14 minutes left on the timer, Mulder tells Scully to evacuate the building. She immediately gives orders to the people workers there, then calls Michaud to tell him he’s looking in the wrong place. Michaud and his agents hurry over to save Mulder (taking their sweet time – the counter’s below five minutes now). Scully calls and Mulder tells her he’s now making his not-panicking panicked face.

Michaud cuts through the door and the agents study the bomb. He says he can defuse it, but he wants everyone to leave. Mulder hesitates to leave him behind, but Scully makes him go with her. Instead of working on the bomb, Michaud sits and watches the timer count down. Mulder realizes that something’s wrong and turns back to the building. Scully insists that he head off to safety with her, and they drive away as the bomb explodes. “Next time, you’re buying,” Mulder tells Scully, because even though a man just died, he wouldn’t be Mulder if he didn’t make jokes.

The agents go back to D.C. and attend a review led by an agent named Cassidy. (Mulder’s late.) She tells them that five people died, including a young boy and three firemen. Mulder’s surprised to hear that the firemen were in the building – the agents were told that the building had been evacuated. Cassidy sends him away so she can question Scully first.

Mulder anxiously eats sunflower seeds until Skinner leaves the review to talk to him. He says Cassidy wants to know why Scully wasn’t in the right building. Mulder says she was with him. Skinner says that the city of Dallas sustained $45 million of damage, then that people are dead, as if the money is the more important thing. There also haven’t been any arrests, so the FBI is being scrutinized. Where did they screw up? Who will they be blaming?

Mulder’s willing to take the blame since he didn’t follow protocol. He feels horrible that he left Michaud alone with the bomb. But Scully also wants to take responsibility. She sends Skinner back into the review, then tells Mulder that the two of them are being given separate assignments. Scully hasn’t made a difference in the FBI, and she’s not going to be happy if she’s transferred to a field office somewhere. She wonders if Mulder’s heart is still in the work.

After the review is over, Mulder goes to a bar and gets hammered. He tells the bartender that he’s in charge of investigating aliens, but no one believes him when he tells them what he’s found out. They think he’s just running around, screaming that the sky is falling, but when it really happens, it’s going to be horrible. The bartender decides it’s time to cut him off. As he leaves, Mulder realizes that a man who was watching him has already left.

He goes to use the bathroom but finds an out-of-order sign on the door, so he does his business in an alley. The man from the bar approaches him and asks if the FBI is accusing him of screwing things up in Dallas. The man, Dr. Alvin Kurtzweil, has been watching Mulder since he started at the FBI. He also knew Bill and says that, back when they worked together, they could have been called “fellow travelers.” Mulder wonders if Kurtzweil is a reporter. Kurtzweil says he’s an OB/GYN and knows something about the bombing that Mulder hasn’t been told.

Mulder says Kurtzweil can talk until Mulder hails a cab. Kurtzweil tells him that Michaud never tried to defuse the bomb. He also knows that the bomb was put in that building, not the Federal Building, because FEMA had a quarantine office there. The four supposed victims, other than Michaud, were dead before the bomb exploded. Mulder scoffs at the idea that Michaud didn’t try to stop the bomb, but Kurtzweil knows that the bomb was detonated so people could hide something – possibly something they couldn’t predict.

Mulder still thinks Kurtzweil is nuts, so he leaves him there on the street outside the bar. He starts to go home, then decides to go to Georgetown to see Scully, even though it’s 3 in the morning. She wonders if he got drunk before or after he decided to come see her. Mulder makes her get dressed so he can take her somewhere.

Back in Texas, the site around the cave has been turned into a research facility. CSM arrives to see what Bronschweig and his team have found. He thinks the fireman’s arrival raised the body temperature of someone already in the cave. That someone is the amberfied caveman, who is basically alive because of the black oil, though he’ll never recover from the infection. CSM wants to use the vaccine/cure on him; if it’s unsuccessful, they’ll burn his body “like the others.”

Mulder takes Scully to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where they’re told they can’t access the morgue. Mulder bluffs their way in, pretending they were summoned by the same general who has declared the morgue off-limits. The agents find the body of one of the firemen, which has something sticky all over it. Scully diagnoses a cellular breakdown of his tissue. She can also see that, despite what they were told, the body hasn’t been autopsied yet, so the report stating his cause of death as injuries from the explosion is false. Scully says she’s not sure anyone could determine a cause of death.

She realizes that there must be some sort of cover-up happening. Mulder says he has a hunch that whatever Scully finds from an autopsy, it won’t be something they can explain. But he’s being blamed for Michaud’s death, so he’d like to know what killed him. He knows Scully would feel the same if she were in his position.

While Scully gets to work, Mulder goes to Kurtzweil’s house, which is being searched by the police. A detective tells Mulder that Kurtzweil is being investigated for child pornography. Mulder finds books on Kurtzweil’s shelf about the apocalypse and tells the police not to bother letting him know if they find the doctor. As Mulder leaves, he spots Kurtzweil, who says the investigation is an attempt to discredit him. He claims that FEMA, which is super-powerful, wouldn’t normally be involved in the investigation of whatever’s going on in Texas. It must be bigger than they’re letting on.

Kurtzweil continues that he and Bill once looked into a case involving biological warfare. He thinks now they’re looking at “a plague to end all plagues.” For 50 years, the government has been working on a planned Armageddon. FEMA will end up in charge. Mulder thinks Kurtzweil is even more paranoid than he is. Kurtzweil warns that if he doesn’t go back to Texas, he’ll be as in the dark as everyone else in the country, and by the time he catches on, it’ll be too late.

Scully autopsies Michaud, finding something crystallized inside his body. She’s able to hide in another room before guards can see her. Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”) and she tells him that Michaud was infected with something. He wants them both to go to Texas, though Scully has to go back to the review hearing the next day. As they’re talking, Scully hears the guards approaching and has to hang up so she can hide again.

Mulder goes to Texas alone and learns that FEMA found some bone fragments from an archaeological site. Scully joins her partner and tells him that the infection she found in the fireman’s body could lead to a major health threat. Mulder has Scully look at the bone fragments, even though they weren’t found near the explosion site. Scully’s stunned by what she sees under the microscope.

At the cave site, Bronschweig prepares to administer the vaccine/cure to the amberfied body. However, he realizes that “it’s” left the body, which means it’s gestated. “So much for little green men,” he says. Bronschweig decides to use the vaccine/cure on the now-sentient black oil, which looks like an alien, but it attacks him before he can. Bronschweig begs his crew for help, but they’re not about to let him come out of the cave and risk spreading the infection.

WMM is enjoying tea in England when he gets a phone call alerting him to “a situation.” CSM has arranged a meeting in London, as ordered by someone named Strughold. WMM meets up with the rest of the Syndicate there, and Strughold tells them that they need to reassess their role in colonization. The Elder clarifies: “The virus has mutated.” They’re now dealing with a new alien biological entity.

WMM says this is spontaneous repopulation, not colonization. This means they’ve been used and lied to this whole time. Strughold says they’re going to turn over a body infected by the new entity and tell “them” what the Syndicate has found. WMM thinks this will ruin them, but Strughold says it’ll buy them time to work on the vaccine/cure. CSM reveals that Mulder saw one of the infected bodies, which means someone tipped him off, probably Kurtzweil.

Though Kurtzweil is a kook and no one will believe him, at least according to WMM, the others know that they need to remove him from the equation. They also need to take out Mulder. WMM points out that that will just make him a martyr for his cause. Strughold says that, in that case, they need to take away “what he holds most valuable – that with which he can’t live without” [sic, ugh].

Mulder and Scully go to the cave site, but all traces of the investigation have been removed. Mulder sees that the grass at a nearby playground has recently been laid, and Scully can tell that the equipment is new. Stevie’s friends approach but won’t answer the agents’ questions about the playground or their new bikes. They also don’t believe that Mulder and Scully are FBI agents, since they look like door-to-door salesmen. When Mulder flashes his badge, one of the boys tells him that the crew left an hour ago.

The agents follow their trail, wondering what they’re transporting in their unmarked tanker trucks. They can’t decide which direction the crew went, left or right, so Mulder drives straight onto a dirt road. He boasts that he’s never been wrong in the five years he and Scully have worked together – “not driving, anyway.” The agents end up in the middle of nowhere, and Scully regrets coming to Texas in the first place. She doubts that the crew is hauling a virus in the tanker trucks. Mulder finally tells Scully that the virus might be extraterrestrial.

A train comes by, giving Mulder an idea. Well, really, two ideas, one of which is to follow the train. The end up at a site that looks like the one set up during the cave investigation. Scully wonders why there’s a cornfield around it, since they’re in the desert. They go inside a domed building, which Scully thinks is a venting system on top of a larger facility. There’s humming below them and catwalks above. Someone has definitely figured out they’re there, and the response is to release hundreds of bees.

