Monday, July 20, 2015

X-Files: Beyond the Sea 'Shipper Survey

As threatened, here's a Season One survey of a classic X-Files, and the first one to play with the Skeptic/Believe dynamic between Mulder and Scully: Beyond the Sea!

This is also a notable episode in that a couple of veteran actors from David Lynch productions - Don Davis and Brad Dourif - happen to show up.  Due to the production in Northwest US/Vancouver, a good number of alumni from Twin Peaks showed up in the first few seasons of the X-Files.  That Duchovny showed up in Season Two of Twin Peaks as a recurring character allowed for a lot of early crossover fanfic between the two shows to take place those early years.

Just to note: as the X-Files are returning, so too is Twin Peaks!  Although the details are still a bit murky, the news of Lynch returning to its production can be a good sign.

That said: here's the newly written survey of a Season One episode I just only got around to writing today!

Senseless 'Shipper Survey - Beyond the Sea

1) The episode opens with Scully entertaining two people in her apartment.  One of them is, in fact, a refugee from this small Washington state town of Twin Peaks!  It's Don Davis, kids! (applause)  As Scully salutes the Navy officer as her father, you realize:
A) Scully was a Navy brat?  Small world, my dad was Navy too!  How many curse words did you learn, Scully?
B) That with this episode getting rehashed due to the X-Files coming back, and because Twin Peaks is coming back, that you all are gonna get a sh-t ton of Lynchian cultural references!
C) This means Dana can arrange a marriage at sea with Fox!

2) Later that cold open, Scully wakes up in her recliner noticing that Don Davis is still in the apartment sitting across from her.  He's talking, slowly and with purpose, but there are no words, no voice.  The Christmas lights festooning the apartment are blinking in an unusual order.  A bottle of beer topples from the counter.  The phone rings.  This means:
A) The owls are not what they seem.
B) What bottle of beer was that?  Heineken!? F-ck That Sh-t! Pabst! Blue! Ribbon!
C) Dana's already figured out who killed Laura Palmer, and she just needs to trust Fox enough to tell him.

3) It turns out Scully's father suffered a heart attack and died during the time she had a vision of him silently trying to tell her something.  She's left comforting her mother during the funeral, a burial at sea involving her father's ashes while the song "Beyond the Sea" plays in memoriam.  You:
A) Cry for Scully, for she is Highlander and she will not cry so you will cry for her.
B) Try to ignore the dancing cowboy in the distance, because that's not really helping sell this scene Mr. Lynch.
C) Have something in your eye, just hold on... oh the screen's just a little fuzzy right now that's all... sniff... waaaaaaaaaaahh...

4) Oh, by the way, this is the X-Files, so there's a mystery to solve in the form of a kidnapped couple who may be the next victims of a serial killer.  The profile points to someone reliving a traumatic childhood accident, and there's a period of time where he tortures the victims before completing the ritual kill.  The twist in this case is that a convicted killer on Death Row, someone Mulder just happened to have captured as a Profiler, is claiming to have visions of the kidnapping and is asking for leniency.  For once, Mulder isn't buying the psychic vision element.  That tells you:
A) That Scully's Skepticism isn't even going to be needed this episode.  Hell, why even visit the guy?  Let's go find us some clues, jinkies!
B) That Mulder's not going to use the Tibetan Method of throwing baseballs at bottles to determine the spiritual connection of a suspect to the case.
C) That Fox is ignoring how important it would be to Dana to give her a hug after the personal loss she's had.  Sniff...

5) The serial killer is interviewed on death row in North Carolina.  Look kids!  It turns out that Luther Lee Boggs is played by Brad Dourif!  (Applause) That means:
A) Our quota of actors with creepy eyebrows has been met this season!  Good job to the casting agents!
B) It is by will alone I set my mind in motion...
C) Well, there's not a really 'Shipper moment to be said about this.  I *think* Dourif's played romantic figures in a few movies, maybe Billy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, was that him in Ragtime maybe?  That's about it.  He's been typecast as unhinged guys so often it's kinda sad...

This is actually one of the saner characters Dourif ever played...

6) Mulder tricks Boggs into giving up a clue about the victims' whereabouts by using a piece of cloth from his own basketball jersey.  Convinced Boggs is faking his psychic power, Mulder leaves the prison cell in a huff.  As Scully follows him out, she suddenly notices Boggs is appearing to her as her father, and Don Davis leans over and says "Did you get my message, Starbuck?"  You:
B) Wonder if Dirk Benedict and Katee Sackhoff are gonna sue Gillian for taking their BSG name?

every argument is hereby invalid

7) Another attempt to scam Boggs - this time using a fake news clipping about the victims - doesn't get the expected response, but Boggs gives cryptic clues about the location where the serial killer is set to kill the first of the two.  Later, Scully is driving around getting lost in Vancouver, uh North Carolina when she spies a statue that fits Boggs' clues.  Calling in Mulder and a SWAT team, you're convinced:
A) Scully is just certain this is the place because of her innate rational skills of deduction!  Yeah, that's our excuse and we're sticking to it...
B) That flashing neon sign "This Is It" had something to do with it.
C) That we're going to get a rescue mission that will involve trust issues and at least three hand holds!

