01 August 2007

Season 6: Terms of Endearment (6X06)

Written by: David Amann
Directed by: Rob Bowman

Wayne and Laura Weinsider are just like any other couple - they want to start a family. But when the ultrasound shows possible deformities in the baby that Laura is carrying, it is Wayne who becomes visibly upset. That night, Laura has a nightmare that a demon has come to steal her baby. When she wakes, she realizes the nightmare has come true and that her unborn baby has been taken from her.

The town's sheriff, who happens to be Laura's brother, brings the case to Agent Spender who round-files it to the shredder. But Mulder manages to salvage the report and begins his own investigation. His primary suspect is Wayne but Scully thinks that Laura self-aborted and has her arrested. Meantime, Mulder follows Wayne and ultimately uncovers that Wayne has been living a dual life. His second wife, Betsy, lives on the other side of town and Mulder fears for her safety. As Mulder and Scully race to save Betsy, a car skids to a stop in the middle of the road. It's Betsy, who exits the car bleeding, exclaiming that Wayne took her baby.

Moving on to Betsy's house, Mulder and Scully find Wayne furiously digging in the backyard. The agents think Wayne is burying Betsy's unborn baby, but before Wayne can tell them otherwise, the sheriff arrives and shoots Wayne down. What Wayne would have told the agents is that he was actually digging up unborn normal babies - the ones Betsy had buried there. Being a demon himself, a normal baby was all Wayne ever wanted. But it seems Betsy, being even more evil than he, had always wanted just the opposite - a demon baby. And as Betsy drives into the sunset with her newborn baby, we see that's exactly what she got.

Although it was the 6th show filmed of the 6th season, "Terms of Endearment" was the 7th aired. The reason: an elaborate shuffling of the postproduction shedule to get Chris Carter's "How the Ghost Stole Christmas" on the air on December 13, 1998, the final orignal episode air date before the end of the holiday season.

In an early draft of the script, Laura Weinsider gave birth to a serpent and not a humanoid.

The baby that had to play the demon child of Wayne and Laura Weinsider was replaced at the very last moment (literally when all cameras and lights were already set-up). The mother of the child was a devout Catholic and just couldn't let her baby get involved into anything that had to do with the devil. After 45 minutes, and several frantic calls, another baby arrived on set.

The title: Terms of Endearment is an allusion to the book by Larry McMurtry and the 1984 film with Shirley MacLaine, Jack Nicholson and Debra Winger, that won tons of awards and is considered a classic by some and a manipulative schmaltzfest by others. Much of the story concerns the difficult relationships between mothers and children, and this episode takes it to very dark levels. It could also be seen as a play on the word 'Terms', as Wayne Weinseider has specific rules for loving the women he does. If his terms aren't met and there are no 'normal' foetuses he goes to a very nasty place.

Episode Number: 124
Season Number: 6
First Aired: Sunday, January 3, 1999
Production Code: 6X06

No comments: