Theatre of the Mind ~ Field Trip

I'm back! To quote my favorite Federal Agent, "Anybody miss me?" I'm doubtful of that; but like it or not, ready or not, I have returned to complete the rest of the journey with you. I'm back from serving my week in H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks (or at least it sure seemed like it when the heat index was somewhere around 113 degrees F for six straight days and on the seventh day it rained 400 inches - well, that might be a slight exaggeration, but rain it did). At any rate, my own little "Field Trip" week at the county fair being the dutiful 4-H leader is complete and so I'm back to tackle Mulder & Scully's "Field Trip." I already know I will like *this* "Field Trip" a whole lot more.

1. You just know that an episode that begins with a footwear close-up is a winner.

2. A girl with red hair and her "partner" with longer legs. Who does that remind me of?

3. Eww. Where are those scrubbing bubbles when you need them?

4. I'll make no "bones" about it these two were getting on my nerves. Buh bye.

5. A Mulder Slide Show! How I've missed them! (Actually Mulder hasn't done a slide show since "Bad Blood." Scully had a slide presentation in "Minds Eye.")

6. They probably tossed the projector screen as it had Spender splatter on it. Just a theory.

7. Kudos to Mulder for using visual aids with which to better illustrate his story about the couple found dead in North Carolina, but why does he have a map of South Carolina displayed? (I know; nobody likes a geography geek.)

8. Those Scully Rational Explanations (SREs) just keep getting better and better.

9. TWC1: Good gracious, I've only been away for a week, but where did all that hair come from? Who knew that the Flowbee Hair Season would end up like this? Woo hoo!!

10. He's right; no explanation at all. For more about the Brown Mountain lights, go to

11. I guess we have to wait for Season 7's "Rush" for Scully to play with his tie and say, "For me?" For now, she can only ask him to accept her SRE for the novelty of it.

12. Aw, but we love the perfunctory dance! That's one thing we missed the most in Season 8!

13. 98.9 percent of the time? Now I think *that's* a bit of an exaggeration.

14. TWC2: Casual!Mulder. Yum. Love the ensemble!

15. For some reason, XF skeletons have a habit of being found whole and complete, unlike real-life crime scenes. At least Scully is kind enough to point out that the connective tissue is intact.

16. I'm glad that everyone who dies on the XF has those nice photos to put in their case file.

17. Scully should know by now that when she lets Mulder go off alone, disaster ensues.

18. Bad squirrel! That's how Aaron Sorkin got started.

19. Wow! A mushroom cloud!

20. You can tell you're really missing Mulder when you *enjoy* seeing him stick his fingers in things.

21. TWC3: Running!Mulder. And break out that Little Ass Flashlight! Hoo boy!

22. Digestive enzymes from a plant? Feed me, Seymour, feed me!

23. Hullo! (Oooh, I *love* it when he says that!) There was a hole there just a minute ago!

24. Lots and lots of bodies around Brown Mountain. Scully!Radar is pinging away.

25. GPM: Can't you just feel the lurve as she's willing him to answer the phone?

26. Come on out. Mulder's tired of playing "Where's Wallace?".

27. "You know who." Variation of "I think you know."

28. Okay, I have one question: How *did* her little feet reach the pedals of that Dodge truck?

29. TWC4: Scully, that short trench is a new look for you, hon. I like it.

30. But you still have those big old mushroom-crushing three-inch heels! That's somewhat comforting.

31. "What if I can't even tell what's real?" I know just how you feel, Wally. I've felt that way about most of Season 6!

32. Love how the bright "alien" light fades into the beam of Scully's flashlight. And with that, something tells me we're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

33. Nice touch where first Mulder, and then Scully, in their respective hallucinations, hear their theories echoed back at them. Mulder hears about "lights dancing over the peak" and "cattle mutilations," the same arguments he had used during the perfunctory shuffle.

34. Interesting too how Mulder projects Scully's abduction experiences into his Angela hallucination: white place, performing tests, implant, spinning drill ...

35. Guess it's lucky for Mulder that male abductees don't get implants. That could be painful.

36. The aliens ought to make sure that skeleton faking thing gets in the literature. That's impressive.

37. Some of the scenes inside the cave were filmed inside the Bronson Caves, a network of underground chambers located at LA's Griffith Park (perhaps best remembered as the entrance to the Batcave on the old Batman TV series).

38. I knew for sure this was a hallucination when Mulder saw the bright light and didn't pull his gun and try to fire. Walking willingly into the light hasn't exactly been his modus operandi up to now.

