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

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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”.

1×01 – Deep Throat

Recap by As An Amoeba

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love this episode. I do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3×18 – Teso Dos Bichos

Recap by As An Amoeba

Before I begin I’d just like to point something out. I got out the DVD for this, and the four episodes that are on it are Teso, Hell Money, Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, and Pusher. How’s that for a disc of ups and downs? Tense, emotionally wrenching Russian-roulette showdown, Alex Trebek and Olympic-level pie-eating, B.D. Wong — and I get to watch the killer kittycat episode. (Whoops — spoiler alert!) Well, I brought it on myself. Ipi niki ta! Shall we get started?

Camera on tripod. Guy with bushy beard and a fedora-y kind of hat (wait, am I in Harvard Square?); another guy has on a similar hat and a poncho. Rain. The woods somewhere. Pulling back further shows us that we’re at an excavation site. To fill us in further, the legend informs us that we’re at the Teso dos Bichos Excavation, Ecuadorian Highlands. “South America,” it adds condescendingly. In case we didn’t know where Ecuador is. It is, if I’m not mistaken, rather close to the equator, as a matter of fact. And according to this, it pretty much looks exactly like western Canada. Well, all righty.

Various shots follow of indigenous-looking folks at work at the site. Shovel man walks past a wheelbarrow, which rolls past a guy sifting dirt in a hole. In one spot, a bunch of woolly-hatted dudes (the woolly hats look quite a bit warmer than the fedoras) are excavating what look like clay pots, when one of them sees something that piques his interest. He yells for everybody else to come over, and they do. A fellow in jeans, a button-down and a down vest — the only one not in Andean-type clothing — is among the gathered crowd, and he seems to be more or less in charge, pushing his way to the front and listening to the reports of the men. (Unfortunately, the only Spanish I know is what I learned from Sesame Street — “abierto/cerrado,” counting to 20, stuff like that — so I’ll be very little help with the Spanish parts if they don’t give me subtitles. I did catch “muy malo,” though. That can’t be bueno.) He runs off and, in turn, pops into a tent to report to Dr. Roosevelt, a white, American-sounding older man who’s messing with some papers. The other guy tells him they’ve found something he should see, and Dr. Roosevelt follows him out to the dig site.

Outside, it’s now snowing. God, can I take ONE trip to the equator without it SNOWING the whole damn time? (I know, I know, they’re in the mountains. Just kidding, equator.) Dr. Roosevelt gets down next to the half-unearthed pot, which, I’ve got to tell you, pretty much looks like it’s made of gingerbread. It’s also awfully brightly colored for having been unearthed 30 seconds ago. Anyway, there’s a skull peeking out of it, and it’s this that Dr. Roosevelt seems most interested in. Looking up at his assistant, Dr. Only Other English-Speaking Guy, he breathes, “It’s an Amaru!” I’m not sure what that is, but I’m bettin’ we’ll find out, and I’m bettin’ some paranormal activity will be involved, and I’m bettin’ that some of that paranormal activity will have to do with kittycats. In the background, half the extras are looking off camera for some reason.

Dr. Roosevelt pronounces the Amaru “fantastic” and “nearly intact.” However, Dr. English-Speaking Killjoy tells him that they can’t take it. “What do you mean?” snaps Roosevelt. Dr. Please Hurry Up And Give Him A Name says that “they’re saying” that the body of a female shaman is sacred and she can’t be disturbed. Dr. Roosevelt and his mustache earnestly assert that they’re not disturbing her, they’re SAVING her. “I thought you could handle these people!” he bitches in an I’m-very-disappointed-in-you voice. Dr. Reminds Me Of Antonio Banderas protests one more time that it’s not right, and even dangerous. But Roosevelt tells him to pack up the piece: “It’s going with us.” Now he sounds kinda British. Gillian, is that you in makeup? You take a mustache well. Dr. I’ve Run Out Of Names For Him looks back at the skull. Scary pan-flute music plays. Well, that should be your first clue right there, folks. Up on the hill, an important-looking guy with long grey hair holding a big…scepter thing looks down disapprovingly. I’m pretty sure that guy’s long grey hair is a wig and he’s really a truck driver in Vancouver named Doug. He sure is making our bilingual archaeologist friend nervous, though.

Night. In his Tent of Eminently Civilized Euro-Modernity, Dr. Whitey McWhitingsbury is listening to classical music and sipping tea and admiring the lion head on his wall while some native children polish his shoes for him (well, almost). He hears something and turns down the music; it’s something going on outside, with drums and a rattle of some sort. He turns the music back up. Stupid people from other cultures! Outside, the native guys are sitting around a fire in their many kinds of hats, the drum and rattle going strong, having a ceremony. One guy — I think it’s Doug — has snakes painted on his face. Snake Face Doug the Scepter-Wielding Vancouver Truck Driver is cooking something — it’s a pot of viscous greenish liquid, which he stirs with a wooden spoon. Sort of like pea soup, only more radioactive-looking. Chanting commences (ipi niki taaaaa), led by Snake Face and repeated back by the crowd. Snake Face takes a spoonful of the green stuff, holds it up high, then sips it down. Maybe it’s a peace ceremony. Get it? Peas? Peace? Peas on earth?…Okey doke.

The spoon is passed down the line; everyone takes a sip from it. Dr. Bridge Between Two Cultures is there, and when the spoon comes to him everyone watches him carefully. He hesitates, then takes his own sip. He makes a terrible face. Needs more ham! That’s the only thing I like about pea soup, the ham. I love ham. Through Dr. Clearly Not Really Able To Handle These People’s eyes, we see that his vision is smeared and blurry. What was IN that pea soup? Snake Face looks especially impressive through Crazy Soup-O-Vision, which is probably the point of the snakes, &c. Cut to some kind of POV shot of something running through…something. The campfire? Back to His Excellency Lord Duke Whitington of Whiteford-on-Whitemustache in his tent, where he is totally not about to get eaten by an evil spirit, still blissfully listening to his music. We can see his silhouette from outside the tent — and suddenly, the silhouette of a large animal, not unlike a jaguar, OR JAGUAR-LIKE creature, leaps at him, knocking him down. Then it eats a hotdog, which makes for ALL KINDS of dirty misrepresentations! The Ecuadoreans all giggle. You might say that it is shagadelic. And also gory. In case there was any doubt about what’s happening, we see Dr. Roosevelt’s hand flailing against the tent wall, along with splattering blood, for about 20 minutes before we fade to the credits. Doodly doo, doodly doo! A jaguar spirit killed you! (Spoiler.)

Hall of Indigenous Peoples, Boston Museum of Natural History, Three Weeks Later. There isn’t one of those, FYI, though there’s the Peabody, which is suitably full of creepy, mothbally-smelling taxidermied animals probably all collected by white people with mustaches, and the Museum of Science. Which, by the way, has monkeys, I recently found out. Capuchins! Eeee! And baby chicks. And also a Mobius strip. And in November, the Harry Potter exhibit. Because of science! (Don’t think I won’t be there regardless.) Anyway, some guy with a flashlight is wandering through this fictional museum, past some Native American headdresses and stuff and — mwagah! — a stuffed jaguar. WILL THIS HAVE ANY SIGNIFICANCE? I’m not sure. There’s also what certainly looks to me like a bucket of large wooden toothbrushes. For cleaning artifacts, I s’pose. The night watchman calls out for a Mr. Horning, asking if he’s still here. Nobody answers. BUT the watchman steps in a huge puddle of blood. D’oh! He runs away in fear, and right behind him? Is the pot from the dig, the Amaru, the skull still half-buried in dirt inside it. We zoooooooom in for a time-killing closeup.

Now it’s day. Ah, morning in Boston. This episode is just like The Departed, in so many ways. Like how a policeman is in it. I must say, the Boston Police logos on the cars look right. Some cops are milling around outside the museum — we know it’s the museum because we get another lingering closeup on the sign. You see, that was INSIDE, but now we’re OUTSIDE, but it’s the same museum. Because it has the same name. Everybody still with me? Back INSIDE the museum, which I believe is called the Museum of Natural History, our favorite buddy Fox Mulder is crouched on the floor, looking at the bloodstain. He gets up and walks across the room, passing Scully, who’s questioning a museum guy, who says the security guard called him when he found the blood. Scully exposits, “According to the police, you felt his murder may have been an act of political terrorism.” The museum guy says he thinks Dr. Horning might have been killed because of the project he was working on. Scully consults her little notes and confirms that this was “the survey and excavation of the highland burial grounds of the Secona Indians.” Dr. Why Don’t They Give Anyone Names On This Show? looks surprised, and alarmed. Scully says it’s from a letter sent to the State Department on behalf of the Secona, who want their damn urn back, apparently. While Mulder eavesdrops, the museum guy explains that they rescued the urn, among other artifacts, because PetroEcuador is going to build a gas pipeline through the burial ground or something…oh lordy. This episode is so boring until you get to the cracked-out yaje/kittycat part. Roosevelt and this guy organized the dig. Scully says that she heard Roosevelt disappeared under similar circumstances. We learn that the Ecuadorean government, which evidently is just as evil and deny-everything-y as the U.S. government, said it was a wild animal attack. “But that’s not what you believe,” Scully prods. She does have the biggest bluest eyes that ever there were, doesn’t she? “Not after last night,” Museum Guy says. Scully asks if there were any death threats, to which he says no. “Well, what about the curse?” Mulder pipes up. Now we’re getting somewhere! Apparently, the Secona believe that “great evil will befall anyone that disturbs the remains of an Amaru — a woman shaman — that they would be devoured by the jaguar spirit.” Dr. Whoever agrees that this is a popular myth, and he shakes his head tut-tuttingly that anyone would fake it up like this just to get back the urn, which he is totally not giving back. “Written by JOHN SHIBAN,” the credits announce. Woo! Shiban’s first episode. Oh, Shibes. I bet your baby, Jerry Shiban, could have written a better episode than this. Hee, just kidding. I just like that you named your baby Jerry. That rules. Also, it just occurred to me that baby Jerry Shiban (the first William Sculder, doncha know, before James and Travis Riker took over in Season 9, and “Travis Riker” overtook “Jerry Shiban” as Most Awesome Name For A Baby Actor Ever) must be like 8 now. Dude, I AM SO OLD.

Mulder asks to see it. That’s what she said, Mulder. Dr. Whoever calls for Mona.

Mona’s a Neve Campbell look-alike in a gungy plaid shirt who, in the next scene, is wheeling out the whole Amaru thingamajig, dirt, skull, gingerbread and all, on a rolly table. “Personally, if someone digs me up in a thousand years, I hope there’s a curse on them too,” Mulder says, amusing no one but Mulder. Mona says solemnly that they should have left it buried. Mulder asks if she believes it’s cursed. “Might as well be,” she replies. She tells them that she had been helping Dr. Horning sort and catalog the stuff from Ecuador — she’s a Ph.D. candidate at BU. She doesn’t look old enough to be a Ph.D. candidate, but maybe that’s because people her age on TV are usually playing 14-year-olds. She says, in response to M&S’s interrogaysh, that no, “Craig” didn’t have any warning — he was just doing what Dr. Lewton (presumably, that other museum guy they were just talking to) asked. And he didn’t give any particular political crap about the artifact. Scully mentions the protest letter; Mona says she knows of several. “This one was written by a man named Alonso Bilac,” Scully says. Mona recognizes the name: Dr. Bilac was the liaison with the Secona. AHA! A name, at last! (I’m not kidding, BTW — I totally couldn’t remember that dude’s name. Nor any of these people, except Mona.) Dr. Bilac is off the project — Mona’s not sure if he resigned or was kicked out. Evidently, Dr. Soup-Addled Bilac “feels the Secona have the right to determine the fate of their ancestral remains.” God, what a crazy asshole. Mulder asks if she knows where they could find him. She pauses and looks hesitant. Does she know OR DOESN’T SHE? WILL WE EVER FIND OUT? Yes, because here they are at his house in the next scene. Oh, that snappy TV writing. You have to know just when to cut the scene!

Dr. Bilac lives in a crazy awesome run-down weird house that looks like it’s in Newton somewhere. That’s just my guess. And if it is then it would cost about $4 million, run-down or no. Mulder and Scully knock and he opens right up, apparently not afraid that they’re disguised jaguar spirits or anything, SUCKA. He lets them come in — maybe this house is supposed to be in Watertown; it looks like my old apartment. I love MA-set episodes. Remember the “M” from that Season 8 ep? And they acted like it was a death sentence that one of the trains wasn’t going to run during rush hour? What a giant shock that would be! It would be almost like all the times it snows in Boston. Or rains. Or there’s track maintenance. Stupid T. Mulder noses around while Scully starts the questioning. Bilac concurs that he was part of the expedition that brought back the urn, but says he objected. Scully wants to know at what point he turned against Dr. Whitely Whitestache. Bilac answers, “When I felt like he had gone too far against the wishes of the Secona.” And it’s just about here where I start to get the giggles over this dude’s voice. He just kind of…stretches out the last part of everything he says. His sentence really sounds more like, “When I felt like he had gone too farrrrrr…against the wishes of the Seconaaaaaaaa.” And his voice is sort of gravelly. It’s got nothing to do with his slight accent — he just taaaaaaaalks like thiiiiiiiiisssss. It’s sort of akin to pirate talk, but much much softer. Scully asks if he told Dr. Roosevelt that. “Yeeeessss,” Bilac gravels. “He wouldn’t listennnnn.” Bilac travelogues that he spent six months with the Secona, learning of their many awesomenesses, and when some asshole wanted to steal their lady shaman bones, the idea didn’t have the appeal it once would have. Scully prods that they seem to have learned something from him too. “Yeeeesss, I’ve been teaching them the jooooooyys of American bureacracyyyyyy,” says Bilac dryly. He can be funny in that voice, too! It’s very nuanced. Scully allows the faintest jaguar spirit of a smirk to cross her lips, then tells Bilac that Lewton thinks that Craig’s disappearance (fuck, man, I can’t keep all these names straight — Lewton’s the not-dead one, right?) was related to the protests. Bilac says darkly that the word “disappearance” makes it sound like they expect to see him alive again. Scully asks what he thinks happened. She does NOT want to know! According to Bilac. Mulder jumps in, finally, and says that, hell yes, they totally would like to know. At least he would. Bilac hesitates, then says that whatever happened will continue to happen, “until the bones are returrrrrned to their rightful plaaaaaaace.” Scully turns up the heat, asking how far Bilac would go to defend the Secona’s rights. “If you think I did this, then you are a foooooooollll,” Bilac says succinctly. I hope Mulder uses that on her for the rest of their lives. “Mulder, did you use the last of the creamer and put it back without getting a new one?” “Scully, if you think I did this, then you are a foooooooollll.” God, you’re so annoying, Imaginary Future Mulder! Just buy more creamer next time, OK?

More interrogation. Where were you last night? Here. Alone? Yep. Also, your investigaaaation is a waste of tiiiiimmmme. I guess they believe him, because they leave after that. Scully thinks it’s PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that Bilac did it. “He did look a little squirrelly back there,” Mulder allows. “Maybe because he was up late last night murdering Craig Horning,” says Scully. That’s true — not getting enough sleep can have a profound impact on your health and your day-to-day productivity. Hey, Bilac lives in Boston — maybe he should buy a new mattress from Jordan’s Furniturrrrrrrrre. If the Red Sox win the World Series, he will get it for freeeeeeeeee.

On further haranguing, Mulder admits he isn’t sure Bilac had anything to do with it. “So you think Bilac’s innocent?” Scully demands, and for some reason her head is jiggling back and forth in this scene in a Clooney-like fashion. Hey, it’s a shout-out to Jessica and Intern George! “That the victim wasn’t even murdered at all, that he was devoured by a mythological jaguar spirit?” Well, I’d say if that had happened, it’d still be murder. “Go with it, Scully,” Mulder says, and that is to be our Mulderism for this episode.

Now it’s dark, and we are, if I’m not mistaken, back in the museum, in the hauntediness of a Boston night. Mona’s on the phone with A MYSTERIOUS SOMEONE. “Why did you lie to them?” she asks someone named “Lonnie.” HMMMMM. Lonnie is only drawing suspicion to himself by lying. Mona says she’s worried and wants to come over, but Lonnie is, apparently, not down with that. A dude is lurking creepily in the corner. Oh, it’s Dr. Lewton. Mona says she has to go and hangs up.

Lewton is concerned that Mona’s working so late by herself. She says she needs to keep working, and that the guard knows she’s here. Lewton asks if she was talking to Dr. Bilac. “Yeeeeesssss,” says Mona. Oh, just in my brain, where everyone is now talking like that. Lewton looks at her for a second, then launches into a lecture about how they have a responsibility to history and posterity. If Dr. Roosevelt hadn’t brought the urn back, it would have been destroyed. Now it’s safe in a musty Boston museum where the T will probably find a way to run over it at any moment. Lewton cautions her not to get caught up in the politics. He turns to go, then turns back, offering to give Mona a little free advice, which is an automatic indicator that he’s about to say something jackholey. “You have a bright future here…Be careful where you plant your flag.” Uh, that sounded kind of gross, Dr. Lewton. Am I going to have to send you to Lauren Kyte’s HR person? Because I will. Mona doesn’t respond to that. Lewton leaves. Mona sits down at the desk. Let the haunted museum hoo-ha begin!

“[Door Squeaking] [Gasps],” says the closed captioning, and need I elaborate, really? Mona turns around. It’s only a dog! Sugar. He looks sort of like…a pit bull/Irish Setter cross? I don’t know, I made that up. He’s cute, at any rate. I wonder if the jaguar spirit likes dogs? Hmmmmmmm. Mona is relieved, which means nothing haunted is going to happen after all! And we can all relax! Yay! Sugar cutely puts his paws on the table and Mona snorgles him. You know what’s an awesome idea in a museum filled with rickety shelving holding priceless cultural artifacts? Having a dog run around unsupervised. I’m sure there aren’t any, you know, bones or anything lying around. I mean, not to cast aspersions, Sugar. But, come on. Hey, you have white paws. Awww.

Closeup on a METAL JAGUAR! IT’S THE JAGUAR SPIRIT! Nope — it’s the hood ornament on Lewton’s car. HE IS THE SPIRIT’S MASTER! Or, perhaps not. He turns the car on, and Sting starts singing about how he dreams of rain, and of living in a giant castle and having hours of sex at a time with his hot wife, and of giant paychecks from letting his songs be used to endorse Jaguars. Hey, you know what? That ties in, because Sting can also be heard as the before-and-after Muzak at the New England Aquarium Imax. STING IS THE JAGUAR SPIRIT! No? OK.

Actually, the car doesn’t start. “That would NEVER happen in a Jaguar!” sputters Sting from his castle, looking up momentarily from pleasuring Trudie. (You know what? I just rewatched that ad, and Sting isn’t even dreaming about DRIVING the Jaguar — he’s RIDING in it. That’s just sad, Stingalingadingdong. So Jaguars are great for rich people to aspire to be driven around in? Awesome. I think Sting needs to be set upon by a gaggle of kittycats. That would smarten him up.)

ANYhoo. Dr. Lewton is in his crapbucket of a Jag, trying in vain to start it. He gets a flashlight and pops the hood to investigate. And…uh-oh! Someone’s watching him through Crazy Soup-O-Vision!

The first possible issue that reveals itself regarding Dr. Lewton’s engine is that it’s slathered in shiny red blood. Is this all part of Sting’s dream? This episode is getting Lynchian. Like all movie and TV idiots before him, Dr. Lewton reaches down to touch the blood and then smears it all over his fingers while staring intently at it instead of getting the hell out of there.  Sure enough, he is attacked, and there’s lots of screaming and cuts back and forth from Soup to Regular. There’s a shot of some guy’s eyes, peeking through something? I cannot tell if that’s supposed to be Lewton or whoever’s attacking him, or what. It seems Lewton is on the ground so he can’t be peeking through anything. Or maybe he was in the hood, then fell to the ground, but the editing doesn’t really reflect that. Anyway, Lewton is toast, is what this scene is telling us. Death by soup attack. We end with a sinister shot of the Jaguar ornament. You’re next, Sting!

Typically, the morning after this event, the cops and Mulder and Scully find it necessary to come around and be all, “Oh, what’s going on?” and “Hey, did somebody get killed on this bloody Jaguar engine?” and “How does this connect to the other guy who disappeared from this museum, leaving behind voluminous puddles of blood?” and shit. Such busybodies. Scully, thankfully using a latex glove (though not WEARING it — guys, just put the gloves on, OK? What’s the big idea, you think they’re uncool or something?), pulls the back half of a rat out of the engine cavity or whatever you call the inside of the hood. She orders the very tall Boston PD cop holding the evidence bag to label it as “partial rat body part.” She says this like it’s obvious, but that actually doesn’t make sense, Scully. It’s a partial rat, but it’s not really a body part, and it’s certainly not a partial body part. Anyway, I think we can all agree that it’s gross. Moving on. Scully sails off to have a word with Mona. She asks if Lewton was behaving strange(ly) last night, or if he said anything about Dr. Bilac. Mona hesitates before saying no. She also says she doesn’t know when Lewton and Bilac last spoke. A clearly skeptical Scully gives Mona her card and tells her to call if she thinks of anything.

Oh, maybe Mulder wasn’t at the scene after all, because here he is, romping through the woods with a bunch of cops. Someone’s watching him from up in a tree…through old familiar Crazy Soup-O-Vision. Scully comes jogging up, telling Mulder they haven’t found Lewton’s body and asking how his police-escorted woods-romping is going. Mulder says that last night’s rain will make it hard to determine if Lewton was brought through here. From the hood’s lever having been pulled (how do they figure that? Fingerprints? Wouldn’t there be fingerprints on the hood lever if he’d EVER pulled it?) and the flashlight found by the car, Scully has deduced that Lewton was checking the engine when he was attacked. Mulder suggests that maybe SOMEONE didn’t want the engine to start. Unlikely, says Scully, because at least two rat bodies were found in the engine — apparently, the museum has always had a rat problem. Great — the sacred shaman urn is in a museum with a rat problem, a dog running around loose, and probably a flooding basement if the rest of Boston is any guide. No wonder the Secona want to get it the hell out of there, PetroEcuador or no. Mulder makes a face befitting one who has just envisioned rats getting mutilated inside a car engine.

As Mulder and Scully continue to stroll amongst the foliage, they discuss the time of death (or at least of the attack, I guess, since they don’t know if he’s dead because they can’t find him — a bit of sloppy writing there), which was between 9:30 and midnight, the same as Craig Horning. Scully notes that Mona got nervous when asked about Bilac and thinks maybe she’s trying to protect him. Mulder listens, then starts when some blood glops onto his face. “I think it’s starting to rain again,” he says mildly, and it’s not even a Mulderism. “I don’t think so, Mulder,” Scully says, and swipes the blood off of his face with her finger (say it with me: awww!), smearing it carefully around and around on her hand, as one does, if one is on TV, before finally looking up. It’s the jaguar spirit, throwing blood at everybody! Nope, it’s some entrails in a tree.

Mona walks up the steps of Bilac’s house and knocks on the door. Getting no answer, she goes inside. It’s very dark, of course, even though it’s broad daylight out, and it’s not even raining, unless you happen to be standing under a tree with blood-dripping entrails hanging off of it. There’s a fire in the fireplace. “Lonnie?” she calls fearfully. She moves to open some blinds (really, though, there are way too many uncovered windows for it to be that dark) and a voice says “Don’t.” It’s Dr. Alonso “Lonnie” Bilac, emerging from the shadows looking sweaty and unshaven. Mona tells him that Dr. Lewton is dead. “Say something, Lonnie, you’re scaring me,” she says when he doesn’t answer. “I told you not to come here!” he snaps. Mona wants to know what’s happened to him. Mona, I think if you buy some dried peas, soak them overnight, drain and put them in a heavy soup kettle with a meaty ham bone and some salt pork, add 10 cups of water, simmer two hours, remove ham from bone and dice, add half a cup of light cream if desired, blend ham back into mixture, and stir in a mind-boggling amount of possibly radioactive hallucinogenic drugs, you’ll have your answer. Mona tells Lonnie that ever since he’s been back he’s been acting like a stranger. “The bloooood has to stop,” says Lonnie in a totally normal way that doesn’t at all indicate that he’s been possessed by a creepy jaguar spirit and/or is hopped up on soup. “You know something, don’t you?” Mona says. That’s one way to put it, dear. Bilac says she wouldn’t understand. “Then help me to understand!” she says, and catches sight of Bilac’s delicious bowl of green glop. “You can tell me,” she adds, more hesitantly, then asks what’s in the bowl. “Viiiiiine of the sooooouuuuul,” says Bilac. “Yaje? YOU’RE DRINKING YAJE?!?!” Mona shrieks, and tries to grab the bowl from him. She’s so culturally insensitive. In the ensuing scuffle the yaje spills (I think) to the floor. Bilac looks crushed. Mona says that Bilac needs help, but he yells at her to get out. She does. Bilac stares after her, looking sweaty and stoned.

Scully’s in one more autopsy bay in one more city, cutting up one more mysterious human small intestine found draped over one more tree branch. Her job is so monotonous. Mulder’s lurking helpfully around as usual. “There’s about four feet of jejunum and another foot of ileum,” Scully says. I love when she talks parts-of-the-small-intestine-y. She knows it’s Lewton because of how both the jejunum and ileum are chock full of corn chowder. Which, I don’t know, maybe he had some of on his shirt yesterday when she was talking to him or something. Or there’s an I ♥ CORN CHOWDER bumper sticker on the Jag. And also sunflower seeds. “A man of taste,” Mulder quips obligatorily. For some reason, though, Scully can’t determine from the single nature-ravaged internal organ in front of her how the body was eviscerated. “There are no knife marks on the epithelium…” How many intestine parts CAN she recite? I love her. She “imagines” that the intestine could have been “torn or pulled” from the body. It’s good that she can still use her imagination. But she can’t even tell that for sure, because someone has been nomming on the intestines since they were removed, and that someone is a rat. “More rats,” says Mulder sagely. Scully gets a phone call, and takes off ONE bloody glove to answer it, at least, which for Scully is really good. Also, this is what, Season 3, right? What I’m saying is, that cell phone? Is large.

It’s Mona. We cut to her POV, somewhere in the apparently perpetually dark museum, with Sugar panting cutely in front of her in order to remind us that he exists. Probably not for any particular reason though. Mona says that she was with Bilac and he scared her, that he’s sick and doesn’t know what he’s doing. She says she left Bilac at his house and came back to the museum, but she feels like someone’s watching her. Sugar is all, who, me? You know, it’s Sugar who really should be the one investigating this case. He likes all people regardless of ethnicity, history, or political persuasion. He is not grossed out by rats, partial rat body parts, entrails, blood, or pea soup, and in fact would regard all of it as a delicious and hearty lunch. And he can handle kittycats. Er, at least of the non-evil-spirit variety. Uh, spoiler.

Scully tells Mona to stay put, that Mulder is coming to get her. Sugar starts barking as Mona hangs up. Mona decides that now, when she feels like someone’s watching her and has just called for help, in the scary haunted museum with the curse and everything, is a good time to grab a knife and start hacking away at the Amaru to try and forcibly extract the skull. Sugar growls. “What is it?” Mona asks. “[Rumbling],” the closed-captioning answers, somewhat inaccurately. Mona and Sugar go to investigate. It’s coming from the ladies’ room. Sugar stays back, growling, perhaps because he is not a lady. Mona goes inside. The room is lit by four or five light bulbs, which apparently are about 3 watts apiece, because we can barely see anything, as usual. Mona opens a stall door, and the closed toilet seat is rattling and jiggling, causing the sound. Mona looks apprehensive, though I can’t imagine why. It’s probably just a playful band of toilet fairies! They’re so mischievous. Mona reaches out and lifts the toilet lid. A swarm of rats are scrambling and squeaking to the surface. Mona screams like a banshee. Yep, that seems about right.

Here’s Scully, driving some SERIOUSLY OLD and gigantic Buick and stopping in front of Bilac’s house. It’s now dark, of course. As usual I wonder how it took them an entire day to peek in the trunk of Lewton’s car, find a dripping intestine in a tree, and start autopsying it. Scully walks into Bilac’s house with her flashlight. Maybe she doesn’t turn on the lights because she doesn’t want him to know she’s — “DR. BILAC?!?” OK, scratch that. Maybe the jaguar spirit has some political beef with electrical lighting. She finds the bowl of yaje, which in this light looks less like pea soup and more like phlegm. Eww. Also the yaje-making ingredients, all of which are in handmade-looking wooden bowls (it would have been funny if they were in, like, Tupperware or a Star Wars souvenir cup), and a wooden spoon like the one they were using to drink it with back in Ecuador. The flashlight swings around more — hey, Scully’s turned into Mulder! Oh, no, Mulder’s just ALSO flashlighting around, only in the equally dark museum. His flashlight illuminates the stuffed jaguar again. “DEE-doo!!” the music pan-flutes significantly. As he walks, Mulder gets waylaid suddenly by Argus Filch, I mean, by the museum guard. When Mulder tells him he got a panicked call from Mona, the guard says he’ll take him to her. They walk darkly on, SERIOUSLY, DOES THIS MUSEUM NOT HAVE ANY LIGHTS? Maybe in normal times the night watchman likes to go around with a flashlight for whatever reason, but now when they’re investigating murders and stuff? I think it’s OK to turn a few lights on, EVEN outside of regular operating hours.

Mulder’s flashlight comes upon the Amaru head in the jar. “Here she is!” says the guard. Just kidding. Mulder’s phone rings. It’s Scully, at Bilac’s, asking if Mulder’s found Mona. No, he says, but her car is parked outside, probably being napped in by 25 rats as we speak. Meanwhile, Filch wanders out, apparently content to let Mulder do whatever, hopefully while he looks for Mona. Scully says Bilac’s nowhere to be found either, but she did find his journals. Well, geez, Scully. She starts reading them to Mulder: “Dr. Rooseveeeeelllllt is such a diiiiiiiiiiick. Just because he has a giant teeeeeeeeent he thinks he can do whatever he waaaaaaaants. Also it is totally snoooooooowing here even though we are at the equatoooooooor. WTFFFFFFFFFF? When I get back to Bostooooooon I am toooooooootally asking out that girl Monaaaaaaaa. She is cuuuuuuuuuuuute. Oh crap I have to gooooooooo, I am being summoned by Dr. Assfaaaaaaaaaace. I wish he would get killed in his stupid teeeeeeeeent by a jaguar spiriiiiiiiiiit.”

OK, fine, Bilac’s journal says: “I’ve seen the Amaru coming out of the jungle with the eyes of a scorpion, the claws of a jaguar.” And the wig of a truck driver named Doug. “She leaps down from the trees. She tears at my flesh, then holds my head in her hands and eats out my eyes.” I don’t need to read your Mary Sue fic, Lonnie. Mulder, staring at the Amaru skull, asks if there’s a date on the entry. Scully says they’re all recent. Mulder wants her to read the part about the jaguar coming down from the trees again while he touches himself. Oh, he didn’t say that last part. “Maybe that’s how the intestines got up there,” he says. I…guess that makes sense. “Mulder, I think Bilac’s been tripping,” Scully says, once again making use of the drug terms that she learned in seventh-grade health class. I wonder if he was tripping on angel dust, or maybe grass. Scully tells him about the phlegmy goop she found in the bowl. And how she tried a drop of it and right now she’s only telling him all this because the snakes coming out of the lampshade are suggesting that she do so. She tells Mulder that according the journal it’s a hallucinogen called “yaje.” There’s a closeup of the journal, where Bilac seems to have drawn what I am assuming is the skull in the jar thingy, but which might be a bowl of yaje, I don’t know. “The Vine of the Soul” is written next to it, complete with quotation marks. “The Vine of the Soul,” Scully recites. “What the hell’s that supposed to mean?” Mulder asks, walking out into the hall. Indeed. Scully says she thinks Bilac is “invoking the curse.” Mulder will have to call her back, because there’s a giant slippery puddle of blood on the floor in front of him. Ditcher! She wasn’t done talking! “Did you find Mona?” Scully asks. “I hope not,” Mulder says, and hangs up. Scully goes back to her journal reading: “Some FBI douchebaaaaaags came to my hoooooouuuuse. They would not shut uuuuuuuuuuup. One of them was clearly a mandroooooooid. The other one thinks I did this, and she is a foooooolllll.” Scully ponders what that could signify.

Mulder opens a door at the end of the hall, gun in hand. There’s actually a little light, for once, enough that you can sort of make out some room details. One of which is a chair covered in blood. And a sink covered in blood. Oh, it’s the ladies’ room, which seems a tad brighter this time. Maybe the night watchman was in here replacing bulbs while Mulder was on the phone. Mulder hears a similar “rumbling” to what the closed captioning identified last time, which again is really more of a rattling than a rumbling. I imagine deaf people watching this and being all “How can a toilet lid rumble? Is that due to paranormal activity?” Oh, look who’s curled up in the corner, all wet and disheveled: it’s Bilac. Mulder demands to know what he’s doing there. “She’s dead,” Bilac says softly.

Cut to another room in the FOR GOD’S SAKE TURN ON SOME DAMN LIGHTS, PEOPLE, I PRESUME THERE ARE TIMES WHEN YOU HAVE VISITORS THAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO ACTUALLY BE ABLE TO SEE THE EXHIBITS, SO YOU MUST HAVE THEM museum (yes, I know we’ve been in back rooms, not the exhibit halls, BUT STILL), where Mulder and Scully are questioning a now dried-off Bilac, wrapped in a grey blanket. He says he doesn’t know where Mona is. Scully says that Bilac told Mulder that she was dead, so he must know where she is. “*I* didn’t kill her,” Bilac says, looking at her like she’s the biggest idiot in the world. “Then why do you have blood on your clothes?” Scully asks reasonably. Bilac says that he came here because “the Amaru would not be appeeeeeaaaased.” He says he was afraid for Mona, that he tried to keep her away from “all this.” Scully tells him that Mona was scared, that she said Bilac had become violent. Scully is looking awfully pretty in this scene, all spectrally lit. Also she seems to be elongating her words a little. Gillian the Unconscious Accent Imitator strikes again! See also Oswald, Darren Peter; Else, Everybody. Bilac says she didn’t understand; Scully says that maybe Bilac was too high to know the difference. Just like that time with the kid with the hamburger in Idaho who thought he saw a UFO. Drugs are bad! They interfere with accurate scientific observation! She says that there is no curse — Bilac is the curse. Bilac says no — this is more powerful than any maaaaaaaan. It’s the spirit of the Amaru. It’s not something you can put in handcuuuuuuuffs. Mulder is like, buddy, you’d be surprised. Then he apparently gets bored and leaves. Scully asks him one more time where Mona’s body is. He does not knooooooooow. Scully stalks out after Mulder. She tells the cops outside, including Officer Partial Rat Body Part Evidence-Bag Holder, that Bilac stays where he is until the museum is searched. Geez, she sure likes to order that guy around. Fanfic alert!

Back in the ladies’ room, where Mulder generally wishes he could spend more time but maybe not necessarily today, he calls Scully in and points out the mysterious fact that, inside this old restroom in a rickety old building in Boston, there is water on the floor. “I just assumed one of the toilets had overflowed,” Scully says. Mulder points out that there’s water on every toilet seat, as if EVERY toilet had overflowed. “Why would THAT happen?” he asks. Um…maybe some big pipe that goes to all the toilets got backed up? Admittedly, I’m not a plumber, but that doesn’t sound like it’s outside the realm of extreme possibility to me, guys. “I guess there’s only one way to find out,” Scully says. Really? “I hate this,” Mulder grumps. Scully looks a tiny bit sympathetic but mostly secretly delighted. Hee. Mulder whips open the toilet. Remember the pea soup? Now think of a different soup, more like a clear, though slightly bloody, broth, and instead of ham there are a bunch of furry rat corpses. And also the soup is in a toilet. It’s practically the Food Network over here!

“In every toilet,” says Mulder, checking. A rat in every toilet, and a chicken in every pot. Why does only Mulder have to do this? It is the LADIES’ room, after all, SCULLY. “How did they get in there?” Scully wonders demurely, while not having rat juice mixed with toilet water sloshed all over her hands.

In pops the guard. They found something outside. “Mona Wustner?” says Scully. “No,” says the guard, “her dog, Sugar.” Then everybody fake cries for a long time in a comical manner, ruining the take but providing everlasting blooper-reel entertainment. Then they do it again without the fake crying. Spoilsports. Seriously, I am sad about the dog. I’m glad I remembered he was going to die, thanks to that blooper. See, bloopers help us.

Out we go into some dingy room presumably elsewhere in this endless, unrelentingly gloomy museum. Some guy in a button-down shirt is autopsying the dog, I guess, who thankfully is under a sheet. He says it’s rat poison. Damn you, rats! Leaving your poison out all over the place! Wait. Damn you, cats! Using chemicals to try to control the rat population! Wait, no. Maybe I’d better just keep watching. The heretofore unseen autopsy guy (why can’t Scully just autopsy the dog? She autopsied a damn elephant, didn’t she?) says he found cat intestine inside Sugar. “The dog ate a cat,” Scully says. Also, rat fur. “Cat ate a rat,” Scully freestyles. “And the dog ate the cat,” Mulder adds, and she looks at him like he’s being insensitive or something. It rhymes, Scully! Sheesh. “More rats, Scully,” Mulder says, and manhandles her off into a corner so they can talk without this nosy dog-autopsying stranger eavesdropping. Mulder reminds us all of our rat-related travails so far: “There were rats in Dr. Lewton’s car engine. There were rats in the bathroom where it looks like Mona Wustner may have been killed, and now here.” Except he pronounces it “Woonsler.” See, guys? You use up all the film doing funny takes about crying and giggling over the word “yaje,” and this is what happens. Try to pay attention, Agent Miles. Scully points out that it’s an old building with a rat problem. Mulder thinks there’s more to it than that. Like how the Secona believe that the jaguar spirit will devour anybody that desecrates the burial place of a holy woman. Has anybody actually been devoured, or just more like, chomped on by rats? No, no, we’re talking about “transmigration of the soul into animal form.” Through the ceremony where they drink the, uh… “Yaje,” Scully supplies. Yaje? Yaje. Go, girl. Hi Chris! Hee, I love that blooper best of all. Of the Teso bloopers. Even more than Mulder getting into a fistfight with the…never mind, we’ll get there.

