"LITTLE GREEN MEN" CHRIS CARTER: When we come into 'Little Green Men', The X-Files has been closed, Mulder and Scully have been separated and there is a tension now that has arisen between them. But when Mulder is summoned to the office of Senator Matheson, his sponsor, really, in Congress, to give him information about the possiblity of contact with extra-terrestrials, Mulder goes it alone and leaves Scully behind. The character of Senator Matheson is named after Richard Matheson, who wrote the original Night Stalker movie, which was the inspiration for The X-Files, and he is the person who tips Agent Mulder off to a limited amount of time that he has to go and investigate this contact that has been made by this experiment called SETI, Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Mulder goes to Puerto Rico and finds this so-called "Wow" signal, which refers to the exclamation that the scientist made when he received it, and leads ultimately to his, and our, first view of an alien in a doorway at this facility. The showing of an alien was something I had resisted or wanted to resist doing until later in the show, but this seemed a good time to do it, the writers did a very nice job of keeping several different tensions going here. There are three different, kind of, storylines working in this episode, which keeps it good and taut, and it was, I think, a great season opener and a terrific way to launch into Season Two. "THE HOST" 'The Host' actually came to me in the... kind of a very disgusting way, actually: my dog had worms and I was studying these worms probably too closely, and had been reading a story about Chernobyl and about the extinction of species and somehow synthesized all that information and put it together and came up with one of the, I think, ever-popular episodes on the show. Flukie, as he's come to be known, was played by Darin Morgan, who has gone on to be one of the most popular episode writers on the show. The sewer system is very old and brick. My father actually was a construction worker who put in sewer lines and storm drains for a living, so he was a resource for me, telling me how these things were built, how the catwalks looked. We actually created that entire sewer set on stage, complete with water tanks and running water, it was wonderfully done by our production designer, Graeme Murray, and the action scenes in it play so creepy and real that you never ever doubt that Mulder isn't going underwater and taking a big mouthful of sewage. I think Flukie is the embodiment of everyone's sense of vulnerability, the idea that something exists in the underworld of the sewer system and that it might, in fact, come up to bite you in the most delicate of places. I think that's what I get from most people, and it just... he was a disgusting creature. And we actually saw very little of him, I actually wanted to see less of him in the show than we did, but it just so happens that some of the angles and the lighting showed more of him than I wanted to see, but I think that was what was creepy, too, was you never got a perfect look at him until the very end. The trick in this episode, as Gillian Anderson's pregnancy progressed, was to shoot her in ways to disguise her pregnancy, and there are lots of very fancy trick angles, well-placed trenchcoats, and scenes where she is seated rather than standing, but I think now when you look at her, when you go back to look at an episode like this, you see that she's got that radiant glow of pregnancy and that her face is fuller, and she looks so completely different now, it actually, it'll be a nice thing for her to, I think, go back and look at as her daughter grows up, to sort of remember what that was like. "SLEEPLESS" 'Sleepless' was always one of my favorite episodes, because first of all, I think it's very, very well-executed, beautifully directed by Rob Bowman. It was an idea that I had had during Season One about what makes the perfect soldier. There's an experiment at work here and the experiment was to make these soldiers fighting machines by removing their need for sleep. We knew with the closing of The X-Files at the end of Season One and through the beginning of Season Two, that we would ultimately be losing not just Scully, but someone for Mulder to play off of. And the introduction of Alex Krycek, a young agent, very determined and ambitious to be Mulder's partner, to fill the position that Scully had vacated, was going to be an interesting one, because Mulder was quietly and subtly pining for his partner, and here is a person who was really coming and insinuating himself in Mulder's life. Mulder, through the episode, resists this insinuation. The character of X was established in an earlier episode, but only as a phone presence, and for the first time, we meet him. It's the first time we learn that there is a man who is replacing the Deep Throat character that we established at the beginning of the show, and we learn that he has a different agenda, though. He is a reluctant provider of information. There's an interesting idea at work here about sleeplessness, because sleep is the place where our demons are released, in our dreams, and the twist on this is that, in sleeplessness these men become demonized by their inability to go into that part of their brain, to have that rest that is as much a part of life as waking. "DUANE BARRY" It's one of my favorite episodes because it was a chance for me to sort of