Season 1

1x19 Darkness Falls

Air date: 04-15-94
Writer: Chris Carter
Director: Joe Napoliano
Editor: Stephen Mark
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Prehistoric Insects, Brown Mountain Lights

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

At the Olympic National Forest in Northwest Washington State, present day, a man named Dyer is arguing with the leader of a large group of loggers, while the other men stand by looking for leadership. Dyer calls for the other men to leave the area. He tells them they should have left days ago or called for help, because something unknown is going to kill them. Dyer suggests the men make a run for it, in spite of the argument from the leader that to do so would be suicide. The men agree with Dyer as they run into the forest.

As night falls, scattered men run through the forest, panting. Dyer trips over a log and hurts his leg. Another man runs to him and helps, lifting him as he stresses they have to keep running. They take several more steps, then Dyer stumbles. His leg is broken and he can't go on. Just then a strange humming can be heard. It grows louder as they look up to see a swarm of green glowing insects along the trees. They scream as the insects overtake them.

Mulder briefs Scully about the missing loggers from Washington State at their office at the Bureau. Mulder asks if she notices anything strange; she shrugs and waits for him to continue. Mulder explains about possible suspects, Doug Spinney and Steven Teague, who consider themselves environmental "monkey wrenchers", people who sabotage logging equipment and injure lumber workers-eco-terrorists. Two weeks earlier, loggers had forwarded a radio message about Spinney and Teague causing mischief; a week later all radio communication was cut off. The logging company asked the federal forest service to look into the matter; two officials had been sent in and were never heard from again. Scully speculates that Spinney and Teague must be doing more than mischief, which is what the forest company is accusing them of. Mulder requested to work the case because he believes another theory. He explains about the disappearance of men from 1934--a WPA crew that disappeared in that same area. Scully teases about bigfoot as the culprit, to which Mulder offers that regardless of the outcome, it might be a nice trip to the forest.

Mulder and Scully's rental car turns off a forest highway and into a dirt lot with a cabin. A park ranger is standing beside a Forest Department extended-cab Ford pickup and looking at a map when Mulder and Scully introduce themselves. The man introduces himself as Larry Moore, a Federal Forest Service Ranger. He invites them to load their gear in the truck as Mulder observes a bullet hole in the windshield. Moore comments that there's not much to hunt in the area other than 'Freddies'--employees of the Federal Forest Service, as the eco-terrorists refer to them. While Moore agrees with the eco-terrorists in principle, being just as concerned with the environment, he can't condone their tactics. Scully asks if they'd go so as far as to kill and Moore offers it's possible, considering that thirty men, each with survival experience, couldn't simply vanish. The head of security for Schiff-Immergut Lumber, Steve Humphreys, appears, explaining that he was talking to the wife of Bob Perkins, one of the missing loggers. While they prepare to leave, Scully wonders to Mulder if they walked into the middle of a on-going war.

They drive further into the forest, while Scully asks why the loggers work so far into the wilderness. Humphreys explains that's where the available trees are, that environmentalists have made the land untouchable. He also adds that the company plants saplings for every tree taken. Mulder asks why the terrorists target them. Humphreys offers an accusation that these "tree huggers" are like those to went to Canada during Vietnam--the type who use cowardly tactics.

Just then there's an explosion and the truck has to swerve. They've hit a homemade tire spike. The damage to the tire is irreparable. Humphreys explains they are caltrops--spikes used by monkey wrenchers and the roads are littered with them. Scully wonders how they are going to get to the camp and is told they will have to hike.

They reach the loggers' camp, which is desolate. They enter the dining cabin where food has been left out. Mulder comments about the rotten food as Humphreys comments that the power generator is busted and the vehicles have been monkey-wrenched. It's also discovered that the radio has been smashed. The radiators in the vehicles are filled with rice; they won't be able to use them. As Humphreys observes the sun will go down in an hour-and-a-half, he offers to get the generator up and working.