“So what are we talking here, Mulder? A possessed rat? The return of Ben?” Scully quips. I have always meant to google that line (well, I’ve meant to since Google was invented, which was well after this episode first aired), so here we go: “A lonely boy becomes good friends with Ben, a rat. This rat is also the leader of a pack of vicious killer rats, killing lots of people.” Thanks, IMDB. Oh, and look at the “sponsored link” I got with it: “Boston Area Rodent Exclusion & Trapping for Rats & Mice.” Blargh! Rats everywhere! You know, between this and The Departed, the world probably thinks that rats are just hanging around all over Boston all the time, reading the paper, getting their nails done, cooking French food, etc. They’re really not! Well, except in Allston, which is, in fact, currently overrun with rats. Because of how Harvard dug a giant hole there and then abandoned it.  Oopsie. Anyway, Mulder thinks the rats were killed while trying to escape from something. Scully is all, why would they all simultaneously jump into several different toilets? Oh, Scully. Doy, says Mulder: they were trying to get OUT through the toilet. (By the way, have you ever in your life been in a public multi-stall restroom where the toilet lids were closed? Or that even had toilet lids? Just wondering.) “Have YOU been drinking yaje, Mulder?” Scully asks. Scully, yaje is cool! Everyone’s doing it. I guess you’re just not cool. “Go with it, Scully,” Mulder says. Why does he say that twice in this episode, and never in any other episode? Sort of silly, it is. Scully makes a Scully face.

Out of the relatively bright autopsy room and back into the dark corridor. Guess what? Bilac’s gone. The task of delivering this news unfortunately falls to the cop that Scully’s been ordering around the whole episode. Poor guy. “HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?” barks Scully. The cop doesn’t know. Sure enough, Bilac’s gone, except for his grey blankie. Scully asks Officer Whipping Boy whether he left his post; he didn’t. Mulder asks if anyone saw a rat in the room. The museum guard says, sure, they come in through the heating system. There’s HEAT in this rattletrap of an old museum? I find that hard to believe. As Scully continues to grill the cop within an inch of his life and then orders him to search the entire building, Mulder looks around, then calls Scully and the guard over. It’s an entrance to an old steam tunnel that hasn’t been used for 50 years. An abandoned steam tunnel that no one has been in for 50 years? Oh, that can’t be it then. “You think Bilac crawled down there?” Scully says. Mulder’s found one of those puddles of blood that we’ve grown so fond of over the course of this episode, and following the lead of Lewton and Scully, he sticks his fingers in it and smears them all over the place. “Unless he was dragged,” he says grimly. Wait, I thought he turned into a rat! Pick a theory and stick with it, Mulder. He runs off, and Scully follows, leaving Filch and Officer Whipping Boy staring at a dark shot of something that I imagine would be the steam tunnel entrance if I could see it. HEY, OFFICER WHIPPING BOY, I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU TO SEARCH THE DAMN BUILDING!!

Outside. Mulder’s prying open a manhole cover while Scully has somehow in the middle of the night gotten hold of schematics for the obsolete steam-tunnel system, which she is busily reading. Apparently it branches off into three directions. “There must be miles of tunneling down there,” she says. And only one way in, and one way out. Well, except for all those dozens of vents in the museum. We have a shot down the manhole, which is adorned with some rather fake-looking cobwebs that I think the set decorator got at Spencer Gifts. “Ladies first?” Mulder says hopefully. You know, Scully, you kind of owe him one for making him open all the toilet lids in the ladies’ room. But she shakes her head. I have to say that I always compare this with Squeeze, where she jumped right into Tooms’s nest without hesitation. Boo, Shiban. Not that she should have to do everything first, but she shouldn’t be all “Eeeww, no, you’re the boy, you do it” about everything. Hmph.

So down Mulder goes, into this perfectly clean steam tunnel that looks less grody than most of the museum, and Mulder follows. Scully’s little map thingy says they should go left, so they — uh-oh! CRAZY SOUP-O-VISION! Behind them! They keep walking, through some darkness. You know, I am just about at capacity for watching people walk through dark corridors with flashlights. I know that happens all the time on The X-Files. But, for serious, in this episode it happens ALL THE TIME. At least these are some different corridors. NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW SINCE I CAN’T SEE THEM. Oh, look, a rat! It sniffs Mulder’s shoe the way a trained rat might do on TV, then scampers off. “Follow that rat,” Mulder says. He sounds like Darth Vader, which I guess is because they’re in a tunnel? I don’t know. Or because they forgot to record that line of dialogue and they had to do it later via tin-can telephone. They follow the rat. Though how they can see it I do not know. At one point Scully says, “We should be directly under the museum here,” though how she knows THAT I do not know. She’s not even looking at her schematics. This episode is really lazy in a lot of ways. Look, it’s a door! Like a regular old closet door down here in the tunnel. All righty. Scully walks up to it. There is a creak, not captioned, so I assume she has opened it, not that I can see anything. The deaf people watching this episode roll their eyes in annoyance, because they literally have no clue what is going on right now. Scully lifts up her flashlight. Look, it’s — some stuff! And some more stuff. For some reason, when Scully is dimly visible she’s blue, but the unidentifiable stuff she shines her flashlight on is orange. So I guess they’re being lit by the moon, which apparently is shining through the earth. Scully looks at the boxes or whatever, then studiously points her flashlight back at her schematics.

Mulder is…also somewhere. Possibly somewhere else; possibly not. He’s following the rat, I guess. There it is; squeaky squeak squeak. He’s leading them to Allston! Mulder keeps shining his flashlight directly on the rat and it doesn’t seem to mind. Mulder has legs, and a tie. This is what I can discern from this shot. “Scully?” he calls. “What is it?” she says, coming up behind him. Mulder shines his light — oh, there we go! A bunch of bodies. Of humans. Perhaps Mulder had a reaction when he first saw them, but if he did I couldn’t see it. “Oh my God,” Scully says, and sinks down to look more closely. It’s Dr. Lewton, and according to Scully, his eyes have been eaten out of his sockets. As opposed to pulled out and then eaten, I guess. Also, eww. “We still don’t know by what,” says Mulder. Well, true, but I think here the important thing is eyes being eaten out of sockets, yes? The Soup-O-Vision watching them agrees. In Soup-O-Vision light, they are green, naturally. It’s a veritable rainbow of color correction down here.

Suddenly we see an eye — it’s a green, feline-looking eye. In Soup-O-Vision, Mulder turns around and shines his light, at long last, on the nemesis who has eluded them for so long. It is — a kittycat! A chubby orange tabby, looking a bit like Morris. Snorgle! I mean, eeeeeek! Scary! Morris runs away. I CAN HAS JEJUNUM? “What is it?” Scully asks. “I think it’s a cat,” says Mulder. You THINK? You looked directly at it for like five minutes. He starts walking after it. Scully thinks “Fuck no, I’m allergic” but then gives in and follows. “You think a cat killed these people?” she says. Yeah, Scully, it is starting to seem like Animal Cops: Boston would have been a better choice to investigate this, eh? “No,” Mulder says, stopping over a grate and shining the flashlight downwards, “THESE cats.” There’s a whole bunch of them, in many colors, meowing and stepping all over each other. They made you a partial rat body part, but they eated it. HEY! I just figured it out. Evil jaguar spirit…basement…The Amaru is Basement Cat!

And now I think it’s time to revisit one of my very favorite XF stories ever, which was told by Kim Manners on one of the extras discs, I guess probably for this season. Basically they had a bunch of cats and they got them all messed up to look like gross dirty sewer cats. Then they had to get the shot set up, and while that was all happening, the cats, because this is what cats do, licked themselves clean. So by the time they were ready to roll on this scene about scary, mangy, terrifying cats, they were all sparkling clean and fluffy again. Hee hee hee! Cats are hilarious. Between this and the having to build a fake one for Gillian to fight because of her being allergic, I’m not surprised we didn’t see a lot of cat-centric episodes after this one. Also because of the fact that cats, again, are hilarious. And not scary. Shiban, this is an illustrious beginning if ever there was one, my friend.

In Soup-O-Vision, which I guess we now know is also Kittycat Vision, Mulder says (in an echoey voice that I’m going to say is part of the inconsistent steam-tunnel sound and not how a cat might hear it, because, yeah, that’s silly), “Which way is out?” Scully turns around, and looks right into the soup-flooded eyes of whichever cat, or jaguar spirit, or dead Native American female shaman, or whatever, is looking at her. Her eyes widen. And then — ATTACK! Now, I’m not saying cats can’t do some damage on you when they attack you. I have been enlisted to cut my parents’ cats’ nails enough to know this. Gloves have been worn on occasion. So I don’t mean to make light of this. The screeching kittycat leaps on Scully, perhaps trying to determine if she has any cheezburgers, which she does not, so it claws her face a lot. At least as far as we can tell with the heavily edited sequence, which is designed not to display the pretend kitty puppet on the stick that we see with such entertaining clarity in the blooper reel. “Come on, Scully!” Mulder says, perhaps staying behind to engage in human-versus-kitty fisticuffs. Nope, they both run off, and a whole bunch of cats jump out of a whole bunch of neatly cut holes in some wooden crates or something. It looks like a cat jungle gym. Only lit in blue. There is also a lot of meowing that, frankly, sounds more “faintly cranky” than “murderous.” I mean, my cat meows all the damn day, especially when it’s time for canned food. Nevertheless, Mulder and Scully, clearly not cat people, run like the dickens.

“No, Mulder, this way!” Scully says, because, it appears, she has the schematics memorized now, even in the dark, Go, girl! Hi Chris. She’s found a vent. Going to be all pouty about not wanting to go first now?

Now we’re I guess looking down through a grate, with the flashlight: and this is easily the most hilarious part of the episode, or pretty much any episode, because the cats are all sitting down there, just sort of looking up, like cats do when, you know, you wave something in their face, or they think maybe you have food, or what have you. They’re just chillin’ in the steam pipe. And then a bunch of cat eyes are CLEARLY Photoshopped in. Those look a little more sinister. But mostly they look like my Cats: The Musical sweatshirt that I wore all the time in ninth grade.

All right, fine, then a meaner cat suddenly jumps up against the grate, startling Mulder. I guess if I had the volume turned up, and it was dark, and any part of the rest of this had been especially scary, I might have been startled. Since I am the most easily startled person of all time. Still, I bet that was the cat puppet. So, yeah.

Scully’s poking in some tunnel or other, and she sees a body. It’s Bilaaaaaaac. Now a door starts banging — WHAT is with the preponderance of cat-friendly doors down here? It’s like a Petco — and I guess the cats are going to come out and attack them some more. They’re scratching at the wood from behind and you can see it splintering, from the front — I don’t know. Mulder and Scully sort of stare helplessly. There’s also a lot of snarling, which sounds more like hobgoblins than cats. The cats break through. Mulder asks Scully if she can get up into the tunnel, which seems to be leading upward. Bilac’s body is in the way, though, so they sort of dump it to the ground and then Mulder boosts Scully up. Shouldn’t they check for a pulse or something? Oh, here’s a closeup of a bloody cat face. That was totally filmed at the same time as all the rest of this. Mulder kind of glances back and then hoists himself into the tunnel. It’s like the scene with the aliens in FTF, only way, way less intense and way, way lower budget. And also, instead of aliens, there are kittycats. There’s a bunch of crawling with flashlights (that’s a change from walking with flashlights, at least), and then Mulder and Scully emerge from the vent in the room where they left Bilac. They support each other as they stagger away. (Really, guys?) In the background we can still hear cats screeching.

Next day. Now in addition to the police and the FBI they’ve got firemen at the scene. I can just picture all the people in the comments section bitching about how much all of this is costing the taxpayers. Somebody calls down into the manhole, saying whoever it is can come back up. Scully tells Mulder that the search team has recovered all the bodies, including Mona Woonsler’s and Lonnie’s. “What about the cats?” Mulder asks. A scratched and Band-Aided Scully says that animal control is still looking for them but they haven’t found any sign of them so far. See? Animal Cops: Boston. Time for another crossover! Mulder’s all affronted, because the cats are down there, they both saw them! Puppety, fluffy, sparkling clean cats! Scully says there are miles of tunnel down there and it will take weeks to search them all. I do hope we get regular updates!

Mulder says he was just on the phone with the State Department. After the deaths of five people, they’re finally taking it seriously. “The CURSE?” Scully says. Oh, Scully, you’re so fanciful. Mulder laughs uproariously (well, just about.): “No. Bilac’s letter of protest.” They want the museum to stay closed until they can act on it, which shouldn’t be a problem since I don’t think the museum’s been open the whole time they’ve been there. If it had been I would think there would be a few more LIGHTS ON. Besides, it seemed to be the middle of the night for basically the entire episode. They’re going to send the urn back to Ecuador. Mulder and Scully both look dismayed for some reason. Why do you guys care again, exactly?

Oh good, it’s a voiceover! It’s Mulder for a change. “The Suffolk County coroner ruled that the deaths at the museum were the result of animal attacks. What motivated these attacks and why no more have occurred since has not been explained.” Paranormal activity in the house! OK, I’m not going to transcribe the rest of this. To the museum it was just a historical artifact, there is a world beyond our own, etc. Meanwhile we’re panning through the museum, past some masks, the stuffed jaguar, some bones, and finally to the urn, gingerbready as ever. Then we’re back in Ecuador, and some guys in hats are reburying it, while Doug the head shaman guy looks on, holding his scepter. Closeup on him, and — OMG! Jaguar eyes! That totally…makes sense! I guess! We see the skull, dusted with snow, and then a Soup-O-Vision shot from its POV, looking up at Doug, then covered with dirt. After all, as Mulder says, some things are better left buried. Even jars made of gingerbread. Because if you unbury them, a bunch of kitties might come after you, especially if you work in an unlit, rat-infested museum in Boston.

OK, the guy playing the shaman is actually named Gordon. And he has quite a long list of IMDB credits, so he’s unlikely to be a truck driver. I still think he was wearing a wig though. And somebody called Mr. Decker (no clue who that is — Dog Autopsy Guy?) is played by RON SUAVE! That’s the best name EVER! That almost makes up for — aw, it’s Ron Sauve. Too bad. Special Vocal Effects! You know what that means — hobgoblin-like cat snarling! I wonder which of these fine folks was responsible for the kitty puppet. Yes, I AM reading the credits.

So — everybody was killed by kittycats, then? I guess we’re meant to assume that a LOT of cats, acting under the direction of a jaguar spirit, can kill somebody, drag them into a storm drain (in Lewton’s case at least they either had to open a manhole cover or get him into the museum and into the steam pipe), and also drape their entrails over a tree branch after, uh, asking rats to gnaw on them? And, I guess they killed Sugar by…designating one of their number to eat a poisoned rat and then splay enticingly in its death throes where Sugar would find it, right around the usual Alpo time? I know, I know — MAGIC. Spirits. Paranormal activity. Wizards. I will go with it, Scully, because if you think too much about this episode, my friends, then you are a fooooooollll.

7×13 – First Person Shooter

Previously on The X-Files: Scully giving feminism (and feminine clothes) the finger. Mulder being the tolerable kind of sleazy. Fun episodes with plots that made sense. Previously.

Sirens! I sure hope they’re coming to take the writer of this episode to some form of mental hospital. T-minus 10 seconds till suckiness… uh, invasion. A fat kid, a nerdy kid, and a kid who’s way too cool-looking to be doing this are dressed in fake suits of armour. They whoop-whoop about blah blah Darryl Musashicakes, and when the timer stops, begin to put on their dumb eyewear. Somewhere else, a hot-ish nerdy guy who looks sorta like Seth Green and that chick who was on that lame show about kidnapping with Brian from Queer as Folk (you know the one. It sucked. This episode is the highlight of her career. [checks credits: Constance Zimmer.]) watch their heart-rates. She comments that if she doesn’t let them out soon, they’ll kill themselves. Fine by me. It would save me from having to watch the rest of this craptacular suckfest. But she doesn’t, and I start crying in thought of what I got myself into. This is going to be painful. Fat Guy screams when he gets let out. The three nerds run out and take cover behind a shieldy thing, because they are apparently in some sort of video game. Oh, boy. Where’s Sam Beckett when you need him to leap into your body for… however long it takes to recap an episode (and I should know this, I’ve done two already.) HotNerd: “Do you see them?” NerdNerd: “They’re out there, geeks. Looking to fry your huevos.” Well, clearly if they’re doing this, then they will have absolutely no need for huevos, considering they obviously don’t have girlfriends and all. We hear motorbikes rev, and see them turn the corner and drive down the little alley the nerds are at the end of. No, turn around; you don’t have to get involved in this episode! The nerds open fire, and a series of fake explosions result in fewer bikes. The nerds duck even though there’s NOTHING LEFT TO AVOID, and NotOz points out it’s a massacre out there. Let’s hope so. It looks like the game resets itself as we see little mushroom shacks spring up in the middle of the road. There are snipers in the buildings, and we can only hope they hit. The knuckleheads run off and get shot at, shooting back like maniacs. Fat Guy is shot, and yellow paint pours out of his vest. Either that, or he himself is made of molten lard. It’s entirely possible. He writhes on the ground in agony, and NerdNerd points out that “Lo-Fat’s down”. Um, that has got to be the stupidest handle EVER. It’s worse than when Britney Spears called herself a virgin. Or when I did. (What? You expected me to get through an entire teaser of this crap without resorting to dirty jokes? Ha! Ha ha ha! Ha!) More writhing and electrocution sounds, and I wonder how high Giovanni Ribisi could score on this game, before realising that even he wouldn’t be caught dead playing it because it’s so lame. The two remaining nerds run out of their little bubble dome and get shot at again. Out in the control room, we hear more technobabble, before we get a line about how “the bloodthirst is unquenchable”. See, if this was a vampire episode, that would make sense. Almost. And even then, it’s not a vampire episode, so shut it, dude. Back in the game, more shooting. NerdNerd runs underneath one of the side buildings and gets all the way to the other wall without being shot. Damn. He pushes open another door, and there’s nothing. He turns around and we hear footsteps. Still with his gun pointed upwards, we watch as he sees an Angelina Jolie lookalike walk up wearing next to nothing. Did I mention his gun was up? Well, now his backup is too. He gets on his knees and kisses her gloved hand, and I start having a horrible flashback to Wench in the lesbian dominatrix dress. NerdNerd asks who NotLaraCroft is, and she says her name is Maitreya. She says this is her game, and her hand turns into a hand holding an old-style gun, which she aims at his head. She pulls the trigger. Fade to digital staticky crap. Fade to white. Fade to black. Make up your mind, CC!

Credits! One scene down, too many left to go. Oooh-wee-ooh-ooh-wee-ooh. The truth is out there. Oh, so it’s not in here? Then why do I have to put up with this shit?

Commercial Blackspot! Welcome to Mulderholics Anonymous. “Hi, my name is Phoebe Green, and I’m a Mulderholic.” “Hi, Wench.” “When Mister Mulder and I went to university together in Oxford – that’s in England – we did the horizontal mattress mambo atop Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tombstone. Oh, it was heavenly. Ten years later, I tried to use a pyrokinetic to reignite my relationship with that handsome bastard, but it failed miserably when he decided he would rather bed the detestable Agent Scully instead. It’s been 2478 days since my last interaction with Mulder.” *the room of people claps*

FPS Corporate Offices, Inland Empire, California. It’s a building which looks sort of like one of those box-shaped Tetris pieces mated with one of the tunnels from the Super Mario games. At least they’re using it for the right episode, rather than trying to pull it off as, say, the Brady Bunch house. Anyway, we cut to the inside of the building, where Mulder and Scully are walking in. Behind the reception is a security guard who looks totally bored by seeing them. He’s in the right place. He scans Mulder’s badge with a bluelight, then does a retina scan. It seems weird (but not totally unlikely) that this building has more security than all those secret government facilities that Mulder has been breaking into all these years. He does the same to Scully, and she looks like she’s nervous as if she’s trying to hide the fact that she’s been practicing for all the crying she’ll be doing over the next two years. Non-disclosure agreements abound, and it says something that Scully reading this aloud is the most interesting part of the episode so far. She looks up and sees a security camera panning around.

Someone correct me, but is this the first time the Lone Gunmen got credited separately as guest stars? Maybe you should have taken the result of this episode as a white buffalo omen, writers.

Scully: “FPS?” Mulder: “First Person Shooter.” Scully: “Video Games?” Mulder: “Digital entertainment.” Firstly, Scully’s right. It sucks that they’re investigating a video game, because it makes no sense at all, even by X-Files standards. Buffy didn’t do a video game episode. Doctor Who hasn’t done a video game episode (yet). Quantum Leap didn’t do a video game episode. So what makes this a good idea, exactly? Secondly, I thought it was already established that the only digital entertainment that excites Mulder involves watching videos that aren’t his.

Scully remarks that the Pentagon is easier to get into, and as I pointed out above, Mulder ALREADY KNOWS THAT FROM EXPERIENCE. Hell, he’s even been in there legally to investigate (in Unrequited or whatever that invisible man episode was). Suddenly, we see the Long Gunmen walking up behind the agents. Langly tries to act like he’s down with it, homies, and it looks even faker than… the rest of this episode. If you pause at the right moment here, you can see that no matter how advanced technology can get, it still hasn’t figured out a way to stop ugly powerpoints from sticking out of the wall. Hee. Welcome to the land where silicon meets silicone. Blecch. Way to put the bad taste in my mouth already. In an episode that does not feature Fowley, Wench, or Moronica. Pure talent. Frohike asks if the agents want a latte or designer water, because we all know that water in Silicon[e] Valley needs to be given an Extreme Makeover before it’s ready to go down your throat. Mulder passes and Scully just wants to know why the fuck they were called in. She could be at home practicing her crying right now, for God’s sake! Langly and Byers yap propaganda about the space shuttles being made of gold or some shit that has no point being in this episode, and Scully shuts them down. Yay.

Apparently there’s been an accident, and she asks what kind. We cut to some bland-looking stairway and Langly voices over that it’s an industrial accident. In a factory, that would make sense. But you are in the middle of the fucking desert, with the only machinery in sight being the bluelight badge/retina scanner and a bunch of computers. So cram it, hippie. She asks how they died, and the LG’s have no idea. Ditto on whether there was equipment involved. That scene with the NDA reading? Was just surpassed by the fact that the N is William Gibson’s surname looks like it’s trying to escape from the caption when it shows up. Granted, it’s no silent H, but the letter N is hilarious by this episode’s standards. Anyway, the agents and the LG’s are walking down the stairs, and Scully asks why they are there. After an awkward pause in which Frohike does not say they were models for the nudist camp level, he does say that they were “consultants”. So… same thing, basically. Langly did some programming and create the bad guys. How much are you willing to bet that at least one of them looks like Byers? Frohike doesn’t want to be thought of as in it for the money, and he should audition for the Oompa-Loompa version of The Biggest Loser. He’d fight right in, as long as he can work the phrases “journey”, “I just didn’t know WHAT to expect”, “with a heavy heart”, and “shut your pie-hole, Sami Brady, and bring back Aunt Zelda” into everyday conversation. Ahem. Sorry. I just have to distract myself from the congaline of suckiness that is this episode somehow, and going way off topic is the best way of doing it. So… enjoy, I guess. Langly explains the stock options they got in more legalese mumbo-jumbo that is about even with the NDA in terms of episode highlightiness. Anyway, the game ships on Friday and Mulder warns the LG’s to check their pants for cake. Oh, ewwwwwwww. Thank God my birthday was last week, and I don’t have to even think about eating cake until this time next year.

Cut to Scully and NotOz looking at the dead man. Scully points out that he’s clearly been shot. NotOz says that’s impossible because a gun wouldn’t have gotten past security. I don’t remember the guy taking Mulder’s weapon away from him, do you? He did the scans, and then Langly started yapping like Queequeg which distracted the agents. No gun-taking at all. See? I blame the writing. Also, this guy died when he was shot in the game, as we saw. So how come Not-So-Lo-Fat is still alive as far as we know? Ugh. I can’t believe we’re not even nine minutes in and I’m already pointing out SEVERAL bad continuity mistakes. Still, imagine how much worse this could have been if CC wrote it as well as directed. Scully holds up a giant gun to prove him wrong, and he points out that it’s a “laser blaster”, not a gun. More arguing about it that I can’t be fucked writing about (as opposed to the rest of this… thing) and he points out that this is “total bleeding-edge technology”. Hey! Bad puns are the recapper’s job, dude! So get back to watching your Judge Judy and let me handle it. Scully sticks her finger in blood and waves it in his face to shut him up, and Mulder asks who he was playing against. More mumbo jumbo about NotOz trying to defend his game, and ZimmerFrame (sorry, I had to make that joke at least once. See what I meant about bad puns?) agreeing with him. NotOz spazzes out at Langly when Scully says she’s calling the cops, because the agents were only called in so cops could be avoided. Never mind that Mulder and Scully are basically Federal Police and all, because that would be logical, and we need these to stop making any lick of sense for next year. NotOz is worried about the headlines. Scully goes off to call the cops as he storms out of the ‘room’, leaving Mulder to interview ZimmerFrame about what she saw.

Cut to the control room, where ZimmerFrame suggests that the computer crashed and there’s no way they can tell what happened, basically. Subtext: “He was on the phone with Wench the Lesbian Dominatrix, and I was eating ice cream to make myself look that fat and therefore more attractive to him. I should just give him a blowjob next time.” Mulder asks what was under that building where the guy was shot in, and ZimmerFrame says that they hadn’t mapped out the area before. Which would imply to me that, you know, he couldn’t see anything once he got down there, right? The graphic work is done, and it shows a chick with a gun. Which makes perfect sense and solves the case. Can I go home, now? Mulder asks if she can be wrapped in a doggie-bag to go, because he is three timezones away from his usual collection, and all the Silicon[e] Valley prostitutes are pre-booked months in advance, because nerds aren’t that spontaneous. Uh, I mean, he asks for her to be “texture-wrapped”. He asks for her to be printed out. Oh, yeah, he’s going to masturbate tonight. ZimmerFrame looks depressed as she realises who it is, apparently.

Commercial Blackspot! “Hi, my name is Diana, and… I’m a Mulderholic.” “Hi, Diana.” “Agent Mulder and I used to work together at the FBI. I helped him discover the X-Files and–” “So it was your fault?!” “Yes, but I don’t see what that has to do with anything…” “You don’t? What are you, Chris Carter or something?” “Um, who?” “You know, that idiot behind Harsh Realm.” “Oh.” “You’ll get your turn soon, Alex, just pipe down until then, OK?”… [By the way, you should note that in this episode, we never actually fade to black until the end of the episode, so I'm just shoving these in whenever I feel like it. Basically, when the episode sucks, which means there's going to be more writing of this storyline than of the actual episode.]

And we’re supposedly back, just in time to see a body bag leave the building. A cop tells Scully that there’s no forensic evidence, no motive, no suspect, and no murder weapon. Which means we’re only a genetic mutation or alien conspiracy away from having an actual X-File, I suppose. Mulder runs up the stairs in the background and is introduced to the cop, whose name I am not even going to TRY and spell, because it’s one of those evil sounding French ones, and I hate those cheese-eating surrender monkeys even more than I hate Moronica, who at least had some redeeming features. He hands the printout of NotLaraCroft to Detective SurrenderMonkey who makes some joke that hardly anybody outside of LA would have gotten, and I certainly didn’t, considering I live not only outside of LA, but outside of the country and in a different hemisphere. Anyway, Scully points out how hormonal you’d have to be to get a kick out of this episode, and it happens to be a coincidence that I’m a teenager at the time of writing this, doesn’t it? Even so, I’m too mature for this puerile crap. A young Asian man who – and this is not a joke – looks almost exactly like Jackie Chan’s son Jaycee, except with normal hair, enters the office, and the LG’s go all fangirly like they just saw Mulder naked. Maybe they should join Mulderholics Anonymous (See? I was going somewhere with that). It turns out that he is Darryl Musashi, and blah blah fishcakes about why he’s there, but Mulder follows the entourage as Scully whines again and asks if he wants an autopsy on the victim. What kind of dumb question is that? Have you been taking your Moronica pills today, Scully? Because it sure looks like it. She walks off, and we cut to…

Musashi in body gear holding his guns up just like the nerds in the teaser should have been. In the control room, NotOz, ZimmerFrame, Langly and Byers are watching and comment about more useless crap that has nothing to do with ANYTHING, considering that Musashi is about to die and all. Gun-twirling is always fun, because there’s a danger someone can get shot, and anything you can do to liven up this episode is wayyyy overdue. The lame Star Trek door opens and he enters the game, as Byers and Mulder enter the control room. Musashi stands there and watches as the motorbikes turn the corner and drive up. He shoots them all and whatever, and his standing heart rate is 68 at the end of it. Coincidentally, on a scale of one to one million, that’s about how much I care about the people in this episode (with one million the highest possible, of course). He runs into the Basement That Shouldn’t Exist, and hears steps behind him. Guns raised, he turns around just in time to have his arms cut off. Fun! Cut to the control room, where everyone looks shocked. Even though they have no idea what’s going on, considering that the basement hasn’t been mapped yet. Maitreya, according to the subtitles, whose job it is to tell me this sort of stuff, “speaks Japanese”. Doesn’t give us the Japanese words for what she’s saying, or a translation, just that she “speaks Japanese”. She uses the samurai sword (though I’m sure Robert Modell will correct me and tell me it means something else entirely) to chop off his head, and it should be noted for no reason at all that we get the crappy video-game static BEFORE HE DIES here. That’s it! Video-game static is the key to The X-Files! Wow, what a boring conspiracy. With everyone looking worried, we fade to black. (I lied. Sorry.)

Commercial Blackspot! “Hi, my name is Alex Krycek, and I’m a Mulderholic.” “Hi, you little possibly-Canadian hottie.” “Um… hi, Xander. I thought the Buffyholics Anonymous meeting was down the hall.” “Oops, sorry. Move it, Spike.” *Xander and Spike leave the room* “Anyway, I first met Mulder about a year after Wench’s pathetic fire stunt burned his poor hands. Until I was forced to leave him by the cigarette-smoking father of a bitch I h–” “I resent that.” “Cram it, Crispy.” “Yes, sir.” “Hey, that’s my job!” “You cram it too, Wench!” “Feh.”

Anyway, we’re back. Scully Autopsy Of The Week time! Yay! She’s checking out what killed Retro, even though Musashi just became Mu-sushi. (I’m here all week! Try the lobster!) She says there are no obvious reasons as to why he died, and then apparently suddenly realises a big gaping hole in his sternum. Don’t give up your day job, Scully. This hole caused massive blood loss, and was made by something which got through a Kevlar jacket. Again, fuck that shit. It was REALLY caused by something, which left no trace evidence at all. Huh.

Mulder enters and asks if she’s found anything, like she’s supposed to do all the gruntwork while he goes and beats off to the Maitreya printout. She thinks she has something, and if Mulder doesn’t stop playing with his something and do some work, she’s going to use her mad autopsy skillz to take his something away from him. So, the vests measure vital signs as well as playing paintball, and sends this crap back to the computer. Also, the vests electrocute the players when they are shot. Well, isn’t that nice. Scully says she first thought the vest had fucked up, but that she was proven wrong. She doesn’t say how she was proven wrong, so you can assume it was some jerk telling her to go play with her dollies or some shit. Mulder mentions his birthday is coming up and holds the vest up, apparently trying to hint at a birthday present. He wants to get electrocuted for his birthday? I’m sure Wench can arrange that for him. He points out that the technology is good, and Scully counters by calling the game ‘stupid’. Once again, Scully is right. Also, cowboys and Indians are suing 1013 for being associated with this piece of drivel. She asks “What kind of moron gets his ya-yas out like that?” and Mulder does jazz hands. I knew he wasn’t totally straight. Ahem. Scully the Magnificent asks why we need a game like this when the country is already Columbine-tastic? And, once again, I totally agree with her. Especially when she points out how dumb Mulder is when he asks what the game has to do with real life. And speaking of real life, weren’t you supposed to be doing an autopsy, Scully? Mulder calls Scully sexist when she argues about a testosterone rush, and, dude: Do you see any hot guys in leather bikinis running around the game? No? Shut up, Mulder. There’s more “Men go to bars, Women go to penis” arguing, which I am too pissed to recap, but suffice to say: it’s even more boring than the rest of this episode. Aside from Scully’s voice magically changing in a voiceover.

The Mu-sushi train rolls into the station and Mulder makes like an old-time train conductor.

Okay, that’s the last time I make the Mu-Sushi joke. If I do it again, you can fly down here, tie me down to something, and force me to watch this episode over and over and over.

He lifts the cover off of Darryl’s body and reveals that Darryl’s head is next to his feet. They could have at least gone for a dirty joke and had him sniffing his own crotch, but even FOX apparently has some dignity. Mulder’s phone rings and he answers it. The LA sheriff’s department have arrested a suspect who looks exactly like digital damsel of distress.

Ugly Police Station, Which Still Looks Better Than The Rest Of LA. The boys club is in a hallway outside a room with the suspect. When one cop leaves the room after interviewing her, they all act like frat boys until Scully shows up and puts and end to it. She was picked up outside a strip club and read her rights and read her rights and read her… you get the idea. Scully walks in like a professional, but Mulder turns around and bites his knuckle because he just wants to be one of the big boys. Coincidentally, every woman he’s ever met has also complained that he wasn’t a “big boy”, so make of that what you will. Mulder closes the blinds and Scully asks our suspect what her name is. Like she was never asked that before. The camera tilts up to show she’s got long brown hair and is dressed like a reject Gladiator. Remember, if you’re going to make your own Gladiator uniform for whatever dumb reason: Beads? Not good. She acts all pissy, and I don’t blame her. Having to put up with FratBoy!Mulder would do that to anyone. She says she upset the metal detector guy, and then does the Basic Instinct knee crossing thing which would have been funny if the movie wasn’t already old by this point, and certainly isn’t funny right now.

Scully looks all awkward and tells her that she has no knowledge of Ivan Martinez [who? Oh, right, NotOz...] or First Person Shooter. FakeyFury says she meets a lot of men, and when Scully tells her she was at the murder scene in some building she doesn’t know, inside a video game, she doesn’t even bat an eyelid. Now THAT is bad scriptwriting. Granted, she may not have wanted to flutter her eyes with all the FratCops around, but still… I blame Chris Carter. Scully tells her to cram it unless she’s going to tell the truth, and Mulder tells her she is a dual murderer. FakeyFury says that Mulder is a twit who can’t tell the difference between her and Lucy Lawless, basically. You know, like how Doggett thought Lucy Lawless was a friend of his until she tried to drown him. Again, I blame the writing. Mulder pulls out his now-probably-covered-in-semen printout of EvenFakerFury and asks if it’s her. FakeyFury figures it out and says that some medical imaging place paid her to do a body-scan. Scully points out some of the stupidity, and I guess it’s up to me to point out the rest of the holes in this argument. But I’m lazy, and let’s just say it involves that imaging place not having anything to do with FPS, dammit. FakeyFury asks Scully if she thinks that is the strangest thing she’s been paid to do, and: her outfit. She ain’t wearing that because its comfortable, dude. Mulder tells her she’s free to go, and she grabs her coat to walk out the door. Seems like it would be a good idea to put it on BEFORE you enter the Hallway Of Frat Cops, doesn’t it? Nope. Mulder sits in her chair and leans to the side watching the door hit her ass on the way out, until Scully leans herself and he looks all sheepish. He says he wants to blast the crap out of something. Huh. Me too.

Mario’s Impaled Tetris Piece World, 5:42am. We see a quick shot of a poster (complete with stupid “the bloodthirst is unquenchable”-ness) before the camera pans down to show Mulder and Scully walking around the corner. They walk into what looks like an abandoned room full of computers and other junk. So THIS is where the Lone Gunmen were hiding their office. Scully hears something, looks around and calls out for Phoebe, who apparently is ZimmerFrame, but you never know, they could have smuggled in Wench just to torture me some more. She gets up off the floor, and relax, everybody, it’s only ZimmerFrame. She says she went to sleep on purpose because she’s been awake for 70 hours straight trying to fix the game. Scully asks if she knows where Ivan is, ’cause he got some ‘splaining to do about Jade Blue Afterglow. Mulder notices that the Lone Gunmen are gearing up, even though we saw in the teaser that that happens in the little tiny locker room thing, not in the big giant white room. Ugh. ZimmerFrame ignores that stupidity and says they’re there because Langly helped develop a patch for the game to try and fix it, and they want to test it out. Can I remind them that patches wear off? Fucking idiots. The screen goes all digital and ZimmerFrame is flummoxed by it. Mulder realises that they are in the game. We see ZimmerFrame typing really fast, and thanks to DVD slow-motion, I can now reveal that she typed (tope?) the words “TEH WRITERS ARE TOOLS!!!!!1!!!1!” We hear the Lone Gunmen screaming, and Scully reveals an eyebrow that would give Milhouse Van Houten’s a run for their money. Somebody save her poor Hickey! ZimmerFrame says the game is running itself, and Mulder runs off. Scully half-heartedly yells after him, and ZimmerFrame keeps on typing.

