Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ’cause it’s cold out there today. It’s cold out there every day; what is this, Miami Beach? Not hardly! And you know you can expect hazardous travel later today with that, you know, that, uh, that blizzard thing. The National Weather Service is calling for a “big blizzard thing!” Yes, they are. But you know, there’s another reason why today is especially exciting. The big question on everybody’s lips, their chapped lips: do ya think Phil is gonna come out and see his shadow? Punxsutawney Phil! That’s right, woodchuck-chuckers, it’s Groundhog Day! And to celebrate, The Sci-Fi Guys give you our SALUTE TO TIME LOOPS!
Poster courtesy of ADN.
In case you were sealed underground in a bomb shelter in 1993, Groundhog Day was Bill Murray’s amazing hit movie about a man forced to live the same day over and over again until he gets it right. Everyone in the world except for two shut-in invalids in Turkmenistan went to see this movie. Everyone of them loved it more than chocolate and sex. Because of the pure heavenliness of this movie and it’s amazing box office sales, Bill Murray has enough money to buy Saturn. Kinda sucks that we’re no not reviewing it, huh? Oh, well. We do, however, have a ton of great sci-fi/fantasy time loop stuff to cover. I need to throw out some love and thanks for this article, which I couldn’t possibly have done on my own. Fortunately I’ve got my girls watching out for me, so I’m not flying solo on this. Writing with me are Sci-Fi Girl and Mrs. X, who rock the sci-fi casbah whether the sharif likes it or not. But enough about us. Let’s talk time loops. Let’s talk The Twilight Zone.
There was a time, back when there was such a thing as independent local television stations in the United States, that The Twilight Zone could be seen with far greater frequency than it can now. And that’s a damn shame. I consider the gobbling up and mindless standardization of local television stations by national media conglomerates to be a fucking crime against American entertainment. It used to be that, while the big name-brand stations were pumping out afternoons full of soap operas and other completely unwatchable shit, local independent stations were rerunning old Twilight Zone and Honeymooners episodes, followed up with two or three hours of cartoons like Transformers, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, He-Man And The Masters Of The Universe, and all those magnificent Japanese cartoons that you couldn’t see anywhere else on American television. The major networks were too afraid to touch syndicated cartoons full of science fiction and violence and sorcery and characters that were not cute little animals. Independent local television stations made it possible for kids my age to get our first childhood taste of anime (of course, at the time, we didn’t have that word; it was ‘Japanimation’ back then, junior).
If you remember this, your eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and sometimes your joints hurt when it rains.
Local independents were also the only ones who could decide to change their scheduling and line-up every couple of months and do wacky shit like run back to back episodes of Star Trek at 9 and 10 PM on Friday nights, or have a 24-hour marathons of The Twilight Zone twice a year, or run the G.I. Joe and Thundercats movies in prime time, just because they fucking felt like it. Local managers had the authority to make actual decisions then, and if you didn’t live through it, I can’t describe to you how cool it was. There was nothing like it on network television, ever. It was really something special.
In the early to mid-1980s there were over 300 independent TV stations in the US. Only a fraction of those remain. There are only six independent television stations left in Ohio, and only one here in Kentucky. Canada’s got it even worse; there’s only one independent television station left in the whole country. Now almost all of those great little stations are dead except for their call letters. Everybody watches the same homogenized, centrally programmed fucking network garbage everywhere at the same time. I honestly feel a sense of loss about this, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I wish Sci-Fi Girl had been able to see how cool these little stations were. Her generation will never experience television like I did when I was a kid. I don’t watch TV much any more, and I think the loss of quirky, interesting local stations is a big part of that. Its hard for me to keep glued to the set these days. I remember TV before it sucked.
