Theatre of the Mind ~ Unusual Suspects

"Unusual Suspects" is one of those kinds of XF episodes that I generally don't like on first viewing. But then, after the second or third or sometimes tenth time I see it, it's like something sort of "clicks" and I "get" it. And I tend to appreciate all XF episodes a lot more now than I once did. Maybe it's that I'm getting older. Maybe it's nostalgia or melancholy. Maybe it's the fact that I'm overly sentimental that this journey that I've loved so much is about to come to an end; and as I rewatch some of these episodes now, I say "What was I thinking?" when I didn't fully appreciate them the first time.

But I was young and shallow. And if an episode had very little Mulder and no Scully, and worse yet, no Mulder *and* Scully, I just couldn't find anything socially or morally redeeming about it. Thankfully, I was so much younger then, I'm older than that now.


2. We're in Bal-ti-more, hon! Charm City! Let's go down t'oshun! How 'bout 'dem O's?

3. Oooh, I'd know that moan anywhere. Mulder! Where are you?

4. Did I say no redeeming value? There's a nekkid Mulder here. What is my problem?

5. They're here! Poltergeist flashback!

6. This might be a good time to point out that this was actually the first episode filmed in Season 5. DD and GA were still working on the movie in LA when production on this ep started up in Vancouver. DD's scenes were shot later. And that explains why no GA. (Though I didn't know that at the time.)

7. Oh, so this is how the Lone Gunmen became the Lone Gunmen. Sort of like "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" but no claymation.

8. Here's the X-File: How do you get Detective Munch from NBC's "Homicide" to FOX?

9. FBI Agent who likes to take off his clothes and jabber about space aliens. Nice to know nothing has changed in eight years.

10. 11/22/63. Lucky day for almost "Bertram" Byers. Not so lucky for JFK.

11. So this is the story of Mulder's Angels . . . "Once Upon A Time....There were three geeky guys who attended the Computer & Electronics Show, and they each undertook very hazardous duties. But I took them away from all that and now they work for me. My name is Fox..."

12. Byers' slo-mo vision of Susanne looks like a beer commercial or something.

13. That's propmaster Ken Hawyrliw playing . . . Ken Hawyrliw . . . and Dig Dug.

14. At least it's nice to know there was a time when Frohike didn't wear those awful vests.

15. Byers, a good little government employee; Frohike Electronics; Langly Vision. Somehow I thought these three had known each other since the AV Club in high school.

16. Byers is a sweet guy, isn't he?

17. Holly . . . like the sugar. The famous Vince "Holly" reference!

18. Hack? He says that like it's a bad thing.

19. Byers could certainly rival Mulder in the "guessing" department. He spells "Susanne" correctly on the first try. That wouldn't have been my first guess.

20. Her ex-boyfriend is Mulder? A complete psychotic, dark and mysterious? Could be, I guess.

21. TWC1: Mulder, it's nice to see you, but what happened to your good Season 5 hair already? Oh, I forgot IT'S 1989!!! Love those sideburns, though.

22. Mulder, a gentleman who can appreciate 33 channels of crystal-clear television? I'll say. Does it get the Playboy Channel?

23. "No thanks, handsome." "Punk ass." This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

24. I guess Frohike always wants to kick some ass cause his kung fu is the best.

25. Act casual? In that stormtrooper headgear? Don't make me laugh. Too late.

26. Naturally Mulder would be checking out the alien booth. That could be important later.

27. I bet Mulder's got some tidy nest egg socked away in that credit union. Armani is expensive.

28. Mulder used to carry that cell phone in his pocket, until he heard one too many times, "Is that a cell phone in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?"

29. All, Hail, Vince, the King of Continuity! Who should be calling Mulder but Reggie Purdue, Mulder's old ASAC introduced to us in "Young at Heart."

30. Busted for playing Dig Dug. Good thing it wasn't Donky Kong.

31. Despite the fact that he was just trying to do the right thing, Byers finds himself on the dark side.

32. Somehow I pictured Langly playing strip Dungeons and Dragons. (And FYI, one of the players, Eric the Hacker Dude, is played by Eric Knight, who was DD's personal assistant.)

33. The "kung fu" line is a tribute to famed computer hacker Kevin Mitnick who left it as a voice mail message to tease investigators who were attempting to catch him.

34. Love that C&P reference since that used to be my phone company: Chesapeake & Potomac.

35. Handicapped parking for tinnitus? What did you say?

36. Mmm . . . Fox William Mulder, top of his class, commendations out the ying yang, now in Violent Crimes. Single. So why is he wearing a wedding ring in this episode?

