Happy Easter, Happy Passover, Happy Spring! Spring is a season of rebirth and renewal, so I guess it's fitting that the TOTMs return today, though that was quite by accident. As some of you know, I've been dabbling in writing fanfic and put the TOTMs off to concentrate on that for awhile, but now - for better or worse - the TOTMs are back. I know that you haven't really been waiting for them, but thanks for indulging me in pretending to be remotely interested. I'll bring you the remainder of them as quickly as I can, and I hope you enjoy them.

Theatre of the Mind ~ Nothing Important Happened Today

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Excerpts from Polly's Diary:

September 10, 1993
Dear Diary: It's finally Friday! I am so stoked that this new show is coming on tonight at nine. The previews look great and it's got that cute, cute guy from "Kalifornia" in it. Holy flaming cow, I can't wait!

September 16, 1994
Dear Diary: X-Files Season 2 premiere tonight! Oh boy!! I am *so* glad it got renewed! I was really worried there for awhile. I read somewhere that Gillian Anderson is pregnant! How are they gonna deal with that? I hope it's Mulder's!!

September 22, 1995
Dear Diary: Oh my God, XF is *finally* back tonight! Mulder just *can't* be dead, he just *can't* be! They wouldn't do that, would they? They *did* kill Deep Throat and Mulder's father, though! God, I can't wait until nine o'clock!

October 4, 1996
Dear Diary: I thought this night would *never* get here! The premiere gets later and later every year! But this one is really special 'cause it's the last Friday night premiere - XF is moving to Sunday's in a couple of weeks. I don't think it'll be the same on Sundays, but we'll see. Will Mrs. Mulder die? Poor Mulder. I'm not worried. Scully will take care of him!

November 2, 1997
Dear Diary: This has been the longest summer in history! Damn baseball! But Season Five is finally here! My God, I am *so* nervous! Suppose Mulder really killed himself? I heard Duchovny wanted to leave. Mulder dead, Scully dying? I couldn't stand it! I would *never* watch X-Files without Mulder!

November 8, 1998
Dear Diary: Season Six XF premiere tonight! Way cool! At least this summer has seemed shorter after seeing the movie 12 times. I'm sure after everything that happened in the movie M&S will be gettin' it on in Season 6. On the internet, I found that there are websites devoted to the X-Files. I'm gonna have to check out some of those. I am *so* psyched! It's going to be a great season!

November 7, 1999
Dear Diary: Wow, I can't believe the wait is over and Season 7 is finally here! Scully in Africa, Mulder out of his mind, and I've had to wait nearly six months to find out why Fowley shed her shirt. This is gonna be so much fun! Now that I have a computer at home, I'll be able to find out more stuff. Spoilers! I need spoilers! Where do you find that Timeline thing? I think I'm now officially a Spoiler Ho.

November 5, 2000
Dear Diary: I didn't think I'd be very excited about the Season 8 XF premiere (no Mulder for half the season!), but I'm actually beginning to feel a bit of a spark as the hour gets closer. I guess old habits die hard! Besides, Carter has promised that Mulder will be the "absent center" this season, so it'll be almost like he's there the whole time, right? Scully dealing with Mulder's abduction *and* being pregnant, and what will happen once Mulder returns? Oh, the possibilities! Suddenly, I'm all a-tingle! Bring it on!

November 11, 2001
Dear Diary: Nothing important happened today.

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Okay, maybe I had a *teeny* bit more enthusiasm for Season 9 than that ... but not much. I had held out a lot of optimism for Season 8, placing my trust in The Powers That Be to make the most of a difficult situation. I knew they had faced challenges and limitations before (i.e., Gillian's pregnancy) with outstanding results, and I was confident they could do it again. Obviously, I forgot something important that I had learned over the course of seven years: Trust No One.

Although I had once vowed *never* to watch a Mulder-less X-Files, as Season 9 drew closer something started to niggle inside me. Despite the shortcomings of Season 8, the final shot of what I hoped might be a happy family had left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling. I knew that the "John Gilnitz" team would be back on the XF full-time after the LGM experiment. And the lure of finding out more about Mulder and Scully's son doubled with the curiosity of how they would deal with Mulder's absence got the better of me. So I decided that with some reluctance I would watch Season 9, and that I would try to give it a fair shake, looking at it as I would any new show, because that's what it was to me.

My original watching of the Season 9 premiere was made more palatable by the opportunity to join three of my XF buds for the experience. It's safe to say that they were a lot more excited about the prospects for Season 9 than I was, however; and although the weekend spent with them was wonderful (as always), the premiere itself left me with a sinking feeling for the year to come and I created my own personal tagline for the season (which the three of them know well): It's Just Wrong.

