Herrenvolk 4×1: Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through.


Eight hours after he left her in the wind...

This will be relatively quick and painless because I spent most of this episode trying to unravel the conspiracy more so than anything else. Consequently, I have more questions than answers.

Last we left off, the Bounty Hunter had cornered Mulder, Scully and Jeremiah Smith. Smith was secretly released by CSM in exchange for curing his cancer, but the Bounty Hunter is still out to exterminate him for revealing his powers by healing people in a public restaurant, therefore risking the project’s exposure.

After a successfully unsettling teaser, we pick up in media res with Mulder scrambling to save Jeremiah Smith and so save his mother, since he believes Jeremiah can heal her. Unfortunately for Mulder’s plans, Jeremiah is too busy to save one woman when he can save the world and he demands that Mulder comes with him so that he can first learn the truth. Why characters in movies and television never tell the truth but invariably insist that in must be seen resulting in the truth never actually coming to light, well, there will never be a reasonable explanation except that what would be the point of making people watch?

I mentioned back in “Talitha Cumi” (3×24) that maybe Chris Carter needed to give us a background primer on all the species and sub-species of alien and clone. Maybe we need a primer on viruses too. I’ll warn you that I’m unqualified to give such a lesson, but I’ll share what I (think I’ve) pieced together so far…

The virus that killed the electrical technician in the teaser was some particularly potent strain of Smallpox. It’s neither the “Purity Control” virus, which we were introduced to back in “The Erlenmeyer Flask” (1×25) or the still to be revealed Black Oil virus (right now the Black Oil is still an enigmatic alien form of sentience). Why the Syndicate is manufacturing Smallpox, I have no idea.

But we do know that up until Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1979, the Syndicate was using Smallpox vaccinations to catalogue and inventory the American public, the inference being that since this is a worldwide conspiracy, international conspirators were making similar arrangements in their home countries. This provides a confirmation of what we learned earlier in “Paper Clip” (3×2), but it still doesn’t tell us what they’re categorizing the public for. The why makes sense since the WHO’s efforts to eradicate the virus would have all but ensured that nearly every child born on the planet would be exposed to the vaccine giving them a built-in cover for the conspiracy.

And kudos to Chris Carter because it’s a nice touch to let Scully solve, at least in part, this aspect of the conspiracy without the help of Mulder. This is how Scully is able to shine this episode when, emotionally, the story is all Mulder’s. Speaking of which, I love that scene where Mulder lays his head on Scully’s shoulder as he mourns his soon to be dead (or so he thinks) mother. It’s so well played by both David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson. They don’t overdo it, but you can feel Mulder’s anguish and grief and Scully’s responding compassion. This is why I love these two. ❤

Verdict:

X had to go, I suppose, and at least he died in the throes of drama. There wasn’t much left that they could do with his character in terms of developing the mythology plot, though I still feel a twinge of regret that we’re left with so little insight into his motivations. He comes back from the dead in a flashback episode, “The Unusual Suspects” (5×1), couldn’t he have come back again to reveal the origins of his relationship with Deep Throat? Even a few seconds of it?

I’ll miss you, X. I was never much the fan of your successor.

A

Random Musings:

I remember being worried that the writers were about to start something with Mulder and Marita Covarrubias, which would have turned my show into a soap opera. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Though it eventually did turn into a soap opera.

Now, where else have I seen a car crash into a telephone booth… ah yes, The Matrix.

This episode features one of the most aggravating “Mulder Ditches Scully” moments of the series. Where is that man’s sense of timing? “I need you to know that I’m okay, Scully. I’m fine.” Yeah… No one asked how you were doing.

I’m not so sure I buy CSM’s “We can’t turn Mulder’s quest into a crusade” excuse. I’m not so sure why the Bounty Hunter does.

Mulder tells Scully she can’t use her gun on the Bounty Hunter. So what does she do? She immediately pulls her gun on the Bounty Hunter.

Jeremiah Smith doesn’t talk like a human being, he talks like a writer.

I’m hungry.

Random Questions:

Why didn’t Mulder and Smith stop to get gas on the way to the farm when they knew they were headed to the middle of nowhere and might run out?? What’s more, Smith already knew about the bees and that they could kill Mulder. He wouldn’t have poured a tank of gas over his head ahead of time just in case? Those bees were flying around long before the Bounty Hunter started chasing them.

