ep: 1x01 pilot

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The first few episodes I posted were rather lacking in detail, which is probably a good thing, but in honour of the 24th anniversary of the airing of the pilot episode, I’m going to have another look at the pilot.  

Karen Swenson is dead in the forest and it’s happening again.  We meet Dana Scully who is under the delusion that she’ll distinguish herself at the X-files. She knows all about Spooky Mulder because his reputation precedes him.  When she enters the office and  Mulder’s at the lightbox with some slides. He must have been so excited that he’s been preparing them for days. He turns around so we can see he’s wearing sexy glasses and his FBI’s Most Unwanted tie that was stolen by Detective Douchebag in Aubrey. They give each other a good look over and he tells her he likes her senior thesis, and grabs a carousel of slides he’d prepared earlier and turns out the light.

Mulder has plenty of theories and if he’s going to tell them to me in that voice I’ll listen. Mulder’s voice totally hits the cream note.  He’s going for the shock factor when he asks her if she believes in the existence of extra-terrestrials and comes off as a bit of a smartarse.  He suggests that the fantastic may be plausible but Scully thinks it’s fantastic that science can’t explain everything.  So that’s kind of how the show goes for the next 7 years.

In the next scene they’re on a bumpy plane with bad overhead lockers and Mulder’s still being a dick.  He’s lying in a row of seats with his headphones on looking very comfortable while all the other passengers are rocking around.  We’re less than 10 minutes in and Duchovny has already had a hand in casting as his dad is sitting behind Scully.  Mulder looks like he stole the tie from David’s dad, so it’s been named Ami.  

Driving along to Bellefleur, the radio goes wild so they stop so Mulder can paint an X on the road with a handy can on road marking spray paint he happened to pack this one time.  They get to the graveyard and meet the local cops and Theresa Nemman’s father who’s a bit of a jerk.  They get Dodgy Brothers to dig up the grave and the coffin topples over and opens up and it smells and looks like AN ALIEN.  

Having taken his tie off, Mulder’s running around with a camera in the morgue with a camera and being annoying, especially when Scully says the body’s not human.  It’s so sweet watching them have their first alien/not alien argument.  They find an implant in the body and Scully types up lots of little notes. She’s typing in her room when Stephen Spielberg comes to the door asking if she wants to come for run because Mulder totally has ADHD.  

Mulder’s wearing a tie called Billy when we go to the hospital and see the abductee patients.  This is the first of the ties named William, I’m sure there’ll be many more.  The girl, Peggy, has a nose bleed and everyone except Dr Scully goes to help. Scully runs out and Mulder chases her.  When she tells him to cut the crap he knows she’s the one. I love Mulder’s uncooperative bits of hair that hang down and distract me from his ties in this episode.

Later that night they put their forest walking gear on and find alien ash in the forest.  There’s a really loud noise and Scully thinks it’s Mulder.  The sheriff has a bright light and a big gun and makes them go away. While they’re driving it starts raining and the compass goes wild and there’s a bright light the car comes to a stop and THEY’RE MISSING 9 MINUTES! Mulder’s so excited he gets out and they dance in the rain right where the X on the road is.  Time is a universal invariant and can’t disappear. But electricity can.  And when Scully finds weird moles on her back she rushes to Mulder, who’s wearing their denim shirt, and gets nearly naked.  He has to take a really long look and have a bit of a feel before he diagnoses mosquito bites and she jumps on him.  They then have sex a deep conversation where Mulder tells her about his abducted sister and she doesn’t run away.  They get a call to say Peggy’s dead and go see her. 

Someone stole a corpse and trashed the morgue.  They go to the motel and it’s ablaze.  All their evidence is gone.  Theresa Nemmen asks them for protection so they go to a diner. Theresa’s dad takes her home.  Scully’s pissed because there’s a conspiracy.  They go to the cemetery in the rain to find the other abductee graves have been dug up and the bodies are gone.  Mulder blames Billy Miles who’s in a waking coma.  Scully has that memorable moment in the cemetery where her words don’t come out right the first 18 times.  Scully’s laughing hysterically and it’s beautiful to see.

They go back to see Billy Miles who has dirty feet. They go to get more alien ash and find the sheriff and Billy Miles and Theresa Nemmen and a big wind comes and there’s a bright light and Billy can walk again.  Mulder rushes to Scully and they touch each other and Mulder says it was incredible and they gaze adoringly and breathe heavily.

They bring Billy Miles back to DC and some guy interviews him.  Mulder wears the Tiny Fake Icecream tie, the only tie he ever wears again from this episode. Blevins doesn’t think her reports are debunky enough but she’s a tough chick. She still has the chip from the exhumed body but can’t explain it.  She passes that strange man who smokes like a chimney in the hall and looks at him.  Mulder waits until 11:21pm to ring her to tell her all the files and evidence are gone.  The Smoking Man goes to the pentagon storage area and files the implant chip with the rest of them. He seems a bit suspicious, I think we’ll have to keep an eye on him.

OUAT Rewatch Ficlet: Episode 1x01

Step two of my self-imposed breaking the writing slump challenge. I decided to take up an OUAT rewatch in a search for some inspiration. I was originally going to blog about my thoughts and reactions on the rewatch. Maybe take a chance to talk about why I walked away from the show in S2, and why I came back during the early part of S4. 

Instead I threw down a drabble gauntlet. One ficlet per episode. Going to try to keep them short, just a means to get things moving.

Episode: 1x01 - Pilot | Words: 360 | Rated: G

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It was tradition.

Or so she told herself.

Yellow cake. Vanilla frosting. A solitary, pencil-thin candle on top.

Even in Boston when she had steady work, and the steady paycheck that came with, Emma stuck to that routine. She might be surrounded by fancy cupcake shops with their real cream frostings, caramelized bacon toppings, and assortment of pie-like fillings, but it didn’t matter. Each October 22rd she’d walk into whatever grocery store or bakery she’d find on her way home and buy herself the same thing.

It started that first birthday out of prison, her nineteenth. She was living in a ratty, pay-by-the week motel in the outskirts of Tallahassee, working night shift as a waitress in a diner off the FSU campus. The night, like most of them, had been nothing but a revolving door of jocks who traded bets on who might grab her ass and drunk sorority girls talking in high-pitched voices and teetering in high heels that Emma would give anything to be able afford. She could almost have forgotten it was her birthday, except the calendar pasted over the register kept taunting her with its oversized, bolded font.

She slipped out the side door on her break, pocketing a cupcake from the rotating dessert display and the one of the candles from the dusty box on the bottom shelf behind the counter. It was humid and hot outside, the loose strands of hair at the back of her neck sticking to her skin, even though the sun had set hours ago.

Staring at the candle, its wick burning down, the cheap wax dripping green on the white frosting, Emma refused to make a wish as she blew out the flame.

*

She is twenty-eight when she breaks that streak, her skip’s words still rattling around her head as she walks down the grocery store aisle.

The hell you know about family?

The package of star-shaped candles, three times the price of the ordinary ones, calls to her and she grabs it before she can change her mind. And later, as she watches the blue wax melt, she thinks, maybe, one more tradition can be broken.

So I know I said I would be drabbling rather than blogging as a means of digesting my OUAT rewatch, but I lied. Ok, maybe not lied so much as I will take that back if something strikes my fancy. And I was left with thoughts after rewatching the pilot.

I’ll also preface this by saying that I talk about Regina here. And as CS-heavy blog who also appreciates Regina, I want to make it clear that this is not an open invitation for Regina hate or character assassination, either on this post or in my inbox.

All that said, here we go.

It’s funny how you can watch or read something a thousand times and not notice something and last night I was struck by the closing scene between Emma and Regina. Emma ends the encounter by asking Regina if she loves Henry. It’s an episode that makes sure that in the introduction of Emma Swan that of all the things you need to know about her, among the most important is that she can read people. That she knows when she is being lied to. 

Emma asks the question - Do you love him? - and they both pause. The camera makes sure to pan to Emma’s face as she watches Regina, takes in her stance, her expression, and finally her answer.

I’ve always read the questions as something of a toss away line. Important, yes, but something Emma just asks because it’s a thing you do when wanting to know if your child is all right. A way to reassure yourself that you did the right thing for him.

Call me utterly dense, but it never occurred to me that Emma asks to test Regina for the truth of her answer. Yet, that’s exactly what she did. 

And she found Regina’s answer lacking. 

It may not have been a full lie on her part, but there was a kernel of something there that Emma didn’t like and it was only in that moment that she chose to stay in Storybrooke. That’s the moment, and not her earlier talk with Henry at the playground - which is what I always thought was the trigger, she decided to track down a place to stay and take Henry up on his request for one week. Regina lies, Emma makes her choice, and then handed the key the clock tower strikes and everything changes.

This may completely change my view of the early part of S1. 

I know the chatter is that Lana requested A&E tone down the abuse overtones to Regina’s early relationship with Henry. Whether that’s true or not, it clearly happens and the fact that this overt text was there at the start of the show is never really discussed again. It makes me curious as what may have been the original intentions for Regina’s arc as it relates to her relationship with Henry. I’m fascinating by this moment and I’ll be curious how it colors my view during the rest of the S1 portion of the rewatch.

A look at Mulder’s ties by episode should rightfully start where the show began - the pilot episode.  Our fresh faced agents were quite restrained in the pilot compared to later episodes. Maybe in those early days Mulder was trying to prove his seriousness and trustworthiness to Scully by his choice of neckwear, but quickly tired of that bullshit.  I think being a dick and lying down in the plane probably negated the necktie’s efforts anyway.