Over the course of nine seasons and 2 feature films, The X-Files transcended its cult status, becoming a phenomenon and cultural touchstone. With a new series on the way, special agent Rick Shingler has accepted the assignment to rewatch the entire series from the beginning and provide detailed reports about his findings. Come with us now, as we explore the mysteries of the complete X-Files. S3E1: “The Blessing Way” (w: Chris Carter/d: R.W. Goodwin) / S3E2: “Paper Clip” (w: Chris Carter/d: Rob Bowman) The summer of ’95 was a long one. Some of the top movies that summer were lackluster threequels (Batman Forever, Die Hard With A Vengeance, blah, blah, blah), Disney underwhelmed us all with Pocahontas, and lest we forget, that was the summer of (shudder) Waterworld. If one were to truly search for a silver lining, at least Clueless and the first Mortal Kombat flick was in theaters. Oh, Kitana, how I did adore thee. The music scene wasn’t really much better. If I ever have to hear Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose” or have TLC advise me against chasing waterfalls again, it’ll be too soon. And please God let us all forget Bryan Adams’ inexplicably heavy radio rotation. See, if the gods of the entertainment industry were truly benevolent and kind, they would have offered up to us the finest of distractions that summer. For this was the summer we all lived on proverbial tenterhooks awaiting the ultimate fate of Fox Mulder. After the devastating cliffhanger at the end of season two, September just couldn’t come quickly enough for any of us X-Files fans. But then, when it finally came, it was in the form of a two-parter. Or, to be more exact, parts two and three of an epic three-part story. Chris Carter penned both parts, and it is packed with information, few real answers, and plenty of new questions. After Bill Mulder’s death in season two’s “Anasazi”, one might think Carter would go easy on the collateral damage for the rest of this story, right? Uh, no. Also, we begin to get a clearer view of the Syndicate which was hinted at during the previous episode, including their upstanding member known only to us as The Well-Manicured Man, played by the inimitable John Neville, whose seemingly-fluid loyalties help to establish him as a truly unpredictable threat. Picking up immediately following the conclusion of last season’s finale, Albert Hosteen’s family is questioned and brutalized by the same soldiers who blew up the boxcar full of alien corpses with Mulder inside. Cigarette-Smoking Man leads the questioning and demands to know Mulder’s whereabouts. Hosteen remains stoic. The soldiers intercept Scully on a New Mexico highway, taking her copy of Hosteen’s translation of the information from the digital tape provided to Mulder by the hacker known as The Thinker. When they demand the tape, she tells them that Mulder has it. When she returns to Washington, Scully is put on unpaid disciplinary leave and forced to turn in her badge and weapon because of her refusal cooperate with regard to the stolen files as well as her insistence that Mulder was not responsible for his father’s death. She goes to the basement office on the pretense of gathering her things, but in actuality she wants to retrieve the hidden digital tape. Unfortunately, the tape is gone. Somewhere on 46th Street in New York, the Syndicate calls CSM on the carpet about the missing tape. He assures them that it is being handled and that Mulder is dead. Meanwhile, Hosteen’s family and friends find Mulder in the rocks of the desert quarry where the boxcar was buried. He is unconscious, but still alive. Albert has Mulder transported to a sweat lodge so that he can perform the “Blessing Way” healing ritual on the FBI man. In the middle of Mulder’s subconscious Mummenschanz planetarium show, Deep Throat and his own father speak eloquently on the subject of getting off his ass and back to work. With no knowledge of the happenings in the sweat lodge in New Mexico, Frohike drops by Scully’s apartment to drink and mourn Mulder’s death. He shows her a newspaper article about the execution-style death of the man he knew as the Thinker. She takes the article to Skinner, thinking that a ballistics test of the bullet that killed the Thinker would clear Mulder of Bill Mulder’s murder. Skinner refuses to act upon it and dismisses her from his office. Scully, who had mysteriously activated the building’s metal detector when she entered through the public entrance, plays a hunch and discovers that there is something implanted in the back of her neck. Her doctor removes it, and they discover that it is some sort of mysterious computer chip. Scully’s sister Melissa suggests that she go to see a hypnotherapist to regress her so that she can remember when the implant might have been put into her neck. Reluctantly, Scully agrees to go, but gets spooked during the session and leaves. As she returns home, she sees Skinner leaving her apartment building. When she speaks to him later, he denies having been there. Back in Club Navajo’s Sauna, Mulder awakens to eat what has to be the greatest corn bread he will ever have the pleasure of consuming. Scully goes to Mulder’s father’s funeral in Boston, where she reassures Mulder’s mother that she believes her son to still be alive. After Teena leaves, Scully