Television has fallen greatly in my estimation over the past 20 years, but the glory days were fuckin’ fine. Around Cincinnati, there were two major independents. The first was the always struggling Channel 64, WIII, “the I’s of Cincinnati.” Their transmitter was woefully inadequate; we lived a mere 30 miles from Cincinnati, and WIII wasn’t even a blip when you passed it on the dial. It may as well have not been there at all. But Grandma, who lived not too far north of the station, got it just fine. Saturday mornings at her house was all about 5:30 AM WIII. It was the only time and place in my world I could drink in such tempting Asian delights as Robotech, Tranzor Z, Voltron, and Starblazers. A bowl of cereal in hand, sitting in my Grandpa’s chair in my tighty-whities was the first time I saw a naked cartoon character. Robotech, Lynn Minmei, shower scene on the SDF-1. Guess the guys at WIII didn’t watch the tapes before they aired them. And I suppose anybody in the world like myself who was watching at the time – there were probably about ten of us – wasn’t about to make a fuss, because they aired anime for a damn long while. Sweet fucking Jesus, I loved these shows. Channel 64 didn’t have a lot to offer, but it did have Japanimation, and that was enough for me to love it ’til the day it died.
And then there was Channel 19. WXIX. King of Cincy UHF. The only television station in the nation to have it’s call letters reflect its channel in Roman numeral form. And, as far as any of us kids were concerned, the holy motherfucking grail of television. We lived down in a valley in the woods of Kentucky, and our television reception was spotty at best. Only on rainy days, or when the unknowable whims of the gods of electromagnetic broadcasting deemed us temporarily worthy, could we could get Channel 19. And when it happened, Frog Boy and I would be glued to the TV like that construction worker’s hardhat was glued to that steel beam. It was Channel 19, god damn it. That’s not just something you just turn off.
This poster adorned my wall for all of my teen years, and well into my twenties. I am not popular with the ladies.
Channel 19 brought me my first taste a lot of things I love to this day. Transformers, Star Trek, Taxi, WKRP In Cincinnati, the really good syndicated episodes of The Real Ghostbusters that ABC didn’t air, Batman: The Animated Series, All In The Family, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – you name it, and there’s a 50/50 chance I saw it on WXIX first. But most of all, it brought me The Twilight Zone. One of the most significant reasons I write my little reviews and that I love sci-fi so goddamn much to this day is one that I don’t think I’ve written about until now. Its The Twilight Zone. While Star Trek reruns were always fun to watch when I was a kid, and the occasional goofiness of Buck Rogers or Battlestar Galactica were an okay way to kill an hour, Twilight Zone reruns were a must. Those were the shows you dropped everything else for.
Now that I’ve forced you to read the entire history of Cincinnati area broadcasting from the perspective of a child who was too young to have witnessed much of it, I should probably start talking about time loops, huh? That’s what this article’s about, remember? So lets talk about “Shadow Play.”
“Shadow Play” is not my favorite episode of The Twilight Zone, but its a damned good one. It focuses on a condemned man who is reliving his sentencing and execution over and over. Unlike Groundhog Day, the man comes to realize that he is, in fact, dreaming. But that’s not the point of the story. The point, a point made clear in Groundhog Day and in the two television shows reviewed below, is that repetition, to quote Stephen King, is Hell.
We fade into the story already in progress, as many episodes of The Twilight Zone do. We see a courtroom in which we witness Adam Grant being sentenced to death for the crime of murder. He looks equally worried and terrified, but not at the sentencing. He was worried before that. You see how this show was made? The Twilight Zone, unlike most shows then and now, assumed its audience was intelligent enough to pick up on what was going on without being spoon fed the details. We don’t need to be told that this man has more on his mind than being sentenced the electric chair. We don’t need to know what happened to him before this, or how he came to be there. All we need to know is right there in front of us, much of it acted out wordlessly. The tension is evident in every frame.
Enter Rod Serling. Rod was the genius behind The Twilight Zone and the undisputed lord god almighty of the twist ending. His straightforward delivery makes him the master of all The Twilight Zone‘s fucked up ceremonies, and I think its safe to say that everyone who has ever tried to equal him in the “Hello, I’m your host, and welcome to the most twisted part of Hell” arena has fallen laughably short. Anyone else in his position would have been tempted to go the Igor/Crypt Keeper route and act all mangled and fucked up. Not Serling. No, Rod appeared on screen dressed in a nice suit, hair neatly groomed, casually smoking a cigarette, voice level and clear, telling you in as plain and calm a manner as humanly possible that the worst fucking things in the world were about to happen to you, and there was nothing you could do about it. This guy was the man.
