I originally posted these to the Xslash mailing list in fall of 1998. They can also be found, along with reviews for all eps up to February 2000, at X-Reviews.
The Beginning - Drive - Triangle - Dreamland I - Dreamland II - The Ghosts That Stole Christmas
This seems like the set up to other eps, so I don't have a lot to say about it. But these are my observations:
1. When Mulder and Scully were leaving the inquisition at the beginning, Mulder said to her, "If I'd have known, I would have worn a clown suit and made some balloon animals." I thought, what a great undercover look for him! Doing a stakeout in a park or a mall, microphone hidden in the big ruffle around his neck, with that sarcastic Mulderface on ("I *live* for balloon animals").
2. I enjoyed the snip of geneticist-humor in the beginning, "Is that your IQ, or how many diploids your mother had?"
3. It looks like Fowley is shaping up to be one of the bad guys. What surprised me is how fast Squeaky seems to have warmed up to CSM. In "The End," he doesn't know, or trust him. If they've had contact since then, Squeaky must have figured out that CSM is the guy whose letters he used to return to sender, who he blames for leaving his mother, setting the stage for her slide into delusions. I wish we could see some of the intermediate scenes, where he is recruited to CSM's perspective. Last season, I never thought of him as one of the organized forces of evil, just a guy who not unreasonably considered Mulder a pain in the ass.
4. What happened to Scully between PX/RATB and now (not to mention the movie, which I just have a hard time accepting as canon) to make her so skeptical again (the scene outside the dead geneticist's home in Pheonix)?
5. As evidence mounts that Gibson Paige is part alien, or at least a little more in touch with his inner alien than the rest of us, my conviction is strengthened that Mulder will turn out to be part alien as well, and to be more closely related to Gibson Paige than to anyone else we've met yet.
6. Millenium detour: Lending creedence to the idea (I don't remember who first proposed it here, but it makes sense) that CC is planning to fold Millenium into XF, Evil Peter had a line in last Friday's ep where he tells someone that he belongs to a "consortium" called the Millenium Group.
This reminded me of some of the season 1 shows I like, because it's based on a technology "current event" (ELF radiation, which I haven't read about, but it seems like something they came across in a paper or magazine) with conspiracy overtones, and our heroes move around a lot.
My favorite part was the dialogue with Krumpf in the car. A lot of people would have figured well, this guy is too sick to reason with, and he's going to die soon anyway, so the heck with it, and not bothered arguing with him. I'm not sure how much Mulder was thinking, if you're well enough to demand respect from me, I'm going to demand respect from you, or how much of it was optimism that the guy wasn't going to die after all (and therefore he didn't feel too sorry for the guy to argue with him). But it was a tricky passage, because Mulder manages to convey both his anger with the guy's rudeness, and his empathy as a fellow human being. Kersh: I like him, so far. He seems to have a sense of humor, and an understanding of the fundamental absurdity of his mission, as though he knows as well as we do that nothing he can do will stop them chasing x-files.
Mulder never says whether he's Jewish or not (though some of his lines could be taken as evidence for that argument, eg, "On behalf of the international Jewish conspiracy,... (I forget what comes next.)) But it reminded me of something I've thought of since I discovered the website, "Methos the Blue-Faced Love God." I thought, if I were going to do an xf web site, maybe I'd call it, "Mulder the Schlemiel Love God." Then I thought, there's probably just as good an argument for calling it, "Mulder the Schlimazel Love God." A guy who knew Yiddish once explained how to remember the difference: in a restaurant, a clumsy waiter spills a bowl of hot soup in a customer's lap. The waiter is the schlemiel; the customer is the schlimazel. I think of Mulder as more of a schlemiel, bumping into and knocking over the bad guys' plans. Krycek seems more like a schlimazel, albeit a customer who sticks his foot out and trips the waiter carrying the hot soup. What do you think?
1. I was disappointed. After reading the first spoilers from the East coast, where somebody (Rebekah?) said "Everybody kisses everybody," and someone else said MP was in it, I was expecting Mulder and Skinner to kiss.
