Trust No 1
|"Trust No 1"|
|The X-Files episode|
|Episode no.||Season 9
|Directed by||Tony Wharmby|
|Written by||Chris Carter
|Original air date||January 6, 2002|
|Running time||44 minutes|
"Trust No 1" is the sixth episode of the ninth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. It premiered on the Fox network on January 6, 2002. The episode was written by series creator Chris Carter and executive producer Frank Spotnitz, and directed by Tony Wharmby. "Trust No 1" helps to explore the series' overarching mythology. The episode received a Nielsen household rating of 5.1 and was viewed by 8.4 million viewers; it garnered mixed to negative reviews from television critics, with many feeling that it portrayed the series' characters in a way that was unfaithful to the show's history.
The show centers on FBI special agents who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files; this season focuses on the investigations of John Doggett (Robert Patrick), Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish), and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). In this episode, Scully is hopeful about reuniting with her former partner, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) when a complete stranger offers new information about what drove him into hiding. Yet her trust in the stranger may place Mulder in even more danger, for the man turns out to be a super soldier.
"Trust No 1" features former leading star Duchovny via the use of previously filmed footage. It was written in response to fans who felt that, during season eight, Mulder's abduction was not dealt with until his miraculous return in "This is Not Happening"/"Deadalive". Actor Terry O'Quinn, who appears in this episode as the Shadow Man, had appeared as different characters in the second season episode "Aubrey" and the 1998 feature film and appeared as Peter Watts in The X-Files sister show Millennium. The tagline for the episode is "They're Watching."
While at a coffee shop, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) sees an infant crying and sees the infant's mother, Patti, outside of the coffee shop arguing with her husband, who then drives off. Scully asks the mother if she is OK, and the mother leaves with her child. Meanwhile, John Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Monica Reyes (Annabeth Gish) visit Scully at Quantico to tell her about a tipster who wants to contact Mulder. Doggett encourages Scully to contact Mulder. He believes the tipster has the names of super soldiers and that information would be vital to tracking the super soldiers down. The tipster indicates that he is willing to share this information with no one other than Mulder. Scully, fearful for Mulder's safety, falsely claims not to know his whereabouts.
Scully sees Patti a short time later, arguing with her husband, who drives off with their baby in the car. Scully approaches Patti, offering her assistance, and invites Patti inside. Scully convinces Patti to stay the night after learning she has nowhere else to go. Meanwhile, Doggett and Reyes stake out the location where Doggett traced the tipster's call. They see Patti's husband, who they believe to be the tipster, walk inside the apparently abandoned building. Inside, the husband sits at a computer. The Shadow Man (Terry O'Quinn), who appears to be the husband's boss, monitors Scully through surveillance.
The next morning, Patti turns off the baby monitor and removes William from his crib. Scully awakens when she gets a phone call from Doggett warning her that the tipster they were following had just gone into her building. Scully then hears William cry and confronts Patti with her gun, telling her to put down her baby. Just then, Patti's husband attempts to pick Scully's lock, but is stopped by Doggett and Reyes. The husband informs Scully, Doggett, and Reyes that they are being watched, and signals to Scully to close the window. He then reveals to Scully that he works for the NSA and has no name. He says he was not there to take William, but was there to retrieve his wife, as he knew she was upset. Patti says their daughter is just like William, and they only want to keep both children safe. The husband reveals that his supervisor has discovered the government's “Super Soldier” project and alludes to crimes against innocent people. He begs Scully to call Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) out of hiding in order to give him this information.