The agents run for it, managing to escape without getting stung. They see lights approaching and realize they’re being pursued by helicopters. They run back through the cornfield, crouching down at one point to avoid detection. They get separated, so Mulder gets to run through the corn, yelling, “SCULLAY!” They both make it out of the cornfield, realizing that the helicopters have disappeared.

Scully makes it back to D.C. for the hearing, where she presents the bone fragments. Meanwhile, Mulder meets with Kurtzweil and tells him about the tanker trucks. Scully tells the hearing panel that Michaud may be involved in whatever’s going on. Mulder tells Kurtzweil about the bees and corn. As Cassidy questions Scully about the investigation, a bee crawls around Scully’s back. She admits that she’s working with Mulder again.

Kurtzweil and Mulder think that the corn is a way of carrying a virus contained in altered pollen. Mulder’s annoyed that Kurtzweil doesn’t have any answers; he doesn’t think Kurtzweil even knew Bill. In fact, he suspects that Kurtzweil has been using Mulder to get information. Kurtzweil points out that Mulder wouldn’t have known where to look without his help. He thinks there’s a reason Mulder and Scully were allowed to leave Texas alive. As Kurtzweil leaves, Mulder realizes that someone was listening to their conversation.

He goes home and looks through a photo album, seeing Kurtzweil in an old picture. Scully arrives and announces that she’s being transferred to Salt Lake City. She’s not willing to make the move, so she’s resigned. Mulder tells her she can’t quit now – they’re close to finding something. Scully asks him not to drag her into something crazy yet again. She’s ready to walk away. Mulder says he needs her, but she disagrees – she’s only ever held him back.

Mulder goes after Scully to argue that she can’t resign with a clear conscience. She reminds him that she was brought in as his partner to debunk his work. Mulder says that she really saved him with her science and reason. “You kept me honest,” he says. “You made me a whole person.” He owes her everything but she owes him nothing. Mulder isn’t sure he wants to move forward alone, or if he can, but he knows that if he quits, the bad guys win.

The two give each other meaningful looks for a while, then hug for an even longer while. She kisses his forehead, and after some more meaningful looking, Mulder moves in for a real kiss. But that STUPID FREAKING BEE interrupts them by stinging Scully. Mulder says it must have gotten in her shirt (unlike him, who won’t get into her shirt for another season or so). Scully immediately starts feeling like something’s wrong; it’s like she’s having an allergic reaction without having a bee allergy.

Mulder calls paramedics and tells them that they may be dealing with a virus. Instead of telling Mulder which hospital Scully’s being taken to, the paramedic driving the ambulance shoots him through the window. Moments later, an ambulance presumably carrying real paramedics arrives. Meanwhile, Scully’s taken to a plane, where CSM is ready to take her somewhere else.

Mulder wakes up in the hospital with the Lone Gunmen standing over him. He calls them the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto. They tell him the bullet only grazed him, but he’s been unconscious for a while. Mulder wants to go look for Scully, but Skinner comes in and stops him, noting that the bad guys will never let him find her. Mulder suggests that he and Byers trade places, which fools the person watching his room, allowing him to leave the hospital undetected.

WMM tracks down Kurtzweil and corners him in the alley behind the bar where he and Mulder keep meeting. When Mulder arrives, he finds only WMM and another Syndicate man in the alley. They tell him that Kurtzweil has already come and gone. WMM invites him into his car so they can discuss a way to save Scully. He gives Mulder a vaccine/cure that he has to administer within 96 hours, and the coordinates where he can find his partner.

WMM admits that the virus is extraterrestrial, and though they don’t know much about it, it was the original inhabitant of the planet. He waxes poetic about a virus being a “colonizing force” that can’t be defeated. It lives underground until it mutates and attacks. Mulder can’t believe that the Syndicate has been working to conceal a virus this whole time. WMM says he has it all backwards – today’s deadliest viruses are “newborns.” The one they’re dealing with now has been around longer than humans.

Aliens sent the viruses here centuries ago, and they’ve been waiting to be awoken. Humans will be the hosts. The vaccine/cure is humanity’s only defense. Bill was one of the people trying to conceal the truth. Without the vaccine/cure, humans will become slaves to aliens. Now the virus is gestating, and it’s time to fight. WMM only wants the truth out now because he wants to protect his family. He knows he’ll be killed for telling Mulder everything.

Mulder asks where Kurtzweil is, but WMM won’t tell him. Mulder demands to be let out of the car, so they take him back to the alley. WMM warns that the Syndicate will stop at nothing to accomplish their goals. They ordered WMM to kill Kurtzweil, and now he’s supposed to kill Mulder. Instead, he kills his driver and tells Mulder to “trust no one.” WMM tells Mulder that the alien colonists don’t know about the vaccine/cure yet. If he can find Scully, he’ll understand how huge the project they’ve been working on for 50 years is. Mulder leaves, and WMM gets back in the car, which immediately explodes.

48 hours later, Mulder’s in Antarctica, on the hunt for Scully. The coordinates WMM gave him have led him to a spot near yet another investigation site. As he’s approaching, he falls through the snow into a tunnel. There’s a hole leading deeper underground that eventually takes Mulder to a cave containing frozen bodies, at least one of which is an alien. CSM arrives at the site and sees that he has a visitor. Mulder goes through a tunnel into a cavern filled with frozen bodies.

Using binoculars, Mulder is able to spot a container he figures is Scully’s. He slips on his way down and almost falls into the bottomless pit that the cavern leads to. He manages to grab on to something and make his way to Scully’s container, but only her cross necklace is inside. He checks out the rows of bodies and finds her frozen. As guards move in to intercept him, Mulder frees Scully from the ice and administers the vaccine/cure. It works immediately, pulling the virus from her into the cave’s weird life-sustaining system, but he can’t finish disconnecting her from the system before the cave starts to quake.

Someone tells CSM that there’s a contaminant in the system. CSM realizes that Mulder has the vaccine/cure. Mulder finishes freeing Scully as the facility’s apparent self-destruct system goes into effect. CSM orders everyone to abandon the facility, predicting that Mulder and Scully won’t make it out alive. Mulder takes his partner back the way he came in as all the frozen bodies start thawing. One of the aliens is really ticked about being trapped in ice.

Scully stops breathing, and Mulder has to put her down to revive her. “I had you big-time,” she teases. The trapped bodies start trying to break free of their frozen prisons, and somehow steam is released. The agents are able to get out just before an alien can get a good hold of Mulder and pull him back inside. They climb back to the surface as the ice around them starts to break and the whole facility collapses in on itself.

The agents can’t outrun the deepening pit, but something rising out of the ground pushes them back up, saving them. It’s a giant UFO. Mulder isn’t sure Scully sees it before it’s gone, but she assures him she saw it. He’s exhausted, so she cradles him in her arms, right at the edge of a gigantic ice canyon.

Back in D.C., Cassidy addresses Scully and Skinner as someone steals the bone fragments. Cassidy says that Scully’s report is implausible, and nothing in it really points to domestic terrorism. The bone fragments end up in a tanker truck supposedly transporting corn oil. The corn in Texas is set on fire. Scully gives Cassidy the bee that stung her and says that she doesn’t think the FBI currently has a devision that’s equipped to continue the investigation.

Mulder reads a news article about the hanta virus being contained in Texas. Scully joins him and he complains that the truth is once again being buried. Scully says she told the whole story, but Mulder knows it won’t make a difference. They’ve been here before, right next to the truth, and once again, they’re being knocked back to the beginning. Scully was right to want to quit. She’d be safer away from him, working as a doctor. Scully refuses, saying her work is with him. There’s a cure for the virus she was exposed to; they could save other people. She takes his hand and repeats what he said about the bad guys winning if she quits now.

In the desert of Tunisia, a helicopter delivers CSM to a cornfield. He tells a man that Mulder has seen more than he should, and now he’s determined to uncover the truth. The other man says that Mulder’s just one man, and “one man alone cannot fight the future.” CSM hands over a note he received, which the other man reads, then drops in the sand. It’s a telegram announcing that the X-files division has been reopened.

Thoughts: This movie features a cavalcade of stars:

  • Kurtzweil is played by the recently deceased Martin Landau.
  • Michaud is played by Terry O’Quinn, in his second role in the series.
  • Cassidy is played by Blythe Danner, who I love, and who should have had a bigger role, and who better be in the Will and Grace revival.
  • Strughold is played by Armin Mueller-Stahl.
  • She’s uncredited, for some reason, but the bartender Mulder mopes to is played by the also recently deceased Glenne Headly.

Once again, thanks, writers, for names like Kurtzweil and Bronschweig that I had to type over and over. We need more Smiths, Lees, and Kims on this show.

Whoever wrote the line “that with which he can’t live without,” your third-grade English teacher is weeping somewhere.

Aww, ‘bye, WMM. You were the only bearable part of the Syndicate.

