Saturday, August 13, 2016

X-Files: Tithounus 'Shipper Survey

So as I'm going back through the backlog of Senseless 'Shipper Surveys I did during the last half of the show's original run, I keep coming across a lot of references to stuff I did as fanfic stories (which I jumped into from Season Two onward).

Say hello to one of them.

X-Files Senseless 'Shipper Survey - Tithonus

1) The episode begins with an elevator full of people, and the camera stays with a pretty blonde secretary as she does her mail drop for the night. She gets nervous as a mysteriously dour man discreetly follows her. She finally makes it back to the elevator, but the man arrives just before the doors close. He sees something the others can't: he stops and gets off the elevator. As the secretary sighs with relief, the elevator shakes and plummets. So, as a long-time viewer of the show, this reminds you:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) Of X-Files Rule #19: If the X-File involves an elevator, TAKE THE STAIRS!

2) After the opening credits, the camera begins panning across the crowded work area of FBI headquarters where our intrepid heroes are making phone calls on "routine" background checks. You respond with:

A) A sarcastic "Hey! Scully, will you tell your Punkish partner to stop all that heavy breathing? It sounds like he's calling one of those 900 numbers again!"

B) A horrific "Oh GOD No! Mulder and Scully have turned into phone drones! It's hiding in the light! Dial and smile! Dial and smiiiiillllleeeeeeeeeee..." (oops, I need to do "Foix la Due" next)

C) A hopeful "Three more phone calls and Dana and Fox can win that free trip to Jamaica!"

3) Scully gets called to the carpet by Kersh. It seems this Agent Ritter from the New York City field office thinks a free-lance crime photographer named Fellig is taking one too many pictures right at the time people die, and he needs a forensic pathologist to aid his investigation. Scully offers that she and Mulder will be right on it, but when Kersh reveals that Scully is being partnered with Ritter as Mulder is "a lost cause," you:

A) Retort, "We know Mulder's a lost cause, but there's no way on God's Green Earth that pup Ritter can keep up with the Blessed Redhead!"

B) Whisper, "No, a Lost Cause would be hoping the Falcons win the Super Bowl. Mulder's just someone to have around in case the pencil sharpener needs to be fixed..."

C) Reply, "Dana, Ritter's just a boy. Go easy on him and don't break his heart when you tell him Fox is your one-in-five-billion..."

4) Mulder sneaks a peek at the case file before Scully shows up to warn him of Kersh's intentions of "saving" her career with the FBI by pairing her off with a new partner. Mulder tries to warn her of the X-File possibilities here: murder by telekinesis, maybe a shamanistic death-touch, something about the Muslim superstition that photography can steal their souls. Scully gives him the usual "All very helpful," before assuring Mulder that they're not splitting up, "This is a one-time thing." As Mulder frets that if she does good on this assignment, she "won't be back here," you:

A) Know that this is where they create the new X-Files spin-off, "Scully: NYPD Redhead" (Picture Gillian running around NYC shouting, "Freeze, you bleeping hybrid!")

B) Consider the possibility of Scully running into the cops from "Law & Order" and getting a chance to testify in court before an incredulous McCoy about the existence of alien hitmen working for the Russian Mob (Just watch GA go "fuggeddaboutit" in front of Lenny) (Note: thanks to the "Unusual Suspects" episode linking Det. John Munch to pretty much everybody in the Westphall Universe, this is a real thing)

C) Fret that they are... <sob> ...splitting up and...and... <weeping> ...they won't be partners <sniff> anymore and...and...they would no longer <tearful wail> be covered by the FBI policy on interoffice romances and...and... <gleeful grin> Oh. Never mind!... :-)

5) Agent Ritter meets Mulder. Ritter calls him "Fox." You:

A) Want Mulder to pull out a trout and scream, "Only Scully's mom can call me that, you bastid!" <whack>

B) Want Mulder to grin wickedly and retort, "You know, the last FBI agent to call me 'Fox' got eaten by killer mutant moths from Japan..." just so we can see that horrified look on the rookie agent's face... <tee-hee>

C) Worry that Peyton was looking at Fox the wrong way...damn Slashers! <mutter><curse><grumble>

6) Ritter and Scully go to New Yawk City, where they start checking up on Fellig's history as a photographer. Scully finds his registration forms with the cops, dating back to 1964...and check this, all of the pictures look the same. As the agents try to comprehend how that could be, you notice:

A) That at no time has Scully made any attempts to get directions to CBGB's...nuts! (Note: CBGB closed as of 2006 NOOOooooo)

B) That at no time has Ritter proved himself to be anything other than an overeager, klutzy rookie agent...ha!

