Theatre of the Mind ~ Paper Clip

Well, you see I was correct-only a very few missed the TOTM. But I gotta finish out the trilogy, so here you go; if you don't want any more, I'll understand. It would be hard to do justice to craptacular Season 3 episodes like Teso Dos Bichos and Hell Money anyway. Better to quit while I'm ahead.

1. Ah, symbolism.

2. Well, things in the apartment are pretty much where we left them. From reading spoilers, this sounds vaguely like a scene we might see in Season 8. Too bad Scully and Skinner didn't have a secret code in this episode!

3. After a zillion viewings, my heart still melts at the way Scully looks at him when he kicks in the door. 4. Mulder, you should rent out your apartment for these types of occasions. A lot of people certainly visit when you're not home!

5. TWC1: Mulder in half light, half shadow. Woo hoo!

6. "I was a dead man. Now I'm back." Just call him Lazarus.

7. Yup, someone's willing to kill for this tape so, ummm, yeah, why don't you keep it, Walt?

8. OT: I'm not sure this scenario is covered in my Employee Handbook. What's the proper etiquette for returning to work on Monday morning after pulling a gun on your boss the week before? (Good thing Scully's still suspended.)

9. Mulder, please jot this down as a reference for when you return from any near-death or abduction scenarios you might experience in the future: When Scully has something to say to you upon your return, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. Let the girl say what she wants to say. The sum total of what you *should* have said in this type of situation was four little words: "Did you miss me?"

10. "I just knew." Scully is Eve223.

11. TWC2: Mulder reflected in the elevator door. You all know I *love* reflecting Mulder! They had to go down four floors. Wonder what they did during that ride?

12. Poor Mrs. Scully. Will she *ever* get to be in an X-File episode where all she has to do is smile and look proud/happy for the people she holds dear? Let's keep our fingers crossed for Season 8 . . . maybe a wedding . . . maybe holding her new grandbaby???

13. Do you think this really was Melinda McGraw? The way she was wrapped up, it could have been anyone. She got her name in the credits, anyway.

14. Tonight's history lesson: Convinced that German scientists could help America's postwar efforts, President Harry Truman agreed in September 1946 to authorize "Project Paperclip," a program to bring selected German scientists to work on America's behalf during the "Cold War." However, Truman expressly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Naziism or militarism." Somehow, I'm sure the consortium found a loophole in that one.

15. And they call themselves Lone Gunmen! Let me help again: pictured from left to right, CSM, Mr. Mulder, Mr. Klemper, 1st Elder, Deep Throat, another Elder, another Elder, and WMM.)

16. BearBerg started the TOTM "I Don't Know" Moments, and there's sure a lot of them in this episode. Here's the first. (IDK1). Mulder doesn't know why his father is in this photo.

17. There is something really wrong with an episode where Frohike gets to hug Mulder and Scully doesn't.

18. "That bullet was meant for me." Hanky, please.

19. Somehow I don't think this is a SmokeEnders meeting.

20. "I wasn't aware that my honesty was in question or doubt." Oh, brother.

21. Hope CSM remembered his deodorant today-he's sweating bullets.

22. This is just me, but every time I hear the name Victor Klemper I think of Werner Klemperer which makes me think of Colonel Klink which makes me think of Hogan's Heroes. Like I said, it's just me.

23. TWC3: Good shot of Mulder footwear as M&S visit Colonel Klink (er, you know who I mean). Other parts of Mulder are looking good too.

24. DD has said that he plays Mulder "Jewish," but if that were true, I'd expect a little more disdain in the scene with Klemper; Scully shows all the contempt here. Maybe Mulder was a little more worried about how his father got mixed up in this whole crazy mess.

25. The X-Files certainly does wonders for my vocabulary. I'll share! Venal: corrupt, sordid, unscrupulous, dishonorable, mercenary, corruptible, bribable, purchasable. WMM? Venal? But he looks like such a proper English gentleman!

26. Poor Ma Scully is disappointed that it's not Dana who's come to call. She's really worried since Scully had no shoes the last time she saw her.

27. Do you think Mulder called Albert on the phone and asked him to come or did he do one of those "I have been on the bridge that spans two worlds . . ." floating head call waiting things?

28. Strughold Mining Facility. Where have I heard that name Strughold before?

29. "He never came home wearing a miner's cap." I think Mulder's dad wore many hats.

30. "I'd like to try door number one, Monty." (TWC4: We can play let's make a deal anytime, baby.)

31. Scully really *is* a math geek. She knows Napier's constant, the basis of all natural logarithms, off the top of her head.

32. Guess she's not such a math geek after all. She says 27828 (2.7828) is correct and that code *does* open the door; but Napier's constant is 2.71828. (I'm not a math geek; I looked it up.)

33. Well, we can overlook that little error since she tries so hard to prepare Mulder for what he might find out about his father behind the door. 'Nother hanky, please.

34. Just a nod that translates to, "Thanks for caring about me, Scully. I love you too, but get out of the way."

35. Love the cut from the mine door handle to Skinner's door handle.

36. If it's possible, I think CSM is sweating just a little bit more now. But the Skin Man is super cool.

37. "Lots and lots of files." Office Depot must have made a boatload on this sale!

38. "What year were you born?" Don't let him fool you, Scully. He's just trying to find out your birthday. He likes to celebrate them like dog years, by the way.

39. IDK2 and 3: (Two in less than 5 seconds!) He doesn't know what the hell is going on, and he doesn't know what he's looking for.

40. Tsk, tsk on the continuity. Samantha gets a new birthday (it was 1/22/65 in "Conduit," now it's 11/21/65) and a new middle name (it was T. in "Conduit," now it's Ann).

