Theatre of the Mind ~ Terma

Let's see. Where were we? Oh yes. When last we saw our heroes, they were all in a bit of a tight spot. Scully and Skinner were about to be hauled before a Senate Subcommittee to answer questions about a diplomat who took a header off Skinner's balcony and about why Agent Mulder failed to appear as requested. Meanwhile, Mulder and his untrustworthy sidekick Krycek, that little nogoodnik, have been imprisoned in a Tunguska gulag; and it seems "remotely plausible" that Ratboy just might have double-crossed one of our heroes, the man who says "Trust No One" but trusts *everyone*! And of course when last we saw Agent Mulder, he was a little indisposed, being subjected to the same "tests" that the other gulag prisoners had warned him about. Restrained with chicken wire while little black oilien beings crawled into his body. Okay, let's get back to the story . . .

1. In Tibetan Buddhism, a "terma" is a hidden text. In Russian, the word means "prison." In Latin, it means "death."

2. Harrow Convalescent Home? Hey, where's Scully in her testifying suit? Where's Mulder in his low-riding jeans? What are we doing in Florida? (You know the new Florida state motto, don't you? "Florida: So nice, we let you vote twice!")

3. It's the Kevorkianmobile!

4. Ewwww. I hope this isn't a side effect of too much Viagara.

5. Tagline Change: E Pur Si Muove or "Still it moves," a phrase attributed to Gallileo as he defiantly refuted the Inquisition, which forced him to recant his theory that the Earth revolved around the sun.

6. It's the Amish guy from "Witness." Too bad he didn't have any scenes with Mulder. Perhaps if they had discussed that movie . . . well, DD might have been a million dollar winner on WWTBAM!

7. TWC1: Our poor baby! What did they do to him? Fetal position, bandage on his smallpox vaccination scar, and they took away his jeans! Just who got to change him into that prison outfit?

8. Exposed to the black cancer. That can't be good.

9. The prisoner next door is played by Stefan Arngrim, who was Barry Lockridge on Land of the Giants. How many of you are old enough to remember *that*? (He is also the brother of Alison Arngrim who played that nasty Nellie Oleson on Little House on the Prairie.) No charge for the TV trivia.

10. Mulder looks like he's trying to blow those oily worms out of his nose. I wonder if they make those Breathe Right strips for repelling oiliens?

11. "I have to live long enough to kill that man, Krycek." It's good to have career goals.

12. Did Scully ditch Pendrell in favor of this new scientist guy? Maybe she sent him for coffee.

13. Scully, you don't have to impress us with your "black vermiform organism" mumbo-jumbo. Just say it looks like a bunch of black worms.

14. Peskow's on his way to Charlottesville. *We* know who lives there.

15. Dr. Charne-Sayer must be the nicest person on earth. She finds an intruder in her barn and offers to call him a cab!

16. Sorry, Doc. Nice guys finish last.

17. I'd say Comrade Peskow eats his Wheaties.

18. Skinner likes to lurk around Scully's apartment a lot. Have you noticed that?

19. Now what would a doctor who's an expert on the smallpox virus be doing running around with the Consortium guys?

20. They always try to blame the horses for those throat-crushing accidents.

21. Our poor baby back in the fetal position again! At least a little footwear for good measure!

22. Mr. Mulder, I believe this is your wake-up call.

23. TWC2: Woo-hoo! He's been tortured, he's dirty, disheveled, tired, cold, and hungry, but oh my, the boy looks fine. When he gives Krycek that look? Hoo-boy!

24. Mulder is either a great escape artist or these guards need a crash course in Breakout Prevention 101.

25. Okay, this is where I draw the line with those retread actors! I'm *sure* I saw at least one of those same horses in the barn in Charlottesville! Shameless!

26. I believe this might be the *one* time that Mulder might have been wrong while driving.

27. WMM's "personal physician"? Is that what they're calling that now?

28. Notice how badly CSM wanted to know if WMM was gettin' any! I guess CSM didn't get any until The Fowl One!

29. I like these two old vipers spitting venom at each other. I miss them!

30. No Mulder! There's probably a law in Russia about leaving the scene of an accident.

31. Krycek walks into an old episode of "The Fugitive."

32. TWC3: Our poor baby again! He's so cold he's shivering! I never had a greater desire to jump into a pile of leaves in my life!

33. Scully at the Senate Subcommittee hearing; her own little Inquisition . . . I think this is where I came in.

34. Too bad Mulder's not here to see Scully being hauled off to jail to protect him. He probably fantasizes about this every time he watches "Women of Cell Block 9." But Scully's imprisonment does pose an interesting contrast to Mulder's. Scully in her nice, bright, white, clean cell, and Mulder in his dirty, dark dungeon-like chamber.

35. All the prison guards can't find Mulder, but the truck driver just pulls him right out of the leaves. I think he's pretty pissed about his truck, so I guess he had added incentive.

36. TWC4: What international appeal! Mulder has possibly ruined this family's life, and yet the wife wants to baby him. Love it when she pets his hair. The Russian Scully.

37. Man, it is *cold* in this house!

38. No arm, no test. That's a little extreme, don't you think?

39. Strange weather we're having. It's pouring down rain at the truck driver's house, but no rain on Krycek.

40. Krycek can be quite "disarming." Turnabout is fair play.

41. Skinner comes to visit Scully. Probably hoping for a conjugal visit.

42. Scully points out that there is so much more to this case, but once again, it's all about Mulder.

43. "Lawyers ask the wrong question only when they don't want the right answer." Smart Scully!

