Season 2

2x16 Colony

Air date: 02-10-95
Writers: Chris Carter and David Duchovny
Director: Nick Marck
Editor: Stephen Mark
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Alien-Human Hybrid

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

Out of the darkness, a voice speaks. Mulder recounts for us his fragile faith built on the ether of vague memories, a belief that cannot be verified but which has driven him forward at all costs. While he continues to speak, a light emerges in the sky, a helicopter. Once the chopper lands, a patient is rushed off to the emergency room: It is Mulder. His core temperature is only 86 degrees, his pupils dilated. Scully barrels through the doors, but the military personnel stop her. As he sits unconscious in a warming bath, Mulder's voice returns over the scene: What he saw on the ice has justified his faith, so that if he dies now, he knows that his faith has been righteous. He knows now that there is intelligent life out there in the universe, and that they have begun to colonize. Back in the emergency room, Scully finally gains access, arguing with the doctors about Mulder's treatment. As they debate, Mulder flatlines.

Two weeks earlier: Under the night sky, the research vessel Alta navigates past an iceberg in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Circle. On deck, the crew watches a light hovering in the sky. It dives toward them then crashes into the water; they go after it.

In Scranton, Pennsylvania, a doctor at the Woman's Care Family Services and Clinic walks into the lounge to refill his coffee cup. In the background is a TV news report about the crash in the Beaufort Sea. The doctor attentively listens as the reporter announces that the craft has now been identified as Russian, and the crew recovered a Russian fighter pilot. When the pilot's face is shown, and the reporter announces that this man is now missing, the doctor becomes agitated and rushes from the room. Down the hall, he runs straight into the man identified on the news report as the Russian fighter pilot. The "pilot" lifts the doctor with one arm and asks, "Where is he?" The doctor says he doesn't know; the pilot throws him to the floor, and thrusts a retractable stiletto into the base of the doctor's neck. Green ooze starts to bubble out of the puncture wound. The pilot marches off and starts an electrical fire. Fire alarms start blaring as he calmly exits the building.

Another morning at the X-Files office. Scully arrives for work, commenting that more shots were fired at the White House, and Mulder jokes that you have to wonder about a country where even the president has to worry about drive by shootings. Mulder leads her over to the computer and pulls up three obituaries he found in his email that morning: Dr. Landon Prince of Scranton, Pennsylvania, Dr. Dale Gayhart of New York City, and Dr. Harvey Buchanon of Teaneck, New Jersey. All worked in abortion clinics and died in fires, and three all look identical. Scully guesses that they're triplets, but not only is Mulder unable to find any blood connection between them, he can't locate any records on them at all. It's as if they never existed.

Pursuing Dr. Prince's death, Mulder and Scully go to interview a man who has been arrested for the fire at the clinic, Reverend Calvin Sistrunk. When he was arrested, the Reverend was carrying a newspaper clipping of a personal ad with a photo of Dr. Prince that read "Do you know this man?" Mulder reveals a detail about the crime that hasn't been made public: No body has been found, in this or the other two murders. The Reverend does not admit to involvement in the other crimes, but he does tell them what paper was carrying the personal ad: the local paper in Binghamton.

The two agents pay a visit to the office of the Globe and Mail newspaper, who confirm that Reverend Sistrunk did not place the ad and the man who did paid cash without leaving a name or number. Scully is suspicious that they're being set up on this case because there is too little evidence, and Mulder quips it sounds just like an X-File. He feels there is more to this case and notes that the deaths follow a northerly pattern. When they check the calls received in response to the ad, one mentions a sighting in Syracuse—which is north.

Mulder and Scully track down the identified man, Dr. Aaron Baker, and enlist the help of Agent Barrett Weiss at the local FBI field office to keep an eye on the doctor until they can arrive in town. At Dr. Baker's house, 737 26th Street, Agent Weiss finds the doctor being attacked by the same man who attacked Dr. Prince, the bounty hunter. Weiss busts in with weapon raised, but he is taken aback to find a puddle of bubbling green ooze on the floor in the shape of the doctor's body. When the attacker starts toward Weiss, the agent shoots. From the bullet holes, a similar green liquid bubbles forth, but with a more detrimental effect. Weiss has an immediate reaction to the substance, gasping for breath and grabbing his face in pain.

However, when Mulder and Scully arrive a short time later, all seems to be well at the house. Agent Weiss appears, telling them there's no sign of the doctor and nothing to be found. While the partners walk around the house to check it out for themselves, Weiss returns to his car. He opens the trunk; inside is the real Agent Weiss, curled up in a fetal position, immobile, in his underwear. The imposter looks around, then his face transforms into the bounty hunter. He tosses the keys into the trunk, closes it, and casually walks away.

