Saturday, October 24, 2015

Myth Tracker (The X-Files, Season 2)

Spoiler Warning: The following report will contain major mythology-based spoilers from the second season of The X-Files. Naturally, there may also be retroactive spoilers from the first season. But I will endeavor to avoid fore-spoiling anything that occurs in the series after the events of each episode reported on.

Introduction: This feature has quickly become unwieldy, but I haven't given up on it yet. View my previous post for an introduction to the Myth Tracker series. Going back through the first season's mythology episodes has increased my appreciation for this show's early mythology. At the start of the series, the mythology was very basic (albeit those episodes were the highlights of the first season, as the freak-of-the-week episodes needed some time and development before they would start pulling their weight) - mere hints of extraterrestrial contact (largely the stereotypical sort - little green men who abduct people and perform experiments on them) covered up by shadowy and unidentified government interests.

Later seasons would expand and personalize the mythology (steering away from the central premise and detouring into a whole realm of shape-shifting Alien Bounty Hunters and colonization and Black Oil, and even spending some time denying that anything extraterrestrial is going on at all) for better and worse - better drama and storytelling, but at the cost of increasingly convoluted plots, with more and more untied loose ends. For what it's worth, though, those early mythology episodes have a charm and a consistency to them that's compelling, in spite of their relative simplicity.

Overview: The first season's mythology constitutes a fairly closed arc, with the introduction and ultimate demise of the Deep Throat character. The finale, The Erlenmeyer Flask, just begins to hint at a wider world of government experiments into the creation of human-alien hybrids, which will drive much of the series' mythology for years to come. It also concludes with the closing of the X-Files project, which itself initiates a smaller arc that will continue over the first few mythology episodes of the second season, until its reopening. These episodes could be considered to be more or less consistent - in the sense of dealing with little green men who abduct people - with the mythology episodes of the first season.

At the same time, the Duane Barry arc sets off a huge advancement for Scully's character, that will continue to be developed for years to come. Red Museum follows up on an element hinted at in The Erlenmeyer Flask, and could be considered to be something of a coda to the first season's mythology. Colony/End Game revisits the toxic blood detail, while introducing new elements that will also factor into the series' mythology for years to come. It also seems to initiate a pattern in which the mythology will follow several parallel threads at one time, often alternating between them, from one set of mythology episodes to the next. Finally, the season finale kicks off a significant arc that will be continued into the third season.

Myth Tracker - Season 2

S2:E1 "Little Green Men"

-Mulder & Scully, working separately, grapple with the loss of the X-Files
-Samantha's abduction is depicted in a dream sequence
-An abandoned SETI telescope begins receiving transmissions
-Mulder has a close encounter with an alien
-Skinner begins to defy the Smoking Man

The long version: In 1977, two Voyager space probes were launched into space, carrying a message of welcome to any intelligent life they may encounter. 13 years later, the first one left our solar system. In 1992, a radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, initiated a decade-long search for a response, but the project was terminated less than a year later. Nevertheless, the telescope has recently begun receiving a signal.

Following the closing of the X-Files project, Mulder is assigned to wiretap duty, and Scully is teaching forensic medicine at the FBI Academy in Quantico. They occasionally meet in secret. Mulder is paranoid and disillusioned; Scully is lost, and determined to steer Mulder back onto the right path. Mulder is experiencing doubt as to the convictions of his beliefs. His sister's abduction is depicted in detail, during a dream sequence. But Mulder's not even sure it really happened anymore.

Senator Matheson - Mulder's sponsor in Congress - informs him that the Arecibo telescope has made contact, and warns him that a blue beret UFO retrieval team will be moving in within 24 hours. Mulder travels to the telescope, and finds the control room abandoned, but the panels active. He finds a man named Jorge in the bathroom, very scared. Mulder can't understand him, but Jorge draws an alien face on the wall.

