Theatre of the Mind ~ Brand X

1. I thought only one thing smoked like a chimney on this show.

2. Try to put your minds at ease, but stay away from the doors and windows. Thanks, Skinman, that's very comforting.

3. Asking permission to go to the bathroom is probably a good idea, considering that taking a trip there on the XF can be fatal. 4. You wouldn't notice that you coughed up something like blood and a bug? What did he think that was, a big loogie?

5. Didn't I warn you about the bathroom?

6. Unfortunately, the Surgeon General hasn't issued any warnings that testifying before the Grand Jury may be hazardous to your health. Ewww.

7. Watching Moose & Squirrel (or reasonable facsimiles thereof) pull up in and exit their rental car and make a looooooooooooong walk across a beautifully manicured lawn tells me one thing: this episode ran short. (You might say this part was just a silly millimeter too long!)

8. Not so much fun when you're on the other side of the chewing out, is it Walter? 9. Does Skinner have a "sixth sense" about X-Files now? Why call Mulder & Scully in on this case? Is Jealous!Walter afraid they're spending too much time in the sack since "all things"?

10. Mulder's thinking: "Hey, Walter, welcome to the screw-up club!"

11. You know something registers high on the Gross-o-Meter when even Scully winces.

12. Mulder's stealing all the good jokes already. I miss that. :::sniff:::

13. Unfortunately, Walter's not in a joking mood.

14. TWC1: Woo-hoo! He'd do anything for you, Walt.

15. Oh, *now* I see why he brought in Moose & Squirrel. Obviously, Scully is the only pathologist east of the Mississippi River. And despite all those agents flitting around the Scobie house, Mulder is the only one to notice the details. These guys are good!

16. Hey, this place is bugged! (Didn't think of that one, did you Mulder?)

17. Mulder & Skinner as partners - I like it!

18. Another loooooooong walk down a looooooong entranceway. Well, I'd walk a mile for a Morley.

19. Obviously Skinner doesn't have as much practice whipping his out as Mulder does. His badge ... I was talkin' about his badge.

20. But ROTF at the Synchronized Badge Flipping and the look these two share! I still think they have a future starting their own detective agency after they retire (with Scully as medical backup). Guess it's time to push my idea for that "Two Dicks and a Doc" show again.

21. Smarmy Daniel Brimley. Don't like him already.

22. TWC2: Sorry, Skinman, but Mulder looks absolutely kiss-a-licious. No hard feelings, no pun intended.

23. Mulder and Skinner are outnumbered.

24. The Evidence Bag Flip - smooth! (Probably all that great wrist action flipping those pencils into the ceiling - who said that wouldn't come in handy?)

25. Smart Ass!Mulder - I miss him too!

26. I'm glad Dr. Voss just *happened* to have those two cartons of unmarked cigarettes in his briefcase ... especially since he didn't seem to be expecting Darrel Weaver. Good to carry those around in case of emergency.

27. You can call him Mellow Yellow.

28. Oopsy. The legend says it's 8:02 p.m., when the clock over the doorway where Skinner and Mulder enter the morgue plainly says 20 minutes to nine.

29. TWC3: Love the blue striped shirt and the manly man demeanor ... wouldn't do to get squeamish in front of the boss!

30. Scully's not used to listening to Mulder's theories with an audience present, but Skinner's skeptical enough for both of them.

31. The lovely Abbott Mansions ... must be right on Costello Corner.

32. Frankly, I'm surprised Darrel isn't watching "Harsh Realm."

33. Even though Darrel's neighbor is reading it, I'm doubting that Abbott Mansions is featured in this month's issue of "Home" magazine. It's a good thing.

34. Wow! I guess it's true what they say about second-hand smoke. Ewww!

35. Not often that we get to see Walter snap on the latex.

36. This place *does* look like a roach motel come to think of it.

37. Now he's sticking his unprotected fingers in beetles that he knows just might have killed two people. That's my Mulder!

38. Love the little sneer as he bags the bug (cause as a reminder, he's not afraid of them, he just hates them).

39. TWC4: Hoo-boy! If I saw *that* through the crack in the door, I'd rip that chain off so fast it would make your head spin.

40. Unum, dammit, unum!!! E Pluribus unum. It's the motto on the Great Seal of the U.S. and it means "out of many, one," a reference to the thirteen colonies united into one nation.

41. Mulder's pretty sure he's seen that Wonder Woman thing in one of those videos that aren't his.

42. Sorry, no reward. For an extra buck or two, dial 10-10-3-2-1.

43. Completely OT, but why didn't Scully call her entomologist friend at UNC-Wilmington and ditch Dr. Rocky in "Lord of the Flies"?

44. Skinner gets the "Mulder, where are you going?" line instead of Scully.

45. Guess Dr. Voss's house is "bugged" too. (Well, if Mulder doesn't have to stop with the puns, why should I?)

46. If Dr. Nance tells me this tobacco beetle is hung like a club-tailed dragonfly, I'm outta here.

47. Super tobacco - the brand favored by the super soldiers, no doubt.

48. Scully's buying into this "super bug" theory. You've come a long way, baby.

49. Cash Money and Coffin Sticks - sounds like a country song.

50. Darrel's not scared by the Morley Conglomerate. He'd rather fight than switch.

51. Ewww! Squeamish!Skinner sucks it up, but Squeamish!Mulder's not so lucky.

52. MSRM: This might not be the popular choice, but I think this is the most significant relationship moment. Even at the first little cough, the Scully!Radar is fully activated, totally ignoring her boss and turning her attention solely to Mulder. That's lurve!