C) That this would have been the perfect time and place for Dana and Fox to hold hands and talk about root beer instead of having Dana show up the rookie...dammit!

7) The streets of New York City (Please read Encyclopedia of Fantasy by John Clute and John Grant to get a true sense of the place) are alive at night, and on this night in this particular corner the streets are filled with the screams of a victim running from death. The killer comes, stabs the victim, all for the blinking red shoes. Above, a picture is taken. Fellig slowly moves, not even fleeing as he takes more pictures, and the killer returns to finish off this picture-taking witness and take the camera. But as Fellig stumbles to his feet, still alive, you reply:

A) "He is Immortal, he is Highlander! Scully, you'd better have brought that samurai sword your father got while stationed in Japan!"

B) "Ah! The bleeping dead bleeping lives! It's looking for brains! RUN!"

C) "Well, this is interesting. I wonder if the popcorn's done yet in the microwave. Maybe when I get back to my chair Dana and Fox will be flirting over the phone... <sigh>"

8) <Insert the "Da-Da" noise from Law And Order> Morning. Crime scene. Ritter is pumped, because the knife found at the scene had prints matching Fellig's. Scully points down and just to check on Eager-Boy's IQ, asks "What's this?" Ritter goes, "That's a lot of blood." You want Scully's response to be:

A) "No s--t, Sherlock. <trout-slap> You just failed the test, you wanna-be Punk!"

B) "Really? Blood? <dips finger in goo> <tastes it> Hm. Needs salt."

C) "You know, Peyton, you're a <as brutal as a girl can say it> nice guy and all <ladies, trust me, this hurts>, but I'm looking for a...partner that has at least one brain cell working..."

9) The police drag Fellig in for questioning. Ritter does his "check check" routine to the microphone before handing it off to a noticeably miffed Fellig. Ritter confronts the suspect on his whereabouts and actions last night but gets nowhere. Scully cuts to the chase, confronting the photographer about his fingerprints being on the weapon, and then makes the intuitive leap to checking Fellig if he was stabbed. As Fellig takes off his coat to reveal his scars, you:

A) Celebrate the interrogative abilities with a Scullyrita and a hearty "You go, girl!"

B) Question the quality of the tape recorder, wondering if they should do this with some digital equipment in a sound booth to make sure they get all the vocal nuances just right...

C) Wonder if Dana is trying to set up an opportunity to speak to Fellig alone so she could ask him to take pictures at her wedding with Fox...well, Fellig would only show if the maids of honor drop from eating poisoned truffles, so maybe she shouldn't...

10) Ritter is not too thrilled that Scully isn't taking the opportunities to arrest Fellig on any pretense. Meanwhile, some doofus named Fox Mulder calls Scully to remind her they use to work together. He keeps thinking her case in New Yawk is an X-File, but she disagrees. As Mulder offers to do a background check since he's getting so good at it, you realize:

A) That Scully would go get her car's air conditioner fixed and the Punk would still think it was an X-File ("C'mon, Scully, think about it...")

B) That Mulder would save ten cents a minute by dialing 10-13-1121 and the number! Oh, sorry, those damn commercials are getting to me...

C) That Fox is doing all he can to help Dana solve her case, even though it could mean... Oh, the things we do for love... <sigh>

11) We catch Scully as she takes her turn on the stakeout casing Fellig's apartment. Scully's eyesight is good enough for her to catch the photographer taking pictures of her. For you, this means:

A) This Fellig guy knows beauty when he sees it! Hey, Gillian, pose for a few more mag covers! <wicked grin>

B) Scully's about to die in some hideous fashion!!! No! Watch out for that 16-ton weight!!!

