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.

Exceptions

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.

Let’s Judge People — 5 worst minor recurring characters

This was meant to come right after the “5 Best Minor Recurring Characters” post, but then the new trailer happened and I lost several days of my life. Pardon the interruption.

For the run-down on the methodology behind this ranking and for a ray of sunshine in this miserable world, read the first post. In the meanwhile, here are the 5 worst minor characters.

How about that rundown?

How about that rundown?

5. Holly (“Pusher,” “Redux”)

"What. I was here the whole time."

“What. I was here the whole time.”

Meet Holly, one of the only non-super-soldier characters who can take down Walter Skinner without the assistance of a firearm or nanobots. The only explanation I have for this is that Skinner’s secret weakness is people with no last name.

During Holly’s brief tenure as <whatever the hell office role she fills>, she gets mugged, gets hypnotized, beats up Skinner, and expresses sympathy for Scully’s cancer scare as though they’ve been chatting in the break room whenever Scully’s between cases.

She doesn’t drive any ‘shippiness and she’s not important to the mytharc. Her episodes are quite good, I’ll give her that, and she’s pretty so more points there. I also went ahead and threw in a couple points for Fear Factor because — and let’s not lose sight of this — this is a tiny secretary who took down an ex-Marine because she was hypnotized into doing so. Modell didn’t give her any special powers or weapons; he just unleashed the pent-up atom bomb of rage that she must carry around with her (next to her pepper spray) at all times in order to be able to assault Walter Skinner. That’s scarier than any fluke monster.

GET YOUR OWN COFFEE

GET YOUR OWN COFFEE

4. Susanne Modeski (“Unusual Suspects,” “Three of a Kind”)

To be fair, I've also pretended that Mulder is my stalker ex-boyfriend.

To be fair, I’ve also pretended that Mulder is my stalker ex-boyfriend.

Susanne Modeski exists in a web of lies. When she says her ex-boyfriend Mulder kidnapped her daughter, what she means is that she’s a government scientist trying to expose their secret bio-weapons tests on the public. When she comes back a few years later and says she’s been rescued by her fiance, what she means is that her fiance has brainwashed her into getting herself assassinated.

She doesn’t really get many points for any category except sex appeal, but on the plus side, she’s the only character on this list who didn’t get any Gets on My Goddamn Nerves points, either. Perhaps it takes more than two episodes of flat, personality-less victimhood to become annoying. Or perhaps I just like to see Byers mackin’ on the ladies.

If The Lone Gunmen series were just Byers mackin' on the ladies with Frohike and Langley as wingmen, it would still be on the air. 9/11 episode or not.

If The Lone Gunmen series were just Byers mackin’ on the ladies with Frohike and Langley as wingmen, it would still be on the air. 9/11 episode or not.

3. Morris Fletcher (“Dreamland,” “Three of a Kind,” “Jump the Shark”)

No, I didn't use the only picture of him where he's blocked by Mulder in boxer shorts. How dare you suggest such a thing.

No, I didn’t use the only picture of him where he’s blocked by Mulder in boxer shorts. How dare you suggest such a thing.

He’s not scary. His episodes are almost uniformly terrible, minus some classic moments (“I just can’t decide who lights my fire.”), to the point where his appearance on-screen is like the spots in your eyes that let you know you’re about to have a migraine. He’s… okay-looking. He’s annoying as hell. The question is, how is he not the absolute worst recurring character on this list?

The answer: he drives those ‘shippy moments like a nine-iron.

Do you even drive with a nine-iron? I don't know. Shut up and look at the picture.

Do you even drive with a nine-iron? I don’t know. Shut up and look at the picture.

Granted, the above is Morris Fletcher in Mulder’s body, so maybe that doesn’t count. But he does get Scully to look past his Michael McKean-exterior and offer to kiss the nougat-y David Duchovny filling.

Maybe rethink that metaphor.

Maybe rethink that metaphor.

For those who stopped watching in season 6, Morris Fletcher is a government worker, some kind of middle manager in Area 51. Mulder and Scully drive on up to the secret military outpost to meet with a source, and an experimental plane flies overhead, causing Mulder and Morris to switch bodies. During his brief time inhabiting Mulder’s life, Morris smacks Scully’s ass, bangs Kersh’s secretary, and buys a waterbed whose sole purpose is to start leaking later in the season.

