Theatre of the Mind ~ The Pine Bluff Variant

Before we get started, let me say it right up front: HOLY FLAMING COW!!! That's right, this entire episode is one big Holy Flaming Cow Moment! The man looks so good in so many different scenes, that it would be impossible to choose just one. If I want to watch an episode just to look at Mulder, this is the one I choose.

1. Why it must be springtime in Vancouver . . . um, I mean Washington! The cherry blossoms are in bloom!

2. TWC1: Jogging!Mulder! Stretching!Mulder! Running!Mulder! Nuff said.

3. A guy sitting on a park bench reading the newspaper . . . in the pouring rain. Yeah, nothing suspicious about that. (I'll admit, they did a good job of hiding the rain, but the soaked newspaper was a dead giveaway!)

4. It's Commandant Spangler from Malcolm in the Middle!

5. Did Scully really see what she thinks she sees? And where are all the other FBI guys?

6. TWC2: Duh!Mulder! Woo-hoo! Love that "he got away, get over it" look.

7. Scully's in early and she's not watching those tapes that aren't Mulders. And Mulder is visibly shaken cause he thought he was gonna avoid this scene.

8. Expecting!Scully! "I expect you to give me an answer. I expect you to tell me the truth." Tee-hee.

9. Mulder might be Mr. Cool in his undercover assignment, but he knows there's one person he can't fool. So he tries avoiding instead.

10. He won't even sit with her, for Pete's sake. And notice how he looks away every time she glances at him. Of course, that's making her more suspicious.

11. TWC3: Funny!Mulder! "We're not all dead?"

12. Didn't we last see August Bremer as a forest ranger looking for the Jersey Devil?

13. The Usherette in the Ohio theater is a little Frohike, Tom Braidwood's daughter.

14. Good thing they weren't showing "A Decade of Dirty Delinquents," or Mulder might have been there too.

15. I am a little disappointed in Scully for believing that Mulder might be up to something sinister, but I guess I can't blame her cause he didn't answer when she told him she was expecting. (Tee-hee!) Of course, maybe she knows he would never betray his country, but she wants to know what he is doing and why she was ditched. At any rate, it's Scully, P.I., on the case.

16. I guess Mulder decided to pick out something tan and un-sexy while preparing to do some funky poaching; he dug those khaki pants he wore in the Pilot out of mothballs! (We all should have known there was something seriously wrong at this point.)

17. "My partner is seriously suspicious." I'll say. It's those khaki pants.

18. Oh, the theater is really showing "Die Hard with a Vengeance." A prophecy, perhaps?

19. Ewww. Those must have been some bad JuJuBees!

20. "Are you the wife?" "Not even close." I guess we can be glad that Mulder didn't say that when asked, "Are you the husband?"

21. "Mr. Kaplan" is an homage to the Alfred Hitchcock film, "North by Northwest." In that film, George Kaplan is the CIA-assigned pseudonym to an imaginary secret agent registered at hotels all around the country.

22. Scully, when you follow Mulder with your lights off you're bound to get run off the road.

23. Scully doesn't say it, but she sure gets her lips in the right position to say it: our favorite unfinished phrase of this season. Shi...

24. Look out. Here comes Scully and her Posse.

25. "Obviously not the Office of Information." ROTFLMAO.

26. "What about my life?" Hey, Scully, you're worried about Mulder, 'member?

27. Nice bit of continuity referencing Mulder's less-than-exuberant performance at the UFO conference in Boston in "Patient X" as the reason the New Spartans contacted him.

28. Was anyone else glad to hear that Mulder *wanted* to tell her but Skinner wouldn't let him? Not really a ditch after all!

29. When they strapped his hands to the table, I started to get a bad feeling about this.

30. TWC4: HoodHead!Mulder! Hoo-boy!

31. When the "mask" is removed, good old Mulder "masks" his fear with humor: "Ooh, is this the Pepsi challenge?" "Deal me in, boys."

32. Is this some new version of "pull my finger"?

33. Mulder's turn! Two favorite unfinished phrases in the same episode: Shi...!!!

34. I always knew Mulder's hard head would come in handy someday.

35. TWC5: PissedOff!Mulder! Woo-*Freakin'*-Hoo!!

36. When I watch XF episodes, you can throw any amount of blood and guts at me that you want; squirming maggots and rotting flesh don't phase me at all. But to this day, I cannot watch the scene where the BadBaldGuy breaks Mulder's finger. The sound alone nearly makes me lose my cookies!

37. I think the movie was over and they could have turned on the house lights, but then we wouldn't have seen the RETURN OF THE BIG ASS FLASHLIGHTS!!

38. TWC6: Grumpy!Mulder! You'd be grumpy too if you had the kind of day he had.

39. "I don't know what you're talking about" must be the catchphrase in this episode. I've heard it three times so far. What does that mean? I don't know what you're talking about.

40. MSRM: She notices his hand, and all else is forgotten for a moment. She just wants to provide comfort. And though he protests at first, he just wants to accept comfort.

