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

Transcribed by: Libby
Edited by: X_Follower

Hello, this is Frank Spotnitz. I wrote and directed this episode. It's called 'Alone'. It was episode 18 of the eighth season of The X-Files. And since this was the first episode I directed, I gave a lot of thought as to what the story should be and how I'd go about it. Boy, just looking at all these shots puts me right back in the moment.

I guess there's two schools of thought when you direct an episode for the first time. One is that you just stick your toe in the water and you try and come up with something very simple so that you get through it and don't completely screw it up. And the other is that you just go for it and give yourself as big a challenge as possible and show you can handle it, and I took the latter approach, and this episode has guys in suits and CG and a rotating set and all the stuff that we'll talk about as the show goes on.

These are two really good actors. That old man, who's actually not such an old man in real life, is James Otis, and playing his son there is Tony Ketcham, great guy, very funny guy. And they made my first-time experience a really pleasant one.

There you go, there's an interesting shot. (laughs) You know, when you're a writer, you imagine these great shots, and then when you actually try and direct, you realize what the camera can do and what lights can do, and there are limits, I mean, there's not a lot of limits but there are limits. That shot of the fireplace, usually a shot like that you would wait until later, you'd have the second unit or the insert unit get a shot like that because it doesn't require any principal actors and why take up your main unit's time with something so simple like a shot of the fireplace, but I was determined to try and get all the inserts during main unit and I gave up on that eventually because it proved impossible.

This is a hard shot. As I was saying, when you're a writer, you imagine all these things, and when you actually have to direct, it's difficult to achieve. I had the camera rotating up and above this man's head. And to have the camera do that, to stay close to his face, to stay in focus and not have any shadows from the camera, it was a challenge.

Anyway, here's the son, hearing something is wrong in the next room. I had never directed before, as I said, so I really didn't know how to prepare as a director for shooting my material. So I sat with my script in my office at home and I just went and literally designed every shot here in my head, and then when I came to the set, I knew exactly what pieces I'd be shooting and how they'd cut together, and more or less I followed that plan perfectly through all the days of shooting for this episode, and really that's what helped me the most in preparing to direct, was that I'd spent so many years in editing rooms watching how film cuts together and problems you have if the director hasn't anticipated the way film is supposed to go together properly.

Here I just wanted to show the audience a little bit of the monster, enough to give your imagination something to latch on to.

And there you go, that was the teaser. After I'd shot the episode, that was the first thing I saw, was the teaser, actually, the editor of the episode, Lynne Willingham, who's been with The X-Files since the fifth season, called me down and she was excited for me to see it because she thought it was so great, and that cut is basically the way she cut it from the very beginning, and I was pleased with myself, that I'd not completely screwed up the show.

As a writer it always helps to know exactly why you want to tell a story, and this was an episode that had a lot of special requirements and helped me focus very clearly on why I wanted to tell it. It was the 18th episode of the 8th season and so I knew it would be the last stand-alone episode ever for Agents Mulder and Scully, that David Duchovny was leaving the series, and so I wanted it to be special. And I came upon the idea of having Scully leaving the X-Files office because I knew if the show did go on for a 9th season, she would not be assigned to the X-Files office, Agent Doggett and his new partner Agent Reyes would. And it was a way to look back at the show and some of the fond memories that we as writers and you as viewers had of the show over the past eight years, the Mulder and Scully era. And so I had Scully moving out and looking as these keepsakes and came up specifically with the idea of her giving to Agent Doggett this memento that Agent Mulder had given to her in a two-part episode called 'Tempus Fugit' and 'Max', which I thought thematically was just perfect and made a lot of sense, and really she's expressing my feelings for Robert Patrick when she says to him how much she owes to him, because Robert Patrick really did get us through the eighth year of the show and we couldn't have done it without him. So it was very easy for me to plug into the emotion that Scully was feeling in this scene.

