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The Lone Gunmen: 1AEB79 Pilot
(4th March 2001)

Written by Chris Carter, Vince Gilligan, John Shiban & Frank Spotnitz
Directed by Rob Bowman

After a mysterious and beautiful interloper thwarts their heist, the Gunmen unravel a conspiracy that hits closer to home.

[ Episode Reviews | Octium Chip ]

 


Episode Summary
From The Lone Gunmen TimeLine

A long line of people file into the illuminated offices of E-Com-Con Computer Corporation for an evening reception. On the roof of the building, Byers and Frohike, dressed in black, are gaining secret entrance into the building through a ventilation duct. A public relations woman begins to describe their "Octium" processor chip in glowing detail, but Langly, who is attending the reception, starts making cat calls. He accuses the company of embedding modem technology on the chip and invading the privacy of users. On a cue from Byers, received on Langly's tiny earpiece, Langly begins to fake convulsions.

Byers and Frohike use Langly's distraction to gain access to the secure room containing an Octium chip. Byers lowers Frohike from the ceiling using a powered winch, in order to not trigger the pressure sensitive floor of the room. Security guards, paying attention to Langly, do not see the incursion on their video monitors. As Frohike hangs from the ceiling, a slender bearded man, wearing a black trench coat, uses a computer system to take control of Frohike's winch, throwing him out of control. The man enters the chamber, setting off the security alarms. As Frohike hangs upside down, the man firmly kisses Frohike on the mouth, then grabs the Octium chip and leaves the room. Security guards do not see the man, but catch Frohike. They find Byers, and have also discovered Langly's earpiece. The guards demand the chip back, and when the Gunmen do not respond, a "full body cavity search" is ordered. Meanwhile, a strikingly beautiful woman emerges from a restroom, drops a wig and beard hairpiece in a trash canister, and walks off, miniskirted hips undulating.

The Lone Gunmen return to their Takoma Park, MD, warehouse office, having finally been released by E-Com-Con. They still want to prove the company's planned invasion of privacy, but don't have the chip they need for proof. Byers wonders if they are really making a difference with their work -- their latest issue had a circulation of just over 2,800, and they are "preaching to the converted." Frokihe is convinced that the bearded man was really a woman, because of the way she kissed. She is Yves Adele Harlow (Yves is pronounced "Eva") and has probably already sold the chip to the highest bidder. Wondering how she knew of their plans, Frohike finds a listening device in the office -- she has been listening to them. The phone rings and Byers answers. He is informed that his father has been killed in a one-car accident.

At a cemetery, Bertram Roosevelt Byers is eulogized as a good civil servant who had a strong belief in the power of the government to do good, having been a civilian employee of the Air Force. His ashes are shot into the sky with a small model rocket. The two Byers have been estranged since John began working on The Lone Gunman newspaper eleven years earlier, walking away from an eventual government pension. Ray Helms introduces himself -- he was a friend of Bertram. He is not convinced that Bert's death was an accident. They visit the spot, underneath an overpass, where Bert's car ran off the road. Helms thinks Bert was shot and the car accident faked, because of something Bert knew. The Gunmen go to Bert's home. His PC has been wiped clean. Frohike slips and falls on wet carpet, then uses ultraviolet light to find the remains of a large blood stain. Hacking the raw data on the computer hard drive, Langly finds file directories of what appear to be government files, including one named scenario_12_d.txt.

Byers concludes that his father was murdered at his home and the car accident faked. The Gunmen go to an auto salvage yard. After a brief misunderstanding that Bert's car is about to be crushed, they are shown the actual car, already crushed. Byers is convinced that somewhere inside the tangle of metal is an answer. Meanwhile, Langly is at a firing range, apparently near the Gunmen's offices, shooting at virtual targets. He asks another shooter for help getting into the Department of Defense computer systems, then notices a woman in another stall of the firing range. He is told that she is Yves Adele Harlow, and he has a brief conversation with her. She speaks with a continental accent and is condescending about The Lone Gunmen publication.

Byers and Frohike have Bert's car back at their shop, taking it apart to look for evidence. Frohike feels that Byers is hoping to discover that his father was someone who he can respect. Byers says his father's stories of President Kennedy's vision of "Camelot" made John who he is. Frohike finds a small circuit board in the engine compartment that was apparently used to control the speed of the car when the accident was faked. Langly's friend helps the Gunmen hack into the DOD computer and find the 12D scenario file. As they begin to download, a DOD worker detects the download and begins blocking it, accessing the Gunmen's computers. It becomes a race to see if the Gunmen can download their file before having their identify revealed. Finally, Frohike pulls the plug. They don't have the file, but from the file header they know that it deals with terrorism against civilian aircraft. The DOD worker apologizes to his superior, who we see is Ray Helms. Helms says it's OK, because he knows who it was.

