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11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

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11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 7 Feb - 18:32




Preview: They Know Everything | Season 11 Ep. 7 | THE X-FILES

The X-Files
Publicado em 7 de fev de 2018

Catch an all-new episode of THE X-FILES on WED, FEB 28th on FOX!

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by dreamy on Sun 11 Feb - 7:24

Oh Scully's got a new haircut Smile
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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Tue 13 Feb - 19:08





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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Tue 13 Feb - 19:10



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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 14 Feb - 12:08




ALERT: What Do You Want To Believe? | Season 11 | THE X-FILES

The X-Files
Publicado em 14 de fev de 2018

ALERT. ALERT. THE X-FILES returns with an all-new episode on FEB 28th on FOX! ALERT. ALERT.

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 14 Feb - 14:14

Sneak Peek at Episode 7 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz'

By Keva Andersen
On February 14, 2018



Is it date night gone wrong or a terrifying technology takeover? FOX has released an extended look at Episode 7 "Rm9sbG93ZXJz," which airs on February 28th. Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin wrote the episode, which finds Mulder and Scully caught in a "deadly game of cat and mouse" in a world where technology, automation, and artificial intelligence are on the rise.

Glen Morgan directed the episode, and at the FOX TCA in January he and David Duchovny shared that the story has very little dialog. There is a ton of action in just the short trailer and a lot to unpack. Watch the promo below and check out all the screen caps to hunt for clues.





X-Files News

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 15 Feb - 3:12

The X-Files season 11 episode 7 spoilers: First details on ‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’

February 15, 2018



Is The X-Files season 11 episode 7 new tonight on Fox? It would absolutely be nice to have it but, unfortunately, we’re not getting another installment broadcast for a little while longer.

Because of the Olympics, Fox is holding back on The X-Files until February 28, which means that in two more weeks you will have a chance to see more of what’s coming for Mulder and Scully. While you wait, why not check out some more information on what’s coming in the first episode back?

Probably the first thing that’s odd about the episode is strictly the name. Who call an episode that? It’s so out of left field and the vast majority of shows would not possibly get away with this. With that being said, this is clearly not your ordinary show. We could probably spend another few paragraphs on that alone, but let’s just say that this is CLEARLY just the product of someone over in production who wanted to be outside the box and get people talking about a story without know anything else.

The X-Files season 11 episode 7 synopsis is at least a little bit more informative from the vantage point of sharing what is coming up:

In a world of ever-increasing automation and artificial intelligence, Mulder and Scully find themselves targets in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in the all-new “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Feb. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

Intrigued? We are in the same that we’re getting a chance to see a cognitive, interesting episode that could actually feel a little like Black Mirror or even Westworld with its theme of artificial intelligence starting to feel a little less artificial than ever before. This is a notion that is revealed further in the recent X-Files season 11 episode 7 promo. (Take a look at that here.) As someone who does want The X-Files to create interesting story-of-the-week plots that don’t feel like recreations of anything that we’ve seen before, we do feel as though this excites us.

Here’s the sad news: There are only three more episodes left beyond this one. We anticipate EVERY SINGLE EPISODE from here on out to be great. Really, they have to be if there is any hope of the show ending on a high note.

What do you want to see coming up on The X-Files season 11 episode 7? Be sure to share some of your thoughts right now in the comments! Meanwhile, be sure to like CarterMatt on Facebook in the event you want to secure some other updates on the series. (Photo: Fox.)


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 15 Feb - 4:37

‘The X-Files’: Mulder, Scully Go On A Sushi Date In New Trailer

By Christian Saclao On 02/15/18 AT 6:21 AM

Mulder and Scully dine at a Japanese restaurant in Season 11, episode 7 of “The X-Files.” But as seen in a new trailer for the installment, the eatery the partners visit appears to be a smart restaurant.

In the minute-long promo clip of the Fox series, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) order their food using an app. And because the restaurant has zero staff, Mulder pays for their food by inserting his ATM card in a slot strategically installed on their table.

Another fun technology featured in the video is Scully’s smart fridge, which reminds her of Skinner’s (Mitch Pileggi) upcoming birthday and advises her to keep herself hydrated. It also informs Scully that her stock of salad dressing is running low, and asks if she would like to defrost the chicken as someone named Scott is coming for dinner.

The video, however, also shows a number of disturbing technological inventions, including a fast-driving driverless car, a navigation app telling its user that he’ll never make it to his office, and a fleet of drones and a pack of four-legged robots coming after Mulder and Scully.



While it’s unclear why these techs are bothering the duo, the synopsis for the episode reveals that the partners are going to find themselves targets in a deadly game of cat and mouse involving artificial intelligence.

In a previously released trailer for the episode, Scully whispers to Mulder that somebody is tracking them, and that this somebody knows everything.



The episode is titled “Rm9sbG93ZXJz,” which is a Base64 code used to encode binary text information so it can be transferred digitally without changes. According to Syfy Wire, if “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” is decoded, it translates to the word “Followers.”

In an interview with TV Insider last month, Duchovny said that the next episode, which was written by Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin, “probably [only] has 15 or 20 lines of dialogue.” “It’s a really ballsy move on everyone’s part,” the actor said.

“It’s interesting to work on something without dialogue, because you don’t want to end up miming,” Anderson added.

“Fox is great to let us do it,” episode director Glen Morgan said.

The episode airs on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 9 p.m. EST on Fox.


Someone is tracking down Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) using advanced technologies in Season 11, episode 7 of Fox’s “The X-Files.” Photo: Fox/Shane Harvey


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 15 Feb - 5:18

The X-Files - Episode 11.07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz - Promo & Press Release

Posted by SpoilerTV at February 15, 2018

Press Release

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28
THE X-FILES - (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) CC-AD-HDTV 720p-Dolby Digital 5.1

IT'S MULDER AND SCULLY VERSUS A.I. ON AN ALL-NEW "THE X-FILES" WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, ON FOX

Episode Written By Shannon Hamblin & Kristen Cloke; Directed by Glen Morgan

In a world of ever-increasing automation and artificial intelligence, Mulder and Scully find themselves targets in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse in the all-new "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" episode of THE X-FILES airing Wednesday, Feb. 28 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (XF-1107) (TV-14 D, L, V)

Cast: David Duchovny as Fox Mulder; Gillian Anderson as Dana Scully; Mitch Pileggi as Walter Skinner

Guest Cast: Candus Churchill as Shirley

Source: FOX


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 15 Feb - 15:19

New Promotional Images for "Rm9sbG93ZXJz"

By Roi Ollson
On February 15, 2018



"Rm9sbG93ZXJz" is a mouthful of an episode title. It translates into "Followers" in Base64, and it's going to be a unique episode. Check out the official promotional photos of the episode below. On February 28th, it looks like date night goes a little awry.