More obviously in this episode, though, I created a character who could speak to the Mulder/Scully era very directly and that is the person you're going to meet in just a few moments, Agent Leyla Harrison, played by Jolie Jenkins. And Leyla Harrison, as some of you may know if you're X-Files fans, fans enough to have bought this DVD set, was an online fan of the show who passed away and I managed to correspond with her once before she died. And I came up with the idea of a character who was a fan of the show, and of course she couldn't just be a fan because this is a fictitious world and there wouldn't be a fan on the show, so I made her an accountant at the FBI who had followed all of Mulder and Scully's adventures, and it just seemed like a perfect tribute to her to name the character after Leyla Harrison.

This is all so nicely played. These are just two wonderful actors and, you know, some people give wonderful performances on television but those performances have been created editorially, but these are two people who are just terrific all the time and make, you know, my job as a director incredibly easy. And I was moved shooting this scene on the day, I'd brought tears to my eyes, actually, I was more moved shooting it than I was when it cut together, it was really just sort of the power of the real world ideas in this scene, sort of, you know, Robert Patrick and Gillian Anderson, it affected me.

So here was a nice sort of ironic moment for the character of John Doggett. How did he end up alone in the X-Files office, this cop, skeptic, who never had any desire to be on this unit and now here he is, standard-bearer for the X-Files. (laughs) And that's, it's just a funny place for his character to end up. And this moment's very revealing because it tells you how much he likes Scully, how much he's missing her, and it's not Scully he sees, it's this very cute, young, eager agent. I got very lucky with the casting of Jolie Jenkins, the casting director Rick Millikan and his assistant Kim Nordlinger brought her in and I knew as soon as she came in she was perfect, and she was great from day one. Really understood the character and brought a lot of humor and humanity to her. She kind of brings out the Clint Eastwood in Robert Patrick here which is really what makes for so much of the comedy. And I was so charmed by her performance here that I did something you don't normally do in a show like ours, which is I end the scene with her, with the guest character, she has a sort of nervous look at the end of the scene that I really enjoyed… that. (laughs) There you go.

There's a lot of fluid camerawork in here which is inspired very consciously by so many of the fine directors that we've had on this show, Kim Manners and Rob Bowman and David Nutter, who are always moving the camera, always finding interesting frames, not just to be moving the camera but to help tell the story and create visual interest, and it's never too showy, I hope, or too self-conscious.

This is supposed to be Ellicott, New York, which is a real town, near where a former assistant of mine, Michele Fazekas, grew up, she grew up in Buffalo, and this was my little inside tribute to her, as was the character of Leyla Harrison I've got to say, some of the way she speaks is kind of like the way Michele speaks or spoke.

Actually, we are in Topanga Canyon. This house isn't, this house is on Stage 6 at Twentieth Century Fox in West Los Angeles, but the exterior was Topanga Canyon, which anybody who knows Los Angeles knows it's near Malibu.

This is an exposition scene, it's sort of laying the clues for the mystery here, but I've got to say, to me the monster was kind of the least interesting part of this episode, and I came up deliberately with a very simple, sort of classic monster here, just a, you know, guy who turns into a salamander man, because I wanted it to be about The X-Files, about Mulder and Scully leaving, about Doggett taking their place but having to do so alone. And I wanted, you know, this sort of elegiac quality to this episode, it was the end of an era, so if I had some complicated monster story, it would have taken screen time away from my ability to express all those other ideas.

That's one thing viewers at home probably don't think about very often, is that these shows have to come in exactly on time, there is a format and it must be adhered to, to the second. And my first cut of this episode was nine minutes longer than the version you're watching here. And with help from some of my fellow producers, David Amann and John Shiban, I got it down to two minutes over, and was still fairly happy, but the last two minutes I took out were very painful, there were things that I took out of the show that I was sorry to take out, I don't think they made it better but you've got to do it. Sometimes there are things that, you know, are explained in our scripts but you watch it on the air and it's not explained simply because we didn't have time to use all the footage we shot.

This is another kind of Clint Eastwood moment for Robert Patrick's character here which I liked. Just a lot of charm and humor in this episode which… you know, to me the scariest ones work better if there is humor to offset the fear, if there's, you know, lightness against the darkness, and it's so easy to build empathy for Jolie Jenkins' character here because her heart is so clearly in the right place.

