6 x 14 – Agua Mala

by asanamoeba

Once upon a time there were two actors named David and Gillian who worked on a TV show in a rainy land called Vancouver. After five years their show moved to beautiful sunny California where it never rained at all, except for the entire time every time I’ve ever been there to visit. (Apparently I should stop going in February.) They were delighted that they would never have to film in the rain ever again. Then they got a script called “Agua Mala,” in which they were soaked for the entire episode. HA ha!

Goodland, Florida. Oh, already with the ironic town-naming, are we? You didn’t want to go with “Sunville” or something? “Bucolicton”? “Nevergetkilledbyaseamonster Junction”? OK. It’s raining a lot here in Goodland (hey, also: good land, bad water — all right, I see what you did there, Amann), just like it probably is in Vancouver right now. Some lady is screaming for Evan while hammering boards on a door, as you do in a hurricane. Evan, who is a kid of 13 or so, calls back “Nothing’s coming out!” as he does…something (here we go again with the darkness, X-Files). I think he’s trying to turn on a faucet. The radio informs us that Tropical Storm Leroy has been upgraded to Hurricane Leroy. Evan’s mom comes over and fiddles with the faucet as well, then turns to see water seep up from a drain in the floor. Evan asks if his dad is going to be OK, and his mom says that they need water right now. HOW IRONIC SINCE THEY ALREADY HAVE A WHOLE BUNCH OF WATER, but I’m sure we’ll come to understand this seeming incongruity before long. Evan’s mom yells at Evan to come help with the washing machine, which she’s fiddling with for some purpose of which we’re not yet aware. He’s worried because Reggie, the cat, is stuck back in the room somewhere. Evan’s mom wants to tip the washing machine over and dump out the water. She yells at Evan to push. He does for a while, and then he doesn’t, because he’s being strangled by some clear, goopy tentacles. Uh-oh! “LET GO OF HIM!!” his mom yells, grabbing at him, but tentacles don’t have ears, baby. Behind them, some more water bubbles up from the drain, along with another tentacle. Screaming, Evan’s mom lets go of her son and falls down herself, apparently also overcome by tentacles.

So we’ve got the idea, and so it’s time for the credits. Credits! Starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson, both of whom are soon to have multiple buckets of water dumped on them over and over again.

Mulder’s phone is ringing, but Mulder’s not home. It’s Arthur Dales! You remember him from your favorite episode, “Travelers.” He’s calling from Florida, where there’s a divil of a hurricane going on. Arthur says he got a crazy phone call from his neighbor, and if Mulder is any kind of self-respecting paranormal-activity-chasing kook, he will want to fly down and investigate. And maybe he should take his little partner, whose house he’s probably sleeping at right now, WOOT!

Close in on somebody in a bathrobe getting a glass of water. IT’S MULDER SLEEPING OVER AT SCULLY’S!…No, it’s Arthur Dales, listening to the radio, which is saying that the hurricane is going to be bad soon, but hasn’t gotten bad yet. Give it, oh, 34 minutes or so. Just a guess. When he’s not listening to the conventional mainstream bourgeois radio, Arthur is also eavesdropping on police frequencies like the nosy old coot that he is. The Shipleys are missing, according to the cops, but their vehicle is still in the carport. Where are they? “Well, that sounds like a real mystery, don’t it?” says one of the cops on the radio. “It sure does, you dumb FATHEAD!” says Arthur. Oh, lordy. We’re in for a bunch of old-man insult words, aren’t we? Flobbledy flee! By the way, we’re in Goodland, Florida again, at the Davy Crockett Motor Court. Sorry, that’s the Tierra Nueva Trailer Park.

There’s a knock at Arthur’s door. Probably some damn teenagers selling some damn magazine subscriptions! He stomps to the door to open it. It’s not teenagers at all — it’s Mulder and Scully! In matching black hooded windbreakers, squinting against the water currently being sprayed at them from off camera. Dales crabs at them for being late, I guess, and says the hurricane’s still 20 miles offshore. “Mr. Dales, can we come in?” Mulder hollers over the rain. He says they can, and they do. “Who’s THIS?” he asks. “Special Agent Dana Scully,” says Special Agent Dana Scully. Mulder says she’s his partner. As they start unsnapping their jackets, Dales tells them not to get too comfortable because they’re going to want to get right back out there. “Out where?” Scully asks. Dales turns to Mulder, already exasperated (or more like perpetually exasperated, it seems) and asks if Mulder told Scully what Dales told Mulder. “Yes, but she’s not the type that’s easily persuaded,” Mulder says. They have, in fact, built a whole television show on this premise, Arthur, you might have heard. “What he means is I don’t hear a story about a sea monster and automatically assume it’s the Lord’s gospel truth,” Scully says, drying her hands with some of Arthur’s paper towels. Even if a sea monster ate your dog? Oh, that was a LAKE monster. Totally different. (All right, it was really an alligator. OR WAS IT?) “Why did you bring her here?” Dales whines. Mulder says that she knows Dales’s early work on the X-Files and has “a knack for getting to the bottom of things.” Is this the pilot? There is a LOT of exposition happening up in here. Scully, throwing away her paper towel, sees a bunch of empty liquor bottles in Dales’s trash. “Apparently, so does Mr. Dales,” she zings. What the hell, Scully? It’s a damn hurricane. Gettin’ drunk and listenin’ to the police radio is about all you can do. “It’s a good thing I have a reputation; otherwise how could it be impugned?” Dales zings back. What does that even mean? This is like the worst zinging in the history of ever, guys.

Scully patronizes that she’s sure there’s a good reason for Dales’s alarm, and says that she listened to the message he left on Mulder’s machine, when they came back to his house after they got tired of having hot monkey sex at her house. Dales says it’s the Shipleys, a young couple with a son who live out on the edge of the sandspit, which is a Florida term that I do not know, but I’m guessing it’s not the best place to be in a hurricane. Sara — Evan’s mom, I assume — called Arthur saying that some “thing” in the house had grabbed her husband. In the bathroom, “of all places.” Who would have thought that the BATHROOM would be the scene of evil on The X-Files! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! It’s season 6, so we’ve officially gone meta, you see. If only someone would wear his wedding ring as a hilarious in-joke. Or hire his wife to play his partner and his best friend to play him and make them have sex in a movie while he watched (you know, when you think about that, really? What the HELL was that all about? You’re a weirdo, David).

“It was your description that caused Agent Scully’s…dubiousness,” Mulder says. This is the longest Scully Is Skeptical riff that we’ve had on this show since like season 1. Dales says he’s only repeating what Sara said, which is that it had tentacles. Ah, tentacles. Nothing to worry about then. Only homey, everyday, non-terrifying things have tentacles. It was probably just a friendly neighborhood beagle. With tentacles. Or the house settling. On its tentacles. Yeah, OK, this can’t be good. The tentacles were choking Sara’s husband, Dales says. They’re both marine biologists, so they know tentacles when they see them. “…Or at least they WERE,” Dales says. Oy. “I fear the worst,” he adds unnecessarily, saying that Sara is now also missing. “I got on the phone to the local constabulary, but they’re about as helpful as a fart in a windstorm,” he says. Old people talking about farts! Never not funny. Except for the times that it’s just dumb, which is always. He would have gone out himself, but he has a bad hip. Well, that’s about as helpful as a dead cat on a pile of Werther’s Originals mixed with Quaker Oats, is what that is. Mulder, of course, finds the fart joke hilarious and looks back at Scully, who doesn’t seem as appreciative.

