1×01 – Deep Throat

by asanamoeba

Recap by As An Amoeba

Ah, Deep Throat. This is one of my favorite episodes of all time, for so very many reasons that we’ll soon review. One, though, is that it’s sort of the first “real” episode — that is, the first one after the pilot. It’s got the opening credits, Gillian’s gotten her Scully haircut, and we’re through with the introductory exposition bit. Mulder’s a weirdo and believes in aliens because he thinks his sister was abducted. Scully’s supposed to follow him around and write down stuff about what a loon he is. They’re both hot. Commençons!

Vancouver. Sorry — “Idaho.” More specifically, the southwest part, and we are told that we’re “Near Ellens Air Base.” A bunch of army-looking guys (oh look — they’re MPs, Military Police. Check it out, this recapping thing is going to make me actually pay attention to stuff other than the schmoopiness of Mulder and Scully and force me to use my brain to figure out what’s going on beyond “Some army guys are chasing them for some reason.” Sweet! This will be educational. As in, it will give me a deeper understanding of The X-Files. Oh good! Just what I needed) are busting into a house, guns drawn. A woman who, I’m pretty sure, is contractually obligated to appear in at least 12 XF episodes per season is all upset, running through the police barrier and yelling that it’s her house and she wants to know what’s going on. (OK, fine, it’s Gabrielle Rose and she’s only been in two XF episodes, and two Millennium episodes. And in Taken. And in The Sweet Hereafter, I forgot about that. MAN, is that a depressing movie. A good one, though. In any case — she’s been in a lot of stuff. In Canada.) Army Guy –  sorry — MP Guy tells her that her husband, one Lieutanant Colonel Budahas, has commandeered a military vehicle or some such. He’s being crazy, is the issue. They aim to stop him. They run for the house. They break down the door. They run through the house with the yelling and the kicking and all of these things. They kick in a bedroom door and stop — there’s Col. B., huddled on the floor in naught but tighty whiteys, shivering and looking freaked out, and covered in a weird rash. The MPs back off in puzzlement. And…OPENING CREDITS! Because it’s a suspenseful teaser! Paranormal Activity! X-Files! Yay!!

Big old helicopter shot (? I should mention, here, that I know next to nothing about TV production. So if I throw out some technical term like “two-shot” or “closeup” or “boom” or “craft services” or “extras” or “special effects” or “makeup lady” or “sets” or “costumes,” and you think I’m full of it, I probably am) of DC. Sadly, we don’t see any pandas. Tai Shan wasn’t even a glimmer in Tian Tian or Mei Xiang’s eye back then. There’s some rather pretty Mark Snow music that doesn’t, for once, sound as if it came from Fight the Future. Because the Fight the Future score wasn’t even a glimmer (a tinkle?) in Mark Snow’s ear back then. Man, this was the olden days. Before pandas, before FTF. Oh, I hope we get to see a hilariously giant cell phone in this episode.

So, we’re in a bar, and look! It’s Special Agent Dana Scully. There’s something different about her from the last episode…oh, I know! She’s just stepped out of a salon. Her hair’s a little lighter and quite a bit shorter than it was in the pilot. What a sparkly flower pin you have on your lapel, there, Scully! That is oh so fashionable. Remember when six years from now you started wearing tight leather jackets and untucked blouses to work? Yeah, I like you better this way. Look at those giant Harry Potter glasses. You’re so serious! A serious federal agent! With a pinstripe jacket! And a lot of hairspray. Though only the second largest amount of hairspray of the two main characters on this show, as we’ll soon find out. So. Our young Agent Scully is waiting for someone. Could it be…a lover? HA HA HA HA HA. No. We have kicked Ethan Minette to the curb in post (see? “Post”!), and our girl is officially not going to get any action until at least season 4, or, depending on how you interpret various oracles like pantyhose and open-bathroom-door pants-zipping, possibly season 7. Or, hell, possibly never. Maybe she’s never had sex and she got that baby from a magic pill that Cancerman gave her while she was unconscious in En Ami. Like one of those plastic capsules that you put in the water and it grows into a giant foam dinosaur. Or from aliens! Yes, that must be it. Good old aliens.

So we know it isn’t a lover she’s waiting for. Plus, Scully would never leave work in the middle of the day to go to a bar to meet some guy. The very idea! Besides, she’s busily reading some papers, and who should come along and stick his head into her personal space? Why, it’s Fox Mulder! Oxford-educated psychologist, wrote a monograph on serial killers and the occult that helped to catch Monty Props in 1988 (psst: in this episode, 1988 wasn’t that long ago). Generally thought of as the best analyst in the Violent Crimes section. In fact, I believe he had a nickname at the Academy. And that nickname, unless I’m very much mistaken, was “Spooky” Mulder. Please note air quotes. Here he is in the flesh, with his sleepy Mulder eyes and his crazy Mulder tie and his moussed-up-to-Jesus hair. With a spit curl. Almost. Oh, Season 1 Mulder hair. You are indeed a delight.

Mulder offers to buy Scully a drink. Aww! He totally almost asked her out! They will definitely be dating by the end of this episode, and probably sleeping together by sweeps. Of course, then we’ll have to deal with crap like how, when they’re in the middle of shooting aliens, she suddenly asks him if he left the iron on. Goddamnit! That will suck so hard! This show is crap. Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. She says no, because drinking is for dirty whores. She points out that it’s afternoon. He points out that that isn’t stopping anyone else. They point things out to each other! I suspect they’ll be doing that a lot.

He says he has something to show her, and suggests they get a table. As they head in that direction, we pan over a bunch of people, including Dick Cheney (OMG! I think I just solved the mytharc!), and we linger on one man sitting at the bar. Something is suspicious about that guy. I wonder if he’ll come into play later. Let’s make a mental note, shall we?

At their table, Mulder and his pink lipgloss give Scully the rundown. Budahas used to be a gung-ho military test pilot and now he’s gone nuts. And also missing. And it’s all very mysterious. His wife called the FBI, and nobody wanted to deal with it so they gave it to crazy Mulder. Scully can’t IMAGINE that the MILITARY would do something like KIDNAP one of its OWN PILOTS. The GOVERNMENT! Doing something SHADY! Clearly, Mulder’s full of it. Mulder and Scully make limpid eyes at each other during this whole scene. Seriously. Quite limpid. I like to consider this scene the birth of the UST. I don’t count the pilot because, well, she was in her underwear, there was giggling over a grave…the pilot was a little off in tone, is what I’m saying, so it doesn’t quite count (not that I don’t love it). Now we’re on track, and instead of Scully freaking out and hugging Mulder while wearing a bra and underpants, she’s sort of half-liddedly scowling at him while he sort of half-liddedly smirks at her. THEY ARE SO HOT. This is how I like my UST, baby. Then, Mulder ruins it by getting up to go take a leak.

