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S01.E01: The X-Files: Pilot

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Episode synopsis:   A young F.B.I. agent is assigned watchdog duty over a fellow agent, but finds herself drawn into his investigations of paranormal and unexplained phenomena. Written by: Chris Carter. Directed by: Robert Mandel

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Well folks, lets get this party started! Thanks to HalcyonDays for opening the topics :)

 

So, thoughts on the pilot. I hadn't watched the pilot in probably 15 years and I had forgotten so much! I can't believe that Cigarette Smoking Man is in it! My brain had pushed him way further into the run of the first season, I had just forgotten he was here at all. I love how right off the bat we get Mulder being a smart ass and I love that Scully, while being sent in as a bit of a narc doesn't act like one. She goes in with a somewhat open mind. For what it is, this is a fan-freaking-tastic episode. I mean few shows have such strong pilots. I'm so happy! Just so great. Squeee! 

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Woot! I'll have to watch it later tonight (if I can, it's supposed to storm today...). Watched it a while back and it was really good. Didn't get a chance to see it back in the day, I was really young.

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Wee! I envy you that you'd forgotten so much! I think I rewatched it only like a year-year and a half ago (but before that maybe a 5 year gap) but it still wasn't in the least bit dull when I watched it now. Such a great pilot! Fast-paced without sacrificing character development.

I gotta LOL when they have Scully dress down to her drawers so quickly, but I figure that's pilots for ya. Joke's on the network since they barely showed any Scully skin for the rest of the series. I can't even think of when else they did that on the top of my head?

Love how when Mulder tells Scully about Samantha's abduction there is no swelling music, no tears, no close-ups of Sad Mulder telling his Sad Story, no shots of Scully gasping. He tells it like he's told it a million times before in a simple wide shot of the pair of them. I like that. If course, when he gets to the conspiracy of it all then he gets his agitated close-up, heh.

All that said, there are things about the episode I just never get. I don't know if I stop paying attention in the same spot each time and miss an explanation or three, I just look at Scully and think "Oooh, pretty," but why are Billy's and Teresa's dads in the woods letting all this shit happen at the end? What is happening? They know Billy got out every other night and they just let it happen? What was that thing in the corpses nasal cavity? Same chip Scully gets later on? The thing was the reason for the mutation, right?

Edited by joelene
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Well folks, lets get this party started! Thanks to HalcyonDays for opening the topics :)

 

So, thoughts on the pilot. I hadn't watched the pilot in probably 15 years and I had forgotten so much! I can't believe that Cigarette Smoking Man is in it! My brain had pushed him way further into the run of the first season, I had just forgotten he was here at all. I love how right off the bat we get Mulder being a smart ass and I love that Scully, while being sent in as a bit of a narc doesn't act like one. She goes in with a somewhat open mind. For what it is, this is a fan-freaking-tastic episode. I mean few shows have such strong pilots. I'm so happy! Just so great. Squeee! 

 

I loved Mulder knowing exactly why Scully was there - keeping an eye on him and reporting him to the big bosses - yet he fully includes her in the investigations. No hestitation, no holding back info. He lays it out completely and allows her to judge for herself, and report as she sees fit. Love that. Also love that they just hit it off *boom!* right away.

 

Such a kick out of big glasses Mulder and Scully - definitely a geeky contrast to the later polished agents. The show really holds up though. Yes, the clothes you can date, but it really doesn't take away from the overall quality and enjoyment of it.

 

I gotta LOL when they have Scully dress down to her drawers so quickly, but I figure that's pilots for ya. Joke's on the network since they barely showed any Scully skin for the rest of the series. I can't even think of when else they did that on the top of my head?

All that said, there are things about the episode I just never get. I don't know if I stop paying attention in the same spot each time and miss an explanation or three, I just look at Scully and think "Oooh, pretty," but why are Billy's and Teresa's dads in the woods letting all this shit happen at the end? What is happening? They know Billy got out every other night and they just let it happen? What was that thing in the corpses nasal cavity? Same chip Scully gets later on? The thing was the reason for the mutation, right?

 

Scully in her underwear i.e. trying to grab male viewers. Actually, that scene was pretty hot and Mulder's face was priceless. Today, the comment would be "and now the Ship has set sail." But as "gratutious" as the scene is, it still establishes trust between the two.

