Theatre of the Mind ~ Hellbound

I know you probably won't believe this, but I started this TOTM a long, long, *LONG* time ago. Unfortunately, I got about halfway through and hit some kind of brick wall that I found impossible to scramble over. I put it aside for awhile, watched the episode not once, not twice, but *THREE* more times (which I really think should be considered going above and beyond the call of duty), but still nothing shook loose. Finally, after much perseverance, for better or worse, it's finished and here it is. So the moral of the story is: If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. Or perhaps more appropriately for this TOTM, there's more than one way to skin a cat.

1. "Hellbound": Where Season 9 is headed.

2. The tattoo he deserved?

3. I'm not crazy; he's a Swayze.

4. Ed is quite the buzzkill.

5. Come on -- how about a big group hug?

6. Sounds like crap when Ed says it.

7. Dead People: Better to see one than to be one.

8. Speaking of crap, it's the new credits. I'd almost forgotten just how bad they are.

9. Victor, we hardly knew ye.

10. 1:47 a.m. Is that *really* necessary? Not like he's going to get any deader.

11. At least Doggett looks like he was rousted out of bed at 1 a.m. Scully looks like she is on her way to a fashion shoot for Vogue.

12. TWC1: Since I haven't watched a Season 9 episode in awhile, I thought I might be a little more charitable toward the hair. I was wrong.

13. Doggett seems to be the only person who remembers Scully has a baby at home.

14. If you aren't on a first-name basis at 1:47 a.m., I guess you never will be.

15. A Manly Man who's "seen a bunch" of these shouldn't get so squeamish.

16. TWC2: I work with someone named Lisa Holland. That's creepy.

17. Calling being skinned alive a "terrible way to die" is a bit of an understatement.

18. Do they think she's spooky? Yes, they do.

19. Monica's little feet reach the pedals.

20. If you couldn't tell from the get-go that Van Allen was involved in this case somehow, you need to turn in your Junior G-Man/Woman Badge.

21. Dr. Holland practices her Dr. Phil homilies, but Doggett isn't biting.

22. Detective Van Allen practices his pick-up lines, but Reyes isn't biting.

23. The pigs from "Home" finally get more work.

24. Let's get the ex-cons jobs where they use sharp knives all day. Yeah, that's a good idea!

25. Terrance would have been *really* pissed if Ed called him "Terry" cause Terry is for wusses!

26. "Skinned alive" looks a bit like Tobey McGuire's Spider-Man costume.

27. Factoid: The Agent Pendrell wannabe is the same FBI cadet who heckled Scully on her first day of school in "Daemonicus." Seems he wants to be teacher's pet or at least get a look down her shirt.

28. TWC3: FBI Agent, single mom, but still time for a French manicure.

29. It feels really great to hear that 1960 is "ancient history." Ouch.

30. When Scully does stuff like connecting carving patterns in photographs taken 40 years apart, do you think she hears the X-Files theme in her head?

31. One day Mulder will probably be sitting around the rest home waiting for pretty young agents to come and ask him for his expertise about flukemen and liver eating mutants. Ah, Mulder. I miss him.

32. Just a suggestion: if the lights go out when you're alone in the slaughterhouse, run like hell.

33. When they say "the other white meat," I don't think this is what they had in mind.

34. Given the new S9 "ick" factor policy, I'm grateful they didn't show the actual skinning.

35. "Dreams are answers to questions we haven't yet figured out how to ask." A wise man once said that.

36. TWC4: As a dedicated X-File watcher for many years, oh how I've wished to see the male lead dressed in super-tight tee shirt (finely etched nipples flaring) bursting into the room of the female lead dressed in skimpy black negligee (a fine sheen of sweat illuminating her pale skin). I guess I should have been more specific.

37. You'd think freaking out someone who specialized in ritualistic crimes would be next to impossible.

38. TWC5: Though somewhat inappropriate for visiting bloody crime scenes, Monica's long camel-colored leather coat is to die for (perhaps a poor choice of words).

39. Maybe Scully is able to arrive at all these crime scenes in the middle of the night because Mulder never really left and she has a built-in babysitter. (A girl can dream, can't she?)

