CTP Episode of the Day - 08.11.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Roadrunners (8x05)
Original Air Date: November 26, 2000
Written By: Vince Gilligan
Directed By: Rod Hardy

Scully evades Doggett's help in investigating a vicious murder in a remote area of Utah and she is trapped in the small town by a religious cult that believe a slug-like creature is the second coming of God who needs a human host to survive.

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

"Well, I don't have a great memory for mucus."

Some "Roadrunners" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title is derived from the name of the bus company that picks up the victim in the teaser -- Roadrunners Bus Lines.

-- "Roadrunners" was modeled after the 1955 Spencer Tracy movie, "Bad Day at Black Rock." In that film, a man steps off a train at the jerkwater town of Black Rock with the altruistic mission of handing over a posthumous military award to a local man whose son died gallantly in World War II. The man doesn't know that the town has a shameful secret, one that must be kept at all costs.

-- Rod Hardy also directed Season 8's "Salvage" and "Vienen."

-- Writer Vince Gilligan's "Holly" reference in this episode is Hank -- the young man who made the mistake of getting on the wrong bus. Vince's girlfriend Holly's brother is named Hank.

-- We know immediately that Scully is officially looking for Mulder in this episode as she's wearing her Tight White Mulder-Hunting Desert Tank Top.

-- Vince stole from himself in this episode. The assignment that Scully gives Doggett is nearly identical to the file cabinet scavenger hunt that Mulder assigned Scully in "Folie a Deux." (And Mulder sure must have done a good job restoring those files after the Great Basement Fire of 1998.)

-- The Utah pronunciation of "Juab" would be with a long drawn out "a" as in "apple." Scully pronounces it with an "a" like in "father." Just think: if she had accepted that transfer in "Fight the Future" she'd be talking like a native by this time.

-- Scully definitely can't use big words like "glycoproteins" any more.

-- Mr. Milsap is named for country singer-songwriter Ronnie Milsap.

-- Grand mal seizures are rhythmic and symmetric, which means that the arms and legs of the victim move at the same time. People who have seized do not remember what happened to them.

-- Scully requests corn syrup to help Hank because corn syrup and honey can be used to deliver sugar quickly to diabetics. It is best to put the syrup or honey under their tongues so that the sugar gets absorbed without the patient being at risk for choking.

-- Scully wasted no time in being true to her word: in this episode, we see that she got Doggett that desk she promised him.

-- Sheriff Ciolino is named for Vince Gilligan's mortgage broker.

-- Mulder and Scully hadn't made a call to their FBI go-to guy Danny since Season 5 (Scully called him in "Christmas Carol" to request that he send her the case file on her sister Melissa), but Doggett calls him to request a phone trace in "Roadrunners."

-- Oopsie! Thanks to bad editing Scully tosses her phone down not once but twice.

-- When in doubt about how to proceed with medical treatment, just squeeze it like a big old zit.

-- Scully says she is completely unfamiliar with dealing with a parasitic organism that has taken up residence in someone's body. Um ... "Ice"? "Firewalker"?

-- You're in the middle of nowhere, outnumbered by a group of strange people who are worshiping a guy with a giant zit in his back. You need to go scope out the area to look for a way out. He's scared but really has nothing to fear from these folks who are treating him like a God. What do you do? Hand over your gun, of course! *NOT.* The writers had Scully do some dumb things during Seasons 8 and 9, but this was one of the dumbest.

-- Point when we knew things were going from bad to worse: Vince, the man we worshipped like a banana slug, the Keeper of the Continuity, forgot that Scully had a tattoo smack dab in the middle of her back.

-- Scully's post-slug groaning sounded like a sick moose. Hopefully, that wasn't GA and those sounds were added in post-production.

-- Scully's map didn't have the town on it but Doggett's did.

-- As Doggett was digging that slug out of Scully's neck, all of us were probably thinking the same thing: don't remove the chip!!

-- Many were upset with Doggett's heroic manly-man Scully carry, but in all fairness, he did ask Scully if she could walk and she said she didn't know. When you have ax-wielding, slug-worshipping zealots on your heels, best not to take a chance.

-- There is no medical center at BYU, but BYU *is* in Provo. Unfortunately, Provo is at the base of some pretty major mountains, none of which show up in the on-screen shot.

-- My biggest problem with "Roadrunners" is the final scene. I don't mind Scully apologizing for the Big Ditch. After all, she's trying to *be* Mulder, but she's also trying to correct Mulder's personality flaws at the same time - like getting the desk for Doggett as Mulder should have done for her. It's perfectly okay to say she made a mistake. And I really don't even mind Doggett telling her she screwed up, plain and simple, because that's the kind of guy he is - not the type to hide a rebuke in sarcasm as Mulder did in "Never Again." But I *DO* object to Scully's promise never to do it again. IMBO, she might as well have added "Daddy" to that line. I'm beginning to think that perhaps a little piece of that Jesus!Slug did make it all the way to Scully's brain and started one of those brain sucks ... and that would explain a lot, a lot, a lot. And I don't object to Doggett carrying Scully's bag - it's a polite gesture and I would expect Mulder to do the same under similar circumstances. The problem for me is that it follows the apology exchange where Scully is made to feel like the "little woman." And therefore, she should have snatched that bag right out of his hand and knocked him upside the head with it. Why was this scene necessary at all? A Scully or even Doggett voiceover would have been more welcome.

-- In one of their many Vince-penned adventures, "Small Potatoes," Mulder asked Scully who she would be if she could be someone else for a day. She said no matter who you are, you're still the same person, but Mulder theorized that everybody else around you would treat you like you were somebody else, and ultimately maybe it's other people's reactions to us that make us who we are. I firmly believe that's why we see a different Scully now, not really a "dumbed down" Scully, but a Scully who *is* made to feel more like the "little woman" than an equal, capable partner and thus begins to act that way -- a different person's reaction making her who she is now. I think Doggett believes that Scully is capable; but he's still the manly man and she's the little woman. Scully filled so many roles for Mulder -- mother, sister, wife, partner, friend, confidant -- and even though he could be condescending at times, he never treated her like the "little woman."

-- In my estimation, Vince has always been the best writer at capturing the Mulder/Scully dynamic. I *still* maintain (my opinion only) that he originally wrote "Roadrunners" as an X-File for Mulder and Scully and then had to rework it for Scully and Doggett -- and that's partly why it didn't work. Like all the other writers, Vince had to learn the most important lesson of Season 8: you can't take an outfit made for Mulder!Scully, dress Doggett!Dana in it, and expect it to fit properly.

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

Sorry this is a tad late,
Polly