24 July 2007

Season 6: Drive (6X02)

Written by: Vince Gilligan
Directed by: Rob Bowman

Via a live news report, a high-speed car chase comes to an end in the Nevada desert. Assuming it to be a kidnapping, the female passenger is pulled from the vehicle and placed into the protective custody of a police vehicle. The driver, Patrick Crump, is pushed to the asphalt and handcuffed. The woman in the police car begins violently banging her head against the car window. As the news chopper catches all of this on film, the woman's head explodes, sending a spray of blood across the window.

The agents get wind of this bizarre car chase as they're doing scut work in Idaho. Mulder coerces Scully into taking a detour by Elko, Nevada on a hunch that this may be an X-File. Once there, however, Mulder manages to get himself kidnapped by Crump, who has escaped from the police.

Mulder realizes that Crump is in a considerable amount of pain and that the only way to ease the pain is to drive west. Scully investigates the Crumps home and discovers that an antenna array emitting ELF waves stretches beneath their property. She deduces that an abnormal surge in these waves somehow caused a rising pressure in the inner ear of the nearby inhabitants. Westward motion seems to be the only thing to help the ease the pain of the increasing pressure.

Mulder explains to Crump that Scully will meet them at the end of the highway. There she will insert a needle into Crump's inner ear, hopefully relieving the pressure. But when Mulder arrives, it is too late. Crump has already died.

The ELF communications system, Project Seafarer, was not simply invented for this episode. It actually did exist, although not in Nevada. The two antennas were located at Clam Lake, Wisconsin and Gwinn, Michigan. Seafarer was the subject of many protests about the environmental impact of ELF waves. In 1984 a federal judge halted construction and operation of both sites pending further environmental testing, but this ruling was overturned by an appeals court. The US Navy spent $25 million studying the environmental impact and came to the conclusion that any effects were similar to those produced by power distribution cables. Needless to say, many people refused to accept these findings, claiming a government and military cover-up and leaving the whole subject perfect for use as an X-Files story. During the late 1990's, Project Seafarer was increasingly seen to be obsolete as improvements in communications technology rendered the use of ELF waves unnecessary. Seafarer was discontinued and dismantled in September 2004.

Writer Vince Gilligan is a huge fan of Junior Brown, a country music singer/songwriter/steel guitar player. Gilligan put up his own money to fly Brown in from Oklahoma so he could play the part of farmer Virgil Nokes in this episode.

In the shot where Crump throws Mulder's cell phone out of the car, the actor actually threw a real cell phone out of the window.

The X-Files casting director Rick Millikan called in Bryan Cranston for an entirely different role. Due to some miscommunication, Cranston was under the impression that he was going to read for the part of Patrick Crump. He even grew a beard and a moustache. He nailed the role so perfectly that Millikan had no choice but to cast Cranston as Crump.

The American Society of Cinematographers called "Drive" the best-filmed hour of episodic television of the season. Director of Photography Bill Roe received the award.

Crump: Sorry about that Jewish thing. One can't help who he's born under.
Mulder: Is that supposed to be an apology, you son of a bitch?

Mulder: Why don't you bill me?
Kersh: I'll bill your partner instead. You too obviously relish the role of martyr.
Mulder: Okay, so are we done here? Back to the bozo work, investigating huge piles of manure?
Kersh: You can always quit. (Mulder leaves, slams door behind him)
Scully: Sir, Agent Mulder has been through a lot.
Kersh: You apologize for him a lot, I've noticed that about you.
Scully: I'm not apologizing for this. Because of his work, the DOD is shutting down their antennae array in northeastern Nevada. Our participation in this case has saved lives.
Kersh: I don't see you proving that ... Don't misunderstand me, Agent. I don't care if you and your partner saved a school bus full of doe-eyed urchins on their way to sunday bible camp. You no longer investigate X-Files. You are done.

Scully: Mulder. Are you okay?
Mulder: Yeah, aside from terminal cell phone withdrawal. That and I gotta pee.

Crump: What are you doing?!
Mulder: What? What am I doing?
Crump: What the hell are you doing?!
Mulder: I'm composing a sonnet. What does it look like I'm doing? I'm slowing down for a light.

Mulder: Why didn't you tell anybody? Why didn't you tell the police?
Crump: Oh, geez.
Mulder: I don't know how well you recall the last 30 seconds, but your life is in my hands regardless of whether or not you hold that gun.
Crump: It's right here, boy.
Mulder: Just tell me everything you know. That may be the only way I can help you.
Crump: You people put me here!
Mulder: Shut up! I'm guessing we got two or three miles before the roadblock.
Crump: What roadblock? I got rid of the cops.
Mulder: Check your window.
Crump: Oh, God...Man, if we get stopped...

Mulder: Crump? Crump, what else can you tell me about what's happening to you?
Crump: Mr. Crump. You call me by my last name, you say "Mister" in front of it.
Mulder: "Mister." I got you.
Crump: Not Crump - Mr. Crump.
Mulder: I can think of something else I'd like to call you. I could put "Mister" in front of that, too if you'd like.

A clip from ''Drive''

Episode Number: 119
Season Number: 6
First Aired: Sunday, November 15, 1998
Production Code: 6X02

No comments: