Thursday, April 23, 2015

The X-Files: Fallen Angel 'Shipper Survey

Note: As mentioned before, I started the Senseless 'Shipper Surveys during Season Five, meaning the earlier seasons had to be done as recaps via repeat watchings on VHS (and later DVD sets).  I never found the time to do all of the earlier shows: I'd be busy writing the surveys during normal seasons, and when I could find the time once the show was over my interest had waned and I had moved on in my life (to a new job in particular).  As a result, I don't have that many Season One recaps done as 'Shipper Surveys.  This one here represents the last original one during the show's run.  From here it jumps to Season Three for a few scattered entries, and then Five onward.

Just sayin', now I do have motivation to get more episodes of Season One surveyed for 'Shipper pleasure... >:-)


1) The episode begins within a military radar station, as concerned technicians get worried over something...spooky. Even with the calm, assured presence of a high-ranking officer, the crew remains nervous until one of them notes, "It's the same message, over and over: Mars...Needs...Women." When this happens, you:

A) Rip the videotape out of the VCR and slap your MST3K-obsessed roomie with it (only because your trout's stuck in the freezer)

B) Imagine yourself filming a re-make of that trashy '60s movie, improving upon it with a stellar cast made up of Salma Hayek, Jennifer Connelly, Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, and...and...well, IT COULD HAPPEN...with Lili Taylor as the kick-ass fighter pilot, okay?...

C) Point out that Fox needs a woman too, and that those damn filthy Martians ought to keep their pseudopods off Dana!!!

2) Okay, after the real opening with crashing UFOs, conspiratorial officers whispering code words like "fallen angel," and screaming innocent bystanders getting microwaved, the show proper begins with our intrepid hero Mulder sneaking into the forests of British Col...uh, Wisconsin, egged on by Deep Throat into infiltrating a massive military operation led by sinister Col. Henderson. When Mulder gets in far enough to take pictures of the smoking, foam-covered remains of a UFO, you realize:

A) That the bloody Punk forgot to bring Scully to see the UFO! Dammit, he always ditches her whenever he goes off to get proof, and then he whines about how she never believes him! Duh, no wonder!...

B) That your esoteric knowledge of Fifties sci-fi movies tells you that the radioactive fields surrounding a UFO will fog any camera film, and that poor Mulder will have nothing to show for his efforts

C) That when the soldiers sneaking up on Fox are done pummeling him like a dirty rug, Dana will show up to provide some tender lovin' care...(deeeep sigh)

3) After a fruitless interrogation from Col. Henderson, Mulder is tossed into a holding cell next to another prisoner, an energetic paranoid from NICAP named Max Fenig (Scott Bellis). Even after two minutes of interaction between the cool Mulder and whacked-out Max, you note:

A) That Scully is probably better off with that guy she dated in "Jersey Devil" than with either of these clowns

B) That conspiracy buffs ought to find something more fun to do on a Friday evening than sit in a makeshift jail cell talking about which UFO-hunting group has a better pension plan

C) That whomever answers A) on this question should be boiled in baby oil for their NoRomo transgression...I mean, that guy in "Jersey Devil" was so damn dull!!!

4) Dawn comes, and with it a sense of reality, especially as Scully storms into the jail cell to chew Mulder out for interfering with a military operation. Mulder says the cover story of spilled toxins is a lie. Scully agrees, but stands by the "secret" that a Libyan pilot carrying a nuclear warhead crashed into Cheese Country for the reason Henderson and his buds are scouring the woods. You take this into account and decide that:

A) Scully is, sadly, wrong: the military is actually there to get easy seating at the Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field to watch the Packers against the, wait, that will never work, you can't scare Packer fans off with something as lame as "toxic spills"...

B) Mulder is, sadly, wrong: the military is actually there to stop Celine Dion from crossing the Canadian, wait, Minnesota and Michigan are between Wisconsin and Canada, right?...hurm...

C) Dana and Fox are, sadly, unable to make out: Max is in the next jail cell and it wouldn't be right to disturb his beauty, wait, Max is gone...GO FOR IT, GUYS! (hopeful grin)

5) While a nearly-invisible fiendish thingee is running through the forests, Mulder and Scully head back to Mulder's hotel, Scully insisting that she drag Mulder back for his inquisition before Section Chief McGrath and Mulder insisting they take another 24 hours to find out what's going down along the shores of Lake Michigan. As Scully threatens to drag Mulder back to D.C. if she had to and Mulder smirking over her starring in her own version of Jack Nicholson's classic movie "Last Detail", you consider:

A) If seeing Scully impersonate Jack in the axe scene from "Shining" is enough to make the Punk come quietly back to Vancouv...uh, D.C.