In the restroom, which appears to have been lifted from an Old West saloon, Mulder’s washing his hands when suddenly HOLY CRAP IT’S TOTALLY THAT SAME GUY WHO WAS SITTING NEXT TO DICK CHENEY AT THE BAR! No, it totally IS! Didn’t I just tell you to make a mental note about that guy? Geez. Mulder bends down to splash some water on his face (he’s so sweaty from all the eye love he just made with Scully), and when he looks up the man from the bar has MATERIALIZED IN THE MIRROR. That means that HE IS AN ALIEN. (Remember the days when anything and everything could be attributed to the mytharc? The Pentagon, creepy twins, a giant flukeman. It all seemed like it might somehow connect. Then we realized that it didn’t. Ah well.)

So, this bathroom stalker fellow tells Mulder to drop the case. Mulder and his now entirely different hair would like to know just what the f he means by that. The man says he can help Mulder, he can be his…Deep Throat, if you will…but that he should leave this one alone. A guy rattles the door, which is locked even though it has separate stalls in it. Mulder is astonished! He didn’t lock it! Why would he? It has stalls! Clearly, it was locked by ALIENS!

Deep Throat takes off, and Mulder tries to run after him but is thwarted by Chris Farley blocking the door. When he finally gets by, DEEP THROAT HAS DISAPPEARED. With the help of his ALIEN POWERS! Possibly. We pan across the bar, back to Scully sitting with her sexy little legs crossed. She asks Mulder if he’s OK. He snaps out of it. Oh, you crazy kids. Forget about Col. Budahas and his rash! Why don’t you hop a plane to Maui instead of southwestern Idaho, get to know each other over a few fruity cocktails, open a pet store and live out the rest of your days in contentment? (By the way, I would watch that show.) Heed Deep Throat’s warning! HEEEEED IIIIIIIT!

No. Scully, being a total nerd, goes back to the office and dutifully loads up the microfiche machine to read all about the crazy shit that’s gone down at Ellens Air Base. Surprise, surprise, it’s all about UFOs. This is two cases in a row — any more and she’s going to start thinking this dude is OBSESSED with UFOs or something. The gang at book club is NEVER going to believe this.

Scully calls Mulder, who’s making soup or something in his depressing kitchen. One of the walls is brick, painted a lovely greyish yellow. He also has a cutting board that seems to be nailed to the (brick) wall, and his fridge is from…well, let’s just say “the past” and leave it at that. I think Mulder was already born when this fridge was manufactured, but I’m not positive. Scully bitches that Mulder didn’t tell her about the whole UFO angle that her intensive research just uncovered (remember when you couldn’t look stuff like that up on the Internet? HOW DID ANY OF US SURVIVE WITHOUT THE INTERNET?). The loudest, most obvious clicking noise ever recorded starts up on Mulder’s phone, and several nearby dogs are immediately trained to sit and wait quietly for a treat. Mulder stares at the phone, moves two feet to the window and peeks through the blinds, and sure enough, there’s a mysterious unmarked van right outside. SHODDIEST. SURVEILLANCE GUYS. EVER. Mulder tells Scully they’ll talk later and hangs up on her. His curtains are quite hideous. Also, he’s still wearing his work shirt and tie but he seems to have washed his hair, or at least brushed all the mousse out. I love when he has the floppy bangs.

A plane lands somewhere. Wait — it’s Southwest Idaho! Mulder and Scully knock on the Budahases’ front door; they hear a loud airplane that startles them into turning around. Mrs. B. answers and invites them in.

I do like that shot of Scully and Mrs. Budahas reflected in the picture of Col. Budahas on the wall. Mulder studies it as Mrs. B., who is so distressed that she accidentally put on orange lipstick, explains how her husband got nuttier and nuttier and wouldn’t tell her what he was doing at his job — all she knew was that he was working on top-secret stuff. Now, he’s disappeared. Scully says one of my favorite lines in the episode: “You know, the government is not above the law. They cannot withhold information.” HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!! Oh, Scully. You innocent little lamb. She’s so earnest when she says it, too. It’s not too late for that pet store, you two. Mulder could channel his obsessiveness into breeding the perfect hamster, while Scully kept the books and did any necessary spaying or neutering. No, I know, then you wouldn’t find the truth, blahbbity blah. Do go on. Mulder asks if Mrs. B. has heard of this happening to anyone else. Verla McClennon’s husband, as a matter of fact, has also gone crazy. Cut to Verla McClennon’s husband, who’s sitting at a table, pulling out his hair and carefully wrapping it around a spool of thread? I think? I understand it’s something to do with fishing but I don’t quite get it. Anyway, the pulling his own hair out part is the important thing. Mrs. McClennon has no idea why her husband is like this either, but she ain’t asking questions! It’s fine! She is perfectly happy with her loony, trichotillomania-afflicted fella, and she will thank you not to meddle. She gives Mrs. Budahas the stink-eye for dragging the fibbies into it. Boy, did everyone wear a lot of eyeliner in 1993.

Mrs. B. gives her new federal pals some phone numbers to try. Scully tells her they’ll be staying at the Davy Crockett Motor Court. Sorry — that’s the Beach Grove Motel. (Beach Grove? Really?) Scully’s got a shoulder bag — remember when she used to carry a bag like a normal woman? Before she figured out the trick to carrying her wallet, keys, glasses, hairbrush, lipstick, tampons, gun, flashlight, rubber gloves, ziploc baggies, and giant cell phone in her jacket pockets? She has so much still to learn.

