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2016 & Beyond

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2016 & Beyond
January 24, 2016

Premier of the 2016 season of The X-Files.

My Struggle. The episode opens with a narration by Mulder. As photographs flash, he describes his sister’s disappearance and his resulting obsession since childhood with alien abductions, his service with the FBI and work on the X-Files, the assignment of Scully to debunk his work, and their work together. The X-Files was closed in 2002 and investigation of the paranormal halted, he relates, but his personal obsession was not.

We see several examples of past UFO sightings as Mulder describes them and other bits of evidence for UFOs, concluding with the crash of a flying saucer in Northwest New Mexico (not Roswell which is in Southeast New Mexico). Mulder wonders if all of these things are really a hoax or are we being lied to.

In the first in a series of a flashbacks, a bus transports a man referred to as “Doc” to a UFO crash in Northwestern New Mexico. A saucer sticks out of the ground at an angle, with massive damage. Military personnel are working around the site.

At Our Lady of Sorrows hospital in Washington, DC, Scully receives a phone call from Walter Skinner at the FBI, looking for Mulder. Tad O’Malley, a conservative talk show host and conspiracy theorist wants to meet Mulder and has asked Skinner for help.

Outside, Scully waits as Mulder arrives in a taxi. They have not seen each other for some time. They are no longer living together but are happy to see each other. O’Malley approaches. He invites them into a limousine because he does not want to be overheard. He says he is a true believer, but Mulder and Scully reply that The X-Files are closed and they have moved on. Mulder thinks O’Malley is in it for the ratings. Mulder tests his knowledge and O’Malley knows his stuff. He says he is ready to blow open a massive conspiracy but needs their expertise.

In Low Moor Virginia, O’Malley introduces Mulder and Scully to Sveta Zataley, a young woman who Mulder once interviewed after her first childhood abduction. She shows them scars on her stomach from many abductions. The abductors also implant false memories, but she remembers sometimes, she says. The aliens have made her pregnant several times, but removed the babies before they are born. She believes she has alien DNA. It is familiar story, told time and again by abductees. Mulder wants Scully to perform a DNA test to confirm what Sveta says, but Scully is clearly not thrilled by the idea.

In a 1947 flashback, it is night at the UFO crash site. Soldiers are following a trail of blood and find a gray alien, injured and trying to crawl away. They shoot it, over the Doc’s objections.

Scully and Sveta are in the hospital with Scully taking a mouth swab for the DNA testing. Svtea claims to be able to move things with her mind sometimes, but cannot control the ability. She senses that Mulder and Scully were previously a couple. She says Mulder was diagnosed as depressed and that is what ended their relationship. She senses that they have a child together…and that Scully has been abducted.

O’Malley arrives at Mulder’s rural home in a helicopter (apparently the house seen in the second X-Files movie). He is taking Mulder to meet some people who are very paranoid. He takes Mulder into a building, blindfolded. They have a triangular flying saucer in a “faraday cage” which shields it from outside radiation. It is called an Alien Replica Vehicle (ARV). When Mulder touches it, it begins to hover. It runs on zero point energy or "torroidal energy," Mulder is told, and it can become invisible.

In a 1947 flashback, the gray’s body is recovered. The doc wants to examine it.

Scully is testing herself when O’Malley entered her lab. She is assists surgeons working on children with a condition known as microtia who have a congenital deformity in which the external ear is underdeveloped -- often they are Navajo, she says. She is far from her pervious life on the X-Files. She remembers good things about that work - it was some of the most intense and challenging work she has ever done. Her relationship with Mulder was one of the most intense and challenging she may ever have, she tells O'Malley. O’Malley says he is actually there just because he wanted to see Scully again.

Mulder calls at Sveta’s door at night. He saw Sveta look at O’Malley briefly earlier when giving an answer, as if for a non-verbal question. She admits that she does not believe that it was aliens who abduct her, but rather men in flying ships. She is afraid for her life. Mulder calls Scully -- what if there is no alien conspiracy and everything they have been led to believe may be wrong? Sveta is the key to everything, Mulder says.

Skinner takes Mulder to the former X-Files office. The files are gone and Skinner does not know where they are. (In The Truth, during Mulder's trial Doggett and Reyes had gone to the X-Files office and found that the file cabinets and furniture had been removed. Skinner was said to be trying to find out who had taken them.) Skinner called Mulder because he is looking out for him. Mulder believes that he was being led in a false direction when he worked on the X-Files, but now thinks that the danger has never been greater. “So do something about it,” Skinner says.

O’Malley features Scully’s work on his show. Scully watches and then receives Sveta’s test results. She asks for certain samples to be retested. Mulder meets an older man outside in the dark – we discover that it is the man who was the Doc at Roswell in 1947. He had told Mulder to call, if he ever put the pieces together. Mulder called because he seen the ARV and believes he now knows the truth. The countdown has begun, Mulder thinks, for a massive conspiracy against humanity by men using alien technology. The Doc reveals little, but says Mulder is nearly there, adding that Roswell was a smokescreen. "So I've been told," replies Mulder, alluding what Deep Throat told him in 1994, that Roswell was a "smoke screen", and that a half dozen better alien DNA samples were obtained between 1947 and 1994. (The Erlenmeyer Flask)

Scully arrives at Mulder’s house, concerned because he hung up on her and seems out of control. Mulder says that all these years they we have been deceived. She has seen him this way before, on fire believing he can save the world. They argue, then Scully is surprised to see that Sveta is at Mulder’s home. She is the key to everything, he says.

Scully is about to leave, but O’Malley arrives. A meeting is about to begin. Mulder tells what Scully perceives as a wild story – after the end of WWII the time was right for the conspiracy. He spins a tale of study of alien technology and use of alien DNA and human hybridization. Mulder and O’Malley are not sure exactly what this conspiracy is trying to accomplish, but “they” are driven by corporate greed, with a goal of taking over America and then the world. O’Malley takes over the story and it gets more and more paranoid. The government is preparing to use all of our information against us in the final take-over by an international conspiracy. It will seem like an attack on America by terrorists or a false alien attack. The Russians tried it in 1947 (apparently a reference to Roswell and what the Doc called a smokescreen). O’Malley is going to broadcast the story tomorrow, but Scully discounts it. Sveta’s tests came back negative, with no evidence of alien DNA, she says.

Scully is back at work the next day. She watches O’Malley’s broadcast. Sveta has announced that O’Malley is lying and forced her to say what she did. Mulder is also watching and says “They got to her.”

Military units enter the building where Mulder saw the ARV and blow it up.

Later in the day, Scully check’s O’Malley’s website again, and it is unavailable. Mulder approaches her in the hospital parking garage. He tells another wild story about runaway greenhouse gases making Earth as hot as Venus, and the elite leaving the planet. Scully urgently wants to find Sveta and protect her. Her first tests came back negative, but Scully had her entire genome retested, as well as Scully’s own. They both DID come back with non-human elements. Scully is ready to move to stop this conspiracy – whether or not she is ready, there is no choice. Skinner calls.

Sveta is driving a car, but the electrical system dies. A narrow beam of intense light strikes the car from above, from a huge triangular UFO. The car explodes as she attempts to escape. We do not know whether she survives.

The Cigarette Smoking Man receives a phone call. We have a small problem, he says. They have reopened the X-Files he says, as someone holds a cigarette to his throat (where we saw in season 9 that he had had a tracheotomy).

Note: Sveta's last name "Zataley" is from DNA test document close-up.

January 25

Founder's Mutation. A research scientist, Dr. Sanjay, enters his workplace, Nugenics Technologies. He is experiencing pain in his temples but tells a co-worker it is nothing. Later he is in a meeting. The “Founder,” August Goldman, is not happy with the results of a project and had told them to try again, even though they have used every source of stem cells they could find. Sanjay is not able to concentrate. Black birds are gathering outside. He is hearing voices and he screams, then runs out of the room. Soon after, he is in a server room, transferring a classified file by secure file transfer. Pain explodes in his brain again. He writes something on his hand and then stabs a letter opener into his ear, killing himself.

Mulder and Scully, reactivated with the FBI, are called in. Dr. Sanjay seems to have had a psychotic episode. As Mulder looks at the servers, a man enters and says that the hard drives are classified. Mulder wants to talk to Goldman, but he is refused. Scully distracts the man as Mulder searches the dead man’s pockets and retrieves a phone. The phone reveals that Sanjay talked to someone named Gupta every night. While leaving, Mulder brushes against a custodial worker.

