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.

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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.

July 8, 2017

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

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

Whoever’s responsible for this shot: Excellent work

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A fun exchange:

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

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

July 1, 2017

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

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

He could do better. Her…probably not

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 17, 2016

The X-Files 4.9, Terma: In Soviet Russia, Oil Changes You

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

I don't know about you guys but I look at my co-workers like this all the time

I don’t know about you guys but I look at my co-workers like this all the time

Summary: At a convalescent home in Boca Raton, Florida, someone’s Auntie Janet is summoned to be euthanized in the back of someone’s van. But something goes wrong and fluids start leaking out of her. Over in Russia, a man in St. Petersburg named Vassily Peskow gets a late-night message from someone in Krasnoyarsk. Vassily says he’s retired, but the messenger delivers a letter and a verbal message from a Comrade Arntzen anyway: “The Cold War isn’t over.”

Mulder is back in his cell in the gulag, unable to remember being returned there. His neighbor tells him he was exposed to the “black cancer” that comes from the rock. The neighbor was a geologist and was present when the first rock fragments were uncovered. He tells Mulder that hundreds of men have died in the gulag, and the search for a cure is taking a long time. Mulder wonders if the tests being performed are attempts to find that cure.

He asks after Krycek, who the neighbor thinks is buddies with the guards now. Mulder decides that the possibility of one day killing Krycek is a good motivation to survive. The neighbor gives him a shiv he once made to kill himself, saying he’d rather take hope from the rock than die – if the black oil could survive “against all odds,” the men can survive, too.

In Maryland, Dr. Sacks is still unconscious. Scully and another doctor scan him and find a nest of wormy organisms next to his pineal gland. Vassily is now in the U.S., surprising a woman named Dr. Charne-Sayre on a horse farm in Charlottesville, Virginia. (She appears to be the woman who was riding a horse in “Tunguska.”) He says he’s there to see her, but he’s really there to strangle her.

Skinner tracks down Scully at her apartment, demanding answers about the pouch and Krycek. He’s annoyed that he’s going into the subcommittee hearing the next day not knowing what to say. Scully can only tell him they’re dealing with a biohazardous organism; they haven’t found out anything else.

Skinner, however, has learned that the pouch was supposed to be delivered to Dr. Charne-Sayre. Scully recognizes her as an expert on variola viruses – in other words, smallpox. Charne-Sayre thinks the remaining stores of the virus in the U.S. and Russia. Skinner reveals that Charne-Sayre was killed earlier that night, supposedly in a riding accident.

In the gulag, Mulder and a bunch of other men are taken outside. He meets his neighbor, who points out that Krycek is now on such good terms with the guards that he even hugs one. Mulder runs up to Krycek, knocks him out, and drives off with him in the back of a delivery truck. Guards on horseback go after them, but their horses aren’t fast enough. The truck’s brakes are bad, so Mulder has a hard time controlling the truck. Krycek jumps out the back just before Mulder crashes the truck and rolls it down a hill.

WMM summons CSM to Charne-Sayre’s farm, wanting him to look into the doctor’s death. CSM asks if WMM was sleeping with Charne-Sayre, a foolish mistake that could compromise their work. WMM just orders CSM to find her killer. CSM tells WMM to end the congressional investigation, but WMM says he can’t. However, Sorenson is an honorable man: “They’re all honorable men.” CSM mentions that Mulder was captured in Russia, then escaped. “Wake the Russian bear and it may find we’ve stolen its honey,” he says.

Speaking of Mulder, he’s not in the truck when the guards find it. Krycek is trying to find his way through the woods when he comes across a group of men. They don’t believe his story that he escaped from the gulag. He tells them he’s American and was falsely accused of smiling. The men decide that they have the same enemy, so he’s safe with them. Mulder, meanwhile, has hidden himself under leaves, and the guards can’t find him.

We’re back at the beginning of “Tunguska,” with Scully beginning her testimony at the hearing. Sorenson receives a message while she makes her opening statement. He threatens here with contempt of Congress if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is. Cut to Scully being escorted to a cell for not revealing where her partner is.

The man whose truck Mulder stole finds him in the leaves and takes him home so his wife can tend to him. She finds a puncture wound on his arm and realizes he was subjected to “the test.” She explains that her husband only made deliveries at the gulag and is afraid of the men who run it. Mulder doesn’t want the guards to find him with these innocent people, so he decides to leave.

The wife calls in her son, who only has one arm, which means he can’t be given the test. Mulder says that the smallpox scar on the wife’s arm is a form of identification. He offers to help the family escape if they can help him get to St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, it’s too late. But the men who’ve taken in Krycek have the same solution as this family, surprising him in the middle of the night to cut off his arm.

Scully spends her time in lockup reading Charne-Sayres’ work on smallpox. Skinner visits to question her insistence on keeping quiet, but Scully says there’s more going on. The subcommittee is focused on finding Mulder instead of the fact that Charne-Sayres is dead and Sacks has been infected with whatever was in the pouch being sent to her. Since a lot of men on the subcommittee are lawyers, Scully thinks they’re asking the wrong question on purpose – they don’t want the answer to the right one.

Skinner thinks they’re looking for Mulder because he has the right answers. Scully points out that they might want to keep him from finding those answers. She wants to believe that the men on the subcommittee think they’re doing the right thing, but in this case, she needs to align herself with Mulder. Meanwhile, Vassily visits Sacks and injects him with something that makes black oil leak out of him.

CSM tells WMM that he’s tied Charne-Sayre’s murder to Vassily. WMM is stunned that anyone outside of him, CSM, and four other people knew about their project. He’s sure that Charne-Sayre never told anyone. He orders CSM to find Vassily, but CSM thinks someone else is going to take care of that for them.