In a world of ever-increasing automation and artificial intelligence, Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson) find themselves targets in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Episode written by Shannon Hamblin & Kristen Cloke; Directed by Glen Morgan.



X-Files News

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by Duchovny on Fri 16 Feb - 10:06

OMG!!! thanks
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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by veritox on Sat 17 Feb - 17:41

Thanks!!
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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 28 Feb - 8:42

Mulder, Scully and the Blobfish? All About The X-Files Prop Gillian Anderson Can't Get Enough Of

by Chris Harnick | Wed., Feb. 28, 2018 7:15 AM


The X-Files is poised to present another memorable episode with "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" with an equally memorable guest star: the blobfish.

When E! News visited the set of The X-Files in November 2017, Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny revealed what they were excited for fans to see this year. "The blowfish—the blobfish!" Anderson told us.

"You're into that," Duchovny laughed.

"Although I've already exposed him," she said. Anderson tweeted a photo of the blobfish in November.

"I think we've done a few really interesting episodes. The one that Gillian's referring to could be very interesting, it could be disastrous, but could be amazing. It's an episode that has 10 or 15 lines of dialogue in the whole episode," Duchovny teased.






"Rm9sbG93ZXJz" was written by Shannon Hamblin & Kristen Cloke and directed by Glen Morgan and finds Mulder and Scully as targets in deadly game of cat and mouse that's to the world of ever-increasing automation and artificial intelligence. But back to the blobfish: Anderson tweeted a selfie of herself with the prop and you can tell the little creature holds a special place in her heart.

"The blobfish has no dialogue," Duchovny said.

"Uh-uh, no," Anderson added. "But it looks a lot like our son."

"But," Duchovny said, "it's an amazing looking—"

"Prosthetic?" Anderson interjected.

"Episode," Duchovny finished, and he and Anderson both laughed. "You're obsessed with that blobfish…He did look fake, but he's an actual dude."

Click play to hear more from Anderson and Duchovny about their favorite cases this season, and yes, the blobfish.

The X-Files airs Wednesdays, 8 p.m. on Fox.


E! Online

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 28 Feb - 16:33

'The X-Files' Episode 7: Mulder and Scully's 'Black Mirror' Nightmare (VIDEO)

Samantha Lear February 28, 2018 10:30 am


Shane Harvey/FOX
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in the "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" episode of THE X-FILES

It was only a matter of time that The X-Files would have its Black Mirror moment—both shows do share that Twilight Zone DNA.

In every chapter of the Netflix anthology series, viewers learn an important lesson about the dangers of technology. And in an exclusive sneak peek of Wednesday's "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" episode of X-Files—the show's big return post-Olympics—it looks like Mulder and Scully will learn that same lesson.

In the (completely dialogue-free) clip, we see the duo in an empty, futuristic sushi restaurant. Mulder swipes his credit card to pay for their meals, and suddenly, the place goes haywire. The door keeps closing and an Alexa-like voice repeats, "yum!" and "success!" over and over.

What is this creepy place? And are they really trapped? Watch the full preview below:



The X-Files, Wednesdays, 8/7c, Fox


TVInsider

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 28 Feb - 19:23

The X-Files recap: 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz'

Or: How Fox Mulder learned to tip

Kelly Connolly@_kellyQ

Posted on February 28, 2018 at 9:00pm EST


Shane Harvey/FOX

We gave it a B

Hello! I am here to help. Did you know technology is dangerous?

That’s the premise of Black Mirror, and this tweet by noted luddite Elon Musk, and tonight’s episode of The X-Files, which is basically Black Mirror (unless it’s Mr. Robot). It’s also the message behind the not-exactly-classic season 1 X-Files episode “Ghost in the Machine,” an adorably of-its-time hour of technological fear mongering that screams 1993, or apparently 2018. In it, a murderous computer system takes control of a building — locking doors, staging electrocutions, manipulating phones, and remotely accessing files — to ensure its own survival. “Mulder, that level of artificial intelligence is decades away from being realized!” Scully scoffs, in shoulder pads. She doesn’t know she’s on a show with two and a half decades of staying power.

A quarter century later, The X-Files is circling back around to one of its earliest fears, one that felt outdated halfway through the show’s original run but has since been proven valid, if clichéd. (Like Mulder, The X-Files gives voice to conspiracies so paranoid they have to be true; this episode ends on a shout-out to the New York Times report on the Pentagon’s secret UFO investigations, an idea straight out of the pilot.) It’s not groundbreaking to suggest, as this story does, that we’re ceding our lives to our phones, but when you throw in packs of robot dogs and drones and ugh, those automated phone calls, the effect is still smothering. In an era one tweet away from nuclear war, when a TV show tells me computers are going to kill me, some primal part of me is going to nod along.

But it all adds up to an episode that doesn’t feel like most X-Files episodes, and I mean “feel” in a visceral sense — I was left cold by this one, in part for what it does right (I never want another notification from my phone) and in part for what it doesn’t. What this hour does well as a standalone story requires it to ignore the big picture of the show: It’s a Black Mirror-esque fable that has to reshape Mulder and Scully in order to work. The effect is so disorienting that if I hadn’t seen promo shots from future episodes, I’d half expect Scully’s (very chic!) hair to be long again next week.

It doesn’t help that “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” — a mouthful of a title that translates to “Followers” in Base64 — barely tries to justify its central gimmick: how light it is on dialogue. The beginning of the hour finds Mulder and Scully on a sushi date (the restaurant’s name, Forowā, also translates to “Followers”) with no other patrons and an all-robot staff. Rather than talk to each other, the partners swipe silently through a touchscreen menu, then turn to their phones like a couple of regular teenage stereotypes who just happen to be in their mid 50s, looking up only for a cute exchange in which Scully takes a picture of Mulder with his meal. (Art imitating life, or life imitating art?) It’s nice that The X-Files isn’t interested in pinning our technological dependence solely on the younger generations, but two self-described “old-school” investigators aren’t really the right characters to send a message about how much time we all spend looking at screens. Just last month Mulder was rhapsodizing about a bran muffin in an internet cafe.

