Three of A Kind, 6x20
Airdate: May 2, 1999
all images from this episode borrowed from The Haven For the FBI's Most Unwanted.

"I trust YOU, Mulder... It's The Three Stooges I'm not so sure about..."

Well, coming from a person who is an extreme Mulder/Scully fan and not so much a Lone Gunmen fan, to say that this episode was entertaining is something of a revelation.  And especially since this someone is someone who couldn't even SIT through the first fifteen minutes of the prequel to this episode, which was "Unusual Suspects," it is also something of a miracle that I even tuned in to TRY and watch this.

But I made myself at least try, if only to write this review, and I am glad that I did.

The premise of this one was simple: When Byers, Langly and Frohike (AKA "The Three Stooges" as Scully so aptly put it) trekked to Vegas in order to infiltrate a government conference (and, ok, to hit the slots, too)  they stumbled onto much more than they bargained for--namely, a high level cover-up, a drug that could brainwash its victims, and an old aquantance named Suzanne Modeski--who was being targeted for murder. Thus, enlisting the help of a skeptical Agent Scully (who was tricked into coming by a simulation of Mulder's voice) they used all available resources to try and figure out who was planning murder, who was conning who----and why someone was abusing a drug Suzanne had developed to expose the government----for their own personal gain.

<--- Alone in the desert...
In retrospect, this episode was really a story about John Byers' dissilutionment over his life, and his bout with lonliness that has plagued him for years.  At the beginning, we see his ultimate fantasy of what would be the perfect life: the picket fence, the house, the children and, of course, his wife---Suzanne Modeski.  But always at the end of his fantasy----much like the dreams we've seen from Scully's subconscious---Byers ends up alone in an unending desert--with nothing but a symbol of simple faith----in his case, a wedding ring.  From this, I'm assuming that 'the search for fulfillment' is becoming a common theme throughout the X Files.  Especially in the last two years of this show, something that has been greatly stressed is the extreme lonliness these characters have built that grows as the years go on.  Episodes like 'Redux I' and 'II' reminded us that Mulder and Scully were more than a simple search for the truth----they were also about a search for love---a person to fill the void they have created for themselves.  When Scully had a similar dream (like Byers') in 'Emily' it was a way of expressing that everyone is lonely, but for THESE people, especially, there is an emptiness that is yearned to be filled. There is a faith that needs to be met, and a need for love that we've seen bounced between Mulder and Scully`and their quest many times.

Rarely, though, do we get the opportunity to see the other characters grow. All too often, the gunmen are seen as simply helpers in Mulder and Scully's quest.  Because of that, we forget that they are men with stories and quests of their own.  This episode showed us that side which is hardly ever seen.

Throughout the course of the episode, we got an opportunity to see how Byers really is a good and caring person. In a romantic sense, we saw him through the eyes of Suzanne--who saw him as a savior. Her savior.  We saw him as a man who fell in love and needed to be loved in return.  We saw him as human---just like everyone else----as someone who needed a soul mate---Like Mulder and Scully needed each other.  At the end, the exchange of rings between Byers and Suzanne was an exchange of faith.  It was a promise between two people in love, saying that no matter what happened, someday they would find each other.  These promises of faith between soul mates on this show are VERY signifigant.  Like for Scully, the symbol of faith shared between her and her partner is her cross.  When she was abducted, Mulder wore it every day.  He wore it as a promise that she would return to him again.  In '3,' he sat upon a hill and wrapped his palm around it as he stared off into a vast distance, wishing for Scully's return.   And when she was, indeed, returned, he gave her back the cross as a symbol of his unwavering faith in her.  The cross was all Scully was left with in her 'desert dream' in 'Emily,' and it was the one thing that Mulder retrieved for her in 'Fight the Future.' If ever anything were to happen to Scully again, Mulder would wear her cross as a symbol of faith that her heart would once again find his.

The exchange between Byers and Suzanne was a similar act of faith.

<--- True love "X" style...
Of course though, something else I absolutely LOVED about this episode was the humor.  The humor was why I watched this one, just as the LACK of humor in "Unusual Suspects" was why I hated the first one. I loved how this episode had fun with itself, and how it showed the gunmen in a fun and amusing light.  Their absolute fear of Scully "kicking their ass" was also amusing, in that it showed that they hold her in extremely high regard.  Mulder may be their buddy, but Scully is a force not to be toyed with. That made me crack up.

And on that note, who can resist an episode where Scully is drugged so that her common sense and higher brain functioning is cancelled out? I don't think any of us have ever seen our favorite heroine so uninhibited, so full of laughter, and it really made me smile to see her giggling up a storm while flirting with half the male population of a hotel.  My only objection?  Mulder's absence during Scully's Vegas romp.  I just can't help but wonder how he would have reacted to Scully flouncing around the hotel like a bar floozy.  (And whether or not she would have thrown herself at him.... Guess we'll never know...)

<---- Not drunk.... just DRUGGED, right?
Langly: So... what killed him?
Scully:  My medical opinion?
Langly: Yeah....
Scully:  Well, in my medical opinion.... BEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPP..... *Hands SMACK together.  Scully falls down.*
<--- Huh?  What was I saying again?
As for the shippiness here... well, it was pretty nonexistent. And except for the idea that Scully went to Vegas on only Mulder's say so, there really wasn't much 'ship' here. Of course, though, we all know that she would follow Mulder in any case, considering that we understand that she trusts Mulder implicitly.  We know that she would follow Mulder anywhere---on nothing but his simple request---so the idea that she would hop on the first flight to Vegas just because he asked her to is nothing new.  We know she would do that----we know it almost automatically. It's just a given.  And on that note, I think that Frohike put it best when, after realizing that Scully would NEVER fly out on short notice for ANYONE but Mulder, he said, "She's gonna kick our asses."
<--- What?  I'm gonna kick their asses...

Yeah, maybe so, but it was a fun ride, wasn't it?