Season 1

1x23 The Erlenmeyer Flask

Air date: 05-13-94
Writer: Chris Carter
Director: R. W. Goodwin
Editor: Heather MacDougall
Director of Photography: John S. Bartley, C.S.C.
Documented Phenomenon: Alien-Human Hybrids

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis / Bob Goodwin commentary

A patrol car is on a 60-mile pursuit of a white car in Georgetown, Maryland. The driver in the white car, a male, seems to be in his thirties. Both vehicles fly over a steep hill, while the white car passes train cargo tracks. A patrol officer informs dispatch that the suspect is westbound, and has entered the gate into the shipping docks off April Street. The white car skids past a truck, and the patrol car nearly collides with the truck. Having bought some time to get ahead, the driver races towards a port, looking for another escape. The patrol car catches up as the officer on the passenger side uses his bullhorn to order the man to pull over and stop. The driver skids into some crates, tries to back up, and finds himself blocked by the patrol car. The officer orders the man to freeze, just as he jumps out of his car in a frantic attempt to escape. The man races towards a wire fence and climbs it. One of the officers uses his club to try and immobilize the man. Both officers begin to club the man with batons as he continues to resist, just when another patrol car arrives. The man, with incredible strength, grabs one of the officers' batons and knocks the officers down, as another officer rushes up to him and is taken by the man. A fourth officer uses a stun gun and fires the electrical darts, but the man yanks out the darts and sprints up a ship dock ramp. The fourth officer fires two shots that hit the man square in the back, but the man continues to run and leaps off the dock into the icy waters. The officer insists he hit the man, while the other officer looks puzzled. The fourth officer conjectures that the man should be badly bleeding, just as both men find drops of green liquid on the dock.

On Sunday, May 8, 1994, Mulder is asleep with the television on, in his apartment. Based on the various folders and papers strewn around him, it appears that Mulder had been reviewing case files before he fell asleep. He is awakened by a phone call. Deep Throat cryptically asks him if he is watching channel eight, and Mulder switches it on. WDF News is reporting a car chase in Georgetown wherein the suspect eluded capture. Mulder pops a blank video into his VCR and presses the record key. Captain Roy Lacerio is being interviewed by a female reporter. The police captain's answers are vague, and then his attention is pulled away by another officer. The reporter indicates that there is an ongoing intense manhunt for the suspect.

The next day at the FBI offices, Mulder reviews and replays the tape of the report. Scully skeptically observes that Mulder has reviewed the tape a hundred times, questioning what they're looking for. Mulder prints out a hard copy of a video capture of an unidentified man in a formal suit. Scully asks why the suspect was being chased. Mulder tells her that it had to do with a moving violation. He insists there must be some detail they're not seeing, as he prints out another still. This one is of a parked car. Scully argues that Deep Throat has lied before and is probably yanking Mulder's chain. Mulder responds that Deep Throat wouldn't have called if there wasn't something there that Deep Throat wants him to find.

The next day in Georgetown, the video capture of the suited man is shown to Captain Lacerio, who points out to Mulder that there were three different law enforcement agencies at the dock the previous night. Captain Lacerio can't identify the man while Mulder inquires about the man being shot, and asks why a body hasn't been recovered. The captain is certain the body will be recovered in spite of the fact it has been eighteen hours since the shooting incident. The captain asks what the FBI's interest in the case is, while Scully looks on, tensely. Mulder explains the suspect matches a description of a federal fugitive, which Captain Lacerio doesn't buy, considering that no description of the suspect has been released. Mulder doesn't respond, yet asks if he can look at the suspects car.

Captain Lacerio informs him it's been taken to the impound.

Later at impound, Scully is reviewing the police report while Mulder looks over the vehicle. It's an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera that was registered to a rental agency in Gaithersburg, but the agency had no idea the car was missing. Scully believes they are wasting their time and Mulder seems to agree as they have no idea what they are supposed to find. While Mulder reviews the photo of the car from the news broadcast, he notices something odd. There's a difference in the windshield; one has a medical tag and the other doesn't.

Back at the office, Mulder reveals he had the video picture enhanced, and the registration plate is different: ‘3 A-Y-F'. Mulder calls Danny and asks for a run on a partial Maryland plate. Mulder observes to Scully that the car was switched and someone lied about it. Perhaps the real owner had something to hide.