Back at the FBI, Mulder is called into Skinner's office. The Assistant Director wants to know what case they were working on and whether or not it was authorized. Mulder is annoyed because he thought they had a certain understanding with regard to the X-Files, but Skinner is upset that an agent is dead. Mulder is stunned to learn that Agent Weiss's body was found stuffed in the trunk of his car outside the very house where they had spoken to him. Skinner terminates Mulder's investigation and demands a full accounting on his desk in the morning.

Mulder returns to his office and finds his phone ringing. It is Scully, at home. He breaks the news about Agent Weiss, and she informs him that she received another anonymous e-mail about a doctor, and this one—Dr. James Dickens—lives right there in Washington. Mulder says he'll be right over to pick her up.

When Mulder arrives at Scully's apartment building, he finds a man in a trench coat lingering outside. The man identifies himself as C.I.A. Agent Ambrose Chapel and says he has a story to tell. In Scully's living room, the partners listen as Chapel weaves an elaborate tale about a Soviet program codenamed "Gregor." After the original Gregor entered the U.S. in the 70s, a small cadre of clones were set up in strategic locations where they would have access to blood supplies and pharmaceutical factories, so that in the event of war, they could weaken the country's immune system. In a secret agreement, a Russian spy killer is now being allowed to systematically eliminate the Gregor clones, and Chapel is trying to bring the truth to light. He believes that Mulder and Scully can help him and that they've been contacted by the Gregors because they responded to the newspaper ad he placed. Mulder reveals that they know where one of these men might be.

In Germantown, Maryland, one of the "Gregor" doctors is departing from a lab in an isolated warehouse. He gets into a waiting minivan driven by a younger woman, who has long, brown, curly hair. The two drive off and arrive at an apartment building. Outside, Mulder, Scully, and Chapel arrive. The doctor and woman are barely in the apartment when there is a knock at the door. Scully and Mulder identify themselves through the closed door. The woman grabs her coat from the rack and hurries off to hide before the doctor opens the door. Mulder begins to talk to Dr. Dickens, but as soon as Chapel steps into the doctor's field of view, the doctor bolts. He jumps out the closed window and falls several stories to the ground. Scully goes to phone the paramedics, but Mulder calls out that the man is still alive, and that he's getting up. Dickens runs off, and Mulder and Chapel swiftly pursue on foot. Scully lingers long enough to see Chapel break off in a different direction, and then she follows. In his chase, Mulder runs out into traffic and gets hit by a car. Scully checks on him, but he only had the wind knocked out of him, and he tells her to keep going. Dickens has run into a dead-end alley, where Chapel has him trapped. Dickens tries to climb up a fire escape, but Chapel grabs him. Only, it is no longer Chapel but the bounty hunter. Moments later, Scully enters the alley, seeing no one. Chapel suddenly emerges from behind a dumpster and says that the doctor blindsided him and fled up the fire escape. He leaves to find another way to the roof. Scully walks around the dumpster and steps in something: a puddle of green goo. As soon as she turns to leave, the puddle begins to bubble and evaporate.

The next day, Scully arrives at the office and asks how Mulder is feeling. He quips that he should've used the crosswalk and shows that he's doing better than his cell phone, which was crushed by the impact. Scully thinks they should've dropped the case when they were told and voices suspicions about Chapel. She asks Mulder whatever happened to "trust no one," and he says sarcastically that he changed it to "trust everyone," but then reveals that he did a full background check on Chapel. Scully is still skeptical, and Mulder accuses her of being paranoid. She throws back that he'll pursue a case to the point of insanity and expect her to follow, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere, especially since an agent died because of this case. Mulder says that is the risk they take, and everyone has to draw their own line. Scully then shows him her shoe from the night before, where something ate clean through the sole. Mulder tells her to send it off for analysis and to order an autopsy bay, because whoever killed Agent Weiss was so clever that no cause of death can be established. They look over the body and the autopsy report and find that Weiss's blood had thickened or clotted before his death, but due to what, they are not sure. Scully mentions she found a doctor's bag at Dickens' apartment that might provide a clue, but their conversation is cut short by another agent who tells them that Skinner is looking for Mulder.

At Skinner's office, Mulder enters and begins to make excuses for his tardy report, but Skinner interrupts with news that Mulder's father has been trying to reach him about a family emergency. Mulder rushes off to his office and calls his father; he is surprised when his mother answers instead. She puts Bill on the phone, who cryptically says that he got a strange phone call and that Fox should come up as soon as possible. Scully enters with the doctor's bag, saying that all she got from it was an address. Mulder distractedly tells her to check it out as he hurries off, telling her only that he's going "home."

