"No matter how paranoid you are - you're not paranoid enough."

In this enjoyable little blast from the past writer Vince Gilligan 
takes us back to May of 1989 and delivers the tale of the roots of 
paranoia on the X-Files. An interesting story with a light comic 
touch, "Unusual Suspects" chronicles that fated day when the Lone 
Gunmen - the narc, do-hickey, and the hippie jerk - banded together 
and found their religion under the influence of a mysterious woman. 
Framed as a narrative by Byers relating his story to Homicide's Det. 
Munch (Richard Belzer) we see the pieces all fall together making 
them the characters we know and love today.

Bruce Harwood lives up to the promise he showed in "Memento Mori" 
by giving us a sweet performance of a man caught up in the dark 
side just by trying to do the right thing. He establishes his 
motivations, like Mulder, as a seeker of truth. I thought it was 
a really nice moment when he shut his eyes for that last innocent 
kiss. Tom Braidwood's Frohike continues to be the lovable lecher, 
greeting potential prey with "Hello pretty lady" and the hilarious 
"Oh yeah" as the "hot" woman draws his curtains closed. Watching 
him say "act casual" while sporting that head gear gave me quite 
a chuckle. However, I have to say I got the biggest laugh in the 
episode watching Dean Haglund's Langly (aka "Lord Manhammer") 
mutter "Daddy needs a new sword of wounding" during a game of 
high-stakes Dungeons and Dragons. 

I liked the way Gilligan managed to weave that Lone Gunmen 
touchstone - the Kennedy assassination through the script from Byers 
name, to his "it's all true" paranoid epiphany, to that wonderful X 
line that names the trio: "I heard it was a Lone Gunman". Plus, the 
bit about the Gideon bibles was as inspired as that great "E.B.E." 
first meeting where they were tearing apart Scully's twenty dollar 
bill as a tracking device.

In Mulder's pre-X-Files, pre-Scully days he's just a regular agent 
with Violent Crimes and "commendations out the yin yang" toting 
around a cellular phone almost as big as his head. (Vince Gilligan 
continues to endear himself to we fans of continuity by once again 
proving he's one X-Files writer that actually pays attention to 
past episodes in making the call from Mulder's former partner 
Reggie Purdue - thank you Mr. Gilligan.)  Unfortunately for him, 
and fortunately for us, on this day Mulder wanders by a convention 
booth proclaiming "They're here!" and "alien invaders are among us" 
not too long before he gets hit with an asthma inhaler overload of 
paranoia juice. This appears to have left him with "weird ideas in 
[his] head that [he] can't seem to shake" as well as a strong desire 
to take off his clothes and bare his tan lines. I loved Duchovny's 
reading of his last line, the incredulous "What?" as the Gunmen began 
to weave their story of government deception. A paranoid is born.

Some nice work from the supporting performers here. Signy Coleman 
as Susanne (which Byers must be psychic for spelling correctly) 
gave such a nice performance shading her character's strengths and 
weaknesses that I couldn't help but wonder how things might have 
been different if she were playing Marita. It was also nice to see 
Steven Williams again. What a reminder about how much menace he 
could bring to the part with just a simple look. X's role here 
foreshadows Mulder's importance as he clearly recognizes him with 
a "no one touches this man".

To be honest, as an X-Files fan it has always been Mulder and 
Scully that interest me and those episodes that stray from this 
to focus on the other characters aren't ones that often grace my 
VCR again.  So while I can say that I found the time I spent with 
"Unusual Suspects" an entertaining diversion I can't say it is one 
of my favorites. However, what this episode does tell us fans is 
that the X-Files well has not run dry. There are still stories to 
tell and new and different ways of telling them - and by continuing 
to explore those avenues the show can continue to thrive.

Random Musings
-There's also a nice nod to continuity as far as a potential tie-in 
to the episode "Blood" which focuses on the results of public testing 
of a paranoia inducing substance.

-It was rather fitting that when Byers first set eyes on the objection 
of his obsession that she is under a sign that reads "Super Racks".

-Frank's Fashion Spot: Today's fashion spot will focus on that all 
important aspect of the show - hair. They did a pretty good job of 
recreating Mulder's early hair, which I like SO much better than 
that silly hair wings thing he sported all last season. Also, I 
enjoyed Langly's little touch of cornrow look.

-The "DigDug" master was played by the show's Prop master - Ken 
Hawryliw. He is listed in the shows credits as "Himself".

-Finally someone on the show calls Mulder what folks online have 
been saying for quite sometime: "PUNK". Now that made me laugh.

-That's our Mulder: Wandering around by himself to pursue a suspect 
that the FBI database claims is extremely dangerous to the point 
they say to call for immediate backup. Sometimes I wonder how he 
lived long enough to meet Scully if this has always been his mode of 

-Despite the fact that the names of the Lone Gunmen were leaked out 
a long time ago, Langly's first name didn't seem to make the cut in 
the episode. He'll live as Ringo only in the script at this point.

-Langly's excuse for handicapped parking: Tinnitus - a ringing 
sensation in the ears. Yup, that's a good one.

-Loved the convention war of "Quality bootleg cable" between Frohike
Electronics Corp. (complete with scary Frohike face logo) and Langly 
Vision (who closes down his booth to play in Middle Earth).

-In typical X-Files fashion the computer show's AI booth deals not 
with artificial intelligence but "Abduction Insurance".

-We get an "official" fill in of some of Mulder's personal time frame. 
Oxford 1983-86, and Quantico in 1986. 

-Where is Skinner when you need him? Those folks certainly did not do 
a very good job of cleaning up after themselves. "Buddy" never would 
have left those nasty blood spots.

"My kung fu is the best."

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