Sunday, January 31, 2016

This Monday: It's a Darin Morgan X-Files Episode

Let me clarify this. IT'S A DARIN MORGAN EPISODE. If you ask an X-Phile which of the screenplay writers on the staff they trusted with a great episode, they'll usually mention Vince, and James Wong with Glen Morgan, and occasionally Carter himself (when he knows what he's doing) and then there's Glen's brother Darin.


He's scripted only four episodes - Humbug, Clyde Bruckman, Coprophages, and Jose Chung - but all four are the most beloved, most worshiped episodes in the entire series. He also worked on Blood in terms of the story but not the script, and it's a good episode as well.

This isn't just my opinion. Clyde Bruckman won an Emmy for Best Screenplay, the only X-Files episode to do so (there had been others nominated). If you poll the fanbase, I guarantee you Clyde Bruckman will make the top three, Jose Chung the top five, Humbug the top ten, and Coprophages the top twenty.

Shaenon, she of the Monster of the Week webcomic review, absolutely refuses to sell a print of her recap of Clyde Bruckman to anybody. Only Darin was allowed (it ended up getting bought by Glen as a present to his brother)

I never did a 'Shipper Survey for any of them partly because they all came before Season Five when I started, but I never went back to do them for archival purposes because I can't get snarky or smartass with them like I can with the other episodes. They're too good. (I did contribute to someone's MST3K crossover work on Jose Chung, but a straight-up 'Shipper Survey is asking too much)

We're getting a DARIN MORGAN episode this Monday.

He'll save us. He'll return, as promised, and smite our enemies.

X-Files: Founder's Mutation 'Shipper Survey

Damn the man. I had to work Monday night at the library, so I missed the first half of the episode. Thankfully, wiser heads like Mary Jamieson (hollah) informed me there's a streaming service on Fox's website for the first two episodes so I perused what I missed via that.

In the meantime, here's a Glen Morgan penned episode with good old Monster of the Week mayhem, but with the added dash of being tied into the Mytharc! Whoa!

X-Files Senseless 'Shipper Survey: Founder's Mutation

1) The episode opens on a bloodshot eye getting retinal scanned for security clearance. The eye belongs to a Dr. Sanjay, who's entering a Nugenics office complex and coping with the hassles of any normal workday: annoying co-workers, lack of coffee, that persistent high-pitched ringing that forces you to down an entire bottle of Bayer, etc. It leads to the other hassle: long boring boardroom meeting where others are bickering over the commands from their overlord "Founder" Augustus Goldman. Nobody else seems to notice Sanjay's headaches are getting worse or that there's a Murder of Crows gathering on the rolling hills of Vancouver outside their window. When Sanjay finally flips out in the meeting and flees the room, you:

A) Suggest he go find a respectable doctor like Scully to get that tinnitus taken care of!
B) Like the subtle touch of using the collective noun for crows. Murder indeed...
C) Wonder if that one guy typing away on his tablet during the meeting was distracting himself with some erotic Dana/Fox fanfiction!

2) Sanjay's gone and locked himself in a computer server room, fixated on downloading as much data as he can. As his worried co-workers pound at the window, and as the security guards start cracking the door lock to break in to stop him, the noise in Sanjay's head drives him over the edge. He grabs a marker, writes a mysterious note on his hand, and then grabs a letter opener. As he graphically shoves it into his ear... as far as he can... you:

A) Shout at the screen "Dammit that's NOT how you treat tinnitus!"
B) Wonder aloud "Who has a letter opener in a computer server room?! Wouldn't a Phillips head screwdriver be a more sensible weapon to have on hand?"
C) Flinch in horror at this poor man's death. There's nothing fun or 'Shippy about... about... hey, won't Dana and Fox show up at this guy's autopsy and flirt shamelessly over the corpse? Good move, Sanjay, thanks for taking one for the team!

3) Mulder and Scully do indeed show up at the crime scene. Mulder examines the body and the room, and asks "What do you think Scully?" Scully hovers over him and answers "Looks like suicide Mulder. Note the letter opener sticking out of the ear." You answer:

A) "No Sh-t, you Punk!"
B) "Check the pockets for money, I'll grab the expensive watch."
C) "Yay! They're flirting already!"

4) Mulder points out how Sanjay put himself in the most secure room in the building with isolated servers, with the terminal he was working from the only way to access the data. As Mulder grabs the external drive Sanjay was using, a beefy security guard shows up to confiscate the drive, claiming "national security". It turns out Nugenics has a Defense contract, hence the FBI investigating Sanjay's death. Mulder notes they need to determine what Sanjay was trying to download, so he asks to interview the company's owner Augustus Goldman. When the security guard refuses that request by noting he can't verify the whereabouts of "The Founder", you realize:

A) This isn't a genetics lab, it's a CULT! Listen to that, talking about a person as a mythic, otherworldly being of perfection! Trout slap him, St. Scully, and pass the Scullyrita, fellow OBSSE members! ...what?
B) Anyone insisting on being called "The Founder" is bound to have sociopathic tendencies like a massive ego and pretensions of godhood. So we've got a good idea who the real Monster of the Week is going to be.
C) We've gone five minutes without a handhold between Dana and Fox! Dammit, we need a fix soon...

5) While Scully distracts the guard over the security cameras and the need to view any documentation, Mulder quietly checks Sanjay's pockets for more clues, finds a cell phone, and swipes the dead man's thumb to unlock the biosecurity on it. He then walks out of the room before the security guard realizes he lifted that phone. You scream:

A) "You better not use Sanjay's phone to sext people, you Punk!"
B) "Dammit, Mulder, what about the wallet! You should have grabbed the wallet!"
C) "Good God. I just realized: before smartphones, we never really sexted people. Wow. If we had that technology back in 1993, this show could have been so much kinkier!"

6) As Mulder and Scully leave the building, they argue over the legality of Mulder's swiping Sanjay's phone. During that conversation, they nearly bump into a janitor for absolutely no real reason at all. You know this means:

A) That janitor knows something!
B) That janitor knows something!
C) That janitor gave Fox the excuse to brush against Dana's shoulder! Sigh...

7) Mulder follows a lead over "Gupta" to a bar in Washington DC called "The Corner Pocket". He meets Gupta in a booth, noticing there's a couple of possible Men in Black watching nearby, and asks about meeting somewhere "more private" and that he's "safe". You watch all this and exclaim:

A) "Man, Mulder REALLY doesn't know how to pick up guys in bars!"
B) "There's something bothering me about this place. Gasp, I know! This lesbian bar has no fire exit! Enjoy your death-trap, ladies!"
C) "Why do they keep bringing Slash into this show? Not that there's anything wrong with it!"

8) While Mulder sets back hetero-alternative cultural co-existence back another decade, Scully's actually at work finding evidence via autopsy. Especially that note Sanjay wrote in his palm: "Founder's Mutation." You know this clue means:

A) Sanjay wanted the investigators to focus on Augustus Goldman. Who cares if the Punk think that phrase pertains to something else!
B) Sanjay knew what the title of this episode was going to be from the script he read.
C) Sanjay knew it would give Dana and Fox a reason to flirt! Again, thanks for taking one for the team, bro!

9) Finding out from Gupta that Sanjay led two lives and was worried about "his children dying", Mulder and Scully go driving through the alleyways of Vancouver to find his real abode. Along the way, Scully nearly drives over a tired-looking janitor who's running around like a social misfit. You realize:

B) This episode's not going to be all that subtle with the clues, is it?
C) That's a car built for family driving. So... we're missing William, aren't we?

10) They reach Sanjay's real apartment and begin searching for clues. Scully finds one with a wall covered with photos of children suffering from physical deformities. Flashing red and blue lights from outside reveal the agents accidentally tripped an alarm, so they hurry to find more evidence before they can be interrupted. Suddenly, Mulder is hit with the high-pitch noise and bends over in pain. As Scully deals with handling the cops, Mulder endures the pain and starts hearing voices, repeating two messages: "Help me" and "Find her." You realize:

A) This is what the Punk gets for failing to acquire a warrant and the keys to the place!
B) It's Luke! Trying to reach out to his daughter Rey using the Force! ...what, you haven't seen Star Wars Episode VII yet? ARE YOU MAD! GO SEE IT NOW! This will wait until you get back.
C) Dana could have just as easily comforted Fox with a hug and hold up her FBI badge at the same time! What a missed opportunity! (cries)

11) It's Assistant Director Walter Skinner's office! He's reviewing the case so far, and Mulder refers to documents found in Sanjay's apartment. But it turns out those documents were seized as "Property of the Department of Defense" by a very angry-looking bearded bureaucrat giving the agents the stink-eye. But once that DoD jerk leaves the office with the documents, Skinner exhales and asks "I assume you made copies before they seized those papers?" You:

A) see B)
B) see C)
C) see D)
D) Shout "Goddamn YES, Skinner! You know how it goes down, boss!"

12) Skinner lets Mulder and Scully know that given the bureaucratic nature of everything Post-9/11, the paperwork on closing their report will take days, giving the agents at least 48 hours to honestly complete their investigation into the likely genetic experimentation on children by our own Defense Dept. Once that's out of the way, the two go back to the X-Files basement... where we find that the only nameplate on the door says "Fox Mulder". You:

A) Scream an unholy scream and curse Chris Carter to the Nine Circles of Hell. The OBSSE got a nameplate for St. Scully, you SONOFABITCH, IT'S HER OFFICE TOO! AIM THE TROUT FOR CARTER'S SMUG FACE IN FIVE... FOUR... THREE... TWO...
B) Seriously wonder why Scully doesn't have a goddamn nameplate.
C) Seriously wonder why they can't put Dana and Fox's name on the same nameplate. After all, we're hoping they do that for the wedding invites!

13) Mulder and Scully share evidence as they examine the security cameras. Scully also takes the time to ask Mulder about what happened to him. Mulder describes the pain and that he heard the words "Find her." He notices the janitor in one security camera (NOT SUBTLE) and also notices the Murder of Crows (SUBTLE), pointing out that the sound he heard could also be affecting animals. Scully gets worried, noting that Sanjay heard that sound, and it drove him to suicide. "This is dangerous," she warns. "When has that ever stopped us?" Mulder snarks back. You answer:

A) "Whenever it got to the point where people died, you Punk!"
B) "Whenever the episode ended and you never followed up on loose threads, that's when!"
C) "She cares, Fox! Dammit, kiss her!"