Mulder, Scully and Larry Moore walk further into a clear cut area of the forest, when Mulder spots a large cocoon or hive on a horizontal branch. Scully is pulled up by a rig and begins to cut it down when she sees what seems to be a dried human hand poking out. The cocoon is brought down and cut open to reveal a desiccated human male, as though the fluids have been drained away. Moore offers that it must be a spider's nest, although Scully wonders how an insect could have gotten a man all the way up into a tree.

Meanwhile, Humphreys is fixing the generator when he hears someone, grabs his gun and stalks the sound, stopping a man named Doug Spinney, who is rummaging through the kitchen. Humphreys threatens to shoot the intruder. Suspicious, Humphreys asks what happened to the thirty men who disappeared. Spinney doesn't know but warns the same will happen to them after it gets dark. Mulder, Scully and Moore walk in as Humphreys accuses Spinney of being a murderer, which he denies.

Mulder wants to listen to Spinney's story while Spinney warns them to get the generator started, adding that darkness is the enemy. Humphreys is incredulous over Spinney's attitude as Mulder reassures Humphreys. Spinney is filling the generator with gas while Mulder presses him to explain his statement about darkness being the enemy. Spinney explains that's when they come from the skies, lifting a man off his feet and devouring him alive. When pressed about what he saw, Spinney changes the subject, complaining that he's had nothing to eat for three days, and walks away. Humphrey's doubts the story, but Scully isn't certain what to believe after what they found in the forest.

While Spinney is eating, Mulder presses him. Spinney explains that he and three other men were camped two valleys over. Their truck had a dead battery and they drew straws to see who would make the hike to steal a battery from the loggers. Leaving the forest would take over a day's hike and they didn't want to risk hiking after dark. Mulder asks what they were doing out in the forest and Spinney simply replies they were camping--something that Humphreys doubts. Ranger Moore confirms that Spinney is an admitted felon. Spinney and Humphreys argue. While Humphreys argues they are working within the laws, Spinney counters that trees are being cut down that are marked and protected. Ranger Moore presses Humphreys for an answer if that's true, which is denied. Spinney warns as Humphreys is about to leave the kitchen compound to not go out side. Humphreys argues, wondering why whatever is allegedly outside doesn't just come inside and get them? Spinney retorts that they seem to be afraid of the light. Ranger Moore points out there may be something to Spinney's opinion. Humphreys believes that Spinney is nothing more than a murderer and liar. He mocked-up the cocoon to save a few trees and Humphreys is going to get the proof.

Humphreys steps outside and starts to ridicule Spinney while an insect zapper begins to spark. In the shadows on a tree nearby Humphreys, millions of insects crawl. Humphreys walks back into the cabin compound. Mulder suggests they sleep with the lights on as the rest follow Humphreys in.

The next morning Spinney leads them to a clearing of cut trees and points to a Douglas fir. Ranger Moore explains to Scully that the Federal Forest Service marks trees that can be cut with a blue x, while protected trees are marked with a red x. Mulder observes that the tree must be hundreds of years old. Scully comments that such large trees can produce a lot of lumber boards, when Mulder observes the markings on a cut trunk. There's a ring on the trunk that is bright green--something the ranger has never seen before. The rings toward the center are likely 500 to 600 years old. Humphreys grows impatient to find the missing loggers, while Scully reminds him that is what they are trying to determine. Humphrey's believes Spinney killed those men and he wants him arrested, yet Mulder doesn't believe that.

The ranger wants to take a core sample, but Humphreys heatedly argues then walks away, informing them he is headed to the ranger's truck to call people in to take action. Back at the cabin, the Ranger examines the ring bark with a microscope and observes there's some kind of insect larvae living in the bark. Ranger Moore explains that when parasites attack a tree, they don't invade the dead parts of the tree. Yet, these insects seem to be feeding on the dead bark. Mulder wonders if they could have been living in the tree for hundreds of years, which Moore doubts. Scully looks through the microscope and observes the mites appear to be hatching from the wood itself. Spinney walks in and observes that right after that Douglas fur was cut, was when his friend Teague died and when the loggers disappeared. He speculates that the mites are what killed the men, and suggests they've been lying dormant for hundreds of years and woke up hungry.