After Mulder goes missing, Scully searches for clues to his whereabouts in his apartment. She prints off a copy of the telescope's transmission. She is confronted by two men searching for Mulder, who admit that Mulder's residence is under surveillance. Scully has the transmission analyzed; it is compared to a similar SETI transmission from 1977 that was suggestive of extraterrestrial contact - the signal was 30 times stronger than galactic background noise, and carried on a frequency no satellite transmitters were allowed to use. The signal was intermittent, like Morse code, and seemed to turn itself on while in the telescope's beam.

In Arecibo, Mulder determines the origin of one signal to be from beyond lunar distance, while an identical message transmitted 4 hours later came from very close - just miles away. When another signal begins to come in, Jorge runs off in fear, and Mulder finds him dead outside. A cursory examination indicates no apparent cause of death (no burns, no puncture wounds), but the condition of the body is highly suggestive of being frightened to death.

Mulder believes the transmission printouts indicate contact with another life form, but entertains doubts that it may be a classified military satellite, playing an elaborate joke on those who want to believe. Red and blue lights begin flashing outside, and Mulder bars the door of the control room against any intruders. A haunting sound begins to play on the transmitter, and there is a bright, white light outside. The door seems to open of its own volition, and Mulder's gun won't fire. He sees something in the doorway very much like what he saw in his recent dream of Samantha's abduction.

Having pinpointed Mulder's location, and shaken off her pursuers, Scully finds Mulder unconscious in the control room in Arecibo the next morning. He awakes just before the blue berets arrive, prompting a quick escape. They must leave all of the evidence behind - the printouts, Jorge's body - except for a reel of tape that Mulder grabs on his way out. But when he checks it later, he finds it blank (Scully suggests that an electrical surge during the storm may have erased the tape). Back at the bureau, the Smoking Man gloats over Mulder's failure, but Skinner kicks him out of his office.

Takeaway: There is intelligent life in space, and it has made contact.

S2:E4 "Sleepless"

Note: This is not a mythology episode, but it contains some significant mythology content.

-Alex Krycek is introduced, and partnered with Mulder
-Mulder meets his new informant, X, face-to-face for the first time
-Krycek reports to the Smoking Man at the end of the episode
-The Smoking Man reveals his intention to deal with Scully

Takeaway: The government has plans to take care of Scully (and I'm not talking about a pension). Alex Krycek isn't to be trusted.

S2:E5 "Duane Barry" / S2:E6 "Ascension"

-Mulder attempts to defuse a hostage situation involving an alleged alien abductee
-Scully is kidnapped by the abductee
-Scully is abducted (whether by aliens or the government is unclear)
-Krycek shows his true colors and disappears
-Skinner re-opens the X-Files

The long version: Claiming to be controlled by aliens, Duane Barry escapes from a mental institution and takes his doctor and several other people hostage in Richmond, VA. Mulder is called in to negotiate. Duane Barry describes his experiences as a serial abductee. We witness a visitation that occurred in 1985 - not the first - where they come to his house at night. He is paralyzed, and can't breathe. Strange creatures crowd around his bed. He is taken up into a UFO by a bright light. Duane describes what Mulder refers to as mind scan, a form of telepathy. He says that they drilled holes in his teeth, and that he would sometimes see kids there, being subjected to the same tests. He also believes that the government is in on it, sometimes right there in the room when they come. He says they know why they're here, but they wouldn't dare let the truth out, so they cooperate.

During the hostage negotiation, an electrical substation blows up, killing power to the whole block. During the outage, Duane Barry fires on a bright light, but only ends up hitting one of his hostages. Mulder later references lost time. Scully and Agent Kazdin research Duane Barry's history. He was an FBI agent with an exemplary record, until a mysterious accident in 1982. He was shot by his own weapon in a drug stakeout, and left for dead in the woods. A bullet pierced his bilateral frontal lobes, effectively destroying the moral center of his brain, and causing a rare state of psychosis. A previous recorded case from almost 100 years ago details a man who had a similar injury, and became a pathological liar, with severe delusions, who was prone to bizarre and violent behavior, and a tendency to act out his fantasies. Duane was institutionalized off and on for over a decade after his injury. He has a history of irrational and violent behavior, and recently hasn't been taking his meds.

