Well, Conduit, the fourth episode of season one, was on one of those tapes (along with the Pilot), but it was never one of my favorites. I'm not sure why now, because on rewatch, it's easy to see how important it is to the series. It's the first time you really see how much Mulder's sister's disappearance fucked him up, like, forever times a million, and I think it's the first time he acts like a pissy little bitch because Scully is concerned and tries to reign him in. I mean, it definitely won't be the last time, either, so poor Scully.
The episode opens with a family camping. The two kids are sleeping outside and the mom is sleeping inside the camper, but she wakes up when it starts shaking. There's a closeup of a cup of coffee and it's all Jurassic-Park-shakedown, and for a minute I wonder if I forgot there was a T-Rex in this episode.
Hold on to your butts.
One of the kids, a teenage girl named Ruby, is abducted, as her young brother, Kevin, watches.
Over at the FBI, Scully is getting yelled at because Mulder wants to investigate the girl's abduction based on nothing more than a tabloid article. Which, OK, yeah, I buy that the FBI might be upset about that. But at some point, maybe when Skinner comes around, I feel like Mulder investigates cases based on a lot less evidence (tail babies, anyone?), but I think that's because Skinner is secretly in love with Scully so he lets them do pretty much whatever the hell they want.
At one point, Blevins (the guy in charge of them who is a total party pooper) talks about Mulder's preoccupation with fringe matters and I start giggling because, well, FRINGE, duh. We were watching Fringe the other day and some dude got murdered while he was watching The X-Files. That's totally how I want to go out. Anyway.
Scully finds Mulder in his office and is all, "I totes just got in trouble and it's all your fault," and he's like, "Shut up, who cares, Lake Okabogee is a UFO hotspot, let's go investigate," because, oh yeah, Ruby got abducted by Lake Okabogee, which is just really fun to say and was also the site of UFO sighting back in the 60s and stuff.
They go to Ruby's mom's house. Her name is Darlene but it's not the daughter from Roseanne, unfortunately. Anyway, Darlene tells them her daughter was abducted by aliens. Scully doesn't believe her (obviously) and Mulder lurks creepily over a picture of young Ruby on the mantle. I know it's because this case makes him all emo about his sister, but still.
Show me on the picture where he touched you...
Mulder and Scully go to the police station and the sheriff is kind of an asshole. He thinks Ruby was a bad kid, therefore he doesn't believe she was abducted, but assumes she just ran away because she, like, drank a lot and slept around. It's kind of the, "did you see what she was wearing, she was asking for it" defense, only for abductions instead of rape. Dick.
Later, Mulder and Scully meet a blond chick who tells them Ruby was pregnant, only don't pay attention to her because she's lying. She sends them to a motorcycle bar where Mulder and Scully spend most of their time looking extremely out of place.
Scully is awakened that night by some NSA agents who just break right into her hotel room. Rude. She looks adorable with her blue pajamas and bedhead but the NSA agents don't care, they want information about this document that Kevin wrote. Remember Kevin? He's Ruby's brother and I forgot to mention this, but earlier he was writing a bunch of ones and zeros on a piece of paper while sitting in front of a Poltergeist TV.
Um, insert obvious Poltergeist joke here.
Naturally, the NSA agents take Kevin and his mom into custody, because CLEARLY Kevin is a threat to national security. They think the papers with ones and zeroes all over them are super secret satellite codes, but I think that maybe Kevin was just writing a binary solo. They also ransack Kevin's room and are totally rude about it. Mulder and Scully watch helplessly and then decide to go to the woods, where they find a shallow grave. They're worried that it's Ruby but it turns out that it's her boyfriend so WHO CARES.
They interrogate the blond girl from earlier and Mulder's totally the bad cop. Scully thinks the case is wrapped up because they get a confession from Blond Girl, but Mulder's not going to stop until Ruby is found. Scully is all, "stop running after your sister," and OUCH, SCULLY. Too far.
Anyway, they go to Kevin's house and see this:
Aliens have too much time on their hands.
But no one is home, so they go back to Lake Okabogee, WHICH IS SO FUN TO SAY, YOU GUYS, HAVE YOU TRIED IT YET? Long story short, they find Ruby, but not before Kevin is almost run over by some motorcycles. What sucks is you totally think the lights from the motorcycles are from a UFO at first, but no, it's just a motorcycle gang. DAMN YOU, CHRIS CARTER.
Mulder and Scully go see Ruby at the hospital and ask her where she was, but she says she's not supposed to tell. Boo! Darlene yells at Mulder and Scully some more and Mulder storms off like a petulant child but hold on, you're going to feel bad for him in just a minute.
Scully, back in her office, listens to some cassette she finds in Mulder's sister's file and it's a tape of Mulder in a hypnotic regression therapy session. Sure. Also, aww, remember tape players? Anyway, Mulder's talking about the night Samantha disappeared and, meanwhile, in present day land, he's sitting in a church, holding a picture of Samantha and crying. DOWNER.
Better call the waaaaahmbulance.
So, yeah, Mulder's totally messed up, Scully's beginning to realize just HOW messed up he is, and everyone takes a trip to Sadtown, USA, population: Mulder. What's weird is Mulder's recollection of Samantha's abduction, because he says he was in bed when she was taken. No spoilers or anything, but his story changes later. But, shh, it's not really that important in the grand scheme of the show because so many things are going to get really confusing in, like, four or five seasons.