do it all, and it came out in ways better than I imagined it would. It was strange for me to actually be the main person behind the camera. I was very, very nervous about directing, and when I called 'Action' the first time and no one laughed, I knew that I was going to be okay. It was actually a good test of my skills, I had been communicating with directors for some thirty episodes before that, telling them what I wanted, and now it was really a chance for me to show them what I wanted. I learned that there are a lot of things you take for granted as a writer and as a producer -- practical things, physical things, things that you imagine that just can't be done -- and so you make compromises, you make changes. My favorite scene in the episode, I think, is probably the most memorable scene, is when Steve Railsback, playing Duane Barry, is on the table having his teeth drilled, which was also a very interesting little physical effect. We put a little spray tube in his mouth and it sent out a little bit of spray, which gave the appearance of actual drilling of the laser beam. And I just told Steve Railsback to scream at the top of his lungs, which gave a nice believability to the action because his mouth was jittering and shaking. I wrote the episode of 'Duane Barry' for Steve Railsback. I've resisted casting the marquee names only because it takes you out of the show, it makes the show less believable. But there are certain actors who just call out for the part. Steve Railsback for this part was a perfect match. I talked to people who had a relative who believed he had been abducted by aliens, and he kept complaining to them that he had holes drilled in his teeth, and sure enough when they took him to the dentist, the dentist said to him, this man has tiny holes drilled in his teeth and I don't know how he could have gotten these because they are too small and too fine to be done with any equipment I have ever seen. So I used that as an inspiration. "ASCENSION" 'Ascension' is basically a chase, trying to find Duane Barry and Scully. And it's the episode where Scully ultimately disappears to go have her child. I remember that the censors were very nervous about us putting Scully in a trunk, and also we were very nervous about putting a pregnant Scully in a trunk, But she was just a champ, she got in that car. You walk this fine line on television, trying not to be too graphic, and that was one of those images that we fought for and it made the show very scary because you believe that Agent Scully was really in danger, in the hands of a psycho, and that she was rattling around in the back of that car as he was climbing that mountain. David likes to do his own stunts but he is adamant about the fact that we should see him and know it is him if he is going to risk life and limb to get up on top of a tram or a train, wherever he goes. If you've ridden on these trams before, they sway and they move and if there's any wind it's actually quite frightening. Agent Scully is lying on the table and a scary-looking drill, pipette drill, is heading toward her stomach, grid-like patterns appear on her arms - we don't know what's going on. But it also builds a nice ambiguity into the episode and into the series, because we don't know if Scully is being treated by, or practiced on by, aliens or the military, we have suggested that it could be both. And we don't know if it is a spaceship, a helicopter, or what, exactly, that has taken her away. "ONE BREATH" 'One Breath', which gets its title from a part of a soliloquy delivered to Agent Scully when she is in a coma, by her father, dressed in military uniform, I think it is one of the most popular episodes of the show, and really is not an X-File, per se, it's really an exploration of Mulder's caring for Scully. The episode begins in a way that I had never imagined an X-Files episode beginning, which was a kind of dreamy reminiscence by Scully's mother about Scully's childhood, and about realizing that things die and about the sadness and sorrow that comes with death. And it sets up the episode in a frightening way, because they are looking at Agent Scully's headstone, they are prepared for her to die, as well. It's a very soft but beautiful opening for the show, something we hadn't done before. That image of Agent Scully in that boat in the lake is one of those classic images that I think is so symbolic of being tethered to something very tenuously and the chance that you could be cut adrift, that you could slip into the unknown, that you could slip into the abyss. So it was not just a beautiful image but also a very symbolic one, I think. The effects in this show were minimal but memorable. The scene where Scully is in her bed, going from the forest to the hospital room, or from the hospital room to the forest, is a blue-screen shot, but it was actually going to be very complex and ended up being very easy, in the end. I think it is done as a very sophisticated dissolve from one location to another, but that's the wizardry of Mat Beck, who is the special effects supervisor, and it worked beautifully. It was evocative of the dream-like quality of the whole show. The character of Skinner, and his interaction with the Cigarette-Smoking Man, I think, points up the politics of this show, and the way the mythology is setting up, with Skinner as both an antagonist and an institutional figure. He's got to function as an FBI agent and as Mulder and Scully's