Good Cop, Insane Cop: The Adventures of Moose & Squirrel

back to Fugues in the Key of X

3×13 – Syzygy

SYZYGY

Picture frame erm framing the face of a teenage boy in a football uniform, shoulder pads and all my spidey senses tingle to tell me he’s a QB! There’s also an oil lamp and a football helmet on either side of said picture. Another teen that looks exactly like him steps into the camera and sounds like he’s in mid-speech. Twins! He’s delivering some kind of eulogy and saying some inane stuff about how the deceased was like a brother – not twins! – and “junk like that”. Dear 1013, thank you for your heavy-handed negative portrayal of teenagers. Now I know who I should blame for the over-compensatory completely unrealistic teen vocabulary and so-called ‘intelligence’ of the Forehead and the rest of the crew from Dawson’s Creek.

We still see that picture. I swear it’s the same actor as the guy talking right now! Maybe the dude is a zombie? The acting and voice is certainly wooden enough. A quick check on the internets tells me that ZombieBoy is played by none other than Ryan Reynolds! Wow. He’s come a loooong way.

Laziness by the prop department or intentional? Either way Vancouver, two years later you so pay for that mistake! I’m not being nitpicky but it’s very distracting.

Camera shows us that there are teens gathered around in a circle holding candles, it looks like they’re supposed to be having some kind of sing-a-long but ZombieBoy ruined it. The lens stops on two teenage girls who are not crying during ZombieBoy’s unmoving speech but rolling their eyes in boredom. I like them already, I hope they don’t die like most blondes do in episodes of like every show in this genre that starts off with clandestine meetings in the woods. Now I’m not a spoiler-whore (except when it comes to LOST and only because it became crap then season 5 happened and it was good again, but I digress)…

So the first time I saw this episode like, three weeks five years ago (this recap has been sitting on my hard-drive for a while), I didn’t realize it was meant to be a light episode since we’d just come from one in WOTC. Therefore, I was really worried it was some really badly acted episode because the tone was off. Either way, since the Seasons That Never Happened things like that don’t bother me as much as they would have before. My new formula for X-Files episodes is pretty much a matter of: Mulder… check. Scully… check. Grade… B+ They’ve got the grade now they either have to keep it or bump it up, like Michelle Pfeiffer said in Dangerous Minds that’s much harder to do! Then I momentarily panicked that this was some Moronica bad dream episode or something despite the fact that the disc says Season 3. However, Mark Snow’s score is convincingly mid-nineties (it’s got the monophonic – is that even a word? – ringtone sound to it) so I’m still smiling and poised to give it an A.

ZombieBoy gives the two blondes a ride home (not that kind… yet) after they unconvincingly tell him they are scared for their lives because they heard the cult that killed ZombieBoy’s BFF is after blonde virgins now. In the car the girls muse on how cultists know whether someone is a virgin or not. Good question! ZombieBoy with the crocodile tear streak still on his face gets a little excited by their talk of not doing it until marriage like their mothers told them. Especially when they ask him if he is a virgin and he says no. I don’t believe him. The girls then suggest ZombieBoy deflower them in order to save them from the cultists. The truck swerves off the highway and veers down a path. Shot of the full moon in the sky. Werewolves! Horny teens! The next shot is in the a.m. and a black sherriff’s deputy who for once isn’t Curtis from 24 calls out, “over here!” It’s ZombieBoy hanging off a rope, the camera pans up the cliff as we hear the Virgin Twins playing he loves me, he loves me not, with a flower head. It’s creepy and they are so not virgins! And you thought blondes were dumb.

Credits.

Did I mention that these recaps are eating into the little time I have? I mean I have about five WIP fanfics and their readers waiting for me. But that’s okay, I’ve convinced myself that I am going to finish writing the fics, solve all my monetary problems by winning the lottery (no seriously… somebody has to be that person!), stalk and nab Jan the hot photographer from Berlin I met three weeks five years ago, find a cure for world poverty, hunger and AIDS as well as recap all the eps I have signed up for and offer any editorial services people may need this week. It’s okay, trust me. I want to believe. So let me!

There’s a car on the highway, we hear Scully say the map says turn right at the intersection. Mulder replies that the detective who contacted him said to turn left. The camera focuses on a sign that says, “Leaving Comity “the Perfect Harmony City”. We hear Scully second guess Mulder and tell him to turn right, finally the camera shows our dynamic duo in the car and it’s obvious from the twitch on her face that Miz Scully is already unamused by this trip! Maybe she’s still testy after that “you smell bad” comment Mulder made last week in WOTC.

He looks at her like, ‘Come on! Bambi and the Professor are so going to be doing it before you and I, doesn’t that make you sad? It makes me sad.’

She doesn’t even dignify that look with a response so he turns right like she told him to. I should make note of that neat little trick Scully just pulled. In the event that I ever become not-single! What? It can so happen. A few seconds later the camera is still focused on the intersection on the highway and we hear a screech of tires as Mulder reverses the car and drives in the other direction like he’d wanted to. Okay, maybe I won’t take note of that not-so neat trick.

Shot of ZombieBoy’s portrait on top of his coffin. A preacher is preachin’ about ZombieBoy’s pure heart or somesuch. Camera pulls out to taking in the jackets of half the funeral attendees. They have a goat with really long horns on it. It pans all the way out to the back of the funeral home/church(?) to a blonde short-haired detective who looks vaguely familiar to me as she expositions to Moose and Squirrel about ZombieBoy. Scully looks like she’s thinking about the earful she’s going to give Mulder for not listening to her earlier in the car. Mulder looks like he’s thinking, how can I use that “smart is sexy” comment from last week to my advantage with Scully? So he leans in to talk to blonde detective a little over Scully’s shoulder, she looks over her shoulder at him in what’s more of a lean towards him so she can hear his husky voice better. Then she remembers she’s still mad at him so she pulls away to face blonde detective again while Mulder expos that the detective said in her fax that she thinks there’s a satanic cult at work. Blonde detective says it’s the popular opinion in town. OMG! The actress plays Tyra’s Mom in FNL *sniff, I miss that show so much*!

Scully does her Scully-thang by asking MaTyra on what evidence this is based on. MaTyra says various eye-witness accounts. Scully has an incredulous look on her face. They listen a little to one of ZombieBoy’s friends deliver a eulogy that is equally as unmoving as ZombieBoy’s was in the forest. Scully asks MaTyra if there is any physical evidence of these rituals being conducted. She says no, just the murder victims. Scully observes that the detective has no real evidence to connect these murders to Satanists. Mulder snaps out of his ‘Smart is sexy, think of something smart!’ reverie to lean over Scully’s shoulder and say to MaTyra, “If you detect a hint of skepticism or incredulity in Agent Scully’s voice it’s because of the overwhelming evidence gathered by the FBI debunking virtually all claims of physical abuse by satanic cults.” Smooth Mulder!

I rewind that part to watch it one more time because a). DD’s delivery of the line and his body language is hilarious b). I repeat that line to myself in wonderment as I realize that this might be an example of that elusive continuity on the show seeing as Moronica claimed to have been assigned to such a project around the time when such info would have been available to Season 3 M/S.

Scully lets out a pissed off gust of air. MaTyra asks Scully if this is true, Scully opens her mouth to answer and Mulder looks at Scully then back at MaTyra cutting his partner off as he says, “Don’t ask me” and pulls away. Scully and I mentally scream, “She didn’t ask you, stupid!” Then she answers the question, telling MaTyra that the Bureau’s research shows that it’s usually in the victims’ or witnesses’ heads meanwhile Mulder has moved around to stand over MaTyra’s shoulder as he peers at Scully while she’s talking. Mulder… that is so not sexy or smart. He hears my warning because he pulls away from leaning over MaTyra’s shoulder and watches the funeral. I have to say as much as I didn’t care for ZombieBoy isn’t it a little rude to be having a full on Q&A at his funeral? No? Okay.

MaTyra tells Scully she’s going to have a hard time convincing the locals that it’s all in their heads, especially after hearing the Virgin Twins’ story as they were there the night ZombieBoy died. Scully asks who interviewed them. MaTyra says she did. Together or separate? Together. Mulder turns back to lean over MaTyra’s shoulder as Scully basically informs MaTyra she fucked up. MaTyra denies the possibility that the Virgin Twins’ stories were fabricated because they are good kids and A students. Umm… okay… weren’t the Menendez brothers good and smart kids until they sliced and diced their parents? And wouldn’t a higher IQ make everyone but Dr. Scully a better liar? No? Okay. Scully scoffs and summarizes the Virgin Twins’ eyewitness accounts to MaTyra. Mulder looks at her again over MaTyra’s shoulder. He’s thinking, “Scully, marry me.” MaTyra feeling adequately stupid and incompetent excuses herself and walks towards the coffin. I guess she won’t be bringing any of the smart kind of sexy back into Mulder’s life. Scully irritably asks Mulder where she’s going. You don’t suppose she’s a virgin do you? Mulder snarks. Scully says she doubts she’s even a blonde. Oh Scully, judging from the bang up detective work this woman’s done, I think she is the archetypal stereotype of one.

A middle-aged man bursts into the room despite MaTyra’s ineffectual attempts to stop him and demands to know from the congregation how long they are going to stand by and watch their children die from Satan’s soldiers? Scully has an awesome put-upon expression on her face as she meets Mulder’s gaze. MaTyra still reeling from her Scully-inflicted self-doubt calls the rabble-rouser Bob by name and stupidly tries to tell him this is not the time for a tirade. He naturally doesn’t agree and takes the floor as he gets on his soap-box.

Luckily for Scully and the audience, the coffin suddenly catches fire effectively shutting Bob up. MaTyra looks at the Dynamic Duo probably for vindication and Mulder looks back at her and the burning coffin in his usual state of Yippee Paranormal! Excitement while Scully looks vaguely intrigued yet characteristically less enthused than her partner. Everybody runs out while Mulder and Scully (hands on hips) look on. Mulder leans over to snark, “Maybe we’re just imagining that.” Then he takes off towards the coffin. Scully gives him a dirty look and bites her lip. The Virgin Twins are the only ones to remain and they’re still seated, they do not look bothered by the pyrotechnics at all. Quelle surprise!

Caryl County Sheriff’s Station

Virgin Twin with the shorter hair speaks carefully into a recorder-thingy in an interrogation room. Scully is seated at the table across from her. Arms folded across her chest. Virgin Twin says her name is Terri Roberts, she’s a senior and has a 3.98 GPA. Terri? Sweetie? What has that got to do with the price of tea in China? Nothing? Oh good. This reminds me of when clients used to come into my firm and would want me to draw up a will and then they’d start talking about their favorite brand of orange juice as if it was of the utmost importance to the task at hand for like five minutes. I used to make listening noises while I surfed the internet and added it to the bill. What?

Before Scully can interrupt Terri and tell her to focus the camera segues into an identical interrogation room where Mulder is interrogating the other Virgin Twin who identifies herself as Margeet. He takes a seat, clearly hanging on every word she’s saying. Oh Mulder sometimes the pretty is all you have going for you, except when the Fowl One is in your vicinity then not even that. But hey this is Season 3 and as far as Scully and I are concerned such a travesty does not exist. Ahem. Marge like Terri reveals she’s a senior at Grover Cleveland Alexander High and then she tells Mulder her GPA! Oh my God enough with the academic record thing!! She proceeds to tell him that she’s a cheerleader, Mulder falls out of his seat in shock at this reveal. He doesn’t really but seriously CC? Some of the writing and acting in this ep is skating over the comedy line into craptastic. The camera goes back to Scully who’s being told the exact same thing including how the girls are BFF and are going to college together in the fall. Scully looks bored and she finally cuts Terri off and gets down to the nitty gritty. What happened the night of ZombieBoy’s death?  Terri starts off the story with how ZombieBoy was giving them a ride home in his truck and then he suddenly swerved off the road. The camera has now transitioned back into Mulder’s interrogation room and Marge is saying ZombieBoy’s road swerving was like he was possessed or something as opposed to inspired by their suggestion of a threesome. More back and forth between the rooms then Scully skeptics and Mulder looks on at the point where the Virgin Twins talk about the baby sacrifice (that never happened). Scully gives Terri a great lift of The Eyebrow swiftly followed by The Pursed Lips. These girls are bad but good. If the cheerleaders at my school had been like this I would so have joined the cheerleading squad and I might also have learnt something valuable!

Mulder rolls his head and his eyes simultaneously as he sees where this story is going from a mile away. A cartoon bubble with Scully in it pops up above his head and says I told you so! The camera lens widens from the tape recorder which has no business being anywhere else but in a museum. That thing looks like it belongs in the McCarthy era yo! Technical-speak wise though it’s a very good shot as the lens widens to encompass the room and shows us that we have now transitioned into post-interview because Scully (arms crossed of course), is leaning on the desk in the police station bull-pen while Mulder paces then stops in front of her as he listens to the tape. The lens widens even more to show us MaTyra sitting on the desk right next to the antique tape recorder. She shakes her head then stops the replay saying that because the stories are virtually identical it just goes to show that they corroborate each other. And she is so not a bimbo or a bad detective! She doesn’t say that but you gotta read between the lines here folks.

Scully’s back – yes that’s how good GA is at her craft- does this thing like, “Beotch, why are you still talking? Didn’t I like totally prove you’re a dumb bimbo earlier? This is getting embarrassing!” Scully’s mouth asks if there have been any reports of stolen infants or mass graves uncovered in town or even an altar or any other evidence of a black mass found? No. No and No. Scully is gathering steam here and says the problem with the accounts is that the details could have been lifted from any magazine or newspaper (behind her back Mulder makes a face) and as horrific as they sound (really? I guess I’ve just become desensitized) the stories told by these girls are common, even clichéd. I don’t usually say this but from the very beginning to the very end of this episode I am so much on Scully’s side it’s like she’s taking her cues from me. Mulder approaches Scully, pauses for a second over her shoulder and then says, “If you detect a hint of impatience in agent Scully’s voice, that’s because the FBI’s study also found that in most cases, like the McWarren preschool trial, witnesses were often prompted in their statements by rumors of stories that were being circulated and that there was in fact nothing to support them.” As he’s talking he moves away from her to stand in front of MaTyra. How do you explain the burning coffin at the funeral MaTyra persists. “Don’t ask me.” Mulder replies. Scully glares at Mulder like he’s something foul she scraped off her shoe. I don’t blame her.

Scully goes to the morgue and opens the charred coffin. BBQed ZombieBoy! He looks better this way if you ask me. She explains that there have been incidents where the embalming fluid used to preserve the body have caused chemical reactions and produced heat and burning, and she sees nothing here that would suggest otherwise. Mulder comes up behind her closely followed by MaTyra. I love the way Scully’s explanation is delivered in a way that shows she’s completely fed up. MaTyra asks what the pattern on ZombieBoy’s extra crispy chest is. There is a v-shaped pattern that if you’re looking for it I guess you could say is a goat’s head. Man I’m totally on Scully’s side today; I’m even downplaying the pattern that very much does look like a goat.  Mulder chimes in that there is a pattern that looks like some kind of goat or horned beast. A horned beast? Scully and I ask in disbelief though I think it’s for slightly different reasons. I can’t believe he’s pronouncing the ‘ed’ like that. Maybe Scully can’t either. She says she thinks they are seeing things that aren’t there. MaTyra insists there are horns and she points at the area. No, Scully does not see the horns right there. GA delivers the line with exasperated irritation so well here and I just love the way the usual cool, and consummate professional Dr. Scully is letting her emotions cloud her judgment. Scully yanks on a latex glove. Mulder and MaTyra look at her then at each other with disbelief. MaTyra excuses herself in that infuriating way people (especially women who are threatened by another woman) do to try and make you look like you’re a spazz or crazy when you’re not. Scully doesn’t even acknowledge her departure; she tightly purses her lips in what can only be described as an exercise of self-restraint. She is thinking, first Dr. Bambi now this bimbo? I am so not having sex with you for another four years for this! Damn you Fox (ooh double-pun)!

Mulder steps into Scully’s personal space and addresses the side of her head. “If it’s no bother, if it’s not too big a deal, maybe you can get me a few photographs of that thing which bears absolutely no resemblance to a horned beast.” Scully doesn’t dignify that with a response or even turn around as GA uses her difficulty in getting the other glove on to great effect. “Sure, fine (the right glove makes a loud snapping noise as she gets it on) whatever.” Let’s just say, I watched Clueless when it came out and I used ‘sporadically’ whenever I could. So in conclusion it’s a good thing I lived in a 3rd world country when this episode came out. Mulder storms out at in a hissy fit. The smart is sexy thing hasn’t worked so he’ll just have to settle for making Scully jealous.

Green feline eyes narrowed into lozenge shapes in a flesh colored furry face pop up onto my screen. In a momentary regression into my Catholic/Romanian Orthodox religious upbringing I scream, “Satan’s Familiar!” I pause the episode and spit over my shoulder before I resume watching. As a general rule I don’t have a problem with cats but this one? Gaah! Now it’s Mulder smiling and making cooing noises. Why isn’t he strangling the ugly evil cat!? MaTyra opens what I’m guessing is her front door and looks down to find Mulder making smiley faces at her BastardCat. He looks up and says ‘Hey!’ like he hasn’t just been caught loitering on her front doorstep. She says hey back. I have to say the way the cat thing was filmed is weird. How did they position the camera to capture Mulder’s face if he was smiling at the cat from a crouch? Not important? Okay! Anyway MaTyra cattily asks Mulder what he’s doing with her pussy – as in cat! But you all know CC wrote in the cat for the innuendo, he can be so immature! What with the NoRomo and Season 9… aargh. Anyway, apparently the BastardCat was scratching at the door to get in and Mulder being the conscientious G-man that he is thought the BastardCat should get his wish what with Satanic cultists looking for animals to sacrifice. MaTyra takes the feline from him and puts it inside before turning around to snap that she thought the FBI’s (Moronica’s) research would have debunked that theory. I love the way she’s found her back-bone again now that Scully is nowhere around. I think she should try finding her own man while she’s at it.

Mulder smiles softly and says first off he’d like to apologize for Scully’s rude behavior, she tends to be rather rigid. MaTyra rolls her eyes like that’s the understatement of the century. Mulder pleads Scully’s case some more by saying Scully rigidity is usually in a wonderful (aww) way unlike the way she was today. Then he gives her the puppy dog eyes and says he personally likes to try and keep a more open mind. Now that’s an understatement! MaTyra asks what he’s doing at her house. Mulder (and I have to give DD props for this) replies with the most earnest schoolboy expression ever, “I was hoping you’d help me solve the mystery of the horny beast.” MaTyra looks at Mulder like that kind of detective work is right up her alley.

A neon goat fills the screen the camera pulls out to reveal more neon. MaTyra’s a stripper just like her daughter, quelle surprise! It’s either that or Comity has set up a motel with the school mascot as a way of making sure its high school students don’t get sacrificed for being virgins in a satanic ritual. It’s none of the above because it’s a fortune teller called Zirinka’s digs. Unless she’s the Madam then maybe option b could work. Zirinka asks Mulder if she’s heard him right and that he sees horns. Mulder insists that the picture of ZombieBoy’s chest is of a goat or some kind of beast. Thank you for not saying horned again DD! Madame Zirinka smirks and asks Mulder and his new two-bit floosie, sorry I mean MaTyra, if this is some kind of trick to try and entrap her. MaTyra sincerely denies this. Honestly, how come Scully gets flak for disagreeing while Madame Zirinka can be as doubting Thomas as she wants and everyone (I just mean Mulder) plays nice? Madame Zirinka scoffs and says she knows about the anti-Satanic cultists fever sweeping the town of Comity and due to her line of work she’s a potential scapegoat. She then says she should have seen it coming seeing as the Mercury, Mars and Venus are about to align and are extreme influences. Mulder asks her on what and she tells him to come back during office hours with cash or credit. I like her! So does MaTyra… wait, didn’t Madame Zirinka give Donnie Pfaster a job in Season 2?

Oh look another incredibly long horned goat! This time it’s a logo on a high school gym, the same colors as the one on the jackets of the ZombieBoy funeral goers! Some boys are playing basketball. And not very well I might add. Some girls are sitting on the floor half-heartedly cheering. Who but the Virgin Twins are sitting at the refreshment table? Hey girls! They scope out the talent on the team, it involves a lot of ‘Hate him’ and thumbs downs. The one boy they decide is “babe-alicious” has a female appendage called Brenda who they hate and wouldn’t want to date. Some poor gangly teen bumps into their refreshment table which gets the Virgin Twins drenched. They decide they hate the poor guy and when the basketball lands somewhere behind the bleachers he goes to get it. The Virgin Twins stare at the spot where he’s disappeared and the lights go out. After some screaming and what-not the poor guy gets crushed behind the bleachers. Mark Snow plays that kind of music common in all horror movies where voices that sound like Lucifer’s choir chant softly and get a little louder and louder. It gets to me everytime!

Mulder and MaTyra peer into the bleachers where the teen met his fate. The way they do it is intentionally comical, I’m not quite sure if it works on me or not. Off-camera Scully asks what happened and MaTyra whips around to crow that another young man has died. She’s got that false courage women of loose morals get when they’ve just spent time with someone else’s man. Mulder turns a little slower than MaTyra but still rather quickly and guiltily might I add in order to gaze longingly at that with which he cannot live without. Scully walks up to them and our date stamp tells us it’s now 5:05 a.m. WTF? For a town paralyzed by fear of Satanists taking their children they let said children hang out in the gym unsupervised… nevermind!

Mulder jumps right in to explain to Scully the technicalities of the teen’s death as he mostly keeps his eyes on the bleachers. Scully is positively shooting daggers at him as he’s talking. She’s so thinking; I’m not talking about the death stupid, I’m talking about what did or did not happen with you and the bimbo! I’ve been up all night waiting for you! I haven’t even slept, showered or changed my clothes! Not for the first time in this episode MaTyra is standing between our beloved duo. Fortunately she gets called away. Three’s a crowd! Scully turns to watch her go with an ‘I’m so going to kick your ass beotch!’ look on her face while Mulder stands there and kind of looks scared of her and still guilty before he looks away to stare at the bleachers again. This is one of my favorite examples and scenes of the UST in the entire show.

We get a shot of the Virgin Twins doing their tearful eye-witness account thang with the local police. Meanwhile, both our protagonists are stalling, by making less than half-hearted attempts at investigating the crime scene in a bid to get a lid on their emotions. Scully, without looking at Mulder, somehow manages to casually remark in an accusing tone that he wasn’t in his motel room. Mulder finally tears himself away from staring at the bleachers to look at her and as he approaches her he explains that he went to follow up a lead with MaTyra. Scully says she “sees” without turning around. Mulder asks her what she sees; she finally turns around to face him but initially doesn’t look him in the eye. She says they’ve been working together for what 2 years now? I thought it was 3!? Their eyes meet. He nods expectantly. Scully continues, “What do you say we blow this joint and go get it on? There’s something weird about this town we can always claim temporary insanity.” He nods again then grabs her arm and drags her to the door. Not really. Instead Scully says they have differing opinions but she didn’t expect him to ditch her. Really? Anyway, Scully has already turned away again because she can’t bear to look at him. I think she’s afraid she’s either going to kick his ass or throw him around the gym and have her wicked way with him à la Buffy and Spike the first time they did it in that dilapidated house. Mulder pulls a nervous but defensive face and denies that there’s been any ditching. Scully beats me to it and says, “Fine, whatever.”

Someone gets the bleachers to work again revealing the dead teen’s bloodied head and the duo are distracted from their foreplay when MaTyra announces there’s a mob gathered on the south side of town.

Field on the south side of town

There’s a bulldozer working at some dirt and some people digging up the field. It looks far too bright outside for 5 a.m. in the spring (airdate) [although later on we find out it’s January in Comity – which still makes it implausible] and how did the townsfolk manage to get a bulldozer and all those people out so early? Mulder, Scully and MaTyra turn up in time to see rabble rouser Bob spearheading the campaign. That explains everything! MaTyra asks him what they’re doing and Bob explains that their children are dying and he heard that there’s a mass grave in this field which also happens to be private property. This town gets better and better. Bob defends their actions by saying that he’s got two kids willing to testify that the owner of the private property they’re on took them on a camping trip and made them play “naked movie star games!” Then he stomps off, nearly whacking Mulder in the face with the handle of his shovel. Hee.

Mulder asks MaTyra if Bob is always so hysterical. She says no, he’s their high school principal. This town’s been crazy longer than this alignment thing! Mulder and MaTyra walk into the field and Scully the sole voice of reason follows them as she explains that this is called rumor panic. They stop walking and MaTyra looks around bored (bitch!) while Mulder listens to her indulgently (sweetie!). Just as she’s finished reeling off her facts someone calls out they’ve found bones. Scully gets this look on her face of disbelief and Mulder shares a look with MaTyra then looks at Scully and bites his lip.

The deputies hold the crowd back while the detective and the two FBI agents approach a doctor’s bag in the ground with some bones. Mulder and Scully both pull out their latex *cough* and fumble to get it on. *cough, cough* Scully purses her lips and gives Mulder a look. He makes a conceding gesture with his head as he puts his gloves away and tells her to go ahead. “No you go ahead”, Scully says in that deceptively accommodating tone wives use on their husbands when they’re in trouble. Mulder declines and tells Scully to be his guest he knows how much she loves “snapping on the latex”! Burn! Scully glares at the space straight ahead and does indeed snap on the latex.

She pulls the bag out. There are bones in there but before she can study them Bob looks over her shoulder and calls out that they are child’s bones! Scully turns to give him one of her looks but it’s wasted on him. Mulder spies initials on the bag and asks what they say, Scully reads them out quietly, R.W.G. Bob calls out that it’s Dr. Dick Godfrey’s bag, he’s the baby killer! The crowd disperses and undoubtedly heads for Casa Dick. Scully looks on in exasperation. MaTyra explains to Mulder that Dr. Godfrey is the town pediatrician. Scully and I are so very fed up with this town and Mulder. Especially Mulder.

Now the crowd’s arrived at Casa Dick and as they bang on the door and ring his bell, the Doc is running down the stairs inside his house wearing satin pumps, the world’s ugliest peignoir and an unsightly smudge of his own red lipstick under his mustache. When he looks outside he gasps in fear and tries to run away, hopefully to put on a nicer outfit, a little blusher and a wig. A little while later the Doc is sitting at a table in an interrogation room, looking like should he ever be less than an upstanding citizen and example of moral fortitude he would have the good grace to do it in the latest Victoria’s Secret black number.

MaTyra has taken a page out of Scully’s book and changed into a suit. She’s also trying to be all tough interrogator… operative word is trying. Mulder is standing behind the Doc staring at his reflection on the man’s bald pate and wondering what it’s going to take for Scully to see that he really is smart therefore sexy. The Doc is explaining that he sold the bag to one of the Virgin Twins a year ago and MaTyra wants to know why it was buried in a field. Does she even listen!? The Doc says he has no idea and MaTyra points out that the town seems to think he does. Okay, MaTyra sweetie… I thought you were the law? Thankfully, Scully opens the door and saves us from this disgraceful example of police-work. Efficient as always she tells the Doc he’s free to go, she’s solved the case; the bones belonged to a 14 year old dog. MaTyra looks at Scully with irritation, I think she naïvely thought she almost had Mulder. The Doc gets up and thanks God. Uh Doc? Don’t you mean Dana? Mulder stands there with his hands on hips staring at Scully. He looks conflicted. Yeah Mulder unlike some people she’s actually doing her job well and she’s changed her clothes too! Terri walks in and makes a weepy face when she sees the dead dog’s collar.

Mulder smiles to himself and observes that it may not be the time to mention it but someone’s wearing his favorite perfume. Scully asks if she can have a word with him. Mulder makes a face as he realizes he’s said the wrong thing again. He follows Scully out and she turns immediately to tell him this has gone far enough. What? Mulder asks. Scully is not going to be humiliated by him, in front of him, or by having to bring a teenage girl in, on her birthday of all days, to identify the bones of her dead dog, Mr. Tippy! Mulder has more important things to do like smell her hair. I’m serious! Scully goes on to say she finds Mulder’s behavior and conduct on this case alarming and highly objectionable. Especially the part where they are in a town of crazies aka perfect scapegoat for any sexcapades they may have and they haven’t gotten it on. Mulder continues to smell her hair. Scully finally catches on that he’s not paying attention and asks him what he’s doing. Mulder doesn’t say, ‘As a scientist Scully, don’t you know all about pheromones? Also, I’m trying so hard to show you I don’t think you smell bad anymore.’ Instead he says it must be Detective White. Scully fixes him with some of that Blue Ice she does so well and says if that’s why they’re sticking around it’s his business. And then she walks away. Mulder does this nervous laugh thing and following Scully asks her what she’s talking about. She says MaTyra, and Mulder corrects her saying they’re basically there to solve an X-file and MaTyra can use their help. Scully bristles and says Mulder and MaTyra seem to have “a certain simpatico.” I love GA’s voice inflection and facial expression here. She’s going back to Washington in the morning, she finishes almost cheerfully then she walks off (well more like flounces). Mulder closes his eyes and slouches into the wall. Yeah Big Guy, that jealousy thing back-fired big time wouldn’t you say?

Its night time now and there’s a full moon with what looks like two planets lining up underneath it. Or it could be another two moons that were known as planets back then like say… Pluto. There’s a house party, with nothing but teens present. They decide to play Ouija board. The game ends in a scene in the bathroom where the Brenda-appendage gets tag-teamed by the Virgin Twins as they work their freaky Craft-like mojo. Something tells me she is not going to make it!

8:25 PM Comity Hotel

Mulder’s got his shirt unbuttoned and tie undone as he spoons orange slush into a 13 oz bottle that the props department for legal and laziness reasons helpfully labeled VODKA. Seriously Vancouver, you’re a disgrace to the rest of Canada. Mulder shakes the slush and takes a sip as he contemplates whether it’s too soon to go knock on Scully’s door for round two of the makeup sex they had. You know the kind where you say you hate each other and don’t even bother to take off your clothes? No? Me neither but I’m sure these two do, they just had it! Off-screen, as usual!

He turns on the tv and there’s a black and white movie playing on every channel, internet research tells me the tune playing in the movie is called the ‘Sabre dance’. Meanwhile Scully is in her room still in her suit as she uncharacteristically smokes a post-coital cigarette and remembers all the reasons why she’s still mad at Mulder. She mimics Mulder’s argument about helping MaTyra earlier as she paces. She opens her blinds looks out the window briefly before taking a very appetizing looking drag (for this ex-smoker) and continuing her mimicry before she sits back down on the bed. Okay both their beds were made, they so did it against the wall.

Back in Mulder’s room he’s still trying to change the channel as he drinks his improv Screwdriver until a knock sounds on his door. Ooh it’s Scully back for more already! He peeps through the peephole and then opens the door to MaTyra. Ugh. She comes in and holding a box. Mulder looks at her like he’s thinking, ‘Uh oh, this is so going to get me into more trouble with the Missus.’ MaTyra takes off her jacket and sets the box on the bed. She works up a crocodile tear and a sniffle, Mulder asks her what happened. She points at the box and Mulder sits down on the bed, opens the box to see the BastardCat’s collar. MaTyra asks what kind of sick people would kidnap the DevilCat if not Satanists? If I wasn’t so scared of it, I would to be honest!

Mulder gets up and hugs her, then starts sniffing her as he realizes she doesn’t smell as nice as his Scully. MaTyra asks what he’s doing. He says nothing. She astutely remarks that he’s been drinking. Gee what gave that away? He agrees and admits he never drinks. She nods thinking seducing him will be easier than she thought. She picks up the bottle and silently asks him what is wrong with the prop department. DD shrugs. MaTyra takes a big sip, she’s a professional! She says she doesn’t feel like going home and asks if Mulder minds if she slept here. As she’s talking, she’s kicked her shoes off, discarded her coat and is unbuttoning her suit jacket. Warning bells go off in his head as he realizes Scully and him have a clandestine meeting and if she finds MaTyra here she will skin him alive. He says he’s sure he can get MaTyra a room and runs for the phone. MaTyra pretends not to hear as she starts taking her blouse off. Mulder presses the operator button frantically. MaTyra like the brazen wench that she is, grabs him and throws him on the bed. Straddling him she suggests they could solve the mystery of the horny beast. Mulder suggests they watch some television. MaTyra lies through her teeth and tries to make this seduction look like it’s the result of the town crazies as opposed to her ‘poorly controlled hormones’. She starts sucking Mulder’s face off. He puts up a semi-fight and Scully bursts in the room. The look on her face is priceless as she catches them. MaTyra has the audacity to look embarrassed. Scully tells Mulder there’s been another death and leaves the room. She bursts out the main doors and you can see that the anger has kind of left her as she searches her pocket for the keys.

Mulder comes rushing out followed closely by MaTyra as he shrugs his coat on and asks if it’s a murder. Scully tells him Brenda got impaled by flying glass through a bathroom mirror. She unlocks the car and Mulder reaches for the door frame. He wants to drive. She tells him she’s driving. He leans in and says it’s not what she thinks. Scully says she didn’t see anything anyway as she sits down in the driver’s seat. Mulder insists she let him drive and she insists she’s driving. MaTyra watches from her own car right next to theirs. Scully loses her cool and demands why he always has to drive and if it’s because he’s the guy, the big macho man? She says the last part with a healthy dash of scorn. Burn! This is so not about driving the car! Mulder smiles at her and says no, he was just never sure her little feet could reach the pedals. Then he shuts the door in her face before she can retort. Super huge burn! Also, Mulder? That’s cheating! He half-asks half-tells MaTyra to “go with Scully please” and takes her car keys. MaTyra has the look of a woman walking the Green Mile. Scully watches and turns on the ignition angrily. Mulder mimics the comment about being a big macho man as he gets in the car. MaTyra hustles her ass into Scully’s car before she can drive off without her. I think she’s just realized she’s walked into something bigger than her crude feminine wiles or limited intelligence can comprehend.

10:01 PM

The Virgin Twins walk into a diner where the Brenda-appendage’s boyfriend is staring tearfully at his burger and fries. The way the actor erm… acts you’d be forgiven for thinking he was doing a different more serious X-Files episode. But he’s not. He’s with the Virgin Twins whose act I’m starting to find tiresome and a total rip-off from The Craft. They tell Scott (Mr. Brenda-appendage) that they’re not dressed like two non-virgins for the funeral. Wha?? Oh I get it; this is like Sunnydale where funerals happen on the same day within hours of the gruesome supernatural death. Anyway, they are here to give him a happy, courtesy of a three-some. Scott/the actor looks at them in disgusted comprehension and leaves. I think he’s just realized this won’t be his breakthrough role and there he was sincerely acting his little heart out, if it’s any consolation dude, it wasn’t the future Sexiest Man of 2006: Ryan Reynolds’ either. Terri says she hates him, Margeet doesn’t answer. She’s probably thinking about how this role will do nothing for her career either. Terri repeats herself but her BFF just gets up and walks away heading in the same direction as Mr. Brenda-appendage. Terri looks pissed or crazy or both.

Zirinkas!

The Madame is holding a gold VISA credit card and waiting expectantly. Mulder tries to pick up the conversation where they left off the last time he was there and she cuts him off saying she’s waiting for authorization. Mulder indignant at the insinuation, reminds her he’s a Federal agent. Zirinka says last she heard, the government couldn’t pay its bills and goes back to watching the machine. There’s a beep and she faux-cheerfully informs him he’s good for $300. Now how the hell can she determine that? Or did credit cards work differently back then? Maybe it’s an American thing? Anyhoodle! Mulder jumps right in. Zirinka explains it all by saying her dog’s been trying to hump the barbecue stand for the past two months which means the town of Comity is in a cosmic g-spot. Oh and relationships are going to suck. No Chris Carter, you suck! Ahem. Anyway Mulder asks her if it was his birthday would he be especially affected. Zirinka says she would say happy birthday or call the police if you were born on this day in 1979 which as we know is the Virgin Twins’ birthday! Apparently because in that case all the planets align into a cross and all the energy of the cosmos would be focused on you. Which btw is what the title of the episode –syzygy- means!

Mr Brenda-appendage pulls into his driveway to find Margeet waiting. She tries to seduce him. Before she can really get started Terri turns up. They start to argue, things start flying, he ducks an object. Yay! He’s saved! Another object flies in his direction, we don’t see him but both girls have blood on them. They turn to see that poor Mr Brenda-appendage got impaled, well nevermind. They blame each other for his death and while Margeet isn’t looking Terri pulls a Houdini.

Meanwhile Scully and MaTyra aka Brazen Hussy are driving down the highway in silence. MaTyra looks scared as Scully stares on straight ahead and drives over a bump without even flinching. Then a bird splatters on their windshield. Eeew. MaTyra screams while Scully’s eyes widen in surprise. She’s cool as cucumber that Scully! They get out to hear Mark Snow’s Demon Choir gather momentum and volume while the two ladies survey the scattered and multiple dead bird corpses.  Just as the Demon Choir reach a crescendo we see the townsfolk appear bearing torches and the like. Creepy! Or is it?

The camera takes us back to Zirinka’s where Mulder is signing a cheque or a credit card slip? I really don’t understand how these things worked back in the early nineties! He gets a call from Margeet telling him she wants to sing like a canary about Terri’s misdeeds. Meanwhile back on the highway there are no surprises as to who is leading and undoubtedly roused the rabble! Scully tells Bob to put his rifle/shotgun down and stop whatever he’s doing. He argues, of course, and doesn’t put his gun down. MaTyra hides behind Scully. She’s a keeper Mulder! Terri comes up running and screaming for help, the girl is seriously unhinged! The next shot is Mulder in Mr Brenda-appendage’s garage where he’s taking in the scene of the teen’s untimely demise. Margee starts spilling the beans. Naturally Terri did it all. Mulder laps it up. The camera does its seguing thing like in the interrogation room earlier and we see Terri sobbing the exact same version except she’s blaming Margee. Scully, God bless her, asks Terri why she didn’t stop Margee’s killing spree. Terri gives some b.s. about how they’re BFF’s and are supposed to stick together. Scully and I stare at the actress thinking dude can’t you muster even a single tear in your eye?! Sorry but I find it incredibly distracting when actors are performing a crying scene and there’s nary a teardrop to be seen. It really takes me out of the moment you know? And also it always comes off as bad acting. Scully closes her eyes and you know she’s wishing she could throttle Mulder for bringing them to this crazy town of bad actors.

Her phone rings, she walks towards the care and picks up the call. It’s Mulder! The cheating cad! Oops, I’m getting ahead of myself we are not yet at the Season 5 finale! Scully gets in the car, happy he’s called so she can tell him what an asshole he is. She starts off like any pissed off wife, “Where are you?” Mulder who’s done this with her before, navigates the choppy waters and simply answers truthfully. What I like about this little scene is that when Mulder identified himself he’s speaking softly as if he wants to apologize for letting another woman trespass on Scully’s territory.  And the way Scully gets in the car and asks him where he is, you could be forgiven for thinking that she’s glad he called to apologize because she thinks they should get to the makeup sex ASAP and it would be wrong for them to do so without her making him jump through some hoops first. Honestly, kudos to DD and GA for putting so much subtext into the scene. They talk shop, Scully tells him she’s way ahead of him because she’s got a suspect she wants to bring in. He asks who, she tells him. He tells her actually he’s way ahead of her because he’s got Margee with him right now and she’s implicated Terri. Scully corrects him and says actually she’s way ahead of him because she’s got Terri with her now. “How did Terri end up in the middle of nowhere on the highway when she left the entire town behind her!?” Mulder asks incredulously. He doesn’t really, he says, “You what!?” Scully isn’t surprised they’ve got each other’s suspects. Mulder doesn’t think any of this has got to do with any cult and he wants to get both girls in to make a formal statement and clear things up, okay? He says the last part like he’s talking about him and Scully. But that can’t be right, Chris Carter is a NoRomo. Scully is silent on the other end, Mulder calls out her name expectantly. Sure, fine, whatever! Scully snaps then hangs up. Hee! She’s so going to make you work for it Mulder! And when she gets freaky with talking tattoo man in Season 4 there will be no planetary misunderstandings to blame… payback’s a bitch.

11:48 PM

Mulder drags Margee into the station and pulls a chair for her. *sigh* I know Scully and I are rather impartial to Mulder’s half-barbarian, half-gentlemanly ways. And his pretty, pretty face, ass and hands (we can never forget the hands)! *ahem* As an afterthought he asks about MaTyra’s cat and Margee nods with a constipated look on her face. The tv comes on and the Sabre dance music comes on as the same black and white movie with the very same scene (I think) that was on in Mulder’s room 3 hours ago is on. The items on the desks start to rattle and shake and the desks start moving. The other cops jump out of the moving desks’ way as Terri walks in closely followed by Scully. The 2 girls stare at each other in a stand off and everything starts quaking again as they glare at each other. It’s a blinking contest! No? Okay. Mulder yells at the women to get Terri out of the room just as everyone’s guns start going off. GA pulls her firearm out of its holster and stares at it before dropping for cover with this hilarious terrified expression on her face. Everyone but the Virgin Twins follow suit as all the guns in the room including the shotguns on a rack go off.

The room goes dark and as soon as the last bullet is discharged Mulder lifts and bodily hauls Margee out there into some kind of holding cell/room down the hall.  Terri follows and tells Mulder to get out of her way. Mulder and Scully who’s right behind Terri, push the girl into the room and lock her in there. Scully asks Mulder what the hell is going on and he says something cosmic. You know what Mulder? I wish I was as pretty as you then I could be as cryptic, unhelpful and insane as I want to be and nobody would ever call me on it. Everything starts shaking, including the camera and then stops as soon as the clock on the wall above the locked door strikes midnight. I love how the camera takes in the ‘Made in Canada’ mark right above the number 12. Oh Vancouver!

Where is she? Calls out none other than the town of Comity’s number one high school principal/Town Rabble Rouser. There’s a bit of a kerfuffle as the mob demands entrance. MaTyra has now joined the mob because she demands entrance too, despite Mulder’s advice against it. She makes an irritated sound and pushes past him but then realizes she’s facing Scully. Drawing up short (heh) she says excuse me as icily and bravely as she can muster. Scully gives her the Blue Ice and with a smirk takes a step back and gestures for MaTyra to proceed. “Gladly”, Scully sneers. Like me she’s hoping that the Virgin Twins will claim one last victim. Alas, it is not to be! The door opens and the Virgin Twins are sniffling and crying (unconvincingly I might add) in each other’s arms. MaTyra looks concerned, Scully and I are surprised and disappointed, Mulder is just surprised.

Mulder voice-overs some deep bullshit about how humans are but visitors on Earth and foolish to ignore the possibilities that our actions and behavior can be affected by other planets. Just as we are stupid to think the Butterfly Effect isn’t real. As he’s voice-overing, everyone but Scully and I look sorry for the girls. When he’s done Señor Rabble-Rouser deduces that it was Satan! Mulder just closes his eyes in defeat at the stupidity of the people in this town and looks at Scully and his eyes say, “Come on honey, let’s go home and spoon like little baby cats.” She turns her head in his direction but doesn’t actually look at him with a slight answering smile on her face. I’ve said it once and I will say it again, these two (actors and characters) are so good. The crowd oohs and ahhs in agreement with Bob’s assessment. So I guess this means the Virgin Twins are not going to jail for the 7 homicides and one BastardCat-icide (for that they should get a medal). You know what Chris Carter? Ugh… sure, fine, whatever!

The next shot is of Mulder walking out of the motel with his bags and dropping them into the already open trunk. Something tells me Mrs. Spooky but up a stink about spending another night in this town. Mulder opens the passenger door and sits down while Scully is cutely fiddling with the seat lever thing to pull it forward. It’s so cute I won’t even nitpick. She gets it as far forward as she can go and turns the key in the ignition before asking Mulder if he’s ready. He turns to look at her indulgently (aww) and says she’s the driver. Is it just me or does he look at her like he’s totally about to jump her bones? Scully puts a hex on any amorous advances as she reverses out of the parking lot with a heavy foot on the pedal and a screech of tires. I think its going to be you and your hand for a few more years Mulder! The next shot is of the car approaching the intersection they crossed to enter Comity at the beginning of the episode. We hear but don’t see Mulder telling Scully they are going to want to be taking a left at the intersection. And how Scully’s going to want to… Scully runs through the intersection. He protests that she just ran a stop sign and she says, “Shut up Mulder.” He says, “Sure, fine, whatever.” The camera pulls up to show us the full moon and the planets are now scattered around it.

This means, Yay! Our Moose and Squirrel Nightmare is Over! For now… we’ve still got lots of ditching, cancer, Mulder dying but not, again, the Foul One, bad guys with bad grammar kidnap plots, alien-rubbings, Dog and Moron, Maybe Alien Babies and the second X-Files Movie to go!

Movie – I Want to Believe

Fight the Future! Now that was a title. Though it was not, I guess, officially a title, just a tagline. But it was cool. It was desperate and defiant. It made sense with the plot of the film, such as it was. And it was new. It made us feel as if a new step were being taken, as if we were going somewhere beyond where we’d been. Of course, most of the new stuff was obliterated once the show came back and Scully hadn’t seen a thing and was ready to put it all behind her. But it felt like great possibility.

I Want to Believe. Great, great tagline for a UFO poster. Fascination with the beyond, coupled with a conflicting hesitation. A yearning for the unreal to be real. A restraint implying that the first person in question has not actually crossed the border into Crazytown (crossing out the “want to” on Blaine Faulkner’s copy was a masterful way to shorthand his total cuckoopantsery). For a movie, though? Of the now-moldy taglines forever associated with X-Files, it’s one of the better ones, but the operative word here is “moldy.” I don’t mean to suggest that it’s easy to sit in a writers’ room and blithely come up with universally applicable catchphrases that will become indelible cultural touchstones. But this, in my opinion, wasn’t quite the choice. Too old, too vague. Ah well.

We have here the second X-Files movie. You might say it was pretty exciting when this thing came out in theaters. Right alongside Space Chimps. Which was, I understand, the second choice for a tagline. Wouldn’t that have been awkward!

We open on a moon. Oh great, this movie is already mooning us. Mark Snow’s whistle sounds in the dark. And, oh yes, it is dark. Give up your dreams of seeing what’s going on in this thing now, folks. If it wasn’t barely visible and comprehensible, it wouldn’t be Chris Carter. Which is what makes him a visionary! Or something.

It’s a dark and snowy night. We pan down from the moon to a barely cleared road with large snowbanks on each side. So we’re in Canada, or the Northeast, or possibly the Midwest or — SOMERSET, WEST VIRGINIA?? Really? All right. I’m going to believe you, movie. Because I want to. See what I did there? A car is approaching, headlights on.

In the car, music jangling, is — the waitress from Post-Modern Prometheus! You know, the one who spilled coffee in Mulder’s lap. Great, now my crotch is gonna be up all night.

Oh, a cut — now we’re on a bunch of booted feet, walking across ice, tapping it with sticks. And it’s daytime. Huh! Well, now we’re done with that, back to the PMP waitress. She pulls into a garage. Inside the house, a dog barks. Oh look, back on the ice that time, there were also dogs. Sniffing the ice. Dogs! Applicable to so many situations. Along with the dogs, we now see the top halves of the line of dudes tapping the ice, all wearing identical winter hats. “FBI” is visible on some of their jackets. Hey!!! The FBI! We know them. Now there’s a helicopter too. Just flying around helpfully.

And look — it’s Garth Algar!! He’s gotten older and fatter since his days cohosting Wayne’s World. Oh, actually it’s Billy Connelly. Who, wow, really looks like an old Garth Algar. He’s wandering around the ice too, looking kind of dazed. Where’s your classful of gifted high-school students now?

Back in the part where it’s nighttime and that’s not a place where you wanna burn a guy, the waitress turns off her car, flashing a medical bracelet of some sort. And then we’re back on the ice and it’s Amanda Peet and Xzibit! Both in FBI jackets. Agent Xzibit tells everyone to hold the line and to look left and look right. I remember that from the trailer. Let me tell you why I love Xzibit. (Aside to spellcheck: Yes, Xzibit. Get used to it.) After this movie he appeared as a celebrity guest on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, which had a theme that year of celebrities showing up to help. (I believe our friend David Duchovny was one of them.) So they’ve got the design team, and then the celebrity, who shows up with much fanfare on a special celebrity bus as a big exciting reveal. Xzibit was the celebrity, and he was a good sport and all that and helped build the house. Except apparently he enjoyed it so much that he came back again. Only this time there was a different celebrity guest, like a country singer or something. Who shows up with the same fanfare, is squeed over by the carefully demographically matched family, etc. But Xzibit was ALSO there. Just hanging around with the regular cast. The family was like, “…Hello! Aren’t you Xzibit?” Hee! I don’t know about you, but I find that delightful. He just felt like helping, I guess. And then he came back a few more times. (In fact, the Internet tells me that last year he actually became a cast member. What!) So ever since that, I love Xzibit. If only that had occurred before I saw this movie. Oh well.

Back some other time, Somehow Medically Compromised Even Above And Beyond The Fact That She Is About To Be Kidnapped PMP Waitress tells her dog to calm down. Only then she sees a footprint, right in her tire track, in the snow. As if someone had stepped there, like, right now. Uh-oh.