Mulder meets with Gupta in a bar. Mulder is worried about being overheard so they go into a back room – it turns out that Gupta is gay and thinks Mulder is propositioning him. After the confusion is cleared up, Gupta says Sanjay has been distant recently. He was upset about his “kids” and said they were dying, but Sanjay did not have children. Gupta says he had two identities and lived in two places.

Scully conducts an autopsy. She removes the letter opener and finds what Sanjay wrote on his hand, “Founder’s Mutation.” Mulder thinks that refers to Goldman and the agents talk about Sanjay having apparently heard voices. When Mulder sees it, Goldman’s name comes to mind. They go to Sanjay’s other residence, in the Dupont Circle area. A person we later learn is named Kyle walks in front of their SUV. Inside the apartment, the agents find many photographs of children, all of whom have deformities, taken in a clinical setting like a hospital. Scully comments that it is hard to imagine that in 2016 Sanjay had to keep his lifestyle preference a secret, but Mulder replies that being gay was not his only secret. As they search inside, they find many photographs of children with various physical conditions and deformities -- his endangered kids. Police arrive, possibly in response to a silent alarm. As Mulder looks in a drawer, something happens and Mulder hears a loud whine in his head, incapacitating him.

The agents talk with Skinner. They are not allowed to look at the files about the children from Sanjay’s office because they are classified by the Department of Defense. The man with custody of the files reminds them that release would be dealt with harshly. When he leaves, Skinner says he assumes that Mulder copied the files. There are many troubling questions about this case, even though it is officially closed. Mulder believes that they are failed experiments. Skinner says that because of the time the bigger bureaucracy will take, the case may not be closed officially for a few days, which gives Mulder and Scully some time to investigate.

In the X-Files office, they are review surveillance video. Scully asks and Mulder says he heard sounds, focusing into two words – "find her." Scully heard nothing. They see the flock of blackbirds on the video and Mulder suggests that it was some kind of infra-sound, inaudible to the human ear, but that drove worms to the surface, attracting the birds. They note on the video that Sanjay also heard voices before he committed suicide. They need to talk to Goldman.

Scully uses her connections at the hospital to make contact with Goldman, claiming that he is under investigation. The Catholic Sister Mary agrees to relay a message. As they wait, they are approached by a young woman who is pregnant, named Agnes. She is eager to get away from the hospital, saying that something is wrong with her baby and all of the women there have the same story, but she has changed her mind and does not want to give up her baby, even though there is something wrong with it (an original Planet of the Apes movie is on TV in the room). They give Agnes a card as Sister Mary returns. The girls there are charity cases, she says, with their care paid for by Goldman. Mulder thinks this could be another phase of "the project," funded by Goldman who has deep ties to the defense department. They talk about William, who would be 15. Was he an experiment? What if he is like one of the kids on Sanjay's wall, fighting for his life? They need to pull the current thread and see what unravels.

Scully imagines/dreams taking William to school on the first day and seeing him after school, but the scene changes and William has broken his arm. The scene changes again and William calls to her from his room. His eyes are strange, as if he was an experiment and is changing into something different.

At Goldman Technology, Goldman tells the agents that the words “Founder’s Mutation” are meaningless. He has been working on genetic manipulation. He shows them children suffering from many genetic syndromes. They are doing cutting edge research for these children. They talk to one, Adam. He has only one eye. He says he has been there forever. All the children are in sealed rooms. Scully says they are not contagious, but Goldman wants to eliminate all risk. Scully accuses him of using alien DNA and he does not answer because there is a disturbance down the hall, a young woman patient struggling with aides, pulling him away.

Mulder gets a message from or about Agnes. In the next scene, we see that she is dead in a traffic accident, apparently coming to find Mulder and Scully. There is no evidence of her baby – it is gone. Agnes clearly died from the impact, but her baby was surgically removed, presumably to get rid of evidence. A human baby would not have survived, but Mulder wonders if the baby was human. They know that research was conducted starting in 1973 to create a human-alien hybrid, which was not successful. Mulder doubts that “they” would have stopped trying. They discover that Dr. Goldman’s wife, Jackie, was convicted of murdering her baby 17 years ago, and that body was never found.

Mulder and Scully visit her at Saint Elizabeths Hospital, presumably a psychiatric facility, but Jackie does not speak for several minutes. She will not speak about her husband, who is keeping her there. There was something odd about her daughter – when she was two she fell in a pool and was underwater for ten minutes, but she was alive and breathing in the water. Jackie never told anyone. She believes that her husband did something to the embryo. She ran, not believing she could trust anyone, but as she drove, she swerved to miss an animal and crashed. We see in flashback that Jackie heard a loud, piercing sound in her head. She stabbed herself, but not to kill her male baby. Rather she let it out. Jackie passed out, woke up in the hospital, and never saw her son.

Jackie seemed delusional but Scully trusts her. Mulder notices that A1 Janitorial service cleans both the psychiatric facility and Dr. Sanjay’s building. They learn that Kyle Gilligan, age about 17, has been a janitor at both locations and see him on a surveillance video, cleaning the office directly above the server room when Sanjay dies. The agents arrive at Gilligan’s rural house and talk to his mother. She is very protective of Kyle. Mulder suspects that Kyle is NOT Jackie’s son, but as he asks these questions, birds gather on the lawn and sounds explode in Mulder’s head. Mrs. Gilligan says bad things happen when the birds gather. Scully runs out behind the house and finds Kyle, drawing her gun to make him stop, i.e. release Mulder. They take Kyle away in spite of his mother’s protests. Kyle says he didn’t want Dr. Sanjay to die. He can’t control the power much. He just wants to find his sister. They take Kyle to Goldman who checks Kyle and draws blood for some tests. Kyle asks where Molly, his sister, is. Goldman introduces them to a girl he calls Molly, but Kyle knows that it is not her sister. Kyle runs down the hall and finds another girl, age about 19, who is really Molly (the patient who struggled with aides when Mulder and Scully visited before). They can talk psychically. Kyle uses mind power (possibly infra-sound) to shatter the glass. Molly calls out "Daddy, just let me go" and uses psychokinesis to knock Scully's gun out of her hand and throw Scully and Mulder against walls. Kyle focuses his power on Goldman, whose eyes, mouth and ears bleed.

Later, authorities are at the facility, including Skinner, but the FBI has no jurisdiction. Everything is classified. There is no trace of Kyle or Molly, but Mulder has the vial of Kyle’s blood. Goldman is apparently dead -- Mulder says that his eyes popped out of his head.

In another dream, Mulder and William are watching 2001 a Space Odyssey and talking. In another image they shoot off a model rocket together. Mulder quotes Kennedy – we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do other things not because they are easy but because they are hard. The rocket goes off and William vows to "go up there someday." But then Mulder sees William being taken, floating above his bed, just like Samantha was taken long ago. We see that Mulder is alone, sitting forlornly in his kitchen.

Notes: In the Nugenics document, seen in the server room, has a QR code. Reading the QR code leads to a product placement advertisement for Adobe. The date of this episode is unclear. As they approach Sanjay's apartment, the vehicle display shows 12:19 pm and 72 degrees (F) suggesting summer or global warming. The names of characters Sanjay and Gupta appear to be based on CNN's chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, MD. Sister Mary looks a LOT like one of the Eve clones, but it is not the same actress.

February 1

Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster. (Note: This is a very quirky humorous episode.)

A moonlit night in the forest near Shawan, Oregon. A man and woman sit in the forest huffing paint to get high. The man says he wishes he were a werewolf. Why? So he could get high all the time. They hear a scream and see a monster struggling with another man. One victim, an animal control officer named Pasha, is OK, but another nearby is lying dead. The monster does not look like a werewolf – more like a man-sized lizard.

Mulder is in the X-Files office when Scully enters – he is throwing pencils at a new version of the famous “I want to believe” poster, which Scully says is hers. Mulder is in a funk -- several cases have turned out to be nothing extraordinary when he reexamined them, like claims of live Jackalopes. Scully wants to know if Mulder has been taking his meds, but Mulder is questioning whether his life has been worth it. He is not sure he wants to chase monsters that are not real, but Scully tells him that they have a new case, with a monster in it.

They travel to the scene where the creature attacked Pasha. There have been other victims, also, all mutilated in the same manner. One was nude. Mulder thinks that it was likely a mountain lion or a wolf, but Scully says the wounds seem to have been made by human involvement. Mulder is still questioning his life choices, but Scully says this case is important.

