My Heart Will Go On
"Triangle" Plot Summary:
Mulder is floating face down in the Sargasso Sea. He's rescued by the cockney crew of the Queen Anne, who've never heard of the F.B.I. and think he's a German spy. He's dragged to the radio control room, where Mulder tells the captain he thinks they're trapped in the Devil's Triangle in a time warp, and learns that it's September 3, 1939. The ship has just been boarded by Germans, so Mulder is locked in the room while the captain goes to the bridge. He fiddles with the radio, picking up wartime broadcasts, then hears a German enter and they scuffle in the dark. When Mulder wins and turns on the lights, he sees that the soldier is Spender.
Mulder steals Spender's uniform and hides in the dining hall, where there's a dance going on. He bumps into Scully and her date, but when he tries to talk to her, she spits that he's a Nazi. Then the real Nazis arrive to arrest him, dragging him on the deck and beating him, while Mulder complains that he can't even speak their language. The head of the Nazis is CSM; he has the captain of the ship killed and orders Mulder shot, but another Nazi - Skinner - informs CSM that Mulder's American, showing him the F.B.I. badge. He's released and goes belowdecks to the boilers, where he tells the crew that the Nazis will invade all of Europe until the U.S. bails them out. He learns that there's a rumor of weapons on board, but the ship's not heavy enough to be carrying munitions. But he recognizes the German code word Thor's Hammer: it's the name of a nuclear scientist who's on the ship. No sooner has Mulder made this announcement than a spying German races out to tell his superiors.
Meanwhile, at the F.B.I. in the present day, the Lone Gunmen go to Scully to tell her that Mulder has vanished in the Bermuda Triangle, where he'd gone in pursuit of the Queen Anne, which vanished nearly sixty years earlier. A storm has obscured the ship's location; they need Navy reconaissance. Scully barges into Skinner's office to ask for his help, but he tells her to start playing by the rules; then she tries to go to Kirsch, but he has CSM in his office, smoking. Finally, in desperation, she goes to Spender and threatens to kill him if he won't get her the data; he agrees, but promptly has her summoned by Kirsch. Scully flees but her cell phone rings; thinking it's Mulder, she tries to get off an elevator only to run into Spender, Kirsch, and CSM. She races back into the elevator and stops at another floor, where Skinner gets on; he's the one who called on the cell phone, because he has the data she needed. Scully gives him an exuberant kiss on the lips but Skinner splutters that she had better never ever break protocol with him again.
Back in 1939, Mulder begs the crew to turn the ship around and keep it trapped in the Devil's Triangle to prevent the Germans from waging nuclear holocaust, but the man in charge of the boilers wants only to go to Jamaica, while one of the chief laborers is furious Mulder talked so much and warns him to trust no one. He runs from the Germans pursuing him, but they trap him in the ballroom and demand that he identify the scientist called Thor's Hammer. When he refuses to answer, Head Nazi CSM orders passengers shot one by one. Scully, who's secretly working for the OSS, steps forward to insist along with Mulder that an executed crewmember is the man they're all looking for, but her date reveals that in fact he's the scientist; the other two were covering for him. The scientist is hauled off while Mulder and Scully are forced to their knees before a firing squad, but before they can be shot, the ship stops moving and the crew rushes in to attack the Nazis.
As Mulder and 1930s Scully flee on their hands and knees, 1990s Scully and the Lone Gunmen find the Queen Anne and board the ship. Mulder drags the 1930s Scully through the corridors right through the 1990s characters, who can't see them; the ship really is trapped in the 1930s, and Mulder along with it. The present-day characters enter the deserted dining room to see the aftermath of the struggle from the 1930s, but nobody is there. Simultaneously, after a few close calls, Mulder gets the older Scully into a private room, where he tells her that she has to get the ship turned around to save the future, because they'll never exist if she doesn't. Then, "in case we never meet again," he kisses her passionately. Scully slugs him, but tosses him a life preserver when he jumps overboard to return to his own time.
Mulder awakens in a hospital to see Scully, Skinner, and the Lone Gunmen, croaking out his preposterous story to jokes about how he sounds like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. Skinner says he's going to kick Mulder's butt when he's released and the Lone Gunmen laugh at his allegations that he was on the Queen Anne, but Mulder keeps telling Scully that she saved the world, she listened to him, even though her 1930s self had never met him before.
Mulder: "You saved the world."
Scully: "Yes, I did."
Mulder: "You believed in me."
Scully: "In your dreams. Now I want you to close your eyes, and I want you to keep saying, 'There's no place like home.'"
Mulder: "Scully...I love you."
Scully: "Oh, brother." She rolls her eyes and leaves.
This is very nearly a perfect episode, featuring all the regulars, a mystery, global consequence, great humor, the kiss we didn't get in Fight the Future and a declaration of love, plus Scully losing it with terrific aplomb in two timelines. It also had brilliant directing - a fantastic use of split-screen, followed by a demonstration that what we were seeing wasn't a split screen at all. And the tracking shots...incredible. Little homages to war movies, lots of series in-jokes in the flashbacks, yet if you'd never seen an X-Files before you could have watched this one and enjoyed it.
It's hard for me to talk coherently about all the things that made me applaud, so I'll just list a dozen of them:
1) The terrible USO-type music playing over most of the episode, which cut off abruptly when Scully and Co. entered the long-empty dining room.
2) CSM's perfect German accent (and unfiltered cigarettes); he was born to wear that Nazi uniform.
3) Mulder's informing the Brits that the only thing the U.S. got in recompense for bailing them out of World War II was the Spice Girls.
4) Scully in that red dress. Oh yeah baby. And stepping on people's toes in both timelines, both literally and figuratively. I didn't think the OSS existed in 1939, but she can work for whoever she wants!
5) Jokes about Pearl Harbor, the Russian campaign, and other historical events which really shouldn't be funny but sounded that way when brought up by Mulder as dire predictions like we've heard him make about aliens, etc. Also jokes about not understanding things in German which always turned out to be, "Kill him."
6) Scully calling Spender a weasel in two different timelines, and threatening to kill him. "I don't care what you do, or who you do." Woo hoo!
7) Skinner as a reluctant Nazi. Spender as a very willing Nazi and interpreter for CSM.
8) Kirsch - a little clueless, but actually a good guy in the 1930s storyline. It's hard to tell whether he was cast in that role because a black man would not have been believable as a Nazi or a first-class passenger or whether this is supposed to be a commentary on his role in the present, but it was a nice touch.
9) Scully's exuberant kiss for Skinner in exchange for information about Mulder - a nice moment for both Scully/Skinner fans and Mulder/Scully fans, since one could rationalize that she was only doing it because Skinner was helping save Mulder.
10) Mulder: "We're having some trouble in the White House right now, but that will blow over...so to speak."
11) SMOOOOOOCH. THWAP! I didn't time it, but that kiss must have gone on for close to ten seconds, and it was shot in dim light from a not-very-revealing angle, like kisses in the movies from the era in which Mulder was trapped...one of the sexiest kisses I've ever seen on television. YOW! And then Scully punching him, mostly out of obligation, before she follows his directive to save the future...reminds me of the flashbacks Lois and Clark used to do before they got together, where the two of them would take on the roles of other people so they'd have an excuse to make out. Perfect.
12) Mulder may not have been of sound body but he was definitely of sound mind when he told Scully he loved her. Oh yes, we all heard that. It's just too bad the Lone Gunmen weren't still around to hear it...not to mention Skinner. And her horrified, embarrassed, oh-god "I can't even look at you" reaction was absolutely perfect. Perfect.
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