14) Scully knows a way to reach Goldman. It turns out he's a prominent financial donor to Scully's hospital the Lady of Our Sorrows, and Scully attempts to get one of the administrators to arrange a meeting. The administrator (if she looks familiar, she played Scully's counselor during Seasons Two and Three) isn't thrilled that Goldman is under FBI investigation, but is able to relay a message to him that the FBI wants to talk. Mulder also suggests that the administrator asks him about "Founder's Mutation". As the administrator flinches at that phrase, you recognize:

A) The phrase might not have anything to do with Goldman himself, but something about genetics itself... SO WHY DOESN'T SCULLY KNOW ABOUT IT?
B) It's the title of David Bowie's next album, right? (beat) Oh... right... (cries)
C) That Fox knows well enough to stay out of Dana's way when they're in her place of power.

15) During their wait, Mulder and Scully are approached by a nervous young woman, pregnant and terrified that there's something wrong with her baby. Agnes alternates between begging for help to get out of the ward and believing the agents won't believe or help her. When the administrator shows up in the hallway, Agnes runs but not before Mulder can slip a card to her. As the administrator returns with a phone number to reach Goldman, Agnes watches from a distance while Escape From the Planet of the Apes plays on a TV behind her. You note:

A) see B)
B) see C)
C) Another Planet of the Apes reference, about future ape babies? Oh, yeah. Just HITTING US OVER THE HEAD WITH THE SUBTLETY here, people.

16) Mulder makes the connection between Goldman's philanthropy towards that hospital as his access to that pregnancy ward, and jumps to the conclusion that Goldman might be experimenting on those women. Scully's none too thrilled about that theory, because it brings up the fact that 15 years ago, SHE had a baby with the implications that baby was genetically messed with as well. "Was that all I was, an incubator?" Scully asks. Mulder replies, "You were never... just anything... to me, Scully." You:

A) Silently toast the Blessed Skeptic with a Scullyrita
B) "I got something in my eye."
C) Bawl your wet 'Shipper eyes out

17) The scene segues to a school, where a younger-looking Scully is walking her son William up to his first day there. They joke about the rules of surviving school, and then the scene shifts again in a nice effect of the closing doors re-opening to an older William racing off to some afternoon thing. And then the scene shifts to a darker tone, and Scully is worrying over a wounded William dealing with a broken forearm. And then it shifts to an even darker scene, at home with a teenaged William crying for his Mom. As Scully enters his room and finds William freaking out over his mutating into an alien hybrid, you:

A) Understand this is Scully's ongoing nightmare of the life that may befall her only son...
B) Realize that somebody's gotta make a call to Charles Xavier's School for an opening... why not? X-Files, X-Men, it's a natural crossover to make!
c) KEEP CRYING YOUR DAMN EYES OUT. Poor Dana... Nooooooooo...

18) Commercial break ends, and we're finally meeting Dr. Augustus Goldman. He's being asked about "Founder's Mutation" and remains evasive about it. Goldman tries to explain his work as "saving children," and escorts the agents to a hallway lined with young children suffering from unsettling deformities. He offers to let Scully speak to them, and Scully does with a poor child called Adam suffering a cycloptic condition. The conversation doesn't reveal much, but Scully notes the rooms are locked and the children are isolated and she questions why since they suffer from genetic disorders and aren't contagious. Goldman answers that they are using experimental procedures and need to control the environmental factors. "Like using alien DNA?" Scully retorts. Goldman flinches and replies "Dr. Scully, I was told you were the rational one." You reply:

A) "She is the rational one. She's also the one armed with a fully loaded fresh trout useful in slapping total Punks!"
B) "We're talking about the hybrid merging of Mytharc stories to Monster of the Week stories. And now, here, we have proof with this episode's Monster of the Week, Augustus Goldman!"
C) We're with the ones who answered A), Doc. NOBODY TALKS TO DANA LIKE THAT! (Insert Trout Slap Here)

NOTE: Meanwhile, a healthy-looking teenage girl named Molly is having a freak-out down the hallway for no sane reason other than to show off telekinetic abilities and set up a plot point. Not subtle, guys.

19) Something happened to Agnes. The agents are called to a crime scene where her body was found with Mulder's card on her. She died in a suspicious hit-and-run by the looks of things. And her baby's gone. Your response is:

A) "Damn them. It never gets any easier when people die on this show. For once, can't everyone live, just once?"
B) "Somebody at that pregnancy ward has to answer for this..."
C) "Given the theme of this episode, we really shouldn't have a snarky response to this."

20) Scully does the autopsy and confirms Agnes was killed by a car, and that her baby was surgically removed. She accepts the likelihood that the fetus was tied into Goldman's work but there's no proof now. Mulder brings up the "Founder's Mutation" phrase and reveals what it means: the idea that a "perfect" mutation - the Founder - would create the genetic keystone to the next stage in evolution. He notes how the Syndicate (Mytharc!) started such projects back in the 1970s but they never worked... but it doesn't mean they stopped trying. Mulder also pulls up more information about Goldman: 17 years prior his wife was placed in custody and charged with going insane and killing her own child while in the womb... and that baby's body was never found as well. With all this exposition going on, you know:

A) That we're certain this is going to lead up to Scully calling Charles Xavier's school and see if there's a William enrolled after all!
B) That we're certain this is going to tie into the final episode of the Battlestar Galactica reboot!
C) That we're certain this is going to end up with the writer survey cramming all the questions into a round number of 25! ...What, we've seen it before!

21) They find an unresponsive Mrs. Goldman sitting at a lunch table at the Conveniently Placed Criminally Insane Ward on the outskirts of Vancouver. Questions go unanswered until a cat comes in and she chucks an apple at it. Hey! MY CATS DO NOT APPROVE OF THAT, LADY! Ahem. No longer able to stay quiet, Mrs. Goldman starts explaining what happened: she discovered her 2-year-old daughter Molly had fallen into the pool... and had been under there for 10 minutes... and she was breathing just fine. You realize:

A) If Dr. Goldman had put a child protection fence around that swimming pool like he was supposed to, none of this would have slipped out...!
B) That was no ordinary cat! That was Oscar the Death Cat! AND HE'S COME FOR YOUR SOUL!
C) That we're not really in a 'Shipper-friendly setting at the moment, so we'll have to wait for the next question.

22) Realizing her husband had experimented on Molly... experimented on her unborn son... she freaks, slashes his arm, and flees the house as he ominously drips blood from the wound. Unfortunately, her freak-out doesn't lead to better driving, and she's crawling from the wreckage she started getting Scanned by her unborn son. Prompted by the pain, she performs her own radical version of a C-Section, exposing the womb and... and... OH MY GOD IS THAT A MOVING HAND?


23) Mulder realizes that the baby survived, and that he'd have grown up by now as a 16-year-old. He also notices the janitor at the Criminally Insane ward is the same janitorial contract service at Nugenics. Going back to the security cameras, he points out the young male janitor from Scene 7 is on the floor above Sanjay, and reacts in pain to Sanjay's death. They get his name from the vendor as Kyle Gilligan (SHOUTOUT) and drive off to his address. They're confronted by his defensive mother, who warns that they're to leave her boy alone, even though Mulder figures out she was there the night of the crash and saved that baby. When the crows suddenly appear on a nearby hill and the mother freaks out seeing them, you know:

B) Why they're called a Murder.
C) This is another chance for Dana to comfort Fox during another Psychic Sonic attack. (she runs off to put a gun to Kyle's head to make him stop instead) Oh, or she can do that... Yay.

24) They interrogate Kyle on the drive back to DC through the tall mountains of British Columbia uh Maryland. Kyle admits he would never try to hurt anyone with what he can do, and Mulder realizes he can't control it. "I just want to find my sister," he says. Scully says "Molly" and he asks if she knows where Molly is. Scully answers that she knows who does. Next scene, Kyle is being examined by Augustus Goldman, who is treating the teen boy as though he was another patient, another experiment. There is something unsettling about the emotional disconnect that Goldman is showing towards his own son, and it makes you:

A) Shudder in disgust.
B) Note who the real monster of the week is after all.
C) Wistful that Dana always pictures herself being a better mother to her own son William, and hope that Fox does too!

25) As per arrangement, Goldman escorts Kyle to a room where that teenage girl we saw earlier called Molly is sitting alone. There's an awkward familial moment between brother and s... "No," Kyle says, frowning. He can tell that's not his sister. (Ooo, nice twist) Enraged, he slams his father out of the way and races down the hallway, turning a corner to find another girl, this time locked behind a glass doorway. The way they stare at each other, they can tell as they both raise a hand at the glass separating them. I never knew I had a brother, Molly projects telepathically, and you realize:

A) Of course the girl is going to have better control of her mutant powers!
B) Isn't this a plot point from the Lensman series?
C) Isn't this a plot point from the Star Wars movies? Dammit Leia you kissed your brother! Eewwww...

26) Realizing that this survey isn't going to fit inside 25 questions that they don't have much time, they place both palms on the glass and focus. The sound intensifies and as Mulder and Scully round the corner, every glass window in the hallway shatters. As the siblings link hands for the first time in their lives, their father runs in, trying to stop them. "Just let me go, daddy!" Molly screams, but Kyle has another response as he boosts his Psychic Sonic attack on dear old dad. With Scully standing there, gun drawn, you think:

A) At least with Scully we know she won't drop the gun like the Punk does!
B) This is not going to end well either way. Someone needs to pull a fire alarm and cause a distraction first!
C) Kyle and Molly holding hands? That's NOT the 'Ship we were promised guys!

27) Molly uses her mutant powers to knock Scully's gun out of her hand and tosses her against the wall.

A) ...dammit...
B) Oh crap, Scully, this IS how Carrie got even at the prom...!
C) YAY! Fox went to check on Dana to see if she was okay!

28) Molly sends Mulder sprawling down the hallway atop a floor covered with broken glass. That can't be hygienic. Before Mulder passes out, he sees Augustus Goldman receiving the karmic punishment he deserves. Your response is:

A) "As long as the kids don't mess with Scully any further, we got no quarrel with ya. Move along... move along..."
B) "He tampered in God's domain."
C) "We don't like all this gore and blood in a potentially 'Shippy episode. When are we gonna get the episodes that involves investigating beaches on long summer evenings with a bottle of the finest wines of Vancouver?"

