X-Files Review – “Trust No 1”

The mythology of the X-Files and the
dissappearance of Mulder were the focus of last
night’s episode. Read more to see what happened.

Cast

Gillian
Anderson
as Dana Scully
Robert
Patrick

as John Doggett
Annabeth
Gish
as
Agent Reyes
Terrence
O’Quinn
as the “Shadow Man”

Crew

Written by Chris
Carter
and Frank
Spotnitz

Directed by Tony
Wharmby

Original Airdate


Trust No1
originally aired on
Sunday,
January 6,
2002.

Synopsis

Doggett and Reyes are contacted by an informant
who will only speak to
Mulder. It seems that the informant has a list
of all the super
soldiers, and wants to give it to Mulder so that
Mulder might return.
Although we’ve learned that Scully has been
contacting Mulder by
e-mail, she still claims that she cannot contact
him.

Doggett decides to do some good, old-fashioned
detective work and
track down the source. In doing so, he ends up
with Scully, Reyes,
the source, and the source’s wife and child in
Scully’s apartment.
The source claims to work for the NSA, and that
his child is as
abnormal as Scully’s. It’s not long before the
source’s employer
makes contact with Scully, revealing that they
have eyes and ears
everywhere, including at least one camera inside
Scully’s apartment.

Scully agrees to meet with the man to get the
information for Mulder.
She is led on a very long and convoluted journey
to cover her path to
meet him, and is forced to change clothes,
vehicles, etc. Once at the
meeting point, the man tells her enough private
information to
convince her that he knows everything about her.
In the end, she is
told to make sure she contacts Mulder within 24
hours.

Doggett doesn’t trust the man, so he brings the
clothes he gave Scully
to wear to the FBI crime lab to analyze. In the
meantime, Scully and
Reyes wait for Mulder at the train station on his
pre-arranged path
home. The informant and the shadow man exchanged
fire at the train
station, and the shadow man fell below the train
(which was ordered
not to stop.) The shadow man’s body was not
recovered, though.
Doggett had already found that the man’s DNA
contains some sort of
ferrite compound that defies analysis, so he
concluded that the man
was a super-soldier. The train radioed the
station to notify them of
a man who jumped off at a quarry, so Scully,
Doggett and Reyes went to
investigate. Once there, they saw a man with
hair who responded to
Mulder’s name, but were unable to track him down.
The (bald) shadow
man was also there, and he chased Scully into a
corner. The rock
walls in that corner had veins of a ferrous
compound, which the shadow
man did not react favourably to. He started to
twitch and convulse,
and then char before flying into the wall.

High Point

It’s nice to see some actual police work from
Doggett. The FBI has a
lot of resources that the X-files agents rarely
seem to use.

Low Point

The shadow man’s death. It made no logical sense
whatsoever. Unless
the supersoldiers are vulnerable to all magnetic
fields, there’s no
way that rock could have had an effect on him at
that distance. Even
then, you wouldn’t find many supersoldiers
surrounded by the amount of
electronics that this guy was working with
earlier in the episode. It
seems to me that they made the supersoldiers too
good, and had to
write in a form of kryptonite to make them mortal.

Other Notes

Some of you may not recognize the scene with the
kiss shown in the
opening credits. It was filmed as a part of
Memento Mori
back in season four, as a sort of screen test
before the movie. The
season four DVD set has a commentary by Chris
Carter which makes it
clear that the production staff didn’t want the
characters to kiss at
that time, so they deleted the scene. I’m
surprised they used it, but
with David Duchovny unavailable, I guess that was
the only footage
they had that showed a non-platonic relationship.

The Review

As well done as this episode was, the inside
informant who may or may
not be an enemy has been done several times
before, on The
X-Files
and in other places. I give the
originality 2
out of 6.

The visual effects this week were the
excellent shots from
the camera’s point of view and the shadow man’s
death. As odd and
unbelievable as that death was, it looked good on
screen. 5 out of 6.

The story was compelling and
interesting. It revealed
new information and set up a new government group
to butt heads with.
It seems as though they may be doing the
mid-season turn-around that
we saw last year, with a string of good episodes
late in the year. I
give the story 4 out of 6.

