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The X-Files - Season 11 Episode 7 - Rm9sbG93ZXJz ... was another interesting twist on reality and the future ... almost in the "Mr. Robot" realm that makes you think outside the box. There are those who look forward to life with AI and robots and others who fear - or are uncomfortable with them. Duality 101 - both apply. If you're Elon Musk or Stephen Hawking it's more of the latter.
Let's get to Mulder and Scully seated at a fancy high-tech sushi restaurant where robots make and serve the food but sometimes confuse the commands given. When Mulder's order comes out wrong (funny blue fish), he gets annoyed, and decides not to tip the sushi robots. I knew at that moment the rest of the episode would center around his not tipping and pissed off robots. FYI - He was right not to tip. Okay ... it's about human-robot interaction and misunderstanding. Lots of layers to this episode.
The trip home for both Mulder and Scully starts off high tech but once again the machines confuse issues and it all goes very wrong. It makes you wonder what you would do in their situations. How bad does it get? Scary bad.
The technology they use starts off as annoyingly buggy and escalates to downright deadly. A self-driving car takes Scully on a nail-biting ride, drones swarm Mulder's house, Scully's home security system starts spewing existential messages, and eventually, a gas explosion has our intrepid duo running from all the technology that surrounds them in the modern world ... until, finally, Mulder goes ahead and gives the robots a 10 percent tip on that sushi dinner.
After retrieving their tech devices, we see Mulder and Scully seated at the counter of a diner eating breakfast [there's always a diner - in UFO episodes too] - and unlike the night before when they spent more time looking at their phones than each other - they hold hands and glance at each other in knowing silence. Time for them to move in together, get their son back in their lives as a permanent fixture, and kill off Smoking Man who to date deals with cancer and was blown up a few seasons ago in a Pueblo in NM ... but alas this is Sci-fi and with three episodes remaining let's see where the writers take us.
The episode title, "Rm9sbG93ZXJz," seems like gibberish, but actually it's Base64 code (as at least one savvy Twitter user caught in advance), translating to the word "Followers." This also corresponds with the name of the sushi restaurant Mulder and Scully eat at - "Forowa" is the Japanese Anglicized pronunciation for "Follower."
And yes, during the opening credits, that's more Base64 for you - "VGhlIFRydXRoIGlzIE91dCBUaGVyZQ=", which does, in fact, translate to "The Truth is Out There." (One thing that hasn't been pointed out enough by our reviews this season is how much fun the producers are having with every credits sequence. Every episode has featured some clever twist on the show's classic slogan.)
Then there's the actual execution of the episode, which is perhaps the most creatively daring of the season. At the Television Critics Association winter press tour, this episode was teased in advance as a largely silent installment, and what's interesting is that there's no plot-driven reason for it, as was the case with the groundbreaking "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episode "Hush." Instead, the writing is just incredibly spare in its use of dialogue, letting Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny's talents shine. Read more