Again we're in Topanga Canyon here. Robert Patrick's going to walk up the hill there after seeing the salamander man and magically end up in Encino which is where the mansion exists, where we shot the exteriors for the next part of the story.

Now, you know, this episode works on one level, if you've never seen The X-Files, you gather that she's just an eager follower of Mulder and Scully's adventures, but if you are a die-hard fan, I think the rewards here are much richer because you know all the things she is alluding to, and it makes you laugh because it rewards you for having followed the show.

It was a dry look from Robert. He is an intense guy, I'll tell you, a great guy, but very intense.

Now this is, I will freely admit, a steal from Planet of the Apes, there's that moment in Planet of the Apes when the astronauts are skinny dipping in the water and their clothes start to disappear from the shore, and that's one of my favorite movies, and I very self-consciously stole. I think it's always a good thing to steal - something works, it's likely to work again. Context is so different, I don't think it spoils anyone's enjoyment.

This man right here, David Duchovny, was also a big reason why I ended up directing this episode. I had been reluctant to direct, honestly, both because my duties as producer and writer pretty demanding as it was, and also because I saw these amazing directors come in and barely make the schedule, so I wasn't sure I wanted that kind of hardship, but David encouraged me to direct before it was too late and I finally decided that I would be sorry if I didn't direct before he left the show, and so I just barely made it under the wire. And he is great to work with because he's not only a fine actor but he really stimulates your thinking and challenges you to do better, and this scene was improved immeasurably by some ad-libs that he came up with on the set. Very funny and charming and very strange to see Mulder and Scully in this situation. (laughs) Now at this point we still had not revealed the paternity of Scully's baby, although Mulder and Scully presumably knew whether they had consummated their relationship, and so this scene is meant as a tease, did they or didn't they, and it could well be that Mulder is just a good close friend helping her go to Lamaze, or it could be more. Later we found out that it was more, but for the actors, they had to play on that fine line. Again, I'm just always struck by the chemistry between Mulder and Scully, and watching it now as I am with the sound off, I can't help but go to their eyes and see that chemistry.

OK, here we are, no longer in Topanga Canyon but in Encino, and this is also in Encino. We had to take very, very, very good care of this house and we lost a lot of time taking good care of it and making sure we didn't so much as scuff hardwood floor. This was a painful cut I made right here because that scene originally had much more to it, you actually… there was a very complicated camera move that went up to the wall and found the creature up there. Now we're back on Stage 6 or 5, one of the two stages where we primarily filmed The X-Files, the Fox lot. And our production designer, Corey Kaplan, did a beautiful job as usual, and the set decorator, Tim Stepeck.

Here I've got another insert, main unit. Watch this. As we open the book, there you go, that's main unit, that's Robert Patrick's blurry, out of focus foreground head.

Now this shot is quite a shot. It goes by really fast, but this was a big old deal. We had a huge crane rushing down that hallway, I'd say the crane was about a hundred feet long, and we had the whole camera crew running with that thing, they had to practice it a few times to get it just right, make it stop. We were all really proud of ourselves with that shot, that's pretty cool. And now there were more cuts in this scene as well, originally we saw a blurry, out of focus monster behind Agent Doggett, so it wasn't just that camera point of view that told us there was a monster there, we actually literally saw there was a monster there, and it works just fine this way, but again the constraints of time.

And, suspense, suspense, it's not the monster, it's Agent Harrison. Just love the lighting here, it's Bill Roe, Director of Photography, I just like the deep black on the right side of Agent Doggett's face, some rim lighting around his eyes and nose.

This was late at night, this was like, you know, 2:30, 3 a.m., the end of a long week. You don't think about it when you're watching these actors that they've gotta act like they're perfectly fresh and wide-awake, even though, you know, it's the fifth day of 16-hour day, 16-hour-day week.

Another charming little moment here. She doesn't have her safety off. Jolie Jenkins had never had to carry a gun before in any part she'd played, and I was struck again by the reality of what a frightening thing a gun is to hold, it was so heavy for her, but it actually worked great for the character.

And here's another shot that was… proved to be hard to achieve, this coming up to her face and then even more difficult was this zooming down at her. Watch this.