29) The Department of Defense has taken over the lab and the bearded guy orders Skinner back behind the red tape (SUBTLE). Skinner notes that the investigation is officially over, even as Scully asks if there's any trace of Kyle or Molly. "There's never any trace," Scully sighs. Except Mulder slips out of his pocket the vial of blood Goldman took from Kyle. "There's a trace," Mulder whispers as they walk away, and you reply:

A) "Let Scully take it! She's the one who can test it!"
B) "Save it for the season finale!"
C) "Now we can get the scene of them going to the nearest motel and... and... uh, why are we getting an edit cut to 2001?"

30) It's Mulder watching 2001 (why not Planet of the Apes? We had that reference earlier) with his young son William. We watch Mulder imagine what it would have been like being a father to his son, growing up playing with model rockets and William saying "I'm going up there some day"... only for that vision to shift to Mulder watching in horror as aliens show up to abduct a teenage William from his bedroom much like what he saw with his own sister Samantha. As the episode ends with Mulder pining over a picture of baby William, you realize:

A) That dammit, for all the punk things the Punk does to the Blessed One, sometimes we got to sympathize with his plight as a grieving father as well...
B) That for a Monster of the Week/Mytharc mashup, this went surprisingly well.
C) That dammit, Dana and Fox shouldn't separate themselves over the loss of their son like this. Why are they in separate grief over this? IT'S NOT RIGHT IT'S NOT... oh, no, sniff, this isn't fair (openly cries)

If you more often than not answered:

A) You're a member of the OBSSE who thinks that someday William will return with a backlog of Mother's Day cards.
B) You're an X-Phile who likes the Mytharc stories to have this kind of clarity and emotional punch.
C) You're a 'Shipper who knows that if they can just find William then Dana and Fox can repair this 'Ship and SAVE OUR HEARTS. Sigh.

Next up: A Darin Morgan episode. I will post shortly about why this is a big f-cking deal.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

X-Files: My Struggle 'Shipper Survey

It's here.

It's back.

It's... still a confusing mytharc mess.


I'll try to get through this without as much damage to the original timeline as I can make it.

From the Movie Pilot site

X-Files Senseless 'Shipper Survey: My Struggle

Um, to the Germans visiting my website, I know that title is going to be a bit problematic at best...


A) You're gonna write a survey and dammit no more distractions! (trout slap)
B) We were promised cake.

2) Okay, it really begins with Fox Mulder (Look kids! David Duchovny!) narrating about the past as he places folders and photos atop a desk: his troubled past of his sister's abduction by aliens, his rise within the ranks of the FBI pursuing bizarre cases hidden away in a covert department known as the X-Files, his teaming up with another agent Dana Scully (Look kids! Gillian Anderson!), their travails trying to uncover the TRUTH about the existence of extraterrestrials and the oncoming invasion, and their subsequent exile from the Bureau. As the pile of documents and pictures burst into flames, you take it all in and think:

A) Why does Mulder get to do the opening narration? Scully can narrate too, you know! Damn that Punk!
B) Is this the opening shot of about 500 different MTV videos from the mid-1980s?
C) NOOOOO! The picture of Dana and Fox shouldn't be burning! That's a bad omen before the wedding!

3) As Mulder continues to narrate about the plausibility about alien visitations, a UFO crashes in a remote desert. And then... THE THEME MUSIC and original credits roll! WOO-HOO! PARTY TIME, THE NINETIES ARE BACK BABY WE NEVER LEFT IT WOO-HOO!

A) We're not going to get through this survey with any semblance of sanity, are we?
B) Um, there may be a need for nostalgia here, but couldn't the network pay a little more to update the opening credits from 1993? (sees that they added Mitch Pileggi as Skinner) Well, okay, that's an improvement...
C) BREAK OUT THE TEA, KIDS! DANA AND FOX ARE GONNA HOLD HANDS AND FLIRT OVER AUTOPSIES AGAIN! (literally calling on the kids, it's been more than twenty years now, there has to be younguns in high school groaning about their parents' obsession with this 'Ship)

4) We're still in the desert, 1947, clear reference to Roswell. A bus with most of the windows painted black to hide location from the occupants drives down a desert road. A lone military officer, with the doctor's lapel badge, being escorted by a man in a black suit ride out to the crash site. As the doctor stares in amazement at the crash, you realize:

A) This doctor better have the common sense and divine wisdom of the Blessed Skeptic!
B) Hey! Weren't the UFOs in the original series all TRIANGLE-SHAPED?! What gives with the saucer look! We know damn well the REAL spaceships weren't disks, this is insulting, dammit Chris Carter you're making us toss all the books in the 001.92 shelf area at your head for your faux pas over here!
C) You're going into withdrawal symptoms too early. It's been years since your last 'Shipper fix and DAMMIT TONIGHT YOU NEED A HIT...

5) Flash-forward to 2016. A woman is prepping for surgery when an urgent call comes in. The camera doesn't reveal the face until we find out the call is coming in from an Assistant Director Skinner. Then Gillian Anderson turns to the camera and ZOMG IT'S SCULLY!

B) Hey, wasn't she on Hannibal earlier this season?
C) Faint

6) Scene shifts to someone watching Barack Obama on the Jimmy Kimmel show, joking about UFOs.

A) Dammit, Barry, I thought you'd hold out for a cameo appearance on an Arrow/Flash crossover episode.
B) Dammit, Barry, I thought you'd hold out for a cameo appearance on Supergirl.
C) There's no way Barry can cameo on Agents Of SHIELD: they've already established that they're in a different universe where actor William Sadler became President. So this answer has to go "Dammit, Barry, I thought you'd hold out for a cameo appearance on Doctor Who."

Side note: I gotta wonder, was Barry ever posting on the Usenet back in the day?! I mean, that was well back when he wasn't in elected office and all, and he's a full-on geek... he HAD to have been a fan back in the day, you think?! Everybody, check the archives for a B_OBOMA_XPhile account!

7) We discover that Mulder is watching the show, and when he gets the call he sees it's Scully and he gripes to her right off the bat about how his entire life's work has been turned into a punchline. You reply:

A) "Dammit, you Punk, it's always the Me Me Me whining out of you!"
B) "That's the problem with the 21st Century. Everyone's forgotten the phone etiquette of the 90s!"
C) "Dammit, Fox, instead of a phone conversation you could meet with Dana face-to-face. AND THEN KISS HER!"

8) Scully tells Mulder that Skinner is looking for him. Mulder: "Why doesn't he just call me?" Scully: "He doesn't have your phone number, dummy!" You:

A) "Well, that's what Scully should have said!"
B) "Skinner's with the freaking FBI! THEY'VE GOT EVERYBODY'S PHONE NUMBER!" (Survey writer is informed by his DIA contacts that it's actually the NSA, not the FBI or the CIA. WTF with this POS, IDK)
C) "Damn Slashers, it's not what you think!"

9) Scully tells Mulder that a high-profile conspiracy guy on the media, a Tad O'Malley, is seeking Mulder down with shocking news about aliens and what-what. Mulder skeptically watches O'Malley's video stream and wonders why Scully would be interested in getting dragged back into the mess. Scully just relays that she's the messenger. Mulder tells her to go ahead and have Skinner set up the meet. Then he says "But don't think I won't go it alone." To you that means:

A) The Punk is dragging the sainted one back into HIS mess anyway! What a Punk! Trout slap him now!
B) He's gonna Assemble the Avengers! ...what?
C) They're gonna get married, and THEN go to the meet as a couple! ...well, it COULD mean that!

10) Look, everybody! It's a CGI background of the Capitol Dome! That can only mean one thing!

A) They're filming in Vancouver again!
B) They're filming in Los Angeles again!
C) Dana and Fox are gonna see each other again!

11) Mulder and Scully meet, exchange words. They talk like an amicable ex-couple, with Scully worrying about Mulder not getting out of that sad farmhouse from the second movie and Mulder being flippant and distant. Scully: "I'm always happy to see you." Mulder: "And I'm always happy to find a reason." You:

A) "Okay, Scully, now break out that trout and slap him with it! He talked you into that horrible second movie and he can't hide from it anymore!"
B) "What second movie? There never was a second movie. You can't convince me there was a lame horror attempt at a film about two-headed Russian gangsters, never, not in a million years!"
C) "NOOOOO Why are they talking like they haven't seen each other in years? NOooooooo, The RIFT! Damn NoRomos..."

12) A limo pulls up, and Tad O'Malley (look kids! It's that guy from Community! No, not the cool geeky one with the meta-awareness skills!) greets the former FBI agents and requests that they share a ride and discuss matters. O'Malley goes all paranoid, believing that drones are deployed to record conversations and that the limo is safer. You consider it and suggest:

A) That they use the DC Metro instead, with it being underground and hard for shadows to keep up with you. Unless they're not filming in DC, in which case they can use the LA subway instead.
B) That they deploy white noise filters and find a spot in the nearby Mall with high tree cover. Unless they're not filming in DC, in which case they can use the Vancouver mountainside.
C) That Dana and Fox go and find a nearby Comfort Inn in DC and deploy the magic fingers bed! Sigh.

13) O'Malley's limo is well-stocked with expensive wine and bulletproof windows. He tries to sweet-talk the former agents but Mulder's having none of it, dismissing O'Malley's talk of believing in alien conspiracies only as a gimmick to get audiences rather than the truth. O'Malley questions Mulder about the X-Files but Mulder notes that's no longer a thing, "that book is closed." Scully notes it "for better or worse, we've moved on." Mulder wistfully adds, "Yes we have. For better or worse." You realize this means:

A) "OH NO, Scully lost her desk from Season Eight!"
B) "OH NO, The prop guys at the studio lost the filing cabinets!"
C) "OH NO THEY DIVORCED DANA AND FOX BROKE UP NOOOOOO" (cry) (curl up in fetal position)

14) Mulder tries to test O'Malley's knowledge of UFO lore by tossing out an obscure abduction incident. It's a pretty low-key one as well, which O'Malley answers much like reading the text straight from a book. Mulder at least seems impressed he's done the homework. For yourself:

A) You know there's a better test to use: the Trout Slap Endurance. If he can withstand fifty trout slaps, he's solid, he's cool...
B) You know an even better test: The Voight-Kampff test! So, you see this tortoise in the desert...
C) You know an even better test: The OKCupid tests! Including the one where Fox can find out if Dana is his one-in-five-billion. Sigh...

