07 April 2008

Season 8: This is Not Happening (8X14)

Written by: Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Kim Manners

A car chases a white light as it moves through the sky in Helena, Montana. The driver, Richie Szalay (last seen in Season 7, ''Requiem (7X22)''), snaps photographs of the light until it comes to a halt. It is a UFO, hovering above the trees. Richie gets out of the car and is speechless. The craft gets away before he can take its picture, and Richie yells "This is not happening!" in frustration to himself. He notices a man walking toward the spot where the spaceship landed and Richie calls out to him. As the man runs away, Richie follows, but he stumbles over a woman's body lying naked on the ground.

Back at the FBI, Doggett opens up a desk drawer to find Mulder's nameplate inside. He is somewhat troubled, but is startled by Scully rushing in the office. He won't tell her why he called her, but instead takes her up to Skinner. Both men are reluctant to tell Scully whatever news they are hiding. Skinner finally reveals that there was a UFO encounter in Montana and the man who reported it is Richie Szalay, whom Mulder and Scully met the previous spring in Oregon. "Are you trying to tell me this has something to do with Mulder?" she asks. Richie found Teresa Hoese, the woman abducted the same time as Mulder. She was returned, but she is barely alive.

The agents travel to Montana to see Teresa. Her doctor describes her condition as if someone was performing torturous experiments. She has scars on her cheeks, and there is damage to her soft palette and abdomen, but there are no foreign implants in her body. Scully, Doggett and Skinner pay a visit to Richie, who had been trying to find his friend Gary. Gary was also abducted right before Mulder. Richie had followed UFO sightings to Montana where he came across the craft. Doggett shows Richie plaster castings of footprints from the scene. The prints are of Nike sneakers, and Doggett doubts that the man Richie saw was actually an alien. After the questioning, Scully confronts Doggett about his refusal to accept any explanations outside of the ordinary. Doggett says that she is the one who is afraid to confront the truth about what might have happened to Mulder.

Mulder lies bound in the alien chair, but no experiments are being done. His body has decayed so much that he appears to be dead. Suddenly Scully awakes from her sleep and realizes that it was merely a nightmare. She knocks on Skinner's motel room door, teary-eyed. "What if he's dead?" she cries. Skinner tries to comfort her, assuring her that they still might find Mulder alive. Meanwhile, Jeremiah Smith, the alien healer (last seen in Season 4, ''Harrenvolk (4X01)'') walks into the hospital wearing Nike sneakers. When a nurse approaches him, he immediately morphs into Teresa Hoese's doctor and tells the nurse that he wants Teresa transferred.

The phone wakes Scully in her motel room. She is notified about Teresa Hoese being moved. Scully meets Doggett and Skinner in the field where Teresa was found. Doggett asks that they listen to another point of view, and introduces them to Special Agent Monica Reyes, who is standing alone on a cliff, smoking. Doggett thinks Reyes has some expertise that might come in handy. Reyes explains that she has been briefed of the case and describes it as "interesting." She characterizes Teresa's injuries as similar to what has been found in cult abuse cases, wondering if perhaps there was some kind of abduction group of followers that Mulder got caught up with. Much to the consternation of Scully and Skinner, Doggett insists that they go after the cult leader. Based on a hunch, Reyes believes that Teresa was meant to be left alive. Scully walks away, telling Doggett that Reyes makes no sense, but Doggett insists that he will not go on a wild goose chase after another Alien Bounty Hunter. Meanwhile, a man named Absalom walks into a small boarding house where Jeremiah Smith is treating the ailing Teresa Hoese. Absalom watches as the alien healer places his hand over Teresa's face. Her bruising magically disappears.

In the hospital, Scully catches Reyes examining Teresa's brain scans. Reyes admits that she is looking for alien implants. Scully questions why a disbeliever like her would be looking for such a thing. Reyes disputes the claim. "Let's just say I don't not believe," Reyes says. "I try to stay open." Reyes explains that she has certain spiritual notions, and although she doesn't have any feelings about Mulder she does sense Scully's fear. She advises Scully to try and stay open too. Later, Reyes drives along a Montana highway. Her car putters off and then immediately turns back on. She sees a bright light in the sky above her. "No freakin' way," she mutters and sets off after it. The light disappears over the mountain, and she sees Jeremiah Smith (wearing Nike sneakers) and Absalom pick up a body stranded in the field. Reyes pulls out her gun and orders them to halt. They manage to escape in a pickup truck, but Reyes sees another body lying on the ground. It is Gary Cory, Richie's friend who was abducted in ''Requiem'' (7X22).