allies, and so his relationship, his sparring with the Cigarette-Smoking Man, and not allowing him to smoke in his office, speaks to his alliances and allegiances with Agent Scully, and his hatred of this man that he cannot vanquish, that he cannot get rid of, that he has to tolerate and this is his defiance of that. "IRRESISTIBLE" This is one of my favorite episodes because it really, in a way, gave me the idea for the next series that I did, Millennium. It was a show that was successful because it was really, really scary. But with a character like Donnie Pfaster, you've got a chance to sort of pull out all the stops and make him as creepy as possible, so this is a man who roots around in stranger's garbage cans for hairballs. The idea that he liked to shampoo his victim's hair was just sort of wonderfully creepy. It oozed a kind of creepy arrogance. There are reports of people who had been in the power of Jeffrey Dahmer, who actually claimed that he shape-shifted during those hours when they were held hostage, that his image actually changed, and I think that was a really frightening thought. The question of the existence of evil is an important part of the story, and it had the face of evil, which is what Scully's subjective points of view represented, you'll see in the episode several faces that are sort of an amalgam of her idea of evil, and that's really what helped to inform this episode and this character as I was writing it, and ended up being a nice visual, as well. When I handed the script in, it was really for a necrophiliac episode, Donnie Pfaster was a person who had a certain sexual desire to do whatever he was doing to these corpses, and that just didn't fly - you cannot do the combination of sex and death on network television, they just won't allow it. So I sort of changed what Donnie Pfaster was, I called him a death fetishist, and all of the sexual content was implied or understood by the audience. One of my favorite scenes is when Scully gets out of the clutches of Donnie Pfaster, saves herself but Mulder is there to witness this, and for all her attempts not to show him her fear, she finally breaks down and shows it to him. And it's a very touching moment for the characters; he holds her tenderly, and they really have had very little physical contact until this time. "DIE HAND DIE VERLETZT" This is one of those wonderful episodes that starts out almost comedically. It's got some very funny bits in it with the PTA, in this case called the PTC, saying a Satanic chant at the beginning of the episode, and the episode begins with some funny stuff, too, some things that we wouldn't get to do in the normal X-Files episodes. And then all of a sudden it takes a very dark turn, when we start to learn of the memories of the young girl of Satanic ritual and worship, and of possibly her abuse at the hands of these people. When you work with animals of any kind, you have to go to great lengths to keep them safe from harm and the ASPCA is very strict about these things. And so we had set out originally to drop these toads, which rain on Mulder and Scully from the sky -- which were supposed to be fake toads, ended up being real ones because the fakes ones looked so bad and actually didn't hop away on command -- so we had to drop them from a very shallow height onto those umbrellas, and all the toads lived and went off on their merry way. While I loved the snake scene, it was a difficult scene to film because that snake, which has to slither down some stairs, wasn't great at slithering down them; he would sort of start and then he would flop onto the floor. But in the end, almost a kind of comedic scene in itself just trying to get it filmed. I think this is a cautionary tale as well, about playing with fire, playing with things that are bigger and badder than you might imagine. "COLONY" 'Colony' is a crystallization of the mythology of the series, and it came about kind of inadvertently. David Duchovny had wanted to do an alien bounty-hunter story. He and I sat down and came up with the search for Mulder's sister, who had disappeared twenty-two years earlier. The mythology episodes involve Mulder's past and his history, and the abduction of his sister, so you have to show his family. It really became an essential part of the mythology, and really the launch of the search for the existence of extra-terrestrial life. The alien has this high-tech icepick which he uses to pierce the base of the neck of other aliens - this is the way to kill them. When we needed a sound for it, when it comes out of its sheath, we had described it as sounding like alien technology; so the sound effects editors, you know, went hard to work on that and came up with, I think, a combination of seventeen different sounds that they combined together, and it ended up sounding quite unlike anything that would come from a tiny little weapon like that. And so we kept saying to them, 'No, no, it can't sound like that, it's got to sound more like this...' and we'd make a noise like 'fthhhhht.' And they'd say, 'More like that, huh?' and so they'd go back to the drawing board. Nothing seemed to work, nothing seemed to work. And finally Paul Rabwin went to a microphone and recorded himself making that noise, and that ended up being the sound that played as the sound of that alien weapon. I had always wanted to do, in the series, a scene where Scully is on the phone talking to Mulder, and he arrives at the door. And