Theatre of the Mind ~ Invocation

1. Nice opening overhead shot of the defining symbol of "Invocation."

2. The melody that is played over the opening shot of this episode is a traditional lullaby called All the Pretty Little Horses.

3. PSC1: All the Pretty Little Horses chosen for the pony tie in or to shamelessly promote RP's new movie? You be the judge!

4. They sure didn't have school fairs like this when I was a kid.

5. Note to Agent Scully: This is what happens when pregnancies go on for about 16 months.

6. Oopsie! While the legend tells us that this is Webster Elementary School, the sign behind the swinging Billy clearly says Bethune Elementary.

7. Music + camera angles + slow mo + now you see him/now you don't = very creepy.

8. TWC1: Oh, Mulder. Love brings such misery and pain, I know I'll never be the same. Since I fell for you. Holy Flaming Cow.

9. Josh doesn't look so big at 10 considering he must have weighed 45 lbs. at birth.

10. PA Announcements: Would all staff members please go to the playground to observe the magically reappearing boy.

11. Without Mulder around, Scully is taking every opportunity to play doctor.

12. Memo to Agent Doggett: Time to re-read the X-Files mission statement. You're supposed to care about the unexplained phenomenon too.

13. What happened to him "... somehow affected his physical condition." Duh.

14. "Cause as big and tough as I am, I can't do it alone." Manly Man Point Deduction for admitting vulnerability.

15. ACM: Billy's backpack ... cause any thoughts of Mulder are basically extinct in this episode (like the dinosaur) and Mulder's somewhere in outer space. (I'm reaching, okay?)

16. Indian giver!

17. Oopsie! Although the legend said it was 11:02 a.m., the clock on the wall says it's about 2:35.

18. I like it when Scully yells at him.

19. Scully mention that everything about this case is impossible #1.

20. Failure to thrive? You really need to work on the DREs (Doggett Rational Explanations).

21. I'm with Sparky. The kid is weird.

22. Still worrying about people's sleeping habits. :::sniff:::

23. Scully mention that everything about this case is impossible #2.

24. PSC2: "Anomalous," "supernatural," "paranormal." You're going to strain yourself tossing around those multi-syllable words, J.D.

25. I guess if it doesn't involve "good police work" then it's "lazy."

26. Scully's a litter holier than thou about Doggett breaking the law. I seem to recall she's done the same a time or two (not to mention that other guy what was his name?). I guess you just expect a Manly Man to always play by the book.

27. Your mom always loves you - even if you stare a lot and carry a big knife.

28. Guess that oil drill in the front yard hasn't yielded any results yet.

29. But they've got their Christmas lights up! How festive!

30. The slow walking, tough talking cop on a mission ... how much more manly can you get?

31. Ronnie obviously thinks Billy is dead ... dude.

32. Big Mistake By 1013: Not telling us right up front about Doggett's son. Expecting us to piece this together over the course of the season was not the way to go.

33. Another Big Mistake By 1013: My first reaction in seeing Doggett pull out the photo and stare at it was, "Oh no! Not again!" Of course, later in the season we do find out who this boy is and what happened to him, but IMBO too close to the Mulder story. That's "lazy" if you ask me.

34. Josh must be a really sound sleeper.

35. The blood was Billy's. Creepy.

36. The Exorcist - Scully's favorite movie.

37. Billy was drawing the star-like symbol - very "Conduit."

38. Billy cannot only materialize out of thin air - he can vanish without a trace.

39. I guess he *really* doesn't want to go to the shrink.

40. Ronnie, is that any way to talk to your momma?

41. Maybe Ronnie should see if any of those clothes hanging on the line actually fit him.

42. Well, that is one fine-looking Stud Muffin!

43. The body's still buried ... everyone has figured out by now that Billy is a ghost right?

44. Scully's come a long way since Clyde Bruckman.

45. More clues to Doggett's past but where's the rest of the story?

46. There are hits and there are misses ... and I think this is a hit.

47. "You lost someone just like Billy." Now *Scully's* thinking, "Oh no, not again."

