CTP Episode of the Day - 12.22.06 - Je Souhaite

Today's Cherished Episode: Je Souhaite (7x21)
Original Air Date: May 14, 2000
Written By: Vince Gilligan
Directed By: Vince Gilligan

A pair of Missouri trailer park denizens discover that a genie and three wishes are not all they are cracked up to be.

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Scully: "Mulder, all right, say ... say that you're right. Say this is what it is. Then what you're doing is extraordinarily dangerous. I mean, you even said that yourself."

Mulder: "The trick is to be specific. To make the wish perfect. That way, everyone is going to benefit. It's going to be a safer world, a happier world. There's going to be food for everyone, freedom for everyone, the end of the tyranny of the powerful over the weak. Am I leaving anything out?"

Scully: "It sounds wonderful."

Mulder: "Then what's the problem?"

Scully: "Maybe it's the whole point of our lives here, Mulder -- to achieve that. Maybe it's a process that one man shouldn't try and circumvent with a single wish."

Some "Je Souhaite" Tidbits & Musings:

-- When Vince Gilligan signed on to The X-Files, he had a definite agenda. "From the beginning, I always had the intention of directing an episode," recalled Gilligan. "But I kept putting it off because I figured I didn't know enough." Prior to The X-Files, Gilligan's only directing experience was "some stuff in college and I directed some short films when I was a teenager."

-- But as the seasons came and went, Gilligan slowly became accustomed to the techniques of directing an X-Files episode, picking the brains of established X-Files directors like Kim Manners and Rob Bowman and, on one occasion, directing a couple of hours of insert shots. However, as Season 7 approached and the rumors persisted that it would be the final season, Gilligan knew it was time to fish or cut bait. He approached Carter and was given a slot to write and direct his first episode.

-- As time passed, Gilligan was beginning to feel the heat. "For months and months I knew the deadline was looming and I had to write a story that I would direct. It was very scary," Gilligan said. "It affected me all year like a weight hanging over me. I was scared all season. Of course, it was of my own devising because I had bugged Chris to let me direct and it came to pass. But I had to wait until the end of the year, because writing takes up so much time."

-- "For a long time I had this idea about a guy who worked in a self-storage yard," explained Gilligan. "What would happen if he cut the lock on one of the units and found something weird that had been locked up for 20 years? So the episode was a variation on the idea of that storage place. Originally, I was going to have the guy find a person that had been living in the storage unit without food or water. Then I thought maybe there would be an android or robot in there, or some kind of door to another universe like a black hole, but those ideas seemed too 'sci-fi.' So finally I came up with a genie who had been rolled up in a rug. There was no mythology about a rug and I thought it was funny. Besides, a rug wouldn't require any special effects. Once I decided that the story would be about finding a genie, which was sort of a goofy idea, it was obvious that the episode would have to be a comedy."

-- David Amann remembered Gilligan's odyssey. "Initially Vince was planning on writing a real stark and scary show. But as he got closer to the date he was scheduled to direct, he decided to go with a lighter show."

-- Chris Carter remembered being impressed with Gilligan's storyline. "Vince had been playing around with somebody finding something in a storage locker," he said. "He played around with several different ideas and one day he came in with this idea of a genie and three wishes. The one thing I noticed right away was that the relationship between Mulder and the genie was very sweet."

-- As he was writing "Je Souhaite," Gilligan remembered that he started to be concerned that he might be painting himself into a corner. "I did not intend to make it a hard episode to direct. I thought I was writing a very simple story. But before I realized it, I was blowing up a trailer, having a truck hit an invisible man, and all sorts of strange genie effects."

-- "When I write, I have specific images in my head that I incorporate into the script," said Gilligan. "I always write like that, and so do Chris, Frank, and John. It's easier to write something that I can picture in my head. I think of places I've been to or childhood memories. This especially makes it easier to direct, because those images are already in your head. They designed the sets and found locations based on some sketches I drew. This show looked as close to anything I have ever had in mind when writing, although sometimes Kim Manners and Rob Bowman came up with better images than I had imagined when writing."