I feel a little bad listing him here, as generally Michael McKean is a purveyor of quality comedic cinema. But then I remember “Jump the Shark,” and I regain confidence in the sanctity of this process. Onto the next one.

2. Theresa Nemman (“Pilot,” “Requiem,” “This is Not Happening”)

Who?

Who?

Now that I think about it, forget about the sanctity of this process — there should have been a filter for obscurity.

Theresa Nemman née Hoese is a member of the high school class in Bellefleur, Oregon that keep getting killed in the woods with weird marks on their back. Her dad is the medical examiner, so that’s cool. And she shows up again in seasons 7 and 8, sporting a baby and getting sucked up into the sky at the same time as Mulder.

Maybe she was bored with television, too.

Maybe she was bored with television, too.

It’s kind of cute that she gets Mulder to belatedly realize that maybe Scully has given up too much for his quest and should go have a life or something. And she gets points for being a nice-looking lady. On the whole, though, I apologize for the faulty methodology I set up that led to her inclusion here. It won’t happen again.

1. Shannon McMahon (“Nothing Important Happened Today” parts 1 and 2)

GOD DAMMIT.

GOD DAMMIT.

In fairness, Shannon McMahon was not meant to be so obscure; actress Lucy Lawless was contracted to play this inexplicable, plot-stretching super soldier for the whole season, but she was sidelined by pregnancy. This reason, and only this reason, is why the mytharc was so convoluted at series end.

No other reason.

No other reason.

I can’t even be bothered to watch this whole 2-episode arc so that I can explain Shannon McMahon in more detail. I suppose I will have to get through season 9 once the #201daysofXFiles and #XFRewatch get there in early January. But until then… just no.

Full points for being hot, though. And full points for being Xena.

Full points for being hot, though. And full points for being Xena.

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)

OMG YOU GUYS IT'S THE FUTURE. LET'S FIGHT IT.

OMG YOU GUYS IT’S THE FUTURE. LET’S FIGHT IT.

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.

#duediligence

#duediligence

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.

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.

Let’s Judge People — Best Recurring Characters (5 episodes or fewer)

If there’s one thing that can programmed, categorized or easily referenced, it’s feelings. There is a methodology to the madness for today’s ranking of minor recurring characters, and since I used Excel to quantify the methodology and stack the rankings, no one can argue with the outcome. In other news, I’m making Excel spreadsheets about X-Files. Please send help.

General rules

Characters must appear in 5 episodes or fewer, not including photographs, clones, shape-shifters, flashbacks to other episodes, or flashbacks starring different actors. Hallucinations are acceptable.

Ranking criteria

Fear factor – How terrifying was this minor character?

Quality of episodes – Because a bad character can be redeemed by a good episode. This did not end up being as unambiguous as I thought it would be, as several recurring characters from famously great episodes were brought back seasons later to take a dramaturgical dump on their legacy.

Importance to mytharc – For the sake of argument, mytharc includes seasons 1 – 9, so you get equal credit whether you were an architect of government conspiracy, or a stupid psychic baby.

Driver of ‘shippy moments – Almost everyone can earn full points in this category. Were you a side character in an especially ‘shippy episode? Did you say something that implied Mulder and Scully were romantically involved? Did Mulder and Scully gaze meaningfully at each other while you were talking?

Sex appeal – This is pretty straightforward, I think. Though I will add that you do not know awkward until you’re sitting next to someone on a plane with your laptop open, ranking the sex appeal of a Pomeranian.

Gets on my goddamn nerves – The scale for this category runs 0 to -5. I thought it was a nice, objective way to capture the indescribable essence of a character who should have been written out of existence.

And without any further ado…

Top Five Recurring Characters (5 episodes or fewer)

5. Donnie Pfaster (“Irresistible,” “Orison”)

"This one was a real nail-biter. Play me off, Sal!"

“This one was a real nail-biter. Play me off, Sal!”

