Theatre of the Mind ~ John Doe

1. DAY ONE: South of the border, down Mexico Way.

2. DMMM: Holy Flaming Cow! An unbelievable crotch shot and stolen footwear in the first 15 seconds. Unfortunately, not the crotch or footwear I'm interested in. My heart belongs to another "sole" (and another crotch, but I think that goes without saying).

3. Come back, you little sneaker!

4. Someone seems to have watched "Traffic" one too many times.

5. Papers? Passport? Visa? Mastercard?

6. Memories ... have all been taken from my mind, misty water color memories of the way I were. Meet the Man With No Name: John Doe-ggett.

7. How long will it take before I stop bitching about the new credits? Apparently, at least a little while longer.

8. DAY TWO: Steal a "straight-laced" guy's shoe, he gets all testy. Viva Un Zapato!

9. You need pesos to get out of the pokey, and Doe-ggett's got none. Nojo on the dinero.

10. An episode penned by Vince Gilligan used to inspire viewer confidence, but we're not as lucky as Doe-ggett; we remember Season 8's JesusSlug fiasco "Roadrunners."

11. Factoid: "John Doe" was co-executive producer Michelle MacLaren's directorial debut, the first woman to step behind the camera since Gillian Anderson in Season 7. (Ironically, MacLaren joined the show staff during Gillian's episode, "all things"; she was previously a co- executive producer on "Harsh Realm.") In another strange twist, MacLaren's next directorial assignment after this episode was on the 2002 FOX series ... "John Doe."

12. You can't go home again, especially if you don't know your address.

13. Happy Family Flashback.

14. TWC1: Gee, I always assumed when we saw Doggett in bed with someone, it would be Skinner. (You thought I'd forgotten about the DSR [Doggett/Skinner Relationship], didn't you?)

15. DAY EIGHT: Once Upon a Time In Mexico ...

16. Can we no longer afford subtitles? I'm Lost in Translation.

17. Welcome to the Mexican Work Release program.

18. He's so disarming!

19. A man who would steal your silver skull trinket lacks "charm," but a man who would steal your shoe is the worst kind of "heel"!

20. Desaparecido ... why don't you come to your senses, you been out ridin' fences for so long now ...

21. "Poof" is the same in any language.

22. Wasting away in Tecate Margaritaville.

23. Doe-ggett's got that "Will Work for Shoe" look.

24. TWC2: Fondling little boys? I don't think so. Of course, Walter is a *big* boy ...

25. "I'd invite you to have a drink with us, but Nestor hates you." Nestor and 85 percent of the X-File watching world.

26. *Now* we get subtitles.

27. Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most confused gringo of them all?

28. Memory loss ... debilitating flashbacks ... holes in head ... gee, this seems so familiar ...

29. It took him eight days to take off his shirt and notice that tattoo? I'll bet he's so ripe, he's rotten.

30. Tattoos may come and go (and on the X-Files, they do), but a Marine's a Marine forever.

31. TWC3: Vince, this is your second tattoo faux pas in as many episodes. Keep this up and we will have to replace you as Keeper of the Continuity.

32. Mexican! CSM - Cigar Smoking Muchacho.

33. Someone stole one of his lucky charms! (They're magically deleterious!)

34. DAY TWELVE: Kersh and Polly lose interest in searching for Doggett at the exact same time.

35. They at least pretended to Search for Mulder for most of a whole season; the Search for Doggett doesn't even last two weeks.

36. TWC4: At least Scully's bad hair hasn't changed; that's somewhat comforting.

37. Walter's thinking: "We *will* find him. I *have* to!" (I'm getting all verklempt!)

38. The Search for Doggett Task Force becomes a party of one.

39. Unlike others who were raised in Mexico, Monica can speak Spanish with an American accent.

40. Factoid: Vince Gilligan's customary shout-out to his girlfriend Holly Rice comes in the form of the name of the businessman that Doggett was looking for: Hollis Rice.

41. Why was Doggett working on this case alone? Was this a Doggett Ditch?

42. Senor Pilar de la Comunidad probably runs the South Texas Tractor & Drug Mart where "Nothin' Runs Like a Deere ... on Crack."