…And I’m back, after a month and a half of absence. Can you tell I really didn’t feel like writing the rest of this up? And back to the incredibly sucky suckfest that really did suck, which for some reason has now decided that it would rather piss me off by stretching itself out in the half of my laptop screen I have for it rather than stay in its normal shape with black bars. Ugh.

Oh. Right. The show. A countdown from 10 in what sounds like Steven “X” Williams’s voice but probably isn’t. A slow pan up reveals that Mulder is in his suit pants, a tank top, and a full suit of hardcore body armour, containing such things as kneepads and a crotchpiece which almost certainly has an entire sock drawer crammed behind it. Just the sort of thing that says “Fun for all ages, as long as you’re related to Ned Flanders”! (Incidentally, the Stretchy Computer Realisation Of Torture Unto Me makes it look like he’s hanged himself here.) As the countdown finishes, Mulder says, “Bring it on”. Hey, that movie was on TV again the other night! And you should sooo prepare for total domination, domination, domination, Agent Mulder.

The Lone Gunmen are waiting outside crouched behind that first turret-y thing and Byers has a flesh wound. Diddums. Grow a pair and deal with it. I’m sure Mulder would be able to lend you at least one of his pairs of socks. Maitreya apparently nailed Byers with a flintlock. Mulder starts shooting after a countdown as the gunmen head back into the supply room, which they are calling the “module” for some BS reason. Maitreya runs past in a full-on black bodysuit with the face cut out, because that is the one part of your body they can’t identify you from in this fucked-up virtual world. Where are the Virtual Porn Nurses from Kill Switch when you need them? She runs into the Basement of Dread and we hear the gunmen yelling as ZimmerFrame asks Scully what the hell she’s doing. He’s “getting his ya-ya’s out”, and now is a good time to tell you that 1) my internal monologue just started singing Lady Marmalade for no real reason, 2) the S.C.R.O.T.U.M. makes Scully look like she’s on the edge of an orgasm as she says that, and 3) there is no fucking way I can sit here and recap another 20 minutes of this shit. Will come back tomorrow and add more.

Can’t even remember how long it’s been since I wrote anything for this, but it wasn’t yesterday. Apparently, I’m getting better at blocking out all painful memories of thi… all memories of this episode. Yay for me. Anyway, Mulder walks down the ramp into the basement and sees Maitreya with a sword. The one that killed Daryl Musashi, even though it’s spotless and without a trace of blood, virtual or otherwise. He tells her to drop the sword. She starts to, then decides to use it to teleport her way out of the basement. Did she turn into one of the Cult of Skaro while we weren’t looking? ‘Cause otherwise, that makes no sense at all. But the graphics people loved it enough to put that on the DVD cover, so… enough said. Unlike the Daleks, though, she only teleported behind Mulder and tries to hit him with the sword like she’s playing a life-size version of Whac-A-Mole. Mulder manages to stop her with his gun.

As gunshots ring out, Frohike calls for Mulder. Not hearing anything, they run towards the basement but are teleported out and end up in that white room, apparently bypassing the supply room/”module” somehow. With ZimmerFrame and the gunmen perplexed, Scully busts in and demands to know where Mulder is.

Without an answer, Commercial Blackspot! “Anyway, before I had to leave him I had this huge crush on him which I never acted on. The closest I ever got was ogling his package in a Speedo. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to let him know I want to get back together with him. I even followed him to Hong Kong just to try and score, but he made me puke an alien out of my eye sockets in North Dakota. We went to Russia together so I could — supposedly — help him get proof about aliens, but he got me locked up in a gulag and had my arm cut off.” “So it has nothing to do with a cruel dominatrix?” “Didn’t I already tell you to shut your suckhole, Wench?” “Yeah, but–” “No buts! … Unless it’s Mulder’s.”

We’re back, and not a moment too soon. Scully reminds us that she wants to know where Mulder is, and THAT is much less invasive than the over-recapping we get now in the TiVo generation. I feel so sick writing that this episode did something right, but it did. Writers and editors should quit complaining about getting less time to tell a story and more time not filling that time with recaps. Rant over. Scully wonders whether the gunmen didn’t hear her. Over… what, exactly? An invisible traffic jam? The running of the invisible bulls? Help me out here. Scully points out that she wants to know where he IS, not where he went. Given that the gunmen got booted from the game before they even saw Mulder, how the fuck are they supposed to know? And why isn’t Byers in agony like he was in the game?

Scully asks if there was an exit or a gate or something Mulder could have used. The gunmen point out that it’s only the one she came in. Because the one THEY use to get into the supply room is apparently not a door of any kind. Fucking idiot writers. Byers points out that it’s just a game. Says the person who wasn’t chopped up into sushi by Maitreya. ZimmerFrame uses the “only” door to come in and tell Scully that she’s found Mulder.

We see a computer screen with techy crap on it, and ZimmerFrame says it’s his telemetry. We spend a little while explaining to Scully that the player listed without “Game Over” is Mulder. Since when did the gunmen get an official game over, though? Mulder has apparently been turned into a three-inch-long bar by the game. For those keeping track, that’s apparently either much bigger or much smaller than Scully is used to. I’m going with much bigger, considering how obvious the sock drawer crammed down his suit is. If he was naturally bigger, he wouldn’t need so much, would he? She finally figures it out, but now wants to know where the game is. My guess is on the computer somewhere.

Mulder wakes up on a cold floor. It’s in the basement still, but Maitreya’s gone. She did leave her sword, which has conveniently been parked in the middle of one of the building’s supports. Huh. Mulder leaves the basement with his gun and begins yelling for the gunmen, which is a stupid decision. He hears a footstep behind him, and we see a body wayyyyyyy off in the distance. After zooming in on his face so damn far we could see the blood vessels in his eyes if he wasn’t wearing those ugly glasses. The person is Maitreya, who begins running towards him and does (by my count consisting of noise analysis and Zaprudering) 36 consecutive somersaults before leaping over him. That seems like the setup for a joke about it all being in the wrist, but it’s not quite coming to me. Uh, not not coming, but… you know what I mean. Mulder looks around and she’s gone.

In the real world (where computer programmers stop being polite and start getting technical), ZimmerFrame asks Frohike and Langly what they’re doing. They’re making a kill switch even though ZimmerFrame says it won’t work. Suddenly, NotOz enters, says he’s back in business, and calls Scully a dope. Nice to know that Mulder isn’t the only guy not getting any off Scully tonight. And the X-Files Simpsons episode was on here last night, so if anybody is a dope, it is Homer. Anyway, NotOz says that the flames were licking his ass. Wow, Wench must have been paid extra for that. Apparently, Scully fixed their problems when she put on the autopsy that she doesn’t know what killed Darryl Musashi. She threatens to knock him out and his eyes bug out a little. Byers tells him that Mulder is still in the game. Scully says that the game has disappeared, and we know it hasn’t because they got Mulder’s telemetry before. She asks him if Jade Blue Afterglow sounds familiar, and he looks confused. Scully says that he’d remember her. Suddenly, ZimmerFrame runs out of the room, and Scully slowly follows.

She catches up with her in the hallway, and finally gets some non-gibberish out of her. In short, ZimmerFrame created Maitreya for another game to be everything she wasn’t. Maitreya was a secret but managed to jump games. She gets stronger from male aggression. Scully wants to know about weaknesses, and Maitreya no longer has any.

Mulder runs up to the supply room door, which must not have the turrety thing in front of it now, and starts yelling out. He turns around at another footstep, and she’s walking to him again. He goes to shoot, and he has no ammo left. Maitreya walks right up to him and he comes close to her. She goes all kung fu on his assorted weapons, both without ammunition and with padding.

In the single most character-destroying moment of this character-destroying episode, NotOz yells at ZimmerFrame for putting Maitreya into the game after some more wiggy vital tech talk, and Scully goes all “no fair picking on a girl”. Lucky Wench and the writers of this episode all pass for men, then. Also, Wiggy Vital Tech Talk is so going to be the name of my new band.

More kung fu Maitreya, but Mulder flips her when she tries to ram her stiletto into his face. Only Wench can do that, bitch! Mulder runs off and we pan on Maitreya looking all fake exhausted. In the Basement That Never Was, Mulder manages to removed the sword from the stone, and I really could have done without the Excalibur reference. As Mulder holds the sword up, we get teleported or something into a fake-looking Wild West village. Possibly the one from Kid Nation, though I don’t see Taylor making a nuisance of herself yet. Give it time, though. There’s a big zoom out, and a second shot which REALLY looks like it was done in front of a green-screen and fixed by a first time graphics person. Ugh.

In better news, Commercial Blackspot! “The next year, I actually got to kiss him, but he thought it was one of those Godfather-type things where I did it so he would die quicker. Then I tried to save his life by killing some doctor with these weird alien rubbings, but.. well, let’s just say it’s not pretty. So, his birthday is coming up again, as you all know, and I wanted to do something special. Any ideas?” “Um… you do know this is for people who are trying to get OVER Mulder, not people who are trying to get Mulder over their knee, right?” “Oops. Sorry. Wait, why didn’t you stop me before?” “We were all getting a little turned on. Except for Scully over there. She INSISTS she has no romantic feelings for him whatsoever. Nobody believes her.”

Yeah, the Bastardised Queen News Room was a much better idea. Sorry. I’ll try and do better next time.

Back. Langly yells out that the game is online again. Everybody has their own conspiracy theories about why the pictures aren’t working, and: Bad Graphics People are the key to The X-Files! [Sorry, I'll quit guessing now.] The picture finally shows Level 2 and everyone wonders why that’s there when Mulder was in Level 1. I’d say the better question is how you would have gotten out of Level 1 if Maitreya and her sword were never there. The picture cuts out again as Langly tries to shut the game down, which: why didn’t they think of that earlier? Frohike tries to point out that they have to hurry because Maitreya’s there, all cowgirled up. What’s creepy to me is not that she’s there, but I saw a pic of a frat boy in an identical outfit on a website once. (Don’t blame me, I’m a recovering internet porn addict. Recovering only in the sense that two hours a day is better than three hours a day.)

Mulder is walking down the street and turns around to see Maitreya. He lifts the sword and tells her to stop, and she twirls her gun on her finger before putting it back in its holster. Pfft. I can do that. Mulder whines that it’s not fair, and she apparently agrees, because four imaginary clones rise up out of the tumbleweed. Note that the shadows of all five of them stop at their waist for some reason. After what sounds like a gunshot from behind him, Mulder turns around and sees Scully behind the supply room door. Firstly, where is her crotch pad? She could get one of these tiny tumbleweeds stuck inside her crotch. Secondly, how is she right behind him? We saw an overhead shot of Mulder walking down an empty street… without the door. Thirdly, how did she get to this level without Maitreya’s sword? Fourthly, even Scully has a bigger weapon than Mulder. Although, that probably proves my point about the crotch stuffing.

The Maitreyas look at Scully and all six women start shooting at each other. Back in the control room, the gunmen are going apeshit while NotOz stands and looks a little bored. ZimmerFrame points out that it only gets harder from here. As the supply room door begins to shut, the agents run towards it and Mulder just manages to slide Maitreya’s sword underneath. Scully tells him to look around, and they see more clones forming, this time like some horrible cross between Crocodile Dundee and the Coyote Ugly girls. This is where the Count would show up and tell me that there are NINE evil clones, mwahahahaha. Scully loads her gun, and all nine start shooting at her before she starts shooting at them. When Scully hits them, they start leaking what looks like salsa. Mmmm.

More arguing from the control room. ZimmerFrame tries to use a kill command to stop Maitreya, but NotOz won’t let her because it’ll kill the whole game. That’s all you really need to know from this whole scene. Aside from everybody trying to wrestle the keyboard away from Frohike, it’s not entertaining at all.

Scully keeps shooting at the clones while Mulder tries to open the door, somehow bending the sword. Mulder, in this show, we obey the rules of physics, dammit! Scully finally shoots the last clone, and I finally wake up enough to notice that it’s raining hard. A tank starts forming, and aims directly at Scully, almost as though she’s standing in Tiananmen Square. Maitreya sits on the turret, and I defy anyone to not think that was intended to be a dirty joke. The tank rolls towards Scully slightly, and Scully shoots it. It explodes but then resets itself, and again after yet more kill command arguing in the control room. My god, Scully’s stuck in Groundhog Day again.

But to save her, ZimmerFrame gives Frohike the code. The gunmen and ZimmerFrame run into the white room from before, and the gunmen really should know that they aren’t there, considering that that’s what they told Scully before. Langly says his next line about killing the agents along with the game as though he’s reading from a phone book. ZimmerFrame finds Mulder’s gun and all four of theme hurry to open up the door to the supply room. Inside, they find a paint-covered Mulder and Scully, with Scully’s hair looking as though she just finished entertaining herself with Mulder’s weapon. Maybe this is where William was conceived. No wonder they wouldn’t admit it. And Mulder is sleeping when they open it too, so it’s entirely plausible.

Mulder sits up and yells out “THAT’s entertainment!” To you, maybe. To any of the poor people who had to watch that, and especially to the idiot who decided to recap it, THAT was pure torture.

In slomo, everyone walks away as Mulder gives his voice over. Crap about Sweet ‘N’ Lo, crap about imagination, crap about darkness. Shot of NotOz asleep as an image loads on his computer. NotOz waking up to see a bad CGI version of Scully aiming a gun at him. She’d be doing that if it was real-life, too. And I find it ironic that an episode so based around technology had such bad special effects.

Head Scapegoat? Chris “You Forgot The T” Carter. First Assistant Director? Craig “I Tried Warning Him” West. Gaffer? Jono “Oh, No!” Kouzouyan. Assistant to Head Scapegoat? Brad “Any Similarity To Actual Persons, Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincidental MY ASS” Follmer.

Next week: Raceguy checks into an insane asylum after agreeing to voluntarily watch that episode.

3×12 – War Of The Coprophages

Disclaimer: I do not now nor have I ever owned the rights to Queen songs. But, damn, their music is just perfect for the reasons I have in store for them. And plus, I had to do something to stop this recap from being intensely sucky compared to the actual episode, and Freddie Mercury’s always a good bet. Lyrics are taken from, in order, Bohemian Rhapsody, Bicycle Race, Fat-Bottomed Girls (bonus point trivia: was NOT the first song to use the words “bitches and ho’s”, as I erroneously claimed the first time I wrote this recap), Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Good-Old Fashioned Lover Boy, and We Are The Champions, if you’re interested in where I found them. I tried squeezing in Don’t Stop Me Now and Somebody To Love, but there wasn’t enough room.


Previously on The X-Files: Other episodes.

And we open with a torch-lit cockroach. Man, if there’s anything scarier than something I don’t wanna see during the day, it’s something I don’t wanna see during the day at night. Chris Carter’s Invisible Typewriter Of Nerdy Humour tells us that we are in Miller’s Grove, Massachusetts. A guy who looks nothing at all like John Goodman starts giving a speech about cockroaches, but he fucks up the name of the time period when they started living. Go ahead, compare what he says to the subtitles. I’ll wait. …You done? See? He goes on to say that roaches are everywhere, provided you can sip an entire New York City apartment building to both the tropics and the Arctic. Because the Creepy Roaches of Overblown Terror, Comedy, and Heartwarmingness really are everywhere in this episode, I have got to think of a shorter name for them than “Creepy Roaches of Overblown Terror, Comedy, and Heartwarmingness”. Hmmm. C-R-O-T-C-H. Nope, can’t think of anything. Um… let’s call them crotches anyway, because it’s funny. Anyway, NotGoodman claims that crotches are almost perfect (*looks down* “Thanks, Evolution!”), but they can’t think. Well, that’s stupid. Just ask pretty much any teenage guys or frat boys, and he’ll tell you that crotches have a mind of their own. Aren’t you glad I called them crotches? I’m, like, two paragraphs in and this is already dirtier than that entire Clinton Baby episode of The Lone Gunmen. Humans are apparently gods to crotches, and we get to squish them at our will. Oh, dear God/Buddha/Allah/Ganesha/A Deity That Actually Exists! Another man asks a question about whether crotches liveafter you kill them, and NotGoodman doesn’t know because he just kills crotches for a living. Seems to me that that should be the one biology question you should know the answer to, young lady. He turns around to show the name “Dr. Bugger” on his uniform, and I bet you all made an ironic joke about that name in some form or another, so I’m not going to. Anyway, OtherGuy asks Dr. Bugger if crotches freeze to death and Dr. Bugger says that’s about as fun as… well, you came up with your own Dr. Bugger joke, you can probably come up with your own example here, too. In case you can’t, here are five: 1) …sitting on a flight next to the Token Guy With BO Problems; 2) …mentally undressing David Letterman; 3) …being married to Tom Cruise; 4)…going through childbirth without any anaesthesia whatsoever; and 5) …watching an X-Files episode featuring Moronica Reyes. So the other way to get rid of crotches is to spread fungus. A zipper fly works just as well. Just ask Ben Stiller’s crotch. (Wow. How many dated movie references can I fit into one recap? Just you wait for me to mock Evolution and… every other bad mo… every other movie you’ve ever made, Duchovny!) Dr. Bugger gets to work and sees a crotch on the wall. The crotch is arrogant and hates getting diseases. Where those two jokes just a few seconds ago were so easy to come up with alternative punchlines for, I’m having trouble thinking of anything that doesn’t sound like I’m making fun of people who already have various infections on their (actual) crotch. Maybe this crotch idea wasn’t so good after all. Too late to change it now, though. Bugger stands on the tiny crotch and starts having what looks like an asthma attack. He leans against the wall and crotches start swarming like this is a video in Mulder’s collection of videos that aren’t his. Well, I suppose the entire scene is darkly lit and with bad enough music to qualify, but aside from that, no. OtherGuy returns to see Dr. Bugger crawling with crotches all over him. As Dr. Bugger collapses…

Credits! Blurry photography, Chris Carter screaming, DD holding a gun like he’s shooting at a monster in the ceiling. You know, the usual. (Incidentally, number of times I said “CROTCH” during during the recap of the teaser? 17. This is going to be a long and dirty recap, people, so take off your clothes and get settled in.)

Commercial Blackspot. Guess what? Wench the Lesbian Dominatrix, last seen in Fire, was hired to fill in in the FOX News Room tonight, and her breasts, as equally balanced as the network itself is politically, will be interrupting your reading pleasure with sporadic references to songs by Queen. Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous. She still hasn’t gotten reading the autocue downpat yet, and instead of what she was supposed to say, she asks, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Caught in a landslide, no escape from reality?” [In other news, Hellga from American Gladiators would like to tell you that she ain't no Swiss Miss.]

I say, “Open your eyes, look up to the skies and see… a bug of some sort landing on stars, followed by a gigantic windscreen wiper forcing it off.” Man, that commercial sequence was a lot of work for no real pay-off. You know, like the last two seasons of this show. And the entire Lone Gunmen series. But I’m gonna stick with it, just so I have something to do in the commercials that doesn’t involve another round of Bad Product Placement. We smash-cut and see that Mulder is almost asleep at the wheel of his Ford, Official Carmaker of FBI Agents, Pastry Chefs, and People Who End Up In The Ass End Of A Horse Costume Every Halloween. Mulder’s phone rings. This time, Scully doesn’t even say the infamous words “Mulder, it’s me”, so you know something weird is gonna happen in this episode. Of course, on this show, Weird is Normal and Normal is Weird, so, in short, THE WRITERS HATE ME. Mulder’s away because his apartment is being fumigated. At least, that’s his excuse in case his neighbours ask Scully about a gigantic left-cheek sneak stinkin’ up the joint. And, Scully, you should know that if it is really being fumigated, his crotch having insecticide all over it would be bad if, say, you wind up having a kid with freaky abilities five years from now. He’s in Massachusetts, but he doesn’t love his mom enough to visit her. Which makes sense for me, because I’m typing this section up on Valentine’s Day, not Mother’s Day. Besides, she might not remember him, just like she doesn’t remember anything that’s important. Scully is cleaning her gun, and we get to see it in a character’s hand for an entire scene without it being dropped, which is a nice change from the usual. Mulder asks whether Scully believes in God or some crap like that, and SuddenlySatanicScully manages to argue that Charles Darwin is the Second Coming, which makes no sense at all to me. Mulder drags the topic of conversation back to something I actually sort of care about: What. Scully’s. Wearing. She just laughs, which is exactly the sort of reaction somebody wearing a grey cardigan should have when asked about fashion. Scully warns him not to look too hard, and I feel like I’m watching some show where everybody acts all out of character. Like, oh, The Lone Gunmen. And speaking of Frohike (can you believe this segue just walked up and slapped my face like this?), Mulder talks about Planet of the Apes. [I can't type a paragraph mentioning Valentine's Day and guns and not pause to remember the victims of that massacre up near Chicago. Can somebody puh-leeze tell me exactly why you guys think it's a good idea for people to be allowed to carry guns? It's not like Osama is going to run down a suburban street with a giant target painted on his back, and people get tirgger-happy anyway. Remember how the London cops shot a guy in the tube after those bombings just because he looked like he MIGHT have been a threat? Now, name one non-police-officer who has actually used a gun in self-defense. EXACTLY. Rant over. Oh, and I express my condolences for the families of the victims.]

Mulder sees bright lights and hangs up. A cop walks up and asks if Mulder was on the phone to his drug dealer. We have already established in other episodes that Scully IS a doctor, but no. A fruit basket to the guy who decided to use lights so bright they made DD look stoned during this whole exchange. They start talking about UFOs, and the cop doesn’t laugh at Mulder immediately, and what fucking show am I watching? Out Of Character Cop points out the stupidity of parking on a country road with you wiper bladeson when it’s a clear night, and reaches for his gun when Mulder says it was because of bugs. That’s two sequences with guns and Mulder, and zero with gun-dropping. I feel ripped off. OOCC drives of but pauses long enough to give back Mulder’s badge and to point out that Massachusetts cops have nothing better to do than chase crotches. Hey, I know a bunch of people who are just like that, except without the cop part!

Scully’s House of Kidnappings, how may I direct your call? Mulder wants her to get her ass up to Miller’s Grove to check out some killer crotches (Apparently, they’re filming a porn/snuff film in town.) Scully points out how stupid Mulder’s theory is, and maybe we are watching The X-Files after all. Mulder’s with the exterminated exterminator now, but two other people have died with crotches all over them as well. Talk about auto-erotic asphyxiation. Mulder points out the town’s big on science, so the reports are credible to him, a man who points out how unscientific things are on a daily basis. And welcome back to Lone Gunmen territory. Scully asks about bug bites, becuase it could have been anaphylactic shock. She pauses before saying it, as if she’s trying to remember the name, even though in terms of allergy jargon awareness, hayfever is the only one I can think of I recognise more. OOCC asks who Mulder rang. “My drug dealer.”

And speaking of drug labs, let’s go to one! And just to show how science-y town is, they even have a beaker filled with Mystery Black Ooze. The camera pivots to show what Einstein would have looked like if he was a teenager and had bleached his hair. And was stoned. Stoner asks a chick if she wants some and another dude says she should. Isn’t it great how they shipped the 1013 office up to Vancouver just for this scene? Chick asks whether they want to fuck her, and Stoner responds by reaching for another beer. Hee. The beer is being cooled by dry ice, and Dude points out that beer is beer as a crotch digs its way out what looks like a pile of mud. Dude continues on about opening your perceptions or some shit. A crotch crawls its way into Dude’s left arm and he notices another doing the same thing on his other wrist. Cool. Dude wigs out and slashes his wrists trying to get them out, as Mark Snow’s infamous “Jaws Theme On Off-Key Violin” plays. Stoner and Chick try and stop Dude, but we’re beginning to get into Actual X-File Territory, so we cut to…

…Scully washing Queequeg. Luckily, he only turns up in this episode and two others, so we don’t have to care too much about him. Background Clock tells us it’s 8:12pm, just as Mulder rings again. He wants her [to come up there] bad. Mulder has found Dead Dude, and tells Scully that there aren’t any bugs in him and that he was making some kind of drug. I can’t imagine what made Dead Dude think bugs were killing him, can you? I mean, it’s not like he’d been trying to “increase his perception” in any way. Wake me up when something paranormal happens. Mulder mentions that the Mystery Black Ooze smells like a septic tank, and now would be a good time to remind you exactly what “coprophages” means. But we get told later on, so I’m not going to. Scully posits that the victim could have had Ekbom Syndrome. Mulder, much like myself, can’t believe that scientists bthered coming up with a name for it. Scully wonders if she should still come up, and Mulder says no. It’s like you have the Lone Gunmen stuck inside a hotel, and the X-Verse outside, and we’re stuck in the hotel’s revolving door. Ugh. Scully hangs up and turns around to finish washing Queequeg, but he’s gone. We hear him bark from offscreen as Scully turns back around and yells at him. Hee.

OOCC talks to Mulder. He couldn’t get anything out of Stoner and Chick, so Mulder suggests a drug test. Uh, you’re at a freaking drug lab, where someone just pretty much overdesed, and you just inhaled Mystery Black Ooze. What the fuck makes you think they’re going to pass the test, dumbass? Mulder sees a crotch and bends down for a closer look. Sometimes, I don’t even have to write a dirty joke. Sometimes, it gets delivered to my doorstep wearing nothing but a red ribbon and a sign that says “Use me, Master.” I think Wench sent it to me as revenge for all those lesbian dominatrix jokes I made in the Fire recap. Anyway, Mulder grabs the crotch and demands a container. He’s crushed the crotch into oblivion. It was just exoskeleton, but it proves that crotches were here. or maybe not, because it was made of metal. Mulder’s hand is bleeding.

Commercial Blackspot. Wench: “You say Lord, I say Christ; I don’t believe in Peter Pan, Frankenstein or Superman; All I wanna do is…” Cut back to the show? Please say it’s cut back to the show. (But first, let me point out that YOU as a character were too crappy to even get into The Lone Gunmen, Wench. I’ll let you think about that until the next news update.)

Back to the show, and… Hey! It’s Chuck Burks! Except it’s not! Confused? Me too. But it’s no worse than having Agent Jerkass “Crispy Chicken” Spender as the Great Mutato, I suppose. He’s checking out Mulder’s hand, and it’s just a cut. Mulder asks if it was because of metal, and Dr. AlmostChuck tells him to pipe down and wait for science to work it out. Come on, Dr. AlmostChuck, you should know Mulder ignores science at every possible chance. Even if you didn’t know on your own (you lying liar who lies), you could have read this recap and note that I’ve already commented on it. Dr. AlmostChuck tries to be open to his patients, and Mulder wants to know why he’s telling him this. Me too, considering that Dr. AlmostChuck is asking questions rather than giving answers. Were Dr. AlmostChuck’s eyes this bug-eyed (so to speak) when he was Agent RealChuck? I don’t remember that ever happening. Mulder, of course, can’t give him answers, and Dr. AlmostChuck says that talking to Mulder makes him feel constipated. Um, that’s because your arguments are full of shit. OOCC asks what’s up with Dr. AlmostChuck, and Mulder says he doesn’t know. OOCC then asks what’s going on here, and these people pay attention to each other even less than husbands talk to their wives when there’s a big game on TV.

A crotch crawls up out of the drain, and we get put through the thoroughly unpleasant experience of watching Dr. AlmostChuck impersonate Elvis. (You’ll figure it out.) Except I doubt Elvis was reading Scientific American when he kicked the bucket. Or cistern, if we’re being totally accurate. The camera pans over Dr. AlmostChuck’s head and we see that there are more crotches crawling around the aforementioned cistern. One even managed to stay holding onto the toilet paper while Dr. AlmostChuck absentmindedly spun it around and around and around on its holder. Thankfully, we cut back to Mulder still trying to explain that just because he works for the government, he doesn’t know everything about shit-eating insects. He’s used to kissing ass, not eating stuff that conmes out of it. OOCC finally proves himself sort of useful by mentioning that the Department of Agriculture is running experiments just outside of town. Mulder tells him to get to the goddamn point already, and he sort of does, except he forgot that he’s in War Of The Coprophages, not one of the episodes with the Smallpox Bees. Mulder tells him to shut the fuck up because it seems that people in this neck of the woods like to get all hysterical for no reason. A guy starts yelling for help, and we cut back to Dr. AlmostChuck lying dead in the toilets. The screamy guy is holding his neck down, because he looks like an amateur wrestler and it’s always good to be seen desecrating corpses. He was covered in crotches, but when ScreamyRassler came back after screaming for help, they were all gone. except for one which Mulder sees, just sitting on the edge of a sink. Mulder picks it up gently, because someone is FINALLY listening to OOCC, and points out that it’s perfectrly normal and non-metallic. He drops it and it falls down the sink. Luckily, the cameraguy also fell down the plughole, because we get to see a weird shot which I’m sure was supposed to be funny, but really wasn’t in retrospect. Mulder sticks his fingers down the hole to try and get it out, but fails worse than Britney Spears did when she went on a dating show, given the choice between a friend from high school, a back-up dancer, and a hot male model. OOCC tells Mulder to let him grab the crotch next time, and we all now need brain bleach at that thought.

Scully’s House. Um, “Why did David Duchovny lose on Celebrity Jeopardy?” Hi, Scully! She answers again without the “Mulder, it’s me.” Bond… Jimmy Bond? Room 1013? I’ll be right up as soon as I get out of this revolving door. However, Scully does answer with “Who died now?”, which would have been really funny if it had been her mother calling, because she could have said Charlie, and we would never have been able to tell. Mulder exposits that it was the M.E., and Scully knows that the constipated guy was pushing too hard as soon as Mulder said the word toilet. Mulder points out that he didn’t catch the crotch, and Scully hopes that means he’s not going to suggest that killer crotches are the problem here. That would have two too many X-es to be an X-File.

Cut to Mulder doing what he does best, breaking into government facilities. This time, Scully calls him for once, and she thinks that it’s an Asian crotch which recently established themselves in America. Mulder points out that they don’t attack people, and the revolving door has gotten stuck… with us on the Lone Gunmen side. Ugh. So Scully thinks its a new species of crotch. Mulder points out that the government has been carrying out secret experiments, and Scully tells him off for thinking of trespassing without her. He’s already inside the facility, which is a normal looking house. He walks around a bit and notices that the walls are moving. He tears a hole in the wall with his torch and a bunch of crotches crawl out. Scully wants him out, and Mulder screams loud enough when his torch batteries go flat for someone else to turn on the real lights. It’s nice to know that crotches hate electricity. He hangs up on Scully as soon as he realises he’s been busted, and Scully looks scared.

We see Mulder looked shocked at the sight of a hot government worker in a tanktop and short shorts, and I would be too. She asks what the fuck he’s doing there, and they go through the awkward “Intorduce yourselves to each other” phase that everybody hates when they meet someone new. Note that she doesn’t givde her first name yet, but that she does work for the USDA. Mulder makes a clumsy attempt to hit on her, and why the fuck do I get all the episodes where he hits on someone who isn’t Scully?

We see a crotch and hear Dr. Berenbaum talking about why she studies crotches. Mulder asks why the work that Dr. Berenbaum does is kept so secret, and she poins out that people don’t want to know that a nearby house has deliberately been filled with crotches. Mulder asks if the crotches are normal, and Mulder, he of Over-Using The FBI Gym, should know by now that normal is whatever you think is normal. Just like how some people eat crotches during their daily life. Okay, that soooooooo didn’t come out the way I meant it. I meant that some people eat cockroaches all the time. Although, some people like actual crotches too. But they probably wouldn’t eat them. Dr. Berenbaum points out that crotches are germophobes, but that they have been known to crawl into people’s faceholes. Again, wrong mytharc point, writers! She also thinks that UFOs are giant insect swarms, going on and on and on about nothing in particular, before pointing out all that anyone does is eat, sleep, shit, and fuck. Of course, she uses censor-friendly words, even though this is FOX. She wonders if her scientific detachment disturbs him, and he says no, just as his phone rings again. Mulder ditches Scully without even being there, which is (I think) the quickest Scully Ditch outside of Demons in season 4. He says to Dr. Berenbaum that he likes insects, and we get more awkward dialogue in the background as a crotch sparks like a faulty outlet.

Even though this isn’t a Commercial Blackspot, my local network inserted one here, if I recall correctly. Wench also thinks it’s time to interrupt, because one Non-Scully Mulder Love Interest clearly isn’t enough. She asks “Are you gonna take me home tonight? Ohhhhhhhh, down beside that red bright light? Are you gonna let it all hang out?” I respond by pointing out that there are two possible answers to that. I could either go the smart-ass response and point out that you’re more likely to point out that you’re more likely to be seen letting it all hang out in a red-light district than I am, Wench; or I could respond using my own bastardized Queen lyrics and say that fat-bottomed girls like you certainly do make the fuckin’ world go round.

We return (or cut directly) to the Miller’s Grove Motor Lodge, where a creepy looking man is watching TV. It’s his fault! Kill him! …I said WHAT? Oh, that’s just my usual delayed reaction when my favourite TV shows have been disrupte by a shrill old hag like Wench. Yes, even the part where I specifically say “kill HIM”. On the TV is a news report about the crotch killings, and a crotch crawls across the bed throughout this whole segment. The report also claims this week’s Fact Started By People Not Being Specific Enough With A Jinniyah, that cockroaches contain the Ebola virus. Anyone else getting horrible flashbacks to that Prison Break episode of the Long Gunmen? Oh, and the reporter also passes on that the cops have issued a stock-standard Do Not Panic Warning. Uh, if you don’t want them to panic, don’t call it a warning, dumbasses. And don’t even say the word panic. In what I think is the same motel, but hopefully not the same room, because THREE Non-Scully Mulder Love Interests would be freaky and evil, especially when one is a balding fat man, Mulder is slleeping. All of a sudden, he lifts the doona up to check to see if there are crotches between his legs. Unfortunately, we do not get to see the results. But probably only one, considering he doesn’t jump or look unnaturally orgasmic. He then tries to wipe his face really quickly for some reason, but I can’t tell because it’s dark. Maybe he still wets the bed. And has incredibly poor aim. Not that you’d really want to aim anywhere in particular, but my guess is you’d try and keep piss away from your mouth. But he did do the nasty with Wench the Lesbian Dominatrix, so maybe he gets off on that sort of thing. And I’m off to bleach my brain. Again.

He picks up the phone and turns the light on. Come on, after two-and-a-half years of calling each other ten times an episode, you should be able to do it in the dark! (And call her without turning the light on.) Three guesses who he’s calling. If you said Rod Serling, a porn star, and Elvis, you’d be wrong, but you would have the list of Three People Mulder Would Like To Meet In Heaven. Again without the “[Blank], it’s me.” I want my fucking money back. It’s like watching Fear Factor with ugly people. Or The Lone Gunmen under any circumstances. I can’t believe I turned that relatively simple idea into a recurring joke. Especially in one of the better episodes in the X-Files canon. Anyway, Scully asks about how the USDA thing went, and now is a good time to remind you that Mulder got caught by Dr. Berenbaum while he was ON THE PHONE TO HER. Make of that what you will. Mulder tells her that Dr. Berenbaum agrees with Scully that it’s a new species, and it’s weird to see someone other than Scully agree with her ideas. I’m half-expecting Jimmy Bond to turn up at any given moment and make some lunkhead remark, and then I remember that that doesn’t happen on this show until anybody who watches in long behind the point of caring, also known as The Season Where The Credits Went Green And Al Gore Was Still Pissed Off With Chris Carter. Scully makes the lunkhead remark in Jimmy’s absence, and naturally assumes that Dr. Berenbaum is a dude, because women like their cars neon pink and their crotches stamped on my a random guy. As we saw, that’s not the case. As he gets up to walk around and show off a pair of pale greeny-blue briefs which would only look better on Nicholas Lea, Mulder makes a totally random remark about ancient Egypt, and if what he says is true, then the Pharaohs really were full of shit. Scully returns with the standard toilet humour about Thomas Crapper. And here comes what you’ve all been waiting for. Dr. Berenbaum’s name? Is Bambi. BAMBI. Mulder says both her parents were naturalists. At least, until her mother was shot. He continues on regardless, and tells her about the Insect Swarm Theory, which may actually be the stupidest scientific theory ever used on the X-Files. And keep in mind that we’ve tried passing off a timewarp, a slug being Jesus, and numerology driving a killer as science. Mulder wants to tell Scully that he’s afraid of crotches (well, he says insects, but damn it, I want to make a virgin joke anyway! And, also, I get the two episodes with both Non-Scully Mulder Love Interests and Mulder’s Fears?! That does it. Mulder whines about having a Praying Mantis Epiphany, and that is soooooo gonna be the title of my autobiography. Now all I need is a life outside of recapping X-Files episodes to write about. He asks Scully if she thinks a praying mantis’s head looks like an alien’s, and how the fuck would she know? She’s always been somewhere else when you’ve seen aliens, and the one time she did see them, it was shown as a hoax. Suddenly, I have this horrible image of Jimmy Bond and Yves Adele Harlow making out. Well, horrible in the sense that it makes me think of The Lone Gunmen, and ewwwwwww. I mean, both Steve Snedden and Zuleikha Robinson are hot in real life, and as a horny bisexual guy, I’d love to do either one (Steve a bit more, because I’ve heard some rumours about him, and let’s just say that it’s probably bigger than all of Frohike), but… no. Just no. We hear a guy scream, and Mulder hangs up. Thank The World’s Assorted Deities that that’s over. I hate recapping phone calls.

