My List of Demands

In 24 hours, the last episode of the X-Files revival will air. It seems like just yesterday I was waiting for the NFC championship game to hurry up and end so that all my childhood dreams could come true.

022116 mushroom

From “OMG they went back to the original credits!!” to “OMG why is Mulder on placebo mushrooms?”

Speaking of high, given the ratings, Fox has expressed interest in continuing this miracle into another season. Whether that happens or not depends on the busy schedules of the talented actors, but regardless it confirms that the Monday night episode will not do what I had rather hoped it would do — answer all the questions and wrap it up.

Just remember last year, learning that X-Files was going to come back. The last thing you’d seen of it was an underwhelming movie designed to appeal to everyone (and therefore no one). These six new episodes were a chance to give the characters the closure that they’d never had. Instead, I fear tomorrow will stack even more questions on top of our already teetering mytharc like a pile of bodies used to escape a cave.

I feel like I’m standing behind Chris Carter at a roulette table. He’s just won big, and I would really like to drag him over to the front to cash out. Instead, he takes all the chips and puts them on red.

022116 reynolds

Burt Reynolds.

Regardless, here is my list of three demands for the final episode of season 10. In the interest of realism, I’ve also included a list of what the closest compromises will likely be.

As a good fan, I guess I should want the show to go out with a bang and resolve all the things. As a needy fan, I say we drag this thing out one more season.

Demand #1: Mulder and Scully reconcile with a passionate kiss.

Likely compromise: A tepid, sisterly kiss in the last five minutes.

022116 kimmel

For example.

I buy the argument that Scully would leave Mulder. I do not buy that they went from unresolved sexual tension to old married couple with a kid, leaving all the satisfying resolution off-screen.

022116 ftf

I’ll have you know I tried to rewrite that without using sexual analogies and failed.

This relationship was one of the great “will they or won’t they”s of television history, and Chris Carter decided that the answer to that question was, “They already did while you weren’t looking, so let’s build some more mytharc.” I demand this be rectified.

Demand #2: Cigarette Smoking Man commits a dastardly act of self-preserving evil worthy of his cameo.

Likely compromise: CSM tells Mulder & Scully that they’re messing with powers they don’t understand. Mulder points a gun at him and slowly lowers it. CSM disappears into the night.

Bonus: CSM reveals that he was able to survive the missile strike to his face because of “determination.”

022116 alien

“The real alien vaccine is love.”

Cigarette Smoking Man is part of a cadre of cowardly villains who were willing to sacrifice all of mankind to alien slavery in order to save themselves. He allowed his wife to be abducted and tortured countless times. He killed JFK, for God’s sake.

I’m gonna need to see him do something really, truly effed up.

The only other thing worthy of bringing back William B. Davis would be for him to die a spectacular death… but despite the fact that he’s been killed off three times, you can’t kill off CSM in the season finale when another season is at stake. Instead, let’s have him nuke New York, or put alien virus in the water supply of Beijing. Food for thought.

Demand #3: Agents Miller and Einstein quit the Bureau or die.

Likely compromise: Agents Miller and Einstein get more screen time than viewers’ lack of emotional connection with them warrants.

022116 miller

The only thing the casting call specified was hair color.

I don’t like having Mulder and Scully split up to work with Miller and Einstein. I don’t like the amount of Miller and Einstein that I’m seeing in the preview for the final episode. I’m ambivalent about the characters themselves, but there’s no place for ambivalence in a season finale, so get ’em outta here.

There are whispers of an X-Files spin-off featuring Miller and Einstein. Having seen their episode, I’ve come to believe that these whispers were only a ruse to get people watching, as no show could stand on a foundation of caricature and complete lack of chemistry. Just to be sure, though, in this last episode they should develop a sudden urge to move to North Carolina and start a goat farm. Or be thrown off a bridge.


Scully the Perennial

By now, you may have seen the below hints about the resolution of one of many X-Files mysteries, as covered by outlets more mainstream than expected. The press junket has gone into full force this week, so it’s not weird that they’re talking about X-Files (which hereby and temporarily makes it not weird that I’m talking about X-Files). The weird part is that of all the theories one could address and publicize addressing, this one is pretty far out there on the obscurity list.

011416 ew

“And stay tuned for episode 5 of #TheXFiles when Chris Carter reveals the continuation of the fluke monster storyline from the season 10 comics series! The whole world is on tenterhooks!”

So just in case you’re a fan but have no idea what the hell Chris Carter is referring to, allow me to sum it up shortly. This includes my understanding of the cause, but — again — there are other theories. There are always other theories.

Theory: Scully is immortal.

2015-11-02 23.08.38

Exhibit 1: her flawless immortal face #ScullyFIF

Says who?

011416 cb

Surely you’ve seen this man in line at a CVS somewhere.

None other than Clyde Bruckman, from the classic episode Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose. If you haven’t seen this episode, I demand that you stop reading and go watch it. It will ruin you for other television shows.

Clyde Bruckman can foresee people’s deaths and does so on multiple occasions throughout the episode, leading to such zany hijinks as Mulder stepping in banana creme pie and Scully acquiring a Pomeranian. Toward the end of the episode, while awaiting the final confrontation with the antagonist, Scully finally bites the bullet and asks:

S: All right. So how do I die?

C: You don’t.

Pretty straight forward. As I’ve pointed out before, writer and creative genius Darin Morgan thinks viewers have blown this way out of proportion and that it absolutely does not mean that Scully is immortal. I’m just saying, Clyde Bruckman has a pretty good track record.

011416 dm

Darin Morgan shown here, regretting his decision to use symbolism.

Cause: An immortal crime photographer stole her death.

111416 tithonus

“I don’t see your name on it.”

