Theatre of the Mind ~ First Person Shooter

Before I begin, I'll issue this WARNING: When this episode first aired, a lot of people didn't like it. Well, I did. It's not my favorite episode of all time, or even of Season 7, but it's visually interesting, has some great M&S interaction, and Mulder in a codpiece. What's not to love? Anyway, I issue the warning so that if you don't want to read this one, you can bail now if you choose to. Hit delete and never look back. Okay then? We ready to roll? Then you know what I say ... bring it on.

1. Wow. Tron has come a long way.

2. This episode was written by William Gibson and Tom Maddox, who also brought us Season 5's "Kill Switch." Although I believe there are places that I can detect Chris Carter's fingerprints all over this one.

3. The only difference between men and boys is the size of their toys.

4. The guy playing Lo-Fat obviously graduated from the Chris Farley School of Dramatic Acting.

5. What an outfit. Those who think that "sexing up the XF" is something new for Season 9 obviously didn't see this one.

6. Maitreya's arm morphing to flintlock pistol ... pretty cool effect.

7. Game over.

8. I'd like an 8 x 10 glossy of the retina scan of that lovely hazel orb, please. And a couple wallet size.

9. Only Scully would read the disclaimer on the thing she has to sign.

10. Video games. Digital entertainment. Po-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.

11. Scully is not impressed and it probably has something to do with that "Dudes" greeting from Langly. They used to think she was "hot"; not she's just one of the guys.

12. I always wondered how the LGM got the dough to finance their little newspaper. Now I know.

13. If the First Person Shooter Corporation is in danger of financial collapse due to this incident, they might want to consider scaling down their office space. Or maybe trading in that retina scanner.

14. Ah, the bathroom humor keeps gettin' funnier every single time I hear it. I see a CC thumbprint!

15. TWC1: But if I ever ran into Agent Fox Mulder, I'd be checkin' my shorts for cake too.

16. I guess M&S have set up permanent digs at the L.A. Field Office now (since they just worked with L.A.'s finest in "X-Cops"); otherwise, how'd they get there so fast? Or more importantly, how long has that guy been laying there?

17. Well, however long it's been, it was nice of someone to cover him with bubble wrap.

18. Gun. Laser blaster. Po-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.

19. Scully sticking her fingers in goo with no latex protection ... who does that remind you of?

20. Good time to mention that the scenes in the "game space" were filmed at the famed Rykoff food distribution company, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Los Angeles. Rykoff is the uncle of XF producer Paul Rabwin.

21. Nobody likes a computer geek, Mulder. Well, those three guys do.

22. TWC2: I can think of someone I'd like to texture wrap. Cause that ain't all he's packin'.

23. She's a video game character. She's a killer. Po-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.

24. It's been my experience that any number of things reduce grown men back to moony adolescents.

25. Scully, meet MoonyAdolescent!Mulder: "It's Daryl Musashi!" (Too cute!) And here's a prime example of why I like this episode. While the Scully of three or four years ago might have found Mulder's boyish displays of exuberance quite annoying, I think Season 7!Scully finds LittleBoy!Mulder quite charming. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called Lurve. (She even loves the "Yeah, baby" tongue click and finger point!)

26. Nobody likes a show-off, Daryl. Especially Maitreya. Ouch.

27. Translation of Maitreya's line: "Forgive me for what I am about to do." Not likely, hon.

28. The bloodthirst isn't quite so unquenchable when it's the real deal.

29. Now I'm wondering about Retro's middle name ... Fit? Spective? Active? His body was probably claimed by his Mom and Dad ... Past and Backward.

30. Scully is indecisive ... scratch that. Ambivalent ... scratch that. Wishy-washy.

31. TWC3: Woo-hoo. I'd like to see Mulder model that vest. I've got a birthday coming up too!

32. GFM: No good phone moment in this one, so how about a good flirting moment! See? She thinks his ya-ya's are pretty darn cute.

33. You think that we only like entertainment that has redeeming value? Not hardly.

34. Testosterone frenzy. Great need to blast the crap out of something. Po-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.

35. Boy, the CIA is gonna be pissed about this.

36. Okay, I'll grant you the one Mulderism that wasn't so cute was the hand biting in the police station. It was a relief to learn that DD didn't want to do it. But remember those CC fingerprints ... But I think it is an appropriate Mulder touch that he closes the blinds to shut out the voyeurs.

37. Rumor has it that in an earlier version of the script, Jade Blue Afterglow's name was Jade Blue Cockburn. And that's no Cocknbull.

38. Mildred wasn't so far off once you've met Esther Nairn.

39. Mulder gets a "Thank You, Mulder" look from Scully after his helpful "Afterglow." DD's little "it was nothing" nod is just too cute.

