“A mother never forgets.” – The X-Files Recap – Founder’s Mutation

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The X-Files Season 10, Episode 2
“Founder’s Mutation”
Posted by Sage

The critical buzz on The X-Files revival was mostly of the opinion that the quality jumped up several notches after the premiere. Not wanting to spoil the chance to watch brand new episodes live with friends and fandom, I ignored screener access to wait for broadcast, and put my faith in reviewers I trust. Kim’s reflections on “My Struggle” are almost identical to my own opinion, so I won’t bother reiterating them much beyond this: what a hot damn mess. But Fox scheduling did the revival a massive favor by putting the first two episodes on back-to-back nights. Best that the majority of the viewing public didn’t have a week to marinate on the shortfalls of the pilot, but were thrown right into a honest-to-god X-File. “Founder’s Mutation” turned me into a hyped-up NBA commentator, basically. “THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT,” I believe I yelled at one point.

founders

“Founder’s Mutation” skipped past the paperwork and basement office renovations and caught up with a fully re-installed FBI Special Agents Mulder and Scully. But first, the cold open – a device that The X-Files was among the first network dramas to use efficiently and creatively. A Dr. Sanjay walks through the security check-point in the lobby of his workplace, Nugenics Technology. Things are not okay. There’s a piercing, dog-whistle sound in his ears and his eyes are bloodshot. He sits at the head of a boardroom table while a bland but reproachful middle-manager reams out Sanjay and the rest of his colleagues. “He sent a message this morning: do-over,” the man says. The message comes from a man usually referred to as “the founder” – a little theatrical for someone who claims to want his anonymity, but that’s just me. Sanjay looks over his shoulder out into the lawn outside the office park and sees that it’s nearly covered by gathering crows. (A murder of crows, if you will.) He stumbles abruptly out of the meeting and into a room lined with servers. Sanjay initiates a data transfer behind a locked door, but he never finishes it. While his colleagues bang on the glass separating him and them and the piercing noise still envelopes him, he falls to the ground, picks up a letter opener, and shoves it into his own brain. HIT IT, MARK SNOW.

Dr. Sanjay’s death is one of those cases that Mulder and Scully are assigned to by pure happy accident. No immediate X-File in the instance of the reclusive man with the high-stress job who had a breakdown and then killed himself. The FBI are investigating instead of the police because they have the security clearance, and Nugenics is in bed with the Department Of Defense. That clearance doesn’t get them permission to bag Sanjay’s hard drive and take it as evidence, nor are they afforded the chance to speak to Dr. Augustus Goldman aka the Founder aka Dr. Moreau. (That last one is mine.) But the good cop/kindergarten cop routine is still in Mulder and Scully’s repertoire, and watching Mulder slyly pocket Sanjay’s smartphone makes it feel like old times. Well, old times plus Siri.

old school

“He isn’t a victim, he killed himself.” “Then I’m sure he won’t mind me talking to some of his friends.”

A quick scan of Sanjay’s call history introduces a contact saved as Gupta; leading up to his breakdown, Sanjay was calling him nightly. Mulder arranges a meeting with the mystery man in a wood-paneled DC bar. It’s Vik Sahay from Chuck. (Rock on, Jeffster.) What follows is a Mulder snafu I’d be more apt to expect from Darin Morgan, a writer who (hopefully still) loves to poke fun at Fox’s outsider status. Informant-speak is vague and suggestive; it’s actually shocking that Mulder’s intent hasn’t been misconstrued before. The X-Files hasn’t always been the most sensitive or progressive show, but the joke is absolutely on Mulder here. Even when Gupta realizes that Mulder isn’t actually cruising him, he’s not embarrassed. (“When it comes down to it, you’re all repressed.” Ain’t it the truth, Gupta?)

the truth is in here

“Yeah, I’ve heard something like that.”

