"It's all a game. You just take their pieces one by one until the 
board is cleared."

As if they had not lost enough pieces already the X-Files gives 
us a season five finale that leaves our heroes utterly devastated 
and literally in ruins. In the best season ender since "Anasazi", 
we are led to believe again and again that this is indeed "The 
End" even though we know it is just a new beginning. Chris Carter 
writes a tale that strips Mulder and Scully of themselves, of the 
things that have for years defined them. He shakes Scully's 
confidence in her beliefs and her role in Mulder's life. He burns 
Mulder's files (I'll bet he *really* hates fire now). He leaves 
the partners, once again so close to the truth, shell shocked and 
facing reassignment. At the beginning of the episode a post it 
note jokingly tells us "You are here" on the UFO of the trademark 
poster, but at the end that is exactly where we all are. In ashes. 
This was the X-Files at its depressing best. I hope Mulder & Scully's 
journey to the big screen is a little more pleasant.

While I enjoyed the ride, there was so much packed into this 
episode that plot points occasionally fell by the wayside. Carter 
choose to focus on the character's emotions more than the events 
this time around (much to my delighted shock) and because of that 
the events didn't always make sense. While I found the idea of 
Gibson's special talent quite interesting and important to Mulder 
and Scully's work, I can hardly see how it was the key to 
"everything" in the X-Files nor do I understand why they seemed 
so convinced that it was. Sure, it was inferred that these talents 
were alien in origin, but we've seen a lot of things over the 
years that have nothing to do with that. It seemed like they were 
making a pretty big leap to hang it all on the kid with the amount 
of information that they had. I'm also unsure as to just what the 
point of having Krycek in this episode was. Now, by his apparent
position of surly chauffeur to the Well Manicured Man, we are, I 
guess, supposed to infer some new allegiance on his part. He 
seemed just tossed into the mix without much to do. Skinner is 
again painted as en enigma as well. Having him wander around 
Mulder's office, files in hand, asking Mulder about his career 
path strongly imply he knows something is up and it ain't good.

Despite all these plot points flurrying about, the heart of this 
story quickly became the story of the child and the impact an 
outsider (in this case Mimi Rogers' Diana Fowley) has on the 
Scully/Mulder partnership. Gillian Anderson, always at her best 
at showing a Scully in turmoil, has a field day with this one. 
Saying it all without lines she give us a Scully who is
uncharacteristically distracted by this interloper and trying to 
sort out for herself why this is. Is it because Mulder never told 
her about this past? Does her sadness stem from the fact that this 
is another woman or another partner who was/is important to Mulder? 
I'm sure all this "Fox" and "Diana" stuff doesn't help matters any. 
Kudos to Anderson for delivering this all so well. That furtive 
walk by in the hallway with the sigh filled moment in the car and
the tight pained smile to Byers' comment about wondering why they 
ever broke up said it all. 

I do find it interesting that Carter chose to dwell so much on 
this particular issue. Right from the start we learn (besides the 
well known fact that Mulder has a dirty mind) that there is a lot 
of thinking about each other going on in that threesome. It is 
convenient that through Gibson we have a vehicle to read the 
psyche of these characters that seem to be spending all their 
time wondering and worrying about each other rather than the case 
at hand. By the time Scully visited the Lone Gunmen it seemed like 
getting their help on the case was secondary to grilling them about 
the chickadee in Mulder's past. Meanwhile Mulder is making it clear 
to Fowley that the partnership is working just fine thank you very 
much. Oh yeah, and there's a kid with special powers too.

Watching "The End" did give me a sense of mourning for some of 
the behind the scenes folks who will be most likely not making the 
journey for the next chapter in the X saga. Director of Photography 
Joel Ransom has really grown into the job this year. His last efforts 
just kept getting better and better. Nicely using reflections and 
just the right shadows he made the film a canvas here, and the final 
sequence that he and director Bob Goodwin constructed of a red and 
blue strobe of disaster surrounding Scully clutching at an 
unresponsive Mulder was masterful. I hope Goodwin is able to come 
to Los Angeles on occasion for an "old times sake" directing stint.