Scully returns to the hearing the next day, but she still won’t reveal Mulder’s whereabouts. She thinks it’s much more important to talk about the pouchless man and Charne-Sayre’s deaths. Sorenson demands an answer, but Scully doesn’t need to give one: Mulder’s there. Scully announces that Charne-Sayre must have known something about the origins of the biohazardous organism, and that may have been linked to the death of the pouchless man.

Skinner interrupts to tell Scully that Sacks is dead and the pouch contents are gone. The hearing goes to recess, and Mulder and Scully reunite with a hug. Skinner interrupts AGAIN to get them back on topic. Scully asks Skinner to send her and Mulder to Boca Raton; if they’re not back for the next hearing session, he’ll need to stall the subcommittee. He approves the trip but warns that he can’t help if the agents aren’t back for the next session.

Scully explains to Mulder that Charne-Sayre was a doctor at some convalescent homes in Boca Raton, and one of her patients recently died. Vassily has followed the same thread and is now at one of the homes, swapping out some pills. When the agents arrive, they find one man dead and a woman leaking black oil. Mulder realizes that the patients are test subjects who’ve been poisoned. Scully calls for a quarantine and has the home sealed. Vassily’s still in the home, having hidden in a bed like a patient.

I guess the quarantine doesn’t apply to the agents, since they go to a prison to talk to a man named Terry Mayhew. He was one of the militia members Krycek set up in “Tunguska,” though he wasn’t going by Krycek – he used the name Arntzen. Mulder wants to know how Krycek and Mayhew met. Mayhew says Krycek wanted to build two “devices,” and he talked about the “black cancer.” The U.S. government knew about the oil and didn’t have a cure or inoculation for it.

Mulder asks about the second bomb, since the Feds stopped the militia from building the first one. It takes a threat of violence, but Mayhew reveals that they stored the second bomb in Terma, North Dakota. Mulder has Scully start a search for stolen trucks and make sure the bomb can’t be taken to Canada. He thinks someone used Krycek, who then used the agents, all so the U.S. couldn’t get its hands on the rock. The agents figure that they would want to put it back in the ground.

Vassily transports a rental truck full of fertilizer (for his tomatoes, eh?) into Canada while Mulder and Scully take a helicopter to Terma. Mulder sends Scully to a refinery to hunt down the truck while he checks out Vassily’s. He can’t get in, but he sees a big pipe nearby. Vassily spots Scully arriving at the refinery while Mulder reaches into the pipe. Before he can reach what’s inside, an oil derrick starts spouting oil. Mulder has just a few seconds to run before it explodes, destroying whatever he was reaching for.

Scully’s close enough to see the explosion, but Vassily grabs her before she can go looking for her partner. He grabs her gun but tells her he’d rather not kill her if she doesn’t make him; his work is done. He lets her go, so she heads to the field to help Mulder. Whatever they were trying to get, it’s definitely gone.

The agents make it back for the next hearing, but all Scully can tell the subcommittee is that a bunch of people are dead, Krycek is missing and might also be dead, and the contents of the pouch are still gone. However, she thinks the biotoxin that killed Sacks is extraterrestrial.

Sorenson scoffs, which makes Mulder mad. Scientific journalists want to explore other planets, and there’s proof on Earth of life on other planets. The whole committee should be held in contempt for ignoring the evidence. The hearing is recessed, and CSM, who was sitting in the back, leaves before anyone can see him.

In St. Petersburg, Vassily gets a visit from the person who gave him his orders to kill Charne-Sayre. It’s Krycek, and he’s pleased with Vassily’s work. Also, he has a brand-new accessory to show off: a prosthetic hand. In the U.S., Sorenson gives CSM all the evidence the agents presented at the hearing, and CSM tosses it all in a trash can, probably planning to burn it all with his cigarette.

Thoughts: Hey, Sorenson? It’s not Ms. Scully. It’s Agent Scully or Dr. Scully. Show some respect, huh?

NASA’s security is pretty awful if Vassily was able to get access to Sacks and inject him without anyone noticing.

God help me but after days of torture, travel, and what I imagine was some really subpar gruel and borscht, Mulder looks hot.

December 10, 2016

The X-Files 4.8, Tunguska: From Russia With Bacteria

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

I bet Mulder made Krycek wear a hat so he didn't have to look at that dumb haircut anymore

I bet Mulder made Krycek wear a hat so he didn’t have to look at that dumb haircut anymore

Summary: Scully’s being sworn in for a hearing in front of the Senate Select Subcommittee on Intelligence and Terrorism. She reads a prepared statement about how she joined the FBI because she believes in the country, but now she knows there are powerful men who don’t follow the rules. The chairman interrupts her to remind her that the hearing is about Mulder’s whereabouts. Scully declines to answer whether she knows where he is, saying that she could endanger Mulder’s life.

CSM looks on as Scully finishes her statement, which says that she can no longer do her job because of a “culture of lawlessness.” The men in power are behind the crimes being investigated; they’re the ones who should be testifying. The committee chair warns Scully that if she doesn’t tell them where Mulder is, she’ll be held in contempt of Congress.

Ten days earlier, a man with a briefcase goes through customs at the Honolulu airport, having returned to the States from Japan and Georgia. He’s sent for a “random check,” though he argues that his diplomatic visa and connecting flight should get him out of it. When asked to open the briefcase, the man says he doesn’t have the combination. His reward is a full body-cavity search.

Someone gets the briefcase open and demands the paperwork. The man cautions that the cylinders inside the briefcase contain biohazardous materials, like, maybe put that on the cylinders so people don’t start messing around with them? A cylinder gets dropped, releasing our old friend, the black oil. The man demands to be let out of the room while the employee who just infected himself starts to spasm.