August 19, 2017

The X-Files 5.20, The End: Checkmate?

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:53 pm by Jenn

“I’d rather be watching ‘Bob’s Burgers'”

Summary: There’s a chess tournament going on in Vancouver, and a man from Russia is playing a preteen boy from the U.S. There’s a huge audience, so apparently this is a big deal. (Maybe people in Vancouver need to find more things to do.) The boy hears voices in his head as he plays, apparently the thoughts of all the people in the audience. One voice is particularly loud, and may belong to a man who’s loading a sniper rifle. He takes aim at the boy’s opponent, then the boy. As the boy stands up and makes his last move, declaring checkmate, his opponent is shot.

A couple of men drop onto a mountain in Quebec via parachutes and try to ambush the cabin where CSM has been staying. CSM’s security system warns him and he’s able to shoot one of the men before he can be shot. The other man starts to head into the house but sees CSM’s footprints heading into some nearby woods. After a brief chase, the second gunman stops CSM. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Krycek. CSM tells him to go ahead and shoot, but Krycek says he was sent to bring CSM back.

A note reading “you are here” has been placed on the UFO in Mulder’s “I want to believe poster.” Skinner is in the office waiting for Mulder; he claims it’s so they can discuss Mulder’s long-term plans. What does he hope to find? Mulder says whatever he’s looking for is in the X-files, and he’ll know when he finds it. Skinner’s really there to tell Mulder about the assassination of the Russian chess player. The shooter used to work for the NSA. Jeffrey Spender is in charge of the case, having been assigned by someone outside of the bureau, and he wants Mulder to work with him.

Mulder heads to a meeting Spender’s running, with Scully already in attendance. Mulder watches footage of the shooting and announces that the boy, not the Russian, seems to be the target. Another agent in the room agrees with Mulder – she thinks the boy was able to precognitively sense that the shooter was aiming for him. Mulder and the agent exchange a look that lets us know this isn’t the first time they’ve met.

Krycek delivers CSM to WMM, the Elder, and some other Syndicate members. He’s all “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated; your assassin sucks; I’ll let it go THIS TIME.” The Syndicate tells him about the death of the Russian, mentioning that the boy is “a problem.” CSM asks, not serious, if they want him to kill the boy. They’re horrified by the suggestion and say that CSM knows what they want him to do. They’re sure he shares their intentions.

Mulder and Scully drive somewhere with the agent from the meeting, Diana Fowley. She’s been out of the country for a while and asked to be reassigned so she could attend to some things in the U.S. Scully notes that Fowley’s been in the FBI since 1991, the same time Mulder started working on the X-files. Yeah, that sure is a coincidence, Scully!

The boy is watching The Simpsons when the agents arrive to talk to him. He’s happy to be in a country with good TV; he lives in the Philippines and all they have on TV is Baywatch. The boy, Gibson, is being kept there until his parents come get him. Mulder wants to see if Gibson can beat a chess computer he’s brought, guessing that he can’t. He’s figured out that Gibson’s so good at the game because he can read his opponents’ thoughts. That’s why he knew there was a shooter.

Gibson confirms Mulder’s suspicions by saying that Mulder’s thinking about one of the agents he brought with him. One of them is thinking about him, too. (Yeah, like they both aren’t.) Fowley asks which one, but Gibson says that Mulder doesn’t want him to answer that. Mulder tells Scully that, despite Gibson’s status as a prodigy, he’s not actually that good at chess. Scully disagrees – no one has passed all the rigorous testing required of someone who claims to be psychic. Mulder thinks Gibson’s skills are exactly why he was marked for murder.

Scully notes that people would want to use Gibson’s skills, not eliminate them. His psychic abilities would give them advantages in things like war and business. Fowley points out that he could also reveal lots of secrets that people want to stay hidden. Mulder suggests that they test him and run a brain scan. He tells Fowley that she knows what to do. Scully finally catches on that the two of them know each other.

Mulder goes to see the shooter in jail, but Spender doesn’t want to let them talk. Mulder thinks Spender’s trying to protect something and is sending the agents on a wild goose chase. He’s sure that Gibson is the key to the incident, and the shooter knows why. The shooter, however, isn’t very forthcoming, thanks to Spender’s refusal to give him food or water for the past 16 hours.

Mulder sends Spender to get them while he lists the shooter’s credentials and notes that he also failed to kill Saddam Hussein during a raid on his palace. Mulder threatens to tell Spender that the shooter knows Gibson reads minds. The shooter is still unwilling to help, since he doesn’t think Mulder can get him immunity or placement in the Witness Protection Program. Mulder tells him to think about it, then leaves.

Gibson has undergone the testing at a psychiatric hospital, and he tells Scully he knows that she’s wondering about Fowley. Fowley’s wondering about Scully as well. Gibson goes to his next test, a variation on the Zener cards. He guesses all of them correctly. Fowley tells Scully that she’s seen clairvoyants with more than 90 percent accuracy, but never anything like this. She mentions working with Mulder on cases involving criminal psych patients who may have been misdiagnosed. Scully excuses herself.

In prison, the shooter receives a note reading “you’re a dead man.” It’s written on the inside of a flattened Morley cigarette carton. Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen’s lair and asks them to look at Gibson’s brain scans. She also wants them to tell her about Fowley. They’re familiar with her because she was “Mulder’s chickadee” right after he left the academy. She was there at the inception of the X-files. Byers says he’s always wondered why they split up.

Gibson watches cartoons while Mulder and Fowley discuss his excellent scores on all the tests. Mulder thinks they’re missing something, though. Fowley praises him for figuring out what was going on from the footage from the tournament. Mulder says he’s been working on this kind of stuff for five years. Fowley says she sometimes wonders how things might have turned out if she’s stayed instead of moving to counter-terrorism. She thinks he could have benefited from having a partner who thinks like him, and not a skeptic.

Mulder defends Scully, saying she makes him work for his successes. He’s “done okay” without Fowley. She assures him that she’s on his side. Scully’s about to join them when she sees them having an intimate conversation, so instead she goes to her car to pout. She calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) and asks him to meet her at the office to go over something she’s found out about Gibson.

As she’s leaving the parking garage, Spender arrives and is quickly summoned to talk to CSM. Spender doesn’t know who CSM works for, which means he’s even more out of his league than anyone thought. CSM tells him he needs to control the board and know who to sacrifice and when. He can’t join up with someone else’s cause – he needs to always pursue his own self-interest. As CSM leaves, Mulder comes into the garage and sees them talking. He’s surprised that CSM isn’t dead after all.

Mulder takes Scully to a meeting in Skinner’s office and urges her to tell him and other agents there about Gibson’s test results. Neurological tests show that Gibson uses an area of his temporal lobe – called the “God nodule” by neuroscientists – that no one else uses. Mulder says that famous scientists like Einstein, Newton, and Stephen Hawking are also believed to use portions of the brain that no one else does. Gibson may be the key to understanding human potential, paranormal phenomenon…and everything in the X-files.

Spender scoffs at the idea that Gibson was a target for murder because of the X-files. Mulder can’t make the connection completely, but he thinks the shooter can. He wants them to offer the shooter immunity so he’ll talk. Scully says they’re trying to quantify proof of everything she and Mulder have been investigating. Fowley argues that they can’t quantify spirituality. The X-files are basically an indulgence; their higher-ups are never going to allow them to offer an immunity deal for this kind of investigation.

Skinner dismisses everyone but Mulder, then warns him that he’s taking a huge risk with his future career. Mulder thinks things will fit together, and he’ll get the answers he’s spent so long looking for. He gets Skinner to talk to the Attorney General, who agrees to offer the shooter immunity. The shooter tells Mulder and Spender that Gibson is a “missing link” – genetic proof that a person can be more human than human. Gibson appears to have genes that indicate he’s part alien.

On a street somewhere, WMM and Krycek confront CSM for failing to do what he was supposed to. CSM says that Mulder going to the Attorney General is just “part of the game.” They’re taking the other side’s pieces one by one; eventually the board will be cleared.

Scully accompanies Gibson to a safehouse, where he enjoys an episode of King of the Hill. (How interesting that everything he watches is on Fox! I wonder why?) Scully asks him how he does what he does. Gibson says it’s like listening to multiple radios. Part of the reason he likes chess is because he only has to listen to one “radio” at a time. Plus, there’s no talking, so no one’s saying one thing and thinking something else. He says that sometimes people worry about what others are thinking, while those others worry about the same thing.

Gibson continues that people make up things to believe, but it’s not real. Some people try to be good while others don’t care, like Scully. He clarifies that he means Scully doesn’t care what people think, “except for her.” Fowley comes by to stay with Gibson so Scully can go home. Gibson announces that he knows people want him dead. Scully promises to protect him. In prison, the shooter gets another cigarette box, but this one has no message. The man delivering the message shoots him.