Humphreys reaches Ranger Moore's vehicle. He finds there are no keys inside. As night falls, Humphreys tries to hotwire the ignition. Checking under the hood, he hears a humming sound, then his gaze follows the sound up to the sky where he sees a swarm of glowing green mites. He races into the pickup, shuts the doors and successfully sparks the ignition. Putting the transmission in gear, he finds the tires stuck in the mud. He is only able to move the truck a few feet, hitting a rock before the insects overtake him and come in through the air vents. The rock has jammed the door and he can't escape. He screams in horror as he is engulfed with glowing green insects.

Meanwhile, the generator is still running. Scully continues her research while Ranger Moore muses that Humphreys should have already returned. Scully observes that the insects are no longer moving--they are either dead or asleep. Spinney concludes it's due to the light.. Scully finds that odd considering that most insects are attracted to light. Mulder runs his fingers over the cabin stove and observes a thin residue. Mulder asks Scully about her knowledge of insects. She comments that insects are the foundation of the eco-system and that there are two-hundred million per person, and that they have existed for six hundred million years. Mulder points out that the tree that they pulled the core sample from is probably six to seven hundred years old. The tree rings represent a history of climatic changes which meant that in the year where the ring is green some strange event must have transpired. Mulder speculates that the strange event was a volcanic eruption. Mulder points out that the chain of mountains that run from Washington to Oregon have very active volcanic activity. While Scully presses him, Mulder elaborates about Mount. St. Helens, explaining that once radiation was unleashed, strange things started to grow. In a nearby lake, a brain-sucking amoeba was discovered. Spinney confirms the example, mentioning Spirit Lake where swimmers were infected. Scully argues that Amoeba's are single-celled organism that can quickly mutate, but insects take years to evolve. Mulder then speculates that they may be dealing with an extinct insect larvae, deposited during a period of volcanic activity, brought up the tree's root system. Ancient insect eggs, perhaps millions of years old, that lay dormant until the loggers cut down the tree. Spinney observes to the ranger that that would be poetic justice---the loggers unleashing what would kill them. Spinney leaves them unsettled, pointing out they might die too, as he goes to bed. Ranger Moore rationalizes that Humphreys might have made it out.

The morning arrives with their only source of light still active. Spinney sneaks out of the cabin that morning. He walks past the generator and picks up the gasoline tank. Spinney is working on the truck battery as Mulder confronts him, armed. Spinney explains he has to save his friends who had only enough gas to keep their generator running for twenty hours. Mulder still doubts him, and asks why he's sneaking around. Spinney points out the ranger won't allow him to leave because he doesn't trust him. Mulder retorts he has no reason to trust Spinney, either. Spinney argues that he can save them all, as he has a Jeep two valleys over that only needs a battery. He could return the next morning and they could all drive out. Mulder seems hesitant. As he evaluates the situation, he appears to be wavering.

Some time later, Mulder is back in the cabin wiring up the radio, which he's repaired. He announces it's repaired and Scully runs into the room. Mulder plays with the radio as Scully approaches. He observes, as he plays with the dials, that he's not getting any reception and the receiver could be trashed. Scully wonders if a transmission could be sent as Mulder makes the attempt. Mulder identifies himself and warns of a possible quarantine situation. He also begins to notate their position, just as the generator appears to give out. Mulder and Scully step outside and ask Ranger Moore what happened to it. The ranger replies that he turned it off. Ranger Moore asks where the gasoline can went and Mulder sheepishly replies, "Spinney took it."

