Episode written and directed by Chris Carter
Summary by Marguerite
Internal dating: November 16, 1998 in "real time," September 3, 1939 aboard the Queen Anne. (There is no time stamp on the end of Act IV, but we can assume that it's either late on November 16th or sometime the next day.)
We see flotsam and jetsam in an ocean, a piece of wreckage, a ship once known as the "Lady Garland." We then see Mulder, floating face-downward in the water.
The Credits Roll: DIE WAHRHEIT IST IRGENDWO DA DRAUßEN (The truth is somewhere out there)
Act I: Mulder is being hauled aboard a ship by British crewmen. They question whether he is German, confusing him. He flashes his FBI credentials, but the sailors have never heard of that organization. They take him to Captain Harburg, who subjects Mulder to brutal questioning. Mulder parries with his information about the Triangle--how their navigation is not working and that they can't get accurate compass readings. The crew listens until Mulder says that the ship has just come out of the Triangle in the year 1998...
Then they find out that a party of Germans has taken over the bridge and are demanding to be taken to Germany.
Mulder tries to call for help on the ship's radio, only to find out that England has just declared war: the date is September 3, 1939. A Nazi officer gets into the room where Mulder is hiding; Mulder knocks him unconscious. He notices that the man is Spender.
Mulder makes his way toward the stateroom, still buttoning up Spender's uniform shirt--over his own pants, which are still wet. He passes the Nazi officers who are looking for him, and a chase ensues. Mulder luckily finds himself in the ship's ballroom, right in the middle of a formal dance. The dancers flinch at the sight of the Nazi uniform. Mulder bumps into a dancing couple...the woman is Scully.
But not really Scully, as she does not recognize him. In fact, she takes him for a Nazi officer and starts to hit him, but they are interrupted by real Nazis, who take Mulder away and beat him as they head to the bridge. There we see that Captain Harburg has lashed himself to the wheel, refusing to give up command of his ship. The head Nazi orders Harburg to be shot...he turns to us and we see that he is CSM.
CSM questions Mulder in German, even though it is plain that Mulder doesn't understand. Just as CSM raises his gun to shoot, he's interrupted by another Nazi officer...Walter Skinner. Skinner recognizes that Mulder is American and demands that he be left alive.
At "Skinner's" command, Mulder is dragged from the wheelhouse, alive for now.
Act II: (present day) Scully sits at her desk (!) in an open bullpen area when she is approached by the Lone Gunmen. They tell her that Mulder's ship has disappeared, but that the Queen Anne has mysteriously appeared in the same location. Byers gives her the last known location. Scully believes them and begins a frantic, urgent search for information. (This is shown in one continuous shot of her travels through the Hoover building.)
Scully is turned away by Skinner's assistant, but barges into his office anyway. Skinner reminds her that she's no longer one of his agents and says that there's nothing he can do for her. He warns her to use her head, that it will "save (her) ass." Scully's rejoinder is "Save your own ass, Sir...you'll save your head along with it."
Angry, she takes her request to Kersh, but stops cold when she finds CSM in his office. Kersh dismisses her--but not before taking away the paper on which she'd written Mulder's co-ordinates.
Scully tries to call Mulder's cel phone, but the number is "out of range."
Finally, she appears in her old office in front of Spender. "I'm here to ask you a favor. It's not negotiable. Either do it or I kill you. Do you understand?" Scully recalls the infomation and passes it to Spender, threatening him if he doesn't help her. After he leaves, the phone rings and Scully answers. It's CSM, looking for Fowley; he's bringing news that Scully has given Kersh some information. Scully disguises her voice, but the wary CSM questions her identity and she hangs up on him.
Kersh's assistant comes to the basement looking for Scully, who says that she's waiting for Spender. But Spender, the assistant tells us, is in a meeting right now with Kersh; he's sold Scully out.
Scully gets into an elevator, and her cel phone rings. It's a man's voice, distorted by static, trying desperately to contact her. Scully exits the elevator, narrowly missing Spender, Kersh, and CSM. She ducks back into the elevator, and when it stops, Skinner gets on, his cell phone to his ear. He says that he got the information she needed.
