While Mulder is away in England, Scully is led by coincidences, chance, fate and possibly a higher power to a married man with whom she had an affair during medical school, and a look at the life she didn't choose, forcing her to make choices about her future.
While Mulder is in England, Dr. Daniel Waterson, who once was involved with Scully as a teacher and lover, meets her again. The episode revolves around a religious idea that consciousness and time slices make up our existence.
Agent Dana Scully dresses in the bathroom. As she walks out, she passes the bed and Agent Fox Mulder in it. She considers if this is the path she chose or if it was chosen for her. And all the myriad moments of time that lead people to wherever they find themselves in life.
63 Hours Earlier
Scully arrives with lunch and Mulder proceeds with his slide show of crop circles. She reports to him that the girl who died in the woods did not drown in ectoplasm but rather her own alcohol filled vomit. Mulder goes through the crop circle explanation as Scully half listens while eating her salad. He tells her a new crop circle will appear within 48 hours and they have two tickets to England. Scully asserts that she isn’t going to go.
“What it means, Mulder, is I’m not interested in tracking down some sneaky farmers who happened to ace geometry in high school.”Scully goes to the hospital to pick up the autopsy report on the girl who died in the woods but they have switched the autopsy report in the envelope she got with someone by the name of D. Waterston's X-Ray. After correcting the mistake with the nurse, she asks if D. Waterston is Doctor Daniel Waterston and the nurse confirms this. She goes to his room and waits for the man's daughter Maggie Waterston and his doctor, Kopeikan, to leave and then goes into the room and checks on the sleeping man. A single tear slips down his cheek.
Dr. Kopeikan returns and wonders what Scully is doing there. When she tells him her name, he explains that Waterston mentioned her as one of his students. Kopeikan explains that Waterston came in with severe chest pains and has gone through a full battery of tests. He has a serious problem but it is treatable.
Maggie Waterston calls to relate that her father wants to see Scully but her tone shows deep hatred for her. Mulder also calls to ask her to visit some researcher about crop circles and pick up some data from them; she tells him she doesn’t have time but might get to it later.
Returning to the hospital, Scully steps into the wrong room full of happy people. Going to the right room, she finds Daniel and Maggie Waterston. Maggie promptly leaves while Scully and Waterston talk. They clearly care a great deal about each other but have an old feud about her leaving medicine for the FBI.Driving away from the hospital, Scully talks with Mulder about the address from earlier. When a pedestrian steps into the crosswalk she just barely stops in time. As she stops for the pedestrian, she misses being sideswiped by a semi speeding through the intersection. She watches the woman with a baseball cap turn and look back at her, smiling knowingly.
Scully reaches Colleen Azar's home and realizes the woman was in the wrong hospital room that she had stepped into earlier. She doesn’t entirely like Scully's brusqueness or skepticism about her crop circle research or Scully shaking off the near car accident like it was nothing.
“There is a greater intelligence in all things. Accidents–or near accidents–often remind us that we need to keep our mind open to the lessons it gives.”
Scully is called back by Waterston who wants her to override Kopeikan's medical advice about the use of the drug Prednisone. Kopeikan leaves the room and Maggie Waterston soon follows, after another barb at Scully. Daniel Waterston recounts that Maggie figured out about the affair years ago, when things went bad at home. When Scully left, he “shut down from his family” and he eventually divorced Barbara. He moved to Washington, D.C. ten years earlier. Scully asks if he moved there for her and he admits as much. She begins to cry.
He expects she has a life now but asks her what she wants.
He holds her softly against his chest as she weeps.
Then his heart stops. Scully starts CPR and the team of nurses bring in the defibrillator and so forth. She manages to get his heart pumping once again after a minute.Scully returns to Colleen Azar and apologizes for earlier but also seems to want answers. After Azar kisses her girlfriend, Carol, goodbye, Azar describes the teachings of Eastern Religions to Scully. She believes that Scully's feeling that something deeper is wrong with Waterston is about the concept of auras. People being composed of layers of energy and consciousness outside of time and space. Scully may have seen an aura and that some pain is causing the man's illness. Azar recounts her former life as a workaholic physicist who then found she had breast cancer. This woke her up and she changed her life and the disease went into remission. She thought it was the shame that caused it. Scully still seems lost, so Azar tells her something.
