Theatre of the Mind ~ Trust No 1
"One day you'll ask me to speak of a truth - of the purpose of the Theatre of the Mind. To explain what is unexplained. And if I falter or fail on this day, know there is an answer, my friends, a sacred imperishable truth, but one you may never hope to find alone. Chance meeting your perfect others, your perfect fellow X-Philes. Chance embarking with these others on the greatest of journeys - a search for factoids and worthless commentary. If one day this chance may befall you, my friends, do not fail or falter to seize it. The TOTMs are out there. And if one day you should behold a miracle, like the TOTMs actually being finished, you will learn the truth is not found in the Manly Man Moments, or on some unseen plane, but by looking into your own heart. And in that moment you will be blessed - and stricken. For the truest truths are what hold us together; only writer's block keeps up painfully, desperately apart."
1. If there's a Carterlogue, this must be mythology.
2. DMMM: Holy Flaming Cow! The truest truth is that with all this talk of "perfect others" and "perfect opposites" (along with pictures to better illustrate), I am most definitely missing Mulder already.
3. Factoid: The decidedly shippy mages that accompany Scully's teaser voiceover are from the following episodes (in order): "Within," "Within" (thankfully, *without* the Haunting Suffering Scully Theme), "all things," "The End," "Within," "Leonard Betts," "Pusher," "Never Again," "Paper Hearts," "Kill Switch," "Milagro," "The Field Where I Died," "Memento Mori," "Millennium," "Per Manum," "Demons," "Per Manum," and "Dreamland II."
4. Sometimes I feel like somebody's watching me.
5. Factoid: The music that accompanies the teaser is "The Seasons: Barcarolle" ("June"), Op. 37, No. 6, by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, arranged and performed by Richard Grayson.
6. Scully might want to start working on how she's going to answer that *other* question that William is likely to ask one day.
7. Chris, stop trying to psych us out with a grief-stricken, bad-haired Scully kneeling over a guy with big feet. We *know* you're not vindictive enough to kill off Mulder. (You aren't, are you?)
8. Wow, that was nice. Feel free to *tease* me like that anytime.
9. TWC1: We interrupt this wonderful moment for the God-awful new credits.
10. Tagline Change: "They're watching". (Sorry to break this to you, Chris, but really, they're not.)
11. OT: Commercial for "The Mothman Prophecies" and I have the sudden urge to watch "Detour."
12. Federal Grounds Internet Cafe - The G-Man's Central Perk.
13. How does Scully avoid those emails wanting to enlarge her penis or sell her Viagra?
14. I'm assuming "Dearest Dana" is some kind of code, but that's the best they could come up with? (True to his word, Mulder probably let Scully pick the names this time.)
15. Factoids (lots and lots of factoids): The email addresses for Mulder (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Scully (Queequeg0925@hotmail.com) in this episode were real, working accounts set up by Ten Thirteen Productions. "TRUSTNO1" was used as Mulder's computer password in the episode "Little Green Men." Queequeg was, of course, Scully's dog that met a tragic end in Season 3, and 09/25 (1994) is the birthday of Gillian Anderson's daughter, Piper. This episode was aired out of order, which might explain why the date of Mulder's email is January 7, 2002, and this episode aired on January 6, 2002.
16. If you ever wondered what it would be like if Chris Carter wrote emails to himself, now you know. Only CC could write dialog so awkward and so out of character.
17. And speaking of character, perhaps it's time that all Mythology episodes came with a warning label. WARNING: As has been the case for the past nine years, the personalities of the main characters will undergo radical and sometimes unrecognizable changes during Mythology episodes. There is no need to adjust your set; the characters will return to their regularly scheduled personalities next week.
18. Where It Went Wrong (WIWW): Unfortunately, no warning could prepare us for Scully's actions in "Trust No 1." "Dumbing Down Dearest Dana" (DDDD) reaches a new low in this episode, and contributes mightily to where Season 9 went wrong. (Do you really need more proof that it's the hair?)
19. DDDD1: Scully is so concerned about a baby left alone in the coffeehouse that she leaves her own baby alone to go investigate.