41. "Yeah, if you keep pulling it around like that." Somehow, this isn't the scenario I hoped for when I first heard these words on the X-Files.

42. Given Mulder's propensity for stocking his fridge, frankly, I'm surprised he has ice.

43. Mulder's fish are sure glad that their daddy is home!

44. Not that I should talk, but Mulder might want to think about washing his windows. Mr. X has been dead almost two years and I don't think Miss Lispy Bee Husbandry responds to the "X" call.

45. Okay, I guess you could say that Mulder should have known his apartment would be under surveillance and thus should not have spilled his guts to Scully, but he just got the bejeessus scared out of him and he needs to talk to his best bud. You could also say that Scully should never have gone there in the first place because she knew it might have compromised his deep cover. Aw, these two kids can't stay apart, don't you know that by now?

46. Dr. Scully got that finger fixed up pretty good. I hope she kissed it and made it better.

47. TWC7: SayGoodbyeToKhakiPants!Mulder. What a nice outfit! Love the V-neck sweater.

48. Didn't everybody know that something was rotten in D.C. when the CIA guy just "happened" to have exactly what Mulder needed for the New Spartans?

49. They "don't know" how the biotoxin was spread in the theater? Aren't you gonna find out? I'm planning to see "Evolution" this summer, and I need to know if I should snap on the latex first.

50. TWC8: Shades!Mulder! Double hoo-boy!

51. The lights don't work! Don't go in there, Mulder!!

52. That's good, Walt. I don't think Scully wanted to talk to you in private so you could blurt out "bioweapons" with the CIA guy sitting right there.

53. TWC9: Believer!Mulder! I want to believe too!

54. "You willing to die for them?" "I'd prefer it didn't come to that." ROTFLMAO again.

55. I am never staying at the Aaron Burr Motor Court if the maid comes around at 6:04 a.m.

56. Leaping!Scully has a contaminated money epiphany, apparently.

57. Although this episode has received the All-Time Holy Flaming Cow Award, it does receive a slight deduction due to the fact that Mulder is wearing a hood or a mask for a lot of the time.

58. And it's sure too bad Mulder has to have a mask on during the scene at the bank. I'd love to see those Mulder expressions trying to struggle through the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" decision about shooting the teller.

59. Thanks to Bremer for helping Mulder out of his dilemma, but if that weapon's traceable, why would you be using it in a bank heist to begin with?

60. Oh, that look of shame as he figures it all out and knows what he's been a part of.

61. TWC10: Busted!Mulder. In his best funky poaching outfit. Oh. My. God.

62. Twenty-seven robberies in seven states in one morning? That's pretty sad.

63. I think Mulder knows his "lovely parting gift" isn't going to be as nice as Haley's.

64. The slow "death march" through the old greenhouses is just fantastic. Mulder's eyes darting one way and then the other, searching for the cavalry that he knows isn't going to appear. Then the realization that this is the end and the quick look of regret for all the things left undone not finding his sister, not telling Scully how he really feels. And the long look back at Bremer, forcing his executioner to look him in the eye. Until finally . . .

65. TWC11: Brave!Mulder, facing his fate with dignity and courage . . . even though we know he's scared shi...less.

66. Love the mixture of Mulder's heartbeat with the music as everything changes to slow motion; his reaction to the shot, his stunned amazement that he's still alive and may live to fight the future (coming this summer to a theater near you!), and his confusion regarding Bremer's true identity and why he's being let go.

67. Mulder arrives to save the day and finds it's already been saved by his partner. Sort of.

68. The reunion! In their own way, you just know how relieved they are to see each other. Love the way Mulder puts his hands on his knees and lets it all sink in for just a moment

69. I wouldn't want to play charades against those two. Scully knows and answers his question based on one hand gesture.

70. I love how MamaBear!Scully springs into action when she realizes the whole thing was a set-up and someone was endangering the life of the man she loves for no good reason.

71. TWC12: Accusing!Mulder. I want people to know the truth too . . . the man is gorgeous.

72. Our tax dollars at work again: I'm sure glad we can count on our government to use us as guinea pigs for important experiments and to keep us safe from ourselves.

73. Poor Haley. And the moral of this story is: Don't Fink and Drive.

Well, I did try to keep the totally worthless commentary to a minimum (an even dozen's not too bad, huh?), but I guess I wasn't very successful. It's so easy for me to get lost in looking at Mulder, that I forget that this is a pretty good spy-who-came-in-from-the-cold type story written by John Shiban and directed by the big gun, Rob Bowman (the movie must be almost finished!). Not even a killer kitty kat or chupacabra in sight!

I'm sure you would have liked a more insightful analysis of this episode instead of just a Mulder Love-Fest, but I calls 'em as I sees 'em. And "if that's not enough for you, that's all I've got."

Apologies as usual. You'd better put that hood back on me unless you want to see a grown woman cry.