Back at the safehouse, Fowley awakens from a nap to find Gibson at the window. He tells her there’s a man with a gun outside, but he’s there to kill her, not him. He’s right, and someone shoots Fowley through the window. She’s alive, barely, but a U.S. marshal is dead. Skinner tells Mulder and Scully that the shooter is dead, and they found the blank cigarette note. Gibson’s whereabouts are unknown.

CSM has grabbed Gibson and taken him to meet WMM. WMM tries to convince Gibson that he has nothing to be afraid of, but Gibson knows he’s a liar like CSM is. WMM tells CSM his work is done, but CSM says it’s just beginning. He hands over the boy, who gets in the car with WMM and Krycek. Krycek offers to kill CSM, but WMM says he’s useful, and Krycek might need him in the future.

As Spender organizes a search for Gibson, Mulder attacks him, demanding to know who Spender really works for. He vows to see Spender prosecuted, warning that his days are numbered. Spender says Mulder’s the one whose days are numbered.

Scully and Skinner talk on the phone about the developments in the case, and how Spender is saying things that make both agents look bad. Scully tells Mulder that Fowley isn’t doing well, and their jobs aren’t lookng much better. The Department of Justice wants the X-files to be closed down. Mulder laments that everything has been part of a strategy he couldn’t see. Scully admits that the bad guys may have finally won.

CSM lights a cigarette in Mulder’s office, then leaves with Samantha’s X-file. On his way out, he runs into Spender, who asks how he got in. CSM says he has access and can give it to Spender. Spender asks who he is. “I’m your father,” CSM replies. (Well, it’s no “Luke, I am your father”). A smoke alarm sounds – Mulder’s office is on fire. When he and Scully go in to check it out, they see that everything has been destroyed, including the “I want to believe” poster.

Thoughts: Gibson looks like a mini-Frohike. I hope that’s on purpose.

I can’t believe I have to put up with this Scully/Fowley jealousy crap. Frigging male showrunners and writers.

Gibson is present for a murder and his parents don’t immediately rush out to get him? Why weren’t they with him anyway? Does he have a guardian? No one seems worried about him. Scully, adopt him, please.

How do you like your new role as Syndicate chauffeur, Krycek? Do you feel like you’ve made good choices to get you to this place?

That’s a wrap on season 5! I’m excited for some fun episodes coming in season 6.

August 12, 2017

The X-Files 5.19, Folie à Deux: Kill My Boss? Do I Dare Live Out the American Dream?

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

And you thought YOUR office’s team-building activities were torture!

Summary: In Oak Brook, Illinois, employees are diligently working in their cubicles, calling uninterested people who really don’t care about buying vinyl siding. One worker, Gary, hears insect noises but can’t find the source. He and a co-worker make fun of their boss, who thinks everyone needs to smile because their customers can hear it in their voices. On his next call, Gary hears the noises again, then sees what looks like the shadow of a giant bug outside the office. He’s able to continue reciting his script, but stops when a huge bug flits into the office. “It’s here,” he whispers to his customer.

Mulder and Scully meet with Skinner in his office and are assigned to go to the office to perform a “threat assessment.” The office received an anonymous taped manifesto threatening violence. Since there was an incident with a gunman in the office a few years ago, they know they need to take this seriously. Skinner wants Mulder and Scully to handle the case instead of anyone in the Chicago field office, since the manifesto talks about monsters. “Monsters. I’m your boy,” Mulder says.

As they leave, Mulder complains to Scully that he’s become the go-to guy for weird stuff. He doesn’t think Scully even needs to come to Chicago with him, since she’s not Monster Boy and the case probably isn’t for real. Mulder heads out to Illinois and hears the manifesto, in which Gary talks about a monster in the office that needs to be killed before it kills them. (The company doesn’t realize the voice is Gary’s, though.) Mulder asks about the incident with the gunman, which was at another location, and which a manager, Greg Pincus, thinks was over a woman.

Mulder calls Scully and asks her to check on the phrase “hiding in the light,” which Gary uses on the tape. Mulder thinks it came up in an old case. Scully isn’t looking forward to having to look through hundreds of case files for one phrase. Gary notices that Mulder just left Pincus’ office and wonders what’s going on. Moments later, Gary’s co-worker, Nancy, is called in to see Pincus. Gary tries to warn her not to do something, but she brushes him off. As she goes to talk to Pincus, Gary sees him turn into the giant bug.

Nancy screams from the office, but when Gary tries to check on her, his boss sends him back to work. Nancy leaves Pincus’ office looking and acting like a zombie, at least in Gary’s eyes. She tells Gary that Pincus just wants to greet everyone. At the Chicago field office, Mulder listens to the manifesto again, taking notes to form a profile of the speaker. Meanwhile, Gary loads a gun.

Scully calls Mulder to tell him that a man named Gerald said “hiding in the light” to a police officer in Florida back in 1992. He thought there was an “evil presence” at his church, then shot a bunch of people there, saying “the afflicted ones wouldn’t bleed.” Mulder decides it’s time for Scully to join him in Illinois, even though admitting this case is for real after all means he runs the risk of Scully saying, “I told you so” (which she does).

Mulder goes to the office, which is suddenly empty. Nancy, who’s hiding, tries to warn him that someone’s there. It’s Gary, and he’s ready to add Mulder to his collection of hostages. When Scully makes it to Illinois, she walks into the middle of a hostage situation; the investigation is being overseen by an agent named Rice. Gary has said he wants to broadcast a “stunning revelation,” and they’re about to try to call Mulder on his cell phone, but Scully tells him they need to assess the situation first.

Gary secures all his co-workers/hostages, plus Mulder. He tells them that Pincus is the real threat, though Pincus isn’t the one holding a huge gun and screaming at everyone. Mulder calmly asks why they should be afraid of Pincus. He claims he’s there applying for a job, so Gary won’t know he’s an FBI agent. Gary says that Pincus is a monster, but he’s clouded everyone’s minds so they can’t see it. He wants to harvest their souls and turn everyone into monsters, too.

Mulder says he wants to believe Gary, but he’ll need to put down the gun to get everyone to truly listen to him. Gary doesn’t believe that Mulder wants to believe, but he says Mulder will. Whenever Gary turns away, Mulder tries to go for his gun, but he’s not quiet enough. Gary tells everyone to be quiet because he hears something in a vent. He starts shooting at it, and outside, Rice decides it’s time to make contact with the hostages by calling Mulder.

Mulder’s trying to go for his gun again when his phone rings. Gary stops him from answering it, and when he reaches over to take it himself, he sees Mulder’s gun. He knocks Mulder in the head, and when another hostage, Mark, tries to take advantage of the distraction to tackle Gary, Gary shoots him.

Gary finds Mulder’s badge and answers Rice’s phone call. “I just shot a zombie,” Gary says, though he says the zombie isn’t dead. Soon, though, he’s going to start killing real people. Rice fills Scully in, and Scully tells him it’s time to give Gary a platform to broadcast his “stunning revelation.” Gary has Mark’s body removed as Mulder tries to get him to realize that he killed a human, not a zombie. Gary claims that Pincus used telepathy to get Mark to attack him. Pincus wants to turn them all into “mindless drones” and take away who they are. Then he can control them and make them spy on each other for him.

Pincus points out that, if he’s a monster, Gary doesn’t need hostages. Gary says he’s going to put Pincus on TV and everyone will see who he is. Mulder’s phone rings again, and he tells Gary to answer it. Rice tells him they’re sending in a cameraman so Gary can go on TV and make his revelation. Thanks to closed-circuit monitoring, the agents outside can now see what’s going on in the cafeteria where everyone’s being held. They’ll be able to figure out a way into the room to end the crisis.

Gary goes live, telling the country that Pincus is a monster. He plans to shoot Pincus and show everyone who he really is. Mulder stands between Gary and Pincus, trying to talk him down. The lights go out and Gary hears the insect noises. He tells Mulder to turn and look at it, and when Mulder does, he sees the giant bug. Suddenly the SWAT team drives a FREAKING TANK through the wall and takes out Gary. The hostages are all fine and will have a great story to tell at parties for the rest of their lives.

Mulder studies Pincus, who looks normal. He leans over Gary, who’s still alive. “Now you know,” he whispers before dying. Once the local agents have gotten things under control, Mulder asks Pincus why Gary branded him a monster. He wonders if there’s a connection to the company’s previous incident in 1994, or to the case in Florida with Gerald. Scully’s like, “Monster Boy’s at it again.”

The agents return to D.C., where Mulder uses a map to mark the places where the weird incidents have occurred. He tells Scully that “hiding in the light” and similar phrases have been used in five other cases; all the cases involved someone claiming there was an evil entity only they could see. The company has offices near all of the cities where those cases occurred, and Pincus has been to all those locations. Mulder thinks Gary was right about Pincus being an insect-like being that causes people to see him as a regular human.

