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. I’m not sure I’d consider the ninth season of the X-Files to be a reboot as much as it was an act of gentrification. It’s shinier and newer-looking. Its dark corners are better lit. It’s cleaner and safer. But it lacks that raw grit that was so much a part of the show’s success in the early seasons. None of this is to say it isn’t a largely watchable and enjoyable batch of episodes. In fact, there were a few truly outstanding hours this season and only a couple of clunkers (which is a better batting average than some of the previous seasons). Never mind that David Duchovny took his Agent Mulder out of the show’s equation. New series stars Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish take a few episodes to convincingly establish their partnership. Patrick’s John Doggett was and is one of the finest examples of a federal agent to appear on the show. He’s well-trained, quick-thinking, and just flexible enough to consider crazy ideas during his investigations. Gish’s Monica Reyes is another matter entirely. On the one hand, she has the sort of flexibility in her thinking that served Fox Mulder so well, but there’s a very human balance to her approach. The relentlessness of Fox Mulder is tempered considerably in Monica Reyes’ natural empathy to the people around her. It’s an interesting new dynamic to pursue, but in the end, Doggett’s grudging acceptance and Reyes’ soft approach squeezes out the natural dichotomy enjoyed for so long between scientific Scully and spooky Mulder. Even Deputy Director Kersh seems to soften his stance on the topic of Fox Mulder and the X-Files. With so many sources of natural tension gone, what’s left at the core of the show is something new and bright and considerably more comfortable and safe. Just like that part of town where they tore down the laundromat, pawn shop, comic book store, and record store in order to put in the specialty pillow store, two Starbucks and that artisanal gluten-free cupcake salon. Another factor of consideration when looking at this season is the fact that its premiere was on November 11, 2001. With so many viewers still reeling from the events just two months earlier on September 11, perhaps it was something of a social necessity to reign in the type of paranoia and tension that had so long been a staple of the series. All that said, this season is still a necessary progression for the X-Files, even if only as a build-up to the series’ final episode “The Truth”. S9E1: “Nothing Important Happened Today” (w: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz/d: Kim Manners)/S9E2: “Nothing Important Happened Today II” (w: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz/d: Tony Wharmby) It was a Brand New Day in the X-Files offices. David Duchovny was no longer a part of the show which had made him a global star. Scully was no longer a part of the X-Files unit. Two new agents have taken over the basement office. With the rebirth of the series, there would need to be a new threat. The concept of the military-developed Super Soldiers is an unexpected development in the ongoing efforts of humanity to protect itself from extraterrestrial enemies. We would find a couple of new additions to the show’s cast in these episodes. Of particular note is the addition of Cary Elwes as FBI Assistant Director Brad Follmer. Follmer has something of a history with Gish’ Agent Reyes, and isn’t at all afraid to pursue a little afternoon delight in his oversized office. Lucy Lawless grants the producers an appearance that was meant to have been a recurring role. Unfortunately, soon after these two episodes were filmed, Lawless discovered that she had entered into a high-risk pregnancy and could not appear in any more episodes of what would prove to be the final season of The X-Files. An Environmental Protection Agency employee with the unfortunate name of Carl Wormus meets a woman in a bar. Despite his weird pickup lines (admittedly, I’ve never actually tried coaxing a woman into bed with talk of additives to the water supply, so maybe I shouldn’t judge), things seem to go in his favor. He soon finds himself driving in his convertible with the lovely lady sitting in the passenger seat. Yep, things are really looking up for old Carl Wormus. At least, it would seem so until his date forces him to drive the car off a bridge before holding him down under the water until he drowns. And all this while she sits calmly in the passenger seat. Believe it or not, I’ve had worse dates. It’s been two days since the events of season eight’s finale, and Doggett has become persona non grata at the FBI after launching his investigation of Deputy Director Kersh. Monica Reyes is called into Assistant Director Brad Follmer’s office. It would seem they share some sort of sordid history with one another, which he feels grants him carte blanche in the workplace sexual harassment department. After a quick run to first base, the Assistant Director presents Reyes with videotapes from two nights before. The tapes are security footage from the parking garage under the J. Edgar building, and would seem to prove that John Doggett is