In the case of “Shadow Play,” he lets the audience see exactly what’s going on, then tells them they were right. It’s like the worst imaginable trip to the doctor. Before he spoke we were pretty sure we had cancer. Now that he’s done talking, we know we have cancer. That’s a scary difference. This is what Rod Serling had to say about poor Adam Grant:
“Adam Grant: a nondescript kind of man found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. Like every other criminal caught in the wheels of justice, he’s scared, right down to the marrow of his bones. But it isn’t prison that scares him, the long, silent nights of waiting, the slow walk to the little room, or even death itself. It’s something else that holds Adam Grant in the hot, sweaty grip of fear, something worse than any punishment this world has to offer. Something found only in the Twilight Zone.”
You see what he does? He ups the ante. We knew it was bad. He not only confirms it, but promises that it’ll get worse. We knew we had cancer, but now we know it’s inoperable and we’re in for a lot of suffering. This is one of the reasons The Twilight Zone was, and remains, so incredible. This is not just TV. Its masterful storytelling.
As the story unfolds, we watch Adam Grant make compelling arguments that everyone he encounters are all people he has known in his waking life who are now playing the parts in his nightmare of endless repetition from which he cannot escape. Time loops the same for him again and again; he is tried, found guilty, sentenced, then executed after an exhausting and ultimately futile attempt to get a pardon and end the dream cycle.
Speaking of old school Cincinnati TV, Rod Serling got his start writing what would become many classic Twilight Zone stories right here in Cincinnati. Click the pic to read about his Cincinnati TV career in the early 1950s.
You know what? I’m not going to tell you how it ends. Its too good. I’m not going to ruin it for you. I will tell you this: this is The Twilight Zone you’re watching, so don’t bank on a happy ending. Half of these shows end so horribly for the people involved that its amazing they made it on the air in the 1950s. Let me just sum up “Shadow Play” by saying that there is a point where death, dream, reality, and awakening come to a crossroads. Where a lot of bad television and movies would have resorted to special effects to tell this story, the guys behind The Twilight Zone opted for an even more effective technique. They quickly dimmed the lights in the studio, leaving the actors in absolute darkness, then faded to the next scene. It was amazing. It was SO much more impressive than any effect could have been. Fucking genius. Man, why don’t they make shows like this any more?
The next time someone criticizes your taste for liking sci-fi/fantasy (let’s be honest, it happens to us all), look them straight in the face and say “ROD FUCKING SERLING.” If they don’t immediately acknowledge that you have schooled them and that you are the complete lord and master of the Quick Stop, then they are too stupid to judge you, and you may move on your way secure in the knowledge that you are the superior life form. People like Rod Serling are not just good, they’re legendary. Son of a bitch, that’s good television.
While not as popular or well received as the originals, the 1980’s version of The Twilight Zone was a worthy successor to Rod Serling’s seasons, featuring some very good stories and plenty of star power. My favorite episode: 1988’s “The Curious Case Of Edgar Witherspoon,” featuring Harry Morgan from M*A*S*H.
Of course, those days of afternoon horrors with The Twilight Zone are long gone, like my beloved independent stations. Marking its further decline, Channel 64 changed its call letters to WSTR in 1990, and became known as “Star 64.” It’s death as an independent station came in 1995, when it became one of the founding UPN affiliates and changed it’s name to UPN 64. Channel 19, once a beacon of everything that equaled TV coolness, quietly became a charter affiliate of the newly formed Fox network in 1986. Channel 19 resisted unnecessary change and remained thoroughly awesome well into the early 90s, but started to lose much of its luster with the loss of, that’s right, its impressively cool afternoon lineup. The station changed its on-air branding to fucking “Fox 19” in 1996, and it has been dead to me ever since. I’ll bet the kids who watch it now don’t even know what The Twilight Zone is. That makes me sad. If you were one of the lucky ones like me, you lived to see these stations in their heyday and know what I’m making such a fuss about. My only hope is that some day, somehow, we’ll get local programming like this back again, and more kids will be exposed to mind-blowing shows like “Shadow Play.” I don’t mean to sound like such an old fart, but I swear to god, those really were the days.
