Theatre of the Mind ~ Daemonicus

1. It's that old devil moon.

2. A "let me out now" scratch.

3. Factoid: The Mountjoy's dog is named for Gillian Anderson's dog "Happy," a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (one of the top toy breeds in England).

4. Apparently they take their Scrabble very seriously in West Virginia.

5. Cheaters never prosper.

6. Poor Happy! I'm having Queequeg flashbacks!

7. Lights out. That's never a good sign.

8. Perhaps the Mountjoys should have spent less time playing Scrabble and more time playing charades.

9. The devil made him do it.

10. Finally a use for those old "Hell Money" masks.

11. In staging their post mortem scene, I'm sure the perpetrators were glad the Mountjoy's weren't playing Twister.

12. Factoid: Scrabble was invented by American architect Alfred Butts. (But probably not while sitting on the flush toilet invented by Thomas Crapper.) He invented the game (first known as Lexico and then Criss-Cross Words) during the Great Depression. It was trademarked as Scrabble in 1948.

13. Another Agent who likes to stick her fingers in things.

14. Writer/Director Spotnitz must have been a "Twin Peaks" fan; lots of homages in this episode, starting with the creepy, squeaky ceiling fan (this season could really use some WD-40).

15. For an expert on ritualistic crime, Agent Reyes sure gets spooked easily.

16. Daemonicus (adj.) - demonic, pertaining to demons, demoniacal. According to "The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft," a person who is demonically possessed suffers from a complete takeover of his or her personality by a diabolical entity, allowing the entity to dominate; the victim becomes, even somewhat physically, that demonic being. And it's worth 50 bonus points. Well, isn't that special?

17. Eww. That's a nice piece of asp. The snakes. I was talkin' about the snakes.

18. DMMM (Desperately Missing Mulder Moment): I'm already desperately missing Mulder, because I know that when Mulder walked in on that staged Scrabble scene he would have had a great Mulderism. Something like, "Good thing they weren't playing Twister, huh?" There would have been some patented Mulder/Scully banter while they debated the satanic significance of this case and a deliciously wonderful Squeamish!Mulder face when the snakes slithered out of Mrs. Mountjoy's body. X-Files gore was much more fun when Mulder found it just as disgusting as I did.

19. TWC1: Hi, I'm Dr. Dana Scully and I'm sure you can tell this is *not* Hairstyling 101.

20. Mrs. Spooky's Forensic Pathology class is standing room only (and Spotsy's wife Melissa appears as one of the cadets).

21. She never slayed a vampire, but she had coffee with one once.

22. Where have I heard this science vs. extreme possibilities speech before? Oh yeah, in the Pilot.

23. Too much lecture already, Dr. Dana. You're losing them. Remember how Mulder always got your attention: slide show!

24. Monica looks a little pissed that Doggett has already called Scully in on the investigation. She obviously wants a chance for the new X-Files team to prove itself. (I happen to agree with her; see rant later.)

25. Perhaps Scully did learn a thing or two about snake handling in catechism class.

26. Hundreds of cases and no evidence to support satanic activity till now; Monica obviously thinks she's got a live one.

27. Scully eventually learned not to ignore what she couldn't understand, but she had a good teacher.

28. I get that same time-lapse cloud thing every night on the local weather report.

29. TWC2: Did Reyes not get the FBI dress code manual? Jeans are a little too casual, even for a nice trip to the mental hospital.

30. Dr. Richman sounds like Dr. Demento.

31. When they say "commitment," Monica, they're not talking about your tenacity.

32. It's a duel! Ropes, guns, and "Hell Money" masks at 20 paces.

33. Time to interview the next-cell neighbor.

34. I can already tell Kobold is a game player. All his answers are in the form of a question.

35. A snake eating its own tail: Is Spotsy honoring "Millennium" or still fantasizing about Scully's ouroboros tattoo? You be the judge.