Scully performs the autopsy on Gary, finding radial scarring on his ankles, wrist and face. This matches what she dreamed Mulder had been exposed to. Skinner and Doggett look on, but she becomes emotional and stops the autopsy. Richie is brought into the medical bay and is stunned by the sight of his friend's body. Scully breaks down. Waiting outside, Doggett is approached by Reyes. She senses that he is hurting for his partner. Reyes compares this to a past case where they unsuccessfully looked for Doggett's missing son. She believes that this is why Doggett is so determined to find Mulder. Reyes shows him a police wanted poster of Absalom, the man she saw in the field. He was the leader of a doomsday cult and the license plate on the pickup truck they were driving is registered to a nearby farm.

At the farm, Jeremiah Smith orders Absalom to move the legion of followers out. "They're coming," he says. "You can't let them find him." Federal agents swarm the farm and round up the people. Skinner, Scully, Doggett and Reyes are among the SWAT team. They find Teresa Hoese, fully healed, in one of the beds. While interrogated by Doggett, Absalom says that he can't explain why it happens. The spaceship drops off the injured abductees, and he comes to retrieve them with the sole purpose of helping them. Doggett doubts his intentions. Although there are cameras on the compound, there is no footage of Teresa being healed. Scully shows Absalom a photo of Mulder and asks if there is videotape of him. Absalom has no answer.

That night, Scully returns to the motel, but the lights in her room do not work. She is amazed to see Mulder standing by the window of her room. Reyes approaches and the image of Mulder disappears. Reyes brings her to see tapes from the compound. Scully recognizes the other man on the tapes as Jeremiah Smith, the Alien Healer. On the videotape recorded during the FBI raid, Smith morphs into Agent Doggett. The agents return to the farm compound to look for Jeremiah Smith. Scully pulls out one unrecognizable man who is wearing the Nike sneakers and he morphs into Jeremiah Smith. He tells her that by exposing him she is putting abductees in danger. "Where's Mulder?" she pleads with the healer, but before he can answer, Skinner asks her to come outside. "You must protect me," Smith says to her. Skinner tells Scully that they found Mulder and she takes off for the field. Mulder is lying on the ground, dead. She runs back to get Jeremiah Smith for his healing powers, but the lights of a spacecraft shine overhead. The ship hovers over the compound and the other agents watch as the light radiates the building. Scully rushes into the room where she had just interrogated Smith. He is gone. Scully cries out in frustration and horror: "This is not happening!"

Annabeth Gish is billed under the ''Also Starring'' heading, not bad for her debut episode considering others like Mitch Pileggi had to make a few appearances before being billed with an ''Also Starring'' credit.

Arlene Pileggi, plays Assistant to her actual husband Mitch (A.D. Skinner).

The title of this episode strangely echoes a scene from the Season 3 episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space". Where the cigarette smoking alien exclaims "this is not happening" over and over. Both episodes deal with extra terrestrials as well.

Skinner: A report came in last night from Montana. About a UFO encounter.
Scully: What kind of encounter?
Skinner: A young man chased a bright object flying low across the sky. Tracked it all the way to a big field where the UFO disappeared... but where he claimed he saw an alien.
Scully: Assistant Director, I've got drawers full of reports that begin just like that. Are you going to tell me what's so important about this case?
Skinner: Young man's named Richie Szalay. UFO nut from Bellefleur, Oregon. You and Agent Mulder met him out there last spring.
Scully: Are you trying to tell me this has something to do with Mulder?
Doggett: He's trying to tell you that it might.
Skinner: Richie Szalay didn't find an alien last night. He found a woman. A woman whose name you will remember — Teresa Hoese.
Scully: Teresa Hoese was the young mother who was abducted the night before Agent Mulder was.
Skinner: And who was returned last night.
Scully: Returned?
Skinner: Hanging onto life by a thread.