At Emgen Corporation in Gaithersburg, Maryland, a scientist is transferring fluid from a jar into an Erlenmeyer flask. The scientist is an older, balding and bearded man in a lab filled with caged monkeys who are part of a research project. Mulder and Scully arrive and enter the lab, addressing him as Dr. Berube. After Mulder identifies himself as an FBI agent, the doctor is reluctant to cooperate. Mulder asks if Berube was aware that his missing car was involved in a high speed chase in Ardis the previous day. The doctor admits to owning a silver Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera, but was not aware it was missing. While the doctor admits that he has a housekeeper who often uses the car, Scully approaches one of the caged monkeys, and it violently lunges at her. Dr. Berube scolds Scully and warns her that the monkeys should not be excited and nothing should be touched. He tells her that the monkeys are part of an experiment. When Mulder asks what kind of experiment, the doctor defensively asks if he's under any suspicion, which Mulder denies. The agents are asked to leave.

Upon exiting the lab, Mulder asks Scully if she was bitten, and she tells him no. When Mulder suggests they should check with the doctor's housekeeper, Scully refuses, much to Mulder's amazement. She points out the investigation has reached the point of absurdity, based on half a hunch. Scully points out that Deep Throat has given them nothing but a cryptic phone call, and then presses Mulder about Deep Throat's identity. Mulder typically argues that he's in a delicate position for access to information, and indiscretion could risk exposure. Scully argues that Deep Throat might be toying with Mulder.

That evening, while Mulder is pulling up to his residence, Deep Throat appears, voicing disappointment and observing that Mulder's level of commitment seems to have diminished. Mulder argues he's been given very little to work with. Deep Throat points out that what they have been led to is more important than the agents realize. Mulder grows irritated, tired of being the dutiful son, tired of the Obi Wan Kenobi routine. Deep Throat argues his concern that Mulder has become too dependent on him. Mulder counters that he's too busy to chase down vague leads or decode circular logic, that perhaps Deep Throat is too dependent on him. Deep Throat presses him not to give up on this one because Mulder has never been closer. Then the informant walks away while Mulder looks on, frustrated.

Later that evening, Dr. Berube is in his lab working. The monkeys seem restless as a man enters. It's the same man Mulder noticed on the channel eight news report. Dr. Berube asks who the man is and why he's there. "He's alive, isn't he?" the crew-cut man says. It's obvious that Dr, Berube is trying to play ignorant, when he asks the man to leave. The Crew-Cut man starts to rattle the cages, which makes the monkeys scream. In a panic, Dr. Berube rushes to the man and explains he's already answered questions from the FBI. The intent of the Crew- Cut man is not another inquiry; he asks where Doctor Secare is. Dr. Berube has something to hide as he continues to plead ignorance. He stresses that his work is very important, and the Crew-Cut man replies that his work is done. The monkeys become more frantic as we hear a struggle.

Meanwhile at the dock in Ardis, it is late in the evening when Captain Lacerio calls the search off for the suspect known as Doctor Secare. While divers are being pulled into the search party boats, in the distance, Doctor Secare raises his head out of the water. It appears he's been hiding underwater for hours or even days.

Crime scene photos reveal that Dr. Berube appears to have committed suicide, using some kind of gauze as a rope and the lab has been trashed. Scully reads the police report, which indicates the doctor tied a roll of medical gauze around his neck and the other end to a gas outlet. Mulder is skeptical about the police report, questioning if there were any witnesses. The doctor seemed too tidy and organized to have trashed the lab. Mulder argues that the suicide seems too calculated--as if somebody wanted to make certain Dr. Berube was dead. Mulder asks what more is known about Dr. Berube, and Scully reads his profile: Terrance Allen Berube, graduated from Harvard Med in 1974. He was working on the Human Genome Project.

Mulder acknowledges his awareness of the project, the mapping of all human genes, and probably the most ambitious scientific endeavor known to mankind. Scully notes there's nothing extraordinary about his involvement; thousands of scientists are involved with the project. Mulder observes yet there's one doctor in the project who committed suicide by bungee jumping out a window. Scully argues that she does not see the connection. Mulder argues that the connection can't be seen in any obvious way. He pulls an Erlenmeyer Flask with the label, ‘purity control' out of a refrigerator. Mulder asks her to find out what it is, and she reluctantly agrees. Mulder decides to find out more about Dr. Berube.