“It’s not a night that anybody should be out in,” Mulder says hopefully. “I don’t see that there’s a choice,” says Dales. Mulder makes a “d’oh” face and turns to go. Mulder, why did you buy plane tickets, talk Scully into coming with you, fly to Florida, rent a car, drive out to Dales’s house in the rain, and stand at his door in your windbreakers if you didn’t want to go investigate the sea monster or what have you, ten yards further down the road? Couldn’t you have had the “Maybe it’s too rainy to investigate” conversation over the phone from your warm apartment in Washington? This is your whole problem in a nutshell, my friend. Oh, Arthur’s not done: “If anyone wants to gets to the bottom of all this,” he adds, and looks significantly at Scully. Hey, guys, the character we don’t care about is insinuating something we’re already well aware of about the character we like! How totally not boring or repetitive!

We’re almost rid of this scene, but not quite, because Scully pauses at the door and, like the good, dutiful little straight woman that she has learned to be over the last five and a half seasons, sets Arthur up: “What is it that brought you out here in the first place, Mr. Dales?” Pause, pause, and then the zingeroo: “I came down for the weather.” Oh! Oh! Get it? Because right now, the weather is terrible? THE WIT, MY SIDES, I CAN’T TAKE IT!!! What are we, eight minutes into this thing? Oh God.

Before they go, Dales has a final nugget of incomprehensible old-guy wisdom: “Don’t sneer at the mysteries of the deep, young lady,” he says to Scully, talking nice and slow because, who cares? It’s not like they have anyplace to get to. “The bottom of the ocean…is as deep and dark…as the imagination!”

That’s probably a quote from something, right? Maybe we’re even going meta some more and it’s Moby Dick. Wouldn’t know, though, because Mulder and Scully just sort of make faces and leave. OK then!

I pause for a moment to say that I’m quite fond of Darren McGavin, certainly in A Christmas Story but maybe even more as Frank’s dad in the Millennium episode “Midnight of the Century,” which never, ever fails to make me cry. I have little affection for the Arthur Dales character, largely because he was spawned during “Travelers,” the most boring and annoying episode of TXF ever filmed, but the writing in this episode is pretty sad, so I can’t blame him for Dales being irritating. That doesn’t mean I’m happy to see him though.

OK, so, here I am bitching about “Agua Mala” and how much it sucks, and my toilet, which hasn’t been flushed in like two hours, suddenly started running out of the blue. I’m either being haunted by the ghost of Darren McGavin, or I’m about to be strangled by a tentacle monster. I can’t say I’m not a little creeped out right now.

Hey guys! Now it’s like, six months later. After the ghost of Darren McGavin broke my toilet, I had to shut off the water to get it to stop running, then go buy a toilet-innards replacement kit from Home Depot and take my whole tank apart, which I UNFORTUNATELY did after having a beer, thus lessening my window in which to comfortably not have a toilet, if you get my meaning, and basically eviscerated the tank and at one point had it upside down in my bathtub trying to get the giant screw on the bottom off, which failed because I don’t have a matchingly giant plumber wrench, and generally tried to follow the incredibly confusing instructions and 9 times out of 10 opened it on the Spanish side when I tried to look at them, and finally, FINALLY more or less got the toilet working, and long story short, it’s now fall and I’m back to this recap and I AM ON TO YOU, GHOST OF DARREN MCGAVIN, DO NOT TOUCH MY MOTHERFUCKING TOILET AGAIN OR I WILL…say mean things about your acting. Which I didn’t do! It’s not your fault Arthur Dales sucked. Did I or did I NOT say that I loved you in Millennium? And also A Christmas Story! Fra-gee-lay! The Bumpus hounds! It’s a major award! OK? Take pity on me, I live in a one-bath condo!

Anyway. Thankfully, while I was fixing the toilet and crying, I wasn’t attacked by a sea monster, a lake monster, an alligator, a fat-sucking vampire, a flukeman, a liver-eating mutant, a fuck-you joke about wedding rings, Basement Cat, or anything else. So I live to ramble another day. Where were we then? Oh yes. Scully and Mulder are leaving the home of one Mr. Arthur Dales, because Mulder is a sucker and Scully is a pushover. Off they go into the fake studio rain, slamming the door behind them.

Shipley Residence. OK, I paused right here, just after the legend, and literally the screen is a black rectangle. Oh, there’s a corner of a dark blue thing! That’s much more visually interesting. Suddenly the dark blue thing is illuminated, as if by an FBI-issue flashlight shining through a window, and it’s a picture of the Shipleys in happier times. We hear banging, and Mulder and Scully finally get themselves through the (well-boarded-up) door and into the house, flashlights swinging. Mulder yells out for someone but there’s no answer. Scully notes that the house is boarded up and looks hurricane-ready. Mulder corrects that it’s boarded up…from the INSIDE. So how did they get OUT, smarty face? Scully, do you EVER get tired of being the straight woman? And they wonder why I like “Kill Switch” so much.

Mulder walks into…someplace. Someplace dark! And wet. He sees some clear goop and, because he’s Mulder, he sticks his whole hand in it, and then wipes it on his jacket. At least he didn’t lick it this time. Scully pops in, confirming that she can’t find any sign of the Shipleys. “There’s something on the drainpipe…I can’t get it off,” Mulder says, now resorting to shaking his hand vigorously. Cool exterior intact? You be the judge. Before Scully can say, “For Christ’s sake, tell me you didn’t just put that in your mouth,” they hear a banging coming from the washing machine (hooray! A thing that I can make out! A washing machine!) behind them. The cover opens and bangs closed a couple of times. Don’t worry, it’s probably just hundreds of jaguar-spirit-possessed rats. Mulder grabs a broom, snarking to Scully, “I don’t know if I’m going to need my gun or a harpoon here.” With the broom handle he carefully prods open the washer lid, and — zoinks! — a wet cat leaps out and runs away, screeching. Reggie! Is that you? Scully yelps in surprise. They watch it go, Scully wondering aloud how a cat got in the washing machine. “Maybe he was taking a dip after he finished boarding up the windows,” Mulder says. You’re right, Mulder! There’s no way a cat could have boarded up those windows. The only logical explanation is a sea monster.

