Theatre of the Mind ~ Pusher

1. Play "Misty" for me. "Look at me, I'm as helpless as a KITTEN up a tree . . ." Just one more reminder that "Teso Dos Bichos" is the very next episode! Woo-bleepin'-hoo!

2. I'm glad this guy remembered to pick up some V-8 along with his Mango Kiwi Tropical Swirl. With all those carbo boosters, if he slapped his forehead cause he coulda had a V-8, he might have knocked himself out.

3. What's new in the World Weekly Informer this week? Flukeman washes up in Mulder's hometown of Martha's Vineyard. "Depravity Rampant on Hit TV Show." (Must be the X-Files since that's props master Ken Hawryliw with a strip-o-gram artist in a photo taken on his birthday.) And the girl raised by squirrels? How has Mulder missed this one?

4. Do M&S have those little trap-door cover-up things on the back of their FBI jackets? Cool.

5. "Think you can hold me?" (Great reuse of this line two years later in "Kitsunegari").

6. Who says the X-Files isn't ahead of its time? Check this out; I think it's a hoot: "Carlstadt, NJ, April 26, 1999 -- The official color of the millennium is Cerulean Blue PANTONE 15-4020 TC, the color of the sky on a serene, crystal clear day, says Pantone, Inc., the world's leading authority on color and color trends. Lifestyle movements suggest that consumers will be seeking inner peace and spiritual fulfillment in the new millennium. This is a paradoxical time in which we are heading toward an uncertain, yet exciting, future, and also looking back, trying to hold onto the security of the past. In this stressful, high-tech era, we will be searching for solace and Cerulean Blue produces the perfect calming effect."

7. "Hey! Mr. Blackwell. Put a sock in it!" ROTFLMAO-love that line.

8. This is going to be painful.

9. Mulder must like Frank cause I don't think he loans his slide projector to just anyone.

10. Great makeup work on Frank, and on everyone who ends up "battered and bruised" in this episode.

11. General TWC: Let's just cut to the chase right now and say that this whole episode is one big TWC moment. M&S never looked better in my opinion, from this first scene with Mulder leaning back in his chair (four legs on the floor, mister!) to Scully wearing red again. (Maybe she'll get some colorful maternity wear!) Great looks, great hair, great clothes, they've both got it goin' on in "Pusher."

12. Naturally slide show master Mulder knows when a slide is in backwards.

13. "Yojimbo" ("The Bodyguard") was made in 1961 by famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It tells the story of a ronin who comes across a town that is terrorized by two warring gangs. It was the inspiration for Sergio Leone's spaghetti western, "A Fistful of Dollars" in 1966.

14. Written by Vince Gilligan; directed by Rob Bowman. You knew it would be perfection.

15. That's production assistant Danielle Faith Friedman as the model on the cover of "American Ronin."

16. What kind of magazines do you think Mulder has stacked on the back of his toilet?

17. The first of many "Holly" references by Vince Gilligan is pretty blatant in "Pusher." Vince will get better at hiding his contribution to X-Files lore as he writes more episodes.

18. "Samurais without masters have to advertise." Love it.

19. Why did Scully choose "inducing someone to buy hair color" as her analogy during their discussion of the power of suggestion. Might Mulder discover that Scully is not a natural redhead?

20. TWC1: Love how much Mulder uses his hands while he's talking, during the whole episode really, but particularly in this scene. Though they are just slightly out of frame, you can still see the gestures he is making. It just complements the way he uses his voice: "Maybe he *really* didn't want to go to jail."

21. TWC2: This episode will, of course, go down in history as one of the shippiest on record. For example, how long do you think Scully's head was resting on Mulder's shoulder before he woke her? How many times did he "gaze" at her, similar to his gaze in "all things," before impending drool forced him to take action? I also like how he always wakes her by touching her face with his fingers; so sensuous. (And I get to hear him say "Hullo" when he answers the pay phone. Hoo boy!)

22. "You and your pretty partner seem awfully close. Do you work well together?" How come other people always notice this, but M&S seem oblivious?

23. Now you, me, Agent Scully, and everybody else on earth would think that "let your fingers do the walking" means the phone book. But not Mulder. And of course, he's right. Worthy adversary? I'll say.

24. If O.J. was ever an X-Files fan, I guess he's not anymore.

25. "Let's go, G-woman!" :::sigh:::

26. Always have to laugh cause the sniper in camouflage on the driving range looks like Cousin Itt.

27. The scene with Collins and the gas can is heart-wrenching; begging them to stop him but unable to stop himself. Great work by all parties.