Gupta and Sanjay had had an ongoing sexual relationship that mellowed into a friendship. Basically, because Sanjay was living a closeted life in more ways than one, Gupta was the only witness to Sanjay’s downward spiral. He fielded phone calls from Sanjay where he fretted about “his kids,” an intriguing choice of words since the deceased was single and childless. Let’s take a moment to appreciate Gupta as a friend, though. He doesn’t make a star witness because he didn’t press Sanjay for information, just tried to listen. This brief look into the relationship between two people brings some much-needed humanity into this episode. So put that in your pocket, because it gets even rougher from here on out.

Meanwhile, Scully is back at home with her stiffs, doing an autopsy on Sanjay. She notices that there are words written on the corpse’s palm. She tells Mulder later that she had to break his fingers to be able to read them. And we get a nice visual of it, because these are the details that make The X-Files the nauseating horror-show that we love. The reminder or message is “Founder’s Mutation,” and that’s not the only strange piece of evidence Scully gathers from the body. An x-ray of Sanjay’s skull shows that the letter opener almost changed trajectory inside of his brain, plunging upwards and into his auditory cortex. About that ringing, then.

x-ray

The Special Agents drive their shiny new Ford (RIP Taurus) over to Sanjay’s secret residence, a spot that only Gupta knew about. Unlike his “antiseptic” public apartment, this one is a scrapbook of Sanjay’s project and secret obsession. One wall is wallpapered with photos of children with extreme physical abnormalities: his “kids.” Before Mulder and Scully can dig much deeper, the police arrive. Scully endeavors to prove the legitimacy of their presence to the responding officer, but Mulder is incapacitated. The same ringing that Sanjay heard sends him crumpling to the floor. He watches Scully and the officer talk, but the words he hears aren’t theirs. “Find her,” someone says. “Help me,” someone else answers.

scully protective

LOOK AT THE FEAR IN HER EYES. MSR isn’t dead, just limping a little.

When Mitch Pileggi announced his involvement in the revival on Twitter, he expressed his excitement at Skinner being back in the lives of “his two wayward kids.” If that isn’t the dynamic, though. So little has changed. The Assistant Director can still aim a withering glare across his desk to his two most troublesome reports. Mulder and Scully, both in their 50s, can look just as sheepish and defiant as they ever have. And there’s even a new shadowy figure serving as an unwelcome audience. The unnamed man – a minion of the DOD – snidely delivers the news that the Eugenics files that the agents took from Sanjay’s apartment are classified and cannot be used as evidence. Skinner backs him up; the case is officially closed….until the snooty DOD man leaves the room. (Hasn’t word gotten around Washington yet that Skinner is always, always on his favorite agents’ side? I guess that page got lost on the Hill.) “I assume you made copies,” Skinner offers. Of course they did. Scully isn’t convinced yet that Sanjay’s death was anything but a suicide, but these sinister genetic experiments must be scrutinized. Skin Man’s got their back. “The bureaucracy of the FBI has become increasingly complex and inefficient,” he explains, needlessly. “It might take days for your incident report in order to close the investigation to make it through the proper channels. Welcome back, you two.” #OT3Goals, as always.

The only lead left to follow lies with the elusive Augustus Goldman. Scully tells Mulder that she might have a way to get to the Founder, an understatement since he funds research at the same hospital where she worked for the past six years. A. Why is this just coming up now? B. Catholics are shady. The agents walk the halls of Our Lady Of Sorrows with a sketchy nun (Scully is deferential, Mulder is unimpressed), who talks about Goldman as if he’s the second coming of Christ himself. “A true champion of the unborn,” Sister Whatever The Fuck calls him, a descriptor usually aimed at 900-year-old Southern senators who think of birth control as Satan’s candy. The public facing side of Goldman’s research has him providing prenatal care to women whose fetuses have or will develop a deformity. Curiously, all of these women are alone; no baby daddies or family around to provide support. No population is more at risk in the world of The X-Files than mothers-to-be, and this ward stinks to high heaven of exploitation. Sketchy Nun buys Scully’s story about wanting to give Goldman a warning about being the target of an upcoming federal investigation (Mulder: “Obamacare.”), and goes to retrieve his contact information. Agnes, a wild-eyed waif of a pregnant girl (Abigail from Hannibal, always in danger), takes the opportunity to get the agents attention and begs for them to get her out. They ask if there’s something wrong with her baby, and she looks confused. “My baby?” She regrets her decision, she says, and Dr. Goldman is not “right.” A harsh look from returned Sketchy Nun silences her, but Mulder slips Agnes her card. “Men and their lies…no offense,” Sketchy Nun glances at Mulder. “Desire is the devil’s pitchfork.” Now is that a sensational name for a fic archive, or what?

