Transcript of the DVD Audio Commentary by Frank Spotnitz for the episode 'End Game'

Transcribed by: Libby
Edited by: X_Follower

[We see the submarine called USS Allegiance cruising in the Beaufort Sea, 67 miles north of Deadhorse, Alaska. Aboard the submarine, the captain runs down a hallway and enters the control room. Once inside, he is informed of an unknown object hanging below the ice that the crew has just picked up on radar. They hear a low buzzing sound and the submarine's reactor goes down. The captain tells the crew to prepare to surface.]

My name is Frank Spotnitz and I was a writer and producer on The X-Files for 8 of the 9 years the show was on the air. This episode, 'End Game', is very special to me because this was the very first episode I wrote, not only of The X-Files but of anything, I had never written anything for Hollywood before and this is my first credit. So, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

This is the cliff-hanger with which the first of this two-parter ended, 'Colony', and now we're beginning 'End Game' proper here with this stock shot which is really nowhere near Deadhorse, Alaska, but it looked convincing. And that's another stock shot of a real submarine and now we're on board a decommissioned ship that was anchored in the harbor in Vancouver. A real submarine would be much tighter quarters than this but this was plenty tight and very, very hard for a film crew to squeeze into. Incidentally, we later used the same ship in an episode called 'Dod Kalm' which is the one where Mulder and Scully appeared to be aging. And then I believe the ship was scuttled and is now under water in a place that divers can go and visit, scuba divers.

This was one of the first big production two-parters that we did. It became sort of a staple of the series and we sort of stumbled on to this formula, but they did sort of follow a pattern more or less, and the pattern was that the teaser of the second part, which this is, would sort of introduce a new element. I mean, there was plenty going on in part one of 'Colony' and suddenly here you are off the coast of Alaska in this nuclear submarine and you're wondering how this is going to reconnect with the narrative you saw last week. And in this case you have to wait quite a while before Mulder goes searching for the escaped Bounty Hunter on this submarine much later which I'll talk about more when we get there.

I like to call this episode, insane ambition, driven by incredible naiveté, because I had absolutely no idea what the limitations were of television, time or money, when I came up with this story and much to Chris Carter's credit not only did he help me enormously with the story and the script but he supported that insane ambition. He was an experienced writer and producer in television and knew how crazy it was to try to do an episode that had this scope, and yet he defended the script down the line and except for one big car chase that ended with a crash which we will ultimately did delete from the script, everything else that I had jammed into the story in fact made it to screen and I think it was one of the defining moments for the crew, at least, because everyone was so proud of themselves that they'd been able to pull this off. It also had the effect of slowing beginning to increase the budgets of the show, the producers who actually ran the physical production of the show in Vancouver started making the case for more money and the studio obliged and it was a great thing because the popularity of the show kept growing.

[Inside the motel room in Germantown, Maryland, Scully has just hung up the phone after seeing Mulder enter the room. She grabs her gun and aims it at Mulder. He manages to punch her and sends her flying into the wall. He is then revealed to be the Alien Bounty Hunter masquerading as Mulder.]

This scene was shot on our sound stage up in Vancouver in a very simple motel room set, and this was a great cliff-hanger because, as you've gathered if you've seen the episode, you know Scully was talking to Mulder on the phone and then there he is right behind her, so she knows that either the guy in the room is an imposter or the man who's on the phone is an imposter and more likely it's the man in the room. Of course, we don't know and so this paranoia which was such an important theme in The X-Files runs throughout this entire episode and this is just, you know, a great example of it. If you look at this in the context of the whole series, this was really a level of explicitness in science fiction that we had not gone to before. This is really taking Scully to a far place. She's standing, or rather not standing, being lifted up and knocked around by a guy who is not Mulder, and a lot of people worried, including us, about how to preserve Scully as a character after she had been through experiences like this. That is not Gillian Anderson, by the way, being thrown at that glass table. That little 'uh' that you hear from Gillian as she lands on the floor was insisted upon by Standards and Practices. You can show an actress being thrown into a glass table but you need to make it clear that she's not dead. That's sort of arcane, bizarre logic that you have to deal with when you're putting a show on network television.

