The X-Files: Tithonus   Rewatch 
July 3, 2020 7:46 PM - Season 6, Episode 10 - Subscribe

When a young agent notices that a certain New York City crime scene photographer has an suspiciously uncanny knack of being first on the scene whenever someone dies, A.D. Kersh assigns Scully to the case.
posted by orange swan (4 comments total)
Of course, in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose", Bruckman tells Scully she doesn't die. Darin Morgan has always maintained that Bruckman was being kind, and that Morgan had no control over what other writers did.
posted by acrasis at 11:06 AM on July 4, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm not that kind of creeper... is still not a great look.

The open reminded me a lot of

Like one, that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head;
Because he knows, a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread.

Ah, those shoes with the light up heels. And getting murdered for them. Very TV 1998 NYC.

The knife wounds on Fellig's back is bs. There are ribs in the way, wouldn't look like that. Mammalian ribs have evolved to deflect penetration down the neuraxis (from 4 legged forms). It's easier to stab someone from an upward motion. Then there's the scapula plate too.
posted by porpoise at 3:34 PM on July 4, 2020

Alfred is a terrible man. He sacrificed a woman's life to avoid his own death, and also murdered two people with a pillow so he could what, watch them die? Some of the deaths he sees are preventable, and yet all he does is take pictures of people while they're dying. I don't understand why, if he could take Scully's place, he wouldn't have taken someone else's prior to the events of this episode.

That said, I'm not without sympathy. Living for as long as he did would be awful, especially if you're perpetually 63 (the age Geoffrey Lewis was when this episode was filmed).

Elevators don't plunge in real life -- it's an onscreen trope. And I wish producers would stop using it, because it feeds people's fears about it and causes them to panic and try to escape stalled elevators (something that is really dangerous), when it basically can't happen unless there is VERY extensive damage to the building itself. There hasn't been a case of an elevator plunging in a standing building since a plane struck the Empire State Building in 1945.

Having the people who are about to die go black and white is such a cheesy effect. I wish the producers of this show had had a little more visual imagination than to make that their go-to effect for ghosts and such.

Scully's personnel file photo that Kersh is looking at is a glamour shot of her, which is absurd. I know she's beautiful, but those photos are *never* glamour shots -- they're usually really unflattering even to attractive people.

How is Peyton Ritter on the ball enough to have noticed the discrepancies in the photos, but such an idiot otherwise? He ignores all the information that doesn't support his view of this case. The tone he took towards Scully was insufferable, and his only concern was in arresting Alfred, not in making sure he knew what was really going on. He shot an unarmed man in his own home when another FBI agent was standing right behind him. When Mulder tells Ritter he's a lucky man, does anyone else get the feeling he means, "You're lucky Scully survived your shooting her, because of what I would have done to you if she hadn't," all in a causal, ostensibly-kidding-but-not-really-kidding way?

I've been trying to date the yellow fever epidemic Alfred talks about. He says it "killed half of New York". New York has never had an epidemic anything close that extreme. There was a yellow fever epidemic in 1702 that, according to New York's then-governor, killed over 500 people, or 10% of the total population of 5,000. In 1795 yellow fever killed 730 people by the official count. In 1798, yellow fever claimed the life of 800 in New York, and another 270 died in 1805, even though the epidemic had died down by then. The 1790 census assessed New York's population at 340,120, so yellow fever wouldn't have killed more than 2% of the population in those epidemics. Yellow fever continued to plague New York throughout the nineteenth century, but doesn't seem to be counted among the worst of its epidemics after the 1820s, when it was superseded by cholera, which killed people in the thousands, not the hundreds.

Mulder tracks Alfred's identities back to one born in 1849, but if he had yellow fever at 63, the age at which he seemed to be frozen, he would have been ill with it in 1912, and the last major outbreak of yellow fever in the U.S. was in New Orleans in 1905. So I think Alfred may be older than Mulder was able to trace back, and that he may be talking about one of the yellow fever epidemics that swept New York nearly annually from 1795 to 1821. Which still didn't kill "half of New York" or anything close to half. Alternatively, Vince Gilligan didn't research his yellow fever history when he wrote this episode.

The idea that Scully is immortal because someone took her place, fulfilling Clyde Bruckman's prophecy, is pretty cool.
posted by orange swan at 4:37 PM on July 5, 2020

Mulder: Yeah, in the time that you worked with... Ms. Ermentrout did you find her to be a trustworthy person? ... Punctual. Punctual is good.

Mulder really is drawing shit assignments. I'd feel more sympathy for him if he hadn't acted like murder and sexual assault cases were a waste of his time in past episodes.
posted by orange swan at 4:46 PM on July 5, 2020

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