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Monday

When I first read the preview for "Monday" I thought it would be a dramatic "Groundhog Day." Don't get me wrong -- I'm a big fan of "Groundhog Day," but I didn't see how it could be an X-file. Well, I was pleasantly surprised. "Monday" was an interesting episode that got me thinking about time disruptions and the possibilities of loops. I figure any X-file that prompts me to think is a good one.

So here's what happened in this time-warping story:

The streets of Washington, D.C. are crackling with tension. A robbery of the Cradock Marine Bank has gone very, very bad and a mob of police officers and swat soldiers are congregated around the stone walls of the urban bank. AD Skinner arrives and informs the commanding officer that two of his agents (presumably Mulder and Scully) are among the hostages inside the bank. As Skinner talks to the officer, a droopy, thin woman with discolored hair breaks through the crowd-control barrier and runs toward the AD, screaming: "Skinner! Don't let this happen!" Skinner wheels around and sees this Gen-X reject coming toward him and doesn't have any clue who she is. The dreary woman is hauled away as a perplexed wrinkle appears on Skinner's brow.

Inside the bank, Scully is crouched over a glossy-eyed Mulder. Mulder's shirt is open and a bullet hole near his heart is pumping blood onto the bank's tiled floor. Scully glances up and glares at the cause of this mayhem -- a scruffy, dirty man who's wearing the latest in dynamite apparel. "It doesn't have to end this way," Scully says quietly. Her attempts at diffusing the hostage situation don't go any further, because an anxious swat team has just busted through the front door. Scully screams "NOOOOOOOO!" (really, she screamed it just like that) but the team continues to charge. The scruffy man opens his jacket, takes a deep breath then flips the detonator switch on his Dyno-Vest. An explosion rips through the building, blowing smoke, flames and billions of pieces of shrapnel into the streets. Have Mulder and Scully gone boom? It sure looks that way.

Technically, Mulder and Scully were blown up, but this is the X-files and people never REALLY die. Besides, we're only five minutes into the episode.

The scene shifts to Mulder's apartment where we see him waking up in the waterbed Morris Fletcher purchased in "Dreamland II." Mulder's watery comfort ends when he discovers that a cataclysmic leak has turned his bedroom into a set from "Titanic." The leak has shorted-out his alarm clock, so now he's late for a Bureau meeting. Mulder tries to stop the never-ending stream, but his attempts to renovate the punctured mattress only worsen things. He drops his cellphone in a carpet puddle and it immediately becomes toast. Then he receives a phone call from the resident below and he/she/it isn't happy about the waterfall tumbling from the ceiling. Throw in a Chaplin-esque tumble over a pair of well-placed Nikes and it's apparent that Mulder is having a Very Bad Morning.

Mulder avoids further injury and makes his way to the X-files office. Scully finds him sitting behind his desk and she promptly informs her partner that he's exceedingly late for their meeting with Skinner. Mulder, however, will have to further delay his appearance. The check he wrote to cover his aquatic damages will bounce if he doesn't immediately deposit his paycheck (as others have noted, all of this would be solved if he simply had Direct Deposit). Mulder explains his predicament to Scully but the only thing she can focus on is the waterbed. She asks her partner when he purchased the bed, but Mulder doesn't have an answer because the bed just sort of appeared there sometime in December. With the waterbed issue still hanging in the air, Mulder turns on his heel and streaks out the door.

At roughly the same time a pale-yellow gas-guzzling car darts across three lanes of city traffic and parks across from the Cradock Marine Bank. The driver, Bernard, is the scruffy, bank-robbing bandit we saw in the teaser. Seated next to him is the droopy woman also featured in the opening scenes. her name is Pam and she has an odd ability to narrate, word-for-word, what Bernard and other passersby say. Bernard runs into the bank and Pam sits in the passenger seat, looking depressed and helpless. She spots Mulder as he walks/runs along the sidewalk and she catches his eye as he moves past the car. As their eyes meet, she mumbles to herself, "He never did that before."