In the hallway, three random guys, including OtherGuy from the teaser, check out the screaming (see? It was the same motel.) They knock on the door and ask if everything’s alright, and with no answer, they enter. Quit doing Mulder’s job for him! If you must replace someone at their job, boot Wench. I know everyone reading this recap wants me to. They open the door and find Motel Sleeper dead with crotches all over him. Well, the exterminator is already dead, so what do you expect? OtherTeaserGuy and OtherRandomGuys run away as Mulder runs towards it, holding his gun and managing to get down the whole hallway without dropping it, which is a new record. Also, he is shirtless and has his fly unzipped (made you look). Yay! He sees the same dead guy, but no crotches.

And speaking of vermin, Commercial Blackspot! Wench: “This thing… called love… I just… can’t handle it.” No, I wouldn’t expect you to, you evil sexless hag.

And we’re back! Scully’s at home raiding her drawers for a stolen bar of Motel Soap when her phone rings. Mulder tells her that a motel guest died, and she tells him she’s on her way. Mulder thinks it’s another reaction to the crotches, and she tells him that the odds of that are damn near impossible. But she does work on the X-Files, so she should know that improbable doesn’t mean impossible. Now, making sense out of a random meeting with Burt Reynolds in a basement carpark would be impossible, especially if a checkerboard was involved and Jebus slugs weren’t. Mulder changes his mind and says it was a heart attack, because the secret’s out MotelCorpse got scared to death. Scully still thinks that something strange is happening, and Mulder doesn’t. It turns out that Scully? Was right about something for once! So, yay for her. But neither of them can explain why the crotches keep turning up. Uh, did you look at the title of this episode? Because “Coprophages” literally means “Shit-eaters”. Crotches were already around for Dr. Bugger’s death, Dude was burning turds to get high, and AlmostChuck died while taking a crap. They also can’t explain why the crotches are made out of metal. Suddenly, Mulder sees a crotch in a shoeboxy thing on the floor, and hangs up, determined not to care if Scully comes up, but still afraid that she’ll find out he’s been meeting Bambi.

He takes the crotch to Bambi, and we look through a microscope to see them looking through a microscope at the bug (does that make sense? Run with it anyway. [Chris Carter is now suing me for taking his philosophy and making it public.]) Bambi says she should know what king of crotch it is, because the crotch still has its crotch attached, and that’s how you tell different species apart. (My ex-boyfriend, who is black, would also like me to tell you at this point that that’s how you tell the difference between human races too. But we broke up for a reason, so it has nothing to do with it.) Bambi thinks the crotch is hung like a club-tailed dragonfly, who apparently are the Dirk Digglers of the insect world. She goes to another microscope, and says that metallic genitalia are more appropriate on a computer and less on a crotch. Bambi has read about a guy who designs robots that act like bugs. She says she’s never met him, but that she wants to, and that he conveniently lives nearby.

Massachusetts Institute Of Robotics. A giant robot crawls along the screen in front of Mulder, who walks down a hallway which resembles a hospital room. It goes away and mulder follows it until it turns around and loks at him with its creepy webcam eyes. As he approaches, the crotch retreats, but it doesn’t make the beeping noise most reversing monstrosities do. He follows it around until he can’t see it anymore, and behind him another mechanical noise begins. It’s a guy in a wheelchair who is obviously a ripoff of Stephen Hawking. Anyway, HawCon, whose real name is Dr. Ivanov, asks why Mulder is scaring the robots. We don’t get to see Mulder’s answer, because all of a sudden HawCon is talking about how he and his nerd buddies (who probably don’t have such an annoying speech system) tried to make a robot which thinks for itself. He couldn’t get a human brain right, because we overthink everything, but crotches are perfect. One of his robots comes up and scares Mulder, as HawCon talks about random nerdy crap about computer programming. Mulder thinks the robot is coming towards him because it was programmed to, but it just has a man-crush on Duchovny. After a badly edited transition, Mulder and HawCon are talking about how NASA wants to send robots into space, and get with the times, writers! The one problem is getting a renewable energy source. Just fill it up with the out-of- character moments in this episode, and you will never need to refuel again. They argue about how… something… and end up at the same conclusion they just came up with a moment ago, that space will be explored by robots. HawCon makes a meta joke about how grey aliens with big eyes are purely sci-fi, and I can’t think of a person I know who would say that they’re grey. We already had a joke about iron depletions in the Reticulan galaxy to explain this. Yeesh. See, if I was Trump, Darin Morgan would so be fired by now. HawCon thinks that the metal crotch leg may be a cricket’s leg. He looks under the microscope to confirm this, and his face goes red for some reason. He looks stunned, and Mulder asks if he’s ok. He is, but he has no idea what the hell it is. Another crotch crawls along the camera.

We cut to a supermarket, where people are looting. They loot pretty much every other thing in the store before they take the bug spray. Hmmm. A guy in a sterotypical navy uniform takes a pile of pantyhose. Hello, sailor! I swear, sometimes these jokes write themselves. And I didn’t even have to resort to making fun of the Village People to do it. Scully enters, having apparently driven up to Massachusetts in record time. Just as she gets through the doors, there is a large car accident in the background, and despite the road rage, we are not in New York or New Jersey. A crazy lady and a yelling guy are arguing about who hit who, and we have it on DVD if you’d like to check, guys. Guys? Scully butts into the line and asks for the road maps. When the checkout chick pauses to look at Scully, another crazy lady snaps at her to hurry up. Scully asks her why she’s panicking, and crotches are eating people whole. So, the town is a reverse porn film. Nice to know. Another guy tells her that crotches spread the Ebola virus and that everyone’s gonna bleed from their nipples. I am so glad I was bottle-fed as a kid right now, I can’t tell you. Scully tells everybody to cram it and act like rational people, before asking at the top of her voice to a person standing BEHIND her where the hell the road maps are. Two other ladies, one of whom sort of looks like Annie Lennox, reach for the last can of bug spray at the same time and start fighting over it. They knock over a stand of “Choco Droppings” and some guy yells out that the pieces of chocolate rolling around the store are crotches. Everybody flees in a panic, even the cashier. Scully doesn’t, and walks up to the floor chocolate, picking up a box and tasting one of the chocolates inside.

Back with Mulder, he thanks HawCon for answering his questions, and both Mulder and HawCon are drinking. Hee. But this is getting as bad as an episode with Reyes in it. Honest to an Unnamed Deity, Moronica. Mulder gets up and leaves, and he sees a crotch on its back on the floor as the CrotchBot walks past again. He picks up the crotch and looks at it, extending a welcome message from Planet Earth.

Commercial Blackspot. Wench: “Tell me how do you feel, right after all I’d like for you and I to go romancing. Say the word, your wish is my command.” If the word is FUCK OFF, then wish granted. What? I left my passion in the good old-fashioned school of lover boys.

And we’re back, just in time to see Bambi confirm that Mulder just welcomed a normal cockroach to Earth. Mulder? Total dumbass. You’re making Jimmy Bond look smart here. Even the crotch’s crotch is normal. And they hang around here this time of year. That’s why Bambi works in Massachusetts instead of New York City. Mulder slams his hand down on the table and the crotch in the petri dish (like Rob and Laura) starts to spark again. Somewhere nearby, there’s a Virtua Fighter game with a bunch of DPO’s in its top scores. Mulder’s phone rings. I can’t imagine who it could be. She says the town is insane. That’s what happens when Mulder turns up in town. Anyway, she’s somehow managed to figure out something about something. OtherTeaserGuy works with methane, which he gets from burning poop from places overseas. Like Canada. And I can’t believe I just stole a line from Britney Spears. She’s only one rung above Wench on the Sluttometer. Anyway, she thinks crotches came to Miller’s Grove in the turds, and that Bambi is a dirty pirate hooker. She didn’t say it, but you know as well as I do that she was thinking it. Mulder is not willing to give up his alien poop spaceship theory yet, and Scully points out that Mulder needs to come back to DC so he can get some in… oh, four years should do it. He asks where OtherTeaserGuy’s lab is.

Let’s go there! The sign says that waste is a terrible thing to waste. Hey, bad puns are my job, you stupid signmaker! The Bureau-Requisitioned Ford, Official Car Of Nudists, Grandparents, and Goths pulls up, and Mulder tells Bambi to wait in the car, because he’s scared something will happen to her. Doesn’t he know that Scully’s the only person who ever gets kidnapped? We see OtherTeaserGuy peeking out his window, and cowering when he sees crotches everywhere. Is there a word for a fear of orgies? (And it’s now 11:21pm as I’m writing this. Squee!) There’s a crotch on the table, and he tries using the bug spray from the supermarket to kill it, but he’s too scared to spray properly, so he throws the canister at it. That’ll work too. Mulder is walking around and sees crotches walking across what I assume is manure. He sticks his hand in to grab it and is almost shot. I bet that’ll help him betray his cool exterior while trying to get it off. Mulder looks around, and OtherTeaserGuy is holding a gun at him. He thinks the crotches are after him, even though I would like to point out that he wasn’t there when Dr. AlmostChuck and Dude died. They’re driving him crazy, he says. Well, clearly. Mulder tells him not to shoot his gun in a warehouse filled with methane.

Outside, Scully pulls up and sees that Bambi is still in the car. Bambi tells her that “Fox” said to wait. She’s known him one night and she gets to call him that. Even after nine freakin’ years, Scully still has to call him Mulder. Hmmmm. Scully gets out and loads her gun, and tells Bambi to stay in the car, which is what she was doing anyway. Inside, OtherTeaserGuy complains about crotch noise, and Mulder says something totally random about Madagascarianese crotches, and OtherTeaserGuy is impressed. Mulder tells him to put the gun down again, and all of a sudden OtherTeaserGuy thinks that Mulder is a crotch, because his phone rings. Well, he can be a dick sometimes (see: Demons) and a total pussy at others (see: Fire), but generally, the consensus is that he is not a crotch. Scully is walking around and yells out for Mulder. Mulder makes a “more human than human” remark to OtherTeaserGuy, just as his phone rings. OtherTeaserGuy shoots, misses, and accidentally hits a methane pipe. He shoots again and hits another tank. Mulder runs away, finds Scully, and they flee the building, just in time to tell Bambi to duck. The building explodes and looks really cool, and Bambi looks behind her to see Mulder and Scully rise up, covered in shit. Hee.

Commercial Blackspot, minus the Blackspot. And the final one for the episode (yay). Wench goes out with a bang with “I’ve taken my bows and my curtain calls. You’ve brought me fame and fortune and everything that goes with it. I thank you all.” Yes, Wench, it’s been no bed of roses, no pleasure cruise, but coming up with new ways to humiliate you? I consider it a challenge before the whole human race, and I AIN’T GONNA LOSE! See you in my next recap, bitch.

The fire brigade arrives and starts to put out the fire as Sheriff Crankypants tells everyone that there were other fires and injuries overnight. They won’t find OtherTeaserGuy’s remains. HawCon yells out for Mulder, and wants to see the metal crotch again, even though it got ruined in the fire. Bambi butts in that maybe the things have flown off, and HawCon wants them tested. Mulder’s already had that done, and they’re metal. Which makes no sense, because when would he have had time to send them for testing? And he couldn’t have done it in town, because everybody was going apeshit. Mulder sets up another Planet of the Apes joke, except it sucks and only serves to get Bambi and HawCon talking, which I could have said on its own anyway. They walk off into the sunset, even though HawCon doesn’t walk, and even though it’s just after sunRISE, but you know what I mean. Scully points out that smart is sexy, and that Bambi and HawCon are probably going to have kids who could save the world. Mulder says Scully smells bad, and hee.

Mulder’s at his computer typing up a report on the “case”, even though they were never assigned to it, and talking about shit-eating alien robots seems like a waste of government money. Even more than staying in Ira… I’m sure you can think of something. He says that brains suck, basically, and that technology is the future. No shit, Sherlock H. Mulder. He continues typing, and goes to get another mouthful of cake, except there’s a weird-looking crotch on the plate. Mulder reaches for a pile of files, and hesitates, because he would crush the cake in the process. The crotch starts walking across the desk, and Mulder squishes it.

Lance-Corporal Asshat? Chris Carter. Extras casting? Lisa Ratke. Second unit DP? Jon Joffin. Re-recording Mixers? David John West MPSE, Nello Torri, and Douglas E. Turner. Bingo!

5×10 – CHINGA

Recap written by jennisaurusrex

Daylight. A car with a Maine license plate with a little girl sitting inside, clutching her doll, looking a little angry. Dude, I know it’s way early for an aside and all, but can I just say that when I was younger, I used to hate being left in the car while my mom went in the store? It terrified me. I would lock all the doors and pop Madonna’s “Immaculate Collection” into the tape deck and sing as loud as I could until she came back. I learned all the words to “La Isla Bonita” this way– let that be a lesson. A lesson of what, I’m unsure. Anyhow, the little girl’s mother (I can only assume) comes around to the passenger door and opens it, kneeling down to tell the little girl– whose name we find out is Polly– that they’re just “going in for a few things”. At the frame I’ve frozen the episode on while I write this, Polly looks like a demon child. Coincidence, I’m sure. Or is it? Mommy placates Polly by explaining that she needs some groceries. She also refers to herself as “Mommy”, which skeeves me. Polly doesn’t look really impressed with this plan, in any case. Mommy unbuckles Polly’s seat belt and leads her by the hand, doll in tow, towards the store with a really worried look on her face. The people coming out of the store stare at them, including one lady in particular, whose eyeglasses are a “2″ and an “8″ away from being a New Year’s novelty item. Polly looks back at her as they pass.

Polly and Mommy shuffle into the store and Mommy wheels a shopping cart rather hastily down what seems to be the baking aisle. Mm, cupcakes. They pass the meat counter, where the man behind the counter gives them a weird look and Polly whines, “I don’t like this store, Mommy”. Mommy explains that they’ll only be a minute, but Polly wants to go home. Right on, Polly. How many times have I heard that “only be a minute” schtick before? Next thing you know, it’s an hour later and you’re sitting under a pile of canned goods with a numb crotch from a gallon of milk in your lap. Polly’s doll must not like that store very much either, because its eyes pop open and it says “Let’s have fun!” in that weird, pull-my-string doll way. Mommy looks panicked, especially when she sees what looks like a window cling version of the meat man inside the freezer with a knife through his eye, begging for help. She quickens her pace and tells Polly that they’re going home, and she begs her not to do this. Fair enough request, but then stuff starts falling off the shelves and a woman starts slapping herself across the face before she digs her own eyes out. Man, that is fun, Doll de Polly. How’d you guess?!?

Soon everyone in the store is going apeshit and digging their eyes out while Mommy carries Polly quickly, trying to get her out of the store. The meat man comes out of the back and sees everyone stumbling around, kicking themselves, clawing their eyes out ( i.e. “having fun”), and calls for help. The meat man’s name is Dave, by the way. You won’t need to know that in the future or anything, but I thought I’d mention it. Dave’s in the middle of his call when he turns around to look at the closed door of the meat freezer and hears a weird voice, which is saying “I want to play!”….Wait, did I miss something, Doll de Polly? You already ARE playing! Didn’t you see the eyes being ripped out all over the grocery store? Anyhoo, Dave the Meat Man pulls out his knife and holds it out like he’s ready for war. Then suddenly, he turns the knife back on himself and moves it towards his eye. With his other arm, he struggles to pull the knife away from his face, but to no avail. Dude, aside #2– imagine playing that part of struggling against yourself so that you don’t stab yourself in the eye? Dave’s so earnest, he’s breathing heavy, he’s shaking, the whole nine. Eventually though, Dave beats Dave, and takes out his own eye.

Credits. Man, I really like that weird little fission ball thingy. I remember when they sold them at Spencer Gifts and my friends and I would spend forever in the store, running our hands over them. The truth is out there, by the way. Just in case you forgot.

Mark Snow’s Quartet plays the Where This Song Plays, Misfortune Follows Suite. We’re in a quaint little seaside town– shops along the avenue, seagulls swooping down and making their little seagull noises. Someone’s driving a fancy car with the top down. Is that– no, it can’t– but it looks– oh shit, it’s Scully! She pulls into a gas station and gets out to fill up her tank. Well, she ain’t in Jersey, that’s for sure. It’s illegal to pump your own in New Jersey, did you know that? Having grown up there, I can tell you that full service is our one luxury. Besides, of course, Bruce Springsteen. Scully’s decked out in a little Maine t-shirt and her sunnies. In other words, “Standin’ tall, lookin’ good, oughta be in Hollywood”, as my old Spanish teacher, Senor McCoy, used to say. ‘Cept Gillian Anderson is already in Hollywood. So either that saying doesn’t apply here, or it’s just really, painfully obvious.

Ahem. Scully’s phone’s ringing. Answer it, Scully. You know you wanna. ‘Specially cos you know it could only be one person– that with which you cannot be lived without which with. Or something. Scully’s looking all over for her phone before finally finding it in her trunk. Um, Dana? Bit of advice? Don’t leave your cell phone in the trunk. Even when you’re on vacation. Apparently she hasn’t gotten the memo that where she goes, misfortune surely follows, and it’s good to have that without which…oh, you get the point. She needs Mulder in immediate calling distance. Indeed the mystery caller is Mulder, and Scully reminds him that they both agreed to take the weekend off. Mulder knows, but he’s got a case! A “classic X-Files” case, in fact. Scully’s not impressed, and gives an eyebrow so high it peeks over her sunglasses. “Mulder,” she begins, “I’m on vacation. The weather is clear, I’m looking forward to hitting the road and breathing in some of this fine New England air.” Okay, is this line awkward to anyone else? It just seems…strangely written. Mulder doesn’t notice, anyway, and comes back with, “You didn’t rent a convertible, did you?” which piques Scully’s interest. He reminds her of decapitation statistics (always the uplifter, that Mulder!), which puts the cork in the conversation. “Mulder, I’m hanging up”, Scully sighs, obviously annoyed. “I’m turning off my cell phone. I’m back in the office on Monday.” Mulder tries to stall and starts babbling about talking and driving at the same time, but Scully just hangs up. She pushes the antenna down on her cell phone and while annoyed, also looks a little amused.

Scully’s back in her car, driving around a parking lot when a car squeals wheels to back out right in her path. Rut roh– it’s Mommy and Polly, and they sure seem to be in a hurry. Scully gives her a Major Brow and looks really pissed off. Then she glances in her rearview mirror and sees a dude with bloody eyes stumbling out of the grocery store and Mommy and Polly (and her little doll, too) had been in. Scully, being..well, Scully, she jumps out of her car, throws on a blazer, rips off her sunglasses, and starts sauntering towards the bloody-eyed dude. “Sir?” she asks, brows in Worried Formation. “Sir, what happened?” Bloody-eyed dude just replies that he thinks they need a doctor. Scully walks into the store and sees everyone else with their bloody eyes and looks kinda…grossed out? Nonplussed? Hot? Yeah, hot is definitely it. All of the bloody-eyed people are crying and presumably trying to figure out why they tried to gouge their own eyes out. She walks around, surveying the scene, until a man comes up to her (yes, his eyes are bloody as well) and asks who she is. “I’m….my name’s Scully,” she finally gets out. “I’m an FBI agent”. She looks kind of grossed out just looking at him, and I can’t blame her. She asks him what’s happened to him, but he doesn’t know, but he does think Dave the Butcher is dead. Scully kinda nods a little and then moves past him, in search of Dead Dave, while the man who she was speaking with just looks on. Pun intended, by the way, since he has no eyes left with which to look. Back at the ranch ( i.e. in the meat cooler), Scully happens upon Dave (okay, maybe you did need to know his name) who’s lying dead on the floor with a knife through his eye. Scully stares at him, horrified, mouth agape.

LBO. Mulder’s cracking sunflower seeds and watching…porn? In his office? Damn, I want his job. Except, yknow, minus the abductions and mysterious brain diseases and the constant drama with my baby mama (Or is she?). Not to mention the murder charge and the IsHeMySonOrIsHeAnAlienOrIsHeBoth?-ItDoesntMatterCosSheGaveHimAwayWhileIWasOnTheLam saga. And the…oh, forget it, you know what I mean. I want to be able to watch porn in my office, okay? Is that so much to ask? Anyhow, Mulder’s phone rings. “Mulder, it’s me,” comes the familiar voice. It’d be kinda funny if one day Mulder said, “Me who?” like he didn’t remember her and she got all freaked out. She’s kinda gullible to Mulder’s pretending he’s nuts, isn’t she? Remember in DeadAlive when he woke up in the hospital and was all, “Who are you?” and she looked like she was about to go off the deep end? Or when he was in jail and started doing the scene out of Silence of the Lambs and she was all horrified? I mean, c’mon Sculls. I know your man’s skirting the edges of sanity, but get a hold of yourself! (Insert dramatic slap here)

Anyhow. “I thought you were on vacation?” Mulder teases. “I am, I’m up in Maine,” Scully explains, not very convincingly. Mulder thought she didn’t want to be disturbed, that she just wanted to get out of her head for a few days? “I don’t. I mean I do,” she says, a little uncomfortably. Then she changes the subject by asking him what he’s watching, seemingly a little suspicious of all the moaning and groaning going on. “It’s the World’s Deadliest Swarms,” he deadpans, and then clicks off the TV. He thought she was going to be unreachable, he says, and asks her what’s going on. Mark Snow’s Piano quietly tinkles the I’ve Got The Going On Vacation Without My Man Which Always Turns Out To Be A Disaster blues while Scully explains that she’s at a market, trying to give the local PD a handle on a case in which people are acting out in a violent, involuntary way. While she tells him this, she’s watching the camera capture of the extras sort of throwing themselves all over the place. Mulder wants to know who they’re acting out against. By the way, they show his TV for a second? Totally “World’s Deadliest Swarms”. Man, whatever. I still want to watch porn at the office.

Scully explains that the people are acting out towards themselves, “beating at their faces, clawing at their eyes”, and she explains the sad fate that met our good friend Dave the Butcher. “Huh,” muses Mulder. “It sounds to me like it’s witchcraft, or some sorcery that you’re looking for there.” But Scully’s all over it. She says it’s neither cos she’s had a look around and there’s nothing that warrants that type of suspicion, but Mulder poses that maybe she doesn’t know what she’s looking for. Uh, listen up, Spooky. She’s spent the past five years with the likes of you. She KNOWS what she’s looking for. Then Scully does her thang: “Like evidence of conjury or the black arts, shamanism, divination, wicca, or any kind of pagan or neo-pagan practice? Charms, cards, familiars, bloodstones, hex signs, or any of the ritual tableau associated with the occult, Santeria, Voudoun, Macumba, or any high or low magic?”

Here, Mulder cuts her off. “Scully?” he says. “Yes?” she asks, probably thinking he’ll be able to tell her what in tarnation is going on here. “Marry me,” he says, the look on his face full of intrigue. Scully kinda nods a little bit incredulously and says, “I was hoping for something a little more helpful.” Well, Mulder, my good man, she didn’t say no! I’d say we’re looking at a strong maybe, which could probably be turned into a yes with the right amount of coaxing. Mulder says that, short of a little lady with a pointy hat riding a broomstick, Scully’s got it covered. Gee, thanks. “Thanks anyway,” Scully says before hanging up. Studying the tape some more, she sees…Polly and Mommy! She realises they’re looking a little shifty and asks one of the two officers who the woman is because she and her child are the only ones that don’t seem to be affected by what’s going on. Does she recognize Mommy as the one peeling wheels out of the parking lot? The officer tells her it’s Melissa Turner, but the officer who tells Scully Melissa’s name wants to know what her point is. “You might wanna talk to her,” Scully shrugs.

Scully then walks out of the room, and the other officer calls after her. “Ya stayin in town?” he asks. Scully explains that yes, she is, and she’s on vacation. Read the subtitles, sir: don’t bother her, okay? The officer (who we later find out is named Bonsaint, so let’s just cut to the chase here) tells her that what she said about Mommy “put a spin on this thing”. Scully shifts uncomfortably and wants to know what he means. He tells her that lots of people say that Melissa Turner is a witch, but Scully isn’t phased because it’s not really the first time something like that has happened in these parts. “Uh, yuh”, Bonsaint replies. Am I watching Green Acres or something? Seriously, why is this guy such a yokel? Anyhow, Scully lets Bonsaint know that she doesn’t believe in witchcraft, and neither does he, really. He used to think that people said that stuff about Melissa just cos she’s pretty and single, which equals threatening. Scully gives him the ole Eyebrow of You’re Boring Me But Go On and wonders if he’s no longer convinced that’s the case. Bonsaint says “y’know” about twenty times, basically amounting to him thanking her for her time and saying he hopes there’s a logical explanation, but that’s doubtful, considering who she’s been carrying on with. Who she’s been carrying on with? Scully asks. “Uh, yuh,” the yokel replies, adjusting the straps of his overalls and kicking at the bale of hay at his feet. Mommy’s been consorting with Dave the Dead Butcher!

Cut to the other officer on the phone, and Mommy picking it up at her house. We find out the other officer’s name is Buddy, and he apparently knows Mommy pretty well. He wants to know if Melissa is okay, Polly wants to know who Melissa’s on the phone with, and trouble is totally coming their way. Mommy and Polly are listening to an old record of “The Hokey Pokey”, and Buddy tells her to turn the music down, but Polly wants her to hang up altogether. Instead, she walks out of Polly’s room and down the stairs. Buddy knows that Mommy was at the supermarket today and there’s talk in the town that she might be involved in what happened there, which she denies. Buddy knows that, but he does want to help her as long as they keep it a secret. He also tells her that Dave’s dead, which she seems pretty upset about, and asks to see her right away, which she can’t do. Upstairs in Polly’s room, Doll de Polly opens its evil eyes and utters the phrase we’ve all been waiting for: “Let’s have fun!” Ooh, again so soon? You spoil me! Anyhow, Mommy’s outside walking through the rows of sheets on the clothesline and uh, ew? There’s a huge life-size doll shadow behind one of ‘em. This makes me think of the gag reels for this season, where the person playing the doll starts boxing with David Duchovny and everyone has a hearty laugh. You know the saying, though. It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye. That just happens to work on multiple levels for this episode. Oh, Buddy has also insisted on coming over, much to Mommy’s chagrin.

After the commercial, Mark Snow’s strings of If I’d Never Met Mulder, I Could Have A Normal Vacation Like Everyone Else play in the background while Scully and Bonsaint get out of the patrol car in front of Mommy’s house. Bonsaint knocks, but no one answers. Scully looks through the window and notices that the back door is wide open, so they go around the back. They let themselves into the house and head up to Polly’s room, where Scully notices the windows have been nailed shut, and rather shoddily at that. She comments that Mommy must have been afraid of something, but either way, there’s no sign of anyone in the house now. Bonsaint says that Mommy’s a well-known local who used to be married to a fisherman before he died in a boating accident last year. He doesn’t know if Polly ever understood because she had “toys in the attic”, which Scully immediately understands to mean she must have autism. Uhh, let me Google this here. So, all I’m getting is the name of an Aerosmith album and the name of a 1963 film with Dean Martin and Geraldine Page. Someone? Anyone? Okay, I’m moving on. Anyhow, Bonsaint tells Scully that last year at school, the worker slapped Polly across the face but the next thing anyone knew, the worker was the one on the floor, saying Polly beat the shit out of her. Everyone called Melissa a witch and gave Polly a hard time, so they took her out of school and she’d never been a day since. Interesting. Scully asks after Dead Dave but Bonsaint explains that he probably gave her the wrong impression– Mommy and Dave were never actually in a relationship, it was all one-sided (on Dave’s end). Scully wondered if it was so unrequited that Mommy would nail the windows shut, but Bonsaint dismisses that and instead suggests that maybe Mommy wasn’t afraid of something getting in, but afraid of something getting out. “Like what?” Scully asks, probably intrigued but also sounding a little bored. She’s probably thinking, “Dude, you know what? If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard weird shit like that, I’d have enough to send to my child’s father while he’s out on the lam so he could buy himself some of those sunflower seeds he loves so much.” Except, yknow, Scully’s not pregnant yet and Mulder’s still around and they probably haven’t even had sex yet– or have they? “Just a thought,” Bonsaint shrugs.

Officer Buddy’s taken Mommy and Polly out to some fast food joint and he’s bought Polly a sundae. “Whaddaya thinka that?” he asks her, setting it down. Polly doesn’t answer, just pulls the cherry from the top and clutches that evil doll of hers. Buddy touches her head, then goes to sit with Mommy, who looks pretty distraught. He suggests she leave town, but she doesn’t have anywhere to go. Then he goes into some long, boring confession of undying love and how he missed his chance first time around by waiting in the wings and how she needs someone who can provide, but she keeps telling him no, she can’t, etc. “Because you don’t want to, or because you’re too proud?” he asks. Dude, because her daughter has an evil doll that will kill your ass, that’s why. Seriously, lay off. Mommy tells him that he doesn’t understand, that what happened in the supermarket was out of her control. She saw Dave’s death before it happened but she couldn’t stop it, and that’s not the first time. She also saw her husband’s death before it happened, too. While this is going on, Polly’s up at the service counter giving the worker major ‘tude about wanting more cherries. The worker gives her ‘tude right back and tells her to ask Mommy for more money cos she can’t just give cherries away. Yes you can, lady, get a grip. It’s not like it’s gonna come out of your paycheck, and methinks if Polly asked you for cherries in oh, say, five minutes, you might change your tune. Polly gives her an evil look and Doll de Polly opens her eyes and declares her desire for fun once more. Just as a bit of foreshadowing, I should tell you that the worker has a very long ponytail, and she’s working in front of a machine that mixes milkshakes. Are you picking up what I’m putting down?

Polly turns around to tell her mom that she wants more cherries, and that sends up the red flags for Mommy, who tells her they have to go. She grabs the doll and her jacket and tries to collect Polly while the worker behind the counter fills a cup with vanilla milkshake. Man, it’s about to get painful. In the meantime, Buddy gives Mommy a key to some place he’s got out of town and tells her there’ll be trouble if she doesn’t use it. Polly’s yelling and Mark Snow’s strings of “Cancel My Shake, There’s Hair In That There Machine” vibrate in the background. Suddenly, the worker screams while her scalp is pretty much ripped out. Can’t say I didn’t warn you, lady. Buddy finally manages to shut off the machine while Mommy and Polly run out.

Bonsaint and Scully have gone to Jane’s house– Jane being the lady who stopped and gave the eye to Mommy and Polly in the parking lot of the grocery store on their way in. Jane wants to know who Bonsaint has brought with him, so Scully introduces herself, saying she’s just there on vacation and– “So?” Jane cuts her off. She wants to know if they’ve talked to Mommy. “That whore’s a witch as sure as I stand here,” she spits. “She’s descended from the Hawthornes in Salem and the Englishes too. She comes from a cursed lineage and now she’s passing it on to the wealth.” Aw, I miss William. Y’know, since we’re speaking about cursed lineage and all. Well, allegedly cursed lineage. Maybe. Whatever. Jane hopes the little girl can be saved from Mommy, cos she’s certainly tried before. This lady’s kinda nutso, cos she starts talking about how to drive demons out of people and giving witches what they deserve and all that jazz. Then she closes the door on their faces and Scully speaks another awkwardly written line: “New England hospitality. I’ve heard about it my whole life; I finally got a chance to experience it for myself.” Doesn’t it all seem a little…wordy? Strange? I dunno. Jane watches them walk back to the patrol car.

“Well, you see what I’m up against, public sentiment and all,” Bonsaint tells her. Scully wonders if there’s any truth to Mommy’s lineage, and suggests Bonsaint brings her in for questioning under the pretense that maybe she knows something. “About what?”, the yokel asks confusedly. Um, seriously? Have I been hitting the bong too hard or what? How can you not know what she’s referring to when you’ve been working on this case for the good majority of my poor Scully’s vacation time? “About what I’m sure is a perfectly reasonable explanation for all this,” she tells him. Aw, vintage Scully! I wanna hug her and tell her that whatever starts happening three years from now, I still love her. “Uh, yuh” Bonsaint bleats. God save us all if this guy is running a town’s law enforcement precinct and is permitted to own a firearm. Scully wishes she can help him out but uh, she’s just, y’know, on vacation and stuff.

The crafty little Time/Date Stamp lets us know that we’re at the Schoodic Lake Ranger Station at 11:06p.m. A quick Google search lets me know that Lake Schoodic has very good water quality for the production of salmonids, as well as playing host to the annual Schoodic Lake Ice Fishing Derby! Sweet. A ranger walks out when a car containing Polly and Mommy pulls up, and he asks her where they’re headed. Mommy explains that they’ve been invited to a place by the lake, and the ranger wants to know if they’ve got gear, food and water, etc. He tells them that he just wants to make sure since winters are so rough up there and the power is iffy. Polly wants to go home, by the way, but Mommy tries to console her by telling her that they’re going to go camping. Polly doesn’t give a rip about that, though. She wants her bed and her records, and Doll de Polly must want the same thing because it opens its eyes and requests some more fun, sending Mommy into a panic. The ranger says he’ll just take her license number, but when Mommy looks to the rear window, she sees Jane gasping for help. Mommy flips her shit and throws a u-turn, speeding back the way she came and leaving the ranger confused as hell.

At Jane’s house, the Hokey Pokey is playing. A little late for a dance party, isn’t it? Jane comes out of her room and turns on the hall light, calling “Hello?” down the hallway. Bad idea, lady. The lights aren’t working and the record player is covered in plastic. Jane lifts the needle and then the demon voice speaks. “I want to play!” it exclaims, and when Jane turns around not seeing anything, the record begins to skip. “That’s what it’s all about, that’s what it’s all about,” it sings. Jane’s not afraid of it, whatever “it” is, and she picks up a broken half of a record to show it so. Of course it backfires when she too fights against herself and slices her own throat with it. So that’s what it’s all about? After Jane has sliced herself, the record miraculously stops skipping and goes on. I swing my shoulders back and forth and shake my arm in the air, pointer finger wagging. Oh, shut up. The doll’s not the only person who gets to have fun around here. And…scene.

A bubble bath with bare legs sticking out of it, classical music playing. It sounds like Tchaikovsky, but I can’t figure — wait a second here. I’ll be a monkey’s uncle! It’s Scully, eyes closed, relaxing in the tub. I feel a little uncomfortable, frankly. Probably because Scully’s usually scripted as so chaste that I thought her clothes were sewn into her skin. I start fiddling with the label of my Diet Coke bottle and noticing how I need to do laundry and stuff. She looks really gorgeous though, which feels a little weird to say, considering the situation. Anyhow, I uh…gotta go. The phone rings and Scully, eyes still closed, gives it a Major Brow. She takes her leg out of the water and, sighing, kicks the door to the bathroom closed. And I just saw Scully’s bare leg.

Out in the main part of Scully’s hotel room, the little CD player has switched to Chopin as we pan over what seems to be the leftovers of room service. Scully exits the bathroom, entirely in black, her hair wrapped in a towel. She notices that she has a phone message and I notice that Scully’s been reading “Affirmations For Women Who Do Too Much”. At least she realises she does too much, though I can’t imagine what an affirmation of such would be. “If even your vacation turns out to be work, be glad. For work is good.”? I dunno, that’s all I got. The general consensus is that work is good, right? Generally? In any case, I need the opposite of that book. “Affirmations for Women Who Do Jack Shit Besides Comment On Women Who Do Too Much”. Sculls turns the music down, dries her hair a bit, and opens the curtains to her hotel room to find…Bonsaint. Great. She gives him a wry little smile that says as much.

The coroner is out at Jane’s house, and guess who pulls up in the patrol car? Bonsaint and Scully. She looks less than thrilled to be out there, and reasonably so. They walk up to the house, and we see the sign for “Wee Lassies & Laddies Daycare”. Okay, a) Ahh, it all comes together. Polly had gone to Jane’s daycare. b) What a dumb ass name for a daycare. Bonsaint says that Jane’s death was self-inflicted, that she cut herself under the chin, opening the main artery. Officer Buddy’s there, and shows her “the thing” (stupid, stupid Bonsaint)– the bloody half of a record. While Scully looks at the body, Bonsaint’s phone rings, and he hands it to Scully, telling her it’s for her. “Hullo,” Scully answers deeply, probably wondering who the hell is calling her on this idiot’s phone. There’s a lot of banging on the other end of the line. “Good morning, sunshine!” he says enthusiastically. It’s Mulder; he was worried and wondered if she needed his help. He left her a message on her hotel room phone and wonders if she got it, but she makes excuses, saying she was “up and out” this morning. I’ll say. “Mulder, what’s that noise? Where are you?” she asks. Mulder says they’re doing construction out his window, he’s at home, and tells her to hold on a second. “Fellas!” he yells, “Can we just keep it down for a second, maybe?” We then see him in his apartment wearing a button down shirt and boxers, bouncing a basketball on his coffee table. He tosses the basketball aside and picks up the phone, telling her that he’s been thinking about the case, that maybe it’s not witchcraft but instead, something with a scientific explanation. Scully seems as shocked about this turning of tables as I am. He thinks it might be chorea– “dancing sickness”, which causes “unexplainable jerks and spasms”.