Scully admits that there could be a condition that causes people not to see what’s right before their eyes. However, Gary was mentally ill, so they can’t believe that he saw a real insect. Mulder wonders if he saw the insect because he was disturbed, or if he was disturbed because he saw the insect. He admits that he saw it, too. Scully thinks that Mulder was suffering from trauma and just picked up Gary’s delusions – it’s known as folie à deux.

Mulder thinks he can prove Gary’s theory about zombies by having Scully autopsy Mark’s body. Scully refuses to play along with Gary’s delusions, so Mulder says he’ll take care of things himself. First he goes with Rice to Gary’s house, where, just like Mulder, Gary has marked locations on a map. Mulder thinks he was tracking Pincus’ movements over the past few years. Mulder looks out a window and sees Nancy in the yard, first as her normal self, then as a zombie. Mulder runs outside but doesn’t see anyone. A car pulls away, carrying Nancy and being driven by Pincus.

Back in D.C., Skinner asks Scully why Mulder went back to Illinois. Scully says he’s looking into a possible connection between multiple cases. Skinner says the agents in Chicago think Mulder’s behaving erratically. Scully says she’ll go out and join him, but Skinner wants her to do Mark’s autopsy first. He’s surprised that Scully doesn’t seem to know she was supposed to do it, or that Mulder had Mark’s body sent to Quantico.

Scully goes to Quantico but decides only to do an external exam of the body. An assistant starts as Scully tries to call Mulder. The assistant thinks Mark died 48 to 72 hours ago, judging by the rate of decomposition. However, the hostage situation only took place the previous afternoon. In Illinois, Mulder follows Pincus to a house where he tries to attack a woman. By the time Mulder gets inside, the woman has been zombified. He searches the house, then spots the giant bug scuttling up to the roof.

Skinner comes to Illinois to apologize to the woman (one of Gary’s co-workers), who has accused Mulder of breaking into her house for no reason. He was screaming about monsters, “even worse than Gary.” Pincus is there, and the woman shows no signs that she was ever scared of him. Mulder thinks Pincus has already infected her. Pincus is willing to drop the matter, since he still sees Mulder as a hero. Mulder shouts that Gary knew Pincus’ secret. As Skinner yells at him, Mulder hears the insect noises and sees Pincus turn into the bug. He begs Skinner to turn and look at it, but Skinner restrains him.

Mulder lands himself in a hospital, where he jokes to Scully that, after five years working together, she must have expected to see him in a psychiatric ward some day. She tells him that Mark’s body decomposed at a weird rate, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that, as Gary claimed, Mark was already dead when Gary shot him. Mulder pushes her to find out what Pincus did to the woman at her house.

Scully tells him there’s nothing left to investigate, and Mulder needs to start seeing past his delusion. He tells her that she’s the one who needs to see, because she’s the only person on the planet who gets him. “You’re my one in five billion,” he tells her.

Scully heads back to Quantico to have another look at Mark’s body. She finds three puncture wounds on the back of his head, like bite marks a large insect might make. At the hospital, a nurse gives Mulder a sedative, then tells him to sleep tight and not let the bedbugs bite. Oh, nurse. He hears insect noises and sees the giant bug appearing outside his window. He calls for the nurse, yelling that “it’s here.”

The nurse returns and tells Mulder that nothing could be at the window, since they’re on the third floor. She turns on the lights and opens the curtains so Mulder can see that there’s nothing outside. Mulder asks her to take off his restraints, but instead, she opens the window, prescribing fresh air. She tightens Mulder’s restraints and leaves. Of course, the bug comes back.

Scully comes by but the nurse won’t let her see her partner after visiting hours. Scully sees her turn into a zombie, then runs down the hall to Mulder’s room. The bug has gotten inside, and Scully shoots at it, but it gets away. Still, at least now Mulder knows that she knows he wasn’t crazy.

Scully fills out a report, telling Skinner that Mulder is fit for duty, though she isn’t sure exactly what happened. Someone injected a toxin into Mark, and Pincus, the nurse, and a bunch of employees – all the people described as zombies – have disappeared. Scully knows for sure that there was an “intruder” in Mulder’s room, though she can’t testify for sure that it was, you know, a giant bug.

After the meeting, Scully tells Mulder that she told Skinner the truth, or at least the truth she gathered from all the weird facts. All she can come up with is folie à deux – “a madness shared by two.” She should make that three, because an employee in the Missouri branch of Gary’s company has just heard insect noises…

Thoughts: My recap title comes from a Simpsons Halloween episode in which Homer, like Gary, suspects that his boss is a murderous monster.

Some nice continuity: Mulder’s finger is still bandaged from “The Pine Bluff Variant.”

I know our country’s screwed up, but I can’t imagine that any news outlet would air a man who’s about to commit murder on live TV. The potential FCC fine alone would be a huge deterrent.

No wonder Scully feels like the basement office isn’t hers – only Mulder’s name is on the door.

August 5, 2017

The X-Files 5.18, The Pine Bluff Variant: Lies Within Lies

Posted in TV tagged , at 1:30 pm by Jenn

It’s weird watching a monster have a moral crisis

Summary: Mulder’s out for a run in Folger Park in D.C., as part of some sort of surveillance operation. Scully and Skinner are among the agents keeping their eyes on a man named Jacob Haley, who’s there to meet with someone. Scully sees Haley notice Mulder and warns her partner. Haley then hands an envelope to the person he’s meeting with, who suddenly collapses. Haley calls out for help, then takes off. Mulder runs after him as other agents go to the man who collapsed. Something is eating away his flesh.

The others lose track of Mulder, who doesn’t respond when Scully warns him through an earpiece that Haley is armed. She decides to chase him herself, but when she finds Mulder, she sees him chatting with someone who then drives off. Mulder tells her he lost Haley.

Back at FBI headquarters, Scully watches footage of the surveillance, which seems to show Mulder making contact with Haley. She asks Mulder what really happened. How did 12 agents with eyes on everyone lose Haley?
If Mulder helped him, he was aiding a terrorist. Skinner addresses a joint FBI/CIA taskforce formed to capture Haley, who wants to overthrow the government. His contact from the park, an arms dealer named Cadre, received bearer bonds from Haley, who know has a bunch of weapons.

An agent named Leamus discusses Cadre’s death with Scully – he was killed by a bioweapon that originated in the former Soviet Union. Leamus wonders if this means there’s a toxin in the air at the park. Scully says it’s probably not a problem, and Mulder points out that everyone else at the park is still alive, so Scully must be right.

The agents wonder how Haley was able to escape all the agents watching him. Mulder notes that he has a lot of training. Skinner thinks their next threat is August Bremer, who’s just as dangerous as Haley. Leamus warns everyone to keep the information confidential so the media doesn’t find out about the terrorists they’re pursuing. As the meeting breaks up, Scully tries to approach Mulder, but he ignores her.

In Gables Corner, Ohio, Bremer goes to a small movie theater and buys a ticket for Die Hard With a Vengeance. He asks for fresh popcorn, sending the woman who serves him to a machine in the back. As she works, Bremer puts on gloves and pulls out an aerosol container.

Meanwhile, Scully tails Mulder to the Aaron Burr Motor Court in Angola, Delaware, where he gets a room and accepts a phone call from Haley. Haley accuses Mulder of setting him up, but Mulder claims he was trying to warn Haley about an anonymous tip. Mulder continues that he believes in Haley’s ideals; they’re not as bad as the government’s. He’s risking his job to help Haley, so Haley needs to trust him.

Back in Gables Corner, two teenagers sneak into the movie theater via the back door. They see a gross corpse sitting in one of the seats. In Delaware, Scully demands Mulder’s room number and the name he’s using. “Are you the wife?” the desk clerk asks. “Not even close,” she replies. She heads for Mulder’s room, where he’s getting another call from Haley telling him they’re moving forward as planned. Before Scully can reach him, Mulder leaves in the same car he stopped by at the park.

Scully follows Mulder and his mystery driver, keeping her headlights off so they don’t see her. Another car swerves into her path and cuts her off, making her lose the tail. The car that stopped her is full of men who take her to an office where Skinner and Leamus are waiting to speak to her. They apologize for the way they stopped her, but they think their actions may have saved Mulder’s life.

The men know that Scully’s suspicious that Mulder is betraying his country, but he’s actually on a deep-cover assignment. After he spoke at a UFO conference about his skepticism toward the U.S. government, Haley contacted him, thinking he could be used as a mole. Scully accuses Leamus and Skinner of putting Mulder’s life in danger by not telling her about the assignment. She reminds them that they don’t know anything about the bioweapon. Just then, a man tells the agents that the bioweapon has been used at the Ohio movie theater.

