Theatre of the Mind ~ Ascension

Before I begin, many have asked what "TWC" stands for. It stands for "Totally Worthless Commentary," which is basically my personal commentary about a certain Federal Agent and is usually of the woo-hoo or holy flaming cow variety. It generally has nothing to do with the story or the plot of the particular episode being discussed, but tends to relate to hair, eye color, glasses, wardrobe, stubble, shirtsleeves, boxers, speedos, nicely wrapped packages, baseball, and the like. It seemed like a good time to clear that up since the TOTM for Ascension could be one big TWC, but I'll try to stick to the other story at hand. With that out of the way, here is today's TOTM.

1. Deny Everything.

2. Mulder's face says it all as Scully's voice goes from awestruck (in telling him about her discovery) to panic-filled.

3. Psychic!Mulder sees Scully's terror through his own eyes. No hotline needed for these two-they are already joined at the psyche.

4. Scully's blood on his hands-talk about a metaphor!

5. It's deja vu all over again for Mulder.

6. Seems Ma Scully is psychic too. No wonder Scully hasn't needed to call her since Emily.

7. Mulder froze during Samantha's abduction and he is determined not to do the same this time. He is a man in motion throughout this episode-physically and mentally. Even when he's standing still, he's going a mile a minute.

8. TWC1: Mulder at the conference table. Oh. My. God.

9. Sideways glance between Ratboy and CSM. Do these two know each other?

10. "You're one microscopic cog in his catastrophic plan, designed and directed by his red right hand."

11. Oops! Me bad. Sorry I got you killed there, officer.

12. Thank God for those video cameras in police vehicles.

13. As close-up of Scully's face comes into view . . . positively chilling.

14. A man possessed, listening to the hostage tape while staring at Scully's photo.

15. Krycek toting coffee again! LOL! He's definitely found his niche!

16. "How'd you sleep?" "I didn't."

17. Intuitive!Mulder is about to make another gigantic leap. One of mountain-sized proportions.

18. "Spectacular views and a full service grill!" Yup, those certainly seem like the most important things to stress in your yellow pages ad!

19. Krycek on the phone: I got a bad feeling about this.

20. CSM on the phone: I told you I had a bad feeling about this.

21. TWC2: Sleepy!Mulder in the car.

22. Did you know that although that was only TWC2, they estimate that there have already been 190,000 TWC-worthy commentary moments in this episode already?

23. "Did they estimate how many people are put to sleep listening to their statistics?"

24. Old "by the book" Krycek-give me a break!

25. With no Scully along for the ride, Mulder must become his own skeptic: It could have been aliens, or someone could have given him her address.

26. Mulder might not know, but I bet I do.

27. Nice to know the truck driver in "E.B.E." got a nice quiet job in the forest running a tram.

28. Mulder ain't kidding. He wants on that tram now!

29. Sorry, Krycek. You have to be THIS tall to ride this tram! Try the Teacup Ride.

30. Just like a man . . . no time to listen to the directions.

31. I think this tram was made by Acme Tram Company. "Slow Speed." "Fast Speed." I was looking for "Super Duper Turbo Light Speed."

32. At last Krycek reveals his true colors. I knew he was a Ratboy all along.

33. Yes, knocking out those pesky truck drivers-turned-tram operators will muss your hair!

34. Action!Figure!Mulder will stop at nothing to reach the top of this mountain. Evildoer!Krycek must take evasive action!

35. Mulder wishes he was on the Teacup Ride right about now. (Teacup photos anyone?)

36. No Scully, only her cross, but something for Mulder to cling to. What a plot device!

37. "They took her." "Who?" "Them!" But which them is them?

38. TWC3: The chase has ended, a man defeated, legs spread, dejected look. Oh my.

39. "That was the deal. Her instead of me." That tells me that Scully's abductors were more earth-bound than Duane Barry thinks.

40. The whispered, "Did you kill her?" And the look on his face. Words cannot describe. Just perfect.

41. Quiet, helpless desperation turns to unbridled rage. Mulder is walking the fine thread of sanity now.

42. "I hope they're not hurting her too much with the tests. I'm sorry." The Samantha comparisons continue.