At 6:30 P.M. Mulder arrives at the local residence of Dr. Berube. After ringing the doorbell, he checks the mailbox and finds that the mail hasn't been picked up. After Mulder looks at the business mail, we see the address listed as Dr. T.A. Berube, 2650 W. 1st, Ardiss, Maryland 149376. Mulder checks the side of the home, finds a window to the basement and manages to enter.

Meanwhile, Scully is visiting Dr. Carpenter at Georgetown University, in the Microbiology Department. Dr. Carpenter offers her analysis of the liquid specimen Mulder asked Scully to look into. Dr. Carpenter explains she believes it to be a bacteria specimen. Scully explains it was recovered from a crime scene as Dr. Carpenter continues to scan the specimen with an electron microscope. Dr. Carpenter is amazed at what she sees. It's unlike any bacteria she has ever seen, explaining that most bacteria are symmetrical and smooth, while this specimen is different. The doctor offers to do a freeze fracture, taking a DNA slice, which Scully agrees to.

At 7.45 PM at Dr. Berube's residence, Mulder is rifling through the doctor's desk beside an exposed window. Mulder finds a phone bill and sees that the same number--301-555-2804—has been dialed numerous times. Mulder calls Danny for an address check for the number. As Mulder puts the bill back in the desk, a white van pulls up to the window and stops. Mulder takes out a set of keys from the desk. As the phone rings, the man in the van across the street, pulls out a listening device. The call isn't from Danny, but a strange man who asks for Terry, and Mulder plays along. The man is Doctor Secare who explains he's been shot and has been hiding under the water for three days. Mulder asks where Dr. Secare is and where he can pick him up. The doctor clutches the wounds on his chest and falls. A passing stranger grabs the phone and explains that a man is down and needs help. The stranger informs Mulder he will call for an ambulance, much to the frustration of Mulder who wants an address. As soon as the connection clicks off, the phone rings again and Mulder answers. It is Danny, and he explains that the phone number belongs to a company called Zeus Storage, with an address of 1616 Pandora Street. The van across the street drives away as Mulder looks suspicious.

Meanwhile, an ambulance with Dr. Secare on a gurney, races to a nearby hospital while a medic reports to the dispatcher they are bringing in a white male, 40 with weak vital signs. The medic reports that the patient has severe dyspnea, and hypotension. There is green fluid coming from the right side of his abdomen and he is turning blue. The medic is ordered by the dispatcher to do a needle decompression on his chest. Once the needle punctures, the man wakes up and a gas seeps out of his chest, causing the medics to choke and clutch at their eyes. The ambulance swerves off the road. The dispatcher is asking what is going on, while the men collapse. The man escapes from the ambulance into the night.

Scully calls Mulder, who is driving, and he tells her that the man from the silver Cutlass Ciera has called him. She tells Mulder that she's at the Georgetown Microbiology department, and tells him about the sample he had her check. She explains that it's a green bacteria, each containing virus, and that Dr. Berube may have been cloning them. She further explains they contain something that looks like chloroplasts--plant cells--but like nothing she's ever seen. She explains that the only reason why a virus would be cloned inside a bacteria is to inject it into something living. It is called gene therapy, and it's highly experimental. Mulder speculates that the doctor was injecting this into the monkeys, while Scully explains that they are about to run some cell cultures and a DNA sequence. Scully stresses that this kind of bacteria may have existed millions of years ago, but not before our ancestors first crawled out of the sea.

Mulder arrives at Zeus Storage. He encourages her and hangs up. He enters the facility. Holding a key marked 1056, he approaches a door bearing the same number. What Mulder finds is incredible: a room with six tanks filled with some kind of fluid, and identical naked men submerged within each one. Monitoring systems are connected to each tank. While passing one of the tanks, he is startled when one of the men suddenly moves. The men seem to be alive, somehow breathing in the fluid in the tanks. Mulder is stunned.