fabricating his report of the events that evening. Monica takes this information to Doggett, who goes running to former agent Fox Mulder seeking support for his claims. Arriving at apartment number 42, Doggett finds it empty. Even the porn collection has been removed. Meanwhile, a water reclamation plant worker learns what it’s like to go from the best day ever to the worst day ever in a matter of seconds, as a naked Lucy Lawless climbs out of one of the tanks in the plant, strolls through his workplace and then kills him. Doggett goes to see Scully, in the hope that Mulder is there helping her care for their love child. Unfortunately, he has extricated himself from that situation as well and Scully isn’t willing to disclose her baby daddy’s agenda. After he leaves, Scully lies down for a nap while baby William rests, but is puzzled when the stationary mobile hanging above her infant’s crib starts spinning slowly. Weird, right? In frustration, Doggett tries to pursue a different angle of his ongoing investigation by trying to ascertain a better understanding of Knowle Rohrer, his former Marine buddy turned State Department worker/parking garage flambé. He calls some of the other members of their unit, but can’t reach a woman named McMahon. This would be because McMahon is the same woman who has been surfing the sewers since her impromptu date drove off of a drawbridge back at the beginning of the episode. Scully examines Carl Wormus’ body, and finds bruised fingerprints on his ankle where McMahon had held him under the water. Scully and Reyes leave the autopsy room, only for McMahon to sneak in and steal the body. Apparently the loss of a body in the middle of an examination is sort of a big deal in the FBI, as Assistant Director Follmer arrives on the scene. He accuses Scully and Reyes of removing the body. AD Follmer is like one of those Russian nesting dolls. He’s just so full of himself. Ha! Can I get a rim-shot up in here? On a tip from the Lone Gunmen (during which Frohike sorely disappoints me by failing to call a mysteriously blue-faced Langley “Smurfette” even once), Doggett and Skinner break into the water reclamation plant to determine the nature of some emailed communications between Carl Wormus and the dead reclamation plant worker. Most of the emails were centered on the introduction of allegedly mutant-inducing Chloramine into the local water supply. While Skinner and his agent seek more answers, Follmer arrives. Doggett jumps into the one of the large water tanks to see if he can hold his breath longer than it takes Follmer and his team of agents to search the facility. As he’s preparing to risk breaking the surface, the seemingly breathing-as-well-as-clothing-optional Shannon McMahon grabs his ankle and drags him deeper under the water. Out in the Atlantic Ocean, the captain of a ship carries a communique through multiple levels of security to deliver it to a doctor working in the secret laboratory deep in the ship’s bowels. Dr. Nordlinger leaves his human ova experiments to read the message, which prompts him to order the captain to turn the vessel around and head for a dock. Back at the water reclamation facility, AD Brad has given up his search for Doggett. Deep down in the water tank, McMahon has been keeping him alive by breathing oxygen into his lungs from her own. Please remember, kids: the buddy system is especially important when night-swimming. If your buddy can be Lucy Lawless, that’s pretty impressive. If Lucy Lawless can also be naked and repeatedly press her mouth against yours while in the water… well, my friend, that right there would be baller-level playa. Respect, Doggett. Back at the office, Follmer tries to convince Reyes to step away from what would appear to be Doggett’s professional train wreck. Skinner, ever the strategic political player, weighs in on Follmer’s side in an attempt to protect at least one of his X-Files agents from reprisal. Reyes, however, stubbornly believes Follmer to hold a personal vendetta against Doggett and walks out on the meeting. Doggett wakes up at home, where McMahon offers a bit of post-swim exposition. She and Knowle Rohrer are “super soldiers”, the results of a secret military program. Both of them are essentially indestructible. Before she starts getting too sciencey, Doggett calls Scully over to join their conversation. McMahon further explains that the Chloramine being introduced to the water supply is the first step toward exponentially expanding the program. The ship has reached the Port of Baltimore, and the Captain tries to call Carl Wormus. Poor Carl Wormus, with his nice convertible and hot bar pickup gone tragically wrong. After his unsuccessful attempt to connect with Wormus, the Captain returns to his ship to find that his second-in-command has been replaced by Knowle Rohrer. Later, the officer Rohrer relieved is discovered floating in the harbor. Back at Doggett’s apartment, Scully conducts an exam of McMahon but can find no evidence to support the woman’s claim of being a super soldier. While Scully performs her more hands-on investigation into this mystery woman, Reyes digs around to find that McMahon had been employed by