Air date: 02-18-94
Writers: Glen Morgan and James Wong
Director: William Graham
Editor: Stephen Mark
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Extra-Terrestrial Contact
Off the skies of Iraq on the 37th Parallel, an Iraqi military pilot sees a UFO that's not on radar. It passes the pilot and momentary blinds him with a flash of light. In a panic, the pilot engages the UFO and fires at it and shoots it down. A Nato Surveillance station along the border in Hakkari, Turkey, appears to monitor the incident when the UFO crashes nearby. Two soldiers are awakened in barrack tents and see the explosion near a forest. One of the men gets on the radio and contacts 'red crescent' about a downed plane. The man is informed that there's nothing in the sky at the moment. The soldier advises for a Medevac unit to be on standby as the two men prepare to check it out. As they clear the barrack, a second UFO is seen in the distance, hovering over the forest in a starry night sky.
A truck is driving on Route 100 in Reagan, Tennessee at 12:20 AM Central time. The driver is listening to his CB radio and he switches on an AM station. He has a shotgun sitting on his passenger seat. The radio dials begin to change with a loud static hum. He picks up one CB caller that mentions seeing something that was cigar-shaped with red and green lights. Another CB caller mentions seeing three flying over Chester county. While another CB caller mentions three police troopers chasing them down 22, three police cars pass the truck driver. Suddenly, the electrical power shorts out in his truck and he stalls. The driver grabs his rifle as he hears a low-throbbing hum above him. He makes his way out to the back of the truck when he sees a UFO above the trees. The cargo door opens mysteriously as the driver begins to fire his rifle.
Mulder is seen synchronizing two stop watches on the hood of a car the following day on Route 100. He picks up some kind of radiation sensor device and a backpack as he adjusts the sensor. Scully explains that the trucker could have been firing at a mountain lion. Mulder goes through the motions of agreeing with her as scans for radiation levels. Scully further explains that the national weather service reported atmospheric conditions that could have been conducive to lightning; Mulder still humors her as his radiation levels rise over something scorched on the ground. Scully further explains that there is a marsh nearby while Mulder takes a sample of the burnt residue. Mulder doubts her explanation of swamp gas. Arguing as to how a dozen witnesses, including police vehicles in three counties become hysterical over swamp gas.
He argues in all his research, he has never gathered such supporting evidence or data. Scully counters that none of the evidence is conclusive. He wonders why the truck driver was singled out. While Scully argues that the truck driver got caught up in the hysteria and suffered hallucinations when firing his rifle. Mulder checks the stop watches, clicks them off and shows them to Scully, there's a significant difference in time between the watches.
They interview the truck driver at a police station in Lexington, Tennessee. The driver appears to have suffered some kind of sunburn. The driver doesn't buy the county's claim that he's being detained because he'd fired a weapon on a county road. Mulder asks Ranheim, The driver, to elaborate on his police report. He describes it as round, then he starts to rub his head; Mulder observes Ranheim's original description was cigar-shaped. Ranheim starts to cough as he explains he only wants to go and deliver his shipment and forget about it. Ranheim's cough gets worse, so Scully pours him some water. Scully asks how long he has had the cough and comments that he is a veteran. Scully believes Ranheim is suffering from Gulf War Syndrome, yet Ranheim mentions he was never in the Gulf War. Ranheim then acknowledges that he's been suffering the symptoms only since the encounter last night.
Just then, police Chief Rivers enters the interrogation room and informs Ranheim that his truck has been cleared and he's free to go. Mulder asks to examine the truck, while Chief Rivers acts uncooperative, looking frightened as he explains he will no longer cooperate with their investigation. The chief asks them to leave. Scully is about to speak as the chief leaves while Mulder doesn't want to discuss it there.
As Mulder and Scully are getting ready to leave Lexington, Mulder is convinced someone threatened the police chief and that Manheim was hiding something. Mulder basically suggests that Gulf War Syndrome might be caused by UFO's, which have been witnessed by soldiers during wartime. As they board a passenger bus, Scully argues that those soldiers probably witnessed secret military aircraft. She points out that there's a base in Little Rock where such planes could have been flown. Mulder argues it explains how the truck driver got sick. Mulder mentions talking to some people when they get back to Washington, which Mulder describes as an 'extreme government watchdog group'; they publish a magazine called The Lone Gunmen and some of their ideas are downright spooky.