For some time-killing reason we all (Mulder, Scully, and the audience) stare some more at the picture of the Shipleys. Next to it is another (internal) door, also boarded up. Mulder speculates that it leads to the bathroom, since that’s where the husband was grabbed from. Come on, Mulder, why would a cat board up the bathroom door? Everyone knows cats love drinking out of the toilet. Be logical. Mulder and Scully both stick their flashlights in their mouths (good thing they didn’t happen to bring those humongo xenon ones this time) and start pulling at the boards — when they’re interrupted. “Well, howdy do!” says a large fellow in a bright yellow slicker. Mulder and Scully whirl around, still orally servicing their flashlights, and put their hands up as ordered. He demands to know who they are, and, consistent with the cheesy comedy of this episode thus far, they start mumbling around the flashlights. The man says they can remove them, “nice and slow.” Mulder says they’re FBI. “Don’t all the nuts roll downhill to Florida,” the yellow slicker irrelevantly one-liners. Scully tries to introduce herself and Mulder, but the man interrupts, saying into his radio that he has two suspects in custody for a B and E (hey, some law-enforcement jargon that I actually know!) and possible foul play. The radio says back that no backup units are available, while Mulder vainly tries to get a word in, saying they’re also out looking for the Shipleys. Deputy Greer, for that is his name, starts Miranda-ing over him, even after Mulder drops the sure-to-be-locally-respected name of Arthur Dales, who, after all, the X-Files, and all that, back in aught six. Greer says he knows Dales, all right, and got a drunk dial from him not long ago. Scully, straight woman extraordinaire, demands to know why else they would be out here. “You could be looters,” Greer replies. “For all I know you could be part of the Manson family.”

We seem to have reached a stalemate, but our old friend Reggie the angry wet kittycat, apparently still angry about the whole washing-machine thing, runs by at that moment, making an angry-wet-kittycat noise. The deputy turns toward him, distracted, and Mulder seizes the moment and grabs his gun out of his hand. That’s FEDERAL law enforcement for ya! I hear you have to pass a rigorous not-being-distracted-by-kittycats test before they give you your FBI badge. That, or maybe one kittycat doesn’t really do it for you after you’ve been chased through a sewer by like 500 of them. Including one that’s really a puppet! How do I end up with all the cat episodes?

The deputy puts his hands up, lamenting that Mulder is about to kill him. “No, I’m not, but I’d LIKE to,” Mulder says, with perfect deadpan irritation. Meanwhile, Scully’s gotten out her badge: “Deputy?” She holds it up, smiling prettily. “The FBI, for real?!” bumbles the deputy. “I’ll be in the car,” Scully says, and leaves. HEE.

Leaving Mulder and Greer awkwardly together. “I gotta at least make out a report,” he says sheepishly, but Mulder insists that they finish looking for the Shipleys first. “Yes sir…may I have my gun please?” the deputy says. Boy, this guy rolled over like a shih tzu poked in the shoulder by Cesar Millan, didn’t he? Mulder, looking amused, hands it back to him, and they resume the search.

Meanwhile, Scully’s out in the car, yelling into the phone as rain pummels the windshield. (At least half of this episode is yelling, what with the loud raining and all.) She hangs up as Mulder gets in. He exposits that the deputy helped him pull off the boards on the bathroom door, but there was no one in there, just more slime in the bathtub and a few inches of water on the floor, as if the taps had been left running. Um…might that have been a good scene to actually show the audience? Just a thought. “Great,” Scully says. “Mulder, they’re threatening to close the airport, we’d better get out of here.” Mulder wants to know if she’s even curious about the Shipleys’ fate. Scully says she is, but she also suspects that Arthur Dales is a crazy old drunk. “Don’t dismiss him so easily,” Mulder says. “He discovered the X-Files 40 years ago.” STOP REMINDING ME OF TRAVELERS, SHOW, IT’S JUST MAKING ME ANGRY. Mulder says Dales has seen things he’s only read about. “Because sea monsters can only be read about, Mulder, because they DON’T EXIST,” Scully says.

Because no one is behaving normally in this episode, Mulder launches into a monologue: “If the sea is where life began, where our ancestors first walked ashore, then who’s to say what new life may be developing in its uncharted depths?” What in the HELL is going on around here? Quite understandably, Duchovny cannot NOT read this in a funny voice. Whether he was supposed to or not, I have no idea. “You know what? Maybe you ARE a member of the Manson family,” Scully deadpans. Heeeyyyy, someone’s finally tired of being the straight woman!

There’s nothing more for them to do here, Scully says, that local law enforcement can’t take care of. (Please, if that deputy meets the sea monster he’s probably going to become its butler in like .2 seconds.) “I’ve done my duty for Mr. Dales, for my conscience — haven’t you?” she says. Mulder counters that they should at least tell Dales they’re giving up. Scully looks pained. Scully, I can’t believe you came all the way to Florida and you’re not even going to TRY to go to Disney World. I bet the lines on Space Mountain are really short right now!

ANOTHER damn flashlit closeup of the family picture! It’s a beautiful family, and they’re dead at the hands of a sea monster, and it’s very sad, I GET IT! It’s the deputy looking at it now, then moving away, mumbling about sea monsters and FBI agents and how he could use a drink. You and me both, Least Alpha Deputy Of All Time. And I guess we can ASSUME, in the scene that we didn’t see, that Mulder planted the idea of sea monsters in his head. If ever there was an episode that made an ass of you and me, it’s this one, by the way. As he passes by it, a drain in the floor blurbles and water starts gushing out. The deputy crouches down, pulling out a pair of pliers (I hope he doesn’t have to take off the tank-to-bowl washer holding in the flush valve assembly with those. Because they won’t be big enough. Just saying), and yanks off the drain cover. The water lurches ominously. The deputy sticks his arm in. Way in. Is this really a priority right now? He pulls out — a sea monster! A cat! Queequeg! Nope, it’s a football jersey that says “SHIPLEY” on the back. D’oh. This would have been a good time for another closeup on the family portrait, but I guess we’re maxed out at three. The deputy holds the shirt up to the camera so we can read it, or would be able to read it if there were any lighting in this scene.

Back to Mulder and Scully in their rental car, driving through the wet, dark, branch-strewn streets of Nothingbadhappensherebury, Florida. They stop at a roadblock, where another yellow-slickered representative of local law enforcement tells them they’re going to have to turn around and find someplace dry to spend the night. FANFIC ALERT! Unless they have to stay in Arthur Dales’s house, in which case, fanfic boner withered. (Sorry.) The officer says the road is washed out up ahead. Scully tries the “It’s an emergency” card, beloved of whiny, overentitled Amazing Race contestants at foreign airports and taxicabs all over the world. The officer says that unless they managed to rent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the airport Lariat agency (OK, that’s a paraphrase), it’s not gonna happen. Scully asks if there’s an alternate route to the airport. “Airport? Not tonight,” the officer says. Mulder and Scully make faces. Faaaaaaanfic aleeeeerrrrrrt! Scully tries one more time: “It’s important that we evacuate the area! We’re FBI agents and we need to get to where we’re going!” Which is home to your jammies and slippers in Washington. Come on now, you’re not fooling anyone. “Don’t all the nuts roll downhill to Florida,” the officer grumps. Why do people keep saying that when Mulder and Scully try to ID themselves? Are there a lot of people pretending to be FBI agents running around Florida? Are they considered mythical, like unicorns? Scully tries to get out her ID, but Mulder’s had enough, thanks the officer, jerks the car backwards and WHIPS it around angrily before peeling out. “That was one howdy-do over the line,” he says. What the hell? What part of THE ROAD IS WASHED OUT did you guys not understand? They can’t magically clean up all the water for you and open the airport just because you’re fake FBI agents who didn’t have the foresight to rent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. What babies. Go find a motel where they only have one room left because there’s a convention hurricane in town and you have to share a bed, and get to stepping on that fanfic already.

