The X-Files

Season 1 Episode 23

Roland

4
Aired Sunday 9:00 PM May 06, 1994 on FOX
7.8
out of 10
User Rating
378 votes
9

EPISODE REVIEWS
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Episode Summary

EDIT
When a series of murders occur among a group of scientists working on advanced propulsion technology, Mulder and Scully are called in to investigate. All evidence seems to point to the janitor Roland, who is mentally handicapped.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • Roland

    3.5
    For the episode that foreshadowed the "finale" of the first season of "The X-Files," I confess that I expected something better. Again focusing on spirits (not that this is the fact negative), the episode is confused himself in visions, theories of freezing and preserving, and even in history. Theories like the soul that lives on, as opposed to the dead body, and the certainty that the dead should not only lead back to the glances and even more points and underutilized by the script in an unsatisfactory development of the plot, since the moments of suspense and excitement are almost nil, so to say nothing of the minimum rate of strain. The actors "playing" the mentally disabled is very funny, and the various plot holes manage to complete the steps disastrous. So that some passages involving the conservation of such persons to be released in the future and not regenerated leaves the episode is the worst of the season, as the hideous "1x09 - Space" managed this feat, but is there: The second worst.moreless
  • Roland

    10
    Roland was a perfect and very entertaining episode of The X-Files. I really enjoyed watching because the story was awesome with a "Goodwill Hunting" meets "The Lawnmower Man" vibe, the acting was awesome, and the ending was good. I like how Roland's brother Arthur was using him to get revenge on those who stole his work. It was fun watching Mulder and Scully investigating the case. I certainly look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!moreless
  • Great Episode.

    9.6
    I actually find this a very good episode, compared to what certain people think I do not think the episode was about reincarnation, since the episode dealt with 2 twins separated at birth, then one of them dies and the other is struggling to live despite his mental conditions. "It is the belief that one has lived before and will live again in another body after death. The bodies one passes in and out of need not be human. One may have been a Doberman in a past life, and one may be a mite or a carrot in a future life."-(http://skepdic.com/reincarn.html) Since Roland already had a "soul ", his brother was merely controlling him.



    I actually found it a pretty touchy episode and I was enjoying every bit of it. The end, when Roland gives his love his bottled up stars, that was a very special moment.moreless
  • A great episode.

    10
    Roland is a handicapped genius because somehow his death brother who's head is in statis is controlling him to kill the people who stole his work. Mulder and Scully are forced to work out the mystery and stop Roland from killing the scientists. Overall i really enjoyed this episode. Tis is the last episode before the season final and i think this pritty good. Most of the episode was interesting but again it is another possesion story with is a little unoriginal but i still really liked it. I thought it was well written and the plot was not as simple as i thought it would be.moreless
  • Well-rounded and Mysterious

    7.9
    This episode is just plain good writing (finally). The project and its devoted scientists is just the right amount of intriguing and enough so that it's not too much boring science stuff. Basically, the premise is the project - so the writers set it up but then only use it minimally throughout the show. It's a good device.



    Roland is a sweetheart and you really feel for him and his struggle, particularly when he doesn't want to hurt Tracey. The actor was great! And the flashes of dreams used by his twin brother to control him were surprising and scary when they flashed suddenly onto the screen.



    I loved when Mulder was helping Roland pick out his shirt. And also, when Mulder first thinks that it was Roland's handwriting on the board - his facial expression when it turns out his first hunch is wrong was funny. He's not used to being told he's wrong. Haha. And lastly, that squelching noise when the scientist gets eaten up by the fan - that's a great sound effect. Appropriately yucky!moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Principal setting: Colson, Washington.

    • Plot Hole: If Arthur Grable was so desperate to complete his work and yet keep it a secret from his fellow scientists, whom he believed were taking his work from him, then why would he leave his equation up on the board for all the world to see?

    • Plot Hole: Dr. Surnow, who was killed in the opening segment, could have escaped his fate by lying on the floor under the fan. The airflow into the fan would have held him there.

    • Goof: At 41:21, when the scientist flies back toward the engine, the harness wires are visible.

