Theatre of the Mind ~ Roadrunners

1. All the other people must be at the Wile E. Coyote Bus Lines.

2. I guess everybody checks the coin return in a pay phone.

3. OT: Okay, this actor playing Hank. Where have I seen him before? This is going to drive me nuts.

4. While you're yelling at the bus driver, you might want to pay your fare.

5. I thought the people on the bus usually went up and down all through the town.

6. This group definitely looks like they sang 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall one too many times.

7. Yes, toilet broken; one group potty break.

8. Ouch. This is what happened to the *last* guy who didn't pay his fare!

9. Roadrunner Bus Lines When we say "leave the driving to us," we *really* mean it.

10. TWC1: Holy Flaming Cow! I can't help *falling* in love with you!

11. Scully's looking for Mulder at last! She's wearing her official Tight White Mulder-Hunting Desert Tank Top.

12. TWC2: Those boots were *not* made for walkin' ... not in the desert, anyway.

13. Lots and lots of footprints.

14. She's got terminal cell phone withdrawal ... and she's got to pee.

15. Hey, you manly man - get away from that desk! She said she'd get you one.

16. A Scully ditch! More like Mulder every day!

17. PSC1: Glycoproteins? He's still working on "anomalous."

18. Poor Vince is even stealing from himself now. Mulder put Scully on a similar file cabinet scavenger hunt in "Folie a Deux." (Well, if Vince can steal, so can I! It'll make this so much easier.)

19. Best Mulderism Wannabee: "Well, I don't have a great memory for mucus ..."

20. Loyal TOTM reader Charlotte points out that the Utah pronunciation of "Juab" would be with a long drawn out "a" as in "apple." Scully pronounces it with an "a" like in "father." Just think: if she had accepted that transfer in "Fight the Future" she'd be talking like a native now.

21. Yippee! Psychic!Scully has returned! How else to explain why a passing bus arouses suspicion.

22. If I'm ever "Missing a Hubcap," now I'll know where to go.

23. Isn't this the same place Scully and CSM stopped for gas in "En Ami"?

24. MSRM: Well, she's got to be *somebody's* doctor ... and mother :::sniff:::

25. Psychic!Scully's radar must be jammed by all that dust and sand.

26. You'd be surprised what's not on the map in this country and what our government will do to keep it that way. (Not from Vince, but good in its own way.)

27. "A few like-minded people trying to keep the modern world at bay"? Sounds familiar. I hope before this ep is over we don't see Scully about to do the wild thing with some stranger.

28. Good time to say that this episode was modeled after the 1955 Spencer Tracy movie, "Bad Day at Black Rock." In that film, a man steps off a train at the jerkwater town of Black Rock with the altruistic mission of handing over a posthumous military award to a local man whose son died gallantly in World War II. The man doesn't know that the town has a shameful secret, one that must be kept at all costs.

29. "Help is coming."

30. Hank doesn't look so good (and who *is* that guy?).

31. Don't mess with her, buddy. Her car broke down, her feet hurt, and she hasn't eaten since 6 o'clock this morning, and all that was, was a half a cream cheese bagel, and it wasn't even real cream cheese, it was light cream cheese.

32. Mr. Milsap is named for country singer-songwriter Ronnie Milsap.

33. The Make You Feel Old Moment: Do you realize how many kids today have never even *seen* a rotary phone? Dial and smile!

34. Where's that "Can you hear me now?" guy when you need him.

35. You don't have to put your hand on your abdomen - we remember there's a bun in the oven. We were just wondering if *you* did.

36. This appears to be a madness shared by two ... dozen or so.

37. Well, if you're waiting for my usual theory as to what's going on, I don't have one.

38. TWC3: Olive green is Scully's color.

39. Gun cocked, chair under the doorknob, and we know that she can stay up all night to keep watch even without singing, but I sure bet she's wishing that Mulder was there right now. (You remember Fox Mulder. You used to sit next to each other at the FBI ...) Sleep tight. Don't let the bedbugs bite.

40. With no Mulder to keep her up nights, Scully has obviously been working on her quick draw.

41. Medical Moment I: Grand mal seizures are rhythmic and symmetric, which means that the arms and legs of the victim move at the same time. People who have seized do not remember what happened to them.

42. I'm sure Hank doesn't smell great, but he can be thankful he doesn't smell like acetone, which is what people smell like when they are suffering from alcohol withdrawal.

43. PSC2: Translation for Agent Doggett: vinegar.

44. Medical Moment II: No, Scully doesn't have an urge to make popcorn balls! Corn syrup and honey can be used to deliver sugar quickly to diabetics. It is best to put the syrup or honey under their tongues so that the sugar gets absorbed without the patient being at risk for choking.

45. Looks like Scully made good on her word to get that desk. Don't say she never did nothin' fer ya.

46. Sheriff Ciolino is named for Vince's mortgage broker.

47. Danny! We thought you were Mulder's go-to guy! How could you? The magic was gone?

48. Look at Agent Scully McGyver trying to enhance that cell signal! Your kung fu is the best!

49. Oopsie! Thanks to bad editing Scully tosses her phone down not once but twice.

50. Scully thinks this guy (still can't figure out where I know him from) has had the whammy put on him. Please explain to me the scientific nature of the whammy.