 

For letting Billy leave, I always thought that they either didn't care, or were told to turn a blind eye to it. The nasal cavity thing did look like the later neck implants later on. All in all, good Pilot!!

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"...I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." - Casablanca       ... is all I can think of when I see this scene:

 

pilot028.jpg

 

I adore the Pilot. It really was a very strong episode for a pilot, especially compared to some of the other Season 1 episodes.  It will probably always be a Season 1 favorite of mine.  Does anyone else find that their voices sound weird, though?  I've always felt they sound kind of high-pitched in this episode, especially Scully.  She has moments, especially when she's yelling at Mulder (lol), that she sounds more like regular Scully, but it's like they're not quite locked in on their characters yet, or that they're nervous and it's coming across in their voices?  I dunno.  Or is the audio just wack?

 

On the whole Scully bathrobe scene, all I can say is way to make people not ship them, Chris.  Nailed it!  lol   Also, how in the world did Chris & Co. forget the Samantha abduction story between the Pilot and the rest of the series?  This is the only instance where the story has her getting abducted from bed.

 

I don't remember well enough what the neck implants looked like, but I think they looked different from these nasal implants? I may have to try and look this up when I get home, but weren't they more square and flat?  I always assumed Scully's neck implant was the government equivalent of these alien implants.  Same idea, different source.  Was Teresa's dad running around the woods while all this was going down?  I thought it was just Billy's dad.  I always assumed Detective Miles was just trying to protect his son, trying to cover it up, like he didn't want Billy accused of killing all these other kids.  Although, I'm not sure why Teresa's dad would have been agreeable to covering it up?  Any guesses as to why Detective Miles always denied what was happening there?   Did he not fully understand what was going down?  I've never taken much away from this episode mytharc-wise other than "Here be aliens."  

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Also, how in the world did Chris & Co. forget the Samantha abduction story between the Pilot and the rest of the series? This is the only instance where the story has her getting abducted from bed.

Hah, didn't even register that his story's different. How many times does it change? Three? Four? You'd think they could've changed that scene between making the pilot and airing it if CC came up with a different story in that time. Maybe Mulder's just been hit over the head a lot.

I don't remember well enough what the neck implants looked like, but I think they looked different from these nasal implants? I may have to try and look this up when I get home, but weren't they more square and flat? I always assumed Scully's neck implant was the government equivalent of these alien implants. Same idea, different source.

I thought they looked different too but figured maybe it's supposed to be the same even if the design was altered between appearances. Who knows!

Was Teresa's dad running around the woods while all this was going down? I thought it was just Billy's dad. I always assumed Detective Miles was just trying to protect his son, trying to cover it up, like he didn't want Billy accused of killing all these other kids. Although, I'm not sure why Teresa's dad would have been agreeable to covering it up? Any guesses as to why Detective Miles always denied what was happening there? Did he not fully understand what was going down? I've never taken much away from this episode mytharc-wise other than "Here be aliens."

I thought there were two of them, one hit Scully and the other confronted Mulder, but maybe it was the same guy? It would make more sense if it was just Billy's dad. Even if it was, he knew Billy was there, so why didn't he stop him? Did he know aliens were involved and was afraid because of that?

Is anything directly followed up in Requiem?

Edited by joelene

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I haven't done my pilot rewatch so that's on the agenda for tonight (looking forward to it!).  Though I've watched it more than most episodes so I have a pretty solid memory of it.  I do think they really hit the ground running and it's a strong pilot, though both Mulder and Scully are a bit amped up compared to what they became after DD and GA settled into the roles.

 

 

 

I gotta LOL when they have Scully dress down to her drawers so quickly, but I figure that's pilots for ya. Joke's on the network since they barely showed any Scully skin for the rest of the series. I can't even think of when else they did that on the top of my head?

In the movie when she's unconscious?  Other than that...Scully's pretty buttoned up.  We do see Mulder in just his underwear from time to time!

 

 

 

Scully in her underwear i.e. trying to grab male viewers. Actually, that scene was pretty hot and Mulder's face was priceless. Today, the comment would be "and now the Ship has set sail." But as "gratutious" as the scene is, it still establishes trust between the two.