44. Peskow obviously thinks it's all about the rock.

45. Seems that CSM might have a man on the inside? Who could that be, as if I didn't know?

46. Well, they've let Scully out of her cell, but she still has to answer the question. What is the question?

47. TWC5: HOLY FLAMING COW! The question is how did Scully refrain from jumping his bones right then and there? Now, I'll admit he has probably looked better at other points in this episode, but this is the complete package. He's got the look, he's got the swagger, he's got the smart-ass 'tude, he's got the music, all he needs is the white charger. Woo hoo!

48. And he's got BOTH of his arms! Whew!

49. SO many things are happening at one time here! The look on Scully's face when she first hears his voice, then turns and sees him. She goes from surprise, to immense relief, to great joy-and she barely moves a muscle. It's all in the eyes. (This *could* be the MSRM-but I'll go for the obvious here.)

50. Skinner's reaction to seeing Mulder is much more pronounced-the classic double take! He's probably thinking, "Just when I had Scully all to myself, *he* had to come back!)

51. Good thing the Subcommittee recessed, because we don't need to wait any longer for the reunion! (A good object lesson for Season 8, I might add.)

52. MSRM: I said I'd go for the obvious, and this is it. Rarely do these two have such an open display of affection in a public place; and of course, "It's good to put my arms around you . . . both of them." :::sigh:::

53. I told you Skinner had a thing for Scully. Only someone who has ulterior motives would dare to break up such a sweet, sweet reunion!

54. Scully wants to jet off to Boca Raton; I hope it's to take Mulder on a vacation. He could use one.

55. Of course, Skinner and his ulterior motives tells them to make it snappy. No extra time for side projects!

56. TWC6: I love it that they have to get sooo close together to whisper to each other!

57. Scully of course has used her time in the big house wisely as she's discovered what Dr. Charne-Sayre was doing. (And it was more than playing footsie with WMM).

58. I think Peskow needs to get his own Kevorkianmobile.

59. Scully calls for an emergency quarantine and to seal the building. Okay, how did M&S get out?

60. TWC7: Hands-on-hips in the NYC correctional facility! Woo-hoo!

61. So Krycek is "Arntzen," and the militia didn't free him from the missile silo; he came to them. I'm beginning to smell a Ratboy.

62. Mulder doesn't have Krycek to kick around so he settles for the militiaman. "I'll make sure you spend your prison time on your bigoted hands and knees putting a big smile on some convict's face." Mulder seems to use those prison rape references a lot. What kind of videos is he watching, anyway?

63. M&S are certainly piling on the miles in this episode: Russia to Washington to Boca Raton to New York to Canada. Of course, if you've seen the blooper reel, you can't watch M&S on that helicopter with a straight face!

64. Hey, M&S, don't you think it would have been a good idea to tell the chopper to stick around?

65. Beep, beep, beep . . . either someone is backing up or the bomb is about to blow. (I believe that is really DD running away too-what a manly man!) On a related topic, wouldn't you love to be Mulder's dry cleaner?

66. Realistically, why didn't Peskow kill Scully? He's killed everyone else. (And don't say cause she's one of the heroes. I knew that already!)

67. TWC8: Oh, Mulder, you little Buttmunch! Quite a nice shot of his posterior as he's lying on the ground after the bomb hurls him along. And I just *love* the way Scully screams his name when she sees him lying there!

68. I loved this part so much that I wrote a little song about it. Want to hear it? Here it goes! (Go ahead; sing along! You know the tune!) Come and listen to my story 'bout a man named Fox, a fine G-man who was lookin' for some rocks. And then one day he discovered he'd been screwed, cause up through the ground come a bubblin' crude. Oil that is. Black gold. Run for your life. Well, the first thing you know, Mulder's singed his derriere, and Scully yells, "Mulder get away from there!" She says, "The Senate hearing is the place we oughta be," so she picked Mulder up and headed back to D.C. The Hoover Building. Capital City. Ya'll come back now, ya hear?

69. TWC9: Back at the Senate hearings, lucky for us, Mulder still hasn't had time to shave. Yum!

70. Is that Scully who says the lethal biotoxin is extra-terrestrial? !Gasp! When the Senator mentioned "little green men," I sort of expected her to say "gray." Well, one step at a time.

71. TWC10: M&S are wearing matching suits. Do you think they call each other before work and say, "What are you wearing?"

72. Mulder gives his little "Mr. Mulder Goes to Washington" alien speech, wanting to know what the point of this hearing is. Obviously, no one knows, because the hearing is recessed once again.

73. I told you I smelled a Ratboy. A one-armed Ratboy, but a Ratboy nonetheless.

74. Speaking of rats, you might have figured that the Cigarette Smoking Head Cheese wouldn't be far behind, destroying the hard-earned evidence with his favorite elected official.

75. Though I think Tunguska was the better half of this two-parter, Terma had its moments too-most notably the wonderful M&S reunion. (And they were only separated for a few days here; think what could happen after a few *months* of separation (wink, wink)!) But in usual 1013 fashion, we're left with just as many questions as answers: How come the doctor at NASA Goddard was zombified by the black oil, yet the nursing home patients and the Tunguska test subjects (Mulder included) seem to be able to function normally though infected? Because they also received the cure? And if the Russians already have the cure, why are they still testing people? ("What else could it be?" says Mulder's prisoner buddy.) What does the test have to do with your smallpox vaccination scar (obviously something the Russians know and the Americans are trying to find out!). How does Krycek fit into the mix? Who let him out of the missile silo in the first place? (My guess would be Cancer Man.) Is he working for Cancer Man or double crossing him as a double agent or even triple agent? He seems to have the power to call in some favors from a retired KGB agent, so is he more important in the equation than we thought? Or is he just a one-armed bandit? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I only know one thing.

76. "It's been a long, strange trip."

Mulder's prison pal summed up exactly how I feel about writing these TOTMs.

"It becomes easier each time . . . until it kills you."

Apologies as usual,