ruuger: (XF - old school)
[personal profile] ruuger posting in [community profile] xf_is_love
One of the more memorable MotWs of the season, a classic, darkly humorous Morgan&Wong episode that takes its inspiration from the satanism panic of the early 90's (subject to which they returned to in the Millennium episode Monster).



Writer: Glen Morgan & James Wong
Director: Kim Manners
Originally aired: Januaruy 6, 1995

Synopsis: Mulder and Scully investigate the ritualistic killing of a teenager, which leads them on the trail of a satanic cult thriving in the small town community.

Most Memorable Quote:
Scully: Mulder, toads just fell from the sky.
Mulder: I guess their parachutes didn't open.

Random fact: In Germany, this episode was called "Satan" (or at least so WIkipedia tells me).

Links:
Transcript

Date: 2014-10-17 06:19 pm (UTC)
fueschgast: (The X-Files)
From: [personal profile] fueschgast
Wikipedia is telling you the truth about the German title. Because I own a lovely compendium about S1 & 2 from early 1996, I knew that the original title was German, which I found really cool. And was disappointed that we didn't keep it. Ah, I love that book. I only wish it could stop falling apart and that I could remember what the notes mean. There are check marks and pluses at most of the episodes and they look like my mom's handwriting. Did we check off who's seen which episode? Or is the plus a rating? Going by the check marks, I hadn't seen the second half of season 1 yet by the time I had seen 3x02 (the last episode in the book).

Anyway, to the episode, the gooood episode.

I like the match cut from the hand choking Jerry to Scully holding the sheet that's covering his body.

I love Mulder and Scully with umbrellas. It's about as iconic to me as Mulder and Scully with flashlights.
"So... lunch?" -"Mulder, toads just fell from the sky!" - "I guess their parachutes didn't open."

Mrs. Paddock just puts the tests on body parts. But wouldn't it be a bit weird out the students when they get the tests back with blood on them? Why would you even keep the body parts in your drawer? Unpacked?

That internet looks no fun.

I've seen so many dissections in school on TV. Is/was that actually something students have/had to do in real life?

Date: 2014-10-17 08:02 pm (UTC)
wendelah1: (raindrops keep fallin' on their heads)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
I dissected a frog in high school AP Biology and a cat in college level Anatomy.

Now I have to watch the episode.

The toads falling from the sky scene is a classic. And Mulder+Scully+Umbrella is my OT3.
Edited Date: 2014-10-17 08:02 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-10-18 02:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zinnia03.livejournal.com
High school biology: had to dissect giant earthworms and a frog. The worm I didn't mind so much, but my lab partner did most of the frog, and he seemed to enjoy it a little too much.

I heard in physiology it was baby sharks and maybe a sheep's heart? I didn't take the class.

And the exchange about the frogs and their parachutes is definitely one of the top five lines in the whole series for me.
Edited Date: 2014-10-18 02:49 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-11-03 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] szgrey.livejournal.com
The thing with the loose organs in the drawer is weird to me too when I think about it- I mean, sure, from the episode writer or producer's perspective it's a great reveal, the juxtaposition of the kindly old-fashioned teacher with the shocking (and gross) evidence of her connection with whatever dark forces are brewing- but she's so orderly, with her neatly executed plan and her tidy handwriting, she's so good at appearing harmless and directing suspicion away from herself, it seems really incongruous for her to have bits of a dead kid just hanging out in an uncovered dissecting tray in her desk.

And yeah, I dissected a frog in fifth grade, and a fetal pig in ninth grade. The hallway outside the biology classroom always stank of formaldehyde during fetal pig week, it was awful.

Date: 2014-10-18 03:03 am (UTC)
wendelah1: (raindrops keep fallin' on their heads)
From: [personal profile] wendelah1
The Satanism panic began long before the early nineties. I lived through that one via the endless McMartin Preschool trial in Southern California. That saga began in 1983 and didn't conclude until 1990. And it wasn't humorous--innocent people were accused and their lives were ruined due to the hysteria. Maybe that's why this episode rubbed me the wrong way. The writers have Mulder and Scully trot out the FBI party line on satanic cults, namely that it has investigated tens of thousands of claims of ritual abuse and turned up nothing--which is true, by the way, a statistic which gets repeated by them again in Syzygy. Then Morgan and Wong have them sleepwalk through this ridiculous script, which can't decide if it's supposed to be a parody of a horror movie--or a real one.