Mulder asks Scully her thoughts on Mr. McClennon the hair-yanking fishing enthusiast. Scully tells him it’s called stereotypy (d’oh! whatever), it’s caused by stress and it’s been observed in POWs and zoo animals. Mulder quite rightly points out that the test pilots are not zoo animals. He says these are supposed to be the best of the best, not the kind of guys who crack under stress. Scully asks Mulder if he’s heard of the Aurora Project (AS IF SHE NEED ASK if Mulder’s heard of any given secret government thing), which apparently is a program where the gubmint is flying mysterious surveillance planes. She suggests that maybe Col. B. and Crazy Neighbor washed out of the project. Mulder can’t imagine that a great American like Col. Budahas could have washed out of something. I think Mulder has a crush on Col. Budahas. The lone curl on Mulder’s forehead that’s artfully escaped from the beehive of the rest of his hair is utterly motionless as he talks. Truly, what WERE they thinking with that hair? I know it was the early ’90s, but dear lord.

Mulder and Scully get back to their whitewashed motel room and call a bunch of people on the motel phone. Again — remember the days before the Internet? When you had to call people? They don’t even have cell phones yet in this, I don’t think. They are helpless, mewling, technologically unsophisticated babies. Mulder’s still got that insane bit of hair. I love to think that there was some continuity person frantically making sure that the same miniscule hair lock was drooping across his forehead in the exact same way in contiguous scenes. They compare notes — basically, they’ve both got nothing. Scully says she’s made an appointment with a Col. Kissel for several days from now. They don’t have several days! Damn you, Kissel! Mulder decides to end-run it around the Man and looks up Kissel in the phone book like the keen mind that he is. When the Colonel pulls into his driveway in his giant hideous sedan, they are on him like white on rice. Unfortunately, he’s really pissed off by this and gives them the brushoff, even though Mulder puts his jacket back on, special. We get a somewhat hilarious “I am sad and discouraged!!” thing from David as Scully cracks that at least they still have their appointment.

Just then, an intrepid reporter shows up. He works for the Daily Planet, and he heard there were FBI agents in town and he figured they would probably be lurking in front of Col. Kissel’s house and getting the door slammed in their faces right about now, so he thought he’d meet them there! Mulder and Scully are all tight-lipped, until Clark Kent mentions UFOs, and suddenly Mulder’s little face lights up like a kid on Christmas morn. (You know — for Mulder. Meaning it doesn’t look that different from the panic face. But you get my drift.) Oh, Muldy. You are so easily played. Bless your heart. He “casually” asks the reporter if he knows anything about this far-out UFO business, and Clark assures him that it is All Hooey. Shaking his head sadly at this closed-minded stiff, Mulder asks whether, IF it just so happened that he wanted to know something about this “UFO” “business,” Clark would know anywhere he might go to talk to someone about that sort of thing. Gillian does a nice full-body eyeroll in the background. Hee.

It seems the answer to Mulder’s question is The Flying Saucer, a charming local eatery full of UFO freaks. We see some lady in tapered mom jeans and a guy in a denim jacket walking in. I LOVE YOU, CANADA. Seriously. I love you and your realistic extras. Los Angeles WISHES it had enough dumpy people to hash together a single scene of regular townies walking into a diner, let alone five years’ worth. Bless you, Vancouver, and your cloudiness and regularness. You don’t look much like Idaho — or Florida, or Oklahoma — but you look like a real place, and your actors are blessedly not all trying to be the next Jessica Simpson. I find it so refreshing, I really do. The lady at the counter is middle-aged and somewhat heavy and wearing a hideous loud blouse and ugly lipstick, instead of being a 20-year-old model in a tank top who’s been given a ponytail and smudgy eye makeup to make her look “plain.” Anyway. Pet peeve of mine. Mulder and Scully sit at the counter, Mulder plops a liberal amount of ketchup onto his plate, and he and the counter lady chat about the many UFO photos she has pinned up behind her. Mulder allows himself to be talked into buying one of them, for 20 bucks. Scully leans over, looks up at his chin and calls him a sucker, then says she’ll meet him outside. Geez, Mulder hasn’t even finished his ketchup!

When he emerges, Scully informs him that Ellens Air Base isn’t even on her USGS quadrant map! What the! Mulder tells her that they’ve got their own map. Sucker! Oh snap, Scully! Sure enough, Mulder has batted his eyelashes at the diner lady sufficiently that she’s given them directions on a napkin to where all the action is. At this prospect, Scully looks less than exuberant.

By the time they get there — a hill beside a barbed-wire fence surrounding the base — driving past a sign that ominously forbids anyone from taking pictures or doing drawings or making clay sculptures or staging one-act plays or writing critical essays about or of anything anywhere near the base, Scully is pretty pissed, enough to bust out the anger dimples as she berates Mulder for dragging her out here when she could be back in her awesome hotel room looking at the phone book. “Yeah, this is gonna look REAL GOOD on my FIELD REPORT!” she snarks, to Mulder’s absolute lack of any ounce of caring. She closes the trunk, which she can barely do since she is five foot two, as Mulder hikes up the hill with his binocs.

Tick tock, tick tock. This would be a great place to have a big superimposed clock with spinning hands. Missed opportunity, amateurs! It’s now dark, and Scully is napping in the car when there’s a loud rumbling outside. She wakes up and screams when the car’s back windshield shatters. Frickin’ Oldsmobiles — one lousy spaceship vibration and they crumple like tissue paper. (In other news: THEY ARE ACTUALLY DRIVING AN OLDSMOBILE! Do you know what this MEANS? It means I can’t make fun of the whole Oldsmobile campaign in FTF anymore on the grounds that it’s ludicrous product placement because Mulder and Scully only drive Fords! This is…I think I need to sit down.) Mulder comes running down the hill and tells her to wake up (always a master of timing, that one), and drags her back up with him. Please note that they are holding hands. Eee hee! Sorry.

Now we have what is, quite honestly, one of my favorite scenes in the whole series. It really epitomizes the show for me — the two of them, staring at something crazy, both awed by it in their different ways, he trying to soak it in, she trying to figure it out, not fighting, not eyerolling, just standing on a hill together and staring at something incredible. I know I keep this fact very well-hidden, but I don’t normally get all that excited about the mytharc aspects of this show. Every once in a while, though, it gives me a chill and I really, you might say, get it. This is one of those times. Go ahead, pause the DVD right on, say, 16:45, and tell me that isn’t the quintessential X-Files shot.

So they’re standing together on the hill, watching the sky over the air base. These two bright lights are zooming all over the place. Honestly, this is not bad CGI. It looks unrealistic, yes, but I think that’s the point — it doesn’t look like anything we recognize. “What are they?” asks Scully. “I don’t know,” says Mulder. “Just keep watching — it’s unbelievable.” She does, and it is. Then the lights disappear, and another light shows up. This light is bigger, and it has an engine noise, and then it has a searchlight and it’s definitely of this earth.

