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.”

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 —

110215 brain

— 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.