C) Dana's got this problem with attracting old, lonely, death-obsessed guys... if she hurries up and gets that engagement ring from Fox, maybe this wouldn't happen all the time...

12) Her cover blown, Scully confronts Fellig with the truth: that he is under investigation for his ability to be there when someone dies, and that unless he explains himself he will be hounded for the rest of his life. Fellig sighs, and offers Scully a chance to ride with him. You consider:

A) Whether or not she gets to drive

B) Whether or not she gets to play her Ramones tape on the radio

C) Whether or not she warns him she's practically engaged to Fox...damn bees!

13) Fellig shows Scully the streets of New Yawk at night. He explains what it is he's looking for: the shot. He stops the car near a prostitute and warns that she is about to die, maybe in a minute, maybe in an hour, but she will die. SCULLY: "That woman right there is going to be murdered?" FELLIG: "I didn't say that...The how is always a surprise. I just always know when." SCULLY: "You want me to believe that?" You realize:

A) That when she says that is also when she gets knocked unconscious right before the UFO shows up. Dammit, Scully, come up with another retort, okay?

B) That if they wait another minute an Atlanta Falcon player might show up and change history

C) That it's been five minutes since the last phone conversation between Moose and Squirrel and already you're getting antsy for some hand-holding! And you used to hold out a lot longer than this! This season has been wearing you down...

14) A thug shows up to hassle the hooker. Scully gets worried, gets out of the car, and gets medieval on the guy's ass. She takes down a bully twice her size, chains him up, and bitch-slaps him for good measure. You respond:

A) With a Xena!Cheer, the downing of your Scullyrita drink, and the purchasing of a "Scully Kicks Ass!" t-shirt from the OBSSE Gift Shop

B) With a "You know, ever since the NYPD's been cracking down on crime, the criminal element downtown just hasn't been the same..."

C) With polite applause and accepting nod of the head...okay, so we know who wears the pants in this relationship!...;-)

15) Scully checks with the prostitute to make sure she's okay, but the girl wants out of that scene. Which is when you shout:

A) "Watch out for that!... eeew..."

B) "Look out for that!... oops..."

C) Nothing. It's not nice when people get hit by speeding trucks... even those who only have one or two speaking lines per episode...:-(

16) Ritter isn't too thrilled about Scully breaking the surveillance. Scully informs him Fellig already knew about it, so she confronted him and learned the photographer has the ability to know when people are going to die. Ritter prefers to think Fellig is the murderer, and the thug who stabbed the photographer back in scene 7 is giving the rookie the excuse he needs to issue a warrant. Scully refuses to go along with this, and Ritter brings up Kersh's warning about Scully's "unconventional" behavior. Ritter threatens her not to muck up his case, and asks "Are we clear on that, Dana?" She glares at him as her phone rings. "Scully. And we're done with this conversation." You reply:

A) "Yes! The Rookie Punk has been officially trout-slapped! Pour me another one, BroColin, this calls for a toast to the Sainted Skeptic!"

B) "Guys! Check that thug's shoes! They ain't Bruno Maglis, but he's still the killer you're looking for!"

C) "Go away, little man. She's got some serious flirting to do with the one she truly lov...uh, trusts!"

17) Mulder calls about Scully's non-X-File case, which she now admits is an X-File. Mulder agrees, because this guy Fellig is proving to be an old pro at photography...about 150 years old to be more precise. Fellig is someone for whom the phrase "life in prison" carries serious weight. As Scully plans to keep an eye on the photographer, you realize:

A) That for Scully to admit something is an X-File... wow... that happens once in a blue moon, but you know of course blue moons have a scientific basis in fact...

B) That this Fellig guy must have gotten really tired of taking yearbook pictures for the local high schools again and again and again and again... and he'd have gone blind from all that glare from all those braces! Augh!

C) That this is a serious conversation... neither of them are doing the eyebrow-raising that indicates the humorous flirtation they normally do!

