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"Without" (Part 3) is the 163rd episode of the science fiction television series The X-Files. The episode first aired in the United States and Canada on November 12, 2000 on Fox and subsequently aired in the United Kingdom. It was written by executive producer Chris Carter and directed by Kim Manners. The episode continues from the seventh season finale, "Requiem", and season eight premiere, "Within", in which Fox Mulder was abducted by aliens who are planning to colonise Earth.

"Without" follows John Doggett's FBI taskforce in its continued search for agent Mulder and an alien bounty hunter within their ranks. After the task force is called off, Agent Scully is surprised to learn that John Doggett, the leader of the team, has been assigned to the X-Files. The episode earned high Nielsen household and syndication rating in the United States, while getting little attention in the United Kingdom and Ireland. As the previous episode, it was generally well-received by fans and critics alike.

Plot summary

As the episode begins, Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Gibson Praise are cornered at the edge of a mountain by pursuing agent John Doggett (Robert Patrick). Suddenly, Mulder walks off the edge of the cliff and appears to fall to his death; however, when the FBI agents are sent down to retrieve his body, they find that it has disappeared. Dana Scully realizes that what appeared to be her partner was actually an Alien Bounty Hunter sent to retrieve Praise. The Bounty Hunter, who has returned to the school, continues his search for Praise. Meanwhile, Scully follows a girl she had previously observed to be Praise's friend throughout the desert until she is able to locate him. After Doggett explains the events on the clifftop to Alvin Kersh, Walter Skinner tells him that Kersh is setting him up to fail. Shortly afterwards, the Bounty Hunter (now disguised as agent Scully) attacks agent Landau. Skinner and the real Scully eventually manage do drive the alien off.

After Skinner and Scully find and retrieve Praise, Skinner takes him to the nearest hospital, where his friend Thea visits him, closing the door behind her. In search for Mulder in the desert, Scully sees a bright light in the sky which she thinks is a spaceship, but is later revealed to be a helicopter. The helicopter lands and Doggett insists Scully travels with him to the hospital, she reluctantly accepts. At the hospital, two FBI agents assure the two agents that nothing has happened to Praise; however, they soon discover that he has vanished. Scully leaves to search for Praise, while Doggett stays in an attempt to catch the intruder. He checks the ceiling space, where he finds Skinner badly injured. Meanwhile, Scully finds Praise, along with Skinner, who claims to be protecting the boy. Skinner (actually the Alien Bounty Hunter) soon attempts to kill her but Scully grabs her gun and shots him in the neck, killing the Bounty Hunter. The episode ends with Mulder, still held in captivity.

Production

Fox Mulder's abduction was devised by Chris Carter towards the end of seventh season as a way of allowing the actor to leave the series. Duchovny fulfilled his contractual obligations after the seventh season and felt that there was not much else to do with the character following the previous seven years.
Production designer Cory Kaplan explains how she was attracted to the idea of using primitive materials when she states, "We all see super-tech now, but the idea of low-tech was much more interesting to me, much more visual. So you take elements of rock and steel and chisel them interesting shapes." She also describes the creation of the set by stating, "I found the backdrop from Alien, and Bill Roe lit it very dimly and put it behind. And it was just this rotating platform with this humongous dental piece that could rotate around as well and pull his face apart." According to Makeup Supervisor Cheri Montasanto-Medcalf, Matthew Mungle helped in the creation of the alien torture machine by making the cheeks and putting the hooks in. The makeup supervisor adds that the hooks would actually stretch out and that David Duchovny "sat pretty good through all that."

Unusual filming techniques were also used. Visual Effects Supervisor John Wash recalls, "We devised a laser effect where a device is going into his mouth and some other weird lens effects that were going over the scene to give it an alien, other-world-like quality." On the subject of using not only a challengingly minuscule method of filming but also additional sound effects, Supervising Producer Paul Rabwin recounts, "I had to set up a very, very highly magnified lens to try to get this little device coming right at us. It was very, very scary. We ended up putting some really cool sound effects in there, little servos and motors."

The sequence in which multiple Alien Bounty Hunters appear involved the use of motion control, a method in which a motion-control camera on a computerized module is repeatedly run through the same motion while elements are continually added. The shot, according to John Wash, was one of the few times in the series in which the production crew was able to use motion control and therefore presented a slight challenge. In the filming of the sequence, both a blank plate, for just the set, and lighting elements, that were in the set, were shot before the production crew filmed five different passes, each one with the Alien Bounty Hunter in a different position. The production crew were finally able to clone the Bounty Hunter by blending all the passes together.

Reception

The episode earned a Nielsen household rating of 9.0, with a 13 share. It was viewed by 9.198 million households and gathered a total of 15.150 million viewers in the United Statesmarker alone. On November 12, 2000 the episode premiered on American and Canadian television on Fox (both nations) and Global Television Network (Canada) the same time and day as Fox did. In the United Kingdommarker and Irelandmarker, it made its first appearance on British television on February 18, 2001 at 20:00 o'clock on Sky1. The episode did not make it to the list of the ten most watched television shows that week on the channel.

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