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

Today's Cherished Episode: Requiem (7x22)
Original Air Date: May 20, 2000
Written By: Chris Carter
Directed By: Kim Manners

Mulder and Scully return to the place where it all began to investigate the collision between an American plane and a UFO. Their quest leads to the sudden disappearance of Mulder and Scully's discovery that the inexplicable truth may lie inside her.

"It has to end sometime. That time is now."

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Some "Requiem" Tidbits & Musings:

-- A requiem is a mass for a deceased person, or a musical composition for such a mass. It is a hymn, composition, or service for commemorating the dead.

-- It was an appropriate title for what could very well have been the final episode of The X-Files. In fact, as the crew at 1013 began to shoot "Requiem" on April 20, 2000, no one really knew for sure. They knew that FOX wanted the show back and they knew that Gillian Anderson still had a year left on her contract. They also knew that David Duchovny's contract was up, and that Chris Carter had said all along that he would not do the show without David. But negotiations continued. So Chris Carter set out to craft a script which could be the series finale, a cliffhanger to lead to an eighth season, or a cliffhanger that could lead toward a movie franchise. What he ultimately crafted was a bookend to hold seven volumes that chronicled the journey of two very different people who were thrown together in the basement home of the "F.B.I's most unwanted," but who learned to respect each other, care for each other, trust each other, and love each other. Two people who stood side by side, enduring triumphs and tragedies; two people who became first partners, then friends, then soulmates. Two who completed each other; two who became one. "Requiem" brought the story of these remarkable characters full circle, taking them back to the place where their partnership began, and taking viewers on an emotional trip down memory lane.

-- Kim Manners thought Chris Carter would want to direct Season 7's "episode 22" just in case it was the last episode of the series; and in fact, it was planned for Carter to direct. But for whatever reason, midway through the season, Carter told Kim Manners that he wanted Manners to direct the final episode; and Manners agreed, feeling very honored to be selected for that responsibility.

-- Same as in the "Pilot," much of the episode takes place in Bellefleur, Oregon. Chris Carter was born in Bellflower, California.

-- Several actors from the "Pilot" returned for "Requiem": Leon Russom as Detective Miles; Zachary Ansley as Billy Miles, and Sarah Kosoff (Teresa Hoese, who obviously hadn't been attending acting school during that seven-year break).

-- In addition to the returning characters, the episode bore many homages to the "Pilot," such as Scully "gazing" at the IWTB poster, spotting the orange "X" that Mulder painted in the road (they sure don't pave the roads in the Plausible State of Oregon too often), and a troubled Scully coming to Mulder's motel room seeking comfort and ending up in his bed. Thankfully, that ugly blue suitcase seen in the "Pilot" doesn't make a reappearance!

-- In anticipation that "Requiem" might be the series finale, most of the usual suspects were also rounded up to join in the fun. Laurie Holden returned as Marita Covarrubias, with longer hair but no explanation how she recovered from her abuse at the hands of the Consortium. Bill Davis returned as a dying CSM, fitted with a special prosthetic neck appliance (that he remembered as being quite uncomfortable) that allowed him to smoke through a blow hole in the neck. Nick Lea got a kick out of tossing CSM down the stairs and felt the script made it clear that Krycek had his own agenda. The Lone Gunmen were on board too, using their supertechnological information to move the plot along. Most enthusiastic about "Requiem" was Mitch Pileggi because after a season of being largely office-bound, he was in the thick of the action. Because of Pileggi's role in "Requiem," there were lots of rumors on the set that his role would be much more prominent if the series returned for an eighth season, possibly having Skinner demoted and assigned to the XF as punishment for going to Oregon with Mulder. (But of course, that didn't happen.)

-- Even good old Lariat gets back into the act, with the auditor citing the Agents' hefty Lariat receipts, and a prominent bumper sticker display on M&S's rental car.

-- According to the police dispatcher, the code for a downed aircraft is a "Code 10-13"; Chris Carter's birth date is 10/13.

