Theatre of the Mind ~ Signs and Wonders

Apologies right up front this time. I'm very sorry about the delay; real life intrudes again. Hopefully, you're looking forward to receiving the rest of these terrible things. But if you've just gotten tired of waiting and don't want to receive them anymore, let me know and I'll take you off the list. Okay, no more apologies until the end! I'm ready to sink my fangs into this one ...

1. Blessing, Tennessee. Maybe that's a sign. I wonder ...

2. Young man packing for a trip ... obviously not to the NBA.

3. Taking along a Bible and a gun ... maybe a trip to the NRA.

4. Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

5. TWC1: Woo-hoo! I wonder why he rolls up his shirtsleeves so much? Hot, hot, hot!

6. Where does Mulder find these cool web sites? When I logged on to, all I found out was that rattlesnakes cannot hear the sound of their own rattles. Useful info, but I doubt it would elicit an "Oh my God," from Agent Scully.

7. Mulder sure knows a lot of people at the Smithsonian.

8. You know, Season 7 is the Season of Lurve, and I've been looking for "signs" in every episode. For instance, while Scully is giving her Rational Explanation of Symbolism, Mulder has the look of lurve in his eyes!

9. "Check out serpents serving evil." Somehow, I don't think that would be the stupidest thing he ever typed on a travel request.

10. And so, "Indiana Mulder" and his sidekick Scully are off ... It's Raiders of the Lost Religion.

11. TWC2: Nice. But I wonder what happened to Mulder's tie? Is this Casual Friday or something? Did the airline lose his Special Tie Suitcase?

12. As long as they're there, I think they should investigate Iris Finster's hair. (The 40s are over, hon. Move on.)

13. OT: Speaking of Iris' hair, the only *worse* hair I've seen is Scully's in the Season 9 promo shots. (Sorry, I know I'm in the minority here, but just let me say Hated it!)

14. Nice moment as Scully reacts to Reverend Mackey's line, "It is very difficult to walk away from a belief system that one is raised in."

15. I wonder if M&S will try out that Catholic girl snake handling thing when they get back to the motel?

16. I don't think they looked very hard for the light switch. I think they just wanted a chance to whip out the Little Ass Flashlights!

17. He just loves that Scully is telling jokes now. And he loves to laugh at them.

18. TWC3: They're so cute when they're flirting about communion wafers and flying saucers. Mulder, you old snake charmer, you!

19. Ah, see if they'd turned on the light, it wouldn't have been as scary when the snakes came out!

20. Love how Mulder never takes his eyes of the snakes while he's talking. (Did you know that DD is deathly afraid of snakes [as is Kim Manners, this episode's director]? And John Shiban wouldn't go near the set when this episode was being filmed.)

21. These are very well-trained rattlesnakes! Notice how they become completely quiet after they are put in the sack!

22. "When the Devil aims to test you, you'd best be ready and you sure better know which side you're on." Don't look now, but I think this is a *sign* that there will be a test later.

23. This episode is a virtual Red Herringfest! RH#1: The fanatical snake-handling, scripture-spouting preacher. Hallelujah!

24. TWC4: Scully, looooove the long black coat. It's a keeper.

25. I do like the contrast of the two conflicting church services. Nicely done.

26. Kudos to actor Michael Childers. He does a very believable job with Enoch O'Connor. Perhaps because he is the father of a snake-handling preacher in real life.

27. Wow. I'll never look at my staple remover the same way again. Cool effect.

28. Producer Paul Rabwin wrote the song, "Sweet Lord Protect Me and Take Me to the Light," heard during the snake-handling sequence, because he couldn't find an appropriate gospel song.

29. I give Iris a lot of credit, despite her hair. If my staple remover had turned into a snake and bit me, I think I'd be doing more than calmly looking for BandAids in the bathroom.

30. Ooops, sorry, Iris, I should have mentioned that bathroom thing not a safe place on The X-Files. We'll miss you. But not your hair.

31. TWC5: Mulder still hasn't found a tie ... but he still looks mighty fine.

32. Does Gracie get any scenes where she's not sniffling? Is she really sad or just a bad cold?

33. Mulder does his Carnack impression, apparently divining the fact that Gracie is O'Connor's daughter.

34. If you'd seen all those snakes the first time you were there, wouldn't you have taken time to *find* the light switch the second time?

35. Apparently, someone remembered that Mrs. Scully told us that Dana was deathly afraid of snakes in "One Breath."

36. Unfortunately, in trying to avoid those slithery serpents, Scully walks right into the snake pit.

37. Once again, I think Scully needs to go back for a self defense refresher course at the Academy.

38. Interesting Factoid: During casting of this episode, all the guest actors and extras auditioning had to hold a rattlesnake. But when it came time to do the scene of Scully's hand in the rattler's cage, GA's stunt double freaked and couldn't do it. The on-set snake wrangler had to shoot the scene instead.

39. TWC6: Mulder's a smart man all right. Smart is sexy.

40. If the Devil wants to make a fool of Mulder, he's gonna have to stand in line.

41. Gracie, stop doing that Calista Flockhart thing and take your fingers away from your mouth!

42. Snakes ... lots and lots of snakes. Did you know that a group of snakes is a nest? That a group of crocodiles is a bask? A knot of toads ... an army of frogs ... a bale of turtles ... and if we were ever lucky enough to have more than one Fox at a time, we'd have a skulk of Foxes. Don't say you never learned nothin' reading the TOTMs.

43. RH#2: Is Gracie responsible? (Gracie ... what, Angel wasn't available?)

44. GRM: No phones again, so this one has a Good Rattler Moment, as M&S discuss intolerance, right and wrong, and having all the answers over a good rattle.