While he’s telling her all this, Mulder opens his fridge to find that all he has is a container of orange juice, which he drinks and immediately spits back out, seeing the expiration date of October ’97. Damn, that orange juice went bad almost ten years ago exactly! Sigh. Anyhow, Scully points out that chorea hasn’t been diagnosed since the middle ages, to which Mulder snarks that Scully obviously isn’t a fan of American Bandstand. “Mulder?” she says. “Thanks for the help.” She hangs up the phone, leaving Mulder all by his poor, gorgeous, de-pantsed self. “That your partner?” Bonsaint asks. Scully tells him that it was, but when he asks if Mulder could possibly offer any insight into this, Scully quickly tells him it’s a negatory. Just then, the record player starts to play the Hokey Pokey. Officer Buddy looks panicked– he totally knows where he’s heard that one before. He turns off the record right away. “You know, Officer Bonsaint– Jack– can I call you Jack? I think maybe we need to explore other possibilities,” Scully says with a sigh. I never really got why Scully wanted to call this dude by his first name– it seems pretty unlike her. I mean, not “I had a vision in a Buddhist temple despite my Catholic upbringing”-unlike her, but just slightly strange. Bonsaint’s not sure he understands. Surprise surprise. Scully wants them to keep their minds open to “extreme possibilities”. I can totally see Mulder rolling over in his grave at that one. Pick whichever grave you choose, really, cos there are quite a few of them. “Okay, but aren’t you on vacation?” Bonsaint counters. Scully just kinda purses her lips and nods, looking away. Hope she brought her affirmation book with her.

Casa de Doll de Polly. And de Polly, and de Mommy. Shut up, Polly’s napping while listening to the Hokey Pokey and clutching that evil doll of hers. Mommy walks in the room and the record stops. She walks slowly over to the bed, probably to grab that evil thing and burn it, but it sees her first, opening its eyes and declaring, once more, that it’s time to have fun. Mommy backs away, gasping for breath. Aw, hell to the no. There’s no way I’d be going down by some possessed toy. The Hokey Pokey record starts over again on its own and Mommy runs downstairs to the kitchen, crying. She looks up in the window to see Officer Buddy, all bloody (Hey! A rhyme!) and begging for help. “No!” she shouts, panicked.

Meanwhile, Bonsaint and Scully are out to lunch. The waitress brings a lobster to the table that’s the size of Gillian Anderson’s body from the torso up. “Oh my god!” she says, staring at it. “That looks like something out of Jules Verne. We’re supposed to eat that?” Hee. Scully looks truly freaked out by this giant lobster and keeps her hands folded under the table, looking horrified while Bonsaint cracks off the tail and starts digging in. She doesn’t eat, but instead asks if there was anything weird about Mommy’s husband’s boating accident / death. Bonsaint said it was never quite explained how he managed to get a grappling hook clear through his skull, and cracks off another piece of lobster. Scully wonders if Mommy was questioned about this, but Bonsaint says that she wasn’t because no one saw how she could be involved. He also tells her that the boat it happened on was just outside the restaurant they were in. Scully looks out the window and notices a man on the boat, who happens to be the man she ran into at the supermarket that first day.

At Mommy’s, Polly is in her bedroom changing records and still holding onto the homicidal doll. “I want popcorn, Mommy!” she yells. Mommy says she’ll make it for her while Polly starts to listen to the Hokey Pokey. Again. Why was she changing the record since that’s the only one she listens to? Weird. Anyway, in the hallway, Mommy turns around to bump into Buddy, who wants to know why she’s back in town. The ranger told him that Mommy tried to kill him by running him over, and now Officer Buddy thinks she must have come back to kill Jane the Lover of Scottish Daycare Names, as well. Mommy insists that she didn’t kill anyone, that it isn’t her, but Buddy said they’d see about that when Mommy comes into the station with her “little brat”, staring at Polly. Dude, bad move. Seriously. And what happened to all the ice cream sundae-buyin’ and love declarin’? Polly holds the doll in her arm and Buddy sees its eyes open as it exclaims, “I want to play!” I then fall into the deepest sleep I’ve had all year, induced by sheer boredom.

Out on the boat where Polly’s father died, Scully is speaking with the man from the grocery store. She wants to know what happened, but he tells her that there are plenty of different stories for that. Scully wants to know HIS story though, since he was on board that night, but he tells her that he already told his story to the chief. I yawn and roll over to my side, pulling the blanket over my head, which means I miss the dude telling Scully that everyone blames Mommy for Daddy’s death. Apparently daddy really loved his daughter, and when they went out fishing on the eve of her birthday, they pulled up a nasty mildewed doll from the water and Daddy decided it’d be a good idea to give the doll to Polly rather than say, go to Wal-Mart and buy a new, non-evil one for $10. Three days after Daddy pulled the doll up, he was dead. “And you know what killed him?” Scully asks. The guy explains that they eyes play tricks on you in the dark, and then we flash back to the night of Daddy’s death, where the evil disembodied voice says the fateful “Let’s have fun” line. “What the hell was that?” Daddy says, looking around. StorytellingGuy is asleep inside and asks what was happening, before hearing the voice himself. Daddy goes outside with a net, and StorytellingGuy follows, finding Daddy dead. “Like I said, the eyes play tricks,” he tells Scully after all that. I bang my head against my bedroom wall a few times hoping to back out. “But you saw something, in the grocery store,” Scully insists. “That little girl and her dolly.” Uh, her “dolly”? Okay seriously, when is this episode over? “The moment I saw them,” says the StorytellingGuy.

Back on dry land, Scully’s cell phone rings. “Scully!” she yells. “Hey, I thought you weren’t answering your cell phone,” Mulder says, twirling the phone cord around, obviously bored. “Then why’d you call?” Scully, be glad for the distraction, seriously. I know I am. Mulder’s got a new theory about the case she’s working on, something having to do with a virus, but Scully wants to know if there’s any references in occult literature about objects being able to direct human behaviour. “You mean like Chucky?” he asks mockingly. “Yeah, kinda like that,” Scully deadpans. And in fact there is, especially in New England literature. Mulder goes on a rant about how possessing these objects were said to give the owner a magical power, and how people used to be persecuted for even insisting that such things existed. “Why do you ask?” Mulder interrupts himself. “You didn’t find a talking doll or anything, did you Scully?” “No no, nothing like that,” she lies. Mulder then suggests Scully checks the back of the doll for a plastic string, and Scully rolls her eyes to high heavens before hanging up on him mid-sentence. “Let’s go talk to Melissa Turner,” Scully tells Bonsaint. And they’re off!

“WHERE’S MY POPCORN?!” We’re at Polly’s house and she’s flipping her lid because apparently when a craving hits, it hits hard in this house. Well, at least she’s crazy for popcorn and not ice cream– the last thing that kid needs is sugar. Down in the kitchen, Mommy’s working on the Jiffy Pop and crying her eyes out because guess what– Buddy’s deader than a doornail on the floor. “It’s coming, Polly!” she says, shaking and shaking. Polly’s still screaming though. Listen, Polly, I know it says “jiffy” in the name and all, but even popcorn takes time. Damn.

After the commercial, Mommy’s got the hammer and nails and she’s battening down the hatches of another window, which I kinda don’t get, but whatever. Polly calls her from the staircase and says she can’t sleep, but Mommy tells her to go back to bed because it’s past her bedtime. Polly doesn’t want to hear any more pounding, and apparently neither does the doll in her arms, because it wants to have fun yet again (insert eye roll here), causing Mommy to see herself with the hammer stuck in her forehead crying for help in the reflection of the window. “Everything’s gonna be alright, sweetie, you just go back to bed,” Mommy tells Polly. She walks her up the stairs.

Bonsaint and Scully pull up at Mommy’s house and notice that Buddy’s car is already there. Inside, Mommy locks the hammer that’s soon to be impaled in her head away in the cabinet, and starts pouring gasoline all over the floors and trying to strike a match while Mark Snow’s This Episode Can’t Get Any Worse– Or Can It? tune of suspense plays in the background. Bonsaint knocks on the front door, calling out Mommy’s name, but she doesn’t answer and Scully can’t see anything through the window. Every time Mommy tries to light a match, it won’t work. It finally does, and Mommy sees Polly standing in front of her, seemingly terrified. The doll’s eyes pop open and it says, “Don’t play with matches!” like it’s Smokey the Bear and shit. The match goes out. So do subsequent matches that Mommy lights, and she screams at Polly to go back to bed while Scully and Bonsaint are still knocking and trying to get in. Scully sees Mommy through the window and calls her name, trying to get in the house, but Mommy’s given up on matches and has gone on to knives. The doll’s not having that though, and tells her “Don’t play with knives!”, snapping the drawer closed every time she tries to open it. Scully tells Bonsaint that Mommy has nailed the door shut because she’s trying to kill herself, and they take turns knocking themselves into the door to try to bust it down. Um, hello? Break the windows, fools. I know Bonsaint ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed Scully, but you? I’d have expected better.

Inside, the doll finally figures out what she DOES want to play with– the hammer. The cabinet it was locked in busts open, and shortly after, so does the front door, letting Scully and Bonsaint in, but not before Mommy gets the hammer in her hand and screams for them to get away from her. Scully tells Mommy to put the hammer down and the doll tells her that she doesn’t like her anymore and then Mommy smashes herself in the head with the hammer. Oh, please. And, y’know, “ouch” and stuff. Scully goes to Polly and asks for the doll, but the doll’s all running off at the mouth about playing still and Polly won’t hand it over. Mommy knocks herself in the head a few more times before Polly finally gives the doll over, and then Scully does the most awesome thing in this episode, which I know isn’t saying much, but still: she puts the doll in the microwave and turns on the power, burning the doll to a crisp. Once that happens, Mommy drops the hammer and sobs. Seriously, she’s still conscious? Whatevs, man, I don’t even have the energy to question it. Scully watches the doll as it burns. I wonder if she’s ever tried that with a hamster. I heard that if…oh, nevermind.

LBO. Mulder’s sharpening pencils, blowing off the dust from the points and lying them evenly on his desk. Scully walks in and he quickly folds his hand in front of the pile. “Hey, Scully, how ya doin’?” he asks nervously. “How ya feeling? Rested?” Scully nods that she’s feeling fine, looking slightly annoyed. She surveys the “I Want To Believe” poster behind his desk and asks where he got it from because she wants to get one to send to someone. She walks behind his desk to look closer and Mulder takes this opportunity to open his desk drawer and slide the pencils in, clearing his throat a little to cover the sound. He wants to know who she wants to send the poster to. “Oh, just…some guy, Jack” she answers. Why is she being all shady? Does she want to see if Mulder will get jealous if she hints around that she possibly had a tryst on her weekend away. Mulder doesn’t take the bait, and instead asks if it has something to do with the case she’s on and wants to know if she solved it. “Me? No. I was on vacation, just getting out of my head for a few days” she answers with a sigh. Where’s that book of affirmations when you need it? Mulder gives her a goofy nod and Scully asks if he got anything done while she was gone. Mulder leans back in his chair, arms crossed behind his head. “Oh, God. It’s amazing what I can accomplish without incessant meddling or questioning into everything I do. It’s just …”– but before he can finish, a pencil falls down into his lap. They both look to the ceiling while more pencils fall– he’s got dozens of them stuck up there. “There’s GOT to be an explanation,” Mulder covers sheepishly. “Oh, I don’t know. I think some things are better left unexplained,” Scully says. Another pencil hits him on the head, and she looks at him sort of reproachfully. Those two, I swear. Get a room, already!

Back in what I assume is Maine, a night fisherman pulls up a lobster…and the charred doll, which, even in its burnt state, still wants to play. And then the credits roll, thank the good lord.

Recap by jennisaurusrex


Recap by Mack the Spoon

You know, this is a really good episode. It’s not as good as “Pusher”, of course, but let’s face it – few episodes, period, could be. But there’s great continuity, great character stuff, and the climactic scene is almost as pulse-pounding as the Russian roulette scene. Tim Minear, who rules in general, did a good job here along with Vince Gilligan. It has its issues, though, and never fear, I will point out those that stand out to me.

Anyway, we open at Lorton Penitentiary, which my sister informs me (having researched it for a fic) is where they kept John Lee Roche. Totally great place to be, in other words. We’re in the hospital ward, watching someone do physical therapy. And I think it would be more of a mystery who it was if the DVD menu for the episode didn’t have a big picture of our good friend Robert Patrick Modell on it. Heh. So yeah, pushing a big plastic wheel across the floor. The therapist lady says to this ‘mysterious’ person, “Come on, keep pushing. I want five more steps and then you’re done.” Did you hear that, with the Pushing? Do you think it’s a Clue?

As the man strains to finish the task, we see two prison guards/orderlies in the background, watching alertly. The younger one also played the prison guard that Mystique pumped full of liquid iron so Magneto could use it to escape from his plastic jail in X-Men 2. That’s a great movie. But you’re here for this episode, and so am I. Ahem.

So. Once the man finishes his task, the orderlies move forward with a wheelchair so he can sit in it. The therapist congratulates “Bobby” on having done so well, and the older orderly tells younger to back off and keep his finger on the pepper spray, as he straps the man into the chair’s restraints. Younger Orderly looks resentful but does as he’s told.

Meanwhile, the therapist asks the older guy, Mr. Piero, if it’s all really necessary. Mr. Piero quite firmly says that it is. The next scene is the two of them pushing (heh, that word comes up a lot) the wheelchair down the hall of the hospital ward. The younger guard wants to know “this guy’s story”, and Piero explains that he’s a “cop killer, regular people killer” and “general all-around waste of skin.”

Contemptuously, Chuck (that’s the younger guy’s name) asks what Piero’s so afraid of, then. “Guy’s a freaking vegetable, I mean, what’s he going to do … run over you with his big plastic wheel?”

Piero, annoyed and very serious, responds that if Chuck wants to last here at this job, he needs to never underestimate this man, and never let his guard down around him. “Capisce?” he asks, to which Chuck replies, “Comprendo.” This show sure is educational and stuff. Chuck looks thoughtful and perhaps unconvinced as the door buzzes. When the door opens, we see (gasp!) that it is indeed Pusher, staring straight ahead and not responding to what’s been said around him.

Nighttime. Chuck is at the guard station thingy by the door to the ward, pouring himself a cup of coffee out of his thermos. He looks up and sees a red light, presumably a call light of some sort, flashing from one of the rooms. Sighing, he gets up to investigate. Unsurprisingly for the viewing audience, the room is Modell’s. Though Chuck looks in through the window and sees Pusher just lying there in bed, the light continues flashing.

Chuck pulls out his pepper spray and opens the door. He cautiously approaches the bed, where we see that Pusher’s just tapping the button for the light over and over, face completely impassive. Chuck gets closer, and if we didn’t know he was a goner before, as soon as he leans in to hear what Pusher is whispering, our fears are confirmed. I can’t tell what it is he’s saying, by the way, but I guess it doesn’t matter. Chuck’s eyes go a little unfocused and the music builds to a crescendo.

The next morning, Piero comes in and sees that Chuck’s post is empty. He calls his name, and hears only a rhythmic pounding in response. Quite nervous now, he runs toward the source. Modell’s door is open, and he goes inside. Modell is gone, of course, and Chuck is sitting against the wall, banging his head against it and looking not all there. Piero asks what happened, although I think he pretty much knows. Chuck, still all glassy-eyed, replies dully, “He had to go.” I think I remember being vaguely surprised that Chuck survived his encounter, and what do you know? That does turn out to be important.

Credits. I love them. Next we see Mulder and Scully (I love them, too!) walking into what I assume is the prison. They come up to where Skinner is briefing a big group of people on the situation. He mentions that the orderly is being questioned, but they don’t expect to get much out of him because of his mental state. Well, at least he didn’t have all his blood magnetically pulled out of him this time. Skinner continues that they the last confirmed bed check of the prisoner was 2:04 am, and as of 6:14 he was reported escaped.

One of the men, a marshal, asks how he escaped. Skinner, through clenched teeth (I know, I know, he never does that! It’s amazing.) answers that he probably just walked out the front door. Everyone except Mulder and Scully shake their heads in disbelief and disgust. Skinner goes on that the FBI will be leading the manhunt, with the expertise of the Marshal Service, and that all efforts will be coordinated with either Skinner or Mulder and Scully, his designated Special Agents in Charge. Aww. He indicates that Mulder should take over. They both, I must say, look pretty awesome right here. Scully’s wearing a lovely, flattering purple suit and her hair is immaculate, and Mulder… need I really explain? Sigh.

Anyway, Mulder explains a little about Modell: his name (of which he of course has three, because he’s a serial killer), that he specifically targets law enforcement, that it’s all a game to him, and that last time he was looking for “a worthy adversary.” Scully takes over briefly, telling about his ideas of being a Japanese warrior and that it just means he’s “a highly intelligent sociopath who has no fear of dying.” She adds that he likes to leave clues, so they expect to be contacted by him, sooner rather than later. I think I’ve remarked on this before, but Gillian Anderson pronounces “rahther” like a Brit. It’s cute.

Mulder speaks again, rounding it all off again by saying they expect Modell to pick up right where he left off. One of the marshals asks for clarification about how he could just walk out the door, and Mulder reminds everyone that Modell is called “Pusher” because he has the ability to force his will upon others – all the victims’ wounds were technically self-inflicted. Predictably, this does not go over well, and Mulder gets irritated and glances at Skinner before concluding, “Okay, look, this is all you need to know. Do not trust this man, do not talk to him, do not engage him in conversation, even if he is unarmed. Approach him only with extraordinary caution, and then only with adequate backup.” And adequate backup, according to Mulder, is every cop you can lay your hands on.

As Skinner hands out assignments, Mulder and Scully move off to the side and Mulder asks her what Modell’s condition is. She says he’s extremely weak, and that the doctors say he can barely even walk. Mulder seems skeptical, and Scully agrees that she’s amazed he’s even alive, what with the whole being-shot-through-the-head-and-comatose thing. Poor Scully. It’s only when her sister gets shot in the head that she doesn’t survive. For everybody else on this show, especially if they’re a bad guy? Bullet in the head is no problem.

Mulder asks about the tumor that was supposed to be killing Modell. Scully says it still is. Mulder wants to talk to his physical therapist, but Scully stops him. Looking very concerned (and still absolutely stunning, I might add), she asks, “Mulder… what if Modell plans to pick up where he left off? Where does that leave you? You were his prime target. Should you even be heading this investigation?”

As usual, Mulder doesn’t seem to get it. “As opposed to what? What’s your point?” Scully replies that it would mean Mulder is playing Pusher’s game again. Mulder just nods shortly and walks off, leaving Scully sighing worriedly.

We switch over to a lovely Vancouver street – I mean, “Occuquan, Virginia” street, where the TVs in a sporting goods store are playing news footage of Robert Patrick Modell’s escape. (I wonder if Robert Patrick watched these episodes before he was on the show, and ever found it odd that he shared most of a name with one of the more infamous baddies.) Just as the kid behind the counter hears the newscaster warn residents not to approach the man, the door opens and in walks Modell himself.

To his credit, the kid only blanches for a second, and then tries to act normal as he reaches down for the baseball bat behind the counter. Unperturbed, Modell (still dressed in his prison outfit) asks, “You’re not scared of snakes?”

The kid is confused, but Modell nods down at the bat. “Looks like a timber rattler.” The kid, whose name tag reads “Todd”, is now petrified, since he indeed appears to be holding a large rattlesnake just below the head. Modell tells him to hold on tight and not let it bite him, and not to drop it or it’ll get him. Then, as if legitimately annoyed that Todd is otherwise occupied, he asks, “Do you think I could get some service now?”

Poor Todd nods distractedly. Modell tells him in that voice of his to go into the back and put the snake down. We’re treated to the bizarre sight of him holding a baseball bat by the grip, pointing downwards, at arm’s length like it’s… well, about to bite him. Modell watches, then grabs some “carbo bars” from a display and eats one. He looks up at the screen, where the news is still covering his escape. Mulder and Scully are seen getting out of their car and going into the prison, and Modell seems very interested. It’s hard to say exactly what’s going through his head, though.

We cut to imaging scans of Modell’s brain, and the therapist is assuring Mulder and Scully that Modell couldn’t have been totally faking it, because “the gunshot wound did a hell of a lot of damage.” Mulder nods, and nods again when she remarks that he must be the one who shot him. Scully, looking through his charts, notes that he had a visitor yesterday, marked “L.S.C.” The therapist says that’s the ‘Little Sisters of Charity’, who try to visit all hospitalized inmates.

Mulder asks if he ever had any other visitors, but the therapist says he didn’t have much in the way of family, having been raised in foster care. Mulder shrewdly points out that she seems to have gotten to know the man. She replies a little defensively that Modell never gave her any grief and worked hard to get better, so they chatted sometimes – just small talk. “He’d ask how I was.”

Mulder somewhat ironically says, “He’s a very considerate man.”

Still defensive, the woman states, “I don’t doubt for a second Robert Modell belongs in prison. But I never had any problem with him personally.”

Mulder might be about to respond, but a guy bursts in and says, “Agents! It’s Modell.” M & S run out of the room together, to where the first meeting was. Skinner announces that he’s asking for Mulder, and they’re running a trace and just need 30 seconds. Mulder walks over to the phone, exchanges a look with Scully to show he remembers her warnings, and picks it up. “Yeah.”

Modell cracks a joke about “It’s alive”, and meanwhile Scully is about as close to Mulder as she can get without being all over him, looking extremely worried. I don’t blame her at all, considering what happened the last time Modell had a phone conversation with anyone. And also considering that Mulder is really hot. (What? He totally is! Oh right, the plot.) Mulder cuts in on Modell’s laughing at his own joke and says he’s not interested in playing the game.

Modell just remarks that Mulder’s being touchy, and says there’s something he needs him to hear. Mulder responds that Modell can tell him in person. When Modell tries again to get him to listen, Mulder insists, “No, you listen to me. Either you come back here on your own or I drag your sorry ass back on the bumper of my car.”

Scully asks how much longer is needed. Four more seconds.

Modell: “When did you turn into Clint Eastwood?” Oh, it was sometime in S3, dude. I think it was before your first episode – did you miss that? I can’t really remember the order, though. Scully leans into Mulder’s face again and begs him not to let Modell rope him in. Modell’s still talking, trying to make Mulder listen to whatever the heck he’s got to say. I would think it would be easier to just say it and get it over with, but it’s not my hypnotic phone conversation, I guess. He mentions that he knows the call is being traced, and doesn’t care.

Scully tells Mulder to hang up the phone as Skinner looks on nervously. Mulder closes his eyes, and hangs up in the middle of Modell blabbing on and on about what he needs Mulder to hear. They all look at the agent running the trace. She says they got it.

Mulder, Scully, and some marshals bust into the sporting goods store, guns drawn. Mulder notices the carbo bar wrapper. But there’s no other sign of anything, and Skinner wonders how far he could have gotten. Then Mulder looks out the window and sees a man in prison garb, wandering down the street. We can only see his back. “Outside!” he yells, except for some reason Duchovny’s yell is back to sounding like it did in S1 or 2, and it’s just not very convincingly intense. Heh.

But they all run outside, anyway, Mulder almost getting hit by a minivan as he runs out into the road. I’m suddenly quite distracted because I recognize one of the many skyscraper hotels of Vancouver behind the guy. I’ve totally been on that street. Mulder claps a hand on the guy’s shoulder and turns him around, putting his gun to his chest.

It’s not Modell, of course. It’s Todd from the store, and he looks very, very confused. As the other agents surround them, Mulder lets go of him and Skinner asks, “Where is he?” Todd: “He had to go.” Mulder does his frustrated stalk off, and Scully looks pensive.

We cut to a blonde-haired woman in a picture frame. Modell puts the picture down, leaving a fingerprint in blue paint. We hear him leave the house we’re now in, and the camera pans over an empty bucket of blue paint (I believe the brand name is “Breeze”, which: hee!), several blue footprints, and a paintbrush covered in the same hue. Paint is also dripping off a man who is sitting on the couch, completely coated in it. Eew. Fade to black.

The camera pans around the same house again, with police radio chatter in the background. We can see this time that there are characters (as in, symbols used for Japanese or Chinese writing) painted over the walls and curtains. Mulder: “I’m going to take a wild stab here and guess this is a clue.” Heh.

Scully is looking at the paint-covered corpse. With a gloved hand, she opens his mouth, and blue paint pours out. Eeeeww. She makes a face and states that it looks like he died from ingesting it. She guesses that he did all the painting and then drank the rest of it. Just then Skinner walks in with an Asian-looking woman, to whom he directs, “See what you can make of all this.” Then he asks Mulder and Scully, “Modell?”

Scully points out that the paint (actually “Gulf Breeze” brand, my mistake) is Cerulean Blue. Skinner wants to know the point of all this. Scully explains, as Mulder chews his lip pensively in the background, that it could be because the victim, Nathan Bowman, was the man who prosecuted him back in 1996.

The Asian woman interrupts the discussion to announce that it’s not a manifesto, just the same ideogram over and over. It’s sloppy, but it says, “ ‘kitsunegari’ – ‘fox hunt.’”

Mulder raises his eyebrows slightly, and Scully wryly exposits, “Fox Mulder.” No, really? Wait, you mean Mulder’s first name is Fox? And Pusher has some sort of agenda against him?? WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?? Sorry, I just think that scene would have been a lot more subtle if they’d just shown Mulder and Scully getting it, without trying to make sure we weren’t too stupid to do the same.

Mulder notices the picture with the fingerprint on it, and asks if Nathan Bowman was married. Scully uncovers his left ring finger, and answers in the affirmative. Skinner, to Mulder: “What are you thinking?” Mulder doesn’t reply, of course, but walks over to the phone and sees that one of the speed-dial numbers is listed as “Linda office”. He surmises that it’s the wife, then dials the number.

Upon learning that Mrs. Bowman is out to meet with a client, he asks who. “It’s, uh, Mr. Fox Mulder,” says the secretary. Scully quietly says, since she’s apparently stuck with the exposition for this scene, “It’s him.” Skinner tells him to find out where. When he hears that it’s a commercial property in Falls Church, Skinner gets the Falls Church PD on the phone.

We see a Falls Church police car drive up to a warehouse. Hey, that’s Raoul’s dad, from Doc, getting out of the car. Okay, you can stop judging me now. Yes, I watched that show on PAX for a while. Deal with it. It wasn’t for Billy Ray Cyrus’s acting skills, I can assure you. Anyway, Raoul’s dad and his partner radio in that they’re at 214 Channel Avenue, and they’re going to go in. The dispatcher copies, and says to use extreme caution and that backup is on the way.

The two officers go inside, guns and flashlights at the ready. The music is tense. They split up. Oh, great. That’ll turn out well. The guy who’s not Raoul’s dad hears Modell’s voice, leading him closer to himself. I suppose this is actually Modell doing this, right? I mean, Linda Bowman really does drive up later. I don’t really understand why he’s doing this, though. I suppose just to pass the time until Mulder gets here. In any case, Modell taunts the guy with “you’re getting warmer” type of comments, until he says he’s right in front of the officer. We don’t see anyone, but then he rounds a corner and sees Modell with a gun.

The officer tells him to drop it, and he does so, and puts his hands up and gets down on the ground under direction from the officer, too. This is a sign that’s something’s definitely up, especially since “Modell” isn’t saying anything else. Then the cop calls to his partner that he’s got him.

Meanwhile Skinner, Mulder, and Scully have arrived, along with a whole lot of others. They run into the building. Skinner identifies them all as federal agents and asks where the officers are. The guy calls back, “Upstairs! Sir, I got him!”

Everybody races upstairs – to find that the cop has his gun trained on poor Raoul’s dad, who says that he just went crazy. They take the gun away. Skinner remarks that Modell must have indeed been there. Scully wonders why he’d go after Bowman’s wife. At that moment, another officer shouts that they have a visitor. Thank goodness he didn’t say, “We’ve got company!” Man, I get tired of that. And I guess if he had said that, it would have been too obvious right away that Linda Bowman was eeeevil, since you can only say that if a bad guy is approaching – or so TV and movies tell me.

Linda Bowman steps out of her car, and does a good job looking confused and anxious at all the police cars parked there. Mulder greets her and identifies himself, and she continues to look baffled, asking, “Uh, you’re my 12:15?” Heh.

The next scene is Mrs. Bowman sitting down somewhere in the warehouse, being interviewed. She sounds teary as she explains that all she knew was that she was supposed to meet a Mr. Mulder here, and she didn’t have a number to reach him and tell him she was running late. Then she asks why anyone would do this to Nathan. Scully, also sitting down, asks kindly if he ever discussed his work, specifically Robert Patrick Modell, with her. Since she says, “You mean Pusher?” in response, we can take that as a yes.

Skinner explains that they think he murdered her husband. She denies this possibility, saying that Pusher’s in prison, but Mulder says, “Not since 6:00 this morning.” At Mrs. Bowman’s fairly convincing display of distress, Scully makes a sympathetic expression that I find hilarious for some reason, and Skinner assures her that the FBI will protect her. As Skinner leaves with her, he simply tells Mulder and Scully, “Find him.”

Scully says, “Yes, sir,” and starts to go, but Mulder hasn’t moved. He wonders why Modell didn’t just kill those two cops, which is, again, something I vaguely noticed the first time around. Scully hopes it was because he was too tired, but Mulder isn’t sure. He says something doesn’t make sense, and then asks to borrow who I assume is a police officer’s radio.

We see Linda Bowman being escorted by Skinner and a guy with a shotgun into an FBI car, and then we see that it’s Modell who’s watching this through the blinds of a nearby building. He’s eating a carbo bar again (maybe that’s what made him homicidal in the first place – in my experience, those things are nasty), and he keeps watching as Mulder walks vaguely toward the window, walkie-talkie in hand. There’s a Latino man in the room with Pusher, presumably the janitor. He looks unfocused. Pusher hands him back his thermos with a “Gracias, amigo”, and leaves the room.

Mulder enters the building, looking uncertain until he sees the wrapper of the carbo bar right in the hallway. And here’s where I start ranting, “Mulder, you idiot, you’re going in alone to face this guy, without telling anyone??” He walks up the stairs, gun drawn. I guess that’s the only place to go? I dunno. Maybe Pusher’s sort of pushing him already, otherwise how does he know?

So he rounds a few corners, and no one’s there. Finally, he goes around one more corner, and there’s Modell, not looking too good. He snarks, “What took you so long?” Mulder pulls out the radio and says, “Scully, I got him. Come quick.” Oh, thank goodness Mulder wasn’t being quite as stupid as I thought. This time.

Modell tries to stop him, but Mulder tells Scully where he is, and then puts the radio away and yells at him to shut up when he starts in on the whole “I have to tell you something” spiel again. But though Mulder continues to state loudly that he will shoot Modell, he isn’t actually doing anything other than holding out his gun, and Modell keeps telling him to listen. Trembling with effort, he finally makes Mulder listen.

Scully and a bunch of other agents run toward the building. Mulder is leaving, looking disorientated. And when Scully asks where Modell is, we can all mouth along with him, “He had to go.” Scully sighs. Fade to black.

Next scene is Scully on her cell phone, saying it was just 10 minutes ago and he can’t have gotten far. She continues that Agent Mulder is fine. I have shrewdly deduced that it’s probably Skinner on the other end, but I could be wrong. She hangs up and walks over to Mulder, who is leaning against a car and brooding. She asks how he’s feeling.

“Well, aside from the utter grinding humiliation that comes from knowing I let our suspect go, pretty good,” Mulder says bitterly. Scully tries to tell him it could have happened to anyone, but that just makes him think of something. “No, actually, it couldn’t have. I didn’t find Modell. He sought me out. He wanted me to hear his message,” he says. And that message was not to play the game. Seriously? Why in the world couldn’t he have said that waaaaay back at the beginning, on the phone, instead of just going on and on and on about how he wanted Mulder to hear it?

Scully assumes he meant Modell’s game, but Mulder doesn’t think so. He doesn’t even really think Modell’s playing a game. This alarms Scully, who reminds him that he said himself at the prison that Modell was going to pick up where he left off. But Mulder counters with asking why he didn’t kill the cops or the prison guard – or Mulder, while he was at it.

Scully argues that he killed Nathan Bowman, but Mulder won’t agree with that, either. He says Modell was there, but that doesn’t prove he did it. Now Scully’s really worried: “Mulder, this man’s affected you. He’s influenced your thinking.”

Mulder, annoyed, says it’s not like that. Scully wants to know, then, why he’s trying to say it isn’t Pusher after seeing a man made to drink cerulean blue paint, and the word “kitsunegari” (which she helpfully translates for us again). Mulder says that Modell is involved, related to it all, but not the way Scully thinks.

Scully: That’s your opinion?

Mulder: Yeah, that’s my opinion.

Scully: How can you be sure it’s your own?

Mulder: What do we still agree on here? That Modell was pursuing Linda Bowman? I’d like to know why.

At the safe house, Linda Bowman is shakily explaining to Mulder and Scully that she doesn’t think she can tell them much more than she already has. Mulder politely says they appreciate her help. She says she does know that Nathan was proud of having prosecuted the case, because Modell was very clever and dangerous and a menace to society. She goes on to ask, rather pointedly, if Mulder was the one Nathan mentioned who shot Modell. Mulder quietly says yes. She says that Nathan said it was too bad the shot didn’t kill him and save the taxpayers the cost of a trial.

Scully, perhaps watching Mulder more closely than Mrs. Bowman during this whole scene, remarks that her husband seems to have talked about it a lot with Linda. She says yes, because he was proud of it, and adds, “I guess he felt that, that it was his brush with greatness.” At this, Mulder looks up and stares at her.

Scully suggests that maybe Mr. Bowman mentioned her to Modell (what, like they had regular chats together?), but Mrs. Bowman doubts it because they’d only been married two months. Mulder asks how long they knew each other. She laughs a little and says it was two months and two days, but why wait when it’s true love?

She goes on, “It’s not like Nathan was impulsive or flighty. I don’t want to paint him as that.” Mulder seems to understand, and suggests, “He was true blue.” I remember thinking, “Man, Mulder, that’s really insensitive of you,” but Linda Bowman just nods. Mulder thanks her and gets up to leave, Scully following and looking confused. Poor Scully. How often is she in that position?

Outside, Mulder states, “She killed Nathan Bowman.” Scully doesn’t believe him (no way!), but Mulder goes on as Skinner comes up, too, that Modell was there but it was for some other reason, because Linda Bowman definitely killed her husband. Skinner starts to object. Mulder: “Wait a minute, just hear me out. Her husband’s brush with greatness, she doesn’t want to paint him as being impulsive. Who the hell talks like that?” I hate to break it to you, Mulder, but you’re on The X-Files. Don’t you remember some of these voice-overs? Heck, you’ve done so many, yourself, already! People who live in glass houses shouldn’t complain about unnatural-sounding speech!

Skinner and Scully are unimpressed and starting to get that condescending ‘oh dear, Mulder’s nuts again’ look in their eyes. Perhaps Mulder is too used to it to notice right away, though, because he doesn’t back off. Instead he proceeds to try to clarify – she was waving it under their noses, and he should have realized because Modell warned him not to play the game. Skinner: “Modell told you?” Bad move, Mulder. But Mulder doggedly keeps on, wondering why the woman doesn’t want to know how her husband was killed, and why she doesn’t seem all that scared even though a serial killer is supposedly stalking her.

Skinner just says she’s in shock and isn’t herself. “And I might add, neither are you.” Mulder just moves on to Scully – “You heard it in there, Scully.” Surely she’ll believe him, and remember that Mulder Is (pretty much) Always Right. But nope. As she says, Mulder himself warned the others not to listen to Modell or trust him, but it seems he himself has done both. Mulder asks, “But what if she can do what Modell does?” Apparently that idea is the last straw to his credibility. Skinner tells Mulder to go home.

Mulder is typically wounded and self-righteous (justifiably so, in this case), and gets even moreso when Skinner clarifies that Mulder is “suspended until such time I’m confident your judgement is sound”, and asks for Mulder’s weapon. Mulder asks quietly who Skinner thinks he’s going to point it at, but now Scully, very distressed, says she thinks Mulder should do it. Looking rather like a kicked puppy, Mulder does so. It pains me when they don’t trust each other!

Linda Bowman comes out at that moment and asks for some water. Skinner says of course, and Mrs. Bowman gives a little triumphant stare at Mulder. Mulder turns around and stalks off, declaring that he’ll prove it. Skinner tries to stop him, but Mulder just yells back disgustedly, “Go fetch her some water!” You know, “water” is one of those words DD never says without the New York accent being very apparent.

Mulder is talking to the physical therapist again. She’s denying that she knew Modell very well, but Mulder wants to know anything at all unusual that he ever said, about anyone. Finally the woman remembers something someone said “aboat” him that seemed unusual – one of the nuns from the LSC once called him “a conquered warrior”, which she thought was kind of weird.

Mulder wants to know if this is the same woman who visited him before he escaped, and she says it was always the same one and she’d come three or four times. Intrigued, Mulder takes out a picture of Linda Bowman to ask whether she’s the woman. The phone rings. The therapist apologizes and goes to answer it and find her glasses, because she needs them to see the picture. While talking on the phone, she keeps trying to find them but can’t. Mulder walks away a few paces to wait until the call is over, but quickly turns around when he hears her say, “Oh yeah, he’s here.” The doctor casually opens the fuse box, and though Mulder shouts, horrified, “No!”, she stretches out her hand and touches the leads. Sparks fly, and Mulder frantically looks for some way to get her off. He grabs a mop with a nearby handle and pries her off, feeling for a pulse. Then he calls out for help before starting CPR on her.

At the gate to the safe house, a marshal standing guard lets a Falls Church police car in. The car is carrying Pusher in the back seat. The window rolls down, and the marshal asks, “You got him?” The driver doesn’t reply, but rolls down the back window, leaving Pusher free to tell the marshal to go home. Which I assume he does, since his face gets all confused and unfocused.

Pusher enters the room where Linda Bowman is. He doesn’t look very good – he’s pale and sweaty. Mrs. Bowman stands and looks perhaps surprised to see him, but it’s hard to tell. He locks the door and faces her.