28. Our Agents are pretty good when the chips are down! Quick-thinking Scully runs off to get a fire extinguisher and Mulder is able to squash his fear of fire long enough to douse the flames with his trenchcoat. (They probably think we don't remember that Mulder is afraid of fire.)

29. TWC3: But I'm glad Mulder put his trenchcoat to good use cause now we can see that lovely blue suit. I don't think it's Cerulean blue, however.

30. Love the little touches, as Scully shakes her hands from the heat while ministering to the burn victim.

31. "Bet you five bucks I get off." I'm not sure I'd take that bet.

32. The courtroom scene evoked memories of "Tooms": Creepy bad guy with female attorney, Mulder giving incredulous testimony that nobody would believe, Scully listening to his testimony, feeling bad because he's looking foolish. Lots of parallels.

33. Love how Mulder looks back and forth between Modell and the judge in the courtroom. He's the only one who understands what's happening.

34. TWC4: Mulder standing on the stairs with his arms folded. And great Mulderisms too: "Hey, your shoe's untied. Made you look. How do *you* do it?" Jerking Modell's chain. I love it.

35. Another great scene at the shooting range. Lots of TWC (who can resist gum chewing Mulder?) He amazes her with his profiling ability, but she's able to amaze him too with news of Modell's FBI application. I like the fact that their "discussion" isn't about whether Modell is a murderer-they both believe he is-it's how he manages to do it. Mulder thinks its something in his voice; Scully is looking for something a little more mundane. She thinks "he is just a little man who wishes that he were someone big." Viewing this scene now, however, I am half-expecting to see Mulder do that little quotes thing with his fingers when he asks Scully about her big theory (a la "Bad Blood").

36. And the classic Scullyism: "Please explain to me the scientific nature of the 'whammy'."

37. Hey, Mulder's a pretty good shot when he can hold onto his gun.

38. It's the same guard that was in "The Blessing Way." Nice continuity. (And if I ever get on the set of the X-Files, I'm gonna try that "PASS" thing. It might work.)

39. It seems that we have Psychic!Skinner in this episode. A set of closed blinds arouses his suspicion? Suppose Holly was just straightening her pantyhose or something?

40. But interesting how Skinner is not affected by Pusher at all here, but he is in "Kitsunegari".

41. TWC5: Skinner is looking pretty darn good here too (and love the Mel Cooley reference).

42. But poor Walter is not really faring too well this year. How many times has he been beaten up already this season, not to mention shot? And now he's taken out by this little bitty girl who leaves a size seven heel mark on his face-and other locations, I would imagine. (I winced every time she kicked him in the ribs-the man just got shot there for crying out loud!)

43. Scully finally agrees with Mulder in front of Skinner. I think that Mulder looked surprised.

44. TWC6: Great Mulder face as he pastes the warrant on the TV playing "Svengali" in Modell's apartment.

45. M&S in Modell's bathroom reminds me of how much we see them together in this episode, and usually very close together. This is a nice change after a few episodes where they are apart much of the time. They can talk to each other without using their cell phones!

46. Mulder's using his hands again as he describes his "big theory" regarding brain tumors and psychic ability. And did Scully mention those "cat-and-mouse games" as another "Teso Dos Bichos" reminder? That's my "big theory" anyway.

47. S-"And he wants to go out in a blaze of glory." M-"Not with a whimper but a bang." I'll say.

48. Together again with their heads sooo close as they listen to Modell on the phone. And close in other ways too as Scully tries to complete what Mulder cannot and disconnect Frank's phone call from Modell.

49. Speaking of Frank, kudos to Vic Polizos who plays this guy with the great name and "stubby little legs that are gonna kick you right in the ass" with great conviction. Unlike Mulder, he doesn't care how Pusher does the things he does. He just wants him locked up so he can't do it again. And he really looks dead too. That's great acting.

50. Now it becomes apparent why Modell is so interested in Mulder. Mulder is good-looking, well-educated, a brilliant mind, top criminal profiler, and has an exciting job as a G-man. An "all-around bright young man." All the things Modell wants to be.

51. Since they've established what Modell wants, Mulder thinks they should give it to him. Needless to say, Scully is not very happy about Mulder's suggestion that he pursue Modell alone.

