harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

X-Files, ep 0, "Pilot"

The X-Files

S1, E0


Written by: Chris Carter

DIR: Robert Mandel

Blurb: A young FBI agent is assigned watchdog duty over a fellow agent, but finds herself drawn into his investigations of paranormal and unexplained phenomena.

Scene 01: We open with a blurb stating that this is based on a true story.

We start in a dense forest. There is a girl in a nightgown running through the woods, in obvious distress. She falls down an embankment. As she starts recovering, she looks on the trees with mounting fear as the branches twitch mysteriously. In the background, we see what may or may not be a set of red eyes.

She looks in the distance and we see a growing bright white light. A man comes from the light, walking toward her as leaves blow into her eyes. The figure becomes more of a dark shadow, as a cyclone of leaves and forest debris form around her lying on the ground. The white light grows intense around her face. The man now glows in a radiant, painfully bright light, which also surrounds her. We're consumed in the light.

Scene 02: We fade from the white, to find the girl lying face down on the ground. We find out through text that we're in Collum National Forest in Oregon. The girl is surrounded by detectives and CSI-types. She's dead, alas.

The ME reports that he doesn't have an obvious cause of death. The only marks on the body are two angry looking welts on her lower back. The detective has the girl rolled over and he recognizes her as a former classmate of his son's.

Another official on scene (I think, the coroner?) asks him if he thinks it's happening again... whatever it is... but the detective has stormed off.

Scene 03: We leave Oregon to travel to the FBI HQ in Washington, DC. We meet an Agent Dana Scully, who checks in at the front desk.

Scene 04: We cut to a bustling office of, presumably, FBI agents.

Dana walks through the office and down a corridor to another office.

Commentary: Unnecessarily padded walk through, but it is acting as background for the credits, so it's okay.

She meets with the office holder, but of more interest to us is the Cigarette Smoking Man in the background, who is obtrusively unobtrusive. What I mean by this is that he's trying not to be the center of attention, but at the same time, he's smoking and hovering so that you really have to notice that he's there.

Commentary: I was actually surprised to see him this early. I didn't remember the CSM showing up so soon. This gentleman will, of course, be a lynchpin in the machinations against our stalwart agents as they PURSUE THE TRUTH.

Dana is ask
ed if she knows an agent by the name of Fox Mulder, which she confirms, but only through reputation. She recites that Fox had written an important profile of a serial killer revolving around the occult. Dana shares that Fox had a nickname of 'Spooky' back at the academy. She notes CSM, and gets a brief uncomfortable look before her attention is diverted back to her superior.

Agent Scully is given the assignment to join Mulder on the X-Files project... cases which have unexplained phenomena attached, and to which Fox has apparently become a little too involved with for his bosses comfort. She's to use her background as a scientist (she holds a medical degree, but doesn't practice) to analyze the validity of Agent Mulder's work.

She immediately thinks they want her to debunk the X-Files, but they clarify that they're sure she'll make the most proper analysis she can.

Commentary: Considering how much I come to love Gillian Anderson in this role and her character, I was surprised by how much of a non-entity Dana seems in this opening scene. It's sort of important, since we're getting the background necessary to the series and she's the first major character we get to meet. But, between her beige clothing and the dry exposition... well... she came across as a bit dull, actually.

Scene 05: Dana next goes down to the end of a dark hall at the end of a line of boxes that are obviously being stored willy-nilly. Despite the apparent lack of a "real" office, Mulder has made himself a personalized workspace. And, he's self aware enough to recognize that his reputation within the FBI has suffered due to his obsession with the weird.

Commentary: So, let us take a small moment to appreciate the cute/funny looking/sexy-as-all David Duchovny (Whose last name I always have to look up, even when I spelled it correctly without looking).