Richie Szalay: But, I know you. Do I know you?
Scully: You do... Richie. From Oregon. We met late last spring, you remember?
Richie, if you live in Oregon... what are you doing in Montana?
Richie Szalay: My buddy, Gary, right? He was abducted. Right before your partner. I came looking for him.
Doggett: So, you just came out here on a lark?
Richie Szalay: No. I was following the news.
Doggett: The news?
Richie Szalay: All, all that's in the last two weeks. Yeah, I go on these Internet chat rooms to talk about sightings and junk. After Oregon there wasn't a whole lot but then all of a sudden in Montana... I never... I never thought I'd find Mrs Hoese like that. Not in a million years.
Doggett: Richie, when you found that woman's body you said you saw somebody with her. You told the police it was an alien. You know what a moulage casting is, Richie? It's what the cops take when they find shoe prints. They do these plaster castings and the ones they got from the field that night were from 9½ Nikes. You ever hear of an alien in Nikes?
Richie Szalay: Doesn't mean it wasn't.
Doggett: Did it ever occur to you that it wasn't an alien but a man?
Richie Szalay: Then what about his spaceship?

Scully: I once had a talk with Mulder about starlight. How it's billions of years old. Stars that are now long dead whose light is still travelling through time. It won't die, that light. Maybe that's the only thing that never does. He said that's where souls reside. I hope he's right.
Skinner: If you're trying to prepare yourself I want you to stop. Nothing says that we're going to stumble over him in some field. Nothing says he won't be fine.

Doggett: You should just hear her out.
Scully: Hear who out?
Doggett: Her name's Monica Reyes. I worked a case with her once.
Skinner: She's FBI?
Doggett: Yeah. She's got some expertise I thought we might take advantage of.
Scully: Expertise in what?
Doggett: She's got her master's in religious studies. Her specialisation is ritualistic crime.
Scully: Ritualistic crime? Are we working the same case here?
Doggett: Agent Reyes. Assistant Director Skinner, Agent Scully... Monica Reyes.
Agent Reyes: Hi. Beautiful country out here. (She crushes out a cigarette) I know it's not very FBI of me, but I'm really trying to quit. So, Agent Doggett's been taking me through the case. Interesting.
Scully: Interesting?
Agent Reyes: What do you think happened?
Scully: Isn't that what you're here to tell us?
Agent Reyes: Oh, I have my own thoughts. It's just, what we think happened and what actually happened aren't always the same thing, but not altogether insignificant, either.
Scully: I'm sorry, this feels like therapy.
Agent Reyes: What happened being different from what we want to have happened.
Scully: What 'who' wants to have happened?
Agent Reyes: Well, I'm told this case involves you.
Scully: It may involve someone close to me. Can we stick to the facts, please?
Agent Reyes: Well, it's pretty clear that the woman who was found out here did not inflict her own injuries. That she was dropped here by someone and whoever it was cared about her enough not to kill her.
Scully: Did you happen to know the peculiar nature of her injuries?
Agent Reyes: Yes. They were peculiar, but not altogether different from your typical cult ritualistic abuse.
Skinner: Agent Reyes, we're dealing with abductions here... not by any cult.
Agent Reyes: Okay. Good. I mean, if it's not.
Scully: But you think that it is.
Agent Reyes: Well, I go on what I know, of course but I try to stay, you know, open.
Scully: So, what do you think happened?
Agent Reyes: Well, I'm told that Agent Mulder and the other people who were taken were true believers. People 100% convinced in the abduction phenomenon.
Skinner: If this is about these people staging their own abductions...
Agent Reyes: No, it's about people coming together. Like minds as a group.
Scully: So you're basically saying that Agent Mulder has joined some sort of UFO cult.
Agent Reyes: Call it a group.
Skinner: For what?
Agent Reyes: Well, we've all heard the news stories about transport to a mothership, the idea of a giant motherwheel. The whole Heaven's Gate thing.
Scully: I see.
Doggett: It'd make sense. The leader of the cult leaves this woman out here to die. Learning she's still alive he comes back to kidnap her again for fear of exposure. It'd make sense, too that if we find this guy, maybe we find Mulder.
Scully: Are you asking me to believe this?
Agent Reyes: No. That's not what I said. I don't think he left her to die. I don't think she's dead.
Scully: Based on what?
Agent Reyes: Nothing, really. It's just a feeling.

