Thank GOD we got a lighthearted episode this week. The tone of this episode felt much closer to our X-Files of yore, and I especially enjoyed the fact that it was a nice balance between conspiracy theory arc and stand alone episode.
I think we'd all rather pretend that last week's episode didn't even happen. But if we must: Scully saw a prophecy of the end of the world, which would be the fault of the Smoking Man and some weird ass alien pathogen he managed to get his nicotine-smelling hands on. Mulder went on a car chase to find him, while the Smoking Man promised Skinner immunity if he'd help him find William, who it turns out, is the Smoking Man's son - not Mulder's. Here’s the full recap if you feel like reliving that nightmare.
This Week’s Case File
(Ouch That's) Cold Open
We're given about six seconds to enjoy the fact that Scully and Mulder are asleep together on Mulder's couch when Lone Gunman Langly appears as a staticky image on Mulder's phone, repeatedly saying, "Mulder, am I dead? If I am, they know that I know." Meanwhile, a muscle car is roaring toward Mulder's house, filled with three dudes who are NOT the Lone Gunmen, though there's a flash where I think they wanted us to think they were. Anyway, these assassins didn't come to play, and a high-energy shootout occurs to a Ramones soundtrack. Mulder and Scully manage to take down two of the three, but the third escapes.
When the dust settles, Scully calls in the incident while she and Mulder argue over whether or not Langly is actually dead. As a former Pretty Little Liars recapper, I can say with authority that if you didn't see a body, you should never assume a person on TV is actually dead (and sometimes, even, when you do). Their argument is interrupted when they're surrounded by Russians who are NONE TOO THRILLED that Mulder and Scully killed two of their best assassins. The Russians start searching for the phone that Langly contacted Mulder with but were dumb enough to cuff Mulder and Scully together. Bad idea, buddy. A little duo-fight action and our OTP has escaped into the Vancouvery Weird Woods with nary a scratch on them. Skinner meets them there, uncuffs them, and gives them all his cash, assuring them that Langly was buried at Arlington.
Scully and Mulder waste exactly zero time heading over to the cemetery, where they find the graves of the Lone Gunmen, discover that their birthdays are wrong, and in what I consider a bit of a leap, figure out a riddle that leads them to the grave of Ronald Pakula, a.k.a. Deep Throat - the informant who was killed in the Season 1 finale. They find an actual QR code on Pakula's grave (QR codes lol) before Assassin Number Three is back for more. Another scuffle ensues, they bonk the dude's head on Pakula's tombstone and take off running into the night.
Frohike's Spank Bank
The QR code gives them photos of the Long Lines building in NYC, home of an NSA program called Titanpointe, and one that Mulder opened an X-File on way back in the 90s. They confront Skinner in the parking garage and ask him for help accessing the X-Files, even though they don't trust him. It really made me miss the days of hot tub three-way calling between this trio.
Say it enough and they'll give you a reboot.
Skinner tells them that after the X-Files was closed in 2002, all their work was put up online, hacked, and is now probably for sale on the dark web or something to anyone who wants to purchase government secrets. Hence: the Russians.
While Skinner's on the phone, Mulder and Scully poke through the files to find a Frohike folder labeled "Spank_Bank_v3" with a big ass picture of Scully's face on it (I love you, Glen Morgan). Inside is a file on a woman named Karen Hamby with the note, "If they scrub me, go to her." So, they do. Karen explains that before Langly died, the Titanpointe people offered them the chance to "live forever" by scanning their brain, uploading it into a simulation, and essentially creating a "consciousness" that would come to life after you died.
Hamby thinks she knows how to reach out to Langly's simulated self, but before she can show them how, Assassin Number Three is back AGAIN and kills her before Mulder and Scully can finish him off for good.
The Sims 5: Brain Slaves!
They find themselves' in a seedy bar, where Mulder scribbles some Advanced Math on napkins and figures out how to contact Langly in his simulation. Langly tells them that even though life in the simulation is basically heaven, he's figured out that They are using the uploaded minds of its citizens, people like Steve Jobs and Michael Crichton, to figure out how to destroy the world and take only the elite to colonize space. It has to be destroyed.
Using Scully's feminine wiles on an unsuspecting creep of an FBI agent, she and Mulder have very little trouble getting into the Long Lines building. When they're apprehended, Scully escapes and makes it to the servers, while Mulder is taken to Price, the woman from last week's space colony monkey business scene. Like any good villain, she explains her plan to him in detail, and he keeps her chatting, pretending to be interested in spending his eternity with Scully as a Sim to buy her time. Mulder convinces Price to let him see the servers, meeting Scully there just in time to fight the Russian while she turns off the servers. But not before Price and her cohorts can escape...with the backups, effectively trapping Langly in the simulation forever.
Uhhhhh a group of richie rich baddies are playing a real-life version of The Sims with Steve Jobs and Michael Crichton? You're right, I...did not see that coming.
How much Glen Morgan loves the Ramones, apparently.
THIS WEEK’S TOP RANKING AGENT
Giving this one to Langly, or Langly's simulation, I guess. He's in that simulation with all of the world's most brilliant minds, and he was the only one who figured out that it wasn't real. Even the dead, Matrixed version of himself can figure out how to reach out to Mulder from the great beyond in order to save the world he no longer lives in. That's, like, so deep.
THIS WEEK’S LOSER/HUMAN HYBRID
Assassin Number Three really took a beating this episode, and then still ended up in the simulation. Also, that hair, guy. Woof.
FROM THE BUREAU SURVAILLANCE FILES
“You said taint." - Mulder to Scully
Mulder: “Did Frohike look 57 to you when he died?”
Scully: “Frohike looked 57 the day he was born.”
Mulder: “I’m gonna open an X-File on this bran muffin. I gotta get to the bottom of why it’s so freaking good.”
Scully: “I don’t care if it came out of an alien’s butt, I’m gonna eat the whole thing.”
“How about that. The FBI finally learned what it feels like to be looked upon as a little spooky.” - Mulder
"Scully, you look so adorbs just there, all curled up in a ball in the booth of a skanky bar with your fingers wrapped around the grip of an assassin’s glock." - Mulder
Scully: “This guy’s, like, Hannibal Lector-level psycho.”
Mulder: ::does Hannibal Lector impression::
Scully: "How do you operate so well with your hands cuffed behind your back?"
Mulder: "As if you didn't know."
BEST SCULLY EYE ROLL
I'm sorry, but what makes this cretin think he is worthy of breathing the same air as our Lord and Savior Dana Effing Scully?
- What was in those bran muffins?
- How can Mulder and Scully go back to Mulder's if Price is still out there and knows where he lives?
- Most importantly, ARE SCULLY AND MULDER LIVING TOGETHER?