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

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Season 7, Episode 13:

First Person Shooter
"You say that you have no knowledge of Ivan Martinez or a company known as First Person Shooter or F.P.S.?"
Written by William Gibson & Tom Maddox
Directed by Chris Carter

Mulder: Well, testosterone frenzy or no, the only suspect we have in this man's murder is a woman.
Scully: Yeah, I've seen it. A computer-animated woman, Mulder, with a computer-animated weapon.
Mulder: A flintlock pistol - which would leave a very large entry wound.
Scully: Pictures don't kill people, Mulder, guns kill people.
Mulder: As do swords.

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


  • 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.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Phoebe talks about feeling trapped by the testosterone around her, and refers to her female (and VERY attractive) video game creation as her 'Goddess.'
  • An Arm and a Leg / Off with His Head!: How Musashi dies to Maitreya. Curb-Stomp Battle doesn't begins to describe it.
  • "Basic Instinct" Legs-Crossing Parody: Jade Blue Afterglow does the old stunt as she is interrogated by Mulder and Scully.
  • Bring It: Mulder uses the exact words "Bring it on" as he enters the game.
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  • 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.
  • Diabolus ex Nihilo: How Maitreya gained sapience, a desire to kill wantonly, updated herself to FPS' game and is capable of bending reality is never really explained. Phoebe (the programmer and Maitreya's creator, who also harbors hatred for her sexist boss and her workplace's absurdly macho culture) is not only a Red Herring, she can't explain how the heck this is happening either.
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  • Dissonant Serenity: Subverted; the Lone Gunman geek out over the Japanese gamemaster's complete lack of fear. Until he has his hands cut off.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Jade Blue Afterglow was a very attractive stripper dancer dressed in a scanty silver miniskirt outfit. Every male character, including Mulder, has a major reaction towards her hotness.
  • Emerging from the Shadows: How Maitreya appears the first time, in front of her first victim.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The episode ends with a computer reconstructing Maitreya, but this time with Scully's face.
  • Fanservice: Jade Blue Afterglow, Maitreya, and (admit it) Scully kicking ass with a BFG.
  • Godlike Gamer: Daryl Musashi is presented as one of the (if not the) best FPS players in the world, invited to test the newest VR environment. Nevertheless, the Monster of the Week infesting said VR offs him with little ceremony within minutes. (The episode also makes it quite clear, however, that the writers have a very vague idea of gaming and its culture.)
  • Guns Akimbo: Which is cool until someone cuts off both your hands.
  • Gun Twirling: Maitreya does it several times when she switches to six-shooters.
  • Hard Light: The game apparently works on this principle, even though it wasn't designed to do so.
  • Haunted Technology: A realistic 3-D game is haunted by a female video game character that starts killing people in the game — with effects in real life.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Maitreya rocks a "gladiator dominatrix" outfit on various of her appearances, broadsword included.
  • 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.
  • 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 literally start 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.
  • Magical Computer: The computer program Maitreya gains self-awareness (for some not really explained reason), and along with it the capability to trap people who plays the game the she is an NPC in some sort of constructed world.
  • 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.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: They meet a parody of then-gaming celebrity Dennis "Thresh" Fong.
  • 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).
  • 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 bet you think you're gonna kick my butt up and down the block.
    [Maitreya does just that]
  • 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 this trope showing throughout the episode are done by Maitreya (the two greatest 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 need to worry about things like reloading).
  • Totally Radical: Some of the dialog edges into this.
  • Win to Exit: Who starts playing the game can't leave without winning.

"Born in anarchy with an unquenchable bloodthirst, we shudder to think what might rise up from the darkness."