Terma 4×10: They’re all honorable, these honorable men.

A White Russian.

Believe it or not, I have only just realized, on what must be at a minimum my 6th viewing of this episode, that Krycek is the one who ordered retired assassin Vassily Peskow on his mission in the first place under the name of Comrade Arntzen… Arntzen being the name Krycek gave when he infiltrated Mayhew’s militia back in North Dakota and set off the chain of events that would lead Mulder to him and eventually to Tunguska.

Is Krycek even Krycek? Is he the American-born son of Russian immigrants turned conspiracy double-crosser or is he a Russian-born Soviet plant named Arntzen who has been lying even to the Syndicate this whole time? My bet is that he’s a Russian who infiltrated the American branch of the conspiracy as a spy. It’s the explanation that best matches his nature.

It makes sense that the Russians would be antagonistic. For one thing, the Cold War isn’t so distant a memory from the point of view of the mid-1990’s. But also, it seems that the Russians, as far as we’ve seen, are the only major world power that’s not at least partially involved in the Syndicate’s machinations. “Anasazi” (2×25) is evidence that the Syndicate’s reach extends to at least all the WWII Axis powers that are clearly in on the game (though admittedly it wouldn’t have been tough to convert Nazis to their cause). The French are a little on the outs as we see in “Piper Maru” (3×15) when they’re scrambling for evidence and information, but there’s no indication of any antagonism. The Russian Bear is another story, however, and Krycek is the perfect face for their stereotyped image.

Getting some solid clues regarding Krycek’s backstory is tantalizing enough, but the real scene-stealers of the episode, in my humble opinion, are the darling duo of Well-Manicured Man and CSM. The barely contained antagonism between the two of them is priceless. And for once, CSM has a reason to gloat, an opportunity he relishes since usually he’s the one whose mistakes have to be cleaned up. They’re like foes that are forced to be friends.

Anyway, it would appear that some of the tension between them is caused because not only is Well-Manicured Man’s girlfriend killed, but the implication is that she was targeted because of her research for the Syndicate. She was testing a vaccine against the Black Oil on her convalescent patients. The problem is, the Syndicate wasn’t supposed to have access to the Black Oil, the samples were smuggled out of Russia as we saw back in “Tunguska” (4×9). The Russians, led it seems, by Krycek, decide to put a stop to American progress by wiping out not only those involved with arranging the experiments, but by killing the subjects also eliminating the American stores of Black Oil. This leaves Russia well ahead in the vaccine race.

The American experiments weren’t exactly speeding along anyway, since all they’d managed to do was to force the Black Oil to go dormant in their elderly test subjects. The Russians at least had a vaccine that would expel the Oil even if it didn’t yet protect against reinfection.

Maybe if our national test scores were better?

And the Verdict is…

Just on the sheer weight of its meaty revelations, I actually enjoy “Terma” more than “Tunguska”. Objectively, I’m not sure it’s really a better hour of television, but I certainly get more out of it, especially now that the storyline is finally beginning to make sense to me. Besides, who can resist Mulder sauntering into the Senate hearing to just the right dramatic beat? And who can forget that “tea bag dippin’ hand?”

“He wants you to know the Cold War isn’t over.”


P.S. As always, check out http://www.eatthecorn.com/eps/4X09_4X10.htm for some mythology clarification.

P.P.S. Updated to add this because I love it so: http://imadethischriscarter.blogspot.com/2011/09/x-files-4x10terma.html

Annoying Comments:

I love the idea of an older assassin… an assassin who shares his apples and takes the bus. He’s certainly charming enough.

The tagline for this episode, “E pur si muove”, means “And yet, it does move”, which is supposedly what Galileo said what the Inquisition forced him to recant his assertion that the Earth moves around the Sun. No doubt this is meant draw a parallel between our own little Galileo, Agent Mulder, and his, er, enthusiastic stance before the Senate committee. Too bad some of the irrefutable evidence he cited in his speech is now in question. Ah, Mulder. Even when he means well he slides so close to irritating sometimes.

Lingering Questions:

Why did the Syndicate put Senator Sorenson up to this investigation to find out Mulder’s whereabouts if they already knew where he was? I think we’re assume that it’s just to slow up Mulder and Scully’s investigation, but that doesn’t seem like a completely logical step.

Is the version of the Black Oil that we’ve seen in this two-episode arc supposed to be an even more basic form of alien life? The pre-evolutionary version of the more advanced Black Oil that we saw in “Piper Maru” and “Apocrypha” (3×16)? Perhaps this version ended up on earth accidentally via the meteor while the previous version was purposefully sent by the aliens. Or maybe the previous version wasn’t meant to be left on earth either but was a casualty of war… Color me Clueless.

Best Quotes:

Mulder: I’m not going to die.
Prisoner: No? Why not?
Mulder: I have to live long enough to kill that man Krycek.


Well-Manicured Man: [Smokes a cigarette]
Cigarette-Smoking Man: That’s a nasty habit. It’s bad for the health.
Well-Manicured Man: Health is the least of my concerns at the moment.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: Yes… [Lights a cigarette] According to reports your… personal Physician suffered a serious riding accident here on your property.
Well-Manicured Man: Dr. Charne-Sayre was murdered.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: By whom?
Well-Manicured Man: If I knew, do you think I’d be standing here talking to you?
Cigarette-Smoking Man: So… you need me now, a man of my capabilities, is that it?
Well-Manicured Man: This was a professional hit.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: Really? And you out here all alone, so vulnerable… Were you sleeping with her? Surely you wouldn’t be so foolish as to put the project at risk for the sake of your personal pleasures?


