Thu
Feb 9 2012 11:45am

Reopening The X-Files: “Colony”/“End Game”

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Season 2, Episodes 16 and 17: “Colony”/”End Game”
Original Airdates: February 10th and 17th, 1994

We’re in the Arctic! You guys we’re in the Arctic! You can always count on a cold climate X-Files episode. This is where things freeze forever, where shady motives and shifty aliens go to chillllll out. Where Mulder goes to make bad decisions and Scully goes to keep him breathing. It’s a frantic cold (HAH) open, Mulder passed out on a gurney and people yelling STAT and Scully busting in to tell everyone that the cold is the only thing keeping him alive! What! Well! Thank goodness we’re in the Arctic because it is pretty cold here!

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Two weeks earlier, also in the Arctic, something lands in the ocean and a whole submarine full of military cartographers freaks. A doctor in a Scranton abortion clinic sees news of the something-landing and runs, straight into the arms of a stern looking brick wall of a man. This man asks the doctor “Where is he?” and when the doctor says he doesn’t know, the man stabs the doctor in the back of the neck with a pointy thing. We on the old Internet used to call this stabby instrument an ice pick, although it is retractable, also it is silver, and also it is more terrifying than any ice pick I’ve ever seen. But also so is Mulder’s hair. So we’ll just call it an ice pick, and we’ll call the brick wall the Bounty Hunter, because that is what he is. Also I should mention that the man he icepicked bled green bubbly blood. Remember from before?

Mulder has been emailed three obituaries: this doctor, and two others, all of whom look identical, none of whom have any records. He and Scully figure out there may be a fourth doctor living in beautiful Syracuse, New York, and so they go there looking and meet a dead-eyed FBI agent who says nope, no eerie quadruplet doctor here. Except this FBI agent is actually not. He’s the Bounty Hunter, because guess what, nightmares! This friendly fellow can disguise himself as anyone. Using morphing. How wonderful. When Mulder gets back to DC, Skinner informs our baffled believer that (1) the actual FBI agent is dead (2) Skinner and Mulder’s butts are in a sling [sic] (3) Mulder’s dang unauthorized investigation has been terminated. Mulder’s about to cry about it but then Scully is emailed a lead, another other doctor who looks like the other other doctors. On their way to follow up they are intercepted by a man who says that he’s CIA and also that his name is Ambrose Chapel.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Chapel claims that the men Mulder and Scully have been looking for are Soviet clone-spies who came to the United States in the 1970s. Despite the fact that this story is weirdly dated and that Ambrose Chapel is the fakest name in the world, Mulder believes. He and Scully lead Chapel to the home of one of the doctors. This guy takes one look at Chapel and bails hard, jumping out his window and then running, apparently unharmed, super-fast and away. The real FBI and the fake CIA give chase. Mulder gets hit by a car, no kidding; Scully charges on and finds Chapel in an alley, the doctor gone. Chapel claims that the doctor escaped, but Scully is way suspicious. She is even more way suspicious when she steps in some weird looking green stuff and it eats through her brand new shoes.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

And Mulder and Scully fight, briefly, about the case. Mulder is excited about the CIA angle, Scully is mad about his eagerness to trust the new guy. He calls her paranoid. She shows him her shoes. This wins the argument, as Mulder can never resist a good piece of physical evidence. They send the shoes to the lab and do an autopsy on the Syracuse agent. There’s something strange about his blood, something about how it thickened before death, and maybe we’re getting somewhere but then there is news, a call for Mulder. At his family home Mulder finds his father smoking on the porch and his mother in the living room, talking to a woman who claims to be his sister, Samantha. Her hair is curly and she certainly could be, but everyone is wary. Samantha tells Mulder about regression therapy and her adoptive parents. She calls them aliens and says that the Bounty Hunter was sent to kill them, and her. Also she says that she can recognize the Bounty Hunter when he is in disguise, and furthermore he can be killed only by a puncture to the base of the neck. She sure knows a lot about this tall glass of evil.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

So it is all very sudden and all very baffling and meanwhile, all the while! Mulder and Scully are playing phone tag. A message on a machine, on a phone, on the mind of a motel manager who immediately forgets. While Mulder is looking concerned in Martha’s Vineyard, Scully is investigating. Puts together some clues and finds a creepy lab full of things that maybe would aide in cloning. Chapel is in the lab, destroying it, stepping on an IV bag that oozes green. Scully goes back, later, at night, and finds more Doctor Clones, three of them. She puts them in protective custody, where they are almost immediately killed by the Bounty Hunter. To be safe or something, Scully checks into a motel. There’s a knock on the door and it’s Mulder, which is great, except Mulder calls her right then and it is not great. She is on the phone with Mulder while also staring at Mulder and they both can’t be real, and I think we know which one it is. The cliffhanger is here. It is a good cliffhanger.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Bounty Hunter Mulder fights Actual Scully and wins the right to kidnap her, because he is soooooooo original. Mulder takes this opportunity to ask Samantha some very strong questions, such as why is it that she hasn’t really explained anything. Samantha gives it a go. She tells him all the twinsie doctors are “the progeny of two original visitors, clones who have been attempting to establish a colony here since the late 1940s.” These colonists work in abortion clinics for the access to fetal tissue, and furthermore their mission is unauthorized by their species, and that is why the Bounty Hunter. Skinner stops by and they do not stab him in the base of the neck because he is actually Skinner, and then Scully calls and she does not seem to be in a good mood about this kidnapping thing. The exchange is to happen on a bridge, and Skinner gets them a sniper who is great at aiming at the base of the beck, and it looks for a second like it’s going to work, hah-hah. Scully is released and Samantha is handed over and the sniper is lining up a shot but then Samantha tries to icepick the Bounty Hunter and they both pitch over into the water.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Now Mulder has to tell people things. Mulder hates telling people things. Scully says why didn’t you tell me on the phone about Samantha, Mulder says you’d’ve never let me go through with it. Scully says are you sure that was her, Mulder says WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT. Mulder says to his father, remember how my sister came back, well, sorry about that. And Mr. Mulder is not cool about it. Not cool about it at all. Mulder nearly cries for real at this. It is pretty bad and I am not happy about the way Mr. Mulder handles it, I’ll be honest. Especially because right before he storms out he hands Mulder a letter that is from Samantha that says, “this is a place I will be if we get separated.” Which seems like good news, but whatever. Mr. Mulder is I guess not a fan of good news.