In the meantime, Scully is getting out of a truck, and her phone rings. It’s Mulder, and he tells her he’s at the prison. She attempts to tell him he was supposed to lay off, but he says it’s too late for that and explains how he just witnessed the therapist’s death. Scully: “It was Modell.” Mulder: “It was Linda Bowman.” Scully starts to object, and Mulder cuts in that she would have identified Bowman and verified that she visited him in prison. Scully says he can’t know that was going to happen. Mulder just wants Scully to trace the call and cut off Mrs. Bowman’s access to phones.

When Scully says she’s not at the safe house, but investigating a suicide at a nearby mall, Mulder wants to know why no one’s answering at the safe house switchboard. Scully hangs up the phone and tells everyone to get back in the trucks. I’m glad she’s capable of admitting Mulder has a point, even when she doesn’t believe his theory.

Meanwhile, Skinner is walking through the halls of the safe house, reading a file, when he hears the phone ring. Noticing how empty the place is, he pulls out his gun and walks toward Linda Bowman’s room. Finding it locked, he kicks it down. Aww, yeah. Skinner is so awesome.

Modell is there, of course, with a hand raised toward Linda Bowman. Skinner yells for Modell to get on the floor, and he calmly responds, “Hey, it’s Mel Cooley.” Very nice continuity there, since that is in fact what he called Skinner all those years ago, back before making Holly beat him up. Good times. Or not. Anyway, Skinner continues to yell for him to get on the floor, and Modell gives a look of something like sadness at Linda before stating, “I have a gun.” Then he whirls around and is suddenly aiming it at Skinner.

Skinner fires and Modell goes down. Mrs. Bowman gasps and takes a few steps toward Modell, looking shocked but also succeeding in not looking too sad. Skinner gets closer, and sees that Modell is bleeding from a shoulder wound but the only gun he has is one made of his fingers. Fade to black on Skinner’s astonished face.

Later, Scully watches the paramedics and a few marshals take Modell away. Mulder runs up to them as Scully asks what Modell said to Skinner. “He said we got our man,” Skinner says glumly. Mulder has reached them and demands to know what happened. Skinner tries to remind Mulder he’s not supposed to be here, but Mulder persists. Some might call Mulder stubborn, you know? Skinner explains that Modell had a gun, that he saw it clearly and it was a revolver.

Mulder is disbelieving, and Scully adds that no one’s found a gun yet. Mulder clarifies: “He said to you that he had a gun.” Skinner gets defensive and coldly replies, “Yes. And he did.” But seeing no real belief on either of their faces, he excuses himself and leaves. I think this is the first and only time any of our favorite agents other than Mulder are pushed.

Mulder takes this chance to explicate to Scully that Modell must have been unarmed and he purposefully drew Skinner’s fire. Scully wants to know why, and Mulder says it was to protect someone. Scully, resigned, finishes for him, “Linda Bowman.” Mulder agrees – he took the fall for her.

Scully: “That’s one hell of a plan, Mulder. A serial killer makes us believe that he’s guilty, in turn diverting the suspicion away from the real estate lady. Well, he had me going.”

Mulder isn’t having this. He wants to know where she is. Scully says they took her home, because it’s over now. Of course Mulder does not hold the same opinion, and he turns to go. He says he wants to be the first person Modell talks to if he makes it out of surgery. Scully counters that talking to him has already caused Mulder enough trouble. I don’t think Modell’s ever pushed someone for quite this long, but I suppose Scully thinks Mulder was pushed and now he’s convinced of his own accord. At any rate, Mulder is thoroughly annoyed and responds bitingly, “Okay, look, you do me a favor, Scully. You give me a call when you think I’ve come to my senses, all right?” Man, I tell you, it is painful when they don’t trust each other.

At the hospital, Mulder is standing over Modell, who is strapped into a bed, with a respirator attached to his throat. A nurse comes in and says, kind of saucily, perhaps like she too thinks he’s insane, “Sir? I’m going to need to change the patient’s bandages?” Mulder leaves, asking her to call him if he wakes up. We see it’s actually Linda Bowman with a paper reading “NURSE” pinned to her blouse, and she whispers, “Yes, sir.” Dun dun DUN!

She sits on Modell’s hospital bed and takes his hand. “Bobby?” she asks, and his eyes open. “Why did you do it? I didn’t ask you to come after me.”

And OH! I’m dense. It’s only because I’m reading a transcript that goes into a bit of detail about it that I now understand what happens next. Modell tries to reply, but he can’t because of the tracheotomy until she puts her finger over the ‘exhaling port’. I totally thought she was starting to suffocate him or something. Give me some credit, though – I wasn’t too far off considering what she’s about to do. Anyway, Modell whispers weakly, “Don’t … don’t make a mistake.”

Linda Bowman says she’s not. After what they did, she won’t let them get away with it. She wants to finish what he started. Modell doesn’t want that, though. He gasps, “No… no, stop now.” I have to wonder – did Modell really have a change of heart or something? Otherwise, what was he trying to tell her here? I guess we’ll never know, but I am curious. Anyhow, he seems to be in pain. Linda looks sad, and says, “Bobby.” Then she says, firmly but gently, “You’re not in any pain. You feel wonderful. You’ve never felt better.” Modell’s face clears and he relaxes.

And if you were like, “Aww, that’s nice of her,” you might want to stop because then she goes on, “Your heart is slowing. It’s tired. It’s too worn out to keep beating. Let it rest.” Modell looks at her – I think he knows what she’s doing, but even if he didn’t want to die he couldn’t stop it. The machines start beeping, and Linda silences them.

Her eyes are teary as she leans on his chest. She says, “It slows. It slows.” Modell’s eyes close, and she finishes, “It stops.” Sure enough, the monitors show a flatline.

Mulder walks through the halls. However, a nurse running by catches his attention. He chases after her to Modell’s room, where a doctor is declaring the time of death. She apologizes to Mulder as she heads out. Mulder, dejected at losing his potential proof, walks into the room. He sees the pin Linda was wearing, and we see him make the connection. He flips it over. It reads, “294 Channel Avenue”, the address of the commercial property from earlier.

Ah ha, we have arrived at the climax. Mulder pulls up outside the building, and goes in cautiously. His flashlight on, he walks deeper in, when he hears Scully’s voice calling his name. She sounds scared. He runs toward her, turns a corner, and sees her standing there. She speaks dully. “You were right about her, Mulder.” Then she raises her gun and aims it at him. Mulder says her name, maybe trying to reason with her, but she says, “She’s making me do this,” and cocks the gun.

“Where is she?” Mulder asks urgently, and Scully tells him she’s here. Then she says, in a scared voice, “Mulder, make her stop. I can’t help myself.”

Mulder yells, “Linda Bowman!” and Scully begs him again to make her stop. It’s rather heartbreaking. He shouts, “Show yourself!” and then watches in absolute horror as Scully aims the gun at her own head. He runs toward her, shouting “NO!” at the top of his lungs – but she fires.

Desperately, gasping and open-mouthed, he puts his hands on her and feels for a sign of life. Then we hear footsteps approaching. It looks like Linda Bowman, dressed in dark clothes and carrying a gun at her side. Mulder stands up and grabs Scully’s gun from the terrifyingly large pool of blood beside her body. “I’m gonna kill you,” he grits furiously.

Linda raises her own gun and says, “Don’t listen to her, Mulder.”

Mulder, taken aback, says, “What?”

The woman replies, “It’s me. You were right about her. Linda Bowman is pushing you.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” Mulder spits. I think we can cut him some slack for not getting it right away – his whole world just collapsed, after all, as far as he knows.

“Linda” insists, “I’m Scully. Linda’s right behind you. She’s telling you I’m her.”

But when Mulder looks down, all he sees is Scully in that huge pool of blood. He yells, “You killed her!”

The woman says, “Mulder, I’m Scully. I’m not dead. She wants you to shoot me. She knows you’ll never forgive yourself.” Awww. Boy, is that the truth.

Mulder is perhaps past listening now. He screams, “Shut up!” as Scully (because of course it’s her) tries to get through to him, “Listen to me! Your mother is Tina! Your sister is Samantha.” Mulder pauses, eyes wild, and she continues, “Modell warned you. Don’t play her game.”

A blurry figure comes up behind Mulder, and “Linda” fires. Mulder looks down – this time, it’s Linda Bowman who is on the floor, and when he looks back, Scully is there, gun raised. “Mulder?” Scully says, and the way her voice trembles, especially now that we know it’s actually her, really breaks my heart.

Mulder’s eyes look stunned and haunted. She comes over and touches his arm, then bends down to take Linda’s pulse. Of course, Linda’s not dead either. Sigh. She opens her eyes and speaks haltingly, but with menace. “You think you can hold me?”

Scully starts to stand up, gazing at Mulder with deep concern and care. Then she opens her phone and calls for an ambulance. Meanwhile, Mulder looks awful. He is pale and his eyes are wide, and he mouths soundlessly before the camera pulls away. Awwwww. Poor, poor traumatized and guilt-stricken Mulder.

We transition to a familiar-looking brain scan with a mass near the center. Skinner is examining it and they’re all in his office. He says, “Linda Bowman.”

Scully exposits that Linda Bowman has an advanced temporal lobe tumor, just like Modell’s, and it seems to run in the family. Skinner looks surprised, and she goes on that they were fraternal twins. Oh, give me a break. AGH. Can’t twins ever just be two people who happened to be born on the same day? Please? Must they always, always have something creepy about them?? Sigh. Anyway, yeah, yadda yadda, Modell wanted to protect his sister, who only found out about his existence about six months ago because they were separated two weeks after birth and raised apart. Ugh.

Mulder hasn’t spoken as Scully continues that the “fox hunt” was a kind of revenge for what she and Mulder did to her brother. Skinner pointedly asks Mulder if there’s anything he wants to add. He just says that about covers it, and they both get up to leave. Skinner asks Mulder to stay a moment, though. Scully turns at the door and meets Mulder’s eye, and he gives her a little nod. She leaves and Mulder turns to face Skinner.

Skinner gets up from his desk and goes to stand in front of him. “I just want to say, you did a good job.”

Mulder, more than a hint of bitterness in his voice, asks, “How’s that?”

“Nobody could have figured this out but you. You knew it was Linda Bowman and not Modell. You were way ahead of me,” Skinner says.

Mulder, barely hearing that, just responds, “I almost killed my partner.”

Skinner sighs a little. “Mulder, despite that, you prevailed. You won her game.”

Mulder nods a little, and looks pained. “Then how come I feel like I lost?” Skinner doesn’t have anything to say to that, and Mulder leaves. Aww, Mulder.

Recap by Mack the Spoon

7×22 – REQUIEM


Recap by Crass

Ooh, right from the start we’re back in dark downtown Bellefleur Oregon, where the men are aliens and the pine trees just don’t care. There’s a siren wailing in the night, and it belongs to a police vehicle that’s really hammering it down a country road through the pine forest. Apparently there’s a fire and a downed aircraft. Well, we’re watching The X-Files so downed aircraft more often than not means UFO or some kind of UFO involvement. I stop to wonder sometimes how the UFO pilots keep their licences; they constantly seem to be having mid-air collisions of one sort or another. I suppose another way of looking at it is that they are negligent about the use of their cloaking devices, hence the number of fighter jets and domestic aircraft that come to grief after contact. Sorry dude, we just didn’t see you lurking there, picking up those abductees! Put your flashers on or something, for the love of Mike? Who is Mike anyway? I’ve always wondered. All units have a 10-13. Drink.

It’s our old friend from Pilot, Detective Miles, and he’s coming right at Ray. Well, perhaps it would be a good idea to slow down just a little, particularly considering there’s a fire and you don’t appear to have a fire hose. Det. Miles tells Ray he has to wait for back-up before he heads out. How long do you think he’ll have to wait? In a place as small as Bellefleur, perhaps Det. Miles means himself. There’s no reply from Deputy Ray, and the radio suddenly bursts into loud static. In The X-Files universe, this is always A Bad Sign, not just an indication of shitty reception. Demonstrating A Very Bad Sign, the car then loses all power, and coasts down the road, resisting Det. Miles’ attempt to slow it down or steer it. Power brakes and steering are a great idea until they fail, aren’t they? I once owned a 1966 Ford Falcon that did not possess these modern conveniences – driving to the shops was better than an hour at the gym, let me tell you. Anyhoo, I bet there’s aliens involved. That’s who I blame when the car won’t work. Unable to halt the car’s momentum, Det. Miles crashes right into another police car just sitting in the road. To be fair, he did tell Deputy Ray he was coming right at him. Det. Miles hauls himself out of the car, scattering little bits of safety glass all over the road, and looks over at the conflagration happening in the woods. He’s injured his head, and he puts his hand up to see how badly, then he looks at his watch, and the hands are spinning backwards. Uh-oh. Aliens, I bet you anything.

All of a sudden, he realises that he should check the other car. Deputy Ray is still in the car, groaning. In a move that would exacerbate the injuries of someone with broken ribs, Det. Miles grabs Ray by the shoulder and pulls him back so the light shines on his face. Oh no! It’s an Extremely Bad Sign! Ray’s eyes are all puffy and red, an indication that he has been exposed to toxic green blood! For sure his blood is all thick and sludgy. Someone needs to get him into an ice bath, stat! Unfortunately, Dana “I’m a Medical Doctor” Scully, the only physician who could be considered an expert in this malady, is nowhere around. Det. Miles steps back in horror, and straight into a puddle of bubbling green, acidic ooze. That’s the end of that pair of shoes. He turns around and…what the? It’s Deputy Ray! But isn’t he in the car in dire need of a bucket-load of Visine? Det. Miles appears puzzled and fearful and…

CREDITS – Doo DOO doo doo doo DOO etc etc.

Now we’re in an office, and an accountant type is adding things up on his little adding machine. I have one of those at work. I too use it for adding. He is adding up Lariat car rentals, and whistles at the sum, then hands the papers to someone we can’t see until the camera swings around, and shows us Mulder (Yay!), with a semi-cocky look on his face. He is looking mighty fiiiinnne. Mulder asks, “Is that a lot?” The accountant must be some kind of auditor, and he tells Mulder that by FBI standards, these numbers are out of control. I bet Mulder hears that sort of thing a lot. Mulder says, with a straight face, “We could start sharing rooms.” Oh, Mulder, you dog! I bet you already do! Auditor type says, “You’re under evaluation. There has to be a point where we say no.” Mulder then tries to justify himself, saying that: “What we do can’t be compared to other departments in the Bureau.” True dat. Auditor Guy says, “Right. This business with aliens.” Who’s in business with the aliens? I thought they all died at El Rico. Mulder says that there’s more to it than that, and he’s right. Why there’s flukemen, vampires, werewolves, voodoo, mutants, clones, evil children, chupacabras, ghosts, time-travel…eh, it is all a bit weird. I can just imagine what my boss would say if I told him I wanted to go on a monitoring trip to Boulia to check out the Min Min lights. First he’d think I was making an XF joke, and he’d laugh, then when he realised I was serious, I’d be talking to the EAP so fast it would make your head spin. Auditor Guy makes Mulder admit that aliens are his real focus. He goes on to imply that Mulder has been using government resources to investigate his sister’s abduction and the conspiracy around it and says that both of those issues have now been resolved. Mulder’s like, “No, it hasn’t.” Auditor Guy’s like, “Yes, it has.” The scene concludes with Auditor Guy saying that Mulder has nothing left to investigate in the X-Files.

Now we’re in a penal colony in Forj Sidi Toui, Tunisia. I smell conspirators! There seems to be some sort of prison riot in progress as we see sweaty, smelly men shouting and trying to reach through the bars as a woman (wearing pantyhose for goodness’ sake) walks calmly down the corridor between the cells. It’s the Queen of the Beehive, Marita Covarrubias. She’s looking a little less put together than usual, and tells someone in a nasal voice, “Your release has been arranged.” Cool, it’s everyone’s favourite one-armed quadruple agent, Alex Krycek. Instead of falling to his knees and moaning thankyou, thankyou, thankyou, he says: “Last time I saw you I left you for dead.” I wouldn’t be reminding her of that right now, if I were you, Ratboy. At least wait until you’re outside.

Chuggachuggachugga back to the FBI. Auditor Guy says, “I see the money bleed out, but it doesn’t seem to make the results of your work any better.” Harsh. Scully’s now getting a good hard auditing and she doesn’t appear to be enjoying it one bit. She sounds like she’s trying to keep herself awake and is mostly losing the battle, then she busts out some metaphysical shit about opening doors which lead to other doors. Scully, Scully, Scully, Mulder is beginning to rub off on you. If only Chris Carter had filmed that. For a bit of a change, Scully is on the receiving side of hard-core scepticism and she looks a bit rattled. She then starts to get annoyed, and tells Auditor Guy that she was abducted and subjected to tests that gave her cancer and left her barren. She says every word like it is a knife being inserted between his ribs. Auditor Guy says, “But you don’t believe in aliens,” and Scully answers, “I’ve seen things that I cannot deny.” But Scully, you do deny them – what about that giant spaceship in Antarctica? You denied that. What haven’t you denied?

Showertime in Tunisia. Ratboy is enjoying that shower a lot – it’s probably just as well we can’t see his bottom half. He’s showering in front of Marita and asks her who sent her. She tells him it was The Smoking Man and he’s dying (the Smoking Man, I mean).

Back to the FBI. Mulder enters the office to find Auditor Guy still there. Mulder thought Auditor Guy was finished, but AG tells Mulder that he handed in his report and was asked to go over a few things again. I hate when that happens, no wonder Auditor Guy seems snippy. He and Mulder get snippy with each other, AG boiling down Mulder’s work to recording bizarre facts about bizarre cases and he tells Mulder he could do that on the Internet without leaving the office. Mulder has to make a visible effort to stay polite and professional, and tells AG he couldn’t do his job from an office. AG counters with the fact that outer space exploration is now done from an office, as it’s too expensive to send men into space. Where’s the nice, non-gender-specific term? Would it perhaps be cheaper to send women, or (God forbid) people? Gah. Mulder say’s he’s not looking in outer space. That’s only because he’s been unable to commandeer the Space Shuttle and put it on his expense account. AG then says to Mulder that he should narrow his search for aliens to ‘wherever they are’. Oh, that was easy. Run out and do that, Mulder. Apparently, it’s just a matter of reducing your vision. Ooh, does that mean Mulder will say goodbye to the contacts and start wearing the Season One glasses again? Be still, my beating heart! Look out, Mulder’s giving AG the look he normally reserves for Tom Colton – here be dragons!

Oregon Forest, boo-boop-be-doo. A little blue hatchback pulls up between two police cars and two young guys get out. They ask Det. Miles if he’s all right, and he tells them it was a small accident and asks them what they are doing out there. They tell him they heard that a UFO had collided with a jet plane and it’s clear they’ve come out for a gawk. Det. Miles asserts that the military found their plane three miles away and there’s no evidence of any other crash. The short dork says that they heard that there was a fire burning at the 20-mile mark, Det. Miles denies it. All I know is, his pants must be on fire because there was a HUGE CONFLAGRATION in the first scene. He tells the boys to go home as he heads back to his car.

Lush Basement Office. Scully is staring at the I Want to Believe poster and we hear Mulder saying, “I think I’m in big trouble.” Scully looks around all – so what’s new? With a double Eyebrow, no less. Scully asks how many times before they’ve tried to shut down the X-Files, but Mulder admits he assaulted the auditor. Why didn’t we see that? I enjoy Mulder’s bursts of police brutality, which probably says more than it should about my character. Scully asks if he hurt the auditor, and Mulder replies, “I reduced his vision a little bit,” while putting a hand up to his forehead. Is he implying he head-butted him? Ouch. Just as the conversation is getting interesting, the phone rings and it’s Billy Miles, Mr Comatose from the Pilot episode. Continuity, you are that much more precious for your scarcity. Mulder has Billy on speakerphone so he can talk to the both of them at once. Right there, is a huge change for Mulder. In the earlier seasons he’d have taken that phone call secretly, and Scully would have had to figure out where he was from a trail of breadcrumbs and cryptic clues, arriving just in time to save his life. Instead, she’s in on the phone call right from the start. Billy tells them that the abductions are happening again, but not to him this time. Det. Miles walks in the door, and Billy puts the phone down without saying goodbye. Scully’s all Mmmm and Mulder says, “More alien abductions Scully.” Scully walks around him and says, “I don’t know how we can possibly justify the expense,” very sarcastically, and Mulder says, “We’ll probably turn up nothing,” to which Scully replies, “Let’s go waste some money,” which makes him smile. He loves it when she teases and they are SO DOING IT! Also, Scully’s no longer just enabling Mulder – I think that counts as encouragement.

Marita and Ratboy are now in the Watergate Apartments in Washington DC. Marita is back to looking elegant and glam, and Krycek is back in the Black Jacket of Betrayal. They knock at a door, and a nurse opens it and says, “Hi, he’s anxious to see you.” Ratboy seems shocked to see CSM in a wheelchair with a tracheal tube in his neck. Geez, he’s let himself go since the beginning of Season 7. I’m guessing a combination of emphsema and lung cancer – he looks all blue about the lips and bruised around his eyes. He tells Ratboy he heard about his incarceration and Ratboy accuses him of having him thrown in that hellhole. CSM counters by saying that Ratboy was trying to sell something that was his. He’s one old dude you don’t want to double-cross if you can avoid it. He tells Ratboy they need to put the past behind them as they have a singular opportunity now. An alien ship has collided with a military aircraft in Oregon and Ol’ Smokey wants to get the band back together to play those Alien Abduction Blues. Nursie lights up a cigarette and hands it to Ol’ Smokey who grosses out everyone present by taking a drag through his tracheal tube. Nasty – isn’t that how you got that whosamajig in the first place? Marita asks how he knows someone hasn’t already recovered it and he replies that it’s not quite so easy.

Oregon woods, night-time. The subtitles for the hearing impaired tell me there’s an electrical crackling sound. That can’t be good with all that dry underbrush around. It’s the two dorks from before whose names are Gary and Richie and contrary to all good sense, but in keeping with X-Files clichés, they are in the dark forest with flashlights. Dudes, take it from me: it’s an Very Extremely Bad Sign to be in the forest with only a flashlight between you and the unknown, at least on this show. One of the dorks walks into something that picks him up and jerks him around, just like that effect in Rush. His dorktastic friend has some sort of Geiger counter, so he must be the dominant geek. I’m also basing this on the fact that he did all of the talking before to Det. Miles. He swings his flashlight around until he finds a spot where the flashlight appears to be reflecting off the air, like water. He calls out to his friend Gary, but Gary is nowhere to be seen. Instead, all we can see is a bright light shining from behind the trees. That’s very common on The X-Files and is usually A Bad Sign when it’s not just being a fake-out. He calls out again, but has to drop his flashlight when it becomes red-hot and it begins to burn on the forest floor. He should run his hand under some cold water right away or he will get some nasty blisters. Meanwhile, his Geiger counter is going way off the chart, and he loses his nerve and runs away, leaving his flashlight burning. Literally.

A car pulls up to an official-looking building, and we are shown a Lariat bumper sticker. Oh, my budget! It hurts! It’s Moose and Squirrel, out in the field, looking for aliens and spending up big on Uncle Sam’s dime. Hooligans. It’s Old Home Week as Billy Miles comes out of the building dressed as a cop, so I’m guessing the building is the local PD. Mulder congratulates him on getting his own badge and Billy admits that his Dad got them to fudge the psychiatric evaluation so he could get in. Scully notices a wedding ring and Billy admits sheepishly that he’s actually divorced and living back with his Dad. Sounds like he might have been better off staying in that coma. Either that, or it was a totally non-subtle way of indicating to Scully that he’s single. Cos’ you know, Mulder and Scully just work together. They aren’t married. Even though Scully is Mulder’s one in five billion, his constant, his touchstone, that with which he cannot live without blah blah blah and he makes her ‘fairly happy’ by all accounts. Mulder says to Billy, “You’ve never um…” and I have no idea where he’s going with that, but then he says: “Have you ever been able to get over the abductions?” Billy says that he has, but that everyone else still doesn’t believe it happened to him and that his Dad denies it ever happened. Billy goes on to tell Moose and Squirrel about the crash and that the military has recovered their jet, but that the other aircraft has not been found. Scully asks why not, and Billy tells her that because it’s their county, the Bellefleur Sheriff’s Department is in charge of coordinating efforts and that Det. Miles has not been very helpful, even though there’s a deputy missing. What? Wouldn’t the FAA be involved, at the very least? Bounding to conclusions, as is his wont, Mulder tells Billy that if they find the UFO, Det. Miles won’t be able to deny the truth. And here’s the man himself, pulling up in a battered police car. The door is in such bad shape it won’t open from the inside and Det. Miles has to put his hand outside the door to lift the handle. Man, that must be inconvenient when it’s raining. He looks less than enthused to recognise Our Heroes and immediately debunks the whole UFO theory. Scully gives him a look that screams – Just Let Me Do My Job and Stop Horning in On the Debunking, but I bet she only really debunks Mulder in bed now because he enjoys it.

Chuggachuggachugga and we’re out in the forest again. Moose and Squirrel pull up in the EXACT SAME SPOT that Mulder painted the orange X in the very first episode – ah, the memories – and Det. Miles says it was already there in case they were wondering about it. Scully admits that Mulder put the paint there seven years ago. What a vandal! Shouldn’t Billy and Det. Miles fine him or something? Perhaps the statute of limitations has run out. Mulder babbles on about anomalous electrical disturbance blee, missing time blah, car losing power yada yada yada. Oh, who really cares what he says. He’s wearing a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up and I think I’m going to have to go and get a paper towel to wipe up the drool. Scully is looking very tall in this scene, so Gilly must be standing on a box. She looks at least 5’10” and we know that’s not the truth. Mulder’s doing some crime scene investigation and finds a burnt patch in the asphalt past the skid marks. However, Scully finds something that interests the Bellefleur PD a bit more – shell casings from a .38. Det. Miles asks Scully what he was shooting at, and Mulder comes up behind and says, “Probably nothing. Nothing’s all you seem to find out here.” Way to keep the locals on side, Mulder, you snarky bastard. Mulder and Det. Miles then wander off, probably to see whose dick is bigger or who can piss the furthest, while Billy and Scully get on with the actual police work. While they’re collecting the evidence, Scully takes the opportunity to ask Billy about Deputy Ray. She asks if he was a good cop, and Billy says he was. She then says, “Married, single?” Boy Scully, are you bored with Mulder already? I’ll have him if you’re finished. Billy tells Scully that Ray was married with a new baby and Scully gives him a look of solidarity in Putting Up with Arseholes as Det. Miles calls him over to the police car. Moose and Squirrel leave the scene as Billy hands the evidence bag to his Dad, saying, “You know, they only want to solve this.” Which is almost exactly what Scully said to Mulder in the Pilot episode. Woo, Continuity! Det. Miles then tells Billy to get in the car and goes around to the boot to put the evidence away. He opens it, and we get a shot from inside the boot, over the dead body of the real Detective Miles, the same set-up as when the Schwarzenalien was revealed in Colony. Crap. Now I guess I’ll have to refer to him as Not-Det. Miles, which is more typing.

Mulder and Scully are knocking at the door of a bungalow-style house with all sorts of cutesy garden signs. If I lived there, I’d be begging the aliens to take me for a good probing. One of the signs says – The Hoeses. A woman opens the door, and OMG! It’s Theresa Nemman! Or Theresa Hoese, I suppose now. She takes a moment to recognise them, but as she does, her baby cries out and she is distracted and invites them in as she goes to tend to the baby. The next shot is in Theresa’s living room, and she’s holding the baby and apologising for losing it when she realised who they were. Scully asks if there’s anything she can tell them that might help them find her husband. Mulder pipes up to say that they had no idea she was his wife. Theresa then goes on to tell them that she and Ray had a deep connection because he was also an alien abductee. The actress still has the same stop-start line delivery that annoyed so many in the Pilot, but her hair is much, much better. She tells Mulder and Scully that Ray’s experiences were a lot more terrifying than hers. She says that she has extensive medical records and photos of Ray’s scars, and offers to get the files for them. She gets straight up and just hands her fussy baby to Scully, who at first looks a little uncomfortable, but finally gets him settled by distracting him with a Big Bird toy and singing to him while Mulder watches on. I have to stop to say that Duchovny does an amazing job in this scene – you can see Mulder’s heart in his eyes; his wish that he and Scully could have children and his guilt over her barrenness.

8.07pm and we’re in a non-descript motel watching Mulder examine the photographic evidence of Deputy Ray’s abduction experiences. He’s wearing a black T-shirt and jeans. There’s a knock at the door and he calls out, “Who is it?” Scully answers, “It’s me.” Drink. He opens the door and she’s visibly shaking – he asks her what’s wrong and she says she doesn’t know. She comes in and sits on his bed while Mulder kneels in front of her and she tells him she was starting to get ready for bed when she began to feel dizzy and get chills. Again, an indication of just how far their relationship has come. When she was dying of cancer in Season 4, she was fine. Now, she’s a bit dizzy and has chills and she runs straight to Mulder to tell him all about it. And damn! That black T-shirt suits him. He asks her if she wants him to call a doctor, as he’s pulling back the bedcovers. She says no to the doctor, instead she climbs on into Mulder’s bed, as he tucks her in, saying she just wants to get warm. I have to mention, that chequered pattern on the bedclothes is just hideous. You may wish to avert your eyes. But then you’d miss this – Mulder climbs up onto the bed behind her in a spooning position and puts his arm around her and she thanks him. He’s really snuggled into her shoulder and neck and it seems as though he is sniffing her. It’s quite intimate, even though they’re both fully clothed with the bedding between them. I have to recap this conversation in its entirety.

“It’s not worth it, Scully.”


“I want you to go home.”

“Mulder, I’m gonna be fine.”

“No, no, I’ve been thinking about it. Looking at you today holding that baby and knowing everything that’s been taken away from you – a chance for motherhood and your health – and that made me think that maybe they’re right.”

“Who’s right?”

“The FBI. Maybe what they say is true, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s the personal costs that are too high. There’s so much more you need to do with your life. There’s so much more than this.”

Then he just reaches up and caresses her face really lightly. I think I just got something in my eye. I’ll be OK in a minute, I’m sure.

“There has to be an end, Scully.” He kisses her gently on the cheek.

Sounds to me like Mulder had decided that it was time for both of them to get out of the car. Makes you wonder what would be different if he hadn’t been abducted – remember that Scully’s already pregnant, even thought neither of them know it yet. Season 8 Mulder was so angry after his return from the dead that it just fuelled his fight against the conspiracy. If they’d left him alone, perhaps he would have just let it all go, thinking that his work was done. Sometimes the alien/shadow government conspiracy just doesn’t think things through. Shouldn’t have booked Mulder on that Princess cruise. Gilly does a great job of showing Scully’s ambivalence – on the one hand, she’s happy that Mulder wants something approaching a normal life, even if it’s only for her, and on the other, she fell in love with his drive and it’s her quest as much as his. A dilemma, to be sure.

Outside, in a darkened car, Ratboy is on the phone to CSM, bitching about not being able to find the UFO. CSM’s getting unpleasant medical things done to him – serves him right. CSM is a bit put out when Ratboy tells him that Moose and Squirrel are there looking for the UFO, but Ratboy says that they’re actually looking for a missing Deputy. He is well informed. CSM busts out with one of his patented non-answers: “Well, they’re looking for the right thing, but in the wrong place.” Whatever. Ratboy bitches some more, making the point that CSM sent him to look for a ship. CSM seems angered by Ratboy’s unaccustomed denseness and snaps out, “Find the deputy, find the ship.” Well, why didn’t you just say that in the first place, instead of being so darn obscure? It must be habit, so that even if your phone is tapped, no one knows what the hell it is you’re talking about.

Knock, knock, knock. Theresa runs down the stairs in her night attire, asking who is knocking at her door. All she can see is a cop-shaped shadow through the curtain. She says, “Ray?” questioningly, but why would he be knocking on the door of his own house? Maybe the aliens were playing a game of keep-away with his keys. She opens the door, and it looks like Ray, so she hugs him and tells him she was worried. She finally twigs that there’s something wrong when Ray won’t talk to her. He’s not her husband. D’oh! She turns and runs up the stairs, with Not-Ray behind her. She’s lying in wait at the top of the stairs and she stabs Not-Ray with a pair of scissors. Bad mistake. He’s oozing green blood and she’s clutching at her eyes. She tries to crawl away from him to get to her baby who must have been woken by the ruckus and is screaming, but Not-Ray just picks her up bodily and takes her away.

Morning, and Mulder and Scully pull up to the Hoese’s Casa de Kitsch to find an ambulance and a police car convention. Billy tells them that Theresa’s been taken. An ambo is taking Theresa’s baby out of the house. Poor little tyke must have screamed himself hoarse. Mulder and Scully go straight upstairs and find a green burn on the carpet, the same as Mulder found on the road. They’ll have to replace that carpet, but seeing that it’s pink, no great loss. Scully agrees with Mulder (!) and I’m getting whiplash from recapping Season 3 to Season 7. How things have changed! Mulder leaves the room, no doubt to search for mysterious goo in other places, and Billy asks Scully what it is. Scully tells him: “It’s a biological toxin, emitted as a gas through the bloodstream.” Billy’s all Wha??? So Scully goes on: “From what is arguably an alien.” Then, suddenly, all of this agreeing with Mulder gets to her in a big way and she stumbles, dizzy.

EEEEWWWW GROSS!!!! Close-up of CSM puffing his cigarette through his tracheal tube. Shouldn’t his nurse be objecting to this blatant disregard for his health? Her name is Greta, so maybe she’s the daughter of one of the eeevvvviiilllll Nazi scientists and therefore genetically eeevvvviiillllll herself and doesn’t care. Marita’s sitting on the couch looking squicked, like any normal person would. She asks why CSM’s brought Krycek back from Tunisia just to mess with him. Haven’t you heard Marita? CSM’s totally EEEVVVVIIILLLL!!!!! CSM has great faith that Alex will find the ship, but he can’t tell him too much or Ratboy might be tempted to sell the information. You don’t say. CSM tells Marita that the ship won’t be there forever because it’s rebuilding itself. He also says that to possess it is to hold the answer to all things, yada yada yada. Nooooo, don’t bring in a new Key to the X-Files this late in the season! Argh! He tells Marita there’s no God, only an alien intelligence greater than ours. OK, I’ll buy that. Perhaps we should ask them to explain the mytharc to us, maybe as a Powerpoint presentation with diagrams. Or we could ask ejluther. I’m good, either way. Marita asks CSM, “They’re coming here, aren’t they?” and he answers, “They’re only coming back.” Marita looks totally scared.

Scully’s leaving Hoese’s Casa de Kitsch. Mulder’s already in the car, but he’s watching our little bushwalking friend, Richie, who’s twitching in a crowd that’s gathered, drawn to the police cars like blow-flies to a barbeque. I think I’ll call him Twitchy Richie from now on. Mulder knows how to spot suspicious behaviour. Now Mulder’s on the move, ignoring Scully who’s calling his name. Mini-ditch, but he knows she’ll just follow him – he’s on the hunt. Twitchy Richie tries to surreptitiously wander away, but only succeeds in appearing more guilty of something. Mulder accosts him just as Billy Miles walks up and says he knows him. Twitchy Richie can’t hold it in any longer, and blurts out to Billy that ‘They’ took Gary. He gets a bit hysterical, and Mulder tries to calm him down. Hey, Mulder, I think you were the one who upset him in the first place. Twitchy Richie says: “They’re out there. I don’t care what your Dad says, Billy.” They must be with The Truth then. Richie then tells Billy that Not-Det. Miles was out there too and that he knows. Billy looks perturbed by this and rushes off, as Twitchy Richie starts crying. Mulder and Scully both look away, as if they are embarrassed. Hold it together, Twitchy Richie! Be a man!

Woods – Twitchy Richie is giving Mulder and Scully a guided tour of Spooky Woods, all excited and telling the about how his flashlight beam hit a spot in space that bent the light. At least they’re listening to him, yo. That must be a new experience for Twitchy Ritchie. Scully gives him a Sceptical Look. Hoorah! Her first real one this episode! TR tells them about Gary disappearing, and his hot flashlight (that sounds kinda dirrrty). Mulder follows Twitchy Richie who’s trying to find the spot where his flashlight was burning the underbrush, while Scully, less impressed with his hijinks, decides to look around a bit on her own. Oh no! She’s walked straight into that speeded-up film effect that made Gary disappear. Scully can’t be abducted again, she just can’t! Meanwhile, Twitchy Richie and Mulder find TR’s melted flashlight and Mulder looks around for Scully, wanting to show it to her, but he can’t see her, so he calls out her name. He starts to look for her, speeding up as his worry grows, then rushing over to her as he sees her lying on the ground, out of it. She opens her eyes, and Mulder asks her if she wants some water. TR asks what happened to her and Mulder looks at him like – I just got here stupid! And tells TR to get Scully some water. From the non-existent packs they were carrying. Or maybe he’s going to drain it out of the radiator of the rental car. Mulder picks Scully up and cradles her in his lap as she tells him she just hit the ground. She asks him why this is happening to her. Umm, aren’t you the Medical Doctor, Scully? Mulder just comforts her and gently smooths her hair off her face. Aww, it’s so sweet. He’s so worried and trying not to upset her by showing it. So he starts babbling about the abductions, that people are being taken and not returned and that they’ve got to warn Billy Miles.

