Theatre of the Mind ~ XF Season 3

I began this synopsis of Season 3 before "Patience," and finished it afterward. In between, I read Amy's post on the new Analysis Board (BTW: thanks Amy; you rock!!!) about her fears regarding the MSR, whether it really exists or has just been created by us in the subtext. As for me, I say, "Yes, Amy, there is an MSR." Watching all these early episodes again has proven to me one thing: if we have "created" the MSR in the subtext, it's only because the writers, directors, and actors at 1013 have left the pieces of the puzzle out on the table and when we put them together, this is the picture that is formed. Someone else putting the puzzle together might get a different picture. But that's why it's such a great puzzle! It's complicated, and complex, and hard to figure out. But when the picture is complete, it's worth all the trouble. That's my take, anyway. And in the end, if things don't turn out the way I want, I'll simply remember the puzzle the way I want to, and say, to quote Mrs. No-First-Name Mulder, "I've repressed it all."

So in honor of Amy, I've decided to include in all future TOTMs an MSRM-Mulder Scully Relationship Moment, in the same vein as the good old Holy Flaming Cow moments. In these tough times that are Season 8, I just hope they'll serve as a reminder that the MSR is alive and well-and that they'll be the TOTM equivalent of Amy's WNP Shipper Shots! (Just to get started, I've included a few MSRMs for each Season 3 episode summarized below.)

1. The Blessing Way - Anasazi Redux. Mulder presumed dead; Scully suspended. Mulder and his footwear are found! Scully finds Frohike at her door. "Do you recycle?" "A redwood among mere sprouts." Half-nekkid Mulder! Woo-hoo! The Mulder Magical Mystery Tour is ready to take you away. Deep Throat and Bill Mulder visit from the Great Beyond. Scully learns she came home with a souvenir of her abduction. Well Manicured Man has a warning for Scully. Mrs. No-First-Name Mulder has her first case of selective amnesia. Melissa takes the bullet so that MSR can survive. Scully/Skinner standoff. MSRM: M&S make a psychic connection and are now "bound together in dangerous purpose." To be continued . . .

2. Paper Clip - Scully, I'm home! Did you miss me? *Someone* hugs Mulder hello, but it isn't Scully. "That bullet was meant for me." Speaking of bullets, CSM sweating many. "I'd like to try door number one, Monty." Lots and lots of files. Samantha gets new birthday and middle name. Does Scully see what she thinks she sees? Being a sibling of an XF staff member is hazardous to your health; hope Doggett is an only child. Everybody check your smallpox vaccination. Ratboy a dirty double crosser? Imagine that. "This is where you pucker up and kiss my ass." MSRM: Reunion at the Elevator, Conversation/Hug at Missy's deathbed, and many, many more. "I've heard the truth, Mulder. Now what I want are the answers."

3. D.P.O. - Some boys just feel the need to blast the crap out of something . . . cows, cars, cell phones, people who interrupt their video games. MSRM: Scully laughed at his jokes, and he laughed at hers.

4. Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose - Bye, bye to banana cream pie, drove the Taurus to the forest and you find a dead guy. There are fortune tellers dying and we want to know why, and Mr. Bruckman says that Scully won't die. (But Mulder will in a very embarrassing manner!) Enter Queequeg and the Stupendous Yappi. "You know what I like." MSRM: Scully to the rescue, helping Mulder up, checking his injuries. (Go ahead. Compare to "Patience." I dare ya! It *wasn't* the same.)

5. The List - Believe it or not, *not* the same show that's on VH1! First slide show of Season 3. Revenge from beyond the grave. MSRM: "I only get five?" "I remembered your birthday this year, didn't I, Scully?" Nice smiles all around.

6. 2SHY - It's all about liposuction and the evils of the Internet. Sexist detective who ignores Scully and only talks to the male agent meets untimely end. Where have I seen that before? MSRM: Hand on the small of her back; 2SWEET.