We meet the Gunmen in their office as Frohike takes snapshots of Scully with a telescopic lens. Langley mentions having breakfast with the man who claimed to shoot JKF. Byers jumps in and mentions that Zhirinovsky, the leader of the Russian social democrats, is being put into power by the CIA. Mulder and Scully are clearly amused by them. Langley asks about Scully, Mulder's skeptical partner while Byers continues to argue that the CIA, threatened by loss of power and funding, wouldn't rather have their old enemy back. Scully argues Byers is giving our government too much credit. Langley answers the phone and starts to record it. Byers continues to argue the notion of a government within a government controlling everyone. To demonstrate, he asks for a twenty dollar bill. Scully unknowingly produces one and he tears off the magnetic strip within while Mulder laughs. Byers argues the strip is used to track people. Scully doesn't buy it. Mulder decides to change the subject and asks about the Gulf War Syndrome. He asks if there's a connection between UFO and Gulf War Syndrome and the Gunmen dismiss the idea.
Later, while Mulder is examining photos from the Tennessee incident, Scully comments that the Gunmen have to be the most paranoid people she's ever encountered. She doubts how anything the Gunmen say could be plausible while Mulder teases her. Her pen doesn't seem to be working, as she continues her conversation. She is about to replace the ink shell when she makes a startling discovery; the pen is a surveillance device. She's speechless as Mulder walks over and examines it.
Later in the evening at his apartment, Mulder replaces a bulb on his desk with a blue bulb to summon Deep Throat. He adjusts the shade and turns off the lights and waits. Hours later, when he's asleep, he receives a phone call. He answers it to hear a click and meets up hours later with Deep Throat at a Washington park. While they engage in small talk about baseball, a tourist in the distance takes a flash picture and Deep Throat becomes nervous. Mulder asks Deep Throat who's listening to them. Deep Throat is reluctant to answer as he hands Mulder an envelope. As Deep Throat leaves, he warns Mulder he's on a dangerous path.
The next day, Mulder reads a top secret military report about the Iraqi UFO incident. Scully enters the office and informs him that the truck and the driver, Ranheim, are bogus. There's a weight difference in the driver's manifest of the truck compared to what was reported elsewhere. Manheim's real name is Frank Druce and he lied to them about being in the Gulf War. Mulder is distressed with a realization as she continues, Druce was a Special Operations, Black Beret in Mosul, northern Iraq. Druce didn't get sick, as he claimed from the incident in Tennessee, but had been to a Veterans hospital three times within that year. Mulder then tells her what he knows about the Iraqi pilot and the UFO. The wreckage and its occupants were recovered by the military and Ranheim was the possible escort of such a wreckage or bodies to an American laboratory. Mulder notes that the military has transported dangerous materials in unmarked trucks in the past.
Scully asks him where he received this information. Scully wants to know all about Mulder's contact Deep Throat, Mulder argues that this contact has guided them away from harm in the past, yet Scully wonders if Deep Throat isn't using him. She also wonders if Deep Throat isn't responsible for the bug in the first place. Mulder insists that Deep throat has never lied to him and he won't betray their confidence. Scully tells Mulder that he is the only one she trusts and he asks her to trust him. Upon Mulder's inquiries, it's revealed the truck is currently headed west toward Colorado. Mulder insists they will have to intercept the truck. He plans to meet her at her place within an hour, then leaves to pick up a few things.
As Mulder enters his apartment, he finds there is no power. Deep Throat is there and admits to cutting the main circuit breaker. Deep Throat has another envelope and informs him the photo in the envelope was taken by an officer at Fort Benning, Georgia and that 17 UFOs were spotted within one hour. Mulder presses for an answer -- if that's the area where the wreckage is being taken. Deep Throat won't reply. As he leaves, Mulder thanks him for aiding him in his work. Mulder then looks at the photo.
The next day, Mulder is elated as he has Scully study the photo. It shows a UFO at low altitude near a government car with a military man standing nearby, Mulder argues that the truck was a decoy to keep people from looking at Fort Benning. After studying the photo, Scully informs him the photo is a fake, that the shadow of the soldier falls in a position that contradicts the light source from the UFO. Mulder is frustrated, convinced Scully is determined not to trust Deep Throat, while Scully counters that Mulder is too determined to trust him. Scully argues that Mulder's belief is so passionate that it is sometimes blinding. She warns that others are watching and that they might use Mulder's passion against them. "Mulder, the truth is out there, but so are lies." She advises. He thanks her as he leaves.
The next day at 8:30 AM at FBI headquarters, Scully arrives at the office, sets her briefcase down upright and steps out for coffee. When she returns, she notices it has been moved -- a false scare. Mulder appears and explains that the photo was analyzed. It did appear genuine at first look but Mulder noticed that the moon appeared in two different positions in the photo. He had a separate enlargement made which demonstrates a second, mismatching reflection of the moon, and shows this to Scully. It is indeed a careful fake; evidently Deep Throat had tried to deceive them. Mulder points out it's true that they have no one to trust, that a lot of effort was expended to veer them off course.
