Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Final Tally

(Give or take several thousand)

Humans: 2,314
Creatures: 131
Aliens: 64

Ugh. It seemed like there were some inconsistencies, and so I went through the entire count. It turns out a few things were under-counted or miscounted, so the total now includes two more humans than was originally shown.

While the tally takes into account every confirmed death as well as estimates of the occasional pile of corpses that shows up, it's probably a little low. I didn't estimate on vague statements, such as the assertion that Luther Lee Boggs killed every animal in his housing project when he was a child. Or the almost certainly under-counted fatalities aboard the USS Allegiance and USS Ardent (not to mention the disappearance of the crews of nine other ships in the Bermuda Triangle of Aging). And though I counted small tallies in wartime situations, I made a Gimpy Rule excluding mass counts, which nullified Mr. X's claim that over 4,000 people were killed in Vietnam by a sleepless Marine unit. Given Michael Kritschgau's assertion that aliens are a giant hoax, as well as the fact that he turns out to be wrong, it is unclear whether the treasure trove of alien bodies Mulder comes across at the Department of Defense should increase the alien count quite a bit. And thanks to Cancer Man's historical killing spree, I also counted a few mentions of dead celebrities. Except Elvis, of course. And finally, a couple of humans could conceivably be transferred to the alien tally, assuming the super-soldiers are not quite human.

By the Season

Season 1: 181 humans, 10 creatures, 9 aliens
Season 2: 323 humans, 19 creatures, 35 aliens
Season 3: 388 humans, 28 creatures, 3 aliens
Season 4: 316 humans, 23 creatures, 8 aliens
Season 5: 206 humans, 8 creatures, 5 aliens
The X-Files: Fight the Future: 18 humans, 1 alien
Season 6: 122 humans, 16 creatures, 1 alien
Season 7: 173 humans, 10 creatures, 0 aliens
Season 8: 376 humans, 15 creatures, 2 aliens
Season 9: 196 humans, 2 creatures, 0 aliens
The X-Files: I Want to Believe: 15 humans

Top 10 Deadliest

In increasing order:

10. The Red and the Black (50 humans net and 3 aliens)

Over 50 humans are incinerated by alien rebels at the Ruskin Dam. A couple of the rebels are killed by the alien colonists, and at least one more is killed when his spacecraft crashes on an Air Force base. The reason it's a net count is that Cancer Man was confirmed to be alive, after being presumed dead for a run of episodes.

9. Humbug (53 humans and 2 creatures)

Mulder and Scully join the case to investigate the latest in a string of murders that has claimed 48 lives over the course of 28 years. It turns out to be from a circus employee's internal twin, who kills a few more people before finding a new home. This also marks the first time I counted historical deaths, and mention of a dead faux-mermaid created from a monkey and fish sewed together counted as two creature deaths.

8. Patient X (62 humans)

Prior to the Ruskin Dam deaths, alien rebels torched at least 61 people between Kazakhstan and Skyland Mountain, and a doctor in Tunguska ends up dead as well.

7. Per Manum (67 humans and an alien)

A room full of fetuses dead of horrific birth defects takes up most of this tally, along with the human mother of an alien, the alien infant, and a man who died in 1970.

6. Closure (77 humans)

The episode opened with the unpleasant discovery of 24 kids who had been murdered by a child molester. It grew to include a number of ghosts and children taken by "walk-ins," including Samantha Mulder.

5. Release (85 humans)

This might be a conservative estimate. Most of the toll comes from the Wall of Death kept by Stuart Mimms. Though it includes hundreds of photos of victims of violent murders, many seem to be duplicates, with five of Luke Doggett alone. Based on that, I guessed there were at least 77 individuals. The count was further increased by a couple of recent victims, some cadavers at an FBI training facility, and the deaths of Luke's murderer and the person whose identity Mimms takes.