And then, wouldn’t you know it, two teenage urchins, both in their early ’90s Pacific Northwest finery, burst out from behind some bushes and try to run off. They are quickly collared by our most special of agents, and everybody hides from the helicopter until it buzzes away (to patrol some secret cornfields, no doubt). Then the kids start giggling, because they are stoners, you see, and also one of them is Seth Green, who evidently starred on some sort of vampire-related television show that I think, though it’s very hard to discern this because nobody will really talk about it, has something of a cult following. I do wish someone, anyone, would offer an opinion on whether or not it would be worth my while to watch this program. Shame, really. Anyway, it’s now 5:02 am, and Mulder and Scully are treating Mr. Green and his lady friend to a dinner-slash-breakfast of burgers, which, despite being stoned out of his gourd, Seth has cut his portion of neatly in half. He’s such a good kid. They’re at a diner called Erik’s, which has a cactus on the logo. Are there really cacti in Idaho? Maybe there are, I don’t know. Idaho, it seems, has potatoes, cacti, AND beach groves, in addition to the secret military bases and triangular alien spaceships. It’s a land of many contrasts.

While the stoners are stonily relating the tale of how they like to “kick back” and “listen to some tunes” while watching the UFOs (and mentioning something called Yellow Base, where “they’re supposed to store all this stuff” — make a note, Mulder!), a car pulls up outside Erik’s, and a STRANGELY FAMILIAR man, his face in shadow, says some mystery stuff into a walkie-talkie. Seriously, this isn’t just me being dense this time. He says “I’ve got a 20,” and the voice on the other end says “Roger, Redbird, assume fallback position, we’re opening the cage.” See? It’s not just me! This stuff is murky! How am I supposed to know what a “20″ is? Or “the cage”? I’m going to go back to “Some government guys or something chase them.” Amounts to the same thing. I’m telling you.

Back in the diner, Seth is using his hamburger to demonstrate the UFOs’ maneuvering capabilities. Because I always find this kind of thing morbidly fascinating, I’ll mention Seth’s line here as he theorizes that the UFOs are high-tech weaponry: “They’ll probably roll it out for Desert Storm II or something like that. Cruise right over Saddam’s house, you know? He’ll be like, what? Heh!” Eeek. Still not as bad as the time they had the Lone Gunmen stop a terrorist from crashing a plane into the Twin Towers, though. Ulp. Mulder and Scully chuckle indulgently at this hilarity, and Mulder seizes the moment and whips out his Flying Saucer flying saucer. “They look exactly like that,” Seth confirms as he looks at the photo. Well, that settles it! What are they going to do on this show once they’ve solved the whole alien thing? Can they really keep this going? I mean, can there possibly be, even in this big wide world, enough scary stories that Mulder and Scully will still have things to investigate? Only time will tell.

After dropping the kids off at the house (listen, you! That is not a euphemism, and you are disgusting), and after Mulder’s indulged in a “Laaaaater, duuuude” that earns him some uncomfortable laughter and, I’m just going to guess, no street cred, he gets back in the car with Scully and puts in a cassette of royalty-free instrumental Rock Music. “Evidence!” he says, air-guitaring it a little. Hardee har har! Scully cannot believe she has to work with this pinhead. Seriously — the girls at Curves are SO going to hear about this. Also, she is definitely going to have lunch with that sexy Tom Colton as soon as she gets back to Washington. “You believe it all, don’t you?” she says. “Why wouldn’t I?” asks Mulder. Scully flashes the dimples again. Doesn’t this guy know ANYTHING? She totally learned all about pot in health class! It’s also known as “weed,” “grass,” and “ganja.” Also, did you know that a beer, a glass of wine, and a shot all have the same amount of alcohol? And that even if you’re on the pill, you can still get an STD? “Mulder, did you see their eyes?” she says. “If I were that stoned…” “OOOOHH,” Mulder interrupts, “if you were that stoned, what?” Scully suddenly thinks maybe Mulder knows more about pot than he’s letting on, and starts to wonder if, in fact, he isn’t about to push some drugs on her. “Mulder,” she says, reminding herself that anyone who peer-pressures you doesn’t really want to be your friend, “you could have shown that kid a picture of a flying hamburger and he would have told you that’s exactly what he saw.”

In answer, instead of pulling out some weed and telling her that it’s so cool and she should definitely try it and it will make her feel awesome, Mulder pulls out a picture of Roswell. Because that is how Mulder rolls, and that is why I love him. It seems that, after the alleged crash, the alleged parts of the alleged spaceship were allegedly shipped to six different sites. Guess what one of those sites was? Guess! Guess! Bingo — Ellens Air Base, Southwest Idaho. Mulder’s theory is, they’re building planes with UFO technology and flying them around above the base and using them to give people rashes. Scully just dimples up a storm at this story. (Seriously, she could not be cuter. She simply could not. I want to put some butter on her and nestle her on a bun and eat her for a snack.) Mulder ups the craziness ante by comparing the two spaceship photos. They’re both triangular, and you KNOW what that means. (Do you? Do you know what that means? Could you, if it isn’t too much trouble, tell me?) They have another exchange here that, to me, is about as classic X-Files as classic X-Files can be:

SCULLY: Mulder, come on! You’ve got two blurry photos, one of them taken almost 50 years ago, and another one you purchased today in a roadside diner. You’re going out on a pretty big limb.

MULDER: Tell me there isn’t a remarkable resemblance.

SCULLY: Tell me one good reason why either of these photos is authentic.

MULDER: You saw exactly what I saw in the sky tonight! What do you think they were?

SCULLY: Just because I can’t explain it…doesn’t mean I’m gonna believe they were UFOs.

MULDER: Unidentified. Flying. Objects. I think that fits the description pretty well. [pause] Tell me I’m crazy!

SCULLY: Mulder? You’re crazy. And it still doesn’t explain to me what happened to Col. Budahas.

I love this episode. I do.

Back at the motel. I find this next bit cute, but maybe not for the reason some do. Scully (very much in need of a sports bra, BTW) comes running out of the motel’s office toward Mulder’s door. He sees her out the window, jumps off the bed and scurries to the door so he can be there in time to open it and laconically drawl, “You didn’t come to raid my minibar, did you?” It’s not the joke I like — it’s all the effort he puts into it. Without betraying his cool exterior, indeed. Hee. Scully allows a chuckle at this lameness, then tells him they’ve got a message from Mrs. Budahas. The Colonel is back, along with all 11 of his secret herbs and spices. So they rush right over! I mean, what the heck else do they have to do?

