The X Files - The Erlenmeyer Flask



So I’m putting my notes and thoughts together for my review of Red Museum after watching it Thursday night, and with its ties to The Erlenmeyer Flask (surprising Chris Carter chose this episode to do that) I felt it was only suitable to include this in the night’s viewing as a follow up. I just felt I needed to kind of set them up with each other (as I mention in my review for Red Museum, to have my ducks in a row) even if perhaps the order of them was right reverse.

The final episode of the first season, Scully admitting she was wrong to Mulder about the proof of extraterrestrial life, the murder of Deep Throat, the securing of “alien tissue” (found in a facility Scully gains access to through Deep Throat's clearance), and the closing of the X files; The Erlenmeyer Flask is a big deal. I really wanted to save this episode for some sort of significant time in the future, but after watching it, I think tonight actually felt right. The Cigarette-Smoking Man walking a long hall in an “evidence concealment room” in the Pentagon, placing the flask in a box, once again victorious over Mulder concludes this episode, telling us that this is not going to ever be an easy task…to expose the truth that is out there. Deep Throat had been leading along Mulder for the entire first season. In this episode, Scully poses a question to Mulder: why does he allow Deep Throat to toy around with him? And, ultimately, can he ever truly trust him? Scully even asks Deep Throat why he suddenly (at the end) gives out a lot of information after turtling out so little for such an extended period of time. Deep Throat felt the forces from “deep in the black covert sections of the government” were upping their efforts to get rid of all the evidence regarding the work of Dr. Berube (Ken Kramer) and Dr. Secare (Simon Webb) involving alien DNA within human beings (and monkeys for Berube). Scully and Mulder visit Berube while investigating the police chase (Secare was in a basic moving violation that gets out of control, resulting in police shooting him with both a taser and gun, leaving him wounded but surprisingly alive) that led to Secare going missing (hiding underwater because he was physiologically able to do so considering he was a “hybrid”). Berube is killed by an assassin (Lindsey Ginter, known as the “Crew Cut Man”) when his work could no longer continue. Mulder and Scully find a vial of “purity control” which soon proves to be alien DNA. The scientist Scully involves in the research and study of the purity control is killed (along with her family!) is a car crash, informing us that CSM and his cohorts will stop at nothing to keep their secrets under wraps. This episode further illustrates that despite just how close Mulder and Scully get to the truth, CSM and those in his clique will stop at nothing to make sure they are thwarted. Mulder perhaps should have put a bullet in CSM when he had the chance. That has always been a pivotal decision Mulder made—he had CSM right where he wanted him but couldn’t pull the trigger, convinced that doing so would deny him the truth he so sought after—resulting in consequences he might have stopped had he went ahead and took care of him.


Mulder finds a warehouse with human bodies in water tanks injected with alien DNA. Terminally ill subjects (including Secare) were injected with “viruses” (viruses in bacteria, Scully surmises, would be developed for a host) begin not only to recover but perhaps survive. But CSM has his cleanup crew out there getting rid of everything. Killing Berube, Secare (Mulder eventually finds him but cannot protect him from CSM’s chief assassin), and Deep Throat is essential to CSM, protecting the society at large from the knowledge of “alien colonization”. CSM and Mulder, adversaries always. Even if CSM tells Mulder he actually likes him, these two oppose each other through and through. Deep Throat negotiates Mulder’s safe release while providing him with the alien “tissue” and is killed by CSM’s assassin in the process. “Trust…no one.” Scully learns this herself the hard way as the second season iterates. Mulder on the phone, exasperated and somewhat defeated, tells Scully the X files is being closed and they will be separated and “reassigned” (by the “executive branch”). He does let her know that he isn’t giving up…he can’t give up. That is always the case: Mulder and Scully have to encourage each other not to give up. To give up would let CSM win. He might knock them down, but this is about taking the blows—and they hurt, a lot—and not accepting defeat. The price Mulder and Scully pay, though…

So Mulder finds keys to the warehouse in Berube’s desk, Scully learns of the alien DNA, and the two of them lose it all as Deep Throat provokes them to keep pushing forward. His death is certainly a bodyshot that leaves an impact. Jerry Hardin is never more urgent or persistently assertive as Deep Throat than here. I think you see that Deep Throat realizes that urgency is important and his efforts lead to his demise while Mulder is temporarily “shelved” from his pursuit. Scully, now given the proof her skepticism cannot undermine, has completely fresh perspective and no longer considers her position just as a spectator detailing Mulder’s work under a cynical microscope. Not only is Deep Throat’s death a major turning point early in the show, Scully’s admission of regret for doubting Mulder could be considered such as well. I do.










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