Author Archives: Alaina

About Alaina

Alaina is a woman in her mid-twenties, and has never previously categorized herself as such. She is an avid reader, and believes that her opinions should be heard across the world, regardless of how ill-formed they may be. She is also fond of adding the phrase "That's what she said!" to otherwise innocuous-sounding phrases. Hence, "That's What She Read."

Project X: episodes 1.22-1.24

If 2016 is going to have one motto, it’s going to be NO APOLOGIES FOR THINGS I’M NOT SORRY FOR. If 2016 can have two mottos, the second one will be DON’T FEEL SORRY FOR THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE THAT BIG AN IMPACT.

The third motto for 2016 should be STOP FUCKING DYING, ACTORS I LOVE

Episode 1.22: “Born Again”

Netflix Synopsis
An 8-year old girl is the prime suspect in a series of bizarre, seemingly unrelated deaths.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A creepy young girl chock full of Thorazine turns out to be the reincarnated spirit of a dead cop. And now, she wants justice. Also, there’s origami.

I feel that there should be a third category for Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically Monsters. I’m gonna make that a thing. This is Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically Monsters.

Special Guest Star
Maggie Wheeler, playing a cop! Who’s Maggie Wheeler, you ask?


That’s right – JANICE. And look, it’s not my fault that I kept hearing “Mulder and Janice’s Day of Fun!!” playing in my head throughout this episode; really, it’s not.

Fun Fact!
David Duchovny and Maggie Wheeler were apparently dating while filming this episode.


Yeah, Janice — I really don’t know how I feel about that.

Fashion Statements
We have reached Full “Hide Gillian Anderson’s Real-Life Pregnancy” Mode. Very rarely given a wide shot, and so many oversized trenchcoats it’s really not funny at all.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
His super slo-mo, dramatic turn to look at the Creepy Girl who’s watching the proceedings from the second story. I took a video, but apparently I can’t upload it because I’m not really paying for WordPress. And I’m sorry, but my commitment to completion falls short of paying money for an upgrade. But trust me – it was awesome.

First Meetings
I believe this is the first episode where the episode ends with Mulder voice-over-ing his report. I say I think this is the first episode because guys, it’s been actual months since I’ve watched this show, and I haven’t really been paying great attention.

Watch or Skip?
Eh … you can skip it.

Episode 1.23: “Roland”

Netflix Synopsis
When scientists at an aeronautics lab die under mysterious circumstances, the agents suspect a mentally challenged janitor may be the culprit.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A dead physicist is able to control his secret twin into killing people for him.

Weird Shit That Isn’t Technically  Monsters.

Here’s The Thing
I get really uncomfortable when I see portrayals of mental illness, especially in genre shows like this, and especially when their portrayals are made to put them in the villain’s seat. I get that in the story, Roland (the mentally-challenged janitor) is not actually responsible for his murderous tendencies, but – he’s played by Zeljko Ivanek (so, not actually mentally handicapped in real life), and it’s just … no matter how well I think he may act as he should in this role, I’m still uncomfortable with the whole situation.

If I may digress for one more second: the best portrayal of a handicapped person has to be Jewel on Deadwood. Portrayed by Geri Jewell who has Cerebral Palsy in real life, her character is real, vivid, and is not written with a sheen of pity — which was slightly apparent with Roland in this episode of The X-Files. The best part about Jewel? The so-very-apparent affection Al Swearengen has for Jewel.

OH GOD HOW OLD IS IAN MCSHANE HE’S BRITISH, RIGHT? Oh, thank god, he’s 74 already.


Things I Yelled At the TV
When one of the Lab Coats isn’t nice to Roland: “I HOPE YOU DIE A FIERY DEATH”

Classic Quote
Lab Coat #2: If you want to go down in flames together, fine. You go ahead. I’m going to do the math.

Special Guest Star
The aforementioned Zeljko Ivanek, who you may know from 24, and — WAIT, he was in Hannibal!? Oh, the movie, not the TV show. I was gonna say, I’m pretty sure I’d recognize him …

Chekhov’s Whatever

(It’s a wind turbine. Remember, from up above? This is an aeronautical lab.)

Thing I Can’t Even
At one point, Mulder name-drops Beakman’s World. That is a blast from the past, my friends. I had completely forgotten that show.

First Meetings
Well, Scully mentions that she has two brothers – an older one, and a younger one. We met Bill in “Beyond the Sea,” and we know about Melissa, her sister (or we will – sorry, spoiler alert!), but – is there really a second brother?

A Final Thing I Yelled At the TV
“Oh look, someone brought a gun to a turbine fight.”

Watch or Skip?

Episode 1.24: “The Erlenmeyer Flask”

Netflix Synopsis
Deep Throat tips Mulder to a critically important case involving a missing fugitive and the cloning of extraterrestrial viruses.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Deep Throat leads Mulder to gather as much evidence as possible before the government shuts the alien project down. In his quest for evidence, Mulder comes across people who bleed green, monkeys that are really fucking mean, and bodies suspended in solution in a shadowy warehouse. Mulder gets kidnapped by one of the shadowy government agents, and as ransom, Scully breaks into the Pentagon and removes –


— well, that. But in the end, it’s not enough: sure, they release Mulder, but they shoot Deep Throat in front of their eyes. Two weeks later, Skinner (BABY) shuts The X-Files down.


Last Appearance
Deep Throat, we hardly knew ye.

Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts
Law Enforcement Guy: I don’t know if you’re aware, but there were three different law enforcement agencies out here last night.
Mulder: Hunting a man on a moving violation?
Law Enforcement Guy: Well, it’s not Silence of the Lambs, but it’s what we do.

Scully is a Badass, Haters to the Left
Scully drove the car! With Mulder in the passenger seat! I mean, it’s her car because she’s driving him to where he left his, BUT STILL

Classic Quote
Deep Throat: Trust … trust no one. [dies.]

Watch or Skip?

Next Time on Project X: Season Two, bitches!! Just in time for Season 10 to air!
But seriously: “Little Green Men,” “The Host,” “Blood,” “Sleepless,” “Duane Barry,” “Ascension,” and “3.” 

Guys. Important things are gonna happen next time.

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Posted by on January 15, 2016 in Project X


Project X: Week 3, episodes 1.15 – 1.21

Just getting right into this and hoping to be caught up … someday.

Episode 1.15: “Lazarus”

Netflix Synopsis
The consciousness of a dangerous criminal possesses an FBI agent who is also Scully’s ex-boyfriend.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Scully’s Ex-Boyfriend Jack and a bank robber switch bodies when they’re both shot and die at the same time, only Scully doesn’t know until Scully’s Ex-Boyfriend Jack kidnaps her and handcuffs her to a radiator.

MOTW, although it’s not really a monster …

Unexplainable Phenomena
The FBI is actually doing FBI-like things, like foiling a bank robbery!

Have I ever told any of you my FBI bank robber story?

All About Alaina
So, when I was a second-year freshman at the University of Southern Maine (after transferring from Franklin Pierce College), I had to take this “Introduction to Accounting” class – it only met for like, six or eight weeks, once a week. It was a one-credit class, and for the most part, it was bullshit. But one thing they’d do is bring in people from different agencies with accounting backgrounds, in an effort to show how “cool” accounting was.

Also, this was right after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals, so they were also trying to show us the legitimate ways to be accountants. And there were a bunch of boring people, but one night, this guy from the local branch of the FBI was there.

Now, I had actually chosen Accounting as my major because I wanted to join the FBI, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting was the easiest way to get in. You know why I wanted to be an FBI agent? DANA SCULLY, Y’ALL.

But then I learned that I can’t run, and all agents have to go through the obstacle course at Quantico. So … I worked in retail for 10 years!

BUT ANYWAY. The people at that seminar would take questions and answers, and one of the questions for the FBI guy was, “What is a typical day in the life for you?”

And I’ve never forgotten what he said:

“It never fails; you try and plan your day, and someone robs a bank.”

I keep saying I’m going to cross-stitch that into a sampler, but I haven’t yet. But seriously, that is a good line.

First Meetings
– First time Scully kills someone! After the bank robber shoots Jack, Scully drops him like he’s … hot?

I’m sorry.

– Also, Scully’s first ex-boyfriend who isn’t Donal Logue!
– Also-also, the bank robber has a tattoo that shows up on Jack’s body, so — evil tattoos!

Unbelievable Shit
That Scully dated someone who has the same birthday as her. I don’t know if I’d ever date someone who has the same birthday as me; I’d be scared that we’d be too alike. Oh no! No one would ever clean out the fridge.

Fun Fact!
Scully’s birthday is February 23.

Ships Ahoy!
Mulder, in talking with Jack/Bank Robber’s ransom demand: “Now you listen to me – you lay one hand on Scully, I swear to God –”
And when he’s leading the team who’s going to search and rescue Scully: “For those of you who don’t know already, this one’s important to me, so … let’s do it right.”

(It’s so weird to see Mulder actually working professionally with other FBI agents.)

Watch or Skip?
Feel free to skip this one.

Episode 1.16: “Young At Heart”

Netflix Synopsis
A criminal believed to have died in prison years earlier wages a vendetta against Mulder.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A prisoner with Benjamin Button disease escapes and leaves love notes for Mulder everywhere and also, he breaks into Scully’s apartment.