Back at Georgetown University, at 11:45, Dr. Carpenter awakens Scully who is sleeping in a waiting room. The doctor tells Scully her findings, explaining that they are DNA sequences from the bacteria. She then explains to Scully something incredible--that each base pair is made up of a nucleotide. Only four pairs of nucleotide exist in human DNA. She further explains that what Scully is looking at is a sequence of genes with gaps, which should not be the case. She found a fifth and sixth DNA nucleotide in the bacteria--something that exists nowhere in nature--and is extra-terrestrial by definition.

Mulder exits the storage facility and is intercepted by a white van driven by the crew-cut man and his associate. Mulder makes a run for it and escapes over a fence. Only he isn't chased; the men clearly just wanted to intimidate him.

Upon arriving back at his apartment, Mulder receives a call as he enters. Scully has been trying to reach him. She then explains to Mulder what she learned, looking unnerved. Mulder asks her to join him, and the next day, at around 7:30 AM, they arrive at the storage facility, after he informed her of what he found. Scully, in an uncharacteristic moment, and uneasy, admits that she has been wrong. She admits she should trust his instincts, as he points out that no one trusts his instincts. Now Scully is doubting her faith in science.

They enter the storage room, only to find it empty and gutted. Mulder explains there were five bodies. Scully wonders what happened as Deep Throat appears and explains that the bodies were probably destroyed. He doesn't know by whom, and Mulder doubts his reply. Deep Throat points out that there are black organizations within the intelligence community, conducting covert activities. Scully is looking apprehensive while Mulder tells them about the three men who chased him. Deep Throat retorts that if he were being chased, Mulder would have been killed; the men are trained killers. Deep Throat presumes those were the same men who killed Dr. Berube.

Scully misses the point and Mulder explains that the doctor was conducting human experiments with an extra-terrestrial virus. But Deep Throat points out it has been going on for years, and that the government has had the tissue since 1947, but not the technology. Dr. Berube was killed because his work was too successful and that what was going on in the storage facility was the first successful attempt at a human-alien hybrid. There were six volunteer patients, all terminally ill, one being Dr. William Secare, an old friend of Dr. Berube, who was dying of melanotic cancer, as a result of the E.T. gene therapy. All of the patients began to recover, to lead normal lives, relatively speaking, as they developed superhuman strength, and the ability to breath underwater. Scully asks what Secare was running from, as Deep Throat explains that he was never supposed to survive. Dr. Berube's research was part of a top secret project run out of Los Alamos. They were only interested in the technology; to have a Hybrid living out in the world was too great a liability. If the Hybrid were to need a medical procedure, his blood chemistry would be found to be alien and toxic. It was easier to kill Dr. Secare, but Berube was able to warn him. Scully is wondering why Deep Throat gave so little in the beginning, and was willing to give so much now. Deep Throat explains he didn't anticipate their cleanup operation; they are now destroying all of the evidence. He stresses that Mulder and Scully must put together everything that they have found, and find Dr. Secare before the others do. Deep Throat mentions he cannot have any further contact on the matter, and leaves. Mulder and Scully skeptically glance at one another.

Scully plans to go back to Georgetown to collect the lab work, while Mulder plans to find Dr. Secare. Upon arriving at Georgetown, Scully finds out that Dr. Ann Carpenter and her whole family were in a car accident. Dr. Carpenter is dead. Scully looks stunned. Mulder arrives at the Berube residence in Ardis, Maryland. He hears a thump, draws his gun, and follows the sound to the upper floor, only to discover Dr. Secare hiding in an attic. He attacks Mulder and drops Mulder's gun. Dr. Secare lifts Mulder into the air, though Mulder promises to protect him. Then there's a gun shot. Dr. Secare lets go and falls into the floor The alien gas released from his wound overtakes Mulder who coughs and grabs at his eyes. The shooter is the crew-cut man in a gas mask.

Mulder is unconscious and bound with duct tape. His eyes and mouth are red and raw from the toxin from Dr. Secare. Mulder's cell phone is ringing, but the three men cleaning up the attic make no move to answer it. The Crew-Cut man takes off his gas mask and approaches Mulder. The man comments about the phone, and warns that when Mulder feels like talking to let him know.