Our Mulder goes to this place, alone. Scully calls to say they’ve pulled Samantha from the river and the second she hangs up Samantha’s body turns bubbly and green. Mulder is still at the place, another clinic. A clinic full of Samanthas. Not-Samanthas. They say oops, sorry. We needed your protection and we knew you could be manipulated, also you need to save us. At least one of us, anyway. The first one. Mulder is pretty upset about this whole thing then the Bounty Hunter is there and he punches him and sets everything on fire and when Mulder wakes up, the Not-Samanthas are gone. Mulder contacts X, who is a jerk, but a jerk who tells him about the Bounty Hunter’s craft being in the Arctic. So obviously Mulder goes. By himself. Obviously.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Scully is looking for Mulder. She goes to Skinner and he stonewalls her, which is a term I am pretty sure I have used in conjunction with his behavior before, so let’s just call it what it is: Skinnerwalling. Scully tries to signal X the way that Mulder does, but when X arrives and sees it’s her and not that other guy, he walks away, straight into the Skinnerwall. They fight in Scully’s elevator and it is fairly badass. Skinner gets what he wants, which is Mulder’s location and some blood on his forehead and my undying affection.

Reopening The X-Files on Tor.com: “Colony”/“End Game”

Mulder has made it pretty damn far but he is tired, super super tired. He’s in the military sub from before and there he tussles with the Bounty Hunter. The Bounty Hunter tells Mulder that Samantha is alive and also points out that he could have killed Mulder tons of times before. Which is something Mulder seems to get a lot? And then Mulder shoots him even though that is not going to work, and gas from the green blood makes Mulder sick. Now we’re back to the cold open, Scully explaining that she’s done science and that Mulder needs to stay cold, because of alien things. She saves him this way, and she says so in her report. “I totally saved my dumb partner, using science. Even though everything is weird, science. Science science science.” More or less. In the hospital Mulder is not too hoarse to make a joke about freezer burn, but even better, not too dead to tell her that he’s found faith to keep looking. For the truth, maybe. For Samantha, probably. For trouble, absolutely. But that is why we like him. That is why we keep him around. The Arctic.

 

Next week: “Humbug”


Meghan Deans changed it to “trust everyone,” didn’t she tell you? She Tumbls and is @meghandrrns.

6 comments
Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
This is a great episode. Samanthas! Bounty Hunter! Cool Ice Pick!
If anyone had any doubts that there is definitely something going on, green bubbly blood should put those doubts at rest.
Samantha Holloway
2. pirategirljack
This was one of those eps that confirmed for me that I was a rabid fan. So much to chew on--alt!Samanthas, the bounty hunter, the blood, the arctic, Skinner moving to their side of the fence, Mulder's horrible waspy parents, Scully keeping Mulder alive (with at least one shippy moment for my overly romantic teen brain). Conspiracy-widening without muddling it up.

It was great. It's still great.
Ian Tregillis
3. ITregillis
@1, @2: Completely agreed! Together these are one(?) of my favorite episodes.

I think this was the first two-parter that they did. I vividly remember the week between the airing of Colony and Endgame-- sitting on pins and needles waiting to know what happens after "To Be Continued". I liked it because it felt as though the big conspiracy/mythology stuff, while still mostly secret, was comprehensible. It seemed as though everything would make sense if we just had it laid out for us.

Also, how cool was the alien/clone/alt!Samantha?

Great writeup. "Skinnerwall" is permanently inscribed in my brain.
Meghan Deans
4. Meghan
@ITregillis Thank you! I believe this was the second two parter--"Duane Barry"/"Ascension" being the first. But as far as mythbuilding goes, this is the first real slammer of a two-parter. "Duane Barry" and "Ascension" are primarily concerned with getting Gillian Anderson a few days off. These episodes, on the other hand, have plans.
Ian Tregillis
5. ITregillis
Meghan@4: You're completely right, of course!

I don't know why I always forget the Duane Barry episodes when thinking about 2-parters-- especially given the great handoff between the end of "Duane Barry" and the beginning of "Ascension". (Now that I think about it, maybe even a better handoff than in "Colony"/"End Game.") Somehow, for the past 17 years*, I've always misremembered these two episodes as the first 2-parter. But I should have realized that wasn't the case, seeing as how you just covered the Duane Barry storyline recently. Duh.

*(Was it 1994 or 1995? I obviously can't trust _my_ memory!)
Eugene R.
6. Eugene R.
Any show with a submarine conning tower sticking up out of an ice field, lights glowing in the dark and fog, well, I'm sold.

Although I do wish the show had stuck closer to the green-blood aliens and the totally bad-ass Bounty Hunter, rather than switching to the "black oil" aliens. I guess that there was a bit too many myths in the Mythology as the show progressed to its later seasons. At this point, though, it was really starting to hum with the synergy of paranoia and curiosity from its mash-up of "The Truth is Out There"/"Trust No One".

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