Fox Mulder immediately has a wry charisma that can be laid directly with the actor who portrays him. David's unusual, but handsome features and his obvious sense of humor shine through and he makes poor Gillian's Dana nearly invisible, until Ms. Anderson's character is developed more. They really could not have picked a better actor to portray the damaged, sarcastic, obsessive, loyal partner to Dana Scully and I am forever grateful to X-Files for introducing me to this actor.

(Although, it does make wonder what my *thing* is with damaged, sarcastic protaganists... I mean look at my favorite characters: Xander Harris, Dean Winchester, Fox Mulder and Ellen Ripley are my top four characters. All of them manage to piss me off with their behavior -in Ellen's case it's her overuse of the F* bomb- but somehow doesn't dim my extreme love for them.)

But, anyway, Dana introduces herself as being assigned to assist him. He immediately lets her know the real agenda the bosses set by stating with mild amusement that he thought she was there to spy on him. Fox also reveals that he has already had wind that she was coming and has been digging into her background.

Being prepared for her arrival, and with her expertise being in medicine, he dives into Dana's first case that she'll be assisting/spying on him over: the mysterious death of the Oregon girl.

Fox shows her a slide (slides... how cute) of the marks on the victim's back, telling Dana that it is the only thing that the medical examiner found out of place on the remains. Autopsy revealed no reason for why the young woman has died. Fox also reveals that there was a mysterious organic compound found in the surrounding tissue of the marks (which begs the question of why he made such a big deal about how the M.E. found absolutely nothing, when obviously he found quite a lot ... and if this is such an apparent odd substance which is unrecognized, how was it so quickly eliminated as a suspect in the girl's unexplained death). But, that isn't all. The marks and the substance are the same in a few other deaths in widely different areas of the country.

It is in this first extended dialog scene that we get one of Mulder's least attractive traits... smug superiority in his belief of wildly illogical explanations, to which he expects everyone to just accept.

Dana poo-poos his ideas of the fantastic being an answer, believing that there is a plausible explanation in every death, if one knows where to look for it and which tools of science to use. He informs her that they're going to go to Oregon the next day to find it.

Scene 06: The next morning, Fox and Dana are on a plane to Oregon. He lying across two seats with earphones on.

Commentary: And the only reason for this screen cap is that beautiful mouth of his. Don't you just want to grab D.D. and kiss that mouth until his toes curl...!? But, this review isn't really about my proclivities.... Even though, I'm sure you'd all be fascinated, because I'm just *that* interesting.

While Fox is zoned out, Scully reviews the cases of three other classmates of our opening girl, who have all died under weird circumstances. As the plane that they're on starts its decent, it suddenly starts falling out of control!

The pilots quickly handle the situation and get the plane back to a level flight. Mulder takes it in stride and jokes that they must be in the place, given the number of odd power fluctuations that he's seen in the X-Files regarding UFO phenomena (just as an aside, I've also seen a UFO which was of an odd enough shape with a pattern of lights that wasn't sufficiently explained -- as a kid, I accepted that I might have seen a spaceship; as an adult, such wonderment has been beaten out of me and now its just a weird thing that I once saw, but probably has a completely dull explanation... maybe that's why we make shows about the supernatural such hits... we're trying to recapture that sense of chill-inducing belief in things otherworldly).

Commentary: It's amazing, too, how little actually occurs in this pilot episode and how many scenes there are in which nothing much happens or it's all talky exposition. I, again, think I have to lay our continued interest in David's charisma to carry us past these. He simply has a magnetism that adds interest and energy to scenes that could have been plodding. The hiring of Mr. Duchovny was probably the best move the show made.

Scene 07: On the car ride to the site of the girl's demise, Dana brings up that Fox had failed to mention that the FBI already investigated the three prior deaths in town. He expositions that they found nothing and the case was buried as an X-File, until he dug it up in the wake of the most recent victim. We also get one of Mulder's character traits: He loves sunflower seeds.

Scully points out that the other victims hadn't had tissue samples taken, which seems odd, but they were autopsied by a different M.E.