40. That little "Basic Instinct" style shot need I remind you that CC is the director?

41. So, Chris' little Xena-fetish goes all the way back to Season 7, huh? Well, congratulations, CC. You got her for Season 9. Enjoy.

42. Mulder trying to catch a last bit of Afterglow and Scully blocking his view is just one more example of the newfound playfulness between these two.

43. This fancy office and Phoebe can't even find a couch to sleep on?

44. TWC4: Holy. Flaming. Cow. Toe to top Mulder will win every time. Footwear ... codpiece ... glasses ... and how about those biceps? I repeat: Holy Flaming Cow! Bring. It. On.

45. Yes, it's a ditch ... but what fine ya-ya's they are.

46. Maitreya disappears behind her sword ... another pretty cool effect.

47. Behind you, Mulder! Protect your ya-ya's!!

48. Game over again. And Scully is not happy. And when Scully ain't happy ... ain't nobody happy.

49. Sticking her unprotected fingers in goo twice in one episode ... that is *true* lurve!

50. Why didn't Maitreya kill Mulder right then and there? His contract wasn't up yet. And obviously she wanted to see what was underneath that codpiece.

51. TWC5: And who could blame her? Hoo-boy!

52. It's not Maitreya, it's Mary Lou Retton! (In reality, it's gymnast Dana Heath doing those handsprings.)

53. Langly and Hickey try to build a "kill switch," possibly as an homage to that other episode written by Gibson and Maddox. Will this one play "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes?"

54. Well, I think we can safely say that calling Scully "baby" results in one of two outcomes: (a) peeing through a catheter; or (b) counting your teeth.

55. MSRM: And the fact that she's so upset because her partner is lost in the game it's the lurve I tell you.

56. I find it odd that a girl who feels that she's drowning in a sea of testosterone would create a heroine like Goddess (Maitreya), complete with the "voluptuous vixen" outfit and dog collar.

57. Yes, Scully (and GA) understand the testosterone.

58. Mulder turns on the charm ... but she's still gonna kick his butt. (I think I know what part of his problem is: he might want to lose the dark shades. They look great but are probably impractical.)

59. "No fair picking on a girl"? Perhaps Scully should have said, "No fair picking on a Mulder." (Love the connection of those two scenes.)

60. TWC6: Did you see the way Mulder was admiring that footwear? I think I know what Scully is getting for Christmas this year. And oh that broadsword. You can tell a lot about a man by the size of his sword, you know.

61. Tell the truth: When you saw those tumbling tumbleweeds, didn't you want to see Mulder in chaps, just for a minute?

62. She's got spurs that jingle jangle jingle. Mulder, just say "Whoa."

63. Oopsie! Mulder dropped his sword in one shot, but it's back in his hand in the next.

64. Never let it be said that Scully tarries in the dressing room. I guess she got the commando gear cause it would have taken too long to get into an outfit like Maitreya's. No matter. You go girl.

65. That sound you heard as Scully popped through the door was a million male tongues collectively dropping to the floor. Mulder's tongue stayed in his mouth but his look spoke volumes; let me translate: Oh, baby. You can handle a big gun like that? My every fantasy come true. Come to papa. (The man's not dead, after all. Yet.)

66. I think it's remotely plausible that Scully has regained her "hotness" in the eyes of the LGM.

67. Maitreya had no trouble offing the original guru but eight of her she can't hit M&S standing 30 feet away? She must do better at close range.

68. TWC7: Don't worry about being humiliated, Mulder. Scully will kiss it and make it all better when she gets you home.

69. No time to argue. Kill the game NOW, or you'll be checking your shorts for cake for different reasons.

70. Agent Scul-lee ... the Scullinator ... the Scullmeister ... DanaRama ...

71. Maitreya ... makin' copies.

72. And they say it never rains in southern virtual California.

73. The scene of Maitreya astride the tank was added in post-production at the suggestion of Visual Effects coordinator Bill Millar who kept sweetening it for ... guess who: CC. What a shock.

74. Moose & Squirrel are saved! They look exhausted and Scully's hair is all poofy. What do you think they've been doing in there while they were waiting to be rescued?

75. BIG CC fingerprints all over that final Mulderlogue. Sweet and low? Come on.

76. TWC8: But Mulder *finally* whips them off! The glasses. I was talkin' about the glasses. You sexy thing, you.

77. As Ivan watches the new computer "creation" being born, I can't help but wonder if this isn't how, in their wildest fantasies, the boys at 1013 *really* see Dana Scully. That this is what they think lies underneath that prim and proper FBI exterior, Dana Scully in a thong and a lace-up bustier, accompanied by those FM heels (and I *don't* mean Fox Mulder). If that's true, it's sad that they've managed to create one of the most intelligent female characters on network television, but still have a secret desire to reduce her to the "voluptuous vixen" in their deepest, darkest "immature hormonal fantasy."