At a truck stop at night, the monster attacks Annabelle, who we later learn is a transvestite. When the agents interview her, she describes something with a horn, which she hit with her purse and drove it off. Pasha is nearby, saying he is trying to trap a reported stray puppy. He hopes he does not find anything bigger. They hear a snarl. Mulder sets his phone to continuous photo taking. They find another fresh kill body. Mulder goes between two semi-trucks, his camera flashing the whole time. Pasha comes up and startles Mulder. They begin to look at the phone, but what is apparently the monster attacks. Scully hears the shouts and finds the two of them. Neither are hurt. Mulder got a picture, but as they start to look, the monster runs past. Mulder and Scully follow, and they think the monster went into a port-a-potty, but inside they find Guy Mann, who seems to be an ordinary guy. He complains about lack of privacy, the agents move off, and Guy emerges and we see horns retreating into the back of his neck.

Scully is performing an autopsy on the recent victim’s body and Mulder acts a little goofy as he tries to match what he sees on the body to the photos from his phone camera. It shot blood at him, Mulder says, like the horned lizard can do in real life. The Internet is not good for Mulder, Scully says. She thinks that the bite marks were made by a human being. So they are looking for a man-sized lizard with human teeth. Scully comments, possibly ironically, that she forgot how much fun these cases can be.

Back in his motel, Mulder hears screams and investigates. The motel manager is drinking, but says it was just a guest making noise. Mulder finds a damaged, torn apart room. There is a prescription bottle (from the Lycans Pharmacy), which he pockets. He finds a hole in the wall that was covered by a large Jackalope head. It leads to a passage way with holes to observe into the other rooms, as well. Mulder sees Scully asleep through a hole in her wall (and is looking through a Fox head). Mulder enters the motel office through the passage and shows his badge. The manager calls it a security feature. Mulder asks if the manager saw what happened in the trashed room. The manager saw a man (Guy Mann) throwing a tantrum and saying “I can't go on like this” and transforming. The monster Guy has become notices the manager and runs off. Mulder has a photo of Guy from the port-a-potty and the manager confirms that is who was in the room.

Mulder tries to explain it all to Scully, but it is like he is arguing both sides of the matter – the crazy ideas that he would usually have and Scully's logical replies, not letting her get a word in edgewise. “This is how I like my Mulder,” she says. Really? No. She thinks he’s crazy. Mulder says that Guy was wearing the clothing of one of the victims. Mulder has some things from the room that may help, but first they need to get OUT of this motel.

The prescription bottle has led the agents to a psychologist, Dr. Rumanovitch. He tells a legend of a man-eating lizard dragon, long ago. A gypsy said the only way to kill the monster is to stab it in its appendix with a lance made of green glass. Who knows why, but legends always kill monsters by penetration with some substance. In the legend, the constable stabs the monster but realizes he was looking in a mirror and he was the monster all along. The morale to the story is that it is easier to deal with monsters "out there" than those within us. The suspect (Guy) had the delusion that when the moon appeared he would transform. The doctor prescribed an anti-psychotic and told Guy that when he felt an attack coming on, he should go for a walk in the cemetery to calm down. The doctor also suggests an anti-psychotic for Mulder -- who is in more need of an anti-psychotic, a man who believes himself to be a were-lizard or a man who believes that man?

Scully calls Mulder. She found the man they are looking for, working in the phone store near the motel (named Smart Phones is Us). The blood tests had some discrepancies. She enters and begins to ask questions. Mulder drives up and enters. Guy is no longer there and the place is a mess (a sign in the background says "monster savings"). Scully says that Guy yelled "I quit" and threw a tantrum. Mulder goes out to search, leaving Scully behind, and finding Guy in the cemetery. Mulder pretends to visit another grave and strikes up a conversation. Nothing makes sense to Guy. He confesses that if life is nonsense he just wants the madness to end. He shatters a green bottle he has brought and attacks Mulder, but it is a weak, ineffectual attack. He wants Mulder to kill him with a shard of the glass, trying to aim it at his appendix, but Mulder knows what he is trying to do and he wants to help. Then Mulder says he will, if Guy will tell him the entire story first.

The story Guy tells is long and complex – Guy was a lizard-like man-sized creature that woke up from a long hibernation. He sees a man (the animal control officer, Pasha) kill another man, and then the man bit Guy. In a twist on common legends in which a bite from a monster turns a human into a monster, the bite from the human turned Guy into a human. The next morning he transformed into a human and discovered he was naked, so he took clothing from one of the dead humans nearby. His transformation was not just physical, but also mental. He felt a compulsion to find a job, which he did in the phone store. As a human, he could BS his way through anything and by the end of the day he was the store manager. He checked into the motel and watched porn, but when the Moon came out, he transformed into his natural form. He was himself again and everything was fine…until his alarm went off and he became human again. His nightmare life as a human continued and he could only think about how much he hated his job, but was too overcome with fear to quit because he would have no money. He visited the doctor, but the medicine didn’t cure him, so he…got a puppy, which he named Daggoo (after a character in Moby Dick).

They played all night, creature and puppy, but next day Guy was human again. When he came home from work, Daggoo was gone. Just when he gave up looking for Daggoo, he saw the man who had bitten him and turned him into a human. Guy was filled with the one thing only humans can understand – the need for revenge. But he saw the man bite someone else. Guy transformed and ran through the truck stop. He tells Mulder about encountering Annabelle. On learning that Annabelle is transgendered, Guy wonders if that can make him stop being human, but decided not to when he learns the details. The rest of the night is foggy in his memory, but he tells about the port-a-potty incident and a Jackalope on the wall started screaming at him. Guy continues the story, telling Mulder that the next day at work, Scully came in. Guy claims that Scully seduced him in the back room – ever since he became a human he can’t help but lie about his sex life.

Mulder will not kill Guy because the story is too fantastic. Mulder sees that the two of them are the same. They both want to believe in things that are not real. Guy discovers Mulder’s badge and accuses Mulder of being the monster – a human monster.

Mulder wakes up in the cemetery (apparently he took several drinks from the bottles that Guy had brought, or had brought his own) when Scully calls (his phone ring tone for her is the X-Files theme). Scully is at the animal shelter. The animal control officer, Pasha, is there. Daggoo is there, in a cage, and nips Scully. She tells Mulder that she misses having a dog to love and this one reminds her of Queequeg (also named after a character in Moby Dick), her pet for a few weeks in 1996 -- research shows that dogs hold hostilities against people who harm their masters. She misses having a dog to love, and someone to hold her grudges for her. Pasha attacks her. Hearing this, Mulder rushes to the animal shelter, calling local law enforcement, and finds the place is in shambles. Scully has Pasha in handcuffs -- he is the real killer. Pasha has a whole speech prepared about killing small animals when he was a child, but they won’t let him speak. Mulder observes that this is the second time Scully went at a suspect alone. She reminds him that she is immortal (according to what psychic Clyde Bruckman told her in 1995). It appears that Scully is ready to take Daggoo home with her. Mulder realizes that Guy’s story is true. He catches up with Guy in the woods. They caught the killer and it was not Guy. Mulder knows now he was telling the truth. Guy is undressing. It is the time for him to go back into hibernation. When he wakes up maybe he will have slept off the transformation. How long does he hibernate, Mulder asks? Guy thinks it is around 10,000 years. Guy notes that this has been a trying time, but Mulder helped and Guy is glad to have met him. They shake hands and Mulder sees Guy transform into the lizard one last time and run off into the woods. Mulder has his personal proof that there really are unexplained phenomenon and fantastic answers. Glad to have met you, "likewise," he says to the disappearing Guy.

Notes: In the cemetery, we see a grave marker for Kim Manners, a television producer, director, and actor who was well known for his work on The X-Files and who died in 2009. The two "Stoners" in this episode have appeared before, in Quagmire and War of the Coprophages. A mounted Jackalope head is a common tourist souvenir in the western plains of the US, consisting of a jackrabbit head with deer antlers attached. A whiteboard on the wall of the animal shelter lists adoptions and rescues for 12 months and a "this month" figure, implying that the month is late January or early February.

February 8

Home Again. Homeless people in Philadelphia are being sprayed with water from a fire hose. It is the first phase in a relocation project, says a Housing and Urban Development official. Later, at the HUD field office, a garbage truck pulls up and moves on, leaving a man behind. He walks toward the office where the official is alone inside. The official, Joseph Cutler, begins coughing due to a small and the lights go out. A shadow approaches the office door. Cutler calls 911 and draws a gun, but the door bursts open and the man from the garbage truck literally pulls Cutler apart, then goes outside and gets into the load packer at the back of the truck, taking part of Cutler's body with him.