The Twilight Zone pinball game was released by Midway in 1993. Midway gave the designer complete artistic control over the game, resulting in what many pinball enthusiasts consider to be the most complex pinball game ever created. Among its features are a working gumball machine which deposits pinballs, a working analog clock used as a timer, a small, separate playing field where the ball is propelled by magnets rather than flippers, the Powerball, a white ceramic ball which is lighter than a regular steel ball and is non-magnetic, and “Lost In The Zone,” a reward mode for skillful play in which the player has approximately 45 seconds to make an unlimited number of shots using 6 pinballs simultaneously. In addition to the theme music from the original TV show, the game’s main background music is a remix of the 1982 hit “Twilight Zone” by Golden Earring. Click the pic to check out some of the game’s very impressive features.
Next up is my little sista, Sci-Fi Girl, with her review of the Stargate: SG-1 time loop episode “Window Of Opportunity.”
I don’t know what the hell this is, but its from this episode, and people on the Stargate forums seem to love it. -Chris
Sci-Fi Girl writes: On planet P4X-639, the SG-1 team works to uncover the mystery behind an ancient device. Dr. Daniel Jackson and another archeologist named Malakai attempt to decipher the Latin-like language that covers the walls surrounding the device, but time is a pressing issue; a geomagnetic storm begins emitting radiation, and the travelers must finish their task before the radiation becomes deadly. Malakai, though, has plans of his own.
As the storm rages, Col. O’Neil calls Jackson to the Stargate. When he does not show, the team searches for him and finds that Jackson has been shot, and Malaki has activated the device. As O’Neil and Teal’c move to attack Malakai, they suddenly find themselves back in SG-1 headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain, 10 hours earlier.
Eating Froot Loops. ‘Cause they’re loops, see? Loops.
O’Neil and Teal’c are the only ones who remember being on P2X-639; the machine apparently was a time loop machine, so now O’Neil and Teal’c get looped to the past every 10 hours. Everyone else believes they‘re crazy.
I’m breaking off from the storyline here, but I would find that sooo annoying. I mean, having to sit through the same briefing 50 effin’ times? That’s just not cool… anyway, back to the story…
Props: Joseph Mallozzi is actually the name of the co-writer of this episode.
O’Neil and Teal’c find a way to keep notes and info around for the next loop. They and Jackson are trying to translate the Latinish language so they can go back, shut down the machine, and happy-do-da day. Of course, they only have 10 hours to do this each time, so when Jackson is translating and you have nothing to do, there’s nothing like juggling paper wads. Yes, that’s right, after you get sick from spinning in your chair why not teach an alien how to juggle.
It seems as though their getting nowhere and aren’t getting anything done, right? Wrong. At one point Jackson states, “If you know in advance that everything will go back to the way it was, you could do anything you want with out having consequences.” This seems to brighten their day; O’Neil has some ideas.
“Off the tee, past the event horizon, through the wormhole, onto Alaris, billions of miles, nuthin’ but ‘Gate.”
We start out by seeing the artistic side of O’Neil as we find him failing at trying to make a clay pot on a wheel. We then go on to see him ride through the army base on a bike with a little dingy bell. Then, my favorite part, O’Neil teaches Teal’c how to golf. And not just any golf – intergalactic golf! Yep, they open the Stargate to another planet and golf. Wouldn’t you love to set the world record for golf? Heck I could do it, and I can’t even hit 50 yards (just ask my gym teacher).
Ok, that’s all fun and all, but the next part I must explain for you nitwits out there who don’t watch Stargate. In the military you obviously can’t date anyone in your group-thingy. Col. O’Neil and Major Carter have feelings for each other that they obviously can’t express, so, as a non-consequential action, O’Neil resigns. When General Hammond asks why, O’Neil says, “So I can do this,” and a few seconds before they loop again, he dips Carter and kisses her. *sigh* How romantic.