18) Scully goes to confront Fellig once more, revealing not only her knowledge of his past identities but also her ire at his lack of compassion in refusing to even try saving those about to die. Fellig calls them "lucky bastards," able to die when he can't. He's just there to take the picture, to try and get a shot of Death. You:

A) see B)

B) see C)

C) Tell him Death is easy to spot: she's a petite pale woman with shoulder-length brunette hair with a big golden ankh hanging from her neck down to her belly-button. Oh, and hi! Neil and hi! Tori!... ;-)

19) When Fellig explains to her all the times he's tried to kill himself, you consider:

A) If Scully can come up with a persuasive enough argument to use his powers for good instead of evil...

B) If life in New Yawk is that bad, why not move to Joisey?

C) If all this guy needs is a good, uh, hand-hold. But not with Dana, she's spoken for, dammit!

20) Scully spots a name on a picture and discreetly tries to call Mulder to check that name for her. When she gets back to Fellig he bumps into her, nicely picking her pocket for her cell phone. As he turns it off and hides it, you:

A) Worry that Scully's going to have to waste more money getting that phone replaced too... just like the ones she lost in Antarctica and Alaska and Maine and Indiana and Vancouver, well maybe not Vancouver...

B) Wonder if she'd be better off keeping her personal belongings in a portable interdimensional pocket... or whatever it was we used in Dungeons and Dragons to carry heavy things and... yes, I played D & D. Okay???

C) Wobble back and forth in your chair because no phone means no contact between Dana and Fox. No contact means no 'shippy moments. No 'shippy moments... brain freeze! Aiieeee...

21) Mulder calls Ritter, trying to find Scully. Mulder quickly realizes Scully is in trouble because her phone's not working. The name she gave him turns out to be a wanted murderer from the 1920s. When Ritter tries to comprehend how wacky that sounds, Mulder just tells him to get to Scully before it's too late. You notice:

A) That the rookie doesn't do a very good job of shooting down the Punk's spooky theories... tsk tsk

B) That considering traffic in the Big Apple, Ritter would get there a lot quicker if he went on foot

C) That all that matters to Fox is getting in touch with Dana! <sigh>

22) Scully, meanwhile, is trying to figure out the concept of immortality, that noone could have too much of living. Fellig, who has lived a long life, focuses instead on the despair of living too long: see too many people die, seeing the futility of it all, losing not only his wife but even her name. As Fellig begins to view Scully in a whole new way (the black-and-white image of approaching Death), you consider:

A) How Scully will handle HER Immortality: after all, Clyde Bruckman says she will never die! Fellig's just got fuzzy vision, that's all!

B) How Scully could die! Hmm, meteorite slamming into New Yawk... Sloppy arrow shooting by Ted Nugent from across the hall? Oh, no, NOT THE BEES!...

C) How Fox would react to Dana's death! No! Such a sad thing to think of! <sob><wail><gnashing of teeth>

23) Fellig warns Scully that Death is coming. The scene slows down. Each breath takes a minute. The curtain to the darkroom pulls back, and Scully sees Death in the form of:

A) Marita! Damn blonde!

B) Dr. Bambi! Damn entomologist!

C) The mascot for Georgia Tech! Damn bee!

24) Both Fellig and Scully are shot. Fellig suddenly tells Scully not to look at Death, and he looks up instead to see... Later in the hospital, Mulder waits for Ritter to finish his apologies to Scully. When Ritter leaves the room, he bumps into Mulder who whispers "You're a lucky man." What he means is:

A) "If Scully died, I'd have fed you to my fish" (Autumn's suggestion)

B) "If Scully died, I'd have forced you to eat Frohike's omelets"

C) "If Dana died... I would have lost the only person who kept me sane... and you would have experienced the most painful, slowest, hideous death in human history!"

25) Mulder tries to comfort Scully with the news that she's healing pretty quickly. He also reports that Fellig is dead of a simple gunshot wound. Scully doesn't think Fellig could have lived forever. Mulder thinks he could have, because Death "only looks for you when you seek its opposite." You:

A) Take a moment to try and figure out what the Punk just said.

B) Take another moment, because it still sounds a bit spooky.

