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Jessica: B | Grade It Now!
Can This Be Happening?

Next, the said nearby farm. For some reason, the farm is surrounded by several clotheslines, all of which have sheets hanging off them. I assume the sheets provide some kind of visual barrier to the outside world. Or, these cult members just have a major jones for clean, three-hundred-thread-count Egyptian cotton. The cult members or abductees or farmers or whoever the hell they are sit around a fire, eating soup, talking, healing each other, tap dancing -- you know, the usual cult member/alien abductee talent-show action. Outside the sheets, a car pulls up. At the noise, Jeremiah looks up from his soup and tells everyone to get inside. Everyone stares at him blankly in response. Shadows fall on the sheets. "They're coming," Jeremiah says. "Who? Who's coming?" Absalom asks. "You can't let them find him," Jeremiah says solemnly. On cue, the agents -- accompanied by a horde of SWAT team guys -- swarm the campfire. The raid commences, with all of the usual accoutrements of a raid: screaming, yelling, flashlights, scampering about. Doggett enters the clearing with a megaphone, exhorting everyone to remain calm, as Scully and Skinner use their flashlights to scan the crowd. Skinner's the one who finally finds Absalom in the melee, and gets to act all manly and hold him at gunpoint.

The SWAT team breaks into the farmhouse. More screaming and scampering. Monica tells the crowd that they are in no danger, as long as they stay calm and where she can see them. Otherwise, she's going to shoot them all through the head. She notices, mid-yell, a video camera mounted onto the ceiling of the farmhouse, and makes a "what the hell?" face. As Monica stands and stares at the ceiling and makes her neck vulnerable to sharpshooters, Scully walks through the sheet-cordoned "rooms" of the farmhouse, frantically searching for someone. I wonder who? She finds all kinds of random people, none of whom seem to appreciate her shining her flashlight right in their faces. At last, Scully stumbles upon a totally healed Theresa Hosie, who looks sort of like a chubbier Janeane Garafolo. Theresa is all, look, lady, get that damned light out of my eyes! Does the torture never end? Scully quietly asks Monica to fetch Skinner and Doggett.

Interrogation room. Absalom tells Scully and Doggett that he "can't explain why or how it happens -- only where." I assume he's talking about the abductees being unceremoniously dumped out of the sky. Scully sighs for the one billionth time this season. Gillian Anderson ought to have brokered a deal to be paid per sigh. Or eyebrow. Doggett makes some half-hearted threats about questioning the abductees, but I can't see what good that would do, since they probably have some loyalty to the people who saved their lives. Absalom calmly repeats that he's told them all he knows; the ship drops the screwed-up abductees, he helps Jeremiah load them into the truck, Jeremiah fixes them. End of story. Doggett leans into Absalom's face and spits that he, Absalom, left Theresa Hosie for dead. For dead! Scully steps in and prevents Doggett from going all NYPD Blue on Absalom's ass, and comments that the abductees wounds don't fit into any known alien abduction routine. She looks at Absalom, who very seriously tells her that, yes, this is all new. It started, he explains, at the millennium. Behind the two-way mirror, Monica and Skinner exchange Meaningful Glances. Scully's getting teary again, no doubt thinking about poor Mulder in the Dental Chair of Death. She manages to remind Absalom that he's not a very credible witness, and that she'd like him to drop his crazy alien theories, and give her the truth. Calmly -- because he's a man of God and all that -- Absalom insists that he is telling the truth. All he wants is to heal these people, woman! Scully's still teary, but manages to control her emotions enough to ask what the deal is with the video cameras in the farmhouse. Absalom replies that they give the abductees a sense of security, acting as a talisman against their being abducted again. Doggett snorts that the cameras could also be making them afraid to leave the farmhouse. Scully wonders whether Absalom has any of Jeremiah's healing sessions on tape. He does not. At this, Scully becomes so disgusted that her chin totally disappears into her neck. "I asked you to give me the truth," she whispers. "Do you have videotape of this man?" she asks, showing him a picture of Mulder that has been torn out of a magazine. Well, there went all my suspension of disbelief. Like Scully would be carrying an 8 x 10 copy of Mulder's badge photo, printed on glossy magazine paper, and all folded up, and ripped on the side! Where is this picture even supposed to have come from? It looks like a something the grip printed off the color printer in Chris Carter's office an hour before they shot this scene. Like, wouldn't Scully have an actual photograph of Mulder? Or something smaller? How much more effective would this scene have been if it had been a 3 x 5 snapshot of her with Mulder? At, like, an FBI function. Or, you know, after he cured her cancer, or something. Damn, people. Anyway, poor Gillian Anderson is a good enough actress that she doesn't sneer when she hands Absalom this lame-ass magazine picture. In fact, it looks like her heart is in her throat. Absalom takes a gander, and slowly shakes his head. Scully goes pale and starts breathing hard. I think she's in shock. Like, literal, physical shock.

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