15) O'Malley takes Mulder and Scully to a remote house, where a young woman with a noticeable accent (but hard to place, Russian, Ukrainian, Klingon?) greets them and notes at the door that Mulder has seen her before, which he doesn't recall. Sveta proceeds to talk about her abduction experiences, including the harvesting of her babies, genetic manipulation to make her psychic which she tries to demonstrate by 'reading' Mulder with some success, and displays signs of physical mutilation in the form of carved-out chunks of her flesh. But unlike previous abduction stories, Sveta isn't blaming aliens: she's blaming the secret cabal of human military agents we know as the Syndicate as the real culprits all along. You try listening to half of this and realize:

A) Man, Chris Carter really painted himself into a corner years ago, didn't he?
B) They already covered most of this from the Season Four finale Gethsemane!
C) Noooooo, they brought up poor baby William, noooooooooooooo no wonder Dana and Fox drifted apart...

16) Sveta is willing to undergo a medical exam by Scully, during which Sveta tries to convince the skeptical agent that her experimentation has given her some telekinetic abilities as well as telepathic. When asked, Sveta admits "not right now" and gets rather defensive. "How would you know what it's like, to be abducted and experimented on by aliens?" Sveta whines. Scully just smiles and leans towards her. And stares. AND JUST STARES AT HER. And Sveta gets this Oh Crap look on her face when she realizes Scully does know what it's like. You know:

A) Sveta's a goner! KICK HER ASS, SWAT!SCULLY
B) Sveta's a con artist... Her "mind-reading" ability is mostly picking up visual cues and knowing the back-histories of her marks. Except she never got the homework on Scully, did she...
C) OH NO YOU DIDN'T, GIRL. Nobody questions Dana's maternal leanings!

17) While Scully is busy, O'Malley takes Mulder to a remote warehouse/airfield where scientists are working on their own alien tech. Utilizing such catch-phrases as "zero-point energy" and rare elements like Ununpentium (115), these scientists have reverse-engineered all nine seasons of the X-Files to reveal that the alien tech Mulder's been seeking all these years has been man-made all along. As they successfully make the triangular airplane-shaped craft hover above Mulder's head and make it turn invisibile, you point out:

A) "Wait! Ununpentium is highly radioactive, and NOBODY'S wearing hazmat suits near this thing?!"
B) "Wait! Isn't it a common plot point that every time Mulder gets to see something like this, the bad guys show up twenty minutes later and blow it all up? You scientists aren't that smart!"
C) "Wait! Fox needs to go give Dana a hug and talk about what happened to their son! Sniff..."

18) While another flashback to the crashed UFO shows the doctor then recovering the bullet-riddled corpse of an alien distracts our attention, O'Malley goes to butter up Scully while she works at the hospital while Sveta goes to Mulder to talk to him more about what she knows about the men behind her abductions. While Scully remains cryptic towards O'Malley's attempts to get her to trust him, Mulder buys into Sveta's story and starts ranting to Scully over the phone about Sveta being "the key" to everything. You recall:

A) That the Punk keeps thinking someone else is THE KEY to unraveling the Truth every other episode back in the day! /headdesk
B) That these back-and-forth phone conversations were a lot more fun when they used flip-phones!

19) The scene shifts to an empty office. It's somewhere in the basement of the Hoover Building. Mulder enters to find a ladder, a bunch of pencils sticking in the ceiling where he put them for seven seasons (remember, Eight and Nine he was AWOL), and his I WANT TO BELIEVE poster left strewn on the floor. Skinner (look kids! Mitch Pileggi!) now older and with a grandfatherly beard tries to remind Mulder that the files were all stolen back when Doggett and Reyes were assigned to the department (and before they disappeared not only from the bureau but from the show's narrative). Mulder thought the files were still there, and gets upset that he'd been lied to and manipulated from the very beginning. He kicks at his own poster, tearing it. You take this all in and consider the most implausible part of this entire scene:

A) That the FBI allowed those pencils to stay up there for 14 years! I mean, c'mon! EVERY office worker will tell you, they need every pencil they can get! And there's a ladder right there! Sheesh...
B) That the janitors would leave their cleaning cart there where any agent can steal it! I mean, c'mon, same reason as leaving those pencils around.
C) That Dana's not there to complain about losing her nameplate! Okay, normally this would be an A) answer, but I needed to put the pencils gag up top where it would work better with B), and... and...
D) Mulder just giving his number to Skinner now. C'mon! I don't care about the NSA being the numbers-keepers, but as an Assistant Director to the FBI even Skinner should have a way to get information on ANYBODY... Also, it has nothing to do with you Damn Slashers! (Note: for those who don't get the joke, there's an occasional D) option whenever Skinner or another major character does something of interest)

20) O'Malley's back on his TV show ranting about gun rights, but tries to take a minute to talk about Scully's work helping kids as a likely ploy to get her to trust him more. Meanwhile, Scully is looking at medical results she'd gotten back on Sveta, and asks her co-worker to have them re-tested for something she noticed (or didn't) in the results. You know this means:

A) Scully has proof Sveta's a fake! TROUT SLAP HER
B) Scully has concerns her own blood that she's testing is showing the same signs as Sveta's! UH OH
C) Dana's gonna need a HUG

21) Mulder does his patented "Meet a Secret Source Out in the Open for Some Godforsaken Reason" moment, this time with a BRAND NEW SPECIAL GUEST INFORMANT we'll call Grumpy Old Man. Once again Mulder throws out his guesswork about the latest clues he's getting: everything pointing to the whole ALIENS plot as a smokescreen for Secret Government Takeover. Grumpy Old Man mocks the earlier mytharc stuff about warring factions setting each other on fire, and that Mulder still hasn't fit all the puzzles together for him to give him the full truth. Which is more infuriating to you?

A) That Scully never gets these cryptic informants! Why can't she meet with crazy old people in alleyways and rooftops and dark places in Vancouver?! (insert Troutslap aimed at Chris Carter)
B) That every time a so-called informant steps up to provide information, THEY REALLY DON'T. They just stand there and say "You're close" or "You can't comprehend it yet" or "If I reveal too much, people will stop watching this show." IT GOT OLD DURING THE ORIGINAL SERIES AND IT'S BORING NOW. (insert Headdesk)

22) Scully drives out to the Mulder farm to talk with him about everything O'Malley's been handing to them. Mulder meets her and they do talk, but it quickly devolves into another argument over Mulder's obsessions getting the better of him (AGAIN). You know this means:

A) Scully needs to bring more Trout!
B) Neither of them are really listening to each other: Mulder's not taking the time to calm down to listen to Scully's reason, and Scully's unable to look at Mulder's belief structure as a virtue that needs better direction. There. I just provided sound couple counseling, that'll be $150 and we'll schedule the next session for a week from now, okay?

23) O'Malley shows up for Mulder to provide his latest theory, and Scully is forced to sit in. As Sveta joins the group to listen, Mulder expounds on what he thinks is the Truth: Since the end of the Second World War, aliens began visiting Earth out of concern regarding the development of atomic weapons, and that secret power brokers within our government began a program of capturing and exploiting alien tech for their own plans of global conquest. O'Malley adds in how the political elements - fomenting race riots, man-made climate change, terror attacks, foreign wars - would justify setting up a police state for an all-out takeover of America (and then the world). Even FEMA gets name-dropped (AGAIN).

Scully for her part listens to their conspiracy theory and then shoots it down as "fear-mongering claptrap" with little evidence to back it up, and that it borders on treason. O'Malley claims he'll say all that on his upcoming show. Mulder tells Scully "it's what people need to know." And Sveta adds "Even if it's the truth."

Scully then looks at her and notes that Sveta's tests for alien DNA came back negative. She is NOT the key Mulder thinks she is. With that bombshell dropped, Scully walks out of the room with Mulder left silent. Your response is:

A) "YES, that is Scully bringing everyone back to the real world!"
B) "Here's the thing: if these men in government and business were already so powerful as to control our media, our military, our police, our resources, and our very lives pretty much, WHY F-CKING STAGE A TAKEOVER for something THEY already control?!?!"
C) This is now the lowest point a 'Shipper could ever be at. Dana and Fox, nowhere near giving each other a comforting hug... the RIFT THE RIFT NOOOOOooooo...

24) Everything falls apart in quick succession. Sveta accuses to the national media that O'Malley paid her to tell stories about alien abductions. Military humvees slam into the airport warehouse where the scientists' UFO is stored, where the quickly plant explosives and have the craft and the scientists explode, destroying all trace. Also, secretive men in black show up and steal your DVD collection of Fringe while you were out pre-ordering the next Black Panther comic book series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates. By the time Scully finishes her work in surgery, she finds O'Malley's site is down and he's likely disappeared/removed from the picture, even as she gets her own test results back in. You take this all in and determine:

A) Damn, when Scully shoots down an outlandish theory, it gets shot down...!
B) The next group of scientists trying to replicate alien tech should NEVER let Mulder see what they're working on! You know, not until they land it on the White House lawn for all the world to see. He's just BAD LUCK, people!
C) This better lead to make-up hugs!

25) Scully finds Mulder moping about at the hospital parking garage. He's upset that all his work has gone for naught, again. Scully worries about Sveta. Mulder wonders why, since her tests came back negative. Scully admits she had the tests run again, only the second time synced to Scully's own tests... which she knows has been tampered with due to her own abduction experience. On the second try, Sveta did show evidence of alien DNA... as well as Scully herself. You reply:

A) "Dammit, Scully, you could have asked Mulder to keep his mouth shut for another 24 hours or something until the second results came back!"
B) "Isn't just like this show to first debunk the narrative only to reclaim it before the end credits roll? MAKE UP YOUR MIND, CARTER..."
C) "Oh noes! Quick, Fox, HUG HER!"

Bonus Question) It's a dark deserted highway. Sveta is speeding away in a fancy-looking new car, only to have the car stall in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly there's a bright light overhead, and Sveta cries in terror as a triangle-shaped UFO (FINALLY) shows up overhead. She struggles to open the door to get out, but just as she does, the car explodes... leaving little evidence other than a fiery hulk. You realize:

A) see B)
B) see C)
C) NEVER DRIVE AWAY from an alien plot during a Mytharc episode at night on a deserted road! ALWAYS and I mean ALWAYS drive in broad daylight on a truck-filled interstate with plenty of witnesses!