Why give all the Jeremiah Smiths the same name? Isn’t that a tip off?

How did CSM get away with releasing Jeremiah Smith last episode?

The Bounty Hunter can heal so quickly from even mortal wounds, why then is he still covered in bee sting scars at the end of the episode? I suppose this is so we know he’s not just another Jeremiah Smith in disguise?

Best Quotes:

Jeremiah Smith: You have to understand something. I must perish. Whatever the consequences to that end they are incalculable to the preservation of the larger plan.
Mulder: The larger plan? You mean colonization.
Jeremiah Smith: Hegemony, Mr. Mulder. A new origin of the species.
Mulder: I don’t understand.
Jeremiah Smith: I can show you.

———————

Scully: What I’m saying is that I think this protein is a tag. Some kind of genetic marker that was applied to me when I was inoculated against Smallpox as a child.
Senior FBI Agent: Why you?
Scully: Not just me, all of us. Quite possibly anybody who’s been inoculated over the last 50 years.
Second FBI Agent: Agent Scully, frankly, this sounds like something we might have expected from Agent Mulder.

———————

Bounty Hunter: Everything dies.

———————

Marita Covarrubias: Not everything dies, Mr. Mulder.

———————

Scully: Nothing happens in contradiction to nature, only in contradiction to what we know of it. So that’s a place to start. That’s where the hope is.

———————

CSM: You see, the most ferocious enemy is the one who has nothing left to lose. And you know how important Agent Mulder is to the equation.

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30 responses to “Herrenvolk 4×1: Don’t unlock doors you’re not prepared to go through.

  1. I was incredibly dissapointed by Mulder in this one. He abandons Scully and basically tosses his chance to save his mother aside to go to Canada with Smith. It disappoints me because in One Breath Mulder put aside his chance to learn more of the conspiracy to be at Scully’s bedside, establishing that Mulder, despite his attempts to find the truth, could put it aside for something more deeper and profound, which is love. Love wins. Not here though and that annoyed me a little.

    Great chase scenes, one of the best ever deaths on the show and as you’ve said Salome, Mulder and Scully at that bedside is unbearably sweet though.

    • I know what you mean. I’m a Mulder defender. Episodes like One Breath, End Game and Paper Clip prove he can put the people he loves above his quest for the truth, but this one’s a little harder to defend.

  2. This is not the first time, nor the last, that CSM claims “we risk turning one man’s quest into a crusade!!!!!1!!11!!”

    Spare me. The writers could have done a little better job than that. It’s their standard ‘out’ for when the conspiracy folks are in a position to too much power and need to back off. Because let’s be honest, if M/S died in some weird accident, who would care? Skinner? They already have shown means of keeping him in check… I just am not buying it.

    Also: A fair point on why Smith needed to take that little fieldtrip to Canada. It would have taken him less than thirty seconds to explain to Mulder something he already knew: his sister is gettin’ her Clone On. Big whoop.

    And aren’t Jeremiah Smith’s a dime-a-dozen? You lost this one to the ABH? Just go find another! Bleh. I don’t mean to be so negative; I really enjoyed the episode, but sometimes the mytharc episodes are a little dumb when evaluated away from the context of the show.

    Bright point: X! You spend most of his tenure being frustrated with him, but in the end he was a Good Dude, and I’m gonna miss him. I honestly don’t remember who replaces him, though (don’t spoil it!).

    • You guys are so hilarious.

      Yeah, certain mythology plot points are just better not to think too much about. Every time the Syndicate should win they back off for some lukewarm reason. Oy vey. Not that I don’t love my show, you understand. You just have to agree to suspend your disbelief.

      I’m really going to miss X. I won’t spoil it, but his successor is artificially intense whereas he was just bad (I mean that in the most 1970s, Superfly way possible).

    • Agree, agree, agree. I’ve always been annoyed with the Syndicate’s excuse for not killing Mulder. We hear it several times and it never sounds convincing. I know it’s just a point we have to live with, because there’d be no show if the Syndicate killed Mulder off, so they have to throw some excuse out there. But it never ceases to bother me when I hear it.

