Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Season 11, Episode 3: Plus One


Back to the Monster of the Week episodes, or the "bread and butter" according to Mulder! A kid named Arkie Seavers flees a punk rock concert in Virginia after seeing his doppleganger in the crowd. The double shows up in the back seat and deliberately forces Arkie's car into a tree, but he survives.

Although the incident seems like a case of drunk driving, Mulder finds that there's a string of cases where people in Henrico County have reported seeing their double and killed themselves afterward. Inquiring about the past cases at a psychiatric hospital, Mulder is intrigued by a schizophrenic patient named Judy who has a variety of Hangman games in her room.

The answer on one of the games is Arkie, but Judy claims she doesn't know Seavers. She also says she plays the game telepathically with her brother, and also references a "her" in the room who isn't visible. As she modifies the drawing, an imprisoned Arkie sees his double again and is found dead of an apparent suicide.

Mulder goes to visit Judy's brother, Chucky Poundstone, a trustee at the prison who also has a lot of Hangman games and confirms that he plays the game telepathically with Judy. Like his sister, he references an invisible "him" in the room. Scully visits Judy, who has taken on a cruel persona and mocks her for being beyond her childbearing years.

Chucky, thinking that Arkie's lawyer is trying to pin his client's death on him, starts a Hangman game to name the attorney. Mulder accuses Chucky of selecting "good for nothing" victims at the prison, and suggests that his split personality is just an act. Scully makes a similar accusation to Judy and tries to persuade her to find a way to end the killings. Judy claims that the nurses give her pills that protect her from the other Judy; the nurses say the pills are just rolled-up bits of bread, but that they use them as well - just in case.

Arkie's lawyer sees his doppleganger. He tries to purge his home of dangerous items, but it doesn't help that he has a giant sword collection and is soon decapitated by his double. Both Mulder and Scully see their doubles after being named in the siblings' game, but Scully holds that the dopplegangers can only hurt them if they panic. Judy and Chucky pull their punches, accusing each other of being attracted to the agents. They ultimately turn on each other, with each sibling releasing the others doppleganger and bringing an end to the carnage.

Episode Body Count

Fourteen people in Henrico County: Mulder rattles off a list of people who have killed themselves after seeing their dopplegangers, racking up 14 people before Scully cuts him off.

At least 105 other people: Based on the fact that everyone involved in Chucky and Judy's games kicks the bucket and I count at least 103 drawings in Judy's room and what looks like at least 17 in Chucky's house, minus the 14 already named and the game for Arkie being removed.

Arkie Seavers: Found dead of an apparent hanging after seeing his double.

Judy and Chucky's parents: A nurse says they hanged themselves.

Dean Cavalier: Arkie's lawyer, is decapitated by his double

Chuck and Judy: Killed after both sic their dopplegangers on each other

The way they piled up in this one, I'm going to label this the Deadliest of Season for now. And it's probably going to stay there, since it's currently tied for third deadliest of the entire show.

Humans: 125
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 original episodes, 2/2 movies, 9/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,478
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Season 11, Episode 2: This


Mulder and Scully are snoozing at Mulder's house when they get a staticky video message from Richard Langly. He says he needs to know if he's dead, because if so "they know that I know." Soon after, a trio of gunmen ambush the agents; they kill two, but one gets away.

The agents report the incident, and Mulder hides the phone. He wonders if Langly might still be alive, since no one saw the Lone Gunmen's bodies after they heroically stopped a bioweapon from being released 16 years ago. A group of Humvees full of heavily armed Russian-speaking guys arrive at the house; Scully calls Skinner, who urges them to surrender.

The Russian ringleader orders Mulder and Scully to be killed after finding the phone, but the agents escape. Skinner finds them and says the guys are private contractors from Purlieu Services, an American security firm based in Moscow; he didn't expect that they would try to murder fellow intelligence agents, but Mulder and Scully are suspicious. The Purlieu Services guys try to hack the phone, but a kill switch shuts it down.

Mulder and Scully visit the Lone Gunmen's graves at Arlington National Cemetery, and some signs on the tombstones seem to point to Deep Throat's final resting place. They find a memory medallion before they are again attacked by the remaining gunman and again escape. Scanning the medallion, Mulder and Scully find a video of an NSA building in New York City called Titanpointe and realize that an old X-File might help shed some light on the mystery.