37. These guys are all good guessers. Langly gets the spelling of Susanne's name right too.

38. Blew up a lab, killed four people. Well, I think that was the pot calling the kettle psychotic.

39. I'd like them to print this out for Mulder for later reference: "Armed and extremely dangerous. Do not approach. Call immediately for backup."

40. Ergotimene? Wasn't that how Scully's tattoo went bad?

41. Not even our Bibles are safe from government intervention! Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.

42. Ouch! No novocaine! That's gotta hurt! And I bet she won't get free cable anymore.

43. I always knew I shouldn't trust my dentist. (BTW, Susanne's dentist is named for Vince's real-life dentist, Dr. Michael Kilbourne. Bet that did wonders for his practice, huh?)

44. Very tricky, distributing the gas with asthma inhalers.

45. TWC2: Ooh, I'd know that voice anywhere!! And did I mention the sideburns?

46. Do you guys happen to have that printout requested in #39?

47. Now who are these *other* guys with guns?

48. I think I liked these days when he dropped his gun in order to start stripping off his clothes!!

49. Susanne must have been doing her Mulder imitation. Makes quick work of those guys then drops *her* gun.

50. Dazed and confused and working those lips!! And when did he take his pants off? Why'd they cut that part?

51. Oh, oh. Wedding ring alert. Why'd they leave that part in?

52. It must be pretty fulfilling to be an actor on the X-Files, cause even if they kill you, you know that you'll be back eventually. Mr. X, we missed you! Now bring back Agent Pendrell!!

53. TWC3: Hoo boy! Laying there looking up at Mr. X . . . nekkid and I think I forgot the sideburns.

54. Don't worry, fella. I'm sure they'll let you out of that bag when you reach your destination. Not.

55. I'll bet Skinner got his start as a clean-up guy with one of these type of Formula 409 squads.

56. "No one touches this man." Did Mr. X know Mulder's importance to the project even then? Or did he just not want to bother with a nekkid guy shouting about space aliens? I think you know.

57. "I heard it was a lone gunman." Very clever. That Vince is my one in five billion.

58. No, not Geraldo. Montel Williams, maybe, but not Geraldo. (That's a "Homicide" in-joke!)

59. And I thought Frohike only thought Agent Scully was hot. Oh, I forgot. IT'S 1989!

60. Picturing the boys in little aluminum foil hats . . . ROTFLMAO. (Frohike could make a vest.)

61. Susanne should have gone to the Baltimore Sun. Much more reliable paper.

62. Baltimore TV Stations: In 1989, probably just WMAR - Ch. 2; WBAL - Ch. 11; WJZ - Ch. 13. No FOX station WAY BACK IN 1989!! (Who do you think has more stations? Frohike Electronics or Langly Vision?)

63. "No matter how paranoid you are, you're not paranoid enough." Words to live by.

64. Mr. X. We still don't know if he's good or bad. Tough thing, this ambiguity.

65. TWC4: Holy Flaming Cow!! Mulder is recovered from his little trip to the psycho ward, and luckily they didn't shave his sideburns!!

66. Weird ideas? Good thing he wasn't checking out a Martha Stewart booth before he got zapped by those inhalers, huh?

67. Susanne has been disappeared, the Lone Gunmen have been formed, and Fox Mulder is on his way to being as paranoid as the best of them. (And I did enjoy his "What?!" when Byers suggested the government seeks to control our lives.)

68. This episode's name is derived, of course, from the movie The Usual Suspects. The episode does reference the movie a few times with the scenes of the guys in jail, the narrator spinning the story in current time and past tense to an authority figure, and in showing the hard-to-comprehend climax of the episode at the beginning (in the teaser), and then repeating it after showing how it all came about.

69. Though I think I'd rather borrow another movie title to name this episode, cause I think it sums it up pretty well: When Fox Met the Lone Gunmen.

70. And the MSRM? Hmmm. That's a tough one. Remember, IT IS 1989 and Mulder is a few years off from even meeting Scully at this point. So the MSRM? How about the trailer for "Detour"? The Conversation in the Forest. The Ice Capades. Raining sleeping bags. Betty's bustline. I say Joy to the World! Bring it on!

In "Unusual Suspects" the guys in the background proved they could hold their own and carry the story. Whether they will be able to do that on a weekly basis still remains to be seen. But this was their first outing and together with all the lovely touches from Vince, it was a fun time that gave us some back story on those lovable geeks that had been around since "E.B.E." So over the years we have learned a little bit more about what made the supporting players (Skinner, CSM, and the Lone Gunmen) who they are. Who will we learn about next? Ratboy? Mrs. Scully? Bill? Deep Throat? Mr. X? Tell you what, one roll of the dice and we'll choose: "Come on, natural 20. Daddy needs a new sword of wounding."

Sending out my apologies cause my kung fu is definitely not the best,