The acting this week was very well
done. Gillian
Anderson got the opportunity to show more
emotional range than she
usually does, and she used it well. Robert
Patrick again did an
excellent job as John Doggett. Reyes was not
used much this week,
which diverted attention from Gish’s still weak
performances. Terry
O’Quinn, who was not playing the same character
he played in the
movie, did a fine job, as did the other guest
stars. I give the
acting 5 out of 6.

As for the emotional response this week,
I was swept up in
the tension, even knowing that David Duchovny has
no intention of
returning to the TV series. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production this week was fantastic.
Tony Wharmby is fast
becoming one of my favourite directors. Mark
Snow really departed
from his usual choice of instruments, once again
covering new
territory better than any other member of the
cast or crew this
season. I give the production 6 out of 6.

Overall, this will go down on my
list of the best of the
mytharac episodes. It kept moving, it showed
that Mulder and Scully
did not completely cut themselves off from each
other, and in general
helped to bring what we’ve seen of the characters
in the past more in
line with what we’ve seen earlier this season. I
give it 5 out of 6.

In total, Trust No1 received 32 out of
42.

13 replies on “X-Files Review – “Trust No 1””

  1. knight_23 says:

    Terry O’Quinn
    For some reason I was thinking he was revisiting his part of Peter Watts from Millennium, but I never did see his wrist to see if he had the tatoo.

    • Dave says:

      Re: Terry O’Quinn

      For some reason I was thinking he was revisiting his part of Peter Watts from Millennium, but I never did see his wrist to see if he had the tatoo.

      Y’know, it just occurred to me that there’s a microscopically slim chance that he was reprising his role from the movie.

      Discuss. :-)

      • fiziko says:

        Re: Terry O’Quinn

        Y’know, it just occurred to me that there’s a
        microscopically slim chance that he was reprising his
        role from the movie.

        Discuss. :-)

        I assumed he wasn’t Michaud as Scully
        didn’t recognize him when she otherwise would have.

        • Dave says:

          Re: Terry O’Quinn

          I assumed he wasn’t Michaud as Scully
          didn’t recognize him when she otherwise would have.

          Not necessarily. The FBI is a big enough place that, chances are, before the day of the bomb, she’d never seen Michaud before. Even if she happened to remember the face, she would believe Michaud to be, well, chunky salsa, and so might not make the connection.

          I don’t know about you, but I’d have trouble recognizing the face of a person that I only saw once, maybe four years ago, and who hadn’t made any specific impression on me. I could pick out ex-girlfriends from four years ago, but not random people that I met in passing.

          Like I said, it’s a long shot… but things in The X-Files have this amazing way of coming back years later. In one of the “Anasazi/Paper Clip/Blessing Way” episodes (I don’t remember which), there was a very brief shot of a big dump truck in the desert, marked “Strughold Mining” or something to that effect. Then when you find out who Strughold is, in the movie, and you happen to see that episode again in reruns on FX, you think, “wow, this Carter guy planned ahead.”

          Yeah, I’m stretching like Reed Richards. But it’s fun. ;-)

          • fiziko says:

            Re: Terry O’Quinn

            Not necessarily. The FBI is a big enough place that,
            chances are, before the day of the bomb, she’d never
            seen Michaud before. Even if she happened to remember
            the face, she would believe Michaud to be, well,
            chunky salsa, and so might not make the connection.

            That’s true, but she’s recognized them
            before, too. I also suspect that Michaud’s face was
            in the media for a while after his death, given the
            reaction to the bad PR as described at the
            hearing.

            Like I said, it’s a long shot… but things in The
            X-Files have this amazing way of coming back years
            later. In one of the “Anasazi/Paper Clip/Blessing Way”
            episodes (I don’t remember which), there was a very
            brief shot of a big dump truck in the desert, marked
            “Strughold Mining” or something to that effect. Then
            when you find out who Strughold is, in the movie, and
            you happen to see that episode again in reruns on FX,
            you think, “wow, this Carter guy planned ahead.”

