The Lone Gunmen
No matter how I feel about killing them off, I (like so many other X-Files fans) was certainly glad The Lone Gunmen got thirteen episodes of their own. It was a cool experiment, and I do wish the series had worked out. I guess folks maybe were hoping for similar themes to The X-Files and adventures of Mulder and Scully (monsters, aliens, and government menace). Just the same, the one season provides a fun romp to revisit.
The pilot was an episode I found decidedly unsettling because it included potential terrorism, an airplane “commandeered”, and the World Trade Center a target (the pilot aired right before 9/11). If only 9/11 had ended as this pilot did. Sigh, alas…
So our conspiracy theorists/computer hacker experts/American Dream enthusiasts open the first episode eyeing Octium IV, a special computer chip with enormous capability. Frohike, Langly, and Byers know that this chip can be used to spy on those users who have E-Com tech. The opening is similar to Mission: Impossible, except instead of Tom Cruise we get Frohike! Quite the difference, but nonetheless a “rival” of TLG is thief, Yves Adele Harlow (Frohike confronts her, successfully unraveling her nickname as an anagram for JFK’s supposed assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald), and she actually hacks their software so she can snatch the chip for herself.
Meanwhile, Byers learns of his father’s (George Coe) death from a colleague in government, Roy Helm (Wally Dalton). Helm surmises Byer’s dad, Bertram, was murdered by someone because of information he was aware of.
Soon TLM realize that someone other than Bertram perished in his home, and a remote controlled chip was found in the wreckage of the crashed car (supposedly holding Bertram), found worse for wear in a car graveyard. This technology, TLM soon learn, could very well be used on aircraft to cause a crash so that it would look like a terrorist attack, initiating further financial military/defence/war spending.
The episode does provide insight into John Byers estrangement with his father. Once JFB (Fitzgerald is his middle name, the JF given to him due in part to the former assassinated president) joined TLG (The X-Files would give us back story for the trio) his father, in no certain terms, disavowed him.
We get a look at their intrinsic time spent hacking and attempting to retrieve information deleted that would provide knowledge of “war games” and “terrorist strategy”. This soon leads Bertram and John onto a commercial airplane, looking for a bomb, while Langly and Frohike attempt to derail a remote control guidance from elsewhere attempting to fly it into the World Trade Center!
Frohike and YAH at odds already produces some interesting friction, with Langly confronting her over taking the chip from them. TLG look like fools and are given the full body cavity search as a result of her theft. They’re lucky, I reckon, it wasn’t worse!
Bertram is honest with his son in that he just didn’t see it in his best interest (and his son’s) to blow the whistle on the “war profit” conspiracy. With two attempts on his life already, Bertram just feels that bringing the light this would do him no favors. Of course, John appears disappointed in him. Once again father and son go their separate ways.