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"Brand X"

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Episode 7ABX19

Title: Brand X

First screened in Australia: 19 July, 2000
First screened in the USA: 16 April, 2000

Credits: Director: Kim Manners
Writers: Steven Maeda and Greg Walker
Starring: Guest Stars: Plot:
While investigating the gruesome death of a tobacco company executive, agents Mulder and Scully uncover a dangerous conspiracy that brings Mulder to the brink of death.
Fox Press Release

Mulder and Scully investigate the death of a tobacco company insider that was found dead in his bathroom, flesh from his nose and mouth having been eaten away. Later, another man is found dead with hundreds of tobacco beetles crawling all over his eaten face. While Mulder investigates this strange case, he falls victims to the deadly insect, which is linked to a tobacco company's research lab.

My Rating: 8/10
Another good episode with some interesting special effects and a topical story, condemning the tobacco industry. Tobin Bell as Darrell Weaver is very good.

Where Have I Seen That Face Before?
Tobin Bell (Darrell Weaver) has appeared in movies such as "Mississippi Burning", "Goodfellas", "The Firm", "In The Line Of Fire" and "The Quick And The Dead". He also appeared in the "Seinfeld" episode "The Old Man".

Dennis Boutsikaris (Peter Voss) has appeared in "Taken", "In Dreams", "The Exterminator", "Batteries Not Included", "Crocodile Dundee II", "Internal Affairs", "The Dream Team", the TV mini series "The Last Don" as well as guest roles on "Law And Order: SVU" and four episodes of "ER".

Trivia and Research:
Transgenomics is a recent advancement in biotechnology that allows researchers to manipulate plant genomes in a whole new way. This new process of genetic engineering is considered a breakthrough because, unlike the current system, it doesn't introduce DNA from foreign species into the plant. Instead, researchers have found a way to manipulate the plant's own DNA to improve upon the end result. By inducing these changes within the plant, hopes are that transgenomics can create "natural" and beneficial crop improvement, such as resistance to disease and improved nutritional value -- without help from an outside source. Unless, of course, you want to count researchers.

The tobacco beetle (Lasioderma serricorne), an unremarkable-looking, brownish red bug about 2-3 mm long, lives out its life on and around tobacco. These insects find dried tobacco a relatively cozy environment for laying eggs, which emerge as larvae, who in turn eat the tobacco to eventually become another adult tobacco beetle. Both the adult and larva form are considered serious threats by manufacturers of tobacco products, managing to cause millions of dollars of damage every year. Yet, despite companies' control efforts, tobacco beetle eggs still manage to survive manufacturing processes and end up in consumers' humidors. And be aware, that while they do no harm to humans, a happy family of tobacco beetles certainly will turn an expensive collection of cigars to a worthless pile of dust.

The movie playing in Darrel Weaver's hotel room is the 1943 film "Guadalcanal Diary." Director Kim Manners chose it because it had a lot of explosions in it.

The artwork in the conference room of Morley Tobacco Company are real photos from tobacco plantations pulled from Corbis Images. Corbis has provided the production of "The X-Files" with numerous photos over the years.

The theme of tobacco addiction was originally suggested by Vince Gilligan. Writers Steve Maeda and Greg Walker wanted to show the conflicting idea of a tobacco company's inventing a safer cigarette that causes you to smoke more.

Morley Tobacco is the Cigarette-Smoking Man's brand of cigarette.

Dr. Libby Nance is named for "The X-Files" Script Coordinator Barbara Nance's sister, who is an entomologist specializing in beetles. Dr. Nance confirmed all the bug facts in the script.

The victim in the motel, Thomas Gastall is named after Ten Thirteen's Office Production Assistant. Gastall hails from Massachusetts.

When developing the character of Morley Security Chief Daniel Brimley, writers Greg Walker and Steve Maeda modeled him after the character that actor Wilford Brimley plays in the 1993 film "The Firm." They never got around to changing the name.

The character names Voss and Scobie were taken from the 1963 Audrey Hepburn-Cary Grant film "Charade." Walker had seen the movie at the American Cinemateque Theater prior to writing the script.

Walker wrote his portion of the script while listening to the soundtrack of "The Insider," a film about a tobacco company whistle-blower. The writers had thrown around the idea of calling the "safe" cigarettes Morley Safers, another nod to the film and its "60 Minutes" angle.

Actor Tobin Bell, who plays chain-smoker Darrel Weaver, is really an avid exerciser who doesn't smoke. Bell also appeared in the "Reunion" episode of "Harsh Realm," written by Greg Walker and directed by Kim Manners.

Michael Hungerford, who plays Complaining Man in the motel, waited patiently for eight hours in full prosthetic makeup before shooting the scene where his body is found. The makeup on his mouth prevented him from eating. He completed the scene in one take, and an actual bug crawled into his mouth. Hungerford never complained once.

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