the Department of Justice when she was called by Wormus and McFarlane help them expose the planned contamination of the water supply. Meanwhile, the Lone Gunmen intercept a call from the ship’s captain to Wormus, leading the investigators to the ship. On board, they are met by Knowle Rohrer, who attacks and tries to play “crush you head” with Doggett. Unfortunately for Rohrer, Xena is well-versed in decapitation techniques. By the time they reach the lab, it has been evacuated. Scully has just enough time to confirm that the scientists in this lab were experimenting on human ova, before Doggett finds a bomb left behind by Rohrer before abandoning ship. Dragging a frantic Scully away from the lab before she can determine if her ova could have been used for this experimentation, she, Doggett, and Reyes escape just before the ship explodes. Doggett returns to the office to confront Kersh. Kersh rejoins with a story about King George’s personal diary. There is an old legend that said on July 4, 1776, the very day that The United States of America declared its independence from his country, King George’s sole entry into his journal were the words “Nothing important happened today.” Kersh uses this anecdote to deter Doggett from pursuing his investigation any further. As it turns out, the Deputy Director was not involved in the conspiracy surrounding this case. In fact, Kersh informs Doggett that he was the one that had slipped him the anonymous tips that helped Doggett navigate this case, and that he had warned Mulder about new threats that were approaching. On his advice, Scully had been the one to convince Mulder to go into hiding. At home, Scully wakes up from a dream wherein McMahon and Rohrer are still alive at the bottom of the harbor to find William’s crib mobile to be moving of its own accord again. Honestly, I just can’t accept Kersh as an ally. He’s been too much of a thorn in the side of the X-Files for too long. Skinner seemed like a jerk when he first appeared, but it quickly became clear that many of his actions were at the behest of the Syndicate via Cigarette-Smoking Man. We all came around on Skinner, but I just can’t imagine ever reaching that point with this eternally smug bureaucrat. This new all-encompassing conspiracy of the Super Soldier program is intriguing, though, especially when combined with the knowledge that some sort of a large-scale alien colonization is emerging. After all the years of the Syndicate seeking ways for humanity to defend itself against the colonists, this program might just be the thing they’ve been seeking. Unfortunately, it would seem to carry a considerable cost to our humanity… S9E3: “Daemonicus” (w: Frank Spotnitz/d: Frank Spotnitz) Spotnitz tasked himself with the first monster of the week episode of the all-new X-Files. It was also his second time in the director’s chair. With the new sandbox to play in, he crafted a story that could play to the strengths of both of his new leading characters. Monica Reyes, with her extensive background in occult ritual crime, was more than suited to tackle this quietly-constructed supernatural story. John Doggett pursues the case relying heavily on his gut instincts. In the end, both of their approaches are what help them get to the bottom of their case. In a way, it hearkens back to the episodes featuring Robert Patrick Modell (season three’s “Pusher” and season five’s “Kitsunegari”), in which the antagonist could gain control of people, forcing them to perform any act of self-destruction Modell willed them to do. In fact, one of the guards in this episode is reading American Ronin magazine, the same rag Modell had used to advertise his services as a hired mercenary. Even more, this episode is quite reminiscent of season seven’s “Orison,” in which Scully struggles with her perception of uber-creepy Donnie Pfaster as a demonic entity. In rural West Virginia, the Mountjoys are enjoying a quiet evening around the Scrabble board. They are interrupted by sounds from outside. When Darren returns downstairs with his gun, he opens fire on an intruder, only to realize that he has just shot his bound and gagged wife. As he drops to his knees beside her body, he looks up to see two men with demonic faces approaching him. Agents Doggett and Reyes arrive on the scene next morning, to find that both bodies have been staged at the table over the game board. It has been staged to look like a murder-suicide, with the mysterious word “DAEMONICUS” spelled out in Scrabble tiles between them. Reyes tells Doggett that the word is sometimes used to refer to the Devil, and often in reference to demonic possession. Reyes gets a shiver when she enters the room, but Doggett dismisses it when she claims to have felt some sort of evil presence in the room. They receive a call from Dr. Monique Sampson at a nearby mental facility. She tells them that one of her patients had escaped the night before, aided by one of the guards. Neither Richman (the patient) or Gerlach (the guard) has been seen or heard from since. Deep in the woods, both of the men are still wearing their creepy demon masks when one calmly shoots the other. At the hospital, Doggett and