Mulder believes Duane Barry, but in light of this information, he tries to test Duane's honesty. Duane reacts violently, and in desperation, Mulder serves him up to a sniper. Duane gets shot, but survives. X-rays reveal pieces of metal in his gums, sinus cavity, and abdomen - exactly where he said the aliens put implants to track him. There are also tiny drill holes in his left and right rear molars, that couldn't have been made so neatly using current technology. One of the implants is removed for examination. Scully thinks it could be a piece of shrapnel from Duane's tour in Vietnam. But it has small markings etched into it on a fine scale, like a stamp. Scully passes it over a scanner in a grocery store, and the machine goes haywire. She thinks someone may have been using it to catalog Duane Barry. Duane is "visited" in the hospital. He sees a bright light, and alien figures behind the walls. He escapes, and then kidnaps Scully from her home.

Following Scully's kidnapping, the FBI convenes a meeting to discuss the situation. Their understanding is that Duane Barry believes that if he takes someone else to the abduction site, he won't be abducted himself. Mulder wonders how Duane Barry could have gotten to Scully in the first place. Was the implant - which Duane described as a tracking device - responsible? Or did somebody lead him to her? Duane Barry is stopped by a highway patrolman, whom he shoots to avoid arrest. Based on his location, and clues given during the hostage negotiation, Mulder deduces that he's headed to Skyland Mountain.

He heads there with Krycek, who is secretly in communication with the Smoking Man by phone. Mulder takes the tram up the mountain, hoping to beat Duane Barry to the top. Krycek knocks out the operator and stops the tram, but fails to stop Mulder from reaching the top of the mountain. There, Mulder sees what appears to be an unmarked helicopter with a searchlight working the area. He finds Duane Barry alone, who claims that "they" took Scully. Another bright light appears, but it is the sheriff's search and rescue chopper. (All we see of Scully's disappearance is that she appears to be in a brightly lit medical facility, in which there is a drill, and a device that appears to make Scully pregnant).

Mulder interrogates Duane Barry. He insists that aliens took Scully instead of him, as per the deal. He identifies two men standing outside the room with Krycek as being in on it, but Mulder doesn't see them. When he later questions Krycek, he claims to have been alone. Thinking that Duane killed Scully, Mulder attempts to strangle him in anger. But then he regains control and backs off. Duane seems to be okay when Mulder leaves the room. Mulder confronts Krycek, and tells him not to let anyone go in or out of the interrogation room.

Shortly after, he heads back to the room and finds Krycek questioning Duane. Krycek claims that Duane was choking. After they walk away, Duane Barry dies of suffocation. Mulder tries to get the autopsy details. The pathologist's preliminary findings include second degree burns on the face (which Duane claimed was from "the ship"), contusions about the neck, and a bruised larynx - probable cause of death being asphyxiation. Mulder asks for the toxicological findings, but the pathologist says he'll have to go through regular military channels, since there was no FBI pathologist available to look over the body.

Meanwhile, Krycek meets with the Smoking Man in his car, and is ordered to confirm Mulder's version of events, in order to maintain his trust. The Smoking Man does not want to kill Mulder, because he fears turning one man's religion into a crusade. He confirms his responsibility for "taking care" of Scully, but won't say what he's done with her. The bureau questions Mulder about Duane Barry's death, ruling strangulation as the most likely cause. Mulder suggests another possibility - poisoning by injection or ingestion. Without access to Scully's medical expertise, the military were able to cover up the toxicological findings. Mulder thinks the military knows where Scully is.

He borrows Krycek's car to visit his Senator friend, but X confronts him and warns him that the Senator is compromised. All he says about Duane Barry is that they wouldn't have killed him if they weren't trying to hide something. Mulder finds cigarette butts in Krycek's car (Krycek doesn't smoke), and connects him to the deaths of both the tram operator and Duane Barry. He suspects him of having been hired by the Smoking Man to impede their investigations, as part of a plot to eliminate Scully, either because she had damning evidence (the implant), or, more likely, in order to handicap Mulder's work. He files an official report with Skinner, but Krycek goes underground - confirming his guilt, but escaping justice. Skinner engages in the only act of retaliation available to him - he reopens the X-Files.