Bonus Bonus Question) It's a fireplace with the mantle reading the quote Carpe Diem. A man with noticeable burn scars on his hand and face is talking on a phone. The camera rolls around the other side of his face to reveal it's Cigarette Smoking Man (look kids, William B. Davis!), having survived his supposedly lethal illness and supposed incineration by helicopter attack. As he hangs up the phone to tell his colleague "They've re-opened the X-Files," his unseen companion places a cigarette in CSM's trachea hole (EEEEWWWWW) to let him smoke. As the Big Bad of the Mytharc smiles, we close the episode with this thought:

A) This is probably one of the best ways to scare kids off of smoking, like forever...
B) Considering the show Continuum just finished, it's a good thing this miniseries came back 'cause Davis needs the work...
C) The X-Files re-opened?! YES! More chances for Dana and Fox to flirt over dead bodies again!

If you more often than not answered:

A) You are a new recruit to the Order of the Blessed St. Scully the Enigmatic, so welcome to the hazing ritual of getting a proper Trout Slap before your honorary Scullyrita!
B) You are a long-time fan of the X-Files glad that the show came back, but upset that Carter still doesn't understand a damn thing he's doing with the Mytharc!
C) You're a 'Shipper who misses the tea sharing, the hand holds, the long drawn out discussions about human spontaneous combustion, and those precious moments when Dana and Fox admit they only TRUST each other! And after this episode, we're still missing all of that! AAAUUUGGGH, the withdrawal symptoms. Damn NoRomos, taking over the writers' room like that...

What do you think, sirs? Damn, this took me three dedicated evenings to write this up, and I know I missed a few details...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Tuesday Morning X-Files Fanaticism

Well, damn, I had to work last night and didn't get home until 8:32 PM so I know I missed the first half of the episode.

On the bright side, next week's episode is written by DARIN MORGAN.

If you're not sure why that's a big deal, ask around. There were certain writers for the show that were better liked than others, and Darin tops the list (Vince Gilligan was the other. Yeah, HIM you heard of).

Shaenon knows why. Go check out her recap of Clyde Bruckman.

Alright kids, I'll get you a 'shipper survey of the season premiere by the end of the week.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Monday Morning X-Files Fanaticism

Just to note, while the series revival aired last night for its Season Ten, the show is actually airing on Monday nights (mostly) as part of the mid-season fill.

That means we're getting a new episode TONIGHT titled "Founder's Mutation", giving me little time to write up a 'Shipper Survey for "My Struggle" from last night.

In the meantime, the early ratings numbers are in and the numbers are YUUUUGE. Even in the face of mixed criticisms of the uneven season opener, a lot of people tuned in especially in the 18-49 demographic. A healthy mix one hopes of the Gen-X audience that came of age to the 1990s hit show and some of the Millennial generation that grew up in its wake.

If the numbers stay this way and the show ends on a high note (the series closer has to do a better job with the mytharc stuff than the opener), the odds are great for a Season Eleven to get put on order.

If that happens, I'm just saying Chris Carter you can put in a call to me and Sheryl Nantus and a couple of others and we can write some new episodes...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

So, First Episode of Season Ten Is In, What Say Ye

I'll have a 'Shipper Survey done in a few days, until then, a few brief observations about "My Struggle":

  • It's been more than 14 years in the FBI basement, and NOBODY's taken out those pencils stuck in the ceiling?! Anyone who has ever worked in an office will tell you, supplies are scarce, those pencils would have been snagged ages ago! That and staplers. And post-it notes. And paperclips. And...
  • Sveta and O'Malley are red herrings, Trojan horses, staged props. But staged for whose benefit: Mulder, or Scully?
  • The way Sveta keeps talking about all this alien DNA inside her, and how she can do these things like psychokinesis and mind-reading. Like a nervous informant who keeps adding more details to a story as though the lies weren't elaborate enough. And then trying to bluff her way past Scully's skepticism by saying "how would you know what it's like to be abducted and experimented on?" And then Scully just smiles and stares at her... and Sveta realizes that HAS happened to Scully (and that she's trying to bluff the wrong person).
  • Element 115? That's Ununpentium all right. It also has a half-life of mere milliseconds. How scientists can stabilize a theoretical and yet-to-be-synthesized element is yet to be explained. And there's nothing in the Wikipedia that explains how it ties into Zero Energy, magnetic propulsion, and four-wheel drive.
  • Who took the X-Files 14 years ago? And left all those pencils behind?
  • Who pays for Mulder's farm if he's been unemployed all these years?
  • So all these years of alien conspiracies and warring factions have actually been a smokescreen for human experimentation, mutations, and poorly disguised spin-off series?
  • Did Darin Morgan or Vince Gilligan write any of the upcoming episodes?
Stay tuned for the 'Shipper Survey

Today The X-Files Returns, So You Get... The End 'Shipper Survey!


Oh, relax. It's only the The End to Season Five! They had the movie after this.

Wait, did I just SPOILER this survey?! Uh-oh... (runs)

Senseless 'Shipper Survey - The End

(This is the end...beautiful friend...this is the only friend...the end...GOD, I have waited sooooo long to quote Jim Morrison with this show!!!...)

1) As the episode opens in Vancouver (for some reason looking a lot like L.A.) with a packed arena watching a chess match between a Russian master and an American child prodigy, you realize:

A) That Scully could beat the Punk at a good game of chess

B) That Vancouver's teams must suck royally if the local sports fans are driven to turn out for chess

C) That Dana and Fox could play a wicked game of strip chess if they wanted to...

2) Skinner is waiting in the basement to quiz Mulder about the future of the X-Files and the fact that Agent "Stiff Neck" Spender is leading the investigation into an assassination attempt at the chess match. You:

A) Task Skinner for not letting Scully put that nameplate she got at the NY Expo up on the door

B) Wonder who put that Post-It note saying "You Are Here" over the UFO in the poster

C) Worry that Skinner is looking at Fox the wrong way ("Not that there's anything wrong with it!")

3) Mulder interrupts Spender's presentation by showing up and inside of three seconds solving the case: the shooter was aiming for the kid, who seems to be aware of someone aiming for him. You respond by:

A) Suggesting Scully hand Mulder a trout so he can slap Spender with it

B) Changing the title you've scribbled on the VCR tape from "The End" to "Shooting At Bobby Fisher"

C) Hoping Fox would stop staring at that brunette sitting in the corner...hel-lo, Fox, please stare at the redhead!...

4) Mulder and Scully drive off to interview the child prodigy, but this time they have a backseat driver: Diane Fowley, the brunette who looks a lot like that woman from the movie "Rapture". You:

A) Stop your loathing of blondes like Marita and Det. White and start your loathing of brunettes like Bambi and Diane

B) Wonder if Tea Leoni is cowering in the backseat whispering "You just keep your eyes on the road, mister!!!"

C) Suggest that next time Fowley drives the car so Dana and Fox can sit in the back (vwg)

5) The trio of agents confront the child, who's busy watching cartoons. When Mulder pesters Gibson with questions, the kid says "You've got a dirty mind," reveals Fox is thinking of one of the women and also notes one of the women is thinking of him. You shout out:

A) "Scully, stop thinking about cookie dough ice cream and focus on your assignment!"

B) "Hey, if Mulder's got a dirty mind, why isn't he thinking about BOTH women???"

C) "Dana, you'd better NOT be thinking about cookie dough ice cream!!"

6) While Mulder confronts Spender about getting information from the assassin, Scully and Fowley team up to examine the boy using science and parapsychology. As Gibson accurately reads off the picture cards and the breakfasts the examining crew had, you:

A) Note the fine maternal qualities the Enigmatic One used in handling Gibson during the medical examination

B) Consider what the kid meant when he noted Scully was wondering about Fowley and that Fowley was wondering about her...Hey, now I'VE got a dirty mind!!!...(vwg)

C) Worry that Fox said, "Diane, you know what to do" as though he and Diane once...once...oh NOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo

7) Scully goes to the Lone Gunmen to verify some evidence and to also find out about Diane Fowley. You:

A) Task the Red-Headed One for getting all flustered over a Punk

B) Admire Frohike's fashion sense

C) Wail and knash your teeth, knowing the horrible realization that...that...NOOooooooo

8) Fowley and Mulder talk about his work on the X-Files, on whether or not he would have been better off teamed with someone open to the extreme possibilities, someone like her. Then they hold hands. You:

A) Grumble, because the Punk didn't praise Scully highly enough

B) Scowl, because all the kid seems to do is watch cartoons from the FOX Network

C) Curl up into a fetal position, because Fox is holding hands with the wrong one...NOOOoooooooooo (Note: this was before I found out there were NoRomos in the world, damn them)

9) Scully catches Fowley and Mulder holding hands. She stumbles back to her car, sitting and thinking over...something that can't be said. You respond by:

A) Suggesting Scully drive off to a bar that serves Scullyritas

B) Suggesting Scully plow her car into Spender's as he drives by her rearview mirror

C) Suggesting Dana go back into that room, slap Diane with a trout and give Fox a huge wet sloppy kiss that'll prove once and for all she is his One-In-Five-Billion

10) Scully informs Skinner and most of Spender's task force about what she has found about the boy Gibson: his mind has accessed something called the God Module, indicating a highly evolved thought process that could ascertain both parapsychological as well as spiritual understanding of Everything. Spender scoffs at the idea that the kid could be the key to unlocking the X-Files. Fowley warns Mulder that taking the wrong approach of giving the assassin immunity in exchange for proof could shut down the X-Files. As she says she has an interest in the files as well, Scully shoots Mulder a worried glance. You note:

A) That Fowley, having scoffed at Scully's assertion that the child can quantify spiritual understanding, will most certainly get nailed by God's Mighty Anvil for her blasphemy

B) That the Attorney General's not about to listen to any request from Mulder after that terrible SNL skit last week

C) That Diane is staring at Fox the wrong way...and that Skinner is staring at Dana the wrong way...and that the guy standing in the far corner is staring at Spender the wrong way...NOOoooooooooo

11) Mulder confronts the assassin again, needing more proof before Janet Reno can offer a deal. The killer says the boy is "the missing link." Mulder leaps from Point A to Point D by realizing the child is proof of alien genetic manipulation since the Dawn Of Man. As Spender scoffs at the concept of alien astronauts, you wish for:

A) Scully to make a cameo appearance on Ally McBeal so she can slap Georgia with a trout...hey, where did THAT come from?...

B) God to drop a black monolith on top of the blasphemer Spender

C) Dana and Fox to quit the FBI so they can become spokespersons for the Ab, wait a sec, let me think of something 'shippier than that...

12) Scully quizzes Gibson some more about his talents. He notes about how other people say one thing but think another, worried about how others would think in turn. He sees that Scully doesn't worry about what other people think...except Scully is worried about what Diane Fowley is thinking. You note:

A) That Gibson trusts the Enigmatic One when she promises to protect the boy...damn right!

