Old Classics #02: The X-Files “Abduction” trilogy

This was the first X-files videotape I acquired. The internet was a rich man’s luxury back then (at least in my country) so all we had left was chunky videotapes that took up several shelves of my bookshelf 😛 I used to watch the Abduction trilogy twice maybe three times per week since I was very into the paranormal and all but didn’t know of any other shows and the ones I knew like Buffy the vampire slayer, didn’t air in Greece. This trilogy though remained my favourite of  The X-Files even after I had the chance to watch all the nine seasons.

So what’s it about?

The first episode is called  “Duane Barry” Mulder becomes involved in a hostage situation with an escaped psychiatric patient who claims to be terrified of frequent alien abductions. The second half of the two parter is called “Ascension” . Scully is abducted by Duane Barry and taken to Skyland Mountain where she disappears. The third part was a standalone episode that was integrated in the trilogy and is called “One Breath” (which might as well be my favourite episode in all the X-files show). In it Scully miraculously appears in a Washington DC hospital in a coma and things don’t look good for her health.

Oh Wow! So how did it all happen?

XF:2×05 Duane Barry

A psychiatric patient named Duane Barry seizes a guard’s gun and kidnaps his psychiatrist, Dr. Hakkie and retreats in a travel agency with three other hostages. Special Agent Fox Mulder is called in on the case and attempts to negotiate with Barry. Eventually, he exchanges himself as a hostage for a man that Barry shot. Mulder tries to gain Barry’s trust while Scully is searching through the FBI records for information on Barry.

Scully discovers that Barry is a former FBI agent who was shot in the line of duty, destroying the moral center of his brain and making him delusional. She goes to the command post outside the travel agency and talks to Mulder through a hidden communication device in his ear. Barry tells Mulder that he has been abducted by aliens and the subject of various tests. He claims that there are implants in his teeth, sinus cavity and his abdomen. After Mulder convinces him to free two hostages, the FBI agents shoot Barry in the chest, seriously wounding him. Barry is taken to the hospital in an ambulance where an examination confirms Barry’s claims about the implants and Scully takes the one that was in his abdomen. While at the grocery store, she scans the piece of metal and the cash register goesnuts .

Barry awakens in the hospital and has a vision of aliens at his bedside. He clubs a guard with a fire extinguisher and escapes. Scully calls Mulder to tell him about what happened with the scanner and is leaving a message on his answering machine when she sees Barry outside her window. The recorder picks up the sound of breaking glass and her cries for help as she is attacked.

XF: 2×06 Ascension

I was lucky I had the episodes ina collection because if I had to wait for a week to see what happened in this episode I’d go nuts.

Duane Barry breaks Scully’s window, attacks and kidnaps her, taking her, her car and her gun. Soon after, Mulder arrives home and checks his messages. He hears Scully’s message cut short by a window breaking and her screaming his name to help her. He rushes at Scully’s home and discovers a crime scene. Scully’s mother arrives, demanding to see her daughter’s apartment and finds Mulder there with blood on his hand.

The next morning at F.B.I. Headquarters, A.D. Skinner is briefing on the search for Duane Barry and Agent Scully. Shortly after, Skinner takes Mulder off the case and orders Krycek to take Mulder home. He disobeys the order. With Scully’s car, Barry is in Virginia on Route 229 until he gets pulled over by the Highway Patrol for speeding. The officer gets out of his car and reconises the vehicle, which was reported stolen. He orders Barry out of the car. Barry refuses, and when the highwayman goes to investigate sounds he hears coming from the trunk of the car, Barry shoots and kills him. At headquarters, Mulder listens to the wire he was wearing when he met Duane Barry, over and over again in hopes of finding a clue. With Krycek’s help, he rewinds to the part where Barry said, “Ascend to the stars.” Fetching a phonebook, he realizes this means Barry was heading to Skyland Mountain and follows him. Krycek informs the Cigarette Smoking Man of this before he departs with Mulder.

Mulder and Krycek arrive at Skyland Mountain and Mulder orders the tram-operator to send him up the mountain despite the fact that the cable was just refitted. When Mulder nears the peak, Krycek kills the tram-operator and stops the tram. When Mulder climbs on top of it, Krycek starts it up again in an attempt to kill him, but Mulder makes it to the top safely. When Mulder arrives at the peak of the mountain he finds Scully’s car empty and a helicopter passing by. Mulder finds Scully missing and Barry laughing maniacally about how she was taken by ‘them‘.