Then Billy Connelly starts running. Then PMP Waitress grabs a sharp gardening tool from the wall. A bald guy jumps her, and she starts hitting him with the rake thing, scratching up his palm really good. Gross blood is everywhere. Leoben from Battlestar Galactica pops in too. Why not! Then Billy Connelly is running again. This is like Memento! Very high-concept. PMPW bolts; Leoben knocks her down. Billy Connelly digs in the snow, yelling “It’s here!” Amanda Peet pushes him aside and finishes the digging. Something’s there! In a trash bag. It’s…AN ARM! With scratches on it that closely resemble the ones we just saw Pimp Dubs give to her bald attacker in the other scene. OH SNAP! I see how it is, Carter. You’re going Christopher Nolan on us. CHRISTOPHER NOLAN!

Here is a videoconferencing screen with — hooray!! It’s one of my favorite bit players ever, Nurse Howard Graves Is Very Dead, featured in two of my previously recapped episodes, Shadows and One Breath. Once she was a non-guff-taking medical examiner, and then another time she was Scully’s nurse, the one who was NOT an angelic figment of Scully’s comatose imagination (spoiler). I am so happy to see her I can’t tell you. She passed away a couple of years ago, at the sadly young age of 51. Her real name is Lorena Gale, and she was on Battlestar Galactica too, as Elosha, the priestess who counsels Roslin through her illness. I had forgotten she shows up in this movie. I’m glad they found a spot for her.

Well, it’s 8:25 am here at Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital, and a group of medical folks are gathered around a conference table, watching Lorena Gale on the screen. Wow, you know what’s a great name for a hospital? Anything with “sorrows” in it. Why not Your Loved Ones Will Soon Be Dead Health Clinic? Remember, In The End, The Grave Takes Us All, So Why Bother To Try To Cure Anyone Anyway Medical Center? Man. I would rather hang at Spotnitz Sanitarium than this place. Also, it is the darkest hospital in the world, which should surprise no one.

Lorena is saying that she’s gone over the charts and consulted with another pediatric neurologist. So, guess what? Someone’s been promoted to DOCTOR Howard Graves Is Very Dead, thank you very MUCH. She says she’s alarmed by two things. Someone in the room prompts her, “The deficiency in lipid metabolism and the severely diminished enzyme output.” Who is this nerdlinger? Well, I’ll give you a hint. Who else do we know around here who is a MEDICAL DOCTOR? That’s RIGHT. We pan around to see a very good friend of ours. Call my doctor! Call Dr. Scully!

It’s been a while since we’ve seen Scully. She’s changed, a little. For one thing, she’s got long hair now. It’s almost as if she left some job where she had to cut her hair all the time, spent six years growing it out, and then politely but firmly refused to cut it for this movie. I can’t really blame…Scully. For that. Another thing that’s different is she’s wearing a white lab coat. Well! She wasn’t bullshitting us with that medical-doctor stuff for all those years. Also in the room? Jesus, in the form of a crucifix hanging on the wall. Hey there, Jesus.

There’s a bunch of medical talk about Scully’s unnamed patient. Scully fears a degenerative brain disease like Sandhoff disease, which BTW is a real thing, a severe form of Tay-Sachs. Guess how I just found that out? Google. Just keep that in mind. Dr. HG Is VD says there’s no cure for that. Scully says she knows that; she’s looking for a course of treatment. Dr. HG has no answer for her. Meanwhile, a priest has stepped in, and he and Scully exchange concerned glances.

Now Scully’s walking through the hospital, passing some nuns and coming across a preadolescent boy in a wheelchair. She steels herself, then smiles and greets him, asking how he is. “OK, Dr. Scully, how are you?” says the boy, Christian, speaking with some difficulty. “Me? Well, I’m doing just fine, thank you,” Scully says, totally awkwardly. Christian smiles sort of tightly, probably wondering why his doctor is so socially inept and why he has to do all the work whenever they have a conversation despite the fact that he’s the one with the degenerative brain disease. Christian’s parents, behind him, ask if Scully has gotten any outside opinions. Scully dodges that they’re going to do more tests. The kind of tests where you type the name of a disease into a search box and then hit “I’m Feeling Lucky,” that is.

Someone calls her name, and she turns to see Xzibit, striding down the hallway, apparently not concerned with the fact that he’s interrupting a conversation in a hospital between a doctor and a kid in a wheelchair. Xzibit says he’s looking for Fox Mulder. WHAAAAAAAAT!

Scully Xzcuses herself and turns to Xzibit, who introduces himself as Special Agent Drummy (who thinks of these names?). He says the FBI needs to speak to Fox Mulder, and Scully calmly says that she doesn’t work with Fox Mulder any longer. “Nothing but playtime, now,” she adds, winking lasciviously. OK, not in front of Jesus. Xzibit says that if she COULD contact him, it might save the life of an FBI agent. Or a waitress from a creepy black-and-white rapist-filled town based on a comic book. Scully looks hesitant.

A different car, driving down a much less snowy road, in the day this time. It’s Scully, who it seems has finally found a car in which her little feet can reach the pedals. That car is, of course, a Ford. She pulls up to a wide metal gate, which she has to get out and open, then continues up a dirt road to a house. An unremarkable one. Some might call it a shack, perhaps the kind of Canadian shack in which one might, if one were lucky, find lurve.

(MAN, do you guys remember when these spoilers came out? MY GOD that was exciting. I remember actually twitching with excitement the first time I watched this scene and laid my own two eyes on the Canadian Shack of Lurve. Which turned out to be a Virginia? Shack of Some Lurve, But Mostly More MSR Fakeouts, but that’s all right.)

Scully goes inside, entering a somewhat cluttered room, the contents of which I haven’t spent precious moments of my life poring over and trying to memorize, or anything. The blinds are closed and a curtain covers the door. There are potato chips in a bowl on the coffee table and…orange juice?…on a dining table. Like every lamp in the room is on, so I guess we can rule out an “off the grid” situation, unless they have a generator out back the size of an invisible elephant. Scully undoes her coat and opens a door, the inside of which is completely covered with newspaper clippings. “What’s up, doc?” says a familiar monotone. OMG OMG IT’S MULDER. MULDER AND SCULLY. IN A MOVIE TOGETHER. EEEEEEE.

“You’ve become awfully trusting, Mulder, for a man wanted by the FBI,” Scully says. We see Mulder from the back as he sits at a desk. He says he has eyes in the back of his head, and then, as he cuts out yet another newspaper clipping, launches into a Muldery monologue about German precognitive transitory something something. Scully folds her arms and eyerolls a bit.

Turning to face her, Mulder finishes with, “But who believes that crap anymore?” And, perhaps appropriately for a movie starring an Extreme Makeover: Home Edition cast member, we get the first REVEAL!! of the movie: Mulder has A BEARD! Is it any wonder they went to such lengths to keep that secret? A beard! Imagine. Months later, an innocent E! reporter will ask David Duchovny how long it took him to grow such an impressive beard. “Forty-five minutes,” Gillian Anderson will back-sass, and hilarity will ensue. Yes, this beard is fake. Fake and bushy. Does it make Duchovny less hot? Well…yes and no. Yes because it’s a really dopey-looking beard. No because you know it’s pretend and you’re watching an X-Files movie and IT’S MULDER AND SCULLY and they could be wearing underpants on their heads and it would still be hot. That said, I’m not sorry that this pretend beard does not last the whole movie. Spoiler alert, because if this beard warrants the kind of elaborate reveal it just got, it surely warrants a spoiler alert. Remember when they tried to convince us that Mulder was a werewolf in this movie? And they took a well-known publicity shot of David from like Season 3 and Photoshopped some werewolf stuff onto it and “leaked” it, and then Frank Spotnitz was genuinely surprised that no one believed it, despite the fact that, if Mulder HAD been a werewolf in the movie, there would have been no need to PHOTOSHOP werewolf effects onto an old photo, because presumably there would have been NEW footage of PRESENT-DAY Mulder with werewolf MAKEUP on? Oh, Spotnitz. Remember how someone asked Gillian about it at WonderCon and she just panicked and called for David to come over and deal with it? Remember WonderCon? That was where we found out that Gillian likes Bad Blood, which is the only episode she remembers. Because Gillian is the single Gillianiest person who has ever lived. THIS MOVIE WAS SO MUCH FUN, YOU GUYS. It was almost more fun before it actually came out.

Where were we? Our best pal in all the world, Mulder, is making wisecracks in a beardy fashion and looking like he’s about a month away from being dragged onto an episode of Hoarders. Scully, somehow keeping a straight face despite the beard, tells Mulder that the FBI needs his help, and that all is forgiven and they’ll drop all the charges. So I guess of all the plot developments that never really amounted to anything, the one where Mulder was tried for the murder of a super soldier or whatever, then was sentenced to death, then escaped from jail and nuzzled Scully tenderly in a motel in Roswell, New Mexico, has actually stuck, for six years.

Mulder shoots back that THEY should be asking for HIS forgiveness. Scully tells him a psychic, or so he claims, has come forward with some evidence. Mulder, who I guess has descended further into paranoid crackpottery — and who can blame him really — since last we saw him, says it’s a trick to smoke him out. Scully says that if the FBI had wanted to get him before now they could have. Good point, since all they would have had to do was go to Scully’s house (I mean…spoiler alert. Whose house IS IT? I hope we find out soon) and he’d be right there, eating potato chips and playing Bejeweled in his sweatpants. I know it has a gate and all, but unless Scully’s casting protective enchantments on it every day before leaving for work, yeah. And it’s not like he lives deep in the catacombs like the Phantom of the Opera. I think FBI goons are capable of opening the door to the next room.

Scully says she thinks the FBI is glad to have Mulder out of their hair, and Mulder snips that he’s glad to have THEM out of HIS. I see he deals with his anger and resentment by one-upping everything the FBI says. “A young agent’s life is at stake,” Scully says, in what makes my list of top five worst lines of dialogue in this movie, and believe me, that is a feat. Who talks like that? Scully’s not 80. We’re going to get “a young boy” before long too, which is another of my peeve phrases. Urg. Read it out loud, Carter.

Mulder looks like he’s wavering. Well, A YOUNG AGENT’S LIFE IS AT STAKE! It’s one thing if it were like, a 55-year-old agent, but a 35-ish one is something else again. Scully reminds him that it could have been one of them once. For they were, indeed, once young agents themselves. Now they are old cranky hermits. I love them. Scully continues that she worries about Mulder, and the effects of long-term isolation. I feel like this line makes less sense once we get the REVEAL!! that Mulder and Scully live together, but that’s OK. And does Mulder really never leave the house? Again, Scully has a normal job out in the world and presumably has this address on all kinds of HR paperwork, and if the FBI were really desperately looking for Mulder, one assumes, they would just…come here, and see if he was here. Plus, he could totally go anywhere with that beard and no one would ever recognize him. Or he could just wear his werewolf outfit.

Mulder chuckles that he’s happy as a clam, and grabs a handful of sunflower seeds, for old times’ sake. Scully makes skeptical eyebrows and looks up at the ceiling, which is full of pencils. Aww. I am fond of that little recurring bit. Does Stephen King get credit for inventing that? Was Chinga when it started? Or whatever the non-Spanish-swear name is. Scully does a bunch of face-emoting and then says she’ll give them his answer. She shuts the door of Mulder’s hoarder room behind her. Couldn’t she have called him? Does the hospital know she just took off in the middle of the day? Or couldn’t she have asked him when she got home that night? At this point when they were writing the movie, did they even KNOW that she lived there? You never know with these dudes.

Mulder chews his seed pensively and looks at a picture of Samantha in the middle of his crowded bulletin board. Then he says “Shit,” because it’s a movie and you can say that, and opens the door, startling Scully, who’s putting on her gloves. He’ll go. She looks relieved. Under one condition. She changes to apprehensive. Doesn’t really matter how clunky the lines are in this, because Gillian doesn’t need ‘em.

That condition is: A sweet helicopter ride!! Or so we assume. Hipster Beard lets his lady love (spoiler) climb in and then follows. A black helicopter, right in their front yard. I didn’t know the FBI actually operated a fleet of black helicopters. Don’t they have normal helicopters that say FBI on them? I guess if the authorities are watching, if it was an FBI helicopter they would go, “Son of a bitch! Dana Scully, who lives here, is clearly hiding fugitive former FBI agent Fox Mulder, who was her partner and possibly babydaddy! After them!” But since it’s a black helicopter, the authorities watching are like, “Unexplained phenomena! Nothing we can do.”

It’s 9:24 pm. The mystery helicopter has flown them to Washington. The Capitol is below, no doubt full of congresspeople who are working into the night thinking up more obnoxious ways to filibuster each other so nothing ever fucking gets done no matter what. The helicopter lands on a roof. Werewolf Bar Mitzvah and Dr. Awk-topus get out, and Special Agent Xzibit is there to greet them. “Thanks for the lift,” Mulder says. “Don’t thank me — I didn’t send it,” says Xzibit. Wha? Mulder and Scully exchange a look. I guess after Scully told Xzibit that Mulder would come, Terry O’Quinn, who was watching the whole thing through his network of cameras that, if you’ll remember, captures every single moment of Mulder’s and Scully’s lives ever, even when they were kids, did them a solid and called a black helicopter for them. Either that or Xzibit is just full of shit. Ooooooor this movie makes no sense. One of the above.

BTW: What are the odds on Chris Carter having hired Xzibit mostly because his name started with X? It just sounds like something he would do. Discuss.

Our little space chimps walk through the halls of the FBI, people eyeing them a bit as they pass, maybe because they’re recognized, maybe because of Mulder’s beard. I once read a fanfic in which Mulder and Scully were stranded in the woods in a blizzard and they had to basically live in a cave and survive for like six months. They killed deer and made clothes out of the skins and built shelters and all that stuff. It was pretty awesome. And then at the end they walked back through the FBI after they got rescued and they were super buff and tan from living in the wilderness and getting strong from wrestling wolves or whatever, and dressed in furs with long flowing hair and shit, and everyone stared at them in awe. This…is not quite like that. But Mulder’s beard brought it to mind. I don’t remember if he grew a beard in that story, but he could have. HEY, IT’S SAMANTHA! Yep, Vanessa Morley just walked by, now all grown up and with her hair in a bun. She and Mulder exchange a bit of a look as she passes. Now, that’s an in-joke I can get behind. Aw, Samantha. The reason for this whole ball of wax. Mulder clearly doesn’t recognize her because she’s not wearing a nightgown and calling him a buttmunch.

Oh, look whose portrait is randomly on a wall in the hallway as they wait for Xzibit: (Then-) Current President George W. Bush. The camera sloooooooowly pans around to the portrait, and I am not kidding you here, the five-note whistle from the X-Files theme plays. Just apropos of nothing. Are…are you shitting me? There’s really no one supervising CC anymore, is there? A picture of J. Edgar Hoover is there too. We have another slow pan to that. This is also apparently hilarious for some reason. I’m grateful we didn’t get some kind of mincy “lol gay people” music there, or a slide whistle or something. Because J. Edgar Hoover used to occasionally cross-dress! I don’t know if you’d heard.

Luckily this embarrassing-for-all-of-us moment ends when Xzibit opens a door and tells them to come in. It’s a conference room with a lot of agents sitting around a table. Amanda Peet is there, and — IT’S LUCY BUTLER FROM MILLENNIUM. Who I guess originally had a bigger part and some lines in this movie, but it was cut, so the net effect is, she stands around not saying anything and freaking me out. I love Lucy Butler. She is one of my favorite scary TV characters, for real. She’s so sweet and so clearly the devil.

Amanda Peet shakes Scully’s hand and says she’s SAC Whitney. She greets Mulder and says she knows it’s awkward, but welcome back, and she appreciates his trust. Mulder’s like, don’t worry, I know from awkward, I live with this little bundle of social effortlessness over here. He asks what will happen if he can’t help. Whitney says that the past is the past, and no one liked that super soldier that Mulder killed anyway. That’s not generally how being convicted of a federal crime works, but, OK. She says Mulder may be the best chance now for Monica Bannan, which I guess is the name of the PMP waitress. Mulder takes the file on her, looks at her picture and screams “SHE POURED COFFEE ON MY BALLS!! In Season 5. If that really happened, which it may or may not have; it was all very postmodern — get it?”

Whitney says Monica has been missing for three days. I swear, these writers, between them, know like three names. If they’re not going off the deep end with Mosely Drummy or Father Ybarra, it’s Monica, Melissa, or Bill. You know, you can buy a baby name book at pretty much any supermarket. Close your eyes, open a page at random, and use that name. Unless it’s Monica. Or Melissa. Or Bill. Gawd. We’re not talking minor characters here; Annabeth Gish was in the damn opening credits.

Scully points out that after 72 hours the likelihood of finding someone alive drops considerably. Whitney says, maybe, Smarty Old Person Pants, but they found a severed arm. So there! She shows them some gross 8 x 10s of it. Scully doesn’t get it — it’s a man’s arm. Well, that’s one less severed arm in the world that could belong to Monica, so that’s good! Fancy profiler Mulder intuits that the arm matches evidence found at the crime scene. “Blood or tissue?” he asks spookily. Whitney says blood, and confirms Mulder’s assumption that they were led to it by someone claiming psychic powers: Joseph Fitzpatrick Crissman. “And you think he’s full of shit,” Mulder concludes. I have to say I enjoy Movie Swearing Mulder. I like hearing Mulder and Scully swear. Don’t know why. It’s just fucking cool.

Xzibit starts to say something about “Father Joe,” and Scully breaks in: “He was a priest?” Catholic, Xzibit confirms, and Mulder gives Scully a smug look, like what the hell is that about anyway? Because Scully’s all super Catholic now, I guess, being she works at Our Lady of Modern Religious Dress And Adequate Electric Lighting Are For Sinners Hospital now instead of being out smoking and getting tats like in her younger days. Does that make her responsible for every Catholic dude on earth? Or is it like “See, Catholics can be paranormal too! HA ha, your worlds are colliding uncomfortably!” Xzibit says that Father Joe called out of the blue saying he had a vision of Monica. He seems legit, so, well, case closed then, Mulder says. Why doubt him? Well, because he didn’t lead them to Monica, he led them to some dude’s arm. (I can think of SO many reasons other than that, but Whitney is being put on the spot, I guess.) Mulder tut-tuts that it’s not an Xzact science: “If it were me, I’d be on the guy 24/7; I’d be in bed with him kissing his holy ass.”

Everyone looks at each other uncomfortably, including Lucy Butler, who is still lurking creepily in the corner. Hey, maybe she ordered the helicopter. OR MAYBE NO ONE CAN SEE HER BUT ME. Whitney admits that Father Joe is a convicted pedophile. “Maybe I’d stay out of bed with him,” Mulder amends. Mulder…I know you’re generally irresistible, but in this case I wouldn’t worry.

Richmond, Virginia, 1:01 am. The ground is totally covered with snow here too. Mulder, Scully, Xzibit, and Amanda Peet get out of two SUVs at an apartment compleXz. What a fun double date this is. Also, they couldn’t just take one SUV? It’s not like they have a pair of Smart Cars. Though that would be entertaining. A-Peet explains that they’re at a dorm for convicted sex offenders, who live here voluntarily and police themselves. Scully looks unhappy with this whole thing. “Just avoid the activities room,” Mulder snarks, and Scully actually turns around as they’re walking specifically to glare at him. He grins happily at her. Hee.

I hope they called before coming over. Luckily, everyone’s awake here at the Box of Monsters (New York’s hottest club, if I’m not mistaken). Some guy is cooking bacon on the stove. Pedophiles keep odd hours, I guess. And enjoy bacon. They’re not so different from you and me. The bacon-cooking roommate opens the door to our dour little committee and calls for Joe.

Father Joe, aka Billy Connelly, is in his bedroom watching The Jeffersons, the theme song of which is playing on the TV. He shuts it off, rosary in hand, and apologizes for the mess, saying he hasn’t been sleeping. Well, you know, if you can’t sleep that’s an excellent time to clean up your room instead of lying around praying and watching The Jeffersons. Xzibit introduces Mulder, saying he’d like to ask some questions. “Actually, I’d like to ask some questions,” Scully interrupts, deadly quiet. Oh boy, here we go. She asks what Father Joe was praying for just now. “For the salvation of my immortal soul,” FJ answers. In other words, that he would move on up, to that deluxe apartment in the sky. Tell me this movie doesn’t have layers!

“And do you think God hears your prayers?” Scully continues. My, what a long setup to a not-very-good zinger all five of these characters are participating in. “Do you think he hears yours?” FJ counters. “I didn’t bugger 37 altar boys,” Scully shoots back, because she has gotten faintly, mysteriously British in the intervening six years. See, that’s just…I don’t know. This is the movie’s cutesy way of saying “Scully heartily and spunkily disapproves of Father Joe’s crimes,” but it’s so…movie-ish. And it takes sooooo long to get there, and it just brings everything to a screeching halt. “Colorful way of putting it,” Mulder mutters to Scully, pleased, and she says she has another word she could use, and he says he’s sure he does, and it’s cute and all because when they start muttering to each other it’s adorable, like in Alone that time, with the being frozen and the hugging, but it doesn’t FIT in this scene, not that anything really fits in this scene, because this entire movie, bless its heart, is awkward and unfinished-feeling. Chris Carter, I do love you, but I wish you hadn’t had free rein on this thing. Sigh.

Anyhoo. FJ says he believes God hears him, because why else would he send the visions? Nice segue, fella. “Maybe it’s not God doing the sending,” Scully says darkly. Maybe it’s a liver-eating mutant, or a guy who pushes people with his mind, or some aliens. Just a few thoughts to throw out there. Don’t follow Henry to the devil, Scully. Now that was an episode. I would even take Morgan and Wong to write the next movie (should there be one, which nowadays is looking even more unlikely than the unlikely it was looking a couple of years ago, sniffle). Yes, I would. As long as I could supervise them. That doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Mulder decides to put the kibosh on Scully’s preaching and asks FJ what he sees. FJ lights up a cigarette, to more disapproving glares from Scully (he’s a pedophile AND a smoker!?). He sees Monica being assaulted, putting up a fight, and he hears dogs barking. Again, in case you’re confused, that’s FBI agent Monica Bannan, not FBI agent Monica Reyes. He doesn’t know where, and he can’t see whether she’s alive, but he feels that she is. Scully looks down, biting her lip in visible irritation. I have to say that despite my annoyance with this scene, you can FEEL the steam rising off of Gillian. Mulder, glancing at her, asks if Father Joe can show them how he does it. He starts sort of closing his eyes and looking vision-y, then says it might be better if Scully wasn’t here. We can’t take you anywhere, Scully. She hisses at him that the “visions” are a way to try to make people forget what he really is. Then she stomps off. Everyone looks grumpily after her.

She’s hanging out on the fire escape/balcony reading the file when Father Joe’s creepy roommate passes her, going down the steps, eyeing her as he does. Seriously, this place is hopping at one in the morning. Where’s he going, to get bagels? Scully looks apprehensively after him, then jumps when someone touches her shoulder. My god, it’s a werewolf! Oh, no, it’s just Mulder and his beard. “JESUS, Mulder,” she says, which isn’t quite a swear, but I’ll take it.

“So much for kissing his holy ass,” Mulder says, leaning down at her. Scully apologizes for her totally contrived outburst, saying she’s been out of the biz too long. Mulder rationalizes that it was actually good that Scully pushed Father Joe — “like old times.” She gives him a look, then says Father Joe is a creep. She thinks he knows who did it and is just letting the FBI feed him information. She shows Mulder the picture of the arm and says that it looks like a fucking mannequin it was cut cleanly, not ripped off in a fight. So I guess that rules out Beowulf as a suspect. Scully dourly predicts that in the next few hours they’re going to find two things: a dead agent and that Father Joe is a big fat fraud. Mulder pulls out the old “you could be right…but what if you’re wrong?” He’s totally been waiting six years to use that again. It’s his eternal trump card.

The door opens, and Father Joe comes out, coat on, followed by Whitney and Xzibit. Mulder says they’re taking FJ for a ride, to see just how psychic he really is. Scully kind of stares at him, then says “It’s been fun!” and marches off. “Nobody’s going to make you sit next to him,” Mulder calls after her. Scully says she’s already been taken for a ride. And FJ doesn’t want her there anyway. Because she’s meeeeeaan. What did HE ever do, besides molest a bunch of children?

Mulder runs down the steps after her, saying he wants her there. “This isn’t my life anymore, Mulder. I’m done chasing monsters in the dark,” she says, tossing the file back at him. Good trailer line. Scully’s hair is pretty magnificent in this scene, BTW. She reminds Mulder that he doesn’t have to stay either. “These people need my help,” Mulder says, in such a weird voice that I legitimately can’t tell if Duchovny is trying to be funny there or not. “I could really use yours,” he adds in a more normal voice. Scully looks pained, then reaches forward and takes the file back from him. So she’s going to help! Or maybe not. But regardless, she will hold the file. I’m glad we settled that.

Somerset, West Virginia, 5:02 am. Is West Virginia where Mulder and Scully live? I mean, Mulder and spoiler? I can’t remember if that’s ever established. I’ll keep a close eye on the legends. If so, it’s really handy that this whole crime happened in Mulder and Scully’s back yard, and also makes the whole black-helicopter-to-Washington thing seem like kind of a waste of resources. Mulder, Father Joe, and Amanda Peet (not Scully, who is off somewhere else either helping or not helping) are in one of the SUVs, with the other one driving behind. I guess Xzibit’s by himself in that one. Perhaps that particular ride is pimped to a degree that other FBI people don’t like being seen in it. Father Joe asks if they’re almost there. Why doesn’t HE tell THEM, Mulder suggests. FJ mildly says that he has no idea where they are. He can’t believe he’s missing the 5 am rerun of The Jeffersons. He’s only willing because A YOUNG AGENT’S LIFE IS AT STAKE. Mulder says that’s fine, and FJ asks if he’s the good cop. “I’m the non-cop,” Mulder replies. Clearly he’s a little rusty on the ol’ Mulderisms. Hold the hell on — Xzibit is DRIVING. Then who’s in the other SUV? This one isn’t pimped in the slightest!

Father J muses that he doesn’t know Monica and has no idea why he’d be receiving the visions. Mulder says there’s always something. FJ asks who made him such an expert. “It began in an ordinary house in West Tisbury, Massachusetts,” Mulder says. “A young boy and girl are playing Stratego…Well, actually it began earlier, in the ’40s or something. Or, maybe, in the time of the Negro Leagues. Or during the Civil War, if you’re taking that crap as canon…Actually, there were these cavemen…How much time do you have?” Nine seasons and zero show bibles later, he’s explained that he used to be in charge of this kind of shit for the FBI back when they had a department for that for some reason. “So you believe in these sort of things?” FJ asks. Mulder: “Let’s just say I want to believe.” Title…! ah, who cares.

Xzibit, clearly sulking because of the low level of pimpery of this ride, snips that Mulder’s sister was abducted by E.T. Mulder says it was a long time ago. He doesn’t go into the whole starlight thing, because Father Joe would probably just dive out of the car and walk back home to watch The Jeffersons. “She’s dead, isn’t she?” FJ says. Mulder doesn’t answer. Dude, this is another example of how once you finally put a long-dead and much-beaten horse to its final resting place, it’s not necessary to keep digging it up and flogging its moldy corpse. See also: relationship, ambiguity of.

Monica’s badge has a picture of an eagle with the number 8 on top of it. What the heck is that? Are you sure she’s in the FBI and not a Freemason or something?

FJ leans forward all of a sudden and announces that this is where she was taken. A-Peet and Xzibit Xzchange looks. Mulder sticks his head into frame and says he wants Father Joe to see the crime scene.

Both SUVs pull over. Everyone gets out of the first one. Seriously, what is up with that second SUV? I am kinda obsessed with it now. Father Joe squints at the house they’ve stopped at, then says they’ve brought him to the wrong place. Man, if I were a fake psychic I would say that to the first thing they took me to EVERY time. They always give you a test first. Amateur hour. “Pulled that right out of his ass,” Mulder says beardily. Good lord, I am ready for them to shave that thing off already. Or pull it off gently with warm water; whichever. It’s like watching him eat a mouthful of hay every time he talks.

Father Joe marches across the street to a different house. This one has crime-scene tape around it. OH COME ON NOW.

While FJ sniffs around, Whitney skeptically (watch, it, pal…that role is taken) says that Father Joe must have seen the house on the news. DUDES, YOU ARE LITERALLY GOING UNDER CRIME-SCENE TAPE AS YOU’RE TALKING. “But why?” Mulder says. He always asks the hard questions. Whitney says, because FJ has written a bunch of letters to the Pope trying to get forgiven for the altar-boy buggering, so this is just part of it. She says he’s still a suspect, and her agents are looking for a connection. But she must not believe he’s guilty, Mulder says, or he, Mulder, wouldn’t be here. Whitney says she’s not the most popular girl at the FBI right now for calling Mulder in. “I wasn’t exactly Miss Popularity at the FBI myself,” Mulder says. That’s because you didn’t have a beard then, darling.

Whitney exposits that Mulder has dealt with psychics before, and then gives us a bunch of shout-outs: Luther Lee Boggs, Clyde Bruckman, Gerald Schnauz. All kickass episodes. All episodes where Scully did most of the bonding with the psychic, interestingly enough. Or, probably not that interesting. Mulder says he’s only half the team. Or less than half in those cases, dude. Just saying. I guess you did figure out that whole thing with the gravestones in Unruhe. I didn’t see anyone bequeathing a Pomeranian to you, though. “But it’s your insights I need,” Whitney says. Well, who’s going to keep him honest? Make him a whole person? Etc. We have a system here, lady. Don’t fuck with it, if you don’t mind.

Father Joe suddenly falls down or something, so Mulder and Amanda Peet stop their backgroundy convo and run over. “She ran away…she tried to escape…there were two men,” Father Joe gasps. This better be a vision about the kidnapping and not a Jeffersons plot. He says Monica was pushed down right in this very spot. And then she whipped out a scalpel and surgically removed the kidnapper’s arm, I presume. Father Joe says they put her in a car, no, a truck! With something on it — “WE HAVE TO FIND HER,” Whitney interrupts. Dude, he’s about to give you a giant clue right now! Shut up! FJ says she’s in great pain. “TELL ME WHERE,” Whitney hollers. “I can’t see,” Father J wails, and sort of collapses. Everyone looks at him. “Because he’s pulling it out of his ass,” Xzibit says succXzinctly. I hope that was a callback to Mulder’s identical line of a couple minutes ago and not just an oversight. Agent X stomps away, probably planning to build a few extravagant houses for poor people to make himself feel better. What a jerk.

Oh no, there’s blood on the snow, next to Father Joe’s fallen glasses. The alarm music ramps up. Father Joe looks up, and blood is running from his eyes. OH MY GOD, HE REALLY IS PSYCHIC. Wait. Huh? Also: Blood packs! Check his sleeves, guys. Do I have to do everything around here?

Our Lady of Search Engine Optimization Hospital. The children’s ward is painted a “cheerful” blue. Try a warm color next time, maybe. To counteract the 20-watt bulbs you have everywhere. Christian’s in a bed with sheets covered in clouds. Give this child some sunshine, for pete’s sake! This is the worst hospital ever. Dr. Scully pops by, telling him he looks bright-eyed. Well, compared to all the depressing blue stuff everywhere, yes. Christian says he was thinking about how he can get out of here. Clearly, that kid is a survivor. Scully says she’s been thinking the same thing. Christian asks if he can leave soon, and Scully asks if something has scared him. “The way the man is looking at me,” Christian says, indicating the priest we saw earlier. Scully looks. “Don’t be afraid,” she says solemnly to Christian, and leaves. SCULLY. Just a little tip for you. If you don’t want kids to be afraid, don’t ORDER THEM NOT TO BE AFRAID. How about “Oh, that’s just Father Ybarra! He’s very nice; he’s just concerned about you, and all the kids here, because he wants you all to get well.” Or why don’t you invite him over and introduce him? Lord. Instead, Scully drops this cryptic instruction and marches off.

Father Ybarra (I don’t remember if we’re ever told in the movie that that’s his name, but, that’s his name and I’m too lazy to not call him that) is looking at some records, which Scully says she was just looking for. She says Christian’s records are her business as his primary physician. Father Y says that INDEED it is very much his business to make sure the doctors are doing the right thing for the patients and for this gloomy terrible hospital. “We’re here to heal the sick. Not prolong the ordeal of the dying,” he lectures. Scully looks upset.

Somebody drops some metal tins or something on the floor, as one often does in a hospital where you can’t see anything because it’s so fucking dark, and when Father Y Is This Hospital So Fucking Dark turns to look Scully takes the opportunity to stalk off. She goes into her office, opens the test results, and starts crying (at least here in the extended version). Poor Scully. She just wants to help people, be they beardy wackjobs or innocent children. Hey, there’s some other chick in Scully’s office. I guess they share. She glances at Scully and very kindly gets the hell out. Scully digs in her bag, pulls out some Kleenex and blows her nose. I can’t imagine why they cut this scene.

A pool! In wintertime. What fun. We see the bottom half of a lady, underwater. Some guy is sitting at the edge of the pool, fully submerged, watching her. Uh-oh, it’s Leoben. YOU’RE BEING STALKED BY A CYLON! Oh no, he’s not a Cylon in this. Oh, but he’s one of the kidnappers! Leoben calmly appreciates the butt of the swimming lady, who takes off some kind of bracelet and puts it at the edge of the pool.

We’re at the MacLaren Natatorium, which is covered in snow and icicles. MY GOD, I HATE WINTER. I can scarcely imagine anything more unpleasant than going for a swim when it’s snowy and icy outside. The swimming girl, now fully dressed, exits and gets into her car. It turns out that it’s that girl from Rush! Who isn’t even Canadian. Or, if she is, she made a special trip down for that episode, which was in Season 7. I of course did not recognize her because she has brown hair in this, and had blonde hair before, and I tell people apart by their hair. As she gets ready to take off, a large pickup with a snowplow attachment revs to life beside her. You know, sometimes after a long day of snowplowing you just want to take a quick stop at the natatorium to watch people’s butts underwater. Nothing wrong with that.

Girl From Rush (The Episode, Not The Band) drives her Outback through the blizzard. She’s behind the plow truck, and seems to be trying to get around him. Canadians are such badasses about driving in blizzards. Er, I mean, Virginians. The snowplow is kind of a dick and keeps revving as she tries to pass him, but also, she is being kind of a dick herself, trying to pass in a snowstorm. Just chill out, lady. The snowplow sideswipes her, knocking her off the road and into a hay bale. Hey, you know what’s a great strategy for kidnapping somebody? Stalking them at a natatorium and then taking off AHEAD of them with the certainty that they will dickishly try to pass you and you can run them off the road as they do. Planning! Girl From Rush’s airbag deploys as she sits, dazed, in the car. The truck stops. As nice trucks who have just accidentally run someone off the road do.

The driver, who is of course Leoben, gets something that looks like a blanket out of his trunk and approaches the car. “I’m OK!” GFR says happily. She realizes she is soon to be not as OK when Leoben, smiling, punches out the driver’s-side window. Somewhere, dogs howl, because of foreshadowing &c., as Leoben drags her off in what is not a cozy blanket but a tarp.

It’s dark. Scully’s in bed, somewhere in her house that she probably doesn’t share with anyone with a hobo beard, staring off into the middle distance. Someone offscreen: “I can feel you thinking.” OH EM GEE. IT’S MULDER. MULDER AND SCULLY ARE IN BED TOGETHER. REVEAL! REVEAL!!

“I’m sorry,” Scully says, and yes, I find it adorable that she apologizes for being too loud with her thoughts without further comment. “I can’t sleep.”

Like a beardy Loch Ness Monster, Mulder rises up from out of frame, looming over Scully. He says he has a little something for that. “Just a little something?” Scully says archly. “Thank you,” Mulder replies in trademark Mulder deadpan. Yes, that’s right, after nine years and one and a half movies we have the first scene ever in which Mulder and Scully are unambiguously a couple, and we’re opening it with a joke about the size of Mulder’s dong.

Formalities aside, Mulder asks what the matter is. Scully says she has a patient, “a young boy” (sigh) with a rare brain disease. Mulder wants to know why she hasn’t told him about this before. Well, maybe you should ASK once in a while, buddy, instead of just blabbing about psychic Germans and cutting out newspaper articles like a crazy person when she comes home. SHE WORKS HARD ALL DAY. THE LEAST YOU COULD DO IS HAVE A HOT DINNER READY. OR A FRESH BOWL OF POTATO CHIPS. Scully says it’s because she’d thought there was something she could do. I guess the Googling isn’t going too well so far. By the way, Scully’s got a book prominently next to her on the bed (may I suggest a bedside table, Scully? Less chance of being poked in the eye while you sleep that way) by Dori Carter, Chris’s wife. Every moment is a moment for pimping. “So I’m lying here cursing God for all his cruelties,” Scully concludes. Mulder asks if she thinks God’s losing any sleep. “Why bring a kid into the world just to make him suffer?” Scully asks, and says she feels very connected to Christian. Mulder hesitates and then asks how old he is. “You think it’s because of William,” Scully says. David puts on his game face and delivers another of the top five worst lines of this movie: “I think our son left us both with an emptiness that can’t be filled.” It’s clunky AND inelegantly expository. And a floor wax! And a dessert topping.

And then we get one of the sweetest lines, from Mulder: “Just go to sleep. Let me curse God for a while.” Scully gives a sad little grin and thanks him. Mulder — who’s been somewhat awkwardly perched halfway over her this entire time — gives her a kiss, on the lips, like it’s nothing. Scully kisses him back, then giggles “Scratchy beard” (I can only imagine) and squirms away. Mulder, deadpan as always, obligingly rubs his muskrat-enshrouded chin all over her while she makes faces, then drops a couple of smooches on her neck or something and conks back out next to her. Folks, this is what I want when I think about shippiness. Not Dearest Dana. Not “you are my touchstone.” Not reverent tonguing of the forehead. Growly, sleepy bed conversations, giggling, mumbled exhortations to go back to sleep, affectionate macking like they do it all the time, not like they’re standing on a cloud with a hundred violins playing. The joy of DD and GA’s chemistry is their comfort with each other. They’ve been doing old-married-couple since Season 2. You might say they have it down by now. I would watch a whole movie of this drowsy, sniffly (Gillian sounds like she has a cold) mumbling.

Quiet, with the camera still on Scully, and then she opens her eyes and says “Oh” and he says “Hm” and she says there was something weird on the toxicology report: a drug called acepromazine. “Why’s that weird,” Mulder slurs in a “we may be having a conversation, but I am actually asleep, just so you know” voice. “Acepromazine’s an animal tranquilizer,” Scully says.

Her eyes close, and there’s another pause, but then Mulder sits up and says now he can’t sleep. He gets out of bed. “Mulder?” Scully mumbles sleepily. This whole thing is so middle-of-the-night-y and lived-in and it’s like watching Itzhak Perlman play the violin. OK, that is hyperbole. It’s like watching a pizza guy make pizza. This is what these two DO. This is what they’ve perfected over the years and years of standing around in the rain being grumpy and forgetting their lines and wishing they had peed before the scene started and back-and-forth-ing about mystery stuff they immediately forgot the details of. They can do this in their sleep. They ARE doing it in their sleep, in this scene. Or at least in Mulder and Scully’s sleep. This scene is good. I love this scene. Yes I do.

Mulder’s in the bathroom in front of the mirror. He sees Bigfoot! FINALLY! Oh, it’s just him with the beard. He wonders aloud why a drug like that would be in a man’s severed arm. Scully has gotten out of bed and is standing behind him. I think she was wearing that bathrobe in bed, which is totally weird and I can’t understand why no one (even Gillian, if there were no other women on set, which is possible) shut that down. She says she has no idea. Mulder turns on the water and says that Father Joe heard barking dogs. “Mulder — what are you doing?” Scully says, totally pitch-perfect bewildered. Mulder asks if it’s a tranquilizer you might give a dog. I will point out here that Mulder is not wearing a shirt, and Mulder may be almost fifty, but Mulder is smoking hot in this. “He’s a phony, Mulder,” Scully says tightly. A phony baloney! The worst kind of phony. She says Father Joe is just making up random elements and Mulder’s trying to connect them. Mulder says that when he sees someone cry tears of blood at a crime scene, he has to go out on a limb a little. “Tears of blood?” Scully says. Guess he didn’t mention that before. Dude, Mulder and Scully are in a bathroom together and no one’s getting killed! Well, not in the bathroom at least. I like their beadboard. I am such a home-decorating nerd these days.

Mulder splashes more water on his face, stalling because he can’t actually start shaving the beard because then they’d be out nineteen dollars and this movie isn’t MADE OF MONEY, and Scully’s cell phone rings. It’s Agent Mosely “Alvin ‘Xzibit’ Joiner” Drummy, who is calling on behalf of Whitney, who apparently is incapable of dialing a damn phone herself even though Xzibit is driving. (Fine, she’s on another call. Because she’s soooooo important. Look at me! I have two cell phones! I’m a fancypants!) “HAS THERE BEEN A BREAK?” says Scully, who has a tendency to yell hilariously for no particular reason in certain scenes. (Look, in the background: Mulder’s fishtank! Eeeee!) A Yeti, oh no it’s just Mulder with shaving cream all over his beard, lumbers out of the bathroom to stand next to her. JUST ALL HOT AND SHIRTLESS, STANDING NEXT TO SCULLY, IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT IN THEIR BEDROOM IN THEIR HOUSE WHERE THEY LIVE TOGETHER. THAT’S ALL. Gosh, this scene is going on a long time. Why aren’t they moving? Oh, it’s on pause. I’ll just unpause it then. In a minute.

Whitney says they’re pursuing another lead. “SAME SOURCE?” Scully hollers. Whitney says it’s the same source but new news. Behind her, Father Joe leans forward, muttering “It’s here” and telling them to turn up ahead.

Three hours later. Wow, that beard was stubborn! Again, we really have no idea what is taking place where or where anybody is at any given time or how long it takes them to get anywhere, but that’s par for the course. If you want to imagine that Mulder and Scully went back to bed for a little after-beard delight, this timeline graciously provides you with the option of doing so. A car parks by a barn and Scully gets out, all purposeful and Scully-like, and walks up to Whitney, asking what’s going on. Whitney starts to answer her and then catches sight of someone behind Scully who for the first time in however many weeks (or in 45 minutes) does NOT look like Bigfoot. “What’d you do?” she says, staring at him, and Mulder is like “Huh?” and she half-reaches out and indicates a shaving cut on his face. HE CUT HIMSELF SHAVING, OBVIOUSLY. He used to have a beard AND NOW HE DOESN’T and it’s fairly clear where the cut came from, DETECTIVE. I appreciate how Scully just kind of looks back and forth during this exchange and doesn’t really seem concerned or territorial or anything other than slightly impatient, which is just the right way to play it, because if she’d been all jealous it would have been dumb. “You said there was news,” she prods. Unfortunately, it seems that Father J has led them to the same spot as before.

Mulder marches over to Father Joe, who’s standing around murmuring assurances that they’re going to find her. Xzibit is grousing that his guys are running on empty. “Sorry for bringing you out here,” Whitney says. Uh, they do have cell phones. You could have maybe called them back before they made the whole three-hour (two-hour? half-hour?) trek out here. Xzibit starts yelling at the guys to pack it in.

Mulder urges FJ to tell him what he sees. “I see a face…I see eyes staring out,” Father Joe says. You know what that reminds me of? Watching junket clips on YouTube, and fast-forwarding through this part to get back to David and Gillian talking. I think it is fair to say that the mystery plot of this movie was never the primary interest for me. FJ says it’s unclear, like looking through dirty glass. Meanwhile, Scully is standing slightly behind looking disgruntled. Mulder turns to her as FJ wanders off, asking what she thinks he means.

Scully tells Mulder to stop, that this isn’t her job anymore. Mulder says, oh right, she’s just his booking agent now. Scully says yes, she got him involved and it’s her fault. This scene, I gotta say…it pains me, since we have so few scenes of just the two of them, but the rhythm is ALL off. Gillian, in particular, is very weird in it. Weird as in not good. She sounds…acting-y. That doesn’t happen very often with her, but it’s happening here. Mostly when they would talk about how it took them a while to find their groove, I thought they were exaggerating, but in this scene, you can see it. Shit is awkward, and not their usual delightful awkward.

Mulder, stalking away, says getting involved was the right thing to do. Scully says it’s not about finding an FBI agent, it’s about friggin’ Samantha again. Mulder turns around and says Samantha’s dead, and Scully says it hasn’t stopped him from looking for her. Has Mulder been to therapy? Besides that weird hypnotist guy? Just wondering. She says she’s been through this with him for too many years, and that he can’t save Samantha — not now and not ever. I wonder if this is the scene she was talking about where their mouths got too cold to say words. It does look like they are legit in the snow right now. I think I see Quatchi and Mukmuk peeking out from the woods, just in case anyone is going to start skiing. (Didn’t we hear at one point that David had a ski double for this? Was there going to be a ski chase scene? Gosh.)

They look all sadly at each other for a moment, and then Mulder yells out that he needs the men back. Whitney gives him a look like, are you for real right now, crazy? For some reason they wave the men back. Scully asks what he’s doing. “Trying to ignore you,” he says. A valid response, my friend.

Father Joe is walking through the trees. Mulder follows him, Scully follows Mulder, Whitney follows them, and a bunch of guys with flashlights follow them all. Father Joe drops to his knees and starts digging. Mulder says they need shovels.

Somewhere, a big ugly snowplow truck rams into a No Hunting sign. Somebody we can’t see, even though we clearly know who it is, gets out holding a small bundle. Some blood drips onto the fallen sign. IRONY. Meanwhile, a bunch of G-men are hacking at the ground while Father Joe, Mulder, and an extremely pretty Scully (seriously — just look at her lustrous hair in this) look on. Xzibit complains that the ground is solid ice. “No…” Mulder says. “It’s dirty glass.” He starts digging like the crazy person that he totally is.

Leoben is walking through snow, and he comes to the edge of a cliff and looks down. It’s our heroes and their assorted hangers-on, with the flashlights and the whole thing. Leoben does one of these. Plan B, Leoben.

Mulder has cleared away a bunch of snow, and backs up himself. Indeed, there is a seemingly perfect block of ice through which we can see a woman’s face. Even Xzibit is speechless. Mulder grimly tells Whitney that they will need resources. That seems to break the spell, and Whitney starts hollering about saws and backhoes as Mulder lopes off.

Scully stares after him, now looking troubled. We see that Father Joe is standing right behind her, and she whirls to face him. “Don’t give up,” he says, looking like this is significant instead of a totally generic thing to say to somebody. Scully’s like, do not talk to me, creepy guy, and takes off.

Snowplow. If you live in an especially snowy area like…Virginia…it is very handy to have a snowplow be the main vehicle that you do your kidnapping and murdering in. Leoben gets out to open a gate, just like Scully, except this gate is made of chain link and is about twelve feet high and he has to unlock it with a key. (Psst, Mulder and Scully. If you’re trying to keep the FBI out, THIS is more the kind of gate you should look into.) Someplace inside, dogs are yipping inside cages, and look, this isn’t a dog, it’s Girl From Rush. She screams for help. Some guy peers through the slats at her, and says something in a foreign language, then disappears. GFR is whimpering that she didn’t mean to hit the truck, so I guess she still thinks this is just a super extreme case of road rage. Her crate or whatever is being transported somehow, and through the slats she sees some kind of creepy operating table setup. I am talking EVEN CREEPIER than at Our Lady of Perpetual Dankness back in whatever state Scully lives in. So you know it’s bad. The crate stops moving. GFR can see Leoben, and some guy lying on an operating table looking all bald and bloody and generally not in good shape. Maybe they brought her in to be a candy striper! GFR yells again for help.

Our Lady of Letting Anyone Walk In Off The Street And Become A Pediatric Brain Surgeon Hospital. Father Y is presiding over a meeting, saying that it’s settled, they will relocate the patient someplace more suited to his condition. The door opens and Scully whooshes in, doubtlessly late after oversleeping due to copious amounts of beardless whoopie. Father Y smoothly tells her that he was informing the staff of the decision on Christian. “I’m sorry — what decision?” Scully says. To move him to hospice care, says Father Y. Scully stammers that that was a discussion, not a decision. Well, Father Y says, he and the rest of the staff have been underhandedly discussing it without her just now and no one objects. “I have an objection,” Scully retorts. Father Y Are You Such A Dillhole patronizes that it’s very sad and all. Scully snaps that he’s her patient, and Father Y interrupts that unless she’s come with a cure for Sandhoff disease, it’s time to let him go in peace.

Scully sits down meekly in the back as FY starts discussing other business, then suddenly pipes up that there is a treatment. She’s not giving up! “The matter is resolved,” FY says coldly. Scully says the disease can be treated with intrathecal stem cell therapy. Some lady says that Scully can’t be serious and tells her not to put the boy through hell. Scully asks if she’d do it if it were her son. Fiscal Year interjects that it’s not her son, or Scully’s son. Nope, her son is on a farm someplace, probably shoveling white buffalo manure; let’s not rub that in, shall we? Scully says it’s not a decision for the hospital administration to make, but for her to make, as Christian’s doctor, and if they have a problem they can take it up with a higher authority. Father Y snaps that he has taken it up with the HIGHEST authority, and says Scully should too. Oh boy. Scully kind of glares at him and leaves.

Quantico! The best place in all of Virginia if you have a gigantic chunk of ice containing a body and you want to carefully saw it away. Dumb question here, guys. Can’t you just let it melt, and the body will fall out? It’s not like it’s a rock. The techs seem to be spraying teeny tiny blowtorches at it. Perhaps a hairdryer?

