Theatre of the Mind ~ Grotesque

1. You gotta believe when an episode starts out with a pretty much nekkid guy, good things lie ahead. Using this as my guide, I think "Within" is gonna be great!

2. I think it's apparent why this squirrelly little guy is taking art lessons. He's not even close.

3. That's why I hate those Exacto knives.

4. OT: I hope Mulder gets a blanket in "Within" and "Without," if he needs one. He's going through enough; I'd hate to think he was cold too.

5. This is why you shouldn't park your car in spooky alleys and you should always have your keys ready in your hand-though I guess if someone has tampered with your lock, that's really not going to help you.

6. Oh my gosh! It's Red Forman! Now I've seen everything.

7. How about those red herrings, huh? Tell the truth now. Didn't you think it meant something that Mostow bit Agent Nemhauser (who is named for Postproduction Supervisor Lori Jo Nemhauser, by the way)?

8. Agent Patterson likes to snap on the latex as much as Scully does.

9. Whose blood is on the retracting Exacto knife-Mostow's or the model's?

10. Yippee! Slide show! First in a while!

11. It really became apparent in WOTC that Scully laughs out loud at his jokes as long as he can't see her. She's back to the good old Scully Smirk here.

12. I like how the slide pattern showing on Scully's face matches her lovely red suit. Mulder even has color-coordinated slide shows now! (And I like the red suit-Scully, what happened to all your colorful clothes?)

13. Guest starring Levani. I can see why he only used his first name in the credits. Levani Outchaneichvili-they were probably afraid it wouldn't fit on the screen. Too bad for the next Levani Outchaneichvili who tried to register with the Screen Actors Guild!

14. TWC1: Just let me say right off the bat that this whole episode is one big TWC. Even as Mulder starts to look the worse for wear as the episode progresses, he still looks awesome thanks to the wonderful lighting and cinematography. But this rates as the first TWC because he has his foot up on the desk.

15. "According to Assistant Director Skinner, who asked us to look into this case . . ." Boy, that's an oddly-written line that strikes me as funny today as it did in its original airing. Couldn't it have been made clear later that Skinner put them on the case? Don't know why it bothers me-it just does.

16. I think this is our first glimpse of why Mulder is such a great profiler. Notice how he gets right down there on the floor with Mostow and calls him "John" immediately, while Scully is still calling him "sir" and suggesting he sleep in his nice soft bunk.

17. Saint Scully is actually kind of holier than thou in this scene. "Well, *its* fingerprints weren't on the murder weapon . . .".

18. "It makes men lick the greasy floor of hell just to see its reflection." What a mental picture that conjures up. Ewww.

19. Now Saint Scully is calling him John too. She's learning from the master.

20. TWC2: Mulder as he joins Patterson in the hall (and an honorable mention when he looks up at Patterson in the cell-every time he looks up at Patterson he looks so young and vulnerable; you don't think that was planned, do you?).

21. Scully tries to kiss butt, but I think we'll know where her allegiance lies by the end of this episode. "Strange company you keep then." Maybe we'll know by the end of this scene.

22. Looks like Bill Patterson is just another in that long line of father figures that Mulder has been seeking to impress and make proud his whole life.

23. TWC3: Mulder *and* Scully footwear! Woo-hoo! And Scully has really got those little legs moving!

24. "Didn't want to get my knees dirty." Um, could you clarify, please?

25. S-"You mean you couldn't worship him." Whew, Scully, thanks for clarifying.

26. M-"Something like that." What?

27. This is as good a time as any to give kudos to the *real* supporting players in this episode: John Bartley's incredible cinematography and Mark Snow's incredible score. They add tremendously to the darkness and suspense of this episode-especially in the many scenes without dialogue.

28. Look out for that cat! And thanks for the reminder that Teso Dos Bichos is only *four* short episodes away!

29. Love Scully's self-deprecating little smile and comment about thinking one of the pictures was coming to life. She *has* been working with Mulder too long.

