The X-Files: El Mundo Gira   Rewatch 
May 20, 2020 7:41 PM - Season 4, Episode 11 - Subscribe

After a sudden flash of light, three booms, and a torrential yellow rain take place near a migrant camp, a young woman named Maria is found dead with her face eaten away. Mulder and Scully try to find an explanation for Maria's death as well as the man who was with her.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
Not a fan of this episode, it suffers many of the weaknesses of that other Latin American one and some new ones stereotyping soap-opera/ 'West Side Story' "Latin passions."

Mulder's Spanish is horribad, and that's kind of one of the problems. But then, even Scully's Latin pronunciation is horrible. There is no regional accent that can excuse that level of mispronunciation of common fungal pathogens/ clinically relevant opportunistic infectious organisms.

And Holy Cow! Scully, upon unzipping that body bag with a body in such a state of fungal colonization must have realized that she had just released the Mother of All Clouds of Fungal Spores and at the very least should have called for a quarantine of the room, quarantine of her and the medical examiner, and prescribed broad spectrum prophylactic anti-fungals.

Even if it was a "regular" fungal colonization. But that it didn't wasn't olfactorily odious, that wouldn't be extraordinary.

Scully says that there was a ton of methyl bromide in the deceased bloodstream (not surprising, was once commonly used to sterilize soil between seasons when growing crappy monoculture crops); MB ain't great, but it's used to treat wood pallets in the US (and people are up in arms and "Oh Noes MB! Bad!"), but it's not that bad - except in very high concentrations/ exposures. Thing is, MB doesn't do much against fungi - and fungi are the primary organism that chews up wood pallets and at any rate, doesn't stay in the wood all that long (treatment is to prevent anything already in the wood from rotting the pallets rather than anything that the pallets get exposed to, which then rots the pallets).

The primary mechanism of toxicity of MB, iirc, is mostly (peripheral) neurological and potentially carcinogenic for long term exposures.

The "mycologist" scene isn't even worth commenting on.

Decent early-ish career guest role for Raymond Cruz.

Funny that the "El chupacabra vive!" graffiti has a stylized Grey head under it, which the ending is supposed to pay off. But I don't even care anymore since it stole the same idea from the leper colony episode.

Fungi, as a Kingdom level attribute, tend to grow slowly so a very rapidly growing one(s) are certainly a novelty. In saprophytic ecologies, there are multiple species doing "different jobs" and ends up helping each other out/ protecting each other from much faster growing microorganisms like bacteria. Of course, there are super oddballs like the Actinomyces* that are very high GC content bacteria that fit in many of the same ecological niches as fungi and even look more like fungi than bacteria.

The flesh eating nature of the suspect microorganism(s) - that's one of the major niches of microbial fungi; to break down stuff that most bacteria can't be bothered/ able to, but in this case, at an extraordinary rate.

No, Scully. It's a fungus that produces a lytic enzyme, at a high rate.

*the vast majority of the antibiotics currently in use are made by members of Actinomyces or are derived from naturally occurring antibiotics (anti bacterial agents) that were discovered produced by different Actinomyces - that they produce single-molecule** antibiotics is one way they compete against their faster growing bacterial cousins

In most any sample of "healthy" soil, you can detect genes - through PCR amplification, from the Actinomycetes present - that code for protein(s) that synthesize tetracycline and other molecules very similar to.

**I'll stop at "one" digression
posted by porpoise at 9:54 PM on May 20, 2020 [3 favorites]

Not a fan of this episode, it suffers many of the weaknesses of that other Latin American one and some new ones stereotyping soap-opera/ 'West Side Story' "Latin passions."

And then there's all that "these people, they love their stories" garbage. Ugh. Even the title of this episode is Spanish for "The World Rotates" which is supposedly a play on the name of the old soap opera As the World Turns. Way to trivialize a tragic event and a possible public health crisis as a silly drama that its participants supposedly "needed".

I didn't like this episode either. It didn't make sense that anyone would ever believe that Eladio had killed Maria, given the state of her body when she was found. And why would he have run off after she died? And then Lozano, who knew how Maria had died and was, you know, a law enforcement official, then supposedly facilitated Soledad's revenge killing of Eladio, because that's his culture and it's overridden his professional training/ethics? And Flakita supposedly mistakes humans in Hazmat suits for aliens? Whatever. The whole tone of this episode is insufferably condescending.

Mulder: [...] Witnesses described a bright flash about 30 degrees off the horizon, then a hot yellow rain fell from a cloudless sky. Fortean researchers call these "liquid falls." Black and red rains are the most common, but there have also been reported cases of blue, purple and green rains.
Scully: Purple rain?
Mulder: Yeah. Great album. Deeply flawed movie, though.

I did enjoy Scully's echoing Flakita's utterance of, "Two brothers, one woman... trouble."
posted by orange swan at 9:24 AM on May 21, 2020 [1 favorite]

I did enjoy Scully's echoing Flakita's utterance of, "Two brothers, one woman... trouble."

Now I'm very intrigued about your specific experiences/ observations that generated the satisfaction you got from that.
posted by porpoise at 12:04 AM on May 22, 2020

Oh, I just liked the cross-cultural universality of it. I have not had the experience of becoming romantically entangled with two brothers, if that's what you're implying.;-)
posted by orange swan at 1:03 PM on May 22, 2020

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