REPOST - CTP Episode of the Day - 03.29.06 - 3

Today's Cherished Episode: 3 (2x07)
Original Air Date: November 4, 1994
Written By: Chris Ruppenthal, Glen Morgan and James Wong
Directed By: David Nutter

Mulder investigates a series of vampiresque murders in Hollywood and finds himself falling for a mysterious woman who is a prime suspect.

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"I didnít check into a hotel room. I donít sleep anymore."

Some "3" Tidbits and Musings:

-- The X-Files entered its second season with a few obstacles to overcome. First, the X-Files Division had been closed at the end of the first season, so the writers had to find a way to get Mulder and Scully back to investigating unexplained phenomenon. Secondly, Gillian Anderson was expecting her first child in September, and the writers had to figure out how to work around or without her for the first part of the season.

-- Chris Carter relied on his ace staff writers Glen Morgan and James Wong to help overcome those obstacles. He charged them with writing the episode that would provide Mulder with the incentive he needed to continue his quest ("Little Green Men") as well as the episode that would deal with complex emotional issues that would arise after Scully returned from abduction ("One Breath"). Carter also asked the team to come up with an episode that would "give Mulder something to do" while Scully was missing. That episode eventually became "3."

-- The original script for the episode that turned into "3" was written by Chris Ruppenthal, an executive script consultant on the show who also wrote the Season 1 episode "Roland." Prior to X-Files he wrote episodes of Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman," and wrote several episodes and served as a producer for Quantum Leap.

-- "We needed an episode fast, so Jim and I rewrote Chris Ruppenthal's original script," explained Glen Morgan. "It was sweeps month, and everybody on the staff was a pervert anyway," joked Morgan, "so an erotic episode seemed the way to go."

-- The episode title refers to the three vampire killers and their view of themselves as an unholy trinity - the Father, the Son, and the Unholy Spirit.

-- Timeline: As shown by Mulder's office calendar, the episode took place in November 1994. According to "Duane Barry," Scully was abducted in August 1994.

-- Scully's X-File case number was shown to be 73317.

-- Scully's picture on the FBI ID Mulder placed with the X-file on her abduction was different from the ID shown in the opening credits.

-- This was the first episode filmed entirely without Gillian Anderson who was, of course, off having her baby.

-- Oopsie! In response to seeing the writing on the wall at the crime scene, Mulder quoted the scripture, "He who eats of my flesh and drinks of my blood shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." The wall writing said John 52:54; however, to match Mulder's quote, the wall should have said John 6:54. The Gospel of John has no chapter 52.

-- The "Club Tepes" featured in the episode is named after Prince Vlad Tepes, or Vlad III the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracula, who was the Prince of Wallachia, a former polity that is now part of Romania. His Romanian surname, Draculea, was derived from his father's title Dracul, meaning affiliation to and/or descent from "Dracul." The word "dracul" means "the Devil" or "demon" in modern Romanian, but in Vlad's day also meant "dragon," and derives from the Latin word Draco, also meaning dragon. In the English speaking world, Vlad was best known for the exceedingly cruel punishments he imposed during his reign (primarily impaling people) and for having a famous literary figure named after him -- he was the inspiration for the main vampire character in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel, "Dracula."

-- The scenes at the Club Tepes were filmed at the Oasis Club in North Vancouver.

-- The movie playing on the screens at the Club Tepes was M, a 1931 German film starring Peter Lorre. It was directed by Fritz Lang and written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was allegedly based on the real-life 1920s case of serial killer Peter Kurten, the "Vampire of Dusseldorf," although Lang fervently denied that he drew from the case. The movie was remade in 1951, shifting the action from Berlin to Los Angeles and starred David Wayne in the Peter Lorre role.

-- Kristen Kilar was played by Perrey Reeves, David Duchovny's long-time girlfriend at that time.

-- In the scene where Mulder met Kristen in Club Tepes, the song "The Unheard Music" by Los Angeles based punk band X was heard playing in the background. Several other X songs were featured in The X-Files and Millennium.

-- The scenes in Kristen's villa were filmed at the house of professional ice hockey player Pavel Bure of the Vancouver Canucks.

-- A scene in which a firefighter came to warn Kristen about the fire was cut from the final version of the episode; the brief deleted scene is available on the Season 2 DVDs.

-- The shots of the California fires were added digitally by computer.

-- Mark Snow's score for "3" can be heard played with trumpets (instead of piano) on his score for the TV movie Caroline at Midnight.

-- In the beginning of the episode, Mulder said that he didn't sleep anymore. But apparently Kristen found the cure for his insomnia -- she had to wake him in Act Three.

-- Although Mulder shared a kiss with Phoebe Green in Season 1, "3" was notable for being the first episode in which he presumably had a sexual close encounter. "I thought, 'This guy's a monk. Let's let him be human,'" said Chris Carter. "Especially in [Scully's] absence, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to do it." But the writers had to involve the grief-stricken Mulder in the sexual situation without making him callous, and they did it in the only way it made sense: by calling on his sympathy for a victim and his own unacknowledged need for comfort. Mulder was intrigued by the alluring Kristen, but what really undermined his defenses was his own vulnerability. She appealed to Mulder's deep-seated need to protect and defend.

-- "The whole episode was about Mulder being in such a dark, evil place both mentally and spiritually," said Glen Morgan. "With Scully gone he's open to this character [Kristen], who was a kind of anti-Scully. They had to have this kind of sexual tension that comes from something being new and forbidden."

-- "Unfortunately," continued Morgan, "since Duchovny and Reeves were already intimate, that made maintaining the forbidden tension between them difficult. I think if we had somebody who was new to David, there would have been more tension there, and that was so key to making this story work."