Yes, I love that scene for the way it shows that right away Mulder and Scully have a trust.  Mulder has every reason to be cautious of Scully because he believes she was sent to keep tabs on him (which she was).  And Scully has every reason to be cautious of Mulder because his ideas/theories are so out there.  But at the same time, Scully's experiencing stuff that she doesn't understand at all and that is bizarre and scary, and Mulder's the only person there for her to turn to.  And Mulder's used to having to go it alone and have people disregard him, but Scully, even if she questions him constantly, listens to him and doesn't automatically dismiss everything he says.  And so there they are on their first case together, and right away they're a real team.  They only have each other.  

 

The scene with the mosquito bites and then Mulder telling Scully about his sister really cements that trust and that reliance on each other.  I think it's pretty impressive that the show was able to convey that so early on and in a way that didn't seem (to me, anyway) forced or unnatural.  

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Squee...look how young they are!  It struck me as I was watching that Gillian is something like 24 in this episode.  That is practically 11 years younger than I am now, and it made me a little sad.  Hah.  

 

I'd forgotten that they changed Samantha's abduction story from the pilot to the rest of the series.  Maybe they forgot, or maybe regression hypnosis is not all it's cracked up to be.  Besides that little continuity error, that whole scene is fantastic at setting up a relationship between the two of them.  It shows a lot of trust for Mulder to just put that out there right at the beginning. 

 

The implant they found in this episode was much bigger than Scully's neck implant, wasn't it?    I remember Scully's being a tiny little thing, not the giant thing shoved up Ray Soames' nose.  Maybe the aliens got better technology.  Like cell phones. Speaking of which - there were no cell phones in this episode! For some reason I just assumed they always had cell phones. 

 

I don't get why Detective Miles was running around in the forest either. Obviously they know it's happening, why not do something? Although what that would be, I don't know.  I'm assuming the implant calls the kids out to the forest, so short of knowing it was there, I guess there was nothing they really could do. 

 

The actress playing Teresa Nemmen was awful, but other than that, this is one of my favorite pilots of all time.  Crazy that I first saw it 21 years ago. It's just as good now as it was then. Aside from the clothes (dear god, that pantsuit was a horrid fashion choice) it doesn't feel dated at all.

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The way Mulder says "Do you believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials?" is just so weird.  Why you so weird, Pilot!Mulder?  But I love the way Scully smiles/smirks at him after he's given his little presentation, been all goofy and quippy, and then turned away from her.

 

pilot039.jpg


The actress playing Teresa Nemmen was awful,

So awful.  So awful

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He does say that line really weird! But it's a classic, how he says it and all. Maybe he's showing a bit of self awareness by saying it in that tone, knowing it sounds a bit out there, instead of deadpanning it.

Seeing Mulder's very first slide show made me smile so wide.

The implant they found in this episode was much bigger than Scully's neck implant, wasn't it? I remember Scully's being a tiny little thing, not the giant thing shoved up Ray Soames' nose. Maybe the aliens got better technology. Like cell phones. Speaking of which - there were no cell phones in this episode! For some reason I just assumed they always had cell phones.

You know, unless someone knows the differences between the implants, updated alien technology is gonna be canon in my head! I wonder how small the chips would be if someone got them in season 9.

Which reminds me. Scully was really scared when the plane shook. I wonder if, originally, that was gonna be a thing, her fear of flying?

I don't get why Detective Miles was running around in the forest either. Obviously they know it's happening, why not do something? Although what that would be, I don't know. I'm assuming the implant calls the kids out to the forest, so short of knowing it was there, I guess there was nothing they really could do.

Presumably he/they could restrain them. At least Billy who was supposed to be a "vegetable" (Scully's words, which, a bit OOC? But oh, she was young and in shock) he could have done something about. Unless intervention resulted in super human assault? Sorry, am I nitpicking? It doesn't bother me, it's just fun thinking about it :-)

Oh, and the exhumed graves? Aliens, right? But why, Aliens, why?!

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He does say that line really weird! But it's a classic, how he says it and all. Maybe he's showing a bit of self awareness by saying it in that tone, knowing it sounds a bit out there, instead of deadpanning it.

Oh, and the exhumed graves? Aliens, right? But why, Aliens, why?!