30. Why have a Big Ass Flashlight when a Little Ass Flashlight will do!

31. TWC4: Another footwear shot just for Polly (and the rest of Mulder is looking pretty good too as illuminated by his Little Ass Flashlight). This episode must be the king of the footwear shots.

32. Lots and lots of gargoyles.

33. This must be the equivalent of an Audio Ditch as she knows where he is but he doesn't answer.

34. The first time I saw this I wasn't quite sure whether the glass blower was reacting to the conversation in his hospital room or to the fact that his attacker was there-of course, I thought it was Nemhauser at the time (remember that bite thing-I guess that only counts in werewolves).

35. So Patterson requested Mulder on this case-the plot thickens.

36. Even though they don't like him (as Skinner points out in "Requiem"), I somehow think that Patterson isn't the only one at the FBI who tells "Mulder stories" after a couple of beers.

37. See, they pointed out that bite again. Trying to get us to "nibble" at that one.

38. TWC5: There's only one thing missing from Studious!Mulder in the library: WHERE ARE HIS GLASSES? And I liked it when he had to write everything out in longhand-no laptops back in the day.

39. Unlike Agent Mulder, I didn't go to the library to do my research. I used the good old Internet, and it didn't turn up anything nearly so fanciful as Mulder's descriptions. A gargoyle is a grotesquely carved human or animal figure found on an architectural structure, originally designed to serve as a spout to throw rainwater clear of a building. They later became strictly ornamental and assumed many forms. As Mulder said, the word comes from the French "gargouille" which means "throat or pipe."

40. But it isn't nearly so dramatic to say, "Is this the rainspout called madness?"

41. Sorry, but Patterson footwear just doesn't "do it" for me.

42. TWC6: Sleeping Mulder with "his nose stuck in a library book." Again, he looks so young and vulnerable looking up at Patterson.

43. One of my favorite lines ever: "Well, I wouldn't want to disappoint you by not disappointing you." Can't you just picture Mulder saying this to his Dad? To others along the way? Not wanting to disappoint, but feeling as if he has disappointed everyone. No wonder he's so screwed up.

44. TWC7: The HFC moment-Mulder reflecting in the window as he looks up at the gargoyle; AND oh that fine, fine, derriere!

45. Scully's reaction to Mulder's new wallpaper is well done. She is really scared for him now, as he follows Patterson's lesson: "If you want to catch a monster, you must become one yourself."

46. Good time to give kudos to DD for giving one of his best performances in the series up to this time. Greatly understated and subtle, especially in these scenes alone in Mostow's secret gallery. He *is* Patterson's dutiful student, after all: He has covered his own apartment walls so he can see what the killer sees. He puts his hands where the killer's have been-on the furniture in his apartment, on the clay he used to hide the bodies, and (later) on the murder weapon. He sleeps where the killer has slept. And then he is confronted by another killer or perhaps the accomplice. All this without dialogue; just the wonderful cinematography and haunting music as mentioned above. Very dynamic!

47. As Scully reams out Mulder for doing his disappearing act, I can only think that this time Mulder is shutting her out deliberately, he wants to spare her as much of his ascent into madness as he can. But he still knows that she is his one link to sanity-and that she'll be there to rescue him if he needs her.

48. More great cinematography as the police car flashing lights illuminate our heroes. Scully tries to get him to listen, but she knows already that he's not.

49. IMHO, as Scully turns to face down Patterson, the look on her face is the best I have ever seen. Patterson is a dead man. If you had any doubt about Scully's allegiance, she's pledging it now.

50. "My advice to you, Scully-let Mulder do what he has to do. Don't get in his way. Don't try to hold him back-because you won't be able to." Perhaps this is the best advice Scully could get for the entire show.

51. At least one thing hasn't changed: Psychic!Scully is on the case as she finds the Exacto knife and blade while she's just sittin' and thinkin'.