Now he’s traded bran for blobfish, which he did not order. Mulder, a bad tipper even when the order is correct (see for example: giving the pizza guy 2 cents in “Bad Blood”), responds by denying the robot chefs a tip, which seems fair because he never got a bite to eat and also because robots don’t have to pay rent. But his decision sets off a chain reaction of computerized rebellion that starts at the restaurant, which locks the partners inside the building and refuses to release Mulder’s credit card. It’s odd, then, that after Scully has to pry open the doors to the sushi place with chopsticks, she and Mulder are still in awe of the driverless car that arrives to pick her up. From the computerized chauffeur to Scully’s uncharacteristic smart home, the partners’ willingness to trust machines seems out of step with what they know of surveillance.

Of course the machines betray them: Mulder’s GPS tries to divert him back to the restaurant and hijacks his music, playing “Teach Your Children,” a song about the generational divide, over Prince’s “Controversy” (we’re all just the same). Meanwhile, Scully’s ride drives dangerously over the speed limit. She’s at the end of her rope by the time she gets home, and she sends off the self-driving car with the Scully equivalent of Ross Geller’s friendly finger. Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny are a lot of fun in this hour, bringing out levels of Scully and Mulder that made me wish this episode had allowed them more time together and given them a more urgent reason to keep quiet. For two characters who always seem to be in the middle of an unspoken conversation, this concept has potential: What happens when the comfortable silence between them is weaponized against them?

Alas, the partners spend most of the episode in separate homes, where there’s no one else for them to talk to anyway. On that note, the show is painting its central duo in pointillism again: Scully is settled in a full-on smart house we’ve never seen before — it’s a stretch that she’d live there, but kudos to writers Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin for painting a fuller picture of her life than the rest of the season has — and Mulder makes a joke that implies he doesn’t spend a lot of time at her place. What are we meant to make of how many prisms this season has viewed their relationship through? “This Man” is back tonight, hanging on a wall, destabilizing reality. It’s like we’re being taunted.

Mulder can relate. He tosses around a baseball while on hold with Bigly Credit, which keeps hanging up on him. His attempt to unwind with an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man — the story of a man “enhanced” by bionic implants, human becoming machine for better or for worse — is interrupted by a nosy drone, which he knocks to the ground with a baseball bat and shrugs off as the toy of a punk kid until more drones arrive: bigger ones at first, then a swarm of bug-like, neon miniatures that light up the house in a neat, if not exactly threatening, visual. Mulder takes off. (Next: DJ Roomba’s Revenge)

As for Scully, her smart house keeps setting off alarms, rejecting her security code (her birthday, 0223), and telling her she wasn’t born where she knows she was born. It’s like watching computers strip Scully of herself; there’s more than one way to steal an identity. Her password is Queequeg, the dog she named after the Moby-Dick harpoonist in season 3 — a reminder that she took another dog from a crime scene last season and gave him another Melville-inspired name, but we haven’t seen Daggoo since. Fittingly for such an impersonal hour, the closest Scully gets to a pet tonight is the Roomba-like Zuemz she receives via — what else? — a drone. The robotic vacuum gets aggressive when she refuses to rate it on her phone, and it doesn’t appreciate Scully’s attempt to toss it in the trash.

Do our electronics need approval this much? This episode envisions robots not as empty, impersonal machines but as needy little things with desires that mimic our own: money, attention, being liked on the internet. The fear of being replaced by something impersonal has become the fear that it isn’t impersonal at all. (Every app or device in this episode has a “z” somewhere in its name; if you code “z” in Base64, you get “ego=.”) Throughout the hour, Mulder gets notifications asking — warning — him to tip the restaurant before time runs out, conflating one definition of tip (helpful feedback) with another (money). Like a kind of prosperity gospel, the robots codify value in terms of wealth; when Scully’s car service asks for a rating, her options are Poor, Middle Class, Rich, and Ballin.

By the time Mulder makes it to Scully’s place, the robots are in the middle of an uprising that sets the house ablaze just as Scully shatters her locked sliding glass door with a fireplace poker. She and Mulder dive to the ground just in time. Naturally, their phones refuse to call 911, Mulder’s car won’t open, and the neighbor’s security camera erases Mulder and Scully from its feed, so they’re on their own. The agents take off on foot toward some nearby warehouses and ditch any device that can be used to track them, including a “personal massager” the Zuemz unearthed from beneath Scully’s bed. Mulder points, amused, and Scully rolls her eyes: an unspoken conversation about what happens when they don’t live together.

As soon as the partners make it inside a warehouse, their long night transforms into the Black Mirror episode it’s been running parallel to all along: last season’s “Metalhead,” which, interestingly enough, was originally intended to be totally free of dialogue. That “Metalhead” aired after “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” had already been filmed only makes the similarities eerier, as if each independent vision of the future confirms the other. On Black Mirror, a woman’s warehouse encounter with a deadly robot dog kicks off a frantic game of cat (dog?) and mouse in a post-apocalyptic landscape. Here, a pack of robot dogs edge Mulder and Scully into a room where they’re fired on by bullets and eventually cornered by a more humanoid robot, which offers Mulder his phone and a deadline: just 10 seconds left to leave a tip. (I love that Mulder being a bad tipper literally almost kills him.) Wincing like it pains him, Mulder tips the bare minimum of 10 percent with one second to go.

His phone celebrates like he just won the lottery. “We learn from you,” declares the pop-up notification, prompting Mulder to distill the moral of the episode into a complete sentence: “We have to be better teachers.” There’s value in that, especially in the context of this episode’s prologue, the story of the Twitter bot who mimicked our language and learned only hatred. It would be impossible to set a better example for artificial intelligence without also being nicer to each other. But “tip your robots” doesn’t quite do justice to such a big idea, especially when the robots are such authoritarians. (Next: Saved by the diner)

It’s hard to ignore the fact that Mulder’s call to action is corrupted by real-world events. As of two weeks ago, in some American circles, to teach is to be prepared to take up arms. This is not context the show intended to grapple with, but it didn’t intend to mirror a particular Black Mirror episode either, and yet here it is, somehow predicting the future and falling behind it at the same time. A parking ticket on Mulder’s car gives the date as June 13, 2018, a near future that’s both unfamiliar and already quaint. Robot dogs can open doors now, and education is violence. The world is moving faster than The X-Files can air.