8) The FBI team is able to rescue one of the kidnap victims before she can be killed, but the serial killer escapes by shooting Mulder, forcing Scully to stay and cradle him to stop his bleeding.  You:
A) Really think that SWAT!Scully needs a fight cry.  "BATTLE ON!" Yeah, that'll work! :)
B) Worry about the sudden flashback sequence that has Scully imagining herself talking to this elderly couple hiding in a blue box...
C) Are happy that Dana is comforting a Hurt!Fox, but this whole getting-shot-to-create-an-intimate-moment thing better not turn into a common occurance after Season One, okay?  OKAY?!

9) An angry Scully goes charging into Boggs' cell: "You set us up! You’re in on this with Lucas Henry. This was a trap for Mulder because he helped put you away. Well, I came here to tell you that if he dies because of what you’ve done, four days from now, no one will be able to stop me from being the one that will throw the switch and gas you out of this life for good, you son of a bitch!"  You:
A) Cheer.
B) Cheer.
C) Shout "DANA LOVES FOX!" then cheer.

Note: this must be YouTubed:

10) Boggs morphs into Mulder: "Dana... you're the one who believed me."
C) Damn NoRomos!

11) Boggs tries to explain to Scully what happened to him: that his experience on Death Row, going through the first run of an earlier execution attempt had exposed him to the dozens of souls now haunting him.  He truly fears now the fate the afterlife has stored for him, and while he accepts that he will die for his crimes he wants some atonement in this world to lessen his coming doom in the next.  You take this in and shout back at the screen:
A) "Look not to St. Scully for your absolution, you fiend!  Prepare the fresh trout, so that Boggs may be slapped first for his sins!"
B) "It would be better for you to die... in the innards of a Worm! Activate the thumpers! Watch for Wormsign!"
C) "Get back to the hospital and give Fox another hand hold, Dana!"

12) Boggs gives Scully one more clue, and tries to convince her to show up at his scheduled execution in four days by claiming he can pass on her father's last message to her.  He also warns her to avoid "the devil".  Scully takes the clue and figures out where the killer will attempt to kill the young man he still holds.  You figure out:
A) Scully will this time bring enough SWAT guys to cover all exits, destroy all hiding places, and serve some Scullyritas!
B) That the dancing midget singing backwards in the other jail cell would have better cryptic clues!  Go ask him!
C) Dana's gonna make it up to Fox by solving this case so they can get on with the post-recovery comfort treatment!

13) The second raid is more successful.  Scully chases after the serial killer, who goes running through the abandoned brewery.  He hurries into the production area, crossing over on an overhang ramp, and Scully stars to follow but stops herself when she sees the beer company's logo was a devil's face.  As the serial killer breaks through weak boards and falls to his death, you note:
A) SWAT!Scully needs to be a thing more often! Work on it, Chris!
B) Told you that beer is for sh-t!  PABST! BLUE! RIBBON!
C) Hey, is this gonna be an episode where only the bad guys die?!  Good news, that means we won't feel guilty when Dana and Fox have celebratory sex uh hand-holding!

14) It's time for Boggs to face his justice.  The souls of his victims silently watch him, and he stares back with genuine fear in his eyes.  As he gets strapped down to the chair for the gas chamber, he looks through the witness window to see if Scully would appear so he could deliver her father's message.  When he sees... just the priest and the executioner, you realize:
A) Scully didn't buy his bullsh-t story after all!  YAY!
B) Boggs' only way out now is to transform into a completely different person, like how that guy who played the President in Independence Day morphed into uh that other guy in prison, so they had to let him go and end up working for Frank Booth's second cousin Dick Laurent!
C) Dana is probably off giving Fox a comfort hug during his recuperation!

15) Scully is at Mulder's bedside, trying to come up with logical explanations about how Boggs' knew her personal details, and how he played on her father's recent death.  Mulder, still recovering from the wound, tries to comfort her but asks why she didn't take the next step and get enough evidence to finally Believe.  Scully answers, "I'm afraid, I'm afraid to Believe."  As the episode ends you reply back:
A) "It's not that you're afraid, Scully, it's that you are contractually obligated to be the Skeptic character for at least five seasons and a movie!"
B) "THE SLEEPER HAS AWAKE... oh, wait, no she hasn't.  Never mind.  Back to the spice mines, everybody!  Nothing to see here..."

If you more often than not answered:
A) You're a Scully acolyte bothered by the dynamic shift of Believer/Skeptic this episode and hopes it doesn't happen again.
B) You're a fan of David Lynch movies and television shows who understands exactly what happened in Lost Highway.  Yup.  Absolutely.  Every last frame.  Just take my word for it.
C) You're a 'Shipper who saw enough Comforting and Emotional exposure this episode to make you wish for more!  MORE!  MORE HUGS!  MORE HAND HOLDS!  MORE BEDSIDE CONVERSATIONS ABOUT BELIEF AND TRUST AND...

What do you think, sirs?

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