is approached by the Well-Manicured Man from the Syndicate. He warns her that her life is in danger, and the threat will come in the form of a pair of assassins or as someone she knows and trusts. As explanation for his benevolence, he tells her that he feels that his fellow members are acting unnecessarily rash. As Teena Mulder arrives home from her ex-husband’s funeral, Mulder is waiting for her. He confronts her about an old photo he has found of his father with several other men, including younger versions of Deep Throat, CSM and even the Well-Manicured Man. When Scully returns home, Melissa calls to say she’s coming over to discuss the hypnotherapist appointment. Scully’s phone rings again, but the line goes dead when she answers. She gets a pistol from a desk drawer and calls her sister back, leaving her a message to say that she is coming to her place instead. Outside, Skinner pulls up in his car and insists that Scully get in so they can talk in private. With her gun ready in her coat pocket, she gets into the car. Melissa shows up at Scully’s apartment shortly after. Letting herself in, she is met by a bullet from Krychek and his assassination buddy. Always have a buddy. As soon as they realize their mistake, they make a run for it. Skinner takes Scully to Mulder’s apartment so that they can talk. Stepping into the apartment behind him, she puts a gun to his head. She believes him to be the trusted person the Well-Manicured Man warned her about. He tells her that he has the digital tape, having retrieved it from Mulder’s desk before her return from New Mexico. A shuffle of feet at the apartment door distracts Scully long enough for Skinner to draw his weapon on her. Mulder bursts into his apartment, ending the standoff between Scully and Skinner. The three form an uneasy alliance, in which Skinner convinces them that it would be wisest if he retains the digital tape, as it is their only leverage against the conspiracy which is leveled against them. Mulder and Scully, reunited at last, have their first (that we’ve seen, at least) hallway moment. Before it can get too intimate, the elevator arrives. I doubt anything untoward happened in that elevator ride though. Mulder’s been wearing the same clothes for three days now and his last bath was a wet sponge from an elderly Navajo. Still, we know Scully is relieved that he’s back. They take the picture of Bill Mulder and the class of ’73 to the Lone Gunmen, who recognize one of the men as a nasty piece of work named Viktor Klemper. Klemper had been a Nazi scientist conducting cruel experiments on Jews during WWII and was brought to America under Operation Paper Clip, a government program that employed German scientists to assist in the development of defense strategies during the burgeoning Cold War. Frohike tells Scully about her sister’s condition at the hospital, but that she can’t go visit her and risk making a target of herself. In New York, the Syndicate assembles once again to bust CSM’s chops over his assassin’s mistake at Scully’s place. They demand he show them the digital tape, which he promises to bring to them the next day. As scary as the Syndicate is, it’s still tremendously satisfying to see CSM getting busted like that. Mulder and Scully visit Klemper who gives them just enough information to get them to an old mining facility in West Virginia. After they leave, Klemper calls the Well-Manicured Man to tell him that Mulder is alive, which digs an even deeper hole for CSM. Tee-hee. Albert Holsteen arrives at the hospital to pray over Melissa Scully. A man in a suit creeps in the hallway. Inside the mining building, Mulder and Scully find hidden vaults full of file cabinets. Inside, they find countless medical files with smallpox records and tissue samples. Scully’s file has been updated since her abduction during the Duane Barry case during season two. Mulder finds his sister Samantha’s file, but it appears to have been originally meant to have contained his information. Er? Back in Skinner’s office, Walter stands up to the increasingly frazzled CSM, informing him that he might be able to get his hands on the tape, but implying that he will make demands for its trade. CSM flat out refuses to make a deal with him and chooses to threaten Skinner’s life instead. Geez, man. The 60s were wasted on this guy. They hear a rumbling sound and Mulder runs outside to see what’s causing it. At this point, we get a money shot to rival anything in Mulder’s video collection. A gigantic alien craft of some sort rises up over the building while Mulder watches from the rooftop. Down in the catacombs of the filing cabinets, Scully is swarmed by tiny running figures. Little did they know they had arrived in West Virginia on the night of the annual running of the alien babies! They are all scooped up by a light coming from outside. As the lights fade and the ship disappears, Mulder notices dark sedans coming in the direction of the mine. He runs back inside through a hail of gunfire to find Scully and the pair slips out through a side door where Scully had seen some of the figures depart. They get away and have a secret meeting with Skinner in a diner in Maryland where they hatch a plan to offer to exchange the tape for Mulder and Scully’s reinstatement to the FBI and their safety. Skinner