Mulder meets Deep Throat at an aquarium. Deep Throat asks why they hadn't gone to investigate, yet; Mulder informs him he knows the photo was a fake. Amused, Deep Throat reveals the photo was prepared by their very best. Mulder feels betrayed as Deep Throat insists he is still Mulder's ally. Deep Throat explains he's been a participant in some insidious lies and deeds, that he spent years watching Mulder from his lofty position, believing he was the one. A diversion was needed, that there are some secrets that should remain secret, that Mulder and Scully are too effective. That the world's knowledge of the existence of such knowledge would be far too dangerous, Mulder retorts meaning in the sense of the public's outrage over the suppression of such truths. He asks when will it end and concludes it won't as long as men like Deep Throat decide what is the truth. Mulder also concludes that the Iraqi transcript was the truth. Deep Throat explains why he has to steer Mulder away, that a lie is most convincing between two truths. As Mulder is about to leave, Deep Throat advises him to not give up. He also reveals that he wasn't responsible for the electronic surveillance, but the agents are still being watched.
Mulder checks his apartment for surveillance devices, tears the apartment apart and eventually finds a device in a wall socket. Scully arrives at the door; he has her play along to a normal conversation as he reveals the device to her. He writes her a note stating they have to find the truck. She nods in agreement.
They use several diversion tactics to lose the men monitoring them; they take different cars and buy different sets of airplane tickets. Scully buys tickets for Chicago and Los Angeles. Mulder loses a car tailing him with a sharp turn in another direction in Baltimore. Scully's plane arrives in Las Vegas, Nevada. They discreetly meet up at the airport. The diversion worked and Scully reveals the truck is heading West on I-90. They have to pick up tickets for Seattle.
At 6:30 PM off of the junction of highways 90 & 283 in Washington State, Mulder and Scully are in a car waiting for the truck to pass. The truck passes them and they follow it. Around twilight, as they tail the truck with Mulder resting, Scully suggests that the truck driver is aware of them and is taking an evasive route. Suddenly, there's a surge of power, the tuner on the car radio scans every station across the dial, there's a bright flash and they pull over to find the truck parked and abandoned, its driver missing. The truck's cargo door is open. Inside, Mulder and Scully find boxes which they set aside. Hidden behind the boxes is a room-sized compartment with a medical table with straps. Mulder is convinced that it was holding an extra-terrestrial biological entity. Mulder is also convinced they were witness to a rescue mission.
Mulder does a series of brief tests and concludes it was another hoax, using the stop watches he previously used to show proof. Mulder speculates they probably used something not known -- a sound weapon, a stealth helicopter with an ultra-intensity light, and that the elaborate show was created to deflect them away again. Mulder agrees with her previous assessment, that his passion is being used against him. Mulder concludes there's one person left who hasn't lied to them, but they can't turn to.
At a local motel, Mulder calls several UFO organizations including CUFO, MUFON, and NICAP. All have reported a week of high activity of sightings, beginning in Tennessee. The sightings are following the path of the truck. Mulder then points out that as of the previous night, there have been seven sightings in Mattawa, Washington. That night they drive through Mattawa several times. They come across several UFO enthusiasts at a local park. A man in a red suit tells them that the UFOs are drawn to the power lines nearby and points to a power plant.
They monitor the complex from their car and see Ranheim exit the gates. Scully points out the place must have the highest level of security possible. Mulder calls the Lone Gunmen and offers to give them exclusive photo evidence of an E.B.E. if they can hack them some identification numbers. Security passes under the name Braidwood and Stefoff, level 5, are printed up at the gate. Mulder gives them his ID number of 7593 and Scully answers with 5311. The guard is about to let them through when he forgets to give them their ID badges.
Mulder explains to her Langley couldn't secure access to level 6. They pass a guard before Scully points out they will never be allowed access into Level 6 security. They turn back around when the security guard stops them and asks them to follow. Scully decides to stop the ruse and informs the guard they are FBI agents. As they walk, Mulder decides to make a run for it as he enters a stairwell for level 6. The guard pushes Scully aside and he gives chase. A large group of Military guards join the chase. Mulder injures his leg on reaching a walkway, slowing himself down as he reaches a power grid that is holding a windowed biohazard containment chamber. Within, is something that looks like a medical gurney. Upon reaching him, the guards cock their guns to stop him from going any further.