The ranger looks stunned at the admission and asks where Spinney went. Mulder explains of Spinney's assurances he'd be back. The ranger, justifiably outraged, points out that Spinney has made an art out of sabotage and defying authority. As well as the probability that he's the same man that shot at the ranger's truck days before. Mulder defends his decision about taking Spinney's word on returning, as the ranger points out that Spinney took the last of the gas and they have been left with a quarter of a tank in the generator. Stunned, Scully asks about the other trucks, and is reminded by Mulder that those gas tanks have either been ruptured or filled with sugar. Mulder is clearly disgusted by his blunder. Scully argues they need to use the radio to call for an S.O.S., while the ranger points out (through implication) that they need to ration every drop for that night.

The ranger walks away while Scully gives Mulder a glance. Mulder appears frustrated by the outcome of his decision. Mulder enters the cabin, groaning, bowing his head with his hand as Scully follows him. Clearly agitated, she tries to collect herself before she begins to speak, yet Mulder interrupts her, admitting his shouldn't have let him go, but that they should move on. Frustrated, she agrees and then asks what they should do next. Mulder assures her he'll figure something out. Scully acknowledges what they both know, over what happened to those loggers and to the men in 1934. Mulder, being defensive, presses her for an answer over what she would have done. "Would I have made a decision by myself that affected us all?" she replies with irritation. Mulder accuses her of being sanctimonious, while she argues that they might die, and that the only thing that might be found is their bodies spun up in a tree or not at all. He concurs she's right and points out they can't waste time. Mulder crosses the room and examines the window. She wonders what to do, as he concludes they will have to button down the cabin for the night.

She doesn't look reassured.

The three of them begin to board up the cabin. As Ranger Moore brings in more wood boards, he warns Scully to be careful of detaching the hanging light fixture, warning it's the only bulb that works. Hours later, the generator is idling roughly, while inside, the light bulb begins to flicker slightly. Mulder is laying on a cot, intently gazing at the light. The ranger is nearby, sitting on a cot and doing the same. Scully is on one side of the room, lying on a cot. She glances at a corner and sees the green insects swarming in from a crack on the floor. They follow her to the corner. As she places her hand on a case, Mulder's shadow reveals that her hand is covered with the tiny insects. She stands up and panics, gasping. Mulder has to calm her. In her panic, she strikes the bulb with her hand. The Ranger has to grab it. Mulder points out to her that they are everywhere, further concluding that would explain the greasy residue he found everywhere. Mulder assures her they are safe as long as they stay in the light. The light keeps them from swarming, and the insects won't attack. The camera tracks in over a superimposition of the green mites from an extreme close up, the sound of their insistent hissing and clicking overwhelming.

Later that night, the generator seems to idling smoothly, yet the indicator vial clearly reveals the gas is running out. Scully, and Mulder are sitting. She's looking terrified while trying to appear contained, and he tries to reassure her. Scully begins to observe that the insects are oxidizing enzymes just like fireflies would. She also explains that might be the reason why they cocoon their prey, so they can oxidize the proteins taken from the fluids in the body. The light bulb begins to sharply dim. Scully wonders if they will be drained alive while Mulder points out they have an hour-and-a-half till sunrise. Scully points out it's over a day's hike by foot, and they won't make it out by nightfall. Mulder tries to assure her, pointing to the possibility that someone may have received their radio transmission, though she doubts it. Mulder quietly insists he won't give up hope on Spinney, as the man did give his word. He insists, they'll think of something. An hour passes and the generator sputters.

The bulb goes out as they stand up. The generator has died. There's an eerie silence as they glance at one another to observe sunlight creeping in. Mulder and Ranger Moore leave the cabin and approach the truck. Mulder asks if they have a patch kit to repair the tires. He argues that perhaps they can get enough air in the tire to limp down the mountain, or at worst, get on the radio and warn others about what is out there. Mulder, Scully and ranger Moore retrieve a tire from the ranger's truck, while clouds begin to form. They come across the truck that Humphreys tried to escape in, to find him cocooned within the cab, a nearly mummified corpse pressed against the window. Scully is looking resigned to their fate. Just then, the humming of a Jeep can be heard as Spinney pulls up. Spinney shouts they have to get going. Ranger Moore wonders about Humphreys' body as Spinney explains to leave it, as he's already radioed for help. When Mulder asks what happened to Spinney's friends Spinney sadly replies, "They didn't make it." They climb in and the Jeep races off.