2. I read an article in Entertainment Weekly last week about the making of this ep. It said that CC chose the real time narration because that's how he dreams, and he thought of this as Mulder's dream sequence (I'm not sure the statement was that explicit, but that was the idea). The article compared it to an Ambrose Bierce story of a prisoner of war, about to be hanged, who fantasizes an elaborate rescue and life afterwards in the time between the noose going over his head and the trapdoor falling out (this was the idea behind the movie "Jacob's Ladder," about 10 years ago, too.). I don't know if this was supposed to include just the time on the Queen Anne, or the DC end of the rescue efforts as well.
I like to think that the whole thing happened in his head, from the time we first see him face down in the water, to the time he wakes up in the hospital, because I don't want to consign Spender and Kersh to the forces of evil yet. CSM's alliance with Squeaky on the ship is consistent with their alliance in the Hoover bldg, whether it's happening in RL or not. What surprised me was (I think) Kersh's 1939 doppleganger. I feel like the stereotypical white guy who can't tell Black people's faces apart, but wasn't the chief engineer below decks played by the same guy who plays Kersh? In 1939, he was pursuing an agenda of his own, unaffiliated with CSM or any other known players. I don't know if this portends for his role in the show, or (more likely, if you think of the rescue plans in DC as xf reality rather than dream) just means that Mulder underestimates his threat.
3. It's still possible to interpret the whole thing as xf reality, rather than Mulder's dream. In that case, I have to point out another example of Mulder's alien-like stamina. When we first see him, he's unconscious, face down in the water. No bubbles are coming from his face, meaning he's stopped breathing. The British sailors haul him out, drop him on the deck in a position where the water can't run out of his lungs, and start kicking him around. They march him off to the captain, who hits him several times. He's not only conscious, he's lucid, chatty, and ready to knock out Herr Spender a few minutes later. (Also could be used to support the argument from some XF/HL fic that Mulder's immortal).
4. A little while ago, I posted about an article from Newsweek about colorblindness. The writer doesn't say whether he dreams in color or not, but if you take any of Triangle as a dream, it's the second time (counting Kill Switch's naughty nurses and kickass Scully) Mulder has dreamed/hallucinated in color. Come to think of it, all the Sam's abduction flashbacks have been in full color as well.
5. Did you catch that little smile at the end as Mulder's rubbing his cheek, where 1939 Scully slapped him? M/K stalwart that I am, I'm still waiting for the dream sequence where Scully's riding him around the room with a riding crop.
6. Mulder and Skinner and Nazi uniforms, oh my! This ep is going to generate M/Sk fic for years. Herr Krycek would have been overkill. But it would have been interesting to see him as a skullduggerous Soviet agent. I can't remember if Hitler had broken the Stalin-Hitler pact by 1939.
1. Stop and think about it: can you imagine Scully taking *bee pollen* as a nutritional supplement after the movie?
2. I really want to see DD star in a comedy now. My favorite part was when he was in his underwear, dancing around in front of the mirror, seeing the anti-Mulder (MF, mirror of FM?) doing the same motions. It must have been really hard to get both of them moving in synch. My next favorite moment was the face he made after Fletcher's wife reassured him that with Viagra they could work through this and keep their marriage together (wide-open mouth and cross-eyes). I'll bet that with the right script, he could be funnier than Robin Williams or Jim Carrey at that sort of thing.
3. I can see where the anti-Mulder would feel like he lucked on to a good thing. No more wife and kids, much better-looking body, new quail to hunt. But imagine his surprise the first time he comes home and Krycek, who has let himself in, pounces on him with aggressive smooching and grinding that makes the "boning Marita" scene look fraternal. While it takes Scully a couple of eps to see through the anti-Mulder, Krycek cops right away, because *Mulder* would never forget their pet names for each other!
1. I really liked part 2. As a topic for speculative fiction, "what if Mulder turned into an MIB?" seems like a good one to explore. I particularly appreciated that they humanized Fletcher. My favorite scenes with him were the ones where he realizes he can't con Scully anymore, and where he's razzing on the Gunmen. I liked that bit about Saddam Hussein being a guy who they found doing dinner theater. I also liked the part where he makes up with his wife, recounting highlights(?) of their marriage. Last week, he just came off like a greasy creep. It must be a challenge to write dialog that makes him a somewhat sympathetic character, while staying true to his basic greasy-creepness. I hope they bring him back again.