Takeaway: Scully. Though whether by aliens or the government is unclear.

Continuity: Mainly comparing Duane Barry with the kids in the pilot episode, and Max Fenig from Fallen Angel, there seem to be some discrepancies in terms of what marks are left on alien abductees, where and what their implants look like, and what the aliens are using the abductees for. It's entirely possible that they are taken by different aliens with different agendas, or that their medical standards differ depending on the specific tests being done in each instance. Alternatively, I'd be willing to chalk it up to artistic license, and give the creators the benefit of the doubt, assuming they hadn't standardized their own notes on alien abductions right from the start of the show.

S2:E8 "One Breath"

-Scully is returned in critical condition, and barely makes a recovery
-Scully's sister Melissa is introduced
-X's motivations for helping Mulder are vaguely referenced
-Mulder confronts the Smoking Man in his home, but spares his life
-Mulder passes up an opportunity to get revenge on Scully's kidnappers

The long version: After poring over the X-File on Scully's abduction, Mulder receives a call, and heads to the hospital where he finds Scully unconscious, with her mother watching over her. No one knows the circumstances under which she was admitted. The doctor explains that she is comatose, in critical condition, but they do not know how long she has been in that state, or why. Extensive testing reveals no indications of injury or disorder. The terms of Scully's living will recommend termination of life support. Mulder refuses to give up on her, but her sister and her mother both respect her wishes, and she is taken off life support, with no realistic hope for recovery.

Mulder meets Melissa, Scully's sister - a new age psychic who stresses the importance of positive emotions in place of Mulder's brooding anger and fear. Mulder is very skeptical of her insights, though. Frohike sneaks out Scully's medical charts, and with the help of a hacking genius called The Thinker, The Lone Gunmen determine that the abnormal protein chains and unusual combinations of amino acid sequences in Scully's blood are the byproducts of "branched DNA" - a technology way beyond the cutting edge of genetic engineering. They suspect that it may be used as a tracker, or to graft something inhuman to something human. The branched DNA is inactive, though, indicating that the experiments are finished, and all that's left is a waste product - a biological poison that Scully's decimated immune system has no hope of fighting off.

During her hospital stay, Scully is comforted by a Nurse Owens, who gently discourages her from "letting go". When asked later, a nurse who's worked at the hospital for ten years says there's no one there fitting Nurse Owens' name or description. Mulder may have seen her at one point in the hospital, but he makes no indication of having noticed her. She may be some kind of guardian angel. In her battle between life and death, Scully is also psychically visited by her deceased father, who urges her to return back to the world of the living.

Mulder witnesses a strange man stealing a sample of Scully's blood, and chases him into the parking garage, where he encounters X, who warns him, at gunpoint, to back off, and accept Scully's fate. X criticizes Mulder's naivety, but also states that he was once like him. Mulder breaks free and engages the thief, but when things go south, X rescues Mulder and executes the thief. It's not clear whether this was his original intention, or if he changed his plans after running into Mulder.

The Smoking Man files a report with Skinner (who has now put up a "Thank You For Not Smoking" sign on his desk) accusing Mulder of the execution of the man in the hospital. Mulder suspects the Smoking Man of being responsible for Scully's condition, and offers up everything to Skinner for his address. Skinner ostensibly denies the request, but gives Mulder the address in a surreptitious manner after all. Mulder confronts the Smoking Man in his home, and interrogates him. His answers are vague, and Mulder threatens to kill him, but backs off after the Smoking Man warns him that if he dies, Mulder will never know the truth.

In desperation, Mulder decides to quit the FBI, but Skinner tears up his letter of resignation, considering it unacceptable. He then gives a rousing speech describing his near-death out-of-body experience in Vietnam. Shortly after, Mulder is visited by X again, who gives him an opportunity to confront the men who took Scully. But after a little encouragement from Melissa, he trades in the chance for revenge to visit Scully's bedside and confess his feelings to her. The next morning, she makes a miraculous recovery.

