"Three Of A Kind"
by Michelle Erica Green

Deuces Wild

"Three Of A Kind" Plot Summary:

Byers dreams that the events of November 22, 1963 never happened; America has trustworthy leadership, the world is peaceful, he has a nice house in the 'burbs with two kids, and Suzanne Modleski from "Unusual Suspects" is his wife. The dream ends with him losing it all, standing in a desert alone.

In Las Vegas, Def-Con '99 is in progress, with Defense Department contractors milling about. Byers plays poker with four men in a private room as Frohike serves as bartender and Langly watches on a closed-circuit television, feeding his partners advice. One man says he's working on black ops crapola, another's working on neutron bombardment. The best card player looks at Byers' stolen badge and asks what he works on; Langly tells him to say his company built the air conditioner parts for the B-2 bomber. The man then asks him about delaminating problems. Just then Langly's system goes down; he advises Byers to stall, and fold, but Byers says they subcontracted to the Japanese and sees the high bid. He loses $3000 and his opponent tells security to pick Byers up - he made up the stuff about delamination.

Frohicke complains that after five days, they're broke and haven't learned anything. There's a knock on the door and a gruff voice says, "CIA." It's Jimmy and Timmy, two geeky friends of the Lone Gunmen, who are there to investigate conspiracies in the military-industrial complex and check out the new assassination equipment allegedly being presented at the show. Right now, however, they want the lobster buffet. Byers stays behind, prompting Frohicke to wonder whether he's still looking for Suzanne Modleski, whom they met at a convention like this one. Byers agrees to go downstairs, and spots Suzanne between the slot machines.

Scully is awakened by a phone call from Mulder telling her to get on a plane to Vegas. Unbeknownst to her, the Lone Gunmen placed the call using a voice synthesizer. Byers tells his friends that he needs Scully - his own government agent - and Mulder is too high-profile, he's a household name to Black Ops-types. That evening as Byers gets ice, he sees his poker opponent get off the elevator, then get kissed by a woman in a hotel room doorway. It's Suzanne Modleski. She hangs out a Do Not Disturb sign. Byers tries to drown himself in the ice bucket.

As Langly and Frohicke discover that the man is Grant Ellison, who works for the same defense contractor that ruined Modleski ten years earlier, Byers concludes that she must have been brainwashed - she would not have been kissing the enemy otherwise. He can't find a way to sneak into the conference panel the next morning, but Jimmy assures him that HE can do so. The conspiracy geek crawls through an air vent and starts videotaping the conference, but is surprised to see his brother inside as well. Then he is accosted by armed men. "You really screwed things up. We had big plans for you," the leader says, calling him by name and noting that every good plan needs a patsy. Then the men inject him with something.

Scully arrives and tells the Lone Gunmen she can't get Mulder on the phone. While they are reassuring her, they hear medics rushing out front. Jimmy jumped in front of a bus and has been killed. While the others suspect conspiracy, Frohicke breaks into Modleski's room to plant a camera and discovers that someone has beaten him to the job. He has to hide when she walks in and starts undressing. Before Frohicke can escape, Byers knocks on her door. "I'm here to save you," he says, but she assures him she has not been brainwashed. Byers says that a friend of his was just killed, "and that man..." Suzanne identifies the latter as her fiance, and shuts the door. Frohicke nearly lands on his partner in the hallway as he leaps from a ceiling panel.

Langly accompanies Scully to Jimmy's autopsy, but runs out to throw up as she discovers an injection mark on the neck of the dead man. A man in black grabs her from behind. Langly hears the end of the struggle; when he rushes in, however, he finds Scully woozy and forgetful on the floor. She declares that the autopsy is over, she doesn't remember how to use the equipment, and she calls Langly "Cutie." He thinks she's just jet-lagged. Back at the hotel, Frohicke finds a very drunk Scully flirting with a crowd of men. Morris Fletcher offers her a cigarette which she accepts even though she doesn't smoke. As Frohicke drags her away, she gives Fletcher a friendly slap on the rear which makes him smile.

