This is where the events laid out in Duane Barry really take off. At this point the conspiracy realizes they made a fatal mistake in making Scully Mulder’s “handler”, instead of debunking his work she came to lend a degree of credence to his claims of paranormal phenomena, and government cover-up. So Scully’s abduction makes sense in that the conspiracy would be desperate to remove Mulder’s support system, the legs on which he stands. It is also crucial to the conspiracy that Mulder survive, one surmises that the conspiracy needs Mulder alive for some future purpose. When Mulder and Scully are reassigned it is a plausibility that the conspiracy assumed that the bond between the two agents was not so strong that Scully would continue to be Mulder’s support system, this was not the case, Scully continued to back him with all the power and resources at her disposal. She continued to invest her skill and emotion in his personal crusade. It is quite clear in this episode that no aliens are involved in Scully's abduction, Duane Barry is simply a pawn of the conspiracy, a very damaged tool. The first tangible evidence of just how far the conspiracy extends is given in this episode. Ascension is also the place where Skinner takes a step away from minion of the conspiracy towards being Mulder’s ally. It is also interesting to not the oft used conspiracy excuse for keeping Mulder alive, that is, they don’t want to turn him into a martyr, however, this episode gives that excuse a false ring as clearly the conspiracy is powerful enough to eliminate Mulder without making him a martyr or turning his personal quest into a crusade, it is obvious that Mulder is kept alive for some other purpose. This is an excellent and entertaining episode, and it serves as a starting point for many subsequent events.
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