43. MMM: Monica proves she's the Manliest Man in this episode. (Without subtitles, that would be the Momento de Hombres del Hombre.)

44. Factoid: In the flashbacks, Mrs. Doggett is played by Barbara (Mrs. Robert) Patrick, though we only see her arm, shoulder, and back. (It could just have easily been Skinner in a wig. )

45. If you can figure out exactly where it is that Doe-ggett is waiting for his phone call, you're a better man than I am, Gunga Din.

46. Vince tries to save his continuity credibility by remembering that Scully's records search on Doggett way back in "Within" revealed that he served in the U.S. Marine Corps, 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, 2nd Marine Division, from 1977 to 1983, and was a member of the Multinational Peacekeeping Force, Lebanon Development, from 9/1/82 - 10/30/83. At least his automagically appearing tattoo corresponds to his record of service.

47. Detective Ladatel sounds so much cooler than Detective Cingular Wireless.

48. Un Zapato is no "loafer."

49. Doe-ggett was probably hoping that his description would show up on a milk carton rather than a wanted poster.

50. Nestor is the Mexican!Krycek.

51. Cartel ... Consortium; po-tay-to ... po-tah-to ...

52. Scully flies to San Antonio to give Monica a message she could have delivered by phone, but as long as she's there, she also carries a police report across the room.

53. And somewhere, William is calling Frohike "Mama."

54. Monica *gets* Doe-ggett's Mexican calling card.

55. I hope Doe-ggett is better at repairing buses than he was at hot-wiring them. (It's scaring me that I remember that much about "Roadrunners.")

56. Mexican!Krycek now has some missing appendages of his own. Ouch!

57. A flash of light, a shot rings out, the screen fades to black! Oh, the suspense! (Actually, I found the Volkswagen commercial that followed more suspenseful - the one where the guy licks the door handle in order to hold the car for his buddy. I really wonder how that all turned out.)

58. Desaparecido, you dropped a bus on poor Nestor, and Domingo you'll pester, to find out who you are ...

59. TWC5: Did ya notice that even with amnesia, Johnny was never allowed to stray far from his straight-arrow, above reproach character in "John Doe." We see evidence that he still has his wits, his reflexes, and his investigative and survival instincts; and by his reluctance to do something illegal, even though he's not sure why, we're reminded of his integrity and high moral fiber. I guess the one memory he's managed to hold onto - of his son Luke - keeps him from slipping entirely away from his Yankee Doodle Doggett image. But it might have been fun to see him turn into a total badass!

60. Flashbacks confirm Luke was a bright and active child and that Mrs. Doggett can sleep through an earthquake.

61. TWC6: So when Doggett's missing, he has a *nice* picture that gets flashed around town. Bitter? Moi? You betcha.

62. The only thing better than a shoeshine is a bribe to go with it. Brillo del zapato!

63. You can't fool us with Doggett!Hair, we know that's not him under the sheet.

64. DAY THIRTEEN: Wow, DAY TWELVE seemed to take forever, didn't it?

65. I bet even as we speak American!CSM is looking for a way to make his eyes glow like that.

66. TWC7: Is there any chance I could get everything that happened after Season 7 to desaparecido?

67. Tell the truth; for just a split second you were hoping that Doggett and Reyes would kill each other.

68. A Mexican standoff! (Come on, you *had* to see that one coming.)

69. Subtitles? We don't need no stinking subtitles! We got Agent Reyes!

70. Monica explains it all in one minute or less - John Doe-ggett, this is your life!

71. Never let it be said that I don't give credit where credit is due: Both RP and AG do a very nice job in the scene where Doggett's memory starts to return and he remembers that his son is dead. It's a heartbreaking moment for *both* characters and both actors handle it very well.

