"Nisei" is the ninth episode of the third season of The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on November 24, 1995. The episode was written by Chris Carter, Howard Gordon and Frank Spotnitz, and was directed by David Nutter.
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Investigating a video of an alien autopsy, Mulder and Scully find evidence that Japanese scientists brought to America after the Second World War may have been involved in Scully's abduction. (Part 1 of 2)
Summary[edit | edit source]
[edit | edit source]
A train reaches a station and a man gets off the train. He disconnects the train's last carriage and signals for the vehicle to be restarted. After nightfall, cars pull up outside the train and passengers exit them. They greet a Japanese man who has just disembarked from the carriage. The man leaves in one of the cars but the other men enter the carriage, put on bio-protection suits and begin operating on a body, extracting a green liquid from it. Suddenly, military-looking men storm the train and kill all the doctors, putting the body in a bag before leaving. The body is actually an alien, and a small camera inside the carriage has been recording the entire event.
Act One[edit | edit source]
Scully walks into the basement X-Files office, and finds Mulder watching a video of the earlier autopsy. She asks how much it cost him, and he replies $29.95, plus shipping. Scully is shocked by how much it cost, and complains that it seems more faked than the Alien Autopsy aired on Fox, because you can't even see the body. Mulder explains that what intrigues him about it is the striking lack of detail, but what he is really interested in is when the train carriage is stormed. (Neither agent currently knows that this took place in a train.) The video cuts off, just after the squad of men start firing. When Scully asks who is selling the tapes, Mulder replies, "Some guy in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Claims he pulled it off the satellite this morning."
Mulder and Scully arrive outside the house of the man who is selling the tapes. The front door is boarded up but the back door has been broken open. By the side of the door is a mailbox, with "Rat Tail Productions" written at the top of it. Inside the house, Scully finds a man with his hands tied together with rope, and it appears that he was suffocated by a pillowcase on his head, which is bloody. His body is still warm, indicating that his murder was a recent event. Mulder spots a man running in a hallway downstairs and chases the man past several apartment blocks. The man is Japanese and is carrying a briefcase, which he does not seem reluctant to drop. The man attempts to climb a fence but Mulder pulls him down. The man turns to attack Mulder and seems to be skilled in martial arts. He kicks Mulder's gun out of his hand and then tries to run. Mulder pulls up his trouser leg, revealing an ankle-holster. He takes the gun out and fires several warning shots at the man, who turns in shock and looks at Mulder. "Got tired of losing my gun", Mulder explains. Mulder takes the man's bag and realizes he doesn't speak English, before arresting him.
Act Two[edit | edit source]
The Japanese Man is in custody but Scully has been unable to locate a Japanese-English interpreter. Towards the end of the hallway, Mulder spots Assistant Director Skinner walking towards them. Mulder mutters a joke to Scully, and says "Look at this, a beacon in the night." Skinner greets the agents and tells them that the situation, from his perspective, is actually somewhat of an international crisis. He tells Mulder that the man he arrested earlier was Kazuo Sakurai, a high-ranking Japanese diplomat, and that Mulder will have to let him go free. Skinner says that the murder victim and the paperwork all have to be handled by another agency. Before he leaves, Skinner tells Mulder to keep his nose clean in everything until he gets back to Washington.
Outside, Scully asks Mulder if he just wants to drop the case but he reminds her that he paid $29.95 for the tape and says he thinks he's entitled to a few more answers. Mulder opens the trunk of his car and gets out the briefcase that Kazou was carrying. Inside the bag are satellite photos of a ship at sea. Scully also finds a sheet of paper with a list of UFO club members, with the name Betsy Hagopian circled. Mulder tells Scully to get a motel room and find Betsy, while he returns to Washington, D.C., "like a good boy" as Skinner told him to do, and show the photo to some of his friends.
THE LONE GUNMEN'S OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
Mulder visits The Lone Gunmen and shows them the satellite photos that he found in the briefcase. They tell him that the boat in the picture is called the Talapus and that the optics of the picture are German, the technology is probably from the USA and the satellite is Japanese, launched from South America. "Got to love that global economy, huh?" replies Mulder. They also tell him that the Talapus was a salvage ship out of San Diego, that it spent months looking for a Japanese submarine that sank in World War II and was rumored to be carrying a load of gold bullion. Mulder asks if they ever found the submarine and Langly tells him that they reportedly didn't but, judging from the photos, the ship never returned to San Diego, having instead taken the Panama Canal to a naval shipyard in Newport News, Virginia. Although none of the men can understand why the Talapus would have journeyed there, Mulder starts to consider that the reason may be that the ship found something other than a Japanese submarine.