Mulder’s also hanging around, making a phone call, but the person’s not answering. He’s looking at a picture of Monica shaking hands with some dude, and prominently visible on her arm is the medical bracelet. You know, if I were meeting a fancy dignitary and knew I would be shaking his hand in a photo op, and if I had to wear a medical bracelet on my right wrist, I would wear long sleeves for the photo op. “Come on, answer,” Mulder mutters. Just text her, dude.

Scully is very busy at work being a doctor. Indeed, she is sitting at her desk, with Google open in her browser. Yes, folks, the scene that puts 172 seasons of ER to shame has arrived. Scully types “stem cell therapy” into the Google search box. Her cell phone vibrates, but she ignores it in favor of beginning to read through all eleven million (YES I CHECKED) results. At least she’s not using Bing. If Bing had managed to product-place itself into this movie I might have had to stand up in the theater, pull out my pistol, and shoot out the screen. It’s not happening, Microsoft. Try inventing your own shit.

Back at Q-co, Mulder gets Scully’s voice mail. He says the following: “Hey Scully, it’s me. I keep leaving you messages. Here’s what I want to tell you.” Apparently in all the previous messages that we were just courteously exposited about, he didn’t tell her what he WANTED to tell her. What he wanted to tell her is, the woman in the ice is not Monica, and so far they’ve pulled eleven different people’s limbs out of there, and there’s more to go. Each is cut cleanly, like the one they found before. It seems someone has been dumping body parts in there for months or even years. Maybe they should investigate the Leoben-is-a-Cylon angle after all. While this voiceover is happening, Scully is busily INTERNET FOREVER-ing, and printing out what I hope are articles from reputable medical journals and not Wikipedia pages or Onion stories, all about stem cell therapy. She’ll be sleeping with some different reading material dangerously close to her eyeballs tonight, all right. Mulder’s saying that there’s no pattern to the limbs, which suggests to him that they’re victims. Frankly, the fact that their body parts are in an ice puddle suggests to me just fine that they’re victims.

Mulder doesn’t just want to chat and fill in plot details though. The real reason he’s called Scully 87 times in the last hour is that they found acepromazine, the animal tranquilizer, in the body parts. He wants Scully’s thoughts on this. Maybe he should Ask Jeeves.

A-Peet walks over as Mulder’s hanging up. Mulder says he can’t reach Scully, but this is a break in the case, he can feel it. “You’re feeling it, Father Joe’s feeling it; all I can feel is my head spinning,” she says. Really? You found a fucking pile of body parts, dude. That’s some concrete stuff for you to investigate. I’m going to go ahead and put that into “worst lines” contention. Mulder tells her it’s a serial case, and A-Peet is going to solve a dozen murders. She says, woo murder-solving and all, but she’s no closer to finding her agent. Mulder says they’ll find her; he knows it.

Oh goody, it’s Father Joe, Stupendous Yappi-ing it up in the corner, telling everyone he sees the face of another woman, taken from a car. She’s in a box. Hmmm, that sounds familiar. With Mulder’s prodding he says he doesn’t know if Monica is there, but he thinks it’s the same men. Mulder asks if he sees it or if he’s saying what the FBI folks want to hear. FJ insists that it’s the same men, but he looks less sure of himself. Gazing into Mulder’s dreamy hazel eyes can be unsettling, I frequently imagine. Mulder throws his tongue around a little, just for insurance. I briefly acquire the vapors.

Mulder says he wants a car ready. To go where, Xzibit asks, pretty reasonably. Mulder says he doesn’t know yet. “I don’t believe this,” Xzibit says. Mulder Xzings back, “That’s been your problem from the start.”

Whitney says she can get Mulder a car. He also wants a list of missing persons in the area over the last few days.

It’s 2:08 pm in ol’ Somerset, WV, and it’s still very very snowy. Even Quatchi and Mukmuk are like, “This kind of weather makes me want to go sit in a rowboat in Hawaii.” A car is jammed up against a hay bale. Hay (see what I did there), that’s Girl From Rush’s car. Some staties are digging it out as Whitney, Xzibit, and Mulder pull up. The car belongs to Cheryl Cunningham, age 34, who didn’t show up to work last night and didn’t come home either. Xzibit runs down the facts: deployed airbag, keys in the ignition, no blood, hole in the driver’s side window. He thinks it would have been a “survivable crash” if she were wearing a seat belt, and says she must have gotten out, wandered off and fallen asleep. “Pretty hard left turn for such a long straight stretch of country road, don’t you think?” says Mulder, who knows everything. But they don’t have to take his word for it. Father Joe totters up and climbs into the crashed car’s driver’s seat. Everyone stares at him for about ten minutes, and then he gets back out and says sorry, he’s not getting anything. “What a surprise. WHAT a surprise,” Xzibit says douchily.

Father Joe wanders back off camera. Thanks! Whitney asides to Xzibit that they’re done with him. But wait! Mulder’s found a clue. It’s a medical bracelet, like the one we keep seeing on Monica, and presumably what Cheryl, née Girl From Rush, was wearing at the pool. Hmmmmm, even I am starting to see a pattern here. Whitney asks what he’s thinking. They pop the trunk and start going through the crap back there. No bottle of wiper fluid? Stop being so unrealistic, movie. Gym bag, frozen bathing suit. Whitney sniffs it, because if Mulder had done that it would have been gross. She smells chlorine, and Mulder asks where the nearest public pool is.

Back at the decrepit, snow-covered, horrible-looking MacLaren Natatorium. The SuperTeam of Mulder, Whitney and Xzibit (I just loved the 7.5 seasons we got of Mulder, Whitney and Xzibit investigating crimes, didn’t you? This movie makes me so nostalgic for the early Mulder, Whitney and Xzibit years) swoop in and ask the guy on the desk if he can help. “Would y’all like lockers?” the guy asks, so I guess we’re pretending to be in the South again. Whitney asks if he minds if they show him a photo. “Why would I mind?” the guy says mildly. I think this is supposed to be a comic-relief situation. He looks at the photo of Monica but demurs that young people today all look the same. Whitney asks to see the sign-in sheet. Finally, some damn investigating! If only Scully were here to help do it instead of sitting at her desk crying and Googling. Folksy Desk Guy says he threw yesterday’s sheet away. Mulder zooms around the corner toward the lockers. Folksy Desk Guy halfheartedly calls after him, tut-tutting that that’s the women’s side.

Our Lady of Hopefully Not Clicking On The Sponsored Links Hospital. Christian, in a hospital bed, is wheeled into an operating room. Scully is suited up like the surgeon that she apparently now is. She tells him that a whole bunch of people are going to take good care of him today. Christian gazes back at her. “What?” Scully says, self-esteem apparently fragile enough to be rattled by a terminal kid looking placidly at her for half a second. Luckily she doesn’t start feeling around in her teeth for spinach. “Now you look scared,” Christian says. Scully smiles feebly at him and turns away, doing that lovely beatific not-crying-but-clearly-trying-not-to-cry thing that Gillian is so good at. I have to say that the music in this scene — aptly enough, it’s called “The Surgery” — is my favorite in the film, and one of my favorite pieces of the entire series. You still got it, Mark Snow.

With Christian now asleep, I Wasn’t Kidding When I Said All Those Times I Was A Medical Doctor Scully starts a whirry electric drill-sounding thing. Somebody else goes to retrieve what looks like the world’s most gigantic needle (gah) and carries it carefully back to her. I guess that would be the stem cells. Scully takes it and slips it through some kind of stabilizing device and into Christian’s head. You know, I make fun, but it IS damn cool to watch Scully being a brain surgeon. And why can’t she be a brain surgeon? It’s the movies. I’m just going to enjoy it. Scully rules. As the needle goes in, Christian twitches in his sleep.

Later, Scully’s sitting in a locker/shower room, still in scrubs, writing busily in a notebook. The door opens and in walks Mulder, who I guess is just allowed to wander around the whole hospital despite having been a fugitive from the law until very recently. “And people say I went underground,” he quips. Scully says she’s sorry. This really has been a hell of a day for her — in the morning she thought of an idea for a radical surgery, in the afternoon she Googled the bejeezus out of it, and now she’s performed it. No wonder she looks tired. Mulder sits on the bench beside her as Scully says that she’s had to keep her focus here. “It’s the boy, isn’t it?” Mulder says. Cringey line alert! Scully’s like, yep. Mulder says he thought there was nothing to be done, and Scully says she’s taking a big chance on this risky procedure. “Last night you said that wasn’t an option,” says Mulder, and Scully confirms that it wasn’t, last night. So, yes — Scully has indeed conceived of, researched, and performed this crazy-ass surgery in one day. A day after she spent half the night digging up bodies in the ice, no less. Mulder asks what changed her mind, and she just sighs and gets up. He asks when she’ll know if it’s working, and she says not til after the whole series of procedures is finished. Mulder nods and looks fidgety. “But that’s not what you came to talk about,” Scully says, sounding weary. This scene, also? Really good. Clearly the groove had been found when this one was shot. Being inside on a soundstage instead of outside in a howling snowstorm probably helped too.

Mulder says there’s another woman missing, and now they have something to go on. He warms to the topic as he tells her that both the missing woman and Monica swam at the same pool, kept lockers there, wore medical ID bracelets (that’s sort of a coink — how common are medical ID bracelets?) and had the same rare blood type, AB negative. I guess Leoben only cares about blood type so the actual medical reason for the bracelet is not relevant? Mulder thinks they were stalked there. OK, so the pool/crime scene area is close enough to the FBI that the FBI agent could regularly swim there. So all this stuff has to be fairly near DC. (Unless Monica was at a field office? Whitney and Xzibit seem to work out of DC though.) So we still have no clue where Mulder and Scully live, except one time they were a max of three hours’ driving distance from the field where Leoben likes to dump body parts. I’m interested to know where they live, certainly, but also, I seriously cannot stop thinking about the helicopter. It seems increasingly unnecessary. How did Scully get home after they visited Father Joe at the Box of Monsters? She just takes off. Cab ride?

But wait — there’s no Somerset, WV, but Google (see!!!) Maps seems to indicate that the closest part of West Virginia to DC is two hours away. So…really? That seems like a stretch. If Mulder and Scully lived three hours in the other direction, certainly helicoptering what would have been a five-hour drive would make sense, but…Monica has a two-hour daily commute, each way? Are Virginia/Maryland real-estate prices really that bad?

Eh, I don’t know why I’m worrying about this stuff. I just like how they flew them out all elaborate-like in a goddamn black helicopter and then were sort of like “you had your fun; we don’t have time to be carting your asses all over the place. The Lariat counter is that-a-way.”

Scully, who despite having, if I didn’t mention it before, CONCEIVED OF, RESEARCHED AND PERFORMED A RADICAL NEW TYPE OF BRAIN SURGERY IN THE LAST 12 HOURS OR SO is listening intently, manages to use her last two working neurons to deduce that the women are being targeted for organ harvesting, since the blood types have to match. Mulder muses about the black market. Scully says the person placing the orders would have access to recipients, hospitals… “That’s your world, Scully,” Mulder says. She can save them precious time. Scully says he can start with the transporters and he should call the Richmond DA. Mulder is like, but I want yooooooouuuuu to do it. Scully, seeming torn, says no. Mulder pushes that she was the one who asked him to get involved, and now he’s asking her to stay involved. Solid logic! Scully protests that he broke the case for the FBI folks already, so why can’t he just let them do it. She’s asking him to let it go. He says it’s not that simple. WELL THEN, maybe having your lifestyle of hoarding and wisecracking financed by your superhuman brain-surgeon girlfriend is not that simple either, pal. Scully says, almost under her breath, that it’s complicated. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Mulder asks. She says it’s something she’s been afraid would happen. He tells her to spit it out. She says she’s a doctor (we knooooowwwww) and this isn’t her life anymore. He’s like, yeah, so? “You’re not understanding me,” she says. She can’t look into the darkness with him anymore, because she can’t stand what it does to him, or to her. Gillian is so great in this scene, seriously. She looks so anguished and tired and gorgeous. Mulder, like the total dope that he sometimes is, is like, no worries, this grisly serial-killer stuff doesn’t affect me at all! In fact I find it fun and amusing. Scully is like, no shit, psycho. “Where else would you have me look if you want me to find these women alive?” says Mulder, still not getting it. Scully says she’s asking him to look at himself. He did that! And shaved his beard off. What more do you want? Mulder bewilders that he’s not the one who’s changed. “We’re not FBI anymore, Mulder,” Scully says. “We’re two people who come home at night, to a home now.” Man, the way she says that, it gets me every time. She doesn’t want that darkness in her home, and for a woman whose landlord once uttered the line “Do you know how many people have died in there?” in reference to her apartment, I can’t really blame her. (Isn’t Mulder coming home at night a pretty recent development though? More like one person who comes home at night, and one person who tells her about the squirrel he saw in the yard and how funny it was when he threw potato chips at it.)

Mulder says this is who he is, and who he’s always been, long before Scully and her plaid skirt came chirping into his office that time in either 1992 or 1993. It’s everything he knows. “Write it down,” Scully murmurs. “Put it in a book.” Now THERE is an idea. I wonder if she’s been pushing the book angle for years. I would have. Keep his manic ass busy. He asks if she’s telling him to give up. She says she can’t tell him to do that. But she CAN tell him that she won’t be coming home. What? Is this really a break-up-able offense? Isn’t this the first time he’s been out of the house in six years? Maybe she could give him more than two days to get his sea legs. I can understand her reluctance to be dragged back into the FBI world, but geez. Of course, this scene still works like crazy for me, because they are selling the shit out of it. Scully says she’s got her own battles to fight. Mulder says, don’t do this. You know, in fanfic sometimes he goes back to the FBI and gets a desk job. I don’t know why they can’t hammer out some compromise like that. Does she not want him to work or just not investigate dangerous stuff? “Don’t do this now,” he says, and Gillian, like the rent is due tonight, closes the deal: “I don’t know what else to do.”

Mulder stands for a minute, chewing on his tongue, looking agitated, and finally says “Well…good luck then.” It’s really hard to tell here if they are supposed to have just broken up or not. I just don’t see it. You could argue that she’s giving him the ultimatum that she’s going to sleep at the hospital until he stops this crap, but that doesn’t seem like much of a threat. It seems like more than that, but seriously, a decade and a half together and we’re expected to believe it could end with Mulder wishing her good luck and peaceing? No matter how shell-shocked, I don’t see it. So we’re left with a bit of confusion, but nevertheless a lot of pathos, as she murmurs “You too” as the door closes behind him.

Still Officially The Longest Work Day Ever: Scully, now dressed in street clothes, comes walking down a stairway at the hospital under an impressive stained-glass window. Christian’s parents are waiting for her. Oh boy. Christian’s mom tells Scully, haltingly, that they changed their minds about the treatments. Scully, nonplussed, says they don’t even know if it’s working yet. But they’ve decided he’s been through enough, and they want to put their faith in God now. If Scully was a mother, she’d understand. Dude, NEVER SAY THAT. Saying shit like that (in the movies at least) is a guarantee that the person you’re saying it to has some painful undisclosed past with motherhood. Also, it’s assy regardless. Scully takes that one almost without flinching and asks if they’ve spoken to Father Ybarra. They say they have, but it’s their decision. Scully blinks away her disappointment for a minute, and then asks “What if it did work? What if we found we’d made the wrong choice by stopping?” Yeah, I’m sure they didn’t think of that AT ALL, Scully. “You’re saying you can save my son?” Christian’s mom whispers. Scully says she doesn’t want to give up now.

Some Hospital Somewhere. Equally dark, because in X-Files Land, you don’t need to be able to see to perform an operation effectively. A surgeon is telling a lighthearted (seriously) story about how she and her partner almost died in a plane crash. Who’s lurking in the background with a container marked “human organ for transplant”? Leoben, of course. Someone passes him the organ and he heads out. While he’s waiting for the elevator, a couple of cops come up behind him and ask to speak with him. “I’M TRANSPORTING VITAL ORGAN,” Leoben barks in a thick Russian accent. Turns out, though? That’s exactly what they want to talk to him about. Leoben says he doesn’t have much time, but they pull him to the side anyway. They ask what the organ is (a liver), where he’s delivering it, etc. and ask for his papers. “I have green card,” Leoben insists. Then they ask if he’s ever delivered an organ outside of legal channels. They ask how his employer would answer, and Leoben tells them “He’s sick. He has cancer.” Huh. Leoben asks if he’s under suspicion.

Box of Monsters! Night. Or I’m just guessing. Seriously, Scully is never going to get to sleep. Because Father Joe gets up to answer a knock on his door, and there she is, lurking outside. “A vision if I ever had one,” FJ says. Dude, come on. Scully asks if she can speak with him. She doesn’t exactly look excited to be there. Father Joe invites her in and asks if she’s here by herself, which she is. They sit. Scully seems nervous. Just ask him out, Scully! Father Joe says they’re alone and she can speak in confidence. An interesting thing about this part is how, despite the circumstances, they both fall somewhat automatically into kind of a priest/confessor setup, something they would both be accustomed to.

Scully reminds FJ that he said something to her the other night. “Yes,” he says. “I said ‘don’t give up.’ Which is kind of my standard faintly enigmatic but vague thing to say to people, because they can always find something to apply it to, and then they think I have magical powers, and then they take me on fun road trips to the wilderness.’”

Scully wants to know why he said it. He says he hasn’t the faintest idea, which makes her stand up angrily. He asks, clearly enjoying having the upper hand, if she was hoping for another answer. “Do you know anything about me?” Scully demands. “Other than that you loathe me?” he says. You do have to hand it to Father Joe; he’s being politer than he has to. “Do you know what it is that I do?” Scully barks. Father Joe says no. He can see she’s a woman of faith, “but not in the same things as your husband.” Scully, sounding defeated, says he’s not her husband. Maybe he meant Xzibit! You don’t know. “Also, good job on finally getting your husband to shave that creepy beard off,” he adds. OK, that does narrow it down. I guess being a child molester and all he’s not really in a position to cast stones about them living in sin.

He asks if Scully wants to offer a confession. “I don’t think you’re — ” Scully begins. FJ finishes — in a position to judge? And yet Scully has judged the shit out of him. He does have a point. Sort of, because, first, he IS a child molester, and second, if he doesn’t want people asking him what he means he doesn’t need to go around saying fortune-cookie aphorisms to them. Scully says he deserves to be judged. FJ tells her that they all live together in the Box of Monsters (only I am init-capping that, but that’s OK) because they hate each other, and themselves, for “our sickening appetites.” This is all fine and dandy, but what does it have to do with anything? FJ asks where she thinks these urges come from. “NOT FROM GOD,” she says. I wish we were watching Mulder and Scully walking through a dark building with flashlights right now. Father Joe says they’re not from him; he castrated himself when he was 26. Cool story, bro. Wouldn’t he have a higher voice if he’d castrated himself? Scully, go Google that for me, would you?

Scully, apparently agreeing with me that this is getting a little TMI, heads for the door. FJ yells after her that the visions weren’t his idea either. Proverbs 25:2! God’s glory to conceal a thing, but the honor of kings to search out a matter. Remember that, I guess. Scully gets all red-mist and tells him not to quote scripture at her. She HAS been out of the game a while. This kind of shit didn’t rattle her even in Season 1. FJ demands to know what she’s doing here. She yells back that she wants to know what “don’t give up” was for. I really don’t understand why, if she hates him so much and thinks he’s a big phony, she didn’t just ignore him. It really is not as if he said anything profound. Let’s listen to this dialogue, shall we? “What was that for?” “I don’t know.” “I don’t believe you.” “I’m telling the truth.” “They were your words. You said them to my face!” “All I ever wanted was to serve him. All I ever wanted was to serve God.” “You can ask for his pity, but don’t expect mine.” I think we’ve established that. Father Joe starts shaking. Scully snaps at him to stop the act, then grabs him, grudgingly deciding he’s not faking. The seizure, at least.

Back to GFR, now established as Cheryl, in her cage. A guy holds up some food for her, speaking Russian at her. He unlocks the cage, but just then, oh no! A medical Russian thing is happening. Can’t figure out more than that; sorry. The guy runs over to the bed, where the patient is shaking. An arm is raised; it’s a woman’s arm, with painted nails (woo, bonus!) and a medical ID bracelet on it (hey-o!) Cheryl realizes the cage is still unlocked, and crawls quietly away. She falls down some kind of chute, then crawls rapidly until she reaches the outdoors. But whoops, a dog is running towards her. She screams. And scene.

Ambulances at the Box of Monsters. Ambulances and Mulder, who jumps out of a car, his faithful partners Whitney and Xzibit not far behind. Scully’s on the phone saying that Father Joe is stable. Mulder runs up, asking what happened. She says FJ had a seizure. “Who called you?” Mulder asks. No one. “Then what are you doing here?” Scully gives him a sideways avoidy-type look. They need to talk to Father Joe, because they have a suspect: Whitney holds up a passport photo of Leoben, saying he’s a Russian emigré working as an organ transporter. We learn that he was questioned, but released due to lack of evidence, but a witness said he swam with the women at the pool. So I guess he’s from around here! Or, you know, two hours away.

As Whitney trots off, Scully asks what this has to do with Father Joe. Mulder says it’s the man in his visions. Scully says now Mulder is wasting the FBI’s time. I have a theory that maybe Gillian did that line wrong — she says “Mulder, now you’re wasting THEIR time,” but I suspect it was meant to go “Mulder, now YOU’RE wasting their time.” As in, Father Joe has been wasting the FBI’s time, and now Mulder is too. Because otherwise it comes out like Scully means Mulder’s been wasting someone else’s time, and since we have limited characters in this story, that makes it sound like she’s saying he’s been wasting HER time, which is low. And not very Scully. But maybe it was supposed to go that way, or else maybe David thought it was too, because Mulder looks pretty hurt, and then snaps out “Tell me again what you’re doing here.” Fair point. I like how when Mulder is mad he leans over and also down to get into her face cause she’s so far away, hee. Stony Scully doesn’t have to answer because Xzibit comes over with new information: a picture of Leoben’s employer, who they just learned is “an old friend of Father Joe’s.” And, incidentally, the freaky bald guy with the lady arm in the dog-filled hellhole where Cheryl is being held (a violin exclamation point helps underscore this revelation). The nature of this old friendship? Boss of Leoben is one of Father Joe’s 37 altar boys. “Three guesses who he’s married to in the state of Massachusetts,” Xzibit says, and holds up Leoben’s picture again. Oy.

Whitney and Xzibit jump in their SUV, headed off to search Boss of Leoben’s offices. The ambulance pulls away too. Mulder is left standing with Dr. Frowny Face, who starts to scold him that “it’s over.” Mulder looks at her, then suddenly yells “HEY” after the SUV, which stops to let him in. Scully, left at the scene, lets out an anguished little sigh. At least he didn’t leave her stranded at his mother’s this time. Or with a murderous shapeshifting bounty hunter.

Two SUVs, because you need two! drive down the street, lights flashing. At least now there are a bunch of like SWAT guys that get out, rushing into an office building. Whitney gently tells Mulder to let the men do their jobs. She says they were all fooled, and she wanted to believe it too. Mulder says he doesn’t need the sweet talk; it was Father Joe who led them here. Inside, Xzibit bangs on the office door and yells that they have a warrant. Outside, Mulder and Whitney are having one of those Carter-y conversations that don’t say anything: “I called you in because I thought you could help me with this case because I valued your belief in these phenomena.” “Now what do you think?” “I think this is a longer conversation.” What is? Feh. Inside, Xzibit raps, “Down on the floor! Down on the floor! Anybody here I want down on the floor!”

Whoops, Leoben’s making a late stop at the office. Oh sure, your boss/husband gets cancer and you immediately start sneaking in a bunch of overtime. Classy, Leoben. He sees the open door and the agents inside, and quickly scoots by. As Whitney is trying to pep-talk Mulder about how helpful he was (let him sulk; it’s the best way), Leoben exits the building right near them. They all spot each other at the same time, and then Leoben bolts, dropping his organ-carrying case. I wonder if he just uses that as a briefcase when there’s no organ in it. It’s certainly roomy. They both take off after him. Either Mulder or Leoben nearly gets hit by a car several times. They run into some sort of construction site, which makes me briefly hopeful that Mulder will get immobilized by a dart and get all drooly, and Scully will show up and hilariously drag his large gangly body out of a pipe to save him. Sadly, this does not happen.

As with all X-Files chase scenes, it’s impossible to tell where they are or what anybody is doing, but I think Leoben goes up some sort of forbidden lift (some construction guys yell at him that he can’t go in there), and Mulder takes the stairs. Whitney shows up, asks which way they went, and follows. She shouts for Mulder, who says he’s up here, wherever that is. Again, memories. Mulder and Whitney, chasing down perps like the never days. There sure is a lot of rebar sticking up all around this dangerous construction site. I’m sure it’s all right though. More running. More rebar. Mulder climbs up some kind of something, maybe a mid-construction elevator shaft? then jumps down like Spider-Man. Whitney, who apparently couldn’t find her ass with a giant Xenon flashlight and the entire Arecibo telescope array, keeps yelling for Mulder and demanding to know where he is and he keeps yelling back. It’s like the world’s darkest game of Marco Polo. Finally she says “Fox!” (OH HELL NAW) and he pokes his head out, several yards above her. She asks if he’s got Leoben, and he says no, he lost him.

Intercut with all this has been Xzibit going through stuff in the office, in a laboratory-type place, and now finding Leoben’s discarded organ briefcase, which he’s slowly opened. Sorry to kill all the suspense; I didn’t feel like typing “back to Mulder/back to Whitney/back to Xzibit” a hundred times. Anyway, Xzibit lifts the cover and recoils: inside is a human head. Hey, I know this one! Eight pounds.

“I saw him,” Whitney says. Mulder asks where. Right there! Leoben is suddenly right in front of Whitney. He gives her a shove, and she topples backwards off of the platform she’s on, and falls — I guess down the mid-construction elevator shaft. Mulder, helpless, watches her fall. We see Whitney’s gun hit the ground first, right next to some springs (whoops: springs, rebar, same outcome) sticking straight up. Oh dear. Whitney falls right on top of them. And I think it’s pretty clear that that’s the end of Whitney. Sorry, Whitney.

Our Lady of Frequently Used Locations Hospital. Mulder is lurking sadly on the staircase when Scully comes up to him, and takes his hand. Mulder says they’re both dead — Monica and Whitney. (Was that head supposed to be Monica’s head? This is where my terrible facial recognition becomes an issue. Let’s assume it was.) Scully says she heard, and she’s sorry. “I thought we were winning,” he says hollowly. She says she knows. Mulder pulls his hand back and says he’s here to see Father Joe, to show him the pictures of the two men. (Let me play Location Detective some more: Father Joe lives close enough to Scully’s hospital to be plausibly taken there by ambulance, unless Scully pulled some really giant strings because she wanted him nearby, which seems unlikely.) “You still want to believe him,” Scully murmurs, and he nods. Title alert again! Except that Mulder wants to believe all the time, so, who cares alert. Scully tells Mulder that FJ has terminal lung cancer. Mulder looks at her carefully, and says “I just want to be sure.” Scully takes the photos from him and says she’ll ask him.

At his extremely dark bedside, FJ says he’s glad to see Mulder, that he had a vision Mulder might be interested in, of a man speaking a foreign language. Scully asks if he looked like this, and holds up the photo of Leoben. Why, as a matter of fact, yes. Scully says they think he’s their guy, and that he was helped by another man. She holds up the photo of Leoben’s boss/husband (husboss? Like “momager”) — the guy alleged to be one of FJ’s victims. Mulder and Scully sort of hold their breaths. FJ says he’s “fairly certain” he doesn’t know him. “I’m fairly certain that you do,” Scully says. “And that you’ve known him since he was a boy.” Dun-dun. FJ, apprehensive, takes another look. “Oh no,” he says, tears falling, “it can’t be true.” He says Husboss was his connection, the visions were to save Monica from him, and this is God’s work. Scully stomps off and kicks 500 trash cans on her way out, muttering swears under her breath. No she doesn’t, because she’s a fucking professional. To Mulder’s sideways glance, she asks if Monica is still alive. FJ says yes. Scully gives Mulder a look, a look that says “usually when you find someone’s head in an organ container they are not still alive.” He walks out, and Scully follows.

As Mulder strides down the corridor, somehow managing not to trip over something in the darkness, he says that the second victim might still be alive and everyone’s given up but he’s not going to. Scully calls after him that he thinks she doesn’t understand, but she does: “This stubbornness of yours…it’s why I fell in love with you.” Awww. And, I can understand that. And, awwwwww. “It’s like you said,” Mulder murmurs, leaning forward…to take the photos from her. “It’s why we can’t be together.” Sniffle! But also, what? I’m going to suggest a little couples counseling before you throw in the towel on your epic relationship. Hypnosis, if that’s all y’all are comfortable with. Scully sadly watches him go.

Leoben’s Doggie Daycare and Nightmarish Surgery Emporium. Husboss is lying on the table breathing shallowly as Leoben and the other guy argue in Russian. We pan slowly down Husboss’s arm and see it has red fingernails. Didn’t we have this reveal already?

Mulder, outstanding in his field. A snow-covered field. Quatchi and Mukmuk, peeking out from the woods, are like “What is this jackass doing now? And what is with the total lack of winter sports around here?” Crime-scene tape; I guess this is where they pulled out the frozen body-part casserole. Mulder looks upward, and sees the top of the ledge, which looks like a good place to stand if you were going to throw body parts into this particular pit. He drives Scully’s Ford around to where the ledge is, and sees the ironic blood on the “NO HUNTING” sign. I’m so glad we got to see that twice. He looks down at the pit.

Now Mulder’s driving into town. It’s seriously difficult for me to keep remembering that they’re NOT supposed to be in Canada. He stops at a gas station, which is also a place called Nutter’s Feed and Animal Supply (aw, Nutter. He can direct the third movie). Hey, he didn’t ask Scully if she needed anythang from the feed store! This is the saddest part of their breakup yet.

While the Focus is filling up (he may drag Scully into life-threatening wild goose chases and push them both to the brink of insanity, but at least he puts gas in the car!), he tries to get into the feed store, which the guy inside (presumably David Nutter, Television Director/Feed Store Proprietor) says is closed. He finally lets Mulder in, telling him that he’d better get where he’s going soon because a storm’s a-comin’. Mulder wants to know if Mr. Nutter here carries acepromazine. Nutter asks if he has a prescription, which he does not, as he has not felt the need to tranquilize any animals since that time Queequeg wouldn’t shut up in the back of the car. “Well, I can’t sell it to you,” Nutter says, as if Mulder is a total idiot. Mulder asks if Nutter has ever sold any to Leoben, whose picture he shows him. Just as Nutter is looking, the phone rings and he goes to answer it, mumbling about how he’s never going to get out of here. As Mulder’s waiting at the counter, he sees a familiar (though not to Mulder) snowplow pull up. When Nutter returns, he’s gone, and Leoben is in his place at the counter. He has no answer to Nutter’s question about “the other guy” who was just here, but damn if he doesn’t need his acepromazine prescription filled, NOW.

Dogs chase Leoben’s snowplow as he drives off. Also chasing Leoben’s snowplow: Mulder, a little ways behind, in the Focus. Is this shot backwards or is Mulder totally driving up against the left-hand side of the road? Gillian’s Britishness is contagious! Mulder’s phone contacts include Bowman, Gilligan, Scully and Shiban. Cute, though it does beg the question of, who are those people, and does Mulder in fact have contact with other people in the outside world? Under what circumstances? Anyway. I miss you, Bowman and Gilligan. I think I even miss you a little bit, Shiban.

Never inspect your phone contacts while driving! Just over a ridge, Mulder slams on the brakes when he sees the snowplow stopped in the middle of the road. Because there’s snow everywhere, he spins around and finally comes to a stop as the airbag deploys. Woo-hoo! But d’oh — he looks dazedly up to see the snowplow (which suddenly has its lights on! Whoops, unless we are to believe Leoben stopped in the middle of attacking Mulder to anally turn his lights on since it was starting to get dark) coming at the driver’s side of the Focus. The window shatters as Mulder covers his face. And here comes the snowplow again, shoving the Focus and Mulder over an embankment, where it flips over a bunch of times and comes to rest upside down. Ack!

Our Lady of Didn’t David Say There Were Actual Mental Patients On The Other Floors While They Were Filming, Or Did I Dream That Hospital. Hey, it’s Chris Carter, holding an urn that I understand contains the remains of one of his dogs. I’m sorry about that, Chris. Scully passes him as she goes into her office, which is mostly piles of manila folders. She sees a printout (from something called “Medical News Archive: Medical News and Health Information Data Base”), which seems to be about the stem-cell research she had been looking into. This is written at about a fourth-grade level, so let’s hope she had something a little more technical guiding her: “Stem cell research has been pioneered in numerous countries around the world. Initial reports from physicians in Russia, France and Germany were encouraging. Doctors there performed experiments on laboratory animals that showed it was possible to introduce new tissue through the interthecal injection of stem cells into the brain.” Hee and aw. You misspelled “intrathecal,” production interns. Anyway, the important parts, if we’re to judge by the closeup on individual lines, where the surrounding type has been greyed out a little so we know what to read (thanks guys!), are the phrases “laboratory animals, particularly dogs” and “fused at the neck.”

Scully’s printer is beeping, saying it has an error. A heaven-sent printer error! She presses a single button on the printer and it fixes itself, which CLEARLY would never happen in real life without some divine assistance. The next page prints, and it’s a photo — of the Russian guy we saw arguing with Leoben at Husboss’s bedside. And then a picture of a dog head on a tray. Lovely. Scully flips through the pictures. The next one is of a dog that clearly has two heads — one looks like maybe a German shepherd and the other a pit bull. I guess the impact would be lessened if it were a Chihuahua with the additional head of a Yorkie.

Pulling out her cell phone as she strides down the hall, Scully gets Mulder’s voicemail. “SHIT,” she hisses. YAY, SCULLY FINALLY GOT TO SWEAR IN THE MOVIE!! It’s about fucking time. I understand Gillian demurred at first and had to be gently coaxed into willingness to say a curse word on camera. LOL JUST KIDDING. Anyway, sorry. Things are very serious. She leaves Mulder a voicemail, saying she found information in her stem-cell research about experiments being done in Russia on dogs — she thinks that’s what’s happening to the women. She tells Mulder to call her, and says Monica is still alive. I guess “in a manner of speaking” is implied.

Unfortunately, Mulder REALLY cannot come to the phone right now, as he is digging himself out of his crashed car. He’s in one piece, but has blood all over his face. Now all he has to do is climb up a sheer cliff face, so that should be simple enough.

OH GOD IT’S LUCY BUTLER. Who answers her phone as “Special Agent in Charge Fossa.” “It’s for you,” she says, and hands the phone to her right, to Xzibit. Scully snaps that she’s been trying to find him for hours, that she can’t reach Mulder. “Is this Dr. Scully?” Xzibit says. “YES it’s Dr. Scully,” she says crankily. Xzibit asks where Mulder is; Scully said if she knew that she wouldn’t be calling, ASSFACE. Xzibit patronizingly says that she should call the police, that it’s not an FBI matter. “LISTEN TO ME,” Scully says, her phone yelling justified for once, “I NEED YOUR HELP.” Xzibit says he can’t help her. Scully (still marching through the halls of the hospital as she’s hollering into the phone, which is awesome) requests to be transferred to someone with some balls. Really. Go Scully!

Our Lady of Cutting Off Heads And Randomly Attaching Them To Whatever’s Handy Non-Hospital. Cheryl is pulled out of her cage, kicking and screaming, and given an injection that dopes her right up.

The snowplow, driving along a now dark and still very snowy road. It conks out, or runs into something, and stops.

Mulder, walking along the road. Up ahead, he sees the snowplow, sitting abandoned (one assumes, and I hope for his sake). He runs for it, and looks inside, where he finds a wrench or something, which he tucks in his pocket. Again, the snowplow lights are on in some shots but not in others, I think. Why would Leoben leave the lights on? He just felt like draining the battery?

Back at the creepy surgery place, Leoben is sitting by Husboss’s bedside and telling him in English that he’s going to be fine, as Crazy Dog Doctor From The Internet and some other people converse in Russian. Leoben says “I’ve taken good care of it. You don’t need this one anymore.” The blanket is pulled back on Husboss slightly — to reveal what looks like a big jagged scar all the way around his neck. The body underneath the covers looks extremely pale; stark white basically. Dr. Dog Head On A Tray preps a syringe and then injects it into Husboss’s chest (or whoever’s chest that is). Meanwhile, Cheryl is being placed in a tub of icy liquid.

Mulder has found the giant chain-link fence that we saw Leoben drive through earlier. It’s locked. He pulls on the chains a little. That never works, Mulder.

Dr. In Soviet Union, Dog Surgically Implants Superfluous Head On You is carefully snipping at the sutures around Husboss’s neck as Leoben tells him that he’s going to have a fine strong body again. In the ice bath, someone starts sponging iodine onto the unconscious Cheryl’s neck.

Mulder has climbed the fence. Go Mulder! To the police station. Is what I would suggest. But OK. Just as he’s on the other side, he hears dogs barking, and one runs up to him. Mulder squints at it. Even pausing the DVD, it’s very difficult to see what we’re supposed to see, which is that the dog has two heads. We see flashes of two sets of jaws biting Mulder, but I would have made it a little bit clearer, if I were the mayor of everything. Anyway, the upshot is, Mulder is getting mauled by dogs. That’s not good. I guess he’s never going to get the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Inside, the crew hears the barking. Leoben is dispatched to run outside and see what’s going on. None of this is going to stop Dr. Dogmento, who starts slicing at the sides of Cheryl’s neck.

Leoben finds the dog lying in the snow, bleeding and whining. Mulder singlehandedly beat-up a two-headed dog? Nice. We can see a little more clearly now that the dog has two heads. Leoben also sees a puddle of blood that doesn’t seem to be related to the dog, and footprints leading away from it.

They’re hauling the Focus out of the ditch. Scully runs up, telling a cop, “I’m Dana Scully, and that’s my car.” Shouldn’t she mention that she’s a medical doctor? The cop says she talked to “some bigwig down at the FBI.” Scully says yeah, that’s him — Walter Skinner. And whose bald head and glowing ears should appear? Hooray! Skinner has come to save us from this movie full of characters we don’t know! He surveys the situation as we hear Scully ask the cop if they’ve found any evidence or footprints. The cop hands Scully a bag with something in it, then excuses herself. As Skinner approaches, Scully, an edge of panic to her voice, tells him it’s Mulder’s cell phone, and there’s blood on it. Skinner tries to calm her down, telling her Mulder must be OK if he got out of the car and presumably climbed up. Remember how *cough* someone was briefly taken with the nutty idea/worry that Scully was married to Skinner in this film? I don’t know how…that person even came up with that. We thought we saw a wedding ring in one of the production pictures, and we went kind of crazy. You never know with CC. YOU JUST NEVER KNOW.

Mulder is really in the doghouse right now. As in, he’s hiding in a doghouse as Leoben chases him. Other than that, though, he seems good.

Now Cheryl has a tube in each side of her neck. Fluid going in? Fluid coming out? Not sure. Either way, gross. What a fun acting job this must have been, BTW. We see buttons, dials, and now blood is flowing out of one tube and into the other? I’m not sure. But I’m not a mad scientist, so. Well, OK then! They have removed Husboss’s head. I can tell because they’re holding it. Just then, Mulder, always a master of timing, peeks in. I’m sure they won’t mind being interrupted right now. He starts yelling, feebly at first but gathering strength, for everyone to stop. His weapon? A wrench. I’m sure this will end well. The Russian doctor mostly looks annoyed. Mulder starts demanding whether anyone speaks English. This isn’t the goddamn Amazing Race, Mulder! He says he wants Cheryl out of here. I bet you do! But I suspect they’re not interested in taking your orders. Does he really think he’s being threatening with that wrench? He pulls back a blanket — hey, a boob! I think this is TXF’s first boob. The boob is on a headless corpse. Mulder makes a face befitting that fact. Mulder keeps hollering at the doctor, then turns to see Husboss’s head sitting comfortably in a bucket. The eyes open. Mulder, somewhat understandably, loses focus. Dr. Put Your Head On My Shoulder takes this moment to hypospray him. Or that’s what it sounds like at any rate. Mulder’s legs buckle. Leoben comes in at that moment, hauls Mulder to his feet, and punches him out. Smooth operation altogether there, Mulder.

Scully and Skinner, driving along. Scully looks terribly worried. Skinner is reassuring: “I know Mulder, he’ll get to a phone and call first. He wouldn’t do anything crazy.” Scully gives him the Scullyest look in the history of Scully looks. “Not overly crazy,” Skinner amends. Heh.

Leoben is dragging a headless corpse out of the way to make room for Mulder. Well, isn’t that polite of him! He lugs a semi-conscious Mulder into some sort of gross barn. Decorative features: Large stump. Axe. Another headless corpse.

As they drive, Scully suddenly asks Skinner to back up. She gets out, and walks along a row of mailboxes. She stops at one that reads “25 2.” Just like the section of Proverbs that Father Joe quoted to her. NOW THAT, MY FRIENDS, IS A FUCKING PSYCHIC CLUE! Jaysus.

They seem to have had a Rockefeller-esque headless-corpse budget for this movie. Leoben is heaving one out of the way. Mulder, very woozy, sees the arm, which is wearing a medical bracelet. He fist-pumps excitedly. Just kidding.

Scully is looking through the mailbox. That’s a federal offense, Scully!! Great, Mulder finally gets pardoned and now they’re going to put YOU in lockup. Mulder is going to be so mad. He really doesn’t want to become a pediatric brain surgeon. Scully finds a medical-supply invoice made out to a Dr. Uroff-Koltoff. The street: Bellflower Road. The town: Somerset, WV. I confess, BTW, I did not realize West Virginia was that close to Canada. Maybe the snow isn’t as ridiculous as I have been mercilessly making fun of it for being. Oopsie. Skinner offers to Google the address. Google, saving the day ONCE AGAIN! I wish he’d said he would Bing it for her. That would be so realistic. While he’s Googling, Scully realizes she hears dogs barking. She and Skinner run off.

Leoben is still cleaning up corpse remnants as Mulder lies, I imagine somewhat trepidatiously, on the ground. Mulder reaches for the axe handle, but before he can get a good grip in his drugged state, Leoben has yanked it away. He sharpens it for good measure. He smirks at Mulder. He swings back the axe, and — “HEY!” He whirls around just in time to see Scully hit him in the face with a board. WOO-HOO!! For whatever other troubles I have with this movie, I am forever psyched that Scully got to rescue Mulder this time. Although David probably finds it unrealistic and stupid. At least Cranky FTF-Era David Who Hated Everything. Scully drops to the ground and asks Mulder if he can hear her. “Sorry about your car,” he slurs. Scully doesn’t seem too mad about that. Mulder mumbles that the girl is still inside.

FINALLY, someone is bursting into Musical Heads Inc. with an ACTUAL GUN. It’s Skinner! He yells at Dr. Evilovsky, who still seems at worst mildly cranky about this situation, to put the scalpel down. Skinner takes in the head in the ice bucket, Cheryl with her neck bared, ready to be sliced, and yells “What have you done?” Scully rushes in, saying Mulder needs warm clothes and fluids. Skinner nods like, all righty, as soon as I finish with this whole thing where I’m in a tense standoff with these criminals. Scully sees Cheryl, and takes off her coat, murmuring that she’s got work to do here. I’m sure Skinner will lend you his iPhone for Googling purposes.

Skinner herds everyone into the dog cages as Scully starts scrubbing up (she is very thorough, our Scully), then goes back out to Mulder. Mulder is still exclaiming drunkenly about the girl inside, but Skinner tells him Scully’s on it. He puts his coat over Mulder. “Skinner?” Mulder mumbles, and says he’s cold. Skinner cuddles him into a warm embrace and starts singing “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog.” “Chorus,” Mulder demands.

Unremarkable House! Mulder, a little banged up but OK, is in his unremarkable room of hoarding, cutting out a newspaper headline: “FBI Arrests Modern-Day Frankenstein Doctor.” Which is a little more remarkable. There are two bowls of sunflower seeds on the desk, and also a basketball. And part of a human skull, I think. Scully walks in, coat on. “What’s up, Doc?” Mulder says, sounding a little uncharacteristically unexuberant.

Scully delivers the news that Father Joe is dead. Mulder pauses for a moment on hearing that. He shows Scully the newspaper story — The FBI is claiming Father Joe was an accomplice. Scully says they’ll never know. Mulder says HE knows and he can prove it. Both Father Joe and Husboss died of lung cancer. Mulder says that the moment Scully cut off the tubes to Cheryl’s neck and killed Husboss, that’s when Father Joe died. He says if he can see FJ’s death certificate, he’ll show her, and then show the FBI. He says it’s an injustice to FJ’s name. “Well, considering his crimes against those young boys” (STOP IT!), says Scully, who cares? Mulder says he thought she believed him too. Scully says she wanted to believe him. And she did believe him. And she acted on that belief. Then she stops and looks sad. “Why don’t you just tell me what he said to you?” says Mulder, sounding weary. I don’t know why I love that line, and his delivery of it, but I do. There’s a million years’ worth of intimacy in that line somehow.

Scully hesitates. Mulder turns away from her. Scully finally mans up and tells him that Father Joe cited a Bible verse that, hours later, turned out to be the number on the mailbox of where Mulder was being held, allowing her to rescue him in the nick of time. That IS pretty awesome. Oh, no, sorry — she says he told her “don’t give up.” SIIIIIIIIIGGGHHHHHHH. “And I didn’t. And it saved your life,” she says. It did? I thought “don’t give up” was about Christian’s surgery. Mulder looks spooked. Imagine if she told him about the REAL psychic clue! Scully continues, getting teary, that she “put that boy through hell,” and he has another surgery scheduled for today, but she’s kept going because she believed God was telling her to. OK, hang on, let me parse this. Maybe she means that because of “don’t give up” she continued Googling stuff about Christian’s surgery, and thus ran across the stuff about Dr. Headtransplantovich? And then…heard dogs barking and so knew that’s where Mulder was? That sort of makes sense. But it also makes a lot MORE sense that the whole MAILBOX NUMBER that Father Joe told her was the real clue.

Unless “don’t give up” means that if FJ hadn’t said that to Scully, once she saw Mulder’s car in the ditch she’d have been like “Eh” and moved to Tucson instead of looking for him. That’s it, probably.

“What if Father Joe’s prayers were answered after all?” Mulder says, totally unhelpfully. “What if he were forgiven…because he didn’t give up?” Maybe! But what does that have to do with anything? “Try proving that one, Mulder,” Scully says, huskily and nonsensically. Then she says she’s due at the hospital and walks out. If someone can explain this to me, I will give you a million dollars. OK, I won’t, but you will have my gratitude and my admiration for your smartness.

Mulder runs out after Scully, asking why Father Joe would say that to her. Just to be clear, we’re still talking about “don’t give up” here, not “specific numerical clue that doesn’t make sense right now but will deliver crucial information later at an important moment.” Scully says she thinks it was meant for Mulder. Wait, what? She just said it saved Mulder’s life! Mulder says FJ didn’t say it to him, he said it to Scully.

But it’s OK, Mulder’s going to explain it all for us. Here goes: “If Father Joe were the devil, why would he say the opposite of what the devil might say?” Oh, NOW I understand everything. Mulder says maybe that’s the answer…the larger answer. Oh, the LARGER answer. Scully asks what he means. Don’t give up, Mulder says.

So for a minute I thought maybe he was talking about the whole “aliens are coming to destroy the earth in 2012″ situation, but now Scully’s getting sniffly and asking him not to make this harder than it already is. Is she talking about the breakup that they either did or did not have? So does Mulder mean “don’t give up” on their relationship? He pulls her into a hug. He tells her that if she has any doubts (about…), to call off the surgery this morning. “And then we’ll get out of here.” She looks up at him, smiling a little. “Just me and you,” Mulder continues. “As far away from the darkness as we can get?” Scully says, weeping like the trouper that Gillian is. Mulder says he’s not sure it works that way — maybe the darkness finds them. “I know it does,” Scully says softly. Mulder: “But let it try.” Scully smiles. The music swells. Mulder leans in and plants one on Scully. Chris Carter tries to be nice to us and films it from about 70 angles, with plenty of light. I appreciate that, Chris. I do. David demonstrates on a big screen that he is not afraid to go Method with the tongue. They bonk foreheads in that sweet way they always do once Gillian is standing on the board so she can reach. She touches him on the chest and then gets into the car. So…they’re back together, I guess?

Sometimes I think it would have been fun to punk David and Gillian by giving them fragments of a fake script that literally did not mean anything or make sense or fit with anything else in any way, and maybe was not even full sentences, and possibly had some Esperanto in it or something, and give them a vague (fake) summary of what they were supposed to be feeling in the scene, and make them do the lines and imbue them with meaning and emotion and import and gravitas, and see if they could still do it. And I bet they could have. Because I think they pretty much did that all day every day. They can’t have had all the details of every story in their heads while filming (…certainly Gillian cannot have), so I tend to think that what they were saying had little or no relevance to them most of the time. But even when the words don’t make sense, DD and GA still make the scene work. That’s what’s happening in this scene. You’re like “Yeah!” and “Sniffle” and when you actually listen to the words it’s hard to make them add up. But it’s still nice. THEY believe it, or are awesome at faking that they believe it, so you kind of do too. ACTING!