C) Realize that he means Death only comes for you when you've really lived... that Fellig, having no enjoyment in living, would have never found Death until he had a reason to live... which means... Fellig had a crush on Dana! Oh. <insert background music from a certain Queen song> Who wants to live forever? / Ooooh, when love must die...

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSEr who has always known Scully is Immortal...and now we'll get to see her carry around that samurai sword her father got when the family was stationed in Japan! Woo-hoo! <start singing that other theme song by Queen>

B) Then you are an X-Philer who hasn't read this writer's story "Scully Is...A Highlander," my finest in free verse! Now go, read it now!

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who knew that Dana will never die...not until she and Fox DO IT, get married, raise some hybrid clones, and gracefully die of old age having lived a full life. <sigh>

So... any other news, kids?

Sunday, August 7, 2016

X-Files: Drive 'Shipper Survey

One of the things about the X-Files being a show of the 1990s is how time marches on. This blog started in 2015, more than 20 years after, and so there's a lot of hindsight involved in getting the original 'Shipper surveys reposted. For starters, looking back and recognizing big-name actors before they ever started winning Emmys and Oscars.

This is one of those classic episodes. This is, in fact, the episode Vince Gilligan remembered when it came time to cast someone for the iconic role of Walter White for his own television epic Breaking Bad. As I need to edit this Survey to update for modern times, I may well insert a few Bryan Cranston memes into the half-baked jokes here. Now, to wit:

X-Files Senseless 'Shipper Survey - Drive

1) The episode begins (for the writer at least) with a commercial promoting an upcoming installment of the Donny and Marie Show. Then the scene cuts to a LIVE on-air transmission from FOX Channel 11 out in Nevada, where a high-speed chase is keeping the highway patrol on their toes. They stop the car, but when the try to arrest the driver (Bryan Cranston!) and rescue the woman passenger, the poor woman keeps banging her head against the glass until her head, well, explodes. When the opening credits take over, your primary thought is this:

A) High-speed chases with exploding people, you can deal with. But the Donny and Marie Show?!?!? Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo <dies>

B) What's Walter White doing driving outside of New Mexico like this? Anyway, HE is the one who HONKS!

C) This is in Nevada? Hey, doesn't that state have a lenient marriage license policy? After all, you can get an Elvis Impersonator to preside over your wedding, right?...;-)

2) After an Intel commercial where Homer Simpson gets implanted with a chip in the back of his head, the show continues with Mulder and Scully out in Idaho, doing routine work on checking a farmer's recent purchase of fertilizer (as Mulder puts it, "So routine it numbs the mind."). As they look for the paperwork, Mulder spots the news report showing the bizarre death in Nevada. While the agents watch the replay, you realize:

A) That if Homer takes that Intel chip out of his head, he'll get cancer! D'oh!

B) That it was either checking fertilizer bags in Idaho or checking for meth labs in Albuquerque!

C) There's a good chance, because the FBI will be reining in their "dubious" travel expenses, that Dana and Fox will have to share one hotel room on this trip! Yes!

3) Scully finds Mulder near the car just as he's finishing up a phone call. She already knows that Mulder wants to detour to Nevada to investigate that death, but points out that they're being watched closely on this one and any deviation from their routine will get them in trouble. He argues that this routine of hunting down big piles of doo-doo is going nowhere, and besides, they can go to Nevada, be in and out in a day, and "nobody has to know." When he says that, you know:

A) Scully should have learned after five seasons of this sh-t that "nobody has to know" means the bosses will be chewing them out for property damage and body counts again!

B) That every Fox Channel west of the Mississippi is going to catch them on tape and play it over and over again for a new hit show, "When FBI Agents Attack!"

C) That Fox's real excuse is to get Dana close enough to Las Vegas so they can get a quicky wedding presided by an Elvis Impersonator, oh yeah!...<sigh>

4) Our intrepid heroes make it to Nevada, where the driver Crump is under lock and key for carjacking. Scully volunteers to go check the autopsy on Crump's wife, while Mulder agrees to stay and talk with poor guy, whom the audience noticed earlier is starting to nosebleed and scream in terror. When this happens, you:

A) Notice that it's Scully initiating the ditch this time, beating the Punk to the punch

B) Know they won't see each other for another 38 minutes and 40 seconds

C) Realize they're both politely ditching one another, courtesy of 'Shipperdom's favorite writer Vince Gilligan (so don't forget his new movie - for 1998 - Home Fries starring Drew Barrymore and Luke Wilson, the Sheriff Bucktooth from "Bad Blood"!)

