Theatre of the Mind ~ Max

Well, things are pretty much where we left them in "Tempus Fugit." As for our heroes, Mulder's still underwater; hasn't found any quarters, but did find a UFO with a little gray pilot who apparently had no ejector button. Scully is still recovering from her showdown in the Headless Woman's Pub. (Only Moose & Squirrel would have such an aptly-named bar as their hangout.)

1. Look out, Mulder! It's an underwater Ford Taurus!

2. Oh, silly me, it's just two guys with flashlights. But look out anyway, Mulder! I think they want you.

3. For someone with not a lot of scuba experience, Mulder got out of that tank pretty quick.

4. We know Mulder can outswim that boat. We've seen him swim laps.

5. We know Mulder can outrun that truck. We've seen him run laps. (Uh, run faster, Mulder.)

6. It was that wetsuit that slowed him down. If only he'd been running in that Speedo . . .

7. Didn't Scully only shoot once in "Tempus Fugit"? I can't remember now. Well, she hit what she was aiming at eventually, anyway.

8. Poor Pendrell! His wildest fantasy is finally coming true-Agent Scully is undressing him-and he can't do a darn thing about it.

9. It's the return of bossy Scully! You sit down! You keep breathing! You get the E.M.T.! Do it!

10. A promise of a date with Agent Scully! That should give Pendrell a reason to live!

11. How long has it been since we've had a reminder of Scully's cancer? Well, at least they didn't forget it entirely.

12. How'd the Skinman get there so fast?

13. Guess Skinner wanted to make sure *Scully* didn't shoot Pendrell. She shot Mulder, after all.

14. That sneaky military, already doing damage control.

15. Skinner doesn't buy it when Scully says she's fine; he wants her checked out. Awww.

16. The last detail, starring Dana Katherine Scully. Oh, sorry, that was the *last* time she sprung him from the joint!

17. TWC1: Woo-hoo! My Mulder wears combat boots! And he should get a few more of those shirts with snaps. Sexy!

18. It appears to me that Mulder would like to be a male stripper in another life.

19. We think that the prim and proper Miss Scully is turning around to give Mulder a bit of privacy, but I'll bet she knows that she'll get a pretty good view of his reflection in that window. Very clever!

20. Good thing he's got those bangs this season to cover the radiation burns.

21. I love it when they have these long conversations as they walk along. I miss that.

22. Scully gives Mulder all the news he missed during his unfortunate incarceration. The military's story, Sharon is not Max's sister, and Agent Pendrell is dead. WHAT? Oh no! Not Agent Pendrell, sacrificed to the cause as well! I'm gonna miss that laboratory nerd who aspired to be Scully's boy toy.

23. Mulder is sad. Bet he's sorry now for tormenting the little guy all those years.

24. Aw, Max's trailer. An enduring sense of style, just like Apartment 42.

25. Scully says more about what she thinks of Mulder in this scene than she has in four years: Only Max and Mulder would appreciate living like that; kindred spirits in a deep, strange way; men with Spartan lives, simple in their creature comforts if only to allow for the complexity of their passions.

26. Of course, when Scully hits too close to the mark, Mulder always diverts with humor: beans and weinies. Yum!

27. TWC2: Pensively watching the tape of Max (and we even get reflecting Mulder)! Hoo-boy!

28. And of course the ever-vigilant Scully watches Mulder watching Max.

29. How do you think Mulder avoided radiation burns like that soldier? He's the star, I guess.

30. Moustache Man doesn't let a little thing like a bullet hole slow him down!

31. The reconstruction of the crashed plane is almost too real. Creepy!

32. TWC3: Mulder looks positively awesome as he spins his version of the way the crash went down.

33. Love the little exchange between Millar and Scully as Mulder floats the "proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life and intelligence" theory. Scully's little "don't ask me, you asked for it" shrug is too cute.

34. I pity anyone who was planning to fly the day after this episode originally aired. The effects during Mulder's flashback story, of Max's near abduction and the subsequent plane crash are simply chilling.

35. Just call Mulder the Home of the Whopper. (Hey, that was not gutter related!)

36. Awww, Max's NICAP hat. :::sniff:::!!

37. Maybe Mulder can sell all his stories to Hollywood after he's out of the F.B.I. People like good stories you know. They're not the least bit interested in characters or relationships. (wink, wink)

38. Mulder proves he can do the "eyebrow" thing too as he prepares to send Scully off to the loony bin.

39. "I'd go with you, but I'm afraid they'd lock me up." "Me too."

40. I neglected to mention "Unmarked Helicopters" by Soul Coughing the first time we heard it. Luckily, it's playing again.

41. TWC4: He looks mighty fine as he checks out Max's trailer again.

42. Mulder's pretty sharp catching Sharon doing the filming of Max's video.

43. That landlord is quick! When he said he'd "run" and get the mail, he wasn't kidding.

44. Sharon's got the burns too. Seems that *everyone* who has come in contact has gotten them bad. Except Mulder. It *does* pay to be the handsome leading man!