When the announcement was made that Season 9 would be the last, I made a promise to one of those friends that I would continue the Theatre of the Mind series, for old times sake and because I would feel that I left things unfinished if I didn't. So that's my long-winded way to say - here we are.

Just one more thing. Despite the continued absence of the Absent Center (thus limiting the Holy Flaming Cow moments), I think you'll still find these TOTMs to be decidedly Mulder-centric. You don't expect me to quit cold turkey, do you? I guess if you've made it this far, you're still in it for the long haul, so without further adieu - the Season 9 TOTMs have begun.

1. Violent content? Are there some disgruntled Mulder fans in this episode?

2. First shot is perfect metaphor for Season 9: On the rocks.

3. Baltimore, Maryland. Forever free of liver-eating mutants thanks to you-know-who.

4. Ex-Xena on the Ex-X-Files; x-cellent stunt casting.

5. Kind of an ice expert? Me too! I love that episode! Neck check, neck check!

6. I think his stick shift is stuck. Geronimo!

7. You think the date is over just because of a little car trouble? Think again!

8. New credits and slightly modified theme music - don't like 'em. Not one little bit. Well, except that Mitch is in (it's about time) and the fan/in-joke references. They should never mess with perfection. And who's that creepy kid at the end supposed to be?

9. "Last season" clips pretty much like last season - I don't really pay attention until Mulder arrives.

10. TWC1: Did I say Mulder? Woo-hoo! Holy Flaming Cow! So glad I got to say that one more time.

11. Season 8 - sealed with a kiss! :::sniff:::

12. 48 hours? Great movie, deeply flawed amount of time to have passed since the big smoocheroo. That's all the time they got to be a family? (And, as I find out shortly, Mulder also used that time to clean out his apartment?) Where's the writer? I want to speak to the writer!

13. Famous erect Washington landmark renamed by my friend Mim: Mulder's Monument.

14. My vote for Season 9 gimmick: Mulder's ass makes an appearance in each episode. (But better Ass Double needed.)

15. It's William, the Willster, the MiniMulder!

16. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope that Scully has quit her job at the FBI and become a spokesperson for Hair Club for Women. That's quite a bit of growth in 48 hours.

17. TWC2: Here's what really happened - Mulder exits shower. "Scully, what the hell did you do to your hair? It's awful! I'm leaving. I'll be back when you change it, for the final episode, or if I get a chance to direct, whichever comes first. Bye-bye!"

18. Suitcases ... lots and lots of suitcases (but thankfully, not the blue one from the "Pilot").

19. Oh sure. *Now* all FBI agents sleep topless!

20. "Monica, it's me." Nope, sorry, it's not the same.

21. Factoid: Assistant Director Brad Follmer is named for Chris Carter's executive assistant.

22. And unlike other Brad Follmer's, he can't say "Hoover" without an English accent!

23. MMM (that's the Manly Man Moment): Instant coffee and pop tart, the Manly Man Breakfast of Champions.

24. TWC3: Monica has the same hairstyle as Scully. I'm very glad the XF hairdresser didn't get hold of DD this year.

25. When did this become The SeX Files and why didn't they let people have sex when I was actually interested in the participants?

26. Monica, you little whale-singing floozy, you!

27. "I probably shouldn't tell you how hot you look." And I probably shouldn't barf. But I might.

28. Are those tapes that aren't Mulder's?

29. This elevator ain't big enough for the two of us, pilgrim.

30. Manly Men don't work weekends.

31. Rolling up the shirtsleeves ... nope, still not the same.

32. *Some* people never let a little thing like missing evidence slow them down.

33. Is Doggett stalking Mulder now?

34. An empty #42. :::sniff::: Now that's hitting below the belt.

35. Ewwww, Nekkid! Xena has been swimming in *my* water supply. Blech!

36. Factoid: The worker at the Greater Maryland Water Reclamation Facility is named after Roland McFarland, the FOX Network's Vice President of Broadcast Standards.

37. TWC4: Funny, I wasn't aware the FOX Network *had* any broadcast standards.

38. He's just gone. Like most of the audience.

39. McFarland, McMahon - McTrouble.

40. They call her Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning, no one you see, is smarter than she ...

41. Walter seems to have lost his balls again, but he's protecting MS&W, so he couldn't have sacrificed them for a better cause!

42. Monica stands by her man.

43. Smarmy!Brad thinks Sleazy!Monica has got a thang goin' on with ManlyMan!Doggett. I need a shower. And a scorecard.

44. TWC5: I hope Scully went home with Post-Its on her ass sometime ... the pop-up kind.

45. MiniMulder is happy after suckling at his Mommy's breast. Like father, like son.

46. "I'm going to ask you to leave and not come back here." Good advice. One season too late.