hospital hospital 2
There’s some dark comedy in Sketchy Nun’s austere religiousness, but it also shows something fundamentally important about the setting Dr. Goldman (presumably Jewish, though we don’t know) chose for his research. The “ruined woman” is simultaneously a victim of male desire and weak and sinful due to her own. The Madonna/whore complex at work in this Catholic institution dehumanizes the women (girls, really) in the study just enough so that no one – until now – has bothered to looked closely at what’s happening to them. Goldman and his superiors are banking on them being completely forgotten.

In the parking lot of the hospital, Mulder and Scully reflect on what they’ve just seen. In typical bulldozing Mulder fashion, he begins to go off on the violation these women are experiencing, too keyed up to consider the feelings of the person in front of him.

Mulder:“The women are the incubators.”
Scully: “Is this what you believe happened to me 15 years ago? When I got pregnant? When I had my baby? Was I just an incubator?”

I AM REVIVED

I AM REVIVED

If this series is going to end with Mulder and Scully back together as a couple – and I believe it will – it will happen by way of them dealing with their baggage, together. William would be 15 years old now, Scully reminds Mulder, and you know that she tracks every single birthday he’s celebrating without her. (“A mother never forgets.”) She asks Mulder if he ever thinks about their son, and I had to sit with his answer for a while to make sense of it. “Yes, of course I do,” he says, “but I feel like I’ve had to put that behind me.” Well what a fucking LUXURY, Fox Mulder. Must be nice to compartmentalize your life like that. Fortunately for him, this BTS interview with writer James Wong came along right in time to save Mulder (at least a little) from my wrath.

Wong says that David actually added the “of course I do” to the line, to soften that dismissal. And the rest of his response? It’s self-preservation. Mulder knows where Scully is headed in her mind, and it’s straight to questioning herself and her love for her child. (Imagine how many times they had this same conversation in their little house.) The last few seasons of the original series had so much value that’s been overlooked over the years. The way that Mulder reacts to Scully’s decision to give William up is as moving as anything that’s ever happened on the show. Mulder loves his son as desperately as Scully does (let those fantasy sequences be proof for the doubters), but there was never any danger of him resenting her for what she did. He doesn’t even need to know the details that led to that choice. He trusts Scully always; he especially trusts his heart with her, and that’s what William is. Selfless as ever, Scully put their child before herself. She’s the one left with the most pain, and Mulder doesn’t want to see her adding incertitude to the constant agony of just missing him. It’s not fair.

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“Someone has to stop these sons of bitches.” – The X-Files Recap – My Struggle

The X-Files Season 10 (!!!!!!!!!!!), Episode 1
“My Struggle” 

Posted by Kim

Confession time. The first time I saw “My Struggle”, I was in a room with several thousand X-Philes at New York Comic Con. The energy in the room was ELECTRIC. It was Day Three of the Con and everyone was slightly delirious thanks to the combination of very little sleep, pop culture over-stimulation, and the fact that OMG WE WERE SEEING AN ACTUAL NEW EPISODE OF THE X-FILES AND GETTING TO TALK TO CHRIS CARTER, DAVID DUCHOVNY, AND MITCH PILEGGI AFTERWARDS. It was insane and I will NEVER forget that emotional high.  Between that high and the fact that my expectations for “My Struggle” had been drastically lowered thanks to the response from the TCAs, I walked away from the screening having thoroughly enjoyed the episode. Now that I have some distance, I can see “My Struggle” for what it is: a poorly written mess that banks on you being too excited to see Fox Mulder and Dana Scully on your screen to really care.

