A lifeboat of severely aged sailors from a missing Navy destroyer escort, the USS Ardent, is found near an area off Norway where several unexplained disappearances of ships have occurred. Mulder thinks it may have something to do with the Philadelphia Experiments, which may have attempted to use relativistic portholes as a way of keeping warships off radar.
Mulder and Scully travel to Norway and thence to the area of disappearances, where they find the Ardent. They are marooned aboard the ship with Harry Trondheim, the captain who brought them there. They find the Ardent's captain still alive, who says there was a bright light in the sky before the ship went dead in the water. Meanwhile, everyone starts to age. Scully thinks the free radicals in their bodies and the ship might be accelerating the process if the ship is moving toward the metallic source of a meteorite, thus creating a charge.
The agents realize that the desalinated water on board the ship is contaminated, and manage to slow the aging process with untainted water from the sewer system and other sources. Scully begins to keep a journal on the proceedings, as Trondheim suggests that Mulder's condition is severe enough that he should not be helped. Trondheim locks himself in the sewage hold with the remaining water, an action that dooms him after the corroding Ardent begins to take on water. Mulder and Scully are rescued by a search party shortly before the Ardent sinks, and Scully's journal helps in their medical treatment.
John Savage, who plays Harry Trondheim, has had numerous other roles including Donald Lydecker in Dark Angel, Father Andrew Hagen in The Godfather: Part III, and the voice of the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. David Cubitt, who plays the Ardent's captain, has had roles as Jack Larkin on Traders and Detective Lee Scanlon on Medium. Lt. Richard Harper is played by Dmitry Chepovetsky, who also played Bob Melnikov on ReGenesis.
Episode Body Count
17 Ardent crewmen: the lifeboat that is recovered has 18 crewmen, but only one survives after the rescue.
Six other crewmen: visible when Mulder and Scully examine the ship.
Halverson: dies after he is attacked by Olafsson, a Norwegian pirate.
Captain Barclay: dies of extreme aging.
Olafsson: murdered by Trondheim.
Harry Trondheim: drowns after the Ardent starts to sink.
All told, the body count on this episode should probably be a lot higher. Aside from the Ardent crew, which likely has significantly more people than the 25 mentioned above, Mulder says that a British battleship, six Soviet minesweepers, and two other vessels have disappeared in the 65th Parallel. Still, the deaths above are the only ones that can be confirmed.
Cumulative Body Count (43/202 episodes, 0/2 movies)
Grand Total: 378
5 weeks ago