Mulder questions Barry, who claims that Scully was taken by the aliens. Mulder gets upset and starts to choke him. He leaves the room to unwind then finds Krycek talking to him. Skinner arrives minutes later, just as Barry starts choking and dies. Upon returning to Washington Mulder questions the doctor who performed the autopsy who refuses to provide details since it was performed by the military instead of the FBI.

Krycek meets with the Cigarette Smoking Man who explains that they won’t kill Mulder and risk turning one man’s religion into a crusade. Skinner orders Mulder and Krycek to undergo a polygraph test due to Barry’s death. Mulder tries to see Senator Matheson, but X meets him there, telling him the Senator can’t help him anymore. Mulder then spots cigarettes in Krycek’s car. Mulder tells Skinner that Krycek impeded his investigation and is responsible for the murder of Barry and the tram-operator. Skinner tells him that Krycek has disappeared and then tells Mulder he is going to re-open the X-Files. Mulder meets with Mrs. Scully, giving her Scully’s cross necklace.

XF:2×08 One Breath

The episode opens with a voiceover from Scully’s mother, speaking of a time when her daughter was very young. She says she was always a tomboy, and always hung around with her brothers in the woods. For her birthday, her brothers gave her a bb gun, and despite her dad telling her to only shoot cans, one day they shot at a snake in the grass. The snake begins to bleed, and Scully realises what she’s done and begins to cry with guilt. She had taken something that wasnt hers and despite being afraid of snakes, she held it as if pure human will could save it. The snake died however. We now see Mulder saying that they cant give up on her, thats its too soon. Scully’s mother says she know nows how her daughter felt that day in the woods. Then an object is placed on the table, the camera pans overhead and we see it. It is a tombstone, with Scully’s name on it…

Scully later turns up mysteriously at the hospital in a coma. An out of control Mulder is thrown out by security but later calms down and meets with Dr. Daly, who says no one knows how she got there or whats wrong with her. He tells Mulder and Mrs. Scully that she has a living will that dictates she be taken off of life support when she reaches a certain level. At Scully’s bedside Mulder meets her older sister, Melissa. A sequence shows Scully sitting in a boat, attached by rope to a dock where Mulder and Melissa stand. Frohike visits Scully and sneaks out a chart on her, that the Lone Gunmen investigate. The newest Lone Gunman, known as ‘The Thinker’ assists, and tells them that Scully’s blood contains branched DNA that may have been used for identification but now is inactive and nothing more than a poisonous waste product in her system.

The mysterious Nurse Owens visits Scully at her bedside. Later Mulder visits Scully while another nurse takes her blood. When distracted, a mysterious man steals Scully’s blood sample and runs. Mulder chases him down to the parking lot where he is confronted by X, who demands that he stop pursuing what happened to Scully and let her die. He then executes the man who stole her blood. When Assistant Director Walter Skinner calls Mulder to his office regarding the incident, Mulder denies any involvement and claims that the Cigarette Smoking Man is responsible for what happened to Scully. Mulder, calling him “Cancer Man” demands to know where he is but Skinner refuses to provide him with that information.

In another vision Scully sits on a table and is visited by her deceased father. Mulder, sitting with Melissa in the hospital cafetaria is asked by a woman for change for the cigarette machine. When she says that a pack of Morleys is already there and leaves, Mulder opens it and finds the Cigarette Smoking Man’s address inside. Mulder bursts into the Cigarette Smoking Man’s home and holds him at gunpoint, demanding to know why Scully was taken instead of him. The Cigarette Smoking Man claims he likes the both of them, which is why she was returned. Telling Mulder that he’ll never know the truth if he kills him, Mulder decides not to kill him.

Mulder returns to FBI headquarters and types out a resignation letter that he hands into Skinner. Skinner comes down later, telling him of an experience when he was in Vietnam where he had an out of body experience. Skinner refuses to accept Mulder’s resignation and Mulder realizes that he was the one who provided him with the Cigarette Smoking Man’s location. Heading to the parking garage, Mulder is met by X, telling him that he’ll have a chance for revenge that night when men, believing him to have information on Scully, will be appearing at his apartment. Mulder waits with his gun at his apartment when Melissa arrives. When Mulder refuses to leave to see Scully Melissa argues with him over his negative attitude. Mulder decides to head to Scully’s bedside after all. Returning home to find his apartment trashed, Mulder sits on the floor and cries.