 

I think he said it that way on purpose to be a jerk.  Not a jerk...what's the word I want here?  He was being over the top on purpose throughout the whole first half of the episode. He definitely let her into the investigation, but I almost think he was being a fruitcake on purpose just to see what she would do.  That, or he could've just been over the top nutty because it's the pilot episode.  We never see him spray paint another X on the road.  The tide shifted when she came into the hotel room and dropped her robe.  That and when they're in the cemetery in the rain.   

 

Didn't Detective Miles and company exhume the graves? I didn't think it was the aliens.  Same people who set the motel on fire.  All part of covering it up? 

 

Oh and one thing that bugs me - Scully who rewrote Einstein for her senior thesis, should know that time is not a universal invariant.  I'll excuse the term vegetable because she's a pathologist, and they don't need to have the best bedside manner in the world, since those patients are not known for complaining. But universal invariant bugged me after I took a physics class.

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I think he said it that way on purpose to be a jerk.  Not a jerk...what's the word I want here?  He was being over the top on purpose throughout the whole first half of the episode.

I know what you're going for, I think, but also can't come up with a word.  He could be viewed as a jerk because he was kind of giving her a hard time, but it wasn't done in a mean way at all, I don't think.  I just think the way he said that particular line, all whispery and a little oddly emphasized, was particularly weird.  But yeah, the whole first half of the episode at least he's acting different than usual.  I tend to think of it largely as Chris Carter and David Duchovny and perhaps also the director not having settled into what eventually became Mulder's characterization, but I do also think he was testing Scully to a certain extent.  To see how she'd react to the strangeness of the X-Files.  

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Didn't Detective Miles and company exhume the graves? I didn't think it was the aliens. Same people who set the motel on fire. All part of covering it up?

Oh, right, forgot about the fire and the cover up! I don't know how I could forget a cover up, they appear often enough.

And yeah, he was definitely acting that way on purpose, testing her. Challenging each other right from the start!

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The actress playing Teresa Nemmen was awful,

 

"I'm scared I might ... die."

 

I can't believe she isn't related to someone in the production, because there is just no reasonable explanation for casting her.

 

I started watching the show early in the second season, and finally saw the pilot the summer between seasons two and three.  It's a little awkward as these things are, but I'm sure that had I caught the original airing I'd have been interested in the series from the start.  And I'm certain I'd have fallen in love with Scully the moment she said, "What I find fantastic is any notion there are answers beyond the realm of science.  The answers are there, you just need to know where to look."

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Aw, she's not that bad. I always thought the acting choice was more, I don't want to think it, so I'm having a hard time saying the word...die.

 

Or she watched too much of Will Shatner. Also a possibility.

 

The X-files pilot is one of the better pilots in TV land out there, one hand shake and there it was: chemistry. When it's there, there is really no discussion about it, is there?

 

I think his inflection when he says: "Do you believe in extraterrestials?" is sarcasm, basically anticipating how any sceptic would stress the term "extra terrestial". He's making fun of himself before she can. It is a defence mechanism, I would say.

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Squee...look how young they are!  It struck me as I was watching that Gillian is something like 24 in this episode.  That is practically 11 years younger than I am now, and it made me a little sad. 

 

Hey, you and I are just about the same age!  And yes, it made me really sad to realize that both Gillian and David are younger in these episodes than I am now.  Ugh.

 

The implant they found in this episode was much bigger than Scully's neck implant, wasn't it?    I remember Scully's being a tiny little thing, not the giant thing shoved up Ray Soames' nose.  Maybe the aliens got better technology.  Like cell phones. Speaking of which - there were no cell phones in this episode! For some reason I just assumed they always had cell phones. 

 

I attributed the difference in implants to be because Scully was abducted by the shady, government organization rather than the aliens directly so I assumed the government had created their own tracking chips/implants.  And no!  No cell phones yet!  No catatonic state for Mulder.  :)

Didn't Detective Miles and company exhume the graves? I didn't think it was the aliens.  Same people who set the motel on fire.  All part of covering it up? 

 

This is what I thought to, even though I'm not sure why he was so bent on a cover up.   I mean even in Requiem, Detective Miles is still all deny, deny, deny!

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Hey, you and I are just about the same age!  And yes, it made me really sad to realize that both Gillian and David are younger in these episodes than I am now.  Ugh.