Just when I thought it was impossible for the show to give us a 
more annoying character than Marita, Chris Carter steps up to the 
plate to deliver another foul ball in Agent Spender. Irritating in 
the "Patient 'X'"/"The Red and the Black" two parter he now moves 
past that into the total worm zone. I find the whole "I'm your 
father" one big dull whatever. By the time CancerMan actually says 
to him "You're a bright boy" all I could think was that's delusional 
wishful thinking if I've ever seen it. I only wish Mulder had taken 
more of a shot at him when he had the chance.

And so we have the end to a rag tag shortened season of ups and 
downs. I'm glad to see it all end on a note filled with character 
insight and a few exciting twists. Plus, as a perk, no dead Mulder! 
Here's hoping that little head shop on M street still has a few 
posters in stock.

Random Musings
-Apparently the game has many endings. When we see the Russian 
shot he knocks the chessboard to the floor. In the very next shot 
it is back on the table. Plus, when it is shown on videotape it is 
a totally different take (again the board stays on the table).

-Too bad Scully left the hotel room before "King of the Hill" was 
over. There's a pretty cool show that comes on right after.

-Nice touch to have the opening office shot be like a trip down 
memory lane. The camera travels from the poster to newspaper 
articles on Duane Barry, Tooms, and Leonard Betts, as well as 
pictures of the Eves, the Nisei doctors, and finally a photo of 
Mulder and Scully working together (a rarity this season).

-The hospital Gibson is at is called "Inget Murray" named after 
Vancouver set designers Shirley Inget and Graham Murray. I loved 
their parting gift to us of that chess game podium. They also did 
a grand job of destroying the office they created. I guess that's 
one set that will not need to be moved to Los Angeles. I'm hoping 
the next digs Mulder and Scully get has two desks and two names on 
the door.

-Make up your mind already boys! First in "Conduit" Samantha's 
file reads "Samantha T. Mulder". Then in "Paperclip" we get 
"Samantha Ann Mulder". Now when CancerMan steals her X-File we 
are back to "T." as the middle initial. Maybe it is Samantha Tena 
Ann Mulder 

-Is it possible for the Well Manicured Man to get through one 
entire episode without that haughty angry sounding "My God" 
escaping his lips? Sure it sounds good in an English accent, 
but really, are the things he is reacting so strongly to really 
a surprise?

-Frank's Fashion Spot: Well it was nice to see that Frohike's 
vest fetish extends even to sleepwear. Though I don't really 
understand why one needs to wear kevlar and those little 
fingerless gloves to bed. I guess those boys really don't have 
homes of their own. In Scullywear, the Casual!Scully fashion rut 
is back and the long sleeved button ups have returned. I did like 
the collared blouse that she wore under the double-breasted black 
suit though. Very stylish.

-I love the disappointed look that crosses Frohike's face when 
the others come into the room breaking up his late night party 
with Scully.

-Actually it was quite delightful on the whole to have a solo 
Scully scene with the Gunmen. She was indeed taking a "walk on 
the wild side".

-I bet parachuting into the frozen tundra with one arm is no 

-Mulder and Scully are partners, right? Then why does Spudner, 
if he doesn't want Mulder's involvement, include Scully on his 
handpicked team? And even more irritating, why does Skinner 
insist on talking only to Mulder about the future of the X-Files 
asking Scully to join the rest of the folks out in the hall? I 
think it should be clear to him at least by now that her life and
reputation are invested in this as well.

-Looks like the First Elder finally got a chance to take advantage 
of the evil guy's dental plan and fix that nasty tooth problem he 
was having.

-I guess we are meant to infer from this episode that Mulder 
"discovered" the X-Files in 1991 and was working with Fowley at 
the time. I suppose this could work time wise, though I do think 
that they've inferred a couple of times that he may have discovered 
them a little earlier than that in the 1989ish time frame. Scully 
isn't the only one surprised to find out she isn't the first woman 
to work with Mulder on the files. "The Pilot" seemed to paint him 
as a little more of a lone wolf rather than a guy between partners.

-Way to put on the car alarm with the driver's window rolled down 
Spender. That's helpful.

-If she survives I think it is time for Fowley to go back to 
Special Agent school. She falls asleep while protecting the kid 
and then parades herself around in front of the window after 
hearing there is a shooter. And she was working terrorist duty? 
Yeah right.

"Mulder, he was goofing on you."

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