“Rm9sbG93ZXJz” paints humans as the teachers to our robot students. It debuts in a world that flips that model on its head, as the President of the United States calls for a kind of mechanized teacher: a twisted, bionic human on a shoestring salary. Reality beat this hour to the bleak idea that we’re all just here to breed more cogs in a dehumanizing machine. Are the “followers” of the episode’s title the robots that learn from our example, or are they us, following brands online and giving the bulk of our attention to our phones? If the answer is “both,” then we’re all just going in circles, like a phone repeating a recording of our name but never patching us through.

In that sense, the low stakes in the first half of this episode work — even if they don’t do the silent gimmick any favors — to build a creeping sense that we’re already trapped by our devices because we want to be. This season is interested in the problems created by our complacency: in relationships (“Plus One”), politics (“The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat”), war (“Kitten”), and now technology. Our willingness to adapt to the latest thing will be our undoing. The little neon drones don’t look threatening at all! And when Mulder and Scully do fight back, they pay a price for the mistakes of others, even mechanized others — Mulder loses his credit card; Scully is charged a fee because her house alarm goes off. Technology is the new conspiratorial Syndicate, controlling us all from behind closed doors.

On a show that gravitates toward the fantastic, that’s a grim suggestion: We’re no longer ruled by the unknowable. The closest thing we have to mystery now was created in a lab. Not for the first time this season, The X-Files wants to know how Mulder and Scully can function in a world like this, and up until the last scene, it feels like they can’t. The agents are less recognizable in isolation, immersed in tech. “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” works better as a standalone hour of television than it does as an episode of The X-Files, but its point is also heightened by the way it diverges from the show as a whole. Did that leap work for you? I have a feeling mileage is going to vary on this one.

The hour ends with a return to the familiar: Mulder and Scully in a bustling diner after a case. It’s almost too folksy (“Take your time,” a waitress soothes. “No hurry here”), but it’s a relief just the same. Mulder puts down two $20 bills on an $18.15 tab, and even allowing for change, that’s more of a tip than we’ve ever seen him leave. Elements of the rest of the episode still sneak into the picture — phones still buzz, the Nighthawks spoof on the wall replaces people with robots — but they’re accompanied here by the act of choice and a sense of community. Scully took back her electronics, but not all of them, if you catch her drift. (Her home exploded. It’s not like she’s living there.) Just as she’s about to get sucked back into her screen, Scully realizes what she’s doing, puts down her phone, and sets her hand over Mulder’s. Mulder does the same. A human follows another human’s lead for once, and the camera lingers on their backs until silence is comfortable again.

Open files:

  • As you probably expected, the opening credits tag “VGhlIFRydXRoIGlzIE91dCBUaGVyZQ=” is Base64 for “The Truth Is Out There.”
  • A blobfish popped up on Mulder’s conspiracy board in “The Lost Art of Forehead Sweat.”
  • Email from Harry Reid: “NYT knows about Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program. If they find you…DENY EVERYTHING.” Subject line: “UFOs.”
  • “Tell me how I can make your ride more enjoyable.” “Be quiet.”
  • “This is the living Fox Mulder!”
  • “How do you get ‘Teach Your Children’ from ‘Controversy’? It’s not even — it doesn’t even sound like it.”


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Wed 28 Feb - 19:30

Full coverage


'The X-Files' Review: 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz' Keeps It Simple and Silent for A Creatively Daring Episode
IndieWire 1h ago


The X-Files Recap: We Learn From You
Vulture 1h ago


'The X-Files' Tries Something Delightfully New With 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz'
UPROXX 1h ago


The X-Files Recap: When Tech Attacks
TVLine 1h ago


The X-Files: "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" Review
IGN 1h ago


'The X-Files': Mulder & Scully Fight Off An Evil Roomba — No, Really
Hollywood Life


A marvelous X-Files has Scully and Mulder hunted by the pest in the machine
AV Club 56m ago


Exclusive: X-Files writers Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin explain 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz'
Syfy Wire 21m ago

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 4:08

The X-Files 11.7 Review – ‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’

February 28, 2018 | Posted by Wednesday Lee Friday



8
The 411 Rating

It’s not unusual for The X-Files, or any sci-fi show, to have a title we won’t understand until we’ve seen the episode. This week though, having seen the whole thing, I still have no idea what the title means. Is it a general statement about passwords and how absurdly difficult to remember they are—and how that keeps them effective? Is it commentary about how nonsensical computer languages seem? Is it code that laymen couldn’t be expected to recognize? I don’t think it matters in the end. Spoilers for “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” follow.

Season eleven, episode seven begins with a recount of the AI bot that was loosed on Twitter in 2016. This is a real thing that happened, and they really did remove the bot account when it became racist and hateful in its posts. The lesson is that AI learns from us, and we may not be the best teachers. It seems that when artificial intelligence copies our behaviors and statements, it isn’t able to compensate for things like sarcasm or moodiness. Because duh, it isn’t human. If you enjoy shows like Humans, Extant, or Black Mirror, or movies like Maximum Overdrive–tonight’s episode should be to your liking as well. If you like Roombas, or are fans of quadcopters in a variety of sizes and swarms, you might find this a little spooky.



We begin in a sushi restaurant in the DC area. Mulder and Scully order, are served, and pay without any human interaction. When Fox receives one of those sad old-man fish, he seeks out a human to hear his complaint. When humans are angry or upset, it’s important that someone understand that. Computers don’t get that—at least we don’t think they do. Note: I’d very much like a copy of the funny pic Scully takes of Mulder and the fish. What he received was clearly not what he ordered, but that doesn’t seem to be part of the overall statement of the episode. Humans generally don’t expect to be tipped after they screw up.

Our fave fictional FBI agents are almost trapped in the restaurant but manage to narrowly escape. It’s around the ten-minute mark of the episode that we hear our first human dialogue as Scully says a single word, “Mulder” as she gets into a parody of a driverless Uber. Meanwhile, Mulder gets into his own car and relies on a TomTom parody to direct him home. One might argue that tonight’s plot is little more than a flurry of sociopolitical statements strung together with references to other movies, books, or shows that have covered this same topic. I say that X-Files is perfectly suited to comment on issues of AI, overreliance on tech, and the question of who gets to see our information.



The argument over whether tech brings people together or increases isolation is much like the debate over whether TV is educational and wonderful, or time-wasting junk. In both cases, the answer is the same: It depends on how you use it. A day spent watching Planet Earth may be a better use of time than a day watching porn. Just like taking a class online might be more productive than arguing with strangers on Facebook. That said, there were plenty of things worth noticing in tonight’s ep:

* Scully’s password to get into her home is Queequeg. Because of course it is. We’re all reminded of her dog, who I think was eaten by a crocodile.