That, because of the constraints placed on us by the gentleman who owned this house in Encino, we couldn't put a proper crane on that sidewalk, he didn't want the weight of a crane on that pavement. So we had to use a very short crane which didn't really achieve my objective, so I shrunk the image of Jolie Jenkins there and had John Wash and Mat Beck, our visual effects producers, extend, paint additional scenery around the edges, and then blow up the shot.

This was a big old deal. We had to dig this hole here. Now you can miss this, it's a blink, but there's a shot here overhead, vertical, of Agent Doggett falling into the trap, and it was actually shot on stage and we got up, way high up into the permanents, they call them, you see it just went by there, way up into the permanents of the sound stage and shot straight down, so you could really see him going down. There are a lot of little pieces that you get whenever you have action like that, that make it exciting and convincing, because the hole actually, that we dug at the mansion, was only a few feet deep, you couldn't have actually fallen into it.

Back at Topanga Canyon with Mitch Pileggi. I was sorry I wasn't able to give him more to do in this episode but frankly, I just put him in because I wanted to be able to work with Mitch finally (laughs), so I found things for him to do. I know it can't have been that demanding for him as an actor but I didn't want to miss the opportunity because I didn't know if I'd be directing again.

This scene, actually, with Gillian Anderson in her apartment was the first scene that I shot, and there's always that moment when you direct for the first time, when you sort of describe the camera move and the blocking and you just wonder: are they going buy it? Are the actors and the crew going to say: no, we're not going to do that, you're out of your mind. But I was very relieved that I got away with it.

And she's thinking.

Virtually all of the filming inside of this cave was done with the second unit crew which is the smaller crew, we have two units working on The X-Files almost all the time, the main unit which shoots for eight days every episode, and the second unit which shoots the final three days and most of the inserts. And we had lost our usual second unit crew at this point in the season, most of them had gone off to do a movie, so I inherited an outside cinematographer, very talented gentleman named Robert Primes who did a great job with this stuff and was a big fan of The X-Files' lighting style that Bill Roe had practiced so beautifully for so many years. So I owe him a big debt for so much of this, which looks very much like our show. There were a lot of challenges shooting in this set because first of all, it was very constricted, very small, and if you've ever seen what a camera crew looks like, it's a lot of people and it's very hard to shoot in a tight space like this, it slows you down quite a bit, but also there was a problem of where do you light it, how do you light it, there were some practical light sources, there you can see them, but Bob came up with a lot of clever ways to throw light on these walls to give the scenes more depth and visual interest. That shot you just saw of him looking up at the grate was actually CGI, that was just a hole with green fabric, and John and Mat extended it to make it look like he was looking up at the grate that he had fallen through.

Here's David and Gillian. I wished I could have given them more screen time in this episode but there are so many objectives in a show like this and you can only achieve so many of them, unfortunately. And again, this is, you know, David, such a smart actor, not wanting to play this sentimental, and it gives tension to the scene, you know, he doesn't want her to be here, he wants her to go home, and so he's gonna go out and help find out what happened to Agent Doggett.

These two actors play off each other so well. Poor Jim Otis, having to play dead, lying half-naked on aluminum table.

When you're shooting these things, they're completely out of sequence, as you can imagine. You know, you're on a sound stage and so you've got to get interiors of wherever you are in your episode on, you know, certain days, and then other days you're all exterior, or you're all nights, or you're all days, whatever. So it's all mixed up, so when you're preparing to shoot, you've got to be very clear in your mind about where the characters are at that point in the story and what your transitions are going to be visually, in and out of scenes. I like this one.

I was very conscious of things like that, visual transitions.

Now this set is the main set and there were actually multiple versions of it because one of the challenges I mentioned I set up for myself in this episode was a rotating set, and one version of this hallway rotated about 200 degrees, and I'll show you the shots that made that necessary, they're coming up very soon here.

Agent Doggett's looking around, hears something. Now the illusion is pretty... this... look at the lighting here, you can see this work of Bob Primes, he sort of broke up, had this pattern of light shining, I don't know where it came from but it works, you buy it. Now watch this.