The agents confront Skinner about working with men who tried to kill them, and Skinner tells them the world has become a much more complex place. He reveals that the X-Files have been digitized and shared with other intelligence agencies, including Purlieu. Mulder and Scully find that all references to Langly have been scrubbed, although a clue in the files tells them to go to a professor, Dr. Hamby, at Semple Technical Academy in Bethesda.

Hamby says she and Langly took a deal from Purlieu several years earlier to be able to continue living beyond death as a computer simulation. She starts to give them some instructions on how to make contact with Langly, but is shot by the gunman who has been pursuing them; the gunman is in turn shot by Scully.

Langly's simulation is able to make contact again and begs them to shut down the simulation, saying its set up as a sort of utopia but that he and the other people there are essentially "digital slaves." Mulder notes how Langly had theorized a tunnel between the FBI field office and Titanpointe. They are able to access it, but Mulder is soon captured by Purlieu contractors.

Mulder is brought before Syndicate member Erika Price, who says most human life is about to be wiped out and the digital simulation is the next step in our evolution. She says the technology exists to upload any mind through a smartphone. Langly is the only one of the uploaded minds working for them who has figured out that he's in a simulation.

Scully finds the simulation hardware and shuts it down. The agents bring back a forensics team to start a case against Price, but the Titanpointe rooms have already been scrubbed. Returning home, Langly sends a desperate message telling them to destroy the backup before a taunting image of the slain gunman appears.

Episode Body Count

Two Purlieu Services guys: Killed during the ambush on Mulder and Scully's home

Dr. Hamby: Shot by the gunman

Gunman: Shot by Scully

Steve Jobs: I've included famous dead folks referenced in these episodes, so I see no reason to stop now. Langly mentions how Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died in 2011, is one of the people who now exists in the simulation.

Martin Minsky: The co-founder of MIT's artificial intelligence laboratory, Minsky died in 2016. Langly references him as one of the people in the simulation.

Michael Crichton: The bestselling author of such books as Jurassic Park and The Andromeda Strain died in 2008 and is also hanging out with Langly in the postmortem simulation.

Some other Purlieu Services guys might have been killed in the melee as well, but it's a bit hard to confirm.

Humans: 7
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 original episodes, 2/2 movies, 8/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,353
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Season 11: My Struggle III


Previously on The X-Files: The series resumed with a brief run of episodes, which reminded us of the fun 90s conspiracy theories about aliens and awkwardly shoehorned in the dumbass post-9/11 Alex Jones ones about chemtrails. Also, one of the Cigarette Smoking Man's world-ending plans was finally being put into play.

Mulder and Skinner visit Scully in a hospital and learn that she has abnormal brain activity. Skinner interprets the activity as Morse code for "Find him," and thinks that Scully wants Mulder to find William. Apparently the whole "end of the world" thing was just a vision that Scully was experiencing while hospitalized.

Elsewhere, an assailant tries to run down Jeffrey Spender and demands "the boy." Spender warns Mulder that someone is looking for William and that he might be in danger. Mulder, who figures that Scully's trauma is the result of some external agency, sets out for Spartanburg, South Carolina, where Scully has told him CSM is. CSM comments to Agent Reyes, who is chilling out with him, that Mulder will be looking for him and will kill him if he finds him.

Spender warns Scully about his pursuers and, at her request, breaks his promise to keep William hidden and gives him the name of William's adoptive parents. Spender CSM dismisses Reyes concerns that his plans might leak out, saying facts don't matter in Trump's America. Scully, upon finding that Mulder is heading to confront CSM, is horrified that things are playing out as she envisioned and collapses after suffering another brain cramp.

Mulder arrives at the CSM estate, but finds only some Syndicate folks. Skinner, looking for Scully, is instead found by Reyes and CSM. Scully, trying to drive in her less than healthy state, gets into a car accident.

CSM offers Skinner immunity to the plague in return for William's whereabouts. The Syndicate members say that CSM has been hellbent on exterminating humanity with an alien pathogen; they claim that they want to save mankind by colonizing space. Mulder is suspicious of their claims to try to save the entire race by getting off the planet.