takes a message from Scully to her mother at Melissa’s bedside, where Albert tells Skinner about the man in the suit who has been stalking the room. Skinner follows the man, but is attacked by Krychek and two others. They get the tape. You couldn’t have left it in a bus station locker or something, Skinner? Come on, man! Krychek nearly dies when his car explodes, and, realizing his betrayal, calls CSM and informs him that he has the digital tape and will expose its contents if anyone comes after him. CSM hangs up the phone and lies to his bosses. The tape and the inept assassin have both been destroyed in a car bombing, as far as they know now. Mulder and Scully go back to see Klemper, but Well-Manicured Man is waiting for them. He explains that Bill Mulder was part of a program which was collecting data on citizens to be used for identification purposes in the event of nuclear holocaust. Klemper, in turn, was using the collected samples to conduct experiments in the hybridization of humans and aliens using material from the Roswell crash in 1947. Samantha was abducted as a means of maintaining Mulder’s father’s silence when he threatened to expose the program. Mulder confronts his mom, who tells him that his father was forced to choose between him or his sister and chose for Samantha to be sacrificed. A smug CSM enters Skinner’s office, still refusing to deal with him and allow the dogs to be called off Mulder and Scully, especially now that he knows Skinner is no longer in possession of the digital tape. That is, until Skinner produces Albert Hosteen, who in translating the code in the files, memorized the contents of the files. As insurance, he told twenty members of his tribe the information as well. Any one of them stands ready to reveal the information in the files if Mulder and/or Scully are harmed. Scully is finally able to visit the hospital, only to find that her sister has died. Mulder joins her, and they both look toward their work on the X-Files with renewed purpose. With this story arc, we get a taste of the elusive truth we’ve been looking for. At least a slightly clearer understanding of the experimentation introduced in last season’s “Colony” and “End Game” two-parter is addressed. We get a slightly better view of the organization to which CSM answers, even if they remain largely mysterious. They have ties with the UN, the CIA, and likely other government agencies around the world. What is firmly cemented in this story arc is the allegiance of Walter Skinner, which is a relief. With Mulder and Scully operating as a single-unit team now, they are more vulnerable than they were when it was still unclear where Scully’s allegiance lay. They’ve tried separating them, they’ve tried discrediting them, and they’ve tried killing them, but they always seem to rise above these machinations. The next logical step would be to bring them down as a team. Except now Assistant Director Skinner has planted his flag in their corner, and his position allows him a modicum of weight to throw around. The other interesting development is Krychek’s new rogue status. At the end, Krychek holds all of the power with possession of the digital tape, knowledge of both the FBI and the Syndicate’s workings, and he’s in the wind. His allegiance to the Syndicate shattered, he can’t exactly go to the authorities. He’s suddenly become a nettle in the posterior of just about everybody and it’s hard to tell where and when he will turn up again. S3E3: “D.P.O.” (w: Howard Gordon/d: Kim Manners) After the events of the last three episodes, a stand-alone monster of the week was just the ticket. Howard Gordon found an index card that had been pinned to an idea board in Chris Carter’s office since the first season. It simply said “Lightning Boy.” Gordon ran with it. Indie film mainstay Giovanni Rabisi landed the title role after two auditions. This episode also featured a young Jack Black as the doomed sidekick to Rabisi’s Darin. During the episode, Mulder discovers a photo of Sharon Keveat cut from Darin’s year book in a skin mag in Darin’s bedroom. Interestingly, the actress playing Sharon, Karen Witter, had been a Playboy playmate before breaking into acting. Yeah, go ahead and Google it. We’ll wait. No, no, really. It’s worth it. Oh, you’re back? What… already?!? Hey, whatever, I don’t judge. The other cool side note for longtime X-Files fans is this episode’s prominent use of the song “Hey Man, Nice Shot” by Filter. Filter’s frontman was a guitarist for Nine Inch Nails before forming this band. His name is Richard Patrick, and he is the younger brother of –wait for it—Robert Patrick, who would join the show in later seasons as FBI agent John Doggett. Cool, right? OK, before we go any further, let’s just all agree that being a teenager sucks. First of all, there are all these things happening in your brain that you just know have never happened to any other human being ever in the history of human beings. There’s the looming constant self-doubt and crippling self-consciousness. There’s the stuff happening with your body that just doesn’t really make sense, like hair where there wasn’t any before and the fact that you can now summon lightning to strike down anyone who pisses you off. At least, that’s the case with Darin Peter Osbourne, or D.P.O. according to the hall of