Scully: Several of the men on this committee are lawyers. It is my experience that lawyers ask the wrong question only when they don’t want the right answer.


Mulder: It’s good to put my arms around you… both of them.

14 responses to “Terma 4×10: They’re all honorable, these honorable men.

  1. Scully’s Senate hearing scenes are great. Shows how tough (i.e. stubborn) she can be (also nice M/S hug).

    I never caught on that Krycek hired the assassin, so don’t feel bad.

    I have many “Lingering Questions” about this episode:

    How did the Russian assassin just walk in and out of the secure facilities to kill all those people? I guess no one pays attention to old guys.

    Why did the assassin go thru all the trouble of carrying the black cancer rock to a Canadian oil field in the middle of nowhere to blow it up? Why not just take it back to Russia where it came from? The writers must have been bored and need to blow something up.

    Having Mulder magically transported from the Russian wilderness to the Senate hearing always bugged me. Chris Carter does this all the time, but this is one of the worst jumps in narrative in the whole series.

    • Thank you Grey Ghost, I thought I was the only ever annoyed by that. I mean seriously, they build up suspense with Mulder being confronted by the angry Russian Truck Driver with the biggest knife you’ve ever seen and instead of resolving it they…have Mulder show up at the senate, tell Scully he’s glad that he can put both his arms around her and then have Skinner say “some other time” when he offers an explanation.

      Other than that, there are some really good things going on though. I love the stuff in Russia, I adore the little bromance that develops between Mulder and the Geologist in the cell next door and finally, once again, Krycek pays a price for his treacherous ways. I love how they didn’t shy away from showing you the pain he experiences in that moment.

      • LOL! No arguing with you guys on that one.

        As to the whole blowing the rock up versus taking it back home or say, dropping it in the bottom of the ocean… wait, no. I got nothing. I was going to say that the idea was probably so that whatever oil was in the rock would mix with the real oil and so be lost to the Syndicate. But really, there were other, easier ways.

    • Glad to see I’m not the only one annoyed with how the old assassin just got away with what he did so easily (only Scully got close to stopping him at the end). You’d think once it was shown that the rock carried some form of fatal contagion, it would be heavily guarded (even if you buy that a person could walk into Goddard so easily). Also, why are there no safeguards to protect the Syndicate’s doctor and her research (they have sufficient resources to do so with minimal fuss).

      As to what the old man does to get rid of the rock, he can’t take it back to Russia because he’s not a diplomat and he couldn’t get it past customs (being a diplomat didn’t even help the guy from the teaser). Why he had to risk a border crossing to destroy it in Canada, and not just torch it in the US before leaving the country, is anyone’s guess.

      Mulder suddenly appearing at the Senate hearing was abrupt but understandable due to time constraints for the episode. Besides, we saw his action packed escape from the gulag and his plea to the trucker’s wife to help him escape the country. He still had his UN creds and a viable means to leave Russia, so all went to plan and he made it to the hearing in good time.

      • “(being a diplomat didn’t even help the guy from the teaser)” — this is an error. I meant the diplomat from the first scene after the opening credits in “Tunguska” who was detained in Honolulu airport.

  2. Yeah, but we would have lost that “Mulder running in slow motion with explosion behind him” moment, you can never really go wrong with a scene like that.

  3. Best moment of this ep, hands down (ha!) is when Scully flies into Mulder’s arms. Pure, shipper gold!

  4. I love the scene where Mulder escapes from the camp. He’s like, “Dudes, I’m out. And I’m totally taking this guy with me.”

  5. Good God, Krycek is their own personal punching bag in these two episodes. There should be a drinking game where you take a shot every time he gets hurt or abused in some way, culminating in finishing off the bottle when he loses the ARM!

  6. I’m loving the mytharc episodes and desperately trying to avoid spoilers and intimations of the eventual outcome. This makes it difficult to discuss but as usual (thus far) we’re left with more questions than answers .

    How did Krycek escape the silo? The militia guy was questioned off the record and didn’t need to lie (breaking into an “abandoned” silo is nothing compared to conspiring to detonate a big bomb). Krycek was under the black oil’s influence at the time so he wouldn’t have known where he was or how he got there and so he couldn’t have gotten word to his allies to come for him. CSM/other Syndicate member let him out? Why? Was it the UFO?Annoying why the writers make it ambiguous by having the militia guy contradict Krycek’s account, unless they plan to address it in the future.

    I agree with your take on Krycek (who just got a lot more interesting) especially since he gets chummy with the gulag supervisors, and the final scene when he congratulates the old KGB super agent. Could he even be a double double agent? Excited to see where this goes.

    And it looks like the Russians/Krycek/old KGB assassin forgot to address the diplomat (and the black oil sample he smuggled from Russia) who was detained and searched in Honolulu Airport from “Tunguska” (or they’re unaware of it). So the Syndicate (assuming they get their hands on it) still can continue their experiments.

  7. Pingback: Season 4 Wrap Up: Stand back, Scully. It’s loaded. | Musings of an X-Phile

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