B) That there IS a conspiracy! They're promoting FOX Network's cartoons! Shameless plugging before our very eyes! Dammit!

C) That Dana is actually going over to the next room in the hotel where she'll call Fox and leave dirty messages on his answering machine

13) The endgame is played. The assassin is killed holding a Morleys wrapper. Diane Fowley is shot and the boy is kidnapped. Mulder overreacts by confronting Spender, little realizing it's his coffin being prepared and not Spender's. You consider:

A) That Fowley got exactly what she deserved for questioning the Enigmatic One's spiritual insights

B) That Fowley should have stayed away from the window instead of sitting there with a bullseye on her chest

C) That, well, you didn't want anyone to get hurt or anything...but YAY, now Fox and Dana have no one to distract them! (grateful sigh of relief)

14) Scully is sitting with Mulder in his apartment, talking with Skinner about the upcoming inquiry by the Justice Department, that they could face re-assignment and certain closure of the X-Files department. You:

A) Warn Scully not to drink the orange juice in Mulder's fridge

B) Know that Janet Reno is really shutting down the X-Files to get revenge for that SNL skit

C) Wonder if there's enough room on that futon for Dana and Fox to do it

15) CancerMan takes Samantha's file before he sets fire to the basement. He confronts Spender with the fact he is Spender's father. As Mulder and Scully races to the Hoover building to find everything they have worked for burnt to ash, as they confront the possibility that this is the end of the X-Files, and as Scully tries to comfort Mulder (and herself) with a hug, you conclude:

A) That maybe it's a good thing Scully hadn't put up her nameplate on the door after all

B) That Spender should have pulled out his light saber and whacked CancerMan's hand off...nah, that would have made that jerk a Jedi...

C) That Fox isn't hugging Dana back! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo...

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSEr who's convinced this fire will lead to Scully getting her own desk when they re-build the set (let this be the last desk joke I ever make!)

B) Then you are an X-Phile who tried watching the show and listening to the Doors' song "The End" to see if they synchronize each other like the way "Wizard of Oz" and "Dark Side of the Moon" did

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who'll have to be content with that blink-and-you'll-miss-it clip from the movie of Dana and Fox gazing deeply into each other's eyes like they're about to kiss...deeeeeeeeeeep sigh


Okay, who's ready for TONIGHT! The X-Files IS BACK, baby!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

In Time for the Revival To Start, an In-Depth Review from New Yorker Mag

Just been a little too busy on other projects to get more surveys uploaded, sad to say.

So I'll just provide a link and some quotable points from the New Yorker's recent review of the revived series AIRING TOMORROW NIGHT OMG IT'S ALMOST HERE.

The "nostalgic" science fiction, as it were:

The weaknesses of “The X-Files”—tendentious dialogue, an alien conspiracy that made no sense—were obvious from the beginning. Still, the show had two real strengths, and they grew with time. The first, of course, was the gentle, intellectual romance between Mulder and Scully. The second was a vibe of improvisational zaniness that remained undiminished for nearly nine years. Fox’s advance publicity had made “The X-Files” look like a straight-faced, alien-themed procedural. (What a drag that would have been.) In fact, the show was sly, hilarious, and unpredictable—it was, in a word, unprofessional, in the best sense. Often, it achieved that rarest of artistic virtues, a genuine feeling of spontaneity...
...Against this material, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny turned out to be ideal straight men. They could carry the show anywhere, even as they communicated, through a slight strain in Mulder’s voice or a small twist in Scully’s lip, that they were in on the joke. Nine seasons of flying saucers would have been unbearable. Because of its playfulness, the show was a joy...
...More fundamentally, nostalgia is central to the appeal of “The X-Files.” It’s true that, back in 1993, there was an au-courant quality to the show: it captured a moment of post-Cold-War, dawn-of-the-Internet paranoia, and capitalized on the alien-abduction craze. Essentially, though, “The X-Files” had its gaze set firmly on the past. Huddled in his subterranean office, Mulder was like a college-radio d.j. surrounded by old records; he was a connoisseur of the weird, a gatherer of nerd-knowledge about the sci-fi and horror stories of yesteryear. As an investigator, that knowledge—shared with Scully using an old-school slide projector—was his tactical advantage...

It rambles a bit into intellecual navel-gazing but otherwise is a challenging, honest read.


Um, one hopes.

Friday, January 22, 2016

My finest in free verse: Scully Is A Highlander fanfiction

Just found out one of my olde fanfic stories "Scully Is A Highlander" is referenced on the TV Tropes page under the Crack Fic category!


So here's a copy of the story from the much-beloved Gossamer archives. PLEASE do visit to read the fanfic!

Good Lord, I wrote this back in 1995?!  ...What have I done with my life since then?

Scully Is...a Highlander
by. Paul Wartenberg

Byers (voice over):
When psychic Clyde Bruckman informed FBI agent Dana Scully that he could
not see her death, she was at first skeptical.  But some time later, she
had a near-death experience from which she discovered she was part of a
race of Immortals, those who can never die, except with the loss of their
heads, with holy ground their only sanctuary.
I should know.  My name is Byers, one of a group known as the Lone Gunmen,
who have heard rumors throughout history of these Immortals.  It is now
our job to record the actions of Dana Katherine Scully as she confronts
the other Immortals to be one of the few who will come to the Gathering,
to claim the Prize and dominion over humanity.  Pray that it is Scully, a

Mulder (voice over):
Scully, your family's not Scottish...

Scully (voice over):
Well, it's my high school mascot...

OPENING TITLE SEQUENCE (Queen music plays at full blast.  Lots of
close-ups with Scully twirling a sword and cutting off guys' heads.
Mulder is in background, shaking his head and thinking "this show used to
be about aliens...")

(Mulder and Scully are riding an elevator up.  For a long time nothing is
said.  Scully sighs and absentmindedly wipes clean her sword blade on her
sleeve.  Mulder shrugs and double checks his gun.  It's a slow elevator.)

Scully (Staring forward away from Mulder.):
You don't have to do this.

You're my partner.

Yeah, but you've got one life.

And you've got one head.  You need all the help you can get.

Okay but this time aim straight, clear?

(They go back to standing in silence facing the elevator doors.  This is
an incredibly slow elevator.  Image starting on the first floor of the
World Trade Center on an elevator where all the buttons are pushed and
you're trying to get to the top floor.  Then image the elevator itself is
moving two feet per minute.  That's how long this elevator ride is.)

Should we have taken the stairs?

Um...oh, wait, here's our floor.

(It takes another two minutes for the doors to open.  They step out into
a hallway filled with thuggish extras from "Die Hard," "Darkman," and a
cameo appearence by Richard Kiel with those killer braces.)

Mulder (Busily emptying his gun's clip.):
I've got a problem.

Scully (Cutting the guts out of two bad guys at one time.):
What's wrong?

I've run out of one liners.

Just flash your underwear, that should keep the audience's attention.

Richard Kiel:

Uh oh.  James Bond villain at eleven twenty one o'clock.

Scully (busy):
Stop with the time jokes already, Mulder!

(Kiel bites down on Mulder's gun, chewing it in half.)

Mulder (Shrugs and tosses remains of gun over his shoulder.):
At least I don't have to worry about dropping it...

(Krugan struts through the room waving his sword in anger as his lackeys
stand around waiting for action.)

I don't get it.  All I seek is the Prize.  All I seek is total victory.
So why does everyone treat me like a villain?

One Lackey:
Maybe because "Earth 2" sucked big time?

(Krugan swings his sword and cuts off that Lackey's head.)

Krugan (shrugging):
You could be right...

(Camera suddenly swooshes into Krugan's face, indicating he's sensing
another Immortal nearby).

Ahhh, by the pricking of my thumb, something cute, petite and reddish

(Kiel has got Mulder by the throat.  Mulder is flailing his arms,
wondering why he didn't do more upper body workouts.  Scully succeeds in
dispatching about twelve more bad guys before focusing on Kiel.)

Just what do you think you're doing?

Well, I figured if that wimpy lead singer from Fine Young Cannibals can
play a bad guy, then I could show up and...

Scully (holding sword toward them):
Forget it, Kiel.  Your time's gone.  Nobody even realized that was you in
`Pale Rider.'  Just...just, shoo.  Go away.

Kiel (dropping Mulder to the ground):
Well, I...I, gee...<sniff> <sniff> when you put it that way...well, gee...

(Kiel walks away in tears.  Mulder coughs and rubs his throat.)

That wasn't necessary, telling him off like that.

Scully (putting the sword back under her trenchcoat):
Well, it was the truth.

No it wasn't.

Yes it was.

No it wasn't.

Scully (pulling the sword back out):
YES it was!

Mulder (thinking it over):
Y'know, arguing with you isn't as much fun anymore.

(Krugan and the Lackeys are all waiting, facing the door for Scully to

Now remember, her head is mine!

Lackey Number Two:
But what about the rest of her?

(Krugan whacks the head off Lackey Number Two.)

That...was rude.

(Door opens and Mulder walks in.)

Oh, hi guys.  She'll be along in a minute.  In the meantime, you're
supposed to chase me around and try to beat me senseless.

Lackey Number Three:
That's what happened to you the last three episodes.

Mulder (Shrugging):
Okay, so I've got a great stunt double.

(Mulder starts running around the room, but nobody chases him.)

Lackey Number Four:
Gee, I dunno, it's not right to waste time on an unnecessary chase sequence.

Lackey Number Three:
Yeah, I know.  If we were driving cars or something it would make sense,
but this...

Krugan (Getting impatient):
Will you just do it?!  Jeez, I coulda gotten better lackeys from the
`Batman Forever' movie...

(Lackeys shrug their shoulders and half-heartedly chase after Mulder.  A
few minutes later, Scully walks in, sword ready.)

Ahh.  At last.  There Can Be Only One.

The Truth Is Out There.

(They sword fight.  The battle moves across the room.  Meanwhile, Mulder
suddenly breaks out into a dance routine, which catches the lackeys by
surprise.  Mulder uses the moment to pull some curtains from a nearby
window on top of the lackeys.)

Lackey Number Four:
Oh dear.  Caught again.

Lackey Number Three:
He was much too clever for us, by Jove.

(Scully and Krugan are still fighting.  Even though Krugan is slowly
winning, Scully is still smiling.)

Why are you smiling?

Scully (Suddenly knocking his sword from him):
Because I know my show is still on the air, you idiot.