            Yeah, I’m stretching like Reed Richards. But it’s fun.
            ;-)

            That was “Paper Clip.” It was after
            Mulder was trapped in the train car, so it wasn’t
            “Anasazi,” and Scully thought he was dead until the
            start of that ep. (“The Blessing Way” ended with
            Scully and Skinner pointing guns at each other in
            Mulder’s apartment with Mulder just outside the
            door.)

  2. rickyjames says:

    I’m confused…

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for X-Philes with this episode. At last there was confirmation of a sexual relationship (hooray) between a lonely Scully and Mulder (the shadow man said he saw it via a survellance camera and was as suprised when it happened as Sculley was, which Scully didn’t deny) but now that Duchovney is gone, their relationship can go no further than far-away body doubles and emails (boo). In trying to reinvigorate the myth (hooray) Carter is throwing logic to the winds (boo).

    Scully goes to an internet cafe for privacy and bumps into the only other mom with a psychic baby, arguing with the guy who is monitoring Scully? Then later Scully sees the two of them arguing again right outside her apartment? OK, I’ll buy it, but only if the mom knew who Scully was ahead of time and it was a setup. But then, why did they do it at all? The mom said it wasn’t a con even when there was no reason left to lie, and the husband spilled the beans after hiding them to that point even tho he knew he would be picked up by the surveillance equipment back at his HQ. So what were they trying to accomplish other than be a plot device to get Shadow Man and Sculley together?

    And why did Shadow Man and Scully need to get together? If SM is trying to find Mulder, he’s got the email address Mulder’s using, track him down with that. If he’s trying to kill Mulder, why blow up a perfectly good SUV to (sort-of) win Scully’s trust, set up a return and probable meet with Mulder, then make a scene killing everybody on the train platform instead of just waiting to quietly see Mulder after the train stops?

    And bottom line, how does this all tie in with the original alien conspiracy? As I understand it, the Syndicate and its delaying tactics / vaccine efforts have failed, the aliens have won, and M&S are just waiting for the invasion – and the viewers of Scully’s birth are in fact the shock troops of said invasion. So presumably the super-soldiers are one last US Govt attempt to come up with a weapon to thwart the impending invasion…so they should be heros, right?

    Gilligan never got off the island during the series and Mulder will never be back during the series. Why go down this path when the viewer has data about Duchovney that is known to limit possible outcomes? Let Scully sneak off happily ever after with Mulder at the end of this season and let’s use Season 9 to build up Doggett and Reyes to take off on a mytharc of their own – Doggett’s kid, Monica’s visions. Keeping Gish and especially Patrick hogtied to do the dirty work of keeping the M&S myth going isn’t fair to them, the show or the fans. Continuing to focus on Mulder is increasingly ludicrous and is going to kill this show which could still have some life if Carter & Co. would just PASS THE TORCH TO DOGGETT AND REYES….

    • fiziko says:

      Re: I’m confused…

      And why did Shadow Man and Scully need to get
      together? If SM is trying to find Mulder, he’s got
      the email address Mulder’s using, track him down with
      that. If he’s trying to kill Mulder, why blow up a
      perfectly good SUV to (sort-of) win Scully’s trust,
      set up a return and probable meet with Mulder, then
      make a scene killing everybody on the train platform
      instead of just waiting to quietly see Mulder after
      the train stops?

      I think I might have answers for this portion. Mulder
      was using one of those access-from-anywhere e-mail
      addresses (Get yours here!), so it
      would be easier to make Mulder come to him than to
      chase him through some unknown level of masking and
      forwarding. (You can bet the Lone Gunmen helped out a
      bit on that front.) If he wrote to Mulder using
      Scully’s account, he runs the risk of missing some
      secret codeword, or Mulder replying to a Scully who
      hasn’t read the message. It’s safer to get Scully on
      board and get her to bring him back.

      As far as
      the gun fight on the train platform goes, I can think
      of reasons to do that. He can’t kill Mulder in the
      public of the train platform, after all. Instead, he
      and the informer/patsy (who I’m sure was doing what SM
      wanted, consciously or not) shoot at each other. SM
      manages to make sure he gets on the train without
      arousing a whole lot of suspicions, and takes the
      opportunity to try and find a more isolated place to
      find and kill Mulder.

