CTP Episode of the Day - 06.28.06

Today's Cherished Episode: Sein Und Zeit (7x10)
Original Air Date: February 6, 2000
Written By: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed By: Michael Watkins

The kidnapping of a little girl brings Mulder and Scully face-to-face with a decades-old spectre of evil.

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

"Mulder, she was trying to tell you to stop. To stop looking for your sister. She was just trying to take away your pain."

Some "Sein Und Zeit" Tidbits & Musings:

-- "Sein Und Zeit" is German for "Being and Time," which is the title of Martin Heidegger's best-known work. Heidegger was a German philosopher, and Being and Time, written in 1927, was his most important and influential work. In it, he was concerned with what he considered the essential philosophical (and human) question: What is it, to be? This led to the question of what kind of "being" human beings have. They are, he said, thrown into a world that they have not made but that consists of potentially useful things, including cultural as well as natural objects. Because these objects and artifacts come to humanity from the past and are used in the present for the sake of future goals, Heidegger posited a fundamental relation between the mode of being of objects and of humanity and the structure of time. The individual is, however, always in danger of being submerged in the world of objects, everyday routine, and the conventional, shallow behavior of the crowd. The feeling of dread (angst) brings the individual to a confrontation with death and the ultimate meaninglessness of life, but only in this confrontation can an authentic sense of Being and of freedom be attained.

-- Several episodes over the course of the series toyed with the idea of Samantha Mulder's fate, "Paper Hearts" and "Redux II" among them. But when it came down to plotting the storyline for this mid-season two-parter, Chris Carter decided that with the strong possibility that Season 7 would be the series' last, it was time to throw the audience a curve. Carter felt that fans would expect the *series* finale to be about Mulder's sister; but he decided to deal with that sooner than later. "We wanted to wrap up Mulder's emotional story with his sister and do it in such a way that would emphasize David's dramatic abilities," Carter said.

-- Frank Spotnitz felt the two-parter would be similar to "Paper Hearts," in the sense that what you always thought happened to Samantha Mulder may not have actually happened. Spotnitz said, "We've had people come up to us and say, 'Okay, so we know she's really dead, so what happened?' So we decided in this one to answer that question."

-- "Sein Und Zeit," which inevitably evoked the real-life Jon Benet Ramsey case, fell to director Michael Watkins, whose experience as the director of previous episodes was an asset for this episode, which included an unusually large number of outdoor locations around Southern California.

-- In the episode's teaser, Mr. LaPierre is watching Harsh Realm, Chris Carter's short-lived Fox drama series, on television. In a shameless jab at Fox for not only canceling the show but also failing to promote it adequately (in CC's opinion), in the episode Mr. LaPierre remarks to Mulder that he didn't know the name of the show he was watching, but "it was good." (Let it go, Chris!)

-- Perhaps not so coincidentally, the actor who played Mr. LaPierre, Mark Rolston, appeared in the second episode of Harsh Realm, "Leviathan," as a bounty hunter. He also appeared in the XF second season episode "Red Museum" as Richard Odin.

-- Speaking of "Red Museum," the "walk-in" theory floated in "Sein Und Zeit" wasn't new; it was mentioned way back in "Red Museum," an episode also written by Chris Carter. In "Red Museum," Mulder explains walk-ins to Scully this way: "They're believers in soul transference, enlightened spirits who have taken possession of other peoples bodies."

-- The LaPierre's lawyer, Harry Bring, was named for the X-Files Unit Production Manager of the same name.

-- Amber Lynn LaPierre is named for Amber Woodward, Chris Carter's assistant on Harsh Realm.

-- "Seid Und Zeit" aired on Sunday, February 6. Just four days later, on Thursday, February 10, actress Megan Corletto, who played Amber Lynn, appeared in a memorable episode of ER as a child whose parents are killed in an accident. Her brother in the ER episode was played by ... Anton Yelchin, who four years later would appear as the young Tommy Warshaw in DD's film House of D.

-- It's possible that Amber Lynn's parents, Billie and Bud, are a reference to the Herman Melville novella Billy Budd. In the novella, the character of Billy Budd, a sailor, is wrongfully accused of a crime, like Amber Lynn's parents; and when Billy is executed, the story tells of his almost Christ-like resurrection so that his fellow sailors begin to believe that he never really died at all, that he was somehow plucked away just before the noose tightened around his neck. This sounds a bit like the "walk-ins" that claimed Amber Lynn and Samantha. Melville's most famous novel was, of course, Moby Dick, written 40 years before Billy Budd.

-- Tencate and LaPierre are both last names of two of Chris Carter's former girlfriends.

-- No wonder the XF financial accounts were being audited by the end of the season. Skinner sent Scully cross country to find Mulder and get the report? He never heard of a phone or a fax machine?