A hybrid of the two, because it turns out that the escaped prisoner is working with the Shadow Government. Also, Cigarette Smoking Man was there!

Fashion Statements
Scully’s mint triple-breasted suit with matching Oxford stripe blouse:


Mulder, You Precious Angel
He shouts “I’ll get you, you son of a bitch” in broad daylight.

Thing I Can’t Even
Scully Doogie-Howsering at home with a cup of tea, and a lit candelabra. And what sounds like Carmina Burana in the score, under Mark Snow’s eerie violins:


This is so 1994, I can’t even.

First Meetings
– First time Scully is shot! SPOILER ALERT: she was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Watch or Skip
I mean, I think you’ve got the jist just from this, so — skip.

Episode 1.17: “E.B.E.”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully become the focus of a misinformation campaign when they attempt to trace the government’s secret transport of an alien life form.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder and Scully road trip across America, following a tractor trailer truck possibly carrying a dead alien.

Definitely Mytharc.

First Meetings
I’m going to need you to open this in a new tab and please play it on repeat throughout this section: let’s get ready to look good!

In this episode, we meet …. THE LONE GUNMEN!


John_Fitzgerald_ByersSO AND SO

Melvin_FrohikeTHE UGLY ONE

(you guys – when I realized I could introduce these guys a la Teen Girl Squad, I was SO FREAKING HAPPY)

The Lone Gunmen – Langley (“Cheerleader”), Frohike (“The Ugly One”), and Byers (“So-and-So”) – are Mulder’s occasional accomplices. They run a magazine called “The Lone Gunmen,” and Mulder sometimes asks them for help. In another classic quote (that didn’t make the Classic Quote section below), Byers says of Mulder, “That’s what we like about you, Mulder; your ideas are weirder than ours.”

Also, Frohike quickly develops a crush on Scully.

Other, Less Important First Meetings
– Mulder’s apartment!- The manner in which Mulder signals to Deep Throat from his apartment!
– Scully actually drives the car with Mulder in the passenger seat!

Unbelievable Shit
That Mulder and Deep Throat had enough time together to actually plan out these elaborate, secretive communication gambits.

Classic Conversation
Scully: Those were the most paranoid people I have ever met. I don’t know how you could think that what they say is even remotely plausible.
Mulder: I think it’s remotely plausible that someone might think you’re hot.


Fashion Statements
Mulder, your tie:

What even is that?!

Ships Ahoy
At one point, Mulder leaves the office, grabbing Scully’s shoulder on his way out. It’s practically a caress.

Classic Quote
Deep Throat: Mulder, the truth is out there – but so are lies.

Horrible Irony
Mulder and Deep Throat meet at the shark tank to discuss the fact that Deep Throat gave Mulder a fake photo. You guys know about sharks, right? How they never stop swimming or they’ll die?

Deep Throat: “Mulder, if a shark stops swimming, he will die. Don’t stop swimming.”

HAND TO GOD, I wrote my note before Deep Throat had his line. Also:

I am IN LOVE with the idea that Mulder is Marlin. Holy shit, Mulder, the look on your faaaaace.

Watch or Skip

Episode 1.18: “Miracle Man”

Netflix Synopsis
The agents investigate a ministry led by a man whose son possesses the power to heal – and to kill – with a touch of his hand.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A preacher’s adopted son seems to perform miracles. In addition, he also makes Mulder see visions of his abducted sister, Samantha.

Full Disclosure Moment
When I read the Netflix synopsis, I was reminded that there is an episode – in a much later season – about a preacher who preaches using the power of snakes. And I should tell y’all right now – there is NO WAY IN HELL that I am rewatching that episode. I would just tell you to skip it anyway, because nothing important happens there. FUCK SNAKES, MAN. FUCK ‘EM.

MOTW, with a side of Samantha.

First Meetings
– Scully’s first autopsy!

Mulder, You Precious Angel
The preacher’s son who can heal by laying on hands basically John Edward’s Mulder about Samantha.

Watch or Skip
Since the above is literally all I have to say about this episode? SKIP.

Episode 1.19: “Shapes”

Netflix Synopsis
The agents track a wolf-like creature linked to Native American Legend.

Alaina’s Synopsis
… see above.


Special Guest Stars
Michael Horse! Basically, if anyone needed a sheriff of Native American heritage, they hired this guy. He played Tommy Hill on Twin Peaks (which no, I haven’t watched yet), but fellow 90s kids will recognize his voice as belonging to Elisa Maza’s father on Gargoyles! (He also voice-acted on Liberty’s Kids, but I couldn’t find out which character. Wait, he was in “The Turtle”? THAT’S THE EPISODE WHERE SARAH SAYS “GIVE US BLACK DICK AND WE’LL FEAR NOTHING”


Classic Conversation
Dude: It gave me the creeps.
Scully: … the “creeps”?
Dude: Yeah, the creeps. Don’t you ever get the creeps?

Oh, and while we’re talking about Spaceballs, I’m gonna put this here so I can easily retrieve it later, for when I send some taxpayers their forgotten passwords:

Watch or Skip
Skip, guys. I totally had this on as background noise.

Episode 1.20: “Darkness Falls”

Netflix Synopsis
A group of loggers working in a remote forest unearths thousands of deadly insect-like creatures that paralyze – and then cocoon – their victims.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Commercial Wood Harvesters find scary bugs that are afraid of the light.

Special Guest Star
Titus Welliver! You may know him as the Man in Black from the last few episodes of Lost (*shakes fist about that show, still*), but others may know him as Silas Adams from Deadwood! Yay!
(Also, he has hair here – it’s kind of weird.)
(Did Timothy Olyphant ever guest-star on The X-Files? or Ian McShane? Oh man — I can’t fucking wait)

Fashion Statement
Holy shit, Scully. Where did you get that jacket. Oh my god.


Also, later in the episode, she wears this:


(In real life – and in her defense – Gillian Anderson was pregnant with her first child at this time, and obviously, they couldn’t have Scully get knocked up, so … tried and true methods of really bad blousy tops!)

Classic Quote
Dude: The only crime to investigate here is the death of that tree.

Fun Fact!
The Mt. St. Helens eruption that Mulder discusses in this episode? Happened on May 18, 1980, which is the day after my parents married.     You’re welcome?

Watch or Skip
Only watch if you’re a die-hard Titus Welliver fan.

Episode 1.21: “Tooms”

Netflix Synopsis
Eugene Tooms, a supernatural killer whom Mulder helped incarcerate, is released on parole.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Creepy Squeezy Guy gets out on parole, eats his therapist, and then Mulder kills him in an amazing way. But in a way, it doesn’t even matte, because Skinner is trying to get Scully to get Mulder to return to the fundamentals of investigation.

Technically MOTW, I guess? I mean, it’s our first sequel of sorts. But we also see the Cigarette Smoking Man, so there are hints of Mytharc about.

First Meetings


[WK.Pilleggi X Files.0311.] Caption: WK.Pileggi XFiles. Mitch Pilleggi as Skinner credit Michael Lavine/Fox Mandatory Credit: SEE CAPTION/HANDOUT Photographer: SEE CAPTION Title: HANDOUT Country: USA Date: 19980311 Object Name: WK.Pilleggi X Files.0311. Category: WK Supplemental Category 1: OC

I promised y’all an ode, didn’t I?
(thank god odes don’t have to rhyme)

by Alaina

O Skinner,
Protector, bureaucrat;
Assistant director to my heart.
Your honesty is a beacon through the shadowy darkness,
Much like light bouncing off your perfectly-shaven head.
Your feelings towards Mulder are the epitome of
An equal mixture of amusement and frustration.
Your spectacles shine like justice,
And your voice is dark, like tinted glass
You are fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack.
You tour the facility, and you pick up the slack.
You want the girl with the short skirt and the loooooooooong …. jacket.

… I realize that devolved into Cake’s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.” I have no regrets.

YES, this is the first appearance of one Walter S. Skinner, Assistant Director of the FBI. Section Chief Blevins (who I don’t think we’ve seen since the pilot, to be honest) falls under his purview, and therefore, so do Mulder and Scully.

And look, if your only opinion of Skinner is formed off of this episode, PLEASE WAIT. Because I did not remember that Skinner was an absolute DICK in this episode. But he was. And also almost so far in the Cigarette Smoking Man’s pocket that he’s that loose dime that always gets stuck in the corner.

Just you wait – this man will become AWESOME.

Special Guest Star
Paul Ben-Victor, playing Tooms’s lawyer or doctor or whatever. Who’s this guy? Well, he was best-known to me as Stan from In Plain Sight, that show about U.S. Marshals that was on USA for five seasons. But if y’all had listened to me a couple of years ago and watched FDR: American Badass like I told you, y’all would realize that you’re currently looking at a much younger, less werewolfy Mussolini.

Scully’s Hair
Has become flatter and rounder.