  • QUOTES (16)

    • Mrs. Stodie: How could this happen? Roland never exhibited any violent tendencies.
      Mulder: It's my belief that he wasn't acting under his own volition.
      Mrs. Stodie: What do you mean?
      Mulder: This is the work of Arthur Grable, Roland's brother. It's a new theory of jet propulsion, unfinished at the time of his death. In the last two weeks, Roland has completed the calculations.
      Mrs. Stodie: How?
      Scully: We're not sure, Mrs. Stodie. All we know is that Roland was somehow able to finish his brother's research.

    • Scully: Arthur and Roland Grable, born at Puget Presbyterian to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Grable on July 15, 1952. Arthur was four minutes older than Roland.
      Mulder: Identical twins.
      Scully: Which means that they're the result of a single egg fertilized by a single sperm.
      Mulder: I've read studies which suggest that in some cases the identical twin arises very early in the embryonic stage when a mutation in one cell is rejected by the other cells as foreign.
      Scully: So that maybe Roland's condition is the result of a damaged chromosome rejected by one of Arthur's cells?
      Mulder: In a way, that would explain Arthur's genius and Roland's strange mathematical gift.

    • Mulder: You've got a brother, don't you Scully?
      Scully: Yeah. I've got an older one and a younger one.
      Mulder: Well, have you ever thought about calling one of them all day long and then all of a sudden the phone rings and it's one of them calling you?
      Scully: Does this pitch somehow end with a way for me to lower my long distance charges?
      Mulder: I believe in psychic connections, and evidence suggests that it's stronger between family members, strongest of all between twin siblings that shared the same womb.
      Scully: OK, maybe. But in this case, one sibling has closer ties to a frozen fudgesicle than he does to his own brother.
      Mulder: Arthur Grable is not dead. He's in a state of consciousness that no human has ever returned from. And what if that state allows one to develop psychic ability to a potential that the conscious mind is too preoccupied to explore or believe in? He could use that ability to control his brother to kill those scientists.

    • Scully: Dr. Barrington, in your conception of future medical science, what requirements will exist to be an organ or tissue donor?
      Barrington: Same requirements as there are today, compatible genetic make-up. It's best if the donor's related.
      Scully: Mulder? Arthur Grable put down only one donor...
      Mulder: Roland Fuller and Arthur Grable had the same birthday. I think they're twins.

    • Barrington: This is Arthur Grable. Uh, because of the massive internal damage to his body caused by the car accident, we could only preserve the head.
      Scully: Wouldn't your client find it somewhat inconvenient to be thawed out in the future, only to discover he had no functional mobility?
      Barrington: We believe that by the time science figures a way to revive our clients...
      Mulder: ... you'll also know how to clone new bodies for them.
      Barrington: Exactly. This technology is progressing faster than anyone thought possible. Ask anyone here at the university. So, while for us the passing of each second brings our bodies closer to death, for our clients it brings them closer to life.

    • Scully: Was he a practical joker?
      Dr. Nollette: On top of all his brilliance, he had a genius for executing elaborate schemes.
      Mulder: Could he be making it seem like a man with a 70 IQ is gaining access to and, uh, operating his old computer files?
      Dr. Nollette: Arthur would still have to be alive.
      Scully: Could he have faked his own death?
      Dr. Nollette: No.
      Mulder: The police report on the auto accident that killed Arthur Grable is woefully incomplete. The dry road surface, no mechanical problems found. The body was never admitted to the county morgue and there was no funeral.
      Dr. Nollette: If, uh, you are trying to suggest that Arthur Grable killed Surnow and Keats and is after me next, you're way off. Art could not have done the murders.
      Scully: How can you be so certain?

    • Dr. Nollette: ... a quantum physics professor of mine at Harvey Mudd flunked me. He challenged the tenets of one of my theories - a theory I later published in 'Nature'. Anyway, uh, to get back him, one afternoon we decided to take his car apart and put it back together again in his office and left it running.
      Mulder: Hmmm, an egghead classic.