      • rickyjames says:

        Re: I’m confused…

        Nice try, but I’m still confused. Yeah, Mulder was trying to keep his location covert via email, but let’s face it, the NSA, the FBI and even you and I could track somebody down via a public email address if the stakes were high enough. Besides, SM’s original claim (before admitting Mulder or William must die – but why?) was that he only wanted to CONTACT Mulder to give him info – the personal email address was enough for that, since one generally doesn’t get spam from the NSA. Our brilliant Scully should have picked up on this immediately as soon as SM revealed he knew she and Mulder were emailing – you wanna contact Mulder, you’ve had his email address for a while yourself, what’s wrong with this picture? And SM can’t kill Mulder on the train platform as he steps off the train, or even later during a private meet, but he can blast away in slo-mo against his subordinate? Like I said, logic thrown to the wind….

  3. Dave says:

    and an anonymity rant
    Those free email addresses tend to have a header embedded in ’em that can be used to provide at least a clue as to the location of the sender.

    If I were to send an email from our free email system right now, it would have this embedded in the mail headers:

    X-Originating-IP: 24.217.166.11

    This name resolves to the blatantly obvious “…charter-stl.com” which in turn points to my cable modem company (it gives the full address and contact information for my cable company, including fax number!)

    Given the resources available to Mr. Magnetic Bad Guy – it’s demonstrated that he’s able to read Scully’s email – this would be a good start towards just going to Mulder and giving him a nice personal hello.

    Let’s just say that Mulder’s on a normal dial-up Internet account somewhere. That “anonymous” email he sent would have his computer’s IP address at the time. Perhaps not the most useful thing in the world, but a couple subpoenas (or rubber-hose jobs, your call) could turn up the fact that someone at phone number 555-0690 was connected to FooNet at such-and-such a time in the evening, and had that IP address assigned to the computer at the other end of the line.

    Bam! as Emeril Lagasse would say. You’ve got Mulder’s location as of a couple days ago. Unless he’s constantly on the move (which seems likely) you’re very close. Even if he is on the move, you’ve narrowed the scope of your manhunt considerably. Doctor his picture just a little bit and put him on “America’s Most Wanted.”

    • Dave says:

      Re: and an anonymity rant
      Curses. Hit “Post” instead of “Preview.”

      Maybe the “America’s Most Wanted” part is a bit over-the-top anyway, but you’ve narrowed the scope of the search by quite a bit.

      Of course, using good anonymity and crypto tools would make the show a bit slower and less fun to watch, but it wouldn’t annoy me nearly as much. :-)

      A good link to some of the tools I’ve got in mind: Electronic Frontiers Georgia maintains a list of CPunk-style remailers, Mixmaster remailers, reliability stats, links to all the software you’ll need, links to handy tutorials, and so on and so on.

      As someone who actually ran an anonymous remailer a while back, and an (amateur) crypto student, I can say with a very small amount of authority that the technology is sound. Especially by chaining mail through multiple remailers, in multiple jurisdictions (i.e. bounce it through a couple of ’em in the Netherlands or the Caymans), it becomes effectively impossible to trace.

      Then again, it makes for bad TV.

  4. Quite a gut-wrenching episode
    This week episode didn’t really seem to be about the plot. There were some things in there to add to the continuing story, true, but it was really more about Scully’s emotional state at being kept away from Mulder and the lengths she will go to to get him back.

    I found this episode hard to watch at times. Given the opening montage from Scully to William, her getting upset when reading Mulder’s email in the cafe’, painfully re-reading the email before class, the “You can’t do this to me…I want to see him *so* bad!” lines to Doggett, and her frantic pleas to the platform manager to stop the train, it was a very emotional hour. It was one of the better performances for Gillian Anderson as she showed Scully’s pain very well.

    A great X-Files episode, whiny Nomos be damned! ;)

    seth

    • Re: Quite a gut-wrenching episode
      Damn HTML. Feel free to add line breaks as necessary.

      seth

    • fiziko says:

      Re: Quite a gut-wrenching episode

      A great X-Files episode, whiny Nomos be damned! ;)

      Hey, I am a whiny noromo! I still don’t think a Mulder & Scully romance suits the characters, but I must admit they’re using it very well.

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