Touched, she grabs him and kisses him.
The elevator stops and the stunned Skinner exits into the same hallway where the conspirators are still talking. He shouts back into the elevator: "And if you ever ask me to break policy or protocol I'll have you written up, wrapped up, and tossed out of the FBI for good. Am I understood, Agent Scully?" Saving them both...
Scully descends in the elevator to the parking garage, then gets into the old Volkswagen van driven by the Lone Gunmen and they speed off as Spender runs after them.
Act III: (1939) In the hold of the ship, the British crewmen tell Mulder that the Germans are interested in something called "Thor's Hammer." Mulder recognizes the term, and informs the crew (including a band of Jamaican roughnecks), that the Germans aren't interested in the munitions the boat was carrying to England, but something "far more deadly." Thor's Hammer is a man who will help Germany build an atomic bomb. He's on this ship, Mulder tells them, he's seen him in the ballroom.
The first crewman turns out to be a Nazi spy and leaves the other men to their fate.
The rest of the crew and the roughnecks decide to keep the ship from heading to Germany, no matter the cost. They and Mulder get to the engine room and find Kersh steering. The problem is that Kersh, chained to the wheel, is steering toward Jamaica. Mulder tries to dissuade the English from stopping the Jamaican course, attempting to explain that they'd never make it to England OR Jamaica, that the Germans will hunt them down no matter what course they steer. In his muddled fashion, he tries to get them to go back the way they came. His further attempt to explain the time travel is interrupted by the Nazis, who storm the room and drag Mulder away.
They take him to the ballroom, where the revelers are being held hostage. Spender translates into English from CSM's questions: Who is the man who can build the bomb? Where is he?
Mulder doesn't know. Spender counters with a threat to start killing passengers if Mulder doesn't tell him. Mulder and Scully exchange a look. Spender asks again, and when Mulder says that he doesn't know, Spender shoots one passenger, then another.
Scully steps forward and says that Mulder doesn't have the answer, that the Nazis are killing innocent people and learning nothing. Now she AND Mulder are held at gunpoint, and the question is asked again. Mulder points one of the dead passengers, a la "Schindler's List." Spender, not buying it, cocks the gun he holds at Scully's head.
Act IV: (1998) Scully and the Lone Gunmen, aboard a chartered boat, find the Queen Anne.
(1939) In the ballroom, the scene continues from Act III. Spender calls Mulder's bluff, asking him the name of the dead man, whose passport CSM is holding. Mulder can't answer, stalling by reciting a nursery rhyme. Suddenly a man comes forward, Scully's dance partner, and says that he's the one they're looking for. Immediately Scully calls him a liar and says that SHE is the scientist.
The man says that Scully works for the OSS and is traveling with him as his protector. CSM orders two Nazis to take him away and question him at length, then gives an order in German to kill the others. Just as Spender prepares to shoot Mulder and Scully, the ship's engines stop. Sure enough, the crewmen have escaped and start a brawl in the ballroom.
During the fray, Scully and Mulder disappear.
(1998) Scully and the Lone Gunmen appear on the deck of the deserted Queen Anne and start to search for Mulder.
(1939) Mulder and Scully are crawling out of the ballroom, hiding underneath table legs. He tells her that she's the only one who can save the ship, and somehow she is beginning to believe him. They exit through some red curtains...
(1998) ...that Scully now passes through going INTO the ballroom.
(1939) As they make their way down the hall that 1998 Scully just vacated, they find themselves face-to-face with the Nazi that Mulder pummeled when making his escape. The man draws a gun on them from behind and we hear a shot. Neither Mulder nor Scully falls. They turn their stunned faces around.
Stepping over the body of the fallen Nazi is Walter Skinner. In German-accented English, he says "God bless America. Now get your asses out of here."
In a double shot, we see both present and past as people go opposite one another down the corridors. Both Scullys experience a frisson of something and look back at one another, unseeing.