Don’t get me wrong. When the voiceover began with “My name is Fox Mulder…”, I got chills.  When the theme song and the original credits (with the deserved addition of Mitch Pileggi) rolled, I had tears of joy in my eyes. As a fandom, we have waited SO LONG for this. But we can’t let our joy cloud our judgement and this episode was sloppy as hell. Look, I am forever grateful to Chris Carter for the world he created. But like George Lucas, his genius is often best left to ideas rather than execution. The writing of “My Struggle” was awkward and overly expositioned at its best and downright awful at its worst. The porch scene between Mulder and Scully was like bad fan fiction. Did you really have to insert all those catchphrases? I worship at the altar of Gillian Anderson’s acting but even she couldn’t make that scene work. David and Gillian were so disconnected in that scene and it just felt like they were spouting lines at maximum intensity rather than believing in their words. And the whole new conspiracy? To borrow from Sage’s tweets, it felt like Carter just went to Wikipedia and searched for conspiracies for the basis of the plot. Basically, the government is shady as fuck, using alien technology to fuel a planned and calculated Armageddon. People (women mainly) have been repeatedly abducted to be part of experiments and MAYBE their DNA has been fused with aliens for whatever reason. Any proof vanishes when it’s needed most. It’s really a means to an end and that end is getting The X-Files re-opened, because there is no way this arc can be resolved in less than 6 episodes.  Alrighty? So let’s just talk about what “My Struggle” did with our beloved characters, shall we? Because really…that’s why we are all here.

Another similarity between George Lucas and Chris Carter is that they both like to rewrite history. Lucas does it by adding Jabba the Hut into A New Hope and Hayden Christensen into Return of the Jedi, both of which are insulting to the original films. Chris Carter does it by ignoring character growth and regressing relationships to a point that is insulting to long time fans. Carter is/was notoriously against the Mulder/Scully romance, despite accidentally writing the greatest and deepest love story of all time, so I’m not SURPRISED that they are broken up. I’m just disappointed. Not that I expected/wanted everything to be puppies and rainbows with Mulder and Scully. They’ve been through and seen too much for that. But what I did expect was for them to be a united front. They are each other’s constants, they are each other’s touchstones. That is CANON. Hell, even at the end of I Want To Believe we had them choosing each other, once again. The movie ended with them LITERALLY sailing off into the sunset. So this “estrangement” nonsense is just that. It’s nonsense. It’s insulting to the characters he created. Are you really telling me that after EVERYTHING they have been through that Scully’s self-diagnosis of Mulder’s depression is the straw that broke their relationship? Sure, Jan.

(Also, I SEE YOU trolling with that “for better, for worse” line, Chris Carter. I don’t appreciate it.)

Look. When you look at it objectively, Scully has every reason to walk away from Mulder. He’s no picnic even without the weight of a massive global conspiracy bringing him down. Scully has lost so much thanks to the fact that on a dreary night in Oregon, she chose to trust Fox Mulder. She’s lost her sister. She’s lost TWO children. She’s lost her fertility. (Yeah, I know those contradict each other BUT THIS IS THE SHOW.) She’s become estranged from siblings, she’s had her career in shambles, and she’s had her personal faith tested. It’s too much for any person to bear. But this is what I love about Dana Katherine Scully. In the face of all of that, time and time again she charged into the darkness after Mulder. She’s ALWAYS chosen him and she’s always chosen the fight that they were in together. Having her estranged from him now is an insult to the character’s legacy. To quote Scully herself, SHE WOULDN’T CHANGE A DAY OF HER RELATIONSHIP WITH MULDER. Except for Flukeman. Again, that’s CANON. So why all of a sudden has Scully decided it’s all too much for her?