But when they get there, Mrs. B. is terribly upset. The man who’s returned, she says, is not her husband. It sure looks like him! Mulder checks the picture on the wall to be sure. He seems like a pleasant enough guy. He’s sitting at a small table working on a model airplane. He’s not in his underpants, he’s not covered in a rash, and he’s not pulling out his own hair. So what’s the friggin’ problem? “That is not him,” she insists. “They’ve done something to him.” Before Col. B. can get upset, Mulder jumps in, his cheerful purple suit conveying that he is, in fact, the Good Cop. He asks Budahas where he’s been, and his birthdate. Budahas answers somewhat impatiently, and apparently correctly. “And the names of your kids?” Mulder asks. “Josh and Leslie. They’re right there,” Budahas says, indicating the two children drawing in the next room. Hee — that line always cracks me up. Like his saying “They’re right there” somehow proves that he remembers them — who the hell else’s kids would be sitting in the dining room coloring? It’s like him saying, “See that room with the stove and the refrigerator? That’s where we cook and eat our food! I remember it all! Don’t you understand? HOW WOULD I KNOW THAT?” Anyway. Budahas seems fine — he knows that the kids hanging out in his house that look like him belong to him, and he remembers his birthday. Mulder tries to trip him up by noting his Green Bay sweatshirt and quizzing him about the Packers. Budahas flies through that one too. By God, this man is a GENIUS! Is there anything he DOESN’T know?

As it turns out, there is. “You’re a pilot, isn’t that right?” says Mulder, and throws out a technical plane question. I wonder if Mulder really does have a hotshot pilot friend. I mean, how would he know that thing about the Immelman off the top of his head if he didn’t? Just what is up with this hotshot pilot friend? Why haven’t we met him? Is he British? Maybe when he and Diana divorced, they lost touch because he was really more Diana’s friend. AUUUUUGGGGHHH, I CANNOT BELIEVE I JUST SAID THAT. Barf! Never mind. Stupid hotshot pilot friend! Take your Immelman and your sustained 8 Gs and get lost, jerk! So, when Mulder poses this question to Budahas, the good Colonel looks blank. He stammers a bit. He doesn’t know! “Anita,” he says, seeming to realize. “I can’t remember!” Well, God, no wonder she’s upset! If she can’t talk plane technicalities with her husband all day and night, what use is he? What kind of MARRIAGE IS THAT? I ask you.

As they leave the house, Mulder and Scully are tense. Mulder thinks Budahas’s memory has been drained. Scully snaps that the technology to do what he’s suggesting does not exist. Well, counters Mulder, neither does the technology to move those crazy flashlights around the sky. Touché!

In the car on the way back to the motel, Mulder’s hypothesizing that it would take just about exactly 50 years (the amount of time they would have had since Roswell) for the Army to master UFO technology. How convenient! Scully sort of grins indulgently and gives up for now.

But suddenly, something happens. That’s right — aliens use their powers to give Scully completely different lipstick. BELIIIIEEEEEEVVVVVVE! And after that? A governmenty-looking sedan pulls onto the wrong side of the road, causing Mulder to swerve wildly. The worst doubles in the history of filmed entertainment look very concerned before they turn back into David and Gillian. I think we just witnessed the briefest abduction ever. Or possibly a foreshadowing of the shapeshifter plot. IT ALL MEANS SOMETHING! Anyway, the goons, now blocking the road, get out and one of them knocks on Mulder’s window. He’s wearing aviator sunglasses, anticipating the trend by almost fifteen years. THAT MAN HAS SEEN THE FUTURE! Is there anything those aliens can’t do? “Please, step out of the car,” he monotones. Mulder looks over at Scully. “You think if maybe we ignore him, he’ll go away?” he says archly. Hee hee hee. I love Mulder. The MIB knocks again. “Please, step out of the car,” he repeats in the exact same tone of voice. “Guess not,” says Mulder. He steps, followed by Scully. They immediately get frisked, and Mulder’s camera film gets exposed. Hopefully he’d already uploaded the pictures to Shutterfly before — wait, it’s 1993! DAMN it! When Mulder asks what’s going on, he gets a punch in the gut for his trouble. Scully looks away, pained. They’re told to skip town, or else.

Back at the Beach Grove — do my eyes deceive me? Is that…CASUAL CLOTHING?! Yes, it’s true — not even ominous government threats can sway young, carefree 1993 Mulder and Scully from changing into more comfy outfits when they get back to their rooms. Scully’s wearing jeans and a huge blue button-down over what looks like a man’s undershirt, and has even seen fit to put her hair back in a kicky ponytail. And to apply yet another color of lipstick. She’s on the phone trying to track down the license plate of the car that stopped them, to no avail. “Thanks, Gail,” she says resignedly, hanging up. I have always wondered about Gail. I sort of picture Gail as the predecessor to Pendrell. I wonder if she had a crush on Scully too. Or, maybe we could set her up with Mulder’s hotshot pilot friend! Scully hangs up, we pull back and — dayyum, Mulder’s full-on reclining on Scully’s bed. Or, maybe it’s his bed, I don’t know. He’s changed too — he’s wearing a fetching sea-foam-green polo shirt with the merest hint of chest hair visible,  and black jeans. Mulder is also, and I say this only in the interests of thorough reporting, looking HOOOOOOOOOOTTTTTTTT in this scene. This is one of my hottest Season 1 Mulder scenes ever. It’s some combo of his hair (which has thankfully been relieved of some of its goop), the green shirt, and, in a few moments, his fine, fine ass. For now we can’t see that. But I can. In my mind’s eye. “I don’t think it was those kids they were chasing away from the base last night,” Mulder says pensively. “I think it was us.” Well…duh? Did they really think the Army (or the Air Force or whatever it is — I’m trying here, OK?) brought out helicopters and searchlights to chase away a couple of teenagers who had snuck in on foot — and hidden completely enough in the bushes that Mulder, who’d been watching for hours, hadn’t noticed them — instead of the two adults who’d parked their government rental car smack in the middle of the road for half the day and most of the night, while one of them stood silhouetted in plain sight on top of a hill actively staring at the UFOs? I never got that. I mean, I never got how it’s supposed to be such a revelation at this stage. Scully, however, looks slightly flabbergasted. “They returned Col. Budahas as a decoy,” Mulder goes on. He sits up — HOTNESS — and decides now is the time to tell Scully that some mysterious guy approached him in the bathroom in DC and warned him that tragedy would befall them should they take the case. “And my phone was being tapped,” he by-the-ways. It was very subtle and hard to tell, but yes, it was. “WHAT?” says Scully. Julio at the salon is NEVER going to believe this. Mulder gets up and stands pensively and hotly at the window. I pause the DVD and stare at his butt for a while. The man has a nice butt. Sure, he likes to wave it around a whole lot, but — there’s no denying, he’s got the goods to back it up. If you were lucky enough to be in possession of a fine diamond brooch, it would be a crime to wear it hidden beneath a jacket. The same applies to the Duchovny bottom.