Being abjectly terrifying will take you far in this competition, as our 5th place minor recurring character can attest. Donnie Pfaster overcomes complete irrelevance to the mytharc and a creep factor that renders him nauseatingly unattractive by virtue of his a) terrifying disregard for human life and b) ability to drive Scully into Mulder’s arms, albeit crying with post-traumatic anxiety.

His Quality of Episode ranking could have been higher, were it not for the middle-of-the-road MOTW “Orison,” where the skin-crawling creepiness of of someone with such banal, suburban origins is ret-conned into him being the actual devil or something.

Bonus head-to-head round:

Worst ulterior motive for picking up a prostitute: Donnie Pfaster (to cut off her hair and fingernails) vs. Virgil Incanto (“2Shy,” to drink her fat).

4. Robert Patrick Modell (“Pusher,” “Kitsunegari”)

Ronin don't care about rankings.

Ronin don’t care about rankings.

Another creeper with no importance to the mytharc who drives moments of ‘ship (omg you guys remember when Mulder is going into the building and he’s got the camera on and he gives Scully his gun and they HOLD HANDS FOR A SECOND OMG) and whose full score for episode quality is diminished slightly by his follow-up episode, in this case the fact that “Kitsunegari” is basically the “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” of Robert Patrick Modell episodes. You like brain cancer patients with psychokinetic powers? We’ve got two. You like Mulder being forced to point a gun at Scully? Let’s see it again.

How, then, did our man RPM manage to outrank Donnie “Putting the Romance in ‘Necromance’ Pfaster? By a slight edge in sex appeal. No one’s getting full points here, but at least Modell looks like a normal person who’s not watching you from a windowless van. For the sake of science, I pulled two more recent pictures of their respective actors from the internet; it’s closer, but I stand by my choice. Also it seems in these pictures like they’re both looking at their kid coming home from a fishing trip with a line full of trout. Or hooker nails.

092715 pfaster092715 rpm

3. Melissa Scully (“One Breath,” “The Blessing Way,” “Paper Clip”)

All of 30 seconds to elicit skeptical dismissal from Mulder? That usually doesn't happen unless Catholicism is involved.

All of 30 seconds to elicit skeptical dismissal from Mulder? That usually doesn’t happen unless Catholicism is involved.

Melissa Scully decided to stay in character and make it to the top 5 list without the help of negativity — she got the lowest score on the Fear Factor category. But to make up for that, she gets full points for episode quality and for driving ‘shippy moments, including Mulder’s bedside vigil as Scully lies in a never-explained coma that she recovers from in a way that is never explained.

Moving away from the Excel sheet for a little bit, I’m glad Melissa Scully made it up this high. She offered insight into yet another one of Mulder’s blind spots — positivity — and unlike Scully, she’s not so awed by his passion or his distractingly good looks that she refrains from pointing out what a moody tool he is sometimes. I know Sweeps Week used to be a thing, but still there’s a chance that the show was overzealous in killing any and all friends, family and former acquaintances of Mulder & Scully in the first couple seasons. Charlie Scully probably knew that on some level, which is why he always mailed in his Christmas presents.

2. Emily Sim (“Christmas Carol,” “Emily,” “All Souls”)

Of course this sweet angel made the list. How dare you expect otherwise. HOW DARE YOU.

Of course this sweet angel made the list. How dare you expect otherwise. HOW DARE YOU.

Emily isn’t scary either — though I see from the old teasers that Fox tried to pose her existence as something scary, like what if you had a kid and you’d NEVER BEEN PREGNANT. Most people in that eerie position have probably not had their partners discover their frozen ova in a government facility, but television is a weird place.

Anyone who does the math on Emily’s other attributes — an important but not crucial part of the mytharc, great episodes, causing Mulder and Scully to ooze with emotional support for each other as though it were the green goo coming out of Emily’s neck — will realize that Emily the 4-year-old had to score pretty high on sex appeal. Anticipating this awkwardness, I implemented a rule that all offspring of Mulder and/or Scully get full points for sex appeal because no combination of those genes could lead to anything less. Yes, this means that the stupid baby gets full points, too.