10:42 pm, and the deputy’s SUV is pulling up to The Breakers Condominiums, otherwise known as the International House of Broad Stereotyping, as we’re soon to find out. “Car 54 [of course. Of course], please report back to base,” the radio chirps. We are informed that there’s a flash flood warning for the county, and all mobile units (that means cars!) are to stay off the road. The deputy says he’s going to stop in at the Breakers first, because it looks like the power is off and he wants to check on the folks. See, now that’s a guy who’s doing his job, instead of bitching about how the incompetents running things down here can’t shut off the rain so they can get back to civilization an hour after they got off the plane to do exactly what they were expecting to have to do when they voluntarily came here. As the deputy climbs out of his car, we pan under it to see — Reggie the kittycat! Who has hitched a ride! Because…of sea monsters! I’m sure this will all make sense soon. Reggie runs off.

The deputy enters the condo’s flooded hallway, calling out and knocking on doors. One door is ajar, and the deputy steps in, calling for the occupants. Mark Snow chooses to illustrate this tense moment with a humorous bassoon riff. He busts down the door to the bathroom and there on the can sits a big blobby translucent mass of something or other, in the vague shape of a person. At least they showed it to us this time instead of just telling us about it later. Under the top layer of gack, a crawling tentacley-looking thing can be seen slithering by. The deputy leans in for a closer look — and a long thin tentacle snaps out and grabs hold of him. The deputy struggles to reach his gun, and we fade to commercial. Dear everyone on this show: Just hold it. Forever. It’s safer.

Back to Mulder and Scully, driving along through the storm. It should be noted, by the way, that although they’re in the car, they’re both soaking wet anyway. “The good thing about zero visibility, Scully? It can’t get any worse,” Mulder quips, as Scully screams “HELLO?” into the phone. She’s gotten ahold of the county sheriff, who I guess doesn’t have anything better to do tonight than guide two out-of-towners through a hurricane to the closed airport. Scully yells out their location, then continues, “No, it isn’t very smart, is it?” while glaring pointedly at Mulder. Sweetie, unless he had a gun in your back as you were both getting on the plane at National, you don’t really have a leg to stand on here. I know, I know — he’s hard to resist when he wants to take you on an adventure. Or almost any other time. Damn those soulful eyes. Mulder does a sarcastic head jiggle back at her that’s straight out of Little Sister Mockery 101. Scully says the sheriff is going to direct them to the nearest emergency shelter. (Again: nothing better to do, I’m sure.) Mulder is relieved, but then: “HELLO? HELLO?” They’ve lost service. Welllll, I guess there’s nothing to do but pull over, put down those seats, and try to “sleep” as you wait it out together. (There MUST be fanfic from this episode somewhere. I’m gonna go look for some. Or write some. After this. Focus!)

“You know, Scully,” Mulder says, “someday, we’re gonna look back on this and we’re gonna laugh.” Aww. You know what? Despite the silly writing and the one-liners and Mulder and Scully being total whiny babies in this episode, I do get a kick out of it, and I like the M/S interaction. At least they’re talking to each other, poking each other (metaphorically, unfortunately), and bickering comfortably. That’s more than I can say for a lot of episodes. No one’s crying, no one’s ditching, no one’s trapped on a spaceship. If only they’d driven around all night bickering instead of ending up stranded in the middle of a bunch of cliches as they’re about to do. But let’s enjoy the moment, shall we? “Think of it as a test of our mettle,” Mulder is saying. “I don’t NEED my mettle tested,” Scully grits. (She’s got a point. By season 6, I think it’s safe to say that further testing is not needed.) They’re interrupted by a very faint clatter that I think was supposed to be louder judging by their alarm over it. Mulder thinks it’s a tree branch. Scully says they should pull over (yes, yeeeesssss). Mulder says that at least if they’re driving they’ll be harder to hit. “We don’t know where we are, and we don’t know where we’re going,” Scully says, which just about sums it all up. But Mulder’s made out flashing blue lights ahead. “Who says there’s never a cop when you need one?” he asks. Not up to your usual joke standards, Mulder, but you are driving through a hurricane so I’ll cut you some slack. They pull over. Yup — they’re at the Breakers, which is apparently the only building for miles around.

First they run to the cop car, which Mulder somehow identifies as belonging to “Forrest Gump” (the topical hilarity in this episode just will not stop), I guess because he memorizes license numbers what with the photographic memory and all. No one’s there, though, because Deputy Gump is currently being eaten by a sea monster on a toilet. Our grumpy heroes quickly find the open apartment, and there’s the deputy, yellow slicker clearly visible, lying on the floor by the bathroom. He’s breathing shallowly, with tentacle marks all over his neck. Special Agent Captain Obvious Scully asks if he’s having trouble breathing, and he wastes some precious energy nodding at her. Scully says he needs a trach or he’s going to die. Mulder’s more interested in the thoroughly slimed toilet, which he reaches into to pull out a watch, and delivers possibly the biggest groaner in this episode: “I’ve heard of passing the time…Ouch.” The worst part is he’s not even saying it to anybody, just muttering it to himself. YOU CAN’T STOP THE TIDES OF WIT WITH THIS ONE. It has to get out. Much like a watch that Mulder is hilariously pretending you just pooped out even though it really fell off you as you were being killed.

Mulder rushes back to Scully and the prone deputy. “Hey, Scully, I found this watch in the toilet just now. I’ve heard of passing the time, but OUCH! Am I right? Get it? A watch? It was in the toilet? He passed the…Oh, is this guy dead yet?” He’s not, and Scully tells Mulder that she needs him to hold the deputy’s head steady. That’s right, Mulder is making toilet jokes to himself, and Scully is PREPARING TO GIVE SOMEONE A TRACHEOTOMY WITH A LEATHERMAN. Which she has found in the deputy’s pocket. Scully is awesome. It can’t be denied. She tells him to try and relax, with a little more emphasis on “try” than I personally would feel comfortable with were I in the deputy’s position, but I guess he doesn’t have much choice. Scully pulls out the knife attachment on the Leatherman and — poke! We can hear a whoosh of air. Mulder looks away. Now you need a pen, Scully! I’ve seen TV before. Mulder says that it looks like the deputy was “attacked or stung.” Scully says she doesn’t know what the marks are, but that he’s having an autonomic reaction to whatever it is. “I think it came through the plumbing, through the toilet,” Mulder says. Dude, she is KINDA BUSY right now. Scully says they need a medevac. Guess she can’t find a pen. Mulder says that if it’s in the plumbing, he has to make sure no one else is in the building. He takes off. Scully looks hesitant, then weary, then resigned, then picks up the deputy’s radio.

“This is Special Agent Dana Scully with the Federal Bureau of Investigation,” she says. (“Oh, great, not these assholes again,” says a background voice.) Scully says she needs a medevac immediately for an injured officer. And, guess who’s sitting in his bathrobe with a cocktail, listening at his radio? That’s right: our friend Arthur Dales. Scully states her name again, and this time Dales recognizes it. As Scully repeats her urgent request for help to save the dying deputy, he laughs delightedly while taking another swig of booze. Scully says the deputy was attacked “by something as yet unidentified.” Ever notice how Gillian always does a short “i” in “unidentified” (or “identified” for that matter, though we don’t run into that one as often)? I wonder if that’s a British thing. Sorry, brief nerd-out. Uh, higher level of nerd-out than the one I’m already at, writing a multi-page recap for a sci-fi TV episode from 11 years ago. Anyway! Dales: “UNidentified! My ass.” He’s so helpful. He discovered the X-Files, you know! Did you know that? While wearing an onion on his belt, which was the style at the time.

