Deep Throat (The X-Files episode)


Deep Throat (The X-Files episode)
"Deep Throat"
The X-Files episode
DeepThroatE.jpg
Fox Mulder under a UFO
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 2
Directed by Daniel Sackheim
Written by Chris Carter
Production code 1X01
Original air date September 17, 1993
Running time 43 minutes
Guest stars
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List of The X-Files episodes

"Deep Throat" is the second episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on September 17, 1993. It was written by series creator Chris Carter, directed by Daniel Sackheim, and featured the first of several guest appearances by Jerry Hardin as the eponymous Deep Throat. The episode received a strong Nielsen household rating compared to other season one episodes. It has received generally positive reviews, and introduced several elements which would become staples of the series' mythology.

When FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) investigate a possible conspiracy in the US Air Force, Mulder meets a mysterious informant who warns him to stay away from the case. Undeterred, Mulder continues in his investigation and comes closer to the truth than ever before, only to have it snatched away from him again.

Contents

Plot

In southwestern Idaho, near Ellens Air Force Base, military police conduct a raid on the home of Colonel Robert Budahas, who has stolen a military vehicle and barricaded himself inside. The MPs discover Budahas in his bathroom, trembling and covered in rashes.

Four months later, Fox Mulder and Dana Scully meet at a Washington bar to discreetly discuss the Budahas case. Mulder explains that Budahas, a test pilot, has not been seen since the raid and that the military will not comment on his condition; the FBI, for its part, has refused to investigate the matter. Mulder claims that six other pilots have gone missing in action at Ellens Air Force Base, which is subject to rumors about its development of experimental aircraft. While using the bar's restroom, Mulder is approached by a mysterious informant named "Deep Throat", who warns him to leave the matter alone. He also warns that Mulder is being kept under surveillance, which later proves to be true.

Upon arriving in Idaho, Mulder and Scully meet with Budahas' wife, Anita, who claims that her husband exhibited erratic behavior before his disappearance. She takes them to a neighbor whose husband, also a test pilot, is exhibiting similar behavior. Scully obtains an appointment with the base director Colonel Kissell, but he refuses to meet with them when they stop by his home immediately afterwards. The agents subsequently meet local reporter Paul Mossinger, who refers them to the Flying Saucer Restaurant. While discussing the existence of UFOs with the owner, Mulder obtains directions to Ellens Air Force Base.

Mulder and Scully drive to the base, where they stay until late at night. Scully, who has been sleeping in the car while Mulder keeps watch on a nearby hill, is awakened when the rear windshield of the car shatters. Shortly afterwards, an excited Mulder shows her a mysterious aircraft performing seemingly impossible maneuvers in the night sky. However, Mulder and Scully are forced to flee when a black helicopter approaches, seemingly in pursuit of Emil and Zoe, a trespassing teenaged couple.

While Mulder treats the pair to a meal at a local diner, they tell him and Scully about the frequent appearances of the lights Mulder saw, and of the nearby base from which they believe the UFOs are launched. Meanwhile, Budahas is returned to his home, but his memory has been erased. After leaving the diner, Mulder and Scully are confronted by a group of black-suited agents, who destroy the photographs they have taken and order them to leave the town.

An indignant Mulder sneaks into Ellens Air Force Base with help from Emil and Zoe. When he arrives there, he sees a triangular shaped craft fly overhead, but he is soon captured by soldiers and has his memory tampered with. Meanwhile, a panicked Scully reencounters Mossinger, who she discovers is actually a security operative for the base. Holding him at gunpoint, she forces him to guide her to the base where she exchanges him for Mulder. Mulder and Scully, defeated, return to Washington. Days later, Mulder encounters Deep Throat again while jogging at a local track. Mulder asks Deep Throat if "they" really are present on Earth. Deep Throat responds "Mr. Mulder, they have been here for a long, long time."[1][2]

Production

Conception

This episode marked Jerry Hardin's first appearance in the role of Deep Throat, who was named after the Watergate informant.[3][4] Hardin would play the character several more times in the show's first season, with sporadic appearances in later seasons. According to series creator Chris Carter, it was evident that The X-Files was a "series in making" during this episode. The episode was inspired by common ufology. Believers in aliens have for long thought that Nevada's Area 51 and Nellis Air Force Base have alien technology captured during 1947's Roswell UFO incident. The name Ellens Air Force Base was derived from the name of Carter's old college girlfriend, whose last name was Ellens. The story's military project was inspired by a rumor that the United States Air Force had started a project named the Aurora Project. Carter said he remembered people talking about this rumor and that its inclusion in the story was a "nod" to that rumor.[5]

Pre-production

The scene with David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in the Flying Saucer bar was shot at a Vancouver restaurant called The Meat Market, which according to Carter was a much "divier location than the production designers would have you believe." The surname for the two guest characters, Budahas, came from an old high school friend Carter knew whose name was Bob Budahas. The name became a running joke for The X-Files crew over the course of the show. Duchovny and Anderson had never used a gun or held one before joining The X-Files, so they were trained before filming on how to hold them properly so they could appear to be "real FBI agents".[5]

Carter created the character Deep Throat because he was interested in providing an inside contact for Mulder. Deep Throat was originally inspired by Carter's favorite film, All the President's Men, and Carter further stated in the audio commentary that picking Jerry Hardin for the role was an "easy choice". Hardin was an American actor living in the United States, so he flew up to Vancouver every few weeks to film short scenes with him interacting with the different characters. Carter called Hardin's portrayal "very, very good".[5]

Special effects

The scenes with the flashing lights are according to Chris Carter the "worst effects we've ever done" on the show. He explained that the main reasons for the effects being poor were money and time; he also commented that special effects were still in their infancy. Mat Beck was the special effects producer and supervisor during the first season of the show; he and Carter tried to make the special effects look three dimensional and "better", but were unable to do it. According to Carter, the result looked like a "kind of hi-tech Pong game."[5]

The scenes in which Fox Mulder infiltrates the air base were shot at a real United States airbase. With a small budget and a television schedule to think of, Carter said the effects seemed "good, given the restrictions" they had. The UFO was digitally made, and was created by a "sort of disco light rig" that was rented from a "party supplier". Carter commented on Daniel Sackheim's shooting, saying it was "shot well". Towards the end of filming these night-time scenes, the sun was beginning to rise so crew member John Bartley had to rig the angles to keep the scenes as dark as possible.[5]

Music

This episode marks Mark Snow's debut as a solo composer for the series. Carter stated he and the production crew were "fearful" of using too much music in the episode, and the first season as a whole. Anderson's voice over narration towards the end of the episode was inserted after complaints from Fox, who desired more closure to the events of this episode. Fox's complaints were that viewers were not supposed to be "confused" after watching an episode of the series, but must have the slightest idea of what was going on. The voiceovers became a common X-Files technique for the remainder of the series.[5]

Broadcast and reception

"Deep Throat" premiered on the Fox network on September 17, 1993, and was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on September 24, 1994.[6] This episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 7.3 with a 14 share, meaning that in the US, roughly 7.3 percent of all television-equipped households, and 14 percent of households watching television, were tuned in to the episode. It was viewed by 6.9 million households.[7]

In a retrospective of the first season in Entertainment Weekly, the episode was rated a B+, with praise given to Hardin's "world-weary" performance, though the review noted that that the "querulous, ominous tone" of the episode was "a little awkward, but full of promise of things to come".[8] Adrienne Martini of the Austin Chronicle called the episode "fun to watch", describing it as "great TV";[9] whilst the San Jose Mercury News called the titular character "the most interesting new character on television", also calling the episode "strange but marvellous".[10] Michael Janusonis of The Beaver County Times was more critical of the episode, calling it "an acquired taste" and noting that it "sort of diddled out in the end", lacking "a completely satisfactory resolution".[11]

With elements such as Mulder's first informant Deep Throat, and the affirmation of the wider conspiracy that was to become known as the Syndicate, "Deep Throat" has been cited as beginning to "set the stage for the central conflicts" of the series.[12] IGN's Dan Iverson felt that the episode served to "open the door to the possibilities of this series".[13] The episode was listed by Entertainment Weekly as number 37 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Television Moments" of the 1990s.[14]

Footnotes

  1. ^ Lowry, pp.102–103
  2. ^ Lovece, pp.47–48
  3. ^ Lowry, p.103
  4. ^ Edwards, p.37
  5. ^ a b c d e f Carter, Chris (2005). Audio Commentary for "Deep Throat" (DVD). FOX Home Entertainment. 
  6. ^ Robert Mandel, Daniel Sackheim, et al (1993–1994) (booklet). The X-Files: The Complete First Season (Liner notes). Fox. 
  7. ^ Lowry, p.248
  8. ^ "X Cyclopedia: The Ultimate Episode Guide, Season 1 | TV | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. November 29, 1996. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,295174,00.html. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 
  9. ^ Adrienne Martini (April 25, 1997). "Scanlines - Screens - The Austin Chronicle". Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/screens/1997-04-25/528027/. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  10. ^ "The 'X-Files' Informant is Out There, Speaking on All Kinds of Levels". San Jose Mercury News. November 19, 1993. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SJ&s_site=mercurynews&p_multi=SJ&p_theme=realcities&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB71C18C2422C7A&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  11. ^ Michael Janusonis (April 14, 1996). "'X-Files' episodes offered on tape". The Beaver County Times. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=JmAtAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vdoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=3901,3059271&dq=x+files+deep+throat&hl=en. Retrieved April 30, 2011. 
  12. ^ Bush, p.41
  13. ^ Dan Iverson (August 5, 2005). "X-Files Mythology, Vol. 1 - Abduction - DVD Review at IGN". IGN. http://uk.dvd.ign.com/articles/639/639716p1.html. Retrieved May 1, 2011. 
  14. ^ Bruce Fretts (February 19, 1999). "The 100 Greatest Moments in Television: 1990s | TV | EW.com". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,274576_3,00.html. Retrieved April 28, 2011. 

References

  • Bush, Michelle (2008). Myth-X. Lulu. ISBN 1435746880. 
  • Edwards, Ted (1996). X-Files Confidential. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 0316218081. 
  • Lovece, Frank (1996). The X-Files Declassified. Citadel Press. ISBN 080651745X. 
  • Lowry, Brian (1995). The Truth is Out There: The Official Guide to the X-Files. Harper Prism. ISBN 0061053309. 

External links


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