[Mulder and Samantha have arrived at Scully's motel room. Having found it empty, they walk back to Mulder's car. Samantha tells Mulder that Scully is still alive.]

Scully is now missing, and this was another concern we had about this episode because Scully had been abducted earlier in the very same season by Duane Barry, if you recall, and so here she was being abducted again, and we worked very hard to make this abduction different in all specifics than that abduction and I don't think anybody really commented upon it at the time. This is not a motel despite that clever reflection on the car there, this in fact is right outside The X-Files production office and the glow of the windows you see there are the production offices where all of us worked whenever we were in Vancouver and where the crew, of course, worked every day since they lived in Vancouver.

[Back in Mulder's apartment, Samantha explains things about the clones.]

Megan Leitch was quite a find, you know, we had to cast this episode in 8 days as we always had to cast every episode of the series, and she just came in and read and really did a phenomenal job, I think, and we brought her back consistently over the years to reprise this role of Samantha Mulder and Samantha Mulder clone, and as you'll see in this scene a lot of the lines that she has to say are very hard, it's a very specific type of speech, not natural necessarily, and I think she does a really nice job of it. Watching the show again, I'm struck by the breakneck pace, it's just jammed with all these big turns and scenes and action pieces. This is one of the rare moments when we kind of stop to explain a lot of what's going on. At this point we felt like the two-parter had reached a critical mass, and if you didn't stop and update the audience to what was happening, they were going to be utterly lost. Interestingly, later we find out this is not Samantha, that this is a clone of Samantha, and so everything she says here may or may not be true and that's again sort of classic X-Files strategy - raise more questions than you answer, even when you answer questions be as ambiguous as you possibly can. Part of that was Chris' concern that the show not seem too sci-fi and too ridiculous because if you say a lot of this stuff straight and without elaboration or, you know, ambiguous dialogue it risks seeming kind of silly. So scenes like this made all of us, I think especially Chris, a little nervous because they just veered on straight science fiction and the truth is we never saw The X-Files as a science fiction series, believe it or not, we saw it as a show that incorporates science fiction elements but was really more of a mystery, or in these two episodes more of a suspense thriller.

[There's a knock at the door. Mulder picks up his gun.]

Again, paranoia beat here. That's why I think the Bounty Hunter was such a great villain for the show and why we kept bringing him back again and again because the idea that you can't trust anyone to be who they are is a really important part of the series.

This is probably a good point to talk about the director of this episode, who is Rob Bowman, who was absolutely fundamental to shaping the look of The X-Files and to fielding the growing sophistication of the show visually, and this show I think was also a watershed for the visual sophistication of the show, and you look at a shot like this where it is black, I mean really black, it takes a lot of courage for a director to go this dark and Rob was always pushing the show to be dark, dark, dark, and really hit those true blacks which he loves so much. And Kim Manners who came on board only a few episodes after this as one of our staff directors, he actually started, you know, just as a freelance director and did such a nice job that he came on as a staff director, engaged in a friendly competition with Rob over the years to see who could outdo the other visually, which of course served the show wonderfully.

[The visitor is Skinner, but Mulder holds him at gunpoint until Samantha tells him that he's not the Alien Bounty Hunter.]

This kind of storytelling is so hard to do in episodic television because you're trying to generate suspense which you can only do by moving the camera, by really using pictures to tell stories, and most television and there are certainly many exceptions to this rule, but most television is not about that, most television is about people talking. That's why lawyer shows and doctor shows and even cop shows to a large degree, work so well on television because they're driven by these characters who can talk about what's going on, and you look at an episode like this and it's talking but it's really striving to be more theatrical. And I think that's why so many people talked about The X-Files as trying to be a little movie every week, of course it wasn't, a movie would never have this much talking, it would show a lot more, but this genre and trying to pull off this genre is unusual on television.

