CTP Episode of the Day - 12.20.06 - Ascension

Today's Cherished Episode: Ascension (2x06)
Original Air Date: October 21, 1994
Written By: Paul Brown
Directed By: Michael Lange

Mulder pursues Duane Barry in a desperate search for Scully.

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"There's only one thing I can do, Agent Mulder. As of right now, I'm reopening the X-Files. That's what they fear the most."

Some "Ascension" Tidbits & Musings:

-- Title: "Ascension" means "movement upward" and was tied to the slogan for Skyland Mountain where Scully disappeared -- "Ascend to the Stars." In astronomy, "ascension" means the rising of a star above the horizon; and in Christianity, it refers to the rising of the body of Jesus into heaven on the 40th day after his Resurrection.

-- The tagline was changed for the second time in the series to "Deny Everything," which comes from a line in the episode spoken by X: "There are no answers for you, Mr. Mulder. They only have one policy ... deny everything."

-- The episode was directed by Michael Lange who also directed "Young at Heart," "Miracle Man," and "Unrequited." Recently he directed an episode of the new series Brothers and Sisters and is a regular director on The O.C.

-- Writer Paul Brown joined the show's staff at the beginning of Season 2 and was gone before Season 2 ended. He served as a producer and wrote "Excelsius Dei" in addition to this episode.

-- The song that Duane Barry was listening to on his way to Skyland Mountain was "Red Right Hand" by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, featured on the X-Files album "Songs in the Key of X."

-- Skinner said that Barry was following orders from alien voices in his head, an interesting spin on the Nuremberg defense. Skinner was referring to the Nuremberg Trials which were held in the German city of Nuremberg from 1945 to 1949. The trials were conceived to bring the major war criminals/leaders of Nazi Germany to justice. In defending themselves, most of the accused stated that they were just following orders, thus the "Nuremberg defense."

-- Krycek mentioned that Chernobyl, Exxon Valdez, and Three Mile Island were all linked to sleep deprivation. Chernobyl was the site of a nuclear power plant that exploded in 1986. The Exxon Valdez was the name of an oil tanker which caused a massive oil spill in 1989 after hitting Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef before the coast of Alaska. Three Mile Island was the location of a nuclear power plant which suffered a partial core meltdown in 1979.

-- David Duchovny performed his own stunts in the aerial tram sequence, hoping to provide a greater sense of authenticity in the scene.

-- That was actually Gillian Anderson's pregnant torso shown in the "examination" scene, where Mulder's imagination is showing him what might be taking place with his partner. Anderson was only a few weeks away from the birth of her first child, daughter Piper, who was born September 25, 1994.

-- Krycek told Mulder when he asked Duane Barry about what happened to Scully, Barry "started whistling 'Stairway to Heaven.'" "Stairway to Heaven" was an influential song by English rock group Led Zeppelin released in December 1971 on their fourth studio album. This reference tied into the episode's title, as there are many mythological references to a stairway to Heaven and the idea of an "ascension" by a ladder, tree, bridge, or rope is widespread throughout world mythology. The title itself comes from the Bible's description of Jacob's Ladder: Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the Earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. (Genesis 28:12).

-- Oopsie? Duane Barry's toe tag established the case number as 197735 and the date as 6/17/94. One would assume that refers to the date of date ... which presents a problem, since it was well established that the events of Duane Barry occurred around August 7, 1994.

-- The conversation between Krycek and the Cigarette-Smoking Man represented an effort to explain why the forces seeking to thwart Mulder's work didn't simply kill him -- a response to various fans, among them science fiction writer Harlan Ellison, who put that question to Chris Carter. (For the record, "it would risk turning one man's religion into a crusade.")

-- Oopsie: In this episode, Mrs. Scully told Mulder she gave Dana the cross necklace on her fifteenth birthday; but in "Christmas Carol," a flashback showed Dana and Melissa receiving identical cross necklaces for Christmas.

-- Sheila Larken made her second appearance on the show (her first was "Beyond the Sea") and she met Mulder for the first time in this episode. Larken was the wife of X-Files producer/director Bob Goodwin.

-- Who can forget the See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil scene from the gag reel?

-- Once & Future Retreads: In addition to semi-regulars Nick Lea, Steven Williams, and Sheila Larken, Peter LaCroix (Dwight, the Tram Operator) was Ranheim/Frank Druce in "E.B.E." and Nathaniel Teager in "Unrequited." Peter Lapres (Video Technician) was Harry Linhart in "Born Again." Steve Makaj (Patrolman) was Frank Kiveat in "D.P.O." and Scott Ostelhoff in "Gethsemene" and "Redux." Michael David Simms (Senior Agent) played the same role in "Anasazi," "The Blessing Way," "Avatar," and "Herrenvolk." Bobby Stewart (Deputy) was Resident #2 in "War of the Coprophages." Meredith Bain Woodward (Dr. Ruth Slaughter) was Defense Attorney Brent in "Pusher."

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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 "Ascension."

Polly