Scully has been brought back to the hospital by Agents Einstein and Miller. Here, the goon who went after Scully tries to smother her, but is killed by Mulder. Scully tells Mulder that CSM won't harm her, and that the goon attack is related to something else. She also tells Mulder to trust that they won't find William, but that he will find them.

Mulder angrily confronts Skinner after he arrives, saying he smells like smoke and wondering whose side he's on. Skinner tells him to leave it alone. In a flashback to their conversation, CSM reveals that he is William's father, not Mulder, having impregnated Scully with alien DNA to create a superchild.

Episode Body Count

Goon: Has his throat cut by Mulder.

Humans: 1
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 7/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,346
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 22, 2016

Season 10, Episode 6: My Struggle II


In the intro, Scully gives us a quick recap of everything from the start of the series to its reboot. In the newly reconstituted X-Files office, she sees that Tad O'Malley has gone back on the air after a six-week absence to say that every American has alien DNA. Like Scully, he has had his DNA tested and found anomalies, although Scully points out that everyone has weird junk DNA. Also, Mulder has gone missing.

Meanwhile, Scully's hospital is being inundated with new cases, including a disoriented man who has a lesion on his arm. Working with Agent Einstein, she wonders if the alien DNA sequences may have been implanted through smallpox inoculations. When she finds out that the lesions are appearing on many soldiers who were exposed to anthrax before their deployment, she worries that it's the first step in a wide-scale effort by the conspirators to shut down everyone's immune system.

A roughed-up Mulder ignores calls from Skinner and Scully as he travels to South Carolina, but Agent Miller finds out where he is by tracking his cell phone. Agent Reyes reconnects with Scully, telling her that she met with the very badly burned Cigarette Smoking Man and was convinced to cooperate with him in exchange for immunity. She says that Scully is also protected, and that the plan has been in motion since 2012.

It turns out that Mulder has gotten his shiner in a tussle with a CSM-sent goon, from whom he gets CSM's location. CSM points out that humans are already treating the planet like crap anyway, so the conspiracy is just speeding up the timeline. Hospitals are overrun by patients affected by the contagion, now known as the "Spartan Virus;" Scully modifies her theory, now believing that the alien DNA is only in protected people like her and can be used to create a vaccine. However, a PCR test finds no trace of anomalies.

Scully and Einstein ponder the possibility that the Spartan Virus slices DNA in specific places, and Einstein realizes that they need a larger sample of Scully's blood to figure out how it offers protection. Miller picks up Mulder, who has also been sickened by the virus. Another PCR test of Scully's blood identifies the alien blood, and Scully manages to create a vaccine.

As every unprotected person's immune system starts to break down, Scully meets up with Mulder and Miller on a traffic-choked bridge in Washington, D.C. She worries that Mulder has been affected enough that the only way to truly heal him would be with stem cells. The only place she can think to get those is from William, due to his natural immunity; of course, she has no idea where he is. Then, as hundreds of sick witnesses watch, a triangular UFO descends over the three agents and shines a bright light onto their car.

Well, I thought I was going to be able to do a new final tally after this episode. But now I guess we'll see where this goes.

Episode Body Count

O'Malley says soldiers and elderly people are starting to die from the Spartan Virus. Then again, he's also saying that chemtrails and microwaves are to blame, so who knows how accurate that is. Depending on how widespread the contagion is, this might also fall under my old Gimpy Rule of not permitting mass casualties in the count.

Humans: 0
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 6/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,345
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 15, 2016

Season 10, Episode 5: Babylon


In Texas, a pair of Muslim men blow up a gallery displaying anti-Islamic art. At FBI headquarters, Mulder and Scully meet with a pair of younger doppelgangers, agents Miller and Einstein. Miller is a fan of the X-Files, while Einstein takes a more skeptical and rational view. Miller is interested in somehow communicating with a comatose surviving bomber named Shiraz.

Scully gets in touch with Miller, while Mulder gets in touch with Einstein. Both are interested in communicating with Shiraz to get information on the other bombings rumored to be in the planning phase. Mulder believes that he might be able to accomplish this task with magic mushrooms, although Einstein flatly refuses this proposal. Scully believes that it might be possible to communicate through certain brain impulses. A pair of Homeland Security agents try to take jurisdiction of the case, but Miller chases them off.