-- Not to mention that Mulder really racked up the frequent flyer miles in this one. He went from D.C. to California (in record time, I might add), back to D.C., then to Idaho, back to D.C., to Connecticut, back to Idaho, then back to D.C., then back to California.

-- Martin Grey played Agent Flagler in "Seid Und Zeit," the same role he played in "The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati."

-- Mulder uses his conveniently appearing eidetic memory to produce a letter similar to the one that Billie LaPierre wrote that was written in 1987. Must have been one of those files that Mulder reconstructed, since all the X-Files were burned in the Great "We're Moving to California" Fire of May 1998.

-- Kim Darby (Kathy Lee Tencate) has had a long and distinguished career including roles in films and on many classic TV series including Wagon Train, Dr. Kildare, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Bonanza,, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Star Trek, and The Streets of San Francisco. But her most famous role was in her first film, as Mattie Ross, the teenager tracking down her father's killers, in the classic 1969 western True Grit, for which John Wayne won an Academy Award.

-- I still don't really understand why Teena burned the photographs of her children.

-- The "Twinkie Defense" (mentioned by Skinner) was first used by Dan White, a San Francisco supervisor, who argued successfully that intake of too much sugar, from eating sugar-rich snacks like Hostess Twinkies, diminished his mental capacity and put him into a heightened emotional state when he killed Mayor George Moscone and fellow County Supervisor Harvey Milk, resulting in White's conviction for only manslaughter instead of murder. It generally means you blame outside circumstances rather than take responsibility for your actions.

-- In the script, the father who takes the carload of kids to see Santa Clause is called "World Weary Dad." Well, better than Season 9's Overcoat Woman or Toothpick Man.

-- There's a llama in the background at Santa's North Pole Village. I didn't know there were llamas at the North Pole.

-- IMBO, "Sein Und Zeit" includes the second-most heartbreaking Mulder scene ever: torturing himself by listening to his mother's final message on his answering machine over and over, wracked with guilt, desperate to find any answer. And as he's listening and puts his cheek down against the answering machine .... oy! My heart just breaks as he tries to connect to his mother one more time. (What's the first-most heartbreaking Mulder scene, IMBO? Well, I'll tell ya about it when we get to it!) I think DD and GA are both terrific in this episode. (Except for Scully's rather cold and matter-of-fact delivery of the important news "Mulder, your mom's dead." I found that very un-Scully-like, but I'll chalk it up to the director's choice rather than GA's.)

-- Scully tells Mulder his mom was dying of Paget's carcinoma, but she isn't specific. There are at least three diseases bearing Paget's name: Paget's disease of the breast, Extramammary Paget's disease, and Paget's disease of the bone. The first two diseases are carcinomas while the latter is associated with a greatly increased risk of bone cancers. All three are potentially disfiguring. Sir James Paget was one of the founding fathers of modern pathology (1814-1899). His careful observations made over a hundred years ago laid the groundwork for understanding the diseases of the breast and bone that today bear his name.

-- First anger, then the breakdown; then crying, touching, holding, rocking, neck kissing, hair petting, etc., etc. Again great work by DD and GA (and seeing lots of different takes of this scene on the dailies was nice too). But I do have one criticism: Pull the camera back a bit! There is such a thing as a too-close close-up and I think this scene would have played a lot better if we could have seen both of them in the shot while GA delivered the Scully!Comfort.

-- I did have to chuckle at the Truelove/Skinner "chase" scene -- if you can call it that. I've seen faster turtle races. Skinner obviously needs to get out from behind the desk and hit the gym if he couldn't outrun that guy.

-- Filming was highlighted by one particularly dramatic misunderstanding. The prop department created a fake photo and ransom note for a scene and a crew member was assigned to take them to one of the locations. On the way to the location, he stopped at a phone booth and made a telephone call. When he left the phone booth, he left the folder with the photo and the note in the booth. What he didn't realize was that somebody had been watching him from a nearby house, got suspicious, and called police. The crew member realized he had left the folder, turned around, and went back to the booth. In the meantime, the police showed up, looked in the folder, and found the note that said, "Don't do anything or we'll kill your baby." When the crew member showed up, he was arrested. It took a lot of explaining to get him out of that mess.

-- Near the end of production on "Sein Und Zeit," producer-troubleshooter Paul Rabwin discovered that there was no money left in the budget for a small but necessary sequence in which a TV news anchor gives a news report. Rather than request extra funds, Rabwin overcame the problem creatively by tracking down an Australian TV correspondent based in Los Angeles who was happy to "donate" the needed news report for the chance to be on The X-Files. "We went to his studio setup, inserted a visual of a busy newsroom behind the correspondent, added some photos of the kidnapped children, and we had our scene," said Rabwin.

-- "Well, then you better book three." I think that says it all, doesn't it?

(Discussion of "Closure," the second-half of this two-parter, tomorrow.)

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