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Recap / The X-Files S06 E02 "Drive"

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Season 6, Episode 02:

"You shut up and drive, you understand?" note 
Written by Vince Gilligan
Directed by Rob Bowman

"Crump? Is this what happened to your wife? This same thing? If you stop moving, you die? I think I saw this movie. Why didn't you tell anybody? Why didn't you tell the police?"
Fox Mulder

Mulder is kidnapped by a man (Bryan Cranston) whose head will explode if he doesn't keep driving west.


  • Affably Evil: Kersh is calm and polite as ever as he antagonizes Mulder and Scully through the episode.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Once again, an anti-Semitic character suggests that Mulder is Jewish.
  • Asshole Victim: Played with. Patrick Crump starts out as a quite unpleasant person, but over the course of the episode, his character gets quite a few humanizing moments, and it is made very clear that even if he is an asshole, he still doesn't deserve what is happening to him.
  • Brown Note: A secret Navy communication device generates radio waves that vibrate at the same frequency as the human skull, inducing increasing intracranial pressure that literally blows the listener's brains out their ears unless the pressure is relieved surgically.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Patrick Crump believes in a Jewish conspiracy.
    Mulder: Well, on behalf of the international Jewish conspiracy I just need to inform you that we're... almost out of gas.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mulder's at the top of his game this episode.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Crump becomes a much more likable character by the end of the episode, which makes his fate all the sadder.
  • Downer Ending: Mulder and Scully are unable to save Crump's life and the military is able to cover up their radio wave experimentation.
  • Go Fast or Go Boom: Crump's head is gonna explode if he doesn't rapidly move from east to west.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Mulder is forced to "borrow" a car from a random guy at the pump. Unusually for the trope, he's held responsible and AD Kersh chews him for it.
  • Insistent Terminology: Mr. Crump.
  • I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: Hersh bills Scully for the expenses Mulder racked up during the episode.
    Mulder: Why don't you bill me?
    AD Kersh: I'll bill your partner instead. You too obviously relish the role of martyr.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Crump firmly believes that what's happening to him is the result of government experimentation. He just as firmly believes that using people as lab rats is thoroughly immoral and takes away a man's dignity, which Mulder clearly agrees with.
  • Monster of the Week: A case not connected to mythology, but it was found out that the government and the army were to be blamed for the mysterious disease.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Surprisingly, Crump actually apologises for mocking Mulder's supposed Jewish ancestry, but Mulder doesn't consider "you can't help what you are" a much better endorsement.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Mulder treats his and Scully's current assignment of checking up on farmers buying large amounts of fertilizer to make sure they aren't making explosives as this.
  • Quest to the West: Mulder drives stricken Patrick Crump due west at high speed. Crump and his wife lived near an antenna array that caused their inner ear pressure to escalate. Driving fast due west through the Earth's magnetic field was the only way to relieve the terrible pain.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: After all the effort Mulder and Scully go to, Crump still dies.
  • Shoot the Dog: There's a poor dog suffering the same fate as Crump - pressure building up in its ears - left behind in the neighborhood wiped out by that affliction. It doesn't end well.
  • Shout-Out: Drive faster or your own head will go off like a bomb. Like Mulder notes, we've seen that movie.
  • Tragic Villain: Crump may be an asshole, but he did not deserve his fate.
  • Troubled Sympathetic Bigot: Patrick Crump is shown to have many rather unpleasant sides to his character; most notably, he's an outspoken anti-Semite, outright asking Mulder if he is Jewish (and making it clear that he consider this a negative trait). This said, it is at the same time also made clear that even if Crump isn't that nice of a guy, he still does not deserve to be subjected to the event he is a victim of throughout the episode.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Crump and Mulder have made it to California, reached an understanding, Scully has developed a cure for Crump's condition, and they've agreed on a rendezvous point. But when Mulder arrives we see that Crump's head has already exploded.
  • Your Head Asplode: Your head will explode through your ear if you don't drive - and drive faster - in the right direction (westward). Ew.