by Michelle Erica Green

I've Been Slimed

"Terma" Plot Summary:

Mulder survives being held in chicken wire and injected with deadly black worms, and is given a knife by a fellow prisoner who understands enough Russian to realize that Krycek is working with the men holding them captive. Mulder manages to steal a truck and escape. Rescued by a local family, he learns that amputation of a limb is the locals' only way to save themselves from experiments with the "black cancer"; while he persuades the family to help him flee, Krycek is "saved" by other locals.

Meanwhile, in Washington, Scully works on the medical mystery of the black cancer and is jailed for contempt of Congress for refusing to reveal Mulder's whereabouts. She learns that the world expert on infectious viruses - Cancer Man's boss's personal physician - has died in an "accident," caused by a former KGB agent. The same agent kills the doctor who has been the principal researcher into the black cancer.

Mulder arrives before the Senate subcommittee just as Scully is about to be charged with contempt again, challenging their skepticism of extraterrestrial life. Following a lead to Florida, the two learn that experiments like the one Mulder was subjected to are being conducted in the U.S. and that the US government covered up knowledge that the Soviet toxin was used by Hussein in the Gulf War. Krycek has hidden the final rock in his former militia buddies' bomb, which Mulder and Scully arrive too late to prevent the KGB agent from detonating.


There was a lot of plot in this episode; it's one of the most-satisfying multi-parters The X Files has ever done, largely because the second half packed as much action as the first. As in all my favorite episodes, the extraterrestrial menace wasn't nearly as important as the national and international political machinations going on. I never cared where the rock came from or what the black cancer really was - I was far more interested in what Krycek was up to, who the doctors were working for, where Mulder was going to go next.

There weren't any scenes with the sheer tension of Krycek dangling by his wrist and pulling a man to his death as in the first half, and there wasn't as much icky gore involving black worms. The violence was more typical for television - amputations, "riding accidents," bombs going off - but that made sense, given that the crisis shifted from the nature of the rock itself to the governments struggling to possess it. We never did find out anything definitive about where the Soviets got the rock or what they knew about its origins.

It's interesting that in most of the major episodes this season, Mulder and Scully have been working apart for the same ends instead of working together for opposing ones. It's getting increasingly hard to take Scully seriously as a skeptic, given all that's happened to her, so perhaps that's all to the good; this episode did contain one heartwarming moment when the two embraced before a Senate subcommttee, but for the most part they went about their separate tasks.

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