-- Gilligan stepped onto The X-Files soundstage for the first day of "Je Souhaite" in a state of panic. "Even though I was glad I took the plunge, I was very nervous. I was both mentally and physically exhausted. I looked at all the people on the set, standing around and looking at me, and I thought, 'Oh man, I'm going to be exposed as an imposter.' Those people are all experts technically. Fortunately everybody decided to take pity on me. The crew was so wonderful and made it as easy as it could have been for any first-time director."

-- Gilligan eventually overcame his first-day jitters and settled into a natural, easygoing style of directing, managing the inevitable surprises and unexpected turns calmly. In particular, the actors found that the working environment under Gilligan was impressively stress-free.

-- Gilligan enjoyed working with all the actors on set, but particularly with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. "They are both excellent actors and both knew their characters so well," Gilligan said. "They knew those characters better than anyone else so they were a dream to direct because they didn't need to be told how to play their scenes. I was very grateful not only to have had the chance to direct, but also to have had the opportunity to direct before David left the show. He was a lot of fun."

-- Title: "Je Souhaite" is French for "I wish."

-- The character of Jay Gilmore was named for the son of former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore. Writer Vince Gilligan had promised an aide to the governor that he would use the name in an episode. (Virginia is Gilligan's home state.) "I expected a big kickback," Gilligan joked.

-- The makeup session to create the "no mouth" look for actor Paul Hayes who played Jay Gilmore took about two hours; once applied, the actor could not open his mouth and had to breathe through his nose.

-- The character of Anson Stokes was named for Happy Days star Anson Williams.

-- Gilligan set the episode in Missouri because he thought the series had set too many Season 7 episodes in California. Although he had been known to set many of his episodes in Virginia, Gilligan picked a state midway between the two. He also thought the topography of Missouri was a close match to Southern California.

-- Gilligan named his fictional trailer park the Mark Twain Trailer Court after the Show-Me State's famous son, Samuel Clemens.

-- Scully mentioned nasal aplasia as a possible cause for Jay Gilmore's condition. Nasal aplasia occurs when the structure of the nose fails to develop correctly in the embryo. The result is an absence of one side of the nose (heminasal aplasia) or the entire nose. With the absence of the external structures of the nasal region of the face, the internal air passages are often missing as well. Although isolated cases exist, this condition often occurs in association with other facial anomalies.

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-- The exterior trailer park scenes were filmed on location at a real trailer park in Carson, California, a suburb south of Los Angeles. "The people there were so nice," Gilligan recalled, "and they would come out to watch whenever we were filming. They allowed us to do whatever we needed to do. It's really great to work on a show that has a reputation like The X-Files, because people are very accommodating and excited to work with you."

-- Gilligan thought it would be "a real fun thing to see a gigantic boat looming over a trailer park," and thus, they used the biggest boat they could possibly get into the location. "We had to move several trailers to get the boat in there," said Gilligan, "but the folks at the trailer park did whatever we asked."

-- Vince Gilligan wrote the part of Leslie Stokes with actor Will Sasso in mind. At that time, Sasso was best known for his role on Fox's sketch comedy show Mad TV, one of Vince Gilligan's favorite shows. "We had nearly every cast member of Mad TV read for a part because I was such a big fan of the show," Gilligan said. "They were all great. I was really glad Will's schedule permitted him to do the part of Leslie."

-- Gilligan gave Anson's brother the name Leslie because he thought it would be a funny name for such a big guy. He decided to put Leslie on a "Rascal" motorized scooter instead of in a traditional wheelchair because he thought it would be amusing to see the big guy tooling around on a scooter with a safety flag.

-- In his "Je Souhaite" DVD commentary, Gilligan noted, "In the scene between Mulder and Scully and Leslie at the trailer door, the shots of Mulder and Scully were filmed on location at the trailer park, and the shots of Leslie were filmed on a soundstage. It's still amazing to me that it cuts together so seamlessly, making it look like they are in the same place."