Here’s Mulder, tromping through the hallway at the Breakers, knocking on doors. He runs into a guy carrying a TV and asks if everything is all right in his apartment. This fellow is wearing a Hawaiian shirt, as I guess you do in Florida, at least if you’re a television-stealing looter. “Uh…yeah, it’s all good,” he fumbles. “You need some help…with your television?” Mulder asks, suddenly looking suspicious. Before this awkward conversation can continue, another man comes running up, asking if Mulder is the doctor. Seems he and his pregnant wife are stranded here without a car. He introduces himself as Walter Suarez and says he hopes “one of you” (Mulder or the other man) has a car. “You don’t know this man?” Mulder realizes. “No,” Walter says. “He’s not with you?”

Mulder gives the looter guy a stern look. “I’ll put it back,” he says sheepishly. Just pretend you’re with the FBI! They’ll never catch on. Especially if you demand that they part the flood waters so you can get to the airport. “Everything in your pockets too,” Mulder says. I love Disappointed Teacher Mulder.

He follows Walter to Walter’s apartment, where a very pregnant woman in a very colorful dress, whom Walter addresses as Angela, is lying on a sofa. “Stay there, Mrs. Suarez, we’re going to make sure your baby makes it safely into the world,” Mulder says gallantly. Angela thanks him but notes that she’s not in labor. And she and Walter are not married. Her last name is Villareal. “He tells people I’m his wife! Like he’s so macho.” O…key doke. Nice to meet you too. Mulder says they should both come with him. “Why, you got a car?” Angela says. “Oh, Walter here doesn’t have a car. Not to mention a job!” Yes, that’s right — it’s the X-Files version of Sassy Latina Spitfire. Sorry, PREGNANT Sassy Latina Spitfire. Mulder says he just wants to keep them safe, from something that attacked a deputy in the manager’s apartment (when they determined the apartment belonged to the manager I don’t know) and may be in the plumbing. “Oh, that’s great…I have to go to the bathroom about every ten seconds,” Angela says, stomping off. There is actually marimba music (or something that sounds like it) playing at this moment. I can’t wait until some Asians show up and we get to hear a gong! Mulder looks amused, because man, is she sassy! “Kid’s gonna be a fighter,” he says to Walter. Which reminds me of when he told Scully to “tell the kid I went down fighting” in…season 8 sometime, and briefly gives me the warm fuzzies. He asks Walter if there’s anyone else in the complex. Walter says there’s George Vincent, on the first floor, who refused help when Walter offered and never listens to no one. Mulder says George will listen to him. Offscreen, Angela hollers for Walter, who scurries off as Mulder heads to George’s apartment.

George peeps through his barred peephole and tells Mulder to go away. We get an always fun shot of Peephole Mulder (most famously employed, of course, in “Small Potatoes,” though that wasn’t actually Mulder, I suppose), yelling that George’s life may be in danger if he doesn’t leave. George says he’s armed, and within his rights. Oh, great. “It don’t matter — I’m armed against it. The junta, Cuba and Castro. I’m not gonna cede my home to no revolutionaries without a fight!” Oh, GREAT. He slams his peephole slider thing shut. “All the nuts roll down to Florida,” Mulder says sagely. So it would seem.

We’re back to Scully and the deputy, and Walter and Angela are here now too. Scully tells them that some sort of foreign organism is in his body and his condition is worsening. “I can see THAT,” Angela says sassily. She wants to know what happened to his neck. Scully says it may have been a waterborne parasite. “You see that? You see what happens when you live in a dump?” Angela says, smacking Walter. She should hang out with Arthur. They can unhelpfully complain about everything together. They ask where Harry, the landlord, is. Scully says he may have evacuated. “Yeah, right, and I’m giving birth to the Christ child,” says Angela. Those Latinos! They’re always talking about Jesus. It’s so folksy. Walter more productively explains that Harry uses crutches, which are still in the apartment, and doesn’t have a car. I am so fascinated to know exactly who in this condo complex does and does not have a car. Not to mention a job.

Mulder pops back in, accompanied by the TV looter, and asks to talk to Scully, who follows him out. Angela asks the looter who he is. “Nobody,” he answers. “Nobody! Oh, well it is so nice to be surrounded by so many great men,” Angela bitches irrelevantly. Can we get back to Scully screaming “HELLO” on the phone, and Mulder reciting monologues about the mysteries of the deep, in the car in the middle of the hurricane, please?

In the hall, Mulder says they have to get out of here. Woo-hoo! Scully says they can’t, because she just got off the radio and they’re not risking a rescue vehicle, and the roads are impassable, and they probably shouldn’t move the deputy anyway. D’oh! She confirms that they’re stuck. Crazy Cuba-Fighting Guy is listening to them through his door. He loads a gun, muttering, “Federal agents! Federal fascists!” He does have a point what with the waste of tax dollars in this episode, but I blame stupid Arthur Dales for that. He walks around his apartment, muttering things about the rights of the common man and how violence in pursuit of freedom is no vice. There’s a lot of water dripping from his ceiling. We pan slowly up to a ceiling light, and guess what’s slithering around up there, visible through the glass? A tentacle. Worse: A SOCIALIST tentacle! Commercials.

Back. Scully is wearing a pair of black-framed glasses that were probably hilarious at the time but are now totally in style. Also a red bandanna around her mouth, which is still not in style. The deputy has a thermometer in his mouth and is blinking, so that’s good, I guess. Scully says she doesn’t think the wounds are bites or stings, but there’s something right under the skin. She asks for tongs, and Angela, who’s been sterilizing them in a candle, hands them to her, amazingly without any bitching. Scully asks Mulder to check the deputy’s temperature. The verdict: “Either he’s got NO temperature or he’s about to spontaneously combust.” If only Harry the Crutch-Using, Carless Apartment Manager had a digital thermometer. Scully looks and confirms that the deputy’s temp is 106. She orders that the tub be filled with cold water and as much ice as they can find. The Looter, who I guess has decided that he may as well hang with these guys because they seem cool, objects that “that thing” is in the plumbing. Could be, Scully shoots back, but the deputy isn’t going to survive if they don’t lower his temperature. (Lowering people’s temperatures against others’ objections has worked well for Scully in the past, and will, again, in the future.)

Money FX shot: With the tongs, Scully pulls a slimy, wiggly tentacle out of a hole in the deputy’s side. Walter and Angela make grossed-out faces. I sort of feel like there should have been a little more fanfare for that moment. By the way, I just typed “monkey FX shot.” I wish there were some monkey FX in here to spice things up. Just CGI-ing a monkey onto Scully’s shoulder as she goes about her work would do. Maybe the monkey could be wearing a matching bandanna. Scully calls for a container for the tentacle and tells Mulder to lift the deputy so they can put him in the tub.