(Scully swings, cuts his head off.  Lights go out, lightning surges
across the room, furniture explode into flame, lions lie down with some
lambs, Mike Milken ends up back in jail, Florida wins its game against
Nebraska, Tampa Bay Bucs make the playoffs and all is made right in the
world .)


(Connor McCloud of the clan McCloud strolls into the room.)

Hey!  I was supposed to kill Krugan, not you.

Look, if they can screw around with continuity in those godawful movie
sequels you did, then I can change the storyline so that I get the Prize.

(Scully swings her sword.  McCloud loses his head.  Some more special FX
occurs.  Mulder walks in as the energy subsides.)

Okay, can we go back to hunting aliens now?

Aliens?  There's no such things as aliens.


(Scully raises her sword.)

Mulder (realizing who's in charge now.):
Oh, you're right.  I should try to be more skeptical from now on, O
beautiful and intelligent federal agent person.

Scully (Smiling):
It's great when I win an argument, you know.

(Mulder rolls his eyes.  They leave the room.)


Okay.  X-Files and X-Files characters are owned by Chris Carter & Co.
Highlander characters are based on work by Gregory Widen (did I get his
name right?).  Richard Kiel needed the work.

And of course, I realize absolutely everybody who were X-Files/Highlander
fans came up with their own stories about how Scully was an Immortal
after that throwaway line in Clyde Bruckman was uttered.  But this one IS
MINE!  MINE DO YOU HEAR ME!?!?  Bhwa-ha-ha-ha!  (Um, unless somebody sues
me, in which case Sheryl Martin or Peggy Li gets the credit.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

X-Files: Rain King 'Shipper Survey

So here I am to bulk up the archive of Senseless 'Shipper Surveys before THE BIG REVIVAL THIS SUNDAY, and I'm glancing about for something 'Ship-tastic.

So what you get are flying cows. Enjoy.


Okay, here we go:

1) The episode begins on Valentine's Day, with someone filling out a romantic card, finishing it off with a lipstick kiss. This makes you realize:

A) That Scully would never kiss a Hallmark's a waste of perfectly applied peach lipstick, dammit!

B) That you've never gotten a Valentine's Day card like that before...well, you've never gotten a Valentine's card period... Oh, God, and I thought Christmas gets so depressing... :-(

C) That if Fox is seeing some girl named Sheila on the side, Dana has no choice but to trout-slap that cheatin' bastid!

2) We watch Sheila (ex-SNL player Victoria Jackson) get into an argument with her worthless boyfriend, who ridicules her and drives off into the night drunk as a skunk. So we've got some broken hearts, half-eaten boxes of chocolate, and hail the shape of hearts (anybody who starts singing "We know that diamonds/mean money for this art/but that's not/the shape of my heart" will receive a free copy of "The Best of Sting and the Police Playing Polka Remixes by Puffy Combs!!!"). This all makes you think:

A) Bill Murray's guest appearance later on as Caddyshack Man is going to make you shut off the t.v. and toss it out the window

B) That whoever gets CancerMan a box of chocolates for Valentine's Day is going to find out what it's like to have an alien probe up the a--! (Pardon my Swedish...)

C) About how Dana and Fox are celebrating Valentine's Day this year...probably inside a pup tent with an infinite number of Bee-B-Gone spray cans! <hopeful grin>

3) After the credits roll, we fast-forward six months later (solar calendars, guys, anybody going by lunar months will be off by a few weeks!) to watch a plane buzz an airfield. The plane finally lands, letting our intrepid heroes Mulder and Scully step out to a grand welcome...of a John Deere cap-wearing mayor and one (rather good) baton twirler (they don't get much visitors around these parts, do they?). When the mayor thanks Mulder for coming and mistakes Scully as "the missus," you reply:

A) With a wrathful "That's AGENT SCULLY, you Jay-Hawking corn-eating <additional expletives deleted to protect younger viewers, but suffice to say anyone in a Navy family would understand>!!!"

B) With a disdainful "At least you don't confuse her for an airline stewardess..."

C) With a hopeful "Oh, IF ONLY!...<sigh>"

4) Scully finds out why Mulder dragged her out to the mountainous terrain of Kansas: Daryl Mootz, the bum from the opening scene, has been going around promoting himself as "The Rain King," and the mayor is convinced Daryl is controlling the weather and inducing a drought so he could then force people to pay for his skills of precipitation. As Scully keeps glancing this look at Mulder who keeps trying to glance a look of innocence back at her, you interpret it as:

A) A pre-trout-slap glance meaning "You Punk, dragging me out here on a flight that didn't even have peanuts, dammit, just to find some wannabe Weatherman!Elvis"

B) A withering "Oh, great, another small town with wacky inhabitants. Didn't we do this already with 'Post-Modern Prometheus'?"

C) A seductive "Hey, this mayor knew something I didn't! You dragged me out here to get married, didn't you? That's why he thought I was the missus, because we're honeymooning out in the Kansas wine valleys! Oh, Fox, that's so sweet..." <hopeful sigh>

5) Our heroes walk the Main Street of Kroner, KS., where Mulder points out is a center for the most bizarre weather conditions in the Midwest. Scully points out the boarded-up shops and deserted streets, reflecting on how desperate the locals are in blaming their plights on any available scapegoat or in placing dubious faith in a loser who claims to control the weather. You note:

A) That the Blessed One is really upset there are no bagel shops here, dammit!

B) That Vince Gilligan's diner seems to be doing pretty nicely here, and you wonder if he's got a chain of them between Vancouver and L.A.

C) That if the locals are expecting them to be a married couple, they ought to walk down the street holding hands! <extremely wishful grin>

6) Mulder and Scully bump into the Rain King's secretary Cindy, then make their way to the local t.v. channel to question the weatherman there. They arrive and are quickly greeted by an excited Sheila, who shepherds them forward and announces that our intrepid heroes are...the Gundersons?!?! As both agents arch eyebrows to that, you determine:

A) That you can't picture belonging to an organization named "Order of the Blessed St. Gunderson the Enigmatic"...c'mon, OBSGE just won't fly!...

B) That you just can't picture the show changing its title to "The Gundersons Versus the Mysterions"...that just won't work!

C) That Dana and Fox really ARE having a truly romantic getaway...that's just fine! ;-)

NOTE: I am not touching upon when the real Gundersons arrive. Nope. Uh-uh.

7) After quizzing weatherman Holman Hardt on the ditzy blonde, uh, ditzy weather covering the vast Kroner terrain, Mulder and Scully drive out to catch the Rain King start up another performance, strapping on an artificial leg marking the one he lost in the prologue's hailstorm, calling upon his 1/64 Cherokee heritage and drunkenly dancing to a really bad song. Scully gets her patented "Oh God Why Am I Here?" look and walks out of the tent. Mulder tries to point out that rain dances fall back on a grand native tradition, letting Scully to point out her Irish aunt has more Cherokee in her than Daryl. When Scully queries "I mean, look at him... Does that look like a man who can control the weather?" you know:

A) That the Blessed Skeptic shouldn't set herself up like time, O Redheaded One, please do that while the Punk has his umbrella open...

B) That someone off-camera is having a blast with that water hose

C) That there's nothing like a romantic thundershower to get Dana and Fox in the hope! <deep sigh>

8) Okay. Two words. Bovine aviation. This means:

A) That the translation of that startled cow moo-ing during take-off comes out roughly as "OH NO NOT AGAIN." <knock on the door> <writer gets served with a restraining order from Douglas Adams' lawyer> Oh. I see. Um, people, please disregard this answer. Sorry.

B) That the commercial possibilities of bovine aviation as explored in certain Monty Python skits have yet to be perfected. <knock on the door> Oh, c'mon, you gotta let me have this one!...

C) That Fox is going to hafta share a room now with Dana! YEEEESSS! Fanfic alert! Fanfic alert! All 'Shippers, report to your keyboards!!!

9) With the dawn comes sanity...except in this town. Scully finds out the hotel managers have moved "her boyfriend's stuff" into her room. She finds Mulder, still ranting about someone using the weather to toss cows at him, getting treated for his scars, so she uses the moment to check for any sign of head trauma. Holman shows up, worried if anyone was hurt, and Sheila walks up with her mascara running as she tearfully claims she is the one responsible for the weather. All this makes you declare:

A) "Aha, so now the plot turns, as fate points its fickle finger at the ditzy blonde. And so, gentles all, can we dare say know, talking like Shakespeare is harder than it looks..."

B) "Hey, ground sirloin is now half off at the Piggly Wiggly!"

C) "Aha, the excuses Dana has to come up with in order to make physical contact with Fox! You know if she spots a bruise she'll gently kiss the area and ask if he's all better...oh, by the way, is that a small bruise on the corner of his mouth? Yes!..."

10) Sheila gives Mulder and Scully a brief rundown of all the meteorological troubles she has had in relation to her love life: a tornado at prom, snow at her July wedding, laughing clouds on the day of her divorce, the hail of hearts, and now flying cows. Mulder and Scully keep giving each other these looks while she talks. Mulder, surprisingly, tells Sheila she's NOT the cause for the weather and asks Scully for her confirmation. As Scully glares in surprise at her partner while stammering out a "No, no doubts," you realize:

A) That Scully's shock comes from having the Punk finally - FINALLY - asking for her opinion - and ACCEPTING it - on this sort of thing! Wow!

B) That Sheila's abilities to destroy a prom just can't compete with Carrie's...

C) That those glances between Dana and Fox mean only one thing... ice cream!!! ;-)

11) Mulder notes Holman's reaction upon learning that Daryl's leg injury was due to drunk driving and not the hailstorm. Promptly, the rains that have followed the Rain King stop. ("Uh-oh.") Scully, just taking a moment to note how quickly Mulder has moved into her room (and made a pig sty of it), informs him that the rains have stopped, Daryl Mootz is now considered a fraud by the locals, and they can go home. But as Mulder starts telling her that Holman the Weatherman is the One True Rain King, you:

A) Knew that the Punk's bachelor ways were the reason why the Blessed One kept wanting separate hotel rooms.

B) Knew that the days of wine and rains would not last for the <insert Elvis accent> Rain King, thank you very much...

C) Knew that Dana and Fox weren't about to flip a coin to see who gets the bed...<wiggle eyebrows> <insert Roy Orbison growl here>

12) We watch as Holman, sad lonely Holman, speak before a mirror in a wimpish attempt to work up the nerve to ask Sheila (or should that be "beg", ladies?) to be his Rain Queen. The phone rings, and lo and behold it's Sheila, saying she has finally given up on the loutish Daryl. Holman gets excited as Sheila wants to ask him something (he starts sweating), and she asks... (his heart is pounding) "What do you think of Agent Mulder?" At that point you shout at the screen:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) "Uh-oh. RUN Fox RUNNNNN!!!" <lightning flash> "And don't hold that umbrella too high!!!"