so it really was one of those times where two ideas somehow find each other. You'll see at the end of 'Colony', it's really one of the great transitional two-parter connectors in the series and ends up being a great way to come back in the subsequent episode, 'End Game'. "END GAME" The end game, if you will, of the episode, ends on the ice in the arctic. It was something that I was told we just couldn't do, there was no way to do it, but we sort of threw caution to the wind and said let's give it a try. To do that we had to truck in 140 tons of snow onto a soundstage, refrigerate the soundstage for five days, and we built a conning tower that rose up and down only five feet, it never actually sunk into the ice as it appears. So we had all kinds of restrictions: we had to shoot it as arctic night, we had to shoot it against black backdrops, there were just restrictions galore, yet somehow that crew is always pulling off just the most amazing feats. Mulder's sister comes back, and there are certain elements and aspects of her character and of her return that are unbelievable to everyone but Mulder, who so badly wants to believe. It's one of the sad notes in the show, is that he learns that this is not his sister. The dramatic set-up of Mulder having to choose between his sister and Scully is, you know, it's a perfect dilemma. How do you choose between two people who are so important to you? And ultimately, Mulder chooses Scully because there is some doubt whether or not it is his sister. It's really one of those nervous moments for the audience and for Mulder that you want to see play out. I think the 'End Game', really, for me, along with 'Colony', is the backbone of the show, the romantic quest for Mulder to find the truth and for Scully, as well. This also enlisted her in his quest, and in her own way, to believe that there may be a conspiracy to keep something from the American public. An important part of storytelling is to keep testing the character's faith, and I think this was to take something away from Mulder, yet rejuvenate his energy to keep going, to find his sister, to know she was out there. There was something afoot and he was going to find out what it was. "HUMBUG" Darin Morgan, the man who wrote Humbug, began his X-Files career as an actor, playing the Flukeman in the episode 'The Host', spent his entire acting career on The X-Files in a very uncomfortable suit, as a human flukeworm. I saw something in Darin, a sense of humor, a sense of the absurd, of the bizarre, and I just had a sense that he was a very good writer, I just sensed that he would be right for the show, and asked him to come on staff. 'Humbug' was his first effort, and I don't think anyone knew what to make of the script when it first came in, because it was quite unlike anything we had ever done. The idea to do a show about circus freaks had been discussed when we had all seen the tape of Jim Rose and his circus freaks, that had begun as an opening act at Lollapalooza. I remember the first day we had the actors coming in, and when the Enigma came in, there was a hush across the office because here was a geek, he is a guy who makes his living eating anything and everything. And he came into the office and someone asked him sort of tentatively, if there was anything he'd like to eat and he said, 'Yes, I'd like a cookie.' Did she eat the bug or didn't she eat the bug story: this has become a bit of X-Files lore. The truth is, she put the bug in her mouth but did not eat it, which is exactly how far Gillian Anderson will go to make a good scene. One of my favorite scenes is, Scully is in her trailer, sleeping, and she is awakened to a sight of men rising and falling outside her window, and it doesn't make any sense to her. And when she goes to her door she sees that they are acrobats jumping on a trampoline. Darin Morgan really created a world and brought Mulder and Scully into it, and I think that was just one of those tiny little things that added up to a really funny episode. "ANASAZI" At the end of Season One we had done an episode called 'The Erlenmeyer Flask', which was a very successful cliffhanger, and The X-Files had been closed. We had to try to top that at the end of Season Two with another cliffhanger in a short tradition, and Anasazi became that test. And I wanted to do things that would show that anything can happen on The X-Files, and when Mulder's father is shot in Anasazi, and we find out that he in fact is, and has been, a member of this conspiracy in some way, it is a big revelation for the series. This is a very successful episode and I think it's mostly due to the wonderful directing talents of Bob Goodwin who came in and, in spite of the fact that there was way too much work to do, he found ways to do it. To create the New Mexico scenes in Vancouver by taking a rock quarry and painting it with 1600 gallons of red paint, turning it into New Mexico, then doing a second-unit shoot to do motion-control shots, special effects shots in New Mexico that, wedded with those shots, created a look that we just couldn't do in Vancouver otherwise. That whole sequence was done in the course of about a day. We also needed a perfectly blue, bright sky, with a hot day, to sell it as New Mexico, and the weather had been terrible for the week prior and it turned out that it was a perfectly sunny day, warm, we were all in t-shirts standing out there, and we pulled it off. It's amazing to me still.