Originally airing on the Fox network on March 23, 1997, Max helped explore the series' mythology arc, and is the second part of a two-part storyline, continuing the events of the previous episode, Tempus Fugit.
Mulder and Scully continue their investigation of a commercial airliner crash and discover that it may have been sacrificed by the military in order to obtain alien technology. (Part 2 of 2)
As seen in the previous episode, Mulder, clad in scuba gear, inspects (what appears to be) the wreckage of a UFO deep beneath the murky waters of Great Sacandaga Lake in Upstate New York. A bright beam of light penetrates the darkness, illuminating the agent. The light's source is revealed to be a team of frogmen, accompanied by an amphibious craft equipped with large searchlights. Mulder attempts to make an escape, but he is placed under military arrest.
A wounded Garrett escapes from the Headless Woman Pub. Scully immediately turns her attention to Agent Pendrell, who was caught in the crossfire. Paramedics are called to the scene and Pendrell is transported to a nearby hospital. Skinner tells Scully that Louis Frish is being placed under military arrest (for suspicion of murder and providing false testimony to a federal investigation).
Mulder is released from jail. The Air Force asserts that Flight 549 collided with a military fighter jet when Frish and his tower co-controller made an error in judgment. Based on the wreckage he saw beneath Lake Sacandaga, Mulder believes Flight 549 collided with a UFO (after it was shot down by a military jet). Scully tells Mulder that Agent Pendrell died of his injuries. Mulder conveys his sympathies.
Records reveal that Sharon Graffia is not Max Fenig's sister, but an unemployed aeronautical engineer who spent time in mental institutions (where she met Fenig). The agents search Fenig's mobile home. They discover a videotape in which Fenig states that the military salvaged alien technology for use in their own technological applications. He claims to have undeniable, irrefutable proof to back up his assertion.
Mulder describes for Mike Millar the sequence of events that (he believes) led to the downing of Flight 549. According to Mulder, Max boarded the plane carrying physical proof of the existence of extraterrestrial life. Someone followed him aboard the craft, intending to obtain the object at any cost. But before the assassin could carry out his plot, Flight 549 was intercepted by a UFO. As the UFO began to abduct Fenig, flight controllers ordered a military jet into 549's airspace on a mission to destroy the alien craft. When the Air Force shot down the UFO, the airliner, caught in its "tractor beam," spun out of control and crashed.
The manager of the trailer park where Fenig lived gives Mulder Fenig's undelivered mail. One envelope contains a luggage claim ticket bearing a three-letter designation for Syracuse. Meanwhile, Scully meets with Sharon Graffia at a mental health center. She admits she stole an object from her employer after Max insisted it could prove the existence of alien life. The object was divided into three parts. Max and Sharon each took a segment, but they were later confiscated.
Mulder finds the third piece inside Fenig's luggage at the Syracuse airport. He boards a flight for Washington, but is followed by Garrett (Agent Pendrell's killer). Mulder gets the jump on Garrett and confines him to a bathroom aboard the plane. He telephones Scully and instructs her to meet him at Dulles airport. Suddenly, Mulder's wrist watch stops running. A UFO intercepts the aircraft and, during the commotion, Garrett escapes from the lavatory. He grabs a knapsack containing the third stolen alien segment. As a bright light from the UFO engulfs the plane, Mulder instructs Garrett to drop the bag. But Garrett refuses to do so. When the plane lands at Dulles airport, Garrett is not on board. Mulder tells Skinner that Garrett "caught a connecting flight."
SEMICOLON-SEPARATED LIST OF ITEMS/LOCATIONS REFERENCED IN EPISODE (BUT NOT LINKED TO IF ALREADY LINKED IN SUMMARY OR GUEST STARS SECTIONS)
- This episode's title is the first name of the character Max Fenig, a fan favorite who first appeared in the Season 1 episode "Fallen Angel".
- Although Agent Pendrell's first name is never revealed. In the X-Files game, it is revealed to be Sean.
- Although this episode (and Part 1 "Tempus Fugit") deals with a military cover-up of a downed UFO and elimination of evidence that Max was carrying, it curiously did not involve the Cigarette Smoking Man. This type of work would be right up his alley.
- The song that plays when Mulder enters Max's trailer for the second time is 'Unmarked Helicopters' by Soul Coughing, featured on the X-Files album, "Songs in the Key of X."
- Mulder's quip while exiting the customs room about The Tickle Me Elmo (originally Tickle Me Tazmanian Devil) toy by Tyco, derived from the popular toy introduced in 1996 and selling out at Christmas causing hysteria at stores and price fluctuations from $28 to $1500.
- When Mulder got the bag of Max from the plane crash, Max's NICAP cap was there inside his bag even though we all know that Mulder kept his hat in the episode Fallen Angel. The NICAP cap even made an appearance in Beyond The Sea in Mulder's coat rack by the door of his office.
- At the beginning of the episode after the credits it shows Scully shoot twice where in the last episode she only fired once.
- 21:54 When Max is yanked out of the plane, when the shot of him is from the window there is a visible safety landing pad on the floor of the set.
Cast and Characters
- Joe Spano as Mike Millar
- Tom O'Brien as Sgt. Louis Frisch
- Scott Bellis as Max Fenig
- Chilton Crane as Sharon Graffia
- Brendan Beiser as Agent Pendrell
- John Destrey as Mr. Ballard
- Rick Dobran as Sgt. Armando Gonzales
- Jerry Schram as Larold Rebhun
- David Palffy as Dark Man
- Mark Wilson as a Pilot