78. I'll be the first to say I'm not very computer literate, but I kept wondering: Why don't they just pull the plug to end the game? Afraid Mulder would disappear entirely? So what - he was gonna disappear at the end of Season 7 anyway. Why not just leave him to languish in cyberspace until he could be "recovered" for his return mid-season 8? He could have communicated with Scully via instant messenger during that time; just think of the possibilities ...

DocDana: Mulder, it's me. Oh, I miss you so much. The Gunmen are working on a way to retrieve you. They think they're very close. Should be no more than six or eight episodes into next season. I can't wait to see you again. There's a big hole without you here ... you're truly the absent center. We've just become so close recently and I miss spending the night with you ...

Foxy42: Ooooh, Scully. Don't talk that way. You don't know what you're doing to my floppy disk.

DocDana: Mulder, if I inserted a CD, do you think you could download something for me?

Foxy42: Download what, Scully?

DocDana: Well, I'd been meaning to ask you, and then you got stuck in that game, but ... you see, when I was over defrosting your fridge I found the ova that you neglected to tell me about ...

Foxy42: Oh, I'm really sorry about that Scully. I meant to ...

DocDana: It's all right, Mulder. Well, I found out that they're viable and I want to have a baby. This is my last chance. And I want you to be the father. Would you? Could you?

Foxy42: Gosh, Scully, I'm touched. I'd love to have a baby with you. Of course, I'd prefer that we try the old fashioned way.

DocDana: I know, Mulder. But I'm barren, remember? This is the only way I can become pregnant. If this doesn't work, well, you and I could try forever but we'd never make a baby.

Foxy42: Never say never, Scully. And never give up on a miracle. But I'll see what I can do about downloading that ... um, stuff for you.

DocDana: Are you sure you won't have a problem ... I mean, do you have the necessary motivational tools?

Foxy42: Don't worry. On that part I'm an expert. Um ... Scully, there's something I haven't told you. I'm not really alone in here. When you guys pulled the plug on the game, something happened and a new character was kind of created ...

DocDana: Oh my God, Mulder! You mean it created another Maitreya? A clone of some type? Are you all right? Are you safe?

Foxy42: Not a clone exactly, Scully. More like a hybrid. Sort of the melding of two females of the species. A little Maitreya and a little something else.

DocDana: Who else, Mulder?

Foxy42: Someone very near and dear to my heart. And someone who is taking very good care of my hard drive.

DocDana: Uh huh. No wonder it's taking the Three Stooges so long to get you out of there. Somehow I think their more prurient interests are being gratified. I'll pop in the CD. You just download when you can, all right?

Foxy42: Bring it on. Say, Scully, how's the new partner working out? You get him a desk yet?

DocDana: He's okay. The man has *definite* issues with extreme possibilities. He's not as open minded as I was.

Foxy42: :::snort:::

DocDana: And yes, I *did* get him a desk. And before you let your paranoia kick in, the man is a straight arrow, Mulder, as honest as they come. He's above reproach. But he's also no Fox Mulder.

Foxy42: Well, so few people can be. Any interesting cases?

DocDana: Oh, the usual. Bat-men, Jesus-like slugs, children who don't age, time going backward, religious cults, exterminators with x-ray vision, metal men, contagions, butt genies ...

Foxy42: Sounds like just another day at the office ... wait, did you say butt genies?

DocDana: You think you're the only one who can find genies, Mulder? I don't think you would have wanted to accept any wishes from this one, though. He didn't make the world a happier place.

Foxy42: Oh, I don't know. I'm fairly happy. Considering the circumstances, I mean. Don't worry, Scully. I'll be back there tackling those cases with you again soon. Until then, you can just look at my nameplate and every time you see it you'll think of me.

DocDana: Yeaaaah, riiiiiight. Oh, Mulder, I've gotta go. The pizza man is here. Goodnight, Mulder. I love you.

Foxy42: Love you, Scully. Goodnight. [sign off] That's funny. I thought Scully hated pizza.

79. In the end, "FPS" was entertaining in its own way (and much more entertaining than the game itself, I thought - take away the real danger factor, and that video game was pretty boring. The LGM would have lost their shorts ... 'er shirts). XF-lite. Sexist, yes - but equally to both sexes. They came, they saw, they conquered. Episode over. Po-tay-toe, poh-tah-toe.

Okay. Go ahead. Get your ya-ya's out. Flame away. Tell me how much you disliked this episode. Blast the crap out of this TOTM. I can take it. After all, I know that "the bloodthirst is unquenchable." You liked the episode, but you thought the TOTM stunk? "Well, that's not really fair, is it?"

I have a lot of apologies to make for this one, but I'm just going to lump them together into one big apology to save time. "Well, that's just cheating." Byte me.

*That's* entertainment.