7. The Walk - Scully's in charge during this military snafu; Mulder spends most of the episode looking good and restyling his hair. MSRM: Mulder gets up close and personal when Rappo gets lewd and crude with his woman; and reminds me that Foo Fighters know best: "I cannot be without you, matter of fact, Ohh Ohh Ohhhhh, I'm on your back. If you walk out on me, I'm walking after you."

8. Oubliette - "Who could take somebody who wasn't theirs?" Outstanding, understated acting by DD. "That's spooky." "That's my name, isn't it?" M&S are at odds a lot during the episode, but only because she cares about him and she's worried. His sister's abduction is not the only thing that defines who he is. MSRM: Last scene on the bed in Lucy's bedroom.

9. Nisei - Most important $29.95 ever spent. Introducing Action!Mulder. "I got tired of losing my gun." Mulder in his black mock turtleneck and return of Mulder!Glasses; hoo-boy! We'll wish we'd never heard of Allentown, PA. Skinner back on the fence. "You think that believing is easy?" Hello to lovesick Agent Pendrell. Obviously hasn't got tired of losing his cell phone. MSRM: "That's not your usual brand of entertainment." "But you're fine, aren't you, Scully?" To be continued . . .

10. 731 - Come on, come on, do the locomotion with me. Apology is policy. The chip might be the key to everything in the X-Files . . . lots and lots of keys. "I'm fielding all offers and suggestions." Human experiments or human/alien hybrids-you be the judge. "Tick, tick, Scully." Mr. X saves the day, but why? MSRM: She will do anything to get him off that train, including putting an "X" in the window.

11. Revelations - Scully is become believer, Mulder is become skeptical. "You must come full circle to find the truth." Scully is the chosen one; it's a test of faith-both her's and Mulder's. When you smell a dead body just because someone asks you to, it must be love. "You never draw my bath." MSRM: I think you know.

12. War of the Coprophages - "Don't look too hard; you might not like what you find." Cockroaches, Breakfast at Tiffany's, praying mantis epiphanies, girly screams, half nekkid Mulder, and Dr. Bambi (crap). Queequeg gets a bath. "Not now." MSRM: Despite Dr. Bambi, nearly a full hour of phone phoreplay. "Smart is sexy."

13. Syzygy - "Hate him, hate him, wouldn't want to date him." Detective White. It appears that the Little Feet/Big Macho Man partnership has hit some choppy waters, but you knew that could only be caused by the alignment of the planets, didn't you? "Sure. Fine. Whatever." Mulder's Screwdriver Shake and CSS (Cigarette Smoking Scully). "Relationships are gonna suck." What was that word again? Relationships? MSRM: The "dressing down" in the hallway and the sinking into the wall. Nah, he doesn't care what she thinks! (I think they solved the mystery of the horned beast on the way home.)

14. Grotesque - When Dana Met Spooky. A glimpse into Profiling!Mulder. Red Forman is Bill Patterson, father figure. Lots and lots of gargoyles, new Mulder wallpaper, and a touch of redwop. "Well, I wouldn't want to disappoint you by not disappointing you." Mulder doubts his sanity; Scully never doubts him for a minute (well, maybe a minute). MSRM: Scully caring permeates the whole episode, but when Scully turns on Patterson-that's the look of a mama bear protecting her young!

15. Piper Maru - Black oil makes its debut. Melissa Scully's case is closed. Scully proves you can go home again, but you might not like what you find. Ratboy returns only to get beat up by Mulder and a chick in the bathroom. Skinner takes one for the home team. MSRM: Scully's amazed by his tenacity, but that's why he's in the basement.

16. Apocrypha - Old Smokey and Bill Mulder apparently shared more than Mrs. No-First-Name Mulder. Both of Scully's guys in the hospital. LGM Ice Capades. Mulder's finely calibrated pencil. Scully finds Melissa's killer and saves Skinner in the process. M&S do some funky poaching in North Dakota. Let's hear it for the Big Ass flashlights! MSRM: Scully displays her best bedside manner and gets to share a laugh with Mulder over his "leaping" diesel oil theory; he bring flowers to her sister's grave.