Scully works a case with The Guy from Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place But Not That One You’re Thinking of Ryan Reynolds in search of a photographer who is usually the first one on the scene to get shots of a dead body, even when the police haven’t been called yet.

As you might expect, he was supposed to die of yellow fever at a young age but instead turned away from Death and let Death take his nurse. Since that moment, he has lived 100+ years and has spent the last few decades trying either to kill himself or to capture the arrival of Death in a photograph and then look into its eyes.

Fellig knows when someone is about to die, giving him a power that somehow makes him the Debbie Downer version of Clyde Bruckman. He senses that it’s Scully’s time to go —

011416 bnw

Maybe Clyde Bruckman was wrong and Scully is about to die in the middle of season 6. That seems likely.

— and then a little misunderstanding with Not Ryan Reynolds’ gun seals the deal.

011416 blood

“I curse you with obscurity… eternal obscurity…”

Fellig recovers nicely from his gunshot wound to the stomach and reaches for a little point-and-click to catch Scully’s death. Just then, she spots Death with her own eyes.

011416 death

She sees him; we don’t. Otherwise we’d be dead. Keep up, people.

Fellig, sensing his opportunity, tells her to look away. He then proceeds to look Death square in the face and keel over dead.

So what are we left with? Trusty, dependable Clyde Bruckman has said Scully will never die, and then her meeting with Death was stolen by an immortal photographer. Therefore, Scully is immortal.

For the sake of completeness, I’ve listed a few more pieces of evidence below from the X-Files wiki.

  • In season 4, Scully gets a tattoo (and it’s a weirdly hot scene that you should watch). Scully’s tattoo is an ouroboros, which is a symbol of immortality.
  • In season 6, Mulder and Scully have a Groundhog’s Day-esque time loop where they relive a bank heist over and over. The heist ends with their deaths, and <fan theory> since Scully can’t die, time cannot continue until the day happens in a way that Scully lives </fan theory>.
  • In season 8, Cigarette-Smoking Man implies that the chip in Scully’s neck is the key to curing diseases and eventually immortality.

And now we are all up to speed.



Creeper vs. Creeper

For those of you keeping up with the #TheXFiles201days daily rewatch, you’re now slogging through season 9, and I apologize. Though I do stand by Teenage Me’s conclusion that if you look past the William and Super Soldier episodes, you are left with a solid collections of MOTWs.

Yesterday’s episode was TrustNo1, in which Mulder and Scully have prearranged for Mulder’s return because of precisely forecasted loneliness, which they discuss in super-secret emails.

011116 email

On public internet? And a Hotmail account? And using your password as your email alias? HAVE YOU LEARNED BUT NOTHING.

And while it is taking all of my albeit limited restraint to keep from diverging into a post about everything wrong with TrustNo1, the biggest shock for many re-watchers was the revelation shared by the Shadow Man.

011116 aubrey

Shown h… wait, wrong episode

011116 movie

Shown h… wait, that’s the movie.

011116 locke

Shown h… wait, wrong series.

After blowing up her car for secrecy (Editor’s note: There are better ways.), he lists off an assortment of deeply personal tidbits about Scully, up to and including a tryst with Mulder.

cc draft

Oh now that clip makes sense.

Shadow Man declines to share where his authorization comes from, but in many ways this was post-9/11 X-Files’ first dig at the Big Brother intelligence collecting that we were moving toward at the time. Disgusting, isn’t it? To think that all of her private moments from childhood onward were never really private at all. That this random bald guy with more than a passing resemblance to SAC Darius Michaud —

011116 shadowman

Shown h… wait, that’s Shadow Man.

— has seen her alone in her apartment, sleeping, eating, chatting with Mulder, working with Mulder, <Ed. censored> with Mulder. What a horrid and unimaginable violation.


Haven’t we watched Scully when we she thinks she’s alone, whether that’s bathing her dog or having a date with a tattooed mystery man? Even worse, haven’t we seen danger coming from over her shoulder in the form of shape-shifting aliens and subliminal VHS messages and failed to warn her? Haven’t we seen her hold back from sharing her feelings and known what they were regardless? And then judged her for hiding them?

But we can’t be just as bad as Shadow Man. Fortunately for us, Scully is fictional and we don’t share a plane of existence. Or so I thought, until the first minute of the #XFilesRevival episode was released today.

Admittedly I melted into a puddle of goo upon hearing David Duchovny’s voice, but after I reconstituted myself, I noticed something about the stack of pictures we’re flipping through. It’s possible to ID the episode for each picture, from the rain-drenched Mulder and Scully in the pilot —

011116 pilot


— to their 8th season hug, standing a little closer this time.

011116 requiem

Bow chicka bow-wow.

Why are these pictures so immediately familiar? Possibly because they’re exact screenshots from those episodes. Pictures taken from where we were standing. Everyone say it with me…

“I made this.”

Why won’t you just die.

Sometimes we kill off characters because it makes for good theater, but then we look back a few days later and realize our shortsightedness. “Hey,” we say to ourselves, “that person added a lot to this show.” But then what are your options?

  • Bring in a new character to take their place. This person should have some surface differences from your original character but really not affect the plot in any other way. Give your “new” character an accent, for instance.
121515 10th doctor

This option is integral to the continued existence of Doctor Who. Also I’d like to thank this entry for allowing me to spend 20 minutes Googling pictures of David Tennant.

  • Write yourself into circles trying to resurrect your character
121515 csm

Guess which this post is about?

Now, I love Cigarette-Smoking Man as much as the next guy, and he has certainly earned his place on this show, what with directing the shadow government and siring 30% of the agents assigned to the X-Files at some point.

But maybe it’s time we give William B. Davis a break. He is not a dog; he should not have to play dead whenever we ask.

