1 – It’s kind of weird watching an episode without the theme song…not gonna lie

2 – Real talk – has anyone ever researched to see if this whole “inspired by actual documented accounts” is even remotely real? Given the premise of the show … I’m thinking I may have to go with: it’s not

3 – Yeah that trip and fall looks like it hurt

4 – Wind starts up out of nowhere – kind of weird; bright light coming from nowhere – weirder; shadowy dude coming out of forest – the hell are you still just sitting there staring, girl? Get up and keep RUNNING!

5 – Bright flash!

6 – And…now she’s dead…she should have listened to me

7 – Seriously they had to hike up the girl’s nightgown to let 90s sport coat see those marks on her back – so either they went searching for them specifically or these people like to pull up the nightgowns of dead girls found in the forest … I’m hoping it’s the former

8 – 90s sport coat recognizes her (id’s as Karen Swenson) because she went to school with his son

9 – “It’s happening again isn’t it?” – well I guess that answers the question about the marks

10 – Hello, Agent Dana Scully – work that horrible 90s pant suit girl!

11 – Why tell someone to “come in” to your office if you are then going to proceed to look wholly uninterested in them when they follow your instruction – mean!

12 – CSM! FIRST CSM SIGHTING! Chilling in the background smoking away … like he does …

13 – Alright I may need someone else to look at this because I swear CSM just looked at Dana Scully’s butt when he moved to walk past her (as she’s moving to sit around 3:15). I mean, who wouldn’t, but wow!

14 – Monograph – “a detailed written study of a single specialized subject or an aspect of it” (yes, I googled)

15 – It is so ridiculously cute how she smiles and tries to get CSM in the “Spooky Mulder” thing and he’s just having none of it … poor Scully, I think you’re funny

16 – “Consuming devotion to an un-assigned project outside of the bureau mainstream” and “they have to do with unexplained phenomena” are probably the biggest understatements ever

17 – Scully’s face as Blevins is telling her her ‘mission’ is so subtly beautiful – you can tell she’s not comfortable with this already

18 – “We trust you’ll make the proper scientific analysis” – knowing what all is coming, I cannot help but laugh at this one – ah man

19 – TO THE BASEMENT!!!! [I’m way more excited than I should be, but here we are…]

20 – Special mention needs to be made here of the lighting department – when Scully steps off the elevator, the hallway is actually well lit and inviting but as she continues down the hallway toward the office it gets dark enough that really the only light hitting her is what’s spilling out of Mulder’s partially open office door – the light in the darkness leading her to her true destiny, her mission, her real self [I’m making that a visual metaphor for the show, try and stop me]

21 – And then the moment she goes into the room BAM bright, bright light [show metaphor – I’m just saying!]

22 – “Sorry, nobody down here but the FBI’s most unwanted” I’ve always giggled a bit at this line … but it’s actually kind of sad when you think about it. This is how Fox Mulder – ‘generally’ thought of as the best analyst in the VCS – sees himself in relation to his workplace. Following this path has made him the butt of jokes, stupid nicknames and now his superiors are sending in someone specifically to shut him down … but it’s so telling of Mulder’s personality that he says it as a joke. There’s no malice, no real judgment in this statement – it’s just a statement. I wanna give him a hug now

23 – The first thing Scully (and we, by extension) sees in the office (aside from Mulder’s back to her) is the “I Want to Believe” poster! Telling of HER eventual character progression, maybe…

24 – Her smile when he turns to her and she actually sees his face for the first time … JUST LOOK AT IT!:

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I’m already fangirling and it’s not even six minutes into the episode – we’re doomed

25 – So we established in Blevins’ office that Mulder is freaky smart … it’s Scully’s turn to get some praise …“Now that’s a credential. Re-writing Einstein” oh yeah, that’s right, take that monograph on serial killers and the occult – Scully reinterprets Einstein!

26 – Her jab about him bothering to read it – bless

27 –  “I did. I liked it.” [“I’ll be memorizing it and quoting it back to you in no time” – that’s subtext]

28 – Here we go – first slide show ever!

29 -FOX MULDER – UGH stop saying Or-e-gone, that’s not how you pronounce it! As an Oregonian, I want to punch you in the face when you say it wrong. Stop it. Love, me. (It’s Levi-O-sa, not Levi-o-SA! [I HAD to …])

30 – Karen Swenson is a 21-year-old, female – class of 1989 (just putting this here because reasons…)

31 – Animal bite … remember that guess later, Scully

32 – So this isn’t only happening in Oregon – there were victims in North Dakota and Texas – are they all from the same graduating class like Karen? Is the killer travelling all that way to off these people? Do we ever actually know how these two people are connected to Karen?