Mulder is taken to a storeroom to meet with Haley. Haley accuses Mulder of setting up surveillance in the park, and has a goon break Mulder’s little finger for not telling the truth. Mulder reminds Haley that he let him go. If he were setting Haley up, he wouldn’t have gotten in the car with his goons, and there would already be agents swarming the storeroom. Haley says there’s a war going on, and Mulder is either on the right side or the wrong side. He holds up an aerosol container and threatens to use it, but Mulder sticks to his claims: He didn’t set Haley up. It must have been one of his own people.

Scully and Skinner go to Ohio to check out the movie theater, which is declared safe. In total, 14 people are dead, and the two teens who snuck in the back are the only survivors. The site is pretty gruesome. Scully notes that, since there were survivors, the toxin probably isn’t airborne, which means everyone who died must have touched something that was infected. She gets an idea when she spots a ticket stub on the floor.

Mulder goes home, where Scully’s waiting for him in the dark. She tells him she knows about his assignment, then takes care of his broken finger. He wonders why the people at the movie theater were killed. Scully thinks he’s being tested. Mulder tells her that Haley let him live because he still needs him. Plus, Haley trusts Bremer even less than he trusts Mulder. The agents don’t realize that Bremer is listening in on their conversation from his car.

Even though it’s the middle of the night, Mulder goes to FBI headquarters, his finger splinted, and meets with Skinner and Leamus. He relays the information that Haley’s group seems to be targeting a bank or armored car next. Leamus is ready with redacted surveillance files to make Haley think Mulder’s telling the truth. Skinner wants to put a tail on Mulder for his next meeting, but Leamus says it’s a bad idea. This means Mulder goes to his next meeting with Haley all alone. “If you don’t hear from me by midnight, feed my fish,” Mulder tells his boss.

Scully meets with a CDC scientist who tells her they found bacteria on Cadre’s bearer bonds, but not on the ticket stub. They still haven’t figured out how the biotoxin was spread at the theater. The bacteria is a strain of especially lethal strep, genetically engineered to survive outside a body. The scientist compares it to scratch-and-sniff technology. He doesn’t think it’s from Russia, since they don’t have this kind of technology.

Mulder takes the redacted surveillance files to Haley, who mutters, “Lies within lies.” He tells Mulder he’s accompanying the group on their next mission. Mulder refuses to put on the hood Haley gives him, but Haley won’t accept that answer. (Mulder, you need to pick your battles with the terrorist, mmkay?)

Scully calls Skinner to fill him in on the bacteria, asking to speak to only him, since Leamus is in the room. She thinks the toxin was created domestically; the Army had a Pine Bluff facility in the ’60s that was working on something similar. She thinks the bioweapons program continued in secret. Mulder could be on a suicide mission. When Skinner gets off the phone, he just tells Leamus that Scully’s concerned for Mulder.

Haley and Mulder join Bremer and the rest of Haley’s group to prepare for whatever terrorist version of Ocean’s 11 they have planned. Bremer asks Mulder if he’s a believer. “I have my beliefs,” Mulder replies. Bremer asks if he’s willing to die for them, and Mulder says he hopes it doesn’t come to that. Bremer gives him a monster mask.

Scully realizes that the bacteria must have been spread through the money at the movie theater. Meanwhile, the terrorists head to a bank in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, disguising themselves with monster masks. They gain entry by hiding out in an armored car, pretending to make a delivery. They give themselves three minutes to get access to the vault. One of the tellers moves to hit a panic button, so Mulder offers to keep an eye on him. One of the terrorists shoots the teller, and Mulder is ordered to finish him off.

Mulder hesitates, but Haley keeps pushing him to act even as the others lose interest when the vault is opened. The terrorists gather a few bags of money and spray the rest with aerosol canisters. Just as Mulder has to make a decision whether or not to shoot an innocent man, a terrorist stops him, saying his weapon is traceable. He shoots the teller himself, then ushers all the terrorists out of the bank.

The terrorists burn their masks, and Bremer adds the stolen money to the fire. Mulder realizes that the heist was just a decoy so they could contaminate the rest of the money in the vault. Bremer says they’re done testing Mulder, and he’s been very helpful, but it’s time for him to die. Haley stops Bremer, saying it’s too late to try to protect his secret, since Haley already knows it: Thanks to an alias used in the surveillance files, Haley knows that Bremer’s the mole. In response, Bremer exposes Mulder as a double agent, playing a recording of his conversation with Scully.

Scully finds Skinner and Leamus to tell them they need to get Mulder out of there ASAP. She knows the money is contaminated. Unfortunately, there were a bunch of bank robberies that morning, and the agents don’t know which one Mulder was part of. Scully looks at a few surveillance screens, trying to recognize her disguised partner.

Bremer has Haley and Mulder lined up for execution, but he gives Haley his keys and allows him to leave. Mulder quips his way to the site of his potential death, because he’s certainly not going to start being serious now. He kneels and waits for a bullet to end his life, but when the shot comes, it’s a goon who’s killed. Bremer sends Mulder away, knowing that “they” will kill both of them if he doesn’t leave.

Mulder goes back to the bank, where Scully tells him they’ve already taken care of things. She was able to figure out which bank he went to from the surveillance footage – she saw the splint on his finger. Mulder tells Skinner that Bremer is on their side. But Scully tells him that the biotoxin may have been created by the U.S. government, so the whole operation could have been a setup.

Leamus joins the group to deny that the government would use its own citizens for something like this. Scully thinks he knew what was really going on the whole time. Mulder wants the money to be rechecked – it’s as dirty as Leamus is. Leamus asks what Mulder would want to see happen if he blew the whistle. Wouldn’t he do the same thing Haley’s group wants to do? Mulder says he just wants people to know the truth. Leamus replies that sometimes the government’s job is the keep people from learning the truth.

Meanwhile, Haley’s getaway car doesn’t take him very far – at some point, it pulls off a quiet, secluded road, the horn blaring. Haley’s dead, his head pressed to the horn, his skin being eaten away by the biotoxin. He probably should have made sure he was wearing gloves when he took his keys back from Bremer.

Thoughts: Leamus is played by Sam Anderson, who I’ve seen in a bunch of things but will always think of as Bernard from Lost. Haley is played by the late Daniel von Bargen. The movie theater employee is played by Kate Braidwood, daughter of Tom Braidwood, AKA Frohike.

Angry, broken-fingered, death-threat-shouting Mulder is kind of hot. Okay, I’ll see myself out.

Oh, the Russians don’t have the technology for this kind of biotoxin? Are you sure they’d tell you if they did?

July 29, 2017

The X-Files 5.17, All Souls: I’m No Angel

Posted in TV tagged at 1:29 pm by Jenn

“Thanks for taking 16 years to get me out of my crappy life, God”

Summary: A priest goes to a family’s house to baptize a teenage girl named Dara who appears to be both physically and mentally disabled. That night, Dara, who previously used a wheelchair, walks out of the house into a rainstorm. Her father rushes outside as she approaches a man who disappears in a flash of light. When Dara’s father reaches her, her eyes have been burned away. The camera guy tries to make a point by showing us a utility pole shaped like a cross.

At St. John’s Church in Alexandria, Virginia, Scully sneaks a glance at a picture of Emily before going into the confessional for the first time in months. She tells the priest that she always tries to save people and obey the lie, but now her work and her faith aren’t quite meshing. At Easter services the previous week, Father McCue, the Scullys’ priest, asked her to help a family. He thinks working with them might help her come to terms with her grief over Emily. Scully cries as she asks the priest for forgiveness – “an innocent girl is dead because of me.” She thinks she could have saved Emily.

We flash back to the previous week, when Father McCue tells Scully about the Kernoffs, Dara’s family. It seems she didn’t survive the night of her miraculous recovery. He thinks Scully can use her personal experiences to help comfort them, since their faith isn’t helping much. So Scully meets the Kernoffs, learning that Dara was adopted six years ago. Mrs. Kernoff believes that, since Dara was baptized, she’s in Heaven, but Mr. Kernoff is angry over the loss of his daughter.

The police think Dara was struck by lightning, but Mrs. Kernoff is more interested in how she left the house, since she’s never been able to walk. Mr. Kernoff thinks she was on her knees when he found her because she was praying. Mrs. Kernoff can’t understand how God would do something like this to a girl who turned to Him.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt led to help the Kernoffs because she also lost a daughter. But she’s a scientist, and in this instance she couldn’t look to evidence for answers. In the past, she meets with a medical examiner who says she can’t say for sure that Dara was struck by lightning. The ME hasn’t been to church since she was a child, but she went last Sunday because of this case.

She shows Scully photos of Dara showing that she once had surgery to remove extra fingers. She had no other signs of trauma. “It’s as if God Himself struck her down,” the ME says. Scully thinks they should find out more about Dara’s birth mother, and she wants to do it herself.

Meanwhile, a priest goes to a psychiatric hospital to see a patient named Paula who can’t walk and who has extra fingers. (Well, he dresses like a priest, but the cross hanging from his rearview mirror is upside-down, which isn’t exactly Catholic.) Father Gregory wants to adopt Paula, but her social worker, Aaron Starkey, puts a halt on the proceedings since he’s new to the case and wants to familiarize himself with it first.

