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Recap / The X-Files S05 E18 "The Pine Bluff Variant"

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Mulder goes undercover in a terrorist organization that has access to a horrifying biological weapon.

Tropes:

  • Admiring the Abomination: One of the bureau's scientists is quite impressed with the complexities of the virus.
  • After-Action Patch-Up: Scully treats Mulder's broken finger when he comes to his apartment.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Mulder is about to be shot but one of the terrorists is shot instead.
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  • Bank Robbery: But a fake one.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Mulder, led to a secret location and about to get his finger broken.
    Mulder: Is this the Pepsi Challenge? How ’bout some, uh, fresh air, boys?
    Terrorist: Welcome, Agent Mulder... This is just a little method that we use to learn the truth.
    Mulder: Well, you might want to put that hood back on me unless you want to see a grown man cry.
  • Continuity Nod: Mulder's anti-government rant at the UFO convention in "Patient X" is what brought him to the group's attention as a possible defector.
  • Fingore: Mulder gets tortured and his finger gets broken.
  • If I Do Not Return:
    Mulder: If you don't hear from me by midnight... feed my fish.
  • If You're So Evil, Eat This Kitten: Mulder's loyalty is tested when he is ordered to kill a wounded hostage. Turns out the group leader was a mole all along; that's why he suffered no repercussions.
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  • Karma Houdini: Bremer, who nonchalantly kills fourteen people to test the bioweapon. On several levels, even: he is never specifically outed as the perpetrator of this attack, and is being protected by the government.
  • Mundanger: The most fantastical thing in the episode is the virus, everything else about it is totally mundane.
  • Right-Wing Militia Fanatic: The New Spartans, played monstrously straight.
  • Something Completely Different: An X-Files episode without an X-File. No alien invasions, Myth Arc tie-ins, or Monster of the Week. Instead, it's a paranoid thriller about a group of terrorists with a genetically-engineered bioweapon. However, it still managed to be about government conspiracies.
  • Villainous Rescue: Double subverted in an amusing way. Haley comes around and saves Mulder from Bremer... at least until Bremer reveals his earlier recording of Mulder's conversation with Scully, which confirms his duplicity. Bremer then prepares Mulder for another execution, only to be revealed as a Mole in Charge and save Mulder as well.
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