51. When in doubt about how to proceed with medical treatment, just squeeze it like a big old zit.

52. Check this out. Her newest tool in the fight against crime - $49.95 at your local hardware store.

53. It's a Scully/Slug Tug-o-War! Just like Battle of the Network Stars!

54. Five weeks together, Doggett. You *must* have seen this coming. Better head for Utah.

55. Jesus loves me, this I know. But not because a slimy slug tells me so.

56. PSC3: A parasitic organism residing in someone's body is something that she's completely unfamiliar with? Would you like me to recite the episodes? Ice ... Firewalker ...

57. Pop quiz: You're in the middle of nowhere, outnumbered by a group of strange people who are worshiping this guy with a giant zit in his back. You need to go scope out the area to look for a way out. He's scared but really has nothing to fear from these folks who are treating him like a God. What do you do? Hand over your gun, of course! *NOT.* You know, Scully, no matter how paranoid you are, you aren't paranoid enough ... obviously. Very bad move, Buttmunch.

58. A swap? Well, you want to hit some yard sales while we're out here?

59. Of course he made good time ... if the X-Files staff knows how to do anything, it's travel.

60. Gosh, those Salt Lake City agents are so nice and polite! Since they're "glad to meet" Doggett, I guess that means they haven't heard much about the X-Files out there. Cause it's hard to have a fast-track career in law enforcement when everybody thinks you're nuts.

61. ACM: Wow! Mulder sure must have done a swell job of restoring those files after the Great Basement Fire of 1998. And there probably wasn't any room in the "M" drawer because of all the mothmen files, so he probably had all the "glycoprotein" cases filed under "S" for "snot." Just the type of thing Mulder would like to stick his fingers into. Mulder ... I miss him.

62. There's that Little Ass Flashlight she *never* carries! Too bad she doesn't have an ankle holster.

63. Do you ever wish...that you could go back and do it all differently? Scully sure does right now.

64. I'm a Federal Agent; let me thrash around more to see if my boobs will come popping out of my official Tight White Mulder-Hunting Desert Tank Top long enough to distract you so I can get away.

65. "You're going to be so loved." Well, what *else* is new? Don't you know EVERYBODY loves Scully?

66. Ewwww! That is *sooooo* gross!!!! (Made you look!)

67. What a friend we have in Jesus!Slug ... all our sins and grief to bear. The charmed banana slug is waiting, Scully doesn't have a prayer.

68. Sure. Play the baby card *now*!

69. Oh, shi ...

70. Sign of the Coming Apocalypse: Vince, the man we worship like a banana slug, the Keeper of the Continuity, forgets that Scully has a tattoo smack dab in the middle of her back. For shame.

71. I really hope they put those groans in post-production and that *isn't* GA. It sounds like a sick moose (no pun intended).

72. PSC4: Even if Mulder gets lost in the desert again, I think that Tank Top should be retired.

73. Well, if Saint Scully isn't a suitable tabernacle, you're not gonna find one.

74. Manly Man! Cowboy up! Scully's sending smoke signals! (Hope he was an Indian Guide.)

75. PSC5: How come Scully's map didn't have the town on it but Doggett's does? I guess he has the Map reserved for Manly Men.

76. "Just talked to a guy who had a gun in his pocket and I don't mean he was happy to see me." John! Exactly what are you implying? What would Skinnah do if he heard you talking like that?

77. MMM: This is just one long Manly Man Extravaganza! A) figures out there are some *big* piles of manure around here; B); silently overpowers the Gas Station Man; C) whips out his trusty knife to cut her bonds; and D) carries her out of harm's way the way heroes do, not resorting to one of those wimpy fireman's carries like *some* people had to do in Antarctica. (PSC6)

78. To those who got bent out of shape because of that heroic manly-man carry, in all fairness he did ask Scully if she could walk and she didn't know. When you have ax-wielding, slug-worshipping zealots on your heels, best not to take a chance.

79. Mulder's specialty was picking locks, I guess Doggett's is hot wiring buses.

80. PSC7: Okay, this might actually be the *one* time I'm glad Manly Man Doggett is on the scene, cause we know that even though Mulder carried a knife with which he could help detail car seats, Squeamish!Mulder would have passed out before he could do the ... with the thing.

81. Careful! Don't scoop out the chip along with the Jesus!Slug. (We really need to send Vince back to Continuity 101.)

82. Bang, bang, bang! Gone in 60 seconds, Jack. You think the fall killed him?

83. Doggett looks a bit disturbed by what he's seen. Yeah, but did he see it because he was disturbed, or was he disturbed because he saw it?

84. PSC8: Okay, this is *excessive* carrying.

85. OT: Not that you care, but I *did* figure out where I'd seen Hank before. He was the law clerk in the TV adaptation of the movie "The Client," which starred JoBeth Williams.

86. TOTM Fan Charlotte also points out there is no medical center at BYU, but BYU *is* in Provo. Unfortunately, Provo is at the base of some pretty major mountains, none of which show up in this shot.