Ships Ahoy!
This entire scene:
Mulder: They’re out to put an end to the X-Files, Scully. I don’t know why, but any excuse will do. I don’t really care about my record, but you’d be in trouble just sitting in this car. I’d hate to see you carry an official reprimand in your file because of me.
Scully: Fox …
Mulder: (sheepish) I … I even made my parents call me Mulder.
Scully: Mulder, I wouldn’t put myself on the line for anybody but you.
Mulder: If there’s an iced tea in that bag, it could be love.
Scully: Must be fate, Mulder: root beer.

Thing I Yelled At The TV
When Mulder traps Tooms under the escalator:
“Tooms had better fear and respect that escalator.”

Thing I Also Yelled At The TV
as Tooms gets caught in the escalator and dies horribly

Watch or Skip
Watch this one. WATCH IT.

Next time on Project X: The end of Season 1! “Born Again,” “Roland,” and “The Erlenmeyer Flask.”

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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Project X


Project X: Week 2, episodes 1.08 – 1.14

Shut up. Leave me and my quote-unquote “lateness” alone. I’ve been busy.

Episode 1.08: “Ice”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully are sent to investigate when a team of geophysicists stationed at a remote Alaskan outpost is killed by a parasitic alien life form.

Alaina’s Synopsis
It’s the one where they end up in Alaska with the guy from 24 and Mrs. H. Macy and paranoia ensues! It’s the alien worm thingee in the spine — wait, no, that was when Scully was giving birth. Maybe. But still! This is a great episode!

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the Week – I mean, it’s an ice tapeworm that lives in ammonia that makes people crazy-angry!

Special Guest Stars
Xander Berkeley, erstwhile of 24! Felicity Huffman, lately of that show that no one watched to my knowledge, American Crime! No slight against you, Felicity Huffman, because you’re amazing!

Also, wait — who’s the guy playing the pilot? Is that – is that Kralik, the evil vampire that had to battle Buffy in “Helpless”?
*imdb’s that shit*

Mulder, You Precious Angel
as they’re all disrobing, attempting to see if anyone has been infected with the evil alien tapeworm:
Before anyone passes judgment, may I remind you — we are in the Arctic.”

Ships Ahoy
I’m sure it wasn’t supposed to be played this way, but after they’ve locked Mulder in the closet because they think he’s infected with the evil alien tapeworm, and Scully goes in to inspect him for worms, and then he turns her around angrily and does the same thing, pushing her hair off her neck and rubbing her shoulders and back looking for the evil alien tapeworm? It’s … it’s a lot sexier than it sounds right there, trust me.

Classic Quote
We are not who we are.

Scully is a Badass, Haters to the Left
Kralik attempts to escape the ice pod or wherever they are, and brains Mulder with a jar and makes a run for it. Scully just fuckin’ tackles the fucker and nails him to the ground when no one else has the wherewithal to move.

Also, she tells everyone to Shut Up. For those counting, we’re at one. (full disclosure – I may have missed some. but I’m not going back to recount.)

Watch or Skip?
Definitely watch this one. Evil alien tapeworm aside, the paranoia running rampant in what is essentially a bottle episode amps up the creep factor.

Episode 1.09: “Space”

Netflix Synopsis
When a space shuttle mission is sabotaged, Mulder suspects it may be the work of an alien spirit that inhabits the body of a former Gemini astronaut.

Alaina’s Synopsis
… … oh, brother. This is a stupid one, isn’t it? I seem to remember hearing that this one is rather stupid.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the week.

Full Disclosure Moment
So basically, this whole episode is a setup to show how much Mulder loves space. We get it. He also idolizes this astronaut, Marcus Aurelius Whatshisface. But look, guys – they say “sabotage” and “saboteur” so much, I may have created …

Drinking Game!
I poured myself a Tom Collins and took a sip every time someone said “sabotage,” “saboteur,” or some other derivative. I may have also kept this in a tab and played it every once in a while: listen all of y’all it’s a sabotage!

Mulder, You Precious Angel
Just look at this face, as he gazes upon his childhood hero, Marcus Aurelius Whatshisface:

20150731_224251So precious.

Unbelievable Shit
That some mother out there thought that naming her son “Marcus Aurelius” was a good idea. I mean, it doesn’t even matter which Marcus Aurelius it is – either way, the playground must have suuuucked for little Marky.

Unexplainable Phenomena
The alien spirit that’s possessing Marcus Aurelius? Is White Pac-Man.


See?  See?!

Drinking Game Update
After Alaina’s 10th sip: OH GOD, how are there still 13 minutes left?!

Classic Quote
Mulder: Something weird is going on here, Scully.

Watch or Skip?
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, unless you like polishing off a Tom Collins in under half an hour, there is NO NEED WHATSOEVER to watch this episode. If you decide to be brave and do Sabotage Shots, there are twelve of them. TWELVE.



Episode 1.10: “Fallen Angel”

Netflix Synopsis
The future of the X-Files project is jeopardized after Mulder secretly infiltrates the government cover up of a UFO crash.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder investigates a possible UFO crash on his own, makes a new BFF named Max (they exchange friendship bracelets!) (no they don’t, but I think they wanted to), Max suffers seizures because he was abducted when he was 10 (or so Mulder thinks, because Max doesn’t actually remember); Max gets abducted again and then Mulder takes Max’s hat home because he really was a friend, guys, and then the X-Files almost gets shut down but Deep Throat (REMEMBER HIM?) (he’s also the one who sent Mulder to the UFO crash site in the fucking first place) overturns the decision so the X-Files isn’t cancelled yaaaay

MOTW / Mytharc?
Definitely Mytharc. Shadowy government, code words, hiding a crash site of a UFO, Deep Throat … all of the inner workings of an early Mytharc.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
Max tells Mulder that all of his (Max’s) buddies devoured the papers Mulder’s written under the pseudonym “F.M. Luder.” Mulder is astonished that Max and his buddies knew it was him (Mulder). Seriously, Mulder? Really? You’re supposed to be intelligent, dude! That is the stupidest pseudonym!

Ships Ahoy
Mulder’s friend Max introduces himself to the “enigmatic agent Scully” and extends a hearty handshake, while Mulder pushes Max away from her. Later, Mulder is seen to whisper to himself, “the enigmatic agent Scully,” with a soft smile. Oh, you.

Watch or Skip?
Skip, unless you want to see Mulder in a slightly darker black tactileneck.

Episode 1.11: “Eve”


Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully search for two girls who disappeared after their fathers were murdered in an identical fashion.

Alaina’s Synopsis
This plot is like if Orphan Black was merged with Dark Angel, and a dash of The Omen. Also, never trust twins on this show. Ever.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the Week, although it’s really Creepy Clones Of the Week.

Special Guest Stars
Harriet Sansom Harris plays the elder Eves. She was everywhere in the early 1990s. Some of you may remember her from Frasier as Dr. Crane’s agent, Bebe; she was on a very unwatched show called The Five Mrs. Buchanans that I’m pretty sure I was the only audience member; and more recently, she was Felicia Tilman on Desperate Housewives. But my sister will know her as Maggie Cutler from that video of The Man Who Came to Dinner starring Nathan Lane.

Thing I Didn’t Know About Myself
Mulder wearing glasses is apparently very attractive to me. Huh. Did not know that.

Thing I Yelled At The TV
At Mulder’s slide of an exsanguinated cow:


This cow will be important in approximately 98 episodes.

Classic Quote
Mulder: Agents Mulder and Scully to see Eve 6.

Fun Fact!
The band Eve 6 took their name from this episode!

Watch or Skip?
It’s our first evil twins! You should watch this one.

Episode 1.12: “Fire”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully join forces with an inspector from Scotland Yard when a man with pyrokinetic powers stalks members of the British aristocracy.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder’s ex-girlfriend Phoebe comes over from Britain and basically makes him walk through fire for her, because she’s a bitch. Also, Crowley from Supernatural is there!

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the Week, in that a pyrokinetic is a “monster.”

First Meetings
– Mulder’s ex-girlfriend, Phoebe! Not that I think we see her ever again; just the fact that Mulder has a girlfriend who happens to be flesh and blood is rather new right now.

Special Guest Stars
Mark Sheppard, in his first television role! Woo hoo! Y’all may know him as the aforementioned Crowley on Supernatural, but he’s been on almost everything. He was Benedict Valda on Warehouse 13, Romo Lampkin on Battlestar Galactica … Badger on Firefly! But to me, he will always be Manservant Neville on Show of My Heart, The Middleman.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
His hair is so full of secrets! In this episode, we learn that Mulder is deathly afraid of fire, and also, he’s “cursed” with a photographic memory – his words.

Ships Ahoy
Scully nurses Mulder back to health after his smoke inhalation scare. Somehow he got down to his boxers… ?

That’s What She Said
Mulder: I was merely extending her a professional courtesy.
Scully: Oh, is that what you were extending?

Watch or Skip?
Watch it only for the moment when Mulder realizes he won the breakup. Also, though, Mark Sheppard is a delight.

Episode 1.13: “Beyond the Sea”

Netflix Synopsis
Scully believes that the psychic predictions of a death row inmate are the only hope in apprehending a vicious murderer.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Master Character Actor Brad Dourif uses “psychic” abilities to help Scully solve a a kidnapping and also resolve some daddy issues.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Neither, really. More of a character-building episode? This feels more like an episode designed to bring Scully closer to the fold of “believing.”