Don’t get me started on the Scully/Tad O’Malley dynamic. First of all, Joel McHale, ILYSM but I would love for you to talk to your agent about playing a non-smarmy character for once. It’s a good performance but it basically felt like Jeff Winger in one of his Goldblummy meltdowns. Secondly, are you really telling me that Dana Scully, who can make men wilt with a single arch of her eyebrow, would fall prey to Tad’s “charms” and insincere flattery? Okay. Everything about Scully and Tad is off from the very beginning. He goes straight to calling her Dana as opposed to maintaining a professional distance (Mulder’s FACE though. And I love how he mocks her for that later in the episode). He shows up AT HER WORK just to chat because he wants to see her again and he somehow gets Scully to join him in his car for Champagne. THEN he goes off about her wonderful (I mean it is wonderful, but still) work at the hospital for no apparent reason.  It’s all SO WEIRD. The Scully *I* know would have just given him a bitch face from the very first “Dana” and wouldn’t have let him get near her. So I really don’t get what Carter was going for here. Do they have a past? Does Scully DATE? Why are you doing this?

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I Want To Believe – Our Top 15 Episodes of The X-Files, Part Three

Posted by Kim and Sage

As Sage and I have been working on these posts, we have been discussing the lasting legacy that The X-Files has left on the television landscape.  And what a legacy it is!!  Bones most certainly would not exist without The X-Files.  Booth even has a line in the pilot saying “What? You want me to spit in my hand? We’re Scully and Mulder.”  Bones also has taken up the mantle of “show that makes me want to gag” on a weekly basis and definitely drove me crazy for YEARS with the fact the Booth and Brennan were clearly in love.  You can clearly see the influence of The X-Files in the dark humor and visual storytelling of Hannibal.  Rob Bowman, who received 4 consecutive directing nominations for The X-Files, is now an executive producer and director on Castle, which features another Mulder and Scully-esque pair.  James Morgan writes and produces American Horror Story.  Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon are currently clearing room on their shelves for all those Homeland Emmys.  John Shiban went on to work on such shows as Smallville, SupernaturalThe Vampire Diaries and of course Breaking Bad, which was created by Vince Gilligan.  Essentially, The X-Files was a talent farm for all the shows that are winning Emmys and are in the pop culture spotlight today.  It’s astounding.  As Frank Spotniz said in the interview Sage linked to in yesterday’s post they were all SO YOUNG when they worked on The X-Files and Chris Carter was a showrunner that demanded nothing short of excellence.  So the ones that survived that rigorous process are the ones who have endured and gone on to become visionaries themselves.  Twenty years from now, people will be talking about Vince Gilligan the way they talk about Chris Carter.  And the writers that worked under HIM will be the ones creating the shows that are winning Emmys in 20 years.  It’s the gift that keeps on giving and it all started down in the basement with the FBI’s most unwanted.

While it was a challenge to choose the 16 X-Files stories that would represent the legacy of the series, it was even harder to rank the top 5.  As we’ve said time and time again over the course of these posts, The X-Files is a show that defies the constraints of the sci-fi genre time and time again.  It’s scary, it’s funny, it’s weird and gross, it’s thrilling and it’s romantic.  So how do you choose?  The best X-Files episodes are a combination of all of the factors that made it great and luckily Sage and I readily agreed over what episodes would be in the all important top 5 of all time.  We screamed at each other all weekend about what should be number one, as we were championing different episode arcs.  But that is the BEAUTY of this show, because neither one of us were wrong in our opinions (well…Sage was, but that’s okay) on the importance of these episodes.  There are SO many episodes that could be called “best ever” of this show because they can mean so many different things to different people depending on what they got out of the show.  These episodes are the ones that defined all the things that we got out of it and are still getting out of it all these years later.  We’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions on them and what the show meant to you as a television viewer and a fan.

