CTP Episode of the Day - 07.21.06

Today's Cherished Episode: En Ami (7x15)
Original Air Date: March 19, 2000
Written By: William B. Davis
Directed By: Rob Bowman

Tempted by the promise of a miracle cure for all of earth's diseases, Scully forms an unlikely liaison with the Cigarette-Smoking Man.

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's episode pics.)

"In the end ... a man finally looks at the sum of his life to see what he'll leave behind. Most of what I worked to build is in ruins and now that the darkness descends, I find I have no real legacy."

Some "En Ami" Tidbits and Musings:

-- "En Ami" is French for "as a friend," yet phonetically it sounds like "enemy".

-- William B. Davis had some time on his hands during Season 7. With the XF alien mythology in transition, and the actor's alter ego, Cigarette-Smoking Man, limited to four episodes, the actor had time to think. He spent his time coming up with a "frightening" scenario for an XF episode: CSM makes himself irresistible to Agent Dana Scully and by degrees, seduces her to his agenda.

-- Gillian Anderson noted that it might have been a seduction in CSM's mind, but not in Scully's. "She knew all along," Anderson said. "She was just playing along to get the secrets he held."

-- Davis, an actor steeped in the theatre and the classics, saw much in the episode of Shakespeare's Richard III and, in particular, the relationship between Richard and Lady Anne. Davis mentioned in interviews that he pulled from the scene in Richard III where Richard tries to convince Lady Anne that he is more than "a lump of foul deformity," and Richard says enough of the right things to temper her anger, gain her wary trust, and even marry her. But the original inspiration for "En Ami" came from the hand that CSM had been dealt by past episodes of the X-Files: Davis felt that CSM never got any really good scenes with Scully, so he decided to write some for himself. "Yes, there was a lot of Richard III in my idea for 'En Ami,'" he said, "but the main thing for me was how far CSM would go to win Scully's affections."

-- Davis went to Chris Carter with the kernel of an idea. In Davis's original proposal of the episode, Mulder had been killed, and CSM came upon Scully in the funeral home and began a process of winning her allegiance. It later turned out that Mulder was not dead but was in on the scam with CSM as he proved to Mulder that Scully was not a worthy partner. Scully realized that Mulder was really a wimp and that she was actually attracted to real power. So she decided to leave Mulder and join CSM. At the very end, the audience would learn that everything happened in Scully's mind and the story was really her nightmare of CSM.

-- The XF creator was intrigued and urged the veteran actor, with the aid of Frank Spotnitz, to craft a first-draft script. Then the script went through a lot of evolution, with lots of correspondence and long-distance telephone calls. In early discussions of the script, Davis reported that Agent Spender and Alex Krycek were in the story and that an alliance between CSM and Krycek was integral to the storyline. However, those elements were eliminated early in the writing process. (A scene that made it to an early draft of the script but was finally eliminated had CSM teaching Scully how to water ski.)

-- Davis finished the first draft of "En Ami" in four weeks. He left his home in Canada and came down to Los Angeles, where he entered an intense four-day in-house rewriting session with Spotnitz and John Shiban. Shiban remembered that sitting in the room with Bill Davis allowed him to see that Davis really believed CSM was the romantic hero of The X-Files. "He had an attitude about the story being a love story," Shiban said. "Bill Davis will admit freely that he's not a writer, so it took some effort on all our parts to fashion a story."

-- Spotnitz remembered the L.A. writing session as critical to clarifying the intent of the story of this unorthodox episode. "The relationship between Scully and CSM was one we had never explored," Spotnitz said. "It's not a matter of course that you're going to say yes to one of your actors to write a script. I thought it was too great an idea not to take a chance on. [But] the last thing the audience wanted to see was Scully trusting this man she's spent seven years hating. How to make that transition believable was one of the hardest things about making this script work."

-- By the time the script went to Chris Carter for a final polish, Davis's initial vision of CSM as a romantic hero had been tempered by the reality of the XF's existing mythos and past character development. "I was basically happy with the way it turned out, despite the fact that there were many other ideas that I had that I did not get to see," said Davis. "My original conception of the story was the CSM was a much better actor at winning Scully's affections and that Scully was somewhat less resistant to his attention to her. But the script got redirected."

-- Chris Carter recalled that the big question raised by the script was what Scully's feelings really were toward CSM. "She considered him to be the devil incarnate, and Bill questioned whether or not that was true based on his interpretation of the character."

-- "En Ami" was originally slotted to appear early in the seventh season, but Mulder's early-season emotional crisis in "The Sixth Extinction" and "Amor Fati" made having a largely Scully episode problematic in terms of advancing characters and story tone.