Creature. Now this is the rotating set right there, that's a guy in a suit and a wire right there, all that stuff, the set was rotating, it was kind of like the old Fred Astaire dance routine in Easter Parade, to make it look like he could walk up the side of the wall and onto the ceiling, and I intercut between salamander man on the rotating set and Robert Patrick on the real, non-rotating set, and then I also had a shot or two in there that were visual composites that seemed to put the salamander man and Robert Patrick in the same frame, even though, of course, that's physically impossible, you couldn't have a man moving like that across a wall. And the set had to rotate, of course, because if I'd tried to, you know, pull him across the wall like that, he wouldn't move naturally or quickly.

There's one shot there where it was just the tail in the foreground and Robert Patrick, it wasn't the whole thing. Here's poor Tony again. A little aside here is that I named this character Gary Sacks after my oldest friend from Phoenix, Arizona, Gary Sacks, who I've known since the second grade and I thought it was a nice tribute to kill him in this episode. I didn't think it would be a nice tribute to kill his father, however, so I named his father Arlen instead of Gary's real dad's name. But Gary got a big kick… dying in this episode. Actually, in a number of episodes over the years I've put the names of people I went to high school and grade school with, former employers, just in-jokes that I myself know and few others do.

This is sort of like a Vaseline thing on the lens. There's another fancy director's shot. Those are the things that eat up your time, of course, but they're fun.

Agent Mulder returning to Ellicott, New York. You know, Mulder's always such a troublemaker. It's like a… (laughs) I enjoy seeing him go afoul of the bureaucracy and protocol, which he does with so little concern. And they timed this just right, this shot here.

He says his line and then off-camera. You see, you spend a lot of time when you're directing, trying to make those things time out just right.

This was a hard sequence. This has a lot of pieces to it, climbing, climbing, and again shooting in a tight space is very hard, and so I had to get angles up and down and across, and stuntman, and Robert Patrick, on and on. Here's Mulder almost literally following in Doggett's footsteps. There's a lot of wire removal, the visual effects team, because obviously for safety reasons both Robert Patrick and the stuntman had to be wired in that vertical tunnel for the climb.

And nice gunk falling down toward camera.

Here we are back in Encino and that's the moment when Agent Mulder discovers the Apollo medallion. We don't know it yet, but realize later that's what he found there. And now we introduce Herman Stites, a wonderful actor, the great face. And again, I wasn't really interested in the mystery and, you know, spending a lot of time talking about the monster, I think you pretty much know from the moment you meet this guy he's the bad guy and he's got some connection to the monster, whether you realize yet that he is the monster. It's much more about Mulder and Scully, one last time, pursuing their investigation in an unorthodox manner, and about Doggett and his inexperienced partner, you know.

Now again, here's one of my fancy transitions, which I was eager to do. I guess the newer you are as a director, the fancier you want to be, show people you know what you're doing.

There you go, look at that. We went magically from Stage 5 back to Encino. That was actually a piece of that grate and some sod that we laid down at an angle, so the sods would rose up above the ground toward the set piece and the camera could go right behind it, so it looked like we were rising up out of the earth.

David, interestingly, doesn't like when Mulder is too smart or knows too much. I remember that was our discussion that day, was how to make this interesting and not too easy for Mulder. You know, that's an interesting thing too, you won't hear that often from leading men (laughs), they don't want their character to be too smart. You know, I think that's part of what's made Mulder so appealing and so lasting as a hero, is his humanity and his frailty and his imperfections in so many ways. He's, you know, not James Bond, although I love James Bond.

This is many different things, it's Robert Patrick on stage, it's somebody else's fingers in Encino, it's Zach against a blue silk on stage, it's Zach actually at the house in Encino, it's very complicated piece, and they're falling, lots of pieces.

And we're half-way through the episode already.

So now we know for sure that man and monster are together or whatever is going on here, I think we might have suspected that when Agent Doggett fell through the trap at the end of Act One but now there can be no doubt. I stole again, while I'm being honest, I might as well admit I loved that shot, that wasn't my idea, that was, I'm not sure it was Bill Roe's or one of the camera operators' idea. [...] it was even Stephen Buck, the First Assistant Director, to have that manhole shot, which I liked.