The Gunmen have pulled an all-nighter. They are trying to figure out why someone would go to the trouble of faking the accident when the body already had a bullet hole in it. Frohike speculates that maybe the blood stain wasn't Bert's blood. They return to the overpass and Helms drives up. They tell Helms that the blood has been tested and was not Bert's -- it was the assassin's. As improbable as it seems, Bert had just had the carpet cleaned and the assassin apparently slipped and shot himself. Realizing he was in danger, Bert hurries out of his house and discovers a remote control device on the seat of his car. He puts the assassin's body in his car and fakes his own death. The Gunmen ask Helms for his password so they can locate the information on the 12D scenario. He tells them that it is "Overlord."

Byers goes back to his father's home and finds Bert there. Bert slaps him and says he should not have gotten involved. The 12D plan is for a small group of government operatives to crash a jetliner into New York City in order to keep tensions high and increase arms sales. Bert is doing what he can and thinks he knows which flight they have targeted. Back at the Gunmen's office, Frohike is working on anagrams when Byers returns. Helms is also there, and Byers tells him he has talked with his father. It was the plan of the government to flush Bert out of hiding using John. Ray hurries off to find Bert. After he leaves, Bert comes to the door of the Gunmen's office. The two Byers head for the airport to try to find the explosives in the aircraft. Both board the plane, but cannot find explosives, using hydrocarbon "sniffer" devices.

They realize that the airplane will be remote controlled, just like Bert's car was. Talking by phone to the Gunmen's office, Byers asks Langly and Frohike to hack into the aircraft controls. They do and discover that the plane is programmed to crash into the World Trade Center. Bert enters the cockpit and tries to warn the aircrew, but they don't believe him. Making a lunge, he deactivates the autopilot and the crew realizes that they are not in control. They have 22 minutes before they hit the building. Langly can't break the encryption on the aircraft control system --- his computer doesn't have the processing power and the computer keeps freezing. Frohike slips next door to the firing range and finds Yves there. He needs the Octium but she is not impressed by the need to save people's lives. Frohike points out that her name is an anagram for "Lee Harvey Oswald" and says he knows who she is. She uses the Octium in her laptop to somehow assist Langly break the encryption and give the pilots control of the aircraft again. The plane barely misses the skyscraper.

As they leave the airplane, Bert tells his son that they are much alike, except that John has something Bert doesn't -- bravery. Bert will not testify because if he did, his life would be in danger again. His silence will keep them both alive. Back at the Gunmen's office, the three partners discuss their next newspaper issue. They don't have proof of the 12D scenario. Frohike says they can write about the Octium invasion of privacy. He holds up the chip. How did he get it? After first claiming that Yves couldn't control herself because of their kiss, he admits that he grabbed it and ran.


Trivial Information
From TVHome

  • The character "Kimmy the geek" is supposedly "Jimmy the geek"'s twin brother who was hit by a bus in The X-Files episode "Three of a Kind". They're played by the same actor - Jim Fyfe.

  • The secret location of The Gunmen Headquarters is a basement/warehouse in Takoma Park, Maryland

  • The music played in the teaser is most probably "Cross the line" by Cuba.

  • Yvas Adele Harlow is an anagram for Lee Harvey Oswald, who allegedly assasinated President John F. Kennedy. Byers was also named after JFK, as he was born on the day of the assasination.

  • Octium Chip - The "privacy issues" that Langly mentions are something that happened in the computer industry several years ago: early model Pentiums had features incorporated in them that gave each chip a unique signature. This would have made it easy to do things like check to see if a certain software is licensed to run on a particular machine. Privacy advocacy groups raised a real scream and this feature was removed. For some fictional information on the Octium Chip, visit FOX's promo site

  • E-com-con - It is also the name of a secret project in the movie "7 days in May", about a government coup. Some fictional information on the company is available at E-com-con.com Includes some cool X-Files references.

  • Overlord - Operation Overlord was the secret code name for the World War II Invasion of Europe by the Allied forces on June 6, 1944 (D-Day) Richard Helms served in the CIA as deputy director in charge of covert operations, including assasinations (1962-1965) and as director (1966-1973). He was the CIA liason with the Warren Comission and came under heavy fire from many assasination researchers who charge that he did everything within his power to hinder the investigation.

 

Episode Cast

Dean Haglund Richard "Ringo" Langly
Tom Braidwood Melvin Frohike
Bruce Harwood John Fitzgerald Byers
Zuleikha Robinson Yves Adele Harlow
George Coe Bertram R. Byers
Wally Dalton Ray Helm
Steve Makaj N.D. Man
Brenda James Publicist
Mark Gibbon First Guard
Jim Fyfe Kimmy the geek
John Innes Reverend
James Hutson Bearded Man
Tony Morelli Assassin
Dee Jay Jackson Demo Man
David Kaye Pilot
Chris Gora Co-Pilot
Garvin Cross Navigator
James Hutson Yves Adele Male Beard

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