First Meetings
– Scully’s mom, Maggie!
– Scully’s brother, Bill!- Scully’s sister, Melissa!
– Scully’s father, Captain William Scully!

Sadly, Captain Bill Scully succumbs to a heart attack before the credits roll, leaving Scully – the Starbuck to her father’s Captain Ahab – distraught and adrift.

– Mulder gets shot for the first time! For those counting, we’re at one.

Special Guest Stars
BRAD DOURIF! Wormtongue from the Lord of the Rings movies, but also Doc Cochran from Deadwood! He masterfully plays Luther Lee Boggs, the death row inmate who Scully starts to believe is maybe actually psychic. (oh my god he’s so young here)

Scully’s Hair
Is less voluminous in this episode than we’ve seen recently. It’s probably in mourning.

Unexplainable Phenomena
Mulder calls Scully “Dana.” Repeatedly. I get that he thinks he’s being comforting, but it’s very weird.

Ships Ahoy
Mulder gently caresses Scully’s cheek as she bravely holds back her tears. He also pats her shoulder a couple of times to comfort her. you guys come on

That’s What She Said
Scully: I thought that you’d be pleased that I’d opened myself to extreme possibilities.

Classic Quote
Mulder: Dana, open yourself up to extreme possibilities, only when they’re the truth.

Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts
Serial killer behind bars, coded messages, kidnapped kid(s), daddy issues, Scully-as-Clarice … come on.

Scully is a Badass, Haters to the Left
She leads the team to catch the kidnapper (because Mulder’s currently residing in a hospital bed, recuperating from his flesh bullet wound), and she’s kicking down doors and letting dudes fall to their deaths left and right.

Watch or Skip?
Seeing as how this page in my notebook is the fullest, you had better watch this one. Brad Dourif, guys! COME ON

Episode 1.14: “Gender Bender”

Netflix Synopsis
A religious sect member capable of changing gender becomes the prime suspect in a murder spree.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A cult somehow has the power to switch genders and one of them – with super aphrodisiac touch powers – goes on a rumspringa of doom and murders a lot of people.

MOTW / Mytharc?
Monster of the Week.

Special Guest Stars
The town of Storybrooke, Maine!

(It’s a set outside of Vancouver. But hey, I’ve seen that town before!)

Also, we have —

First Meetings
– Nicholas Lea, playing a random dude victim! (we’ll meet him for reals later)

Wrap it Up, Alaina
I didn’t have much to say about this episode. Basically, the cult ends up being aliens anyway, what the fuck.

Watch or Skip?

Next time, on Project X: “Lazarus,” “Young at Heart,” “E.B.E.,” “Miracle Man,” “Shapes,” “Darkness Falls,” and “Tooms.” And the introduction of four of our favorite characters!

What am I saying, the other three can be lame at times.

Guys. Guys. Guyyyyys….

skinner’s comin’ for y’all.

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Posted by on August 19, 2015 in Project X


Project X: Week 1, episodes 1.01 – 1.07

All right – here we go.


Episode 1.01: “Pilot”

Netflix Synopsis
Agent Dana Scully is instructed to debunk an FBI project dubbed “The X-Files,” paranormal cases that have been reopened by Agent Fox Mulder.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Scully meets Mulder for the first time, is almost immediately taken on a trip out to West Bumfuck, Oregon, at which point weird shit happens to their car and some dude may or may not have been abducted (note: not), and also Scully mistook mosquito bites for alien shit. Also, Scully and Mulder (platonically) shared a motel room, and thus, a Ship was born.

Monster of the Week (MOTW) or Mythological Episode (Mytharc)?
As it’s the Pilot, I’m going to call it “a little of both.”

First Meetings
– Dana Scully: who, in the Pilot, looks EXACTLY like Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling from the back. Scully is brought to the X-Files by …
– Section Chief Blevins: who wants Scully to debunk Mulder’s cockamamie X-Files theories so Mulder can get back to solving real crimes again.
– Also there’s CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN, smoking ominously in the background in a federal building, as one does.
– Don’t forget: Fox Mulder! Oxford-educated, he works in his basement office, constantly looking through the X-Files in the hope of learning about …
– Samantha Mulder’s abduction: Mulder’s driving force.

I also want to point out that we meet the following:
– Mulder’s Slide Carousel
– Mulder’s Sunflower Seeds
– Chryons (letting us know when and where we are, in neutral Courier New font)

Fashion Statements
Hol. Lee. Shit. Scully’s blazer. That’s not a blazer, that’s a dress. It’s not double-breasted, either – it’s like, Blade Runner-replicant triple-breasted, if that’s even a thing. What the fuck.
(from Alaina’s notes: thank god it burned in that motel fire)

Scully’s Hair
Shoulder-length bob, curled under, parted to the side. In the field, up in a ponytail. We won’t see it this long again until The X-Files: I Want to Believe

scully pilot

Unexplainable Phenomena
Bright lights, time loss, screwy compasses, disappearing teenagers, weird bumps that look like mosquito bites, unknown organic proteins; Scully’s plaid blazer that literally died in a fire

Unbelievable Shit
That their flight to Oregon from DC was that empty.

Ships Ahoy
Scully runs into Mulder’s motel room wearing her underwear and her robe, and disrobes in front of him because she’s worried some mosquito bites could be alien bites or something. Seriously – Chris Carter, how did you not think people would think they were doing it? Episode One, baby!

Classic Quote
Mulder: “Nobody down here but the FBI’s Most Unwanted.”

Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts
No, seriously, did you know that Clarice Starling was one of the points of inspiration for Dana Scully? This episode premiered about eighteen months after The Silence of the Lambs won big at the Oscars; it only makes sense that Dana Scully resembles Clarice.

Watch or Skip?
Watch. It’s the pilot, guys! You kind of have to.

Episode 1.02: “Deep Throat”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully investigate the mysterious case of a military test pilot who disappeared after experiencing strange psychotic behavior.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder and Scully go to … Iowa? maybe? to see what happened to this pilot that disappeared and then returned but his wife didn’t think he was the same person, and there have been UFO sightings in town near this base, WHAT A COINCIDENCE MULDER, and also, Seth Green was there.

MOTW or Mytharc?
Mytharc; a case could be made that this episode introduces the shadowy military-industrial complex that The X-Files uses so often.

First Meetings
– Credits sequence! Oh god — right in the feels!
– Deep Throat! played to hangdog perfection by Jerry Hardin, this is someone who works in the Department of Defense who befriends Mulder and feeds him information about DOD stuff that relates to the X-Files.
– Microfiche!
– Cell phones the size of a brick!

Special Guest Star
Seth Green! With long hair and full Nirvana grunge flannel. It’s like he stepped out of a Pearl Jam mosh pit and landed in Iowa or whatever.

Fashion Statements
The aforementioned Nirvana flannel on Seth Green and his girlfriend. Also, SCULLY.

THOSE GLASSES. And is that – is that a flower brooch? Oh honey, no.

Scully’s Hair
See the above photograph. As you can see, Season One Hair is much shorter than in the Pilot. It has a little bit of bounce, of curl, all shellacked down underneath a cloud of hairspray. It’s just long enough to pull into a short ponytail for the occasional autopsy, and we may see it in the occasional chignon for her very few and far between date nights. Basically, all the hair needs is to be jet black and it’s like Dark Helmet sans visor.

Dearest Dana Scully: I kid because I love and admire you. Don’t ever change, Season One Scully.

Mulder’s Running Outfit. Holy. Shit. Those short shorts. With holes. and the sweatshirt with the sleeves ripped off by bears, apparently. Oh dear god, early nineties fashion; you may very well be the death of me.

Unexplainable Phenomena
Military aircraft built out of UFO parts, so they don’t follow the laws of physics.

Ships Ahoy
In the above still, Scully’s waiting for Mulder at 2 in the afternoon in a bar in downtown Washington, DC. When he approaches her from behind (and to the left – HOLY SHIT CONSPIRACY), he leans in as if he was going to kiss her cheek, but she ~senses~ a presence and leans back just in time.

That’s What She Said
“… while they were routinely penetrating Russian airspace.”

Classic Quote
Scully: Mulder, did you see their eyes? If I were that stoned —
Mulder: Ooh! “If you were that stoned,” what?

Watch or Skip?
As this episode introduces the shadowy government and Deep Throat, it’s worth the watch.

Episode 1.03: “Squeeze”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully search for a humanoid killer whose savage murder spree reoccurs every 30 years.

Alaina’s Synopsis

MOTW or Mytharc?
Monster of the Week

First Meetings
– Eugene Victor Tooms! The guy who can squeeze into any space and kills people and eats their livers! He’s lived for over a hundred years between killing people and then hibernating! He’s wicked creepy and definitely should not be an episode you watch at midnight!

Special Guest Stars
Donal Logue as an Academy acquaintance of Scully’s, who has lunch with her in the beginning of the episode.

Fashion Statements
This is the episode where the shot in the credits of Mulder and Scully entering a room and waving their flashlights around comes from. So – mahogany plaid suit with fully-buttoned button-down for our girl Scully. Damn, girl – Season 5 cannot come soon enough for your wardrobe.