Also, fun fact: David Duchovny is now the same age that William B. Davis was when X-Files began. Time keeps on slippin’ into the future.

121515 10th doctor nude

Not for everyone. Editor’s note: why the shirtless pic? If you have to ask, we’re not friends.

Death #1: Just shoot him in the face (“Redux II,” season 5)

Pros: Simple, direct, and to the point

Cons: Terrible hired assassin fails to kill an elderly man by shooting him in the face

121515 csm shot

“Must… grab… something symbolic and meaningful…”

The Syndicate decides to pursue a little re-org by sending an assassin after CSM. When at last someone goes to collect the body, they find instead “too much blood for anyone to have survived.” We all know what that means.

Death #2: Undignified wheelchair toppling (“Requiem,” season 7)

Pros: Full of symbolism of how the mighty have fallen, involves Krycek

Cons: Just not dead enough

121515 wheelchair

Putting the “whee!” in wheelchair.

Krycek and Marita double-cross CSM, and for some reason he is surprised by this. Krycek wheels him to the top of the stairs, to which CSM warns, “As you do to me and to Mulder, so you do to humanity.” Then Krycek shoves CSM (and, by extension, humanity) down the stairs.

I really wish this was how CSM had died. He tries to finagle one of his schemes using his go-to mercenaries, he fails miserably, and then he gets trampolined down the stairs without so much as one last cigarette for his tracheotomy hole.

Supposedly the original plan was to end the series here and continue later on with movies. I cannot stress what a truly wonderful world that would have been. Intensive resources would have gone into the next steps in the story, rather than inventing new ways to dole out Duchovny’s 13 episodes of season 8. Super soldiers would just be someone’s fever dream. Mulder and Scully would be together forever. 9/11 never would have happened.

121515 tlg

Without season 8, no Lone Gunmen spin-off. Without the Lone Gunmen spin-off, the terrorists never get the idea to fly a plane into the towers. Right? That’s where they got the idea?

Death #3: Helicopter missile to the face (“The Truth,” season 9)

Pros: Sends an unequivocal message to the viewing audience: This man is dead forever. You just watched his face melt off his skeleton.

Cons: Just kidding, he’s not dead

121515 skeleton

For real, though.

In the last few minutes of the last episode of X-Files, CSM finally eats it. He’s holed up in a cave village in New Mexico, and a pair of helicopters — which the X-Files Wiki tells me were sent to kill Mulder and Scully, though I cannot imagine a world in which this was the option most in line with “plausible deniability” — instead blast his new home full of missiles, dramatically pause, and then missile him right in the face. Then the show spent some ungodly amount of money showing us his CGI death, from the flaming glow and blown-back straggles of hair to his charred skeleton.

His charred skeleton. We have seen it.

AND YET, this:

121515 csm news

Et tu, Den of Geek?

At this point, he just can’t die. Ever. There can be no CSM death written into this show that I will ever fall for again. When this universe ends and/or the aliens stop procrastinating and finally colonize the Earth, it’ll just be CSM and Scully hanging out in an empty void, one offering awkward come-ons and one scowling.

I’ll leave you with my desperate attempt to guess how CSM could possibly be alive. Commence the brainstorm!

  • CSM was really a super solider, so whatever is left of his skeleton will regenerate into a person, like the piece of spine in Essence/Existence (season 8). Perhaps this seems implausible since the whole point of the cave village is that it contains enough magnetite to render the human out of super soldiers, but joke’s on you! — the one cave he was in didn’t have any of it or something.
  • CSM closed his eyes at the end and sent his consciousness into the dreamcatcher between him and the helicopters. The dreamcatcher fell off its perch and dropped to the ground when the missile breezed by, and then someone recovered it and used the trapped spirit to animate a clone of CSM that they made using genetic material from the various alien/brain experiments he had undergone. Oh wait, that’s a good one…
  • CSM has a clone from the various alien/brain experiments he had undergone, and it was the clone that blew up. The real CSM is in great health because he used the clone CSM for parts, like an old car.
  • The last actions of the old woman caring for him were in fact the last in a sequence of steps to program a hologram of CSM having his face melted off so that the helicopter pilots and viewers would think he was for-real dead this time. God rest her hologram-programming soul.
  • CSM is still dead but will appear in the X-Files Revival through flashbacks, hallucinations and voiceovers, a la season 8 Mulder. This is proven to be a satisfying and effective way to include a beloved character.
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I vote for the magic dreamcatcher.


You may have a gun, but I have a tumor

For those of us who choose to plug our ears and squeeze our eyes shut when there are spoilers about, there is still plenty of speculation fodder to feed on in the series of trailers that have been released over the past few weeks. One of those trailers included the image below —

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— which elicited the following measured response from fans on Twitter.

110215 twitter

As background for people who gave up on X-Files/life after season 5, apparently Mulder’s prior exposure to the black oil mixed with alien characters carved on a stone to yield terminal brain disease of some unexplained type.

To be clear, I too experienced twinges of PTSD when I saw Mulder grabbing his head and staring off into the distance as though he’s hearing alien voices AGAIN even though he already had his slate wiped clean when he came back from the dead.

"Whatever neurological disorder you were suffering from is no longer detectable. Now let's never discuss this again. Never ever ever ever ever..."

“Whatever neurological disorder you were suffering from is no longer detectable. Now let’s never discuss this again. Never ever ever ever ever…”

However, in the world of X-Files, it would work in Mulder’s favor to have a relapse of his brain disease. Didn’t you know that sabotaging the intricate functions of your brain gives you superpowers?

1. The Modells (“Pusher,” “Kitsunegari”)

Prognosis: death and superpowers

Prognosis: death and superpowers

The crappy part about having an inoperable brain tumor is its effect on your life expectancy. The great part, though, is being able to push your will onto others by talking to them. Seeing as oncologists don’t have to wear foil hats to work every day, this is probably just some fluke occurrence brought on by Robert Patrick Modell’s obsession with the ronin lifestyle and oh wait just kidding, his sister has one too.