* Mulder uses “Bigly Credit,” which is an obvious reference to our Bigly POTUS.

* The operator at the all-knowing retailer had an Indian accent. A clear reference to Amazon and their outsourcing of CS reps from India.

* Parody of the Nighthawks painting with all robots in the diner.

* Elon Musk’s statement that AI is more dangerous than a nuclear threat.

* Mulder watching ‘Six Million Dollar Man’ on TV. Somehow a show from the 70s appeared to be letterboxed. Nope.

* The drones showed up during a full moon, either implying or debunking the idea that a full moon inspires mayhem.

* Mulder has that ‘I want to believe’ poster everywhere he works. He must have a bunch of them.

* When Mulder clobbered a drone with a bat, larger drones came to pick that one up and cart it away. Also, drones are awesome.

Mulder doesn’t have much of a bank balance. He also asked why Scully’s house was so much nicer than his. The automated phone call he gets later reminds us that Mulder loooves phonesex. And even if you get a discount as a regular client, that sort of thing isn’t cheap. That wasn’t the only sex joke in the episode though. Scully’s expensive taste also applies to sex toys, as Wi-Fi-enabled vibes aren’t that cheap either. Um, I’ve heard.



All in all, “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” began with silly statements about how funny it is when technology screws up. But as the dearth of other humans becomes more apparent, and the screw-ups become serious and dangerous, “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” winds up with a pretty scary vibe. Computer voices are creepy. Having ice cubes thrown at you can hurt. Drones and parody-Roombas can break your stuff or hurt you physically. Yes, you can 3-D print bullets—but even in Westworld I think you can’t print them with the explosive components already inside. So, minor shenanigans on that. As much as I adore drones, I also don’t think you can fly a swarm of them like the ones inside Mulder’s house—the signals would get jumbled. Maybe that would be different though, if one source was controlling all the drones. Turning the gas on though? Totally possible in that context.

If you’ve ever been put in Facebook jail for a day, you already know the feeling of your tech not working for you. Suddenly you can’t post, comment, see what people are up to, or send & answer messages. I was in FB jail last Boxing Day, and missed an important visit with an out of town friend…all because I was unable to get on Messenger. That’s nothing compared to “Rm9sbG93ZXJz”, but I remember how frustrating and annoying it felt at the time.



I loved the videogame, first-person-shooter perspective during the quadcopter chase. I also kinda wish this had been the episode where one of more Lone Gunmen showed up. Thematically, this episode is a more physical discussion of the themes covered in “This” (S11E2). I did sorta keep waiting for there to be a cause for this that ties together the action. Use of the CSN song “Teach Your Children” made me wonder if this had something to do with William. But no. In the end, the robots were chasing, invading, destroying, and terrifying because they wanted service tips, good ratings, and to make further sales. Anti-climactic, and sort of amusing. In the end, the conclusion is repeated: If we want AI that learns things, we need to be better teachers.

I thought “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” was a solidly written ep. The slow burn that went from amusing, to curious, then on to eerie, and finally to downright scary was a fun progression to watch. Green actors tend to want as much dialogue as possible when they’re starting out. But seasoned performers like Anderson and Duchovny probably appreciated the challenge of doing a lot with very few lines. Mulder tough-talking a drone was chuckleworthy, even though I anthropomorphize my own drones in a major way. I haven’t named them though, so good on me.

Three episodes remain in what many think will be the final season of X-Files. What will we learn about William in that time? Will Mulder find out that he’s not William’s father? How will that go? Can someone finally take out The Cig Smoking Man once and for all? Will Miller and Einstein take over and get a spinoff? Time will tell.

See you’s next week!

8
The final score: review Very Good
The 411

This week offered some of the best writing in a stand-alone episode yet. Very little dialogue highlighted themes of technology gone awry, stunted human interaction, and how much of your personal information is out there waiting for someone to need it? If you needed another motivation to leave a decent tip, "Rm9sbG93ZXJz" is it.


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 4:12

Let’s Talk About The X-Files Season 11 Episode 7, ‘Rm9sbG93ZXJz’

Posted by Mary Anne Butler February 28, 2018

No, that The X-Files season 11, episode 7 title ‘Rm9sbG93ZXjz’ probably isn’t captcha, even though it really looks like it. It’s been two weeks since our last episode of the FOX series, as the Olympics weren’t something the network (among others) didn’t want to compete with.


“In a world of ever-increasing automation and artificial intelligence, Mulder and Scully find themselves targets in a deadly game of cat and mouse.”
Photo courtesy of FOX

This week promises to be something akin to Black Mirror, even though the comparison via several other review sites is silly because The X-Files came before Black Mirror, and and continued the Twilight Zone-esque episodic genre.

‘RM9sbG93ZXjz’ is unique in this season due in large part to the list of writers — Chris Carter (series creator, duh), and two women in a otherwise boys club of a show — Kristen Cloke (Intruders) and Shannon Hamblin. Perhaps you’ll recall the notable true-to-show limited female writers on staff for this season.

What’s really interesting is that Hamblin has no previous writing credits, but has been Glen Morgan‘s (who directed this episode) assistant on Amazon Studios’ Lore series.

Anyhow, here’s the teaser released by FOX ahead of the episode:
Check back during the West Coast airing of the episode, 8 p.m. (PST) for our live running commentary.

Things that happened in “RM9sbG93ZXjz”:

  • The episode opens with a voice over and what appears to be a social media homepage, much like an instagram type of thing
  • The ‘JetBot’ is introduced, as an AI created to mimic a 19 year old girl, who was constructed to learn from humans.
  • “The Robot did indeed learn, but not in the way her creators had intended.
  • “Humans must take care in teaching AI, or one day we’ll be the ones deleted.”
  • Scully’s got a new wig, take a drink
  • Mulder and Scully sit in what looks like some kind of high tech cafe
  • Scully pulls up her phone, and it’s an article about Elon Musk and AI.
  • You get the impression that talking isn’t allowed
  • Mulder’s ordered meal of a sad blobfish arrives, and Scully starts laughing
  • Gillian Anderson has some of the best giggles
    https://twitter.com/GillianA/status/968926117276078085
  • They named the blobfish William?
  • Mulder is unhappy with his meal, and goes to the ‘kitchen’ area to take it up with the staff, and finds only robots.
  • He pays for their meals, and choses to not leave a tip, which causes the machine to keep his card. He starts to hit the panel with his card, and a screen flashes “please don’t hit the machines”
  • Mulder being Mulder he keeps striking it and the lights go out and the door locks, trapping the agents inside.
  • They manage to get out, and a driverless electric car arrives to pick up Scully. The first word uttered so far in this episode is her saying “Mulder.”
  • 1213 37th Place is her address now, and her Driverless Whip asks her a bunch of questions to which her responses appear to anger her AI.
  • Mulder gets a parking ticket, and starts to argue with his own tech heavy car, which instead of taking him home, brings him to his “final destination”, back to the robocafe
  • The red ‘eye’ lights of the bots inside all come on, and appear to be ‘looking’ at Mulder through the window.
  • He attempts to use a paper map to get himself home
  • This episode feels decidedly anti-Tesla.
  • Omg Dana’s password is Queqeeg, a nice callback to a classic bit of X-Files lore
  • And she uses a brand called “rock it like a redhead”
  • Yes, I noticed Mulder’s credit company is called “Bigly Credit”, nice tough there
  • Fox vs a drone, baseball bat for the win
  • Also the fact that a black unmarked drone comes to retrieve the broken one is another great nod to the series- black unmarked helicopters always being a thing
  • A roomba is delivered to Scully’s house, and it finds something fun under her bed- a hot pink rechargeable personal massager- not a cheap one either.
  • Scully’s smart house is rebelling, and Mulder is getting invaded by microdrones
  • This is like a freaking nightmare…for anyone who works with social media that needs user interactions and ratings to make quotas, and for anyone who is anti-drones and uber tech
  • Funny how Scully’s house alarm sounds just like the Lost hatch computer alarm
  • The house tries to kill Scully with a gas leak and explosion, but she manages to break the glass door (kind of a bad choice for her given the history of visitors)
  • After chasing the pair to a factory, a robot arm hands Mulder his phone back with the prompt that it’s his last chance to tip the robot cafe staff, and he of course does as the timer counts down to 1.
  • “We learn from you,” the prompt on his phone reads.
  • “We have to be better teachers,” Mulder responds.
  • The pair have breakfast in a diner without robots, and begin to again fall into the habit of looking at their phones, but Scully breaks the cycle and puts her hand over his.
  • The episode ends with the two, holding hands, her chair gently bumping his.

You know, a pretty great episode. Definitely if you’re a MulderxScully fan, as I am and will always be.

Join us next week for The X-Files season 11 episode 8.

(Last Updated March 1, 2018 12:46 am )


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 9:56

Full coverage


The X-Files: Mulder and Scully face off against cell phones, drones... and a vibrator
Syfy Wire


The X-Files Review: Technology Is Dangerous!
Paste Magazine


Your worst artificial intelligence nightmares were brought to life on 'The X Files'
Yahoo News


[TV Review] “The X-Files” Season 11 Episode 7: 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz'
Bloody Disgusting


The X-Files: Rm9sbG93ZXJz – Teach Your Children Well
1428 Elm


The X-Files Season 11 Episode 7 Review: Rm9sbG93ZXJz
Den of Geek US

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 13:00

Full coverage


The X-Files Delivers Silent, Silly Robot Terror
Geek


10 Terrifying Inventions from 'The X-Files' Episode 'Rm9sbG93ZXJz' That We Already Have in Real Life
BuddyTV (blog)


THE X-FILES Review: “Rm9sbG93ZXJz”
The Tracking Board (press release) (blog)

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 19:23




Mulder Gets A Weird Fish | Season 11 Ep. 7 | THE X-FILES

The X-Files
Publicado em 28 de fev de 2018

Scully and Mulder order dinner; when it arrives, it's a bit bizarre.

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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Thu 1 Mar - 19:28

The X-Files S11E07 Review: Rm9sbG93ZXJz – Almost dialogue-free!

Posted on March 1, 2018 by Salome G

Tonight’s episode will probably remind viewers of Black Mirror, particularly the episode “Metalhead.” But where that episode, like many Black Mirror episodes, ends in despair, The X-Files’s experimental episode ends with hope.

But first, we begin tonight with a recap of the brief history of Tay, a chatbot who was supposed to learn from interactions with humans on Twitter and become progressively more intelligent. Instead, she quickly became a bigot–like, within a day–and the program was terminated. (Although the bot is not explicitly named on the show, that is exactly what happened with Tay.)

Then we get our tagline, “VGhlIFRydXRoIGlzIE91dCBUaGVyZQ=,” which like the episode’s title is in Base64. The tagline translates as “The truth is out there” and the title of the episode is “Followers.”



Once we catch up with Scully and Mulder, they’re having a meal alone at a stark Japanese joint (whose name also translates as “Followers”) where you order from a tablet and your food is delivered to you without your ever having to interact with a living person. I’ve dined at a place like this and it was…interesting, I say noncommittally. Of course, my experience was closer to Scully’s, where she gets a delicious-looking plate of sushi. Poor Mulder is mistakenly delivered a sad blobfish, with which Scully immediately makes him pose for photos. (Whomst among us would not do the same?)

When Mulder takes his plate into the kitchen, there are no humans there, either. Everything is robotic. Having not gotten what he ordered, he declines to leave a tip and the machine won’t spit out his card. Then after a short tense sequence in which it seems the doors aren’t going to open, they finally escape into the night–Scully to take her driverless “Whipz” ride home and Mulder to drive himself, using a directions app that takes him on a circuitous route back to the restaurant.



Once they arrive at their respective homes, things just get worse from there. Mulder can’t get a human on the line at Bigly Credit and he’s being harassed by quadcopters. Scully, whose house is much fancier than Mulder’s, is besieged by smart home malfunctions–her fridge starts shooting ice cubes at her and she’s drone-delivered a Roomba-clone that eventually tries to blow up her house. Meanwhile, both of them keep getting increasingly aggressive phone notifications. Mulder, specifically, keeps getting asked if he’s sure he doesn’t want to tip the restaurant.

He escapes his house in a cloud of tiny quadcopters, hovering outside, and makes it to Scully’s, just in time to free her (and also in time to ask why her house is so much nicer than his). They try to seek help from a neighbor and when that fails, they seek refuge in a warehouse. I’m not sure what they manufacture there–nightmares?