4. Our Town (91 humans)

Life-lengthening ritual sacrifices in a chicken plant community end up claiming the lives of dozens of people within a 200-mile radius of the town over the years. The participants begin to turn on themselves shortly before the agents investigate and put a stop to the practice.

3. Badlaa (125 humans)

A chemical plant disaster in India claims 118 lives, with a beggar's son dying later as a result. The beggar's vengeful killing spree and Doggett's recollection of seeing his first body as a Marine increases the count by six. The ending is quite confusing, as the beggar is seen in India after being shot dead by Scully. I say she got him and he has a twin, or something like that.

2. Tempus Fugit (135 humans and an alien)

A commercial jetliner crashes after the military shoots down a UFO conducting a mid-flight abduction, and all 134 people on board (including Max Fenig) perish. The suicide of a military air traffic controller and an alien Mulder finds in the UFO wreckage bump the count up even more.

1. Piper Maru (139 humans)

Only seven sailors in the 144-strong crew of a World War II submarine survive a black oil infection and subsequent radiation poisoning. Trigger-happy French agents and a Gulf War training death add a couple more to this deadliest single episode.

All told, these 10 episodes (about five percent of the total episodes and movies) account for about 35.5 percent of the total fatalities.

Most Mourned

The Lone Gunmen: this lovable trio of geeks never let Mulder and Scully down, and were popular enough to get their own short-lived spinoff. They were symbolic of the Three Wise Men after William's birth, for crying out loud. At least they went out in style, sacrificing their own lives to stop a viral outbreak that would have killed thousands.

Agent Pendrell: another likable geek, Pendrell was an FBI lab tech who was infatuated with Scully. Pendrell also goes out somewhat heroically, if unintentionally so, when a bullet meant for a witness Scully is protecting ends up in his lung instead. He was popular enough that at least one memorial site dedicated to him survives from the earlier days of the Internet.

Max Fenig: the show liked introducing and killing off geeks that fans liked, apparently. The multiple abductee trailer gypsy with a keen insight into government conspiracies and a liking for Soul Coughing was killed in a plane crash (or rather sucked out of the plane when the Air Force shot down a UFO that was returning him to his seat) while trying to get an alien artifact to Mulder. He only made two appearances, but overall he left a pretty lasting impression on the show, also earning a memorial from the ancient days of the Internet.

Queequeg: Scully's pet dog, given to her by Clyde Bruckman after his owner (and Bruckman's neighbor) passed away. The little Pomeranian was gobbled up by a Georgia crocodile, or perhaps the not-quite-mythical Big Blue monster. He also has at least one old memorial site, and his untimely death was subtly referenced in the British comedy Spaced.

Clyde Bruckman: a curmudgeonly psychic and reluctant helper to Mulder and Scully, he commits suicide after leaving a note bequeathing Queequeg to Scully. Bruckman appears to have made a big impression on the fans; quite a few visitors to the site came looking for something related to him, and his name is dropped in the second movie. Seeing Peter Boyle in the role is also a little more poignant since the actor's death in 2006.

Mulder's entire family: Mulder's work has some pretty dire consequences for his immediate family. His father (sort of) is killed by Alex Krycek, his mother commits suicide, and he finally comes to accept that his sister is dead. Mulder himself spends three months under a tombstone before he is exhumed and treated for an effort to turn him into a super-soldier.

William and Melissa Scully: Scully also lost a few family members. She was most affected by the loss of her sister, who was fatally shot in a botched assassination attempt on Scully herself.

Deep Throat: a kindly old Syndicate informant and friend of Mulder's (sort of) father, he was killed when the Syndicate realized what he was up to. He had his dark history, but was a good help to Mulder, who kept him alive in his memory.

Mr. X: a much more abrasive informant who came into play after Deep Throat's death, X nevertheless proved to be a terrific character...even if he wasn't above murdering people and leading Mulder on. Like Deep Throat, the Syndicate takes him out once they realize he's involved with Mulder, but he goes out like the badass he is, writing a clue in his own blood to lead Mulder to Marita Covarrubias.