33 – “Do you have a theory?” OH Scully you may not want to ask him that … ever …

34 -Their height difference – I almost cannot handle how adorable it is:

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35 – His knowing little headshake after she says she doesn’t believe in aliens and nodding along with her ‘logical’ argument – he’s heard all this before

36 – Ugh Mulder, what did I just tell you about mispronunciation? I don’t want to ruin that adorable face of yours…

37 – 4th person in her graduating class to die – so were two of those the ones in the slide show before? Or are there three more? Did they have the same marks? Why did you not show photos of them instead of the two out-of-towners?

38 – “Now when convention and science offer us no answers, might we not finally turn to the fantastic as a plausibility?”

39 – I love how Scully takes a little moment and then a breath and then barrels forward with her very ‘plausible’ take on the subject matter

40 – “And that’s why they put the I in FBI”

41 – He did it again … I’m afraid I may have to take action cause it’s obvious he doesn’t think I’ll punch him in the face

42 – A moment to appreciate Scully right now – they just had kind of a tense meeting of the minds thing there and she is just completely enamored. Seriously, the woman cannot stop smiling at him:

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Oh, Scully, we ALL feel you

43 – How in the heck did Mulder get an entire fracking row to himself on that plane? Did no one want to travel to Oregon by plane in the early 90s?

44 – Serious question time: Who else wants to know what Mulder’s listening to? Part of me wants to think it’s something serious and another part of me wants to think it’s Donny Osmond.

45 – Dr. Nemman – remember that name

46 – I didn’t fly a lot in the early 90s (my heavy plane travel really started in the 2000s) but were the luggage spaces onboard the aircraft REALLY that easily jostled? Those came open mighty quickly with that first dip

47 – I recently flew into Portland International during a HORRIBLE windstorm and we hit the worst turbulence I’ve ever experienced in my LIFE (and I’ve flown a fair amount over the past 15 or so years) – I was gripping my arm rest the whole time – all that to say – I FEEL YA, SCULLY!

48 – HOW IN THE ACTUAL HELL did Mulder not get knocked out of his row? Everyone is practically being thrown around like rag dolls and there he chills – not a care in the world.

49 – “Better than you expected, or better than you’d hoped?” – this initial dynamic between Mulder and Scully, I truly believe, set up a model that so many shows after have tried to follow (with varied success)

50 – Scully’s NEVER performed an autopsy … just keep that in mind moving forward …

51 – Actually, I just realized Mulder never directly says they’re doing an autopsy – he mentions grave digging, exhuming a body and getting a tissue sample but no ‘autopsy’ – so is the pleasure Scully refers to in reference to the grave digging?

52 – He’s painting the bright orange X! He is painting the bright orange X!

53 – I remember my face looking exactly like Scully’s at this point the first time I watched this

54 – Just a note, boys and girls – if a federal agent asks you if you know about a piece of evidence found on the only body YOU did not examine in a case – DO NOT by any means get defensive: it makes you look guilty!

55 – “We’re not insinuating anything, sir?” [because I’m pretty sure you know what’s going on here – sub text]

56 – Listen to your daughter, dude, peace out!

57 – So Ray died in July – and this is supposed to be March – how spread out are these murders?

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I came in like a wrecking ball…

58 – Mulder literally scoffs in the face of your ‘official procedure’

59 – I’m guessing Scully doesn’t think of grave digging as a ‘pleasure’ anymore … ick …

60 – “Probably a safe bet Rey Soomes never made the varsity basketball team” – our first real Mulder one-liner – awwwww

61 – Immediately followed by Mulder’s first supernatural/paranormal boner (complete with giddiness and irritating flash photography which Scully is having NONE of)

62 – Dang, Mulder, you want the Lindberg baby and the Holy Grail, too? Might take about as long …

63 – “I’m not crazy, Scully” [My mother had me tested…]

64 – I love seeing Mulder so vehement to get the proof of whatever in the world they unearthed from Ray’s grave. He obviously believes it’s something amazing, and I know Mulder and Scully have a lot of differences, but it’s great at this early stage to see their similarities. Scully is a scientist – she operates on fact – Mulder, while a believer – obviously wants the proof to substantiate his beliefs. They both want the solid, tangible evidence in their hands

65 – The X-rays taped to the lamp shades is an awesome touch

66 – Implant in the nose!!!!

