The X-Files (1998) – Triangle, and Dreamland

Series creator Chris Carter writes and directs this episode, that is composed of long one take sequences (love that!) that first aired on 22 November, 1998. Mulder (David Duchovny) heads into the Bermuda Triangle when he the long lost Queen Anne reappears.

Arriving on board, he is somehow transported back to the year of the ship’s disappearance, 1939, and learns that the Nazis have boarded and are searching for a weapon, code named Thor’s Hammer. It’s not a weapon, it’s a man, and Mulder knows who he is. He’s also being protected by an OSS agent who looks a lot like Scully (Gillian Anderson), and amongst the Nazis are some familiar faces as well, CSM (William B. Davis), Skinner (Mitch Pileggi) and Spender (Chris Owens).

Back at the Bureau, Scully, with the aid of The Lone Gunmen, attempt to track down Mulder, and ask Skinner for help. Finally getting a location, Scully and the boys set off to find Mulder, hopefully before history rewrites itself and the Nazis win the war.

The one shots, intercut with whip pans and plunges into black to hide cuts, are fantastic, and the story is a lot of fun, though it raises some issues with continuity as characters making appearances in this episode (i.e. the Nazis). But perhaps that was just Mulder’s way of dealing with the finding himself in the past, his subconscious projected images of people he knew and helped him define their personalities…

That doesn’t interfere with the fun of the episode, and the technical achievement is attained with all the long solo takes. It’s a great episode, especially when Scully and the OSS agent seem to pass through the same space and time…

Oh, and the usual The Truth is Out There in the opening credits is replaced with the German version of same.

Dreamland gives us a two-parter that was going to happen sooner or later… the body swap. Written by Vince Gilligan, John Shiban and Frank Spotnitz, this episode, which was first broadcast on 29 November, 1998 plays with the scenario enjoyably, while making it very much an X-file.

Scully and Mulder head to Area 51 to finally have a look at it, but when they are intercepted by the military who guard the area, Mulder finds himself in all manner of trouble, when they witness a UFO having difficulty and the resulting ship’s failure causes a number of personalities to swap places, including Mulder’s and agent Morris Fletcher (Micheal McKean) who works at the secretive base.

He also has a wife, a family, and a job that Mulder flounders at while Fletcher as Mulder flirts, carouses, plays computer games, and couldn’t care less about the world around him. He just knows he’s free from the life he had.

Mulder begins investigating the fallout from the failed test and sees a number of horrifying things that the base is eager to cover up. He also attempts to contact Scully, who doesn’t believe the story he tells her (not really a surprise, even though she openly admits that Fletcher as Mulder is behaving oddly).

We are left with a cliffhanger that sees Fletcher’s family life falling apart thanks to Mulder, and Fletcher as Mulder turns in Mulder as Fletcher as the informer who was supplying Mulder with information about the base. Plunging us into a To Be Continued.

There are some very funny moments in the episode, all character based, which makes them work so well, and McKean is an absolute delight!

But things will have to resolve themselves next week because the search continues, because the truth is out there…

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