Mulder and Scully are at the crime scene. The local detective says there are no finger prints and a footprint in blood has no ridges. The victim appears to have been pulled apart, but that is not likely with a single assailant. As they talk, Scully’s phone rings – she thinks for a moment that it says “William” but it is Scully's brother, William Scully, Junior, in Germany -- Scully’s mother just had a heart attack and they found Bill's number in her phone. She hurries back to Washington. Mulder and the detective watch security footage. There is no sign of an assailant. Mulder notices that the billboard outside the window had nothing on it in the video, but now it does now – a full-length graphic of a dark man. The street art was put up after the murder. Maybe the artist knows something about it. As they leave, Mulder finds a band-aide stuck to his foot. He pulls it off and saves it.

At Beatus Medical Center, Washington DC, Scully approaches her mother, Margaret, who is in an ICU ward, unconscious with oxygen. A nurse says Margaret regained consciousness for a short time but asked for her estranged youngest son Charlie. Nobody else. Scully talks to her unconscious mother – I’ve been where you are. She knows that her father (she calls him by his nickname "Ahab") and sister Melissa are there with Margaret, but the rest of the family is all still here. She encourages Margaret to come back. She includes William, still thinking of her son as she speaks. "Don’t go home yet, I need you," Scully says.

Mulder asks an officer for access to the roof of the building to check the billboard. Nearby, two people are arguing. The man is Daryl Landry, working on the redevelopment. The woman is Nancy Huff, president of the local school board and is objecting to the relocation. The street outside the HUD office is scheduled to be "cleaned" the following morning. She is incensed about plans for a 10-story apartment building that will begin the gentrification of the neighborhood. Both are speaking for themselves and not the people, Mulder notes. A nearby homeless man says "the band-aide nose man" but will say no more.

Scully thinks about Mulder sitting with her when she was unconscious. She looks at her mother’s rings and jewelry – one is a quarter on a necklace that Scully does not recognize. Her brother Bill calls – he is coming from Frankfurt. Scully cannot answer whether Margaret will die before Bill gets there, but Scully says they will keep her on life support because her Margaret’s living will asks that they do everything possible to keep her alive.

Mulder talks with a lab tech who cannot identify anything from the band-aide – it has neither organic nor even inorganic material on it, so in a way it is neither dead nor alive. Meanwhile, two art thieves are moving the section of the billboard with the graphic of a dark man into a warehouse, hoping to sell it for a profit. Soon, the graphic is no longer on the board, both men have been attacked, and the board is covered with blood. The signature of the artist, “Trash man” is at the bottom. The dark man drags portions of their bodies to the garbage truck outside.

Scully questions the nurse about Margaret’s care and is surprised to be told that Margaret changed her living will to say do not resuscitate. It was signed and witnessed by two retired naval officers. A doctor counsels Scully that they must remove life support, because it is her mother’s wish. Mulder has returned to Washington and calls from outside the ICU -- for a moment, Scully again imagines that it is William’s name on the phone.

Landry is loading up more people to be relocated, this time out of a slum apartment building. Huff presents him a court order to delay the relocation.

Mulder tells Scully about the case, but she is not listening. She cannot understand her mother asking only for Charlie. Scully doesn’t even know where Charlie is, and why would Margaret change her living will? And what is the meaning of this quarter necklace – Scully has never seen it before. The date is not significant to the family. The doctor removes oxygen the tube. Scully cries – she doesn’t care about the big questions right now. She just wants to talk to her mother again.

An SUV drives up to a mansion late at night – it is Nancy Huff. the Petula Clark song "Downtown" plays throughout this scene, first from the SUV radio and later as the scene plays out. Inside she eats. The garbage truck approaches. Footprints approach Nancy’s door. She turns off lights, and then sees a man on the stairs. She runs, but cannot get out. He pulls her apart and puts part of her into the trash compactor, then returns to the garbage truck and gets into the load packer at the back.

Margaret is still alive and Mulder and Scully are talking. Mulder notes that he invented the idea of calling someone back to live, referring to when Scully was unconscious after her abduction. You’re a dark wizard, Scully notes with a little smile. Charlie calls - Bill called him. Scully asks Charlie to just say something to Margaret via the speakerphone, to bring her back to us. He speaks to her and Margaret opens her eyes. She looks at Mulder, takes his hand, and says "my son is named William too." Then her vital signs flat line and she dies.

Scully is distressed when the gurney arrives to take Margaret away, but she is an organ donor and they need to take her right away. Scully cries and hugs Mulder– her last words were about our child, her grandchild that we gave away. Why did she say that? Scully wants to fly to Philadelphia – she needs to work right now.

The lab tech has identified the spray-paint used around the neighborhood by the Trashman – only one store in central Philadelphia carries it. The agents go to the store. Mulder goes in while Scully daydreams outside, but there is a shoplifter who Mulder follows, having to get her attention. They follow the boy and catch him in the basement of a building, where Scully handily deprives him of his gun. When they ask for the Trashman, the boy leads them to corridors in the basement, where the lights are out, then runs. With flashlights shining, the agents explore the tunnels and see a figure – they follow and first it is not there, then close to them, then gone again (or is it different figures?). They try to follow, leading to a door. I am in danger, a voice calls from inside, but go away. They enter anyway and find a man hiding. Nearby is what appears to be a life-sized clay figure of a man, with a band-aide holding it's nose together.

The Trashman lectures them that the people in the street have no voice. He rants. People treat other people like trash. He denies the killings – he was giving people a voice through art. He didn’t put the art up on the billboard. Those things in the hall were things he made. They will go away as they fade, but he also has the "band-aide nose man" clay figure that he has willed into existence. But actually, the figure came to the Trashman, as if there are spirits or souls floating around us looking for a body to inhabit. The Trashman shaped the clay and it came from some other place. Now it is alive and out there. The band-aide was just to hold the clay together. The Trashman just wanted to scare those who were going to take people’s homes away. The violent idea was just an idea that ran through the Trashman's head, but not he uses that violent idea. Scully channels her own experiences and says the Trashman is responsible if it was his idea, but he put what he created out of sight, thinking of putting William up for adoption.

Landry is the only one left and must be in danger. He got the injunction lifted and is moving people out tonight. At their destination, an old hospital building, Landry coughs from a bad smell and hears flies buzzing. He investigates, lights flicker, and a shadow approaches – it is the dark clay man with green garbage slime coming out of its mouth. Landry runs but is cornered. Mulder, Scully, and the Trashman get there and find Landry’s torn apart remains. They are bewildered because they heard screams, so it only happened a moment ago, but there is no other exit the murderer could have used, so they should have encountered him.

The Trashman reshapes the clay into a smiley face and leaves the basement. The dark man graphic remains on a nearby brick wall.

Mulder and Scully talk. Scully has her mother's ashes in a urn and has concluded that Margaret asked for Charlie because she wanted to know that Charlie was OK before she died. She gave birth to him and he was her responsibility. That’s the reason she said what she said to Scully and Mulder – she wanted them to be responsible and know that William is OK, even though they can’t see him. They made a sacrifice to keep him safe. Scully believes that Mulder will find all his answers about the biggest mysteries and she will be there when he does, but Scully’s own mystery about William will never be answered. Does he think of her? Wish she was with him? Does he doubt himself because he is adopted? She puts her head on Mulder’s shoulder. She needs to believe that they did not treat William like trash.

Note: The poster in the opening scene indicates that "an area cleaning" will commence on Monday February 8, 2016, the broadcast date of this episode. The final scene is a few days later.

February 15

Babylon. A young man, who we later learn is named Shiraz, prays to Allah on his prayer rug, then eats a sandwich, and drives his car through Southwest Texas. He observes the local people, some of whom say uncomplimentary things like "looks like we have visitor." He meets another man, also apparently Islamic. They drive in the car together to an art gallery, grasp hands and pray, then exit the car and enter the building. They are wearing explosive vests and moments later the building explodes. People emerge engulfed in flames. The bombers were protesting the depiction of Allah in artwork in the gallery.

Mulder and Scully are in the X-files office, watching a video and discuss end times prophesy. He tells of reports of trumpet sounds coming down from the sky. Agents Miller and Einstein enter. Einstein is a redheaded female medical doctor. Miller, who has a mind open to possibilities, wants to try to communicate with one of the bombers, Shiraz, who is in a coma. The two are like a younger version of Mulder and Scully and are on their way to Texas. Miller is asking on the off chance that something in the X-Files may help them communicate with Shiraz, but Einstein is skeptical.