One last scene here at Our Lady of Overzealously Blue Color Correction Hospital. Scully passes Father Ybarra and Christian’s parents in the hallway, everyone exchanges uncomfortable looks, and she goes into the operating room. Now Christian is lying on the table, and Scully emerges all surgeon’d up. She and Christian look at each other. Someone asks if she’s ready. She looks around at the assembled folks, including some nuns who are peeking through the window. That’s kind of rude, nuns. “Yes,” Scully says. She smiles down at Christian. The X-Files theme whistle plays for a third and final time, tying us back to the beginning of the movie, and also to the time they looked at a picture of George W. Bush.

And that’s it! The movie ends. No, really. In memory of Randy Stone, who some would say had as much to do with the success of TXF — considering he cast DD and GA — as Chris Carter did.

Now we have, I must say, a truly groovy credits sequence. Oh, this is the alternate sequence — as the names go by, we see snapshots from production. Now, I love me some snapshots from production. I do think it’s proper that they took this out of the theatrical release, because it’s a little self-indulgent. Every movie has lots of people working on it behind the scenes; it’s not just your movie. However, as a fan, I like having it available on the DVD. It looks like a bunch of family photos, or yearbook photos. Zillions of people worked on this movie, and they look like nice folks. If the pictures are to be believed, a lot of dogs helped out too. I don’t mean to crap on your movie, guys. I know you all put a whole lot of yourselves into it. And I know a lot of you were from the series, and I thank you for that too. I’m sorry this thing maybe fell a little short of what everyone had wished, but I wish you all the best. And Coreen Mayrs and Heike Brandstatter, after having had your names memorized since 1995 or thereabouts, I’m pleased to finally see a picture of you.

But now the pictures are fading away, and we’re away from the arty shots of melting ice and are helicoptering (as we have been for a while) over blue ocean. We cross a lush island (was that a polar bear?), then more ocean, and then — it’s a rowboat, out in the distance. We get closer. Of course, it’s Mulder and Scully, together in their tiny boat, miles adrift but inches apart. She’s wearing a bikini; he’s got on red trunks (no Speedo, sadly). He’s doing all the rowing, which is very sporting of him. Is this my tropical vacation, Mulder? You shouldn’t have. As we linger above them, she looks up at the camera and waves, and then so does he. And with that, we are out.

Remember all the speculation about the last scene? We were thoroughly convinced that there was going to be a wedding, with karaoke. How did we even come up with that? Hee.

As I write this, we still have no idea whether we’re getting a third movie. This one had flaws, certainly, and was at times infuriating, and at times made no sense. There are a lot of things I would change about it, if I ran the world. But if nothing else, it brought us Mulder and Scully again, six years after our time with them had ended, and for that I’ll ALWAYS be grateful. I’m not gonna lie, I cried in the theater when this movie ended, because it was over, not just the movie itself but the whole experience of the movie, the excitement, the speculating, the squeeing, even the worrying and the ranting and raving. It was fun doing it with you guys. I continue to hope that we’ll get to do it one more time. You might even say that I want to believe.

2 x 14 – DIE HAND DIE VERLETZT

recap by CatsWithAxes

This is my first recap, and needless to say I’m thrilled to be here. When I saw that this ep was still unclaimed on this site, I had to snap it right up, since it’s one of my faves. All snark comes from a place of love, of course. OK – here goes:

TEASER:
We start with a shot of some sort of a commemorative plaque on a wall, while a soothing male voice is speaking offscreen. As the location stamp tells us we are at a Parent Teacher Committee meeting in Milford Haven, New Hampshire, the camera pulls away to reveal the speaker, who is none other than… Bulldog from “Frasier”??!!! (Wait what show is this?) Actually it looks like Bulldog, but this person is much better-dressed, and isn’t making any obnoxious/chauvinistic/sexual remarks, so maybe he’s Bulldog’s more enlightened twin, or cousin. We’ll just call him NotBulldog for now, until we know his real name.

NotBulldog is also not alone (obviously, since he’s talking – although come to think of it, on this show that logic doesn’t necessarily follow). There are three others with him and they are all sitting around a conference table, discussing and voting on various school concerns. NotBulldog announces, with an odd self-satisfied smirk, that the outdoor track will be closed to joggers earlier in the evening from now on, and then the tall guy in glasses sitting to his right brings up that the drama teacher plans to do “Jesus Christ Superstar” for the spring musical. The lone woman at the table (in her forties – a parent, or the principal, maybe?) says she doesn’t think that show is “appropriate for this high school.”

(and we immediately get it: this school is in a town in the middle of nowhere, which is so far behind the times that they haven’t really caught on to rock and roll yet! Nice set up!)

The fourth person at the table, a guy who could safely be pegged as “Coach”, says that if the drama teacher wants to do something “young”, he has no problems with “Grease” or “Annie”. Hey buddy, I have BIG problems with both “Grease” and ”Annie”. Well, “Grease” maybe isn’t that bad, if you’re really talking about the original theatrical musical and not the ridiculously overblown movie version. “Grease”, as done originally, could be OK. But “Annie”? Saccharine little orphan girls and a dog? “The sun’ll come out tomorrow”? “You’re never fully dressed without a smile”? Oh, no. No, no, no. I’d be running screaming from the auditorium with my ears bleeding. You know, I truly believe, if ever there was a musical spawned in the bowels of hell, it’s -

…. but, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, Tall Guy w/Glasses asks if “Grease” doesn’t have “the ‘f’ word” (which would be a plus in my book), but NotBulldog curtails the musical discussion by saying that he’ll talk to the drama teacher. He suggests that they end the meeting with Deborah (so that’s her name) leading them in a prayer, and she nods. Coach protests that “the game is on,” but Tall Guy w/Glasses says it won’t take long and they’ve been “letting it slip.” NotBulldog, whose name is revealed to be Jim, directs Coach (whom he calls Paul, even though to me he doesn’t look like a Paul) to close the door, while he lights a red candle.

(and we get it some more: this is a very conservative and religious group, stuck in a bit of a time warp. This could actually be sort of funny!)

But now we hear vague thunder in the distance – thunder in New England in winter is, well, unusual – and Mark Snow’s music, heretofore nonexistent, materializes as an ominous-sounding low string drone. Is something or someone going to suddenly enter the room and attack these fine upstanding folk?! The camera travels outside the room as Coach Paul closes the door, so we can no longer see the group and are now looking at the dark hallway. We see a rather unearthly looking light start to pulse through the cracks around the door edges, and then beyond the door we hear Deborah chanting prayers to “The Lords Of Darkness”, with the men chiming in, call-and-response style. The prayers include some words in German, which subtitles translate as “His is the hand that wounds” and “His is the place called Hell.” WTF???? THIS is how they pray? The camera keeps slowly backing farther away down the hall while keeping the door in focus, which creates exactly the right feeling in the viewer of wanting to get away from the creepiness, and yet feeling compelled to stay and see what happens next. Nice direction! (more on that later)

OK so now we finally really get it: this group is conservative and religious – but the deity they worship is Satan! (Yes, “Jesus Christ Superstar” would be a little problematic, wouldn’t it?) Nice fake out, writers! A promising start, but this is the teaser, so something really awful is still going to happen now, right?

Guess not (darn), because we suddenly cut to:

OPENING CREDITS
(Love them! For this episode, The Truth Is Out There)

ACT ONE:
Darkness, rain, the woods. The location stamp tells us we are still in Milford Haven. But what’s this? A bunch of teenagers approaching in the distance? Excellent! Something bad is going to happen after all – “teenagers in the woods” never ends well on “The X-Files”. I can’t wait!

(But before we go further, I feel that here would be a good time to point out an upcoming anomaly: during the beginning of this scene, the guest actor and creative team credits are rolling, and you will see – if you are looking – that the writers of the episode billed themselves in their producer credit as James “Chargers” Wong and Glen “Bolts, Baby!” Morgan. This was a reference to their favorite team, the San Diego Chargers, being in the Super Bowl at the time this episode was originally broadcast. I’m not a football fan (I know – un-American!), and IMO this cutesiness undermines the dark atmosphere of the scene just a tad. It’s only for a few seconds though, and they did write a great episode, so I’ll forgive them. Not that they care what I think anyway. And now, back to the story)

The teenagers are a pair of boys (nondescript) and a pair of girls (a blonde and a brunette, both cute), who are in search of the location of a tree stump “altar”. The boys are walking ahead of the girls (who says chivalry is dead?), furtively discussing their plan to get the girls, Kate and Andrea, freaked out somehow so they can divide and conquer. (Another interesting pop-culture note: One of the boys says that his prospective honey’s mittens are giving him “a Gingrich”, which I can only assume was a then-in-vogue term for a woody, referencing then-Speaker-Of-The-House Newt Gingrich’s sex scandals. Newt Gingrich – ew. This unsavory little reminder that he exists is possibly the only drawback to watching this episode… I will agree that mittens can be sexy, though.)

They arrive at the designated location and position themselves in boy/girl pairs, and then the other boy (not the Gingrich guy) lights a candle, places it on the stump, pulls out a piece of paper and, echoing the previous scene, begins reading a prayer to the Gods of the Underworld and the demon Azazel. A sudden breeze extinguishes the candle and deep, angry-sounding voices are heard among the trees. Andrea (the blonde) gets scared and hugs Gingrich Guy, who smiles to himself (phase one of mission accomplished!). We hear high-pitched squeaking, and Andrea looks down and sees rats running near her feet. She freaks and runs away, saying the Hail Mary out loud. The other boy, whose name is apparently Dave, says “Forget this!” and tosses the paper he was reading onto the ground, where it bursts into flame. Gingrich Guy, whose name is Jerry, runs after Andrea, calling her, but he is halted by a pillar of demonic-looking fire which erupts suddenly from the ground and blocks his path (don’t you hate when that happens?). He turns and we see a mysterious hand grab him by the throat and choke him, raising him upward with considerable strength. And then we cut to….

Daylight (8:55 A.M., according to the time stamp), still raining, and Scully looking under a tarp at what is apparently Jerry’s body (we can’t see it, which is probably a good thing considering what we’re shortly going to find out about it). The sheriff standing nearby tells her that “a hunter found him early this morning.”

(Which raises the question: just how early is “early”? Because if it’s not even 9 A.M. yet and Mulder and Scully are already there, I’d say we have a whole other X-file going on here. Seriously, how much time would it take for the body to be found, the local authorities to be notified, the FBI to be contacted, Mulder and Scully to be roused from their undoubtedly pleasant dreams, and then for the two of them to travel from Washington D.C. to the boondocks of New Hampshire? A lot more time than for them to be able get there by 8:55, I’d say – in January in New England there wouldn’t be enough light for anyone to be doing any hunting before about 7 A.M. at the earliest, for starters. Is this timeline realistic? Absolutely not. Is this “The X-Files”? Absolutely!)

The sheriff, who seems a bit frazzled, says that the tree stump is rumored to be used as a witches’ altar in ceremonies. He points out that Jerry’s eyes and heart have been cut out, but Scully calmly assures him that “Many homicides involve victim desecration.” Mind you, this is the same woman who just last week was a basket case in the face of Donnie Pfaster’s cadaver-hair-and-fingernails fetish. The sheriff blathers on about his own suspicions of occult activity in the area, while Mulder humors him snarkily – when the sheriff says Jerry and his friends listened to “devil music”, Mulder offers: “‘The Night Chicago Died’?” Now that’s comedy! Scully is unhappy with the shoddy compilation and assessment of evidence at the scene – she finds a fragment of a page from a library book whose title ends with “In America” and says she’s surprised the sheriff’s men missed it. Ouch! Obviously terrified of her, the sheriff takes the piece of paper and promises to start checking libraries (a refreshing change from the more usual “X-Files” scenario, in which local authorities treat M & S like gum stuck to the bottom of their shoes).

The sheriff leaves, but Scully – who, it’s important to note, is wearing a black overcoat – continues to mock his theories of the crime, while Mulder counters that the place does have a “weird feel”. Suddenly their umbrellas are pelted with objects from above – which turn out to be toads, raining from the sky! (I certainly wasn’t expecting that. Fun!) The toads frolic at M & S’s feet, singing happily (well, OK – croaking), and Mulder’s reaction is typically deadpan: “So, lunch?” To which Scully responds, sounding only slightly perturbed, “Mulder, toads just fell from the sky!” It’s so like Scully to state the obvious. Mulder makes a joke about the toads’ parachutes not opening and then says “You were saying something about this place not feeling odd?” I’m right there with you, Mulder – ‘odd’ would be the word, indeed. Here’s hoping it gets more so.

(BTW I hate to be a noodge about this timeline issue, but shouldn’t Mulder have said “So, breakfast?”, given what time it was? On the other hand, if the time stamp had just said, say, 12 noon, instead of 8:55, both M & S’s time of arrival and Mulder’s “So, lunch?” quip would have made infinitely more sense. See, 1013, you should really have hired me as head nitpicker. But I digress.)

Our next scene takes place at the Crowley High School library, where Mulder is looking in the card file to track down the book title from that page fragment. (Remember libraries? I wax nostalgic watching this now and being transported back to a magical time when you couldn’t just find everything on the internet). Scully arrives, claiming that tornadoes in the area could have been responsible for the frog fall (yeah, right). Mulder finds the title which seems to fit the bill: “Witch Hunt: A History Of The Occult In America”, written by one M. R. Krashewski. Scully notes that it was last borrowed by one Dave Duran (since we can read the card, she is again stating the obvious). Mulder says petulantly “I can see that Scully, I’m not BLIND!” Then he starts singing “MOUTH IS ALIVE, WITH JUICES LIKE WINE / AND I’M HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF“ (get it? – Duran Duran!), until he is vehemently shushed by a librarian. OK I’m kidding, he doesn’t really do any of that – although I think the song would have been perfectly in character for him. A missed opportunity by the writers for more delicious “X-Files” humor.

Cut to a high school science lab/classroom where the students are sitting around yakking and waiting for class to start. We see Dave, acting edgy, and behind him Kate and Andrea, looking nervous. The bell rings and the teacher, an ordinary-looking middle-aged woman in a print dress and glasses, tells the class that her name is Mrs. Paddock and that she’s substituting for their regular teacher who is out sick. Just then there is a knock at the door, and Mrs. Paddock opens it to reveal Mulder and Scully, who say that they’re looking for Dave Duran. I’m so hoping that one of the kids will go into the old Cheech and Chong stoner routine: “Daaave? Daaave’s not heeere, maaan” – but sadly, it doesn’t happen. They’re probably too young to know it. Dave tries to bolt through the window – obviously he watched this show last season and made a mental note of Max Fenig’s attempted escape from Mulder’s motel bathroom in “Fallen Angel” – but, like Max, he is unsuccessful. (Hmm… I wonder, how would I have reacted in high school if Mulder and Scully had paid a visit to my classroom just to see me? I’d probably have run too – they’re so unnervingly serious. I’m sure they’d have scared me into confessing to something I didn’t actually do.)

Mulder and Scully interview Dave in an office, with Kate and Andrea standing by. Dave says that the trip to the woods was just a prank that he and Jerry concocted because they were “trying to get some” (Andrea, in disgust, whispers “I told you” to Kate), but now he’s afraid they “called up some devil or something.” Outside, in a larger office area, the four creepy adults from the teaser are conversing sotto voce (we know they’re creepy because Mark Snow’s subtle musical off-ramp into Creepyville tells us so). NotBulldog – I mean, Jim – says that Jerry’s body was displayed according to “the rites of Azazel”, and wants to know which of the others was out in the woods. Tall Guy w/Glasses says he went out there because they were supposed to have a Mass, but no one else showed so he left (I bet he waited, like, five seconds total before making that decision). He says none of them killed Jerry but he can feel that there is an angry presence among them. They all seem a bit unglued and oddly pathetic.

M & S let the kids go, and the PTC members demand to know why they’re not being arrested. When Mulder says there’s no evidence warranting an arrest, the PTC members start blaming outside occult influences that are preying on the kids though books and music, making them do bad things. I think we can safely say they’re full of shit. Scully gets excited and tries to show them how overblown and absurd their conspiracy theories are (someone at 1013 would have done well to try the same tack with the mythology writers around the time of season 5), but Jim just says, patronizingly, “Finally, you people understand what we’re up against.” You can practically see smoke coming out of Scully’s ears – she looks like she’s about to punch him in the face (I kind of want to punch the smug bastard myself). Mulder has to pull her out of the room, while emphasizing to the PTC members that the investigation is ongoing.

Outside in the hall Scully continues ranting, while Mulder drinks from a water fountain, which provides a fortuitous break in the case when he notices that the water is flowing down the drain THE WRONG WAY! It’s going counterclockwise, when in the northern hemisphere the “Coriolis force” dictates that it should go down clockwise! Or maybe it’s the other way around, I forget. Anyway, whatever the water is doing, it’s wrong! I never heard of the Coriolis force, but I totally buy it – Mulder always knows weird shit like this. He’s sure now that something is present and causing all these strange things to happen, and I’m right there on the crazy train with him. Even Scully doesn’t put up much of an argument. (That’s the great thing about this show – it’s so educational, and useful for explaining real life situations. Like, when I do laps around my local park track, I almost always run with the center island to my left, but every once in awhile I’ll take the opposite direction. I always thought it was just because I felt like it, but now I know it’s because there’s an evil presence lurking in the neighborhood and overriding my Coriolis force.)

Back in the classroom Mrs. Paddock is smiling at her students as they hand in their assignments on their way out the door. Kate and Andrea are the last to leave and Mrs. Paddock summons them over and tells them that she heard about what happened, and if they ever want to talk she’s there to listen. Gee, she’s so nice – just the kind of caring, supportive teacher you’d want in high school. The girls thank her and head on out, and Mrs. Paddock straightens the stack of papers and opens up the desk drawer to put them in. Except there’s not much room in the drawer, because there’s already a lab tray there, with a fresh-looking human heart and a pair of human eyeballs in it. WTF???!! Oh, OK, of course! – Jerry’s missing body parts – why not? Just, uh… well, again, something I wasn’t expecting. Mrs. Paddock obviously was though – she’s not the least bit surprised. She just places the papers on top of the heart (What’s she planning to say in class tomorrow – “Boys and girls, pay no attention to the bloodstains on these assignments I’m handing back to you”?), then closes the drawer and smiles slightly to herself, as if she’s pulled a fast one. Another fake out from the writers? Maybe she’s not the kind of teacher you’d want in high school after all?…

ACT TWO:
A shot of some teenagers walking outside on the Crowley High School grounds (this might be as good a time as any to point out that the name ‘Crowley’ is a nod to Aleister Crowley, a famous and very influential occultist born in England in 1875. See – what did I say? Educational!). Next, a shot of Scully in a school office area, working at her laptop. Then we are in the office of the school psychologist, who is Tall Guy w/Glasses from the PTC (according to the credits, his name is Pete Calcagni, although no one ever calls him by name. He doesn’t look like a Pete, IMO). Mulder is asking him about the high number of student health complaints in his file which could be early signs of repressed memories of ritual abuse, but Calcagni is cheerfully dismissive and unhelpful. He says he can’t divulge the names of the students with chronic complaints, citing doctor/patient privilege. Mulder responds by sulking and leaving in silence.

He joins Scully, who shows him an anti-Semitic newspaper article from 1934 Germany she has found online – she suggests that the type of inflammatory accusations contained in the article have been updated now to target occultists instead. Mulder takes this opportunity to do an earnest and heartfelt PSA for Wicca, saying that modern witches “have a great reverence for all life in Nature”, and that they don’t cast spells or worship Satan. He says even Satanists have renounced murder and torture (Great! – Where can I join up? ‘Cause, you know, that murder/torture quota was the one thing that’s been holding me back). Scully, who wasn’t in any particular disagreement with him to begin with, wonders: if witches are not causing all the strange goings-on, then what is? (This little M/S scene serves no real purpose in the story at all, other than to show us that Scully – uniquely to this episode, if I’m not mistaken – has brought her laptop with her and is not afraid to use it! That will be significant later.) Scully’s last question does serve as a clever lead-in to the next scene, which is:

Back at the biology classroom/lab. Mrs. Paddock, in a white lab coat, is wheeling around a cart, from which she is passing out preserved pig embryos to the students. Yuck. As she does this, she explains, in a very no-nonsense manner, the dissection requirements for their final exam. At the back of the room she stops at a glass tank which contains a humongous snake. She drops a pig embryo into the tank, and then gives the snake a little smile. The snake, as far as I can tell, does not reciprocate the smile (maybe it’s confused and thinks she wants it to dissect the pig rather than eat it, or maybe it’s had pig for lunch all week and was really hoping for something different today). In fact the snake does exactly nothing at all, but I feel like it’s being shown to us for a reason. Just what could that reason be? Hmmm… Mrs. Paddock returns to her desk, telling the students that they have till the end of the period. The way she says it immediately conjures up all my worst adult nightmares of being back in school and about to take a final for which I realize I am woefully unprepared, having forgotten to attend the class for the entire semester.

We now focus on a girl student, whom we saw briefly in the first classroom scene. She seems really revolted by the prospect of dissecting the pig. (I never had to dissect a pig in freshman biology, but I did have to do a frog. I honestly don’t remember being that grossed out by it. Now would be a different story, I think.) The girl’s lab partner, who looks none too thrilled himself, offers to cut the pig open, if she will dissect the heart. She nods and closes her eyes. When she opens them and sees the pig with its insides exposed, she gasps, looking as if she may throw up. Mrs. Paddock looks up from her desk. We see the pig from the girl’s POV, and its very visible heart starts to beat (this is really disgusting and scary). The girl gets more freaked out and seems to be having trouble breathing, and we now see the pig’s head start to move, as if it’s still alive. We hear a sound like a pig squealing (truly terrifying!), which becomes the girl’s loud scream. She gets up from her chair. The other students look over at her, startled and concerned, but Mrs. Paddock just watches, oddly unemotional (just what is up with her, anyway?). The girl continues screaming and sobbing…

In Calcagni’s office, the girl still seems upset. Mrs. Paddock is there, back in her sympathetic/concerned mode. She strokes the girl’s hair and reassures her that she’s encountered squeamish students before. M & S are also there, and Calcagni tells the girl, whom he calls Shannon, that her father should be there soon. Shannon yells “No!” and runs out of the room down the hall. Mulder follows and yells “Shannon! You’re remembering!”, which slows her down. She stops, still upset but a bit calmer. A string section suddenly begins to play a romantic waltz feel, and Mulder, sensing that no one will shush him here, begins to advance dramatically down the hallway, singing in a big booming baritone: “TRY TO REMEMBER THE KIND OF SEPTEMBER / WHEN GRASS WAS GREEN, AND GRAIN WAS YELLOW…” Ahhhhh… if only that were true… But, again, noho on the cantando. He actually just gently asks Shannon to tell him what she remembers. That Mulder, he has such a way with the young ladies. I’d say he’s very likely experiencing a minor episode of STS (Samantha Transference Syndrome) here.

Next, we see Shanantha – I mean, Shannon – sitting outside the school with Mulder and Scully. She tells a very long and detailed story about how her real father left when she was very young, and her mom, who was a teacher at the time, met Jim Ausbury (our friend Jim from the PTC) and married him. She says that recently she went on a class trip to a place called the American Stonehenge (Where is that?! That sounds cool – I’d really like to go!), and she remembered that Ausbury had taken her there when she was four and molested her (OK, not so keen on going there right this second). She tells M & S that she started remembering other things, like how when her mom was away, other people would come over to the house and they would take her and her younger sister down to the basement, which was painted red. They would have ceremonies, and get Shannon pregnant and then kill the babies. She claims that her three children are buried in the cellar, and that one night Ausbury murdered her eight-year-old sister for a sacrifice and then told everyone that she died in an accident.

Some intense, heavy, not really snarkworthy stuff. Mulder and Scully both seem very concerned and sympathetic, but it’s hard to tell if they’re buying it completely. I’m not sure I am, although given what we already know about Ausbury, it certainly seems possible. Shannon seems to genuinely believe everything she’s saying, and to be genuinely upset by it all – by the end of her tale she’s sobbing on Scully’s shoulder.

(Oh! I almost forgot, but that just reminded me – there is something snarkworthy here after all. During Shannon’s aria, the cameraman gets bored and decides to wander slowly around everyone in the scene, at one point circling behind Scully so that we see an extreme close up of the back of her coat, which completely fills the screen and blocks Shannon, and everything else, from sight. Now remember how before, I said that Scully’s black overcoat in her first scene was important? Well that’s because in this scene, Scully is wearing a TAN overcoat! Now I ask you, why would a federal employee bring two overcoats, the same make and model but different colors, on an out-of-town business trip? Especially when said employee had to pack quickly at the last minute? I imagine Scully’s hurried thought process went something like this: “Black is slimming on me, but I know Mulder likes tan – which one will get me laid? Oh God, I can’t decide – I’ll just bring them both!” We’ll see just how well it works out for her…)

Anyway, Mulder and Scully go to the Ausbury residence to confront the parents with Shannon’s accusations. (I must take a moment here to say that I really like the exterior of the Ausburys’ upscale suburban house, and I especially like the carport thing on the side. Good going, location scouts!) Ausbury is upset that Shannon has not returned home, and says that “someone or something” must have put those ideas in her head. Mrs. Ausbury is sitting next to him on a sofa, crying. Mulder gives Scully a little nod, which apparently speaks volumes to her. It seems like it’s FBI code and I’m not sure of Mulder’s exact meaning – it could be “You take the girl and I’ll take the boy”, or it could be “I love the architectural style of this house – you stay here while I check out the rest of it.” Scully opts to interpret it as both, but, clearly annoyed that she’ll have to stay in the living room, she contributes her own little twist by asking Mrs. Ausbury if she wants a glass of water – thus cleverly restricting Mulder’s architectural tour to the kitchen area only. That Scully – such a spoilsport. And so inconsiderate – I wanted to see the rest of the house too!

The Ausburys (unbelievably, to me) fall hook, line and sinker for the “glass of water” gag, so Mulder goes off with Ausbury, while Scully asks Mrs. Ausbury if she knows any reason why Shannon would have said what she did. Mrs. Ausbury thinks that maybe she and Jim haven’t been paying enough attention to Shannon. She tells Scully that Shannon has never been pregnant, and that the only other child she had was a girl who died of crib death at 8 weeks (the actress playing Mrs. Ausbury does a terrific job with this scene, brief though it is). Scully looks stumped as to where to go from here.

Mulder, meanwhile, is with Ausbury in the kitchen (which is spacious and has a decor which I would describe as colonial, although I really have no idea what I’m talking about. I do feel certain, though, that if this kitchen was on “House Hunters”, the prospective buyers would want to change all the cabinets.) Mulder asks Ausbury point blank if he did the things Shannon has accused him of. Ausbury clenches his hand so hard around the glass he’s holding that it shatters, sending pieces flying into sink. Wow – he’s so macho! Mulder says “Hey neat trick! – can you do that again?”, and Ausbury patiently explains, while picking bloody shards out of his sliced-up palm, that it only works once at a time, like cracking your knuckles or burping on cue, and that he’ll be able to do it again for Mulder later. I just made all of that up – actually Ausbury says that he would kill anyone who tried to harm Shannon. Mulder, meanwhile, has opened up the cellar door and is looking down the stairs – he’s too afraid to follow through, though, because he knows Scully will be furious if she finds out he left the kitchen. Come on, Mulder, let’s you and I see what’s down there! But, no cigar – instead, Mulder challenges the authenticity of Ausbury’s righteous indignation, and the cellar door suddenly slams shut of its own accord, which seems to startle them only slightly. Ausbury gets really pissed off and tells Mulder to get out of his house, adding “The devil travels in many forms! And you may be one!”

And the close-up on Ausbury changes to a close-up of Mrs. Paddock. (Have you noticed how whenever someone’s speculating about a presence, or what might be causing the strange events, or the devil, the next thing we see is always Mrs. Paddock? Don’t worry – I didn’t notice it either, the first time I saw this ep. But it’s true. Methinks the editors are trying to give our poor befuddled brains a big fat CLUE.) Mrs. Paddock is staying after school with Shannon, doing the “kindly concerned teacher” thing she does so well. The dissection tray with the pig embryo is on the table between them, and Mrs. Paddock wonders if Shannon is really up to trying it again, but Shannon says she doesn’t want to miss the final. Paddock says she’ll be in her office if Shannon feels funny, and starts to walk away. OK, I was wrong, everything’s fine after all, just breathe – oh no wait, she’s coming back. Mrs. Paddock suggests that Shannon remove her bracelet so she won’t lose it “in some pig’s guts.” I-i-e-e-e… really… don’t… think you should give it to her, Shannon. DON’T DO IT! But she does, and Paddock says she’ll hold it till Shannon’s finished, and walks away again, this time to her office.

Next comes my very favorite shot in the whole episode. I’m going to call it a dual-focus shot, although I have no idea if that’s the correct cinematographical term (in fact I don’t even know if ‘cinematographical’ is a word). But here’s how it works: We see Shannon, out of focus, facing us at the table in the foreground, while over her shoulder, in focus in the background, we see Mrs. Paddock watching her intently through the office window at the back of the room. Then Mrs. Paddock closes the Venetian blinds so we can’t see her anymore, and at the same time the focus switches to Shannon, looking calmly resolute, in the foreground. It’s so chillingly brilliant, I can’t tell you! You just know something bad is going to happen now.

And boy, does it ever. An other-worldly sounding percussion groove, courtesy of Mark Snow, suddenly kicks in, and a male choir starts to chant insistently (they’ve obviously been just waiting for a gig to come along that measures up to their last one – the soundtrack for “The Omen”) . We see a left hand position itself over a burning candle, holding Shannon’s bracelet. The editing now cuts back and forth between Shannon, preparing for the dissection, and extreme, odd-angled close-ups of Mrs. Paddock, performing a ritual in her darkened office. Paddock looks disturbingly as if she is in a trance, and she’s grunting and wheezing in an extremely freaky manner. She lifts her right thumb and index finger as if she’s holding something between them, and then we see Shannon pick up her scalpel the same way. Paddock brings her right hand under her left wrist, and Shannon does the same with the scalpel. Paddock makes a slashing motion with her right hand and then we hear a scream and the bracelet drops on the table. Outside in the classroom, Shannon has fallen off the stool onto the floor, face down, blood pooling under her slashed wrist. We see one final extreme close-up of Paddock, whose grunting has become slower and less labored, finally ending with what sounds like a satisfied little sigh. She smiles slightly. And… scene. Whew!

ACT THREE:
The school again, thunder and lightning, darkness outside. The police are on the scene, and five officers are in a doo-wop formation in one corner of the science room, harmonizing exquisitely, a la the Beach Boys, on a little tune by Henry Gross: “SHANNON IS GONE, I HOPE SHE’S DRIFTING OUT TO SEA-EA”, while a small but appreciative audience tosses money into the dissection tray on the floor in front of them… You should know by now that it’s not real whenever I say that someone is singing. This is not “Glee”! (Of course the singing on “Glee” isn’t real either, but that’s a whole other horror story.) Mulder and Scully are in the classroom talking to Mrs. Paddock about Shannon’s “suicide” (this is real now, so pay attention). Sartorially, Scully is still a vision in tan. Paddock, of course, is feigning complete innocence, so upset that she is actually in tears over Shannon’s fate (Susan Blommaert, the actress playing Paddock, is fantastic – she’s completely believable when she’s playing “good”, and she’s absolutely terrifying when she’s being evil.). Mulder finds the bracelet in Paddock’s office, but she says that she was simply holding it for Shannon. Mulder gives Scully another nod in FBI code – this one I think means “Lay your pen gently down, woman, and follow whither I lead.” Or maybe it just means “Can we talk?”, and Scully decides on her own that the weight of her pen is too cumbersome to bring along on a hike of about 20 feet. In any event, she keeps her notepad but puts her pen on the table, and excusing herself to Mrs. Paddock (she’s so polite!), goes over to the other side of the room with Mulder.

Away from everyone else, M & S have a quiet little chat. Mulder starts off with “I just wanted to tell you how much I like that coat you’re wearing – is that new?” Scully blushes and says “Really? This old thing? (giggle) No, Mulder, you’ve just never noticed it before. I thought maybe I should have worn the black instead” – SCRRRRCCCCCH! Sorry, rewind, take two: Away from everyone else, M & S have a quiet but professional little chat. (That imaginary convo probably would be funnier if M & S hadn’t really gotten involved later on in the show, but from the POV of where they were at in season 2, I think it still works. Comedically, I mean. But you be the judge. Anyway -) Scully tells Mulder that the teacher that Mrs. Paddock is subbing for was virtually never absent, until two days ago when he contracted necrotizing fasciitis, AKA flesh-eating bacteria. Mulder says that’s very rare. (I should certainly hope so!) Moreover, according to Scully, no one can remember ever hiring Mrs. Paddock. Just whom Scully’s been talking to is anyone’s guess, since no one else from the school seems to be around anywhere, but who cares? At this point there’s a big flash of lightning and Paddock glares over at them, then looks back at Scully’s pen sitting on the table in front of her. M & S don’t seem to notice though. They also don’t notice that the Doo-Wop Cops In The Corner are now covering Cliff Richard: “SHE’S JUST A DEVIL WO-MAN, WITH EVIL ON HER MIND / BEWARE THE DEVIL WO-MAN, SHE’S GONNA GETCHA”… (I’m not even going to bother with the disclaimer this time)

While all this is going on, the four PTC members have congregated outside in the parking lot under black umbrellas. Deborah says she feels there is a dark angel among them, who wants a sacrifice. Ausbury asks if the others are responsible for Shannon’s death. They say no, but suggest a scheme in which Shannon will be blamed for killing Jerry Stevens out of jealousy, as well as for her own death, thus enabling them to get rid of the police and the FBI. Calcagni says that then they must rekindle their faith. Ausbury says nothing, and seems incredulous and angry. I don’t blame him – it’s never fun to be hit with the epiphany that your friends are insensitive assholes.

Back inside, Mulder tells Scully he’s going to check out the Ausbury residence again, now that they’re staying with friends (he doesn’t fool me – he just wants to take that house tour he missed out on before. Take me with you, Mulder!) He says Scully should check out Mrs. Paddock’s background. Another big lightning flash, and this time the electrical power goes out. In the darkness, Mrs. Paddock swipes Scully’s pen off the table. I don’t blame her – it looked like a really nice pen.

The power is out all over town, apparently, for the Ausbury house is in the dark when Mulder arrives. He has his flashlight of course, and immediately heads for the cellar stairs he was gazing at so longingly before (I kind of wanted to see the upstairs first, but… OK). He enters the basement, which is pitch black, and swings his flashlight around a little (which shows us that the walls are indeed painted red, as Shannon described), when he is startled by Ausbury, who is just hanging out there in the pitch blackness, chillin’.

Meanwhile back at the school, Scully is not letting anything as mundane as a Satanically-induced power outage prevent her from working – she has her trusty battery-powered laptop! (I told you it was going to be significant) She starts making the appropriate online entries to do a background check on Mrs. Paddock. Paddock, meanwhile, is back in her office, doing another candle ritual (complete with the freaky grunting and wheezing), only this time it’s Scully’s pen she’s holding over the flame. She thus manages to engineer that a legitimate-looking teaching history for herself shows up on Scully’s screen. Scully looks impressed. It never seems to occur to her to go see what Mrs. Paddock is doing. And has she even given a thought to her pen?! Honestly, some people just don’t know how to take care of the nice things they have.

Ausbury is telling Mulder about the previous perks of his religious faith, and how he has now come to see the hypocrisy within it. He says he never abused Shannon sexually or physically hurt her, but did include her in some of the rituals when she was younger. He now realizes that his beliefs are responsible for her death. Mulder doesn’t seem inclined toward sympathy. He utters the memorable line “Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?”

At that same moment we see Mrs. Paddock – who, it’s becoming clearer all the time, is quite literally The Substitute Teacher From Hell – making a phone call from her office with one hand while still holding Scully’s pen over the candle with the other. Mulder gets a call on his cell and it’s Scully. We hear her say “Mulder, it’s me – did you take my pen goddammit? Get back here with it NOW!” Actually we hear her say “Mulder – the school – I’m in trouble…” Of course anyone with a brain watching can figure out that it’s Mrs. Paddock disguising her voice to sound like Scully, but poor clueless Mulder is still three steps behind at this point. He immediately springs into action – his damsel is in distress, after all – and handcuffs Ausbury to the stair railing. He tells Ausbury he’s under arrest and that he (Mulder) will be back, and charges up the stairs. I’d really like to take just a quick look at the master suite before we leave, but Mulder is having none of it – he races outside to the car and then tears out of the driveway and down the street. Fine, be that way. But I know something you don’t know, nyeah, nyeah…

Ausbury, left alone in the basement, begins to sob at the realization of what a wreck his life is. Poor guy – he doesn’t know it, but it’s about to get much worse, although not for long. The camera travels up to the top of the stairs and we see the bolt on the other side of the door slide over, allowing the door to creak open (this is one great creaking door sound, BTW). First we see nothing, but then who should slither into view but our friend the gigantic snake from Mrs. Paddock’s classroom. I guess it was unhappy with the school cafeteria menu, and decided to leave and wander around town in search of more appetizing fare. It starts to glide slowly down the stairs, and when it gets halfway down and notices Ausbury near the railing, it glides over and starts to wrap itself around him. Ausbury, who had his back to it and didn’t see it coming, is of course freaked to the nth degree. He starts choking as the snake winds its way around his neck and body (to be fair, it really looks more like the snake is just cuddling – if snakes in fact do that – and not crushing him, but a bit of suspension of disbelief is required here). Ausbury eventually appears to stop breathing and the snake’s head reaches the cellar floor, whereupon it turns and opens its mouth near one of Ausbury’s feet, as if to begin its meal.

(OK I’m no herpetologist, but wouldn’t the snake be better off starting with the head, if it’s going to devour him whole? What’s going to happen when it swallows one leg and then gets to the crotch area and discovers it has the other leg to contend with? Is it going to spit the first leg out and start all over? Did no one teach this snake proper table etiquette? Oh well – probably best not to think about it. For lots of reasons.)

Mulder meanwhile arrives back at the school to find Scully not in any danger at all. Still at her laptop, and having nothing to do after finishing her background check, Scully has taken the opportunity to browse the overcoats in the Macy’s online store. She slams the laptop cover down self-consciously when she sees Mulder (OK, OK, not true). She says she never called him (duh!), and Mulder looks suitably perplexed. We cut back to the snake, with an engorged body (gross!), closing its mouth as if it’s finishing swallowing something, and then we see Mrs. Paddock, in extreme close-up behind her candle. Her eyes are closed and she is sweating – she appears to be straining physically, and is darting her tongue over her lips, just like… a snake. She makes a big gulping swallow and then opens her eyes, and we see that they are big, dark and reptilian. Lightning flashes and she smiles triumphantly. TOO. FREAKY. FOR. WORDS.

ACT FOUR:

OK, let’s wrap this sucker up! But first, a word of tribute to our director-du-jour, Mr. Kim Manners. This episode was his first time directing on “The X-Files”, and a smashing debut it is. His dark lighting, imaginative camera angles and movements, and clever editing choices make for an inspired excursion into horror. He went on to do many more episodes for the show, of course, as well as for “Millennium”, and subsequently became an executive producer on “Supernatural”. He passed away much too soon and his talent is greatly missed. I consider “Die Hand Die Verletzt” to be one of his finest moments, and one of the best episodes of this series, too.

Getting back to our story: we see the exterior of the Ausbury house at night, thunder and lightning now in overdrive. Mulder has returned with Scully in tow, and they head down into the basement yet again (are we EVER going to go where I want to go?!) Ausbury isn’t there anymore though, but something that looks like his skeleton is. Ew… Mulder sees what look like snake tracks on the dirt floor, but before he can even verbalize the implication, Scully sets him straight: it would take many many many hours for a snake to consume and digest a man. Mulder snarks that she really does watch the Learning Channel (as if there was ever any doubt?). Then he spots something else on the ground, and picks up what looks like a snakeskin that’s been just recently shed. “A-HA! Then HOW do you explain THIS?! Huh, Scully? HUH?!” Mulder doesn’t say that, but you just know he’s thinking it. As are we all. Scully forgets all about what she learned on the Learning Channel and remembers that there was a python in Mrs. Paddock’s room. (Given that it swallowed, digested and expelled a human adult male, shed its own skin completely, and hightailed it back up the stairs and out of the house in the space of, I’m guessing, about half an hour, I’d say this python has really got the multi-tasking thing down.)

Back at the school, which is still sans power, the remaining PTC members are agitatedly plotting in the conference room. They’ve already found out from the sheriff that Ausbury is dead (word sure travels fast ‘round these parts), and they decide that their only way out now is to sacrifice Mulder and Scully, “if it’s not already too late.” They look out the window and see Mulder and Scully arriving in the parking lot, and blow out the sad little candles they’ve lit. As they’re leaving the room to prepare for their ambush, Calcagni goes to lock the door, but can’t find his keys, which he says were in his pocket. This seems to get him more agitated. Being a chronic key-misplacer myself, I can totally sympathize.

The science classroom, from what we can see of it in the flashes of lightning, looks like it’s been trashed – there are chairs knocked over and beakers and other assorted stuff lying around everywhere. Mulder and Scully enter and find Mrs. Paddock lying on the floor, with blood under her nose, as if she’s been attacked. They ever so considerately remove their coats to fashion a blanket and a pillow for her. SUCKERS! (I guess Scully senses that the tan overcoat may not be the tool of seduction she hoped it would be, so she’s OK with using it for a nobler purpose – for now.) Mrs. Paddock seems weak, and tells them that she surprised the PTC members taking the snake. (Damn, but she is good!) She also says that she found out that they killed Jerry and that there’s evidence in the conference room. Mulder tries to reach paramedics but can’t get through. He tells Mrs. Paddock to just stay there, and he and Scully leave. Mrs. Paddock doesn’t move, but she gets a look of grim determination on her face.

Mulder and Scully go to the conference room, waving their flashlights every which way, as they are wont to do in such situations. Scully finds Mrs. Paddock’s “evidence” – a jar with Jerry’s eyeballs in it. She picks it up and shows it to Mulder, who is standing several feet away and can’t really see it that well. He gives Scully another one of his enigmatic FBI code nods, but this time Scully rolls her eyes, stamps her foot and says, “NO, Mulder, YOU come over HERE!” If only. Scully needs to be more assertive in these situations, I feel. But instead, she behaves like a waitress who’s just been signaled by a customer, and brings the dessert tray – I mean, the jar – over to Mulder, so he can ogle its contents. Suddenly there is a bright flash of light and Mulder is hit from behind by Coach Paul. (Ha! Serves you right – you should have gone over to where Scully was.) Mulder stumbles into a bookcase which topples onto Scully, knocking her to the floor. (C’mon, guys, didn’t you see “Howards End”? BOOKCASES CAN KILL! Be more careful in the future, please!) Deborah manages to get Scully’s gun and trains it on Scully, who just lies pinned under the bookcase waving her arms around. If it were anyone but Scully it would be hilarious. Actually, it’s kind of hilarious anyway. Mulder gets the upper hand with Coach Paul and knocks him down, but then he himself is hit on the head by Calcagni’s flashlight, and falls. Bummer. Of course, we can’t have Mulder looking like he knows what he’s doing in a fight – that just wouldn’t be “The X-Files.”

More hilarity ensues: We are next treated to a quick shot of Deborah and Coach Paul dragging a semi-hogtied Mulder and Scully across the gym floor by the ropes around their ankles. Calcagni follows wielding a sinister-looking shotgun. They all wind up in the gym showers, where M & S are positioned on the ground. Calcagni turns on the faucets above them, saying it will “make the blood easier to clean up”. Oh no, this isn’t funny anymore. HELP! Deborah steps forward holding up a ceremonial dagger, with the blade pointing downward, as Calcagni and Coach Paul look on. She starts intoning a prayer in Latin, while moving over Mulder and Scully, who are completely drenched now. (I took Latin in my Jesuit high school, plus I was an altar boy and learned the Mass in Latin, so I feel like I should know what Deborah is saying, but I haven’t got an inkling. I don’t think it’s something the Catholic Church could get behind though – just a hunch). Mulder, who’s closer to Deborah, tries to knock her over using his legs, while at the same time protecting Scully (awww!), but he only succeeds in making her stumble slightly. Deborah continues the prayer and raises the dagger up, then starts to plunge it downward -

- and we see Mrs. Paddock back at her candle again, this time holding Calcagni’s keys over it, while we hear two gunshots -

- we see Calcagni lower his shotgun to reload, and then raise the barrel toward his own head. Mulder and Scully, watching from below, recoil in horror -

- we see Mrs. Paddock again, and we hear a final gunshot. The keys drop onto the table. Mrs. Paddock says “You’re right. It is already too late,” and blows out the candle. She looks exhausted. Well, mass murder by supernatural suggestion is very hard work, I’m sure. But hey, Mrs. Paddock, guess what? Now it’s Miller Time!

Back at the showers, Scully opines that Calcagni (who, just to be crystal clear here, shot Deborah and Coach Paul, and then himself) looked as if he was being controlled by someone. Since he went through the whole episode with barely any kind of expression on his face at all, I don’t see how Scully could tell. Mulder, for his part, makes the astounding leap that it must be Mrs. Paddock who did the controlling. Of course he’s right, but why that would suddenly make sense to him now, when he never figured it out up to this point, is, well, a bit unclear. I think it’s because there are only, like, two minutes left in the broadcast, and Mulder always has to be right, but that’s just my own personal theory. We’ll keep that between us, OK?

Mulder and Scully return to the science classroom (just how long did it take them to get free, I wonder?), to find that Mrs. Paddock is – surprise! – gone. Their overcoats are still there though, thank God. They shine their flashlights at the blackboard and discover that a message is written there, in a very neat, pleasant-looking hand: “Goodbye. It’s been nice working with you. By the way I still have your pen.”

Once more I’m lying – that last sentence isn’t really there. I don’t see why not though – it would have given Scully some closure. (The actual blackboard message is a clever little farewell from our writers, who were leaving the show.) The lights suddenly come back on and we see just what a huge mess the room is. Mulder and Scully are all wet and pretty ragged-looking themselves. They stare around the room in silence, seeming disoriented. If I had to guess, I’d say Mulder is thinking “What the hell just happened?” and Scully is thinking “I’m sure I left my pen here somewhere…” The camera travels outside the room and around the corner, as if it’s an invisible presence taking its leave, and then in a final neat, creepy, quintessential Kim Manners touch, pauses outside the window and watches Mulder and Scully for a moment, before the screen goes to black.

THE END
(And as I finish this I notice that the time is exactly 10:13 p.m. Spooky…)

Episode 5X19: Folie a Deux

Welcome to Folie a Deux, a.ka. the One Where Mulder and Scully Fight a Giant Zombie Creating Bug, Or Do They?  It is also the one in five billion episode.

Teaser:  We pan in on a poor sap, who is working his telemarketing job.  He pleasantly takes abuse from the guy on the other end of the phone.  Not that I haven’t abused a telemarketer or too.  Gary hears an insect sound, and stops and looks around.  His boss tells him to smile, because customers know if you aren’t smiling.  Gary’s attractive blonde co-worker mocks the boss over their cubicle.  They share a smile and get back to work, offering folks $100 to hear about their super exciting siding that will never die.  Ever.  Gary then really hears the sound in earnest, and begins to freak out.   He tells an old lady on the phone to listen carefully, “It’s here.”

Credits:  I will take this moment to talk about how this episode always makes me think of my senior year in high school when I was forced to read the Metamorphosis in AP English.  My teacher was so concerned with us reading as many books as possible and preparing for the AP exam that we just took a fill-in-the blanks test and never discussed it.  Trying to be conscientious, I actually read the book and not the Cliff Notes.  I also didn’t want to waste five bucks on Cliff Notes for a 90 page book.  Anyhow, the moral of the story is that I still have no clue what the symbolism behind the Metamorphosis was.  I am assuming I wouldn’t have been forced to read it in high school if it were just some crazy story about a guy who turns into a bug.  And now I shall end my rant about how high school sapped away all creativity or critical thought I might have actually had when I began.

We now pan on Skinner, and Kimberly buzzes him to say Mulder and Scully are there.  Skinner says to send them in. They come in, looking really pretty.  I think Season Five might have the best hair, though Season Four is right behind it.  I think  Fight the Future brought out the best in them, it seems.   Anyhow, Skinner brought them in for reasons other than looking at the pretty, though with what follows he probably thinks to himself that Mulder is far prettier when he’s not talking.

Skinner  tells them about an anonymous phone call they received about a work site incident in Chicago.  There was a strange manifesto recorded. They office had previously had a similar incident where someone got shot.  Mulder asks why the Chicago Field Office couldn’t handle it.  Skinner says he would prefer that they handle it.  Mulder guesses that the manifesto contained some paranormal elements. Skinner tells him that it involves monsters.  Mulder replies, “Monsters, I’m your boy.”  He doesn’t seem enthused.

As Mulder and Scully leave Skinner’s office, Mulder bitches about the assignment.  I almost had forgotten about Mulder’s brief lapse into the skeptic role.  He didn’t wear it well, as he just seems like a petulant child here.  Does Mulder expect to just hang out in the basement until he finds a lead he deems worth pursuing?    He bitches that he gets called for every possible paranormal event.  Again, what does he expect exactly?  It’s funny that I find I really like Season Five, and think it might have the best overall group of standalones, yet I find Mulder extremely annoying almost the entire season.  Is it really just that their hair looks so nice?  Am I that shallow?