Meanwhile, Mulder has returned home to his father's house in West Tisbury on Martha's Vineyard. His father is sitting on the porch, smoking. The two share an awkward greeting, and Bill continues to talk cryptically about certainty and buried memories. Mulder looks through the window to see his mother talking to a woman with long, brown, curly hair. He asks who it is, and his father says, "your sister." Mulder enters the house, and the woman stands. Unbeknownst to him, it is the same woman who was with Dr. Dickens. She greets him as "Fox."

Later, Mulder is tucking his mother in bed to get a few hours of sleep since it's after 5:30 in the morning. She asks if it's really "her." Mulder only replies that he doesn't know who else it could be. Out on the porch, Mulder sees Samantha, and she asks him if it's too late for a game of Stratego. She tells him a story of the intervening years, how when she was returned, she had no memories of her past. She was placed with a family she didn't know, who raised her. Recently, she underwent regression hypnotherapy to treat anxiety, and the memories began to return of the abduction and the tests. She starts to cry while relating the story and steps into Mulder's embrace. She then tells him that she's in danger, along with her "father" and the other doctors. A bounty hunter has been sent to kill them, and he'll come for her too.

Scully is leaving her apartment, dressed as a jogger; just as the door closes, Mulder calls. He leaves her message not to trust Agent Chapel. After he hangs up, Samantha warns him that Scully may not be able to recognize the man because he can disguise himself as anyone. Scully, meanwhile, has left her apartment on foot, catching a bus, careful not to be followed. She calls Mulder to leave a message about where she'll be staying, the Vacation Village Motor Lodge in Germantown, and that once he calls her there, she should have new information about the case. A man on the bus looks over at her as she ends the call, a face she has not seen before: the bounty hunter. Scully returns to the warehouse to find the mess that Chapel left behind. She picks up off the floor what looks like a fetus in a bag; it moves. One of the doctor clones is hiding, watching her examine the destroyed lab. She sees him and as he runs, tells him to freeze, but he is confident that she will not harm him. He opens a door, and more clones emerge. They are seeking her protection. Scully calls for backup and places the men in protective custody, insisting that they have no visitors. From a nearby rooftop, the bounty hunter watches on.

Mulder has returned to his apartment along with Samantha and is finally retrieving Scully's messages. He immediately calls the Vacation Village Motor Lodge, where she hasn't yet checked in, and asks that she call him as soon as she gets there. The desk clerk goes to write down the message, but he can't remember who it was for. He is distracted as the door opens and a new customer arrives: Scully is checking in. Once in her room, she hurries off to the shower, and her cell phone begins to ring on the bed just as she's closed the bathroom door.

At the federal stockade in Tileston, Virginia, where the clones are being held, the FBI agent who put them in protective custody for Scully arrives to find the guards changing shifts. He asks for access to the prisoners and sends the guard off to get him coffee. The agent strolls over to look in the first clone's cell. In his hand, he holds out a stiletto and flicks it open.

At 11:21, Scully is wakened in her motel room by a knock at the door. She opens the door to Mulder, who says he got her message. Just then, the phone rings, and she turns to answer it. It's Mulder. She turns to watch the Mulder in her room closing the door behind him, while another Mulder continues to call out her name through the phone.

To Be Continued...

