Thursday, 18 July 2019

The X-Files: The Erlenmeyer Flask

Apologies for my hiatus in posting: life has been rather busy and very stressful! I have restarted a watch - through of The X-Files, and where better to post than on one of the great X-Files mythology episodes.
Before I write one of these posts I usually look round online to get a feel of what everyone else is saying about it, mainly because I like to say something different. That exercise of looking around can often be quite informative, and in this case an awful lot of what is on the Internet is purely descriptive. And appreciative, because I don't want to imply that this episode is rubbish when I start criticising it...
...which will start now. The reason the commentary on this episode is descriptive is because you need a commentary to keep up on everything happening. It's a bit difficult to think of parts of the X-Files mythology which don't get a mention, but I suspect Samantha escapes without being brought into this. Otherwise it's a riot of aliens, conspiracies, and shifty characters, ending in the X-Files getting shut down, which can really come as a surprise to no-one.
I particularly like Scully's role in this, in addition to being the mystified scientist she really goes out on a limb after discovering that the substance Mulder gets her to have tested shouldn't exist, by stealing an alien. Like you do.
As always, writing about TV programmes illuminates them and after all these years I am rather embarrassed to find that Deep Throat is based on a real person(and also to be reminded of the reason his name always sounds like a sex act to me):
Deep Throat was first introduced to the public in the February 1974 book All the President's Men by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, which was adapted as a film two years later. According to the authors, Deep Throat was a key source of information behind a series of articles which introduced the misdeeds of the Nixon administration to the general public. The scandal eventually led to the resignation of President Nixon, as well as to prison terms for White House Chief of Staff H. R. HaldemanG. Gordon LiddyEgil Krogh, White House Counsel Charles Colson, former United States Attorney General John N. MitchellJohn Dean, and presidential adviser John Ehrlichman.
Howard Simons was the managing editor of the Post during Watergate. He dubbed the secret informant "Deep Throat", alluding to both the deep background status of his information and the widely publicized 1972 pornographic film Deep Throat. For more than 30 years, Deep Throat's identity was one of the biggest mysteries of American politics and journalism and the source of much public curiosity and speculation. Woodward and Bernstein insisted that they would not reveal his identity until he died or consented to reveal it. J. Anthony Lukas speculated that Deep Throat was W. Mark Felt in his book Nightmare: The Underside of the Nixon Years(1976), based on three New York Times Sunday Magazine articles, but he was widely criticized. According to an article in Slate on April 28, 2003, Woodward had denied that Deep Throat was part of the "intelligence community" in a 1989 Playboy interview with Lukas.[1]
On May 31, 2005, Vanity Fair revealed that Felt was Deep Throat in an article on its website by John D. O'Connor, an attorney acting on Felt's behalf. Felt reportedly said, "I'm the guy they used to call Deep Throat." After the Vanity Fair story broke, Woodward, Bernstein, and Benjamin C. Bradlee, the Post's executive editor during Watergate, confirmed Felt's identity as Deep Throat.[2] L. Patrick Gray, former acting Director of the FBI and Felt's boss, disputed Felt's claim in his book In Nixon's Web, co-written with his son Ed Gray. Gray and others have argued that Deep Throat was a compilation of sources characterized as one person in order to improve sales of the book and movie. Woodward and Bernstein, however, defended Felt's claims and detailed their relationship with him in Woodward's book The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep ThroatSource
The perfect period and identity for an informer in this show.
So to conclude: way too much going on, but one of the all time great episodes of the X-files.

No comments: