CTP Episode of the Day - 07.19.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Salvage (8x10)
Original Air Date: January 14, 2001
Written By: Jeffrey Bell
Directed By: Ron Hardy

A man believed to be dead from Gulf War Syndrome comes back to life and slowly turns into metal.

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

"Agent Doggett, the man that we're speaking about withstood impact from a speeding car and two shotgun blasts at short range. Even if we can find him, who's to say we can stop him?"

Some "Salvage" Tidbits and Musings:

-- The obvious origin of the episode title comes from the fact that the "monster" of the episode, Ray Pearce, worked for a salvage company and it was that connection that caused his condition. But the title also probably refers to the fact that in the end, the monster is able to "salvage" a flicker of humanity inside the abomination of a man -- a machine -- that he had become.

-- "Salvage" is loosely based on Tetsuo, a 1988 Japanese horror film, where a man discovers that his body is slowly being turned into scrap metal.

-- Rod Hardy directed a total of three XF episodes, this one, "Roadrunners" and "Vienen."

-- Jeffrey Bell joined the X-Files writing staff in 1999 with the episode "Rain King." "Salvage" was the last episode he wrote, though he continued as a story editor through the end of the eighth season.

-- The episode is set in Muncie, Indiana, which is the hometown of writer Jeff Bell's grandparents.

-- The crash of car into metal man shown in the teaser was accomplished through special effects, first shooting the actor against green screen with varying degrees of lighting and wind to simulate the car crashing into him; then shooting the car crashing into a green post. Metal Man replaced post in the special effects shot and voila!

-- Scully tries hard to be Mulder in this episode and Doggett doesn't have to try nearly as hard to be Scully. The first scene of the first act sets this up quite nicely: Doggett presents the facts and says things like "I hope you're not suggesting ..." while Scully gets the one-liners.

-- Doggett jumped from Latin phrases ("ipso facto" -- which means "by the fact itself") to colloquial idioms (dollars for doughnuts) within the course of the episode. The correct phrase, however, is "dollars *to* doughnuts" which means "most certain or most assuredly." It was first found in America in the late 19th century.

-- The scene at the salvage yard between Ray Pearce and Harry O'Dell takes place at 10:12 p.m., just a little bit off from the usual 10:13 reference. In fact, this is one of many 10:12 references in Season 8. Though I have no facts to support my theory, I believe the 10:12 references were intentional, to indicate that Season 8 was just a "little bit off" from the norm because of all the necessary changes.

-- One of the primary things that shippers griped about after this episode aired was the fact that we saw Doggett had Scully on his speed dial. (It was just wrong!)

-- The scientists at Chamber Technologies (Chambers, Clifton, and Puvogal) were named after Jeffrey Bell's friends who are engineers. (Puvogal was the Eddie van Blundht of the group, indicating that his name had no "H" while Eddie's was silent!)

-- The "metal men only happening in the movies" line was written in homage to Robert Patrick and his best-known role as an assassin made of liquid metal in the 1991 film Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

-- The timeline reference in the episode is provided by the newspaper that Larina is reading which includes an article about Bill Clinton preparing to leave office. That meant the episode took place in December 2000 or January 2001 (when I'm sure it was balmy enough to wander around Illinois without coats on). Thus, Scully would be around seven to eight months pregnant at the time of this episode, and not even a bump in sight.

-- Oopsie? The scene at the Pearce house where Ray gets the name of the person responsible for his condition, Owen Harris, takes place at 2:17 a.m. Then we see the Harris family, who seem to be out joyriding at that time of the morning before Ray catches up to them.

-- Wade Williams, who appeared as metal-man Ray Pearce, is better known today as the very nasty prison guard Captain Brad Bellick on Fox's Prison Break. He also had a recurring role on The Bernie Mac Show as Father Cronin.

-- Randy Walker, who played the SWAT officer in the episode, was one of the Los Angeles Police Department's most highly decorated officers. He worked on the SWAT team for nearly sixteen years (1978 - 1995) and the LAPD Mounted Unit (1995 - 1999) until he retired in 1999. He received the Los Angeles Police Department's highest honor for bravery, the "Medal Of Valor," in 1985 and again in 1990, becoming one of the few officers in the department's history to receive the honor twice. In 1988, he founded "Call The Cops," a police technical advising business that helps filmmakers achieve the degree of realism and authenticity they desire for their projects. "Call the Cops" served as the Police Technical Advisor for the Pilot episode of The X-Files; and in another XF connection, Walker appeared as a SWAT officer, in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day in which Robert Patrick appeared.

-- There wouldn't be a sequel to this episode, but there was a sequel to Tetsuo called Tetsuo II: Body Hammer (1992). In that one, the Iron Man transformed into a cyberkinetic gun when a gang of vicious skinheads kidnapped his son.

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