87. As is the norm in Vince's stories, the people are actually the "monsters"; but I sure would have been curious as to why this group thought the Jesus!Slug was the second coming. What kind of miracles could it have performed? Surely walking on water was out of the question ... oh well. Maybe I'll have a dream about it. Because a dream is an answer to a question we haven't yet learned how to ask.

88. The final scene is the biggest problem I have with this episode. I really don't mind Scully apologizing for the Big Ditch. After all, she's trying to *be* Mulder, but she's also trying to correct Mulder's personality flaws at the same time - like getting the desk for Doggett as Mulder should have done for her. It's perfectly okay to say she made a mistake. And I really don't even mind Doggett telling her she screwed up, plain and simple, because that's the kind of guy he is - not the type to hide a rebuke in sarcasm as Mulder did in "Never Again." But I *DO* object to Scully's promise never to do it again. IMBO, she might as well have added "Daddy" to that line. I'm beginning to think that perhaps a little piece of that Jesus!Slug did make it all the way to Scully's brain and started one of those brain sucks ... and that would explain a lot, a lot, a lot. And I don't object to Doggett carrying Scully's bag - it's a polite gesture and I would expect Mulder to do the same under similar circumstances. The problem for me is that it follows the apology exchange where Scully is made to feel like the "little woman." And therefore, she should have snatched that bag right out of his hand and knocked him upside the head with it. But she didn't - so Doggett, you're a lucky man. Why was this scene necessary at all? What happened to those lovely voiceovers to sum it all up - shouldn't Doggett get a crack at one of those?

89. In one of their many Vince-penned adventures, "Small Potatoes," Mulder asked Scully who she would be if she could be someone else for a day. She said no matter who you are, you're still the same person, but Mulder theorized that everybody else around you would treat you like you were somebody else, and ultimately maybe it's other people's reactions to us that make us who we are. I firmly believe that's why we see a different Scully now, not really a "dumbed down" Scully, but a Scully who *is* made to feel more like the "little woman" than an equal, capable partner and thus begins to act that way - a different person's reaction making her who she is now. Don't get me wrong - I think Doggett believes that Scully is capable; but he's still the manly man and she's the little woman. Scully filled so many roles for Mulder mother, sister, wife, partner, friend, confidant - and even though he could be condescending at times, he never treated her like the "little woman." If you think I'm wrong - go ahead and tell me your (finger quotes) *theory*. If you think I'm right - should we be picking out china patterns or what?

90. Last but not least, when I sat down to watch Roadrunners, I had one goal in mind: not to write the TOTM, but to find Vince's "Holly" reference in this episode. Okay, my (finger quotes) theory: the "Holly" reference in this episode is Hank - the young man who made the mistake of getting on the wrong bus. Vince's girlfriend Holly's brother is named Hank. (This reminds me, Vince. The X-Files is about to come to an end and Holly has been your girlfriend for a long time. Don't you think it's time you made an honest woman out of her? Who's up for a double wedding? Mulder & Scully and Vince & Holly! Come on guys! Birds do it, bees do it, even educated M.D.'s do it. Why won't you?)

91. Holly Reference Part Deux: Just the other night in Season 9's "Improbable," we learned that the Manly Man's birthday is April 4. It just so happens that Vince's girlfriend Holly's birthday is April 4. And that's significant how? I think the fact that CC is now including Holly references in *his* scripts is a sign that these guys have been together waaaaaay too long. Anyway, I was just trying to be thorough.

92. In my estimation, Vince has always been the best writer at capturing the Mulder/Scully dynamic. I *still* maintain that he originally wrote "Roadrunners" as an X-File for Moose & Squirrel and then had to rework it for Agents Dawg'n'Dana - and that's partly why it didn't work. Like all the other writers, Vince has to learn the most important lesson of Season 8: you can't take an outfit made for Mulder!Scully, dress Doggett!Dana in it, and expect it to fit properly. Of course, I'm just guessing about that; I can neither confirm nor deny anyone else's version of events which occurred outside my presence. But you guys *have* to believe me. Nobody else on this whole damn planet does or ever will. You're my one in ... five billion.

Hope you enjoyed finding the references from some of Vince's other fine works: "Drive," "Bad Blood," "Folie a Deux," "Small Potatoes," "Tithonus," "Unruhe," "Unusual Suspects," "Pusher," "Soft Light," "Je Souhaite," "X-Cops," and my favorite, "Paper Hearts." See, that's my strategy: If I can't keep you entertained with the TOTM, at least provide some other diversions to keep you occupied.

Well, that is essentially, exactly the way it happened ... except for the part where I didn't steal anything from "Hungry." Why? I think you know.

Apologies to Vince, Holly, Hank, Jesus, C.C., Wile E. Coyote, and banana slugs everywhere. I'll certainly be watching my back - literally - the next time I ride a bus; after all, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you. And anyway, I was drugged. Am I happy this one is done? Well, I'm fairly happy. That's something. And you know I can't be something I'm not. (Okay, *one* Hungry reference.)

Still keeping the faith for a great finale.
And if I don't get it, 1013: "I'm going to get every last one of you bastards!"