On the deck, Mulder tells Scully how to save the ship, trying to explain the Devil's Triangle to her. Only when he brings up Einstein's predictions about the bomb and tells her that the outcome of history could be changed does she begin to understand the severity of her mission. If she doesn't turn the ship around, she posits, not finishing the thought...
"...In all likelihood I won't exist. And neither will you," Mulder tells her. And the idea is hitting him full force. He comes closer and says, "In case we never meet again" as he gives her a hard, passionate kiss.
For one moment Scully is deeply moved.
Then she connects a right hook to his face.
Mulder, smiling, says that he was expecting her left. Then he gets on the ship's railing and plunges into the water. Scully throws a life preserver in after him, then peers over the railing.
(1998) From beneath we see Mulder in exactly the same position as in the teaser. Distorted voices speak as he's hauled out of the water. Fade to black and silence.
Mulder slowly awakens in a hospital room, his face partially in the pillow, Scully standing at his bedside. She reminds him that he went looking for the Bermuda Triangle just as the Gunmen show up with Skinner in tow. Mulder insists that they were all there.
"Right. Me and my dog Toto," Skinner deadpans, tossing flowers on the nightstand.
Mulder tries to tell Scully that she saved the world; she tries to tell him that he was aboard a ghost ship, an abandoned vessel.
The group leaves Scully alone with Mulder. She tells him to close his eyes and think "there's no place like home," humoring him. When she starts to leave he calls her back.
He sits up on his elbow, trying to get the words out. Then he says:
"I love you."
Scully rolls her eyes. "Oh, brother," she whispers as she departs.
Mulder finally turns toward us and we see a bruise over his left eye where he was punched by 1939 Scully after the kiss. He touches it and smiles.
Discussion (by Pellinor):
Right. I've never added a discussion to a summary, but I just want to address the question of whether the whole episode is a dream, since it affects other pages on my site, regarding what it to be taken as canon
Is the ship part a dream? Probably. At the end we get a teasing "was it true?" bit when Mulder fingers the bruise he got from Scully. If it was true, then how? The ship itself, as Mulder first thinks, could be stuck in a time warp, brought through it to 1998, or else Mulder himself could have gone back in time to 1939. But, if so, how were all these look-alikes of Mulder's acquaintances there in 1939? Reincarnation, like we hear about in "The Field Where I Died", when fate binds souls together, so people who know each other in one life end up together in another?
Really, though, it seems much more likely that the ship part is a dream on Mulder's part. Implausible things happen (unarmed men fighting men with guns; Mulder winning a fist fight (!)) and there are anachronisms (could be bad writing, though) The episode is a homage to "The Wizard of Oz", where it was a dream. It just seems more likely that way. People often incorporate real noises and things into dreams, so maybe his dream took all the bruises and bashes he was suffering and turned them into beating from Germans, and from Scully.
As a dream, it can reveal interesting things about how Mulder sees the people around him. Spender and CSM as evil; Skinner looking like an enemy but turning out good in the end; Kersh as independent but out for himself; Scully as heroic, feisty and desirable.
But did Mulder also dream the Scully scenes, set in 1998? Scully and the LGM did find Mulder, but did it happen as we saw it? Scully was very hyperactive, rushing around utterly focused on finding Mulder, acting unlike her normal restraint. This is rather like she was in Mulder's version of "Bad Blood", and the dream Scully in "Kill Switch" - though maybe Scully, as a normal human, has her hyperactive days, as well as her subdued days. If Mulder dreamt this too, it shows he sees Scully as heroically saving him, brooking no opposition. It also shows that he sees CSM, Spender, Fowley and (maybe) Kersh as all in league against him - Mulder's paranoia showing itself again. However, he trusted Diana in "the Beginning"... This is not incompatible with it being a dream, since he could be anxious about his wisdom in trsuting her, hopely fervently that his trust is not betrayed.
But, if so, why did Mulder dream Scully kissing Skinner...?
Anyway, I leave it up to you. I guess the crunch will come when we next see Spender and Fowley, and see if Mulder and Scully act on what Scully discovered about their loyalties in this episode.