Mulder also noted that in his review of the cases, he has arranged an exumation of one of these previous victims to get this sample and see if the compound is present that they found in our teaser victim.

As they drive along, the radio begins to act oddly (which as a device to denote paranormal activity has been brought over to SPN -- there was also a similarity with the opening shot of SPN to the opening camera sweep in this pilot -- and both episodes are just called "Pilot", so obviously Kripke is a big fan of X-Files, as well).

As the digital radio station changes channels all on its own, the dash clock also flips out. To Scully's questioning looks, Fox stops the car to retrieve a can of spray paint that he uses to mark an 'X' on the roadway for later. He blows off Scully's inquiries into what he's doing that for.

Commentary: I really like how the relationship between Scully & Mulder is developed. Fox remains mildly antagonistic, while still treating Scully as a fellow agent, throughout the first half of the episode. Scully doesn't have any strong opinions of Fox's work with the X-Files, other than her jokey "we called him Spooky" dig in her boss' office. Fox however remains very suspicious of her motives, and treats her accordingly without being too rude about it.

Scene 08: The agents arrive in town and go directly to the cemetery. There Fox is confronted by the medical examiner that performed the autopsies prior to the latest victim. He hadn't done hers, because he'd been out of town with his daughter. Mulder asks him about the lack of tissue samples, which further antagonizes the local.

They're digging up a young man who prior to his death had confessed to killing his two classmates. However, there had been no evidence to suggest that he had in fact committed any crime and he was diagnosed with post-adolescent schizophrenia. His cause of death is listed in his records as "exposure"... but Fox is extremely skeptical of this due to the boy being a physically healthy 20-year old, who had only been out in the weather for 7 hours... in July....

How, exactly, did he die so rapidly of "exposure" to an Oregon summer's night?

Inconveniently, one of the straps breaks while the coffin is being lifted out of the grave and the coffin goes rolling down a hill. When it comes to a stop against a headstone the lid is partially open ... the body within the coffin is in a far more advanced state of decomp than could be expected, appears to be far shorter of stature and build than the boy in question should be... and doesn't appear to be all that human-looking. Mulder orders the coffin re-sealed immediately with no one else being given access to the remains until Scully can examine whatever or whoever it is that was buried.

Commentary: I hate this scene, really. There are two reasons for my objection: One - why do straps constantly break when lifting objects... does no one ever actually inspect them before they get used? And, aren't they designed to lift far heavier burdens than one coffin with an emaciated body in it? This scene just isn't necessary to establish anything that couldn't have been found when the coffin was opened in an autopsy lab. It's a clumsy device for giving us a hint that something is being covered up. Two - Fox's attempt at gallows humor comes off less like a black-comedy joke to relieve the tension of the scene, and more like he's just an insensitive prick. His joke, I think, was meant to imply that these remains aren't matching the description of the boy who was supposed to be buried in the grave. But take a look at this line, and read it with a smug, smirky expression:

"It's probably a safe bet that Ray Soames never made the varsity basketball team!"

This is a small town. He was a local boy. The men surrounding you probably knew the boy you're speaking of. Do you think you could show a bit of respect? It would be fine to make a joke like this to Scully, alone, in the actual autopsy room... but here it feels entirely out of place.

Scene 09: In the autopsy room later, Scully is describing the corpse as Mulder is shooting photographs. He's convinced that they have a physical specimen of an alien being, while Dana is approaching this in a logical step by step manner, in the same way that she'd approach any examination.

Scully's preliminary findings are that the body belongs to an ape of some sort, possibly an orangutan. Mulder is off to the races, however, and wants a complete and exhaustive work up. He tries to tell Scully that he has the same doubts about the specimen being an alien as she has, but he really isn't coming off that way.

Scene 10: Late in the morning, Scully is in her motel room listening to her notes and transcribing them. Her mention of finding a metallic object in the specimen's nasal cavity causes her to pick up a jar containing said object and staring at it with curiousity.