Hours have gone by. It is already dark as they are driving. Several unseen spikes in the road ahead puncture the tires. Spinney gets out as Moore is amazed that he would shoot himself in the foot by such an action. The ranger is about to step out of the Jeep when the green mites appear and swarm at Spinney, who runs into the dark, screaming. In a horrifying moment, the insects swarm through the air vent as Mulder, Scully and the ranger violently try to swat them off.

The next morning, a helicopter flies by and trucks filled with men in bio hazard suits reach the Jeep. At least seven to eight men rush up to the Jeep to find Mulder, Scully and Moore cocooned. One of the men radios about an emergency evacuation situation, with a request for quarantine facilities for two or three people exposed to "unknown biological vectors". Scully can be seen alive and moving.

At a high containment facility in Winthrop, Washington, men operate in hazard suits while a man monitors the condition of Scully and the ranger. Both are dressed in white patient gowns in a containment room covered in plastic and metal. Mulder passes though a plastic curtain. He is also in a white gown and is pulling along an oxygen tank. His face is covered with severe rash. The doctor asks Mulder how is he feeling. Mulder asks him about the test results. The doctor replies that his respiratory charts were good, though there was concern over damage due to inhalation. Large concentrations of a chemical that was determed to be Luciferin were found, which is the same enzyme found in fireflies and other bioluminescent insects. Entomologists are still trying to determine the breed of insects they encountered in the mountains.