    • Mulder: Roland's also from Seattle. He spent most of his life at the Heritage Halfway House. The identity of his parents has been sealed by the courts. There's very little information on Roland before the age of three. That's when he was put in the Heritage program.
      Scully: Does it say when he was born?
      Mulder: July 15, 1952.
      Scully: That's also Arthur's birthdate.

    • Mulder: Roland Fuller was hired by Arthur Grable. He went to the halfway house specifically to find a mentally challenged person.
      Scully: Are you suggesting that Arthur Grable hired Roland in order to use him? And are you suggesting that Arthur Grable is not dead?
      Mulder: Well, if he had intentions of killing Nollette, Keats and Surnow, why not set it up to appear the least likely suspect?
      Scully: Yeah, but by the look of this, he's hamburger.
      Mulder: Maybe he staged it. That would explain why his work is continuing on, six months after his "death".

    • Mulder: So you're saying someone came in here, killed Keats, and then just did some work on an old Dr. Arthur Grable file?
      Scully: Well, I can't access the ARTHUR file. We're gonna need the password.
      Mulder: Try 15626.
      Scully: How did you know that that...
      Mulder: This is Arthur Grable's work on the same fluid dynamics equation the others were working on. Look at all those entries. Someone has been continuing his work in the six months since he died.

    • Scully: An organic object exposed to liquid nitrogen at minus 320 degrees will become frozen, exhibiting great tensile strength, but is vulnerable to stress from compression or impact.

    • Scully: You don't really think that Roland ...
      Mulder: Besides Nollette and Keats, he's the only person we can prove was in the lab that night.
      Scully: Yes, but we're talking about a sophisticated fluid dynamics equation. Roland Fuller barely has an IQ of 70.
      Mulder: Well, you saw his facility with mathematics. Don't some autistic individuals display unusual abilities?
      Scully: Yes, but even savants behave only as human calculators. I mean, they can perform certain functions but they can't tell you the value of anything or even the meaning of a number.

    • Mulder: What about Roland Fuller?
      Dr. Nollette: Uh, Roland's the, uh, janitor.
      Mulder: Well, according to the police report, he was the only other person here last night.
      Dr. Keats: Roland didn't do that.
      Scully: How do you know?
      Dr. Keats: Let's just say Roland isn't exactly a rocket scientist.

    • Mulder: The project that everyone says doesn't exist, does exist.
      Scully: The Icarus project?
      Mulder: The next generation in jet engine design, capable of doubling current supersonic speeds using half the fuel. At least in theory.

    • Mulder: How was the wedding?
      Scully: You mean the part where the groom passed out or the dog bit the drummer?
      Mulder: Did you catch the bouquet?
      Scully: Maybe. So is that what you couldn't talk to me about over the phone?

    • Roland: People die. They go away, and they're not supposed to come back.

  • NOTES (1)

    • This episode is in some ways similar to the previous episode "Born Again", the general theme being revenge; and the main antagonists being reincarnated or controlled by a deceased person.

  • ALLUSIONS (3)

    • Dr. Nollette: If I've seen further than other men, it's because I have stood on the shoulders of giants.
      This is a famous quote from Sir Isaac Newton that he wrote in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1676.

    • Scully: The Icarus project?

      In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the artisan and builder Daedalus, who built the Minotaur's Labyrinth and a number of intricate devices for King Minos of Crete. Daedalus fell out of favor with the king, and he and Icarus were imprisoned in a tower. To escape, Daedalus made two pairs of wings out of feathers and wax with which he planned to fly to freedom. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too low or the sea spray would wet the feathers, nor too high, or the sun would melt the wax. However, caught up in the ecstasy of flight, Icarus climbed too high, and, as warned, the wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned. The story of Icarus has become a cautionary tale against hubris and overreaching one's limits. There is also an asteroid, 1566 Icarus, discovered in 1949; it is also the title of a scientific journal of solar system studies and the name of a number of literary and film characters.

    • Mulder: I don't think they will be performing this trick on Beakman's World.
      Beakman's World is a kids science show which ran on CBS from 1992-1997 where the scientist (Beakman) answered questions about science and nature topics.

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