Recap / The X-Files S07 E13 "First-Person Shooter"

Season 7, Episode 13:

First Person Shooter

Mulder and Scully investigate when a virtual reality shooter becomes deadly to its players.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • A.I. is a Crapshoot: Maitreya goes rampant and starts killing people for no adequately explained reason, after autonomously escaping from Phoebe's computer into the game.
  • All Men Are Perverts: All the cops openly lust after Jade Blue Afterglow. Including Mulder.
  • An Arm and a Leg / Off with His Head!: How Musashi dies to Maitreya. Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't begins to describe it.
  • Bring It On: Mulder uses those exact words as he enters the game.
  • Character Shilling: The Lone Gunmen are all pretty much collectively falling head over heels for the Japanese game master Daryl Musashi and his alleged skills... most unfortunately he becomes the recipient of a gory Curb-Stomp Battle upon meeting Maitreya.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The biggest problem with Maitreya is not only that she can kill people (when it shouldn't even be possible), but she is capable of manipulating the game code to change the level, give her infinite lives, clone herself for a Zerg Rush, and summon infinitely respawning tanks.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Subverted; the Lone Gunman geek out over the Japanese gamemaster's complete lack of fear. Until he has his hands cut off.
  • Emerging from the Shadows
  • Fanservice: Jade Blue Afterglow, Maitreya, and (admit it) Scully kicking ass with a BFG.
  • Guns Akimbo: Which is cool until someone cuts off both your hands.
  • Gun Twirling
  • Hard Light: The game apparently works on this principle, even though it wasn't designed to do so.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather
  • Holodeck Malfunction: The game which is being developed becomes a death trap. Normally you were supposed to leave at will and it wasn't supposed to be killing players for real.
  • Idiot Plot: Nobody thinks of purging the computer's OS files up until the very end (where Mulder and Scully are trapped within the video game and about to be annihilated by Maitreya). Apparently, nobody had given thought about backing up the files, either. Also, apparently the ONLY way to shut down the game is with a command that deletes the entire game, for some reason. Not to mention that right after someone dies in the simulation, the first thing they do is send someone else inside...
  • Informed Ability: Daryl Musashi supposed to be some kind of ultra-hacker, good enough that the Lone Gunmen worship him... and yet his attempted solution to the situation with Maitreya is to charge into the game to try to shoot her, putting him within range of her sword (and so she takes his hands... and then his head), which shows the difference between hacking skills and live combat skills.
  • Implausible Deniability: Scully gets to showcase her regular beliefs by explaining away the first death of the episode as a (somewhat plausible) malfunction with a paint squib explosives pack-slash-taser combo embedded within the players' vests to simulate "deaths", but she quickly runs into a wall when people's heads start literally rolling.
  • I Kiss Your Hand: The first victim's response to Maitreya is to drop to his knee and kiss her glove. Her response is to shoot him in the face.
  • Mary Sue: An In-Universe version; Phoebe created Maitreya to be everything she isn't.
  • Money, Dear Boy (In-Universe): Why the Lone Gunmen are involved.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Maitreya — the body of Krista Allen, a leather fetish outfit, and an awesome Action Girl.
  • Plot Hole: The game's technology is never really given a proper explanation, leading to numerous plot holes. The mechanism by which a holographic projection can kill is never explained or even given a plausible hypothesis. Nor is the mechanism by which Mulder is digitized and downloaded into the game. Nor is the means by which Maitreya escaped from Phoebe's computer into the game, or the reason she did so in the first place.
  • Testosterone Poisoning: Lampshaded. Phoebe's sickness at being surrounded by testosterone all day long is the reason why she designed Maitreya (as a symbol of everything she is not in specific, and a "female power" symbol in general).
  • The End... Or Is It?: The episode ends with a computer reconstructing Maitreya, but based on a scan of Phoebe.
  • This Is the Part Where...:
    Mulder (upon having entered the game, run out of ammo, and Maitreya is standing right in front of him): I guess this is where you kick my ass, right? (Maitreya does just that).
  • Sexy Walk: As Jade Blue Afterglow walks out of the interrogation room, Mulder leans sideways to check her out, only to be blocked by Scully.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The assault rifles that Mulder and Scully use on the game are those from Space: Above and Beyond (also a FOX series).
  • Stripperiffic: Maitreya's outfits whether playing cowgirl or soldier.
  • Schizo Tech: Most of the examples of these shows throughout the episode are done by Maitreya (the two greatest examples being running around with a broadsword and black-powder one-shot pistol in a Cyberpunk urban environment and literally riding a main battle tank cowboy-style while "fanning the hammer" of a six-shooter as quick as she can, disregarding the tank's cannon). Justified Trope in that she is a video game character (and doesn't needs to worry with things like reloading).
  • Totally Radical: Some of the dialog edges into this.
  • William Gibson: Written by him.
  • Win to Exit: Who starts playing the game can't leave without winning.