CTP Episode of the Day - 07.05.06

Today's Cherished Episode: This is Not Happening (8x14)
Original Air Date: February 25, 2001
Written By: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed By: Kim Manners

The search intensifies as FBI agent Monica Reyes joins the hunt for the missing Fox Mulder. As Scully and Doggett's difference of opinions about the missing Mulder heighten, Doggett enlists Reyes' help to bring her own viewpoint and expertise to the mysterious Mulder X-File.

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

"I asked you to give me the truth."

Some "This is Not Happening" Tidbits & Musings:

-- The episode title is of course from the phrase that is repeated several times throughout the episode. But it's also a reminder of Season 3's excellent Darin Morgan episode, "Jose Chung's From Outer Space," in which a man disguised as an alien is abducted by real aliens and sits in his cell muttering the phrase "This is not happening" over and over again.

-- In the Bible, Absalom was the third son of David, King of Israel. He was deemed the handsomest man in the kingdom, and was known for having long hair -- as does the Absalom in the episode. Absalom was played by actor Judson Scott, star of the short-lived 1981 sci-fi series "The Phoenix" and who also appeared in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

-- Continuity Oopsie: When the agents review the tapes from the cult compound and Scully spots Jeremiah Smith, Skinner asks "Who is he?" These guys just have no long-term memory! Skinner participated in the questioning of Jeremiah Smith in "Talitha Cumi" in Season 3.

-- We saw Mulder twice in the episode, in the alien dentist chair in Scully's dream and dead at the end of the episode. But neither was David Duchovny. The shots were done with a body double, a DD mask, and some creative make-up.

-- TINH marked the introduction of the Agent Monica Reyes charactger to the XF. XF producers knew from the beginning of Season 8 that they would be introducing a new female character at some point during the season, though she was unnamed in the very beginning. They wanted the new character to be completely different from Mulder, Scully or Doggett, yet someone who could be "Mulder to Scully and Doggett." Carter wanted a character who would believe anything, be open to anything, and have a big heart, yet be a bit "dippy in a weird way." Frank Spotnitz said, "She's not like a character we've had before. She's a little neurotic, a little scattered, a little quirky. She's just lighter than Mulder and Scully."

-- According to Frank Spotnitz, many actresses wanted the part of Monica Reyes. Annabeth Gish remembered that when her agent called her to tell her they were looking for a new female agent on XF, there was no question in her mind to jump at the chance and to fight for the role. Annabeth was ultimately chosen for the part because "she had this winning quality, fantastic smile and laugh, absolutely disarming." Gish received "also starring" billing on this episode; it took Mitch Pileggi and some of the other semi-regulars quite a few episodes to get the "also starring" billing.

-- Annabeth Gish described Reyes as being "very Mulderesque in her optimism and her faith and her enjoyment of entertaining the possibility." She recalled that her first day on the XF site was quite memorable as the first scene she was scheduled to shoot (running down the hill after the UFO) was at 4 a.m. She was quite nervous and didn't know anyone, but after being such a trooper with her 4 a.m. call, she was warmly welcomed by the XF crew members.

-- The timeline for this episode is confirmed by Skinner and Scully when they say that Richie Szalay met Mulder and Scully in Oregon "last spring." When this episode aired, "last spring" was eight months previous -- and in "TINH" pregnant Scully isn't even showing yet. -- The short scene during which the Agents interrogate Richie just underscores how insulting the whole "search for Mulder" really was. Richie had seemingly done everything he could think of to find his friend while Scully and Doggett were apparently just waiting for "a break" in the case. IMBO, It was a monumental mistake on the part of the writers in Season 8 to not make the very small effort it would have taken to convince us that Scully was indeed searching for Mulder (without quitting her day job). The scene with Richie shows us how easy it would have been to devote just a minute or two in each Season 8 episode to the "search for Mulder" -- Scully surfing the internet or chatting by phone with the LGM, that's al it would have taken to let s know Scully was still looking and to give us a season that the fans could have been so much more emotionally invested in. Doggett said, "The point here is to find Mulder." I just wish they'd remembered that sooner.

-- Scully's starlight speech is also a reminder of all the Absent Center moments that never were in Season 8. It's a wonderful scene and reminds us how Skinner is still wrapped around Scully's little finger. Hankies needed for this one.

-- It was a nice surprise to have Roy Thinnes back as Jeremiah Smith, especially since we assumed he was dead meat at the hands of the ABH in "Herrenvolk." Of course, we know there were lots of Jeremiahs, but this one later tells Scully that he is "the only one" who can help the abductees. -- Gary's autopsy scene made this episode worth watching, IMBO, with Scully struggling to hold it together while she outlined the injuries that she know Mulder may have suffered as well, and tries to hold out hope that Mulder won't meet a similar end. (Skinner's simple "Dana" just about breaks my heart -- that big, bald beautiful man!)

-- Sure wish that Scully had a nicer photo of Mulder to flash around (maybe the red Speedo! < veg >). David Duchovny deserved better.

-- I liked watching the Scully who had kept her fears and her feelings pretty much in check during the whole episode finally lose it. I liked hearing her scream "how bad is he?" over and over before she reached Mulder's body, and I liked seeing her break free from Doggett not once but twice, her determination was so strong. And I loved her desperate run from Mulder's body back to the compound realizing that the only way she could save Mulder at this point was not with science but with faith in something from another world.

-- But after such a strong emotional scene from Scully, I was bothered by her shouting "this is not happening" just because Chris and Frank thought it would be a cutesy way to bookend the episode. I found her long excruciating "nooooooo" much more Scully-like.

-- When this episode concluded, Fox left us hanging with the image of a dead Mulder and a distraught Scully for five weeks while they premiered the new LGM show in the XF timeslot. Unfortunately, their experiment failed on two counts: the LGM show didn't make it; and many XF casual viewers, unaware of Fox Mulder's propensity for returning from the dead (and unaware of the fact that David Duchovny was contracted to appear in the rest of the season's episodes) didn't return when the show did. So it would seem the 1013 boys went to the "Mulder's dead" well one too many times and when the "to be continued" appeared on the screen after this episode, many folks just didn't care.

Please share your "TINH" comments and observations.

Polly