-- "When I was writing the story, I thought the best person to play Jenn was Janeane Garofalo, but unfortunately she wasn't available," Gilligan said. "It took such a long time to find the right actress. I think this was probably the longest casting process we ever had done for a guest star. But Paula Sorge was worth the search. In fact, she was even better than how I had written the character. In Paula's audition, she came off like a world-weary wise-ass who was not only tough and smart, but had a heart of gold. She made it a really fun character. I thought the genie should be as dry as possible because, really, we had heard genie stories a million times before. But the genie in the rug was just goofy, so I wrote it more real to make it less goofy. The characters don't discuss it -- they just buy into it."

-- Jinni, also called genie, is a magic spirit believed to take human form and serve the person who calls it. The plural form of the word is jinn, and the feminine form is jinniyah. Synonyms include djinn and jinun. Jinn are beings of flame or air who are capable of assuming human or animal form and are said to dwell in all conceivable inanimate objects -- stones, trees, ruins -- underneath the earth, in the air, and in fire. They possess the bodily needs of human beings and can even be killed, but they are free from all physical restraints. Jinn delight in punishing humans for any harm done them, intentionally or unintentionally, and are said to be responsible for many diseases and all kinds of accidents; however, those human beings knowing the proper magical procedure can exploit the jinn to their advantage.

-- Belief in jinn was common in early Arabia, where they were thought to inspire poets and soothsayers. Even Muhammad originally feared that his revelations might be the work of jinn. Their existence was further acknowledged in official Islam, which indicated that they, like human beings, would have to face eventual salvation or damnation. Jinn, especially through their association with magic, have always been favorite figures in North African, Egyptian, Syrian, Persian, and Turkish folklore and are the center of an immense popular literature, appearing notably in The Thousand and One Nights.

-- When Mulder and Scully visited the storage unit to investigate, in the original script Mulder noted, "I don't smell any weird chemical smells. And I've still got both my lips." But in the aired version, Mulder said to Scully, "You still have both your lips." Nice to know Mulder was noticing! < g >

-- The storage unit was filled with real antique furniture. Scully was originally scripted to tell Mulder that the pieces were expensive Biedermeyers. But Gillian Anderson accidentally pointed to a Victorian piece, so the line was changed. Gilligan eventually cut those lines out of the show for time.

-- Nitpick: Mulder said in the first scene that Mr. Gilmore's condition happened "about a month ago." But it seemed unlikely that Anson (or Jinn) would have waited a whole month to make the third wish.

-- Gilligan was a bit surprised that Broadcast Standards let the Stokes' "unique" remote control go through without a word, "but they did. I think they must have missed it." The remote was a plastic replica of a well-endowed woman, with no head or legs. The up and down channel switches were on the nipples.

-- Gilligan had originally scripted that the genie's eyes would have double pupils -- an idea he got from an exhibit at the Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum he visited as a child. However, it took so long to find the right actress to play Jenn that the production ran out of time to find specially-painted contact lenses for the actress. Gilligan also felt that such a freakish image would not fit in this lighthearted episode. So they instead opted for a small, blue gemstone attached to the actress' cheek that would be noticeable. Although actress Paula Sorge has blue eyes, she wore blue contact lenses, making her eyes more brilliant to match the stone.

-- "I originally wrote a scene where Anson turned invisible and then took his clothes off," said Gilligan. "I envisioned the Levi's commercial with the floating jeans and shirt. But Visual Effects Producer Bill Millar told us that it would not only cost a lot of money for that one shot of a digital body, but it would also eat up a big chunk of time on our already tight schedule. So I changed the dialogue and had the character remove his clothes before he disappeared, and it ended up being a funnier scene."

-- Gilligan's last day of filming was spent shooting the scene where Anson took his invisible romp through the trailer park and into the street. "To get the physical effects of an invisible man, the on-set special effects crew put hydraulic rams in the trash cans to make them move," said Gilligan. "And they built mud puddles that splashed by themselves. Since there wasn't much to see in an invisible character, I played most of it from his point of view with a Steadicam shot of him running across the street."