5) Scully goes to follow up on the autopsy with the local pathologist, who notes how the poor woman died: one side of the head blown away as an exit wound, but no sign of an entry wound, like something was already inside her. Scully notices something unusual in what's left of Mrs. Crump's inner ear. As she starts poking at it, you scream:

A) "Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!"

B) "Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

C) "Uououououououououo!" <there are some type of screams that involve the letter 'I', but we'll save that for later>

6) While Scully learns too late not to pick at things like that, Mulder follows after Crump, now suffering from a seizure of some sort and getting placed in an ambulance. Scully goes into In-Charge! Mode setting up a quarantine in the morgue, getting word that another body had been found and assuming whatever killed Mrs. Crump is communicable. She calls Mulder, warning him of the quarantine and warning him to isolate Crump ASAP. She specifically warns Mulder not to see the guy. As she says that, you realize:

A) That the Blessed Skeptic should have learned by now that Mulder is always in it up to his ears by the time she tries to warn him...

B) That every warning about Bryan Cranston characters never get heeded UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE...

C) That it was sweet of Dana to call and warn Fox, but next time, hon, try it before he's taken hostage, okay?

7) Guys, you gotta be quick with the pause button: Scully flashes her phone number on the screen. You're pretty sure it's:

A) (202) SNT-DANA

B) (900) FBI-SEXY

C) (202) MAR-RYME ext. FOX

8) Well, actually, her number's (202) 555-0166, but meanwhile she's learned Mulder has been taken hostage and forced to drive Crump westward. She plans with the local law enforcement to set up a roadblock with people from CDC to quarantine the two, but Crump calls in demanding the chasing police cars pull back. The cars do pull off pursuit, but when someone dials Mulder's cell phone, Crump angrily tosses it out the window. As Mulder freaks out, you realize:

A) That it had to be Scully calling, and even the Punk knew this time he needs her to save his Speedo-wearing butt!

B) That it's not really Crump. It's Heisenberg, and everyone's got to play the game his way now!

C) That Fox really needs to hear Dana's voice from time to time, aw, isn't that romantic? <sigh>

9) When Mulder slows down the car, Crump freaks out and gets sicker. Mulder's intuitive skills kick in and he hits the accelerator, watching as Crump's condition improves. He realizes that this is what happened to Crump's wife, if you slow down you die. "I think I saw this movie," mutters Mulder, and you guess the movie he saw was:

A) Playing, that's if you star in a cruddy movie, your career dies...

B) It wasn't a movie! It was an acclaimed five season Emmy-winning series on AMC!

C) Godzilla 2015! Well, it could work as a date movie for Dana and Fox!

10) Scully finds out that they've avoided the roadblock, hinting that Mulder has learned of something. She gets a call, and hey, it's from her new boss AD Kersh, who asks how it's going in Idaho, with the addendum "Think carefully." Realizing that the "nobody will know" promise from Mulder is now out the window (along with the cell phones), she admits that they had gone to Nevada because of this case they felt needed investigating. Kersh calmly promises to await the report and offers the nearest field office for support, but he makes it clear Mulder is going to get chewed up and spat out for this one. As Scully ends the phone call with one of her patented "oopsies" look, you:

A) Notice, after she makes an intuitive guess that the victims are connected by location, that it's always after getting chewed out by her bosses that Scully does her best thinking.

B) Realize Kersh must be watching the show, because he learned Scully's phone number the same time the rest of us guys did (expect that phone to ring non-stop for the rest of the episode!)