 

 

I attributed the difference in implants to be because Scully was abducted by the shady, government organization rather than the aliens directly so I assumed the government had created their own tracking chips/implants.  And no!  No cell phones yet!  No catatonic state for Mulder.  :)

 

This is what I thought to, even though I'm not sure why he was so bent on a cover up.   I mean even in Requiem, Detective Miles is still all deny, deny, deny!

Same here for me in regards to Gillian. *sigh* I feel old lol. 

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So who, besides Det. Miles, covered it up? The government? I can't imagine he dug all those graves up by himself. I wonder what they told him to justify their involvement. Or was Teresa's dad in on it?

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I wonder of Requiem sheds any light on these vital questions. I'm gonna rewatch it before we switch to season 7 in the elimination game. I needed to do that anyway.

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I think his inflection when he says: "Do you believe in extraterrestials?" is sarcasm, basically anticipating how any sceptic would stress the term "extra terrestial". He's making fun of himself before she can. It is a defence mechanism, I would say.

 

I always liked that scene. I think he was being "Spooky" Mulder on purpose. That scene and the one with Scully's friend Colton in "Squeeze" is good too. I love season one.

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So has anybody taken one for the team and rewatched Requiem?  I keep thinking I'm going to, to try and unlock the mysteries (or not) of why Detective Miles was so bent on covering up what was occurring, but then I think....  it's so sad and depressing... gah.  That and I don't remember any big revelations into Detective Miles, so that's not helping my motivation much either.

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I gone done did it! But no, nothing of the sort was mentioned. I think the only reference was that Billy & the Gang were being taken because of what happened in the pilot and Billy's dad was being reluctant to what happened again. I think! Because now I've forgotten the details again.

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Finally got time to sit down and watch the Pilot (and Deep Throat) today.

 

The Pilot.....such goodness!  I really tried to watch things through Scully's eyes today, how all this craziness must seem to her.  She's already seeing she's been set up right from the beginning, and instead of scaring her and making her bow and scrape to TPTB, it pisses her off and she digs in her heels and thus the Dynamic Duo is born!  Love it.

 

I think Det. Miles is the one covering everything up, and enlisting help when he needs it to do so, out of fear (not knowing or wanting to believe what's going on) and because he's trying to protect Billy.  But I also think Billy was doing stuff too, because he was following instructions from the aliens.  So I think it's kind of like a big circle - Billy does something to cover up what the aliens were doing, and Det. Miles comes in behind him and covers up what Billy was doing to keep him out of trouble.  Make sense?

 

LOVE when Scully pulls the implant out of her pocket and sets it on the table in front of Blevins and the other guy.  (Also LOVE that they reprised that very thing in FtF with the bee.  Great call-back.)

 

I always forget that Scully is ready to blow the whistle on the whole thing, and Mulder is the one who calms her down and reminds her that they need to get everything documented and able to be proven before they do anything else.  He knows exactly what lengths the government will go to, to destroy the evidence and the ones who present it.  It makes me sad that they were still fighting this battle nine years later too. 

 

On to Deep Throat!

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Not sure if folks are venturing into older episode threads while the new season is airing, but I've been jumping around and watching episodes here and there, and I always find myself returning to the pilot whenever I rewatch X-Files episodes. It must be my poppy field tv show... or something.  I find the pilot immensely charming, from the high-pitched voices, to Scully's non-red hair and I forgot how boyishly handsome DD is! Plus, my favorite thing ever is that CC is actually from my hometown (we even went to the same high school; though I went decades later than him, AND we shared the same English  11 teacher!), and he shouts out to our hometown (er, I assume) in the name of the place Mulder & Scully go to, albeit with different spellings.

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In rewatching this last week, I realized that one of the key scenes - beyond the hotel bug bites scene - is Mulder and Scully discussing Billy Miles in the rainy cemetery. Throughout the first part of the episode, Mulder is definitely playing up "being Fox Mulder" to test Scully, IMO and the fact that she's willing to entertain his crackpot Billy Miles theory in the rainy graveyard is IMO what turns him around on her. I mean, the fact that she just seems intrigued in the case at all probably is heartening to him but the fact that she doesn't dismiss him as a total loon sets the stage for the episode and the show going forward.

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