[Mulder explains to Skinner that the woman is his sister Samantha, and that Scully is missing. Then the phone rings – it's Scully, bruised and battered, in a phone booth, while the Alien Bounty Hunter stands outside.]

That little shot right there of Scully is an interesting example of how you can do a lot with a little. That was simply a phone booth, you know, nowhere, you saw nothing except for Scully in a phone booth so it cost, you know, a nickel, but it was made more interesting by the lighting and by the way Rob moved the camera around Gillian while she was speaking.

[Mulder and Samantha drive on to the bridge where Scully and Samantha are to be exchanged.]

This sequence would normally be the climax of an episode, it's huge, incredibly complicated, got a lot of pieces to it, and it's just, you know, outrageous that it's act one (laughs). But I remember not only how difficult this was for Rob to shoot, how many pieces it had of film and setups, but how difficult it was edit, and we spent a lot of time and in fact there are lot of camera tricks and editing tricks toward the end of this sequence, you know, reversing film and people in fact moving in the wrong direction when they're hit by a bullet, but somehow it all works.

[The Alien Bounty Hunter and Scully drive on to the bridge.]

You get that lovely Vancouver atmosphere in locations like this. You know, you can practically feel the cold and believe me it was very cold. You see it even more in the aftermath of this, the next day, when we see the bridge in daylight. Brian Thompson, just like Megan Leitch, came in and it was just a normal casting session, you know it wasn't something where we had a lot of extra lead time to cast this character who we always intended to come back so we knew this was a big deal selecting this actor, and it was between Brian and one other actor but we loved Brian's face and his mouth and we thought it was just a distinctive look aside from his qualities as a person. And so we cast him and we had said at the time to the agent that Brian needed to get his hair cut very short because the mislead was that this was some kind of military pilot who'd been shot down off of Alaska so we wanted him to look like a military man, and when the day came up in Vancouver there was some misunderstanding and he hadn't been told about the crewcut and wasn't too happy about it, so the hairstyle you see was a compromise, it was shorter than his hair had been but not quite a military crewcut, and as it turned out I think it worked very well, probably better than a crewcut would have worked as the series went on.

[The Alien Bounty Hunter pulls Scully out of his car, holding a gun to her head.]

You know, look at all these beats here, you don't usually think about this as a viewer but as a producer and writer on television you look at all the moments that you have to play in a scene and that takes time, you need an actor who's very sensitive to finding all those moments and letting the camera support them, and again this is where directorially Rob Bowman really excelled and why he was so greatly appreciated on the show.

[The Alien Bounty Hunter now has Samantha.]

And great score as usual by Mark Snow, I mean, I think all of us just took it for granted after a while that Mark would do a great job and make everything better than it was otherwise.

[Mulder aims his gun at the Alien Bounty Hunter. The sharpshooter can't get a clear view to shoot the Alien Bounty Hunter in the back of the neck. Mulder says that there's no way out for the Alien Bounty Hunter as both sides of the bridge are covered.]

Again, suspense, suspense, suspense. Now of course the audience, never having seen this episode before, hearing him say 'Tell me where she is' that's a new element in the story, we don't know what the hell he's talking about but we'll find out a couple of acts from now.

[The Alien Bounty Hunter moves into the view of the sharpshooter who fires. The Alien Bounty Hunter, still holding Samantha, topples over the side of the bridge into the water.]

This shot, I remember having to ask to be shot and reshot, I think they finally... they did it three times before we got a version of it that looked like it was far enough away from the water, it kept looking like, you know, the splash was only inches from where David Duchovny was standing. We finally got it.

[The next day, divers are searching for bodies. Scully drives onto the bridge and stops where Mulder is looking down into the water.]