C) Know full well that Dana REALLY wants to see Fox alive more than Kersh does! <protective grumbling>

11) Meanwhile, Mulder and Crump are happily exchanging recipes for bundt cakes... Crump, who's not exactly enjoying this day, insists when Mulder calls him Crump he put "Mister" in front of it. He then snarls if Mulder's a Jewish name. Mulder growls back "That's Mister Mulder, you peanut-picking bastard." As the audience learns this is going to be one of those fun family drives, you:

A) Know that if Scully was driving, she'd growl, "That's Miss Scully, you <many and varied expletives deleted>" because as Sister Autumn points out so often, Our Little Sailor's background as a Navy brat has exposed her to the best selection of four-letter, eight-letter, and twelve-letter vulgarities on the seven seas!

B) Realize Bryan Cranston is going to put that gun to Mulder's head and growl. "Say... My... Name..."

C) Wonder if Dana's going to ask Fox about that bottle-smashing bit in Jewish weddings...better yet, if he can demonstrate it <deep sigh>

12) After an exciting commercial for Puppy Chow, the show resumes at night at the Crump residence. Bathed in a fog-filled moonlit light, Scully leads a team of Disease Control staffers into a potential hot zone. They find a dog, agitated and constantly barking as it runs back and forth on its leash. As the team tries to subdue the dog to see if there's any infestation, you:

A) Would think someone from a dog family like Scully would just let the poor thing be...

B) Know that dog ain't working himself up for some Puppy Chow! :(

C) Scream "NOOO! Not the poor puppy! Don't! No, don't...." <ick> "Oh, not the poor doggie..." :( :( :( :( :( :(

13) After the poor puppy incident, Scully and the team leader for CDC discuss what diseases can affect both dogs and humans. She spots a light in the distance and notes the Crumps might have neighbors. She enters the far trailer, using her extra-powerful Super-Flashlight (for you Brits, the Super-Torch) to examine the clutter and carnage. She spots some dead tweety-birds, proving whatever kills here doesn't discriminate, and moves toward a still human figure in a chair. As Scully gets closer and closer, you:

A) Notice the lady is watching this weird sitcom about teenage boys driving their crazy parents even crazier, including a bumbling dad who moonlights as a meth cook.

B) Thank God the FBI finally re-issued those big flashlights to our intrepid heroes...I mean, those dinky little lights couldn't generate an INCH of fog-cutting beam, and these are so much more cooler!

C) Go ahead and scream that "IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII!" scream when the old lady jumps up.

14) Scully ponders what could kill almost everything within a mile radius yet leave a deaf woman intact. Realizing it's not a virus they're fighting but something to do with the aural tracks of the ear, Scully takes off her helmet and listens for a sound. When a beeping noise suddenly chirps up, you realize:

A) That, damn, this girl is GOOD...

B) It's a bell, someone keeps ringing a bell, this old guy sitting in a wheelchair with a bomb strapped to th... OMG DUCK (explosion).

C) It sounds like the wake-up beeper Dana and Fox have back at the hotel room they're sharing!

15) Mister Mulder and Mister Crump take a few minutes to talk. Crump rants against the government conspiracy he's certain has used him and his wife like guinea pigs. He points out it's no way to treat a man, to take away his dignity like that, that it would be better just to kill him, that's all he's saying. Mulder points out that they'll find a way out of this. Crump nods but notes they have to hurry, "There's not much West left." As they pass a Welcome sign for California, you realize:

A) That this sign is yet another dig from the producers about moving the show to L.A. You Vancouver-hating ain't right to take the dignity of a Canadian town like that, man...

B) This is the acting bit Bryan used for his Walter White audition, wasn't it!

C) That Crump is hinting at the treatment Fox is getting from his FBI superiors, a metaphor of how men struggle against the injustice of a cruel and chaotic universe... But Fox may have this consolation to carry with him in the darkness, that the bond between him and Dana, the bond of Lo...well, the bond of Trust, will yet save him!

16) Scully goes to a nearby Navy base, home of the Seafarer communications system, to find out about that humming box in the Crumps' backyard. The Navy lieutenant who comes to speak with her assumes she's from the FCC and apologizes for the power surge that disrupted TV signals. As Scully bluffs her way into finding out more, you note:

A) That Scully's got to work on her hemming and hawing when she bluffs, otherwise the Punk is going to beat her at seven-card-stud every time they play poker

B) What is it with these military guys? First it's that private who didn't know his phone from his butt in the "Fight the Future" movie, now it's this Navy idjit who can't spell between FCC and FBI!