(Scully walks away, Doggett follows)
Doggett: What are you walking away for? It makes some kind of sense.
Scully: I'm glad you agree with her, Agent Doggett, because I'm not even sure that she agrees with you. Nor has she made any sense for me of how the doctor who removed Teresa Hoese from the hospital last night seems, by all accounts, to have been in two places at once.
Doggett: I know where you're going with this, Agent Scully, but if you're going to tell me this is another alien bounty hunter this is where we part company.
Scully: Enjoy your new company.

Scully: You believe in extraterrestrials?
Agent Reyes: Let's just say I don't not believe. As I said, I try to stay open.
Scully: What is it you specialise in again? Ritualistic crime?
Agent Reyes: Right. Satanic ritual abuse. Or, I should say claims of it. We never found any hard evidence.
Scully: We should talk sometime.
Agent Reyes: Not that I don't believe in it. I was something of a black sheep in the field office in New Orleans... because of my beliefs.
Scully: And what beliefs are those?
Agent Reyes: I just have certain spiritual notions. I believe there are energies in the universe. It might sound kind of cosmic, but I think I'm sensitive to them. I mean, I get these feelings.
Scully: And do you have any feelings about Agent Mulder?
Agent Reyes: I don't know Agent Mulder. And I don't have any feelings about him. But I am feeling your fear. And fear's not going to help you find him or anyone else. Maybe you can try and stay open, too.

Agent Reyes: You're hurting for her, I know. Agent Scully.
Doggett: I don't know how she's doing it in there. With everything she's feeling. What she's afraid of.
Agent Reyes: You know all too well.
Doggett: Let's leave the past in the past.
Agent Reyes: It was your fear, too. Those three days we looked for your son. The fear of finding what we did. I understand. That's why you're so determined to find Mulder alive.
Doggett: It's why I can't stand here and listen to all this mumbo jumbo about spaceships.
Agent Reyes: I saw what I saw, John. I'm not going to lie to you. But whatever it was, it led to this. It's the man I saw in the field. He goes by the name Absalom. A religious zealot who escaped a shoot-out in Idaho. Where he was the nominal leader of a doomsday cult who believed aliens would take over the world at the millennium. Disgraced when they didn't, he fled and tried a more ecumenical scam: credit card fraud. I ran the plate on the pickup truck. It's registered to a farm about an hour from here.

Jeremiah Smith: You're going to expose me. You're putting people in danger — Abductees all over the country. I save them. I'm the only one.
Scully: Where's Mulder?
Jeremiah Smith: You came crashing in here. I was trying to help him, too.
Scully: Where is Mulder? (The door opens)
Skinner: You'd better come with us.
Jeremiah Smith: You must protect me.
(Scully leaves with Skinner and Agent Reyes)
Scully: What is it?
Skinner: It's Mulder.

Scully: Where is he?
Doggett: Agent Scully, he's over there.
Scully: How bad is he? How bad is he? How bad is he hurt? (She breaks free and runs to Mulder's side) No. No. No. No. He needs help.
Doggett: It's too late.
Scully: He needs help!
Doggett: Agent Scully.
(Scully runs as fast as she can through the woods back to the compound. As she gets there, she pauses in shock at the sight of a brightly lit UFO over the compound. She runs toward the building, but is too late. Jeremiah Smith is gone)
Scully: Jeremiah. No... no. This is not happening! No!

Episode Number: 175
Season Number: 8
First Aired: Sunday, February 25, 2001
Production Code: 8X14

1 comment:

Gledwood said...

ooo! spookie!

ps i never realized Gillian Anderson actually WAS a Brit. She was born where I used to LIVE...

(never saw her walking the streets with skully/mulder/whatever the other one was called...)