CTP Episode of the Day - ??.??.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Herrenvolk (1x4)
Original Air Date: October 4, 1996
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: R.W. Goodwin

"Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. And that's a place to start. That's where the hope is."

Some "Herrenvolk" Tidbits & Musings:

-- "Herrenvolk" is German for Master Class or Master Race, which was Hitler's plan for creating a perfect race of blond, blue-eyed people.

-- The season begins with a tagline change: "Everything Dies," spoken by the Bounty Hunter to Mulder and then followed by Marita Covarrubias' assertion to Mulder that "not everything dies."

-- Speaking of which, this episode introduces Mulder's third informant, miss lispy bee husbandry herself, Marita Covarrubias, an assistant to the Special Representative to the Secretary General at the U.N. His third informant is the first with an actual name and of course, the first woman. (Although as we learned on the DVD releases, the role of "X" was originally shot with a female actor, later replaced by Steven Williams.)

-- Marita becomes Mulder's new informant, of course, because Mr. X meets his end in "Herrenvolk." Chris Carter called Steven Williams personally to tell him that X was going to take a bullet in this episode; and although Williams was sad because he didn't want to see the character go (as were the producers who really loved the character), he focused on making X's death the best exit scene it could possibly be. He and the producers were glad that X died heroically, writing the name of his successor in his own blood on Mulder's hallway floor. Williams said later that he didn't think it was a very smart death, but then he thought that maybe X staged the whole thing himself, so maybe it wasn't an un-smart death; he convinced himself that X would be back, that he wasn't dead.

-- Carter told Jerry Hardin (Deep Throat) at the end of Season 1 that no one ever really dies on The X-Files, and he told Steven Williams the same thing. Mr. X did eventually reappear in flashback in Season 5's "Unusual Suspects" and as a ghost (so I guess he really was dead) in "The Truth."

-- Although the origin of Marita's name has never been explained, the word "rubia" means "yellow" or "blonde" in Spanish. The word "Covarrubias" means "yellow cave" and is the name of a medieval town in Spain.

-- Bob Goodwin who directed this episode noted that "Herrenvolk" continued his track record for directing episodes where characters who were incredibly important and integral to the stories were unexpectedly killed -- Deep Throat, Melissa Scully, Mulder's father, and now Mr. X died under his directing hand. He joked that whenever an actor saw on the call sheet that Bob Goodwin was directing, they got nervous.

-- Goodwin called this one of the most difficult and painful episodes that he ever directed, primarily because of the thousands of bees that were used. The bees were drones and the queen was not present, so they weren't supposed to sting, but many people got stung, including the young actress Vanessa Morley who played Mulder's sister. She got stung just as the scene where Samantha, Mulder, and Jeremiah enter the bunker started, but she went through the entire scene and waited until the director yelled "Cut!" before saying "Owww!" Goodwin thought he was such a trooper that he had the props department make her a "purple heart" plaque for "bravery beyond the call of duty" and Gillian Anderson presented it to her when the shoot was completed.

-- To film the enormously complicated chase scenes at night, the show spent a considerable amount of time after sundown at a shut-down Vancouver-area sawmill. The gloomy, rusty structure was torn down completed just a few weeks after the scene was shot.

-- To get the proper atmosphere for the alien bee husbandry scenes, Chris Carter threw caution to the wind and authorized an unprecedented location shoot near the town of Kamloops, well beyond the radius in which the Vancouver-based production had previously sojourned. Carter asked locations manager Todd Pittston to find something interesting and different, so he went out scouting and found the ginseng farm that was used.

-- But the company's hair, makeup, and wardrobe truck got hopelessly lost on the 3 hour drive from Vancouver. Way beyond the range of cell phones, it wandered around for 3 hours -- stopping all filming dead in its tracks -- before it rejoined the rest of the company. Because of the delay, a scene had to be dropped from the Kamloops shooting schedule and expensively reshot back in Vancouver.

-- To create the massive hanging honeycombs for the underground apiary sequences, the construction coordinator used a Fiberglass composite lattice, used in the aircraft industry, that is, appropriately enough commonly known as "honeycomb."

-- By the beginning of the fourth season, Mrs. Mulder had appeared in several episodes ... but she still didn't have a first name. Maybe this should be one of the trivia questions in the game now being played on the board -- in which episode was her first name finally revealed to be Teena? It wasn't until Season 5's "Kitsunegari," when Scully tried to convince Mulder that she was not Linda Bowman by saying "your mother is Teena, your sister is Samantha."

-- By the way, Rebecca Tolan who played Mrs. Mulder is a Canadian actress who broke into film playing the 911 operator in the rape drama The Accused starring Jodie Foster.

-- This is the first episode in which William B. Davis is billed under the "Also Starring" heading along with Mitch Pileggi.

-- Actor Morris Panych (The Grey-Haired Man) seems to have become the Consortium's all-purpose henchman. He killed X in this episode and also appeared as the same character in "Piper Maru," "Avatar," "Memento Mori," and "Zero Sum." He also played Dr. Auerbach in Season 2's "F. Emasculata."

-- Interesting that Jeremiah Smith refers to the "larger plan" as "hegemony" rather than "colonization." Hegemony is the predominant influence of one state over others, which does seem more consistent with the episode's title and perhaps a more appropriate description of what is planned to happen.

-- You know that Agent Pendrell just lives for these moments when he can impress Scully; the scene of him straightening his tie when Scully enters his office is adorable. This may also mark the beginning of Scully's Black Bra Period, obviously wearing her black bra with a light colored blouse.

-- Thanks to Scully's research we find out that we're all being tagged, catalogued, and inventoried; and thus we find out why CSM called Jeremiah a "cataloguer."

-- I've always felt that there was some deeper meaning when X said to Scully "protect *the* mother." Not *his* mother, not Mrs. Mulder, *the* mother. It seemed like an odd way to say it, and I always felt it meant that Mrs. Mulder played a more important role in the conspiracy than we ever knew.

-- Mulder's dazed return to the hospital after he loses the Samantha clone and Jeremiah is another of those scenes where you can really feel the caring between the characters with no words spoken. Scully's Mulder!Radar kicks in as soon as she senses that Mulder is in the building. The initial look on her face is a great combination of relief (that he's back), worry (that he's in shock), and angst (that he seems to be defeated in a way she's never seen before); then the way she touches him, guiding him to his mother's side, draping the blanket around him, and comforting him in that private moment when Skinner closes the door and leaves them alone. You can just feel the love -- and keeping in the somber moment, she resists the urge to say, "I never thought I'd say this, Mulder, but you smell bad."

-- "He shows you pieces, but tells you nothing of the whole ..." Was there ever a better description of Chris Carter?

Polly