The next day, Scully awakens. Mulder is called to the hospital and sees her, giving her a Super Bowl video. Scully tells him she doesn’t remember anything after being kidnapped by Duane Barry. Later Scully asks one of the nurses if she can see Nurse Owens, as she wants to give her cross necklace to her. The nurse tells Scully that no nurse named Owens works at the hospital.

That was awesome I want to know more!

  • In a scene that takes place near the end of “DUane Barry”, Scully buys pickles and ice cream from a supermarket. This is a reference to actress Gillian Anderson’s pregnancy at the time this episode was filmed.
  • “Duane Barry” the first X-Files episode directed by Chris Carter.
  • Three Primetime Emmy Award nominations were garnered for “Duane Barry”: CCH Pounder for her portrayal of Agent Kasdin, John S. Bartley (director of photography) for cinematography and Chris Carter for writing the show.
    One Breath was originally inspired by Mulder actor David Duchovny challenging writers Glen Morgan and James Wong to write an episode that would be similar for Duchovny to what Season 1’s “Beyond the Sea” had been for Scully actress Gillian Anderson.
  • The original intent for One Breath was that it would be based entirely upon Raising the Dead, a non-fiction book that Glen Morgan had read. The book was written by surgeon Richard Selzer and detailed dreams he had apparently experienced while being comatose for twenty-three days in 1991. According to the book, Selzer had also been declared dead during his coma, a fate that Skinner includes as part of his recollections to Mulder in One Breath, before the writer underwent a period of recovery over three weeks. Morgan was fascinated by the book and had been wanting to plan an episode around it, ever since the beginning of 1994. He originally thought it would be a great opportunity for Duchovny, but the comatose character was changed to Scully after the series’ production staff were forced to deal with actress Gillian Anderson’s pregnancy.
  • The writing duo of Morgan and Wong also intended to feature a side of the paranormal that they felt was very hopeful – the phenomena of angels, hope and peace – because the series, so far, had been, at least in Morgan’s opinion, very dark and bleak. Morgan believed that the whole theme of the episode was summed up by Scully’s sister, Melissa, when she says to Mulder, “Just because the belief is positive and good doesn’t make it silly or trite.”
  • One Breath is the first in the series to feature the idea of Dana Scully having a sister and the first in which that specific sibling appears. One Breath is also the second of only two that feature an appearance by the sisters’ father, William, and the only time – apart from a possible background appearance, in a single scene of “Beyond the Sea” – that the sisters’ brother, Charles, appears. Similarly, William Scully was never named before One Breath but the naming of his eldest son – Bill, Jr. – in One Breath marks the first time that his name can be inferred. This is all consistent with the comparatively heavy use and introductions of the Scully family by Morgan and Wong, having previously written “Beyond the Sea”, which not only includes the aforementioned first appearance of William Scully and the possible presence of his rarely seen son, Charles, but also the introduction of William’s wife and his children’s mother, Margaret, who also reappears in One Breath.
  • The role of Melissa Scully, Dana’s sister, was written specifically for actress Melinda McGraw, who had previously worked on The Commish, a series created by Morgan and Wong.
  • The character of Nurse Owens was named after Morgan’s grandmother.
  • The alias “The Thinker” was inspired by the Internet pseudonym “DuhThinker”, used by Yung Jun Kim – a highly knowledgeable online fan of The X-Files.
  • One Breath also marks a development of the character “X”, after frustrations had arisen regarding Steven Williams, the actor portraying this character. Even though Glen Morgan had initially complained that the character was too similar to “Deep Throat”, he believed that Steven Williams was a good actor and that this allowed the writers to include the scene where X performs an execution. Morgan also came to define the two characters by realizing that, whereas Deep Throat had been willing to lose his own life for revealing the secret, X was still scared and his character was figuratively somewhere between Mulder and Deep Throat.
  • Director Robert Goodwin initially instructed Morgan and Wong to minimize the scene in which the Cigarette Smoking Man is confronted by Mulder, due to Goodwin’s assumption that actor William B. Davis would be able to do little more than appear, smoking a cigarette – the task that Davis had originally been hired to perform, for the pilot episode of The X-Files. Despite similar fears from other members of the production crew, Morgan argued that Davis, an acting teacher, was also a capable actor. Goodwin discussed the character of the Cigarette Smoking Man and his role in the episode with Davis, and the director was ultimately impressed by the actor’s performance.
  • One Breath was originally planned to be produced immediately after “Ascension” but was not ready to be filmed when time for its production initially came and “3” was therefore produced first, as an extra episode, resulting in Season 2 ultimately having twenty-five episodes, rather than the twenty-four that was the standard quantity for each season.
  • This was the first episode filmed after Gillian Anderson gave birth to her first child. She spent much of her time on the set lying on tables or beds in a hospital gown. Occasionally, she would fall asleep between takes while filming these scenes. According to James Wong, the biggest problem in the creation of the episode was in postproduction, when the production crew, who unfortunately could do nothing about the problem, realized that signs of Anderson’s recent pregnancy were highly noticeable.
  • One Breath was, according to Chris Carter in or before 1996, one of the most popular episodes of The X-Files. Although Carter thought that some people at Fox didn’t like the episode due to the fact that its paranormal content is minimal, the episode was received on the Internet as one of the series’ best. Director Robert Goodwin noted that the episode was highly unusual for The X-Files because it was more about human emotions, drama and relationships than about the series’ usual material. James Wong admired the episode, appreciating Duchovny’s performance therein.
  • For his work on One Breath, Director of Photography John S. Bartley, was nominated for an Emmy award in the category of Cinematography for a Series.