Speak of the Devil, Billy’s entering his house and goes for his gun as he hears a noise, calling for his Dad. Not-Det. Miles appears, and Billy draws down on him. Billy isn’t stupid; he suspects that his Dad is an alien replacement and he won’t put the gun down. Not-Det. Miles keeps on coming, seemingly unafraid of the gun and trying to get Billy to put it down. Billy tells Not-Det Miles that he doesn’t know who he is, but that he’s not going to take Billy. Not-Det. Miles says, “I’m your father. Are you gonna shoot your father?” Billy’s crying by this point, and asks, “If you’re my father, why won’t you believe me?” Good point. Not-Det. Miles says: “I believe you Billy. I just want it all to go away.” He walks up and takes the gun from Billy, who sits on the couch and covers his eyes. The camera then shows us Not-Det. Miles, who looks to the left and morphs into the Mighty Morphin’ Bounty Hunter as a car pulls up outside. Oh no! Poor Billy!

Of course, it’s Our Heroes. I’m surprised that Mulder hasn’t insisted on taking Scully straight to the ER, but she’s a feisty woman and probably convinced him that stopping off to warn Billy wouldn’t take very long and they could go after that. If Mulder was lucky. They walk up to the open door and call for Billy. Getting no answer, they pull their weapons and walk in. This house has antlers on the wall. Antlers! Everyone except Scully has appalling taste in interior decoration on this show. Billy is nowhere to be found and Moose and Squirrel do that unspoken communication thing.

Two days later, and we’re at the J. Edgar Hoover building in DC. Skinner walks into the Lush Basement Office, and finds Mulder leaning way back in his office chair and throwing a basketball into the air. As you do at work. At least as Mulder does at work. Mulder asks the Skinman what the punishment will be this time (and another thousand slash BDSM fanfics are born, probably involving the basketball in some way). Mulder speculates: “Thumb screws, or 40 lashes.” Come on! Now you’re just asking for it, Mulder! Keep this up and it’ll be some sort of three-way involving Krycek, a can-opener and a purple Barney plushie, with long descriptions of how gorgeously chocolate-brown Walter’s eyes are when he takes off his glasses. Really. The Skinman looks embarrassed, and Mulder addresses him as Walter, and channels Jed Clampett, asking him to ‘sit a spell’, as it might be the last time he gets to come down to the X-Files office. Skinman says: “You went to Oregon.” Mulder answers: “Guilty as charged.” Geez, he’s begging for it. Then Mulder apologises to the Skinman for any trouble he’s caused him, but Skinman shrugs it off. Mulder just can’t help being a smart-arse. “Stick to a budget and you’re making a contribution. But push the limits of your profession and they say you’re out of control.” The Skinman brings him back down to earth by pointing out some hard facts. “You could bring home a flying saucer and have an alien shake hands with the President. What it comes down to, Agent Mulder is…they don’t like ya.” Mulder seems unsurprised by this revelation, saying that they didn’t bring home a flying saucer or an alien. Skinman walks into the office, and Krycek and Marita walk right in behind him. Yikes! Has the Skinman gone bad? Mulder’s out from behind his desk like lightning, ready to start punching on Ratboy. Skinner holds him back (oh, goodie, more ho-yay!) and tells him he should listen to what Ratboy and the Queen of Beehives have to say. I have to make an aside here and say here how much I appreciate Nic Lea’s performance of Krycek. He makes a real effort to play Krycek differently after the amputation, and always walks and stands in such a way to protect the side where his arm is missing. He never drops it. I can’t understand why Nic Lea didn’t have a bigger career – he’s very good-looking (even though Duchovny is more my type) and a great actor. It’s baffling and unfair. As are so many things about the entertainment industry.

Ratboy gives Mulder some cryptic clues, and Mulder invites him to step outside, but Marita grows weary of the testosterone trio and drops the bombshell that Cancerman is dying. She and Krycek tell Mulder about the UFO in Oregon and that Cancerman wants to rebuild the conspiracy, but that it won’t be there forever and the Schwarzenalien is mopping up the evidence, which means taking former abductees. Mulder asks Ratboy why he’s telling him all this, and Ratboy answers that he wants to ‘damn the soul of that cigarette-smoking son of a bitch.’ Ratboy knows how to hold a grudge. Of course, Scully picks right now to turn up. She seems rather put out by the meeting to which she hasn’t been invited and gives Marita the stank-eye.

The camera pans over the remains of a large fast-food dinner and YAY! It’s The Lone Gunmen! They’ve been brought in to try and track the UFO. They techno-babble for a while, as Scully looks on, sceptically. Skinner asks them to put it in English, and essentially, it’s that you’d never know it was a UFO. Which I guess would be the point of a cloaking device, duh. Ratboy loses patience and says that it’s not going to be there forever, and Marita backs him up, saying that it’s rebuilding itself. I wish I had a car that could do that – it would be cool, and would save a lot of money. Mulder looks undecided, looks at Scully and she turns and walks out into the hall. Wow, her heels are super-high. Her toes must be killing her. Mulder follows her, and she confronts him, saying, “Mulder, if any of this is true…” Mulder cuts her off: “If it is or if it isn’t, I want you to forget about it.” Mulder’s not going to let her go back out there because he thinks that she’s in danger of being abducted again and not returned. He straight out tells her: “I’m not going to risk…losing you.” The little break in that sentence speaks volumes, volumes I tell ya! Seeing the truth in his eyes, Scully steps forward and puts her arms around his neck, hugging him, and telling him that she won’t let him go alone.

Dark, back in the woods, and Skinman gets out of the driver’s seat of a Chevrolet Malibu. At least it makes a change from all the Tauruses (Taurii?). He bitches about it feeling like a snipe hunt. We discover that of all the incredible things Mulder does believe in, snipe isn’t one of them. Mulder pulls some equipment out of the boot and they set off into the forest, Skinner telling Mulder his ‘ass is on the line here too’. Sigh. I can hear the typing from here.

Meanwhile, Scully’s back in DC, staring aghast at some evidence. She’s looking at the medical records of all the people abducted in Bellefleur with TLG, and it appears that they all suffered from anomalous brain activity, electroencephalitic trauma, exactly like Mulder did, earlier that year. Dun dun DUNNNNN! Now Scully says there was something out there in that field, something that threw her back like an undersized fish at the Barramundi Fish-off. Frohike catches on first – oh no! It’s Mulder who’s in danger of being taken! Scully gives Frohike a sort of pleading look, then faints, TLG lowering her gently to the carpet. Wow. Who gets to tell Mulder this?

Oregon woods – Mulder’s setting up some sort of laser light show. Perhaps Skinman doesn’t have Scully’s attention span and he needs something cool to jazz up his presentation. Mulder and the Skinman don’t exactly know how the laser thingy works, but Mulder just can’t help using his pretty, pretty mouth to smart off and snarks: “…budgetarily, I’d say we’re looking pretty good.” You’re looking pretty good in all sorts of ways, Mulder. I’d follow you around too if I got to admire that arse regularly. Mulder takes his little box that goes ‘beep’ and walks through the field of criss-crossing laser lights. Wouldn’t it be cool if he did that thing that Catherine Zeta Jones did in that crappy movie she was in with Sean Codgery? I’m betting with all that yoga, Duchovny would certainly be flexible enough to pull it off. I should write to Chris Carter immediately and suggest it as a scene in XFII. Weird, Mulder looks up and finds a spot where the laser lights just stop. Physics, I hardly knew ye. Of course, being Mulder, he doesn’t tell the Skinman what he’s found, instead he just walks right up to it and sticks his hand in. His hand goes into the sped-up jerking around that happened to Scully earlier, but instead of being freaked, Mulder just looks at it. Back to Skinner, adjusting the equipment (heh, if it wasn’t for the gutter, my mind would be homeless), and calls for Mulder, only to realise that he isn’t there any more. Way to watch his back, Skinman. He walks through the lasers looking for Mulder, but can’t see him anywhere. Uh oh, then we get a shot from the other side of the anomaly, and Mulder’s just standing there, as if he’s in a trance. We can hear Skinner calling for him but it’s distorted, as is his image, like Mulder is underwater. Mulder is looking at the group of abductees, standing together in a bright circle of light. The gang’s all there, Billy Miles, Theresa Hoese, Ray Hoese. Mulder hesitates for a moment, then steps into the circle of light. They welcome him wordlessly. Mulder looks up at the huge spaceship hovering overhead. Scully’s never here to see this shit, never! Mulder looks away from the ship, and sees the Schwarzenalien step into the light and walk up to him. Mulder sort of blinks in fear, but the alien just looks at him and the light gets really intense and bleaches everything out. Cut to Skinner still on the ground, shielding his eyes from the intense white light, but looking nonetheless. The spaceship flies off into the night, taking Mulder with it. Skinner looks anguishes, no doubt already wondering how he’s going to break it to Scully and how he’s going to enjoy his new life without testicles.

Ack! CSM’s looking at himself in a mirror and there’s a knocking at the door. Evil Nurse Greta lets in Krycek and Marita. CSM tells them that they’ve failed, and accuses Ratboy of never meaning to succeed. Krycek just looks at him, although Marita looks a bit scared. CSM says, cryptically, of course, “Anyway, I presume the hour is at hand.” Krycek doesn’t answer him but goes around back of the wheelchair and starts pushing him out. Nurse Greta asks him what he thinks he’s doing, and Krycek answers, “Sending the devil back to hell.” Nurse Greta goes to stop him, but Marita, showing some backbone for a change, stops her. At the top of the stairs, CSM tries to bargain for his life saying: “As you do to Mulder and to me, you do to all of mankind, Alex.” Insinuating of course, that he and Mulder are the only defence for humanity against an alien invasion. With Marita looking over his shoulder, Krycek pushes the wheelchair and CSM down the stairs. Bumpity, bumpity, bumpity, ouch! He lays at the bottom as if dead, and Krycek and Marita just step over the top of him. Cold. They don’t even check whether he’s dead. What sort of an assassin are you, Ratboy? Where’s the quality control?

Cut to – Skinner showing up to Scully’s bedside at the hospital. TLG were obviously taking no chances with Scully and made her go to the hospital whether she liked it or not. She may have Mulder whipped, but Frohike is made of sterner stuff. Skinman’s trying to psyche himself up for this conversation. He asks Scully how she’s feeling. Of course, she tells him she’s feeling fine. It seems that only Mulder gets the truth, she’s still the same with everyone else. Skinner gets very uncomfortable, and can’t seem to start what he needs to say. He can’t meet Scully’s eyes, and she looks away from him too. This is hard! She looks back at him and puts him out of his misery – “I already heard.” GA puts this heartbreaking little catch into her voice and looks on the verge of tears – there’s something in my eye again, dammit! – and Scully reaches out and sort of rubs Skinner’s arm to comfort him. Skinner then blurts out that he lost Mulder and that he’s going to be asked what he saw and that what he saw he can’t deny. He and Scully are both fighting tears now. Scully’s voice breaks as she says: “We will find him. I have to,” and a perfect tear rolls down her cheek. Of course, I was a blubbering mess the first time I watched this episode. There was snot and everything. Skinner can’t take the emotion any more and he turns to leave, but Scully calls him back, as there’s something else she needs to tell him, but that he needs to keep it to himself. He looks stricken – does she need him to clean out Mulder’s porn stash from the office? No – “I’m having a hard time explaining it, or believing it.” She sort of laughs through her tears. “I’m pregnant,” she finally says, looking Skinner right in the eye, who looks like a stunned mullet.

Black screen – was that a season finale cliff-hanger or what?

Recap by Crass

7×19 – BRAND X

Recap by Mack the Spoon

So, this episode is actually one of my favorites from season 7, despite – or more likely partly because of – the gross-out factor. I’m happy to recap it and I hope I can do it justice. If you don’t remember, the gross-out factor is the kind that I thought I was going to get from “War of the Coprophages” (although of course that episode ended up being just awesomely funny and amazing) – the bugs-all-over-people kind. Except it’s even worse.

But anyway, the episode starts with a shot of smoke coming out of a chimney, which I totally didn’t notice the first time I watched it. Clever. Or, you know, anvilicious – take your pick. There’s a guy in protective custody. Skinner’s protective custody, to be exact, in a safe house. Or more likely the guy’s house, with FBI protection, but anyway. The guy’s wife gives the required TV “I feel like a prisoner in my house” thing, and Skinner replies with the standard “We’re just keeping you safe” response. Then the wife tries to convince the guy (whose name is Jim) not to testify, but he just says, “I have to do this.”

She leaves, looking worried and annoyed. Then Jim coughs. Really unpleasantly. Because this is The X-Files, you know this is a Bad Thing. Some other agent brings him some water immediately, which he drinks a little of. Skinner tells him that the FBI will pick him up for the hearing tomorrow at 7:30, and that right now he’ll be right outside the door if Jim needs him.

Once Skinner has left the room, Jim coughs again, and it sounds really bad. I thought at this point that he must be a smoker. Hahaha, that’s hilarious in retrospect, isn’t it? When the coughing means he has trouble breathing, I get nervous, like I always do. Being an asthmatic myself, I don’t like hearing wheezing in other people (or myself). Then Poor, Doomed Jim takes another sip, sets down the glass, and leaves. We see that the glass has blood in it – and a black beetle. Eeeeewww! Gross.

Next, it’s early morning and the wife wakes up, confused as to where her husband is. There’s a light coming from the attached bedroom, and her husband’s shadow is visible. She asks if he’s all right. No, no, he isn’t. When there’s no response and she can’t get the door open, she calls for Skinner. He and the other agent come running in, and they have to push the wife out of the way to try to open the door.

Finally, the door opens – Doomed Jim’s body had been blocking it. I say “body” because, as Skinner reveals when he turns it over, everything is bloody and his FACE IS MISSING. I mean, it seems to have been EATEN AWAY BY BUGS (oops, that last part is a spoiler!). Strangely, Jim’s wife is distressed by this.

Ahh, pre-season-8 credits. I miss them.

So the next scene is, naturally, Mulder and Scully coming up to the house, with the usual other agents scurrying around. One of them escorts the wife out as they come in. Skinner is on the phone, trying to explain himself to someone. Obviously it’s not going to well, and he ends the call frustratedly as Mulder and Scully approach. Man, I do not like season 7 Scully’s hair, although it looks pretty decent in this scene. Mulder: “Rough night?” Skinner says it’s shaping up to be an ever rougher morning, and beckons them onward, to where the body was found.

Our favorite duo wants to know the details. I’m just going to give Skinner’s line directly from the transcript, ’cause I’m lazy like that: “Dr. James Scobie, age 44. R&D biochemist with Morley tobacco. If he were alive as of … (checks his watch) … 26 minutes ago he’d be giving testimony against his former employer before a federal grand jury.” No one knows exactly what he was going to say, but it could have been damaging to Morley and the guy had received death threats, which is why Skinner was supposed to be protecting him.

Scully asks if someone made good on the threats to his life. Skinner says yes, but they can’t figure out how. He shows them a picture of the body. Everyone is properly disgusted. Mulder: “Can’t blow a whistle with a mouth like that.” Scully suggests acid, and Mulder objects that the man would have screamed bloody murder if that had been the case. Skinner cuts the discussion short by saying he just needs answers, ASAP, because the case is really high-profile, etc. Scully agrees to do the autopsy, of course. At least it isn’t her only function on the show. Yet.

Mulder and Skinner walk through the house together, and Mulder, canny as ever, notices that there aren’t any ashtrays. He’s surprised that neither Jim nor his wife smoke. And there’s where I got even more confused about what was going on. Mulder thinks that if it was a hit it was unusually high-profile, and Skinner suggests that it was to intimidate other possible witnesses. He says he’s going to go speak to Jim’s supervisor, Peter Voss. Mulder wants to come.

Then Skinner’s attention is drawn by some other agent. In the meantime, Mulder notices the bloody water with the now-drowned beetle in it. Also, he’s pretty. Mulder, not the beetle. Ew.

Next scene is Skinner and Mulder at the kind of alarmingly pristine Morley headquarters. Skinner walks up to the guy at the desk and asks to see Dr. Voss. Anyway, Security Guy asks if they have an appointment. Both agents pull out their badges and identify themselves as FBI. Security Guy just repeats his question. Mulder and Skinner pull out their badges again. It’s cute. Skinner: “Maybe you missed this the first time around.”

Before Security Guy can perhaps ask again if they have an appointment, another man comes into view. He introduces himself as David Brimley, head of Corporate Security, and shakes their hands. He knows why they’re here, and states that he’s very sorry to hear of Jim’s death. Okay, if I’d realized when I started that everyone was going to be calling him Scobie, except his wife, I’d have called him that, too. But Jim it is. So there. Anyway, I am skeptical, especially since this actor always plays sleazy types. Mulder is skeptical, too, and wonders if anyone had any hard feelings about him being about to testify. Brimley says nobody was happy he was going to do that, but “the timing of his death couldn’t have been worse.” I don’t really know what he means by that, but whatever.

Mulder and Skinner follow Brimley to a conference room, where they sit on one side of a table facing a bunch of Morley dudes, including Voss. Voss asks them to pass on his condolences to Jim’s wife, and calls her by name. He seems to perhaps be honestly sad. Mulder says it would be a comfort to Joan to know how her husband died. Skinner cuts to the chase and asks what Jim was going to testify about. (I think that’s the second sentence in this recap that I’ve ended with a preposition. I notice these things, but apparently don’t change them!)

A lawyer prevents Voss from answering, saying that Voss “would be in violation of his employment confidentiality clause in answering that question.” Both agents are suitably annoyed, but Skinner asks Voss if Jim was his friend, and Voss says yes, for 14 years. Skinner presses that if that were the case, why did Voss demote him five weeks ago? Lawyer repeats the confidentiality spiel, adding that he’s “sure” the agents understand that their cooperation cannot include revealing company secrets. The dude looks superficially like Dr. Phil, by the way.

Skinner, getting quite annoyed, says that he wouldn’t call this cooperation of any kind. He threatens them with a warrant, which ends the conversation, according to Lawyer Phil. Before Voss leaves, though, Mulder shows him the dead beetle and asks him what it is. Voss says it’s a tobacco beetle, and asks why. Upon hearing that it was at the Scobie house, he explains that they’re all over – “there’s probably a dozen in the grill of your car right now.” I take this moment to be extremely thankful I don’t live anywhere near a tobacco company. Lawyer Phil interrupts to ask where Mulder’s going with this. Mulder: “I’m sorry, I can’t. Answering that question would violate FBI confidentiality due to the sensitive nature of our investigation.” Oh, SNAP. The lawyers all glare.

We cut to Voss pulling into his garage. His house is very nice. As he gets out of the garage, a creepy-looking guy comes up to him. Voss seems to know him, but is quite nervous, and asks what he’s doing here. Creepy dude says he’s run out of smokes, and wants Voss to honor his and Scobie’s “arrangement”, since Jim isn’t around. Voss, still nervous, hands him some cartons of cigarettes, but the guy isn’t satisfied. This makes Voss stammer that he’ll bring him more, as long as he doesn’t come around here anymore.

Weird guy picks up on the nervousness and says a lot of people are acting that way around him now. He makes some vaguely threatening noises about how isn’t it a shame Scobie’s dead, and people might like to know how that happened, and he’s actually got a good idea about that. Voss tells him to leave. The guy says he will, but he expects to see a lot of Voss in the future. Yay.

Meanwhile, Mulder and Skinner come to check up on Scully doing the autopsy. Scully says the tissue damage extends down into his throat and into his lungs. Furthermore, his “alveoli look like corned beef.” Thanks for that. Good thing it’s not St. Patrick’s Day anytime soon, because: eew. Skinner is grossed out by the sight, but Mulder is not fazed. Scully says there’s no sign of acids or any corrosive agents. Furthermore, what killed him, strictly speaking, was the inability of oxygen to get from the lungs to the bloodstream. I’m sensing lungs and breathing will be important later in this episode.

Skinner finds this unbelievable, and insists that someone still did this to him, right? Mulder says not necessarily, that maybe no one was ever in the room with Jim, and here’s the Mulder’s Crazy Theory moment for the episode! We get the What Are You Talking About? from Skinner and Scully, and Mulder goes on that maybe it wasn’t a homicide. He asks if Scully saw any tobacco beetles on the body, showing her his example. Scully looks over at Skinner and laughs nervously. Aww, I love it when she gets embarrassed for him. She says there weren’t any bugs, though, and wonders why he asked. Mulder shrugs, and Skinner, disbelievingly, asks if he’s supposed to tell the Director that they’re investigating killer bugs. It’s weird to come back to this after season 8 and 9, because that line now seems like it should come from Kersh. ::shudder:: Anyway, Mulder does his usual well-what-else-would-you-suggest, Skinner looks annoyed, and Scully sighs.

We’re back with the creepy guy from Voss’s garage. He’s sitting watching TV in a dingy apartment room, smoking. The smoke carries through the vent into the neighbor’s room. Gross. That happened to me in my family’s condo when I was little, except it was from bathroom to apparently-adjacent bathroom, and only when the fan was on. Man, those neighbors were great. Drinking and then having loud fights, smoking… we knew too much about their life. Anyway. The neighbor is understandably angry and yells at him that he’ll be kicked out because there’s no smoking allowed.

Unperturbed, the guy puffs on the cigarette again, replying, “America, man! E. Pluribus, uh…” then trailing off and spitting. Charming. And yes, the motto has anything to do with freedom to smoke. Right.

Perhaps the neighbor is angry about the ignorance of Latin, as well, because he yells and threatens some more, then starts hacking and coughing. When he takes his hand away from his mouth, it’s covered in blood. The guy responsible for all this – you just know he has to be, even before finishing the episode – just keeps right on watching his explosions on TV while his neighbor coughs until he falls over. There are hundreds of tobacco beetles all over his body, centered around his head. And guess what? The area around his mouth and nose is eaten away! EEWW. But sadly, this is not accompanied by Mark Snow’s Plucky Strings of Doooooom. There isn’t enough of the Plucky Strings in this episode – in fact, I don’t think there’s any. :(

Mulder, Scully, and Skinner are at the apartment, next day. There’s a beetle on the sheet covering the neighbor’s body, which Skinner brushes off. Mulder makes a crack about guests checking into the place but not checking out. I turn on “Hotel California”. Scully (back to not-good S7 hair) deduces that this guy died in the same way as Scobie, and Skinner points out that the difference is that he was no whistle-blower – in fact, he’s pretty much a nonentity. Sorry, neighbor, but it’s true. Mulder says this all just goes to show that neither of the victims were murdered.

Again with the “What do you mean?” And again, Mulder says the beetle killed him, while picking it up. I mean, he’s not even wearing gloves. Ew. I’m gonna be using that word a lot in this episode. There’s a little discussion, in which we learn that Skinner still doesn’t believe but Scully agrees it could be a long shot. What she means is some insect-borne disease, though, and thinks they should check other residents of the building. Great idea, Scully.

Mulder knocks at the door of the creepy dude, identifying himself as FBI. He is reluctantly let in, to a really nasty, dingy-looking room showing evidence of a lot of smoking having been done here. I wonder if this is when CSM will show up, because surely he will, what with all the Morley references. Mulder asks how well he knew his neighbor, and the reply is that he knew the voice from all the yelling about his smoking. He insists again on “E. Pluribis, uh…” and lights up, since Mulder doesn’t mind. He’ll mind later. Just a little.

Mulder points out that he doesn’t seem to be surprised that his neighbor is dead, and the guy maintains his indolent attitude – “Just glad it wasn’t me.” Mulder learns his name is Darryl Weaver, and then asks if Darryl saw anything unusual last night. Mr. Weaver says there was nothing except the Korean fellow down the hall who dresses like Wonder Woman, “but that’s every night.” Okay. Mulder smiles.

Mr. Weaver wants to know if there’s any reward money. Mulder: “The FBI would appreciate your voluntary cooperation, sir. That’s the way it works.” Hee. In that case, Mr. Weaver doesn’t have anything else to say. Mulder gives him his card in case anything else comes up, then rejoins Skinner and Scully.

They don’t have anything to report. Scully says the only thing they have to go on is Mulder’s theory, and she knows an entomologist at USC. Mulder interrupts her and demands she talk to Dr. Bambi Berenbaum instead. Actually, he doesn’t, but that would be awesome. He just walks off after telling her to talk to the USC one, saying that he’s going to see about “something else that’s been bugging” him.

Next shot is Mulder knocking on Dr. Voss’s door. Mrs. Voss answers, kid in tow for some reason, but they both leave when the doctor comes to the door. They go outside to talk. Voss says he shouldn’t be talking to Mulder without Lawyer Phil being present. Mulder says he understands his reluctance, since Voss has a family, “a lot to lose.” Ah, so that was the point of the kid also being at the door.

Voss asks what Mulder wants, and Mulder informs him of the second death. Voss is sorry to hear that, but doesn’t understand the relevance. Mulder hands him the evidence bag with the beetle, explaining that they were all over the victim and he believes they killed him. Voss says that the tobacco beetle is a herbivore and that it eats tobacco. When Mulder presses the point, Voss starts to get antsy (see what I did there? I can do the lame puns, too!) and turns to leave. As Voss goes back inside Mulder asks why he’s hiding, and how many have to die before he “[does] the right thing?” Despite David Duchovny’s monotone line reading, Voss seems to have been struck by that before he closes the door. Seriously, though, I know DD is not exactly, well, Gillian Anderson-caliber in his acting, but that was as bad as I remember for anything recent. Mulder just sounded bored.

Anyway, he drives off, and Voss watches him go through his window. Voss’s phone rings. The person on the other line, with nary a “hello”, snaps, “What did he want?” Going back to the window, Voss sees a guy in a car, phone to his ear. “Are you spying on me?” Voss asks angrily, and we see that it’s David Brimley, head of Corporate Security. He denies this charge, and calls it “looking out” for Voss. Voss sighs and reports that there’s been another death, and he doesn’t know how it happened. But Voss has had enough and wants to “come forward”.

Because he’s a Sleazy Corporate guy, Brimley immediately responds menacingly, and demands to know where to find Darryl Weaver. You mean he’s involved in this?? Voss wants to know why, and Brimley says it was his mistake, so he’ll deal with it. At this, Voss pauses and then (rep)lies that he doesn’t know where Weaver is. Brimley just hangs up.

Lab of Not!Bambi Entomologists. A beetle is under the microscope, and Dr. Not!Bambi (aka Dr. Nance) is exclaiming that it doesn’t make sense. Skinner and Scully want to know the details. Dr. Nance says “it’s a lasioderma serricorne– a tobacco beetle” and do all scientists on TV have to do that, really? Anyway, but it’s got lots of physical differences that are small but noticeable. Scully nods, not seeming surprised, and asks about the possibility of genetic engineering, specifically transgenomics, or “alterations made on the genetic level.” Uh, okay, I guess I’m not a scientist, but I thought all genetic engineering involved alterations made on the genetic level. But whatever.

Dr. Nance agrees that tobacco companies have been known to be interested in that kind of research, to change the tobacco plant to suit their needs. Skinner sums this up, “A form of, what, super-tobacco?” Scully, nodding, posits that this could have created super bugs. And the real question is whether these could be dangerous to humans. Skinner looks… annoyed I guess. Or pensive.

We jump to Voss knocking on Weaver’s door. The man himself comes down the hall, cracking a joke that there’s no vacancy. Upon being asked what happened next door, with all the crime scene tape and stuff, Weaver says, “You tell me. You’re the one with the PhD. I’m just a big ol’ guinea pig.” They both enter the apartment, Voss shutting the door behind them. Then he proceeds to try to tell Weaver to get out of town, even giving him $4,000. Mr. Weaver seems unwilling, calling the money a good start. Voss gets urgent, saying Weaver really has to get out of here. But Weaver argues that he’s in a good position – he’s got “cash money” (who says that?), and all the “coffin nails” he could want. He puts one in his mouth as he speaks, and remarks casually that this particular type seems to be causing others health problems. Indeed, Voss stares at the unlit cigarette nervously, and jumps when Weaver opens his lighter.

After threatening to light it for a few seconds, Weaver closes the lighter and ushers Voss out the door. Voss protests, very nervously, that Morley will kill him if he threatens them. But Weaver seems unconcerned, and tells Voss it’s not his problem. Defeated, Voss leaves. We see Brimley watch him go, then look meaningfully at Mr. Weaver’s door.

Wonder of wonders, Scully is doing another autopsy! This time it’s on Mr. Weaver’s unfortunate neighbor. Skinner walks in and asks what he’s looking at, and the answer is AUGH! No, sorry, that’s just my response when I see organ tissue covered in larvae. I know they’re just mealworms in real life, totally harmless, but eeewwwww. Scully explains that it’s the neighbor’s left lung and bronchus. Skinner notes that this is a good explanation for where the beetles came from.

Mulder comes in, and tells them that he’s been trying to look at Morley’s files. He doesn’t seem interested in looking at the nasty bug-infested lung, but walks over to a chair and sits down to listen while Scully explains that it’s the larval stage of the tobacco beetle, somehow nesting in the neighbor’s lungs. To Skinner’s question, Scully answers that for Jim, the larva must have already pupated and left the body en masse. She’s distracted by Mulder’s coughing as they continue to discuss the details. The coughing doesn’t sound good. And indeed, when he pulls his hand away, it’s covered in blood. Dramatic music as they all stare at the blood in horror.

A bunch of surgeons are doing a procedure involving a tube down unconscious Mulder’s throat, in the next scene. We see that larva are being sucked out of his lungs and ending up in a collecting jar. I say again: eeeeww. Poor Mulder. Scully is one of the doctors, of course, and she looks on worriedly. Seeing Skinner outside the OR, she leaves to talk to him.

He wants to know how Mulder is. She explains that they’re using a deep-suction technique meant for asthmatics and cystic fibrosis patients, and they’re having some luck clearing his lungs. Skinner senses that she’s still troubled, though, and he’s right. Though they’re able to remove some larva, they don’t know how many eggs may still be in the lung tissue, ready to hatch. Say it with me: Eeeewww. All they can do is buy time.

Skinner asks how the eggs got into his lung tissue. Scully duhs that he must have inhaled them. Blah blah blah, the upshot is she thinks the genetically altered bug eggs got into some cigarettes, and were carried into Mulder’s lungs as smoke. Of course, since neither Mulder nor Jim smoke, they must have been around someone who does. Dun dun DUN!

We go to the Morley plant, where Skinner is marching purposefully into an area the location title tells us is the research division. He is flanked by other agents in their snazzy FBI coats. They confront Lawyer Phil, who is on the phone, and Skinner tells him not to bother calling security, because they got the search warrant. As Phil reads it, Skinner tells the other agents to get to work. Voss is there, and Skinner demands to know what is going on because one of his agents is dying of the same thing that killed Jim. Aww, I love when Skinner gets protective of our favorite duo.

Voss looks down dejectedly as Lawyer Phil repeats his lawyer spiel about that information being the property of Morley Tobacco. Skinner gets in his face and says that “this is about saving lives.” What a tired line. It works, but it’s used on every show involving any kind of law enforcement, or heck, every medical show. Voss speaks up, “That’s exactly what we were trying to do.” Though Lawyer Phil advises him not to, Voss wants to spill the story. Disgusted, Lawyer Phil leaves him to it.

They were trying to genetically engineer a safer cigarette, because people are never going to not smoke. Right, like a tobacco company employee really wants people to stop smoking. Anyway, the bug-altering was an accident, and all their tests showed no problems – even with human subjects. But after a few months, three out of four test subjects died. Probably with beetles spewing out of them, I’m guessing. Skinner surmises correctly that this was what Jim was going to testify about. He was the one monitoring the subjects, and that, as Voss says with a tear in his eye, is how he “got infected.” Skinner asks after the subject who didn’t die, and of course the next scene is…

Skinner breaking down Weaver’s door, gun drawn. Aww, yeah! I love Skinner. Weaver’s not there, but Brimley is, tied to a chair and gagged. Skinner calls that the room is clear, and Voss comes in, explaining that Brimley said he meant to get Weaver. Skinner removes the gag (bad idea!!!!) and says it looks like Weaver got to him first. He’s right, because all Brimley can manage is a wheeze before there is a NASTY squishing sound and beetles pour out of his mouth. Eeeeewwww!! Why I am recapping this, again?

Darn it, I forgot there was another scene before the hospital again. Sigh. Anyway, Darryl Weaver pulls into a gas station. His car has a Morley bumper sticker, I see. Oh no, it’s Brimley’s car, I get it. Okay. He stupidly lights up his last cigarette right next to GALLONS AND GALLONS of highly explosive fuel, but doesn’t blow up, sadly. That’d make this scene more interesting. So, yeah, he goes into the mini mart and asks the kid behind the counter for “Mickey’s Big Mouth”, which I assume is a kind of beer?

The Poor Doomed Kid says there’s no smoking, but changes his mind when Weaver slips him a hundred dollar bill. He goes into the back to get the beer, and asks solicitously if Weaver would like anything else, like perhaps some cigarettes. But Weaver says they don’t have his brand, and pays for the stuff. I wonder why he bothers to pay, since the kid is probably going to be dead or at least incapacitated & on his way there in a few minutes. At the sight of some cops examining Brimley’s car, though, Weaver takes off.

Okay, back to the hospital! Scully walks into Mulder’s room, where he’s lying there apparently asleep. She takes his hand. He makes a sound and opens his eyes, whispering hoarsely that it must be bad. I assume he means because she looks so worried. Anyway, Scully smiles at him, still holding his hand. Aww. She asks how he feels, and he whispers, “Like a dust-buster attacked me,” coughing weakly. Poor Mulder. She tells him they’re looking for someone who might be able to help him, a Morley test subject by the name of Darryl Weaver. Mulder nods in wry recognition, calling him “Mr. E Pluribus.” Hee. Scully smiles at his joke, as she always does when she’s worried about him, although in this case I don’t know why she’d get it since she never met Weaver.

Anyway, she explains that it seems Mr. Weaver has some sort of immunity, so if they find him, maybe they can figure it out. Mulder doesn’t respond, but that’s because he’s busy gasping and choking and being unable to breathe. See, like I told you, that’s scary. (Incidentally, there’s an outtake for this scene in which GA follows up right here by shouting, “Freak! I’m freaking out!” I don’t know why she does that, but it’s awesome because it’s GA, and now my sister and I say that to each other whenever we’re, well, freaking out.) Scully yells for the doctor as she watches his stats go wild. She holds Mulder’s head, trying to help him breathe, and tells the doctor he needs some O2 because his sat’s down to 72. They call Code Blue.

Scully looks on in fear and anguish as she sees a beetle crawl out of his mouth under the oxygen mask. Not. Cool. But I wish the shippier parts of this scene were longer.

Later, Scully is watching the nurse attend to Mulder, a pensive and worried expression on her face. The doctor comes up, addressing her as “Dr. Scully,” which is a nice touch, and shows her Mulder’s x-ray. It’s riddled with larva. She says in dismay that there’s more there than there were six hours ago. The doctor agrees that they’re beginning to block the flow of blood, and that they need to “go back in there”, but that this time, “we have to crack the chest.”

Scully looks even more worried, shaking her head and saying that he’s too weak for thoracic surgery. And besides, he’ll get plenty of that, without anesthesia, in just a season! Gah. Her voice cracks a little. Sympathetic, the doctor still insists that he doesn’t have any other ideas. Scully is ready to cry but holding herself back as she says she thinks they should just wait, for the time being. The doctor replies comfortingly that that “will definitely kill him, sooner or later.” He leaves, and a very worried Scully turns back to look at Mulder through the room window.

Meanwhile, Skinner knocks at Voss’s door. Mrs. Voss lets him in and at the sight of the badge asks what’s going on. Skinner says the FBI is offering their family protection (’cause that worked so well for Jim!), but he needs to speak with Dr. Voss. However, the doctor isn’t home, despite having said he was heading there. No one can reach him.

So Skinner heads back, apparently alone for some reason, this time, to the research facility. It’s dark, and he’s walking through rows of ‘tobacco plants’, gun out. Finally, he comes across Dr. Voss, crouched on the floor. He looks like someone has hit him. Before Skinner can speak, though, Voss warns him, “Behind you.” Sure enough, there’s Darryl Weaver. Skinner aims his gun at him. Weaver announces coolly that he was just leaving, since he got what he came for. Voss adds that this means the test cigarettes. Skinner orders him to freeze.

Nonchalant as ever, Weaver asks why, and asks if Skinner is really going to shoot him. Skinner declares he won’t let him infect more people, but Weaver knows Skinner needs him to save “your boy.” He takes a cigarette from behind his ear and puts it in his mouth. Skinner yells at him not to do it, and Weaver, emotional for the first time, replies that “they say” cigarettes kill people – any brand, but he thinks Dr. Voss is really onto something with these ones. Voss, of course, says that it’s over, but Weaver continues, still looking teary for some reason I can’t quite figure out, that the first car probably killed people before they perfected it, “’cause it’s all part of the scientific process, you know?” Then he ignites his lighter.

Skinner once more announces that he will shoot, and Weaver calls his bluff again and lights the cigarette. The Music of Tension builds. Weaver rambles about how he’s a scientific marvel and they should study him and maybe he’s the cure for cancer. Nope, sorry, we already know that it’s the alien chips that cure cancer. Are we supposed to feel for him here? Why is he all choked up? Anyway, he ends with, “You ain’t gonna shoot me. Toodles,” and turns to leave. Skinner chooses this moment to finally shoot him – in the shoulder, which is what I was yelling for him to do the whole time! He puts out the cigarette and glares at Weaver. Seems like Skinner and Voss already should be infected, but anyway.

We cut to paramedics wheeling Weaver in. Scully joins Skinner, who asks for an update on Mulder. “Not good,” is the response. Very businesslike, Scully calls for bloodwork on Weaver, then notices his yellow-stained fingers. She has a House-like epiphany and then tells the doctor she needs “30 milligrams of methyl pyrrolidinyl pyridine.” Et tu, Scully, with the jargon? The doctor asks, “Nicotine?” in surprise, and she replies that it could save Mulder’s life.

