season 1, episode 2, “deep throat”
“deep throat” is a strong second episode. named for the informant that approaches mulder at the beginning of the episode. he is never referred to as deep throat in his premiere episode, but he is modeled after the man who provided information to woodward and bernstein during the nixon scandal. creator chris carter had an obsession with the nixon/watergate time in history and the x-files universe he created lends itself to the use of similar narrative elements. i, myself, was fascinated by the real life mysterious deep throat and loved this fictional counterpart addition to the series so early on. the whole conspiracy of government secrets, wire tapping, and cover-ups is heavy in this episode.
mulder and scully head out to ellens air force base to investigate a pilot who has gone missing. scully is confused as to why mulder is interested since there are no paranormal aspects to the case at first glance. she soon learns that ellens AFB is one of the sights where some of the wreckage of the alleged roswell crash had gone. mulder is convinced that there is evidence there to support government knowledge of the existence of alien life. he uses the case to explore that theory. scully attempts to keep mulder on track and investigate the missing pilot, but mulder feels he is really close especially after deep throat warned him against looking into this matter. as will become the norm, scully is left in the dark about it in the beginning, having to put the pieces together on her own. she is visibly irritated through most of the episode because of it. she is a little too quick and too adamant on being the voice of scientific reason. she seemed a bit more open in the first episode. i assume it’s to further cement their positions as opposites, one a believer and one a skeptic. i admit, that is one of the main reasons the show works so well with these two, but it felt more real in the pilot episode than it does in this one.
colonel budahas had been “missing” for four months. he experienced a psychotic break and was hospitalized, but no information was given to his family. his wife’s efforts to see him or find out where he was went unanswered. as the agents pursue mysterious lights in the sky and ask locals about UFO sightings, the colonel is ‘returned’ to his wife, but he’s not the same. his wife is convinced it is not her husband. the pilot is able to answer standard questions about himself, but when mulder asks him about how to do a flight maneuver, budahas can’t recall and realizes that some of his memory is missing. mulder believes that his brain had been rewired because he became a security liability. scully has had about enough of the run around and the military strong-arming. the missing pilot is back, case closed.
mulder ditches scully. as we know now, it is the first time of many. he goes to visit a hangar that some stoner kids (one being a young seth green) told him is rumored to house aircrafts that use alien technology. he is immediately apprehended after seeing what looks like a spaceship. he’s seen too much, but they can’t kill him. it’s only the second episode of the series. what they do is far more terrifying. he’s strapped to a gurney, injected with something and a scary doctor stands over him in a medical bay next to a craft that looks very similar to the one in his UFO photos. the notion that our hero will end up like brainwashed budahas is frightening. scully, in the meantime, sick of the military’s games has turned into a total bad ass, taking hostage one of the security henchmen. she may not believe what mulder believes, but she’ll be damned if anyone is going to mess with him. mulder is returned dazed and disoriented. it’s heartbreaking. in only two episodes he has seen so much and is left with little to nothing in the way of evidence. it gets taken away as quickly as he discovers it. the government’s measures to keep its secrets are “insidious,” as mulder puts it. deep throat confronts him in the end, telling mulder that he can be an asset to his crusade, but to heed his warnings; that their lives may be in danger.
the stakes are high and the audience is already caring for the characters, as they are caring for each other. although it doesn’t surpass the perfection that was the first episode, it does carry its own weight. it seems a bit more polished with its opening credits sequence and eery mark snow score. the final exchange between deep throat and mulder hints at the truths the agents will fight to uncover. “they’re here, aren’t they?” mulder asks. “mr. mulder, they’ve been here for a long, long time.”
i’m sorry, i really love annoyed scully.
i want to go to the flying saucer diner, if it exists.
love when scully calls mulder a sucker for buying the UFO photo the waitress is selling.
scully finally cracks a smile while dining with the stoner kids.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
seth green claims he had never been high before playing the stoner dude in this episode. he’s actually pretty convincing, so, good acting on his part if that is true.
mulder puts his hand on scully’s back as they go through a door. you can slightly see him do this in the pilot episode. it comes to be this endearing, polite gesture that mulder continues to do throughout the series.
m: “oooh, if you were that stoned, what?”
m: “tell me i’m crazy.” s: “mulder, you’re crazy.”