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Your season six Scully is showing…stop being so amused by the man …actually, NO, don’t stop

67 – Not losing any sleep over it. So that’s why you go back into your room and stare at the X-ray on the lampshade … I know that’s in MY pre-bed routine

68 – PLOT: Ray was a patient at a Psychiatric hospital for more than a year, had symptoms of PTSD along with his schizophrenia. Doctor is also treating, currently, Billy Miles and Peggy O’Dell and has been for 4 years

[CONTINUITY/TIMELINE ALERT – The tag earlier in the episode places this case in early March 1992. The kids being killed were in the class of 1989 meaning they would have graduated in June of that year. Therefore, if these kids actually graduated high school, it would only be three years at most]

69 – Peggy REALLY doesn’t want to have a medical exam

70 – Nose bleeds are the devil in this show

71 – Mulder lifts up Peggy’s shirt and the marks are on her back – dun dun dun – then Scully gives him this look and out the door she goes. Why? She bolts out of there right quick and doesn’t offer any explanation as to why. Why would she just storm out of the room like that?

72 – “Lucky guess” – get used to that Scully, he is going to have A LOT of those

73 – THE TRUTH!!!!!!!!!!!

74 – “There has got to be an explanation” – Has this ever been put on a T-Shirt? If it hasn’t there is no justice in the world

75 – Another mention of 4 victims – they’ve named Ray and Karen – so there’s two. Are the other two the ones from the slide show? I want to know!

76 – Off to the forest to walk around in bad jackets with flashlights

77 – Scully wears her hair up a lot in this episode – it’s cute

78 – WHAT is that noise in the forest? Is that supposed to be a car/truck or something?

79 – Scully why not have your gun drawn BEFORE the shadowy guy in front of you shows you his?

80 – “Trespassing on private property” – isn’t this national forest land? How is that private property, sheriff’s department? How about – “this is a crime scene you do not have legal access to”?

81 – Yup ok the noise is the truck – DANG that thing makes a lot of noise! He should really get that checked

82 – Mulder’s driving awfully fast through the rain while NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the road! Stop looking at dirt and put the compass away while you’re driving, Mulder!

83 – He just looked at his watch … it’s 9:03 … you know what’s coming next? BRIGHT FLASH OF LIGHT!!!!!!!!

84 – He is like a kid on Christmas morning – holy dang, Mulder, you are so freaking adorable in your joy over losing nine minutes! Jump around in the rain, boy.

85 – I never noticed that the door doesn’t close all the way the first time Mulder shuts it after Scully comes into his room – he’s too busy looking at her and he has to close it a second time

86 – How did you not recognize a mosquito bite, Dr. Scully? I’m still not sure I completely buy this but it got us the wonderful image of Scully coming to Mulder for help and then leaning on him in her relief … God bless power outages, robes and mosquito bites

87 – “She just disappeared out of her bed one night. Just gone. Vanished. No note. No phone calls. No evidence of anything.” [THIS interpretation of Samantha’s disappearance definitely gets lost]

88 – Who’s stalking them from outside the hotel in the rain?

89 – “By accident?” – oooooooo I like this line from Scully. DID Mulder just happen upon the X-Files one day? Or was he led to them?

90 – “Classified government information I’ve been trying to access, but someone has been blocking my attempts to get at it” – first off Mulder that’s what Classified usually means, but now I’m wondering if this information he’s mentioning comes up again where I’m thinking it might

91 – Scully’s “You’ve got to trust me” line rubs me the wrong way … He doesn’t HAVE to do anything for you, Scully, you’ve JUST met. They could have easily left it “I’m not a part of any agenda. I’m here just like you to solve this” and it would have been just as impactful and less clunky.

92 – “A bright light outside, and a presence in the room” – ok but not two minutes ago you said she disappeared from her bed one night without a word. So were you in the same room when she vanished? And if she was ‘just gone’ how could you remember a bright light and feeling paralyzed, unable to respond to her calls for help? In less than five minutes they’ve kind of mucked up Samantha’s story – that’s got to be a record

93 – Ah no, not Peggy … poor thing …

94 – Oh yeah, Mulder, leave the car running

95 – Uh oh, Peggy’s watch stopped just after 9!

