Theatre of the Mind ~ Hell Money

I didn't intentionally save "Hell Money" as the TOTM to write on Halloween; thanks to some real-life intrusions since last Friday, it just sort of worked out that way. But I guess an episode that relates to the Chinese festival of the Hungry Ghosts is appropriate for an American "ghouliday" like Halloween. Of course, by the time this wings its way to most of you, Halloween will be over, but you get the idea.

1. Confucius say "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." Polly say, "Hell Money" has beauty, but not everyone want to watch episode again to see it.

2. Well, I don't know who this guy is, but he's obviously an acquaintance of Agent Mulder's. He stuck his fingers in that stuff on his door without any hesitation whatsoever!

3. I've figured out the X-File already! A foreign-language teaser with no subtitles!

4. The switchblade has the same "pffft" sound as that alien stiletto icepick thing.

5. Don't you hate it when everybody else gets the same Halloween costume as you?

6. Exactly what kind of a place is this that you need a night watchman at a funeral home?

7. Oh, well I guess that explains THAT!

8. What a way to go, indeed. Perhaps not as embarrassing as autoerotic asphyxiation, but "sizzling" in its own way!

9. TWC1: Polly say Detective Chao kind of cute, but Agent Mulder still only man for Polly. Woo-hoo!

10. So he has a glass eye. I don't get it.

11. Mulder might think it's strange that the man being burned alive wrote the word "ghost" on the ceiling of the crematorium; frankly, I think it's strange that he could write anything at all. Had it been me, and had I the presence of mind to actually write something, I think it would have been, "Oh s**t!

12. Detective Chao explains that Hell Money is specially printed paper money that is burned as a symbolic offering to the evil spirits and ghosts for good luck. My definition of Hell Money would be money that you use to buy something completely useless and frivolous like for example when you see something for sale at the FOX auction like . . . oh, say Mulder footwear or a gray tee-shirt, or a black raincoat, and you decide whether or not to bid and you say . . . Hell, it's only Money! You say other bad words when you realize other people have more hell money than you do.

13. TWC2: Polly say bad episode with good looking Mulder better than good episode with bad looking Mulder. Hoo-boy!

14. Although Mulder has never seen "Men In Black," I guess he has seen "Ghostbusters" since he uses that "who you gonna call" line here and in "The Sixth Extinction." Maybe that was the double-feature after "Caddyshack"?

15. Polly say woman who hang around with finger-sticking federal agent long enough soon adopt sticking-fingering ways. Scully, you're supposed to snap on the latex first!

16. TWC3: Polly say episode that include close-up of Mulder footwear cannot be all bad.

17. Subtitles . . . now you see 'em, now you don't!

18. It's LING! (That's with a soft L and a soft G).

19. Back to the "game" and no subtitles. Do you think the reason that there are no subtitles is because TPTB don't understand this game well enough to explain it to us?

20. Bear gall bladder soup . . . mmm, mmm good! Does that come in the condensed variety?

21. TWC4: Mulder leaning on the counter in the herb shop. My, my.

22. No subtitles again, but now Mulder and Scully ask the question in English and Chao translates. That uses up a little more time.

23. Mulder!Radar kicks into high gear with all this talk of haunted houses!

24. Yup, I guess we didn't need those subtitles to figure out this game after all. It's the kind of game that you'd give you right arm . . . or leg or cornea to play.

25. Mulder, Scully, and Chao walking up the street . . . oooh, I had a Mod Squad flashback for a minute.

26. Maybe those guys in the same Halloween costume are the "3 Ninjas"?

27. Now there's a night watchman at the cemetery. Why? Because people are "dying" to get in?

28. BIG Mulder leap (literally and figuratively) as he hops into the open grave to check out whatever just "occurred" to him.

29. Lt.--"What the hell's he doing?" S-(Funny look that says "Trust me; you don't even want to know!") :::snort:::

30. TWC5: Did Polly say something about beauty in this episode? The whole autopsy scene is this episode's Holy Flaming Cow moment.

31. S-"Do you know how much the human body is worth, Mulder?" M-"Depends on the body." Yeah, she gives him that little smile, just enough but not too much-wouldn't want to encourage him.

32. Just think, if this was a Season 8 episode, the people would be selling their body parts on ebay.

33. S-"If I'm right, this is one man who left his heart in San Francisco." BIG Mulder grin. He does want to encourage her!

34. Oh, the glass eye! Now I get it!

35. Now, if Scully were to dissect that frog, do you think a human being would crawl out?

36. Okay, just in case we're still not clear, here's the game again, but still no subtitles. TPTB want to be clear, but not too clear. (Does this sound like episode 8X08?)