fame on the Virtua Fighter 2 machine at the arcade. Mulder and Scully visit the town of Connerville, Oklahoma in the wake of a rash of people dying from lightning strikes, despite the statistical improbability of so many strikes happening locally in such a small amount of time. Mulder speaks with Bart Liquori (“Zero” to his friends), the clerk at the local arcade where the latest lightning strike happened in the parking lot. He seems elusive, but it might just be pot. Mulder notices the initials DPO on the Virtua Fighter 2 game and pieces together those initials with the name of the first lightning strike victim, who was the only one to survive the strike. At the garage where Darin works, the boss’ wife arrives and has an awkward moment with Darin before her husband turns up. The agents try to question Darin later, but Mulder’s cell phone overheats in his pocket, derailing the questioning. Stressed out by the FBI’s visit, Darin harnesses his lightning powers to enact the most malicious round of cow-tipping the Great Plains have ever seen. The agents visit the dead cows next morning, and find a shoe print embedded in the glass that has fused in the dirt from the lightning strike. They are able to match this shoe print’s size to Darin’s shoe size. Darin, meanwhile, is causing traffic accidents by messing with the traffic light at a rural intersection. Darin’s boss, who runs a tow service, turns up at the scene of the accident, but collapses with a heart attack. When the EMTs on the scene realize that their defibrillator isn’t working properly, Darin steps forward and uses his bare hands to defibrillate his boss’ heart back into a steady rhythm. The agents find Sharon at the hospital, and she explains that she’s Darin’s reading teacher at the local hospital and that he has told her about his crush on her. She has tried to rebuff him gently, and even convinced her husband to help him out by offering him a job. He also told her about his powers over electricity. While they are all at the hospital, the power goes out. Mulder goes to confront Darin, but he gets to Scully and Sharon first. The sheriff shows up and tries to stop him from threatening anyone. Darin calls down the lightning, killing the sheriff, but hits himself as well. They are able to capture Darin and lock him in an institution. This episode was a breath of fresh air after the heaviness of the last three episodes. It was a welcome sight to see Mulder and Scully going about the duties of investigating a case again after what feels like such a long time (remember, we talked about that horrible summer of ’95). While the scientific explanations are a little sparse this time around, Scully’s willingness to accept extreme scientific anomalies must be noted. The scope of the show has shifted as well. The previous episode’s UFO flyby and the visual effects of this episode help serve to showcase the cinematic direction the show has taken this season. It’s certainly one of the best stand-alone episodes this season, perhaps only slightly overshadowed by the following episode. To wit: S3E4: “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (w: Darin Morgan/d: David Nutter) This might just be as close to a perfect hour of television as you’re ever likely to see. It is unabashedly comedic, but with real emotional core. The acting is a perfect balance of comic timing and genuine emotion. The characters work together to drive the plot to its completely unpredictable, yet strangely inevitable conclusion. Darin Morgan’s Emmy-winning script (Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series) is a deliberation on determinism and free will. Add to that Peter Boyle’s Emmy-winning performance (Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series) as the title character, and this can genuinely be qualified as a certifiably outstanding hour of television. Stuart Charno, the man identified only as “The Killer” lends an unconventionally comic menace to the episode as well. Incidentally, Charno is, or rather was at the time, married to Sara Charno (now Sara B. Cooper), who wrote two second season episodes (“Aubrey” and “The Calusari”). In St. Paul, Minnesota, the agents investigate a series of murders in which all of the victims are psychics and fortune tellers of one sort or another. After randomly bumping past Clyde Bruckman on the street, a man visits Madame Zelma, seeking an explanation for why he’s about to do the thing he knows he’s going to do. Understandably confused by the labyrinthine line of questioning, Zelma probably shouldn’t be as surprised as she is when he attacks and kills her, leaving only her eyeballs and entrails at the crime scene. Mulder and Scully join the local investigation to find the eyeballs and entrails of a tea leaf-reading creepy doll collector neatly arranged on the table of her parlor. Entering the room just behind them is The Stupendous Yappi, who offers his self-styled celebrity psychic performance to provide the overly-impressed police with vagaries pertaining to the murder. He kicks the “unbelieving” Mulder out of the room, but allows Scully to stay behind. Clyde Bruckman is taking his garbage to the dumpster at his apartment building when he discovers Madame Zelma’s corpse. Mulder and Scully speak to the resident, only to discover that he knows facts