20. If I got an email from Mulder, I'd read it over and over again too.
21. TWC2: Ugh! The hair looks even worse when it's tucked behind the ears.
22. I'm so glad Agent Doggett was here to explain to Scully why Mulder had to go away.
23. Now there's something you don't see every day - Scully doing her actual *JOB*.
24. Well, that didn't last long.
25. DDDD2 through 7: (#2) Scully leaves William alone in the back of her unlocked car while she goes to break up an argument on her street. (#3) She realizes this is the same couple she saw at the coffeehouse earlier in the day, yet doesn't get suspicious. (#4) Not only is she not suspicious, she invites the woman up to her apartment. (#5) She doesn't pick up on the fact that the woman doesn't really seem all that upset that her husband just forcibly absconded with her baby. (#6) She doesn't raise an eyebrow - just a knowing smile - when the woman says that maybe Scully's "anybody" will come back. (#7) She invites the woman to stay at her apartment before she even knows her name.
26. TWC3: Scully, Scully, Scully. We know you need girlfriends, but this is not the way.Where's that whale singing home girl when you need her?
27. Doggett sure seems to be determined to get Mulder home quickly. Perhaps he realizes just how badly this season is tanking and thinks there's safety in numbers.
28. When they say Big Brother is watching, they're not kidding.
30. TWC4: I don't know who's watching Scully, but I'm pretty sure it's not the Bad Hair Police.
31. No danger of stakeout drooling in this new partnership - at least, not yet.
32. DDDD8: Given all she has been through during her pregnancy and William's birth, I cannot believe that Scully would not sleep in the same room with William all the time. But assuming that she doesn't, who in their right mind would leave an infant to sleep in the same room with a perfect stranger? It's not only dangerous, it also makes Scully a bad hostess.
33. TWC5: Scully's cell phone is quite the vibrator. I guess when Mulder's no longer around to give you good phone, you have to make do with what you've got.
34. Good morning. This is your 6 a.m. break-in call.
35. Johnny Bravo uses force to save Scully from looking any stupider.
36. R: "Agent Scully, do you know this man?" S: "Yeah, that's Agent Doggett. Oh, you mean the *other* man." (Well, the way Scully was going, it wouldn't have surprised me!)
37. How to thwart those high-powered visual surveillance devices? Pull the shade, of course!
38. Doggett & Reyes don't seem too surprised that William was playing spin the mobile with his mind.
39. WIWW2: Suggesting that William is a SupahBaby was a BIG mistake.
40. TWC6: Queen of the one tear roll has perfected the art so well that her only challenge now is improving her hang time.
41. Mulder, Mulder, Mulder! Does anyone else think that Mulder has been mentioned more in this episode than he was in all of Season 8?
42. It doesn't make sense that any of the Agents would fall for this con, especially Scully. To trust a total stranger over Doggett, a man who has been her partner, a man who she says is "worth the effort," just doesn't make sense, other than to serve the script. Oops, I forgot. See Mythology Warning above.
43. Road trip! Sure hope Scully's vibrator ... I mean cell phone is fully charged.
44. My bud SLS calls this part: Scully strips for her baby. (But SLS, did you mean for her "baby" or for her "Baby"?
45. Factoid: A better name for Terrance Quinn's character (Shadow Man) might have been Retread Man. He appeared as Lieutenant Brian Tillman in "Aubrey" and as Special Agent Darius Michaud in "Fight the Future." However, both of these previous appearances were under the name Terry O'Quinn. Perhaps he thought O'Quinn was too ethnic. And I guess he finally decided that "Terry" was for wussies. (And Terrance isn't?)
46. Hey, what if Scully had recognized Shadow Man from Dallas and realized that he didn't blow up because he was a SupahSoldier, thus bringing the old mythology and the new mythology together? Silly me. That would be too much like continuity.