Commentary: I'm really disappointed that we didn't get to see any of the autopsy, too. We're being given the strange anomolies she found in a tell-not-show format, which is unsatisfying from a dramatic viewpoint.

Also, the odd object looks really huge to be sticking in somebody's/something's face. I'd be happier with this development if the object had been half the size of what we see, and if we'd seen Scully's confusion as she'd found it, along with Fox's probable mania at finding yet more physical evidence of "alien implants", considering how common this is in the stories of those who genuinely believe that they've been abducted and had experiments performed on them.

Mulder knocks on her door.

He's wired from the mystery they've stumbled into and is going for a run at 0430 in the morning. He asks if she'd like to come, which she declines. He also asks after an identification of the object recovered. She tells him that she hasn't any idea yet, but isn't losing sleep over it and wishes him a good night. But, when she returns to the bed and looks at the X-ray, it is obvious that she's just as curious about the object as he is.

Scene 11: Later that morning, Scully and Mulder speak to Ray Soames' hospital psychiatrist, who adds to what we know, that Ray was suffering from PTSD. He further explicates that he had also been treating some of Ray's classmates for same... the mysterious other deaths. Fox asks after hypnosis as a treatment option to find out if there was a common link, which the psychiatrist is clearly disdainful of.

Scully asks if there are any current classmates of Ray's being treated and finds out that there are two that have been long-term care patients in residence at the hospital who were also part of Ray's graduating class.

Scene 12: Dana and Fox are taken to Billy's room, where Peggy is reading to them. They're the classmates being treated. The doctor reports that both were in an auto accident that placed Billy into a vegetative, waking coma. Peggy is still wheel chair bound, and mentally... off....

Fox suggests a cursory medical exam of Peggy, but this causes her to flip out unexpectedly and violently. She suffers a sudden yelling fit, bloody nose and falls out of her chair onto the floor. Fox takes the opportunity to lift her pajama shirt, exposing her lower back as the doctor and a nurse try to calm her down. He finds markings exactly like that found on our teaser victim.

Dana shares shocked looks with Mulder and then rushes out of the hospital. Fox follows and Dana confronts him on knowing he'd find marks on her body before they arrived. She's pissed at him for holding back information from her about what the marks mean. He makes snotty comments about her not being ready to know what he thinks, as she'll be rushing to pour it out into her little spy report back to the bureau.

She insists that she wants to solve the case with the truth as much as he does, and he tells her that he thinks the kids were abducted. Scully tells him that his conclusion isn't being supported by any evidence, and points out that all of the kids impacted were in that forest. The answers must be there.

Commentary: And this scene, really, encapsulates the Fox-Dana relationship ... even as Dana becomes more aware and believing of the alien conspiracy. Fox is ready to believe every damned thing on the planet is some sort of alien plot, while Dana always approaches things from mundane possibilities until the evidence shows otherwise. This is their first of many arguments over his being too wrapped up in what he wants to be true to evaluate evidence present, while sometimes Scully will deny what is happening beyond a reasonable point. Both are extremists in their own way, with Scully representing rationality and Mulder representing emotionalism. And this is why they form such a potent partnership and compliment one another so well in the series. And, it is with this scene and her confronting Mulder's beliefs when he doesn't have any impartial evidence on his side that Dana becomes an engaging character, 20 minutes in. Gillian Anderson starts overcoming the deficit of her beige outfit and Duchovney's screen presence, so that we can begin to take her rationality and skepticism seriously and still enjoy her character.

Scene 13: That night, they enter the woods to visit the scene where our teaser girl, Karen, was found (I'm not sure if we received her name before now - but it was only here that I actually caught it and retained it ... that may be my bad, so I apologize that I kept referring to her as 'teaser victim' up to this point).

The two begin a search of the area and Fox pulls out a pocket compass. The dial spins lazily, rather than pointing toward a specific direction.