One of the great things about doing these episodes and intimidating for a neophyte writer like me, was the huge character stakes that inevitably came to play in these mythology episodes and, you know, for Mulder this could not be bigger, you know, he gets his sister, he loses Scully, he gets Scully back, his loses his sister again, it's just incredible, you know, melodrama here underneath the suspense, and quite a challenge I think for an actor, and, and especially because the turns are so fast, you know, they're happening within minutes, and David really did a phenomenal job, I think, again. Part of it is his sort of grounded deadpan manner which lends a kind of reality to everything anyway.

[Mulder has told Skinner, and now he has to tell his father that Samantha is missing. William Mulder arrives at Mulder's apartment.]

Now, it's more huge drama having to go tell his father that he's lost the sister they hadn't seen since she was a little girl. This actor, Peter Donat, very accomplished veteran actor, we had to cast from a tape because he was in Canada but not in Vancouver so we had never met him. In fact, this may sound strange to some of you listening, I don't think I ever met him in the years that he was on the show because when we were shooting in Vancouver, it just so happened his scenes were never there the days that I was there. One of the oddities of the schedule you keep on television, you don't always meet the people you work with, although I feel like I know him well because of all the hours of film I've watched him in.

[Mulder explains how Samantha has been lost.]

I was actually on set for this because this was the first day of filming for this episode, this scene, it was on a Friday night I seem to recall. And I had met David for the first time shortly before he shot this scene, and I used to tell the story at the conventions that became very popular toward the end of this season and lasted for several years, that David had told Rob Bowman 'I don't want to cry, you know, Mulder doesn't want to cry, Mulder wouldn't want to cry' and I was sort of biting my tongue because I was convinced this was a very emotional scene and that he would cry, and so they agreed that he would have his back to camera and he would turn at some point in the scene, none of this was scripted this was the blocking that he and Rob worked out together, and I realized in watching it play on the monitor that what he was saying was he was trying not to cry and I realized that that was a very smart choice because the struggle not to cry was more moving than if he'd simply cried in front of his father and really gave the scene a dimension that it lacked otherwise.

Those of the sorts of gifts that really good actors give you in a TV series, you know, week in and week out. You kill yourself trying to come up with the best story you can and right the best scenes you can in an insanely short amount of time, and then when you have wonderful actors as we do on The X-Files, they enrich it in ways you never expected and especially when Rob and Kim were directing, you know, you'd find it again and again, you put in the dailies and you'd be, you know, rewarded by what they came up with you hadn't anticipated, all while being true to the letter of the script, true to exactly what was written and the way it was supposed to be staged.

[William Mulder has given Mulder and envelope Samantha had left for him.]

This little plot device, that Samantha had left a key card instructions, I know took a lot of time for me to come up with. I couldn't figure out, there's another point in the story which I'll talk about later, where I couldn't figure out how to keep the story moving forward. You know, his sister was dead, what was he going to do, how was he going to pursue the investigation, and so I came up with this idea that she'd left him a backup before she went to the bridge because she knew that she might not survive that encounter and he was sort of her insurance policy.

[Mulder gets out of his car and his cell phone rings.]

Look how big cell phones were back then. That's not one of the ways I anticipated the show would start to age, the size of the cell phones.

[Scully informs Mulder that they have just pulled Samantha's dead body out of the river. A few moments later, Samantha's face gets green and starts melting.]

This was very consciously, you know, the contrast between his father's coldness, his accusatory tone when he tells his father about losing Samantha, and Scully's support. Scully already was much more Mulder's family than his own biological family was. This I think is one of the great images of the series coming up here in the ambulance, and just something iconic about that which is simply a mould made from Megan Leitch's face with wax and hare and a blow-dryer offscreen melting it and the film sped it, but that green is very striking and pleasing.

[Back at the Women's Center, Mulder has decided to go in and investigate, where he meets the Samantha clones.]