Alex Krycek: well, not so much mourned as established as a character deeply imbued with the X-Files identity. A conniving free agent who played the X-Files team, and the Syndicate, and the Russian gulag, and the FBI conspirators all to his own ends. He also used bloodborne nanobots to perpetually blackmail Skinner; the Assistant Director didn't much care for that, and Kycek met his end when Skinner put a bullet between his eyes in the FBI parking garage.

Cancer Man (C.G.B. Spender): OK, so maybe Mulder and Scully weren't too upset to see him go, and Doggett and Reyes never got to drop into the pueblo to say hello, but it was a little sad when he was finally killed. From the cool, collected way he belittled Mulder's efforts to uncover the truth to the sinister way he hung out in the background to the fact that he may have committed the two most notorious assassinations of the 1960s, Cancer Man stands as one of the best villains to grace the small screen. After not one but two brushes with death, he is finally blown up by a pair of black helicopters while hiding out in New Mexico.

Signing Off

What a long, paranormal trip it's been. I hope those of you who have been checking this out have enjoyed it. I'll wander back when the third movie comes around!

Friday, January 1, 2010

The X-Files: I Want to Believe


An FBI agent named Monica Bannan is kidnapped from her home in West Virginia by two men, though she manages to get in a few shots with a rake to one of them. Using the help of a supposed psychic, Father Joseph Crissman, an FBI team discovers the injured kidnapper's severed arm in a field. Scully has returned to the medical field, and a heavily bearded Mulder is romantically involved with her but still hiding out from the bogus charges resulting from the Knowle Rohrer case. Agent Mosley Drummy offers to drop them if Mulder helps in the search for Bannan. Mulder reluctantly takes the offer and he and Scully are introduced to Dakota Whitney, the lead agent on the case.

Crissman, a convicted sex offender, claims to have seen a vision of Bannan's kidnapping in which he heard dogs barking. He is taken to Bannan's home, where he fails to impress the agents with any real intuition of her whereabouts before he starts to bleed from his eyes. Scully, meanwhile, has a crisis of faith because a young patient with Sandhoff disease isn't going to live. Another woman, Cheryl Cunningham, is abducted after a creepy Russian man (one of the people who nabbed Bannan) runs her off the road. Since Crissman mentioned barking dogs in one of his visions, Mulder gives him a little more credence when Scully says animal tranquilizer was found in the severed arm. Scully thinks that Mulder's new obsession with the case has to do with finding his sister, even though Mulder now believes that she's dead.

Crissman leads the FBI to the same field where the arm was found and this time discovers a body, part of a larger stash of corpses that also have traces of animal tranquilizers. While there, he tells Scully not to give up. The Russian, Jane Dacyshyn, takes his latest abductee to a place that looks to operate as both a dog kennel and shady operating room; it includes the injured kidnapper, Franz Tomczeszyn, who is also bleeding from his eyes. Scully riles up the administration at the Catholic hospital by suggesting stem cell treatment for her patient. The FBI looks into Cunningham's disappearance and discover that both she and Bannan have the same rare blood type and swam at the same pool, leading to the conclusion that a black market organ harvesting operation is going on. Scully wants to declare this the end of her criminal investigative career, and breaks up with Mulder when it becomes clear that he'll never be able to leave that line of work.

The boy's parents ask to stop the treatment and let God take over, and Scully recalls how Crissman told her not to give up and urges further treatment. She visits Crissman, demanding to know why he said that; he says he doesn't know and, after quoting a Scripture passage, starts seizing. Dacyshyn is questioned by the District Attorney's office for possible organ trafficking but released; that leads the FBI to find the name of Tomczeszyn, Dacyshyn's employer. Mulder is convinced that Crissman identified Dacyshyn in one of his visions, but Drummy says the only connection there is that Tomczeszyn was one of several choir boys molested by Crissman. The FBI raids their offices, but Dacyshyn manages to escape, killing Whitney and leaving Bannan's head behind.

