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A X-File becomes the plot of a Hollywood movie. But Mulder and Scully find their case-and themselves- distorted on the big screen.


Mulder and Scully find themselves portrayed on the big screen in "Hollywood A.D." Duchovny casts wife Tea Leoni as Scully and friend Garry Shandling as Mulder in the episode in which Skinner lets a screenwriter friend (Wayne Federman) observe Mulder investigating the death of a '60s counterculture icon from a pipe bomb in a church crypt.

Episode Summary

By Michael Marek and Jamie Ruby

A man runs through a graveyard and ducks behind a tombstone as bullets fly towards him. As he changes the clip of his gun we see that he has a ceramic bowl. Another man, later identified as the Cigarette Smoking Pontiff, wearing what appears to be a Catholic Cardinal's garb, shouts, "Give it up Mulder, my sniper zombies are everywhere." He tells Mulder to give him the Lazarus Bowl and he will release Scully, who he is holding captive. We see, however, that it is not Mulder but actor Gary Shandling. Scully is not Scully but Tea Leoni. "Mulder" stands and holds the bowl above his head.

"Mulder": How Ďbout this deal? You give me Scully, I donít smash the Lazarus Bowl and shove the jagged pieces where the sun of God donít shine, you Cigarette-Smoking mackerel snapper! I break the Lazarus bown and all your snipper zombies go back to being good little well-behave corpes--

CSP tells Shandling that he doesnít fool him Ė the bowl has encrypted in it the words Jesus spoke when he raised Lazarus from the dead, Mulderís Holy Grail. He could no longer destroy it then he could let Leoni die. A zombie steps forward and asks Shandling not to drop the bowl because they donít want to go back to being dead. Thereís no women or dancing. Mulder says that he would rather serve in Heaven than rule in Hell. Mulder tosses the bowl up as Scully breaks free from CSP and grabs his gun. A zombie tries to catch the bowl but Scully shoots and shatters it. "Mulder" grabs "Scully" and they roll down an embankment and into an open grave hole. They find themselves in each other's arms in a casket, and the casket lid smals shut on them. "Mulder" confesses his love to "Scully" and they kiss. 

The scene changes from the regular TV format to show that we are at the 20th Century Fox's Darryl Zanuck Theater in Hollywood California. The front row includes: Chris Carter, David Allen Grier, Minnie Driver, Gary Shandling, Tea Leoni, Federman's Date, Wayne Federman and ofcourse the real Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. Everything appears to be enjoying the show, but the agents display emotions that appear to be embarassment. Mulder and Scully just stare at the screen for a few seconds. Mulder puts his head in his hands, embarrassed. He turns to see Skinner smiling. He bows his head once again.

Eighteen months earlier, at a staff meeting at the FBI, Mulder, Scully and Skinner are talking about a case - a bomb exploded in a crypt below the church of Cardinal O'Fallon, a man considered to be a candidate to be the first American pope. A filmmaker is observing the meeting and making notes into his recorder. (Federman into his recorder: "She: Jodie Fosterís child on a payless budget. Heís like a Jehovahís Witness meets Harrison Fordís Witness")

Wayne Federman is an old friend of Skinner and is writing a movie about the FBI - he just wants a taste of the procedural flavor. He describes his idea as "Silence of the Lambs meets Greatest Story Ever Told." Skinner tells Mulder & Scully that they will treat Federman as they would a friend of his and the bureau's, to which Mulder replies - Sir, have I pissed you off in a away that's more than normal? 

Federman goes along with Mulder to talk with the Cardinal while Scully remains behind to do some paperwork for Skinner. Before leaving Federman asks Mulder if Scully is 'more than just a partner' to which Mulder just says "Enough!".

O'Fallon says the bomb went off in a crypt under the church where spiritual items, artifacts, documents and relics are stored. Mulder thinks it's a simple terrorist act. While the three of them are in the crypt, a cell phone goes off, but is none of their phones. Mulder finds it under some rocks with a body. The cell phone ID says it is Micah Hoffman - a 1960s counter culture movement activist.