Deep Throat appears and orders the guards to let him go. Deep Throat acknowledges that Mulder wants to look through the window, but explains it's pointless -- that the alien is dead. Deep Throat explains that after the Roswell incident in 1947, there was an ultra secret conference with all countries included. A resolution was agreed upon. If any extra-terrestrial biological entity were to survive a crash on Earth, the country that held it would be responsible for its extermination. Deep Throat admits to being one of the few to have exterminated such a creature. During the war with Viet Nam, Deep Throat was in the CIA. A UFO was sighted over Hanoi, and the military brought the EBE to him. He expresses guilt over the decision. He explains that is why he comes to Mulder, to atone for what he has done in his past. Mulder steps up to the window and sees that the gurney is empty.
Mulder is quiet as Deep Throat escorts him out of the power grid hanger. Mulder responds to the mans comment but is wondering which lie to believe. Deep Throat chuckles and walks away. Scully is let out by the guard, joins Mulder and watches as Deep Throat walks into the foggy night.
After Beyond the Sea, this is probably the most seamless and beautifully written of the Morgan and Wong scripts. What is amazing is the fact that they are able to distill the themes of deceit and paranoia from Chris Carter's Deep Throat episode and crystallize it. Equally as important, what could have been a pedestrian tale of the agents chasing Manheim's truck, it quickly unfolds into something else. Many longtime fans regard this as a tour-de-force of story telling by the writers. It is surprising then that a number of X-Philes do not regard E.B.E. as a 'true' mythology episode, considering that the central themes of the mythology in the later seasons are played out here. Often, Morgan and Wong would write controversial episodes that would play with established assumptions by the fans regarding The X-Files. One example is their season four episode Musings of a Cigarette-Smoking Man, or the season two opener Little Green Men, which contradicted Samantha's abduction scenario from the first season. Once could speculate that Morgan and Wong's primary interest lied in shaking up assumptions of where television plot lines should lead.
The inspiration for the episode has been fairly well repeated. Producer Glen Morgan and writer Marilyn Osborn attended a UFO convention in Los Angeles, June 1993, before Morgan and Wong began to write for the series. Morgan recalled meeting a trio of guys sitting at a table and pushing a mixed bag of paranoia, which included having people tear out the magnetic strips in twenty-dollar bills. Ironically, neither writer was happy with their finished result with the treatment of the Lone Gunmen. Both had written off the characters when response to the Gunmen on the internet prompted their return in the second season. Glen Morgan has admitted that fans wanted more of a back story on Deep Throat and the episode was written with the admission of the character having killed an alien in mind. The episode was built around the line; 'A lie is best hidden between two truths'. The episode was written in direct response to some of the fan mail that Glen Morgan and James Wong received after Squeeze. Most of the correspondence seemed to particularly favor alien conspiracy stories, so this was their reply to that fan request. Matt Allair / Robin J. England
The use of the Power tech location near the episode's end was an interesting find. The exterior was shot at Triumf, Westbrook mall, UBC and the interior was shot at the BC Hydro power tech on 88 Ave in Surrey. As recounted by Louisa Gradnitzer, photos were always being sent to the LA production offices, encouraged by Chris Carter. The lab where the EBE meets its demise was, in reality, a functional research facility designed for testing different types of electrical current effects. When director of photography John Bartley arrived at the location, he was overwhelmed by the size of the facility, and especially at the number of lights needed to light the location. The Aquarium where Mulder and Deep Throat meet was Vancouver Aquarium in Stanley Park. A number of X-Files fan have commented about the surveillance scene on the highway near Seattle, Scully's head seems to go out of focus. One explanation could be that the car interiors were shot in a studio using either rear projection, an old process with a slightly angled projection screen where a background is shown, or a blue or green screen process was used that wasn't executed very well.
For the scene where Bruce Harwood, who plays John Fitzgerald Byers, tears Scully's twenty-dollar bill, the prop man only gave him ten fake bills and Mr. Harwood wasn't tearing them properly during take after take. Mr. Harwood has commented in The X-Files Official Magazine; *"I used to think Byers was a university Professor, but then I decided he's technically smart, but not that smart. I decided he works for Xerox - he's the guy who comes around in a suit and tie and fixes the photocopiers. His whole focus is on maintaining the Lone Gunmen office and the newsletter." He has acknowledged that the inspiration for Byers came from an interesting source. *"I thought of Noam Chomsky, the MIT professor, and his theories about the way the media [formulates public opinion]. People who don't like his ideas call him paranoid." Mr. Harwood is a former figure skater and was, when not acting, a clerical worker at one of the Vancouver branch libraries. Mr. Harwood was actually born in April of 1963, many months prior to the assassination of JFK. He's a graduate of University of British Columbia and married to a high school teacher. Mr. Harwood had a recurring stint as an environmentalist on MacGyver. His feature film work includes The Guilty (2000) and The Fly II. His other television appearances include The Dead Zone, Smallville, Stargate SG1, The Outer Limits and The Beachcombers in 1988.