So, what’s happening again? Oh yeah — Mulder’s raving some more about how the government planned all of this and they don’t care about sacrificing lives and all the usual. Except this is all new(ish) to Scully, so she’s staring raptly at him with her humongonormous blue eyes (or maybe she’s just enjoying how hot he looks in that shirt). She counters that the government has a right to protect its secrets. “But at what cost?” says Mulder. “When does the human cost become too high for the building of a better machine?” Well, that all depends. Just how awesome is this machine? Can it, for example, record any TV you want it to whenever you tell it? Or, perhaps, vacuum your living room for you? Or rollerskate? Some things are bigger than us, is all I’m saying. Scully backs off: The kidnap victim is back. The case is over. Let’s get the crap out of here. Mulder dangles the picture of the floating triangle from the diner in front of her face. “Aren’t you even curious?” he asks. Scully puts the picture aside and sits down stubbornly. I think that means no. Don’t worry, Mulder, she’ll come around. In about seven years.

Mulder nods, and then immediately gets suspiciously cooperative. He’s going to shower and pack, and then they’ll leave. See, he’s not so unreasonable. Scully watches him go, looking pensive. Until — oh crap. She hears the car start, the tires squeal, and there’s Mulder, blowing by her in the Oldsmobile. “Mul-DER!” Scully yells after him, bursting through the door. “Where are you GOING?” Too late. She stands in the parking lot, looking exceedingly pissed off. Four words, kiddo: Get. Used. To. It.

Where he’s going is to a hole in the fence surrounding the base, accompanied by none other than Seth Green and Possible Future Mrs. Seth Green. Remember when guys wore thermal underwear underneath jeans with massive rips in the knees? That actually was a style at one time, wasn’t it? Boy oh boy. Seth and Girl Seth aren’t coming, but they tell Mulder to stay on the path for 45 minutes or so (man, wouldn’t it be easier just to get stoned in the basement when their parents aren’t home or something?). But Mulder wants to know where the Yellow Base hangar is. “It’s like ten miles!” Seth says. “Nobody’s ever been that far…” Sounds like a challenge to Mulder! He’s a federal agent! He can definitely sneak into a base more effectively than some random slackers. Shirt untucked for maximum efficiency, he stalks off.

Night. Mulder steps out from the grass, and he’s on pavement, with Experimental Plane HQ looming in the background. There’s a light in the sky, approaching. Mulder watches it. Wow, that thing is coming fast. It’s — holy crap, man! It’s an honest-to-God spaceship, or it sure looks like one. Shaped like a triangle, just like the previews promised. It stops over Mulder. It hovers. It looks — really really cool. Remember what I said before about how every once in a while the space stuff gives me a chill? That goes for this scene too. Mulder’s got a wonderful expression of mixed awe and ecstasy. Suddenly — a blinding light. Then the ship zooms off. Mulder gapes after it. And then, of course, ruining all the fun, come a bunch of assholes in trucks. Mulder runs, but — as he is to find out numerous times throughout the series — he cannot, in fact, outrun a truck. I’ve actually considered before trying to catalog how many times Mulder tries to outrun a motor vehicle on this show. I mean, David is a triathalon runner (triathaloner? triathalon runner/biker/swimmer?). Mulder’s got a good set of legs on him. But still. You’re just never going to win that one, Muldster, no matter how much you want to believe. Sure enough, the trucks catch up with him. He’s wrestled onto a stretcher and driven off as they put a gas mask over his face and prepare to inject him with something. Gaaaah!

Motel, the next morning. OK, I had this whole rant ready to go about how I couldn’t understand the timeline of this thing and it was day again and Scully was wearing the same outfit and I couldn’t figure out what was happening and 1013 are idiots and blah blah, the usual. Then I just noticed on a rewatch that there’s actually a timestamp that says 6:30 am. Well, duh. I? Am unobservant. So, evidently Scully’s been up all night, because she is, as I mentioned, wearing the same outfit, and the same hairdo. She’s trying to make a call, and telling the operator that she can’t get a long-distance line. Hey, you know what might help with that? If you had your own phone that you could carry around in your pocket and use whenever you wanted. Oh, 1993. She gets cut off, and, like the n00b she is, leaves her gun on the table as she runs to the motel office to try their phone. No luck there either. The manager says this isn’t unusual. Scully is on the point of having to send a fax, or maybe a FedEx.

Back at the base, now bathed in lovely early-morning Idaho sunbeams. There’s Mulder on the stretcher, mask in place, looking severely groggy. He and his giant workboots are wheeled past a large open area blocked off by plastic sheeting; behind which he can see the outline of our old friend the triangle. He gets excited for a second, then conks out. Stupid secret-operative jerks. He just wants to see a spaceship. The man loves spaceships. Is that too much to friggin’ ask?

Beach Grove. Scully is stomping back to her room, looking sulky. Only her door’s ajar. Uh-oh. And someone’s coming out of her room. Oh, good — it’s just that friendly reporter who hangs out in Col. Kissel’s driveway. “Hi! I was just looking for you,” he says cheerily. Scully returns his smile, while surreptitiously feeling for her gun holster. Which is sitting on a table in her motel room, with her gun in it. Or, was. Nice one, Scully. “I was in the lobby trying to make a call,” she says, trying for casual. “Phones down again?” he asks. See, he’s just a friendly reporter. He suffers from phone trouble too. Friendly Reporters: They’re Just Like Us! Except, this friendly reporter’s walkie-talkie suddenly comes to life inside his car: “Base to Redbird. Can you give us your position? Over.” Well, shit! It’s not a friendly reporter at all, it’s Roger Redbird, from outside the diner! I wonder if he still has that 20.