43. TWC4: Mulder walking down that hallway. Holey moley!

44. Is Mulder just imagining what Scully is going through? If so, he's got a pretty good imagination since the women in "Redux" seem to be undergoing the same tests. (Oh, can't keep those Season 8 thoughts out! What will Scully imagine is happening to Mulder?)

45. "He started whistling 'Stairway to Heaven'." You are such a liar, Ratboy!

46. Sorry. On that shot of Krycek, Mulder, and Skinner while Duane is dying, just can't keep my mind off the blooper reel!

47. TWC5: Mulder is looking positively awesome in the morgue.

48. No F.B.I. pathologist available to do the autopsy. Exactly what he needs. Just one more reminder that Scully isn't there.

49. A meeting of the Rat Pack. Ratboy and the Head Cheese.

50. Guess the age-old question of why they just don't kill Mulder is answered: "You risk turning one man's religion into a crusade."

51. We also find out Krycek's role in the grand scheme of things: take orders, do what you're told, don't ask questions. Something tells me Krycek wants to work his way up the corporate ladder.

52. "Maybe it's because I find it hard to trust anybody." Maybe it's because everybody you do trust is taken away from you. Hankies again, please.

53. Okay, listen up, cause I'm only going to say this once. You won't hear it from my lips again! Krycek looks pretty good standing in that hallway after Mulder takes his keys. Ugh, I can't believe I said that!

54. TWC6: Gotta follow that up quick to get the bad taste out of my mouth! Mulder in the stairwell talking to Mr. X - might-t-fine!

55. "They have only one policy-deny everything." Better write that one down.

56. He's finally at a standstill, no help from the Senator, no help from Mr. X. He will find her . . . no ifs, ands, or . . . butts!

57. TWC7: Five O'clock Shadow!Mulder in Skinner's office. Good golly Miss Molly!

58. Finally! I think we're finally seeing Skinner's true colors. He wants to believe and he wants to help!

59. Love those father/son Skinner/Mulder chats. And he reopens the X-Files! "That's what they fear the most." You go, Walter!

60. Mulder loves meeting those Scully women on a bench, doesn't he? He should warn her, he's experiencing angsty tendencies.

61. Well, she's armed with a mother's love, so she'll take her chances.

62. "It's probably scarier when you stop having the dream. Don't you think?" That's a man speaking from experience.

63. Mulder finds out that Scully has her beliefs too.

64. I know, the cross was a gift for Dana's 15th birthday; she just gave it to her a couple of months early at Christmas!

65. Ma Scully recognizes the bond between these two and tells Mulder to keep the cross until he can return it to her daughter. (Note to CC: Were you paying attention here at all? If not, here's a tip. Even if you didn't think of it in Requiem, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. We know what we think we saw. Us shippers have given you a "golden" opportunity. Don't blow it!)

66. TWC8: Mulder in silhouette. No comments needed.

67. Do you think this is the only night he will spend on this mountain? I don't think so.

68. Gee, when you look back on it, Scully is barely in this episode, but her spirit and essence permeate the entire hour. DD manages to evoke her presence and makes us forget that she isn't actually there beside him. GA will have the opportunity to give as good as she got in Season 8. We will know that Mulder is there beside her every step of the way until he is returned. I believe it.

69. And if you ever tell ANYONE that I said Krycek looked good, I will Deny Everything.

Watching this episode again brought back lots of memories for me. I'm ashamed to say it, but when I saw this episode for the first time, I was pretty much a Mulderist through and through. I knew there was chemistry, and sizzle, and potential for the MSR, but I tended to think of Scully as a wet blanket who was continually raining on Mulder's parade. In this episode, I think Mulder discovered how much Scully really meant to him, how much she had changed his life, and how much he depended and relied on her not only as a colleague but as a friend; Samantha was not the only thing that mattered anymore. Similarly, I looked at Scully with a new appreciation and realized that without her, Mulder would be almost a cartoon character; she brought him depth, and professional credibility, and she made him a whole person (to borrow a phrase). In my estimation, Duane Barry/Ascension and the whole abduction arc was a happy accident/necessity for the XF; I'm not sure an actress' pregnancy has ever been used so effectively in the progression of a series!

Okay, so there weren't a lot of laughs, but you knew that up front, didn't ya?

Apologies anyway,