-- The script for "3" also fell foul of Fox's in-house watchdogs, Broadcast Standards and Practices. "It was a much more kinky, erotic episode in the beginning," said Glen Morgan. "And Standards and Practices took a lot of the more erotic kink elements out of it -- the things that made it a dangerous kind of show."

-- "It was watered down from the original," added James Wong. "There were a lot of bloodsport things, things that made you feel a little uncomfortable, but in a kind of sexy way. But Broadcast Standards said -- and this is my favorite quote -- 'On FOX, we don't have kinky sex.'"

-- David Duchovny was also among the episode's detractors, saying the hour had style but suffered from lapses in logic. "Why do I let her shave me, for God's sake?" he mused.

-- "The bad part" about acting with your significant other, Duchovny would later say, "is that in acting you're more honest and more vulnerable and more in-the-moment than you are in life. And the people that you live with in your life are used to seeing you defensive and uptight, as you normally are."

-- In the final scene, the Unholy Spirit said in Transylvanian, "I will live forever."

-- "Only two of the shows we did in those first two years -- 'Shadows' and '3' -- were major disappointments," said Glen Morgan. "With both those episodes, I think I knew going in that they were going to be disappointing. But at least I know why they went wrong." "Shadows," he recalled, was written specifically for the network, who had asked for an episode in which Mulder and Scully could help save a relatable character from a ghost. And the combination of script tinkering and a bad casting decision doomed "3."

-- Morgan found out fairly quickly that "3" was not popular with X-Files fans thanks to the then relatively new medium called the Internet. During the show's first season, Morgan said the writers found the Internet chats that occurred right after episodes aired to be particularly rewarding and instructive. "What we found out on The X-Files was that there was an intelligent audience out there who didn't want TV to just wash over them. They wanted to talk about things. When I started out in television, your only input was that if your family called you afterwards, they liked the show. If they didn't call, that meant it sucked."

-- Morgan and the other writers also learned that X-Files fans were quick to use Internet forums and electronic fan mail to point out continuity errors or mistakes, and the show staff appreciated that level of commitment and devotion from their audience. "To watch the show on Friday and then come in on Monday and find all these comments from the Internet that you could directly apply to the next episode," said Morgan, "that was, I felt, what the notion of 'interactive' was really all about."

-- But by the time Morgan and Wong left the show in late Season 2, Morgan felt that the quality of discussion on X-Files Internet forums had deteriorated. "I would go through the messages and read the headings and they were talking about the size of Scully's tits. It was kind of frightening," Morgan said. "That was their business if that's what they wanted to talk about, but it seemed the whole idea of a thoughtful discussion was absent. Early on, people were talking about themes and character, and then the forums became overwhelmed by people who were totally focused on plot points, on stuff like the color of Mulder's ties. I mean, I knew this was not [Ingmar] Bergman or anything, but it seemed that there weren't any more people who wanted to talk about challenging themes. All those people had disappeared."

-- "It was frustrating to have people say, 'Why did Mulder do this?' or 'Where did Krycek go?'" added Morgan. "Sometimes it became a soap opera. That was my brother Darin's theory, that it was an intellectual soap opera. And that was okay too. That was part of the fun, but you lost some other stuff by focusing on that. I guess the thing I liked about the Internet was when it was more of a challenging commentary."

-- Morgan found that actually getting online himself and initiating those more sophisticated discussions didn't work either. "It just became a big lovefest so it wasn't constructive," he said. He recalled that "I had an experience where I signed on for a chat under another screen name, and it was after the vampire episode ["3]. There were a lot of people who didn't like it and they were really trashing it. But when they realized it was really me there, just a minute later it was a whole other thing. People were saying, 'Hi Glen, great show!' The people you trust are the ones who still said, 'Glen, that show sucked.' Those people who ragged on the episode on the Internet were right. I just wish they had stuck to their guns." But Morgan always took such knocks in stride. "You've got 43 minutes, 42 seconds to tell a story. You have to take shortcuts somewhere."

-- David Nutter is still a very busy and in demand director. He recently directed the first two episodes of the new FOX series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.

-- Frank Military, who played The Son/John, is also an accomplished writer and producer. He has written several episodes of the TV series NCIS, Jericho, and The Unit and has served as supervising or co-executive producer of those series.

-- Perrey Reeves continues to have a very successful acting career. She played Daphne on the short-lived Rob Lowe series Lyon's Den and is currently featured as Mrs. Ari, the wife of uberagent Ari Gold, on the hit HBO series Entourage. On the big screen, she appeared in Old School with her Entourage costar Jeremy Piven, heavy hitters Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn, and X-Files alumni Luke Wilson. In a recent interview, she told TV Guide that she spends four months of the year in Costa Rica, where she and her husband Jeff Gossett are building a yoga retreat on an eco-estate.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Malcolm Stewart (Commander Carver) was Dr. Glass in the "Pilot," Agent Bonnecaze in "Avatar," and Dr. Sacks in "Tunguska/Terma." Ken Kramer (Dr. Browning) was Dr. Berube in "The Erlenmeyer Flask" and Dr. Ivanov in "War of the Coprophages." Roger Allford (Garrett Lorre) was the Harbormaster in "Nisei." Brad Loree (Fireman) was a Security Guard in "Leonard Betts" and the Second Suit in "Unusual Suspects." Tom McBeath (Detective Gwynn) was a Scientist in "Space" and Dr. Lewton in "Teso Dos Bichos." Guyle Fraizer (Officer) played an officer again in "Soft Light."

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

Please share your first impressions, favorite (or cringe-worthy) moments, classic lines, favorite fanfic, nagging questions, repeated viewing observations, etc., as today we celebrate "3."

Polly