I do want to point out that the Continuity Fairy actually came through for once, and Mulder still has the Pine Bluff Variant splint on his hand.  Marry me Vince!

Scully points out that he is saying “I” a lot here.  Is she new?  Did the tumor cause a memory lapse that made her forget why she has a snake tattooed on her back, which may or may not still be there?  Scully says “we” would really be the proper pronoun, and that she doesn’t assume it would be a waste of their collective time.  He tells her it won’t be a waste of her time at least, as he’ll go it alone and proceeds to walk way.  She calls out “Mulder!” and he doesn’t break stride and tells her he’ll take care of it, he’s Monster Boy.  Amazingly, none of the other agents in the hallway even give this a second glance.  Maybe I read too much fanfic.

Mulder is now in Chicago, sitting with a manager and listening to the tape.  He looks bored.  Though of course, with Mulder it’s hard to tell.  This time he actually sighs and kind of rolls his eyes.  Then Mulder suddenly looks interested after he hears the phrase “hiding in the light.” Mulder asks if he recognizes the voice.  The manager says they have 96 people, so no.  He says he hopes it isn’t one of their people.  Mulder brings up the incident at the other office.  In 1994, there was a shooting in their Kansas City location.  Woot!  Shout out to my hometown!  As far as I know, the only X-Files episode ever set in Kansas City was Fight Club, so I will take a reference in this highly superior episode as a shout out.  Fight Club also kept having the screen caps say everything was in Kansas City, Kansas, which as most people know, the main part of Kansas City is in Missouri.  Though I do live in Kansas, so it is ironic that this bothers me.   The manager says the Kansas City incident was supposedly over a woman.  Mulder asks to borrow the tape and leaves.

Mulder takes out his ginormous cell phone and calls Scully.  It’s so cute how it has a long antenna!  Mulder tells Scully she needs his help with something.  She can’t resist a dig about him earlier calling the case a waste of time.  Mulder persists that it still is, but gives her the Worst.Assignment.Ever anyway.  He tells her he has heard the phrase “hiding in the light” before.  He asks her to find where in an old case file he has hidden away somewhere.  She asks if he knows which one, as there are hundreds.  He doesn’t know, but he’d really appreciate it if she’d find it. Scully looks exasperated as she hangs up the phone.  I interpret her body language to mean “Photographic memory, my ass!”

Poor Telemarketing Sap from earlier is sitting and staring straight ahead.  Blonde Coworker gets called into the manager.  PTS follows after her, warning her not to go. PTS is apparently named Gary, but I think we’ll stick with PTS.  She is Nancy, which I’ll go ahead and stick with.  Nancy wonders what PTS’s problem is.  She doesn’t heed his warning and says she loves him, but he’s really, really weird.  PTS just stares after her, looking like he’s about to cry.  There’s a flash of something at the door where Nancy enters, and hears a scream.  He moves to help, but is told by his boss to “Dial and Smile.”  The boss looks really dead eyed, which it’s hard to tell if this is coming from something paranormal or having to direct people to dial and smile all day.

Nancy comes back, and she looks like a zombie via PTS’s perspective.  She tells him there was nothing to it, and they just wanted to talk to everyone.  PTS is called in next, and he decides to bolt.

Mulder is listening to the tape again, actively taking notes.  He seems to be trying to profile the voice, with notes like “formality of phrasing” and “desire for authority.”  Mulder rewinds and continues to take notes which are more psychological in nature.  He doesn’t yet seem to be on  a paranormal track.  Mulder is always more reined in when Scully’s not around, though obviously here he started with a crappy attitude on top of everything.

Scully calls then.  I am noticing for the first time that he FBI badge is ridiculously huge.  It’s clipped to her collar and stretches to right in the middle of her breast area.  The thing’s gotta be six inches long or so, with “FBI” taking up most of the space.  Are the guards going blind or something?

As it turns out, there’s a reason Scully gets to wear a six-inch FBI tag across her entire chest.  She found the phrase “hiding in the light” from a 1992 case.  It was uttered by a deacon in a church as told to a police officer.  He felt there was an evil presence, and moved a bunch of people into the church while carrying four firearms.  He said the people wouldn’t bleed because they weren’t real.  Mulder tells Scully at the risk of her saying I told you so,  he thinks it’s time for her to come down. Scully of course says, “I told you so.”  It’s actually much more good-natured than I would have been, especially considering the fact that I would probably still be sneezing from having to go through all those files.  This is one of so many ways that Scully is better than me.

Back at the telemarketing office, 12:14 pm.  It’s completely empty and dark, and Mulder comes in calling “Hello?”  He doesn’t seem terribly concerned with anything, but then Nancy waves at him from down below.  Then PTS comes out and asks who he is, then puts a gun to his head.  Oh, Mulder.  Never go off without Scully.  No good ever comes of it.

Scully pulls up to the office building, where someone managed to report that they were being held.  Scully talks to the police and SWAT team, and they suggest they call Mulder’s cell phone.  This seems like a terrible idea in a hostage situation, which Scully agrees with.  She says not to call just yet.  SWAT Team Guy says they need someone to talk to them to locate where everyone is exactly, but Scully says that might compromise Mulder.   SWAT Team Guy seems skeptical.  Maybe he knows Mulder.  Scully just stares at them icily, which has its usual effect.  No one contradicts her any more.

PTS starts naming off people who he is not listening to, because they’re not real.  Mulder asks PTS why everyone should be afraid of Mr. Pinkus, the manager.  PTS asks Mulder who he is.  Mulder says he was applying for a job.  PTS says he picked the wrong day for that.  Mulder basically says, “No shit, Sherlock.”  PTS explains that Mr. Pinkus is turning people into zombies.  Mulder says he’d really like to believe him, but that the rifle he’s threatening him with is not adding to PTS’s credibility.

PTS asks why Mulder’s speaking to him like a three-year old, and that he doesn’t understand what he’s talking about but Mulder will.  Then PTS hears a sound from above, and figures out that the SWAT team is up there.  He shoots the rifle at the ceiling.  Outside, we see the SWAT team run away.  The police officer tells Scully they need to know what’s going on inside, so he picks up the phone to call Mulder.  She tells him that Mulder would have called if he could.  The officer says he has to call, so he does.  I’m not understanding why the location of shots fired wasn’t information enough, but I suppose I’ll let it slide.

PTS stops shooting, and looks above.  The room is silent.  Mulder is about to reach for his gun when his phone rings.  Mulder says he’ll get it. PTS tells him to put his hands behind his head, and when he does he sees the gun.  PTS reaches for it, when a hostage charges him.  PTS shoots the hostage, and everyone screams.  The phone continues to ring. Nancy is crying.  PTS finds Mulder’s badge and discovers he’s FBI.  He asks Mulder, “Are you happy now?”  PTS so doesn’t know Mulder.

PTS answers Mulder’s phone.  The officer asks if everyone is okay.  PTS says the real people are, but he shot a zombie.  PTS says unless they put him on TV, he’s going to shoot a real person.  The officer tells Scully it looks like PTS shot a hostage.  Scully asks who, and gets no answer.  The officer tells her PTS still wants his 15 minutes of fame.  Scully, knowing Mulder could be next, tells the officer to give PTS what he wants.

PTS orders a hostage to remove the zombie body.  Mulder tells PTS that he killed a man, not a zombie.  PTS begs to differ.  Mr. Pinkus pleads with PTS to let everyone go if it’s him they have issues with.  PTS says he wants to put him on TV to show the world who Mr. Pinkus is.  Mulder’s phone rings again.  “Dial and smile,” PTS answers.  The officer tells PTS that his TV time is a go.

PTS orders everyone against the door.  A camera man comes over to interview PTS while he holds Mulder at gunpoint.  The team outside moves to prepare to shoot PTS based on the view they have.  PTS tells Mulder to get down.  PTS stands looking at the camera like a psycho, telling America that a monster walks among them.  He orders the camera to pan on Mr. Pinkus.  PTS moves to shoot Mr. Pinkus, but Mulder gets up and stands in the way.  He tells PTS to put down the rifle.  PTS doesn’t want to shoot Mulder, and tells him to get out of the way.  The lights go off, and PTS tells Mulder to look at it, meaning Mr. Pinkus.  Mulder can hear the bug sound now too as he looks at Mr. Pinkus.  Finally, Mulder gets out of the way as a big truck plows through the wall.  PTS is shot.  Mulder turns around and gives Mr. Pinkus one last glance and bends down to talk to a dying PTS.  PTS’s dying words are “Now you know.”

Scully tells Mulder he looks exhausted.  He says he’s fine.  She says the police have it under control, and they should get out of there.  Mulder instead walks over to talk to Mr. Pinkus.  He asks him why he thinks he was targeted.  He asks if Mr. Pinkus was in Kansas City during the previous incident.  He says not then, but he had been there.  He also asked if he had been to Lakeland Florida, home of the previous “hidden in the light” moment.  Mr. Pinkus says he’s been there, as he has relatives there.

It’s the next day, and Mulder is back in the basement office, charting something on a map.  Scully comes in, asking a beaten up Mulder why he didn’t take the day off. Mulder tells her that there were other “hidden in the light” references all over the country, in seven places to be exact.  Scully questions whether he got any sleep at all.  Mulder ignores her, and continues on to say Vinyl Rite, Pinkus’s company, had an office within 50 miles of four of them.  Apparently Pinkus has worked for Vinyl Rite for ten years, which covers the span of the “hidden in the light’ incidents. Scully is not impressed, and says he can’t be serious. Mulder has a theory that Pinkus is putting people under a spell like a mantis.  Scully tells him PTS was crazy.  Mulder thinks he was crazy because of what he saw, instead.  Mulder said he saw it too.  Mulder asks if she thinks he’s crazy too because he saw it.  Scully takes a breath, and goes into Rational Explanation Mode.  She says that in intense circumstances, under lots of duress, people can see the same things as a disturbed person, without necessarily being disturbed themselves.  Mulder says he knows of “folie a deux.” (Yay, episode title!)  Mulder said it’s not folie a deux or Helsinki syndrome.  He says he really saw it, and that she needs to autopsy the dead guy.  She says she’s not going to confirm the delusions of a mad man, presumably PTS.  Mulder storms out, saying he’ll do it without her.  Scully looks worried.

Mulder is back in Chicago, at PTS’s house.  First thing he sees is a map that is tracking Pinkus.  The officer calls it “stalking.”  Mulder calls it “gathering evidence.”  Mulder looks out the window and sees Zombie Nancy.  He goes running, much to the officer’s dismay.  He asks if he knows where she went as a car drives off.  Both Mulder and the officer run after a car that leaves, which carries both Nancy and Pinkus.

Scully walks into Skinner’s office. She is wearing a really nice wine colored jacket that sets off her coloring beautifully.  But that is not why she was called into Skinner’s office.  Skinner questions Mulder’s actions, wondering why he is in Chicago when the case is supposedly closed.  Scully acts like nothing unusual is happening, and says it is her understanding that Mulder is pursuing a legitimate lead and she is heading to Chicago immediately. Skinner wonders how she can be heading to Chicago when she is scheduled to an autopsy Mulder scheduled for her at Quantico.  Skinner asks if she knew about the autopsy.  She non-answers that she’ll get right on it.   Skinner asks if there’s anything she wants to tell him.  She says no.  Skinner is heartbroken, of course, but lets her go.

Autopsy! Scully.  Scully says she only wants a picture exam, and the other examiner questions why just pictures.  Scully turns away while he takes pictures and analyzes to call Mulder.  While waiting for Mulder to pick up, she hears the examiner say that the body appears to have been dead for 48-72 hours.  Scully says that can’t be true, as the guy died late afternoon the day before.  The examiner says it looks like he’s been dead a lot longer than that.

Mulder is following Pinkus home.  He enters his house, and Mulder continues to follow and then peeps into his window.  Mulder sees a gigantic bug flash by, and hears a scream.  Mulder smashes in the window, and then runs around the front, bearing his weapon.  A woman is sitting on the couch, looking straight at the TV, zombie like.  Mulder chases the bug out of the house and points his gun at it, but doesn’t shoot.  It gets away.

We cut back to a woman talking about a presence creeping toward her, and how then she found Mulder waving a gun and rambling about monsters.  Skinner is at the table, and apologizes for Mulder’s actions.  She is apparently one of Pinkus’s employees, as Pinkus tells her she can have the day off.  I guess being held at gunpoint two days in a row gives you the day off.  On her way out, she tells Skinner that Mulder has no business carrying a gun in her opinion.  While I get that Mulder broke into her house, she seems a tad ungrateful for Mulder’s role in PTS not killing everyone the day before.  The woman leaves and Pinkus comes back in.  Mulder tells Pinkus that he got to the woman, infecting her.  Skinner tries to cut him off, and tells him to apologize.  Pinkus says that’s quite all right, as Mulder’s been through a lot of stress and he still considers him a hero.  Nice that someone remembers.  Pinkus said he’d rather just drop the whole matter, and will convince the woman to do the same if Mulder is amenable.  Mulder continues to say that Pinkus is turning folks into zombies, and Skinner has had enough.  He tries to rip Mulder a new one.  However, Mulder has that really short attention span, and he starts to hear things and suddenly Pinkus is distorting and turns into the bug.  Mulder thinks Pinkus is trying to turn Skinner into a zombie and picks up his gun to go after Pinkus.  As we’ve many times established, Skinner can totally kick Mulder’s ass and wrestles him to the ground.

Mulder is now lying in restraints in the loony bin.  Scully walks in to visit him.  Mulder tells her that she must have seen this coming.  Mulder asks if they examined the body.  She says yes, and that everything was mostly how she expected.  He asks her to explain what she means.  She clarifies that the body did look more decomposed than the time of death would suggest.  Like she’s talking with a  small child, she tells him that time of death can be really difficult to quantify, so this really means nothing. Mulder says it could also mean the guy really was dead before he was shot.  Scully looks legitimately worried for Mulder at this stage, seemingly thinking he’s really gone off the deep end this time.  He tells her that she needs to go check the body again, as he saw Pinkus inject something into the woman’s neck the night before.  Scully sadly tells him it’s over, and that there’s no evidence left to be gathered.  Scully tells him that she hopes he’ll be able to see past this delusion.

Mulder tells her she has to believe him, that no one else ever believes him. She is looking down, not wanting to meet his eyes.  He says that she is the one person in the whole world who believes him, and then Scully looks him in the eye as he tells her that she is his one in five billion.  I have seen this episode at least five times, and I admit I still squee a bit.  (Really, Vince, marry me!)

Apparently, the one in five billion speech melted Scully’s rational heart, as she is back in the morgue to examine the body again. She is told she got there right in time.  She is asked if she wants a full autopsy now, and she says she just wants to flip him.  The examiner clearly thinks she’s nuts, but helps her as Scully can’t flip the guy al on her own.  Scully shaves off some hair at the neckline, and peers at the neck with a magnifying glass.  Sure enough, there are marks there that look like a bite of some kind.

Mulder is still in the nut house, but managing to charm the nurse despite being tied to his bed.  He says that surely he doesn’t need the restraints.  The nurse laughs at his plight, but says she can’t free him.  And I do know this totally seems like the beginning of a porn scene, but we all know Mulder hasn’t been laid in about three years at this stage, and is looking at a considerable dry spell ahead of him.  The nurse just puts something in his IV instead and closes the curtain, telling him to sleep tight and not let the bed bugs bite.   Clearly she didn’t read his file.

The room is dark and Mulder leans back to try and sleep.  He hears a sound, and then sees a huge bug shadow.  He yells for the nurse, telling her it’s at the window.  He begs to be unstrapped.  The nurse refuses, telling him she can show him that there’s nothing.  She patronizingly tells him there’s nothing there, and opens the window.  She says he just needs fresh air, and actually tightens the restraints.  She tells him she can’t be running in there all night and leaves.  Guess he didn’t charm her too much.

The bug comes back, cllmbing on the ceiling and Mulder yells for help.  Scully is outside asking the nurse if she can visit.  The nurse tells him visiting hours are over, and that she can’t go see him.  She flashes her badge to no avail.  She starts squinting, looking thoughtful.  She sees the nurse in zombie form, and runs off to find Mulder, who is yelling frantically. Scully comes in, gun drawn, and sees the bug.  She shoots at it and it appears to escape through the window.

Scully is in Skinner’s office.  She is wearing a lilac suit, and looks very fetching.  She’s busting out all kinds of colors this episode.  Skinner says he’s confused, as it appears that Scully is backing up Mulder’s claims.  Skinner asks if this is true.  Scully non-answers again, saying that she believes Mulder is fit for duty.  She says that aside from that, all she can present to him are the facts that the shooting victim was injected with a toxin and that Pinkus, Vinyl Rite employees and Mulder’s nurse have all disappeared.  Skinner points out all the missing folks are the people Mulder said were zombies.  Scully sighs, not wanting to address the zombie thing head on.  Scully only says there was an intruder in Mulder’s room.  Skinner asks her to describe it.  Her answer is that it was dark.  Skinner  says she must have seen something, then we cut away.

Scully heads to the elevator, where Mulder is waiting.  He asks what Scully told Skinner.  She says that she told him the truth.  Mulder asks what that means.  Apparently, we don’t get to flashback on the whole incident again completely from Scully’s perspective, a la Bad Blood.  Too bad.  Instead, Scully says she told the truth as best as she understood it.  Mulder asks what that was exactly.  She says “Folie a deux, a madness shared by two.”  The doors close.  Only on the X-Files would a shared hallucination of a giant bug be such a squee worthy momeny, but it totally is. Vince also made a shared hallucination from a giant mushroom romantic.  The man’s got a gift.

6 x 14 – Agua Mala

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!

3×11- Revelations

We open on a preacher giving a sermon about God testing our faith. He uses an anecdote about a little girl being told by her brother that Moses didn’t part the Red Sea, instead it parted of high winds and strong ocean currents. I have to commend the brother for using science to explain it but he still believes that it completely parted long enough for all those people to go through? And, yes, I am holding such high standards to a little kid. That’s probably why social services always take my kids away on the Sims. Anyways, the good reverend goes on to say that most people invest themselves in science and cynicism. Hmm, that couldn’t be referring to anyone we know could it? Nah.

Ok, I have to pause for a moment because I can’t get over how bushy this guy’s eyebrows are! Seriously, we’re talking Peter Gallagher worthy eyebrows! They’re pointed outward! I don’t know if I can concentrate on what is going on in the scene anymore. They just keep distracting me.

So, while Eyebrows keeps talking, the camera keeps cutting to this one guy in the audience. And because the show loves to put a big neon arrow above the bad guy in the beginning, we know he’s going to be the bad guy of the episode. Eyebrows says we need to believe in miracles then suddenly ketchup blood starts gushing out of his closed fists. The entire congregation is WTF? If I were them I would have asked to see his hands, but I guess that would make me the so called cynic he was talking about.

It’s after the sermon and Eyebrows is loosening his tie as he comes into his…Hollywood style dressing room?? Seriously, this guy has a mirror with those Hollywood lights encompassing the frame. I guess we all know where all the money from the collection plate has disappeared to. And to top it all off, he starts using moisturizer for the bags under his eyes. You’d think if he was going to moisturize he’d do something about those eyebrows. But I think the main point of that was to show us he has no wounds from his stigmatic bleeding earlier. Although, I’m not sure how anyone would be surprised considering he has his own Hollywood dressing room! He’s basically an actor anyway.

As he continues to moisturize, the door opens to – surprise, surprise, the guy the camera kept cutting to in the beginning scene. The guy stands creepily in the back corner but makes his way closer to Eyebrows as he talks about how impressed he was with the sermon. The look on Eyebrows face says: ‘I think I’ll forget about hiring a personal make up artist and look into bodyguards instead!’ And of course, creepy guy attacks Eyebrows and holds him up with one hand against the wall while burning Eyebrow’s neck. Appropriately, Eyebrows says ‘Oh my God,’ while we watch as blood drops on his white pleather shoes.

Credits. Good times. Is it me or has anyone else wondered if DD and GA signed the FBI badges themselves? Probably not but it’d be pretty awesome if they did.

Finally, we get to see our beloved dynamic duo. Scully is examining Eyebrows’ body and comments that his neck looks like it has rope or fabric burn but it is odd there is so much blood. Mulder kneels down saying Eyebrows exhibited stigmata during his sermon and has that look on his face when it comes to all religious cases – he thinks it’s bullshit. He proves as much by – get this – dipping his finger in the pool of “blood” and TASTING it. I know he realized it wasn’t real blood but he didn’t know WHAT that shit was. It could have been contaminated with anything! Gross. I’m surprised he didn’t just smell it like he normally does with goop like that. I’m kind of more disappointed in Scully that she didn’t immediately realize it wasn’t real blood because that shit doesn’t even have the same consistency.

Mulder goes on to say it has too much sugar and that it’s fake. I can’t stop looking at Mulder’s lips and not in a good way. He looks like a vampire. Rawr! He then proceeds to unbutton Eyebrows’ shirt to reveal the fake system that was used to cause the “stigmata” earlier and says it’s just like the others. This piques Scully’s interest as Mulder says he’s been following the murderers of religious peoples who have claimed to be stigmatics but have all been frauds. Using her Catholic school girl knowledge, Scully says there are always supposed to be 12 stigmatics in the world to represent the Apostles. Mulder thinks that it’s some disgruntled psycho who wants to expose these charlatans or someone who hates the church. I have to wonder why they’re there at all. This doesn’t sound anything like an X-File and I wonder what Mulder’s interest in it is if he thinks they’re all fakes.

Cut to a bustling classroom at Ridgeway Elementary School in Ohio. While a teacher tells the class she hopes they studied for today’s quiz, a boy prepares spit wads. Said boy is played by none other than Kevin Zegers of Air Bud and Transamerica fame! And, yes, an exclamation point was required since I find him quite pleasing to the eye (as an adult of course). The children bitch when they hear they have a quiz today while Kevin shoots the spit wad at a red haired young lady. I bet he liiiiiiiiiiiiikes her. He gets caught by the teacher who decides he should share his “gift” of numbers with the rest of the class. The kids all laugh while he gets this smug look on his face like he’s a BAMF. The teacher asks him if he even knows the division sign and tells him to divide 11 into 170. As he’s writing it out on the chalk board, his hands start the shake and the chalk makes a screeching sound. AGH! THAT SOUND! My teeth are in agony. Kevin then proceeds to drop the now bloodied chalk and turns around to show his hands have small nail sized holes in them and are bleeding profusely.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the school to be told that Kevin’s social worker read a FBI alert and called them immediately. I wonder what that alert specifically said. Don’t fake stigmata or you’ll be meeting God soon enough! The social worker says Kevin had bleeding from his hands and feet last year and his dad was arrested for child abuse and was institutionalized because he held Kevin hostage claiming Kevin was chosen by God. Scully looks really pretty here. Her hair is some where in between the poofiness of season one and two and slowly getting to the classic Scully look we all know and love.

While Mulder talks off screen with the social worker, Scully moseys over to Kevin to look at his hands. She introduces herself as Dana Scully sans the Special Agent. Aw, she’s going into her motherly mode. Scully asks him how he got the cuts on his hands and he accuses her of wanting him to say his dad did it. He goes on to say he doesn’t feel good and Scully feels of his forehead and asks if the nurse took his temperature. The nurse has this tone like “Who are you to make me look like I’m not doing my job, bitch!?” The nurse gives him a mouth thermometer while Scully tells him he’s a brave boy and doesn’t have anything to be afraid of. Except a crazy man/demon who thinks you need to be killed.

Mrs. Kryder comes rushing into the school and is perplexed as to why the FBI was called. Mulder tells her people may be targeting people like Kevin. Naturally, Mrs. Kryder asks what people. Mulder says people who exhibit wounds that others could see as having religious significance. Meanwhile, the reading on the thermometer keeps rising and eventually it gets so high it bursts the end of the cap off. The nurse asks what was that and of course, as any kid would, Kevin insists he didn’t do anything. Ah, remember that age when anything bad happened you would be like it wasn’t me!

Back outside of the classroom, Mrs. Kryder doesn’t believe anything Mulder is saying and suggests he just got hurt on the playground. Yeaaaaaaaaah. Well, kids do have a tendency to crucify each other, maybe this place takes it way too literally. The social worker wants to put Kevin back into a shelter which makes Mrs. Kryder think they’re accusing her of doing it to Kevin. Mrs. Kryder rightly gets pissed and stalks off. Afterwards, the social work dead pans to Mulder, “I love my job.” Ha, that reminds me of a cousin of mine who got a degree in Psychology and went into the social work field and when she found out that I was getting a Pysch degree as well she was like DON’T DO IT! In response, I gave her a Scully eyebrow or tried to. I’m not very adept at my eyebrow movements as GA is.

Scully comes out to confirm Kevin’s hands were definitely cut and Mulder says he doesn’t know what else they can do since Kevin’s in protective custody now. Scully says they still don’t know how Kevin’s hands were cut and Mulder suggests that he did it to himself because his dad was taken away. Ok, this still makes no sense as to why they’re investigating this case. I know Mulder is supposed to be the skeptic whenever there are religious cases but usually there is at least a legitimate supernatural reason he’s investigating something but he doesn’t think anything paranormal is going on. Anyways, Scully thinks they should go question the dad and Mulder acts like that’s a waste of time because the guy is in an institution but Scully thinks the dad might know something about who’s after Kevin.

Mental Hospital. Mr. Kryder is creepily looking out the window and tells Mulder and Scully that Kevin is bleeding again. Scully asks how does he know and he responds, “Because the faithful know.” Ooooor, he probably assumed something was up when he was told the FBI wanted to meet with him. Mulder tells him he put his son in danger and Mr. Kryder says his son was in danger since he was born because They have been watching him. Mulder exasperatedly asks who They are. They turn out to be the forces of darkness. Maybe Darth Vader is after Kevin. Now THAT would be an interesting turn of events. He and Eddie Van Blundht as Luke could duel it out! Mr. Kryder says They will come in the form of a powerful and respected man and They are here to claim all souls. It’s going to be the Great War between good and evil. DUN DUN DUN. My Darth Vader theory is sounding more and more legit. Scully eyebrows and states “Armageddon?” Mr. Kryder gets super close to Scully and says God will stop it by finding someone strong enough to do so. Hmmm, you don’t think it could be Scully do you? I mean it’s not like he’s looking RIGHT AT HER or anything. Mulder and Scully start to leave but Mr. Kryder says to find the truth you must come full circle. Scully doesn’t know what that means and he says she will. You ever wonder why these psychics/prophets/etc always have to be so CRYPTIC?

At the children’s shelter, Kevin is telling a ghost story and this other kid who looks like he’s scared shitless asks what it looks like. I guess in case he ever runs into it. Although if I saw some kind of mutant monster thing I’d haul ass the other way no matter what it looked like. Kevin describes it as looking like the Devil and is bald. And what do you know? A guy comes bursting through the door that looks exactly like the mutant Kevin JUST described. When Devil Guy comes through the door all of the kids haul ass like any sane person would and Kevin just sits there.

Kevin’s been abducted by Devil guy and Mulder is asking the kids questions. He doesn’t seem to believe them. Scully, meanwhile goes over to Kevin’s bed and notices a bloody hand print. Mrs. Kryder then comes in and Scully has to tell her Kevin’s been taken. The mom is pissed because Scully said that she would protect him and he would be safe. Scully looks down at her feet dejectedly. She doesn’t have a good track record at keeping little boys safe, unfortunately. Mulder comes over to get Scully and says the composite they got looks like Homer Simpson’s evil twin. Haha, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an X-File about the time they went to Springfield and Mr. Burns was the “alien?”

Scully says that this isn’t the killer because it doesn’t fit the M.O. Mulder says none of the other victims were 10 year old boys. Mrs. Kryder comes over and Mulder shows her the composite sketch comments he doesn’t know how accurate it is. In other words, he thinks those kids have no idea what they really saw. But, to their surprise, Mrs. Kryder recognizes the man as their gardener named Owen. Guess that’s why Kevin didn’t run away when he came in.

At Kidnapping Headquarters, Owen shows Kevin some animal wood carvings he made. Kevin says this is great and all but WHEN CAN HE GO HOME!? Owen tells him there’s no reason to be afraid and that he’s been watching him. Yeaaaaaah, because watching him doesn’t sound like he’s a pedophile AT ALL. Kevin just wants to go home but Owen yells at him that it’s not safe. Kevin is starting to suspect maybe this guy isn’t as cool as he seemed. Owen keeps going on about how he’s Kevin’s friend and that he’s his guardian angel. Suddenly, they hear a car come up and it’s our dynamic duo. Owen tells Kevin not to say a word. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. Owen grabs his shot gun to “take care” of Mulder and Scully. I know Owen’s not the bad guy in all of this but if that was me I’d be, ‘you’re fucking crazy.’

Mulder and Scully both burst through the door with their guns aimed at Owen. Owen slowly puts his shot gun down and tells Scully not to hurt him. Scully sees the attic door swing swaying and goes half way up the stairs to look for Kevin but next thing we know she’s back with Mulder asking where Kevin is. She didn’t even LOOK for him! Good FBI skills there. Although she could have and we “just didn’t see it.” Not as if that would be a novel thing on this show. Mulder asks if he hurt Kevin and Owen says he was sent by God to protect him. Scoffing heavily, Mulder snarks that it must’ve been one hell of a long distance phone call. Owen insists someone must protect him and Mulder replies, “Or what? It’s the end of the world as we know it?” Damn it Mulder! I have that song stuck in my head now! Mulder demands Owen tell him where Kevin is. Owen turns to Scully and says she must believe him because of the cross she wears. I don’t know how many people religious or not would believe you if you had KIDNAPPED a boy. Scully says her religious convictions aren’t the issue but Owen insists they are because the only way to help Kevin is if she believes. Mulder walks to the back of the room and snarks some more about this is why he sleeps in on Sunday. Owen starts going into this whole spiel about why Scully’s not a good Christian and he is because he doesn’t question God’s word at all. I have to wonder how he knows FOR SURE that it is God talking to him and not the Devil or his own mind. He says he just wants to go to heaven. That’s the only reason he’s doing this for? Jeez, so much for just wanting to save a little boy’s life and all.

Owen gets up still handcuffed and jumps out of the attic window. I’ve always thought that they make it seem so easy to jump out of a closed window on TV. I mean it looks so thick and if you did it in real life you would just slam into and fall backwards. Well, at least I would. Owen wriggles around on the ground and breaks the chain of the handcuffs with just his own strength. Mulder makes chase but when he gets outside Owen has mysteriously disappeared.

Somehow, Kevin has made his way back to his house. By this point it’s dark, did no one see a little boy walking by himself? I mean come on. Kevin calls out for his mom but no one seems to be home. During all of this, the bad guy is ringing the door bell! Way to be discreet. Bad Guy decides to just burn off the door knob instead. He starts calling out that he knows Kevin is there. He just keeps impressing me with those cunning skills of his. Bad guy notices the closet open and checks inside. Kevin is in the hamper basket but Bad Guy has at least enough intelligence to check in there. Just as Bad Guy is about to attack Kevin, Owen comes to his rescue and tells Kevin to run as Bad Guy is burning Owen’s throat off. Luckily, he runs straight into Mulder and tells him the Bad Guy is upstairs. Naturally, Scully is left to comfort the boy because when have you ever seen Mulder stay behind to comfort anyone while Scully chases down the bad guy. Mulder goes upstairs but only finds Owen dead. Downstairs, Scully looks at Kevin’s bleeding hands when he asks her if she’s the one who is supposed to protect him. Her mouth drops in surprise. Although maybe Kevin is just thinking about what his dad had been saying all this time.

Autopsy. Yay! I love when Scully is in autopsy garb. For anyone normal person, lab coats and scrubs would be unflattering but Scully pulls it off marvelously. But, hey, we’ve all seen her pull off way worse. She’s examining the burns on his neck but notices something odd and sees a pattern in the burns that could be a finger print. To befuddle her even more, she comments that it’s been 14 hours since death but rigamortis has yet to set in and he still has a temp of 98 degrees. Mulder walks in and asks “Any revelations.” Way to work in the title of the episode, writer (Which by the way is actually a woman, shocking I know.).

Oh man this next line from Scully is hilarious. “Mulder, would you do me a favor? Would you smell Mr. Jarvis?” Considering Mulder’s tendency to smell any kind of goop on him, I suppose it’s not such a big leap. Mulder looks at her oddly for a brief second but complies. This is love, y’all. Smelling a dead corpse for the person you love. Mulder doesn’t smell anything and Scully gets a worried look that she might be imagining smelling a floral scent coming from the body. Fun fact: Did you know that 60% of people can’t smell the almond scent of cyanide because of genetic factors and some coroners can miss cyanide poisoning because of it. And yes, I learned that from Dr. G on the Discovery Health Channel. Who says you don’t learn anything from TV!

Scully explains why she asked if Owen smelled like flowers – in Catechism (thank you Google for telling me how to spell that!) she learned of something called the “Incorruptibles” whose bodies didn’t decay and smelled like flowers. And get this, Mulder replies with “You’re serious?” Is HE serious? How many times has Scully indulged his theories that were ten times more ludicrous than this? Scully lists off a couple of saints who have exhibited similar characteristics and Mulder jokes that she’s suggesting that this is Saint Owen. Scully honestly doesn’t know. Mulder tells Scully that the stories she told have been proven to be fabrications. Arg, Mulder, you’re totally losing points with me here. You’re the pot calling the kettle black. And to top it all off, Mulder asks Scully yet again if she really believes all of that. Says the man who would go chase Big Foot off a dubious tip. I think the concept of having Scully as the believer and Mulder as the skeptic is an interesting one but I just hate the fact that most of the time it’s because it’s something that’s claimed to be by God so automatically Scully must end up believing it to be true.

Scully goes on to say that she believes that God can create miracles. Mulder counters with “even if science can’t explain it?” Scully tells him maybe that’s what faith is. All of this shouldn’t seem like news to Mulder. Mulder has faith just in that the supernatural exists unless it’s claimed to be caused by God. He goes on to tell Scully that it’s causing her judgment to be skewed and that maybe these are just fanatics acting fanatically. I think Mulder’s pot keeps getting blacker and blacker. Mulder accuses the religious fanatics of giving the “bona fide paranoiacs” like himself a bad name. So, wait, religious fanatics give people who are super paranoid a bad name? It’s not like either group sound so much better than the other. Also, the “blood” we saw on Eyebrows was ketchup, by the way. Man, Scully is looking PISSED, even more so when Mulder says she’ll come to the same conclusion that this guy is a fraud. I’d be fucking pissed too considering the shit Scully puts up with.

At the forensics lab, the prints Scully found belong to one of the richest men in the south. Ted Turner? Actually, it’s some guy from Atlanta named Simon Gates. I think I’ll call him Ted anyway. Side note: Whoo! Represent for Georgia! … Although, I probably shouldn’t be happy since the guy is a killer. Scully notices that he’s a “powerful and respected man” just like the prophecy says. Mulder says Ted has something called Jerusalem Syndrome that makes people come back thinking they’re anything from Jesus to the Devil. Scully tells Mulder that still doesn’t explain how the finger prints got burned into Owen’s skin. Mulder conveniently gets a call that a social worker took Kevin out to lunch but someone else saw him at the exact same time with his mother. This causes Scully to finally give Mulder her WTF look.

Mrs. Kryder’s car is broken down and Kevin keeps beeping the horn. How nice of him. Someone pulls over to help his mom but Kevin can’t see who it is. Of course, it’s Ted. Ted takes off the burning hot radiator cap without getting burned and this causes Mrs. Kryder to think this dude is fucked up. Maybe demons need to take a lesson in subtly because this one surely sucks. Ted chastises her for not saying thank you but she knows he’s up to no good and asks what he wants. He says she knows what he wants. Somehow Kevin is across the street and calls out to Ted to stop him from hurting his mom. Ted chases after Kevin but then suddenly Kevin gets out of the car! Clone Kevin keeps running and falls into some bushes only to disappear. And instead of driving away like a SANE PERSON, Mrs. Kryder chases Ted and runs him down with her car. Unfortunately when they start to get away, Mrs. Kryder passes out causing them to almost crash into some cement block things but Kevin turns the wheel at the last moment to go into a ditch.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the scene and we learn that Mrs. Kryder died. Aw! Scully goes into comforting mode when Kevin blames himself. She tells him his mom was only trying to protect him and he asks why does Ted want to hurt him. Scully insists she can protect him and Kevin deduces that Ted wants to hurt him because he’s different. Anyone else think that this totally seems like a conversation William and Scully would have if she didn’t give him up to Ma and Pa Kent? It’s eerie. Scully goes to Mulder and wants to keep Kevin with them but insists she’s not getting personally involved. Whatever you tell yourself to get to sleep at night Scully. Mulder tells Scully that Ted registered the car he was driving under the name Forau who was one of the Devil’s disciples. The Devil had disciples? This is news to me. Only a few yards away Ted is in the ditch staring at the cops. Oh come on, didn’t the cops check the perimeter!? Sounds like the cops in my town.

Westward Inn. Scully runs Kevin a bath. Awww, how cute. Alright, I have to say it. Kevin could totally pass as an older William – blue eyes and dark hair. This scene makes me think of Mulder and Scully parenting William on the lam while trying stop the alien invasion. A Scully-Mulder family vacation. I can see it now, a family portrait with alien ships crashing in the background. It can be a magnet on their fridge! Plus, that whole conversation Scully and Kevin just had totally helps my case!

Kevin starts lifting up his shirt to take it off when Scully notices what looks like something has sliced Kevin’s side. A little shaken, Scully tells him she’ll be outside the door. Mulder laments to Scully that she never draws his bath. Scully doesn’t even bother to raise an eyebrow at this. She tells Mulder about the cut on Kevin, and Mulder tries to explain it by saying he was just in an accident. But Scully tells him that it wasn’t there when he was examined by the paramedics. I have to wonder, do none of this wounds hurt? It seems like if you were bleeding from the hands and feet you’d be in a lot of pain.

Scully starts saying that all of his wounds are like the wounds of Jesus, in which Mulder tries to insist isn’t true. And finally, FINALLY, Scully calls Mulder on his shit. “How is it that you can go out on a limb when there’s a light in the sky but you’re unwilling to accept the possibility of a miracle!?” Mulder gets defensive that he waits for a miracle everyday but says the only thing that is being tested here is his patience. Retorting back, Scully asks him “What about what I’ve seen?”

Meanwhile, Kevin is preparing for his bath when Ted burns through the iron bars on the bathroom window. Mulder and Scully hear a sound in the bathroom, and Scully asks through the door if Kevin’s ok. Scully tries to enter but it’s locked; she says she didn’t lock it. Mulder kicks the door open to find Kevin gone. Why didn’t Kevin scream? I mean he had to have noticed when the guy was trying to climb through the window.

Outside of the motel where Ted entered the bathroom, Mulder says they must’ve had some kind of torch device to heat up the iron bars. Scully implies that couldn’t have been possible since she was out of the room for no more than two minutes. Nevertheless, she wants to go back and talk to Kevin’s father. Mulder thinks that is crazy because he thinks the guy is a nutcase.

At the mental institution, Scully shows Mr. Kryder a picture of Ted. He doesn’t recognize Ted and says it’s because he’s a “little” foggy right now. Mulder’s reading his medical chart and his face says it all. They’ve doped poor Mr. Kryder up. Scully looks at the chart as well and slams it down when she knows their only lead is gone. She tries to ask him what the whole coming full circle to find the truth meant but he can’t tell his hand from his ass at this point.

Mulder gets a call that Ted tried to register another car under the name Forau again at the airport but Scully is too busy looking at something to pay attention. She points at a recycling bin that as a recycling circle on it. Somehow, she makes the connection that Ted has a recycling plant near here and that’s where he’s going to take Kevin. Our Scully is a smart one because no way I would have figured that one out. Mulder insists that Ted has already killed Kevin and is trying to escape. Scully doesn’t think so and this makes Mulder have the revelation that Scully thinks she’s chosen to be Kevin’s protector. She doesn’t know but says if she’s wrong she’ll meet him at the airport. Hey, this could totally be seen as Scully ditching Mulder for once. Hooray!

21st Century Recycling Plant. I have NO idea where they came up with that name. Brilliant creativity right there folks. Ted says that the Sun will turn into darkness and the Moon into blood all because of Kevin. That sounds pretty evil so if Ted is one of the Devil’s disciples then why would he want to kill Kevin for bringing that about? Kevin starts to bleed again and Ted tells him he is the only true prophet and then goes in for the kill. Scully draws her gun and demands he let Kevin go. Scully says if he lets him go they’ll talk about it. Snort. I would believe that either. Ted takes off with Kevin in tow and Scully chases them. Ted knocks over some large stacked newspapers to block Scully. Ted turns on a huge shredder and plans to throw himself and Kevin into it. Scully manages to climb over the stack but it’s too late and they go over the edge. Scully runs up the stairs to see blood all over the newspapers in the shredder. Somehow, Kevin is not dead and is hanging by a thread on the ledge. Scully helps him up and they hug. Aw. Kevin tells her he knew she’d come. I guess God protected Kevin but what was the purpose of Scully? She didn’t exactly save him. The two seconds she was with him he got kidnapped and the only reason he didn’t die is because he grabbed onto the ledge. I guess because she figured out where he was being taken.

Two days later at the children’s shelter. Kevin is packing his things and Scully asks if he’s all set. He goes to shake her hand and we see that he no longer has any wounds. Scully sweetly tells him, “Maybe I’ll see you again sometime.” Kevin says as a matter of fact, “You will.” Ha, we all know that’s a lie. Unless, Kevin died and was reincarnated as William because they both have a penchant for being in danger. Scully looks sad to let him go. Mulder comes up and says they have a few hours before their flight (remember when you didn’t have to get at the airport several hours before your flight?) and the sheriff wants them to make a formal statement about what happened. Scully asks if he could do it alone because she has an “errand” she needs to run. Mulder just nods.

Confessional. Scully says it’s been six years since her last confession. Hm, I guess that would put it around the time she got out of med school? Maybe before? Scully says she doesn’t know why she’s drifted from the church. The priest asks her if she has something to confess. One would think if she hasn’t been in six years then she would have a list but she tells him she doesn’t. She goes on to say that there’s someone she works with – it almost sounds like she’s about to confess her love for Mulder. Ok, maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. Anyways, she says she can usually discuss these things with Mulder but not this. She asks the priest if he believes in miracles. He says of course and cites the sun rising or the birth of a child. But that’s not what she’s talking about. She’s talking about events that defy explanation like how she helped save Kevin’s life. However, she’s starting to think she imagined all of the miracles because Mulder didn’t see them because he’s the one usually to believe without question. The priest answers that maybe it was for only Scully to see and she wonders if that is possible. He responds that maybe she needed to see them to find her way back and that sometimes you have to come full circle to find the truth. Naturally, this surprises Scully since that’s what Kevin’s father told her. The priest notices this and asks her why it surprises her. She tells him it mostly makes her afraid. Afraid that God is speaking but that no one is listening.

And we fade to black.

<!–[if !mso]> <! st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } –>

We open on a preacher giving a sermon about God testing our faith. He uses an anecdote about a little girl being told by her brother that Moses didn’t part the Red Sea, instead it parted of high winds and strong ocean currents. I have to commend the brother for using science to explain it but he still believes that it completely parted long enough for all those people to go through? And, yes, I am holding such high standards to a little kid. That’s probably why social services always take my kids away on the Sims. Anyways, the good reverend goes on to say that most people invest themselves in science and cynicism. Hmm, that couldn’t be referring to anyone we know could it? Nah.

Ok, I have to pause for a moment because I can’t get over how bushy this guy’s eyebrows are! Seriously, we’re talking Peter Gallagher worthy eyebrows! They’re pointed outward! I don’t know if I can concentrate on what is going on in the scene anymore. They just keep distracting me.

So, while Eyebrows keeps talking, the camera keeps cutting to this one guy in the audience. And because the show loves to put a big neon arrow above the bad guy in the beginning, we know he’s going to be the bad guy of the episode. Eyebrows says we need to believe in miracles then suddenly ketchup blood starts gushing out of his closed fists. The entire congregation is WTF? If I were them I would have asked to see his hands, but I guess that would make me the so called cynic he was talking about.

It’s after the sermon and Eyebrows is loosening his tie as he comes into his…Hollywood style dressing room?? Seriously, this guy has a mirror with those Hollywood lights encompassing the frame. I guess we all know where all the money from the collection plate has disappeared to. And to top it all off, he starts using moisturizer for the bags under his eyes. You’d think if he was going to moisturize he’d do something about those eyebrows. But I think the main point of that was to show us he has no wounds from his stigmatic bleeding earlier. Although, I’m not sure how anyone would be surprised considering he has his own Hollywood dressing room! He’s basically an actor anyway.

As he continues to moisturize, the door opens to – surprise, surprise, the guy the camera kept cutting to in the beginning scene. The guy stands creepily in the back corner but makes his way closer to Eyebrows as he talks about how impressed he was with the sermon. The look on Eyebrows face says: ‘I think I’ll forget about hiring a personal make up artist and look into bodyguards instead!’ And of course, creepy guy attacks Eyebrows and holds him up with one hand against the wall while burning Eyebrow’s neck. Appropriately, Eyebrows says ‘Oh my God,’ while we watch as blood drops on his white pleather shoes.

Credits. Good times. Is it me or has anyone else wondered if DD and GA signed the FBI badges themselves? Probably not but it’d be pretty awesome if they did.

Finally, we get to see our beloved dynamic duo. Scully is examining Eyebrows’ body and comments that his neck looks like it has rope or fabric burn but it is odd there is so much blood. Mulder kneels down saying Eyebrows exhibited stigmata during his sermon and has that look on his face when it comes to all religious cases – he thinks it’s bullshit. He proves as much by – get this – dipping his finger in the pool of “blood” and TASTING it. I know he realized it wasn’t real blood but he didn’t know WHAT that shit was. It could have been contaminated with anything! Gross. I’m surprised he didn’t just smell it like he normally does with goop like that. I’m kind of more disappointed in Scully that she didn’t immediately realize it wasn’t real blood because that shit doesn’t even have the same consistency.

Mulder goes on to say it has too much sugar and that it’s fake. I can’t stop looking at Mulder’s lips and not in a good way. He looks like a vampire. Rawr! He then proceeds to unbutton Eyebrows’ shirt to reveal the fake system that was used to cause the “stigmata” earlier and says it’s just like the others. This piques Scully’s interest as Mulder says he’s been following the murderers of religious peoples who have claimed to be stigmatics but have all been frauds. Using her Catholic school girl knowledge, Scully says there are always supposed to be 12 stigmatics in the world to represent the Apostles. Mulder thinks that it’s some disgruntled psycho who wants to expose these charlatans or someone who hates the church. I have to wonder why they’re there at all. This doesn’t sound anything like an X-File and I wonder what Mulder’s interest in it is if he thinks they’re all fakes.

Cut to a bustling classroom at Ridgeway Elementary School in Ohio. While a teacher tells the class she hopes they studied for today’s quiz, a boy prepares spit wads. Said boy is played by none other than Kevin Zegers of Air Bud and Transamerica fame! And, yes, an exclamation point was required since I find him quite pleasing to the eye (as an adult of course). The children bitch when they hear they have a quiz today while Kevin shoots the spit wad at a red haired young lady. I bet he liiiiiiiiiiiiikes her. He gets caught by the teacher who decides he should share his “gift” of numbers with the rest of the class. The kids all laugh while he gets this smug look on his face like he’s a BAMF. The teacher asks him if he even knows the division sign and tells him to divide 11 into 170. As he’s writing it out on the chalk board, his hands start the shake and the chalk makes a screeching sound. AGH! THAT SOUND! My teeth are in agony. Kevin then proceeds to drop the now bloodied chalk and turns around to show his hands have small nail sized holes in them and are bleeding profusely.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the school to be told that Kevin’s social worker read a FBI alert and called them immediately. I wonder what that alert specifically said. Don’t fake stigmata or you’ll be meeting God soon enough! The social worker says Kevin had bleeding from his hands and feet last year and his dad was arrested for child abuse and was institutionalized because he held Kevin hostage claiming Kevin was chosen by God. Scully looks really pretty here. Her hair is some where in between the poofiness of season one and two and slowly getting to the classic Scully look we all know and love.

While Mulder talks off screen with the social worker, Scully moseys over to Kevin to look at his hands. She introduces herself as Dana Scully sans the Special Agent. Aw, she’s going into her motherly mode. Scully asks him how he got the cuts on his hands and he accuses her of wanting him to say his dad did it. He goes on to say he doesn’t feel good and Scully feels of his forehead and asks if the nurse took his temperature. The nurse has this tone like “Who are you to make me look like I’m not doing my job, bitch!?” The nurse gives him a mouth thermometer while Scully tells him he’s a brave boy and doesn’t have anything to be afraid of. Except a crazy man/demon who thinks you need to be killed.

Mrs. Kryder comes rushing into the school and is perplexed as to why the FBI was called. Mulder tells her people may be targeting people like Kevin. Naturally, Mrs. Kryder asks what people. Mulder says people who exhibit wounds that others could see as having religious significance. Meanwhile, the reading on the thermometer keeps rising and eventually it gets so high it bursts the end of the cap off. The nurse asks what was that and of course, as any kid would, Kevin insists he didn’t do anything. Ah, remember that age when anything bad happened you would be like it wasn’t me!

