Credits. The action figures inform me that they don't think they're going to watch this episode. "The Sopranos is on," the Scully points out. But I only have one TV with cable reception, and I'm bigger than they are. Also, they got me into this. I'll be damned if I'll let them leave me alone with it.
FBI HQ. 8:57 AM. Doggett walks to the Lush Basement Office, reading what I can tell from the font is the Los Angeles Times sports section. He reaches down to open the office door, and finds it locked. He fumbles for his keys, opens the door, and finds Special Agent Fox"y" Mulder, poring through some files. Doggett snippily asks whether he's interrupting something. Nothing Doggett would be interested in, Mulder snarks. Yawn. Manly Pissing Contest 2001: Part Two is officially underway. Mulder explains that he's looking into the recent death of an oil rig worker. Doggett placidly remarks that "Mooooooulder" already gave him the heads up about that case. Mulder leans against the wall and snipes that he's just following up. Doggett sighs and says that (a) it's not his fault Mooooooulder isn't assigned to the X-Files anymore, but (b) Doggett, didn't think it was an X-File. Okay, here's my question: if Mulder isn't assigned to the X-Files, what is his new job at the Bureau? Is he back in Violent Crimes? Is he, like, a floater, who goes from department to department, filling in for agents on sick leave? Is he supposed to be upstairs in Skinner's office, filing stuff? I know that this is a point that isn't going to matter for more than, oh, forty-seven minutes, but if he's off the X-Files, shouldn't he be reassigned? And shouldn't that be addressed? Is he getting a new partner? Is he doing desk work? I hate how this plot point is just ignored because the writers know that they're not going to have to follow through with it. Anyway, Mulder wonders whether Doggett "missed the fact that" the dead guy had "flash burns on ninety percent of his body." Doggett sort of shrugs. Mulder sits on his desk. Scully's desk. Whatever. He sits down wherever, and points out that another oil-rig worker is also mysteriously missing. Doggett naturally assumed that both of them met their gory ends because, you know, the rig had an explosion. And explosions burn and kill people. Mulder points out that Curly's burns weren't just your average burns. They were wacky burns! So? So! Mulder stresses that the burns are consistent with certain cases in the X-Files regarding exposure to.... "Black oil," Doggett finishes for him. Mulder nods. Doggett brings us all up to speed on the entire black-oil plot point by reciting that the oil is a "highly contagious virus of extra-terrestrial origin that has radioactive properties and can take over a man's body and is part of an alien conspiracy to colonize the planet." Yes, that covers about the last four seasons, thanks. Mulder smirks. "And you'd like to help, but you left your light saber at home," he says. "Yes," Doggett says. "Skinner is in charge of where I put my light saber." Oh, that was so bad. I'm really sorry. Really, Doggett just smirks back. Smirk. Smirk. It's a real smirkathon, with these two. Mulder comments that he's sorry Doggett got stuck down the basement. "Kersh catch you peeing in his cornflakes?" he wonders. Stare. Stare.
The phone rings, interrupting Testosterone Fest 2001: The Staring Contest. Both men reach for it. Finally, Mulder picks it up, but hands the receiver to Doggett. It's Scully, who tells them that she and Skinner are waiting for him in Kersh's office. She wearily asks why Doggett's pursuing the oil-worker case without telling her. He sighs that he's not. Scully informs him that she's looking at an executive from the oil company who was contacted by a man in their office. Doggett's all, duh, that was Mulder. Scully's all, what? And that kicks off the weirdest aspect of this episode, which was not the plot, but simply the fact that everyone is acting completely out of character, except Doggett. Of course it was Mulder. Going against orders? Sneaking around behind Kersh's back? That's classic Mulder. What did Scully think he was doing with himself, anyway? Maybe he's supposed to be at home, painting the nursery and coming up with names for their alien love child.