In Queens, Mulder and Scully are on a stakeout with team hoping to take down a potential Timothy McVeigh-type terrorist. There’s a firefight at a warehouse, and the terrorist tries to escape in a rental truck. Mulder and Scully catch him, and he gives himself up before Mulder has to shoot him. Mulder still chooses to attack him, though, since it’s another one of our old friends: Krycek.

Krycek claims that he ratted out the terrorists and handed the bust over to the agents. So I guess he’s a good guy now. He tells the agents that the terrorists found him in North Dakota and “liberated [him] on a salvage hunt.” Mulder thinks Krycek’s as scummy as the terrorists. Krycek says he has the same goal as the agents: find the men who killed Melissa and Bill, and who tried to kill him.

Krycek knows there’s no way to bring them to justice, so they need to be exposed: “Destroy the destroyers’ ability to destroy.” Mulder brings up the T word, but Krycek scoffs that the truth doesn’t exist – the bad guys make it up as they go. Mulder says he won’t help, but Krycek hints that there are more bombs being built for more nefarious purposes.

The agents escort Krycek to Dulles Airport to intercept someone returning to the country from Russia. When Scully approaches the man, he runs. Mulder handcuffs Krycek to something so he and Scully can run after the man. They chase him to the tarmac and lose him, though he leaves behind the diplomatic pouch he was carrying. The agents are annoyed to see that it just contains a rock. “What did you get for Halloween, Charlie Brown?” Mulder quips.

Mulder takes Krycek to Skinner’s home in Crystal City to get authorization for a safehouse. Skinner says Krycek will be safe there, though not from Skinner himself, as he gets in a good gut punch. He handcuffs Krycek to his balcony and tells him to “think warm thoughts.”

The agents take the rock to NASA in Greenbelt, Maryland, and a Dr. Sacks tells them it contains the same substances that have been found in meteorite fragments in Antarctica. Translation: The rock could be four billion years old and/or from Mars. After a pause, Mulder asks if it’s valuable. Sacks says no, though it could contain alien bacteria, which is pretty important. The agents ask him to analyze it.

Skinner leaves Krycek home alone for the day, soon running into CSM. He tells Skinner that the pouch the agents intercepted (which Skinner claims not to know about) is causing some problems in diplomatic circles. Even after the threat of being punished under the country’s treason laws, Skinner won’t tell CSM anything about how the agents knew the pouch was important. CSM warns that “wars have broken out over far less.”

The now-pouchless man sneaks into Skinner’s apartment, unaware that Krycek is there, thanks to Krycek having dangled himself over the balcony to hide. He grabs the man and pulls him over to his death. Meanwhile, in Mulder and Scully’s office, they discuss the fact that someone brought a pouch containing toxic soil into Hawaii a couple nights earlier. Mulder thinks Krycek’s intel is for real and he really wants to expose the same people they do. Scully’s worried that Mulder will go too far for her to follow.

Sacks drills into the rock, which sprays black oil on his protective suit. He’s stunned to see the oil turn into what look like leeches. Skinner calls the agents to let them know that the police are at his building, investigating the pouchless man’s death. Mulder heads over to see him, sending Scully to talk to Sacks about the rock. As Mulder enters Skinner’s building without anyone noticing, the police tell Skinner that someone reported a man hanging from his balcony.

Mulder retrieves Krycek, who’s amused by the situation and can’t wait to see how Mulder handles it. Out of actual insults, Mulder tells Krycek his haircut is dumb. Krycek confirms that the dead man is the one from the airport, then tells Mulder to worry more about the pouch. Just then Scully calls (“Mulder, it’s me”) to tell Mulder that Sacks is catatonic, thanks to whatever’s in the rock.

Mulder goes to New York to ask Marita about the Russian pouch. She does some asking around and finds out that it originated in a place called Krasnoyarsk. Mulder recognizes this name, saying it’s near Tunguska. Marita offers to get him some diplomatic credentials and make his journey to Russia a little smoother. She believes in his mission and wants to help.

Sometime later, Mulder returns to Krycek, who’s been handcuffed in Mulder’s car this whole time. He’s annoyed that Mulder’s still keeping him in the dark. Mulder’s annoyed with Krycek’s face. Back in Maryland, Scully and Pendrell put on protective suits to find out what’s going on with Sacks and the rock. Even though Sacks doesn’t seem to be breathing, he’s alive.

Mulder goes to the airport, telling Krycek he’s leaving him in the car but will send Scully to check on him in a week or so. Krycek lets out a stream of bad words in Russian, which brings Mulder back to the car. Krycek reveals that his parents immigrated to the States from Russia during the Cold War.

In Charlottesville, the Well-Manicured Man is taking some time off of evildoings to watch his daughter or granddaughter or maybe just some random woman ride a horse. CSM comes out to let him know that the man with the Russian pouch is dead, but they’re not in danger of being exposed. However, someone with diplomatic credentials has been booked on a flight to Krasnoyarsk. WMM calls CSM an idiot, warning that this is going to take some work to clean up.

Mulder, Scully, and Skinner receive a summons for the subcommittee hearing, alerting them to the fact that this investigation is pretty serious. Scully tells her boss that Mulder’s off on his own, looking for answers. He’s now in Tunguska with Krycek, his own personal Russian translator. Krycek still doesn’t know what’s going on. Mulder finally tells him that a “cosmic event” took place in Tunguska in 1908; people think a piece of meteor or comet hit the earth, but no one has ever determined exactly what it is. Mulder thinks someone has finally found the answer.

The men crawl under barbed wire and spy on workers in what looks like a mining camp. I believe the correct term is gulag, boys. Their spy skills are a little rusty, and they’re quickly captured by men on horseback. Mulder’s placed in a tiny cell, and a prisoner next door tells him the only thing he’ll find here is death and suffering.

