The X-Files: S.R. 819   Rewatch 
July 2, 2020 7:49 PM - Season 6, Episode 9 - Subscribe

Skinner becomes infected with a disease that confounds his doctors, keeps catching glimpses of a unkempt man lurking near him, and receives phone calls telling him that he will die.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
 
Pretty solid episode -- suspenseful and well-paced.

In this episode we see that Skinner is a force to be reckoned with in the boxing ring. But we knew he would be.

They did a good job of disguising Krycek. I had completely forgotten that it was him and only clued in when I heard his voice on the phone to Senator Matheson.

According to the Wikia page for this episode, the script included a fight between Skinner and Krycek that was cut for time and budgetary reasons. I bet Nicholas Lea was relieved -- my money would have been on Skinner in that match up.

Mulder: This morning, you woke up...
Skinner: I woke up.
Mulder: Alone?
Skinner: [shortly] Yes. Alone.


Subtext....

Mulder: This isn't that prostitute and succubus thing again, is it?
Skinner: NO IT IS NOT.

Senator Matheson: I don't have to tell you how late it is, do I, Agent Mulder? But I suspect that wasn't even a consideration of yours.

It never is with Mulder, Senator. At least this time it was something urgent.
posted by orange swan at 12:19 PM on July 3 [2 favorites]


Nice introspective episode, really appreciate the tonal change after a bunch of campier episodes (while avoiding the more annoying aspects of the Mytharc).

Ah, yes, effective disguise by covering up large parts of his face. irl, not so effective looking like a scruff which brings increased scrutiny in locations/ situations where it might be useful to be. The fake arm certainly helps, too. But Ratboy.

The evidence guy's kit - the red top 50 mL (knockoff) Falcons? Cool cool. They're handy. I use them for all kinds of stuff. The tamper evident blue top borosilicate glass flasks? Too legit to quit. Expensive, too. But those T75 flasks in the background are for mammalian cell culture.

That's not what a vial of heparinized blood looks like. I'd hazard that was water, food colouring, and crushed charcoal. That's not what "pure carbon" looks like on an HPLC. HPLC analyzes solutes not particles in suspension; the "pure carbon" would clog the thing up (or wouldn't enter the machine in the first place) and wouldn't elute out the other end to be read.

The on screen live light microscope video is probably actually red blood cells and either a surprisingly large numbers of platelets indicating a pathology, or live coccal bacteria. The "higher mag" image is CG layered on top of a real video (at a similar magnification) of packed rbc instead (if it was real, higher mag of the same field would make the cells look bigger and further apart than lower mag).

If it worked the way they show it does, Skinner would have died of a stroke before getting vein-ey. If it can't cross the blood brain barrier, then from thrombosis or renal failure.

If it was a suspected self-replicating poison, they show a shocking lack of regard for PPE.

Plasmapheresis is/ was not all that radical nor dangerous. However, they would want to do the exact opposite of extracting the fluid parts of his blood and instead do something like a leukapheresis or apheresis were cells/ particles are removed from the blood and the remainder returned. Depending on the density of the "pure carbon," existing equipment could manage it. Otherwise, the simplest method would be to transfuse Skinner at a high rate of flow with donor whole blood - combined with continual bloodletting - and dilute the "pure carbon" out of his system.

Oh. "Nanotechnology." Gray goo was coined in 1986 and this episode is a straight line descendant.

If it worked the way they show it does, I wonder what the elimination pathway of the gray goo was? Urinary? That would probably cause traumatic renal failure. Fun fact; weight loss from body fat reduction is mostly from exhaled CO2. Some of it is urinary from adipose cells getting smaller with attendant water loss, but the carbon in the actual fat molecules is eliminated as CO2.

Come to think of it, even with the gray goo inactivated, apheresis would be required to avoid that traumatic renal failure. It'd be an extremely painful way to decease.

I'd rather have the thrombosis, or even better, the massive stroke.

Having a kill switch in Skinner certainly changes the game.

Interesting choice to make Skinner try to maintain his mask, in light of this.

Mild ribbing of Skinner's succubus aside, Fox refers to him as a friend in his convo with the senator - and Scully's heart to heart with him.

Noticed that Skinner changed secretaries from the Iowa Farmgirl to a little redhead. The actress, unnamed beyond "Skinner's secretary," was credited as Arlene Pileggi.

I totally forgot about the 'Fight Club' episode; she returns as Scully's nemesis.
posted by porpoise at 8:09 PM on July 3


While watching 'Fight Club' (s07e20), I thought that Scully's hair this season is starting towards her "seasoned" look, the rounder shorter "halo." Anderson certainly got ever more worryingly leaner.

Mulder's hair really changed after production headed to LA; his part has moved to the left, and stayed there. More emphasis on "texture" tracks to the trends at the time too, and I went from a ponytail to something like his around the same time.
posted by porpoise at 8:45 PM on July 3


The actress, unnamed beyond "Skinner's secretary," was credited as Arlene Pileggi.

Arlene Pileggi often acted as Gillian Anderson's body double, which made her a natural choice for Scully's doppelgänger.

I'm not a fan of Mulder's season six hair. It's too spiky-looking on top.
posted by orange swan at 8:34 PM on July 4


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