Dana, meanwhile, finds a perfectly circular patch of earth that looks unusually dry and barren next to the debris strewn, moist dirt around it. She scoops up a bit of the dirt and puts it in her coat pocket for later analysis (that's what you get for not bringing a field kit with you on your explorations).

Scully notes something else that we don't see that concerns her and she calls for her fellow agent to join her. She's concerned enough to pull out her gun. What has drawn her attention was an odd noise coming from the ridge behind her, and as she goes in that direction, we see the bright light that we saw before Karen met her fate.

Commentary: And, the only part I'll complain about here is Scully's stereotypically horror-response of calling out to her companion to ask if it's him, in response to something that Mulder clearly could not be causing. Did Dana think that the roaring sound was him pulling a ventriloquist act? Did she think he had snuck a spotlight out into the woods in his pocket?

Over the top of the ridge, a man with a rifle appears....

Commentary: And, no, this isn't who she was calling out to, because there was no shadow by this guy before she started asking if Mulder was there.

Scene 14: When we come back from a commercial break, the guy raises his rifle into the air. Scully points her pistol and identifies herself, ordering him to drop his weapon.

Commentary: Can someone explain to me in comment what the difference is between an "agent" and a "special agent"? Are all FBI guys "special agents", or is this a classification that one attains through promotion?

The man identifies himself as with the local Sheriff's department and tells her that she's trespassing on private property. Fox joins her then, while the officer(?)/deputy(?) orders them to get back in their car and leave. With this being private property and being under local jurisdiction and without a Federal search warrant, Mulder and Scully reluctantly give in to his demands. [I didn't recognize him, but he's the detective from the teaser.]

We find out that the sound was his truck engine and the bright light is coming from his rack mounted searchlights.

Scene 15: In the car on the way back to town, Mulder expresses suspicion of what the police officer was doing out in the middle of nowhere by himself. Scully pulls out her handful of dirt and wonders aloud if it has something to do with whatever she thinks she found.

The dirt has the coloring of sand and the consistency of ashes.

As Dana wonders if the kids were involved in some sort of occult activity (she thinks the ashes may be remains, but I don't know what she's basing this on... it could just as easily be the remains of a campfire by partying teens), Mulder checks his compass again and notes the time. [I believe they're approaching the 'X' on the road from earlier, but we'll see....]

Suddenly the car is bathed in an intense white light.

As we fade back in, the car is coasting to a stop without power. Mulder checks his watch and tells Scully that they've lost 9 minutes of time... another common report from abductees is missing time. They get out of the car, with Fox excited at this turn of events... he finds the red 'X' in the road [I was right... yay me] that he'd spray painted earlier. As Scully is insisting that time can't just disappear, and Mulder tells her it can in this zip code, the car starts back up on its own.

Commentary: Huh. In the SPN pilot, there was also a scene where the car starts up on its own. In this case though, it doesn't try to run Fox and Dana over... but its interesting when you look at the opening scene that seemed to be echoed between the two pilot episodes. Also, I'm not understanding the insistence on the "disappearing of time" angle. Why wouldn't Scully have said something more along the lines of "we must have been stunned!" rather than "time can't just disappear!" ... wouldn't that have been the more obvious observation in this circumstance?

Scene 16: Later, Scully is typing up more of her report, admitting that Mulder's insistence on some sort of unexplained force being responsible for missing time cannot be substantiated with available evidence (though clearly she accepts that they did lose time out on the road).

There is a sudden loss of electricity (it's raining heavily, which started after they left the scene of Karen's death and I didn't remember why they chose to film it with rain pouring... this is why... so that Dana's could be interrupted before she could send her report off).

Since she can't work, she goes to take a shower by candlelight. We get teased with her pulling off her underwear, but then she looks startled at the mirror as she spots something not right.

