Max (The X-Files)


Max (The X-Files)
"Max"
The X-Files episode
Max TXF.jpg
Max Fenig being abducted by aliens
Episode no. Season 4
Episode 18
Directed by Kim Manners
Written by Chris Carter & Frank Spotnitz
Production code 4x18
Original air date March 23, 1997 (Fox)
Guest stars
  • Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner
  • Brendan Beiser as Pendrell
  • Scott Bellis as Max Fenig
  • Chilton Crane as Sharon Graffia
  • John Destrey as Mr. Ballard
  • Rick Dobran as Armando Gonzales
  • Stacy Fair as a Flight Attendant
  • Jaclynn Grad as a Stewardess
  • Dave Hannay as Waiter #1
  • Braden Kayce as an Airport Security Officer
  • Stewart Laine as an MP
  • Greg Michaels as Scott Garrett
  • Tom O'Brien as Louis Frish
  • Dafid Palffy as Dark Man
  • Regy Sayhay as Waiter #3
  • Jerry Schram as Larold Rebhun
  • Michael Short as Waiter #2
  • Joe Spano as Mike Millar
  • Val Stefoff as a Bartender
  • Mark Wilson as a Pilot
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Tempus Fugit"
Next →
"Synchrony"
This article is about the episode. For the character, see List of The X-Files characters#Max Fenig.

"Max" is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of television series The X-Files. As Mulder and Scully's investigation of the apparent downing of Flight 549 by a UFO continues, they encounter deadly opposition from the military which continues to cover up the truth of the incident.

Contents

Plot

Agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) is caught by a group of commandos after swimming to shore. In Washington, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) tends to the critically wounded Agent Pendrell while Garrett escapes. Assistant Director Skinner arrives shortly afterwards and tells Scully that the orders to protect Frish have been countermanded and he's being arrested for providing false testimony. Scully releases Mulder from confinement and tells him the 'official' explanation for the crash, that Frish and Gonzales caused the crash by mistakenly vectoring a military fighter craft with the plane, and that Frish has been lying to cover it up. Mulder is skeptical of this latest explanation and thinks the crashed UFO he found underwater is really what was involved in the crash. Scully tells Mulder that Sharon isn't really Max's sister, but rather an unemployed aeronautical engineer who met Max in a mental institution. She also tells him that Agent Pendrell died from his wounds.

Mulder and Scully visit Max's trailer, and watch a tape of him where he talks about finding proof of alien existence. The military recovers the crashed UFO from the lake, including the alien body. The agents visit Millar, whose investigation has been unable to prove or disprove the military's cover story. Mulder tells Millar what he believed really happened. Mulder believes that Max boarded the plane with proof of alien life and that a UFO stopped the plane, abducting him. A military aircraft intercepted the two however, with orders to attack the UFO. While Max was being returned, the military aircraft struck, causing both the UFO and plane to crash.

Mulder visits Max's trailer again and looks through his mail, finding a luggage claim ticket. Scully visits Sharon, now in a mental institution, who tells Scully that she stole technology from her employer that Max believed was alien. The device was in three parts, one which she had, one that he brought on the plane and a third one. Mulder uses the claim ticket to obtain the third device at a New York airport and heads on a plane to return to Washington. Garrett, who is also aboard, sits next to him. Mulder soon realizes who Garrett is and holds him at gunpoint. Garrett doesn't care, telling Mulder that if he shoots him the plane will depressurize and he'll be able to escape with a parachute he has with him. Mulder imprisons Garrett in the airplane bathroom but Garrett soon emerges with a zip gun and orders him to hand over the device. Suddenly the plane starts shaking and bright lights shine in through the windows. When the plane touches down and Mulder gets out both Garrett and the device are gone and Mulder is missing 9 minutes, having no memory of what happened. The agents visit Sharon one last time in Max's trailer and say goodbye.[1]

Production

The story itself originated from special effects man Dave Gauthier who thought it would be "cool" to create a story with a person being abducted by aliens during a flight. The writers decided to kill off Special agent Pendrell in this episode. At the bar where Pendrell is shot, the assistant director of the filming crew wanted a part, saying "you know, I can act" to Kim Manners. So Val Stefoff got the part as the bartender.[2]

The very first scene was shot in a small tank across the street from North Shore Studios in Vancouver, Canada. Wide-angle lenses were used to film the scene as the actors didn't actually have much room for swimming. This made it look like the actors are actually covering some ground, while in reality they only swam ten to twelve feet. On the set of the following scene where Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) reaches the shore, it was raining and very cold. Manners commented that the acting crew was a bit slacker than usual because of it, and that Duchovny was able to run from two horses when filming the episode "Tunguska", but was unable here to run from two men.[2]

The airplane was created by the special effects crew. The created airplane used 400 gallons of hydraulic fluid, was elevated ten feet off the ground and held around eighty passengers. It would roll 22 degrees to the left and later 22 degrees to the right. It took days to shoot the alien abduction scene. The cockpit was shot in a "real" flight simulator, while not actually being a part of the airplane set itself. The exterior scenes were shot separately at Vancouver Airport.[2]

Executive producer John Shiban was asked to write a speech for Garrett in the scene where Mulder encounters him on the airplane, and Shiban remembered the speech Orson Welles gave in The Third Man about "Would you really cry if just one or two of those dots stopped moving?" As an homage, Garrett asks Mulder if it would be worth sacrificing millions of lives to keep on a few lights that would flicker off with anyone hardly noticing.[3]

Reception

The episode earned a Nielsen rating of 11.6 with an 18 share. It was viewed by 11,124,000 households.[4]

References

  1. ^ Meisler,Andy (1997). I Want to Believe: The Official Guide to the X-Files Volume 3. Harper Prism. pp. 187–196. 
  2. ^ a b c Manners, Kim (2005). Audio Commentary for "Max" (DVD). FOX Home Entertainment. 
  3. ^ Shiban, John (2005). Threads of the Mythology: Black Oil (DVD). FOX Home Entertainment. 
  4. ^ "The X-Files Compilation: Nielsen Ratings". Compilation. http://x-files.host.sk/nielsens.php. Retrieved February 16, 2011. 

External links


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