Was there any important quotes in the episodes?

Scully: Mulder, it’s me. I just had something incredibly strange happen. This piece of metal that they took out of Duane Barry, it has some kind of code on it. I ran it through a scanner, and some kind of serial number came up. What the hell is this thing, Mulder? It’s almost as if… it’s almost as if somebody was using it to catalogue him… Mulder! I need your help! Mulder!

The Cigarette Smoking Man: We tell you only what you need to know.
Krycek: I think I have a right to know.
The Cigarette Smoking Man: You have no rights, only orders to be carried out. If you have a problem with that, we’ll make other arrangements.

Skinner: Tell me what happened at the hospital last night.
Mulder: Are you referring to the tooth found in the cafeteria jello?

William Scully: (to Scully) Hello Starbuck. It’s Ahab. People would say to me, “Life is short. Kids, they grow up fast. Before you know it, it’s over.” I never listened. To me, life went at a proper pace of many rewards. Until the moment that I knew, I understood, I would never see you again, my little girl. Then my life felt as if it had been the length of one breath, one heartbeat. I never knew how much I loved my daughter until I could never tell her. In that moment I would have traded every medal, every commendation, every promotion, for one more second with you. We’ll be together again, Starbuck. But not now. Soon.

Mulder: Sit down!
CSM: How’d you find me?
Mulder: Shut up! Tonight, I ask the questions! You’re going to answer me, you son of a bitch!
CSM: Don’t try and threaten me, Mulder. I’ve watched presidents die.
Mulder: Why her? Why her and not me? . . . Answer me!
CSM: I like you. I like her too. That’s why she was returned to you.
Mulder: You should be the one to die.
CSM: Why? Look at me. No wife, no family, some power. I’m in the game because I believe what I’m doing is right.
Mulder: *Right?* Who are you to decide what’s right?
CSM: Who are you? If people were to know the things I know, it would all fall apart. I told Skinner you shot the man in the hospital, but I didn’t really believe it. And here you are with a gun to my head. I have more respect for you, Mulder. You’re becoming a player. You can kill me now, but you’ll never know the truth. (Mulder wants to shoot, but doesn’t) . . . and that’s why I’ll win. Don’t worry. This’ll be our secret. We wouldn’t want others to . . . start rumors.

Melissa: Only the light . . .
Mulder: Oh, enough with the harmonic convergence crap, ok. You’re not saying anything to me.
Melissa: Why don’t you just drop your cynicism and your paranoia and your defeat. You know, just because it’s positive and good doesn’t make it silly or trite! Why is it so much easier for you to run around trying to get even than just expressing to her how you feel? I expect more from you. Dana expects more. Even if it doesn’t bring her back, at least she’ll know. And so will you.

Mulder: I brought you a present. “Superstars of the Super Bowls”.
Scully: I knew there was a reason to live.

Where can I watch it?

It has been released on DVD and VHS so your best bet lies there. If your country supports it, you can also try Hulu.com. You may also try to find it on youtube although I doubt it will be of very good quality.

Come on! Gimme a trailer! Or some scenes!

Stills?


That’s all folks :3

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