Anyway, I stole again, as I was being honest about stealing, the idea of Agent Doggett's fingers being stepped on, it's taken directly from North by Northwest, which is a wonderful movie; if you haven't seen it, you will definitely enjoy it, if you like The X-Files, you'll love that.

This scene was much longer and it was all good, and again, it broke my heart to shorten it but time being what it is. I felt very guilty throughout all these scenes because poor Robert and Jolie had to wear these miserable contact lenses which are very uncomfortable but they make their eyes look like they're screwed up and, you know, they're made for the movie business by ophthalmologists, and neither one of them is contact lens wearers and after shooting for hours and hours and hours it became very uncomfortable and their eyes were bloodshot, and this went on for days and days.

Now the plot thickens. Gary Sacks, my old friend, is missing, where did he go?

Sunflower seeds, another nod to those who know. If you are a fan of The X-Files, you know that's one of Mulder's signature things, spitting out sunflower seeds. And again, I was trying to find as many of those kinds of things as I could to put in this episode. I actually had another thing that ended up on the cutting room floor. I had Scully call Danny in this episode and you've really got to be a die-hard to know what that's about, but Mulder and Scully used to call Danny all the time for research and help in the FBI and we never once met Danny or saw him - but no time.

This was shot, a combination, we had David actually out in Encino at night, but then we also had this stuff, the close-ups, it's actually on the sound stage, I hate to spoil the illusion. And these scenes were much longer, and they were charming, funny stuff. But… and here's an insert coming up that I also shot with main unit on location. I was very eager to hold up this medallion and actually see the real background out of focus behind. Yeah, I know it sounds crazy, you're thinking: who would ever know the difference?

Lisa Kaseman, played the pathology assistant here. Now these scenes are sort of the stock-in-trade of The X-Files, these sort of tech, explainer scenes, and so it's always a challenge to make them somewhat interesting, and I always try to find, we all always try to find real scientific research and principles to support the fiction we've created in the episode and this scene was no exception. Everything I'm saying here is scientifically accurate. I can't remember what I said, but if you watch the episode again and check with a biologist, he'll tell you that at least in theory it is sound. This is where Scully went off to call Danny, but now, because you've seen the DVD, you know.

Here we go, the blind leading the blind. This to me was a very important scene in the shape of Doggett and Harrison's relationship. Doggett's really come to care for her and she has been so cheerful and can-do, and this is the first point where you really sense she's afraid. You always try and want your characters to play against what they're feeling, it creates like a nice dynamic in the scene. Somebody's afraid but doesn't want you to know they're afraid, or somebody loves you but doesn't want you to know they love you, it's two levels instead of one.

You know, this monster stuff, there you go, there's the rotating set again, that's how he was able to do that. Monsters, you know, you want to see enough to be able to have your imagination latch onto something specific that's scary and creepy and ooky, but on the other hand, if you see too much, it's just cheesy and ridiculous, and it's always the fine line you walk and hopefully I didn't cross it or fall off it here.

That's what became of Gary Sacks - his guts sucked out by the salamander man. My crew gift to the crew for this episode was a bottle of wine, real wine, from Stites' private reserve, "Harvest Red liquefied for easy digestion", and it had a little salamander on it and a little X-Files logo, collectors' items now on eBay.

You just look at that shot, the director of this episode tried to make it interesting, of her picking up the file and these angles, the verticality of them. The second episode I directed, I took a completely different approach, but here I was trying to make everything, goose it up to make it as interesting as possible.

Again, this is a classic example of how little you see. You want to capture the imagination of the audience, make them want to see more, and now Mulder is on the run, and David is a very fast runner, a very good athlete, so, you know, that night he was joking about how he could catch this guy, no problem, and truth is he could. That's a CGI monster right there, in case you couldn't tell. That's a guy on a skateboard, I hate to tell you. David jokingly called salamander man Lawnzilla.

That's CG against the real house.

That's a set piece, composite with David at the real place, but the roof was on stage with the salamander man.