about the case that haven’t been released to the public. Mulder immediately becomes convinced that Bruckman is genuinely psychic and asks his assistance at the tea leaf reader’s murder scene. Bruckman reluctantly gives them fairly specific instructions for where to find the body, which leads to the recovery of the tea leaf prognosticator’s corpse. Mulder begs Bruckman’s indulgence in a battery of tests to determine the level of his psychic abilities. He very quickly discovers that his predictive abilities are limited to an ability to know how and when people are going to die. A sort of psychic cat-and-mouse game erupts between Bruckman and the Killer, who is able to see and predict ill deeds he’s destined to enact. Mulder and Scully extract Bruckman to a hotel where they can keep him under guard, where Scully takes the first watch. He tells Scully that he’s going to die in bed with her beside him. Scully, ever the pragmatic humanist, brushes aside his prediction with a kind smile. After a while, she breaks down and asks him how he thinks she’s going to die. He smiles and says, “You don’t.” Wha–?!? A detective comes to relieve Scully and take over guarding Bruckman so she can go with Mulder to the scene of a Tarot card reader’s death. In the hallway, they bump into the hotel bellhop, who, unbeknownst to them, happens to be the Killer. The Killer enters Bruckman’s room, and both men recognize each other. Detective Javez enters the room from the bathroom just as the Kilelr is about to attack Bruckman with a knife. He attacks Javez instead, using the element of surprise to overcome and murder the detective. Meanwhile, Mulder and Scully find silk fiber at the new crime scene to match samples found at the other scenes. Scully, in a flash of intuition, recognizes the fiber as being from the bell hop uniform of the man they just bumped into in the hallway back in the hotel. They rush back, where Mulder pursues the Killer through the kitchen, getting banana crème pie on his nice loafers. Just as the Killer attacks Mulder, Scully appears and shoots him. Mulder and Scully go back to Bruckman’s apartment after being unable to find him anywhere in the hotel. They find that he has committed suicide by tying a plastic bag over his head. Scully sits beside his bed and takes his hand, arguably fulfilling his vision of his own death. Back at home, an insomniac Scully watches late-night TV when an infomercial for the Stupendous Yappi’s psychic hotline, causing her to throw her telephone at the TV. It’s sort of a shame to even attempt to summarize this hour. There is no possible way to do justice to the perfect tone of the humor or the underscored sentimentalism of this episode. Perhaps the finest humor of this episode stems from its apparent self-deprecation. This will become readily apparent later this season with “Jose Chung’s ‘From Outer Space,’, but it can be sensed here as well. Mulder becomes nearly manic in his dealings with the man he believes to be truly psychic. Scully’s frostily professional detachment fades and we are privy to the warm human that typically is only visible to those closest to her. I am particularly fond of the gag where Mulder is testing Bruckman at the police station and he “feels” that the scrap of blue cloth in his hand is torn from Mulder’s Knicks t-shirt. This is a direct reference to the last time Mulder was face-to-face with a self-professed psychic and tricked him into making predictions about a kidnap victim using a scrap of his own New York Knicks shirt. Although I have a genuine fondness for the later Jose Chung episode, this one could easily be considered the best stand-alone episode of season three. S3E5: “The List” (w/d: Chris Carter) See, it’s episodes like this that make me genuinely wish someone had the foresight to put Chris Carter in charge of one of the attempted Twilight Zone revivals. This episode plays like classic Twilight Zone, but with a decidedly dark, modern vibe. Can’t you just hear Rod Serling? “Napoleon Manley, Neech to his friends, is a man who is out of time. He’s walking down that long death-row hallway to the chair waiting for him at the end of the corridor. But when his guards and associates step out of that cell block, they’ll be stepping directly into… The Twilight Zone.” This is Chris Carter’s sophomore effort as writer/director for an episode. His first, of course, was the second season installment “Duane Barry.” JT Walsh, who always seems to be playing some sort of overbearing authority figure, is prison warden Leo Brodeur in the episode. In a Florida prison, Neech Manley is led to his execution. As he is strapped into the chair, he warns Warden Brodeur of his plans to reincarnate and offer his wrath to five men. Mulder and Scully are called in when a prison guard is found dead in Neech’s former cell, with no apparent cause of death. Brodeur is of the opinion that Neech conspired to arrange this death before his execution, but one of the other inmates thinks Neech found his way back to make good on his threats. Scully encounters another guard named Parmelly in the prison showers (which sounds way hotter than it actually is) who tells her that another inmate, Roque, is holding Neech’s list of names. When Scully goes to examine the dead guard’s body only to find him covered in maggots, it is