Moments later, the Shadow Man calls her and tells her that she must get Mulder. The Shadow Man then tells her that she has one day to contact Mulder or else he will disappear with a list of the Super Soldiers' identities. Scully refuses to contact Mulder unless she can meet with the Shadow Man face-to-face. The Shadow Man gives Scully detailed instructions about how and where to meet him, warning her that even a slight deviation from his instructions would mean that he would never contact her again. The Shadow Man tells her to drive a series of vehicles and to drive west until she is told to stop. He also tells her to change into a different outfit that he has in the trunk of the car she is driving. Scully reluctantly changes her clothing. The Shadow Man then comes face-to-face with Scully and destroys the vehicle Scully had been driving with a remotely detonated bomb. Scully questions him about how he knows her clothing size. During the meeting, the Shadow Man explains that he has been watching her for quite some time, and that, in addition to her clothing size, he knows everything about her, including, "That one lonely night you invited Mulder to your bed."
Scully finally gives in and contacts Mulder; she tells Doggett that before Mulder left, they had worked out a plan that, if Mulder was to return, he would be arriving by train. Doggett urges Scully to contact Mulder and tell him not to come, fearing that the Shadow Man is a set up, and that Mulder is in harm's way. Scully replies that she wants to see Mulder, and that it is too late to call it off. Reyes, Doggett, and the husband/NSA agent cover Scully at the train station. However, as the train pulls up, the Shadow Man appears and guns down the husband/agent before approaching Scully. Before the Shadow Man can kill Scully, Doggett appears and shoots him twice, sending him falling onto the train tracks, where the train seemingly runs over him without stopping. Because there has been a shooting, much to Scully's dismay, a train employee radios to the conductor to keep the train moving and not to stop at that station.
While Scully consoles Patti, whose husband just died in Scully's arms, Doggett reports that he cannot find the Shadow Man's body. Scully, fearful that he is a Super Soldier pursuing Mulder, chases after the train with Doggett and Reyes. An employee who works for the train gets a call on his radio, saying that someone jumped off a train and into a rock quarry. Doggett and Reyes chase after someone they believe to be Mulder, while Scully goes deeper into the quarry. There, she is attacked by the Shadow Man. Suddenly, the Shadow Man is destroyed by the magnetite being mined from the quarry.
"Trust No 1" was written by series creator Chris Carter along with executive producer Frank Spotnitz; it was directed by Tony Wharmby. The episode features former leading star David Duchovny via the use of previously shot footage. According to Matt Hurwitz and Chris Knowles in their book The Complete X-Files, the episode includes themes "about Orwellian surveillance." "Trust No 1" was written in response to fans who felt that, during season eight, Mulder's abduction was not dealt with until his miraculous return in "This is Not Happening"/"DeadAlive". Despite this, series director Kim Manners was critical of this take on Mulder, noting, "The only thing I thought we didn't do right during seasons eight and nine was that a lot of the shows were about Mulder, and I thought it was a mistake to make a series about a man that wasn't standing in front of the camera." The email addresses that Mulder and Scully use to communicate with each other were real addresses, created and maintained by Ten Thirteen Productions. The tagline for the episode is "They're Watching", changed from the usual "The Truth is Out There".
Actor Terry O'Quinn, who appears in this episode as the Shadow Man, had appeared as different characters in the second season episode "Aubrey" and the 1998 feature film. He had also played a recurring role as Peter Watts on Millennium, the sister series to The X-Files, and appeared in the short-lived series Harsh Realm. O'Quinn later earned the nickname "Mr. Ten Thirteen", due to his appearance in multiple shows and movies affiliated with Ten Thirteen Productions, the company that produced The X-Files.
Broadcast and reception
"Trust No 1" first premiered on the Fox network in the United States on January 6, 2002. The episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 5.1, meaning that it was seen by 5.1% of the nation's estimated households and was viewed by 5.4 million households,[nb 1] and 8.4 million viewers. It was the 55th most watched episode of television that aired during the week ending March 3. The episode eventually aired in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on December 8, 2002. The episode was later included on The X-Files Mythology, Volume 4 – Super Soldiers, a DVD collection that contains episodes involved with the alien super soldiers arc.