40. Just hanging around.

41. He might be a little more inclined to tell you who did it IF YOU GET HIM DOWN FROM THERE!

42. Roxanne ensures Doggett's aren't the only finely etched nipples on display in this episode.

43. It's wham, bam, thank you, Roxanne.

44. Best Doggettism: "What part of 'stop right there' did you not understand?"

45. Reyes and Ed are sharing visions, but Monica is getting under Doggett's skin.

46. Roxanne provides an alibi in addition to the T&A.

47. MMM: "I know where you live, partner." (Although when you put that up against the threat of being skinned alive, it's really not all that scary.)

48. Scully's been a busy little lean, mean slicing and dicing machine.

49. People were getting killed because of their birthdays in "Sanguinarium" too.

50. TWC6: "Sanguinarium" doesn't look too bad anymore, does it?

51. Monica can get Ed's birthday, but she won't need to get a gift. Ewww.

52. Doggett said make sure Ed don't run, but forgot to say make sure Ed don't get skinned alive.

53. Monica ... is ... talking ... very ... slowly ... possibly ... because ... Doggett ... can't ... listen ... very ... fast.

54. Reincarnation conversation.

55. Dirty rag ... coal dust ... she just knew.

56. TWC7: Reappearance of the Big Ass Flashlights, but in the wrong hands. That makes me sad.

57. At least Doggett & Reyes didn't call Scully in to help out this time ... or maybe she gave them the shaft! (Can you dig it?)

58. Pictures, clippings, dead bodies, skin trophies -- a regular gold mine of evidence.

59. For someone who has "feelings" about stuff, people sure get the drop on Monica a lot.

60. Van Allen is the murderer. What a shock. :::Yawn!:::

61. Monica figures the whole thing out in a leap of Mulderistic proportions.

62. Thanks to Reyes and her psychic hotline, Dr. Holland escapes a serious epidermis peel by the skin of her teeth!

63. When you want the suspect to talk, it's a good idea to shoot him in the leg and not in the chest.

64. Nobody puts Agent Reyes in a corner! (The Swayze Connection made me say that.)

65. Scully gives the obligatory pep talk as Doggett's not interested in the paranormal bouquet of this case; he's just trying to figure out how they're going to explain it to Skinner. Speaking of Skinner, I couldn't help noticing that he was conspicuously absent in this episode even though the Skinman would have seemed the appropriate person to handle such a case. Coincidence? Well, if coincidences are just coincidences, why do they feel so contrived? (Have I mentioned that I miss that Mulder guy?)

66. TWC8: I'm not worried about Scully correcting mistakes made in future lives; I just hope she has a chance to correct mistakes made in future episodes.

67. Oopsie: It's not really clear what role Reyes plays in this ongoing mystery, but if her former life predecessor died in 1960 too, that would make her more than 40 years old.

68. And if the pattern continues, that means that Monica could die sometime soon. That has to be more than a little disconcerting. But if it's any consolation, no one ever really dies on The X-Files.

69. Not even Van Allen; he's dead, dead and gone, but there's one child born in this world to carry on.

70. "Hellbound" was the fourth episode filmed in Season 9 and should have aired after "Daemonicus." Too bad that it didn't, as it would have logically followed up Monica's premonitions in that episode. I wonder if Monica had a premonition that the show would be ending and she'd be looking for work?

71. Where does "Hellbound" rank on the Season 9 MOTW Mulder/Scully scale? Well, since we already heard about Mulder's past lives and weren't too thrilled (even though Scully wouldn't change a day), the prospect of visiting them again isn't very appealing. I like my X-Files cerebral rather than visual, and this one relied too much on the ick factor. So I'm giving "Hellbound" a 3 out of 10 on the Mulder/Scully Scale. (It would have ranked a 2, but gets that extra point for anytime I could see Mulder kick down a door. I did mention somewhere that I missed him, right?)

72. When it was all over, I just felt like singing:

In a canyon, in a cavern, investigating in a mine
D and R found they were hell bound for the rest of Season Nine.
Oh my darlin', oh my darlin', darlin' X-Files show of mine,
You are lost and gone forever, and I'm left with Season Nine.

Why it took so long to write this little bit of drivel, I'll never know. But apologies to Dr. Phil, Dirty Dancing, Blood, Sweat & Tears, and Clementine, wherever she may be. And apologies to all of you for taking so long to send this out to you; but many thanks too for the words of encouragement and the requests to finish the TOTMs for Season 9. I'm doing my best, and I appreciate it that you're still reading, even though I know what you're thinking:

"In all my days, I never saw anything as inhuman as this."

In good taste, as always,