Wake Up and Smell the Cigarettes
"Dreamland Part Two" Plot Summary:
Morris narrates the life story of Fox Mulder - now himself - while viewing clips from home movies, including Mulder dressed as Spock. He declares that he's going to stop "pissing away a brilliant career," beginning by apologizing to Scully for ratting on her to Kirsch, but Scully - who remembers Mulder in Morris' body yelling "He's not me!" while being dragged off - already suspects that this man is not her partner. She has been suspended for two weeks, and reluctantly agrees to his invitation to dinner just to keep tabs on him. The real Morris - with Mulder's brain - is in a top-secret prison, along with the fighter pilot trapped in the body of an old Indian woman. The pilot, Maverick, tells Mulder they've been "disappeared" and regales him with boring stories of his career until Mulder tells him to shut up.
The general has Mulder sprung from prison and calls him before a group from Majestic, saying that they now know he gave the F.B.I. the wrong flight recorder and demanding to know why. Mulder thinks quickly, explains that he knew there was a leak in the organization and didn't know who to trust. The general glares at Jeff Grodin, the man who turned Morris in, as Mulder explains that his secret plan to meet with Scully to find out the name of the informant would have worked fine if her idiot partner Mulder hadn't ruined everything. The idiot himself is in Mulder's apartment, stunned to find no bed and a collection of porn in the closet. "This guy hasn't been laid for ten years," he declares, and sets out to change things.
Mulder is scorned by Morris' kids and his wife, who thinks he's insane when he tries to explain that he's not her husband but an F.B.I. agent. He shows her the surveillance outside their house, but she believes he just hates his life. Scully arrives for dinner at Mulder's apartment and discovers that Morris has installed a four-poster waterbed with draperies and a mirror on the ceiling. Lying on the bed, she asks, "You know what would really be fun?" and offers him her handcuffs. Morris cuffs himself to the bedpost, but Scully then pulls a gun, declares that he's not Mulder, and demands to know the source Mulder had been trying to meet that night in the desert. He claims he doesn't know, but then the phone rings - it's the source. The set up a meeting.
Meanwhile, Joanne is complaining that first Mulder left her for Scully, now he won't even leave the house. He says they should get out and go someplace with other people, taking her to a bar. It's the same bar where Morris is meeting Mulder's informer. When he sees the general in the Buffalo Bills cap he had been told the informer would wear, Morris laughs aloud. Mulder excuses himself from drinking with Joanne by going to the bathroom, then goes outside to try to steal a car, but he sees Scully waiting for Morris and stops to talk to her. Bored, Joanne comes looking for him and sees the two of them together. When he gets back inside, she throws a drink at him; after he goes to the bathroom to clean up, Jeff Grodin and others from Majestic question her.
In a back corner, the general says that he didn't mean to make the plane crash - just to get it where Mulder could see it - and tells Morris that the flight recorder is under the table. Morris retrieves it, but sees people from Majestic everywhere, so he hides in the bathroom where he runs into Mulder. The two fight but realize they must work together to get the flight recorder past Grodin. The general comes in, sees the two men hiding together in the stall, and places himself in the path of the Majestic men so that Morris can sneak the flight recorder out. The general accosts Mulder in the parking lot, but he has only beer in the bag which previously contained the flight recorder.
Scully takes the recorder and Morris to the Lone Gunmen; while they try to retrieve its data, he laughs at their work, declaring that they make his job possible by feeding Area 51's ridiculous cover stories to the American public by way of tabloids and conspiracy newsletters. Out in the desert, teens looking for UFOs get in the way of a wave from one of the craft; a kissing couple are fused into one creature. Meanwhile, Mulder goes to see the general, who declares that whatever happens next, he's finished; the real Morris Fletcher now knows he's the leak and will have him arrested for sabotaging the craft. Mulder asks why he did it; the general says he was tired of lying to the very public he wants to protect, admitting that even he doesn't know exactly where the craft come from, and asking Mulder whether there are really extraterrestrials.