Scully’s Hair
Up in a chignon at some point.

Unexplained Phenomena
Why does the first dead guy have a carved wooden hippo on his desk?

Ships Ahoy
– Donal Logue calls Scully “Mrs. Spooky” at one point, referring to her partner at the X-Files. (Did I forget to mention Mulder’s nickname was “Spooky”? Fuck, I’m a terrible narrator. Mulder’s nickname at the Academy was “Spooky.” Also, the horse was blue.)
– In the police station, Mulder realigns Chekov’s Necklace – I mean, Scully’s Necklace; in doing so, he comes perilously close to second base.
(Seriously, I know I haven’t watched a lot of this show, but I don’t recall Scully wearing long necklaces ever. Maybe she stopped after the Tooms case because necklaces apparently lead serial killers directly to her apartment?)

Classic Quote
Scully: Mulder, I think it’s bile.
Mulder: Is there any way I can get it off my fingers quickly without betraying my cool exterior?

Everything is Hannibal and Everything Hurts
The location of this episode was Baltimore, Maryland.

Watch or Skip?
Watch, most definitely.

Episode 1.04: “Conduit”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder becomes obsessed with solving a case that closely parallels an “encounter” he experienced as a child.

Alaina’s Synopsis
A kid goes missing similar to how Samantha went missing, Mulder and Scully investigate, the kid brother starts drawing in binary and it turns out it was all a teenage runaway story. Also, Scully invades Mulder’s privacy by listening to the tapes of his regression hypnosis therapy.

Mostly Mytharc, what with all the emoting about Samantha and whatnot.

Fashion Statements
Scully sports a hunter green velvet blazer over a dark purple sweater. She looks like a leprechaun.
— OH WAIT! Houndstooth suit with black collar tips! There you are, old friend!

Ships Ahoy
The NSA barge into Scully’s motel room in the middle of the night … looking for Mulder.

Classic Quote
Mulder: “I want to believe.”

Watch or Skip?
If you’re a purist? Probably watch. If  you’re okay getting to the better parts? Feel free to skip.

Episode 1.05: “The Jersey Devil”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully track a legendary creature that has roamed the New Jersey countryside for over 40 years.

Alaina’s Synopsis

ooohhhhh Monster of the Week.

First Meetings
– Mulder’s pornography!
– Scully’s biological clock!

Special Guest Star
Who the hell is the guy playing Scully’s date? **goes to IMDB** Oh, he’s —


lit’rally? been in everything.
*scrolls further*
Aw, he was the dad on Reaper! I loved that show!

Fashion Statements
Scully’s wearing a collar pin. This is not a drill.

Scully’s Hair
The hair is more windblown than in episodes past; but maybe she was just rushing to get to the basement office to keep Mulder from abusing himself in a federal building.

Mulder, You Precious Angel
The motel he chose in Atlantic City? The Galaxy Gateway.

Ships Ahoy
– Scully’s friend thinks she (Dana) should date Mulder.
– Scully’s mouth twitches in pride when Mulder praises her as a prestigious medical doctor to the detective in charge of the case.

Classic Quote
Lead Detective: I got a perpetrator out there. Whether it’s Hannibal the Cannibal [[ed.: (c) Frederick Chilton]] or Elmer Fudd, I’ve got a job: to protect people.

tom haverford

will graham chibi

Watch or Skip?
I mean … I put it high on the Watch list, only because there are some funny parts and EVERYTHING IS HANNIBAL. is it mandatory? Probably not.

Episode 1.06: “Shadows”

Netflix Synopsis
Mulder and Scully investigate the deaths of two men believed to have been killed by a powerful psychokinetic force.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Someone created a ghost that can kill people with her brain. Or something.

Monster of the Week.

Fashion Statement


Please see above. Oh, Scully.  (That’s a dark green suit with a pumpkin orange blouse, and white hose. OH THE HUMANITY.)

Ships Ahoy
Mulder wants to take Scully to see the Liberty Bell. Sadly, this aired well before Barney Stinson and Ted Mosby went and licked the Liberty Bell, and maybe I’m reaching, but guys – you want to date me? A midnight trip to lick the Liberty Bell will get you to at least second base.

There’s a joke I could make right there about your dick not being a Liberty Bell, even though it’s got a crack in it, but then I remembered that my mother may read this, so I’m going to refrain.

Whoops.  (sorry Mom)

Classic Quote
Mulder: I would never lie. I willfully participated in a campaign of misinformation.

Watch or Skip?
SKIP. Holy Hell, skip this one. I totally tuned out of this one.

Episode 1.07: “Ghost in the Machine”

Netflix Synopsis
On Halloween, Mulder and Scully investigate the death of a corporate executive who may have been murdered by a thinking computer.

Alaina’s Synopsis
Mulder and Scully investigate the second coming of Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It ends just about how you’d expect.

Monster of the Week. Er … technological monster of the week, that is.

Fashion Statements
Scully’s ankle-length pants and heels. Yikes, honey.

Unexplainable Phenomena
Mulder’s interacting with people outside of his office at the breakfast cart? What? Mulder knows people? There are other people in the basement? Has my entire life been a lie?

Horrible Irony
That the name of the evil computer is abbreviated C.O.S., and that its brain scan images bring to mind some iconic sweaters from a certain 80s TV show.


Scully is a Badass, Haters To the Left
Basically John McClane-ing her way through the air ducts, shooting out the motors of fans to keep her from being sliced like proscuitto, and shoving her gun in a Dept. of Defense agent’s face. DANA SCULLY: FUCK YEAH

Watch or Skip?
You can skip this one. For a better “Computer Controls Everything” episode, might I recommend “Treehouse of Horror XII,” wherein Pierce Brosnan voices the evil computer house that falls in love with Marge and tries to kill Homer with the sweet, sweet scent of unexplained bacon?

Join us next week for “Ice,” “Space,” “Fallen Angel,” “Eve,” “Fire,” “Beyond the Sea,” and “Gender Bender.” I hope to be caught up to the rest of y’all in about a week, but we’ll see. I have … things to do.

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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Project X


Project X: Inception

Y’all should know by now that I have a problem with consuming media. (My mother, upon reading this sentence, will roll her eyes and entreat me to tell her something she doesn’t already know.) Between the Breaking Bad marathon, the fact that my Netflix list is about 700 items long (an actual exaggeration), and all my Hannibal — well, “Hannibal-ing,” for lack of a better term (“Hanniballing” is something I’d like to do, all night every night HEYOOO), clearly, television is a very important part of my life.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, by the way. My outside life is very full. But I digress.

With the advent of having Netflix available on my TV – thanks, Blu-Ray Player With Streaming Capabilities That I Have Not Yet Named! – I can now consume media from My Spot On the Couch. Since Christmas, I have watched 30 Rock and Bojack Horseman all the way through, rewatched Bob’s Burgers twice, and am currently in season 5 of Parks and Recreation. I plan a big rewatch project every year (maybe Alias will be next year, you guys), but this year? I may actually achieve it.

I bring you … Project X.


GUYS. The X-Files is coming back. This is awesome on so many levels.

I was *mumblemu* — you know? Fuck it. I was ten when The X-Files premiered. Being a rather sheltered kid growing up, I would not have been allowed to watch it even if I had shown an interest wanting to watch it. I was – and still am, in certain cases – a bit of a scaredy-cat, and the idea of watching a show about things that go bump in the night would have given me nightmares. But as my tastes evolved from the likes of Step by Step and Boy Meets World (and The Simpsons, because by that time Mom had given up on trying to keep me and my sister from watching them with Dad), the show’s popularity grew.

It wasn’t until I was in eighth grade – the spring of 1997 – that I started to get interested in The X-Files. My good friends Beth and Amelia were super-into the show, and I finally said “heck with it!,” and started to watch some of the reruns on UPN. (GUYS – remember UPN!?)

I am 95% sure that the first episode I ever saw was “Small Potatoes.” I seem to recall watching that and the slide into “Gesthemene” within a couple of months, before freshman year started. (I remember Beth being devastated after watching “Gethsemene” when it aired, and I had to know what happened. That may have been the true impetus for me getting involved with the show.) When season 5 began in my freshman year, I would watch them on my tiny TV in my bedroom with the lights off, because that’s what made the most sense.

And then, on February 22, 1998 – my life changed. Because on that night, “Bad Blood” aired. And I have yet to find another episode of television that touches my heart as much as “Bad Blood” continues to do.

I mean, “Mizumono” left scars on my heart that have yet to heal, so — totally different animal, there.

But I’ll talk about “Bad Blood” later. (and if i ever figure out how to make those fanvids on the youtubes, there will be a fanvid of “bad blood” set to Taylor Swift’s hit single “Bad Blood” and it will be EPIC)

So here’s what I’m going to do – The X-Files’ official internet presence is conducting a rewatch of all 201 episodes. It began last week, and if one is able to keep up, the rewatch will bring one right up to the premiere of the limited series next winter. I am going to attempt to follow along, and make a handy-dandy cheat sheet for each episode, so I can be reintroduced to the show all over again and maybe, inspire some of my readers to join in.