The episode received mixed to negative reviews from television critics. Jessica Morgan from Television Without Pity gave the episode a B– grade. John Keegan from Critical Myth gave the episode a mixed review and awarded it a 6 out of 10. He wrote, "Overall, this is not nearly as bad an episode as many people are making it out to be, but it’s not exactly a sterling piece of work, either. It feels like they were shooting for a 'Momento Mori' [sic], and wound up with a 'Zero Sum'. This episode is interesting in the information it provides, and not much else. But in my opinion, it’s better than 'Lord of the Flies'."
Robert Shearman and Lars Pearson, in their book Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen, rated the episode one star out of five. The two called the entry "an exercise in futility […] at best" and argued that, because Duchovny had left the series, the sense of excitement that he might have made an appearance in the episode was completely gone. Furthermore, Shearman and Pearson heavily criticized Mulder and Scully's characterization, calling Mulder a character the audience "can't recognize any more" and Scully a "gullible patsy". M.A. Crang, in his book Denying the Truth: Revisiting The X-Files after 9/11, was also critical of the script's treatment of the characters, arguing that Mulder and Scully in this episode "sound nothing like the characters we have come to know". He also lamented that the episode did not examine the central theme of electronic surveillance in greater detail. Tom Kessenich, in his book Examinations, wrote a largely negative review of the episode. He derided the series for making it appear that Mulder abandoned the woman he loved and his own child. He noted, "Just because it walks, talks, and sometimes acts like The X-Files, doesn't make it The X-Files."
- At the time of airing, the estimated number of households was 105.5 million. Thus, 5.1 percent of 105.5 million is 5.4 million households.
- "Trust No 1". TheXFiles.com. Fox Broadcasting Company. 6 January 2002. Archived from the original on 1 April 2002. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- "Trust No 1". BBC Cult. BBC. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- The X-Files: The Complete Ninth Season (booklet). Kim Manners, et al. Fox.
- Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 201
- "Trust No 1 - Research Information". TheXFiles.com. Fox Broadcasting Company. 6 January 2002. Archived from the original on 13 August 2002. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Tony Wharmby (Director); Chris Carter and Frank Spotnitz (Writers) (6 January 2002). "Trust No 1". The X-Files. Season 9. Episode 6. Fox.
- Brew, Simon (17 July 2008). "Lost's John Locke in The X-Files". Den of Geek. Dennis Publishing. Retrieved 18 June 2012.
- Rob Bowman (Director); Sara B. Charno (Writer) (6 January 1995). "Aubrey". The X-Files. Season 2. Episode 12. Fox.
- Gibron, Bill (20 July 2004). "Millennium: Season 1: DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". DVD Talk. Internet Brands. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- Hurwitz and Knowles, p. 60
- The Associated Press (8 January 2002). "Prime-Time Nielsen Ratings". Associated Press Archives. Retrieved 27 June 2012. (subscription required)
- Canton, Maj. "The X-Files – Series – Episode List – Season 9". TV Tango. Retrieved February 24, 2013.
- Kim Manners et al. The X-Files Mythology, Volume 4 – Super Soldiers (DVD). Fox.
- Morgan, Jessica. "TrustNo1". Television Without Pity. NBC Universal. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Keegan, John. "Trustno1". Critical Myth. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Shearman and Pearson, pp. 264–265
- Crang, M.A. (2015). Denying the Truth. Createspace. p. 148. ISBN 9781517009038.
- Kessenich, pp. 195–200
- Hurwitz, Matt; Knowles, Chris (2008). The Complete X-Files. Insight Editions. ISBN 1933784806.
- Kessenich, Tom (2002). Examination: An Unauthorized Look at Seasons 6–9 of the X-Files. Trafford Publishing. ISBN 1553698126.
- Shearman, Robert; Pearson, Lars (2009). Wanting to Believe: A Critical Guide to The X-Files, Millennium & The Lone Gunmen. Mad Norwegian Press. ISBN 097594469X.
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