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Nothing Important Happened Today, Parts I & Ii


Guest WaveCrest

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Guest WaveCrest

I could swear there was already a TIWWA thread for the two-part story "Nothing Important Happened Today", which began The X Files' ninth and final season. But I might have been thinking of a thread started for it on a UK X Files forum I used to post on (can't remember if I started the thread for it there). After seeing your comment on your TIWWA profile page Mark about NIHT I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread here. It's one of those two-parters which some people like and others dislike.

I liked this two-parter, because of Annabeth Gish, Lucy Lawless and the water storyline. It wasn't the best X Files two-parter by any means, but it wasn't bad.

Also, the subtle teaser felt very low-key. Loved the opening camera shot of the ice in the glass of whisky (or some other spirit).

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Well plant me firmly in the catergory of folk who like this two-parter. I found it infinitely more satisfying than "This Is Not Happening"/"Deadalive" for example as it didn't have quite so many suspend-disbelief moments for me.

I think Robert Patrick gave a great performance in this two-parter. I'm of the opinion that whereas Mulder had a personal reason for being so entrenched in the X-Files cases, Doggett is much more simplistic but by no means less passionate. I was given the impression that Doggett has a profound sense of right and wrong and a moral compass that has two poles: good and bad. He has less ambiguities and inner conflicts than Mulder and doesn't invest in the X-Files by sheer virtue of what the cases are but because his time in the basement has led him to realise two things, the FBI and the military are corrupt and given his evident allegiance to both as bastions of what is good and right, he decides to stay and fight not for the truth this time but to find the bad guys and root them out.

Now I'm still struggling to wrap my grey matter around the super soldier storyline. I have made it my mission in life to find a coherent way of explaining it to myself but I'm struggling. Shannon McMahon suggests that chloramine is the culprit here, a seemingly harmless additive that is capable of mutating the fetus from the moment of conception onwards. Deadalive may suggest (though I'm not sure it does) that a viral agent is also responsible for the creation of, by that point, sixth generation super-soldiers (the seventh being William Scully who was, I assume, created via the chloramine route). NIHT also seems to infer that super soldiers are created by the manipulation of ova in vitro. Certainly aboard the USS Valor Victory we see genetic material being transplanted into the cells which could well hint at another explanation for what super soldiers are and how they come to be. Colour me confused.

One brief point. What was the thinking behind AD Folmer beyond seeking to annoy the living daylights out of yours truly? Talk about a case of too many chiefs and not enough Indians. AD Skinner, AD Folmer, DD Kersh all having a hand in the XF was too much for me. It was far too confusing and I still don't quite understand why that was thought to be a positive move.

Oh well enough ramble. Back to my super soldier ponderings.

Eth

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WaveCrest, yes the water storyline is what saved these episodes IMO. This is classic Carter taking something familiar and everyday, tap water, and building a spooky conspiracy theory around it! On the bad points of the episodes, like Eth said, there's way too much inner FBI politics going on, and the (perhaps unnecessary) addition of AD Follmer and his background of a love interest with Reyes.

Now, on the chloramine: indeed it is a simpler method to create Supersoldiers. The chloramine is somehow modified (one would presume to carry a simplified version of the Black Oil virus, similar to the modified virus that gave birth to the "Billy Miles" version of the Supersoldiers) and progressively turns a human fetus into a Supersoldier. The chloramine method was perfected aboard the Valor Victor. Presumably, before reaching a fully operational method that works just by having the pregnant mother or the baby drinking water, you'd have to test the modified virus directly on ova and embryos: hence the in vitro experiments we see hints of on the Valor Victor.

So you have:

- the older "DeadAlive" method: months of torture and skin-shedding etc

- and the new chloramine method: months if not years of prolonged exposure to the fetus and infant, but much stealthier

The older method appears to be alien in origin. This earlier generation of Supersoldiers took over the power vacuum left over by the Syndicate and subverted resources previously held by the Syndicate to its own purposes: create the second method.

If that makes more sense...

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On the bad points of the episodes, like Eth said, there's way too much inner FBI politics going on, and the (perhaps unnecessary) addition of AD Follmer and his background of a love interest with Reyes.

I'm not waving away the other points you made Oro but I have promised myself a mini-marathon of SS episodes tonight with a notebook to hand because I'm still hazy as to what I think a cohesive account of that arc looks like. It's difficult for me to discuss it really when I'm so hopelessly vague at the moment.

However, I do think Follmer was an unnecessary addition to the cast but the backstory with Reyes was one of the more satisfying things about it and I will explain why I think that. As Follmer is so glib and smug in his first few episodes I found his scenes with Reyes to be particularly satisfying as it is this former relationship that allows her to de-power him and bring him down to size a little.

Whilst he is addressing her with the full weight of his rank behind behind him, Reyes responds instead to a petulant former lover with an axe to grind. Whilst he addresses her in her official capacity as Agent Reyes she responds to him throughout the whole of the first two episodes, even when being reprimanded, simply as Brad. It's has a lovely cut-the-bullsh*t effect to it and reduces to the authority of the man in a very pleasing way.

At least that's my view and I hope one that makes sense.

Eth

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I can understand both points of view. I, too, initially thought the addition of Follmer to be unnecessary, especially after the introduction of Kersh (which essentially downgraded Skinner - though that was good for subsequent story purposes). Although it seemed that it was getting too top-heavy in terms of who was overseeing the X-Files Department, it did allow for the illustration of people who "made the grade" but not necessarily for the right reasons. In the case of Follmer, there were signals that all was not well with that character and, as Eth says, the interaction between him and Reyes was interesting - and Reyes indicating that she wasn't putting up with his bullshit was presaging Follmer's downfall. There was some clever stuff going on in that season.

Libby

"Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape." Terry Pratchett

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I agree Libby, some superb stuff did happen during the final season of the show. In a little detour from my planned Super-Soldier-catch-up I ended up watching "Release" and "4D" yesterday evening instead and those are fine, fine episodes in my opinion.

In some respects I can see a reason to justify Follmer's addition to the cast. In "NIHT" <-getting lazy we see Skinner approach Scully and reveal to the audience that he assisted Mulder in his disappearance and he questions Scully's decision to allow herself to be pulled into Doggett and Reyes' investigation into the FBI fearing that their attempts to keep Mulder safe will be compromised. All of this is in keeping with where the character would be in terms of his friendship with Mulder and Scully but it paints a reality in which the man assigned to oversee the X-Files department is no longer invested in it objectively or even interested in the efforts of the new agents and their investigations but views it very much as something his friends used to be involved in. I do hope I'm making sense here.

Doggett and Reyes needed a superior and a relationship with him/her that was grounded in them and not the last eight years of the show. Having Follmer arrive with ties to Reyes and to Doggett makes a lot of sense. I just wonder if maybe the casting choice was a mistake in hindsight. I'm not sure if Cary Elwes was a little too young to overcome some of the more annoying attributes of the character.

Oh well back to my intended Super Soldier musings later.

Eth

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