Einstein decides to summon Mulder to Texas after finding that Scully is on the case, and ends up getting the hallucinogenic mushrooms as well. After experiencing a bit of racism from from the local FBI and a nurse who tries to pull the plug on the bomber, Mulder tries his mushroom strategy. He winds up in a trippy fantasy world where he walks down the middle of a highway, kicks ass at square dancing, and comes into contact with the bomber as a woman holds him. Elsewhere, a terrorist cell prepares for more attacks.

Mulder regains consciousness in a hospital room and finds that Einstein administered him a placebo, and that he isn't as good a dancer as he thinks. Mulder insists that he spoke with the bomber, but didn't understand what he said since it was in Arabic. He also recognizes the bomber's mother as she tries to get into the hospital and brings her in to speak to her son. After some noticeable brain activity, Shiraz dies. Miller and Mulder both believe he has tried to give a message to them.

Mulder recalls the words he heard Shiraz say in his vision, which Miller translates as "Babylon the hotel." The authorities raid a hotel by that name and capture the members of the terror cell. The agents all reflect on the strangeness of the case, with Mulder saying it's gotten him to reflect on God.

The Lone Gunmen make a brief cameo in the square dance scene. Lauren Ambrose, who plays Agent Einstein, appeared on many episodes of Six Feet Under as Claire Fisher. Eric Breker had small roles on "Apocrypha," "Demons," "Christmas Carol," and "Emily" before playing Special Agent Brem in this episode. Garry Chalk, who plays Mad Dog, has done an enormous amount of voice work, including several Transformers series where he's spoken for Optimus Prime. Marci T. House, whose only role here is the "Angry Woman" in the TV debate, played a sheriff in The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

Episode Body Count

Nine people: killed in the bombing attack on the Texas art gallery

Bomber: it isn't specified whether the stated body count includes the bomber, but I'm going out on a limb and saying that's how the FBI is calculating it

Shiraz: dies of his injuries injuries in the hospital

Humans: 11
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

With only one more episode to go before the miniseries concludes, I'll call this one the Deadliest of Season.

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 5/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,345
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 8, 2016

Season 10, Episode 4: Home Again


In West Philadelphia (born and raised), a housing official is in the midst of clearing homeless people out of their encampments. That night, he is murdered in his office when a man uses seemingly supernatural strength to tear him apart. He then climbs into the back of a garbage truck.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the crime scene, where the forensics team is having trouble identifying footprints. Scully is informed that her mother has suffered a heart attack. The security cameras have all been knocked aside before the murder, despite their elevated height. Mulder also notes how a large piece of street art, an ominous figure, appeared on a billboard facing the official's office overnight.

Mulder overhears an argument between a man named Daryl Landry, who was working on moving the homeless out of the downtown area to create an upscale apartment, and a woman named Nancy Huff, a school board member who is upset that the duo plans to move the homeless into an abandoned hospital near a high school. Asking who represents the homeless, one of the nearby vagrants tells Mulder that it's the "Band-Aid Nose Man." Mulder then notices that the section of billboard with the street art has disappeared.

A lab tests a Band-Aid that Mulder has found at the crime scene, only to find that it has no traces of life on it. Scully discovers that her mother has a "do not resuscitate" order if she is unconscious for long enough. It turns out that the street art has been stolen by a couple of thieves, who are soon torn apart. Mulder learns that the street art has been created by someone with the alias Trashman.

Landry tries to ship the homeless to the abandoned hospital and is informed by Huff that there is an injunction against the action. Soon after, Huff is murdered at her home. Scully's mother briefly revives and tells Mulder, "My son is named William too," disturbing Scully. The forensic analysis allows the agents to track down Trashman, and they catch a glimpse of the grotesque figure we've seen at the murders. When they corner him, however, they find a homeless artist and a sculpture made of trash. Trashman claims he created the Band-Aid Nose Man to scare anyone who mistreats the homeless, but that it has somehow gotten imbued with life (it's happened before) and is taking bloody vengeance.

Mulder realizes that Landry will be the next target. They arrive at the new homeless housing project too late to save him. Trashman disappears, leaving the same ominous painting up on the building he was squatting in. As she prepares to spread her mother's ashes, Scully ruminates on the decision to give William away and hopes it was for the best.