B) If you haven't seen this scenario too many times in all those 80's buddy pics: two mismatched cops working to solve a case in 24 hours before Internal Affairs shuts down the rule-breaking detective division that always cuts the pair some slack because they get the job done...theme song with Glenn Frey, soundtrack by Tangerine Dream...

C) If Dana and Fox shouldn't come up with better ways to use 24 hours by themselves in a hotel room in the middle of Wisconsin...(wicked grin)

Insertion: If you want to know what the nearly-invisible fiendish thingee REALLY looks like, well... SPOILERS.




6) Mulder and Scully stare in shock at the wrecked hotel room. You say to yourself:

A) "It's a good thing you don't share hotel rooms with this slob, Scully..."

B) "Gonna be real hard to find that mint on the pillow...gotta find the pillow first..."

C) "Okay, whoever finds the bed first gets to be on top...(sigh)"

7) They catch Max trying to climb out the bathroom window. He reveals his knowledge of Mulder's work on the X-Files, keeping track through the Freedom of Information Act gaining access to travel expenses. Max then turns and says, "So this must be the enigmatic Agent Scully." As Mulder shoves poor Max back into his chair, you reply with:

A) A hearty "Yes! Scully now has her own nickname! Enigmatic! No more `Mrs. Spooky'!!!"

B) A sarcastic "Gee, Mulder, you're probably regretting those video rentals you billed the government during that last trip to Atlantic City..."

C) A disappointing "Nuts! Max didn't mistake Dana for Fox's wife like so many other guest stars on the show!.."

8) An eager Max shows off his trailer, distracted at first with showing off pictures of crop circles to Mulder for his opinion. While the guys try to impress each other with their arcane knowledge, Scully notes the medication Max is taking. Mulder then asks for whatever Max wanted to show, which seems to be transmissions Max intercepted from the local police and fire safety frequencies. As they stand there, listening to the screams of innocent victims, you take time to note:

A) That Scully, thankfully, won't have to argue with the Punk about crop circles; even he doesn't buy into them

B) That Max housecleaning skills need improving...those dust bunnies shouldn't move like that...

C) That eager grin on Fox's face when they entered the trailer means he likes this kind of lifestyle...hope Dana enjoys cross-country trips in RVs...

9) While Mulder and Scully hunt through the evacuation centers for the surviving family members of the victimized sheriff's deputy, the military is closing in on the fiendish thingee. The lights flicker, the audio equipment is overwhelmed by a high-pitched broadcast, and Col. Henderson orders his troops in. As the unsuspecting soldiers get flambeed, you:

A) Wait for Scully to argue with Mulder that flickering lights do NOT mean aliens are standing by the light switch

B) Wonder why the troops don't wear infrared goggles when they know they're hunting an invisible...oh, because they're EXPENDABLE, just like those Redshirts on "Star Trek"...

C) Wish that Dana and Fox whip out their flashlights and keep repeating things like "I'm over here, Mulder" and "Take a look at this, Scully" because we know that's how they flirt in the dark...;-)

10) Mulder and Scully make it to the hospital to query the doctor who witnessed the burn victims from the night before. They're present as Henderson brings in his wounded, horribly cooked soldiers. Mulder rags on the colonel, debating his use of force, getting the officer mad enough to order the two agents out of there. The doctor, needing all the help he can get, demands that Scully stay to help. As the scene grows tense, you whisper to yourself:

A) "That's right, Scully can save those lives! She is, after all, the Enigmatic One!"

B) "Dammit, Mulder, do not argue with a man who carries more firearms than you do!"

C) "You notice how Fox goes quietly when Henderson gives in to the doctor's demands? It shows he's not about to ruin Dana's moment! Oh, that's love...(sigh)"

11) Mulder makes it back to the hotel in time to find Max suffering a seizure. Max reveals how he's always been subject to epileptic fits since he was a child, waking up in bizarre places with no memory or reason. As Mulder helps the poor guy get some rest, he notices a mark underneath Max's ear. As the realization dawns that Max is more than he seems, you discover:

A) That Scully's earlier notice of the medication means she'll discount any wild claims the poor Punk is going to make

B) That you've been scratching behind your ear a bit too much lately...uh-oh...

