CTP Episode of the Day - 08.10.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Red Museum (2x10)
Original Air Date: December 9, 1994
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: Win Phelps

Mulder and Scully investigate a possible connection between a rural religious cult and the disappearance of several teenagers.

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

"You know, for a holy man, you've got quite a knack for pissing people off."

Some "Red Museum" Tidbits & Musings:

-- "Red Museum" was the fallout from an aborted attempt to do an unprecedented inter-network crossover between The X-Files which aired on Fox and CBS's Picket Fences, which was set in the fictitious town of Rome, Wisconsin. Both shows were produced by 20th Century Fox Television, and the CBS drama aired in the hour after The X-Files. CBS was instrumental in nixing the idea -- a decision that took on a bit of irony given that the two shows became direct competitors in September 1995. The Picket Fences episode did feature an FBI agent investigating a similar type of case.

-- After the crossover episode fell through, "Red Museum" was set in Delta Glen, Wisconsin; and some mytharc elements were added to the episode to flesh it out.

-- A common thread in this episode is that no one is who they seem to be. The cultists of the Red Museum are not Branch Davidians but mild-mannered, charitable people. The "normal" mid-westerners are prone to violence, rape, and child molestation. And the trusted country doctor is a cold-hearted Dr. Mengele conducting secret experiments on children for money.

-- Chris Carter seems to have a fascination with terms of endearment beginning with "butt": buttcrumb, buttmunch. Was this normal in the Carter household?

-- "Red Museum" contains the first mention of "walk-ins," which would be addressed again in Season 7's "Sein Und Zeit/Closure" in connection with the disappearance of Samantha Mulder. Mulder explains that members of the Red Museum cult are "believers in soul transference, enlightened spirits who have taken possession of other people's bodies." (No mention of traveling in starlight, though.) And he says that those who lose hope or despair and want to leave this mortal coil become open and vulnerable to inhabitation by a new enlightened spirit. In 1979, Spiritualist author Ruth Montgomery published Strangers Among Us, a collection of accounts of walk-ins. She included her own New Age theories and some improbable historical research, naming some renowned figures such as Thomas Jefferson as walk-ins. (Mulder also mentions Abraham Lincoln, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Charles Colson.) This and her follow-up book, Threshold to Tomorrow brought the concept of walk-ins to the general public.

-- On purpose or by accident? Perhaps we don't give Chris Carter enough credit: The cult leader in this episode that is set in 1994 speaks of a final judgment ("the beginning of the new kingdom") eighteen years in the future. This would set the cult's apocalypse in 2012, the year given in "The Truth" for the final alien colonization of Earth.

-- The barbecue chin wipe. Enough said.

-- When Mulder looks out the window of the restaurant and sees some of the Red Museum members being harassed by local youth, he says to Scully, "I think the spur posse just rode into town." The Spur Posse was a group of high school boys from Lakewood, California, who kept a score system to compare their sexual conquests. The group came to national attention on March 18, 1993, when police arrested a number of the members for various sexual crimes. Prosecutors later dropped all but one of the charges after determining most of the encounters were consensual, albeit with underage girls. The founder of the group chose the name "Spur Posse" when their favorite basketball player, David Robinson, was signed by the San Antonio Spurs.

-- Oopsie! When Mulder walks out of the restaurant, he pulls off his bib and tosses it aside. The camera cuts to the ruffian and then back to Mulder, who tosses the bib aside a second time.

-- This might be the first episode in which Mulder and Scully are mistaken for husband and wife (as one of the youths tells Mulder to "run along with the little wife"; but it won't be the last.

-- "Pupperdog" bears an uncanny resemblance to Blue Duchovny, but no confirmation available on whether Blue made a cameo appearance in this episode.

-- Mulder makes a call to Danny, his never-seen FBI go-to guy. Chris Carter was once asked who "Danny" was, and he replied that Danny "was a gnome who lives in Mulder's desk drawer."

--Scully reports that one of the missing youth has scopolamine in her system, a drug we'd later learn (in "Unruhe") is used to make twilight sleep.

-- I believe this is the first episode in which Mulder arrested anyone.

-- This episode underscores the XF knack for using up-to-the-minute headlines to fuel their stories: in this case, it was the controversy over bovine somatotrophic hormone, the artificial steroid which led to labeling fights among farmers, consumers and the FDA.

-- Gird Thomas, the peeping tom who writes "he/she is one" on the backs of the kids, shares his name with the famous Peeping Tom of Coventry - the original peeping tom.

-- In "Red Museum," Mulder does two of those "things" that have become his trademark over the years: he sticks his fingers in stuff (gasoline) and he drops his gun.

-- Once and Future Retreads: Gillian Barber (Beth Kane) appeared as Agent Nancy Spiller in "Ghost in the Machine" and more memorably as Penny Northern in "Nisei" and "Memento Mori." Robert Clothier (the Old Man) appeared as Commander Johansen in "Piper Maru." Lindsey Ginter (Crew-Cut Man), the man who killed Deep Throat, reprised the same role in this episode. Gerry Nairn had a small role in this episode and appeared as Sergeant Conner in "Elegy." Mark Rolston (Richard Odin) appeared as Bud LaPierre in "Sein Und Zeit." Tony Sampson (Brad) played one of the brothers at the end of "Kill Switch." Crystal Verge (the woman who read Odin's words) appeared as Dr. Lorenz in "Wetwired."

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

Polly