Krycek is put in Mulder’s cell after what he claims was an interrogation. The people in charge think Mulder and Krycek are spies, though Krycek said they were just Americans who got lost. Feeling a little more confident now that they’re on equal footing and Mulder doesn’t have a weapon, Krycek tells Mulder not to touch him again.

Scully and Skinner meet with their summoner, Senator Sorenson, before the subcommittee hearing. (This sentence was brought to you by the letter S.) Sorenson would like to know what the pouchless man was doing on Skinner’s balcony before his death. Scully says they’ll file a report once they figure out what their investigation is actually about. Sorenson asks after Mulder, but Scully can’t say where he is.

The men at the gulag offer their prisoners food, but it contains at least one cockroach, so this isn’t exactly a five-star resort. Krycek is interrogated again, this time in his and Mulder’s cell, but since the conversation is in Russia, Mulder can’t follow it (and Krycek could be saying anything). After Krycek is taken away, the prisoner next door tells Mulder that Krycek isn’t his friend. He’s deceiving Mulder and speaking formally to the guards. The prisoner also says that the guards are conducting some kind of experiment.

The guards come back for Mulder, injecting him with something. He wakes up held down on a table by chain link fencing, surrounded by other men in the same state. Some of them start screaming. Black oil comes out of a tube, squirting onto Mulder’s face and crawling under his skin. To be continued…

Thoughts: “You know what this episode needs? Shirtless Mitch Pileggi,” is something someone actually thought.

I need Marita to stop talking like she’s trying to seduce Mulder. I mean, it’s fine (and understandable) if she wants to, but there’s a time and a place, you know? Also, what are the odds that the two of them hooked up while Krycek was waiting in the car?

According to the hearing summons, Skinner’s middle name is Sergei. Huh?

August 20, 2016

The X-Files 3.16, Apocrypha: And That’s Why You Don’t Try to Make a Deal with CSM

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , at 1:14 pm by Jenn

Oh, no, Krycek's trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

Oh, no, Krycek’s trapped inside a giant Magic 8 Ball!

Summary: It’s August 19th, 1953, and a sailor is giving a statement in a Naval hospital in Pearl Harbor. He testifies that his submarine was on a suicide mission. He tells some men what Johansen did to the sick sailors, sacrificing their lives. Now we get to see what happened on the side of the door Johansen wasn’t on – one of the sailors’ eyes turned black and he knocked out another man. That man’s eyes leaked oil on the floor and into a drain.

The sailor in the hospital calls the oil “the enemy” and says it’s what killed his fellow sailors and caused everyone’s burns. He thinks they were sent to guard it. After it burned everyone, it “slithered away” into the sea. He says it’s still down there. The Navy will deny it, but he wants to make sure the truth gets out. And he thinks he can trust the men he’s speaking with to make sure that happens. Since one of them is Bill Mulder and the other is smoking a cigarette, he probably can’t.

Now, 40+ years later, Scully goes Northeast Georgetown Medical Center to find out how Skinner is. She wants to start looking for the shooter, but the two agents she speaks with don’t seem to see that as a priority. Skinner wakes up from surgery long enough to tell Scully that the shooter was someone he’s seen before. Meanwhile, Mulder and Krycek land in D.C. and continue their road trip to Krycek’s digital tape. Krycek hands over a key labeled C.I. but won’t tell Mulder what that means.

Scully demands guards outside Skinner’s hospital room, knowing Skinner’s still in danger from the shooter. Also in danger: Mulder and Krycek, who are being followed. The car following them forces them off the highway, knocking out Mulder. Krycek is pulled from the car, but he can’t give the other men the tape they’re after. Mulder wakes up to see a flash of light and hear shouts from the men.

Pendrell summons Scully to an FBI lab to let her know he’s gotten some of the shooter’s hair fibers, so he can run his DNA against other criminals in D.C. Elsewhere, CSM meets with a doctor treating two men for massive radiation burns. The doctor’s never seen anything like this before, but CSM has. He tells the doctor to have the bodies destroyed even though the men are still alive.

Mulder wakes up in a hospital with Scully by his side, because they are married. He fills her in on the developments with Krycek and the flash of light he saw. She tells him about Skinner and shares her theory that his shooter was also Melissa’s killer. The hair fibers do seem to match up. Meanwhile, the Syndicate meets to discuss the possibility that they’ve had an information leak. Their “associate” in D.C. has been asked to join them and explain himself.

Scully visits Skinner and gives him the news that he was shot by the person who killed Melissa. Skinner tells her that he was urged to stop investigating Melissa’s murder, which makes Scully think that the government doesn’t want them to find the killer. Skinner knows where he saw the shooter before – he was in the stairwell with Krycek when Krycek attacked him and stole the digital tape. Skinner warns Scully not to let her anger get out of control. In fact, it might be better if she steps away. But she knows that’s what they want.

Scully tries to go through proper channels to request a search for Krycek. She thinks he’s key to both of the cases she’s dealing with. Mulder gets his hands on Gauthier’s diving suit and a sample of the oil found on it. It’s supposedly just diesel oil, but Mulder’s figured out that it’s what’s infecting people. Of course, he describes it as some sort of alien substance that turns people into killers, so Scully finds it a little unbelievable. Mulder thinks Krycek’s been infected, so they need to find out what the oil wants.

The Lone Gunmen are having a lovely afternoon ice skating…and also keeping an eye on some men in trenchcoats. Frohike retrieves an envelope from a storage locker, and the guys take it to Mulder. Unfortunately, the digital tape that should be in there is gone. That’s because Krycek has it, and he wants to trade it to CSM for something.

Sometime later, CSM goes to New York to meet with the Syndicate; they’re upset that he moved the salvaged UFO without their knowledge. He should have just taken it to Nevada, “like the others.” WMM wants to know why CSM went after Skinner, and why the shooting was so sloppy – there were witnesses, so the shooter’s face is out there. CSM takes no responsibility for the shooter’s screw-ups, but WMM orders him to take responsibility for getting rid of him.

