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Recap / The X-Files S02 E19 "Død Kalm"

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Season 2, Episode 19:

Død Kalm
A literal race against time for Mulder, Trondheim and Scully.
Written by Howard Gordon (Story & teleplay) & Alex Gansa (Teleplay)
Directed by Nick Marck

Scully: There is no hard evidence to indicate that this is a time warp.
Mulder: We're the evidence, Scully! Look at us! We're aging by the minute.

Mulder and Scully investigate a US Navy vessel trapped in the Norwegian Sea, where the crew and ship have become subject to rapid aging.


  • Artistic License – History: In one scene, Mulder gives the incorrect year for both the Philadelphia Experiment (said to have occurred in 1943, not 1947 as Mulder suggests) and the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962, not Mulder's statement of 1963).
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: The idiom that lends the name to the episode doesn't exist in Scandinavian languages. It is also unlikely that a Norwegian would have Trondheim as a last name (it is the name of a large city), but he was actually born in Pensacola.
  • Bermuda Triangle: The obvious inspiration of the episode despite the Norwegian setting.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Henry Trondheim lives in Norway but he was born in Florida.
  • Foreign Language Title: The title is Danish/Norwegian for "dead calm". It is, however, a literal translation of a phrase that doesn't exist in either language, as noted in As Long as It Sounds Foreign.
  • Ghost Ship: Mulder and Scully get trapped in Norway on a boat. They age rapidly.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: There's a fair amount of lines in Norwegian in this episode delivered by the non-Norwegian actors John Savage (American), Mar Andersons (Canadian) and Vladimir Kulich (Czech-born Canadian). Most of the words are reasonably correct, but the grammar is poor and the pronounciation worse. Savage (Henry Trondheim) does a serviceable attempt for the most part, but his delivery is inconsistent making it sound more like Danish or Icelandic at times (since the character is established to be American-born this can be partially Hand Waved). Andersons (Halverson) only has two lines; the first is passable but the second (likely intended to mean "Calm down") becomes the nonsensical "Ta deg ned", literally meaning "Take yourself down". Kulich (Olafsson) however is way off the mark with his delivery, making most of his lines sound like borderline gibberish.
  • Karmic Death: Trondheim locks himself in the hold and hoards all the drinkable water, so obviously the outer hull of the ship rusts away and he drowns in the hold.
  • Norse Mythology: Scully references the Fenris Wolf and Ragnarok.
  • Rapid Aging: Although it's actually more like rapid cellular damage caused by contaminated water. It affects metal, too.
  • Setting Update: A fairly typical Bermuda Triangle set off the Norwegian coast, of all places. Probably because at the time, the show crew didn't feel they could convincingly fake the Caribbean in Canada. The actual Bermuda Triangle was later brought to the front in... well, Triangle.
  • Stock Unsolved Mysteries: Mulder describes The Philadelphia Experiment, tweaking the legend so that the USS Eldridge incident happened after Roswell and the end of WWII, rather than in 1943 as originally attested. In any event that explanation turns out to be a Red Herring.
  • Television Geography: The mystery triangle lined by Mulder actually covers one of the most transited sea lanes in Norway and its next to one of its largest cities, in contrast to the remote, rural-feel of the episode.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Mulder to Scully, as he's seasick on the ship.
    Mulder: You're lucky you inherited your father's legs.
    Scully: What?
    Mulder: His sea legs.

"I think I hear the wolf at the door."