17. Pusher - Vince is Da Man! Cerulean Blue. "I think you drooled on me." G-woman. "Please explain to me the scientific nature of the 'whammy'." "Think I can get the Playboy channel?" Russian roulette battle for someone's "beautiful mind." "I say we don't let him take up another minute of our time." Arguably the best MOTW ever. MSRM: How much time have you got?

18. Teso Dos Bichos - Passel of Pretty Pissed Pussies Prey on Pilfering Professors. Lots and lots of feline-onious assault. Best watched with a big glass of yaje. (Okay, the rats in the toilets were kind of scary.) "Go with it, Scully." MSRM: Nice shoulder touches and "Ladies first?" (and of course Mulder saves Scully from Killer Kitty Kat!).

19. Hell Money - Polly say "Bad episode with good looking Mulder better than good episode with bad looking Mulder any day." Now you see subtitles, now you don't. "Who you gonna call?" Ling makes a guest appearance. Takes a whole hour to find out there's no X-File. MSRM: Generating heat in an autopsy bay ("If I'm right, this is one man who left his heart in San Francisco." BIG Mulder grin); good teasing when Scully scares Mulder in his car.

20. Jose Chung's "From Outer Space" - One bleepin' good episode. This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening. Scully more than just a "brainy beauty." Mulder reads Scully a bedtime story. Gov. Jesse Ventura and Alex Trebek? How the hell should I know. It's a girlie scream! Scully's alien autopsy and return of Stupendous Yappi. Sweet potato pie. Diana Lesky and Reynard Muldrake. Goodbye and thank you to Darin Morgan. MSRM: He wakes up in her room. They were both unaware of their actions. If I divulge any more, I'm a dead man.

21. Avatar - Skinner gets to be the star, but he's not having a very good year. At least *somebody* gets to have sex on the X-Files. "Business must be booming." "I think you mean banging." Skinner has a wife we didn't know about? Hope this isn't a trend. Despite their tendency to pull their guns on him, M&S believe in the Skin-Man. Continuity abounds! If the bad guys can't kill him, they'll just frame him instead. MSRM: Lots of closeness while discussing succubuses. Cell phones as sexual accessories (phone conversation while 10 feet apart). And he checks her out on the bathroom floor.

22. Quagmire - Here be monsters. It's a frog holocaust. Call me Ishmael. A man who stops to ask for directions (sigh!). Exit Queequeg. M&S = Ahab & Starbuck. Megalomaniacal cosmology. "I guess I see hope in such a possibility." MSRM: The Conversation on the Rock-who could ask for anything more? Woo-hoo! "Scully, are you coming on to me?"

23. Wetwired - People who keep lots of videotapes of their favorite show. Hmmm. Must-see TV. Scully goes all wiggy and trashes her hotel room. "Bring it home, boys." Red-green colorblind. "I need to see her." Scully was right about this X-File. Mr. X: friend or foe? M&S face their greatest fears: losing each other. MSRM: Mulder anguish when called to identify Scully's body. "Scully, you are the *only* one I trust." Mulder gets to demonstrate bedside manner.

24. Talitha Cumi - Alien healing men and alien bounty hunters. QUONOCHONTAUG ? Mrs. No-First-Name Mulder knows CSM! Ewww! Since before Fox was born! Double Ewwww! Palm/Lamp/Leap/You Betcha. Mulder goes all wiggy and trashes his summer house. Mulder crying at his mom's bedside. Awww. "I should shoot you right here, but they probably would be able to save you." Pffft. It's the Mulder/Mr. X Grudge Match! The date is set. MSRM: M: "Thanks." S: "Are you okay?" M: "Yeah, I'm fine." To be continued . . .

And so Season 3 comes to a close and it's on to Season 4. Ahh, Season 4 . . . Unruhe . . . Home . . . The Field Where I Died (oh no!) . . . El Mundo Gira (oh yes!) . . . the return of Max Fenig . . . Demons . . . PAPER HEARTS!!!!!!! . . . Small Potatoes . . . and a little gem called Memento Mori. Find the MSR in there? It's a dirty job, but *somebody's* got to do it.

A full season's worth of apologies,