Though her psychic paper leaves something to be desired.

Though her psychic paper leaves something to be desired.

2. Reverend Orison (“Orison”)

"Let's take communion FROM MY SKULL."

“Let’s take communion FROM MY SKULL.”

22 years in prison taught the Reverend Orison little about patience, since he can’t be bothered to wait for a power-bestowing tumor and instead has a hole drilled in his head to unlock his psychic influence.

Blood flow to his brain is three times that of normal people, which is all it takes for one to trick a roomful of people into letting an escalating death fetishist walk out of prison. And there’s your answer for why we have separation of church and state.

3. Augustus Cole (“Sleepless”)

It's like a threatening yawn.

It’s like a threatening yawn.

One little lobotomy and 25 years without sleep, and all of a sudden you can kill people with hallucinations. If that sounds like too much trouble, you could probably get to the killing-people part just with 25 years without sleep.

Side note: I’m picturing an elite military squad made up of Vietnam vets with superpowers. Augustus Cole and Nathaniel Teager are definitely in. The A Team can provide backup.

Additional side note: this picture from the next episode. Now that I post this, I see there's more information in this particular still than usual. Maybe I should take it down.

Additional side note: this picture from the next episode. Now that I post this, I see there’s more information in this particular still than usual. Maybe I should take it down.

4. Gerry Schnauz (“Unruhe”)

Es gibt keine Untertitel in dieser Episode. Aber ich weiß nicht Deutsch sprechen.

Es gibt keine Untertitel in dieser Episode. Aber ich spreche kein Deutsch.

No, of course a lobotomy didn’t give him the ability to imprint the future onto undeveloped film. That would be ridiculous. He can do that because was in an insane asylum.

Additional side note: the series could have continued even if Scully had been lobotomized here and not saved at the last minute. The back-and-forth repartee would have just been different.

Mulder: Did you finish the autopsy? What was the cause of death?

Scully: UNRUHE

Mulder: Again? It’s always unruhe.

Scully: UNRUHE

5. Fox Mulder (The entire series, you should know who this is)

I mean...

I mean…

He just...

He just…

Let's never do this again.

Let’s never do this again.


Seeing as Agent Mulder falls into one of these five categories, he’s likely to find some unexpected upsides to his terminal illness, if indeed Chris Carter does decide to wheel out that old trope again. But lest we think we have the X-Files universe completely figured out, we should note that there are exceptions to the rule.

1. Christian Fearon (“X-Files: I Want to Believe”)

"Do I get superpowers too?"

“Do I get superpowers too?”

Christian has Sandhoff disease, and apparently there is a negative correlation between how explainable your brain disease is and how many superpowers you get because he gets none. Unless you count the superpower of living in a hospital for weeks on end. Or the superpower of having Scully practice her stem cell therapy skills on your exposed dura mater after a rigorous Google training course.

2. Dana Scully (Even more episodes than Fox Mulder)

There's no happy story that begins with you holding an x-ray of your own skull.

There’s no happy story that begins with you holding an x-ray of your own skull.

Far be it from me to suggest that one of our two main characters gets the short end of the stick here, but let’s examine this for a second. Mulder gets a brain disease, and it yields clairvoyance. Scully gets a brain disease, and it yields nosebleeds, chemo, radiation therapy, and very nearly, her death.

I guess it makes sense. After all, Mulder’s got a lot going on, and he deserves a break. Scully has had almost a couple dozen episodes to deal with the loss of her father and sister, so she’s due. In fact, maybe she should lose a daughter in a few episodes, just to keep things even.

At least she can’t die.

#ScullyFIF. Also cram it with your naysaying, Darin Morgan, you're not the boss of my wild speculation.

#ScullyFIF. Also cram it with your naysaying, Darin Morgan, you’re not the boss of my wild speculation.

The X-Files trailer takes years off the end of my life

… but it’s totally worth it.

Perhaps you haven’t seen it yet, in which case I recommend that you do. Perhaps you are one of my coworkers who, when I mentioned the new trailer today, expressed surprise that there were new X-Files episodes coming out and admitted having never watched the series. To each his own, but seriously how do you live.

In the meanwhile, imagine what happens when you take an internet full of obsessed fans and toss them a 2-minute snippet of new footage from a TV show that hasn’t existed in 13 years. They have torn this clip to pieces like a pack of feral cats possessed by a jaguar spirit.

Rather than take you through the intricacies of #DearGate or use the clips as proof of my theory of the dissolution of Mulder and Scully’s relationship, I’d like to point out 10 more things you should notice in the new trailer, in chronological order.

1. TTRN (0:03)



This snippet of a stock ticker lasts less than one second, but does that mean it was insignificant? Some preliminary research backs me up when I say nay. There are two possible companies that this abbreviation could pertain to: Titan Resources (an oil and gas company AS IN THE BLACK OIL) or the Trinidad & Tobago Radio Network (possibly related to the High Resolution Microwave Survey in Arecibo, Puerto Rico that Mulder visited in “Little Green Men”). You might point out that the ticker across the bottom reads TRRX, implying that these are just random stock symbols in alphabetical order used to make the trailer look all futuristic. I would then point out that your mom.

2. Ukraine (0:14)

We didn't start the fire.

We didn’t start the fire.

The narrator (Joel McHale?) tells us that the alien invasion will be facilitated by our government and made to look like an attack from terrorists or Russia. Firstly, I do love that these are our only two options. Secondly — what did Ukraine do to get lumped into this? Are we to assume that by January 2016, Ukraine has been annexed by Russia? Maybe the Ukrainian flags flying here are those of rebel Ukrainian patriots, displeased with the excess baggage that comes with the Russian passport, such as awkward energy geopolitics and getting blamed for alien invasions.