Mulder tries to wake Scully up. He asks how she is doing and is told she's not out of the woods yet--she lost a lot of fluids. If there had been a couple more hours of exposure, she might not have made it at all. With a sense of irony, Mulder ruefully comments, "I told her it was going to be a nice trip to the forest." He then asks how they are going to contain the insects to the forest. What if the swarm migrates? The doctor explains that eradication procedures have been initiated by the government, confident that controlled burns and pesticides should lead to success. The doctor replies, after Mulder presses him with how, that failure is not an option, leaving Mulder to ponder that reply.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • It seems somewhat of a real leap of faith that Mulder could connect a paranormal or unexplained event between an incident from 1934 to the current disappearance of the loggers. Unless for example, the accounts from 1934 included descriptions of a green glow upon the horizon by other witnesses, then Mulder could make a comparable deduction to the Brown Mountain Lights that were situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina and first reported in 1913. Mulder could have hypothesized a UFO connection, explaining the loggers disappearance, even speculating that similar events were occurring in Washington. Perhaps that was Mulder's ulterior suspicion, yet he withheld it from Scully, which is possible, based on what we have seen before. Yet Mulder's ability to seek out paranormal situations seems precognitive enough to speculate if Mulder has a built in 'sixth sense', triggered from witnessing his sister's abduction. It is implied, and sometimes outright stated as the seasons progress, that Mulder has a psychic affinity for the paranormal.
  • The reference to the "Brain-sucking amoebae" that Mulder and Spinney discuss in the cabin, as well as Scully's ironic retort is one of the most remembered factoids by fans. Yet, is there any basis of truth in it? Actually, what Chris Carter referenced was true. After the Mount. St. Helen's eruption, all life forms in Spirit lake were basically wiped out--everything except for the bacteria that thrives in sulphur. When scientists went into the lake to collect water samples, they became ill, yet not fatally. What they eventually discovered was a new strain of the Legionella bacteria (known to cause pneumonia) growing in Spirit Lake. This strain, which hadn't existed prior to the St. Helens eruption, was thus named Legionella sthelensi. As far as the "brain eating Amoebae" is concerned, there was no new species discovered at Spirit Lake as a result of the eruption, yet such amoebae do exist; accounts were cited in the 1950s. These amoebae infest the brain, meninges, and central nervous system, resulting in encephalitis and meningoencephalitis, and eventually in death. The specific species of amoebae that are known to attack the central nervous system this way are Acanthoamoeba, Naegleria, and Balamuthia. The condition is treatable if caught in time and depending upon the health of the host. Geographically, there's no evidence of cases reported in Washington State, or any in connection with Spirit Lake or the Mt. St. Helens eruption. Yet, the location of these particular type of amoebae seems fairly widespread; cases that resulted in death occurred in California, Arizona, and Portugal. (Thanks to XScribe for the research)
  • What happened to Doug Spinney, who suffered the same exposure to the insects that Mulder, Scully and Moore suffered? Did he die? Or did the rescuers retrieve him in time? It's likely he didn't survive, based on repeated viewings and an analysis of the shooting script. The one explanation to offer is that the lights from the Jeep caused the insects to be less ferocious with their attack of Mulder, Scully and Ranger Moore, while Spinney ran into the forest and the darkness. He was also subjected to direct exposure out in the elements, while the others were more protected in the confines of the Jeep, he'd eaten very little in some four days, and had no doubt become dehydrated over the same period.
  • There are a number of major plot holes throughout the episode. The notion of this forest area remaining remote from 1934 to 1994 isn't very plausible. Why these insects did not migrate within a sixty year timeframe makes little sense, unless there are several trees within that area that held the insects in a dormant state. Usually when insects run out of food, they will migrate to other sources. There are no deaths upon the arrival of the FFS, the logging crew or the environmentalists. Did the swarm of insects from 1934 die out? Do the insects have extremely short life spans? Does feeding trigger their reproductive nesting instincts? Another plot hole exists in Ranger Moore's poor planning. How could the ranger enter hostile territory and not be prepared for spikes in the road? You would think he would have had a supply of tires as well as other stop gap measures.
  • This episode is often criticized by fans for its environmentalist themes, many feeling it is too heavy-handed and preachy, in spite of Chris Carter's insistence otherwise in public. The complaint being that the subject is not even handed, that it presents a polarizing point of view in favor of the conservationists. Ironically, there are other fans, such as Sarah Stegall, who object to the use of such inflammatory terms as "Eco-Environmentalists" and "Monkey-Wrenchers" that are commonplace in the timber industry to defame those who oppose the industry's agenda. There's some validity in that criticism, as the phrases are never challenged throughout the episode. What is all the more interesting are the fact that neither side comes out well-- the logging men and the environmentalist both become victims of the insects. Therefore, the wrath of nature is impartial and ruthless to both those with good intentions and those whose intentions are not so good.
  • The episode never specifies who the emergency team, dressed in the clean suits, are and what agency they belong to. We have to assume they are from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) or the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The option of them being from the EPA seems more likely, considering that one of the tasks the US Environmental Protection Agency is to control mosquitoes in an effort to prevent the diseases they can transmit. If the mites had been transmitting a disease, then the CDC would have certainly been brought in. Yet that wasn't the case. It is also possible that this agency could have been a covert operation. That these men might have had an interest in these insects as a natural weapon, yet that doesn't seem very feasible. (Thanks to XScribe for the research)
  • Is it physically possible that such mites could lift a 140 to 200 pound man into the air? We know that ants and other insects can lift five times their weight, which would be something equivalent to a 160 lb man being able to lift 4 tons. The rhinoceros beetle was cited as being the strongest creature on earth, as it can pull up to 850 times its own weight. It would probably take close to a billion insects to lift a man into the air. Regarding what is known about mites: They belong to the arachnid family and can cause scabies and lesser skin irritation and allergic reactions in people. They tunnel into the skin and that irritation is what causes itching and hair loss from damaged follicles and scabies. Which would explain the rash that Mulder, Scully and Ranger Moore suffer. Generally, Mites don't seem to have any real toxins. We can only surmise that our glowing green mites in the episode held a toxin that could cause paralysis to immobilize their victims.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