Frohike is able to see indentations from writing on the envelope, and from there Mulder’s able to use a pencil to shade in a New York phone number. He calls it and reaches the Syndicate. Mulder tells WMM that he got the number from Krycek, so WMM asks to meet with him. The FBI finally IDs the shooter, Luis Cardinal, but since he entered the U.S. illegally, there’s no paper trail on him. He’s probably already left the country. The FBI thinks they’ve hit a dead end, but Scully won’t give up.

Mulder heads to Central Park – alone, at night – to meet with WMM, because he’s not as smart as he seems. WMM says he’ll consider handing Krycek over to Mulder if Mulder tells him what he knows. WMM confirms that the aircraft recovered from the ocean was a UFO (a Foo Fighter) shot down by American fighter planes during WWI. No one’s sure what happened to the sub that went down to recover it back in the ’50s. Mulder says he knows what killed the sailors, but he won’t share the info until he gets Krycek.

WMM wonders why Mulder didn’t kill Krycek before, when he had the chance. Mulder says he wants the tape, since Krycek has been selling its secrets. He realizes that WMM doesn’t really know where Krycek is, and was hoping Mulder could give him information. WMM replies that “anyone can be gotten to.” Mulder hurries off to call Scully (“Scully, it’s me”) and warn her that Skinner’s in danger. She heads to his hospital room and discovers that the guards she had posted there are gone – and so is Skinner.

The guards have Skinner in an ambulance, supposedly to transport him to another hospital. Scully hitches a ride with them, which allows her to notice something strange about Skinner’s IV bag. (I don’t think it’s hooked up properly.) She ambushes Cardinal, and a chase ensues through the streets of D.C. Scully finally corners Cardinal, who begs for his life, telling her she really wants Krycek. The police arrive and arrest Cardinal, so that was anticlimactic.

Scully calls Mulder (“Mulder, it’s me”) to let him know he was right to be worried about Skinner – Cardinal was going to kill him. She relays the message that Krycek is going to an abandoned missile site in North Dakota. Mulder asks her to meet him at the airport so they can go to North Dakota together and check out the salvaged UFO.

The two head to Black Crow, North Dakota, and start checking out silos. There are only 200, so I’m sure it won’t take long! They hear someone approaching in the first one they check out, and while they’re hiding, they come across bodies covered in burns. Men in military gear chase them through tunnels, eventually surrounding them just before they can access a door marked 1013 that has a warning about radioactive materials.

The agents are taken outside just as CSM arrives. Mulder demands answers, but CSM claims he doesn’t know what happened to Krycek after his disappearance months earlier. After the agents are gone, CSM and the military go back inside to remove the bodies. CSM smirks at the door to room 1013, behind which Krycek is leaking oil onto a spiral symbol. The symbol absorbs the oil completely.

Back in D.C., Skinner’s out of the hospital and back to work. Mulder thanks him for keeping up the investigation into Melissa’s murder, but Skinner says he was mistaken about it. Mulder finds Scully at Melissa’s grave, and she repeats what Johansen said about the dead speaking to us from beyond the grave. Maybe that’s what our consciences are.

Scully thought she would feel closure once Cardinal was brought to justice, but now she knows that “no punishment is ever enough.” Mulder tells her that they might have found a different kind of justice – Cardinal is dead. The two discuss Krycek, and whether the Syndicate got to him. Scully wonders if we bury the dead alive, like Johansen said. Well, in Krycek’s case, it sure seems that way, since he’s stuck in a silo, trapped eight stories underground, behind door 1013. See you later, buddy!

Thoughts: The Syndicate’s phone number ends in 1012, not 1013. I feel cheated.

Oh, show. No one in D.C. would say “the D.C. airport.”

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones, so a town called Black Crow makes me giggle. Does Jon Snow live there?

May 14, 2016

The X-Files 3.2, Paper Clip: Let’s Make a Deal

Posted in TV tagged , , , , , , , , , at 1:36 pm by Jenn

"That's not the Uber I ordered..."

“That’s not the Uber I ordered…”

Summary: Hosteen is voicing over again, this time about animals being symbolic to the Navajo. Mulder’s recovery reminded them of the Gila monster, which healed a man by putting his parts back together. Lightning and thunder brought him back to life. After Mulder was better, the Navajo learned from other tribes that something big had happened. He tells the story of White Buffalo Woman, who taught Native Americans how to live virtuously and pray. Then she turned into a white buffalo and returned to the heavens. The day Mulder was healed, a white buffalo was born, an omen that big changes are coming.

Back in Mulder’s apartment, Scully and Skinner are still facing off. He insists that he’s trying to help her, but he’s not about to put down his weapon. Fortunately, Mulder arrives to serve as Scully’s backup. Skinner finally gives up his gun, and Scully explains that she was warned that someone she trusted would try to kill her. Skinner shows them the recording, which Mulder says CSM killed Bill over. Mulder says, “I was a dead man. Now I’m back,” which would be a great tagline for a probably bad movie.

Mulder explains what’s on the cassette, then tries to make Skinner give it to Scully. Skinner points out that it’s the only leverage they have against the conspirators, so they need to protect it. Mulder backs down and takes Scully away to search out more truths. She tells him that she assured Teena that he would be okay, even though she had no proof she was right. She just knew. Meanwhile, Maggie arrives at the hospital where she thinks Scully has been brought in. She’s shocked to hear that Melissa’s the daughter who was shot. She’s in an induced coma, and the doctors can’t do anything more for her except monitor her.