Takeaway: Scully is returned, and her captors were most likely human (or at the very least, in league with humans). What happened to her during her disappearance remains a mystery.

S2:E10 "Red Museum"

-Mulder & Scully investigate a series of kidnappings
-They uncover secret government testing of extraterrestrial antibodies on innocents
-In the process of covering up evidence, Deep Throat's assassin is caught and killed

The long version: Mulder and Scully investigate a series of kidnappings in Wisconsin where teens are turning up in the woods drugged, with the words "s/he is one" written on their backs. There is no evidence of sexual assault. Toxicology reports indicate dangerous levels of scopolamine, a very powerful anesthetic with hallucinogenic qualities. The local sheriff suspects a nearby vegetarian cult is responsible - the Church of the Red Museum - but this turns out to be a red herring. A local farmer voices his suspicion that government testing of bovine growth hormones injected into cattle have changed people, and may be the cause of increasing crime rates in the area.

That night, a plane crashes nearby, killing a Dr. Larson, who was carrying a briefcase full of money, a vial of some drug, and printouts of shipping orders containing credit card numbers from the families of all of the kidnap victims. Each of the victims had been delivered as babies and treated through childhood by Dr. Larson. They demonstrated exemplary health, and received regular "vitamin shots" from the doctor. Following the plane crash, a man who Scully later identifies as Deep Throat's assassin arrives to execute one of the two men who were responsible for injecting cattle with the alleged growth hormone.

Mulder and Scully discover that the other man responsible for the cattle injections had been spying on the kids for years - apparently for personal reasons - and take him into custody. He confesses to the kidnappings, saying that he marked the kids because they had "become monsters" as a result of Dr. Larson's tests, which involved inoculating them with the same substance with which he was paid to inject the cattle. Scully reveals that the substance in the doctor's vial was unable to be analyzed because it contains synthetic corticosteroids with unidentified amino acids - the same substance they found in the Erlenmeyer flask labeled "purity control"!

In the process of covering up evidence, Deep Throat's assassin kills one of the kids, and attempts to burn down a meat processing plant containing tainted beef, but Mulder finds him first. He tries to take the assassin alive, but the sheriff (who was the executed kid's father) kills him. The assassin cannot be identified. The substance from the vial breaks down after three weeks of study, correlating with a severe and undiagnosed flu-like ailment in the inoculated children and some of their families. Scully suspects that the members of the Church of the Red Museum - all vegetarians - may have been used as a control group for the government's experiments into the effects of the extraterrestrial antibody.

Takeaway: The government is testing the effects of extraterrestrial antibodies on unsuspecting innocents, and will resort to murder to keep it a secret.

Continuity: Red Museum is pretty consistent with The Erlenmeyer Flask - indeed, it seems to be a specific example of the government testing Deep Throat mentioned to Scully in the car just before he made the exchange and was executed. The people tested on in this episode are not like the hybrids, however - for one thing, they bleed red, and are easy enough to kill with a gunshot. The noted effects of their inoculations (which require periodic booster shots) are exemplary health records (apparently the ET antibodies are good at fighting disease - though probably not as good as ET gene therapy, which can cure cancer), and possibly increased violence and propensity for crime (though this claim is unverified).

S2:E16 "Colony" / S2:E17 "End Game"

-The shape-shifting Alien Bounty Hunter is introduced
-ABH hunts down cloned human-alien hybrids, kills them with retractable ice pick
-Mulder's sister returns, but she is just a clone, admits to deceit and manipulation
-Claims aliens are colonizing Earth, but ABH was sent to stop dilution of the species
-Scully isolates the lethal agent in alien blood - a retrovirus that goes dormant in the cold
-Mulder renews faith in search for his (real) sister, ABH claims she is alive

