Shmulder and Sculleoni suck face. The camera pans over the celebrity-packed crowd; David Alan Grier looks disgusted. Minnie Driver looks bored. Téa Leoni looks enthralled with her own performance, and, may I add, much better as a blonde. Garry Shandling squirms next to her. The actual Scully is shocked and vaguely grossed out by the moaning and heaving on screen. Next to her, Mulder, mouth agape, looks oddly fascinated, and buries his head in his hands. When he looks up, he catches Skinner's eye. Skinner tosses a kernel of popcorn in his mouth gleefully. He grins and nods. On screen, Shmulder and Sculleoni pant. Mulder buries his head in his hands again.
Ah. The old credits! How I've missed them! Come back to me, old credits! For the love of all that is holy and good, come back to me!
Can I make a confession? I've missed that ass Duchovny, too, dammit all.
Eighteen months earlier. Mulder and Scully are in their usual hot seats in Skinner's office. A doofy-looking guy lounges on the sofa behind them. Skinner exposits that there's been a pipe bomb explosion at a local Catholic Church -- no casualties, no deaths. As Scully pipes up -- so to speak -- to ask if any terrorist groups have taken credit for the bombing, the doofy guy speaks into a small, handheld recorder. "She: Jodie Foster's foster child on a Payless budget." Scully glares at him, probably wondering how stupid this man is not to notice how extremely stylish and well cut her suit is and how very not Payless her Ferragamo pumps are. "He's like a Jehovah's Witness meets Harrison Ford's Witness," Doofy continues. Mulder adds to the cacophony of glares. I'm taking that line as a subtle and retroactive shout-out to me, because I'm obsessed with the Amish and, you know, Witness is Amish-tastic. Scully explains that Christ Church -- where the bomb exploded -- is under the religious watch of one Cardinal O'Fallon, a man widely considered a front-runner to become the first American Pope. As she exposits, Doofy's cell phone rings. And rings. And rings. As he answers it, at last, Skinner explains that Doofy is "Wayne Federman," an old college friend of his who's become a "writer out in Hollywood." Which, by the way, means nothing. My hairdresser is a writer out in Hollywood. The dude who fixed my wall heater is a writer out in Hollywood. I am a writer out in Hollywood. Well, technically, a writer out in Santa Monica, but whatever. Don't stalk me. Federman corrects Skinner, stating that he's a "writer-slash-producer." Skinner explains that Federman is writing a film about FBI agents, and he's giving him full access to hang out with Mulder and Scully. To get that special Special Agent Flava Flav. Mulder snarks that Federman is a "hindrance-slash-pain in the neck." Federman pipes up that "the Skinman," (Skinner nods) has told him that Mulder "goes at things...a little Star Trek," an angle which interests him, specifically. Mulder appears deeply offended. Federman announces that his current project is "Silence of the Lambs meets The Greatest Story Ever Told," and swears that he won't get in the way of the investigation. Mulder looks skeptical, for once in his life. Skinner jumps in and informs his agents that Mulder and Federman are going out to the church to chat up the Cardinal, while Scully stays back at the Bureau with him. "The Skinman." Which is so my new name for him. Mulder, feeling punished, wonders if he's pissed The Skinman off "more than normal."