Back outside of the classroom, Mrs. Kryder doesn’t believe anything Mulder is saying and suggests he just got hurt on the playground. Yeaaaaaaaaah. Well, kids do have a tendency to crucify each other, maybe this place takes it way too literally. The social worker wants to put Kevin back into a shelter which makes Mrs. Kryder think they’re accusing her of doing it to Kevin. Mrs. Kryder rightly gets pissed and stalks off. Afterwards, the social work dead pans to Mulder, “I love my job.” Ha, that reminds me of a cousin of mine who got a degree in Psychology and went into the social work field and when she found out that I was getting a Pysch degree as well she was like DON’T DO IT! In response, I gave her a Scully eyebrow or tried to. I’m not very adept at my eyebrow movements as GA is.

Scully comes out to confirm Kevin’s hands were definitely cut and Mulder says he doesn’t know what else they can do since Kevin’s in protective custody now. Scully says they still don’t know how Kevin’s hands were cut and Mulder suggests that he did it to himself because his dad was taken away. Ok, this still makes no sense as to why they’re investigating this case. I know Mulder is supposed to be the skeptic whenever there are religious cases but usually there is at least a legitimate supernatural reason he’s investigating something but he doesn’t think anything paranormal is going on. Anyways, Scully thinks they should go question the dad and Mulder acts like that’s a waste of time because the guy is in an institution but Scully thinks the dad might know something about who’s after Kevin.

Mental Hospital. Mr. Kryder is creepily looking out the window and tells Mulder and Scully that Kevin is bleeding again. Scully asks how does he know and he responds, “Because the faithful know.” Ooooor, he probably assumed something was up when he was told the FBI wanted to meet with him. Mulder tells him he put his son in danger and Mr. Kryder says his son was in danger since he was born because They have been watching him. Mulder exasperatedly asks who They are. They turn out to be the forces of darkness. Maybe Darth Vader is after Kevin. Now THAT would be an interesting turn of events. He and Eddie Van Blundht as Luke could duel it out! Mr. Kryder says They will come in the form of a powerful and respected man and They are here to claim all souls. It’s going to be the Great War between good and evil. DUN DUN DUN. My Darth Vader theory is sounding more and more legit. Scully eyebrows and states “Armageddon?” Mr. Kryder gets super close to Scully and says God will stop it by finding someone strong enough to do so. Hmmm, you don’t think it could be Scully do you? I mean it’s not like he’s looking RIGHT AT HER or anything. Mulder and Scully start to leave but Mr. Kryder says to find the truth you must come full circle. Scully doesn’t know what that means and he says she will. You ever wonder why these psychics/prophets/etc always have to be so CRYPTIC?

At the children’s shelter, Kevin is telling a ghost story and this other kid who looks like he’s scared shitless asks what it looks like. I guess in case he ever runs into it. Although if I saw some kind of mutant monster thing I’d haul ass the other way no matter what it looked like. Kevin describes it as looking like the Devil and is bald. And what do you know? A guy comes bursting through the door that looks exactly like the mutant Kevin JUST described. When Devil Guy comes through the door all of the kids haul ass like any sane person would and Kevin just sits there.

Kevin’s been abducted by Devil guy and Mulder is asking the kids questions. He doesn’t seem to believe them. Scully, meanwhile goes over to Kevin’s bed and notices a bloody hand print. Mrs. Kryder then comes in and Scully has to tell her Kevin’s been taken. The mom is pissed because Scully said that she would protect him and he would be safe. Scully looks down at her feet dejectedly. She doesn’t have a good track record at keeping little boys safe, unfortunately. Mulder comes over to get Scully and says the composite they got looks like Homer Simpson’s evil twin. Haha, wouldn’t it be awesome if there was an X-File about the time they went to Springfield and Mr. Burns was the “alien?”

Scully says that this isn’t the killer because it doesn’t fit the M.O. Mulder says none of the other victims were 10 year old boys. Mrs. Kryder comes over and Mulder shows her the composite sketch comments he doesn’t know how accurate it is. In other words, he thinks those kids have no idea what they really saw. But, to their surprise, Mrs. Kryder recognizes the man as their gardener named Owen. Guess that’s why Kevin didn’t run away when he came in.

At Kidnapping Headquarters, Owen shows Kevin some animal wood carvings he made. Kevin says this is great and all but WHEN CAN HE GO HOME!? Owen tells him there’s no reason to be afraid and that he’s been watching him. Yeaaaaaah, because watching him doesn’t sound like he’s a pedophile AT ALL. Kevin just wants to go home but Owen yells at him that it’s not safe. Kevin is starting to suspect maybe this guy isn’t as cool as he seemed. Owen keeps going on about how he’s Kevin’s friend and that he’s his guardian angel. Suddenly, they hear a car come up and it’s our dynamic duo. Owen tells Kevin not to say a word. If that’s not a red flag, I don’t know what is. Owen grabs his shot gun to “take care” of Mulder and Scully. I know Owen’s not the bad guy in all of this but if that was me I’d be, ‘you’re fucking crazy.’

Mulder and Scully both burst through the door with their guns aimed at Owen. Owen slowly puts his shot gun down and tells Scully not to hurt him. Scully sees the attic door swing swaying and goes half way up the stairs to look for Kevin but next thing we know she’s back with Mulder asking where Kevin is. She didn’t even LOOK for him! Good FBI skills there. Although she could have and we “just didn’t see it.” Not as if that would be a novel thing on this show. Mulder asks if he hurt Kevin and Owen says he was sent by God to protect him. Scoffing heavily, Mulder snarks that it must’ve been one hell of a long distance phone call. Owen insists someone must protect him and Mulder replies, “Or what? It’s the end of the world as we know it?” Damn it Mulder! I have that song stuck in my head now! Mulder demands Owen tell him where Kevin is. Owen turns to Scully and says she must believe him because of the cross she wears. I don’t know how many people religious or not would believe you if you had KIDNAPPED a boy. Scully says her religious convictions aren’t the issue but Owen insists they are because the only way to help Kevin is if she believes. Mulder walks to the back of the room and snarks some more about this is why he sleeps in on Sunday. Owen starts going into this whole spiel about why Scully’s not a good Christian and he is because he doesn’t question God’s word at all. I have to wonder how he knows FOR SURE that it is God talking to him and not the Devil or his own mind. He says he just wants to go to heaven. That’s the only reason he’s doing this for? Jeez, so much for just wanting to save a little boy’s life and all.

Owen gets up still handcuffed and jumps out of the attic window. I’ve always thought that they make it seem so easy to jump out of a closed window on TV. I mean it looks so thick and if you did it in real life you would just slam into and fall backwards. Well, at least I would. Owen wriggles around on the ground and breaks the chain of the handcuffs with just his own strength. Mulder makes chase but when he gets outside Owen has mysteriously disappeared.

Somehow, Kevin has made his way back to his house. By this point it’s dark, did no one see a little boy walking by himself? I mean come on. Kevin calls out for his mom but no one seems to be home. During all of this, the bad guy is ringing the door bell! Way to be discreet. Bad Guy decides to just burn off the door knob instead. He starts calling out that he knows Kevin is there. He just keeps impressing me with those cunning skills of his. Bad guy notices the closet open and checks inside. Kevin is in the hamper basket but Bad Guy has at least enough intelligence to check in there. Just as Bad Guy is about to attack Kevin, Owen comes to his rescue and tells Kevin to run as Bad Guy is burning Owen’s throat off. Luckily, he runs straight into Mulder and tells him the Bad Guy is upstairs. Naturally, Scully is left to comfort the boy because when have you ever seen Mulder stay behind to comfort anyone while Scully chases down the bad guy. Mulder goes upstairs but only finds Owen dead. Downstairs, Scully looks at Kevin’s bleeding hands when he asks her if she’s the one who is supposed to protect him. Her mouth drops in surprise. Although maybe Kevin is just thinking about what his dad had been saying all this time.

Autopsy. Yay! I love when Scully is in autopsy garb. For anyone normal person, lab coats and scrubs would be unflattering but Scully pulls it off marvelously. But, hey, we’ve all seen her pull off way worse. She’s examining the burns on his neck but notices something odd and sees a pattern in the burns that could be a finger print. To befuddle her even more, she comments that it’s been 14 hours since death but rigamortis has yet to set in and he still has a temp of 98 degrees. Mulder walks in and asks “Any revelations.” Way to work in the title of the episode, writer (Which by the way is actually a woman, shocking I know.).

Oh man this next line from Scully is hilarious. “Mulder, would you do me a favor? Would you smell Mr. Jarvis?” Considering Mulder’s tendency to smell any kind of goop on him, I suppose it’s not such a big leap. Mulder looks at her oddly for a brief second but complies. This is love, y’all. Smelling a dead corpse for the person you love. Mulder doesn’t smell anything and Scully gets a worried look that she might be imagining smelling a floral scent coming from the body. Fun fact: Did you know that 60% of people can’t smell the almond scent of cyanide because of genetic factors and some coroners can miss cyanide poisoning because of it. And yes, I learned that from Dr. G on the Discovery Health Channel. Who says you don’t learn anything from TV!

Scully explains why she asked if Owen smelled like flowers – in Catechism (thank you Google for telling me how to spell that!) she learned of something called the “Incorruptibles” whose bodies didn’t decay and smelled like flowers. And get this, Mulder replies with “You’re serious?” Is HE serious? How many times has Scully indulged his theories that were ten times more ludicrous than this? Scully lists off a couple of saints who have exhibited similar characteristics and Mulder jokes that she’s suggesting that this is Saint Owen. Scully honestly doesn’t know. Mulder tells Scully that the stories she told have been proven to be fabrications. Arg, Mulder, you’re totally losing points with me here. You’re the pot calling the kettle black. And to top it all off, Mulder asks Scully yet again if she really believes all of that. Says the man who would go chase Big Foot off a dubious tip. I think the concept of having Scully as the believer and Mulder as the skeptic is an interesting one but I just hate the fact that most of the time it’s because it’s something that’s claimed to be by God so automatically Scully must end up believing it to be true.

Scully goes on to say that she believes that God can create miracles. Mulder counters with “even if science can’t explain it?” Scully tells him maybe that’s what faith is. All of this shouldn’t seem like news to Mulder. Mulder has faith just in that the supernatural exists unless it’s claimed to be caused by God. He goes on to tell Scully that it’s causing her judgment to be skewed and that maybe these are just fanatics acting fanatically. I think Mulder’s pot keeps getting blacker and blacker. Mulder accuses the religious fanatics of giving the “bona fide paranoiacs” like himself a bad name. So, wait, religious fanatics give people who are super paranoid a bad name? It’s not like either group sound so much better than the other. Also, the “blood” we saw on Eyebrows was ketchup, by the way. Man, Scully is looking PISSED, even more so when Mulder says she’ll come to the same conclusion that this guy is a fraud. I’d be fucking pissed too considering the shit Scully puts up with.

At the forensics lab, the prints Scully found belong to one of the richest men in the south. Ted Turner? Actually, it’s some guy from Atlanta named Simon Gates. I think I’ll call him Ted anyway. Side note: Whoo! Represent for Georgia! … Although, I probably shouldn’t be happy since the guy is a killer. Scully notices that he’s a “powerful and respected man” just like the prophecy says. Mulder says Ted has something called Jerusalem Syndrome that makes people come back thinking they’re anything from Jesus to the Devil. Scully tells Mulder that still doesn’t explain how the finger prints got burned into Owen’s skin. Mulder conveniently gets a call that a social worker took Kevin out to lunch but someone else saw him at the exact same time with his mother. This causes Scully to finally give Mulder her WTF look.

Mrs. Kryder’s car is broken down and Kevin keeps beeping the horn. How nice of him. Someone pulls over to help his mom but Kevin can’t see who it is. Of course, it’s Ted. Ted takes off the burning hot radiator cap without getting burned and this causes Mrs. Kryder to think this dude is fucked up. Maybe demons need to take a lesson in subtly because this one surely sucks. Ted chastises her for not saying thank you but she knows he’s up to no good and asks what he wants. He says she knows what he wants. Somehow Kevin is across the street and calls out to Ted to stop him from hurting his mom. Ted chases after Kevin but then suddenly Kevin gets out of the car! Clone Kevin keeps running and falls into some bushes only to disappear. And instead of driving away like a SANE PERSON, Mrs. Kryder chases Ted and runs him down with her car. Unfortunately when they start to get away, Mrs. Kryder passes out causing them to almost crash into some cement block things but Kevin turns the wheel at the last moment to go into a ditch.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the scene and we learn that Mrs. Kryder died. Aw! Scully goes into comforting mode when Kevin blames himself. She tells him his mom was only trying to protect him and he asks why does Ted want to hurt him. Scully insists she can protect him and Kevin deduces that Ted wants to hurt him because he’s different. Anyone else think that this totally seems like a conversation William and Scully would have if she didn’t give him up to Ma and Pa Kent? It’s eerie. Scully goes to Mulder and wants to keep Kevin with them but insists she’s not getting personally involved. Whatever you tell yourself to get to sleep at night Scully. Mulder tells Scully that Ted registered the car he was driving under the name Forau who was one of the Devil’s disciples. The Devil had disciples? This is news to me. Only a few yards away Ted is in the ditch staring at the cops. Oh come on, didn’t the cops check the perimeter!? Sounds like the cops in my town.

Westward Inn. Scully runs Kevin a bath. Awww, how cute. Alright, I have to say it. Kevin could totally pass as an older William – blue eyes and dark hair. This scene makes me think of Mulder and Scully parenting William on the lam while trying stop the alien invasion. A Scully-Mulder family vacation. I can see it now, a family portrait with alien ships crashing in the background. It can be a magnet on their fridge! Plus, that whole conversation Scully and Kevin just had totally helps my case!

Kevin starts lifting up his shirt to take it off when Scully notices what looks like something has sliced Kevin’s side. A little shaken, Scully tells him she’ll be outside the door. Mulder laments to Scully that she never draws his bath. Scully doesn’t even bother to raise an eyebrow at this. She tells Mulder about the cut on Kevin, and Mulder tries to explain it by saying he was just in an accident. But Scully tells him that it wasn’t there when he was examined by the paramedics. I have to wonder, do none of this wounds hurt? It seems like if you were bleeding from the hands and feet you’d be in a lot of pain.

Scully starts saying that all of his wounds are like the wounds of Jesus, in which Mulder tries to insist isn’t true. And finally, FINALLY, Scully calls Mulder on his shit. “How is it that you can go out on a limb when there’s a light in the sky but you’re unwilling to accept the possibility of a miracle!?” Mulder gets defensive that he waits for a miracle everyday but says the only thing that is being tested here is his patience. Retorting back, Scully asks him “What about what I’ve seen?”

Meanwhile, Kevin is preparing for his bath when Ted burns through the iron bars on the bathroom window. Mulder and Scully hear a sound in the bathroom, and Scully asks through the door if Kevin’s ok. Scully tries to enter but it’s locked; she says she didn’t lock it. Mulder kicks the door open to find Kevin gone. Why didn’t Kevin scream? I mean he had to have noticed when the guy was trying to climb through the window.

Outside of the motel where Ted entered the bathroom, Mulder says they must’ve had some kind of torch device to heat up the iron bars. Scully implies that couldn’t have been possible since she was out of the room for no more than two minutes. Nevertheless, she wants to go back and talk to Kevin’s father. Mulder thinks that is crazy because he thinks the guy is a nutcase.

At the mental institution, Scully shows Mr. Kryder a picture of Ted. He doesn’t recognize Ted and says it’s because he’s a “little” foggy right now. Mulder’s reading his medical chart and his face says it all. They’ve doped poor Mr. Kryder up. Scully looks at the chart as well and slams it down when she knows their only lead is gone. She tries to ask him what the whole coming full circle to find the truth meant but he can’t tell his hand from his ass at this point.

Mulder gets a call that Ted tried to register another car under the name Forau again at the airport but Scully is too busy looking at something to pay attention. She points at a recycling bin that as a recycling circle on it. Somehow, she makes the connection that Ted has a recycling plant near here and that’s where he’s going to take Kevin. Our Scully is a smart one because no way I would have figured that one out. Mulder insists that Ted has already killed Kevin and is trying to escape. Scully doesn’t think so and this makes Mulder have the revelation that Scully thinks she’s chosen to be Kevin’s protector. She doesn’t know but says if she’s wrong she’ll meet him at the airport. Hey, this could totally be seen as Scully ditching Mulder for once. Hooray!

21st Century Recycling Plant. I have NO idea where they came up with that name. Brilliant creativity right there folks. Ted says that the Sun will turn into darkness and the Moon into blood all because of Kevin. That sounds pretty evil so if Ted is one of the Devil’s disciples then why would he want to kill Kevin for bringing that about? Kevin starts to bleed again and Ted tells him he is the only true prophet and then goes in for the kill. Scully draws her gun and demands he let Kevin go. Scully says if he lets him go they’ll talk about it. Snort. I would believe that either. Ted takes off with Kevin in tow and Scully chases them. Ted knocks over some large stacked newspapers to block Scully. Ted turns on a huge shredder and plans to throw himself and Kevin into it. Scully manages to climb over the stack but it’s too late and they go over the edge. Scully runs up the stairs to see blood all over the newspapers in the shredder. Somehow, Kevin is not dead and is hanging by a thread on the ledge. Scully helps him up and they hug. Aw. Kevin tells her he knew she’d come. I guess God protected Kevin but what was the purpose of Scully? She didn’t exactly save him. The two seconds she was with him he got kidnapped and the only reason he didn’t die is because he grabbed onto the ledge. I guess because she figured out where he was being taken.

Two days later at the children’s shelter. Kevin is packing his things and Scully asks if he’s all set. He goes to shake her hand and we see that he no longer has any wounds. Scully sweetly tells him, “Maybe I’ll see you again sometime.” Kevin says as a matter of fact, “You will.” Ha, we all know that’s a lie. Unless, Kevin died and was reincarnated as William because they both have a penchant for being in danger. Scully looks sad to let him go. Mulder comes up and says they have a few hours before their flight (remember when you didn’t have to get at the airport several hours before your flight?) and the sheriff wants them to make a formal statement about what happened. Scully asks if he could do it alone because she has an “errand” she needs to run. Mulder just nods.

Confessional. Scully says it’s been six years since her last confession. Hm, I guess that would put it around the time she got out of med school? Maybe before? Scully says she doesn’t know why she’s drifted from the church. The priest asks her if she has something to confess. One would think if she hasn’t been in six years then she would have a list but she tells him she doesn’t. She goes on to say that there’s someone she works with – it almost sounds like she’s about to confess her love for Mulder. Ok, maybe that’s just my wishful thinking. Anyways, she says she can usually discuss these things with Mulder but not this. She asks the priest if he believes in miracles. He says of course and cites the sun rising or the birth of a child. But that’s not what she’s talking about. She’s talking about events that defy explanation like how she helped save Kevin’s life. However, she’s starting to think she imagined all of the miracles because Mulder didn’t see them because he’s the one usually to believe without question. The priest answers that maybe it was for only Scully to see and she wonders if that is possible. He responds that maybe she needed to see them to find her way back and that sometimes you have to come full circle to find the truth. Naturally, this surprises Scully since that’s what Kevin’s father told her. The priest notices this and asks her why it surprises her. She tells him it mostly makes her afraid. Afraid that God is speaking but that no one is listening.

And we fade to black.

1×22: Roland

Here it is, my very first X-Files recap.  And, as long as I put this one off, probably my last as well.  Heh.   Moving on.

Wow, the still shot of Roland behind the episode menu is way creepy.  I hadn’t noticed that before.  Just sayin’ is all.

We open with someone shuffling around in a very quiet building with a lot of pipes on the ceiling.  The legend tells us we are at the Mahan Propulsion Laboratory, Washington Institute of Technology, Colson, Washington.  That’s a mouthful.  Wonder if they shorten it to MPLWIT?  Sounds like “mipple wit,” which makes me laugh.  I’m totally going to shorten it.

So this guy keeps shuffling down the hall, and the camera pans up to reveal that it’s Roland, who is dust mopping the floor.  Roland is the janitor at MPLWIT.  I hope he tells people he works at “mipple wit.”  Roland goes over to a door and uses his keycard and punches in a code.  Nothing happens.  Meanwhile, a bearded man walks up behind him.  We hear every footstep.  Man, this place is way too quiet.  I’m going to send Roland a boombox so he can listen to some music while he works.

Roland punches in the code again while the bearded man (otherwise known as Dr. Keats, which is shorter) huffs impatiently behind him.  Roland’s a little slow, and Dr. Keats is more than a little low on patience.  When the door still doesn’t open, Dr. Keats snatches the card out of Roland’s hand and snits “You put your number in and then your card!”  Geeze, dude, back off.  Roland gives him the number, and Dr. Keats correctly opens the door then turns to glare at Roland and smartasses, “See how easy it is?”  Wow.  I pause the DVD and go call Advocacy on Roland’s behalf.

Back to the show.  Now we see a large fan spinning and hear a couple of men spouting a bunch of physics mumbo-jumbo that I can’t even follow and I’m sure not gonna try to recap word for word.  Oh, I guess the large fan is actually a jet engine, and is part of a wind tunnel, which they are using to work on their aeronautics project.  Got it.  Physicist #1, Dr. Surnow, shuts off the wind tunnel while he and Physicist #2, Dr. Nollette, continue to argue about the project.  And argue.  And argue some more.  Dr. Nollette thinks they can break Mach 15 if they just keep going.  Dr. Surnow thinks the engine will destroy itself.  Recapper thinks they should just stop acting like a couple of third graders.  Dr. Keats comes in behind them and asks what happened.  The two men continue to argue and Dr. Surnow actually whines “I’m just protecting the baby!”  Good Lord.  Do rocket scientists really do things like refer to their projects as ‘the baby’?  I hope not.

Blah blah blah, argumentcakes.  Finally Dr. Keats and Dr. Nollette leave the room.  We see now that Roland is in the room dust mopping.  Roland tells Dr. Keats goodbye, and to go scratch.  I might have added that last part.  Dr. Surnow goes to the whiteboard to do some more computing.  Dr. S enters the wind tunnel and starts punching on a keyboard in the wall.  Roland turns and looks at him and then shuffles over to the computer.  We hear keys being punched and the door to the wind tunnel slowly shuts.  Dr. S looks up in alarm and runs over to the window and pleads with Roland to open the door.  Roland is too busy at the computer to pay attention, and I don’t think he’s playing Tetris, ya’ll.

The panels in the wind tunnel open and Dr. S really begins to panic.  He keeps yelling for Roland to open the door.  I’ve got to say, even knowing he’s likely about to die, he’s still nicer to Roland than Dr. Keats was earlier.  Too bad he has to be the first one to bite it.

As Dr. S attempts in vain to keep from being sucked into the jet engine, Roland calmly gets up and goes over to the whiteboard to correct some of the equation.  He finishes up and walks past the window just in time for us to see Dr. S fly by in midair toward the engine, and then we get to hear a really nasty sound effect.  Nice.  That shot would probably have been more effective if it didn’t look so goofy.  It reminds me of the cow being yanked up in the “tornado” in Rain King.  Goofy like that.  Roland grabs the dust mop and continues cleaning without any reaction at all to what happened in the next room.

Credits.  Heh, my daughter still can’t hear the XF theme song without getting creeped out.  I was watching XF one night after the kids went to bed, and she was half asleep and heard the theme song and thought aliens were invading the house.  I play the credits sometimes really loud after she’s gone to bed just to freak her out.  I’m mean like that.

Ahhh, our Dynamic Duo is walking down the hall at MPLWIT.  Why does Scully own so many taupe clothes in Season 1?  I know we talk about her Season 7 black wardrobe a lot, but at least black looks good on her.  Taupe, not so much.  Moving on.  Mulder’s asking Scully about a wedding she attended.  Mulder:  “Did you catch the bouquet?”  Scully:  “Maaaaybe.”  How do I always forget how flirtatious these two were in the beginning?  Season 1 is worth it for that alone.

Mulder and Scully are discussing the aeronautics project and blah blah blah I get too bored with this part to try to keep up with it.  We learn that Dr. Surnow is the second scientist to die in the past six months working on this project.  The first was Arthur Grable, which we don’t actually find out yet, but is important later and I don’t feel like bringing it up then.  Scully chimes in with the million dollar question – “Okay, but how is this an X-File?”  She used to ask that a lot, didn’t she?  I guess after a while she just gave up since everything turned into an X-File anyway.  Mulder is like King Midas that way.

Mulder and Scully meet with  Dr. Keats, and Mulder verifies that Dr. Keats was the one who found Dr. Surnow (or, “what was left of him”) that morning.  They then join Dr. Nollette, and ask some questions about the project and…good golly this stuff is boring.  I’ve got to completely skip the project chitchat or I’ll never get through this.

While Scully is planting thoughts of industrial espionage in the two scientists’ heads, Mulder is in the other room studying the whiteboard.  Mulder points out that the handwriting on the bottom line of the equation doesn’t match the handwriting on any of the rest of it.  Mulder looks at the police report and asks about one Roland Fuller, who was the only other person in the building last night.  Dr. Keats dismisses the thought that Roland was the one working on the equation.  “Let’s just say that Roland isn’t exactly a rocket scientist.”  Oh, snap.  You’re a funny one, Dr. Keats.  Or, not.  I’ve still got Advocacy on hold.

Heritage Halfway House, which is Roland’s place of residence.  Roland is applying star stickers to a giant poster that says “Tracy” in multicolored letters.  On the table under the poster we see papers with numbers scribbled on them.  Yes, that’s important.  Roland hands the poster to his friend Tracy, who is also sitting at the table working on a craft.  She grins and blushes slightly as she reads her name and Roland points out the stars he added.  It’s sweet.

The housemother enters the room, followed by Mulder and Scully, and gently tells Roland that there are some people here who would like to speak with him.  The housemother asks Tracy if she would like to come into the TV room, and they leave Mulder and Scully alone with Roland.

Mulder and Scully sit down on either side of Roland and begin asking him questions about what happened at work the night before.  Roland didn’t see anything or hear anything unusual.  Scully comments on the star stickers he is now busy applying to the pages of numbers we saw on the table earlier.  Roland:  “One hundred and forty-seven.”  Scully’s all, “Huh?”  Roland points at her shirt and she looks down and realizes it’s covered with stars.  Mulder correctly guesses that Roland likes numbers too.

Roland suddenly has a series of disturbing images flash through his mind of a man’s frozen face surrounded by clouds of steam.  He jumps out of his chair and knocks the jar of stickers off the table, then runs over in a panic and begins gathering them up.  He is clearly upset.  Scully gets down on the floor and tries to help him gather the stickers up.  As the housemother comes into the room to see if everything is okay, Mulder takes one of the papers of numbers off the table and slides it into his pocket.  Roland is still picking up stars, counting each one as he picks them up.  He is very agitated.  The housemother is not pleased with our favorite duo for upsetting Roland so.

FBI Regional Headquarters, Seattle, Washington.  A handwriting expert is going over the equation from the whiteboard with Mulder and Scully.  She confirms that the handwriting on the last line of the equation doesn’t match the other three handwriting styles found on the whiteboard.  Mulder pulls out the paper he swiped from Roland’s house and asks her to compare it as well.  Scully immediately jumps in with her favorite “you’re not suggesting….” bit and they banter back and forth about autism and savants and whatnot.  The handwriting analysist interrupts to confirm that the handwriting from the equation does not match Roland’s handwriting either.  Mulder looks thoughtful.  The camera doesn’t pan to Scully but I bet she’s gloating.  Just a little.  She does, after all, love proving him wrong, now doesn’t she?

We flash to a sleeping Roland, who begins having a nightmare about the frozen guy.  He struggles in his sleep and finally gets out of bed with a look of determination on his face.  We’re now back at MPLWIT, Building 214.  Dr. Keats is there working, alone.  Or is he? Dun dun dun dunnnn.  He’s got earphones on and the music’s way too loud.  I bet he’d steal Roland’s boombox if I sent him one.  Cause he’s a jerk like that.  Dr. Keats sits down at his computer and begins typing.

Behind him, we see the red light on the door’s security panel turn green.  HA!  Ol’ Roland knows how to correctly use the keycard now, doesn’t he?  Serves you right.  Jerk.  Dr. Keats reaches for his giant ceramic mug of coffee, which is suddenly not there anymore.  He looks around in surprise, just as Roland knocks him over the head with it.  Ouch.  Roland then cocks his head as if he’s listening to instructions, and begins dragging Dr. Keats across the floor.  Roland’s wearing some big-ass blue gloves.  He drags the good doctor over to a vat of liquid nitrogen and opens the lid.

Roland shoves the doctor’s head into the nitrogen and holds it there as Dr. Keats comes to, struggles and yelps.  After a few seconds, there is no more struggling, and Roland looks sad.  I don’t.  He pulls the doctor back out and we see that this is what Roland was seeing in the flashes of images earlier – a man’s frozen face surrounded by clouds of steam.

Roland tosses the doctor to the floor and we hear a shattering sound.    Roland turns to walk out of the room and…oh, ewww.  He steps right across a piece of the doctor’s shattered head.  Dude, that’s nasty.  I hope none of that stuck to his shoe.  Roland’s housemother looks like the type who vacuums a lot.  She probably wouldn’t appreciate the mess.  Plus I’m sure it’s kind of hard to explain why you have a guy’s brain on the bottom of your shoe.  I don’t have any experience with that though.  The camera stays focused on the bits of head in the floor as we hear someone begin typing on the computer keyboard.

The scene moves to the following day, as Mulder and Scully and a forensic team examine the room.  Scully is spouting off about liquid nitrogen and an experiment with frozen fish.  Mulder goes over to the computer and realizes that someone using the file name “ARTHUR” worked on the computer for five hours the night before, after Keats’ death.  Scully attempts to access the file and is, of course, denied.  I would certainly hope they password protect their work, Danes.  Mulder tells her to try “15626.”  Scully gives him A Look but types it in.  It is, naturally, the correct password.  Scully thinks it’s hot when Mulder’s so smart.  What?  You know she does.  Mulder flips through the file and absentmindedly shows Scully the paper he took from Roland’s home with the numbers 15626 scribbled over and over.

We flash to Roland sleeping in his bed, in the middle of another nightmare.  We hear a woman’s voice saying “Wave goodbye” over and over as one young boy stands solemnly in front of a house watching another young boy, who is crying, being put into a car and driven away.  The housemother comes in and wakes Roland, and asks him why he slept in his clothes last night.  Roland doesn’t have an answer.  The housemother moves aside to allow Mulder and Scully into the room.  Roland waves the housemother over and tells her “I’m not supposed to talk to them.”

I am tired of typing ‘the housemother’ but I haven’t heard her name mentioned yet.  Looking at the transcript, it appears that her name is Mrs. Stodie.  That’s not much better but it will have to do.

Mrs. Stodie sits down beside Roland and encourages him to not be shy and speak to the nice people.  Mulder moves to Roland’s closet and picks him out a “stylin’” shirt, as Mrs. Stodie and Scully leave the room.  Mulder’s taste in shirts is not any better than his taste in ties.  Roland shakes his head and asks Mulder for “the green one.”  I laugh.  Even Roland has better taste than Mulder.  Ah, Mulder.  We love you anyway, you big colorblind goof.  Speaking of colorblind, he totally shouldn’t have been able to tell which shirt was the green one.  Huh.  Moving on.

Mulder asks Roland a few questions about his job at MPLWIT and finds out that Arthur Grable spoke to Mrs. Stodie and got Roland hired on as the janitor.  Mulder asks Roland when was the last time he spoke to Dr. Grable – a week ago?  The day before?  Sneaky, Mulder.  Roland says that Dr. Grable died, and cryptically adds that when people die, they aren’t supposed to come back.  That can’t possibly mean anything to this case, can it?

Meanwhile, Scully is speaking with Mrs. Stodie downstairs.  Scully asks about Arthur Grable.  Tracy is in the same room, sweeping the floor, eavesdropping.  Scully asks Mrs. Stodie for Roland’s personal files, which Mrs. Stodie explains are confidential.  Scully counters that she has the legal grounds to obtain them but the less time spent in court, the more quickly they can help Roland.  Mrs. Stodie looks thoughtful as she considers this.  I like Mrs. Stodie, she seems nice and actually cares about the residents she’s in charge of.

Scully and Mulder are now in a library doing research, Mulder is explaining what he has found out about Roland being hired by Dr. Grable and theorizes that Dr. Grable is not actually dead, but rather faked his own death and is murdering his colleagues, using Roland as a scapegoat.  Scully doesn’t really comment on that, which makes me laugh, and instead begins reading Dr. Grable’s obituary.  Mulder picks up on the fact that Arthur and Roland were both born in Seattle.  They toss info back and forth at each other until they finally figure out that Arthur and Roland share a birthdate, but Arthur is listed as an only child while Roland’s history before entering the Heritage Halfway House at age three has been sealed.  Are you thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’?  I thought so.

Back to the Heritage House.  Roland and Tracy are sitting at a table coloring.  Tracy looks disturbed and keeps sneaking glances at Roland.  Roland is drawing an airplane and asks Tracy if she wishes she could fly.  Tracy says that she can, in her dreams.  “People can do anything in a dream, you know.”  She shyly admits that one time she had a dream that they were married, and lived in a house.  Aww.  Tracy asks Roland if he has dreams.  Roland is getting more and more agitated.  Tracy kneels down next to him and says “You can tell me, Roland.  Roland…who is Arthur?”

Roland suddenly has a vision of himself throwing Tracy onto the floor and choking her.  He screams “Noooooo!” and pushes her out of the way and runs out of the room.  Tracy begins crying and yelling after him “I’m sorry, Roland, I’m sorry!”  Tracy is really sweet and sad and my heart breaks a little.  Roland runs upstairs and locks himself into the bathroom.  Tracy follows and bangs on the door.  Roland once again has a vision of himself choking Tracy and yells at her to go away, he doesn’t want to hurt her.  Tracy cries.  Roland cries.  Recapper cries.

Mulder and Scully are with Dr. Nollette in his office.  Mulder is looking at a black and white photo of a bunch of hippie students sitting inside an office with a VW Bug behind them.   Dr. N blah blah blahs about taking apart his professor’s car and putting it back together in his office, which turns out to have been Arthur’s idea.  Arthur, it seems, was not only brilliant, he was a great practical joker as well.  Seems to me Arthur is also a murdering, vengeful sonofa, but Nollette doesn’t mention that.  Mulder:  “Could he be making it seem like a man with a 70 IQ is gaining access to and, uh, operating his old computer files?”  *crickets* Finally Dr. N ‘duhs’ that in order to do that, Arthur Grable would have to still be alive.  Mulder points out that the police report on Arthur’s death was incomplete.  Dr. N insists that Arthur is indeed dead.  Scully wants to know how he can be so certain.

Mulder and Scully are now at the Avalon Foundation, Washington Institute of Technology.  AFWIT.  Love it.  Sounds like “halfwit,” which is almost as good as “mipple wit.”  Some guy is showing them a large stainless steel tank which is labeled ‘18’ and reads -320*F on a temperature gauge.  The guy explains to them that because of the massive damage to Arthur’s body, they were only able to preserve the head.  Hey, I’ve seen this movie!   Scully snarks that their client might find it inconvenient to be thawed out in the future only to find that they have no body.  I’m telling ya.  I’d be pissed.  Naturally the guy believes that once science figures out how to revive their clients, they’ll also know how to clone new bodies for them.

As he rambles on and loses my interest, Mulder notices that the temperature reading on Arthur’s container is fluctuating between -319*F and -320*F.  He asks if that is normal.  The guy explains that no, it isn’t, but they’ve been having problems with that particular container and are checking into it.  Mulder wants to know if it’s possible Dr. Grable’s brain activity is causing the fluctuations.  The guy stops just shy of laughing in Mulder’s face at the question.  Dude, you’re the one that spends your whole days surrounded by heads in tanks.  I’m just sayin’.  Scully asks if they can see Dr. Grable’s records.  She points out to Mulder that Dr. Grable had put down only one organ tissue recipient – Roland Fuller.  Neither of them is surprised to realize that Arthur and Roland are likely related.  They take the photo of Arthur from the file and have it altered, the result looks exactly like Roland.  Since we figured out these two were twins like, twenty years ago, nobody is surprised.

Heritage House.  Mulder is asking Roland about his dreams.  Roland is curled up on the couch and doesn’t answer.  Mulder:  “You know, I had a dream last night. I dreamt I was, uh, swimming in this pool. And I could see my father underwater, but when I dove down, the water stung my eyes. Then there was another man at the pool, watching me. He upset me. He was asking me questions I didn’t want to answer. And I had to leave. I couldn’t find my father.”  Huh.  I wonder if Mulder was telling the truth about that dream, because…that’s sad.  And that’s pretty much spot on about his relationship with his father and CSM.  Interesting.  Anyway.

Roland still doesn’t want to talk about his own dreams, because they make him feel like a bad person.  He admits that in his dreams, he hit Tracy.  Tracy sadly looks up from where she is playing a game of checkers with another resident.  Mulder sees a remote controlled toy on the shelf and asks Roland if he knows how to operate it.  Roland makes the toy scoot across the floor a few times as Mulder explains that the dreams are making Roland do things, just like the remote control is making the toy ship move.  Roland nails Mulder with the question “But who…who runs the controls?”

Mulder pulls out the photo of Arthur Grable and asks Roland if he’s seen this man recently.  He’s being sneaky again.  Roland begins to have a series of flashbacks, beginning from the time he was taken away to Heritage House, to the murders and the image of himself choking Tracy.  He begins throwing himself around in the chair and screaming.  Mulder tries in vain to calm him down as Tracy and the other resident watch, frightened.  Roland runs up the stairs and Tracy follows him as Scully and Mrs. Stodie come into the room to see what the commotion’s about.  I’m really surprised Mrs. Stodie hasn’t tried to forbid them from speaking to Roland at all, he always ends up in a state.  Roland locks himself into the bathroom again, then breaks the window and leaves the building.

MPLWIT.  Mulder hangs up a telephone and informs Scully that Dr. Nollette is already gone, and says they should arrange for a security guard to find him.  Scully reasons that they’re not going to get anybody to do anything based on Mulder’s theory about how and why Roland is committing these murders.  At least he’s not blaming things on “the whammy.”  Yet.  Mulder continues on about psychic connection being strongest between family members and especially twins.  Scully:  “Okay, maybe. But in this case, one sibling has closer ties to a frozen fudgesicle than he does to his own brother.”  Heee.  Mulder, undaunted, points out that Dr. Grable is not actually dead, he’s in a state of consciousness that no human has ever returned from, and goes on some more about his psychic connection theory.  Scully finally agrees that they need to speak to Dr. Nollette again and find out why Dr. Grable might want his colleagues dead.  They walk down the hall and we realize that Dr. Nollette has been listening to their conversation via security camera.  He looks thoughtful.

AFWIT.  Dr. Nollette is dressed to do some funky poaching and talks out loud to Arthur as he covers a keycard with a foil gum wrapper and scans it through the security keypad.  Wow.  The security in this place is seriously underwhelming.  Dr. Nollette smiles slightly as the door slides open.  He enters the room with the tanks o’ heads and uses a pen to punch in some stuff on Dr. Grable’s tank control pad.  The tempearature begins steadily rising as Dr. Nollette leaves the room.

Meanwhile, Roland is back at MPLWIT, writing equations furiously in a notebook.  He has a flash of the tank’s temperature gauge and looks around in confusion, and maybe a little discomfort, before going back to writing.

Scully is in an office somewhere pulling a sheet off a fax machine.  We find out for the ninetieth time that Arthur and Roland are twins, and she and Mulder have a conversation about twins that basically consists of info we learned in fifth grade so I’m not going to recap it.  They get a call from AFWIT and find out that someone tampered with Arthur’s tank and now Arthur’s getting all het up.

MPLWIT.  Roland is working on the computer outside the wind tunnel.  Roland doesn’t look so good.  He’s got sweat pouring off his face and appears to be in physical pain.  He keeps typing and the scene flashes several times between the temperature gauge on Dr. Grable’s tank and Roland typing.  Finally, Dr. Nollette enters the room.  He and Roland/Arthur argue back and forth about the project until Dr. Nollette pulls a gun on Roland, and Roland has a vision of Dr. Nollette in the wind tunnel.  Dr. N sits down at the computer and forgets to keep his eye on Roland as he studies the equation and realizes it’s complete.  Roland grabs a keyboard and whacks him over the head, knocking him out.

Outside, Mulder and Scully screech up to the door and flash their badges to gain entrance.  Meanwhile, Roland has pulled Dr. Nollette into the wind tunnel room and is starting the system up.  Mulder and Scully burst into the room and attempt to get Roland to shut the system down.  Mulder is yelling at him as Arthur, but Scully pleads with him as Roland to not let Dr. Nollette die.  Finally Roland sits down and punches in the number to stop the machine, just in time for Dr. Nollette to fly across the room and…land safely in the floor.  Everyone, except me who no longer cares that much, breathes a sigh of relief and Scully pats Roland on the back encouragingly.

Back at the Heritage House, Scully and Mulder explain to Mrs. Stodie that Roland will be held in psychiatric custody for evaluation.  Mrs. Stodie is understandably upset about Roland’s recent behavior, and wants to know if he’s going to be charged with a crime.  They reassure her that even though the D.A. hasn’t made a decision about that yet, they have recommended that Roland be returned to her care as soon as possible.  Mulder starts to share his theory with Mrs. Stodie about Arthur’s brain controlling Roland’s actions, but Scully steps in before he can finish his thought.  I wonder how Mrs. Stodie would react?  Given her job, I doubt she’d even bat an eye.  I’m sure she’s heard worse.  Heh.

Roland is upstairs, packing.  Tracy hesitantly enters his room and asks him where he is going, then when he doesn’t answer, pleads with him not to go.  Roland tells her he has to go.  Tracy, hurt, says “Okay, bye” and turns to leave.  Roland calls her back and hands her the jar of star stickers, which he keeps in his top drawer.  Tracy smiles, touched, and tells Roland she loves him as he passes by on the way out the door.  Roland:  “Me too.”  *sniff*  Roland gives a slight wave of goodbye to Mulder and Scully as he passes them in the hall, then stops in front of a mirror to brush his hair.  He pauses for a moment to stare at his reflection and let the music turn ominous, which doesn’t really make any sense since Arthur is now truly dead and isn’t going to be controlling him anymore, but whatever.  Roland turns away and leaves.

The end.  All in all, a decent ep.  The physics stuff bored me, and I found the doctors pretty ridiculous most of the time, but superb acting on the part of Zeljko Ivanek, who played Roland.  Wow, he’s been in a lot of stuff.  Oh and the gal who played Tracy?  Also played Ellen’s neighbor and friend, Joann, in the Season 3 ep 2Shy.  I never would have caught that one.  I love imdb.

I hope you all have enjoyed the recap!  I had fun writing it.  I may have to see what other S1 – S4 eps haven’t been claimed yet and try another one.  Or, use it as an excuse to buy the rest of the series so I’ll have more to choose from.  I like that idea.  Heh.

1×18: SHAPES

Stormy night: shot of a scary wolf, then a hawk. Oh no wait they’re just stuffed animals. Not toy ones you understand, but shot and killed and taxidermified ones. Actually I think I should write that episode. Mulder and Scully investigate the case of several people seemingly murdered by stuffed animals. Not toy ones you understand, but shot and killed and taxidermified ones. Or toy ones. Actually both could work. However we all know that this is Shapes and there are no such hi-jinks to be had here. This is our requisite Season 1 werewolf story. You can just imagine the folks at Fox, “Ok so, we’ve done the alien episode, the other alien episode, the parasitic worms buried in the ice for millions of years episode, the liver-eating mutant episode, now we’d like you to do werewolves” Sounded like a good idea at the time. Also as I write this the X-Phile community is recovering from the rumour that the upcoming X-Files movie has a werewolf-centric plot. It doesn’t thankfully and I am remaining optimistic until opening day. I wonder if I will look back on this recap and laugh or cry?

So back on the matter at hand: a strong looking man in his 50’s with a cowboy hat and a mustache and his son (mid 20’s, kinda cute) load up their shotguns. They both look grim. There is some sort of god-awful howling coming from outside. We are on the Two Medicine Ranch, Browning, Montana. The man and his son go outside to check on the cattle. It is a wet and misty night.  They split up. The son goes to check inside a barn. There is something there but in true X-Files style we can’t flippin see it. There’s just a faint hissing as the camera passes over something black. The young man goes back outside and finds one of the cattle dead. Thankfully we are not treated to the gruesome nature of its death but the look on the sons face says it all. He stands, realizing there is something there. He walks back towards the barn. Wrong way guy! He is then jumped on by the biggest teddy bear I’ve ever seen. Except it’s a werewolf shaped teddy bear. Be scared everyone! There is a terrible, blurry shot of the face of the creature supposedly savaging the young rancher then throwing him aside. The father runs over and seeing his son being thrown to the ground and shoots the creature. He goes to check on his son then looks over at the creature who, conveniently lit by a flash of lightning is revealed to be a naked man with a rather large wound on his chest. Those trick-or-treaters!!!

Credits. Hi David, hi Gillian, hi stretchy faced guy.

We are inside the ranch with Mulder, Scully, the older rancher, Jim Parker, his son Lyle and their lawyer. Jim exposits that his cattle are being killed on the ranch, and that this was the fourth one this month. He says it looked like it went through a paper shredder and no animal he knows could have done it. Mulder ask if he thinks it was “a person or persons”. Oh Mulder, you are so grammatically correct. The lawyer reminds Moose and Squirrel that Jim has been freed on bail and is speaking to them willfully about this case. You see, this case and no others. Scully, ever the intrepid investigator puts two and two together and asks if he means they can’t ask about Jim Parker’s Federal court case against the local Trego Indian reservation. Lawyer says that’s exactly what he means. Jim interrupts to say that this a land dispute that he wants to resolve in court and he is sorry Joseph Goodensnake is dead but that it did not look like any animal he’d ever seen and directs them to look at Lyle’s scars. He is bandaged but there are four deep scratches peeking out from the top of the bandage. Jim goes on to say that he thought he saw red eyes and fangs and “nobody, nobody was more shocked and upset that I was to find out it was that young Indian boy. But if he was the one that was killing our cattle then I’m very, very sorry that we had to find out about it that way but as far as I’m concerned that’s the end of it”. It’s a nice piece of acting from Donnelly Rhodes. So there you have it folks. Is it a werewolf or is it just good ol’ racism? Well we all know it’s the werewolf but that doesn’t mean racism won’t rear its ugly head later in this episode.

Lyle leads Mulder and Scully outside and oh my, he is very cute. He tells them that lately when checking the cattle that they never saw anything strange; animal, vegetable or mineral. He directs this at Scully with a nice and gentlemanly “Agent Scully” at the end. Woooo, he likes you. And let’s face it she could do a lot worse what with cutting her ties with Colton and her old FBI buddies and giving the boring Jersey Devil guy the brush off and Mulder just hugging her after she walks into his room in her underwear. You gotta take it where you find it girlfriend is all I’m saying. While Scully is figuring this out in her head Lyle continues with his awfully written speech. Apparently he couldn’t see anything but he could “feel” it and that it was like “nature herself was terrified.” Sorry I nodded off there for a sec. He says it gave him “the creeps”. “The creeps”, Scully repeats like it’s a foreign word that she’s only heard for the first time. Oh how I love naïve little Scully. Yes Scully, the creeps; the feelings you get when you are watching all those scary-ass horror movies you are so fond of.

The dynamic duo faf about at the scene of the shooting while Scully reckons that Jim could never have mistaken a human for an animal and that the case is “open and shut”. I’m not really listening to her as all I can hear is the screams of the hairstylist trying to keep Gillian Anderson’s hair sleek in the fine Vancouver rain. Gillian has her umbrella practically glued to the top of her head. Mulder isn’t listening either, though it’s not Scully’s barnet that has him engrossed. There in the deep mud are footprints, the first human, the rest more…more wolf-like. Cue spooky music.

Upon leaving the barn Scully concludes that there is “nothing unexplainable about this case”. Mulder sidles alongside her hiding something behind his back. “No, not a thing” he agrees. Or does he, as he holds up a tweezers with a piece of shed skin which looks to be in the shape of a hand? No, actually I don’t think he does.

The agents go to examine Joe Goodensnake’s body which is being held by reservation authorities by Sheriff Tscani. Man, is Montana muddy. They go into a local tavern to ask for him and are ignored. Mulder stands in the middle of the tavern and asks out loud if anyone knows the sheriff. “Go home FBI”, Mulder is informed by the local wiseman, soothsayer, druid, shaman guy who apparently can smell an FBI agent from fifty paces. “Well, they tell me that even though my deodorants made for a woman it’s strong enough for a man”, Mulder snarks. The Feds have been here before and the shaman Ish doesn’t like them. Mulder, telling him that he wants to believe, asks if he knows of a creature that can make the footprints he saw. Ish says that Parker shot that creature. Then at the sound of loud bang of a pool cue we are introduced to Joe Goodensnake’s sister, Gwen who doesn’t like the FBI anymore that Ish. She shouts that it was her brother that was killed and they are too afraid of the “stupid Indian legend” to do anything about it.  She storms off like the teenager she isn’t.

Enter Sheriff Tscani. Scully approaches but pronounces his name Tuscany. Bad move Scully. She extends her hand but he declines. The sheriff, who is pictured in my dictionary alongside the word surly tells them, “Goodensnakes body’s in my office” and walks out. What, no coffee?