Inside the warehouse, the technological onslaught continues. A 3-D printer makes and shoots bullets at them. They’re chased by robot dogs (again, shades of Metalhead). Finally, as the seconds count down until it’s too late to leave a tip, Mulder chooses to leave one and it’s all over. The app cheerily thanks him and says, “We learn from you!” And then the repeated playing of “Teach Your Children” throughout the episode makes sense, as Mulder realizes that if machines are going to be learning, we have to be better teachers.

At the close of the episode, Mulder and Scully are again in a restaurant, but this time it’s a classic diner, where actual people work. And where there are other people inside. They start to interact with their phones again, but Scully stops and takes Mulder’s hand. It’s a human moment, the kind of thing we can’t possibly forget, even as our lives become even more intertwined with technology.

8/10 – This episode, as I mentioned, was kind of an experiment, as it’s almost dialogue-free. That can be a blessing for a show like The X-Files, which can get bogged down sometimes with long expository monologues. It’s pretty light on story and heavy on action, but it’s not a mindless fight-fest. It’s more like a parable. And while it’s not saying anything terribly ground-breaking–the dangers of how we interact with technology has been a major theme of science fiction since the genre began–it’s still a tense yet entertaining experience to watch. With our resigned almost acceptance of the creep of surveillance into our lives–witness the meme about what the government agents watching us think of our internet activity–it’s nice to be reminded that we keep up with all this social media nonsense because most of us, at heart, just want to connect. Even if it’s just with the agent watching through our webcam. (Hi, Bruce!)


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Mar - 6:04



Posted by Josh Zyber - March 2, 2018

‘The X Files’ 11.07 Recap: “We Learn from You”

I went into this week’s episode of ‘The X Files’ with very low expectations. My hopes for the season have been tempered in general (outside of the Darin Morgan episode), and the plot description sounded kind of inane. Amazingly, it turns out to be fantastic, a surprise highlight of the season.

The episode features only two characters (Mulder and Scully, of course), a small handful of locations, and barely half a dozen lines of dialogue in the whole thing.

On a slow night with no work to absorb them, Scully and Mulder find themselves at a high-tech sushi restaurant where everything is automated, from the touchscreen menus to the food delivery. They’re the only two customers this evening, without so much as a server in sight. Distracted playing on their smartphones, they order and find their phones inundated with ads and social media requests from the restaurant, all of which they ignore. When the food arrives, Mulder’s order is wrong. An unappetizing blobfish sits on the plate. Searching for a server or chef, he walks into the back room and finds the entire food prep process handled by a robotic assembly line. Disappointed, he returns to the table and pays the bill, selecting “No Tip” at checkout. This was a mistake.

The payment machine confiscates Mulder’s credit card, the lights in the restaurant go out, and the doors lock them inside. Panicking, Mulder and Scully force their way out and then can’t get back in to retrieve Mulder’s card. Almost instantly, a car service (called “Whipz”) arrives for Scully with a driverless car. The two part ways for the evening. The first word of dialogue either speaks occurs about 16 minutes into the episode (with commercials).

Scully is terrified when her driverless car speeds down the road recklessly and won’t pull over. Meanwhile, the GPS in Mulder’s car leads him in a circle right back to the restaurant. A helpful ad on his phone reminds him that it’s not too late to add a tip to his payment. He refuses.

Scully survives her ride and gives the driver a negative survey rating. This makes the car unhappy. She enters her house to find that the alarm system won’t stop blaring. Her attempts to enter a security code fail. She finally stops it through an aggravating voice response system, for which she’s charged a $250 convenience fee. Invasive ads on her various devices seem to be spying on Scully. They know when she runs out of facial cream, and send a drone package delivery with a robo-vac after she spills some powder on her floor. The vacuum maps her house and does not like it when she skips rating it on a survey. It acts screwy, banging into things until she boxes it back up and puts it outside.

While failing to make any human contact with his credit card company (“Bigly Credit”), Mulder is pestered by a drone flying outside his house. After he smashes it with a baseball bat, a second drone flies in and picks it up.

Scully’s whole-home audio system goes crazy and blasts music all through the house at deafening volume. The rest of her smart appliances follow suit, malfunctioning in various ways. Mulder is terrorized by a swarm of miniature drones that chase him out of his house. He drives to Scully’s and pulls her out just in time before a gas leak explodes and blows up her living room. The two of them are chased by more drones, and are pestered by reminders to pay the restaurant tip the whole time. They ditch their phones and run into a factory, where they’re trapped by robots from the assembly line.

Eventually, a scary-looking robot returns Mulder’s phone to him. An app reminds him that he has one “Last Chance to Tip.” Reluctantly, Mulder relents and adds 20% to his charge. The robots promptly stand down and the factory doors open. All of their various devices begin working properly again.

The next morning, Mulder and Scully sit at an old-fashioned diner, surrounded by plenty of human company and a real, live waitress. Out of habit, they find themselves once again drifting to browse their phones. Thinking better of it, they put their phones down, take a moment, and hold hands.

Episode Verdict

This episode grabbed me right away and never let go. It’s riveting, extremely clever, and hilarious throughout. Admittedly, the punchline is easy to guess very early on, and the episode feels like it belongs more on ‘Black Mirror’ than ‘The X Files’, but it’s simply great fun. Duchovny and Anderson look like they’re fully engaged and having a great time with this one. It also has a terrifically creative sound mix filled with interesting noises buzzing all around the soundstage to make up for the lack of dialogue.

Given the current state of the series, I’m actually surprised to see that this isn’t a Darin Morgan episode (though it was directed by his brother, Glen, a longtime ‘X Files’ alum). I’d actually given up on any of the show’s other writers. It’s a wonderful treat to see that they still have something this inventive in them.

Rating: ★★★★★


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Fri 2 Mar - 14:20

The X-Files season 11, episode 7 review: Rm9sbG93ZXJz

by Nick Chandler
33 minutes ago
Follow @NickSChandler

After a lengthy hiatus, courtesy of the Winter Olympics, The X-Files returns to our screens with what some people are calling their Black Mirror episode. But in true X-Files fashion, Rm9sbG93ZXJz .

A lot of commentators, critics and the general audience have merely dismissed this episode as being X-Files does Black Mirror. Despite the fact there have been at least three episodes off the top of my head of its ilk before Black Mirror was thought in the mind of Charlie Brooker. “Ghost In The Machine” (S01 E07), “Kill Switch” (S05 E11) and “First Person Shooter” (S07 E13), all had Scully and Mulder deal with the perils of technology gone wrong.