96 – I find Mulder’s brisk “Let’s go” to Scully and cutting her off of questioning the coroner further a bit irritating … I know you’re upset but you can be a BIT nicer to your new partner, Mulder, chose a different tone of voice

97 – So hilarious that Scully’s all “crap my computer” and Mulder is FLIPPING out about losing the x-rays and pictures of the body

98 – No explanation for WHY Theresa Nemman is just chilling around burning hotels, then? I’m guessing it’s because she was specifically looking for Mulder and Scully to ask for help but who knows

[CONTINUITY/TIMELINE ALERT: “Ever since the summer we graduated” – so they definitely graduated which messes up the timeline from earlier but, shhhhh…]

99 – So these kids have ended up in the woods other times without being killed, then, if we believe Theresa? So what is it that causes the shift from random run around the woods to a crime scene?

100 – Theresa was the one on the phone telling him about Peggy – was she also the one lurking outside the hotel? If so, how did SHE know Peggy was dead? Did someone call her and tell her? Did she sense a disturbance in the Force?

101 – No, her father has absolutely ZERO clue about this because apparently he’s an idiot (*holds up sarcasm sign*)

102 – “You’re not going to die” – cue nose bleed – JK, yes, you are going to die

103 – It would figure they would be at the one table whose napkin dispenser was empty

104 – Detective MILES!!!!!

105 – “Every day’s like Halloween” – maybe it’s the fact that it’s 1am right now, but, WHAT NOW? I don’t think I’ve ever ‘got’ this line in any of my multiple re-watches of this episode. What does this even mean?

106 – “They know Mulder, they know who’s responsible for the murders” – Scully / “They know something” – Mulder [Let’s see who ends up being right shall we?]

107 – GRAVE DIGGING REDUX [I feel like I’m watching an episode of Supernatural now – this is the second time we’ve been in the graveyard]

108 – “The detective’s son. Billy Miles” – HOW? How did Mulder go from the Detective and Dr. Nemman knowing something about the murders and two freshly empty graves to ‘it was Billy Miles’? HOW?

109 – OH MY GOODNESS I usually end up watching Scully in this scene but dear sweet baby Mulder is SO freaking adorable right now! Seriously – go to Netflix, approximately 35:20 into the episode – and just watch his expression and his demeanor as Scully is talking. I want to bounce up and down with him. He’s so excited; give him a cookie!

110 – He just said THE FORCE – where’s BB-8?!

111 – PLOT: Force draws them into forest – marks from testing that causes genetic mutation after death

112 – SCULLY SAID THE FORCE

113 – “Summoned Theresa Nemman’s body into the woods tonight” – HUH? When was Theresa in the woods tonight? Not only that, this sentence is just weird … how about “summoned Theresa Nemman into the woods tonight” why do you have to have “BODY” in there … just plain clunky.

114 – They are giggling over dug up graves in the pouring rain = BEST.

115 – She just touched Billy Miles’ nasty feet – multiple times *shudder*

116 – These two walk and talk like NO ONE ELSE! DAMN it’s perfection from the get go … a wondrous sight to behold

117 – Now Scully’s all excited – ready to jump into the deep end and drink all Mulder’s kool-aid

118 – “You said it yourself” “Yeah, but you have to write it down in your report” – this is such a good exchange. Scully – the scientist, the skeptic – has been all over Mulder to bring his theory down to earth for the entire episode so far. She’s finally on his crazy train with him to the point where she’s reiterating his theory and saying evidence she has in her possession proves he’s right – but Mulder, oh sweet Mulder – stops her from running off the rails with him entirely by reminding her that she has to make it official. I remember thinking when I’ve watched this in the past that it’s almost a jab at Scully, Mulder thinking that she’s a spy so of course bring up her reports – but listening to his tone and delivery of the line one could also hear him making sure she does this right. He’s fine with his reputation being what it is, but he doesn’t want hers to drop to his level unless she’s certain. I could also be reading WAY too much into this…

119 – In a model that will continue, they are each other’s voice of reason … that’s all it takes for Scully to take a deep breath and go back into ‘scientist’ mode. Go back to the forest, get another sample since the original was destroyed, and run a comparison

120 – In another model that will continue, Scully gets knocked out and misses the climax of the episode featuring an event which validates Mulder’s theory of the case … this time around: Billy Miles in the woods holding up Theresa’s limp body as they are surrounded by a bright white light … yeah …

121 – So, let me get this straight … Detective Miles goes to stop his son because Mulder pleads that Billy is going to kill Theresa. But he’s already killed five other people, which the detective and Dr. Nemman have both apparently known all about. So who cares that he killed those kids? Or is that the detective had to do something just because Mulder was there and in the detective’s face? Cause he moves to shoot his son awfully fast and Mulder has to jump him to stop it …

122 – They really got their use out of the wind machine

123 – Keep walking, Scully! Keep going toward the bright light and see what’s happening!!!