They walk to a small wooden building which houses his office. It is manned by two Native Americans with traditional face-paint and headdress. Tscani tells them to stand down. They are called Bill and Tom. I feel like I was supposed to be surprised by the fact that they have traditional western names but I wasn’t. Oh well. Inside the office Tscani informs the Feds that the boys (though one of them looks older that Mulder, the one on the right, our right, now you see it) are guardians of the dead who escort the dead spirits to the new world. Tscani won’t let them in the building however, as he prefers to keep “the ancient beliefs out there, and the police work in here”. Ah, so he’s conflicted. It is a nice character touch though. This is one reason why this episode frustrates me so. I like how all the Native American characters don’t have the exact same beliefs and the performances are good. The anger and frustration on both sides is genuine. It’s just the actual X-File sucks so much and is executed so badly you don’t really care by the end of it.

Back to business. Mulder asks Tscani about the legend mentioned by Gwen to which Tscani pissily retorts he is not an Indian guide here to answer their questions. Mulder’s stature is apologetic but Tscani continues, to say he can never get federal help when he needs it and they may see the body as the case falls under their jurisdiction. He leads them to the next room which contains Goodensnake’s body. He tells Moose and Squirrel that it was actually the Goodensnakes that filed the suit against the Parkers and not the other way around. On the body Scully observes a wound similar to hot Lyle Parkers though it is much older. Mulder looks in his mouth and interrupts to say they need to look at his dental records. Guess what you guys? Joe Goodensnake has extra-long and extra-pointy cuspids. Yaay!

Cue dental x-ray of Joe Goodensnake where all his teeth are of a requisite length and pointiness. Mulder and Scully want to do an autopsy and Tscani is all like, “no way, that is like sooooo totally against our beliefs” and Mulder is all like “come ooooon, I wanna find a werewolf.” The body is being cremated that night so, well, you know. Mulder asks Tscani if he believes Goodensnake’s spirit is in the room. Tscani doesn’t answer, but makes the valid point that Mulder and Scully will be gone in a day or two but he still has to answer to the people of the reservation. He will allow them to continue the investigation but without the autopsy. From what I can gather Tscani doesn’t really believe the legends but he is also afraid not to believe them.

Mulder and Scully sit in the car at the site of the cremation. There is a high and ornate structure of logs, atop of which sits the body wrapped in white material. An elderly Indian man wearing the full regalia is chanting around the area. Our buddies Bill & Tom are there too. Scully questions Mulder on why they are there here. The very first X-File opened by J. Edgar described a similar case in 1946. It was buried but the same scenario happened in ‘54, ‘59, ‘64, ‘78, and ’94. He also produces a file which describes stories from Lewis & Clark which happened 150 years previous to that first case. Wow I’m really glad they didn’t make The X-Files in the 40’s. If the pilot was J. Edgar investigating a werewolf case I would not have watched. Not surprisingly Scully ain’t buying it and thinks it’s lycanthropy AKA I-think-I’m-a-werewolf-itis. As they exit the car Mulder angrily asks her how she can ignore the evidence. Scully retorts that it doesn’t matter if he is right or not as the body will be burned in a few hours. I just have to mention here how cute Scully is in her moon boots. I’m so glad Carrie Bradshaw was never recruited by the FBI. She could never have coped with this type of thing. Scully stalks off while Mulder and Ish regard one another with respectful nods.

Scully approaches Gwen who tells her angrily that she should not be here. Scully tries to placate her by saying that she is sorry for her and anyone who loses part of their family. Gwen replies that Joe was her whole family. She then passes Scully what looks like to be a necklace made from feathers and animal teeth. Scully is touched by the gesture. Not for long though as Gwen storms off once again telling her, “he had more possessions than he had friends.” Burn.

Sheriff Tscani then shows up, looking you guessed it, surly. Mulder saunters up beside him complimenting him on his report on the case. Oh I get it Mulder, get him on your side then hit with your version of a roundhouse kick, i.e. a kerrazy question about the paranormal. Mulder turns to Tscani and asks, “Charlie, do you believe in shape-shifting?” “This is a funeral.” Ha! Also once again he has managed to not answer any of Mulders questions.

Night fall, and the elder who looks to be wearing a dead wolf on his head lights the pile of wood that Joe Goodensnake rests upon. There is much chanting as all the wood takes light. I know nothing of Native American traditions so I don’t know how accurate this scene is but the portrayal of the funeral is at the very least respectful. I like how Mulder and Scully accepted the will of Tscani not to autopsy the body where I think many shows would have the crusading investigators beat down every door to find the answers. Sometimes answers aren’t important when a loved one has been lost. Anyway, the ceremony continues and the mourners look on, well, mournfully. There is a sound of a horse cantering and we are treated to hot Lyle on horseback. See Scully, he’s on horseback and he’s hot. Sure he’s a werewolf but nobody’s perfect. At least he doesn’t have all Mulder’s emotional problems. Lyle says he just wants to pay his respects. Gwen gets all shouty at Lyle but to be honest if someone shot my brother then claimed he were a werewolf I’d be mad too. She wants his heart to grow cold and feel what she’s feeling.  She spits on the ground in front of him. Tscani tells him to leave. Lyle sorrowfully says that he wishes Joe could be here more that anything else. He turns the horse and leaves. I notice Scully doesn’t follow him. Her loss. Gwen does another little stormy thing. I swear she practices in front of the bedroom mirror, right down to the hair toss. She stands with great sadness if front of her brothers burning body. Mulder looks at her sympathetically and hotly. By that I mean he looks hot and not that he thinks Gwen is hot. And by looks hot I mean that he is attractive and not overly warm due to close proximity to the cremation. I’m doing it again, aren’t I?

Cut to Jim Parker sitting on his porch. He is smoking a cigar when he hears something. He sets down a large glass of whiskey. I may go back to get it when I finish this recap. He steps off the porch to investigate and looks around. He sees a wind-chime and chides himself for being so silly. Actually, not that silly as we are treated to a shot of half the werewolf’s face as he growls at Jim. Jim turns back to the porch when he is attacked from behind by the werewolf. Hey, at least they are consistent in their MO. Safe to say poor ol’ Jim Parker is dead.

The next morning and Scully is shooting the breeze with Sheriff Tscani. According to her, Jim Parkers body was mutilated by a predator or someone who wanted it to look like a predator. That’s quite the MO Scully. I sometimes wonder if she actually hears herself. She asks about the whereabouts of Gwen Goodensnake. Tscani says that she hasn’t been seen since the funeral and that they’ve put out an APB on her. Seriously, her brother was murdered, cremated the previous day and she’s done a tiny disappearing act. She’s probably drinking herself into a stupor like any good angry adult who acts like a teenager should. So the obvious thing is to issue an APB.  Uh, have you tried say, her house? Passed out on the couch perhaps? Behind the bleachers at the local high school? The Max? Hot Lyle is nowhere to be found either. Uh, have you tried Scully’s motel room. Actually he’s not there, he’s in my motel room. As part of my thorough research into this recap I flew to Montana and met and fell in love with the real Lyle Parker. We rode on horseback through the misty yet muddy Montana night. Scully goes to check out more of the scene.

Mulder is walking through a field behind the house. He crouches down as he has just seen a big disgusting clump of hair. He looks to his left and sees a piece of shed skin similar to the one at the first crime scene. Oh Mulder, you are so pretty in this shot and your hair is so shiny.

Back to Scully on the farm, she passes a cage with a mountain lion in it. As we know all ranchers capture mountain lions then keep them in too small cages on their homesteads.  He scares Scully enough for her (and us) to remember that he is there in a future scene. Sorry if I’ve ruined this episode for you. She walks some more to see hot Lyle lying hotly (see above) and nekkid on the hill. A moment for hot nekkid Lyle please…..

Tscani removes a tooth from Jim’s body like one that was on the necklace Gwen gave Scully. Mulder comes up behind him and comments how it’s not from any animal he’s ever seen and insists that he and Tscani have a talk, “an exchange of ideas” They both turn to see Scully walking hot Lyle down the hill with a blanket wrapped round him that Scully got…in her pocket? His feet look good and hairy. She is taking him to the hospital.

At the hospital hot Lyle tells Scully that he started drinking bourbon after the funeral and went to a spot on the ranch where they kept stray animals. He imagines he must’ve been pretty wasted to run around naked. I don’t know, I’ve seen sober people do worse. Hot Lyle can’t remember anything of the evening and Scully reluctantly informs him that his father is dead. She believes it was a homicide covered up to look like a mutilation. She tries to make him feel better by telling him of Papa Scully’s death and she understands his feelings. Hot Lyle is only concerned that the attack may have been retaliation for Joe Goodensnake’s death. Well it is as a result of it so he’s half right. Lyle is devastated at the idea of him possibly being responsible and breaks down. Scully touches his arm gently. Hey, paws off Scully! Jokes aside however, there is a nice chemistry between Scully and hot Lyle. I wish Scully had hooked up with a werewolf. After all Mulder will hook up with a vampire in 3 and she is waaaay freakier that this guy.

Mulder and Tscani pay a visit to Ish. He tells Mulder, “I sense you are different FBI, you are more open to Native American belief than some Native Americans.” He shoots Tscani a very hairy eyeball. “You even have an Indian name: Fox. It should be running Fox or sneaky Fox”. Mulder seems genuinely charmed by Ish and replies, “just as long as it’s not spooky Fox.”  Ish has seen the creature before, in 1946. Unfortunately the story is really boring. Safe to say the rules for werewolves are the same as vampires. And also the werewolf gene can be passed along bloodlines. Tscani posits that it could have been Gwen that killed Jim Parker.

A really small sound from outside brings the three men out, all guns blazing to find Gwen backing out in Ish’s pick-up. Tscani hauls her out and puts her under arrest for stealing Ish’s car. Wow, Tscani is strict. I would not loiter around the Trego reservation. Gwen babbles about having seen “it kill Parker.” So she didn’t kill him then. Wow that storyline lasted all of 30 seconds. She is scared witless and breaks down on Tscani’s shoulder. Thankfully she has cheered up no end by the time Scully needs her help breaking the Anasazi code.

Mulder calls the hospital looking for Scully. Ah, the days of poor coverage! She has taken Hot Lyle back to the ranch. The doctor tells Mulder that they found traces of his father’s blood in hot Lyle’s system that could have been there through ingestion. We then see an extremely innocent looking Scully driving hot Lyle. Do you see? She has no idea what awaits her. They get back to the ranch and of course it is a full moon. The power is of course out so hot Lyle goes looking for the one sleeping bag in the house to generate body heat. Sorry, I meant he offers to go and fire up the generator. He doubles over in pain. That hospital food is a bitch, ain’t it? Scully helps him to the bathroom.

Mulder and Tscani are en-route to the Parker ranch. Mulder is trying to call from his cell but cannot get any signal so Tscani puts the pedal to the metal.

Back on the ranch hot Lyle is all bothered in the bathroom. Scully insists she take him back to the hospital. Hot Lyle says he’s fine while taking off his shirt (good) and turning into a werewolf (bad). Meanwhile, while Scully is trying to pick the bathroom lock while not so hot Lyle (c’mon, you all knew that was coming) literally busts through the door. Scully is knocked to the floor and loses her gun.

Mulder and Tscani pull up outside the ranch. They split up. Mulder walks inside and finds werewolfy type scratches on the wall. He whisper-shouts for Scully. There is a sound and Mulder shoots at the werewolf shaped teddy bear several times. Wolfy heads upstairs and Mulder shoots again. Wow Mulder, pretty trigger happy there aren’t we? At the top of the stairs he is intercepted by Scully and she stands very close to him to tell him something jumped her and she lost her gun. Ah scene of close talking how I love thee. So Moose and Squirrel go hunting the werewolf. There is plenty of confusion with the lack of light and the stuffed animals. Finally the werewolf jumps them from behind (you see, again with the MO) and there is a gunshot. Tscani appears at the door and asks if they are ok. Mulder shines the flashlight on dead Lyle. On no! Scully says he was in the bathroom before they were attacked by the mountain lion. Sure Scully. Tscani tells her the lion is still in his cage. Probably the mountain lion made it look like a werewolf before locking himself back in his cage. Probably.

Back on the Trego reservation Mulder and Scully leave Tscani’s office. Mulder enquires after Gwen as she apparently promised to meet them before they left. Tscani tells them she pulled up sticks and left last night, giving away all her possessions. I guess Gwen had more friends than possessions. “Perhaps she saw something she wasn’t ready to understand”, he says. Fox and Danes shake the sheriffs’ hand and head towards their car. While they do that I recapitulate. So Joe, Jim and Lyle all die. Gwen leaves. The lawsuit, I assume doesn’t get sorted if Gwen gives all her stuff away and high-tails it off to who knows where. Scully doesn’t hook up and Mulder makes a new friend in Ish. I guess the cases that contribute to their high solve rate happen exclusively in fanfic. So what Chris Carter took from this episode is Native Americans good, werewolves bad. As a result we see Native Americans more than once in the series more and werewolves strike the fear of god into X-Philes when part of movie spoilers. Hurrah!

Mulder and Scully get to the car. Wow that was a long walk. “FBI”, Ish calls to Mulder “see you in about eight years.” “I hope not,” Mulder replies. Yeah, you and me both. Sorry Ish, nothing personal.

This recap was brought to you by a walnut protein bar, a chocolate rice cake and the amazing, restorative, inspirational qualities of tea. I thank you.

05 x 03 – Unusual Suspects

1989 – a SWAT team is doing a raid at Fells Point Industrial Park, Baltimore, Maryland. Although it’s pretty dark, so it could be anywhere. Perhaps Vancouver. Mark Snow is rocking the Piano of Impending FBI Nekkidness and the Screechy Strings of Alarm. One of the cops remarks “Quite a little party.” Ooh, par-tay! He also has reports of at least a dozen shots fired, the door looks like it’s been jimmied but the alarm hasn’t been tripped. Haven’t we all had parties like that, brothers and sisters? Represent. Nobody’s come out of the building, so the cop surmises they must be still in there. Not if they left before you turned up with your siren, doofus! The SWAT guys start searching the buildings with their little flashlights. Mulder’s flashlight is so much larger, but maybe he has more to prove. One of the SWAT guys finds a big pool of blood on the floor, but no body. Now there’s some moaning coming from underneath a flattened cardboard box on the floor. The SWAT lieutenant calls over Davis and Gonzales for backup and they flip up the cardboard, revealing a man’s naked upper torso. You can’t see the face, but he’s moaning and sort of writhing, then he starts muttering: “They’re here, they’re here, they’re here,” over and over. Lieutenant SWAT tells him to take it easy and asks if he’s hurt, but he just keeps on muttering. “Who’s here?” Lieutenant SWAT asks.

Meanwhile, one of the other SWAT guys investigates a bit more, pulling up one of those industrial elevator doors to reveal some people hiding behind some boxes. He yells at them, “Get down! Police! Get down! Freeze!” One of them replies, “Don’t shoot!” They stand up slowly, and one of them is significantly shorter than the other two. “We didn’t do it.” “Do what?” the SWAT guy asks. “Whatever.” He tells them to get facedown on the floor. Yay! It’s Frohike, Langly and Byers! I love these dudes! “Okay, cuff ‘em. Spread ‘em!” And there’s ample material for some seriously wrong fan-fic, right there. While all this is going on, the naked guy keeps on crying out, louder and louder: “They’re here! They’re here!” The camera pans back to him and he turns his face into the light. Holy moly, it’s Mulder! The most shocking part isn’t the nekkidness, it’s the wedding ring on his finger. Whuh?!? But – nice legs, Duchovny. Well played. I like the size of your flashlight. Doo DOO doo DOO dooo DOOOOOOO…..

Now we’re apparently at the Homicide Unit at the Baltimore Police Department in May, 1989. I remember May, 1989. I spent most of it in hospital. Bleah. Byers is in a jail cell, and looks down at his fingers despairingly. They’re all covered with ink, so I’m assuming he’s just been fingerprinted and he feels totally disgusted by himself and the situation in which he’s found. He’s such a sweetie. Langly says, “We’re screwed. Thank you so much for getting me involved in this, Doohickey.” Frohike snaps back, “Frohike, you hippy jerk.” Langly just loudly repeats, “Doohickey!” Frohike then makes an observation. “You know, with that long blond hair, you’ll be the first one in here that gets traded for cigarettes. I’m gonna be laughin’ my ass off!” Ew, dude! I’m so glad I don’t smoke and I’m even gladder I’ve never been incarcerated. With any luck, this will take a turn for the Oz and we’ll have nekkid Chris Meloni too. Or not. Langly’s not gonna take it, no, he ain’t gonna take it. He’s not gonna take it anymore. He gets up, towering over Frohike like Mulder does over Scully, but without the UST. Or with it, depending on the type of fan-fic that floats your boat. “You wanna cha-cha?” Frohike replies, “Anytime, anyplace.” I think Frohike suffers from Short Man Syndrome, where short men overcompensate for their lack of height by an inability to back down from a fight where their arse is going to be kicked and kicked good, and anyone can see it coming. One of my brothers is like this. Many’s the time he turned up at my house asking me how to get the blood out of his clothes. Always his own blood, sadly. Byers loses patience and tells both of them to relax, upon which Langly turns on him, saying, “Shut up, you narc!” Frohike adds, “It’s your fault we’re here.” At this point, a cop breaks it up, taking Byers away for questioning, addressing him as ‘you in the suit’. Snerk!

 Cool! It’s Detective Munch, Baltimore Homicide. I totally used to watch that show, specifically for Munch’s comedy stylings. I enjoy him in SVU too. Say hi to Olivia and Elliot for me, wouldja? Oh, I suppose he can’t because he hasn’t met them yet. One day he’ll tell them all about the strange time-travelling recapper from 2008 and they’ll look at him like he’s Mulder or something. Byers immediately asks, “Did they find her?” Munch says, “And a good evening to you. Sorry, no sign of your mystery lady.” Hee. It’s all in the delivery, people, all in the delivery. Byers protested that she’s real and that the FBI agent saw her. Unfortunately, Special Agent Mulder is currently being held in five-point restraints and jabbering like a monkey. Aw, his first time! And the guys were there for it! Sweet. Munch then suffers a possession by the Exposition Fairy (tm Jessica), saying that there’s been a warehouse break-in with nothing stolen, a shoot-out, but no guns, lots of blood, but no bodies…and an FBI agent who likes to take off all his clothes and talk about space aliens. Oh, that’s definitely Mulder and it sounds rather like an X-File, don’t you think? He tells Byers to fill him in from the top. Byers starts with his name and birth-date – John Fitzgerald Byers, 11/22/63. He was named after JFK – ooh, significance! The original name mooted was Bertram. Lucky escape. He works for the government, for the moment. Poor Byers can see his pension plan disappearing from here. He’s a public affairs officer for the Federal Communications Commission. Does anyone think the job title public affairs officer is a bit funny? Or am I the only one with a mind in the gutter? It was in that capacity that he was attending the Computer and Electronics show at the Baltimore Convention Centre.

 The scene changes to Byers at a stall at the Convention Centre. It’s all red, white and blue and even has a US flag. Seriously, it’s like Uncle Sam threw up in there. Voiceover says: “We at the FCC enjoy forging positive ties with the American public. It’s our way of saying ‘Communication is just another word for sharing’.” He’s smiling happily to himself and offers a jar of FCC buttons to a pair of long-haired dweebs who are walking past. They don’t even slow down, but one of them says, “Up yours, narc.” Poor Byers. What did he do to deserve that? He actually looks quite hurt. I’ve worked with one or two people this naïve. They actually believe that the organisation is committed to the Code of Conduct and don’t scoff when the new corporate logo is announced. They enjoy the interpretive dance representation of the Corporate Values and Mission Statement and actually clap and cheer. Suckers. I’m the one over in the corner rolling her eyes like Scully at a clairvoyant’s convention and yawning. But I’m cynical.

Byers voiceovers that some people don’t see it like that and that at any rate, it was where he first saw her. A mysterious blonde wearing sunglasses and a black mini-dress is walking in slow motion towards him. She drops her sunglasses a fraction and looks at Byers sadly. Boy, has she picked the right patsy! Earnestly, he asks her if she would like a button, stumbling over the words. Aw, he’s so cute! She just sort of goes, “Uh,” then turns and leaves. Poor Byers, he’s captivated. He voiceovers that there was just something about her. He tells his co-worker, Ken, that he’s going to take a short break. Ken just grunts at him, engrossed in playing some stupid game on the computer – it’s the really old one where you’re some kind of gopher digging tunnels or something – I forget the name of it. I’ve met Ken’s type before. He’s in a lower-level management government job, and he’s going to sit there until he’s dynamited out. He spends most of his time thinking up reasons why things can’t be done and making life miserable for his underlings, for whose work he regularly takes the credit. Kenny, you bastard!

 Cut to Byers, following the chicky-babe in a totally obvious manner. He just can’t dissemble to save himself, the dear man. Of course, she is quite aware of his interest. As she wanders around, she is greeted with, “Hello, pretty lady!” Eek, it’s Frohike, with slightly more hair than usual. He’s manning a stall for the Frohike Electronics Company and the sign and logo is hysterical! There’s a red lightning bolt coming down the side with a black and white head-shot of Frohike in a sort of oval. The head-shot features his extra-sleazy smile. I’m also disturbed to notice that he’s actually wearing a button-down striped shirt (relatively tasteful), and doesn’t appear to be sporting the fingerless gloves or the vest. He’s trying to offer her crystal-clear television with thirty-three channels and no cable bill. Surely that can’t be legal? Mystery woman just says, “Excuse me?” and Frohike thinks she’s trying to blow him off, so he keeps on with his spiel: “Now, I know what you’re thinkin’. Melvin, are you out of your mind? No cable bill? But that’s exactly what I’m saying. I’m talking premium channels here. You got your HBO, you got your Cinemax, you got your Showtime, all courtesy of this modestly-priced marvel, designed and built by the Frohike Electronics Company.” The way he counts off the channels on his fingers just cracks me up. We get a close up of some sort of electronic doohickey with a little black switch and the plastic case has Frohike Electronics Company and the red lightning bolt on it. Sold! He’s interrupted by a sarcastic drawl, “There’s a name that inspires consumer confidence.” Frohike wastes no time in leaning over to the curtain and snarling, “Shut up punk,” under his breath, then immediately turning back to Mystery Woman and smarming, “Now where were we?”

 The curtain suddenly opens, and it’s Langly. He’s wearing some sort of seventies’ styled T-shirt, but I can’t quite make out the logo, and sections of his hair are in little plaits with beads. I kid you not. He says, “If you wanna watch Matlock with Andy Griffith all blue and squiggly, go right ahead and buy from this guy. If you want quality bootleg cable, you talk to me.” Frohike, seeing his sale going up in smoke, counters, “If you want a converter that’ll short out and burn your house down, definitely talk to this guy.” This provokes Langly into saying that it was a one-time fluke and then starting a techno-geek argument with Frohike, obviously just one of many in a long line. Hee, it makes me wonder what their history prior to this was. Mystery Woman completely loses interest at this point, and starts to wander off, looking around carefully. Her sweet, earnest stalker, John Fitzgerald Byers, is still hanging around a nearby stall conspicuously. As Byers follows her past Frohike and Langly’s stalls, Langly fake-coughs, “Narc!” Man, that never gets old; it’s not just for high school. Byers decides that it’s beneath his dignity to notice, and keeps following Mystery Woman. She ducks around the corner and obviously (to everyone but poor naïve Byers) waits for him so that she can deliberately bump into him. He’s all over her, apologising and helping her pick up the things she’s dropped out of her bag, which include a picture of a little girl (perhaps about 3 years old) and a lipstick. He opens his eyes wide and says, “She’s very cute.” Rather than eliciting the usual sort of enthusiastic burbling about how good-looking, intelligent and advanced the child is from a mother thusly prompted, Mystery Woman just says quietly, “Yes, she is.” Byers looks at her all sort of soft and earnest, and she knows she has him. She thanks him and gets up to go. Of course, Byers calls out, “Wait.” Stumbling over his words again, he says that she looks like she could use some help. Byers really is Sir Galahad – I bet he read the Morte d’Arthur over and over when he was a kid. Either that, or watched the musical, Camelot. Mystery Woman takes off her sunglasses and looks at him sadly – she’s hooked him, now all she has to do is reel him in. He’ll be flopping on the deck before he knows it. Mark Snow tunes up the Oboe of Melancholy.

 Byers and Mystery Woman are now sitting at a little table having some coffee together. She’s telling him that her daughter turned three years old last week, and shows him the photo again. She says that last Tuesday was her birthday and says, “I hope he remembered that,” looking very much like she’s having trouble holding back tears. Hesitantly, Byers asks, “Her – her father took her from you?” She replies, “My former boyfriend. He kidnapped her.” Byers just bugs his eyes out in disbelief that someone could be so heinous. Time for the Special Victims Unit, people. She tells Byers that she got involved with a man who turned out to be a complete psychotic and that she was only with him a few months. She claims she was attracted to him because he was dark and mysterious, and then he just kept getting darker and more mysterious. O-K. Time for an intervention. She got pregnant and he left. Goodness me, poor Byers is just eating this up with a spoon. Damsel in distress! She fakes some tears and tells Byers that the psycho boyfriend suddenly came back and took her daughter six months ago. Byers says that it’s terrible and asks her if she called the police. She says she did, as well as private investigators, but they were very unhelpful. Byers evinces shock that the minions of righteousness didn’t do all in their power to help her. She’s gotten a couple of leads on her own, and she was told he was in Baltimore, so she’s here looking for him. Byers says supportively, “Well, that’s a start,” but she lets the air out of his balloon when she tells him that her former boyfriend now knows she’s looking for him and the closer she gets the more dangerous he becomes. Byers, all wide-eyed, asks if she’s worried he might hurt her daughter. Mystery Woman says, “Let’s just say I wanna find her, not him.” She pulls out a piece of paper and tells Byers that it’s the only other lead she has. It’s an ARPANET address, and she gives Byers a line about her boyfriend having something to do with computers. Byers recognises it as a Government network belonging to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, but that you can access it through the Internet. Woah, all this modern technology is giving me a head-spin. I think I’ll have to have a Bex and a good lie-down. She gives Byers a bit more of the woe-is-me, I just want to find my daughter, and like any good white knight would, he offers to go on-line to try and find out some information for her. She manages to seem like this is a totally unexpected outcome and comes over all grateful. Byers sort of glows with happiness to be of use to someone, and introduces himself, “By the way, my name’s John.” She pauses slightly, then says, “Holly. It’s nice to meet you,” shaking his hand gently. “Holly. Just like the sugar,” Byers remarks, noticing the torn packet on the table. “Yeah. Just like the sugar,” she says. Oh, Byers, Byers, Byers, open your eyes! It’s so clearly a fake name.

 Back at the Narc Stall, Ken’s still playing the same stupid computer game. I’ll bet that’s what he does all day in the office while Byers does all of his work. He asks Ken if he wants to take a short break. Ken turns around, sees Mystery Woman with Byers, and pushes his glasses up his nose in a sort of knowing way. I bet he’s thinking he didn’t know Byers had it in him. He says, “Whatever,” and leaves. Byers sits down in front of the computer and starts typing, asking Fake!Holly if her ex-boyfriend is into computers. She says she doesn’t really know much about him except that he’s psychotic. Right-o. Byers has logged into the site and it’s the Defense Data Network. He tells her he’s sorry, but that he thinks it is the end of the line. She says to him, “Isn’t there something – I don’t know how you say it – hack in to?” She’s doing a good job of pretending that she has no idea what she’s talking about, but only a Byers-level dork wouldn’t see straight through it. Byers is horribly shocked by this suggestion from his pure damsel and outright refuses to try. Fake!Holly looks terribly disappointed, but nods and begins to leave, thanking him sadly. Of course, he can’t let her go. “Wait,” he says again. Her sad, sad face overrides his judgement and he types in a valid entry code. She asks him what he did and he tells her it’s a government system and he knows a couple of log-in/out tricks with the VMS Version 5. Such. A. Geek. He realises he’s techno-babbling and just tells her, “Never mind.” She asks him to look up ‘Susanne Modeski’, saying that it’s her daughter’s name. To Byers’ surprise, it’s an encrypted file. Why would the DOD have an encrypted file about a three-year-old girl? Enquiring minds want to know. Fake!Holly asks him if he can decode it, but he says he’d need some help. She then asks him to print it out for her and he does so on a dot-matrix printer with tractor feed. I don’t miss those bloody things at all, no-sirree. They were forever screwing up anything I tried to print and they were noisy and slow. They sucked and I’m glad you can’t even buy them anymore. All of a sudden, she rips off the printout and grabs Byers by the arm, telling him to hide. She pulls him behind the curtain at the back and whips it closed, telling Byers that her psychotic ex is out there. The way Bruce Harwood delivers the line, “The psychotic?” is a laugh-riot – it’s like he almost can’t believe that such people exist at all. Fake!Holly tells him that her boyfriend must have tracked her here and is looking for her. She and Byers look out through the gap of the curtain at a tall man with dark hair, wearing a trench coat whose back is turned. Just then, he turns sideways and a considerable honker hoves into view, along with a sexy bad-boy sideburn – it’s Mulder! But he has eighties’ hair, all sort of foofed-up! He turns around completely, and he’s actually wearing a tasteful tie. The later ties must be some sort of cry for help.

 Fade to black – now we’re following Mulder as he walks down a hallway in the Convention Centre. He’s accosted by a salesman, “You look like a gentleman who’d appreciate thirty-three channels of crystal-clear television.” Of course, it’s Frohike again, trolling for customers. Mulder doesn’t even stop or look at him, just deadpans, “No thanks, handsome,” to which Frohike replies, “Ah, a man of distinction,” then mutters, “Punk ass,” once Mulder’s out of hearing range. Langly’s stall is closed and the sign is held up by wire and a couple of alligator clips, typical (hee). Frohike begins to amuse himself by dicking around with a calculator. Byers voiceovers: “It was at this point that we enlisted the help of one Melvin Frohike, computer hacker.” The curtains behind Frohike open and Fake!Holly walks in. Frohike turns, “Oh, hello pretty lady,” and sleazes, “Oh, yeah,” as she pulls the front curtains of his stall closed. What the hell does he think is going on? I think Frohike may have OD-ed on seventies porn where ugly men who just happen to have large appendages get it on with attractive women. Not that I’ve speculated about the size of Frohike’s appendage. Ahem. I blame fan-fiction. Byers then enters through the back curtains and Frohike whines, “What’s with the narc?” Oh, Frohike, haven’t you seen threesomes porn? Although I will admit, usually that’s with two ladies (or so I’ve heard…from people with whom I rarely associate – hey! Those tapes aren’t mine!).

 We flash back to the police interrogation room and the Exposition Fairy (tm Jessica) has Byers firmly in her steely grip and is shaking her magic dust everywhere. Byers tells Det. Munch (no point trying to make that name any funnier) that he thought Frohike could help in deciphering the encrypted file. Back in Frohike’s stall and Byers voiceovers: “It was at this point however, that Mr Frohike raised an interesting question.” Frohike: “I don’t understand. Why don’t you just kick this guy’s ass?” Um, because he’s tall, athletic, carries a gun and could probably kick the crap out of all of you with one hand tied behind his back? Not to mention the red-haired future partner who would make your life a living hell. Fake!Holly tells Frohike it’s a bad idea (women are so much more sensible than men) and tells him she just wants the pages decoded and asks him if he can do that. I know I’m recapping a lot more of the dialogue in this episode than normal, but I just can’t help myself. Frohike answers, “Sure baby. My kung-fu is the best, but it could take hours. I say, cut to the chase. If pretty boy can tell us where your daughter is, we just need to go beat it out of him.” She tells Frohike straight: “Bad idea. He’s very dangerous.” Frohike: “Lady, I’m dangerous! (Crass: BWAH!) All right, so we’ll just follow him.” Byers is backing up Frohike here, and I’m thinking that this is one of those man things, where they won’t admit it’s a bad idea because they don’t want the little woman to think they’re scared of Mulder. Good gravy, and they dare to call women illogical! She tries to talk them out of it, but to no avail. The testosterone is in control, even in Byers. They leave, ignoring Fake!Holly’s objections and she takes a deep breath, indicative of putting up with men’s shit. I hear you, sister!

 Byers and Frohike are following Mulder, who’s questioning people as he makes his way through the exhibits. It seems like he’s showing around a picture. The dork tag-team thinks they’re being inconspicuous, but Frohike’s wearing some sort of weird goggles and Byers couldn’t blend in with the crowd in a pink fit. Frohike says, “This dude doesn’t look so tough,” which is even funnier since it’s clear that Mulder is taller than everyone one else in this scene by several inches. Of course, Mulder spots them trying (and failing) to act casual and on the soundtrack a voice on a loudspeaker is saying: “They’re here. Alien invaders are among us. Detect their presence with hi-tech, modern electronics.” Mulder picks up something from the stall that beeps and startles him and he apologises in a very cute, dorky way and replaces it quickly. He then steps back, and walks into another hallway, closely followed by Frick and Frack. The next shot shows Byers and Frohike walking up the hallway, looking around in vain for their quarry, only to be surprised when he steps out of an alcove behind them, clearly having spotted the tail and wanting to confront them. Mulder says, “What’s up fellas? You looking for somebody?” They tell him they’re looking for the bathroom, which is not surprising considering the nasty shock they’ve just received. I think two pairs of fresh jocks are in order. Mulder tells them that he doesn’t think it’s down here. He notices Byers’ button and asks him if he works for the FCC. Frohike says, “What’s it to ya?” He’s a real little bantam cock, isn’t he? Mulder then makes a remark about belonging to the same credit union and badges them. He says he’s hoping they could help him as he’s looking for a girl. Oh, Mulder, like you need any help in that direction from these two dweebs, although Frohike might be deluded enough to think so. He shows them a slightly crumpled photograph of Fake!Holly, but Frohike and Byers deny knowing anything. Byers asks, “What did she do,” and Mulder snarks, “What’s it to you?” I must congratulate Vince Gilligan and David Duchovny on a fine piece of characterisation there, as this is exactly cocky, arrogant Mulder from Season 1, before Scully knocked off some of the sharp edges. He thanks them, then we hear a phone ring, and Mulder answers a cell phone the size of a house brick. Forget about the arse-kicking lads, he could just beat you both to death with his phone! We get our second taste of poor, dead Reggie Purdue (yay, continuity!). Mulder, you should tell him now about John Barnett so he doesn’t die, but this is just a flashback and Mulder is ignoring my fervent pleas.

 Frohike and Byers are striding down the concourse, beginning to feel as if they’ve been had. They get back to Frohike’s stall, but Fake!Holly is missing. Suddenly, there’s a commotion in the distance. Ken’s being arrested by MP’s, protesting that all he did was play Dig Dug (so that’s what it was called – thanks Ken!) and that he didn’t hack into anybody’s computer. Byers, the poor honest fool, tries to own up that it was him, but Frohike won’t have a bar of that, telling Byers that he’s crazy for trying to turn himself in and that a hacker never turns himself in. Byers vehemently denies that he’s a hacker. Frohike brings him down to earth: “Listen, we’ve got FBI agents running around, military police. Whatever the hell is going on around here, it’s big, and your lady friend is somehow at the centre of it all.” Byers doesn’t want to admit that Fake!Holly isn’t on the up and up, and insists that she needs his help. He just wants to find out what’s going on. Frohike suggests that they hack into the FBI mainframe to find out why the FBI’s looking for her and he knows just the guy who can do it. Byers is scandalised by this and says to Frohike: “You’re talking about a premeditated crime against the United States Government.” Frohike replies, “Hey, your second one today. Welcome to the Dark Side.” He removes Byers’ FCC pin and throws it aside. Bwahahahahahaaaaa!!!

“Okay ladies, who’s down for fifty?” It’s Langly, playing Dungeons and Dragons for money. I’m about the same age as these guys and I’ve always been a huge geek, but even I would have thought this was incredibly dorky. He doesn’t have any takers for the bet. Scornfully, he remarks, “Oh, man. My diaper-wearing granny would bet fifty.” He scoffs and says, “There’s no game here.” Another long-haired dork with a scrappy little goatee is goaded into betting fifty. Langly says, “Elron the Druid bets fifty. Cash only, Elron. I don’t take no personal cheques from the Bank of Middle Earth.” BWAH! The camera pulls back and you can see all the assorted dragons and other figurines littering the table. Langly shakes the dice. “Come on natural 20. Daddy needs a new sword of wounding.” The door opens before he can throw them – of course it’s Byers and Frohike. Langly protests: “What’s the big idea bringing the narc in here?” as he stalks to the door.

Frohike: “Me and the narc have a proposition for you.”

Langley: “What proposition?”

Frohike: “The coolest hack in the world” As he says this he moves in, almost breathing it in Langly’s ear. What’s up with that? Seriously wrong fan-fic alert! The other dork stands up at the table and says loudly, “Lord Manhammer.” Langly ignores him and says to Frohike – “Say it.” Pause. “Say it.” Frohike looks away and down, and says quietly, “Your kung-fu is the best.” Disturbing – geek showdown, yo!

Cut to a darkened hotel room, and Los Trios Dorkios are setting up some sort of computer system. Byers asks what a particular piece of equipment does. Frohike, not one to miss an opportunity, snarks: “Besides overheat, and burn the hotel down?” The usual Mulder and Scully banter has been replaced by banter between Frohike and Langly due to Scully’s absence. She’s probably too busy re-writing Einstein to care. Scully, I miss you! Don’t be gone long, k? Langly answers that it’s a loop-line shunt (uh-huh) and that anyone who tries to trace them will get bounced around by C and P’s call-forwarding software. Just so we’re clear. It’s Langly’s personal invention. Byers is freaking out about getting fired and going to jail, even saying that he deserves to go to jail. Frankly, I think that’s going to end up being the least of his troubles. Frohike tells him to shut up, and asks Langly what he needs him to do. Langly says, “Just watch and learn.” Langly types in a password and Access Granted. He is good. He says, “Government hack is a snap. Last week I got into the Maryland DMV. Changed my endorsement so I could handicap park.” Byers gives him a disgusted look. Chagrined, Langly says, “I got tinnitus.” I’m with you Langly. Tinnitus is a BITCH. Frohike tells Langly to look up Mulder’s FBI record. He brings Mulder’s record up, and how funny is it that David Duchovny is not only older than Mulder, but also about two inches taller? How does that work? But I’m sure one thing they both share is commendations out the ying-yang. We get a potted history of Fox William Mulder from Frohike who’s reading it from the screen. The record says he’s single, so what’s with the wedding ring? Did Duchovny just forget to take it off when he took off the rest of his clothes? They realise that Fake!Holly was lying about him being her psycho ex-boyfriend. They look up Mulder’s active case files, and of course, it turns out that Fake!Holly is Susanne Modeski. She’s an employee of the Army Advanced Weapons Research Facility at Whitestone, wanted for murder and sabotage. The case file says that she blew up a lab and killed four people and is considered unstable and delusional, intellectually brilliant, yet prone to confabulation and fits of violent behaviour. Wait, are we back in Mulder’s file again? She’s psychotic and profoundly paranoid, as well as armed and extremely dangerous. Byers sure does know how to pick ‘em. They all look at each other, shit-scared, when of course, that’s exactly when Susanne shows up. Frohike hides behind Byers, and Langly crouches down and hides behind him! Just too funny.

 Susanne sees the open computer screen and says: “You’ve been reading about me.” She closes the lap-top and admits that she is Susanne Modeski. She tells them that she was an organic chemist for the advanced weapons facility, but that she never blew up a lab and she never killed anybody. She claims that all she did was try to quit, but her job wasn’t the type of job you can just quit. Byers asks about her daughter, and she admits that she doesn’t have one. Byers looks incredibly hurt, and she apologises and tells him that the photo came with the wallet. She says that he wouldn’t have believed the truth and that she desperately needed his help. She still needs the encrypted document decoded. She says it has everything she needs to expose the United States Government’s plot against its own people, one she unwittingly helped to forward by developing the ergotamine-histamine gas. It’s an aerosolised gas which in small doses causes anxiety and paranoia in its subject. Funny, when Scully gets a dose of it in Season 6, it turns her into a bimbo. She tries to tell them that the government plans to test the gas on people in Baltimore, but our boys don’t believe her. She gets increasingly more desperate, and brings up JFK’s assassination, favourite conspiracy of Conspiracy Theorists R Us. Susanne says that the government wants to control every aspect of our lives from the cradle to the grave. I’m thinking I might let them – my life’s been a bit of a disorganised mess so far and it could probably use some bureaucratic rigour. But then, I work for the Government, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea. Susanne leaps over the bed, looking for something in the bedside table, and Frohike is so freaked by the whole thing he doesn’t even leer at the exposed thigh. Susanne tells them about her hotel bible theory – that there’s a listening device in all of them. Whoever was listening in to my last business trip has now had about as much Barry Manilow as a person can stand and still stay sane.

Frohike, doing a creditable Scully impersonation (after all, he’s about the same height) has had enough of this malarkey. He strides up to her, followed by Langly. “Now, I’m sorry. You’re telling me that the US Government – the same Government that gave us Amtrak – (“Not to mention the Susan B. Anthony dollar,” Langly interjects), is behind some of the darkest conspiracies on the planet? That’s just crazy!” Langly (pointing to Byers): “I mean, like, this guy works for the Government.” Hee, that line wouldn’t work at all without that superfluous ‘like’. Susanne says that she needs the document decoded and she’ll prove it to them. As she picks up her hand-bag, she drops a gun. “What do you say guys?” Byers voiceover: “Of course, at that point, we didn’t feel like we had much choice.” Back to the computer hacking. This time it’s Frohike doing all the work, while Langly and Byers lean over to watch. Frohike says, “Thank God for supercomputers,” so I’m assuming they’ve hacked into another US Government site. They decipher the document and it seems to back up everything she’s told them. They have murdered her research associates and placed the blame on her. The gas is being warehoused at our old friend, 204 Fells Point Road. However, Byers notices something even more disturbing. “Subject Modeski is currently monitored around the clock. Covert electronics installed per Dr Michael Kilbourne, 11/6/88.” Woah, dude, Dr Kilbourne’s her dentist. I knew you couldn’t trust dentists, I just knew it! Susanne excuses herself, but takes a pair of pliers from the toolbox. The Dork Boys have no idea what to think, but Byers eventually follows her into the toilet. Shockingly, she has pulled out the tooth with the pliers, and is swaying with pain and shock. She is one tough lady. I’d NEVER be able to do that. I can barely bring myself to go to the dentist. She’s holding the tooth up in the pliers and forcing them to look at it. I’d just faint dead away – teeth freak me out. They look at the tooth underneath some sort of magnifying glass and it certainly does seem to have some sort of electronic device implanted in it. Poor Susanne is holding an ice-pack to her jaw – I think I’d be screaming for drugs, right about now. The stronger the better. Byers says, “What’s the address of that warehouse?” and she smiles at him through the pain.

Back to the Munch Interrogation room. Det. Munch asks Byers where the tooth is, and Byers tells him that they flushed it because they were afraid it would give away their location. Munch just stares at him, and Byers, (feeling the pressure) says, “So…we broke into the warehouse.”

Langly finds the shipment and Frohike hands Susanne a box-cutter. She wastes no time, cutting into the cardboard. She rips it open, and it’s a carton of asthma inhalers. She tells them it’s how they plan on distributing the gas. Signy Coleman has a strange way of pronouncing asthma – it’s like azmar. Showing impeccable timing, Mulder now shows up to arrest Susanne Modeski. I’m guessing he was smart enough to have Byers and Frohike under some sort of surveillance the whole time, but not smart enough to call for back-up. Byers tries to tell Mulder that Susanne didn’t do it, but Mulder just tells them that they’re also under arrest. It’s a typical Mulder arrest though. He is there on his own, without his partner, only this time, Scully’s not around to pull his chestnuts out of the fire. They keep trying to tell Mulder what’s going on, but he’s trying to keep control of the situation and arrest four people at once on his own, so he gestures with his gun for them to get on the ground – NOW! The three guys obey, but Susanne is one tough broad and she is still moving away. Mulder says, “Ma’am, stop moving. I’m not gonna ask you again.” She ignores him and keeps backing away. She looks unsure about what she’s going to do, but if I were Mulder I wouldn’t mess with a woman who extracts her own teeth with a set of pliers.

A pair of Men in Black show up behind Susanne, asking her to come with them. Mulder, upset that his arrest is going awry, badges them and asks them to identify themselves. They ignore him, and Mulder’s always uncertain temper flares and he draws his gun on them. They throw Susanne behind them and open fire on Mulder with what appears to be a pair of machine pistols. Demonstrating his ability to thwart death, Mulder avoids being shot by ducking quickly behind some cartons, which start spewing gas as the bullets penetrate. Mulder is grunting and moaning (but not in a good way) and starts to throw his clothes off as if they are burning his skin. The two MIBs walk up to him as he is writhing on the floor, and start to reload their pistols. They’re about to shoot him when – BANG, BANG! Susanne Modeski shoots them both in the back, saving his life. She drops the gun and seems to be in shock as she walks towards where Mulder is twitching on the floor, completely oblivious to what just happened. She leaves quickly. The boys walk over toward Mulder, Byers calling for Susanne, but as they do so, the big door rolls open and a clean-up team of MIBs turns up, dressed in protective gear and gas masks. Oh, and Langly’s wearing a Bob Marley T-shirt. Rasta, mon! The boys just stand there, gob-smacked as our dear friend, X, walks up the ramp. He just walks past the Dork Boys as if they’re supremely unimportant and looks down at Mulder, who still seems to be mostly unaware of his surroundings and is reacting to things that aren’t there. He’s sort of talking to himself and twitching – it’s weird. X says, “Sanitise him.” Oh, that can’t be good.

The MIBs are now backing up a truck to the warehouse docking bay. Mulder has now removed all of his clothes, and we’re getting the scene through his eyes, I think. Everything is limned in primary colours and the sound is all echoey. He’s seeing the MIBs as little grey men. I know a lot of people hate how Chris Carter and 1013 fucked with the fan’s minds, but I think this is sort of cool, particularly when you marry it with the events of Gethsemane, and Redux I and II, where Mulder lost his faith that aliens were real. Here you get a plausible explanation of why Mulder might believe in aliens so strongly and why he becomes paranoid. Of course, you can also interpret it another way, and say that it had nothing to do with it. This is what I love about The X-Files. It’s like life – nothing is really resolved, your issues aren’t tied up in a neat little bow after 42 minutes and the truth is not self-evident. It’s a show with a really post-modern sensibility; there is no one truth, but maybe there are truths from your perspective. And maybe they’re out there.

The MIBs are rolling out the body-bags, but one of the MIB pair who tried to grab Susanne is not dead. It doesn’t matter, into the body-bag he goes, while Byers, Langly and Frohike look on, stunned. Byers just can’t help himself – somewhere inside he still believes that the Government is accountable to him. He yells, “Who are you people?” He gets no answer, but they have to move out of the way quickly or be run over by a fork-lift. The MIBs are covering the entire pallet of asthma inhalers in plastic, picking up all the broken asthma inhalers and vacuuming up the liquid on the concrete, as well as giving it a good scrubbing. This really is a clean-up crew. X, of course, isn’t getting his hands dirty. He finds the gun Susanne used to shoot the MIBs and picks it up. Byers, full of righteous anger, demands: “What authority do you have to do this?” Langly says, “Shut up, Byers.” Well, that’s sweet. At least he’s not calling him ‘the narc’ any more. X just ignores them some more and walks over to check out nekkid Mulder. Can’t blame him for that – it’s what I’d be doing. The clean-up guy asks, “Bag him?” X leans down and looks into Mulder’s face and says, “No-one touches this man.” Bet you wouldn’t be saying that if you knew you were going to die of a gunshot wound on the hallway outside Mulder’s apartment, X.

Byers just won’t give up. He really is quite courageous in a quiet sort of way. He insists on being heard, even though Langly is still trying valiantly to shut him up. Byers lays the whole thing out for X, demanding an explanation. Frohike is also hissing at him to shut up, but he keeps going. “Who gives you the authority?” X just looks at him and says, “No bags.” That sounds ominous. The guys are forced to their knees and X screws around with the gun a bit, messing with their heads. He walks behind them, and points the gun at the back of Byers’ head, execution-style, but it clicks on an empty chamber as Byers flinches, expecting to die. X says, “Behave yourselves.” He’s a man of few words, but they all count. Byers is still all revved-up. “That’s it?” he says. “You’re trying to intimidate us? To scare us so we’ll keep quiet?” Frohike whispers, “Byers, I swear to God I’ll shoot you myself.” Byers is on a roll though. “It’s all true what Susanne said about you people, isn’t it? About John F. Kennedy? Dallas?” X answers, “I heard it was a lone gunman.” Oh, cool, we have ourselves a name. Byers has no idea how to answer that, so X just turns and leaves. In the distance, we can hear the sirens of the cops from the teaser. Sucks to be The Lone Gunmen.

