05 August 2007

Season 6: Monday (6X15)

Written by: Vince Gilligan and John Shiban
Directed by: Kim Manners

It's Monday morning, and already Mulder's having a bad day. His waterbed sprouts a leak, causing his alarm clock to short out - now he's late for a meeting. His cell phone is busted as well, his neighbors downstairs are complaining about water damage. And to make matters worse, the check he writes to cover the damage is going to bounce unless he deposits his paycheck immediately.

Mulder rushes to his office to pick up his check, telling Scully that he'll be at the meeting as soon as he makes his deposit. Yet, as luck would have it, the very moment Mulder arrives at the bank, a disillusioned janitor named Bernard has decided that he's going to change his own luck - by robbing the bank. Bernard whips out a gun and forces everyone - including Mulder - to drop to the floor. He's edgy, just this side of snapping, and Mulder thinks better of trying to stop him.

Meanwhile, Scully waits with increasing impatience at their meeting - she finally gets up to leave, going to the bank herself. Mulder sees her approaching from across the street and tries to get Bernard to lock the doors - too late. Scully walks in, sees the situation, pulls out her weapon. In the ensuing chaos, and to Scully's horror, Mulder is shot squarely in the chest. As Mulder slowly bleeds to death in her arms, Scully attempts to talk Bernard down. But the burglar alarm has been tripped, Skinner has been alerted, and a SWAT team is just outside. Bernard sees all of this and realizes there is no going back - he opens his jacket, revealing dozens of sticks of dynamite. He flips the trigger - the bank explodes. There's no way anyone could have survived.

Then we're back where we started - Monday morning, leaky waterbed, the same bad day - but it still ends with the exploding bank. The day repeats itself over and over with small variations - some days, Scully deposits Mulder's check, some days Mulder uses the ATM. But each time, no one quite remembers that they've done this repeatedly - though Mulder is becoming gradually aware of a strong sense of deja vu.

And something starts to happen that seems to confirm this: each time, Bernard's girlfriend PAM desperately tries to warn Mulder not to go in the bank - she seems to be the only one who remembers what is happening, and it is hell for her. She tells Mulder that she's tried stopping Bernard, tried calling the police, but nothing ever works - Mulder is the only variable. She begs him not to go in the bank, telling him that "something went wrong on this day the first time around." And it's going to keep repeating until it goes right.

Pam's words sink in, finally - the next time he sees Bernard, Mulder remembers the bomb, remembers the outcome of this Monday. He calls Scully for help, asking her to bring Pam into the bank. The three attempt to talk Bernard out of it, tell him to just walk away - but Bernard reacts the same way he always does - he shoots at Mulder. Only this time, Pam jumps in front of the bullet. It hits her in the chest and she drops to the ground, saying "This never happened before." She dies - and the day is over.

Mulder awakes the next day on his couch - it's Tuesday.

According to writers John Shiban and Vince Gilligan, the inspiration for this episode didn't come from Bill Murray's 1993 comedy ''Groundhog Day'', but from an episode of The Twilight Zone called 'Shadow Play.'

Writer Vince Gilligan gives us another reference to his girlfriend, Holly Rice. The Cradock Marine Bank is named for a suburb of Portsmouth, Virginia where Holly grew up, and Holly's mother's maiden name is Bernard.

Scully's comment "when did you get a water bed?", refers back to ''Dreamland II'', when Morris Fletcher bought himself a new water bed, thinking he would be living the rest of his life in Mulder's body.

Bernard: (Pointing gun at Scully) I'll shoot her!
Mulder: What do you think I'll do then?

Scully: Since when did you get a water bed?
Mulder: I-I might just as easily not have a water bed, and then I'd be on time for this meeting. You might just as easily have stayed in medicine, and not gone into the FBI, and then we would never have met, blah blah blah.
Scully: Fate.
Mulder: Free will. With every choice, you change your fate.
Scully: Then let's change yours.

Mulder: So you think it's all just fate? We have no free will?
Scully: No, I think we're free to be the people that we are... good, bad or indifferent. I think it's our character that determines our fate.

Highlights from ''Monday''

Episode Number: 131
Season Number: 6
First Aired: Sunday, February 28, 1999
Production Code: 6X15

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