Sleepless 2×4: Wrap the body to go.


Put 'er there.

For anyone who might be watching the series for the first time, you’ll just have to take my word for it that this episode is much more significant looking backward than it is watching the series from the beginning. Be forewarned, there’s a great surprise at the end of the episode that you won’t want to ruin for yourself. This is definitely a case where you should watch before reading any summaries or reviews.

This is our second government cover-up episode in a row but with a twist. For conspiracies that have nothing to do with the greater mythology I have a special category: Half-Caff. These types of episodes generally involve a dangerous cutting edge science or technology that the government it trying, and failing, to control. This episode, however, doesn’t quite fit into any category. There is a cover-up, yes, but the mythology is also a much stronger presence in this episode than we’ve had since “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×23). Since Skinner has rebelled, it seems CSM has roped himself a new puppet. And he’s a doozie.

We start off with what may be one of the series’ most compelling and mysterious intros to date. We, the audience, know we just saw a fire ravage a man’s home. So where did it go? From the teaser, we segue into a “Mulder the Jackass” routine and this is where I’d like to pause for a minute.

Mulder can be a bit of a self-important jerk at times. True, Krycek will turn out to be far worse than that, but Mulder doesn’t know that. No, he has no excuse for his arrogance. We can only explain it by assuming that Mulder doesn’t want Krycek to interfere when he uncovers some diabolical plot or some paranormal oddity. Not to mention Mulder is fed up with the FBI and isn’t interested in making friends. But are those the only reason Krycek’s getting the cold shoulder?

No one wants to shake Krycek’s hand figuratively or physically, not even Scully. During the autopsy, Mulder and Scully carry on one of their intensely whispered conversations as if Krycek wasn’t even there. Why does he get the brush off when he hasn’t done anything wrong? It’s not about whether he’s good, bad, or pathetic. Mulder works with Scully or he works alone. He doesn’t trust anyone but her. For her part, Scully isn’t comfortable with the idea of Mulder taking on a new partner either. Could, horror of horrors, Krycek replace her in Mulder’s estimation? Scully goes so far as to fish shamelessly for confirmation of Mulder’s continued affection. Judging from his sheepish response, the loneliness is quite mutual. At one point, they act like 13-year-old sweethearts who can’t get off the phone even though it’s 1 in the morning and the conversation has long since gone quiet.

I still think their relationship is platonic at this point, but judging from that conversation, I can see why my fellow Shippers might feel differently. They’re certainly not hiding the fact that they’re lonely and bored without each other. As I mentioned last episode, they’re much sweeter to each other than they were last season. However, if their relationship was a budding romance Krycek would be no threat and neither Mulder nor Scully would have much reason to resent him. After all, he doesn’t represent a potential rival love interest for Mulder (despite what Slashers may think). The truth is, at this point what Mulder and Scully have is no more or less than a perfect partnership. That’s why Krycek coming in as a new partner is enough to rattle them both. It means that Scully could be displaced.

As long as Mulder doesn’t officially have to work with anyone else, Scully can be his unofficial partner on the side. But will it be the same if he, Scully and Krycek work as a threesome? Of course not. And what if, God forbid, he actually starts to prefer open-minded Krycek? That might be Scully’s worst nightmare. She prides herself on being useful to Mulder. She need not worry. The Mulder we met in the “Pilot” (1×79) may have been looking for a more Krycek-like partner. But after learning to relish the challenge that Scully represents, Mulder would be bored out of his mind with a Yes Man.

But enough about Krycek, there’s more fresh meat in this episode. Finally, Mulder’s new, nameless informant steps out of the shadows. We only know him as Mr. X. A far cry from Deep Throat, X acts like there’s nothing he’d rather not be doing than helping Mulder. He has no intention of becoming another martyr to the cause and ominously hints that Mulder is in danger himself, and not just of being fired. X himself oozes danger. No surrogate father figure is he. Whatever fuzzy feelings Mulder might have had for Deep Throat, X isn’t poised to resurrect them. When Scully questions whether or not Mulder trusts him, Mulder can only sigh.

I’m glad the writers decided to take X in a completely different direction from Deep Throat as an informant. A simple 1 for 1 replacement would have been boring. Between X, Krycek, and CSM’s growing presence, The X-Files is quickly taking on thriller-like proportions.

…And the Verdict is:

“Sleepless” owes a little something to The Manchurian Candidate and that’s a good thing. I’m glad to add this to the list of episodes I enjoyed more this time around. Before I had slept on the plot (pun intended) and had forgotten how good the interpersonal dynamics are.

More than that, I had forgotten how perfect a set-up this episode is for the 3-episode arc that follows. I might even go so far as to say that “Sleepless” should always be watched before “Duane Barry” (2×5) to get the full effect. It certainly makes the ensuing events more sinister. Now we know that something bad is going to happen to Scully and Krycek is at the root of it. He knows what Mulder and Scully know, that he can’t fully ingratiate himself to Mulder with Scully still around. She’s too much competition.