Scully studies the pictures of Dara some more, then looks at her photo of Emily. Mulder calls and she asks him to get Dara’s birth and adoption records. By the way, this will be off the books. Mulder rushes off, saying he’s pursuing a suspect, but he’s actually on his way to a porno. Stay classy, Mulder. Back at the psychiatric hospital, Paula – who looks just like Dara – gets a visit from a man who glows, illuminating what look like angel’s wings.

Paula is found dead the next morning, in the same state as Dara. Scully sees a cross hanging upside-down on her wall. Mulder arrives, starting to piece together what Scully’s been working on. He gives her Dara’s birth records but can’t get her adoption records, since they’re sealed. Scully guesses that Dara and Paula were twins. Mulder corrects her – Dara was one of a set of quadruplets. They wonder who turned Paula’s cross upside-down, which would be seen as an act of sacrilege.

Scully catches Mulder up on the case, and he predicts that they’re looking for a religion-obsessed killer. Aaron joins them and says he doesn’t think the cross was Paula’s. He mentions that she was about to be adopted by Father Gregory. Mulder and Scully visit his church, finding upside-down crosses and a book of scripture that isn’t entirely canonical. A girl watches them from what appears to be a closet.

Father Gregory seems upset to hear that Paula has died, and defensive when he thinks they might be accusing him of something. He says he wanted to adopt Paula to protect her. He also knew her mother. Scully asks for her name, since the other two quadruplets might be in danger. Father Gregory says the girls’ mother died in childbirth, and he can’t give her name; he was her confessor, and that would violate her privacy.

Mulder asks what Father Gregory wanted to protect Paula from. Father Gregory starts talking about a struggle for all souls between good and evil, and they need to stay out of it to protect themselves, as well as the lives of the “messengers.” He’s done talking to them.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt like Father Gregory was talking only to her, speaking a language only she could understand. The priest seizes on the word “messengers.” In the past, Mulder tells Scully that Father Gregory is probably their guy – he thinks he’s doing God’s work. Mulder believes that the girls’ mother is still alive. Scully tries to confirm that Mulder is saying they’re not dealing with anything supernatural. She brings up Dara’s baptism, but Mulder thinks it’s just a coincidence. God may have His reasons for things, but there are also crazy people who think they’re doing His work.

Scully performs Paula’s autopsy and finds masses on her shoulders. She turns away to look at x-rays, and when she turns back to the body, she sees Emily instead of Paula. “Mommy, please,” Emily pleads with her. Scully breaks down into tears, turning away, and when she looks at the body again, it’s Paula. In the present, Scully tells the priest that she tried to convince herself that she was just imagining things because she was distressed, but now she thinks she was “meant to see Emily.” She was supposed to save the two remaining girls.

In the past, Mulder calls Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) to tell her that he and Aaron found a third sister in D.C. She walked into a teen center, which means she’s not in the same physical or mental condition as Paula and Dara – or at least not yet. Scully tells Mulder that Paula shows evidence of having a progressive bone disease…one that seems to show wings. Mulder quips that maybe the third sister flew into the teen center. Scully wants to say more, but Mulder tells her to wait. He’s just seen Father Gregory’s car outside an abandoned church.

A girl stumbles through the church, putting up her hands like Dara and Paula when she sees a man approaching her. Mulder finds Father Gregory, who tells him that they’re too late – the girl is already dead. He’s right, and a third sister has died just like Paula and Dara.

Mulder takes a praying Father Gregory in for questioning, asking him what he’s praying about. Father Gregory says he’s praying for the girls’ souls. He accuses Mulder of making a mockery of his faith; he’s not interested in the truth. (This leads to one of my favorite reaction shots of Mulder.) Mulder wonders if Father Gregory burned out the girls’ eyes because they saw him for who he is, like Mulder does now.

When asked about the upside-down cross, Father Gregory lets Scully answer. She says it’s to symbolize St. Peter’s death – he insisted on being crucified upside-down out of humility. Father Gregory insists that he’s risked his life to save the girls from the devil. As the agents are called into the hallway, Father Gregory addresses Scully, saying he knows she’s guessed who the girls are. They need to save the fourth girl, or “his victory will be complete.” They need to let him go so he can protect her.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she didn’t tell Mulder what was going on. She felt like it was her job to save the fourth girl. The priest guesses that Scully didn’t believe Father Gregory about the devil being the treat to the girls’ lives. She confirms this, but says that she does believe Father Gregory was trying to help them.

The fourth girl, Roberta Dyer, has been located, though her life hasn’t been that great, as her father was investigated multiple times for child abuse. Scully reminds Mulder that Father Gregory called the girls messengers; she thinks he can help them save Roberta. Mulder scoffs at this, saying that Scully’s being manipulated. It scares him because he doesn’t understand why. She tells him that she had a vision of Emily, and he tells her she needs to leave the case. Her personal experiences are clouding her judgment.

Scully sends Mulder to find Roberta while she wraps things up with Father Gregory. But Aaron gets there first, asking Father Gregory where Roberta is. Father Gregory knows that Aaron is the killer, so there’s no way he’ll tell him. But Aaron appears to be the devil, and he makes Father Gregory’s hands burn, causing him to drop his cross.

Mulder and a team of officers go to the Dyers’ house, but Roberta’s father isn’t very cooperative. The basement door is locked, and he claims he doesn’t have the key. Mulder finds Roberta’s room, the conditions of which would have her immediately removed from the house if CPS actually bothered to look at it. Mr. Dyer laments that his checks will probably stop coming now. He was told that Father Gregory would take care of Roberta, but Mr. Dyer could keep collecting her disability checks.

As Scully leaves the police station, having trouble with her car keys, Mulder calls (“Scully, it’s me”). She tells him Father Gregory is dead, but no one can figure out what happened. Mulder tells her that they don’t know where Roberta is. Scully drops her keys, then sees a man approaching her. She looks up to see a man glowing, his face changing to the faces of different animals – a lion, a bull, and an eagle.

Scully goes to see Father McCue, who’s relieved that the FBI found the man who killed the quadruplets. Scully admits that the things she’s seen have made her wonder if there are “larger forces at work here.” She doesn’t think her visions of Emily are just due to the case. She tells Father McCue about the man with the four faces, and he shows her a picture of a seraphim, a four-faced angel.

Story time! An angel descended from Heaven and fathered four children, the nephilim, with a mortal woman. The children have angels’ souls but are “deformed” and “tormented” because they weren’t meant to exist. God sends the seraphim to retrieve the girls and protect them from the devil. If one looks at the seraphim, he or she gives up his or her soul to Heaven. But Father McCue doesn’t think that’s what happened with Scully – it’s just a story from a non-canonical text.

Scully asks Father McCue if he believes God has His reasons. Father McCue says yes – “it’s how God rewards our faith.” As Scully leaves the church, Aaron tells her that Mulder’s been trying to reach her. He found Roberta, and she’s at Father Gregory’s church. Aaron takes Scully to an empty building, where she sees horns on the head of his shadow. She heads upstairs as Aaron insists that Roberta is there. Indeed, she is, hiding, and Scully promises to protect her.

As Scully is leading the girl to safety, a bright light appears. Roberta starts to go toward it, but Scully tells her to stay. Roberta turns into Emily, who asks Scully to let her go. Aaron tells Scully to save the girl from the light, but instead, Scully lets her go. Emily walks to the light, and Scully closes her eyes so she doesn’t have to witness losing her daughter again. When the light goes out, Emily and Aaron are gone, and Roberta is dead.

In the present, Scully tells the priest that she felt like she was releasing Emily’s soul to Heaven, but she’s still struggling to accept Emily’s death. The priest asks if Scully is sure that there’s life after death. Maybe this experience is meant to help her believe that. Can she accept her loss? Scully replies that maybe that’s what faith is.

Thoughts: There’s a song I’ve never heard of by a band I’ve never heard of (Technology vs. Horse) named after this episode. It’s called “That Episode of the X-Files Where Mulder and Scully Find the Little Girls with Their Eyes Burnt Out Because of Angels.” Apparently there’s no actual reference to the episode in the song.

This episode is so full of holes. What happened to the girls’ mother? Why weren’t they pursued until they were 16? Where was Dara before she was adopted? Why were some of the girls in worse physical/mental shape than the others. Whatever, this episode was dumb.

I’m also going to assume that the reason CPS never took Roberta out of her home was because her case worker was Aaron, because no one else could suck that much at doing his or her job.

July 22, 2017

The X-Files 5.16, Mind’s Eye: Do You See What I See?

