Saturday, April 18, 2015

The X-Files: Conduit 'Shipper Survey

Just as a reminder, I started the surveys in the Fifth season, so these recaps from Season One are following five years worth of additional continuity that hasn't happened yet.  Just treat it all as foreshadowing...


1) The episode begins quietly at an Iowa campsite, two kids sleeping underneath the stars amidst the Douglas Firs, their mother turning fitfully in her trailer bed. Suddenly, the trailer shakes, light shines through the windows, and a little boy is left screaming for his sister. As the frantic mother looks up toward the stars crying for her daughter, you:

A) Flash back to "Twin Peaks" and realize that the girl has gone to the White Lodge where she's dancing with a backwards-talking midget (insert slow rhythmic music here)...

B) Look at your maps and wonder where the hell in Iowa you can find a mountain lake campsite!...

C) Wish that Dana and Fox were at that same moment looking at the same stars and talking about their favorite flavor of tea...

2) Blevins has called Scully to his office, handing over a request by Mulder to investigate the girl's disappearance, which apparently has only rated a tabloid headline. Blevins then brings up Samantha, pointing out the similarities to argue that Mulder's request is based on personal motivation. As Scully pauses poignantly to reflect on what was shared in "Pilot", you realize:

A) That Scully is worried that this case might lead to erratic behavior out of Mul... Oh, wait, that happens every episode, she should be getting used to it by now...

B) That Scully's pensiveness is really because she's busy wondering how there can be a mountain forest range in Iowa

C) That Dana's flashing back to that conversation she had with Fox and thinking if this might lead to another bedside chat, this time with HIM in his underwear (very wicked grin)

3) Scully goes back to the basement to share Blevins' concern about Mulder's interest in the case. Mulder tries to point out the location they're going to (Lake Ocabachi, or Lake Oog-Goo-Cha-Chug) is a great place for trout fishing and a hot spot for UFOs. When Scully replies, "Define hot spot," you:

A) Realize where it is Scully gets her Holy Trout from, with which she can slap the Punk from time to time

B) Consider the dietary habits of those pesky Reticulans...liver, onions, fish...what, no vegetables?!...

C) Groan, "Oh, Dana, if only Fox COULD define hot spot, and even better if he could show you..." <insert Roy Orbison growl here>

4) Mulder has convinced Scully of the need to investigate. They travel to Iowa and interview a nervous Darlene Morris (Carrie Snodgrass), while Mulder tries to connect with an emotionally distant Kevin (Joel Palmer) who's busy drawing ones and zeros and who points to the static on the t.v. saying his sister is in there. When that happens, you:

A) Know that Scully would have had more fun investigating the 100-year-old woman with the lizard baby

B) Scream for Mulder to head up to the girl's closet, jump through the dimension portal into the Beyond, pull the girl away from the Light, and then drag everybody out of the house before it sucks itself into oblivion like what happened in "Poltergeist"

C) Realize that Fox really is good with kids, so he and Dana should be a decent, happy family once they get married, move to Montana and raise some hybrid clone children (sigh)

5) Our heroes check in with local law enforcement, and "Mister Congeniality" Mulder gets, um, undiplomatic with the sheriff. Scully tries to warn her partner not to antagonize the locals because they might need their help later on. Mulder mutters something about bundt cakes before spotting a note on the car window. As he grabs it and reads it, you're pretty sure the message is:

A) "From: CC. To: GA and DD. Script change now has Scully driving the car. Move that seat up, David."

B) The best recipe for bundt cakes this side of my mother's, and her bundt cakes are damn good, let me tell you!

C) "From: CC. To: GA and DD. Script change now has Dana and Fox falling in love. Pucker up, guys, and watch out for bees."

6) They follow a girl into a library, where she furtively gives our heroes some more information on Ruby. As she whispers about some guy named Greg getting Ruby pregnant, you notice:

A) That the girl doesn't seem too helpful as an informant...I mean, she's not tipping them off to hybrid clone experiments or anything like that...

B) That the shelving at that library seems haphazard at best, and there's no call number labels on those books, and the space between shelves isn't up to ADA codes...damn, these guys need to hire a Rogue Librarian (shameless plug alert!)...

C) That the library has a few great places to hide, where two agents could get together and, um, hold hands (I can't recommend anything 'shippier than that, because the Librarian Within Me knows the library is no place for whoopee. That's what White House office space is for!)...

7) Mulder and Scully find their way to the beer joint, which is actually called the Pennsylvania Hotel and Pub. As they make their way past the beefy biker brigands, you note:

A) That Scully can out-drink, out-fight, and out-ride these wimps! Yipee-Kay-Ay!

