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Recap: The X Files S 04 E 07 Musings Of A Cigarette Smoking Man
The Lone Gunmen discover some (possible) information about the early life of Mulder's nemesis.

Tropes

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: As well as master-minding a conspiracy to suppress knowledge about aliens and generally control the United States Government, Cancer Man also set up The Miracle on Ice (by doping the Soviet goalie) and ensures that the Buffalo Bills never win the Super Bowl.
  • Been There, Shaped History: Cigarette Smoking Man and Deep Throat.
  • Executive Meddling: Invoked in the episode when the Smoking Man finds out his short story's ending was changed without his consent. Applies to the episode itself as he was originally scripted to kill Frohike.
  • Pet the Dog: The last couple of scenes show surprisingly sympathetic a side of CSM we've never seen before, an eager amateur writer who gets depressed when the crap magazine that published his story changed the ending. Also serves as a bit of a meta joke, since the ending of the episode that aired was different from the one in the script.
  • Shout-Out: To Forrest Gump. Given the fact that CSM is essentially a dark Forrest, it verges on Take That.

    CIGARETTE SMOKING MAN: Life... is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. You're stuck with this undefinable whipped-mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while, there's a peanut butter cup, or an English toffee. But they're gone too fast, the taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits, filled with hardened jelly and teeth-crunching nuts, and if you're desperate enough to eat those, all you've got left is a... is an empty box... filled with useless, brown paper wrappers.

  • Sympathy for the Devil: CSM is already a major villain, and Frohike's revelations give him a further upgrade on the villainy scale. Nevertheless, he is also portrayed as a lonely, unfulfilled and bitter character, which humanizes him a bit.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Frohike notes that there is no real way to confirm the information he has found. CSM's position on cigarettes and movies changes between scenes too, but this may just be him lying.
  • Who Shot JFK?: CSM. He killed Martin Luther King too.
  • Why We're Bummed Communism Fell: Smoking Man starts off as a hardened anti-Communist who gets sucked into the Conspiracy fighting the Cold War. When the Soviet Union falls, he questions what else he could do with his meaningless life. Until Deep Throat calls him about a crashed UFO, and he realizes there's another secret war left to fight...
  • You Look Familiar: Chris Owens, who plays young CSM later returns as Agent Jeffrey Spender.
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