I don’t know that this episode does its job as a stand-alone, but as a part of the series as a whole it’s valuable and effective.

B+

Randomness:

Dr. Grissom’s sleep disorder center seems behind the times considering the man has already figured out how to render sleep unnecessary. You’d think that these lesser sleep issues would be a quick fix.

CSM has reading glasses. That’s so not diabolical.

Did Krycek kill Cole on purpose? I believe so. But Cole was also purposefully trying to get killed.

Mulder makes a selfish demand of Scully in regards to the autopsy, knowing she’ll drop everything and help him. Already it starts.

Best Quotes:

Krycek: I paid off your cab. I don’t appreciate being ditched like somebody’s bad date.
Mulder: Sorry if I hurt your feelings.
Krycek: Where do you get off copping this attitude? I mean, you don’t know the first thing about me.
Mulder: Exactly.
Krycek: You know, back at the academy, some of the guys used to make fun of you.
Mulder: Oh, stop it, or you’re going to hurt my feelings.

————————-

Scully: Sounds like your new partner’s working out.
Mulder: He’s alright. He could use a little more seasoning and some, uh, wardrobe advice. But he’s a lot more open to extreme possibilities than…
Scully: Than I was?
Mulder: …than I assumed he would be.
Scully: Must be nice not having someone questioning your every move, poking holes in all your theories?
Mulder: Oh… oh yeah. It… it’s great. I… I’m surprised I put up with you for so long.

————————–

Smoking Man: What about Scully?
Krycek: Reassigning them to other sections seems only to have strengthened their determination. Scully’s a problem. A much larger problem than you described.
Smoking Man: Every problem has its solution.

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18 responses to “Sleepless 2×4: Wrap the body to go.

  1. I forgot that we were introduced to Krycek so early, as a more or less ‘pure’ character. Am I (as a viewer, familiar with the series) supposed to believe that he really did train at the academy, and that he really did follow Mulder’s work?

    His story is more tragic if he really was a young gun looking to climb in the ranks by doing CSM a favor (who probably THOUGHT he was doing Mulder a favor), but somehow the cynic in me thinks he was always a goon.

    • Sadly, Krycek’s background is never so much as hinted at. But did you know they had plans for a Krycek-centered episode 7th season? Because of scheduling conflicts, it never happened. That’s one I would have loved to see.

      Anywho, my thought was that maybe he was a real FBI Agent driven into the arms of CSM by ambition and greed. I suspect he was a goon with a plan.

  2. I love the scene when Mulder comes into Scully’s autopsy bay speaking to Mulder (as usual) and Krycek is such a 3rd wheel. He introduces himself and Scully igs him lol. They both do. They converse like he is not there.

    Sleepless is really a very well acted episode. Especially for Krycek. I like the He keeps popping into the scene during M/S conversation about their discovery on the fire, Krycek pops between the “there’s no fire!
    I love this show.

    • Me too! Isn’t this show the greatest?

      Like you said, Krycek was the perfect pest. And I think both Mulder and Scully actually enjoyed giving him the stink eye. LOL

  3. WHEN DID MULDER AND SCULLY FALL IN LOVE WITH EACH OTHER
    I believe Scully falls in love with Mulder during the end of the first season.
    Like most women, looks, intellect, he’s different. really different! Mulder when Scully gets abducted! Remember how he behaved when she was missing, when she came back? I do not think he knew how much he loved her.
    I do not think either of them were ready to admit their feelings for each other.

    • I’m still of a mind that they loved each other, but that they weren’t in love. Though a good argument can be made either way.

      I definitely agree that neither of them realized how much they cared until the abduction. That was a turning point that changed the game completely. Poor Mulder slips further down the path to insanity whenever Scully’s away!

    • For sure, Season 1 solidifies their bond, no questions asked.

      The actual nature of that relationship, however, is not so cut-and-dry. That’s one of the things I’m staying particularly alert for this watchthrough is trying to identify when things turn romantic for the two.

      It’s also entirely possible, however, that there is no such discrete turning point, and that the change is so gradual as to be undetectable!

      • Same here. I’m trying to see if I can set up a timeline for Mulder and Scully’s relationship this time around. Season 2 was a watershed period in their partnership and I have a couple of theories about it. It remains to be seen if those theories hold up as I watch!

  4. I just watched this episode on my current rewatch and I like your review a lot.
    I remember watching Sleepless for the first time back in the days and how it gave me chills to learn that “They” were planning something sinister for Scully, my favorite chracter. I really feel for her in this episode, learning that Mulder has a new partner out in the field with him while she is holed up in her Quantico office. That wistful look during the phone call tells all.