discovered that he has become a breeding ground for green bottle flies. Yet another guard’s head is found inside of a paint can the next day. Mulder talks to Roque, following Scully’s shower-room tip. Roque tells Mulder that he’ll give up the other three names on the list in exchange for a transfer to another prison. As Brodeur is telling Mulder that he doesn’t make deals with his inmates, they find the headless body of the second guard in his office. The agents pay a visit to Neech’s widow, Danielle. She’s jumpy, but that’s probably because she’s secretly seeing the prison guard who approached Scully in the shower room. Warden Brodeur, who isn’t going to win any congeniality prizes, beats Roque to death in the showers. Brodeur uses the current situation to explain Roque’s death and puts the prison on lockdown. Mulder and Scully track down the man who served as executioner for Neech, only to find his rotting, maggot-infested body in the attic of his house. Mulder, not quite accepting Roque’s inclusion on Neech’s list, now believes there will be two more victims. They go to visit Neech’s defense attorney, who tells them about Danielle’s relationship with Parmelly. After they leave his house, Neech appears and smothers the attorney with a pillow. Mulder and Scully stake out Danielle’s house, hoping to catch Parmelly who has now become a suspect in the murders. Danielle wakes up and thinks she sees Neech looking at her from the doorway. When Parmelly enters the room, she pulls a gun on him, believing him to be her resurrected husband. The agents get to the house just as Danielle shoots Parmelly. Parmelly, now dead and unable to say otherwise, is blamed for all of the murders. Mulder doesn’t accept it, though. There are too many holes in the case. Scully convinces him that the case is as solved as it’s ever likely to be and that they should just go home. On the highway, they are passed by Warden Brodeur in his car. He glances into his rear view mirror to see Neech sitting in the back seat. Neech strangles Brodeur while he’s driving and the episode ends with the Warden’s car wrapping itself around a roadside tree. This was another of those frustratingly insoluble cases, where the agents are really just along for the ride. It’s a testament to the storytelling possibilities of this show that such an episode is possible, one in which the series’ protagonists are little more than story devices, serving only to keep the narrative flowing around them. It’s one of the quieter episodes, but a good one nevertheless. S3E6: “2Shy” (w: Jeffrey Vlaming/d: David Nutter) As dated as this episode is, it’s still a couple million times better than any single episode of CSI: Cyber. In Cleveland, Ohio, lonely hearts have abandoned the personal ads in the papers and taken to the internets in search of hookups. The problem is, some of them are being found dead, their bodies appearing to have been dipped in some sort of acid. The victims are similar enough to other previous lonely hearts murders that Mulder and Scully step in to look into it. Scully goes to perform an autopsy on the latest victim to find that her flesh has liquefied. Her examination of the remains shows a startlingly low amount of adipose, or body fat. Mulder quickly discovers that the victim met her killer in an online chat room, and is able to determine that his account had been established using the credit card of a previous victim. Virgil Incanto sits at his computer looking for his next date. Ignoring the advances of his landlady, he sets up a date with a woman named Ellen Kaminsky, but she develops a case of the jitters and stands him up. Desperate, he goes to the street where Cleveland puts all of its prostitutes and finds the only one who isn’t built like a crack addict (and is probably the only prostitute in Cleveland who isn’t a crack addict, now that I think about it). For some unfathomable reason, the hooker’s character name is listed in the credits as Holly McClane, the same as Bruce Willis’ character’s wife in Die Hard. Weird. Anyway, Incanto is interrupted by another hooker and her john entering the alleyway, so Holly, while dead, isn’t nearly as dissolved as the previous victims. In her struggle with Incanto, Holly the zaftig doxy scratched skin from her attacker, which Scully finds under her fingernails. She notes that the skin is nearly totally lacking oils or fatty acids, which leads Mulder to the natural conclusion that they are looking for a fat-sucking vampire of some sort. And if anyone has a better suggestion, feel free to weigh in. Mulder identifies obscure medieval poetic references in the killer’s email interactions with his previous victim and works with local authorities to compile a list of local scholars who could be interviewed as possible suspects. They break up the list and start canvassing. Cleveland PD Detective Cross helps with the canvassing, and is the unfortunate schlub who knocks on Incanto’s door. After dealing with the detective, Incanto gets a message from Kaminsky apologizing for the previous night’s no-show and asking for another chance. It goes well and he tries to bring her home. While parked outside of his building, Incanto sees his landlady inside of his apartment and dismisses Kaminsky to go inside and deal with his intruder who has by now discovered the