Alessandro Juliani, who plays Joseph Cutler, might be best known as  Lt. Felix Gaeta from the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. Sheila Larken has played Margaret Scully in 17 episodes, starting with "Beyond the Sea." Veena Sood, who plays Dr. Louise Colquitt, also played Ms. Saunders way back in the episode "Shadows." The six-foot-nine John DeSantis, who plays Band-Aid Nose Man, also played Lurch in The New Addams Family.

Episode Body Count

Joseph Cutler: torn apart by Band-Aid Nose Man

Hospital patient: dies while Scully is in the hospital with her mother

Two art thieves: also torn apart by Band-Aid Nose Man

Nancy Huff: killed in her home by Band-Aid Nose Man

Margaret Scully: dies in the hospital after suffering a heart attack

Daryl Landry: killed in the homeless housing project by Band-Aid Nose Man

Humans: 7
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Screenshots this week are from

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 4/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,334
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 1, 2016

Season 10, Episode 3: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-monster


During a full moon, a couple of burnouts in Oregon witness a three-eyed monster attacking an animal control officer and find that another person has been killed. Mulder has grown more skeptical about the unexplained phenomena in the X-Files, considering that they can be explained away as pranks and unreliable sightings. Scully lets him know about the Oregon case, where local police have found three more bodies.

A prostitute near the crime scene is attacked by a creature, but says it only has two eyes. Mulder and the animal control officer are also ambushed by a creature, and Mulder gets some footage of it on his smartphone. The agents pursue the creature into a portable toilet and find a dapper gentleman; unbeknownst to them, the man seems to be in the final stages of transitioning back into a human.

Based on the phone footage, Mulder thinks the creature has shot blood from his eyes like the horned lizard. At the motel, Mulder hears the owner screaming about monsters and discovers that the establishment has a secret hallway for peeping on guests. The owner confesses that he saw a guest transform into a two-eyed monster who looks similar to the man they saw in the portable toilet. Mulder quickly reverts to his numerous paranormal theories, much to Scully's delight.

Mulder visits with a psychiatrist who prescribed the lizard man, also known as Guy Mann, some anti-psychotic medication. Scully finds Mann working in a cell phone store, but he flees as soon as she tries to ask him some questions. After Mulder tracks him down in a cemetery, Mann says he was bitten by a man and changed from his natural form into a human, after which he felt helplessly compelled to dress himself in human clothes, get a job, eat a hamburger, and watch porn. He says he's been transforming into a human each morning and plagued by various midlife crises.

Mann says that he saw the person who infected him and witnessed him kill another creature. He also recalls how the prostitute attacked him and some weirdo took a picture of him in the toilet. And that Scully seduced him in a cheesy pornographic setup, at which point Mulder begins to doubt his story. Mann begs Mulder to put him out of his misery, but gets offended when realizes that Mulder is an FBI agent.

Scully is attacked by the animal control officer, who turns out to be a serial killer. Mulder finds Mann just as he is stripping naked to go into hibernation, which he says will last for 10,000 years. Mulder apologizes for considering him as a suspect, but still doubts Mann's story. However, he is pleasantly surprised when Mann says he is glad to have met someone like Mulder, then transforms back into lizard form and disappears into the woods.

Alex Diakun, who plays the motel manager, previously appeared in the X-Files episodes "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space,'" "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose," and "Humbug" as well as The X-Files: I Want to Believe. If the stoners look familiar, it's because they've been getting high and encountering strange things since the episodes "The War of the Coprophages" and "Quagmire." This episode also features a notable Easter egg in that the gravestones in the cemetery include ones for Kim Manners, who directed 52 episodes of the show and died in 2009, and Jack Hardy, the assistant director who helped direct several Chris Carter series as well as the second X-Files movie; he too has since passed away.

Episode Body Count

Four victims: discovered by the Oregon authorities after an attack on an animal control officer

Another victim: found by Mulder and Scully soon after they arrive in Oregon

Dear Friend George: Mann says his buddy was gored by a jackalope. Mulder points out that jackalopes aren't real, but Mann is rather insistent about it.

Humans: 6
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 3/16 reboot episodes)

Humans: 2,327
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66