Sunday, January 9, 2011

The X-Files: Pilot

You guys. YOU GUYS. I cannot tell you how excited I am to watch and recap this show. Lois & Clark may have been my first TV obsession, but it was really just my gateway drug to The X-Files. I'll be recapping this show on my own, and Joe will be recapping something else (he is undecided so far), alongside Lois & Clark.

Netflix recap: Agent Dana Scully is instructed to debunk an FBI project dubbed "the X-files," cases linked to the paranormal that have been reopened by agent Fox Mulder.

THE FOLLOWING STORY IS INSPIRED BY ACTUAL DOCUMENTED EVENTS. (I am choosing to pretend that's not true, otherwise I might never go into the woods again.)

A young woman is running through the woods, barefoot and wearing a nightgown. She tumbles down a hill. The wind picks up and there's a bright light shining from the top of a hill. A figure approaches her and I pee my pants. The light gets so bright that we can't see anything OMG WHY CAN'T WE SEE ANYTHING? The light dies down and it's now daylight. The girl is lying face down on the ground, all dead and stuff. Wah wah.


Some detectives examine the body. The woman has two marks on her lower back. One detective identifies the woman as Karen Swenson, and reveals that she goes to school with his son. He walks away and the other detective shouts after him, "It's happening again, isn't it?" Whatever "it" is, we probably won't find out what it is for a while. But it's probably pretty freaky. Because this is The X-Files.

Someone needs some Clearasil, like, STAT.


Agent Dana Scully walks through the FBI lobby, looking terribly young. She's wearing an ill-fitting suit that makes me want to submit her name to What Not to Wear. Her hair is long and nowhere near as red as it should be (as you may know, it should be a little TOO red). She looks like Clarice Starling and I think that's on purpose.

xfterrible suit
90s fashion at its lowest.

It turns out she's on her way to a meeting. She sits down across from two generic old white men (GOWM) but there is a slightly younger man standing in the shadow, smoking a cigarette. RUN, SCULLY. Anyway, for brevity's sake, I'm going to call him CSM from now on because we all know he's the Cigarette Smoking Man. Unless you've never watched this show before, then...oops, spoilers.

One of the GOWMs asks if she's heard of Fox Mulder. Fox. I'll say. She's heard of him and gives his bio (EXPOSITION), which is basically that he's totally smart, impresses people with his catching-bad-guys skills, but everyone thinks he's really weird. Scully tells the men that his nickname at the academy was "Spooky Mulder" and smiles a bit, but no one thinks she's funny because they're jerks. I will always laugh at your jokes, Scully, provided you ever make another one.

Anyway, the point of this meeting is that they're assigning her to The X-Files. But we knew this. Because otherwise there wouldn't be a show. CSM doesn't say anything, he just stands in the corner and smokes because that's what he does.

Scully goes to find Mulder. His office is in the basement, which is probably supposed to be a punishment but I think it seems pretty nice because nobody bothers you when you're stuck in the basement. Just ask Milton. Scully knocks on his office door and is answered with, "Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI's most unwanted." We get our first glimpse of Mulder's "I Want to Believe" poster. Introductions! Oh, these two. I can't wait. Mulder is wearing glasses and generally looking dead sexy.

xfmulder glasses
Glasses McPouty Face.

Mulder already knows who Scully is and acts all smarmy because, well, that's what HE does. He loads some slides because he claims he wants Scully's medical opinion, but really I think he just wants to make her uncomfortable. The first slide is of the dead girl we met earlier. Nice intro, Mulder. Very welcoming.

He asks Scully to ID the marks found on Karen Swenson's body. There's some chemistry talk (booooooooring) about the marks and Mulder says they were also found on some other bodies across the US.

Mulder and Scully stand across from each other and the height difference is hilarious. Mulder asks Scully if she believes in the existence of extraterrestrials in the most ridiculous way possible and she's all, "no, weirdo." Mulder's all, "SIGH, all crazy shit that I don't understand is obviously ALIENS, WHY WON'T ANYONE LISTEN TO ME?" and Scully's like, "SCIENCE SCIENCY SCIENCE."

xfheight difference
This height difference is probably going to make all the making out rather difficult.

THEY'RE ON A PLANE. Mulder is lying across a row of seats, which is totally douchey, and listening to headphones. Scully is being a good little FBI agent and doing some reading about the case. The plan goes all Lost-crash for a minute and Scully almost poops herself, naturally, but Mulder doesn't care that the plane almost crashed, probably because his life sucks.