rapidly-dissolving corpse in his bathtub. The agents are led to Incanto’s apartment, but he is already gone. Going through his contacts in his email, they are able to identify and contact all but two. One of the two is Kaminsky. Incanto, meanwhile, has turned up at her apartment, apparently looking to hook up despite his abrupt dismissal of her earlier in the evening. Only after he’s inside the apartment does she receive the email push from the FBI with Incanto’s facial composite sketch. Scully arrives at Kaminsky’s apartment and Incanto attacks her. During their struggle, Kaminsky retrieves Scully’s dropped weapon and fires on Incanto, wounding him. In questioning, a weakened, adipose-depleted Incanto admits to the murders, stating that he feels justified in relieving them from their loneliness. If only the Doctor could have dropped off the Adipose babies on Incanto’s doorstep with his TARDIS, this could all have been avoided. Of course, I don’t suppose the image of Incanto sitting in his apartment eating those cute little buggars like overstuffed bonbons would have had quite the same horrific impact as the episode as it stands. It’s a tad uneven, and is lacking even an attempt at explanation, even by The X-Files’ loose standards, but it’s still a solid enough entry. Scully steps up once again, making herself the daring advocate for the female victims of this killer. Reason #347 why we boys simultaneously adore and respect the hell out of Dana Scully. S3E7: “The Walk” (w: John Shiban/d: Rob Bowman) One has to wonder how this episode might have been approached today. Writer John Shiban would go on to become something of a fixture in the X-Files’ writer’s room, but this was his first script for the show. Rob Bowman, already becoming a veteran director for the show, joined with the talents of the show’s technical production team, was able to create a tidy little episode with some intriguing special effects. In a VA hospital in Maryland, Lieutenant Colonel Victor Stans is trying to kill himself again. He jumps into a boiling vat of water, but is retrieved and saved by the hospital staff despite horrible scorched burns covering his entire body. Mulder and Scully arrive to investigate, even though the US Army general in charge of the hospital does not want their help. Stans tells the agents that the same man responsible for the house fire that killed his family is now preventing him from taking his own life. Captain Janet Draper arrives to tell them that General Callahan did not grant them permission to speak with his officer, and that they need to stop. They go to Callahan’s office, where he reads them the riot act before they leave. Once he’s alone in his office, someone appears briefly in his doorway before his answering machine starts spouting what sounds like the hidden bonus track from a Husker Du album. In the hospital pool, Captain Draper is going for an off-duty swim when she is attacked by some unseen force, hauled under the water and drowned. In the wake of Draper’s death, Callahan is spooked enough to confide in the agents, telling them about the previous night’s apparition and phone call. This wasn’t the first time, either. He had received similar calls at home before last night’s call. Putting a guard duty on the general’s house, the soldier watching his son turns his back to light a cigarette when little Trevor is killed by an invisible force that buries him under the sand of his sandbox. Some fingerprints are found in and around the general’s house which lead them to the hospital mail deliverer, a man they call “Roach”. When Mulder and Scully question him, Roach folds and admits to his role in the deaths, but claims to only be “Rappo’s mailman”. If nothing else, this episode is proving that nicknames can just be plain silly. When they go to question Rappo, they find him to be a Gulf War veteran who has lost all four limbs. Scully blows her BS whistle on Roach, but Mulder pulls out a theory he’d been sitting on since this all began. And he even brought visual aids to his presentation. He shows Scully dental x-ray plates that he has been carrying with him to the crime scenes they’ve visited. He has had them developed, and each shows signs of exposure to radiation. He posits the hypothesis that Rappo is astrally projecting his consciousness, taking corporeal form, and committing the murders. By way of further evidence, he plays the General’s answering machine tape backwards to reveal a menacing message from their mysterious soldier. Stans has recognized Rappo in the hospital, and after the General’s wife is murdered, he tells Callahan about him. The General confronts Rappo at gunpoint, who admits to everything in an attempt to get Callahan to pull the trigger and end him. Callahan stands down and leaves. The agents find Rappo in a trance state, and Mulder immediately goes to find the General before Rappo’s astral form does. Scully stays behind to try to bring Rappo out of his self-induced state. Mulder and Callahan are being tossed around the hospital laundry room by the apparition when Stans sneaks into Rappo’s room while Scully is in the hallway. Locking the door behind him, he puts a pillow over Rappo’s face, killing him. Mulder and Callahan immediately find the threatening entity to have vanished. Once again this week, it feels like