-- Gilligan noted that he also stole a shot from Rob Bowman. "If you remember the truck crash scene in 'Pusher,'" he said, "the truck crash in this episode was the same. What we did was mount a big, tempered glass mirror on plywood and aimed the truck toward it. We shot the glass at an angle, so the camera saw a perpendicular, mirrored image of the truck hitting it. Then we flipped the image in the editing room. We didn't have to reverse it for the show because the shot was so quick. But if you freeze-frame the scene, you can see the 'Kenworth' logo on the truck is backwards. That truck did it in two takes, and it hit the mirror so hard it blew it like a bomb. Glass flew about 200 feet down the road." Gilligan noted there was about $4,000 worth of damage to the truck after the two takes were completed.

-- The morgue attendant was played by Brett Bell, David Duchovny's body and stunt double.

-- The shot of Scully first "touching" the invisible Anson Stokes was accomplished by having Gillian Anderson touch a piece of glass. "The oldest and cheapest visual effect in the book," said Vince Gilligan.

-- A blue plaster cast of actor Kevin Weisman's head was the first step in creating the visual effect of Anson becoming "visible" by Scully's application of yellow fingerprinting powder. Gillian Anderson applied the powder to the plaster cast, and the blue was erased out by visual effects producer Bill Millar, who then "painted in" the necessary background. The Season 7 DVD extras provide details on how the sequence was created.

-- On the third day of shooting, director Gilligan received a frantic call from Unit Production Manager Harry Bring that Kevin Weisman had an allergic reaction to the yellow makeup used to substitute for lycopodium powder. Gilligan rearranged the schedule so the actor could recover and to allow time for the makeup department to come up with an alternative. "They tried a lot of different combinations," said Gilligan, "but they weren't able to find anything that produced the same effect that didn't produce the same reaction. In the end, Kevin just cowboy-ed up and dealt with it."

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-- Gilligan wrote Scully's reaction to finding and exposing an invisible man as he felt anyone would react -- with bewilderment and awe. "Scully had seen a lot in her seven years with Mulder," Gilligan said, "and she'd shown that surprise before. But in this scene she reacted as we, the audience would react. She got this invisible body handed to her and she did not naysay or deny what she was seeing. She was thinking, 'This is proof and I have no explanation for it.' Her character was sometimes infuriating because she constantly denied what her eyes saw. But in this episode, she admitted that this discovery could change the world. Of course, at the end, she didn't even believe herself when she said that maybe she just imagined an invisible body."

-- Gilligan wanted Anson's body naked in the autopsy bay not only because he wanted to show the full body covered in the yellow powder, but because "when real autopsies are done, there isn't a sheet covering the body," Gilligan explained. "So we used some bicycle pants and strategic placement of Agent Scully to frame out the 'naughty bits' as they used to say on Monty Python."

-- Perhaps Broadcast Standards didn't own a dictionary, or just didn't want to admit that they didn't know what "chronic morbid tumescence" and "extreme priapic condition" meant. Leave it to the X-Files to find a way to say "death by gigantic hard-on" and get it past the censors.

-- By the way, in Greek and Roman mythology, Priapus was the god of procreation and personification of the erect phallus. Schwing!

-- Holly Reference: Mulder told Scully that Henry Flanken (the man with the priapic condition) was admitted to the hospital on April 4, 1978. April 4 is the birth date of Vince's girlfriend, Holly Rice.

-- In the original script, when Scully said that she should stay with Anson's body instead of accompanying Mulder to question the mystery woman, the script direction noted, "Mulder smiles at her faintly, appreciating her Mulder-like enthusiasm."

-- "In this story, I had the genie hiding in a rug instead of the traditional lamp because I thought a great place for a genie would be something that a human body could actually hide in," said Gilligan. "It was fun to take it a little off-kilter and do the unexpected. But of course, everyone has seen I Dream of Jeannie, with the smoke coming out of the bottle. So I decided to give a little nod to that show with Mulder humming the theme song and Leslie joining in. Both actors did a great job with that."