The pair drive along a country rode and Mulder eats some sunflower seeds. I didn't realize that particular quirk made it into the pilot episode. They discuss the case, and Scully impresses Mulder by noticing some small detail that I won't bore you with because it's boring and who cares. The radio goes all wonky and Mulder looks excited. He is easily amused. He stops the car and uses some spray paint that he just happens to have with him to spray a big, orange X on the road. And then doesn't explain shit to Scully. This...happens a lot.

xfbig x
Um, that's a $150 fine, Mulder.

They go to a graveyard, where Mulder has ordered the exhumation of Ray Soames, who was killed in a similar way to Karen Swenson, I think, I don't know, I wasn't really paying attention. Dr. Nemman, whose name Scully found in the report, comes to yell at Mulder for being insensitive. He gets very defensive and yells some more until his daughter is all, "Let's go home, Dad, you are totes embarrassing me! BRBLOL."

The exhumation process goes awry when the coffin goes falling down a hill. Yep, that would do it. Oops. Mulder opens the coffin and the body looks...weird. Mulder makes a joke because he's inappropriate. He orders to have the body sealed.

10:56 PM

Scully is trying to do the autopsy on Ray Soames and Mulder circles around her, taking pictures of the body. He thinks it's an alien. Obviously. Scully gets testy with Mulder and says it's an orangutan, and he's all "WTF, why? Is Ray Soames really be a monkey? I don't think so, it's far more likely that this is an ALIEN."

Scully stays up late that night, typing her report. They found a metallic implant in the body's nasal cavity and she looks at it for a while because her life is sad. Mulder knocks on her door and asks if Scully wants to go for a jog with him. At 4:30 in the morning. She declines.


Mulder and Scully interview a psychiatrist about Ray Soames. The doctor had been treating Ray for PTSD symptoms, which is weird for a high school student unless he was the victim of relentless wedgies. The doctor is also treating some of Ray's classmates and two of them, Billy Miles and Peggy O'Dell, are currently at the facility. They've been there for four years. Yikes. Scully asks to talk to them.

It's going to be hard to talk to Billy because he's in a waking coma. Peggy sits at his bedside and reads to him. She's in a wheelchair and presumably cannot walk. This will be important later. They're there because they were in a car accident, the doctor says, NOT because they were anally probed. Mulder says like two words to Peggy and then she FREAKS THE FUCK OUT, which I think is how a lot of people react to Mulder. Her nose starts bleeding and she falls to the ground. Mulder lifts up her shirt, which could be misconstrued, I think, but they see she has the marks on her back. The marks! Ahh! Scully gets pissed and storms out. She yells at Mulder for not giving her all the details. She wants the truth. Mulder says he thinks the kids have been abducted. Scully, obviously, does not believe that. She insists that there must be a logical explanation BECAUSE OF COURSE SHE DOES.

They go to the forest where the bodies were found. Mulder pulls out a compass and it goes crazy, the needle spinning all over. So...the compass isn't so much HELPFUL, really. Scully finds some sand or something and puts it in her pocket, which doesn't seem like it would be FBI procedure. "Here, I'll just put this important evidence in my pocket, it'll be fine." She hears a noise and pulls out her gun. There's a bright light, similar to the one Karen Swenson saw, you know, right before she was found dead. Someone comes walking toward her. OH NOES. But wait, this guy has a gun and he's from the county sheriff's department. Mulder runs up from...somewhere. There is some yelling and the sheriff orders them to leave. Everyone puts their guns away and Mulder and Scully go bye bye.

They drive away. It's raining. Scully pulls the sand out of her pocket and asks if Mulder knows what it is. She wonders if the kids are involved in a cult. What? Mulder checks his watch, it's 9:03, and the compass is still going crazy. There's a bright light and their car dies. Say WHAT. Mulder checks his watch and it says 9:12. They lost 9 minutes! They get out of the car, Mulder whoohoos like a dork, and they see they're next to the orange X Mulder put on the road earlier.

xflost 9 minutes
I think your rain dance worked, Mulder.

They're arguing about the missing time and the car starts again. By itself. They go back to their hotel rooms and as Scully works on her report, the power goes out. So she prepares to take a candlelit bath (awwww YEAH) and takes off her robe, revealing some very unimaginative underwear. She finds something on her back and FREAKS OUT.

She goes to Mulder's hotel room, says "I need you to look at something for me," and drops her robe. Mulder's all, "am I dreaming right now?" She points to her back while he stares at her, all practically naked in front of him, and she asks what they are.

xfscully robe
Think about baseball, think about baseball.

Mosquito bites, he answers, after inspecting. He's totally a Female Body Inspector right now. Get it? FBI. Female Body Inspector. I'm sorry. Anyway, she puts her robe back on and throws herself at Mulder (like, literally) in relief. He hugs her and she sits down because she is ascared.