The long version: A UFO crashes in the Arctic Circle. The media reports that a Russian fighter pilot (hereafter referred to as "Alien Bounty Hunter", or ABH) was recovered from the water, having survived the extreme temperatures. After being airlifted to a military hospital in Alaska, the ABH - who cannot be identified (the significance of his original persona, which he seems to return to when not in disguise, is unknown) - goes missing. He proceeds to hunt down a series of identical doctors working in abortion clinics, and kills them by piercing the back of their necks with a retractable ice pick weapon. They bleed green blood (like the ABH does when shot), which is toxic to humans, and their bodies dissolve into bubbling green goo, leaving no trace behind. The doctors are able to recognize the ABH - even as he is able to shape-shift, and assume anyone's form - and are afraid of him. He expresses opposition to the doctors' "plans", and seems to be looking for someone specific (a male - probably the doctor who will lead him to Samantha).

An unknown source (possibly the ABH, or one of the clones, maybe even Samantha) tips Mulder off to the doctors' deaths. He is approached by a CIA agent who addresses him by name, and proceeds to feed him a story: the undocumented victims were the result of Cold War experiments in which Soviet scientists were able to isolate and reproduce the DNA material responsible for the identical appearance of twins. The clones (codenamed "Gregor") began to infiltrate the U.S. starting in the mid-70s. They obtained strategic positions in the medical establishment so that, in the event of war, they could sabotage the country's immune system. The CIA agent believes that by some secret agreement, a Russian spy killer is systematically eliminating the clones in order to suppress the program's existence, and the science that created it. As this is a form of state-sanctioned murder, he believes the clones are reaching out to Mulder for protection, in return for the chance to bring this conspiracy to light.

The CIA agent, however, is not to be trusted, as when Mulder leads him to another of the cloned doctors, he identifies the CIA agent as none other than the ABH, who, without revealing his identity to Mulder or Scully, tracks down the doctor and kills him. Mulder verifies the CIA agent's credentials, so the fact that the ABH impersonated him indicates that not only is he strong, but clever. What connection the CIA agent (or anyone else involved in the conspiracy) may have to the ABH is unknown, whether he was tracking the ABH and got in his way, or if the ABH tracked him down specifically in order to use his cover to trick Mulder into leading him to more of the clones. Scully visits one of the doctors' labs and finds the CIA agent destroying a series of tanks filled with green liquid, and what appears to be living fetuses. Her shoe also gets destroyed when she steps in some of the vaporizing, green goo which is all that's left of one of the doctors.

Mulder visits his dad to find his sister Samantha reunited with the family. She explains that she was returned when she was 9 or 10, and raised by foster parents, having lost her memory until several years ago when worsening anxiety prompted her to try regression hypnotherapy, after which she remembered her abductions, and the tests. Now she's in danger, her parents (whom she describes as "alien visitors") and herself being hunted by the ABH. She says he wants to kill her because she knows the only way to kill him - by piercing the base of his skull. But she's not completely sure it'll work, and it must be precise, since exposure to his blood is fatal to humans.

Mulder is frustrated with her story, so she explains more. She says the clones were the progeny of two original visitors who were trying to establish a colony since the late 1940s. They believed that mankind was forsaking his stewardship of the planet, and that they would someday become the planet's natural heirs. Through hybridization, they were trying to erase their identical natures. They worked in abortion clinics for access to fetal tissues. Though their biologies are incompatible, they finally found a way to combine human and alien DNA. The ABH was sent to terminate the colony, because the experiments were unsanctioned, and considered a dilution of their species.

Meanwhile, the ABH kills the last of the cloned doctors, and disguises himself as Mulder in order to kidnap Scully and offer a trade for Samantha. Mulder consults Skinner and prepares a stakeout. They make the trade on a bridge. The ABH asks Samantha for the location of an unidentified woman (probably Samantha's "original"). A sniper shoots the ABH, and both he and Samantha fall into the river. The next morning, they pull Samantha's body out of the river, and it begins to dissolve into green goo as soon as it starts to warm up. No other body is found.