Back to the Munch Interrogation Room. Byers tells him that was the last they saw of him, and that the police turned up straight after and they panicked and hid. Munch is looking at him over the top of his glasses (I’ve tried this, it’s amazingly effective) and asks Byers, “Do I look like Geraldo to you?” Byers just sort of swallows and looks at him. Munch continues: “Don’t lie to me like I’m Geraldo. I’m not Geraldo!” Cut to Byers waking from a nightmare, into one that is arguably even worse. He was sleeping on a bench in a police lock-up with his suit jacket over his head. Langly has just woken too, and says, “Oh, man. It’s not all just a bad dream. I am in hell.” Frohike wakes up and says, “Oh, women,” to which Langly replies, “Ain’t it the truth?” Byers sits up and says, “What do you mean, women?” Langly says, “You know exactly what he means. Your molar-pulling girlfriend roped us in and left us swinging in the breeze.” Byers asks Frohike, “Is that what you meant?” Frohike, obviously feeling some sympathy for Byers, says, “Look. She is hot. But you gotta admit we’re here because of her.” Byers is not one to blame others for his situation and says, “I’m here because I wanted to learn the truth. I assume that was the same for you.” Ooh, someone call the burns unit for Langly and Frohike. Ouch. “Susanne opened my eyes to it. She doesn’t owe me anything. If there was some way I could help her still, I’d – I’d do it in a second.” Man, he’s almost too good to be true.

Yay, it’s Munch again. He unlocks the cell door and tells them that Agent Mulder came to and verified their story. “Three cheers for the FBI. You guys are free to go.” Of course, being Munch, he can’t just let them go. “Here’s a tip. Aluminium foil makes a lovely hat and it blocks out the Government’s mind control rays. Keep you guys out of trouble.” Snark, how I love thee. I also live to mock. The guys get their belongings back from the desk sergeant: “One green nylon wallet, $38 in cash…one – whatever the hell this is…” It looks like a bootleg cable device. Without saying a word, Munch just leans over Langly’s shoulder and confiscates it. As he does so, another police officer gives Munch some information about finding Mulder’s stolen car at the train station. I’m guessing this was Susanne’s getaway vehicle. Mulder must have left the keys in it. He probably lost his gun and his ginormous cell phone too. Byers is pretty quick on the uptake. He figures out that Susanne left the car there and he thinks they can catch up with her. Frohike thinks that she took a train, but Byers disagrees. Between them they figure out that she’s probably gone to the Baltimore Guardian offices that are only a couple of blocks from the train station.

Over to Susanne, who is indeed just leaving the Baltimore Guardian. She stops for a moment, looks around and puts her glasses back on. She is still wearing the same mini-dress. I hope she’s had a change of underwear. She’s walking furtively down the street, when Byers calls out her name. He runs to catch up to her, as do Langly and Frohike, although the bowl over a pedestrian as they do so. I wonder if that was choreographed. Susanne tells them that the Guardian didn’t believe her story. She’s not giving up though, she’s intending to try other newspapers and TV stations. Try the FOX network – they’ll show anything. She tells them she appreciates what they did for her. Byers tells her they still want to help. She leans over and kisses him, probably making his decade, and tells him they already have. A public phone on the street inexplicably starts to ring, and Susanne looks around suspiciously. She tells them, “No matter how paranoid you are you’re not paranoid enough. Tell the truth. Reach as many people as you can with it. That’s your weapon.” She backs away from them, puts on her sunglasses, and starts to trot off down the street. Before she can get far, a black sedan pulls up in front of her. She tries to run, but she can’t get away quickly enough. The Lone Gunmen watch helplessly as she is forced into the car, Byers calling out for her. As the car drives off, the tinted back window lowers, and we see X in the back seat.

Back at the Convention Centre, Byers is packing up the FCC buttons. He’s fingering them reluctantly, knowing they are a symbol of a life he is going to have to leave behind. In a way, he’s lost his innocence. Langly and Frohike are with him, seated back to back. Yay! It’s Mulder! But boo! He’s completely clothed. His hair also looks weird all combed-down and forward like that. Begone, ugly ‘eighties do! Frohike asks him if he’s feeling better, and he says he is, but he tells them he has these weird ideas in his head he can’t seem to shake. Frohike, never backward in coming forward asks, “What kind of ideas?” Mulder isn’t giving the little troll any ammunition and just says, “Weird ones.” Langly asks if Mulder’s going to bust them, and Mulder says he’s not sure yet, and he just spoke to his ASAC who has told him that Dr Susanne Modeski is no longer wanted by the FBI. She’s still missing but the case is closed. So that’s all right then. Mulder wants them to tell him what happened last night. Byers asks him if he wants the truth. Mulder says, “Yeah, I want the truth.” Byers says, “You might want to sit down. This is gonna take a while.” Mulder takes a seat, and the camera goes up to a crane shot, showing them sitting together in a loose semi-circle. Byers says, “The truth is, none of us is safe. Secret elements within the US Government seek to surveil us and control our lives.” Mulder busts out with a hilariously disbelieving, “WHAT?” Langly says, “Tell him about the hotel room bibles.” Byers says, “Yeah, I’m coming to that. It all started with Susanne Modeski.” Fade out.

4×04 – Unruhe

Recap by ijustworkhere

Unruhe! I love this episode. It’s scary, it’s tense, it has a great guest star/villain, and we get to see Mulder lose his shit over Scully in peril. Admittedly, the Scully-in-peril trope gets pretty old after a while, but back in Season 4 it still worked. I would also like to mention before we start that both Duchovny and Anderson are wicked hot as blazes in this episode. I consider the capture scene with Krycek in Tunguska to be the ultimate pinnacle of Mulder/Scully hotness–between the riot gear, the low lighting, Scully’s gorgeous hair, and Nick Lea, it’s like a supernova of hot–but Unruhe has some great hair and clothes for both of them and some absolutely beautiful photography. So brace yourselves. Onward!

We open on some of that Vancouver rain we’ve all heard so much about, as we see a yellow VW bug pull up outside a small drugstore. The time/date stamp tells us we’re in Traverse City, Michigan. That can’t be a real place. Inside the bug, a couple of upstanding young Canadians have a terse conversation about the passport photo the blonde girl is going inside to get, as said blonde girl applies lipstick carefully. “It’s just a damn passport photo. It’s not the cover of Vogue,” the guy snipes. “There’s no reason I have to look like hell in it,” the blonde girl replies. Sing it, sister. I got a facial the day before my passport photo and spent an hour and a half on hair and makeup. Ten years is a long time to have a single photo represent you to the world’s customs agents, is all. The guy tells the girl to “act natural” as a police car rolls past in the rain, so clearly I misjudged their upstandingness a few sentences back. Blonde girl gets out of the car and says she’ll be back in ten. “Make it five,” the guy tells her grumpily, and says he’ll be around back. Boy, he’s a keeper. These two actors have unusually thick Canadian accents. Inside the drugstore, a kindly-looking old store clerk is taking blonde girl’s picture. She looks exactly like a cross between Meg Ryan and whoever that girl was who played Terri Roberts in Syzygy. She smiles big as the kindly old store clerk snaps the photo. They make small talk about her trip and the weather and he says the photo will take a couple minutes to develop. The door opens and a man wearing Sam Seaborn’s foul weather gear enters the store; we can’t see his face. Dude. You look like the Gorton’s fisherman. I live in Portland. Trust me, you can get by just fine with some good wellies and a raincoat, you don’t have to go crazy.

Blonde girl tries to pay for the photo, but realizes she left her money in the car and says she’ll be back. “I’ll be here,” the kindly old store clerk says, not at all creepily. The Gorton’s fisherman goes out the door after blonde girl. Outside, it appears to be a sun shower–those are always fun and surreal–and I can’t help but notice that blonde girl’s umbrella is a very nice Burberry-like plaid. She’s walking around presumably to where her boyfriend is waiting with the car when the Gorton’s fisherman bumps her from behind. She squeals in pain. “Hey, you jerk!” But the Gorton’s fisherman just keeps on walking. Serial killers tend to do that. Blonde girl winces some more and gets that hazy early-stages-of-being-drugged look. She stumbles down a set of steps to the parking lot behind the store, calling for her boyfriend, who is sitting there in the yellow bug just like he said. Except, oh noes, there is blood coming out of his ear and a smoking cigarette dangling from his cold dead lips! Blonde girl has no time to properly freak her shit as the drug takes hold fully. She goes sprawling to the rain-soaked ground. A car pulls up and the Gorton’s fisherman gets out as blonde girl gasps and writhes on the ground, still conscious. Man, she doesn’t look all that much bigger than Scully, but later on Scully goes down in like two seconds flat, so maybe the Gorton’s fisherman is still experimenting with dosage at this point. He leans over blonde girl menacingly as she passes out. Back inside the drugstore, the kindly old store clerk is all, “The old ‘forgot my wallet’ ploy, right, I’m too old for this shit,” as it seems blonde girl is not coming back after all. He peels the backing off the Polaroid and is shocked and disturbed to see, instead of the smiling picture he took, a swirly shadow hellscape with blonde girl right in the middle, her face a rictus of terror, screaming up into the camera. Good Photoshop job, prop guys. Props on that. Hah! Sorry, I’ll stop.

Credits. Can someone please explain to me what the hell the image behind the “paranormal activity” caption is supposed to be? The two blue… things being pulled away from a brown… thing? Maybe the blue things have tusks of some kind? I swear, I’ve been trying to figure it out for sixteen years. Aaaah, Scully’s ID photo is so glamorous. When I was a kid watching this show I was absolutely certain beyond a doubt that I was going to grow up and go to med school and then join the FBI, and that I’d have a super-glamorous ID photo just like Scully. Nowadays you couldn’t pay me enough to have Scully’s job. I bruise too easily, and I like my sleep. And alive people. And, um, sex. Ahem.

TDS: Long Lake Road, Northern Michigan, 5:10 am. Speaking of sleep: Jesus, Mulder. A girl needs her beauty rest. Scully’s lucky she’s got such good genes. Our heroes are in the car driving towards the crime scene in Traverse City; Scully has the case file spread out on her lap, with the screamy photo blown up on a big 8×10 glossy. Mulder asks for her thoughts on the case. I like how this show always pretended that Mulder and Scully just happened to find themselves in a car in the middle of Nowhere, America driving towards some unknown destination, going over the case file for the first time. “Oh, so THIS is why we’re in Michigan!” I like to think Scully would have demanded some more prep work on the DC end before following Mulder into god-knows-what at the drop of a hat at 5:10 in the morning. Scully asks Mulder if there have been any ransom demands, which is a negative, which yeah, I’m sure they didn’t cover this on the plane ride, or anything. Mulder says it’s going on three days that blonde girl’s been missing. The boyfriend apparently died of a puncture wound through the eardrum into the brain; Scully makes a pained face at this. You know, I’m not a doctor or anything yet, but with the schooling I do have, I’m pretty damn sure that kind of wound wouldn’t kill a guy in the amount of time it took blonde girl to take her passport photo and find her dead boyfriend. Whatever. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that pursuing a career in science makes reruns of X-Files and CSI decidedly more difficult on the whole suspension-of-disbelief front. Scully says she’s not sure how they fit into the investigation; Mulder’s all, hello, didn’t you see that creep-ass photo? X-File! Scully duhs that it was taken by whoever abducted blonde girl, but Mulder spills that it weren’t nobody but the kindly old store clerk taking the photo, and that it was supposed to be a normal passport photo. Scully makes her first mistake of the episode by beginning her sentence with “Well, obviously…” and says that whoever took the photo had to have been privy to the girl’s abduction. Mulder says priggishly, “That is what one would think.” Scully gets that look on her face like she’s debating whether to demand a raise at gunpoint the next time she sees Skinner, or run the damn car right off the road and put both her and Alien Boy out of their collective misery. FIVE IN THE MORNING.

At the drugstore, the kindly old store clerk hauls out the camera he used to snap blonde girl’s passport photo, saying that it was under lock and key. “Damnedest thing,” he says. Scully looks unconvinced and asks if she can look around. As Mulder and the kindly old store clerk make investigatory small talk in the background, Scully walks around and nails down within moments that the film the clerk used was out of date, as well as being stored just above a heating unit. Seriously, that’s just dumb. Inventory is money, kindly old store clerk. Scully also notes that the kindly old store clerk has a brace on one old leg, hindering his mobility. A phone rings in the background. “I sure hope you find that young woman safe and sound,” kindly old store clerk says as he excuses himself and moves off toward the back of the store. Duchovny does this weird thing where it looks like Mulder’s checking out the kindly old store clerk’s ass as he walks past. Oh, Duchovny, always keeping us guessing. Mulder: “So which one of us gets to use the stun gun on Bruno Hauptmann back there?” You know, this show would have been even more awesome if they’d actually used TASERs from time to time. We weren’t presented with nearly a large enough range of badass weaponry for our entertainment (First Person Shooter doesn’t count because it’s so painfully unwatchable and sexist). I like to think that Mulder especially would have had better luck hanging on to his weapon if it were a rocket launcher or one of those supersoakers that squirts immobilizing cement the color of bubble gum. Come to think of it, it’s not like these two wouldn’t have had to complete routine firearm practice. Why didn’t we ever see that? Seriously, Carter, you couldn’t have cut two minutes of Diana Fowley anywhere along the line to show us Scully blowing off a little steam at the firing range? “Little feet, huh?” BAM BAM BAM BAM BAM. “Now who’s a whole person?” Aaah, firing-range-Scully who exists only in my head, if only I could introduce you to Seasons 8 & 9 Scully so you could kick her weepy ass back into shape.

But I digress. Scully agrees with Mulder that the kindly old store clerk probably isn’t their killer. She then pulls out the screamy photo and launches into her theory about out-of-date, heat-damaged film being the culprit. Mulder nods along, clearly amused at her pluck, as she begins a long sentence about emulsions and chemicals and faded dyes that sounds bullshitty and ultimately trails off into nothing, as he knew it would. He grins sort of adorably at her as she gives him the stink-eye and says, “Alright, fine, what’s your theory?” Mulder says he’s not sure he has one. My theory is that you two needed to get a room like three seasons ago. Seriously, how they ever made it past “Ice” without jumping each other’s bones, I’ll never figure out. A local cop comes in and is sore-y he called Mulder and Scully all the way out from Washington, because of new non-X-File-y evidence we will probably be shown in the next scene. DAMN the guest actors in this episode are painfully Canadian. I’d bet anything the sound guys had to edit out an “eh” or two in post.

A quick edit takes us to blonde girl’s house, where lovey-dovey pictures of her and her grumpy dead boyfriend adorn the walls. The local police element is there taking photos of what they presume is a crime scene. Mulder and Scully are introduced to “Inspector Puett”, and Mulder hilariously goes, “In… spector?” as though he’s both confused and delighted that people are still called Inspectors in this day and age. “US Postal Inspector,” the guy clarifies. He explains that blonde girl, Mary Louise Lefante, and her still-nameless boyfriend are being investigated for mail theft. Apparently postal clerk Mary was stealing credit cards that came through her sorting facility. Oldest racket in the book, that. Inspector Puett says that he thinks Mary faked her own disappearance. Mulder: “Yeah, but why would she stab her boyfriend through the ear?” Scully looks like she can think of a few reasons.

They go upstairs to Mary’s bedroom. Scully: “So you’re thinking this woman planted that photo of herself in the drugstore?” Mulder’s all glib: “What would be the point of that?” Oh, Scully. Just breathe deeply. Be patient. Trust me. Give it another couple years and he’ll be professing his love and planning impromptu getaways to Antarctica. Mulder has discovered a Polaroid camera in Mary’s closet, and puts his hand over the lens, snapping some photos. “Stand back, Scully, it’s loaded.” He then launches into this whole “thoughtograph” psychic photography theory which is honestly one of his lamer ideas, even if it turns out to be right on, but I can’t help that because I didn’t write this episode. He says that the first thoughtographer claimed to be able to concentrate on camera film to create a representation of his mind’s eye. As he explains this, he lays down Polaroid after Polaroid on a table. Scully looks like she feels the Insane in this Chili’s tonight. We then get an incredibly beautiful shot from below Mulder and Scully as they lean over and look at the developing Polaroids. This angle is usually pretty unforgiving, but apparently these two do not have bad angles. Scully is genuinely surprised and says “Oh my God,” as the same twisted, screaming image from the drugstore becomes apparent on the Polaroids. Now Mary Lefante’s head is also surrounded by toothy ghosts. Mulder says he thinks Mary’s abductor was in the house, and stalked her. He goes out to the porch and demonstrates the stalking in a way that creeps me out a little but does not at all surprise me. If anyone knows the ins and outs of obsessive behavior, it’s Mulder. Scully goes into skeptical mode, saying that it’s obvious that someone doctored the images and planted them at the scene. Mulder implies the pointlessness of that action: “This isn’t about mail fraud, Scully.” He posits that the thoughtographs are a peek into the mind of the killer. Scully looks unswayed, but willing to humor him. Mark Snow’s Strings of Scary suddenly zoom up in volume as we get another closeup of Mary Lefante’s terrified screaming face. Man, Mark Snow is a legend. If there were ever a movie made of my life, I’d have a cage match between Mark Snow and Bear McCreary to decide who’d do the score. Either outcome is a win, and the video footage would rocket me to YouTube fame. Though presumably I’d already be famous because they’re making a movie out of my life. Just for the lolz, then.

Now we’re outside, in the grass by the side of a busy highway. We see a hand climbing up out of the grass, and a woman in a flowered nightgown hoists herself to her feet and begins walking nonchalantly down the shoulder of the road. It’s Mary Lefante, dried blood in streaks from her eye sockets, her expression vacant as cars whizz by and honk at her. A police car pulls over, and then we are busting through the doors of a hospital with Mulder, Scully, and a doctor/nurse/medical professional running alongside the stretcher carrying Mary. “Completely nonresponsive,” the doctor says, adding that the tox screen showed traces of morphine and scopolamine. Like any pathologist worth her mettle, Scully immediately says, “Twilight Sleep,” and Mulder follows up with, “the dental anaesthetic?” What the hell magazine subscriptions do you have going on that you would know that, Mulder? The doctor describes it as a “painkiller cocktail” and says it’s also for women in labor. Well, not for a long time now, but whatever. The scary thing about Twilight Sleep and its use in this episode is that it’s one of those anaesthetics that doesn’t knock the patient out, just keeps them pain-free and makes it so they don’t remember anything later. So these women who had the awls shoved into their eye sockets were totally conscious for the whole thing. Yikes. Mulder asks if the Twilight Sleep would have caused Mary’s catatonia, and Scully responds in the negative while checking Mary’s pupils, which are tiny, indicating that the drug’s out of her system by now anyway. She tells the doctor to give Mary a PET scan. Gillian Anderson adorably says each letter in the acronym instead of the common way of just saying the word “pet”; I’ve noticed this pronunciation on the show before, which makes me wonder if they just never noticed that Scully sounds silly, or if in Canada they actually pronounce it that way.

Mary gets loaded into the PET scanner and the image miraculously comes up in the control booth in a matter of seconds. They must have had this PET scanner shipped special from the Las Vegas Crime Lab. The scan does not look good; poor Mary is missing most of her frontal lobe. Scully winces and clues a clueless Mulder into the fact that Mary’s been given a trans-orbital lobotomy, a.k.a. an icepick lobotomy, but whoever did it ain’t no doctor because Mary’s brain looks like Swiss cheese. They make pensive and disturbed faces and then Mary starts moaning the word “unruhe” over and over from inside the PET scan. The doctors go in and pull her out of the scan, but her eyes are still closed and she’s totally nonresponsive, just repeating “unruhe”. That’s going to get annoying for the hospital staff. May I just mention that Mulder and Scully look gorgeous together in this dim control-room lighting? Thank you. So mentioned. Seriously, I’d like to e-mail whoever did makeup for this show and ask them the exact makeup cocktail they used for Season 4 Scully, and then buy it and use it for the rest of my life, because Scully looks AWESOME in this season. Duchovny’s bronzer can stay back in 1996, though, no offense. That local officer from before comes through the door and tells our heroes that there’s been a second abduction. Bummer!

AAAAAHHH. That was a pre-emptive shriek, because here’s where the episode really starts to ratchet up the horror. We’re in a small dark space as a spotlight is clicked on in some poor woman’s face; she has duct tape over her mouth and looks confused, like she just woke up. A man is speaking German off-camera. I cannot think of a more terrifying tableau, to be honest. The woman starts to struggle against the chair she is taped to, making whimpering noises, and her eyes follow the silhouette of something long and sharp as the man passes it before her face. We get a good closeup: it’s an awl. The woman shits her pants in fear at the same time I do. Mark Snow’s music jangles. This can only end in tears.

Nighttime. Scully pulls up to a crime scene driving a bigass Ford Explorer. I know it can’t be Scully who rented a ding-dang SUV! Think of the Earth, Mulder. Scully flashes her badge and enters a tarped scaffolding area. Nice tracking shot from in front of Scully as she marches purposefully down the long plastic-shrouded hallway. Some nice young fellas from the county coroner pass her with a body bag; she looks like she’s getting annoyed at the amount of bodies that are piling up. Well, sure. Mulder told her this would be a quick little trip to see a photography exhibit and she only packed two pairs of underwear. Inside the office building, Mulder shows Scully the outline of where the body lay against a wall, a splotch of blood where his ear would be: “Charles Selchick, certified public accountant, dead from a stab wound through the ear.” Scully makes an “oh for Pete’s sake” face as she crosses the room to Mulder. Wow, she is annoyed. Dead bodies are your bread and butter, Scully! It’s all about job security. Go with it. Mulder continues that the dead man’s secretary, 32-year-old Alice Brandt, was abducted from the scene. Some clumsy dialogue here as we establish that the two victims have no connection, yet it’s the same M.O. Scully: “The clock is running.” Really, writers? Mulder says he’s been thinking about the word “unruhe”, and for an Ivy-educated near-PhD-holder, Duchovny really butchers the pronunciation. Scully says it’s German and means “unrest.” “You took German in high school, Scully?” “College,” she replies. Funny, I’ve always pictured Scully as the kind of schoolgirl who took French all through high school and college and nursed a secret desire to spend a summer painting bowls of fruit in Paris. Maybe it’s the cultured British tint in Anderson’s accent, I don’t know.

Scully pulls out crime scene photos of the yellow bug from Mary LaFont’s abduction and posits that perhaps the killer is in one of them, being one of those killers that likes to return to the scene. Mulder shoots this down quickly. “How do you know?” Scully says, and he replies that it would have affected the photos. Boy, it didn’t take long for Mulder’s thoughtography theory to morph into their primary investigative assumption for this case, did it? Local Police Guy comes over and says they haven’t found any film or a camera at the scene anywhere. Mulder goes rooting around in desk drawers as Scully gets on his case: “Is that what we’re looking for here, Mulder? More evidence of psychic photography?” Mulder says it might be the only evidence they have. Besides the use of Twilight Sleep, the components of which someone would have had to purchase at a pharmacy; oh, and the unique awl-like weapon; plus this other thing Scully’s about to find in a second because she’s a real detective, unlike Mulder, who is damn lucky he’s on a show called “The X-Files” and his paranormal theories keep panning out, because any other TV boss would have him out on his ass lickety-split. Scully says she has a Bureau forensics team coming up from Detroit, and Mulder pissypants that there’s nothing for them to find. Scully frowns and looks off into the distance, presumably for a little in situ calming meditation, but then she notices something out the window: the same construction company logo as is visible in the Mary LaFont crime scene photo. She drags Mulder outside and points this out to him, adding that if the killer worked for that construction company, he could have picked out his victims from those vantage points. Now that’s what I call a lead. Mulder plays it cool and says that she should check it out. Scully: “Where are you going to be?” Mulder says he’s going back to DC to run the screamy photo through the lab: “I still think the answer’s in here.” Scully is by this point well and truly fed up: “What if it’s not, Mulder? This woman’s time is running out!” Mulder hedges that it’s all the more reason to follow up all available leads. “I’ll be in touch,” he says a bit testily, then walks off. Oh, Scully. This is the man you want fathering your children?

Now we’re back in the spotlight with the duct-taped woman. Oh, Jesus. I thought we were done with this. This is too scary. The German-speaking dude speaks some more German and comes up to the woman holding a large flowered nightgown like the one we saw on Mary Lefante. He places the nightgown over her as she shrieks and shakes her head. The duct tape has slipped off her mouth and she yells, “Get away from me, you bastard!” The man just rips off more duct tape and re-tapes her mouth, shutting off the light and leaving her in the dark again.

TDS: FBI Special Photographic Unit. Mulder is working with some lackey on de-blurring the screamy photo. There’s a lot of photo babble, and long story short, the lackey thinks it’s an uncannily perfect Photoshop job. Quit sneaking into the writers’ room and changing the scripts, props guys. They manage to isolate the image of a menacing male face over to the left of the photo. Mulder sits back, satisfied, knowing he’s going to get to deliver a big “I told you so” to Scully. Speaking of which, Scully, back in Michigan, is talking to the local element about the construction company. They’ve narrowed down a list of workers who overlapped the job sites, but haven’t come up with anything yet. The construction company owner is sitting in a corner and claims that the company doesn’t hire day laborers: “I don’t want any trouble with the IRS,” he says like a perfect choirboy. Scully rolls her eyes. Turns out the site foreman might have hired some cash-only day laborers without the owner’s knowledge. Scully tells them to find out where the foreman is who was working the office crime scene, and goes off to pursue this lead. Back at the photography lab, Mulder’s just getting off the phone and says there was no NCIC match for the guy in the photo. They tinker some more with some shadows in the photo’s background and isolate another image, the shadow of someone with very long legs. “He’s standing over her; he means to pass judgment on her, like a god,” Mulder says. “Sure, freak,” the lackey replies. Oh, he does not. But you know he’s thinking it.

Scully’s at the new construction site to question the foreman. Her clothes throughout the episode have been really flattering, but this beige suit she’s rocking is a little dumpy. Sigh. She wanders around calling, “Hello?” and goes up a set of stairs, looking into the various unbuilt rooms. She hears a noise across the landing. A construction worker on stilts walks slowly toward her. He asks in a friendly voice if he can help her; his name is Gerry Schnauz. She asks about his day laborers. He gets all cagey about possible IRS issues, and she reassures him that it’s not a tax thing. Just a serial murderer, nothing to get alarmed about, sir. As the camera goes in for tighter and tighter shots of the foreman’s face, we can see that his eyes do this creepy googly thing where they flick back and forth quickly. Pruitt Taylor Vince, the actor playing Schnauz, actually has nystagmus in real life, which has opened up all sorts of opportunities playing twitchy serial-killer types in TV and film. I always recognize him because of the eye thing. Scully’s cellphone rings and she turns her back on Gerry to answer it. Second mistake of the episode, Scully, although I suppose it turns out okay. Mulder’s all, “Yo Scully, the kidnapper’s got crazy long legs.” Scully gets her “gotcha” face on and turns back to Gerry as Mulder’s like, “Scully? You there?” Unfortunately for him, she hangs up before he can get out his “I told you so.” Next time, Mulder. Scully looks up at Gerry and says in a low voice, “Unruhe.” Gerry’s eyes wiggle. He breathes fast. Scully pulls her gun and tells him to stay put. Naturally, he splits.

In a really cool action shot, Gerry leaps across the landing on his stilts, tumbling to the floor on the other side. Scully chases him, hollering her “Freeze, mother, I’m armed” routine, but he manages to get all the way downstairs before she shoots out some drywall next to his face and he stops with his hands up. Scully carefully comes down the stairs to him, keeping her gun trained on his face, and shoves him up against the wall roughly. Hee. Sorry; she’s like a third his size, it’s cute. She searches his pockets and yelps, pulling her hand out. There’s a drop of blood on her finger. She more cautiously reaches back into the pocket and pulls out the big, shiny awl that we saw before in the scene with the second victim. NICE detective work, Scully. While Mulder was off scrapbooking in DC, you managed to singlehandedly catch the killer following your own lead, and you managed to look dang pretty doing it.

She looks awfully pretty in the next scene, too, although that suit, yeesh. Mulder has somehow flown back to Michigan in the past hour or so and he and Scully are interrogating Gerry. Gerry is putting on an excellent “Who, me?” act. I’d believe him. “Tell us where she is, Gerry,” Scully demands. Gerry blusters about mistaken identity, saying he has no earthly clue what she’s talking about. Mulder’s just hanging out in the background here, seemingly content to let Scully take charge. Maybe it turns him on. Actually, I’d say that’s probable. Scully holds up the awl, and Gerry blah blahs something about putting up sheet rock. WRONG, Scully decrees. “You used this to kill the two men.” “What two men?” Gerry protests, and really, this innocent act is frighteningly believable. I’d totally let this dude go. I wonder how many criminals get away because they’re just really good liars. Mulder finally speaks, the glow of his tan like its own lighting unit back there in the corner. They go through Gerry’s history: in 1980, he bludgeoned his father and turned him into a vegetable. Oh, that. Gerry says that he was institutionalized for a “brain imbalance”–paranoid schizophrenia, we learn–and that he’s spent his time since then taking care of his father. “Making amends.” Mulder asks Gerry how he felt when his father died; Gerry whispers, “Sad.” Scully is not buying a single crumb of this sob story. Mulder brings up Gerry’s sister, who committed suicide in 1980: “God, that was a bad year, Gerry.” Gerry gets pissy and says Mulder’s talking like Sigmund Freud. Mulder looks oddly pleased at this. Oh, he would. Scully cuts the crap and demands again to know where Alice Brandt is. “Where is she?” she says, leaning forward into the light, her face turning a paler shade, the shadows under her eyes standing out. Gerry stares at her, his eyes googling back and forth. “You look troubled,” he whispers. GAH. Scully? When a serial killer says that? That’s your cue to hop the next plane back to Washington and let the local element finish things up.

Mulder comes over to the table and sets down the isolated image of the man from the screamy photo. “This your father, Gerry?” Gerry gasps and asks where Mulder got it. “You left it for me,” Mulder says, and then lays down the screamy photo of Mary Lefante. Gerry’s eyes google google google. “Is this what you see when you close your eyes?” Mulder asks. “Tell me where Alice Brandt is.” Gerry’s dropped the act completely and is fully Crazy. “She’s… safe,” he whispers. “From the Howlers.” Scully makes a mad mommy face, knowing that can’t mean anything good. “Tell me how I can find her,” Mulder presses. Cut to the bigass Ford Explorer and the local element kicking up dust on a back road somewhere, speeding to a crime scene. Scully and Mulder hike a little ways into the woods and break into a jog as they near the body of Alice Brandt, dressed in that hideous nightgown. Aw, dang. “Motherfucker,” Scully says, or she would, if this show had been on HBO and not FOX. Wow, think about that for a second: an HBO-produced X-Files. I’ll be in my bunk. Scully stomps back down to the Explorer, leaving Mulder behind at the scene. She looks royally pissed and sad. Her suit is as baggy and beige as ever. Mulder gingerly nears the car, where Scully is sitting in the driver’s seat staring at nothing. He looks like he’s worried there will be no nooky tonight. “Hey, Scully, that word ‘unruhe’, unrest, it’s bothering me,” he says casually, busting out a theory about how maybe Gerry thought he was saving the women from damnation. “It’s over, Mulder,” Scully says tersely. Not reading the signs, Mulder continues, until Scully snaps at him, “What the hell does it matter?” He looks at her a long moment before replying, “Because I want to know.” Well, if that’s not the show in a nutshell, I don’t know what is. “I don’t,” Scully says with finality. Mulder gives in and they drive off.

Back at the police station, the local cop from throughout the episode is taking Gerry’s mug shot and fingerprints. “Eyes straight ahead,” he says as he snaps the mug shot. Gerry’s eyes google wildly, noticing the cop’s hip holster. The cop handcuffs Gerry to a table and goes to the printer to get the arrest report. But, oh dear! Instead of Gerry’s mug shot in the righthand corner, it is a picture of the cop himself with a bullet hole in his head, a look of surprise on his face, and blood splatter on the wall behind him. Sadly, the cop does not have Mulder’s intuitive leap skillz, and stands there saying “What the hell?” as Gerry lunges forward, grabs the gun, and makes the photo come true. Awwww. When we come back from a commercial space, Mulder and the local element are looking around the crime scene. Scully comes in and Mulder shows her that the bullet wound in the psychic photo is in the wrong place–the cop was shot in the throat. “He wasn’t trying to save this victim,” Mulder profiles. Scully tells him about an armed robbery at the drugstore from the beginning of the episode, and they take off. Boy, that was a short little expository scene that probably could have been done in the car on the way to the drugstore, don’t you think, writers?

At the drugstore, the kindly old store clerk–NNNNOOOOOOOO!–is having a head wound tended to. REALLY, GERRY? That guy is so old and kindly! You didn’t need to do that! Mulder figures out that Gerry took all the film from the store, and goes over to one of those quick-print photo booths, feeding some money into the slot as Scully approaches. They trade info: Gerry not only took the camera and all the film, he also took some insulin syringes and the components of Twilight Sleep. Scully watches the flash go off inside the photo booth, thinking, then wonders aloud if Gerry hasn’t already picked out his next victim from the construction site where she arrested him. “Let’s go,” she says. Mulder gives her the keys: “Bring the car around, I want to wait for this. I’ll be right there.” Scully looks annoyed but obliges. Mulder is about to feel like a jackass.

Scully’s hair bounces nicely in the sunlight as she walks around back to where the car is parked, talking to the local element on the phone, telling them to get a unit over to the construction site. Mark Snow’s ominous angel choir lets us know that shit is about to go down. Scully trots down the same set of steps Mary Lefante stumbled down in the beginning. She heads to the bigass Ford Explorer and roots for her keys; the camera pans down to her feet, which are–sigh–in beige shoes. No more beige after this, Scully, promise? Suddenly, a hand comes from under the Explorer and stabs Scully in the foot with an insulin syringe. NO! And OW! We get a nice aerial shot of Scully yelling in pain and then stumbling back a few steps. Gerry crawls out from under the Explorer. Scully is barely able to get her gun out of its holster before she’s out cold on the ground. See? It was like two, maybe three seconds. Scully’s a cheap date. We see Gerry’s hands grasp her shoulders and yank her up off the asphalt. Okay, I didn’t talk up that shot enough, but really, I consider it a standout piece of cinematography from the series. It’s all one shot spiraling down as Scully stumbles, tries to get her gun, Gerry crawls out, she drops her keys and her gun and falls, and finally it’s a closeup on her face as Gerry’s hands grab her. It’s quite excellent.

Inside the drugstore, Mulder’s photos print and he holds them up for inspection. Horrifyingly, the photo is of Scully screaming and reaching a hand up toward the camera, much like Mary Lefante’s, only instead of just Howlers surrounding her head there are clawed white fingers clutching at her face. This? This is SCARY. Scarier than the entirety of Season 9, I daresay. Mulder’s eyes get real big. He runs. He runs outside, runs and runs around the side of the building. The Explorer isn’t in the parking lot, but then he sees it coming down the street behind the store. Instead of calling the cops, giving them the plate number and the car’s direction, and having them follow it, Mulder runs after the speeding vehicle. Yeah. Good luck with that, buddy. “Scullay! SCULLAY!” Mulder yells as he runs and runs and eventually loses the Explorer. Oh, Mulder. Now you’re really not getting any tonight.

Back from the commercial space, Mulder is sitting at the police station, focusing intently on Scully’s terrified, screaming face in the photo, his fingers framing it nicely. One of the local element gets his attention and tells him that the bigass Explorer just turned up, abandoned up the highway, and an Audi was stolen from the same spot. Mulder says Gerry’s switching cars and will do this a few more times. Nobody at that park-and-ride saw a huge man in paint-spattered coveralls dragging a tiny unconscious woman from car to car? I guess it’s the same as when Duane Barry managed to smash Scully’s front window and abduct her through it, with all kinds of screaming going on, in the middle of a residential block in Georgetown. I used to live in DC and I could never imagine that scenario playing out without witnesses. Mulder is focused on the white claws next to Scully’s face in the photo. “He’s got six fingers here… six fingers.” He looks up and asks the local element if Gerry has a residence, friends, relatives, a summer house, a winter house… all are answered in the negative. “He doesn’t have much of anything,” one of the cops says. Mulder asks for Gerry’s wallet. Inside, he finds a folded-up newspaper clipping of Gerry’s father’s obituary; it shows a grainy photo of a Marine honor guard at the elder Schnauz’s grave. The father’s name was Gerald Schnauz, Senior, D.D.S. “His father was a dentist,” Mulder says. Oh, you’re good, Mulder.

And here we are at Gerry Sr.’s old dental practice, the glass door dusty and dark. Mulder and the local element bust through. The place is covered in a thick layer of cobwebs. Scully and Gerry are not there. However, there is an old advertisement on the wall for “Twilite Sleep” (ask your dentist about it!) and a void in the dust on the floor where the dental chair used to be. There are also some recent footprints. “Why would he take the chair?” Local Element #1 asks. Mulder looks like he doesn’t quite want to contemplate that. We’re forced to, however, as the scene cuts to darkness, and then that damn spotlight snapping on, illuminating a very drugged Scully only just now coming awake. The camera pans out this time for a wide shot and we see that she is duct-taped to the missing dental chair in the middle of a trailer that has soundproof insulation all over the walls. She looks pretty out of it. Gerry clearly dosed the shit out of her. I mean, she is an FBI agent, and all, and already apprehended him once. Next to Scully is a metal tray, and craned above her head is a light like that you’d find in a dentist’s office. It can’t be said enough: Gah. Scully’s coming back to herself and tries to move her immobilized wrists and ankles; she is unsuccessful. She looks to her left and sees the instrument tray with the gigantic shiny awl front and center. Now she knows where the hell she is, and the terror can commence.

The camera pans to the back of the trailer, from Scully’s POV, and we can see Gerry in his white coveralls standing just beyond the light’s edge. Scully breathes a few deep breaths and says quietly but forcefully, “Let me go.” “Sshhhh,” Gerry responds, moving towards her and speaking German. He picks up the duct tape and starts to tear off a strip. “It’s over, Gerry,” Scully says. “Let me go, right now!” Gerry just keeps spouting German, the only word of which I catch is “unruhe”. What can I say, I took French. Gerry’s about to put the strip of tape over Scully’s mouth when she busts out some German of her own. “Stop,” she says. “I have no unrest.” Actually, Scully’s life is pretty much the definition of unrest, but we’ll let that slide. She repeats the last sentence, her voice getting stronger. “I don’t need to be saved.” Gerry stares at her for a moment, his eyes googling madly, and then he shakes his head and says in English, “Yes, you do. Everybody does. But especially you.” Scully asks why her: “Do I remind you of your sister?” Gerry seems unimpressed, but Scully persists, asking why Gerry’s sister killed herself. “What did your father do to her?” Gerry says his father did nothing; it was the Howlers. Scully very wisely spins this into a casual conversation about the Howlers, asking him to talk about it. That’s right, Scully. Keep him talking. Delay. Mulder may be an ass sometimes, but if there’s anything we know about him, it’s that if given enough time, he will save Scully or die trying.

Gerry gets real close into Scully’s face and she backs up in the chair, barely hiding her terror and disgust, as he explains that the Howlers are inside her head and make her do things and say things she doesn’t mean. “You’ve got them,” he says, “right there.” And he pokes his index finger between her eyebrows, exactly over the spot where she will later discover her tumor. I don’t know if the writers even had that storyline broken out when they wrote this episode, but upon series rewatch, it’s chilling. “Don’t you feel them?” Gerry asks, and Scully replies that she doesn’t have them. Gerry says that the Howlers are making her say that because they know he’s going to kill them. He grabs the awl and holds it up in front of her face. Scully desperately protests, saying that the Howlers aren’t real, that he made them up to explain what his sister said his father did to her. Gerry loses his shit, screaming into Scully’s face that he’s onto the Howlers: “I know your tricks!” The awl waves around madly an inch from Scully’s eye while he’s yelling. It’s quite terrifying. Bipolar Gerry is calm again as he says, “Besides, I’ve seen them, in the picture your partner showed me. Pictures don’t lie.” Scully tells him the Howlers are only in his head. Gerry puts down the awl and walks to the back of the trailer; Scully sees her chance and reaches her taped left hand for the tray. She manages to hook a finger on it and draw it maybe an inch nearer, but then Gerry’s back and pushes the tray far out of her reach. He’s got a camera in his hands, the passport camera from the drugstore. He aims it at Scully. Then something seems to occur to him, and he turns the camera around slowly to aim at himself, the flash illuminating his face as he takes picture after picture. I know I shouldn’t notice things like this in scenes like these, but whatever lipstick they put on Scully here is stunning and I want it.

We cut back to Gerry Sr.’s dental practice, where Mulder is throwing a mini-tantrum at himself over the whole “six fingers” clue and has to ask twice for the officer’s info that the state police have looked as far as Grand Rapids and still haven’t found Scully. Mulder pulls out the photo of Scully screaming again, saying “Dammit, dammit,” under his breath, thinking furiously, as the local element is all, dude, what do we do now? Suddenly Mulder has a brainwave; he pulls out the newspaper clipping of Gerry Sr.’s gravesite, where there are five white tombstones in a line around the fresh grave. “Five headstones,” Mulder says, and then it clicks. “And the father makes six. Come on!” They all run out of the dusty dark office.

Graveyard! There the Schnauzes lie R-ingIP, all in a line like in the newspaper photo. A sprinkler is very nicely irrigating the lawns, although, hello, it is VANCOUVER, so save your water, Parks Department. Think of the Earth. Mulder and the local element come running through, yelling about spreading out and such. Mulder notices… a hole in a hedge far away, which, this is why I’m not in the FBI and Mulder is, because I would be looking for something overt and obvious like Scully’s cross necklace hanging from a big arrow constructed out of dental floss pointing at the Lobotomy Trailer, while Mulder sees a hole in a hedge fifty yards away and immediately leaps to the conclusion that his lady is being held captive there. Or maybe there’s something else I’m missing in this scene. All I’m saying is, it doesn’t seem like much of a clue, so either Mulder’s brilliant or the writers are lazy. Actually, those aren’t mutually exclusive, as we know all too well. Anyway. Inside the Lobotomy Trailer, Gerry has taken his Polaroids and is showing them to Scully one by one. He seems agitated and stammers, “What–what does this mean?” Scully’s clearly past the pants-shitting-terror stage of this most recent abduction because she just swallows and says quietly, “It means you need help, Gerry.” Gerry backs away and seems to calm a bit, and Scully looks like she’s thinking she might be getting out of this with an intact frontal lobe after all, but then Gerry says she’s wrong and what it means is that he doesn’t have much time left.

Back to pants-shitting terror as Gerry pulls the tray of instruments close to Scully again and rips off a strip of duct tape. Scully starts with the panic breathing and unwisely chooses the last possible moment to yell, “No, Gerry, stop!” before he tapes her mouth shut, effectively silencing her. I’ve always wondered how they do this on TV–do they make special fake duct tape to go over the actors’ mouths? Because I can’t imagine that an actor would submit to several takes of painful ripping off of duct tape. That shit hurts. Not that I know, or anything. Gerry grabs the awl and comes after Scully’s baby blues. She’s made of sterner stuff than I, because here’s where I would have passed right the fuck out in sheer terror and been conveniently lobotomized, whereas Scully pushes her head as far back as she can and makes anxious noises of protest through the duct tape. There’s a sudden sound outside the trailer, and Gerry backs off for a second to go look through a peephole in the blackout curtains, while Scully uses the respite to try to get her wrists free of the damn duct tape. You know, I think every recapper has said this at one point or another, but Gillian Anderson is such a trooper. This was probably a whole day, maybe two, of being duct-taped to a chair with bright lights a foot from her face and another actor waving sharp pointy objects next to her eyes. I would never want to be an actor. I’d have PTSD from this shit, real duct tape or no.

Gerry looks through the peephole and spies Mulder outside, looking damn fine. Sorry, and um, concerned and suspicious. Getting no reaction from within the boarded-up trailer, Mulder goes snooping around. Sweet lord, this is tense. SHE’S RIGHT THERE, MULDER, WE LIKE HER SO MUCH, PLEASE FIGURE THIS OUT NOW, THANKS. We can still hear Scully’s freaked-out indignant whimpering in the background as a clueless Mulder slowly makes his way to the passenger’s side window up front and spies a keychain hanging from the ignition key: a tooth. Like a dentist would have! Oh ho! The jig is up! And so on. Mulder immediately starts his screaming routine: “Scullay! SCULL-AY!” At this, Scully finds the leverage necessary to rip her left wrist free of its bonds and tear the duct tape off of her mouth, and starts her own screaming. “Mulder! I’m in here! Mulder! Help!” These two sure have ample occasion to shout each other’s names, but never in the type of scenario I’d like. Mulder busts through the glass on the trailer door with his elbow, like, okay, we all know you’re a stud, but is stopped by solid wood. Inside, Gerry advances on Scully to finish the lobotomy while he still can, poking the awl at her face and trying to aim as she squirms and shrieks for Mulder to get the fuck in there and shoot this psycho, now, please. Outside, Mulder has discovered a convenient pile of metal poles, one of which he uses to beat down the door of the trailer while continuing to shout Scully’s name. He manages to unlock the trailer door and bust in just as Gerry’s got the awl a micrometer from Scully’s left eye. Mulder wastes no time in popping a cap in this fool, and Gerry goes flying away from Scully into the trailer wall, slumping down dead. Whew.

Now Mulder’s got the pants-shitting-terror look on his face as he takes in the creepy snuff-film lighting and copious amounts of duct tape and metal instruments, and surmises how close his special lady came to losing large portions of her brain through her eye sockets. He steps closer and asks, “Are you hurt?” Scully, still looking aghast at Dead Gerry, all, “Sweet crispy crackers that was close. Why is it always me?” shakes her head almost imperceptibly and breathes a no. The local element has arrived a death-guaranteeing two minutes too late, and Mulder yells at the officer who pokes his head into the Lobotomy Trailer to get an ambulance, presumably for Dead Gerry. Dude. Unnecessary. Ambulances are like 500 bucks, so you only call one out if you really need one, like, this whole past summer I thought I was allergic to strawberries because I had a severe reaction to one, but I was convinced it couldn’t be true because I’d been eating strawberries my whole life with no problems, and I finally got so fed up at avoiding strawberries that my roommates and I were going to test it once and for all by having me eat a strawberry with them brandishing Benadryl and their cellphones nearby, but then we finally decided not to risk it because if I did indeed go into anaphylactic shock, that ambulance ride would be a huge bummer for my non-insured ass. But then in a fit of pique two nights later I did risk it and it turns out I wasn’t allergic after all, thank GOD, because I think the Starbucks baristas were getting peeved at me insisting that they sanitize the pitcher to get rid of any potential strawberry traces before making my Vivanno every day, and also because strawberries are fucking delicious.

Mulder appears to be almost frightened to touch Scully, as though he’s not quite sure she didn’t indeed get a metal spike shoved into her brain. Scully wearily rips the tape off her other arm and Mulder finally reaches a hand down to help her out of the Chair of Sweet Moses I Am Never Going To The Dentist Again Ever. She moves past him gingerly and he just watches her like she’s a bomb about to go off, and you can tell he’s wondering what the protocol is here–”Okay, after the last homicidal nutjob kidnapped her and tried to mutilate her, she got really upset, so should I hug her now, or will that just make her cry, I REALLY don’t want to see her cry, it makes me feel like an asshole, so maybe if I just give her some space she won’t cry and things will be normal and I can take her back to my place to drink beer and watch Caddyshack?” But he does nothing, besides presumably making a mental note of the whole Caddyshack thing for future reference. Scully moves into the bright daylight streaming into the dark depths of the Lobotomy Trailer, shielding her eyes against the glare. She takes one despairing look back at Dead Gerry, then steps down out of the trailer. Mulder watches her go, then looks down at the Polaroids littering the floor beneath Gerry. He kneels and picks one up. We see that the pictures Gerry took of himself showed his dead body slumped on the floor, just as it is now. Shiver. This whole psychic photography storyline was so damn effective in its scariness, as was the dentist sub-thread. The image of Scully screaming in that photo gave me nightmares when I was eleven and saw this episode first-run. I remember my dad rolling his eyes afterward, all, “Now they’ve gone and ruined Polaroids AND the dentist,” something he often did after X-Files episodes, like after we watched “Oubliette” and he was all, “You’re not walking home from school alone anymore,” or after we watched “The Field Where I Died” and he was all, “Now I can’t even look at Duchovny without laughing,” or after we watched “Pusher” and he was all, “Now we have to repaint the living room,” which was a nice light blue at the time. We always argued and told him he was being crazy to let a TV show affect him so strongly, but in this case, he wasn’t wrong. All subsequent dentist visits in my life have been downright awkward.

Scully Field Report Voiceover. She types that after Gerry’s death, they found his diary, which was written in the second person as a letter to his father. In the diary are the names of his victims, and Scully’s name is among them. Gah. Hey, Scully’s wearing her specs! Nice. This is one of the later instances I can recall. Scully voiceovers that she has no explanation for the psychic photographs. She continues that while Gerry was holding her captive, she was forced to empathize with him, that her survival depended on it. She sees the value of such empathy–what we would generally think of as Mulder’s profiling ability–”For truly, to pursue monsters, we must understand them. We must venture into their minds.” She picks up the screamy photo of herself from beneath Mary Lefante’s, looking at it sorrowfully. “Only, by doing so, do we risk letting them venture into ours?” she asks. I wonder if Skinner gets these field reports and rolls his eyes at the philosophical wanderings, or if he sets aside special Walter time in his apartment with a nice glass of Scotch to read through them and shiver at the spookiness. I’d like to believe the latter. A single tear hangs from Scully’s eye as she stares at her photo, and we fade to black. It would appear there was indeed no nooky. And goodnight!

Next week: X-Files does Heaven’s Gate, and Mulder finally meets a nice girl he can settle down with. Again, apparently. The audience gets a collective migraine and skips forward on their DVD sets to “Tunguska”.