1. Billy Miles (“Pilot,” “Requiem,” “Deadalive,” “Essence,” “Existence”)

Sex appeal: 10/10

Sex appeal: 10/10

This one surprised me, but I guess that’s why a data-driven approach is key. Whereas I find Billy Miles mildly annoying — and in fact, he’s the only character in the top 5 who got any points in the “Gets on my goddamn nerves” category — the numbers tell me that I’m apparently #1 Billy Miles Superfan 4ever.

What drove Billy to the top of the list was his solid performance on all fronts, outstanding in none but reasonable in all. Pretty key to the mytharc, kinda terrifying when he’s slicing open elevators with his bare hands, not a bad looking guy after a quick skin-shedding shower. He did get full points for his dedication to the ‘shipper cause, both for starring in the episode where the magic started (S: Mulder, are these alien marks?? M: No, they’re mosquito bites. S: Oh thank god. Hold me.) and for leading by example when it comes to recovering from the alien virus, thus freeing up Mulder to continue existing, which is a fairly crucial prerequisite for any long-term relationship with Scully.

This guy, on the other hand, has no such qualms. *WINK*

This guy, on the other hand, has no such qualms. *WINK*

Well, that was fun. But what happens when I switch things up and sort the Excel file in descending order?! Next time: I cast swift and severe judgment on the worst recurring minor characters.

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?

Tech

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.

Other

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.

fff

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.

Assholes.

Assholes.

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 —

xf3words225

— 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 —

NSFW?

NSFW?

— 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.

Your own personal Jesus

The X-Files spends quite a bit of time toeing that line between Christianity and the paranormal, guided by the brilliant, credible Agent Scully. Rewatching these episodes now, it’s ludicrous how quickly Mulder rejects religious explanations for deaths (“All Souls,” “Orison”), miracles (“Revelations”) and… whatever (the 2nd movie), while fluke monsters and the ghosts of vengeful death row prisoners get instant credibility.

Perhaps part of this is because the writers chose to Jesus-ify whatever character decided to walk into their perimeter of tragedy. It was a sweet gig if you were an otherwise un-influential side character; just depart this mortal coil in an epic act of self-sacrifice and voila! Jesus imagery. Or if that’s a little too drastic, try something a little more literal, like performing biblical miracles or fulfilling prophesy. And if all else fails, splay your arms out on a table! The audience will get the subtle hint.

Below is a partial listing of X-Files Jesuses. This being America, you are free to select whichever you like as your Lord and Savior, though my personal suggestion would be to worship a recurring character across seasons. Anything less implies that the apocalypse has come and gone, and we’re stuck here with only X-Files blogs to comfort us in our slow march to damnation.

Jesus 1: Kevin Kryder (“Revelations”)

“Is this puberty?”

I start with Kevin because while his allegorical connection to Jesus is the weakest, he does demonstrate the stigmata, which gets you bonus points in this round. And for even more bonus points, he’s the first character to drag Scully’s persistent Catholic faith into the limelight in a way that’s more meaningful than the occasional glint off her cross necklace.

In the end, though, Kevin doesn’t count. His death at the hands of demons will ensure the victory of Hellspawn as opposed to preventing it. And if that’s the case with Jesus, then ever since the crucifixion, we’ve been… living in… Hell… you know, let’s not think about it.

Jesus 2: Gibson Praise (“The End”)

He reads your mind while judging you.

He reads your mind while judging you.

He is, in short, the key to everything. He could unravel the knotty mysteries of the X-Files in a way that brings “a million puzzle pieces” together, if one is a lazy blog writer who mixes metaphors. And as an added bonus, he creates awkward situations between you, your partner and your Syndicate-affiliated ex-girlfriend.

“… skank.”

Gibson loses points for being involved in season 8 (“Within”/”Without”). Perhaps Jesus himself had the humility and generosity of spirit to affiliate with the lowest members of society, but affiliating with season 8 is a bridge too far. Line drawn.

Jesus 3: Samuel Hartley (“Miracle Man”)

The real cancer is the pastor's suit.

The real cancer is her choice of shirt pattern.

