13 March 2007

Season 1: Roland (1X22)

Writer: Chris Ruppenthal
Director: David Nutter

Mulder and Scully investigate the death of Dr Ronald Surnow, a member of a jet propulsion research team at the Mahan Propulsion Lab, Washington working on an engine capable of Mach 15. Dr Surnow was trapped in the wind tunnel and sucked in to the engine. He was the second member of the research team to die following the death of Dr Athur Grable in a car crash 6 months before. At the time of Dr Surnow's accident a mentally challenged maintenance worker called Roland Fuller was the only other person in the building. Mulder and Scully question Roland about the incident.

Mulder is intrigued by Roland's ability to manipulate complex numbers, he compares Roland's handwriting to the complex equation on the blackboard in the lab, but they do no match. Scully is ready to dismiss Roland as a suspect due to the advanced theoretical work found at the scene. But when another member of the research team Dr Keats is killed by being immersed in liquid nitrogen, the agents discover evidence in computer files that show someone is continuing Dr Arthur Grable's work. Their investigation of Dr Grable uncovers two interesting facts, that Grable's head was cryogenically frozen after his death and stored in the lab and that Roland Fuller is his twin brother. This leads Mulder to conclude that Dr Grable may have a psychic link to Roland and is directing his actions, to complete his work on the engine and kill off the other scientists who threaten it.

This episode is in some ways similar to the previous episode "Born Again", the general theme being revenge; and the main antagonists being reincarnated or controlled by a deceased person.

Plot Hole: Dr. Ronald Surnow, who was killed in the opening segment, could have escaped his fate by lying on the floor under the fan. The airflow into the fan would have held him there.

Mulder: You've got a brother, don't you Scully?
Scully: Yeah. I've got an older one and a younger one.
Mulder: Well, have you ever thought about calling one of them all day long and then all of a sudden the phone rings and it's one of them calling you?
Scully: Does this pitch somehow end with a way for me to lower my long distance charges?
Mulder: I believe in psychic connections, and evidence suggests that it's stronger between family members, strongest of all between twin siblings that shared the same womb.
Scully: OK, maybe. But in this case, one sibling has closer ties to a frozen fudgesicle than he does to his own brother.
Mulder: Arthur Grable is not dead. He's in a state of consciousness that no human has ever returned from. And what if that state allows one to develop psychic ability to a potential that the conscious mind is too preoccupied to explore or believe in? He could use that ability to control his brother to kill those scientists.

Episode Number: 23
Season Number: 1
First Aired: Friday May 6, 1994
Production Code: 1X22

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