The X-Files (1996) – Quagmire, and Wetwired

Kim Newton takes on one of my favourite subjects in this week’s X-files, the episode features some additional work by Darin Morgan and brings lake monsters into the realm of our two FBI agents, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson).

The episode first debuted on 3 May, 1996, and featured the final appearance of Scully’s dog, which she inherited in the Clyde Bruckman episode.

It’s the weekend, and Mulder pulls Scully, and her little dog out of bed to travel to a remote lake to investigate the death of a forest ranger. Mulder suspects that there may be a large aquatic animal involved, hopefully a monster, while Scully is less than thrilled to be there, and sees the whole thing of chasing an impossible explanation as a representation of Mulder’s entire life.

While conducting their investigation, the bodies continue to pile up, the two stoner kids from War of the Coprophages (Tyler Labine and Nicole Parker) make another appearance, still trying to find the best high and a late night foray onto the lake leaves Mulder and Scully marooned on a rock, surrounded by water, and a submerged threat.

It’s a great episode, with an rational explanation by story’s end, though hope remains alive for something more, and the conversation on the rock between Mulder and Scully, becomes one of the most iconic moments in the series.

I’ve been enchanted with the idea of lake monsters since I was a kid, and I always hoped for something more from this episode (despite how great it is) and wishes that the writers had tackled another sea monster story somewhere down the line.

Wetwired was written by Mat Beck who was the series’ Special Effects Designer, and the script he wrote was produced and aired on 10 May, 1996, and sees the idea of mind control, and subliminal messaging brought to the fore of the series, as Mulder is given a lead to investigate a murder.

As the agents investigate, it’s revealed that the man accused of the crime thought he was killing the same man, multiple times. While they puzzle over that, another murder occurs, when a housewife kills her next door neighbour, after mistaking him for her husband, and thinking he was having an affair.

In both cases, television and video tapes play a huge role, and soon, a strange signal emanating from televisions, is having an effect on Scully, increasing her paranoia around the case, and Mulder specifically, and driving her to violence.

Mulder gets some help from the Lone Gunmen, who reveal the signal, and Mulder reveals he’s red-green colour blind (offering his tie as an example). But who’s behind it all? The answer is hinted at when Mulder confronts X (Steven Williams) who then has a meeting with Cigarette Smoking Man (William B. Davis) who he apparently works for(!) and who is making sure that all the loose ends on the project are tied up.

Next time we come to the conclusion of season three, but the paranormal investigations will continue into season four and beyond, because the Truth is Out There.

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