Jolly, samba-inspired music as Walter, Angela, and The Looter fill the tub with ice and, after the pipes protest a little, water. The deputy is heaved in. The Looter spies the still-gunk-encrusted toilet watch and snatches it, grinning, for he is A Looter, and looting is what he does. Mulder is too distracted to notice and thus tragically misses an opportunity to repeat his “passing time” joke.

Suddenly there’s a gunshot, and yelling. Mulder takes off, running to Crazy Rights-Having Freedom-Pursuing George’s door. Just as he knocks he hears more gunshots, and he waits, gun at the ready, until the shooting stops and the knob starts to turn, then orders the emerging George to drop his weapon. George, rifle over his shoulder and not looking especially impressed by Mulder’s badass Fibbery, says it’s gonna take a whole lot more than a gun to kill what he just saw.

Cut to everyone in George’s apartment, looking up at a hole in the ceiling where the light fixture used to be. George says that it swooped down from the ceiling and he didn’t get a good look. Scully flatly says that it was only a sewage pipe bursting. Sure, Scully, and the sewage pipe also put the tentacle in the deputy and drilled all those holes in his body and raised his temperature to 106 degrees. Mulder says it looks like the four-inch tie-in to the second floor — whatever that is; I didn’t learn THAT much about plumbing while fixing my toilet, and how does Mulder know it, anyway? Indian guides? — and whatever it is didn’t only rip through the ceiling but through the pipe too. Also, I don’t mean to be asking a dumb question here, but George also fired MULTIPLE GUNSHOTS into the ceiling about ten seconds ago, yes? I’m not a ballistics expert, but I’m just saying. Sometimes gunshots make holes in things. Anyway, Mulder figures it must still be in the building. Walter hopes it will just flow out, and George, who I guess is just a natural ass, says that maybe it will come up through the toilet and grab Walter by the nugs. (Nugs?) Mulder mutters that someone’s already got Walter by the nugs. Now would be a good time for a marimba riff, Mark Snow.

Scully entreats everyone to remember that whatever this thing is, it hasn’t killed anyone yet. “What about the man in the bathtub?” Walter asks sensibly. Scully says he could still be saved if he can just last out the storm. In fact, they all may be just fine if they remain calm. “Remain calm? I gotta pee so bad my back teeth are swimming,” Angela snaps. Well, maybe you shouldn’t have had that beer before you tried to take apart and reassemble your toilet, dummy. Wait, who said that? Scully nods unhelpfully and then looks back up at the ceiling. Uh, thanks, Scully!

Back in the bathroom, The Looter is working very hard to soap up the deputy’s wedding ring so he can take it. Looters gonna loot. I wish he would loot himself a less hideous shirt. He slips and falls comedically to the floor, but he’s gotten the ring — “Victory!” says The Looter to no one, holding it up to the camera, because it is TV. He jumps up to leave, accidentally knocking over a carton of Epsom salt (I know because it says “Epsom Salt” in a nice clear font, thank you, show) into the tub. Hmmmmm. The water that was not salty is about to become salty. That should brine the deputy up nicely. I’m sure it won’t have any other effect.

The Looter emerges from the bathroom right into the flashlight beams of Mulder and Scully, who ask how the deputy is. Good, says The Looter. Angela shoves past them, yelling “Supertanker coming through,” followed closely by Walter, who doesn’t want her going in there. “My bladder is pressing against your unborn child,” she glowers at him. “He’s going to have a head like a tortilla.” Really, now? …Well, actually that makes sense, because I’m of German ancestry and when I want to describe something’s flatness I say it’s like an Apfelpfannkuchen. It just comes naturally to me. So, never mind. Angela tells Walter that the VOLUME ALONE could push the creature back out to sea. That’s…kind of awesome, actually.

And inspiring. “Scully…that’s how this thing is here,” says Mulder. Because of a gargantuan wave of pregnant-lady pee? No, he thinks the hurricane dredged it up and drove it into the sewer system through an offshore pipe. I thought we already knew that? They’ve been talking about the mysteries of the deep and stuff since Arthur’s house. Meanwhile, Scully has come up with a bucket, which she hands to Angela, who sarcastically (it is her way) thanks her and bolts for the bathroom. It appears that of the five other people trapped in this apartment building, two of whom have been driving around for hours, no one else has to pee, since none of them are comically pregnant, I guess. Have I mentioned what Scully is wearing, by the way? The glasses are gone, but she’s still got the red bandanna (around her neck now), and she’s got some crazy apron with like Marilyn Monroe or somebody on it, and big yellow rubber gloves that I don’t remember her taking off for this whole section of the episode. Her hands must be sweating up a storm in there. Fun times for everyone, this episode! Fun, damp times.

While we dimly hear Scully arguing with Mulder outside, Angela plunks down the bucket in the bathroom, peeks behind the shower curtain at the deputy, and sits down. She tells him no listening, just in case. Sure, he’ll just put his hands over his ears for ya. We are focused on the deputy, with Angela’s silhouetted face visible through the curtain. And suddenly, in the bathwater…wiggly tentacle alert. Pee faster, Angela! When you fill up that bucket, and the sink, and your shoes, just go on the floor!

Outside, Mulder is pontificating about an undiscovered something that welled up from the depths of the ocean, while Scully insists that there’s no evidence of any creature. Uh…what about that mini-tentacle (mintacle? That sounds refreshing) you pulled out of the deputy? Oh: “Those organisms might just simply be waterborne parasites.” Well, those are creatures, aren’t they? I mean, how big do you think it is, like, a Yeti? It doesn’t have to be humongous to be scary. I suppose the tentacle marks are pretty big though. “But something from Jules Verne they are not,” Scully finishes. Mulder looks disgruntled. George and the looter look grumpy. But just then Angela comes running out of the bathroom, screaming that she saw it, that it had arms like an octopus. Mulder runs into the bathroom, hopefully not tripping over Angela’s brimming bucket of pee. (Did she have time to wipe? DID SHE HAVE TIME TO WIPE???) He shines the flashlight (now he’s got the huge one again — so the little ones were for the sole purpose of the flashlights-in-the-mouths joke, I guess) on the shower curtain, then yanks it aside. Accompanied by more lighthearted bassooning for whatever reason, we see that the tub contains a spilled container of Epsom salt, a uniform, and — no deputy.

George peeks in, hoping there are some Cubans or fascists in the tub that he can shoot at, followed by the rest of the gang. “He’s gone,” Mulder says. “It’s gone?” says Scully. Yeah, Mulder, don’t assume the sea monster is a boy! Girls can be sea monsters too!” No, Mulder says, he’s gone — the deputy. He holds up the empty uniform. “Where’d he go?” Scully asks, adorably flabbergasted. “I think,” Mulder says slowly, putting on a pair of mirrored sunglasses, “the deputy went out with the bathwater. YEEEAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

Oh whoops, we’re still here. Really thought we were going to some main titles after that line. Mulder explains his theory: the monster doesn’t live in water, it IS water, taking shape only when it attacks, like when the hurricane backed seawater into the plumbing. Scully looks…well, skeptical. Arthur Dales was right! “If that were true, then this wouldn’t be visible, would it?” she says, holding up the jar of tentacle, which I guess she’s been carrying around with her the whole time, just in case she needed it to win an argument. She says that what it’s showing them is that water actually attempts to kill it. Huh? How is water killing it? Because it’s sitting in a jar of water not moving? How can water “attempt” to do anything? Hmph. Mulder suggests that maybe Scully has impeded the creature’s reproductive process. It needs time to complete the cycle, like the time it had when it attacked the Shipleys. I’m pretty sure Mulder just accused Scully of cock-blocking the tentacle monster.