47. John Doggett. Bravo Company. Johnny Bravo. I'm LMAO.

48. Factoid: Writer Steve Maeda's name is listed on Doggett's list of members of his company.

49. Everybody in Bravo company got supersize powers. Doggett got supersize ears.

50. MiniMulder's Magical Mystical Mobile.

51. DMMM: Not to be confused with the MMM, this is a new feature for the Season 9 TOTMs, the Desperately Missing Mulder Moment. This is the moment in the episode where I'm Desperately Missing Mulder. It might be because something reminds me of Mulder, or because I'm so bored that I'm desperately missing my favorite G-Man. In this episode, the DMMM is the shot of the pencils in the ceiling above Mulder's old desk, accompanied by a very subtle playing of the X-Files theme - thank you, Mark Snow, for a lovely underscoring of a lovely moment.

52. No stockings? Right, they'd only get in the way.

53. Note to Scully: Get yourself some WD-40 and forget it! (Just couldn't take my advice, could you?)

54. Illicit slicing and dicing, should be just like old times ... but not quite.

55. Skinner stops looking for his lost balls long enough to call in a warning.

56. Pissing people off comes with the territory, Agent Doggett. It's part of working on the X-Files.

57. The Boys are back in town! (And some clever references to the LGM cancelled spin-off series ... for all eight people who watched it.)

58. Water expert - H2Othority?

59. If Monica tells Scully she looks amazingly beautiful while conducting the autopsy, I may have to blast the crap out of something.

60. Something *is* wrong with her baby - his father is gone. Scully doesn't need a buddy, Monica. She needs her man!

61. Factoid: Follmer's comment that Doggett's put his "tit in a wringer" brings to mind a famous quote by former Attorney General John Mitchell during Watergate. He said that Washington Post owner Katherine Graham would "get her tit caught in a wringer" if she didn't call off Woodward and Bernstein on a story that much of the media world was then ignoring. Of course, Mrs. Graham didn't, and the rest is history.

62. Kersh and Follmer want to get rid of Doggett almost as badly as some fans do!

63. Ma Scully!

64. First glimpse of the aquarium! :::sniff::: Now if I could just see the leather sofa ...

65. Good move, Maggie. I see now where Scully gets her parenting skills.

66. Monica fears that Xena is there to move in on her Scully action.

67. Assistant Director Follmer and his merry band of G-men exit the elevator. I sort of expected them to burst into song: We're men, we're men in suits ...

68. The body ... it's just gone. Gee, that sounds familiar.

69. Wow, she remembered she had a plot device at home!

70. Poor Frohike. You must be *this* tall to look out the peephole.

71. Doggett and Skinner split for Maryland together? I knew those two were an item!

72. I thought Walter wanted this investigation dropped? Maybe he thinks they're looking for his balls.

73. Hey, Walter, how about a little cheese with all that whine?

74. Skinner and Doggett lead Follmer and his merry G-men on a merry chase.

75. I've always suspected it - he breathes through his ears.

76. Agent Doggett goes swimmin' with long-legged women.

77. He's gone. He just gone. There's a lot of that going around. To be continued ...

Looks like Xena is about to take Doggett on a sea cruise. I hope he's got his water wings ... or maybe those multi-purpose ears can act as fins. I guess we'll have to wait to find out whether Johnny Bravo can make his escape, whether MiniMulder has more twirling abilities, whether Skinner finds his balls, whether Monica starts warming up the whale songs, and whether Ma Scully will open the door for anyone else. Perhaps the biggest question is ... do we really care? Unfortunately, I'm not filled with my usual cliffhanger enthusiasm. And that makes me sad. Doesn't that make you sad?

I've already discovered it will be a new experience writing the TOTMs for Season 9, as I haven't seen most of these episodes more than once, at their original airing. Some, I didn't watch all the way through the first time. I had seen most of the Season 1-8 episodes enough times to have them committed to memory, so watching Season 9 again now is almost like a brand new experience ... almost. Unfortunately, I remember all too well the feeling I had about this one the first time I saw it and that feeling hasn't changed. To me, it was pretty evident from the get-go in Season 9 that adding a cast of thousands and sexing-it-up was no substitute for intriguing characters and good writing. And it seems that TPTB wouldn't understand that until it was too late ... and maybe not even then.

Season 9 wasn't a total loss, but IMHO it didn't succeed for many reasons, and as we go through these TOTMs I'll be sharing with you my opinions on WIWW (Where It Went Wrong). I think in this episode, WIWW is glaringly evident: Scully's Hair. Trust me on that one. And now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go peel some Post-Its off my ass.

Well, the first one is out of the way. I'm sending my apologies, as always, especially to those of you who like Scully's hair (and I know, like the truth, you're out there). I just calls 'em as I sees 'em. "It's what I do." What, you think my hair conspiracy theory doesn't make sense?

"It makes sense in its own way. That's all I can tell you."