Inside the bank, Mulder is planted dead-last in a long line. Behind him, Bernard scribbles a note that says: "Dis id bank Robrey. Money now. Good. Gun. Thanks. Love, Bernard." Realizing he's a writing hack, Bernard chooses a more direct method. He takes an exceedingly deep breath, then holds it in his nasal cavity so his eyes creep from their sockets. With the pressure planted firmly on his cranium, he reaches for his gun and orders everyone to the ground. Mulder complies with Bernard's wishes and hits the ground with the rest of the patrons, but he glances outside and sees the sun glinting off of Scully's fluorescent-red hair. Mulder tells Bernard to lock the front door, hoping to block Scully's entrance. But Bernard is slow to reach the door and Scully walks right in on Bernard's aimed gun. With Bernard's attention diverted, Mulder goes for his gun, but an ABSOLUTELY STUPID woman screams. Bernard wheels around, pierces Mulder's chest with a bullet, then spins back to find Scully training her gun on his nasty looking head. She orders Bernard to drop his weapon, but Bernard shows off his explosive vest and Scully realizes the pooch is officially screwed. In the background, Mulder's chest wound makes like a waterbed and leaks across the tiled floor.

The scene then unfolds in the same fashion as the teaser. Skinner arrives outside, Pam tries to shout to him, Skinner ignores her, Scully screams "NOOOOOO!" and then the building is blown to the Holy Land. Is it live or is it Memorex?

Time resets itself and we once again watch as Mulder wakes up to a big puddle in his bedroom. He goes through a similar process -- the clock is broken, the phone is soaked, he's late and the neighbor downstairs is rippin' mad. But something is different; two separate phone calls come through. Unfortunately, Mulder opts not to answer the second one.

If he had picked up the receiver he would have spoken to Pam, who is desperately trying to call Mulder from the apartment she shares with Bernard. Bernard catches her calling, but he lets the issue rest because he's got other things on his mind. He psychotically tells her he's got somewhere to go and since Pam knows exactly what's going on she tries to talk him out of his bank-robbing scheme. Once again, she knows what Bernard is going to say before he says it, and as the two walk out, her face shows that she's been reliving this day over and over again.

Deja vu rears its ugly head as Mulder again struggles with his paycheck in the X-files office. Scully walks in, but the conversation is different this time. For normal people, idle conversation focuses on weather or every-day events, but Mulder and Scully are anything but normal. The pair immerse themselves in an interesting discussion on free will, fate and the desire to rewind and start a day over. Mulder rants about his bad morning, but Scully shuts him up (for a change) by grabbing his paycheck and telling her partner she'll deposit the check. Mulder shakes his head in agreement as Scully walks off.

The bank scene we've come to know and love is different this time. Scully is the one waiting in line as Bernard crafts another bank-robbing literary masterpiece. Mulder, who realized he signed his pay stub, not his pay check, passes Pam as he walks toward the bank. She warns him that if he enters the financial institution, everyone will die: Bernard, Scully, Mulder, that annoying screaming woman, everyone. A muffled gunshot is heard and Mulder rushes into the bank.

Inside he finds a standoff between Scully and Bernard. The screaming woman has thankfully been shot, but she has yet to die. Mulder and Scully try to convince Bernard to give up, and for a second it appears he'll comply, but a bank teller exhibits a high degree of stupidity and says the police will be arriving soon. Bernard's face goes blank as he reaches for the detonator switch. This time, Mulder is the one screaming "NOOOOOO!" but it doesn't matter, because the bomb goes off and the building again scatters rubble and smoke in the street. Outside, Pam takes cover behind Bernard's car. Tears stream from her eyes as she realizes she'll be forced to live this day again.

The scene returns to Mulder's water-laden apartment and he goes through the same process, but this time he seems to remember something. Nonetheless, he proceeds to trip over the shoes, destroy his cellphone and ruin his neighbor's ceiling all in a matter of minutes.

