Theatre of the Mind ~ Teso Dos Bichos

The premiere of Season 8 is less than 10 days away, you say? After six weeks of trailers you might finally find out what is stuck up Mulder's nose, you think? Big deal! In the Cherish the Past series we are up to Season Three's masterpiece, Teso Dos Bichos, possibly the finest X-File episode ever made! What, is that snickering I hear in the background? Are you trying to tell me that you don't think TDB (as it's affectionately known by X-Phile aficionados-you'd *know* that if you were a "true" fan) is as fine an hour of television as has ever been produced? Well, I can see you are just a *wee* bit skeptical. Okay, if you're gonna Scully me, I guess I must spend this TOTM telling you the 50 reasons why TDB is sooo great!

50. TPTB at 1013 have finally realized that *true* fans of the show don't need no stinkin' subtitles. But for those of you who are still having trouble, I will translate the opening scene: "Come here, come here. Look what we've found! I don't want to let the cat out of the bag, but it's a sign that this episode is going to be very bad and cause big problems for all of us." Muy malo.

49. And they say it never snows in the highlands of Ecuador!

48. Everybody sitting around a big campfire, banging on the drums, chanting, ingesting hallucinogenic substances . . . I'm thinking Spring Break! Where's the MTV cameras?

47. Can't understand the chant either? Okay, I'll help you out again! "Drink this yellow stuff (Drink this yellow stuff), It will help you see (It will help you see), If you need to puke (If you need to puke), Turn away from me (Turn away from me). Bitchhhhinnnn'."

46. Evil White Man Who Has No Respect for Ancient Cultures and Beliefs doesn't make it past the teaser. Power to the people!

45. The manager of the sewage treatment plant from "The Host" is back! If you listen reaaaallly carefully you'll hear him utter a slight variation of the same immortal line he delivered in that episode: "Fifty thousand rats a day call my office on the porcelain telephone."

44. After all the ghosts left and the bathroom was flooded, the old folks home in "Excelsius Dei" was turned into the Boston Museum of Natural History. Great example of reuse and revitalization!

43. TWC6: Scully gets to ask all the questions in this episode and Mulder pretty much gets to stand around, keep track of all the rat sightings, come up with a preposterous theory every now and again, and be window dressing. Is that so wrong?

42. The White Men were just trying to do the right thing after all! The Amaru Urn was going to be disturbed anyway when the Evil Conglomerate Petro-Ecuador built a gas pipeline through the burial grounds! (Of course, if that's true, what good did it do to bury the Urn back in the ground at the end? Oh, well, that's a minor detail!)

41. Those brilliant Mulderisms! "Personally, if someone digs me up in 1,000 years, I hope there's a curse on them too."

40. TDB shows us that even a girl with the name of "Mona Wustner" can be a Ph.D. candidate at BU.

39. Mulder demonstrates how a good team of Federal agents works, as he wanders around Dr. Bilac's home while Scully distracts Dr. Bilac.

38. And Scully is the epitome of grace and decorum as she totally ignores the fact that Dr. Bilac is obviously stoned out of his gourd. A less experienced Agent may have tried to press Dr. Bilac a little harder given his odd behavior, but not our Scully! Rude and crude Mulder, of course, points out that he "did look a little squirrelly back there" (although out of earshot of Dr. Bilac).

37. It was sooo clear that Dr. Bilac was spaced out when he said "Your investigation is a waste of time and that's something I can assure you of." Like *any* X-File could be a waste of time!

36. TWC5: Mulder practically exudes "woo-hoo" as he disagrees with Scully on whether Dr. Bilac is a suspect or not.

35. That clever, clever Mulderism that's used not once but twice it's so good! "Go with it, Scully." (Oh, God, that's even better than, "Sure. Fine. Whatever."!) I'm sure X-Philes will be flinging that one around for decades to come!

34. The *relationship* between Mona and Dr. Bilac is never really shown, but is only hinted at. This is risk-taking, ground-breaking stuff for the XF!

33. Speaking of relationships, it's obvious that Dr. Lewton has a *thing* for Mona too. Perhaps he should be careful where he plants *his* flag.

32. TDB confirms the respect that 1013 has for the intelligence of fans of the show, as they only show us the Jaguar on the hood two times. Their confidence in our abilities to get *it* is staggering!

31. Agent Scully's compassion for younger and greener law enforcement personnel. She's always willing to take a minute to help them learn. "Label that." "As what?" "Partial rat body part." (She didn't say, "Duh."

30. TWC4: Mulder strolling through the woods takes "intestinal fortitude". This is surely a Holy Flaming Cow Moment!

29. Scully showing that she has learned a thing or two from her partner about the scientific advantages of stickin' your ungloved fingers in things without hesitation. She wipes that "drip" off Mulder's temple without a second thought!

28. LOL moment as Mr. Stick-in-Fingers obviously doesn't like stuff dripping on him from above. He wipes at it over and over with disgust, like "Get it off me! Get it off me! Get it off me!"

27. The obvious focus on energy conservation as Mona, and then Scully, enter Dr. Bilac's house and don't immediately try and turn on the lights. Mulder does the same when going after Mona at the museum. Bravo!

26. Mona chastises Dr. Bilac for drinking Yoo-Hoo. I think that's an obvious Public Service Message. Friends don't let friends drink Yoo-Hoo (lactose of the soul).