Kazuo Sakurai walks out of the embassy, where a black car is waiting for him. A chauffeur opens the door for him, and he gets in. The chauffeur closes the door, and locks Sakurai in the car. A face comes out of the shadows behind the seats, and smiles a sadistic smile towards him. The driver adjusts his rear view mirror, and reflects the man in the back of the car, strangling Sakurai to death.
Act Three[edit | edit source]
BETSY HAGOPIAN'S HOUSE
Scully goes to try and find Betsy Hagopian. She arrives at her house, and notices a MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) sticker on the window. Scully knocks the door, and a woman with dark hair answers. Scully asks if she is Betsy, and the woman says that Besty is not there right now. When she asks for any way she could contact Betsy, the woman looks a Scully with awe on her face. Scully apologises and reaches for her badge, and the woman says "I know you". Scully tells her she must be mistaken, but the woman is sure that she has seen Scully before. She calls for her friend Penny, and when Penny gets there, she straight away says "Oh My God! She's one.". Scully asks "One what?", and the first woman answers "One of us." Scully tells them they must be mistaken, but Penny calls someone and says to bring the group to Betsy's place. Scully tells them about the man who was murdered by Kazo, and they say that he was one of their group. Scully tells them again that they must be wrong, bt they tell her this;
LOTTIE HOLLOWAY: Did you have an unexplained event in your life last year? Were you missing for a period of time that can't be accounted for?
(Scully stares at them in shock.)
SCULLY: Why did you ask me that?
PENNY NORTHERN: I think you better sit down, Miss Scully. I think there are some people you're going to want to meet.
When people starts to arrive, Scully assures them that she has never seen any of them in her life. They say she cannot remember because she has only been taken once. Scully asks what they meen by "Taken". They tell her "To the Bright White Place". Scully suddenly sees a flashback of herself lying on a table, bathed in a bright light. A woman asks "You remember, don't you? There were men there, performing tests" Scully asks which men they are talking about, and Lottie tells her that they do not reveal themselves, that they take her memory away, but somehow it keeps seeping back. That some may have come back to her but didn't make sense. Scully doesn't understand why she can't remember the MUFON members. They tell her that the first time, all you remember is the light, then sometimes the faces of the men who perform the tests. Scully stares at her until her memory returns briefly and she sees some kind of tube attached to her belly button during the tests, exactly like Mulder had imagined when Scully was abducted. Her stomach is inflated, being filled with air. It grows very large as two figures, presumably aliens, watch in the background. They ask if she has the mark, and one woman shows hers to Scully. She has a brown mark on the back of her neck, exactly like Scully has. Lottie says that that is where they put the implant. Scully tries to leave, but Penny convinces her to come and see Betsy...
-Summary will be continued soon-
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References[edit | edit source]
Background Information[edit | edit source]
Production[edit | edit source]
- The episode title is a reference to the term for first-generation Japanese-Americans (American born children of Japanese immigrants).
- A Nisei is a son born outside Japan to emigrant parents. In its original and more restricted meaning, the term applies only to male children born in North or South America to parents who left Japan prior to World War II, but in more casual use refers to any child of emigre Japanese couples.The parent (emigre) generation is called Issei; the children of Nisei are called Sansei. In order to be properly considered Sansei, all four grandparents must have been born in Japan.The words correspond and are evolved from the Japanese for the numbers one, two and three: ich, ni, san.
- It seems very odd, given that X puts his life in danger every time he goes to see Mulder, that he would go to see Scully simply to get her to ring Mulder and warn him. The man seems to have access to the darkest of secrets, so presumably getting access to Mulder's cellphone number shouldn't have been too much of a problem for him and he could have phoned himself from a payphone! Unless of course he did not believe that Mulder would have listened to him, and perhaps thought that Scully would have more influence on his decision.
- The storyline of this episode was originally conceived as a stand-alone episode.
Goofs[edit | edit source]
- In the starting scene, the railroad worker is seen among the alien autopsy boxcar. It will appear in the middle of the wagons on the next stage. Assuming Boxcar is a secret lab, all doors must be locked. This move can not be done when the train is moving.
- At 21:24 Mulder is standing in front of a mirror that captures the reflection of a production member.
- When escaping the S.W.A.T team raiding the ship Mulder botches diving into the water and belly flops.
- In act one, it is established that Kazuo Sakurai neither speaks nor understands English. However, in the scene where he is killed, the limo chauffeur speaks to him in English.