Scene 17: She goes to Mulder's room and fearfully asks that he look at something: She's obviously afraid that they're the marks found on Karen and Peggy, but Fox amusedly reports to her that they're misquito bites (No, they don't look like bug bites at all, unless they were the biggest misquitoes in the world). Scully is relieved, but also very shaken by what they've run into in this little 'burb.

Scene 18: Sometime later, Fox is telling her about his past. We find out here that Fox's sister (who'll be named Samantha) disappeared from her bed when she was eight and he was twelve without any trace of what had happened to her. He further reports that it tore his family apart and that his parents refused to talk about that night.

He further explicates his history with getting fascinated with the X-Files. His fervor for the mysterious only grew when he attempted to gain access to classified information in regards to these cases and found himself intentionally blocked by someone(s) anonymous above him. Further, he tells her that the only reason he's been able to continue his exploration of these cases at all is because he has friends in Congress. He tells her that her purpose for being assigned to shadow him is part of the agenda to keep him from finding out the truth -- which she denies, annoyed at the idea that she's serving a nefarious agenda.

In the meantime, someone is in the rainstorm, skulking around their motel.

Mulder tells Scully about a hypnosis session he's engaged in. He recalled during this session a blindingly white light filling the room and a foreign presence with he and his sister the night she was taken away. It has fueled his interest in UFO stories and that is why he's so interested in working these weird cases. Fox tells Scully that the gov't knows all about it, and he's of course sounding like a raving lunatic in his intensity.

They're interrupted by a phone call. It is an unidentified woman reporting the death of Peggy, the girl in the wheelchair...

Scene 19: ... And the real weirdness? She's not at the hospital, she's outside of that same stretch of the woods! Oh... and despite being wheelchair bound, she got herself creamed by an 18-wheeler, RUNNING.

Commentary: A nice touch was having Peggy with a neckbrace and an intubation tube in her mouth. Usually when someone is shown dead, the're never shown to have had any attempt by the ambulance nearby to actually render aid. Here it is obvious that they attempted to save her, and she arrested on scene.

When Scully returns from examining Peggy's body, Mulder angrily directs her back to the car. He's just learned that the autopsy lab was robbed of the corpse that Fox and Dana examined (the orangutan/alien). He wants to get back to the motel.

Scene 20: When they arrive, they find the motel conveniently engulfed in flames destroying Dana's computer and the physical findings.

At the fire, the chief coroner's daughter, who we saw at the exhumation asks for their protection. Fox hustles her to their car.

Scene 21: In a diner, Theresa reports that she's been having blackouts and coming to only to be in the woods with no idea as to how she got there or why she went. She also shares that the same thing has been happening to her friends, as well, and has been since they all graduated high school.

She's afraid that she'll be next to die.

Commentary: Uhm. Sarah Koskoff's dialog recitation.... Well, she has the look of someone scared down, but... well, her acting is less than convincing me.

Theresa confirms for Scully that her father knows about what has been happening to her, but insists he can protect her. She doesn't believe he can. She next confirms for Mulder that she also has the odd welts on her lower back. She's convinced that she'll die next, but Scully tells her she won't be... just before Theresa's nose starts gushing blood.

The M.E. and the guy-with-rifle come into the diner, having tracked them down. They demand Theresa leave with them. It comes out that the detective is Billy's father.

After they take Theresa away, Scully outrages that they both know what is going on and they must have been responsible for burning down their rooms. Mulder wonders what is in the other two victim's graves if the odd body was found in the one they exhumed.

Scene 22: They go to the cemetery, where they find both of the graves already dug up and emptied, furthering the mystery and the sense of a conspiracy being perpetrated.

Mulder suddenly exclaims that he thinks he knows who the murderer is that killed Karen, at least. He posits that it was Billy Miles... the boy in the vegetative state.

Commentary: WHAT?! Based on what, other than you're a kook, Mulder? I mean, really... this conclusion is coming out of nowhere.