At 6:10 AM, the next morning Scully arrives at Mulder's residence, only to find Deep Throat waiting. He tells her Mulder's not home, and when she asks where Mulder is, he comments that he wishes he knew. She knows something has happened to him, and Deep Throat assures her that they won't kill him. Mulder has become too high profile, and Scully has evidence that could expose them. She argues that she has no evidence; they took it and may have killed to get it. Deep Throat explains that evidence still exists. While it might be difficult to obtain, with her medical background he might be able to get her inside a high-containment facility in Fort Marlene, Maryland. When she asks what they have there, he explains the wellspring--the original tissue. If they have agent Mulder, they might be willing to make an exchange that could save his life.

At Fort Marlene, Scully enters, passes the first check point, noticing a camera. She flashes a clearance badge with her name, and department as Bio-Medical division, 6-D, with the code numbers M2 42638490 Class 4, and the security guard lets her pass though the first door. She walks with caution as doctors and technicians glance at her as they pass. She reaches an elevator next to a directory that lists various levels: Level 1 – Admin, Level 2 – Toxicology, Level 3 –Immunology, Level 4 – Radiology, Level 5 – Oncology, Level 6 – Virology, Level 7 – Cryology, and swipes the badge to get access. She takes the elevator to Level 7 and enters the Cryology Department, which she notes has restricted access. She swipes the card again, and enters room CX26, which clicks shut behind her. When she swipes the card again to enter another room, it doesn't work, and a man on an intercom asks for her name, and the company or institution she's involved with, as well as the project password. She is hesitant at first, noting that there is a camera and an alarm mounted on the wall. Finally, she answers "Purity Control." The guard dials in some numbers, which in part seem to be ****2049 and she is let in. He asks her to log in on the clipboard, and then she continues.

She reaches a room with Nitrogen containers, and reaches one labeled, "Purity Control, WF-5494 M1612". With gloves on, she opens the containment door, and slides out the container on the tray. She unscrews the lid and opens up the nitrogen vat and pulls out something amazing, and redefining; a dead, and frozen alien embryo. She studies it in amazement and curiosity.

That evening, she is waiting in her car before a crossing bridge. Deep Throat drives up, stops, and approaches her car from behind. She walks to him with a package. He asks her if she has it, to which she replies yes. Deep Throat wants to take the package, but she insists on making the exchange herself. He argues that he made the deal so they will be expecting him. She doesn't trust him, but he argues she doesn't have anyone to trust. She argues that she knows nothing about him; he argues that she cannot risk screwing up. He then tells her a story about a group of children from a southern state in 1987 who were given what their parents thought was a routine inoculation, but was actually a clone DNA from the contents of the package Scully was holding, as a test, in explanation of the kind of people they are dealing with. She then wants to know why they should give it back to them, and he counters with frustration, to save Mulder's life. Scully and Mulder are the only ones who could bring these revelations to light.

She gives the package to Deep Throat as the van pulls ahead of them, then she runs back to her car. The Crew-Cut Man glances at her as he passes by in the van. She looks apprehensive. The man exits from the van. As Deep Throat gets out of his car, he hands the man the package, who places it in the van, then turns and the Crew-Cut Man shoots Deep Throat pointblank in the chest. He falls as Scully shouts. The back of the van opens and Mulder is thrown out onto the road. Scully runs to them.

The van tears off into the night, while Scully checks to see if Mulder is alive. She reaches Deep Throat and tries to aid him. His last dying words are "Trust No One."

In Washington, D.C., thirteen days later, Scully is jarred awake at around 11:22, to then get a call from Mulder who tells her that they are shutting the X-Files down. They are both being reassigned to other sections. Assistant Director Walter Skinner informed him of the decision hours earlier, telling him that word had come down from the executive branch for the closure. She argues that a protest has to be lodged, but Mulder is resigned. She asks what he is going to do, and he tells her he will not give up as long as the truth is out there.

The Cigarette-Smoking man is walking though the corridors of a warehouse, and places the jar containing the alien embryo into a box with other identical embryos, He exits the vast room, which is revealed to be a wing of the Pentagon...