C) Dana and Fox are both really bad at bluffing because they keep throwing their games when they play strip poker <wicked and hopeful grin>

17) Mister Mulder wakes up Mister Crump, warning him that the California Highway Patrol is pulling up on them. You respond:

A) With a "Hey! Dad! 'CHiPS' is back on the air! Ponch and Jon, rolling on!"

B) With a "Hey! Is that a Hello Kitty phone from Saul Goodman's office?"

C) With a "Hey! Dana and Fox are finally going to talk with each other! Finally! Let's hope they say the 'Trust' word about five times!" <sigh>

18) With a replacement phone in Mulder's possession, Scully tells Mulder her theory: the power surge through the Navy's Seafarer project, used to communicate with subs, somehow created ELFs, low-level radio frequencies which have been known to cause biological changes. It's possible those frequencies altered the Crumps' bodies to create their own frequencies, causing pressure to build in the inner ear to the point that it explodes. As Mulder winces while Scully describes how she might be able to save Mister Crump, you respond to the screen:

A) "Uh, Mister Crump, when you suggested that someone was sticking it to you, you didn't really want it to be in your ear, did you?"

B) "Oh great. Throw all this on top of Walt's medical bills why don't you? HE'S JUST GONNA COOK MORE METH THAN EVER..."

C) "Wow, this must be serious...Dana and Fox didn't flirt at all during the phone conversation..."

19) They make it to the end of the West. The camera rises over the hill as the car passes, the Pacific Ocean in view. Scully has her needle ready, waiting for the car to pull up. As it does so, you realize:

A) That Mulder didn't stop the car in front of her but right at the ocean's edge, meaning Mister Crump didn't make it...and that the Punk is going to get all angsty on us again...:(

B) That they could have filmed the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver...but Nooooo, they had to actually do it in California this time! <mutter> <grumble>

C) That Fox is going to need some serious hand-holding...once he's done taking care of that business he mentioned to Dana a little earlier...

20) Mulder and Scully have returned to D.C. AD Kersh is reviewing their expenses. Mulder curtly interrupts, knowing how little a deal this really is. "Are we done here?" Mulder continues, wondering aloud if they have to go back to grunt work hunting down big piles of manure. "You can always quit," notes Kersh, nailing home the point of the episode. Mulder silently walks out. Scully tries to defend Mulder noting he's been through a lot, but Kersh points out she apologizes for him a lot. Scully believes that what they did shut down a dangerous military operation and may have saved lives. Kersh doesn't see it that way. He reminds Scully that they're not on the X-Files anymore, and the sooner she and Mulder know that, the better. As Scully turns and walks out with a "Big piles of manure" under her breath, you conclude with the thought:

A) That the Blessed One does seem to apologize for the Punk a bit too much, but hey, that's the forgiving nature of the Saint, ya?

B) That if they're not on the X-Files anymore, why call the show by that title? Why not change it to "Breaking Malcom In the Middle" or something? WHADDA YA MEAN THAT WILL BE TAKEN?

C) That Kersh didn't mention the extra cost of two hotel did that mean they shared one for once? YES!

If you more often than not answered:

A) Then you are an OBSSEr who thinks Scully should have gotten on a helicopter, flown it over the speeding car, jump down in an exciting stunt sequence, smash her way in through the roof, and then slam that needle into Crump's ear, saving his life and keeping the Punk from getting all angsty at the end

B) Then you are an X-Phile who wonders if all this could have been avoided if the United States just went with a universal healthcare program that could have treated Walter's cancer... I mean Crump's earache...

C) Then you are a 'Shipper who watched this episode worried that Dana and Fox didn't take an extra minute after the talkdown by Kersh to hold hands... Ever! WILL THEY EVER HOLD HANDS, CHRIS CARTER YOU SADISTIC... (gets told about Season Seven) Okay. Fine. We'll hold out for ONE MORE YEAR...