    • Thanks, Daniela! Yep. For someone who whines so much in later seasons about not having a life, Scully around this period is downright yearning to investigate the strange and unusual with Mulder. What a short memory she ends up having.

  5. I agree with your theory about M&S ‘s relationship at this stage. However I would go a little further, and say that she is behaving like I do when I’m really fond of someone but I feel insecure of my place in their affections. I get territorial and a wee bit jealous and end up giving the rival the cold-shoulder. So I could totally relate to Scully’s reactions in this ep. I think she’d developed a bit of a “professional crush” on Mulder over the course of S.1 which wasn’t reciprocated much until Mulder was forced to face up to coping without her…or maybe she was just getting too fat for his liking by S2 – just joking 😉

    • “Professional Crush!” That’s what it is. I had avoided using the word “crush” to describe it lest anyone think I was trying to say that Scully had any romantic feelings for Mulder at this stage of the game, but that’s really what it was; it’s the type of feeling, say, a newbie might have for their more experienced mentor or that young girls often have for an older girl/woman where there’s a mild form of adoration in play. I think Scully’s impressed by Mulder’s instincts. I think it is returned by Mulder, in his own fashion, because he’s usually dismissive of other people’s opinions and skills whereas he seeks out Scully’s.

  6. Not a big fan of this episode, but I must say that it was the second series watchthrough when I realized just what the creators were doing. Right away with the first episode of season 2, Scully is more touchy/feely with Mulder….I’m not suggesting that this is romantic at this point, just an ‘unconscious’ strengthening of their bond. Then in The Host, she boldly states that it would be more than a ‘professional loss’ were he to leave. Mulder tells her on ‘their bench’ that she is the only perk to his staying. But it’s not until Sleepless, and that phone conversation, that we see that there is that definite ‘professional crush’, if you will, with perhaps even the hint of something more, as both revert to very goofy adolescent behavior…they are too cute here. So, as I said, I didn’t pick up on this really the first time around, how significant the timing was. Then I realized that this was right before the abduction ‘triology’, and it all made sense, especially this very ‘sweet and meaningful’ phone exchange. We learn under no uncertain terms just how much Scully means to Mulder—and WE sense that probably even more than SHE does, because we are privy to the expression on Mulder’s face. Now we know that the creators wanted to solidfy what we are all thinking is a pretty strong bond, but perhaps needed confirmation of. Well this definitely solidified it for me! When you think about it, they really needed to show this between them, because Mulder went absolutely bonkers without Scully and there HAS to be something more to it than being ‘just’ a partner, even one with their sympatico. It HAD to be more about their deep friendship at this point, and trust that they had built….a relationship that was definitely teetering on the brink of something ‘else’.

    • Such a great observation and one I failed to point out. Chris Carter & Co. are definitely out to make it clear how important Scully is to Mulder to up the emotional impact of her abduction. It’s the best explanation for their suddenly open affection this season. That, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

      While I honestly believe they were platonic Season 2, I also think Season 2 represented the last opportunity for several years that their relationship *could* have gone in another direction.

      • Yes! I realize I’m late to the party, but I’ve been following along in your blog as I rewatch the series and I LOVE your commentary. I just watched this episode and was so so surprised about how much was in it that becomes relevant later on.

        I think you’re absolutely right, that this was the last opportunity for several years that the relationship could have gone in that direction, but I really feel like if the abduction hadn’t happened, Mulder and Scully would have absolutely developed a romantic relationship right here and now. I always believed that they were completely platonic until years later, when love slowly evolved from respect and admiration, and that perhaps they were suppressing any romantic feelings for one another for fear that it would interfere with their working relationship – but that’s definitely not what I’m seeing in the beginning of season two, especially with them split up as partners and displaying so much open affection for one another. There’s definitely a “crush” situation happening here, each of them displaying it in their own unique way, and it’s picking up speed. Whether that’s what the writers intended or even what I want to believe, it’s what’s being played on screen. Emotional trauma aside, in the aftermath of the abduction, Mulder and Scully seem to have forgotten completely about previously hurtling towards romantic bliss together and instead settled for angsty platonic devotion in the coming the seasons. Damn CSM and Duane Barry.

  7. I believe they were platonic through season 2 as well, it’s just that I see these hints that are dropped to suggest ‘more’ from time to time, at least eluding to the mutual attraction. But I see this within the next couple of seasons much more so, especially 4. I am currently only halfway through your reviews through season 2, so I’m anxious to track your ‘relationship timeline’. I did skip ahead to your Never Again review though, since that’s the episode I had been watching, then went over to XFU, and found your post which led me here. LOVE the Never Again thread! That is one episode we can really dig deep!

  8. Pingback: Sleepless « The X-Files Truth Podcast

  9. Whey were on the phone I was just waiting for a “love you/ love you too” from the duo at the end of the call and kinda made me want to be in love again :/

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