Reyes attempt to question the patient in Richman’s neighboring cell, but are baffled when Josef Kobold begins telling them that they are too late to save the next victim. He even goes so far as to lead them to the body of Gerlach, who has been shot and hung upside down from a tree. When they go back to Kobold to question him further, he goes into convulsions and begins emitting something that sounds strangely like Black Sabbath lyrics played backwards. Reyes picks out the word “medicus,” Latin for “physician,” and the agents hasten to check in on Dr. Sampson at home. When they go, they leave a guard named Custer as sentry outside of Kobold’s cell. Again, the agents are too late. The doctor is dead as well, the victim of a handful of hypodermics shoved into her face. Scully tells Doggett that the syringes were full of the same anti-psychotic medicine Richmond had been receiving while at the institution. Doggett, believing Kobold to be orchestrating all of these deaths somehow, goes to confront the patient. He listens to Doggett’s accusations, then counters by projectile-vomiting tomato soup all over the agent’s suit. And he didn’t even make him a grilled cheese sandwich first. While Doggett gets out of his soup puke clothes, the power goes out in the hospital. Kobold’s guard looks into the cell to check on his charge, but sees only some sort of demonic entity. Kobold directs the agents to a marina in their pursuit of Richman. Scully is the first on the scene and rushes inside where she is overtaken by a gun-wielding Richman. By the time Doggett and Reyes arrive at the marina, Scully tells them that her captor had held her until their cars pulled up outside, then let her go and shot himself. Doggett draws the conclusion that Kobold had been playing some sort of game with them and had succeeded in winning. One thing that is particularly striking about this new incarnation of the show after watching this episode is the lack of cohesion with the cast. Robert Patrick and Annabeth Gish are both convincing in their respective roles, but the alchemy between them would seem to have not happened yet. Reyes is still finding her way into a situation to which Doggett has already had a year to acclimate, so that’s probably a large part of it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a lack of chemistry. As the season wears on, and the characters’ relationship becomes more sharply defined, that factor irons itself out. Besides, after eight years of the preternatural, out-of-the-gate bond between David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson I’m not entirely sure Hepburn and Tracy would have been able to recreate such a high standard of mutual gravitic appeal. Luckily, Gillian Anderson remains to be a central factor of the series. Both Patrick and Gish seem much more natural and confident when working with her than they do with each other. Granted, we still don’t fully know the depth of Doggett and Reyes’ prior relationship, and we’ll begin to see a bit more of it in the very next episode. But for the moment, they are at their best when joined with the veteran X-File agent Dana Scully. And I don’t mean to belittle their characters or denigrate the show in any way. Over the next couple of episodes, one can see them relaxing into their roles, and the relationship between the two becomes more natural. Until that happens, though, it is proving to be a fascinating dynamic to have the three agents approaching these cases from such different angles. Doggett is the doubter, but can hardly be considered a skeptic. Scully maintains her scientific approach, except through the prism of her developed acceptance of those things she once might have dismissed. Reyes is a true believer in a way that rivals even Fox Mulder. Instead of the point/counterpoint approach we’ve grown accustomed to on this show, we now can see a sort of triangulated methodology. S9E4: “4-D” (w: Steven Maeda/d: Tony Wharmby) So, this week on Fringe… No, wait. Agent Reyes finally gets her episode. Sure, it’s only the fourth episode of the season, but it still feels a shade past due. As much as we’re accustomed to the X-Files’ agents being two parts of a balanced and equal partnership, part of what seemed out of whack in the previous episode was the fact that the newest agent still felt like a supporting player. In creating this opportunity for Reyes, Maeda created an impossible scenario that stood firmly outside of Reyes’ typical range of inquiry and allowed her to rise to the challenge. Maeda stated that the episode’s villain, the emotionally-stunted Erwin Lukesh, was drawn from the inspiration of Hitchcock’s Norman Bates (which seems a bit of a stretch to me considering the finished product, but it’s sometimes a long journey from an idea to words on paper). Reyes, Doggett, and Skinner are staking out suspected serial killer Erwin Lukesh. Agent Reyes has positioned herself as potential bait for the guy in apartment 4-D while the men watch from a nearby monitoring station. Things go downhill quickly, with Reyes’ throat slashed and the suspect escaping into an alleyway. Doggett pursues him into a blind alley, but Lukesh vanishes in the instant