45. It's all about the alien technology.

46. Big bag. Little bag. Short bag. Tall bag. I was waiting for One fish. Two fish. Red fish. Blue fish.

47. Mulder's holding the bag, and he leaves those other guys holding the bag too.

48. The "Mulder, it's me, where are you?" moment! And he's at the Lariat rental counter! Imagine that.

49. What a time for that cell phone interference!! Let me tell you what she's saying, Mulder: DON'T STICK YOUR FINGERS IN THAT BAG!!

50. Luckily, Mulder comes upon the x-ray machine before he can stick his fingers in anything.

51. Gosh, was the Tickle Me Elmo craze *that* long ago? It seems like only yesterday!

52. Now, if you were Mulder, knowing what you know, would you seriously get on a plane with that thing? What is he thinking?

53. Mulder always seems to get lots of room on airplanes. Guess nobody wants to sit next to Spooky.

54. Except Moustache Man, of course.

55. "A man, if he's any man at all, knows he must be ready to sacrifice himself to that which is greater than he." That sounds like something a manly-man would say!

56. I bet all the other passengers are going to be thrilled to learn that Mulder has locked someone in the bathroom for the duration of their flight.

57. We get a "Scully, it's me" for good measure too!

58. The in-flight movie was probably "Cocoon." Or maybe "Close Encounters."

59. TWC5: Since Mulder's watch has stopped, I know all hell's going to break loose, so just let me say how gorgeous he is just in case he goes on an unscheduled trip.

60. Mulder continues to wrack up those expenses. Leaving the phone off the hook-not a good idea.

61. Good going, Mulder, didn't you check this guy for weapons-or at least for fountain pens-before you locked him in the bathroom?

62. Oh, oh. This is looking a little too familiar for my taste. I don't want Mulder to be a fallen angel!

63. Mulder whips it out! (Stop thinking that way, you naughty kids!)

64. I don't like what happens when Mulder is around bright lights . . .

65. Nine minutes difference. Mulder loses nine minutes again. How many total minutes do you think Mulder has lost in his lifetime so far? He's probably a whole year younger than he thinks he is.

66. Moustache Man got his in the end. "I think he got the connecting flight." LOL!

67. TWC6: Holy Flaming Cow! You can see the sparkle in his eye as he talks about the Max Fenig Rolling Multimedia Library and Archive. And of course he's casual Mulder at this point (and we get a nice shot of his sneakers as he leaves the trailer). HFC!

68. In case I haven't said it (and I don't think I have), kudos to Mark Snow for all the music in this two-parter. The tense parts were tense, the tender parts were tender, thanks partly to him. And his work in this final scene is particularly inspiring.

69. Scully didn't even know Pendrell's first name? I find that hard to believe.

70. MSRM: The birthday keychain bookends this two-parter as does the relationship moment. Analyzing Mulder once again, Scully thinks she knows why he selected it: extraordinary men and women, extraordinary moments, what can be imagined can be achieved, dare to dream, no substitute for perseverance and hard work and teamwork, no one gets there alone, don't forget the sacrifices that make the achievements possible. And once again, Scully's too close to the truth so Mulder deflects with humor: "I just thought it was a pretty cool keychain."

71. WARNING! HERE BE SPOILERS. Move on to #72 if you don't want to know Season 8 spoilers! Since the initial shock of the Season 8 spoilers wore off, I think, like Scully, that I might have figured out her motivation in giving this keychain to Doggett, as it appears she might. First let me say that at this point in the M/S partnership (at the time of "Max"), I believe these two are on a very close but still very professional level. So in my estimation, it was a personal gift from Mulder but given in a professional, symbolic way to someone he admires, respects, cares about, and loves in his own way. To Scully, it was a symbol more than a personal gift. A symbol of partnership, hard work, respect, mutual admiration, achievement, and sacrifice; a partnership that might be ending soon with her death. By the time she makes the decision to give this to Doggett (if that does indeed happen), her professional partnership with Mulder is over; and she is ready to move on to a personal partnership with him. She and Doggett were "partners" but not in the widely understood meaning of that term. She knows that although she may have come to respect and admire Doggett in his own right, she was never his "partner," not the partner that a good Agent like Doggett deserved. I think she gives this to Doggett as a symbol as well, in hopes that he can find a partnership that is just as special for him. A partnership that might bring him as much joy, fulfillment, and celebration as she achieved with Mulder, even though there was a lot of hard work, perseverance, and sacrifice along the way. So I don't see the giving of the keychain to Doggett as callously parting with one of the few personal gifts Mulder ever gave her (at least that we know about). I see it as the passing of the torch with the hope that Doggett will find something as special as she has had in her professional life. It may not even come to pass, but if it does, that's how I'll choose to look at it.

72. All in all, I thought Max was a very good conclusion to a very good two-parter. The effects were great, the story kept me captivated, and seeing Max again (even though, like Pendrell, he became an unfortunate casualty in the cause) reminded me of just how much this partnership has grown since its beginnings when Max first met M. F. Luder and the enigmatic Dr. Scully.

73. So just like Mulder, I had a story to tell if you were willing to hear it. And just like Mulder, I'll add, "Feel free to tell me it's bull."

Sending along all my apologies,