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

  • The character later to be known as the Alien Bounty Hunter was first introduced here and was initially known only as "The Pilot" *
  • The green ooze emitted from an alien or hybrid body and its toxic effects to humans were first introduced in "The Erlenmeyer Flask" but greatly expanded upon in "Colony." Scully identifies the effect as a retrovirus that can be inhibited by the cold, which not only saves Mulder's life but proves useful in future episodes like "Emily." While puncturing the epidermis of an alien or clone can immediately affect a human, the similar green ooze of a disintegrating clone apparently does not have the same effect.
  • The name Ambrose Chapel is from the Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much and perhaps alludes to the fact that Agent Chapel is far too forthcoming with top secret information.
  • When Mulder and Scully pull up outside the doctor's house to meet Agent Weiss, this is one of the rare occasions when Scully gets to drive. She is also in the driver's seat when they pull up outside the apartment building in search of Dr. Dickens.
  • The tie Mulder wears at the opening of this episode, and also during part two, "End Game," makes frequent appearances in the early seasons (in episodes such as "Beyond the Sea" and "E.B.E.") and is perhaps one reason why he gained a reputation for wearing ugly or outlandish ties.
  • Mulder's conversation with Scully about the risks that FBI agents take is reminiscent of his conversation with Skinner in "One Breath" when Skinner makes a similar comment and Mulder feels guilty because he was never fully honest with Scully about the risks involved. Mulder seems almost callous here when the life risked was that of Agent Weiss, but once Scully's life is put in danger yet again, he's no longer willing to risk any life but his own.
  • This is one of the few episodes that afford a glimpse into Mulder family dynamics, especially between Fox and his father. The initial encounter between father and son—Mulder leans in to hug his father, while Bill is extending his hand to shake—speaks volumes about their relationship. Considering some of the information revealed in later episodes about the true fate of Samantha, one wonders if Bill Mulder is fully aware here that the Samantha who shows up on his doorstep is a clone.
  • The bounty hunter is so thorough in his disguise as Mulder in the final scene that he is wearing exactly the same tie that Mulder is wearing at that moment, although one wonders when he had a chance to see Mulder wearing that tie (the tie is a different one from the last time we saw Mulder and Chapel together), and where he got an identical one (since the bounty hunter is usually seen to morph faces but not clothing).
  • A clip of the Alien Bounty Hunter (as Agent Weiss) looking up from Weiss's body in the trunk and morphing back into his own face makes an appearance in the Season Six episode "The Unnatural" on a TV in the background.

Episode Summary / Points to consider / Production analysis

While Chris Carter wrote the teleplay, David Duchovny has a joint credit for the story idea. The episode is seen as one that branched out the series, and while there were of number of calculated risks with this two-parter, it solidified the known ‘mythology' and probably secured the long run of the series. While Chris Carter wrote the episode, it was Frank Spotnitz who pitched the idea of a young woman coming back and claiming to be Samantha. The location for the home of Mulder's father was a residence in Vancouver, at 6478 Blenheim. The script placed the home on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Considering that executive producer Bob Goodwin had vacationed in Martha's Vineyard, he had a particular idea about what the house should look like, as acknowledged through location manager Todd Pittson. This was made all the more difficult because recreating New England in southwest British Columbia is a stretch, as such architecture is scarce.

The sound effect for the opening and closing of the alien stiletto is co-producer Paul Rabwin saying "pffft" into a microphone. **

Chris Carter approached actor Darren McGavin, of Kolchak fame, to play the role of Bill Mulder, but the actor turned it down, and so the role went to Peter Donat. McGavin did eventually appear as Arthur Dales, starting in Season Five. Peter Donat is a native of Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as the nephew of Robert Donat, and has enjoyed a career that runs as far back as the early 50s. He attended the Yale School of Drama and appeared both on Broadway and off-Broadway from 1952 until 1962. Donat also appeared with the Stratford Shakespeare festival in Canada, from 1958 to 1964. Peter Donat has commented in a past interview about the role of Bill Mulder, stating: "My involvement with The X-Files was very sudden and has been very sporadic. It is very well and cleverly produced with a lot of filming know-how and commitment. The role of Fox's father is of great interest to me, of course, but we have had no discussions regarding his great and painful secret." Donat further commented on the work of his fellow cast member: "David Duchovny is very devoted to the series, obviously, and is just fine to work with. The hours are long and very concentrated, often going well into the night and early mornings, so the demands on those in the continuing leading roles are immense, especially David, who bears up well."*** Some of Mr. Donat's film roles include: The Godfather II, The Hindenburg, F.I.S.T, The China Syndrome, Meteor, Unfinished Business, Tucker: The Man and his Dream, The War of the Roses, The Game, and The Deep End. His television guest star appearances include Mission: Impossible, I Spy, Banaeck, The Waltons, Hawaii Five-O, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, McMillan & Wife, Lou Grant, Hart to Hart, and Murder, She Wrote.

Brian Thompson, who plays the Alien Bounty Hunter, started his career as an athlete in Washington, and developed an interest in acting. In 1983, after studying acting for a number of years at the University of California, Irvine, Thompson headed to casting call at Universal Studios for auditions being held for a Conan the Barbarian show, where he landed the role of the heavy. From there, he began acting in action films like The Terminator, Cobra, and Lionheart. Thompson had worked with director Rob Bowman on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it was through this connection that he got the role. Mr. Thompson has also held some strong ideas for the characters in the 90s: "My reasons are [that] I work for a benevolent but sometimes very cruel alien force that has adopted their own set of rules for the amount of interference that they allow on the planet Earth. My alien being is capable of many things, like the Terminator, but also has the power to heal, has the heightened sense of ESP, has this heightened sense of smell and touch. He probably has the maximum sense capability of all the animals on the planet, as opposed to just human beings. I haven't defined the name of my boss, but I do believe it to be benevolent because they have tried to keep earth clean of other aliens. They are not allowing them to [inhabit the planet]."*** Some of Mr. Thompson's other feature film roles include Alien Nation, Moon 44, Nightwish, Star Trek: Generations, Dragonheart, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation, Joe Dirt, and Dragonquest. His other television appearances include Moonlighting, Knight Rider, Falcon Crest, a significant role in Werewolf, Walker: Texas Ranger, NYPD Blue, Baywatch, Navy NCIS, and Enterprise.