25. Ooops, I think that was Yaje actually, but drinking Yoo-Hoo is a bad idea too. (FYI: Yaje is a vision-inducing drink made from a psychoactive jungle vine {"vine of the soul," as Dr. Bilac says} mixed with various other psychoactive plants. Yaje has been used shamanically by Native practitioners to find lost objects, seek out game and fish, wage psychic warfare, influence the weather, and foresee the future. Yaje' has also been used by Native shamans and curanderos {healers} to identify the hidden spiritual causes of illnesses and to treat the source of illness through direct intervention.) That's another thing. You always learn something new on the XF!

24. Old "Slice & Dice" Scully can do more with five feet of intestines than most pathologists can do with an entire body. She can tell it's Dr. Lawton by what he had for lunch.

23. Again, 1013's trust that the fans don't have to be hit over the head with facts to support Mulderisms. They resisted the urge to show us Mulder chowing down on sunflower seeds as he says, "A man of taste."

22. Mulder conveniently keeping track of the rat sightings for us. We don't want to be bothered with such details!

21. Sugar, a fine companion but a very bad canine actor, isn't around for very long.

20. Wow! TDB scares our pants off! I thought it was the Tidy Bowl Man banging to get out, and it's the rats! (Don't be alarmed; I'm sure Mulder will add them to his tote board later.)

19. Okay, they could have used that old tired formula of sending Scully off alone to the scary house and Mulder off alone to the spooky museum, but no! They kept them in contact by cell phone! What a great way to keep these two connected when they're not together! I'm surprised they haven't used that before!

18. Those pesky Big Ass Flashlights finally got confiscated in North Dakota, obviously. I'm sure they will be returned when M&S prove they can use them responsibly.

17. You probably missed it because you had to be listening very carefully, but right after Scully said, "Mulder, it's me", Mulder said, "What's new, pussycat?"

16. TWC3: "Did you find Mona?" "I hope not."

15. See #43. Ditto. And Mulder has learned from his previous ditches that he'd better not go far.

14. Scully shows her obvious concerns for the rights of suspects when she decides to leave the prime suspect in a room, alone, not handcuffed. What a compassionate woman! (And she seems shocked later when he has disappeared.)

13. Mulder continuing his rat tally in the toidy. "I hate this."

12. The use of great literary and historical references that are a staple of the XF. For example, the dog takes a cat, the cat takes a rat, the rat takes the cheese, but the cheese stands alone. Hi-ho the derry-o.

11. The great MSR, of course! Mulder places a hand on Scully's shoulder as he tries to further his ratpack theory. :::sigh::: And Scully's snappy comeback: "A possessed rat? The return of Ben?" "Go with it, Scully."

10. TWC2: The whole trek into the sewer from the hopeful, "Ladies first?" (and Scully's look that says "Not in this lifetime, buster"), to "Follow that rat." Since they don't have their flashlights that you could use to land 747's, it's so much more intimate! 9. Squeamish!Mulder makes a reappearance as he looks like he's gonna hurl when he finds the bodies (what the kitties have labeled "Tender Vittles.) Scully, of course, proves that nothing phases her. 8. The final scenes in the sewer are so intense accented by the fear-inducing, and very loud, score by Mark Snow. The score is so distracting, in fact, that you probably missed some of the dialog that takes place in this critical life-and-death sequence. I will supply some of the dialogue you probably missed. For example, when Mulder spots the four-legged perpetrator, he said, "Scully, I tawt I taw a puddy tat." 7. And you probably heard Scully say, "You think that cat killed those people?" But you probably missed Mulder's reply: "Yes. It was a case of feline-onious assault." 6. Many "Saturday Night Live" alumni have guest-starred on the XF, but I hope you caught the "blink and you missed it" cameo by Toonces, the cat who can drive a car! He's the one who actually attacked Scully and had to do battle with Agent Mulder to help Scully "save face."

5. When Mulder & Scully look out upon the sea of tabbies and try to figure out how to avoid "cat"astrophy, I'm sure you missed this exchange between them: M-"I know what you're going to say, Scully. (Doing best Scully impression.) 'Mulder, that's a krowd of krazy killer kitty kats'." S-"Actually, Mulder, what I was going to say was, 'Mulder, that's a passel of pretty pissed pussies'." M-"See, Scully? You always keep me guessing."

4. We find out that one of the things Scully carries in those deep pockets of her trenchcoat is a lint brush.

3. At last, Scully has seen things that she cannot deny! I thought she would dismiss the cat sightings as hallucinations brought about by her sniffing the Yaje in Dr. Bilac's house.

2. TWC1: A big woo-hoo as Mulder tells Scully about his call to the State Department.

1. Despite what some have suggested, I don't think Mulder's final observation in his voiceover had *anything* to do with commentary about this episode: "Some things are better left buried."

You're entitled to your own opinions, of course, but how you can watch this episode and not be moved in *some* way is beyond me. Moved to tears from laughing, maybe? (Actually, I think DD *was* laughing when he rescued Scully from the attack cat; he just couldn't keep a straight face.) Okay, okay. Maybe I exaggerated just a little in saying that it's the greatest XF episode ever. Okay, maybe a lot, a lot, a lot.

I'm told that "Teso" means "burial ground" in Portugese; and "Bichos" means "small animals." However, I think that "Teso Dos Bichos" (TDB) probably translates to "Terribly Dumb and Boring." It really isn't the *worst* episode ever (though it probably comes close). Actually, some of the things mentioned above are really enjoyable parts of this episode (the TWC is a given, of course). And I did think that the rats in the toilet and the subsequent Mona scream was really scary.

I guess, in closing, the only thing I can do is paraphrase Scully and say:

"Have *you* been drinking Yaje, John Shiban?"

I would apologize, but it's tough to do with your tongue planted firmly in your cheek.