3. Weird babies (0:22)

It's a miracle! Therefore we will steal it.

It’s a miracle! Therefore we will steal it.

The voiceover in this section mentions that the invasion will use alien technology that the government has been suppressing for 70 years. The juxtaposition with the baby confuses me, then. Alien hybrids and supersoldiers weren’t developed until the last 20 years. They’ve been taking babies from their mothers to make clones and hybrids for a couple decades, but even so the mother is not usually awake and screaming for it. WTF is this baby?

4. This old guy (0:37)

“Who am I? No, seriously. I don’t even know.”

Mulder asserts that this man is meant to confirm the truth if Mulder manages to put the pieces together himself. We watched the Syndicate burn alive, and this guy doesn’t resemble any of the upper-level FBI/DOJ/DOD people we’ve met who might be in on the conspiracy. So who the crap is this. My only theory is that Mulder has gone all Beautiful Mind and is telling his theories to some random hobo he met while drinking in the street after Scully broke up with him.

5. PENCILS (0:47)

This is the key to everything.

This is the key to everything.

Remember when Scully was gone for the weekend and Mulder spent his glut of spare loneliness chucking pencils at the ceiling? It’s one of the easiest go-to fan shoutouts that the series uses to let us know that even though the mytharc has gone through a blender and our soul mate protagonists are seeing other people, they remember that the core fan base is here or something. In this instance, though, the rest of the office has been thoroughly cleaned and painted, save for the pencils in the ceiling and a stray I Want to Believe poster on the floor. What, are we supposed to think that the contractors haven’t got around to picking those up yet in the 13 years that the office has been occupied by other departments? The only possible explanation is that a new generation of Syndicate has permeated the government and arranged the alien attack alluded to at the beginning of the trailer, and that they’ve already been at it long enough for another disillusioned old guy to peel off and seek contact with Mulder to warn him and bring down the whole operation. And this old guy happens to be the father of Leyla Harrison, and she can’t stop talking about the goddamn X-Files, so he uses this intricate knowledge to sneak into the FBI basement and set up a series of signals to get Mulder’s attention. Obviously.

6. Scully’s cell phone (0:56)

The first thing that jumped out was that Mulder is listed in her phone as Mulder. In the interest of science, I checked my own Android phone to see whether a contact could be listed using only one name, and it turns out that it can.



What is more distressing, though, is the little blurry icon in the upper left corner.

Instagram notification?

Instagram notification?

Scully’s location services are on. After all of her years on the X-Files and her intimate knowledge of the ways the government can track her, she’s gone ahead and turned her GPS tracking on in her phone. This from a woman who, once upon a time, bought decoy plane tickets to lose the government agents who she thought were tailing her as she tracked an unmarked tractor-trailer across the country. This is nothing if not a symbol of how far removed Scully is from the darkness and paranoia of the X-Files world. Though I would pay decoy-ticket levels of money to see her phone’s call history with Mulder…

7. Speaking of Mulder and Scully… (1:18)

Just make out.

Just make out.


8. Scully has a gun (1:42)

What? It's a medical device.

What? It’s a medical device.

Scully and Mulder, pointing guns and overpowered flashlights into dark rooms. Two surprising things in this picture. One: Scully has a gun. She hasn’t worked for the FBI for a good long while, presumably, but apparently she kept that Washington, DC gun license up to date. Two: Mulder hasn’t dropped his gun yet.

9. CSM’s hand (1:47)

092915 hand

Distinctly less yellow with nicotine than that of Darryl Weaver. That would be an astute observation if anyone had bothered to see that episode.

I, too, was thrilled to hear the voice of CSM after so long, even though his appearance on the show had already been confirmed, contrary to all evidence that his face had been melted off by a helicopter missile in the series finale. However… who the hell’s hand is this? It’s suspiciously young. Did CSM pull a Leonard Betts and regenerate? Did he have himself cloned once the cloning project started to go well? Did he upload himself into a computer network and use it to control satellite lasers?

10. 2016 (1:51)

092915 2016

No. That’s too far away.

Big Business in the X-Files: Where to Invest if You’re the FBI’s Most Unwanted

One of the things that has changed for me in the 13 years since this show was on the air is that now I’m a corporate sell-out. This was an unexpected turn, but that’s neither here nor there.

The upside is that I feel qualified to give some investment advice to our federally-employed heroes. After all, that government pension ain’t what she used to be. While the best option would be some kind of stock index fund, let’s say Mulder and Scully are feeling ballsy today and would like to dump what’s left of their salaries (after all those autopsy videos and oversized apartments and porn subscriptions) into one of the many companies they’ve interacted with over the years. Where should they start?


I'm going to merge your elevator with the ground floor.

I’m projecting a merger between your elevator and the ground floor

Eurisko (“Ghost in the Machine”)

Eurisko is a tech company of the old school, producing hardware and operating systems. In our introduction to the c-suite, we see the visionary founder Brad Wilczek being sidelined by the CEO, who is raining on the innovation parade with talk of downsizing and the bottom line. As a human, I say f*** that guy and his numbers, but as a business person, there’s probably a lot of unrealized cost savings sitting around in this company, if the only person running the show thus far has been the dreamer techie. The potential impact of a re-org is promising, but the Central Operating System’s budding sentience and string of murders are probably going to put a dent in the stock performance.

Compare to: Microsoft, HP

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Unexplained murders? That's what beta testing is for.

Unexplained murders? That’s what beta testing is for.

