CTP Episode of the Day - 11.20.06 - Rush

Today's Cherished Episode: Rush (7x06)
Original Air Date: December 5, 1999
Written By: David Amann
Directed By: Rob Lieberman

A teenage killer eludes Mulder and Scully by moving too fast for the human eye.

"I'll show you my theory if you show me yours."

Some "Rush" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title, "Rush," had a double meeting. It referred to "moving with speed," as the kids in the episode were doing, as well as the "initial intensely pleasurable or exhilarated feeling experienced upon taking a narcotic or stimulant drug." The kids were getting that "rush" from something like a drug that they accessed in the cave.

-- X-Files episodes that focus on people with supernatural abilities have always had a certain subversive "wish-fulfillment" charm. "Rush" extrapolated on the conceit by putting a powerful force in the hands of angst-ridden teenagers.

-- Even by the standards of The X-Files writing staff, who were accustomed to extended script development schedules, the David Amann script was a long time in coming together. As early as the beginning of Season 6, the idea of putting a drug like addiction to super speed in the hands of hormone-raging teenagers had surfaced, according to Chris Carter.

-- "How to do it was going to be tricky," he said. "It had been a long time since we had dealt with teenage angst. [But] it was being done everywhere else and we wanted to take a run at it."

-- Amann appreciated the thematic development that occurred during the writing of the script. "The initial idea for the story was what effect having the power of super speed would have on troubled teens. But it became much deeper than that. I loved the way the paranormal aspect of the show dovetails with the thematic aspect of the show, which was the impatience and impetuousness of youth."

-- Amann also wrote the episodes "Terms of Endearment," "Agua Mala," "Chimera," "Invocation," "Hellbound," and "Release." Recently, he's been writing for the CBS series Without a Trace.

-- Frank Spotniz added, "The story had a real strong emotional focus, which was this kid who wants to belong to the cool group. The 'speed kills' thing and how it related to drug abuse and the general boredom that most teenagers experience just fit right in."

-- Casting teen leads for the episode appeared on the surface to be an easy job, given the number of aspiring young actors in Los Angeles. But Rick Millikan recalled that "Rush" was actually one of the tougher episodes of the seventh season to cast. "It was all teenagers, but this being The X-Files we were looking for something other than the typical 90210-type kids. There were specific qualities that these kids had to have. They had to have a subtle kind of evil about them as well as arrogance and vulnerability. What was tough about casting that age group is that all the good ones were already working. We had to find somebody who was between gigs or wasn't working at the time."

-- "Rush" was very much a special effects episode, but rather than immediately turning to computer-generated images, director Rob Lieberman was able to capture the all-important speed imagery by filming the sequences at different film speeds. Stunt coordinator Danny Weselis was a key part of creating the speed-related killings.

-- "I doubled the teacher who got killed by the table flying across the cafeteria," he explained. "We rigged a cable to the table and pulled it across the floor. Then we cut, put a dummy on the table, and rammed it into a concrete wall. For the speed sequences inside the cave, we put a stuntman in a harness and air-ratcheted him across a cave wall. For the car crash sequence, we cabled a car and ran it at fifty miles an hour into a telephone pole."

-- Producer Harry Bring said that "everything about filming 'Rush' was difficult because everything had to be so precise." He remembered that the climatic scene in the cave was easily their hardest day. "We had to figure out how this girl could shoot the gun, rush around the guy she shot at, and end up taking the bullet herself. The scene ended up being a complex mixture of different camera speeds and blue screen work that was composited together." The end result was similar to the effects work done in The Matrix film series.

-- Frank Spotnitz remembered that the scene where the teacher was killed by the flying table was the subject of much discussion even while it was being filmed. "That was probably one of the most horrific things we had ever done. There were a lot of questions about how long we could linger on the shot and what sounds we could make."