the agent turns to acknowledge local PD’s arrival on the scene. Lukesh rematerializes behind Doggett and fires Reyes’ stolen gun into his face. In another part of town, Agent Monica Reyes is unpacking her new apartment when John Doggett visits with lunch from his favorite Polish place. She answers her phone, to hear from AD Skinner, reporting to her that John Doggett has just been found shot in the face. She tells Skinner that Doggett is standing in her apartment, but when she turns around, she finds that she is alone. Things get even more confusing when Monica arrives at the hospital and is told by Assistant Director Follmer that investigators suspect her partner was shot with her gun. Not only that, but she has become a suspect after eyewitness Erwin Lukesh identifies her as the one who shot Doggett. Then he goes home to make mother her clamato and admire his impressive collection of human tongues. Doggett regains consciousness in the hospital, but is unable to talk or even breathe without a machine. Skinner recognizes the tapping of his finger as Morse code, and they get him a communication device. First of all, he’s confused to see Monica alive and well, considering the last time he remembers seeing her, she was struggling to keep the insides of her throat from spilling out through a knife wound. He also names Lukesh as a suspected tongue-collecting serial killer. You know, there are breast men, leg men, some men like feet… but tongue? Meanwhile, Lukesh goes back to the alleyway where the earlier confrontation took place, steps through a liquid spot in the air, and disappears. As Reyes tries to make sense of the information coming from Doggett and her own experiences, she lands on the idea of parallel realities. If her theory proves true (and it does), Lukesh is somehow able to travel between two versions of reality. He pursues his hobby in one reality, only to escape back to this one. The Doggett lying in the hospital bed is John Doggett from that other reality, which would mean that her Doggett must have been snapped into the alternate universe the moment his counterpart unknowingly crossed through. And to think Mulder used to make some broad jumps of logic. Skinner is intrigued enough by Reyes’ theory to question Lukesh again. The interrogation takes an awkward turn when the Assistant Director suggests that the elderly Mrs. Lukesh might be questioned. An agitated Erwin returns home to find that his mom has discovered the FBI-issue weapon he had stolen from Agent Reyes’ Earth 2 counterpart after killing her. She tells him that the FBI had called her and she was planning to speak with them. Seeing no alternative, he kills mom with absolutely no thought as to who’s going to drink all that clamato in the fridge. Stuff’s too expensive to go to waste. And I can’t imagine Erwin drinking it. He really should have taken a moment to think this through. It’s the little details like that which help to prevent many crimes of passion, I think. Alt-Doggett suggests through his communication device that the best way to resolve this situation is to unplug his respirator and allow him to die. He theorizes that his death will cause him to return to his own reality and this one’s Doggett will be pulled back to his rightful place. Unwilling to deal with the feels of that solution, Agent Reyes sets to the task of stopping Erwin. Monitored by Scully and AD Follmer, Reyes sets herself to draw out their quarry. He takes the bait, only to fall to the receiving end of a classic last-second X-Files bullet. This time, that episode-ending bullet comes from Follmer’s gun. Back at the hospital, Reyes acquiesces to Other Doggett’s plan and turns off his life support. As he expires, an understandably confused Doggett appears in the room behind her. Us too, John. We’re not really sure why that worked either. Just go with it. For that matter, was Our Doggett standing in that same hospital room in the alternate reality at the same moment that his counterpart died/vanished/became one with the Force in this one? Did the dead Doggett’s body reappear lying in the bed in the other reality? What if the wall outlet in the alternate reality was installed eighteen inches to the right in the other hospital? Would his body reappear in the air next to the bed and fall to the floor? And what sort of adventure did Our Doggett have on the other side? I want to know these things! I must admire Maeda’s ambition with this episode, even if the execution was paradoxical. He attempted to establish and exploit a concept in a single one-hour episode that would later take the crew working on Fringe the better part of two seasons to explain. The Flash did it in one season. Still, it’s ambitious and wildly outside the X-Files‘ typical milieu. I would have liked it much better had it been a two-parter which could have allowed time to follow a parallel path with Doggett to wherever it was that he spent the episode. Imagine if both realities could have been viewed, with no explanation offered until the end of the first hour. Not only would it have felt like a more complete story, it would have kept the resolution from feeling like quite as much of a contrivance. In