episode by Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
summary by Pellinor
Internal dating: No date given. "Eve", the next episode, start on November 7th 1993.
Townsend, Wisconsin. 12.57am, day 1. A sheriff's deputy sees a flickering fire in the woods and requests fire crews, before getting out to investigate.
US Space Surveillance Center, Colorado. An "unidentified bogey" is picked up on screen, manoeuvring in ways impossible to known aircraft. The Colonel, Colonel Henderson, says it's clearly a meteor and the odd movement is die to instrument malfunction. He then calls someone, reporting a "fallen angel" and asking for "Operation Falcon" to be mobilised.
Something rushes through the woods towards the deputy, who's bathed in a very bright light, screaming.
Mulder, dressed all in black and packing a camera, gets ready in a motel (also, strangely, at 12.57am, day 1, although clearly it's a whole twenty-four hours later). The television news reports that the population have been evacuated, sue to a toxic spillage from a train that the government has "no comment" about. At the same time, Mulder flashes back to talking to Deep Throat who told him about "Operation Falcon", led by Colonel Henderson, which is trying to retrieve all evidence of the thing that crashed. Mulder has twenty-four hours before the whole area is sanitised.
Mulder races through the woods (in daylight, at 1 o'clock in the morning?) He finds a triangular arrangement of posts with red beams of light connecting them, and watches the military people load up their trucks. Henderson tells them to use live rounds though the men thought it was only drill. Mulder manages to climb underneath a truck and hold on, thus getting taking all the way to the Operation Headquarters. Later, at night, he sees a lot of men in protective suits, spraying a large object under bright lights. As he takes photographs, he doesn't notice someone creeping up behind him. He's bopped on the head and drops the camera.
"You just made the worst mistake of your life, Agent Mulder," Henderson tells Mulder as he exposes the film to the light. "I'll see to it that you pay the price for putting my men at risk." It's a quarantine situation, he says, though Mulder doesn't believe a word of it, and they are trying to contain an ecological disaster. "I suggest you forget what you saw, or what you think you saw - for your own well-being," he tells Mulder, threateningly. Mulder reminds him there are troops with live rounds out in the woods. "We both know what's out there?" he says.
Mulder is thrown into a cell. The man in next cell, Max Fenig from NICAP (the National Investigative Committee of Aerial Phenomena), asks him which UFO group he belongs to. Mulder is silent, which Max says he understands - "trust no-one. Very wise." He then asks if Mulder saw anything. He didn't see anything but was just pulled over as soon as he entered the area. "It's like the Roswell cover-up all over again," he says.
Next morning, Mulder is woken by Scully coming in. "This isn't funny, Mulder," she says, firmly. Section Chief Joseph MacGrath, of the Office of Professional Conduct, has stepped in over Blevins and ordered a full enquiry, she tells him. He wants to shut down the X-Files and get Mulder out of the FBI. "What else is new?" Mulder mutters. "I don't understand you, Mulder," Scully shouts. "Why you're always defying protocol, ignoring jurisdiction." What he saw was a downed Libyan jet with a nuclear warhead, she says, but they didn't want mass panic so put out the story of the toxic spill from the train. "You really believe that story?" Mulder smiles. It may be highly classified, he says, but it's a "highly classified lie." He thinks it's a UFO and they're searching for the pilot.
Something breaks free from the beams of red light and rushes along the road. It is only seen as a distortion of the air.
Mulder is released and returns to the motel. He wants to stay and investigate, but she says the hearing is the next morning at ten and she was sent to bring him back. When Mulder opens his room he finds it trashed, and they hear a noise in the bathroom. This turns out to be Max, trying desperately to wriggle through the window. Max apologises, saying he had to know if it "really was you." Mulder says Max doesn't know him, but Max says that NICAP have been following his career, as his travel expenses are a matter of public record. "This must be the enigmatic agent Scully," he says, starting up toward her until Mulder pushes him back down. Mulder asks him who he recognised him. Max says he saw his picture in a trade journal and read his article in "Omni" about the Gulf Breeze sightings. This was written under a pseudonym - M F Luder - but surely Mulder didn't expect them to be fooled by that, he asks. "I didn't think anyone was paying attention," Mulder says. "Someone's always paying attention," Max says. He then tells them to come with him to see something "amazing." "Enigmatic Dr Scully," Mulder mouths to Scully as Max leaves.
Max takes them to his trailer. Mulder smiles, looking envious, as Max shows him round. After Mulder gets him to shut up about crop circles, Max plays them a recording of the deputy's request for help (in the teaser), followed by an urgent request for medivac.
On the phone, Henderson tells someone he calls "sir" that "It will not get away - not this time."
Mulder and Scully visit the school that's being used as an evacuation place. They seek out the widow of the deputy and ask her about her husband, but she angrily insists that she doesn't know anything. Then she breaks down and says they won't even release the body for burial. "The government can't do that," Scully says. The woman says she can't appeal, as she's been told they'll withhold her husband's pension if she talks to anyone.
Just as Henderson hears a loud and painful screech through the radio, the military team reports a target entering the area. Ordered to "search and destroy" they track it into a building, where they are attacked by the strange distortion of air seen earlier.