45. Wow, the police sure searched Jared's house pretty thoroughly after he died ... his missed wastepaper basketball shot is still right there (conveniently) where he left it.

46. Mulder seems pretty knowledgeable about those test results ... hmmm.

47. RH#3: Jared's sterility. Why would he have had himself tested in the first place?

48. While most of the actors do a good job, Randy Oglesby as Reverend Mackey is just too milquetoast for my taste. Plus he has the biggest ears this side of Agent Doggett. (Shallow? Me?)

49. Snakebites. Poison spewing out. Thank you, 1013. Thank you *so* much.

50. TWC7: I'd like to be worried about Rev. O'Connor being missing and all, but Holy Flaming Cow, I can't think about that right now.

51. RH#4: Incest.

52. You know you're starting to lose interest when you start thinking about the bloopers.

53. I guess when you're a righteous man God heals your bitten and bloated body PDQ!

54. Congratulations! It's a ... nest! Um, say goodnight, Gracie.

55. Okay, I'm seriously worried now. A new shirt, but still no tie, and the return of khaki pants??? I sure hope that M&S were too busy playing The Snake Handling Catholic Schoolgirl and the Snake Oil Salesman to worry about wardrobe!

56. I knew it was that Snake in the Grass Mackey all the time!

57. Now *that's* a knife! (I forgot, this is Indiana Mulder, not Crocodile Mulder.)

58. Once Scully figured it out, do you think she jumped out of the ambulance or made the ambulance turn around?

59. I guess Mulder's cell phone was in the suitcase with his ties. Very convenient so the bad guy would have to go call for the ambulance.

60. How exactly did Mulder know where to look for Reverend O'Connor? At this point, he thought O'Connor was the father of Gracie's little vipers. Why would he think O'Connor would go to Mackey's church? (Well, as Indiana Jones once said, "I don't know. I'm making this up as I go.") And how exactly did Scully know where to look for Mulder? He didn't really say *where* he was going ... oh well, I digress. Anyway, Mulder finally figures out with this show you can't pay attention to the red herrings.

61. Mackey the father of Gracie's baby. Yes, I do see the family resemblance (except for the ears). But did you see *any* indication that there had been anything at all between Mackey and Gracie? Which leads me to believe that Mackey impregnated her some other way than the natural method. That sneaky little devil ...

62. Mulder, I warned you there would be a test later, didn't I? Hope you studied.

63. TWC8: Hoo-boy! Lots and lots of footwear! And how about that asp? The snake ... I was talkin' about the snake. Is that a python in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?

64. In reality, DD was nowhere *near* the set when this scene was shot.

65. MSRM: "This is his alone"? I don't think so. Just try to keep those three-inch heels from kicking in that door. Just as he came to her rescue, she comes to his; and that's the way it is.

66. Too bad there's no tie, cause I would have *so* enjoyed seeing Scully remove it (as she did in "Monday"). And I know Mulder must have dressed in haste this morning because no undershirt.

67. Note to 1013: Thanks for sparing us a shot of Mulder all bloated and bruised like O'Connor. I'm not sure how you resisted, but thanks.

68. TWC9: But even a little snake-bit, he looks pretty darn good. Remember: "It's not the years, honey, it's the mileage."

69. Mulder thinks he failed, but Scully thinks he passed. But just in case, she'll help him "cram" for the next test, whenever it may be. She's just got that "Wait till I get you home" look.

70. The episode is over, so let's tack on one more scene to gross everyone out one last time! I wonder if you can buy those Mouse Snack Packs at the local Food Lion?

71. Is Reverend Wells really Reverend Mackey? Is Reverend Mackey really the Devil? Or is Reverend Mackey really Tom Green?

72. And in a "sign" of our times, despite all the tasteless stuff in this episode, the only thing Standards and Practices objected to was the painting of Adam and Eve being cast out of the Garden of Eden that is visible in the last scene in the office. It seems you could see their genitalia. Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

73. As Mulder asked, what *was* the point of all this? I guess you could say that we ultimately saw God and the Devil fighting over first Scully's faith and then Mulder's. Scully, the believer, did get her hand shoved in a den of vipers and came out unscathed, while Mulder, the nonbeliever who perhaps hasn't found his faith, does get bitten. But after much consideration, I think the point was to have a bunch of gross scenes and string them together with some dialogue. The Bible says "'Tis better to be hot or cold than lukewarm." Unfortunately, "lukewarm" is a pretty good description for "Signs and Wonders."

74. And now that I'm done, I realize I could have summed up this episode in one sentence (so please disregard everything up to this point): "Tennessee. Snakes. Thank you, Mulder. Thank you *so* much."

Actually, watching "Signs and Wonders" again did provide me with some fond memories of Indiana Jones. And that in turn reminded me that that's where I wanted Mulder to be in Season 9: A professor at a local university, where the coeds in his class stare at him dreamily during his lectures and write messages to him on their eyelids. He wears his glasses a lot, of course; and he goes off on adventures on behalf of all his buds at the Smithsonian, which would explain why he's away a lot. But he always comes home to Scully and Will, hangs his fedora and bullwhip (kinky!) on his cue ball hat rack, and becomes the mild-mannered family man. We are left to imagine his adventures as Dr. Fox Mulder, Professor of Psychology, Expert on the Occult/Paranormal, and uh, how does one say it? Obtainer of Rare Antiquities. Come on, CC. Make it so.

With that, I send my apologies to Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, snakes everywhere, and of course, all of you.

"Proud and fancy free."