At the airport, Miller and Einstein talk about where the hate comes from. Miller says young people need to be taught to hate. Einstein says the bomber is not going to give them answers. The X-Files would be Miller’s dream assignment. Einstein thinks Scully is clearly in love with Mulder because nothing else would explain why Scully remains there, working with Mulder. Scully phones Miller. She has an idea that might help communicate with Shiraz, but Scully would need to come to Texas. Meanwhile, Mulder calls Einstein, asking her to delay her departure to Texas so he can tell her his idea. She returns to the X-Files office and will meet Miller in Texas.

We see another man, apparently Arab, listening to Islamophobic rants on television while soldering electronics with explosives nearby.

Einstein arrives in Mulder’s office. She is not interested in “woo-woo” treatises on the paranormal. Mulder is philosophical, asking if she thinks thoughts have weight. Mulder thinks the terrorist lies in a state between life and death. Meanwhile, Scully meets Miller at the airport. Scully is not thinking about a psychic, but rather science. Scully mentions her mother’s death, and an idea she wishes she had tried with Margaret. Mulder suggests that “magic mushrooms” which have recently been subject to serious study, have produced reports of ability to contact other minds and transcend space and time, with truths revealed. He wants to take the mushrooms and attempt to communicate with Shiraz, but he does not want to bother Scully because of the recent death in her family. Einstein is not interested.

In Texas, Scully and Miller visit Shiraz, unconscious in a hospital bed. Scully wants to test an unconventional process -- they will ask him questions and use an EKG to see if his brain reacts. She thinks that Shiraz can hear them and they may be able to question him this way. Two men claiming to be Homeland Security agents arrive and announce that they are taking jurisdiction. One declares the terrorist dead, but they speak Arabic to each other. Miller believes that they have come here for retribution and when he tries to take their picture, they turn away. Einstein arrives as the alleged Homeland Security agents are leaving, but she is refused entry. Einstein is surprised to learn that Scully is there. She calls Mulder and asks him to come to Texas.

At the Dallas airport, Einstein meets Mulder. Scully is already there, working with Miller, she tells Mulder. Einstein gives Mulder two pills that have the illicit mushroom components in them. She wants to conduct this business with delicacy, but she says she thinks that Mulder may achieve some results. Miller and Scully have the EKG equipment, but another agent, Brem, informs them that there is a bomb threat on the building. His comments are Islamophobic. The evacuation begins, but a nurse remains behind with Shiraz. She turns off his oxygen in an act of hate and the equipment shows flat line displays. Mulder and Einstein arrive and the nurse turns the oxygen back on before they notice. In spite of the bomb threat they have special authorization. The nurse makes several Islamophobic and anti-immigrant statements as Einstein ushers her out. Mulder takes a mushroom pill.

Mulder is tripping, and wandering through the hospital…outside…it is hard telling what is real. He line dances in a dance hall to Achy Breaky Heart. In his dream, he is a great dancer. The Lone Gunmen are in the bar with him, as is Skinner. Young women dance in Daisy Duke shorts. The dream sequence is a big dance number, but all of a sudden, Mulder finds himself among robed figures. The Cigarette Smoking Man flashes a whip and says if Mulder wants the truth, he has come to the right place. They are in a boat, such as might transport the dead to the underworld. A woman holds the body of Shiraz, who speaks Arabic to Mulder. The background sounds and Mulder's dream fade and we see several Arab men in the terrorist cell, planning another suicide bombing.

Scully is examining Shiraz. The needles are only moving a little, but they will begin asking questions. Meanwhile, Mulder wakes up in his own hospital bed and Skinner is here. Skinner says that Mulder was an embarrassment. Einstein claims she actually gave Mulder a placebo and that Mulder was under the influence of the power of suggestion. Mulder relates that he talked to Shiraz, but he spoke in Arabic, so Mulder doesn’t know what he said. As they leave the hospital, Mulder sees the woman he saw in the boat, trying to get into the hospital through the security guard. She is Noora, Shiraz’ mother, and they take her to see him. She is shocked. Scully tells her that they believe that he can hear them. Noora speaks to her son -- this is not how she raised him. "Your heart is too big for this." She knows that he could not go through with the bombing. He has told her in her dreams. Shiraz dies and Noora cradles him. Mulder saw the mother holding her son and repeats 'he spoke to me.'

Scully asks what he means. Mulder repeats the words, struggling to recall the syllables he heard. Miller was in Iraq and understands that it is a reference to Babel – to Babylon. Mulder struggles to remember. Miller determines that it is a reference to the Babylon hotel. An FBI swat team storms the motel and arrests the members in the terrorist cell.

Einstein and Miller talk. They are not staying for the "atta boys." Miller says Mulder broke the case open, but Einstein points out that Miller kept Shiraz alive. Einstein is at a loss to understand why it worked, but Miller suggests that maybe some things are unexplainable. Einstein quotes her distant relative Albert as saying “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious, the source of all true art and science.” They gently reprimand each other for sealing in Mulder and Scully. Einstein is now convinced that words and ideas DO have weight and can move people...to do the most psychotic things.

Mulder is back home, listening to music on his earbuds as Scully drives up. They were each on their own mission. Neither would have bought the other’s plan. How did the placebo work? Mulder says he saw things – deep and unconditional love. Scully counters that she witnessed unqualified hate that appears to have no end. How do they reconcile the two? Maybe that is THE question of our times. They walk through the long grass together, hand in hand. What is the God in the Bible actually saying? Those boys became terrorists because they, in effect, just swallowed a pill – the power of suggestion, but mother love trumped all in this case. A child is not a tool to spread hatred. Maybe spreading a common language again is how to end hate and do God’s will. But Mulder asks, how can we really know, God is absent from the stage?. Maybe we need to just open our hearts and listen, replies Scully. Mulder hears trumpets from the sky.

Notes: Scully's "dissertation" about the twins paradox was identified in the pilot episode as her undergraduate senior thesis about "a new interpretation of Einstein's Twins paradox." The final scene, zooming out from Mulder and Scully to show the entire planet appears to place Mulder's farm house off US highway 15, between Haymarket and Buckland in Northeast Virginia.

February 22.

My Struggle II. The episode begins with a narration by Scully, paralleling Mulder’s in My Struggle 1. She tells of her assignment to the X-Files. She came to understand that Mulder’s work was worthy of their investigation and that a world existed on the fringes of accepted science. She would also come to fear that the FBI was threatened by dark forces. Her abduction and intervening incidents led her to believe that she was subjected to tests and threats. She suspects a conspiracy of men hiding science for 60 years, a self-interested cabal wanting to consolidate power. But questions about these men remain. In recent tests, she has discovered DNA anomalies in her own blood that she can only classify as alien.

Scully arrives at the X-Files office, but Mulder is not there. She sits in his chair and sees that he has been watching Truth Squad. Tad O’Malley is back after six weeks with what he calls a major discovery, that there is alien DNA in virtually every American Citizen. Tad calls Mulder’s phone and asks Scully her to come to Mulder’s home. He is not there and the place is in disarray. O’Malley has had his own DNA tested and it also contains anomalies. Back at the X-Files office, Scully tells Skinner and Einstein about O’Malley’s claims. Einstein thinks it is science fiction, but Scully says the facts cannot be discounted. Scully and Einstein go to Our Lady of Sorrows Hospital. Scully is grateful that Einstein has come along. As they enter, they are accosted by a disoriented young man – his arm has a wound but Nurse Sandeep takes him in hand.

Mulder is driving a car and his face is bloody. Skinner calls, but Mulder ignores the call and speeds up.

Scully draws blood from Einstein and Scully tells about her own anomaly. They share a faith in science, but the science they were taught only takes them a distance toward the truth. Scully suspects their smallpox vaccines years ago, but Scully does not know why. The possibility is reason enough to run the tests. Agent Miller arrives. People on the Internet are freaking out about O’Malley’s claims. He has a guest describing fast moving contagions. Scully thinks it is all too plausible. Scully asks Sandeep about the man who was apparently in the military – Scully thinks the symptoms indicated anthrax. She notes that soldiers deploying to Iraq were given vaccines. Anthrax is the “canary in the coal mine” and other diseases may follow. This may be the advent of a global contagion, according to Scully.

Mulder is in his car as Scully calls him, but he does not answer. He drives on to South Carolina. In the X-Files office late at night Miller watches O’Malley report anthrax infections. On Mulder’s computer, Miller finds the address Mulder was searching for – Spartanburg, SC.