This is not one of my favorite scenes, I don't really love the set coming up. You know, money was an issue, of course, and so we recycled the tanks we'd used in the previous episode 'Colony' and dressed this room with them, and, you know, the computer graphics were not really as powerful and sophisticated then as they are now, it's amazing how quickly these things have changed, so we were pretty limited in what we could do with these clones. Not my favorite, and such a hard thing for David to play and to play it in pieces because the premise had to be chopped up so that Megan Leitch could be standing in different places around him while he said his lines. Again, you know, this is sort of what I was talking about earlier, all these hairpin emotional turns that Mulder has to make here. You know, no sooner has Scully confirmed for him that his sister is indeed dead, then there she is alive, only it's not her, as we'll see - it's her, and her, and her, and her.

[Mulder realises that he's been lied to.]

This was also a hard scene to write. Everything about it was hard.

[Another Samantha clone appears.]

You can see what I'm talking about now. As much as possible, this was done without CG, this was done with, you know, the camera, putting the actress in different positions around David, you can see them all in the same frame, of course it would have been much more effective if they'd all been in the same frame. We weren't too pleased with the effect of all those doctors standing together, 'you must help us' or whatever they say in 'Colony' so this was a different approach that was certainly cost-effective.

[A fourth clone appears, this one dressed the same as when Mulder saw the first clone at Martha's Vineyard.]

There had been a lot of disapproval of this two-parter by people in and outside of the show, you know, on the lot, because it was the most explicitly sci-fi story we had ever done, and I think people felt like we were sort of giving away the store, and it wasn't going to be a good thing for the show, but I think Chris and David who contributed, you know, one of the major story elements here, story ideas in this two-parter, the Bounty Hunter storyline, felt that it was time for the show to up the ante and I guess the fact that the show continued to grow in popularity vindicated that judgment.

[A fire alarm sounds. Mulder goes to investigate and gets knocked out by the Alien Bounty Hunter.]

Some of these shots are not even David Duchovny, David had a fantastic double up there in Vancouver and so you'd never know. That device that the Bounty Hunter is holding in his hand, that alien stiletto, is another example of the kind of the explicitly sci-fi element that we never would have dared done before. I say 'we', you know, I wasn't on the show for that long before this episode was written.

[Later, the fire trucks arrive and firemen run around.]

This is a stock shot and interestingly it's the only usable stock shot we could find, and it was a night stock shot, that was not daylight and so Paul Rabwin had to go in - Paul Rabwin was our producer in charge of post-production - and painted, if you will, on computer to make it look like daylight. All this dialogue was stuck in over David's back and the fireman's back to make sense of the story, it was not originally scripted, as was this scene here of Scully typing at her computer and her voice-over sort of bringing us all up to date. We shot the episode and this scene did not exist, instead we went to the scene that you see a piece of here, which is she looks at the body of the dead FBI agent and learns that his blood has coagulated and when we cut the show together we realized it was just too sharp a turn in the story and what we really needed was a scene that was going to change the whole direction of the narrative away from the Samantha storyline and toward the pursuit of the Bounty Hunter, and so Chris came up with the idea of writing this voice-over for Scully, sort of cannibalizing this scene, this was actually a scene, you don't really hear what they're saying now, but that actually was a scene right there and then bridging, you know, the voice-over with the piece of the scene we'd shot which was a very smart thing to do because it really helped the audience along.

[A pathologist and Scully examine a sample of blood through a microscope. It shows that the blood contains retroviruses.]

My brother is a neurologist, as it happens, and so virtually all the research about retroviruses in The X-Files, in my episodes anyway, came from my brother, I would call him and try and get sort of cutting edge medical science in the show. He had also, that same season, my second episode, 'Our Town', given me the idea of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, mad cow disease, which at the time was not well known.

[Mulder and X meet outside the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.]

That's an interesting shot, as is this. We were nearly done with this episode and we had no establishing shots of Lincoln Center... oh, sorry, Kennedy Center, we had this, we had this scene and just a little legend over the scene saying, you know, 'Washington, D.C.' and it just looked cheap, and so Chris had the brilliant idea of having a tiny crew in Washington that we usually employed to pick up our stock shots of the FBI building, go with a double for X and grab those two shots, minimal cost, just do it. And I will say now that he did not ask the studio's permission, because he knew that if the studio were asked they would say no, he just did it. And I was kind of nervous about this and he said, 'you know what, they'll be mad for a day, but you'll have this film forever'. And sure enough they found out about it two days later, there was a lot of screaming, but now I get to look at this episode almost ten years later and see that film which lasts a lot longer than the screams of the studio executives.