Anyway, long story short, they figure out a way to shut down the machine and we all live happily ever after. Now that were at the end you may ask how many times they looped. Well here’s an answer: the episode only shows 20 loops, each loop lasting 10 hours (we established that part already), but at the end Carter says that the Tokra have been trying to contact them for 3 months! You do the math. ~Sci-Fi Girl~
Chris here. For those of you out there who don’t want to do the math, three months of 10 hour loops comes to a minimum of 216 loops. At least that’s what Wikipedia tells me. And I think we all know that there’s no fact as solid as a fact based on anonymously posted, unverified popular opinion…
[WARNING: GEEKSPLOSION IMMINENT! STOP READING IMMEDIATELY IF YOU ARE NOT A FREAKNERD LIKE CHRIS!]
Okay, I wasn’t able to trust what I read, so I’ve just done the math for myself. The Wikipedia answer is wrong. You hear me? The price is wrong, bitch! The minimum three month span is the Jan-Feb-March stretch of 90 days (on a non-Leap Year). That’s usually 2160 hours, but in the northern hemisphere, where the SG-1 HQ is located, Daylight Savings Time sometimes falls on the last Sunday in March. The subtraction of the Daylight Savings hour makes for a minimum of 215.9 loops, assuming it is possible to only complete a partial loop. Conversely, the maximum number of loops would usually be 220.8.
If we assume this episode took place in 2000, the year it was first aired, the minimum loops really is 216 (in 2000, Daylight Savings Time fell on April 2nd, the first Sunday in April). However, if we assume the episode took place on the exact date it first aired, August 4th, then Daylight Savings interferes yet again. In 2000, daylight savings ended on October 29th, but the guys would have been looping until November 4th; that’s 92 days, or 2208 hours. We need to tack an extra hour on there for October 29th; in this scenario they would have completed a maximum of 220.9 loops. Of course, if the whole Earth was caught in this time loop, then all this talk about months, days, and Daylight Savings becomes completely immaterial, but I think the important thing to remember is that god damn, I am a fucking NERD.
Here for a little time loop music interlude, we have R.E.M.’s “Imitation Of Life.” Filmed to promote their 2001 album Reveal, this excellent time loop video took only twenty seconds to shoot (not including time for the elaborate set up). The loop plays forward for twenty seconds, then backward for twenty seconds, repeating until the end of the video. Shot with a single stationary camera, the final footage was then looped and different portions of the video were enlarged using the same pan and scan technology used to reformat widescreen movies to fit old school 4×3 television screens. This highlights different parts of the same 20-second story that are otherwise lost in the visual noise of the overall picture.
Next up we have Mrs. X‘s review of The X-Files contribution to the time loop genre, “Monday.”
Mrs. X writes: Greetings, Mrs. X here with, believe it or not, my first review ever of an X-Files episode on this site. When Chris asked me to review this particular episode for his special Groundhog Day article, how could I pass up the chance? Although I’m not a huge fan of this particular ep, you just can’t say no to Chris. If you do, bad things happen… bad things. Anyway, on with the review.
“Monday” isn’t particularly one of my favorite X-Files episodes. In fact, I wouldn’t even put it in my top 10. Don’t get me wrong; it’s watchable. But it’s not an episode I would watch over and over again, hahahaha, pun totally intended. This is a Season 6 stand alone episode.
For those of you not familiar with The X-Files (shame on you!), there are two types of episodes: the alien mythology arc episodes, which deal with all of the alien conspiracy stuff, and the stand alone episodes, which deal with weird, strange and paranormal phenomena, but have really nothing to do with the overall “mythology” of the show. Season 6 has some particularly great stand alone episodes: “Drive,” “Triangle,” “Dreamland,” “Dreamland II,” “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas” (with Ed Asner and Lilly Tomlin), “Terms of Endearment,” “The Rain King,” “Agua Mala,” “Arcadia” (Mulder and Scully pretending to be married), “Alpha,” “Trevor,” “Milagro” (one of my personal favorites, very shippy), “The Unnatural” (great shippiness at the end, written and directed by David Duchovny), “Three of a Kind” (great Lone Gunman centered episode), “Field Trip,” “Tithonus,” and of course “Monday.” Since this isn’t an all inclusive Season 6 stand alone episode review, I will get back to my review of “Monday,” but I highly urge you, dear reader, to check out some of these episodes if you haven’t seen them yet. Oh, and one more side note before I really get into the review — Season 6 marks the first season of filming in LA after they moved production of The X-Files from Vancouver.