124 – And the marks just … vanish … Billy actively decides NOT to kill one of his friends (finally) and, what, the aliens or whatever it was directing him, just let him go and run away? Tail between their legs? Damn those meddling kids?

125 – “There was a light” – I’m laughing out loud and not in a good way [though serious points for the way Scully places her hand on Mulder’s chest as he reaches out for her]

126 – PLOT: Saw the light in the forest while celebrating graduation – they took Billy away for testing – told him to ‘gather the others’ so they could be tested – put the implant in his nose to transmit orders – the light gave the orders – tests didn’t work and they wanted everything destroyed

127 – Knowing what comes for CSM and Blevins I’m so intrigued to see if this links up to the greater mythology at all … I honestly cannot remember

128 – The way Mulder turns and immediately finds Scully in a two-way mirror is creepy and awesome – Mulder and Scully unequivocally connected since 1992

129 – Even better that she stares him down like he can see her

130 – The field reports …

131 – “You have no physical evidence” – ho, ho, ho think again squirrely. Out comes the implant from Ray’s nose cause Scully is a BOSS and kept it on her! Hell yes.

132 – “The material could not be identified” – that’s going to become a LOT more common

133 – CSM was with them all behind the mirror, then he wasn’t in Blevins’ office, now he passes Scully walking down the hallway to Blevins’ office … wonder what he was doing? Scully’s thinking exactly what I am; I know it.

134 – Disappearing paperwork and late night phone calls – welcome to The X-Files, Agent Scully!

135 – This storage space is insane – who needs to store THAT much sensitive crap? You are ASKING for someone to try and break in and steal it all…seriously, purge some of that.

136 – IT’S IN THE PENTAGON!!!!! Craps getting real man!


Devil in the Details

Character:

Scully

  • Been with the FBI two years
  • Went to medical school but chose not to practice (recruited out of med school)
  • Taught at the academy before the X-Files
  • Undergraduate degree (B.S.) in Physics
  • Senior Thesis – reinterpreting Einstein’s twin paradox

Mulder

  • Oxford educated Psychologist
  • Wrote study of occult and serial killers that helped catch a bad guy in 1988
  • Best analyst in Violent Crimes Section
  • He was 12 when his sister went missing; sister was 8
  • Has connections in congress that have allowed him to continue on with The X-Files
  • Undergone deep regression hypnosis with Dr. Weber

Timeline:

March 7, 1992 – After Mulder paints the X on the road, driving into town ~11:41

March 22, 1992 – Billy’s interview at FBI Headquarters


We’re not in 1993 anymore

  • He’s organizing SLIDES for a SLIDE PROJECTOR
  • Mulder listening to what I would swear is a Walkman on the plane
  • That tape recorder she’s dictating from is gigantic
  • Scully typing up her field notes on the blue screen
  • Landlines! Landlines galore…

 


Parting thoughts:

From a timeline perspective, it seems like most Philes just shift the dates on this case from 1992 to 1993 since the show premiered September 10, 1993. Watching this episode, making sure to take note of any mentions of the passage of time, it actually removes a lot of the timeline discrepancies to place the events of “Pilot” in 1993 instead of the stated 1992.

I never realized before how quickly Mulder’s story about Samantha devolved – I thought it took a while but it seems like it did not even take the span of the hotel room conversation for the story to gain holes which will continue to propagate throughout the series.

Plot-wise: the biggest question I still have is WHY the aliens would just let Billy go? He decides not to follow their orders and doesn’t kill Theresa, and so he’s just automatically freed from their influence? Marks gone, implant removed, no more alien overlords?

However, that is the great thing about The X-Files that I have found over the years: even if I don’t get all the answers to all the questions raised in a single episode, it is still a wonderful hour of television. This episode sets up the series so well especially in terms of Mulder and Scully and their operating dynamic…even with it’s flaws, I cannot help but love it.

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