Scully and Redbird share an awkward, tense smile, and then Scully bolts for it, diving into the car and locking the doors. And…uh. Now what? “What are you doing?” Redbird asks mildly, tapping on the passenger-side window with his Clark Kent glasses. Awkward! Scully tries the ignition — no keys. Damn, he’s good! “Excuse me…” says Redbird. Nothing behind the visor. But what’s this — a gun in the glove compartment, along with an Airbase Security badge. Gotcha! She holds them right up to her face for an unrealistically long amount of time so the camera can get a good shot. The director’s all, “Uh, Gillian, you don’t have to hold them quite that close.”

As befits a Level 2 Airbase Security operative, the ‘Bird wastes no time, bashing in the window with a nearby fire extinguisher. (I was going to make fun of them for having Redbird magically pull a fire extinguisher out of his ass, but sure enough, there’s one right behind him in the scene just before this. In fact, it’s even there when Scully runs out to yell at Mulder in the parking lot as he’s ditching her. Well done, you guys!) Fight time! Scully loses the gun, and it falls into an artfully scattered second-unit pile of broken glass on the car floor. She reaches for it, but Redbird’s grabbed her through the window. She gets in a good thumb-to-eye jab. Redbird marches around to the driver’s side, but — TOO LATE! Scully and her baby hands have the gun pointed right at his face. “AGAINST THE CAR! HANDS ON THE CAR! DO IT!!” she hollers. “Put the gun down, and we’ll talk about it,” Redbird good-cops her. “I SAID HANDS AGAINST THE CAR!” yells Scully, and she shoves him against the window. AW YEAH!! Aside: I think Scully’s wearing WORKBOOTS. Tiny workboots that are like Mulder’s only tinier. That’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Coincidentally enough, who should come mopeding stonily along at this moment but Seth Green and Possible Future Mrs. Seth Green! Scully doesn’t miss a beat, turning to them and demanding where Mulder is, gun still shoved into Redbird’s back. “We took him to the base!” Seth says earnestly. “We waited for him,” his lady pipes up. Scully makes an aggravated face and decides to make the most of the tools currently at her disposal. “I want you to get on that walkie-talkie and find out where Mulder is,” she snaps to Redbird. Somehow it always makes me giggle how Gillian enunciates “walkie-talkie” there, with just the slightest hint of British — “walkie-talkie” is such a silly word anyway and she just like, pauses to PRONOUNCE the shit out of it, hee. If he doesn’t do it, she’s going to leak the secret aircraft experiments to the MSM! Which, back then, is still just the M, since there’s no non-mainstream media other than, oh, the Gunmen’s Xeroxed newsletter and so on. No blogs! How could we have lived? For some reason, instead of laughing his ass off at this non-threat, Redbird decides he’d better do what the lady says. Seth and Mrs. Seth watch, agape. Who ever would have thought that sneaking onto a heavily guarded secret military base plastered with dire warnings about not trespassing would have such bummer consequences?

Back to Mulder, still at the World’s Worst Doctor’s Appointment (At Least Until Season 8). A huge light (not unlike the one Scully later sees during her abduction) goes on over his head. A man in a doctor’s mask leans over him. He looks into Mulder’s eye as someone adjusts his wrist restraints and puts the mask over his nose and mouth. Machines beep ominously. Mulder, get a yearly physical and this kind of shit won’t happen so much! Dr. Evil (no relation to Seth Green) takes an eyedropper from a bottle and (and this is one of the most squirm-inducing bits of the series, at least for me) squirts a drop into Mulder’s eye as his unseen assistant holds it open. Gaaah! I mean, I know it’s only eyedrops, it’s not like he’s, you know, lying on a stone table wearing an iron diaper with his cheeks stretched back by pinchy metal things and more metal things sticking into his nose, while a medieval-looking drill spins toward his teeth, or anything like that. But it still squicks me out. UNKNOWN STUFF in your EYES. Not good, man. Mulder’s eye gets all milky (aaaaaaaahhh), and he jerks once on his restraints, and he’s out again.

In the car, Redbird touches one finger to the corner of his eye and flicks something away in clipped irritation — a nice little transition. This isn’t any old Sunday-morning drive for Mr. Bird — we pull back to see Scully behind him, gun pointed at his head. “There are other ways to go about this,” Redbird says tersely. “Yeah, I’ve already seen where you get with tears and a sad story,” Scully snarks back at him. Look at Little Miss Sassy Mouth!

The car pulls up to the base’s gate, and Redbird kills the engine. A couple of dudes in berets and white gloves (hee) are standing guard. Scully yells at Redbird to start the car. He does, with just the faintest hint of eyeroll. “And put your hands on the wheel where I can see them,” Scully adds. Nag, nag, nag! “You do anything stupid and this situation could get big in a hurry,” he says pissily. “Yeah, you just keep telling yourself that,” Scully snaps. Oh, she is so awesome in this. I mean, she’s awesome in lots of episodes, but one reason she’s so EXTRA awesome in this is that she’s kicking ass while wearing a sassy ponytail and her dad’s shirt and tiny workboots and being approximately in third grade. Love!

On the seat beside him, amidst even MORE artfully arranged second-unit glass, now safety (hey! Aliens can turn a pile of broken regular glass into broken safety glass! IS THEIR NO LIMIT TO THEIR POWER?), Redbird’s walkie-talkie crackles. On the other side of the fence, a Jeep approaches. The twins at the gate roll it open, and the Jeep drives through. Somebody’s getting out…a giant workboot followed by a long leg…it’s Mulder! One pant leg is stuck in his boot. He blinks in the sun, looking utterly lost. I do love him so when he’s pitiful. I think it started during Anasazi. Oh, Sickly Plaid Shirt Anasazi Mulder. I need a moment.