B) That "It's Raining Men" is one of the menu options on that jukebox! Woo-hoo!

C) That Dana and Fox are really here for one o' them back rooms, and they're signing in as "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" thank you so very much! Yeeeeeess!

8) Mulder spots a tattoo on the bartender, and by faking it as a Skeptic gets some info on close encounters out by the lake. For you, the tattoo scene:

A) Thankfully has no voice-over by Jodie Foster

B) Is a grim reminder that the current state of body art has woefully fallen from intricate Maori designs and beautiful oriental dragons to cartoonish UFOs

C) Proves that Fox shouldn't flirt with strange bartenders and should stick with cute redheads

9) Scully is stirred from her slumber by shadowy figures standing outside her window. As she kicks back the bedsheets and reaches for her gun, you realize:

A) The Blessed Skeptic even wears that cross to bed! (genuflect)

B) That if her friends and family members try to surprise her on her next birthday, they're gonna get a nostril stuffed with the working end of a Sig Sauer!

C) That Fox isn't in bed with her, even though the government agents (like everyone else knows, except for those accursed NoRomos) broke into Dana's room expecting him to be there. Girl, you guys might as well live up to expectations and start sharing the same hotel room!...(sigh)

10) Agents from the NSA are chasing after that sheet of ones and zeros Mulder got from Kevin. They storm into the Morris home, arrest the mother and child, and begin to smash everything in sight. Mulder, underacting as always, is disgusted by the senseless destruction and mayhem. You realize:

A) That the Punk is going to have to do more than pick up that piggy bank...he's got to vacuum the floor, straighten out the books, clean the coffee mugs...

B) That Mulder's really flashing back not to his sister's abduction but to the time his mom turned his room upside down looking for his stash of Playboys

C) That Dana and Fox should have stayed back at the hotel and tried out the set of handcuffs in Dana's room... (sigh)

11) The NSA agents finally release Kevin and Ms. Morris when it's found the data sheets are random digitized bits of information that, oddly, can be interpreted by computers as graphical and audio files. Mulder and Scully try to apologize to Ms. Morris, but she is too embittered now to listen. As she storms off, you see that:

A) Scully is right that the government should pay for the damages, in fact she's going to grab those NSA agents and force them to vacuum the floor, straighten out the books, clean the coffee mugs...

B) Ms. Morris didn't know about her son's stash of Playboys

C) Fox sees in Morris' anger a reflection of his own angst, and that Dana has seriously got to give the big lug a big hug (hey, that rhymes!)...(sigh)

12) Mulder drives Scully off to the lake, convinced there are clues there, that Ruby is an abductee, that Kevin is a conduit to whoever took her. Scully poignantly tells Mulder she knows why Mulder is so intent now on finding Ruby, that he is driven by his own demons. As the tension grows within the car, you shout to the screen:

A) "Dammit, Scully, get behind the wheel of the car next time and drive the Punk to the nearest psychiatric clinic!"

B) "That drive to the lake's gonna be a long one. Lake Okeechobee is all the way down here in South Florida! Oh, wait, I keep misspelling the lake name...sorry..."

C) "Guys! Relax! Just pull the car over, get in the back seat, and do some serious, um, hand-holding!"

13) They make it to the lake, where Mulder finds evidence of intense heat from the melted sand and the burnt treetops. A low growl catches Scully's attention, and the agents stand there as a white wolf comes out of the forest to stare at them. As the beautiful, almost haunting scene takes your breath away, you suddenly realize:

A) That GA would make for a damn good Red Riding Hood if Disney ever gets around to filming the story

B) There shouldn't be any mountains in Iowa! It's a Great Plains state! It's flatter than drywall!

C) That this would be a great place for Fox and Dana to camp for a long as it isn't UFO season...

14) Mulder finds a grave site, and starts pulling away the rocks. Scully tries to stop him, warning that he's disturbing a crime scene. Mulder turns to her, growling, "What if it's her? I need to know." You respond to this by:

A) Slapping your Mulder voodoo doll with a trout fresh from Lake Okaboingee

B) Pointing out Samantha Mulder was nowhere near...oh, wait, that's not the "her" he's referring to, is it?...