-- Deputy Ray Hoese was probably named for the Ray Hoese who appears in the credits at the end of the Season One gag reel, but I still don't know who that is.

-- The Season 7 DVD's include three deleted scenes from "Requiem": an extended scene where Mulder and Scully arrive in Bellefleur for the first time after seven years; an extended scene where Scully is questioned by the auditor; and an extended version of Marita Covarrubias' conversation with Kryceck. During the scene with the auditor, he mentions that Mulder and Scully have investigated 160 cases, a bit of a wink to the audience since "Requiem" was episode number 161.

-- Do all the consortium members live at the Watergate? Or did CSM take Diana's apartment after he had her eliminated?

-- Kudos to DD once again for communicating so much without words. He displays such a wide range of emotions as he watches Scully holding Teresa's very cute baby and sees what she has really given up (or has been taken from her) in her life. Everything registers almost simultaneously - his wonder at seeing Scully as a mother (and she is very sweet with the baby), the guilt, sadness, and regret that he feels for Scully's losses because of him, and also a longing for what might have been for her *and* for him. Subtle but powerful. It's all said through his eyes and expressions without a word being spoken.

-- And the spooning scene we all know by heart! It's simple and sweet and shows how comfortable they are and the level of intimacy and love they have for each other, so much more than friendship. I *never* thought I would see a scene like this on the X-Files, so I'm very grateful for every single second. It could have taken place without the spooning, so I believe it was there for a very specific reason. And I don't know about Scully, but Mulder had me when he took off her shoes.

-- I always chuckle when I see the Hoese's big aquarium. Fish must be the pet of choice among potential abductees.

-- Is it just me, or does everyone yell ... GARY! ... at the appropriate time? That still makes me laugh to this day. I also have to chuckle when Mulder sends Richie to get Scully some water after she collapses in the forest. I think Richie went to get that water and kept right on going until he got to Season 8.

-- Paul Rabwin felt the Sheriff's morph into the Alien Bounty Hunter was the one of the best morphs the show had ever done. The effect of "morphing" was pretty commonplace in TV and film by the year 2000, and Rabwin felt the XF staff had nailed this one. Even when you watch the morph in slow motion, it is impossible to see where the morph takes place.

-- More props for David Duchovny in the scene when Skinner brings Krycek to the basement. First the closed eyes as if he doesn't want to hear this, then the jaw clenching and lip pursing trying to push down the anger toward someone he'd like to kill for all the hurt he's brought to Mulder, Scully, Skinner, etc. You can see he doesn't want to trust Krycek, yet knows he has to. Terrific.

-- The religious overtones of The X-Files might never be so well defined as in the scene in Skinner's office, which is a re-creation of Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," with Mulder as Jesus surrounded by those who will more or less turn him over to his enemies. Da Vinci's painting portrays the moment after Jesus says that one of those dining with him will betray him; and the apostles all become agitated "while Christ, conscious of his divine mission, sits in lonely, transfigured serenity." This scene certainly mirrors that scenario, as those in the room argue about what needs to be done and Mulder says nothing, resigned to what he knows he must do, even if it is a trap. The description of the painting that was on the Official XF Site said: "Only one other being shares the secret knowledge: the traitor Judas, who is both part of and yet excluded from the movement of his companions; in this isolation he becomes the second lonely figure -- the guilty one -- of the company." Although some theorize that it is really Scully who is intended to be "Judas" (because she's standing in Judas' place in the painting, and that Mulder goes to his destiny *because* of her), I still think it's a case of where the obvious answer is the right one. Krycek has become a second lonely, guilty figure because he was also tapped for a destiny that put him on the same path with Mulder many years ago, just as Judas was fated to help Christ fulfill his destiny. In both cases, without the one, you would not have had the other.