Like I said earlier, “Monday” isn’t horrible, but in my opinion it isn’t great either. Sorry if its someone’s favorite episode out there, but I could take it or leave it. It was written by two veteran X-Files writers, Vince Gilligan and John Shiban, and was directed by the great Kim Manners, whose name appears on many excellent episodes. The basic plot of “Monday” is, for lack of a better phrase, a rip off of Groundhog Day. The same day keeps repeating over and over again, except here no one is really supposed to learn any lesson or change their personality. It’s more of a study in free will versus fate. Are we destined to do certain things and meet certain people, and no matter what we do that won’t change? Or can we change events in our life through our actions, thus guiding our own existence?
The episode opens with what appears to be a hostage situation outside of a bank: lots of police cars, SWAT, and the head honcho of the X-Files at the FBI, Assistant Director Walter Skinner. A strung out, frightened looking girl runs to Skinner, warning him that she is reliving this day over and over again. This poor woman is Pam, but Skinner doesn’t know who the hell she is.
Cut to the bank interior: Mulder has been shot and Scully is holding him in her lap trying to apply pressure on the wound. Bernard, the would be bank robber now turned hostage taker, sees the SWAT team approach and blows up the bank with the bomb he has strapped to himself. The opening credits roll and we are taking to the hallway of Mulder’s apartment building.
The morning paper is thrown against Mulder’s door, waking him. The scenes in Mulder’s bedroom definitely make this episode worth watching, even if the story isn’t all that great. Anytime I can see David Duchovny shirtless and in some fairly translucent pajama bottoms several times in one episode, I’ll take it… okay, sorry, back to the review. So Mulder wakes up and realizes that his bed is soaking wet. His waterbed has sprung a leak.
A side note here: Mulder never had a bed until Season 6. He always slept on his couch. The bed was acquired by one Morris Fletcher whom Mulder switched bodies with in “Dreamland” and “Dreamland II.” Since Mulder has no memory of the events that took place in those episodes, he really doesn’t know how he got the waterbed, but he’s sleeping in it anyway. The floor is soaked, his alarm clock has shorted out, his cell phone is waterlogged, and he is late for work. On his way back from getting a pan from the kitchen, he trips over his shoes. This is a subtle thing that will change over the course of the episode as he travels through the time loop.
When he finally arrives at work and informs Scully he has to deposit his pay check so that he can cover the personal check he wrote his landlord for the damages. Mulder tells her how his morning has gone, and she asks when he got a waterbed; this is another reference to the Dreamland episodes of which Scull also has no memory. Scully returns to the meeting she and Mulder were supposed to be attending, a tedious discussion of crime projections, and Mulder heads to the bank. On his way, Mulder passes Pam and looks at her; she notes that he’s never done that before. Mulder is waiting in line at the bank when Bernard decides to rob the place. Scully, who has left the meeting to go look for Mulder, walks into the bank, realizes what’s going on, and draws her gun on Bernard. Mulder draws his weapon, Bernard shoots Mulder, and then blows up the bank. Again.
Cut to the hallway of Mulder’s apartment. Again.
The paper wakes Mulder, his waterbed has sprung a leak (mmm… more shirtless Duchovny), and he goes through the same motions, except this time when he trips over his shoes, he falls backwards instead of forward. When he gets to work he rips his paycheck while opening it, another subtle change. This time around, he and Scully have a discussion about fate versus free will, which I think is what the story is trying to convey. Instead of Mulder going to the bank, Scully says she will go for him. He agrees to let her, but then realizes that he gave her the wrong part of the check and has to go to the bank to catch her. Of course Pam is sitting in the car as he goes by, and the longer the episode goes on the worse you start to feel for this poor girl who is obviously doomed to relive the same day over and over again, I can definitely see where it would take a toll. So Mulder goes into the bank, and, long story short, Bernard blows it up again.
Props: The watch Fox Mulder wore all this season was a steel Omega DeVille Prestige, which is made to display the date as a number. A prop with a fake day window was made for the episode; in reality, this model does not have a window that would show what day it was. The creation of this prop leads to a continuity mistake in the series; “Monday” originally aired on February 28, 1999, but below is Mulder’s watch as seen in the episode “Arcadia” on March 7, 1999. The watch now appears, once again, as a standard Omega DeVille Prestige without the day display.