C) That Fox has a surprising amount of paternal qualities, qualities that may yet impress that redheaded partner of his...(deep sigh)

12) Scully comes back to find Mulder pulling up off his computer other cases of abductees with similar marks as Max's: Max is an abductee. Of course, Scully and Mulder argue about it. You note:

A) That you were right: Scully's knowledge of pharmaceuticals has prepared her to point out how delusional Max can...oh, so it's MULDER making the claim and not Max? Well, then, Scully's going to hafta check Mulder's medicine cabinet when they get back...

B) That Mulder should have brought Max in on the argument, instead of leaving him in the trailer where any extraterrestrial could waltz in and abduct the poor guy...

C) That all the arguing is, thank God, how these two flirt...with luck, we'll see some hand-holding afterward...(drool)

13) Max disappears before Scully can check his ear. They overhear on Max's scanner that Henderson's troops are closing in on the poor guy. Mulder races back to his car and insists on Scully giving him the car keys. You respond:

A) "Dammit, Scully, keep the keys! It's your turn to drive!"

B) "Hurry, guys! Two more soldiers named Private Expendable and Corporal Sucker have just spotted Max!"

C) "Guys! Save the back seat for later!"

14) Mulder and Scully race to find more dead soldiers and poor Max flipping out in an abandoned warehouse. Scully goes for help but gets caught by Henderson's troops, leaving the warehouse surrounded. Mulder is left to stop the invisible fiendish thingee, which flips Mulder over some crates rather than cook him. Mulder lives to see Max levitating in the light, possessed by the alien, his body convulsing as he ascends into the brightness above. As Henderson arrives too late, you ponder:

A) That Scully would have been a better witness to Max's Christ-like ascension from the earthly plane...oh, wait, this wasn't a religious episode, it's a UFO mytharc episode. No WONDER she didn't see a thing!...

B) Why doesn't the alien microwave Mulder like it did all those other...oh, because Duchovny doesn't look good in body-scar make-up. No WONDER the worst he gets is a bad ankle and a lousy hair-cut!...

C) Whether or not Dana is going to treat Fox's bad ankle with a massage and gentle bandaging session...oh, so that's why Henderson still puts the two under arrest even though the whole thing's pretty much over. No WONDER they go back to D.C. handcuffed together by themselves in the back of an MP van giving them a chance to sit close and talk about their favorite beverages and...well, it COULD happen!...

15) We return to FBI headquarters. Scully is being grilled by McGrath for Mulder's illegal use of FBI materials and breaking of protocol. Mulder then gets his turn, knowing full well the matter is an inquisition, learning that Henderson's report "found" Max's body rather than admit he had been abducted. Mulder gets in his speech about the Truth before limping away. As he does so, you note:

A) That the Punk always gets to make the big speech! Poor Scully wanted to, but that jerk McGrath kept cutting her off. Damn patriarchal system!

B) That Mulder was wrong about the gallows being built in the town square for his hanging. This is, after all, D.C. and this is 1993, just as the Whitewater witch-hunt started up...

C) They did! They did come back to D.C. together in the back of an MP van, and she did get to treat him! After all, who do you think got those crutches for Fox? As a doctor, Dana does get a good deal on medical supplies...;-)

BONUS: McGrath storms across a deserted pavilion to confront the man who countermanded the order to fire Mulder and close the X-Files. Deep Throat replies that it is better to keep Mulder where he is, that his singular "passion" poses an unique dilemma, that somehow it's important for the conspiracy to keep Mulder at his task, under their watchful eye, unless he would fall in with the wrong people. As Deep Throat concludes by quoting "Keep your friends close, but your enemies even closer," you think to yourself:

A) That the conspiracy keeps overlooking Scully, the one person who can break the X-Files wide open with her strict rationalism and scientific understanding...the Punk is just her decoy to keep them all distracted while she completes her work...(maniacal laughter)

B) That the person McGrath has to talk to is the guy controlling the Nielsen ratings...if they can get the viewing average lower than a high schooler's average GPA, THEN they can close the X-Files!...(maniacal laughter)

C) That there's a better quote we should hear: "We are gathered here today to witness this union between Fox Mulder and Dana Scully..." (deep sigh)

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you were a part of the OBSS (Order of the Blessed St. Scully) who's grateful for Max, as you can finally add the "E" to your identity and be a full-fledged OBSSE (Order of the Bless St. Scully the Enigmatic) member!

B) Then you are an X-Philer who's damn sure you saw all those soldiers get killed off on "Star Trek: the Next Generation" the year before...

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who's certain Max was able to get a CD player as a wedding gift for Dana and Fox before he left for Reticula...(sigh)

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