Darkness Falls is an episode that works in spite of many flaws. A sizable number of fans have complained over the episode's gaps in logic, as well as all of the characters making terrible decisions and tactical miscalculations. The episode works as whole due to its atmosphere, as well as the psychological characterizations and banter between Mulder and Scully. While thematically borrowing from Ice, it plays on the 'cabin in the woods' scenario as well as the classic premise of 'monsters being afraid of the light'. For these reasons, it has held up fairly well. The origin of the episode came from Chris Carter's college experience of studying dentro-cronology, the reading of rings in tree trunks. While pondering the notion of thousand-year-old trees acting as time capsules for extinct species, the idea gestated. There were five drafts written of Darkness Falls prior to shooting, all of the drafts color coded. The first draft (White copy) was written February 18, 1994. The other drafts were written in the following order- Feb 23 (Blue Copy), Feb 24 (Pink), Feb 25 (Green), and final draft was written March 2 (Yellow copy). There were few alterations between the finished draft and what was filmed, other than some scripted dialogue lines that were altered due to actor improvisation. Of note was Mulder's comment at the FBI offices in the opening of the episode; that "Manly men" comment was extended by Duchovny's improvisation from what was written. Regarding the scene of Scully's discovery of the cocooned man in the forest, there was a slight difference between what was scripted over what Scully first sees through the cocooned webbing; the script specifies a mummified skull, while what was filmed was a mummified hand.

The infamous phosphorescent mites were nothing more than digital pixels, aside from some stock footage of microfilmed insects. Although the majority of the mites are computer-generated, real ones were needed for some close-ups. Producer Paul Rabwin found himself having to cast 10,000 of them. He did this with the aid of a cameraman who specialized in microscopic photography. One problem was that mites naturally tend to shy away from the light, but they found that by placing a small amount of liquid nitrogen solution on the bottom of the slide, the mites automatically clustered around the cold patch. The filming of the episode was delayed frequently due to heavy rains in the forest. Mr. Carter has acknowledged it was a miserable experience. Of all the episodes of the first season, this was probably the most physically grueling. Six of the 8 days of shooting were filmed in deep forest, in appalling weather conditions. At one point, producer Bob Goodwin had to send the company away because it was raining so heavily, it made any filming completely impossible. (This is one reason why the following episode, Tooms contains very few exterior shots--there would have been a crew revolt if they'd been forced to camp outside again.) Robin England / Matt Allair

The primary location for the forest sequences was the Seymour Demonstration Forest. The Logging Camp and Cabin scenes were filmed in Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. Todd Pittson recounted that it rained heavily for eight days and eight nights with the exception of one afternoon of intermittent sunshine. Locating a believable work camp set in an accessible old-growth forest was extremely difficult. As a consequence of finding an ideal location, valuable production time was spent shuttling the crew and equipment from the public lot 200 yards up the trail. Additional production time was wasted waiting for the rains to let up long enough to allow sound mixer Michael Williamson to record essential dialogue, which was being rendered inaudible due to the intense din of raindrops. On one particular day of filming, the downpours were so terrible and sunlight so limited that day was effectively rendered night--at least as far as Director of Photography, John S. Bartley's, light meter readings were concerned. Todd Pittson has noted that it is rare--even in the lower mainland--to see rain bouncing off a spongy forest floor. At one point during the shooting, First Assistant Director Vladimir Stefoff - a man usually quite upbeat - tossed his waterlogged walkie-talkie on the ground in disgust as the crew huddled in groups to decide what could be shot under the circumstances. The situation left director Joe Napolitano so despondent, that this episode marked his second and final time of directing an X-File.