53. And luckily Scully didn't do that Diana Fowley "show me your hands" imitation!

54. TWC5: Awww, he looks so sweet and vulnerable despite all that blood and the Panic Face!

55. Well, this sucks!

56. GSM: Okay, there's no phone moment in this one so how about a Good Sucking Moment? I think you gotta love a guy to stick around for all that suckage.

57. Scully and Skinner don't know Mulder was with that smoking guy! Oh no!

58. Looks like Morley is doing research on big old houseplants rather than tobacco.

59. I love when PapaBear!Skinner takes charge. He lurves Mulder too!

60. Building a healthier cigarette ... how noble. But will they still be able to say "Morley tastes good like a cigarette should"?

61. Four people in a focus group? I think R&D needs to go back to the drawing board.

62. It seems that the other three focus group members, Dr. Scobie, and Darrel Weaver's neighbor got infected after prolonged exposure to the "safer cigarette" smoke. But Mulder got infected after spending barely a minute with the man? What's up with that? Was Mulder more susceptible because he was already weakened by the mysterious brain disease that was ravaging his body? (Hey, Chris: Did you notice how I threw that in there? Don't say I never did nothing fer ya.) Well, Mulder got infected more out of necessity than logic. Although "Brand X" aired before "Hollywood AD," it was filmed after; and DD and GA were both still in post-production on the episodes they directed. Thus their availability for this episode was limited, and the writers had to come up with a way to cut down on the scenes of Mulder & Scully together. So they put Mulder in a hospital bed to make it easier to film and the role of Skinner was pumped up. See? Sometimes the mystery of medical science is as simple as that!

63. TWC6: My, my, my. AD Skinner, where have you been all my life? You *know* how it affects me when Mulder kicks in a door. Well, while Mulder is incapacitated, you'll do.

64. I spent about a second thinking that obviously Weaver infected Brimley as quickly as he infected Mulder, but then I just thought, "Ewwwwwwww!"

65. I personally have never heard of Mickey's Big Mouth, but my Search Engine advises me that it's a fine malt liquor brewed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

66. Following the Mulder/Brimley trend, I imagine the convenience store clerk is toast too. Poor kid.

67. Weaver's gone in a puff of smoke! Probably gone to where the flavor is - Morley Country!

68. I guess it speaks volumes that Mulder recognizes the gravity of his situation because Scully is holding his hand. He knows such outward displays of affection are taboo unless one or both of them is ready to buy the farm.

69. I know I should be sniffling, but I can't help chuckling when I think of all DD's comebacks to the "how do you feel" question in the Season 7 gag reel.

70. TWC7: Infected by killer beetles and battling an as yet undetected brain disease (that's *two* you owe me, Chris) and still able to do his "E Pluribus" imitation. What a man!

71. Gosh, for a minute there, when Scully called for the doctor, I thought she was so overcome by emotion that she forgot to start ordering everyone around, but she recovered nicely.

72. Totally OT Again: I had my own little epiphany while watching this episode to write this TOTM. I came to the conclusion that there will *never* be a Scully/Doggett relationship, because if Scully married Doggett, when she got in her Bossy M.D. mode, she'd have to say, "I'm Dr. Dana Doggett, dammit!" GA's a fine actress, but even *she* couldn't keep a straight face through that! Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program!

73. If I was Mulder, I think a girly scream might be kind of appropriate right now. Ewww!

74. Aw, she's starting to get all weepy when she realizes that only a miracle can save him now. Well, as he recently said to you when you were undergoing that in vitro fertilization thing (that's *three*, Chris): "Never give up on a miracle."

75. Walt, you still need work on that undue alarm thing.

76. Skinner is obviously channeling the spirit of Mulder by going into a dangerous situation with no backup.

77. I always get a little verklempt when Weaver says, "You need me to save your boy." It's that Skinner as Father Figure Syndrome I have.

78. Okay, can this scene possibly *BE* any longer? Can the music *BE* any more ominous? Walter, shoot him already! You know you're gonna have to, and time's a wastin'! Remember, Mulder's back at the hospital dyin', for pete's sake! (And Weaver might take off running and you might have to chase him and you *know* how badly that turned out for you in "SUZ".) Thank you! Now, be sure not to inhale.

79. As usual, footwear saves the day as Skinner's wingtips crush the smoking gun (so to speak).

80. Since Mulder's incapacitated, Scully's there to take his usual leap for him.

81. Mulder's back, but what's he doing "back there"? Isn't that Scully's area?

82. Poor Mulder! Saved from killer bugs but turned into a Nicotine Fiend!

83. You know, this is just a thought, but when Scully says, "You're not going to start smoking" it might be a good time to say, "Well, I used to smoke you know. Before I met you. And I used to wear a wedding ring too. Before I met you, I mean. Let me tell you about it." Nah, guess not.

84. Scully shouldn't take that "holier than thou" attitude about smoking considering her track record.

85. TWC8: But Holy Flaming (and Smoking) Cow! If only it were that easy to give up *my* addiction!

86. Will Moose become the new CSM - Cigarette Smoking Mulder - or will he stay clean for the woman he loves? His nicotine addiction may be strong, but his Scully addiction is stronger. I say he goes cold turkey ... on the cigarettes, that is, cause Scully *has* decided who lights her fire!

87. Which reminds me ... Having a whole episode about Morley Tobacco and not having CSM lurking around in the shadows - well, IT'S JUST WRONG! Cause where there's smoke, there's usually CSM.

And about this brain disease thing ... "I've been working my own theory up in the old noggin. I'd be happy to share it with you someday." But for now, I'd better be off, cause "I don't want to wear out my welcome." And even though you've told me not to, I feel that I must apologize. Why? Sounds like a Polly problem to me.