fact, it might have even made sense. Overall, it was a great effort, and the actors spooled out the human drama with soapy gusto. But in the end, it was really only half of a story. Who was Other Doggett? Was he as much of a skeptic as Doggett Prime? How did Doggett Prime deal with the perceived loss of his partner over in the other reality? What is the state of the X-Files in that other reality? Is suddenly-an-ally Deputy Director Kersh from the last scene of “Nothing Important Happened Today II” a crossover from that alternate reality? Ok, maybe that last one is a reach, but I’m still grasping at viable explanations for Kersh… S9E5: “Lord of the Flies” (w: Thomas Schnauz/d: Kim Manners) Schnauz’ first writing credit for the X-Files (of two – “Scary Monsters” later this season would be the other) would mark the show’s return to dark comedy for the first time since the new direction of season nine. Perhaps the most notable factors of this particular episode are the early-career appearance of Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul and a before-she-was-a-household-name Jane Lynch. Considering Paul’s role and performance in this episode, combined with Vince Gilligan’s involvement as an executive producer of the show, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine the character of Jesse Pinkman drawing at least a partial inspiration from Sky Commander Winky. The episode has a couple of odd holes and the humor is probably a tad coarse in comparison to some of the series’ earlier attempts at comedy. The cast and crew of local cable access show Dumbass are highly committed to the show title. Host David “Sky Commander Winky” Winkle offers commentary as star “Cap’n Dare” performs death-defying stunts that all live up to the expectations set by their show’s name. Cap’n Dare’s girlfriend Natalie is less than thrilled with her boyfriend’s antics, but still plays along. At least, she does until he crashes into a curb in a shopping cart and collapses. When his helmet is removed, his skull appears to have collapsed. Agents Doggett and Reyes arrive to investigate the unusual death, and are confounded enough to ask Dana Scully to perform an autopsy on Cap’n Dare. Before she can even begin the procedure, flies erupt from the corpse’s eyes. Scully’s findings indicate that his death was due to the insects eating his brain until his head collapsed upon itself. It is around this point while watching the episode that Doggett beats me to the obvious “shit-for-brains” quip. Just barely, though. How the insects came to be there would seem to be the real mystery to solve. If it was me, I would also be somewhat curious how a guy with thousands of insects eating his brain could have had a conversation with his girlfriend and climbed into a shopping cart, but it’s Doggett’s and Reyes’ case, not mine. At the local high school where the Dumbass team waste their days between filming port-a-potty performance art pieces, Winky and his film crew are trying to put together a memorial film in their fallen member’s honor. When Natalie gets upset, another student named Dylan Lokensgard tries to stand up for her. Sky Commander Winky, itching for a fight, turns on Dylan until the scene is broken up by the principal (who also happens to be Dylan’s mom). Winky is brought into the principal’s office so that Agents Doggett and Reyes can question him. In the middle of the interview, Winky is attacked by insects that painfully bite the words “DUMB ASS” into a perfect tramp stamp on his lower back. When the agents review some of the Dumbass episodes, Doggett notices that Dylan is on the scene of many of the episodes, prompting an interview with the principal’s kid. When the agents turn to speak with Principal Lokensgard for a moment, they turn back to find Dylan covered in flies. Afterwards, Scully is unable to find even a single bite on the boy’s body. That afternoon at the Lokensgard house, Dylan comes home and retreats to his bedroom to gaze wistfully at a yearbook picture of Natalie while insects blot out the sun on his bedroom window. Teenagers are weird. And just a little bit icky. Scully’s line of inquiry intersects with a local entymologist named Dr. Rocky Bronzino. He uses the opportunity to apply his knowledge of insect pheromones to mack on the disinterested medically-trained FBI agent. We know Scully’s sorta freaky, but she’s got a babydaddy now (even if he’s traipsing all over God-knows-where) and this guy’s bug-sex game goes waaay past charming and somewhere to the extreme left of freaky. Reyes acquires a tissue with Dylan’s sweat on it (don’t ask), which Scully and Dr. Rocky find to be loaded with highly-concentrated insect pheromones. Um, what? That night, Natalie comes to visit Dylan, climbing through his bedroom window. She’s awakened to the notion that maybe the guy who was willing to stand up for her against Winky and his cronies might be a pretty decent guy to hook up with as opposed to the self-destructive, demanding meathead she had attached herself to previously. Unfortunately, Dylan doesn’t seem to understand kissing and she flees the house with a bloody mouth. Dylan tries to follow her out of the house, but