-- After directing more than 30 XF episodes as well as the XF movie, "En Ami" was the last directing assignment for Rob Bowman (whose other Season 7 contribution was "Orison").

-- For those who needed proof that Mulder and Scully were sleeping together, I say look no further than this episode. Over the years, we've seen Scully already hard at work by 7 a.m. (sometimes earlier!), but in the first act, she's leaving her house at 8:53 a.m. Something must be keeping her up at night so she overslept. Or perhaps she popped home from Mulder's for a quick shower because Mulder used all the hot water. < veg >

-- I loved the Goochland Guardian's motto: "If It's News, It's News to Us."

-- Mulder still has the picture of Samantha on his desk; how sweet is that? And he still has those pencils in the ceiling over his desk; how sweet is that?

-- In the original shooting script, when CSM tells Scully that he is giving the cure to her because he has tired of Mulder's muleheadedness, he adds, "You've outgrown him. He sits in his office waiting for leads, like the bogus one he's chasing now. Hoping for some scrap of a case to drag you in on, to abuse your loyalties."

-- The Season 7 DVDs include a deleted scene that begins in Skinner's office as Scully returns from her visit to the boy cured of cancer (and her inadvertent meeting with CSM). Mulder is asking Skinner to get a subpoena to find out who sent him the email, and Skinner tells him it won't happen. (Mulder has a great reply: "Right, I forget. We live in a democracy, we don't work in one.") Scully enters and tells Mulder and Skinner that she found nothing in Goochland. After they leave Skinner's office, Mulder asks Scully what she really found, and she says nothing. Mulder is suspicious and as he boards the elevator, leaving her standing in the hallway, he makes the veiled insinuation, "I'm sure you'd tell me if you did."

-- When Scully goes to Spender's office, one of the few remaining all purpose consortium thugs, the Black-Haired Man (who has always had gray hair) is watching her. This description in the shooting script gave me a chuckle: "... BLACK-HAIRED MAN standing up the hall. Watching Scully. If you saw the movie, you might recognize him as the man who shot Mulder." And indeed, he is.

-- Another interesting exchange that appears in the shooting script but not in the final version of the episode came after CSM told Scully what he was dying of. SCULLY: I doubt you'd be so generous if you were stricken with something this science could cure. CSM: (smiles) You can impugn my motives, and my generosity, but you cannot diminish the power of my gift.

-- Although we had seen Scully use her key to open Mulder's apartment door numerous times, apparently Mulder didn't have a key to Scully's apartment. Maybe he left it in his other pants. (Or more likely -- maybe he needed the landlord to provide him with an important plot point.) To my recollection, we wouldn't see Mulder use his key to open Scully's apartment door until Season 8's "Existence."

-- In the scene between Mulder and Scully's Landlord, the original shooting script includes one line that doesn't appear in the final episode; and the fact that it was cut was the unkindest cut of all. After the Landlord said that Scully was a "great girl," in the script Mulder replied: "Yeah, I'm rather fond of her myself."

-- The original script calls for "Brahms Cello Sonata No. 1 in E minor (or some equally beautiful piece)" to be playing on the radio as CSM and Scully are driving. The script notes that the piece "gives the scene a strange mood. Driving with this man we've known and feared for years, to the haunting melodies of Brahms. Scully stares straight ahead, the melody not lost on her." In the end, the producers felt Mark Snow's musical backing was more appropriate and made the substitution at the last minute.

-- After Scully's line, "You're not just a cold-blooded killer, you're a pop psychologist as well," another interesting CSM line from the shooting script was cut from the final episode: "I am a killer. (beat) I make no excuse for that, except to say I believed I was serving a greater purpose."

-- The Season 7 DVDs include another deleted scene from this episode in which CSM offers Scully a little more background on the 118-year-old Marjorie Butters, including the fact that she had thyroid cancer in 1974 and had a miracle recovery. He says that as far as Marjorie knows, he's just a man she met in the hospital, bringing flowers to his mother.

-- The character of Marjorie Butters was played by veteran character actor Louise Latham, whose credits included Adam at 6 A.M. White Lightning, and Crazy from the Heart.

-- The shooting script describes the scene where CSM and Scully arrive at the cabin in Milford, Pennsylvania, with Scully asleep in the front seat, as follows: "CSM, staring at Scully, inscrutably. Might this be the moment of vulnerability he's been waiting for, to kill her. In this out of the way locale, no one knowing her whereabouts. And we fear the worst, as he starts to put on a pair of black leather gloves. This done, he reaches out with one hand ... and carefully pushes back a lock of Scully's hair. Off this gentle gesture, from this most ungentle of men, cut to ..."

