Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The X-Files - S1:E4 "Conduit"

[ S1:E3 "Squeeze" <<< Season 1 >>> S1:E5 "The Jersey Devil" ]

The bureau is concerned that Mulder's personal agenda is clouding his professional judgment when he latches onto a tabloid case involving an abducted girl that resembles the childhood loss of his own sister (who is now given a name - Samantha!). We get to learn a little more about that incident and the emotional impact of her loss on Mulder, in an episode that tugs at the heartstrings, and features Mulder uttering the phrase, "I want to believe," that also appears on the UFO poster he hangs in his basement office (and that I hung on the wall in my college dorm). Of personal note is the fact that this may have been the first episode of The X-Files that ever registered on my radar. Years before I started watching the show, I remember seeing either commercials for this particular episode, or else I might have caught bits and pieces of it when it aired for the first time!

Memorable quotes:

Mulder: This is the essence of science: you ask an impertinent question, and you're on your way to a pertinent answer.

Therapist: Are you scared?
Mulder: I know I should be, but I'm not.
Therapist: Do you know why?
Mulder: Because of the voice.
Therapist: The voice?
Mulder: The voice in my head.
Therapist: What's it telling you?
Mulder: Not to be afraid. It's telling me that no harm will come to her, and that one day she'll return.
Therapist: Do you believe the voice?
Mulder: I want to believe.


  1. This was very interesting seeing Mulder interrogate the girl... all of a sudden "Spooky" Mulder fulfilled all the cliches of a typical TV FBI agent. "You murdered her, didn't you! Admit it! Admit it!" It does a good job of corroborating the fact that he WAS, at one point, a successful line-toting FBI agent which, as Scully is told in episode 1, is what has enabled him to pursue personal pet projects, because he was so good at his job and earned acclaim.

    Another 'weird thing about watching' is that while obviously I'm on Mulder's side, it's also preeeeetty hard not to empathize with the FBI and their consternation over Mulder's choice of fringe projects. I love the line from when they were on the Simpsons and Scully's like "Mulder, what about that shipment of drugs and guns that went missing?" "I hardly think the FBI cares about THAT, Scully."

    However! Mulder did, in fact, uncover a murder and solve the case in this episode. And though he was not directly responsible officially, he went to investigate in episode 2 and the missing person was found. So while his methods may be bizarre, thus far his record is unimpeachable. You could even say he deserves even more acclaim for taking fringe, nonsensical cases and making sense out of them -- not just his personal sense, which mostly goes unreported, but also in corroborated, official sense.

    As for Mulder's "I want to believe..." I'm curious about the voice that tells him she'll be returned and she won't be harmed. I'm assuming that's pure bullsh-t but I'm not sure who exactly is behind this (aliens, government?) and it's at least POSSIBLE she won't be harmed. There could be a race of "good" and "bad" aliens as has become quite popular on TV in more recent years. Or perhaps she was taken not to outerspace, but innerspace, wink. (I'm imagining a BoJack scenario where someone says "You didn't even wink you just said the word 'wink.'")

  2. Yeah, I love that Mulder is a crack criminal profiler. It shows, too, when he investigates these cases. He's really good at what he does. Other characters have said on multiple occassions that the bureau thinks he's wasting his talents on the X-Files, but it's what he's passionate about. (As an aside, I had forgotten, but I loved that in the first episode it revealed that Scully had gotten a degree in physics, and wrote her thesis on Einstein's twin paradox)!

    You gotta love that the case in this episode was *literally* ripped from the tabloids! That Simpsons line is supposed to be a parody, but it's actually not far at all from the truth. This happens more often in the monster-of-the-week episodes, but Scully is frequently questioning and/or berating Mulder for his choice of cases, and the episode's writers sometimes have a hard time stretching their rationalizations to explain why Mulder and Scully are getting involved in a particular case. Sometimes the result is pretty hilarious, though, like in the chupacabra episode, when Scully questions why the dead body Mulder brought her out to investigate is a goat...

    Actually, that's another thing that's addressed in a brief scene in the otherwise not-mythology episode Tooms. (Don't know if you're going to watch that one, which is a sequel to the series' first monster-of-the-week episode, Squeeze, so I'll paraphrase here). Under the auspices of the Smoking Man, Skinner exerts pressure on Scully to reel Mulder in, because they don't like his unorthodox methods (which often involve bending of the rules for procedure, and doing things like not listening when government higher ups or military officers tell them to back off and stop asking questions), and Scully just retorts that they've had an unprecedentedly high level of success on their cases (in spite of the fact that they're dealing with the hardest to solve cases in the bureau)! Which is really their saving grace, although you can imagine that that's precisely why the Smoking Man wants to put some pressure on them to back off - he doesn't /want/ them solving all those cases!

    This is a great show.

    Yeah, there'll definitely be some contradicting speculations about what really happened to Mulder's sister, and it'll be a lo-o-o-o-ong time before we find out what really happened to her (if we ever do - I think we do, but remembering that there was an answer isn't the same thing as remembering for sure that that answer wasn't taken away and contradicted in a later episode, lol)...