[Scully is in Mulder's apartment. She finds the message from Mulder on his computer.]

You know, if you're an X-Files fan this episode just has so many big, big moments in it, you know, the stuff with Mulder and his mother, his father, his sister, and now this - Scully making contact with X that had never happened before. Here's another way you can see that the time has passed, look at the graphics on the computer which were utterly up-to-date at the time this episode was shot and now look pretty primitive. One of the nice things about this is that voice-over and what he said to her, I got to work on it, you know, after the episode had been shot, there was a version of it in the original script but I had more time, the luxury of more time to really try and make it as good as I could.

[Scully goes to Skinner asking for help in finding Mulder.]

Scully coming in to Skinner unannounced, you know, it's hard to remember now but Scully was such a straight arrow in the early seasons, and so eager to please her superiors and still wanted to have a career at the FBI, she was not as invested in Mulder's quest as she would become shortly after this, I would argue, you know, after her sister died at the beginning of season 3, but this was a big deal for her back then. Chris teased me quite a bit about a line of dialogue in here which he was thought was 'What does that mean?', which is Scully asking Skinner to help her, he heard it through unofficial channels, so what our unofficial channels are, you know, people he can go to outside of his normal chain of command, he just thought unofficial channels was kind of a silly term and he put a line in later which you will see which made the unofficial channels reference worth including. This was also the first time, I believe, that Skinner really stepped out on behalf of Mulder and Scully, in this episode, he was still the man in the middle and this was sort of a brave move in the direction of helping the good guys.

[Skinner has said he won't help, but after Scully leaves he's not happy about that.]

What to do, what to do. I think Mitch had a great time with this episode and was very happy for the chance to do something new with Skinner, get him out of the office, away from that desk.

[Scully has fallen ascleep in Mulder's apartment. The X signal is on the window.]

This X, of course, owes everything to "All the President's Men", the famous red flag that Robert Redford, or, you know, the Bob Woodward character, would put in his flower pot to summon Deep Throat.

[Later, Scully meets X at Mulder's hallway. X refuses to help her and he has a fight with Skinner inside the elevator.]

OK, this was another problem I faced as a writer. I told you earlier about how I came up with the key card and the note to help Mulder move forward with his investigation, and I really had no idea, once Mulder leaves for Alaska without telling Scully or Skinner where he was going, how she was going to find him. And I really had no idea how she'd persuade X to tell her, I mean I certainly knew she would try and contact X, I came up with that idea, but I couldn't figure how she'd actually persuade him to give her the information she wanted. And I struggled, and struggled, and I am not exaggerating when I say I spent late, late nights at the office, you know, until 11, 12 o'clock, by myself at my desk, trying to figure out how to get past this, and finally one night, Chris called me up and he said, 'why don't we just have Skinner beat the information out of him?' and I laughed and said 'can we do that?' and this elevator fight was more than a little bit inspired by a fantastic elevator fight that's in a James Bond movie called 'Diamonds Are Forever' with Sean Connery, and they had a much more elaborate and impressive elevator than we have here, but this was still pretty, pretty darn exciting. That was a great thing. Both Steven Williams, who did such a fantastic job playing X, and Mitch Pileggi just had a ball with this, and the elevator - that's a set - you know, the walls were swaying with the impact of their bodies, they really got into this. And of course they would always joke and argue about who won this fight if X hadn't pulled the gun. Here you go, here's the pay off.

[Skinner relays the information to Scully.]

This is research: Rollagon, all-terrain vehicle; Deadhorse, Alaska; all gotten from books, I've never been to Alaska. Here you go, here's the line.

[Scully: How did you get this?
Skinner: Unofficial channels.]

