Thursday, March 26, 2015

The X-Files: Pilot 'Shipper Survey


1) The episode begins with a warning that this "is inspired by actual documented accounts." You respond with:

A) A skeptical "There's no such things as UFOs!"

B) A wary "Those documents, of course, start off with the words 'Once upon a time'..."

C) A gleeful "Really? You mean there's documented proof of a spooky-yet-cute FBI guy working with an intellectually-drop-dead-gorgeous FBI gal?!?" (sigh)

2) After a young woman is found dead in the forests following the sighting of a bright light, the scene shifts to Washington D.C. A woman (Gillian Anderson) approaches the visitor's desk at the Hoover Building, headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and gives her name as Dana Scully. Agent Scully works her way through the office hallways until she reaches the office of Section Chief Blevins, where she is interviewed on her educational background. She is watched by a man who quietly stands in the corner, smoking a cigarette. She is asked about an agent named Fox Mulder, and if she knows him. Scully answers yes, "...By reputation." You want her to include:

A) "By the way, I thought we're not supposed to smoke inside buildings...(grabs cigarette from the Smoking Man) (grids it into his palm)...There, that's better..."

B) "Sir, if I'm getting a job out of this, can you make sure I get a desk?"

C) "Reputation has it this guy Fox wears a wicked set of Speedos when he goes swimming...(big goofy grin)"

3) Scully learns she is to be assigned to Agent Mulder's pet project, something called the X-Files, bureau cases involving the paranormal, the strange and unusual. As Scully openly wonders if she is to debunk Agent Mulder's work, you wonder:

A) If Gillian Anderson was ever asked by the producers to talk like Jodie Foster, you know, that fake hillbilly accent she used in "Silence of the Lambs"

B) If the bureau has such cases involving the strange and unusual...well, excluding anything they might have on J. Edgar's fashion statements...

C) If Agent Scully would wait until meeting Agent Mulder before debunking his Speedos, uh, his work...

4) Agent Scully makes it to the basement, where she knocks on the door of a cramped, cluttered office. "Nobody here but the FBI's Most Unwanted," shouts a voice, but she enters, passing by a poster of a UFO titled "I Want To Believe," and photos of God-Knows-What. We are thus introduced to Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny), who gives Scully the once-over and openly wonders who she ticked off to get this assignment. As Scully answers, "Actually, I'm looking forward to working with you..." you answer:

A) "Apparently, she ticked off that guy smoking cigarettes. She must have taken his parking space last week..."

B) "Hey, just because she's here to debunk your work doesn't mean you have to be rude to her. Wait until she complains about your choice of hair style, THEN bitch about her, okay?..."

C) "Ooh, she looks forward to working with him! And did you catch how he glanced her over? There's a word for this...hmm, chemistry? Kismet? Oh, yeah, I!"

5) Him: "I was under the impression you were sent to spy on me." Her: "If you have any doubts..." He notes her thesis work on temporal physics, adding he liked it. The audience already knows Scully has heard of Mulder and his abilities. He presents a slide show on victims with odd markings. She makes a medical evaluation. He points out a odd chemical in the bodies. She recognizes it as organic. He switches the topic to extraterrestrials and whether she believes in them. She says no. As they continue this game of give and take, you realize:

A) That she's going to prove this jerk wrong, somehow, and you have to be there to see it happen!

B) That's he going to prove himself right, somehow, and you have to be there to see it happen!

C) That this is the start of a Beau-ti-ful friendship, and you have to be there when the wedding happens! (deep sigh)

6) Oh, BTW, there's a bunch of victims in Oregon, so Mulder and Scully (or should that be Scully and Mulder?) head off to find out what's what. You note:

A) That if Mulder keeps stopping the car to vandalize every other bend in the road, Scully at least should make sure the artwork is more aesthetically pleasing than a plain old "X"

B) That the producers are using the setting as Oregon only because Vancouver can pass for any location in the Pacific Northwest...when are they going to film desert scenes, dammit?

C) That Scully's going to have to find smaller luggage bags if she's going to do field assignments (do you think a guy like Mulder actually brings a change of clothes???)