Scully joins them and they visit Hoffman's apartment where they find a bomb-making workshop so it looks as if Hoffman was killed by his own creation. He was a master potter as well as a master calligrapher. Apparently he was writing documents and artificially aging them using Sodium Hydroxide. They find what appears to be a lost gospel. Scully knows some Greek so she attempts to translate a part of it. Its an account of Christ's life on Earth after the resurrection. Mulder and Scully put forth their questions about what would Hoffman be doing with religious texts and why was he forging them. Federman corrects them asking his own question - What might O'Fallon be doing with Hoffman's forgeries? 

Mulder and Federman return to the crypt. (Federman: "I like the way you guys work Ė no warrants, no permission, no research Ė youíre like studio executives with guns.") They find what appears to be another copy of the same gospel. Maybe the one at the apartment was a draft? Federman gets a call and wanders off. He sees bones and skeleton parts moving on their own, almost as if in a dance. A skeleton hand takes the flashlight that Federman dropped and goes towards pieces of a broken pottery, where many bones are trying to fit the pieces together.

Later, at a coffee shop, Scully tells Federman it was dark and his eyes were playing tricks on him. He is ready to leave, however, because he has his procedural flavor and is ready to write his movie. He tells them that Mulder is crazy for believing what he believes and Scully is crazy for not believing what Mulder believes. 

Scully says his story reminds her of the Lazarus Bowl a story told by a nun she knew when she was young. The nun was known as "Sister Spooky" because she always told them scary stories. She used to show them an old piece of wood with a rusty nail in it and say it was an actual piece of the cross that Jesus Christís wrist was nailed to, or show a vial of red liquid and tell them it was the blood of John the Baptist. (Mulder: "She'd be in prison today, you realise that")

Scully tells Mulder that the nun said that when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, an old woman nearby was making a pottery bowl and Christ's words were recorded in the clay and that the words still have the power to raise the dead. (Mulder: You see, itís just not true that you canít get good science at a Catholic school. Itís a lie.") Scully smiles.

Scully takes a clay bowl found in Hoffman's apartment to Chuck Burks. He tells her that everything that exists vibrates and has a tone. He has a device that can detect vibrations in the clay and it produces a remarkable sound. Chuck asks her who made it, to which Scully replies that it was either Micah Hoffman or someone in the vicinity of Jesus Christ. Chuck laughs, but Scully's dead serious.

Mulder talks with O'Fallon who reads some of the Greek text on the scroll about Jesus. O'Fallon thought they were real when he bought them from Hoffman. He bought them to hide the radical information they contained. Mulder concludes that Hoffman was blackmailing O'Fallon, who is his suspect in Hoffman's murder. He sends Scully to Hoffman's autopsy because he thinks Hoffman might have already been dead when placed in the crypt.

Mulder gets a beep on the other line and puts "Sister Spooky" on hold. Its Federman who's calliing Mulder from California to ask Mulder who he wants to play him in the movie. Mulder suggests Richard Gere, but Federman suggests Gary Shandling and Tea Leoni to play Mulder and Scully. Skinner has been feeding information to him and he is writing about the Lazarus Bowl. 

Meanwhile,Scully is doing the autopsy and Hoffman wakes up - but she looks away for a moment and he is back on the autopsy table. Did it really happen? 

Mulder arrives at the morgue. Scully reports that there was wine and poison in Hoffman's stomach. O'Fallon may have poisoned him. They go to the church and while they wait for a service to end, Scully has a vision of Hoffman on the cross. As they begin to arrest O'Fallon, Hoffman walks in, completely alive and healthy.

Later, Skinner blows up at them for misidentifying the body. Scully tells him that the body looked like Hoffman, and he had his ID, so they assumed it was him. To which Skinner says: "Agent Scully, if Iím carrying Marilyn Monroeís purse, do you assume that I slept with JFK?" O'Fallon and the church could bring a huge lawsuit. They are put on administrative leave and are off the case. 

Chuck, however, has found something in the pottery - an Aramaic voice, apparently of one man commanding another to rise from the dead. They go to talk to Hoffman. He had the choice to fight the system by going law school or to be more subversive. He ended up fighting the system by forging historical documents. He targeted O'Fallon for his worldview. Hoffman studied the life of Christ in detail but something weird came over him (to which Scully asks - Remorse?) - he experienced conversion. He was no longer impersonating Christ - he had become him. He blew up the crypt because the forgeries were blasphemous. How did his cell phone get left there? "God works in mysterious ways," he answers.