It might be tempting to write off Samuel here as a first-season Jesus, but do not be dismayed, do not lose hope: first-season X-Files had its shit figured out from day 1 (…except “Space.” We do not speak of “Space.”).

In any case, our boy Samuel heals with a touch and raises the dead — even the completely burninated dead —

“SING TO ME, MY ANGEL OF MUSIC.”

— thus earning him a place on our hallowed list. It helps that he goes missing from the morgue at the end of the episode, only to return again when… oh, never? Okay.

Jesus 4: Dara Kernof et al (“All Souls”)

I give it 5 thumbs up.

I give it 5 thumbs up.

If anything, these girls at least get Scully going to confessional again. On top of that, they have the dubious honor of living a lifetime of suffering before getting their faces burned out by the glory of God. Perhaps one might argue that the good vs. evil battle for the four Nephilim makes them more akin to a Job than a Jesus. But at the very least, they create a hallucination for Scully that bridges us to a whole category of Jesuses…

Jesus 5: Emily (Christmas Carol) — Scully’s children 1 of 2

“Mommy, let me go. I was only here to torment you since it’s been like 5 episodes since you had terminal cancer and you were starting to feel tentative hints of joy again.”

Both of Scully’s kids are Jesus. Let’s start with Emily.

In keeping with the X-Files theme that nothing happy or wonderful can ever befall our heroes (except for… each other *swoon*), Emily is Scully’s child for exactly two episodes before kicking the bucket. It’s kind of a crapshoot when you’re a Jesus; some get 35 years, some get 4.

Emily is an innocent who is subjected to suffering beyond her years in her short time on this planet. Lest we think, however, that Emily’s death is a sacrifice that will benefit all of mankind, her little alien-evidence body disappears before the funeral.

If there’s a lesson here, it’s “Never search for the truth because all your friends and family will be taken from you and the truth will gradually become so convoluted that you’re not sure what you’re looking for anymore.” Speaking of which…

Jesus 6: William (“Existence”) — Scully’s children 2 of 2

It's either a benediction or he's throwing gang signs.

S: They came to take him from us. M: I don’t quite understand it either. Me: NO ONE UNDERSTANDS IT.

William Mulder wins the award for most literal Jesus. Consider his street cred:

Three wise men bearing gifts.

Following a star to get to the newborn.

Following a star to get to the newborn.

Magic Jesus powers

Magic Jesus powers

And no less than Krycek calls him a miracle. In terms of qualifications, William should be the pinnacle entry on this list. But there’s no chance of that as long as Daddy’s around.

This isn't evidence. I just put it here because SQUEE!

This isn’t evidence. I just put it here because SQUEE!

Jesus 7: Mulder

“All my other friends’ dads take them to baseball games. Just saying.”

How could they not? From Albert Hosteen’s omen of the white buffalo, to his dueling crucifixions with daddy Cigarette Smoking Man in “The Sixth Extinction II,” Mulder’s role as the tragic hero earns him the crown of manifested Jesus analogies.

I mean — the man dies and comes back to life. Maybe Jesus Christ was not known for his battle with the alien virus, but aside from that, he and Mulder certainly have a lot in common to discuss at the Bread and Wine Happy Hour.

“I believe in miracles since you came along, you sexy thing (you sexy thing, you).”

So Mulder it is. Because why have a messiah when you can have a messianic complex?

Which X-Files episodes should I watch before January?

What with the recent hubbub about the new X-Files series event in January, perhaps you’ve had occasion to turn to the nerd in your life and ask, “What episodes should I watch to get ready?” Short answer: anything less than all of them is a failure in commitment. Longer answer, if you don’t have 201 hours to watch the whole series (or 151 hours on Netflix): it depends on what you’re looking for.

Take a peek below to figure out what category you fit into, and then partake in a customized guide on how you can best enjoy the series.

And since it didn’t make it into any of these categories, let me recommend up front that you watch Bad Blood (season 5).

Category 1: Mythology

Source: X-Files wiki

Source: X-Files wiki

Q: Why do I want to pre-watch old episodes?

A: So I can understand the complex government conspiracies and the various agendas and body chemistries of the menagerie of aliens involved.

Q: Why did I watch Lost?

