The X-Files are shot down, Mulder's bored in surveillance missions and Scully teaches forensics at Quantico. Mulder's high-placed contact, Senator Richard Matheson, sends Mulder at the Arecibo radiotelescope, Puerto Rico, where he could potentially make contact with extraterrestrials. He has an encounter. Scully follows him and is followed by Syndicate henchmen. Mulder and Scully escape the Blue Beret UFO Retrieval Team but have no evidence of the alien contact.
After a vague mention in the Pilot (Mulder: "The only reason I've been allowed to continue with my work is because I've made connections in Congress.") and in the Morgan & Wong episode 1X20: Tooms (Skinner: "This was close. Any closer and a thousand friends at the Capitol won't be able to help you."), the identity of Mulder's contact is revealed: it's Senator Matheson, a believer and a good ally, though he clearly doesn't know much more than what he provides Mulder with. Richard Matheson is of course named after the mid-20th century science fiction/fantasy writer.
Matheson is a Senator, and Senators vote ministries budgets: that's why he says "I’ll try to delay them as long as I can", he has some leverage over the Department of Defense to which the Blue Beret UFO Retrieval Team belongs to. Of course this team is fictional, based on other Black or Green Beret secret ops teams. First and last mention of the BBUFORT. At least by name, because this team could very well be all the para-military teams we see in a governmental cover-up (1X09: Fallen Angel, 4X17: Tempus Fugit & 4X18: Max).
Contact at Arecibo
The bases for this episode, the Voyager missons, the SETI Project, the Arecibo observatory and the "wow" signal, are all true. However, the Arecibo observatory is far from being abandoned or threatened to be shut down by some Senator. It was never intended to use the Oservatory for the search of intelligent ET signals, and when this search was being conducted it was given a small percentage of the recording time; the Observatory is still used today for astronomical observations. The SETI Project gave birth to the biggest shared calculation program to this date : SETI@home, or how to use your computer's CPU time to help analyse recordings in search for ETs!
The point of aliens visiting a radiotelescope, emitting back the Voyager recordings, emitting what Mulder just had said, and abducting Jorge, scaring him to death but leaving Mulder unharmed is not clear, especially if placed in the context of the (future) mythology. This is more a character-driven episode.
The Skinner character is still
being established and we already have a clash between him and the CSM.
Skinner clearly doesn't like CSM being around and he likes even less
having to follow his orders. But the situation is simple: Mulder is
dangerous and he has to be kept harmless by sticking him to menial
surveillance work. A work that is not even meant to be of any use,
since Mulder had enough to solve the case but CSM has Skinner tell
Mulder "I think we need more to go on."
When Mulder goes missing, CSM is worried that he is onto some trail to
the truth again, and he has him followed. Without Skinner's
authorization, he has two FBI agents surveilling Scully and two other
henchmen follow her to the airport, and should have followed her to
Puerto Rico. In the end, Skinner is shocked to learn all this and, as
he isn't very keen on kneeling down before CSM, orders him out ("Get out. I said get the hell out.")
Deep Throat was buried in
Arlington cemetery, a very famous cemetary in Virginia. That would make
Deep Throat a person of great importance in the US governmental
We get to see Samantha's abduction; this will be the version of events we see used later on, like in 4X08: Paper Hearts, though it differs from Mulder's narration under hypnosis in 1X03: Conduit.This was my first X-Files episode!
Mulder's teaser monologue: We wanted... to believe. We wanted to call out. On August 20th and September 5th, 1977, two spacecraft were launched from the Kennedy Space Flight Center, Florida. They were called Voyager. Each one carries a message. A gold-plated record depicting images, music and sounds of our planet, arranged so that it may be understood if ever intercepted by a technologically mature extraterrestrial civilization. Thirteen years after its launch, Voyager One passed the orbital plane of Neptune and essentially leaving our solar system. Within that time, there were no further messages sent. Nor are any planned. We wanted to listen. On October 12th, 1992, NASA initiated the high-resolution microwave survey. A decade long search by radio telescope, scanning ten million frequencies for any transmission by extraterrestrial intelligence. Less than one year later, first-term Nevada Senator Richard Bryan successfully championed an amendment which terminated the project. I wanted to believe but the tools have been taken away. The X-Files have been shut down. They closed our eyes. Our voices have been silenced. Our ears now deaf to the realms of extreme possibilities."
Scully: "When the bureau first shut us down, you said that you would go on for as long as the truth was out there.
But I no longer feel that from you."
Mulder: "Have you ever been to San Diego?"
Mulder: "Did you check out the Palomar observatory?"
Mulder: "From 1948 until recently, it was the largest telescope in the world. The idea and design came from a brilliant and wealthy astronomer named George Ellery Hale. Actually, the idea was presented to Hale one night. While he was playing billiards, an elf climbed in his window and told him to get money from the Rockefeller Foundation for a telescope."
Scully: "And you’re worried that all your life, you’ve been seeing elves?"
Mulder: "In my case... little green men."
Woman on Mulder's answering machine: "Mulder... you hounded me to have lunch with you today and then you don’t show. You’re a pig."
Mulder on his tape recorder: "The print-outs received in the transmission indicate contact with another lifeform and yet I cannot see them. Even if I could see them, would they really be there? How do I know this isn’t some classified military satellite? These transmissions are from the Voyager, for God’s sake. Could extraterrestrials really have intercepted them? Or is this just some elaborate joke played on those who want to believe? I was sent here by one of those people. Deep Throat said "Trust no one." And that’s hard, Scully... suspecting everyone, everything. It wears you down. You even begin to doubt what you know is the truth. Before, I could only trust myself. Now, I can only trust you... and they’ve taken you away from me. My life up to this point has been about the need to see her again. To see them. But what would I do if they really came?" (he looks at Jorge's terrified expression on his dead face)