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-- So if this religious imagery continues to ring true, does this mean Mulder *knew* that his destiny was to be taken away, just as Christ knew that his destiny was to die on the cross, and so he goes to Oregon knowing he's not coming back? I think Mulder knew he was going to find his destiny in the Oregon woods, but I don't think he knew that included being taken until it was too late. At least that's the way I think DD played it. When I look at Mulder's face as he is drawn into the force field (which I don't think he had a choice about), I first see realization - he sees the other abductees standing in the light, and at that moment realizes he had it figured all wrong, that it's him that they want. Then I see resignation - he knows now that this has been his destiny since he was born, and there's no point in putting up a fight; he has to go no matter what. Then I see sadness: Mulder has spent nearly his whole life searching for proof of the existence of extraterrestrials; and thanks to fate, lousy timing, or his incredibly bad luck, he finds that proof just at a time when he's finally ready to leave that search behind and embark on a new path and a new life - with Scully. And lastly, I see fear; when he sees the Bounty Hunter, the "being" he has shared such a long and strange history with, there is genuine fear in his eyes. Because he now realizes this is not going to be a pleasure trip and that he was right about one thing: these abductees (including him) won't be coming back. Again, great work by Duchovny.

-- The red laser beams were a pretty cool effect.

-- We had been warning Mulder for years: You stick your fingers in stuff long enough, eventually the rest of your body will follow.

-- Krycek should have known to check for a pulse before he just walked away.

-- In Chris Carter's original script, the final scene was Mulder lying on a table aboard the alien ship and his father coming to him and comforting him. The script didn't indicate if his "father" was Bill Mulder or CSM.

-- Discussions about having Scully get pregnant occurred several times during the course of the series, going all the way back to Season 1, when Gillian Anderson's real-life pregnancy was announced and the producers discussed having Scully give birth, possibly to an alien baby. The idea resurfaced at the beginning of Season 7 when the staff thought Season 7 would be the show's last; the producers felt that would be a wonderful way to end things if it was indeed to be the end.

-- Shooting of the episode at the studio wrapped up at the end of Day 4 and relocated to the mountain resort of Big Bear, California. The picturesque mountains, glassy lakes, and long stark stretches of forest made Big Bear the ideal backdrop for the final days of the "Requiem" shoot. The Big Bear stay coincided with a number of the episode's most demanding visual effects and stunts, including hoisting Gillian Anderson into the air on a harness to simulate her encounter with the alien force field. Bill Millar created much of the visual FX sequences involving the alien craft and its encounters with humans in a building in Big Bear.

-- Back in Los Angeles, Chris Carter was sitting in front of his computer. The final day of shooting was a day away, and it was time to write the final two pages of the episode. The producers had been talking about those final two pages for a long time, but Carter held back writing them until the last minute because he didn't want to create something that would let the cat out of the bag. Finally, he called line producer Michelle MacLaren and asked her to make sure she scheduled the final hospital sequence between Skinner and Scully as the last shot.

-- Frank Spotnitz was well aware of the efforts to keep the ending secret. He confirmed that the idea of Scully being pregnant was built into the structure of the episode (Scully telling the auditor about being barren, asking about who was married and who had kids, holding Theresa's baby, Mulder talking about all that had been taken away from her, etc.), but the producers didn't want anyone to know until it was absolutely necessary. They knew that word of Mulder's abduction would probably get leaked, but they wanted the pregnancy to be a surprise.

-- Carter finally wrote the two pages and showed them to Spotnitz; they printed one copy with the exception of the last paragraph, and had someone drive it to Big Bear at 10 o'clock on the morning of the last day of filming. At four that afternoon, Carter drove to Big Bear with the last paragraph of dialogue. He arrived at the Big Bear Hospital shortly before the scene was to be shot, and gave the page to Kim Manners, Gillian Anderson, and Mitch Pileggi. Carter remembered that Gillian said she knew it all along and thought it was a great idea.

-- Anderson and Pileggi were especially good in that final scene. Skinner and Scully are always good together, but they are particularly good here, the pain for both of them evident in their faces and their voices as they discuss the loss they both suffered.