47. Bravo! I've wanted to blow up Scully's wardrobe for years!
48. I'll say he knew her sizes; the shirt is too tight - just like always.
49. By this time, Scully shouldn't be so shocked to learn that the surveillance cameras are out there.
50. In true Chris Carter fashion, it's begrudgingly acknowledged that Mulder and Scully had some sort of physical relationship by making it as devoid of emotion as humanly possible. (This is of course the same man who reasoned that mouth-to-mouth resuscitation was the same as a kiss.) Okay, it might have been "one lonely night" that initially brought these two to the same mattress, but that doesn't mean there weren't lots of wild nights that followed. (You can try, Chris, but you can't crush my spirit!)
51. If Scully hadn't been so stressed out by Shadow Man's revelations about her childhood fear of clowns and true hair color, I'm sure she would have known he was a SupahSoldier as soon as he said he *was* the future.
52. Mulder's our only hope? Isn't it nice to be the absent center and suddenly be so highly regarded?
53. Another case of Instructus Interruptus.
54. I wish Scully would show the same level of commitment to teaching the next time Doggett asks her to come slice and dice on an X-File.
55. I forgive your grammatical transgression, Scully. I want to see him so bad too.
56. M&S made plans for his return before he left? That was definitely one busy 48 hours.
57. The men who love Scully do whatever it takes to make sure she gets to see the man she loves.
58. I'll say she wants to see him so bad - she's an hour and twelve minutes early for the train.
59. Boy, those FBI evidence lab people work late!
60. It's Mrs. Landingham from "The West Wing" - still a civil servant.
61. Doggett contemplates destiny, fate, and how to throw a curve ball.
62. The train station is certainly bustling. This must be the midnight train to Georgia. Or the last train to Clarksville.
63. TWC7: I knew Mulder wouldn't be on that train, but it was kind of fun pretending he might be.
64. "Mulllllderrrrrrr!!" :::sniff:::
65. Turns out Patti's husband is the big foot decoy.
66. Note to Patti: The Mythology Warning also applies to events that occur in Mythology episodes. We'll never hear from you or SupahBabyJoy again. Buh bye.
67. Agent Doggett, watch your frickin' language!
68. Mulder doesn't seem to have very good luck with trains (or planes or automobiles, for that matter).
69. MMM: I don't need no stinkin' car; I'll walk to the quarry.
70. But the Manly Man keeps Monica with him and sends Scully on alone. He should have told her to follow the signs marked "Plot Device."
71. TWC8: Mulder's running double is much more convincing than his ass double.
72. Did anyone else laugh when Mulder ran away *after* Doggett identified himself?
73. Just me and my Shadow Man, strolling through the rock quarry ...
74. Why jump into your car to speed away when it's so much easier to run further into the quarry? (No demerits for Dearest Dana on this one since it turned out okay in the end.)
75. Seems like old times ... a character with a shady name delivers a cryptic warning: "Mulder must die. Mulder or your son."
76. TWC9: Mulder and William are indeed powerful! Together, they could bring back the viewers!
77. Another one bites the dust ... so to speak.
78. I did like this little bit of irony (no pun intended). Shadow Man used Scully's weakness (Mulder) against her, but in the end, it was the Shadow Man's weakness used against him that led to his demise.
79. He figures out the SupahSoldiers' secret, then leads Scully to the quarry where he knows she'll draw the right conclusions after her showdown with the Shadow Man! Absent center becomes absent hero!
80. WIWW3: By dragging Mulder back into the mix so heavily, TPTB have once again made me more interested in what's going on off-screen than on. How did Mulder figure out the SupahSoldiers fatal flaw? Did he get some kind of unique perspective since he almost turned into one? Did he discover the magnetic properties of those metallic vertebrae? Did he test a Selenium sulphide compound by shampooing some aliens? Enquiring minds want to know!
81. TWC10: But most importantly, when he does these scientific experiments, does he wear a white lab coat, his glasses, and nothing else? (Having been denied Holy Flaming Cow moments for so long, you can't blame a girl for trying!)
82. I knew I shouldn't have mentioned that Suffering Scully Dirge! I guess the suffering is still out there.
83. DDDD9: I know CC is just trying to make sure all the viewers "get it," but I don't think including all that info about how to kill SupahSoldiers in your email is a very good idea, especially when you know your emails are being monitored. Remember back in the day when we were expected to figure those things out on our own? I guess Chris assumes that his viewers have "dumbed down" too.