And I just remember shooting this, it was, you know, cold and late on a Friday night, so was this, and we were running out of time.

That's CG. That's amazing. And then he changes mostly off-screen into Herman Stites. And, you know, stuff like this, visual effects like this, you realize how quickly the art has evolved. You couldn't have done this when we began The X-Files and now you can do it on a weekly basis. And this was Zach's idea, the little goop on the cheek, wipe it off, which I thought was a nice detail at the end of the episode. You know, whenever you can find specific details, it makes things so much more memorable, and that's the advantage, I think, people making features say they have more time to find details, to find little moments, and you're rushing sometimes on a television schedule just to get through the work. But for me, some of my favorite things in movies and TV shows are tiny, idiosyncratic details.

This is great. Bill Roe lighting again. He has the lights down, low which just makes everything kind of creepy and scary. You don't think about these things consciously, but it just works.

So now it's Act Four, we want to be running. Now this was a very important moment to me because Agent Harrison, the risk was that she was a light-weight character, just kind of a flake and a fan who really did nothing but get Agent Doggett into trouble, and I wanted her to have the moment of realization here. That in truth, I think she's, you know, solved the mystery before anyone, which validates her character in a way. You can really see the Bob Primes lighting here , you see that spray of light against the walls and the way it's broken up, it really enhanced what was already a great set.

And now he's gone. I haven't talked yet about Mark Snow, but let me just say what a great job Mark Snow did on this episode and he does virtually every week, always makes these things so much better. It's my favorite part of the job, I've said many times, going to his house and just hearing how much better the show gets without me having to do anything.

Now all of Mulder's points of view here, of the salamander man, are on the gimbaled set, the one that rotates. I ran out of time here, I wanted to have more shots that were tie-ins, but again, that's the trade-off you make, time and money. A lot of ad-libbing went on here between David and Robert, which I thought was the only way to make it exciting, you can't really script this kind of shouting back and forth and hope for the spontaneity that you need.

There we go, fire, fire. Now, interestingly, as I said, I was a little reluctant to direct because of all my duties as a writer and producer on the show, and in fact, I prepped the show and had no idea how it was going to end, I'd not written Act Four which you're watching now, and so it was while I was prepping as a director that I figured out how to end this show, and I thought this climax was really good because both Mulder and Doggett had to be heroic and it played on the scary nature of this monster which was that it could come from anywhere, it could come from above you. And there's a morph, accomplished by John and Mat. And there you go.

But the episode's not quite over yet. One more important note to play. Again, I wanted the elegiac feeling and the awareness that a baton was being passed, we were leaving the Mulder and Scully era and going on to the Doggett and question mark era. One last allusion to Scully's pregnancy, Doggett wondering if they were at the hospital because of the baby, but they're not.

And this scene was longer, too, it had to be cut, but still plays fine.

Now this last scene with Leyla Harrison, I mean, I think she plays it great, she's charming and winning. It's an ad-lib, obviously, I'd scripted what they were going to talk about, that it was going to be this issue in the feature film that I had seen many people wonder about, which is how did Mulder and Scully get back when his snowcat ran out of gas, I thought it was fun and self-deprecating to bring it up here, but I had Mulder and Scully obviously ad-lib because they have wonderful comic timing and I just thought it would play better rather than trying to script every word they said here, so I had more than one camera running so I could use different angles of their ad-libs, but as it turned out, it played best with just a, you know, two shot. And David gave me some great directing help here because I had Jolie smiling and laughing while they bickered, and he said, you know, do one where she doesn't smile, where she's just wondering, you know, how to react to these people, and it was the right note, it was funnier because you had that tension instead of releasing it by letting her smile and laugh along with us. Some people said it was weird to watch Mulder and Scully bicker like an old married couple but I thought it was (laughs) exactly right for where they were in their relationship, and played again on the question of, you know, were they or weren't they.

And here is coming up on the final shot of the show and Robert Patrick and what a wonderful, empathetic actor he is, and I used a wide lens and tried to make that hallway look really big.

And that was the end, and it was fun for me, I had a great time directing, I hope you enjoyed the show.

[The End]