Scully and Mulder take the picture of Bill and the conspirators to the Lone Gunmen. Byers brings up Operation Paper Clip, a World War II agreement with Nazi war criminals that gave America access to their scientific knowledge. Langly IDs a man in the picture as one of those war criminals, Victor Klemper. He experimented on Jewish people, and some of his tests led to space travel. Byers notes that the picture was taken in 1973, but Operation Paper Clip was supposed to have ended in the 1950s, which means there’s yet another secret the American government has been keeping. Langly reports that Klemper is alive and still living in the U.S.

Frohike arrives, happy to see Mulder alive. He gives Scully the news that Melissa’s in the hospital, and she immediately realizes that her sister’s shooting was meant for her. Mulder talks her into staying away from the hospital. CSM and his Syndicate have realized their mistake (well, Krycek’s mistake), and WMM wants to know who will fix it. He warns that Scully believes that Mulder is still alive. CSM is sure he’s not, and still has his buddies snowed that he has the cassette. They question that, asking to see the tape. CSM claims it’s someplace safe, but he’ll bring it to them tomorrow.

Mulder and Scully find Klemper in a greenhouse, and after some blathering about history, he’s all, “We did good work! So what if innocent people died?” Mulder thinks Klemper knows why Bill was killed. Klemper replies that it was probably in their best interest. Mulder shows him the picture, but Klemper hesitates to reveal any more truths. The only help he’ll give is asking if Scully knows the formula for Napier’s Constant, then revealing that the photo was taken outside the Strughold Mining Company in West Virginia. They’re on their own for the rest.

As soon as the agents leave, Klemper calls WMM to tell him that Mulder visited, but Klemper didn’t tell him anything. Now the Syndicate knows that Mulder is alive. Maggie spots a man in a suit outside Melissa’s hospital room, then gets a visit from Hosteen. Scully sent him to comfort Maggie in her place. Maggie allows him to pray for her daughter, who she thinks is getting better. Mulder and Scully head to the now-abandoned Strughold facility, which holds a bunch of doors that can only be opened by keypad codes. Napier’s Constant, 27828, opens one of the doors. Before Mulder goes through it, Scully wants him to think about the possibility that they might discover something bad about Bill.

Skinner summons CSM to the FBI building to report that he may have found the tape. However, it could have fallen into other hands. CSM isn’t interested in making a deal. He gets more and more frustrated as Skinner stays calm, saying they’ll talk again. Skinner, basically: “I know you do bad things.” CSM, basically: “Then maybe I’ll do bad things to you.” Mulder and Scully go underground, finding a tunnel full of file cabinets. The files all seem to be medical, and are helpfully stored in alphabetical order. In each one, Scully finds a birth certificate, smallpox vaccination certificate, and old tissue collection cassette.

Mulder asks what year Scully was born, then looks up her file. The tissue sample is recent, judging from the plastic container used. Mulder then looks for Samantha’s file, discovering that the label with her name has been placed over a label with his name – the file was originally his. The lights suddenly go out, and Mulder runs out of the tunnel to the front of the building. The windows are full of lights. In the tunnel, Scully sees something alien-like skittering around. As she runs away from it, Mulder runs out the back of the building in time to see a large spacecraft flying over it. Scully sees another alien in the tunnel, standing in front of more light.

Cars approach the building, so Mulder goes back in to retrieve Scully. He dodges bullets on his way back to the tunnel and reunites with his partner. She’s found a way out, and they’re able to escape the building undetected. In the morning, Skinner meets them at a diner in Craiger, Maryland, and tells them he has a plan to protect them: He’ll turn over the tape and get them reinstated at the FBI. Mulder refuses to give up the cassette even if it means saving his own life. He thinks the tape holds an explanation for the records they found.

Skinner wonders what Mulder’s hoping to find. Mulder replies that he wants to know why Bill was killed, what happened to Samantha, and why Scully was targeted. Scully, however, is on Skinner’s side – she would rather be safe and see Melissa than get answers that only Mulder wants. Since Skinner hasn’t been able to copy the tape, they’ll have to hand over the only version they have. Skinner promises to turn state’s evidence if his deal isn’t honored. Mulder lets Scully have the final vote in the matter. She tells Skinner to make the deal but not hand over the tape until Mulder okays it.

The agents leave the diner together as Hosteen voices over that he prayed for Melissa for two days. She improved, but Hosteen learned that the white buffalo calf stopped nursing. Then the mother buffalo died. Hosteen knows that sometimes, one creature must be sacrificed so another can live. Skinner arrives at the hospital with a message from Scully so her mother knows she’s all right. The man in the suit is still outside Melissa’s room, and Skinner decides to find out why. He chases him to a stairwell, where he and the man engage in some hand-to-hand combat. Krycek joins in, beats on Skinner a little, and steals the cassette.

Krycek and his criminal buddies then stop at a convenience store in D.C. to get some drinks. Krycek’s left alone in the car, growing suspicious when the other guys stop to look at him from the store’s doorway. He notices that the dashboard clock is flashing 12:00. Unlike on a VCR, where this meant that you didn’t know how to set the clock, Krycek realizes that this means his life is in danger. He takes off running as the car explodes. His buddies should be a lot more worried about how they’re going to explain this to CSM.

Mulder and Scully return to Klemper’s greenhouse, but instead encounter WMM. Klemper’s dead, and Mulder knows it wasn’t due to a bad heart. He recognizes WMM from the photo. WMM tells them about the spacecraft found in New Mexico in 1947 and the body retrieved from it. Mulder puts together his talk of Joseph Mengele with his mention that Klemper made flower hybrids to figure out that Klemper was trying to create a human-alien hybrid. The bodies in the boxcar in the desert were his failed human test subjects.