There you go. All that teasing was worth something.

[Mulder finds the submarine, the conning tower poking up through the ice.]

Well, this was an image that Chris had on his bulletin board from the day I started work on The X-Files. He had torn a photograph from the New York Times science section and it was striking, it showed a submarine conning tower, it looked exactly like this, poking through the ice, and he thought it was the coolest thing and he had to find a way to work it into an episode. So, his direction to me when I was working on the story for 'End Game' was, you know, make sure that he ends up in the submarine conning tower (laughs) and so, you know, you kind of work backwards from that, it's reverse engineering. This alone was enormous deal and sort of unbelievable that we did, and nobody in Vancouver certainly had ever heard of a television series doing something like this. I can't say I've heard of it anywhere. We had to freeze an entire sound stage, which is quite a large structure, haul in many tons of ice and snow and build a full-size submarine conning tower and our incredible production designer, Graeme Murray, built this. And it was just really cool and really exciting and everybody was thrilled to mount this enormous challenge. Now this, of course, is not real submarine, now we're back on that decommissioned ship I told you about earlier, where the teaser of this episode was shot. Incidentally, Rob Bowman - I should have mentioned this in the beginning - directed a lot of episodes of "Star Trek", so in the beginning when you see the shake, the camera shake, and the people, you know, at their stations being jostled and the sparks flying, that was all Rob's Star Trek experience coming in handy.

[Mulder investigates the darkened submarine and finds the dead bodies. He hears a noise and chases after someone running away.]

I thought this was pretty spooky, submarine, under the ice, full of dead people. Just, you know, great John Bartley cinematngraphy, great direction by Rob Bowman, classic X-Files flashlight stuff. And Mulder getting to be more of an action hero. He'd done some action stuff in, you know, the 'Duane Barry' three-parter, getting on the funicular and stuff, but this was really going more in a action hero vein than the show had typically done.

[Mulder finds the man who's been running away from him. The man identifies himself as Lieutenant Terry Wilmer.]

That very same room was prominent in 'Dod Kalm'. This is a terrific actor, Colin Cunningham, and we used him repeatedly in the show in different roles. He was unrecognizable in '731' the next year, he played one of the victims of the genetic experiments. We used him again in 'Wetwired' and one of Rob Bowman's favorite actors.

[Mulder interrogates the man.]

I would type notes on every scene, single spaced, detailed notes, and send them to Rob Bowman in his hotel room, The Sutton Place Hotel in Vancouver, every night, before he began shooting the next day's work to sort of remind him of everything that I was thinking about the scene, all the nuances, details, everything that I was hoping he would capture when he shot it, and Rob was the type of guy who was secure in his ego, was never threatened by input from anybody and welcomed that kind of collaboration, so it was very gratifying.

[Mulder hancuffs the man's wrist to his own.]

This is an interesting thing. This handcuff gag was inspired by none other than Jackie Chan. I had been a huge fan of Hong Kong movies which were not that well known at this point, in fact Jackie Chan wasn't well known in the United States at all at this point, but in one of his films he has an incredible sequence where he's handcuffed to another man and this is a very different use of that gag but I thought it would be pretty exciting if Mulder were handcuffed to the Bounty Hunter.

[The man morphs into the Alien Bounty Hunter.]

Big, big moment coming up for Mulder.

[Mulder ask the Bounty Hunter about Samantha's whereabouts.]

Now, this, what the Bounty Hunter tells Mulder, turns out not to be true.

[Alien Bounty Hunter: She's alive. Can you die now?]

If you think about it, why would he have any obligation to tell him the truth.

[Mulder shoots the Alien Bounty Hunter in the back. Green goo and toxic gases are released. The Alien Bounty Hunter drags Mulder to the top of the conning tower.

There you go. Poison gas. Now we're on set. Now, we had the image of the submarine conning tower, but what do you do with a submarine conning tower? (laughs) That was not at all clear. We knew it had to do something, and we went through a lot of different ideas about what it could do and none of them was practical, none of them could we really produce, afford to produce.