13) Mulder shows up at the t.v. station to confront a miffed Holman. The FBI agent tells the weatherman that he knows Holman is the Rain King, but that his control of the weather is based on his emotional state: his bottled-up feelings for Sheila is what's causing the drought, and until he tells her it'll stay that way. Holman, however, can't work up the nerve and begs Mulder for help. Scully calls from the airport: fog (Holman's desperation) has grounded the planes. Mulder explains to Scully they're stuck in town until he can give Holman dating advice. When you hear the silence on the other end of the phone, you realize:

A) That the Blessed Skeptic knows the Punk too well: asking Mulder for dating advice is like asking Dr. Kervorkian to cure your headache!

B) That you're hoping to get some dating advice as well...<writer of survey counts the years since last date> <weeps> C'mon, David, talk!...

C) That Dana's wondering if she and Fox should provide demonstrations on such techniques as hand-holding and wistful-gazing and lip-locking...especially lip-locking!!! <wicked sigh>

14) SCULLY: Mulder, when was the last time you went on a date? MULDER (miffed): I...will talk to you...later. SCULLY (look of disbelief): The blind leading the blind... YOU:

A) "You said it, sister!"

B) "Well, there was that vampire chick from Season Two...and Bambi, if you could call that dating...and Kersh's secretary, well that was actually somebody else...oh, there's Phoebe...<very long pause> uh-oh..."

C) "It doesn't have to stay that way, Dana!" <weep> <gnash teeth>

15) Mulder and Holman talk about the birds and the bees (No, NOT THE BEES) and the monkey babies. HOLMAN: I've been envious of men like you my whole life. Based on your physical bearing, I'd assumed you were...more experienced. I mean... You spend every day with Agent Scully a beautiful, enchanting woman. And you two never, uh...? Mulder just stands there in silence. HOLMAN: I...confess I find that shocking. I've seen how you two gaze at one another... YOU:

A) "That's not gazing. Scully's just fixing her aim so she can hit him with a trout every time he drags her out to the boonies to investigate flying cows!"

B) "They're not gazing. They're telepathically telling one another about this great bagel shop just off of State Road 819!!! They'll be stopping by next episode!"

C) "You're not the only one, Holman! We're all shocked and disappointed! Damn bees!"

16) Mulder doesn't answer Holman's queries regarding the agent's relationship with Scully. He's just here to help the One True Rain King flirt with Sheila. Mulder proclaims that he's "perfectly happy with my relationship with Agent Scully," which leads to this kind of response:

A) "What relationship? You don't let her drive, didn't let her have a desk in the basement, you kept taking her parking space, stole her bags of peanuts during those long flights, and never gave her a chance to get those bagels she likes with cream cheese! Damn Punk!"

B) "Hey! If he's acting like a psychologist this episode, why wasn't he one last episode?!" <writer: yep, Chris Carter and Co., we will be ragging you on that flagrant continuity error for the rest of the year. Enjoy!>

C) "We're not happy! <weep> <wail> <gnash teeth> Fox! It's so obvious everybody else sees it! You and Dana were meant for each other! <continue weeping>"

BONUS: Mulder adds he does not "gaze" at Scully.

A) This doesn't cause you any difficulty

B) You shrug this off, doesn't bother you at all

C) You weep, pull out your hair, destroy the 1,000-page romantic novel you were writing of Dana and Fox getting personal in a cabin during a winter storm, bewail the dashing of all your hopes, and collapse in the bathtub crying your eyes out until your relatives shove some Prozac down your throat

17) Holman tries to tell Sheila. Sheila is oblivious to Holman's "I love you" and instead focuses on Mulder. Daryl, no longer earning income as a Rain King, is desperate to get back together with Sheila. Complications ensue. Especially when Sheila kisses Mulder. Your response:

A) Echoes that of Scully: arched eyebrows, false look of shock, a sign that she's going to blab about it over the water cooler meaning you can snicker about it on the next session of the #OBSSE chat room...especially with that lipstick all over his face...<snicker>

B) Sticking your tongue out with a "Thhhpt!" C'mon, you're sure you saw this before on an episode from the "Monkees"!!!

C) Is to run back to the bathtub for more crying. These damn blondes keep kissing Fox! Nooooo...

18) Mulder and Scully crash the Kroner High School re-union, as the rains of Holman's anger over Sheila's kissing of Mulder flood the countryside. They argue with Holman to make the rains stop. Holman argues that this is Mulder's fault for "kissing" Sheila. You reply:

A) "Well, he's got you there, Mulder. Here, Holman, just slap him with this trout..."

B) "You call that a kiss? I didn't see any tongue!"

C) "We know, we know! <weep> <run for the bathtub>"

19) Sheila arrives blissfully unaware of the situation, eager to dance with Mulder. Mulder stammers until Scully notes that "Holman was just telling us that he wanted to dance." As Sheila gets the hint, you realize:

A) That the Blessed Redhead is the one who knows the dating rules! You go, girl!

B) That Mulder, like most white guys, just simply can't dance to 70s music, uh-uh, no way...

C) That Dana is doing what she can to keep Fox all to herself! Yay!!! <sigh of relief>

20) Mulder tries one last trick he learned in psychology school: he growls "Tell her, Holman!" You growl:

A) "Oh, yeah, you stayed awake in all those classes you took at Oxford, uh-huh, sure..."

B) "Cerulean! Oh, wait, you need psychic powers for that to work..."

C) "Tell HER, Fox! YOU tell Dana YOU LOVE HER, okay???"

21) Ah, the things we do for love. Mulder and Scully sway to the music as they watch Holman finally get through to Sheila. When she storms off, Mulder quips "I'll build the ark, you gather the animals." You respond to this scene by:

A) Quoting from the Gospel of Sister La: "Yea, verily, did the Blessed One gather the animals by two, for two is the number and thou shalt only count up to two. And thus did St. Scully bring the animals to be saved, and The Creator Carter was pleased. And they gathered in the spot where Mulder was to build the ark, and they saw it was built. And then did Scully, with the blessedness of her righteousness, seize upon the two trout brought with her. And with this trout she slapped the Punk, saying, 'Oh Lord, let me shew thee thy foolish ways, for you see a single piece of formica bought for $42.99 at Home Depot maketh a raft and not an ark!'..."

B) Piping up your very own love song on your CD player: Dead Kennedys "Too Drunk To F---!" Yeah! <begin slam dancing with your loved one(s)>

C) Swaying back and forth with your fellow 'Shippers across the globe, hoping that this might somehow spark an emotional moment between Moose and Squirrel...<big swaying sigh>

22) Scully finds an upset Sheila in the bathroom. Sheila's convinced that Scully is trying to use Holman to keep Sheila from getting to Mulder. Scully notes "her partner's" theory (yeah, you just tell yourself that, Scully) that Holman's emotions control the weather and that his love for Sheila is behind all the bizarre storms. Scully tries to explain the ways of love (So THANKS to Tiny Dancer and CarriK for the transcript): "Well, it seems to me that the best relationships-- the ones that last-- are frequently the ones that are rooted in friendship. You know, one day you look at the person and you see something more than you did the night before. Like a switch has been flicked somewhere. And the person who was just a friend is... suddenly the only person you can ever imagine yourself with." (Nice speech) You answer with a:

A) "But in Mulder's case, the switch is probably connected to Old Sparky, Florida's electric chair!" <zap>

B) "What? You mean I have to make friends with a woman first? Damn! And all those times I went up to the ladies with a 'Hi there, talk to me, I'm FABULOUS' wasn't working!..."

C) "Somebody! Find that switch! Turn it on! HIT THE SWITCHHH!"

23) The lights go out, the plumbing gets backed up, and Sheila and Holman finally have a heart-to-heart talk. And, aw, they kiss. The flooding ends, the rains cease, and the sparklers flare up. Aw, so romantic. Which makes you wonder:

A) How Scully could weasel her way out of being the maid of honor at the wedding...well, after all, do you know how hideous those maids-of-honor outfits can GET?!

B) Why did they still hold the re-union when the weather was so bad? Wouldn't they have needed the gym for an emergency shelter or something?

C) What will it be like when Dana and Fox finally kiss?! Oh, WOW, just thinking about it boggles the mind!...<faint>

24) Like a Shakespearean play, all are reconciled at the end: The Rain King has his Queen, the false King learns his lesson, gets his leg and his true love Cindy, and Mulder and Scully are still Mulder and Scully...unless they switched identities with anybody...nah, not this episode. When Mulder asks Holman how it's going, the weatherman grins and replies, "You should try it sometime," meaning:

A) Scully now is going to have to keep the Punk away from blondes, entomologists, two-timing British women, L.A. vampire chicks, and anything else that'll cause her trouble on a full-time basis! <mutter> <grumble>

B) You are confused: wasn't Holman upset when Mulder kissed Sheila? <scratch head> <watch scene again>

C) Dana and Fox SHOULD DO IT!!! <emotion runs high> <relatives show up again with the Prozac>

25) As Judy Garland sings "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," the scene shifts ahead a year to a pleasant mid-western home as Holman talks the weather on t.v. noting how it's going to be another beautiful day. As the camera pans across the room, we see Sheila smiling and sitting there with a newborn son, and as the camera moves past them to the window showing us the fertile farmlands of our youth, we conclude:

A) With the understanding that someday Scully is going to have to come back to this town to stop the Rain Prince's temper tantrums!

B) With the realization that this is the X-Files and there are no happy endings, dammit! Don't you see that swarm of bees in the horizon? Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!...

C) With the knowledge that somewhere, out there Dana and Fox are listening to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" as they enjoy their honeymoon...<deep romantic sigh>

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSEr who knew St. Scully would be the one to fix things between Sheila and if she can just tell those animals lining up outside her apartment that the flooding has stopped!...

B) Then you are an X-Phile who's just noticing there's been a lot of references to the "Wizard of Oz" lately...hmm...

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who WANTS Dana and Fox gazing at each other, who WANTS Dana and Fox to hold hands, who WANTS them to kiss at a high school re-union, who <family members take away keyboard> who NEEDS another bottle of Prozac! <writer whines, "Mot-her! Not now!...">