Mulder and Scully go to the hospital, but the doctor refuses to discuss the treatment of the deputy. Mulder asks what "they" have against him, and how they have bought his silence. The doctor then admits that men, whom he calls "fascists", came in and ordered everyone around in a way he hated. He treated the deputy and three of the fire crew, he admits, who were all dead with incredibly severe burns, but the bodies were removed before they could perform a post-mortem. When Mulder questions him, he admits it could have been sue to radiation. Mulder tells Scully that in the X-Files, this is common amongst people who have close encounters, but she says they shouldn't go any further. If he doesn't get back for the enquiry, she reminds him, there will be no more X-Files.
Suddenly the hospital is full of armed men, rushing in some very badly burned men. Mulder and Scully exchange looks, then go back to investigate. Henderson orders Mulder out, saying it has nothing to do with him. Mulder says that, on the contrary, it has everything to do with him. "We both want the same thing," he says, "only you want it dead." By hunting it down like an animal, he says, Henderson is forcing it to kill. Hendersonagain orders them out, but the doctor insists that Scully stay, due to her medical background. Henderson opposes, but the doctor says, "in here I call the shots." Losing this battle, Henderson at least manages to get Mulder thrown away.
Mulder enters Max's trailer to find him in the throws of an epileptic seizure. Max says he hasn't had an attack for years, since he was put on medication. It started when he was ten, he says, though no-one knew where it came from, and he used to wake up in strange places right through childhood, with no memory of getting there. He assures Mulder he'll be okay, and Mulder helps him onto the bed. As he does so, he sees a triangular scar behind his ear.
Mulder studies reports of two alien abductions which report a similar scar. Scully gets back, saying all but two of the men are dead. She doesn't know what hurt them, but again says they mustn't try to find out as they have to get a plane in an hour. Scully says Max was taking powerful anti-psychotic drugs and is probably delusional, but Mulder points out that Max isn't the one who thinks he is an abductee - it's Mulder's idea alone. She reluctantly agrees to take a look, on the way to the airport.
Another larger craft ("meteor") is identified by the military -"The meteor seems to be hovering over a small town in Wisconsin."
The alien distortion effect hovers over Max, asleep in his bed. Blood runs from his ear.
Mulder and Scully go to Max's trailer to find him gone, a drop of blood on the pillow. The military radio channel, that Max told them he'd found access to, is switched on, from which they find out about a trespasser at the waterfront.
Mulder is all for rushing off to investigate, but Scully says they must go to the airport. Mulder wonders why Max was in Wisconsin at the right time, and deduces he's linked somehow, through being abducted, to the alien they're tracking. "Give me the keys," he asks, and she does, reluctantly.
At the waterfront, Max is cornered by the military. By the time Mulder and Scully arrive there are some badly burnt military men on the ground, and Max is alone in a warehouse, curled up and whimpering in pain. "They're coming for me," he mutters, terrified, as the helicopters close in. Scully goes out and is grabbed by the military, who prepare to blow the door into the warehouse. Scully protests that Max needs medical help, but Henderson orders her away. Meanwhile, Mulder is inside with Max. "I won't let them take you," he says but the air distortion thing rushes towards them. Mulder is thrown through the air, and when he struggles to his feet again he sees Max hanging suspended in the air. Suddenly, in a huge flash of light, he disappears.
The military storm the place, finding no-one in there but Mulder, holding Max's hat in his hand. "He's gone," Mulder says. "They got to him first. They beat us." Mulder is dragged off by the military.
FBI Headquarters. Sitting at the end of along table, Scully is questioned about Mulder's actions. She reluctantly has to admit that he was neither authorised to investigate there, nor did he submit a 302. "Sir, it's unfair to judge Mulder by the same criteria as...." she begins, but is dismissed.
Outside in the corridor, Mulder, on crutches, jokes that they're preparing the gallows for him even now. "It was only a matter of time," he tells her. "I'm surprised I lasted this long." He limps into the hearing, as Scully prepares to wait outside for him. She picks up a newspaper about the "toxic clean-up" and puts it down in disgust.
Mulder sits before the panel, charged with insubordination and misconduct. He says a dozen men lost their lives - far more important than mere protocol. He didn't ask permission, he says, as he knew it would be denied, and gets angry when accused of violating a quarantine. "A cover-up was under way," he asserts, asserting that Max was an abductee and that everyone in the room knows this. MacGrath says Henderson's report says they found Max's body in the warehouse. "So what can I say," Mulder says, standing up. "How can I disprove lies that are stamped with an official seal? You can deny all the things I've seen, all the things I've discovered, but not for much longer, because too many other people know what's happening out there. And no-one, no government agency, has jurisdiction over the truth." He walks out.
MacGrath meets Deep Throat, who's over-ruled the decision to dismiss Mulder. He's angry, accusing Deep Throat of ruining the last best chance to get Mulder out of the way. Deep Throat says that Mulder's work - his singular passion" - poses a unique dilemma, but on the whole he's safer in the Bureau than let lose and exposed to the wrong people. "Always keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer," he says.