36. When the nutty guy asks you if you believe in the devil, just say yes.

37. Spotnitz borrows from himself by using the same backwards whispers he used in Season 8's "Via Negativa." (Unfortunately, almost no one saw that, but on the bright side, fewer people will see this one.)

38. TWC3: If Monica had a Harley, her ensemble would be complete.

39. You can take the nut out of the nuthouse but you can't take the nuthouse out of the nut.

40. Factoid: "The Inverted Cross," a symbol also known by the name "St. Peter's Cross," originated as a Christian symbol that represents the great humility of St. Peter, Prince of the Apostles. At his own request, the disciple was crucified head downward because he felt unworthy to die as Christ had died. In modern times, this symbol has been adopted by Satanists to represent their rejection of Christianity.

41. Ewww. I guess the coed's minds aren't the only things that are fertile at the University of Miami.

42. TWC4: Scully's inability to form an opinion caused by ... I think you know.

43. Okay, I've had about enough of the time lapsing clouds.

44. Even the devil likes a room with a view.

45. The "Silence of the Lambs" tribute: The insane murderer asks for better accommodations in return for his cooperation and then toys with his questioner's insecurities.

46. TWC5: Did Spotsy write any of this himself or did he just borrow the whole thing?

47. Kobold manages to crack that Manly Man exterior and reveal some of Doggett's deepest fears and doubts about himself and his motivations for choosing to work on the X-Files. I always thought Dr. Phil was the devil, but this guy is better.

48. Latin's not a dead language; it's a seizure language!

49. Dr. Sampson must be the only medicus in town.

50. Don't spin that chair around. Don't you guys ever watch "C.S.I."?

51. Syringed to death. What a way to go. At least Dr. Sampson won't be "needling" any of the patients at the hospital anymore. (I'd give Doggett credit for saying, "He's not the one calling the shots," but I think that was purely a coincidence.)

52. Kobold at the crime scene; contrived plot device.

53. Scully must be carrying around a portable lab in her coat pockets now. She already knows what was in the syringes and they just removed the body.

54. It's Scully in the Middle: The voice of experience with bad hair, someone who can appreciate the scientific proof *and* the extreme possibilities.

55. TWC6: Warning. I know it's for the purpose of the contrived plot device, but if you *ever* grab Doggett in that "Mulder, look at me" kind of way again, I'll have to hurt you.

56. What do you think was on Kobold's lunch menu? I'm guessing deviled ham, deviled eggs, and devil's food cake.

57. Factoid: A monograph is a scholarly piece of writing of essay or book length on a specific, often limited, subject. For instance, serial killers and the occult, like the one that helped to catch Monty Props in 1988. (Sorry, I think that was a mini-DMMM moment.)

58. "I've been thinking a lot about you, Agent Doggett." Someone's about to get their buttons pushed.

59. Kobold's line in the original script was "You can't compete with the long lost Agent Mulder, with his easy good looks, his dry superior humor, smug Oxford education ..." Guess they dropped the "superior humor" reference since Doggett is such a laugh riot. (And has Mulder really been gone long enough to be considered "long lost"?)

60. TWC7: On the plus side, after three episodes Mulder has already been mentioned more times in Season 9 than he was during the whole "absent center" fiasco in Season 8.

61. Doggett has feelings for Scully? When did this happen? Sure, it was speculated as a possibility by those of us who spend too many waking hours dissecting every line, nuance, facial expression and voice inflection. But I always felt Doggett's feelings were strictly of the protective partnerly Manly Man variety and wouldn't have gone any further than that. I think this revelation (no pun intended) probably came out of left field for most average X-Files viewers. Anyway, if this is true, Doggett needs to turn in his Manly Man Membership Card. Choosing to toss away his career to spend his life in the basement pining for a woman who is clearly unavailable and who recently had another man's child? Definitely *not* Manly Man Modus Operendi.

62. Johnny Bravo seems to have a connection - a nexus, if you will - with vomit. Last year he got puked up; this year, he gets puked on. (Johnny, you gotta learn to get out of the way!)