Tom Braidwood, who plays Melvin Frohike, is known for having two roles on the X-Files, during its production run in Vancouver. He was one of the First Assistant Directors on the series, alternating between the odd- and even-numbered episodes. He was born in September, 1948 and was a graduate of the University of British Columbia where he earned a Masters degree in film, and a Bachelor's degree in theatre. He had initially set out to be both an actor as well as a production person. His debut came with the Canadian film Harry Tracy in 1981. Mr. Braidwood has stated in The Official X-Files Magazine; *"The character started off as a bit of a lecherous hippie," he's acknowledged, "but I don't have the same lust for Scully. I've grown to know her and her intelligence and personality." The director cast Braidwood after Graham's infamous comment, "We need somebody slimy...somebody like Braidwood." Tom's behind the scenes credits include acting as a story editor for the series Madison from 1991-1994, as well as First AD work on 21 Jump Street and Danger Bay. His producer credits include Di Vinci's Inquest, Silence, The Portrait and Kingsgate. His other acting work includes Tilt and My American Cousin.
Actor Dean Haglund who played Richard "Ringo" Langley was born July, 1965 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Mr. Haglund is best known in the Vancouver area as a stand-up comic and a member of the improvisational troupe TheatreSports. Mr. Haglund trained with Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg before attending Simon Fraser University where he studied theatre, dance and video production. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. When he auditioned for the role of Langly, Huglund was up against thirty other actors, most pasty-faced and bearing crew cuts. With long hair, Haglund based his idea for Langly on computer theory researchers from his days at Simon Fraser, who, despite their intelligence were fans of the best rock bands of the period and lead fuller lives outside their expertise. As he recounted in Cinefantastique: *"They're certainly not the pocket protector types, A lot of these guys who were deep into computer culture have more of that ideal than just the techno end of it." Recently Mr. Haglund's appeared in the video clip for Alanis Morissette's 'Hands Clean'. His film appearances include the upcoming Stage Kiss, as well as The Monster and the Peanut, Spectres, Rice Girl, The Boy Scout and Dangerous Indiscretion. Other television appearances include V.I.P, Home Improvement, Sliders, The Commish, and Street Justice.
Actor Peter LaCroix who played Ranheim / Frank Druce has had a varied career for the last twenty years. His feature films include Riding The Bullet, Spook, Wes Craven's They, Free Willy: The Rescue, and Mystery Date. He had appeared in a number of X-Files episodes. He played Nathaniel Teager in the season four episode Unrequited and appeared in the season two episode Ascension. His other television appearances include Da Vinci's City Hall, The 4400, Stargate SG1, The Twilight Zone, Da Vinci's Inquest, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Sliders, The Commish, and Wiseguy.
Actor Allen Lysell who played Police Chief Rivers is noted for appearing in a number of television movies including Perfect Little Angels and Jack Reed; One of our Own. His feature film work includes Flower & Garnet, Rat Race, Mystery Date, Cadence, The Fly II and The Accused. He also appeared in the X-Files season two episode End Game. Other television appearances include Stargate SG1, Just Cause, Mysterious Ways, Poltergeist: The Legacy, MacGyver, Wiseguy and The Beachcombers.
* Quote sources:
"Cinefantastique" - Vol. 26 No. 6/Vol 27 No.1, October 1995, "The Lone Gunmen", Paula Vitras.
"Official X-Files Magazine" - No.1 Spring 1997, "Three's Company," Mo Ryan
"Vancouver Sun" - May 27, 1997, "Cosmic Conspirator," Alex Strachan.
"Official X-Files Magazine" - No. 2, Summer 1996, "Three of a Kind," Devon Jackson
Episode synopsis, review and production notes: Matt Allair
Additional production notes: Robin J. England
Page Editor: XScribe
1x01 Deep Throat
1x04 The Jersey Devil
1x06 Ghost in the Machine
1x09 Fallen Angel
1x12 Beyond the Sea
1x13 Gender Bender
1x15 Young at Heart
1x17 Miracle Man
1x19 Darkness Falls
1x21 Born Again
1x23 The Erlenmeyer Flask
Crew Production Credits