52. Mulder's loss of control in Mostow's cell is more frightening than any words he could have spoken. We saw him lose self-control once before, remember: "Ascension."

53. Hey, those are pretty cool shades that Scully and the technician get to wear when they're looking at the redwop. They look yvoorg!

54. Oh, oh. Mulder's prints on the knife. The knife is missing. Does Scully still have faith in her partner? At least she's wearing a nice suit.

55. She *does* still have faith in Mulder, even if it's beginning to wear a bit thin, as evidenced in her scene with Skinner. Notice how she is always able to get Skinner with a little twist of her words? "I know Agent Mulder is working very hard on this case *at your request, sir*."

56. TWC8: Hoo-boy, Mulder looks good bathed in blue light in Mostow's secret gallery in the scene that is actually his dream.

57. Mulder sees his own reflection in his dream . . . good thing he's a psychologist and can interpret these things. (Hope he can interpret the meaning of this gun-dropping thing too.)

58. TWC9: I know it's soon, but must give a woo-hoo to shirttail hanging out Mulder.

59. Perhaps Scully will add this blood slurping cat to her menagerie of carnivorous pets.

60. Pretty amazing that even when these two are using other people's cell phones they still reach each other. That must be some special service from Cellular One. (And I get to see Squeamish!Mulder and hear Mulder say "hullo" again!)

61. Scully can't understand his need to hold the murder weapon. (See #46, Scully.) "Look, Scully, I didn't *take* it." Perfect.

62. But she's still his partner and she still wants to save him: "I'm going to be there in a few minutes and we're going to work this thing out together."

63. Mulder finds Nemhauser and realization sets in. Realizing what Patterson has become; what he might have become himself.

64. Even as he confronts Patterson, Mulder's compassion still comes through: ". . . you lived and breathed the horror show that was in his head and I'm sorry . . . imagining everything that he imagined."

65. When Scully said a few minutes she wasn't kidding. She must have broken the land speed record to get there that fast (or at least hit all the lights). It takes me that long to get my seat belt fastened.

66. But her faith is frazzled as she forgets (just for a minute) who the only one she trusts is.

67. But good old Mulder, even though she holds a gun and a flashlight on him, he still stops to help her get up before pursuing Patterson.

68. TWC10: It's a tense moment, but even in the dark, he looks good.

69. Mulder drops his gun AGAIN, but redeems himself by getting it back and saving himself from the Exacto knife.

70. Great reaction by Scully/GA when she's not sure who is shot-Mulder or Patterson; and great reaction by Mulder/DD when he realizes he has had to shoot his teacher and mentor in order to save his own life.

71. Mulder's ending voiceover is a heartbreaking summary, perhaps his feelings about what might have happened to him if he had continued down the path he was on at one time in his life. "We are left alone staring into the abyss. Into the laughing face of madness."

72. I guess the tagline for this episode could have been "How Spooky Got His Nickname." But as you might have guessed by now (by the length of this TOTM-whew!), this is one of my favorite episodes, definitely in my top ten all-time. Every time I watch it, I go back and read "A Fragile Fortress" by Kronos, my favorite post-episode fic and a great follow-up to "Grotesque." I'm also a sucker for Profiling!Mulder, but you do have to be able to suspend belief and accept that there was a Fox Mulder before there was a Dana Scully (LOL) in order to enjoy some of these pre-XF fanfics. If you can do that, and you haven't read the mother of all BSU/VICAP Mulder fanfics, "Oklahoma," by Amperage and Livengoo, that's the place to go.

73. Well, I certainly didn't intend this TOTM to be this long, so go ahead and flame me if you must, but then I'd have to say that "No one would ever guess how really mean-spirited you are." But I'm not gonna apologize for this one because I do love "Grotesque" so much, so I know some of you will be disappointed. "Well, I wouldn't want to disappoint you by not disappointing you."