This is a slightly more humorous take on the ‘Dangers of A.I.,’ focusing on the simple relationship aspect of Fox and Dana. As they are at alone awaiting their sushi order in a completely robot-run restaurant, both Mulder and Scully are wrapped up in their phones. Scully, in particular, is reading an article on Elon Musk forewarning the dangers of artificial intelligence. It is only after a very dodgy order for Fox, and then the refusal to tip the robots for the poor quality of food, is when things start to go wrong.



At the start of the episode we are told the true story of Tay, the Twitter bot that responded and learnt from its interactions with other Twitter users. And as things go on the internet, the bot ended up conversing on controversial subjects, and after just 16 hours online Microsoft pulled the plug. It is a real life example for us to be careful what we teach; as Fox states at the end, “We need to be better teachers”. The episode’s title, “Rm9sbG93ZXJz,” is base64 for “Followers;” are we following them, are they following us?

This monster-of-the-week episode is very small stakes, including homages to various films and TV (Six Million Dollar Man makes an appearance with Mulder’s take on the theme, plus several homages to Hitchcock’s The Birds). All of this together hints as to how much technology we rely on as a society nowadays, and in turn its potential pratfalls and dangers.

Glen Morgan’s excellant direction helps to tell the story with minimal dialogue. The script was written by Kristen Cloke and Shannon Hamblin, who have been involved from The X-Files in some capacity for a long time, and it shows, even if this their first written episode for the show. They are two of the few women writers on the show, however they didn’t feel like it was a big thing as stated in their (very good) interview with SyFy Wire  that, “It didn’t feel crazy that we were going to be writing an episode…”

There are nice little touches to appease long time X-Files fans. Scully mentions her long gone Queequeg, Mulder’s love of classic rock music, the differences in appearance in their houses, which prompts Mulder’s “Why is your house better than mine?”. There’s also the subtle references as to the intimate side of their relationship, Scully’s “personal massager” gets an extended cameo.

After being chased by technology and being exposed to the coldness of artificial intelligence, we end the episode in an old-fashioned diner with paper money and a waitress to talk to. Fox and Dana put their phones away and hold hands and look at each their properly. It is really comforting to see them together.


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Re: 11x07 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz

Post by jade1013 on Sat 3 Mar - 14:12

The X-Files season 11: Let’s all be nice to robots, or else

by Sarah Crocker
1 hour ago
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A Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song is the key to understanding this X-Files episode about modern technology and our terrifying robot progeny.

Not that we should always distill every piece of media into a moral, but it seemed as if “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” was moving in that direction. Actually, the “lesson” of this episode of The X-Files is arguably twofold.

The first: be nice to robots. Or artificial intelligence. Automatons? I’m sure that, at some point, they will gain enough sentience to tell us which term they prefer. At any rate, it may soon be worthwhile to think about the feelings of our synthetic fellows.

Mulder, alas, may end up looking like your stodgy uncle. At first, he refuses to tip the sushi-making robots who serve him a blobfish. That’s fair enough, honestly. But it seems that Mulder thinks the robots are machines and nothing more. However, it appears that the technology in question has become at least marginally self-aware. Otherwise, there is one devious programmer somewhere out there.

This isn’t to let the swarm of robots off the hook, however. Sure, they got stiffed at the sushi restaurant, but tracking down the two humans involved is a bit much. Certainly, trying to explode the innocent Dana Scully was a step too far. Neither did she deserve the terrifying automated car ride home. The robots definitely need to learn restraint.

Beyond that, there also appeared to be a distinct wariness around our embrace of technology. In the first scene, between the lure of their phones and the computerized menu, Mulder and Scully don’t even need to talk. In fact, there is very little dialogue throughout most of the episode.



Don’t get too nostalgic

We could go full concerned parent here and start complaining about, say, kids these days and their texting. But it’s too easy to simply say that technology is bad and that we should step back into a pre-modern Arcadia that has never existed. Nostalgia is a trap like any other.

Perhaps that is why the episode won’t commit to a total condemnation. Technology, be it in the form of a smartphone or a sushi-making automaton, is an integral part of our society. Scully has definitely gone all-in with this concept, looking at her fully connected home.

That said, she could use a little more caution when it comes to accepting unexpected packages from drones. At least that automated car lurking outside of her home should have been a red flag. Scully, it seems, has gotten surprisingly complacent. Does she just not worry about the constant presence of machines monitoring her purchases and making assumptions about her eating habits?

This all seems a little strange for uber-skeptic Dr. Dana Scully. Then again, maybe Mulder went on one too many rants about federal agents in your computer, and she felt like she had to prove something. Or, the plot simply dictated that she live in a home a tech company billionaire would envy.

However, even our favorite paranoiac, Fox Mulder, can’t escape the reach of the machines. He’s got a smartphone, too, even if it doesn’t want to cooperate with him. The same goes for his computer, his car, and what is probably an Internet-connected television in his living room. His seemingly pared down home is, on closer inspection, packed to the brim with technology. The fact that a swarm of drones descends upon his rustic farmhouse isn’t that surprising.



Just tip your robot chefs

So, it’s not entirely feasible to draw completely away from technology. I think “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” recognizes this, given that Mulder capitulates and tips the robot sushi chefs. Rather, it’s more about living in an increasingly technology-dependent world and the emerging relationships it creates.

And, yes, the robots are plenty menacing. They also overreact to the nth degree. When was the last time a server stalked you to your home because you didn’t tip them enough? But, even here, the onus is on us. “We learn from you,” says the cheery message that follows Mulder’s begrudging tip. Savvy listeners might also catch the song played by Mulder’s uncooperative car stereo — CSNY’s “Teach Your Children”. That same song also reappears when Scully is battling her own home.

“We have to be better teachers,” Mulder mumbles unenthusiastically, but he’s right. Even in the near-future of “Rm9sbG93ZXJz,” machines are still ostensibly created by humans. They are, in a strange way, our collective children. Maybe, instead of constantly dismissing those survey-style questions on her phone, Scully could do her civic duty and help the bots learn.

It’s ultimately on us to design them well and, in some cases, be better role models for them, though we could stand to just never develop a bullet printing machine like the one seen in the factory towards the end of the episode. At the very least, we could stand to put it somewhere other than the company break room.

Next week is “Familiar”, directed by Holly Dale and written by Benjamin Van Allen. It looks to be a return to more traditional scares for The X-Files, with some maybe-demons parading around in very creepy masks. Until then, “Rm9sbG93ZXJz” leaves us with some more everyday terrors to contemplate.


Culturess

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jade1013
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