As you can probably imagine: I’m already behind.

Unlike my normal Movies Alaina’s Never Seen entries, Project X will be comparatively, blessedly short in scope. I plan to do a weekly post of seven eps, with the barest of depth: the episode summary from Netflix, Special Guest Stars, Mytharc or Monster of the Week, Classic Quotes, things like that. Depth will probably show up in introducing major characters (Krycek; there will be an epic ode devoted to Skinner, I’m sure), but then there will be other topics like, Ships Ahoy, wherein I point out all the places where Mulder and Scully were totally doing it (or people on the show thought they were doing it), or Fashion Statements, or Can Alaina Tie This Into Hannibal? Yes She Can!

Hopefully, by the end of Project X, you too will be able to tell what season the episode is in just by looking at Scully’s hairstyle.

I think it’s going to be fun! Also, I’m now taking bets to see how many episodes I watch before I give up. Hopefully it’ll be episode 201, but I’m not sure, my stamina’s not the greatest. But at the end of the day —

want to believe

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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Project X


Psycho (part II)

So FUNNY STORY, as I was driving to work this morning, a state trooper came up on my ass from outta nowhere, and all I could think was that if he did pull me over (which he did NOT, booyah to me!), I would have no choice but to ask him, “Hey, so I watched Psycho last night, and if you came across a parked car on the side of the road and a woman was sleeping in it and when you went to make sure she was okay, she asked if it looked like she was doing anything wrong, what would your reaction be?”

Yes, I totally realize that I would be arrested after saying “Hey, so I watched Psycho last night.”

OKAY, so, what was going when we left off last night? (Oh no I’M GETTING DISTRACTED JAKE PERALTA’S FATHER IS BRADLEY WHITFORD ON BROOKLYN NINE-NINE I really didn’t think I could love this show more [maybe if Hugh Dancy or Mads Mikkleson guest-starred…])

(UPDATE: I have to turn off Brooklyn Nine-Nine because I can’t stop laughing at Terry Crews covered in donut hole powder. I HAVE TO GO.)

No really – what happened last night?

Okay, so Marion’s face down on the linoleum, and then the camera pans over to the newspaper filled with money, and then out to the house, where Norman shrieks, “Oh Mother, what — the blood!” Norman runs into Cabin #1 and is horrified by the sight he sees, but he steels himself to his task. He closes the window and the door, and turns all of the lights off. He comes out of the office carrying – oh, okay. It looked like he was carrying a giant poking device, and I was all TRUST ME SHE’S DEAD, but it’s actually just a really tall mop.

He drags Marion’s body outside and onto the shower curtain, then he washes his hands and starts cleaning the bathroom of all the arterial spray. Oh the 1960s, where no one knew about Luminol and basic crime scene investigative procedures. I mean, he’s not even using bleach!

Norman pulls Marion’s car directly up to the cabin door and pops the trunk. Then he gently places the corpse in the trunk, and goes back into the cabin for her belongings. He manages to grab everything except the $40,000 rolled up in the newspaper, which is still on the nightstand.

And just like in the pilot episode of Bates Motel, just as Norman’s dragging the mop and the suitcase outside, a car drives by! Only this time, the car doesn’t stop. One more trip into the cabin, and this time Norman grabs the newspaper. Thinking it’s only a newspaper, he tosses it in the trunk on top of the corpse.

He drives like, around the block, right into a swamp. And then manages to push the heavy car into it, where it sinks, like a dinosaur being covered by a tar pit. It’s only a minute before the car is swallowed whole, every trace of it gone.

The next day – possibly – Marion’s sister Lila shows up at Sam’s hardware store in Fairville or wherever the heck Sam lives, and Lila demands to see Marion. Apparently it is after the weekend, because Lila references her shopping trip in Tucson, and she just wants Marion to tell her this whole mess is none of her business. There’s a familiar-looking dude watching the scene from outside the door, and while this next bit of business proceeds, I’m gonna look the dude up on imdb.

Oh, whoever this guy is ends up playing O.J. in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Okay, back to the plot. Lila’s about to cause a scene, and Sam tries to get the jackass shopboy out of the background. O.J. is playing private detective Arbogast, and he’s also looking for Marion. Well, that’s not quite right – he’s actually looking for the $40,000 that Marion stole from the office. Everyone agrees that Marion’s probably in town, and Arbogast is determined to find her. The good news is that no one wants to prosecute, they just want the money back.

Finally, Arbogast drives up to the Bates Motel, to find Norman reading a magazine or something and munching on kettle corn. Arbogast, very friendly-like, manages to get Norman to crack rather quickly – Norman says that he hasn’t seen anyone for almost three weeks, but five seconds later he says something about how a couple stopped by and thought the motel was empty last week. Arbogast pushes the point and asks to see the registry, and HOW DID NORMAN FORGET TO DUMMY THE REGISTRY?! God, he’s such an amateur! You know who wouldn’t let something like the registry go forgotten? HANNIBAL.

There’s a moment where Norman’s looking at either the registry, or matching the handwriting sample Arbogast has to Marion’s fake signature on the registry, that’s shot at an interesting angle. It’s about chest-high, so Norman has to bend down to look, and his neck extends out, and he’s chewing on kettle corn the entire time, so his Adam’s apple keeps bobbing, and it’s such a bird-like expression – OH LOOK THEY HAVE A GIF OF IT NOW

bird neck psycho


Anyway, all of a sudden, Norman remembers that Marion showed up and stayed the night Saturday night, and she went right to bed without making any phone calls. After he made her a sandwich. And she said she was going to drive all the way back to Phoenix the next morning. NORMAN, GET YOUR STORY STRAIGHT, YOU’VE HAD A WEEK TO COME UP WITH A COVER! GOD, he’s such an amateur!

Y’know, the more I talk about Norman Bates’s amateurism, the more it sounds like I’m a professional, and I just want to say that I have never killed anyone. I just watch a hell of a lot of crime shows. Crime shows and Hannibal.

Norman insinuates that his mother met Marion, and that gets Arbogast’s knickers in a twist. He’s determined to meet Mrs. Bates. Arbogast calls Lila and gives her the skinny, then returns to the Motel. Norman’s still changing the linens in the cabins, and ducks out of sight when he sees Arbogast’s car drive up. Arbogast goes directly into the office, but can’t find Norman. He does, however, find all of Norman’s creepy assed birds. And an open safe with no money in it. IT’S NEVER THAT EASY, ARBOGAST, BELIEVE ME.

Arbogast takes this opportunity to approach the old bird (HEY I MADE A JOKE AND POSSIBLY ALSO AN INFERENCE) living in Bates Manor. And look, can I just say, What-the-Fuckery aspect aside, the production guys at Bates Motel did a stellar job in recreating that place.

Wait, I think I know what happens next, and my window decides to take this moment to make some weird noises, so I’m gonna pause momentarily to ensure that the noise I heard was the house settling after one of the first warmer days of the year, and not a gigantic bird and/or bug-type thing trying to come inside where it’s warm. Be right back.

Good news! House was just settling. Now pardon me while I turn the volume down slightly and see what happens here and if my faulty memory is correct.

Arbogast just waltzes in, hat in hand. No one makes a sound, and he doesn’t exactly announce his presence. He starts walking up the stairs, hoping to meet Mrs. Bates, when a door opens on the second floor. The EEE EEE EEE EEE EEE starts up again as Mrs. Bates storms out of the open door and stabs Arbogast in the chest. Thanks to the chocolate sauce effect, it almost looks as if Arbogast was stabbed in the face, but the Hays Code wouldn’t allow that. He falls down the stairs (in one of the worst green-screen effects I’ve ever seen – and look, I know they weren’t going to throw an actor down a set of stairs, but having the green-screen move as if Arbogast was falling down the stairs but having Arbogast tap-dance backwards to make it look as if he’s falling maybe wasn’t the brightest idea in the house, Hitch.)

Lila and Sam are waiting for Arbogast at the hardware store – because remember, Arbogast said he’d meet with Lila in an hour. It’s been three, and now Lila’s getting antsy. Jeez, how much longer is this movie? *checks imdb* another thirty minutes? uuggggghhhh… why did I watch Last Week Tonight first?

Sam now shows up at Bates Motel, yelling for Arbogast. Norman is standing in the swamp, thinking. But he’s nowhere near where he dumped Marion’s car, so at least there’s that. Sam goes back to Lila at the hardware store, and he suggests they go meet Deputy Sheriff Chambers. WHOA. That guy looks like an angry Skipper from Gilligan’s Island. He’s no Sheriff Romero, that’s for fucking sure.

Anyway, the Marion Family Players catch the Sheriff up with the situation, and they want the sheriff to investigate because something feels hinky. The sheriff doesn’t think anything’s going on besides Arbogast took off on a lead from Marion and lied to Lila. At Lila’s insistence, the sheriff calls up the Bates Motel, and Norman tells the sheriff that yeah, Arbogast was there, but then he left. Well, at least his storytelling’s getting better.