39. Once again, love how the bright light forms the number "42."

40. TWC5: How can she be cross with him when he looks like *that* when he opens the door?

41. Guess Scully left those mushroom-crushing heels in North Carolina as she easily walks under Mulder's outstretched arm holding the door. I love that moment.

42. Kudos to DD on conveying it all in his voice in this scene. I call this his "under the influence" voice soft, slow, complacent whereas Mulder wouldn't be able to curb his "boyish exuberance" if he had really found proof that extraterrestrials exist.

43. TWC6: "I was out there ... and I found it." So did I, and Holy Flaming Cow! I love this moment so much I have it plastered on my refrigerator.

44. Good thing Morris Fletcher cleaned it out, cause Mulder's bedroom has seen a lot of action this year (just not the right kind). Looks like he got rid of that leaky mirrored waterbed though ... pity.

45. Mulder says he has something to show Scully in the bedroom. He puts an arm around her shoulder and guides her slowly into the room. With a look of rapture on her face, Scully says, in awe, "Oh, my God!" Right scene, wrong scenario. Well, maybe someday.

46. The little gray alien is played by 7-year-old Cody Weselis, son of XF stunt coordinator Danny Weselis.

47. I'll admit I've always been stumped by the close-up of Scully closing the bedroom door after her telepathic meeting with E.T. The only thing I can figure is that doors represent different phases of the hallucinations for both Mulder and Scully. Sometimes they are hallucinating that the other is entering their hallucination; sometimes the other one *is* entering their hallucination. Perhaps I'd better stop trying to figure it out before I start hallucinating.

48. Mulder finally has proof positive of his beliefs, and of course, there's only one person he cares about proving those beliefs to. At last she utters those words he's been longing to hear: "All these years, you were right." Scully believes! And that's when Mulder realizes things are very wrong. He needs her "goddamned strict rationalism and science" because it keeps him honest and makes him a whole person. So he begins to adopt her logic as if it were his own.

49. Mulder's kitchen has returned after moving temporarily for "Milagro."

50. TWC7: I know I'm a foot gal, but the man has lovely hands too, doesn't he?

51. It just goes to show you: If you keep sticking your fingers in messy goo, someday messy goo will stick its fingers in you.

52. Yup, that certainly looks like a Klutzy!Mulder skeleton.

53. Great work by GA through this whole scene in the morgue, first as she's staring at the bones of someone she is hoping against hope is not who she thinks it is (reminds me of the scene in "Paper Hearts"), and then as she tries to keep her emotions in check when the identity becomes clear and she tries in vain to find that SRE.

54. Replay No. 1: Scully is still too stunned to respond when her simplest, most logical explanation is repeated back to her by the Coroner.

55. Replay No. 2: Even as Skinner commends her on her "plausible" explanation, "thorough" report, and "admirable" performance, Mulder's little speech at the beginning of this episode had an impact on Scully and has her questioning her importance to the X-Files. If Mulder is right 98.9 percent of the time, well, let's just say that math geek Scully can do the math.

56. I think this is the first time that Scully has let Skinner see her tears ... well, sort of.

57. The door again ... I think because Scully is entering a different phase of her hallucination.

58. A sure clue this isn't happening ... I don't think Mulder *knows* this many people.

59. Now we know at least in Scully's illusions Mulder is *not* Jewish.

60. I'm sure there is some joke related to Scully imagining Mulder's coffin in his bedroom, but I can't quite seem to find it.

61. Replay No. 3: Hearing Skinner's assessment of her thoroughness and her own SRE mimicked back to her sends Scully over the edge. Just as Mulder adopted her logic, she now adopts Mulder's paranoia to come to the truth she won't accept the "party line" like all those around her from whom she expected more. Seems that she needs Mulder to make her a whole person too.

62. Interesting also that in Scully's imagination Frohike is a lush. One little drinking incident in "The Blessing Way," and someone develops a lasting impression. (Love her interpretation of Langly's formal tee shirt, though.)

63. Knock, knock. Who's there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you going to let me enter your hallucination?

64. TWC8: Woo-hoo! Mulder enters my hallucinations in much the same way and he still has his "under the influence" voice.

65. I'm glad Mulder had a nice abduction experience this time. He is blissfully unaware that the S&M dentist chair awaits him in Season 8.

66. Those are some pretty accommodating aliens. Did they return his luggage as well?

67. "Well, what can I say, Scully? I'm here. I'm real." Not so fast. This is Season 6, remember.