Mulder and Scully are really just along for the ride. It’s not a bad episode, nor is it a particularly great one. As I said earlier, I can’t help but wonder what sort of tone this episode would have taken if it were produced today considering the scandal surrounding the VA hospital in Arizona and resulting new legislation. That sort of real-world connection might have helped to ground a story that feels sort of afloat. I guess we’ll never know. S3E8: “Oubliette” (w: Charles Grant Craig/d: Kim Manners) Now here’s a solid entry. It’s pretty weird, but in the manner of the best sort of X-Files weirdness possible. I can’t help but think that the story for this episode would have worked just as well (if not better) a year later on the X-Files’ sister show Millennium, with its dark overtones and psychic connections. This episode’s writer Charles Grant Craig, left the show’s writing staff before this episode saw production. It is his only X-Files credit. And that girl playing Amy Jacobs, you may ask? No, she’s not a teenaged clone of Judge Reinhold’s sister in Fast Times. That’s a 13 year old version of singer-songwriter-turned-country-singer-and-sometime-actor Jewel Staite. You know, Jewel? The title of the episode is not, to this writer’s knowledge, one of Jewel’s albums, but rather a French term for a lightless pit whose only opening is a hole in the roof. This is, for all appearances, a pretty straightforward kidnapping/abduction scenario. A photography assistant develops an obsession over a young girl during school picture day, leading him to sneak into her room during the night and snatch her. He keeps her in a dark basement of his cabin out in the woods, taking pictures of her as he works up his courage to actually touch her and act out his fantasies. Creepy, disturbing stuff. The twist comes at the moment of Amy’s abduction when across town, a waitress in a diner collapses after a massive nosebleed during which she bleeds her own and Amy’s blood. Lucy (the waitress), it turns out, was abducted at a young age. Her kidnapper was never found. Mulder pretty quickly reaches the conclusion that they are looking for the same guy who took Lucy all those years ago, and that Lucy has somehow connected empathically with his current victim. Scully just thinks Lucy is in some way working with the kidnapper. During the night, Lucy develops injuries to her face and is struck with temporary blindness. The scratches are identical to those suffered by Amy, who is also effectively blind, being locked in the dark under her kidnapper’s cabin. Scully finds a lead in identifying the photographer’s assistant who was fired the day before Amy’s abduction. His name is Carl Wade, but they are having trouble locating him. Mulder tries to convince Lucy to help them find Wade, but she is too scared to get involved. Scully confronts Mulder, accusing him of allowing himself to get a little too emotionally involved in the case. She thinks the abducted girl is reminding Mulder a bit too much of his sister. Any chance to shoehorn that into the conversation, Scully. It’s like picking at a scab, isn’t it? A tip from a tow truck driver leads them to Wade’s cabin, but when they arrive, they only find Lucy alone in the basement. Wade and Amy are nowhere to be found. Lucy complains that she is cold and feels wet. The search team finds Wade dragging Amy through a river, where he feels the dragnet closing in around him and has decided to drown Amy. Impossibly, Lucy begins to drown in the back seat of a police car at the decidedly land-locked cabin. Scully shoots Wade and Mulder climbs into the river to pull Amy free. He and Scully begin CPR, but it has no effect on Amy. Lucy, all the back in the squad car, however, is benefitting from the remote-control CPR and begins to revive as an officer looks on in bewilderment. Suddenly, Lucy stops breathing, just as Amy awakens on the shore of the river. Mulder’s opinion is that Lucy sacrificed her own life to save Amy’s using the supernatural connection they shared. It’s a dark one, to be sure. What’s noteworthy is the cooperation which exists between Mulder and Scully, even though they are in disagreement throughout most of the case. They both realize that the only important thing is finding Amy, and they pursue that end through wildly different channels, but still support each other. Their cooperative effort to revive Amy plays as evidence of this partnership, in this author’s opinion. Often the fact of Mulder’s sister’s abduction seems a little shoehorned into episodes like this. It’s hard to not be just a little cynical and think that it’s only brought up because the writer’s realize that it hasn’t been addressed for some time and the viewers need a quick reminder before diving into the impending mythology-heavy episodes. But it’s also a sign of Scully’s care for her partner’s emotional state, probably to a degree beyond what’s typical between professional investigative partnerships. After all, she was the one who brought it up this time, right? See larger image The X-Files: Season 3 New From: $28.63 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related One Response Dignan August 1, 2015 I always thought Bruckman’s prediction that Scully would never die to be a sweet touch. Log in to Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.