FPS Corporation (“First Person Shooter”)

FPS Corporation is a more recognizable tech company to modern audiences, chock full of intellectual capital but as yet waiting on realized revenue — though they presumably have quite a bit of pre-sales liability if they’re shipping their game that same week. No mention is made of any other games in their portfolio or pipeline, disturbingly, and as if that weren’t enough, the Lone Gunmen are invested. Regardless of whether their kung fu is the best, their investment due diligence is probably not, or they would be able buy some better lighting for their conspiracy cave. Or upgrade the VW bus. Or migrate TLG to digital.

Compare to: Valve Software, before Half-Life

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Hard Goods

It creates the shared delusion of dividends!

It creates the shared delusion of dividends!

VinylRight Corporation (“Folie a Deux”)

Our vantage point of VinylRight is through its network of call centers throughout the eastern US. First problem: call centers in the US. There goes half the margin right there. Second problem: most companies that sell vinyl siding have diversified into other complementary products (windows, doors), but VinylRight is sticking to its main competency. Although it may beautify while it protects, vinyl siding is also losing market share to other options, such as fiber cement and stucco. On the plus side, overall sales of vinyl are growing regardless, and the hostage situation in Illinois does not seem to have impacted the operation of the other call centers.

Compare to: Champion Window, minus the diversification

Recommendation: Hold, even after the murders

This company sucks. *sad horn*

This company sucks. *sad horn*

ElectroVac (“Paper Hearts”)

For all we know, ElectroVac no longer exists. No one on the series has one, except for a 1970s model holed up in Mrs. Mulder’s basement. It’s possible that ElectroVac moved into advanced vacuum cleaner innovation, or into other appliances, but it’s equally possible that it petered out in the 1980s. However, let’s be optimistic and say it’s a door-to-door vacuum sales company that survived into present day. It’s unharmed by its tangential association with a serial killer who targets little girls, and it’s a cheap buy after the recent market correction, so why not.

Compare to: Kirby Corporation

Recommendation: Buy, regardless of the murders

Food Service

Two all-brain patties

Two all-brain patties

Lucky Boy (“Hungry”)

Lucky Boy hasn’t surfaced in any episodes prior to season 7, so it’s clearly a west coast chain. The hiring model and menu offerings seem average against fast food competitor benchmarks, though the placement of 4 Lucky Boys in Orange County alone suggests that they could reevaluate their network footprint. It probably made the news that one of their employees is a mutant who eats brains, but this likely has less of an impact in the fast food industry than in others.

Compare to: In-N-Out Burger

Recommendation: Hold, even after the murders

Fingerbone-lickin' good... wait I can do better

Fingerbone-lickin’ good… wait I can do better

Chaco Chicken (“Our Town”)

Chaco Chicken is a vertically-integrated company along the chicken value chain, from the raising and processing of chickens to their distribution through a chain of fast food restaurants. Safety standards are questionable, though the company’s low-cost location in rural Arkansas is a competitive advantage. The closing of the company plants due to a cannibalistic cult run by the founder poses a challenge for the company’s long-term earnings.

Compare to: Perdue + KFC

Recommendation: Sell before the murders

Consumer Packaged Goods

Not suited for use against Raisinettes

Not suited for use against Raisinets

Die Bug Die (“War of the Coprophages”)

Die Bug Die is the go-to insect control product for consumer use in the home. Its level of trust and brand awareness among consumers is such that even a target of government conspiracy such as Dana Scully feels safe using another product in the Die…Die line, namely Die Flea Die, on her Pomeranian. From an investment portfolio perspective, Die Bug Die is likely just one of a plethora of brands united under a parent CPG company. Stock performance in the long term is on track to beat inflation, especially if activist investors are successful in pushing the development of Die Bee Die in response to recent attacks near corn crops and related hanta virus outbreaks.

Compare to: Johnson & Johnson

Recommendation: Buy, regardless of the deaths incorrectly categorized as murders

Belgian Chocolate is my favorite flavor of canned sugar goo

Belgian Chocolate is my favorite flavor of canned sugar goo

Carbo Boost (“Pusher”)

Times are tough for Carbo Boost. Regardless of how many years removed consumers are from the Atkins trend, “carb” remains a dirty word. Between the paleo diet and consumer interest in organic products without preservatives, the market share for Carbo Boost is in decline. The product’s core demographic of telepathically-persuasive brain cancer patients provides little opportunity for growth, and even in the event that carbohydrates come back into style, unidentifiable chemicals in a can will not (…hopefully).

Compare to: Muscle Milk + Ensure

Recommendation: Sell, regardless of the murders incorrectly categorized as deaths

Whoever made this is a genius. Please inform me of their identity so I can credit them.

Credit and kudos to iheartthexfiles for this poster that I want on my wall.

Morley (a million episodes)

Morley is a powerful force in tobacco, a multibillion dollar company whose on-screen references date back to 1960. Nearly every cigarette smoked on X-Files is a Morley, and while 99% of those are smoked by one man, it still implies a level of market dominance not seen elsewhere. Smoking as a whole is on the decline in the US, but Morley would have to be an international player to reach its declared market cap, so emerging market growth is promising. New company research into tobacco strains that are engineered to reduce health risk also offers a peek at where Morley is headed in future years, though the research is endangered by tobacco superbugs that devour users’ respiratory systems from the inside out. No word on potential applications in e-cigarettes.

Compare to: Philip Morris

Recommendation: Hold, regardless of the murders

A case of Onans costs less than a bottle of water in some countries

A case of Onans costs less than a bottle of water in some countries

Onan Lights (“Mind’s Eye”)

Onan Lights have fought hard to persevere amidst the market dominance of Morley, and they have established a core market niche of blind women that see murders through the eyes of their estranged felon fathers. Without the ready cash flows of a larger company, Onan is struggling to establish a foothold in exports or to address new markets through e-cigarette R&D. The only ray of light is if the company can monetize its historical ties to Onan, Virginia and market itself as a craft cigarette, though this seems unlikely without a change in senior leadership.

