The X-Files (1996) – Tunguska, and Terma

Frank Spotnitz and series creator Chris Carter bring Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) deeper into the mythology arc with Tunguska, which debuted on 24 November, 1996.

That duplicitous rat, Krycek (Nicholas Lea) resurfaces, having been freed from the missile silo by an extremist far right group which found him on a salvaging haul. Krycek pays them back by feeding their plans and information to Mulder, who upon realising it was Krycek, is furious.

Krycek promises more, including something that will help Mulder’s work, something coming in on a diplomatic pouch from Russia. Intercepting it, the agents find a rock. But when investigated, it’s revealed that it may be a comet fragment, and there’s something inside it…

The black oil conductor of alien intelligence.

Intercepting the package causes a stir, however, and CSM (William B. Davis) warns Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) that the pouch should be returned to him before it’s too late. Which it becomes very quickly when Scully is called to testify before an intelligence subcommittee by Senator Sorenson (Fritz Weaver).

Seeking additional aid from Marita Covarrubias (Laurie Holden), Mulder heads to Russia, specifically Tunguska (the site of enormous blast in 1908, which may have been caused by a comet impact) to pursue a lead, with the Russian-speaking Krycek in tow.

Unfortunately, things go badly, and they are captured and held in a camp where it seems experiments are being conducted with the black oil. And we are delivered a To Be Continued as Mulder, trapped is exposed and infected by the oil.

Terma, the second part of the story was also written by Carter and Spotnitz and first aired on 1 December, 1996. While Mulder languishes and works in the Russian work camp, Scully continues her testimony in front of the Intelligence Subcommittee.

We learn pretty quickly that the Americans, specifically the Syndicate, including CSM and the Well Manicured Man (John Neville) are overseeing the North American/Western World creation of a vaccine/cure/virus for the black oil, which is what the Russians are working on in the camp Mulder is imprisoned in.

It was the Syndicate that arranged for the package containing the rock to be taken out of Russia so that they could use it in their own research. The Russians send an assassin, Vassily Peskow (Jan Rubes) to recover the rock, and all its associated evidence.

Mulder, taking Krycek, whose not a prisoner, hostage and escapes from the camp, but the pair get separated and Krycek pays a price for revealing that he’s escaped from the camp.

Reunited Mulder and Scully race to collect whatever evidence they can to prove their case to the subcommittee, which doesn’t seem interested in resolving the murders and investigations being conducted by Mulder and Scully, just to know where the agents are.

It’s a good two parter, and fills out the mythology arc, without giving us tons of answers, and shows that even with the potential threat of aliens, factions within the governments around the globe still can’t work together.

The investigations into the paranormal continue next week as I explore more of The X-Files, and remember, the truth is out there…

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