Lila insists that Arbogast was going to talk to Norman’s mother. At which point the sheriff drops a truth-bomb: Mrs. Bates has been dead for ten years. HEY, SPOILER ALERT FOR BATES MOTEL, SHEESH. Anyway, apparently Mrs. Bates poisoned some dude she was seeing and then killed herself in remorse. Mrs. Sheriff even helped to pick out the dress she was buried in.

So … if Mrs. Bates is dead … who did Marion hear? … Oh come off it, Alaina, you’re not fooling anybody. WE ALL KNOW WHAT HAPPENED.

While Sam and Lila are emphatic that Mrs. Bates is a real person, the sheriff begins to wonder who’s buried in Greenlawn Cemetery. At the same time, Norman has an argument with his mother – he wants her to hide in the fruit cellar for a few days until the heat dies down.

The next morning, Sam and Lila corner the sheriff and when he refuses to do anything, they get it into their pretty little heads to play detective theirownselves. Sam drives Lila over and asks her what the play is. She says, “We’re going to check in as man and wife.” Now, if I were writing this screenplay, I’d have that be the denoument – that Lila arranged to have her sister killed, so she could get her hands on her sister’s boyfriend. How great a twist would that be?

Sam and Lila peek into the office, and we see Norman peer out of one of the windows of Bates Manor. I – aw, man, Anthony Perkins is wearing a crisp, white shirt, with the top button unbuttoned. Dammit, my sexual kryptonite! Did anyone else realize that Anthony Perkins was kind of a babe? Ugh – so many conflicting feelings I need to discuss with some food.

Norman runs into the office and gives the couple Cabin #10. Sam makes a point of not only signing the register, but also asking for a receipt. Sam makes a snide remark about how he’s never been in a motel where they didn’t make a couple without bags pay in advance. Speaking from experience, Sammy Baby? Lila, clearly just now getting the type of relations Sam and her sister got up into, announces that she’s going to go on ahead. As Sam’s signing something, Lila checks the doorknob to Cabin #1, and sure enough, it’s unlocked. WHAT THE WHAT?! NORMAN, I AM SO DISAPPOINTED IN YOU

The happy couple books it into Cabin #10, and decide they need to search Cabin #1. Lila’s gotten it into her head that Norman killed Marion for the $40,000, and maaaaaaan, if she knew what actually happened to the $40,000, she’d shit a brick. Sam and Lila then go and search Cabin #1. Five minutes after signing the register. In broad daylight.

Sam: If he sees us, we’re just taking the air.
Alaina: Jesus Christ, I’m surrounded by amateurs.

AND THEN SAM CALLS FOR BATES BUT DOESN’T GET AN ANSWER. Look, dude, if you’re gonna go snooping, don’t call for the person you’re trying to avoid! Especially creepy dudes who have a fondness for staring at swamplands!

Sam and Lila end up in the bathroom. Sam comments on the weird fact that there’s no shower curtain in the bathroom. Lila finds a scrap of the paper Marion used for her calculations, and takes it into her head as proof that Norman knew about the $40,000. Sam and Lila split up, Sam to speak to Bates, and Lila to get something out of the mother. Sam finds Norman in the office, getting Lila free to walk up the tumbleweedy hill to Bates Manor.

THE DOOR IS UNLOCKED. COME ON, NORMAN! Anyway, Lila storms in and actually remembers to close the door behind her, so thank goodness for small miracles. As Sam talks to Norman and asks him if he’s tried to get away, Lila manages to break into Mrs. Bates’s bedroom. She finds it, all things considered, rather opulent – tons of figurines and jewelry, and a wardrobe full of really ugly dresses. Then she notices the very defined body divet in the mattress.

psycho body divet

I mean – that is disgusting. For someone who changes the linens in the cabins every week, Norman, your regular house-cleaning skills have slagged off a bit, don’t ya think?

Sam asks if Norman would do anything to get away, and he is adamant that he would never think to leave. Bates Manor and the motel are his entire world, and he had a perfect childhood. PULL THE OTHER ONE. Sam pushes Norman too far, and he clonks Sam over the head with a vase or something, and sprints into the Manor. Lila sees him coming and hides in the basement staircase, and when she sees the door, she moves down into the fruit cellar.

And there, she finds Mother Bates. Who, as we should all know by now, is nothing more than a well-preserved corpse. And as Lila screams, Norman runs downstairs, wearing the wig and one of the ugly dresses from his mother’s wardrobe, brandishing the butcher knife. But he pauses in the doorway for effect just long enough for Sam to find Lila by her screaming, and Sam’s able to overpower Norman and disarm him.

Later that night at the courthouse, a psychiatrist comes out and gives us the story: Norman suffers from split personalities, and now his mother’s personality has taken over. Norman had been disturbed since his father died, and his mother was a clinging, demanding woman. The two of them lived as if they were the only two people in the world, until Mrs. Bates took a lover. Norman got jealous, and killed both his mother and her lover, and made it look like a murder-suicide. He stole her corpse, and then incorporated her personality into his own so she could stay alive.

And if Norman felt a strong attraction to any woman, “Mrs. Bates” would take over and eliminate the threat.

The final shot, after the Poirot-esque explanation on the part of the psychiatrist, is a shot of Marion’s car being pulled out of the swamp.

Well. That certainly sets up Bates Motel very nicely. I’m glad that I knew so much of the plot even after not having seen anything past the shower scene. I can’t wait to prove that I know everything about Vertigo without having seen any part of it!

(it’s about crippling dizziness in San Francisco, right?)

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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in The List


Psycho (part I)

All right. I said I was going to get back into this, and dammit, I’m going to get back into this. Tonight seems to be a wonderful, crazy random happenstance. First off, I finished mainlining Bates Motel a couple of weekends ago. You want to talk about a suspenseful show with a good amount of cheese, scenery-chewing, and what-the-fuckery, you guys: Bates Motel is AMAZING in that respect.

If you haven’t heard, Bates Motel tells the story of how Norman and his mother – Norma (“fathers name their sons after themselves all the time, why can’t a mother?” <– actual paraphrase) – come to own the Bates Motel. Apparently the town in which the motel resides runs on illegal pot money, as well as formerly on an Asian sex ring. Norma’s big battle? Trying to kill a proposed bypass that would ensure tourists would never drive past her motel. Norman gets involved with multiple women, including his Language Arts teacher, who he later kills. I’m sure there are other stupid things that happened, but I can’t remember important events. Just be aware that the what-the-fuckery aspect? I wouldn’t lie to you about that.

So I sped through the second season of Bates Motel once it was released on Netflix. The third season starts tomorrow night (9/8 central, on A&E!). And Turner Classic Movies showed Psycho yesterday, and I had juuust enough room on Jeremy the TiVo: Episode IV: A New Hope to record it.

And then I reviewed my list and saw that Psycho was indeed on it, and since I slept almost ten hours last night, it’s not like I’ll fall asleep any time before midnight tonight. And if I happen to miss this amazeballs timing, I’m going to be mad at myself.

(Also – if I watch it tonight, I’ll be able to delete it tonight.)

Now having said all that, I have seen key scenes from Psycho. I know I’ve seen the beginning, the scene in the office, the shower scene, and the scene where Norman puts Janet Leigh in the trunk of the car and then sinks it into the swamp. (Look, if y’all wanted me to not mention spoilers, you wouldn’t be reading my live-blog about a movie I’ve never seen.) I may have even seen the scene where the detective goes into the foyer and a wheelchair falls down the stairs, though that may be a different movie. I’m not one-hundred percent sure.

But I do know one thing – I’ve never seen it all the way through. And therefore, it goes on the list.


A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer’s client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Oh, imdb. You sweet, summer child; still thinking after all these years that people don’t know what the real plot is.

Dammit – I said I was going to watch an episode of Scandal while I wrote the preamble to this entry, and apparently I really can block Scandal out while writing because I totally finished the preamble before Olivia was able to fix this situation. Guess I’ll just finish this huge metaphor for Ferguson, Missouri writ large – I mean, “last week’s episode” – first.

(Seriously, Shonda – and trust me, I love you,  I’m with you, and I stand with Ferguson, but while this wasn’t nearly as heavy-handed as Aaron Sorkin’s shark-jumping “Isaac and Ishmael,” there is a fine, fine line between “metaphor” and “wish-fulfillment history rewrite.”)

Okay, this movie is just about an hour and a half long. I should finish this before midnight. Right?

According to Ben Mankiewicz, the second-most important person working on this film was Bernard Herrmann, the composer. GEE, I WONDER WHY

I feel like I should turn some lights off, but I’m keeping them on because I feel like I should turn some lights off. (I hate horror, you guys. Even horror I’ve seen pieces of.)

Fancy credit sequence. Why don’t more movies nowadays go in for fancy credit sequences? (answer: too many people work on a movie nowadays for the credits to fit within the time required for a fancy credit sequence.)

Afternoon falls on Phoenix, Arizona, on apparently Friday, December 11th, at 2:43 p.m. The camera zooms into a cheap hotel where Marion Crane is enjoying her lunch hour with her gentleman lover. My first thought is: that bra really looks uncomfortable. My second thought is: Well, that’s definitely the best way to eat out at lunch.