-- Gilligan said that because of music licensing regulations, it cost "several thousand dollars" to use just that little bit of the I Dream of Jeannie theme song, written by Buddy Kaye and Hugo Montenegro.

-- Leslie had several costume changes within the episode, but in each he was wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd tee-shirt. "I just thought Lynyrd Skynyrd would be something a character like Leslie would be into," Gilligan explained. "Not to mention that it's one of my favorite bands. I ended up keeping most of the tee-shirts we used in the episode."

-- Gilligan noted that when the first cut of the episode was finished to his liking, it was 11 minutes too long, which meant he had to do some serious trimming. "I personally bled over having to cut things out of the show," said Gilligan. "I think it was science fiction writer Harlan Ellison who first called television a 'Procrustean bed' and he was right." In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a bandit from Attica. He had an iron bed into which he invited every passerby to lie down. If the guest proved too tall, he would amputate the excess length; and if the victim was too short, he was then stretched out on the rack until he fit. "If we're short," added Gilligan, "then we have to stretch the episode. And if we're long, then we have to lop some off. And on The X-Files, we're almost always long. One of the most painful cuts I had to make was part of the scene where Mulder showed Scully the video of Jenn at various points in history. It had a third example that I really wanted to keep, but just couldn't."

-- Producer Paul Rabwin spent many hours going through newsreel footage to find historical footage in which they could computer-insert the image of the genie. Visual effects producer Bill Millar then inserted the Jenn character into actual moving footage of Benito Mussolini and Richard Nixon, using the same technology seen in the film Forrest Gump. Millar matched the lenses, lighting, and grainy feel of the archived films. The third film clip that Gilligan was so reluctant to excise -- showing Jenn next to a man getting hit in the stomach with a cannonball -- as well as more details of how the special effects were accomplished, can be seen on the Season 7 DVDs.

-- Gilligan used the image of Jenn and the cannonball man on tee-shirts that he gave to the crew as gifts when the episode was completed.

-- One of the Harvard researchers (the one with the glasses) who came to see Scully's discovery was played by Unit Production Manager Harry Bring. "We called him Uncle Harry," Gilligan recalled. "He and Michelle MacLaren ran the production end of our show, and I was thrilled to give him a little cameo in this episode."

-- "Editing was one of my least favorite experiences in directing," said Gilligan, "because we sat there day in and day out and tried to figure out what we could lose and still have the story make sense." He noted that another scene he edited out with great sadness was the original "act out" of the second act -- Leslie and the revived Anson sitting on the sofa watching The Dukes of Hazzard together. Said Gilligan, "The Dukes of Hazzard was my favorite show of all time."

-- Special effects foreman Bob Calvert rigged the specially-built trailer to blow up using numerous mortars and sand shot guns. Although the constructed trailer was next to two of the production's own trailers, the scene was shot in the real trailer park location, so extra care had to be taken. The scene was shot using eight cameras, most of which filmed in slow-motion photography. "The explosion was very impressive in reality, but I think explosions always look more impressive on film," Gilligan said, "probably because of the slow motion." Gilligan noted that stunt doubles for Duchvony and Anderson were used for the scene, because "when explosions were involved, the network would never allow the stars to be in the immediate vicinity."

-- The scene between Mulder, Scully, and Jenn was filmed in an abandoned office building located adjacent to the trailer park. "Sometimes it's just luck," Gilligan said, "and that's how we got that location. It was a very tiny room, and in fact, I had to be in an adjacent room using the monitor to direct the scene. But it was so great because you could see the aftermath of the explosion out the window of that building, so it could be in the background of the scene between the two agents and the genie."

-- Jenn provided another Happy Days reference with her line "make me cool like the Fonz," the leather-jacketed hero of that TV show.

-- Although her character was supposedly of French origin, actress Paula Sorge did not speak any French. She had to re-do her French lines in post-production for a more authentic accent.