2. I also liked the part where Scully and Mulder realize that Mulder and Fletcher may never be able to switch back. "I'd kiss you if you weren't so ugly" is the best offer Mulder's gotten from Scully so far. I didn't think of it until after I saw the rerun of Ascension at 11 pm, but a handful of sunflower seeds is the closest thing to a rosary that Mulder has to give her to remember him by.
3. The closing scene, where Mulder and Scully are talking on the cellphone, may be the first real clue that Kersh is dirty. I'm afraid to trust 1013 to have rational rules for supernatural events, but as I recount the effects of the time warp, it seems quite possible that Kersh remembers everything that happened while the anti-Mulder was in town. In that case, if he lets Scully think that he never knew they left town, someone must have explained it all to him, and told him to go along with the cover-up.
I'm ashamed to admit, I've thought about this all day at work. Here's my argument:
a. When the timewarp snapped back, it undid both the timewarp damage and the manmade damage to the gas station. The gas station attendant remembered nothing.
b. However, it did not undo the fused coins, which had been removed to Scully's desk.
c. It also did not remove Scully's memory of the burned gas station, until she was in the same time and place where it first washed over her. So if she had not gone back to the highway with Mulder, Fletcher, etc, she might never have lost that memory.
d. The stoner kid was present when his friends were fused. He left the scene, and when he got back, the friends were unfused, and appeared to remember nothing (from their relaxed state. Another possibility was that they forgot it because they were so fucked up). But he remembered.
e. From Mulder's hesitation upon entering his apartment, and the way he checked the apartment number, I think Fletcher's swinging bachelor pad was still there.
f. From the way Scully talked to Mulder at the end, I gather she forgot everything after they were re-exposed on the highway. From that, I conclude that the MIB's who were with Fletcher on the highway both times forgot as well.
g. And it certainly seemed like Mulder and Fletcher forgot about it, although they had a sense of deja vu or something about each other.
From b and e, I conclude that things that were altered by the timewarp, or manmade changes in the physical world which wouldn't have happened without the timewarp, will never go back to their pre-timewarp state unless they are in the same place as when they were first warped. If they were never warped to begin with, but changed due to a chain of events the timewarp precipitated, there is no place for them to go back to, and there's no reason to think that they will ever be undone. If the swinging bachelor pad is still intact, so should the data the Gunmen downloaded from the flight recorder.
From c and d, I conclude that the unwarping of events doesn't erase the memories of either the original warping, or its consequences, from people's minds unless they get back to the place where they were first exposed at the time the timewarp snaps back. If they never witnessed a timewarped event in the first place, they have nothing to snap back, so there's no reason to think that they will ever lose their memories of the consequences of the timewarped events.
Joann and General Wegman are the 2 people in Nevada who we know knew about the Mulder-Fletcher switch, and who (as far as we know) never experienced the timewarp directly in the first place. So there's no reason to assume that they've forgotten, though they probably both will decide that it's in their best interests to pretend that none of it ever happened. Kersh, his secretary, and the Gunmen are the people in Washington who we know experienced consequences of the switch. The secretary will be miffed when Mulder rebuffs her, but she'll likely assume that it's because he's a flake like everybody says. The Gunmen are likely to tell Mulder when he tells them about the mystery of the swinging bachelor pad. It seems like Kersh should remember suspending Scully, Mulder's surprising attitude adjustment, and so on, and wonder why Scully's back in the Hoover bldg 2 days later, and Mulder's back to his old insubordinate self. That's why I'm suspicious of what Scully and Mulder honestly think is his ignorance.
4. I'll bet there were lots of cracking-up outtakes in the Scully-antiMulder bedroom scene, and the scene where Mulder as Fletcher and Capt. McDonough as Lana Chi are locked up together. "You're my bitch, now, pencilneck!": somehow "pencilneck" doesn't seem like the first epithet someone would through at someone with Fletcher's physique.
The Ghosts That Stole Christmas
AAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH! This ep beats Chinga, Kitsunegari, Hell Money, and The Field Where I Died as *the worst xf ep of all time*! I can't bear to think about it anymore.
I thought of some xf fics about ghosts, any of which would have made a better show. These are M/K. Maybe everyone on this list has read them, but perhaps they'll turn someone who reads Laura Burchard's review page on to the dark side:
- Laid to Rest by Brooklyn Bentleigh. Short, humor.
- The Coldness of the Sun by Rosalita. Short, angst.
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