Winky and the boys pull up to the curb and abduct him. While they drive, some sort of insect part appears deep inside Dylan’s opened mouth which shoots webbing all over the inside of the vehicle. It crashes and flips over with the boys inside. When the investigating agents arrive on the scene, they are told that Dylan chewed his way out through the car’s back window. Because, it would seem, he’s a web-shooting, insect-controlling, glass-chewing insect guy. Or something. When Scully leaves Dr. Rocky at the Lokensgard home to check in with the other agents, the etymologist is attacked by Mrs. Lokensgard, who has the same web-shooter throat thing as her son. Reyes finds her way to Natalie and tries to offer her protection, but Dylan arrives and uses his web shooter to cocoon the agent. His mom arrives and convinces him that he is and always will be different from other kids. And that’s OK. It’s a veritable Hallmark moment, is what it is. Doggett finds Reyes and Natalie, and the agents proceed back to the Lokensgard house. In the house’s attic, they find Dr. Rocky cocooned but still alive. Mr. Lokensgard, long thought to have run out on his wife and son, is also hanging from webbing, but has long since died. Dylan and his mom drive away undetected, but Dylan sends a cluster of fireflies to spell out his love for Natalie outside her window. Surprisingly, she seems almost charmed by this gesture. Again, teenagers are weird. Some of the elements of this episode would seem to be a nod to the Darin Morgan-penned “War of the Coprophages” from the third season. In particular, Scully’s disdain for flirty entomologists. But in the end, it stands quite resolutely as its own story. Watching it in late 2015, it’s sort of hard to remember when shows like Jackass were still a novelty, which makes it a bit difficult to relate to a bunch of kids whose dreams of fame rest squarely upon how noticeable they can make their cable access show. These same kids today would be perfectly content (and probably nursing their injuries in considerable wealth) as Youtubers. It seems strange how something that is barely more than a decade old can seem like such a social relic, doesn’t it? S9E6: “Trust No 1” (w: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz/d: Tony Wharmby) Originally aired in January of 2002, this episode was the first to give in to the paranoia and fear of post-9/11 America. For a show that made paranoia its bread and butter for its early seasons, that element had been missing during most of this season as the new players have been asserting themselves after Carter his the reset button. Carter and Spotnitz wanted to clarify the stakes which drove Mulder to flee Washington and distance himself from Scully and baby William. At the same time, it proved to be an opportunity to advance the Super Soldier story which had been introduced last season and not broached again since the season opener. Terry O’Quinn (or Mr. Ten Thirteen, as he had come to be known at the time) appears, although under the name Terrance Quinn. This is his third appearance in the X-Files canon, not counting his recurring role on sister show Millennium. This is to say nothing of his role in the Chris Carter comic book-to-television adaptation Harsh Realm. For this episode, the opening credits tag line was changed to the words “They’re watching.” If that doesn’t signal a high level of paranoia in an episode first aired barely three months after the signing of the Patriot Act, nothing does. Scully, having exchanged emails with the fugitive Mulder, is approached by her neighbors. They have a baby approximately the same age as her William, and they have noticed some odd things about their baby. The things they tell her about bear a striking resemblance to some odd quirks she has also observed about William. The couple tells her that they believe their baby was part of some new incarnation of the Super Soldier program, and that her baby is the product of the same program. They believe that information they possess could be what Mulder needs in order to expose the truth about the program which might allow him to come out of hiding. Meanwhile, Doggett and Reyes have been contacted by an anonymous source which claims to have information he needs to share with Mulder. Scully, perhaps sensing something to be amiss, digs in her heels and refuses to admit that she has any way of contacting Mulder. Once they’ve compared stories, Doggett plays Captain Exposition and recaps everything we know so far about the Super Soldiers. In doing so, he tries to convince Scully to take the chance being offered her to possibly bring back the person who should be helping her with William’s diaper changes and 3am feedings. The husband of the couple claims to work for the NSA, giving him limited access to information that will help Mulder return. While the agents and Scully’s neighbors are having this conversation, Scully receives a phone call from a guy we only know by the name of Shadow Man. He requests a private meeting with Scully in which he tells her that he can hand her a list the names of Super Soldiers if she will only contact Mulder in the next twenty-four hours. After