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...


  1. THANK YOU! I was so excite to see the Survey back, I nearly peed myself.

    1. didn't Mrs. Spender say that in an episode?