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Recap / The X-Files S03 E15 "Piper Maru"

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Season 3, Episode 15:

Piper Maru

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/thexfilespipermaru.png
"I think I've just found out what those men were exposed to, what the Piper Maru was out there looking for."
Written by Frank Spotnitz & Chris Carter
Directed by Rob Bowman

"Why, if they knew about it, why wait 50 years to try to recover it? And why was the only person not exposed, the diver, who was sent down to find it?"
Fox Mulder
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A deep-sea salvage ship brings something mysterious and dangerous to the surface.


Tropes:

  • Bilingual Bonus: When Skinner is shot, the shooter curses at him in a foreign language.
    Cardinal: Chupa dura, amigo!Translation 
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Those who were black oiled.
  • Body Horror: Dear god, the black oil. It's essentially an alien parasite that will try to enter you, and once it does, your eyes can turn black at times. And you are not in control of your body during this time.
  • Buried Alive: Discussed.
    Johansen: We bury our dead alive, don't we?
    Scully: I don't know if I understand.
    Johansen: We hear them everyday, they talk to us, they haunt us, they beg us for meaning. Conscience... it's just the voices of the dead.. trying to save us from our own damnation.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: The recently Black Oil possessed Krycek informs Mulder after prompting that he feels 'like a new man'.
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  • Flashback: Commander Johansen's account of what happened in the submarine.
  • Government Conspiracy: The French Government was involved this time.
  • Happy Flashback: Scully sees herself and Melissa playing hopscotch.
  • It's Personal: Scully gets very angry when she finds out that they are trying to stall her sister's murder investigation.
  • Monochrome Past: Scenes in the sub were shot in black and white.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Johansen knew the moment he sealed the door that he was sealing the fates of the men on the other side.
  • Myth Arc: The first episode to feature the black oil.
  • Pet the Dog: Skinner jumps in to help a kind waitress out with a belligerent customer — his would-be assassin — and is shot for the trouble.
  • The Reveal: The final shot of the flashback shows that Captain Sanford had been taken over by the black oil.
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  • Sadistic Choice: With the submarine crew getting sick and frustrated, Johansen was faced with either continuing to obey Captain Sanford's orders or leading a mutiny. When the gunshot disrupted their silent running, Johansen made the choice to take command.
  • Spanner in the Works: The panicky crewman firing a gun during silent running. Doing so led Johansen to act and disrupted the black oil's quest to find the ship.
  • The Virus: The black oil is an infectious goo that goes inside humans and controls their every move.
  • Wham Shot:
    • In Johansen's flashback, he locked Captain Sanford behind a sealed door in their submarine. Cut to inside that room, where Sanford ends up displaying Black Eyes of Evil, having been infected by the black oil.
    • In Hong Kong, Mulder has detained Geraldine, and heads to her business' office. When he goes in, a man introduces himself by emerging from the shadows. It's Krycek.
    • This example has a literal shot: Skinner getting shot in a restaurant.

Mulder: Feel better?
Krycek: Like a new man.
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