a considerable amount of internal debate, Scully reaches out to Mulder and activates their plan for his return. When the NSA agent and Reyes join her at the prearranged train station, the Shadow Man arrives and shoots down Scully’s NSA neighbor before turning his weapon on Scully. Luckily, Doggett’s instincts have led him to join the welcoming party and he shoots Shadow Man twice, causing him to fall onto the tracks directly in front of the approaching train. Through his walkie-talkie, the station master orders the train to keep moving because of the disturbance and gunshots fired on the station platform. Scully can only stand and watch as the train carrying Mulder moves past her. Once the train has passed, they begin the search for the remains of Shadow Man. His body has disappeared, leading them to think that Shadow Man might be a Super Soldier. The station master gets a call from the train’s engineer reporting that they had had someone jump from the moving train near a local quarry. Scully, Doggett, and Reyes move to intercept the jumper whom they all believe to be Mulder. Scully drives deeper into the quarry than the other two agents, where she in confronted by an angry, seemingly-unstoppable Shadow Man. As she backs into the wall of the deepest part of this quarry, the Shadow Man collapses in some sort of twitching fit. While Scully watches, Shadow Man dies. This may or may not have something to do with the strata of bluish-green (or is it greenish-blue?) rock in the wall directly behind where she’s standing (spoiler: it does have everything to do with that particular strata, and it’s called Magnetite – most assuredly NOT Kryptonite). So close, and yet so far. Say, what’s with the flowery prose in those love letter emails? It’s like Robert and Elizabeth Browning in a cybercafé, right? Long distance relationships are challenging in the best of situations, but to have to endure the level of minute-to-minute uncertainty that Scully is experiencing has to be unbearable. And to think sexting wouldn’t become a thing for the better part of a decade. I suppose the real question to come out of this episode would pertain to just how many of these super soldiers are running around. We already know about Billy Miles, Agent Gene Crane, Knowle Rohrer, and Shannon McMahon. To say nothing of the Georgia game warder and the rest of the crowd which gathered to stare awkwardly while little William sprung from Scully’s loin. And now we have this guy known only as the Shadow Man? Well, at least, we did until the magnetite short-circuited him. Was it a coincidence that Shadow Man was led into this particular quarry? Or did Mulder, in jumping from the train when he did, intentionally lead him to his death? See larger image X-files, The Complete Season 9 Blu-ray The ninth electrifying season of The X-Files reveals one astonishing truth after another, as even more mesmerizing stories of conspiracy, the paranormal and extraterrestrial realities unfold. Scully grapples with the revelation about baby William s powers, while interest in the murder of Agent Doggett s son is rekindled. The existence of super soldiers hints at a much bigger government conspiracy one that Mulder has refused to back down from revealing, which brings him to a final, no-holds-barred confrontation with those who would deny the truth. Bonus Features:Disc 1:**Nothing Important Happened Today**Nothing Important Happened Today II**D monicus**4-D **Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz**Special Effects Sequence by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin**Nothing Important Happened Today II International Clips Disc 2:**Lord of the Flies**Trust No 1**John Doe**Hellbound **Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz**Special Effects Sequences by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin**Trust No 1 International Clips Disc 3:**Provenance**Providence**Audrey Pauley**Underneath **Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz**Special Effects Sequences by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin**Provenance International Clips Disc 4:**Improbable**Scary Monsters**Jump the Shark**William **Audio Commentary on Improbable by Chris Carter**Audio Commentary on Jump the Shark by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz**Deleted Scene with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz**Special Effects Sequence by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin**William International Clips Disc 5:**Release**Sunshine Days**The Truth **Audio Commentary on The Truth by Kim Manners**Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz**Special Effects Sequences by Mat Beck with Commentary by Paul Rabwin**The Truth International Clips**Reflections on The Truth Featurette Disc 6:**2008 WonderCon Panel**Documentary: The Truth About Season 9**The Making of The Truth**Secrets of The X-Files**More Secrets of The X-Files**Reflections on The X-Files**Threads of Mythology: Super Soldiers**X-Files Profiles: Monica Reyes and Brad Follmer**Television Spots New From: $17.88 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... 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