Cut to...Scully lying in Mulder's bed. Bow chicka bow wow! This is not appropriate FBI partner behavior. Mulder is telling her the story of his sister's disappearance and how he got involved in The X-Files. While they're bonding, someone sneaks around the hotel.

Apparently, someone higher up is blocking Mulder's attempts to get at classified information. Scully's all "who" and he says she must know because she's part of that agenda and she's all, "shut up, dude, I'm just trying to solve this case." He's not getting any tonight. Apparently she was convincing enough, because Mulder discloses that he thinks his sister was abducted by aliens. Too soon, Mulder. Too soon.

The phone rings. It's someone calling to tell them that Peggy O'Dell is dead, but the caller hangs up without identifying himself. OR HERSELF.


So this is weird. Peggy is dead, right? Well, it turns out she was running and got hit by a car. Peggy. Who was previously in a wheelchair. Scully examines Peggy's body and sees that her watch stopped at 9:03. Mulder comes over to Scully and says they have to leave, all huffy because someone trashed the autopsy lab and stole the Ray Soames/orangutan body.

They go back to the hotel...which is on fire. That can't be good. Scully's all "there goes my computer," which would be the least of my concerns but whatever. The x-rays and the pictures and basically all evidence of the weirdo alien/orangutan body were in the hotel, as well, and presumably destroyed. Mulder sad.

xfmulder sad

A woman walks up to sad Mulder and computerless Scully and says they have to protect her. She's Theresa Nemman, daughter of the investigator who yelled at Mulder and Scully at the beginning of the episode. They take her to a coffee shop and she tells them how she often ends up in the woods and has no idea how she got there. They don't ask her how much she drinks, though, which seems like an important question. Just sayin'. This problem has been happening since she graduated and she's scared she might die. Valid. In case you're interested, she's the one who called Mulder about Peggy's death.

Scully asks Theresa if her father knows about what happens. I guess he does, but he told her never to tell anyone about any of it. Probably because people will assume she's getting blackout drunk all the time and waking up in the woods. Also! She has the marks! Then her nose starts bleeding. On this show, that is never good.

Theresa's father comes in and takes her home. He's with the man who ordered Mulder and Scully out of the woods who turns out to be Billy Miles's father.

Scully is PISSED. She says Dr. Nemman and Detective Miles know exactly what's happening and they're the lying-liars-who-lie-evidence-destroyers. But Mulder, for once, is being somewhat skeptical. Then he suggests they go dig up some graves and Scully is totally down with that.

When they get there, though, someone's already emptied the graves. Mulder says, "I think I know who did it." And that person is...Billy Miles. What? He's in a coma. Scully calls Billy Miles a vegetable which I don't think is very PC.

It's 5:07, btw, and they're standing out in the dark. In a graveyard. In the rain. Mulder says everything fits the profile of an alien abduction. Scully starts laughing hysterically (which is weird because Scully doesn't do that), Mulder says, "you think I'm crazy." Well. Yes. But that doesn't mean you're not right.

Scully tells Mulder that Peggy's watch stopped a little after 9. Scully is at her least skeptical in this episode and Mulder is pretty easily convincing her that he's right about the whole alien abduction thing. She starts laughing hysterically again and you can tell they totally want to make out.

xfscully laughing

They go see Billy Miles and some nurse blah blah blahs about how he'll never get out of that bed as Scully examines Billy's body. She looks at his feet and they are dirty and gross. Like, either the hospital is not bathing him or he was running around the woods.

Scully's sure that Billy killed everyone but Mulder, MULDER YOU GUYS, talks her down and says they need more evidence. WTF is happening? Did they swap bodies? Cause I don't remember that ever happening.

They go to the woods and see Detective Miles's car. They hear a woman scream and go tearing off into the woods. They're running with flashlights, which is totally what they do ALL THE TIME in future episodes, so this is good practice for them. Someone hits Scully in the head. It was Detective Miles. Dick. Mulder runs and runs until Detective Miles catches up and points his gun at him. Mulder says he knows it was Billy.

Mulder guilts Detective Miles into stopping his son from, you know, murdering Theresa. The dude almost shoots Billy! WTF, you're his dad! Anyway, Mulder stops Detective Miles before he can shoot his kid, Billy picks up Theresa (that's who the screaming girl was, obviously), and a bright light shines on them. Uh-oh. All goes to white and when everyone can see again, Billy says, "Dad?" and his marks are gone. Which is probably good. Usually vegetables can't talk. Of course, they usually can't walk around murdering people either, but whatever. Mulder realizes he hasn't seen Scully in a while and runs off to make sure she's not dead. She missed the big show, although she did see the light. Mulder says it was "incredible." Scully always misses the good stuff. I guess so she can remain all skeptical and junk. No fair.