- In the teaser, the location is identified as Knoxville, Tennessee. However, there are distinctively Canadian railroad crossing signs shown as the train crosses in front of the group of children. During the closing scenes identified as West Virginia, more Canadian trains are shown in the railyard, such as the British Columbia Railway locomotives in the maintenance area.
- The alien autopsy boxcar number changes during the episode. At the beginning we see 82594. Halfway into the episode when Mulder is scoping out the railroad the number is 82517, which carries over into the following episode.
- The uniform of the Coast Guard officer that meets with Mulder is incorrect. The Coast Guard has not worn a khaki duty uniform since the 1960s. The current Coast Guard duty uniform is blue. Nor does the Coast Guard issue a black commando sweater. In actuality, the uniform used in this episode is probably a re-use of the US Navy uniforms seen previously in the show.
- The location ticker reads "Substation C, Allentown, Pennsylvania 10:02, but the letters on the building read "Los Angeles Police Department"
- When Mulder breaks into the ship, he leaves the door open. It is closed in a subsequent shot.
- When Senator Matheson tells Mulder about the four Japanese Nationals had been murdered, he says that the murders had occurred several weeks ago, but when Mulder brings Scully up to speed a scene or two later, he tells her that someone must have been able to identify the four doctors who were performing the autopsy even though they were only murdered yesterday.
- About 38 minutes into the episode, Scully is watching a videotape on what appears to be a wide-screen television (16:9 ratio). In 1995 this would be a very rare (and expensive) set in the USA. The video (allegedly obtained as an off-satellite video tape recording) would have been recorded in the NTSC 5:4 format on a standard VCR, so the playback should have either had black bars on either side to maintain the aspect ratio, or the image should have been obviously stretched and distorted to fill the screen. The scenes on the tape were probably filmed with the same 35mm cameras the rest of the episode was filmed with and made to look like a video tape (i.e. tracking lines during pause mode).
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- The phrase "she is one", here used referring to Scully, is the same as in episode 2x10; "Red Museum", used in reference to teenagers who were unwittingly part of an experiment with alien DNA.
- The number on the boxcar in which the alien autopsy takes place is 82594. This recalls the date, August 25, 1994, when Chris Carter made his directing debut, for the episode 'Duane Barry'.
- The box car is a modified Budd Rail Diesel Car. 
- Several locations in this episode are featured prominently in the X-Files video game for the PC and PlayStation, The train yard and the shipping docks to name a few. Also, the same train car Mulder becomes trapped in, as well as exactly the same boat Mulder investigates early on in the episode are places you can explore in the game.
- Scully's joke about the hokey Alien Autopsy special on FOX turned out to be ironic since Fox repeated the special the following night. They even even aired some promotional spots for the special during the original telecast.
- Pictures of the salvage ship are actually edited pictures of the World War Two German Battleship Bismarck and her consort the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen while stopped in Norway to refuel. The heavy cruiser is badly edited to look like the salvage vessel. The pics where actually taken by a RAF recon Spitfire of a Norway harbor, not the Panama Canal.
82517: This number appears on the alien autopsy boxcar halfway through the episode. While it may be pushing things, 8/25/17 was the start of the Bolshevic Revolution, which could be an allusion to the revolution that Mulder is starting.Strangely enough, 5/17/82 is the publication date of a journal article by a doctor named Mulder regarding neonatal menegitis and testing on babies in the womb. Could this possibly be a reference to Scully?
Cast and Characters[edit | edit source]
- The tactical team in the opening sequence were not actors but real trained Rangers.
- Gillian Barber (Penny Northern) previously played Agent Nancy Spiller in The X-Files episode "Ghost in the Machine" and Beth Kane in "Red Museum".
- Paul McLean (Coast Guard Officer) previously played Dr. Josephs in The X-Files episode "Shapes" and Agent Kautz in "Anasazi".
Cast[edit | edit source]
- Stephen McHattie the Red-Haired Man
- Raymond J. Barry as Senator Richard Matheson
- Robert Ito as Dr. Takeo Ishimaru/Shiro Zama
- Tom Braidwood as Melvin Frohike
- Dean Haglund as Richard Langly
- Bruce Harwood as John Fitzgerald Byers
- Steven Williams as X
- Gillian Barber as Penny Northern
- Corrine Koslo as Lottie Holloway
- Laurie Triolo as Diane
- Paul McLean as Coast Guard Officer
- Brendan Beiser as Agent Pendrell
- Yasuo Sakurai as Kazuo Sakurai