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis / Bob Goodwin commentary

  • When Mulder is awakened by Deep Throat at the beginning of the episode, the movie that is running on television is 1959's Journey To The Center of the Earth, starring James Mason and Pat Boone, the most remembered adaptation of the Jules Verne classic.
  • The episode is full of a great many revelations and a fairly high body count, culminating in the death of Deep Throat. One of the smaller, yet profound revelations is the crisis of belief and faith in Scully's view over the conventions of science. This reinforces an argument previously made before at the Lexicon, that The X-Files is really Scully's story--her evolution from a skeptic to a believer.
  • The great enigma concerning Deep Throat would be his motives, and what led him to assist Mulder in the first place. Certainly, he was aware he risked his status and life within The Syndicate by offering aid. Could it have been that members of his immediate or extended family were at risk with The Syndicate's Vichy-like agenda? Perhaps the answer lies in Deep Throat's comments regarding children being given vaccinations in 1987 of alien DNA. Perhaps the idea became too unsettling because The Syndicate chose to use innocent bystanders to further their agenda. Unlike for example, cases of military soldiers who volunteer to have experiments conducted on them. Perhaps he held a different view of the public being used as Guinea pigs. One also has to wonder if Deep Throat already sensed he was a marked man, and was resigned to his fate when he approached Scully in the sequence at Mulder's apartment. There's evidence that Deep Throat was not a full-fledged member of The Syndicate, but worked somewhere for the State Department, although he was involved with The Syndicate up through the early 70s. He might have been more vulnerable than we the viewers assumed.
  • The issue of children being given a vaccine in a southern state circa 1987, is also troubling. The conventional thinking amongst fans is the fact that the implants are the marking system to track abductees as part of the process that becomes known as "Hybridization." We saw during the Pilot in October 1992, of countless cases of teenager alien abductees. One counter argument could be the following: Could these children in 1987, by being injected with alien DNA, have been prospective abductees? Could the alien DNA have been a marker for prospective abductions and tests? That would explain why extra-terrestrials needed to conduct tests in the first place: to track the progression of exposure to their DNA by humans, as a prelude to colonization. Of course, this all depends on what race of extra-terrestrials we are referring to, considering the impending conflicts we would see in later seasons.
  • The science behind "Purity Control" can be understood as the following: The flask contained a bacteria that carried a virus, the cells within the bacteria contained something that resembled chloroplasts. Such cells have not existed on Earth for more than 1.5 billion years, and just as astonishing is the fact that those cells contain a fifth and sixth nucleotide, which would make them by definition, Extra-Terrestrial. The development of chloroplasts within the cells might explain the shape-shifting abilities of the Greys. Many variations of plant vegetation, depending on species and density, has greater flexibility than organic carbon-based life. It is already believed by many scientists that life could exist in the Universe that is based on silicone. It was during this episode that Anne Simon began to act as an science advisor for The X-Files. She provided the above details, and suggested microscopic photos of pollen grains for the alien bacteria.
  • Based on the conventional thinking amongst fans, one would have to assume that there was a symbiotic relationship between the corporeal extra-terrestrials, and the entity within the black oil, and that this relationship has lasted for millions of years. Yet there is a wrinkle within this assumption, based on the development of alien rebels, introduced in the fifth season. Considering that the alien rebels are quite willing to disfigure themselves to avoid exposure, that would demonstrate freewill. If the entity within the black oil is its own agent, and the Grey extra-terrestrials are independent beings, can we take it at face value that the bacteria within the flask, and the virus within the bacteria is in fact the black oil?

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis / Bob Goodwin commentary

In many respects, Chris Carter's "The Erlenmeyer Flask" is a tour-de-force, as was reflected in his comments from the book, The Complete X-Files. "It may have been, really, the signature mythology episode, not only a sign to the audience of what we were capable of, but certainly a realization for me, of where we could take this show if we explored these different avenues. It became about mankind and science and its abuse." The impact of the episode was profound. There is an alleged story, recounted by Glen Morgan, or James Wong, that a friend of theirs called after the broadcast airing of the episode, and commented, "What have you done?" The episode received a nomination for an Edgar Award, an honor presented by members of the Mystery Writers of America.

The opening police car chase sequence was filmed by second unit director, J.P. Finn. The episode was filmed around May or April, and Gillian Anderson's pregnancy was starting to show, hence, the layers of clothes and the trench coat.