A: To put together the subtle clues and de-tangle the web of mystery around the island and its inhabitants. The series finale sucked.

Your episode guide:

Deep Throat (season 1)

Erlenmeyer Flask (season 1)

Ascension (season 2)

End Game (season 2)

731 (season 3)

Herrenvolk (season 4)

Terma (season 4)

Memento Mori (season 4)

Redux II (season 5)

The End (season 5)

The X-Files (the 1st movie, 1998)

One Son (season 6)

Biogenesis (season 6)

The downside of watching for mytharc is that it spun out of control as we build into seasons 7 – 9. I would argue that if you’re familiar with the Syndicate, Scully’s abduction & cancer, the black oil, and the purpose of the human-alien hybrid project, then you’ll be able to understand the show just fine without being able to describe the mineral-based weaknesses of the Super Soldiers or the reason Mulder and Scully’s baby may or may not be Jesus.

Category 2: Relationships / ‘Shipper

This scene and the pursuant 'shipper revenge is the single cause of bee population decline since 1998

This scene and the pursuant ‘shipper revenge is the single biggest cause of bee population decline since 1998

Q: Why do I want to pre-watch old episodes?

A: To drown myself in the famous sexual chemistry of David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson

Q: Why did I watch Lost?

A: BECAUSE JACK AND KATE WERE MEANT TO BE TOGETHER

Your episode guide:

Pilot (season 1… yes, it’s there from day 1)

One Breath (season 2)

Anasazi (season 2)

Pusher (season 3)

Quagmire (season 3)

Home (season 4)

Memento Mori (season 4)

Detour (season 5)

The X-Files (the 1st movie, 1998)

Triangle (season 6)

The Unnatural (season 6)

Millennium (season 7)

all things (season 7)

Hollywood AD (season 7)

Requiem (season 7)

Deadalive (season 8)

Existence (season 8)

The Truth (season 9)

X-Files: I Want to Believe (the 2nd movie, 2008)

Years have passed since the 2nd movie, so expect that things will have changed by the time we roll into season 10 in a couple months, but it’s still quite the journey of devotion between kindred spirits. As a lifetime ‘shipper, I will also acknowledge that I wanted to list most every episode ever aired on this list, as there is at least one SQUEE moment per episode. Depending upon one’s definition of SQUEE.

Category 3: Hot Actors

“Imagine, going through your whole life looking like that.”

Q: Why do I want to pre-watch old episodes?

A: Eye candy.

Q: Why did I watch Lost?

A: An inexplicably attractive group of people, usually scantily clad or shirtless, run around a desert island getting all sweaty and somehow even more attractive.

Your episode guide:

Pilot (season 1)

Fire (season 1)

Duane Barry (season 2)

Anasazi (season 2)

Tunguska (season 4)

Small Potatoes (season 4)

Chinga (season 5, and yes that is an actual network TV episode title)

Patient X (season 5)

The X-Files (1st movie, 1998)

Triangle (season 6)

One Son (season 6)

Hollywood AD (season 7)

The Truth (season 9)

X-Files: I Want to Believe (2nd movie, 2008)

It might seem warped to set expectations based on how these actors looked 20+ years ago, but having watched Aquarius on the loosely-veiled pretext of gawking at my man Duchovny, I have to say things are looking good. Real good. Reeeeeeal good.

And Gillian Anderson is a timeless font of Platonic beauty so no worries there.

Category 4: Broaden the horizons of the television medium

Just a red-blooded American baseball player

Just a red-blooded American baseball player

Q: Why do I want to pre-watch old episodes?

A: To form a first-person appreciation for the experimentation and innovation that the writers and directors put into transforming the art of story-telling through television

Q: Why did I watch Lost?

A: Because they treated the audience like they had a brain, you know?

Your episode guide:

Irresistible (season 2)

Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose (season 3)

Jose Chung’s From Outer Space (season 3)

Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man (season 4)

Home (season 5)

Post-Modern Prometheus (season 5)

Triangle (season 6)

The Unnatural (season 6)

Category 5: I’m a giant hipster

“Yeah, Bad Blood is okay, but it’s so mainstream. I prefer an episode where twin Kathy Griffins date a pro wrestler.”