7) We've got coffins rolling downhill, inhuman bodies stinking up the place, and a sizeable amount of bickering over an autopsy table by our intrepid heroes. You take it all in and:

A) Wonder why Mulder has to take all those photos of the body when one or two would's not like it's posing for Playboy, you Punk!...

B) Consider whether or not a primate or chimpanzee would have a tattoo reading "Gonzaga U. Rules!" on its chest

C) Notice that all this bickering is actually some bizarre mating ritual

8) Scully is revising her notes, going over her medical findings, glancing long and hard at a metallic instrument shoved up a victim's nose. Mulder knocks on her door, offering her a chance to join him in a midnight jog. As she declines and hints that she's hitting the sack, you realize:

A) That Gillian's past history as a British punk grrl would let her recognize that object as a nose-piercing memento gone horribly awry

B) That Mulder's midnight jogs are an excuse for him to look for UFOs...which are probably the planet Venus or something, really...

C) That Fox's (can we call you Fox?) offering of a midnight jog...all that panting and sweating...and Dana (can we call you Dana?), yawning and pointing out she's going to bed...oh, MAN, all this sexual tension!''s so UNRESOLVED...

9) Scully and Mulder (or should that be Mulder and Scully?) check out the mental case history of one of the victims, finding out there's a few of the kid's friends still being treated. They meet the two, especially the comatose boy Billy and a girl in a wheelchair with the same markings on her back...just like the other victims. Noting that something happened to those kids, and that all the deaths occur in the woods, they decide to investigate the crime scene. You know they're in the woods:

A) So that Scully can be confronted by those bright lights in the forest...and prove they're just extremely powerful headlights

B) So that they can find the entrance to the White Lodge and rescue the real Agent Cooper...BTW, did you notice how many of the early X-Files fans were all survivors from the Twin Peaks craze a few years earlier?...

C) So that they can look up and the night sky, talk about the stars, their lives, things of little importance to others, but to those sitting together sharing a part of know how it is...(sheepish grin)

10) Our heroes are driven off from the crime scene by a belligerent sheriff. As they drive back through the rain, Mulder starts acting odd, waiting for... Then a bright light occurs... The image freezes... Then normalcy. Time resumes its way. Mulder gleefully notes they lost nine minutes and dances over the orange X he marked earlier. As Scully argues that time is a constant and Mulder answers "Not in this zip code," you ponder:

A) If Scully can find something in the nearby stream she can slap this Punk with...

B) If this zip code is 90210, because there's a bunch of guys there who keep acting like they're teenagers even though they're in their 30s by now...

C) If Dana wouldn't mind joining Fox for a quick dance routine in the rain right now...hit it, boys! (starts playing big band music) Swing, baby, swing!

11) Scully is writing a report debunking Mulder's work to date. The power goes off, so she decides to take a shower. As she gets ready to jump in, she spots something odd on her back. The next thing we see is Mulder answering his door to find Scully in her bathroom nervously asking, "I want you to look at something." As she stumbles into his hotel room, you:

A) Yell, "If you're that worried that something is wrong with you, go to a hospital and let the experts fix it, dammit!"

B) Query, "Does this mean the show's getting a MA rating for adult content? Oh, wait, they hadn't invented a rating system for TV yet..."

C) Exclaim, "Damn, they're resolving this sexual tension awful damn quick, aren't they?"

12) She flashes her underwear at him, asking him to check out the small of her back. He moves in close, slowly, and you know he's thinking:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) "Oh, wow, it's candlelight, it's raining outside, my cute partner's in her undies, she's showing me some skin...oh, wow, so those letters in Penthouse can't be COMPLETELY fake!..."

13) After comforting Scully, assuring her those marks were just mosquito bites, Mulder and Scully decide to talk. As she lies on the bed, he leans in close to tell of the night his sister disappeared, of the pain it caused his family, of his quest to prove she was abducted by aliens, of how he found the X-Files and how he's being confronted at every turn. When Scully asks who is opposing him, he notes, "You're a part of that agenda, you know that." "I'm not a part of any agenda," she replies. "You have to trust me." When that happens, you know:

A) That Scully is for real, and that she'll break this conspiracy and save the world!