At the Bureau, Pam meets Scully in a hallway and warns her not to go to the Cradock Marine Bank. Pam tells Scully that if she and Mulder visit the bank, they'll die.

With this knowledge stewing in her head, Scully walks into the X-files office and runs into Mulder just as he arrives. Mulder pauses behind his desk, looking as though he remembered something. Scully gives him the "what-the-hell-are-you-staring-at" look and Mulder explains he's been having vivid deja vu all morning. Scully, of course, attributes deja vu to brain quirks but Mulder prefers the Freudian view that says deja vu is a repressed desire to set things right. Their science vs. Freud debate is stopped when Mulder prepares to leave for the bank. Scully tells Mulder about her hallway meeting with Pam, and the disturbing prophecy she delivered. Mulder says he'll use the ATM, less he tempt fate.

But fate is a bastard and it puts the ATM out of service. Mulder glances at the front door of Cradock Bank, but pauses. Across the street he sees Pam, who matches the description Scully gave of the prophet from the hallway. Pam is losing hope. She tries to tell Mulder what's going to happen, but she says they've had this conversation more times than she can count. Time is stuck in a groove, an ugly, blowing-up-banks-and-killing-innocent-citizens groove. Pam thinks Mulder and Scully are the key to correcting this time wound and she asks that Mulder skip his trip to the bank so events will correct themselves.

Mulder, being an open-minded guy, complies, but when he returns to the Bureau he learns that Scully has gone to the bank to look for him. So here we go again. Scully hits the bank floor when Bernard issues his order, but Mulder enters and fires a shot into Bernard's shoulder. The shot doesn't put Bernard out of commission, it merely knocks him down. He opens his jacket and reveals the bomb. This time, instead of someone screaming "NOOOOO!," Mulder chants: "He's got a bomb...he's got a bomb...he's got a bomb..." Bernard flips the switch and everything goes black.

When we return, Mulder goes through the same wet-bed/bad-morning scenario, but everything is familiar to him this time. Events transpire in the same way and the players in this time-trapped production assemble at the bank. Mulder walks past the yellow car and asks Pam if they've met. Pam claims they haven't, so Mulder continues on his merry way. Inside the bank, he spots Bernard as the scruffy criminal writes his note. Mulder once again chants: "He's got a bomb...he's got a bomb..."

Scully is pulled from the meeting when Mulder calls and she immediately rushes to the bank. Pam is still sitting in the yellow car when Scully smacks her badge against the closed window and asks her to accompany her into the bank. Pam's eyes light up as she realizes that events are unfolding in a new way.

Bernard's anxious handwriting is interrupted by Mulder, who quietly tells him the gig is up. Mulder knows Pam, he knows about the bomb and he knows something bad is going to happen. Mulder offers to let him walk out the door, but Bernard takes a trip to Idiotville and proceeds with the stick-up. Scully and Pam enter and Bernard demands that Pam leave, but Mulder has cracked this loony loop and frantically explains that time repeats itself until events unfold correctly. Bernard has no idea what he's talking about, but he seems to soften with Pam around. Unfortunately, sirens echo from outside and Bernard gets his eyes-popping-from-their-sockets look. Bernard takes aim at Mulder but Pam runs across, catching the bullet in her chest. Bernard drops to his knees, dazed and mute. Mulder shackles the time ripper then he walks over to Pam, who is sprawled on the floor. Before she slides into The Everafter she says, "This never happened before."

The next morning, Mulder is awoken by a call from Scully. The scene is new -- Mulder slept on his couch and a quick glance at his watch shows the day has turned to Tuesday. Scully wants to know how Mulder knew Bernard was wearing explosives, but Mulder can only attribute it to "a feeling." For some reason he's unable to explain that Pam was the linchpin in the time disruption, and her death fixed the loop. He leaves Scully hanging, but at least now the agents can turn their attention to that alien invasion thing.

And that's it. Should Mulder get Direct Deposit? Can we blame all of it on Morris Fletcher and his waterbed purchase?

Note: This review originally appeared at Ontap.com. It's reprinted here for archival purposes.



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