Deep Throat actor Jerry Hardin has recounted: "When the script was sent to me, there was a little note on it from (Chris) Carter saying ‘No one ever really dies in The X-Files'. I didn't have any feeling about being cut out of the series or any of those kind of things, I just simply didn't know what the upshot of all that was. I was interested in that particular (episode) because it was the longest period of time that I had worked on the show. Also it was the most complete kind of character development. There were little snippets of things before, but this had a strong through-line and therefore was more interesting to play."* Mr. Hardin has further recounted that after an exhausting night shoot during Deep Throat's death, "We went back down to the makeup trailer and the honey wagons, and they had a little champagne and a balloon or two to bid me farewell. That was nice; a breakfast of champagne after a night of shooting. Kind of an odd way to go."*

The episode encompassed ten locations, and five large builds on soundstages, which, at that time, was extraordinary for a young television series. For instance, the attic where Mulder finds Dr. Berube was built on a stage. The exterior for Mulder's apartment was filmed at The Wellington, 2630 York Street, Vancouver. The location was situated in a quiet upper middle-class neighborhood in the area of Kitsilano. As recounted by Todd Pittson, there was a neighbor, a few days prior to shooting, who was not only unhappy with the parking arrangements the production team had made, but this neighbor considered the show "to be the work of the devil and the crew, in doing the devil's bidding, Satan's puppets." This location was only a few blocks from the house that David Duchovny rented in Vancouver. Unfortunately, it would not be a recurring location.

The Bridge / Overpass sequence was filmed at the Vanterm Overpass, Clark Dr. in Vancouver. Initially, permission was obtained from the city of Vancouver to close the northbound half of the Cambia Street bridge, but was changed due to some concerns from Bob Goodwin. A camera position for the high-angle master shots was found on the adjacent grain elevators at the United Grain Growers facility. In order to get maximum production value from the location, John Bartley requested additional lighting for the grain elevators themselves. This required the use of HMI lights–which make use of mercury arc lamps and create light similar to the brightness of the sun–with sealed electrical boxes to minimize the risk of highly flammable grain dust coming into contact with a spark or electrical current. The bridge was the last location day filmed for the final episode. The crew celebrated with champagne during the sunrise.

The iconic closing shot of the Pentagon warehouse was filmed at the Open Learning Agency at 4355 Mathissi Pl, Burnaby. The location was pricey as the crew wanted to film during the regular workday. A "small break" was negotiated on the quoted fee.

In the sequence with the caged monkeys in Dr. Berube's laboratory, the monkeys managed to act on cue through the long shooting day, in spite that the room was developing a ripe odor. For the sequence where Dr. Carpenter makes the revelation to Scully about the alien bacteria, Producer Paul Rabwin assisted in finding the image, which were pollen spores. In the sequence where Mulder runs from the crew-cut man's henchmen, Bob Goodwin has noted that it was the first time he realized just how athletic and fast David Duchcovny was. Mr. Goodwin and his crew had a problem keeping up with David, so they had to mount the camera on a pick-up truck to keep pace with him, as he was running at approximately 15 miles per hour. The crew-cut man is seen listening with a strange device to Mulder, while he is in Dr. Berube's residence. The device is a dish-shaped microphone that was an invention of the prop department's. In the iconic sequence that Scully sees the alien fetus for the first time, the dry ice in the canister had an adverse effect on the prop that caused pieces to break off or flake. So, a second sculpted prop had to be used to complete the shots needed. During the sequence that Mulder is immobilized by the crew-cut man and suffering from exposure to the toxin in the green blood, the makeup David had to wear was very uncomfortable and he had to wear it for hours.

Actor Lindsey Lee Ginter has recalled his initial experience of being cast as the crew-cut man. He recalled that he'd auditioned for several other roles. "I think I had auditioned for them two or three times… and they didn't cast me. I was down doing Walker: Texas Ranger and they called up my agent and offered me the role. Apparently I'd impressed them sufficiently enough with the earlier auditions that I didn't have to audition, so they gave me the part of Crew-Cut Man."* The actor has had significant experience using firearms. For series that use handguns and firearms, special training is usual. "You have to pay the proper respect to the tool, and make sure that you're shooting off center. You don't actually directly aim the thing at anybody. The way it looks [on film], you can't really tell. You want the actor that you're pointing the gun at to feel comfortable."