It's an average episode, or maybe a little below. Except for the toads falling from the sky, ("Maybe their parachutes didn't open"), there isn't another memorable moment or even a good line. There are too many damn characters and too much static exposition. We don't get to know any of these people well enough to care about their fates.

Mulder acts uncharacteristically clueless by chaining his suspect up in a basement where Satanic rituals are known to have taken place on a night when he knows that Evil is at work. How hard would it have been to take the guy along? Or, I don't know, call the sheriff's department to pick him and take him into custody? While I'm on the topic of stupid plot points, weren't Mulder and Scully awfully easy to subdue considering they're in law enforcement?

For a guy who has so much trouble with people who believe in and worship God, it's perplexing (and irritating) that Mulder so easily entertains the existence of the powers of darkness.

Morgan and Wong's parting words as they head off to Space Above and Beyond were cute, kind of. "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you."

I have no plans to watch this one again.
Edited Date: 2014-10-18 03:08 am (UTC)

Date: 2014-10-18 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mosinging1986.livejournal.com
I recently watched the entire series of 'Frasier' for the first time. It was bizarre to see Dan Butler (Bulldog) in such a different role!

Horny teenage boys + gullible teenage girls + creepy forest = trouble.

We're having similar fall-ish, rainy weather where I am too, so watching this made me feel cold.

Wow, DOS computers. I actually remember typing on screens like that!

If you don't want to look immediately suspicious, then don't RUN when someone from the FBI calls your name. Just a thought.

EEW! I couldn't watch the pig fetuses! The closest I ever got in high school was dissecting frogs. Thankfully I ended up with a lab partner who loved doing that sort of thing! We agreed that she'd do all the yicky stuff and I'd do the writing part. Otherwise... I probably would've ended up screaming and freaking out like Shannon!

"Thou God of vengeance, shine forth" didn't ring a bell for me. The search I did shows Psalm 94:1 having the line, but I just did a quick search so it may be found elsewhere. Whatever the case, it's obviously talking about God taking vengeance, not people. So I don't even know why the writers would have the character quote it, since it doesn't even make sense how they're using it.

But this is why this XF's use of biblical references doesn't bother me on a moral level. It's just silly. You can tell they have no clue what they're talking about. The probably open the Bible at random and pick out some phrase that sounds creepy or whatever. LOL!

I love how this was turned on its head, in that the supposedly debunked "Satanic panic" ended up being true. And that the members used people's cynicism in order to hide in plain sight.

I love that the occult was portrayed as the evil that it is.

"Did you really think you could call up the devil and ask him to behave?"

Indeed.

Date: 2014-10-21 11:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] estella-c.livejournal.com
I seem to recall Scully calling something a "parable" when it was nothing of the sort, whatever it was, whenever it happened. The religious imagery got on my nerves, but you're right: just superstition used for kicks.

Date: 2014-10-21 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mosinging1986.livejournal.com
Yeah, I don't mind so much when it's used that way.

Date: 2014-10-23 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] discordantwords.livejournal.com
Sometimes, when it's raining very hard, my husband will turn to me and say "Mulder, toads just fell from the sky." I think I chose well.

This is one of those episodes that immediately comes to mind when I think of "classic X Files." The rain, the fog, the overall creepy mood, some good Mulder/Scully banter. The scene where Mulder and Scully are being dragged through the gym to be shot is really unsettling. The story falls apart under close analysis but I like it anyway, probably for the aforementioned mood. Mrs. Paddock is the most terrifying substitute teacher to ever walk the earth. One thing that always struck me was how the teacher she came in to replace was out of commission due to flesh eating bacteria-- and that always got under my skin (ha). Just the idea that there was someone presumably uninvolved with the whole fiasco, subjected to a horrific illness, only to be gotten out of the way so that evil could come in and do its thing. Collateral damage. Unless he was one of the satanists too, in which case I guess it's no worse than being eaten by a giant snake or mind controlled and shot.

A look back at some notebooks saved from my early high school years reminds me that I spent a few months attempting to alter my handwriting to incorporate those ridiculous flowing y's and g's from the final chalkboard message. Thankfully I gave that up pretty quickly.

The blond teen girl from the group went on to play a villain on 24. I love noticing the many, many XF alums on that show.

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