04 July 2007

Season 5: Folie a Deux (5X19)

Written by: Vince Gilligan
Directed by: Rob Bowman

Gary Lambert works as a vinyl siding telemarketer in Oak Brook, Illinois. On the surface, Gary would seem to be a mild-mannered Everyman. But unbeknownst to his co-workers, Gary is convinced that his boss is an evil monster who preys on his own staff, turning them into the undead. One morning, Skinner summons Mulder and Scully to his office. He explains that the company Gary works for, VinylRight, received an anonymous, audio-taped manifesto, on which a man threatens to commit a violent act. As a result, the company wishes to have the threat investigated. Mulder is puzzled as to why Skinner is sending he and Scully to investigate. Skinner then explains that the maker of the tape spoke of a monster threatening employees. Somewhat irked, Mulder tells Scully he will handle the case alone, labeling himself "Monster Boy."

When Mulder arrives at the company, he is greeted by office manager Greg Pincus, who plays him the taped message. Mulder's interest is piqued by a reference to "hiding in the light." He telephones Scully and asks her to investigate previous X-Files cases for such a phrase. Meanwhile, Gary grows concerned when a fellow employee, Nancy Aaronson, is summoned to Greg's office. When Nancy returns to her cubicle, Gary notices that, from his point of view, she appears to be dead.

Scully telephones Mulder when she finishes researching the files. It turns out that the phrase "hiding in the light" was also used by a deacon at a Lakeland, Florida church. The deacon was convinced that one of his parishioners was an evil presence. One Sunday, he entered the church for mass and opened fire on his flock. When Mulder returns to VinylRight, he finds a sea of deserted cubicles. Nancy's head peeks out from behind a wall and warns Mulder to take cover. Before he has time to react, Gary approaches--armed with an AK-47. Mulder slowly raises his hands into the air.

Scully flies to Illinois and joins FBI and SWAT team members who have surrounded the building. Inside, Gary uses his co-workers to form a human barricade. A SWAT team commander overrules Scully and dials Mulder's cell phone. Gary opens Mulder's jacket... and notices his gun within. Gary kicks Mulder in the head, knocking him to the ground. A hostage then charges Gary, but he swivels and opens fire, killing the man. Gary then speaks with an FBI agent, and demands that a television crew be sent into the building so he can broadcast his fears to the public. Using a closed-circuit system, the FBI fools Gary into thinking his image is being broadcast throughout the city. Addressing the camera, Gary raises his gun and points it at Greg. He instructs everyone to look at Greg... to look at "it." Mulder glances over his shoulder... and sees a monster where Pincus was standing. Suddenly, an Armored Personnel Carrier bursts through a wall. A SWAT team member opens fire, striking Gary.

Mulder cannot dismiss what he saw inside the office complex. After performing additional research, Mulder determines that five previous X-Files cases involve monster that went unnoticed by all accept the claimant. Scully reacts with incredulity when Mulder suggests that Gary was not insane, but actually saw the creature he described. Scully attributes Mulder's behavior to "folie a deux," a madness shared by people under tense conditions. Meanwhile, Mulder follows Greg Pincus to the home of Gretchen Starns, one of his employees. As Mulder stands outside of the house, and gazes through a window, he sees the monster advance behind Gretchen, its insect-like mouth aiming for the back of her neck. The woman suddenly screams, prompting Mulder to shatter the window glass. The monster defies gravity by crawling over the house.

Gretchen lodges a complaint with the FBI, accusing Mulder of breaking into her home. During a meeting with Skinner, Mulder sees Pincus, in the form of the monster, advancing. Mulder draws his gun, but Skinner, believing Mulder has lost his mind, gains the upper hand. Mulder is then admitted to a mental institution. Later, at Mulder's prompting, Scully examines the back of the dead hostage's neck. There she discovers tiny puncture marks. At the hospital,a restrained Mulder listens in horror as the monster approaches the window to his room. Mulder calls for the nurse... only to realize that she is one of the monster's minions. Scully visits the hospital... and experiences a vision of the nurse as one of the living dead. She races to Mulder's room, where she discovers the creature crawling on the ceiling. She opens fire, but the creature escapes. Later, Scully meets with Skinner. She voices her belief that Mulder is of sound mind. She notes that an unidentified toxin was found in the dead hostage, and notes that Pincus has disappeared, along with the nurse and several VinylRight employees. After recovering from his ordeal, Mulder returns to work. Scully informs him she told Skinner the truth: the incident can only be explained as a "folie a deux."

As Scully quotes during the episode, 'Folie a Deux' is a French saying which translates into: "A Madness Shared By Two".

The monster suit on-set wasn't scary at all. Some serious post-production work had to be done to up the scare-level of the monster and avoid the episode becoming a comedy.

Brian Markinson, who plays Gary Lambert, also plays another character in the X-Files, Tony Fiore in "Born Again".

When Scully calls Mulder to tell him about the X-File involving "hiding in the light", she says that the case was from August 9th, 1992. August 9th is also Gillian Anderson's birthday.

Some good use of continuity: Mulder's fingers, which were injured in the previous episode, "The Pine Bluff Variant", are still bandaged in this episode.

Gary Lambert: Who are you, anyway?
Mulder: My name is Mulder.
Gary Lambert: You said that already. What are you doing here?
Mulder: Applying for a job.
Gary Lambert: Oh man, did you come to the wrong place.
Mulder: I get that.

Skinner: Agent Mulder, think very carefully about the next words that comeout of your mouth.

Mulder: You have to be willing to see.
Scully: I wish it were that simple.
Mulder: Scully, you have to believe me. Nobody else on this whole damn planet ever will. You're my one in five billion.

Mulder: I must have done something to piss him off.
Scully: What do you mean?
Mulder: Get stuck with this jerk-off assignment. Or have I finally reached that 'magic' point in my career where every time somebody see Bigfoot or the Virgin Mary on a tortilla, I get called out of my basement ward to offer my special insight on the matter.
Scully: You're saying "I" a lot. I heard "We".

Mulder: Because the manifesto contains bizarre overtones? Claims of a... paranormal nature?
Skinner: It speaks of a monster stalking employees. Your insight into such claims should aid in assessing the threat if any posed by this person.
Mulder: Monsters? I'm your guy.

Clip from ''Folie a Deux''

Episode Number: 116
Season Number: 5
First Aired: Sunday, May 10, 1998
Production Code: 5X19

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