84. "To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time." I'll say it again: that must have been one heck of a 48 hours.
85. So despite Scully's best efforts, William comes through the episode unscathed. (And he is a cutie pie.) But this raises an interesting question. Assuming Shadow Man's warning is true (which is a big assumption) and either Mulder *or* William has to die, then why not just whack William? Scully certainly provides enough opportunity. Perhaps TPTB don't want to kill William for the same reason they didn't kill Mulder for all those years: the killing of an innocent baby would be too high profile and would risk turning one man's quest into a crusade. Mulder is now a washed-up, dismissed in disgrace, ex-FBI Agent who wouldn't be missed by anyone but Scully. Of course, maybe Shadow Man wasn't telling the truth, and William is really no threat at all but they need to make Scully believe the lie in order to convince Mulder to come out of hiding. Since I doubt that CC gave this whole issue this much thought when he wrote this episode, I'll stop thinking now.
86. There's only one thing left to say. Hey, Mulder: You've got mail.
Did I like this episode? I think I *wanted* to like it more than I actually did. The anticipation was so great that it couldn't help but be a letdown. It was mostly predictable, but suspenseful in spots, and it had the *feel* of the X-Files of old. And in true X-Files tradition, it answered some questions, but posed many new ones.
For example, we finally get solid evidence that Mulder and Scully had a physical relationship, but the Boys at 1013 are still waffling on the "Who's Yer Daddy" question. This episode came closer than any to date in confirming William's paternity (through Scully's opening comments and the implied *connection* between Mulder and William that makes them a dangerous duo), but TPTB still seem unwilling to concede on this point and want to keep their options open. So we still don't know whether Mulder can expect a card on Father's Day.
And speaking of Mulder (and they did - early and often), his presence - or rather lack of it - permeated "Trust No 1." Normally I'd say that's a good thing, but at the risk of sounding hypocritical, I couldn't help but be a little bitter about the Mulderfocus in this episode after all the squandered opportunities for DD participation in part of Season 8 when Mulder could have been present in body as well as spirit. With Season 9 teetering on the brink of collapse, the ratings at their lowest point since Season 1, this was "Playing the Mulder Card," plain and simple, an attempt to lure back long-time viewers by dangling the Mulder carrot in front of their noses. Some of the advertising at the time even insinuated a Duchovny return, though FOX was probably to blame for that. Ultimately, it was too little, too late.
Having said all that, the thing I enjoyed most about "Trust No 1" was the focus on what made the series great for so many years: the bond between Mulder and Scully. It was evident from the very beginning, with a segment that quite literally put the *tease* back in *teaser*. It very effectively reminded us that Scully's sense of separation and longing is as deep as our own. Eight years of emotion captured in frozen moments from what has truly been "the greatest of journeys" taken not only by the "perfect opposites" featured in the montage, but by all of us as well. It was wonderful and powerful, and the addition of the special effects to change those moments to surveillance photos taken by an unseen enemy who has obviously been watching for a very, very long time also made it creepy and unsettling. Powerful, wonderful, creepy, unsettling; that's the X-Files at its best.
The teaser showed us some of the moments that made the bond between these two people so strong; and in the end, through Scully's words to Mulder, we were reassured that despite their separation and the odds against them, the bond between them was stronger than ever. "Trust No 1" wasn't great, but it was a reaffirmation that allowed me "to regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time." And sometimes, that's enough.
"I hold no hope you can respond to this. Or that it reaches you. I only hope that you're still out there. I am scared for you, TOTM readers. The forces against us are unrelenting. But so is my determination. To finish the TOTM's. To regain the comfort and safety we shared for so brief a time. Until then, I send you my apologies, as always, and assure you that I remain forever yours ..."
P.S. Whew, this one's finally done. "I was as surprised as you are." I'm not really sure there's any point to finishing these now, but I'll keep plugging away anyway. If you've decided you no longer want them, just let me know. When will they all be finished? "I'm not at liberty to say."
P.S.S. "Your staring over my shoulder doesn't make me go faster."