Posted in TV tagged at 1:14 pm by Jenn

I’m just glad Pennock didn’t end up dead or turn out to be a co-conspirator

Summary: It’s evening in the Southbridge District of Wilmington, Delaware, and a woman is arriving home with a bag of groceries. She lights a cigarette off of her stove and sits down to watch TV. Suddenly she sees an angry man in front of her, then a briefcase of drugs. At the Paradise Motel a few hours later, police find the woman hiding in a bathtub, holding something covered in blood. When they arrest her, they realize she’s blind.

The case goes to Mulder and Scully, who will work it with a detective named Pennock. The man the woman saw was a drug dealer, Paco Ordoñez, and he’s now dead. The woman, Marty Glenn, was arrested after being found cleaning up the crime scene. Despite being blind since birth, she has a long rap sheet, including two drug busts as a minor. That could be her connection to Paco. Pennock’s working on a theory that Marty has a kind of sixth sense that allows her to see despite being blind. He has 24 hours to build a case.

Mulder’s eager to meet Mulder, so Pennock takes him and Scully to her cell. Scully wonders why Marty hasn’t asked for a lawyer. Marty doesn’t think she needs one, but Scully notes that she hasn’t explained why she was in Paco’s motel room. Marty won’t answer when Scully asks if she went to buy drugs, and she knows the cause of death, so things aren’t looking great for her. However, she also knows that the murder weapon hasn’t been found. She jokingly tells Pennock that she fed it to her seeing-eye dog.

Mulder wants to know why Marty was cleaning up the scene, and why she was doing such a bad job at it. He thinks she’s covering for the real killer. Marty tells him to go to Hell, so yeah, this investigation is going great. Pennock thinks that Marty’s capable of murder and is taunting Mulder. Mulder disagrees – she’s posturing, trying to make them think she’s independent and strong. Pennock doesn’t think an innocent woman would act like this. Scully knows they can’t pin this on her without the murder weapon.

Scully goes to the crime scene with Pennock while Mulder has Marty undergo a lie-detector test. The test spikes when Marty’s asked if she’s ever seen Paco before, but the tech giving the test realizes what he said and retracts the question. Mulder, however, notices the spike and asks if Marty saw the murder. The test spikes again even as Marty says she never sees anything.

Mulder calls Scully to tell her he thinks Marty knew Paco but didn’t kill him. Scully dryly asks if they’re dealing with a case of echolocation. She finds a slot in the bathroom wall meant for razor-blade disposal and looks inside for the murder weapon. Instead, she finds a pair of gloves. Back at the police station, Marty has a vision of a woman in a bar and demands to use a phone. She calls the bar and asks to speak to a man hitting on a woman there. As she warns the man to leave the woman alone, the woman is able to leave unharmed. “I’m watching you,” Marty warns the man.

Scully and Pennock present the gloves to Marty, who of course makes an O.J. Simpson joke. Her fingerprints are all over them, so the detective and agents don’t have a problem letting her try them on. She does, and they fit, but Marty knows that’s not enough for a conviction. Plus, they’re running out of time to build a case against her. Mulder tells Scully that Marty has never taken advantage of disability benefits. He thinks this shows pride. Scully says that doesn’t explain why she hid the gloves with her fingerprints on them. Did she try to cover for the real killer? Scully brings up the obvious explanation: Marty isn’t really blind, possibly because of a conversion disorder.

The man from the bar chats on a phone at a bus terminal, then stashes a briefcase in a locker. The agents have Marty undergo tests, but it seems she really is blind. Mulder sees her pupil dilate, then contract. Marty’s having a vision of a woman being approached at the bar she saw before.

Pennock introduces the agents to ADA Daniel Costa, who confirms that they don’t have enough to charge Marty with murder. Mulder wants to find out more about what just happened with Marty’s pupil, but Costa knows they can’t draw a line from that to the murder. They have to let Marty go.

Pennock finds two types of blood on the gloves, one belonging to Marty. As the agents watch Marty leave the police station, Mulder asks Scully if she really things a woman who needs a cane to get around is capable of murder. Out on the street, Marty has a vision of the man from the bar confronting a woman, asking if she’s the one who called him at the bar. He wants to know if she’s a cop. Marty sees the man pull a knife and takes off for the alley where the man and woman are fighting, getting some help from a man on the street. But when she gets to the alley, the woman is already dead.

Marty returns to the police station, this time voluntarily, and announces, “I killed them both,” showing off the blood on her hands. Mulder’s confused as to why she suddenly wants to confess. He doesn’t think Marty even knew the dead woman, Susan. Marty doesn’t want to answer any questions, but Mulder says he thinks she’s innocent. She witnessed the murderers somehow, but she was nowhere near the scenes. He thinks she tried to stop them. Mulder wants Marty to help the police prevent more murders from happening, but Marty’s done cooperating. Mulder asks who she’s willing to go to prison for. He refuses to let her pay for someone else’s crimes.

The man from the bar talks to his contact on the phone again, learning that their deal, whatever it was, is off. The contact got a call from a woman, someone he thinks was the man’s old girlfriend, warning him to stay away. The man pleads to keep the deal in place, since he has no other place to “take this stuff.” The contact says that’s not his problem anymore.

Mulder reads up on a case from 1970 as Pennock arrives to tell him that Marty signed a confession. Mulder thinks Pennock should be more concerned with the fact that Marty had no motive. But Pennock says that Marty told them it was about drugs, and where they could find them. Mulder accompanies him to the bus terminal, where the find the briefcase the man stashed in a locker. Pennock teases that Mulder is skeptical when he says this doesn’t mean Marty’s the killer.

Scully calls to tell Mulder that the blood on the gloves didn’t belong to Marty after all. Mulder thinks they need to talk to Marty and convince her to retract her confession. The man from the bar watches from a distance as Pennock leaves with his briefcase of drugs, then heads off after him.

Mulder goes to Marty’s cell to tell her he’s cracked the case – she’s protecting her mother’s murderer. Back in 1970, Marty’s mother was stabbed in the same manner Paco and Susan were killed. She was pregnant with Marty at the time, and Marty was delivered as her mother died. The lack of blood flow from her mother may have caused her blindness. Mulder thinks that when she lost her sight, she developed some sort of connection to her mother’s killer – she’s able to see through his eyes.

Mulder also thinks that Marty feels responsible for the killer’s crimes because she’s unable to stop them. He vows to find the real killer, whether or not Marty helps. As Marty is transferred to another facility, she tells Mulder she’s sorry. Pennock and another officer accompany Marty to a prison van, and she has a vision…of herself. The killer is watching from nearby.

Not long after Marty’s settled into a women’s prison, Mulder visits to tell her she’s being released, as the charges against her have been dropped. Everyone knows her confession was a lie. They got the killer’s fingerprints from the bus locker and have identified him as Charles Wesley Gotts. He was paroled from prison just a few weeks ago, and went missing not long after. They found his blood on the gloves, and testing the blood led to a bigger revelation: Gotts is Marty’s father.

Pennock joins the two, and Mulder tells Marty that they won’t charge her with aiding and abetting if she helps them find Gotts. Mulder knows that Marty would welcome the end of all her visions. She asks for protection, and Pennock promises he’ll guarantee her safety himself. The agents set up a sting at the bar, but Scully’s surprised that Marty is suddenly willing to help. Mulder thinks she always believed she would have to live her whole life with the visions; now that she knows they could end, she wants to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

As the agents are about to go inside, Mulder stops. Everything’s about to change for Marty, and he doesn’t think Gotts will be in the bar. Pennock takes Marty to her apartment to pack some of her things to take to protective custody. She informs him that Gotts is there, and has been watching Pennock for about a day. Now he knows where Marty lives. She knocks Pennock out and takes his gun, then goes downstairs to confront her father.

Mulder tries to call Pennock, telling Scully that Marty’s protecting herself, not Gotts. She doesn’t want to go back to prison, and this is the first time she’s had a choice in what happens to her. Gotts goes to Marty’s apartment and finds Pennock unconscious. Marty hears him open a switchblade and waits as Gotts searches the apartment. Thanks to her visions, she’s able to see him coming. “I hate the way you see me,” she says just before she shoots him. When the agents make it upstairs, they find Pennock arresting Marty for a murder they can be 100 percent sure she committed.

Sometime later, after she’s sentenced, Mulder visits Marty in lockup once again. She’s at least a little grateful for her visions, since now she knows what the ocean looks like. Mulder jokes that she’s lucky Gotts never went to the ice capades. It’s time for lights out, but obviously having her living space darkened doesn’t affect Marty. This is where she’ll be from now on.

Thoughts: Marty is played by Lili Taylor.

Will there ever be a crime show featuring gloves that doesn’t reference O.J.? I’m going to guess…no.

Mulder pulls a Riker maneuver in an interrogation room. Whatever, Mulder. Marty can’t see you. You did that just to amuse yourself.

July 15, 2017

The X-Files 5.15, Travelers: Patriot Games

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

Mulder is probably getting a glimpse of his future here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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