Scene 23: Scully is as flabbergasted as I am. He does bring up an interesting point about wheelchair bound Peggy getting up and running into the road, but then just as I'm saying, "Yeah, that is bizarre!" he pulls out a "I think time stopped during that nine minutes we lost and something took control of it", which then makes him sound loony again.

Because an alien stopping and/or controlling the flow of time is far more likely than "something happened and we blacked out, the way that Theresa has been blanking out only to find that she's somewhere else when she regains awareness".

Scully remembers Peggy's watch stopped a few minutes after nine and Mulder and her brainstorm there in the pouring rain in a cemetery with two sudden vacancies. The absurdness strikes Dana, sending her into a spasm of laughter. Fox joins her in the mirth for a moment, and then tells her they need to go see Billy.

Scene 24: In the hospital, they find him still in an unresponsive waking coma. Dana performs a cursory exam of Billy's hands and feet, while Fox is questioning the nursing assistant (I'm assuming that nurses don't change bed pans). Scully finds that Billy's feet are dirty, as if he's been outdoors.

Commentary: I was pulled briefly from the story again, when Mulder was playing with Billy's toes. I kept wondering about the actor playing coma-Billy laying there while David and Gillian were playing with his feet... like, how could you not bust out laughing while acting out a scene like that?

Scene 25: In the hallway, Dana insists that Billy was in the woods and she now believes that he killed Peggy (Wait! What? She was hit by a semi ... why would you think that he killed her, even with evidence that he was present?). Her evidence is the ashy stuff she had scooped a handful of being on the bottom of his feet.

Now buying into Mulder's crazy theory, Fox takes a moment to make her realize what she's agreeing with. Not because he's suddenly doubting that he's right, but because she'll be the one to write it down in an official report. This, understandably, gives her quite a pause.

She tells him they'll need to collect another sample from the forest (her original was in the motel during the fire, as well as the other evidence) and run a comparison between the two before they decide what to do about it.

Scene 26: When they return to the forest under cover of darkness, they find the detective's truck already there, again. Further, they hear a girl scream.

Fox is running ahead of Dana, and so doesn't see her get clocked in the head as she passes a tree by someone. She's momentarily stunned and then she's facing the detective and his rifle. He leaves Dana on the ground, stunned and goes running off.

Scene 27: Mulder in the meanwhile is rushing in the direction he thinks the girl's scream is coming from, only to run into the detective. He orders Fox down on the ground. Fox confronts him about his knowing that it was Billy this whole time and warns him that his son is going to kill another classmate. Detective takes off again to intercept his son and who will turn out to be Theresa. Mulder notices that Billy also has those two welt marks on his back.

Formerly-Comatose-Billy has an injured and unconscious Theresa in his arms in his PJ bottoms and nothing else (thank you X-Files for the skin). Detective points the rifle, apparently threatening to kill his son if he doesn't leave Theresa alone, but Mulder tackles him and it goes off, alerting Scully to their location.

In the meantime, formerly-comatose-Billy lifts Theresa into his arms as the whirlwind of leaves and the bright white light show start up. When it all stops, no-longer-coma'd-but-temporarily pug jawed-Billy is standing confused. At his feet is Theresa, who we think is dead until she turns over, apparently only a little worse for wear.

He calls for his dad in a state of confusion. Conveniently, they spin around during their reunion hug so Fox (and us) can see that the marks are completely vanished.

Scene 28: Fox realizes Scully isn't there and rushes to find her. They meet in the woods, but Dana was too far away to see what had happened. She only saw the lightshow.

He tells her it was incredible... and then that's it.

Commentary: Well, that's it, except for holding the shot too long of his looking amazed, so that he ends up looking really goofy....

Scene 29: We fade out and back in and we're with Billy now, apparently under hypnosis. He recalls first seeing the bright light during a party out in the woods with his friends.