A note Samantha left behind leads Mulder to another clinic, apparently abandoned, where he finds more clones of Samantha, in another lab with tanks of green liquid. The Samantha clones admit to manipulating Mulder in order to acquire his protection. One of them claims to be the original from which the rest were made. They tempt him with information about his real sister, but he is disillusioned by their lies, and walks away. On his way out, he is knocked out by the ABH. He wakes up to a blazing inferno. Firefighters save him, but find no one else in the building.

A consultation with X confirms that the clones were all killed. X gives Mulder the coordinates of the killer's final destination, but warns him off the chase. The ABH is headed back to the Arctic to get to his ship, via a submarine that got lodged in the ice after unsuccessfully attempting to attack the submerged craft. Mulder catches up with him there, and learns from him that his sister (the real one) is still alive. This gives him the faith to keep looking for her. Mulder shoots the ABH, and suffers from exposure to his toxic blood. The ABH leaves him in the ice and uses the submarine to return to his own ship.

Scully examines the body of an FBI agent who was killed by exposure to the ABH's green blood. No clear cause of death can be established, although Scully finds evidence of excessive production of red blood cells, causing the blood to thicken or clot prior to death. She determines this to be the result of exposure to a retrovirus whose origin and behavior are unexplainable. Scientists discover that it goes dormant at cold temperatures. Scully uses this knowledge to save Mulder's life. He's convinced that what he's seen justifies his beliefs - that there is intelligent life in the universe other than our own, that they are here among us, and that they have begun to colonize.

Takeaway: A shape-shifting Alien Bounty Hunter opposes unsanctioned genetic experiments involving human-alien hybrids in a plot to colonize the Earth. Also, Samantha has been cloned.

Continuity: While the men in The Erlenmeyer Flask were described as human-alien hybrids, and possessed inhuman characteristics - among them, their toxic, green blood, and the ability to breathe underwater - they were normal men given ET gene therapy, so, while similar, it is safe to assume that they had a different genetic origin than the clones in these two episodes. It is unclear (though suggested) whether, unlike the previous hybrids, these clones can only be killed by being pierced in the back of the neck, as is the case with the ABH.

S2:E22 "F. Emasculata"

Note: this is not an actual mythology episode, and only contains minor mythology content.

-Smoking Man defends a conspiracy involving the illegal testing of pharmaceuticals

The long version: In what an inside man assures Scully is not an isolated incident, a major pharmaceutical company exposes a prisoner to a disease discovered in the jungles of Costa Rica, in order to bypass years of federal testing. When two potentially-infected inmates escape, the government assists the company in covering up the evidence. Mulder and Scully are assigned to track down the escaped convicts, and - as recommended by the Smoking Man - must withhold information from the public in order to avoid a panic. After the situation is contained, their attempts to uncover the conspiracy are thwarted by the company's fail-safe - to blame the original prisoner's exposure to the disease on a mailing error.

Takeaway: Sometimes withholding information from the public is for the public's own good.

S2:E23 "Soft Light"

Note: this is not an actual mythology episode, and only contains minor mythology content.

-A critical confrontation between Mulder and X reveals X's dubious loyalties

The long version: An accident involving a particle accelerator imbues a theoretical physicist with a shadow made of deadly dark matter. The scientific implications - let alone militaristic applications - of this discovery ensure the government's interest. In an effort to thwart their apprehension of the scientist, Mulder seeks X's help, but X merely uses the information to capture the scientist himself. Mulder confronts X in the wake of the scientist's disappearance, and the two have a falling out.

Takeaway: The only loyalty X has is to himself.

Note: I will include an analysis of S2:E25 Anasazi, the season finale, in my report on the third season, as its story thread is concluded in the first two episodes of season 3, and I am reluctant to split them apart.

Note: As in the last season, there is an episode in this season - S2:E13 Irresistible - that does not deal with government conspiracy or extraterrestrial life, but at the same time deals with the psychological ramifications of Scully's recent abduction, and could therefore be considered to be part of Scully's personal mythology.

Stay tuned for Season 3! (But don't hold your breath waiting for it)...

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