-- I got another chuckle from the shooting script in the description of the scene where there's a knock at Mulder's door. "It's dark in his apartment. Mulder breaks frame, dressed in whatever he's wearing to bed these days." < g >

-- Mulder's magical peephole, which appears or disappears as needed, appears in this episode so he can get a look at the "disguised" LGM at his door.

-- Bruce Harwood (Byers) related that "En Ami" was a "hoot" for the Lone Gunmen in the scene where they were disguised as each other. "I was supposed to be Dean Haglund so they brushed my hair up so it looked like I'd stuck my finger in a light socket. Tom Braidwood had on this awful hairpiece. That show was a relief for me because usually I'm the guy in the suit and it takes me forever to get dressed, and Dean is always dressed in jeans, a tee-shirt, and wears his own shoes. For me, that episode was really relaxing."

-- Another important line from the shooting script that was axed from the final episode -- When Scully was questioning CSM about how she ended up in her pj's in bed, he adds, "I undressed you in the dark if it makes any difference."

-- In the shooting script, the dress that CSM gives Scully to wear is described as "BEAUTIFUL BACKLESS DRESS" (in all caps with the word "backless" underlined!) -- but the script adds, "one that she couldn't possibly wear her listening device under." In the script when CSM gives Scully the dress and she says "it's beautiful," he responds, "I picked it out myself," another line that was cut from the final version. The dress that Scully wears is indeed a backless Richard Tyler Couture dress.

-- Production on the episode ran into a time crunch, especially when shooting the restaurant scene with Scully and CSM. Because of the script situation, they shot Gillian Anderson's side of those scenes in the restaurant and Bill Davis's side of the same scenes on a different day at the studio.

-- The exterior of the restaurant in this episode is the "Old Writer's Building" on the Fox lot, which reportedly housed the writers and producers of Chicago Hope.

-- A few "creepy" lines in the original script just after CSM and Scully are seated at the restaurant were removed. CSM tells Scully, "I must say, you look stunning" (which Scully ignores and questions him about Cobra); and when CSM pours the wine, he says, "I uncorked this one early. It's like a woman that way. Time allows its beauty to unfold." A little too much seduction going on there. (And we wouldn't want Scully to start telling CSM about the 12th grade love of her life!)

-- Another short but interesting exchange between CSM and Scully that appears in the original script was deleted from the final episode. CSM pours Scully more wine as they eat dinner and she takes a sip. SCULLY: You become a doctor hoping to cure a handful of people in your lifetime, never imagining, like Salk or Sabin or Curie, to have an impact on all humankind. [She says this matter-of-factly, not as if she will ever be such a person. It is an explanation, though it is delivered openly. As if wine has made the conversation relaxed, candid, honest. The CSM pours for himself. Empties the bottle. Eyes sparkling with ardor.] CSM: But you are *poised.* If cancer were to be eliminated -- humans might live to a hundred and fifty, two hundred years old. SCULLY: It wouldn't be me. I will have done nothing but deliver it. CSM: The story is yours to shape. You've searched for the truth for so long, now you've found it. This discovery is a logical progression of your hard work. SCULLY: I couldn't take credit. CSM: I must insist. [She looks at him, chuckles. It's absurd, but the CSM is adamant.] The scene continues with CSM telling Scully that what she will receive is the cure for all human disease.

-- Most of the lake scenes, including the climatic encounter between Scully and the mystery scientist code-named Cobra, were shot at California's picturesque Lake Sherwood. While it was Scully out in the lake making the exchange with Cobra, it was not Gillian Anderson driving the boat. The stunt driving was courtesy of stunt coordinator Danny Weselis.

-- In the final version of the episode, while Scully and Mulder wait for the Lone Gunmen to try and retrieve the information on the disk, there is complete silence, Mulder unable to look at her. But in the shooting script, they do have an exchange -- MULDER: I just want to know why. SCULLY: I would never lie to you, Mulder. MULDER: But you did. SCULLY: No. My lie was to him. It was the only way.

-- The tight schedule also resulted in some last-minute construction when a small section of lake and dock were quickly built on a studio set for the sequence in which CSM finally does the noble thing.

-- Mulder and Scully's voiceover dialogue at the end of the episode discussing CSM's motivations (as we see CSM tossing the tape) doesn't appear in the shooting script.

-- Chris Carter joked that the biggest scare of Season 7 might have been seeing Scully in a slinky dress on the figurative arm of Cigarette-Smoking Man. "The scare was quiet and largely cerebral but ultimately very successful," Carter said. "What we see is that she ultimately loathes this man beyond her ability to express it. This may have been the creepiest episode of the year."

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

Polly

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