MARCH 22, 1992

Billy is being questioned under deep hypnosis. He says he first saw the light in the woods when he was at a party with his friends, and the light took him away to the testing place. But not like SAT testing, I don't think. His job was to gather the others for testing. They (the aliens, or whatever) put something in his head and he'd wait for their orders. The tests didn't work so they wanted everything destroyed, which was why he was straight up murdering everyone, only I'm not sure if he actually killed anyone or if the light people killed everyone.

CSM, Scully, and two old white dudes are watching this from the next room, but then they all leave because it's time for Scully to get yelled at.

Scully gets in trouble for her report, because there are so many holes in it. They ask about the time loss and she's all, "I actually don't know whether that happened," which I guess is not a good enough answer. Where the hell is Skinner? They debunk her work and say she has no physical evidence. So she pulls out the implant they found in the corpse. BOOYA. IN YO FACE. It wasn't destroyed in the fire because she kept it in her pocket. Lucky. Maybe it IS FBI procedure to keep evidence in your pocket. She said she ran a lab test on it and it could not be identified.

They want to know what Agent Mulder thinks. She says he believes they are not alone and they tell her to GTFO of their faces. She walks down the hall and passes CSM in the hallway. He goes into the office she just came out of and SHE NOTICES. OH YES SHE DOES.


Later, Scully lies awake in bed and the clock shows that it's 11:21 (it's always 10:13 or 11:21 on this show). Her phone rings. It's Mulder. The paperwork they filed on Billy Miles has disappeared. Sad face.

CSM is walking down a long hallway lined with files. He puts the implant Scully found in a compartment with a bunch of other implants. It's kind of like the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, which I think is on purpose. Ooh, the room is at the Pentagon! I don't know about you guys, but I think this might be a CONSPIRACY.

This is also where Toby Flenderson hides all of Dwight's complaints about Jim.


The Cilantropist said...

Wow I remember watching this pilot episode. Although it does seem totally lame now, I was OBSESSED with it when I was younger. Seriously! You might have convinced me to watch x-files again. Or maybe just read your re-caps.

Ashley said...

They used to have to put Gillian Anderson on a box in some scenes. For real.

Also, Scully has bad hair and clothes until season four and it is SO FRUSTRATING. There's this unfortunate plaid number she wears in one of the upcoming episodes that makes this episode's wardrobe seem like it was made for a supermodel.

I'm really glad you're recapping this show! It makes me want to start recapping again, but I have no time for fun anymore.

Jennie said...

Amanda, I was obsessed, too...I haven't watched it years, though, I'm excited to watch it again.

Ashley, I know, I think it's hilarious. I remember seeing bloopers once of her just falling off of her box over and over. Joe says that Scully looks awful in the first few seasons because they hadn't noticed that Gillian Anderson was hot yet.

Ashley said...

If I'm remembering correctly, Chris Carter chose Gillian Anderson because she wasn't a "classical" beauty. He wanted her to be smart first. Then the sexy kind of just happened, I think. The network wanted Heather Locklear(!).

Jennie said...

I think you're right and I'm guessing that's why her wardrobe was so bad for so long. And her hair. And her glasses.

I didn't mention it, but Mulder's wardrobe was just as bad in the pilot.

Ashley said...

I never noticed if Mulder was wearing stupid things because Mulder would look sexy in a garbage bag covered in rotten banana peels.

Anonymous said...

OMG Scully in her bra and panties on the Pilot...Who knew...


kat said...

i am so excited about this.

Katie said...

Mulder still looks hot, even with his early 90's getup and cheesy glasses.

Jennie said...

Agreed...he is hot at all times, as far as I can remember.

eclectic said...

Please don't hate me for this: I've never seen this show. I'm never sure who it is when people talk about Scully or Fox or Mulder or whatever, and I never knew that they were so height-opposite. BUT! This? Made me hee-haw like an obnoxious Grand Canyon mule (in a good way), and now I sorta wish I'd watched the show sometime. THAT is a huge compliment to your re-cap, so you know.

Carolynn said...

jennie, are we separated at birth??? x-files and lois & clark!?!?! i still have about 2 dozen VHS tapes full of taped episodes of these two shows- i could not be convinced they were anything but pure television genius. i'm so glad i'm not alone in my fond memories. :) loving your re-caps!

Jennie said...

Carolynn, thank you! I used to tape every episode of TXF so I coudl rewatch them...I have no idea whatever happened to those tapes, so thank goodness for Netflix, haha.

David said...

Does anyone know who the actress who played karen swenson on the pilot episode one seems to know.

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