52. TWC7: Mulder's "Eyes and Ears" outfit. White tee shirt under kevlar! Yowza!

53. Another great scene in the annals of shippiness. Mulder starts it with typical humor ("Think I get the Playboy channel?" "Smile, Scully."). Then the moment when he hands his gun over to Scully, she places her hands over his, and they simply stare at each other for a few seconds; you can't get much more intimate than that. Especially unusual for them because they're not alone. I often wonder what the SWAT guy was thinking when all this was going on.

54. I also wonder what the hospital people must be thinking as Mulder strides in in his bulletproof vest and headset telling them to go about their business. I'd be calling the guys in the white coats.

55. And did I mention togetherness? You can't get much more together than Scully being able to see exactly what Mulder sees via the "Muldercam". She's frantic when they lose contact for those few seconds; and then saying "Mulder, just get out of there" because she's so frightened for him.

56. And great use of the "Muldercam", speaking of that. The moment where Mulder spins around and Scully sees Pusher pointing the gun at him and then everything goes black . . . awesome! Especially GA's face and ripping off her headset to get to him.

57. TWC8: And before we get to the highly dramatic stuff, Mulder in his white tee shirt sans kevlar? Nuff said.

58. The fabulous Russian Roulette scene. You can't say enough about it. Hard to believe that we almost didn't see it, as FOX Standards and Practices almost didn't let it go.

59. Many consider this scene to be a showdown between Modell and Mulder, but it is really a showdown between Modell and Scully. Mulder has already succumbed; it is Scully who battles Modell for control of Mulder's "beautiful mind," Modell through his strange ability, and Scully through the connection that she and Mulder share.

60. Interesting too how Mulder is quick to pull the trigger when the gun is aimed at his own head, but he is able to resist at least a little when it comes to pulling the trigger on Scully. He warns Scully to run, signaling her that he knows he will not be able to resist for long.

61. "Mulder, you don't have to do this. You're stronger than this." She knows him better than he knows himself.

62. Great acting all around throughout the episode, but especially in this scene. Robert Wisden as Modell is excellent as a creepy monster underneath the normal exterior. GA with the single tear as she realizes she is losing the battle against Modell and that neither she nor Mulder can stop him from pulling the trigger. And DD, subtle as always, with a trembling lip, the movement of his Adam's apple as he swallows hard, trickles of sweat, and, once he realizes the hopelessness of the situation, the look of desperation as he says her name under his breath and pleads to her with his eyes to run away/forgive him for what he is about to do. This scene is as intense as any ever shown on this series!

63. But quick-thinking Scully saves the day again as she pulls the fire alarm and is able to break Modell's concentration long enough to release Mulder from his control.

64. Once it's all over, Mulder is so ashamed of what he almost did that he can't look at her; he hands her his gun facing away, and then buries his face in his hands.

65. TWC9: The last scene as they look at Modell in the hospital, Mulder with his arms folded when Scully approaches-they are both looking wonderful. I told you, the whole episode, TWC!

66. "He'll never regain consciousness." I guess we can't really blame Dr. Scully for blowing this diagnosis; how was she to know there'd be a sequel?

67. But at least Mulder concedes that he's not the only profiling genius on this team: "I think it was like you said. He was always such a little man. This was finally something that made him feel big."

68. S-"I say we don't let him take up another minute of our time." And just to top off the shippiness, that lovely little hand-hold. It don't get much better than this!

69. TWC10: Hate saving these Holy Flaming Cow moments till the end, but that's they way they're playing out these days. The very last shot before "fade to black," Mulder with that blue background. Oy vey! HFC!

70. Some X-Files writers write Mulder better, some write Scully better, but I think our man Vince writes the Mulder/Scully team better than anyone. And he certainly writes the shippy moments better than anyone. Remember this was only his second episode; there will be so many more fine efforts to come. Vince, in case I haven't said it lately, you da man!

71. Another long TOTM, but you gotta admit that if any episode warrants it, "Pusher" is the one. I hope I did it justice. One of my all-time favorites, definitely in my top five. Of course, it's no "Teso Dos Bichos," but really--how many episodes can be? Guess I'd better be off to bed cause I want to be very well-rested to tackle . . . er, I mean do that TOTM tomorrow!

72. So, depending on when you're reading this: ohayougozaimasu (good morning); konichiwa (good afternoon); or oyasuminasai (good night).

73. "All right. Where's my next bread crumb?"

Sooo, sooo sorry, but I try to make 'em shorter, and they just keep gettin' longer. Though I'm *doubtful* that will happen with the next TOTM, you never know! You have my major apologies, and to quote Robert Patrick Modell, "I was never here."