Scully denies that the technology was available; DNA wasn’t even identified until 1944. WMM says that Bill was in charge of collecting genetic data on Americans in case they needed to be identified in the event of nuclear holocaust. Mulder realizes that, due to the DNA samples collected from people who received smallpox vaccinations, Klemper had access to every person’s record from 1950 forward. Scully thinks WMM is just making stuff up, but WMM says he has no reason to lie. Scully, basically: “Whatever, Nazi.” Mulder notes that Scully’s file was in the mine – the records are of abductees.

Mulder asks WMM why Samantha was taken. WMM explains that Bill threatened to expose the project, so Samantha was taken as insurance. Mulder wants to know why he wasn’t taken. WMM can’t say, but he warns that Mulder’s still in danger for threatening to expose the project: “You have become your father.” Mulder wonders why WMM has told him all this. WMM replies that Mulder wanted to know it, didn’t he? He says there’s still more – more than Mulder will ever know.

Krycek calls CSM to report that he’s alive and has the cassette, but CSM will never find him. CSM reports to the Syndicate that Krycek is dead and the cassette was destroyed in the car explosion. He’s still going to meet with the FBI, even though there’s no deal to make. Mulder goes back to his mother’s house to find out if Bill ever asked her if she had a favorite child. Teena says she couldn’t choose – it was Bill’s choice. She always hated him for it, and still does, even after his death.

CSM meets Skinner in his office, hiding his amusement when Skinner bluffs that he has the cassette. Skinner promises to hand it over after Mulder and Scully are reinstated. CSM knows Skinner can’t make the deal, so he suggests a few ways Skinner’s life might end. Skinner calls in Hosteen and announces that there’s a new deal: If anything happens to Mulder or Scully, Hosteen will reveal everything on the tape, which he’s memorized. (He’s also, in the Navajo storytelling tradition, told it to 20 more Navajo.) “Welcome to the wonderful world of high technology,” Skinner gloats.

But we don’t get a happy ending: Scully finally made it to Melissa, but the damage from her shooting was too extensive and Melissa didn’t survive surgery. Scully laments that her sister died for her. She now agrees with Mulder that there’s no justice, though Mulder thinks they’re dealing with something bigger: fate. They’ve both been reinstated at the FBI, and though they’ve both suffered recent losses, they want to go back to work. Mulder thinks they can still find truth through the X-Files. Scully tells him she’s heard the truth – now she wants answers.

Thoughts: I guess I should call CSM and his buddies the Consortium, but apparently the Syndicate is used a lot. Also, it’s just easier to type.

I tried to look up Napier’s Constant, but I found a bunch of math and it made my head hurt and I had to take a nap.

For the record, Samantha’s tissue cassette is plastic, which means the sample was taken more recently. Make if that what you will.

May 7, 2016

The X-Files 3.1, The Blessing Way: In Space, No One Can Hear You Blather

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

I've seen pretentious college plays just like this

I’ve seen pretentious college plays just like this

Summary: As the fire burns in the boxcar in the New Mexico desert, Hosteen voices over that there’s an old Navajo saying about how something only lives as long as the last person who remembers it. That means trusting memory over history. “History serves only those who seek to control it,” and we should beware people who want to put out the flame of memory: “Their false memory is written in the blood of those who may remember, and of those who seek the truth.”

CSM sends his minions into the Hosteens’ house to hold them at gunpoint while he demands to know where Mulder is. Hosteen says he’s out of luck. Later, Scully arrives, after the others have left, and Hosteen and Eric (who’s been beaten up) send her to the smoldering boxcar. She yells Mulder’s name, but there’s no response.

Scully leaves the reservation, followed by a helicopter that stops her on the road. CSM’s minions detain her and ask for the M.J. documents. She lets them take the files, but they want a digital recording, too, which Scully says Mulder has. When she returns to FBI headquarters, she’s suspended for insubordination. She turns in her badge and gun but won’t answer any more questions. As far as she knows, Mulder is dead.

Skinner pretends this has been difficult for him, too. Scully’s upset that the people who killed Bill and probably killed Mulder are going to get away with it. Skinner argues that the FBI is just following protocol. Scully goes straight to Mulder’s desk and retrieves a cassette case hidden there. It’s supposed to contain the digital recording, but the box is empty.

In New York, a group of shady men meets to discuss whether their 40 years of secret-keeping have been disturbed. CSM arrives to announce that they’re still in control, though there’s still a problem that needs to be handled. Mulder’s dead, and no one will ever find his body. The stolen files have been recovered, and anyone working on their super-top-secret projects can keep working.

Scully goes to her mother’s house for comfort, worrying that she’s made a mistake and her father would be ashamed of her. Hosteen voices over that some boys came by to tell Eric that they saw buzzards in the quarry near the boxcar. Hosteen says that either means something has died or that death is close. A group goes out to look, finding Mulder buried under a pile of rocks, still alive thanks to being underground.

Mulder is taken to a hogan and people are summoned for a ceremony called the Blessing Way Chant. Hosteen says this is the only way Mulder’s life can be saved. Meanwhile, a drunk Frohike visits Scully to pay his respects. He thinks Scully will continue Mulder’s work, but she doesn’t think she can do so once she’s pushed out of her job. Frohike shows her a news article about the Thinker’s “execution-style” murder. Scully notes that he was killed after Mulder disappeared.

In the hogan, the ceremony is underway, though Hosteen worries that Mulder’s body will give up before they can heal him. Mulder’s…spirit, I guess, floats in space, surrounded by men in shadows. Deep Throat appears and says some flowery stuff about truth, then tells Mulder not to look into the abyss. We see a smoke bomb being dropped into the boxcar sometime in the past, and the aliens inside running for cover.

Next up at Mulder’s space funeral: Bill, who’s unhappy that he had to lie to his son for so long. Now his lies have put Mulder’s life at risk. Mulder is the memory, and it lives in him, so if he dies, the truth will, too. Mulder asks if Samantha is there. Bill says no, then continues that Mulder needs to keep seeking the truth.