-- And sure enough, John Shiban recalled that when "Rush" was in the editing stage, he began to receive calls from network Standards and Practices. "Their big problem was that in the original cut, you actually saw the impact between the table and the man. Standards and Practices did not want to see the impact. So we took out the actual impact. But what they did not realize," added Shiban, "was that when you took out the impact, the audience's imagination was ten times worse."

-- Time Line: "Rush" was filmed after "Millennium" but the date on Max's midterm test was November 12, 1999, which meant that the episode took place from November 11 to November 14, 1999, before Mulder and Scully's end-of-the-year liplock. Still, there is some nice easy banter in "Rush," and the duo is quite touchy/feely throughout (including what appears to be Scully fiddling with Mulder's tie just out of camera range).

-- Oopsie! Mulder said that Max had truant issues over the last few months, but the papers he flipped through were dated August 29, 1996 and February 29, 1996; Max's "recent" grade transcript had "97/98" at the top. Since Max took the midterm test in November 1999, that wasn't very recent.

-- While the Sheriff was being wheeled around in the hospital, the marks for Duchovny and Anderson were visibly left taped on the floor. The goods news was that they hit their marks correctly.

-- The compliment that Max gave Scully, "You must have been a Bettie back in the day," meant that Scully must have been quite a beautiful girl when she was younger. The slang phrase was coined in reference to famous 1950s pinup girl Bettie Page. Page gained notoriety for frequently posing nude and for "fetish" shots, including bondage and other sadomasochistic themes.

-- In one of those curiously X-File-ish coincidences, the actress who played Tony's mother in "Rush," (Ann Dowd) appeared in the 2005 biopic The Notorious Bettie Page playing Bettie's mother Edna. (One of her co-stars in the film was another X-Files alum Lili Taylor.) Dowd also recently appeared as Mrs. Strank in the Clint Eastwood film Flags of Our Fathers.

-- In "trying" to explain what happened to Max and the other kids, Mulder mentioned the Oregon Vortex. This is an area of naturally occurring visual and perceptual phenomena, which can be captured on film, in Gold Hill, Oregon. It is a spherical or whirlpool-like field of force, half above the ground and half below the ground.

-- Rob Lieberman directed the alien abduction movie Fire in the Sky in 1993, which starred D. B. Sweeney, who would go on to be one of the stars of Chris Carter's short-lived series Harsh Realm.

-- "Rush" was the only X-Files episode directed by Lieberman. He recently directed episodes of Shark and Dexter, as well as the pilot for a new sci-fi series called A.M.P.E.D., about humans battling genetically altered monsters in Los Angeles. Lieberman is also serving as a producer for the show, along with Frank Spotnitz and Vince Gilligan.

-- Rodney Scott, who played Tony Reed, played the recurring character of Will on Dawson's Creek as well as David Cassidy in the 1999 TV movie Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story. After The X-Files, he played the recurring role of Danny O'Conner in American Dreams.

-- The role of Max Harden was played by Scott Cooper, whose credits prior to The X-Files included parts in the Mike Myers comedy Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me and Takedown, a film about the capture of infamous computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. Most recently, he appeared in the western miniseries Broken Trail.

-- Prior to playing Chastity Raines, Nicki Aycox's roles included the recurring character of Lily Gallagher on Providence, and the part of Cecil in the 1999 film Crime + Punishment in Suburbia. Since the X-Files, she's gone on to recurring roles on Ed (Stella Vessey), LAX (Christine), Cold Case (Christina Rush), Over There (Brenda "Mrs. B." Mitchell), and Supernatural (Meg). She also had a starring role in the 2003 horror film Jeepers Creepers II.

-- Once & Future Retreads: Bill Dow made his fourth appearance as Mulder's buddy Chuck Burks. Dow also appeared as the Father in "Jersey Devil," and as Dr. Newton in "War of the Coprophages." Christopher Wynne (Deputy) played the Base Cop in "Closure."

(Thanks to chrisnu for today's pics.)

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