-- Gilligan also had to cut a bit from the first scene of the final act, when Mulder arrived home with Jinn in tow. The scene showed Mulder and Jenn entering the apartment and Mulder telling her to make herself comfortable. (Script direction said Mulder drops his bag off in his bedroom while Jenn checks the place out.) When Mulder returned, they had the following exchange:

Jenn: You live alone?
Mulder: Yeah, sorry it's a mess.
Jenn: It's fine. But what do I know? I live in a rug?

-- A very nice touch: The subtle noises from the street and Mulder's aquarium dropping out completely when Mulder's wish for peace came true.

-- Easily the most logistically challenging sequence in the show centered on Mulder's wish for world peace and his resulting walk down deserted city streets. Production manager Harry Bring recalled that the only way they could effectively shut down eight blocks of downtown Los Angeles was to shoot the scene early on a Sunday morning. "We shot four takes and wouldn't you know it but on the one perfect take, a derelict had somehow eluded all our security people and walked right through the shot. We printed it anyway." The man was removed digitally at the editing stage.

-- "David and the crew were very nice to work on that Sunday morning so the shot could happen," Gilligan recalled. "And it was a great shot. But cost-wise -- it was about $50,000 for some 10 seconds of screen time."

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-- Continuity! They remembered that Mulder lived in Alexandria, as he ran by "The Alexandria Hotel" during his world peace sequence.

-- Gilligan was particularly proud of the scene in Skinner's office during the world peace segment. "In the course of the episode, I really didn't want to see anyone magically appear or disappear," he said. "I wanted it to be more subtle, to do it all with camera cuts, and I think the scene in Skinner's office did that very successfully."

-- This was Mulder's preliminary third wish that he was typing on his monitor, as he tried valiantly to come up with the "perfect" words: "Whereas, I have one wish left and desire to use it most effectively for the good of all mankind, and whereas, this wish contains great potential for the betterment of life as we know it, and that equal potential for grave danger, chaos, and mayhem, let effect, a world run amok, and whereas, I must cover all bases ..."

-- The final scene between Scully and Mulder was shot by the second unit crew on one of the last days of shooting. "I remember there was this pigeon family up in the rafters of the soundstage," Gilligan said. "And they were messing up all the dialogue between David and Gillian. And to make matters worse, while we were shooting that scene, Kim Manners and the first unit crew were literally standing behind me with their arms folded waiting to take over the soundstage to film the final episode of the season. So I had a hundred people behind me as I'm trying to finish the last shot. That was a little nerve-wracking."

-- "Until that moment," Gilligan continued, "I don't think I realized exactly how tight our shooting scheduled really was. When I directed 'Sunshine Days' in Season 9, I had a much harder time getting as much accomplished in one day as I wanted to. But I enjoyed 'Je Souhaite' so much. I guess the first time is the most fun, and then it becomes more of a job after that."

-- Mulder and Scully were drinking Shiner Bock beer (Vince Gilligan's favorite) -- from the "Little Brewery" in Shiner, Texas. The bit where they tossed their bottle caps (with Scully scoring and Mulder missing) was improvised on set.

-- Fans thought the scene of Mulder and Scully getting together to watch Caddyshack might have been a reference to the first date between David Duchovny and Tea Leoni (Caddyshack was the movie they watched), but actually, it wasn't. "Jenn had influenced Mulder to long for the simpler things, and I really just wanted to create a casual evening for Mulder and Scully to enjoy themselves," Gilligan explained. "That scene evolved out of a conversation I had with my girlfriend Holly. We were talking about guy movies, like Caddyshack and The Three Stooges, versus girl movies. I thought it would be fun to see Mulder and Scully discuss that. And then, 'I'm All Right,' the song from the movie that played in that scene, seemed like the perfect theme for not only Mulder's mood, but the entire episode."