[The Alien Bounty Hunter slams shut the hatch to the hull, severing the handcuffs. Mulder falls from the conning tower to the ice below.]

Nice little fall there. And finally, I believe this was Chris' idea, the idea that it's descending on top of Mulder.

[The conning tower fins rotate vertically and the submarine begins to descend.]

And I originally had not thought to script that Mulder rolls out of frame. I had thought that you would see this thing coming closer, closer, closer, closer, and then you'd see he's in the hospital, he's not dead, and we would explain it later. As it turned out really there was no npportunity to explain it later, so we had to see Mulder roll out of frame here, roll away from the wing of the submarine conning tower, and the problem was when Rob Bowman asked me whether I needed to see that when he shot this, I said no, so it wasn't shot, so in fact when you see Mulder roll out of frame there it's a reverse print of the film of David rolling into position for the shot.

[Cut to the emergency room as Scully bursts in. Mulder is sitting in a tub, an oxygen mask on.]

Now we're back to the very beginning of 'Colony', we had to wait a long time to get there. Scully knows how to save Mulder based on the science that she gleaned from that scene that we cannibalized with the voice-over earlier.

[Scully argues with the doctor.]

It's really quite a nice set, once again Graeme Murray. You can hear the Canadian accents (laughs) quite often with these actors which I, you know, have a great deal of affection for.

[Scully prevails, and takes over Mulder's treatment.]

You know, one of the things we didn't have to worry about this early in the series was sort of compassion fatigue. You put your characters through these enormous dramas and life-threatening challenges, and after a number of years it's like you start to get tired for the characters, oh my god, they've suffered so much, but at this point we were nowhere near that so we really got to play it.

[Later, Mulder lays on his hospital bed, oxygen tube in his nose. Scully sits at his bedside. We hear her voice over the scene.]

This voice-over, I worked on a very, very long time and Chris kept sending me back to revise it, and what the intention was, although I don't think anybody really paid enough attention to it to work, the intention was that this was supposed to restate Scully's position after she'd seen what she'd seen in this episode, that whatever's going on she needs to understand it through science.

[Scully: Several aspects of this case remain unexplained, suggesting the possibility of paranormal phenomenon. But I am convinced that to accept such conclusions is to abandon all hope of understanding the scientific events behind them. Many of the things I have seen have challenged my faith and my belief in an ordered universe but this uncertainty has only strengthened my need to know, to understand, to apply reason to those things which seem to defy it. It was science that isolated the retrovirus Agent Mulder was exposed to, and science that allowed us to understand its behavior. And ultimately, it was science that saved Agent Mulder's life.]

That was our rationale for her character, that the more weird, unexplainable stuff she saw the more she would cling to science to understand them. She wasn't about to, sort of, take the leaps that Mulder would take, she was challenged more than ever to use her training to make sense of what was going on in the series. But for some reason, things like that don't seem to land on the viewer.

[Later, Mulder groans as he regains consciousness. Scully, who's been sitting at his bedside, smiles.]

I thought this scene was just really nicely played and I actually wrote - I'd not met Gillian at this point - and I wrote her a note because I hadn't met her and I hadn't met David, and I wrote her a note to thank her for this scene.

I've noticed we invariably in scenes like this in the show over the years, would give whoever was in the hospital, Mulder or Scully, a laugh line first and when you go to the movies next time, if there's a scene like that, you'll notice just about all the movies tend to do that too, I don't know why, it's a writer's trick.

Beautiful Mark Snow music again. And the chemistry between these two people is just phenomenal, in scenes like this you really feel it.

[Scully: Did you find what you were looking for?
Mulder: No. No. But I... I found something I thought I'd lost. Faith to keep looking.
Scully smiles again.]

And that was the other thing, you almost never saw Scully smile, that was lovely to see at that point.

[Credits roll.]

So, that's 'End Game'. I hope you enjoyed the commentary. Thank you very much.

[The End]