Scully counters that the Shipleys weren’t in their house, because of how a cat boarded up all their windows. Mulder says they were there when they were attacked, just like the deputy used to be in the bathtub. “Using their bodies to lay its own spawn; using the body’s water content to reproduce itself, to make itself anew.” More extremely natural dialogue. I do love how DD says “water.” He doesn’t get terribly New York-y that often, but it’s cute when he does. Speaking of wooater, both of them still have wet hair, FYI. Haven’t they been inside long enough for it to dry? Really, for Scully at least, it should be in a nice frizzy humidity halo by now. And I’m telling you, they did this entire-episode-of-wetness thing on purpose, probably to fuck with David. To be funny, I mean. I have no idea if that’s really true. But that is my theory. Hear me now and believe me later.

“You mean…he turned into one of them?” Walter sums up. Mulder’s answer: “We gotta get out of here.” CAN WE, PLEASE?

Scully quietly reminds Mulder that they’re in the middle of a hurricane. Mulder insists that they move to another building, and says they can use the deputy’s car. He starts counting people — and guess who’s gone, probably off looting another apartment somewhere? That’s right, Angela. Just kidding — it’s The Looter. “Son of a bitch,” Mulder says, and runs off. Why, dude? Who cares? Let him loot himself into a toilet full of tentacles.

While Mulder’s running down the hallway shining his flashlight all over the place, Scully calls out that if they’re going to leave, they should leave now. In other words, let’s not get into 20 minutes of following the trail of missing TVs until we find the looter, K? Mulder points the flashlight at a fluorescent light in the ceiling. Know what’s wiggling around up there? Yep, a tentacle. Mulder stares. The tentacle wiggles. And then it crashes through the light, and we go to commercial.

Back, Scully’s peering down the hall, looking worried. “Mulder?” He’s limping toward her, stopping to bend down, looking like he’s in pain. Scully asks if he’s OK. He breaks into a run, stops in front of her, and pulls down the collar of his jacket to reveal a bunch of tentacle marks. Uh-oh. He doesn’t seem like he can talk, and is having trouble breathing. Scully’s staring at him in alarm when George, apparently seeing an opportunity to score some points against the gubmint, yanks her back into the apartment and locks the door, pointing a gun (hers, I think) at her. NOOOOOO! The perfect opportunity for angsty lurve has presented itself and you’re trapping Scully with these annoying losers? THE FANFIC WAS ABOUT TO BEGIN. Sometimes when you’re attacked by tentacles and can’t breathe you require cuddling in order to keep warm. I know this to be a scientific fact. I hate you, Crazy Militia Guy. He says he’s saving their lives. “THAT’S MY PARTNER OUT THERE,” Scully hollers, and now, BTW, is the time in the episode when Gillian pretty much starts yelling up a storm, which is pretty fun, I have to admit. George says that Mulder should have listened to Scully, and she hollers that they can’t just leave him out there, that he’s going to die. Walter asks what Scully can do for him anyway, and she snaps that she can at least keep him breathing. Walter points out that she couldn’t save the deputy. LOW, Walter! Low. That was the fault of some salt. (Listen to me and my rapping.) So there. Scully shoots back that she can at least try, for she is, as we are so often reminded, a medical doctor. “That’s good,” Angela interjects, “because my water just broke.” Well, you are pregnant, and this is TV, so, that’s to be expected.

Mulder is standing out in the hallway, breathing labored. He tries to unbutton the top of his jacket. “[Sloshing sound],” says the closed captioning, and Mulder’s flashlight reveals more tentacles in another light fixture. He runs dorkily and Mulderily off, looking for a tentacle-free light to stand under, I guess. Need I mention that he is once again completely drenched?

To the accompaniment of the samba-y theme, because, you see, they are Latinos, Walter helps Angela, who of course is still bitching, onto the couch. Scully looks back at them, unable to believe she has to deal with this shit when she has a perfectly good Leatherman in her pocket and could totally be giving Mulder a sweet tracheotomy right now. “Isn’t much of a choice really, is it?” says George, waggling the gun at her. Shut up, George. Scully glares at him for a few moments, then hollers that they’re going to need water. (The irony! Again.) And a tape of whale songs, if you have one on hand.

Marching into the kitchen, Scully snaps that she’s going to deliver the baby, so he can put the gun down. She doesn’t crack up like she did that time in the bloopers though. George wants to know how they know she’s really a doctor. She says they don’t, and she’s never delivered a baby before, so George can stand back or make himself useful, but she needs him out of the way. OK, I remember a long debate after this episode came out about how Scully would totally have delivered babies before if she’d had a residency like a real doctor. So…the writers are lazy. This is not news. Maybe she was out not delivering babies while Mulder was busy not being a psychologist (“Terms of Endearment,” y’know) and Scully’s mom was trying to remember whether she gave Scully her cross on Christmas or her birthday.

Back in the hall, Mulder is still running like a goober. He falls in a puddle, gangly legs akimbo, right by the door of the condo complex. The door is banging and blowing like crazy. Mulder looks dazed.

Angela’s bellowing as Walter and Scully tell her to breathe. Scully says she needs her to push. “I need you to help me help you,” she says. It’s a little known fact that Scully is a sports agent in addition to being a medical doctor. Angela pushes and lets out another yell. Scully tells her she’s on the right track. If only Moronica were here to tell her how amazingly beautiful she looks. Scully, not being Moronica, just demands some towels. George is looking worriedly up at the light fixture directly above them, which is slowly filling with water. We all know what’s going on with water-filled light fixtures up in this piece. “I need some towels, damn it,” Scully repeats, calmly but pissily. George obediently heads off in search of towels. Now it’s Scully’s turn to look up at the light and look worried, even as she tells Angela she’s doing fine and calls out again for her to push. Listen, Angela, at least there’s not a gaggle of super soldiers standing around staring at your hoo-hah as you’re giving birth, so I’d say you’re still ahead of the game here.

Poor Mulder is just lying in a puddle on the floor in the hallway, soaked to the bone, near the open door. Suddenly he hears a cat meowing outside. A million cats jump in through the door and try to eat his face off, because of a jaguar spirit. One of them tries to punch him a bunch of times with its puppet hands. Just kidding — it’s a single kittycat, who…actually does look kind of like a puppet. Huh. Mulder manages to sort of roll over backwards and lug himself up long enough to make eye contact with the cat, who is, of course, our old pal Reggie. Reggie is drenched, but looks unharmed and un-tentaclized. He even still has his collar, which bears a tag with his name. He licks his paw and regards Mulder with total disinterest. Mulder gazes wheezily back at him. It’s really amazing how animals have such inborn, natural instincts when it comes to protecting themselves from mutant tentacle monsters.