-- In the episode as it aired, after Scully asked Mulder about his last wish, Mulder "gazed" at her for a few moments, then smiled happily and took a swig of his beer as the movie started. In the original script, after Scully asked the question, the script direction said, "He shushes her, points to the TV -- Caddyshack is starting. Off Scully, eyeing her partner appreciatively ... cut to ..." Though I'd like to see Scully "eye her partner appreciatively" every once in a while, I think I liked the aired version better.

-- The episode's final scene showing Jenn released from her bonds by Mulder's last wish was actually the first scene of the episode filmed. "We shot that at a little French bakery in Westwood Village on the outskirts of the UCLA campus," Gilligan recalled.

-- "Je Souhaite" turned out to be a light-hearted episode with a thoughtful subtext. Scully was decidedly out of character in her dealings with the dead invisible man, but Mulder's obsessive nature in casting the ultimate three-wish list was perfectly in character. "It was real tough," said Gilligan. "But when it was over, I was glad that I didn't simply write a talking heads show."

-- "When I directed 'Je Souhaite,' my plate was already full and I was really nervous," said Gilligan. "In the back of my head, I thought, 'Maybe I should call this off. What if I screw this up terribly and waste 20th Century Fox's money? What if everyone just thinks I'm a fool and completely screw me up?' But something kept me going, and I guess it was the self-knowledge that if I didn't take this golden opportunity when I had it, I would forever be looking back and kicking myself in the butt for not having at least tried and failed. After I did it, I realized I still had so much to learn, and that's why I wanted to do it again."

-- Gillian Anderson remembered, "Vince was a very calm and even influence on the set. He had a very casual and knowledgeable approach to things."

-- "I don't know if I was that 'in control' or if I conjured up a mood on the set," said Gilligan. "I think I need more experience before I can be a master of a set, like Kim Manners. What I did right, I think, was that I always knew what I wanted. If I didn't know what I wanted, I pretended I knew what I wanted. I had all my shots figured out in advance, so that I didn't waste anybody's time."

-- Gilligan said he wasn't sure if he could ever direct something written by someone else. "I don't know how directors do it, especially television directors, who get a script on the first day of prep," he said. "Very often, our scripts were a little bit late, as is the case on most shows, because you were always running behind. To be a director who had no hand in writing the show and was reading it for the first time, that's a scary proposition. I wouldn't want to enter into that. I'd much rather write it myself."

-- When asked if his experience as a producer had helped him as a director, or if the other directors he worked with influenced him in any particular way, Gilligan said, "Time I had previously spent in the editing room was very helpful. We were on a tight schedule, and there were so many different shots to get. And if you know exactly what it is you need from an editor's point of view, then as a director you know what shots you'll actually need. And which shots you can live without. The crew was very helpful and supportive, David and Gillian and all the cast were wonderful to work with, and that made it a lot easier for me."

-- Gilligan was "very touched" when the First Unit gave him the film slate with his name on it. The slate had been signed by the crew.

-- "I would love to direct a film someday," Gilligan said, "but I don't think I'm ready. It would have been great if I could have done at least three more episodes of the X-Files, but I only got to do one more. When I was directing this episode, I mentioned that to someone on set, and they said that the show was harder than any movie because it had to look as good, but there was less money and a tighter schedule. Directing is tough, period. I'd want more experience under my belt before I did a feature. I definitely have more learning to do."

-- "The X-Files was the best job I ever had," Vince Gilligan said. "It was like going to film school every day and getting paid for it. When it was over, I think there were about 30 episodes that had my name on them as writer or co-writer. It was a real pleasure to work with all the people over the years -- the Vancouver crew and the L.A. crew. It was a great job and I loved it a lot."

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(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics and thanks to Havenite Follower for providing additional info.)

-- For me personally, this episode provided what would become my X-Files mantra: Jenn said she would live her life moment by moment, "enjoying it for what it is instead of ... instead of worrying about what it isn't." After so many years of obsessing about what we didn't get on the show, this episode taught me to enjoy the show for what it was instead of worrying about what it wasn't.

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

Sorry that this one was late. That finishes all our episodes from Season 7!

Polly