C) Demanding that Dana hold Fox's hand, distracting him long enough for the police to respond to the reports of gunfire filed by the other campers. Then, as the police take over the investigation, she can lead poor Fox to a nice, quiet part of the park, where they can watch the stars come out and move closer to each other, gently wrapping their arms around each other as they turn towards each other and slowly but surely lean in to kiss...OW! (writer gets stung by a bee) Oh, no............

after a brief medical emergency

15) The police arrive and crawl over the crime scene. Mulder and Scully stand to one side. Scully asks Mulder how he's feeling. "I'm fine," he mutters. You notice:

A) That the ratio of times Scully has said "I'm fine" compared to Mulder saying "I'm fine" over the full five seasons and movie is 135-to-1!!!

B) That the sheriff rubbed a dead guy's wallet against his chin! Eeeeeeeewww...

C) That Dana really needs to hold Fox's hand when she asks that: it improves the moment

16) They find evidence from Greg's body pointing toward the girl in the library. They drag in Tessa for interrogation, getting her to admit to being in the forest waiting to catch Ruby and Greg together, but that Ruby didn't even show. While Scully is convinced that Tessa's admission of killing Greg also points to her killing Ruby, Mulder is still convinced that Ruby has been abducted and wants to interview Kevin again. Scully calls out, "Mulder, stop running after your sister!" As Mulder turns to answer, you reply:

A) "He can't help it. She's got the house keys!"

B) "He's not running after her. He's after those Reticulans for not paying their bill on those liver-and-onion meals they ordered!"

C) "He has to find her. How else can he make sure she'll show up at the wedding?"

17) The make it to the Morris home, where they run past a satellite dish into an unlocked domicile. They find the family room floor covered with sheets of ones and zeroes, and poor Mulder just sits there, pondering it all. As Scully stumbles up the stairs, looks down and utters her trademark "Oh my God," you notice:

A) That it's always up to Scully to see something the Punk keeps overlooking

B) That satellite dish is pointed toward Wyoming. Hmm, and those ones and zeroes...they have to be earth coordinates. Quick, to Devil's Tower!...

C) That Kevin has a really good eye for art...reminds me of Impressionist style... (I know, it's not a 'Shippy thing to say, but needed to be said)

18) They race back to Lake Obi-Wan in twilight, where they find Ms. Morris slightly injured and Kevin stumbling further into the dark woods. Mulder chases after him, as the fog-filled forest is suddenly brightened by a distant light that moves closer. As Kevin calmly walks into the light as the roar of engines echoes through the trees, you think:

A) Those lights can't be a UFO...they only show up in the rear-view mirrors of Indiana Power and Electric repair trucks!...

B) At last! We get to see a UFO! Let's hope it doesn't look like a hubcap (again!)...

C) Dammit! All these bikers driving through the forest at night means this won't be a good place for Dana and Fox's honeymoon! Looks like they'll hafta do Niagra Falls like every other newlywed couple...

19) They find Ruby in a coma. Later in the hospital, Mulder notes some of the medical incongruities suggests the girl was exposed to prolonged weightlessness. They try to interview Ruby, but her mother intervenes. Eager to protect her children from the ridicule she herself had suffered, Ms. Morris refuses to cooperate or to tell the truth any longer. As Mulder gets that lost-puppy-dog look (trademark pending) on his face, you decide:

A) That the poor Punk deserves some sympathy this episode...but if he acts like a jerk in the next episode Scully should hurt him like a beast woman...

B) That the poor guy shouldn't have vacuumed the floor and cleaned the coffee mugs for her after all...

C) Poor Fox can't win for trying. He and Dana should retire, get married, and move to Texas where they can work as bounty hunters every week in FOX Network's next big hit "Red and the Fox: Hunters For Hire"!

20) Scully is seen back in the basement, looking at Samantha's X-File and listening to the therapy tapes where Mulder regresses back to the abduction. We still hear the tapes as the camera shifts to Mulder sitting alone in a church, weeping for his lost sister, his broken childhood, the shattered conch shell and the fall of the true wise friend Piggy. As the screen goes black with Mulder's haunting words "I...want to believe," we conclude:

A) That the writer of this survey should try reading "Moby Dick" more often instead of "Lord of the Flies!"

B) That if Mulder went to the National Cathedral he could have sat under the stained-glass window with a moon rock in the center of it! Cool!

C) That Dana, after listening to the tapes, should see the sad, sensitive side of Fox and conclude that he's not a jerk but obsessed with his work, and instead of dating divorced medical...oh, wait, that's NEXT episode...

Mulder's Puppy Eyes (patent pending)

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSEr who goes to Lake Ohmygod to get your holy trout

B) Then you are an X-Philer who thinks the subtle nods to "Close Encounters" in this episode would have been more fun if they included a wild UFO/car chase like Spielberg had in his movie

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who's disappointed all the angst in this episode didn't equate into serious amounts of hand-holding...(sigh)

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