63. TWC8: Tell the truth. After the third or fourth minute of projectile hurling, didn't this remind you of an old Saturday Night Live skit?

64. Ectoplasm? It looks like Gatorade gone bad.

65. The guy spewed more liquid than it would be possible for the human body to hold. I'm no Fox Mulder, but I think it might be more important to figure out how he did it rather than what it is.

66. It's the old partnership triangle. Two against one. Unfortunately, I see a pattern developing here.

67. Nice "Pusher" reference as the guard reads American Ronin magazine. He's certainly a samurai who is about to find a devilishly evil master. (What, you never saw "Yojimbo"?)

68. TWC9: Scully's got a new hands-free phone unit in her car. That's good thinking. Safety first!

69. Pop Quiz: You're a highly trained, highly skilled FBI Agent who is also a single mother. It's late at night and you're alone in your car. Your baby is waiting for you at home. Another FBI Agent calls to tell you that a man who may have planned the murders of several people has indicated that the man who committed the murders is at a deserted marina called "Happy Landing," a place you'll pass on your way home. What do you do? (a) Wish the other Agent good luck and proceed home to your baby. (b) Give the other Agent directions to Happy Landing, wish him good luck, and proceed home to your baby. (c) Offer to call the local authorities from your cool hands-free cell phone, direct them to Happy Landing, wish the other Agent good luck, and proceed home to your baby. (d) Go to Happy Landing, drive out onto a rickety pier, get out of your car, walk around, and make yourself the most convenient victim possible!

70. TWC10: It's the hair, I tell you! She could have at least whipped out a Big Ass Flashlight, just for old time's sake!

And now, we interrupt this TOTM for this brief rant:

WIWW (Where It Went Wrong): IMHO, there was only one way for Season 9 to have had *any* chance of succeeding: phase out the old partnership and the old mythology and create a new show. I could be dead wrong, but I still feel if TPTB had provided closure for Mulder, Scully, and William (for example, let them have a little peace and fade out gradually and happily into the sunset) more viewers might have been willing to give the new team a chance. I know GA had a contract and had to be used. But in my mind, Scully's character would have been best used in Season 9 sort of as she was in the beginning of this episode: teacher of classes, performer of autopsies, bearer of scientific evidence, and giver of advice. In her spare time she could update us on how Mulder liked his new job, how William was growing like a weed, etc., etc. When the time came to go out and catch the bad guy, that would have been Scully's cue to say "Adios, amigos," and head home to Mulder and Mulder Junior. Given the circumstances, putting her in any kind of danger is just wrong. Mulder and Scully spent the majority of Season One getting to know each other, learning each other's strengths and weaknesses, and solving scary, interesting (and well written) stories, with only a hint of the mythology to come. Season 9 should have been the same for Doggett and Reyes, with just a sprinkle of Scully and a dash of an unseen Mulder for seasoning. Don't get me wrong; for me, nothing would *ever* be as good as the original. But I think Doggett and Reyes could have had potential if they'd had a chance to develop on their own (and had some better scripts to work with). I might have been able to concentrate on a new partnership if I'd known the old one was well taken care of. For me, Scully was a distraction. When I saw her or William (particularly in danger), it only made me think about Mulder - where he was and what he was doing - and that became far more interesting than what I saw on screen.

Now back to your regularly scheduled TOTM.

71. Doggett tires of game playing. Party pooper.

72. As badly as I want Scully out of this whole mess, did anyone *seriously* think she'd been shot?

73. The last time I saw Scully draped in an oversized law enforcement officer's coat ... well, Doggett might want to check and see if his shoelaces are untied.

74. MMM: Doggett is prepared to use force ... and for a change, actually does.

75. Let's just all stand here and watch the body sink instead of one of us jumping in to haul it out of the water.

76. The episode has come full circle (like the snake that eats it tail), back to Scully's classroom.

77. TWC11: But really - more lecture? I'm telling you, a slide show is the way to go. Or maybe you could show them your tattoo. Ah, saved by the bell!