We see the paper hit Mulder’s front door four more times, indicating the start of the same day, same events over and over again. On the fifth repetition, Mulder wakes up, the waterbed has sprung a leak, but he tells the person on the other end of the phone that he will pay for it and hangs up, a distinct difference from the last couple of times he has repeated the day. It seems that Spooky is starting to tune into what’s going on. Meanwhile, Pam has made her way into the FBI building through a tour group and found Scully. She tries to warn her of what’s happening, but Scully, a skeptic to the last, doesn’t believe her. Scully tells Mulder of the encounter anyway, and Mulder describes having an overwhelming since of déjà vu all morning. As if to test whether or not he has free will, Mulder tells Scully that he will use the ATM, which turns out to be out of order. Mulder chooses not to go into the bank, and heads back to the meeting. Unfortunately Scully has left the meeting to look for Mulder and Mulder follows her… back to the bank.
“I have had it with these motherfucking time loops in this motherfucking bank!”
At this point Pam gets out of the car and tells him that she has been doomed to repeat this day, she has tried everything to reverse her fortune, but it’s obviously up to Mulder to stop it. Mulder hears shots from inside the bank and goes in with gun drawn. Of course the bank blows up again, but this time before it does Mulder repeats to himself “He has a bomb, he has a bomb strapped to himself” over and over again.
We get to repeat the day one more time. Mulder is in the bank looking at Bernard, repeating “He’s got a bomb, he’s got a bomb…” Mulder walks over to Bernard, lays his gun down on the counter, and tells Bernard he is a federal agent and to take the gun. As many times as I’ve seen this episode I still don’t understand why Mulder would tell this guy to take his gun, but whatever. Now Bernard has two guns, way to go Mulder, and he tells everyone that it’s a hold up. Scully enters the bank with Pam and tells him to drop the guns. He says no, of course, and then there is the sound of sirens.
I don’t know why this guy didn’t think they would trip the silent alarm, but again, whatever – I didn’t write this episode. Thinking he was betrayed, Bernard pulls the trigger, but Pam jumps in front of Mulder and takes the bullet. Bernard realizes what he has done, drops to his knees and is handcuffed. Pam is now laying on the floor bleeding, Scully calls 911 and with her last breath Pam tells her, “This never happened before.” One last time we cut to the paper hitting Mulder’s front door.
He wakes up, only this time (much to my dismay) he is wearing a shirt. He is also sleeping on the couch. He looks at his watch and we see it is Tuesday; Scully calls and tells him Skinner wants their report on the robbery. She comments on Bernard’s accomplice and of course Mulder says that he doesn’t think she was an accomplice, but that she was simply trying to get away. The last shot we see is of the newspaper that woke him, and its report of the events of the day…
Watch pics courtesy of foxmulderswristwatch.com
As far as episodes go I would probably give it 4 Xs out of 10. It’s watchable, but really does get tedious towards the end. I also didn’t like the fact that it was never fully explained why Pam was meant to repeat the day over and over again. It gets points for shirtless Duchovny, but I thought it was really weak for a Gilligan/Shiban written episode. I also wasn’t a big fan of the Pam character; she was just a little too greasy and strung out looking. I understand that she and Bernard were down on their luck, but that whole unshowered look really got on my nerves. But I guess if I had to repeat the same day over and over again, I probably would say to hell with personal hygiene, too. I mean, at that point who cares.
There are many stand alone episodes in Season 6 that are much better than “Monday,” but if you haven’t seen this episode I would recommend watching it. And if you have seen it feel free to leave your comments and opinions about it right here on The Sci-Fi Guys webpage. Mrs. X signing off.
So there you have it folks, our first ever SALUTE TO TIME LOOPS! Much love to Sci-Fi Girl and Mrs. X who made this year’s Groundhog Day celebration bigger and better than it could have possibly been without them. Scroll down and give them some props – this I command! And be sure to check back next Groundhog Day. You know, I have a funny kind of feeling we’ll be doing this again next year. And again, and again, and again, and again…