Megan Leitch, who plays the cloned Samantha Mulder, reappeared in such later episodes as "Redux II" and "Amor Fati: The Sixth Extinction II." She recalled in a prior interview how she was cast: "There was a rumor that they had [the role] cast in L.A. or something, and there was a problem. I got called in with six other girls, and we read for the part." The actress was called back the following week for a second reading and informed she had the part. She was ironically not a regular viewer of the series, which, she reflected, might have been a blessing at that audition. "I think that would have put more pressure on me if I had known how big it was." While they were filming this episode, a magazine reporter was on the set, covering the series. "Chris (Carter) gave me this first script and said ‘You have more to do in the second one, but we are still rewriting.' Chris actually called me in to talk about the character. He was unsure at that point whether he wanted it released that I was actually a clone of the sister. We talked about what I could say or couldn't say to the interviewers, and then he sort of filled me in a bit more on the story." *** As a stage actress, she has been nominated for a Sterling Award for best actress for her role as Juliet in the Citadel Theatre's production of Romeo and Juliet. She was in the mini-series of Steven King's It, along with William B. Davis and Melinda McGraw. Her feature film work includes Omen IV: The Awakening, Knight Moves, and See Grace Fly. Her television appearances include Cobra, The Commish, Dead Man's Gun, The Outer Limits, Da Vinci's Inquest, Stargate SG1, X-Men: Evolution, The Collector, Wild Roses, and Supernatural.

Rebecca Toolan, who plays Teena Mulder, has made a number of television appearances, including Wiseguy, MacGyver, the 90s version of The Outer Limits, Poltergeist: The Legacy, The Chris Isaak Show, and Da Vinci's Inquest. Other films include Knight Moves, Little Women, Hideaway, Special Delivery, and Shooter.

Dana Gladstone, who plays Dr. Prince, has enjoyed a career that has extended from the 70s until recently. His television credits include One Day at a Time, Baa, Baa Black Sheep, The Waltons, Barney Miller, Quincy M.E., Hill Street Blues, Knight Rider, The Fall Guy, Spielberg's Amazing Stories, Beauty and the Beast, L.A. Law, Matlock, Picket Fences, Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, NYPD Blue, E.R., Nash Bridges, and Judging Amy.

Tom Butler, who plays CIA Agent Ambrose Chapel, and who had played Benjamin Drake in the first season episode "Ghost In The Machine," was born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has appeared in such films as Scanners II: The New Order, Ernest Rides Again, Josie and the Pussycats, Jason Vs. Freddie, The Score, and Snakes On A Plane. His television appearances include Night Heat, Counterstrike, Highlander: The Series, The Commish, Cobra, Sliders, Poltergeist: The Legacy, Stargate SG1, The Outer Limits, The Dead Zone (Series), Smallville, Supernatural, Psych, The "L" Word, and Painkiller Jane.

* Cf. Brian Lowry, The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files (1995), 199.

** Brian Lowry, The Truth Is Out There: The Official Guide to The X-Files (1995), 201.

*** Andy Mangels, Beyond Mulder and Scully (Citadel Press, 1998).

Synopsis and Review: Bellefleur
Additional Review and Production Notes: Matt Allair
Page Editor: XScribe

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2x01 Little Green Men
2x02 The Host
2x03 Blood
2x04 Sleepless
2x05 Duane Barry
2x06 Ascension
2x07 3
2x08 One Breath
2x09 Firewalker
2x10 Red Museum
2x11 Excelsis Dei
2x12 Aubrey
2x13 Irresistible
2x14 Die Hand Die Verletzt
2x15 Fresh Bones
2x16 Colony
2x17 End Game
2x18 Fearful Symmetry
2x19 Død Kalm
2x20 Humbug
2x21 The Calusari
2x22 F. Emasculata
2x23 Soft Light
2x24 Our Town
2x25 Anasazi