37. TWC6: Mulder eating sunflower seeds in the background.

38. I'm not really sure why M&S are so suspicious of Chao, but Polly say "Hasty conclusion, like gun powder, easy to explode."

39. Mulder not only has a habit of sticking his fingers where they don't belong, he also has sticky fingers. Perhaps he's a closet kleptomaniac?

40. Mulder lifted a tile from Mr. Hsin's apartment that Chao explains shows the symbol for "wood." FYI, Chinese magic is based not on the four Western elements of fire, earth, air, and water, but on the five elements of earth, fire, wood, metal, and water. Each element corresponds to an important body part. Fire, for example, corresponds to the heart, wood to the eye, earth to the flesh, etc. Thus, when a player in the game draws a "fire" tablet, everyone understands that he has drawn the "heart" symbol and is doomed.

41. Zzzz . . . sorry, I musta dozed off there for a sec. The scenes between Ling . . . I mean Kim and her father just dragged for me. Maybe that explains the subtitles . . . so you won't doze off.

42. Polly say Detective Chao may be cute, but Polly getting bad feeling about this.

43. Big Tease Mulder finally gets teased by Scully. "Look like you just saw a ghost."

44. Mulder, in case you haven't noticed it by now, the whole world is a bathroom for men.

45. More subtitles! But while they're talking, I've had time to think, and I'm thinking that I hope CBS never gets wind of this game. I can see the ads now: If you loved 'Survivor' and 'Big Brother,' you'll really love CBS's newest game sensation, You're Somebody Till Nobody Loves You! In hopes of winning the $2 million grand prize, each week contestants will run the risk of having a body part "voted off" by other warm bodies!

46. It's Leaping!Mulder again when he connects Detective Chao's blood type to the carpeting cover-up. Okay, he's two for two. How *does* he do it? (He has the script; that helps!)

47. The amazing Dr. Scully is at it again: "You're sick, aren't you?" Duh. The girl looks like death warmed over. Way to go out there on a limb, Scully!

48. Leaping!Mulder is three for three now! "They're playing some kind of game." That certainly came out of left field. I thought he played right field?

49. TWC7: Polly say it's been too long since a TWC and Mulder at the organ procurement agency fits the bill. Hoo-boy!

50. Warrant? M&S don't need no stinkin' warrant! I guess they had "just cause" to come in.

51. Confucius say "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Polly say Better to bring Big Ass Flashlights on all cases from now on.

52. Polly also say that man who continue to stick his fingers in things (and sniffing too!) will someday have something stuck in him! (November 5 - four days away! Woo-hoo!)

53. Mr. Hsin really ought to be heading off for Vegas. What are the odds of getting your name drawn twice in a row? Wow! (And thanks for showing us the game ONE MORE TIME just in case we still had any doubts about the rules.

54. Gee, I really didn't want Detective Chao to be involved, even though I suspected after he made that comment about his mortgage. But he did at least manage to incite pandelerium with his discovery and announcement that the game was fixed, thus saving Mr. Hsin.

55. The CSM (Chinese Smoking Man) in this episode reminds me of another CSM!

56. Polly say when XF writer write two episodes in same season, second one should have a different ending than first. (This episode and "2SHY" were both written by Jeff Vlaming and both ended with pretty much the same scene: Mulder out of the room and Scully telling the "monster du jour" what she really thinks of him.) But at least these scenes do show us what Scully wants most-justice. Justice for the weak and innocent who cannot protect themselves. And Confucius say, "Justice, like virtue, brings its own reward."

57. TWC8: Polly say looking good Mulder at end of episode brings its own reward . . . for Polly.

58. When I said Detective Chao was "hot," this wasn't what I had in mind. The brief moment of realization on his face, then his haunting very soft scream that lingers as the screen fades to black. Quite frightening.

59. Confucious say "There is no high road to happiness or misfortune; every man brings them on himself." And that seems to be a good moral of this story. Despite the presence of our favorite ghostbusters, there was no ghost or X-File in "Hell Money"; just a hoax and some pretty creepy and disturbing goings-on. (And Mulder looking pretty good which is never a bad thing!)

60. All in all, watching "Hell Money" is like eating Chinese food . . . an hour later, you're hungry for another (better) episode. Sure I would like to have seen more MSR, maybe a little nookie during the stakeout in the car. But you know what Confucius say: "Passionate kiss like spiders web; soon lead to undoing of fly."

61. "Talk about tacky."

I've had a countdown similar to Shakerbaker's: number of TOTM's until Teso Dos Bichos and Hell Money were done! Yee-haw! So close to Season 8, and those two duds . . . er, fine episodes are behind me! You have my sincerest apologies, as always.