Q: Why do I want to pre-watch old episodes?

A: So I can cite obscure ones like “Alpha” as my all-time favorites even though like 3 people ever saw that episode and only one of them liked it un-ironically.

Q: Why did I watch Lost?

A: Lost is for sheeple. I watched the Weather Channel Tropical Update on loop every Wednesday at 8PM.

Your episode guide:

Space (season 1)

3 (season 2)

Syzygy (season 3)

El Mundo Gira (season 4)

Chinga (season 5)

Trevor (season 6)

Fight Club (season 7)

Roadrunners (season 8)

Sunshine Days (season 9)

If anyone wants to take a stab at some more technical categories (great direction, special effects) please have at it, though I’m not sure how many of us there actually are that would watch a series for its directorial prowess, and how many of us are just lying to ourselves to feel artsy when we say that. Who knows. I’m uninformed about such things.

Nothing a little synthesizer can’t fix

Sometimes your name is Mark Snow, and you have to compose the soundtrack that will transport viewers to a distant locale. Fortunately, there’s a synthesizer setting for that. Refer to the handy chart below for which button to push when your ethnic villain/victim appears on screen.

Mexico – synth guitar

As seen in: El Mundo Gira

Because you can’t tell the story “Two men, one woman, trouble” without cascading guitar arpeggios.

I wish that I was in your arms, like that Spanish guitar...

I wish that I was in your arms, like that Spanish guitar… 

India – synth rattle

As seen in: Badlaa*

Do they use rattles in Indian music? Maybe it’s an obscure genre native to quadriplegic mystics in wheelie carts.

Shake, rattle and... wait a minute, where the crap does he keep his wheelie cart while hiding in a butt?

Shake, rattle and… wait a minute, where does he keep his wheelie cart while hiding in a butt?

Jewish – synth clarinet

As seen in: Kaddish

To be fair, this will provide a helpful clue for modern audiences, for whom Williamsburg, Brooklyn has different associations these days.

Goddamn hipsters.

Goddamn hipsters.

South America – synth pan pipe

As seen in: Teso Dos Bichos

According to both subway musicians and Encarta ’96, pan pipes are a legitimate South American instrument. I’ll allow it.

As it turns out, the Amaru curses you with subway musicians.

As it turns out, the Amaru curses you with subway musicians.

Africa – synth pan pipe

As seen in: Teliko

Culturally, this seems less defensible. This article — which I can tell is credible because it’s written in Papyrus — indicates that pan flutes can be found in central and eastern Africa, but our knockoff Eugene Tooms in this episode is from Burkina Faso. I would be appalled, were this not just another nail in this episode’s coffin of mediocrity. Instead, I am miffed.

ME TOO.

ME TOO.

Asia – … synth pan pipe

As seen in: Hell Money, Nisei

While I’m starting to suspect that there’s a big old “FOREIGNERS” sticker over the synth pan pipe setting, there is a Chinese instrument called the paixiao that the soundtrack is trying to bastardize here. On the other hand, neither Wikipedia nor my trusty Papyrus-font website indicate any usage of pan pipes in traditional Japanese music.

BD Wong disapproves.

BD Wong disapproves.

American Indian – synth pan pipe wtf

As seen in: Shapes, The Blessing Way

The usage of synth pan pipes here would be less objectionable were it not juxtaposed with actual Navajo chanting, or were it not used to signal Albert Hosteen’s every entrance on-camera like some kind of racist cowbell.

“Well, my musical idols include Johnny Cash and… oh, okay. Pan pipes, then.”

Let us all take a moment to remember those pre-9/11 days, when almost any culture could be brought to life with the simple touch of a pan pipe emulator. Or maybe I didn’t notice these shortcuts because the Fight the Future soundtrack was so good, even playing it in a crowded Chick-Fil-A makes you think you’re about to get abducted.

Or maybe it was because I had never left the country the first time I saw these episodes, and was thus totally fine with the notion that the rest of the world was drowning in pan pipes.

* Why did you see Badlaa? The only record of it in my mind is the atxf nickname “Butt Genie.”