Soldiers arrive at the hospital. Einstein wants to consider all explanations, but Scully thinks they are in deep trouble. Einstein points out that it is only one class of people affected, the military.

Scully receives a mysterious call from a woman why says she has the answer, someone who was there for Scully before. Scully agrees to meet the woman. It is Monica Reyes, formerly assigned to the X-Files. She has been gone from the FBI for a decade. In a series of flashbacks we see her story. The badly burned Cigarette Smoking Man summoned her to a meeting and made her an offer that changed her life. He says he is not an evil man, but he is the most powerful man in the world. He threatened her with the ultimate weapon – the ability to kill everyone on the planet except for the chosen few. Now Reyes works for him. Hers was the hand holding his cigarette in My Struggle I. They won’t know what hit them, he says in the flashback, but their fates were sealed since birth.

She tells Scully that both of them are among the chosen few, with modified DNA. We continue to see Reyes’ story in flashbacks. The Smoking Man sent a man to Mulder to offer him a deal. They fought. The man attempted to kill Mulder, but Mulder got the drop on him, demanding to know who sent him. In the next scene, we see Mulder holding a gun on the Cigarette Smoking Man. You sent for me, I’m here, Mulder says (presumably in Spartanburg, South Carolina).

The Smoking Man claims to have controlled Mulder since before he knew who he was. It is far too late for heroics, he says, but he wants to save Mulder’s life, so he can see Scully again. He didn’t set out to destroy the world, he says, people did. The Smoking Man lists climate change and other man-made disasters. The aliens predicted this but none of them could save the world from annihilation. The Smoking Man says he just changed the timetable. He offers Mulder “a seat at the big table.” They can start the world anew. Mulder refuses, but CSM notes that Mulder appears to be sick already. It is not too late.

O’Malley reports that hospitals are being overrun, but the mainstream media is failing to report the epidemic of diseases. He claims that chem trails are being used to spread it. Immunity to common germs is breaking down. Scully returns to her hospital. Reyes has told her how to defeat what is called the Spartan Virus. Nurse Sandeep says they are overrun with sick people. Scully needs Einstein’s help to act quickly. Scully now knows it is gene tampering. Alien DNA saves people, but the smallpox vaccine gene tampering is what makes people susceptible to losing their immune system. Scully wants to amplify her own DNA and create a vaccine against the gene therapy.

CSM tells Mulder that it is no time for pride. The ultimate irony – all thanks to the Spartan Virus. The Smoking Man removes a partial face mask revealing mutilated features. Mulder is very sick. Meanwhile Einstein and Scully work, but they find no alien DNA at the location where Scully saw it before. Nurse Sandeep comes in – the doctors are all getting sick.

O’Malley reports the first deaths – soldiers and the elderly. He urges viewers to stay indoors. He and his crew are also sick, but they will continue to report as long as they can.

In the hospital, the wards are overflowing. Power flickers. Einstein says they have to figure it out. What is wrong with the science? The virus removes the gene that is essential to the immune system. The alien DNA somehow deactivates the virus, returning the immune system to functioning. Einstein wonders if maybe their sample of Scully’s blood was too small.

Miller has found Mulder. Both are sick and the Smoking Man is still there. There is nothing anyone can do, he says. But Miller takes Mulder, helping him into the car. The Smoking Man tells Miller “before he dies, say goodbye for me.”

Einstein takes more blood from Scully. Einstein is starting to get sick. Their test this time finds a small bit of alien DNA. They can have a cure in a few hours. Miller calls Scully. He and Mulder are heading back to Washington, but Mulder’s condition is not good. There has been a run on gasoline, and they may have trouble getting back. Scully has a transfusion for Einstein. She will have the alien DNA, but everyone needs to have it to survive.

O’Malley reports that systems are failing. There is a traffic jam in DC. Scully calls to the crowd “get to the hospital, help is on its way.” She drives desperately to try to meet Miller and Mulder – on sidewalks, wrong ways on one-way streets, trying to thread past Obstacles. They are close together on the interstate bridges over the Potomac River (14th Street, US Highway 1, Interstate 395), but Scully cannot drive anymore because the bridge is blocked with vehicles. On foot, she runs between the vehicles, finally finding Miller and Mulder. Mulder is in bad shape and is semi-delirious. Apparently he is too sick. Scully is worried that the transfusion will not be enough and says that the only thing that might save him is stem cells from their son, William, but she does not know where William is.

At this moment, an Alien Replica Vehicle (a triangular UFO based on alien technology) appears and hovers over them. A light beams directly down on Scully and Miller on the bridge pavement and Mulder inside the car. The last thing we see is Scully, looking upward toward the light.

Session 10 ends with this cliffhanger.

 

My Struggle III. The episode begins with a narration by the Cigarette Smoking Man – his name is Carl Gerhart Bush, but he has been known by many names. He has been a witness to history and his has been a humbling job. If people knew the truth, they’d riot in the streets. He is not a bad man, but is a practical man. He is father to two men, both FBI agents [Fox Mulder and Jeffry Spender], both complex but dedicates. The truth is only held by a few. He is an old man, but he will leave his own mark on history. His sons will know that their father did what had to be done. As the narration ends, we see Neil Armstrong on the Moon, but the camera pulls back and we see that it is a television studio, and the younger Smoking Man is present.

Scully is being treated by paramedics in the X-Files office. She is undergoing seizures and having visions as the staff works on her, checking heart rate and blood pressure. Mulder thinks brought Scully, thinking that maybe she fell. Skinner arrives and accompanies Mulder to the hospital. A doctor there tells them that Scully seems to have had a seizure. They continue to work on Scully, and Mulder is agitated. He wants to know what is going on. The doctor says Scully is still unconscious and has highly abnormal brain activity, particularly in the hypothalamus, which controls the “fight or flight” reflex, although there has not been any actual damage. The doctor shows Mulder and Skinner real-time brain scans, and Skinner sees one spot flashing, as if in code. It reads “Find him.” Skinner feels it is clear that Scully wants to find William, but Mulder insists on staying.

Mulder is waiting in Scully’s hospital room and we hear a narration about fear that the person you care for most could be hurt by you. He is concerned that he may have caused Scully’s seizures. She wakes up and sees him. She tells him she has seen the future, and viewers understand that most of last season’s finale episode did not really happen, but rather was a vision of Scully’s. She tells Mulder about the Spartan virus, but says she is certain there is a cure and that they have t find William. They need stem cells from him. She tells Mulder that the Smoking Man is in Spartanburg South Carolina. She insists that Mulder find the Smoking Man and stop him.

That same evening, Jeffrey Spender enters the alley beside his apartment building to carry out a bag of garbage. A car attempts to run him down. Spender runs back to the locking door of his building and the driver pursues. Through the door, the driver shouts at him, “The boy, all we want is the boy.”

Scully, Mulder, and her doctor talk. The doctor has seen experimentation by many governmental agencies and things that appear to be superhuman. She thinks that Scully’s visions have an outside source. Mulder says he’s on it. As Mulder approaches his car, a light silver late model Mustang, he gets a voicemail from Spender, telling him about the people looking for William. As Mulder drives off, he realizes that he is being followed (by a black 2014 Dodge Charger). Mulder races through traffic to try to lose his tail, and eventually does, but then he hides and he follows the Charger, all the way to South Carolina.

Several scenes are cut back and forth in rapid succession. The Smoking Man knows about the attack on Spender, and says "they" will be coming for him. Monica Reyes tells the Smoking Man that Mulder is determined, but he replies that Mulder can’t stop what has already begun. He is concerned about Scully, and that the boy is in danger, but the Smoking Man does not know from whom. Monica says that maybe they know that William is the Smoking Man's weakness, but he counters that they could never know that, that only he and Monica know the connection between Scully and the Smoking Man. His plans, he says, are airtight, and even if they became known, they would be dismissed as fake news. He believes that Scully will come to see the beauty of his plan. Even though it means killing so many people, asks Monica? Mulder, Scully, and the boy are beyond science, he replies, and it is a secret only Monica and the Smoking Man know. The Smoking Man says he fears only for Scully and the boy. Monica says she thinks he loves Scully, and he replies that he always had Mulder to protect her. What if they find the boy first? You and I won't let that happen, the Smoking Man tells Monica.

Meanwhile, Spender goes to Scully’s hospital room. He was the one who originally took William, to keep him safe, but all he has is a name of the adoptive parents: Van de Camp. Scully leaves the hospital and goes to the X-Files office, where she phones Mulder to tell him she has a name, but she has another vision, with flashes of the future, and passes out. Later Skinner finds her phone, but she is gone. We see her in a car, having seizures or blurred vision, and another vehicle hits hers. Passersby assist.