41. Oh, oh. The file was originally his. Beloved sister is sacrificed so sibling might live. (Pay attention, now; this could be important later.)

42. Did you ever notice that he has a habit of not answering when she asks, "Mulder, where are you going?"

43. Great cinematography: love the rising spaceship, love the skittering aliens

44. TWC5: Running Mulder! Hoo boy! And lots of good footwear shots, I might add.

45. More great cinematography: love those dancing flashlights. When we finally get to see M&S "do it," that's probably what we'll see--just their flashlights.

46. IDK4: Don't know why there's lots and lots of files, but the answer's got to be on the tape.

47. Mulder has obviously been paying attention in FBI seminars and lays out the XF division mission pretty clearly: "Why they killed my father . . . and what happened to my sister . . . and what they did to Agent Scully." Yup, that should be your focus for the next few years, boys and girls.

48. Scully makes it pretty clear where she stands too: "I want exactly what you want." (I bet the old consortium is kicking itself for assigning Scully to the basement, don't you think?)

49. FINALLY . . . Skinner gets off the fence. I just wish he wouldn't keep climbing back up there.

50. Mulder ultimately leaves the decision up to Scully, his trust in her complete; he knows she knows what he would say. Our boy's come a long way.

51. TWC6: Tonight's Holy Flaming Cow Moment-Mulder outside the diner. HFC!

52. "That for something to live, another thing must often be sacrificed." Sorry, Melissa, remember that symbolism I mentioned? Well, things don't look good for you.

53. Skinner never once met Ma Scully during Dana's abduction? That was rather rude. How do these two end up married in every fanfic I read?

54. Walter, what are you doing with that tape on your person? You never heard of a safe deposit box?

55. Well, if it's any consolation to you, Walt, it took three of them to take you down. (Krycek and his David Spade haircut is enjoying it just a bit too much. You'll get yours, Ratboy.)

56. Krycek takes a cue from Scully and gets out of the car. Quickly.

57. I guess four days have passed, cause Mulder finally changes his clothes.

58. It must rain 400 inches a day wherever Mr. Klemper lives . . . er lived.

59. Mr. X must not have been available for this ep, so the VENAL WMM appears to explain it all.

60. TWC7: Tonight's Holy Flaming Cow Runner-Up Moment! In the greenhouse.

61. Tell the truth. Have you ever looked at your smallpox vaccination scar the same way since this episode?

62. XF trivia: How many times has Scully uttered the phrase "It is pure science fiction," or some variation thereof? That's almost as popular as "treat yourself."

63. IDK5: Scully can't explain why her file was there.

64. "Why her? Why not me?" There's another old XF chestnut!

65. Well, old Smokey, I guess there is someone even more VENAL than you. Maybe he's VERMINAL.

66. I'm a little concerned that Mrs. No-First-Name Mulder isn't at all startled to be awakened by a man in her darkened bedroom at 2 a.m. Perhaps Fox has a habit of doing this, however, since he appears at her house in the middle of the night again in "Paper Hearts." He can't visit during daytime hours?

67. "Mom, did he ever ask you to make a choice?" It's written all over her face.

68. "It was your father's choice and I hated him for it. Even in his grave, I hate him still." I think that's about the most information Mrs. Mulder has imparted in 7 years.

69. "This is where you pucker up and kiss my a**." Woo-hoo! Best Skinner line ever! Walt, please stay off that fence in Season 8!

70. The scene with the empty bed is so wonderful. Great acting all around. They are really united now (perhaps in dangerous purpose). That which does not kill them only makes their bond stronger. Both have lost their fathers, both have had their sister sacrificed so that they might live (told you that would be important later), and now, both have lost their innocence. Scully confirms that she is now fully vested-Mulder's quest has become hers as well. And don't forget the hug. Awwww. New hanky needed!

71. To me, this trilogy has three themes: betrayal, loss/sacrifice, restoration. In "Anasazi," Mulder feels betrayed, by his father, and even by Scully (at least in his drug-addled brain). But when Scully saves his life and his sanity, she restores his trust in her. "The Blessing Way" in particular highlights loss and sacrifice. Mulder has lost his father and very nearly loses his life, Scully loses her job, her partner, her sense of security (upon finding the chip in her neck), perhaps a bit of her faith, and ultimately her sister. In "Paper Clip," the two heroes are restored, to each other, to themselves ("I need something to put my back up against." "I feel the same way."), and to their quest ("I've heard the truth, Mulder. Now what I want are the answers.").

72. Personal note to CC: Dear Chris, You've always said that there would be no romance between M&S because such a personal relationship would take the focus off the X-Files and the investigations. It occurs to me that it doesn't get much more personal than the murder of your father and your sister and finding out that your family is knee-deep in some kind of global conspiracy. You brought personal relationships into this thing a long time ago. Don't turn back now, not when we're soooo close! I'm sure you'll take my feelings into consideration, cause that's just the kind of guy you are! Love to all the gang at 1013 - Polly

73. Once again, longer than I expected. I'll try to do better. Just use this Mulderism as your motto for these long-ish TOTMs: "I think with a crowbar and a small nuclear device, I might be able to get through one of these things."

Whew, end of the first XF trilogy, and what a trilogy it was! After all that's happened, how can they go back to investigating MOTWs? Funny that we're discussing this theme again in pre-Season 8, ain't it? Well, I promised apologies in triplicate tonight, so here they are.

Apologies, apologies, apologies. Better to quit while I'm ahead? Maybe I'll see ya tomorrow, and maybe I won't. How's that for a cliffhanger?