An imposing looking man, actor Lindsey Lee Ginter began acting in high school in Alameda California, was accepted into the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco until a broken foot scuttled his plans. After working in various fields, he moved to New York, and got back into acting in the late seventies, primarily repertory theatre and Broadway. His feature film work includes Once Upon A Time In America, Beverly Hills Cop III, Gattaca, Mercury Rising, Pearl Harbor, and Radio Free Albemuth. His television appearances include Knots Landing, L.A. Law, Melrose Place, JAG, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Dark Skies, Walker, Texas Ranger, Star Trek: Voyager, The District, Alias, Six Feet Under, Malcolm in the Middle, and Lost.

Actress Anne DeSalvo who played Dr. Anne Carpenter, has appeared in a range of projects, including writing and directing her own films. Her feature film work includes Starting Over, Stardust Memories, Arthur, My Favorite Year, Perfect, Compromising Positions, and Radioland Murders. Her television appearances include Ryan's Hope, Taxi, The Cosby Show, Spenser: For Hire, The Tracey Ullman Show, Wiseguy, Doogie Howser M.D., Cheers, L.A. Law, Northern Exposure, Judging Amy, CSI: Miami, Sex and the City, and Monk. Projects that she's either written or directed include The Amati Girls, and Women Without Implants.

Actor Simon Webb, who played Dr. .William Secare, has appeared in such features as Bingo, The Grocer's Wife, Happy Gilmore, Riding The Bullet, and such TV series as Leo and Me, The Hitchhiker, MacGyver, The Commish, Saban's Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, and Sanctuary.

Episode synopsis and Production Notes: Matt allair
Page Editor: XScribe

* Beyond Mulder and Scully: The mysterious characters of The X-Files by Andy Mangels, Published by Citadel Press, © 1998

Episode summary / Points to consider / Production analysis / Bob Goodwin commentary

While Bob Goodwin was thrilled to learn that he would be directing the episode, he has admitted to being daunted by the complexity of it.

Bob Goodwin has commented as an observation his belief that the name "Danny" was inspired by the idea of using the name of David Duchcovny's brother.

In the sequence where Dr. Secare's body is being searched for, and after the search is called off, as Dr. Secare surfaces, Bob Goodwin has recalled that the scene was carefully designed. Actor Simon Webb was breathing through an air tube, and was standing on a crane under the water, which could then be raised up out of the bay, yet Bob has recounted that the timing of the sequence wasn't working, so the sequence had to be reshot later in a tank on a stage. Apparently, Simon Webb has a phobia about water, and the producers only later found out about it.

Bob Goodwin has acknowledged that "The Erlenmeyer Flask" ramped up the mythology. The episode helped to boost the number of viewers heading into the second season.

For the sequence in Room 1056, it had to be created on a sound stage; Bob Goodwin designed the set so that he could execute the kind of camera blocking he needed. Regarding the idea of the clones discovered in room 1056, the initial idea was to create plastic prop dummies of the naked clones, but it was decided that that would not be practical, or achieved realistically, so they opted instead to hire male scuba-divers and cast men who were okay with staying underwater through the filming, nude. Breathing tubes were provided to use between takes.

As Mulder enters the Zeus Storage facility, a rack-focus technique is used, meaning the camera lens zooms in, while the dolly mount holding the camera pulls away, creating an in-camera effect that visually represents the psychological feeling of emotionally falling. The technique in the episode was intended to illustrate that Mulder's assumptions were about to be shifted.

The shifting light on the bridge sequence of Gillian Anderson's close-ups, Mr. Goodwin has noted, was difficult to film. The bridge lies within the jurisdiction of two different authorities--one side, the port of Vancouver, the other side, the city of Vancouver. In order to get permission to shoot, they needed both the port and city policemen to be available. The sequence was shot in late April, during shorter nights per month in Vancouver. It didn't get dark until late, and it tended to get light early. The police arrived late, and the production crew was not allowed to shut the bridge down.

Mr. Goodwin first shot wide angle panoramas until the police arrived. As a result, he had to shoot the wide shots first, and do the close-ups last, and he has noted that he was not happy with Gillian's close-up, just as the sun was rising.

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