One example of the stress of shooting this episode was a public altercation noted by Todd Pittson, during a technical survey of this episode, prior to shooting. It was about 6:30 pm and the survey crew had been on the road since 10 a.m. in late February, in very foul weather. The crew were already in quite a bad mood, having spent all day incarcerated on a bus as well as having to trudge through heavy rains. Darkness had fallen by the time they reached their final location to scout for the day. Joe Napolitano and Executive Producer Bob Goodwin walked on a gravel road in the downpour, while the director attempted to chose a spot that worked best for a scene. After about ten minutes, the question arose as to whether the crew really needed to trudge further down a road which looked much the same. The director lost the argument with the producer while the crew watched from the bus, as the director and producer argued in front of the headlights, in the pouring rain. Later than evening, Vladimir Stefoff spotted Joe Napolitano coming out of a closed-door meeting with Goodwin, holding a glass of wine as a peace offering by the producer. Stefoff noted that the director appeared to be have been crying. Whether it was an allergic reaction to the wine, or what was said behind those closed doors remains a mystery.

Actor Jason Beghe, who played Ranger Larry Moore, had a more pleasant experience working on the episode than the crew. He explained in the magazine TV Zone in a May, 1996 issue: "Larry Moore was just a vehicle for me to up and hang out with Duke (Duchovny). Unfortunately, the conditions for filming couldn't have been worse. It was raining, snowing and freezing up there...but all we did was laugh the entire time." Jason Beghe manages to deliver a strong, understated, and even tempered portrayal, even though some of the other characterizations seem one-dimensional and clichéd. Jason Beghe has been a friend of David Duchovny's since they were teens. He was born in March, 1960 in New York. The two met in Manhattan's prestigious Collegiate Preparatory School, where Duchovny had gotten in on a scholarship, at age thirteen. After Duchovny graduated from Princeton and left his post graduate studies at Yale, it was Beghe who encouraged Duchovny to pursue acting, advising him to attend classes at The Actor's Studio as well as helping him to get auditions for commercials. When the both of them weren't on stage or auditioning for roles on the screen, Beghe and Duchovny worked as bartenders.

Jason is most remembered for his role in the horror film Monkey Shines from 1988, in which he played Allan Mann, a quadriplegic man who trains a monkey to help him. Beghe's first film role was Compromising Positions from 1985. Jason Beghe's feature film credits include an uncredited appearance in the X-Files feature Fight The Future, as well as Home Alone 4, G.I Jane, Full Eclipse, Thelma & Louise, and Maid To Order. He has appeared in a number of made for TV movies including When Andrew Came Home, and 1998's Cab To Canada with Haley Joel Osment and screen legend Maureen O' Hara. His regular television appearances include Criminal Minds, CSI: NY, Everwood, American Dreams, JAG, Judging Amy, Chicago Hope, Matlock, Picket Fences, Murder, She Wrote, Quantum Leap, and Alien Nation.

Actor Titus Welliver, who plays Doug Spinney, was born in March, 1961 in New Haven, Connecticut. His father is the famous landscape painter, Neil Welliver, and his mother is a fashion illustrator. Titus grew up surrounded by painters and poets, and credits their influence for his creativity. After choosing to become an actor, he moved to New York in 1980. There, he enrolled in classes in New York's HB Acting Studios while also attending New York University. He's appeared in theatrical productions of Riff Raff, American Buffalo, Naked at the Coast, and Shakespeare's Henry IV. His feature film break came appearing in Navy Seals starring Charlie Sheen. His feature appearances include the upcoming Gone, Baby, Gone as well as Assault on Precinct 13 (2005), The Clearing, Mulholland Falls, Mobsters and The Doors. His television appearances include Law & Order, Deadwood, Third Watch, a series regular on That's Life playing Dr. Eric Hackett, Touched by an Angel, Star Trek: Voyager, NYPD Blue, Nash Bridges, Tales From The Crypt, The Commish, and Matlock.

Actor Tom O'Rourke who plays Steve Humphreys, has primarily guest starred on series television. His appearances include a recent series regular as Judge Mark Seligman on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, as well as Law & Order, Now and Again, Melrose Place, Wings, Life Goes On, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, LA Law, and Growing Pains. His first break came from appearing in The Guiding Light in 1982.

Episode synopsis, review and production notes: Matt Allair
Additional production notes: Robin J. England
Page Editor: XScribe

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