Apparently, Marion’s gentleman caller is divorced, but Marion wants to marry him in spite of his alimony payments. But if he won’t marry her, she’s going to call the whole thing off. Despairing of having nowhere to eat lunch in the future (I SAID I WASN’T SORRY), he agrees to think about it. I think. I was too busy searching for that Jon Stewart .gif up there.

Marion returns to the office and learns that her sister will be out of town for the weekend, and then her boss’s client comes in with the boss, after their own lunch meeting. They must have gone to a place that served Italian sausage. (I’M NEVER SORRY) Anyway, the client starts waving around $40,000 in cash, because he’s going to buy his daughter a house for her wedding present. He’s buying his unhappiness away, and basically, Marion begins to look at him with dollar signs in her eyes.

The Other Secretary In the Office: Well, I declare.
The Client: I don’t. That’s how I get to keep it.


The boss wants Marion to deposit the cash in the safety deposit box over the weekend, because he doesn’t believe cash is legal tender, or something. Marion gives him some paperwork then asks to go right home after the bank, as she has a headache. The client gives her permission, and even suggests she head to Las Vegas for some reason. Marion goes back out into the office, and she tells the Other Secretary that she’s going home to spend the rest of the weekend in bed. I BET SHE WILL.

We then cut to her changing her clothes. We know that she’s turned evil – even before we see the pile of money she most certainly did NOT deposit in the bank – because her lingerie is now black, whereas in the motel room, they were white. And everyone knows that bad girls don’t wear white underwear. She finishes packing, including some important-looking paperwork, and then leaves her apartment behind, ostensibly forever.

She then drives out of town, but not before seeing her boss cross the street in front of her. She drives all through the night, eventually parking off to the side of the road to catch a nap. The next morning, a police officer drives up behind her, to find her sleeping on the front seat of the car. Man, cars were huge back then. No bucket seats or anything, plenty of room to sprawl out.

Marion Crane has apparently never learned how to be cool in front of cops. NOT THAT THAT’S A SKILL I’VE EMPLOYED, but as soon as the cop knocks on the window she attempts to skeedaddle. He wants to know what happened, and she explains that she almost got in accident last night while driving, so she just pulled over. THEN SHE ASKS, “Am I acting like I’ve done something wrong?” And the cop and I both yell, ‘YES.’ Seriously, lady, why don’t you just casually drop the envelope full of money you stole out the window? If you know you’re guilty, you just have to try and not act guilty. Put on the “stupid blonde woman” routine (this works even if you’re not a blonde, by the way. As long as you’re a woman, you can get away with this, because men are dumb) (HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY EVERYONE, and hey all women, how do you like your day devoted entirely to you be one hour shorter than literally all other days in the year?)

Anyway, after much flop sweat, Marion gets to drive away. But not without the cop following her for a few good miles. When the cop pulls off to go to Gordon (wherever that is), Marion’s shoulders relax and we can all feel her relief.

In the above scene, Hitchcock does something great with camera blocking: he films it using one-shots, so the film is cutting between Marion’s POV and the cop’s POV. We never see the two of them in the same shot, until Marion goes to get her driver’s license out of her glove compartment. But during the interrogation, whenever we see Marion (cop’s POV), the focus from the lens is off-center, but whenever we see the cop (Marion’s POV), the cop is centered in frame. It puts the viewer into Marion’s head, looking directly at the cop, and we feel claustrophobic and nervous because of it.

This would be a good time for me to break out my phone and take pictures of some of these angles, with which I could better illustrate, but my phone’s battery is dying and it’s late, so here’s the MS Paint Reenactment:

Psycho Direction

(Marion’s POV on the left; the cop’s POV on the right. The frames are the car windows. I am not an artist.)

(PS you know who else used this technique? Jonathan Demme in The Silence of the Lambs. HANNIBAL RETURNS JUNE 4TH YOU GUYS, AND IN THIS CASE I DO APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE)

Marion pulls into a used car garage and looks to make a trade. She spies a newspaper bucket and buys one, and while she’s checking to see if news of her theft had made the morning edition, the cop pulls up and sets up a post across the street. The salesman comes out and wants to sweet-talk her, but she cuts him off, wanting to trade her car in for another model, and quick-like. The more she badgers him into showing that she’s decisive and isn’t going to change her mind, the more California Charlie (his real name, swear to god) gets suspicious. AND GOOD REASON TOO, considering she keeps looking over her shoulder at the cop and pretty much accuses Charlie of accusing her of having stolen her car. They go into the office to hash out paperwork and the cop pulls into the parking lot. She almost drives off without her luggage, and leaves the men in her dust. GIVING THE COP A GOOD LOOK AT HER NEW LICENSE PLATE, MARION.

Marion drives off, and imagines all sorts of conversations between the players we’ve met up to this point: California Charlie and the cop; her boss and the Other Secretary; the boss and the client. As the conversations continue, getting more frantic and panicked, Marion’s face becomes twisted and horrific. I wish my phone weren’t dead so you can see this, and I don’t have time to do another MS Paint Reenactment, so instead I’ll tell you that the best facial expressions are about 27 minutes in (so far), and when you watch this movie, you’ll see what I mean.

Basically, I can see how the first audiences for this movie could have thought that Janet Leigh was supposed to be the title character. But oh, what a MacGuffin that turned out to be.

Marion drives right into a driving rain, and then comes across the infamous Bates Motel. Of course, it hasn’t become infamous yet. Regardless, she jumps out of the car and runs into the office, but there’s no one there. She sees someone walking around in the big scary house on the hill, and when she honks the horn, a pleasant looking man jumps down and runs down the stairs to let her in.

She asks if he has a vacancy, and says:
“We have twelve vacancies. Twelve cabins, twelve vacancies. They moved away the highway.”



Marion signs the register as Marie Samuels from Los Angeles – Los Angeles was where she bought the car, and Sam was the name of her gentleman lover.

Norman shows her around Cabin #1, pointing out the bathroom and opening the window. He invites her up to the house for dinner – just sandwiches and milk – and she agrees. While he goes upstairs to get things ready, Marion hides her cash in the newspaper she bought at the car dealership. The rain slows down, and now she can hear a very pained conversation between Norman and his mother. His mother emphatically refuses to allow Norman let a strange woman into her house, so he pulls together some bread and milk and brings it down to the motel for Marion.

She invites Norman into her cabin to eat dinner, and he almost acquiesces, but at the last moment, asks her to eat in the office. She follows him, and over bread and butter, Norman tells her about his taxidermy hobby, how he fills his time, and that a boy’s best friend should be his mother.

The next conversation, in which Norman rationalizes how he lets his mother speak to him in the way that Marion overheard (and wow, the acoustics around that motel are fantastic – is it in Red Rocks or something?), Norman leans back in his chair, and overpowering the frame from the upper-left is a giant stuffed owl, wings outstretched, staring at Norman, ready to strike on its prey. Now that is a beautifully-formed visual metaphor.

norman owl

Marion suggests that Norman leave his mother, but he refuses, because if he leaves, the fire in his mother would go out. “You don’t understand, I don’t hate her; I hate what she’s become.” But when Marion suggests his mother be put “someplace,” Norman’s demeanor completely changes, knowing that Marion means “madhouse.”

While realizing the type of private trap in which Norman has been living, Marion decides that tomorrow morning, instead of continuing on to Fairville (to reconnect with her gentleman lover, and how far does he have to drive for his lunch takeout?), she’s going to return to Phoenix and rectify the private trap she put herself in. Norman is surprised, but offers to bring her breakfast at dawn. When he says goodnight, he says, “Goodnight, Ms. … uh…” and Marion supplies “Crane.” BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU PUT ON THE REGISTER, MARIE

Has anyone ever mentioned how similar Anthony Perkins looks to Nestor Carbonell? I mean it’s really kind of uncanny.

anthony perkinsnestor carbonell

Norman takes a picture off the wall and watches Marion undress in the cabin next door through the peephole he carved out of the wall. THAT’S WHY HE GAVE YOU CABIN ONE, MARION.

#ProTipForLadies: NEVER accept Cabin #1.

Actually, in some light, Anthony Perkins looks like James D’Arcy.

anthony perkinsjames d'arcy

All right, here’s where I’m going to turn the volume down slightly on my TV, because I don’t want my landlady to hear it and get weirded out at — oh shit, it’s already midnight? DAMMIT, I have to work tomorrow. Shit.

Okay, here’s what’s gonna happen, and since I’ve already written about 2500 words, I feel good about hitting pause. I MEAN NOT RIGHT NOW, IN ABOUT THREE MINUTES, JUST LET ME FINISH THIS THOUGHT FOR A SECOND. So look, I’ll get through ~THE SCENE~, close up shop for the night, and then pick it up back in the aftermath first thing tomorrow after work. Before dinner, even. Deal? Deal.

Okay, so Marion’s doing some fancy math to make sure she can pay her boss back what she took, then tears up the calculations and flushes them down the toilet. (FUN FACT!: This is, apparently, the first film to show a toilet flushing on screen.) Then she takes off her bathrobe and starts the shower. She unwraps the soap, and turns the water on.

Oh shit, I just remembered I wanted to take a shower tonight. Shit.

Then we see someone open the door, and loom up behind her, and then —

Well — you know.

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Posted by on March 9, 2015 in The List