The intercutting of scenes resumes as Mulder arrives at a resident in South Carolina, where he has followed the other car, and as the Smoking Man and Monica accost Skinner in his SUV. Inside the building, Mulder finds a man and woman, plus the Charger driver, but they are unknown and will not give their names. They claim to be part of the Syndicate involved in the alien colonization and they are looking for the Smoking Man because he is bent on exterminating humanity and they want Mulder to kill him. But the aliens are not coming. They have no interest in a warming planet with vanishing resources. The man and woman want to save humanity, to colonize space and do wonderful things with alien technology, but Mulder thinks they are only telling half the story. He thinks that it is a power play. He tells them that he knows someone who can save us, and they do, too, presumably meaning Scully. Back in his car, Mulder calls Skinner, but Skinner does not pick up.

The Smoking Man is offering Skinner a deal. The aliens are not coming, he says, and he offers Skinner immunity from the Spartan virus if Skinner finds the boy. The aliens came to study us and offered to work with us, bringing technology, but they also brought the seeds of our destruction, he says. The only truth left is to survive. He tells Skinner that Scully and William have immunity. Skinner asks if Mulder does, but there is no answer. Skinner thinks Scully will never accept the Smoking Man’s offer, but the Smoking Man says that for Scully, it will be a choice between her son and Mulder. He says he has a history with Dana that goes back 17 years.

Scully is back in the hospital. Einstein and Miller are in the hall. They were pulling into the FBI when they saw her car get hit. They knew where to bring her because of her medical bracelet. The doctor phones Mulder to tell here that Scully is back in the hospital. The Charger driver enters Scully’s room and attempts to smother her with a pillow, but she struggles. At the last moment, Mulder arrives, grabs a scalpel, and cuts the man’s throat.

We hear another Mulder narration asking if he has come full circle, discovering two conspiracies, not just one, both threatening William? Mulder and Scully talk. She knows that the Smoking Man did not send her assailant and will will not harm her. Mulder is convinced that her visions are true. Scully is convinced that they are from William. She doesn’t know how he is guiding both of them, but she knows that he will find them. We wait and do nothing, Mulder asks? We do our work; the truth still lies in the X-Files, she replies.

Skinner arrives and Mulder is suspicious. Skinner smells like smoke, and Mulder wants to know what he is hiding. We see a flashback to the episode En Ami, in the spring of 2000, when the Smoking Man cured Scully of cancer. That is also when she became pregnant, with what the Smoking Man of today says was the first superhuman child, accomplished, he says, with science, alien science. Skinner asks "who's the father?"

“I am. William is my son,” the Smoking Man says.

The final scene is is veiled view of a young man, William, underging mental stress, presumably as he transmits to Scully.

Note: The opening credits of this episode contain the dual taglines "I want to believe" and "I want to lie."

Early 2018?

This. At night, a station wagon is driving down the highway with rock music blaring. One of the occupants has long blond or white hair. The station wagon approaches Mulders rural residence. Mulder and Scully are inside, relaxing.

Mulder’s cell phone comes to life with a flickering, indistinct image of Richard “Ringo” Langly, one of the Lone Gunmen, who died many years earlier. It is hard to understand him, but he says things like asking if he is dead, and saying “they know that I know.”

The occupants of the station wagon are armed and invade the home. After a gun battle, two of the invaders are killed and one, the long-haired man, escapes in the station wagon. Scully calls the FBI field office to report the incident and Mulder and Scully talk about whether Langly could possible still be alive. The Lone Gunmen died from exposure to a lethal virus and their bodies were incinerated.

Langly is coming through on Mulder’s phone again, but two military-style vehicles drive up and Mulder hides the phone. Scully calls Skinner, who encourages them to surrender, but Mulder and Scully don’t. Commandos invade the house and after a fire fight and scuffle, Mulder and Scully are overwhelmed. The leader of the commandos speaks Russian – they want to find Mulder’s hidden phone, when they do when Langly tries to make contact again.

Given this distraction, Mulder and Scully escape out of the house and into the woods. At some point later, Skinner drives up to where Mulder and Scully are in the woods. He says he is risking his ass by coming to help them, but they do not trust him. The Russians are private contractors working under a classified national security document, but they were not supposed to try to kill the agents. Scully bluntly asks if Langly is alive. Skinner waffles, saying they were both at Langly’s funeral. Mulder and Scully will not go with Skinner, so he gives them some cash. The Russians have Mulder’s phone, but cannot get into it because Mulder has a kill switch installed.

Mulder and Scully visit Arlington National Cemetery, where The Lone Gunmen are buried. Langly’s birth date on the headstone is wrong. Mulder and Scully try to figure out a code, from the date on the three headstones, and end up at the grade of Deep Throat, who died in 1994, which names him as Ronald Paktula. The Christian cross on the headstone is different from all the others. Behind it, Mulder finds a metal disk with a QR code on it. The long haired man is watching them from a distance and opens fire. The agents tackle him and he collapses. Mulder and Scully run off, with the OR disk.

In a small town Virginia café, Mulder and Scully scan the QR code. It shows a building that Mulder knows is a clandestine NSA facility known as Titanpointe, in Manhattan. Mulder opened an X-File on the building in the 1990s, and Langly provided him the first information on it. They need to look at the X-Files, but know the bad guys will be waiting for them, so they accost Skinner in the FBI parking garage. The conversation is confrontational. They don’t trust him, because he appears to be working with people who tried to kill them, but they need his help.

He takes them somewhere (his home?). The X-Files were all digitized and are available to classified access, which means the Russians have access to all the files, also. Skinner says it is a different time from when the agents worked on the X-Files before. Here are many more intelligence agencies all over the world, both working together and trying to destroy each other. Mulder and Scully were gone and Skinner believed that the files were too important to not be available. When the X-Files were reopened, control reverted to the FBI.

All data about Titanpointe and Langly has been removed, but when Skinner is not looking, Mulder finds a hidden file, buried deep under multiple folders, that directs the agents to a mathematics professor at a technical academy in Bethesda, Maryland (sorry, didn’t get her name on first view, watch for updates). They call on her, showing here the QR disk, and she tells them that she and Langly were approached by representatives of a secret project with a plan that would allow them to live forever. Their assimilated self would be uploaded into a server bank and wake up after they actually died. She and Langly wanted to be together forever, so they accepted. They had talked about what clues might be found to let their assimilated selves know that they were actually living in a simulation, i.e. that they were actually dead. Maybe Langly is reaching out, but “they” don’t want the simulation exposed. She writes some information down for Mulder but the long haired man has snuck up and opens fire. The woman is killed and the long haired man is mortally wounded. Mulder grabs what the mathematician had written and the agents leave.

This time Mulder and Scully are in a “skanky” bar. Mulder has made use of the algorithm written down by he mathematician, and this time they get into better contact with Langly. He is living in a simulation and he wants Mulder and Scully to destroy it. He and many other dead people, including Steve Jobs, are there and are in digital slavery, i.e. performing science and technology research for their masters. Mulder recalls that Langly thought there was a tunnel between the Titanpointe building and the FBI field office.

Scully walks Mulder into the field office, as if he is a prisoner, saying that the NSA guys want to talk to him. She talks her way into the highly secure tunnel, and the agents enter the Titanpointe facility looking for the server room. Operatives find them and there is yet another fight. Mulder is captured and Scully escapes. Mulder is taken to a conference room where he finds the mysterious woman from last week’s episode who was part of the alien conspiracy. IMDB identifies her as Erika Price. She did not appreciate Mulder when she first met her, but now she has seen his instinct for survival. She says he needs to change how he looks at this mater, and offers him the opportunity to have his assimilated self loaded to the server. It can be done through cell phones. Almost all life on the planet is going to be crushed and this project is how the human race will evolve. Here is an unclear hint that Mulder’s father may be part of the simulation.

Mulder insists on seeing the project for himself and the Russian takes him to the server room. Scully has been sneaking through the halls and they both attack the Russian, incapacitating him, momentarily. Scully gets into the server room, as Mulder and the Russian continue to fight. She deactivates each server bank, causing permanent fatal errors. Mulder has won in the hall and quips that he got his phone back.

Mulder and Scully bring back FBI backup to the building, but Erika Price is gone. The server banks have ben removed. Scully accompanied Mulder back to his house, which is a mess from the earlier fighting. As they sit, the phone flickers again and Langly is there again, saying he is afraid. The long haired man is also there. The servers were apparently backed up somewhere.

