The X-Files: Squeeze   Rewatch 
February 28, 2020 9:00 PM - Season 1, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Scully and Mulder pick up the slimy yellow trail of a serial killer who attacks his victims in seemingly secure locations and removes their livers... at 30-year intervals.
posted by orange swan (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
[at a crime scene]

Agent Tom Colton: So, Mulder, whaddaya think? This look like the work of little green men?

Mulder: Gray.

Agent Tom Colton: Excuse me?

Mulder: Gray. You said "green men." A Reticulian's skin tone is actually gray. They're notorious for their extraction of terrestrial human livers, due to iron depletion in the Reticulum galaxy.

Agent Tom Colton: You can't be serious.

Mulder: Do you have any idea what liver and onions go for on Reticulum?
posted by valkane at 5:25 AM on February 29, 2020 [8 favorites]

its funny but I CLEARLY remember this episode despite the many many years since I saw it. its definitely one of the classic XF.
posted by supermedusa at 9:41 AM on February 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

its funny but I CLEARLY remember this episode despite the many many years since I saw it.

It runs together a bit in my memory with the sequel where Tooms gets sucked into the escalator, but yeah it's a very memorable episode. I always forget how early into the run it is, too.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:38 AM on February 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

When this premiered in the '90s I was watching with some folks and I was expecting Tombs's appearance in the big ending scene because of the camera work.

I was so caught up I wasn't prepared for everyone else in the room to start screaming their heads off when he comes out of the wall

Watching the X Files more recently I did not remember at all how much guff Mulder takes in the early(later?) seasons for being Spooky Mulder
posted by Query at 4:36 PM on February 29, 2020 [2 favorites]

I had only a hazy memory of what this episode would be like, and I mixed up elements of the two Tooms episodes. I was expecting the escalator thing to happen until the end, and then realized it must be part of the second episode. I did a rewatch of The X-Files over ten years ago -- maybe in 2008? -- and haven't seen them since. I'm surprised by how fresh they seem to me and how much I'm getting out of them that I don't remember noticing before -- I've changed a lot in the interim, I suppose.

Something I really noticed in this episode, and for the first time in my viewing history of the show, is the extent to which Mulder is disregarded at the FBI. It goes much deeper than everyone calling him Spooky. Everyone treats him like a joke and a freak savant, and he's been hidden away in the basement. Tom Colton wouldn't even stoop to ask Mulder directly for his help, but asked Scully and then mentioned Mulder could tag along if he wanted. Mulder's surveillance operation is countermanded without anyone even checking with him, which judging from Scully's horrified reaction seems to be an extraordinary breach of protocol. To top it all off, Mulder knows what everyone thinks of him, and is clearly humiliated by it.

It's a definite factor in Mulder's feelings for Scully that, while she certainly doesn't always agree with him or buy into his theories easily, she's almost the only person who does take him seriously. She always treats him with respect and as an equal and a partner, and is very committed to their work. And I think she took a huge career hit (besides paying an enormous personal cost) when she cast in her lot with him. Tom sees her assignment to Mulder as a career handicap, and offers to help get her reassigned. When Scully and Mulder are talking about how Tooms comes out of hibernation, Mulder says the next time he'll do so is in 2022, and that she'll "probably be running this place [meaning the FBI] by then". We're almost there(!), and as we know, Scully will never advance professionally at the FBI.

Speaking of Tooms's hibernation schedule, it is messing with my head a little that Mulder and Scully were able to go talk to someone who was a FBI agent in 1932 and who spoke casually of learning of the concentration camps at the close of WWII. I thought, "How the hell is that possible? Okay, if the man was 85 in 1992, he would have been 25 in 1932 and 55 in 1962, so the numbers work, but here we are in 2020 nearly as far from 1992 as 1992 was from 1962 and... I need to go lie down."
posted by orange swan at 4:40 PM on February 29, 2020 [8 favorites]

I was a kid when the X-Files was airing and this episode is one of the ones that I remember and the one that stands out to me as what this show is entirely about. Three episodes in and they've crafted a fantastic episode and they've nailed the horror. Right at the beginning when you see his eyes in the sewer? That's still creepy.

I'm appreciating Duchovny a lot more this time around. The way he plays Mulder with equal parts enthusiasm and weariness is great. He's passionate in his convictions and is completely aware of the social cost of pursing that passion. His exchanges with the other FBI agents are great especially contrasted with his relationship with Scully. "You'll be head of the bureau by then." Is such a beautiful compliment that he gives of her skill and ability.

Another thing I'm noticing is how good this show is with little details. In this episode Mulder plays with Scully's necklace, Tooms steals it, and then Mulder notices it at the shrine and immediately knows Scully is in danger. And it's done really well, it doesn't call too much attention to itself.
posted by Neronomius at 6:39 PM on February 29, 2020 [4 favorites]

I was also a kid for the original run of the show and Tooms scared the shit out of me. The sound work really stuck with me—I still remembered those pizzicato strings probably most distinctly out of anything in the episode.
posted by valrus at 6:51 PM on February 29, 2020 [3 favorites]

"Is there any way I can get this [bile] off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:39 AM on March 1, 2020 [5 favorites]

Totally remember that Mulder was completely disrespected in the early seasons.

iirc, the sentiment persists and CSM's kid later on give Mulder crap about chasing after X-Files before his own revelations.

Never remembered X-Files having great sound work, but yeah, these first few are very strong - if feeling more "traditional"?

"Do you think I'm spooky?"

After being a gentleman, this is where Mulder shows to me that he'd fallen for Scully - maybe the moment was when Scully was quivering in his reluctant arms in the pilot.

But yeah, this was a spooky episode. That shot of Mulder and Scully, pistols drawn, entering Toomb's apartment is an iconic part of the title sequence for the show.
posted by porpoise at 3:56 PM on March 21, 2020

Wow, Scully has a terrific apartment
posted by Monochrome at 12:12 PM on March 29, 2020

Seeing Donal Logue in "total asshole" mode is... not the best look for him. But yeah, it's interesting to see Mulder totally disrespected by others in the Bureau, while Scully the Skeptic plays Devil's Advocate but always entertains his theories.

There's a lot of Early Nineties going on here, but it might be the first "real" X-Files episode in terms of tone and structure and how to really do a Monster of the Week.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:15 PM on June 16, 2020

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