Mulder meets Scully, who has bad news: he's going to have to put two kids through college, because any attempt to recreate the random accident which reversed Mulder and Morris could end up fusing Mulder with a rock instead. She is planning to leave the bureau now that golden boy Morris is sucking up to Kirsch. Mulder tells her to get back there and explain things; Scully tells Mulder she'd kiss him if he weren't so damn ugly wearing Morris' face. As they drive off, one of the teens bangs on the window of a car which turns out to contain Jeff Grodin. The teen begs for help, but when they arrive, his friends are back to being their separate selves, making out on the ground.
Morris tells Scully he'll fight for her job and they can have fun together, but she threatens to pull her gun on him. As they drive by the Atomic Gas Station, she sees that it is not burned to the ground and meets the owner, who is fine. They rush back to Morris' house, where Mulder is moving out. When Joanne sees Scully she becomes furious, but Morris talks to her nostalgically about their life together and even though he is in Mulder's body, she believes that he is her husband. Scully tells Mulder that the wave appears to be reversing itself and they must return to ground zero. The white jeeps intercept them and take them to the Majestic's testing ground, where Jeff Grodin tells them he's cleaning up the mess, now that he knows the wave is reversing - he wants his perfect career record back.
Mulder and Morris switch bodies and remember nothing, though they look at one another strangely for a moment after the swap. Back in Washington, Scully calls Mulder to tell him she's sorry his secret source didn't pan out, but at least Kirsch doesn't seem to have discovered their trip to Nevada. On her desk, she finds the fused dimes from the floor of the no-longer-burned gas station, while Mulder opens his bedroom door, then opens his front door to make sure he has the right apartment.
I'm still not happy about the treatment of women and domesticity in this little arc, but this was a highly enjoyable episode with some priceless Scully moments that made up for a lot: suggesting handcuffs to Morris, pulling a gun every time he subsequently made a pass at her, explaining with a straight face to the Lone Gunmen that Morris and Mulder have switched bodies, telling Mulder he can't shoot Morris (Mulder had asked, "Would that be murder or suicide?") because she's going to do it first. "I'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly" is sure to be the favorite 'shipper line of the show, but my favorite was probably her threat that if Morris called her "Baby" again, he'd be peeing through a catheter.
I rather enjoyed Morris in this episode: Men in Black glasses, flashing Mulder's badge to get into hotels free, scoffing at his porn collection, even unexpectedly turning mushy when he saw his wife throwing his life out of their house. The best, though, was his explanation that Saddam Hussein is a mediocre American actor who was installed to create distractions when necessary for military purposes. Joanne and the kids were too close to caricatures to take his life seriously; unfortunately, in many of The X-Files' more humorous episodes, character is sacrificed for jokes, and this was certainly no exception. The scene between Mulder and Scully where she announced that she would leave the bureau without him was touching, but why did he let her drive off with Morris without a game plan? He didn't really intend to take responsibility for Morris' life, did he? Joanne's psychobabble about how Morris couldn't run away from him life by pretending to be someone else was rather on the mark, but presented as ridiculous. In general, I thought she was very ill-treated.
The details of this episode were great: hysterical but subtle use of music, mood lighting, occasional use of mirrors to remind us that when Scully was talking to Morris she was seeing Mulder - the shot of the two of them on the bed together was extremely effective. So was the shot of Morris and Mulder seeing each other in the mirror in the men's room, in reverse. The fused young lovers were hilarious in a sick sort of way, and I got a kick out of the young pilot in the body of the old woman telling Mulder he was his bitch now. And I loved the general. "Are there really aliens?"
Which brings us to the "what was the point" of the episode. I don't have a good answer; I was irked by the reset button, I was hoping Scully would remember this week as Mulder remembered "Triangle." We never quite saw if these were similar to the last set of UFOs Mulder went chasing in the desert, and we never found out whether the general was going to be found out in the restored timeline...nor who built the craft in the first place, nor what for. So much for Area 51...I hope we get to go back under better circumstances.
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