The X-Files: Unusual Suspects   Rewatch 
June 5, 2020 8:26 PM - Season 5, Episode 3 - Subscribe

At a 1989 computer and electronics show at the Baltimore Convention Center, two startup business owners and a federal employee join forces when they meet Susanne Modeski, a woman who claims that she is being pursued by her psychotic ex-boyfriend, Fox Mulder.
posted by orange swan (8 comments total)
I remember really enjoying this episode when it first aired. But doesn't it contradict what Mulder's past history was supposed to be? Not that I worried about XF continuity or I'd be crazy by now.
posted by acrasis at 10:02 AM on June 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

I like this episode, especially as the origin story for The Lone Gunmen and Mulder. Lots of cute conspiracy touchstones including dental implant trackers and Those damned Gideons. A lot of pulp noir elements, too, fitting for the Modesky actress having a career on 'The Young and the Restless.'

Rather too many women extras in the background for such a convention at the time?

Which part contradicts Mulder's past? I thought that it was established that he has a BA in psychology from Oxford (but he's not a psychologist - that might require a terminal/ professional masters/ PhD to be called one)?

I'm pretty sure encrypted files don't work like that.

Ergot derivatives get mentioned again, this time ergotamine - which is fairly benign. It's a vasoconstrictor - paradoxically used to treat migraines. Maybe adding the "-histamine" to it gives it psychoactive properties? They're just making stuff up.

Mulder hallucinating Greys felt cheap.

That's a hell of a way to open up a cardboard box.

My google play playlist indicates that this is the 100th episode (and that there are 217 total inclusive of Seasons 10 and 11 excluding movies - the Season 9 finale was episode 201).
posted by porpoise at 5:00 PM on June 6, 2020

I always thought this episode took place before the "X-Files" unit existed, and purported to show how Mulder got interested in aliens, suggesting subversively that his belief in aliens was brought on by a hallucinogenic chemical. Whereas at other times (or am I imagining this?) Mulder believed his sister had been kidnapped, and then was hypnotized and remembered the abduction by aliens. [goes online and studies]. Oh- he'll be hypnotized a month from this episode. Never mind, then. But it still seems to me to be one satiric take and one sincere take melded uneasily together.
posted by acrasis at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2020

This definitely took place before Mulder discovers (and gets assigned to) The X Files and he definitely lost his sister already. He doesn't remember as clearly as after the hypnosis. We know that he was a FBI profiler, so that's consistent with him being with the special crimes division (?).

His hallucinating the Greys is weird (as was X's behaviour trying to scare TLGunmen, and body bagging the still alive goon).

That X shows up suggests that the Conspiracy already had Mulder on the radar (from CSM, Bill Mulder's involvement); I think that Mulder might not remember X from this encounter, though.

Mulder going immediately thick with some fellow misfits (and the misfits originally hating on each other) is cute. I wonder he Mulder ever played D&D with Langly?
posted by porpoise at 5:00 PM on June 7, 2020

The Lone Gunmen originally squabbling, but they and Mulder become fast friends for life reminds me of the easiness of making friends when one was a child.
posted by porpoise at 5:09 PM on June 7, 2020

This was a cute "how they met" episode.

Mulder is wearing a wedding ring in this episode -- he does in at least one other flashback episode that I can recall -- the idea being that he was married at some point before the run of the show, though no ex-wife ever appears or is referenced. It would likely have been David Duchovny's own wedding ring, as he and Téa Leoni got married a week after season four wrapped.

Byers was named "John Fitzgerald" rather than "Bertram" because he was born on the day JFK was assassinated. Well, it's an ill-wind that blows no one any good.

It didn't ring true for me that the Lone Gunmen would buy Susanne Modeski's story to the extent that they did. They may be hopelessly inept with women, and naive, but they're not stupid. Byers hacks into a federal database for her despite the fact that the aparnet could not possibly have any connection to her supposedly abducted daughter? Come on.

I will say that although Susanne seems more than a little crazy, there definitely seems to be something going on with her situation, so it does make sense that the Lone Gunmen would want to find out the truth.

Why was Mulder the only one affected by the gas?

Mulder's brick-sized cell phone was a good gag. It's about the only one of the dated technology jokes that I got on my own. Apparently some of the technology is too good -- they show the Lone Gunmen downloading Mulder's photo and profile in an instant, which would not have happened on the 1989 internet.

The Munch appearance was fun, though as a Law & Order fan who has never seen Homicide, I would have preferred it to be a character from there instead.
posted by orange swan at 6:09 PM on June 7, 2020 [1 favorite]

Why was Mulder the only one affected by the gas?

Yeah, that doesn't add up unless the agent is highly unstable when exposed to air, and/ or its a dose-dependent thing (and Mulder got super dosed so strong hallucinations/ impaired thermoregulation [which btw, is a real side effect of serotonergic agonists] instead of the desired lower-level effect?).

The G-men did arrive in full respirators, and they wanded the air before taking them off which is what I'm basing the instability conjecture. But yeah, it's all a bit silly.

Again, they took their full face respirators off before Mulder saw them as Greys which makes it even more odd.
posted by porpoise at 6:29 PM on June 7, 2020

Another thing that I noticed. Mulder is packing a revolver, back in 1989.

Apparently the FBI started moving away from the S&W Model 13 revolvers to the Sig Saur P226 in 9mm in the late 80's, which I believe Mulder continues to use (but Scully started out with a lighter/ smaller pistol in Season 1 before switching).

The FBI switched to and standardized on Glock 21, 26, and 27's in 1997.

The goons had what look like Beretta 93R automatic pistols (which can do 3 round bursts, not the continuous fire depicted).
posted by porpoise at 6:44 PM on June 7, 2020

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