FBI Headquarters, Two Weeks Later, the location thingy tells us. Mulder is typing something at a computer in his office, and Scully comes in. She greets him and asks if it’s good to be back. His voice is still a little hoarse as he responds that it’s better than the alternative. She smiles slightly and says that he’ll be interested to know that Morley Tobacco has subpoenaed the case files on him, being very intrigued to know how he recovered. Mulder asks about Darryl Weaver. Scully says he’s well enough to be moved to the prison hospital. Mulder asks, expositionally, “It was the nicotine itself that was keeping him alive?”

Scully exposits that it was because he was such a heavy smoker, heavier than any of the other test subjects. She adds that nicotine is extremely poisonous, and that it’s “actually one of the oldest known insecticides.” I did not know that. “Good for killing tobacco beetles,” Mulder grins.

Scully continues her exposition that Mulder really wouldn’t need to be told by now, that once they loaded Mulder’s system with it, it acted as a kind of chemotherapy. She’d know all about that. But, being, y’know, poisonous, it also almost stopped his breathing. Mulder says that’s not all it did, and goes over to his desk. He pulls out a pack of Morley’s and explains he bought them on the way to work.

Scully, dumbfounded, says disbelievingly (heh), “You’re not going to start smoking!” Mulder smells the pack and tells her that the addiction is supposedly stronger than heroin. But under her stare, he throws the pack away. She nods and says Skinner is waiting for them in his office. He says he’ll be there in a minute, and she gives him a weird look as she heads out. The episode ends with him looking rather longingly at the cigarettes in the trashcan. As an anti-smoking PSA episode? I think that worked rather well, since it wasn’t preachy and was actually interesting. It also worked as a “Geez! I was already terrified enough of secondhand smoke, thank you very much” episode, of course. Heh.

Recap by Mack the Spoon


Recap by Bolissa

I’d like to start this with a huge Shout Out to As An Amoeba because she loves this episode and I hope I do it justice. Plus, she’s really funny and I loved her recap of Deep Throat.

Let’s see… do I have everything I need here? I’ve got my notebook, Diet Pepsi and some candy. OK, I’m good. Well, I really have no idea what “Goldberg Variation” means. I know that there’s a “Goldberg Variations” that was written by the famous German composer, Bach, and that it’s really complicated. But I don’t see how that ties in with this episode. Yet. Maybe as I recap this, I’ll be struck by some kind of “epiphery”[/Michael Scott].

Chicago, Illinois. The teaser starts off with some dudes sitting around playing a friendly game of poker. Well, maybe we should scratch “friendly” since everyone around the table looks like a stereotypical Mafia Henchman. Except one guy, who looks like your average Joe. X-Philes will recognize him as playing Quinton “Roach” Freely in that most beloved episode from Season 3, “The Walk.” Also, Sex and the City. Not Roach, the actor. So they’re all playing poker and the Head Henchman ends up getting four Kings. Pretty good. Roach ends up asking for five cards and the dealer gives him crap over it. Head Henchman lets it go since he assumes he’s got the top hand and all. So Roach, or “Mr. Weems” as they’re calling him, gets five new cards. Head Henchman puts four grand in the pot, the henchman to his left folds, Roach puts in four grand and raises four grand, the dealer practically has a stroke and folds. So that leaves just Head Henchman and Roach: mano e mano. Then the Head Henchman would like to “make this interesting” and raises fifteen grand. Roach advises him not to do it because he doesn’t need any more money. “You’re going to need Depends after you see this hand,” Head Henchman quips. To which I say, “Eyeroll.”

Roach adds his fifteen grand to the pile. “Now we show each other our cards?” I take it Roach is not much of a player. We now get a shot of a huge henchman sitting in the corner and hey! It’s Tony Longo. He should be familiar to a lot of folks out there. He practically formed a niche out of playing big, tough airheads and/or softies. He’s been in lots of movies and TV shows. Tony walks over and stands next to Roach. Head Henchman then lays down his four of a kind. Roach lays an 8 – Queen, all clubs. Wow, that’s a really good hand. One could say that it was lucky. Roach is all, “Good game guys. I’m going home now. See you around.” The others are quite pissed that he’s taken their money, apparently $100,000 of it. According to Head Henchman, they expect him to stick around and give them a chance to win it back. I never knew that was a rule to poker, but like I said earlier, I wasn’t expecting this to be a friendly game.

Anyways, Roach is sorry he can’t stay but $100,000 is all he needs. So, he’d like to know where he can cash out. Head Henchman looks at Tony. Next thing you know, Roach is now in an elevator with two other henchmen. One of them pushes the button for the 29th floor. Roach is all, “Dude. Shouldn’t we be going down?” They all end up on the roof, Roach drops his grocery bag full of chips and the henchmen drag Roach to the ledge. “Guys, this is not what I meant by “cashing out”!” Um, Roach? What did you expect would possibly happen when playing cards with such nefarious characters? Apparently, this is what happens: the henchmen throw Roach off the roof, a la Billy Miles. The camera follows Roach as he falls through an open grate in the sidewalk. A couple minutes later, he climbs out and limps away, holding his arm over his right eye. Wow, he’s lucky!


Chicago, Illinois. 9:17am. Scully is getting out of a taxi. She’s looking fabulous! She’s got this really nice and expensive-looking dark pants suit on. OK, sidebar: So it’s 9:17 in the morning, right? So how early must she have gotten up to get to the Dulles airport, fly to Chicago, go through security in the Chicago airport (which is absolutely the worst, IMO), get a cab downtown by 9:17am and then look as phenomenal as she does? Special Agent Fox “Sorry Son of a Bitch” Mulder must’ve called her at 3 am! That man better take notice!

Anyhoo, Scully’s walking on the sidewalk and she takes out her cell phone, from God knows where. Her bra, I’m guessing. So she’s calling Mulder and is basically like, “Well I’m here. So where the heck are you?” A grate on the sidewalk opens behind Scully and up comes Mulder, peeking out at her. He’s wearing this dark brown suit and a blue shirt. Not the Cornflower Blue Shirt. A dark blue shirt. He looks as though he’s trying to dress like a mobster. Mulder says that he’s “around.” Scully thinks it’s way too early in the morning to be playing his retarded games. Mulder hangs up the phone. “Hey, nice outfit,” he says. Thank you for that recognition that all Scully goes through to look as fabulous as she does! Also, clue #1 that The Sex Is Happening. Scully turns around and grins at Mulder. As she walks towards him, he grins moonily and waggles his eyebrows at her. They are so doing it! It’s written all over them. Throughout this whole episode they’ve got the distinct air of two people who are well-laid.

So, Scully wants to know what’s down in the basement. Mulder wants her to check out what’s “up there.” He points to the top of a skyscraper and tells her that the top two floors are leased to someone named Jimmy Cutrona. Sidebar: IMDB lists Head Henchman from the teaser as being named Joe Cutrona. So, who the hell is Jimmy? Is Jimmy a nickname for Joe? And if so, that’s fucking stupid because his nickname should be Joey. Moving on. Scully recognizes the name as being associated with organized crime and the FBI’s been trying to build a case against him for years. Mulder tells her that two agents were parked outside the building last night and witnessed Roach’s Free For All and subsequent survival. Mulder and Scully get onto the platform and head on down to the basement.

Basement That Is Neither Lush Nor Containing An Office. Mulder and Scully break out their flashlights and start checking the place out. Scully asks who it was that was thrown off the roof. Mulder doesn’t know because the agents never caught up with Roach. Scully wants to know if the basement was searched. Mulder says it wasn’t because falling off a roof isn’t a crime. Scully asks what Mulder’s theory is. “What if this man had some kind of special capability? Some kind of genetic predisposition towards rapid healing, or tissue regeneration?” Scully’s wondering why the heck they’re there. So am I. How is this an obvious X-File, exactly? Maybe he just wanted an excuse to get Scully to Chicago? I don’t know. Scully asks him if he’s looking for someone “invulnerable”, like “Wile E. Coyote.” Mulder starts to agree but then stops himself. Heh.

Scully tells him about a British soldier whose parachute malfunctioned, he fell 4,500 feet and only broke a rib. Mulder wants to know what Scully’s point is. Hmm. This might be a clue that Mulder is really going brain dead. Maybe that Mysterious Stupid Fake Ass Brain Disease wasn’t so stupid and fake after all. “My point is that if there’s a wind gust, or a sudden updraft and, plus, if he landed in exactly the right way, I mean, I don’t know. Maybe he just got lucky.” Mulder’s rolling his eyes and sarcastically comments on Scully’s “scientific explanation” of luck while Scully flashes her light in Mulder’s face. I’d like to take this moment to say that Scully was RIGHT! Oops. Well, I hinted at it in the teaser, people. It’s not like you’ve been deprived of some big reveal later. This isn’t even a real X-File. But I’m willing to make an attempt to overlook it simply because Mulder and Scully look fucking hot in this episode. Scully notices a laundry cart with Grayson’s Linen Service printed on the side. All its wheels are broken. She brings it to Mulder’s attention and hypothesizes that if the laundry cart had been on the platform, it could’ve saved Roach’s life. It would explain the broken wheels. But they have to find him to ask him about it. Mulder’s looking through the laundry cart. Why? I have no idea. Maybe he thinks Roach dropped some ID or something.

Mulder does not find ID, but instead finds a prosthetic eye. “Looks like maybe we’ve found part of him already,” Mulder says.

Melrose Park, Illinois. Mulder and Scully have arrived at an apartment building. Let’s just say that it ain’t The Plaza. Throughout this little scene, they both are looking really relaxed. Really laid back. Like, well-laid back. I’m just sayin’. Mulder buzzes the intercom on apartment 313. Scully tells Mulder that he’s “taking a flier” and that there’s probably hundreds of people in the Chicago area with prosthetic eyes. Mulder tells her that this guy they’re seeing, Henry Weems, was the only one who made an appointment to get a new one this morning. Mulder buzzes again. “Maybe he can’t see his way to the door,” Scully cracks. HA! She made a funny! Mulder gives her a big smile. Aw. A lady comes out of the building and Mulder catches the door. “Come on, Scully. I’m feeling lucky.” I bet he is, the world mutters.

As Mulder and Scully get off the elevator, a woman comes out of her apartment and asks for help. She tells them it’s an emergency. I wonder if it’s an alien? Or a liver-eating mutant? A mysterious shaman? Something that’s, like, an actual X-File? Nope. As she leads our heroes into her apartment, and on into her kitchen, we see water from the sink spouting all over the place. Scully tells the lady that they’re not plumbers. The lady tells them that she just wants the water shut off so she can go to work. She hands a wrench to Mulder. “Look, you’ve got to be stronger than me, right? Valve’s under the sink.” Oh, this has gotta be good. I mean, Mulder just screams Handy Man.

Mulder holds the wrench and looks as though he’d like to hit the lady with it. Heh. “Your building super — Henry Weems — he isn’t around?” Then the lady sarcastically calls him “Mr. Dependable” and says that it would be better to wait for Hoffa to show up. Then Mulder begrudgingly gets on the floor and under the sink. This isn’t going to go well. I think we’ve all seen many times that Mulder and water just don’t mix. Seriously. If he’s not drinking drug-enhanced water that makes him attack Skinner and yell at Scully, elderly ghosts are trying to drown him in a shower or his bed is repeatedly leaking all over his bedroom floor . I think the lady should’ve given Scully the wrench.

As Mulder attempts to shut the valve off, a young boy about the age of 12 or 13 comes in and tells him that he’s turning it the wrong way. Hey! It’s Shia LaBeouf. I like him. I used to watch his show on The Disney Channel, which I think started sometime in 2000. But maybe most of you will be more familiar with him because of Disturbia and Transformers. I think he’s a really talented actor. If any of you haven’t seen A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, you should check it out. Shia’s performance is amazing. Anyways, Shia’s mom tells him to go back to bed. Why isn’t he in school? Don’t tell me Mulder dragged Scully out to Chicago to investigate a non-X-File on a weekend! Jesus Christ. Scully would like to have a life, Mulder! Or at least take a bath. I’m warning you. You better get your asshattery under control before some old dude disguising himself as Scully’s ex-boyfriend ends up in the hospital and makes Scully reconsider her life choices!

Anyhoo, Shia reluctantly goes back to bed. Shia’s Mom tells Mulder that he indeed is turning it wrong and he needs to turn it clockwise. “I know that,” he snits. Scully looks down and you just know she’s trying so hard not to laugh. A bolt or something pops off under the sink and water is now gushing out at Mulder’s face. Scully covers her mouth and probably bites the inside of her cheek, as she tries really hard to contain herself and almost breaks. I would’ve been howling, and probably pissed my pants from laughing too hard. But Scully and I are very different people. Mulder stands up and he’s not a happy camper. He’s soaked. Suddenly the floor creaks and Mulder goes crashing through to the apartment below. Mulder really does have some serious problems with water, doesn’t he? Scully runs over to the hole in the floor and takes out her trusty flashlight. She asks Mulder if he’s OK. He’s sitting on the floor of the apartment below, water and debris everywhere. “Yeah, it’s all right. My ass broke the fall. Guess who I found. Henry Weems, I presume?” We now see Henry, or Roach as he was once called, look up at Scully and he’s got a black patch over his right eye.

One-Eyed Henry’s Apartment. Mulder, who’s drying himself with a towel, and Scully follow Henry inside as he tells them to “leave the plumbing to a professional.” Mulder hands Henry the prosthetic eye and calls him “Cinderella.” Scully asks Henry why he was hiding in a vacant apartment. Henry tells them that he was avoiding “you people” and that he’s not going to testify against Cutrona. Scully then reminds Henry that he was thrown off a roof last night. Henry is non-committal and refuses to be sent off to “Muncie, Indiana, to milk cows.” Mulder couldn’t really care less about the Mob but he wants to know how Henry survived a “300-foot fall essentially un… harmed.” As Henry pops his eye back in, Mulder makes a mildly grossed-out face. Henry muses that maybe the wind was just right, that he landed on a bunch of towels and it’s not a big deal. “You got lucky?” Scully asks. Once again proving that we are different people, she doesn’t elbow Mulder in the ribs. Henry guesses that he got lucky except he’s got a bruise on his arm.

Mulder offers some fake sympathy for Henry’s bruise and then Henry tells them that he didn’t get to keep his poker winnings. Henry then tells them that Cutrona thought he was cheating, which he wasn’t but “[they] didn’t hear it from [him].” Mulder asks him if he won a lot of money. He says “a little.” Mulder then notices this machine type thing. I don’t know what they’re called but if you’ve seen the episode then you know what I’m talking about. Henry made it and he says it’s a hobby. Mulder then pushes a lever and a little ball is released down a spiral slide-type thing and then drops, which rolls a spool of duct tape which flips something, releasing a lot of little balls which open a trapdoor that causes a little wooden man to be hanged. Mulder and Scully are both amused by this and Mulder asks Henry what it means. Henry’s like, “Nothing. It’s just a toy, moron.”

Since Mulder has to be Mr. McSmartyPants about everything he says that it’s “cause and effect.” Henry is all, “Will you just leave me alone?” and Scully asks him if he’d reconsider testifying against Cutrona. Why is this Scully’s job? Is she suddenly working the Cutrona case? Henry says “No way, Jose.” That’s one out-dated expression. Does Henry like, get out much or even watch TV? Scully tells him that it would be in his best interest to testify and because Cutrona’s already tried to kill him and he’ll probably try again. See, I don’t get that. Why would Cutrona want to kill Henry so badly? He didn’t keep any poker winnings and it’s not like he had a history of dealing with Cutrona & Co. Why would Henry be such a priority to Cutrona? Because Henry didn’t really die and Cutrona is anal-retentive? Maybe. Why am I worrying about this? It isn’t even an X-File. I should just go with the flow, here. So Mulder says that they can protect Henry. Henry is all, “You can’t even fix a leaky faucet and I can leap tall buildings with a single bound. Or, you know, fall off them without getting hurt.”

Apartment Building Hallway. Mulder and Scully are at the elevator and Scully pushes the Down button. She turns to Mulder and totally eye-sexes him. “So, here’s the plan, as I see it: we inform the Chicago field office about Weems, leaving it to them to secure his testimony, you change your clothes…” Mulder waggles his eyebrows again and Scully smiles. See! They are totally DOING IT. The way she says that is so suggestive. “…we fly back to D.C. by sunset and all is right with the world.” You just know that seeing Mulder soaking wet got Scully worked up. She wants to hurry and get home for some hot monkey love! But seeing as how the X-Files will always be The Only Thing That Matters To Him he’s all whiny about Scully dropping the case “just as it’s getting interesting.” Mulder? This is not interesting. Evil alien worms living in the arctic is interesting. Babies all born with a tail is interesting. Hell, a Mexican Goatsucker is kind of interesting. Henry? Not that interesting. Scully’s not going for it either. “Come on, Mulder, this guy just got lucky. There’s no X-File here.” Yes, thank you! Somebody’s using their brain. And it’s not the person whose brain is apparently dying. “Maybe his luck is the X-File.” Seriously, Mulder? You’re grasping at straws here.

The elevator’s taking too long and they decide to take the stairs. Right after they depart, a Mafia Hitman walks off the elevator and heads for Henry’s apartment. As Mulder and Scully walk out the front door, Mulder realizes he doesn’t have his keys and he probably lost them when he fell. He buzzes Henry’s apartment as the hitman kicks in Henry’s door. The buzzer startles him, he shoots the lamp, it falls and knocks over the ironing board, Henry jumps over the couch and knocks it over, the hitman trips and flips through the air. Mulder and Scully come running in to see the hitman hanging by his shoelace from the ceiling fan. He’s dead and Henry’s gone. Wow, Henry sure is lucky!

Lucky Henry’s Lucky Apartment. The place is crawling with cops. A photographer is taking some pictures of the hitman’s body. “So, you get many of these?” Mulder snarks. The photographer wisely says nothing and moves away from the bad dresser and lame-joke cracker. Scully then tells Mulder that the building’s been searched and Henry’s nowhere to be found. Mulder tells her that the dead guy’s name is Angelo Bellini a.k.a. “Angie the Animal.” Scully asks if Henry killed The Animal in self-defense. Mulder’s like, “This wasn’t a murder. He probably died of a heart attack.” Scully wants to know what happened. Mulder tells her “cause and effect.” Scully wants Mulder to get to the point because she would like to go home sometime in the next twenty years. Then Mulder acts out the attack I just described up there, all James Bond-y and “whaa gaa!” about it. Scully actually laughs. Then The Animal’s shoelace breaks and he falls on the floor. This does little to break Mulder’s train of thought. “QED: seemingly unrelated and unconnected events and occurrences that appear unrelated and random beforehand but which seem to chain-react in Henry Weems’ favor.” Cause: Jeffrey Bell writing this episode. Effect: Boredom. So Mulder basically says that Henry has somehow tapped into “dumb luck”[/Scully]. Well they’ve certainly got the “dumb” part right. Anyways, Shia has come to check out what’s what and Scully introduces herself to him. She then takes him back to his apartment.

Shia LaBeouf’s Bedroom of Bad Livers. Shia’s lying in bed and Scully sits next to him. There’s sports stuff all over the walls. Scully asks him what his favorite sport is. Shia tells her that it used to be basketball, but The Bulls suck so he’s thinking baseball. Oh, come on. The Bulls aren’t that bad. Wait. This was back in 1999/2000. So… yeah they sucked. “I like baseball, too,” Scully says. “I learned how to play not that long ago. And those lessons have sure come in handy recently. There’s a whole lot of hips and hands action going on, as well as plenty of ash and I’m constantly in the middle of a Mulder sandwich.” Shia looks confused. OK, not really.

Scully then notices one of Henry’s toy machines on the floor. She pulls or pushes something and it basically ends with a tiny basketball shooting into a net. Scully laughs and she thinks that’s “pretty neat.” Shia tells Scully that Henry made it for him when he was in the hospital and that Henry believes “everything happens for a reason… only just sometimes it’s hard for us to see.” Scully asks him if he went to the hospital because of his liver. How does she know that? Just by looking at him? He does look a little jaundiced. Oh, so he’s sickly. That’s why he’s not in school. So maybe this isn’t the weekend. Sorry, Mulder. But you should still heed my warning. HEEEEED IIIIIIIT![/As An Amoeba]

So Shia tells Scully that his liver doesn’t work and then he asks if the police are looking for Henry. Scully tells him that they just want to talk to Henry and she asks Shia if he has any idea where Henry might be. Shia says that since he got sick, Henry hardly ever goes out. That scene was nice. Scully’s good with kids. Just not her own, unfortunately. Scully walks back over to Mulder and he asks her if Shia knew anything about Henry. Scully says no. As they walk down the hallway, Scully would like to chat about Mulder’s theory. No, you don’t Scully! Don’t get sucked in! Be strong. Demand that this “X-File” be dropped and then go home! She ignores me. Why does she always ignore me? “Why would the world’s most supernaturally lucky man work as a building superintendent? I mean, why doesn’t he just run down to the Illinois state lottery, enter, and, you know, he’d win automatically?” Well, at least she’s pointing out how dumb this all is and how it makes no sense. Henry is apparently listening to this entire conversation through a vent in the wall by the floor.

Shia LaBeouf’s Bedroom of Creepy Building Super Visits. Shia wakes up in bed to find Henry sitting beside him. OK, that’s weird. Why do these two have a relationship? Henry’s the building super. Not Shia’s dad. Or is he? I know I wouldn’t want a building super hanging out in my apartment, watching my kid sleep. That is, if I had kids. But still, it’s creepy. Henry asks Shia how he’s feeling and then Shia asks Henry why the police are looking for him. Henry tries brushing it off on supposed stolen cable and then asks Shia if he’ll be OK by himself. Shia wants to know where Henry’s going and Henry says that it’s “something I got to do I’ve been putting off.” Yeah, putting off since 10 minutes ago.

Mulder and Scully’s Sensible Rental Car. They discuss Henry. Such an interesting subject. Except, it’s totally the opposite of that. So I’m just gonna skim over this conversation. Henry’s got no record of any kind, he doesn’t file taxes, have a bank account, insurance, driver’s license or even a Blockbuster card. “He’s retired from the world.”[/Scully] Then Mulder offers his information about how on Christmas 1989 Henry was in a plane crash that killed everyone on board except him. Except he did lose his eye. His seat number was 13 on flight 7. I have never been on a one-digit flight. Do they even exist? Mulder hypothesizes that this crash changed Henry’s life and he emerged the Luckiest Man in the World. He severed all ties and went into hiding. Scully counterpoints that there are lots of reasons why Henry would sever his ties, including survivor’s guilt. Scully: “I mean, what doesn’t track for me is why Henry Weems would drop off the map just because he suddenly became incredibly lucky.” Mulder: “What doesn’t track for me is why he’s resurfaced after all these years. Why he’s suddenly decided to use his luck in this way.” What doesn’t track for me is why this is an X-File and why they care so much.

GhettoMart. Henry asks the convenience store clerk how much the lotto is up to. It’s $28 million. Henry doesn’t need that much. How much does Henry need? About $100,000. The clerk gives Henry the appropriate ticket. Behind them, also playing the lotto, is the fakest looking punk I’ve ever seen. Seriously. Even when James Franco tried to go all punk in that episode of Freaks and Geeks where it was purposely written for him to be a poseur, he looked more original than this dude here. Henry and Poseur scratch off their tickets. Poseur loses. Henry wins $100,000. He’s excited until the clerk tells him that he’ll get the money in monthly installments for the next 12 months. That’s too long for Henry. He throws it in the trash. Poseur takes it out, against Henry’s advice. Apparently, something bad will happen. The clerk tries to claim the ticket since it was in his garbage after all, but he doesn’t really put up much of a fight. Poseur is all “in your face!” He runs out into the middle of the street, holding up his ticket in sweet, sweet victory. “100 grand, fools. 100 grand!” Then a large truck plows him over. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. That was awesome.

Later at the GhettoMart, Scully is asking the clerk some questions about what happened as Poseur is loaded onto an ambulance. Oh, man. He didn’t die? Well, maybe he will later. Especially if there’s a chance he’s being sent to County. I hear there’s an abnormally high mortality rate at that hospital. So, the clerk identifies Henry as being the one who originally won the ticket and when he checked to make sure Poseur was alive, he fled. Then Poseur gave his lottery ticket to the clerk, out of the kindness of his posing heart. Scully’s all, Eyeroll. Scully tells Mulder that for such a lucky guy, Henry seems to cause a lot of not so lucky situations for other people. Mulder says that maybe you can’t have one without the other. Like love and marriage. Or a horse and carriage. Or this episode and boredom.

Scully asks Mulder why Henry bought a lotto ticket. Uh, to win some money? Not that hard to figure out, Special Agent Dana “I’m A Medical Doctor” Scully. “Maybe it’s like you said. Why wouldn’t the luckiest man in the world enter the lottery? Actually, that’s exactly what you said about an hour after you said it.” Dun dun DUN!! Not really. Scully checks out Henry’s apartment, but he’s not there. Mulder is fascinated by a vent in the wall. Scully asks him if he thinks Henry hid in there. The vent is the size of a medium sized book. Unless Henry is not only lucky, but a distant relative of Eugene Tooms, I don’t see how he could be hiding in that vent. Mulder and Scully go downstairs to see where the vent leads to. After they leave, another Mafia Henchman arrives and he also finds Henry’s apartment empty. He then notices the vent, and goes to check himself.

Henry’s Lucky Secret Room That, In The Mob’s Case, Is Not So Lucky. As Mulder approaches the room, Henry abandons his little wooden man carving, puts the carving tool in his pocket and hides. Mulder walks in, sees a vent that’s actually big enough for a man to hide in and pulls Henry out. Mulder is pretty annoyed and he and Henry are going to have a talk! Henry’s gonna sit and not move! Mulder’s such a tough guy! Mulder then gets on the phone to call his girlfriend when they’re interrupted by the Mafia Henchman. The henchman is startled to see Mulder and vice versa. The henchman shoots Henry, but it bounces off his chest, hits Mulder in the arm, bounces off the walls and then kills the henchman. As he falls over, Scully appears. Henry shows them his dented carving tool that was in his pocket.

St. Patricia’s Hospital. Mulder’s sitting in his white undershirt getting his arm bandaged up. He’s looking mighty hot here, people. Mighty hot. Henry asks him if it hurts and Mulder says that it stings a little, “but I’ll live.” Except for that part where your brain is dying, which you’re apparently aware of and keeping a secret from Scully, although this doesn’t coincide at all with your behavior in Season 7 and… you know what? Forget it. Moving on.

Scully appears with a deck of cards she probably bought down at the gift shop and hands it to Mulder. Mulder and Henry then play Top Card, or whatever it’s called, and Henry beats Mulder each time. Scully wants to know what that proves. I think her patience is wearing out. Well take a seat next to me, sister. Mulder says that it proves that Henry is incapable of losing. “How does it feel to be the luckiest man in the universe, Henry?” Henry says that it blows. Mulder spins his You Can’t Have One Without The Other theory and Henry says that when something goes right for him, “everybody else has to take it in the keister.” Mulder comments on Henry keeping a low profile until recently, when he played poker with the Mob because he doesn’t care if they take it in keister. Henry says that those “goombah jerks” have got “issues.” Henry knows he shouldn’t have played the lottery but he needs the money.

Scully guesses that the money is for Shia. Apparently, Shia has hepatitis and he needs a new liver, but his blood is B- and he’s also CNV-, and finding a donor is impossible. Impossible, I tell you! Scully looks at her feet, realizing that Shia is basically a goner. Henry needs the $100,000 to get Shia into an experimental treatment program in England. Henry asks if he’ll be arrested. He won’t but he’ll still need protection from Cutrona’s henchmen. Henry says that the Mob needs protection from him and then takes a melodramatic exit, but not before flipping another card. It’s a King of hearts. Scully then scolds Mulder for being “utterly irresponsible” blah “feeding the delusions” blee “supposed to be talking him into protective custody” blah blah blee blee. How is getting Henry to testify their job? Are they working Cutrona’s case now? Isn’t it about time they started chasing Donnie Pfaster? Why in the world are they still in Chicago? Sigh. Moving on.

Mulder doesn’t believe that Henry’s life is in danger. Henry’s leaving the hospital as Joe “Jimmy, Not Joey” Cutrona and Tony Longo get out of a car in front. Tony follows Henry down the street. Scully tells Mulder that he’s putting too much faith in luck and he’s risking Henry’s life on it. She says that lucky streaks come to an end, flips a card to reveal an Ace of Hearts and our Immortal Blessed Virgin Saint Scully has beaten The Luckiest Man in the World. Mulder takes this as a sign that Henry needs protection and runs out of the hospital. Tony is following Henry down the sidewalk, carrying a blade and Mulder calls out to Henry. Henry forgets to look both ways and runs out into the street in front of a truck. Tony walks away and Mulder feels Henry for a pulse as Scully approaches. Henry’s fake eye is lying on the pavement.

Shia LaBeouf’s Bedroom of Hepatitis Hopefully Contracted By An Accidental Bad Blood Transfusion, And Not By Cocaine, Unprotected Sex or Poopy Food. Shia’s sitting on the floor playing with that toy contraption Henry made. Shia’s Mom comes in and gets him back into bed. Shia comments that Henry said that playing with that toy machine was educational. Shia’s Mom doesn’t want him to believe everything Henry says, especially since the police are looking for him and all. As Shia’s Mom gets a good look at him, we see that his skin is more jaundiced than before, his lips are gray and his eyes look as though someone pissed in them (Ed Note: Eww! – Starbucket).

St. Patricia’s Hospital. Henry’s alive and lying in a bed. Scully tells Mulder that Henry has a bruised rib and a black eye. Which I’m guessing is the real one. “And don’t tell me he just got lucky,” Scully says. Mulder says that maybe Henry’s lucky streak has just about run out. Scully says that getting hit by that truck knocked some sense into him and he’s agreed to testify against Cutrona. Case solved! Now let’s get the fuck out of here.

Cutrona’s Tea Party. Cutrona puts down his teacup as Tony tells him that their guy from the Justice Department called to tell them about a warrant being issued. Cutrona is less than thrilled to learn that the “mook Weems” is still alive. Tony thought he was dead. “Maybe he has some special ability. He’s impervious or something.” As if Tony would even know the word impervious. Don’t point vocabulary at people if you haven’t been properly trained. Tony says that they can’t get to Henry because the cops are all over the hospital. “Who says we have to get to him?” Cutrona asks cryptically. Whatever. Henry is their big threat? The skinny dude with one eye they threw off a roof? This is the worst Mob in the history of the Mafia. The fellas on the East Coast would be ashamed.

Home of Shia & Shia’s Mom. The paramedics are there to pick up Shia. He wants to bring Henry’s toy to the hospital. The paramedics wheel Shia out of the apartment as his mom goes into his bedroom to get the toy and a bag of clothes. Tony enters the apartment. Sidebar: How does the Mob even know about Shia and his mom? The Mob knows that Henry, the building super, has a somewhat unrealistic and kind of creepy relationship with the son of this single mother living in the building? What the hell?

Hospital. Shia’s lying in his bed and Henry is there. As Mulder and Scully walk in, Henry asks them if they’ve found Shia’s Mom. They haven’t. “You know Cutrona took her. He did it to keep me from testifying.” Whatever. Mulder tells Henry that Cutrona’s their suspect but there’s no sign of kidnapping. “He’s too smart for that,” Henry whines. I beg to differ. His name is Joe and he has all his friends call him Jimmy. Stupid. Like that douchenozzle on The Hills who’s name is Justin but his friends call him Bobby. He tries to sound all profound by saying crap like “truth and time tells all” but really he’s just an asshat who happens to look like a poor man’s Eddie Vedder. And he’s dating Audrina, even though he won’t actually come right out and say that she’s his girlfriend, even when another dude is totally trying to get in there and asking him what his situation with Audrina is. And Audrina is a stupidity eclipse for dating this guy over and over again, even though he constantly does dicky things, like ditching her and belching in her face repeatedly. So Lauren and Lo, who totally rocks by the way, started calling him Justin-Bobby just to fuck with him. Anyways, Mulder tells Henry that they can’t get a search warrant even though 5 minutes ago Tony was telling Joe-Jimmy that a federal warrant was being issued. Man, I need to take a break…

OK, I’m back. So Henry doesn’t think the FBI moves fast enough and he wants someone to stay with Shia so he can go and find Shia’s Mom himself. Mulder thinks that maybe Henry’s luck hasn’t changed and that this is all happening for a reason. Oh, brother. See, that may be good for Henry. But for me? Knowing there’s A Reason For All This only irritates me. Because “all this”? Is stupid and dull. Henry gets pissy and asks Mulder if he meant that Shia’s Mom getting kidnapped is a good thing. Mulder then blah blahs about maybe the luck ain’t really bad and that they “can’t see the forest through the trees.” Or maybe he said “for the trees.” Like I’ve said before, you can’t trust the Closed Captioning on these DVDs. I was watching the Anasazi/The Blessing Way/Paper Clip arc today and the cc spelled Hosteen’s name “Holstein.” Like the cow (Ed Note: Maybe he’s a Jewish Indian – Starbucket). And it really pissed me off. Because in one recap I was calling him Holsteen and in the other I was calling him Hosteen and when I try to cross-reference by checking the episode he originated from, it’s apparently neither! God, this show! I swear, U2′s “With or Without You” should be the theme of our relationship. Breathe. Just breathe. OK, moving on.

I’ve totally lost my place here. Where were we? Oh, that’s right. Mulder was talking about trees. So after he says that stuff about luck and trees, Henry rips the sleeve of his jacket and stomps off like a 2 yr old. Mulder asks Scully how Shia’s doing and she says not good. If he doesn’t find a donor in the next couple hours, he’s gonna bite the dust. Mulder then makes a giant leap by asking Scully if it’s possible that everyone involved in Henry’s life became an integral part of his luck, including them. “Mulder, you’re speaking as if we’re all trapped in one of those contraptions that he built.” Mulder then says he’s gonna find Shia’s Mom in the phone book. Mulder opens to a random page, waves his hand in the air and then puts his finger down on “MUHAYMIN DAYCARE – Nurturing the Children of Islam Since 1983.” Mulder calls that a “dry run” and tries again. He opens to another random page and puts his finger down on the ad for “Grayson’s Linen Service.” There’s a shocker. I’m surprised an anvil didn’t drop on my head.

Home of Joe-Jimmy. Tony escorts Henry off the elevator and brings him to Cutrona. Henry tells him that he’s got no hard feelings about being thrown off a roof because apparently, his bruise has healed up. He tells Cutrona that he’s not going to testify and he wants him to let Shia’s Mom go. Cutrona claims not to know Shia’s Mom. And then he and Tony laugh like idiots. Henry tells them not to jerk him around. Cutrona feels as though he’s the one who’s being jerked around because Henry cheated at poker and killed a couple henchmen. Henry apologizes and asks them to let Shia’s Mom go because Shia’s really sick. Henry doesn’t care what they do him. “You’ll care. By the time I’m finished, you’ll definitely care.” Whatever. Cutrona is not even scary. At all.

Grayson’s Linen Service: For All Your Murderous Needs. So Cutrona and Tony have got Henry down in the basement and Shia’s Mom is locked up in this fence cage-thing. As Tony shoves Henry past this cart, an iron falls into a bucket of water. Tony then locks Henry’s hands onto a hook hanging from the ceiling. Cutrona pushes the Up button on a Remote Control Of Evil but it ain’t working. Tony pulls a switch and then Henry starts going up. Shia’s Mom starts yelling for them not to hurt Henry and Cutrona tells Tony to shut her up. As Tony heads towards Shia’s Mom, the iron lying in the water shorts out causing a shock to go up the cord, into the light and into the cage just as Tony reaches it. He’s electrocuted. The hook Henry was hanging from swings away, causing the large hook to start sliding down the cable and hit Cutrona in the face.

Hospital. Apparently, Grayson’s electricity malfunction in the basement makes the whole city flicker. Scully’s sitting in Shia’s room and looks up at the lights flickering. She then sees that some of the lights in the name of the children’s center go out, leaving only a few lit that actually spell [Shia]. Scully gives a sort of half-smile, chuckle. Some kind of reaction. Or maybe she just stares blankly at it because she’s bored. I can’t remember.

Basement of Poorly Organized Crime. Henry gets off the hook and helps Shia’s Mom out of the cage. Mulder and the cops show up, finally.

Mulder sees Cutrona’s dead body in a laundry cart with his arm sticking out, showing a medical ID bracelet stating that he’s got B- blood. Ahhhhhhh! An anvil just dropped from the ceiling and nearly killed me!

Hospital. Shia’s liver transplant went through smoothly, and apparently Mulder and Scully are still in Chicago. Why? They seriously waited around for Shia’s surgery? Whatever. Mulder asks Scully about the odds for Cutrona being a perfect match. “A thousand-to-one? A million-to-one?” Scully thinks for a minute. “Well, those sound like my chances for getting pregnant. Maybe everything does happen for a reason… whether we see it or not. Like maybe you and me having an AlienMiracleBaby.” Henry joins Shia and his mom in the hospital room and they play with Shia’s basketball contraption. Mulder and Scully smile, as they look in on the picture of one happy family. Or, a building super and a couple residents.

I bet you all forgot about that “epiphery” I wanted to have! I figured the “Goldberg Variation” thing out. Henry’s contraptions are Rube Goldberg devices. Well, that wasn’t so much an “epiphery” as it was me reading the back story of the episode in my Offical Guide to The X-Files Volume 6.

Recap by Bolissa