Monday, February 22, 2016

Miniseries, Episode 6: My Struggle II

Synopsis

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, 6/6 miniseries episodes)

Humans: 2,345
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 15, 2016

Miniseries, Episode 5: Babylon

Synopsis

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, 5/6 miniseries episodes)

Humans: 2,345
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 8, 2016

Miniseries, Episode 4: Home Again

Synopsis 

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 gallery.xfsource.net/

Cumulative Body Count (202/202 episodes, 2/2 movies, 4/6 miniseries episodes)

Humans: 2,334
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66

Monday, February 1, 2016

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

Synopsis

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, 3/6 miniseries episodes)

Humans: 2,327
Creatures: 132
Aliens: 66