Mulder and Scully visit Crissman, now hospitalized with terminal lung cancer, and decide that he's probably a fraud since he still thinks Bannan is alive; he also claims to have some sort of connection with Tomczeszyn. At the facility, we see that Tomczeszyn's head has been grafted onto Bannan's body. Mulder vows to find Cunningham, thinking she's still alive. He manages to track down Dacyshyn after seeing him purchasing animal tranquilizer, but Dacyshyn realizes Mulder is following him and pushes his car down a hill with his snowplow. Scully's stem cell research happens upon grafting experiments on dogs that are being done in Russia, and she calls Mulder to say that she thinks the kidnappers are doing the same thing only on humans...meaning Bannan, or at least part of her, might still be alive as Crissman predicted.

Mulder pulls himself from the wrecked car and heads toward the facility, picking up a weapon along the way. Bannan's body apparently isn't turning out to be a good match, as Dacyshyn and the other doctors at the facility prepare to transplant Tomczeszyn's head to Cunningham's body. Scully calls in the big guns to help find Mulder: Skinner! Mulder sneaks into the facility, where he demands a stop to the operation; however, one surgeon manages to inject him with tranquilizer after he is distracted by seeing Tomczeszyn's removed head open its eyes from a bucket of ice. After finding a letter addressed to a doctor in a mailbox with Crissman's Scripture number and hearing the sound of barking dogs, Scully and Skinner arrive at the facility. Scully saves Mulder from decapitation, and Skinner stops the surgical procedure while Cunningham still has her head on.

Mulder and Scully apparently get back together. Crissman dies, and Mulder is miffed that a newspaper article on the crimes neglects to mention his psychic role. He thinks that Crissman was connected to
Tomczeszyn, and suspects that he died as soon as the blood flow to Tomczeszyn's head was cut off. Scully is upset because she's put her patient through rigorous surgery as a result of Crissman's "don't give up" advice when he actually meant that she shouldn't give up on finding Mulder. He thinks it may have had a larger meaning and urges her to continue with the surgery, which she does.

Amanda Peet, who might be best-known for her roles on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Jack and Jill, plays Special Agent Dakota Whitney here. Billy Connolly, who plays Father Joseph Crissman, also played Il Duce in the two Boondock Saints movies. Alvin "Xzibit" Joiner, who plays Agent Mosley Drummy, is a rapper who formerly hosted Pimp My Ride. Donavon Stinson, who plays the "Suited Man," also plays Ted in Reaper. Chris Carter makes a cameo as a man sitting in a hospital hallway. Dedicated to the memory of Randy Stone, who did casting for the movie and several episodes and died in 2007.

Episode Body Count

Corpsicle: a woman's severed head is found in a block of ice in a field in West Virginia.

Ten other bodies: Mulder says 11 discrete human limbs have been found in the field; he tells Whitney that she has a chance to solve a dozen murders, but he's probably just rounding up.

Monica Bannan: her head is found in an organ donor transport bag by Drummy.

Special Agent Dakota Whitney: impaled on a steel bar after Dacyshyn pushes her from high atop a construction site.

Father Joseph Crissman: dies of lung cancer.

Franz Tomczeszyn: it seems that he's being kept alive through various body transplants, but Mulder mentions how Scully removed the tubes supplying him with blood, suggesting that he died at the same time as Crissman.

Scully's discovery of the Russian research includes a photo of a severed dog's head, but considering that it appears to have been successfully transplanted to another body I guess I'll let that one go.

Humans: 15
Creatures: 0
Aliens: 0

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies)

Humans: 2,314
Creatures: 131
Aliens: 64

Grand Total: 2,509

And there it is! I'll return for one last post to do a bit of a statistical analysis.