But know this.  I am right about number one.

–Kim

5) “Pusher” (3 x 17)

“Pusher” has always been one of my personal favorite episodes, so I was very happy when Sage not only had it on her list, but ranked it high (though I of course fought for it to be higher, hence its inclusion in the top 5).  The second episode ever written by some guy named Vince Gilligan (who would go on to have absolutely no success in his post-X-Files career), “Pusher” is an intense cat and mouse game and a great battle of wills.  Robert Patrick Modell is a terrifying villain because he has absolutely nothing to lose.  He kills people (but not really, cause they all do it themselves after all) for FUN and because he is bored and looking for a worthy adversary.  And he finds that adversary in Fox Mulder.  It’s easy to forget that for all his crazy ideas and conspiracy theories that Mulder is also just plain brilliant.  He has degree in psychology from Oxford University (first class honors, no less) and before discovering the X-Files and becoming a major player in a world-wide conspiracy, he was a rising star in the Violent Crimes division as a criminal profiler.  To Robert Patrick Modell…there is simply no other adversary worthy of his “talents” than Mulder.

Another thing that is astonishing about the fact that “Pusher” is Vince Gilligan’s second episode is that he has Mulder and Scully’s voices down so perfectly.  A trademark of his episodes is that they are chock full of zingers and this script is no exception.  The script feels like he has been writing our favorite G-Man and G-Woman for years.  “Pusher” is full of great little moments between Mulder and Scully…from her falling asleep and drooling on his shoulder and the way he (oh so affectionately) touches he cheek to wake her to the quick-fire banter of the “whammy” scene to the completely unspoken conversation between them in the above gif.

Side Note: In the scene where Mulder is being fitted for his camera to go in the hospital to confront Modell, the original line was “Do you think this thing gets The Discovery Channel?”.  David, knowing Mulder’s penchant for porn, ad-libbed and changed the line to “Playboy Channel”.  That, my friends, is an actor who TRULY knows his character.

Let’s talk that climactic scene of Russian Roulette, shall we?  In all my research on the episodes for this post, I learned that Standards and Practices tried to put the brakes on this scene, which is not surprising.  Nothing like it had ever been on television before and Chris Carter and Vince Gilligan REALLY had to fight them to keep it in.  Could you IMAGINE if they had lost this scene??  To me it ranks among the tensest minutes in the entire series (you can also see the roots of Breaking Bad in this scene…now many standoffs with Walter White does this scene feel like??).  David, Gillian, and Robert Wisden are top-notch in this scene, and if you are not gritting your teeth along with Mulder while watching this, then there is something wrong with you.  It’s nothing short of chilling to watch Mulder turn the gun on himself and pull the trigger without a moment’s hesitation.  He only starts to fight against Modell’s Imperius curse (because that is TOTALLY what it is) when he has to turn the gun on Scully.  Because Mulder would kill himself in heartbeat before harming one ginger hair on Scully’s head.  He proves that time and time again over the course of the series.  And Modell knows that too, which is why he chooses this route of torturing Mulder.  Because in killing Scully, you essentially kill Mulder as well.  You can see Mulder’s torment, even when he still has that terrifyingly blank look on his face.  You can hear the little voice in his head saying “Not Scully.  I will not hurt Scully.”  And Modell, bastard that he is, keeps saying that it is justified for Mulder to shoot her.  She DID shoot him once, after all!  It’s only fair!  Tears are glistening in both of their eyes as they stare at each other and Mulder’s strangled “I’m going to KILL you, Modell.” is heartbreaking.

And of course, we get some good old Mulder/Scully comfort and hand holding at the end of the episode as they look in on Modell in the hospital.  Vince Gilligan was such a closet shipper, you guys.

–Kim

Best Line:

Mulder: Modell psyched the guy out, he put the whammy on him!

Scully: Please explain to me the scientific nature of the Whammy.