Mulder watches as Billy relays that he had tests run on him and that they implanted something into his forehead that caused him to obey their commands to bring the others back to the forest so they could be tested, too, repeatedly.

Scene 30: In another room, Mulder's bosses also watch through a window with Dana. During a slow pan around the room, the Cigarette Smoking Man is also there. Billy is relating that whatever the tests were didn't work the way that the abductors wanted, so they were going to be leaving and wanted everything destroyed.

The CSM whispers something to Mulder's boss and everyone leaves the room for his office. Just before Dana follows, she locks gazes with Mulder - the implication clear that Fox is asking her whose side she's taking in her report to them.

Scene 31: The bosses pick apart Dana's field reports, casting doubts on her subjective observations reported. Her boss tells her that nothing she reported has any physical evidence to support what Billy has said under hypnosis.

This isn't wholly true, however. Billy described an implant in his nasal cavity (well, he rubbed his forehead, but apparently we're now calling it his face). Dana pulls out the vial containing a similar implanted cylinder. The one that she extracted from the cadaver. It was in her coat pocket and so survived the fire. She further reports that she ran an analysis on it and the metal is made of something that could not be identified.

Scully is thanked for her report and dismissed, without being given back the evidentiary implant, of course.

Scene 32: In the hallway, she passes CSM, who enters her boss' office.

Scene 33: That night, she can't sleep and is watching the clock... probably reflecting on the mysterious time loss she experienced with Mulder. The phone rings and it's him, reporting that he hasn't been able to sleep, either.

Mulder tells her that he had spoken to the DA earlier in Oregon about Billy's case... there is no case file for his multiple homicides and all of the paperwork they filed about what they'd uncovered has vanished.

Scene 34: Meanwhile, in a warehouse reminiscent of a similar scene at the end of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark', the CSM pulls a box from row upon row of boxes. It contains several of the devices that Scully extracted from the mysterious and unexplained remains. He's been given this evidence and adds it to the collection.

He leaves the facility and shuts an electronically secured door, showing us that this is a room somewhere deep in the Pentagon. Clearly Fox is correct; the government is already aware of the aliens... if that is in fact who is responsible for what we've seen this episode... and is engaged in a conspiracy to cover up this information. And, the CSM is heavily involved....

The Good: David Duchovny as Fox Mulder.

The introduction of an alien presence on Earth, a conspiracy involving the government and the Cigarette Smoking Man's prominence in this conspiracy are all introduced here well.

The tidy way that a possible alien presence was revealed to Fox and Scully and then conveniently leaving them with no evidence was nicely constructed.

I also liked the way that Dana, while struggling with the fact that she mostly believes Mulder now, also maintains enough distance to recognize and admit that there isn't a reason yet for her boss to accept her word.

The Bad: Some of the leaps in logic were clumsily written. Included in this is the assertion that somebody can control time, when a black out would be more reasonable and the intuitive leap without explanation for Fox reaching the conclusion that Billy is being controlled and murdered his former classmates. Without a scene in which the device was found in Billy's head, and before they found the evidence on his feet that he'd been ambulatory despite his apparent coma, there isn't an adequate explanation for this.

Also, there is no reason offered as to why Billy and Theresa weren't killed during the lightshow the way Karen was. Since Billy was receiving the orders, it makes no sense why he'd be left alive by the aliens.

Other Thoughts: You'll no doubt note that I didn't include Gillian Anderson in "The Good". This isn't because I don't consider her a great actress and Dana Scully a great character. But, this episode simply doesn't showcase her in the same instantly attractive fashion as it does Fox Mulder/David Duchovny. She comes into her own very quickly in the series... but it's not in this episode.

I also found pacing to be an issue within this episode. It seems to last much longer than its running time indicates. It's a good episode, but not a great one and this theme of the alien conspiracy will be much more exciting, mysterious and scary in future episodes.

The Score: 3.50 out of 5 stars.

- end -
Tags: x-files season 1 reviews

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