Compare to: Cherokee Tobacco

Recommendation: Sell. Just sell.


Stock performance would double if they'd stop providing the Collision Damage Waiver

Stock performance would double if they’d stop providing the Collision Damage Waiver to Mulder and Scully

Lariat (every episode with a rental car)

Lariat is the exclusive provider of rental car services to the Federal government, with locations in every airport that Mulder and Scully would care to land in. In addition, various examples in other TV shows indicate that Lariat has a substantial consumer business, as well. The economic recovery means a boon for business travel, and declining car ownership is a promising trend for utilization at Lariat’s non-airport locations.

Compare to: Hertz

Recommendation: Buy both the stock and the bumper sticker

... is she having sex with a mountain?

… is she having sex with a mountain?

Roman a’Clef (“Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man”)

It might not be the highbrow writers’ magazine you were hoping for, but Roman a’Clef has name recognition among non-Syndicate consumers and a broad distribution base that includes the streetside kiosk nearest you. Subscription rates have faltered in recent years with the death of print media, but the $2.50/issue newstand price has brought in a steady stream of impulse buyers unwilling to shell out $8 for The Economist. Rumored drivers of the magazine’s low cost structure include a loyal advertiser base and an anonymous army of underpaid, exploited writers that provide dramatic stories to pad each issue’s page count.

Compare to: Playboy

Recommendation: Buy, if only to support the anonymous writers

A ‘Shipper’s Cold Look at X-Files MSR, Part 2: I Want to Believe

**Spoilers below**

In part 1, I discussed how Scully’s adventures in random hook-ups from season 4’s “Never Again” signal that her all-consuming devotion to her partner might have its limits, namely the consumption of all. Maybe we should blame her for that, in the name of ‘shipperdom and the power of unconditional love.

On the other hand,  maybe we should take a step back and blame Mulder for not getting his shit together.


M: Watch your mouth. Me: How about I watch YOUR MOUTH. M: How about I– <censored>

There was a surprise SQUEE moment in the first part of the 2nd movie, X-Files: I Want to Believe (currently rated 3.5 of 5 stars on Amazon, so buy your copy while they last). Scully is lying in bed, “cursing God for all his cruelties,” when all of a sudden —

The SQUEE to end all SQUEEs

The SQUEE to end all SQUEEs

And why was this such a surprise? Part of it was that, in true Chris Carter style, the first half hour of the movie was spent trying to convince the viewer that Mulder and Scully had no such sleeping arrangement. Scully’s passing remarks about Mulder not locking the door to his office, their general lack of PDAs…

But I suspect at least part of it is because when we are reintroduced to our moody hero after 6 years of on-screen absence, we’re greeted by this:

Maybe there's hope... that you will start trying again

Maybe there’s hope… that you will start trying again

Far be it from me to suggest that when your loved one grows a scruffy beard, it’s time to dump his ass. But what we’re looking at here isn’t just someone letting himself go because he’s already got the woman of his dreams. This is Mulder in an unemployed, directionless slump.

We’ve seen his slumps before, generally paired with radiating rage:

  • Skipping Scully’s removal from life support in lieu of seeking revenge on the conspirators (“One Breath”)
  • Deciding to spend a free weekend getting his brain drilled so he can relive his sister’s abduction, and then doing it again even after other people who bought this Groupon blow their heads off (“Demons”)
  • Crying alone in his apartment, in between learning that aliens aren’t real and murder-blasting a man in the face for spying (“Redux”)
  • Moping his heart out by watching an old Christmas movie alone. On Christmas. (“How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”)

This 2008 slump sets those other slumps to shame, though. Quite possibly, Mulder has been hunched over his desk, cutting out newspaper clippings 12 hours a day since 2002. Meanwhile, Scully has been working as a doctor, saving lives. One of these people met with adversity and euthanized it with an intramuscular injection, and one of these people was probably disappointed when the world didn’t end in 2012.

When offered the chance to go splashing around in the dregs of society again, Mulder perks right up. It doesn’t matter that the matter at hand bears little resemblance to an X-File. He jumps out of bed, shaves off the scruff, and starts clawing at any and every paranormal theory he can get his hands on. For old times’ sake, he makes an emotional connection between the missing woman and his sister, even though he now knows full well that Santa buried his sister in the woods several decades prior.

“I’m about to die. I FEEL SO ALIVE.”

The story ends as most stories do, with the interruption of a head transplant. The fog clears for Mulder, and for once, he decides to make the correct choice that one makes when presented with the options of a) a life of misery and b) Gillian Anderson.

Mulder: If you have any doubts, any doubts at all, just call off that surgery this morning, and then we’ll get out of here. Just me and you.

Scully: As far away from the darkness as we can get?

Mulder: I’m not sure it works that way. I think maybe the darkness finds you and me.

Scully: I know it does.

Mulder: … but let it try.

Another SQUEE for good measure

Another SQUEE for good measure

Well then, we’re all set for the continuation of their fairytale in the X-Files revival, yes? Of course not. Surely we haven’t forgotten the lesson that Agent Mulder himself taught us in season 6’s “Field Trip”:

“Can you name me one drug that loses its effect once the user realizes it’s in his system?”

“What’s your point?”

At long last, Mulder has realized that someone like Scully is worth giving up on his journey of reckless endangerment and self-torture. But while I believe in every ‘shipper-riddled bone in my body that Mulder and Scully are meant to be together forever, it’s probably going to take more than one promise to reverse 15+ years of destructive behavior, sealed with a kiss though the promise may be.

I’m more inclined to believe Mulder for something he says earlier in the movie…

Scully: I don’t want that darkness in my home.