78. Should I be at all concerned that a mental patient has unsupervised access to the internet?

79. TWC12: Just exactly where on the world wide web did Kobold get the information that Doggett had "feelings" for Scully? Is Doggett keeping a blog that we don't know about? Or maybe Kobold was hanging around the Message Boards at the Haven where Stalking!Doggett was a regular discussion item. Let's see if Doggett tries to stay after class to help Scully clean her erasers.

80. Doggett *spells* it out for us: D-A-E ... Poor Darren and Evelyn (and don't forget Happy), marked for death simply because of their initials. Apparently mental patients shouldn't have access to the phone book either.

81. I bet M-O-N-I-ca is thanking her lucky stars right about now.

82. C-U-S ... Speaking of which, was anyone even remotely concerned that Doggett shot an innocent man in the back? Mulder used to get hauled before the OPR for doing stuff like that.

83. So is the Professor really the devil? Funny, I always thought it would be Ginger or Mary Ann.

84. Since D&R both have the knack for sensing evil, they might start to get a reputation down there in the basement. Mr. and Mrs. Supersensory, perhaps? (Spooky is already taken.)

85. One last glimpse of the time-lapsing clouds, and I have but one thought: John Doggett is no Fox Mulder, and Frank Spotnitz is no David Lynch.

86. TWC13: I decided it might be fun to grade each Season 9 MOTW episode on The Mulder/Scully Scale. In other words, how would I feel about this episode if it had been made using the old X-Files team rather than the new one? Obviously, some things would have been different. Scully probably would have been the partner having her strings pulled by Kobold, allowing her the opportunity to once again struggle with the question of faith vs. science as she's done so many times before in episodes like "Revelations" and "All Souls." If Scully was determined to prove Kobold a fake, then that would have left Mulder searching for protuberances and pitchforks (as he did in "Terms of Endearment"), dodging the ectoplasm, and making lots of devilish puns and Squeamish!Mulder faces. (Holy Flaming Cow!) While the thought of Mulderisms and Mulderfaces tips the scales slightly, in reality I don't think Moose & Squirrel would have made this one that much more interesting (except for obvious reasons). Therefore, on my Mulder/Scully Scale, "Daemonicus" rates a 5 out of 10.

87. In the end, I'm left with one major question: What was the point? This episode was the obvious companion piece to Season 8's "Empedocles," Doggett's first foray into sensing evil, yet that connection was never mentioned. We never find out whether Kobold was just a master manipulator or Lucifer himself. We never find out how Kobold got three men to do his bidding or why Kobold wanted the X-Files team on the case in the first place. Chessmen State Mental Hospital ... the chessboard floor pattern ... the grids on the Scrabble board ... all clues that the Agents were merely pawns in the game. But why? The point seems to be nothing more than Kobold's desire to mess with their heads and prove his superior game-playing ingenuity. Oh well, I guess the devil has to have a little fun now and then too; but somehow, I would expect the Prince of Darkness to have something a little more substantial on his agenda than just jerking some people's chains. Scully once said that God never lets the devil steal the show, but this time, I think He did.

88. I should stop worrying about it and just listen to Scully, I suppose: "Rarely will you encounter a case where all of the variables, all of the open questions, are fully answered."

89. Hmm. I guess that's why they put the "I" in "FBI".

Well, I had a devil of a time getting this one finished but here it is. It's not that I have a devil-may-care attitude toward Season 9 or anything like that. It's just that real life rears its ugly head and I'm caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. Perhaps I should have tried to get someone else to take the reins and finish up the TOTMs for Season 9, but better the devil you know, right? I'll try to churn out the next one a little bit faster, especially since I've discovered that I tend to get rusty when it takes me so long between efforts. For example, did you notice that I didn't mention Doggett's gigantic ears even once in this TOTM? I must be slipping. Next thing you know I'll forget to mention how much I hate Scully's hair.

"Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you." Apologies, as always. Game's over. Checkmate.