4) “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” (3 x 04)

X Files Clyde Bruckman

The MVPs of “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” are Darin Morgan’s impeccable script and an endearingly weary performance by guest star Peter Boyle, both of which earned Emmys. It’s a satisfying episode and so representative of the series, though I can’t think of another one quite like it. That was The X-Files at its best though, when it would finesse a jumble of disparate genres and influences into something cohesive and unforgettable. I’ve probably seen “Clyde Bruckman” dozens of times, but still felt the need during my  rewatch to tweet that it’s “stone-cold genius.” And I just quoted myself, because I can.

Apparently, Morgan (who, by the by, also acted on the show as loser Eddie Van Blunt in “Small Potatoes” and the titular monster in “Flukeman”) set out to write a very dark script. In fact, he began with the idea of having the lead guest character commit suicide at the end. But somehow that seed of an idea developed into one of the wittiest, crowd-pleasing episodes of the series. It just FEELS like one of those scripts that began writing itself, in the best possible way. It’s been my experience that darkness and humor never live very far from one other anyway.

A lot of the comedy in the script comes from the rare circumstance that both Scully AND Mulder are skeptical of the otherworldly element. Most of the “psychics” Mulder meets at crime scenes are probably of the Stupendous Yappi variety. And as a believer, he’s PERSONALLY affronted by people who would fake a sixth sense for money, which is why he doesn’t know quite what to make of Mr. Bruckman, the most reluctant seer ever. Clyde Bruckman – whose occupation, hilariously, is life insurance salesman – is consumed by death. It’s the first thing he sees in every person he meets. His resignation to the inevitability of his gift is mirrored in the creepy killer, who seeks out mystical motivations for the acts that he claims not to even want to carry out. Talk about “negative energy.”

X Files Clyde Bruckman Mulder and Scully

Even though Scully doesn’t believe in Bruckman’s gift, she believes that HE believes, and comes to feel sympathy and even affection for him. She still can’t resist asking him how she dies, and, adding to the enigma of the enigmatic Dr. Scully, he answers, “You don’t.” This line was actually intended as a set-up for a possible storyline where Dana Scully was found to be IMMORTAL. Instead, closure came from “Tithonus,” where she almost died and then didn’t. I like the “Tithonus” solution, not only because the immortality plotline would have completely changed the nature of this show, but because it’s true to Bruckman’s roundabout, vaguely literal predictions. Less vague is his prognostication that Mulder’s end will come via auto-erotic asphyxiation. Or maybe he planted that idea in his head as payback for the barrage of psychic tests Mulder put him through. Seems like something Clyde Bruckman – may he rest in peace – would do.

–Sage

Best Line:

Mulder: Do you remember the first time you foresaw someone’s death?
Clyde Bruckman: 1959.
Mulder: What happened in 1959?
Clyde Bruckman: Buddy Holly’s plane crashed.
Scully: You prognosticated Buddy Holly’s death?
Clyde Bruckman: Oh, God, no. Why would I want to do that? But I did have a ticket to see him perform the next night. Actually, I was a bigger fan of the Big Bopper than Buddy Holly. “Chantilly Lace,” that was the song.
Mulder: I’m not following.
Clyde Bruckman: There’s… the Big Bopper was not supposed to be on the plane with Buddy Holly. He won the seat from somebody else by flipping a coin for it.
Mulder: I’m still not following.
Clyde Bruckman: Imagine all the things that had to occur, not only in his life, but in everybody else’s, to arrange it so on that particular night, the Big Bopper would be in a position to live or die depending on a flipping coin. I became so obsessed with that idea that I gradually became capable of seeing the specifics of everybody’s death.
Scully: Well, Mister Bruckman, I’m not one who readily believes in that kind of thing and if I was, I still wouldn’t believe that story.
Clyde Bruckman: I know it sounds crazy, but I swear it’s true: I was a bigger fan of the Big Bopper than Buddy Holly.

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