Scully goes back to FBI headquarters, entering with a tour group instead of through the employees’ entrance. A security guard thinks she’s set off the metal detector because of something like a shirt pin, not for any sketchy reasons. Scully meets with Skinner, telling him that she thinks the Thinker’s death is connected to Mulder’s disappearance. She’d like to find out if the ballistics match the bullet that killed Bill. If so, Mulder didn’t kill his father.

Skinner says that the police who investigated the Thinker’s murder would have said something if their tests had turned up anything the FBI needed to know. Scully says she’s trying to cooperate with the investigation, but Skinner thinks she’s trying to earn her way back from suspension. He’s unhappy that he’s supposed to find the cassette, wondering if it was worth Mulder’s life. If Scully really wants to help with the investigation, she’ll find the recording.

After Scully leaves the office, CSM enters from the next room and asks if Skinner talked to Scully about the tape. Skinner says Scully claims not to have it. CSM says that’s “unfortunate.” As Scully leaves the building, she decides to go back through the metal detector to see why she set it off. When the security guard runs a wand over her, it goes off at the back off her neck.

Scully runs to a bureau doctor and gets an x-ray that shows something small in her neck. There’s also a small scar over the area. The doctor thinks she was probably hit with buckshot in the line of duty and didn’t realize it. After three days of unconsciousness, Mulder wakes up and starts to recover his strength.

The doctor removes what looks like a computer chip from Scully’s neck. She takes it to her sister, Melissa, who thinks she’s repressed the memory of where it came from. Melissa suggests that Scully see someone who could help her remember, but Scully refuses. Melissa’s upset that her sister never sees the world any way but scientifically. Her grief keeps her from accessing her true feelings. Melissa asks Scully to do this for her.

So Scully goes to see Dr. Mark Pomerantz, a psychiatrist who wants to hypnotize her so she can access her memories. She remembers being afraid that she would die, but Pomerantz thinks someone took care of her. Scully recalls lights and loud sounds, but not the details of whatever procedure she underwent. Her captors seemed concerned about her well-being.

Pomerantz wonders if someone from the FBI was there. “I had to trust them,” Scully says. She couldn’t resist them. Pomerantz accidentally brings Scully out of her hypnotic state, and she decides it’s not working. She heads home, spotting Skinner leaving her building.

On the reservation, Hosteen tells Mulder that he’s okay to leave, but he can’t bathe or change clothes for a few days. Mulder jokes that his social life will be affected. He asked for sunflower seeds while he was sick, so someone has brought him some. Hosteen tells him that he was dreaming, but also visiting the origins of the reservation. He wipes out a sand drawing and declares the ceremony over.

Scully calls Skinner to ask why he went by her place, but he denies being there. That’s because CSM is in his office. Mulder voices over about being on the bridge between two worlds and seeking truth. Now he’s back, but he’s afraid he’s too late. Scully has been dreaming this just before Bill’s funeral in Massachusetts. She tells Teena that she has a strong feeling that Mulder is still alive and will be found.

One of CSM’s buddies is also at the funeral, and he listens in as Scully tells Teena she’ll keep her updated. The man, who is often called the Well-Manicured Man (WMM from here on out), then pulls Scully aside to ask about Mulder. He says he’s part of a “global consortium” that’s very interested in the recording – interested enough to commit murder over it. He’s sure Mulder’s dead, and he wants to warn Scully that her life could soon end, too.

Scully starts to walk away, but WMM continues that she’ll be killed in one of two ways. Either she’ll be killed in her own home with an unregistered weapon that will be left behind, or she’ll be asked to meet with someone she trusts who’s luring her into a trap. She’d be wise to stay somewhere else right now.

Scully wonders why she’s a target. “You want something they don’t – justice,” WMM replies. She wants to know why he’s helping her. He says his colleagues are being impulsive, and her death would draw “unnecessary attention” to the consortium. Scully says he’s really protecting himself. WMM says the consortium predicts the future, “and the best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Teena comes home from her husband’s funeral to find her not-dead-after-all son in her house. He shows her some pictures of Bill from 1972 and asks who the men are with him. Teena doesn’t remember their names, but one is Deep Throat and one is WMM. Mulder thinks they have something to do with what happened to Samantha.

Scully gets home as Melissa calls to find out what happened with Pomerantz. Scully says something weird happened, then tells Melissa she can come over. As soon as end their conversation, someone else calls, then immediately hangs up. Scully calls Melissa to say she’ll come to Melissa’s instead, but her sister’s already on her way over.

As Scully leaves her building, Skinner arrives and tells her to get in his car. Remembering what WMM said, Scully’s wary about going anywhere with someone she trusts, but she has a gun with her, so she gets in the car. They go to Mulder’s apartment, where Scully pulls her weapon and says she knows what’s going on. She asks who sent Skinner after her, but he doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

Melissa arrives at Scully’s apartment, which two men have broken into. She’s immediately shot…by Krycek. He realizes he shot the wrong sister and leaves. At Mulder’s, Skinner tells Scully he’s not going to kill her – he wants to give her the recording. He took it from Mulder’s desk before she could. They hear someone outside the door, and the distraction allows Skinner to pull his own gun for a stand-off with Scully. To be continued (again)…

Thoughts: “Okay, David, in this episode, you’re going to lie around half-naked under tree branches while men chant over you and dead people tell you not to go into the light. Also, sometimes you’re in space. Action!”

Deep Throat, are you getting paid by the word? Just say, “It’s not your time yet.” There’s no need to be so dramatic.

Skinner needs some sort of code to use with Mulder and Scully that means, “I’m going to say I’m not helping you, but I really am.”