Hoffman: I am become Jesus Christ
Mulder: I am become skeptical

Scully comes to Mulder's apartment. He is watching a movie and thinking about the case.  Scully asks if it possible that Hoffman really is Christ. No, Mulder says, but crazy people can be persuasive. As zombies walk on the screen, Scully wonders of true faith is a kind if insanity. They decide to accept Federman's offer to go to Hollywood to watch the movie being filmed during their suspension. 

They arrive at Stage 8, 20th Century Fox. They find the graveyard set that we saw in the opening of the episode being prepared. They are introduced to Tea and Gary. "How do you run in these things? (refering to the high heels)" Tea asks Scully. Shandling asks, "Do you dress to the left or the right?" Mulder isn't sure what he means, or at least pretends that he doesn't understand. Throughout this scene, Scully can be seen running back and forth! 

They watch takes. Later, they are each in bathtubs in their respective rooms talking by phone about zombies and their case. Skinner calls Mulder and apologizes - he's in the same hotel in his own tub - Federman got him Assistant producer credit. Scully tells Mulder that Tea has a crush on Mulder. Shandling likes him too, she adds.

At the hotel, Scully is relaxing in a bubble bath drinking wine when she calls Mulder. She asks what he is doing, and he says that heís at the computer. She tells him that sheís packing. An image of Mulder pushes in to share a split screen with Scully. Mulder is in a bubble bath as well. Mulder asks her why when people come back from the dead, they always want to hurt the living. She tells him itís because people really canít come back from the dead, and they are only projections of peopleís repressed fears and desires. She says that they are who we fear we are at heart Ė mindless automatons who only kill and eat.

Skinner also calls Mulder. Mulder tells him that heís just at his computer. Skinner tells him that he just wanted to apologize for the harsh way he acted. (Mulder: "I appreciate that Skinman", Skinner: "Don't call me that") Skinner tells Mulder that Federman got him an Associate Producer Credit in the movie. An image of Skinner comes up under Scully and Mulder. Skinnerís in a bubble bath as well. Mulder asks what heís doing. He tells him heís in a bubble bath. Mulder tells him to hold on.

Mulder clicks the phone, and tells Scully that Skinnerís calling him from a bubble bath. Skinner informs him that itís still him on the line. Mulder clicks the phone again and this time gets Scully, and he tells her about Skinner. They think heís gone Hollywood. Scully tells Mulder that she thinks Tea Leoni has a crush on him, but he thinks sheís nuts. She then says that she thinks Gary Shandling likes him too.

Sixteen Months Later, At the screening, the scene in the teaser continues, but as Shandling and Leoni continue to kiss, Leoni pull away and confesses that she is in love with Assistant Director Skinner. In the theatre the real Mulder stands up and waves his arms in the air saying that he can't take it any longer. He walks out having one last look at Skinner, who is grinning ear to ear. Scully continues to watch the movie. On screen:

Shandling: What does he have that I don't have?
Leoni: A bigger flashlight.

Outside in the graveyard set, Mulder is sitting, eating the rest of his popcorn. (Apparently as a promotion, everyone in the theater is eating popcorn from ceramic bowls.) Scully finds him. She got a message from Washington - Hoffman was killed by O'Fallon who then hanged himself. Mulder tells her that he was right, it was like Jesus and Judas. Skinner was so tickled by the movie that he gave Scully a bureau credit card to use for the evening. They walk off chuckling. Mulder leaves his pottery popcorn bowl (that has a label "made in Israel") behind and ghosts rise out of the ground, dance, and enjoy themselves as they would have in life. 

Episode Information

David Duchovny Special Agent Fox Mulder
Gillian Anderson Special Agent Dana Scully
Tea Leoni Herself (Movie Scully)
Garry Shandling Himself (Movie Mulder)
Harris Yulin Cardinal Augustine O'Fallon
Paul Lieber Micah Hoffman
Bill Dow Chuck Burks
Tony Amendola Cigarette Smoking Pontiff
Wayne Federman Himself
Barry K Thomas Sugar Bear
Daniel Duchovny Director
Tim Roe Zombie
Tina M. Ameduri Tina (Craft Service Woman)

Written by David Duchovny
Directed by David Duchovny

Air Date: 30th April 2000
Shooting Schedule: 6th to 22nd March 2000


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