The title for this episode, apparently, comes from a computer programming language and translates to “followers,” and the same language is used for the opening credits tagline, which has been different for most of this final season’s episodes, and that translates this time to “the truth is out there.”
The Case: Rogue AI!
The Rest: Well…this one is different. It’s largely dialogue free for long stretches, and it’s about how much our lives are run by computers these days. Mulder and Scully are out eating dinner at an automated sushi restaurant, and when Mulder is served a blobfish instead of what he’d actually ordered, he tries to take the thing back to the kitchen. But there’s only robots back there, and when the time comes to pay the check, Mulder opts not to give a tip.
And from there, every robot and computer in the area turns on both agents. Why Scully gets to suffer I don’t know. She had nothing to do with Mulder’s skinflint ways, and her house gets set on fire at one point.
That said, I am not sure there’s much to say about this one. It’s mostly there to show how much automation and artificial intelligence (as understood in 2018) can make a lot of trouble for people in a world where we might be losing the human touch, but there are some nice moments on hand. Mulder, on getting to Scully in time to keep her from getting cooked by a small gas explosion, stops to ask why Scully’s house is nicer than his.
Not a bad question, but I assumed it was because she doesn’t live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere.
Oh, and when the pair opt to toss any devices that could allow the machines to track them, I am pretty sure Scully tosses a vibrator.
In the end, Mulder just gives in and gives the restaurant a 10% tip, and then all the problems end. One screen suggests they learned everything from humans, but I’ve never been nearly killed for being cheap.
Then again, Scully’s phone at one point flashed a headline that said something about Elon Musk’s warning people to beware AI, and I thought, “Huh. Must have been back when he was less controversial.”
Up next, Mr. Chuckleteeth.