The X-files

Tempus Fugit (part 1 of 2)
Episode: 4X17
First aired:3/16/97
Written by:Chris Carter, Frank Spotnitz
Directed by: Rob Bowan

A very important episode in the X-files mythology. Also, poor Agent Pendrell's demise.

At the Headless Woman's Pub, waiters singing "Happy Birthday" approach Mulder and Scully's table. Scully is surprised that her partner remembered the occasion. Before the celebration continues, the agents are approached by Sharon Graffia, who identifies herself as the sister of Max Fenig (the alien abductee seen in "Fallen Angel"). Fenig was killed in an airplane crash in Upstate New York two hours earlier. It was Fenig's wish that the agents be sought out should any harm befall him.

The agents attend a Go-Team meeting assembled by the National Transportation Safety Board. Mike Millar, the man in charge of the operation, plays a tape recording of the last radio exchange between Flight 549 and air traffic control in Albany. During the recording, the pilot makes reference to an "intercept." Mulder believes is an indication the airliner was forced out of the sky. But his comments before the group are met with great skepticism.

The agents comb the crash site for possible clues. Mulder realizes there is a nine minute discrepancy between the official time of the crash and the time indicated on passengers' wrist watches. In the distance, an investigator named Garrett sprays an acid-like substance on one of the bodies, dissolving the victim's fingertips and face. A few moments later, other Go-Team members pull a survivor, Larold Rebhun, from the wreckage. Scully concludes he was exposed to extreme radiation. Mulder tells Scully that he believes Fenig was abducted from the aircraft by being sucked out of the emergency exit door. However, Go-Team members find Fenig's body amongst the debris field.

The agents interview Louis Frish, who, along with Armando Gonzales, manned the Air Force Reserve air control tower on the night of the crash. Louis claims there was no radio contact between the Air Force and the civilian plane. Later, Louis finds Gonzales' dead body inside the control tower. Several government men storm the tower. Louis avoids capture by hiding on the roof. Later, Sharon Graffia disappears from her motel room. Mulder concludes she was abducted by a UFO.

Louis Frish tells Mulder, Scully, and Millar that he-not an air traffic controller in Albany-was the last person to communicate with Flight 549. Louis explains that his commanding officer ordered him (along with Gonzales) to lie to investigators. The men saw an unidentified radar blip enter Flight 549's airspace. Moments later, there was an explosion. Mulder speculates that a third, unidentified aircraft shot down the intercept craft-but is at a loss to explain the absence of a second crash site. As the agents drive Louis away from the Go-Team's headquarters, two automobiles give chase. In an attempt to outmaneuver his pursuers, Mulder drives onto a runway. An airliner lands on the strip, narrowly missing Mulder's car. The two chase cars break off their pursuit. Later, Mike Millar encounters a UFO hovering above the crash site. He finds Sharon Graffia nearby.

Scully and Louis await a Federal Marshal at the Headless Woman's Pub. Garrett enters with a gun. Scully draws her weapon and a shoot-out ensues. Agent Pendrell, who happened to be frequenting the bar, is shot in the chest. Scully manages to shoot Garrett in the leg.

After examining a map, Mulder concludes that the second craft crashed into Great Sacandaga Lake. He scuba dives into the murky water, where he encounters twisted wreckage-and the body of a gray alien. Suddenly, a bright beam of light emanates from the surface. Mulder shields his eyes from the impossibly intense light.

To Be Continued...

Important Quotes:
Mulder -- "Happy Birthday dear Special Agent Dana Katherine Scully, Happy Birthday to You . . . I didn't know it was your birthday, Scully."
Scully -- "Mulder, you've never remembered my birthday in the four years I've known you."
Mulder -- "That's the way I like to celebrate. It's every four years, like dog years."
Scully -- "Dog years? Thank you."
Mulder -- (smiling) "You're welcome. Oh, I got something for you."
Scully -- "You've got to be kidding me."
Mulder -- "It's just something that reminded me of you."
Scully -- "What, an alien implant?"
Mulder -- "Two, actually. I made them into earrings." (she opens the small box - it's a keychain)
Scully -- "Apollo 11."
Mulder -- "(smiling) Read the back."
Scully -- "Commemorating Apollo 11 and the mission to the moon, July 1969. I'm touched."

Scully -- "You sure know how to make a girl feel special on her birthday."

Scully -- "Are you accusing these men of covering evidence?"
Mulder -- "These men? No. These men are trained to identify moving parts: hydraulics, electronics. They're trained to reconstruct those parts in the past to arrive at the present but they can't do that because someone has stolen the past from them. Nine minutes of it. Nine minutes that became a lifetime to those passengers and now for their families. Someone has got to figure out what happened in those nine minutes. Somehow we've got to get that back."

Diver -- "Have you worked at this depth before?"
Mulder -- "Not exactly."
Diver -- "What exactly is your experience?"
Mulder -- "Once I, uh . . . I got a quarter off of the deep end of the 'Y' pool . . ."


Back to The X-files: Season 4
The begining of the full Latin phrase: "tempus fugit, memento mori".
Time flies away, death ought to be remembered.

This motto is written on the banner of the Knights of Columbus, and thereby has accompanied countless beef and beer benefits, bingo games, and wedding receptions.

In the Middle Ages, this sentiment was reinforced by macbre images, memento mori, of corpses, skeletons, death heads, and graphic depictions of decomposition; these were intended to frighten the viewer into remembering the briefness of this life, and the coming dissolution of the body.

A French doctor, in the service of King Louis VI(around 1130), had this inscription, his memento mori, engraved into the cloister of Saint-Victor in Paris:

What we were, you are. What we are, you will become...

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