72. MMM2: "John, if we're going to die here, you're going to die on your feet! You hear me?"

73. Doggett demonstrates why Greyhound's motto is "Leave the Driving to Us."

74. Skinman to the rescue! :::sigh:::

75. TWC8: Reflecting!Skinner. Mmmm. In lieu of Reflecting!Mulder, he'll do.

76. If Un Zapato and El Skinman continue to stare like this, "tongues" will be wagging.

77. So Mexican!CSM could steal your memories and store them in a little silver skull that he wore on a charm bracelet? How? And was Doggett able to get his memory back when no one else could because he somehow wrested his memory skull away from Old Stogie? Wow, I must have had my memory stolen for a moment; I forgot this was the X-Files where questions are rarely answered.

78. Doggett is only too happy to regain the pain ... "Because it's mine."

79. If Luke makes a habit of playing outside alone at 5:30 in the morning, it's no wonder he gets abducted.

80. Kudos to the makeup department. Doggett looks as weathered as an old zapato.

81. Oopsy: In the final long shot, Doggett is wearing a sneaker on his right foot and some brown thing on his left. Only problem is it was Doggett's right shoe that got stolen at the beginning of the episode. Oh well, if the shoe fits ...

82. TWC9: "John Doe" holds a unique distinction for me. During its original airing on January 13, 2002, it was the first time I ever fell asleep while watching a first-run episode of the series. And though I was taping, I never watched the entire episode until it ran in syndication much later. Yes, I know it's hard to believe and I'm ashamed to say it - I actually managed to stay awake through every episode in Season 8.

83. But in spite of the fact that "John Doe" couldn't keep me awake, this was exactly the type of episode that *should* have been airing in Season 9. This is Season 1 for The New Kids, and historically Season 1 X-File episodes should: (a) Provide us with a sufficiently unique Monster- of-the-Week; (b) Put the characters in situations where we learn more about them and they learn more about themselves; and (c) Let us watch the bond between the characters strengthen and grow. Except for Where It Went Wrong by sticking Scully into the fray for no reason whatsoever (thereby separating her from her infant son and once again redirecting our interest toward the off-screen storyline), "John Doe" basically succeeded. Unfortunately, The New Kids have big "shoes" to fill.

84. One more shoe pun and I pull out my gun.

85. Where does "John Doe" rank on the Season 9 MOTW Mulder/Scully Scale? In other words, would I have wanted to see this episode if it was *Mulder* who had holes poked in his head, lost his memory, was tossed in jail, and was trying to piece together the meaning of a series of fragmented flashbacks while his partner tried desperately to help him? Yes, very much. In fact, I already did. It was called "Demons." But seriously, if this episode had featured a dirty, sweaty *Mulder* searching for his identity as well as his shoe, he would have had my undivided attention; and for that opening crotch shot alone, on the Mulder/Scully Scale, this one would rate an 8 out of 10.

86. Things might have turned out differently if TPTB had brought the Mulder/Scully era to a satisfying close and had started The New Kids off on their own adventures with episodes like this one. But it wasn't to be. And sadly, or perhaps mercifully, on January 17, 2002, just four days after "John Doe" aired, FOX announced that "The X-Files" would be officially "desaparecido" at the end of Season 9.

87. "John Doe" may not have been my favorite episode of "The X-Files," but it left me with the perfect philosophy about the series that I love so much:

"I'll take the bad as long as I remember the good."

Apologies to Patsy Cline, Barbra Streisand, Marvin Hamlisch, The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Holly Rice, John Deere, Greyhound, Mexico, and all of you. I certainly intended to have this one finished way before now, but things kept getting in the way. I thought it would be done by Cinco de Mayo, which would have been quite appropriate (and was also my Doggett loving friend Steph's birthday - Happy Belated Birthday, Steph!), but that wasn't to be either. And just when you were hoping that the TOTMs and I had "desaparecido-ed," here we are again to darken your door. Ay carumba!

If you had told me the Season 9 DVDs would be released before I had all the TOTMs finished, I wouldn't have believed you. The best laid plans of mice and men ... I guess that's what happens when you set aside one thing to try another. But at least the DVDs will make it easier to finish the TOTMs, and finish them I will before I desaparecido once and for all. Definitely before the year 2012. In the meantime, keep your eyes open for disappearing tattoos and falling buses, and remember the teachings of Un Zapato:

"Semper fi."