48. Didn't Scully just tell us in "Roadrunners" not to hold down someone having a seizure?

49. The Mark of the Pony Ride.

50. Well, at least we can still get a Scully "Oh my God!" That's somewhat comforting.

51. Fartknocker? And I thought Buttmunch was bad.

52. This Cal is a real charmer. I can see what Marcia sees in him. Not.

53. Scully's leaping again! Whatever possessed her to play the tape backwards in the first place?

54. No fair! Mulder had to wait five years for her to sing to him.

55. Billy keeps popping up in the strangest places.

56. MMM: Doggett nearly chases down Ronnie's car on foot - pretty fly for an FBI guy and he's barely winded. Add the shove for good measure and that seals the Manly Man Moment.

57. No, Josh! Don't go toward the pony!

58. Scully mention that everything about this case is impossible #3 and #4. Maybe you could try to be just a *little* more like Mulder - he at least gave us many colorful alternatives.

59. I knew Doggett would figure out Ronnie was a victim once he put aside his manliness.

60. I don't want Scully to sit at home for nine (or 16) months, but nor do I want her chasing child killers into the woods. Good for her for letting Doggett be the big macho man.

61. John, after all you've seen, after all the evidence, why can't you believe?

62. Scully delivers her been there/done that speech - sometimes it just is what it is. She once found it fantastic that there were any answers beyond the realm of science. Doggett finds it fantastic that there are any answers beyond the realm of good police work. This too shall pass.

63. Hush-a-bye don't you cry, Go to sleep-y, little baby. When you wake you shall have all the pretty little horses. Blacks and bays, dapple grays, coach and six white horses. Hush-a-bye don't you cry, go to sleep-y, little baby. All the Pretty Horses ... coming to a theatre near you Christmas Day 2000.

64. The premise of "Invocation" was pretty creepy A boy come back from the grave to help catch his own killer and save his brother at the same time. It was a formula X-File, with the "believer" and the "skeptic" each arguing their side of the case. While the formula remained the same, it also highlighted exactly what is already missing from these Mulderless X-Files (chemistry aside): The entertaining banter between two highly intelligent people. I'm not saying Doggett isn't intelligent; he has to be to get where he is today. But so far he's not been able to muster an argument beyond "good police work." And Scully is having an equally hard time arguing the "believer" side of the equation. Even in the creepiest cases (and the worst episodes) we could count on that Mulder/Scully banter and a few well-placed Mulderisms to keep things from getting too serious. And it's becoming painfully apparent that *that's* what's missing in Season 8.

65. MSRM Well, *I* was thinking about it, even if no one else was.

66. Once again, I was having a tough time figuring out how the title fit into this episode. I think of an "Invocation" as a prayer used at the opening of a religious service or before a meal, but my trusty Webster's (no relation to the elementary school) tells me that invocation is also the act of conjuring up a spirit by incantation. Mrs. Underwood says that every night for ten years they prayed to God for their son, so perhaps this was God's answer - to send Billy's spirit in human form to save their other son and to give the family closure.

67. "Maybe that's explanation enough."

As noted, I think it was a mistake for 1013 to offer up Doggett's back story a piece at a time, starting with "Invocation" and continuing throughout the season. I think a short dialog between Doggett and Scully after Scully sees the illegally-obtained juvenile records could have opened the door *and* given us a Mulder mention in this one:

SCULLY: You're personalizing this case, Agent Doggett.
DOGGETT: What makes you say that?
SCULLY: Because I've seen the signs ... more times than I care to remember.
DOGGETT: Agent Mulder, you mean. His sister.
SCULLY: That's right. The day his sister was abducted Agent Mulder lost a piece of himself. I saw what this kind of case did to him. And now, I see the same thing happening to you.
DOGGETT: I didn't have a sister abducted by aliens, Agent Scully. I'm no Fox Mulder.
SCULLY: So you've said. But I think you and Mulder do have more in common than you're admitting, Agent Doggett. (Doggett walks away - in a manly way, of course!)

Then perhaps, when sitting in the car after the psychic drops her bombshell, Doggett tells Scully about what happened to his son.

Of course, if this had really happened, then I probably would have griped that Scully was feeling empathy toward this man and they were developing some kind of *relationship* and that would be JUST WRONG!! I guess there's just no pleasing me, is there? < veg >

I could say I apologize, but that would be purporting to explain something by not explaining it. This is definitely not normal. And anyway, I think I'm just lazy.