-- If you take Scully's pregnancy announcement as it played, I think GA made it abundantly clear that Scully knew how she got pregnant. Her simple, "We will find him; I have to," was a vow to find not just a partner, not just a friend, but the father of her child. If Scully felt there was no possible way she could be pregnant by natural (or IVF) means, she would deliver this news in a panic, repulsed at what might have been done to her and how she might have been violated once again; instead she's peaceful, awestruck, and finds it impossible to mask her joy despite her sadness at losing Mulder. So I fully believe, and no one will ever convince me otherwise, that at *this* point, there was no question Fox Mulder and Dana Scully were infanticipating! I think it was only later that TPTB started to toy around with the paternity issue; hence, what we saw in Season 8.

-- "Requiem" wrapped filming on May 5, 2000, and no one knew if the show would be back for an eighth season. Cast and crew held the season wrap party, and still no one knew if the show would be back. Finally, just before "Requiem" aired, FOX announced that The X-Files would return for Season 8 and that David Duchovny had agreed to come back to appear in a total of 11 episodes.

-- Perhaps my fondest memory of "Requiem" was how fans burned up the internet airwaves after the episode aired, with most of the discussion about that shiny thing around Fox Mulder's neck. She gave him her cross!! :::sigh:::!! We replayed the scene over and over, giddy with excitement and shippiness! Of course, a few weeks later, our feelings were dashed when Spotnitz revealed that it was definitely not Scully's cross around his neck; it was just a zipper. This was possibly the most boneheaded confession the XF Boys ever made. "Deny everything" was definitely the wrong choice!! It prompted me to write this in the TOTM: Note to Chris Carter: Sometimes, when we least expect it, a neatly wrapped present just falls right in our laps. And we shouldn't question the what, or the how, or the why, we should just accept the gift and be happy. Thus, the expression, "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth." We know what we thought we saw. You didn't even have to confirm it for us. We were convinced we saw it. We didn't just *want* to believe - we did believe! We were bowing down to you and singing praises to your name. "What a genius Carter is!" we said. "He had Scully give Mulder her cross - the thing that represents her, that defines her, that *is* her. A symbol of her love and devotion and her faith and the one thing that no matter what she's been through over these past seven years has always found its way back to her! The piece of her that Mulder kept close to him during his darkest time - Scully's abduction. By placing it around Mulder's neck, she wasn't sending him alone; she would be right there with him all the way, and it would ensure that one day he would come back to her. All hail, Chris Carter! We will blindly follow you anywhere, secure in the knowledge that "everything makes sense it its own way." That's what we said. And *all* you had to do was sit back, smile like the cat that ate the canary, accept the accolades, and say nothing. But you couldn't even do that. You had to burst our bubble, pop our balloon, and turn our golden cross into nothing more than a shiny zipper. Even though we were heralding you as the King, you just couldn't stand that *our* plot device, the one we were all convinced had happened even without your intervention, was what *should* have happened. You couldn't stand the fact that sometimes the fans are right and you are wrong, so it was more important to you to pull the rug out from under us than to just let us go on believing. Here's what I'm trying to say in terms you can understand: "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18.

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

-- In retrospect, I suppose "Requiem" *could* have been the end of the series, but it would have been an unsatisfying end for me. Mulder gone and Scully pregnant, with perhaps no hope of ever seeing their stories (individually or collectively) resolved would not have been the way I wanted the show to say goodbye. I wanted the show to "leave the stage" the way all great ones should -- with lots of fanfare, with many retrospectives chronicling how the show changed the face of television, and with a final bow from all involved because they knew it was the right time to go. Great shows shouldn't just *end.* And so with the commitment of an eighth season, and the announcement that DD would be back for the second half of it, as I watched Season 7 fade to black I was overjoyed that the gang would have the *chance* to do it up right, pull out all the stops, and send the X-Files out in a blaze of glory (I think I said, "Maybe there's hope," or something like that !). In the final assessment "Requiem" was a season finale that was well done, that included some great MSR, and that managed to get me a little excited about the prospect of watching a semi-Mulderless Season 8 (something I thought would *never* happen). It had great performances, great effects, and some surprises and in keeping with the theme -- it was like old times.

Polly