That light over Angela is really really full of water now. I wonder if it would make sense to, you know, scoot her a couple of feet over. I know she’s in the middle of having a baby, but it still might be a good idea. “I CAN FEEL IT UP THERE,” Scully reports. Golly. “She can feel it up there!” Walter relays to Angela. “PUUUUUUUUUUSH,” Scully bellows. She glances up at the light, where the miracle of birth is also occurring: a tentacle appears out of nowhere. Aww, that’s so touching. “Here it comes!” Scully yells, which appears to have a double meaning right about now. She dunks her rubber-gloved hands into the bucket of water beside her. Then she stops, staring down. “Hey lady, what are you doing?” George asks. That’s Special Agent Medical Doctor Dana “Captain Obvious” Scully, Straight Woman Extraordinaire, to YOU, buddy! “IT’S THE WATER!” Scully says. “What?” says George. “What?” says Walter. “I’M HAVING IT,” says Angela. Where’s your samba music NOW, Mark Snow? “OK! OK!!” says Scully, tearing herself away from her revelation, and orders Angela to push again. Angela’s hollering and pushing, and at that moment the light fixture bursts, and tentacles fly out and wrap around George, lifting him off the floor. “PUSH,” Scully screams, now officially trying to beat the clock here. She unceremoniously yanks out Baby Tortilla Head Suarez-Villareal, and yells at Walter to pick up the gun. Geez, how about “It’s a boy” or “He’s so beautiful; he has his mother’s perpetually bitchy expression” or “His head really looks more like a pita pocket”? Walter finally gets what she’s saying and picks up the gun, which George, understandably considering he’s currently being strangled by a bunch of tentacles, has dropped. Scully hollers at Walter to shoot out the sprinklers. Walter aims, but George is swinging, not entirely of his own volition it must be noted, in and out of his line of fire. Samba music long forgotten, we get a high suspenseful violin note, higher and higher, until Walter fires. And then the screen goes black.

And suddenly…it’s the next morning. WAIT, WHAT? WHAT HAPPENED? Just when I was getting interested in this silliness!! Here’s Scully, standing outside amidst a whole bunch of downed trees, talking on the phone. “My name is Dana Scully…Yes. Thank you.” She hangs up, and goes inside. INSIDE WHERE???

Here now is a neck, with gauze wrapped around it. The gauze is pulled away to reveal a bunch of tentacle holes. And who’s pulling it away? Arthur Dales. Well! I’m grudgingly glad to see him. The neck belongs to Mulder. Arthur agrees that it looks terrible as Mulder grins shit-eatingly. Oh, MULDER. I missed you.

And here’s Scully, coming into Arthur’s house to announce that it’s official: “Ten pounds, ten ounces of piss and vinegar. El nino grande.” By the way, you know who hasn’t spoken any Spanish in this Spanish-named and Spanishy-music’d episode? Walter and Angela. Just saying. “Leroy Walter Villareal Suarez Junior,” Scully recites. I was close! “Oh, no,” says Mulder. Why oh no? Because “Leroy” is probably from the hurricane and “Villareal” from Angela and thus “Junior” is technically incorrect? OK, William Safire. “Oh yes,” Scully says. I really do not get that at all. “Oh, it’s amazing, it’s truly amazing,” gushes Arthur, for some reason. “What’s that?” says Scully, who, after delivering a gigantic, tortilla-headed baby while racing against time and sea monsters, with a gun in her face, all while worried about her possibly mortally wounded partner, and, apparently, while carrying around a jar of tentacle, is back to being the straight woman.

“That you could come here in the face of a hurricane,” Arthur intones, “chasing a sea monster yet, and end up bringing a new life into the world. And then slaying the monster, and save this one’s life — ” he waves in Mulder’s direction — “as he was quite literally circling down the drain.” Is that what happened? Is it? Gosh, that sounds exciting! I would have loved to have seen that last part. DID IT OCCUR TO YOU PERHAPS TO FILM IT AND SHOW IT TO US?

“She didn’t save my life, really,” Mulder hedges, because being a pain in the butt is what he does best. Dales expansively asserts that she did, and with a gun to her head, no less. How does he know that exactly? WE DON’T KNOW IT, AND WE WERE THERE! Why, show? Why you gotta be like that?

Scully delicately nudges that Mulder wouldn’t have known to go out in the rain, that it was the fresh water that killed the creature, had she not pointed it out. Well! I guess it’s fresh water that kills the creature. And that, my friends, was the climax of the episode. Hope you enjoyed it. Mulder counters that he saw the Shipleys’ cat, his new friend Reggie, and figured it out for himself. “I can’t swallow that,” Dales pronounces. Dude, butt out, for real. “No, no, I saw the cat, which had been saved, which had been in the washing machine,” Mulder says. Are we in for a bunch of retrospective exposition? You bet your bippy we are. “And the Shipleys had boarded up their house, which means that the only way they could have vanished was if the creature came up through the plumbing, in a backwash of seawater. Seawater, and then the deputy, who vanished from a bathtub full of Epsom salts.” What is this, Monk? Can we not get some black-and-white flashbacks accompanied by clarinet music while he’s doing all this explaining?

Dales is shaking his head; if Scully hadn’t been along, he shudders to think what would have happened to Encyclopedia Brown ovah heah. You know, I mean, I’m really very fond of Scully, but I don’t actually think Mulder is totally helpless without her. He is pretty much a huge smartypants. I can totally buy that he would have thought of that water thing. But no, Dales is saying that Mulder owes Scully his life. Well, sure, but that’s true for both of them several times over, I’d say, by this point. Oh, Dales isn’t done: It takes a big man to admit it, but if he’d had someone as savvy as Scully by his side, back in caveman times when he was X-Filing it up, he might not have retired. Well! Ever? Because you’re kinda old now, my friend. Might you, perhaps, have grown a giant beard and turned to a life of cutting out newspaper articles and leaving crap all over the living room while your savvy companion supported you both by becoming a surgeon solely through the use of Google? That would have been…cool, but also weird. And not something that would have made a ton of money at the box office, especially if it was released in the summer. If you were interested to know that at all.

Anyway, Arthur is nodding all sentimental-like, while Mulder and Scully look at him tolerantly, and now he wants to have a toast. A toast to Scully! This is seriously the most random shit ever. I was an OBSSE member, people, and I cannot honestly say that I ever wished for an episode to end with an out-of-the-blue toast to Scully, any more than I really ever wished for Mulder and Scully to inexplicably start having sex in the middle of every episode. Because that would have been silly. And I didn’t wish it. At all. OK, that’s a total lie; I fervently wished it every minute I was watching the show. But the first thing, that was the truth. A toast? Let’s see, how could this episode end any more dopily?

Oh, I know! Arthur could waddle over to the kitchen area of his trailer, asking what they should toast with, and then, because this is totally a thing that people do, he could say, “Anyone for water?” And Mulder and Scully could both look up, alarmed, and in unison, say “No!” And then the episode could end. That would be really, really cheesy. Luckily, that is the exact thing that happens. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

And that’s it. Afterwards, David and Gillian went home and dried themselves off. Then they went and sat outside in the hot sun, in the yards of their respective houses, because they lived in Los Angeles and they could do that. And they both thought, “Still worth it.”

Meanwhile, I went to check on my toilet, and it was still working. So I can only assume that the ghost of Darren McGavin is at peace. Until next time, fatheads!