B) That Mulder's obsession of finding his sister will drive this show, until such time that humanity builds a warp engine and allow him to trek the stars...nah, who'd want to watch a show like that???

C) That now they've broken down barriers, that now she's used the 'T' word, that considering the mood and location, that this would be the perfect time for them to perform wild, passionate, um, are there kids present?...there are?! Oh, um, wild passionate hand-holding, ya, that's it!... (damn this sexual tension! It's so... UNRESOLVED)

14) Mulder and Scully get distracted by another death. They race back to their hotel to find it in flames. They meet a girl who knows what's happening in the woods. They head out to the graveyard to try and dig up another body for evidence. They race back to the hospital to find Billy, who's supposed to be comatose, with traces of ash on his feet from walking in the crime scene. They race back to the forest. Scully gets knocked unconscious. Mulder sees a bright light and a zombie-like Billy abducting the last surviving girl. As Billy comes to and as Scully misses everything, you notice:

A) That if the recurring theme of Scully not seeing anything paranormal means she's going to get knocked unconscious every episode, she's going to need a huge bottle of aspirin!

B) That the writer has crammed in a lot into one question, only so he can reach a good round number of 15 for his survey!...

C) That poor Fox and Dana (or should that be Dana and Fox) didn't have any time to have wild passionate, um, hand-holding...

15) Mulder and Scully drag poor Billy back to D.C. for questioning. He babbles on about voices, experiments, mind control, and the fear that "they" will be coming back. Mulder looks at Scully even though she's behind the one-way mirror, but you KNOW they're making eye contact. Scully reports to Blevins, producing a vial containing the last piece of evidence: the metal implant. Later that night, Mulder calls her: their evidence and findings have been stolen. They need to talk. "Tomorrow," sighs Scully, and as she falls back into bed, you conclude:

A) That Scully shouldn't have given Mulder her phone number if he's going to keep calling at such late hours

B) That Mulder should have a better way of keeping his stuff under lock and key...if he keeps stashing it with those Playboys he has under his bed, his mom's going to keep finding that stuff and throwing it out!...

C) That Dana should have invited Fox over to see what they can come up with to cure a sleepless night...(wicked eyebrow raising)

BONUS: Okay, so I couldn't fit it all into 15 questions! The scene shifts to a large warehouse as the man who smoked cigarettes quietly walks the halls. He finds a file box containing a set of metal implants, where he stores the implant Scully recovered in Oregon. As the Cigarette-Smoking Man walks out of the vast room which seems to lay beneath the heart of the Pentagon, you realize:

A) If there's a box in there labeled "Tanis Artifact, RE: Dr. Jones, 1938" better leave it be!

B) That the occult significance of the DOD building being in the shape of the pentagram adds to the unsettling prospect of whatever's kept in the basement!

C) That the Smoking Man has hidden a lot of things here... like that stolen wedding ring Fox had purchased for Dana when they got back to D.C. Give it back, you bastid!...

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you feel that the protagonist of this episode was Agent Scully, honest, fearless, somehow spiritually uplifting, who brings a skeptical yet truthful perspective to this hunt for UFOs

B) Then you feel that the protagonist of this episode was Agent Mulder, honest, obsessed, somehow quirky, whose quest for the Truth drives this show and begs you to join his cause

C) Then you feel that Dana Scully and Fox Mulder, cute, witty, somehow bonded on a level you can't quite explain, make for a really cute couple, and you're damn sure sooner or later these two are going to DO IT! (romantic 'Shipper sigh)


  • This was NOT the first 'Shipper Survey done: I hadn't begun writing these until Season Five.
  • You will notice answers A) involve Scully being a badass, Mulder being a punk, and/or Scully hitting Mulder or other idiots with a fresh trout.  The trout gag was stolen from the OBSSE Scully fanbase.  Answers B) tend to be snarky retorts in general about the show or about scifi/horror tropes.  Answers C) tend to be about the 'Shipping.  If there's an Answer D) it's because there's REALLY something epic happening in the scene, or it involves Skinner or Krycek.

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