Her eyes never leaving Mulder, Scully tells Redbird to keep the car running and step out of the car. He does. Man, being a reporter SUCKS. Scully gets out too, keeping the gun trained on Redbird. The sky behind her in this part is absolutely beautiful — stormy, but it’s sunny where they are, so there’s a really weird lovely light. Mulder stares at her dopily. “Get in the car, Mulder,” Scully orders him, not moving the gun. Mulder sort of lifts his head up all, wha? “GET IN THE CAR,” Scully repeats. Mulder looks back at the gate, then starts shuffling unsteadily towards her. Scully nudges Redbird forward and takes his place at the driver’s side door. As he passes Mulder, Redbird turns to him: “I just want to say, everything you’ve seen here is equal to the protection we give it. It’s you who have acted inappropriately.” In Mulder’s head: Blah blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah GINGER blah blah. Redbird heads toward the base, looking forward to all the shit he’s about to get for being overpowered by a wee little person in workboots and a ponytail. Someone’s getting demoted to Airbase Security Level 1! Mulder keeps waddling towards Scully and gets in the car. Scully reverses for some reason (what, was somebody parallel-parked in front of her that we didn’t see?) and then floors it, back to the NON-erased-by-the-government part of the USGS quadrant map, thank you very MUCH.

On the road, she breathes a sigh of relief and smiles over at Mulder. But instead of saying, “Dude, you are not going to BELIEVE the stuff I saw in there — I mean, literally” or “Those bitches put MYSTERY EYEDROPS in my eyes! I hope you kicked that guy in the nuts for me,” or even “Scullyyyyyy! I was just about to see the spaceshiiiiiiip! Five more minutes!”, he just stares blankly ahead. “You OK, Mulder?” Scully says. “I think so,” he answers. He’s speaking in a monotone! The aliens must have really done a number on — oh, wait, never mind. Scully frowns at him, puzzled by his muted reaction. Finally, Mulder turns to her: “How did I get here?” Oh, crap. Scully immediately starts screaming and freaking out about this is not her partner and they bodysnatched him and replaced him with an imposter. Except she absolutely does not, because that would be a completely idiotic reaction when it’s obvious he’s just had parts of his memory wiped. Mrs. Budahas.

Speaking of Mrs. Budahas, Mulder and Scully are at her door now, looking hilariously pitiful and disheveled. But this isn’t the same Mrs. Budahas. She’s forgotten everything she knows about planes! Dear sweet God! No, actually what’s changed is that she just wants them to leave her alone. She says her husband’s fine. In fact, she says, he’s resting at the moment and can’t be disturbed. “Who is it now?” comes the unmistakable voice of a cranky Col. Budahas from inside. Busted! But seriously, you guys, next time you want to interview someone? Maybe you should try showering first. Especially you, Mulder. You hair is seriously goofy right now. Precious, but goofy. Mrs. B. shuts the door in their faces. Mulder starts ranting about how They’ve been here, threatened Mrs. B. or some such. Scully cuts him off, because she has had enough. Enough! Do you know how many step aerobics classes she’s had to miss since she started this assignment? Do you know how many paperbacks borrowed from her mom are piled up on her bedside table? It’s only been a couple weeks and already, this is completely RIDICULOUS! If she wasn’t careful, this job could like, take over her entire life! Plus, she is really freaked out right now! She’s been wearing the same outfit for eighteen hours, she just had to pull a gun on Clark Kent, and she knows, she just KNOWS that when they get back to Washington those jerks in the fancy office are going to give her that faintly contemptuous look again, like they can’t believe she fell for this crap. Which she didn’t! She is not falling for this crap! Mulder is a kook! A hot, charming, obsessive, annoying, charismatic kook! She is going out tomorrow to get a pedi and after that she’s going to eat an entire pint of Phish Food FOR LUNCH, not after lunch, the regular one, NOT EVEN THE LIGHT ONE, BECAUSE THAT IS THE KIND OF WEEK THIS HAS BEEN. She is not getting sucked into this insanity. SHE IS NOT.

OK, now, I know that by 1993 word processors existed that didn’t have the white letters on a blue background. However, the FBI is evidently too cheap to spring for them. Scully, with some truly horrific horizontal early ’90s hair and a beige top from TJ Maxx, and as freckly as she’s ever been, is typing up her report. Budahas was returned, though still no one knows what happened to him. There was some untoward business with flying lights and fake reporters, but who knows what that was all about anyway. She leans back and looks at the picture from the diner of Mulder’s spaceship triangle. She is not getting sucked into this. She is…not. She’s not? She’s really not. Sigh.

Big red university-lookin’ track. Someone in a cut-off Georgetown sweatshirt that I might possibly once have seen at the New York eXpo is running around it. Someone else in a suit is not running, just standing in the middle and being creepy. Mulder stops, panting, and catches sight of Deep Throat, then walks over. How did he get to the middle of the track without Mulder seeing him, you ask? I think you know the answer to that: ALIEN. POWERS. Man, when we get the episode about how the aliens can beam people into bathrooms and around athletic fields it is going to be SO AWESOME. I cannot wait. DT tells pretty, sweaty, squinty Mulder that his and Scully’s lives may be in danger, and essentially tells him to stop being such a reckless jackass. He’ll help Mulder, but not if Mulder is all spazzy about it. I have to point out here that Mulder’s sun-squinty eyes are — hold onto your hats — exactly the same triangle shape as the UFOs we’ve been seeing throughout the episode. IT’S ALL FALLING INTO PLACE! No, but really, I’ve always thought that was neat. I love when Mulder is all squinty. And sweaty. DT, naturally, is pancaked to cool perfection. Mulder says that he saw something, but it was erased from his head. “Mr. Mulder,” says DT in his gruff yet kindly voice, “why are those like yourself, who believe in the existence of extraterrestrial life on this earth, not dissuaded by all the evidence to the contrary?” Is this a trick question? Hm. Mulder thinks about it, then answers slowly, “Because…all the evidence to the contrary is not sufficiently dissuasive.”

Deep Throat smiles: “Precisely.” Then he walks away. Oooooookay! Thanks!

As DT is leaving, Mulder calls out, “They’re here, aren’t they?” DT turns around: “Mr. Mulder — they’ve been here for a long long time.” See, Mulder! Wasn’t that helpful? This guy is awesome! You’ll hardly need to do any investigating at all!

Psst: If he really wanted to be helpful, he could tell you that the aliens are buried in a dormant viral state deep inside the earth, and will eventually rise and try to enslave humanity. This will also have something to do with corn. And magic babies. See, now THAT is helpful. God. See, I can hook you up. I’ll need one hour alone with you per week in that plaid shirt. Bring the workboots. Did I mention there are also bees? I didn’t? You might want to start writing this down.