68. Mulder's entrance into the co-hallucination allows Scully to resume her SRE ways. Mushrooms ... "When men on the chessboard get up and tell you where to go, And you've just had some kind of mushroom, and your mind is moving low; Go ask Alice. I think she'll know."

69. A giant fungus amongus. Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out.

70. Mulder assumes his usual SRE-listening demeanor until it suddenly clicks with his paranormal slant on things and BINGO! Love the quick cut to Mulder becoming aware in the cave.

71. What began as Scully's hallucination ends as Mulder's as Scully dissolves in a haze of yellow goo and Mulder manages to save the day! Yippee! (Okay, I admit it. I was sucked in the first time I saw it.)

72. TWC9: Back to the daily grind in Skinner's office and none the worse for wear, I might add.

73. A chemical structure similar to LSD? No wonder these two were wigged out! "Because the world is round it turns me on. Because the wind is high it blows my mind."

74. "It's a rare day when the two of you sign off on the same report." That's a sure sign that things still aren't right.

75. I'm not quite sure whose hallucination this last one is. Seems that it should be Mulder's, yet he's the one who dissolves, implying that it's Scully's. Perhaps once again it's a shared hallucination, with Mulder proving he has learned something on this "field trip," using that good old Scully logic to figure out that they still have not escaped their drug-induced predicament. But the perfunctory waltz still doesn't convince the Skeptical Agent Scully, she doesn't give him the "benefit of the doubt," so Mulder has to take desperate measures to "prove" it.

76. For Skinner's sake, I'm glad this wasn't the 1.1 percent of the time when Mulder was wrong.

77. FWIW, I've always felt the moment when Mulder looks up just before he fires on Skinner was the same moment in "reality" when he looked up and poked his fingers through the earth so that Skinner might find them.

78. Boy, the FBI lab at Quantico must rush those results when they are requested by Agent Scully. How else to explain that the members of the search party are all wearing gas masks?

79. Once they find Mulder, of course Skinner knows that Scully is down there too.

80. OT: I wonder how much DD & GA liked getting slimed and muddied for this episode? (Vince Gilligan reports, "On the day they shot it, they didn't complain at all." What troopers!)

81. I seem to recall that Scully said mushrooms tasted good on hamburgers in "Excelsis Dei." I believe she will rethink that from now on.

82. Now, I love this last scene as much as the next guy, but does it really make sense that *NO* medical personnel are in the back of that ambulance with the Dynamically Stoned Duo? I mean, their conditions were not assessed at the scene and they just close the ambulance doors and send them on their merry way? I don't think so.

83. MSRM: But, mind you, I'm not complaining! My little shipper mind and shipper heart are very glad they're alone so that they can physically complete the connection they have demonstrated throughout this episode with a simple touch of their hands, knowing the other is within reach. It's a perfect union mentally, spiritually, and physically. Sweet.

84. Even though "Field Trip" was one of those "didn't really happen" episodes, the character's reactions to the situation *were* real they did happen. It gave us a taste of how they view themselves and each other in their partnership and how they view the partnership itself. It explored the differences between them and their beliefs in a serious way much as "Bad Blood" had done in a comedic way a year before. It was just one more step forward in the Mulder and Scully relationship confirming to us (as if we needed it) the bond that they share as partners, as friends, as soulmates, constants, and touchstones. The bond of respect, friendship, admiration, camaraderie, caring, and yes, love.

85. To Mulder and Scully the dance may have become "perfunctory" mechanical, routine, mundane. But not to me. It *is* one of the things I will miss most about the M&S Connection. Episodes like "Field Trip" work because of that connection. It's one of my favorites and I'm glad I didn't need a permission slip to come along for the ride. And as for the perfunctory dance, knowing what I know now? These lyrics come to mind ...

Looking back on the memory of the dance we shared 'neath the stars above.
For a moment all the world was right. How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye.
And now, I'm glad I didn't know the way it all would end, the way it all would go.
Our lives are better left to chance. I could have missed the pain, but I'd 've had to miss the dance.

86. Last but not least, even though I've seen this episode a zillion times, I'm always left with one burning, unanswered question: What in the heck happened to that spaced out *flying* squirrel? Why didn't we ever see how things turned out for him? "I guess they didn't want you to know the truth."

I'm out of practice with my apologies, but I guess I owe them at the very least to Jefferson Airplane, Timothy Leary, and the Beatles. And to spaced out squirrels everywhere. And of course to all of you for either making you wait or for returning to this anything-but-perfunctory hokey-pokey, depending upon your perspective. I hope you agreed with my viewpoint, but if you didn't, you can just send me your feedback as follows: "Sounds like crap when you say it."