Mulder: Scully, this is who I am. It’s who I’ve always been. This is who I was before I met you. It’s what I do. It’s everything I know.

“Literally everything, Scully. I’m useless at bar trivia.”

So this is what we have: Scully can move on, and Mulder can’t. Scully is inherently high-functioning and Mulder is dysfunctional.

It’s possible that the purported estrangement of Mulder and Scully in the new mini-series is just another round of Chris Carter’s favorite game, “Crush All the ‘Shippers’ Dreams.” But it’s also possible that it’s the logical progression of their relationship, the break-up that they’ve been hurtling toward once the FBI wasn’t there to lock them in the basement together.

After all, what does Mulder do in the hospital scene when Scully asks him to look away from the darkness?

He leaves her.

A ‘Shipper’s Cold Look at X-Files MSR, Part 1: Never Again

**Spoilers below**

It’s a good thing I’m not an X-Files writer. If I didn’t write myself into the background of every scene, the next-best bit of wish fulfillment would be to spend all 6 episodes of the mini-series watching Mulder and Scully drown in wedded bliss. They would make pancakes and play with their dog and laugh on their porch swing about those crazy times when they were bringing down government conspiracies and everyone they loved met a violent death.

Today's episode: M&S enact a tacit ban on beginning conversations with

Today’s episode: M&S enact a tacit ban on beginning conversations with “Hey, what ever happened to <so-and-so> ?”

I have been a hardcore ‘shipper ever since I saw the hallway scene of the first movie. You know, the hallway scene.

And I still am, and I will always believe that Mulder and Scully have an unbreakable, soul-melding bond that gives their lives meaning and passion, the existence of which sets unrealistic expectations for me and my relationships with the men in my life, who for some reason don’t rescue me from Antarctic spacecraft.



And just to keep up my ‘shipper street cred, I think the evolution of their relationship in its later stages was handled very poorly. The nature of their friendship / more than friendship in the early seasons was always aflame just under the surface, turning every touch of the hand into a fireworks display. By the time Scully refers to “our baby” at the end of season 8 — after multiple episodes of trying to Land Shark the viewers into thinking otherwise —


— the thrill has come and gone. They kiss with the urgency of a grocery run, and then Mulder disappears for a year to go galavanting around computer labs and getting framed for murder.

I notice that I’ve spent a lot of time setting this up, but I want you to know that my ‘shipperdom runs deep. And I think Chris Carter sees a stable relationship as a black hole that sucks in all the plot in its midst. However, I have to say that I totally buy it that Mulder and Scully would break up.

It all began with a recent rewatch of Never Again from season 4. Time was, I wouldn’t even watch that episode when it was on. Teenage Me was appalled at Scully’s indiscretion, simply appalled. “She went on a date with another man??” said I, clawing at my braces. “And she stayed the night at his apartment and woke up in his shirt but definitely didn’t have sex because that would be the end of everything?? And she hung up on Mulder?!?!”

That face. How could you.

That face. How could you.

Watching it at age 31, it’s such a different episode. First off, bad news, Teenage Me: they had sex. Second off, let’s give Scully a goddamn break. She’s spent the last four years putting up with more douchiness from Mulder than I cared to notice when I was younger, and on top of that, what with her unflagging nights-and-weekends support of his Mothman- and Jersey Devil-type case work, she has no career or family on the horizon. So what does she do? For one episode, she does her. She meets a guy she thinks is interesting, goes to one of the least seedy “seedy dive bars” I’ve ever seen, gets a fun impulse tattoo — in a scene that is much sexier than I ever gave it credit for —



— and hooks up with her new boytoy. Leaving aside for a second the fact that his tattoo later uses Jodie Foster’s voice to order him to kill her, it’s actually a pretty good day for someone who has almost nothing going on her life at the moment except autopsies and being told her scientific theories are wrong ten times a day.

As a ‘shipper, I think a single glint from Mulder’s hazel eyes is enough to outweigh all of this and send her screaming back into his arms. As a 31-year-old with nothing going on in my life outside work, I think this episode shows that loving Mulder requires loving his mission, which requires a sacrifice of literally everything else — and it’s totally believable that that’s not what Scully wants.

Think I’m being too hard on Mulder? Just you wait! Stay tuned for A ‘Shipper’s Cold Look at X-Files MSR, Part 2: I Want to Believe.

In the meanwhile, stare deeply into his eyes and forget everything I said.

In the meanwhile, stare deeply into his eyes and forget everything I said.

Redux part 3

13 1/2 years ago, I was a high school senior. I had various and sundry extracurriculars, and even an unappreciated job in the service industry, but my one labor of love was my Sunday night schedule.

9PM – X-Files

10PM –

12AM – X-Files rerun of the same episode

You’d be surprised how much more you get out of an episode after 2 hours of dissecting it, even if it was season 9.

In any case, the show ended, I left for college, and gradually I became more and more immune to the siren call of a TV show that had scripted my daydreams for years. I’d like to say it was because I was too busy broadening my horizons, but that would absolve my roommates of introducing me to Star Trek: TNG sophomore year.

Just a few short months ago, Fox announced that X-Files will be returning for a mini-series “event” in January 2016. I thought I could brush up on a few episodes just to get myself back up to speed.

In retrospect, that was naive.

... oops.

… oops.

But if anything productive could come of this — and I use “productive” loosely — it’s the fact that this is not the same show I watched when I was 17. 31-year-old me understands this masterpiece of scifi TV differently, and dammit, what is the internet for if not to be a receptacle for this kind of esoterica.

Join me on this journey, from the teenage ‘shipper posting as “Jennifer *cha cha cha*” to a full-fledged adult management consultant, getting sucked down into the mytharc universe once again. Things look different from this side…