season 2, episode 5, “duane barry”
the beginning of this season is heavy on the mythology of the series. this is the fifth episode in and it’s the first of a major three part mytharc with “ascension” and “one breath.” did audiences at the time know that gillian anderson was pregnant and that this storyline was to accommodate her time off? this was such a make lemonade out of lemons moment. creating this plot line of scully getting abducted propelled the show to new heights. it allowed for anderson to take her leave and provided the show with so much story and the characters with so much depth, especially mulder. if they hadn’t had been in this situation would the show have had the same major impact without this storyline? if they kept chugging along with MOTWs? chris carter and the writers were so good, i’m sure it still would’ve been great, but this seemingly problematic circumstance created such a wonderful moment of television and certifies the show as a seminal player on the small screen.
it all begins with duane barry and a really scary abduction scene. this is the kind of thing i picture when i think of alien abduction. and it seems truly frightening. i often have a nightmare where some evil force is after me and i can’t move or escape, some invisible presence preventing me. this would be that nightmare coming true. maybe that’s why i stayed away from the show when i was young. i figured it would be a lot of these scary scenarios that i’d rather not think about. duane is a sympathetic character, but also an aggressive one. one you feel sorry for, but, at the same time, fear. duane does not want to get taken again and you can’t blame him, that is, if you believe him. enter one man who will believe, agent fox mulder. he is called in when duane takes his doctor hostage along with some people at a travel agency. having him stop at a travel agency because he’s not quite sure where the aliens rendezvous is a prime example of the subtle brilliance of the nuances of the show. mulder is called into assist because of his expertise, but they don’t want him to use it, to feed into duane’s delusions. but, mulder is here and he wants answers, so he tells duane he’s a believer. lives are saved and duane barry is taken into custody. mulder is uneasy about it, though. he knew duane had some answers, knew some of the truths he’s been seeking.
the head of the hostage task force calls mulder in after duane barry has been checked out. she had the hospital run x-rays on him and they found metallic objects in all the areas duane claimed the aliens had put implants. scully gets one of these implants analyzed and finds an etching that looks like a bar code. curiosity compels her to scan it at the grocery store. a serial number flashes on the screen and the computer goes berserk. scully, freaked out, goes home and calls mulder. meanwhile, duane barry is resting in his hospital bed when he gets the urge to escape. in a goosebump-inducing scene, scully pauses on her message to mulder, looks out her window and gasps as duane barry forces his way into her apartment. she cries for help as she’s attacked off-screen bringing us to a dreaded “to be continued” tag.
red speedo. red speedo. red speedo. red speedo. red speedo. red speedo. say it like a calming mantra…
i love how mulder is not self-conscious or apologetic for being a believer. “is that a problem?”
duane barry reminds me of the luther lee boggs character in “beyond the sea.” they are both disturbing and intense. duane barry talking in the third person adds to this.
yeah, go fetch the coffee, krycek. i got a lot of satisfaction out of that moment. he got out his notepad. what a dweeb. hahaha.
the whole hostage situation 101 was tedious. i could’ve done with less.
the strobe and duane barry screaming in the abduction flashes is disturbing. an assault on your senses.
DO NOT tell scully to calm down!
scully coming in with that pathological liar story about duane barry seems like a total deus ex machina maneuver. a conventional contrivance that brings scully into the story and heightens the danger that mulder is in. it’s a bit lazy to me.
remember when people wrote checks at the supermarket? for amounts like $11.14? haha, good times.
did you know? behind the scenes facts:
chris carter’s first episode as director.
duane barry: “are you calling duane barry a liar?”