      I mean, really. What/who is this potential crusade they speak of? Does Mulder really have that many admirers/followers? Sure, Scully might pick up the cause – so kill her too. Who else cares? Skinner? The Lone Gunmen??

  3. This episode had Skinner giving Scully so many intense looks. I was laughably uncomfortable. I guess he’s always pretty intense though.

  4. This was rich with info on the x conspiracy. Was Gillian’s daughter suppose to be in a scene in this episode?. I heard she was in one of them but I could not find her.

  5. Maybe the bees weren’t normal and thus made the sting marks last longer on his mug…I don’t know, just thinking out loud. This is the X-Files, after all. Anything can happen.

  6. I also consider myself to be a Mulder defender (what with my shameless Mulder-love and all), but the ditch in this episode is ridiculous. God bless Scully and her ability to put up with that because I would be hella pissed.

    I would love a primer on all of the different aliens/clones and viruses. I certainly couldn’t keep them all straight back when I was a young’un, and I’m still struggling now. Can someone put that together? Please??

  7. Why did the Alien Bounty Hunter not die when Mulder stabbed him in the back of the neck with that thing (I can’t remember what we’re supposed to call it)? Am I missing something really obvious here?

  8. Just finished this one, and I have to say, when will Scully and Mulder ever learn to not give the most detailed descriptions of their whereabouts on the phone? Seriously, I about kicked myself in “Talitha Cumi” when he says, “oh, we can’t meet in your apartment, they’ll be looking for us there… let’s meet at this specific spot that conveniently includes an abandoned, maze-like warehouse…”. And again, after he ditched her, calls her to tell her exactly where he’s going… Didn’t he learn this lesson… oh, I don’t know, JUST THE NIGHT BEFORE!!?!?

    • I realize that he couldn’t NOT tell her where to meet, but seriously, this isn’t the first time this has happened… and especially with Mulder being the paranoid that he is. They should have developed some code talk by now.

      • Now, this is me reading far in between the lines, but assuming that Mulder and Scully have a life off screen and away from camera, you know, like people that exist in the actual world, I would bet that they have some sort of emergency bat signal or verbal code. Maybe Mulder was in too much of a hurry to use it… ?

    • Oh, I’m laughing so hard. That was such a great comment. Kind of like asking to be taken to an old cemetery, off the beaten path, the creepier the better.

  9. PorElAmordeequis

    If I had to wait between the end of season 3 until the beginning of season 4 to finish this episode I would be soooo pissed. Thankfully, we’re years ahead and I can watch it right away. Did anyone laugh when agent Pendrell, said that there are a lot of files on Jeremiah Smith’s computer, enough to fill 7 10 Gb hard drives? Meanwhile, I’m getting my terabyte on.

  10. “This episode features one of the most aggravating “Mulder Ditches Scully” moments of the series. Where is that man’s sense of timing? “I need you to know that I’m okay, Scully. I’m fine.” Yeah… No one asked how you were doing.”

    I just laughed really awkwardly on the train home reading this. So true!!!

  11. No one mentioned the Alberta telephone worker’s classic Canadian line in the teaser: “I just got stung by a bee, eh.” Love the “eh.”

  12. In this case I can buy the CSM’s excuse to the Alien Bounty Hunter for why they have to heal Teena/not hurt Mulder because in my opinion the CSM is clearly talking about himself here…the way he looks down at Teena as he says all that. The CSM is actually talking about losing his own drive and belief in the project. It gets me the past the obvious lameness of we can’t kill Mulder because crusade/so important/_____.

    Nagging question of my own: how did we jump to colonization? Perhaps I am just forgetting or missing details, but it feels like it comes out of the blue when Mulder says it for the first time to Jeremiah.

  13. Pingback: Closure 7×11: I guess I just want it to be over. | Musings of an X-Phile

  14. Pingback: This is Not Happening 8×14: No frickin’ way. | Musings of an X-Phile

  15. Finally a sunny episode !

    Have you noticed that most of the weather of the show is cloudy, if not rainy ? That does not promote Vancouver tourism… 😉

    And with the following episode who is, if I remember correctly a full-sunny episode, that’s two in a row !

  16. Pingback: My Struggle II 10×6: Spoken like a true psychopath. | Musings of an X-Phile

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