Overview: Mulder and Scully are called in from their normal routine of chasing acid-spitting Leech people through California's sewer systems, and they must investigate why a computer is causing geeks to get killed by a much sluttier version of Lara Croft (or the girl from SiN, you choose).
Directed By: Chris Carter, 2000.
The Case For: If you're over the age of 60 and don't know what "them newfangled com-puters" are being used for these days, this episode will undoubtedly fill you in. In case you have ever read a William Gibson novel and wondered how he would write if he was in a horrible car accident and lost 85% of his brain, your answer is here. If you ever wanted to see a bastardized version of "The Matrix" and you don't know how to get to cr0bar's site, here ya go.
The Case Against: If you happen to watch this in the same room with some people that don't play FPS games, you'll become embarrassed real quickly. You'll probably get up from your chair and shout "what the fuck are they talking about?!? That's not even remotely realistic! This is so much bullcrap!" and then you'll be reminded to take your medication again. I started laughing so hard at one point in the episode, it caused me to spill Tang all over the floor. It ended up working out, because that washed away the vomit which was there before. I'm not going to even mention the parallels between this episode and "The Matrix".
Since copying any images from the show would get me into trouble with Fox, I asked Jeff K. to draw the episode for me.
I have a special place in my heart for any form of media that chooses to exploit words such as "virtual", "cyber", and "Information Superhighway" like a six dollar whore. I believe more people should use these wonderful phrases, as it makes it more obvious to the rest of the world that you're some kind of moron who shouldn't be trusted to wash my car. Films like "Lawnmower Man 2" and websites such as "Mony's Virtual Fun" are glaring examples of how completely stupid people sound when they start spewing these "high tech" catchphrases like verbal diarrhea. I had originally thought "The X-Files" would be a little too hip to fall into this clichéd pit of stupidity... but should've known better when this seasons' episodes began, and I became more and more convinced that Carter had been replaced by one of the braindead zombies from Mars that Mulder is usually running away from every other episode. "FPS" is one of the most embarrassing episodes every created (I chose not to use the term "written", because it appears as if they simply took a poll at a local grade school and asked the kids what we be "ultra cool" to put in a show).
The episode opens up to a few geeky guys in body armor and head communication devices, screaming at each other and sweating alot. This is because men are stupid apes and are solely motivated by guns and violence. A couple people monitor them from a booth while they continue to shout and yell like a bunch of mentally handicapped Paxil addicts. To further enforce the notion that FPS fans are hyperactive nuts with an insatiable bloodlust, one of the people watching them says, "If we don't let these boys out, they're going to kill each other!" I think that this a pretty accurate assertion, because if you've ever played a game of Jailbreak before, you'll know that the captive cells are full of large, sweaty Male / Grunts that are just dying to tear their fellow teammates limb from limb. This is because all males are stupid and cannot control their urge to kill things. I can vouch for that, especially after watching this episode. Once it was over, I grabbed my collection of Cris Carter football cards and began to draw tiny handlebar mustaches on his face. This was the closest I could actually get to revenge, second only to walking up to Mr. Carter outside the nearby "Hotdog on a Stick" and forcing him to eat all the medical waste that has been dumped into the drainage ditch behind my apartment.
"Level one" involves everybody shooting whatever's in front of them.
Anyway, the geeks get into "The Game" and begin level one. Level one is somewhat difficult, challenging the players to hold their guns straight ahead of them while enemy motorcycles attack by utilizing the ingenious battle tactic of "driving straight forward". I guess the kinks in the AI haven't been worked out yet, because even though the bikes were shooting at targets that didn't move in any direction, they never were able to hit them once. Perhaps the AI was programmed by the guys from "Mortyr". All the motorcycles (or are they "Cybercycles"?) are blown up, and Geek Squad Alpha goes to level two. Level two is the infamous "Germans shooting from buildings" game, which further helps tie-in this game to the aforementioned "Mortyr". The fat player instantly gets shot and killed, because fat people are nothing more than cannon fodder and laughingstocks for our personal amusement. The geeks ditch their fat corpse friend and one of them is quickly killed by a dominatrix (or is she a "Cyberassassin"?) in the basement (or is it a "Virtual Basement"?) of a parking garage (or is it a "Virtual Parking Garage"?).
Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate these murders at FPS (for future reference, I will refer to the company "FPS" as "FPS - The Virtual Cyber Information Superhighway Game Company") and Scully checks out the "FPS mainframe" for "cyberthugs" (I am not making these quotes up). There's some brief dialogue scenes which are even more idiotic than the "action" scenes and involve phrases like:
"It's all virtual.""Retro was in the zone."
I dare any of you to say one of those lines in public without laughing! You can't do it, can you? Rumor has it that Mulder and Scully had to be hopped up on goofball to do those scenes without breaking down into hysterical laughter. I also heard that Chris Carter enjoys inhaling industrial solvents.
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
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