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 The X-Files > Episodes > Season 1

Conduit
S01E04
 (8)

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 Written by

 Directed by


 Original Air Date
1993-10-01

 Summary
Mulder and Scully investigate the disappearance of a teenage girl near the lake Okobogee, a place where UFOs were spotted in the past.

 Story
When a teenaged girl, Ruby, is mysteriously abducted from a campsite in Iowa, Mulder has a particular emotional investment in the case -- especially in light of his belief that his own sister was abducted. Ruby's brother Kevin has been behaving strangely ever since the abduction, and has taken to continuously writing down series of 1's and 0's. Mulder sends the writing to some analysts back in Washington, and the boy and his mother are promptly taken into custody. Kevin's scribblings are actually the binary transmissions of a defense satellite.

Scully thinks Ruby may have been murdered, and she believes that Mulder is allowing his personal feelings to cloud his judgment. Yet when the agents return to Ruby's home, they find Kevin arranging countless pages of binary code on the floor. When Scully looks down from a stairway, she is shocked to see that the numbers have formed a giant portrait of Ruby.

Ruby suddenly reappears in the woods and is unconscious. In the hospital, she exhibits symptoms of having been weightless for a prolonged period of time. But instead of subjecting her daughter to scrutiny, their mother takes the children and disappears.

 Starring

 Trivia
- Shelley Owens is Chris Owens' sister, the actor playing Agent Jeffrey Spender in later episodes.
- This is the first episode where Mulder says "I want to believe."
- Howard Gordon, about the episode: "Chris was really helpful. Alex and I were struggling with the story – so much so that we even began to think we didn’t belong on the show – but Chris convinced us not to get down on ourselves and he helped us figure out a way to tell the story."
- Gordon about Carrie Snodgress: "We were definitely fans of her work, and fans of her ex-husband, Neil Young. I only got to spend a few hours with her up in Vancouver, but I thought her performance in Conduit was pitch perfect."
- According to the file that FBI Section Chief Blevins provides to Scully, Samantha Mulder (Mulder's sister) is named Samantha T. Mulder. She used to live in 2790 Vine Street in the city of Chilmarc, Mass. She was also born in Chilmarc, Mass. She was born on January 22, 1964.
- This is the first episode where Mulder asks for some help to someone named Danny.

 Quotes
Fox Mulder: I can't move. So I don't. I just lie there in bed.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Can you see your sister?
Fox Mulder: No, but I can hear her.
Dr. Heitz Werber: What is she saying?
Fox Mulder: She's calling out my name, over and over again. She's crying out for help. But I can't help her. I can't move.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Are you scared?
Fox Mulder: I know I should be, but I'm not.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Do you know why?
Fox Mulder: Because of the voice.
Dr. Heitz Werber: The voice?
Fox Mulder: The voice in my head.
Dr. Heitz Werber: What's it telling you.
Fox Mulder: Not to be afraid. It's telling me that no harm will come to her, and that one day she'll return.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Do you believe the voice?
Fox Mulder: I want to believe.

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 Reviews

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Superb realistic episode! (8/10)
By Jack on 2015-12-25

DARLENE MORRIS
The character of Darlene Morris is excellent. Beautifully portrayed by Carrie Snodgress (who passed away on April 1st, 2004).
At first, Mrs. Morris is surprised to see the FBI being interested in her daughter's disappearance.
What then happens is very interesting. Because of Mulder's investigation, Mrs. Morris actually gets her life even more destroyed, with the appearance of the CIA.

MULTIPLE ANGLES
At first, we all think that the young woman has been abducted by aliens. But then, we start to understand that this girl wasn't so prude after all. The Sheriff is telling Mulder and Scully that she wasn't the perfect girl at all. This reminded me a bit of "Twin Peaks", when we slowly realize that Laura Palmer wasn't this innocent girl after all.

OBSESSED MULDER
For the very first time in the series, we get to see Fox Mulder obsessed about a case and having a dark side into him. When that arises, David Duchovny plays a beautiful facette from the character. This facette will be seen again in future episodes. The paroxysm will be when facing Duane Barry after he abducted Scully.

EMOTIONS
This provides an emotional connection from Mulder, which is always more interesting where characters have deep connections to the case. For instance, it is so emotional when Mulder touches the picture of the "abducted" girl as a child.
Mulder is just a man desperately trying to find out what happened to his sister. This vulnerable side of the character is what makes him a deep character and not a flat one like new characters such as Monica Reyes. Mulder is a true human being to which you can really connect as an audience.
Even though this is a series about aliens and monsters, the themes are real and the first season, with its low budget, is perfect for that.

REALISM
Once again, the episode is anchored in realism. At the beginning of the episode, FBI Chief Section Blevins explains to Scully that Mulder has filed a dedicated form (named 302). Mulder is actually filling out a request for future travel expenses. He is formally asking the Bureau to assign a case file number to a new investigation. Can you imagine that? In the later seasons, Mulder and Scully would simply jump on the next sci-fi quest without even asking. This level of realism of the first seasons is very positive.

ENDING / MUSIC
The ending of this episode is a beautifully stunning as the one from "Deep Throat", two episodes before. It is excruciatingly beautiful.
Just after Mrs. Morris refuses to have Mulder interrogating her returned daughter, he leaves frustrated. We then get to see Scully listening to Mulder's hypnosis tape, talking about his abducted sister.
Mark Snow especially composed a marvellously beautiful theme (and this is a rare thing, as he rarely composed a dedicated theme in future episodes).
This scene, with this beautiful music, beautiful writing and beautiful acting and directing, makes it one of the most emotional scenes of the series. We sense that Mulder doesn't want to openly talk about his abducted sister, as this subject is too close to him. Scully also feels that she cannot openly talk about it with him. This makes it very realistic and beautifully moving. Here are the beautiful dialogues:
Fox Mulder: I can't move. So I don't. I just lie there in bed.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Can you see your sister?
Fox Mulder: No, but I can hear her.
Dr. Heitz Werber: What is she saying?
Fox Mulder: She's calling out my name, over and over again. She's crying out for help. But I can't help her. I can't move.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Are you scared?
Fox Mulder: I know I should be, but I'm not.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Do you know why?
Fox Mulder: Because of the voice.
Dr. Heitz Werber: The voice?
Fox Mulder: The voice in my head.
Dr. Heitz Werber: What's it telling you.
Fox Mulder: Not to be afraid. It's telling me that no harm will come to her, and that one day she'll return.
Dr. Heitz Werber: Do you believe the voice?
Fox Mulder: I want to believe.

SUMMARY
Even though the episode isn't a masterpiece as were the first three episodes, this is still a superb and realistic episode. I give it 8 out of 10.

 Pictures
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 Transcript