In the Lone Gunmen's room, Byers watches the video of Modleski and her fiance. "She would not marry that man!" declares Byers, but Modleski interrupts to say Byers doesn't know Grant like she does - she broke into their room with the equipment Frohicke used and forgot to take back when he broke into HER room. Suzanne wants to know about their murdered friend, since she and her fiance are always in danger. She tells Byers that Grant saved her during interrogation ten years earlier, and she fell in love with him because he reminded her of Byers. Grant worked for the project, but he looked for ways to sabotage it. They were planning to escape on the last day of the conference with proof of the government's illegal actions.

Frohicke bursts in on Byers and Modleski with "Scully Golightly," who calls him "Hickey" and giggles a lot. Meanwhile Langly has accepted an invitation from Timmy to a Dungeons and Dragons game in Jimmy's honor, but when he arrives, he's met only by men in black. Modleski shows the others the injection mark on Scully's neck and administers an antidote, then explains that she created the analytic histamine which represses higher brain functions and makes its victims highly susceptible to suggestion. She created it so she and Grant could go public about the government's intent to use it; she and her fiance were the only people with samples. While the group wonders what it's being used for now, Langly scratches an injection site on his neck.

The conspirators give Langly a gun and a badge for the conference...and tie back his hair. His orders are to enter the panel and wait for a break at 10:15, then shoot the target. Inside, Modleski sits with her fiance, who calls for a break at the appointed time. Scully can't get in with her F.B.I. badge as Langly comes at Modleski and shoots her several times. She falls, Grant cries out, Langly leaves, Scully enters and examines the body. Frohicke intercepts the call for emergency help.

As the Lone Gunmen take Modleski out on a stretcher, Scully calls for Grant to be detained. He is taken to the Lone Gunmen's room, where Suzanne is waiting in a stained shirt. She tells him she checked Langly and gave him the antidote. Grant pleads that the murder wasn't his idea, but his lover demands to know what her life was worth to him. He claims he sacrificed her to save his own life. Then Timmy bursts in, saying he's CIA; he shoots Grant dead. As he takes aim at Modleski, Byers trips him and injects him with the analytic histamine antidote. "Hi, cutie," Timmy croaks.

As the television reports that Timothy Landau confessed to two murders, Scully calls Mulder to tell him that she's at the hotel. "What do you mean what hotel?" she demands, then says, "I'm going to kick their asses." Outside, Byers tells Modleski that she is now officially "dead" and has a new identity. She asks him to go with her, but he insists that she's safer without him, and she should not go public with what she knows; they'll do it for her. She gives him the wedding ring she intended to give to Grant, kisses him, and whispers, "Someday." Again he watches her go off in a cab. Langly tells Byers that it won't be so bad growing old with the rest of the Lone Gunmen, but Frohicke warns that that might make him want to kill himself again.


Like "Unusual Suspects" - the inverse of "Three of a Kind" in that it featured Mulder but no Scully - this episode was utterly ridiculous but certainly a hoot. This is a conspiracy theorist's dream of a defense department convention, from the name to the location to the recruitment of D&D players for top-secret assassinations. I'm inclined to think the whole thing happened only in the mind of Byers - though Byers couldn't have known about Scully and Fletcher.

While I wasn't overly fond of watching Scully turn into a mindless bimbo under the influence of analytic histamine, it was worth it to see her return Fletcher's pat on the ass from earlier this season. There would have been too many chicks-as-victims sequences in here for my taste if we were not watching obvious parody, but when legit defense department contractors announce at poker games that they work in black ops, why worry?

Since I didn't worry, I thought the writers missed a classic opportunity to have a little fun with Scully and the viewers by having "Mulder" say some more risque things to Scully using the voice synthsizer. OK, the Lone Gunmen were trying to recruit her for something serious and couldn't risk exposure, but I was just waiting for Langly to come out with something outrageous! He probably had the best time this episode, losing the long hair and getting to shoot Suzanne, but Byers was quite moving in his singleminded adoration of a woman he lost a decade ago.

I like Lone Gunmen episodes; it gives the series a chance to have fun with itself, and the characters are remarkably well-developed considering how rare it is for any of them to get more than two sentences out before being interrupted by one of the others. Frohicke did the best investigative work here, but he's owed a life, now that the other two have gotten to have some fun.

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