January, 2018?

Plus One. At a rock concert in Henrico, Virginia, fans are dancing to the music. Arkie Seavers, age 20, who has been drinking jumps up on stage, then jumps back so that the audience carries him on arms, but as Arkie is lowered to the ground he sees someone who looks just like himself, staring at him with an expressionless face. The first attempts to follow, but at every step, the expressionless man is farther away. Arkie gets in his pickup and drives off, but his double appears in the seat beside him. Both fight at the steering wheel, and the pickup crashes into a tree, ejecting the driver through the windshield.

In the X-Files office, Mulder tells Scully about Arkie, experience. He is currently in jail. Scully points out that Arkie was drunk, but Mulder has other reports of people in the same county who saw their doubles just before dying by their own hand. This doesn’t seem like psychosis or hallucinations to Scully, and Mulder agrees that it is a mass phenomenon, so they had for Henrico County.

At the country jail, Mulder and Scully interview Arkie, with his lawyer Dean Cavalier, present. Arkie tells his story. He had seen his double four times and felt ne was being followed for a week. It was always in a crown. Arkie has a few previous DUI offenses, but Mulder wants to know how Arkie survived. Arkie says he has proof. The agents visit the scene of the crash and Mulder thinks Arkie’s story makes sense, but Scully thinks Arkie was likely drunk and fell asleep. Mulder believes that Arkie is too stupid to make up the story.

At the Henrico County Psychiatric Hospital, Dr. Russell, who treated previous victim (before their deaths) told a similar story of seeing their doppelgangers. None were upstanding citizens. Russell feels that the victims became mentally ill, as if from some kind of outbreak. While Scully talks to Russell, Mulder looks into the room of a patient named Judy, then asks about her condition and wants to talk with her. He wants to see the drawings she is making, but Russell warns that Judy is bi-polar, and has split personalities. In the room, we see that they all are versions of the “hangman” spelling game, one of which includes the name Arkie. Judy likes Mulder and says she plays telepathically with her brother. She denies knowing Arkie Seavers but says “she might” and points to an empty chair. In jail, Arkie is moved to a different cell for transfer. His double is in the cell, and Arkie screams for help.

Mulder and Scully arrive at the St. Rachel Motel to check in. There is only one room available, a suite with a pull-out sofa, which Mulder gets. Scully wakes up with a start to see Mulder standing over her. They just found Arkie dead in his jail cell. At the jail, it looks like a suicide, but Cavalier argues that Arkie was strangled and is still wearing handcuffs, and the agents know of case history showing that it can be done. Cavalier is angry, that Arkie did not want to die. Mulder suspects Judy. Mulder goes to talk with Chucky Poundstone, the trustee who discovered Arkie. He is also Judy’s brother and he has hangman drawings in his (very dirty) house also. He said Judy cheats. Chucky and Judy are twins, and at one point Chucky says “I’m talking to him” and points to someone Mulder cannot see.

Scully is back to talk to Judy, but Judy is exhibiting a different, nasty personality. This Judy knows that Arkie is dead. She issues a stream of derogatory comments about Scully, including that she is old. At the motel, Scully (clearing still wearing the cross necklace her mother gave her years earlier, and Mulder compare notes. Scully believes that Judy has some sort of influence over the victims, but is at a loss to know what it is – some sort of psychic transference. Mulder mentions ghosts, but Scully counters with scientific research about kinds of stimulation to the brains that result in sensing a presence or a shadow figure. But Scully changes the subject and surprises Mulder by asking if he thinks of her as being old. No, she’s still got it going on, he says, but she sends his next door to his room.

Chucky is at home, and read a newspaper article in which Cavalier claims that Arkie’s death was supernatural. Chucky is unhappy, thinking Cavalier wants to point the finder at Chucky. Chucky draws a hangman, and really does play the game with Judy telepathically. The word to be spelled appears to be Cavalier’s name. Later, Mulder returns to Chucky’s to find the man in good humor. Mulder clearly thinks that Chucky chooses victims at the jail, where he works, and hangs them psychically. Chucky’s good humor rapidly departs.

Scully visits Judy again. Cavalier is not fully spelled on her game sheet yet. Judy, exhibiting the first personality we saw, her no recollection of Scully visiting yesterday. Scully admits that she is angry because she wants the killing to stop. Judy denies any involvement. Judy claims that the other Judy is in the room, sitting in the chair. Judy knows about the deaths, even though she says she is not involved, but says that people can protect themselves by taking pills Judy has hidden that she takes every day to protect herself from her double, given to her every day by the nurses. Scully asks Judy to not play the hangman game with her brother, but Judy doesn’t know what she would do otherwise, and worries that she would go mad.

Scully asks the nurses about the pills. They bring her bread every morning and Judy rolls them into pill shapes. They are no special qualities the nurses know of…but they both take the pills also, to protect themselves. “You might want to take them, too,” one nurse tells Scully. Cavalier is at lunch, flirting (inappropriately) with the waitress, Lisa. As Lisa walks away, Cavalier sees his double standing outside the window. Cavalier accosts Mulder and Scully as they arrive back at their hotel and tells them of seeing his double. It is not the first time. Scully talks of paranoia, and the agents send him home, Mulder giving Cavalier his card. Mulder clearly senses a dark influence, but Dana denies that pure evil exists. Judy and Chucky are still playing the game and Judy is trying to figure out the word, which is actually Cavalier’s first name, Dean. She is almost there. Meanwhile, Cavalier arrives home and throws everything outside that he might use to kill himself, like tools and weapons. Cavalier cuts himself on an ornamental sword, then sees his double, also holding a sword at ready.

In the hotel, Scully again wakes up with a start to see Mulder standing above her, with news of Cavalier’s death. The agents go to his home. Cavalier’s head is completely cut off, which is an unlikely kind of suicide. Outside in the dark, Scully see her own double in the crowd of people watching the scene. Later, in her room, Scully wants up again with a start, but this time no one is there. Then Mulder wakes up to see Scully standing over him. She can’t sleep and this case is getting under her skin. She wants him to hold her, and gets in bed with him. She asks him what is going to happen when they are old. Sooner or later they are going to retire. Are they going to spend time together? Mulder promises to always be around with his theories. But she wonders what if Mulder meets someone, someone younger who wants to have kids. The world is going to hell and they seem to be the only sane ones. What if they lose their jobs” they’ll think of something. Neither agent sees Scully’s double watching them from the connecting doorway between their rooms.

Judy is working on a new game with Chucky. She has the letters UL so far. Scully is sleeping and Mulder slips out of bed. He sees his own double in the mirror behind him. Mulder wakes Scully who admits that she has also seen her double. They are both being targeted and Scully thinks Mulder is just playing into it. Mulder head off Chucky’s and Scully prepares to go to Judy’s room. It becomes clear that it is Mulder’s name Chucky is spelling, but Judy is spelling Scully’s, because Judy likes Mulder. Mulder bursts into Chucky’s house, but Mulder’s double is there. In her vehicle, on her way to Judy’s, Scully sees her double in her rearview mirror. Her rational mind knows that it is only a “manifest psychic ideation born of blatant hostility.” Maybe the double IS evil incarnate. The double disappears. Mulder and his double draw guns and fire at each other, then struggle. Chucky spells out his sister’s name, Judith, on his hangman, while Judy spells Chucky on hers. Chucky immediately sees his own double and Judy sees hers. Scully arrives at the hospital and they find Judy violent. She is blocking the door as Scully enters. But instants later Scully finds Judy dead on the floor. Mulder’s double is now gone and Mulder finds Chucky dead, strangles. On the wall, Mulder finds hangman drawings labeled MON and DAD.

Back at the motel, Scully is packing her case files. Mulder hints that they should go back to bed but Scully declines. But after Mulder goes to his room, Scully says “but them, it’s not out of the realm of extreme possibility, and goes to the connecting door, opening it to find Mulder waiting for her.

2037

In one possible time line, Jason Nichols travels back in time to the year 1997, to attempt to prevent the creation of practical time travel. He feels that it has created a world without history and a world without hope where everyone knows everything that has happened. The meaning of this is obscure. (Synchrony)

2040 circa

In "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati" we see a dream/vision sequence in which an elderly Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man speak, while outside alien spacecraft (or Alien Replica Vehicles) destroy the Earth. This vision of may have been based on some intuition of Mulder's as to the Colonization.

The End, for now.....

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