“Everything happens for a reason.”
An angry Maggie Waterston yells at Scully about her father being in a coma and then storms away. Scully walks out of the hospital still clutching the flowers she had brought. She sees the woman from the crosswalk as she wanders through Chinatown and follows her to a Buddhist Temple. Before the statue of Buddha, Scully has a vision.
Flashes from her life flow by until she sees Waterston floating in a bright white void with his organs visible through his skin. The organs seem sickly.Scully brings an Eastern healer to Waterston, the man talks about the body's energy channels until an irritated Dr. Kopeikan arrives. He dismisses it while Scully defends it. Surprisingly enough, Maggie Waterston steps in and asks it to be allowed. The healer explains that the man is ready to move on but something is holding him here. Scully is brought back by Maggie to find Daniel Waterston awake. He sneers at the ritual performed and wants to restart his relationship with Scully. She tells him to go back to his family and make up for the hurt he caused in the past. Scully knows now that she isn’t who she was all those years ago. She leaves as Maggie enters the room. Outside, she sees the woman with the baseball cap again and goes over to see her,. When she turns the woman around, it is Mulder in a baseball cap. He mentions that no crop circle event happened at all.
They talk about the events of the past few days and the lives they could have led. Scully seems to think that maybe there was only one path and signs along the way that confirmed that path. She falls asleep when Mulder replies and he puts a blanket over her and turns in.
- This episode was written and directed by Gillian Anderson.
- This episode is the fourth of only four, in the entire series of The X-Files, that feature non-diegetic music not composed by Mark Snow, both episodes using songs by Moby; while the earlier Season 7 episode "Closure" features a Moby song entitled "My Weakness", this episode includes the Moby song "The Sky is Broken". The latter song is, however, diegetic at one point in this episode, when Mulder plays the song on a boombox. The other episodes are from Season 5 and Season 4 which are "Chinga" which featured the Hokey Pokey song and "Home" with the Johnny Mathis song "Wonderful, Wonderful".
- In this episode's teaser, while Mulder lies on his bed, Scully is shown in the bathroom, putting clothes on and leaving Mulder's apartment, suggesting that she had sex with him. It is ambiguous, however, since the last scene of the episode indicates that Scully was left sleeping at Mulder's sofa, while he went to bed.
- The back-story regarding Scully, Dr. Waterston, and why his daughter hates Scully was originally much more involved and complicated, culminating in the suicide of Waterson's wife after Scully had left medical school. The intended story, which had to be cut for time, is detailed in the commentary track by Gillian Anderson on the Season 7 DVD extras.
- A few of the oriental paintings in Colleen Azar's house were painted by a friend of Gillian Anderson.
- The large sculpture on Colleen Azar's front porch, that can be seen in the back round as Scully knocks on the front door, Gillian Anderson bought and placed outside her home.
- Stacy Haiduk who played Margaret Waterston had just had a baby before filling, and while breastfeeding during takes she was not in, the cast and crew could hear her baby enjoying some milk.
- "Azar" is Spanish for "random".
- In the scene where Daniel Waterston flatlines, a crewmember can be seen trying to remove their hand from the IV drip regulator.
- After Scully mistakenly enters room 304, she re-enters the hallway to look for room 306. The sign for "pulmonary care" is misspelled as "pulminary care."
Cast and Characters
- Colleen Flynn (Colleen Azar) previously played Officer Michele Fazekas in The X-Files episode "Detour".
- Colleen Flynn as Colleen Azar
- Stacy Haiduk as Margaret Waterston
- Stephen Hornyak as Dr. Paul Kopeikan
- Victoria Faerber as First Nurse
- Nicolas Survoy as Dr. Daniel Waterston
- Carol Banker as Carol
- Elayn Taylor as Second Nurse
- Cheryl White as Third Nurse
- Scott Vance as Healer